Reality TV

As 2013 draws to a close, let’s look back at the 10 biggest stories in the legal profession over the past year. This is an annual tradition here at Above the Law, which we’ve done in 2012, 2011, 2010, and 2009. We’ll fire up the old Google Analytics machine to get data on our most popular posts, based on pageviews, and share the results with you.

Before turning to specific stories, let’s look at the top general discussion topics here at ATL. For 2013, our most trafficked category page was Biglaw, which bumped Law Schools out of the top spot — a spot that Law Schools held from 2010 through 2012. Now that the word is out about the perils of getting a law degree, leading to plummeting applications, perhaps it’s time to move on from the “don’t go to law school” narrative.

After Biglaw and Law Schools, our third most-popular category page was, as usual, Bonuses. This wasn’t a terribly exciting year for bonuses — there were no spring bonuses, and Cravath and its many followers paid out the same bonuses as last year — but people still want to know the score.

Our fourth most-popular category page was small law firms. Small firms, including boutiques, are an area of increasing focus and readership for us — and also where many of the job opportunities are these days.

Moving on from the topic pages, what were the 10 most popular individual posts at Above the Law in 2013?

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* Another lawyer is going on The Bachelor! This time it’s Andi (pictured), a Wake Forest Law grad who is described as a federal prosecutor (though other sources say she works at the district attorney’s office). She says she got a murder conviction in 8 minutes, which is impressive for someone who graduated last year. Like, hard-to-believe impressive. Well, now she’ll be trading in all that self-respect for roses and 15 minutes of reality TV fame. [Huffington Post]

* The law of underground trespassing — when drilling sends contaminants into neighboring land. “I poison your milkshake. I poison it up!” [Breaking Energy]

* At least a couple readers have had a bad exam experience already this term. Here’s how to deal with it. The advice is pretty good except for advising you to avoid alcohol. Alcohol is always the answer. [Law School Toolbox]

* It’s time to start making moves to improve your long-term quality of life. [Law and More]

* Kevin Underhill of Lowering the Bar has a new book about all the stupid laws on the books out there. It’s called The Emergency Sasquatch Ordinance. [Lowering the Bar]

* When you hear about the similarities between Obamacare and the Heritage Foundation plan from the old days, recognize you’re getting spun. [Lawyers, Guns & Money]

* Trying to balance out religious symbols in public spaces for the holidays is dumb. All you need is the Festivus pole. Lest you forget the story of Festivus, there’s a video embedded beyond the jump…. [PrawfsBlawg]

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Well la dee da! Future lawyers of America, welcome to the show. She’s not a lawyer yet, so don’t hate her; root for her to win this….

Drew Carey, host of The Price Is Right, upon learning that contestant Monique Boyce is a Georgetown law student (around 19:10 in the video). Congratulations to Monique on winning the Showcase Showdown!

Andrew Kravis, recent Columbia Law School grad and new millionaire.

Congratulations to Andrew Kravis. He graduated from Columbia Law School this past May, but he’s already earned enough money to pay off all his student loans.

And no, he doesn’t work at a hedge fund or private equity firm. He doesn’t even work in Biglaw. He’s a public interest lawyer, about to start a fellowship at Lambda Legal, the nation’s oldest and largest legal organization working for LGBT civil rights. He was honored upon graduating from CLS as one of two students “who have demonstrated outstanding achievement in the furtherance of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender rights.”

So how did this outstanding do-gooder also do so well? How did he earn enough money to pay off all his student loans, and then some — a cool $2.6 million, to be exact?

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It looks like this ‘real’ housewife needs to get a real lawyer.

* The debt “vultures” are still circling Argentina’s carcass, but later this month, the justices of the Supreme Court will convene to decide whether or not they’ll take up the country’s bond case. [DealBook / New York Times]

* Judge Robert Wilkins managed to sail through his D.C. Circuit confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee with great ease, but let’s see what happens when he gets to the full Senate. [Blog of Legal Times]

* An in-house attorney in Pennsylvania was suspended from the practice of law for six months because he attached a camera to his shoe to secretly film up women’s skirts. What a classy dude. [Legal Intelligencer (sub. req.)]

* Massive open online courses are trending in the world of higher education, and some law schools — e.g., Harvard and Northwestern — decided to get on the bandwagon while the getting’s good. [National Law Journal (sub. req.)]

* “I’m prepared to drop everything and go to law school,” says the man appealing his age discrimination suit against Baylor Law School because his GPA predates grade inflation. [Texas Lawyer (sub. req.)]

