Above The Law has announced another March Madness event, the “Coolest Law Firm” poll. Since 2008, they first ran the “Coolest Law Firm” bracket in an effort to get its audience (which number national associates, partners, solo lawyers and administrators among its readership) to bring to the fore the most preferred of ’em all. What are the criteria? Job security is pretty cool. Making “maximum bank” is cool.
An ATL blogger, Ellie Mystal, thinks it’s all about “representing [dynamic] clients on the correct side of moral issues.” But other that that, ATL respectfully declines to elaborate further. In other words, it’s all about your definition of cool.
So who won in 2008? Lathan & Watkins. And this time around? Wachtell Lipton won by 59% or 1,077 votes. Close behind, Williams & Connolly, with 53% or 932 of the votes. For a complete list, go to http://abovethelaw.com/2011/03/atl-march-madness-the-coolest-law-firm/
In a related item, the billable hour issue has resurfaced as one of the coolest conundrums of all time (although it has never really gone away). Recently, Wired GC (“Law from the Inside Out”) ran a blog based on a four-minute radio mention on the topic. It appears that the billable hour (or lack thereof) was the #1 issue for clients; they wanted to know what the cost would be “on the front end.” It was interesting to read two actual definitions of the billable hour. One, “A regime, characterized by most attorneys, charging by the hour, with no alternative control mechanisms save for the individual lawyer’s sense of ethics and the relationship partner’s sense of reasonableness.”
The second went like this: “Hourly billing is simple math; a way of calculating time on a matter and can, in fact, be part of many alternative fee arrangements, just not the default end result.” There was also a quote about how there’s no way that the billable hour is ever going to just go away, but that the important thing is to try to acclimate to what the client wants. Hey, a firm that does that sounds like it would qualify for the coolest law firm of 2011! For more information, go to http://www.wiredgc.com/2008/11/25/the-billable-hour-as-a-driveway-moment/