* Congrats to William Voge, who was elected as the new chairman of Latham & Watkins. He succeeds Robert Dell in this position, who is one of the Am Law 100′s longest-serving leaders. [Am Law Daily]
* Dewey’s former execs filed a motion to dismiss their criminal charges, lamenting the fact that the Manhattan DA made them “scapegoats” for the total failure of their firm. [DealBook / New York Times]
* A judge banned the Washington Redskins name from his court, proclaiming that the offensively monikered team shall be known only as “the Washington Team” in documents submitted. [WSJ Law Blog]
* Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid thinks that if it were up to Judge Judy, House Speaker John Boehner’s “show trial” suit against President Obama would be thrown out in “half a second.” Well then. [ABC News]
* A Michigan attorney was arraigned yesterday on a felony charge of homicide-solicitation of murder. It seems that the hired hitman warned his target. He’s not getting a good Yelp review. [UpNorthLive.com]
* If you’re an international student with a foreign law degree trying to get a law degree in the U.S., why the hell would you waste your money on a J.D.? Just get an LL.M. [Law Admissions Lowdown / U.S. News]
* Oh baby8: Nadya Suleman (formally doing business as Octomom) pleaded no contest to welfare fraud charges after she failed to report income from all of her public appearances and porn videos. [Reuters]
There’s a curious case making the rounds today involving a top law school, its LL.M. program, and a convicted con man.
Mauricio Celis was convicted in 2009 for pretending to be a lawyer in Texas. Celis said that he was barred in Mexico but authorities contended that he was not, though Celis maintains his innocence.
In any event, after his conviction for unauthorized practice of law, he went to get an LL.M. After he enrolled, paid money, and spent months in the program, the school found out about his conviction and expelled him before graduation. After expulsion, Celis essentially filed an Adam Sandler-style lawsuit against the school, arguing that this was news that could have been brought to his attention yesterday.
While most of the internet is reacting with antipathy towards Celis, I’m going to defend the man. If schools weren’t so desperate to cash in on foreigners through expensive LL.M programs, they might have noticed the easily available public information about Celis’s past…
Law school graduation is coming up and that means it’s time to engage in duplicitous backstabbing of everyone you call a friend in a mad scramble for graduation week event tickets.
That’s why the process of selling graduation week tickets has to be managed with a level of procedural fairness normally reserved for stock quotes or Miley Cyrus tickets. It’s also the reason everything can quickly descend into a lower circle of hell if someone feels they’ve been screwed over for tickets.
That’s what happened when a top law school accidentally gave the LLMs an early bite at the grad event ticket apple. And what they tried to do next lit up a hornets’ nest of entitled tools….
This punishment is more harsh than anything the ABA will do to a law school.
Jokes about basketball aside, the ABA’s decision to censure and fine the University of Kansas School of Law is bewildering. I mean, I get why the ABA would want to punish Kansas; the school did something that is kind of obviously wrong. But what’s confusing is that KU’s infraction is just a different form of what law schools do every day.
Why is the ABA singling out Kansas Law as opposed to 50 or 100 other schools? Well, as clear as I can tell, it’s because KU didn’t ask permission before it bamboozled foreign students.
Of course, luckily for Kansas, the penalties from the ABA are so toothless that KU will probably barely notice the hypocrisy….
Usually, law school finals do not produce great moral dilemmas. Most of them are open book, so you are allowed to use any information you can get your hands on. And since the whole thing is graded on a curve, “cheating” in the sense of copying from somebody else doesn’t really get you anywhere. You can use any means, fair or unfair, to get ahead.
But today we have an interesting question coming out of final exams at a top law school. A student observed another student breaking the rules of the exam. The other student was clearly breaking the letter of the law of the exam administration. But was the other student really cheating?
Our tipster didn’t report the offense, and I think that was the right call. But what would you have done?
* Shine bright like A. Diamond: Howrey’s bankruptcy trustee has secured yet another multimillion dollar settlement for the defunct firm from places like Covington, Kirkland, and Shearman. [Am Law Daily]
* If for some reason you’re still shocked that GCs are breaking up with their Biglaw boyfriends, here’s some additional info on why corporate clients are moving from Biglaw to “big enough” law. [Corporate Counsel]
* Man, this LL.M. program seems like the best of both worlds for foreign students. They can learn U.S. law without ever being with stepping on U.S. soil. Thanks USC Law! [National Law Journal]
* Three more states could legalize gay marriage by the end of the year, making the marriage equality movement 17 states strong, plus D.C. Here’s to an extra fabulous new year. [GovBeat / Washington Post]
* You skip over the footnotes when you’re reading for class, but Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg doesn’t think you should. She’s a proponent of the most important footnote in all of constitutional law. [New Yorker]
* New York will modify its pro bono requirement for LL.M. students to allow public service completed outside the country. Well, so much for closing the state’s justice gap. [New York Law Journal (sub. req.)]
* Everything’s bigger in Texas, including the government-initiated trademark infringement actions over “Don’t Mess With Texas.” Like “I <3 NY," the Lone Star State's slogans are off limits. [New York Times]
* You can sue Lady Gaga for overtime pay all you want, but you do not want to face her wrath. The pop star is due in court in early November where she’ll tell a judge “exactly what f**king happened.” [Daily Mail]
You could make an entire Olbermann-like career just exposing the ridiculousness of legal education… I think.
A couple of days ago, we talked about how law schools are trying to increase revenue by offering “master of laws” degrees of questionable value. These programs are just the latest attempts by law schools to charge people for something without assessing their value in the marketplace for jobs.
The more traditional way for law schools to jack revenue out of students who want “extra” credentials is to offer LL.M. programs. We’ve talked about the low value of these programs before. In fairness, there are a couple of useful LL.M. programs. If you can match the degree with a specific employer who wants it, some programs can help. Note: you’ll want to ask the employer if it’s worth it for you to get the LL.M., not the law school administrator trying to get you to sign up and cut them a check.
But one of the scam bloggers has put together a list of LL.M. programs that you should almost certainly avoid at all costs. That seems more useful than arguing whether NYU or Georgetown has a better tax LL.M. program….
Ed. note: This is the latest installment in a series of posts from the ATL Career Center’s team of expert contributors. Today, Mansfield J. Park advises prospective law students on selecting an online law school.
Which are the very best online law schools?
This is hard question because there isn’t a clear ranking system — U.S. News doesn’t rank online degree programs (neither does Above the Law) — and actual first-hand information is scarce for online law schools. There isn’t much accountability at online law schools.
Let’s take a step back.
No juris doctor program at an online law school, at the moment, is going to give you the kind of career you would have if you attended a national top-tier law school like Harvard, or even a regional powerhouse (like University of Alabama if you live in Alabama).
Indeed, there are not that many online law schools, actually, that permit you to sit for any state’s bar exam. None are, at the moment, ABA-accredited (this is important because if you graduate from a law school with ABA accreditation, you can take the bar exam in any of the 50 states of the U.S.).
There are a lot more programs that offer a masters of law online if you already have a juris doctor.
So, with all of that as a warning, let me pick a couple of the best online law schools if you are dead set on getting an online law degree. Again, below, I consider juris doctor and LL.M. programs separately.
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