I’m telling you, the tide is turning against the American Bar Association and the weakness the organization shows when it comes to regulating law schools. People are starting to figure out that major American law schools purposely mislead prospective students about post-graduate outcomes. People are starting to figure out that the ABA hasn’t done enough to stop this practice. And people are starting to try to hold the ABA accountable for its failure to hold law schools accountable.
It’s not just former and current law students who are demanding changes. Right now the ABA is dealing with a U.S. senator who wants action from the organization.
That’s right, Senator Barbara Boxer is once again urging the ABA to do its job….
When 1,500 lawyers gathered at this week’s ABA TechShow in Chicago, an interesting thing happened:
The business card died.
When these lawyers weren’t listening to the dozens of cutting-edge seminars or browsing the exhibitors’ booths, they were making new friends and new professional connections. But instead of exchanging business cards, many of the attendees were trading Twitter handles — their online identities that begin with the @ symbol. (I’m @jayshep.) Massachusetts lawyer Gabriel Cheong (@gabrielcheong) told me that by the end of the conference, he had collected exactly zero business cards. (I immediately gave him one of mine. #irony) Instead of accumulating two-by-three-and-a-half-inch scraps of cardstock, he typed their Twitter names directly into his iPhone. (And I doubt anyone actually said, “Uh, I’m not on the Twitter.”) Molly McDonough (@Molly_McDonough), online editor at the ABA Journal, tweeted at the end of the conference: “For first time, I didn’t collect any biz cards at #abatechshow. Just made note of names and followed on Twitter.” Others retweeted (quoted) her tweet with approval.
So does this mean it’s time for small-firm lawyers to learn how to tweet?
I’m reporting to you live from Chicago at the 25th Annual ABA TechShow, where an amazing group of passionate lawyers from around the country have gathered to talk and teach about the future of law practice. While many of the programs deal with technology, the underlying theme seems to be that change is coming to our industry, and we should probably figure this stuff out before it’s too late.
Today, U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer called out the American Bar Association and asked the ABA to require law schools to provide accurate post-graduate employment and salary information about their former students. And so now the movement to get law schools to engage in some basic transparency about the value of a legal education just got some political muscle.
What a day.
And the ABA should heed this warning. Those who are ruined in part due to the misleading information spewed out by American law schools are generally a powerless bunch; the ABA can ignore their cries with impunity. But you ignore U.S. senators at your peril. If you want to turn a blind eye to the senior legislative chamber, you best be a President eager to engage in military action. Heck, with the political muscle of a U.S. senator behind it, maybe the mainstream press will start noticing that America’s future lawyers are lied to by legal educators on a daily basis.
You can read the full press release below (which has been blasted out to a number of publications). Law schools, the time for honoring yourselves is almost at an end….
I am an aspiring law student getting ready to send off my law school application. However, I have a problem: I can’t go to the only law school that makes sense for me; not because I did not score well enough, but because of an American Bar Association rule whose blanket coverage does not really apply in its intended sense to my situation. The rule deals with not allowing anyone to attend a full time law program while working more than 20 hours per week.
Currently, I have my full time dream job as New York City fireman and, honestly, I could not imagine quitting it for anything. However, it does not mean that obtaining my J.D. and having the opportunity to give back more to the community and stimulate my mind on my days not at the firehouse is not also an aspiration of mine. Unfortunately, it seems that both of my dreams cannot be achieved in an economically feasible manner. Only one of the schools in the area is a state school and affordable (see: rational) for me to attend, but they only offer a full time program….
The new proposals for regulating law schools coming out of the American Bar Association’s Law School Accreditation Committee are not perfect, but they represent a major step in the right direction.
Now if we could only get the entire ABA to see that allowing law schools to provide misinformation to potential students is bad for everybody.
The National Law Journal reports that there are three major changes being proposed by the Accreditation Committee: changes in the way law schools report employment information, dropping the LSAT requirement, and dropping the requirement that law schools retain a tenure system…
Jonathan Rhys Meyers: More than just a pretty face; also an alleged tortfeasor.
* Gloria Allred is tired of Lindsay Lohan strutting her stuff into the courtroom like a debutante instead of a defendant. Chill out, Gloria. At least it’s actually LiLo’s stuff, unless that silicone was stolen, too. [New York Times]
* The ABA is thinking up ways for law schools to more creatively rig their nine-months-after-graduation employment rates. Burger flipping is a totally professional job, right? Right? [Morse Code / U.S. News]
* Actor Jonathan Rhys Meyers is getting sued for going to pound town with a United Airlines employee. No, not that pound town. It was actually a little more like ground and pound. [Daily Mail]
* Today in Racebaiting 101, we will learn about the comedic aptitude of white judges who refer to the KKK in plea agreements for young black men. Discuss. [Los Angeles Times]
* Well, the good news is that you’re not going to die from kidney failure. The bad news is that you’re going to die from AIDS. This story is like a bad bar exam question. [Wall Street Journal]
* David J. Stern is doing the dip on 9,000 foreclosure cases in Florida. He just doesn’t have the manpower to file the correct paperwork. How about you just robo-sign all those withdrawals, too? [Palm Beach Post]
Guys, this is my bad. I made a mistake. You see, back in September, Ave Maria School of Law said it was going to do something. And me, silly fool that I am, believed them. I know, I know, I’m an idiot. What kind of person actually believes Ave Maria will keep its word?
In September, Ave Maria announced that it would be the first law school to adopt the proposals set out by the Law School Transparency project for employment reporting by law schools.
And now they’ve gone back on their word. Ave Maria has informed the LST people that they will not let people applying to Ave Maria know what they’re getting into. The school has decided that it doesn’t want to be “first,” and they’re punting the issue back to the ABA.
It’s just amazing to me when an institution of higher education can’t even keep its word….
This Villanova scandal is going to get uglier before it finishes. On Friday, we reported that John Y. Gotanda, the dean of Villanova Law School, sent a letter to students and alumni in which he revealed that the school reported inaccurate admissions information to the American Bar Association.
The letter was light on specifics. According to comments made by a Villanova spokesperson to the ABA Journal, the problem involved Villanova providing the ABA with incorrect LSAT and GPA numbers.
The Villanova administration has not yet disclosed exactly what data was inaccurate, who was responsible, and what the school is doing to make sure that this kind of thing won’t happen again. That could be because the school is still investigating the full scope of the problem.
But Villanova students and faculty members are talking. Here’s what we’ve heard so far…
Watch to find out what some of our subscribers received in their May box!
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The last time I flapped my wings your way, I tried to make at least enough noise about your mobile phone to make you more than a little bit uncomfortable. I hope I did. If enough of us become anxious enough about the known and unknown unknowns and knowns in our mobile phones, then we can start making wise decisions about how to manage that information and its resultant investigations.
Today, I’d like to put a finer point on the last installment’s topic by asking a question that seemed to catch most attendees off-guard at a conference panel that I moderated last week: is there discoverable personal information in a mobile app? Our panelists’ answer was a uniform “yes” with one stating that, if he had to choose only one type of data that he could discover from a mobile phone, he’d choose app data. Why? Because there’s simply so much of it and because almost all of it is objective – not just user-created like an email – but machine-tracked like GPS, usage duration, log in and log out times, browsed web addresses, browsed actual addresses. Also, most of us seem to have the idea that data doesn’t actually “stick” to our mobile devices the way it “sticks” to our hard drives. Maybe there’s a disconnect based on the fact that our phones are mobile so we assume the data is mobile to?
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