* Unfortunately, it seems that if you want to get an elite legal education in this country, you’re going to have to pay an arm and a leg for it. This year’s NLJ Top 10 Go-To Law Schools each have a sticker price that’s greater than $50K. [National Law Journal]
* Hamline University’s president thinks it was smarter for her law school to merge with William Mitchell Law than for it to close altogether — hey, it’ll still bear the Hamline name and its dying carcass won’t be on her books anymore! [Star Tribune]
* Later this week, SCOTUS will hear oral arguments in King v. Burwell, a case that could decimate the Affordable Care Act as we know it. At this point, the justices must be contemplating how many people will lose if the plaintiffs here win. [Wall Street Journal]
* An ADA from the Brooklyn DA’s office who prosecuted drug cases was canned after his colleagues learned that he failed to report his personal connection to an admitted cocaine dealer. Perhaps they were jealous he refused to share his hookup. [New York Daily News]
* In case you missed it, Above the Law, your favorite legal website, has been “rankle[d]” by a new series on CNNMoney called “Above the Law.” We know you’re as ticked off about this as we are, so we hope you’ll help us write our cease-and-desist letter. [Am Law Daily]
Check out Justice Kagan’s colorful quotation in the “is a fish a tangible object” case just decided by the Supreme Court.
ATL Academy For Private Practice Volume 1 – Getting Started offers a mix of deeply informed, sometimes contrarian, but always thoughtful insight into meeting the challenges of starting and optimizing your own practice. Click here to download.
* If you work at a law firm and take way too long to perform simple tasks in Microsoft Word or Excel, shape up: a new test, developed by former in-house lawyer Casey Flaherty, could expose your weaknesses — and lead to your work being discounted. [Capital Business / Washington Post]
* An S.D.N.Y. jury held the Palestinian Authority and the Palestine Liberation Organization liable for supporting six terrorist attacks and issued a verdict of $218.5 million — an award that will under the law get tripled (collected remains to be seen). [WSJ Law Blog]
* Wall Street banks and their law firms are getting serious about cybersecurity. [New York Times]
* Could it be? Did Justice Clarence Thomas ask a question during oral arguments at SCOTUS? No, but he did ask a question at Yale Law during a presentation, noting that he doesn’t ask “irrelevant, useless questions” at the high court. [Legal Times]
* Per NALP, gains were made by women and minorities in law firms for the first time in years, but be careful, because Jim Leipold is watching you: “Individual law firms should not be allowed to hide behind the national figures.” [National Law Journal]
* Meet Judge Robert C. Brack of the District Court of New Mexico, who recently earned quite the accolade. Judge Brack has sentenced more defendants than any other federal judge in the past five years. He won’t be celebrating his achievement. [WSJ Law Blog]
* This Georgetown Law professor, who happens to be the cofounder of one of the country’s largest litigation finance firms, wants to see a law firm IPO, but others wonder if lawyers would be able to ethically practice while reporting to shareholders. [Washington Post]
* A Chadbourne & Park employee has been banned from ever working for another law firm again following his theft of $15,360 from C&P’s coffers. Not to worry, no client money was pilfered from the firm — the cash was taken from an open office account. [Am Law Daily]
* If you haven’t heard, David Lat wrote a book called Supreme Ambitions (affiliate link), and “[w]riting the novel was almost therapeutic for [him] in a way” — he’s “kind of over” the fact that his résumé doesn’t include a SCOTUS clerkship. [Chicago Daily Law Bulletin]
* Following NBC’s announcement of his six-month suspension without pay, Brian Williams turned to Robert Barnett of Williams & Connolly to save his career. The pair met when they were Supreme Court clerks — oopsie, we guess that’s another misrepresentation. [Am Law Daily]
* “We weren’t about to ask them to risk life and limb to get in.” As Boston braces for yet another snowstorm, Biglaw firms are trying to figure out how they can continue to operate. Punxsutawney Phil is keeping the wheels of justice from turning. [National Law Journal]
* The Supreme Court has granted Colorado an extension to respond to a lawsuit filed by Nebraska and Oklahoma which claims that its decision to legalize marijuana was unconstitutional. Puff, puff, pass this cert vote, SCOTUS. [Cannabist / Denver Post]
* Regulators! Mount up… and then run away to your new Biglaw firms. Preet Bharara’s S.D.N.Y. roster is constantly changing thanks to the golden handcuffs large law firms offer, but Bharara still “love[s] all [his] children equally.” [DealBook / New York Times]
* David Messerschmitt, the DLA Piper associate who was found dead in a Washington, D.C., hotel room last week, is remembered by his colleagues as “someone so talented and so nice.” There have been no new breaks in his murder investigation. [Legal Times]
Ed. note: Due to the Presidents’ Day holiday, we will be on a reduced publication schedule today. We will still be publishing, but less frequently than usual. We will be back in full force tomorrow.
