Northwestern Law

Chick-fil-A: tastes like hate?

Every year, law students find themselves at odds with each other thanks to the convenience of school-wide listservs. Where else can you spew all of your vitriol at classmates with just the click of a button? Welcome to law school, folks.

Perhaps the most storied law school listserv belongs to Northwestern University School of Law, where the “PC Police” live to serve. As we’ve noted in the past, “[t]he school seems to have a number of students who are easily offended. Some of the kids there overreact at the slightest provocation.”

So what happens when something that’s actually offensive occurs? For example, what do you think would happen if a conservative student group like the Federalist Society were to host a debate on same-sex marriage, with food catered by Chick-fil-A? As you can imagine, students lost their minds…

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There’s a curious case making the rounds today involving a top law school, its LL.M. program, and a convicted con man.

Mauricio Celis was convicted in 2009 for pretending to be a lawyer in Texas. Celis said that he was barred in Mexico but authorities contended that he was not, though Celis maintains his innocence.

In any event, after his conviction for unauthorized practice of law, he went to get an LL.M. After he enrolled, paid money, and spent months in the program, the school found out about his conviction and expelled him before graduation. After expulsion, Celis essentially filed an Adam Sandler-style lawsuit against the school, arguing that this was news that could have been brought to his attention yesterday.

While most of the internet is reacting with antipathy towards Celis, I’m going to defend the man. If schools weren’t so desperate to cash in on foreigners through expensive LL.M programs, they might have noticed the easily available public information about Celis’s past…

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Last week, we looked at which Biglaw firms were the highest rated in 2013 by their own lawyers, according to the ATL Insider Survey. As we noted, we’ve amassed in excess of 15,500 responses to our survey from practicing lawyers and law students. The information from our survey provides our readers with a deep resource for comparing and evaluating schools and firms, particularly in the form of our Law Firm and Law School Directories.

Today, we continue to milk the “it’s a New Year/here’s a list” format and present 2013’s highest-rated law schools. Please note this is not to be confused with the ATL Law School Rankings, which assess schools based on a range of employment outcomes (and which are coming out later this year). These ratings are a pure function of how schools were rated by current students in the areas of academics, financial aid advising, career services, practical/clinical training, and social life.

More clues that these are not the ATL Law School Rankings: Northeastern beats Northwestern, while Yale and Harvard do not even make the cut…

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Congratulations to Northwestern University and Northwestern Law. The university just announced a $25 million gift, and $15 million of that will go to the law school.

The gift comes from Northwestern Law alum Neil Bluhm, who has an estimated net worth of $2.5 billion. Although Bluhm made his fortune as a real estate and casino magnate, he took his first steps towards wealth in Biglaw. Bluhm worked as an associate and then a partner in the Chicago office of Mayer Brown.

Speaking of Mayer Brown, the firm’s New York office just announced bonuses. Could they be the first big bucks banked by budding billionaires?

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Is belief in old St. Nick unreasonable?

One of the great things about religious liberty is the ability to believe unreasonable things.

– Professor Andrew Koppelman of Northwestern Law, speaking yesterday at the Federalist Society National Lawyers Convention, on a panel about religious freedom.

(If you’re curious, a little explanation appears after the jump.)

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Whenever the topic of financial profligacy arises, I like to remind the assembled audience of my own rectitude in such matters. Why, I didn’t get a credit card until my second year of law school. Until that point, I had no need for credit. And I still didn’t even after I got the card. A twelve-hundred dollar limit is what they gave me on account of my non-existent credit. But that was alright with me. What in the world would ever possess a person to spend more than a thousand dollars that they didn’t have on hand? Do you know how cheap eggs are? I mean, I know this sounds like quite the non sequitur, but do you know how cheap a carton of eggs is? You can get them for a dollar. Maybe a dollar and change. The only reason I bring this up is they are a tasty source of protein for next-to-no-money at all. And so I ask you, why in the world would you ever need to borrow an enormous sum of money? Why would you spend your money like some drunk, and likely ethnic, sailor on shore leave? Are you compensating for something? I beseech you, are you too good for eggs? No sir, I don’t think I’m better than you with your spendthrift waffle iron ways. I just think you must never have truly learned how to run a tight fiscal ship.

I owe several entities close to a quarter-million dollars because of a Northwestern legal education that led me to… well, this.

Let’s talk money.

Let’s talk sports…

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For law students, nothing is more devastating than something happening to their precious laptops. They are the very tool that allow the future lawyers of America to survive the rigors of law school. A law student’s class notes are priceless, and if anything were to happen to them, it could have disastrous effects. Trust us when we say that you do not want to mess with a law student’s laptop. You could end up having the crap beaten out of you if you do.

We’re pretty sure there’s a special place in hell for anyone who would dare to steal a law student’s laptop, and this week, someone at one of the top law schools in the nation earned a ticket straight to the inferno. You’re probably a disgusting human being if you think it’s alright to steal a law student’s laptop. You deserve to be punched in the face.

So what happens when a fellow law student’s most prized possession in the world is taken away?

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On the one hand, people who steal other people’s lunches are kind of the worst. Nobody accidentally steals lunch from a communal fridge. They know damn well that they are taking the food out of somebody else’s mouth.

On the other hand, people who have a conniption when their lunch gets stolen need to chill. You wouldn’t put your iPad or your wallet in a communal fridge. Not just because it would be a weird place to store such things, but because the very definition of “communal” means any random person with low moral character can take your stuff. If something is so precious to you that you’re going to have a fit if you lose it, you should keep it on your person or under lock and key.

But I guess overall I’m happy that law students keep leaving their lunches in communal fridges and are then surprised when somebody else in the community takes their food. Because watching a person lose their minds like their blood sugar has bottomed out in front of the whole freaking class is fun to read about….

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3L year everywhere.

David Lat and I were on CNBC’s Power Lunch with Dan Rodriguez, Dean of Northwestern Law School, discussing whether law school should be two years. As I mentioned earlier today, this debate got started again when President Obama said that he thought law school should last only two years, at least in terms of classroom instruction. Please see my earlier post if you’d like to talk about why Obama’s thought bubble was literally the least useful thing he could have done to effectuate the change he desires.

Here, we’re going to talk about whether Obama’s idea is good in the first place. Should law school be two years long? Let me rephrase that question: is there any possible justification for forcing people to sit through a third year of law school if they don’t want to?

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Ed. note: This is the latest installment of The ATL Interrogatories. This recurring feature will give a notable law firm partner an opportunity to share insights and experiences about the legal profession and careers in law, as well as about their firms and themselves.

Richard Wiley is the nation’s preeminent communications lawyer. He served as chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, where he fostered increased competition and lessened regulation in the communications field. Mr. Wiley played a pivotal role in the development of HDTV in this country, serving for nine years as Chairman of the FCC’s Advisory Committee on Advanced Television Service. As head of the firm’s communications practice group (the largest in the nation), his clients include Verizon, AT&T, JP Morgan, Credit Suisse, Motorola, and CBS. Mr. Wiley is a graduate of Northwestern Law and holds an LLM from Georgetown.

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