Law Schools

Earlier this week, we asked readers to submit possible captions for this picture:

Photo credit: Reddit user bdj426

Let’s have a look at what our readers came up with, and vote on the finalists…

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* Thanks to a partner from K&L Gates, victims of revenge porn will be able to rely upon the assistance of the Cyber Civil Rights Legal Project to guide them through the courts pro bono. [National Law Journal]

* The latest Princeton Review rankings are out, and now you can find out if you attend a law school that has some of the best professors in the country. Spoiler alert: Yale Law isn’t No. 1. [Huffington Post]

* Calling all lawyers and law students! If you bought a Red Bull in the past 12 years to get through an all-nighter, then you’ll be able to make some quick cash from this class action settlement. [BuzzFeed]

* It seems Madam Justice Lori Douglas, the Canadian judge whose nude pictures were leaked online, is no longer facing sexual harassment charges. That must be nice for her, all things considered. [CBC News]

* Per federal prosecutors, if you’re not too high to suck at playing games on Xbox, then you’re not too high to forget about friends of the accused Boston bomber removing evidence from your room. [Bloomberg]

* Adrian Peterson’s felony child abuse trial is supposed to begin in December, but it could be delayed because the judge may have to recuse. That’s what happens when you call lawyers “media whores.” [CNN]

It’s officially fall, and beyond the brisk temperatures and ubiquitous pumpkin spice lattes, that means there’s a new crop of television shows all vying for our attention. This season there seems to be a higher rate of shows that use the law or lawyers as a backdrop for the drama, but few have received as much attention (and as many positive reviews) as the Shonda Rhimes/Viola Davis joint effort, “How To Get Away With Murder.” And it makes sense; ABC has pretty much gone all in on Shonda Rhimes as their personal lord and saviour, and the talented Viola Davis has joined the flock of film actresses who’ve decided the best roles are now on the small screen.

But until now I’ve resisted the the urge to watch. I mean, the show is loosely (very, very loosely) based on attending Penn Law and now that it’s over, who really wants to revisit law school? However, when bad weather and a lingering cold conspire to keep me at home all weekend, the siren call of the On Demand listing just proved too much for me to resist…

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In the mists of the ancient past, the American legal profession agreed to cede responsibility for developing a consistent citation method to the most anal-retentive of law school gunners determined to lord their mastery of unnecessary commas over people. Ultimately, the whole thing is an exercise in hazing law students. Torturing students over questions of underlining or italics is kind of a lame hazing ritual, but long gone are the days when a young Louis Brandeis was dared by ne’er-do-well Harvard 3Ls to head down to the local theater and yell “Fire!”

But the Bluebook is also a cash cow because every lawyer needs to own a copy that they’ll promptly ignore because in the real world, everyone blindly trusts their online research database to get it right and barring that, no one much cares about the minutiae of the Bluebook as long as everyone can easily find the source. Besides, you can get close enough for government work with the outdated ratty copy you were issued in law school. Very few judges are going to flip out if you signal “See” where you could just insert the cite.

Now that cash cow is in jeopardy, because one law professor thinks he can get everyone a free copy of the Stickler’s Bible. How, you ask?

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* Congratulations to Tony West on his new gig as general counsel of PepsiCo. It sounds like an exciting and challenging opportunity. Plus, you know, free Mountain Dew. [Politico]

* What the hell? The feds stole a woman’s identity and made it into a Facebook page. Well, now she’s found out and she’s suing. Identity theft was one thing, but the way the DEA Agent kept spamming the woman’s friends to play Candy Crush Saga was just unacceptable. [Buzzfeed]

* Time for some court news: Ninth Circuit joined the chorus in striking down gay marriage bans in Idaho and Nevada. [U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit]

* It’s Nobel Prize time, and one of the winners for Physics has a personal story about how important it is to hire a good lawyer. In fact, it was about $180 million important. [Slate]

