Morning Docket

  • 'I misread the question.'

    Morning Docket

    Morning Docket: 03.31.15

    * Reunited and it feels so good… to have more tuition money in our pockets: following more than 40 years apart, Rutgers-Camden Law and Rutgers-Newark Law may merge to create the Rutgers School of Law, one of the largest law schools in the country. [NJ.com]

    * In case you missed it, the courtroom erupted into chaos in the final moments of the Ellen Pao v. Kleiner Perkins trial because a juror “made a mistake” and decided to change his vote mid-verdict. Come on, give the guy a break — he’s almost 90. [WSJ Law Blog]

    * Lawmakers are awfully interested in the way that the SEC is doing its job, and they’re drafting new laws in the hope of helping the agency out. We’ll let you know how helpful this was in a few years if those bills are ever passed. [DealBook / New York Times]

    * After an incredibly unsuccessful defense of its ban on same-sex marriage, Wisconsin is going to have to shell out more than $1 million in legal fees to the ACLU — the largest single payout yet by a state in the history of cases of this kind. [National Law Journal]

    * If you’re looking to transfer to another law school after your first year in the trenches, here are three things that you absolutely, positively must do to ensure your chances of being accepted elsewhere. [Law Admissions Lowdown / U.S. News & World Report]

    8 Comments / / Mar 31, 2015 at 9:05 AM
  • Amanda Knox

    Morning Docket

    Morning Docket: 03.30.15

    * Talk about a Friday news dump! In case you missed these high-profile rulings, Amanda Knox was acquitted of murder charges in Italy (for the second time), and Ellen Pao lost her discrimination case against Kleiner Perkins. [WSJ Law Blog]

    * Use this slideshow to compare how North Carolina law schools are doing in terms of job placement. Duke was on top, and NCCU was dead last. Bonus: There were very few school-funded jobs to strip out of the data — the numbers were just that bad on their own. [Triad Business Journal]

    * LSAC doesn’t want to to adopt new disability accommodations for the LSAT because they “show a complete disregard for the importance of standardized testing conditions.” It’d rather show a complete disregard for applicants’ disabilities. [National Law Journal]

    * Widener? I hardly know her! Thanks to the ABA, this saying has new meaning in legal circles. With the law school regulator’s blessing, Widener Law’s Delaware and Harrisburg campuses will officially become two separate schools effective July 1. [News Journal]

    * Following blowback over the state’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act, Indiana Governor Mike Pence says he’ll push for legislation clarifying that the controversial law isn’t intended to support discrimination against the LGBT community. Suuure. [Indy Star]

    113 Comments / / Mar 30, 2015 at 9:07 AM
  • Andrew Gilbertson

    Morning Docket

    Morning Docket: 03.27.15

    * Brooklyn Law’s dean thinks “too much power rests with the [NCBE],” and that we need a new way to license lawyers. Brooklyn Law’s July 2014 bar passage rate was ~10 percent lower than the year prior, so perhaps he doesn’t like how those grapes taste. [National Law Journal]

    * A man on trial for a bank robbery committed in 2013 pooped his pants while on the stand, removed some of said poop from his pants, and started eating it because the Virgin Mary told him to do it. If you couldn’t tell, he’s got an insanity defense. [Inquisitr]

    * A new Citigroup report says Biglaw firms are at “high risk for cyberintrusions,” but so few will admit that they’ve been hacked it’s impossible to tell if the problem is growing. Don’t worry, clients, your confidential files might be safe. [DealBook / New York Times]

    * People may think “this is a crappy, for-profit school that didn’t make it. But it could have been a great law school.” Charleston Law’s founding dean wrote a damning blog post about his colleagues for their attempts to sell the school to InfiLaw. [Post and Courier]

    * “[B]eing well-dressed and having a law school diploma” isn’t enough to ensure that you’ll get a job anymore. Quick, take some advice from the career services dean at a school where 47.2 percent of recent grads are working full-time as lawyers. [Huffington Post]