* The man who represented cast members of the Real Housewives of New Jersey was arrested for the unauthorized practice of law. We bet these “reality” TV stars wish they had a real lawyer. [Bergen Record]

TV Guide released its annual list of television salaries and, once again, the top spot belongs to Judge Judy.

Someone needs to resolve the nation’s disputes over dogs taking dumps in the neighbor’s lawn. We need her on that wall.

America’s most trusted jurist has the highest-rated show in syndication, so a hefty salary isn’t really surprising.

What is surprising is just how much Judge Judy blows away the competition in the salary market. A-List TV personalities on flagship network programs are begging for table scraps compared to her haul.

Meanwhile, another TV jurist has slipped off the highest paid list…

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* Chess match becomes eight-hour police standoff. Sure, that makes sense. [Lowering the Bar]

* A roundup of the worst courtroom jokes of all time. The decision to kick off Roe v. Wade with a sexist joke was so “meta.” [Salon]

* Order some fine wines from Barrister Winery, founded by two lawyers who bought a home wine-making kit and turned it into their business. [Barrister Winery]

* A Brooklyn ADA is not fired for calling hookers from his office phone. Charlie Hynes runs a tight ship over there. [Brooklyn Magazine]

* A new study suggests that smartphones may make you meeker. The flaw with the study is that someone with a desktop doesn’t walk away and “take the initiative” because they’re more gung ho, but because desktops are not as cool as sitting around and playing Temple Run on your smartphone. [The Careerist]

* Simon Lazarus, Senior Counsel at the Constitutional Accountability Center, says that libertarianism has taken over the Supreme Court. I won’t believe it until they hand down a ruling about returning to the gold standard. [The New Republic]

* Teresa and Joe from The Real Housewives of New Jersey “charged with conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, bank fraud, making false statements on loan applications and bankruptcy fraud in a 39-count indictment.” Teresa’s reaction to the news after the jump…

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Judge Judy makes partners look like paupers.

Don’t pee on her leg and tell her it’s raining (affiliate link). Instead, relieve yourself inside the powder room of Judge Judy’s former pied-à-terre.

Maybe it has a gold-plated urinal? If it doesn’t, it should. Isn’t $8.5 million for two bedrooms and two-and-a-half bathrooms a bit steep?

Also steep: the $17,411 a month in common charges. That’s right, common charges, maintenance — not the mortgage, not the real estate taxes.

But the Honorable Judith Sheindlin, better known as “Judge Judy,” can afford it. How much does she make a year? And just how fabulous is this judicial diva’s former courtroom in the sky?

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The most tragically stupid decision was greenlighting a reality show about lawyers. No one cares about watching real-life lawyering. That’s why Nancy Grace exists — to boil salacious cases down to sound bites so viewers don’t have to watch real lawyers.

But almost as stupid was greenlighting a show about a district attorney on the eve of an election and not expecting to run afoul of campaign finance laws.

Imagine running against an incumbent armed with a glossy, major network reality show constantly hyping his effectiveness in office. In the context of a district attorney election, imagine having to run against Adam Schiff after everyone watched a Law & Order marathon.

If that seems unfair, one challenger agrees with you…

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If you’re an avid watcher of reality television and you’re a fan of Gordon “F**king” Ramsay’s charm, then you probably saw the episode of Kitchen Nightmares that featured Amy’s Baking Company. You see, their food and service didn’t suck; all the Yelpers who gave them horrible reviews were liars. If you’re not familiar with what happened, Chef Ramsay walked out on owners Amy and Samy Bouzaglo — who were seen pilfering servers’ tips, physically fighting with and threatening customers, and acting in an otherwise delusional way — because they were “incapable of listening.”

But what happened after the show aired is every rabid social media addict’s dream: when they received an even greater amount of negative reviews on Yelp and Reddit, the Bouzaglos took to their Facebook page to settle the score as politely and as delicately as they could manage See e.g., “PISS OFF ALL OF YOU. F**K REDDITS, F**K YELP AND F**K ALL OF YOU.” They really are lovely people.

Apparently the couple behind the self-immolating restaurant were planning to host a news conference today to speak about their experience on the show and its aftermath (and to pimp their bistro’s reopening). More than 1,500 people tried to snag a reservation to watch the expected insanity unfold.

Enter the lawyers at Davis Wright Tremaine to wag their fingers in Mutombo-esque fashion with threats of liquidated damages…

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