University of Iowa College of Law

Gwyneth Paltrow

* After forcing Solicitor General Donald Verrilli to acknowledge that the Affordable Care Act could force for-profit corporations to pay for employees’ abortions, Chief Justice John Roberts seemed rather pleased with himself. [New York Times]

* Sidley Austin just hired a major M&A heavy hitter away from General Electric’s legal department. Congratulations to Chris Barbuto. We suppose he can make it rain as outside counsel now. [DealBook / New York Times]

* Because there’s no time too soon for an ambulance airplane chaser, the beginnings of the first lawsuit lodged against Malaysian Air after Flight 370′s probable crash was filed in court yesterday. [Bloomberg]

* UC Hastings and Iowa are the latest law schools to offer 3+3 accelerated degree programs. What a great recruiting tool for Iowa, which recently saw enrollment levels plunge by 40 percent. [National Law Journal]

* One month after the internet exploded with rumors of Gwyneth Paltrow having an affair with entertainment lawyer Kevin Yorn, the star announced her split from her husband. Coincidence? [New York Daily News]

An actual top-50 law school has cut its tuition. They’re not giving a tuition “reimbursement” or “credit” or “scholarship.” They’re not making it a one-time deal available to impulse shoppers. Instead, they’re reducing tuition, across the board, for both in-state and out-of-state students, across all class years. They’re cutting tuition. Let us give them thanks and praise.

It’s still expensive, probably prohibitively so. But a top-tier school putting its tuition in reverse is big, bright news. I award this school all the corn in my silo, they’ve earned it….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “THIS Is What It Looks Like When A Law School Actually Cuts Tuition”

In America, it takes seven years of post-secondary education to get a law degree. Then it takes any number of years to be trained “on the job” for what lawyers actually do, since American law schools excel at teaching people how to be justices and law professors as opposed to actual practitioners.

In the U.K., the system is different: law is an undergraduate degree, with law school being more like a finishing school that’s capped off with an apprenticeship program. Getting a law degree in U.K. system is much more like a quicker version of getting a medical degree in the states. Some law school reformers would like to see law schools follow a model more like medical school or U.K. law schools.

Enter the so-called “3+3″ law school program. Universities and law schools have been tinkering with ways to get motivated students on a fast-track through legal education. Recently, a top-50 law school announced that it would be offering this accelerated option that would allow people to shave a year off of their overall education time.

Is it worth it? We spoke with the dean…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Are ’3 + 3′ Programs A Good Idea?”

* Stop bullying the judges on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. They don’t cave to just any government data request — they make changes to about 25 percent of them. But uh… they don’t like to talk about the other 75 percent. [Bloomberg]

* Everything’s bigger in Texas, including the number of Biglaw firms with failing grades for diversity. Hunton & Williams, Patton Boggs, and Thompson Coe are by far the worst offenders of all 19 large firms, with ZERO minority partners. [Texas Lawbook]

* A contract attorney is currently facing criminal charges for felony overbilling (which isn’t actually a real crime, but it’d be cooler if it was… plus it would make lots of lawyers from DLA Piper cry). [Radio Iowa]

* Well, at least one school got the message about the tuition being too damn high. Iowa Law is reducing tuition for out-of-state students by about $8K in the hopes of filling more seats. [Des Moines Register]

* Amanda Knox, more commonly known as Foxy Knoxy, says that she’s no “femme fatale,” but she’s being portrayed, again, as a “sex-obsessed she-devil” after already being acquitted of murder. [Reuters]

* Fashion designer Christian Louboutin was seeing red over the use of his trademark red soles in anti-Islam political messages, so he sued over it, and this time, he won. Rejoice, fashionistas! [New York Magazine]

A couple weeks ago, we shared with you some of our survey data, which showed that, generally speaking, law students’ experiences with their schools degrade over time. The ATL Insider Survey asks law students and alumni to rate their schools in the areas of academic instruction, career counseling, financial aid advising, practical/clinical training, and social life. When the ratings by first-year students are compared with those of third-years, the 3L scores are lower across the board, in all categories. In other words, the longer students are exposed to their schools, the lower their regard for the institution becomes. More equals worse.

We wondered whether or how this downward trajectory manifests itself after the students become alumni. After the jump, we compare the perceptions of students to those of graduates. The answer may surprise you, but probably not. Also, we identify the law schools where there is the greatest contrast between the views of current students and alumni — both negatively and positively….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Law Schools May Appear Worse in the Rearview Mirror”

Ed. note: Happy Thanksgiving! We will resume our normal publication schedule on Monday, November 26. We hope you have a wonderful holiday, and we thank you for your readership.

