Holidays and Seasons

The field of contenders in our fourth annual law firm holiday card contest was quite impressive. We received numerous nominations, and we thank everyone who participated. It took many hours to review the plethora of submissions.

Like last year, apparently reading comprehension isn’t a skill that many lawyers possess, as a few of you declined to follow rule #3 of our contest, limiting the entries to “cards that are unusually clever, funny, or cool…. cards with some attitude, with that extra je ne sais quoi.” But because it’s the holiday season, we won’t rag on you too much. Even if you can’t follow simple instructions, you’re still great.

But some of you were greater than others. Let’s look at this year’s finalists….

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Congrats to Judge Edith Jones, one of my favorite judicial divas, for making the list of best benchslaps.

* Professor Josh Blackman has a Christmas gift for you: “The 8 Best Benchslaps of 2012.” See if you can guess who wins the award for lifetime achievement. [Josh Blackman's Blog]

* Speaking of unorthodox law school classes, how would you like to take a course on “Understanding Obama”? [Althouse]

* And speaking of the Instagram controversy, what might happen if the intellectual property issues wind up in the courts? [Associate's Mind]

* The deadline for our holiday card competition has passed; our write-up of the finalists will appear shortly. While you wait, check out this cute non-electronic law firm holiday card. [Ross Fishman]

* Time is running out! We’d love your votes in the ABA Journal’s Blawg 100 (under “News/Analysis”). [ABA Journal]

If you are not a fan of Westboro Baptist Church, check out Anonymous’s declaration of cyber-war against them….

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With 2013 approaching, people will begin to start to think about what potential changes they may make for their New Year’s Resolution. Now, I personally am not a big fan of New Year’s Resolutions because I don’t understand the point of wanting to better yourself only once a year, simply because the earth has made a full rotation around the sun. We’re probably going to die on Friday anyway because of that Mayan garbage, so what’s the point? But for the sake of quality journalism, I’ll ignore that for the moment to give out-of-work law graduates a couple of ideas for their own resolutions.

First, there are some things that you should consider before taking on any resolution. Don’t pick something that’s too big for one person to conceivably achieve — like Tannebaum said, aim low, and strive for mediocrity. Also, don’t pick something that requires you to completely change yourself overnight. While it’s very admirable, doing so will likely result in you dropping the resolution and getting back to life as normal in February. A diet that lasts for only a month isn’t very effective, people.

For that same reason, whatever change you do choose, make sure that it’s something that you’re actually interested in doing. In other words, do a little research and realize what you’re getting yourself into. Thinking about it, maybe I should have taken my own advice and did a little more research before attending the “unaccredited law school” the commenters keep referring to. And by the way, I went to an accredited cesspool, thank you very much….

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Tim Scott, today’s reminder that I could have my own television show in a snap if I just turned ‘black Republican.’

* We’re getting the first black Senator from the Confederacy since Reconstruction, and it’s going to be Tim Scott. That’s kind of like having Clarence Thomas replace Thurgood Marshall. [The Caucus / New York Times]

* A Newtown gun group has a beef with Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms. A beef whose stupidity shouldn’t need to be highlighted by tragic deaths. [Washington Briefs]

* I’m not sure how mandatory gun insurance helps anything. [Breaking Views]

* Since God stubbornly refuses to use his omnipresent powers to stop bullets, I’d rather use a sensible legal framework to protect my child, not faith in things unseen. [Slate]

* One thing that would keep us all safer would be to just keep guns out of the hands of white males. (I’m kidding, of course. I’m a liberal and I don’t believe in racial profiling.) [Salon]

* The deadline for the Above the Law Holiday Card contest is tonight. Send us your holiday cheer NOW, or you’ll be so freaking sorry. [Above the Law]

* We’ve got a real, pro-gavel court. [Onion]

I cannot just write a post today without expressing that the depths of my heart go out to the parents, grandparents, uncles, aunts, brothers, and sisters who sent their little one to school Friday and are now preparing funerals. As the father of two girls, I, well, you know. I just cannot imagine.

On to less important things.

