August 2014

BU Law logo.JPGGetting accurate information about professors is a problem for law students across the nation. Until pedagogical initiatives result in every student getting a certificate of participation, grades will still be very important to law students.

At Boston University School of Law, every semester students submit reviews of their professors, and those reviews are published so that other students can make better decisions. BU Law has the best professors, according to Princeton Review.

But not every class is a winner. Last year, a 1L property professor received scathing reviews from many of the students. We don’t know all the details about what happened in that class, but we’ve heard some negative things about the professor’s teaching style, grading system, and personality.

Apparently, the reviews were so bad that BU Law Dean Maureen O’Rourke took the extraordinary step of addressing the entire class. According to one tipster:

The students who showed up to the meeting were given no apologies. They were told that the administration read the reviews and did not think that they were indicative of Prof. McClain’s teaching. The students were informed that McClain would get tenure regardless, so that they should leave the issue alone.

When the dean was pressed on whether the reviews would nevertheless be published, she said that they would not be published, not even the 1-5 bubble fill-ins ranging from poor to excellent on overall teaching evaluation.

What is the point of having a student review system when bad reviews are expunged from the record? (Former ATL Law School Dean Hottie) Dean O’Rourke responds after the jump.

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demise of the billable hour.jpgThe troubled economic environment has led to layoffs, office shutterings, and the dissolution of Heller Ehrman. Now, the Washington Post is trotting out the idea of the death of the billable hour as a potential outcome of the financial crisis:

Since becoming commonplace in the 1970s, hourly billing has been the subject of criticism by clients and debates by legal experts, who say they give lawyers incentive to work inefficiently. But law firms have been slow to embrace alternative billing.

Until now.

That’s quite a definitive statement. We’re less certain. If there’s a fixed fee revolution going on, we haven’t heard about it. And as the article notes, this is far from the first prediction of the billable hour’s demise (e.g., Whither the Billable Hour?).

But these are desperate times, and everyone’s feeling the pressure. Is it enough pressure to push firms over the brink to fixed fee billing? More speculation, after the jump.

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Jenner Block LLP logo Abovethelaw Above the Law legal tabloid.JPGThe hits to the Chicago market keep on coming. In the wake of Katten Muchin Rosenman laying off 21 attorneys, and Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal cutting 25 attorneys and additional staff, Jenner & Block is getting rid of 10 partners:

The Chicago-based firm is asking about 10 partners, both equity and non-equity, to exit with the bulk of those affected currently working out of the firm’s biggest office in Chicago, the sources said. No particular practice area is more affected than others. The departures equate to about 6 percent of Jenner’s 155 equity partner headcount and 2 percent of the overall 490 lawyer headcount. The firm declined comment.

Remember that happy-happy-joy-joy meeting Jenner held earlier this month? According to a tipster, Jenner associates were told:

not to worry about the issues on wall st- they will not adversely affect Jenner’s bottom line. Jenner is having a great year and bonus are expected to be as good or better than last year.

Well how does that statement jibe with cutting 10 partners? As one commenter put it:

A rich man doesn’t need to tell you that he’s rich.

The flip side below the fold.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Nationwide Layoff Watch: Jenner & Block Cuts … Partners”

Don King America.JPG* Citigroup wins … milk! [American Lawyer]

* Brits can still beat-up their kids. [BBC]

* AOL can’t put ads in personal emails, we hope. [Courthouse News]

* Drive-through voting. [Associated Press]

* … which of course should lead to drinking and driving and voting. Only in America! [Time]

gay marriage skadden.jpgWe’ve reported on how various lawyers are wading into the California Proposition 8 battle through internal firm communication. Last week we told you about a “Yes on 8″ Proskauer associate who emailed entertainment law blogger Russell Wetanson from his Proskauer email account.

Apparently, one missive supporting a ban on gay marriage wasn’t enough for the associate. The associate has sent out another email — from his Proskauer account — to a much wider distribution list which included other Proskauer attorneys:

The Supreme Court’s decision to legalize same-sex marriage did not just overturn the will of California voters (over 61% of them to be exact); it also redefined marriage for the rest of society, without ever asking the people themselves to accept this decision. As a lawyer I can tell you that those Four Activist Judges in San Francisco harmed the democratic process as much as they damaged traditional marriage. [Redacted] I know you and I agree on most things and I assume you still believe that it is a judge’s role to enforce the law not create it, but that is exactly what those Four Activist Judges did. They ignored the votes and voices of 4 million Californians and replaced it with their own. For that reason alone Prop 8 should be supported. If the proponents of gay marriage wish to change the law, let them do it properly not; through the people not through activist judges.

What people do on their personal time is their own business. But doesn’t this cat have a gmail account? There are a lot of attorneys who use the Star Jones-special “I’m a Lawyer” conceit to strengthen their argument, but why drag the firm into it?

