Ave Maria School of Law

Nothing illustrates the way religion can warp the normal function of rational thought quite like the National Jurist’s “most devout law schools” rankings. If you are a person of faith, that’s fine. Mazel tov. And if you want to find new and exciting ways to mingle your religious beliefs with our secular laws, that’s fine too. I mean, I’ll do what I can to oppose you, but in America we must be comfortable with difference.

But picking a law school based on its piety seems pretty dumb. For one thing, law schools should be teaching, you know, laws and stuff. What you do with that knowledge is your own choice, but it seems to me that people should want the best education they can get, and then apply that education to the causes and issues that move them. Why go to Regent Law if you can go to Vanderbilt Law and then advocate for your theocracy from a position of greater strength?

The second problem is that picking a law school because it has some kind of “mission” beyond helping you become a good and employed lawyer seems like a path to pain. But that will become obvious as we actually look at the National Jurist’s list.

In any event, onward Christian lawyers…

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Law school deans should bet a dollar on whether or not change the name of a law school makes more people come.

And the band plays on. No matter what happens in the economy. No matter what kind of evidence we get that the market for legal jobs is totally in the tank. No matter what, law schools continue to expand and continue to find new ways to convince more people to spend a lot of money getting an education that might not lead to employment.

Of course, I’m talking about something new and annoying Cooley did, because you basically can’t have a conversation about what is wrong with law schools anymore without referencing some kind of fresh horror enacted by the people who run the Thomas M. Cooley Law School.

But this impulse towards MOAR LAW STUDENTS obviously isn’t just a Cooley problem. Even though some schools that are already in the law game have thoughtfully looked at reducing class sizes, there are always going to be schools and universities eager to provide prospective law students with educations they can waste money on.

Time for some stories about law school acquisitions, a plague that has now made it all the way down to Texas

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “TTTrading Places: Law Schools Acquire New Territory”

As we noted in Morning Docket today, Law School Transparency (LST) wrote to all law schools accredited by the American Bar Association to request the NALP reports for the class of 2010. The NALP reports contain much more detail than that of the reports released by the ABA, such as information concerning part-time and temporary employment, as well as the number of graduates in jobs that do not require a law degree.

LST’s request was made on December 14, 2011. Two months later, LST has presented the results of that request, and the organization has made some significant strides since it first attempted to collect data back in July 2010. This time around, 34 law schools provided their NALP reports, either by sending them directly to LST, or posting them on their websites.

But which schools provided LST with the information? And which schools are still avoiding action?

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Robert Ringley

Throughout our coverage of Robert Ringley, the Ave Maria School of Law student accused of attempted murder and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, many have offered up their comments about the alleged occurrence, and thoughts about law school in general. This comment was perhaps the most fitting of them all:

Law school is a mental illness factory. If you go in healthy, you’ll come out bitter, angry, and depressed. If you go in unhealthy… well, you risk coming out a murderer.

Yesterday, some described Ringley as easygoing, funny, and carefree. But were those traits just used as a cover-up to mask Ringley’s darker side? We’ve got some additional insights on the alleged perpetrator’s state of mind, plus news on his status at Ave Maria Law….

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Robert Ringley

Earlier this week, we brought you news about Robert Christopher Ringley, the second-year student at Ave Maria School of Law who stands accused of shooting at and threatening to kill two of his classmates — Christopher Graves and Samantha Morris — during an alleged drunken bender.

In case you missed our coverage, Ringley has been charged with attempted murder and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. Prior to his arrest, Ringley allegedly shared his feelings with Morris, his soon-to-be ex-girlfriend, while pacing back and forth with a gun:

“Just tell me you love me. I love you. I can kill myself. I can kill you. It’s simple.”

Creepy and melodramatic. Not a good way to keep a failing relationship intact, bro. So, who is the man who stole Ave Maria’s long-worn shroud of infamy from Andrew Shirvell, former Michigan assistant attorney general and outspoken opponent of homosexuality?

A former classmate has stepped forward to give us all the details….

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Robert Ringley

Law school, copious amounts of alcohol, and unrequited love are the ingredients necessary for a very dangerous cocktail, the effects of which can lead to much more than just a bad hangover.

Just ask Robert Christopher Ringley, a man whom we believe to be a second-year student at the Ave Maria School of Law.

