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The Tenure Paradox - Robot pimp

Slap on the Wrist for "Non-Consensual Sex" - Lampshade, Esq.

Intelligence: The Gathering - Graphic and Gratuitous

Grads are the New Illegals - Robot Pimp

Meet Entitlement Eric - Robot Pimp

Wherein I Solve World Peace - Lampshade, Esq.

A Necessary Delusion - Shadow Hand

Do you even need to shave overhead? - Lawyerlite

LSAT Jenga - Publius Picasso

Time, Place, and Manner

...Should have some links here or something.


UPS to stop delivering drugs, FedEx takes a stand

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Bad news for people who buy prescription painkillers online (without a valid prescription) from bogus pharmacies. Also, good news for the same people. We'll start with the bad.

UPS has agreed to pay the government a fine of $40 million for its role in delivering controlled substances purchased online. The settlement also means that UPS will begin putting measures in place to make sure that you can't get your drugs delivered by them, so don't expect the big brown trucks to keep delivering your little yellow pills. And if you have been getting drugs delivered with UPS, be worried that they'll turn your address over to the DEA.

The good news though is that FedEx is taking the opposite position, not cooperating with the feds, and preparing to defend against whatever criminal action the government brings. FedEx's spokesman said about potential charges, "It is unclear what federal laws UPS may have violated." [WSJ]

We have to agree. The Controlled Substances Act makes it illegal to distribute a controlled substance except under certain exceptions (the normal method for getting a prescription and going to a pharmacy). However, these are specific intent crimes. FedEx would need to know more than the fact that it's services are being used to commit crimes. It would need to know what specific transactions are illegal. It's going to be hard to prosecute when everything is automated and FedEx just delivers a package no questions asked.

They can't be hit with a conspiracy charge either. Anyone who's taken the bar exam should know that the sale of ordinary goods, in an ordinary manner, for an ordinary price does not create a conspiracy, even if the other guy tells you that he's going to commit a crime. Mobster comes in to your hardware store and says "I need a shovel to bury some stoolies I'm about to whack," you can sell him the shovel and there's no problem. BarBri didn't cover the provision of ordinary services, but it's safe to assume the same rule applies.

FedEx taking a stand against whatever the feds throw at them raises one serious question though, ...why did UPS fold so quickly? If the cases were progressing in the same way, and FedEx really doesn't even know what crimes they might be charged with, what was UPS doing? You don't plead guilty before the prosecution even tells you what you're charged with. Sounds like someone's legal counsel was a little bit paranoid. We can't think of anything that causes paranoia.

NYU finally posts some jobs data, let's take a look

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Some of you may remember that a year ago Paul Campos and NYU got into a pissing match over the number of graduates NYU was sending to BigLaw positions. Here's a bit from NYU's response:

Focusing on 2010 data, Campos notes (accurately) that NYU reported 296 of our 2010 graduates going to work for law firms, with 91% going to firms with more than 250 attorneys. He then estimates that NYU Law would have placed 273 of these graduates at NLJ 250 firms. “In fact, the school placed 209,” he writes. In fact? The source of Campos’s certitude is a chart the NLJ publishes each year that purports to show how many first-year associates each law school sends to the NLJ 250. To gather its data, the NLJ contacts each of the NLJ 250 law firms. But not all release this information. NLJ editor-in-chief David Brown told NYU Law that in this year's survey, the results of which he just published, 71 of these 250 firms provided no school-specific 2011 hiring data. And, if a firm didn’t participate and a law school declined to say how many graduates it sent to that firm, the NLJ simply recorded that as a zero. “If we didn’t have information from the law firm or the law school, we didn’t publish information we didn’t have,” Brown said. Presto: a sizeable group of entry-level lawyers vanish into the ether.

NYU then invited Campos to come inspect their books, knowing damned well that Colorado isn't one of New Yorks boroughs. Law School Transparency asked NYU to publish their NALP report, which was met with a response to go fuck themselves.

Something in the internal workings at NYU has changed, because the school recently did decide to publish their NALP report, though it's for the class of 2011, not 2010, so it doesn't speak at all to the dispute between NYU and Campos. (And wouldn't really have done so anyways, because the law firm size categories NALP uses are not the same as the NLJ 250 division.)

Now that we do have NALP data though, let's take a look at it.

