American Bar Association / ABA

Last summer, the Thomas M. Cooley Law School was hit with a class action lawsuit over the school’s allegedly deceptive post-graduate employment data. The case was filed by plaintiffs’ lawyers Jesse Strauss and David Anziska. In October 2011, Cooley Law filed a motion to dismiss that claim, adopting a “blame the ABA” theory in defense of its employment statistics.

On June 5, lawyers ventured to the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan to argue the merits of the case. Although Judge Gordon Quist sided with the Cooley grads on several issues, he noted that they faced an “uphill battle” on some of their other allegations. And now, before hordes of Cooley graduates sit down to take the bar examination, we’ve got news on whether the class action suit survived that motion.

What result? The class action lawsuit filed by Team Strauss/Anziska against Cooley Law over its allegedly deceptive employment statistics has been dismissed….

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Accreditation Appeal²

* How many of Above the Law’s Scalia groupies tuned in to watch the opinionated Supreme Court justice on Piers Morgan last night? Now we all know what Justice Scalia’s favorite pasta dish is! [CNN]

* In other news, the Supreme Court’s approval rating has dropped even lower in the wake of the Affordable Care Act decision — just 41% of Americans are satisfied with SCOTUS. [New York Times]

* Dewey know if D&L is going to be able to pay out bonuses and retention fees? Not if the U.S. Trustee can help it. They’re not “cost effective or economically feasible” — go figure. [Bloomberg]

* City records for Boaz Weinstein’s and Tali Farhadian Weinstein’s $25.5M lawyerly lair have officially hit the books. Not too shabby for a federal prosecutor. [New York Observer]

* “I am not a racist. I am not a murderer.” George Zimmerman sat down for an interview with Sean Hannity to tell his side of the story. Prosecutors must be thanking Zimmerman’s attorney for this gift. [Orlando Sentinel]

* Duncan Law is appealing its accreditation appeal before the American Bar Association’s Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar. This must be the three strikes approach to accreditation. [ABA Journal]

* Give this undocumented immigrant one of the documents he’s earned. Immigration law professors are lining up to support Sergio Garcia’s attempt to win admission to the California bar. [National Law Journal]

* California’s foie gras ban will remain in effect due to the lack of a “satisfactory explanation” as to why a TRO should be granted. Sorry, but wanting to eat classy French food isn’t a good enough reason. [Businessweek]

* Dear ABA: could you please at least LOOK at what’s going on at Rutgers-Camden. We’ve already looked at their arguably misleading ads. Now Paul Campos has figured that the school may have been massively under-reporting the amount of debt people graduate with to the ABA (scroll down to Upate III). Seriously ABA, do one small part of your freaking job JUST ONCE. [Inside the Law School Scam]

* Here’s a great way to lower the cost of education: make books free. I mean, it’ll never, ever happen, but it’s a good idea. [CALI via Tax Prof Blog]

* Law students might need a bit of a refresher on supply and demand before they hit up fall recruiting. [Adam Smith Esq.]

* Legacy LeBoeuf retirees have also been screwed by the D&L fiasco. Boy, Dewey know how they feel. [WSJ Law Blog]

* Should we care about the “scholarship” of law professors at all? [Adjunct Law Prof Blog]

* Wild strippers are a national problem in New Zealand. [The Telegraph]

* Congratulations to the latest class of Best LGBT Lawyers Under 40! [National LGBT Bar Association]

* “Many organizations have people who do dumb things.” Members of the Secret Service aren’t the only suits getting secretly serviced. Apparently Treasury Department officials like hookers, too. [New York Daily News]

* The cool cats at WilmerHale arrived for their first day of work yesterday at their hip new downtown location. Their library has a Wii, but who are they kidding, it’s probably just for show. [Am Law Daily (sub. req.)]

* On the other side of the fence, we’ve got some signs of the impending lawpocalypse. Soon Biglaw veterans will be forced to say goodbye to the corner office and hello to the glass-walled cubicle. [WSJ Law Blog]

* George Zimmerman: alleged murderer, and now an alleged child toucher (though he was still a child himself). Witness 9 claims Zimmerman abused her for a decade while they were both underage. [CNN]

* “We want to have a bar pass standard that really works. And it’s clear it doesn’t work now.” Oh boy, would you look at that. The ABA is trying to make it look like it’s doing something to improve law schools! [ABA Journal]

* Emory Law received a record donation, and more than half will fund minority student scholarships. Little do these kids know that they’ll soon be condescendingly told to move to Nebraska. [National Law Journal]

* But then again, maybe Nebraska isn’t so bad, considering three law schools are shipping students to neighboring Iowa. The towns are tiny, and the surroundings are rural, but come on, the state’s got jobs. [NPR]

Even people inside the Ivory Tower can tell that legal education needs serious reform.

I just got back from the International Legal Ethics Conference in Banff, Alberta. I feel like I literally just got back, since WestJet made an atrocious decision to detour a direct Calgary to Newark flight — full of people who had already cleared U.S. Customs — to Toronto, where we were trapped on the tarmac for six hours.

In any event, the ILEC conference was full of law professors from just about everywhere. I enjoyed many discussions about how the next generation of lawyers are being trained. I’m happy to report that a lot of the professors I talked to understood that one of the big problems facing American law students is the out-of-control cost of legal education. And I spoke to many American professors who understood that high professorial salaries are partially responsible for the runaway cost of tuition. There were lots of innovative ideas about how to make legal education cheaper for students, and more useful for clients.

