Law Schools

Stephen McDaniel

I just realized that I share several things in common with Stephen Mark McDaniel, the recent Mercer Law School graduate who has been charged with the grisly murder of his former classmate, Lauren Giddings.

During law school, I served as vice-president of my law school’s Federalist Society chapter. So did Stephen McDaniel (under Lauren Giddings, who served as president).

Through the Federalist Society, I got to meet one of my heroes, Justice Clarence Thomas. So did Stephen McDaniel, who expressed his admiration for Justice Thomas’s integrity.

I once aspired to be a prosecutor and a federal judge. So did Stephen McDaniel, who hoped to serve as a prosecutor on his way to realizing his dream of serving on the U.S. Supreme Court.

Stephen McDaniel’s mother, Glenda McDaniel, once asked her son whether romance was possible between him and any woman. My mother has posed similar questions of me.

Lauren Giddings

And this, thankfully, is where the similarities end. My hair, while sometimes problematic, doesn’t look like the result of “a grizzly bear banging Bob Marley’s mom” (as one ATL tipster described McDaniel’s mane). In law school, I wore khakis and button-down shirts to class, not chain mail (which doesn’t sound very comfortable). I have never been accused of burglarizing apartments (to steal condoms). And I’ve certainly never been accused of murder.

As we reported last night, Stephen M. McDaniel, 25, has been charged with the horrific murder of Lauren Giddings, 27, a bright and beautiful recent graduate of Mercer Law. Giddings’s decapitated torso was found on June 30. The search for the rest of her remains continues.

Let’s take a closer look at this deeply disturbing case….

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I recently graduated from a state school in the California State University system as a Philosophy major. My original plan was to go to law school, but I am now thinking I may want to go into accounting instead (due to the terrible job market for lawyers and the 150k debt I’d be faced with).

Particularly, I would like to work at a Big 4 firm. Is this change possible?

— from a question sent into the advice column of Going Concern (the accounting world’s answer to Above the Law). Note the questioner’s less-than-stellar undergraduate GPA.

Stephen McDaniel

A recent graduate of Mercer Law School in Macon, Georgia, Stephen Mark McDaniel, has been charged with murder, according to inmate information posted tonight on the website of the Bibb County Sheriff’s Office. As you may recall, Stephen McDaniel was a neighbor and classmate of Lauren Giddings, the slain Mercer Law graduate whose torso was found on June 30, inside a trash bin just outside her apartment building.

McDaniel, 25, was previously identified as a person of interest in the killing of Lauren Giddings, 27. He is currently being held in Bibb County jail, having been charged with two counts of burglary in an unrelated case.

Bibb County jail records are how the murder charge against McDaniel came to light. Let’s take a look at Stephen McDaniel’s inmate information sheet….

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HBO should make a show about law school. It should be called "The Faculty," and in the final season the law school should get sued.

For the purposes of this post, I’m going to be playing Tommy Carcetti of The Wire. University of Baltimore President Robert L. Bogomolny has to be Clarence Royce. Outgoing U. Baltimore Law dean Philip Closius gets to be a disgruntled Cedric Daniels. All the UB Law students are the hoppers in Hamsterdam.

On Friday, Dean Closius blew the lid off the way the University of Baltimore has been making money off the backs of the UB Law School, despite the down legal economy. Evidently, the UB administration took the weekend to examine its motives. Then, on Monday, UB President Bogomolny struck back hard. He sent an open letter to the U. Baltimore community (and the media), disputing Closius’s claims.

Oh, the University still takes money from the law school. A lot of it. President Bogomolny just claims that the University retains less than Closius says it does.

Yes, these kinds of “juking the stats” discussions are usually handled behind closed doors, but now we all get to see it…

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The American Bar Association is resistant to change and slow to act. But it appears that the ABA will finally start collecting enhanced employment information on law school graduates.

Starting with the class of 2011, the ABA will try to turn the tide on the inflated and misleading employment data put out by American law schools. The new data collection was proposed back in March. We reported on it here. But last week, the ABA Section of Legal Education adopted the measures….

