Last week, we provided this photo to you, for a caption contest:
gift wrapped office.jpgThis time we picked not one but two groups of finalists. One group of nominees came from the comments on the post, in the traditional fashion. The second group of entries was generated by guests at the recent holiday happy hour, sponsored by Applied Discovery.
Check them out and vote for your favorite in each group, after the jump.

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Federalist Society high heels fabulous.jpgSensible shoes are for liberal chicks. Say hello to fabulous Federalist footwear!
As you may have noticed, from our two posts late on Monday night and one from Tuesday morning, we’re engaging in some after-the-fact blogging of last week’s Federalist Society National Lawyers Convention.
As in past years, the social highlight of the conference was the Thursday night banquet (black tie optional; and many availed themselves of the option, ’cause that’s how conservatives roll). The speaker at the dinner was none other than Justice Samuel A. Alito, who delivered an insightful and hilarious speech that was a delight to listen to. Just as one might say of, say, a newscast by Jon Stewart, much of the entertainment value was in the delivery — Justice Alito is so dry and deadpan, and yet his remarks make you bust out laughing.
Interestingly enough, we haven’t come across many news accounts of Justice Alito’s speech. There was also no video recording allowed at the address. So we feel we can add some value with this write-up, despite its belated nature.
There may have been some confusion over the ground rules governing reporting about the speech. From the BLT:

Justice Samuel Alito Jr. spoke to the Federalist Society [last Thursday] night, but photos of him doing so are hard to come by. That’s because photographers other than the Federalist Society’s own were barred from the event. Keith Appell, a spokesman for the Federalist Society, said cameras were prohibited by Alito’s security detail….

Kathy Arberg, the court spokeswoman, said “The justice’s policy was that the event was open to still cameras and pencil press,” and that the Federalist Society was informed of that policy before the event.

Well, photos from the event aren’t hard to come by on Above the Law. Nobody told us that we couldn’t take photographs — so we did. And, as members of the “pencil press,” we jotted down notes in our reporter’s notebook. (We left the laptop at the hotel that night.)
Check out a slideshow of our pictures, along with a discussion of Justice Alito’s highly engaging and entertaining address, after the jump.

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Heller Ehrman art auction 3.jpg
Last month, we reported that bankrupt law firm Heller Ehrman would be selling some of its art to raise money for its creditors. Heller hopes to raise $1 million (or more) through a series of sales, in New York and California.
The first of several Heller art auctions took place yesterday at Bonhams & Butterfields, at 580 Madison Avenue in New York. We attended, both to cover the proceedings and in the hope of making a purchase or two. (The most important works from the Heller collection will be sold next year, but those pieces — by artists like Diebenkorn, Lichtenstein, and Serra — are a bit beyond our price range.)
Upon arrival at Bonhams, we checked in with a receptionist. We were asked to provide our driver’s license and credit card for photocopying, which we did. Buyers can pay for purchases with either a credit card or a check, but the auction house still copies your credit card for its records.
(There is a slight discount for using a check or cash over a credit card. The buyer’s premium, a commission paid by the winning bidder to the auction house, is 22 percent of the purchase price for credit cards, but 20 percent for cash or check.)
After supplying the requested documentation and filling out a short form, we were given a paddle for bidding. We were hoping for something wooden; the word “paddle” conjures up images of spanking — fun! Instead, we received a laminated card of gray and white plastic, printed with the number “238″ (our bidder number).
Did we make any purchases? How well did the Heller Ehrman art sell? Find out, plus check out pictures of the art, after the jump.

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jackolantern.gifHappy belated Halloween, ATL readers. We hope your holidays were fun and free of criminal activity.
Over 2,000 people checked in over the weekend to vote in our caption contest. The winner after the jump.

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Notes from the Breadline Roxana St Thomas.jpgEd. note: Welcome to the latest installment of Notes from the Breadline, a column by a laid-off lawyer in New York. Prior columns are collected here. You can reach Roxana St. Thomas by email (at, follow her on Twitter, or find her on Facebook.
Last week, we brought you Scenes from the Breadline, in the form of my very own photo essay on unemployment. You may recall that, in the communitarian spirit of all Homework Assignments from the Breadline, I also asked you to submit photographs, drawings, or other images that depicted, reminded you of, or documented your experience of life in the breadline.
First, I extend my heartfelt thanks to those who sent their own pictures from the breadline. For what it’s worth, my empirical research indicates that you are strict constructionists: you construed the assignment narrowly, and responded almost universally with photographs, rather than pictures scrawled in crayon, found art, or collages made from your unemployment check receipts and Ramen soup labels. (I mention this not as a criticism, but as a reminder that I welcome any and all of your creative efforts on an ongoing basis. I like to hang them up on my refrigerator, so that I can be reminded — while making soup- – of the excellent company I keep here in the breadline.)
Second, while I love you all the same, I must note that the New Yorkers amongst you responded in force. Perhaps it is because we are intransigent overachievers, and take homework assignments seriously (no matter who doles them out). Perhaps it is because signs of the recession are so visible here, and so ubiquitous. Either way: thanks, home team! And thank you, friends and readers from every outpost of the breadline. As always, you did a fantastic job.
Without further delay, we bring you (more) Scenes from the Breadline.

