Media and Journalism

To qualify as a lawyer in the U.K., you first have to eat 12 dinners. Seriously. OK, it’s only barristers (British trial lawyers) who must meet this requirement. And they have to pass legal exams as well as eat. But the essence of my slightly sensationalised opening sentence is true: no dinners, no qualification.

Here’s what happens: students go to law school in the day, then every month or so go and eat a formal dinner at one of London’s inns of court (ancient clubs for trial lawyers). The medieval ritual has its roots in the pre-law school days when “sons of country gentlemen” from across Britain would come to lodge in the inns, attending lectures, taking part in mock courts, and dining together in the inns’ main halls (Harry Potter-style places that are famous for hosting Shakespeare’s original plays). Certain traditions are still followed, like toasting the Queen and refusing to shake hands with anyone (barristers are historically forbidden from shaking hands each other’s hands). But mainly it’s about getting drunk — on port, the U.K. establishment’s tipple of choice.

Why am I telling you about this? To give you a sense of port’s central role in the education of our young, as a primer for a story about the Oxford University Conservative association accidentally revealing its hate-filled Nazi soul at a recent “port and policy” night….

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Is the Unfrozen Caveman Lawyer more attractive than the average attorney?

Last week, we posed a provocative question: Are The 1Ls Actually Dumber This Year? Based on the decisive vote in our reader poll, the answer appears to be “yes.”

Today we bring you another controversial query: Are male lawyers and law students getting uglier? Does the J.D. degree — and the student debt that comes with it — make them look fat?

Whether male lawyers are decreasing in attractiveness seems subjective. But there’s actually some evidence that the men of the legal profession are 66 percent less hot than they were last year….

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Congrats to Mike Sacks on his new gig!

* I’m not alone in arguing for apprenticeships in the world of legal education. On the other side of the pond, Chris Ashford likes the idea too. [The Lawyer]

* Speaking of legal education, “Some Things Are Funny in Law School.” [Only in Law School]

* Congratulations to Mike Sacks — founder of First One @ One First, and a past contributor to these pages — on his exciting new job! [ABA Journal; First One @ One First]

* What should rejected applicants to the shrinking DOJ Honors Program do? Let them eat… muffins! Cake can’t hold a candle to $16 muffins. [Constitutional Daily]

* Given my own uneasiness about guns, I’m not so enthusiastic about the right to print arms. [Associate's Mind]

* Professor Glenn Reynolds asks: “Can Lack of Sleep Ruin Your Marriage?” Just ask the divorced denizens of Biglaw. [Instapundit]

Nancy Grace: You'll be seeing a lot more of her.

Ever since the acquittal of Casey Anthony, people have been wondering: What has Nancy Grace been up to? The prosecutrix turned pundit got some major mileage out of the Casey Anthony trial, which she followed with maniacal dedication. How could she top her gavel-to-gavel coverage of the infamous “Tot Mom” trial?

Earlier today, “Nancy Grace” started trending on Twitter. It was from Twitter that I learned of Nancy Grace’s second act.

You’ll have a hard time believing this, but it seems to be true….

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Tammy Hsu

This afternoon we wrote about a blog entitled Confessions of an (Aspiring) Yalie. In this blog, Tammy Hsu, a 1L at Wake Forest University School of Law, chronicles her journey through the first year of law school — a journey she hopes will culminate with a successful transfer application to Yale Law School.

As we noted, Tammy Hsu’s blog is now restricted to invited readers. Some posts are still accessible via Google Cache (and in the comments to our original story, some of you identified favorite posts of yours).

Shortly after we wrote about her, we heard from Tammy C. Hsu. She sent us a defense and explanation of her blog’s origins, which we will now share….

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Tammy Hsu, aspiring Yalie.

We begin with a message to our readers. Consider yourselves on notice: we regard almost anything you place on the internet, even if just for a brief hot second, to be fair game for coverage. It doesn’t matter to us if you later try to “recall” your mass email or delete your public blog. Once you’ve put something out there, thereby forfeiting any reasonable expectation of privacy, then it’s gone, baby, gone. [FN1]

And honestly, in the internet age, what privacy expectations are reasonable in the first place? Emails can be forwarded; images can be downloaded or photographed themselves, then re-posted. If it’s not already dead, privacy is rapidly dying. You might as well start living in public now, and make life easier for yourself. Just let it all hang out, and then you’ll never be embarrassed about anything getting leaked. (This is my philosophy on Twitter, where my feed is often TMI.)

Living in public: that’s the premise behind a charming new law student blog by a 1L with ambition. Like a fair number of bloggers — Brian Stelter and his Twitter diet come to mind — law student Tammy Hsu seeks to harness public exposure for her own benefit. Hsu, a first-year student at Wake Forest University School of Law, writes a blog built around her goal of transferring into Yale Law School. It’s right there in the title of her site: “Confessions of an (Aspiring) Yalie.”

By putting her ambition out in the open, Hsu is motivating herself to succeed, because failure would be so public. She is lighting the proverbial fire under her own arse, turning her classmates and the internet into one big Tiger Mother. If she’s not at 127 Wall Street this time next year, people will look down upon her — so now she has every incentive to excel in her 1L year at Wake Forest.

Sounds like a great idea, right?

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Yale Law School

Here at Above the Law, we’ve been discussing problems with the current law school model for quite some time now. My colleague Elie Mystal, for example, has railed against the high cost of law school, the crippling debt taken on by many law students, and the scarcity of jobs waiting for them on the other side.

By now we’re all aware of the problems. What about possible solutions?

In the wake of David Segal’s most recent New York Times exposé on law school shenanigans, the Times’s Room for Debate section solicited perspectives from a number of experts — including yours truly — on whether and how to reform legal education.

The responses are quite interesting. Let’s check them out, shall we?

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And now comes the part in our story where law school administrations, stung by the criticism they just received in the New York Times, start spinning. Yes, yesterday the Times exposed the law school business model to a horrified public of non-lawyers. Today, law schools are obligated to say, “No, no, no, that’s not our business model.”

It’s a perfect response. Law students already believe that they are special and will somehow overcome various odds stacked against them, and so they are particularly susceptible to the argument that while other law schools might have problems, the school they picked is the honorable school standing apart from the disreputable actions of others.

It’s like when women say “I have the best husband in the world.” Sure, 90% of husbands hate chick flicks, wish there was a way to get a hot meal without listening to your BS, and would bone Angelina Jolie 30 times in a row before they even remembered your name, but you found the best husband evah! Because you are so damn smart and discerning.

A bunch of law schools have tried to distinguish themselves from New York Law School since this weekend’s article, but the most outstanding example of this kind of distancing comes from: New York Law School….

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We haven’t really been covering the News Corp. / News of the World scandal because I want to be invited on to Fox News again (j/k). Whether or not Rupert Murdoch or his company broke various U.K. laws is not something we’ve looked at in depth.

And we’ll not look at it in depth here. Instead, we’re just going to show you a video of a man being hit with a pie.

Because you never know when your client might be in this situation…

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[Brendan] Sullivan and his law firm certainly have their work cut out for them. [Rupert] Murdoch may have thought the damage was contained, but it appears this scandal will persist for quite a while.

– Professor Peter J. Henning, commenting on the decision of News Corp. to hire renowned litigator Brendan Sullivan and his powerhouse law firm, Williams & Connolly, to handle the U.S. component of its massive (and metastasizing) phone-hacking scandal.

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