Law School Deans

One would imagine that a law school would be prepared to manage an unimpeachable quasi-judicial proceeding. If anything, a bunch of lawyers idealistic enough to turn their backs on private practice to preach from an ivory tower would bend over to expand the bounds of fairness in some kind of hippie Bill of Rights love-in. Law school court would be like Hair with more procedural safeguards and hopefully much less nudity.

That wasn’t the case last year, when a law school convened an Honor Board to prosecute a student for cheating on her exams. Now, that student is suing the school in federal court alleging due process violations and breach of contract arising out of the investigation and prosecution of her case.

Is she guilty of an infraction or not? We can’t pass judgment on that from the pleadings alone. We can however, troll this law school for its pretty terrible grasp on how the justice system is supposed to work….

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Two years ago, the LSAT was given to more than 104,000 people. Last year it was given to 52,000 nationwide, a 50 percent drop. Law is no longer seen as the golden calf. This is very hard work. It’s not Boston Legal.

You don’t walk into the office and pop open a scotch and sit around chatting with your partners about the ball game. It’s emotionally draining. You’re only as good as your last trial, your last settlement. You are constantly looking for more clients. Going to law school is not the automatic $120,000-a-year job.

Terry Robertson, the dean of Empire College School of Law, a school accredited only by the California Bar, without any employment statistics to speak of found online, commenting on the state of the legal profession.

* A website has been set up to collect stories, videos, photos, memories, and more, to share with slain Professor Dan Markel’s young sons. His memorial is scheduled for next Tuesday. [Prawfsblawg]

* What would happen if lawyers gave out GPS directions? [Legal Cheek]

* George Mason Law is looking for a new dean. Brush off that résumé, Elie! [The Volokh Conspiracy / Washington Post]

* Is it me, or do we need to buy Justice Kagan a new outfit? [Josh Blackman's Blog]

* The scion of a Biglaw bigwig (go ahead and guess which firm…) arrested for filming and distributing video of his sexual escapades with his girlfriend without her permission. It’s like revenge porn without the revenge element. [Law and More]

* Don’t bring creeps with you to a jury trial. [What About Clients?]

Judge Richard Posner

* A unanimous Seventh Circuit panel, in an opinion by Judge Posner, just struck down Wisconsin and Indiana’s bans on same-sex marriage. The result isn’t surprising in light of the blistering benchslaps delivered by Judge Posner at oral argument, but the timing is faster than usual (for a federal appellate opinion in a high-profile case, not for the prolific Posner). [BuzzFeed]

* Bad news for Cahill Gordon: the Third Circuit just revived a fraud case against the high-powered firm and one of its clients, a unit of BASF. [WSJ Law Blog]

* And badder news for BP: a federal judge just concluded that the oil giant was grossly negligent in connection with the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill. [New York Times]

* Freshfields gets fresh talent, adding former Wachtell partner Mitchell Presser and former Skadden partner James Douglas to its ranks. [American Lawyer]

* The dean of Seton Hall Law, Patrick Hobbs, will step down from the deanship at the end of the current academic year. Congratulations to Dean Hobbs on a long and successful tenure. [South Orange Juice]

* And congratulations to John Grisham and Jason Bailey, winners of, respectively, the 2014 Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction and the 2014 ABA Journal/Ross Short Fiction Contest. [ABA Journal]

* Brittany McGrath, Brooklyn Law class of 2014, RIP. [TaxProf Blog]

Most likely, this man is not a real professor.

I’m not going to write this post.

I’m going to let you, the readers, write the opening for this post, then I’m going to let the law school website write the body, then I’ll let a local paper write the closing.

I’ll just be over here, laughing my ass off.

Here are real emails I received from tipsters:

  • “Oh man, this is rich! Looks to me like some drunk, religious law student’s online fantasy, but apparently there’s an actual grownup person, or people, behind it. Drunk on Jesus perhaps. Evidently it’s ‘not a scam.’ Which makes it worse.”
  • “Reindeer award? Sign me up.”
  • “Please do an article on this. You could basically just copy and paste crazy s**t from their website; it really just writes itself.”

