Baltimore

A large raccoon has secreted itself in a tree on Gordon Plaza. While it is unusual for this type of animal to be in the middle of Baltimore City, it does not appear to be sick and/or injured; nor is it aggressive. Baltimore City Animal Control and Physical Plant personnel have been notified. Do not approach the raccoon, and call the UBPD [Redacted] if circumstances dictate.

– A bulletin sent out to the University of Baltimore Law community, after a masked mammal took up residence near campus.

I should be clear, this isn’t a story about a replica law school building made out of Lego pieces. I’m pretty sure a lot of people have already done that — maybe Nathan Sawaya, lawyer turned Lego artist. And this isn’t a story about a life-sized law school building made out of Lego pieces; I’m pretty sure some online law school has “neato” plans already underway for such a brick-and-mortar plastic-and-Krazy-Glue supplement to their accreditation application to the ABA.

No, this story is about a brand-new, modern, actually quite interesting-looking law school building, which just looks like it was made by a child Colossus playing with a box of interconnecting building blocks. The progressive urban planner in me says, “That’s actually pretty cool.” The righteous crusader in me asks, “Dear GOD, how much did that cost?”

And the legal blogger in me just really wants the name “Lego Law School” to stick around for a generation or two….

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Last week, federal prosecutors in Manhattan charged two former stockbrokers, Thomas Conradt and David Weishaus, with insider trading. There is a legal angle here (aside from the criminal charges and the civil case being brought by the SEC): Conradt is a lawyer, a member of the Maryland and Colorado bars, and Weishaus graduated from the University of Baltimore School of Law a year after Conradt.

To be honest, though, we’re not intensely interested in Conradt and Weishaus. Their alleged misdeeds occurred while they were working in finance, not law; the contours of Conradt’s legal career are somewhat unclear; and as for Weishaus, it’s not clear that he ever passed the bar or practiced as a lawyer.

As regular readers of Above the Law know, we have a weakness for prestige around these parts. So we’re far more interested in the former Cravath associate who, according to law enforceent allegations, made their misdeeds possible….

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* Here’s a reason why Proskauer Rose and Chadbourne & Parke might skip out on spring bonuses this year: millions of dollars worth of blowback from Allen Stanford’s Ponzi scheme. [Thomson Reuters News & Insight]

* And speaking of spring bonuses, a lot of people noticed that Sullivan & Cromwell seems to have misled associates. “Just because it hasn’t happened yet, doesn’t mean it won’t.” Yeah, right. [Am Law Daily]

* Next up in the war on women: a senator from Idaho thinks that women are such strumpets that they might be lying their way into abortions by claiming rape. Because that’s not incredibly insensitive. [Washington Post]

* Apparently George Zimmerman, the man accused of fatally shooting a boy armed with a pack of Skittles, wanted to become a police officer. Looks like it’s time to kiss that dream goodbye. [Los Angeles Times]

* Give me your lunch money, kid! Teachers aren’t supposed to be bullying students, but that’s what one Baltimore mother is alleging in a $200K lawsuit against the city’s school board. [New York Daily News]

Yesterday, we brought you news of a job opportunity that is currently available on the University of Maryland School of Law’s Symplicity job bank. When we first wrote about the listing, we called it a “career services nightmare.” After all, the job had more to do with orange parking cones than the law.

As it turns out, the powers that be at Maryland Law weren’t very happy that Above the Law called them out. Instead of hanging their heads in shame for trying to sell a job as a parking garage manager to its students, the career development office issued a vigorous defense of this exciting opportunity in vehicular supervision and coordination.

The email was written by the assistant dean for career development herself. What did she have to say?

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The DLA Piper I-70 portable office.

You know how people make jokes about DLA Piper having offices in all sorts of random places and Third World countries — er, developing nations? Well, if you like those jokes, you are going to love this story.

At one DLA Piper office, they ran out of running water. No water to wash your hands, no water to flush the toilets.

But the associates still had to show up for work. Can you guess which office?

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Are law students being financially victimized by their universities?

It’s the not-so-veiled secret of the law school tuition game: law schools are the cash cows of the university system. University presidents, often feeling a budget crunch from a decrease in state educational funding or weak, recession-era fundraising initiatives, know they can get cash out of law schools. For some reason, law students always seem willing to pay more for the same education.

When the New York Times wrote its big exposé on law school funding, I highlighted this exact issue. The most interesting part of that Times article was the research David Segal did into how much money universities take from law school coffers. After the article went up, I wrote: “[N]obody in their right mind would pay hundreds of thousands of dollars to get additional education in some of this crap, because they know they’ll never make enough to justify the cost. The university needs to subsidize that education in some way — and so they turn to law schools.”

Apparently, we didn’t know the half of it. One brave law school dean has been asked to tender his resignation by his university president. On his way out of the door, the dean decided to shine a light on the whole ugly mess of law school economics…

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We always appreciate when our readers send us tips about the seemingly endless supply of crazy lawyer websites and advertisements that are floating around in cyberspace. Just when we thought we’d seen it all, someone out there goes and raises the bar of craziness.

When we received a tip pointing us to the website of Barry Glazer in Baltimore, we actually thought it might be fake. Honestly, it almost seemed too ridiculous to be true.

Fortunately for all of us, Barry Glazer is quite real. Apparently his TV commercials have made him something of a legend in the Baltimore area, and not without good reason. One look at Mr. Glazer’s tagline tells us that we’re not dealing with your average lawyer:

“Legal advocate for the injured, disabled, and urinated upon”

Yes, you read that right. For four decades, Barry Glazer has been mounting a one-man crusade against insurance companies. In keeping with what appears to be a urine fixation on Mr. Glazer’s part, many of his ads deliver a simple message to these companies:

“Don’t urinate on my leg and tell me it’s raining.”

These pee-centric statements are just the tip of the iceberg that is the eccentricity of Barry Glazer. If nothing else, he is certainly the most interesting lawyer you’ll encounter all day.

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Next month I’ll be appearing on a panel at the annual meeting of the Association of American Law Schools. The subject of the panel: how to get good press for your law school.

One obvious answer: do good things for your students. Just like the University of Maryland School of Law.

Our coverage of UMB hasn’t always been kind. See, e.g., discussion of former Dean Karen Rothenberg’s controversial pay packages (here and here).

This time, though, Maryland Law is doing the right thing. In a time of strained state budgets, it has succeeded in holding the line on tuition increases (which, as we’ve discussed, are running rampant throughout the law schools). UMB law students won’t see their tuition go up next year, academic year 2011-12, even though students in other schools at the university will.

How did Maryland manage this feat? Let’s take a look — which might prove instructive for other law schools….

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