Early Friday morning, Robert Ringley was charged with attempted murder and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon after allegedly threatening to kill and shooting at two of his Ave Maria Law classmates.

What caused Ringley’s alleged of acts violence, and what’s love got to do with it? Let’s take a closer look at some of the allegations….

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You can’t call it a trend just yet, but the University of New Hampshire School of Law has joined Maryland Law and Miami Law in the fight to keep law school tuition down during a still-recovering economy. The school reports it will not be raising tuition for the 2011-2012 academic year.

It’s a sad state of affairs when a law school holding the line on tuition is breaking news. But with nearly every other law school rushing to bilk students who will pay anything for a legal education (law schools at Stanford, Arizona State, and Minnesota spring to mind), it’s nice to see at least a couple of schools that regard their students as something more than profit centers.

Maryland announced its tuition freeze in December. The National Law Journal reports that Miami recently announced it would be maintaining a tuition freeze already in place. Now UNH Law is joining their ranks. There’s still plenty of room on this bandwagon if your law school would like to take a brief break from molesting your financial future.

Not that UNH Law is cheap, especially for a third-tier law school. But this tuition freeze is another indication that UNH is at least trying to think about legal education in a somewhat realistic way…

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Guys, this is my bad. I made a mistake. You see, back in September, Ave Maria School of Law said it was going to do something. And me, silly fool that I am, believed them. I know, I know, I’m an idiot. What kind of person actually believes Ave Maria will keep its word?

In September, Ave Maria announced that it would be the first law school to adopt the proposals set out by the Law School Transparency project for employment reporting by law schools.

And now they’ve gone back on their word. Ave Maria has informed the LST people that they will not let people applying to Ave Maria know what they’re getting into. The school has decided that it doesn’t want to be “first,” and they’re punting the issue back to the ABA.

It’s just amazing to me when an institution of higher education can’t even keep its word….

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Earlier this week, we did an update on the Law School Transparency project. At the time, no law schools had agreed to the data request made by the two Vanderbilt Law students who started the process.

Well, now they’ve got one. Ave Maria School of Law has signed up with Law School Transparency. Click here for coverage from the ABA Journal, and here for the thoughts of Shilling Me Softly. Here’s the email Ave Maria sent to the LST people:

“This email will confirm that Ave Maria School of Law has agreed to participate in the Transparency Project. We look forward to receiving more information from you on the reporting guidelines in November.”

Obviously, the LST people have to view this as a victory. But is it?

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Ave Maria School of Law Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpgWe thought the whole point of Ave Maria Law School, founded by Domino’s pizza founder Thomas Monaghan, was that with enough money, you can do whatever you want. E.g., establish a very conservative, Catholic law school, and not care if the liberal legal academy raises its eyebrows — ’cause you could buy and sell them, several times over.
So doesn’t it defeat the whole point if Ave Maria requires funding from sources beyond Monaghan’s pile of pizza dough? From Julie Kay’s article in the National Law Journal:

Got $20 million? If so, you could have a law school building named after you.

Ave Maria School of Law is selling naming rights to the new law school facility it’s building in southwest Florida.

“We’d like to find someone who would want the opportunity to have their name associated with the school, to help us with the construction costs,” said Dean Bernard Dobranski. He said the school is rapidly moving forward with its controversial plan to relocate from Ann Arbor, Mich., to Ave Maria, Fla., and has even obtained architectural renderings of the new school.

Ave Maria is already in turmoil: controversy over its move from Michigan to Florida, lawsuits filed by three professors who claim they were wrongfully terminated, an ongoing investigation by the American Bar Association. A suggestion that Tom Monaghan’s coffers are not infinite could not come at a worse time.
Meanwhile, in other Domino’s news, they’re trying to return to the glory days of their 30-minute delivery guarantee — without getting sued. Delivering delicious pizza in under half an hour is a noble mission. We wish them the best of luck.
P.S. Tom Monaghan no longer owns the pizza chain. He sold his controlling interest to Bain Capital in 1998 for about a billion dollars, which he plowed into launching Ave Maria University.
Ave Maria still looks to move, puts name on block [National Law Journal]
Domino’s Pizza and the Law [WSJ Law Blog]
Will a Twist on an Old Vow Deliver for Domino’s Pizza? [Wall Street Journal]

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