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February 2015 Archives

'How To Get Away With Murder' Review: Season 1 Finale

What an episode it was! Actually, the "season finale" of #HTGAWM comprised two back-to-back episodes, but that doesn't matter. We figured out who killed Lila, what the deal was with (former law student) Rudy Walters, and why you shouldn't mess with Frank.

The season ended on a cliffhanger, and another murder, meaning The Gang will be back next season for more hijinks. But if they're 2Ls, why will they still be taking Annalise's class? Is this going to turn into a "Saved by the Bell" situation where The Gang is in law school for five years?

2 Law Schools to Adopt ABA's LSAT Elimination Provision

Have you heard? You don't have to take the LSAT to get into law school anymore! Cue the articles about how "some schools" -- two -- are eliminating the requirement and how pretty soon no one will have to take the LSAT.

Sort of. As Bloomberg Business reported Tuesday, the ABA did change its rules in August to allow schools to admit up to 10 percent of students in an entering class without taking the LSAT. There's a bunch of caveats, though.

Fun With ABA 509 Disclosures: Best, Worst Law School Bar Pass Rates

Have you always wanted to compare different ABA-accredited law schools' numbers? Do you have a strange affinity for Excel? Well, now you can put both of your odd hobbies together!

The American Bar Association has made available its "509 disclosures" -- all the self-reported numbers that ABA-accredited schools have to provide every year -- online and in Excel spreadsheet format. You can get 509 sheets for each of the 202 ABA-accredited law schools in the United States, or -- and this is where we had some fun -- you can get spreadsheets on a variety of different metrics (like undergraduate GPA, cost of attendance, and attrition), compare schools to each other, and discover trends.

Let's have fun with statistics -- together!

7 Questions Lawyers Should Ask at the End of a Job Interview

You're at the end of a law firm job interview and everything's going well. You smiled at all the right times, appeared interested, and shook hands like a pro. Just don't screw up these last few minutes and you might actually have a shot at this job.

Then the interviewer asks, "Do you have any questions for me?" Uh oh. Questions for you? What if you don't ask the right questions? Or any questions? Should you even ask questions?

To start, yes, it's a good idea to ask questions at the end of an interview. It looks like you're engaged and interested, plus you also get substantive questions answered. So instead of suddenly sweating from every part of your body, relax and take a look at these questions that you actually should be asking:

Better Career Opportunities Through ... Accounting?

While we've taken our shots at the "practice-ready" curriculum and "JD advantage," if you're at a law school where those buzzwords percolate, chances are your job prospects aren't that awesome (otherwise, the career services office would be talking about actual practice jobs, not "sort of law-related" jobs).

You've made your bed. No use crying over spilt milk. And other cliches. Lots of lower-tier law schools are trying to make their students attractive by giving them other skills. So prepare yourself for some intensive training in ... accounting?

'How to Get Away With Murder' Review: Season 1, Episode 13

The Special Guest Star parade continues in this week's episode of "How To Get Away With Murder" as Annalise's mother, played by Emmy winner Cicely Tyson, pays a visit. Basically everyone thinks she should get another Emmy for her performance here as well. (Turns out there are skeletons right next to Sam's old suits in Annalise's closet.)

This episode sets us up for the two-hour season finale next week -- and it pulls no punches setting us up for the big question: Has Goth Girl been punking The Gang the entire time?

2 Minn. Law Schools, Hamline and William Mitchell, to Merge

The law school bubble has claimed another victim. You'll remember that, last year, the self-appointed second-best law school in the country, Thomas M. Cooley School of Law (which is unranked by those barbarians at U.S. News), closed its Ann Arbor campus because of lagging enrollment.

Cooley, nevertheless, remained alive. In Minnesota, however, there will soon be one less ABA-accredited law school as Hamline University School of Law has announced it plans to merge with William Mitchell College of Law.

Miss. Judge Indicted in Racially Charged Assault on Disabled Man

Well, this is a new one in the annals of Lawyers Behaving Badly, and maybe the worst in the category of Judges Behaving Awfully: A state court judge in Jackson, Mississippi, finds himself deservedly in trouble for allegedly "knocking down, slapping and kicking" a mentally disabled black man.

Oh, and did we mention he used a racial slur against this disabled black man after he knocked him down and kicked him?

5 Ways to Know You've Finally Arrived at the Firm

Junior associate, senior associate, partner -- it's great to have titles, but these days, you can make up your own title to inflate both your self-importance and your outward appearance of importance.

As they say in writing class, "Show me, don't tell me." Your title might say you're a "senior" whatever, but how do you know when you've finally "arrived" at your firm? The Law Firm hierarchy will tell you.

