Posts by Staci Zaretsky
With sky-high tuition prices like this, it’s no wonder law school has become a game of loans.
* Unfortunately, it seems that if you want to get an elite legal education in this country, you’re going to have to pay an arm and a leg for it. This year’s NLJ Top 10 Go-To Law Schools each have a sticker price that’s greater than $50K. [National Law Journal]
* Hamline University’s president thinks it was smarter for her law school to merge with William Mitchell Law than for it to close altogether — hey, it’ll still bear the Hamline name and its dying carcass won’t be on her books anymore! [Star Tribune]
* Later this week, SCOTUS will hear oral arguments in King v. Burwell, a case that could decimate the Affordable Care Act as we know it. At this point, the justices must be contemplating how many people will lose if the plaintiffs here win. [Wall Street Journal]
* An ADA from the Brooklyn DA’s office who prosecuted drug cases was canned after his colleagues learned that he failed to report his personal connection to an admitted cocaine dealer. Perhaps they were jealous he refused to share his hookup. [New York Daily News]
* In case you missed it, Above the Law, your favorite legal website, has been “rankle[d]” by a new series on CNNMoney called “Above the Law.” We know you’re as ticked off about this as we are, so we hope you’ll help us write our cease-and-desist letter. [Am Law Daily]
Getting a law degree these days is kind of like taking all of your money and burning it.
It seems that one of the biggest problems facing the Virginia justice system is not its gross prosecution and over-incarceration of minorities, but women lawyers in skirts.
* It looks like some pretty big changes are going to be coming down the pipeline at Washington & Lee University School of Law. From faculty and staff layoffs to payouts from its endowment, this generally doesn’t look pretty. We’ll have more on this news later today. [Lawyers, Guns & Money]
* The 87th Academy Awards ceremony is this weekend, and you know what that means: IP lawyers are doing their damndest to protect the Oscars brand. Can you imagine the sheer number of cease and desist letters that have been going out? [National Law Journal]
* Congratulations to Marci Eisenstein, who was recently elected to become the first woman to serve as managing partner of Schiff Hardin in the firm’s 150-year history. FYI, the firm’s most recent partner classes have been 2/3 women for the past three years. [Am Law Daily]
* New Jersey Governor and would-be Republican presidential candidate Chris Christie made five firms really happy in 2014 thanks to all of the legal work he handed to them. Gibson Dunn, for example, earned $7.9 million from the Bridgegate affair. [Courier-Post]
* Which state will be the next to legalize recreational marijuana? It may be Vermont, where Senate Bill 95 would allow those 21 and older to possess, use, and sell pot. Just think, you can save the environment and get high while you do it! [Huffington Post]
Why do people assume all lawyers are wealthy when some of them are struggling to make ends meet?
No one wants to see a bar examinee piss himself during the test — except for the National Conference of Bar Examiners, that is.
* “Let’s face it: There are some people here that will not vote for her unless she says what they want her to say, that the president committed an illegal act by these [immigration] executive orders.” Loretta Lynch is having a tough time making Republican friends. [The Hill]
* Some new details have been released on the investigation into DLA Piper associate David Messerschmitt’s death. Per police records, he was stabbed in the back, and was found in his hotel room with “lubricant and condom” and an “enema.” We’ll have more on this development later today. [Legal Times]
* The rankings are coming! THE RANKINGS ARE COMING! Rankings guru Bob Morse, the man who holds law school deans’ jobs in his hands, says the 2016 U.S. News Law School Rankings will be out on March 10. [Morse Code / U.S. News & World Report]
* A patent lawyer with Asperger’s syndrome is suing Patterson & Sheridan for discrimination. In his suit, he claims that a prominent partner was allowed to continually harass him in a purported quest to drive him out. Ah, law firm life. [The Recorder]
* The case against the ex-leaders of Dewey & LeBoeuf hinges on the testimony of the failed firm’s former employees. Defense attorneys, of course, are trying to get things barred from admission — including one defendant’s link to a mob member. [New York Law Journal]
* “We’re still in the same position we’ve been in. There’s progress, but things are moving at a snail’s pace.” As we mentioned earlier this week, according to NALP, the percentage of women associates in law firms is up… but not by much. [DealBook / New York Times]
* One of the best law schools in the country will have a brand new dean come this summer. Congratulations to Theodore Ruger, a longtime law professor who will assume the deanship at the University of Pennsylvania Law School in July. [Philadelphia Inquirer]
We’ve all heard how dysfunctional entry-level legal recruiting is: Inordinate expense, decisions made on the briefest of subjective impressions with opacity all around, and what do firms reap for all their efforts? Shocking attrition rates among junior associates. It’s time for a conference on what could work better, and this is it.
