Constitutional Daily

Founding Principles

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.


Constitutional Daily

Do they know that "tool" and "box" are both derogatory?

E-mail Print PDF

As promised about two months ago, the ABA has finally provided us with a toolbox- I mean, toolkit (box is too vaguely sexual)- to shatter the glass ceiling. It includes a glass cutter, hammer, and a tile saw, just to give every tool equal opportunity. It does not include protective eye or headgear because if you’re dumb enough to think the contents of the toolkit will generate equal pay, then you probably deserve a shard of glass to the eye (on the plus side, your skull is thick enough to protect you from most serious head trauma).

It may seem like I harp on this issue a lot. And I promise I’ll stop just as soon as the ABA stops being so stupid about it. And so begins today’s installment of Constitutional Daily’s Explanation of How the ABA Has Gotten Yet Another Women’s Issue Wrong. Brought to you by Constitutional Daily’s Token Woman.

Let’s start with what this mysterious toolkit actually includes. The ABA’s Gender Equity Task Force’s Toolkit for Gender Equity in Partner Compensation comes complete with the following:

Program agenda: just over 3 pages; apparently the Task Force is very into double spacing and bullets.

PowerPoint program: 14 slides, including 1 each for introduction, questions, and conclusion. Also includes several handy “insert bar logo here” boxes, so you can add a personal touch to your moronic presentation.

List of program materials: A half page document that includes links to 6 pdfs recommended as “background information for speakers” or handouts at the program.

Marketing information: a 2 page Word document that describes the program and lists “suggestions for attracting decision-makers,” as well as suggested dates, since you’re probably not capable of independently accessing a calendar if you’re actually going to use this thing.

And finally, a four page bibliography: described as an “extensive list of articles that can be referenced for more in-depth understanding of the issues.” It’s suggested that this be distributed to speakers (prior to the program) and to the audience at the program.

You may have noticed how often the word “program” appears in that list. Apparently, the whole “plan” of the Tool Kit is to have a presentation with a guest speaker and a panel discussion, and of course, handouts and PowerPoints.  It reminds us of the old Power Point slogan: PowerPoint -- Required for motivational speakers and inspiring accompanying handouts since 1990.

You may have also noticed how many “suggestions” the Task Force included in its Tool Kit materials. Kind of suggests even they think people dumb enough to use the Tool Kit will be too dumb to know how.

To its credit, the Tool Kit is slightly better than the ABA’s other suggestion of women networking with other women to fix the gender pay gap. But that’s largely because the Tool Kit doesn’t include a suggestion to present the program only to other women. In a bold step forward though, the ABA does suggest getting decision-makers to attend your program. This really is ground breaking, because prior ABA advice was to only try to influence the least influential people.

If you read over the material (although I have no earthly idea why you would, unless you’re trying to induce vomiting via eye-rolling-induced vertigo), you’ll probably notice that the ABA proffers no real solution to the gender wage gap problem. The program and all of its materials are essentially just a re-hashing of everything the ABA has already said about the issue.

One the one hand, I don’t know if I blame them too much for that. If you want to fix an issue, you have to identify it, explain why it’s a problem, and present that information to someone capable of addressing it.  You also have to convince that person that it is a real problem and that it’s a problem they want to spend energy, time, and money fixing. Uncharacteristically, I’m willing to give the ABA the benefit of the doubt here and say maybe that’s what they were trying to do.

On the other hand, the Tool Kit is still almost entirely useless, as most large firms have lockstep pay, at least for associates. Maybe you get a bigger bonus for having people in the right places throwing more work your way, but the gap for the actual salary is minimal, if existent.  Sure, there are bigger gaps at the partner pay level, but being made partner is also another game of who you know, and again, a big part of that pay comes from your bonus (more for bagging clients now than billing hours).

As for government attorneys, it’s pretty similar to associate pay, so far as salary. Again, knowing the right people may get you hired or promoted faster, but for employees on the same level and schedule, they’re typically getting paid the same amount, or within a very narrow range.

It seems like a lot of this involves who you know, and it does. But benefiting from knowing the right people isn’t just a government law job thing or a law job thing; it’s an every job thing.

Assuming there are no real differences between men and women and their lives and professional goals, there’s really only one way to end the gender wage gap: eliminate sexism. And good luck with that. I’m not suggesting in any capacity that sexism is good or right or should stick around, but it’s been a part of this country since its inception; heck, it’s been part of species since we had sexes. And while things have been improving, there’s a long way to go. We might as well suggest that patience will end the wage gap (actually, there’s very good reason to think that time will eventually cure this problem as much as it is curable, though that’s no consolation to a woman who was just relegated to the rank of permanent super-associate).