More excerpts from this Proskauer associate after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Yes on Prop 8 Proskauer Associate Strikes Again”

  • 20 Oct 2008 at 5:49 PM

Non-Sequiturs: 10.20.08

Hot or Not Lawyers.JPG* What is the applicable hottness handicap for lawyers versus everybody else? [Sweet Hot Justice]

* Hiring freeze at William and Mary brings the global economic crisis home to law professors. [TaxProf Blog]

* I’ll believe in billable hour reform just as soon as I get my jet pack and flying car. [Wired GC]

* If Obama wins will JP Stevens retire? Better question: if Obama loses how much life force will JP Stevens have to vampire away in order to make it four more years? [How Appealing]

* What non-perishable/non-smelly/non-fattening foodstuffs can you keep in your office in case you miss lunch? [Corporette]

* Grading 2.0 [LexHub: BBLP]

Dewey logo.JPGToday Dewey & LeBoeuf announced that they would be closing their Charlotte, North Carolina office as of December 31st.

Dewey appears to be in full contraction mode, having already announced the closing of offices in Hartford, CT; Jacksonville, FL; and Austin, TX.

According to a firm spokesperson:

As part of its continuing review of global office locations, Dewey & LeBoeuf will be closing its office in Charlotte, North Carolina. The decision has been made in part due to the economic conditions in the market, which has seen the consolidation of several major banking institutions and a challenging structured finance market. The Charlotte office, which has eight attorneys, will close on December 31, 2008.

The Charlotte market, a burgeoning center of the U.S. banking industry, continues to take hits to its legal market. Last week, Moore & Van Allen laid off around 20 staff members.

According to one tipster, the 8 Charlotte attorneys will receive a 12-week severance package.

Update (5:19): A Dewey spokesperson now confirms that there are 11 lawyers in the Charlotte office. The associates will be laid-off while the firm evaluates relocation options for the partners.

Earlier: Dewey Stay or Dewey Go? D&L Decamps from Hartford, Austin, Jacksonville

Perkins Coie logo.JPGApparently, the activities of the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) are now a matter of national import. The group, best known for absolutely nothing prior to a month ago, is now poised to “threaten the fabric of democracy,” according to Senator John McCain.

One might have expected the Obama campaign to take the knuckleball in the dirt, but there is only one October. Last Friday, the Obama campaign called in lawyers from Perkins Coie to harass USAG Michael Mukasey into harassing McCain to stop harassing Obama.

Perkins Coie partner Robert Bauer asked Mukasey to instruct special prosecutor Nora Dannehy to add McCain’s recent conduct to allegations of partisan misconduct within the Justice Department. According to The Blog of the LegalTimes:

[The letter] alleges that Sen. John McCain’s presidential campaign and the Republican Party made false claims of voting fraud as part of a Republican effort to influence the presidential election. The letter accuses Republican officeholders of calling on the Justice Department to investigate allegations of fraud, and Justice Department officials of spurring what he called “baseless” investigations.

The McCain camp responds after the jump.

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Philip Straniere before and after.jpgSalaries for New York judges have been capped at $136,700 for the past ten years. We reported on their attempt to force a raise by suing the New York legislature. New York Supreme Court justice Edward Lehner ruled in favor of mo’ money in June and gave the legislature 90 days to up their pay.

The state’s chief judge, Judith Kaye, was the force behind the lawsuit. But a lesser-known judge, Philip Straniere, of Staten Island, did his part to support the movement. He grew a big, bushy protest beard. He’s been wearing it for the last 14 months.

Unfortunately for cash-strapped New York judges, neither the beard nor lawsuit have done the trick as of yet. According to the New York Law Journal, New York Governor David Paterson has appealed Lehner’s decision. The judges’ brief defending Lehner’s decision is due Friday, with argument scheduled for November.

Straniere has not given up the protest, but he has given up the beard, in order to look less like Father Christmas while he runs for a state Supreme Court judgeship. His shave made the news. From the Staten Island Advance:

Straniere scores points for his Family Guy reference with a shout-out to Peter Griffin’s bird-infested growth. Negative points for the barber for butchering Straniere’s chin.

Paterson Seeks Reversal of Order to Boost Judges’ Pay [New York Law Journal]

Shave and a haircut (not pictured) [Staten Island Advance]

Earlier: Judicial Pay Raise Watch: New York

susan herman aclu.jpgOn Saturday the American Civil Liberties Union elected a new president, Susan Herman.

She’s a constitutional law professor at Brooklyn Law School and had served as the ACLU’s general counsel prior to this promotion. It has been a long time since ACLU leadership changed hands:

Herman’s selection gives the organization a new public face for the first time in nearly two decades. Nadine Strossen, the ACLU’s longest-serving president and the first woman to hold the job, had led the group since 1991, overseeing a substantial rise in formal membership and national staff.

Herman intends to spearhead the organization’s outreach to the African-American community, and she believes that her professorial background will help encourage young people to become card-carrying members.

More on Susan Herman’s background after the jump.

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