Ave Maria School of Law

Remember when George Mason made a run to the Final Four? Or when VCU climbed out of the play-in game to make it into the Final Four? Quick aside, are you tired of the CBS commentators pushing the whole “it’s not a play-in game, it’s the First Round” on us? It’s like CBS hired the inventor of the Cooley Rankings idea.

Anyway, like those exciting, underdog-dominated tournaments, it looks like we’ve got a bottom-seeded team charging all the way into the Elite Eight in our humble ATL bracket. How crazy is that?

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Basketball’s March Madness provided a string of dramatic upsets over the weekend. The Above the Law editors lost their alma maters over the weekend, and all of us slipped out of the Warren Buffett billion-dollar-bracket pool. It was all sad. But nothing warms the heart more than a CBS reaction shot to crying Duke bros.

Did ATL’s annual tournament provide similar fireworks?

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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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Nothing illustrates the way religion can warp the normal function of rational thought quite like the National Jurist’s “most devout law schools” rankings. If you are a person of faith, that’s fine. Mazel tov. And if you want to find new and exciting ways to mingle your religious beliefs with our secular laws, that’s fine too. I mean, I’ll do what I can to oppose you, but in America we must be comfortable with difference.

But picking a law school based on its piety seems pretty dumb. For one thing, law schools should be teaching, you know, laws and stuff. What you do with that knowledge is your own choice, but it seems to me that people should want the best education they can get, and then apply that education to the causes and issues that move them. Why go to Regent Law if you can go to Vanderbilt Law and then advocate for your theocracy from a position of greater strength?

The second problem is that picking a law school because it has some kind of “mission” beyond helping you become a good and employed lawyer seems like a path to pain. But that will become obvious as we actually look at the National Jurist’s list.

In any event, onward Christian lawyers…

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Sorry, Patton Boggs…

* The right to choose… to drive out of state? SCOTUS rejected an application to block Texas from enforcing a law requiring abortion doctors to have privileges at nearby hospitals. [New York Times]

* Patton Boggs should prepare for the day when Locke Lord is too busy washing its hair to go on a date. The would-be merger is just one of many “interesting opportunities” the firm is considering. [Am Law Daily]

* In case you were wondering about the type of people who are accepted into Greenberg Traurig’s residency program, the recent law grad profiled in this article went to Nova Southeastern. [Sun Sentinel]

* Law firm merger mania, mid-size Midwest edition: Chi-Town law firm Shefsky & Froelich merges with Cincinnati-based Taft Stettinius & Hollister. [Crain's Chicago Business]

* When it comes to law faculty hiring, it doesn’t matter what color your skin is or what you’ve got between your legs, so long as your résumé is covered in Ivy and you’re dripping with prestige. [National Law Journal]

* Ave Maria School of Law is in need of a new dean. It seems the man who created the school’s “Advanced Critical Thinking Department” engaged in deep thought before deciding to call it quits. [Naples Daily News]

Law school deans should bet a dollar on whether or not change the name of a law school makes more people come.

And the band plays on. No matter what happens in the economy. No matter what kind of evidence we get that the market for legal jobs is totally in the tank. No matter what, law schools continue to expand and continue to find new ways to convince more people to spend a lot of money getting an education that might not lead to employment.

Of course, I’m talking about something new and annoying Cooley did, because you basically can’t have a conversation about what is wrong with law schools anymore without referencing some kind of fresh horror enacted by the people who run the Thomas M. Cooley Law School.

But this impulse towards MOAR LAW STUDENTS obviously isn’t just a Cooley problem. Even though some schools that are already in the law game have thoughtfully looked at reducing class sizes, there are always going to be schools and universities eager to provide prospective law students with educations they can waste money on.

Time for some stories about law school acquisitions, a plague that has now made it all the way down to Texas

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As we noted in Morning Docket today, Law School Transparency (LST) wrote to all law schools accredited by the American Bar Association to request the NALP reports for the class of 2010. The NALP reports contain much more detail than that of the reports released by the ABA, such as information concerning part-time and temporary employment, as well as the number of graduates in jobs that do not require a law degree.

LST’s request was made on December 14, 2011. Two months later, LST has presented the results of that request, and the organization has made some significant strides since it first attempted to collect data back in July 2010. This time around, 34 law schools provided their NALP reports, either by sending them directly to LST, or posting them on their websites.

But which schools provided LST with the information? And which schools are still avoiding action?

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The power to thwart God's will is at your local drugstore.

Who’d have thunk it? These days, contraception is a hot-button issue. On the campaign trail, presidential candidate Rick Santorum thinks that Griswold was wrongly decided. Inside academia, students are challenging the refusal of one Catholic university (including its law school) to let its health centers prescribe birth control.

Getting upset over inadequate access to contraception is one thing. What about getting upset — at a Catholic law school, mind you — over a discussion of birth control? Can you imagine what kind of comments about contraception could cause a law school community to get all riled up?

Let’s look at — and argue about — the email that caused students at one top-ranked Catholic law school to get their diaphragms all scrunched up proverbial panties in a wad. Even the dean had to get involved….

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Robert Ringley

Throughout our coverage of Robert Ringley, the Ave Maria School of Law student accused of attempted murder and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, many have offered up their comments about the alleged occurrence, and thoughts about law school in general. This comment was perhaps the most fitting of them all:

Law school is a mental illness factory. If you go in healthy, you’ll come out bitter, angry, and depressed. If you go in unhealthy… well, you risk coming out a murderer.

Yesterday, some described Ringley as easygoing, funny, and carefree. But were those traits just used as a cover-up to mask Ringley’s darker side? We’ve got some additional insights on the alleged perpetrator’s state of mind, plus news on his status at Ave Maria Law….

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