Commencement

It’s not every day that the student selected to speak at a law school commencement admits that he went to law school because he watched the movie My Cousin Vinny. You certainly don’t often hear Mr. Cousin Vinny admit that he thought going to law school would be the key to a job with a top salary.

But then again, you don’t often watch the valedictorian’s speech for the class of 2012 at Thomas M. Cooley Law School.

The thing is… instructive. I’ve heard a bunch of commencement speeches, but mainly from Ivy League types. The student speaker at a school like Cooley is, well, different.

Take a look, and a listen….

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* There’s a war on prison rape. I’m excited about this. I can’t wait to bang prison rape in the ass. [Simple Justice]

* Meanwhile, there’s more rape probing on the Dominique Strauss-Kahn front from a French prosecutor. [Fox News]

* On the eve of his law school graduation, a student reflects on “the most colossal f*** up of [his] life.” [Shady Nation]

* Jamie Dimon has had better months. [Dealbreaker]

* Defamation by half-truth. [The Volokh Conspiracy]

* The California bar results are out. Congratulations to all who passed. [State Bar of California]

* There are a lot of bones to pick with this week’s Blawg Review. [Cyberlaw Central via Blawg Review]

Mr. and Mrs. Zuckerberg

* With more allegations of misconduct revealed, the Canadian Judicial Council met to discuss Justice Lori Douglas’s sex scandal inquiry. Unlike her legs in her nude picture spread, this media circus will likely close in July. [Winnipeg Free Press]

* “I want to apologize. Obviously, mistakes were made.” Admitting you’ve got a problem is just the first step. Greenberg Traurig’s executive director apologized for the Biglaw firm’s apparent screw-ups in a Rothstein-related trial. [Miami Herald]

* Blind Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng will be enrolling at NYU Law School on a fellowship. The administration is giving him a ritzy faculty apartment that comes complete with a kitchen full of Chinese food. He already knows how to eat like a law student. [New York Times]

* Facebook is being sued in an amended consolidated class-action complaint for $15B over privacy issues, but Mark Zuckerberg was too busy getting married to Priscilla Chan to let it bother him. [Bloomberg]

* “What [the f**k] comes next?” That’s what law school grads asked themselves when their commencement speakers tried to slap on a happy face and speak positively about the job market. [Connecticut Law Tribune]

* But perhaps future law school grads will be able to find jobs more easily thanks to class offerings geared toward in-house counsel lawyering skills. Keep on dreaming that impossible dream. [Washington Post]

* How does a small-time DUI attorney from California go from being an unknown to being a household name overnight? By filing a lawsuit filled with tawdry allegations against actor John Travolta. [Los Angeles Times]

So far this year, we haven’t had any huge commencement kerfuffles over graduation speakers at law schools. Last year, you’ll remember that Michigan Law was in a tizzy over Dean Evan Caminker’s pick of Ohio Senator Rob Portman as a commencement speaker. Portman is one of those anti-marriage equality types, and Michigan Law students actually organized a walkout to protest his divisive views.

This year, Michigan has gone with a much more conservative choice.

Paul Caron at Tax Prof Blog has published his annual list of law school commencement speakers. Michigan Law’s choice is boring, but let’s see if we can’t find somebody else on this list to get excited about…

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John Yoo

John Yoo teaching constitutional law to the next generation of lawyers and judges is a perverse mockery of what a law school education should be.

Stephanie Tang, a spokesperson for the Bay Area chapter of World Can’t Wait, commenting on the anti-war group’s reasons for protesting Yoo’s continued employment by the law school this morning outside Boalt Hall’s commencement ceremony.

(See what Yoo had to say about today’s protest, after the jump.)

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Quote of the Day: The Lady Doth Protest Too Much”

It may be true that all happy families are alike while each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way. Based on my experience going undercover as V. Katz, I have come to learn that this is also true for associates (Biglaw and small).

