Law Schools

Mon dieu, je déteste mon propriétaire.

* Led by Cleary and Wachtell, five Biglaw firms were involved in the $12.5B Google/Motorola deal. Talk about a total prestige orgy. [Am Law Daily]

* Casey Anthony will be appealing her check fraud probation order in Florida. WHERE’S THE JUSTICE FOR THAT GIRL’S CHECKING ACCOUNT!!?!? [CNN]

* Those pushing for a law school at Indiana Tech admit the state doesn’t need another law school, but “another kind.” The kind that doesn’t exist, amirite? [Chesterton Tribune]

* Your pets don’t need millions from your estate after you go to the big dog park in the sky. But if you feel so inclined, Fifi will probably use the money to dye her hair back. Pink is so not her color. [Reuters]

* For some young lawyers in Nevada, passing the bar is easier than getting a job. Meh, I guess I should’ve considered moving to Nevada. [Fox News]

* Lawyers in Texas are excited about a Twitter Brief Competition. All filings should be under 140 characters. Just imagine: @Appellant Ur lawyer sucks, ttyl #affirm [Tex Parte Blog / Texas Lawyer]

We shouldn’t be surprised that the American Bar Association barely cares about law schools misleading prospective law students when the organization doesn’t even really seem to mind when law school lie directly to the ABA itself. The Villanova Law LSAT scandal has been resolved, and boy are you going to be underwhelmed by the penalties associated with lying to the ABA for four years.

For those who haven’t been following along, an investigation revealed that former Villanova administration officials misrepresented the median LSAT scores and GPAs of incoming Villanova students. The deceit took place for many years. Investigators later found that Villanova also falsely reported the number of admission offers extended to Villanova applicants.

These are pretty serious findings against the school. You’d expect the punishment to be severe… unless you’ve actually been paying attention to how the ABA operates. If you are an ABA watcher, you know that this is an organization that thinks wrists are for slaps, not for cuffs.

Either way, all will find it amusing to listen to Villanova Law Dean John Gotanda try to explain how the meaningless sanction was only achieved because Villanova took the matter so seriously….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Villanova Might Need A Kiss From Mommy Since The ABA Slapped Their Wrist Wreally Wreally Whard.”

En garde, esquire!

Ladies, admit it. Sometimes you dream of going back in time to the days where damsels in distress were rescued by swashbuckling romantics on noble steeds. But in today’s day and age, there seems to be a shortage of heroic knights. And that’s mostly because the crop of men with swords handy leave certain things to be desired — things like good looks, social skills, and the ability to refrain from speaking in Elvish.

But when we heard about Terry Lee Locy, a Florida lawyer educated at the University of Miami School of Law, we thought that maybe this self-described “popular young gentleman known for his quick wit and his athletic physique” could assist his sword-wielding brethren. After all, the last guy we wrote about who was into medieval attire and sharp objects has been accused of murder.

But alas, Terry Locy will be unable to act as the great redeemer for this generation’s battalion of renaissance men. Facing counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and domestic violence battery, he could be sent to his kingdom’s dungeon for up to five years.

Why? Because he’s accused of challenging his girlfriend to a naked duel….

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You've got to be kidding me with this...

In mid-July, we wrote about Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and his quest to get answers from the American Bar Association about the future of legal education in this country. Grassley’s inquiry came on the heels of a similar request from Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA).

Steven Zack of the ABA responded quickly, making sure to pass a great deal of the blame off on the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar.

Grassley was apparently unimpressed with the response he received from the ABA, so last week he fired back with a shorter (and snarkier) list of questions.

Recall that Zack’s last response to Grassley touted that “no one could be more focused on the future of our next generation of lawyers than the ABA.” Will those be Zack’s famous last words in this debate?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Not So Fast, ABA — Chuck Grassley Isn’t Letting You Off the Hook”

Many prominent people, including Chief Justice John Roberts and Judge Harry Edwards, have raised their voices about the increasing irrelevance of academic writing to practicing lawyers and judges. Yet, despite railing at the academy, those judges — and law firms, and sophisticated purchasers of legal services — all rely on the academics to identify talented lawyers. Law schools brand the beef, and purchasers buy based on the brand. What do I mean, and why is that process natural and appropriate?

Let’s start with an example for people coming right out of law school: How should judges pick law clerks? One way — perhaps even the “fair” way — would be for judges to assume that each of the 45,000 people graduating from law school is equally likely to make a fine clerk. Judges would solicit applications from all 45,000 and then start the process of sorting the good from the bad.

That cannot work, of course. Judges don’t have the resources (or, necessarily, the ability) to study transcripts, read writing samples, conduct interviews, and do the other spadework needed to assess all of those candidates comprehensively. And judges can’t externalize the cost of the screening process; there’s no person or institution that would play that role for an acceptable price.

What are judges to do? They rely on law schools to brand the beef.

