Michigan

The facts in today’s Supreme Court opinions read like a bloopers reel of our courts system. What do we do when judges are wrong on the law in a criminal case? What if a plaintiff decides, after losing, that he filed in a state court when the state court didn’t have jurisdiction? What if a lawyer doesn’t tell his client that by pleading guilty he’s going to be deported?

As Yakov Smirnoff would say, “What a country!

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Dean Don LeDuc

I cannot speak for the other Michigan law school deans, but for myself I cannot accept that the 2012 results validly assessed our graduates. In short, these results are not for real.

Don LeDuc, president and dean of Thomas M. Cooley Law School, commenting on his school’s abysmal results on the July 2012 administration of the Michigan bar examination.

(If you recall, we previously discussed this summer’s Michigan bar exam results, but what other amusing things does Dean LeDuc have to say about them?)

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Was one of the essay questions “design an American truck that runs on candy and rainbows but still has enough power to make a Texan feel better about his small penis”? Because that would be a hard question. And it would explain the abysmal bar passage rate achieved by test takers on the July 2012 Michigan bar exam.

The people who took the Michigan bar exam passed at a rate as if all of them went to Cooley. Okay, it wasn’t that bad, but it was still pretty bad. The bar passage rate for the state was 55 percent. Tipsters and commenters contend that those ridiculous numbers are due to a change in scoring the essays, but the Michigan Bar hasn’t released an official reason for the low rates.

Hell, maybe they want it this way. One way of slowing the saturation of the legal market is to make it a harder market to enter.

Let’s take a look at a school-by-school breakdown…

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Behold the Monkey!

* Martin Bienenstock, Dewey’s former bankruptcy head, offered some free legal advice to the firm’s bankruptcy advisers: “[P]lease get real about the unfinished business claims.” [WSJ Law Blog]

* In other interesting Dewey news, you’re never going to guess what Steve DiCarmine’s been doing since the firm went under. He of the orange skin tone is making it work at Parsons. [Am Law Daily]

* Remember Kenechukwu Okoli, the guy who slapped a Paul Hastings partner in the face during a depo and then sued him for assault? Yup, that suit got dismissed. [Thomson Reuters News & Insight]

* NerdWallet has created an online law school comparison tool, but users will only get to choose from 50 schools, none of which are in the so-called U.S. News second tier. Guess they don’t think Cooley is the second-best school in the country. How rude. [Bucks / New York Times]

* Cecilia Gimenez, the woman from Spain who accidentally turned a fresco of Christ into a portrait of a monkey, is now seeking royalties from funds the church levied as entrance fees to see her “work of art.” [Telegraph]

* Bridget Mary McCormack, a candidate for Michigan’s Supreme Court, has a simple tip for putting together the best judicial campaign video ever: all you need to do is reunite the cast of The West Wing. Check it out….

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Andrew Shirvell

[T]here’s no way I could possibly ever pay such a judgment.

Andrew Shirvell, commenting on the $4.5M jury verdict awarded to Chris Armstrong in his stalking and defamation case against the former Michigan assistant attorney general.

(Shirvell has been unemployed since being fired from the state attorney general’s office over his anti-gay online campaign against Armstrong, and he plans to appeal the judgment.)

A Shirvell Photoshopportunity?

* “I don’t think I should have to pay anything back, because I wasn’t part of the management that drove the firm into the ground.” Dewey know when it’s time to stop complaining, pay up, shut up, and move on? [DealBook / New York Times]

* Good news, everyone! According to the Citi Midyear Report, based on the first half of 2012, Biglaw firms may have trouble matching last year’s single-digit profit growth. You thought the worst was over? How embarrassing for you. [Am Law Daily]

* Apparently Andrew Shirvell didn’t do a very good job questioning himself on the stand, because the former Michigan AAG now has to shell out $4.5M in damages for defaming Chris Armstrong. [Detroit Free Press]

* Six of one, half a dozen of the other: Barry Bonds’s lawyers filed a reply brief in their appeal of his obstruction conviction, arguing that his statements were truthful but nonresponsive, as opposed to being misleading. [AP]

* “We’re crazy about sex in the United States. I call it ‘sexophrenia.’” The Millionaire Madam’s attorney had a nutty yesterday after a judge refused to dismiss a prostitution charge against his client. [New York Daily News]

* The opposite of a fluffer? Los Angeles officials seeking to enforce the city’s new adult film condom law are beginning a search for medical professionals to inspect porn shoots for compliance. [Los Angeles Times]

SO. Freaking. Annoying!