* The news is in, and it seems that Davis Polk’s financial numbers were at record highs. The firm’s revenue beat the $1 billion mark for the first time ever, and its PPP rose to $3.29 million. No wonder its 2014 bonuses were so awesome! [Am Law Daily]
* Yes, we know that William Mitchell Law and Hamline Law are merging to survive as a result of a quickly disappearing applicant pool. We’d really love to know how many other law schools are considering this as an alternative to closing their doors. [Star Tribune]
* How are Nebraska and Oklahoma, which neighbor Colorado, where marijuana has been legalized, handling the situation? Not well. Their AGs want SCOTUS to rule the weed law in the state where you can get Rocky Mountain High is unconstitutional. [PBS NewsHour]
* Thanks to a recent ABA rule change, schools are beginning to admit students without LSAT scores. One of those schools is Iowa Law (ranked in the top 30 by U.S. News), but those students need to have done really well on other standardized tests. [Daily Iowan]
* “How have I done as a judge today?” “Not bad, but you could do better.” Judge John Hurley had a run-in with an 80-year-old criminal defendant who wouldn’t stop calling him sweetheart. Flip to the next page to see the entertaining video. [NBC 6 South Florida]
The Notorious R.B.G. vowed to “stay away from the wine,” but she just couldn’t help herself.
* Amanda Knox, everyone’s favorite convicted/acquitted/convicted murderess, just got engaged to a musician she’s known since middle school. Aww, that’s cute and nice, but what we’d really like to know is where she’s registered for cutlery. [People]
* Loretta Lynch’s confirmation vote was postponed because per Chairman Chuck Grassley, she apparently submitted dissatisfying answers to the Senate Judiciary Committee’s post-hearing questions. Some says that she’s being held to a double standard… likely because she is being held to a double standard. [National Law Journal]
* Yesterday afternoon, Judge Callie V.S. Granade ordered that probate judges in Alabama issue same-sex marriage licenses. Sorry Chief Justice Roy Moore, but you better get ready, because the tide of gay marriage is gonna roll. ROLL TIDE ROLL! [National Law Journal]
* Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg says she’s not going to give up on women’s rights cases at the Supreme Court, despite the fact that she’s got male colleagues who “don’t fully appreciate the arbitrary barriers that have been put in women’s way.” [Bloomberg]
* According to the latest report from Citi Private Bank Law Firm Group, Biglaw firms, “across the board,” are doing better than they were last year, but the biggest Biglaw firms are doing the best, of course. We’ll have more on this later today. [WSJ Law Blog]
* A Texas lawmaker has proposed a bill that would appoint legal representation to a fetus if its mother is brain dead. “You’ll hear what the family wants, and you’ll also give the pre-born child a chance to have a voice in court at that same time.” [Dallas Morning News]
* New York Law School is launching a two-year law degree program, and students will only have to pay two-thirds of the $147,720 that they normally would have had to. For the record, not all two-year degree programs are cheaper. [Crain’s New York Business]
* With Valentine’s Day nearly upon us, and many lawyers waiting to pop the big question this weekend, we must let our readers know that nothing could possibly be more romantic than a prenuptial agreement. Eww, just kidding. [Total Return / Wall Street Journal]
* On the opposite side of the spectrum, if you can’t stand your spouse anymore, you can stay for a Valentine’s weekend at the Divorce Hotel in upstate New York. For the low, low price of $5,000, you can check in married and check out single. [New York Post]
