UT Law

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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A commenter on our story from last month about salaries for Boalt Hall law professors requested data about faculty compensation at UC Hastings. Ask and you shall receive. As noted over at TaxProf Blog (via the ABA Journal), the median salary for an assistant professor at Hastings is $112,942 and the median salary for a tenured professor at Hastings is $187,221 (not counting summer stipends).

Let’s continue our law professor salary survey. Last week, we looked at the University of Michigan (#9 in the latest U.S. News rankings, and #12 in the inaugural Above the Law rankings). Now we turn to the University of Texas (#15 in U.S. News, and T14 to ATL).

They say that everything is bigger in Texas. Is that true of law school faculty salaries?

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* The DOJ is seeking treble damages against Lance Armstrong over his USPS sponsorship funds, alleging the athlete was “unjustly enriched.” This lawsuit is clearly on steroids; the bike dude’s got an eye for that sort of thing. [NBC News]

* Dewey know how much Steven Davis had to fork over to the firm’s estate to settle its mismanagement claims against him? It’s pocket change compared to what some former partners had to pay into the partner contribution plan. [Am Law Daily]

* “Golden handcuffs,” law school style: the Texas attorney general’s office is looking into the UT Law School Foundation. Apparently giving out forgivable loans to law profs like candy is a big no-no. [Austin Business Journal]

* Duncan Law hopes to get ABA accreditation through its conflict resolution center, which will “attract more students.” Yep, because more students equals more job opportunities. [Knoxville New Sentinel]

* The accused ricin guy might’ve been a whackjob, but the charges were dropped. His lawyer believes he was framed by a guy who was recently arrested on child molestation charges. Cray! [Bloomberg]

* Edward de Grazia, defender of sexually explicit novels in Jacobellis v. Ohio, RIP. [New York Times]

A while back, we wrote an article about Cody Wilson, the University of Texas law student on a quest to use the new technology of 3D printing to design assault weapons that can be constructed in the comfort of your own home, evading normal regulations.

Wilson has made major inroads since that article, as revealed in a short new documentary featuring his design project, his interaction with federal authorities, and a demonstration of his homemade, printed AR-15…

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* “[T]here is only so far you can go when representing clients.” David Tamman, the ex-Nixon Peabody partner who was “thrown under the bus” by the firm, was found guilty of helping a client cover up a $20M Ponzi scheme. [Thomson Reuters News & Insight]

* You surely must remember former UT Law dean Larry Sager and his controversial $500K forgivable loan. Well, as it turns out, the school is now condemning the practice as inappropriate, and calling for its permanent suspension. [Texas Tribune]

* Someone finally sued a power company over its horrendous response to Hurricane Sandy. The Long Island Power Authority should’ve seen this lawsuit coming, but was woefully unprepared. Figures. [Bloomberg]

* I can haz copyright infringement? Internet memes are all the rage — we even had our own contest — but you may find yourself wading into dangerous intellectual property waters with improper use. [Corporate Counsel]

* Papa John’s is facing a $250M class-action lawsuit for spamming its customers with text messages advertising deals. With share prices dropping, it must suck to be Peyton Manning right now. [CNNMoney]

Build-a-gun!

This is absurd. Over the past month, the United States hasn’t been able to go a full week without a devastating public shooting — but we still have stuff like this rising from the collective woodwork.

Meet Cody Wilson, a University of Texas Law student and founder of Wiki Weapon, a new venture aiming to merge the growing popularity of 3D printers, the internet age, and deadly weaponry.

Step right up, get your cheap, do-it-yourself gun right here. And while you’re at it, why don’t you just shoot me in the face, too….

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I wonder if the new UT dean is related to the Farnsworth on Contracts guy.

This past winter, faculty at the University of Texas were busy running their popular and successful law dean, Larry Sager, out of town. The rumors surrounding his ouster suggested that some faculty members were not too happy about Sager’s attempts to pay top dollar for certain professors. But bringing a little East Coast administration to Texas seemed to work out for UT.

We’ll see if there is more magic in that well, as Texas is about to transplant another Yankee to the Southwest….

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The Texas Law School is that way.

Everything is softer in Texas?

Occasionally we have an opportunity to look at how soft law school has become. Gone are the trials by fire immortalized in the book One L. Now it seems that law schools are taking their teaching cues from Harry Potter and Professor Dumbledore.

At the University of Texas School of Law, they’ve divided their classes into “societies” that compete against each other in games, wear special uniforms, have dedicated house mentors, and employ special Care Bears who hug people when they get back from the library. Okay, one of those things isn’t true.

Of course, the Texas millennials love it…

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Professor Philip Bobbitt

In 2008, we profiled celebrity law professor Philip Bobbitt. Professor Bobbitt has a breathtaking résumé, featuring degrees from Princeton (A.B.), Yale (J.D.), and Oxford (Ph.D.); distinguished government service, for both Democratic and Republican administrations; and numerous acclaimed books, including Constitutional Fate: Theory of the Constitution (1982), The Shield of Achilles: War, Peace and the Course of History (2002), and Terror and Consent: the Wars for the Twenty-first Century (2008) (affiliate links). For a very thorough enumeration of his amazing accomplishments, read his excellent Wikipedia page.

Our profile drew heavily upon a New York Observer piece that dubbed him “the James Bond of Columbia Law School.” What did Professor Bobbitt do to earn that sobriquet?

“His mannerisms just kind of ooze a James Bondian kind of quality,” says Vishal Agraharkar, a former [Legal Methods] student and a teaching assistant for this year’s class. “Someone who acts like that in class and outside class we assumed must have just an incredible personal life. James Bond has a hell of a personal life, so he must as well.”

Well, it appears that Professor Bobbitt, 63, does have one heck of a personal life. Over the past few days, we’ve received some rather interesting information about the good professor’s love life. The reports go something like this: “Professor Bobbitt married one of his students! Over the Christmas holiday! She’s a 3L at Columbia Law! And a Turkish princess! They were married at the Supreme Court! By one of the justices!”

As is generally the case with juicy gossip, most of this is true — but some of it is not. Here’s the real story, based on my interview with Professor Bobbitt himself. And wedding photos, of course….

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This is a most hellish contraption.

Obviously, the heartbreaking news this morning is that Twinkies is filing for bankruptcy. Don’t act like I’m the only one saddened by this news. The Wall Street Journal reports that Hostess, the maker of the All-American snack, is carrying $860 million in debt and facing higher costs for sugar, flour, and whatever kind of rendered artery fat they inject directly into the center of those things.

Well, as long as SeamlessWeb is operating smoothly, lawyers will still be able to find adequate ways to become soft in the middle.

But not every lawyer. There are still a few legal types out there who take care of their bodies, and I’m not just talking about Reema Bajaj. I’m talking about lawyers who are actual athletes.

It’s a rare breed, but today we’re going to take a look at two of them. One is an Olympian, while the other is just a record-breaking weekend warrior…

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