Fabulosity

What better way to illustrate the rules of evidence than to explore whether (and why) things that Professor Xavier read in your mind would be admissible in court and whether Spider Man could testify in his mask? What better way to explore the “functional/informative” split in trademark law than to ask whether Captain America’s round shield might be the subject of a trademark, or just the design on its face? What better way to explore corporate law than to explore the sort of legal entity the Fantastic Four and the Justice League of America should look to form in order to minimize liability and streamline their decision-making process?

– SciFi author Cory Doctorow, commenting on the interesting legal issues presented in The Law of Superheroes (affiliate link), a book penned by lawyers James Daily and Ryan Davidson, who write the Law and the Multiverse blog, which is up for ABA Blawg 100 honors in the “For Fun” category.

The field of contenders in our fourth annual law firm holiday card contest was quite impressive. We received numerous nominations, and we thank everyone who participated. It took many hours to review the plethora of submissions.

Like last year, apparently reading comprehension isn’t a skill that many lawyers possess, as a few of you declined to follow rule #3 of our contest, limiting the entries to “cards that are unusually clever, funny, or cool…. cards with some attitude, with that extra je ne sais quoi.” But because it’s the holiday season, we won’t rag on you too much. Even if you can’t follow simple instructions, you’re still great.

But some of you were greater than others. Let’s look at this year’s finalists….

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In 1853, in Chicago, Frederick Hampden Winston founded the law firm that would eventually become Winston & Strawn. Today Winston is a global giant, with approximately 1,000 lawyers practicing in 15 offices around the world.

As you might expect from the founder of one of the world’s great law firms, Frederick Winston was an impressive individual. He graduated from Harvard Law School in 1852. His first law partner, Norman Judd, was the delegate who nominated Abraham Lincoln at the 1860 Republican National Convention. His next law partner, after Judd became President Lincoln’s ambassador to Germany, was Henry Blodgett — no, not that Henry Blodget (one “t” versus two) — who later served as a federal judge. In 1894, Frederick Winston became law partners with Silas Strawn — and the rest, as the say, is history.

If you’d like to own a piece of history, you can purchase the 1896 mansion that was built for Frederick Winston. It’s now on the market, for just under $10 million.

No, this is not an apartment building (although it could be converted into one). It’s a single-family house — the house that Winston built….

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As law firm associates and partners rejoice over their bonuses and profits, we urge you to keep in mind the importance of giving back this holiday season. The law firm of Skadden Arps certainly does, through its support of the Skadden Fellowships. It’s fitting that word of the new Skadden Fellows always comes out around this time of year.

In case you’re not familiar with it, the Skadden Fellowship program has been described as “a legal Peace Corps.” It was established in 1988, in honor of Skadden’s 40th anniversary as a law firm, and it supports graduating law students committed to public interest work as they embark upon specific projects at sponsoring organizations.

How many fellowships were awarded this year? Which law schools do the fellows come from?

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It’s the most wonderful time of the year. The season of law firm holiday parties, for starters. And, better yet, bonuses. This year, Santa Cravath stuffed stockings with a goodly amount of cash.

But the parties and paychecks pale in comparison to what’s about to get underway: Above the Law’s fourth annual holiday card contest!

Last year, Haynes and Boone, a frequent finalist in the contest, took home top honors. Will they repeat in 2012, will a prior winner reemerge, or will a totally fresh face grab the Christmas card crown?

Read on — and read carefully, counselors — for the official contest rules….

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Foraging: it’s not just for grizzly bears.

Last week, in the inaugural installment of our Career Alternatives video series with our friends at Bloomberg Law, we brought you the story of Lisa Granik, a lawyer turned “Master of Wine.” She’s living the dream, drinking and thinking and writing about wine for a living.

Well, how would you like some food to go with your wine? Today’s career alternative for attorneys: forager.

Forager? Does ordering something on Seamless count? Is Tristan Taylor Thomas looking for food in the trash again?

No, no. This foraged food gets eaten at one of America’s most acclaimed restaurants, by folks who pay hundreds of dollars for the privilege. And the forager, who graduated from a top law school, walked away from a high-powered legal career….

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This Thanksgiving, five brilliant young lawyers will have something special to give thanks for. Earlier this month, they learned of their selection as the 2013 Bristow Fellows.

Bristow Fellowships, one-year fellowships in the U.S. Solicitor General’s Office, go to recent law school graduates with outstanding academic records and top clerkships. They are generally regarded as second only to Supreme Court clerkships in prestige — and often lead to SCOTUS clerkships as well. You can read more about the Bristow Fellowship, including the job responsibilities and application process, on the Justice Department website.

One of the newest Bristow Fellows is an Above the Law celebrity, whom many of you will recognize. Yes, that’s right — you can appear in the pages of ATL and go on to enjoy great career success in the law….

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Here at Above the Law, we regularly cover career alternatives for attorneys. For better or worse, there are not enough jobs in the practice of law to accommodate all holders of law degrees. So it’s helpful and even inspiring to our readers to showcase all the different and creative ways that lawyers are using their legal training in other endeavors.

Luckily for us, and for our readers interested in alternative career paths, our friends over at Bloomberg Law have been conducting wonderful weekly interviews with people they call “stealth lawyers” — individuals who, after either training or practicing as a lawyer, went on to find success in some other field.

Let’s meet a recent profile subject, a Georgetown and Yale law grad who left the practice and teaching of law for a very unique new niche. If you enjoy drinking boxes and boxes a glass of fine wine — and who doesn’t, really? — keep reading….

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Steven Guynn

Back in March, we wrote about Steven Guynn, who at the time was a corporate partner at King & Spalding. Above the Law readers who work at K&S are happy campers, giving the firm a solid grade of B+ in our Career Center. Alas, the allegations against Guynn would seem to merit an F. As you may recall, Guynn was accused of assaulting his alleged mistress, Jeannette Schaefer.

Today we have some updates about Steve Guynn (all via Teri Buhl). First, Guynn is reportedly getting divorced from his wife, Kristie Guynn. Second, the criminal case against him no longer appears in the online docket for the Connecticut courts (perhaps because it has been moved to a domestic violence docket). Third, he is no longer at King & Spalding.

(We reached out to King & Spalding to confirm Guynn’s departure from the firm. They did not respond to our inquiry, but Guynn’s bio has been pulled from the firm website. Here is a cached version, which shows Guynn’s impressive educational and professional background, including the two other top firms where he was once a partner.)

The allegations against Steven Guynn have never been proven. But here is one thing established beyond a reasonable doubt: his multimillion-dollar mansion is fit for royalty. Shall we take a peek?

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Now THIS is a mansion.

In the world of Manhattan real estate, life begins at $1 million. Sure, you can get a very nice studio or one-bedroom apartment for six figures. But if you’re looking for at least two bedrooms and two baths, in a decent part of town, be prepared to pay the mansion tax (although a 1,200-square-foot apartment is hardly a “mansion”).

In today’s edition of Lawyerly Lairs, we’ll present you with two apartments, both priced between $1 million and $2 million. Then we’ll ask you to vote in a reader poll and say which one you prefer. We’re all about interactivity here at Above the Law.

Now, on to our first contestant….

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