* “Usually, people have told me, when you’re stopped, the officer says, ‘License and registration.’” Here’s a Supreme Court fun fact for you to keep up your sleeve: Chief Justice John Roberts has never been pulled over by a police officer in his life. [Slate]
* According to a recent study conducted by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, lawyers are the exception to the rule when it comes to pay growth stagnation. “Top earners gonna earn” — by 1,450 percent compared to the competition. [Wonkblog / Washington Post]
* There’s a warrant out for Punxsutawney Phil, the groundhog who brought this wintry hell upon the Northeast. “He told several people that winter would last 6 more weeks, however he failed to disclose that it would consist of mountains of snow!” [CBS Boston]
Casetext is offering select students the opportunity to gain real entrepreneurial experience while in school as part of its law student ambassador program.
* “The reality is, the university has done a lot to be a part of the solution. This undoes a lot of that work.” Students and professors at St. Louis University School of Law are up in arms because Bob McCulloch, the prosecutor in the Ferguson case, is coming to speak at an event on police practices. [ABC News]
* “Travel by coach will make it impossible for the attorneys to work and or sleep effectively upon our arrival.” Defense lawyers for three suspected terrorists motioned for a judge to give them business-class seats on a plane while federal prosecutors bum it back in coach. [New York Daily News]
* SCOTUSblog has been denied a Supreme Court press pass, yet again. Lyle Denniston, the site’s main reporter, had to go to great lengths in an attempt to circumvent the high court’s new journalist credentialing process. [Associated Press]
* “I would really think long and hard before defying a federal court order.” SCOTUS declined to issue a stay that would keep gay marriage at bay in Alabama, but some judges are still refusing to marry gay couples. Thanks Roy Moore. [Los Angeles Times]
* Paul Weiss: lookin’ nice! In a look at some of the early numbers from the latest Am Law 100 rankings, the firm increased its gross revenue year over year by 10.9 percent, allowing Paul Weiss to finally break the billion-dollar mark in revenue. [Am Law Daily]
* People keep asking Justice Ginsburg how many women she thinks will be “enough” for the SCOTUS bench, and she keeps giving us the same amazing answer. Flip the page to find out what the Notorious R.B.G. thinks. [Mother Jones]
* Law school deans gone wild! From sex scandals to rankings rumpuses, here’s a look at the crazy and sometimes criminal activities that law school administrators and faculty members have been accused of over the years. [National Law Journal]
* “That’s it. Case dismissed. Your behavior is contemptuous.” Adriana Ferreyr, the on-again, off-again girlfriend of George Soros who filed a $50 million lawsuit over a $2 million apartment, allegedly went “berserk” in court… yet again. [Dealbreaker]
* The job market would like to wish the legal profession a very unhappy New Year. According to the latest report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the legal sector lost 1,400 jobs in January, with overall jobs down by 4,500 since last year. [Am Law Daily]
* “I felt like my head was just mush inside, and I thought, ‘I’m dying.'” Mary Margaret Farren, the former Skadden attorney who survived her ex-husband’s brutal attack on her life, recounts the flashlight bludgeoning that nearly killed her. [ABC News]
* Is there no relief in sight for law schools? Moody’s says: “This continued decrease in student demand is consistent with our belief that the legal industry is experiencing a fundamental shift rather than a cyclical trend.” [Indianapolis Business Journal]
(Flip to the next page to see how many women Justice Ginsburg thinks SCOTUS needs.)
