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March 2016 Archives

Strange, Vexatious Litigant Creates Own 'Postal Court'

David Wynn Miller (or David-Wynn: Miller as he is known in his natural habitat) is not a name you've probably heard of before, unless you're in the most rarefied of far-right conspiracy theorist circles. Miller is a tax-avoidance acolyte most closely associated with the "sovereign citizen" movement.

He's also a self-appointed judge of an archaic (and defunct) "federal postal court." It was in that role that Miller met disappointment again recently, when a real federal court ruled Miller's kingdom nothing more than a "sham."

Is There a Downside If Your Firm Pays Your Student Loan Debt?

If you're a fresh graduate and you've managed to snag a place at a fancy firm, congratulations. If you've also managed to convince them to help pay off a portion of your debt, then you really are living the dream -- at least for now.

There's a new trend these days that's gained steam and is being met with obvious approval from law school grads: law firm assisted student debt repayment. But more cautious students are getting themselves worked up about the pros and cons of accepting such unusual law firm generosity. Our advice? Take the money and say "Thank you."

Justice Thomas to Teach Abroad Program for Thomas Jefferson School of Law

What do you do if you've just managed to win one of the most significant law school cases in history in which you were accused of fraud and illicit marketing? You hire Associate Justice Clarence Thomas to teach, of course. At least, it almost looks that way.

Thomas Jefferson School of Law (yes, that Thomas Jefferson School of Law) announced on March 22nd that Clarence Thomas would participate in the school's study abroad program that would take place from June 26 to July 21, 2016. Justice Thomas agreed to be part of the program in place of Justice Scalia due to his senior's untimely passing. It will be the first time that Clarence Thomas will participate in the joint program between TJSL and the University of Nice School of Law.

If you could go back in time and stop yourself from going to law school, would you? If you answered "Hell yes," you're not alone. A recent survey shows that most law grads regret going to law school.

Why is law school such a universally regrettable mistake? We've got some ideas.

Vermont Law School to Start Offering Remote Residency JD

We don't need to tell you that the whole law school experience is changing these days. In fact, more and more schools have launched programs that will allow students to take at least a certain portion of their classes remotely through their computers.

Vermont Law School has just announced its own version of what it calls the Reduced Residency JD Program, in hopes that it will start attracting more students and faculty from other schools.

Spring break is over. The end of the academic year is just a few short weeks away. You can't avoid it any longer. Law school finals are coming.

Since law school exams tend to be all or nothing -- your entire grade for a course depending on a few hours of maddening hypotheticals -- you'll want to make sure you're well prepared. Here are some of FindLaw's best exam tips to help you survive and thrive during law school exams.

Thomas Jefferson School of Law Is Victorious in Employment Stats Lawsuit

Thomas Jefferson School of Law has had a rough few years. Not the least of its worries was a lawsuit from a former student. But the future is looking just a little brighter for the school, as a jury just reached a 9-3 verdict in favor of Thomas Jefferson Law School.

This case is a major sigh of relief for third-tier law schools everywhere.

Top 3 Cool Legal Jobs This Week: Public Defenders

Almost every lawyer works hard, but there are a few lawyers that at least appear to work harder than others: family lawyers, civil rights attorneys, and public defenders.

Over the last few weeks we've been noticing what seems to be an uptick in the number of listings for public defender jobs across the country. There's a very real need for legal representation for those persons who can't afford to pay. So if you're feeling like you could use a job that will keep you busy with a wide variety of different (and virtuous) experiences, have we got a list for you.

Allow me to rehash a few clothing-centric adages for a moment: dress for success, dress for the job you want, not the job you have, the suit makes the man, the pantsuit makes the presidential candidate, etc. You've heard them all before, but there's some serious truth behind those platitudes.

Clothes don't just change how people look at you, but how you look at yourself. And there's research to back it up.

Georgetown Scaliagate Heats up With Defamation Action

Just when we thought the email 'Scaliagate' scandal at Georgetown University's Law Center was dying down, in fact, things have started to heat up.

It appears that GULC's Prof. Gary Peller has filed a Notice of Grievance against Dean Treanor for what are allegedly retaliatory and defamatory statements related to Justice Scalia's passing last month.

