University of Mississippi School of Law

Kourtney and Caleb Ballew, posing for a picture while at the White House for a state dinner with President Obama (with a portrait of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis in the background).

The White House State Dinner that President Barack Obama hosted on Tuesday night in honor of President François Hollande of France featured quite the convocation of legal eagles. As we mentioned yesterday, attendees included such law-world luminaries as Justice Elena Kagan, Secretary Jeh Johnson, and ATL’s reigning Lawyer of the Year, Roberta Kaplan.

Also in attendance: Caleb Ballew and Kourtney Ballew. They’re a pair of twenty-something, small-firm lawyers from Huntsville, Alabama.

Say what? Did the Obama White House get Salahi’d again?

Actually, no. The Ballews came as honored guests of President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama.

Because the Obamas have had so few state dinners, invitations to the ones they do host are in especially high demand. How did two recent law school graduates score one of the most coveted invites in the country? I interviewed the Ballews to find out….

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This seems a better way to go than a hunger strike.

* O.J. Simpson is pursuing a hunger strike because he’s looking to die. If only he knew who the real killers were, they could help him out. [Radar Online]

* Dean I. Richard Gershon of Ole Miss Law thinks Elie is just wrong. [Law Deans on Legal Education Blog]

* In continuing Seventh Circuit benchslappiness, Judge Richard Posner got feisty with an attorney for Notre Dame who kept interrupting him. If this lawyer keeps it up, Posner’s going to treat his client like Alabama did a year ago. [Chicago Tribune]

* Comcast wants to buy Time Warner, pending DOJ approval. The DOJ wants to talk to Comcast, but they’re only available to talk between 10 and 10:15 on alternating Wednesdays. [ATL Redline]

* California and New Jersey have banned gay conversion therapy programs. Is that the best way to combat these schemes? [New York Times]

* A look at getting started as an entrepreneur. See, there’s hope after bailing on practicing law. [Big Law Rebel]

* Daria Roithmayr of USC Law thinks The Triple Package (affiliate link), the new book by Yale’s Amy Chua and Jed Rubenfeld, doesn’t hold water. I mean, since when are we holding academics to writing “scholarship” as opposed to “controversy bait”? Professors need to eat, after all. [Slate]

* A cop who got in trouble for bashing Obama online thought he was protected by the First Amendment. The court disagreed. [IT-Lex]

A tipster sent in a flyer of a Valentine’s Day giveaway being sponsored by a black law students association, and honestly, I hope the BLSA was set up. Seriously, it would be better if racist white people promoted this event as a way to troll black people than if actual black people thought this would be a good idea.

In fact, screw it, that’s the frame I’m going with. New headline: Black Law Students Trolled By Racists On Valentine’s Day…

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On Wednesday, the Cleveland Browns traded running back Trent Richardson to the Indianapolis Colts for a 2014 first-round pick. This move, which amounts to Cleveland announcing to the world, “we took a two-week stab at 2013 and decided it’s not for us,” has the side effect of relegating Colts running back Ahmad Bradshaw to second-string status.

This is good for the Colts, maybe good for the Browns — assuming they can convert this pick into something worthwhile — and an absolute disaster if Ahmad Bradshaw played any role on your fantasy team. All of a sudden, that reliable second-tier back (though let’s be honest, he was probably never more than a decent Flex #realkeeping) is useless.

Now imagine how much worse it would be if you’d just traded a top 5 QB for a package involving Bradshaw. That’s what happened in one league and the rest of the league vetoed the trade after the real-life Richardson move. But since this league is a law school league, they prepared an appellate brief demanding the trade go through.

It’s a fun read….

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Welcome back to our series of open threads on the latest batch of U.S. News law school rankings. Last time, readers weighed in on the law schools that made up the bottom half of the traditional second tier (no, not the U.S. News second tier). This time, we’ll be taking a look at what was once known as the “third tier” — a group of law schools that was previously unranked.

Two years ago, these law schools were visited by Bob Morse, the U.S. News rankings fairy, who left a now-treasured numerical rank under each of their pillows. Now the deans at these schools can proudly boast that even if they dropped in rank, they’re “in the first tier,” an accomplishment that only the most gullible of prospective law students could be impressed by. Sigh.

Anyway, let’s see if there were any movers and shakers this year in this section of the list….

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An ethical duty?

* Are you ready for some Supreme gossip? In remarks delivered at Colorado Law, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg predicted that the Defense of Marriage Act would be argued “toward the end of the current term.” [CBS News]

* Dewey’s version of trying to curry favor for the proposed $72M partner settlement? Filing a deposition transcript noting that others could’ve also been blamed for D&L’s downfall, but weren’t due to time constraints. Gee, thanks. [Am Law Daily]

* Novak Druce + Quigg and Connolly Bove Lodge & Hutz will merge to form Novak Druce Connolly Bove & Quigg, the 7th largest IP firm in the U.S. Guess seven name partners was a bit much. [Delaware Law Weekly]

* Michael McShane was nominated by President Obama to fill a judgeship in Oregon. If confirmed, he’d be one of the few openly gay judges on the federal bench, which, of course, would be fabulous. [Oregonian]

* The Institute for Inclusion in the Legal Profession wants the ABA to amend the Model Rules of Professional Conduct to include a duty to promote diversity. Because we clearly need a rule on that. [National Law Journal]

* Cindy Garcia, an actress from “Innocence of Muslims,” is suing, claiming that she was duped into the role under false pretenses. She wants the film removed from YouTube. Everyone else does, too, lady. [Bloomberg]

* A judge refused to issue an injunction against the California ban on foie gras, instead allowing a suit on the same topic to move forward. Oh mon dieu, judge, think of all the poor Francophiles! [San Francisco Chronicle]

* Joshua Morse III, former dean of Mississippi Law who defied segregation, RIP. [New York Times]

Funny, if I told you that a prospective law student was taking out a mess of student loans in order to rent a reasonable apartment for three years of law school, people would react with a considered “meh.” It’s the way the system works. It’s expected that law students will finance part or all of their law school experience with debt — debt that is backed up by the federal government.

So, now if I tell you that a student is using public assistance to pay for housing while she’s in law school, does your reaction change?

If it does, you are what the scientists call a “Republican.”

If she’s eligible for public assistance, isn’t doing something like going to law school exactly what she’s “supposed” to do in order to one day not need public assistance?

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I’m a man who can respect honesty. Even if the honest message is painful to receive and misguided, I tend to respect people who can honestly express their worldviews.

So when I saw an email from a career services officer at a law school where she stated that finding students jobs was not her job, well, I had to just nod my head and say, “Balls.”

I mean, that’s how many of them think, right? They “advise” or “counsel” or “leave early to go the gym,” but it’s somebody else’s job to actually make sure these students are employed. Right? People don’t go to law school to get jobs, they go because… well, the CSO doesn’t much care why people go to law school, so long as the students don’t blame the CSO when they are unemployed and struggling.

At least this particular CSO employee had the guts to tell the student body the truth….

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Alright, we’ve got a little bit of a bone to pick with career services offices. Aren’t the people who work there supposed to help law students find jobs? Or at least give law students some clues about how they can find jobs themselves?

Apparently that’s not happening anymore. Just in case you haven’t had enough, here’s another report on the depressing things that are going on in law schools today.

In lieu of jobs or career advice, career services offices are now offering children’s poetry to their students….

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