Education / Schools

Finally, a law camp that is worth the money they are charging for it.

We’ve done several stories about “law camps” — summer experiences where law schools charge people unreasonable amounts of money to “experience” law school for a few days or weeks. They are really bad ideas that seem designed to trick people into applying to law school and shake a little money out of them in the process. “Law camp” has about as much to do with actual law school as “summer camp” has to do with living in a traditional society as a hunter-gatherer.

William and Mary Law has one of these programs, as does Cornell, and I’ve been critical of both.

Those programs are aimed at college students or mid-career professionals looking to get a “taste” of what it’s like to spend a lot of money for unmarketable skills. Now comes Marquette University Law School, which is holding a five-day “Summer Youth Institute” aimed at impressionable high-school and middle-school students.

Sounds like the worst thing ever, right? Actually, no. It’s really not that bad. For starters, it’s free….

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To accompany Noam Scheiber’s big article on Biglaw — which I discussed yesterday, and Anonymous Partner analyzed this morning — the New Republic asked six prominent observers of the legal profession (including yours truly) for their ideas on how to fix law school. For all of the blame that Biglaw gets for the profession’s problems, some of the difficulties can be traced back to the legal academy and how it teaches and trains lawyers (or fails to do so).

Let’s check out the various reform proposals. Which ones do you agree with?

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* Though she be but little, she is fierce! Under Mary Jo White’s guidance, the Securities and Exchange Committee is now cracking down on financial fraud with a vengeance. [DealBook / New York Times]

* When a Biglaw firm’s chairman skeptically says, “Uh, OK, I mean, maybe,” with regard to a future increased demand for legal work, you know things are bad. We’ll have more on this later today. [New Republic]

* With Detroit’s downfall, vultures are swooping in left and right to snag clients. Firms retained thus far include Weil Gosthal, Arent Fox, Kirkland & Ellis, Winston & Strawn, and Sidley Austin. [Reuters]

* “I’m not a 100% sure this is legal.” Two law professors have come up with a revolutionary way for law students to finance legal education that sounds like it just might work. [WSJ Law Blog (sub. req.)]

* Normally when Biglaw firms and legal departments go to court over contested litigation, something’s gone wrong, but this summer, they’re trying to do some good in the world. [National Law Journal]

* Soon, it’ll be known as Western Michigan University Thomas M. Cooley Law School, but even with a new name, you’re still going to be Cooley, and there’s no recovery from that. [Lansing State Journal]

* In Greenwich, Connecticut, the fact that people buy homes where they want their kids to go to school isn’t a “complicated concept.” The schools’ racial diversity, on the other hand, is. [New York Times]

I do not understand people who are too uneducated to know multiple languages who get pissed at people who don’t speak multiple languages perfectly.

I get it, this is ‘Murica. And most people here speak English. And if you go to receive a government service, it’s reasonable to expect that service to be provided in your native tongue. I’d be pissed off if I went to the DMV and all of the instructions were in Spanish or French or Chinese, but not English.

But if they’re in English… what do I care if they’re also in everything else? What do I care if everybody else is speaking a different language? If I can conduct my government business in my native tongue in my native country, what do I care if some Spanish-speaking AMERICAN CITIZEN can also conduct his business in HIS native tongue in HIS native country? Christ preaching in Aramaic, a good translation never hurt anybody.

Of course, I live in New York. I can spell Bhutanese. There’s a lawsuit today from a nursing school student who claims she was unfairly suspended from school after allegedly being racist to Spanish speakers in her school.

I’d say she’d lose, but we’re talking about Arizona, so who the hell knows…

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Throwing a temper-tantrum in your office is better than throwing one in a parking lot.

I know, I know — when most of you think of “class,” you think of a small Long Island law firm that represents a small-town school district. So I’m sure it’s going to come as a shock to you that one of these Island lawyers engaged in a profanity-laced tirade after a school board meeting, in which he cursed out some parents in a parking lot.

This is Long Island we’re talking about, old sport. Respected Long Island attorneys don’t resort to such ribald language. If “Strong Island” isn’t careful, it’s going to be viewed as no better than the Jersey Shore.

Wait… I’m being told that we’re already there. Oh well, might as well take a look at this video of this lawyer calling somebody’s mom the C-word after a school board meeting….

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Sheena Monnin

Ed. note: We hope that you had a great July 4th — and that you’re enjoying a four-day weekend. But if you’re at work today and looking for diversion, check us early and often — we will be posting today (although on a reduced publication schedule).

