August 2014

Crushing Debt Obligations.jpgLast month, we reported that UC Hastings College of Law was set to become the most expensive law school in California. Apparently, the good people at Berkeley and UC Davis took that as a challenge.
Tomorrow, November 18th there will be a meeting on the proposed budget for the California university system. The tuition numbers for law schools would be terrifying for prospective law students — if only they were able to exercise common sense.
First let’s look at the proposed tuition and fees for California residents at Berkeley and other California public law schools over the next three years:
California law tuition residents.JPG
Notice that these numbers are up from the proposal that was on the table just this past August. I can’t imagine what tuition will look like when we actually get to 2012 – 2013. By then they’ll be charging people in Euros and organ donations.
After the jump, we look at what these schools plan for non-resident students (hint, it’s obscene enough that I considered putting up NSFW warnings), and why UC administrators think students will accept the tuition hikes.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Law School Tuition Hikes Spread Like Wildfires in California”

Simpsons rich texan NRA.gif* Today is the NRA’s birthday! To celebrate, I’m heading to my local gun range (it’s called “the Bronx” if you’re not from New York) where I intend to pump a copy of the Second Amendment full of hot lead. [Jew with a Gun]
* Google gets into the Westlaw and Lexis business. [The Supreme Court of Texas Blog]
* Volokh looks at some aggravating circumstances that could possibly justify why 37-year-old Sandy Binkley was sent away for 12 years for banging a 17-year-old student. I still don’t think the punishment fits the porking. [The Volokh Conspiracy]
* The Feds have the death penalty, but New York doesn’t. If Holder really wants to bomb Khalid Sheik Mohammad back to the stone age, it’ll be a tricky political situation. [WSJ Law Blog]
* What does it say when lawyers are lining up to defend Bill Belichick’s controversial decision to go for it on fourth down during the Patriots’ loss to the Colts on Sunday? It says “the amount of front runners who support teams like the Patriots, Yankees, Lakers, Celtics, and Steelers has reached epic proportions in this country. And soon the Dookies will be upon us. Everybody who did not grow up in New England needs to get off Tom Brady’s illegitimate child-having jock.” Ahh, that feels better. [Tax Prof Blog]

marijuana pot law.jpgBen Harper says that “what’s from the earth is of the greatest worth.” Yesterday, ex-U.S. attorney John McKay weighed in on the marijuana debate, and said that “what’s from the earth” shouldn’t be illegal.
Instructing federal agencies to ignore congressional laws is not a fix, said McKay. From the Seattle Post-Intelligencer:

McKay faulted Congress for failing to take initiative on the issue. It is not the place of federal prosecutors or law officers to make policy, he said, nor should the White House go it alone.
In the end, he argued, marijuana should not be lumped in with cocaine, methamphetamine and heroin as part of the war on drugs. Marijuana law, McKay said, “should look a lot more like alcohol (regulations) and a lot less like cocaine and methamphetamine (laws).”

Colorado’s attorney general agrees… when it comes to state coffers. AG John Suthers says it’s okay for his state to tax medical marijuana.
A recent Marie Claire article made us realize that this is not just a question of theoretical interest to some of you. Apparently, there are Biglaw types out there toking up! One 29-year-old corporate attorney told the magazine that pot is essential for relaxation after getting chewed out by a partner.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Lawyers Who Are Okay With Burning One Down (Or: Pot and the Law)

aba_logo_K.gifThere will be a change at the top of one of the few organizations that can help address some of the problems facing lawyers today. The ABA Journal reports:

ABA Executive Director Henry F. White Jr. has resigned after three years at the helm of the world’s largest voluntary professional membership organization. ABA General Counsel R. Thomas Howell Jr. has been named interim executive director.

Let’s take a moment to remember precisely what the ABA does. From ABA President Carolyn B. Lamm’s official statement about the resignation:

With nearly 400,000 members, the American Bar Association is the largest voluntary professional membership organization in the world. As the national voice of the legal profession, the ABA works to improve the administration of justice, promotes programs that assist lawyers and judges in their work, accredits law schools, provides continuing legal education, and works to build public understanding around the world of the importance of the rule of law.

There are a lot of lawyers that need some professional assistance just at the moment. Hopefully a fresh face will have new ideas about proactive steps the ABA can take on behalf of its membership.
ABA Executive Director Resigns [ABA Journal]

schulte logo.JPGThe Above the Law inbox has been on fire all morning as disgruntled (former) Schulte Roth & Zabel associates share some bad news:

Yet more lay-offs: Two groups — 13 associates so far — real estate and business transactions.

