Law Schools

We give law schools a lot of flak for the way they take massive amounts of money and then have the gall to call us every week asking for donations. What did they do with the original $150K? I guess in my case it was “buy real estate.” But still.

So when I say there’s a law school out there nickel and diming its graduates, I’m not colloquially talking about $150K in tuition. No, I’m using “literally” entirely accurately. They are literally taking dimes and nickels off their alums….

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How did you spend your long weekend? I spent mine in the seventh ring of suburban hell: the big box stores. Summer associates probably spent theirs saying things like, “Look at all the money I have to spend on my long weekend; Biglaw jobs are GREAT!” Recent grads spent it in a fetal position: “The bar is coming. THEBARISCOMING. Gurgle gak Commercial Paper.”

Down in Texas, a more traditional star-spangled bacchanalia was momentarily interrupted by coup d’etat. Though, in fairness, overthrowing corrupt powers seems like the most traditional way to celebrate Independence Day…

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In the legal profession’s “new normal,” it’s not uncommon for recent law school graduates to have hundreds of thousands of dollars in educational debt, all for a piece of paper that grants them the right to try to become practicing attorneys. With the employment landscape being less than desirable, the high debt that comes with a law degree can seem all but insurmountable, and at times, completely soul-crushing. Living paycheck to paycheck to pay down loans with what little money you earn is unbearable, and doing normal adult things like getting married, buying a home, and having children are nigh impossible — the albatross of law school debt will always be hanging around your neck.

How can you possibly survive in this world with six figures of law school debt? Well, it helps if you’ve got a generous friend who’s willing to pay off your loans in full — under the cover of secrecy, of course.

With six figures of law school debt of my own, I can’t help but be incredibly envious…

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The Am Law 100 average spread is 11.1 to 1.

* If you’ve been dying to know what the partner compensation spread looks like at your firm, then we’ve got your fix. Check out the insane 23 to 1 spread over at Perkins Coie. [Am Law Daily]

* “It’s a complete structural change, and it’s not going away. The end result is fewer graduates, and fewer law schools.” With enrollment still dropping, the end seems near. [Boston Globe]

* “I predicted the collapse of legal education, but I didn’t quite predict how bad it would be.” Dean Frank Wu of UC Hastings Law is fighting his way out of a rankings slump. Good luck. [The Recorder]

* Widener is the latest law school to roll out a solo / small firm incubator. Only grads from the class of 2014 may apply. Earlier grads are ineligible because they presumably have jobs… maybe. [PennLive.com]

* You may think Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Scalia are “stuck in the past” and “disconnected from the real world,” but you may be wrong. You can read Uncertain Justice (affiliate link), by Laurence Tribe and Joshua Matz, to find out why. [New York Times]

* A judge has denied bail for the Georgia man accused of sending sext messages during his seven-hour work day while his 22-month-old son was left to die in his hot car. Ugh, this is terribly sad news. :( [CNN]

Lindsay Lohan

* Law firm mergers are on a record-setting pace, with 39 thus far in 2014. Just one “megamerger” was announced in the second quarter (Patton Boggs / Squire Sanders), but hey, we still have half the year ahead of us. [Am Law Daily]

* It hasn’t been a good week for the Thomas M. Cooley Law School. In addition to all of its enrollment woes, the Sixth Circuit affirmed the dismissal of its defamation suit against Team Strauss/Anziska. [National Law Journal]

* The doctors who spent the month of June evaluating Oscar Pistorius’s mental health found that he was depressed and posed a potential suicide risk. You’d feel the same if you were facing jail time. [CNN]

* Walgreens will give $180,000 to an ex-employee with diabetes as a settlement after the store fired her for eating a $1.39 bag of chips before paying to fend off a low blood sugar attack. [San Francisco Chronicle]

* Lindsay Lohan is suing Rockstar Games over an alleged character likeness in Grand Theft Auto V. To be fair, the character does kind of look like LiLo circa her “Mean Girls” days. [International Business Times]

