Maryland Law

Scalia/Ginsburg: coming soon to an opera house near you?

We recently shared with you a fascinating, legally themed musical project: Scalia/Ginsburg, an opera about two of the U.S. Supreme Court’s leading lights, by award-winning composer Derrick Wang.

Justice Scalia and Justice Ginsburg, longtime colleagues and good friends, don’t share much in terms of jurisprudence but do share a love of opera. It’s fitting, then, that their Con Law clashes will serve as the basis for a new operatic work.

Where did Wang come up with the idea for an opera about these two distinguished jurists? As it turns out, Wang is not only a composer but a law school graduate. Where did he go to law school, and why?

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Nelson Mandela

Forget vultures, Nelson Mandela should be afraid of turtles circling.

Nelson Mandela is not dead. At least not yet, and there is hope that the ailing former president of South Africa is on the mend.

When the famed civil rights leader passes away someday down the road, there will be no end of tributes, including law school symposia celebrating his contributions.

But one law school decided it was tired of waiting for the hospital-bound former president. The school went ahead and wrote his obituary, using it as an opportunity to pimp their connections with South Africa….

(Please note the UPDATE at the end of the post.)

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Nelson Mandela Did Not Die — Someone Please Tell This Law School”

Whenever we talk about law school grading around here, it usually involves a law professor being incredibly lazy when it comes time to perform his or her most important function regarding a student’s likely job prospects. Or it involves a law school trying to arbitrarily inflate its grades in a desperate attempt to enhance its employment stats.

Sadly, these stories don’t reflect any effort on the part of legal academia to actually come up with a grading system that is fundamentally fair and useful to the students who rely on it. That law school grades are somewhat arbitrary is just a feature of the system that we all kind of accept, even as we know that employers place significant weight on law school grades when handing out scarce legal jobs.

Given all that, I wanted to take some time on a Friday afternoon to consider the proposals of one law professor who has actually thought through some modest ways to make grading exams something less of a random crapshoot…

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* All your base are belong to… Rick Santorum? Error! Malfunction! Super Tuesday was not quite as super as Mitt Romney was hoping for. Looks like it’s time to reprogram the Mitt-bot so he can conquer the true conservatives. [CNN]

* And the Cebulls**t just keeps on coming. Now Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee are calling for a hearing and an investigation on the consequences of the federal judge’s racist email. [Associated Press]

* After wrapping up a Chapter 11 bankruptcy for Lehman Brothers, Weil Gotshal’s bill came to $383M. And sadly, that’s probably going to be the only “spring bonus” associates will see this year. [Am Law Daily]

* Complete pwnage: a handful of LulzSec hacktivists were arrested after their leader, an FBI informant, turned on them. How will this affect the Anonymous movement? More importantly, who cares? [New York Times]

* No postponements for you, Casey Anthony. Try as she might, the acquitted ex-MILF just can’t escape the defamation lawsuit filed by a woman who was only supposed to be make believe. [Washington Post]

* Don’t like Maryland Law’s environmental clinic litigation? Offer another public law school $500K to represent the defendants. Because if anyone would take a bribe, it would be Baltimore Law. [National Law Journal]

What is this, I don't even...

* It looks like the Biglaw buzzwords for 2012 are “challenge” and “uncertainty.” Good! Great! Grand! Wonderful! Speaking of uncertainty, where are the spring bonuses? [Thomson Reuters News & Insight]

* Kodak got the go-ahead for a $950M bankruptcy financing deal. Just think, if you had taken pictures using a film camera instead of a digital one, we probably wouldn’t be telling you about this. [Bloomberg]

* Rod Blagojevich will report to prison for his 14-year sentence on March 15, and he hopes to do so with “dignity” (i.e., no cameras). But you can be damn sure he’ll have his hair did, just in case. [Chicago Tribune]

* To be fair, the University of Maryland School of Law doesn’t really have time to worry about that parking job. The university might have to pay up to $500K in legal fees thanks to a lawsuit filed by the school’s environmental law clinic. [National Law Journal]

* Duncan Law’s got 99 problems, and another lawsuit is one. In addition to the school’s troubles with the ABA, a law student is suing because the school “negligently allowed her to enroll.” [Knoxville News Sentinel]

* George Seward, the founding partner of Seward & Kissel, has died at the age of 101. RIP. [Businessweek]

Yesterday, we brought you news of a job opportunity that is currently available on the University of Maryland School of Law’s Symplicity job bank. When we first wrote about the listing, we called it a “career services nightmare.” After all, the job had more to do with orange parking cones than the law.

