Law Schools

Yesterday, we brought you a story about the plight of UGA Law students who were still jonesing for their grades. After having received a number of comments, emails, tweets, and Facebook messages, it seems like the moral of the story for rising 2Ls and 3Ls at UGA Law (and at every other law school) is this: “Quit bitching, gunners.”

I guess everyone will get their grades sooner or later, but to be honest, it will probably be later.

But, in particular, we noted that graduates from the school’s class of 2011 had not yet received their transcripts. The transcripts in question were due to the Georgia Bar yesterday, but as commenters and tipsters alike responded, this really, really isn’t a big deal. Really.

Apparently, UGA Law has some sort of secret agreement with the Georgia Bar that negates the deadline in question…

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Uga, did you eat the grades?

Well, it’s the middle of June, and it seems that some law students are still waiting for their grades. As we know from past discussion of the issue, this is a fairly common practice. The only problem with it is that it keeps law students fiending for their last grade like a crack addict searching frantically for his last rock.

The worst part of this situation is the fact that the grade delay may be keeping these law students from becoming gainfully employed. The legal job market may allegedly be on the rise, but when law students can’t do more than offer two-fifths of their updated transcripts to prospective employers, you can take a wild guess as to where their résumés will be headed.

So, while the professors are taking their sweet time grading their exams and possibly costing you a job, your classmates are banding together to try to figure out how to resolve the problem. First, they go to the Student Bar Assocation. Then, when they don’t like the answer they get from the SBA (“there’s a grading deadline, I’m sure we’ll get our grades soon”), they go straight to the source, the administration. Finally, when the administration’s response isn’t good enough (“it’ll be okay, you’ll get your grades when you get your grades”), they come to Above the Law. And we’re happy to help.

Hey, University of Georgia School of Law, we’re looking at you. Where are your grades?

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Who is the real spy? Ilan Grapel (left) or Austin Powers?

As we mentioned yesterday, a student at Emory Law School by the name of Ilan Chaim Grapel was arrested in Egypt on Sunday, and ordered held for 15 days. The Egyptians allege that Grapel is a “highly trained” spy, working for the state of Israel.

Ilan Grapel is a dual U.S.-Israeli citizen. And he did serve in the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) prior to law school, as a paratrooper (which sounds pretty awesome bad-ass).

But does that make Ilan Grapel a spy? Some observers, including classmates of Ilan’s from Emory Law, find the allegation highly dubious….

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I’m not sure how to say this, but I think some of our columnists are starting to get a little unhinged.

This week on the Bar Review Diaries, we’ll start off with some wood-piling hallucinations and imaginary Kiwi exchange students.

Let’s join Mariah in Vermont, a.k.a. the 1860s, after the jump…

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Is this law student a spy?

At this year’s Emory Law School commencement, Professor Sara Stadler urged graduates to think outside the box with respect to their career options: “You might not be able to land that [top-choice] job…. You might have to move to Nebraska.… You might have to join a small firm where they don’t make the big bucks.”

Or you might have to… become a spy in the Middle East? Emory law student Ilan Grapel has been detained in Egypt, by authorities who allege that he is a “highly trained” spy working for Israel.

Ilan Grapel is… pretty cute. Is he a spy?

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On Thursday night, I tried to explain the ups and downs of living your life under constant threat from debt collectors. Based on the reaction to the post, I have to say that the reading comprehension of my post was poor, even by “internet commenter” standards. Even Megan McArdle in The Atlantic missed some of the key points in my post.

Mostly, I blame myself. When that many people gloss over things in your post, chances are you didn’t make things clear enough. So allow me to correct that problem now. This time, I’ll use capital letters and aggressive fonts to make sure we’re all on the same page: when it comes to negotiating down your educational debts for less than the principal, I AM NOT TALKING ABOUT FEDERAL LOANS. You should never, ever mess around with your federal debt because Uncle Sam ALWAYS GETS HIS MONEY.

Are we clear?

McArdle also claims that she doesn’t know anybody who successfully negotiated down their student debts with their lenders (missing again my point that my debts had already been sold to a collection agency). McArdle’s skepticism sounds to me like a person who goes to a car dealership, pays sticker price, and then wonders why everybody was high-fiving the dealer as she drives off the lot.

But these factual issues are not what interested me about McArdle’s post. What I found interesting was the subtle scorn she (and many commenters) had for those who do not pay back their debts. I should have included that scorn in my list of things that happen when you default on your loans…

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Are you ready for some change? We’re about to see if two organizations worth about a quarter when it comes to regulating law schools can add up to a dollar’s worth of law school transparency. The American Bar Association has adopted new reporting standards for law school graduate employment data.

And at least for the first year of the new standards the ABA will be partnering with the National Association for Law Placement (NALP) to try to get accurate post-graduate employment data to prospective law students.

Let’s hope the ABA and NALP take their talents to the U.S. News law school rankings…

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Earlier this week, a tipster wrote to us: “The University of Chicago Law School is suffering from a problem not too different from the one that Antoine Dodson and his neighbors suffered not too long ago.”

Chicago is a long way from Huntsville, Alabama, and the University of Chicago Law School is a long way from the housing projects of Lincoln Park (no, not that Lincoln Park). But the tipster is right: both places have been the site of rape allegations.

Students at UofC Law already know that they need to hide their laptops when at the law school. But do they now need to hide their kids, hide their wives, and hide their husbands, ’cause they’re raping everybody out there?

Actually, no — there appears to be no cause for alarm. Let’s learn about the allegations, and the school’s response….

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Did you know that there is a federal panel that reviews accreditation organizations? Did you know this panel makes recommendations to the Department of Education on how well the accreditation organization is doing its job? Did you know that there is a government panel that can actually address how the American Bar Association is doing its job of accrediting law schools?

The panel is called the National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity. Now that I’ve told you its function, you will not be at all surprised that the ABA got smacked around a bit when it was brought up in front of the board.

Oh, don’t worry, the panel isn’t actually going to do anything to force the ABA to do a better job. This is government work we’re talking about.

But still, the ABA got a bit of a tongue lashing, so that’s something….

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Today brings more news coverage of Reema Bajaj, the rather attractive 25-year-old lawyer accused of moonlighting as a prostitute. Her story was written up in the Chicago Sun-Times and the Chicago Tribune, among other outlets.

Both papers covered the newest development in the case, a court hearing yesterday. Bajaj pleaded not guilty to three counts of prostitution (two misdemeanors and one felony), according to her lawyer, David Camic of Aurora, Illinois.

I have previously expressed my gut instinct that Reema Bajaj is innocent. Maybe I’m guilty of judging a book by its cover, but she just looks innocent — youthful and sweet and wide-eyed. She is a young Midwestern woman, of South Asian ancestry, who grew up in the suburbs of Chicago. It doesn’t get much more wholesome than that.

And now I don’t have to rely solely upon racial stereotyping vague intuitions. Now I have additional evidence, from several sources — including a law school classmate of Reema Bajaj….

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