Of course, another option is to make all compensation even more formulaic than the six minute breakdown in a billable hour. Expanding the lockstep model with bonuses every so-many billable hours to all compensation levels. Surely that will make everyone more efficient and hardworking anyway, right? Of course not. Disregarding how much of my time I’d have to mark down as “bathroom” (I more or less live on coffee and Diet Coke), there’s a lot of work to be done in a law job that doesn’t fit into a formula, but nevertheless benefits the client or the firm. The few minutes of small talk I make with the prosecutor every time I call his office can’t be marked down on a timesheet, but they have helped me build a rapport with the guy so if I ask nicely and the situation is right, he’ll cut my client a break. At bigger firms and among higher ranks, you might not be the partner who bagged the whale client, but you’re the one who fields the GC’s late-night phone calls after the lead partner has gone home. You just can’t create a by-the-numbers compensation scheme that tanks into account all of the soft variables.

In the end, this Tool Kit is just another ABA contribution to the problem-with-women-in-the-law-problem. It’s chockfull of information that people who are interested in the issue already know, provides zero practical input on how to fix the issue, and of course is written in a tone that the speaker is somehow simultaneously writing and shaking her fist, so it’s totally going to change hearts and minds.

And for those of you snarky enough to suggest that fist-shaking sounds a lot like something I do, I’ll have you know that my hands are always open when they shake, and the shaking is induced by a combination of over-caffeination and stressing out about my actual job duties (you know, the shit you’re suppose to be taking care of to get ahead).

Chopper vs. Coppers

E-mail Print PDF

You guys remember how in Live Free or Die Hard, John McClane ramps a cop car off a bridge support to take down a helicopter? Well, that’s something the Montreal police could’ve tried last night, except they aren’t Bruce Willis so instead they galloped off on their black horses to make an arrest. Wait, that’s not right either.

Yesterday afternoon, two adventurous Canadian inmates made a successful jail break via helicopter. Then they failed to evade recapture. Details as to how they almost pulled off this escape and how they were arrested are unclear. What is clear is what a terrible idea escape via helicopter is.

CNN reports that two men posed as tourists to go on a helicopter ride, and then once in the air, held a gun to the pilot’s head and directed him to the prison.  The helicopter hovered over the prison and two inmates climbed aboard. Less than 6 hours later, everyone involved was arrested.

What did they think was going to happen? It’s a bit troubling that we have to make this announcement, but PSA: unless you have enough fuel to make it to your volcanic island secret lair, escape via helicopter just isn’t going to work. They’re loud, they’re easy to spot, everyone around will be staring, and between air traffic control and being a freaking helicopter, they’re not particularly challenging to follow.

Even the guys who broke out of the Cook County jail in Chicago using bed sheets managed to repel down 15 stories and catch a cab drawing less attention. And, it took more than 2 weeks to catch one of them. Moral of their story: prison escape attempts work best when people don’t know you’re doing it. These two should’ve gone a little more Shawshank or Escape from Alcatraz and a little less Pascal Payet.

It’s not like hijacking a helicopter is comparable to hijacking a car. You hijack someone’s car, you can still kick them out and use their vehicle to get where you’re going; you don’t necessarily need the driver. A helicopter is a different story. Unless you’ve got a helicopter pilot license, you probably don’t know what you’re doing. You need the pilot, present in the cockpit, and alive. The odds that these guys were actually going to shoot him? Pretty minimal, given that they’d then enter a pretty rapid free-fall. There’s holding someone at gunpoint, which can be pretty effective, and then entering into a situation with mutually assured destruction. The pilot in this case didn’t figure the MAD angle out, or he did but didn’t want to be heroic. Either way though, your prison break plan is deeply flawed when your hostage can fly you to the police station and there’s nothing you can do about it.

Your helicopter plan is also pretty problematic when you get to the issue of what happens when you get out of the helicopter. The pilot knows where he let you off. If you haven’t been followed already, he’ll phone in your location. Heck, he can just take back off and aid in the pursuit.

You can kill the pilot, but that’s only if you’ve got the stomach for murder which not all criminals do. We couldn’t imagine Andy Dufresne shanking a guard on his way out. But even if you do kill the pilot, there’s still a matter of a helicopter on the ground pointing the cops in the direction of your escape.

I’ll give the preps a B+ for creativity, and A- for actually pulling off the helicopter-related part of the operation. But they set the bottom of the curve for common sense, thinking shit through, and the most important score of all: getting away with it. Getting away with it is basically the final exam in a class where the only grade is the final exam. The helicopter stunt is a check-plus for being prepared the one day you were on call. It’s still an overall F.

Pitt, rather unfortunate name, and rank

E-mail Print PDF

Following Pitt's unceremonious drop in the US News rankings from 69 to 91, the dean did as most deans do, and put out a letter explaining why the school is still totes awesome. The dean's message is, as most deans' messages are, that the rankings really don't matter, and despite them not mattering the school is committed to improving their rank next time:

I will keep you all informed as to what our analysis of this year's ranking reveals. But rest assured that what it does not reveal is any diminishment in the quality or impact of the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. We will address the rankings issue head-on, but we will not lose sight of what ultimately matters most: the quality of the education we provide and the well-being and success of our students, alumni, and community.