    19 Comments / / Mar 27, 2015 at 8:53 AM
  • Green California Road Sign with Dramatic Clouds and Sky.

    Morning Docket

    Morning Docket: 03.26.15

    * If you thought Squire Patton Boggs would be able to meet its projection of $1 billion in combined revenue after its merger, you’d be wrong. If you thought the firm would be able to meet its projection of having more than 1,500 lawyers after its merger, you’d also be wrong. [National Law Journal]

    * Use this slideshow to compare how California law schools are doing in terms of job placement. Stanford was on top, and Golden Gate was dead last. Bonus: If you strip out school-funded jobs, the numbers look even worse. [Sacramento Business Journal]

    * Uh… oops? Keila Ravelo, the ex-Willkie Farr partner who was accused of stealing millions of dollars from two of her former firms, is now at the center of questions over settlements in credit-card cases she worked on. [New York Law Journal via ABA Journal]

    * “Please help us heal.” David Messerschmitt’s widow is begging for information about the DLA Piper associate’s death. The case is being actively investigated, and police believe the person of interest who was seen on surveillance footage is a woman. [Legal Times]

    * In case you missed it yesterday, U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl was charged with desertion and misbehavior before the enemy. The first charge could result in up to five years in jail, while the second could result in a life sentence. Yikes! [WSJ Law Blog]

    29 Comments / / Mar 26, 2015 at 9:01 AM
  • Judge Joe Brown

    Morning Docket

    Morning Docket: 03.25.15

    * “You can do all you want! Four days. You don’t have the jurisdiction. Five days.” Judge Joe Brown lost his appeal over a contempt charge he earned last year after he allegedly “lost control” during a juvenile court hearing and yelled at the presiding judge. [WREG]

    * According to a recent study, law faculties are lacking in white Christians and white Republicans. The most underrepresented demographic of all is that of Republican women. By all accounts, it looks like that particular group needs to sue to to get full-time teaching positions. [National Law Journal]

    * Law firms are constantly being inundated with solicitations for rankings and awards, and while they often complain that there are too many, let’s face it: lawyers’ egos are huge, and there will never be enough prestige to sate them. [Business of Law / Bloomberg BNA]

    * Ellen Pao’s gender discrimination case against Kleiner Perkins has turned into a circus, with two area law firms fighting each other tooth and nail, and witnesses on the stand questioning lawyers with the judge’s intermittent approval. [DealBook / New York Times]

    * Paul Ceglia, the alleged Facebook huckster who claimed he owned half of the social media company, may have escaped justice by removing his ankle monitor and disappearing, but his family had to forfeit his $250,000 bail yesterday. Like? [Reuters]

    23 Comments / / Mar 25, 2015 at 9:08 AM
  • Even the high court's clerks are whitewashed.

    Morning Docket

    Morning Docket: 03.24.15

    * Justice Anthony Kennedy says that while the Supreme Court is trying to attract more minority law clerks, lower court judges have it easier because they can recruit from local schools. Some justices have an Ivy League addiction, and thus, a diversity problem. [Legal Times]

    * The next step in the confirmation process for Loretta Lynch, the lawyer who will someday be the first black woman to serve as U.S. attorney general, isn’t likely to occur until at least mid-April. Why the wait? SENATE SPRING BREAK, WOO! [Reuters]

    * Give me maple syrup, or give me death: According to legal experts from the National Constitution Center, even though Republican candidate Ted Cruz was born in Canada, he still counts as a “natural born citizen” who’s eligible to be president. [WSJ Law Blog]

    * Foley & Lardner partner Howard Shipley avoided a supreme spanking from SCOTUS over his submission of a garbled cert petition last year, but the high court took the opportunity to remind all lawyers to write “in plain terms.” [National Law Journal]

    * How badly do you want to go to a top law school? Exactly how desperate you are to feel the warm and gentle embrace of prestige? How hard can you gun? Would you be willing to take the LSAT three times? [Law Admissions Lowdown / U.S. News & World Report]

    45 Comments / / Mar 24, 2015 at 9:11 AM
  • Ted Cruz can only dunk in his dreams.

    Morning Docket

    Morning Docket: 03.23.15

    * This would-be POTUS can’t jump? Ted Ruger, Penn Law’s new dean, used to hang out with Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz during law school, and he’d “like to think that [their] legal skills far exceeded [their] mediocre basketball skills.” [Philadelphia Inquirer]

