Midsize Firms / Regional Firms

Our first-ever Lawyerly Lairs contest to find the Best Law Firm Offices in America was a huge success. We received numerous nominations, which we reduced to a field of eight finalists (and four honorable mentions).

Then we opened the polls. Voter turnout ran high, with more than 4,500 votes cast in the contest.

Now, the moment you’ve been waiting for. It’s time to announce our winner….

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The polls remain open in our Lawyerly Lairs contest to find the Best Law Offices in America. If you haven’t done so already, you can review the eight finalists and cast your vote here.

The Georgia boutique of Bouhan, Williams & Levy took an early lead, thanks to their amazing offices in a restored Southern mansion. Right now, though, 1-800-LAW-FIRM is in first place. How many law firms have “walking tracks” and exercise rooms?

Due to the overwhelming response to our call for submissions, we were unable to include all of the great spaces that you shared with us. Today we’d like to recognize our “Honorable Mentions” — four firms that narrowly missed the final cut….

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As regular readers of Lawyerly Lairs know well, some attorneys have beautiful — and expensive — homes. As we’ve just learned from the impressive submissions in our contest to find the best law firm offices in America, many attorneys’ workplaces are no less spectacular.

With the help of Mary Kate Sullivan, our wonderful intern here at Above the Law, I’ve winnowed the large and impressive field to eight finalists. There’s nice diversity here, in terms of firms (Biglaw versus non-Biglaw); decor (traditional versus modern); and geography (seven different cities, located all over the country).

Let’s check them out, shall we?

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Back in June, we brought you a story about some mom-and-dad law grads who had been accused of planting a potpourri of pills and pot on a parent volunteer from their son’s school. Kent W. Easter, a UCLA Law graduate, is (or was) a partner at Stradling Yocca Carlson & Rauth, a midsize California firm. His wife, Jillianne B. Easter, is a Boalt Hall grad and former lawyer who dabbles in crime fiction writing (and bad plastic surgery, from the looks of it).

Apparently the Easters thought that they could get away with the perfect crime, but alas, that only happens in books written by partner wives. Now, the Easters are looking at additional legal troubles: their alleged victim, Kelli Peters, has filed a civil suit against the couple that contains some interesting allegations. In fact, the page-turner of a complaint reads like it was written by a crime writer far more talented than Mrs. Easter (aka Ava Bjork).

Let’s check out the complaint, and see what the Easters are up against….

Please note the UPDATE at the end of this post.

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Some have compared the world of large law firms to a gilded cage. The lawyers who toil for Biglaw may earn big bucks, but in exchange for the pay, they spend thousands of hours stuck in the office, shackled to their desks, deriving all their sustenance from Seamless.

So whose gilded cage is the most golden, the most elegant, the most comfortable? Welcome to Above the Law’s first-ever Lawyerly Lairs contest: a quest to discover the best law firm offices in America.

What do mean by “best”? Who is eligible to enter? How can entries be submitted?

Read on for the official contest rules and nomination guidelines….

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June wasn’t exactly hot in terms of bonus payouts, but the weather sure heated up quickly. And thanks to the lawyers we’ve singled out for Lawyer of the Month candidacy, June turned into a real scorcher in terms of humorous legal antics and allegations of attorney misconduct.

While some lawyers allegedly participated in scandalous aeronautical activities, others were literally condemned to crappy community service projects. But who will come out on top in our monthly contest?

Take a look at our nominees for June’s Lawyer of the Month and find out….

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Parenting can be an extremely difficult task, but an even more difficult task is proper helicopter parenting. It’s got to be an intense job to keep an eye on your child’s every move, day and night, wherever he may roam. In fact, some people have started to call these people lawnmower parents — after all, why choose to hover overhead when you can destructively mow down all obstacles that you perceive to be in your child’s way on the road to success?

Today, we’ve got a story about an attractive California couple who stand accused of being textbook examples of the worst kind of lawnmower parents, and they just so happen to both be lawyers. Daddy is (or was) a securities litigation partner at a midsize firm, and Mommy is a graduate of top law school. Trust us when we say that you do not want to mess with their kid, because you may wind up facing drug charges….

Please note the UPDATE at the end of this post.

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* It’s not just media groups that are urging the Supreme Court to allow live coverage of the announcement of the ACA decision. Senators Patrick Leahy and Chuck Grassley of the Senate Judiciary Committee have joined the club. [Blog of Legal Times]

* Dewey know whether this failed firm’s former partners will be settling their claims any time soon? Team Togut hopes to reach a deal in the next six weeks, and claims that cooperation will absolve D&L’s deserters of all future liability. [Am Law Daily (sub. req.)]

* From Biglaw to the big house: former Sullivan & Cromwell partner John O’Brien, who is serving time for tax evasion charges, has been suspended from practicing law in New York. [Thomson Reuters News & Insight]

* A Stradling Yocca partner and his wife, a Boalt Hall graduate, stand accused of planting drugs on a school volunteer who supervised their son. Looks like the only thing they’re straddling now is jail time. [OC Register]

* Dharun Ravi was released early from jail yesterday after completing a little more than half of his 30-day sentence. Funny how bad behavior got him into the slammer, but good behavior got him out of it. [CNN]

* “Why would somebody so smart do something so stupid?” Kenneth Kratz, the sexting DA from Wisconsin, claims that the answer to that question is an addiction to sex and prescription drugs. [Herald Times Reporter]

* Jay-Z’s got 99 problems and this bitch is one. He’s been accused by Patrick White of plagiarizing parts of his own best-selling memoir, “Decoded,” and slapped with a copyright infringement suit. [New York Daily News]

Last month, in the inaugural post in our series of Law School Success Stories, we focused on the theme of “the value of thrift.” We outlined a “low risk” approach to law school, profiling happy law school graduates who secured their law degrees without going into excessive debt — under $50K upon graduation, which is the recommendation of Professor Brian Tamanaha, author of a new book (affiliate link) about reforming legal education.

Today we’re going to cover the flip side: the “high risk, high reward” approach to legal education. In some ways this is a dangerous theme. The promise of Biglaw bucks is the siren song that leads many to crash on the rocks of joblessness and crippling debt (as Will Meyerhofer discussed earlier today).

Some law schools clearly exaggerate the ability of a legal education to increase a person’s career prospects and earning potential. But for some subset of law students, however small, law school does turn out to be a golden ticket. Their numbers might be inflated, but they do exist. Law school has allowed these individuals to increase their incomes dramatically. And — shocker! — many of these J.D. holders actually enjoy their lucrative new jobs.

Read about a young woman who went from being a secretary to having a secretary — along with a six-figure paycheck. Meet a young man with a rather unmarketable undergraduate degree who now, thanks to law school, makes bank in New York City.

Here’s another way of describing today’s success stories: “Fairy tales can come true, it can happen to you….”

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Last month, we solicited law school success stories from you, our readers. We’re often quite critical of law schools around these parts. So, to even out the scales a bit, we’re going to be running a series of happy stories, focused on graduates who are glad they went to law school.

We’ve tried to organize the success stories under a few broad themes, to lend some structure to the discussion. Some of the themes exist in tension with each other, and not all themes will apply to all readers. By the time the series is done, however, we hope that the stories will collectively shed some light on the question of whether one should go to law school.

Let’s launch into our first collection of law school success stories. They could be grouped under the theme of “go cheap, or go home”….

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