If NYU was being honest that in 2010, 91% of students (in private practice) were at NLJ 250 firms, then 2011 was one helluva bad year. Only 70% found jobs in firms of 501+ attorneys. Another 10.8% landed in 250-500 attorney firms. That's only 80.8% in big firms, a drop of 10 percentage points. ...Okay, it's not quite that simple. NLJ250 firms dip down into the mid-100s in size, but that won't affect NYU's numbers too much. 2.9% of students in private practice were in 101-250 attorney firms; some of them NLJ250, but perhaps some of them not.

Amazingly, of the 201 grads at firms with at least 101 attorneys, NYU managed to track down 200 salaries. Either NYU's CSO has a tight relationship with their students, or they're engaging in the relatively widespread practice of filling in information that students don't provide. You can figure out on your own the problems with that.

...Or if you can't: Not all of the NLJ250 pay the "market" rate of $160,000, and not all firms paying $160,000 pay that rate at all of their offices. For instance, Warner Norcross & Judd based in Grand Rapids, MI, the 185th largest firm pays $100,000. #168, Roseland, NJ's Lowenstein Sandler pays $140,000. Davis, Wright, Tremaine pays $140,000 in LA, $145,000 in San Francisco, $120,000 in Seattle, and $110,000 in Portland. Morgan, Lewis, & Bockius, the 14th largest US firm, pays $145,000 in Philadelphia,

K&L Gates, the 8th largest firm, pays $160,000 in LA and Boston, but $105,000 in Harrisburg, PA.

It's not hard to imagine someone in the career services office seeing K&L Gates listed as the firm, the salary field left blank, and filling in $160,000 without investigating further.


One other thing stands out on NYU's NALP report, and that is the number of graduates listed as earning $24,000. That figure was listed as the 25th percentile for all public sector jobs, the 50th percentile for government work (a subset of public sector), the 25th percentile for business jobs, the 75th percentile for business jobs requiring bar passage, and the 25th percentile at law firms of 2-10 attorneys.

Given the exact sameness of these salaries, and that NYU provides funding for 12% of its grads jobs, it's safe to say that $24k is the going rate for NYU funding. Most of these jobs are public interest and government, which means that the students should also be receiving loan repayment assistance. And NYU's LRAP is known for being extremely generous. ...Except that you don't get it just for working one year. You have to work in a qualified public interest position for 10 years. If the funding for your current position is coming from NYU, you may find it hard to stay in the program, especially since unpaid positions don't count.

And in addition to people falling out of LRAP eligible jobs, there are at least 4 people in business and 2 in private practice who are probably getting their $24k and no help with their loans.

Laser Crimes: They'll tack on another 2 years if you say "pew pew pew!"

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Earlier this week a 19 year old was sentenced to 2.5 years in federal prison for pointing a laser at a plane. Apparently he was having a slow day last October and thought pointing a laser at aircraft passing overhead seemed like a good way to spend his afternoon. He intentionally aimed the laser at privately owned jet, hit said aircraft, and the laser struck the pilot in the eye “multiple times.” This laser-to-the-eye incident caused the pilot vision impairment for hours. Because enough is never enough, the young laser enthusiast pointed a laser at a police helicopter later that night.

Putting aside the idiocy and irreverence of pointing lasers at planes, our first reaction to this was, “Isn’t there some better way to solve the ‘laser in a pilot’s eye’ problem than sending idiot laser pointers to federal prison? Maybe something like wearing protective eye gear, like half the police pilot was?”

Turns out, the whole “laser in the pilot’s eye” issue is kind of a big deal. Most of us are used to laser usage at close range, giving a tedious presentation, or livening up someone else’s presentation, or annoying a cat. But at large range, such as between the ground and an aircraft, the beam doesn’t remain a small dot. Instead it expands into a beam big enough to illuminate a cockpit. So much for [Trigger Warning: Bad pun ahead] laser focus.

Feel free to check out this little video from the FBI demonstrating laser pointer pilot blindness. Still not convinced it’s an issue? Imagine yourself as a passenger on that plane. You really want your pilot to be temporarily blinded while you’re on your way to that long overdue vacation? Sure, the plane can pretty much fly itself, but your pilot will get grumpy, and he might take that out on the passengers.

Besides that, it’s not like the federal government cares about what you think should be a federal crime. Just ask Colorado and Washington how the DOJ feels about them legalizing marijuana. (Actually, can someone check on that? It keeps changing every few months, and laser pointer threats aside, some of us are making summer travel plans.)

So what’s the federal crime with lasers? Interfering with the operation of an aircraft and/or interfering with a flight crew.

Of course, if you go look at that FBI video, you may also notice a few lines below it, the sentence, “to date, no aircraft have been lost as a result of laser incidents.” Doesn’t necessarily mean laser incidents aren’t dangerous, just that they haven’t …caused any danger yet.