* Politico asked 19 legal experts to evaluate the Supreme Court term. I wonder which 9 justices they thought were most important this term? [Politico]

* One of the girls who stabbed a friend at the supposed behest of the fictional “Slenderman” was deemed incompetent. [Chicago Tribune]

* Have you checked out the logo for Stussy jeans? Because those horsies look awfully familiar to a certain other, more famous jean company. [Los Angeles Intellectual Property Attorney Blog]

* The sad truth for those of you banking on Biglaw careers to pay off your loans? You are not a beautiful and unique snowflake. [Law School Lemmings]

* The recent study that created a cumulative ranking of law schools based on LSAT scores, employment, and citations has been updated to account for school-funded jobs. No more gaming the system schools. [The Faculty Lounge]

* Womble Carlyle prevails in the discrimination suit brought by a cancer survivor they fired when her cancer treatment left her weak. What’s with lawyers picking on cancer survivors today? [Triangle Business Journal]

* Mr. Florida Football: July 2014. Check out his stats: 6’1″, 245, 3 murder charges… [Chronicle of Higher Education]

* The next generation wants to change the world. Maybe consider something other than law school. [Law and More]

* The suit between Jerry Only and Danzig (Glenn, not Chris) is heating up with a countersuit. [Metal Sucks]

* Time for another Battle of the Law Firm Bands! This one is in L.A. next Tuesday, July 8, and 11 bands from area law firms and companies are playing, including bands from Latham, Gibson, O’Melveny, and MoFo. It’s for a good cause, so show up. [Family Violence Appellate Project]

Get out while you still can!

If you’ve managed to jump onto the speeding “now is a great time to apply to law school” train, then you might want to fling yourself from the tracks, because that thing is about to derail. We’ve got some major news from a law school that’s stereotypically regarded as one of the worst in the country. If you thought things were bad for law schools, you ain’t seen nothing yet.

The legal academy has been waiting with bated breath for something like this to happen, and now it finally has. A law school is cutting an entire class year from its enrollment logs at one campus and laying off faculty and staff — all at the same time.

Which law school seems to be in full on disaster mode right now?

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If your Facebook news feed is anything like mine, by now you’ve probably seen the Slate article encouraging people to “Apply to law school now!”, as well as Joe’s biting reply. The beef has gone back and forth. I’m not going to debate the job numbers; that’s been handled more than ably, and those who are willing to make an honest assessment of the job market already have.

Instead I am going to focus on the human cost of losing the law school lottery….

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For almost a decade, the Forum on Law, Culture & Society has hosted fascinating conversations about legal issues with such luminaries as President Bill Clinton and Justice Sonia Sotomayor. I’ve had the pleasure of attending several Forum events over the years, such as a riveting panel discussion about the Casey Anthony case and screenings of legally themed movies at the Forum Film Festival.

For years, the Forum has made its home at Fordham Law School. But now the Forum is moving. Where is it going, and why?

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* You may have missed this because you were busy lamenting yesterday’s Supreme Court decisions, so here are just a few of the high-profile cases for which the high court refused to grant cert. [WSJ Law Blog]

* A judge tossed a defamation suit filed against Cooley Law by the original law school litigation dream team. That’s too bad, it would’ve been interesting watch the trial. [National Law Journal]

* George Zimmerman lost his defamation suit against NBC. As it turns out, the network didn’t need to edit those phone calls to make it seem like the acquitted artist was racist. [Chicago Tribune]

* Listen, if you really feel like you need include an addendum to your law school application, you should try not to use too much flowery bullshit to explain away each of your misdoings and missteps. [Law Admissions Lowdown / U.S News & World Report]

* Unfortunately, things aren’t exactly getting much better for women in Silicon Valley. A former vice president over at Tinder alleges that the company’s CEO called her a “whore” at a party. Eww! [Reuters]

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