Law Schools

Your J.D. isn't actually like this, but it costs WAY more.

As we mentioned in Morning Docket, there was a brilliant piece in Am Law Daily the other day about the “versatility” of a J.D. — or lack thereof. Matt Leichter argues that if you believe your J.D. is a utilitarian degree, you are living in an illogical dreamworld.

Of course, nobody ever accused prospective law students of being logical. Many people justify time and treasure expended on going to law school on the supposed versatility of the J.D., and like most things involving the decision to go to law school, the students have done little research to back up the claim.

That thought about the degree is so ingrained that you regularly see vast numbers of students heading off to law school who say they don’t want to be lawyers. Think about that. You don’t hear med students say, “I don’t want to be a doctor, I just thought it would be good to know how to save a life.” Heck, you don’t hear plumbers say, “I didn’t really want to be a plumber, but you never know when being able to make raw sewage flow freely will come in handy.”

Make no mistake, going to law school in order to do non-law stuff is stupid….

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Jaynie Mae Baker

* What do Tiger Woods’s sexts, Anthony Weiner’s wiener, and the newsworthiness exception to copyright infringement have in common? They’re all in this colorful Ninth Circuit dissent. [National Law Journal]

* Dewey have any idea when this “clawback” deadline will stop being extended? Partners have again been granted another extension to sign on the dotted line, but this time for only 48 hours. [WSJ Law Blog]

* If your reason for resigning from your position as a congressman has to do with “increasing parenting challenges,” becoming the managing director of Biglaw practice group likely isn’t a wise choice. [POLITICO]

* A shareholder suit filed against Goldman Sachs over mortgage-backed securities and early TARP repayment was dismissed. I didn’t watch the Daily Show last night, but I’m sure Jon Stewart had a great joke. [Reuters]

* Musical deans? Hot on the heels of Jeremy Paul’s announcement that he was leaving for Northeastern, Professor Willajeanne McLean has been appointed as interim dean at UConn Law. [Connecticut Law Tribune]

* Law school didn’t build that: as it turns out, a juris doctor isn’t as versatile a degree as it’s made out to be. Just because you managed to get a good non-law job, it doesn’t mean a J.D. helped you. [Am Law Daily]

* Jaynie Mae Baker, the Millionaire Madam’s sidekick, has struck a plea deal with the DA. She won’t be going to jail for her adventures in high-class hooking, and might walk away without a criminal record. [New York Post]

Rock me sexy Jesus?

* Vault just released its rankings for the best summer associate programs. Who’s at the top? I have my money on Fitzpatrick Cella. [Vault]

* If Paul Campos were asked to give a law school graduation speech, here’s what he would say. Long story short, I don’t think he’ll ever be asked. And that is why you should read this. [Lawyers, Guns and Money]

* What do we want? Booze! When do we want it? Now! Where do we want it? The grocery store! [Courier-Journal]

* I don’t know, maybe this guy just really, really loves Jesus. Like, really a lot. Maybe too much. Ewww. [Wave3]

* You know those online net price calculators for figuring out tuition? Well, turns out they might be misleading too, just like every other flipping aspect of financing your education. [Inside Higher Ed]

* You say tomato, I say tomahto. You say law student, someone else says escort. What’s the big deal here? [Daily Mail]


Former lobbyist Janna Ryan.

There are a lot of people trying to tell me that Mitt Romney’s pick for vice president, Paul Ryan, is attractive. Like pretty much everybody in my office. And Google is auto-filling with “Paul Ryan Shirtless.” Considering that many of Ryan’s supporters are serious fans of noted rape-novelist Ayn Rand, I’m mildly concerned by all this pent-up Republican sexual energy being thrown Ryan’s way.

But it’s not like Ryan is on the market. He was snapped up by Janna Christine Little Ryan, back in 2000. We’re just getting to know this potential second lady. She’s being pushed by the Romney campaign as a traditional housewife who loves her children and supports her man.

No doubt, she is.

But in another life, before marriage and children, Janna Little was a tax lawyer and big-time lobbyist. She was a Washington insider, like her husband. She worked for PriceWaterhouseCoopers and had a controversial client roster….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Paul Ryan’s Wife Is A Housewife Now, But She Used To Be A Lawyer And A Lobbyist”

* Looks like someone skipped professional responsibility class during bar prep: the Ninth Circuit denied attorney fees to McGuireWoods in light of an “egregious” ethics violation made in the BAR/BRI antitrust settlement. [National Law Journal]

* Apple rested its patent-infringement case against Samsung yesterday, making way for the rival tech company to begin presenting its case. Jurors must be thrilled that the end is in sight, with just 25 more hours of arguments to go. [Bloomberg]

* Remember the mom-and-dad law grads accused of planting a potpourri of drugs on an elementary school volunteer? Their alleged victim is suing. We’ll have more on this hot mess later. [Orange County Register]