Ever wonder what the legal world would be like if the Supreme Court was composed exclusively of drag queens? Wonder no more.

RuPaul, 'Supermodel of the World' and perhaps the world's most famous female illusionist, gave us some gender-bending Supreme Court insights on RuPaul's Drag Race this week, as contestants were instructed to serve up some Supreme Court realness. Black robes have never looked like this before.

Things are looking up for the seven women who are suing Bill Cosby for defamation. Yesterday, Judge Anita Brody, of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, ruled that the women can have access to Andrea Constand's case file.

Constand, like the women here, had accused Bill Cosby of sexual assault. In 2006, she entered into a confidential settlement agreement with Cosby. It's files related to that agreement, including information on other accusations against the comedian, that Cosby's accusers will now have access to.

Let's take a look at this clever legal maneuvering.

Dropping the LSAT Requirement: Is This a New Trend?

A lot of changes are happening on the law school/bar exam front. California's Supreme Court finally gave its blessing to the state's recent proposal to lop a day off its legendary three-day exam. Oklahoma's Supreme Court okayed, "dumbing down" its state bar exam. The UBE is being adopted by more jurisdictions at a notable rate. And now, at least one school has dropped the requirement that its applicants had taken the LSAT.

Is this the latest change to the legal education landscape that will change how we look at law schools forever?

Diversity Highlight: First Latina Partner at Prestigious NY Firm

The storied NY law firm of Cravath Swain and Moore recently added the firm's first Latina to its ranks of partners. It's a career position that Damaris Hernandez probably did not envision when she first started her legal career.

Her position is due thanks in part to the generosity and vision of Anthony and Beatrice Welters, founders of the AnBryce scholarship program that helped law students from backgrounds like Hernandez's to reach their professional goals.

The clothes really do make the man (or woman). A new study from California State University shows that dressing well at work is connected in higher-level expansive and abstract thinking, while dressing informally is correlated to focusing on immediate, pragmatic tasks. Or, as NPR puts it, "slouchy clothes make for slouchy work."

Dressing well as an attorney isn't as simple as not wearing pajamas to court. Here are FindLaw's top nine tips to help you dress for success.

It's been a bumpy, bumpy ride through this season on How to Get Away With Murder, but we're glad we went along for it. (The 'twincest' neologism alone made it worthwhile.) And now we're done.

Last night's episode marked the end of the season, but it didn't exactly feel like closure. Here's your spoiler-filled lawyer's guide to the How to Get Away With Murder season two finale.

Top 3 Cool Legal Jobs This Week: The FANG Companies

Last year, four companies dominated the news -- the FANG companies. In fact, Facebook, Amazon, Netflix and Google probably accounted for most if not all of the entire return on the S&P500, making up the losses of the companies below them.

You're probably wondering: wouldn't it be nice to get a nice cushy legal job with a company like that? Well, we can help you with finding the job, but we don't know how cushy it's really going to be. As part of our affiliate relationship with Indeed, we're bringing you the three coolest jobs we can find -- plus one. Get your resumes ready

Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Rebecca Bradley's college editorials are coming back to haunt her. Bradley, who was appointed by Governor Scott Walker last year, has always been considered a conservative. But her student op-eds show what form her college-aged conservatism took: full-on, hardcore homophobia. Bradley's writings will make your drunk, Trump-loving uncle look like a master of good taste.

College students and future lawyers, this is why you don't put your crazy rantings down in writing.

Defense Attorney Injured in Fight With Investigator

Orange County defense attorney James Crawford suffered contusions on his face and a very obvious black eye after getting involved with a physical tussle with the local district attorney's investigator. It appears that the investigator confronted Crawford and physically battered him. The investigator's attorney told local newspapers that Mr. Crawford's account of the incident didn't capture both sides of the story. "There are two sides of every story and that is certainly true here," he said.

The incident highlights the growing tension within the Orange County legal system that has been building up since 2015.

For all the talk about law school debt, the struggling legal market, and dead-end legal jobs, working as a lawyer is still one of the best ways to make a lot of money. According to a new report by Glassdoor, lawyers are the second highest-paid professionals in the country.

So take that software engineers, finance bros, R and D managers. We've still got you beat. (Though we're also a distant second to physicians.)