Rant as they may about scholars producing unhelpful scholarship, most judges rely essentially unthinkingly on those same scholars to have separated the potentially gifted lawyers from the crowd. Judges assume that the best students went to the best law schools; that, after arriving, the more talented law students outperformed the less talented ones; and thus that the best performers at the best law schools will make the best clerks. Judges typically pick their clerks from among the top graduates of the elite schools. Judges may think that professors are insane when they’re selecting topics for their scholarship and then devoting months to researching and writing on those subjects, but those same judges rely on the same professors to brand the beef astutely. Whatever criteria law schools are using within the asylum to rank their students, the outside world seems quite happy with it.

Is that fair?

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Larry Sager

Aren’t you supposed to get some kind of prize for moving your school into the top 14?

Lawrence Sager, dean of the University of Texas School of Law, will be stepping down at the end of the 2011-2012 academic year.

We’ve been a big fan of Dean Sager around these parts. He’s an NYU guy transplanted to Texas. And he managed to get Texas into the top 14 of the U.S. News law school rankings.

But all good things must come to an end. Why is Larry Sager relinquishing the UT Law deanship?

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Tammy Hsu

This afternoon we wrote about a blog entitled Confessions of an (Aspiring) Yalie. In this blog, Tammy Hsu, a 1L at Wake Forest University School of Law, chronicles her journey through the first year of law school — a journey she hopes will culminate with a successful transfer application to Yale Law School.

As we noted, Tammy Hsu’s blog is now restricted to invited readers. Some posts are still accessible via Google Cache (and in the comments to our original story, some of you identified favorite posts of yours).

Shortly after we wrote about her, we heard from Tammy C. Hsu. She sent us a defense and explanation of her blog’s origins, which we will now share….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Aspiring Yale Transfer Student Explains and Defends Her Blog”

Tyler Clementi and Dharun Ravi: both said politically incorrect things.

* The Kardashians may be “America’s rightful overlords,” as Marin so memorably put it, but even they must respect intellectual-property laws. [Fashionista]

* Congratulations to the Best LGBT Lawyers Under 40 (class of 2011). Perhaps you know some of the inductees? [National LGBT Bar Association]

* In less cheerful LGBT news… another day, another Republican politician allegedly trolling the internet for paid male companionship. Stay classy, Phil Hinkle. [Indianapolis Star]

* Tyler Clementi joked about Dharun Ravi’s parents owning a Dunkin’ Donuts shop. [New York Magazine]

Must lobster salad contain lobster?

* So just who is behind Inside the Law School Scam? Con Daily got an interview with LawProf, and breaks down a list of schools where LawProf may be employed. [Constitutional Daily]

* The SEC is sniffing around S&P; Matt Levine explains why. [Dealbreaker]

* When it comes to taking “reasonable” steps to prevent disclosure of privileged materials, perfection is not required, according to Magistrate Judge Paul W. Grimm. [Catalyst E-Discovery Search Blog (Bob Ambrogi)]

* A popular grocery store on the Upper West Side thought that it could get away with mislabeling its lobster salad. Not so fast… where’s Kash when you need her? [New York Times]

LeRoy Pernell

When the statistics tell you that virtually every black college will be in noncompliance, it’s a matter of grave concern.

LeRoy Pernell, dean of Florida A&M University College of Law, commenting on the possibility of a more stringent ABA bar passage requirement for law schools.

(At present, to remain in good standing with the ABA, at least 75 percent of a law school’s graduates taking the bar in the school’s state must pass for at least three of the past five years. The new ABA proposal calls for an 80 percent bar passage rate or a rate no more than 10 percentage points lower than other law schools in the state.)

Tammy Hsu, aspiring Yalie.

We begin with a message to our readers. Consider yourselves on notice: we regard almost anything you place on the internet, even if just for a brief hot second, to be fair game for coverage. It doesn’t matter to us if you later try to “recall” your mass email or delete your public blog. Once you’ve put something out there, thereby forfeiting any reasonable expectation of privacy, then it’s gone, baby, gone. [FN1]

And honestly, in the internet age, what privacy expectations are reasonable in the first place? Emails can be forwarded; images can be downloaded or photographed themselves, then re-posted. If it’s not already dead, privacy is rapidly dying. You might as well start living in public now, and make life easier for yourself. Just let it all hang out, and then you’ll never be embarrassed about anything getting leaked. (This is my philosophy on Twitter, where my feed is often TMI.)

Living in public: that’s the premise behind a charming new law student blog by a 1L with ambition. Like a fair number of bloggers — Brian Stelter and his Twitter diet come to mind — law student Tammy Hsu seeks to harness public exposure for her own benefit. Hsu, a first-year student at Wake Forest University School of Law, writes a blog built around her goal of transferring into Yale Law School. It’s right there in the title of her site: “Confessions of an (Aspiring) Yalie.”

By putting her ambition out in the open, Hsu is motivating herself to succeed, because failure would be so public. She is lighting the proverbial fire under her own arse, turning her classmates and the internet into one big Tiger Mother. If she’s not at 127 Wall Street this time next year, people will look down upon her — so now she has every incentive to excel in her 1L year at Wake Forest.

Sounds like a great idea, right?

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