UT Law

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….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “A Law School Love Story: Prominent Professor Marries Columbia 3L”

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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* DLA Piper is blaming the Occupy Wall Street movement for Biglaw’s sad, 2011 bonus season. It looks like we can expect a Cravath match from that firm. [Thomson Reuters News & Insight]

* We could really use some more law schools — fourth tier law schools, in particular. Say hello to the Savannah Law School, a John Marshall Law School Atlanta production. [National Law Journal]

* University of Texas School of Law Dean Larry Sager has been ousted from his position. Readers have flooded our inbox with the news, so we’ll have more on this later. [Texas Tribune]

* This Senate victory for gay servicemembers came with unintended consequences. It’s now kosher to have sex with men, women, and everything else under military law. [Washington Post]

* Prosecutors will be seeking the death penalty against Stephen McDaniel. If being drawn and quartered were an option, maybe this medieval scholar wouldn’t mind so much. [Macon Telegraph]

* Bueller? Bueller? Bueller? Although Ben Stein is the keynote speaker at this year’s ABA Techshow, legal tech nerds will likely be unable to win his money. [ABA Journal]

Putting years of legal education to use.

You know things are bad when U.S. News, the Holy Grail for students trying to figure out where to go to law school, is writing articles about all of the non-law related jobs recent graduates are taking just to get by.

This isn’t one of those “oooh, look at all the super-awesome things you can do with a sweet law degree” articles. U.S. News wrote a straight-out “J.D. stands for Just a Dog walker” article.

Everybody who is in law school knows how difficult the job market is. But U.S. News is giving this sobering message about “non-traditional” legal careers to people who have not yet signed up for their own financial doom.

And it turns out that even going to a highly ranked school doesn’t save you from having awful job choices…

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We get it, law students: the curve sucks. Because the law school curve affects important things like class rank, law review eligibility, and employment opportunities, it can make or break your life. And in a world where the legal market is still recovering from circling the drain, your grades mean more than they ever did in the past.

While the curve reflects some amount of fairness for larger classes, what happens to the students in smaller classes? You’d think that if everyone in a seminar class kicked ass on the final, the school would allow the professor some leeway with the mandatory curve. That seems like it would be fair, right? It’s a load of bull if the school refuses to step away from the curve in this kind of a situation.

And speaking of bull, apparently if you mess with one in Texas, you’ll get the horns (or at least be called a crybaby). A student at the University of Texas School of Law is trying — albeit unsuccessfully — to fight the powers that be….

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Almost a year ago, David Van Zandt, one of the most admired figures within legal education, announced his departure as dean of Northwestern Law School. Van Zandt moved to New York, leaving behind his multimillion-dollar mansion in Chicago, to assume the presidency of the New School (a move that made headlines here in NYC).

A search committee went to work, to try and find someone to fill Dean Van Zandt’s large shoes. Today the law school announced its new leader.

The new Northwestern Law dean, like his predecessor, is a distinguished scholar. He also comes with a strong track record as a law school administrator.

Who is he? Let’s find out….

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Many law school graduates are wondering how they can make themselves more marketable in light of their dismal job prospects. Hell, even graduates from elite law schools are having trouble finding jobs these days.

What can these would-be lawyers do to help themselves land a respectable job?

Some of these people are actually so desperate they believe that getting even more legal education will solve their employment woes. Maybe, just maybe, they think, an LLM from a better school will help them wipe the sub-T14 sludge off their résumés. Of course, money is no object, because really, after throwing $150,000 at a wall and hoping that it sticks, another couple thousand dollars is just a drop in the bucket.

But don’t sign up for that LLM just yet, because the masterminds at the University of Texas School of Law may have a solution for you. Education is the key, but it’s not the kind of education that you’d expect….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Deep in the Heart of Texas, Where Lawyers Go to School to Become Paralegals”

Texas exists so I don’t have to make up headlines like the one above. Khou.com reports:

Simkins Residence Hall is the last all-male dormitory at the University of Texas. Tucked into a quiet corner of campus along Waller Creek, it was the first men’s dorm with air conditioning.

It is notable for another reason as well: Simkins is named for a UT law professor who was a leader of the Ku Klux Klan.

Yeah, no average Klan sympathizer can get his name on a dorm in Texas. You’ve got to be a Klan leader for that kind of recognition.

Administration officials claim they only recently became aware of the Simkins’s supremacist background. That’s probably true. But something tells me that 55 years ago, when the dorm opened, somebody at UT damn well knew that this law prof was a Klansman…

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You’d think those in the law would know by now not to send out embarrassing emails. But a Federalist Society officer at the University of Michigan Law School, whose name we’ve replaced with a pseudonym, seems oblivious. Apparently, Fed Soc served up some E-coli tainted lettuce at a recent lunch:

Subject: [lawopen] Fed Soc Lunch/ e. coli “episode”
Date: Fri, 16 Apr 2010 19:39:35 -0400
To: [Unofficial Law Listserv]

Hi Law Open,

The Federalist Society would like to extend an apology to anyone who had to experience the wrath of uncooked Pancheros over the last few days. I am among the many victims, spending three days in agony in the bathroom…. (TMI?)

Hope you all feel better!

Best,
WOLVERINE WITH DIARRHEA (OF THE MOUTH)
Federalist Society Vice President

“TMI?” Yes. Yes, it is.

Another scatological tale from UT Law, after the jump. Someone truly thinks the place is a third tier “toilet”…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “An Explosive Federalist Society Lunch at Michigan Law?
And another scatological law school tale at UT.

William and Mary Marshall Wythe School of Law Above the Law blog.jpgHow long should students have to wait for fall semester grades? Two weeks? A month? Some students at William and Mary School of Law are still waiting for fall semester grades — and they might not be alone.

I understand that law professors would rather drink wine straight from the box than grade a paper. It’s an onerous responsibility. But, it is a responsibility. Especially in this economy, where students are scrambling for scarce job opportunities. If a student has an incomplete transcript, or can’t produce a class rank upon request, a prospective employer might well go with one of the other hundreds of resumes flooding his or her inbox.

Last month, a student at the University of Texas School of Law complained that he lost out on a judicial clerkship because of one professor’s grading delay. Above the Law received this email on January 25th:

UT Austin school of law logo.JPGTexas Law’s Student Affairs Office said over the phone this afternoon that Prof. [Redacted] hasn’t submitted grades yet or filed for an extension. UT’s deadline was Tuesday of last week (which is already hilariously late compared to the University’s undergraduate policies). Supposedly, the Law School will dock [the professor's] pay until the grades are in or until he requests an extension, but he’s big pals with Dean Sager.

I’ve already missed out on at least one internship this summer because I didn’t have grades yet. A judge’s office called me to schedule an interview and asked that I bring a transcript. When I mentioned that, as late as Jan 16th, I still hadn’t received a single grade, they went ahead and hired someone else.

We emailed the professor to see if the grades were still outstanding, or why they were delayed in the first place, but he did not respond.

At William and Mary, the situation is such that the class rank of the entire school has been delayed….

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Grades delayed at W&M, UT – Austin… anywhere else?

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