Boalt Hall

The new face of Harvard Law School has a funny side.

This week, Harvard Law School unveiled its brand new Wasserstein Hall — a behemoth of a law building that will serve the needs of Harvard law students for generations, maybe even centuries. I was not invited to any of the gala events; my invitation must have been lost in the mail. But I can’t wait to see the finished product. Rumor has it that there’s a state-of-the-art debtor’s prison carved into the building’s foundation.

Obviously, a project of this magnitude required a major fundraising effort. Harvard has never been shy about naming things after big donors. Remember, the university itself is named after a guy who made one of the wisest donations of books ever. Wasserstein Hall contains the Caspersen Student Center, and enough commemorative plaques to fill a plaque store.

The building also contains the Falik Men’s Room.

No, I didn’t make that up. I’m not that clever. I’ve got pictures. I’ve even talked to the benefactor who made the gift….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “True Story: Harvard Law Sells Naming Rights to Its New Bathrooms, and a Berkeley Law Professor Couldn’t Be Happier”

The picturesque Richard H. Chambers Courthouse in Pasadena, home of the Ninth Circuit.

California has released some macro-level results from the July 2011 administration of the bar exam. The California bar is notoriously difficult, and every year we like to take a look at which schools prepared their students well for the exam, and which schools did not.

Last year, the overall pass rates were 68.3% for all takers and 75.2% for graduates of the twenty ABA-approved law schools in California. This year, overall pass rates clocked in at 67.7%, while students who went to ABA-accredited law schools in California passed at a 76.2% clip.

But you might be surprised at which California law school had the best passage rate on the California bar. Hint: it’s not Stanford, or Boalt Hall, or UCLA….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “California Bar Passage Rate Holds Steady; Shame For Underperforming Schools Deepens”

It’s that time of the year again. No, we’re not talking about the Above the Law holiday party, which happened already. Or the ATL holiday card contest, which is now underway.

It’s time for celebration of a different sort — time to celebrate, and congratulate, the latest class of Skadden Fellows. The winners of these prestigious public interest fellowships were just announced, as they are every December.

As explained in the Skadden Fellowship Foundation’s press release, the 28 new fellows are graduating law students or judicial law clerks who are devoting their careers to public interest work. They’ll be working for organizations located in nine states and the District of Columbia, “focusing on issues ranging from the health and safety of low-wage immigrant workers in California to representing Russian-speaking victims of domestic violence and sex trafficking in New York.”

(Baby Jesus would be proud of what they do. Unless they work for the ACLU and try to ruin his birthday.)

Who are the Skadden fellows for 2012? Which law schools produced the most fellows? And what’s different about this year’s program compared to past years?

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Dear police officers: next time you simply must beat unarmed protesters who are not threatening you, maybe you shouldn’t do it in front of a law school.

Many of you have heard about the beatings that took place at UC Berkeley’s Occupy Berkeley protests on Wednesday night. The police brutality wasn’t particularly brutal, so much as it was entirely uncalled for.

The Berkeley legal blog Nuts & Boalts sums up what should be the feeling of any person concerned about the laws of this country: “Regardless of how you feel about the Occupation, this behavior by police against unarmed, non-violent protestors is not only illegal, but is shameful.”

If you haven’t seen the video, it’s below. Just as disturbing as the actual footage is the facile message Berkeley Law students received before the event that was a warning that the police were going to be totally unreasonable about the situation….

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* The TSA must be stopped. They’re now leaving creepy notes when they spy personal items in your luggage. [Not So Private Parts / Forbes]

* Law students, trust me, there’s nothing on your Facebook page that three more points on the LSAT won’t fix. [WSJ Law Blog]

* Berkeley Law 1Ls are playing an awesome game of assassin. Man, I miss college. I mean law school. [Nuts & Boalts]

* Would there even be medical malpractice if libertarians ruled the world? [Overlawyered]

* The Casey Anthony jurors are probably dying for a closeup. [Huffington Post]

* The future of Law and Economics. [Truth on the Market]

Say hello to Justice Liu.

Congratulations to Goodwin Liu — until today Professor Liu, but after today, Justice Liu.

In July, California Governor Jerry Brown nominated the 40-year-old Liu, a law professor at Boalt Hall, to serve on the California Supreme Court. The nomination was subject to the approval of a three-member state commission.

What did the commission have to say about the Liu nomination?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Congratulations to Justice Goodwin Liu!”

We recently imagined a scenario in which Professor Goodwin Liu, the controversial Boalt Hall law prof whose Ninth Circuit nomination was successfully filibustered, became Justice Goodwin Liu. It now looks like this might happen earlier than we had expected.

But he would be a justice on a non-SCOTUS court (for now). California Governor Jerry Brown just nominated Professor Liu, 40, to serve on the California Supreme Court.

How might Goodwin Liu’s nomination be received by the people of California? He’s smart, he’s liberal — er, progressive — but there’s one potential rub….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “A Conservative’s Worst Nightmare: Justice Goodwin Liu?”

Today there’s good news and bad news coming out of Boalt Hall (aka Berkeley Law aka WGWAG School of Law).

Let’s start with the bad news. The bad news is that the Regents, who run the show for the University of California (UC) system, approved an increase in system-wide student fees for the coming year. It’s for a shade over $1,000 — $1,068, to be precise.

The good news: Berkeley Law, at the behest of Dean Christopher Edley Jr., is effectively reversing the fee hike for its students. Boalt Hall is issuing an immediate “scholarship” to each student, in the exact amount of the fee increase.

Let’s take a look at Dean Edley’s email — which explains the situation, and has a cute and clever closing — and explore what might be motivating the administration….

UPDATE (7/22/11): Also note the update at the end of this post regarding UCLA School of Law. (We have added the memo from Dean Rachel Moran.)

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Welcome Texas!

As you are all know, the University of Texas School of Law has moved into the “top 14″ in this year’s U.S. News law school rankings. It’s a bit of cheat for U.S. News: Texas is technically tied for 14th, which means that the magazine has actually managed to cram 15 schools into its top 14. I’d complain more, but I’m a fan of a Big (We Can’t Count To) Ten school.

While we all know that Texas is in the top 14, very few of you remember the significance of the top 14 in the first place. The top 14 isn’t as arbitrary as it sounds. Since U.S. News started publishing these law school rankings, no school that ranked in the inaugural top 14 has ever been ranked outside of the top 14, and no school that did not rank in the top 14 that first year has ever cracked that list. Until now.

The top 14 has been a way to distinguish elite institutions that are nearly interchangeable with one another from really good law schools that are just a cut below. When viewed that way, Texas’s inclusion was probably long overdue.

Let’s take a look at some of the other movement in this rarefied group of law schools….

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The Golden Gate Bridge, as seen from my hotel room last weekend. (I just got back from the AALS conference in San Francisco.)


Here in New York, home to Above the Law and Breaking Media, we’re gearing up for more epic snow. Those of you lucky enough to live in the Golden State might have to deal with earthquakes, mudslides, and obnoxious celebrities, but at least you don’t have to deal with blizzards.

Falling snow? Not in sunny California. Falling bar exam passage rates? Yes — at least for 2010.

A few days ago, the State Bar of California released overall statistics for the July 2010 administration of the (notoriously difficult) California bar exam. The overall bar pass rates went down by a little — but at some schools, the pass rates went down by a lot.

Which law schools’ pass rates tumbled, and by how much?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “California Bar Exam Results By Law School: Open Thread”

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