Commencement

I don’t know precisely when Oprah Winfrey went from daytime talk show host to “I’m a DEITY now,” but I know that I missed it. I mean, I like her and all. And I don’t understand the people who hate her — like what has Oprah ever done to anybody? But I don’t exactly know why the world seems to hang on her every word.

Which isn’t to say she didn’t “deserve” to give the commencement address at Harvard University this year. Of course she did. Have you seen the people who have given that speech? When I graduated from college it was Amartya Sen. He’s an economist, Oprah is cash money.

I only noticed she was giving the speech because right wingers are acting like she needs to be shot because she talked about gun control. But apparently she also said: “We all know that we are better than the cynicism and the pessimism that is regurgitated throughout Washington and the 24-hour cable news cycle — not my channel, by the way.”

And that’s funny because the Second Circuit just ruled that her media network might have regurgitated a tagline already owned by a copyright holder…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “While Oprah Is At Harvard, She Might Want To Retain Some Lawyers”

When you graduate from Harvard Law School, they give you little inflatable sharks that you are supposed to wave around when your school is called. I don’t know who “they” is, but I know they do it to reinforce the fact that as a Harvard lawyer, you are expected to go unto the world and wreak havoc in a relentless, remorseless fashion. HLS is a pretty messed-up place.

I know at other law schools students wave gavels. NYU Law grad Joe Patrice claims that they didn’t wave anything at his graduation… though he is usually drunk and not to be trusted. Western New England Law grad Staci said simply, “My school probably couldn’t afford anything to wave around.” Then she made the “wait, don’t post that” face, as I laughed and laughed in an elitist cackle.

The point is: graduating classes sometimes have little emblems or signs or things they bring to commencement to signify the careers they are about to start.

But for the law class of 2013, what careers are we talking about, really? Gavels and sharks seem a little too ambitious, no? Perhaps they should be waving around boxes of ramen? Maybe they should do what this college kid did below?

I’m not sure; let’s crowdsource this bad boy…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “The Commencement Emblem For the Class of 2013 Is…?”

Paging the next Aquagirl! Where are you? (Click for the image for the post.)

* Obama might have found out about the IRS scandal “when it came out in the news,” but the Office of White House Counsel knew what was going on weeks ago. Hooray, a new reason for people to lose their sh*t. [Wall Street Journal (sub. req.)]

* Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness through ridiculously expensive litigation: making up almost two percent of our GDP, our legal system is the most costly on earth, which isn’t exactly something we should be bragging about. [Corporate Counsel]

* “It’s no surprise these lawyers would want to get off this sinking ship.” It looks like things are going just swimmingly for Steven Donziger now that John Keker’s out as his defense attorney in the Chevron fraud case. [Thomson Reuters News & Insight]

* “Fantasy sports is usually the first and last thing I’ll do each day.” Here’s some proof that there’s such a thing as work/life balance in Biglaw… which is only applicable if you’re a partner. [Am Law Daily]

* Law school enrollment is down, and so is tuition revenue, so the legal academy is now selling new degrees. It’s only a matter of time before they market employment timeshares. [National Law Journal]

* On the bright side, if you’re still looking for a job, our own David Lat has some advice on how to get one (and how NOT to get one). We miss summer associates’ misbehavior. [U.S. News & World Report]

* Congrats are in order for this weekend’s graduates, including the first graduates of LMU’s embattled law school — they won’t let a lack of ABA accreditation rain on their parade. [Knoxville News Sentinel]


Jodi Arias

* Growth was “steady” for New York’s top firms, with Latham & Watkins and Skadden Arps leading the pack in terms of gross revenue — which wasn’t surprising, considering their Am Law 100 gross revenue ranking. [New York Law Journal]

* Dewey know when we’ll be able to stop using this pun? Hmm, at this rate, probably never. Steve Otillar and Citi recently settled their dueling suits over the ex-D&L partner’s capital contribution loan to the failed firm. [Am Law Daily]

* Cahill Gordon was supposed to investigate the Rutgers basketball scandal, but the firm cited a conflict of interest, so Skadden Arps stepped in. [Insert the joke of your choice here. I don't like or watch this sport.] [Reuters]

* Surely you’ve heard about Justice Orie Melvin’s sentence by now. As it turns out, shaming a judge like you’d shame your dog online might not be enforceable… which is too bad. [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette]

* When we last spoke about “controversial” commencement speakers, we didn’t bring up the fact that Nancy Pelosi would be pulling double duty at UC Davis and Baltimore. Thoughts? [National Law Journal]

* She’s got a death wish: the aggravation phase of the Jodi Arias trial was postponed at the last minute yesterday, and some think it’s because of the interview she gave after the verdict was announced. [CNN]

You got to have some big testicles to pull off doing a backflip right before you receive your law school diploma.

Look, clearly the only thing anybody wants to talk about today is the heartwarming retrieval of three kidnapped women in Cleveland. Okay, that’s a lie. The only thing we should be talking about is the amazing interview given by Good Samaritan Charles Ramsey who helped Amanda Berry escape her captors. If you haven’t seen the interview, go check it out. Don’t worry, I’ll wait.

It’s one of the best things you’ve ever seen, right bro?

I don’t have a video that is as good as that. I don’t have ten videos that add up to being as good as that. But I do have a guy doing gymnastics before getting his J.D. It’s cool enough. I would definitely eat ribs and listen to salsa music with this guy….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Adding Athleticism To Law School Graduation Ceremonies”

With finals underway and graduation just a few weeks ahead, law students are left with only two things to bitch and moan about: their job/debt situations, and their commencement speakers. Law school graduation is supposed to be a day that will forever be etched in people’s memories; they don’t want to remember that they were seething with rage or slumping their shoulders in disappointment. They just want to be happy.

But apparently the lawyers of the future are incapable of that emotion. In the past, soon-to-be law grads have gotten so pissy about their law school’s selection of speaker that they’ve written open letters, donned protest buttons, and even organized commencement walkouts.

We’ve heard from several of our readers regarding their schools’ speaker picks, and students from a certain high-ranking law school (but not T14, at least in our own rankings) are REALLY unhappy….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Commencement Speakers (2013): Any Controversial Choices?”

Oh night students, better known to law school deans as “amazing fountains of money.” The schools milk them for four years of tuition to do two years of work. But a lot of regular students resent night students because they don’t have to take a full course load, yet their grades are counted alongside day students when it comes to class rank.

(Note: this isn’t as much of a problem for schools that can get Biglaw jobs for students outside the top 10 percent.)

At one school, regular day students aren’t just competing with night students for class rank and jobs. They’re also competing with night students over the very scheduling of commencement ceremonies.

Competing, and losing….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Night Students Already Ruin Your Class Rank, Do They Have To Ruin Your Graduation Too?”

It’s not every day that the student selected to speak at a law school commencement admits that he went to law school because he watched the movie My Cousin Vinny. You certainly don’t often hear Mr. Cousin Vinny admit that he thought going to law school would be the key to a job with a top salary.

But then again, you don’t often watch the valedictorian’s speech for the class of 2012 at Thomas M. Cooley Law School.

The thing is… instructive. I’ve heard a bunch of commencement speeches, but mainly from Ivy League types. The student speaker at a school like Cooley is, well, different.

Take a look, and a listen….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “How The Other Half Graduates: A Cooley Commencement Speech Inspired By ‘My Cousin Vinny’”

So far this year, we haven’t had any huge commencement kerfuffles over graduation speakers at law schools. Last year, you’ll remember that Michigan Law was in a tizzy over Dean Evan Caminker’s pick of Ohio Senator Rob Portman as a commencement speaker. Portman is one of those anti-marriage equality types, and Michigan Law students actually organized a walkout to protest his divisive views.

This year, Michigan has gone with a much more conservative choice.

Paul Caron at Tax Prof Blog has published his annual list of law school commencement speakers. Michigan Law’s choice is boring, but let’s see if we can’t find somebody else on this list to get excited about…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Commencement Speakers: Coming To A Law School Near You”

Here are a couple of things I learned last week:

1) Above the Law readers love commencement train wreck stories.
2) Emory Law students feel picked on.

Armed with this new information, I bring you stories of commencement ridiculousness at schools with student bodies mature enough to take a little scrutiny.

Graduation has come and gone at Yale Law School and Harvard Law School. And while most Yale and Harvard graduates have jobs lined up for this fall, the transition from student to graduate did not go as smoothly as possible. At one school, a Supreme Court justice essentially had to crash the ceremonies. At another school, it seems the smart people organizing the event were totally flummoxed by the naturally occurring phenomenon of rain.

You’d think that with 380-plus years of combined experience, these two law schools could figure out how to run a graduation ceremony. But apparently there’s no accounting for common sense….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Even Harvard and Yale Couldn’t Pull Off Flawless Commencements”

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