* As we mentioned, U.S. News is giving law schools less credit for hiring their own grads. Rumor has it that a few schools would’ve done better in the rankings but for their high percentage of school-funded jobs. Which ones? [WSJ Law Blog]
* Two students in the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity from Oklahoma University were expelled after a video of their racist chanting was leaked online. Lawyers want to know: was their expulsion a First Amendment violation? [Volokh Conspiracy / Washington Post]
* UC Irvine Law debuted on the 2016 U.S. News law school rankings at No. 30, missing Dean Erwin Chemerinsky’s goal of starting out as a Top 20 school. Not to worry, Dean, there are still ways to game the rankings. Keep your head up! [National Law Journal]
* Don’t bother delaying your law school education just because the economy’s bad. The professors who told us that a law degree is worth $1 million think that its value will only drop by about $30K in times when unemployment is high. Yeah, okay. [ABA Journal]
* The grisly murder of DLA Piper associate David Messerschmitt, who was found stabbed to death in a Washington, D.C., hotel, remains unsolved. Police are still searching for the “person of interest” who was seen on video from the hotel’s security camera. [Legal Times]
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* And meet the two legal heavyweights who will be arguing the case before SCOTUS. [Politico via How Appealing]
* Meanwhile, another Supreme Court has put a stop to same-sex marriage down in Alabama — for now. [Buzzfeed]
* General David Petraeus reaches a plea deal, requiring him to plead guilty to a misdemeanor and pay a fine (but no prison sentence). [Washington Post]
* It’s not as sexy as Obamacare or marriage equality, but the collection of state sales tax on out-of-state purchases made online is a pretty important issue — and Justice Kennedy wants SCOTUS to revisit it. [How Appealing (linkwrap)]
* A jury of eight men and 10 women will start hearing arguments today in the trial of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, defendant in the Boston Marathon bombing. [How Appealing (linkwrap)]
* Legal ethics guru Monroe Freedman, RIP. [ABA Journal]
* Analyzing the Supreme Court on style over substance. Probably for the best because the substance has been pretty shoddy for a lot of the last few years. [SCOTUSblog]
* “Constitutional oriented” judge has some issues with the First Amendment. I guess he’s a “pre-Amendment Originalist.” [Popehat]
* Lawyers should find a niche in connected devices. It’s true. But since the partners I used to work with still printed out all their emails, good luck with that. [Law and More]
* The psychic toll of bankruptcy work. [The Docket]
* Ninth Circuit overrules lower court, holding that an arbitrator is not inherently plaintiff-biased because he or she has participated in litigation financing. [LFC 360]
If you have any information, police are offering a reward of up to $25,000 for information in the case.
* “Let’s face it: There are some people here that will not vote for her unless she says what they want her to say, that the president committed an illegal act by these [immigration] executive orders.” Loretta Lynch is having a tough time making Republican friends. [The Hill]
* Some new details have been released on the investigation into DLA Piper associate David Messerschmitt’s death. Per police records, he was stabbed in the back, and was found in his hotel room with “lubricant and condom” and an “enema.” We’ll have more on this development later today. [Legal Times]
* The rankings are coming! THE RANKINGS ARE COMING! Rankings guru Bob Morse, the man who holds law school deans’ jobs in his hands, says the 2016 U.S. News Law School Rankings will be out on March 10. [Morse Code / U.S. News & World Report]
* A patent lawyer with Asperger’s syndrome is suing Patterson & Sheridan for discrimination. In his suit, he claims that a prominent partner was allowed to continually harass him in a purported quest to drive him out. Ah, law firm life. [The Recorder]
* The case against the ex-leaders of Dewey & LeBoeuf hinges on the testimony of the failed firm’s former employees. Defense attorneys, of course, are trying to get things barred from admission — including one defendant’s link to a mob member. [New York Law Journal]
* “We’re still in the same position we’ve been in. There’s progress, but things are moving at a snail’s pace.” As we mentioned earlier this week, according to NALP, the percentage of women associates in law firms is up… but not by much. [DealBook / New York Times]
* One of the best law schools in the country will have a brand new dean come this summer. Congratulations to Theodore Ruger, a longtime law professor who will assume the deanship at the University of Pennsylvania Law School in July. [Philadelphia Inquirer]
* Could it be? Did Justice Clarence Thomas ask a question during oral arguments at SCOTUS? No, but he did ask a question at Yale Law during a presentation, noting that he doesn’t ask “irrelevant, useless questions” at the high court. [Legal Times]
* Per NALP, gains were made by women and minorities in law firms for the first time in years, but be careful, because Jim Leipold is watching you: “Individual law firms should not be allowed to hide behind the national figures.” [National Law Journal]
* Meet Judge Robert C. Brack of the District Court of New Mexico, who recently earned quite the accolade. Judge Brack has sentenced more defendants than any other federal judge in the past five years. He won’t be celebrating his achievement. [WSJ Law Blog]
* This Georgetown Law professor, who happens to be the cofounder of one of the country’s largest litigation finance firms, wants to see a law firm IPO, but others wonder if lawyers would be able to ethically practice while reporting to shareholders. [Washington Post]
* A Chadbourne & Park employee has been banned from ever working for another law firm again following his theft of $15,360 from C&P’s coffers. Not to worry, no client money was pilfered from the firm — the cash was taken from an open office account. [Am Law Daily]
* If you haven’t heard, David Lat wrote a book called Supreme Ambitions (affiliate link), and “[w]riting the novel was almost therapeutic for [him] in a way” — he’s “kind of over” the fact that his résumé doesn’t include a SCOTUS clerkship. [Chicago Daily Law Bulletin]
Horrific news, as associate identified as victim in brutal stabbing.
