Blogging

A blogging law professor essentially agrees with the scambloggers.

It’s one thing for the loser of a game to complain that the rules are unfair. It’s quite another for a winner to admit the same thing.

We’ve written before about law school scamblogs. According to the scambloggers, law schools rip off their students by (1) misrepresenting the employment outcomes of law school graduates, (2) taking students’ money (much of it borrowed), and (3) spitting students out into a grim legal job market, saddled with six figures of debt that they didn’t have before they became JDs.

It’s not surprising that many of these unemployed or underemployed graduates have taken to the internet with complaints about legal education; they are, after all, victims of the alleged scam. What would be more surprising is if a law professor — say, a tenured professor at a first-tier law school, a clear winner under the status quo — joined them in admitting that law school is something of a scam.

Which apparently just happened, earlier this week….

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* A scam blogger hit it hard last week, calling Cooley out for policing the internet. Guess we know why s/he chose to go by “Rockstar.” [Detroit Free Press]

* Hundreds of people gathered on Saturday to remember the life of slain Mercer Law School graduate, Lauren Giddings. Rest in peace. [Baltimore Sun]

* Other than the fact that this dude waited nearly a decade to sue, Facebook now says it has “smoking gun” evidence that Paul Ceglia’s case is a fraud. Like. [Bloomberg]

* The Innocence Project says that past DNA evidence is a “poor judge of character.” You’d say that, too, if you exonerated a future rapist. [New York Daily News]

* Lady Gaga is being sued for copyright infringement. Seriously? Get it straight, lady: Gaga only copies from Madonna. [Daily Mail]

* In this economy, to get a job you have to make believe you love the law. Career advice for old farts can be applicable for young lawyers, too. [Boston Globe]

Chris Christie

* Some bloggers stand up to dubious defamation lawsuits. [Techdirt]

* And some settle: St. Thomas Law (or its insurer) is paying $5,000 to Joseph Rakofsky. [Simple Justice]

* Another day, another lawyer accused of trying to kill someone — but not succeeding. (We might have more to say about this case next week; send us tips about Jason Smiekel.) [Chicago Tribune]

* My former boss, Governor Chris Christie, defends his appointment of Judge Sohail Mohammed, standing up to some of the Sharia-obsessed crazies on the right. Alas, some of these crazies could create problems for him in 2016. (Where are all the nice, moderate, socially liberal Republicans hiding? Establishment types, please take the GOP back from these icky populists.) [Arab American Institute]

* My co-author, Zach Shemtob, takes to the airwaves in defense of our New York Times op-ed, which has been controversial in some quarters. [AM 560 WIND]

Richard Matasar

* Dean Richard Matasar, outgoing dean of New York Law School, denies that law schools are all about the benjamins; rather, NYLS and other independent law schools “exist only for the benefit of their students.” [Bloomberg Law / YouTube]

* A woman is videotaped saying that she will claim sexual assault, when no such assault happened. (Staci’s take: “Pissed off women do strange things.”) [Houston Press]

* Google’s chief legal officer, David Drummond, accuses its competitors of being evil. [Corporate Counsel]

* Being a tenured professor can be a pretty sweet gig. Being an adjunct prof? Not so much. [Adjunct Law Prof Blog]

* If you’re looking for something to do on Monday night in New York, check out this fundraising event, sponsored by Weil Pays It Forward (and featuring Survivor hottie and former Weil lawyer Charlie Herschel). [Celebration of Survival]

Our first column for in-house counselInside Straight, by Mark Herrmann — has been received warmly, by Above the Law readers and advertisers alike. Inspired by its success, we have decided to seek a second columnist to cover the world of corporate counsel.

We already have two writers on the small-firm beat (Jay Shepherd and Valerie Katz). Given the importance of the in-house world to the legal profession, we feel that it too should be covered by multiple dedicated columnists, in addition to the in-house stories already generated by ATL’s full-time staff (Lat, Elie, and Staci). There are so many people who want to go in-house; we need to hear more from the people who are already there.

Are you interested in writing about the corporate legal world for Above the Law, or do you know someone who might be? If so, please read on for the details….

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If you are lawyer who is looking for a career change, you really might want to give blogging a try. You won’t make as much money as you would in a Biglaw job. You probably won’t make as much as you would working for a well-respected small law firm.

But money isn’t everything. Take it from me. Or Lat. Or Staci. For instance, right now I’m sitting in my backyard, my dog is curled up by my feet, and I have a fresh pot of coffee. Once I turn the ringer off on my phone (so I can’t hear my creditors calling), it’s a pretty good life. Beat that with a stick.

And it is with that in mind that we welcome another former lawyer to the Breaking Media fold. Check below to meet the new writer for our sister site, Dealbreaker

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Mommy, have you seen my Hot Wheels car?

