Law School Deans

3L year everywhere.

David Lat and I were on CNBC’s Power Lunch with Dan Rodriguez, Dean of Northwestern Law School, discussing whether law school should be two years. As I mentioned earlier today, this debate got started again when President Obama said that he thought law school should last only two years, at least in terms of classroom instruction. Please see my earlier post if you’d like to talk about why Obama’s thought bubble was literally the least useful thing he could have done to effectuate the change he desires.

Here, we’re going to talk about whether Obama’s idea is good in the first place. Should law school be two years long? Let me rephrase that question: is there any possible justification for forcing people to sit through a third year of law school if they don’t want to?

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This is some quality dissembling. Dean William Treanor of Georgetown Law decided to enter the fray by responding to the New America Foundation report that I wrote about last week that claimed that Georgetown Law was using a loophole to use its public service debt repayment program to profit off the federal government. By way of recap, the school agrees to pay off the income-based payments of its students in the federal income-based repayment plan itself, then raises tuition for the next crop of students and uses that money to pay off their payments later, creating a big circle where tuition is artificially (if only marginally) inflated and taxpayers pick up the tab and the school pockets the profit.

Dean Treanor’s response attempts to deflect the criticism, but the article misses the entire point of the controversy.

What’s the important life lesson that Dean Treanor learned from Patches O’Houlihan? Oh right: Dodge, Duck, Dip, Dive.

And Dodge….

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* Should Eliot Spitzer have faced harsher sanctions for pounding hookers? It’s a pretty interesting question that we can all ponder for the next four years after Spitzer demolishes Scott Stringer in the Comptroller race. [Wise Law]

* Homeowners were forced to pay hundreds in legal charges for lawsuits that don’t really exist. Stay classy foreclosure practices. [Overlawyered]

* Blackacre: The Poem. [Poetic Justice]

* The New York State Bar says lawyers have a reasonable expectation of privacy if they use Gmail. Google disagrees. [3 Geeks and a Law Blog]

* A round-up of law school officials facing discipline for deceitful advertising. Take note deans. [TaxProf Blog]

* A woman is indicted for taking her 13-year-old daughter to get an abortion. And it’s not even Alabama. [Wild About Trial]

* Lawyer and witness repeatedly flip each other off during cross. Video after the jump…

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There’s some big news this week in top law school land: Boalt Hall’s Dean Christopher Edley Jr. will be stepping down from his position at the end of 2013, and as of yesterday, has taken a medical leave from his duties due to some serious health problems. Edley leaves behind one of the best law schools in the nation — one which he helped guide into the top 10 in the U.S. News law school rankings.

Edley has served as dean for nearly a decade, and he’s navigated Berkeley Law through the legal profession’s boom and bust years. Dean Daniel Rodriguez of Northwestern had this to say of Boalt’s outgoing dean: “In a period of real challenge for that great public law school — with declining state support, a creaky physical plant, some key faculty loses, and, later, myriad problems stemming from the tough job market in California and nationally — Edley provided steady, creative leadership.”

Despite its overall success, Chris Edley’s tenure as dean was not without controversy. We’ll review some of the highlights of his career at the school in a bit. But first, why is he leaving so suddenly?

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Experimenting with everything other than price.

Last November, Case Western Reserve University School of Law Dean Lawrence Mitchell took to the New York Times to defend the value of a legal education. Instead of addressing the actual problems with legal education, Mitchell blamed the media for “irrationally” dissuading prospective law students from going to law school. His article touched off a raft of law deans and professors who seem more interested in defending the status quo than addressing structural issues.

It hasn’t worked. Law school applications continue to plummet. It would appear that mind tricks don’t work on prospective law students, only money (and legitimate employment options).

Specifically, it hasn’t worked for Case Western Reserve Law. Mitchell’s protestations generated a lot of press, but I wonder if Case has enjoyed its time as standard bearer for the “nothing is f**ked here, dude” approach to legal education. The Cleveland Plain Dealer reports that Case Western enrollment is down to 104 students this fall. That’s down from 190 in 2011 and 165 just last year. Maybe instead of bitching in the Times, Mitchell should have addressed the problems in his own house.

It looks like he’s doing it now. Case Western is in the press again this week, this time for instituting massive changes to its law school curriculum. Many of the proposed changes sound pretty interesting. But I’ll note that one thing that is not changing is the tuition — that’s going to remain just as high as ever…

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No, RBG, that’s not the internet.

* According to Justice Elena Kagan, the rest of her colleagues are Supreme technophobes. Because “[t]he court hasn’t really ‘gotten to’ email,” they still pass handwritten memos to each other. [Associated Press]

* “[I]f we don’t get some relief we might as well close our doors.” Thanks to sequestration, budget cuts to the federal judiciary have resulted in layoffs in the Southern District of New York. Sad. [New York Law Journal]

* Kodak’s Chapter 11 reorganization was approved by Judge Allan Gropper, who called the affair “a tragedy of American economic life.” He must’ve had fond memories of getting other people’s pictures. [Bloomberg]

* Bankruptcy lawyers for corporate debtors are going to have to crack down on churning their bills. Starting in November, they will be subject to additional rules, and even (gasp!) fee examiners. [WSJ Law Blog]

* Guardian reporter Glenn Greenwald’s partner, David Miranda (because of course his surname is Miranda), has lawyered up after his unusual nine-hour detainment at Heathrow airport this weekend. [Am Law Daily]