'How to Get Away With Murder' Review: Season 1, Episode 12

Well, they found Sam -- or what's left of him, anyway. After Sam's sister, Hannah, learns about his demise, she gets all accuse-y with Annalise. Now every lawyer in town -- nay, every person in town -- thinks she killed Sam.

In the meantime, there's some baloney about a search of a shipping container that everyone thinks was super-illegal, but was really totally fine, but because this show's technical adviser (assuming they even have one) never even cracked open so much as a bar review guide, it's aaaaall unconstitutional.

Everyone's having a breakdown and You Won't Believe What Happens Next.

2 'Bronx Defenders' Resign Following Anti-Police Music Video

Two lawyers from the nonprofit criminal defense organization The Bronx Defenders resigned last week after they briefly appeared in an online music video. The song is called "Hands Up," which contains some anti-police lyrics and the suggestion that black men aggrieved by racial injustice should kill police officers.

File this one under either "It seemed like a good idea at the time" or "We should have demanded to see the lyrics first."

Texas Lawyer, 32, Arrested for Robbing Woman, Assaulting Deputy

Everyone knows that it's hard for law graduates to get a job so they can pay off their thousands of dollars in debt. Doc review jobs help, but they don't lead to anything permanent.

Between the cost of living and paying off students loans, life can be difficult. So what's a lawyer to do when faced with financial problems? Well, there's always robbery.

ABA 'Encourages' Law Schools to Offer Debt Counseling

Is the American Bar Association finally taking law school debt seriously?

On Monday, the ABA's House of Delegates adopted Resolution 106, which "encourages law schools to offer comprehensive debt counseling and debt management education" to students and encourages bar associations to provide the same for newly admitted lawyers.

But curiously missing from the two-paragraph resolution is any serious discussion of employment statistics, law school prices, and the unwillingness of the ABA to do anything about these issues.

5 Valentine's Day Gift Ideas for Lawyers

Valentine's Day is fast approaching, and it's time to start thinking about what to get the special lawyer in your life. (You could also wait until the last minute and get a Whitman's Sampler from Walgreen's, but all that says is "I forgot about Valentine's Day.")

Hopefully, your BigLaw associate significant other doesn't have to work late into the night. And even if he or she does, here are some gift ideas that will making coming home at 1 a.m. all the better:

'How To Get Away With Murder' Review: Season 1, Episode 11

Things heat up in this week's episode of #HTGAWM as Sam's sister comes snooping around, asking all these crazy questions like "Where's Sam?," "Why aren't you looking for Sam?," and "Did you kill Sam?" What a busybody.

We also learn how the gang spent Christmas break, and then Annalise treats us to a new lesson: How not to represent your client -- if you want to keep your law license, that is.

Vodka and Pie

So, Annalise didn't have such a good break. Though she told her sister-in-law she spent Christmas with her mother, it appears that she spent it with Detective Lahey, then spent New Year's alone at a hotel, drinking little vodkas from the fridge and eating pie. She's sobbing the whole time, but hey -- vodka and pie! Save those tears for court.

Lawyers: Are You Talking Too Loudly in Public?

You know what's fun? Stories about other lawyers' professional responsibility foibles. There's a certain, how do you say, schadenfreude, that we get out of hearing that a lawyer made a terrible ethical gaffe.

Today, we counsel on the problem of the lawyer who talks too loudly, spilling firm secrets or client confidences over lunch, on the subway, in an elevator, or on an airplane.

Study Finds Lawyers Are Liberal, but Judges Are Conservative

A new Harvard study, which claims lawyers are more liberal than the general population, has been making the rounds in the ABA Journal, The New York Times, and on Above the Law. The study aims to determine whether the judiciary is politicized, as has been claimed in the media for a long time now -- at least, depending on whether you agree with the judge's decision (which is problem one here).

The study also aims to determine what, if any, effect the politicization of lawyers has on monetary donations to judicial election campaigns. Most state court judges are elected, and the amount of money being spent in judicial campaigns is going up dramatically.

#DearFindLaw: Save Me From The Bluebook!

#DearFindLaw - Advice for New Lawyers and Law Students from @FindLawLP

In today's #DearFindLaw, we tackle a subject that's near and dear to my heart: The Bluebook.

Forcibly embraced by the staff of law reviews nationwide, and derided by no less an authority than Judge Richard Posner of the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, The Bluebook has become the de facto standard for legal citations.

But just because we have to use it doesn't mean we like to use it.

Ex-SMU Law School Dean Arrested on Prostitution Charge

Another month, another law school faculty member in legal hot water. Back in November, it was just an adjunct professor at U. Conn. being nabbed in a prostitution sting.

If today's news is any indication, the faculty are really stepping up their game. According to The Dallas Morning News, a former dean of Southern Methodist University Dedman School of Law was arrested on what the paper called "a prostitution charge."