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I am by no means an expert on cutting down trees. If you hand me a chainsaw, I am far more likely to injure myself than any wood in my immediate area. But if the people from Ax Men kidnapped me and forced me to chop my way out of their trailer park hideout, there are some basic mistakes I’d avoid.

First and foremost, I wouldn’t cut down anything I was leaning on at the time I started chopping. You don’t need to be a lumberjack in order to understand Newtonian physics. That knowledge puts me way ahead of an Englishman named Peter Aspinall. The Telegraph reports:

Peter Aspinall, 64, had been asked to prune a sycamore tree in the grounds of a hotel, but instead of leaning his ladder against the trunk he placed it against the branch he was hacking down.

When the branch fell it took Mr Aspinall with it, 14ft to the ground below. He broke his heel, damaged his ligaments and had to spend ten days in hospital recovering from surgery on his injuries.

When I first read the lede of the story, I thought the tipster sent it to me as another candidate for a Drinking Ban Order. But no, having been injured by his own amazing stupidity, Aspinall decided he needed to sue somebody.

His target: the employer who asked him to cut down the branch in the first place…

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The new U.S. News law school rankings are out. Now it’s time to allow students and alumni to weigh in on their law school and their brand new rank.

At the very top, the order remains unchanged. Yale, Harvard, and Stanford continue to be kings of the U.S. News world. If prospective students can get into one of these schools, they should probably go. Biglaw, legal academia, and Article III clerkships await graduates of these prestigious institutions.

We know the stereotypes of the east coast schools. Yale is the elite training ground for clerks and scholars — and Biglaw dollars are available to those students who want a slice of the pie. Harvard is the most prestigious J.D. diploma factory in the world. HLS is all about big numbers: lots of students, and lots of money for graduates who dive into Biglaw.

Is Stanford the Yale of the west or Harvard of the west? Or would Stanford be ranked even higher but for “east coast bias”? Aside from U.S. News prestige, what’s special about Stanford that Berkeley students wouldn’t understand?

The subtle differences between the top-3 are questions for only a few LSAT rockstars.

Next, let’s check in on Chicago’s march up the rankings…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Open Thread: 2011 U.S. News Law School Rankings (1 – 5)”

  • 19 Apr 2010 at 9:00 AM

Morning Docket: 04.19.10

* Civil aviation regulators in Europe face criticism for their handling of the ash cloud generated by the Bjork Eyjafjallajokull volcano. [New York Times]

* Some updates in the SEC’s case against Goldman: it will be presided over by Judge Barbara Jones, and it will surely be followed by a rash of “me too” private lawsuits. [WSJ Law Blog and WSJ Law Blog]

* Dewey & LeBoeuf raises $125 million in a bond offering. [Bloomberg News]

* “Oh what a feeling”: Toyota expected to pay a $16.4 million fine to the federal government, in connection with its response to accelerator problems in its cars. [Reuters]

* “New York’s most obnoxious lawyer” charged with tax crimes. [Am Law Daily]

* The Justice Department will not pursue federal criminal civil rights charges against eight staffers who worked at a boot camp where a 14-year-old inmate died. [CNN]

* “No more Souters”: Adam Liptak explains why most recent SCOTUS appointments have ruled largely as expected. [New York Times]

Consider the tax burden on high earners once the Bush administration’s tax cuts expire next year. Add up the federal, state, city and sales taxes for a lawyer in New York City who earns $300,000 a year. Depending on the circumstances, this individual could be facing marginal tax rates in the range of 60 percent.

– Professor Tyler Cowen, arguing in favor of reducing government spending, in a piece for the New York Times.

Ed. note: Law Shucks focuses on life in, and after, BigLaw, including by tracking layoffs, bonuses, and laterals. Above the Law is pleased to bring you this weekly column, which analyzes news at the world’s top law firms.

Layoffs are no longer the core theme of this column, and there were none reported at major firms this week, but it’s still the source of one of the most-interesting stories. New Manhattan DA Cyrus Vance pink-slipped 10 ADAs (of about 500 total) [HT: ABA Journal].

It’s a detour from our focus on BigLaw, but you’ll have to excuse us, because: (a) most of those affected were very senior, so are more likely to join or face off against BigLaw, and (b) their reactions are exactly the same as we’ve been hearing from affected BigLaw lawyers for two years now:

“It’s been very unsettling, I think, for a lot of people because it hasn’t been part of the culture here that people would get fired,” said one prosecutor… .

Another senior assistant district attorney said that morale was “terribly low.”

“We’re all now told that the firings are over for the time being,” the assistant said. “Everybody is walking around wondering if they’re going to be next.”

Some prosecutors, the assistant continued, “are starting to reassess their career path.”

Sound familiar?

After the jump, we get back on track with BigLaw news about sanctions, laterals, and more.

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Who will replace Justice John Paul Stevens? While pundits, savants, and oracles across the SCOTUSphere pontificate and read Article III tea leaves, conducted extensive and detailed polling to predict the next Justice. We have invited our nearly 5,000 members–who represent some of the closest and most ardent Court watchers–to weigh in on the vacancy, rank the candidates on the short list, and give their views on the potential nominees.