Other tipsters have used the same ominous language: “13 associates, so far.” Are there more people that are going to get the bad news from Schulte today? The firm did not respond to our request for comment, so we suppose other Schulte associates will just have to wait and see.
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Before we worry about how many more pink slips might be handed out today, let’s take a moment to look at the 13 we know of that have already been let go.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Nationwide Layoff Watch: Schulte Gets Things Done Before the Holidays”

Super Lawyers Law school rankings.JPGLast night, the WSJ Law Blog previewed a new set of law school rankings. Today, we have the full list from SuperLawyers. The magazine, in association with Minnesota Law & Politics and Washington Law & Politics, has ranked law schools based on the number of Super Lawyers they produce.
Is it a little self-serving for a magazine to rank law schools based on how many of the school’s graduates end up in its own magazine? Sure. It’s a little like US Weekly handing out Oscar nominations based on how many times a star has appeared on its cover.
But at least it is an attempt to rank schools based on graduate outcomes. The Super Lawyers Blog explains the rankings this way:

Most law school rankings look at things like bar passage rates, professor-to-student ratios and the number of books in the library, but they ignore the end product — the quality of lawyers produced. We think it’s like ranking football teams based on athletic facilities, player size and equipment without considering who wins the games.
In the real world — the world of clients and juries and judges — no one cares about your GPA or LSAT score. All that matters is how good and ethical a lawyer you are. That’s the focus of Super Lawyers.
Schools are ranked according to the total number of graduates named to the state and regional Super Lawyers lists in 2009. In the event of a tie between schools, the cumulative peer evaluation and research scores of graduates are used as tie-breakers.

They care about how “ethical” you are in the real world? Who knew?
Enough with the preamble. Let’s explore the cream of the crop, the Super Lawyers top 20, after the jump.

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Association of Corporate Counsel logo.jpgOn Friday, we gave you a sneak peek at the new rankings being developed by the Association for Corporate Counsel. The organization is asking its members to submit reviews about the law firms they work with based on a five star system.
We told you that the ACC rankings were still a work in progress, with many firms not having enough reviews to make their rating significant.
Still, the ACC would have preferred to keep its list a secret from the general public. The ABA Journal reports:

The ABA Journal asked the Association of Corporate Counsel for comment. Media representatives pointed to an online statement and a blog post by ACC President Fred Krebs. “It is premature and inappropriate at this time to cite ‘rankings’ of law firms given the limited number of evaluations submitted thus far,” Krebs says. “The ACC Value Index is in the early data-gathering stage, and it will take time to develop a robust database.”

It seems that the ACC’s real problem is that it doesn’t want its rankings to be termed “rankings.”

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Association for Corporate Counsel Says Its Rankings Aren’t Ripe Yet”

Career Center AboveTheLaw Lateral Link ATL.jpg
Our recent Career Center survey asked about compensation structure for salaries and bonuses at your firms.  The results reveal that reports of the death of lockstep compensation have been greatly exaggerated: a large majority of respondents — over 75% — say their firm still pays base salaries on a lockstep scale.  And despite the tough economy, over 96% of respondents expect a bonus this year.   
Check out the full survey results after the jump — and visit the Career Center, powered by Lateral Link — for more on which firm has announced an end-of-year salary freeze, the latest firm to join the hybrid-lockstep compensation bandwagon, and which firm is now rescinding offers to new associates.

Full survey results, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Career Center: Show Me the Money”

We’ve had a lot of evidence that prospective law students have hatched a diabolical plan to flood the legal market with fresh talent. But this graph from Most Strongly Supported tells it all:
Most Strongly Supported LSAT graph.jpg
My Lord.
Right now, I’m like Oliver Platt at the end of 2012. Shut the damn door or we’re all gonna die.
Some other observations after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Most. LSATs. Ever.”

The Original Grammar Nazi.JPG* Utah college student can’t use “global warming” as a defense. Tim DeChristopher was indicted in April on felony charges for interfering with a government auction and making false representations when he bid $1.8 million for land near Utah’s national parks knowing he could not make good on the bids. [New York Times]
* ATL grammar police will hate this ruling. A misplaced modifier is not a $2.45-million mistake. “[W]hile misplaced modifiers are syntactical sins righteously condemned by English teachers everywhere, our job is not to critique the parties’ grammar, but only, if possible, to adduce and enforce their contract’s meaning,” wrote Judge Gorsuch of the 10th Circuit. [Courthouse News Service]
* Chevron sues lawyer who sued Chevron. [San Francisco Chronicle]
* LA city attorney wants $3 million reimbursement for Michael Jackson’s memorial service. [Associated Press]
* Cheering the Yarvard Crimdogs. [Yale Daily News]
* Ponzi scheme crackdown in California. [KCRA.com]
* FIU law student missing. [Associated Press]

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