We thought about trying to curate a list of the most important legal stories of 2009. But then the National Law Journal upped the ante with the Biggest Stories of the Decade.
Rather than telling you what was most important, we’re enlisting Google Analytics to tell you what was most popular at Above The Law this year, based on pageviews and traffic. After AboveTheLaw.com itself, the most clicked ATL url was our Layoffs tag, reflecting one of the most important ongoing stories here this year.
Hopefully, that’s not the case in 2010.
So what were the most popular posts at ATL in 2009?
10. Now this is a cover letter: ‘Unemployed J.D. Candidate’ sent his resume and transcript to Bingham McCutchen, as well as a cover letter compiling the praise he has received from other top firms in their rejection letters. Points for creativity, but Bingham wasn’t impressed enough to hire him.
‘Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the Internetz,
Not many creatures were clicking, not even Biglaw cadets;
The BlackBerrys were silenced and set aside with care,
Because RIM crashed again and no emails were there.
Corporate lawyers were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of billable hours danced in their heads…
We expect next week to be a quiet one. Your Above the Law editors will still be around, checking tips and looking back at the big stories of 2009, but we’ll be publishing fewer posts per day.
If you want a legal fix over the holidays, think about entering the Do I Have A Right? ATL Challenge. The tournament runs through January 8. Hint: If your score is below 10,000, you might want to play again. And parents, think about partnering with your child to enter the contest as it’s aimed at middle schoolers. You can find out now whether you need to start a law school tuition fund for them.
Greetings, Above the Law readers. Please accept our wishes for a very HAPPY THANKSGIVING!
We hope you aren’t spending much time in front of the computer today (or tomorrow, which is effectively a holiday too). But if you are — for some depressing reason, like work — feel free to bemoan your fate in the comments.
We will keep you company over the next two days. We won’t be writing as much as usual, but we will be publishing a few posts for those of you who happen to be around.
This year has been a tough one for the nation, as well as for many ATL readers. Despite the difficulties, please take time to reflect upon what you’re thankful for. Some possibilities: your job, if you still have it, even though you might not love it; your bonus / partnership draw, if you’re getting one, even if it’s smaller than last year; your health, even if it could be better; your family, even if you want to throttle them sometimes; and your friends. (These are just obvious starting points; feel free to list more blessings in the comments.)
As for your ATL editors, we are obviously thankful for you, our readers. Our audience is sizable, devoted, and growing: our 2009 traffic year-to-date is up by over 120 percent over last year (i.e., it has more than doubled).
Thank you for your site visits and pageviews, your comments (even the mean ones), and all the great tips you send us (often by email, but by many other methods as well). To the extent that this site is a useful source of information and/or entertainment, it’s because of you. So, thank you — and Happy Thanksgiving!
Yesterday’s Lawsuit of the Day — Jones v. Minkin, a $44 million lawsuit against yours truly, Above the Law publisher David Minkin, and Dead Horse Media (now known as Breaking Media) — has been voluntarily dismissed by the plaintiff, University of Miami law professor Donald Jones.
There was NO SETTLEMENT in this case. Above the Law has made no changes to our prior posts, and we have paid no money to Professor Jones. The case was dismissed by the plaintiff without anything from our side, except a letter from our lawyer.
UPDATE (3:35 PM): We have offered Professor Jones a guest post on Above the Law in which to provide his side of the story, about either the lawsuit or the underlying facts. We have offered to keep the comments on that post closed or open, depending on his preference. (And we would have done this in the first place, had he made such a request.)
Three years ago yesterday, on August 30, 2006, Above the Law was born. Read the letter from the editor that started it all. (If you find this site occasionally immature, cut us some slack; we’re three years old.)
Reaching the three-year mark is a notable milestone for a blog. According to Jim Beck and Mark Herrmann, over at Drug and Device Law:
Legal blogs are like small businesses: Half of ‘em fail in the first year, and 90 percent of ‘em fail in the next five.
But we’re still here. Our traffic (and revenue) continue to grow, knock on wood. And we have you — our readers, sources, advertisers, and friends — to thank. So, thank you.
If you’d like to send us birthday gifts — a reader sent Roxana a lovely Starbucks card the other day, and the rest of us are jealous — our snail mail address is 262 Mott Street, Suite 102A, New York, NY 10012. The third anniversary — or blogiversary, as the case may be — is the leather anniversary. So you can give Lat a leather business card holder, Kash a leather laptop case (or a leather fringe bikini), and Elie the rest of the cow.
