October 2014

By the middle of second semester of that first year, everyone saw the system for what it was. We were furious. We realized that statistically, because of the curve, there was no way for many of us to keep our scholarships. But at that point, you’re a year in. They’ve got you. You feel stuck.

Alexandra Leumer, a 2009 graduate of Golden Gate University School of Law, quoted in an interesting and provocative New York Times article suggesting that law school “merit scholarships” can be a bit of a scam unfair in the eyes of some recipients, due to the fact that so many students lose them after their 1L year by not achieving the required GPA.

(We’ll probably have more to say about this piece, entitled Law Students Lose the Grant Game as Schools Win, on Monday — but in the meantime, feel free to discuss it in the comments.)

Where’s she going? Let’s find out….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “It’s Official: Sophia Chua-Rubenfeld, aka the Tiger Cub, Has Made Her College Decision!”

The official title of the NALP conference panel that I attended on merit-based compensation contained a playful shout-out to Sarah Palin: “How Is That Performance-Based Compensation System Working for Ya?”

The panel was originally supposed to have featured a representative of the now-defunct Howrey law firm. So the snarky answer to the question presented might be, “Not well.” (In fairness to merit-based compensation, however, Howrey’s dissolution didn’t have much to do with its model for training, promoting, and compensating associates.)

No mention of Howrey was made during the introductory remarks (or anywhere else in the discussion, for that matter). Rather, the panel focused on the positive — and offered useful advice for firms that are contemplating adoption of performance-based systems….

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Best. Pro-Smoking Campaign. Ever.

* I want to smoke so badly. Maybe tonight will be the night that I light up again, and then continue until I die. But if I do, that’ll be my fault, not the tobacco companies’. [WSJ Law Blog]

* Mike Tyson’s face tattoo artist is holding up the release of Hangover II. Surely the Hangover people have enough to pay this guy to go away. [Gawker]

* Strippers to Minimum Wage! [Suits & Sentences]

* A wonderful visualization of law firm profitability and leverage. [Law.com]

* If you understand Lord of the Rings, you can understand legal technology. [Law & Technology/Forbes]

* Additional thoughts on the earlier NALP panel on law firm transparency, from Mary Kate Sheridan of Vault. [Vault's Law Blog]

Maybe RBG is still very young at heart.

Here’s the question swirling through the blogosphere today: Should Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg resign now — because if she dies under a Republican president, it will be a disaster for every ideal she fights for?

The question was teed up on the WSJ Law Blog this morning after an AP report noted that some liberals were “clamoring” for her resignation (and that of Stephen Breyer, to a lesser extent), just in case Obama loses in 2012.

You can see why liberals are nervous. The Court already has a 5 – 4 conservative majority (if you really think Justice Anthony Kennedy is a “swing” vote, you’re a Republican who likes to pretend to be an independent). Justice Ginsburg has had health problems, and some are not confident that she’ll last until 2016 — and it’s unlikely that either the 78-year-old RBG or the 72-year-old Breyer would make it to 2020, if a two-term Republican president is on the horizon.

The stakes couldn’t be higher. Which is why I think my answer is going to surprise people…

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King & Spalding’s willingness to drop a client, the U.S. House of Representatives, in connection with the lawsuit challenging the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) was such an obsequious act of weakness that I feel compelled to end your legal association with Virginia so that there is no chance that one of my legal clients will be put in the embarrassing and difficult situation like the client you walked away from, the House of Representatives.

– Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, in a letter firing the law firm of King & Spalding.

A second quote of the day, from the New York Times, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Quotes of the Day: When Ken Cuccinelli and the New York Times agree you screwed up, you screwed up.”

Yesterday, we devoted some coverage to the devastation down in Alabama due to the terrible storms there earlier this week. In the National Law Journal, Karen Sloan has an excellent report about how the tornadoes are affecting operations at the University of Alabama, including its law school.

It appears that the storms affected the college more than the law school. But we are hearing students at Alabama law complaining that Dean Kenneth Randall is pushing too hard to maintain a normal schedule.

We understand that finals at the college have been postponed indefinitely. But at the law school, tests are supposed to resume Monday.

Whether or not that is the correct decision, Dean Randall’s method for communicating his directives has rubbed some students the wrong way…

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Many people, especially law school administrators, bemoan the U.S. News law school rankings. Sure, they have their pedagogical reasons for hating the rankings, but there are larger issues here. When schools drop in the rankings, heads tend to roll.

Of course, law schools deans rarely admit they were ousted because of the U.S. News. But now is the season of administrative resignations. There are a couple of them floating around out there, but one in particular caught my eye. The dean of a law school that took a substantial hit in this year’s rankings has resigned. Not to take a job elsewhere or spend more time with his family. No, he’s putting down the deanship to rejoin the faculty.

Interesting…

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No bonus for you!

It’s April 29. Monarchists have long circled this day as an opportunity to praise the vestigial structures of imperial domination. But this day means a lot to people who earn their fortune through work instead of birth. Today is a huge day for Biglaw associates. For many, today is the day spring bonus payments hit their bank accounts.

Don’t spend it all in one place.

But as we all know, not every Biglaw associate will be enjoying a spring bonus this year. With the payments out, we’re no longer looking at which firms are “lagging” behind in their spring bonus announcements. Now we’re looking at firms that have simply decided they are not paying spring bonuses, regardless of what the market says. Apparently, keeping up with Cravath really will be ruinous to some firms.

So who has officially announced they will not be paying spring bonuses this year? We’ll tell you what we know about three Biglaw firms, and hopefully you can fill in any gaps…

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I’m done whining about Facebook privacy issues. Everyone should know by now that Facebook and privacy are basically mutually exclusive.

But every once in a while, someone does something stupid relating to Facebook privacy in a new, exciting way — like stealing a computer and posting photos of yourself on the owner’s page, or uploading placenta pics from your nursing-school class. We enjoy mocking covering such special occasions. It’s even better when Facebook bungles have larger implications.

Last week, an emergency room doctor in Rhode Island got reprimanded and fined $500 by the state medical board. (She had been fired from her hospital last year.)

Why? She posted information about a patient on Facebook….

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