Law Professors

D. Marvin Jones

Back in 2007, Professor D. Marvin Jones of the University of Miami School of Law was hit with a misdemeanor charge of soliciting a prostitute. We found it interesting that a criminal procedure professor was charged with, well, violating the criminal law. We bestowed Lawyer of the Day honors upon Professor Jones.

This did not sit well with Professor Jones, who sued us in November 2009. After his complaint received widespread criticism, however, he voluntarily dismissed his lawsuit.

Well, it seems that Professor Jones is back. Multiple University of Miami law school sources have alerted us to a new charge against him….

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I can’t believe that we have to talk about this idiotic Catholic University “controversy” of adopting same-sex dorms, but Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia talked about it, so now everybody has to talk about it. We can’t get Scalia to talk about executing prisoners in Georgia, and he tells us to “get over it” when we ask him about his role in usurping the power of the American people and appointing a President of the United States, but the smartest justice on the Court has an opinion on the dumbass potential lawsuit by George Washington University law professor John Banzhaf about same-sex dorms.

Speaking at Duquesne University School of Law, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (gavel bang: ABA Journal) reports that Scalia said: “I hope this place will not yield — as some Catholic institutions have — to this politically correct insistence upon suppression of moral judgment, to this distorted view of what diversity in America means.” Apparently, this was Scalia’s way of supporting Catholic University’s same-sex dormitories.

Because really, with all of the problems with our system of higher education, it’s whether or not boys and girls reside in the same physical building that’s the pressing issue worthy of supreme comment….

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Yesterday we received an email with the following subject line: “the problem with tenure.” Now, I actually think that this tip illustrates the problem with law students and the classic awesomeness of tenure, but I’ll let you be the judge of that.

What we can at least agree on is that we have a story about a law professor executing a stern, verbal smackdown of a law student who tried to go over the professor’s head to complain.

Let this just be a reminder to everybody that they need to respect the chain of command….

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* “The road to this day has been long”… and hard. That’s what he said. Don’t Ask Don’t Tell has finally been put to bed, and the next logical step would be to ditch DOMA. [PostPartisan / Washington Post]

* “Citizens United has been good for gay rights.” Well, at least it’s been good for something. Are we allowed to like the ruling in this case now? Bueller? Bueller? No? Okay, just checking. [New York Times]

* And another one gone, another judge bites the dust. $43K wasn’t enough to keep Justice Joseph Covello on the bench. How many more will it take to get a decent raise? [New York Law Journal]

* The First Circuit turned it around on Joel Tenenbaum, reinstating a $675K judgment against him. Charles Nesson couldn’t comment on the decision because he was crying. [Boston Globe]

* Ten-year sentence edition: Samuel Logan’s dad wishes he was still a judge on the Tenth Circuit so he could benchslap the sh*t out of his son for trying to seduce a 14-year-old. [Kansas City Star]

* John Banzhaf continues to fight for coeds’ right to party at Catholic University, but it’s not looking good because it’s hard to immaculately conceive when boys live in the same dorm. [WSJ Law Blog]

We get it, law students: the curve sucks. Because the law school curve affects important things like class rank, law review eligibility, and employment opportunities, it can make or break your life. And in a world where the legal market is still recovering from circling the drain, your grades mean more than they ever did in the past.

While the curve reflects some amount of fairness for larger classes, what happens to the students in smaller classes? You’d think that if everyone in a seminar class kicked ass on the final, the school would allow the professor some leeway with the mandatory curve. That seems like it would be fair, right? It’s a load of bull if the school refuses to step away from the curve in this kind of a situation.

And speaking of bull, apparently if you mess with one in Texas, you’ll get the horns (or at least be called a crybaby). A student at the University of Texas School of Law is trying — albeit unsuccessfully — to fight the powers that be….

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Professor Stephen Smith

Perhaps this is part of some elaborate research project into the workings of the criminal justice system. Professor Stephen F. Smith, who teaches criminal law and criminal procedure at Notre Dame Law School, stands accused of a serious crime.

According to the South Bend Tribune, Professor Smith faces one count of domestic battery, a class D felony. He’s accused of striking and kicking his wife at their home, in an incident that allegedly took place back in June.

