Law Reviews

Ah, the Bluebook. Some people love it, but even more people despise it. If you ask my colleague Elie Mystal about the Bluebook, he’ll tell you that it’s the only book in the world he’d actually consider burning in public. Even federal judges hate the Bluebook. In fact, when we held a poll about whether use of the Bluebook should be abolished, 51% of our readers agreed that it should be banished.

All that being said, is it any wonder that a student from a law school in Virginia is raging against the law review’s upcoming Bluebook exam? Several law students have written to us about this student’s “guerilla campaign” against the school’s annual exercise in “academic hazing,” and they have even provided us with copies of this kid’s manifesto. (Yeah, he’s got one.)

Who is this revolutionary, and why does he think the school’s Bluebook exam needs to go?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Law Student Revolts Against Law Review’s Bluebook Exam”

[A]mong the world’s democracies … constitutional similarity to the United States has clearly gone into free fall. Over the 1960s and 1970s, democratic constitutions as a whole became more similar to the U.S. constitution, only to reverse course in the 1980s and 1990s. The turn of the twenty-first century, however, saw the beginning of a steep plunge that continues through the most recent years for which we have data, to the point that the constitutions of the world’s democracies are, on average, less similar to the U.S. Constitution now than they were at the end of World War II.

– Professors David S. Law of Washington University in St. Louis and Mila Versteeg of the University of Virginia, in a forthcoming article that will be published in the New York University Law Review. They conducted a study that was discussed in a very interesting article by Adam Liptak, ‘We the People’ Loses Appeal With People Around the World.

And perhaps with Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg? Which constitutions does she prefer over our own founding document?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Quote of the Day: Why Do You Hate America, Justice Ginsburg?”

Complete honesty is such a dangerous thing.

I’m going to give it a shot.

I’m posing three questions to myself today. First, why might a lawyer at a law firm choose to write articles? Second, what topics should lawyers write about, and where should they publish the articles? Finally, why might an in-house lawyer choose to write?

The honest truth is that outside lawyers choose to write for many, varied reasons. In-house lawyers might also choose to write for many reasons, but those reasons are different and fewer. Across the board, authors’ motivations for writing will be mixed.

Do I have a right to speak on the subject of publications? My credentials, in a nutshell, are these: Three books; twelve law review articles; two book chapters; about 70 other, shorter articles (in places ranging from The Wall Street Journal and the Chicago Tribune to Pharmaceutical Executive and Litigation); and maybe 600 blog posts (roughly 500 at Drug and Device Law and north of 100 here). Call me nuts (and I may well be), but I’ve spent a professional lifetime doing a ton of “recreational” legal writing.

Why did I do it? Should you?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Inside Straight: ‘Recreational’ Writing, In-House and Out”

* The Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on Obamacare over three days in March. Let’s fast forward to June so we can see how Election 2012 is going to turn out. [Blog of Legal Times]

* The Grinch definitely stole AT&T’s Christmas this year, and even a team of Biglaw superstars couldn’t save the day. The company’s merger deal with T-Mobile is now officially dead. [Am Law Daily]

* A bed and breakfast owner told this lesbian couple aloha before they could even say aloha, and now they’re suing. And here I thought that Hawaii specialized in tiny, gay bubbles. [Washington Post]

* James Franco doesn’t just get bad grades on Rotten Tomatoes. José Angel Santana, one of his former professors, has filed a lawsuit saying NYU fired him for giving the actor a “D.” [Reuters]

* Snooki, Jersey Shore’s drunken munchkin, is being sued for $7M over a licensing deal gone bad. The worst part is that even if she paid up, she’d still have oodles of money in the bank. [Daily Mail]

* Sick of law school? Get all of your bitching down on paper, and turn your rage-filled manifesto into a short story for submission to the JLE Legal Fiction Contest. [National Law Journal]

Welcome to the latest edition of Above the Law’s Grammer Pole of the Weak, a column where we turn questions of legal writing and English grammar and usage over to our readers for discussion and debate.

Last week, we found out that only 29% of our readers lie back and think of England when dealing with punctuation and quotation marks. Makes you proud to be an American, doesn’t it?

This week, we turn to a hotly-debated issue among legal professionals: the use of the Bluebook. At least one federal judge hates it, joining hundreds upon thousands of law students to date.

Should we consider putting the Bluebook on the backburner in our legal writing?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Grammer Pole of the Weak: Backburner for the Bluebook?”

Judge William Adams

* Remember Judge William Adams, the Texas state court judge who was reportedly videotaped in the act of beating his daughter, Hillary Adams? He has now commented on the situation (and so has his ex-wife, Hallie Adams). [KZTV.com]

* And here is Kashmir Hill’s take on the whole sad situation. [Not-So Private Parts / Forbes]

* Members of the law review at GW Law School have issued a comment on the recent email controversy — which is impressive! (Aside: lighten up, guys; it’s all in good fun.) [Nota Bene]

* FYI, if you have problems with anonymous comments here at Above the Law, you should know that we’re having an internal discussion about possibly changing our system. [What About Clients?]

