Harvard Law School

The Socratic method is the bane of every law student. If executed through cold calling, it meant you sat there knowing that at any given moment you could be called upon to publicly humiliate yourself in front of your peers. Even if the process relied on voluntary participation, there was a sense of trepidation attached to both talking and remaining silent.

Some insufferable douches people enjoyed the “law school experience” of the Socratic method, either because they were academic superstars or otherwise possessed a massive ego and the misapprehension that anyone cared about their opinion.

Here’s how much the Socratic method sucks: it’s named after a guy that everyone thought was so much of a prick they made him kill himself for cold calling everyone in Athens.

There is an argument that the system itself disadvantages women. But “disadvantages women” at what? Being a law student or being a lawyer? Because those are two very different things…

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As many of you know, I went straight through from college to law school without taking any time off. And many of you know that I count this as one of my many mistakes. The people I know who took time off between college and law school came back to law school with an appreciation of school and a focus on what skills they needed to succeed in the real world.

People like me who went straight through tended to start out with a “College II” mentality, got book-raped first semester, and muddled through law school kind of wondering why everything was so boring. In my anecdotal experience, these people disproportionately ended up in Biglaw, because people who get on only one train tend to end up at the same destination.

Given that experience, I think this new pilot program from Harvard Law School could be a very good idea. Harvard Law will now admit Harvard undergraduates after their junior year of college, provided they agree to an automatic, two-year, post-graduation deferment. That’s two years after college where you can work, earn money, and experience the real world outside the ivory tower, all the while knowing that you have Harvard Law to fall back on.

At least, that’s the positive view of the program. Our tipsters point out the cynical side….

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Ed. note: This is the latest installment of The ATL Interrogatories. This recurring feature will give notable law firm partners an opportunity to share insights and experiences about the legal profession and careers in law, as well as about their firms and themselves.

Larren Nashelsky is the chair of Morrison & Foerster. Prior to becoming chair, Mr. Nashelsky focused his practice on U.S. and international restructurings, including Chapter 11 reorganizations, workouts, restructurings, secured financings and distressed acquisitions and investments. Larren is a graduate of Hofstra University School of Law.

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The legal profession has changed greatly over the almost seven years since the launch of Above the Law. Do these changes amount to a paradigm shift? Or are they just a temporary blip that will eventually be reversed?

Professor David Wilkins, Director of the Program on the Legal Profession at Harvard Law School, is one of the most astute and well-informed observers of law as both a profession and an industry. In his recent keynote at the NALP annual education conference, Professor Wilkins considered these questions, and also shared his predictions about the future of the legal profession….

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* An analysis of Vijay Singh’s suit against the PGA. Any legal analysis that requires that much use of the phrase “deer antler spray” is worth it. [Sports Law Blog]

* The highest paid state employee by state. If you’re a lawyer, you want to live in Maine. [Deadspin]

* A visual representation of every Federalist Society event. [UChiLawGo]

* Cheez-Its are really, really good. [Legal Juice]

* “The only thing that can stop a bad guy with a gun is a bear cub with a gun. Or something.” [Bear Lawyer]

* Professor Nick Rosenkranz wonders if a 50/50 quota is appropriate to generate intellectual diversity at law schools since Harvard Law seems to think that gender diversity merits a 50/50 quota. The answer is no. Thanks for playing. [Volokh Conspiracy]

* Our own rankings guru Brian Dalton sat down for an interview about the new ATL Top 50 Law Schools rankings. [PrawfsBlawg]

* And Elie went on Bloomberg to discuss our inaugural rankings, too….

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It’s a good thing lawyers love law school rankings, because there are tons of them. Every year, it seems like there’s a whole new crop of them. Aren’t you getting tired of them? No, of course not. You just want MOAR RANKINGS!

You’ve seen the National Jurist law school rankings (and you raised an eyebrow at the usage of RateMyProfessors.com). You’ve seen the U.S. News law school rankings (and you watched your dean play the blame game). You’ve seen the ATL law school rankings (and you cheered for realistic, employment-based metrics). You’ve even seen the Cooley law school rankings (and you’re eagerly awaiting the latest edition just for sheer comedic value).

But have you seen a ranking of the best law schools in the world? Here’s your chance….