It’s already starting. The lists of the 10 things not to do in 2013, 20 things to do in 2013, seven ways to be happier, five things Google will do to kill your practice, what the future holds for the future, how every lawyer in the world will be loving MySpace again in 2013, and on and on and on. None of these people will tell you that they have no idea what they are talking about. They only live to tell you at the end of the year that they were right about one of their many silly predictions, the making of which has brought them nothing (e.g., “More lawyers are using (insert shiny toy here) and this I predicted, praise me.”).

I have no such list — no to dos or do not dos. No predictions. My only prediction is that your life probably won’t change much. I say set mediocre goals. Do not try to accomplish anything extravagant. You’ll just be disappointed.

So I’m just going to tell you what I’m doing in 2013. You can do or not do these things, I don’t care. Really, I don’t….

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Of all the ways to say ‘I love you’ this is the most boring.

I hate diamonds. Besides oil, no natural resource is responsible for as much suffering. Wars are fought over diamonds, totalitarian regimes are propped up with diamond money. It all happens because of anachronistic cultural traditions that tell us women should be dressed and adorned like dolls.

Today, western women buy into the convention — because, well, that’s what happens when an entire people is hobbled by generations of unequal treatment — but do not forget that giving engagement diamonds to women is a holdover from a time when a man would pay to buy off the bride from her father. A holdover that has been amped up by the modern diamond industry. It’d be like if every time a white employer hired a black person, they got to strip him down and check his teeth… you know, for old times’ sake. “Here’s your price, now cook me something and be quick about it so I don’t have to beat you” — is what every woman should hear when she receives a shiny bauble for her ring finger.

Of course, my wife wears a diamond engagement ring, because I’m not a freaking hero. In this ridiculous world, even if the woman says “I’m not really into that diamond stuff,” you can’t really be sure and you don’t want to insult her or her family by proposing with a shared New York Times subscription (that made more sense back in the 90s, trust me). Luckily, my wife and I have been able to resist the nearly constant overtures from the diamond industry ever since. Even though every season the television tries to tell us that I just don’t love her very much unless I’m committing 25 percent of my yearly income in a constant shower of stones.

To call the diamond industry “evil” is no overstatement, as reflected in a new lawsuit….

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Ed. note: This is the second installment in a new series of monthly posts, brought to you by Corporette’s Kat Griffin, which will deal with topical business and lifestyle issues that present themselves in the world of Biglaw. Send your ideas for future columns to us by clicking here.

Feeling like Santa Claus yet? If not, it’s time to dust off your best red velvet suit and get in the mood — because it’s time to give gifts to the people you work with. Hooray, said no one ever. Relax, it isn’t that hard….

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Ah, finals period, that wonderful time when all law students are crushed under pressure, and some of them turn into diamonds. Others just crumble. And still others take the pressure and sadness and turn it into a brilliant fountain of creativity.

Well, that doesn’t happen very often. But when it does, it’s pretty fun. A law student turned a case brief into a Night Before Christmas poem. It’s funny. I mean, it’s borderline insane to do this with a brief, but it’s pretty funny. Let’s hope our author backs away from the keyboard slowly…

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The holiday season is supposed to be full of cheer and happiness, but as an adult, it’s usually full of one thing, and one thing only: stress. Making matters worse is the fact that shopping for those you love can be a bit of a challenge. It’s always hard to tell what someone really needs or will have the opportunity to fully enjoy.

So, I have decided to dedicate this week’s column to giving a few gift ideas for the unemployed or severely underemployed law school graduate in your life. These individuals are likely depressed and highly anxious, so the right gift could act as a sedative — and actually back some of them off the ledge.

The following is by no means a comprehensive list, but it’s a good start….

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It’s the most wonderful time of the year. The season of law firm holiday parties, for starters. And, better yet, bonuses. This year, Santa Cravath stuffed stockings with a goodly amount of cash.

But the parties and paychecks pale in comparison to what’s about to get underway: Above the Law’s fourth annual holiday card contest!

Last year, Haynes and Boone, a frequent finalist in the contest, took home top honors. Will they repeat in 2012, will a prior winner reemerge, or will a totally fresh face grab the Christmas card crown?

Read on — and read carefully, counselors — for the official contest rules….

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