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May 2017 Archives

Law School Posts $1.5 Million Bond to Protect Students

When your law school has to post a bond, you might as well think about visiting hours because it's starting to sound like jail or worse.

Arizona Summit Law School is not in criminal trouble, but it is in pretty big trouble. A few months ago, the American Bar Association put the school on probation for poor performance.

Now the state's licensing board has ordered the school to post a $1.5 million bond to protect students in case the school closes classes or shuts down completely. That would be the worst case scenario for students at the failing law school.

7 Deadly Sins Committed by New Lawyers

Let's admit it, we have all sinned under the law.

May heaven have mercy on those of us who commit a big sin. We're talking about the sins of malpractice and ethics violations. We won't even go there.

Let's just talk about five lesser evils that often ensnare new lawyers. We're going to fix those before they turn into the two bigger sins.

Arizona Summit Law School Survives Another Lawsuit -- for Now

It was a two-fer at embattled Arizona Summit Law School.

Two former professors sued the law school for breach of their employment contracts, but a federal appeals court affirmed the dismissal of their case. It was the second win this year for the school, which has been embroiled in litigation with both faculty and students.

The complaints expose, however, an ugly underbelly at the struggling law school. It is one of three for-profit law schools run by InfiLaw Systems, which is reportedly trying to unload them in the midst of controversy.

What's in a Pseudonym? Judicial Nominee May Find Out

John K. Bush, a nominee to the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, probably never expected his blogs to get him much attention because he wrote under a pseudonymn.

He wrote more than 400 blog posts from 2007 to 2016 about a wide range of political issues, largely from a conservative perspective. His wife Bridget Bush, also an attorney and blogger, founded their blog, Elephants in the Bluegrass.

While the blog has a mere 27 followers, now the entire Senate Judiciary Committee is reading Bush's articles. They will decide whether his words matter.

Chemerinsky Named Law Dean at Berkeley: What Are His Priorities?

Constitutional law expert and educator Erwin Chemerinsky will be the new dean at UC Berkeley School of Law, taking on economic challenges that have impacted law schools everywhere and hoping to leave behind a sexual harassment controversy that had tarnished the storied educational institution.

Chermerinsky, who is currently dean of UC Irvine School of Law, brings with him the experience of launching that law school nine years ago. He is a career educator, having taught at several law schools, including Duke and USC, and having published 10 books and hundreds of law review articles.

"We must do all we can to serve our students and prepare them to practice law at the highest level of the profession," he said in a press release. "Berkeley should aspire to be one of the top five law schools in the country, by any and every measure."

Tips for Adapting to Law Firm Culture

Ever gone somewhere, like another country, and tried to adapt to a foreign culture?

Maybe you had to learn a language, or at least a few phrases, to get around. The food, the dress, the music -- everything that made it interesting also made it a challenge to fit in.

That's what it's like when you enter a new law firm culture. You want to get along with your co-workers, and the last thing you want to be is a tourist.

Best Time to Get Married During Law School

From the annals of law school posts, we perused dozens of student missives about when is the best time to get married during law school.

The consensus answer was to do it during a winter break or early summer, but definitely not before finals or taking the bar exam. Of course, a few said there is no good time during law school to get married.

And then there were some gems, which say more about how prospective lawyers think than anything about the romance of a white wedding.

Entering the Ring on the First Day of Work

In professional boxing, fighters usually start the first round by touching gloves and lightly jabbing for a few minutes. Nobody comes out swinging for the fences in the first round. It is more like a fencing match, as opponents parry to ward off blows and gauge their distance.

It is a tried and true strategy to size up your competition in the first three minutes of a fight. It's a good idea when starting a new job at a law firm, too.

Who Is the Special Counsel Investigating Trump?

President Trump lashed out on Twitter at the appointment of a special counsel to investigate ties between his campaign and Russian officials.

