On this Tax Day, columnist Shannon Achimalbe looks at two payments that are not called taxes but feel like and have the effect of a tax.
* Georgetown Law is teaming up with DLA Piper and Arent Fox to open a low bono law firm. The firm will provide two things for those in need: affordable legal services and jobs to bolster GULC’s employment stats. [Am Law Daily]
* Michigan Law will provide summer funding for all of its 1Ls for law-related internships — but there’s a catch. The cash is a loan, and students may have to pay it back if they earn Biglaw money the following summer. [Michigan Law]
* Judge Jed Rakoff sounded off on the judicary’s problem with mass incarceration at a recent conference at Harvard Law, calling for his colleagues and bar associations across the nation to take a stand for the accused with a gentler justice system. [Big Law Business / Bloomberg BNA]
* “It’s positive news. I think it indicates there’s some slight opening of financial services to marijuana-related businesses.” Some banks have finally decided to provide services to weedpreneurs, but others are leaving marijuana moguls high and dry. [WSJ Law Blog]
* “Students should seriously consider going to law school in a state where they plan to practice law.” Unless you like wasting your time, you’d do well to listen to this advice, even if you’re going to a school with national name recognition. [U.S. News & World Report]
Bar exam results from around the country are beginning to trickle in and the results are far from encouraging. The results from July 2014 were the lowest in recent memory, but many had hoped that the drop would prove to be only an aberration. This does not appear to be the case.
So now the real question is: How much longer will law students continue to stick with the major bar review companies that can’t seem to get them to pass?
For every job obtained by a graduate of these law schools, an extraordinary debt burden has been accrued.
* “Take it from me, dealing with the complex criminal legal system can be difficult and intimidating for most people.” This ex-Troutman Sanders partner may be facing nine felony charges, but who cares? He’s starting his own firm. [Am Law Daily]
* It’s kind of cute when law school deans lie to themselves to make themselves feel better. For example, the dean of Oregon Law says now is “excellent” time go to go law school, and he doesn’t make decisions “based on what moves the rankings needle.” [Daily Emerald]
* Per the latest Altman Weil survey, the first quarter of 2015 was one of the best ever for law firm mergers. The pace with which law firms merged was the second-quickest since the company started tracking mergers to begin with in 2007. [Philadelphia Inquirer]
* The Rutgers Board of Governors has approved of the proposed merger between Rutgers-Newark and Rutgers-Camden Law. Now they just have to wait for the ABA’s rubber stamp, which they’ll obviously get — the ABA would rubber stamp a shoe. [NJ Advance Media]
* “[T]he law is a noble profession – but it’s also an oversubscribed one, due in large part to excessive federal lending.” Maybe if the government stopped handing out student loans like candy, law schools would be forced to lower their tuition rates. [Washington Post]
* The University of Virginia’s chapter of Phi Kappa Psi is definitely going to try to sue Rolling Stone over its fraternity gang-rape story, but the question is whether “bad journalism [will] amount to legal liability.” What do you think about this? [WSJ Law Blog]
How much does your law degree really cost? Is that terrifying amount actually worth it?
* Per a recent study, the class of 2010 is still screwed when it comes to securing work as attorneys. There are plenty of would-be lawyers working in “tennis instruction, office management, lingerie sales, and pest control.” [WSJ Law Blog]
* Law schools may be admitting less qualified students, but when the bar exam results are bad, it’s obviously the bar exam’s fault. Is it even fair to make new lawyers have to pass a bar exam at all? We should have more on this bar exam backlash later today. [DealBook / New York Times]
* Following layoffs in two other firms’ litigation practices, McDermott Will & Emery is losing three of its top litigation partners. Two are expected to decamp to Paul Hastings, and one is abandoning ship for King & Spalding. Yikes! [Big Law Business / Bloomberg]
* Law school applications are on the verge of hitting a 15-year low. Don’t worry, cautions LSAC, because “the rate of decline [in applications] is slowing.” Check out the sad (yet amazing) picture in the article and see if it makes you feel better. [Bloomberg Business]
* Undergrads at Villanova got a crash course in how to pay for law school this week, and were hopefully scared straight when they found out the majority of law students take out loans and “typically accumulate around $100,000-$200,000 in debt.” [The Villanovan]
Which law school graduates have the most debt of all? U.S. News has a ranking for that!
* President Obama recently authorized a study into whether student loan debt should be dischargeable in bankruptcy. For now, any changes made to the bankruptcy code will likely apply only to private loans, so it looks like many law school graduates won’t be declaring bankruptcy any time soon. [Wall Street Journal (sub. req.)]
* As we’ve mentioned numerous times in the past, the across-the-board drop in law school applications has inspired some law schools to do crazy things like shortening the length of time it takes to get a degree and lowering tuition. Hmm, more law schools should go crazy. [U.S. News & World Report]
* In the wake of much criticism of its plan to eliminate the LSAT for some students to gain admission to Iowa Law, the school’s dean offers an explanation: it’ll help her school compete to attract students who would otherwise have gone to T14 schools. [The Gazette]
* Even though law schools are in trouble, a legislator in Texas is still lobbying the state to subsidize the creation of a new law school in the Rio Grande Valley because he has a “hard time believing there are no jobs for attorneys out there.” [Cleburne Times-Review]
* If you find that law schools aren’t reacting quickly enough to the crisis at hand, there are other options for you out there. While law schools implode as their tuition skyrockets, it seems that those who have fled the law are now trying to become engineers. [Quartz]
We at Kinney are running the search for a fantastic in-house opening in Singapore, at the leading and largest tech company in Southeast Asia. The spot will be filled by a US associate with at least three years experience in M&A, from a top Wall Street or equivalent US firm. Compensation will be competitive with what the new hire is earning at their top tier law firm.