A reader tipped us off to this excellent, and rather obvious analysis of the dean's letter from a Pitt alumn:

The basic argument of your letter is that Pitt Law hasn't gotten worse in the past year, its ranking has, thus the ranking is flawed.  The basic argument of my letter is that Pitt Law hasn't changed in the past year, its ranking has gotten worse, and the ranking system is now (and was not then) accurate.  Thus, Pitt's ranking reflects how good Pitt Law actually has been, at least since my association with the school.

It's a bit like a first date with a girl you met through OKCupid, and you realize that her looks were greatly enhanced by some favorable lighting and angles. In truth, she hasn't gotten any worse looking. All that's changed is that you now know what she always looked like.

We'd like to add though that the Dean is actually wrong on the facts. Pitt's admissions criteria have slumped in the past year, with the 25/75 LSAT percentiles slipping from 157/161 to 155/160, and the GPA 25/75s going from 3.14/3.66 to 3.09/3.60. It's GPA drop is less than the national average, but the LSAT drop is more than double the national average.

Though maybe the Dean is correct, and really nothing has changed. After all, it could be that in past years they just lied about what their admissions data were.

We already figured out how to consummate it online...

E-mail Print PDF

Yesterday, in the midst of a billion stories about the US News law school rankings (and we helped!), the ABA Journal ran a story about how more and more people are getting married on the internet. Trust us, there’s a connection.

It’s apparently becoming increasingly popular for foreign marriages. Marriage via the internet is sort of like a marriage by proxy. According to the ABAJ, some critics are concerned that this type of marriage will be used by human traffickers, who will use them to bring women into the country and then force the women into prostitution. And we all know the fierce stance the ABA is taking on human trafficking these days. (If you don’t know, it’s anti-trafficking.)

And it just wouldn’t be a legal issue without an inane opinion from a law professor. Here comes Michigan State University law professor Adam Candeub with some reservations:

Part of the reason for having the two people come and appear before a priest or a judge is to make sure it is a freely chosen. There are some problems with willy-nilly allowing anyone around the world to marry.

First, we’ve seen the Princess Bride, and there was absolutely no checking by the priest that Buttercup was marrying Humperdink because she “freely chose” it. Sure wuv, twoo wuv is nice, but when push comes to shove, we’re all too willing to jump to man-and-wife, plans to murder your partner in that dweam within a dweam notwithstanding.

Second, why don’t you tell us how you really feel, Adam? People shouldn’t be allowed to marry “willy-nilly”? If you haven’t noticed, the mood of the day, especially common among the educate elite, is towards marriage freedom. (And way to go Colorado!) Marriage is an agreement between two consenting adults, and that’s pretty much it. Not between two consenting adults who have courted for a suitable length of time and have the consent of both parties’ parents. Candeub would have done more to undermine the marriage between Jane and Bingley than Darcy ever did.

Here’s a question for you, Professor. If you’re so concerned about people making major decisions with life-long consequences willy-nilly, and worst of all online, why don’t you ask Michigan State’s admissions office to require students to come on campus to accept their admissions offer and pay their first semester’s tuition? You wouldn’t want people enrolling in law school willy-nilly, especially considering that they will be paying back their loans for much longer than the average marriage lasts, and have more debt than the typical divorce settlement value.

And law school is hardly the biggest thing you can commit to online or by proxy. People are getting their auto insurance online now, and their health insurance, and auto insurance. You can form a corporation by mail, a process so common that there’s a whole industry of registered agents to stand in for absentee owners. We have the whole ESIGN Act governing electronic agreements, and for good reason. It’s not just $7 Netflix payments and $9 Kindle book orders being made in abstentia. Corporations are largely governed by proxy votes, and billion dollar deals can be closed by fax. Whatever the agreement is, long ago we realized that what matters is the intent of the parties to be bound; the form of that agreement is irrelevant:

It makes no difference whether that operator writes the offer or the acceptance . . . with a steel pen an inch long attached to an ordinary penholder, or whether his pen be a copper wire a thousand miles long. In either case the thought is communicated to the paper by the use of the finger resting upon the pen; nor does it make any difference that in one case common record ink is used, while in the other case a more subtle fluid, known as electricity, performs the same office.

That’s from Howley v. Whipple, a case that went before the New Hampshire Supreme Court in 1869. It’s still good law. The cat is out of the bag, professor. What makes sense is not trying to get in the way of online marriages, but figure out how to make the system better. If you’re worried about coercion, require a judge to sign off on the marriage on both ends. If you’re worried about people getting married without really thinking through what that means, then learn to cope, because it’s 2013 and we’re allowed to make bad decisions with our lives. The number of people relying on US News to make law school enrollment decisions is proof of that.

