More Than Good Vibrations: Following Up on Buck Ryan

So yesterday I posted on Professor Buck Ryan and how he possibly, maybe, somehow could argue a right to due process exists.  Not too long after publishing it I got an email with links to the response from the University of Kentucky asking if it changes my thoughts at all.

The short version:  Not really.

The long version:  Not really, because the University’s response only states there are additional allegations outside of the song, doesn’t elaborate on the nature of the complaints or the details of the investigation, and fails to identify the case it says supports its position.

The longer version:  Not really because of all of the above, because the case the University references is a non-binding district court decision currently on appeal, and because I think, after having read the case the University referred to, that this is an arguably distinct situation which is covered by a specific University rule (which was recognized by the judge in that case) that may very well create a statutory entitlement to due process for Professor Ryan.

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I Slept Through Con Law: My (likely incorrect) take on Professor Buck Ryan’s Issue.

I keep being tangentially related to scandals and shit this past couple years, and always through former professors.

First it was the case of Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice J. Michael Eakin, who I learned from and who went out of his way to try and help me find a job immediately out of law school.  He was caught up, unjustly in my opinion, in the whole “Porngate” scandal in Pennsylvania and was eventually forced to resign.  Note:  I have a very nice framed picture of he and I on the evening he swore me into the Pennsylvania Bar, and it’s never coming down.

Now it appears my old journalism professor has gotten in trouble for singing.

Sit back, this is going to be a long post, mostly me gibbering about Constitutional shit, and is subject to being ripped apart by actual intellectual and constitutional practitioners who didn’t spend large portions of Con Law doodling in the margins of their texts.

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Bonuses, How Do They Work?

I’m revisiting the hell out of old posts this week.  Not too long ago I posted about how Above the Law had an article detailing the horrendous burden of BigLaw associates possibly not getting the bonuses they expected.  In the article it was touted as an example of all that was wrong with the world, the fact that these poor, beleaguered first-year associates may see a reduction in their discretionary compensation that they are awarded in addition to a six-figure salary and benefits.  The world stood still, and people wept for them.

Actually, I’m pretty sure I just poo-poo’d the whole idea of this being a tragedy of some sort, because the vast amount of attorneys in the world aren’t in BigLaw and therefore have no expectation of receiving a bonus that’s pegged in any way to the Cravath Scale.  The Cravath Scale, by the way, is the salary and bonus scale paid by Cravath Swaine & Moore, LLP, a two hundred year old white shoe firm that is considered the industry standard for BigLaw compensation.  Let me point out that looking at the listing of law schools that Cravath attorneys hail from, very few of them are “for profit” law schools that exist outside outside of the top ranked schools in the country, and there are a number of foreign law schools on there.

The short read on this is for the vast majority of attorneys out there this holiday season, what Cravath does or doesn’t do won’t apply to you.  You are not BigLaw.  Your firm is not bringing in Cravath level money.  You do not work the same number of hours at the same billable rate and in the same markets as Cravath associates.  The Cravath Scale will have no effect on you, and is not a good benchmark for what you should expect bonus wise.

Hell, there’s a chance you shouldn’t expect a bonus at all, you lout.

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Charlotte-an School of Law, Part Deux: Electric Boogaloo

Welp, not too long ago I posted about Charlotte School of Law and how they were getting placed on super-secret double probation.

To recap, the school was placed on probation for failing to accept students likely to pass the bar and failing to graduate students that were actually passing the bar.  I also pointed out the absurd amount of debt students were incurring to go to this school, most of which was non-dischargable student loans that would haunt them for the rest of their lives whether they ever practiced law or not.

I may have implied this was the death knell for the for-profit law school that didn’t vet students and fed into the heyday, Wild West marketing of law schools and law degrees as something anyone could do.  I touched on the fact that the school offered no real employment prospects.

Well, today the Department of Education announced that Charlotte School of Law students will no longer be eligible to receive federal student aid as of December 31, 2016.  Goodbye, Charlotte, it was a hell of a ride.

Let’s face the facts, while the article states it is unclear how many of the school’s 700 students receive federal aid, the safe answer is “Fucking all of them.”  Anyone who isn’t receiving federal aid to attend a for-profit, $60,000 per year, Toilet Tier law school is using their wealth the wrong way.  The immediate impact will be the students still there will either a) drop out; b) try to transfer; or c) take out substantial private loans which lack all of the benefits of federal loans to cover the cost of attendance.  In any case, Charlotte School of Law has, in the grand tradition of legal practitioners everywhere, screwed its clients.

There is a question as to whether or not this will be part of a larger trend.  If the ABA and the Department of Education are working together to hold law schools accountable for their matriculation and graduation practices, we may start to see the field of law schools shrink to only those that can justify their existence, the pool of lawyers shrink accordingly, and a loosening of the death grip a glut of new lawyers has placed on the field of legal hiring.

Or we’ll see hard-headed students who are unable to read the writing on the wall sticking themselves in a mountain of debt with no hope of ever joining the esteemed rank of assholes like me that are members of the Bar.

I’m interested to see how this plays out.

-BB

Stop Oversharing: Clients Aren’t Your Bros

Alright, so let’s face the hard truth that in an over-saturated legal market there are plenty of lawyers out there who are willing to take on any case.  Let’s go even further and say that there are lawyers out there who are breaking the cardinal rules set at our monthly ritualistic sacrifice of an alleged tortfeasor (afterwards we have cocktails and network) by charging well under the basement-fees for our regions.  Let’s  just accept, in general, that to some extent a lawyer who has succeeded in getting a client on the hook by getting them in the door still needs to reel that client in and get them to sign the engagement letter.

Have you bought a car recently?  I sold those suckers for a bit, so I know a little bit about how it works.  When you bought the car did you notice the salesman had a picture of a kid on his desk?  Not necessarily his kid, but a kid, and you sure as hell assumed it was his kid, right?  How about the Bible sitting on the corner of the desk?  Everytime you had a story or comment about something that happened to you or a concern, the salesman had a story related to it about how he knows exactly what you mean because he’d been through the same thing, or knew someone who had.  You know that shit was all meant to make you feel close to him so he could stick your ass in the seat of a new-to-you, perfectly-functional-except-for-the-A/C 1997 Toyota Camry with low, low mileage of only 165,000 miles (they just don’t make engines that last that long anymore, I tell you what).  It’s a scheme, a way to ingratiate yourself to the buyer to make them feel a bond with you.

Lawyers are guilty of the same thing.

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