Above the Law

Recent Headlines from Above the Law

 

* Shakespeare’s “First thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers,” has multiple meanings. Or so say lawyers trying to lawyer their way out of being reviled. [The Read Zone]

* Embracing your identity is good advice for life and career. Just note that one of those identities is as a meaningless cog in the legal machine. [Ms. JD]

* Florida attorney Marshall Dore Louis sought some phone records from the government that he claims might provide an alibi for his client. The government claimed it did not have the records. Judge Robin Rosenbaum politely called bulls**t, having recently read about the government having EVERYONE’S PHONE RECORDS. [Southern District of Florida Blog]

* Lisa Linsky muses about the difficulty of waiting for universal recognition of same sex marriage. [Huffington Post]

* Attorney Carolyn Barnes, who landed in hot water after shooting at a census worker, has been convicted. I wonder where she’ll be residing in 7 years? [KXAN]

* Albany Law School is cutting enrollment and slashing faculty appears to be next. It sucks to lose your job, but at least you’ll be able to move out of Albany. Small miracles! [The Business Review]

* A review of Run, Brother, Run: A Memoir of a Murder in My Family (affiliate link), a memoir from attorney David Berg covering his career and family from arguing before the Supreme Court, to serving as legal counsel to President Carter, to the killing of his brother at the hands of Woody Harrelson’s father. [New York Times]

* Three SUNY-Buffalo Law Students have a band and their cover of Icona Pop’s I Love It is trending. The Spin Wires turn the electro house number into an Offspring like rock song. Video after the jump… [BroBible]

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This Thanksgiving, I was thankful for a healthy baby. Watching the Cowboys get blown out with your son is a whole other level of awesome that I can’t begin to adequately describe.

Trust me, my little guy will not grow up to like the Cowboys, he won’t end up being a Republican, and there’s no way in hell he’s going to law school. As soon as I got back to work, I remembered to be thankful (again) that I graduated from law school long before the economic meltdown and the era of high tuition with low job prospects.

Other people aren’t as lucky. Over the holiday, a presumably unemployed, 2012 law graduate sent a scathing letter to the dean and the faculty of the law school he graduated from. He’s angry. Based on the letter, he also might be a little loopy, possibly from hunger, but he’s certainly very, very angry….

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I’ve done some fairly unacceptable things whilst blackout drunk. Life is hard, and navigating this world fifteen to twenty Bud Lights in is nigh on impossible. I fell asleep on a train platform a few months ago. For instance. I was awakened by the bleating of the oncoming train’s horn. WAKE UP AND MOVE YOUR FEET FROM MY PATH BEFORE I CHOP THEM OFF, the train said. I moved them. Still have my feet.

This weekend, an assistant district attorney with the Brooklyn D.A.’s office allegedly lost something more important than his feet. His head. He allegedly lost his head, lost his cool, and probably stands to lose a whole lot more in the days to come.

Michael Jaccarino is the ADA’s name, and it took all the restraint the New York Post had not to scream in its headline, “Wacko Jacko On The Attacko.”

Y’see, Micael Jaccarino allegedly attacked a female EMT early Saturday morning…

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As Staci observed earlier this week, if law students took data into account, we’d be living in a different world. Today, in the interest of moving a bit closer to that sunnier, happier planet, we launch the latest component of our Career Center: The ATL Law School Directory.

There’s been no small amount of discussion around here regarding the disconnect between the career and salary expectations of incoming law students and the majority of their post-graduation realities. Yet we are continually reminded that most 0L “research” consists of blind adherence to a single, arguably dubious data point, and nothing else.

However, there is reason to believe that some would-be law students are doing their due diligence and turning into won’t-be law students, but still, there continue to be of a hell of a lot of applicants at all levels, from “prestige whores” to “low hanging fruit.” Clearly, while we’ve no agenda aimed at discouraging folks from applying to law school per se, we do oppose uninformed and under-researched decisions to do so. The Law School Directory is an indispensable resource for aspiring law students willing to do their homework. (Which, based on some strong anecdotal evidence, we understand is a characteristic of successful actual law students.)

