Rudeness

Welcome, William and Mary law students!

Virginia is for Lovers, not Partiers. Law students in the Old Dominion State are not as much fun as we thought they were.

We recently wrote about a law school party — called the “Fall From Grace,” aptly enough — that supposedly spiraled out of control. According to an email from the Student Bar Association (SBA) at William and Mary School of Law, the raucous event featured law students “urinating on the bathroom floor, breaking a toilet paper dispenser, knocking over a flower pot, and engaging in inappropriate behavior” at the Williamsburg Crowne Plaza. This supposedly culminated in the Crowne Plaza calling W&M Dean Davison Douglas “to inform him that the law school is no longer welcome at the hotel.”

But now we’re hearing that this incident has been overblown, and that the law school has not been banned from the high-end Holiday Inn at Fort Magruder….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Reports of a Law School’s ‘Fall From Grace’ Have Been Greatly Exaggerated”

I bet William and Mary Law students are still allowed to party in Colonial Williamsburg.

It’s been a while since we had a story about an entire law school student body getting banned forever from a party venue. I think maybe the last school law to have this public shame was Tulane? I know things got pretty crazy at the UC Davis Law “prom” last year, but they didn’t get banned from anywhere.

But apparently neither of these schools has anything on the law students at William and Mary. According to the school’s Student Bar Association, the conduct of the students has been so disorderly that they’re running out of places in Williamsburg willing to host law school events.

Man, I guess you can see why a lady like Laura Flippin (she of the alleged .253 BAC) is on the William and Mary Board of Visitors….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “William and Mary Running Out of Local Places Willing To Host Law School Events”

Gun hard!

Last week, we told you about some law students who were holding tryouts — and charging a $20 application fee — to fill the final two spots in their study group.

The students in the group were roundly mocked. Charging an application fee made demanding an undergraduate transcript from applicants pale by comparison.

Now, if the school had been a place like UVA Law, the student body would have gotten defensive and lashed out about how the study group post “didn’t tell the full story.” They’d whine about how the study groupers didn’t “represent” the student body. They’d claim that ATL “planted” the poster, because we “had it in” for the school.

But some students at the Georgia State University College of Law didn’t feel the need to defend their school or the silly students in the study group. They realized that nobody would impute the toolish behavior of a few 1Ls to an entire institution.

Instead, they chose to have a bit of fun with it. Confidence and a sense of humor are beautiful things….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Georgia State Law Students Poke a Little Fun at Their Classmates”

Judge Maryesther Merlo. Who will play her in the movie? Suggestions welcome.

Earlier this year, we brought you the story of Judge Rae Lee Chabot, a state court judge in Michigan. Judge Chabot was accused of taking three-hour lunch breaks and long shopping trips to the Gap, in the middle of the workday.

I wrote in defense of Judge Chabot, whose judicial work was well-regarded despite her, ummm, flexible work schedule. I opined that “[a]s long as a judge is reasonably current with his docket, he should be left alone. There is no face-time requirement for judges.”

But even I would have a hard time defending the latest judicial diva under fire, Judge Maryesther Merlo of Allentown District Court in Pennsylvania. Judge Merlo — or make that ex-judge Merlo, since she just got removed from the bench — allegedly missed 116 days of work, from September 2007 to December 2009. That amounts to over 23 weeks, in a period of about two years.

And that’s not all Maryesther Merlo stands accused of. Her treatment of defendants appearing before her may have strayed beyond the merely tough into the downright rude….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Judge of the Day: Banned from the Bench
(Not that she spent much time on it anyway.)

Want to join them? Bring a writing sample -- and twenty bucks.

In some imperceptible yet significant way, the experience of American legal education has reached a new low.

We all feel this. Between tuition that is out of control, deans who don’t tell the truth, and students who are willing to fight other students to the death to get jobs in a market where there aren’t enough to go around, law school feels like less of a good experience than it used to be.

And we feel that in the air even if we can’t put our finger on it. And then we see something like what’s happening at one state law school, and the whole sad experience of getting a legal education in America suddenly has a new mascot.

Today we have a flyer from a group of three 1Ls who want to hold “tryouts” for the other two members of their study group. We’ve seen this type of thing before — remember the study group at a top-ten law school that required a transcript? — but this latest application process takes things to another level.