* Trademarks, and textiles, and taboos, oh my! Take a look into the fabulous world of fashion law with Charles Colman of Law of Fashion. [Professionelle]

* When you make stock market bets on SCOTUS outcomes, you better have a lot of money to throw around. Luckily, Ted Frank has plenty. [Point of Law]

* Jackass star Ryan Dunn passed away yesterday, which is sad. While normal people mourn the man who shoved a toy car up his butt, lawyers think up ways to assign liability. [Litigation & Trial]

* A J.D. is apparently still worth all of the debt associated with it because… why? Given that landing a job right now is about as easy as nailing jelly to a tree, how is this profession worth the debt? [Kiplinger]

* The blogs of the Am Law 100 have grown a lot this year, from 126 blogs to a whopping 269. Some firms are blogging duds, but I guess they’re busy making money. [Marketing Strategy and the Law]

* It may be better to be pissed off than pissed on, but getting peed on is apparently a natural step in professional development. [An Associate's Mind]

* Attorneys fall into one of three categories when it comes to the iPad: you got one; you want one; or your firm got one for you. Here are some lawyerly apps for you to play with. [Law Degree]

My name is Staci Zaretsky, but most of you have known me as Morning Dockette for the better part (or worst part, depending on your opinion) of a year now. You must be wondering why I’m finally putting aside my absurd pseudonym and writing this post under my real name. Well, thanks to the powers that be at Above the Law, I will be joining the editorial staff as a full-time writer.

I’ll give you all a moment to groan and/or squeal and then soil yourselves with disgust and/or pleasure. Super! Now that we’ve gotten over that hurdle, let me assure you that you don’t have to worry, because my fabulous friend Juggalo Law will continue to write for ATL.

Since I started writing for ATL, I have learned a lot about the legal community that frequents the site. I’ve learned that some people just can’t take a joke. That’s pretty unfortunate, but most law types are lacking in the personality department, so it’s understandable. I’ve learned that our commentariat can determine what people look like, just from their style of writing. Apparently, I’m a hot Asian girl. Who knew?

The most important thing I’ve learned from my time here at ATL is that a lot of our readers have graduated from elite educational institutions and then moved on to even greater law firms. I’ve also learned that not everyone who makes the decision to enter the legal field is so lucky – and I’ve learned that from my own personal experiences.

Now, before you get your Google on, and if you really want to see if I’m a hot Asian girl, please read on after the jump…

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Andrew Shirvell (far right) and Chris Armstrong

Here’s a quick update on a past Lawsuit of the Day. Last month, Chris Armstrong, the openly gay ex-president of the University of Michigan student body, sued Andrew Shirvell, the former Michigan assistant attorney general and outspoken opponent of homosexuality. As you may recall, Shirvell criticized Armstrong in a blog called Chris Armstrong Watch, making allegations that according to Armstrong were false, and Shirvell also followed Armstrong around Ann Arbor. So Armstrong sued Shirvell for stalking, invasion of privacy, and defamation (among other claims).

Now Andrew Shirvell is firing back. Last week, Shirvell, proceeding pro se [FN1], moved to dismiss Chris Armstrong’s lawsuit.

Not surprisingly, Shirvell claimed in his motion to be a victim: “Plaintiff’s course of conduct was politically motivated and intended to make an example out of Defendant in order to deter others from criticizing Plaintiff’s homosexual activist agenda.” More specifically, Shirvell argued that certain counts of the Armstrong complaint fail to state claims upon which relief can be granted, that Shirvell’s criticism of Armstrong was protected by the First Amendment, and that Shirvell never had direct contact with Armstrong (e.g., by email or by phone).

In addition, Shirvell lodged some counterclaims against Armstrong. What is the basis for Shirvell suing Armstrong?

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Burka in the court?

* The three defendants in the civil wrongful-death action brought by Robert Wone’s widow are keeping their mouths shut. [National Law Journal]

* But their former house is open — and once again on the market, for the tidy sum of $1.6 million. [Who Murdered Robert Wone?]

* Professor Eugene Volokh wants to know, with respect to wearing religious head coverings to court, can’t we all just get along? [Volokh Conspiracy]

Lavi Soloway

* Congratulations to Lavi Soloway and his client, Henry Velandia, whose deportation proceedings have been adjourned — due in part to a recent decision by Attorney General Eric Holder, vacating a BIA decision in another case involving a same-sex couple. [Poliglot / Metro Weekly]

* Speaking of judges and gay marriage, maybe Justice Kennedy should trade Salzburg for São Paulo this summer. [ABA Journal]

* What is behind the spring bonus phenomenon? One big factor: the boom in the lateral hiring market. [Vault's Law Blog]

* Speaking of the state of the legal economy, we’ve already linked to the big Economist article on the legal profession — but check out this great photo, in case you missed it. [The Economist / Tumblr]

* Are harsh sanctions for discovery violations a good thing? Ben Kerschberg thinks so. [Law & Technology / Forbes]

* Don’t forget to wish your mom a Happy Mother’s Day! (Unless your mom is Vivia Chen.) [The Careerist]

* Litigators: Do you know about the usefulness of Rule 56(f) 56(d)? [What About Clients?]

* When Glenn Reynolds is away, Ann Althouse will play. [Althouse via Instapundit]

* Were your law school classmates this attractive? Probably not. [YouTube]

Many state and local courts do have cameras in the courtroom (unlike most of their federal counterparts), but other forms of technology are still frequently verboten. Some courts prohibit cellphones, laptops, and, in the traffic court I once attended, reading the newspaper.

Yet slowly, with much weeping and gnashing of teeth, some enlightened folks in Massachusetts are introducing a local court to the joys of web cams and unnecessarily detailed twitter posts.

Spurred on by a large grant from the James S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the OpenCourt Project officially began on Monday at the Quincy District Court.

Seriously though, OpenCourt is pretty cool. How does it work?

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