Education / Schools

Southern New England School of Law logo.jpgEd. Note: We apologize for our technical difficulties. The commenting function should now be working again.
It’s official. Southern New England School of Law will be converted into the first Massachusetts public law school by the University of Massachusetts. The Boston Globe reports:

The Board of Higher Education today approved the creation of Massachusetts’ first public law school, a historic vote that opens the doors for the initial class of students to enroll in the fall. Under the controversial plan, vehemently opposed by three private law schools, UMass-Dartmouth will acquire the private Southern New England School of Law, which is donating its campus and assets to the state.

Of course the plan wasn’t just opposed by private law schools. It was also opposed by a number of people who actually care about whether or not graduates from UMass Legal will be able to spin off their legal education into an actual practice.
But, it sounds better to say that only “private” interests were arrayed in an anti-competitive attempt to block the new school. Never let facts get in the way of a good story.
More spin after the jump.

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In the United States of America, no one should go broke because they chose to go to college.


Barack Obama

frat parties old school class action lawsuit.jpgA neighborhood association in Berkeley has filed a class action suit against the University of California – Berkeley’s many fraternities, accusing them of being, well, total frat boys. This lawsuit got wasted in the Californian press last week, but we’re funneling it for the first time today thanks to Courthouse News Service.
As one would expect, the complaint alleges that the frat studs are guilty of public and private nuisances. As one might not expect, the legal theory in the suit “has its roots in cities’ injunctions against criminal street gangs,” per The Recorder.
Phi Beta Kappa appears to be the only Greek society left off of the defendants’ list in the complaint [PDF]. The “South of Campus Neighborhood Association” and Paul Ghysels accuse them of public drunkenness, facilitation and encouragement of underage drinking, harassment of passers-by, “excessive noise, particularly between the hours of 11 pm and 7 am,” noxious smells and fumes, public urination, “hosting large social gatherings,” and “shooting projectiles, which have hit neighbors,” among other awesome offenses.
Oh, college.
So who do California college fraternity members call when they need help to protect their hard-partying ways? A lawyer in Texas, of course.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Lawsuit of the Day Last Week: Neighborhood Sues Frat Boys for Being Frat Boys”

terracotta warrior terra cotta army.jpgHow do you say schadenfreude in Mandarin? Babel Fish won’t tell me. In fact, Babel Fish doesn’t even have an option to translate German into Mandarin or Cantonese. (I think that’s BS — I’m sure you can get a good schnitzel in Beijing — but that’s beside the point.)
Anyway, back to China. The ABA Journal reports:

A new study supports the tales of woe told by recent law graduates in China.

It is more difficult to find a job in law than any other profession studied, the China Daily reports. The story cites a June 2009 study by China’s Academy of Social Science and the Mycos Institute, a consulting company.

Mmm … terracotta law students.
I wonder how much (if any) private debt Chinese law schools saddle their students with?
Additional details after the jump.

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broken ankle softball suit.JPGThis story actually broke last week, but I wanted to make sure you guys saw it. The Daily News reports:

A Queens softball player is suing the city, claiming she busted her ankle because her high school coach never taught her how to slide.
Alina Cerda, 15, says she’s been sidelined for seven months and wants the city Education Department and Francis Lewis High School coach Bryan Brown to pay.

Cerda busted her leg during — wait for it — a sliding drill.
I feel bad about making fun of a fifteen-year-old girl. Don’t worry, I am going to make fun of her — I just want you guys to know I feel bad about what’s about to happen.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Lawsuit of the Day a Couple of Days Ago: Softballer Can’t Slide, Wants Money”

justice oconnor.jpgRetired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor is not really retired yet. “I am more busy in retirement than before,” she told Above the Law in a recent interview. One of her myriad projects is Our Courts, a non-profit organization that develops Web-based games to teach seventh- and eighth-graders about government. We spoke with Justice O’Connor recently for our piece for the Washington Post reviewing the games.
We had hoped to actually play the games with her, but it turns out she’s not much of a gamer. Not being the computer type, she hasn’t actually played the Web-based games herself. “I watched young people play it. They have a lot of fun. They’re actively engaged. I think it’s very exciting,” she told us.
Justice O’Connor has been touring the country to promote the games. She even stopped in to chat with Jon Stewart on the Daily Show. We got to catch up with her via conference call last month. We rung her up at One First Street — like some retired Biglaw partners, retired SCOTUS justices get to keep an office. After her secretary connected us, Justice O’Connor answered the phone: “Sandra Day O’Connor.”
We discovered that O’Connor is adamant about bringing an end to the election of judges in America. Read more from our interview, after the jump.