Gentlemen's Club Lawyer Loses Family Pet and Goes Ape in Court Pleadings

We're a quarter through 2016 and we think we've found this year's current winner of the most profane piece of work product. Michigan lawyer Bradley J. Shafer prefaced his mediation summary of his stripper club case with some personal comments about the nature of his industry and strippers in general.

And then, he goes ape. If you don't believe us, you should read the summary yourself. Remember, this has been filed in court.

3 Best TV Shows for Lawyers

Television loves lawyers. And lawyers love to watch other lawyers. At FindLaw, HTGAWM and Better Call Saul are mentioned frequently over cups of gourmet coffee.

For those of you who've been too busy to keep up with the latest on your television (or device), here are few quick and dirty summaries of our favorite television attorneys.

The Art of Salary Negotiations for Lawyers

Do you ever get the feeling that your current salary isn't enough? You're not the only one. But many employees become terrified of the prospect of sitting down with their employer to negotiate higher compensation -- and with good reason. It's your livelihood you're talking about it.

But the salary negotiation process doesn't have to be a debilitating exercise. With a little preparation, you can make your best go and hopefully walk away with a little something more in your pocket.

Oklahoma Lowers Bar Exam Standards

It appears that Oklahoma's Supreme Court ruled in a split 5-4 decision to lower bar exam standards. Specifically, the state will adjust its acceptable MBE scaled score in response to ever faltering law school admissions rates.

Reactions from opponents have been clear from the dissent. We hope this isn't a new reality for law in this country.

Does your current city have you feeling down? Looking to make a move to someplace a little more happening? As part of our affiliate partnership with Indeed, we're bringing you the three coolest legal jobs we can find, in some of the coolest cities in the country.

So, pack up that U-Haul. A move could be in your future.

So much for the secret keeping. After scheming, conniving, and straight up killing to keep their bad deeds hidden, everything started spilling out in last night's episode of How to Get Away With Murder: Wes's origin story, Annalise's bummer of a pregnancy, even Frank's back story. Of course, the confessing was helped along by a bottle or three of Annalise's luke-warm vodka.

Here's your lawyer's guide to last night's very revealing Hot to Get Away With Murder episode.

Yale might be ranked as the number one law school in America (you're trash, Harvard), but when it comes to passing the bar on the first try, graduates of the much less celebrated law schools far outrank Yale, Harvard, Stanford and many other prestigious law schools.

That's right, if you want to pass the bar, go to law school at the University of Alabama or Wisconsin, not the Ivy League. Roll tide, cheeseheads.

2017 Law School Rankings Leaked Early -- Worried?

Well, it's happened again, only a little earlier than usual. Key sections the 2017 U.S. News and World Report Law School Rankings have been released, apparently due to some staff miscommunication, Above the Law Reports.

Considered how obsessed people are about the Top 100 law school ranks, we just couldn't leave this one alone. Here's an overview of what can be learned from the leaked rankings.

Get it together, Boalt. Thanks to your unruly deans, you're now top of the law school charts, at least when it comes to your deans and sexual harassment scandals.

The newest news of U.C. Berkeley School of Law's handsy deans came on Tuesday, when an executive assistant sued Boalt Dean Sujit Choudhry for sexual harassment. Choudhry himself became dean just a few years after a previous dean left the school over -- surprise, surprise -- sexual harassment.

Professional Development Tips for Law Students

If you're in law school, perhaps you've seen other students show up to class in unnecessarily professional clothes -- as if they just landed a great internship, or even a real job.

Kudos to them for getting out there and making connections, but if you want to be one of them, you're going to have to develop yourself and your style. Here are a few tips that law students shouldn't overlook in today's increasingly competitive market for lawyers.

He talks about his manhood. He loves to go ad hominem. He's wildly inconsistent. When it comes to Donald Trump's debate performance, as the Donald might say, it's pathetic.

If there's a lesson to be taken from Donald Trump's debate style, it's that when it comes to lawyering, don't do what Donald does.

Thomas Jefferson School of Law Dragged to Court by Former Student

Nearly ten years after graduating from Thomas Jefferson School of Law, Anna Alaburda, Esq., will have her day in court. The issue? Misleading employment numbers published by the school. This is just the latest in a string of legal attacks that have recently hit Thomas Jefferson School of Law.

