Law Schools

It’s pretty well established that the people running Thomas M. Cooley Law School have no sense of shame. They invented their own stupid law school rankings and then had the audacity to rank themselves #2. They’re already the second-biggest law school in the nation, but they’re opening another campus, this time in Florida. Cooley really doesn’t care what you think (or what the graduates who are suing them think), so long as there are enough prospective law students to fill their incoming class.

As we mentioned in Morning Docket, the Wall Street Journal (sub. req.) did a big article this weekend about law schools that are taking a thoughtful approach to class size given the challenging legal job market. In the article, Cooley evidently didn’t mind looking like the thoughtless school that does what it wants and dares somebody to stop them.

Again, if you know Cooley’s history, that’s to be expected. It’s just their hypocrisy can be a little hard to swallow…

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* Have you ever wondered why Justice Clarence Thomas hasn’t spoken during oral arguments before SCOTUS in more than six years? It’s probably because he hates them so much that he thinks we should “do away” with them entirely. [Charlotte Observer]

* Former Solicitor General Paul Clement, he of unparalleled oral advocacy skills, claims that there’s “no magic formula for time management” — but having a superior legal mind certainly helps the situation when preparing for argument. [Appellate Daily]

* It’s “highly likely” that Rajat Gupta will won’t take the witness stand to testify in his own defense at his insider-trading trial. Query what Benula Bensam would have written to Judge Rakoff about that. [Los Angeles Times]

* If you’re thinking of hopping on the “blame the ABA” bandwagon in defense of your employment statistics, think again. A federal judge rejected Cooley Law’s argument on that front last week. [National Law Journal]

* Meanwhile, Cooley “isn’t interested in reducing the size of its entering class on the basis of the perceived benefit to society,” but at least ten other schools will be reducing class sizes. [Wall Street Journal (sub. req.)]

* A judge denied Jerry Sandusky’s motion to dismiss the charges against him. The former football coach clearly needed 1-800-REALITY check if he seriously thought that his request was going to be granted. [CNN]

* If you’re planning on living rent-free in New York City for almost a decade, make sure you’re doing it in a building that isn’t up to code. You’ll never be evicted thanks to this Court of Appeals ruling. [New York Times]

There's no legal angle to this picture, and this picture is not involved in any of the blurbs.

* How many cops does it take to kill a man? [Simple Justice]

* Professor Paul Campos has been having fun with the NALP numbers. Well, fun for him, and for me. Less fun for anybody unlucky enough to have been part of the class of 2011. [Inside the Law School Scam]

* And if you don’t like to read, here’s some video about how bad the job market is for the class of 2011. ARE YOU LISTENING, PROSPECTIVE LAW STUDENTS? CAN YOU TAKE IN AND PROCESS INFORMATION? [Bloomberg Law]

* How come my anonymous readers don’t drop $25 million on me? I’d name a whole wing of my new house after them. And give them a T-shirt. [Thomson Reuters News & Insight]

* In the recession, we cling to what we have instead of striking out into the unknown. In related news: if you leave your law job, there’ll be a stampede of people happy to take your spot. [What About Clients?]

* I don’t even think you should be allowed to defend yourself pro se. [Underdog]

* Southwestern Law’s Dean Bryant Garth is stepping down. One of these days, somebody will let me run a law school. [Southwestern Law School]

Sandra Fluke

Remember Sandra Fluke, the Georgetown Law student who testified before Congress about the need for insurance plans to cover birth control — and then received a verbal smackdown from conservative talk radio host Rush Limbaugh?

As if you needed a reminder, Limbaugh had the nerve to make the following remarks about Fluke over the airwaves: “What does it say about the college co-ed Sandra Fluke, who goes before a congressional committee and essentially says that she must be paid to have sex? What does that make her? It makes her a slut, right? It makes her a prostitute.”

Society was outraged, and even President Obama called Fluke to denounce Limbaugh’s comments. Limbaugh eventually issued an apology, but at that point, it was too late. Everyone had already rallied around Fluke as the new face of women’s issues in America.

So what’s Fluke up to these days? We’ve got all of the details for you….

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(An Update on Georgetown Law’s Sandra Fluke.)”

If Charles Darwin went to Charleston Law...

Every law school is its own island. Every law school is basically an isolated community where vicious infighting (and often inbreeding) allows natural selection to work its magic and produce variations of same genus, but different species.