Bob Morse "Explains" US News Rankings

E-mail Print PDF

Here's the interview Bloomberg Law did with Bob Morse about the new US News law school rankings. The whole thing is pretty sad, and Bob comes across basically like a restaurant owner on Kitchen Nightmares. Not one of the really aggressive ones that yells at Gordon Ramsay, but one of the dopey ones who just assumes everything is awesome despite the impending collapse of the whole thing. Here, take a watch:


Here's what we learned:

Bob doesn't think rankings influence law school behavior, despite pretty much every law school admitting that their entire business model is designed around increasing their US News ranking. Hello merit-based scholarships!

The T14 is pretty much the same.

Bob thinks that jobs that require bar passage are just as desirable as jobs where a JD is only a helping hand on the application, despite schools with higher JDA job placement also having a higher percentage of students looking for a job other than the one they already have.

Bob won't say how other jobs are weighed. You'll just have to take his word for it that the methodology is sound, despite, like, you know, everyone saying that it's completely bogus without even knowing what's behind the curtain.

Finally, we learned that Bob is just this kid plus 60 years:

The Great Law School Brain Drain

E-mail Print PDF

The new US News law school rankings are out, and like we saw last year, LSAT and GPA numbers are generally down. LSAT numbers are getting the worst of it, as is to be expected since the numbers are scaled and compare only prospective law students.

Data for All Schools

#1-50 Data

#51-100 Data

#101-144 Data

Ranks Not Published Data

Synopses follow. Check back throughout the day as we post data for the remaining schools.


Overall Synopsis

Number of schools with a gain in both LSAT 25 and 75: 14

Schools with a loss in both LSAT 25 and 75: 78

Number of schools with a gain in both GPA 25 and 75: 43

Schools with a loss in both GPA 25 and 75: 68


Average LSAT 25 change: -0.81

Average LSAT 75 change: -0.43

Average GPA 25 change: -0.023

Average GPA 75 change: -0.011

This is the second year in a row that all four numbers have dropped (and only our second year checking, so who knows when it started).


18 schools had no loss in any of the four statistics. 4 schools posted gains in each of the four (Stanford, Tulsa, St. Louis, and Chapman). 2 schools had no loss but also no gain (Barry, and Florida A&M).

By comparison, 32 schools posted a loss in each of the LSAT 25 and 75 and GPA 25 and 75.

Last year, only 1 school had an LSAT 25th percentile of 143. Now 5 do, and one, Phoenix, has an LSAT 25 of 142, the 18th percentile of LSAT test takers.



Synopsis of Schools Ranked 1-48 (52 schools, because of a 5-way tie at 48)

LSAT 25th and 75th Percentile Changes

Number of schools with a gain in both LSAT 25 and 75: 3

Number of schools with a gain in 1 of LSAT 25 and 75: 5

Number of schools with a gain in one and a loss in the other: 6

Number of schools with a loss of 1 of LSAT 25 and 75: 13

Number of schools with a loss of both LSAT 25 and 75: 18

Number of schools with no change: 7

Average 25th Percentile Move: -0.77

Average 75th Percentile Move: -0.037


GPA 25th and 75th Percentile Changes

Number of schools with a gain in both GPA 25 and 75: 14

Number of schools with a gain in 1 of GPA 25 and 75: 2

Number of schools with a gain in one and a loss in the other: 19

Number of schools with a loss of 1 of GPA 25 and 75: 2

Number of schools with a loss of both GPA 25 and 75: 13

Number of schools with no change: 2

Average 25th Percentile Move: -0.010

Average 75th Percentile Move: +0.002


The biggest loser among the top 50 was the University of Georgia, which dropped -4/-1 for its LSAT 25/75. It's LSAT 25 dropped from 162 to 158, and remember that since the LSAT is on a bell curve, the further you go, the more significant a single point change is. That change represents a drop from the 86th percentile to the 75th. Georgia at least compensated for this loss by shoring up its GPA stats, with a 0.03/0.06 gain.

The school posting biggest across the board losses was BYU. It had a loss of -2/-2 for LSAT scores, and -0.11/-0.06 for GPAs.

The biggest GPA loss was at George Washington, with a -0.13/-0.12, and with its LSATs remaining the same.



