University of Virginia School of Law

Ed. note: This is the first in a new series, “Across the Desk,” from Bruce MacEwen and Janet Stanton of Adam Smith Esq. and JDMatch. “Across the Desk” will take a thoughtful look at recruiting, career paths, professional development, human capital and related issues. Some of these pieces will have previously appeared, in slightly different form, on AdamSmithEsq.com.

As noted in the American Lawyer recently, the lateral recruiting boom of recent years continues unabated. As the Am Law article points out, “At the same time [as they’re focused on hiring lateral partners], firms appear to be homing in on their poor performers. Nine out of 10 survey respondents said their firm has ‘unprofitable’ partners, and seven out of 10 said their firms have partners at risk of being deequitized or ‘put on performance plans.’ As one survey respondent put it: ‘There are too many partners without sufficient billable work.’”

Now, wouldn’t you think it would make sense — if firms are worried about underperformers — to pay some attention to associates as well as partners? After all, some of those associates should, speaking theoretically at least, be your future partners.

Yet there’s unrebutted evidence that firms look at the wrong criteria when hiring associates….

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Chris Dumler

Is there anything quite as grand as allegations of a UVA Law grad behaving badly?

Today’s installment of “Lol-VA” involves serious allegations against a lawyer and 2009 graduate of UVA Law who was dubbed a “rising star” in Democratic politics in Virginia. Unfortunately, instead of the usual fun allegations of getting belligerent and drunk or stealing transcript paper, these claims are more serious.

Albemarle County supervisor Christopher Dumler was arrested and charged with forced sodomy, yesterday.

Collars should go down to half mast, as these allegations could put a stop to Dumler’s career…

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[UPDATE (9/5/2013, 11:30 p.m.): The charges discussed in this story have been expunged.]

If I may be so bold, I have an idea for a new class to be taught at UVA School of Law. It would be called “Use Your Words,” and it would go over the proper way for lawyers and law students to address police officers.

I’d teach the class at 2:00 a.m. That way the students could get in the habit of addressing people with respect even while they are intoxicated.

They could use the training. A couple of years ago, a UVA law student found herself accused of spitting on the police after a night of drinking (although the charges were ultimately dropped). More recently, a UVA Law alum and DLA Piper partner, Laura Flippin, did use her words about her own intoxication — she just allegedly didn’t use truthful ones, while under oath.

Today, we’ve got another UVA law student who allegedly didn’t use her words with the police; instead, she used her phone. No, not in the way you’re thinking….

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Bees: nature's most lovable insect.

Here’s a fun way to deal with declining law school applications across the country. UVA Law is literally sweetening the deal for their students. The school is now providing free honey in Slaughter Hall. That’s where UVA houses its student organizations, in addition to some administrative offices.

I think it’s a great idea. Honey is a tasty treat that… wait, hold on, I’m getting some new information. Sorry, sources are now reporting that the the free honey is due to an… am I hearing this right… an infestation of bees at the law school.

Can you pop a collar on a beekeeper suit?

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Why should you let bad grades get in the way of a good job?

Last year, we reported on the strange arrest of Joshua Gomes. Gomes was charged with breaking into the registrar’s office at UVA Law School and trying to steal a ream of transcript paper.

If you think that there’s only one reason that a person would want to steal transcript paper, you’re not going to be disappointed by Josh Gomes’s guilty plea. It’s that familiar story of a person popping his collar while wearing no pants….

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The second-best law school in the country has decided on a new dean. And nobody will make fun of her if she wants to pop her collar.

We told you back in March that Larry Kramer would be leaving Stanford Law School. Today, the university announced the selection of Mary Elizabeth Magill, vice dean of the University of Virginia School of Law, to lead SLS. She takes over on September 1st.

Magill got her J.D. at UVA, but she’s a native of Fargo, North Dakota. So let’s everybody cue up the Frances McDormand voice while we take a look at the rest of Magill’s wonderful résumé….

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Last month, we solicited law school success stories from you, our readers. We’re often quite critical of law schools around these parts. So, to even out the scales a bit, we’re going to be running a series of happy stories, focused on graduates who are glad they went to law school.

We’ve tried to organize the success stories under a few broad themes, to lend some structure to the discussion. Some of the themes exist in tension with each other, and not all themes will apply to all readers. By the time the series is done, however, we hope that the stories will collectively shed some light on the question of whether one should go to law school.

Let’s launch into our first collection of law school success stories. They could be grouped under the theme of “go cheap, or go home”….

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Future partner nobody wants to work for.

You know how they say that if a kid tortures animals, then it’s a pretty good bet that the kid will grow to be a danger to people? I feel like a similar thing can be said of law students. If you see a law student who picks on law librarians, administrative staff, and others in the law school community who don’t have the power and respect of the academic faculty, it’s a pretty good bet that you’re looking at a future lawyer who is going to yell and scream and bully his secretary and people who are junior to him.

It’s. Really. Pathetic. Throwing a hissy fit at those who have no power is the mark of a coward.

Of course, the ultimate law school pressure-cooker is final exams. And when the pressure is on, you can find out who keeps their cool, and who is a d-bag…

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At least a Law Hawk is better than a Law Chicken.

* Judge Mark Bennett, no stranger to these pages, issues a controversial ruling on a GPS tracking issue. [Threat Level / Wired]

* Is it more amusing that law students at the University of Georgia adopted a “Law Hawk” as an unofficial mascot, or that the student newspaper article about it reads like something out of The Onion? You decide. [Red and Black]

* Ogletree Deakins takes Manhattan (and some lawyers from Seyfarth Shaw). [New York Law Journal]

* OK, Marines lawyers. No more excuses, it’s time to suit wire up. Get your tech on, thousands of your jobs may depend on it. [Nightly Business Review]

* A North Carolina judge blocked a death sentence based on racial bias. A lot of people say that everyone’s a little bit racist, but let’s work out our prejudices in the Octagon, not the courtroom, okay? [New York Times]

* In an interview with the UVA Law student newspaper, Lat discusses blogging v. journalism, why you shouldn’t be stupid, and the state of legal education. [Virginia Law Weekly]

Johnathan Perkins

When it comes to the protagonists of 2011′s biggest legal stories, our readers want to know: Where are they now? Last week, for example, we brought you an update on Casey Anthony, which generated keen interest (and traffic).

The recent alleged misadventures of certain UVA Law School students — students accused of breaking and entering, students accused of bothering bikers (to be fair, some bikers are obnoxious and deserve what they get) — have caused commentators to wonder: Whatever happened to Johnathan Perkins?

Johnathan Perkins was the then-3L at UVA Law who confessed to fabricating a tale of racial harassment by university police. As a result of his dishonesty, did he have to go before UVA’s famously strict Honor Committee? Did he end up getting his law degree? There was some ambiguity over whether he would graduate.

We have an update, based on a statement from the dean of the law school….

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