* So long, Nuts and Boalts: Christopher Edley, dean of Boalt Hall, is taking a medical leave and cutting short his term as the school’s leader at the end of the year. [Bottom Line / San Francisco Chronicle]

* “We’ll take him.” Indiana Tech Law School opens today, and its founding dean is very excited to add a 33rd student — one who was admitted yesterday — to the school’s inaugural class. [National Law Journal]

* Eugene Crew, co-founder of the firm once known as Townsend and Townsend and Crew, RIP. [Recorder]

* Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is definitely one of our favorite judicial divas. When asked if she thought the Supreme Court’s work was art or theater, she mused, “It’s both, with a healthy dose of real life mixed in.” [New York Times]

* According to the Citi Private Bank’s Law Firm Group report on the first half of the year, the legal industry should count itself lucky if it manages to meet last year’s single-digit profit growth. This “new normal” thing sucks. [Am Law Daily]

* Howrey going to celebrate these “monumental” settlements with Baker & Hostetler and Citibank? The failed firm’s trustee might throw a party when he’s finally able to file a liquidation plan. [Am Law Daily]

* Uncommon law marriage? A man stuck in an inheritance battle who lived with his late partner since 1995 now asks the District of Columbia to declare him common-law husband. [Wall Street Journal (sub. req.)]

* The ABA’s Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar proposed a major overhaul to its accreditation standards. Action, of course, likely won’t be taken until next year. [National Law Journal]

* Despite the fact that these measures could help struggling graduates, law deans are at odds over the ABA’s proposed changes to tenure requirements for professors. [Capital Business / Washington Post]

* “Sooner or later you’ve got to make a choice, because you need enough revenue to cover what your expenses are.” Cooley will weather the storm by introducing a massive tuition hike. [Lansing State Journal]

* “How would you feel if you spent well over $100,000 on law school, only to have to spend an extra couple of thousand dollars on a course to get you to pass the bar?” You’d probably feel like everyone else. [CNBC]

* Requiring porn stars to wear condoms might not be sexy, but a federal judge says it’s constitutional. Don’t worry, unlike its actresses, the adult film industry won’t go down without a fight. [Los Angeles Times]

As mentioned in Non-Sequiturs last week, this story is why we can’t have nice things. Specifically, why lawyers make it so we can’t have nice things.

On Friday, the Washington Post reported that Georgetown Law had worked out how to bilk the federal government into fully paying for some its students’ tuition and managed to create a profit for itself on the side. This is caused a bit of a stir Friday afternoon, but unfortunately the practice is neither new nor limited to Georgetown.

Though some tactics Georgetown employs may go beyond what any other school has the gall to attempt….

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* The Mars Curiosity rover played “Happy Birthday to You” to itself on the first anniversary of its landing on the Red Planet. It takes about 13 minutes for transmissions from Mars to reach the Earth. Time Warner sued NASA 14 minutes after Curiosity’s performance. [io9]

* Fans of the Colorado Rockies… fans? Huh, okay! Anyway, the case posits that Rockies ticket holders should be allowed to sell them on the secondary market. If they can’t unload Rockies tickets, they may be forced to watch a team 11 games out of first place flounder. [Forbes]

* Paul Rampell, Donald Trump’s lawyer, advocates for replacing marriages with leases with defined terms. It gives new meaning to “trading in for a new model.” The thrice married Trump nods approvingly. [Washington Post]

* The Rumpus interviews Dean Frank H. Wu of UC Hastings. Turns out he’s writing “a bad trashy novel.” So it probably won’t make the 25 Greatest Law Novels ever list. But then again, they put The Fountainhead on that list, so don’t give up hope, Dean Wu! [The Rumpus]

* Poetry Corner: Kenneth Branagh Prepares Evidence For Trial. So long as he’s not preparing to direct another awful Thor movie, I’m fine. [Poetic Justice]

* Just what do Americans even want from an energy policy? That Cuisinart fusion reactor from Back to the Future, that’s what. [Breaking Energy]

* A defendant called a judge “Hon,” and it did not go well. I wonder what Judge Montes gets called at the club? [Sun Sentinel]

* Anthony Weiner once explained that he was “inspired” by a book about a lawyer who wants to cheat on his wife. Indeed. [BuzzFeed]

* “Our graduates have a history of going to small firms, DAs and public defenders’ offices. We don’t have the employment swings that big law schools have because their graduates are focused on more elite firms,” says the dean of law school that costs $185,214 to attend. Certainly all of those students at the District Attorney’s office are making enough bank to pay that off. [Daily Report]

* Looking to avoid jury duty? Practice some F-Bombs. [Lowering the Bar]

* Copyright carries with it a substantial weakness — most publishers would rather reprint public domain works than deal with authors. [The Atlantic]

* 75 percent of IP counsel are either litigating with patent trolls or expect to in the next 12 months. The other 25 percent just represent really sh**ty products. [Consero]

* A former attorney is aiming to crowdfund her invention, a 3-in-1 kitchen tool. [Gambas and Grits]

* Several State Attorneys General want to make it easier to go after bloggers because narrowly tailored laws are for suckers. [Popehat]

* A tipster sent us this from Facebook. This is the best tattoo of Lady Justice ever. Picture after the jump…

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