As 2013 draws to a close, let’s look back at the 10 biggest stories in the legal profession over the past year. This is an annual tradition here at Above the Law, which we’ve done in 2012, 2011, 2010, and 2009. We’ll fire up the old Google Analytics machine to get data on our most popular posts, based on pageviews, and share the results with you.
Before turning to specific stories, let’s look at the top general discussion topics here at ATL. For 2013, our most trafficked category page was Biglaw, which bumped Law Schools out of the top spot — a spot that Law Schools held from 2010 through 2012. Now that the word is out about the perils of getting a law degree, leading to plummeting applications, perhaps it’s time to move on from the “don’t go to law school” narrative.
After Biglaw and Law Schools, our third most-popular category page was, as usual, Bonuses. This wasn’t a terribly exciting year for bonuses — there were no spring bonuses, and Cravath and its many followers paid out the same bonuses as last year — but people still want to know the score.
Our fourth most-popular category page was small law firms. Small firms, including boutiques, are an area of increasing focus and readership for us — and also where many of the job opportunities are these days.
Moving on from the topic pages, what were the 10 most popular individual posts at Above the Law in 2013?
We’ve extensively discussed in these pages the dangers of “reply all.” As you can see by paging through those archives, numerous members of the legal profession — associates, partners, deans of prominent law schools — have embarrassed themselves, often in entertaining fashion, with one little click of a button. They thought they were sending a private email to one individual, but whoops! They actually just hit “reply all.”
It’s great when hilarity ensues upon (mis)use of “reply all,” but it’s more common for it to be just annoying. In our age of overcommunication, people need to think more carefully about whether everyone on the original email needs to receive your reply. Do all the other people invited to the holiday party need to know when you’re arriving and what you’re bringing?
(In fairness, sometimes the sender is to blame. Protip: use “bcc.”)
But sometimes “reply all” can actually be a good thing. No, seriously….
It’s December, a big month for movies. This is the time of year when studios trot out some of their most prestigious pictures, hunting for Oscar gold, and when they release their holiday blockbusters, in the hunt for cold hard cash. With Christmas and New Year’s falling on Wednesdays this year (yay!), there should be ample time for moviegoing.
But some lawyers want to do more than just watch movies; they want to make them. Over the years, many lawyers have entered the film world, some on the business side and some on the creative side.
Interested in having some adventures in the screen trade? Let’s meet a Harvard Law School graduate who is now an award-winning writer and filmmaker….
– Goat. That’s what the goat said when called into a courtroom as a witness against 28-year-old Katana Kitsao Gona in the latter’s sentencing for bestiality. It must have been compelling testimony because Gona got 10 years.
(Video of a news report on this story, after the jump….)
* Harvard Law’s Langdell Library hosts a bevy of legal treasures. Including the personal lunchbox of Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. [The Harvard Crimson]
* Per a new survey, watching the Kardashians makes one twice as likely to want an aggressive lawyer. When I have to watch the Kardashians I become an aggressive lawyer. [Avvo]
* The Supreme Court spent Cyber Monday denying review to two cases challenging the imposition of sales taxes on Internet purchases. [The Blog of the Legal Times]
* New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman cracked down on fake Yelp reviewers. Apparently, reviewers who gave a pet groomer 4 stars are a bigger priority than the reviewers who gave subprime-backed securities AAA ratings. [Corporate Counsel]
* Not exactly breaking news, but Philly has caught on that law firms are merging because the market is so terrible with a new piece on the merger craze. Specifically, they’re looking at the planned merger of BakerHostetler and Philly’s own Woodcock Washburn L.L.P. we mentioned last week. [Philadelphia Inquirer]
* Lakers guard Steve Nash’s ex-wife is battling him for child custody. She’s hired a Phoenix law firm whose most famous attorney is jacked up NFL ref Ed Hochuli. For now Hochuli isn’t working on the case directly. For now. [TMZ Sports]
* Congratulations to Kobre & Kim on being named Law Firm of the Year by the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association. [Newsday]
* Who says Civil Procedure isn’t sexy? Some UNLV Law students take to YouTube to bring (Civ Pro) SexyBack. [You Tube]
Over the holiday weekend, there’s been a lot of activity surrounding the racist law firm advertisement we wrote about on Wednesday. First, the firm’s Facebook page declared that the firm was the victim of hacking and that they absolutely did not sanction the ad for their firm posted on YouTube.
Then the head of the production company who posted the ad — and who employs the stereotypical character in multiple ads — wrote a missive swearing that it was hired by the firm and that they provided the script. The production company is also butthurt that Above the Law labeled the ad racist, even though the YouTube post openly trolls viewers to lighten up about its content. I wonder why they’d expect people to be up in arms over their content. Certainly not because they expect people to think it’s racist.
