New England Law | Boston

What do you do with the dean of an unranked, fourth-tier law school, who gets made fun of in national newspapers for his enormous salary, tries to fire 35 to 40 percent of his faculty, and even makes taking a 25 percent pay cut look disingenuous and self-serving?

Well, if you are the American Bar Association, you give him an award. And not a sarcastic one like the one I suggested in the headline. I should give New England Law | Boston law dean John F. O’Brien an award for “Most Effective Troll Of His Own Students.” But the ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar is giving him a real award: the 2014 Robert J. Kutak Award. The award is given annually “to an individual who has contributed significantly toward increased cooperation among legal education, the practicing bar, and the judiciary.”

You know you are dealing with a cartel when it is so tone deaf that it starts giving awards to the members who seem to do the best job of exploiting non-members. Didn’t anybody tell them that handing out a “Pimp of the Year” award is supposed to be a joke?

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Remember when George Mason made a run to the Final Four? Or when VCU climbed out of the play-in game to make it into the Final Four? Quick aside, are you tired of the CBS commentators pushing the whole “it’s not a play-in game, it’s the First Round” on us? It’s like CBS hired the inventor of the Cooley Rankings idea.

Anyway, like those exciting, underdog-dominated tournaments, it looks like we’ve got a bottom-seeded team charging all the way into the Elite Eight in our humble ATL bracket. How crazy is that?

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Basketball’s March Madness provided a string of dramatic upsets over the weekend. The Above the Law editors lost their alma maters over the weekend, and all of us slipped out of the Warren Buffett billion-dollar-bracket pool. It was all sad. But nothing warms the heart more than a CBS reaction shot to crying Duke bros.

Did ATL’s annual tournament provide similar fireworks?

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Games are underway. Your daily routine of blowing off work to read Above the Law is now complemented with blowing off work to watch a streaming CBS feed. If you’re going to do anything legal today — and I mean “legal” both as “law work” and “not illegal” — you might as well vote on the worst law school in America.

Polls for all 16 first-round matchups appear below. Get down there and vote for your favorites. Or least favorites, as the case may be.

Whatever you do, may your degree not be permanently sullied by this competition….

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Now that you’ve listened to the Above the Law editors draft their picks for the Worst Law School in America, it’s time to start filling out your brackets. The official ATL selection committee arranged the picks into a bracket retaining the integrity of the seeds, but otherwise shifting teams around to avoid having an editor’s teams face off in the first round.

So check out what the bracket holds….

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* Justice Sandra Day O’Connor has joined Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg in being one of the only justices to perform a same-sex marriage. No divas here: the wedding ceremony was held at the high court because “[t]hat’s where she was.” [BuzzFeed]

* “Proceed with caution.” David Kappos, the former director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, isn’t too keen on the latest patent reform bill that’s currently before the House Judiciary Committee. If only the man still had a say. [National Law Journal]

* Dentons and McKenna Long & Aldridge have released a joint statement to ensure the public that the proposed merger is still on. Good news, everyone! The firm won’t be named McDentons. [Am Law Daily]

* Ralph Lerner, formerly of Sidley Austin, has been slapped on the wrist suspended from practice in New York for one year’s time after improperly billing car service to clients to the tune of $50,000. [Am Law Daily]

* It’s been a year since Superstorm Sandy, and lawyers are still counseling their clients on how to muddle through the mess. Volunteer some pro bono hours and help out those in need. [New York Law Journal]

* After threatening to cut faculty positions, New England Law Dean John O’Brien is taking a 25 percent pay cut. He’ll only earn $650,000. Wow. I think we’re supposed to be impressed. [Boston Business Journal]

* Career alternatives for attorneys: rescuer of nerd relics. Head to this Brooklyn book store (of course it’s in Brooklyn) if you’re desperately seeking long lost science fiction tales. [Wall Street Journal (sub. req.)]

* We bet that folks in Australia would like to tell the the High Court to bugger off after overturning this ruling. Sexual injuries that occur during work-related trips don’t qualify for workers’ compensation. [Bloomberg]

I’d say that New England Law School Dean John F. O’Brien “should be ashamed of himself,” but really, the man has already proven that he is not capable of experiencing the human emotion of “shame.” This is a guy who would probably ask the Ghost of Christmas Future how much he gets paid for a good haunting.

