Law Schools

* Oregon’s ban on gay marriage was struck down yesterday, making it the thirteenth victory in a row for the marriage equality movement. The countdown to a SCOTUS case continues. [New York Times]

* After increasing its first-year class size by 22 percent just to pay the bills, folks at GW Law are starting to wonder what sort of long-term survival plan its new dean will propose. [GW Hatchet]

* Part of South Carolina’s Commission on Higher Education voted to reject the licensing InfiLaw’s takeover of Charleston Law, citing concerns about the diploma mill company’s rep. [Post and Courier]

* If can’t get a job after law school graduation, here are some jobs for your consideration — ones you didn’t need a law degree to consider in the first place, mind you. [Law Admissions Lowdown / U.S. News]

* Owners of the New Jersey mall where a young attorney was gunned down during a car jacking are attempting to get part of his surviving wife’s lawsuit dismissed. This is all really quite sad. [Star-Ledger]

Either you are the type of person who looks at young people in love and thinks “aww… cute,” or you are the type of person who wants to punch those young people in the face.

I’m the latter. One time I was momentarily blocked from exiting the 6 train by two people sharing one set of headphones as they made googly-eyes to each other. The damn cord was right across the exit as the doors opened. I waited a beat, walked right through the cord, ripping the earbuds out of their ears and causing the iPod to fall. The guy didn’t even curse me out, he just rushed over to his girlfriend to make sure she was alright, as if the earbud could have caused permanent damage to her cochlea on the way out. JESUS, I HATED THOSE PEOPLE.

Anyway, if you are the former type of person, you should probably stop reading now. I’m going to smash some earbuds….

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With unemployment rates still high for new law school grads, incubator programs sponsored by law schools and bar associations are gaining traction. Not to be confused with the profit-generating incubators common in the business and start-up world, the law school incubator concept, conceived by Fred Rooney at CUNY Law School, subsidizes new law school grads to start their own practices to  provide “low bono” legal services.

In exchange for deeply discounting their fees, grads receive low-cost rent and training from more experienced attorneys. After 12-18 months in the incubator, these now practice-ready lawyers can move on to a position at a non-profit or continue to operate their firms on their own. Since the first law school incubator launched back in 2007, nearly two dozen others have cropped up at law schools and bar associations across the country.

What should we make of this trend?

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I’ve come under criticism recently, either expressly or implicitly.

I tell new lawyers to write in short sentences.

Very short.

My preferred writing style is “Modern American Snowplow.”

Others insist that I’m too strident. Mark Osbeck, who teaches legal writing at The University of Michigan Law School, has published a law review article (it’s the fourth one down) criticizing The Curmudgeon’s Guide To Practicing Law because my book over-emphasizes the need for short sentences.

I have two reactions. First, thank you! Let’s debate these issues in public! And, so long as you spell my name right, you’re doing us both a favor!

Second, I’m right, and you’re wrong! Why? Because I’ve never in my life reviewed the work of a new lawyer and thought: “This draft would be pretty good if only it used a bunch of longer sentences. The cure to what ails this brief is to add some complexity to it.” If you were honest with yourself, Professor Osbeck, you’d admit that you’ve never seen that, either. On the other hand, both you and I frequently see sentences that desperately need to buy a period. So what should we teach — the rule or the exception?

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Earlier this week, Jim Saksa wrote a piece in Slate entitled “You Can Do Anything With A Law Degree,” where he argued that you can’t do everything with a law degree despite the propaganda of the law school-industrial complex. Apparently he didn’t realize you could herd sheep. All in all, it was a great addition to the growing pushback to the lie that it’s a good idea to blow six figures on a legal education even if you aren’t committed to a life at least tangentially in the law and you get into a microwave law school.

It’s already generated some ridiculous defensive blowback. One carefully constructed rebuttal to the Slate piece, attempting to rehabilitate the “law degree as fashionable accessory” argument, looks on its face like a serious challenge. It’s not….

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Justice Antonin Scalia

[I]f law school is to remain three years, costs have to be cut; the system is not sustainable in its present form. The graduation into a shrunken legal sector of students with hundreds of thousands of dollars of student debt, nondischargeable in bankruptcy, cannot continue. Perhaps — just perhaps — the more prestigious law schools (and I include William and Mary among them) can continue the way they are, though that is not certain. But the vast majority of law schools will have to lower tuition.

– Justice Antonin Scalia, in his commencement speech at William & Mary School of Law. More highlights from Justice Scalia’s remarks, after the jump.

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Like a recent law grad could afford this.

What’s the most exciting stunt you could pull off before receiving your law school diploma? If you guessed “a backflip,” someone’s been there, and done that. This 2013 grad from Baylor Law has got you beat. If your next best guess was “propose to your girlfriend in front of hundreds of people,” then nice job, you win.

When this soon-to-be graduate found out his longtime girlfriend, who graduated from law school last year, would be participating in his hooding ceremony, he knew he had to step up his game. He wanted his girlfriend to have and to hold, from that day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, until debt do them part.

Keep reading to see the video that’s quickly making the rounds online….

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* “Ladies and gentlemen of the Jury, if my client was the shooter, why would he have left the witness alive to testify? He’s a man who finishes the damn job.” [ABA Journal]

* Who would pretend to be a lawyer who is not? Apparently this public figure. [Legal Cheek]

* Jill Abramson is out at the New York Times. Could the reason be her decision to lawyer up? [Law and More]

* If you’ve hung around ATL long enough, you’ve heard us speculate that it just doesn’t make economic sense to attend most law schools. Here’s proof — only about 50 are even worth it economically. Which is hard to believe because I thought law degrees were worth $1 million. [TaxProf Blog]

* Lawyers get depressed, and not talking about it makes it worse. [Everyday Health]

* Seven-year-old kids are developing health problems from picking tobacco, because we let children work on tobacco farms apparently. [Slate]

* The Asian American Bar Association will be conducting a trial reenactment of 22 Lewd Chinese Women next Wednesday. Register here! [AABANY]

* As the new movie comes out, lawyers are really worked up over the Godzilla intellectual property. They need to hire Jorge Rivers: Godzilla Lawyer, whose ad appears after the jump (starring Thomas Lennon)…. [The Columbus Dispatch]

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But, and here is where I finally get to my point: The law is fascinating. It is incredibly important in people’s lives. And a legal education is an amazing opportunity to get the tools to understand, and most importantly, work within this system. (Here is where I should also note, in the interests of full disclosure, that I am in fact a law professor.)

– Professor Rigel Oliveri of Missouri Law, taking aim at the recent Slate article proclaiming that you can’t really do everything with a law degree. That’s a pretty significant caveat there, Prof — maybe should have shown up before the sixth paragraph. Check out her full defense of why the law is fascinating because it helped her win a $20 Target gift card (h/t: Law School Scam, Exposed).

I’ll have been here for six years this summer, and I still read most of the comments to most of my posts. I rarely respond, unless I’ve been drinking, which I do almost constantly, so you do the math. But it’s been years since I’ve directly addressed commenter concerns in an actual post.

In my post about the Ivy League law grad who is struggling to pass the bar and build a career, I expressed sympathy for the graduate’s plight. It was a sad story that was powerfully expressed and tugged at my nearly blocked heart.

But commenters claimed that my sympathetic response to the Ivy League grad was because the person went to top law schools. They argued that I would not be nearly as nice to a person who struggled in the same way after going to a non-elite school.

If I my channel my inner Nathan Jessup: YOU’RE GODDAMN RIGHT I WOULDN’T….

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