    * Why do we still need law schools considering the crisis in the legal academy? Please allow Noah Feldman of Harvard Law — an unbiased law professor — to explain why “law school is absolutely essential — not for lawyers with clients, but for our society as a whole.” [Bloomberg View]

    * Apparently there’s some major drama going down with regard to which attorneys will argue the same-sex marriage cases before the Supreme Court. It seems that no one wants to give up their 15 minutes of fame before the high court. Sigh. [National Law Journal]

    * These days, law schools are looking at more than their applicants’ GPAs and LSAT scores. Prospective law students now need to be “well-rounded and involved.” For what it’s worth, not minding going into debt is a helpful trait, too. [Omaha World-Herald]

    * Another day, another gender bias lawsuit in Silicon Valley: This time around, Tina Huang, a female software engineer who used to work for Twitter, is alleging that the company’s secret promotion process bypasses women and favors men. [CNET]

    42 Comments / / Mar 23, 2015 at 9:05 AM
  • Thanks, law school!

    Morning Docket

    Morning Docket: 03.20.15

    * Per a recent study, the class of 2010 is still screwed when it comes to securing work as attorneys. There are plenty of would-be lawyers working in “tennis instruction, office management, lingerie sales, and pest control.” [WSJ Law Blog]

    * Law schools may be admitting less qualified students, but when the bar exam results are bad, it’s obviously the bar exam’s fault. Is it even fair to make new lawyers have to pass a bar exam at all? We should have more on this bar exam backlash later today. [DealBook / New York Times]

    * Following layoffs in two other firms’ litigation practices, McDermott Will & Emery is losing three of its top litigation partners. Two are expected to decamp to Paul Hastings, and one is abandoning ship for King & Spalding. Yikes! [Big Law Business / Bloomberg]

    * Law school applications are on the verge of hitting a 15-year low. Don’t worry, cautions LSAC, because “the rate of decline [in applications] is slowing.” Check out the sad (yet amazing) picture in the article and see if it makes you feel better. [Bloomberg Business]

    * Undergrads at Villanova got a crash course in how to pay for law school this week, and were hopefully scared straight when they found out the majority of law students take out loans and “typically accumulate around $100,000-$200,000 in debt.” [The Villanovan]

    29 Comments / / Mar 20, 2015 at 9:03 AM
  • pot smoking RF

    Morning Docket

    Morning Docket: 03.19.15

    * A Connecticut attorney was cited for dropping two ounces of weed on a courtroom floor, and he blames it on his client’s son. They were apparently going to stage an embarrassing intervention, but it was the attorney who wound up being embarrassed. [Hartford Courant]

    * While Charleston School of Law bides its time and attempts to resist a buyout from the InfiLaw System, the school has offered many of its existing faculty members buyouts. We’ll have more on this interesting development later today. [Charleston Post & Courier]

    * Pace Law is going to slash its tuition for incoming students with qualifying GPAs and LSAT scores to match the tuition of the in-state public law school of the student’s home state. Sorry, folks, but this tuition “fire sale” is only for new students. [WSJ Law Blog]

    * Hiscock & Barclay is “dating,” “not engaged,” and “not even close to to getting married” to Damon Morey. There may not be “anything close to official,” but this seems like the very hesitant precursor to an arranged marriage, if I do say so myself. [Buffalo Law Journal]

    * Per a recent study, the closer your law firm is to your law school, the more likely it is that you’ll make partner. In fact, it doesn’t even matter if you went to an elite law school — you’re still more likely to make partner if your alma mater is nearby. [New York Times]

    * Appalachian Law may be a “fourth tier” school, it may be much smaller than it once was, and it may have lowered its admissions standards, but you better believe the little law school that could is going to be just fine. Don’t stop believin’, Appalachian! [WCYB]

    22 Comments / / Mar 19, 2015 at 9:03 AM
  • dynamite

    Morning Docket

    Morning Docket: 03.18.15

    * An Ohio attorney was charged with making bomb threats at two state courthouses, but only after he was indicted for allegedly making bomb threats at a third courthouse. Wow, it’s almost like this guy didn’t do his homework motions or something. [Northeast Ohio Media Group]

