American Bar Association / ABA

Law schools have faced an incredible amount of public scrutiny this year. Three law schools — Thomas Jefferson, Cooley Law, and New York Law School — are facing lawsuits over their allegedly deceptive employment statistics. Fifteen more lawsuits of the same variety may be filed soon. Three senators have demanded action from the American Bar Association, but the response has been lacking.

And in the face of all of this public ridicule, the ABA’s Section of Legal Education declined to ask questions pertaining to employment in legal jobs in its 2011 questionnaire. Apparently the powers that be at the ABA have adopted a honey badger policy with regard to questions of post-graduate employment data (i.e., don’t care; don’t give a sh*t).

So, what’s the next step in this process? Is there a Senate hearing in the works?

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Let a thousand law schools bloom?

Critics of the current legal-education model, including my colleague Elie Mystal, have accused the American Bar Association of failing to uphold sufficiently stringent accreditation standards. ABA-accredited law schools proliferate, even though thousands of law school graduates find themselves unemployed or underemployed.

The ABA was recently chided by the National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity for various alleged deficiencies in the ABA’s exercise of its accreditation power (for example, failure to consider student-loan default rates in assessing programs). Politicians such as Senators Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Charles Grassley (R-IA), and Tom Coburn (R-OK) have also raised questions about whether there are too many law schools and law school graduates, especially in light of the still-challenging legal job market.

In light of this debate, I was eager to attend a panel at the Federalist Society’s National Lawyers Convention on the subject of law school accreditation….

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Can you imagine if this kid called himself a 'doctor' just because he went to law school?

I know “J.D.” stands for “Juris Doctor.” I get that at commencement somebody probably proclaimed that law school graduates were “doctors of laws.” All that said, the lawyer who refers to himself as “Dr.” So-and-So has got to be the biggest d-bag on the planet. Bigger even than the tool who runs around calling himself So-and-So, Esquire.

On Adjunct Law Prof Blog, Mitchell H. Rubinstein asks if lawyers are considered doctors. It’s an easy question to me. I don’t even think Ph.D. holders should call themselves “doctors” unless they can prescribe medicinal marijuana or something.

But hey, I’m just the guy who thinks lawyers should generally avoid saying things that make the general public think, “What a self-important a**hole.”

As per usual, the American Bar Association has no such compunctions. And we already know that the organization is strangely committed to making sure as many people go to law school under false pretenses as possible.

So you can guess which way the ABA comes out on this issue….

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It’s time to check in on the scandal involving the University of Illinois College of Law and its false reporting on the qualifications of its admitted students. Every time we do look at Illinois, the school tells us that “this time” they’ve figured out the full extent of the problem — and it’s a bigger mess than the last time they piped up.

On that scale, today is no different. When the story first broke in September, Illinois claimed that admissions data had only been falsified for one year. Then, a few weeks later, Illinois said that data for four class years had been falsified. Today, Illinois says it has completed a two-month investigation that cost the school $1 million. Now they’re saying that the admissions data for six class years have been compromised, based on a report prepared for the school by Jones Day and Duff & Phelps.

I wonder how many years of lying Illinois would have discovered if they spent $2 million?

But people will be distracted from the ever growing number of times Illinois is self-reporting it lied to people. That’s because today, Illinois has offered up a sacrificial lamb. There’s a head on a platter, there’s a body on the pyre, and Illinois College of Law would have you believe that it has identified the one, the only, the sole person responsible for this entire scandal….

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Herman Cain: victim of a high-tech lynching?

* Here is Bess Levin’s take on the Groomzilla lawsuit brought by Todd J. Remis, son of a Goodwin Procter partner. [Dealbreaker]

* What advice would crisis management guru Lanny Davis give to Herman Cain about Cain’s sexual harassment scandal? Here’s an imagined conversation. [The Hill]

* And here is a real conversation — between Herman Cain and Ginni Thomas, also about the sexual harassment allegations. [Daily Caller]

* Current law students, at Brooklyn Law and Cardozo, call upon the ABA to get its act together. [BLS Advocate; Cardozo Jurist]

Judge J. Paul Oetken (S.D.N.Y.)

