Arizona Republic: “A Maricopa County Superior Court judge has imposed financial sanctions against a Phoenix law firm that represented Sheriff Joe Arpaio and former County Attorney Andrew Thomas in legal disputes with the county’s governing board, judges and others. Judge John Buttrick ordered the sanctions earlier this week against Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, P.C. for failing to appear for depositions and for failing to produce to the county its file for the legal advice that it performed for the county’s Air Quality Department.”
ABA Journal: Legal academics like to think their students are studying the law because they want to advance justice, right wrongs and serve the underprivileged. But most students are motivated at least partly—and often substantially—by the lure of money, according to a law dean who decided to evaluate whether law school makes economic sense.
In a paper set to be published by the William Mitchell Law Review, University of Louisville law dean Jim Chen realizes the reality and analyzes law school in terms of return on investment. In his view, law grads need to earn three times their annual tuition for adequate financial viability and six times their annual tuition for good financial viability, the National Law Journal reports.
The NLJ explains Chen’s theory. It would mean law grads at a school charging $16,000 a year in tuition would need to make $48,000 for adequate financial viability and $96,000 for good viability. Grads attending schools with annual tuition of $48,000 would need to make $144,000 for adequate viability and $288,000 for good viability. The formula assumes no other debt besides law school loans.
I started watching Porter Stansberry’s video in which he predicts that the United States and its citizens will in the near future suffer severe economic damage that will revival the great depression of the 1930s. Once I started the video I could not stop watching it because you do not have the ability to stop or pause it. I don’t know exactly how long it lasted, but it seemed like it ran about one hour. Despite the video’s length, I believe every American who has substantial property should watch it. If only there were a law that required every elected official in the United States to watch the video.
Stansberry gives a very informative economics history lesson. The video is full of facts that are sobering and that most people (me included) do not know. I learned a lot, but be warned, the message and the lesson to be learned from the history lesson is very scary. At the end of the video, he does offer steps that we can take to protect against the economic collapse. He convinced me. Do yourself a favor and listen to the entire video. You may disagree with Porter Stansberry’s conclusions, but if you agree with him you will be glad you watched, listened and learned.
If you don’t have time to watch the video, click on the tab in your browser to close the window and you will be asked if you want to leave the page. Click stay on page and you will be able to read the text of the video. Please watch the video, read the text or do both. It’s chock full of charts and stats. The following is Mr. Stansberry’s introduction to his video essay:
Hello. My name is Porter Stansberry.
A little over ten years ago I founded Stansberry & Associates Investment Research. It has become one of the largest and most recognized investment research companies in the world, serving hundreds of thousands of subscribers in more than 120 countries.
You may know of our firm because of the work we did over the last several years – helping investors avoid the big disasters associated with Wall Street’s collapse.
We warned investors to avoid Fannie and Freddie, Bear Stearns, Lehman Brothers and General Motors and dozens of other companies that have since collapsed. We even helped our subscribers find opportunities to profit from these moves by shorting stocks and buying put options. To my knowledge, no other research firm in the world can match our record of correctly predicting the catastrophe that occurred in 2008.
But that’s not why I created this letter.
I reference our success and experience with Wall Street’s latest crisis because we believe there is an even bigger crisis lurking – something that will shake the very foundation of America.
And that is why I’ve spent a significant amount of time and money in the past few months preparing this letter.
In short, I want to talk about a specific event that will take place in America’s very near future… which could actually bring our country and our way of life to a grinding halt.
This looming crisis is related to the financial crisis of 2008… but it is infinitely more dangerous, as I’ll explain in this letter.
As this problem comes to a head, I expect there to be riots in the streets… arrests on an unprecedented scale… and martial law, enforced by the U.S. military.
Believe me, I don’t make this prediction lightly and I have no interest in trying to scare you.
I’m simply following my research to its logical conclusion.
I did the same when I tracked Fannie and Freddie’s accounting. The same with General Motors. And Bear Stearns and the rest. And when I began giving this warning in 2006 no one took me very seriously… not at first. Back then, most mainstream commentators just ignored me.
ABA Journal: An ABA committee has completed work on its proposed plan to begin collecting more detailed job placement and salary information about recent graduates from ABA-accredited law schools.
The proposed changes, which have been recommended by the Questionnaire Committee of the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar, the ABA’s accrediting arm, will be presented to the section’s governing council at its Dec. 3 meeting in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
If approved, the changes would begin to take effect with the graduate placement questionnaire law schools will be required to fill out regarding the as-of-Feb. 15 employment status of members of the graduating class of 2011. That questionnaire would be due back to the ABA on March 15.
