Loyola Law School

Lauren Serafin and Robert Leighton

Chicago sounds like a tough town for romance. Check out the first Courtship Connection date that went down in the Windy City. Let’s hope that future dates go better.

Chitown was also the venue for Serafin v. Leighton. In this lawsuit, a lovely young lawyer, Lauren Serafin, sued her handsome ex-fiancé, Sidley Austin associate Robert Leighton, for “breach of promise” to marry. Serafin alleged that Leighton cheated on her during his Las Vegas bachelor party, with a woman named “Danielle,” and then broke off the engagement — saddling Serafin with almost $63,000 in wedding- and honeymoon-related expenses.

We now bring you an update on this saga….

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We have the makings of a trend: inappropriate contacts between participants in jury trials. These contacts can be problematic because a jury trial constitutes a delicate ecosystem, in which contacts and communications between actors are regulated strictly to ensure the fairness of the proceedings.

We recently mentioned a case where a juror got sentenced to community service after trying to friend the defendant on Facebook. Well, at least he didn’t try to “poke” her (although perhaps a desire to poke her is what prompted the problematic friend request).

Now we bring you news of, er, more intimate contact between a witness and a lawyer — which culminated in a mistrial….

UPDATE (11:00 AM): Photo of massage therapist Liudmyla Ksenych, a petite and pretty brunette, added after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Mistrial in Massage Parlor Prosecution After Masseuse Recognizes Defense Lawyer — as a Client….”

Which schools manufacture the most law firm partners?

Now here are rankings worth paying attention to. Professor Theodore P. Seto of Loyola Law School (Los Angeles) has published a research paper showing the law schools that produce partners at large law firms.

This list seems useful in at least two ways. First and most obviously, if you want to make Biglaw partner money, it’s worth knowing which schools produce Biglaw partners. But this list is also useful when you are thinking about the kind of alumni network that a school can provide.

Obviously, this list is going to favor the elite diploma mills, but there are some interesting surprises…

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Meet the Cavers: the cutest ginger attorney family ever.

In this rough economy, a job offer can be really exciting, even for the most seasoned attorney. A job offer is even more exciting when you find out that your future employer has also decided to make your husband an offer. And last week, that is exactly what happened to a husband-and-wife legal team from Rockford, Illinois.

Eileen and Brendan Caver, both graduates of Loyola University Chicago School of Law, quickly began to pack up to move half-way across the country for their new jobs in New York at the City of Syracuse corporation counsel’s office. With August start dates and two adorable children in tow, the Cavers quit their jobs in Illinois, put their house on the market, and canceled their daycare contract.

So, you’d think that even a city government would realize that offering attorneys jobs 780 miles away from home and then revoking those offers a week and a half later would be life-ruining. But apparently, that’s not how things work in upstate New York….

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Robert Leighton

Associates in the Chicago office of Sidley Austin seem to be doing a lot of walking these days. Last week, for example, bankruptcy associate Tyler Coulson announced that he was leaving the firm in order to walk across the country with his dog.

Today we bring you the tale of Sidley IP associate Robert Leighton, who apparently walked out on his fiancée, Lauren Serafin. But Serafin didn’t take the diss lying down.

Lauren Serafin is also a lawyer, so what did she do? She sued him, of course. Her suit for “breach of promise” seeks $62,814.71 in wedding and honeymoon expenses.

And it makes some lurid allegations about Leighton. Let’s take a closer look at the lawsuit — and the ex-bride behind it, who’s rather attractive….

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The Golden Gate Bridge, as seen from my hotel room last weekend. (I just got back from the AALS conference in San Francisco.)


Here in New York, home to Above the Law and Breaking Media, we’re gearing up for more epic snow. Those of you lucky enough to live in the Golden State might have to deal with earthquakes, mudslides, and obnoxious celebrities, but at least you don’t have to deal with blizzards.

Falling snow? Not in sunny California. Falling bar exam passage rates? Yes — at least for 2010.

A few days ago, the State Bar of California released overall statistics for the July 2010 administration of the (notoriously difficult) California bar exam. The overall bar pass rates went down by a little — but at some schools, the pass rates went down by a lot.