If you like traffic cops, please raise your hand.

Good. Now bring that hand down in a hard, smacking manner upside your own head.

Traffic cops are the worst cops of all cops and meter maids are the worst of all the traffic cops. Think about it, the entire job of a meter maid involves punishing people for parking their cars — usually in a time and place where the very city they represent has not provided enough parking. What kind of job is that? I feel like everybody should have the right to go Lock Stock on traffic wardens.

Well, maybe that’s going a little far. But you should at least be able to scream at them. That’s a position that the state of Michigan fully supports me on…

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* “There’s no future in working for Dewey & LeBoeuf,” but maybe if the firm’s few remaining employees can hold on for a little while longer, then perhaps they’ll be able to take home some bonus cash. [Am Law Daily]

* Doctors in Arizona are trying to block part of a new law that makes it a crime for physicians to perform abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy. Well, somebody wasn’t paying attention in Con Law. [Bloomberg]

* All it took was an investigation by the Michigan Judicial Tenure Commission to get this judge to change his tune and apologize for throwing a lawyer in jail for the crime of representing his client. [WZZM]

* What do recent law school grads think about Yale Law’s new Ph.D. program? Most aren’t willing to spend the time or money to “resolve [their] next career crisis by going back to school.” [U.S. News & World Report]

* Come on, you’re not the 99 percent. Clinic members from NYU Law and Fordham Law wrote a report criticizing the NYPD’s response to the Occupy Wall Street movement. [Thomson Reuters News & Insight]

* Wait, law schools are slow to adopt something that may benefit their students? What else is new? Corporate compliance classes are few and far between, even though they could get you a job. [WSJ Law Blog]

Last summer, the Thomas M. Cooley Law School was hit with a class action lawsuit over the school’s allegedly deceptive post-graduate employment data. The case was filed by plaintiffs’ lawyers Jesse Strauss and David Anziska. In October 2011, Cooley Law filed a motion to dismiss that claim, adopting a “blame the ABA” theory in defense of its employment statistics.

On June 5, lawyers ventured to the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan to argue the merits of the case. Although Judge Gordon Quist sided with the Cooley grads on several issues, he noted that they faced an “uphill battle” on some of their other allegations. And now, before hordes of Cooley graduates sit down to take the bar examination, we’ve got news on whether the class action suit survived that motion.

What result? The class action lawsuit filed by Team Strauss/Anziska against Cooley Law over its allegedly deceptive employment statistics has been dismissed….

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Last month, in the inaugural post in our series of Law School Success Stories, we focused on the theme of “the value of thrift.” We outlined a “low risk” approach to law school, profiling happy law school graduates who secured their law degrees without going into excessive debt — under $50K upon graduation, which is the recommendation of Professor Brian Tamanaha, author of a new book (affiliate link) about reforming legal education.

Today we’re going to cover the flip side: the “high risk, high reward” approach to legal education. In some ways this is a dangerous theme. The promise of Biglaw bucks is the siren song that leads many to crash on the rocks of joblessness and crippling debt (as Will Meyerhofer discussed earlier today).

Some law schools clearly exaggerate the ability of a legal education to increase a person’s career prospects and earning potential. But for some subset of law students, however small, law school does turn out to be a golden ticket. Their numbers might be inflated, but they do exist. Law school has allowed these individuals to increase their incomes dramatically. And — shocker! — many of these J.D. holders actually enjoy their lucrative new jobs.

Read about a young woman who went from being a secretary to having a secretary — along with a six-figure paycheck. Meet a young man with a rather unmarketable undergraduate degree who now, thanks to law school, makes bank in New York City.

Here’s another way of describing today’s success stories: “Fairy tales can come true, it can happen to you….”

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