ABA officials anticipate that the data, which will eventually be published in the ABA-LSAC Official Guide to ABA-Approved Law Schools, could be available on the section’s website as early as July.
ABA Journal: Yale law professors Akhil Reed Amar and Ian Ayres are citing the example of an Internet shoe-selling company in an essay suggesting ways to discourage would-be law students who are unlikely to succeed after graduation.
Zappos offers $3,000 to new employees at the end of a four-week training course if they want to quit the company, the professors say in a Slate opinion piece. The idea is to rid the company of employees who aren’t enthusiastic to work there. Amar and Ayres think the idea could be modified for law schools.
Their proposal: Law schools could offer rebates of half the annual tuition to any students who quit after the first year. Then the schools could disclose what percentage accepted the offer, and the salaries they earned after dropping out. (Students who go on to law school elsewhere would have to repay the money.)
ABA Journal: An ABA committee is moving quickly on a proposed new accreditation standard that would greatly expand the amount of consumer information law schools must publicly disclose to prospective students.
The Standards Review Committee, which met last weekend in Chicago, is now putting the finishing touches on its proposed changes to the standard, which it hopes to act on at its next scheduled meeting in Washington, D.C., in January.
The proposed changes would then go to the governing council of the ABA’s Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar, which could take up the committee’s recommendations as soon as March.
“We want to be in a position to move forward on this matter as quickly as possible,” committee chair Jeffrey E. Lewis said at the conclusion of last weekend’s meeting.
If adopted, the proposed changes would more explicitly state the categories of basic consumer information that a law school is required to publicly disclose on its website, including admissions data, tuition and fees, enrollment data, curricular offerings, library resources and physical facilities.
ABA Journal: Retired Justice John Paul Stevens says his 2005 decision in Kelo v. City of New London was so unpopular that he was criticized by fellow bridge players.
A duplicate bridge player, Stevens has silver life master status for the points he has amassed with the American Contract Bridge League, according to a 2009 story (PDF) in its Daily Bulletin. He tells the Wall Street Journal (sub. req.) that he was merely applying 50-year-old precedent when he wrote the opinion allowing the city of New London, Conn., to use eminent domain to seize property for economic development by a private developer. “It’s the most unpopular opinion I ever wrote, no doubt about it,” he acknowledged.
“I had people at a bridge game stop me and ask, ‘How could you have written that opinion? We thought you were a good judge, but we learned otherwise,’ ” Stevens told the newspaper. “But you can’t explain the whole law of eminent domain to your bridge opponents.”
The court granted cert today in three cases and allowed extra oral argument time when the case is heard in March, SCOTUSblog reports. As a result of the schedule, the case will be decided only months before the presidential elections, USA Today reports. The court gave the parties a total of 5 1/2 hours to argue the cases, apparently setting a modern record, SCOTUSblog says.
According to the Los Angeles Times, the law has arrived at the court “riding a surprising winning streak and carrying a constitutional stamp of approval from prominent conservative judges.”
Only three out of 12 federal appeals judges who considered the law voted to overturn it. The rulings provide arguments for upholding the law that could appeal even to some conservatives on the court, the newspaper says.
ABA Journal: Lawmakers who are gathering a “treasure trove” of data about law schools could use the information in congressional hearings, according to a published report.
According to the Wall Street Journal (sub. req.), an unnamed congressional staffer says senators are “strongly considering” hearings. “Congressional hearings, were they to happen, wouldn’t necessarily lead to legislation,” the story says. “But they would represent the most aggressive congressional move yet into the controversy over law-school transparency.”
Critics say law schools are misleading prospective students about how hard it is for law grads to find jobs. The ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar, which accredits law schools, has also been targeted for publicizing statistics about the percentage of law grads that obtain jobs, without specifying whether the employment is full- or part-time, or even whether it’s practicing law. The section is planning to collect and publish more detailed information in the future.
ABA Journal: Would-be law lawyers in Mississippi are bucking the trend and applying to law schools in about the same numbers as last year.
Nationwide, law school applications are down by about 10 percent, the Jackson Clarion Ledger reports, citing information from the Law School Admission Council. But law schools at the University of Mississippi and Mississippi College aren’t seeing any decline.
Application numbers at both schools are on track with last year, when applications increased despite the economic downturn.