Bad Ideas

I almost feel bad for Cardozo. Yesterday, we reported on how Cardozo was trying to convince the class of 2011 to give money to the school on the theory that even a small donation will help the school move up in the U.S. News law school rankings, thus increasing the “value” of a Cardozo Law degree. Yeah, the campaign isn’t about how giving more money will deliver more value to Cardozo students in terms of job opportunities or educational experience. It’s just a hard sell that a higher ranking equals “value,” and an instruction on how Cardozo alums can help the school game the system.

And it turns out that the strategy isn’t even an effective way to game the rankings. The school is actually wrong about how the rankings work.

Look, I have to be one of the foremost authorities on “stupid things law schools do” in America. I believe I meet all of the Daubert requirements to be qualified as an expert on this topic on the Internet. In my expert capacity, I hereby testify that this Cardozo thing is the dumbest alumni giving campaign I’ve ever seen….

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And now back to our regularly scheduled programing. We join this episode of “My Law School Nearly Got Away With It,” already in progress.

We all know that law schools do all kinds of things to game the U.S. News law school rankings. U.S. News knows this, yet does little to stop this behavior. But rarely do we catch a law school red-handed.

Here, we have a school openly calling upon its students to do something for the express purpose of increasing the school’s U.S. News rank.

Even more embarrassingly, the school is targeting a class of graduates who have generally not had much luck in the employment market. The email suggests that the way to increase the value of their law degree is to give money to the school, since right now it’s not good enough to get them a job…

(Please note the important UPDATE at the end of this post, a punchline of sorts.)

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When Professor Paul Caron of TaxProf Blog sent me a link to a story on his blog last night, all I could do is hit “reply all” and say, “Are you sh**ting me,” only without the bleeps.

I think, my friends, I have seen the most desperate and naked money grab by a law school in the modern era. They’re only asking for a thousand dollars, but if you know somebody willing to pay it, you should just steal $1,000 from them and punch them until they figure out why…

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I think we all know that you can’t really trash a Las Vegas hotel room like they do in the first Hangover movie (and maybe the third, I haven’t seen it). It’s a movie. You also can’t dodge bullets or become a freed slave who kills white people and gets paid for it in the antebellum South.

Of course, most of us didn’t go to a place that’s been called the third-worst law school in America. One attorney’s high-roller birthday party in Vegas allegedly cost the Encore $96,270 in damages and labor costs, and you can’t get out of jail from that by letting a fat kid Taser you…

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People are idiots. Maybe that should be the official motto of this column.

(Maybe, given what I wrote in The Curmudgeon’s Guide to Practicing Law, that should be the official motto of my life.)

Today’s column draws, as always (except when I’m making stuff up), on true life.

A friend at a London law firm wanted to meet a senior executive at my company. I asked the executive if he cared to join my friend and me for lunch. I naturally placed no pressure on the exec: “I’m happy to have lunch with this guy alone, or I’m happy to set up something for the three of us. What do you prefer?”

Somewhat to my surprise, the exec accepted the lunch date. I told my friend. And my buddy promptly sent an invitation for the appointed date and time scheduling lunch in a conference room at his law firm, halfway across London from our corporate offices.

Get our your Bluebook and start spotting issues!

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If you’re an avid watcher of reality television and you’re a fan of Gordon “F**king” Ramsay’s charm, then you probably saw the episode of Kitchen Nightmares that featured Amy’s Baking Company. You see, their food and service didn’t suck; all the Yelpers who gave them horrible reviews were liars. If you’re not familiar with what happened, Chef Ramsay walked out on owners Amy and Samy Bouzaglo — who were seen pilfering servers’ tips, physically fighting with and threatening customers, and acting in an otherwise delusional way — because they were “incapable of listening.”

But what happened after the show aired is every rabid social media addict’s dream: when they received an even greater amount of negative reviews on Yelp and Reddit, the Bouzaglos took to their Facebook page to settle the score as politely and as delicately as they could manage See e.g., “PISS OFF ALL OF YOU. F**K REDDITS, F**K YELP AND F**K ALL OF YOU.” They really are lovely people.

Apparently the couple behind the self-immolating restaurant were planning to host a news conference today to speak about their experience on the show and its aftermath (and to pimp their bistro’s reopening). More than 1,500 people tried to snag a reservation to watch the expected insanity unfold.

Enter the lawyers at Davis Wright Tremaine to wag their fingers in Mutombo-esque fashion with threats of liquidated damages…

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‘Oh my God! My career! Nooooooooooo!’

A few weeks ago, we learned that when it comes to failed professional endeavors, hell hath no fury like a patent attorney scorned. Now we know the same sentiment applies to their failed romantic wranglings.

What would a patent partner do if a summer associate turned away his sexual advances? He’d do what any dork would: in the hopes of ruining her budding career, he’d obtain a movie clip of the girl in a state of undress and pass it around via email to more than 50 Biglaw attorneys.

Of course, this led to a disciplinary action in which the brokenhearted patent practitioner employed some pretty wild defenses, the most entertaining one being that his slut-shaming was beyond ethical reproach because it was constitutionally protected speech….

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Now that law schools have been forced to be more transparent about the true employment opportunities for law school graduates, many prospective law students have changed their tunes and have decided not to pursue degrees that may come at a very high cost with very little chance of reward in the job market.

Other prospective law students, however, are diehards for the cause. They’ll go to law school no matter who advises them otherwise, and no matter how many warnings they’ve seen. Why? Because they, of course, being the very special snowflakes that they are, will be able to overcome the harsh realities of the job market. I think that’s just precious.

Even knowing that only 56% of the class of 2012 were able to get jobs as attorneys, these people aren’t worried about employment statistics like that, because they DON’T WANT TO BE LAWYERS. I’ll pause here for a second so you can digest that statement and try to comprehend it.

Now let’s try to figure out why the hell these people want to go to law school in the first place….

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A while back, we wrote an article about Cody Wilson, the University of Texas law student on a quest to use the new technology of 3D printing to design assault weapons that can be constructed in the comfort of your own home, evading normal regulations.

Wilson has made major inroads since that article, as revealed in a short new documentary featuring his design project, his interaction with federal authorities, and a demonstration of his homemade, printed AR-15…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “3D Printers Don’t Kill People, Guns Made With 3D Printers Kill People.”

Did you know public drinking fountains were a Prohibition-era program to provide an alternative to liquor and beer? More factoids from Ken Burns’s Prohibition at 11:00.

It’s about to be law school “prom” season. This is a fun season for Above the Law. Law students go out, get drunk, and have adventures. Then we write stories about it.

Then the law schools get embarrassed and make rules and engage in hand-wringing over adults drinking like children. It’s the circle of life.

I think concern over rampant student binge drinking is a little overwrought, but then I heard about the school that will be rationing free water at the prom this year and thought, “Boy, way to not do the one thing that would really help….”

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