* “The facts don’t seem to support a ‘stand your ground’ defense.” That’s what George Zimmerman’s attorney said yesterday, but the defense team is going to try to get the case dismissed on those grounds anyway. [AP]

* When applying to law school, it’s usually helpful to demonstrate in your application that you actually want to go to law school. Gah, people seriously need to be told these things. [Law Admissions Lowdown / U.S. News]

* “[T]he plaintiff’s tampon was never forcibly removed by any deputy.” First of all, yuck. Second of all, you know that a crazy lawsuit must have been filed when the cops are making public statements like this. [NBC News]

This may sound like advice coming from a broken record, but in case you are somehow still unaware of this very important fact, you generally cannot discharge your law school loan debt in bankruptcy. Sure, there’s an “undue hardship” exception to this steadfast rule, but it’s a difficult standard to meet.

The government will go to the ends of the earth to prove that you are capable of paying back what you owe and just unwilling to do so. To be frank, you’d probably be better off becoming totally and permanently disabled or dying, because then you or your estate would only have the ensuing tax nightmare to deal with.

Judges know that the burden of “undue hardship” is a difficult one to prove, and most of them probably think that it’s a load of crap. Unfortunately, most of them are unwilling to say so. But not this Oregon judge — she launched into a pointed, four-page critique of legal education, while ruling on a law school debtor’s attempt to discharge his student loans in bankruptcy.

No, she won’t grant you a discharge, but that doesn’t mean she has to like it. You know it’s going to be good when a judge cites to Above the Law while discussing student loans….

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Whenever a law school solicits money from its recent graduates, it ends badly. Almost always. The best a law school can hope for is for the recipient to throw away the solicitation or delete the email. More often, the mere request can bring up bad memories and harden the ill will that recent graduates have toward their law schools (unless the request for donations happens to hit the inboxes of the few financially secure recent law grads).

Law schools aren’t even playing the long game anymore. If law schools keep their tuition manageable and help their students find jobs, then they will produce happy graduates who might feel lifelong allegiance to their schools. But instead of cultivating golden little eggs, law schools are all too happy to slay their gaggle of students with unreasonable costs and poor post-graduate options. Schools take the short-term money even while souring their students on the law school experience.

Of course, “sour” law graduates make for some funny emails. Check out how this class of 2010 graduate responded to his school’s alumni giving request. And if you want to copy and paste it into an email to your law school, I don’t think anybody would object….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “The Credited Response To Your Law School Asking For Money”

* In case you’ve been sleeping under a rock, Mitt Romney picked Rep. Paul Ryan as his Vice Presidential running mate. Putting politics aside, this is a great pick, if only because Ryan is so handsome. Seriously, he’s a total stud. [Wall Street Journal]

* “How can I be the one guy with a good degree who is going to be chronically unemployed?” Sadly, many lawyers are still looking for jobs after (multiple) layoffs, but thanks to a lack of positions, employment is just “not in the cards” for them. [New York Times]

* Deadliest clerkship? The Washington, D.C. judge who presided over one of the most violent mass shooting cases in the nation’s capital was reportedly held up at gunpoint last week, with her law clerk in tow. [Fox DC]

* Something is rotten in the state of Denmark Texas. Judge Sam Sparks “know[s] the smell of bad fish,” and now wants to know why the USADA waited so long to bring charges against Lance Armstrong. [Bloomberg]

* After reversing a bankruptcy court’s decision that loan repayment would be an “undue hardship” for a law school debtor, a judge took the time to rip law schools a new one over escalating tuition. [Oregonian]

* Match.com class-action plaintiffs found no love in court after a federal judge ruled that the dating website hadn’t breached its user agreement. Much like their love lives, their claims aren’t getting any action. [Reuters]

* A man who is his own lawyer has a fool for a client: 23% of all cases filed in the federal court for the S.D.N.Y. are brought by pro se litigants, and the vast majority of them seem to have lost their minds. [New York Post]

It’s better than Afghanistan.

– a rising 3L I met at a recent summer associate event, commenting on his law school experience thus far. Prior to going to law school, he served in the United States Army in Afghanistan.

It’s been quite an explicit week here at ATL. We’ve covered BJs, strip clubs, and oh yeah, more BJs (of the metaphorical if not literal type). Ample opportunity for snark, clearly. But I have to say, some of the best comments came from our old standby: law school drama. Our commenters know that sometimes it pays to stick to what you know.

For pure yuks, I’m a fan of Concerned Pastafarian’s comment on the story about the Jesuit law school which, in the words of one of our Twitter followers, is in the middle of a nervous breakdown:

“The tuition is too damn high!”

– Dean Mystal

That comment, a shout-out to Jimmy McMillan, is almost like a haiku. It’s brief and balanced, yet it still creates a clear, awesome picture in the mind.

But sorry Pastaman, your airborne spaghetti deity doesn’t have your back today. Like many other Americans, I can’t turn away from the ongoing trainwreck that is D-list reality TV stars and all the ways “normal,” “dignified” Americans make fun of them online….

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