    * Loretta Lynch, our would-be replacement for Eric Holder as attorney general, still hasn’t been able to get confirmed, and the delay — which is being blamed on our Senate Majority Leader’s “inept leadership” — is now being referred to as “unconscionable.” Lovely. [CNN]

    * What’s happening at #ATLConverge today? Check out our Twitter feed! [Converge]

    * Earlier this week, Morgan Lewis combined with Singapore firm Stamford Law Corp. Effective April 1, ML&B will become one of the largest Biglaw firms in the world, rivaled only by the likes of Baker & McKenzie and Dacheng Dentons. [Philadelphia Inquirer]

    * More federal prosecutors are stepping down from their jobs and returning to their former Biglaw homes in private practice. Once you realize government work is a giant revolving door, soon enough, it’ll be your turn to leave. [Big Law Business / Bloomberg]

    * If you’re still making a decision about which law schools to apply to, you can use the U.S. News rankings to help yourself. In the alternative, you can use the ATL Top 50 rankings to see if you’ll be able to get a job after graduation. [Law Admissions Lowdown / U.S. News]

    20 Comments / / Mar 18, 2015 at 9:04 AM
  • yale law school

    Morning Docket

    Morning Docket: 03.17.15

    * A ballsy decision dripping with prestige? It seems that a few too many students at Yale Law School requested access to their student admissions evaluation records under FERPA, so instead of handing them over, Yale deleted them. [New Republic]

    * Here’s some good news for women attorneys visiting clients in Massachusetts jails: you’ll no longer be forced to lift up your shirt and shake out your bra if your underwire makes the metal detector go off. Instead, you’ll get felt up a pat down. [Boston Globe]

    * According to early data culled for the Am Law 100 rankings, from revenue to profits per partner to revenue per lawyer, Winston & Strawn posted record financial results in 2014. Perhaps the days of no-offers and layoffs are long gone for this firm. [Am Law Daily]

    * Just because more people took the LSAT in February, it doesn’t mean that the law school crisis is over. It does, however, mean that law school administrators may soon be wishcasting the year-over-year growth of their first-year classes. [National Law Journal]

    * Rahul Gupta, the graduate student who used the tried and true “my girlfriend did it” defense during his trial for the fatal stabbing of a Georgetown Law student, was convicted on first-degree murder charges yesterday. He’ll be sentenced on April 16. [WJLA]

    24 Comments / / Mar 17, 2015 at 9:02 AM
  • Life is like a box of... poop?

    Morning Docket

    Morning Docket: 03.16.15

    * Last week in court, a murder suspect in Louisiana apparently pooped his pants during a case status hearing, wiped said poop all over his face, and muttered to himself that “life is like a box of chocolates.” Sorry about that crappy candy, dude. [New Orleans Advocate]

    * According to early Am Law 100 data, New York’s most elite and prestigious firms have once again broken away from the rest of the pack when it comes to both revenue and partner profits. Biglaw’s best may be back to models and bottles. [Am Law Daily]

    * Michelle Lee, the first woman to ever serve as director of the USPTO, was sworn in on stage at SXSW Interactive. Michelle Lee, who worked with the Girl Scouts to issue a patent patch (instead of more makeup and sewing patches), is pretty damn awesome. [Mashable]

    * The federal judiciary has plans to decrease the word limit of appellate briefs from 14,000 to 12,500, and lawyers are pissed. Lawyers from Brown Rudnick say it could result in more acronyms, confusing construction, and less “punctilious citation,” oh my! [WSJ Law Blog]

    * Lee Smolen, the ex-Sidley Austin partner who faked $69,000 in travel expenses while at the firm (and possibly $379K more), has been suspended from practice for one year and will have to undergo psychiatric treatment. [Legal Profession Blog via ABA Journal]

    * Taking New York’s lead, California is considering requiring all would-be attorneys in the state to complete 50 hours of pro bono work within one year of being admitted. Leave it to people who don’t know what they’re doing yet to close the justice gap. [Los Angeles Times]