Synopsis of Schools Ranked 53-98 (49 schools, because of a 4-way tie at 98)

LSAT 25th and 75th Percentile Changes

Number of schools with a gain in both LSAT 25 and 75: 5

Number of schools with a gain in 1 of LSAT 25 and 75: 6

Number of schools with a gain in one and a loss in the other: 4

Number of schools with a loss of 1 of LSAT 25 and 75: 15

Number of schools with a loss of both LSAT 25 and 75: 12

Number of schools with no change: 7

Average 25th Percentile Move: -0.35

Average 75th Percentile Move: -0.39


GPA 25th and 75th Percentile Changes

Number of schools with a gain in both GPA 25 and 75: 11

Number of schools with a gain in 1 of GPA 25 and 75: 4

Number of schools with a gain in one and a loss in the other: 10

Number of schools with a loss of 1 of GPA 25 and 75: 3

Number of schools with a loss of both GPA 25 and 75: 21

Number of schools with no change: 0

Average 25th Percentile Move: -0.0251

Average 75th Percentile Move: -0.0184


Biggest loser from this bunch is Missouri, with a -4/-2 LSAT, and -0.08/+0.04 GPA. The 2 point drop in Missouri's 75th LSAT of 161 to 159 represents a change from the 83rd to 77th percentile. The 25th LSAT drop from 156 to 152 is a change from the 67th to 52nd percentiles, a serious decline in admissions standards. You used to need to be in the top third to get in. Now you just need to be in the top half.



Synopsis of Schools Ranked 102-144 (47 schools, because of a 5-way tie at 144)

LSAT 25th and 75th Percentile Changes

Number of schools with a gain in both LSAT 25 and 75: 3

Number of schools with a gain in 1 of LSAT 25 and 75: 7

Number of schools with a gain in one and a loss in the other: 3

Number of schools with a loss of 1 of LSAT 25 and 75: 5

Number of schools with a loss of both LSAT 25 and 75: 28

Number of schools with no change: 3

Average 25th Percentile Move: -1.04

Average 75th Percentile Move: -0.55


GPA 25th and 75th Percentile Changes

Number of schools with a gain in both GPA 25 and 75: 9

Number of schools with a gain in 1 of GPA 25 and 75: 0

Number of schools with a gain in one and a loss in the other: 15

Number of schools with a loss of 1 of GPA 25 and 75: 7

Number of schools with a loss of both GPA 25 and 75: 16

Number of schools with no change: 0

Average 25th Percentile Move: -0.030

Average 75th Percentile Move: -0.017


The single worst LSAT 25 drop we've seen since UGA, Suffolk went from a 152 to 148, or 52nd percentile to 36th. You used to have to be in the top half, now you only need to be in the top third. Ouch!

Several other schools saw some nasty drops, but we're giving the biggest loser award for this group to Arkansas - Little Rock, with a -3/-1 LSAT drop, and a -0.13/-0.15 drop in GPA 25/75. Brutal, yet they jumped 6 points in the US News ranking. No accounting for taste.



Synopsis of Schools With Ranks Unpublished (46 schools)

LSAT 25th and 75th Percentile Changes

Number of schools with a gain in both LSAT 25 and 75: 3

Number of schools with a gain in 1 of LSAT 25 and 75: 5

Number of schools with a gain in one and a loss in the other: 3

Number of schools with a loss of 1 of LSAT 25 and 75: 12

Number of schools with a loss of both LSAT 25 and 75: 20

Number of schools with no change: 3

Average 25th Percentile Move: -1.35

Average 75th Percentile Move: -0.43


GPA 25th and 75th Percentile Changes

Number of schools with a gain in both GPA 25 and 75: 9

Number of schools with a gain in 1 of GPA 25 and 75: 5

Number of schools with a gain in one and a loss in the other: 11

Number of schools with a loss of 1 of GPA 25 and 75: 0

Number of schools with a loss of both GPA 25 and 75: 18

Number of schools with no change: 3

Average 25th Percentile Move: -0.029

Average 75th Percentile Move: -0.013


We've got two contenders for biggest loser among the unranked schools.

Western New England saw a -3/-4 LSAT 25/75 drop. The 25 score dropped from the 48th percentile to the 36th, and the 75th dropped from the 67th to 52nd. So, it used to be that to be in the top quarter of its class, you needed to be in the top third of applicants. Now you just need to be in the top half. But this awful LSAT plummet was at last not too terrible exacerbated by GPAs, which dropped a comparatively modest -0.01/-0.07.

Our other contender is Ohio Northern, with a -4/-2 GPA drop, sending its 25th rank from 149 to 145, from the 40th percentile to the 26th. Ouch! But just to add injury to injury, the GPAs here dropped an astonishing -0.22/-0.21. Someone get Ohio Northern some Quilted Northern!

I didn't say "I got a gun!" I said "Omanomnom!"

E-mail Print PDF

Surely you remember the 7 year old who got suspended from school earlier this month for trying to shape his pop-tart into a mountain, but then his teacher thought it was a gun and then he got suspended for two days because stupidity. I mean, zero tolerance. Actually, I mean both.

And if you haven’t heard of that story, then who knows how you found us here. But, go ahead and google any combination of the words “pastry,” “gun,” and “kid,” and enjoy the 2.5 million results you’ll get.

Zero tolerance is like a dumbed down version of strict liability, which is already pretty dumb to begin with. But at least with strict liability offenses concepts like prosecutorial discretion, mitigation, leniency, and exercising thought and common sense still have their place.

