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….
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.
* 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.
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…
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….
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?
* What is up with Georgia judges? Another one bites the dust: Judge Douglas Pullen leaves the bench, terminating an investigation by the Judicial Qualifications Commission. [Atlanta Journal-Constitution]
Lowell Milken: Would you accept $10 million from this man?
Ah, California. Your weather is amazing, but I don’t think I could deal with your earthquakes. The tremor we just experienced here on the East Coast has turned me into a nervous wreck.
Over at UCLA Law School, they’re experiencing some earth-shaking controversy of their own. An ultra-wealthy alumnus made it rain, with a $10 million gift to the school — but now some professors want to rain on his parade, and their objections have hit the national news media. (Apologies for the mixed precipitation metaphors.)
As we mentioned last week, UCLA law alumnus Lowell Milken made a $10 million gift to his alma mater — the largest single donation in the law school’s history. The money will be used to establish the Lowell Milken Institute for Business and Law.
* Congratulations to Ted Frank and his colleagues at the Center for Class Action Fairness on their latest victory — which appears to represent “the first time the Ninth Circuit has vacated approval of a class action settlement since 2003.” [Center for Class Action Fairness]
* Elsewhere in the Ninth Circuit, justice delayed turns out to be justice denied for a prisoner who died while waiting over five years for a federal district judge to rule on his habeas petition. (The magistrate judge had already recommended granting relief.) [Los Angeles Times]
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The Trust Women conference is an influential gathering that brings together global corporations, lawyers and pioneers in the field of women’s rights. Unlike many other events, Trust Women delegates take action and forge tangible commitments to empower women to know and defend their rights.
This year, the Trust Women conference will take place 18-19 November in London. From women’s economic empowerment to slavery in the supply chain and child labour, this year’s agenda is strong and powerful. Speakers include Professor Muhammad Yunus, Nobel Laureate and founder of the Grameen Bank; Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Executive Director of UN Women; Mary Ellen Iskenderian, President and CEO of Women’s World Banking and many other influential leaders. Find out more about Trust Women here.