"With all of the illegal acts that took place in the Clinton campaign & Obama Administration, there was never a special councel [sic] appointed!" Trump raged. "This is the single greatest witch hunt of a politician in American history!"

So who is this special prosecutor, and why is the president so upset? The answer to both questions centers on one person: Robert S. Mueller.

Law School Closures Mounting

All good things must come to an end, and so do some bad things -- even law schools.

Since the economy began to push down law school enrollments about seven years ago, the impact has trickled down in a series of law school changes and closures. While the pressure has helped some educators find new ways to attract and retain students, others have looked for solutions in all the wrong places.

Lowering admission standards, misleading students, and otherwise reneging on the law school promise, the dross has dropped out. Here's a list of the good, the bad and the ugly in law school changes and closures:

Why It's Important to Make Friends in Law School

Making friends in law school is sort of like how kids made alliances in the Hunger Games.

If you don't know the story, the kids were pitted against each other in a life-or-death game. To win, only one could survive but it was a good strategy to make alliances with other competitors along the way.

That's law school, right? Except that everybody lives at the end of...well, at least the end of the first semester, hopefully.

Leadership 101: Things You May Not Have Learned in Law School

If you didn't see "Leadership for Lawyers" in your law school curriculum, that's probably because it wasn't there.

But it should be, according to some educators. In a time when fewer people consider law school as an option, says one scholar, more law students and law schools should develop leadership skills.

"It is a moment of transformational change, calling for leadership in many nonprofit, government and business communities," says David G. Delaney, a senior fellow at the University of Maryland Center for Health and Homeland Security, Francis King Carey School of Law.

Ex-Foley Partner Charged with Insider Trading

What is it with lawyers who can't keep client information confidential?

Are some secrets so compelling they just have to be disclosed, a la Eric Snowden revealing how the federal government was snooping on Americans' email? Or is it because some confidentiality agreements violate public policy, like settlements in products liability cases that conceal dangers to consumers?

In the case of another BigLaw attorney, not so much. Walter "Chet" Little, a former partner at Foley & Lardner, allegedly used confidential information to make money. He apparently made more than $320,000 in the process.

Law Student Caught Using Invisible Ink to Cheat

It's hard to know the difference between right and wrong sometimes, especially when you're taking a law school exam.

But using invisible ink to cheat? That's just wrong. And how do you even do that? Talk about blurring the line between the answers...

According to authorities in England, cheating has become a serious problem in higher education. One law student smuggled notes into an exam by writing them on her textbook in invisible ink. Then she used a tiny black light on her pen to see them during the test.

"Is it just a minor thing? No, it is a serious problem," Lord Mike Storey told a parliamentary committee. "What about the number who are not caught?"

Law Prof Suffered PTSD From Student Harassment, Lawsuit Claims

Like a bad year for wine, 2015 was not a good year for Appalachian School of Law.

Enrollment dropped to 32 first-year students that year. It was bad enough for a law school with barely 100 students, but it was even worse because of one student.

The student allegedly raped a staff member, bullied a student who committed suicide, and harassed a professor so severely that she quit. These problems, now the subject of a federal lawsuit, have not gotten better with age.

Meet the Lawyer Taking Down International Terrorists

Zainab Ahmad, the top prosecutor of international terrorists in the United States, sits at a crossroad of contradictions in American law and policy toward Muslims.

Ahmad, 37, is an Muslim-American attorney whose immigrant parents were born in Pakistan. If not for her credentials as a federal prosecutor, she could have been detained at the airport under President Trump's campaign against Muslims.

It is not the first twist in the road of her storied career. Despite challenges in the system, Ahmad has emerged as the prosecutor that terrorists fear.

Is This a Lawyer Ad or a Trailer for a Disaster Movie?

Cue the woman screaming. Pyrotechnics. Action!

"Tents are on fire, people fighting for food," a frantic fan tweets as crowds run haphazardly through a refugee scene.

