Thirty eight years ago, I was involved in a high profile case. A trade school was trying to collect bills from their former students; the students, even though they had completed their courses at the school, could not find jobs, and in fact found their training useless in the job market. For the schools, suing the students was just the first step: if the students didn’t pay their costly tuition bills, then the schools could collect from the federal government, which insured the loans as part of its educational program. Meanwhile, the student would be left with an unpleasant reminder of his education: a lifetime of bad credit. A blog post by GJEL partner Ralph L. Jacobson.
GJEL Blog » Law Students
Last month, the blawgosphere was abuzz with news of grade inflation at some of the country’s most elite law schools. Inflating grades retroactively, the mantra went, was little more than a transparent scheme to make the school’s graduates more appealing to future employers. This week, research by two leading law professors indicates that law school GPA is, in fact, a better indicator of how students will fare in the real world than institution prestige.
Six years ago, the UC Hastings College of Law, a state-funded institution, ended its offical recognition of the religious group Christian Legal Society when it announced that members had to sign a statement of faith that condemned “unrepentant participation in or advocacy of a sexually immoral lifestyle” and banned homosexuals from being members. To the question “What Would Jesus Do?” the group came to a modern day solution: sue Hastings. In its decision Monday, the US Supreme Court ruled 5-4 in favor of Hastings.
Even better than finding a $20 bill in your ski jacket! The New York Times reported on Monday that a group of law schools is inflating grades retroactively to make students “look more attractive in a competitive job market.” Over the past two years, the story explains, schools like New York University, Georgetown and Golden Gate University have bumped grades up 0.333, transforming a B- into a B, a B to a B+, and so on.
One of the aspects of my job that I like the best, is interacting with other legal bloggers across the country and here in the Bay Area. But one of the major drawbacks of blogging is that those connections can feel hollow: rather than discussing a particular issue with a person, for example, it can feel like you’re debating with a screenname or webpage.
Come meet me at 6:00 pm at San Francisco’s Thirsty Bear Brewery on June 3rd so we can put some human faces to the names of familiar Bay Area bloggers with a post-work drink.
On Wednesday, Louisiana’s Senate Commerce Committee became ground zero for the battle against environmental law clinics. The committee hosted a hearing for a bill proposed by state Sen. Robert Adley which would prohibit state-funded clinics from mounting legal challenges to state entities. And if clinics refuse to disclose client information, the bill says, they could lose all state funding. Even for the private Tulane University, that would mean a loss of millions. And critics say the timing, right on the heels of BP’s oil disaster, couldn’t be worse.
Last month, we wrote on the GJEL blog about the growing challenge to university law clinics in Maryland and Louisiana. While some claim that the state-funded clinics provide a rare opportunity to represent “the little guy” against massive corporations, others say they’re full of a bunch of liberals who just want to stick it to “the man.” This week, the challenge grew more serious in Louisiana, where state Sen. Robert Adley introduced a bill, similar to legislation rejected by Maryland’s legislature, that would withhold state funds from law clinics that refuse to turn over case information.
There’s Supreme Court trouble brewing here in the Bay Area, where a Christian students’ group has sued UC Hastings College of Law for withholding public funding from the group because it refuses to admit gay students as full members. The Christian Legal Society, an evangelical group with dozens of chapters nationwide, forces members to sign a statement of faith that condemns “unrepentant participation in or advocacy of a sexually immoral lifestyle.”
During CLS v. Martinez oral arguments before the Supreme Court Monday, justices seemed divided on whether Hastings was at fault.
This Tuesday, a New Jersey state appeals panel heart arguments on whether the Rutgers University’s state-funded environmental law clinic must disclose client names and finances. Developer Sussex Commons claims the clinic is avoiding financial accountability in order to promote an “anti-development political agenda and bias.” The suit, which came after the clinic sued Sussex to halt construction on a planned strip mall, is hte newest in a string of corporate challenges to the autonomy of university clinics.
You’ve probably heard by now that Supreme Court Justice Scalia thinks that some of our greatest minds are being wasted in the legal profession. I was planning on not covering that particular story, partly because it’s already been widely reported on, and partly because I have long been of the opinion that the minds that [...]
Attorney Stephen Owens, who was named new president of the Utah State Bar Association. (Paul Fraughton/The Salt Lake Tribune) A new program in Utah requires newly admitted lawyers to have a mentor to get them started in the field. According to the Salt Lake Tribune, recently elected Bar President Stephen Owens, charged with implementing the [...]
One college grad is suing her school to get her tuition back because she claims they didn’t do enough to help her find a job. What about all those jobless law school grads? Should they be suing their schools? What should schools be doing to ensure that their graduates aren’t destitute and jobless come graduation?
I know all those recent grads are taking the bar exam this week and are probably a teensy bit panic-attack-inducingly stressed. And for those students who aren’t taking the bar yet, I stress the word yet. In hope of getting you all to relax for just a minute, I’ve tried to put together just a [...]
Lawyers need practical skills, and law schools aren’t teaching them–yet. It feels like there’s change on the horizon, but in the meantime, students need to take the initiative to get the experience they need.
Robert Bowman got himself into $435,000 of debt. The New York State Bar says that means he has failed to establish the requisite character and fitness to practice law. What do you think?
Law Students: Easing your Student Loan Debt with Income Based Repayment and Public Service Loan ForgivenessPosted Monday, July 6th, 2009
Law school is the same price whether or not you get a job after it’s over. And if you get a job, the loan payments are the same, no matter what your salary is. At least they used to be. Now, Income Based Repayment and Public Service Loan Forgiveness plans promise to make sure that everyone can get out of debt.
Just when you thought Illinois couldn’t be more scandalous! We thought we’d seen the last of Governor Rod Blagojevich after his Senate nominee scandal landed him lots of media attention and plenty of shame. Surprise, surprise, he’s back, this time with a scandal surrounding admissions to the law school at the University of Illinois.
The economy is shrinking and law firms are shrinking right along with it, meaning fewer jobs for new law school grads. So what’s a 3L to do?