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We’re down to your last two ATL Idols: FROLIC AND DETOUR and SOPHIST. It’s time for them to face off in the third and final head-to-head round of ATL Idol, the reality-TV-style talent search for Above the Law’s new editor. You know the drill, but if you’re just tuning in, here’s how this round will work:

ATL Idol Above the Law Idol AboveTheLaw Idol smaller.jpgThe head-to-head round is designed to serve as a test of pure writing ability. We’ll publish the contestants’ different takes on the same (assigned) story. The head-to-head round is designed to show how the bloggers write up the same story, to eliminate any advantage from story selection. Story selection is an important skill for bloggers, but it’s one that the contestants have demonstrated in their features and freestyle posts.

Just like the past two weeks, this round will be reviewed by ATL’s panel of celebrity judges: Ann Althouse, Tom Goldstein, and Dahlia Lithwick.
Check out the bloggers’ contributions, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “ATL Idol: Week 3, Head-to-Head Round”

605 Third Avenue.jpgIf you’ll be interviewing at law firms this fall, make sure you double check the address of the place you’re headed to. Law firms are constantly on the move and trading spaces. From the New York Observer (which follows commercial real estate as obsessively as we follow law firm layoffs):

Entertainment law powerhouse Pryor Cashman, whose clients include Penthouse founder Bob Guccione and numerous American Idol contestants, is in negotiations for 100,000 square feet at 605 Third Avenue, the 44-story glass box of a building owned by Fisher Brothers….

[T]he firm right now occupies about 100,000 square feet of contiguous space in three buildings, which means three leases–all of which expire at the end of next year–and three landlords.

That sounds rather inefficient — and annoying. But there are other firms that occupy multiple buildings in the same city. E.g., Skadden and Mayer Brown, in D.C.
Pryor Cashman isn’t the only law firm in search of new digs. The Observer reports that Paul Weiss and Fitzpatrick Cella are also in search of over 100,000 square feet apiece.
Favored American Idol Lawyers Negotiating Lease at 605 Third [New York Observer]

ATL Idol: Alex’s Farewell

avatar Alex ATL Idol.jpg[Ed. note: This is the farewell post of ALEX, who was recently eliminated from ATL Idol, the "reality blogging" competition that will determine ATL's next editor. It is marked with Alex's avatar (at right).]
Farewell, all. And thank you for everything — the support and the criticism.
This is a bitter-sweet moment. I was excited about the possibility of becoming the new editor, but I was also terrified.
There are minutes every hour where I enjoy being a lawyer, but usually I spend my time daydreaming about doing something else. Those daydreams, however, never entail an honest appraisal of the difficulties that confront every job, even the cool-sounding ones. So, naturally, when I read that ATL was looking for a new editor, I jumped at the chance. No hesitation.
I envisioned myself writing bon mots to an adoring audience of thousands, rarely taking more than a few hours out of each day to “work.” Tom Goldstein would invite me to his notorious sex parties, and MSNBC and Fox News would fight over having me on as a guest. Of course I wanted to be the new editor.
Blogging, however, is hard. Research, writing, deadlines, criticism. These were familiar stressors in unfamiliar waters. I felt like a first-year associate again. Sure, I would have improved, but blogging would have never been the cure to what ails me.
So I’ll continue to daydream and plot and scheme from the relative safety of my little biglaw office. I’ll leave the blogging to the pros. Good luck, Sophist and F&D.

Elizabeth Halverson small Judge Elizabeth Halverson Liz Halverson Above the Law blog.JPGA tipster dubbed yesterday “the day legal comedy died.” From the Las Vegas Review-Journal:

While the Judicial Discipline Commission weighs the fate of embattled District Judge Elizabeth Halverson, voters delivered their own verdict Tuesday, deciding Halverson must go.

Halverson, who faces complaints of falling asleep on the bench and harassing her staff, received less than 10 percent of the vote, trailing opponents Stefany Miley and Jason Landess, who will move to the general election in November.

Alas, it appears that the ATL endorsement was not enough to save her candidacy.

A woman who declined to give her name as she walked out of Ruth Fyfe Elementary School said she and her husband specifically showed up at the polls to voice their displeasure with Halverson. The couple called her “goofy.”

“I voted against her because of the recent happenings, her health issues … everything,” the woman said.

Voter Barbara Lloyd said she too wanted to be sure Halverson wasn’t re-elected.

“I want her out of office,” Lloyd said. “I haven’t been impressed with her at all.”

Really? Despite her Harvard Law Review-quality work?

Halverson’s run for office appeared to be bleak before she faced the discipline commission. According to her campaign contribution reports, she had $5,200 in her election coffers thanks to a loan from herself.

