University of Maryland School of Law

* Gibson Dunn released the records for all interviews it conducted in order to clear Gov. Christie’s name in the Bridgegate scandal. They all said he was too busy working out to know. [New Jersey Star-Ledger]

* Maryland Law named Donald B. Tobin its new dean. We hope he’ll assist in not jumping the gun on mourning the death of civil rights leaders before they’ve actually died. [Baltimore Business Journal]

* “You understand that you can’t have two defenses?” The prosecution is accusing Oscar Pistorius of changing his testimony mid-trial, and it seems at this point he’s got no leg to stand on. [Bloomberg]

* If you’re still thinking about going to law school, you should probably brush up on the logical reasoning section of the LSAT… because you’re not very good at it now. [Law Admissions Lowdown / U.S. News]

* If you feel like stepping out on your spouse, you might consider moving to New Hampshire. The state is about to repeal its adultery law which makes the act of cheating a Class B misdemeanor. [Post-Standard]

* Florida State QB Jameis Winston was not charged with sexual assault after a nearly year-long investigation (well, it happened a year ago… it sounds like no one did much investigating at that time). What comes next? I mean aside from FSU demolishing their next two opponents. [Sports Illustrated]

* Sadly, former South African president and civil rights leader Nelson Mandela has passed away. University of Maryland Law School, go ahead and let the world know… again. [CNN]

* America’s probably unstable, definitely troubled sweetheart Amanda Bynes is coming closer and closer to a plea deal over her infamous bong toss. [New York Post]

* A lawyer-turned-candidate provides the optimist’s guide to running for office. For the pessimist’s guide see John McCain’s, “Jesus, I Picked Who?” [Huffington Post]

* Next week, the Court will hear argument on EPA v. EME Homer City Generation. This is why you should care. [Constitutional Accountability Center]

* People are super mad about the NYPD’s new “Stop and Kiss” program. The program only exists in The Onion, but that doesn’t stop most people from making unsolicited, snap decisions that no one asked them to make. At press, the Second Circuit had already preemptively barred Judge Shira Scheindlin from hearing any case on the fictional program. [Gawker]

* Speaking of the NYPD, Mayor-Elect Bill De Blasio, who ran on a platform of reforming the NYPD, has named a new police commissioner and selected… one of Giuliani’s old police commissioners. Way to go, champ! Seriously, there are law enforcement professionals out there capable of running the NYPD beyond the last couple guys who ran it. This is like buying a marquee NFL team and saying, “I hear Norv Turner is available.” [Salon]

* Professor David E. Bernstein contributed an essay on the Lochner decision to the new book Toward an American Conservatism: Constitutional Conservatism during the Progressive Era (affiliate link). [The Volokh Conspiracy]

* An interview with this Yale Law beatboxer. Did we mention he’s a bald Jewish kid? Well, he is. [JTA]

* David and Elie talked to Bloomberg about bonuses. Video embedded after the jump…

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Scalia/Ginsburg: coming soon to an opera house near you?

We recently shared with you a fascinating, legally themed musical project: Scalia/Ginsburg, an opera about two of the U.S. Supreme Court’s leading lights, by award-winning composer Derrick Wang.

Justice Scalia and Justice Ginsburg, longtime colleagues and good friends, don’t share much in terms of jurisprudence but do share a love of opera. It’s fitting, then, that their Con Law clashes will serve as the basis for a new operatic work.

Where did Wang come up with the idea for an opera about these two distinguished jurists? As it turns out, Wang is not only a composer but a law school graduate. Where did he go to law school, and why?

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That was tiring, huh?

A dizzying array of legal news delivered almost non-stop for an entire week. Emotional highs when DOMA is struck down, lows when a pillar of the legal landscape for nearly 50 years is swept aside, leaving millions of Americans even more concerned about their constitutional rights than they were before. There was an epic filibuster and failed jokes. This was a hell of a week to be covering the law.

As the frenzied week draws to a close, I decided to look back and compile my personal review of the major events of the week, gathered in one omnibus post.

