Law Schools

Stephen McDaniel

It seems that Stephen Mark McDaniel just can’t catch a break. First the recent Mercer Law School graduate gets accused of murdering his former neighbor and classmate, Lauren Giddings. Then he’s hit with lurid charges of child pornography possession. He has been in Bibb County jail for almost two months, and the incarceration has been taking its toll on him.

And now, according to the Macon Telegraph, Stephen McDaniel is being fingered as the author of some exceedingly creepy postings to internet message boards. If the claims of his authorship are true, they will definitely not help his case.

We’ve called the postings “chilling” and “creepy,” but you don’t have to take our word for it. Check them out for yourself….

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At law schools and law firms around the country, on-campus interviewing and callback interviews are in full swing. We’ve been covering the fall (or summer?) recruiting process quite closely, offering you a mix of interview advice, humorous anecdotes, and soul-crushing reality checks.

Now it’s your turn to talk back to us….

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In the wake of the east coast earthquake of 2011, the legal world seems to be back to its regularly scheduled programming. Courts are back in session, law firms have reopened, and government agencies are fully functioning. While some got a welcome day off yesterday, others only received a temporary respite from work.

Thankfully, the damage to the capital region seems to have been limited. At first it was reported that we may have had a Leaning Tower of D.C., but it turns out that the Washington Monument is just cracked. In other monument news, the Lincoln and Jefferson memorials are closed for further inspection, and the National Cathedral has sustained “mind-boggling” damage.

We received a lot of tips from our readers about their earthquake experiences, but more importantly, we have the final results from our reader poll. We now know who we can blame for moving the earth and disrupting our day. And no, it wasn’t Obama’s Fault.

Find out who is responsible, after the jump….

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Stephen McDaniel

Things just got a lot more complicated for Stephen McDaniel, the 25-year-old Mercer Law School graduate accused of killing his former neighbor and classmate, Lauren Giddings. As we mentioned last night, McDaniel has been hit with seven charges of sexual exploitation of children.

So even if McDaniel is cleared of the Giddings murder, he’s still looking at a whole host of other allegations. As you may recall, what originally landed him in the Bibb County jail were two counts of burglary (namely, filching condoms from other apartments at the Barristers Hall complex). Now he stands accused of child pornography possession, facing possible exposure of five to 20 years in prison on each charge.

At the time we originally mentioned the kiddie porn charges yesterday, we didn’t have the dirty details. Now we do.

If you have the stomach for it, keep on reading….

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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.

Milken, Milken — that last name sounds familiar….

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One of the lasting effects of the recession has been clients wising up on the value of first-year associates (or the lack thereof). Many at large law firms knew that junior associates contributed little more than manpower during their first couple of years at a firm. But only in the crucible of the recession did clients start asking why they were paying money to finish the training of junior Biglaw associates.

Of course, being able to bill out your new labor at high billing rates is a key part of the law firm business model. Firms are already in a bind: since American law schools insist on graduating students with little to no practical skills, the kids must be trained. Training them on the client’s dime (while the law firm partners pocket a profit) is just one of the ways it has always been done.

But those who do not innovate die. Today brings news that two major law firms are going to try something different with their first-years.

The first-years will get paid their usual $160K salary. But at least at the start, they’ll have to go through more training…

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As we mentioned yesterday, on-campus interview season has started at law schools all across the land. We’re happy to serve as your one-stop shopping center for all things OCI. Just send us an email (subject: “OCI”) about the things going on at your school that deserve more attention.

Today’s news is on the funny side. It appears that the wild and crazy kids from BYU Law are taking the stress of OCI in stride….

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We know how much our readers love rankings, so as we mentioned in Morning Docket, the National Jurist has released the fifth annual list of the 60 Best Value law schools in its preLaw magazine. As it stands, the list remains unranked, but the final grades for the honor roll are expected in October.

The Best Value ranking typically takes into account the following criteria: in-state tuition, average student debt, the percentage of graduates employed nine months after graduation, and bar passage rates.

But this year, the National Jurist made some adjustments to its rankings methodology to account for “fairness.” It now takes into account averages for bar passage rates and post-graduation employment over the past two years. And even if a law school didn’t meet one of these important standards, the school wasn’t automatically excluded from consideration. Everyone gets a trophy in this year’s Best Value rankings.

You may be surprised at some of the law schools that made this year’s Best Value honor roll. Check and see if your school made the list, after the jump….

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Lauren Giddings

It has been a few weeks since we last wrote at length about the investigation into the murder of Lauren Giddings. As you may recall, Giddings was a recent graduate of Mercer Law School whose decapitated torso was found on June 30 in Macon, Georgia.

A former neighbor and classmate of Giddings, Stephen M. McDaniel, 25, has been charged with her murder. McDaniel is being held at the Bibb County jail, where he has been for several weeks.

There have been a few recent developments in the case — nothing major, but still worth noting….

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Looks like the joke is on us.

* With a recommendation for dismissal filed, Dominique Strauss-Kahn hopes to bid adieu to his rape charges and say au revoir to our country. [CNN]

* Apparently your law school can still be on the Best Value honor roll even if its bar passage rates suck abysmally. What up CUNY Law. [National Jurist]

* It’ll be awesome if Clarence Thomas speaks during the inevitable Supreme Court oral arguments on Obamacare. Ginni needs to start smacking him around so this happens. [New Yorker]

* Will Booz Allen get hit with a trifecta of gender discrimination lawsuits this summer? Yesterday marked the second one in filed in the past three weeks. [Blog of Legal Times]

* Not sure why trial lawyers are all up in arms about Rick Perry. Is the star of How to Secede from the U.S. Without Really Trying actually going to be a real contender in Election 2012? [POLITICO]

* Living in a complex full of Type A bar examinees (and repeat failures) for five years sounds like a fate worse than death. I’d rather be condemned to the Gulag. [Los Angeles Times]

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