Northwestern University

Three years ago, the eminent civil rights historian Taylor Branch wrote a scathing essay in The Atlantic that compared college athletics to slavery. In that piece, he wrote that college sports carried with it “the unmistakeable whiff of the plantation.” Comparisons to slavery cannot be brought lightly, of course. This is not Kristallnacht after all.

Three years later, the plantation house still stands. As if we are taking a remedial class taught by Howard Zinn, we now arrive at organized labor. This week, it was reported that members of Northwestern University’s football team had filed a petition with the National Labor Relations Board in order to be recognized as a labor union. If successful, communism.

Whether you believe that college football players should be granted fifteen minute smoke breaks every four hours or not, I think it’s safe to say that we all fervently pray for the day that the NCAA perishes after a long, yet valiant, struggle with butt cancer. Because of that, there were very few outright denunciations of Northwestern University’s actions in the media this week. Still, let’s get a lay of the land, shall we?

Let’s talk Samuel Gompers. Let’s talk Hoffa. Let’s talk sports….

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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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Well, it’s that time. This is the final installment of the 2012 Bar Review Diaries. It’s been a wild-ish ride.

But we’ve reached our last check-in with Andrew, Jeanette, and Nathan. And then we must set them free to the wilds of post-bar exam life, urban Chicago, and… South Dakota?

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It’s over! Do a little dance, make a little noise, get down tonight… etc. etc. As most of you probably know, the bar exam was last week. Duh. Our three Bar Review Diarists thankfully made it through the test without dealing with nightmares like rats or murdered cats, but they do have some interesting stories to tell.

Jeanette, Nathan, and Andrew, you just took the bar exam… how does it feel?

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Sorry folks, no relation.

Hi everybody! I’m Chris Danzig. You might have seen me around Above The Law over the past year, covering technology and West Coast legal news. As of today, I’m excited to be the site’s newest full-time editor, joining David Lat, Elie Mystal, and Staci Zaretsky.

I’m a journalist by trade, not a lawyer. I’ve spent too much time writing about the law — and the stressful situations that can arise within the legal profession, which sometimes drive lawyers to drink — to ever want to practice.

I went to journalism school at Northwestern University. I helped investigate a wrongful conviction case with the Medill Innocence Project while I was in school. After graduation, I was the assistant editor at InsideCounsel magazine in Chicago, where I covered legal technology.

I left that job about two years ago, and have worked as a full-time freelance reporter since then. I’ve written for a variety of publications, covering health care, music, social justice, and a bunch of other stuff. I live in the San Francisco Bay Area, where I was born and raised.

Keep reading for more personal trivia about yours truly (and to see the photo of myself that Lat asked me to provide)….

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Many people have a cartoonish understanding of Brazil.

At Northwestern Law, the PC Police have a long and storied history. You are, of course, free to say what you want to say, but if you offend other people’s cultural sensibilities, you had best expect a reaction from other Northwestern students — whether the cultural slight was real or just perceived.

This week, a group of Northwestern Law students planning a study abroad trip in Brazil got smacked down by the PC police for being insensitive toward Brazil’s culture.

Now, in fairness, everything I know about Brazil comes from cultural stereotypes. If I went, I’d expect to be hanging out with amazingly attractive women who get horny for Jesus, while the men play soccer by day and capoeira dance-fight at night. It would all be a wonderful time, unless I went into the rainforest, where I’d die in short order from either a new species of venomous mammal or at the hands of illegal loggers who are selfishly destroying the world’s best carbon scrubber.

Is that wrong? According to some Northwestern kids, I am way off base….

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Almost a year ago, David Van Zandt, one of the most admired figures within legal education, announced his departure as dean of Northwestern Law School. Van Zandt moved to New York, leaving behind his multimillion-dollar mansion in Chicago, to assume the presidency of the New School (a move that made headlines here in NYC).

A search committee went to work, to try and find someone to fill Dean Van Zandt’s large shoes. Today the law school announced its new leader.

The new Northwestern Law dean, like his predecessor, is a distinguished scholar. He also comes with a strong track record as a law school administrator.

Who is he? Let’s find out….

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We are almost three months into my one-woman quest to convince the world (or at least ATL readers) that bigger is not always better. Isn’t that why Jamie Oliver is moonlighting as a lunch lady? Unfortunately, some people still are not convinced. So I called in an expert, Steven Harper (previously featured here).

Harper, a Kirkland & Ellis partner turned novelist, has been studying and writing about attorney unhappiness and Biglaw for some time. He also teaches a class to undergraduates at Northwestern University entitled “American Lawyers – Demystifying the Profession.” The class, which is now in its fourth year, offers undergrads “ten weeks of reality therapy” about what it means to be a lawyer. Although most of the students end up going on to law school, at least they are better informed.

What wisdom does Harper impart to his young charges?

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