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When I was a kid, I thought only white people had to worry about being thirty-something.

I’m back. I got sick, again, with pretty much the same kind of acute sinus infection as I had the last time. It’s the second time in six months some stupid illness has completely floored me by making it hard to see and think — I definitely need at least one of those faculties to do my job.

Last time, when I got back, I was just happy to be alive and looking for somebody to blame. This time, I’m depressed. It’s probably because I was sitting the doctor’s office, and I was whining and in incredible pain and petulantly demanding answers as to why I’m having all these health problems and the guy says to me: “Well, you are getting old.”

Sigh.

I’m not the only one. And it occurs to me that, once again, I’m in much better shape for this new phase of consequences than I would be if I was still at a Biglaw firm. Because while I need to refine and hone my skills in my mid and late thirties, associates at top law firms need to gun it. They need to take their suddenly aging bodies and turn every morsel of ATP into billable hours if they want to make partner. And they need to do it now….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “The Lament of a Thirty-Something”

Cocaine is a hell of a drug.

Ed. note: Due to the Presidents’ Day holiday, we will be on a reduced publication schedule today. We will still be publishing, but less frequently than usual.

* “Based on history, it’s tough to make the case that there should be mandatory protection [for Supreme Court justices].” That may be so, but the fact that Justice Stephen Breyer was robbed by machete point should at least make the case for SCOTUS sword fighting lessons. [New York Times]

* Speaking of the wealthy and well-traveled Justice Breyer, a suspect has been identified in his robbery. [Associated Press]

* And speaking of the Supreme Court, this week the justices will hear arguments over the constitutionality of the Stolen Valor Act, which criminalizes lies about military service. Unfortunately, this means you will all have to wait to hear about the time Lat and I fought through 25 Taliban sharpshooters with only our pocket knives in order to save an entire orphanage from certain annihilation. [Fox News]

* Two female students at the University of Oregon School of Law accused a male student of drugging and raping them. How did the student body respond? A listserv flame war, of course. [Portland Oregonian]

* Attorneys representing survivors in the Costa Concordia crash claim that traces of cocaine were found in the hair of the ship’s captain. I’m not sure how, but this needs to be the basis for a Head and Shoulders commercial. [Philadelphia Inquirer]

* Heads are rolling over at ESPN after the network made several unfortunate references to a “chink in the armor” of New York Knicks phenom Jeremy Lin. Yes, we get it. Everyone’s a little bit racist. [ESPN via Deadspin]

* Judge Roger J. Miner (2d Cir.), RIP. [New York Law Journal]

As you might have noticed, Above the Law has gotten a little face-lift. We’ve been expanding our offerings over the past couple of months. We’ve added new full-time writers, and started new columns. With those changes, we’ve been bringing in a record number of readers who are interested in our diverse content. It was time to put the site under the knife, and get some Botox and a new smile up in here.

The new format will allow us to feature a main story we think most of you will want to see, while still scrolling through the real time news and opinions just to the right. We think this format will give our readers an overview of the content that is both relevant and new with just a quick glance.

Of course, if you like to get Above the Law just like you always have, you still can. If you like scrolling through ATL… just scroll down a little.

The changes on the website aren’t the only things that are happening here at Above the Law. With the proliferation of smart phones and tablets in the legal community, there are now more ways than ever to access ATL content beyond our website on your desktop browser. All ATL stories are available on the Flipboard, Google Currents, and Pulse readers, and we will be launching on more mobile readers shortly. If you have not yet accessed Above the Law through any of these readers, we encourage you to download the readers in the Apple App Store or Android Marketplace to access mobile ATL content.

Starting today, we will be changing our feeds so that you will receive an overview of each Above the Law story via the mobile readers listed above, or any RSS reader. You will then be able to link to the full story on AbovetheLaw.com, where you can interact with other readers through our comments, and access all of our current and archived articles for free. With so many options to view ATL content, we want to make sure you have access to breaking news and insights throughout the day in the way that suits you best; in fact, if you call right now, we’ll throw in a free set of steak knives.

Just kidding. The knives only come out in the comments. We of course want you to continue to come to AbovetheLaw.com directly to participate in the community and give us feedback on the stories that interest you.

Good times. We want to thank all of our readers for making 2011 the most successful year for Above the Law ever. We’ll try to do even better in 2012.


I recently participated in a Room for Debate forum for the New York Times on the controversial subject of unpaid internships. Critics of these positions argue that such exploitative arrangements contribute to “constricted social and professional mobility, growing inequality, and an economy whose top tier is becoming less and less diverse” (in the words of Ross Perlin, author of Intern Nation: How to Earn Nothing and Learn Little in the Brave New Economy).

In my contribution, I offer a measured defense of unpaid internships — of the non-abusive variety, in which the intern receives a valuable learning experience (and doesn’t just do scut work) — and also a defense of the status quo (under which most unpaid internships are technically illegal, but enforcement isn’t super-vigorous). You can read my NYT piece here (or on page 9 of yesterday’s Sunday Review section, if you’re a print person). You can also read a piece by Camille Olson, a labor and employment partner at Seyfarth Shaw, over here (focusing on the legal aspects of unpaid internships, and offering general guidelines to companies considering them).

Speaking of interns, Above the Law is looking for one — a paid intern, for the record. Details appear below, along with general information about our hiring needs, and our policy on guest posts or outside contributions….

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(And: ATL seeks a paid intern.)

Sorry folks, no relation.

Hi everybody! I’m Chris Danzig. You might have seen me around Above The Law over the past year, covering technology and West Coast legal news. As of today, I’m excited to be the site’s newest full-time editor, joining David Lat, Elie Mystal, and Staci Zaretsky.

I’m a journalist by trade, not a lawyer. I’ve spent too much time writing about the law — and the stressful situations that can arise within the legal profession, which sometimes drive lawyers to drink — to ever want to practice.

I went to journalism school at Northwestern University. I helped investigate a wrongful conviction case with the Medill Innocence Project while I was in school. After graduation, I was the assistant editor at InsideCounsel magazine in Chicago, where I covered legal technology.

I left that job about two years ago, and have worked as a full-time freelance reporter since then. I’ve written for a variety of publications, covering health care, music, social justice, and a bunch of other stuff. I live in the San Francisco Bay Area, where I was born and raised.

Keep reading for more personal trivia about yours truly (and to see the photo of myself that Lat asked me to provide)….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Mother, Tell Your Children Not To Read My Stories: Meet Team ATL’s Newest Member”

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Yesterday, January 15, was the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the great American civil rights leader and Nobel laureate. As noted on the Nobel website, Dr. King was just 35 years old at the time he was honored, making him the youngest man to have received the Nobel Peace Prize. Please take some time today to reflect on Dr. King and his legacy.

Hopefully you can engage in this reflection outside of the office. We’re guessing (and hoping) that most of you have the day off from work. Here at Above the Law, we will be publishing, although on a reduced schedule. So do check in with us from time to time (or scroll back through the archives and look at stories you might have missed from last week).

If you’re looking for something to do, you can use today for public service. Look up service projects in your area at MLKDay.gov. Happy Martin Luther King Jr. Day!

Above the Law’s 2011 Lawyer of the Year contest is now over. Thanks to everyone who nominated a lawyer; thanks to our finalists, for being such accomplished and interesting individuals; and thanks to all the voters, who picked our victor.

Here are ATL’s past Lawyers of the Year:

For 2011, who will join their distinguished ranks? Let’s find out….

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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….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “ATL’s 2011 Lawyer of the Year: The Finalists!”

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….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “ATL’s 2011 Lawyer of the Year: Nominations Needed”

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