* For the first time ever, someone managed to record secret video footage at SCOTUS during oral arguments — and, of course, it’s secret video footage of the McCutcheon protestor’s outburst. You can check it out after the jump. [Reuters]
* After a brief hospitalization yesterday, Attorney General Eric Holder was discharged from the hospital with a clean bill of health. It looks like he won’t have to go to one of those Obamacare death panels after all! [Washington Post]
* “The trajectory of an associate in a law firm has changed irreversibly.” Ain’t that the truth. But seriously, what happened to all of the Biglaw lawyers who were Lathamed way back in 2009? Here are some of their stories. [Am Law Daily]
* More law schools are trying to convince students to attend by offering scholarships. Tulsa will toss you cash if you’re from the sticks, and TJSL will guarantee you money if you’re smart. [National Law Journal]
* A trial date has been set for accused Colorado movie theater shooter James Holmes. Get ready to see this crazy face on HLN 24 hours a day while Nancy Grace offers her ever insightful commentary. [CNN]
(Keep reading to see the now legendary Supreme Court oral argument protest footage.)
There’s an email going around from Thomas Guernsey, the new dean of Thomas Jefferson School of Law. In a letter to the alumni, Guernsey admits that some of the school’s policies have been unhelpful to current and former students. It then lists various reforms that the school is looking at.
But let’s not start licking TJSL’s popsicle just yet. Guernsey’s reforms do not address Thomas Jefferson’s fundamental price problem. The school costs way too much for the meager job prospects it provides. And it’s possible that Guernsey just doesn’t understand that or, more likely, simply isn’t willing to admit that. He says, “I do not know how Thomas Jefferson became the whipping boy for critics of legal education.”
I don’t know if that is supposed to mean “Thomas Jefferson is clearly a great school undeserving of all this hate,” which would be demonstrably false. Or if he simply means “Thomas Jefferson is no worse than 50 or so other ‘accredited’ ABA schools in the way it uses the misplaced hope of its students to turn a quick profit,” which is also probably false, but less obviously so.
Still, this is about as much honesty as we can expect from a person in Guernsey’s position. Anything more and he would have had to end with, “And so we’re shutting down, sorry about all that stuff we did.”
* The latest patent reform bill up for debate promises that it will put an end to the trolls by forcing them to do more work before filing suit. If only it were that easy to keep the trolls at bay. [National Law Journal]
* Do the hustle, and blame it on Becca! A jury has found that Bank of America is liable for selling defective mortgages, and the potential penalty could be up to $848 million. [DealBook / New York Times]
* Since the law was puff, puff, passed, lawyers in Washington State have politely asked their Supreme Court if and when they’ll allowed to smoke weed and represent clients that sell it. [Corporate Counsel]
* Class certification in the Alaburda v. TJSL lawsuit over allegedly deceptive employment statistics has officially been denied. We guess that all good things must come to an anticlimactic end. [ABA Journal]
* Another law school gets it: the U. of St. Thomas will its freeze tuition at the low, low price of $36,843, allowing students to pay a flat fee for all three years of education. [Campus Confidential / Star Tribune]
* Michael Skakel, the Kennedy cousin convicted of killing, was granted a new trial due to ineffective assistance of counsel. Getting away with murder? Aww, welcome to the family, Mike! [Washington Post]
* Update: Yesterday we reported about the California courts denying class certification in the Thomas Jefferson School of Law case. Apparently that was a tentative ruling and the parties have since had a lengthy argument in front of the judge. So there’s still hope! [San Diego Courts]
* A Houston-area law grad is hoping to crowdfund her law school debt repayment. While that sounds annoying, instead of blaming her, let’s blame Zach Braff for giving her the idea. Always blame Zach Braff. [Go Fund Me]
* Law school as explained by a bunch of GIFs from Titanic. They missed the one about the Captain looking hopelessly at the iceberg as metaphor for deans staring at employment statistics. [Buzzfeed]
* Could you charge Marty McFly in 1985 for things he did in 1885 since he knew they were going to be illegal 100 years later? [The Legal Geeks]
* More on the legal storm surrounding the Danzinger Bridge killings: veteran prosecutor Karla Dobinski self-reported her involvement in making online comments and is being investigated. Dobinski posted under the alias “Dispos,” which means alcoholics. So someone might want to keep an eye on her drinking after she loses her job. [The Times-Picayune]
* M.I.A. has been largely MIA since the Super Bowl when she flipped off the masses. The NFL is suing her for $1.5 million for breach of contract and she refuses to pay, noting that the shameful display of the cheerleaders was far more offensive. [TMZ]