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Justice Antonin Scalia

In the light of the evolving standards of decency, somehow we at the Supreme Court, we Harvard and Yale lawyers, we somehow can perceive these evolving standards of decency because we learned all this stuff at Harvard Law School.

– Justice Antonin Scalia, joking about the justices of the Supreme Court bench and their ability to interpret constitutional law based solely on the prestigious law schools they attended.

For the record, his tattoo should be Larry Bird walking through a door.

* Louisville coach Rick Pitino promised his players that he’d get a tattoo if they won the NCAA tournament. I’m hoping Peter Kalis makes the same pledge if K&L Gates makes its projected annual profits. [Huffington Post]

* The Harvard Federalist Society held a conference on the importance of intellectual diversity in the legal academy. Somewhere out there, Ted Cruz nods solemnly. [Volokh Conspiracy]

* A public service announcement: Don’t wank and drive. [Lowering the Bar]

* Hey, Houston readers! Since I’m in town for our event tonight, I wanted to give a plug for the OKRA Charity Saloon. I visited last night and it was great — a beautiful space and all the profits go to a charity that you get to vote on (one ballot for each drink you get). An all-around great idea. So if you’re looking for a location for your next happy hour… [OKRA Charity Saloon]

* James Poulos makes a good point: it may put you horribly, horribly in debt, but education is still a good thing. [Forbes]

* Tomorrow check out our newest series: Unofficial Orientation to Law School. We will be video chatting with students, professors, and hiring managers about how 0Ls can successfully launch their legal careers. This series is presented by LexisNexis, BARBRI, and Law Preview, a BARBRI Company. [Above the Law]

* Have you ever wanted to see puppets set to the L.A. Law theme song? No? Well, after the jump you can see it anyway….

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Kamala Harris

* If President Obama could send a love note to California Attorney General Kamala Harris, it’d probably say something like this: “Girl, you look good. Won’t you back that ass up?” [ABC News]

* The fun things you learn during a Supreme Court justice’s book tour: apparently Sandra Day O’Connor dated William Rehnquist when they were at school together at Stanford Law. [Legal Times]

* When it comes to law firms, size really does matter. Quite a few midsize firms had the urge to merge in the first quarter of 2013, according to the latest Altman Weil survey. [Am Law Daily]

* In case you haven’t heard the news by now, NYU Law School has a new dean, and he was poached fresh from Columbia. The bonus here is that he’s actually pretty cute. We’ll have more on this story later today. [NYU Law News]

* Law faculties may be a tad too liberal, say some at Harvard Law School, which is basically a bastion of leftie law professors. Cut to Ted Cruz muttering about Commies under his breath. [USA Today]

* Here’s an obvious protip that may not be obvious to 0Ls: if you’re going to ask for a recommendation letter, you should probably make sure that it’s going to be a positive one. [U.S. News & World Report]

* Roger Ebert has died at the age of 70. A great critic (his audio commentary track on the Citizen Kane DVD is amazing), whose work with the late Gene Siskel basically defined film criticism for a generation. At least now we know how we will be judged when we die — a simple thumbs up, thumbs down from Gene and Roger. [Chicago Sun-Times]

* Exploring the link between baseball’s antitrust exemption and Roe v. Wade. It’s more than just saying the Royals are an abortion of a team. [Concurring Opinions]

* “Bring me the head of the person who did this”: the best closing to a C & D letter ever. [Popehat]

* A Rutgers-Camden 3L breaks down the looming sh*tstorm at Rutgers over basketball coach Mike Rice’s treatment of players. [The Legal Blitz]

* If you’ve pulled off a successful robbery, don’t taunt the victim from a traceable phone. I mean, act like you’ve been there before, man. [Legal Juice]

* It is a little funny to say that a city is looking for weaker swimmers to serve as lifeguards, but ultimately this represents the simplistic nature of the anti-affirmative-action argument: no one is saying lifeguards shouldn’t be qualified, just that a system that only privileges a strong swimming résumé will always result in affluent white kids with 10 years of swim classes getting these jobs. [Volokh Conspiracy]

* Lawyers are often jerks, but this is a new twist. Help out a lawyer trying to make it in the small-batch, artisan jerky business.[Kickstarter]

* Maybe there aren’t actual Commies at Harvard Law School, but the ratio of liberals to conservatives/libertarians on the faculty is still extremely high. [Nick Rosenkranz]

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