(We are still collecting data. Sign up for free at and voice your opinion.)

This is the first in a series of posts breaking down his data, as we attempt to add some certainty to the vast amounts of uncertainty emanating from the penumbras of the upcoming vacancy…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Fantasy SCOTUS: Predictions for Justice Stevens’s Replacement”

We’ve heard word today about two very attractive opportunities for law school students. We thought we’d share some of these amazing jobs with you to lift your spirits about the summer employment market.

For example, an email went out this morning at the University of Georgia Law School about “legal research positions”:

Date: Fri, Apr 16, 2010 at 11:46 AM
Subject: short term job at the law library

I am looking for two or three folks to work moving books during May and June. It is dirty, manual labor, but the schedule can be pretty flexible. I can offer each person 100 hours at minimum wage ($ 7.25/hr.)

Sounds tempting!

Oh, shoot. You had to act fast….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Spectacular Summer Opportunities for Law School Students in the South”

* A judge strikes down National Prayer Day. In the name of the father and the son and the holy spirit, Amen. [WSJ Law Blog]

* Speaking of special days, today is National Health Care Decision Day. Do you have a living will? McGuire Woods partner Nathan Kottkamp thinks you should. [National Health Care Decision Day]

* Remember when I said Kagan is “not gay”? Here’s why. [Huffington Post]

* I couldn’t help but reading every one of these tea party, tax day protest signs. 2 is brilliant. 7 thinks they’re being ironic but they’re not. I feel bad for the dog in 10. 18 is a much better idea than National Prayer Day. 30 … I mean wow, just wow. And I have no idea what 36 is driving at. [BuzzFeed]

* Yet another reason to dislike fans of Philadelphia sports teams. [Legal Blog Watch]

* Disappointed in-house lawyer heads back to Bingham. [ABA Journal]

* Don’t forget to send in your Law Revue submissions! [Above the Law]

Laura Hall: banned for two years from all pubs and clubs in England

I’ve certainly been kicked out of a few bars in my life. I don’t think I’ve ever been officially “banned” from one, but there are certainly places that I’d probably not be welcomed back to. Getting banned from a couple of bars isn’t really a big deal. You’re probably not having enough fun if you’ve never run the risk of being banned from a particular watering hole.

But getting banned from every bar in an entire country? That is something special. The Daily Mail reports that a woman — a wee babe of 20 — has pulled off this amazing feat:

A woman has become the first person to be banned from buying or drinking alcohol anywhere in England and Wales.

Laura Hall, 20, was issued with a Drinking Banning Order – nicknamed Booze Asbos – which bars her from entering any pub, club, off-licence or bar.

The two-year order also bans Hall from buying alcohol at any other establishment or shop, carrying it in an unsealed container or drinking it in a public place.

A “Drinking Banning Order”? What the hell kind of totalitarian remedy is that?

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Today brings an update in the case of Gerald Ung. The Temple Law fourth-year got in trouble earlier this year for being the wrong kind of gunner.

While other Temple students have recently appeared in these pages, sporting legal tees and trying to get undergrads out of their tees, it’s been a while since we’ve heard news of Ung. Our last post on his alleged shooting appeared in February. But now the case is moving forward. From the Philadelphia Daily News:

Gerald Ung, the Temple University law school student arrested in January for shooting another man five times in front of the Old City Fox TV studio, this morning was ordered to stand trial on attempted murder and aggravated assault charges.

Philadelphia Municipal Judge David Shuter dismissed two gun charges because Ung had a legal permit to carry a gun from his native state of Virginia.

The article contains some additional (and apparently new) details about the underlying incident….

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Plus another Temple Law tragedy.

The Securities and Exchange Commission filed a civil suit against Goldman Sachs this morning. According to the SEC, Goldman is guilty of taking a “do what I say, not what I do” approach to mortgaged-backed securities.

Well, d’uh. That’s why Goldman isn’t suckling on the federal teat right now.

The SEC claims Goldman sold a financial instrument that they knew was going to fail, while at the same time taking short positions against that instrument.

Goldman denies the charges:

The SEC’s charges are completely unfounded in law and fact and we will vigorously contest them and defend the firm and its reputation.

Am Law Daily reports that Sullivan & Cromwell partner Richard Klapper will be representing Goldman in this matter.

Let’s unpack the SEC’s complaint (pdf). Whether or not the SEC prevails in this civil litigation, their complaint certainly succeeds in making Goldman look very shady — the company’s stock tanked this morning.

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In yesterday’s post about the departure of D.C. power broker Lanny Davis from McDermott Will & Emery, a firm he joined a little over six months ago, we put out a request for more information. That request was promptly answered — by none other than Lanny Davis himself.

The drama lover in us was hoping for an epic tale of office intrigue and power struggle at McDermott Will (and commenters were happy to speculate). As it turns out, however, the parting of Davis and MWE is quite amicable — and far from total. As Davis explained to us, he’s setting up his own shop, but he will continue to work closely with McDermott lawyers, serving McDermott clients. In fact, Davis isn’t even leaving the building (so no office exorcism necessary).

What’s going on here? Information from our chat with Lanny Davis, plus the complete press release mentioned previously by the Washington Post, after the jump.

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