* You betta work… on those C&D letters! The viral picture of Cindy Crawford’s “unretouched” midsection is allegedly fake, and a lawyer for the photographer who took the original picture is threatening publishers with legal action if the supposedly doctored photos aren’t taken down immediately. [CBS News]
* You know that law school graduates from the Lost Generation are screwed when the first vignette from an article about the sad state of financial affairs for “recession millennials” is about a 2011 law grad who’s drowning in law school debt. [FiveThirtyEight]
* Folks are going crazy over King v. Burwell, so it’s a great time to run the odds on which justices will give ACA the axe. FYI, Justice Alito is “more likely to be struck by lightning while committing in-person voter fraud” than uphold Obamacare. [ThinkProgress]
* If you’re going to be in Washington, D.C., next weekend, why not stop by the Politics & Prose Bookstore to see David Lat have a chat with Adam Liptak of the New York Times? OMG, you can even get your copy of Supreme Ambitions (affiliate link) signed. [Facebook]
* With oral arguments in the King v. Burwell case slated to be heard on Wednesday, the Supreme Court is going to have a busy week — but most Americans won’t know about it. Below is a new TV ad pushing SCOTUS to allow cameras in the courtroom. [Fix the Court]
With sky-high tuition prices like this, it’s no wonder law school has become a game of loans.
* 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]
* Two jurors excused in the Jodi Arias sentencing retrial. Those were the lucky ones who were able to never have to hear about this case again. [KFYI]
* Louisiana. Never stop being you. Longest sitting judge in the state temporarily removed from post pending investigation. [Times-Picayune]
* Alas, even Paul Clement couldn’t help poor Bobby Chen resuscitate his once abandoned Supreme Court case. And Bobby Chen’s argument wasn’t even as much as a lost cause as pretending the Affordable Care Act was unconstitutional. [Wall Street Journal]
* Hm. A lot of law blog content ends up suspiciously under someone else’s banner. [Associate’s Mind]
* Justice Don Willett is a Twitter superstar. Or should I say, @JusticeWillett. [KXAN]
* Hey guys, the New York Fed thinks this “student debt” thing is kind of a big deal. [TaxProf Blog]
* If you can make it to New Haven on Thursday, you can see David Lat and other panelists speak on “The Perils of Vine, Instagram, Snapchat & Twitter: Legal Considerations of Social Media.” [CT Bar]
Getting a law degree these days is kind of like taking all of your money and burning it.
* Um, what’s the charge for “acting like you’re in Fast and Furious”? [Legal Juice]
* Republicans making moves to stop net neutrality. Netflix needs to start showing more Bible documentaries to sap this movement’s political will. [Bloomberg Politics]
* Professor Campos reviews a new paper on the future of higher education funding. [Lawyers, Guns & Money]
* The law dean at the University of New Brunswick is accused of “sexism, harassment, and, in one case, threats of violence by two of his former law school colleagues.” That’s some very un-Canadian behavior. But Levitt used to be the dean at Florida A&M, and that does sound like some very Floridian behavior. [CBC]
* How to make your shoes last longer. [Corporette]
* Michael Cannon and Professor Jonathan Adler use some pretty compelling evidence in their amicus brief decrying King v. Burwell. Unfortunately, they kind of made up a quote. When the woman they quoted tries to clear the record, Cannon tells her he understands what she clearly said better than she did. In a sense this is a microcosm for the whole case. [Constitutional Accountability Center]
* Preet Bharara, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, was recently referred to as the “most dangerous man in American politics.” Why’s that, you ask? It’s because he’s “a federal prosecutor who doesn’t give a f*ck.” Damn straight. [BuzzFeed]
* Just when you thought the Alan Dershowitz sex scandal couldn’t get any more intense, the investigative sleuths over at Gawker found flight records that allegedly place the professor as a passenger on a billionaire bad boy’s pedo plane. [Gawker]
* Dewey know which former chairman of a failed firm had to beg to get a refund on his bail money because he couldn’t otherwise afford to pay the expert witnesses for his upcoming criminal trial? Aww. Poor, poor Steven Davis. [New York Law Journal]
* Fried Frank’s chairman says that completely pulling the firm out of Asia was a “difficult but necessary decision.” On the other hand, an ex-partner at the firm says this move had basically been “inevitable” since at least 2009. Hmm. [Am Law Daily]
* If you want advice on how to pick a “cost-efficient” law school, the first thing you should realize is that your scholarships may come back to bite you in the ass. Go on, read the fine print — after all, you want to be a lawyer. [U.S. News & World Report]
PSLF provides a really substantial benefit to these people in particular. But soon that may no longer be the case.
* Fewer people are applying to law school. According to LSAC, the number of would-be lawyers who submitted applications is down by 8.5 percent compared to last year. Serious question: How low can we go before all schools are officially in crisis mode? [WSJ Law Blog]
* You’ll never believe how this guy paid off his law school debt. His parents got a home refi loan, and with the money ($210,000), their son got rid of his student loans. Now he’ll pay his parents’ loan for 30 years. Wow. [Business Insider]
* Justice Samuel Alito took a break from the SCOTUS docket to receive an award named for the late Judge Edward Becker of the Third Circuit, a man who he said “tried to get federal judges to act in a more sensible way. That’s a real task.” [Legal Times]
* “[T]hings are getting back to where they were before the recession,” so naturally, state judges — like those in California — are suing over the salary increases they were denied while the recession was in progress. Bless their hearts. [National Law Journal]
* Hey lawyers, want to seem like you’re smart? Stop sprinkling your briefs with SAT vocabulary words. Just put on a pair of glasses and start using your middle initial more often. For the record, speaking in a pleasant voice is also helpful. [ABA Journal]