Professor Smith doesn’t fit the profile of the typical defendant in a domestic violence case. How many DV defendants have clerked on the U.S. Supreme Court? How many have graduated from Dartmouth College, where Smith served as a trustee, and the University of Virginia School of Law, where he once taught?

After graduating from Dartmouth and UVA Law, Smith clerked on the D.C. Circuit (for Judge David Sentelle) and SCOTUS (for Justice Clarence Thomas). He practiced at Sidley Austin before joining the UVA Law faculty, where he served as John V. Ray Research Professor before moving to Notre Dame. (Query: What prompted Professor Smith to move from UVA to ND?)

Legal pedigrees don’t get much better than this. But enough of Professor Smith’s dazzling résumé. Let’s learn about the lurid allegations against him — and hear from ND law students about a campus controversy he created….

UPDATE: Please note the updates added to the end of this story. Thanks.

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Judge Vanessa Gilmore

* Lincoln Caplan writes about Bill Stuntz — “America’s leading thinker on criminal justice, and its hardest to categorize” — in a review of Stuntz’s posthumously published book, The Collapse of American Criminal Justice (affiliate link). [Democracy: A Journal of Ideas]

* Ben Kerschberg identifies eight great law and technology resources — including Above the Law’s tech section, natch. [Forbes]

* Andrew Cohen calls out Judge Vanessa Gilmore for “dubious behavior” in a death penalty case. Judicial diva is as judicial diva does? [The Atlantic]

* Professor Eugene Volokh comes to the defense of “dissental” and “concurral,” two new words coined by his former boss, Chief Judge Alex Kozinski. [Volokh Conspiracy]

Turtle as deadly weapon?

* Don’t let Stephen McDaniel or Bruce Reilly anywhere near a turtle. [Lowering the Bar]

* Check out Orrick’s excellent “It Gets Better” video. Orrick, MoFo and Shearman are the three large law firms we’re aware of that have made such videos; if you know of others, please let us know. [It Gets Better]

* If you are free on November 4th and will be in New York that night, consider attending the Black and White Masquerade Ball of the Dave Nee Foundation, a non-profit committed to fighting depression and preventing suicide. [The Dave Nee Foundation]

Unbeknown to most of us, when Ted Kennedy died Harvard Law Professor Elizabeth Warren became the last liberal with balls. While other Democrats have been desperately trying to keep themselves in the good graces of Wall Street, Elizabeth Warren has been standing toe-to-toe with the bankers.

It therefore seems only appropriate that Warren is now running for Ted Kennedy’s old Senate Seat. She will officially announce her candidacy sometime today.

If she wins the nomination (if Martha Coakley runs again, Warren won’t even have to “campaign” for the nomination, she’ll run primary ads saying “Again? How stupid are you?”), the battle between Warren and the incumbent, Senator Scott “the Body” Brown, will be interesting.

But let’s say that the last Democrat can win in one of the last liberal bastions. It’ll mean another solid win for liberal women law professors during the Obama administration…

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The month of August brought us a slew of disasters, both natural and otherwise. At the end of the month, we faced off against the Great D.C. Earthquake of 2011. Shortly thereafter, we got slammed by Hurricane Irene.

But August wasn’t just about natural disasters — there were plenty of man-made disasters to deal with in the legal world. From the egomaniacs to the technologically-impaired, August was full of candidates for our Lawyer of the Month competition….

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You’re sitting in class, listening to your professor give a lecture. On this particular day, the content of the lecture is pretty interesting. You’ve minimized your Facebook window, and you’re actually enjoying yourself. As the class winds to a close, you see, out of the corner of your eye, a hand shoot up into the air. Dear Lord help us all. The gunner strikes again.

Your professor calls on the gunner, who then launches into a five-minute diatribe about some obscure aspect of the law. Class is over, and your classmates quietly sigh and groan as they watch other students leaving their classrooms. Your professor continues to indulge the gunner’s drivel. You’re trapped. Your class runs over, you’re now late, and you’re pissed.

Has this ever happened to you? Don’t you wish that gunners would just disappear?

Today’s Law Student of the Day has an idea that, if set into motion, will revolutionize and forever change the law school experience. What’s his plan, and where does he go to law school?

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