Law Schools

Your problems are our problems, and our problems are your problems.


– Northwestern Law School Dean David E. Van Zandt, discussing the relationship between law schools and law firms at the PLI Law Firm Leadership and Management Institute.

Vinny Guadagnino Vinnie Guadagnino law student law school lawyer.jpgAre you one of the 21 percent of law school students who, due to the changing legal job market, regret going to law school? If going to law school was a stupid decision decision for you, then congratulations — Vinny Guadagnino, the “self-confessed mama’s boy” of Jersey Shore fame, is smarter than you are.

We mentioned his recent interview with Us Magazine before, but in case you missed it — and, judging from all the emails we’ve been getting about it, it seems many of you did — let’s go over the highlights.

Like his undergraduate GPA — which is probably higher than yours….

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aba_logo_K.gifEarlier this month, Mark Greenbaum penned a blistering op-ed in the Los Angeles Times, blasting the American Bar Association for not exercising greater regulatory control over law schools. Obviously, I’ve been publicly begging the ABA to do something about the proliferation of new law schools and new law students, hoping against hope that lawyers would be afforded the same kind of professional protection that doctors enjoy.
Apparently, ABA President Carolyn B. Lamm is sick of hearing lawyers and commentators complain about the ABA’s lack of regulatory oversight over the law schools they accredit. Lamm shot back at Greenbaum (and anybody else who thinks there are too many law schools). If you’re hoping for the ABA to step up and stem the tide of new lawyers, Lamm’s message is clear: don’t hold your breath. Here’s the opening to her full-throated defense of the ABA:

To the Editor:
You published a recent opinion piece by Mark Greenbaum. His analysis is premised on incorrect facts from which he draws flawed conclusions. He misstates the number of American Bar Association-approved law schools, ties it to what he describes as a “flood of graduates,” and insists the ABA should “block” new schools. He fails to acknowledge that in fact existing law schools have reduced voluntarily class size and therefore despite a minimal increase in the number of accredited law schools (7% over a 5 year period) first year enrollment grew by only two percent. Hardly producing a “flood of graduates”.

Greenbaum says that there are 200 ABA approved law schools. The ABA website also tells us that there are 200 ABA approved law schools. Lamm explained to Above the Law where she disagrees with Greenbaum’s numbers:

Mr. Greenbaum said: “Today there are 200 ABA-accredited law schools in the U.S., with more on the way, as many have been awarded provisional accreditation.” There are 200 ABA-approved law schools. That number includes the six provisionally approved schools. And while he complained about an increase in the number of schools, as we pointed out, the relevant number is of students. Due to self-restraint by the schools, that number did not increase significantly. Greenbaum is even inaccurate in identification of ABA-approved schools in California. He says the new law school at UC Irvine is among ABA-approved schools. That school has not yet even applied for ABA approval.

Well, in fairness UC Irvine will seek provisional accreditation from the ABA in 2010 — which is the earliest possible time for them to do so.
Still, these are fair points, but not really the heart of the debate here. More from Carolyn Lamm after the jump.

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northwestern law school.gifIf you have friends at Northwestern Law School, there’s no need to worry about them. This morning’s situation with a gunman — er, man with a gun — has been resolved, without incident or injury.
Here’s the latest update from the Northwestern University website (at 1:30 p.m. Chicago time):

Chicago campus buildings open

All buildings on Northwestern’s Chicago campus, including all Law School buildings — Rubloff, Levy-Mayer and McCormick — are now open. An intensive search of the buildings on the Chicago campus was conducted but no one matching the description of the man reported with a gun was found. The investigation into the incident is continuing.

A recap of events, a description of the man, and commentary from Northwestern law students, after the jump.

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northwestern law school.gifDeveloping; we’ll bring you more as we get it. From a source on the scene (as of 11:57 a.m. Eastern time):

You’ve probably heard by now, but the place is on lockdown, no one is allowed to leave. The place is swarming with fuzz. A good portion of the classes are under their desks.

Yet through it all, the teachers keep teaching and the gunners keep gunning. In these economic times, the choice between a bullet and a B-minus is certainly a tough one.

Stay safe, Wildcats.
UPDATE: The situation has been resolved. Everything is fine.
Man with gun reported in Northwestern building in Chicago [Chicago Breaking News]
Man w/gun seen in Rubloff Building [Northwestern University - Emergency Information]

Gerald Ung Gerry Ung Jerry Ung Jerald Ung Temple Law School 3L shooter shooting.jpgNext month we’ll be speaking on a panel at a conference for Asian American law students and lawyers. It’s taking place at the University of Pennsylvania and being sponsored by the Asian Pacific American Law Students Association (APALSA) at U. Penn. Details and registration info appear here.

Asian law students. In Philly. Will there be a metal detector at the door?

In the past three years, two Asian law students in Philadelphia have gotten into trouble with the law due to gun-related incidents. First there was Joseph Cho, at the time a 2L at U. Penn., who shot up the door of his neighbors’ apartment in January 2007. Earlier this month, Gerald Ung (pictured), in his final year at Temple University’s Beasley School of Law, allegedly shot Edward DiDonato Jr., a recent college graduate and the son of a partner at Fox Rothschild. (See prior posts here and here.)

Today we have updates on both cases.

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Plus the sentencing of the U. Penn. law student shooter.