Even the Notorious R.B.G. has seen Frozen!
* Lindsay Lohan and her mom are suing Fox News with claims the TV network defamed them by saying “Lindsay Lohan’s mom is doing cocaine with her.” Legal experts are of the opinion the Lohans must be doing lines if they think they’ll win. [U.S. News & World Report]
* A prospective juror in the Colorado movie theater massacre case was released after telling a judge she brought her unvaccinated grandchild to court and ripping her hair out. Well, that’s one way to get out of jury duty. [Aurora Sentinel]
* Justice Elena Kagan says that if she hadn’t left her Harvard Law deanship to become solicitor general, she “[doesn’t] think [she] would be doing law, quite honestly.” The Supreme jurist says that “[i]t shows you how weird life can be.” [Supreme Court Brief]
* Lawyers in New York are worried that if the state adopts the Uniform Bar Exam, the “gold standard” of having passed the tougher version of the New York exam will be devalued. Aww, sorry about your butthurt. Get well soon. [New York Law Journal]
* Fresh off an 18-month tour of racking up insider trading convictions as a federal prosecutor in the Southern District of New York, Richard Tarlowe will join Paul Weiss to focus on white-collar criminal defense. Best of luck. [DealBook / New York Times]
Can a leading Supreme Court litigator get this poor pro se litigant’s case reinstated?
* You know that televised Supreme Court oral arguments are a technological advance that is far away from happening when even Elena Kagan, the youngest justice on the high court, is “very conflicted” about the idea. [Legal Times]
* “Legal jujitsu. Lethal jujitsu.” Meet William “Hale” Kelly. He’s a second-year law student at Florida A&M by day, and an MMA fighter by night (i.e., he was punched in the head so many times he thought law school was a good idea). [Orlando Sentinel]
* For the fourth year in a row, Skadden snagged the top spot in the Acritas Biglaw brand index. The firm’s competition — Jones Day, Baker & McKenzie, Kirkland & Ellis, and DLA Piper — is getting closer to overthrowing the ranking’s leader. [Am Law Daily]
* Justice in the United States costs a pretty penny, and it’s obvious from the Department of Justice’s proposed 2016 budget of $28.7 billion. It’s too bad the White House set the DOJ’s budget at about $13.7 billion lower than that. [WSJ Law Blog]
* “At none of these top law schools do Black enrollments reach 9 percent.” Diversity may be lacking at some of the nation’s top law schools, but minority students who are interested in law may find welcoming homes at lower-ranked schools. [U.S. News]
Who designed this supremely awesome Notorious R.B.G. tattoo, and where can you get one just like it?
In this SCOTUS showdown, Justice Ginsburg clearly approves of the right to bare arms.
* “She’s kind of like Eric Holder in a skirt.” Well then. No one else really seems to care about longtime prosecutor Loretta Lynch’s nomination for the position of replacement top dog at the Department of Justice, but hey, maybe that’s actually a good thing. [National Law Journal]
* Yael Krigman, who left her job at White & Case to open up her own cakepoppery in Washington, D.C., doesn’t miss being a lawyer. In fact, these days, she says she uses her law degree “much more than [she] did as a practicing attorney.” [GW Hatchet]
* It’s official: the justices of the U.S. Supreme Court had no shame in their game when they denied certiorari on a civil rights case involving shirtless Wade McCree. It’s too bad judges are immune from lawsuits like this. [Associated Press via Detroit News]
* If you’re lucky enough to have power, then boy, Dewey have a wonderful longread for you to take a look at on this “historic” snow day. It turns out that this failed firm’s management painted a “rosy picture” to mask an “ugly truth.” [ABA Journal]
* Should you submit a law school application with a crappy LSAT score without first telling the schools that there will be another, hopefully better LSAT score coming? Please. They’ll be thrilled you have a pulse. [Law Admissions Lowdown / U.S. News]