University of Texas Law School

How did you spend your long weekend? I spent mine in the seventh ring of suburban hell: the big box stores. Summer associates probably spent theirs saying things like, “Look at all the money I have to spend on my long weekend; Biglaw jobs are GREAT!” Recent grads spent it in a fetal position: “The bar is coming. THEBARISCOMING. Gurgle gak Commercial Paper.”

Down in Texas, a more traditional star-spangled bacchanalia was momentarily interrupted by coup d’etat. Though, in fairness, overthrowing corrupt powers seems like the most traditional way to celebrate Independence Day…

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Ever have that feeling that someone got your slot in law school even though they didn’t deserve it? They had worse grades, worse test scores… they may not even be able to pass the bar. It’s ridiculous that schools are allowed to have biased admissions policies that discriminate against qualified students in favor of some politically popular factor.

Like, favoritism.

Because this is a story about candidates who — on the face of it — just don’t appear qualified to attend the school, and who just so happen to have political pedigrees and got in….

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First, some good news: law students are starting to feel like the market has normalized. This year’s law revue submissions contained less of the “Oh Noes, Sweet Jobs Are Gone” parodies that have dominated the contest in previous years. This year was actually full of people whose greatest life tragedies apparently involved getting onto/not getting onto law review. The “new normal” is normal.

The bad news: videos about people getting onto/not getting onto law review are generally boring. Dear lord, every prospective law student and their mothers talk about wanting “practical training” and “clinical experience,” but the minute they get into law school they become obsessed with getting the most impractical résumé builder around. There wasn’t one “client” or clinical experience to be found in this year’s submissions. That should tell you a lot about the difference between what law schools say they’re teaching, versus what they’re actually teaching.

Anyway, we’re doing the worst of the worst at 3:00 p.m. on Good Friday. Joe Patrice says not to worry, we’ll have something better for you in about three days…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Law Revue Video Contest 2014: Dishonorable Mentions”

Lat here. Tomorrow is a big day. First, April 15 is Tax Day; we hope that you’ve filed your return — and that you haven’t been taken advantage of. Second, it’s the deposit deadline at various law schools. We hope that you’ve made up your mind — and that you haven’t been taken advantage of.

Just kidding. Here at Above the Law, where we are sometimes critical of the value proposition of legal education, I’m the designated defender of law schools. I write stories with titles like In Defense Of Going To Law School and Go To Law School: What Else Are You Going To Do With Yourself? I also compile and disseminate law school success stories. We are not uniformly opposed to law school here at ATL; we just want people to make informed decisions.

Helping people make informed decisions is the goal of our popular column called The Decision. We field queries from prospective law students choosing between different schools, offer them advice, and ask ATL readers to weigh in as well.

Now, on to today’s scenarios. We’ve titled them “Jersey Boys” and “The Book of Mormon,” for reasons that will soon become apparent….

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How’d you like that, lawyer? –Darrell Royal

If you’re an attorney, have gone to law school, or are going to law school, you have seen the deposition in which Joe Jamail threatens to knock some geriatric chemist’s dick in the dirt. It’s stunning not because it’s surprising but, rather, because it is exactly what you expect a trial lawyer from Texas to do. When I first watched it, I thought someone had dug up my grandfather’s body and awarded him a posthumous Juris Doctor. The only thing more impressive than Jamail’s language in that deposition was just how nonchalant he was about unfurling his homespun insults. That ain’t your g**d*mned job, fatboy.

Jamail, of course, is famous not only for being a foulmouthed credit to the human race, but also for being paid exorbitant sums of money for his lawyering. This website has spilled a good deal of cyber ink in detailing Jamail’s piles of filthy luchre. And why not!? While the rest of you go about scratching out your bonus-sniffing beta lives, Joe Jamail soars above all that. Love him or hate him, the man crushes you and I in every imaginable category, save wallflowery.

This week, Joe Jamail pumped the brakes on Mack Brown’s exit from Texas. So we get to talk about him. And sports.