* We’ve discussed this trend before, and it continues: administrations of the LSAT plunge further, reaching their lowest level since 1999. [Economix / New York Times]

* We’ve discussed this trend before, and it continues: judges are still offering unpaid clerkships (even though the days of law firm deferrals are behind us). [Salon]

* We’ve discussed this trend before, and it continues: law schools sometimes discriminate against conservatives, as jurors from the Teresa Wagner trial told Iowa’s leading newspaper. [Des Moines Register]

* Are you mooching off of someone else’s wireless internet? If so, consider yourself warned. [WSJ Law Blog]

* Are you a lover of Twinkies? If so, consider yourself warned (although it’s possible that a buyer might snap up the Twinkies brand). [DealBook / New York Times]

* Seven Am Law 200 firms are saying YES to work on a billion-dollar deal. [Am Law Daily]

As we mentioned in Morning Docket, the trial of Teresa Wagner — the would-be Iowa Law professor who claims she was denied a position because of her conservative views — ended in a mistrial. The jury found that Wagner’s First Amendment rights were not violated, but they couldn’t come to an agreement on whether her Fourteenth Amendment rights were violated by the University of Iowa College of Law.

And so the liberal bias in higher education is safe for another day.

The Wagner case was a pretty big deal. Conservatives who have long felt “under-represented,” “discriminated against,” and “disrespected” at our nation’s colleges and universities felt like Wagner had a really strong case for unconstitutional liberal bias. They really felt that Wagner was a “victim” here whose “qualifications” were questioned just because the faculty at Iowa Law irrationally “hated” her.

Man, that kind of prejudice must suck. I can’t imagine what that would feel like. Luckily, conservative pundits have showed me what to do when somebody goes to court with a claim that they’ve been unfairly discriminated against: pretend it never happened and denigrate the victim and those who defend her!

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Liberal Bias In Law School Lives To Fight Another Day”

The ‘very, very pretty’ Cristina Fierro.

* Covington, Skadden, and Proskauer really like representing professional sports leagues: from 2010 to 2011, the NHL paid a combined total of $8.8M to all three, and Covington received $16.3M from the NFL over the last three years. [Am Law Daily]

* The Department of Justice sued Bank of America yesterday for doing the “hustle.” No, not the popular disco disco dance, but rather, a supposed elaborate scheme to defraud the government out of billions of dollars. [DealBook / New York Times]

* Rajat Gupta was sentenced to a whole two years behind bars for insider trading, but my colleague Elie Mystal thinks that the more appropriate punishment would’ve been to force him to reenact the seminal 80s film, Trading Places. [HuffPost Live]

* Unfortunately, Siri wasn’t able to be helpful with this one. A federal judge had to recuse himself in a patent case involving the Siri voice assistant app because of his “interest” in Apple (likely stock ownership). [CNET]

* Was Wednesday the day of departing deans? NYU’s Richard Revesz said farewell, and so did Sydney Beckman of Duncan Law, but the latter flat out quit amid accreditation uncertainty. [Knoxville News Sentinel]

* “We’ll fight another day. This is not over.” While a jury found that Teresa Wagner’s First Amendment rights weren’t violated by the University of Iowa College of Law, the judge declared a mistrial on her equal protection claim against the school. [Huffington Post]

* Somebody really should’ve told Lawrence Taylor that when testifying in an underage sex trafficking case, it’s probably not a good idea to mention that your accuser was “very, very pretty” and “very sexy.” [Associated Press]

DSK wants to know: since when is having a libido a crime?

* What effect will the Supreme Court’s ruling in Miller v. Alabama, striking down life sentences without the possibility of parole for juvenile offenders, have in the real world? [New York Times]

* Coming out of the First Circuit, some good news on attorneys fees for civil rights lawyers. [WSJ Law Blog]

* Speaking of fees, which firms are raking them in as emerging market companies starting emerging onto the M&A scene? [American Lawyer]

* You’ve got to fight… for your right… to teach legal writing at the University of Iowa. At least if you’re a conservative. That’s the allegation by an aspiring academic, Teresa Wagner, which hits a courtroom this week. [Houston Chronicle]

* Former IMF head Dominique Strauss-Kahn wants to know: is enjoying the occasional orgy such a crime? [Gothamist]

* Career alternatives: Mary Wittenberg — chief executive of New York Road Runners, which puts on the New York Marathon — is a Notre Dame law grad and former Hunton & Williams lawyer. [New York Times]

* Former Senator Arlen Specter, an active participant in historic Supreme Court nomination battles, RIP. [Philadelphia Daily News]

I know why the caged bird tweets.

* Here’s a nice round-up of some of the most controversial laws that will be enacted in 2012. Looks like California is going to have some fabulously multicultural litigation. [Associated Press]

* What do you get when you cross an artist with a penchant for Rastafarians with the son of a Boies Schiller name partner? The biggest copyright fair use appeal ever. [New York Times]

* A Massachusetts town paid Phoebe Prince’s family only $225K to settle. With lawyer’s fees, it’s almost not even worth suing if your kid gets bullied to death. [ABC News]

* Everyone is going cuckoo over Iowa’s conservatives, even the Eighth Circuit. Iowa Law’s former dean is facing a political discrimination suit. [WSJ Law Blog]

* Apparently, this PhoneDog Twitter account case is a pretty big deal in the world of social media law. I’ll turn discussion of this issue over to our social media expert, Brian Tannebaum. [CNN]

* An employee at a presumably small law firm in New York had her jaw shattered while a thief ransacked the office. Give this woman a bonus. Hell, give her a raise, too. [New York Post]

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