    29 Comments / / Mar 16, 2015 at 9:02 AM
  • Pharrell and Robin Thicke

    Morning Docket

    Morning Docket: 03.13.15

    * Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams will officially be appealing the $7.4 million “Blurred Lines” verdict that was handed down against them earlier this week. Both musicians were likely decidedly unhappy about having to give up their spare pocket change to pay for a lawsuit they thought they should’ve won. [Hollywood Reporter]

    * Another law school is teaching a marijuana law class, and it’s scheduled on Fridays so students won’t take it as a novelty course. For potheads, having to drag your ass out of bed when you don’t have other classes is a disincentivizer. [Columbus Dispatch]

    * After reaping the benefits of serving as lead counsel in Detroit’s bankruptcy, Jones Day decided to pay the city back by opening an office. The firm will recruit for the new office internally. Raise your hand if you’re excited to move to Detroit, associates. [Am Law Daily]

    * “I don’t know where he is. I haven’t got a clue.” Paul Ceglia, the man who claimed he owned half of Facebook based on a faux contract and is now facing fraud charges, has suddenly and conveniently disappeared ahead of his May trial. Dislike. [Bloomberg]

    * If for some reason you’re still interested in applying to law school, here’s a timeline that will help you get through the application process. Step 1: Figure out if you actually need to go to law school. Step 2: Abandon the rest of the steps. [U.S. News & World Report]

    11 Comments / / Mar 13, 2015 at 9:02 AM
  • Game of Loans

    Morning Docket

    Morning Docket: 03.12.15

    * President Obama recently authorized a study into whether student loan debt should be dischargeable in bankruptcy. For now, any changes made to the bankruptcy code will likely apply only to private loans, so it looks like many law school graduates won’t be declaring bankruptcy any time soon. [Wall Street Journal (sub. req.)]

    * As we’ve mentioned numerous times in the past, the across-the-board drop in law school applications has inspired some law schools to do crazy things like shortening the length of time it takes to get a degree and lowering tuition. Hmm, more law schools should go crazy. [U.S. News & World Report]

    * In the wake of much criticism of its plan to eliminate the LSAT for some students to gain admission to Iowa Law, the school’s dean offers an explanation: it’ll help her school compete to attract students who would otherwise have gone to T14 schools. [The Gazette]

    * Even though law schools are in trouble, a legislator in Texas is still lobbying the state to subsidize the creation of a new law school in the Rio Grande Valley because he has a “hard time believing there are no jobs for attorneys out there.” [Cleburne Times-Review]

    * If you find that law schools aren’t reacting quickly enough to the crisis at hand, there are other options for you out there. While law schools implode as their tuition skyrockets, it seems that those who have fled the law are now trying to become engineers. [Quartz]

    29 Comments / / Mar 12, 2015 at 8:56 AM
  • hire me smiling

    Morning Docket

    Morning Docket: 03.11.15

    * As we mentioned, U.S. News is giving law schools less credit for hiring their own grads. Rumor has it that a few schools would’ve done better in the rankings but for their high percentage of school-funded jobs. Which ones? [WSJ Law Blog]

    * Two students in the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity from Oklahoma University were expelled after a video of their racist chanting was leaked online. Lawyers want to know: was their expulsion a First Amendment violation? [Volokh Conspiracy / Washington Post]

    * UC Irvine Law debuted on the 2016 U.S. News law school rankings at No. 30, missing Dean Erwin Chemerinsky’s goal of starting out as a Top 20 school. Not to worry, Dean, there are still ways to game the rankings. Keep your head up! [National Law Journal]

    * Don’t bother delaying your law school education just because the economy’s bad. The professors who told us that a law degree is worth $1 million think that its value will only drop by about $30K in times when unemployment is high. Yeah, okay. [ABA Journal]

    * The grisly murder of DLA Piper associate David Messerschmitt, who was found stabbed to death in a Washington, D.C., hotel, remains unsolved. Police are still searching for the “person of interest” who was seen on video from the hotel’s security camera. [Legal Times]