Zero tolerance is supposed to be a school’s way of showing how tough it is, but in reality it’s abdication of responsibility. Making judgment calls can be tough, sometimes you make the wrong choice, and when you do make the wrong choice you get angry parents yelling at you. So, rather than having a tough job with consequences, zero tolerance policies allow schools to preemptively tie their hands and punish everything without discretion. There will still be angry phone calls from parents, but the administrators can just say “Sorry, nothing we can do, zero tolerance, blah blah, Dr. Strangelove, blah blah, stop worrying and learn to love sequestration.”

Fortunately, Maryland State Senator J.B. Jennings decided to make a judgment call.  Jennings has introduced a bill to the Maryland Senate that would ban school leaders from suspending students who make the shape of a gun with their fingers or food, or students who draw a gun on paper.  Jennings says if the gun making is done in a violent manner, then things can be taken to the next level. He hopes the bill will introduce some common sense to the state education system. The bill is headed to the Education Committee, and if it passes there, it will go to the full Senate for a vote.

None of us here at ConDaily being parents (that we know of), we aren’t especially familiar with the real life ramifications of having your seven year old get a two day suspension. But according to Jennings, parents have called his office about this issue repeatedly, with concerns about their child’s permanent and academic records. Which seems pretty valid, given that the current education system in Maryland is one that views poorly expressed food art as a weapon.

The idiocy of the whole situation has been covered ad nauseam, so we won’t beat a dead toaster pastry. But, the fact that the idiocy of the whole situation has escalated so much as to prompt a bill to stop this kind of idiocy is pretty absurd.

But, we support Jennings in his fight for the rights of kids who play with their food, and to acknowledge that no amount of strategic bite placement can turn a Pop Tart into a Pop a Cap in Yo Ass Tart.

Women: Find your voice, then use it to say "make it a double"

E-mail Print PDF

Being overworked and underpaid are stressing people out at work, reveals a shocking survey from the American Psychological Association.  One-third of employees experience chronic work-related stress, and it’s worse for women than men.

27% of men feel underpaid, compared with 38% of women; while 30% of men and 32% of women say they don’t have enough opportunities for internal advancement. And in case you don’t like numbers, here’s a handy little companion graphic.

So what? Who hasn’t felt overworked, underappreciated, underpaid, stressed at work? Well, part of the problem is that chronic stress harms productivity, mental clarity, short term memory, decision making, and moods. And it seemingly affects women more so than men, though there is of course a question of whether men and women differ in how they report stress. Either way though, whether women have more stress or just report it more often, you’re going to have to deal with more bitching from your girlfriend. And if she’s less productive at work because she’s stressed, she’s just going to get more stressed. Lucky you.

According to the study, women’s stress is on the rise because more families are relying on women’s earnings. But, the article tells us that employed wives’ contributions to family earnings have hovered at around 47% for the last 4 years. So, that doesn’t really explain the recent rise in stress. Also problematic: only keeping track of “employed wives.” There are plenty of employed women whose families depend on their income that aren’t wives, past or present. The study also suggests that work-life balance is a particular struggle for these women. Guess all the “employed wives” aren’t splitting the chores with their “employed husbands.”

Presuming chronic stress at work is unavoidable, what can be done about it? The article has 0 solutions for men (whatever, dudes are less stressed anyway) and two for women. First are the clichés encouraging women to be more assertive, “give yourself a voice,” “speak up for yourself,” “stand up for behavior you see as unfair.” Well, that’s better than saying women can fix stress at work by talking to other women who are stressed at work, or by encouraging each other to be less stressed. Then again, pretty much anything is better than those. Except maybe a solution that could directly lead to more stress, such as, oh, I don’t know …speaking up, standing up for yourself more often, and engaging in other proactive ways of getting into more confrontations. Not that you shouldn’t stand up for yourself, but let’s not pretend doing so isn’t stressful.

The second solution comes implied, by way of several “success story” anecdotes of women who fixed their chronic work stress. They quit their jobs. Women who reduced their work stress through suicide were not interviewed for the story, though it’s presumable that they had the same level of work stress reduction.

So, if you’re a woman and you’re stressed at work, either “find your voice” or quit your job. And then hope stress doesn’t show up at your next job. Or just perpetually hunt for new jobs, so you can always quit when things get stressful. And if you can’t quit, well, uh, sorry bout ya.

This study is like every “problem with women in the law” piece that I’ve come to loathe so much. It identifies a problem, discusses it enough to have the appearance of depth with no real analytical insights, and then does little or nothing to suggest how to deal with the problem. Or, maybe I’m just one of those stressed women whose mental clarity has been compromised and I’m too moody to notice.

And since we don’t like to complain about something too much without providing a better solution than the non-solutions we’re complaining about, how about not trying to reinvent the wheel? Women are facing more stress at work largely because they’re at work more than they used to be and are finding work in increasingly stressful fields. They’re less likely to be stay-at-home moms, and there’s a better chance they’ll be the lawyer than the secretary than there used to be. So why not take a page from the playbook of the team that’s been dealing with work stress for a lot longer: men.

