Boalt Hall

Can you say Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (affiliate link)? I’ll be “fear,” given my generally anxious personality, and Elie can be “loathing,” since he’s so good at it.

Greetings from Sin City. Elie and I are in town for a debate we’re participating in tomorrow on the future of legal education. The debate will take place on Monday at noon in room 102 at UNLV Law School. The event is free and open to the public, and lunch will be provided, so please come if you can. Thanks to the Federalist Society and the American Constitution Society for co-sponsoring. (You can check out the event flyer here.)

While in Las Vegas, in addition to stimulating the local economy by losing money at craps and poker, I paid a visit to the site of a major Above the Law story: the alleged bird beheading that resulted in criminal charges for two Berkeley law students. Here are my observations and photographs….

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Wooooo, law school!

It’s about that time: law school tuition deposits are due in a few weeks, and the class of 2016 will soon be bilked out of hundreds of thousands of dollars in exchange for questionable promises of an improving entry-level job market. So obviously this is a great time for rolling out the latest set of dubious law school rankings.

You’ve seen the prized U.S. News rankings. You’ve seen the somewhat-ridiculous Princeton Review rankings. You’ve even seen the “What is this? I don’t even…” Cooley Law School rankings. But today, for your viewing pleasure, we present you with the GraduatePrograms.com rankings, because that’s apparently a thing now.

While GradPrograms ranked the top 25 student-rated law schools, as well as the best law schools for financial aid, we’ve decided to focus on one of the most important parts of the law school experience: your social life. Now let’s be perfectly clear, if these were colleges, they’d be called “party schools.” But because they’re law schools, there needs to be an air of highbrow prestige — hence these “social life” rankings.

Let’s find where you can go to law school and still party your face off….

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Eric Cuellar (left) and Justin Teixeira (right)

Last fall, we started following the sad story of the killing of an exotic bird in Las Vegas. The deed was allegedly committed by Eric Cuellar and Justin Teixeira, a pair of law students at Boalt Hall (UC Berkeley). Last month, the Clark County District Attorney’s Office hit Cuellar and Teixeira with formal charges.

Today brings news that one of them has pleaded guilty. Who pleaded, what offense did he confess to, and what kind of sentence is he receiving?

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Back in November, when we broke the news about the release of the California bar results from the July 2012 administration of the exam, after celebrating their success or bemoaning their failure, people immediately wanted to know about the pass rates by law school. Alas, the only information we had at the time was about the overall pass rate — 55.3 percent. The pass rate was 68 percent for all first-time takers.

We also knew about the overall pass rates for first-time takers who attended ABA-accredited law schools, both in-state (77 percent) and out-of-state (64 percent). But now, just a little more than a month later, we know all of the individual California bar exam pass rates for law schools nationwide.

Last year, we praised USC Law for its top performance on the exam. But this year, we’ve got a different victor. Which law school took home the glory this time around?

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Back in October, we brought you news of some wild and crazy accusations that were lodged against two Boalt Hall law students. Specifically, Eric Cuellar and Justin Teixeira allegedly committed some “fowl play” — the killing of an exotic bird, a helmeted guinea fowl — at the wildlife habitat at the Flamingo Hotel in Las Vegas.

These guys aren’t going to have a very happy new year, because after more than two months of silence from Clark County District Attorney’s Office following their October arrest, the pair were formally charged yesterday.

What were they charged with, and how much jail time will they face if they’re convicted?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “So Much for Flying South: The Alleged Berkeley Bird Beheaders Have Been Criminally Charged”

RIP, Turk.

* “I’m sorry Ms. Jackson, I am for real. Never meant to make your planet cry, I apologize a trillion times,” is likely what Barack Obama told Lisa Jackson when he found out she was stepping down as EPA administrator. [New York Times]

* Cook County, Illinois, is experiencing problems wherein the kookiest of judges get “electoral mulligans” every six years. Public humiliation and harsh ratings might be a great way to finally put an end to this practice. [Chicago Magazine]

* Another way to get revenge against the schools that screwed grads with their allegedly misleading employment stats: disciplinary action for ethical violations committed by those licensed to practice law. [WSJ Law Blog (sub. req.)]

* What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas, unless you’re accused of being a murderer birderer. Boalt Hall law students Justin Teixeira and Eric Cuellar have now been criminally charged for their alleged roles in the decapitation of an exotic bird. [Las Vegas Sun]

* Harvard Law is offering a free online copyright class, and anyone can enroll — even 13-year-olds. This may be your only chance to take a course at an Ivy League school, so hurry up and apply. [National Law Journal]

* George Zimmerman and his lawyer are being sued by a private detective for failure to pay $27K for security services, which included a detailed escape plan to get the murder defendant into a hidey-hole. [Boston Herald]

At this point, most of our readers have probably heard about the Boalt Hall students facing serious legal problems after allegedly beheading an exotic bird in a Las Vegas hotel. We’ve covered the developing story extensively this week, along with various personal anecdotes about Eric Cuellar and Justin Teixeira’s backgrounds.

One major gap in this crazily unique story, however, is: who was the third man suspected in the crime? Was it another student? A ghost? Or was it, gasp, as our Comment of the Week winner supposes, a well-known Boalt Hall professor…

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Left to right: Eric Cuellar, a mysterious third man, and Justin Teixeira.

It seems that our coverage of Eric Cuellar and Justin Teixeira, two law students at Boalt Hall who have been charged with killing an exotic bird at a Las Vegas casino, has ruffled some feathers. Some readers believe that Cuellar and Teixeira been unfairly maligned in these pages.

In our coverage, we have repeatedly stressed that these two law students remain innocent until proven guilty. We have also cited positive comments about them that we’ve received from sources. For example, correspondents have praised Cuellar to us as “an upstanding guy and an excellent leader” and “a really nice guy.” They described the alleged conduct as out of character for Cuellar.

To some readers, however, these comments have not been enough. They’ve written to us with further testimonials in favor of the defendants, to which we now turn….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “In Defense of the Alleged Berkeley Bird Murderers”

Left to right: Eric Cuellar, mystery man, and Justin Teixeira.

The story of Eric Cuellar and Justin Teixeira, two law students at Boalt Hall who have been charged with killing an exotic bird at a Las Vegas casino, has taken flight. It has made national and international headlines.

Given the intense public interest, we will continue to cover this flap. Keep reading for Berkeley Law’s reaction to the charges, tidbits about Teixeira and Cuellar from people who know them, and details from the arrest report — including mention of a mysterious third man….

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Eric Cuellar (left) and Justin Teixeira (right). Image via Gawker (click to enlarge).

Think of this as like the law school version of The Hangover — except that an animal apparently was harmed in the making of this movie.

Over the weekend, we covered the sad and disturbing story of two Boalt Hall law students who stand accused of killing a helmeted guinea fowl. This allegedly went down in a wildlife habitat at the (unfortunately named) Flamingo Hotel in Las Vegas.

As we noted in an update, the bird was exotic rather than endangered (well, at least not endangered outside the Flamingo Hotel). But killing such a bird can still be charged as a felony, thanks to a 2011 amendment to Nevada law. And the Berkeley law students in question, Eric Cuellar and Justin Teixeira, have in fact been charged with felonies — conspiracy and the willful, malicious torture or killing of wildlife.

Let’s take a closer at the two men at the center of this flap. We’ve heard from some Above the Law tipsters who know them….

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