So let’s take a look at the week that was ranging from Aaron Hernandez to the Supreme Court…

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Nelson Mandela

Forget vultures, Nelson Mandela should be afraid of turtles circling.

Nelson Mandela is not dead. At least not yet, and there is hope that the ailing former president of South Africa is on the mend.

When the famed civil rights leader passes away someday down the road, there will be no end of tributes, including law school symposia celebrating his contributions.

But one law school decided it was tired of waiting for the hospital-bound former president. The school went ahead and wrote his obituary, using it as an opportunity to pimp their connections with South Africa….

(Please note the UPDATE at the end of the post.)

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Whenever we talk about law school grading around here, it usually involves a law professor being incredibly lazy when it comes time to perform his or her most important function regarding a student’s likely job prospects. Or it involves a law school trying to arbitrarily inflate its grades in a desperate attempt to enhance its employment stats.

Sadly, these stories don’t reflect any effort on the part of legal academia to actually come up with a grading system that is fundamentally fair and useful to the students who rely on it. That law school grades are somewhat arbitrary is just a feature of the system that we all kind of accept, even as we know that employers place significant weight on law school grades when handing out scarce legal jobs.

Given all that, I wanted to take some time on a Friday afternoon to consider the proposals of one law professor who has actually thought through some modest ways to make grading exams something less of a random crapshoot…

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Attorney retirement home?

Well, the election is over, and a gaggle of new Congressfolks and Senators are coming to Washington in January. Of this population, 43 percent are lawyers, reversing the decline in lawyer politicians. So let’s review the incoming class and you can not-so-quietly judge our new legislators for their education and experience in the comments.

Ten new members attended Harvard Law School, so congratulations Crimson for continuing your tradition as the shadowy institution ruling our lives. There are also some inspiring stories among the new members. Like Joseph P. Kennedy, who lifted himself up by the bootstraps and managed to get into Harvard without any connections whatsoever. Everyone’s education info and any interesting career tidbits are provided below.

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I assumed that the comment of the week this week would come from the news that Justice Roberts turned into Severus Snape and saved Obamacare.

There have been some hilarious things said about the Obamacare decision, and Buzzfeed captured the 25 funniest tweets. I even got off a couple of nice one liners. Popehat is running a whole competition for the most outrageous rage reaction from the Obamacare decision.

But the comments on Above the Law were kind of… tame. I mean, there was a lot of making fun of CNN and the usual number of people who are still butthurt that Obama is the president, but there wasn’t a lot of insight, and very little was funny. The comment with the most likes was BL1Y’s:

Why is Obama waging a war on poor people with this incredibly regressive tax?

That’s pretty good. But the general dearth of good comments in the thread made me look elsewhere for the Comment of the Week this week….

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If you sent a document to the Engineers in Prometheus in .docx, they would say, 'Kill the one who expects us to convert.'

When most people call lawyers “paper pushers,” they mean it in a pejorative way. But pushing paper around correctly, in an organized and detail-oriented fashion, is a big part of a lawyer’s job. Some might say it’s the most important part of the job. The best lawyers have an attention to detail that can only be matched by research scientists and portrait artists.

If you can’t bring that maddening, borderline obsessive-compulsiveness to the little things, you might not be able to do things like become an awesome Supreme Court clerk — or even make it onto your school’s law review. That’s okay; you still might have other talents. But good lawyers can follow instructions (or afford secretaries who can follow instructions).

It’s an important lesson that three kids who got booted from their school’s law review competition just learned the hard way…

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This week, Legal Eagle Wedding Watch salutes… a divorce lawyer. This one dutifully dissolved her client’s marriage, seeing him through a contentious custody battle. But then she went the extra mile and set him up with his next wife. Attention, divorce bar: We smell a new business model.

But let’s not let talk of divorce spoil our ooh-ing and ahh-ing over some tender new lawyer marriages. Here are this week’s finalists:

Ainsley Fuhr and Orin Kerr

Alison Silber and Eric Lesser

Elizabeth Marshall and Jeffrey Leeds

Read on for all the juicy details on these newlyweds, plus a recap of all the recent legal-eagle nuptials….

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