If you look a few lines below that, you’ll also see where Federal Air Marshal Tim Childs does some laser user profiling, and tell us that “consistently” people who do this are either “minors with no criminal history or older men with criminal records. The teens are usually curious or fall victim to peer pressure.” In other words: “These aren’t bad kids, they’re just normal kids who happen to have a laser pointer. So let’s throw the book at them and ruin their futures because mommy and daddy bought them a stupid laser instead of an Xbox.”

That’s your government at work, folks. Pursuing kids with laser pointers, while making absolutely no arrests against the more dangerous sharks with lasers attached to their heads.

16 New Rural Lawyers, Access to Justice Problem Solved

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Last September we told you about South Dakota’s Project Rural Practice, which wanted to provide incentives to attorneys for practicing in rural areas. And South Dakota is now proud to announce that initiative has been signed into law.

South Dakota Chief Justice David Gilbertson applauds the bill and informs us that this bill makes South Dakota the first state in the nation to have legislation drafted specifically to assist recruit attorneys into rural parts of the state. South Dakota: Pioneers since the Oregon Trail (that’s actually not true. South Dakota has been so historically lame your baby sister couldn’t even die of dysentery as your oxen drowned while you were fording the river).

South Dakota has been a pioneer in reactionary legislation, though. About two weeks ago they became the first state in the nation to enact a law explicitly authorizing school employees to carry guns on the job. So maybe that will create some work for the new rural South Dakota lawyer.

Before you pack your bags and head out West (or North if you're in big hat country, or East if you're in grunge music country), let’s talk program specifics. You can read the full text of the bill here, but we’ll go ahead and hit the highlights for you.

This program will only be available to counties with a population of less than 10,000, of which (according to Wikipedia), South Dakota has 49. Interested counties will have to apply for the program to the Unified Judicial System of South Dakota, which will consider the county’s ability to support and sustain an attorney, including, among other things: the demographics of the county, age and number of the county bar, economic development in the county, proximity to other counties receiving assistance, and evaluation of the attorney seeking assistance. The county will also have to agree to pay 35% of the incentive payment.

The incentive payment is 5 equal annual installments, equivalent to 90% of the University of South Dakota’s School of Law resident tuition and fees, as determined on July 1 of this year. Current School of Law annual resident tuition and fees are $13,288, likely to increase before the next academic year, as tuition typically does. Increase aside, 90% of that is $11,959.20.

What do you have to do to get this not quite 12k a year, aside from being licensed in South Dakota and practicing law in a county of less than 10,000 people in South Dakota? You have to agree to practice law in that rural county for at least five years. You can also probably expect to hear something like, “Oh, so you can commit to Moody County for five years but not to me?!” from your significant other.

Other things to take note of? The law doesn’t allow more than 16 attorneys to participate in the program, and no new attorneys may be added after July 1, 2017. So you better apply soon.

If you’re worried about the fund running out of money to pay you, be one of the first to apply. The bill set aside $475,000 from the general fund for this program. Of the $11,959.20 the fund should pay you annually, the county you’ll call home is responsible for 35% ($4,185.72). The Unified Judicial System is authorized to receive another 15% ($1,793.88) from the State Bar. That leaves $5,988.60 to be paid by the Judicial System, assuming they take the Bar’s money, which they likely will. Multiply that by 5 and you get $29,943. That leaves enough money for to pay for 15.8 attorneys, based on current tuition. And don’t think that if you’re unlucky .8 person you can just quit a year early. If you breach your agreement under the program, you have to pay all the incentive money back, or risk disciplinary action from the State Bar.

But maybe we're being short sighted. Perhaps the budget does balance. All that's required is for USD's tuition to drop a little bit, in turn decreasing the support provided to each grad. It only needs to decrease 1.27%. So let's just see USD's historic tuition rates ...It's $12,340 this year, was $11,208 last year, and $7,498 back in 2004. So, tuition has gone up 10.1% since last year, and 65.6% over 8 years, so tuition is likely to be somewhere in the range of $17,000 in 2017 and $26,000 by the time the 5 years are up for the last entries into the program. Ugh...

As well intentioned as South Dakota's program is, one attorney for every 3 rural counties is hardly going to provide some great new access for the underserved, and there's probably going to be a budget shortfall later on. It's a classic case of too little, too little.

At least we haven't heard on strict requirements on what it means to practice law. $12,000 a year to turn away clients in the Badlands doesn't sound like the worse thing in the world.

Page 16 of 340

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