Most weeks nowadays, the New York Times weddings announcements — and our coverage of same — focus quite properly on the newlyweds and their impressive accomplishments. But occasionally, a few announcements hearken back to a simpler day, when nobody cared much about the bride and groom, because the game of social one-upmanship was played on the parental level.
This is one of those weeks. Our featured newlyweds are impressive, but some of their parents are even more so. The finalists:
Aharon Barak wonders: Why do Senate Republicans hate me so much?
Yesterday morning, while I was shamelessly snooping scanning the bookshelves of my significant other, a handsome book caught my eye. The title, Purposive Interpretation in Law, wasn’t very sexy, but the author’s name grabbed my attention: AHARON BARAK.
Yes, the Aharon Barak — the man whose name has been constantly invoked this week, over the past three days of Elena Kagan’s confirmation hearings. “The other white meat Barak,” not be confused with our president Barack (Hussein Obama). The bugaboo of the rule of law, in the eyes of Kagan critics. Quite possibly “the worst judge on the planet,” in the words of failed SCOTUS nominee Robert Bork.
As I picked up Barak’s book from the shelf, a chill ran up my spine. I felt myself in the presence of a judicial Voldemort. Should owning a book by Aharon Barak be grounds for breaking up with someone? Is it tantamount to owning a lovingly dog-eared copy of Mein Kampf?
I needed to educate myself. Just who is Aharon Barak?
Yes, we’ve been gone. Where we’ve been — poetry workshop, rehab, hiking the Appalachian Trail? — doesn’t matter. What matters is that we’re back, and our team of interns has diligently kept track of the nuptial triumphs and travesties that have occurred in our absence. We’ve identified the very best of the best couples from this spring, and hereby present the top five pairings for your edification and enrichment:
This morning I attended a very interesting panel discussion sponsored by the Yale Law School Center for the Study of Corporate Law, Citizens United: Mountain or Mole Hill? Because the talk was sponsored by my rather left-leaning alma mater, I expected the answer to the question presented to be “Mountain” — and not just any mountain, but Mount Doom.
I was pleasantly surprised. The deeply thoughtful discussion pointed more in the direction of “Mole Hill.” This was especially surprising given the liberal bona fides of the three star panelists:
Floyd Abrams, the longtime Cahill Gordon partner and celebrated First Amendment lawyer, who argued in the case for Senator Mitch McConnell (as amicus curiae, in support of Citizens United);
Heather Gerken, the J. Skelly Wright Professor of Law at Yale Law School, and a leading scholar of election law and voting rights; and
Samuel Issacharoff, the Reiss Professor of Constitutional Law at NYU School of Law, and an expert in voting rights and civil procedure.
The new U.S. News law school rankings are out. Now it’s time to allow students and alumni to weigh in on their law school and their brand new rank.
At the very top, the order remains unchanged. Yale, Harvard, and Stanford continue to be kings of the U.S. News world. If prospective students can get into one of these schools, they should probably go. Biglaw, legal academia, and Article III clerkships await graduates of these prestigious institutions.
We know the stereotypes of the east coast schools. Yale is the elite training ground for clerks and scholars — and Biglaw dollars are available to those students who want a slice of the pie. Harvard is the most prestigious J.D. diploma factory in the world. HLS is all about big numbers: lots of students, and lots of money for graduates who dive into Biglaw.
Is Stanford the Yale of the west or Harvard of the west? Or would Stanford be ranked even higher but for “east coast bias”? Aside from U.S. News prestige, what’s special about Stanford that Berkeley students wouldn’t understand?
The subtle differences between the top-3 are questions for only a few LSAT rockstars.
Next, let’s check in on Chicago’s march up the rankings…
Ed. note: Gretchen Rubin is the author of The Happiness Project. The book has been on the New York Times bestseller list for 15 weeks, ever since its publication (including hitting the #1 spot).
Although she’s now a writer, with a total of five bestselling and/or critically acclaimed books to her name, Rubin started her career as a lawyer. She graduated from Yale Law School, where she served as editor-in-chief of the Yale Law Journal, and clerked on the U.S. Supreme Court, for Justice Sandra Day O’Connor. Feel free to check out her blog, follow her on Twitter, or join the Happiness Project Facebook page.
We asked Gretchen Rubin to offer us some happiness advice aimed at a lawyerly audience. Her guest post appears below.
By Gretchen Rubin
A few years ago, I decided to do a happiness project. I spent a year testing the wisdom of the ages, the current scientific studies, and the lessons from popular culture about how to be happier. From my experience, to be happier, it helps to think about the little things in life—and also the big things. Here are some ideas specifically targeted to lawyers:
Tackle the little things: Happiness can seem like a lofty, abstract goal, but a great place to start is with your own body and daily schedule.
Get enough sleep. We adjust to chronic sleep deprivation and don’t realize how much it weighs on us. According to one study, a bad night’s sleep was one of the top two factors that upset people’s daily moods at work (along with tight work deadlines — another problem many lawyers face). It’s tempting to stay up late, especially if that’s the fun part of your day, but the morning comes fast. (Here are some sleep tips.)
Get some exercise—preferably outside. You don’t have to train for a marathon. Just go for a ten-minute walk at lunchtime. People who exercise are healthier, more energetic, think more clearly, sleep better, feel cheerier, and perform better at work. (Here are some tips for sticking to an exercise routine.)
April 1 is a dangerous date. It’s a day when punking people becomes the national sport. It’s not just traditional pranksters like College Humor marking the holiday. Law firms and law schools have been getting in on the fun today as well.