They don’t “find their voice,” and they don’t often quit. They have happy hours. Sometimes at noon.

But David Yellen Says They Must

E-mail Print PDF

David Yellen is the Dean of Loyola Chicago.

David Yellen is a member of the ABA's Task Force on the Future of Legal Education.

In an op-ed written for Above the Law, David Yellen said, "Law schools must fully comply with the ABA Standards and Rules of Procedure for Approval of Law Schools to receive or retain accreditation."


Law School Transparency conducted a survey of law school websites more than 4 months after the ABA revised Standard 509.

In a report covering the findings of its investigation, Law School Transparency said, "Of the 199 ABA-approved law schools, 78.4% (156/199) did not meet the expectations set forth by Standard 509."

Standard 509 is among the ABA Standards and Rules of Procedures for Approval of Law Schools.

In an op-ed written for Above the Law, David Yellen said, "Law schools must fully comply with the ABA Standards and Rules of Procedure for Approval of Law Schools to receive or retain accreditation."

David Yellen is a member of the ABA's Task Force on the Future of Legal Education.

David Yellen is the Dean of Loyola Chicago.


David Yellen says, "Law schools must fully comply with the ABA Standards and Rules of Procedure for Approval of Law Schools to receive or retain accreditation."

Law School Transparency says, "Of the 199 ABA-approved law schools, 78.4% (156/199) did not meet the expectations set forth by Standard 509."

David Yellen is the Dean of Loyola Chicago.

David Yellen is a member of the ABA's Task Force on the Future of Legal Education.

Frank Wu: Most Misguided Person in Legal Education

E-mail Print PDF

Frank Wu was recently deemed by his peers to be the most influential person in legal academia. Too bad when it comes to improving legal academia he's got his head up his ass. Here he is writing at the Huffington Post about the tension between transparency reform and cost reform:

Everyone wants us to be transparent, while lowering our costs. Those goals, as is true of many human desires we feel simultaneously, are not highly compatible. Like elegant product design, transparency turns out to be pricey. Specifically it requires that we build an apparatus to find the information, organize it, verify it, submit it, and then track the trends that are revealed.

The other day, I spent the lunch hour in our cafe to chat with students. A nice fellow, a first-year student, came by to meet me. The only subject he wished to bring up was ice cream. He wanted to know if the cafe could install a machine as he recalled from his undergraduate days elsewhere, so he could enjoy soft-serve ice cream.

As I explained to him, I have nothing against ice cream. If we can make a profit as the vendor, then we would be delighted to offer ice cream. But if we cannot do so, then our strategic plan does not call for ice cream.

First, your attitude of "we'll be transparent if it turns a profit" is ridiculous. Transparency is an ethical obligation (and increasingly a regulatory requirement), and deserves more than a simple cost/benefit analysis.

Second, your school already has a NALP report. It's in your possession right now. You can publish it on your website FOR FREE. YOU CAN PUBLISH YOUR NALP REPORT FOR FREE. YOU CAN PUBLISH YOUR NALP REPORT FOR FREE RIGHT THIS VERY FREAKING MINUTE YOU INSINCERE ASSHAT.

Now that we know Wu's head is so far up his ass that the lump in his throat is his nose, let's look at Wu's explanation for why law school is so damned expensive these days:

The greatest change has been the embrace of clinical legal education. By "greatest," I mean the most sizable and the most worthwhile. Similar to the model of clinical medical education, clinical legal education is the best means by which we prepare students for practice. It has been so successful we as a profession might well be on the cusp of requiring it for every graduate. No med student graduates without examining a few actual patients.

The expense of clinical legal education can be calculated in straightforward terms. A professor in a doctrinal class, such as the first-year required curriculum of civil procedure, criminal law, property, contracts, and torts, can lecture to a hundred students at once. That is not ideal, but it is not uncommon. A professor in a clinical class, supervising student attorneys who are representing real people in real cases, cannot train more than ten students at once. That's if she cares about her responsibilities both as a teacher and a lawyer.

It happens that the "podium" professor as they are called likely makes more money than her clinical counterpart, though not by much. Thus the difference is more than an order of magnitude. Once you count the overhead required for an actual legal office, the clinical course requires ten times as much money. There are new technological advances that will alleviate some of that.

Pause for a moment on this math. If we want clinical legal education, we will need to spend much more to provide it. As curmudgeons tell the young, this is called a choice.

If only law schools were actually making a choice. They're not. When law schools expand their course offerings, well, that's just it. They expand course offerings. They never engage in choice. They don't say "X course would be great, in fact, better than Y, which is virtually useless, so let's replace Y with X." No, they say "X would be great, let's add that, and replace $$ with $$$."

