Law Schools

Spring has sprung, and you know what that means: we’re now seeking submissions for our annual law revue video contest. Last year, 19 law schools submitted 30 videos for the contest. Some of them were funny, some of them were “meh,” and some of them made us want to close our heads inside of our laptops. You do NOT want to be in the last category.

But if you think you can carry a tune or tell a joke, we ask that you send us your very best law revue videos so that we — and the Above the Law audience — may pass judgment upon them. Prepare yourselves for the worst, but hope for the best (that’s what we’ll be doing, since we expect we may be seeing some twerking this year).

Those responsible for the winning video will get Above the Law t-shirts and the pleasure of knowing they’re the envy of all their law school brethren. As for the losers, well… how embarrassing for you.

Before you start sending us your videos (and some of you have already tried), we’ve got some rules. As future members of the legal profession, we hope you’ll be able to follow them….

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This probably isn’t a surprise, but the market still sucks for newly minted lawyers. The ABA has published the employment data it gathered from affiliated law schools, and the best way to spin this is as a “modest uptick.”

So if you’re a 0L super psyched about going to a subpar law school, this is cold, hard data that should terrify you. Terrify you even more than the indebtedness stats. Except you’re not going to be deterred, because you think you’re the exception. Like the high school girl convinced that Jimmy isn’t going to cheat on her like he did his last five girlfriends. Good luck, kid.

For the rest of us, let’s take the temperature of the legal market while we await the law school press releases telling us it’s not so bad.

And, hey, it looks like there may be one tiny ray of hope in these numbers. Don’t worry, I did say “tiny”…

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Throughout the past few weeks, several law schools have been hit hard by the realities of the market for legal education — there have been faculty layoffs and buyouts galore. We suppose this is what happens when people stop applying to law school in droves. Rather than offsetting the financial losses by charging higher tuition, most schools are “rightsizing” themselves by cutting faculty positions they deem unnecessary, a big blow to those ivory-tower elites who believed their jobs were secure.

But because nothing in the legal profession is very secure anymore, today we’ve got news of layoffs from a public law school facing major budgetary issues thanks to a gigantic funding gap across the entire university system.

Which law school could it be? Keep reading to find out…

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Ed. note: Please welcome Above the Law’s guest conversationalist, Zach Abramowitz, of blogcasting platform ReplyAll. You can see some of his other conversations and musings here.

Spring exams are right around the corner, and for most law students, that probably means trying to figure out what went wrong first semester and how to do better this time around. Unless you’re one of the fortunate few who got all As your first semester, hopefully this conversation will give you a better road map for the upcoming exams, or at the very least, make you feel a little better about yourself.

The conversation, which is being created using a new blogging tool called ReplyAll, will develop live on Above the Law over the course of the next few days, so continue to check back as Professors Barry Friedman, John Goldberg, and I continue our discussion…

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Rachel Canning

* The panel investigating the Bridgegate scandal gave Gibson Dunn until the end of the week to turn over all materials relied upon to clear Gov. Christie from wrongdoing. Thankfully, the governor was too busy working out to be upset. [New Jersey Star-Ledger]

* Penn Law has named Wendell Pritchett, the chancellor of Rutgers University-Camden, as interim dean to take over for Michael Fitts, who is leaving to become Tulane’s president. What an incredibly deanly name he’s got there. Congrats! [Philadelphia Inquirer]

* New York Law School is launching an in-house institute — the first of its kind in New York City — to help corporate attorneys solve their problems and law students learn about life inside a legal department. Gee, this idea sure sounds familiar. [Corporate Counsel]

* Jennifer Gaubert, the New Orleans lawyer/ former radio diva who lied about a cabbie sexually harassing and taking a lewd video of her, is now being sued by him. Karma’s a real bitch. [New Orleans Advocate]

* Rachel Canning, the New Jersey schoolgirl who recently dropped a lawsuit against her parents, was caught partying with the boyfriend who was the cause of the entire affair. Tsk tsk, bad girl! [New York Post]

In your dreams, Dean Morrison.