* Lawyer of the Day Long Weekend: Christopher Kirby, whose profanity-laced tirade at the mother of a special-education student during a school board meeting has gone viral. Stay classy, Chris. [New York Daily News]

* Speaking of classy, if you make Donald Trump look good, you’re doing it wrong. The $5 million arbitration award against former beauty queen Sheena Monnin just got upheld by Judge J. Paul Oetken (S.D.N.Y.). [New York Law Journal]

* Have you been injured in an accident? Call a New York State legislator, who might be earning a six-figure income by moonlighting at a personal-injury firm. [New York Times]

* Nationwide layoff watch: Dickstein dismisses seven partners in New York. [WestlawNext Practitioner Insights (sub. req.)]

* Who doesn’t love rule by lawyers? Adli Mansour, chief justice of the Supreme Constitutional Court of Egypt, takes over as the nation’s interim leader. [New York Times]

* If you’re feeling the heat in D.C. these days, lawyer turned ice cream entrepreneur Victoria Lai can help. [Washington Post]

Of course California has a school district that teaches yoga as a P.E. class. It’s just the right mix of health consciousness and non-competitive physical activity that aging hippies would want in their schools.

And, of course California also has parents who would file a lawsuit complaining that yoga is some sort of crypto-religious activity being foisted upon their kids in a gross violation of the separation of church and state.

Now a judge has weighed in on the parents’ lawsuit…

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Today, the Supreme Court surprisingly ruled 7-1 to vacate the Fifth Circuit in Fisher v. Texas. The opinion was a great big dodge. Anthony Kennedy, writing for the majority, said that the lower court failed to apply “strict scrutiny” to the University of Texas’s admissions policies. Cutting through the legalese, that means the Supreme Court actually upheld the case of Grutter v. Bollinger, which is the controlling case allowing affirmative action in college admissions. While conservative justices indicated that they would have overturned Grutter had they been asked, the majority found that they had not been asked.

If that all sounds like a bunch of legal mumbo jumbo to you that avoids the heart of the issue, you are not a lawyer. You are right, but you aren’t a lawyer.

This is no “victory” for affirmative action. There are still a majority of Supreme Court justices that want, almost desperately, to end racial preferences in college admissions. What the Court did today was threaten colleges and universities that want to use racial preferences to come up with really good justifications for their affirmative action policies. Schools that aren’t really committed to diversity, or that go about achieving diversity in a stupid way, will surely have their programs ruled unconstitutional in the future.

This is, I think, the end of affirmative action as a tool for “racial equality.” But affirmative action as a tool to promote “racial diversity” is alive and well.

Which, all things considered, is just fine by me. I think the Court signaled that it is just no longer buying the old reasons for affirmative action. While the rabid conservatives don’t seem to be wiling to consider any, it looks like moderates like Kennedy may listen to new justifications for using race as a factor in admissions, but you are going to have to convince him….

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Finally. The Supreme Court has issued its long-awaited ruling in Fisher v. University of Texas, the closely watched affirmative action case.

And the result might surprise you. Justice Anthony M. Kennedy wrote for the Court, which should shock no one. But here’s a surprise: the vote breakdown was 7-1 (with Justice Kagan recused).

How did Justice Kennedy garner seven votes for a ruling on one of the most controversial issues of our time?

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* Today is most likely going to be a banner decision day for the Supreme Court, so in wild anticipation, SCOTUS expert Nina Totenberg was on call to answer some need-to-know questions for the people about the innermost workings of the Court. [NPR]

* One of the opinions we hope will drop at the Supreme Court today is that of the Fisher v. Texas affirmative action case. If you want some hints on how the three justices who attended Princeton (not counting Kagan) might rule, check this out. [Daily Princetonian]

* Justice Samuel Alito is out in Texas where he threw the first pitch — “a bit wide of the plate” — in last night’s Rangers game. Will SCOTUS unleash anything important in his absence? [Washington Post]

* Meanwhile, while we eagerly await decisions in the gay marriage cases next week, consider for a moment the possibility that this is all just but a gigantic train wreck waiting to happen. [New Republic]

* Things are heating up in North Dakota where the battle over abortion regulations continues to rage on. What a shame, especially since we supposedly took care of this stuff in the early 70s. [ABC News]

* “If this is what these women signed up for, who is anybody to tell them differently?” Two pimps were acquitted of sex trafficking after prostitutes testified on their behalf. [Thomson Reuters News & Insight]

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