March Madness

* While “Dewey remains a great firm with terrific lawyers” for the time being, check back in after five percent of the firm’s attorneys have been laid off. Then tell us how great and terrific things are, we dare you. [DealBook / New York Times]

* The University of St. Thomas School of Law really “take[s] data accuracy very seriously.” That’s why the employed at graduation rate the school reported to U.S. News was off by 47.7 percentage points, right? [National Law Journal]

* John Edwards has a judge’s permission to use Rielle Hunter’s lawyers at his campaign finance trial. Mmm, there’s nothing like getting some legal sloppy seconds from your former mistress. [Bloomberg]

* After two days of deliberations, jurors in the Dharun Ravi privacy trial still haven’t reached a verdict. Just think, if he had taken the plea, he wouldn’t be worrying as much about deportation right now. [New York Post]

* If Hemy Neuman’s delusions about Olivia Newton-John were about getting physical, instead of getting murderous, maybe he wouldn’t have been sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. [CNN]

* It’s the most wonderful time of the year: March Madness! Are NCAA bracket pools legal in your office? It depends. Either way, all I know is that I’ll be betting on Lehigh. Go Mountain Hawks! [Businessweek]

Get your brackets ready, March Madness is here! It’s the most wonderful time of the year, at least for those who enjoy illegally gambling with co-workers.

Every year, we here at Above the Law like to put together a little bracket of our own. In the past, we’ve asked you to vote for such things as the coolest law firm or the douchiest law school.

This year, we’ve come up with a question that you don’t hear a lot of people asking when they’re talking about pursing a career in law: Which law school is the most honest?

Don’t start checking you LST transparency index just yet. Sure, being honest to prospective or incoming students can be a factor in a law school’s reputation for honesty. But we want to look at this question in the broadest possible sense….

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At the start of this contest, Latham & Watkins was the reigning coolest law firm in the land. But the defending champions were bounced in the first round.

The votes have been tallied, and we have a new champion. The Coolest Law Firm in the land, according to you, the readers of Above the Law, is Davis Polk. DPW crushed Sullivan & Cromwell in the final vote. It was a good run for S&C, but I guess people who aren’t attractive enough to work at Davis Polk want what they can’t have. It’s kind of like high school.

Actually, it’s a pretty big week for DPW. Not only did they win the tournament, the firm is now under new management!

Who is Davis Polk’s new leader?

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It is time for the finals in Above the Law’s Coolest Law Firm Contest.

While the real NCAA men’s basketball tournament has devolved into a three-point shooting exhibition, the ATL bracket pits an irresistible force against an immovable object: Davis Polk versus Sullivan & Cromwell, or hot versus rich.

Check out the bracket below and start mulling things over. One of these firms will be named the “coolest” in all the land…

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There haven’t been any VCU-style upsets in our Coolest Law Firm Bracket. That’s probably because lawyers don’t like upsets. Lawyers get paid to make sure no “surprises” happen; lawyers like things to proceed in a predictable and organized fashion. Sure, Davis Polk (ranked #5 by Vault) topped Skadden (ranked #4) in the Elite Eight. But the real surprise there is that the gargantuan-sized Skadden couldn’t whip up enough of its own people to vote it through to the next round.

As we move into the Final Four, we’ve got some intriguing match-ups. On one side of the bracket, people will have to choose whether or not making money is cooler than being attractive. On the other side of the bracket, we’ll answer the question: Is being “first” more important than being “best”?

Let’s get to it…

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We will have a new winner in this year’s Coolest Law Firm contest. When Above the Law first ran this bracket back in 2008, you picked Latham & Watkins as the victor. This time around, they got… Lathamed, in the first round. Cravath crushed Latham by a 60% – 40% margin. That was the second-highest margin of victory among all of the first-round match-ups.

So, for those playing along at home, paying a spring bonus is “more cool” than not paying a spring bonus.

As we move into the Elite Eight, some of our readers are asking us to give a more clear definition of what is “cool.” We respectfully decline to do so. It’s up to you to tell us what makes a top law firm cool. Is it job security, making maximum bank, prestige points? It’s really up to you. Personally I think the coolest law firm would be the one most likely to represent bad-ass clients on the correct side of moral issues, but… eeek, that’s not really what Biglaw is all about.

So bring your own prejudices to the table when you vote in the next round of the Coolest Law Firm Tournament. Use whatever reasoning makes sense to you. Just don’t go with chalk because you can’t be bothered to actually form an opinion — don’t be boring, son….

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* If you root for your law school alma mater over your undergrad alma mater, you are the kind of unprincipled betrayer who deserves the very worst of all that life has to offer. [PrawfsBlawg]

* Did you know that university professors could get fired for appearing in burlesque shows? [Siouxsie Law]

* Some thoughts on what black prospective law students should consider when choosing a law school, from Yolanda Young. [On Being a Black Lawyer]

* Best. Deposition transcript. Ever. [WSJ Law Blog]

* Please, please, please, let there be many character and fitness boards who will ding this law student who stomped a bird to death. [Huffington Post]

* Happy Purim, everybody. And if you are an Irish Jew, I wish your liver the best.

Every year, in honor of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament (Pervis Ellison is not walking through that door, Louisville fans), Above the Law runs a law-related bracket. Law firms or schools advance based on the outcome of reader polls.

Last year was a particularly fun tournament. We crowned the Douchiest Law School in all the land. Duke won (big surprise), but even now people at UVA are still pissed and effectively demanding that we redo the poll to take into account their recent douchtastic behavior.

But there is a more important bracket that needs a second look. Back in 2008, we asked you to name the Coolest Law Firm. Guess who won.

In 2008, Above the Law readers declared Latham & Watkins to be the “coolest” law firm in the country. Yes, that Latham.

That was three years ago. Lehman was still a respected investment bank back then. Does anybody want to try this again? Let’s get to it…

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ATL’s competition to crown the best city to practice law continues.

In the regional finals in the east and south, D.C. is dominating New York, and Dallas is doing away with Atlanta. Now it’s time for us to turn our sights westward.

This round’s bouts will determine which city in flyover country is the best for lawyers and will finally resolve the NoCal vs SoCal debate. Let’s get to it…

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We’re past the first round of our Best City to Practice Law, March Madness bracket. Last week saw a few upsets in terms of overall city population, but few true surprises:

This is good for ATL office pool participants Kash and Lat. They are both tied for first place having picked 7 of the 8 match-ups correctly in round one. Elie’s lagging behind, with only 6 of 8 correct — Elie has a whole new reason to hate the denizens of Houston who couldn’t even show some civic pride and vote for their stupid city. [If you want to check out how the real NCAA brackets are going, check here. Elie's in 30th (thanks Georgetown), while Kash is 21st and has "Kansas" losing to Michigan State this round anyway.]

Today we’re tackling our regional finals in the East and South. In one corner, we have two bastions of East Coast intellectualism (and elitism). In the other corner, we’ve got a high quality of life that is occasionally interrupted by truck nutz. It should be a spirited debate, let’s get to it…

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