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Keith Lee

Ed. note: Please welcome Keith Lee of Associate’s Mind, our newest columnist covering the world of small law firms.

Since Brian Tannebaum got too busy and important to keep feeding the trolls writing columns here, and Above the Law needed someone else to write a column about small law firms, I got asked last tapped for the job. Sure, Carolyn Elefant is writing a small-firm column as well, but Carolyn is much too nice and experienced, and knows what she’s talking about from years of practice. No way the typical ATL reader is going to listen to her. Far better to listen to me blather on about what it’s like to practice in a small-firm setting.

I practice law in Birmingham, Alabama. That’s deep in red state, flyover country, for you folks on the coasts. Yes, people and businesses actually have needs for lawyers in flyover country too. Next thing you know we’ll manage to get indoor plumbing.

I graduated from law school in 2010, right into the quagmire of the worst legal employment environment ever, but still managed to get a job. I was there for a year before I was downsized, cast off, s**t-canned. I ended up partnering up with two lawyers I went to law school with. We started off with three lawyers, no clients, crammed into a spartan 350-square-foot office. Two years later, there’s still just the three of us, but we’ve moved into an 1800-square-foot office and have steady, reliable business….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Growing Pains: Succeeding In The World Of Small Firm Practice”

The holiday season is upon us, and we hope that we’ll be the first ones on your list when you schedule your party destination plans. Just in case the giant ad bar at the top of the site wasn’t a good enough reminder about the Above the Law holiday party, I’m here to give you all of the details again.

This year, our sponsors are almost as prestigious and superior as our readers: Prestige Legal Search and Superior Discovery. Here are all of the details that you need to know:

Thursday, December 5, 2013
7:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m. at Dewey’s Flatiron in New York, New York
OPEN BAR FOR ALL THREE HOURS

You’ll get to meet all of the Above the Law editors, some of our finest columnists, and sample each of our specialty drinks. Alcohol is a great social lubricant, and we know that all of our guests will be especially well-lubed (which is almost definitely what she said).

Dewey think you’re going to have a blast at our holiday party? Totally! You know you want to come. RSVP below to join in all the fun:

It’s been an amazing year here at Above the Law. We have more readers than ever before. We have more straight white males writing for us than ever before. We’ve received more direct death threats from law deans and law professors than ever before (maybe that’s just me). And it’s all thanks to you, our loyal readers who are looking at this post on Facebook and thinking “I don’t want to “like” this and let my friends know I actually read this website.”

Let’s have a party. We’ve got money, non-denominational yuletide cheer, and an open bar. We got sponsors: Prestige Legal Search and Superior Discovery, which means we’re literally having a PRESTIGE holiday party that will be SUPERIOR to all others.

Here are the pertinent details:

Thursday, Dec 5th
7:00 p.m. -10:00 p.m. at Dewey’s Flatiron in New York, NY
OPEN BAR for ALL THREE HOURS

Do I really have to sell this more? We’ve got the entire mezzanine section of Dewey’s Flatiron. We’ll be doing specialty drinks again for each editor. And everybody’s invited… except you. You know who you are. Don’t you dare come.


On Wednesday, the ATL editorial team went down to D.C. to host a night of bar trivia for law students with the help of our friends at Kaplan Bar Review. Well, as noted in the comments, the first order of business for ATL was rolling into town, ending the government shutdown, then hosting bar trivia. How did we end the shutdown? Let’s just say a bunch of attorney House members will not be having their embarrassing stories profiled on ATL in exchange for their cooperation.

In any event, if you didn’t follow along on the live blog, we decided to reproduce the entire round here to give you a chance to play along at home.

Put on your thinking caps!

And if you want to duplicate the entire bar trivia experience, put on your drinking caps….

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I think we learned a lot from the last ATL/Kaplan Liveblog during the bar crawl in NYC. But instead of applying those lessons (many of them involve pictures of pretty women in various states of undress), I’m going to kind of keep doing what I do: provide you with a drunk eye view of the world filtered through my curious psychology.

Don’t worry, I’m not going to be the only one liveblogging. And I expect this one to be a bit more, well “lively” than the last one since I won’t be dodging through traffic. But remember, a liveblog is only as good as you make it, your comments are welcomed and appreciated (except for yours, yeah, you know who you are).

Let’s do this. Click below to join in on ATL’s trip to Chocolate City…

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Discipline.

It’s one of the things that separates professionals, who exhibit the essence of a professional, from those who are in a profession, but have the reputation of “being all over the place.” This can be the result of having a practice where organization takes a back seat to being busy, or having a life where there’s just too much going on – too many cases, as well as too many committees, too many networking events, too much going on at home – no ability to cut out the things that need to be cut.

There is that phrase that “it doesn’t matter what happens to you, but how you react.” In other words, life either happens to you, or you control it to the best of your ability. As you go through life, especially as a lawyer, saying “yes” becomes routine. “Yes” I’ll take that case pro bono, “yes” I’ll help organize that CLE, “yes” I’ll serve in a leadership position, “yes” I’ll coach Little League. There are only so many hours in a day, yet we as lawyers are routinely finding ourselves overcommitted to both professional and community endeavors. We’ll say “no” next time, or resign from that committee in a few months….

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Do you remember how people used to regard blackouts as an excuse to have a party? You’d eat all the ice cream in your freezer and invite friends over to play Monopoly by candlelight and maybe have sex because what the hell else can you do for entertainment? This doesn’t happen as much as it used to because now “blackouts” are usually accompanied by “Global Warming fueled mega-disasters.” It’s hard to party when the power failure is caused by an angry God as opposed to an incompetent public power company employee.

The government shutdown isn’t exactly like a blackout, but it’s certainly been caused by totally incompetent public employees. That’s as good an excuse for any to have a party in D.C.

In New York, Kaplan Bar Review sponsored a law-school bar crawl. In D.C., we’re going to do something a little bit different, probably because the thought of our readers crawling around black D.C. scares everybody but me. We know how much law students like taking tests, so on October 16th, ATL and Kaplan will be hosting a trivia night…

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Join us below for the liveblog of the ATL/Kaplan Bar Crawl Review. We’re visiting several different drinking establishments near a number of New York City law schools.

It should be fun. Or a train wreck. A fun train wreck….

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Just a friendly reminder that this is happening tomorrow. Manhattan law schools, bars, good times. If you don’t know, you better ask somebody.

I’ve been told that, for liability reasons, I’m not actually allowed to “drive” the party bus, but that’s probably for the best as I’ll be showing up after playing about ten hours straight of Grand Theft Auto V.

Here’s the schedule again…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Last Great ATL/Kaplan Bar Crawl Review Reminder”

I posted this on Friday, and then I remembered that law students don’t wake up on Fridays, so I wanted to mention again that the Above the Law Bar Review Crawl (sponsored by Kaplan) now has a sign up sheet, a schedule, and a party bus.

Below you can see our plans, and one person who signs up will be picked at random (on Thursday morning I assume) to join us as we bus around the city. Right now, I’m actually just interested in your music suggestions for the party bus playlist…

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