La Halverson, taking a page from the Hillary playbook. But five grand is nothing compared to $25 million.
Halverson ousted; Miley top vote-getter [Las Vegas Review-Journal]

fashion.jpgWe’ve noticed that the comment thread on the cold offers post has morphed into a fashion advice column. Here are some of the on-campus interview attire questions that have been posed:

– Is a light gray suit a bad choice for interviews? Dark brown shoes, black, or either?
– What suit colors are acceptable?
– For females, do you have to wear a button down under your skirt suit, or can you wear something else?
– Skirt-suits v. pants suits?

We pajama-wearing ATL bloggers are no longer well-versed in the world of suit fashion, but Corporette has an advice post on interview fashion, in response to a query from a 3L. Their advice for the ladies:

  • Choose a dark suit. A black or navy suit is always more conservative than a brightly- or lightly-colored suit, and if you have to buy something inexpensive then it will hide the imperfections in the fabric and the seams.
  • Buy a skirt suit…. Be sure you pull a chair over to a full-length mirror and practice sitting in the skirt suit; you want to see what the interviewer will see and make sure you look appropriate and tasteful.
  • Is this to prevent a Basic Instinct moment?
    Additional fashion tips, after the jump.

    double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Fall Recruiting Open Thread: Suitable Suits?”

    funny-pictures-facebook-library-cat.jpgWe received 629 responses to Monday’s ATL / Lateral Link survey on social networking, and it looks like most of you are avid surfers.
    Overall, 81% of you use at least one social networking site or maintain a blog. Facebook was the overwhelming winner, as 94% of attorneys who use social networking sites have an account there. LinkedIn was a distant second, used by 46% of these respondents. Myspace was third with 21%.
    A surprising number of attorneys are also blogging. Just over 9% maintain an account with blogger, and just under 3% use Livejournal. One percent wrote in that they use WordPress.
    Despite the occasional employer attempts to block access, about 91% of social networking attorneys log in from the office at least once or twice a month, and 61% log in at least daily. One in three attorneys logs on to his or her Facebook or LinkedIn accounts, from the office, more than twice a day.
    While they may do it from the office, however, most attorneys are using their online accounts for fun, not for profit. Almost 97% of respondents with social networking accounts are using them “to keep in touch with friends”, 56% are using them “for fun”, and 9% are using them “to look for new friends.” But less than 7% are using them “to look for jobs”, and only 5% are using them “to look for clients.”
    More findings, after the jump.

    double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Associate Life Survey: Your Online Networks”

    Facebook facestalking face stalking jurors jury.jpg* Does using GPS to track suspects constitute an illegal search and seizure? [Washington Post]
    * Lawyers are demanding a criminal investigation into the death of a 34-year-old Hong Kong immigrant. A successful New York computer engineer, he died of cancer after not receiving medical attention while detained for months by Immigration and Customs Enforcement. [International Herald Tribune]
    * Paris Hilton being sued for not doing enough to promote “National Lampoon’s Pledge This!” Give her a break — she’s busy running a presidential campaign. [Associated Press]
    * A former Siegel Fenchel & Peddy associate sues the NY firm for discriminating against her for getting pregnant. [New York Law Journal]
    * The Nevada Equal Rights Commission rules that a club discriminated against men by charging women lower rates. [New York Times]
    * New legal trend: Facebook-stalking potential jurors. [National Law Journal]

    Will Work for Food 2 Above the Law blog.JPGIf you’re a regular reader of legal newspapers and blogs, you might get the sense that law firm layoffs are happening everywhere. At the current time, the ATL category tag for Layoffs contains about 90 posts (and counting). It’s a topic that we cover extensively — and many readers still clamor for more.
    Here at ATL, a self-styled “legal tabloid,” inducing panic through sensationalism and scaremongering — layoffs! delayed start dates! cold offers! — is part of our job description. But are things really that bad?
    With respect to lawyer layoffs, maybe not. Leigh Jones examines the topic in a very interesting article for the National Law Journal (subscription):

    A look at the bigger picture shows a profession responding to the economic downturn rather adroitly — at least so far.

    Since October, some 338 attorney layoffs have been confirmed and reported by various news organizations at 12 law firms among the NLJ 250, The National Law Journal’s annual survey of the nation’s largest law firms.

    To be sure, unreported terminations could make the layoff totals much higher. But even if stealth layoffs are twice or even three times the reported amount, the number of attorneys ushered to the exits in the last 10 months is relatively small.