I still have many friends at Columbia, and it was great to see them. I was on the faculty appointments committee that helped hire some of them, and I now regret that we placed such emphasis on their basketball abilities in the hiring process.

– Dean Trevor Morrison of NYU Law, talking about his former colleagues after playing in the faculty portion of the 14th annual Deans’ Cup basketball game between NYU and Columbia. The NYU Law faculty lost, but Morrison says he “look[s] forward to being a liability on [the] faculty team again next year.”

It’s time to answer the age old question: how useless are political science majors?

Actually the question is what undergraduate majors provide the best credentials to a law school admissions officer deciding how to best game the U.S. News rankings create a mutually rewarding academic environment. Political science majors don’t look so hot as a category. Even philosophy majors do better than poli-sci students on the LSAT. I guess realizing that law school is the only marketable skill they’ll be able to get since Slavoj Žižek already has “being paid to spout off about ‘The Real’ while dressed as a homeless man” locked up is a powerful incentive to study.

Professor Derek Muller of Pepperdine Law took the time to crunch the numbers for the 2013 incoming class and arranged the findings into a handy chart.

So how did your major fare?

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* The Eighth Circuit axed a $900K jury award after a lawyer recounted her tale of sexual harassment by a law professor at Drake University Law during closing arguments. Well, that sucks, but we’d really love to know which professor this was. [ABA Journal]

* If flat is the new up, then mergers must be the new growth. The new year is upon us, and law firms are on track to either meet or break the merger record set in 2013. Thus far, 22 firms have announced mergers or acquisitions in 2014. [Washington Post]

* A lawyer in Minnesota who’s been in trouble with the bar quite a few times was recently charged with setting his girlfriend on fire. Yikes, someone’s way too excited about the Fargo mini-series. [Star-Tribune]

* Oscar Pistorius took the stand in his murder trial yesterday, revealing that when he killed his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, he was really trying to protect her. This case gives us the sads. :( [New York Times]

* Sorry we’re not sorry about the toupee: Paramount wants this Wolf of Wall Street suit dismissed since it’s undeniable the plaintiff was part of “bizarre travesty that was Stratton Oakmont.” [Hollywood Reporter]

The cold call is miffed
and there you are
you’re squirming for your life
you’re a falling star
And all the years
no one knows
just how hard you worked
because you’re Tier Four…
One Shining Moment, your debt’s piling up
One Shining Moment, your career’s frozen in time

It’s over. After 5 rounds of voting, we finally have a champion in the ATL March Madness tournament. Thanks to your voting, we can crown the Worst Law School in America. The championship featured 1-seeded Thomas M. Cooley against 8-seeded Liberty.

Did this tournament end in an upset?

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* Never text angry. A New York judge just put the kibosh on a man’s suit to secure the return of a $53,000 engagement ring from his jilted would-be wife because he sent an ill-advised angry text. [MyFoxNY]

* A German judge allegedly sold thousands of answers to law exams. When authorities closed in, the judge went on the run before being caught with “€30,000 in cash, a loaded pistol and… a 26-year-old Romanian woman.” Who knew bar exam answer keys were the new Blue Sky. [The Local]

* Here’s the 50 Most Comfortable Prisons in the World. Hopefully the judge above will land in JVA Fuhlsbuettel Prison. [Arrest Records]

* Judge lambasts the Bronx DA’s office after an ADA failed to reveal evidence that would have freed a man held at Rikers Island on bogus rape charges. Unfortunately, this isn’t surprising. [New York Daily News]

* Elie says stuff about bullying. [ATL Redline]

* “Kosher hot dog case presents a real constitutional pickle.” *Rim shot* [Reuters]

* Ever wonder how much it costs to open a solo practice? A new solo practitioner opens his financials. [Associate's Mind]

* Don’t call tuition cuts “bold.” [Law School Tuition Bubble]

* Here’s a 30 for 30 spoof about the history of gunners. Embedded after the jump… [TaxProf Blog]

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