Harvard Law School

“I don’t know…I can’t figure out any differences between these guys.”

Last night, Barack Obama and Mitt Romney squared off in a town hall debate, a format specifically designed to sway undecided voters because the political media seems obsessed with the idea that low information voters are super awesome and totally deserving of their role driving the political discourse of the most powerful nation on the planet.

As I watched it last night, it struck me that this town hall format is the political equivalent of the jury trial. The process is driven by staunchly undecided people culled from the local population with a moderator on hand primarily to facilitate the flow of information to the pool of lay observers.

But the two Harvard Law grads seeking the highest office in the nation failed some of the cardinal rules of jury trials.

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Earlier this week, we brought our readers news of the latest Princeton Review law school rankings for Best Career Prospects. Basing a “career prospects” ranking on surveys of current students, students who have yet to embark upon their careers, could be questioned methodologically — but you ate that s**t up like Halloween candy, so let’s give you more.

Today, we’ll take a closer look at the new rankings in categories that current law students actually know something about: the law schools that are the toughest to get into, and the law schools with the most competitive students. While one of these rankings lists is consistent with conventional wisdom, the other might surprise you.

MOAR RANKINGS, after the jump….

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* Everyone’s happy about the Dewey & LeBoeuf settlement except the Ad Hoc Committee and its LeBoeuf retirees, who called Judge Martin Glenn’s attempt to slap them down an “insult to injury.” [WSJ Law Blog]

* While South Carolina’s voter ID law wasn’t found to be inherently discriminatory, its enforcement was still blocked because people will be unable to get their sh*t together in time for the election. [Bloomberg]

* VP debate moderator Martha Raddatz’s 1991 wedding guest list has come under fire because Barack Obama was invited. Clearly there’s a conflict of interest worth arguing about here. [Washington Post]

* This man is nobody’s “butt boy”: Tom Keefe, the interim dean over at Saint Louis Law School, will be footing a $14,212 bill for his students in the form of ABA Law Student Division memberships. [National Law Journal]

* Strippers in California, Florida, Idaho, Kentucky, Texas, and Nevada will be making it rain, because they just scored a $12.9M class action settlement. That’s a whole lot of “college tuition”! [Courthouse News Service]

Competitive wife-carrying. Seriously.

* SCOTUS decided not to hear the case about telecoms allegedly warrantlessly letting the NSA listen to your calls. So, does this mean we’re all on Candid Cellphone? [Threat Level / Wired]

* We mentioned the Harvard Law grad turned alleged scam artist, John Donald Cody (a.k.a. Mr. X), last week. Check out this cool story about how the feds tracked him down after years of searching. [Arizona Republic]

* A Finnish lawyer recently won the World Wife Carrying Championship, which is, I guess, exactly what it sounds like. Scandinavians are strange. [The Irreverent Lawyer]

* Everyone loves stories about old people accidentally growing drugs because they didn’t know what marijuana looks or smells like. Harkens back to simpler time! [Legal Juice]

* Now the TSA is apparently mistreating and humiliating terminal leukemia patients. Pardon the bluntness, but f**k you. Seriously. [San Francisco Chronicle]

* At least U.S.Customs Enforcement agents can still get their jobs done without disrespecting the sick and the old. Kudos for nabbing this dude flying in from Asia wearing body armor and carrying luggage full of weapons. The TSA folks should take notes. [ABC News]

Good news, everyone! Princeton Review — the other, other white meat U.S. News — has released its very own law school rankings. This year, we are treated to the Best 168 Law Schools Rankings. As usual, the rankings are divided into 11 categories filled with mostly nonsensical results. After all, where else will you find Cooley Law on a list for having the “Most Competitive Students”?

But nonetheless, in this kind of a down market, everyone’s been itching to see a rankings list of the law schools that will verily ensure graduates’ employability (except for the purposes of suing over employment statistics, of course). Honestly, why go to law school in the first place if as a result you’re only qualified to stock shelves at the local convenience store?

That’s why everyone breathed a sigh of relief when Princeton Review released its somewhat-ridiculous “Best Career Prospects” rankings list. Because any list that doesn’t include Yale is sure to be worth reading….