Now the law firm has sent us a direct statement, and this whole tale is super-crazy…
Well, I’ll tell you what it purports to be. It purports to be an advertisement for a personal injury law firm. Therefore, you’d expect it to have a bunch of testimonials from downtrodden people whose suffering is slightly eased by the BIG CASH AWARD that the law firm helped them secure. Then we’d see a pair of attorneys sitting on a desk in front of a bunch of law reporters swearing that they “will fight for you” with all the inflection and passion that Stephen Hawking would give that line read. It’s a pretty simple formula. The ads are always terrible, but they’re safe. And if you’re going to take a risk, try to make an awesome ad like this one.
Or you could just hurl racist imagery at us with the production values of a public access program….
* Amanda Bynes is deemed mentally competent to stand trial. I’d seek a second opinion. [TMZ]
* Male bosses are more popular than female bosses according to Gallup. This probably reveals persistent chauvinism in the workplace, but given Gallup’s track record the last couple of elections, female bosses may well be beloved. [The Careerist]
* Competing construction experts tussle over the proper way to build a parking garage. The correct answer is: in a way that doesn’t fall down. [The Expert Institute]
* Jay Edelson and Chandler Givens offer their second installment addressing how to fix the legal profession. This time the target is the law school model. Join the revolution! [Legal Solutions Blog / Thomson Reuters]
* Here’s Corporette’s Suit of the Week! [Corporette]
* If you’re representing a defense contractor, it’s a lot easier to export their wares these days. But the system isn’t fully reformed yet. [Breaking Defense]
* For those who missed (or only followed along on Twitter) the Fed Soc debate between Professor Randy Barnett and Judge J. Harvie Wilkinson on whether judges are too deferential to legislatures, the full video is available after the jump. [Volokh Conspiracy]
The process of looking for a legal job is not a model of efficiency. The unemployed and underemployed desperately comb through hundreds of Craigslist postings. Meanwhile, the relatively privileged denizens of Biglaw get besieged by cold calls from legal recruiters, whether they’re looking for new jobs or not.
There has to be a better way. And one former Biglaw associate, an alumna of two top firms, believes she has the answer.
Finding a legal job: there’s an app — well, not an app, but a website — for that….
It doesn’t have to be this way. Food and drink should be sources of health and happiness in one’s life. And they’re worthy subjects of intellectual interest as well; someone should start a museum devoted to them, don’t you think?
Let’s meet a lawyer whose love for food and drink has manifested itself in a healthy way….
The evolution of relationships between the genders continues. Currently, in law firms, there is an interesting conundrum; balancing the desire for a gender-blind workplace where “the best lawyer gets the work and advances” and the reality of navigating the complicated maze created by the fact that, in general, men and women do possess differences in their work styles. These variations impact who they work with, how they work, how they build professional connections and how organizations ultimately leverage, reward and recognize the talents of all.
Henry Ford sat on his workbench and sighed. A year earlier, he had personally built 13,000 Model Ts with his own hands. Fashioning lugnuts and tie rods by hand, Ford was loath to ask for help. Sure, there were things about the car that he didn’t quite understand. This explains the lack of reliable navigation systems in the Model T. But Ford persevered because he knew that unless he did everything, he could not reliably call these cars his own.
“Unless my own personal toil is responsible for it, it may as well be called a Hyundai,” Ford remarked at the time.
The preceding may sound unfamiliar because it is categorically untrue. And also monumentally stupid. Henry Ford didn’t build all those cars by hand. He had help and plenty of it. Almost exactly one hundred years ago, Henry Ford opened up the most technologically advanced assembly line the world had ever seen. Built on the premise that work can be chopped up into digestible pieces and completed by many men better than one, the line ushered in an age of unparalleled productivity.
Today, an attorney refers business because he can’t do everything the client asks of him.
There are three reasons why this is way dumber than a made-up Henry Ford story…
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: [email protected].
Since late last year, things have been booming in Hong Kong / China in cap markets, especially Hong Kong IPOs. M&A deal flow has recently been getting a bit stronger as well. Although one can’t predict such things with any certainty, all signs are pointing to a banner entire 2014 for the top end US corporate and cap markets practices in Hong Kong / China. This is not really new news, as its been the feeling most in the market have had for a few months now and things continue to look good.
The head of our Asia practice, Evan Jowers, has been in Hong Kong for about 10 days a month (with trips every other month to both Shanghai and Bejing) for the past 7 months, and spending most of his time there meeting with senior US hiring partners at just about all the major US and UK firms there, as well as prospective candidates at all associate levels and partner levels, and when in the US, Evan works Asia hours and is regularly on the phone with such persons, as our the other members of our Asia team. Our Yuliya Vinokurova is in Hong Kong every other month and Robert is there about 5 times a year as well. While we have a solid Asia team of recruiters, Evan Jowers will spend at least some time with all of our candidates for Asia position. We have had long standing relationships, and good friendships in some cases, with hiring partners and other senior US partners in Asia for 8 years now.