Rankings

* Joe Patrice reposted this on his site and I’m linking to it because it’s a great look at the rhetorical weaknesses of the pro-gun argument. It’s old, so you can’t say that he’s being reactionary to the current tragedy. [Recess Appointment]

* Here’s a very good takedown of the self-serving law school rankings from Loyola Law School (LA) Professor Theodore Seto, who magically finds that Loyola Law is the 25th best law school for becoming a Biglaw partner. [Witnesseth]

* Is the procedural posture of same-sex marriage sexy? [Opinionator / New York Times]

* The jury system is dumb. [The Republican]

* And so is arguing over rate increases, according to Susan Hackett; it’s just a distraction from the real conversation that needs to take place about the appropriate pricing of legal services? [Legal Rebels / ABA Journal]

As we reach the end of the year, it’s time to step back and assess 2012 as it draws to a close. In the legal world, things have certainly changed from years past, but the one thing that remains constant is the focus on the state of our nation’s legal education. Something’s got to give, and while no one agrees exactly on what needs to change, many have influenced the way the discussion has developed with their insightful visions for the future.

At the end of the day, certain voices were more powerful than others. Whether through reducing class sizes or increasing the transparency of employment statistics, certain individuals have wrought substantial change in the way that law schools are currently operating — and have laid the groundwork for how law schools will be run in the future.

Whose words mattered most? Let’s take a look at this year’s most influential people in legal education….

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The news of the K&L Gates / Middletons merger, which looks a lot like the acquisition of Middletons by K&L Gates, got us thinking about the value of law firms. It’s quite apropos given that Middletons is based in Australia, home of the world’s first publicly traded law firm.

As we mentioned in yesterday’s Morning Docket, the American Lawyer recently set out to determine the world’s most valuable law firms. How did Am Law go about doing this, and which leading law firms sit atop their rankings?

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Megyn Kelly

* Should attractive women in the legal profession be offended when complimented on their appearance? Or should they instead engage in “the strategic use of their own sexuality,” to quote the New York Times (citing a federal judge)? [Shatter the Glass Ceiling]

* Speaking of attractive women lawyers, what do people think of when they think of Megyn Kelly? [New York Magazine]

* MOAR RANKINGS — this time of the most influential law reviews. Yeah, you know you wanna click. [Witnesseth via Tax Prof Blog]

* Everything’s bigger in Texas — including the allegations of prosecutorial misconduct. [Dallas Morning News]

* In other news of alleged government misconduct, a former SEC staffer claims the place was rife with sexual tension and professional backstabbing. [Thomson Reuters News & Insight]

* Might a strip club be a more hospitable workplace than the SEC? Strippers just secured a $13 million settlement in a wage-and-hour class action lawsuit. [In House / Findlaw]

If you pour this into a cup of coffee, it doesn’t taste as bad.

* Dear New York City, you can take my caffeine when you want to become “the city that sleeps sometimes and charges rents that can be earned while working only eight hours a day.” Not a moment before. [Reason]

* They want to put Lenny Dykstra in jail, but the Wilpons get to run around free. [Dealbreaker]

* Fracking might never have developed without our unique “subsurface” property rights. In a different life, understanding this stuff is why I thought it’d be good to go to law school. Studying law > Practicing law > Paying for your legal studies. [Volokh Conspiracy]

* Okay, hear me out. How about every owner who won’t make their building wheelchair accessible for “aesthetic” reasons has to contribute every year to help fund research in the design of a wheelchair that can also climbs steps. Then they have to contribute to the fund that will get these new “chairsteppers” out to all the people who need them. Think about it, disabled people would get a better product, and ramps would be a thing of the past. Don’t tell me the tech is beyond us, if we can make amphibious attack vehicles/tour buses, we can make a wheelchair that climbs steps. [Simple Justice]

* Do it yourself divorces now coming to Texas for indigent clients with no children. So, to recap, when gay people want to get married in Texas, it’s an affront to God and traditional America. But when childless heterosexuals want to get divorced, it’s just a simple legal matter that shouldn’t require a lawyer. [Tex Parte Blog]

* Thanks to Cision Blog for including us in their rankings. [Cision Blog]

As we near the end of 2012, we can definitely declare this year to be a momentous one for LGBT rights and equality. Two federal appeals courts struck down the Defense of Marriage Act (and the Supreme Court will soon consider whether to grant review in the DOMA litigation, which it almost certainly will). On Election Day, voters across the country came out in favor of marriage equality. The good people of Wisconsin elected Tammy Baldwin to the U.S. Senate, making her our nation’s first openly gay senator.

Despite these advances, being an LGBT attorney presents unique challenges. When it comes to welcoming gay and lesbian lawyers, not all firms are created equal.

The good news, though, is that Biglaw made a big showing in the Human Rights Campaign’s latest Corporate Equality Index, which scores large U.S. employers in terms of how LGBT-friendly they are in their policies and practices. Which firms are letting their rainbow flags fly?

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Deep inside me there’s a serial killer lurking somewhere. But I keep him amused with cocaine, Formula One, booty calls, and coruscating cross-examination.

– a comment made by a successful lawyer who was interviewed by renowned psychologist and author Kevin Dutton for his new book, The Wisdom of Psychopaths: What Saints, Spies, and Serial Killers Can Teach Us About Success (affiliate link).

(Want to see where lawyers rank on the top ten list of the most psychopathic professions? Check out the list, after the jump.)

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In light of Ms. X’s epic departure memo highlighting the chaos involved in juggling parenting and Biglaw hours, many women in similar situations have been questioning their own work/life balance. Can women still have it all? And if they can’t, can they at least have a little bit of it? Is that really so much to ask for?

Luckily, and just in the nick of time, Working Mother magazine partnered with Flex-Time Lawyers to release its annual list of the 50 Best Law Firms for Women. When compiling this list, both organizations strive to include firms that make the legal profession more “family friendly” by offering both flexible hours and reduced schedules, while at the same time ensuring that a respectable percentage of women attain equity partnership.

So which firms made the cut? Interestingly, only two firms from Vault’s top ten list of the most prestigious firms in the country made this year’s list. Let’s find out which ones….

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Dean Douglas Sylvester

We’re already quite confident that we’ll move up in the rankings again. We think we’ll be solidly in the top 25 and certainly in to the top seven or eight of all publics. But moving downtown isn’t about rankings. It’s about the mission of this law school.

Douglas Sylvester, dean of the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University, commenting on the school’s proposed move from Tempe to Phoenix.

(We mentioned previously that this proposed move would potentially come at a cost to students in the form of higher tuition, but Dean Sylvester now claims he’s “very hopeful” that there won’t be a tuition hike.)

A couple of weeks ago, we told you about the On Being A Black Lawyer’s ranking of the best law schools for black people. I thought that list was pretty useful.

This one is less so.

I’m looking at the National Jurist rankings of “most diverse law schools” and, I gotta tell you, I can’t really see why anybody would or should care about them. Don’t get me wrong, I like diversity, I think it’s critically important to a good educational environment.

But I guess I find “diversity” to be a kind of binary issue: either you have a diverse campus, or you don’t. And we can argue about what makes a place diverse, what gets you over that intangible line. But being the “most diverse” is kind of like being the “most wet” person at the beach. I’m sure that distinction goes to somebody, but the key distinction is separating the wet from the dry.

I dunno, maybe I’d be more interested if any of these “most diverse” student bodies had better than a “snowball’s chance in hell” at getting a job….

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