* An essayist wants to stop being judged because she doesn’t have student loans. “I am responsible and fortunate for the resources I have.” Totally. Except when you read the whole article you have to replace “I am” with “my parents.” [Thought Catalog]
* Sort of, not really spoiler alert: Saul Goodman apparently left New Mexico and joined Covington’s D.C. office. That’ll be a good fit. [Legal Cheek]
* There’s a Broadway version of A Time to Kill? And Fred Thompson is in it, because this is a lot better than putting in that modicum of effort it takes to mount a campaign for president. [A Time to Kill on Broadway]
* A bestselling author is suing USC for discrimination. I find that hard to believe. If USC turned any discriminating eye toward hiring, they wouldn’t employ Lane Kiffin. [Courthouse News Service]
* Check out the new book by former firm partner Liz Brown about the process of leaving the legal profession. [Life After Law (affiliate link)]
* A humorous take on the Supreme Court’s preparations for the new term. Justice Ginsburg is basically a Time Lord. [McSweeney's]
* Class certification is denied for the Thomas Jefferson School of Law grads alleging the school misled them with false and inaccurate employment statistics. The case was doomed from the beginning, because there’s nothing “typical” about TJSL students! [San Diego Courts]
* Lawyers defending the accused rapists of a Naval Academy Mid asked the victim to describe her oral sex technique, if she “felt like a ‘ho,’” and if she wore underwear. The goal was to teach Afghanistan to be more like the U.S., not to teach the Navy to be more like the Taliban. [Jezebel]
Suing a school for giving you bad grades seems ludicrous. On the other hand, there’s something respectable about filing a 60-paragraph complaint in response to a law school telling you that you’ve failed Legal Writing and Civil Procedure. It’s kind of meta when you think about it.
The crux of the story is that a the law school demanded that a 3L retake CivPro II: Electric Boogaloo because he got a D the first time around. This interfered with his plans for his 3L year, so he decided to take them to court. In the process, every complaint he has about the school worked its way into the filing.
Back in July, following the news of the possible purge of junior faculty at Seton Hall and the staff massacre at McGeorge, we wondered: “Which law school will be next?” With law school applications still in free fall, something, somewhere, had to give, and it certainly wasn’t going to be beautiful buildings, the price of tuition, the number of tenured professors, or their similarly splendid salaries.
No, the easiest way to save money — $4.4 million of it — is by dropping the unimportant human weight, and the most expendable souls seem to hail from the adjunct faculty and staff ranks at the latest law school to conduct layoffs. Which esteemed academy of legal education could it be?
We’ll give you a clue. The school is no stranger to controversy, seeing as it served as the origin of the very first law school lawsuit over deceptive employment statistics ever filed….
Plaintiffs and the class are now stuck with a law degree they did not bargain for. That degree cannot be resold or transferred like real estate. It will never be recalled or repaired like a carburetor. And, unlike almost any other product, the debt associated with a degree from TJSL cannot even be discharged in bankruptcy.
* “Hindsight is always 20/20.” Perhaps AG Eric Holder should’ve quit when he was ahead after President Obama’s first term, because now White House insiders are wishing he’d step down. [New York Times]
* Dewey think Steven Davis will ever live down claims that he brought about the death of a once legendary law firm? No, but at least his $19.5 million mismanagement settlement was approved. [Am Law Daily]
* “What’s disgusting? Union busting? Who’s disgusting? Joe Genova.” Damn. This partner had some issues with Legal Services NYC lawyers on strike outside his office last week. [New York Law Journal]
* With all of the talk about patent trolls, this Morgan Lewis attorney allegedly thought it would be a good idea to get a piece of the action. Oopsie, it sounds like you got some splainin’ to do. [Ars Technica]
* LEAVE THOMAS JEFFERSON SCHOOL OF LAW ALONE! TJSL alumni appreciate their alma mater so much they’re willing to sign love letters written by the school’s PR flack. [WSJ Law Blog (sub. req.)]
* Widener Law is thinking of splitting its campuses into separately accredited schools, but this isn’t a cost-saving measure — neither were the buyout packages offered to professors. [Delaware Law Weekly]
* Alexis Wright, the Zumba instructor who ran a prostitution ring out of her dance studio, will ditch the workout and join the party in jail, because this hot mama was just sentenced to 10 months. [CNN]
In Morning Docket yesterday, we mentioned that Standard & Poor’s has joined the chorus of people who are noticing that stand-alone law schools are shaky investments. When the S&P notices, you can bet that law school administrators feel some heat.