    More good news — but also some bad news, namely, a list of large law firms that have laid off lawyers — after the jump.

    double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Nationwide Layoff Watch: The Sky Is Not Falling
    (Plus: A list of law firms that have done layoffs.)”

    avatar Frolic and Detour ATL Idol.jpg[Ed. note: This post is by FROLIC & DETOUR, one of the finalists in ATL Idol, the "reality blogging" competition that will determine ATL's next editor. It is marked with Frolic & Detour's avatar (at right).]
    It’s puzzling that lawyers have a reputation as a bunch of thieving shysters. After all, we have to prove our character and fitness before joining the profession. Unlike, say, doctors, lawyers’ unique responsibilities demand high moral standards as well as professional skill. Only the pure in heart can be allowed to carry the briefcase.
    Yes, 3Ls, for a mere $815 (0r more), expert bureaucrats will judge your moral merit. Along with the occasional white supremacist, state C&F committees weed out sinners great and small. Unpaid parking tickets? They’re on it. Remember that security deposit on your 1999 summer share? They do.
    Maybe you didn’t think that a drunken tailgate from sophomore year would come back to haunt you. But we’ve already heard from several C&F veterans about the long-forgotten dramas that stood between them and their legal dreams:

    I worked as a paralegal at a small New York firm in between college and law school. After six months, I got sick of picking up sushi and making copies, so I quit. The firm was furious that I was leaving, and they threatened to do whatever it took to keep me out of the bar. Sure enough, three and a half years later, they told California that I was a liar and not to be trusted. California admitted me anyway. Later in my career, I moved to New York. This firm again told the bar that I was a liar and made as much trouble as they could — almost six years after I quit.

    I skipped a lot of class in high school and ended up with a bunch of Fs. I graduated from college with honors, then made it to a top-6 law school, with years of work experience along the way. I was 26 when I took the bar. C&F gave me huge problems over my high school academic record. They made me write a long apology and promise never to do it again. For real.

    So readers, what vomit blotches stained your bar applications? How did you have to pay penance? Share in the comments or at, and we’ll discuss on Thursday.

    Vault logo law firm rankings career guides.jpgLast week, we gave you a sneak preview of Vault’s 2009 law firm rankings: the top 50 firms ranked by prestige, and the top 20 firms ranked by quality of life.
    Now the complete 2009 rankings are available. In addition to the prestige and “best to work for” rankings, they include the diversity and partner prestige rankings.
    You can access all the rankings through this gateway page, or by clicking on the links below. Enjoy!
    Top 100 Law Firms: 2009 Rankings (portal page) [Vault]
    Top 100 Law Firm Prestige rankings [Vault]
    The Best 20 Law Firms to Work For [Vault]
    The Best 20 Law Firms for Diversity [Vault]
    Partner Prestige Rankings [Vault]
    Earlier: ATL Exclusive: A Sneak Peek at the 2009 Vault Rankings! (Part 1 of 2)
    ATL Exclusive: A Sneak Peek at the 2009 Vault Rankings! (Part 1 of 2)

    avatar Sophist ATL Idol.jpg[Ed. note: This post is by SOPHIST, one of the finalists in ATL Idol, the "reality blogging" competition that will determine ATL's next editor. It is marked with Sophist's avatar (at right).]
    With classes starting soon, another crop of 1Ls will be starting on a journey that has only one sure outcome: the accumulation of useless information devoid of any practical professional relevance.
    Once you take away all of the prestige-whoring, grade-inflating shell games that allow top schools to separate you from your future earnings, can’t most law classes be reduced to an Emanuel’s outline and a BarBri lecture?
    Which classes were the most irrelevant to the life of a Biglaw associate?

    Today I’ll offer my worthlessness rankings on basic classes that most everyone was forced to take. Thursday I’ll open up the field and rank useless classes that ATL readers could have avoided, in a bold “Clarice Starling” attempt to save just one law school lamb from signing up for International Law.
    But I’m about more than telling 1Ls that the next three years of their lives are pointless (though, really guys, totally pointless, just saying). I’ll be offering up alternative classes that might not be available at your local registrar, but that every Biglaw associate needs to take before leaving law school’s protective cocoon.
    After the jump, see the classes worth sleeping through.

    double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Back to School: What Is The Most Worthless Class You Had to Take?”

    avatar Sophist ATL Idol.jpg[Ed. note: This post is by SOPHIST, one of the finalists in ATL Idol, the "reality blogging" competition that will determine ATL's next editor. It is marked with Sophist's avatar (at right).]
    Next week, Louisiana will become the last state in the union to officially ban cockfighting. The business was already on the decline in Louisiana thanks to new federal laws that make transportation of roosters across state lines for fighting, a felony.
    Still, defenders of the “sport” bemoaned the new law. “The culture, the custom of the Cajun people, it’s gone,” said Chris Daughdrill, a cock breeder from Louisiana.
    When Oklahoma banned cockfighting, lawmakers there tried to make the sport more humane. Oklahoma State Senator Frank Shurden suggested fighting roosters be fitted with protective vests and boxing gloves. “We want to show the nation that we’re more than trailer parks and a perceived lack of sophistication,” Shurden said at the time.
    Good luck with that Oklahoma.
    Back in Louisiana, Elizabeth Barras, who has fought champion cocks for years, made an insightful point about the new Louisiana statute. “They’re still going to fight, they’re still going to fight for years to come,” she said. “They’ve still got cockfighting in every state. They just hide it from the law.”
    Though we have achieved John Adams’ goal of a government of laws, those laws must still be enforced by men and women. A fact Elizabeth Barras knows all too well.

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