American Bar Association / ABA

Back in October, we brought you the news that Jesse Strauss and David Anziska intended to sue 15 more law schools over their post-graduate employment rates, in addition to their already pending class action suits against Cooley Law and New York Law School. As mentioned during their October 5 media conference, Team Strauss/Anziska will not sue a law school unless they are able to gather three named plaintiffs to represent the class.

Now that it’s mid-December, we’re still waiting for these lawsuits to be filed. What’s the hold up? These crusading lawyers say that they are ready, willing, and able to sue all 15 law schools, but there’s just one teeny, tiny problem. Here’s where our loyal readers come in.

Are you a disgruntled law school graduate? Did you rely on your law school’s employment data, only to find that you are now unemployed or unemployable, despite your law degree?

If so, then consider heeding this call, if you want to help crowdsource a lawsuit against what Anziska calls the “law school industry cartel”….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Calling All Disgruntled Law School Graduates: Will You Ring in the New Year By Suing Your School?”

* DLA Piper is blaming the Occupy Wall Street movement for Biglaw’s sad, 2011 bonus season. It looks like we can expect a Cravath match from that firm. [Thomson Reuters News & Insight]

* We could really use some more law schools — fourth tier law schools, in particular. Say hello to the Savannah Law School, a John Marshall Law School Atlanta production. [National Law Journal]

* University of Texas School of Law Dean Larry Sager has been ousted from his position. Readers have flooded our inbox with the news, so we’ll have more on this later. [Texas Tribune]

* This Senate victory for gay servicemembers came with unintended consequences. It’s now kosher to have sex with men, women, and everything else under military law. [Washington Post]

* Prosecutors will be seeking the death penalty against Stephen McDaniel. If being drawn and quartered were an option, maybe this medieval scholar wouldn’t mind so much. [Macon Telegraph]

* Bueller? Bueller? Bueller? Although Ben Stein is the keynote speaker at this year’s ABA Techshow, legal tech nerds will likely be unable to win his money. [ABA Journal]

Rima Fakih: should she go to jail?

* Close, but no cigar? The ABA has updated the way that it will collect graduate employment and salary data from law schools, but the new method could still use a few tweaks. [National Law Journal]

* Kilpatrick Townsend is expanding into Saudi Arabia. I don’t really have anything witty to say about this, but now the “Arabian Nights” song from Aladdin is stuck in my head. [Atlanta Business Chronicle]

* British barristers behaving badly: Kevin Steele, a former Mishcon de Reya partner, was convicted of fraud and forgery charges in connection with a $28M loan scam. They don’t serve tea and crumpets in jail. [Legal Week]

* Joshua Monson, the serial defense attorney stabber, was in court yesterday for sentencing. Still no word on whether he was wheeled in on a Hannibal Lecter-esque gurney to prevent more stabby behavior. [CNN]

* No, Ophelia, when you’re a transgender prisoner in Virginia, the state is not going to pay for your sex change operation, no matter how many courts you appeal to. [Houston Chronicle]

* Will Rima Fakih, 2010′s Miss USA, have to do jail time in Michigan for reportedly being a “super-drunk”? Check back after we get the results from the swimsuit competition. [MLive.com]

Here’s a puzzle for you. What decade am I discussing in the following paragraphs?

I’m doing something a little different here. The entire text of this column appears before the jump. I’ve hidden only the citations after the jump. Ponder while you read these paragraphs when the source materials supporting these words were written:

The excessive cost of legal services is not a function of the economy that will abate as the recession finally fades. In the words of one recent report, “Don’t fool yourselves that when the recession passes things will return to normal.” That report quoted the general counsel of a major financial institution as saying, “The way we are now is the way it is now, not a temporary situation . . . . [I]n the [decade omitted] we’re going to see straight hourly billing die.”

Surveys confirm the concerns about the high cost of legal services. For example, in a [year omitted] general counsel survey conducted by [the firm you know as PriceWaterhouseCoopers], a majority of the 350 respondents agreed that “legal fees have gotten out of control and are crippling businesses,” and pressure to reduce costs was a “major theme” of the survey responses. Surveys of corporate law departments conducted by Endispute, Inc. in [two years omitted] reveal that a third of the respondents faced actual cuts in their legal budgets and that, as the size of the legal departments increased, so too did the pressure to reduce legal costs. A [year omitted] Louis Harris survey of executives and legal officers of Fortune 500 service corporations reveals cost containment as a top priority for law departments, and a survey of major corporate clients in the United Kingdom demonstrates that this is now a worldwide issue.

The pressure to move away from standard billing, based on the billable hour, is likely to increase. Indeed, [name omitted], the recently appointed general counsel of [company name omitted], is leading an intense campaign to adopt alternative billing mechanisms. Her efforts have been broadly publicized and resulted in a highly visible panel at the [year omitted] ABA meeting.

In what years did these things occur? What decade are we discussing? And who the heck was the recently appointed general counsel of what company? Those citations and more after the jump….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Inside Straight: Things Will Not Return To Normal After The Recession!”