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Let’s talk about two of our favorite topics: money and politics. And the combination of the two, which creates both problems and opportunities for our democracy.

On Saturday I attended an excellent New Yorker Festival panel about politics and money, featuring some impressive speakers:

What did these distinguished and high-powered panelists have to say about the influence of money on our political system?

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Professor Alan Dershowitz

Finding a decent apartment in New York City can be a challenge. But compared to getting Claus von Bülow and O.J. Simpson off the hook — or, for that matter, shaping the brilliant minds of Harvard Law School students — it’s a walk in Central Park.

Alan Dershowitz — distinguished public intellectual, celebrated criminal defense and civil liberties lawyer, and Felix Frankfurter Professor of Law at Harvard — just purchased an apartment in NYC. It’s a homecoming of sorts for Dershowitz, 74. Although he has lived for years in Cambridge, the home of HLS, he was born in the Big Apple.

Dershowitz was born in Brooklyn, but the prominent professor isn’t going back to the borough that GQ dubbed “the coolest city on the planet.” Instead, he’s moving to Manhattan. (C’mon, do you think Dersh put up with thousands of HLS brats over the years so he could wind up right back where he started?)

Which neighborhood is Dershowitz moving to? How fabulous is his apartment? How much did he pay for it? We have answers to all of these questions, plus comments from the good professor about his move….

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* Are associates or partners more maniacally stressed out? Science helps us answer the age-old question. [The Careerist]

* What does it take to land a Supreme Court clerkship? Luck, reputation, and a helluva lot of patience. [ABA Journal and Supreme Ambitions]

* And what should SCOTUS clerks do after they finish at One First Street if they want to make the most money? The answer may surprise you. [Breaking Views]

* As the NFL faces all those concussion lawsuits, America’s other professional football league (yes, the United Football League does exist) is getting sued… for not paying its players. [Forbes]

* An HLS student pleaded not guilty to sexual assault. What is it with all the Harvard Law folks allegedly causing trouble this week? Next thing you know, some Harvard Law grad is going to threaten to murder Big Bird. [Harvard Crimson]

* A veteran is suing the government over his frostbitten penis, which had to be “partially amputated.” Not only is that the second-worst thing I’ve ever heard, it doesn’t even really make sense. [ABC15]

* An ex-law student explains why she quit just a few weeks into the semester. Why? Bullying and backstabbing. Hmmm. That sounds familiar. [A Nerd Girl's Perspective]

* Delaware Bar Exam results are out. Congratulations to everyone who passed! [Delaware State Courts]

In a few hours, Mitt Romney and Barack Obama will meet in Denver, Colorado, for the first of three presidential debates (though the second is a town hall debate; are those really “debates?”). As lawyers, you likely possess more than a passing interest in the events of the evening.

You are also Above the Law readers, which means you likely possess more than a passing interest in reckless self-destruction through the massive consumption of alcohol.

As a lawyer, drinker, and college debate coach who gets way too into these things, I have constructed a drinking game to shepherd you through the process of viewing tonight’s debate….

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* This San Francisco attorney had a nice visit to the up-and-coming superpower across the Pacific. And by “nice,” I mean the Chinese tried to kill him and the U.S. State Department made things worse. [San Francisco Chronicle]

* I’m sure there’s some sort of serious social commentary here about how gay marriage is good or bad, but I can’t figure out what it would be. Either way, this poor kid has had quite the rough go of it. [Althouse]

* Monster Energy Drinks are under investigation from an as-yet unnamed state attorney general. Because apparently some people were unaware that drinking something that looks like liquid uranium may be unhealthy. [About Lawsuits]

* The suspect in this multimillion-dollar scam graduated from Harvard Law in 1972. You stay classy, Cambridge. [ABC]

* Glenn Reynolds explains why everyone just needs to suck it up and pay income taxes. [Instapundit]

* Justice Scalia is interviewed again about his new book. Shockingly, no one took any shots at Judge Posner this time! [LA Review of Books]

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