As it turns out, the powers that be at Maryland Law weren’t very happy that Above the Law called them out. Instead of hanging their heads in shame for trying to sell a job as a parking garage manager to its students, the career development office issued a vigorous defense of this exciting opportunity in vehicular supervision and coordination.

The email was written by the assistant dean for career development herself. What did she have to say?

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Back in December 2010, we reported that tuition at the University of Maryland School of Law (now known as the Francis King Carey School of Law) would not be subject to the four percent hike for the 2011-2012 academic year that was thrust upon the rest of the programs doing business at the university’s Baltimore campus.

It was rumored that the law school’s dean, Phoebe Haddon, fought valiantly to keep tuition from rising due to students’ hefty debt loads and the “impact of the economic downturn on the legal employment market.” At the time, we gave Maryland Law major kudos for protecting its students from tuition increases. Now, we wonder if a just little more tuition money would have prevented this career services nightmare.

As it turns out, even students who attend a top 50 law school are in danger of landing awful jobs, especially when the career development office is offering up gems like this one….

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They're going to need a new logo.

If your law school sells its naming rights but keeps tuition flat, would you protest? That’s the question facing students at the University of Maryland School of Law. They woke up on Monday morning to find out that instead of going to an easily identifiably state law school, they’ll soon be going to something called the Francis King Carey School of Law.

(Good thing you can spell that name without the letter “T.”)

Of course, so long as U.S. News keeps identifying the school as “Maryland” in some fashion (the same way that “Levin School of Law” never obscures the University of Florida affiliation), I doubt this name change will affect how the school is regarded. And since Maryland is not raising tuition, the administration needed to raise cash in some other fashion.

So all things considered, I’m guessing Maryland Law students are pretty happy with this outcome. Right?

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Big deans don't cry?

Yesterday we talked about a couple of schools that fell in this year’s U.S. News law school rankings, whose deans promptly devoted school-wide emails making excuses for their programs dropping. Predictably, they criticized U.S. News’s latest methodology, even though this year’s formula did a better job of focusing on factors law students actually care about (like jobs, not donuts).

We asked you to send us other responses from law school administrations regarding this year’s rankings. And, ye Gods, foot soldiers with no clear mission or exit strategy in Afghanistan aren’t bitching and moaning as much as law school deans are just because U.S. News prefers schools that get their students jobs. If these crybaby deans could care about the employment outcomes of their students half as much as they care about the U.S. News rankings, then going to law school wouldn’t be such a financially dangerous option and their schools would do better in the rankings.

We were overwhelmed by the responses. Keep ‘em coming! But we’ll have to deal with many of them when we get to the appropriate point in our series of open threads on law schools.

Today I just want to focus on a few schools that did better in the rankings this year, yet still found the time to bitch about U.S. News. You expect schools that drop to be dismissive of the rankings, but when schools that are bathed in rankings glory are unsatisfied, that’s a little bit more interesting….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Start Your Whining (Part 2): U.S. News Makes Law Schools Squirm All Across the Land”

You can’t call it a trend just yet, but the University of New Hampshire School of Law has joined Maryland Law and Miami Law in the fight to keep law school tuition down during a still-recovering economy. The school reports it will not be raising tuition for the 2011-2012 academic year.

It’s a sad state of affairs when a law school holding the line on tuition is breaking news. But with nearly every other law school rushing to bilk students who will pay anything for a legal education (law schools at Stanford, Arizona State, and Minnesota spring to mind), it’s nice to see at least a couple of schools that regard their students as something more than profit centers.

Maryland announced its tuition freeze in December. The National Law Journal reports that Miami recently announced it would be maintaining a tuition freeze already in place. Now UNH Law is joining their ranks. There’s still plenty of room on this bandwagon if your law school would like to take a brief break from molesting your financial future.

Not that UNH Law is cheap, especially for a third-tier law school. But this tuition freeze is another indication that UNH is at least trying to think about legal education in a somewhat realistic way…

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