* The American Bar Association can’t handle law schools, yet Obama trusts them to vet potential judicial nominees. Well, seems like they’re doing a bang-up job with that, too. [New York Times]

* First the New Jersey bar exam results, and now more MF Global drama. Angry investors want to know if a lawsuit will help Jon Corzine remember where he put the missing $600M. [Bloomberg]

* Law school debt increased by $475M between 2008 and 2010. Grab a raincoat, because this bubble’s going to burst soon, and it’s not going to be pretty (except for Cooley Law; they’ll be rich). [Am Law Daily]

* And on that note, what on earth was Cornell Law thinking? Did they fail to realize that their Cooley rankings would plummet if they decimated their library square footage? [Cornell Daily Sun]

* UC Berkeley: “We never like to hurt our students.” Yeah, apparently that’s what the police are for. Occupy Berkeley protesters are suing the school over police brutality allegations. [Huffington Post]

Law schools have faced an incredible amount of public scrutiny this year. Three law schools — Thomas Jefferson, Cooley Law, and New York Law School — are facing lawsuits over their allegedly deceptive employment statistics. Fifteen more lawsuits of the same variety may be filed soon. Three senators have demanded action from the American Bar Association, but the response has been lacking.

And in the face of all of this public ridicule, the ABA’s Section of Legal Education declined to ask questions pertaining to employment in legal jobs in its 2011 questionnaire. Apparently the powers that be at the ABA have adopted a honey badger policy with regard to questions of post-graduate employment data (i.e., don’t care; don’t give a sh*t).

So, what’s the next step in this process? Is there a Senate hearing in the works?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Is a Senate Hearing on the Way for Law School Transparency?”

Let a thousand law schools bloom?

Critics of the current legal-education model, including my colleague Elie Mystal, have accused the American Bar Association of failing to uphold sufficiently stringent accreditation standards. ABA-accredited law schools proliferate, even though thousands of law school graduates find themselves unemployed or underemployed.

The ABA was recently chided by the National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity for various alleged deficiencies in the ABA’s exercise of its accreditation power (for example, failure to consider student-loan default rates in assessing programs). Politicians such as Senators Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Charles Grassley (R-IA), and Tom Coburn (R-OK) have also raised questions about whether there are too many law schools and law school graduates, especially in light of the still-challenging legal job market.

In light of this debate, I was eager to attend a panel at the Federalist Society’s National Lawyers Convention on the subject of law school accreditation….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Law School Accreditation: What Is To Be Done?”

Can you imagine if this kid called himself a 'doctor' just because he went to law school?

I know “J.D.” stands for “Juris Doctor.” I get that at commencement somebody probably proclaimed that law school graduates were “doctors of laws.” All that said, the lawyer who refers to himself as “Dr.” So-and-So has got to be the biggest d-bag on the planet. Bigger even than the tool who runs around calling himself So-and-So, Esquire.

On Adjunct Law Prof Blog, Mitchell H. Rubinstein asks if lawyers are considered doctors. It’s an easy question to me. I don’t even think Ph.D. holders should call themselves “doctors” unless they can prescribe medicinal marijuana or something.

But hey, I’m just the guy who thinks lawyers should generally avoid saying things that make the general public think, “What a self-important a**hole.”

As per usual, the American Bar Association has no such compunctions. And we already know that the organization is strangely committed to making sure as many people go to law school under false pretenses as possible.

So you can guess which way the ABA comes out on this issue….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Any Lawyer Who Calls Himself ‘Doctor’ Like a Ph.D. Should Get Punched in the Mouth”

It’s time to check in on the scandal involving the University of Illinois College of Law and its false reporting on the qualifications of its admitted students. Every time we do look at Illinois, the school tells us that “this time” they’ve figured out the full extent of the problem — and it’s a bigger mess than the last time they piped up.

On that scale, today is no different. When the story first broke in September, Illinois claimed that admissions data had only been falsified for one year. Then, a few weeks later, Illinois said that data for four class years had been falsified. Today, Illinois says it has completed a two-month investigation that cost the school $1 million. Now they’re saying that the admissions data for six class years have been compromised, based on a report prepared for the school by Jones Day and Duff & Phelps.

I wonder how many years of lying Illinois would have discovered if they spent $2 million?

But people will be distracted from the ever growing number of times Illinois is self-reporting it lied to people. That’s because today, Illinois has offered up a sacrificial lamb. There’s a head on a platter, there’s a body on the pyre, and Illinois College of Law would have you believe that it has identified the one, the only, the sole person responsible for this entire scandal….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Illinois Law and the Lone Gunman Theory of Admissions Fraud”

Herman Cain: victim of a high-tech lynching?

* Here is Bess Levin’s take on the Groomzilla lawsuit brought by Todd J. Remis, son of a Goodwin Procter partner. [Dealbreaker]

* What advice would crisis management guru Lanny Davis give to Herman Cain about Cain’s sexual harassment scandal? Here’s an imagined conversation. [The Hill]

* And here is a real conversation — between Herman Cain and Ginni Thomas, also about the sexual harassment allegations. [Daily Caller]

* Current law students, at Brooklyn Law and Cardozo, call upon the ABA to get its act together. [BLS Advocate; Cardozo Jurist]

Judge J. Paul Oetken (S.D.N.Y.)

* The legal career of NBA star Ben Wallace is off to a great start. [Yahoo! Sports]

* Antonin Pribetic asks: “Are GCs Shifting The Balance of BigLaw Power?” [The Trial Warrior]

* Congratulations to Judge Paul Oetken on joining the distinguished S.D.N.Y. bench! (I was lucky enough to attend his ceremonial induction last week, which was fabulous.) [Poliglot / Metro Weekly]

* And congratulations to the Dave Nee Foundation, a non-profit committed to fighting depression and preventing suicide, on its record number of law firm supporters for this year’s masquerade ball (taking place tomorrow night). [Dave Nee Foundation (press release)]

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