Let’s talk sports, fatboy…

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* Lawyers are too lonely. Well, it’s not easy to find friends when you’re the most despised profession in the world. [Law and More]

* A prosecutor managed to shoot out the window of the D.A.’s office while playing with another prosecutor’s gun. The boss is mad, but really, what’s the point of having guns if you can’t treat them like toys? [Waco Tribune]

* Typical traffic stop turns into anal cavity search because clenching your buttocks during a pat down is probable cause for a prostate exam. [KOB 4]

* Lawyer informed by judges that “not everything on the internet is reliable.” [IT-Lex]

* It’s release day for Keith Lee’s new book The Marble and the Sculptor: From Law School to Law Practice (affiliate link). [Associate's Mind]

* Texas has hired Texas Law grad Steve Patterson as its new athletic director, poaching him from the same position at Arizona State. I wonder if Todd Graham will slimily bail on another school and join his old boss at Texas when Mack Brown is unceremoniously fired. [CBS Sports]

* Michelle Mumford, the former Milbank associate who went public with her negative experience of being pregnant working in the firm’s litigation department, is now the admissions dean at BYU Law. If any institution is sympathetic to pregnancy, it would be the Mormon Church. [The Careerist]

* Professor Pamela Karlan explains how political gridlock is the result of the Framers’ failure. I refuse to believe a gathering of slaveholding farmers didn’t construct a perfect system. [Boston Review]

* Judge tells lawyers they can’t withhold their fee structure as confidential when he can look it up in other cases. Was their theory that the judge was stupid? [South Florida Lawyers]

Another week has come and gone. We’re post Independence Day, so strap in for the long grind to Labor Day before you get any rest. If you need a break, I suppose you can take some summers for a 3-hour lunch, assuming anyone still does that.

But the real importance of the week’s end is that it’s time again to compile my look at some notable stories from the week in legal news. Bring on “5 Thing Friday” or “Working for the Weekend” or something like that.

This week, we had Justice Ginsburg’s declaration that she’s not retiring, the Zimmerman trial continued on its tragically absurd course, Vault released its annual law firm rankings, the NFL got burned in court — twice — and Harry Reid figured out that there’s this thing called a filibuster and the Republicans are really good at it…

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There’s a lot of SCOTUS attention today, but there’s still some doings in the law school world. Specifically, an ousted dean of a top law school is threatening a lawsuit against a regent.

Apparently, the former dean feels he was defamed when the regent in question started throwing around allegations of stealing from the law school.

Once more, the important life lesson is that if you’re going to defame someone and want to get away with it, don’t defame a lawyer…

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Just yesterday, the latest batch of starry-eyed dreamers sat for the LSAT (although the number of these hopeful 0Ls seems to be in freefall). As they wait for the scores to come in, these aspiring JDs will no doubt be doing their research and narrowing down where to apply. Law school applicants have no shortage of resources at their disposal to help them in making their decisions and navigating the process: from U.S. News to Princeton Review, from Anna Ivey to Top Law Schools. But we all know that there is no decision-making tool as beloved as a ranked list. People love rankings — such time and energy savers! We suspect more application and matriculation decisions are made by perusing rankings than will ever be admitted to.

Regular readers of this site might recall that a little while back we published our inaugural ATL Top 50 Law Schools ranking. We are proud that we, rather than burying our methodology in the footnotes or an obscure appendix, prefaced our rankings release with a detailed discussion about the choices we made in devising our methodology.

Whatever the subject matter, anyone looking to rate or rank anything has to make some choices between three basic methodological approaches:

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* “Chim chim-in-ey, chim chim-in-ey. Chim chim cher-ee! A sweep of a law firm has found a body!” Dead body found in law firm chimney at Moody and Woolley Solicitors in England. [BBC]

* Reddit joins the new trend of writing terms of service that can be read by real-life people. [Associate's Mind]

* Defense Distributed, the arms dealer fronted by Texas law student Cody Wilson, announced today that they have completed a fully 3D printed gun, with the added benefit of avoiding metal detectors. Yay? [Gizmodo]

* In honor of May the Fourth: a legal analysis of the Chewbacca defense. [The Legal Geeks]

* A Howard Law School grad has set up a new business allowing companies to hire bike messengers through their smartphone. So now there’s an app for THAT. [DCist]

* Is the legal profession poised for a comeback? Not sure I buy the argument. Just because more litigation kicks up, doesn’t mean firms will go on a hiring spree because litigation doesn’t need a glut of associates anymore. Document management companies are smothering future associate jobs in the cradle and they’re not going anywhere. [TaxProf Blog]

* A review of ATL’s Top 50 Law School Rankings. In the interest of complete modesty, this is the most accurate review ever. [Adam Smith, Esq.]

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