Based on the comments on the salary survey, there are many small-firm associates with grievances regarding transparency, salary, benefits, hours, etc. Based on conversations with Biglaw associates, there are many who are burnt out and looking to make a “lifestyle” change by moving to a small firm, in-house position, or government job (although hopefully they saw the results that showed many small-firm associates work similar hours to Biglaw). In my conversations with unemployed or underemployed associates, they bemoan their law school loans and hope for a job before they become “obsolete and unable to re-enter the work force at the same level they were at when they lost their jobs.”

For some reason, these associates reach out to me for comfort and guidance. So, I offer them my version of a pep talk, after the jump….

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Here are a couple of things I learned last week:

1) Above the Law readers love commencement train wreck stories.
2) Emory Law students feel picked on.

Armed with this new information, I bring you stories of commencement ridiculousness at schools with student bodies mature enough to take a little scrutiny.

Graduation has come and gone at Yale Law School and Harvard Law School. And while most Yale and Harvard graduates have jobs lined up for this fall, the transition from student to graduate did not go as smoothly as possible. At one school, a Supreme Court justice essentially had to crash the ceremonies. At another school, it seems the smart people organizing the event were totally flummoxed by the naturally occurring phenomenon of rain.

You’d think that with 380-plus years of combined experience, these two law schools could figure out how to run a graduation ceremony. But apparently there’s no accounting for common sense….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Even Harvard and Yale Couldn’t Pull Off Flawless Commencements”

Professor Sara Stadler

Yesterday I wrote about the Emory Law School commencement address delivered by Professor Sara Stadler. In it, she told graduating law student that their own “sense of entitlement” was standing in the way of their happiness.

I’ve got nothing against Professor Stadler or Emory Law, but I personally thought this was the wrong note to strike at a commencement address — and so did some Emory Law students, who contacted us about this in the first place.

But other Emory Law students disagreed. And after yesterday’s post went up, some students emailed Above the Law to express support for Professor Stadler and her message. They stated that she is an excellent teacher and was speaking at commencement by popular demand — Emory students voted on which faculty member they wanted to hear from.

Nobody raised a factual issue about what she said, and you can experience the full speech on YouTube. It’s just that some of the students really liked her address.

Fair enough. Professor Stadler’s critics have already had their say. Now let’s hear from some readers who appreciated and enjoyed her graduation remarks…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Emory Law Follow-Up: In Defense of Professor Stadler”

Honestly, I think it’s time to feel sorry for the Emory Law class of 2011. Things are tough for a lot of graduating law students, but the way the Emory administration and faculty have treated the class of ’11 is simply shocking. If you ranked ABA-accredited law schools based on how the administration reacts to student concerns, Emory would have to rate near the bottom.

We can’t know how Emory has been treating the class of ’11 internally, but the ridiculous public behavior started when U.S. News released its most recent law school rankings. Emory plummeted eight spots, one of the biggest drops within the first tier. Since then, the Emory administration has gone to such lengths to cover its ass that there’s been a run on butt plugs in Georgia.

All of the self-serving rhetoric and “blame the students” mentality crested during commencement, where the class of 2011 couldn’t even receive their diplomas without being scolded and condescended to…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Possibly The Most Hypocritical Commencement Speech Ever”

I get that the legal profession has a drinking problem, if you will, but today we have an example of how a law school should not go about keeping young, would-be lawyers off the bottle.

Imagine you are a 1L. You just finished your first set of finals of your first year of law school, and so you decide to party a little bit. So you knock back a few beers on campus before heading out to whatever bar you are going to. It’s a time to celebrate, it’s a time to let your hair down. Maybe you get a little bit more drunk than you intended, maybe you have a beer (gasp) outside, but whatever — finals are done!

Did I say anything “unacceptable” above?

If you think that there’s no harm in the foregoing scenario, then boy do I have a law school for you to avoid. Apparently the administration at one law school was so freaked out by drinking on campus after first semester finals that the assistant dean of students felt compelled to send around an entire email reminding students of the school’s alcohol policy (reprinted in full below). We’re just getting this email now — it appears students wanted to be away for the summer before slamming their administration — but its existence is still shocking.

Somebody should ask Franklin Roosevelt if it makes sense to have draconian anti-alcohol policies during a recessionary environment…

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