Above the Law

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Games are underway. Your daily routine of blowing off work to read Above the Law is now complemented with blowing off work to watch a streaming CBS feed. If you’re going to do anything legal today — and I mean “legal” both as “law work” and “not illegal” — you might as well vote on the worst law school in America.

Polls for all 16 first-round matchups appear below. Get down there and vote for your favorites. Or least favorites, as the case may be.

Whatever you do, may your degree not be permanently sullied by this competition….

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Now that you’ve listened to the Above the Law editors draft their picks for the Worst Law School in America, it’s time to start filling out your brackets. The official ATL selection committee arranged the picks into a bracket retaining the integrity of the seeds, but otherwise shifting teams around to avoid having an editor’s teams face off in the first round.

So check out what the bracket holds….

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For the past few years, law schools have been in a state of crisis, and it’s getting worse. Prospective students just aren’t as interested as they used to be in borrowing up to six figures of government Monopoly money in the hope of surviving the post-graduation gauntlet of legal employment. At last count, applicants were down 11.1 percent from this time last year, and national 1L enrollment is down 24 percent from where it was in 2010.

Unable to keep up with the changing times and put asses in seats, law schools are doing anything they can to cut costs — up to and including laying off faculty and staff. Amid hefty declines in enrollment, some schools seem to be struggling.

But which law schools have suffered most? Even though law is a profession obsessed with rankings, this is one list your school probably doesn’t want to be on…

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Alexis Wright

* “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]

New Rule: The next law school person who wants to bitch about the unfairness of the “employed nine months after graduation” metric must offer to make loan payments for all students who don’t have a job at nine months until they find one. If law schools are going to knock up their recent graduates they should at least have to throw in some child support.

Oh, wait, NO law school dean wants to actually be on the hook for student loans from when they come due six months after graduation until… whenever this unnamed point in the future comes when students can expect to have jobs. Given that, I don’t really want to hear about how your school is so freaking “unfairly” treated because CONSUMERS of legal education need to know if they will be employed within shouting distance of when they will start having to pay back their loans.

Fine, you want a compromise? It looks like we’re moving to ten months anyway…

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‘You may take our false hopes for employment, but you will never take our right to sue!’

* Many have compared the possible outcome of the gay marriage cases to the Roe v. Wade decision, saying that constitutionalizing the right to gay marriage will create a similar culture war. Relax, bro, your bigotry is showing. You won’t be any less married if everyone has equal rights, promise. [New York Times]

* Everyone thought Justice Kennedy was going to be the deciding voice in the Obamacare case, and that didn’t happen, but when it comes to the future of gay marriage, in the words of RuPaul, Kennedy’s got the right amount of “charisma, uniqueness, nerve, and talent” to save the day (at least as far as California’s Proposition 8 is concerned). [Sacramento Bee]

* Meanwhile, people waiting in line outside of the Supreme Court in the hopes of grabbing one of the 50 seats reserved for the public like it’s a Black Friday sale outside of Walmart. Unemployed law grads, just think, you could be getting paid to sleep outside in a tent right now! [The Caucus / New York Times]

* Modern-day legal education is a “failure” in the eyes of this Supreme Court justice. Now don’t get it twisted, Scalia wasn’t referring to the post-graduate employment crisis that we’ve all come know and loathe — he just thinks we need fewer “law and [insert bullsh*t here]“ classes. [Portsmouth Herald]

* Dewey know when we’ll be able to retire this punny phrasing? Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be an end in sight because more than a dozen former partners (including John Altorelli of spy-shagging fame) are still clinging to their claims that the failed firm’s estate owes them money. [Am Law Daily]

* Seeing as Widener’s motion to dismiss as to its allegedly deceptive job statistics was denied, it looks like there’s still time to rally behind the law school litigation cause. Someone on Team Strauss/Anziska needs to go all William Wallace and inspire more would-be plaintiffs to sue. [Law 360 (sub. req.)]

Earlier this week, we brought our readers news of the latest Princeton Review law school rankings for Best Career Prospects. Basing a “career prospects” ranking on surveys of current students, students who have yet to embark upon their careers, could be questioned methodologically — but you ate that s**t up like Halloween candy, so let’s give you more.

Today, we’ll take a closer look at the new rankings in categories that current law students actually know something about: the law schools that are the toughest to get into, and the law schools with the most competitive students. While one of these rankings lists is consistent with conventional wisdom, the other might surprise you.

MOAR RANKINGS, after the jump….

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Creepin'

On Friday, we mentioned an East Coast law school student who was arrested for allegedly trying to meet up and have sex with an undercover officer posing as an underage girl. We’ve received numerous tips about the icky news, and we wanted to provide the full, sordid story.

This 3L might have some trouble passing a character and fitness review — or graduating, for that matter. Keep reading for the details (and to learn where he went to law school)….

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* Stab your lawyer with a pencil once, shame on you. Stab him a second time, shame on me. Stab him a third time, they will strap you to your chair with a “stun cuff” so it doesn’t happen a fourth time. [Legal Blog Watch]

* (Crack) cocaine is a hell of a drug. [Legal Juice]

* A first-person account of why you don’t ever, ever want to end up in central booking. [The Crown]

* Telling opposing counsel you hope she “sleep[s] with the fishes” is mean and inappropriate. But on top of that, what the heck do you even stand to gain from saying that sort of thing? [Minneapolis StarTribune]

* If you want to complain about racial profiling at airports, there’s an app for that! [Prawfsblawg]

* To catch (an alleged) law school predator. Icky. [Delaware Online]

* Seriously? This “Is it Kanye or the LSAT?” quiz is surprisingly tricky. [LSAT Blog]

As I mentioned Friday, the National Jurist (subscription) came out with a very interesting ranking of law schools. As Tax Prof Blog explains, the publication looked at schools that helped people pass the bar despite their low LSAT scores.

It’s an interesting methodology: the Jurist predicted a bar passage rate for people, state-by-state, based on their LSAT scores, then looked at the 25th percentile LSAT scores at each school, and figured out which schools had the largest deviation from the predictions. High-ranking law schools were the ones that significantly outperformed the bar passage rate expected from their low-scoring students.

These could be significant findings: while poor performance on the LSAT doesn’t necessarily mean the student is dumb, it almost certainly means the students is bad at taking standardized tests. If schools have students who go from being bad at taking a relatively easy standardized test (the LSAT) to passing one of the hardest and most stressful standardized tests out there (the bar exam), it sounds a lot like they are educating people, instead of simply benefiting from the achievements of motivated admitted students.

But, should the law school get the credit for the success? Or are there some test prep companies that should take a bow?

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