Like Darwin on the Beagle, sometimes I like to hop onto the HMS Walrus and survey the different kinds of law students evolving all around the country.

Today, my travels bring me to Charleston, South Carolina, and the newly accredited Charleston School of Law. At many law schools, the identity and the culture of the place is set based on years of tradition and a selective admissions process. But at a school like Charleston, we get to see identity development in practice.

And boy is it funny….

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* Only 44% of Americans approve of how the Supreme Court is doing its job, but that’s probably because the other 56% wouldn’t know what the Supreme Court was unless the justices were contestants on a reality show. [New York Times]

* Having nothing to do with the outcome of this Tenth Circuit appeal, apparently a juror in the underlying case had no idea when the First Amendment was adopted. As Bush II would say, is our children learning? [U.S. Tenth Circuit / FindLaw]

* Who’s going to win the “Super Bowl” of Android patent trials? Nobody. Judge Richard Posner has issued a “tentative” order which noted that both sides of the Apple/Google case ought to be dismissed. [Reuters]

* You should’ve “known better”: in case we didn’t make it abundantly clear when we spoke about NALP’s data for the class of 2011, the job market for new law grads is being classified as “brutal.” [National Law Journal]

* U. Chicago Law revolutionized the field of law and economics, but much to the school’s chagrin, everyone copied them. Now they’re thinking up new ways to do the same things. Gunners gotta gun. [Businessweek]

* Say hello to Mary Lu Bilek, the woman who’s been appointed as the new dean of UMass Law. Hopefully she’s not keen on using school credit cards for personal spending like the last dean. [Wall Street Journal]

* Occupy Wall Street protesters can’t sue NYC, its mayor, or its police commissioner, but they can sue the police. And with that news, “F**k tha Police” was sung in drum circles across the tri-state area. [Bloomberg]

Linda Doyle

[A] brick-and-mortar LL.M. would be far more beneficial than an online LL.M. at this point.

Linda Doyle, a hiring partner at McDermott Will & Emery, commenting on the utility of pursuing an online LL.M. degree. Washington University recently made headline news for its introduction of an online LL.M. degree.

We try to provide some balance in our coverage of law schools. Last night, for example, we posted our latest round of law school success stories, to balance some of the more depressing fare in our pages — such as the $10K a year lawyer job being offered to Boston College Law School students, which the law school defended vigorously.

At the same time, we have to report the reality that’s before us. And that reality isn’t always pretty.

Which brings us to today’s topic, the latest employment data from our friends at the National Association for Law Placement (NALP)….

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It's the summer, put your hand down.

It’s hard out there for a law student who can’t find a summer job.

Back in the before times, the summer was this excellent opportunity to make a little bit of money and, more importantly, secure legal employment for after graduation. Now, things are worse. For those who have a summer associate position, the program involves ten weeks of stress, hoping that you don’t screw up your offer while also praying you like the people you work with because there is no 3L hiring market.

For those who are unemployed, I mean, honestly, spending a summer getting drunk and playing SWTOR is probably as good as anything else you can do.

Whatever you do, you probably don’t want to end up like this student. The rule for law students over the summer is very simple: first, do no harm….

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Last month, in the inaugural post in our series of Law School Success Stories, we focused on the theme of “the value of thrift.” We outlined a “low risk” approach to law school, profiling happy law school graduates who secured their law degrees without going into excessive debt — under $50K upon graduation, which is the recommendation of Professor Brian Tamanaha, author of a new book (affiliate link) about reforming legal education.

Today we’re going to cover the flip side: the “high risk, high reward” approach to legal education. In some ways this is a dangerous theme. The promise of Biglaw bucks is the siren song that leads many to crash on the rocks of joblessness and crippling debt (as Will Meyerhofer discussed earlier today).

Some law schools clearly exaggerate the ability of a legal education to increase a person’s career prospects and earning potential. But for some subset of law students, however small, law school does turn out to be a golden ticket. Their numbers might be inflated, but they do exist. Law school has allowed these individuals to increase their incomes dramatically. And — shocker! — many of these J.D. holders actually enjoy their lucrative new jobs.

Read about a young woman who went from being a secretary to having a secretary — along with a six-figure paycheck. Meet a young man with a rather unmarketable undergraduate degree who now, thanks to law school, makes bank in New York City.

Here’s another way of describing today’s success stories: “Fairy tales can come true, it can happen to you….”

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