USC Law

William Tell

On a Wednesday evening in January, William Tell, a 33-year-old 3L at USC Gould School of Law, was sitting in the backyard of the L’Ermitage Hotel in Beverly Hills, a few blocks away from his apartment, sipping a scotch and munching on a bowl of pasta. At the moment, Tell is the only law student in America who goes home to the woman on the cover of Cosmopolitan — he’s engaged to Lauren Conrad, the reality TV star-turned-lifestyle entrepreneur who is regarded by many, including Martha Stewart, as being something like the next Martha Stewart.

More than a decade before his stint as a figure of tabloid fascination, Tell’s first act was as a guitarist in early ’00s pop-rock band Something Corporate, a band that was playing stadiums, arenas, and late night television shows by the time he was 22.

Clean-cut and wearing a simple grey sweater and skateboarding shoes, Tell laughs a lot but speaks with a hint of careful distance. He makes clear that he guards his privacy and would not have consented to an interview with a publication whose focus was his romantic life. But I wanted to ask Tell mostly about his unique experience as a law student, so I connected with him on LinkedIn, emailed him to explain myself, and now here we are….

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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 ascended to the tippy-top of the rankings — the top 14 law schools. With the Harvard/Stanford tie, UC Berkeley’s dip, and the Georgetown v. Cornell switch-up, there was certainly a lot to talk about.

This time around, we’ll be taking a look at some additional top-tier law schools that sit just below the coveted “T14.” And much like the rousing game of musical chairs we saw play out among our nation’s most elite law schools, there were some pretty significant moves worth noting in this segment of the rankings as well….

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Back in November, when we broke the news about the release of the California bar results from the July 2012 administration of the exam, after celebrating their success or bemoaning their failure, people immediately wanted to know about the pass rates by law school. Alas, the only information we had at the time was about the overall pass rate — 55.3 percent. The pass rate was 68 percent for all first-time takers.

We also knew about the overall pass rates for first-time takers who attended ABA-accredited law schools, both in-state (77 percent) and out-of-state (64 percent). But now, just a little more than a month later, we know all of the individual California bar exam pass rates for law schools nationwide.

Last year, we praised USC Law for its top performance on the exam. But this year, we’ve got a different victor. Which law school took home the glory this time around?

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Rob Kardashian

Earlier today, we mentioned that Rob Kardashian would be attending law school this fall. In fact, he implied via his own Twitter feed that he would be attending the USC Gould School of Law.

Yes, we know: no one cares about the Kardashians — any of them (except for when they’re spreading their legs on sex tapes). But we’ve got to start caring when we find out that this reality TV character isn’t attending the law school that he claimed he would be.

Let’s take a look at what Kardashian’s purported law school had to say about this hot mess….

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Here at Above the Law, we’ve written several times about “celebrity” law students. From Lindsay Lohan’s former Mean Girls colleague to a beauty queen from Texas, we’ve seen just about every species of luminary law student. But we’ve not yet had the pleasure of dealing with law students from the most “famous” family of all — the Kardashians.

That’s right, a member of the Kardashian klan is planning to attend law school this fall. Before this family made its claim to reality TV fame for having a slutty celebutante daughter, the late Robert Kardashian was actually famous for being a lawyer. He was a member of O.J. Simpson’s murder defense team, alongside Johnnie Cochran, F. Lee Bailey, Alan Dershowitz, Barry Scheck, and Robert Shapiro, in what was once referred to as the “trial of the century.”

But which of Kardashian’s children will be the one to start learning the law? If it’s Khloe, we fear that we’ll have to start writing about stolen lunches again. Perhaps it will be Kourtney, who will fight to institute law school day care centers. Or maybe it’s the sexiest one of them all, Kim, whose 72-day sham marriage may have inspired her to practice family law.

Let’s find out which Kardashian sibling will be attending law school this fall, and where….

Please note the multiple UPDATES added after the jump. The school in question denies that a Kardashian is coming its way….

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The picturesque Richard H. Chambers Courthouse in Pasadena, home of the Ninth Circuit.

California has released some macro-level results from the July 2011 administration of the bar exam. The California bar is notoriously difficult, and every year we like to take a look at which schools prepared their students well for the exam, and which schools did not.

Last year, the overall pass rates were 68.3% for all takers and 75.2% for graduates of the twenty ABA-approved law schools in California. This year, overall pass rates clocked in at 67.7%, while students who went to ABA-accredited law schools in California passed at a 76.2% clip.