That’s what I’m trying to do, boss. I couldn’t even make up a name for a law school more ridiculous than the name it’s actually chosen…

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‘That’ll be $27,000… XOXO, Dentons’

* Let’s get ready to rumble! Not wanting to be left out of the party, Oklahoma has also asked the Supreme Court to take a look at its same-sex marriage statute which was recently slapped down by the Tenth Circuit. [National Law Journal]

* Dewey know what financial restructuring adviser Joff Mitchell of Zolfo Cooper said to this failing firm’s partners right before it flopped for good? “Look, there is no way here to save this firm.” Ouch. That had to have sucked. [Forbes]

* The examiner who was appointed to monitor law firm billing for the City of Detroit’s bankruptcy is now questioning Dentons’ fees of up to $27K per month to talk to the press. Whoa there… [Detroit Free Press]

* Working Mother and Flex-Time Lawyers have released the latest ranking of the Top 50 Law Firms for Women. Vivia Chen feels “a bit dirty” after reading the list — and you probably should, too. [The Careerist]

* Leisure Suit Larry’s successors are here to stay for a while: Case Western Reserve Law’s co-interim deans will stay on in their current positions for the upcoming school year. [Crain's Cleveland Business]

Here’s a dog bites man story: a respected dean who just got a new law school off the ground thinks law school is super important. The presses have been appropriately stopped.

The New York Times is exploring the merits of expanding apprenticeship as an alternative to law school for prospective lawyers. Lat weighed in on the side of apprenticeships.

In a post entitled Going to Law School Is More Important Than Ever, Dean Erwin Chemerinsky countered those on Lat’s side by offering a full-throated defense of the law school model. It’s thoughtful, but ultimately succeeds only in exposing the problem with a legal system reliant on attending three-year institutions to produce attorneys….

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What do you do with the dean of an unranked, fourth-tier law school, who gets made fun of in national newspapers for his enormous salary, tries to fire 35 to 40 percent of his faculty, and even makes taking a 25 percent pay cut look disingenuous and self-serving?

Well, if you are the American Bar Association, you give him an award. And not a sarcastic one like the one I suggested in the headline. I should give New England Law | Boston law dean John F. O’Brien an award for “Most Effective Troll Of His Own Students.” But the ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar is giving him a real award: the 2014 Robert J. Kutak Award. The award is given annually “to an individual who has contributed significantly toward increased cooperation among legal education, the practicing bar, and the judiciary.”

You know you are dealing with a cartel when it is so tone deaf that it starts giving awards to the members who seem to do the best job of exploiting non-members. Didn’t anybody tell them that handing out a “Pimp of the Year” award is supposed to be a joke?

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bar exam failures famous failed bar exam Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpg

Ed. note: This post was originally published on July 17, 2007. We republish it today, with a few updates added, to remind our readers taking the bar exam later this month that even though you surely won’t fail — especially if you’re having fun studying — even failing the bar won’t stop you from having a spectacular career, in the law or elsewhere. Good luck!

We recently wrote about Paulina Bandy, that poor creature who failed the California bar exam thirteen times, before finally passing it on try #14. Her story seems to have freaked out some of you who are sitting for the bar exam later this month.

Relax. Take a deep breath. You won’t wind up in a 365-square-foot shack in your mom’s backyard. Chances are, you will pass. And even if you fail the bar once or twice, you’re still not on your way towards Paulina Bandy-dom.

As it turns out, a number of well-known individuals — some famous for their accomplishments in law, and others for different reasons — didn’t pass the bar on the first (or even second) try….

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Former dean Larry Mitchell

Color me disappointed. The parties have reached a settlement in Ku v. Mitchell. We won’t get to hear trial testimony about a law school dean allegedly propositioning students and staff or trying to set up threesomes on a bed with Chinese silk sheets.

Okay, let’s rewind. Last October, Case Western law professor Raymond Ku filed a lawsuit against former Case dean Lawrence Mitchell and against the university. Ku alleged that he suffered retaliation after reporting to university officials that Mitchell had potentially sexually harassed women at the law school, including employees and students. In the wake of the lawsuit, Mitchell took a leave of absence as dean, then resigned the deanship (but remained on the faculty).

Today brings word of the parties settling the case. What are the terms of the settlement, and what do the parties have to say about it?

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