(You can also send us news tips or juicy documents by snail mail. They’d be a nice change of pace from our usual hard-copy mail: handwritten letters from prisoners, alleging they were framed.)
In any event, thank you for joining our ATL community. We deeply appreciate your visits, tips, and continued support.
We’re running late to the airport, so we’re keeping it short and sweet. If you’re looking for an entertaining vacation memo, try this one or this one instead.
Your above-signed scribe — who has been writing more for these pages lately, as some of you have noticed — will be out of the office, from now until Tuesday, May 12. We’re heading off to the ancestral homeland, for the weddings of two cousins (not to each other; but those of you who have taken the New York bar know that this is acceptable in the Empire State).
Although internet access is plentiful in the Philippines, we’ve decided to go “off the grid” for this vacation. We won’t be checking email or voicemail. We won’t be on AIM or Gchat. We won’t be on Facebook or Twitter (but feel free to friend us or follow us, and we’ll accept the request or return the follow when we get back to NYC).
Please send all tips, questions, complaints, requests for comment moderation, and suggestions for Non-Sequiturs to email@example.com. The tips feed goes to both Elie and Kash, who will keep you enlightened and entertained over the next two weeks. You can also reach Elie by telephone: 212-334-1871, ext. 3. For advertising information, see here.
As the Above the Law community continues to grow, more people are posting absurd, inane, and arguably offensive comments. And more people are complaining about those comments — in the comments, as well by email and other means.
Here at ATL, we reserve the right to moderate comments as we see fit. We delete comments for reasons including (but not limited to) offensiveness, abusiveness, excessive profanity, irrelevance, or rank stupidity. Above the Law is a privately owned website; we have no obligation to provide our bandwidth to any particular user. Because we are not governmental actors, we are not subject to the equal-access rules of the First Amendment; when we moderate comments, it is not “censorship.”
But we also offer this recommendation to people who are offended by the comments: DON’T READ THEM. Toward that end, we want to make it easier for you to avoid the comments if you want to. Over the next 24 hours, we’ll be changing our site design so that comments will default to “hidden.” If you want to see the comments, you must affirmatively opt-in, by clicking a button to reveal them (either the “show them anyway” button within the post, or the “comments” button / counter on the front page).
Read more — and see for yourself how this policy will work — after the jump.
Today we celebrate the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the pioneering civil rights leader. If you’re not at work, we hope that you are enjoying the day off. (We are around, but will be posting less than usual.)
If you are at work, be proud. We’re pretty sure that equal opportunities to be productive cogs in the capitalist machine, regardless of race color or creed, were part of Dr. King’s dream.
If you are looking for something to do, we suggest that you treat today as an opportunity for public service. You can look up a service project in your area at MLKDay.gov or you can join the incoming president.
We’ve received some inquiries about the fate of our previously announced Law School Dean Hotties Contest. In case you’re wondering: No, you didn’t miss the nominees. We’ve been meaning to announce them for the longest time. It’s just that we’ve just been insanely busy, on the road a lot, and sleep-deprived. And putting together hottie nomination posts, with their many photos and testimonials, is quite time-consuming. (Yeah, we know, cry us a river.)
But we will announce the nominees soon. So check back later today or tomorrow, to find out the contenders for the title of America’s hottest law school dean.
In the course of reviewing the LSD hottie nominations, we noticed a striking resemblance between the young Howard Dean and one of your nominated hotties, Deputy Dean Jed Rubenfeld of Yale Law School. Check it out below….
Back when we practiced law, and we’d tell people what we did for a living, they’d have different reactions. Sometimes they’d say “Oh, really?”, in an impressed, you-must-make-six-figures sort of way. But sometimes their eyes would glaze over — and they’d excuse themselves to go refill their drinks.
Why? Because many people think that lawyers are boring. And sometimes it seems that the more lawyers people know, the more likely they are to think this.
It’s true that many areas of law — and yes, many lawyers — are painfully boring. But the legal profession can also be gossipy, wacky, frivolous, and fun. And this is where we come in. We are Above the Law, and we’re here to make the law entertaining — or get RSI tryin’.
Above the Law will be defined less by specific subjects within the law and more by tone or worldview (Weltanschauung, if you will; and you will, ’cause you’re pretentious). We’ll write about all things legal — law firms, judges, law schools, cases — as long as we have something mildly amusing, or at least obnoxious,* to say about them.