Shortly after your ATL editors got back from lunch, we got an alarmed email from a Columbia Law student, upset about Columbia’s plan to block some popular websites starting Monday:
When the Dean’s Advisory Committee addressed the Senate last month, it conveyed the faculty’s concern regarding student inattention and declining participation in class. The consensus among professors is that in-class Internet use is the primary cause.
Yesterday, we were informed that IT will begin blocking access to certain Internet sites inside the Law School’s three main buildings, while classes are meeting. Selective site blocking is scheduled to begin Monday morning. Among the 2-3 dozen sites affected are Facebook, Gmail and Above the Law. Others may be added later.
We’re honored to be part of that Holy Trifecta of websites, though Elie was initially quite upset at Columbia — until he visited the linked website and “got Rick-rolled for the first time in years.” Judging from the flood of emails we’ve gotten, he’s far from the only one.
Weil Gotshal and Yale Law School also performed some prestigious pranks. You’d think legal types’ natural cynicism would help protect them today. But you’d be wrong…
The Skadden Fellowship Foundation, described as “a legal Peace Corps” by The Los Angeles Times, was established in 1988 to commemorate the firm’s 40th anniversary, in recognition of the dire need for greater funding for graduating law students who wish to devote their professional lives to providing legal services to the poor (including the working poor), the elderly, the homeless and the disabled, as well as those deprived of their civil or human rights. The aim of the foundation is to give Fellows the freedom to pursue public interest work; thus, the Fellows create their own projects at public interest organizations with at least two lawyers on staff before they apply.
Fellowships are awarded for two years. Skadden provides each Fellow with a salary and pays all fringe benefits to which an employee of the sponsoring organization would be entitled. For those Fellows not covered by a law school low income protection plan, the firm will pay a Fellow’s law school debt service for the tuition part of the loan for the duration of the fellowship. The 2010 class of Fellows brings to 591 the number of academically outstanding law school graduates and judicial clerks the firm has funded to work full-time for legal and advocacy organizations.
The 2010 class of Skadden Fellows was just announced. Congratulations to the 27 winners, selected from 20 different law schools. Yale had four, Berkeley (aka Boalt Hall) had three, and Stanford and Fordham had two each.
Check out their names, law schools, and sponsoring organizations — maybe you know some of them? — after the jump.
Supreme Court clerks continue to flood the NYT wedding pages this month, creating grim LEWW odds for mere-mortal Cornell grads and Skadden associates. Like Troy playing Florida or North Texas playing Alabama, these folks are welcome to suit up, but the only question is how bad their whuppin’ is going to hurt.
Here are your three finalist couples for the week:
What does it mean to be “newly admitted?” To us, it means endless possibilities!
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Ed. note: The Asia Chronicles column is authored by Kinney Recruiting. Kinney has made more placements of U.S. associates, counsels and partners in Asia than any other recruiting firm in each of the past six years. You can reach them by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Deal flow has clearly picked recently up for most US associates, counsels and partners in Hong Kong/China and Singapore. We are on the phone with a lot of these folks on a daily basis, many of whom we have known for years. Further, the head of our Asia team, Evan Jowers, and Kinney’s founder and president, Robert Kinney, frequently meet in person with leading US partners in Asia to assess their needs and keep on top of the inside scoop at as many firms as possible. The need for legal recruiting help in Asia from experienced recruiters appears to be live and well. In March, Evan and Robert were in Beijing at such meetings, in April, Evan was in Hong Kong, and for half of June Evan will be in Shanghai and Hong Kong. Thus its pretty easy for us to tell when there has been an across-the-market pick up in capital markets and corporate work.
On an average day in Asia when Evan and Robert visit firms, they typically have 5 to 9 meetings a day, mostly with US partners in the market. The reason they have these meetings is not simply because Kinney makes a lot of US attorney placements in Asia and that a particular firm may have openings; instead these are just visits with friends. After years of working together as business partners, the folks at Kinney are actually these peoples’ friends. The firms Kinney work closely with in Asia (which is just about every law firm – call us if you want to know the one firm in the world we will never place anyone with again, ever, and why) look forward to the visits, or at least act like they do. After seven years in the market, many of the client partners are former associate candidates. Also, these US partners see Kinney as a very good source of market information as well, because they know how deep their contacts are in the market and how frequently they are speaking to counterparts at peer firms.
In a land that is right here and in a time that is right now, a technology has arisen so powerful that it can replace basic human document review. Is it time to bow down before our new robot overlords?
First, here’s a little story about me: my life in the legal world began as a paralegal. My first case was a GIANT patent infringement case that was already six years old and had involved as many as five companies, multiple US courts, the ITC and an international standards committee. I knew nothing about any of this.
On my first day, my supervisor (a paralegal with at least eight other cases driving her crazy) sat me down in front of a Concordance database with a 100,000+ patents and patent file histories. “Code these,” she said. I learned that “coding”, for the purposes of this exercise, meant manually typing the inventor’s name, the title of the patent, the assignee, the file date, and other objective data for each document. I worked on that project – and only that project – for at least the first six months of my job. After a week or so, time began to blur.
What I know, in retrospect and with absolutely certainty, is that as time began to blur, so did my judgment. So did my attention to detail. If you could tell me that I did not make at least one mistake a day – one inconsistent spelling, one reversed day and month, one incorrectly spaced title – I frankly would need to see your evidence. I would not believe it. The human mind is trainable but it is not a machine.
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