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(Or: ATL chats with Justice Sandra Day O’Connor.)”

tutoring test preparation test prep hot for teacher.jpgIn these difficult times for the legal profession, it’s more important than ever to know all your options. So we resume our series on career alternatives for attorneys — jobs for J.D. holders that don’t involve working as a Biglaw associate or contract attorney.
In a prior post, we discussed the career alternative of entrepreneurship. If you’re tired of working for a boss, then become the boss: start your own company.
Today we focus on two lawyers who, interestingly enough, have started their own businesses in the same area: admissions consulting and academic coaching. Perhaps this is the start of a hot new trend? Cf. the cupcake craze sweeping the nation, which another lawyer is capitalizing on.
Adam Nguyen, formerly of Paul Weiss and Shearman & Sterling, is the president and CEO of Ivy Link. Jon Palmer, formerly of Schulte Roth & Zabel, is the president and founder of The Admissions Experts.
Both businesses are headquartered in New York — which makes sense, given how obsessive Manhattan parents can be about getting their offspring into elite educational institutions. NYC ≠ TTT!!!
Read more about these gents and their new enterprises, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Career Alternatives for Attorneys: Admissions Consulting and Academic Coaching”

justice oconnor.jpgLast year, we wrote about retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor entering a new field: video game development. She’s spearheading a project called Our Courts, which seeks to improve civic education in middle schools. The Our Courts website officially launched in January of this year.
The first two games, “Supreme Decision” and “Do I Have A Right?”, went live this summer. The Washington Post contacted us and asked us to review them. We played Nintendo, Oregon Trail, and Carmen Sandiego growing up, and we spent a recent Friday night at Elie’s playing Rock Band, so we were willing to give the Our Courts game a go.
Check out our review of the games, along with additional reflections on civic education and public access to the courts, in this Washington Post piece: Educational? You Be the Judge.
While Lat was in D.C., he swung by the Washington Post’s offices to talk about the games. Check out his star turn in the video after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Educational? You Be The Judge.”

world college rankings.JPGDoes your alma mater contribute to the social good? Or is it just another soul-sucking institution, hell-bent on training young people to do evil things like “make money” or become lawyers?
Well, Washington Monthly has released its annual rankings of colleges and universities. But the magazine ranks the schools by their “contributions to society.” Here is the magazine’s methodology, from Tax Prof Blog:

Community Service (33.3%)
* % of Alumni in Peace Corps
* % of Students in Army/Navy ROTC
* % of Work-Study Grants Spent on Community Service Projects
Research (33.3%)
* Research Expenditures
* % of Students Earning Ph.Ds
* Number of Science & Engineering Ph.Ds Awarded
* % of Faculty Receiving Prestigious Awards
* % of Faculty in National Academies
Social Mobility (33.3%)
* % of Students Receiving Pell Grants
* Actual Graduation Rate v. Predicted Graduation Rate

Oh dear. Where to begin? First off, the community service metric is FUBAR. The army counts; but students who become, say, firefighters, are left out? Meanwhile, surely not all research expenditures contribute to society. And if all research does, then schools should get credit for graduates who go on to work for Merck.
It would physically hurt my brain to break down the myriad problems with their “social mobility” metric.
But … whatever, their bleeding hearts are in the right place. Check out the top ten and the bottom ten universities, after the jump.

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kids with lawyers.jpgThis past weekend we spent some time in Charlotte, North Carolina, where the houses are big (compared to Manhattan apartments), the downtown is small, and lawyers make time for inspirational lunches with school children. Or so we read in the Charlotte Observer:

It’s not every day that an eighth-grader gets to sit down to lunch with a lawyer, but it happens once a month for nearly 80 Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools students.

CMS’ “Lunch with a Lawyer” program helps middle schoolers who are interested in law careers learn more about the profession by getting to know a lawyer.

The article offers a refreshing take on why people become lawyers. See your profession through the eyes of 12-year-olds, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Kids Are Refreshingly Naive About The Legal Profession”

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