The ATL Law School Directory is to 0L-relevant data and information what the Ronco Veg-O-Matic is to vegetables (It Slices! It Dices!). You can sort law schools by a wide array of analyzing variables: employment outcomes, admissions criteria, top law firm employers, and much more, including the the results of our ongoing ATL Insider Survey, where current students and alumni rate the major aspects of the law school experience, from academics to social life.

So which are the best schools for Biglaw placement? Public interest placement? Clinical training? The Directory has the answers. After the jump, check out a sampling of our ratings tables, including the list of schools which are tops at losing track of their own alumni….

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So far this year, we haven’t had any huge commencement kerfuffles over graduation speakers at law schools. Last year, you’ll remember that Michigan Law was in a tizzy over Dean Evan Caminker’s pick of Ohio Senator Rob Portman as a commencement speaker. Portman is one of those anti-marriage equality types, and Michigan Law students actually organized a walkout to protest his divisive views.

This year, Michigan has gone with a much more conservative choice.

Paul Caron at Tax Prof Blog has published his annual list of law school commencement speakers. Michigan Law’s choice is boring, but let’s see if we can’t find somebody else on this list to get excited about…

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Oh, I kid the grammar nazis because I’m really bad at it and making jokes is easier than contemplating my own shortcomings. But even I can acknowledge that some typos are distracting. Give me another sentence and I’ll show you — or maybe I have already (that’s an honest question: I’ve got no damn clue just at the moment).

Luckily, I write on the internet, and I have a legion of free copy editors who are happy to help me correct mistakes in real time. If I worked in a more permanent medium… well, let’s just say that I hope that never happens.

Let’s just pray that I’m never in charge of writing copy for people’s graduation ceremonies. Those memories are supposed to last a lifetime and you just wouldn’t want administrative carelessness to ruin anything. You simply don’t want mistakes like this invitation to a law school commencement…

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Critics of the legal-education industrial complex would probably like to see some radical changes in the U.S. law school system. They’d probably want a few dozen law schools to shut down entirely, to reduce the glut of lawyers in this country. Barring that, they might want to see law schools reduce tuition dramatically — not just freeze tuition, which some schools are already doing, but make an outright cut in the sticker price of a J.D.

Alas, expecting such changes isn’t terribly realistic. Law school deans and law professors aren’t going to willingly reduce their salaries or send themselves into unemployment — and why should they? Despite all the warnings about the risk involved in taking on six figures of debt to acquire a law degree, demand for the product they’re selling, legal education, remains robust (even if it’s showing signs of abating).

Interestingly enough, however, we’re seeing some law schools cutting their production (of graduates, of J.D. degrees)….

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We have a message for law school deans and administrators everywhere. To paraphrase Chris Crocker, “Leave… the grades… alone!”

Stories about changes to law school grading schemes aren’t much fun for us to write. But every time you deans tinker ever so slightly with your law school’s curve, we here at Above the Law get flooded by angry emails from law student readers, demanding that we call attention to whatever completely inscrutable change (or non-change) you have made (or not made) to your grading policy. In order to save us from having to write these stories, please cease and desist immediately from further amendment of your grading schemes.

Notwithstanding the views of the guy who posted his grades on Facebook, law school grades aren’t very interesting (except to their recipients). We’d much rather immerse ourselves in the law firm bonus horse race, for example. Compared to law school grading stories, the associate bonus watch is as riveting as the Oscars competition (or the Super Bowl, if you’re into that sort of thing).

Honestly, and with all due respect to our law student readers, we don’t particularly care about law school grades — and neither will you, in just a few short years. Right now you might be obsessed with your grades. And yes, they matter more than before, thanks to the tough legal job market. But you will forget your law school GPA sooner than you think. In the words of Professor Orin Kerr, “[o]nce you’re out of school for a bit, people care whether you are a good attorney, not your law school GPA.”

In this post, we’re going to cover controversies over grading at three law schools: the University of Chicago Law School, Cornell Law School, and the University of Buffalo Law School.

And then, God willing, we hope to avoid writing another story about law school grades until May or June (when the spring semester ends and students start talking about transfer applications)….

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