* Could it be? Did Justice Clarence Thomas ask a question during oral arguments at SCOTUS? No, but he did ask a question at Yale Law during a presentation, noting that he doesn’t ask “irrelevant, useless questions” at the high court. [Legal Times]
* Per NALP, gains were made by women and minorities in law firms for the first time in years, but be careful, because Jim Leipold is watching you: “Individual law firms should not be allowed to hide behind the national figures.” [National Law Journal]
* Meet Judge Robert C. Brack of the District Court of New Mexico, who recently earned quite the accolade. Judge Brack has sentenced more defendants than any other federal judge in the past five years. He won’t be celebrating his achievement. [WSJ Law Blog]
* This Georgetown Law professor, who happens to be the cofounder of one of the country’s largest litigation finance firms, wants to see a law firm IPO, but others wonder if lawyers would be able to ethically practice while reporting to shareholders. [Washington Post]
* A Chadbourne & Park employee has been banned from ever working for another law firm again following his theft of $15,360 from C&P’s coffers. Not to worry, no client money was pilfered from the firm — the cash was taken from an open office account. [Am Law Daily]
* If you haven’t heard, David Lat wrote a book called Supreme Ambitions (affiliate link), and “[w]riting the novel was almost therapeutic for [him] in a way” — he’s “kind of over” the fact that his résumé doesn’t include a SCOTUS clerkship. [Chicago Daily Law Bulletin]
If true, the allegations against the judge are absolutely insane.
Have any of you actually slept with one of your law school professors?
* Following NBC’s announcement of his six-month suspension without pay, Brian Williams turned to Robert Barnett of Williams & Connolly to save his career. The pair met when they were Supreme Court clerks — oopsie, we guess that’s another misrepresentation. [Am Law Daily]
* “We weren’t about to ask them to risk life and limb to get in.” As Boston braces for yet another snowstorm, Biglaw firms are trying to figure out how they can continue to operate. Punxsutawney Phil is keeping the wheels of justice from turning. [National Law Journal]
* The Supreme Court has granted Colorado an extension to respond to a lawsuit filed by Nebraska and Oklahoma which claims that its decision to legalize marijuana was unconstitutional. Puff, puff, pass this cert vote, SCOTUS. [Cannabist / Denver Post]
* Regulators! Mount up… and then run away to your new Biglaw firms. Preet Bharara’s S.D.N.Y. roster is constantly changing thanks to the golden handcuffs large law firms offer, but Bharara still “love[s] all [his] children equally.” [DealBook / New York Times]
* David Messerschmitt, the DLA Piper associate who was found dead in a Washington, D.C., hotel room last week, is remembered by his colleagues as “someone so talented and so nice.” There have been no new breaks in his murder investigation. [Legal Times]
Ed. note: Due to the Presidents’ Day holiday, we will be on a reduced publication schedule today. We will still be publishing, but less frequently than usual. We will be back in full force tomorrow.
* The news is in, and it seems that Davis Polk’s financial numbers were at record highs. The firm’s revenue beat the $1 billion mark for the first time ever, and its PPP rose to $3.29 million. No wonder its 2014 bonuses were so awesome! [Am Law Daily]
* Yes, we know that William Mitchell Law and Hamline Law are merging to survive as a result of a quickly disappearing applicant pool. We’d really love to know how many other law schools are considering this as an alternative to closing their doors. [Star Tribune]
* How are Nebraska and Oklahoma, which neighbor Colorado, where marijuana has been legalized, handling the situation? Not well. Their AGs want SCOTUS to rule the weed law in the state where you can get Rocky Mountain High is unconstitutional. [PBS NewsHour]
* Thanks to a recent ABA rule change, schools are beginning to admit students without LSAT scores. One of those schools is Iowa Law (ranked in the top 30 by U.S. News), but those students need to have done really well on other standardized tests. [Daily Iowan]
* “How have I done as a judge today?” “Not bad, but you could do better.” Judge John Hurley had a run-in with an 80-year-old criminal defendant who wouldn’t stop calling him sweetheart. Flip to the next page to see the entertaining video. [NBC 6 South Florida]
Who do you think is telling the truth, the tenured judge, or his allegedly “disgruntled law clerk”?
Law school is so tough that students have to study all the time — even when it’s embarrassing to be caught doing so.
The Notorious R.B.G. vowed to “stay away from the wine,” but she just couldn’t help herself.
* Amanda Knox, everyone’s favorite convicted/acquitted/convicted murderess, just got engaged to a musician she’s known since middle school. Aww, that’s cute and nice, but what we’d really like to know is where she’s registered for cutlery. [People]
* Loretta Lynch’s confirmation vote was postponed because per Chairman Chuck Grassley, she apparently submitted dissatisfying answers to the Senate Judiciary Committee’s post-hearing questions. Some says that she’s being held to a double standard… likely because she is being held to a double standard. [National Law Journal]
* Yesterday afternoon, Judge Callie V.S. Granade ordered that probate judges in Alabama issue same-sex marriage licenses. Sorry Chief Justice Roy Moore, but you better get ready, because the tide of gay marriage is gonna roll. ROLL TIDE ROLL! [National Law Journal]
* Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg says she’s not going to give up on women’s rights cases at the Supreme Court, despite the fact that she’s got male colleagues who “don’t fully appreciate the arbitrary barriers that have been put in women’s way.” [Bloomberg]
* According to the latest report from Citi Private Bank Law Firm Group, Biglaw firms, “across the board,” are doing better than they were last year, but the biggest Biglaw firms are doing the best, of course. We’ll have more on this later today. [WSJ Law Blog]
* A Texas lawmaker has proposed a bill that would appoint legal representation to a fetus if its mother is brain dead. “You’ll hear what the family wants, and you’ll also give the pre-born child a chance to have a voice in court at that same time.” [Dallas Morning News]
* New York Law School is launching a two-year law degree program, and students will only have to pay two-thirds of the $147,720 that they normally would have had to. For the record, not all two-year degree programs are cheaper. [Crain’s New York Business]