But you might be surprised at which California law school had the best passage rate on the California bar. Hint: it’s not Stanford, or Boalt Hall, or UCLA….

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Last week, we covered the apparent epidemic of snitching happening at USC Gould School of Law.

(Yes, at the law school. If this snitching took place at the college, people would be dropping bodies instead of emails to Above the Law.)

As we first heard the story, somebody allegedly ratted out a popular law professor to the administration for his unorthodox teaching techniques. While many students wanted to find the “snitch,” a person who sympathized with the snitch wrote a sarcastic email making fun of those who were outraged by the tattletale:

TO THE PERSON WHO BETRAYED THE SANCTITY OF OUR CLASSROOM: HAVE YOU NO SHAME? I HONESTLY HOPE THAT YOU ARE CAPTURED BY TERRORISTS AND THAT THE RANSOM VIDEO IS LOST IN THE MAIL! AND NOBODY EVER FINDS YOU! I HOPE THAT WHEN YOU GO ON YOUR NEXT JOB INTERVIEW, AN AIDS-INFESTED BABOON TAKES A S**T ON YOUR CHEST!

And he was just warming up. Read on for updates, amusement, and enlightenment….

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Sometimes I wonder why law schools don’t institute mandatory nap times. Sometimes law students just need to take a little break — a little “time-out” before proceeding with their day.

Some people will say that today’s stupid law student email of the day comes from a rat. A snitch. A person who betrayed the trust of his fellow classmates.

Others will say it comes from a whistleblower. A person of conscience. A student who saw a wrong being committed and decided to speak up.

Either way, it comes from a person who needed to take a break, a nap, a siesta, before rattling off an email to his entire class….

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The Golden Gate Bridge, as seen from my hotel room last weekend. (I just got back from the AALS conference in San Francisco.)


Here in New York, home to Above the Law and Breaking Media, we’re gearing up for more epic snow. Those of you lucky enough to live in the Golden State might have to deal with earthquakes, mudslides, and obnoxious celebrities, but at least you don’t have to deal with blizzards.

Falling snow? Not in sunny California. Falling bar exam passage rates? Yes — at least for 2010.

A few days ago, the State Bar of California released overall statistics for the July 2010 administration of the (notoriously difficult) California bar exam. The overall bar pass rates went down by a little — but at some schools, the pass rates went down by a lot.

Which law schools’ pass rates tumbled, and by how much?

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Gawker posed a very inflammatory question yesterday: How Did the Owner of a Barely-Legal Teen Gossip Blog Get Into a Prestigious Law School?

The law school in question is USC Gould School of Law, currently ranked #18. Gawker commenters wondered whether this was a misuse of the term “prestigious.”

The gossip blog owner in question is Christopher Stone, 31, who runs Sticky Drama and Sticky Noodz, dedicated to teenage gossip and teens’ nude photos, respectively. It’s a successful blog business model, as you can well imagine. The Sticky Drama site is currently down, but you can check out its tumblr. We sacrificed a few IQ points by looking it over: It’s a mish-mash of cute boys, half-naked girls, and screenshots of Facebook conversations about rape. The site most recently gained notoriety for launching 11-year-old Jessi Slaughter into the public eye, resulting in a cyberbullying frenzy.

Gawker describes it like this:

StickyDrama and its sister porn site, Sticky-n00dz, are two of the worst sites on the Internet, built on exploiting teens and tweens’ insecurities and then publicly humiliating them. Stickydrama is a crowd-sourced gossip blog that chronicles the lives of “E-celebs.” Sticky-n00dz is similar, but focused on nude pictures. E-celebs are kind of like regular, “In Real Life” celebrities, except their fame exists solely on social-networking sites like Myspace, Twitter, and the live webcam community Stickam.com, from which StickyDrama gets its name.

When Gawker is saying you’re a cesspool….

After seeing Stone tweet about law school — “lol @ all the Efagz pissed that I got into law school–ALL that I applied to. And my entire application was based on StickyDrama. So, nyah!” — Adrian Chen at Gawker asked his Twitter followers where Stone was going. Chen then wrote:

Attention, USC law! This man spends his free time harassing teenagers and videotaping live rapes… Admissions officers at the University of Southern California’s Gould School of Law just admitted him to their 18th-ranked program earlier this week.

We reached out to USC. They say Gawker got it wrong…

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