* We constantly beat the drum of how law schools need to adjust to reality and stop duping students into terrible financial decisions. But here’s the PR secret that’s kept law schools from, by and large, collapsing: they sell the experience. [Law and More]

* An open letter begging Amal Alamuddin not to quit her day job now that she’s married to some acting guy. [The Careerist]

* New York City paid $50K to settle a lawsuit brought by the family of a child who killed herself after school officials allegedly did nothing despite several warnings that the girl was being brutally bullied. There’s a lot of “in my day…” types who read this site who may not care about bullying, but this is more a question of irresponsibility. If your job is to provide a safe learning environment and you fail, you pay. [DNA Info]

* At oral argument, the Court seemed generally supportive of the Muslim inmate hoping to grow a beard. If this intuition is right, soon individual people may have the same religious rights as corporations! [Supreme Court Brief]

* Finally, thanks to the Rutgers-Newark Law School chapter of the American Constitution Society for hosting a great event today where Elie and I previewed the upcoming SCOTUS Term. My personal highlight was watching Elie’s head explode while talking about Young v. UPS.

When you’re in law school, you’ll have the option of buying new books, or slightly cheaper used books. If you choose to buy someone else’s used book, then God bless you, because you might be stuck with errant highlighting and incredibly moronic notes in the margins. Since law students can be crass, you might even find some offensive remarks scrawled throughout the pages of your book.

Why go through the trouble of buying used books when you’ll have to deal with so much annoyance? Because you’ll be able to take revenge upon the prior owner with your own clever margin notes…

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Here in the “new normal,” it seems that law schools are willing to give anything a try if it will mean putting more students’ butts in seats, including, but not limited to, splitting their branch campuses into entirely separate schools. In fact, as long as the ABA is poised to approve the split, why not just give both schools a new name entirely?

That’s exactly what one law school is trying to do.

Can you guess which one?

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* Since SCOTUS punted on same-sex marriage, people in states where gay marriage bans still exist are wondering when it will be their turn. It’s just a waiting game from here on out. [USA Today]

* Babies wait for no one: a pregnant lesbian couple fighting the Texas ban on gay marriage filed an usual request asking that the Fifth Circuit hurry up and schedule arguments. [WSJ Law Blog]

* The “puff, puff, pass” defense? Robel Phillipos, friend of accused Boston bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, claims he was so high during the aftermath he can’t remember a thing. [Bloomberg]

* When should you apply to law school? When you can get into a top school, have clear career objectives, and won’t have to take out loans. You’re preaching to the choir. [Law Admissions Lowdown / U.S. News]

* A Burger King customer is suing because he claims the restaurant’s manager attacked him with a knife and a Taser. This all allegedly happened over some cold onion rings, of course. [New York Daily News]

If part of your reason for going to law school is that, well, there’ll be a good job that you like and will pay well afterwards, then you’re maybe mistaken. There’s more than 90,000 lawyers in Illinois, and I’m not confident there’s enough jobs. Law school is no longer a safe road to a successful career.

Matthew Willens, the lawyer behind the “Anything but Law School” scholarship, explaining why he created the monetary award last year.

(If you’d like to apply for this scholarship, you can find the details here.)

This summer, we began reporting on the uphill battle the Thomas M. Cooley Law School faced with regard to its declining revenue and student enrollment. In early July, we were the first to break the news that Cooley Law would stop accepting first-year students at its Ann Arbor campus as part of a “financial management plan.” At the time, James Robb, the law school’s associate dean of external affairs and senior counsel, said there were no plans to close the campus.

Plans apparently changed quickly, because at the end of July, we learned that Cooley Law was considering consolidating the Ann Arbor campus with other Cooley campuses by the end of the fall 2014 semester. Once again, Robb assured the media that no definitive plans had been made yet.

Now that we’re almost halfway through the fall 2014 semester, it seems that Cooley Law has begrudgingly decided to lie in the bed that it has made. This may be the first law school campus closure since the public started learning that legal education wasn’t all that it was cracked up to be…

Please note the UPDATE posted below.

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