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* When we first reported on this former law school dean’s arrest for prostitution, we weren’t sure if he was the alleged john. Now we know: SMU Law’s John Attanasio allegedly offered to pay an undercover officer $100 for “specific sexual acts.” [Dallas Morning News]
* It seems that a lawyer in Nebraska lost his “special pen” at the courthouse, and he’d really like it to be returned to him. It’s not just any pen — it’s a $500 Montblanc Meisterstück. Help this man get his prestigious pen back. [Omaha World-Herald]
* The early numbers on Cadwalader’s ranking in the Am Law 100 seems to indicate that would-be chair James Woolery got the hell out while the getting was still good. The firm’s profits per partner dropped by 15.3 percent in 2014. Ouch. [Am Law Daily]
* “Being in the law school business looked like a good idea. Those days are over.” Enrollment continues to decline at law schools across the country, and in Virginia, class sizes are about 20 percent smaller than they were in 2011. [Roanoke Times]
* When it comes to the recent murder-suicide of two Tulane Law students, “[p]eople are really surprised and baffled about what happened” because they say there were no warning signs. If you’re depressed, please seek help. [New Orleans Advocate]
* Given the fact that children’s vaccinations have become a topic presidential candidates are debating, you should know that almost half the states allow anti-vaxxer parents to opt-out. Thanks for the measles, everyone! [WSJ Law Blog]
Additional information about this past weekend’s disturbing news.
* There’s nothing like boner talk in federal court: Juan Monteverde of Faruqi & Faruqi reaffirmed his claim that he was too drunk to
get it up“consummate the act” during the time Alexandra Marchuk alleged he forced sex upon her. [Law 360]
* “There’s something deeply ironic about a judge seeking the right to ignore another judge’s ruling while crying ‘judicial activism.'” Justice Roy Moore of the Alabama Supreme Court wants judges to ignore a federal ruling on his state’s unconstitutional ban on gay marriage. [Reuters]
* Just days after the legal news media found out that Dentons would be tying the knot with Dacheng, the deal has officially been sealed. Talk about a shotgun wedding! Best wishes go out to 大成 Dentons for a happy, international marriage. [Am Law Daily]
* Elite litigation boutique Susman Godfrey will be consolidating its Dallas and Houston offices into one mega-office in 2016 after the firm’s lease in Dallas is up. Will all of the displaced attorneys remain with the firm? [Houston Business Journal]
* Can we talk… about wrongful death cases? A lawsuit has finally been filed against the outpatient endoscopy facility and physicians involved in the death of Joan Rivers, and details have been released as to the way the beloved comedian died. [CNN]
What more could she have done?
* In his year-end report, Chief Justice Roberts wrote about the high court’s belated adoption of the latest technological advances, but promised SCOTUS briefs and filings would be online… next year. [New York Times]
* It’s been recommended that J. Michael Farren, the former White House lawyer who attempted to murder his ex-wife — a former Skadden Arps attorney — be disbarred in D.C. Apparently the bar considers a conviction for something like this a big no-no. [Legal Times]
* Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s terrorism trial for his involvement in the Boston Marathon bombings will begin in Boston on January 5, despite his legal team’s best efforts to avoid the inevitable. At least fangirls won’t have to travel to admire him. [Bloomberg]
* Here’s one law prof’s thoughts on Harvard Law’s lame response to sexual assault complaints: “I believe … that Harvard University will be deeply shamed at the role it played in simply caving to the government’s position.” Well then. [WSJ Law Blog]
* Remember the Idaho prosecutor who recited the lyrics to “Dixie” during closing arguments at a black man’s trial? The defendant’s conviction was overturned because the prosecutor “inject[ed] the risk of racial prejudice into the case.” [NBC News]
* “People asked me what I want as an epitaph: He tried.” Mario Cuomo, the three-term New York governor and Willkie Farr alumnus who was once considered to replace Supreme Court Justice Byron White, has passed away. RIP. [New York Times]
Everyone is talking about the Serial podcast; does it live up to the hype?
* Law school enrollment continues its death spiral for the fourth year in a row, with enrollment down about 28 percent since 2010. Some schools — about 25 of them — have reported enrollment dips of more than 20 percent. Celebrate good times, come on! [National Law Journal]
* Beyoncé and Jay-Z, the queen and king of rap royalty, have been sued over a sample that was allegedly used in their hit song, “Drunk in Love.” When asked for comment on the suit, our bae Bey kept it short and sweet: “Bow down, bitches.” [A.V. Club]
* Yoohoo, SCOTUS, pay attention to this one: The first federal judge has weighed in on President Obama’s executive order on immigration, and in a four-page takedown, found it unconstitutional and “beyond prosecutorial discretion.” [WSJ Law Blog]
* Katrina Dawson, an Australian lawyer who worked at Eight Selborne Chambers, was killed during the Sydney terrorist siege earlier this week. She reportedly died in an attempt to save a pregnant law firm colleague from a hail of gunfire. [Am Law Daily]
* Lawyers and law students dressed in suits hosted a “die-in” in the pouring rain outside of a courthouse in downtown L.A. yesterday. Professor Priscilla Ocen of Loyola Law made some great points on a bullhorn. [L.A. Now / Los Angeles Times]
Even if an individual has a qualified right to determine what happens to her body, up to and including death, laws facilitating physician-assisted death (PAD) still might not be a good idea.