Snooki Jersey Shore NYU Law.JPGAs a denizen of New York City, I find that I have to deal with people who could be cast members on The Jersey Shore all the time. They clog up my 4 train when the Yankees are playing. They bounce at bars and clubs. Here in the city, you can even see them in their natural habitat, Gold’s Gym.
That’s why I was surprised when students at NYU Law School offered $2,000 in an unsuccessful attempt to get Snooki to come out and party with them. Why buy the landfill when you can get trash for free?
But in the hearty Midwest, it’s a little easier to understand why the cast from Jersey Shore can be so compelling. I mean, from the perspective of a Midwesterner, the cast of Jersey Shore must look like an alien species. I bet a Midwesterner would look at J-WOWW with the same level of fascination I’d regard Michele Bachmann. “What does it eat?” “Can I pet it?” “If I use a sentence comprised entirely of polysyllabic words, will its head explode?”
So, I have a modicum of understanding for the underground movement happening at the University of Wisconsin Law School. Here’s part of a letter that Above the Law received yesterday:

Dear AbovetheLaw,
I am a third-year law student at the University of Wisconsin Law School. My graduation is fast approaching and so far we (my classmates and I) have not heard who is going to be our guest speaker. However, the last thing I want to hear during my graduation is how great we are for becoming young lawyers, and that we have such a promising future ahead, especially considering our employment options currently. Instead a couple of classmates and I have come up with this great idea. If our futures are going to dissolve following graduation, we want to go down “guns blazing.” We want to raise money in order to bring the cast of Jersey Shore to come as our guest speakers.

Wasn’t this the setup for The Simple Life?
Are the Wisconsin students serious? More details after the jump.

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John Yoo John C Yoo John Choon Yoo law professor.jpgBerkeley law professor John Yoo, author of the so-called “torture memos” — as well as a new book on executive power, Crisis and Command, which has been getting very good reviews (even from such outlets as the New York Times and the Washington Post) — once again finds himself in the hot seat. And we’re not just talking about snarky (but ineffectual) attempts by Jon Stewart to make Yoo look bad.
From the Daily Californian (via Business Insider):

The Boalt Hall School of Law administration has come under fire once again over the undisclosed location of Professor John Yoo’s spring semester California Constitution class.

Yoo, who has been criticized for memos he wrote under the Bush administration justifying alleged torture practices, was scheduled to begin his first class of the semester Tuesday night and is the only professor in the law school whose class location is not listed on the law school’s class schedule. Anti-war groups World Can’t Wait and Fire John Yoo! have targeted Yoo since he returned from sabbatical last fall and criticized the Boalt Hall administration Tuesday.

About 25 people, some clad in orange jumpsuits, gathered Tuesday outside Boalt Hall Dean Christopher Edley’s office, demanding that the location of Yoo’s class be made public.

People in orange jumpsuits, roving the streets of California. Is this Judge Reinhardt’s doing?
We reached out to Professor Yoo to see if he had any comment on the classroom controversy, and he sent us a rather amusing reply.

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Maurer School of Law logo.JPGIf you’ve been paying attention, you might have noticed that the value proposition for going to law school is diminishing. Legal salaries are in a deflationary state, despite the fact that law school tuition is on the rise. And that debt/salary ratio is really only a concern for the law school graduates who are lucky enough to find an actual legal salary. Many recent law school graduates and current law students are having difficulty turning their legal education into a job as an attorney.
Confronted with these challenges, law school administrators have taken a number of innovative steps. There’s the “let’s totally ignore the problem and hope new law students are too stupid to research what’s happening in the legal economy” move. Hey, nobody ever went broke betting on the gullibility of the masses. A cherished yet under-reported program is the “let’s juke our employed-upon-graduation statistics and hope that U.S. News doesn’t really notice or care” option. Don’t knock that one until you’ve tried it. But my favorite thing is when law schools go with a “let’s announce a new initiative that won’t actually help anybody get a job, but it will look like we are doing something.” Trying something that was pioneered by the crew of the Titanic is an option that’s too good to pass up.
The latest example of this wonderful strategy comes to us from the Maurer School of Law at Indiana University. Apparently the administration has spent weeks cooking up a new plan that will allow 2Ls to take classes over the upcoming summer, and then graduate early in December 2010 (as opposed to May 2011). That’s right, if you are desperate to get out onto the barren job market as soon as possible, IU can make that happen for you.
By allowing students to graduate early, IU is bucking a trend. At other law schools, the idea is to allow students to graduate later — for a fee, of course — as schools try to grab just a little more money out of students before they enter the jobless recovery.
Exciting details after the jump.

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Gerald Ung Gerry Ung Jerry Ung Jerald Ung Temple Law School 3L shooter shooting.jpgOn Monday, we wrote about a shooting in Philadelphia involving a law student, as the accused shooter, and the son of a law firm partner, as the apparent victim. We now have some updates on the situation. Alas, we still have more questions than answers.
Gerald Ung (pictured), 28, is in his final year at Temple University’s Beasley School of Law. (Small correction to our last post: he’s a fourth-year student in the night program, not a 3L.) Ung is accused of shooting Edward DiDonato Jr., 23, a recent college graduate and the son of a partner at Fox Rothschild.
First, some (relatively) good news. Edward DiDonato, who was in critical condition immediately after being shot, is hanging in there and making progress (although he’s still critical). According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, he underwent a fourth operation yesterday. A Facebook group created to express support for Eddie DiDonato has over 1,800 members.
Second, some of Ung’s friends believe he has been treated unfairly in coverage. What are their concerns?

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Was it self-defense? Was the victim a ‘hero’?

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