October 2014

We reported in November that Loyola Law School of Los Angeles was thinking about artificially raising grades. In response to the terrible economy, the school has acted on the proposal. Here’s the opening line of the message from Loyola Law Dean Victor Gold:

Last week the faculty approved a proposal to modify the grading system. The change will boost by one step the letter grades assigned at each level of our mandatory curve. For example, what previously was a B- would be a B, what previously was a B would be a B+, and so forth. All other academic standards based on grades, such as the probation and disqualification thresholds, are also adjusted upwards by the same magnitude. For reasons that will be explained below, these changes are retroactive to include all grades that have been earned under the current grading system since it was adopted. This means that all grades already earned by current students will be changed. It also means that all grades going forward will be governed by the new curve. The effect of making the change retroactive will be to increase the GPA of all students by .333. The change will not alter relative class rank since the GPA of all students will be moved up by the same amount.

Loyola students are having difficulty getting jobs. In response, did the administration consider dropping tuition? Nope. Instead, they just gave everybody an extra third of a grade — retroactively, no less. That’s not just inflation; that’s a rewriting of history.

Really, are employers out there going to fall for this? Loyola hopes so….

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* You know things are bad when people from Kentucky start suing the Church. [Gawker]

* … Speaking of the Holy No-See; regardless of whether or not Pope Benedict XVI gets deposed, he’s ruined my Easter. [True/Slant]

* A court found that the Bush administration illegally wiretapped two Americans. Only two? Is there a typo somewhere in there that I missed? [Wired]

* Even if you’re not a member of the “lucky sperm club,” Seton Hill is taking away excuses for failure. [Law and More]

* Starting an office pool on how much weight a female co-worker will gain during pregnancy is terrible. Unless you have a gambling problem. Then it’s just kind of funny. [Dealbreaker]

* Lawyer stops blowing hot air, starts traveling with it. [Who Needs Lawyers Anyway]

Sorry, we didn’t mean to get your hopes up (or maybe we did). The famously sphinx-like Justice Thomas did not ask a question at oral argument yesterday — but he did open his mouth and emit hearty laughs. From CNN:

Sometimes the most complicated of cases at the Supreme Court brings out the best arguments. It certainly brought out the giggles in a little-watched appeal Tuesday over federal prison terms.

The justices managed to crack themselves up — along with the public audience — at least a dozen times in the hour-long oral debate. Justice Clarence Thomas rarely speaks at the high court’s normally sober sessions, but he especially enjoyed the gentle insults and self-deprecating jibes his colleagues showered on each other. His booming laugh could be clearly heard at times.

So what gave CT a case of the chuckles during Barber v. Thomas?

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Duke is having a good month. The Blue Devils are heading to the NCAA Final Four this weekend. (Sorry, haters.) And one of the school’s law students, 3L Stephen Rawson, argued before the Fourth Circuit last week.

Like Duke in its Elite Eight game against Baylor, Rawson struggled early on. A few minutes into oral argument, he fainted.

He may have lost consciousness, but he didn’t lose his cool…

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It’s not American Idol.

– Cravath presiding partner Evan Chesler, explaining that his firm makes offers to all (or almost all) of its summer associates, at a panel discussion today at NYU Law School.

Not everybody from Lovells will be jumping on the Ho-Love bandwagon this May. Legal Week reports that Lovells will close its Chicago office:

Lovells is set to shut down its Chicago office by the end of October following a strategic and financial review of its business.

The office, which has seven partners and 15 fee earners, has been under review since before the firm’s merger talks with Hogan & Hartson began.

Not everybody can benefit from the something about synergy upside of the merger. But will these Chicago castoffs find new homes?

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If someone told you they had a $14,500,000 inheritance from their father stuck in a bank account in Burkina Faso, you would likely laugh in their face and offer them some Viagra and a penis enlarger in exchange for a slice of the fortune.

But what if they told you this while you were sitting in a conference room of a corporate law firm, and the person was flanked by Baker Hostetler attorneys who vouched for the legitimacy of the African fortune?

Under those circumstances, a group of Ohioans invested over one million dollars to help Willia Burton recover her supposed windfall from a foreign bank account. But it’s been five years, and it’s become evident that — sur-freaking-prise! — it’s actually a scam.

Now the nine gullible investors are suing Burton and her Baker Hostetler lawyers, William Culbertson and Paul Feinberg, for fraud, civil conspiracy, and negligent misrepresentation.

Unfortunately, there’s no claim to be made for the public humiliation they shall now suffer for falling for a “Nigerian bank account scam”…

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Readers of the New York Times may have noted an odd correction/apology in the paper last week:

In 1994, Philip Bowring, a contributor to the International Herald Tribune’s op-ed page, agreed as part of an undertaking with the leaders of the government of Singapore that he would not say or imply that Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong had attained his position through nepotism practiced by his father Lee Kuan Yew. In a February 15, 2010, article, Mr. Bowring nonetheless included these two men in a list of Asian political dynasties, which may have been understood by readers to infer that the younger Mr. Lee did not achieve his position through merit. We wish to state clearly that this inference was not intended. We apologize to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew and former Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong for any distress or embarrassment caused by any breach of the undertaking and the article.

What necessitated this rather back-handed apology?
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Ed. note: This post is written by Will Meyerhofer, a Biglaw attorney turned psychotherapist, whom we profiled. A former Sullivan & Cromwell associate, he holds degrees from Harvard, NYU Law, and The Hunter College School of Social Work. He blogs at The People’s Therapist.

The People’s Therapist received an interesting and important letter a few weeks ago from a 3L (I’ve redacted it and altered some details to preserve anonymity):

Mr. Meyerhofer,

I have a question (or perhaps a topic suggestion for a post, as I’m sure many students are wondering about this) about the character and fitness part of the NY bar application.

I have seen a therapist several times over the years for issues relating to depression, eating disorders, and self-injury. On the NY bar application it asks whether you have any psychological issues that might effect your ability to perform as a lawyer. I have absolutely no idea whether I’m required to disclose my psychological treatment history, or if I do, how much of it. Is the determination based on what I personally think, or is it a reasonable person standard?

As I’ve had to go to the ER several times over the years, objectively I could see how someone could interpret that as something that could affect my performance. However, I personally don’t think that it does.

I don’t really know who I could ask about this, as I don’t really want my school administrators to know about my issues. Any information you might have would be much appreciated. Thank you so much for your help!

Sincerely,

“Stumped in Syracuse”

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