* The legal career of NBA star Ben Wallace is off to a great start. [Yahoo! Sports]

* Antonin Pribetic asks: “Are GCs Shifting The Balance of BigLaw Power?” [The Trial Warrior]

* Congratulations to Judge Paul Oetken on joining the distinguished S.D.N.Y. bench! (I was lucky enough to attend his ceremonial induction last week, which was fabulous.) [Poliglot / Metro Weekly]

* And congratulations to the Dave Nee Foundation, a non-profit committed to fighting depression and preventing suicide, on its record number of law firm supporters for this year’s masquerade ball (taking place tomorrow night). [Dave Nee Foundation (press release)]

Taylor Swift

* Snowtober was a treat for some, but a trick for many more. Let us know how your firm is handling this Halloween horror. Email us or send a text to (646) 820-TIPS. [Reuters]

* Will the legal profession continue to be a slave to ethical rules of the past? Only if lawyers can’t profit from it. And if they can, then say hello to an ABA resolution in 2012. [New York Times]

* Pot trafficker: add this one to the list of career alternatives for attorneys that aren’t working out so well. But if you don’t mind giving up your Benz and getting disbarred, then go for it. [Times Union]

* Yo Taylor, I’m really happy for you, I’mma let you finish, but Beyoncé had one of the best topless trademark lawsuits of all time. One of the best topless trademark lawsuits of all time! [Daily Mail]

* Urine trouble, lady. Here’s some proof that next time things aren’t going your way in court, you should try peeing all over yourself. [New York Post]

Here at Above the Law, it seems like we complain about the American Bar Association on an almost daily basis. But you know what? It’s Friday, so we’re going to cut the ABA some slack.

We’re a little tardy to the party on this one, but today we have some news for law students that could possibly put some money into their pockets, all courtesy of the ABA.

Shocking, right? Law students, you’ll want to take part in this sweepstakes, but act fast, because it all comes to an end on Halloween….

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Even a caveman needed to go to law school after he thawed out.

It’s the danger of working in a profession that few people respect. The general public understands that not everybody can practice medicine: performing surgeries, prescribing drugs, and even giving advice about surgeries and drugs are things best left to “professionals.” Or look at accountants. People want to have one who is “certified” because, well, math is hard.

But lawyers? Annoying, money grubbing, bastard lawyers? Hell, anybody can do that. That’s what the general public thinks: anybody who is anal and can read can be a lawyer.

And because of that, occasionally lawyers have to deal with op-eds like the one just featured in the New York Times. Clifford Winston of the Brookings Institution argues that everybody should be allowed to practice law.

Seriously, everybody. No law school, no bar exam, if you want to do legal work, go right ahead. If you want to charge people for your uneducated legal advice, feel free!

Somehow Winston believes that allowing untrained dumbasses to take advantage of poor people who don’t know any better will magically help poor people….

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As we mentioned in Morning Docket, Thomas M. Cooley Law School has now filed a motion to dismiss the class action suit filed against it over its employment statistics. New York Law School was also sued and filed its motion to dismiss a couple of days ago. NYLS argued that the students shouldn’t blame NYLS for its reporting of employment data because NYLS meets the standards set forth by the American Bar Association.

Cooley’s motion to dismiss is largely duplicative. The motion has some colorful lines about how the plaintiffs’ complaint “reads more like a free-form rant on an Internet blog,” but at the end of the day, Cooley isn’t really defending its statistics so much as it’s claiming the school can’t be sued because it’s in compliance with the ABA’s reporting standards.

Fine.

So let me ask the question: how does the ABA feel now that member institutions are blaming the ABA’s weak regulation for the schools’ questionable statistics?

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* According to Jacoby & Myers, “winning is everything.” And by “winning,” they, of course, mean “settling.” Ten points to Gryffindor Jay Shepherd. [New York Times]

* Ah, DOMA. Like it or not, we’re footing the bill for a law the DOJ won’t touch. This guy wants us to stop putting money in Paul Clement’s pockets. [WSJ Law Blog]

* Cooley Law has filed a motion to dismiss the complaint over its employment statistics. Reasoning? BLAME THE ABA. [National Law Journal]

* “You are a beautiful grave — dead inside.” Be still my heart. What kind of a girl wouldn’t appreciate a love letter like this? A former tax attorney from Winston & Strawn, apparently. [New York Post]

* What happened at yesterday’s hearing on public nudity in the Bay Area? Soon the only buns you’ll see at restaurants in San Francisco will be on the table. [San Francisco Chronicle]

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