O’Brien is well known around these parts for making $867,000 a year to run an unranked law school. No, that’s not a typo, and yes, I’ve sat in a diner with a New England law student and said, “If you give that nimrod $40,904 I’m gonna shoot him on general principles.”

Now, O’Brien is asking the other faculty at New England to take a buyout or work like employees at Initech…

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Justice never sleeps… except during Obama’s SOTU addresses.

* “You just sit there, looking stupid.” The justices of the Supreme Court aren’t required to show up and look like “potted plants” at the State of the Union address, but some of them do every year. [CNN]

* Well, thanks to the DOJ’s fraud lawsuit filed against ratings agency Standard & Poor’s, it’s starting to look a lot like a litigation gang bang up in here as far as the states are concerned. [Bloomberg]

* Dewey know whether D&L’s retirees are still kicking (legally speaking) or if they’ve decided to send their claims to hospice? We certainly do, and we’ll have more on this later. [Am Law Daily]

* That “death and taxes” thing may be true, but when you’re trying to navigate the U.S. tax code as a married same-sex couple and the government won’t even recognize your union, there’s an uncomfortable air of uncertainty. [New York Times]

* “Have we seceded already? The execution is faster than I thought.” Guess which state in the Deep South accidentally raised a Confederate battle flag over the building that houses its Supreme Court. [Clarion-Ledger]

* Mama said knock you out: if you’re trying to figure out how to get a job after graduating from New England Law School, moonlighting as a champion boxer will help you beat down the competition. [Boston Herald]

The internet was awash in outrage this weekend after a Boston Globe report revealed that John F. O’Brien, dean of the New England School of Law, makes an obscene amount of money.

And it is obscene. O’Brien makes $867,000 to run a law school so bad it is not numerically ranked by U.S. News. It’s an embarrassing figure for anybody who runs a non-profit educational institution that claims tax-exempt status. Really, somebody should look into that tax exemption, and ask a court to do the same.

It’d be pretty easy to sit here and jump up and down on O’Brien. Again, he makes an obscene amount of money for selling a substandard product. I assume he pays somebody to go around collecting the tears of his recent graduates so he can drink them at parties.

But how much did you think this guy made? Only $400,000? A mere $250,000? New England School of Law charges people $40,904 a year for an education. Where did you think that money was going? The students? Don’t be as naive as the people who actually go to New England School of Law. If I may quote Judd Hirsch from Independence Day: “You don’t actually think they spend $20,000 on a hammer, $30,000 on a toilet seat, do you?”

Let me ask the question this way: How much do you think Case Western Reserve School of Law Dean Lawrence Mitchell makes?

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DaNae Couch

* “I’m a New Yorker, and I jaywalk with the best of them.” Don’t be fooled by the rocks job that she’s got — she’s still, she’s still Jenny Sonia from the block. The Supreme Court’s very own wise Latina, author of a new memoir (affiliate link), is proud of her city. [New York Times; 60 Minutes]

* If you’re looking for an M&A adviser, you’d be wise to seek out counsel from Skadden Arps. The firm swept three separate rankings lists based on the total value of its clients’ 2012 M&A transactions. [Am Law Daily]

* Only in the world of legal education could the dean of a law school that isn’t even numerically ranked by U.S. News have the highest salary of all law deans nationwide. (We’ll likely have more on this later.) [Boston Globe]

* Arizona schools will allow 3Ls to take the bar exam, but New York schools may soon do away with 3L year altogether. Of course, the ABA will find a way to muck it up, but still, hooray for progress! [National Law Journal]

* Remember “Made in Jersey,” the show about a stereotypical Jersey girl who made the jump to Biglaw? Yeah, neither does anyone else. Hopefully “Staten Island Law” won’t face the same fate. [New York Daily News]

* “Sexiness is all about being a woman of character.” Our congratulations go out to DaNae Couch, the Texas Tech law student who advanced to the Top 10 of the Miss America competition. You go girl! [Lubbock Online]

* Aaron Swartz — Reddit co-founder, friend of Larry Lessig, felony hacking defendant — RIP. [New York Times]

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