ATL 2008 in review.jpgThis is the last in our series of Top Law School Stories of 2008. We gave you law students of the year, the most important law school trends, and best law school listservs of 2008. To round out the series, we’re declaring three schools our Law Schools of the Year.

This is not a U.S. News and World Report ranking. We chose these three schools based on their conduct as institutions in 2008 and the actions taken by their administrators. One school is down South, another is in the windy midwest, and the last is in New England. Check them out, after the jump.


Here’s our list of 2008 Law Schools of the Year, in ascending order of coverage domination.

tulane mr rogers shoe.jpg3. Tulane Law School: Tulane’s 2008 Barrister Ball was held at the Louisiana’s Children Museum in October. The museum (which looks absolutely adorable on its website) has a hands-on Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood exhibit on Level 2, which includes a display with a pair of Mr. Fred Rogers’ shoes. In the course of the evening, some devious Tulane student decided to steal one of the shoes. We don’t have a shoe fetish here at ATL– we would have been more impressed had the student gotten his or her hands on one of Rogers’ glorious sweaters. But we digress…

Tulane’s vice dean was far from pleased with the transgression against Rogers and the Children’s Museum. He sent out an angry e-mail to the student body demanding the return of the shoe and emphasizing the danger for the perpetrator’s future legal career. Though Vice Dean Griffin originally promised immunity if the shoe were recovered safely, the matter was turned over to the Tulane University Police Department after the shoe was returned.

We checked back in with our friends at Tulane to see what became of the shoe thief. Our tipster tells us:

I wish I had something juicier to report but the fact is that after the shoe was returned it was really never spoken of again. I’m sure someone knows who did it, but I don’t, and the way law school gossip works if it was even remotely generally known, I would have found out I’m sure.

So, Mr. Rogers’ shoe didn’t end up ruining anyone’s legal career. “It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood…”

springer.jpg2. Northwestern University School of Law: Northwestern sometimes gets overshadowed by its nearby rival, the University of Chicago. But it was on our coverage radar in 2008 with two big stories: its controversial commencement speaker and its shaving a year off the J.D. program.

Things got heated at Northwestern in April when the school announced that the ringmaster of scandal and vulgarity Jerry Springer would address graduating law school students. While some students were excited about the selection, others were pained by the selection of a man who “exploits stupid, poor, desperate people for holier-than-thous to laugh at and belittle.” (See Springergate posts). Apparently, Northwestern chose well. One law school student wrote to us after the speech:

Jerry knocked the ball out of the park. Only standing ovation at NUs commencement.

NLaw_Logoyellow.gifNorthwestern made headlines again in June announcing a new two-year-long J.D. program. As Northwestern brags on its site, it’s the “the first top tier law school to offer an accelerated JD program.” While there is no tuition advantage in embarking on the two-year degree–”tuition for the Accelerated JD Program is pro-rated to equal the same total cost as the traditional three-year JD Program,” says Northwestern–students do get to start earning that Biglaw salary a year earlier (hopefully).

The first entering class, consisting of 20 students, starts up this May. Given the current job environment, the students may actually wish they could stay in school for three years.

Harvard Law School seal logo.jpg1. Harvard Law School: It gots its crimson fingers in every 2008 Law School review post: Infamous Harvard Law Review writer Phil Telfeyan made our list of Law Students of the Year. HLS weighed in on one of the Hottest 2008 Law School Trends, grade reform, converting to a pass-fail system this year. And, a Harvard transfer student helped the American University Washington College of Law make the 2008 Listserv of the Year List.

In 2008, HLS also gave us our president-elect Barack Obama, and perhaps more importantly, it gave us Elie Mystal, our ATL editor-in-chief.

Its former dean, now solicitor general nominee, Elena Kagan, raided many a school for top faculty talent. Now the Obama administration is the one doing the raiding, taking both Kagan and Harvard prof. Cass Sunstein off to D.C.

Harvard Law School is like the Angelina Jolie/Paris Hilton/Lindsay Lohan of legal gossip–it’s always making headlines–and that’s why it’s our 2008 Law School of the Year.

ATL Coverage of Tulane and Mr. Rogers’ Shoe

And That Foot Is Me: A Shoe-Story Follow-Up

Update: It Is a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood!

Tulane Law School: Showing Mr. Rogers How They Roll In Mr. Robinson’s Neighborhood

ATL 2008 Coverage of Northwestern Law School

Jerry Springer to be Commencement Speaker at Northwestern Law School

An Update on Springergate at Northwestern Law

Coming Soon, to a Top Law School Near You: The Two-Year JD Degree

Prior ATL Coverage of Harvard Law School


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