Unfortunately, while there are many great ideas out there, the 800-pound gorilla is the restrictive American Bar Association, and it didn’t even have to bother being in the room for everybody to feel its weight. The ABA is perhaps the only organization in the world that doesn’t understand that the American legal education system is horribly flawed.

If the ABA could get a clue, there are a lot of people willing to go into the laboratory and experiment with new ideas. I was at ILEC on a panel about whether or not law should be an undergraduate degree. It wouldn’t be my first choice, but the ABA needs to realize that almost anything is better than the current system.

You don’t have to listen to me, you can listen to the New York Times….

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* Vicious infighting, “arm twisting,” and discord at the Supreme Court? It almost sounds like the justices are in a sorority. According to this report, there hasn’t been so much bitterness and tension at the high court in almost 70 years. [CBS News]

* The Supreme Court might have issued a ruling on the Affordable Care Act, but the battle is far from over. With a repeal vote coming this week in the House, critics are now on the offensive about interpretations of insurance subsidy provisions. [New York Times]

* Dewey have a bankruptcy filing potpourri for you! With countless objections from the U.S. Trustee and many D&L motions on tap, advisers for the failed firm may be in for a long, bumpy ride at this afternoon’s hearing before Judge Martin Glenn. [Am Law Daily (sub. req.)]

* Noting that legislators hadn’t violated the New York Open Meetings Law, an appellate court overturned a trial court decision and refused to push the Empire State’s gay marriage law back into the closet. [Bloomberg]

* Lincoln Memorial’s Duncan School of Law has again been denied ABA accreditation. Seeing as the ABA would likely accredit a shoe, maybe the administration should throw in the towel. [Knoxville News Sentinel]

* If you’re having trouble getting a job as a scientist, you might want to consider going to law school instead. Many schools have near-perfect employment rates nine months after graduation. /trolling [Washington Post]

* Footloose in NYC: a middle-aged couple was arrested for dancing on a subway platform, and now they’re suing. We shudder to think what would would have happened if the pair was drinking soda. [New York Post]

Brett McGurk

* Dewey know how many professional services firms it takes to wind down a Biglaw firm? According to new D&L bankruptcy filings, there are at least eight of them — including Togut Segal & Segal, a leading law firm that reportedly charges $935 an hour. [WSJ Law Blog]

* Despite Barack Obama’s pledge of support, Brett McGurk has withdrawn his name from the White House pool of ambassadorial candidates amid much salacious controversy. Apparently this man knows a lost cause when he sees one. [Washington Post]

* So many DOMA lawsuits, so little time: what’s happening in the six major cases on this statute? The majority are in various stages of appeal, and the world at large is currently awaiting a cert filing to get a final take from the Supreme Court. [Poliglot / Metro Weekly]

* LSAC will now vet incoming law students’ GPAs and LSAT scores. The ABA won’t do it because they need the insurance policy of someone else to blame in case something happens to go wrong. [National Law Journal]

* Stephen McDaniel’s lawyers are expected to ask a judge to reconsider his $850K bond today. If he’s released, it seems like there’s a high probability that he’ll become an ATL commenter. [Macon Telegraph]

* Remember the legal fight over the Tyrannosaurus bataar? Well, now Preet Bharara, the U.S. Attorney for the S.D.N.Y., is on the case, and he wants it to be seized for return to Jurassic Park Mongolia. [New York Observer]

On Friday, the American Bar Association released the employment data for the class of 2011 that they collected from their member law schools. By dumping the information on a summer Friday, perhaps the ABA was hoping that nobody would notice the statistics?

Well, we noticed. The numbers are too bad not to notice. Earlier this month we reported on the NALP employment data, and the ABA data here doesn’t look any better. Only 55% of people in the class of 2011 are known to have found employment in full-time legal jobs.

And really, that’s the nice way of putting it….

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It’s pretty well established that the people running Thomas M. Cooley Law School have no sense of shame. They invented their own stupid law school rankings and then had the audacity to rank themselves #2. They’re already the second-biggest law school in the nation, but they’re opening another campus, this time in Florida. Cooley really doesn’t care what you think (or what the graduates who are suing them think), so long as there are enough prospective law students to fill their incoming class.

As we mentioned in Morning Docket, the Wall Street Journal (sub. req.) did a big article this weekend about law schools that are taking a thoughtful approach to class size given the challenging legal job market. In the article, Cooley evidently didn’t mind looking like the thoughtless school that does what it wants and dares somebody to stop them.

Again, if you know Cooley’s history, that’s to be expected. It’s just their hypocrisy can be a little hard to swallow…

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We’ve followed the story of the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth School of Law (f.k.a. Southern New England School of Law) ever since its inception. Southern New England was a private, unaccredited law school that was acquired by UMass to become the first public law school in Massachusetts.

I’ve been critical of UMass Law, because there was no evidence whatsoever that Massachusetts needed another law school. I’ve been dismissive of the people who have said, “No no no, Massachusetts needs a public law school,” because even though the word “public” connotes something that is good for everybody, I struggle to see how paying $24,178 per year to go to an unaccredited law school helps anybody.

But now it looks like UMass will receive ABA accreditation. I can’t wait to see what they’ll do with their tuition next….

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