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Fall is here, reflected in the chillier temperatures we’ve been experiencing here in New York. But here’s an opportunity for reminiscing about the glorious days of summer.
Check out this slideshow of photographs from our fabulous summer rooftop gathering, sponsored by our friends at Applied Discovery. If you’ve ever wanted to see our very own Kashmir Hill play Wii Tennis, this is your chance!

If you’d be interested in sponsoring an Above the Law event, please email us at (subject line: “ATL Events”). Thanks!
Earlier: An ATL Event: Rooftop Gathering with Applied Discovery

Heller Ehrman small logo.jpgIt’s been a long time since we checked in on the ruins of Heller Ehrman. It seems strange that it’s been over a year since Heller Ehrman announced that it was closing its doors.
Everybody that was going to land on their feet after Heller collapsed has presumably landed. Those who never did get a job back in Biglaw post-Heller have hopefully moved on to other lucrative and rewarding careers.
While most of Heller’s employees have moved on, it looks like some of Heller’s things are still looking for new owners. One tipster reports that you can purchase your own little piece of Heller if you want to:

FYI the art from the Heller Ehrman art collection is up for sale at Bonhams New York:

Sale 17421 – Contemporary and Modern Art

Let’s take a look at what fine pieces of art you can score from the demise of Heller Ehrman.

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Kennedy James Florida Coastal School of Law student Playboy model.jpgLast year, discussing the surprising success of clothing consultants in the recession, we wrote: “When the going gets tough, the tough get new wardrobes.”
Maybe we should amend that statement: “When the going gets tough, the tough ditch their wardrobes.” Faced with the dismal legal job market, yet another law student has decided to earn extra cash by taking it off for the camera.
In September we reported on Stephanie Christine, a UNC law student who posed nude for Playboy’s “Girls of the ACC” issue. Now, thanks to a horny diligent reader, we’ve learned that Kennedy James (right), a law student at Florida Coastal School of Law, has joined’s “Cyber Club.”
Kennedy was recently honored as “Coed of the Week” by the Playboy Blog. How many law students can claim that accolade? Order of the Coif, suck it.
Kennedy is jokingly described as majoring in “Advanced Sophistry” at Florida Coastal. To preempt the commenters: yes, Florida Coastal is fully accredited by the American Bar Association.
Check out a redacted (and therefore safe-for-work) picture of Kennedy James, plus links to the not-safe-for-work stuff, after the jump.

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Remember Jane Allen Clark? She’s the Texas attorney who originally used the quasi-racy photo on the left for her lawyer profile on the state bar website. After we wrote about it, she replaced it with the more staid portrait on the right:
Jane Allen Clark Jane Clark Jane A Clark before after Texas State Bar lawyer.jpg
But where did that first photo come from? An eagle-eyed reader drew something to our attention….

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Notes from the Breadline Roxana St Thomas.jpgEd. note: Welcome to the latest installment of “Notes from the Breadline,” a column by a laid-off lawyer in New York. Prior columns are collected here. You can reach Roxana St. Thomas by email (at, follow her on Twitter, or find her on Facebook.
Many of us know (and some of us have described, at some length) what life in the breadline feels like. But what, exactly, does life in the breadline look like? What are the visual manifestations of uncertainty, general financial malaise, and persistent despair? Well, dear readers, sometimes life in the breadline looks like a laid-off associate in her pajamas and down coat, on the verge of ranting at strangers in the bank. Sometimes it looks like the very same associate staring at her inbox, certain that an encouraging email (offering something other than a chance to collect your designated award from the British Lottery) will appear momentarily. Other times, it can be seen in the world outside one’s cat-plagued home, where the indicia of economic apocalypse are ubiquitous.
This week, I am pleased to bring you my own photo essay from the breadline. (Take heart, TLDR crowd — something that doesn’t require actual reading!) I hope you enjoy these shots of street life, and I thank the kind photographer who helped to document my wanderings.
Of course, every life looks a little different … which is why it’s time for another Homework Assignment from the Breadline. Specifically, we want pictures — in the form and media of your choosing — of your life in the breadline. Send me the images that illustrate your experience, symbolize the moment, and document the good, the bad, and the ugly parts of your adventure / ordeal / journey. I look forward to viewing your responses! Please: no nudity, crush films, or dogfighting videos.
Without further ado, I present “Scenes from the Breadline.”

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(Or: A photo essay on unemployment.)

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