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* This whole debt crisis has been a little like Deal or No Deal, except that show had a much better host. Howie Mandel can get people to make a deal with the banker in under 60 minutes. Obama? Not so much. [POLITICO]

* Real life intellectual property matters be damned, because even virtual horses need to eat. If a PETA group doesn’t exist yet in Second Life, I have a feeling that one soon will. [Wall Street Journal]

* Reality shows rule, but I’m not sure if an execution can compete with Jersey Shore. The only thing I want to see die on TV is dignity, but our own David Lat has some other interesting ideas. [New York Times]

* New Mercer Law students are moving into the apartment complex where pieces of Lauren Giddings were found. Why would you sign a lease with a place that’s so stabby? [Macon Telegraph]

* B*tch has balls if she’s willing to go to war with Oprah over an acronym. Before you can OYP (Own Your Power), you might want to OYT (Own Your Trademark). [Daily Intel / New York Magazine]

* I’m flying this weekend for the first time in over a year (it couldn’t be avoided). I’ll need to brush up on what rights I still retain during air travel. As long as I acknowledge TSA’s droit du seigneur to my wife, I’m allowed to carry an unopened water bottle on board, right? [Legal Blog Watch]

* There’s a statement from the University of Baltimore on the Phillip Closius situation. They say their “forward momentum” will continue. Does that mean they expect future Baltimore Law students to be unable to run a Google search? [WSJ Law Blog]

* Lat imagined a future legal career for Casey Anthony that starts with a Anthony getting a GED (before clerking on the Supreme Court and becoming a law partner of Jose Baez). But doesn’t Hustler seem like something more in her wheelhouse? [Gawker]

* Have we done irreparable damage to our credit rating, unless we can prove we have a legal “fail-safe” in case a vocal Tea Party minority hijacks the entire freaking nation again? [Blackbook Legal]

* Taco Bell employee fired for refusing to get his hair cut. I guess they were worried about 100% real hair mixing with their isolated oat product — er, seasoned beef. [Associated Press]

* Howrey going to massively reduce our assets for bankruptcy reporting purposes? [Chapter11Cases]

It’s time to announce the winner of our most recent caption contest, involving a photograph taken at New York Law School….

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'These MBE questions are way easier than the practice ones!'

We thought we had a winner for most gutsy bar exam performance of July 2011. On Thursday, a woman taking the New Jersey bar exam passed out during the test — then picked herself up off the floor, and went right back to typing.

That’s impressive — but we may have spoken too soon. Here’s a labor-intensive story that tops it.

“A friend of mine went into labor while taking the Illinois bar exam,” a tipster told us. “She calmly finished, went to the hospital, and had her baby an hour or two later. Girl’s a real trooper.”

“A certain Northwestern Law alumna went into labor during the second day of the Illinois bar,” said a second source. “She finished the exam and had her baby, her first, at 5:58 p.m. I think that is worth noting.”

You better believe it’s worth noting. If ever there was a baby immaculately conceived by a lawgiver, this might be the one.

We have all the details — including a picture of the Bar Exam Baby, whom we’ll nickname “Baby Bar”….

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Are law students being financially victimized by their universities?

It’s the not-so-veiled secret of the law school tuition game: law schools are the cash cows of the university system. University presidents, often feeling a budget crunch from a decrease in state educational funding or weak, recession-era fundraising initiatives, know they can get cash out of law schools. For some reason, law students always seem willing to pay more for the same education.

When the New York Times wrote its big exposé on law school funding, I highlighted this exact issue. The most interesting part of that Times article was the research David Segal did into how much money universities take from law school coffers. After the article went up, I wrote: “[N]obody in their right mind would pay hundreds of thousands of dollars to get additional education in some of this crap, because they know they’ll never make enough to justify the cost. The university needs to subsidize that education in some way — and so they turn to law schools.”

Apparently, we didn’t know the half of it. One brave law school dean has been asked to tender his resignation by his university president. On his way out of the door, the dean decided to shine a light on the whole ugly mess of law school economics…

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