* Should a widow be able to extract sperm from the body of her husband, who recently committed suicide, so she can have a child with him? Some thoughts from Professor Glenn Cohen of Harvard Law. [Bill of Health]
* Speaking of suicide, controversy over the prosecution of the late Aaron Swartz rages on. [How Appealing and Instapundit]
* Professor Ann Althouse isn’t a fan of the “if we can save one life” argument for gun control. [Althouse]
* I don’t know anything about football, but even I chuckled at this. [Life in Biglaw]
There has been a lot of law school dean news these past few days. On Friday, a tipster asked us to help with the NYU Law dean search (we were happy to oblige). Earlier today, we talked about the ridiculous salaries some law deans earn. Now we get to talk about a dean who has been pushed out of his law school. The law school dean carousel is just as interesting as the NFL coaching carousel… only the NFL has the Rooney Rule to ensure that a diverse group of people get an opportunity to interview for the jobs.
Usually, law deans gracefully exit as respected (and wealthy) members of the legal academy. But apparently that’s not how they do things in Texas. A year ago Christmas, the University of Texas unceremoniously ousted its law school dean. This holiday season, it appears that Texas’s number-two law school (more on that below) was busy throwing its dean under the bus.
The internet was awash in outrage this weekend after a Boston Globe report revealed that John F. O’Brien, dean of the New England School of Law, makes an obscene amount of money.
And it is obscene. O’Brien makes $867,000 to run a law school so bad it is not numerically ranked by U.S. News. It’s an embarrassing figure for anybody who runs a non-profit educational institution that claims tax-exempt status. Really, somebody should look into that tax exemption, and ask a court to do the same.
It’d be pretty easy to sit here and jump up and down on O’Brien. Again, he makes an obscene amount of money for selling a substandard product. I assume he pays somebody to go around collecting the tears of his recent graduates so he can drink them at parties.
But how much did you think this guy made? Only $400,000? A mere $250,000? New England School of Law charges people $40,904 a year for an education. Where did you think that money was going? The students? Don’t be as naive as the people who actually go to New England School of Law. If I may quote Judd Hirsch from Independence Day: “You don’t actually think they spend $20,000 on a hammer, $30,000 on a toilet seat, do you?”
Let me ask the question this way: How much do you think Case Western Reserve School of Law Dean Lawrence Mitchell makes?
* “I’m a New Yorker, and I jaywalk with the best of them.” Don’t be fooled by the rocks job that she’s got — she’s still, she’s still Jenny Sonia from the block. The Supreme Court’s very own wise Latina, author of a new memoir (affiliate link), is proud of her city. [New York Times; 60 Minutes]
* If you’re looking for an M&A adviser, you’d be wise to seek out counsel from Skadden Arps. The firm swept three separate rankings lists based on the total value of its clients’ 2012 M&A transactions. [Am Law Daily]
* Only in the world of legal education could the dean of a law school that isn’t even numerically ranked by U.S. News have the highest salary of all law deans nationwide. (We’ll likely have more on this later.) [Boston Globe]
* Arizona schools will allow 3Ls to take the bar exam, but New York schools may soon do away with 3L year altogether. Of course, the ABA will find a way to muck it up, but still, hooray for progress! [National Law Journal]
* Remember “Made in Jersey,” the show about a stereotypical Jersey girl who made the jump to Biglaw? Yeah, neither does anyone else. Hopefully “Staten Island Law” won’t face the same fate. [New York Daily News]
* “Sexiness is all about being a woman of character.” Our congratulations go out to DaNae Couch, the Texas Tech law student who advanced to the Top 10 of the Miss America competition. You go girl! [Lubbock Online]
What if your law dean didn’t look like everybody else?
Have you ever noticed how law school deans are all kind of all the same guy? They’re mostly white, mostly male, mostly smart, mostly charismatic, and mostly good at getting you to part with your money.
Law school deans are usually successful academics and respected faculty members. And when they’re not, we make fun of them. The virtue of having a dean who looks and thinks like everybody else is that you don’t risk getting a weirdo who will screw up your capital campaigns. There’s a reason why guys are generally happy when they show up to a party and they’re dressed like pretty much everybody else; it means that nobody screwed up.
Of course, the downside of picking 200 people with similar backgrounds is that it’s hard to get radical change in the way law schools are run. Instead of every law school being a “laboratory” of ideas, you get every law school just trying to follow the leader — and that leader is, of course, the hated U.S. News law school rankings.
A tipster who went to a school that is looking for a new dean asked Above the Law to suggest some “outside the box” candidates. We know that the school won’t seriously consider any of our suggestions, but it’s still a fun thought experiment. Who should be dean of your law school? We’ve got some thoughts…
It’s a little bit early for tuition hike season, but in a few weeks, we’ll start getting stories about law schools raising tuition on students just because they can. We say it every year, and we’ll say it again this year, but it appears that law school tuition is one of the only things that is recession-proof.
Law salaries remain flat. Law applications are even down, but that doesn’t necessarily mean tuition will follow. Here’s how committed law schools are to raising tuition: they’ll raise tuition and then give high-achieving students scholarships to offset the increase. It’s as if low-achieving law students are subsidizing tuition for high-achieving law students at schools across the country.
Law schools are willing to do whatever it takes to keep making the tuition number go up. At Miami, they raised tuition and then (after we asked about it) gave 2Ls a “waiver” from the hike.
It goes up at Duke. Last year, tuition went up at Duke Law School by 4 percent. Why? Why was the money needed during a time of extreme challenge in the legal job market? Who knows? It’s not like Duke is required to explain itself to students.
But this year, some Duke Law students are trying to make the administration understand that the “standard” tuition hike doesn’t make any sense for the students at the school….
* Eric Holder has agreed to serve once more as attorney general during President Barack Obama’s second term, but he still plans to leave at some point — after all, he’s no “Janet Reno of the Justice Department.” [Blog of Legal Times]
* AIG will not join the lawsuit against America. To put that in terms that should be just as outrageous, former AIG CEO Hank Greenberg is still suing America. [Washington Post]
* For those who care about Biglaw firms and the landlords who love them, fear not, because there’s a whole lot of moving and shaking in terms of commercial real estate deals for Arnold & Porter, Goodwin Procter, and Sidley Austin. [Am Law Daily]
* Jacoby & Meyers scored at the Second Circuit: its attack on New York’s ban on non-lawyer firm ownership was reinstated. Soon Walmart will own a firm with “Low Prices. Every day. On everything.” [Bloomberg]
* Who’ll step in to fill Evan Caminker’s $400,000+ shoes as the next dean of Michigan Law? None other than Mark West, who’d like to improve financial aid and loan repayment programs. [National Law Journal]
* Gun nuts, commence your rioting… now. If passed, Governor Andrew Cuomo’s sweeping gun-control proposal would make New York the state with the strictest gun laws in the country. [WSJ Law Blog (sub. req.)]
* Speaking of needless gun violence, by Friday, we’ll know whether there’s enough evidence to move forward with a trial for James Holmes, the accused shooter in the Aurora movie theater massacre. [New York Times]
* 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….
* 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.
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