* Beating a dead horse isn’t illegal. Doing what this woman did to a dead horse isn’t illegal. Sucks to be a dead horse. [Daily Mail]

* Our friend Joseph Rakofsky makes it into the Urban Dictionary. [The Trial Warrior; Legal Skills Prof Blog]

* Says Elie: “Some say WVU’s lawsuit against the Big East reflects ‘arrogance.’ The real arrogance is how Notre Dame refuses to come in and save the conference.” [Legal Blitz]

* Swordplay: it’s all fun and games until someone’s intestines spill out of his abdomen. [CBS 3 - Springfield]

I feel like we have this story every fall. Every year, new 1Ls get to law school campuses and invariably, some of them quickly look around to see which boots are most in need of licking. The first few weeks they kiss so much faculty ass they look like they’re applying for tenure. And right around now, they start looking for fellow students to suck up to.

Well, there’s a way to suck up to fellow students, and usually kissing butt requires you to be in the same room as your betters. Cold, unsolicited emailing — while fine for general networking — is almost always the wrong way to approach your peers. We’ve explained this to you before.

If you find yourself sending out cold, unsolicited, mass emails, well, welcome to Above the Law, little 1Ls….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “How 1Ls Should NOT Approach Peer Networking”

Shon Hopwood

* Interesting historical perspective from Professor Dave Hoffman on the current debate over legal education. One critic wrote that “there are too many lawyers in this country,” “many of them are not busy,” and “many of them are on the margin of starvation” — back in 1932. [Concurring Opinions]

* And some thoughts on the subject from someone who, despite all the warnings, has decided to go to law school — Shon Hopwood, our former Jailhouse Lawyer of the Day. [The Cockle Bur]

* Professor Paul Horwitz has a response to Governor Rick Perry’s “Response” — and Horwitz seems somewhat sympathetic. [New York Times]

* No, University of Chicago law review editors, Professor Stephen Bainbridge is not going to give up his valuable time to help you do your jobs. [Professor Bainbridge]

* The 7 Habits of Highly Useless Outside Corporate Lawyers. [What About Clients?]

* The latest salvo in the ongoing battle between Professor Lawrence Connell and Widener Law School: Widener demands that Professor Connell undergo a psychiatric evaluation. [Instapundit]

* On Friday, I spoke with John Patti of WBAL about the idea floated in my recent New York Times op-ed (co-authored with Zach Shemtob). [WBAL Radio]

* And here are some NYT letters to the editor in response to our piece. [New York Times]

* While the ABA hosts its big annual meeting up in Toronto, the ABA Journal hosts Blawg Review #314. [ABA Journal via Blawg Review]

* There’s still time to sign up for our chess set giveaway — but act soon, because time is running out. You can also join our Facebook group. [Above the Law; Facebook]

Chief Justice Roberts: not a fan of law reviews.

* Chief Justice Roberts tries to explain why law reviews are so damn useless and boring. [Adjunct Law Prof Blog]

* Look, I like Jimmer Ferdette Fredette. I think that he was discriminated against because he’s white and I’ll bet all the money in my pocket that he ends up having a better career than Kimba Walker. But the childhood contract thing is silly. Derek Jeter’s is silly. Unenforceable fake contracts are silly. [Legal Blog Watch]

* Gun owners, why do you need to be able to practice shooting at things at ranges located close to schools? It’s like gun nuts won’t be happy until they’ve turned society back into game of Red Dead Redemption. [WSJ Law Blog]

* Here, let me trying using “gun nut” rhetoric to defend something that doesn’t kill anybody: Michele Bachmann will have to pry my pornography from my cold, lubricated dead hand. [Slate]

* Federal prosecutors should not have kiddie porn on their government computers (unless it’s pursuant to a child pornography investigation). [Not-So Private Parts / Forbes]

* Cataphora Legal + Ernst & Young = WIN. [Above the Law (sponsored content)]

* Do not forget to vote in Above the Law’s Fictional Lawyer Contest this weekend. You can vote from as many different IP addresses as you like. The battle of between McCoy and Hutz is close while it seems people have abandoned Elle Woods. [Above the Law]

For editorial use only.

When I signed on to write full-time for Above the Law, I thought that I might be able to make some of our readers and commenters see the sunnier side of things at lower-ranked law schools. I had a very positive experience, and I don’t have very many regrets about the school I chose to attend.

But sometimes lower-ranked law schools do things that make even me cringe.

News came to us that the University of the District of Columbia David A. Clarke School of Law has created what the school is calling an Illustrated Law Journal. UDC Law’s new journal aspires to provide visual illustrations of laws and legal concepts so that laypeople and jurists can get a handle on the law in the world around them.

In other words: “Hey John Q. Public, you’re pretty dumb, here’s a comic book about law.”

When about 95% of the legal profession is centered around the written word, why do we need a coloring book law journal?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Hey, Fourth Tier: We Do Not Need Coloring Book Law Journals”

Page 5 of 71234567