Alaburda v. Thomas Jefferson School of Law is a case that law school across the country will be watching. Although there have been many lawsuits brought by former grads against their law schools, this will be the first that finally makes it to trial.

Top Immigration Judge Thinks Toddlers Can Represent Themselves

One of the top Immigration Judges in the nation recently stated under oath that he'd taught immigration law to 3-year-olds and 4-year-olds well enough to ensure that they got a fair hearing, satisfying due process in immigration court. Sound a little crazy?

A long-time immigration official for the Executive Office for Immigration review, Jack H. Weil's comments shine a light on the issue of whether or not children who unwittingly break United States' immigration laws should be entitled to publicly-funded attorney representation.

What can Dolly Parton teach you about making it as an attorney? More than you'd expect. There are even some legal life lessons to be learned from the likes of Lou Reed and Pharrell.

When it comes to inspiration, we here at FindLaw aren't afraid of looking beyond the law firm door. You shouldn't be either. With that in mind, here's the best of our celebrity-inspired lawyering lessons.

Top 3 Cool Legal Jobs This Week: College, University Jobs

In our ongoing series of Top 3 Cool Legal Jobs of the Week, we scanned the pages of Indeed to bring you the theme of the week: Academia. Every job opportunity listed below is courtesy of an institution of higher education. Even schools need schooling in the law.

Take a glance at the job descriptions and polish up your resume and cover letter. We're already a quarter a way through the year -- and aren't you in the same position that you were in last year? Maybe it's time for something a little different in you career.

We'll cut straight to the chase: last night's episode of How to Get Away With Murder was a flipping mess -- but a fun and illuminating one. Featuring several unsexy slumber parties, the first twenty minutes were very 'Olson Twins pizza party' while the end seemed like a lost scene from The Bacchae.

So, let's hop right in to this week's spoiler-filled lawyer's guide to How to Get Away With Murder.

Justice Scalia's Last Days With the Order of St. Hubertus

Leading up to the days of his passing, Justice Antonin Scalia was enjoying some quality recreational time. Apparently, he had spent the weekend hanging out with members of the Austrian-based and very exclusive -- male only -- hunting society known as the International Order of St. Hubertus. The group frequently dons emerald robes emblazoned with the mantra "Deum Diligite Animalia Dilgentes," or Honoring God by Honoring his Creatures. And beyond that, there is some really weird stuff on this group.

This is exactly the sort of fuel conspiracy theorists need to stoke their fiery theories about Justice Scalia getting whacked in his sleep.

How to Apply to Law School as an Older Applicant

Many of you have heard the euphemism "non-traditional" law school applicant. This term has been used to encompass persons who seek to go into law from other careers, who took some time off and have decided on the path to law school, or pretty much anyone who didn't go straight from undergrad to law school in their early twenties. As we've written in the past, it's never too late to go to law school.

Older applicants can and do get into law school, though they may have to work at it a bit more than their younger counterparts. Here are few things you'll have to face if you're an older applicant looking to get into the best school you can.

Black, Latino Law Students More Stressed and Indebted, Survey Suggests

Black and Latino law students are suffering the most stress levels associated with law school debt, suggests a survey. Law school debt levels are rising, and so is law student stress. But, in a finding that won't surprise many, minority and low-income students suffer the most.

The study seems to indicate -- no surprise -- that simply worrying about your student loans can affect the quality of your law school experience.

When Leonardo DiCaprio finally won an Oscar, it wasn't much of a surprise, but it was a triumph for the actor, who'd been nominated ten times before.

But forget Leo. Forget Brie Larson, forget Spotlight, forget even Chris Rock. Guess who else won at the Oscars? Lawyers. Here's how.

If you want to thrive as a lawyer, you need to find a niche, an area of the law where you can hone your expertise and corner a tiny fraction of the market. Most lawyers end up specializing naturally. You take one medical malpractice case and then, suddenly, you're the attorney in charge of all the cochlear implant litigation. But you don't have to leave it up to fate. With a little foresight, you can drive your career into the niche you want.

Here is a roundup of our top seven posts on fun, interesting, and sometimes downright lucrative, niche practice areas.