Screw-Ups

You know, given the fact that most law school professors act like they are doing you a favor by grading your exams, it’s a wonder this kind of thing doesn’t happen more often. Of course, since it doesn’t happen more often, this is a noteworthy occurrence.

A criminal law professor out in California figured out there were grading errors from her fall semester course. She figured this out last week. But the errors were so significant that it changed the class rank of some students.

Yeah, so if you got dinged from a summer associate position because your first semester grades were too low, or if perhaps you didn’t even apply for some positions because you didn’t meet a percentile cut-off, whoops, your professor might have screwed up.

Which law school needs to examine its motives?

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Sometimes you just have to whip it out and wait for somebody to bring over a ruler. That’s just a part of life.

But some lawyers seem to sit around all day just waiting for an opportunity to drop drawers and call for the chains.

Don’t believe me? Take a look at this guy from SNR Denton. He was reading the Middle East Practice Area ABA listserv and came across an innocent question and follow-up discussion. Instead of answering the question or providing any helpful information whatsoever, he shot off a quick little response about his firm’s own magnificence.

And to make matters worse (and hilarious), it turns out he didn’t even know what he was talking about in the first place…

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Full disclosure: Gilbert Arenas is one of my favorite basketball players. Sure, he’s a selfish, me-first player. And he seems to be one of the gun-nut whackos I would never want as a neighbor. But the man is the author of one of the best quotes of all time.

Check out Deadspin for Gilbert’s full thoughts on shark attacks. Here’s the kicker:

So if you’re swimming in the water and a shark bites you, that’s called trespassing. That is called trespassing. That is not a shark attack.

A shark attack is if you’re chilling at home, sitting on your couch, and a shark comes in and bites you; now that’s a shark attack. Now, if you’re chilling in the water, that is called invasion of space. So I have never heard of a shark attack.

Arenas is a gunner on the court and off the court, and he would certainly be one in the legal classroom.

So who knows, maybe he would make a great lawyer? He can’t be much worse than the lawyers at Trope and Trope. That’s the name of the law firm representing Arenas’s ex-girlfriend in legal proceedings against the star athlete.

And thanks to Trope, we know everything the woman is alleging against Arenas. Apparently Trope can’t keep its documents in order….

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As David Lat said earlier this week, “Here at Above the Law, we’re trying to help you.” Honestly, think of Above the Law as the MPRE, but for situations people in the legal community are actually likely to face. Don’t conduct sensitive firm business on a crowded train. Don’t offer hand-jobs in school-wide emails.

And here’s a good one: don’t reuse exam questions just because you are teaching at a different law school. It’s called “the internet,” professors. Your students have access to it and can find your old questions. If you put in just a little bit of work, you can come up with entirely new exam questions.

It’s your job! You get paid for it!

And if you do your job with minimal diligence, you won’t end up like Penn Law professor William Wilson Bratton, and we won’t have to write about you…

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Say Cheese!

This year Sidley Austin gave out very good, but not ridiculously good, associate bonuses. Alas, Brian Schroeder was not there to enjoy them.

As you may recall, Schroeder is the 27-year-old Harvard Law School graduate who set fire to a memorial housing the remains of unidentified 9/11 victims, on Halloween 2009. Schroeder then did the right thing and turned himself in to the authorities. Shortly thereafter, Sidley — where Schroeder was headed, after a deferral to do public interest work — rescinded his job offer.

Yesterday afternoon, Schroeder pleaded guilty to criminal charges in connection with the fire he set (more specifically, charges of burglary, criminal mischief and cemetery desecration). He accepted full responsibility for his actions and apologized for them.

What led the handsome Harvard grad — described by ATL sources as “a good guy” and “really smart,” albeit “a little strange” — to set the blaze? One word: alcohol. Schroeder testified that he couldn’t even remember setting the fire, but admitted to a hard-partying Halloween: “I drank many alcoholic beverages.”

So what kind of sentence is Brian Schroeder getting? One that isn’t pleasing prosecutors….

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Maybe Demi Moore - and Ashton Kutcher, not Michael Douglas - will play them in the movie.

Last week, we started hearing about an amazing email making the rounds. In this email message, a male associate at a large law firm allegedly described, in excruciating detail, a supposed sexual encounter with a married female partner at the firm.

Apparently the raunchy email was making like an STD and going viral within the firm. Concerned about this development, the firm tried to crack down on dissemination by distributing a hard-copy memorandum to lawyers and staff, warning them about recent “spam” containing inappropriate language that was being circulated between several firm email accounts. Memo recipients were directed not to forward the “spam” if they received it, and they were also told not to disseminate the paper memo warning of the “spam.”

Meanwhile, the firm’s information-technology team was frantically trying to put the horse back in the barn. Members of the firm’s IT department were working overtime to locate and delete all copies of the email that they could find.

Alas, they didn’t work fast enough. The sexually explicit message — WARNING: stop reading here if such talk might offend you — finally found its blessed way to the Above the Law inbox….

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What should a law student do when somebody steals his lunch? Lunch thieves are notoriously hungry; they have no shame when it comes to satisfying their need for other people’s food. And they are sneaky little people, always ready to take your well-prepared sandwich within minutes (or, you know, hours and hours) after you leave it in a communal refrigerator.

So what can law students do against such reckless hate? At Michigan Law, two years ago, the victim of this dastardly crime took to the student listserve and proceeded to excoriate the anonymous person who stole his lunch.

At Boston University Law School, the victim decided against hiding behind a computer screen. Instead he left a note, a really angry note, promising immediate punishment to the lunch thief — by his hand or the hands of fate…

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Well, this is not going to make Bingham McCutchen partners happy. A judge today ruled that the marital agreement between Los Angeles Dodgers owner Frank McCourt and wife Jamie McCourt is invalid — and therefore Frank might not have sole ownership of the Dodgers.

We wrote about Bingham’s boo-boo back in September. Some copies of the postnuptial agreement use the word “inclusive” in a way that would have given Frank sole ownership, while others use the word “exclusive,” which would have made Jamie a co-owner.

Bingham’s agreement may have been thrown out by the court, but don’t think for a second that Frank McCourt is done fighting for sole control of the team…

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Those of you who have been in the legal profession long enough remember the tale of Jonas Blank. While working as a summer associate at Skadden, he inadvertently sent an irreverent email, intended for a single friend, to the firm’s entire underwriting group (partners included). Whoops.

But the firm was forgiving of young Jonas. He received a full-time offer at Skadden, and he worked there for several years before moving on to Richards, Kibbe & Orbe, a well-regarded boutique (where he still works).

It makes sense that Skadden forgave Jonas. Partners in glass towers should not throw stones….

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I don’t know how the New York Law Journal managed to get through this entire story without mentioning Above the Law. But we’ll deal with that later. For now, let’s talk about the New York Board of Law Examiners (BOLE) finally admitting that the results for the July 2010 bar exam were in fact accidentally released on Friday afternoon. According to the report, the list of bar passers was accidentally published while they were preparing to allow individual bar exam takers to look up their results using their BOLE IDs.

It’s a point I made in the comments on this post. Once the list was out on Above the Law, there was no reason for NY BOLE to keep it a secret, so they made the full list available for public viewing on Saturday — a good three or four days before they intended to do so.

If New York Law Journal reporter Joel Stashenko and/or his editor actually paid attention to the world around them, they could have had some fun comparing the BOLE statements published on Above the Law on Friday with the ones from BOLE today. Let’s play “spot the horribly mismanaged press policy,” at the expense of NY BOLE….

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