No, this is not a disaster movie. It's just Philip DeBerard advertising for business. The personal injury attorney is looking for clients to sue over an ill-fated music festival.

"Did you pay for and attend the 2017 Fyre Festival in the Bahamas?" he asks on his website. "You may be entitled to compensation!"

Tiffany Trump Goes to Washington

Tiffany Trump, the first member of the reigning First Family to go to law school, will be close to home when she starts at Georgetown University next fall.

She will attend classes at the Washington, D.C. campus, which is about a mile and a half from the White House. It will be convenient and fitting for the President's daughter, who will be able to enjoy the comforts of home while going through the challenges of law school.

When the family gets together for Thanksgiving or other occasions, there will also be the tactic acknowledgment that she is "the smart one" because no one else in the family has earned a graduate degree.

"She was always a great student and a very popular person no matter where she went," Donald Trump said last year of his youngest daughter and only child with Marla Maples.

The Slowest Bar Exam Results in America

Waiting for bar examiners to post exam results in the District of Columbia is like waiting for Congress to fund the government on the eve of a shutdown: you don't know when it's going to happen but it feels like they're not taking the consequences seriously.

It has been especially stressful for hopeful admittees because the DC bar has not posted its February results but says the regular deadline for applying for the July exam has already passed (the late filing deadline is May 18th). A similar situation faces test-takers in Arizona, California, Georgia, Nevada, and Rhode Island.

For a profession that demands timely performance, it doesn't feel right.

Harvard Law School Opens Deferred Admission Globally

Want to take a break between college and law school to travel? How about a stint in the Peace Corps? Chase a dream in Hollywood?

All of these opportunities are available -- and encouraged -- through Harvard Law School's new junior deferral program. No, the law school will not pay for your travel plans or land you a role in the movies. But it will admit you early with the understanding that you take two years to pursue other goals.

"This program is allowing people to pursue their passions in ways that may not be available if they didn't already have their pathway to law school set," said Jessica Soban, associate dean of admissions and strategic initiatives.

Wake-Up Call: New Trial Ordered After Lawyer Kept Falling Asleep

Attorney Stanton Levenson gives new meaning to the saying, "you snooze, you lose."

After James Nassida was convicted of mortgage fraud, a federal judge ordered a new trial because the attorney kept falling asleep during the proceedings. How bad was it?

It was so bad the client said he had to nudge the attorney awake every day during the weeks-long trial. It was so bad the opposing counsel had to tell the judge about it in the middle of the trial. It was so bad even the jurors deliberated about it.

It gets better, or worse, depending on your perspective. Here are a few gems from the judge's order granting a new trial:

Can Law Students Intern at Solo or Small Firms?

With summer coming up quickly, many law students are looking for internships.

But in an economy that has rocked legal education and employment, many aspiring attorneys do not know what are the chances of getting an internship. Others do not even know where to look.

The good news is, opportunities are still out there. The bad news is, the pickings get slim as the season wears on. The inside scoop is, solo and small firms are an untapped source.

In the UK, Law School Becomes Optional in 2020

If James Bond were a law school, he would be 'shaken, if not stirred' by Britain's regulators right about now.

The Solicitors Regulation Authority has ruled that law school will no longer be necessary to become a solicitor in 2020. Instead, prospective practitioners will need to pass a competency-based exam.

For students of the law, it is a reason to toast because it should save them the high cost of legal education. For law schools, it is a major wake-up call.

"The exam will not spell the end of traditional legal education in the UK -- no doubt many aspiring solicitors will opt for some form of traditional legal study," says Mark Cohen for Forbes.

5 Signs of a Cheap Boss

If you are reading this article about signs of a cheap boss, you already know it doesn't end well.

It's like looking in the obituaries to see if someone died. It's the same thing that makes us slow down to look at car accidents. We just want to see what we know is already there.

So if you are reading this to confirm the sad truth of what you already know, enjoy a little spin. With apologies to Jeff Foxworthy, you might have a cheap boss if: