As mentioned in Non-Sequiturs last week, this story is why we can’t have nice things. Specifically, why lawyers make it so we can’t have nice things.
On Friday, the Washington Post reported that Georgetown Law had worked out how to bilk the federal government into fully paying for some its students’ tuition and managed to create a profit for itself on the side. This is caused a bit of a stir Friday afternoon, but unfortunately the practice is neither new nor limited to Georgetown.
Though some tactics Georgetown employs may go beyond what any other school has the gall to attempt….
* Daniel Chong, the student that the DEA locked in a cell and forgot about for a few days, has settled his lawsuit against the government for $4.1 million. No snark here, congratulations. [CNN]
* Meanwhile, O.J. Simpson is getting parole (but not quite getting released yet). Here comes Naked Gun 4! [ABC News]
* A Kenyan lawyer is challenging the trial of Jesus Christ at the International Court of Justice. [Legal Cheek]
* Professor Paul Campos notes that from 2004-2013, it’s gotten much easier to get into law school. This year 80 percent of students applying to law school will get in somewhere. At least the profession is upholding its high standards. [Lawyers, Guns & Money]
* DMX declared bankruptcy because bankruptcy actually makes it easier to get a passport. How is DMX broke? Are the residuals from Exit Wounds not paying the bills? [Grantland]
* King & Wood Mallesons and SJ Berwin LLP are merging to create one of the largest law firms in the world. Dewey think a merger is a good idea? [WSJ Law Blog]
* A follow-up on a previous item, checking in on the status of the petition to save the federal defenders one week in. [PrawfsBlawg]
* A profile of the “eighth governor” of the Federal Reserve and Georgetown Law grad, General Counsel Scott G. Alvarez. I would say this is a fascinating look at a prominent regulatory staff member, but the article makes it clear that “regulation” is not exactly the Alvarez agenda. [DealBook]
* Watch the dean of a law school defend a 0 percent bar passage rate. [ABC 33/40]
* Another new resource out there — LawTrades. Basically, it’s ZocDoc for lawyers where lawyers can register and prospective clients can search for an attorney who meets their needs. [LawTrades]
* What are the greatest legal novels of all time? The ABA Journal assembled a panel including our own David Lat and provided a list. You can disagree, but I see one of Archer’s favorites made the list (clip after the jump)…
* When it comes to the U.S. Congress — especially the current one, said to be the least productive and least popular in history — and federal lawmaking, “action isn’t the same as accomplishment.” [Boston Globe]
* The Department of Justice won’t seek the death penalty against Edward Snowden, but only because the crime he’s charged with doesn’t carry that kind of punishment as an option. But oh, Eric Holder can wish. [CNN]
* Sorry to burst your bubble, but Biglaw as we know it is on a respirator, so be prepared to recite its last rites. The New Republic’s Noam Scheiber responds to the critics of last week’s hard-hitting piece. [New Republic]
* The grass isn’t greener on the other side right now. Revenue per lawyer rose at Biglaw firms in 2012 (up 8.5 percent), but small firms struggled (with RPL down 8.1 percent). Ouch. [National Law Journal]
* Let me Google that for you: Hot new technology startups have been looking to lawyers who hail from the innovative internet company’s ranks when staffing their own legal departments. [The Recorder]
* If you’re wondering why more financial crimes haven’t been prosecuted since the Wall Street meltdown of 2008, it’s probably because they’re too just difficult for most juries to understand. Comforting. [NPR]
* In a recent interview having to do with all of the problems that law schools are currently facing, from shrinkage to joblessness, Professor Paul Campos sat down to politely say, “Told ya so.” [Denver Post]
To accompany Noam Scheiber’s big article on Biglaw — which I discussed yesterday, and Anonymous Partner analyzed this morning — the New Republic asked six prominent observers of the legal profession (including yours truly) for their ideas on how to fix law school. For all of the blame that Biglaw gets for the profession’s problems, some of the difficulties can be traced back to the legal academy and how it teaches and trains lawyers (or fails to do so).
Let’s check out the various reform proposals. Which ones do you agree with?
* OMG! Get ready to have a lawgasm, because the Supreme Court is going to be releasing same-day audio recordings from oral arguments during next week’s gay marriage cases: Proposition 8 and the Defense of Marriage Act. [National Law Journal]
* “Way to go, Justice.” Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Elena Kagan work out with a personal trainer who’s got a client list that would make Article III Groupie swoon — and he just so happens to be a records manager at D.C.’s federal court. [Washington Post]
* Debevoise & Plimpton’s littlest litigatrix, Mary Jo White, sailed her way through the Senate Banking Committee with a vote of 21-to-1. Her nomination to lead the SEC will now head to the full Senate. [DealBook / New York Times]
* “Our 2012 numbers aren’t as good as we would have liked.” Gee, ya think? From attorney headcount to gross revenue to profits per partner, just about everything was down in 2012 for Fried Frank. [Am Law Daily]
* Eckert Seamans will be merging with Sterns & Weinroth, adding 17 partners and seven associates to its ranks. Someone please come up with the semen joke so I don’t have to. [Philadelphia Business Journal]
In this corner, fighting for truth and transparency in legal education, we have University of Colorado law professor Paul Campos. In that corner, fighting for the glory of legal academia, we have University of Chicago law professor Brian Leiter. LET’S GET READY TO RUMBLE!!!!
