Law School Deans

Don’t be a sucker!

* According to the Second Circuit, the long arm of the law doesn’t extend to the middle finger. You can’t just go around arresting dudes for flipping you the bird. [U.S. Second Circuit / FindLaw]

* President Obama jetted off to Hawaii before he could sign the fiscal cliff bill, so he ordered it be signed by autopen. Of course, people are losing their minds over it. [Volokh Conspiracy]

* Should we scrap the Constitution? Georgetown Law professor Louis Seidman continues to advocate for constitutional disobedience in this epic ConLaw throwdown. [HuffPost Live]

* Don’t celebrate your increase in California bar passage points yet. The state bar changed its tune, and a 40% pass rate is the new standard. That shouldn’t be hard, eh TJSL? [California Bar Journal]

* One of our former columnists, Jay Shepherd, has a great way to calculate what your actual hourly rate should be, if you don’t mind working for just pennies a day. Most lawyers would mind. [jayshep]

* For the love of God, even Gawker knows that going to law school these days is a fool’s errand, or in their own words: “IT’S A SUCKER’S BET. A CLEAR SUCKER’S BET.” Come on, stop being suckers. :( [Gawker]

* If you’d like to hear Dean Lawrence Mitchell of NYT op-ed fame sound off on why there isn’t a lawyer oversupply problem, and why it isn’t his job to get law students jobs, we’ve got a video for you to watch….

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Chris Christie, king of the prose-ticians.

* U.S. Attorneys are rising up, taking office, and conducting their business like hard-ass prosecutors. [Wall Street Journal]

* If only they had more guns at the police station, this might never have happened. [Fox News]

* Of course, out in Arizona, the state attorney general is pushing for an “armed posse” to patrol schools. Arizona: where bad ideas go to be fruitful and multiply. [NBC News]

* Would you give your kidney to your favorite law professor? I wouldn’t, but I would consider taking the kidney of my least favorite law professor and giving it to, well, pretty much anybody else. [Wake Forest School of Law]

* “Aereokiller” has been ordered to stop killing TV networks. [Film On]

* Wait, we still have “longshoremen”? For real, not just as the backdrop for a season of the Wire? [Miami Herald]

* Should law deans be “disbarred”? I like how people have to spend all this time just trying to figure out how to get law deans to tell the truth. [Tax Prof Blog]

The year is quickly drawing to a close, but we have unfinished business to conduct here at Above the Law. Come on, people, we still have to crown our Lawyer of the Year for 2012.

Thank you to everyone who responded to our call for nominations, in the comments or via email. We’ve narrowed down the nominees to a field of nine (although you’ll see only eight options in the poll because one is a joint nomination). As in past years, the contenders run the gamut from distinguished to despicable.

And the nominees are….

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DVF: ‘You must be kidding me.’

* “This is a total victory not just for the C.F.T.C., but also for financial reform.” Regulators, mount up, because you basically just got a free pass to do your jobs and keep a more watchful and vigilant eye on Wall Street. [DealBook / New York Times]

* Last year, China officially surpassed the United States in terms of the number of patent applications filed. China’s probably surpassed the United States in terms of patents infringed, but that’s neither here nor there. [National Law Journal]

* And now we see why St. Louis University School of Law’s interim dean said he’d be donating his salary to the school. He’s no “butt boy” — he’s settled $25M worth of cases since the fall. [Madison-St. Clair Record]

* “Help me, I’m poor”: the Huffington Post’s army of unpaid bloggers will continue to be unpaid, because the Second Circuit recently affirmed the S.D.N.Y.’s decision to toss out their case. [WSJ Law Blog (sub. req.)]

* Diane von Furstenberg, the fashion designer behind luxury brand DVF, is suing an ex-distributor for selling her wares on the cheap to the likes of TJ Maxx and Marshalls. Ugh, cringe… that’s très déclassé. [Bloomberg]

Dear Law School Deans:

How’s the media boycott going? Oh wait… you’re not doing that? So it must feel a bit like a digital mob is baying at your walls. Apparently, any attempt to defend the “value proposition” of a legal education will be met with instant scorn and mockery (and not just here on ATL.)

Now, deep down, we all know that no serious person can actually believe that law school deans are venal and sinister characters looking to simply con students. You entered your profession in the hope of helping students get the best legal education possible. And you find yourself in a world where your motives are being impugned. And we all know the parade of horribles that is the legal job market: only about half of all law school graduates will find a job requiring bar passage, and at least half of those who do find legal jobs don’t make enough money to service their debt.

When law schools are put on the defensive about employment numbers, we often hear about how the J.D. is so incredibly versatile and will serve its holder well in any context: banking, consulting, business, and what have you. There is some skepticism about this.

On the one hand, there are too may lawyers and too few jobs. On the other, a law degree can be used in a variety of ways. There is a mountain of data proving the former assertion, there is little data to support or refute the latter. So let’s try to settle this….