Blog ipsa loquitur. Here are some features you’ll find in these pages (and our extensive archives):
1. Legal Eagle Wedding Watch. We review the New York Times wedding announcements each week, pick out some couples with lawyers, and score them — on their résumés, families, balance, and beauty (if pictured). Then we calculate overall scores and declare a winner. FUN! (We’ve been at this for a few weeks now; click here and scroll down for the Wedding Watch archives.)
2. Lawyerly Lairs. Real estate and shelter porn for the J.D. set. We take you inside the lavish homes and resplendent offices of America’s top lawyers and judges. Don’t blame us if your keyboard ends up covered in drool. (Previously covered: Greta Van Susteren and John Coale’s New York digs.)
This is just the beginning. But we can’t do it all on our own; we need your help. Please send us juicy gossip, salacious rumors, and brilliant story ideas, by email (to tips AT abovethelaw DOT com).
We may reprint or write about what you send us, but we’ll keep you anonymous. If we’d like to attribute anything to you by name, we’ll obtain your consent. If you’d like to tell us something completely off the record, that’s fine too — just make that clear when you contact us.
Enough lawyerly caveats; billable time is a wastin’. How long will it take before somebody sues us? Let’s find out!**
* Back when we were in the third grade, a classmate’s parent — who was chaperoning us on a field trip — told us we were “obnoxious.” We should have known, right then and there, that we were destined for the blogosphere.
** This is a joke. We would never publish anything with knowledge of its falsity, or with reckless disregard as to its truth.
A college graduate without student loan debt is akin to reading a kind quote about Kim Kardashian in a tabloid—it’s rare.
In the past eight years, student loan debt has nearly tripled to a whopping $1.1 trillion, and in the past 10 years, the percentage of 25-year-olds with such debt has risen from 25% to 43%
It’s gotten so bad, in fact, that New York Fed economists warned last month that the burden of student debt could stilt consumer spending by twentysomethings, as well as further hamper the recovery of the housing market and economy.
To get a better idea of what massive student loan debt (we’re talking over $100,000 massive) looks like, we talked to an attorney who graduated with a large student loan debt. We also consulted LearnVest Planning Services CFP® Katie Brewer to see just how their repayment plans stack up.
S. Fischer, 36, Attorney Graduated: 2001
How Much I Borrowed: $100,000
What I Still Owe: $45,000
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Ed. note: The Asia Chronicles column is authored by Kinney Recruiting. Kinney has made more placements of U.S. associates, counsels and partners in Asia than any other recruiting firm in each of the past six years. You can reach them by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Deal flow has clearly picked recently up for most US associates, counsels and partners in Hong Kong/China and Singapore. We are on the phone with a lot of these folks on a daily basis, many of whom we have known for years. Further, the head of our Asia team, Evan Jowers, and Kinney’s founder and president, Robert Kinney, frequently meet in person with leading US partners in Asia to assess their needs and keep on top of the inside scoop at as many firms as possible. The need for legal recruiting help in Asia from experienced recruiters appears to be live and well. In March, Evan and Robert were in Beijing at such meetings, in April, Evan was in Hong Kong, and for half of June Evan will be in Shanghai and Hong Kong. Thus its pretty easy for us to tell when there has been an across-the-market pick up in capital markets and corporate work.
On an average day in Asia when Evan and Robert visit firms, they typically have 5 to 9 meetings a day, mostly with US partners in the market. The reason they have these meetings is not simply because Kinney makes a lot of US attorney placements in Asia and that a particular firm may have openings; instead these are just visits with friends. After years of working together as business partners, the folks at Kinney are actually these peoples’ friends. The firms Kinney work closely with in Asia (which is just about every law firm – call us if you want to know the one firm in the world we will never place anyone with again, ever, and why) look forward to the visits, or at least act like they do. After seven years in the market, many of the client partners are former associate candidates. Also, these US partners see Kinney as a very good source of market information as well, because they know how deep their contacts are in the market and how frequently they are speaking to counterparts at peer firms.
The traditional job application and interview process can be impersonal, and applicants often struggle to present themselves as more than just the sum of their GPAs, alma maters, and previous work history. ATL has partnered with ViewYou to help job seekers overcome this challenge. ViewYou NOW Profiles offer a unique way for job seekers to make a personal, memorable connection with prospective employers: introduction videos. These videos allow job candidates to display their personalities, interpersonal skills, and professional interests, creating an eDossier to brand themselves to potential employers all over the world. Check it out today!