2011 Year in Review

It’s hard to believe that another year has passed, but here we are. It’s December 31st, New Year’s Eve. The weather is turning cold, the Republican presidential contest is heating up, and it’s time to review this year’s biggest stories on Above the Law.

Consistent with past practice, we will refrain from offering our subjective judgments on the most important stories of the year. Instead, just as we did back in 2010 and 2009, we’ll identify the ten biggest stories of the past year as decided by you, our readers. With the help of our friends at Google Analytics, we’ve compiled a list of our top ten posts for 2011, based on traffic.

In terms of overall topics, the most popular category page for the year was Law Schools, for the second year in a row. This shouldn’t come as a surprise, since the year was an eventful one for the legal academy. It would be fair to describe 2011 as an annus horribilis for the law school world, with various forces laying siege to the ivory tower. The attackers include not just unemployed lawyers turned scambloggers, but the mainstream media, led by David Segal of the New York Times; plaintiffs’ lawyers, who have already sued several law schools (and have announced plans to sue at least 15 more in 2012); and even a tenured law professor calling for reform (Paul Campos, currently in the lead for 2011 Lawyer of the Year).

The second most-popular category at ATL: Biglaw. Although we’ve expanded our small-firm and in-house coverage dramatically here at Above the Law, adding multiple columnists in each space, our coverage of large law firms still draws major traffic and drives discussions.

Now, on to the ten most popular individual posts on Above the Law in 2011….

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The year is quickly drawing to a close, but we have unfinished business to conduct here at Above the Law. We still have to crown our Lawyer of the Year for 2011.

Thank you to everyone who responded to our call for nominations. We’ve narrowed down the nominees to a field of twelve (although you’ll see only eleven options in the poll because one is a joint nomination). As in past years, the contenders run the gamut from distinguished to despicable.

And the nominees are….

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Paul Clement

* If defending unpopular clients is cool, consider Paul Clement Miles Davis. He’s the lead lawyer in three politically charged cases going up before SCOTUS in the new year. [LA Times]

* Joe Arpaio’s going to have a tough time racially profiling Hispanics in 2012. What’s a man to do without verification powers and the ability to detain people on suspicion alone? [WaPo]

* A summary of the NLJ’s 2011 year in review round-up: all of this was a preview of what’s to come in 2012. And what’s to come? Same sh*t, different docket number. [National Law Journal]

* C&F fail: the California Supreme Court is busy worrying about Stephen Glass, a guy who took his “creative writing” efforts a bit too far. [San Francisco Chronicle]

* The Hollywood actress suing IMDb for revealing her age has to reveal much more thanks to this ruling. She’s got two weeks to amend her complaint to include her name. [The Wrap]

* “Oh my God, the law school has gone crazy.” Don’t blame the messenger, but UVA Law’s headlines on ATL are totally self-inflicted. Here’s Elie’s take on the collar-poppin’ action. [C-VILLE]

* Larry Ribstein, partnership law guru, business law blogger, and Associate Dean for Research at the University of Illinois College Law, RIP. [Truth on the Market]

* Robert Morvillo, New York trial lawyer and white-collar defense pioneer, RIP. [WSJ Law Blog]

* John Lawrence, plaintiff in the landmark LGBT rights case of Lawrence v. Texas, RIP. [NY Times]


With just two weeks left in the year 2011, we thought that now would be a good time to ask you, our loyal readers, to submit your nominations for Above the Law’s fifth annual LAWYER OF THE YEAR competition.

We’ll be running the show just like we’ve done it in the past: you submit your nominees (in the comments to this post), we’ll review them and pick a slate of finalists, and then you’ll vote on them in a reader poll.

The winner will be bestowed with the glorious, honorific title of ATL’s Lawyer of the Year for 2011.

So, what are the criteria for nominations? We’ll break it down for you….

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