Which law schools’ pass rates tumbled, and by how much?

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* Loyola of Los Angeles has launched a new faculty blog. In the latest post, Professor Cesare Romano asks: Do states have human rights? [Summary Judgments]

* And what happens if a nation-state disappears underwater — is it still a nation? [Associated Press]

* Speaking of global warming, it’s going back to SCOTUS; here’s Professor Jonathan Adler’s take on the cert grant in American Electric Power v. Connecticut. [The Volokh Conspiracy]

* Marc Randazza on the TSA: “[T]he TSA is ‘making us safe’ by letting the dumbest, most uneducated swine in the country (TSA agents) have a blanket license to feel up our kids, AND to try and make a GAME of it?” [The Legal Satyricon]

* Former Northwestern SBA president Todd Belcore — who, by the way, was exonerated of the charge against him (note the update) — is now writing for HuffPo. [Huffington Post]

* Congratulations to everyone who just passed the MPRE — you can learn your score on the MPRE website. [MPRE Services]

Loyola Law School (Los Angeles) hoped to quietly jump on the grade-inflation bandwagon in order to help make its students more competitive in the legal marketplace. The school bumped letter grades up a notch, so that a C- became a C, a B became a B+, and an A+ became an A+you’reasuperamazinggunnerrockstar.

But the quiet jump has resulted in a lot of noise. After we wrote about the school’s retroactive grade inflation, the Los Angeles Times and later the New York Times picked up on it.

And last night, Loyola had its big moment on the Colbert Report:

The upside is that Loyola-L.A. just broke through to a whole new audience of potential applicants. The downside is that we can hear the deflation of the hopes of all the Loyola law school grads who planned to wow employers with their amazing GPAs.

We reached out to Loyola about being mocked by one of America’s most influential people. A response from Dean Victor Gold, after the jump.

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Welcome to the top … of the second tier. We are at the point where the value proposition of going to law school is questionable. But the “nailing attractive co-eds” possibilities remain high. Check out some of the schools ranked in this batch. If you are going to spend three years and six figures on something, you’re going to need more than illusory job prospects to keep you warm at night:

52. Pepperdine
52. Cardozo
54. Florida State
54. Yale Law School’s Hartford Campus/University of Connecticut (j/k)
56. Case Western Reserve
56. Loyola (Los Angeles)
56. Cincinnati
56. San Diego
60. Georgia State
60. University of Houston
60. Miami
60. Tennessee
64. Baylor
64. Lewis & Clark College
64. Kentucky
67. Brooklyn
67. Kansas
67. New Mexico
67. Pittsburgh
67. Villanova
72. Penn State
72. Seton Hall
72. St. John’s
72. Temple
72. Hawaii
72. Oklahoma

See what I’m saying. I bet young law students are just cutting a swath through the undergrads at Yeshiva University.

Seriously though, FSU, Miami, Rocky Top, Ha-freaking-Waii. Good times! You know, unless you want to get a job…

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We reported in November that Loyola Law School of Los Angeles was thinking about artificially raising grades. In response to the terrible economy, the school has acted on the proposal. Here’s the opening line of the message from Loyola Law Dean Victor Gold:

Last week the faculty approved a proposal to modify the grading system. The change will boost by one step the letter grades assigned at each level of our mandatory curve. For example, what previously was a B- would be a B, what previously was a B would be a B+, and so forth. All other academic standards based on grades, such as the probation and disqualification thresholds, are also adjusted upwards by the same magnitude. For reasons that will be explained below, these changes are retroactive to include all grades that have been earned under the current grading system since it was adopted. This means that all grades already earned by current students will be changed. It also means that all grades going forward will be governed by the new curve. The effect of making the change retroactive will be to increase the GPA of all students by .333. The change will not alter relative class rank since the GPA of all students will be moved up by the same amount.

Loyola students are having difficulty getting jobs. In response, did the administration consider dropping tuition? Nope. Instead, they just gave everybody an extra third of a grade — retroactively, no less. That’s not just inflation; that’s a rewriting of history.

Really, are employers out there going to fall for this? Loyola hopes so….

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