Law Schools

It’s time to yell back at a notorious loudmouth.

Slap on your frowny faces, everybody! This poor law professor is used to people not liking him, but now a critical mass of his own field has turned on him. As of this second, 292 professors have signed on to a statement denouncing him and demanding he relinquish control of the internationally-recognized rankings he founded. As a professional troll, he routinely threatens critics with legal action based on theories that… well, boggle the mind. He once accused me of per se defamation, which was per se frivolous. And now all that baseless aggression has come back to haunt him.

Will he go gentle into that good night?

Of course not! He’s a “fighter,” which is a dressy word for “self-absorbed narcissist.”

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Think carefully. Everything after this moment will not only determine your career, but life. You can spend it in a corporate office drafting contracts and hitting on chubby paralegals before finally putting a gun in your mouth, or you can join my firm and become someone you actually like. So decide: do you want the job or not?

– Professor Annalise Keating, played by Viola Davis, after confronting a first-year law student during a scene on How to Get Away with Murder, a new legal thriller that premiered last night on ABC.

(The show, complete with absurd dialogue — like the 1L who brags about his recent summer internship with Chief Justice Roberts — and even more ridiculous plotlines — like the 1Ls who quote case law while deciding where to bury a body — is loosely based on attending Penn Law.)

Kamala D. Harris is ‘by far, the best looking attorney general.’

* Solicitor General Don Verrilli may be a frontrunner to replace Eric Holder as attorney general, but the competition seems to be stiff. Kamala Harris, anyone? [USA Today]

* FBI Director James Comey is annoyed by Apple and Google marketing their encryption prowess for privacy’s sake — it’ll “allow people to place themselves beyond the law.” [WSJ Law Blog]

* White & Case just hopped aboard the onshore outsourcing train with its announcement that it would open a services center in Tampa, Florida. The move will create about 100 jobs, but we’d love to know how many it’s negating. [Tampa Bay Times]

* Slater & Gordon, the world’s first publicly traded law firm, has been on an “acquisition spree” in England. Earlier this month, it picked up a patent practice, and now it’s in talks with a litigation shop. [Am Law Daily]

* “Law school is a major gamble,” and people are more informed, but that somehow isn’t stopping people from applying. This is a great article to read if you’re still considering going all in. [New York Observer]


A Chick-fil-A meal (photo by David Lat).

Joe here. You’re minding your own business, checking your law school email in lieu of listening to the lecture, when an invitation catches your eye. It’s from the local Federalist Society chapter and they’re hosting an event on marriage equality. Fed Soc puts on good events, and unlike a lot of the issues out there, marriage equality is an issue where the organization might have a fair and respectful debate. After all, this is the organization of Ted Olson and Richard Posner as much as it’s the organization of Antonin Scalia and Samuel Alito. There’s room under that ideological tent. But you open the email to see an oversized Chick-fil-A logo. Shock jock tactics.

To say that Staci and I disapproved would be an understatement.

Now imagine the event were not about marriage equality. Would it be acceptable to serve Chick-fil-A at a talk on gun control? On eminent domain? Is there ever a time where Chick-fil-A is a “content neutral” noshing option?

I say no. David says yes. We let you in on our argument about this….

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A law dean has resigned amid allegations that he perjured himself in response to a lawsuit. I should care about this. Law school corruption! Perjury! Deans behaving badly!

Meh. We live in a world where deans say shady, misleading, or flat untruthful things all the time. We call it the “business of legal education.” We are used to deans going out there every day and straight hustling prospective law students. And I’m supposed to care that one of them allegedly actually perjured himself? One guy lied when he wasn’t supposed to as opposed to all the others who lie when it’s okay to do so. Big whoop.

Whatever. State school law dean goes down for reasons unrelated to the problems with legal education…

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I have been helping students pass the bar exam for over four decades. Before me, my father invented the modern bar review course in the 1940s. I mention this so you know that it is coming from good authority when I tell you the secret that those of us in the bar review industry don’t want you to know.

That secret: A bar review course cannot relatively improve your chances of passing the bar exam.

Bar review marketing is gearing up across the country on every law school campus, with bar review reps trying to entice students with giveaways and discounts. But no amount of bar-review-branded swag will improve your chance of passing over your GPA rank at time of graduation.

What’s the best predictor of success on the bar exam?

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I believe there will be, in all likelihood, about a half-dozen schools that are on anybody’s watch list.

Michael Olivas, former president of the Association of American Law Schools, speaking about the future of law schools amid a discussion of the financial troubles Thomas Jefferson School of Law is currently facing, a situation that he described in the Chronicle of Higher Education as “a canary in the coal mine of legal education.”

(Which law schools do you think will be the first to shutter? Let us know.)

Mike Sorrentino

* Per the First Circuit, plaintiffs who successfully challenge the Defense of Marriage Act in court aren’t entitled to attorneys’ fees. The Department of Justice had no comment. [National Law Journal]

* Florida Coastal Law finished second-to-last in bar passage for the July 2014 exam, with 58% of grads passing. It was one of Florida Coastal’s worst performances to date. [Florida Times-Union]

* ASU Law got a $10M donation, its largest ever. “The remarkable thing about it is we didn’t ask him for it,” says the dean, which is a slightly better response than Drexel’s dean had. [The Republic]

* Much to his defense team’s chagrin, accused Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s trial will remain in Boston. The media spectacle is set to begin in January 2015. [New York Times]

* Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino of Jersey Shore fame was indicted on tax fraud charges to the tune of $8.9M. He pleaded not guilty yesterday afternoon. There aren’t tanning beds in jail. :( [Asbury Park Press]

If, unfortunately, someone in your family faced catastrophic injuries that you thought had legal issues, they would be on a very, very short list of firms to consider.

Roger Dennis, dean of the Drexel University’s Thomas R. Kline School of Law. He’s telling the Philadelphia Inquirer about Thomas R. Kline. “Short list,” eh? After Kline donated $50 million and the school scrubbed poor Earle Mack from their letterhead and renamed the school, the best praise the dean can summon is that Kline belongs on a “short list.” Once you rename your law school, you’re already a commercial, so go right ahead and tell the reporter “Thomas R. Kline is the best goddamned lawyer on the planet!”

Dinesh D’Souza

* The United States is launching air strikes against ISIS in Syria and Iraq, but some have been compelled to wonder whether it’s legal under international law. Of course it’s legal, under the Rule of ‘MERICA, F*CK YEAH! [BBC]

* Dewey know whether this failed firm’s former COO can get out of paying $9.3M to its bankruptcy trustee? Dewey know whether we’ll ever be able to stop using this pun? Sadly, the answer to both questions is no. [WSJ Law Blog]

* Marc Dreier of the defunct Dreier LLP has been ordered to testify in person in his firm’s bankruptcy case in Manhattan, but he’d rather stay in the comforts of his prison home in Minnesota. Aww. [Bloomberg]

* Dinesh D’Souza won’t have to do hard prison time for his campaign-finance violations. Instead, he’ll be spending eight months in a “community confinement center,” which sounds just peachy. [New York Times]

* Northwestern Law is launching a campaign to fundraise $150M to be spent on an endless supply of Chick-fil-A sandwiches financial aid for students and curriculum improvements. [National Law Journal]

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