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The gender discrimination trial that captured the attention of Silicon Valley, if not the whole nation, came to a close this Friday after weeks of testimony. Ellen Pao's lawsuit against a storied venture capital firm highlighted what many saw as the subtle forms of discrimination and exclusion that keep women out of some of the most powerful positions in both tech companies and VC firms.

The jury, however, sided with Kleiner. Was Pao just a bad plaintiff with a losing case, or is the boys club back?

At the office, meetings are the bane of your existence, especially if, for some reason, they're not billable. That means you're spending half an hour to an hour waiting for the meeting to end so you can go bill some time. Your life becomes unbearable if you're spending a whole day in meetings instead of doing billable work.

Meetings don't have to make your day awful, though, and you can still stay productive throughout a day of Meetings That Won't Die. Here are five tips to stay productive even though you're being dragged into a conference room all the time.

Junior associate, senior associate, partner -- it's great to have titles, but these days, you can make up your own title to inflate both your self-importance and your outward appearance of importance.

As they say in writing class, "Show me, don't tell me." Your title might say you're a "senior" whatever, but how do you know when you've finally "arrived" at your firm? The Law Firm hierarchy will tell you.

You know what's fun? Stories about other lawyers' professional responsibility foibles. There's a certain, how do you say, schadenfreude, that we get out of hearing that a lawyer made a terrible ethical gaffe.

Today, we counsel on the problem of the lawyer who talks too loudly, spilling firm secrets or client confidences over lunch, on the subway, in an elevator, or on an airplane.

The results from Vault's 2014 Law Firm Associate Survey are in, reports TaxProf Blog. Wait, why is TaxProf Blog reporting on this? Probably because "Tax" is the practice area with the highest associate satisfaction. Take that, antitrust!

So what makes tax law so interesting? "Tax law may be satisfying work because it is often described as solving a puzzle, allowing lawyers to find creative solutions to their clients' problems," Vault opines on its website. I read that to mean "finding ever-more creative ways around the tax code." But hey, everyone needs to find fulfillment at work.

So in which other practice areas are associates happy, according to this survey?

We're back, baby! After learning in September that legal salaries were on the rise, The New York Times' Dealbook blog reported Tuesday that BigLaw bonuses were on the rise.

The law profession if profitable! We'll be respected again!

So does this mean that it's time to get into the BigLaw business? Is law school suddenly a good idea for the disenchanted liberal arts major?

Mail Merge: Mass Mail Your Resume in 3 (Mildly) Easy Steps

You need a job. Many do, but you're creeping into desperation territory here.

We can't testify that mass mailing actually works, but like any urban legend, we totally know somebody who knows somebody that it worked for. He mass mailed his materials to all the BigLaw firms he could find and ended up with a six-figure salary in Manhattan -- the financial holy grail of gigs, even if some might question the sanity of a BigLaw lifestyle. (Lifestyle, smifestyle -- it's $160k brah.)

If you want to try mass-mailing, it's surprisingly easy. Here are the three steps to take to spam the industry with your application materials:

Bye Bye Bingham: What Associates Should Do in a Firm Merger

Congrats Morgan Lewis: you've now an even bigger BigLaw firm.

Last week, Morgan Lewis acqui-hired most of Bingham McCutchen, bringing on 525 lawyers and staffers, as well as 226 partners from the now-former firm. The move expands Morgan Lewis to around 2,000 lawyers in 28 offices, reports the ABA Journal. It means more or expanded practice areas for ML, and a few fleeing partners from the new conglomerate -- of the 307 listed partners at Bingham, 226 are making the move. The rest, presumably, are headed for other BigLaw firms. Thirty Bingham staffers are losing their jobs as well.

As for the associates, it looks like most, if not all, are making the cut. Here are a few thoughts for them, as well as anyone who doesn't make the cut:

The life of the BigLaw associate is centered around billable hours, and get about 2,000 of them in a year. Who hates them? Associates hate to keep track of them and meet them. Clients always think they're being cheated. And all of their spouses hate hearing about it.

Seems like only partners like billable hours. Jackson Lewis, however, decided to buck the system. Starting in 2015, reports Above the Law, 293 of its associates will longer be tied to them "as an evaluative tool."

You've seen the Christmas commercials and the Thanksgiving commercials, all filled with snow and jingling bells (which are wholly foreign to you if you're practicing in Los Angeles). The holiday season is upon us, and that probably means you'll soon be going on vacation.

If you're lucky enough to get some time off in your first year as an associate -- and even if you are technically "on vacation," you might be tethered to your phone -- there are some housekeeping chores you need to complete before locking your file cabinet and jetting off to parts unknown (or your parents' new house in Florida).

Here are a few "to-dos" you may want to add to your list: