We officially declare today to be Ave Maria School of Law Day here at ATL.
This morning, we wrote about a dubious recusal motion, seeking recusal of a judge who hired Ave Maria graduates as law clerks. And now we bring you more detailed discussion about the relatively new, Catholic law school, founded in 2000 by Domino’s Pizza mogul Tom Monaghan.
We’re not the only folks these days who are writing about Ave Maria School of Law, which has been embroiled in controversy for months now. The law school has been the subject of extensive (and generally unflattering) discussion, on such blogs as Fumare, Mirror of Justice, and AveWatch. The story has been picked up by online news sources such as Inside Higher Ed and the WSJ Law Blog.
So what’s the fuss all about? It’s a long and tortured history, but here’s the short version:
(1) the school is scheduled to move in 2009 to the new town of Ave Maria, Florida (the home of Ave Maria University, located outside Naples, FL, and described as “a sort of utopia for devout Catholics and others”);
(2) a number of faculty members vigorously oppose the move; and
(3) things have gotten ugly between these faculty members and the law school’s administration, led by Dean Bernard Dobranski.
In a recent telephone interview with ATL, Dean Dobranski offered his side of the story. You can check out our interview with him after the jump.
It’s often said — especially by associates who have nothing to do the whole day, then get an assignment at 5 p.m. that’s due the following morning — that lawyers (read: partners) aren’t very good managers. This shouldn’t come as a huge surprise, since very few of them are trained in management. This also explains why many top firms have a CEO or CFO — an MBA-type, rather than a lawyer, tasked with overseeing the business aspects of Biglaw (so the lawyers can focus on lawyering).
If you’re an associate with an MBA degree, will law firms compensate you for that additional expertise? One reader is curious:
I was wondering if you could start a thread or do some research about JD/MBA bonuses. I’ve heard, for instance, that Weil gives a $50K bonus plus a year’s credit, while Willkie gives a $40K bonus plus a year’s credit. I’ve also heard that Latham gives a $20K bonus and no credit.
I’m trying to get a better sense of what market is for JD/MBA. I’m also curious about what happens when you clerk (i.e., whether it would be similar to doing a 2 year clerkship and hence a 70K bonus at top firms).
Are these figures correct? Any other thoughts or additional information on this subject? Please share what you know, in the comments.
Here’s a related inquiry, from a second reader:
Please consider opening a perk thread dealing with non-CLE continuing education — that is, firms which will pay for or assist with tuition costs for ongoing educational programs or degrees, such as MBAs.
We tend to doubt there are many firms that will pay for their associates to get business degrees, since firms have little incentive to make their associates even more attractive to investment banks and hedge funds than they already are. But we’re happy to pose the question to our readership. Anyone?
P.S. We already did a perk thread on regular CLE, which you can access here.
* Who let the dogs fight? Who? Who? Feds say: football star Michael Vick. [CNN; TSG]
* Bar-Bri class reps (no, different class reps): No incentive payments for you. [The Recorder]
* Seven-figure legal bills: par for the course for white-collar criminal defendants. [WSJ Law Blog]
* India market hot for law firms. [Law.com]
* Billionaire Siebel gets California Supreme Court’s ok to sue lawyer and judge despite settlement. [The Recorder]
* UK girl loses fight to wear purity ring at school. Chastity belt still under review. [MSNBC]
* Ohio Turnpike murder-for-hire case could result in death sentence. [CNN]
* We say: Ignorance is bliss. [Althouse]
* The Genarlow Wilson case: let’s go to the videotape! Oh wait… [Concurring Opinions]
* If you’re going to drop the d-word, at least spell it correctly. [PrawfsBlawg]
* Every time an unlawful, creepy houseboat is sunsetted out of existence, a little piece of America dies. [Never Yet Melted via Overlawyered]
* Is Quiznos about to get burned? [Akron Beacon Journal]
* Someday sex-change operations may be tax-deductible. (Can we take a deduction for blogging as a woman?) [MSNBC]
* Reprieve granted day before execution. [CNN]
* L.A. archdiocese reaches $660 million settlement. [MSNBC]
* Family of Girl Who Married Teacher Sues School District. [WSOCTV]
* OU must adjust records as part of NCAA sanctions. [SI]
* Charges dismissed against 13 former KPMG employees. [NYT; WSJ Law Blog (background)]
Ann Althouse, call your dean! A Wisconsin lawmaker wants to address what he thinks is an overpopulation of lawyers in the state — by ending state funding for the University of Wisconsin Law School.
State Representative Frank Lasee (Lah-SAY’) says the state doesn’t need any more ambulance chasers or frivolous lawsuits. The Green Bay Republican convinced his colleagues in the GOP-controlled Assembly to include his plan in their version of the 2-year budget approved Tuesday.
But the proposal appears to have little chance at becoming law. Governor Doyle called it ridiculous and bizarre during an appearance today in Milwaukee.
The plan would cut state funding for the law school over the next three years before eliminating it completely in 2010. Lasee says the school would be forced to raise tuition to cover the cuts or stop admitting as many students.
You can follow Lasee’s other exploits on his blog, which includes jokes, French-bashing, and other random musings.
(Of course we’re mocking Lasee’s proposal, but we should note that it’s not unheard-of for a public law school to reduce its dependence on state funding. UVA’s law school, for example, has done it voluntarily.) Update: Ann Althouse’s post on this subject appears here.
In a recent post about Peter Barta, the Legal Aid lawyer who allegedly videotaped his female colleagues as they were getting undressed, we ranked on policy debaters.
Maybe we should take it back. From a highly informative reader email:
Not all former policy debaters are creeps. Here’s a list of former policy debaters who are current or future legal rock stars:
Justice Samuel Alito, Judge Merrick Garland, Larry Tribe, Louis Kaplow, Erwin Chemerinsky, NYU President John Sexton, Jonathan Massey, David Boies, Tom Goldstein, Rebecca Tushnet, Annie Kastanek (OT 2007/Kennedy), and John Hughes (OT 2005/Thomas; pictured at right, captured in mid-debate).
Former policy debaters, please accept our apologies. We did extemp and L-D debate in high school, and we generally viewed C-X debaters with suspicion. They struck us as kids who talked reallyreallyfast, warning constantly of nuclear war. But maybe we were wrong.
To paraphrase the “ignorant tipster” from the Oona O’Connell story: “We feel kind of bad that we prejudged them. Sorry to sound like an afterschool special. But you know what? Perhaps we learned a lesson today. Good on you. ‘The more you know.’” Earlier: Reading the Bartameter (Part 3): What Is Up With Those Policy Debaters?
We continue to follow the story of Peter Barta, the Legal Aid lawyer who allegedly made secret videotapes of his female colleagues getting dressed. Tales like this — along with associate pay raises, of course — are the raison d’etre of ATL.
After we quoted a tipster stressing that Peter Barta did policy or cross-examination debate in high school, rather than Lincoln-Douglas debate, commenters argued vociferously over whether C-X or L-D debaters get laid more. One commenter helpfully provided a link to the website for alumni of the Stuyvesant High School debate team. Here’s the entry on Barta:
Peter Barta ’92 – Debated with Eric Yuen. Came back and coached for a while. “After NYU, I went to law school at Georgetown. Now, I work as a public defender with the Legal Aid Society in Manhattan. Essentially, I’m still debating.” (3/12/03)
And still acting like a horny high schooler. And living at home with mom.
As it turns out, though, Peter Barta is not the Stuy policy debate team’s most (in)famous alumnus. That honor surely belongs to Dick Morris, the noted political commentator and consultant.
Yes, THAT Dick Morris. The self-described “sex addict”. And devotee of toe-sucking.
A new nickname for C-X debaters: C-XXX debaters? Stuyvesant Policy Debate Alumni [official website]
From the opinion of Chief Justice John “Sordid Business” Roberts:
“The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race.”
From Justice John Paul Stevens’s dissent:
“John, John, John, you don’t even — you’re glib. You don’t even know what Brown v. Board of Education is. If you start talking about school integration, you have to evaluate and read the research papers on how schoolchildren are affected by racial segregation. That’s what I’ve done. Then you go and you say that no member of the Court at the time of Brown would have agreed with today’s decision.”
Enough quoting from the opinions. How should we react to this ruling?
1. Let the wailing and gnashing of teeth begin!
2. Brown v. Board has been eviscerated!
3. American schoolchildren will soon be getting after-school milkshakes at lunch counters with Robert Bork!
They prefer crack, thank you very much.
Because why else would the justices rule against noble, crusading students, and in favor of the mean old school officials, in Morse v. Frederick — aka the “Bong Hits 4 Jesus” case?*
But free speech proponents shouldn’t despair. Over at SCOTUSblog, Marty Lederman notes:
Morse is a very limited holding — essentially limited to the drug context. The Alito concurrence, joined by Kennedy, is controlling. He writes:
I join the opinion of the Court on the understanding that (a) it goes no further than hold that a public school may restrict speech that a reasonable observer would interpret as advocating illegal drug use and (b) it provides no support for any restriction of speech that can plausibly be interpreted as commenting on any political or social issue, including speech on issues such as ‘the wisdom of the war on drugs or of legalizing marijuana for medicinal use.’”
In other words: Hey liberals, this Alito guy might not be as bad as you thought.
* As we previously observed, petitioner Deborah Morse, one of the prevailing school officials, is “a curvaceous, dark-haired beauty.” But we would hope that Supreme Court justices would decide cases based on the merits, not on the attractiveness of the parties.
Of course, sometimes both factors point in the same direction. See, e.g., Marshall v. Marshall — the Anna Nicole Smith case. Quick Preliminary Notes on Hein and Morse [SCOTUSblog]
Ed. note: The Asia Chronicles column is authored by Kinney Recruiting. Kinney has made more placements of U.S. associates, counsels and partners in Asia than any other recruiting firm in each of the past six years. You can reach them by email: email@example.com.
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When Chintan Panchal decided to leave a global BigLaw partnership to start his own firm, he could only hope that he would face the high-quality problem of firm building that many had cautioned him about. Focused on the uncertainty surrounding of a new firm launch, he decided to tackle staffing needs, IT challenges, and financial planning requirements after he had built up his legal practice.
Panchal Associates LLP–a corporate/finance and outside general counsel boutique–was quickly off to a great start. Clients and matters were flying in the door, and Chintan soon had a team of lawyers and staff with a variety of operational needs. To continue building an excellent team and provide them with a competitive benefits package, to expand his physical presence to include a European practice and additional partners, and to scale his operations and IT capabilities to support this growing enterprise brought with it demands of time, money, and expertise. Chintan knew he needed help.
“With the assistance of NexFirm, we have upgraded the capabilities of our firm to meet, and in some cases exceed, the standards we were used to at our former BigLaw firms. Operationally, we can now attract and service clients we didn’t have the bandwidth to support in the past, and continue to build our team with the best and brightest legal talent in the industry,” said Chintan Panchal, adding “It has worked out quite well in our case; NexFirm is an essential partner for us.”
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