Yes, clinical education is expensive. A whole lot more expensive than externships, but let's put that issue off for another time. A class with 10 students is more expensive than a class with 100. No debate there. And reformers do often ask for more of those 10 person classes. So let's look at what other expensive seminar courses UC Hastings is offering:

Accountability in International Human Rights Law - It's often joked that the bulk of law students enroll hoping to practice international human rights law, but that this of course is a practice area which is virtually non-existent. Apparently Hastings didn't get the joke.

Asian Pacific Americans and the Law - Truth is America doesn't have a great track record with Asian immigrants, what with the railroads and internment camps and all that. But, these aren't really contemporary legal issues, and the class would be better placed in a history department. There are immigration issues for Asian Americans, but that topic isn't in the course description.

China and the International Legal Order - This is a class that discusses China's role in the UN, WTO, and how it views trade and sovereignty issues. Perfect for the exactly 0 students who go on to become ambassador to China. Useless for the rest.

Critical Race Theory - Almost every school offers some version of this. And they pay a very expensive law professor for it instead of a much cheaper French postmodern literary theorist, and if at any point you discuss Foucault, Derrida, Lacan, or Baudrillard, that's really who should be teaching this class because you're using "critical" to mean "obfuscated beyond comprehension" and "theory" to mean "fashionable nonsense."

Film and the Law - It's not a class on the publication of private facts in documentaries. It's exactly what you think it is.

Law of the Human Body - Whether we should be allowed to enter into a kidney exchange is a really interesting issue. You can cancel the class and buy everyone interested in it a copy of Leo Katz's Why the Law is So Perverse instead.


UC Hastings does offer a number of practice-oriented seminars and simulation courses. And that's great. But remember, the operative word here was choice. Hastings isn't making a choice, it's just piling on every class a professor has an interest in and passing the increased costs along to the students. And that's basically the attitude every other school takes. "Oh my gorsh! How can you say that a wills drafting seminar is more important than a legal issue that isn't handled in the courts but rather by top-level political officials who are more beholden to voters than legal principles? Better offer both!"

Learn to make the hard choices, Dean Wu. Take the soft-serve ice cream off your course catalog until you can afford it. And for the love of God, publish your damn NALP report or shut the hell up about how expensive it is to become transparent.


Just for good measure, we saved the most ridiculous Hastings class for last:

Research Seminar on Career of Roger Traynor - "The student work will contribute to a biography that Professor Hazard is exploring in cooperation with Michael Traynor, the Justice's son and himself a prominent lawyer, and with Professor Emeritus James McCall of Hastings." You get to pay for the privilege of helping your professor write a book that will carry his name, and not yours, and where he'll collect royalties, and not you. Not only is this worthless as a law school class, it is incredibly exploitative and if law schools had serious ethical guidelines the professor would be sacked, along with whoever approved this class.

Guess it takes the most influential person in legal academia to pull off a system where students pay to be research assistants.

Page 8 of 137

Philadelphia Lawyer, Unfiltered

The finest blend of analysis, advice, and fury on the internet. Sour mash, oak barrel aged, published at cask strength.


Most Recent Article:

In Defense of Risk (Happy Fourth of July)

All Articles from The Philadelphia Lawyer

Author Profile

The Robot Pimp

An in depth look at the emerging intersection of law, behavioral economics, and robots.

Most Recent Article:

The Tenure Paradox

All Articles from The Robot Pimp

Author Profile

Practice Makes Putrid

Legal practice would be all rainbows and buttercups, if it weren't for the clients, and opposing counsel, and co-counsel, and judges, and the law.

Most Recent Article:

Eat Mor Fiv Freedums

All Articles from The Namby Pamby

Author Profile

Gin and Glannon's

As Shadow Hand suffers through law school, the rest of us get a little Schadenfreude.

Most Recent Article:

I Just Work Here

All Articles From Shadow Hand

Author Profile

Irresistible Impulse

Dr. Rob Dobrenski's daring expedition into the psychology of lawyers and the law. (Not a substitute for a life well lived.)

Most Recent Article:

You're Not a Failure, You're a Narcissist

All Articles from Dr. Rob

Author Profile

Graphic and Gratuitous

Sometimes cartoons are the highest form of communication. Those times are known as "most of the time."

Most Recent Cartoons:

Intelligence: The Gathering

All Cartoons

There And Never Back Again

Defunct Big Law attorney BL1Y shares his misadventures as a writer who accidentally went to law school.


Most Recent Article:


All Articles from BL1Y

Author Profile

Lampshade, Esquire

We're dealing with some technical difficulties here. Hold up a minute.

All Articles From Lampshade, Esq.

Staff Infections

News, humor, and other non-billables from our underpaid, uncredited, unsexy staff.


News Articles

Smaller News Bits

Large Numbers of Law

Mixed Bag of Lawesome


Scofflaw Multistate Bar Review