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* As an in-house compliance officer, there’s only one guarantee: you’ll be paid, and you’ll be paid quite well — we’re talking like six-figure salaries here. Regulatory corporate compliance, on the other hand, isn’t such a surefire thing. [WSJ Law Blog (sub. req.)]

* When it comes to employment data, this law dean claims that using full-time, long-term positions where bar passage is required as a standard to measure success in the employment market is “grossly misleading.” Uhh, come on, seriously? [Am Law Daily]

* “Bar passes and jobs are inextricably tied,” but eight of New York’s 15 law schools had lower bar passage rates than last year for the July exam. Guess which school came in dead last place. [New York Law Journal]

* You know, it may actually be a good thing for a monk to apply to law school right now. It can’t get much worse; after all, the guy’s already taken a vow of poverty. [Law Admissions Lowdown / U.S. News & World Report]

* Dominique Strauss-Kahn officially settled the sexual assault civil lawsuit that was filed against him by Nafissatou Diallo. Given that she thanked “everybody all over the world,” it was probably a nice payout. [CNN]

* Steven Keeva, a pioneer in work/life balance publications for lawyers, RIP. [ABA Journal]

As we reach the end of the year, it’s time to step back and assess 2012 as it draws to a close. In the legal world, things have certainly changed from years past, but the one thing that remains constant is the focus on the state of our nation’s legal education. Something’s got to give, and while no one agrees exactly on what needs to change, many have influenced the way the discussion has developed with their insightful visions for the future.

At the end of the day, certain voices were more powerful than others. Whether through reducing class sizes or increasing the transparency of employment statistics, certain individuals have wrought substantial change in the way that law schools are currently operating — and have laid the groundwork for how law schools will be run in the future.

Whose words mattered most? Let’s take a look at this year’s most influential people in legal education….

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Parking is sooooo hard.

* “Biglaw Bonuses for Dummies: A Reference for the Rest of Us!” By Elie Mystal. [Bloomberg Businessweek]

* Just how quickly will state-by-state legal education be able to respond to changing market conditions? Thus far, both New York and California have proven themselves to be pretty damn nimble. [Legal Ethics Forum]

* Here’s a cute docket sheet entry from Judge Marcia Cooke in the Southern District of Florida. Thanks for not being a grinch this holiday season, Your Honor! [Southern District of Florida Blog]

* A town in Germany has started using “female friendly” parking spaces, because parking a car is just so hard for we womenfolk to do when we’re supposed to be barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen. :( [Telegraph]

* Hiram Chodosh, once named as a law dean hottie, has been named the fifth president of Claremont McKenna College. Of course, the former title is cooler than the latter, don’t you think? [Sacramento Bee]

Trolls!

* If you swap out a menorah and put in a dreidel, does your Hanukkah display avoid violating the Establishment Clause? I know, I know, WAR ON HANUKKAH. [Huffington Post]

* I wonder why Martha Minow (law dean, HLS) or Robert Post (law dean, YLS) doesn’t write an op-ed defending the value proposition of going to law school? Wouldn’t you like to hear this argument from somebody who isn’t desperate to fill their class seats? [Constitutional Daily]

* Isn’t the concept of the “last meal” the best thing about death row? Granted, that’s a low bar, but still. Having a last meal sounds so civilized. No wonder Texas and Florida want to take it away. [Legal Blog Watch]

* Do patent trolls have a weakness to fire, just like videogame trolls? Because, I’d like for them to get burned. [Business Insider]

* The fact that voter suppression doesn’t work doesn’t make it right. [Election Law Blog]

* Ignoring losses until they go away sounds like the basis of any sound financial strategy. [Dealbreaker]

I must confess to having a tin ear when it comes to issues of race. My view on racial issues is like my view on sports: What’s the big deal? Why does everyone care so much?

Perhaps it’s because I’m Asian; we tend to be bystanders as African-Americans and whites yell at each other. Perhaps it’s because I’m Filipino-American; we are total mutts a very hybrid people. Not to go all Fauxcahontas on you, but according to my (not genealogically verified) family lore, I have Malay, Chinese, Spanish, British, and Czech ancestry.

And thanks to the rise of intermarriage in the United States, my kind of ethnic hybridity is the wave of the future. In fifty or 100 or 150 years, more people will have my blasé attitude about race because “race” as a concept will be so much less salient. To tweak the famous words of Chief Justice John Roberts, “The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to intermarry so much so that nobody knows what race anybody else is.”

In the meantime, though, there’s plenty of racial tension to go around. Today we bring you allegations of racism at a law school, countered by allegations of playing the race card (i.e., crying racism in bad faith or without sufficient proof).

Let’s take a look at the latest heated controversy, taking place at a top law school….

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