This study group wants to charge people $20 for the opportunity to try out….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “1Ls Hold Tryouts For Study Group Slots, Charge Application Fee”

Years ago, I saw a memo written by a law firm partner who was renowned for mistreating junior partners, associates, staff, and lost children who wandered in the front door looking for their parents. But this memo showed a whole different personality. The memo was directed to a practice leader who had solicited comments about how best to expand the practice. (In case you’re wondering, the memo was distributed widely by mistake. The practice leader told his assistant to gather in one document all of the comments about how to improve the practice, so the comments could be shared and everyone could discuss the ideas at an upcoming meeting. The assistant then took all of the unedited inbound memos and assembled them in a single packet that she distributed to the entire group. Voilà! There was the ogre’s memo, for all to read.)

The ogre’s memo was breathtakingly — what’s the right word here? — “solicitous” to the practice leader: “I’ll satisfy your request for suggestions about how to expand this practice area further, but we should first acknowledge what you’ve achieved to date. When you were appointed to lead this practice ten years ago, everyone thought you’d been sent on a fool’s errand. No one thought it was possible for our firm to compete in this space. We had no cases in the area and none of our lawyers had any expertise. But you’ve defied all the odds. You’ve made this practice one of the great success stories in the firm. You deserve endless praise for what you’ve done, and I want you to know how much we respect — indeed, admire — you.” And so on.

Don’t get me wrong: I understand the fine art of sucking up. (I’m not much good at it, but I understand it.) And I appreciate the wisdom of people like the ogre who try to do their sucking up in private. But I don’t understand folks who do these things publicly. Can’t we control at least the public manifestations of unequal treatment being accorded to people who matter to you and people who don’t?

What am I thinking of?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Inside Straight: The Rule of Equal Dignity”

Judge Wayne Phillips: He likes clerk butt and he cannot lie?

When I learned about this lawsuit out of Montana (via Morning Docket), I thought it might be from The Onion or an old episode of Ally McBeal. Reports the Billings Gazette: “A lawsuit has been filed against Fergus County District Court Judge E. Wayne Phillips by a female law clerk who alleges that the judge slapped her in the buttocks with a legal file.”

If the clerk’s allegation is true, was Judge Phillips’s action inappropriate? Certainly. Was it rude? Most definitely. But should it spawn a civil lawsuit, as well as possible criminal charges? Absolutely not.

And wait until you hear what the clerk is claiming in damages….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Lawsuit of the Day: This Law Clerk Needs Thicker Skin”

Yesterday we received an email with the following subject line: “the problem with tenure.” Now, I actually think that this tip illustrates the problem with law students and the classic awesomeness of tenure, but I’ll let you be the judge of that.

What we can at least agree on is that we have a story about a law professor executing a stern, verbal smackdown of a law student who tried to go over the professor’s head to complain.

Let this just be a reminder to everybody that they need to respect the chain of command….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Law Professor Basically Tells Student to Stop Being Such a Whiny Little Person”

With offer season well under way, some law students may be wondering how to tell the world that they’ve landed summer associate jobs without sounding like complete braggarts. These law students must have read a Miss Manners book or two, because thinking about the feelings of others is the polite thing to do.

Other law students just don’t care about trampling on the self-esteem of classmates. “Sorry about your tiny pink feelings, but I got an offer.” That was way harsh, Tai.

There is just one more category of law student: the law student who feels only slightly guilty bragging about a job offer, so he thinks up a creative way to broach the subject with peers. And one law student at a leading law school has got this method of breaking the news about offers on lock….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “The Best Way to Brag About an Offer Is Under the Guise of Charity”

Chief Judge Edith Jones: Underneath her robe beats a judicial diva's heart.

Can you enforce civility by being… uncivil? That’s the question being raised, over and over again, by federal judges from Texas these days.

Before we get to the latest ridiculousness, let’s review. Back in August, Judge Sam Sparks (W.D. Tex.) benchslapped some rude lawyers with a snarky order inviting them to a “kindergarten party,” where they would learn such lessons as reasonableness and courtesy.

Ironically enough, some found Judge Sparks’s civility-seeking order to be… rude. Chief Judge Edith Jones (5th Cir.) issued an email reprimand to Judge Sparks, condemning his “caustic, demeaning, and gratuitous” order as “cast[ing] disrespect on the judiciary.” Some observers in turn thought it rude of Chief Judge Jones to call out Judge Sparks in writing, so publicly — she cc’d all of the other Western District of Texas judges on her email — when she could have just made a private phone call.

Chief Judge Jones is a highly regarded conservative jurist and a fixture on Supreme Court short lists, but she might not be the best authority on civility and etiquette these days. Check out the latest craziness — an en banc hearing before the Fifth Circuit that generated judicial fireworks, culminating in Judge Jones essentially telling a colleague to STFU or GTFO….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Judicial Diva Gone Wild? Chief Judge Jones Tells Judge Dennis to ‘Shut Up’”

Page 17 of 251...131415161718192021...25