The long awaited LHC has begun operation. Its first sustained run of proton-proton collisions will begin in just a few weeks. This will enable us to start exploring the multi TeV scale directly for the first time. The first data taking period will allow us not only to re-establish the Standard Model but also begin the process of searching for direct evidence of new particles beyond it. Among the first processes to be observed and understood with the LHC detectors will be those with final states involving high momentum leptons. I will review the status and commissioning of the ATLAS detector with cosmic rays and first collision events, the prospects for first physics measurements, and preparations for searches beyond the Standard Model.