Those of you who don’t regularly follow law professors’ blogs might be surprised to know that they can get catty sometimes. But usually in a subtle way, like: “Hence we can clearly see that the FRCP does allow for the conduct described supra, infra, inter alia, and in FN-3,756. The seminal treatise on this point is not only mistaken, it was written by a colleague who I think we all know has two testicles, but no penis.”
But the fight between Paul Campos and Brian Leiter seems altogether different. Both claim that the other one has “completely lost it.” Campos writes that Leiter is “an obsessive, vindictive cyber-stalker.” Leiter counters that Campos is “a pathological liar.”
Most everybody else is just running through the hallways screaming, “fight, fight, fight, fight,” because it’s the internet, and that’s what we do….
Last night, Campos announced that he is going to stop writing his blog, Inside the Law School Scam. There are a number of so-called “scam blogs” by law school graduates that are devoted to exposing the high cost and low return of going to law school. But Campos is one of the few law school professors who has chosen to be part of the solution instead of part of the problem.
But after 499 posts, there wasn’t a lot more to say…
* Charles Fried is pretty sure Senator Ted Cruz is crazy for saying there was only one Republican on the Harvard Law faculty. But the joke’s on Fried… no one considers a Reagan appointee a Republican anymore, you silly goose! [New Yorker]
* Brian Leiter and Paul Campos had a little dispute. This article sums it up and has some interesting thoughts on just how little law professors care now about their own teaching methods. Don’t read this if you’re averse to honesty. [The Faculty Lounge]
* Fisticuffs erupt over messing with the thermostat. This is an official warning to the other ATL editors if that office is too hot next week… [LegalJuice]
In Professor Paul Campos’s new book, Don’t Go To Law School (Unless) (affiliate link) — a book I’d recommend to anyone thinking seriously about law school — he shares an email from an individual who, after much research and thought, decides to enroll in law school. The email sheds some light on why people continue to sign up for law school despite all the warnings (from folks like Professor Campos, my colleague Elie Mystal, and many others). The law student writes:
[Prospective law students] think: debt doesn’t matter. There is no penalty for defaulting on the debt, except the relinquishment of the privileges of an advanced financial life. . . Students evaluating the horrible deal in question believe they have no access anyway to those privileges (e.g. a retirement account, a home purchase, a start-up business). For the student in question, all law school has to do is provide some potential benefit, and it becomes a rational choice.
After acknowledging that “[t]here’s a lot of force in this line of argument,” Professor Campos tries to refute it, basically arguing that many who go to law school based on such reasoning are “making a difficult situation worse.” But maybe the argument is not so easily refuted.
After all, what else are you going to do with yourself? Before you criticize law schools and those who matriculate at them, please familiarize yourself with the grim economic realities of twenty-first century America….
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Ed. note: The Asia Chronicles column is authored by Kinney Recruiting. Kinney has made more placements of U.S. associates, counsels and partners in Asia than any other recruiting firm in each of the past seven years. You can reach them by email: email@example.com.
Please note that Evan Jowers and Robert Kinney are still in Hong Kong and will stay FOR THE REMAINDER OF THIS WEEK. We still have a handful of available slots for meetings with our Asia Chronicles fans. If we have not been in touch lately, reach out and let us know when we could meet! There is no need for an agenda at all. Most of our in-person meetings on these trips are with folks who understand that improving a legal practice through lateral hiring is an information-driven process that takes time to handle correctly.
Regarding trends in lateral US associate hiring in Hong Kong, we of course keep much of what we know off of this blog. Based on placement revenue, though, Kinney is having one of our most successful years ever in Asia. We are helping a number of our law firm clients with M&A, fund formation, cap markets, project finance, FCPA and disputes openings. These are very specific needs in many cases, so a conversation with us before jumping in may be helpful. As always, we like to be sure to get the maximum number of interviews per submission, using a well-informed, highly targeted, and selective approach, taking into account short, medium and long-term career aims.
Making a well informed decision during a job search is easier said than done – the information we provide comes from 10 years of being the market leader in US attorney placements at the top tier firms in Asia. There is no substitute for having known a hiring partner since he/she was an associate or for having helped a partner grow his or her practice from zip to zooming, and this is happily where we stand today – with years of background information on just about every relevant person in all the markets we serve, and most especially in Hong Kong/China/Greater Asia. So get in touch and get a download from us this week if we can fit it in, or soon in any case!