* The NSA protests that its spying on foreign leaders was entirely legal. In defense of the NSA, this latest uproar seems misplaced. Warrantless spying on Americans is illegal, but spying on foreign governments is kind of the whole point of the NSA. [Associated Press]
* Should a plagiarizing journalist be allowed to join the ranks of licensed attorneys? Con: His crime suggests low moral character. Pro: He’s going to be a master of boilerplate. [Juice, Justice & Corgis]
* Jones Day is representing pro bono a number of Catholic institutions ticked off that they might have to buy insurance that their workers might, at some point, maybe use to buy birth control pills. It’s a tremendous intrusion upon religious liberty that Catholic institutions routinely did before they decided to make a political spectacle out of it. [National Law Journal]
* A speech to Harvard Law alums about the slow death of free speech at Harvard. By “slow death of free speech” the speaker details how a private, non-governmental institution decided not to tolerate jackassery, but whatever. [Minding the Campus via The Volokh Conspiracy]
* It’s still several months until the ATL Law Revue competition. So to keep you entertained until then, check out this parody of Lorde’s Royals performed by some law students. It looks like it’s the same geniuses from Auckland Law School behind the Blurred Lines parody. Do the Kiwis have time to do actual law school stuff? Video embedded after the jump… [Legal Cheek]
Before the media fixated on Edward Snowden’s crazy overseas adventures, there was a story about how the NSA created a series of hyper-aggressive surveillance programs. The outrage over private contractors scanning everyone’s metadata fell away so quickly you’d think a powerful clandestine organization masterminded a propaganda effort to move all the attention to the tangential stories of how the Moscow airport TGI Friday’s is lame and whether Snowden’s abandoned girlfriend is hot or not.
Every year we have a law revue video contest, in which there are winners, there are losers, and then there are sore losers. This year, we saw some pretty wild accusations being tossed around (including “idea plagiarism,” which is apparently a thing in the minds of industrious law students).
No matter how hard our finalists tried to game the system with their various campaigns, one of them surpassed all the rest. Congratulations go out to the students at West Virginia University College of Law, the winners of our Fifth Annual Law Revue Video Contest.
You’ve seen the worst of the worst, and now it’s time to feast your eyes upon the best of the best. We thought that the 2013 law revue season was going to be a dud, but these schools totally brought it.
And by “it,” we mean they were able to carry a tune, had excellent comedic timing, and provided us with some pretty drool-worthy student bodies. Our finalists’ videos were a joy to watch when compared to many of the other submissions, some of which were absolutely cringe-worthy.
This year, your reviewers will be David Lat, Elie Mystal, and Staci Zaretsky. But we issue only advisory opinions; you hold all the power in this competition. Do the right thing: vote early, and vote often (unless you’re a bot).
Who will follow the winners of years past into the annals of Law Revue history? It’s up to you….
As law students gear up for finals, it’s finally time for us to grade the videos we received for our Fifth Annual Law Revue Video Contest.
As usual, we’ll start with the dishonorable mentions. We like setting the bar low so that when you see our finalists later this week, you can see how far they rose above the rest. Our dishonorable mentions weren’t necessarily the worst videos that were submitted; instead, they were bad in a somewhat interesting and cringe-worthy way. Their badness lent itself to discussion and analysis.
Still, we want to thank everybody who took the time to produce and submit a video. Even the bad ones were good for the ATL editorial team and the community. The trauma brings us closer together….
* Lat’s turning his serialized web fiction into a real live book, scheduled for publication in 2014. Congrats, Lat! [Supreme Ambitions]
* REMINDER: If you’re looking to enter the annual ATL Law Revue Video Contest, send us that submission by THURSDAY, APRIL 18, at 5:00 PM (Eastern time). That’s not a soft, law school deadline; it’s a hard, law firm deadline. [Above the Law]
* A reminder that yesterday’s events may be more aptly compared to the Atlanta Olympics bombing than 9/11, at least with regard to the targeting of a public event, regardless of the media’s inclinations. [Balloon-Juice]
* Employees around the country are wildly abusing Twitter’s new app, Vine, exposing themselves to retribution and disclosing confidential information. And I’m highly looking forward to the first “Biglaw associate abuses Vine” tip showing up in my inbox. [Connecticut Employment Law Blog]
* Bear Lawyer comments on the Bitcoin debacle. [Bear Lawyer]
* Congratulations to NYU Law for winning its 5th Straight Deans’ Cup over Columbia on a last second play. I’ve been waiting for video of this ever since I learned that the game ended on a buzzer beating three-pointer when an unknown NYU student informed me of it on the subway platform that night. Well, now we have our video and it is highlight worthy….
Spring is in the air this week, and you know what that means: we’re now seeking submissions for our annual law revue video contest. Last year, 23 law schools submitted 31 videos for the contest. Some of them were funny, some of them were “meh,” and some of them made us want to close our heads inside of our laptops. You do NOT want to be in the last category.
But if you think you can carry a tune or tell a joke, we ask that you send us your very best law revue videos so that we — and the Above the Law audience — may pass judgment upon them. Get out the soothing lotion now, folks, because you might need it after we’re done with you.
Those responsible for the winning video will get Above the Law t-shirts and the pleasure of knowing they’re the envy of all their law school brethren. As for the losers, well… how embarrassing for you.
Before you start sending us your videos (and some of you have already tried), we’ve got some rules. As future members of the legal profession, you should be able to follow the rules….
It’s the last day of December, so it’s a good time to look back on the year that was. We’ll do what we’ve done for the past three years (wrap-up posts from 2009, 2010, and 2011 can be found here, here, and here) and identify the ten biggest stories of the past year as decided by you, our readers. With the help of Google Analytics, we’ve compiled a list of our top ten posts for 2012, based on traffic (as represented by pageviews).
By the way, for the third year in a row, the most popular category page on Above the Law was Law Schools. People have now been intensely focused on the declining value proposition of going to law school for as long as it takes to earn a Juris Doctor degree. Isn’t it time that we graduate from the current educational model?
The second and third most-popular categories on ATL in 2012 were Biglaw and Bonuses. Although this year brought us the largest law firm failure ever, nearly all other firms indiscriminately doled out offers to summer associates, and bonus season looked better for the first time in years. While the legal profession is still in transition, things are certainly looking up, and through the highs and the lows, we’ve been there to cover it all.
So what were the ten most popular individual posts at Above the Law in 2012? Let’s find out….
Sometimes, to win, you have to hurt some feelings. You have to step on some toes. You have to sell yourself to get what you want.
The students of Columbia Law School know the truth of this. And that is why today, they stand as winners in our Fourth Annual Law Revue Video Contest. Their raunchy (and I mean raunchy, watch it again below) video bested George Washington’s Palsgraf effort.
But not without a lot of intrigue. We’ve seen some hard campaigning before in these contests, but Columbia’s efforts went to the mattresses….
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The holiday season is upon us, and yet again, you have no idea what to get for the fickle lawyer in your life. We’re here to help. Even if your bonus check hasn’t arrived yet, any one of the gifts we’ve highlighted here could be a worthy substitute until your employer decides to make it rain.
We’ve got an eclectic selection for you to choose from, so settle in by that stack of documents yet to be reviewed and dig in…
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