    39 Comments / / Mar 11, 2015 at 9:06 AM
  • Morning Docket

    Morning Docket: 03.10.15

    * “While some argue that going to law school is still a safe bet, little evidence exists to support this position.” This law professor thinks law schools are in a “death spiral,” and that a “top” school may soon be in danger of closing. Uh oh! Which one could it possibly be? [Washington Post]

    * “Rascal was the perfect law student because he never missed a class. If Rascal was asked a question he never said ‘pass.'” In 1937, Samford’s Cumberland School of Law graduated its first and only dog. In 2015, dogs bark and howl at Samford because of its new U.S. News rank. [Alabama.com]

    * “You do not need to have a law degree to understand how troubling this is.” Politicians are pissed at Hillary Clinton over the email scandal she got herself into at the State Department, but it turns out she technically obeyed the law. [National Law Journal]

    * Why do law firms fail? Dean Frank Wu of UC Hastings Law thinks that it’s because “[s]mart people overestimate the importance of being a smart person” — that is, your firm can still flop even if its lawyers are the best lawyers in the world. [Huffington Post]

    * According to the latest report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, after two months of soul-sucking declines in the market, the legal sector gained 3,100 jobs in February. Wow, we only need 40,000 more jobs until all of last year’s class is employed. [Am Law Daily]

    15 Comments / / Mar 10, 2015 at 9:13 AM
  • Amal Clooney

    Morning Docket

    Morning Docket: 03.09.15

    * Amal Clooney, the attorney who tamed George Clooney’s heart and is now considered one of the most famous human rights lawyers in the world, will be teaching at a New York law school this spring. Which one? We’ll have more on this fun news later today. [USA Today]

    * Talk about a Hail Mary play: The ACLU has decided to come to the defense of a very unlikely cause. Per a recently filed federal brief, the organization thinks that the USPTO’s cancellation of the Redskins trademark was unconstitutional. [WSJ Law Blog]

    * According to a new BARBRI study, the vast majority of third-year law students think they’re ready to go when it comes to practicing law, but the lawyers who have had the (dis)pleasure to work with new graduates don’t seem to agree. [National Law Journal]

    * “Those kinds of jobs are never going to be enough to absorb the number of people graduating from law school over the next five or 10 years.” Northeastern’s dean laughs in Biglaw’s face — his grads measure their success in other ways. [Boston Business Journal]

    * Ellen Pao’s “racy” gender discrimination lawsuit against Kleiner Perkins serves as a harsh criticism of the sexist culture of Silicon Valley. Luckily, jury members will be able to busy themselves with the case’s more lurid details. [The Upshot / New York Times]

    * Kyle McEntee of Law School Transparency is working on a new podcast that will help prospective law students to see what working in the legal profession is really like. “I Am The Law” debuted in January 2015, and it’s worth a listen. [U.S. News & World Report]

    5 Comments / / Mar 9, 2015 at 8:52 AM
  • RBG Red Cup

    Morning Docket

    Morning Docket: 03.06.15

    * Per a recent Super Lawyers survey, Ruth Bader Ginsburg is the Supreme Court justice with whom the nation’s top lawyers would most like to share a lunch date. Come on, admit it: you just want to get wasted with the Notorious R.B.G. [TIME]

    * Perhaps in anticipation of a SCOTUS ruling on the constitutionality of same-sex marriage, states across the country are dreaming up legislation that would allow businesses to refuse service to gay couples. Man, we’re such jerks. [New York Times]

    * Taking over China with its Dacheng merger wasn’t enough for Dentons, and what’s now the largest firm in the world by attorney headcount still wants to conquer the United States. Dentons is trying to woo McKenna Long & Aldridge, again. [Am Law Daily]

    * Dewey know which firm’s ex-COO is denying knowledge of any financial funny business? Defense lawyers for D&L’s former top brass are now relying on his statements that staffers may have been inept, but surely weren’t doing anything illegal. [New York Law Journal]

    * Remember that BARBRI antitrust class-action settlement that was reached almost a decade ago? The lawyers and law firms involved are still fighting over legal fees in the case, namely how many millions they think they ought to receive. [National Law Journal]

    38 Comments / / Mar 6, 2015 at 9:06 AM