Legal news roundup

Happy (rainy) Friday to all! It’s been a while since I last posted but I am back and rearing to go. So without further delay, here is your Friday legal news roundup:

– South Dakota has become the first state to offers lawyers an annual subsidy to live and work in rural areas.

– A well-known Nashville attorney has been temporarily suspended from practicing law after it was discovered that he paid himself $50,440 from the estate of a ward in a nursing home without a judge’s approval.

- Here is a list of the 20 law schools that had the highest percentage of their 2012 class who were still looking for jobs and still had not secured employment nine months after graduating.

- Conversely, here are the 20 law schools that have the highest rate of placing graduates in government and public interest jobs.

Summer associate hiring down last year amid sluggish legal market

Alas, it looks like 2012 was not the best year for law firm summer associate hirings.

The median and average numbers of summer associate offers to 2Ls dipped a little bit according to NALP (formerly the National Association for Law Placement). Also down: the percentage of interviews resulting in the offer of a summer associate position.

“We have seen some faltering in recruiting volumes this past fall, and that reflects the continuing faltering in the larger legal economy,” NALP executive director Jim Leipold told The National Law Journal. “If you read the client advisories coming from some of the private banks that are involved in law firm financing, it’s clear that 2013 is not likely to be dramatically better.”

Leipold predicted that law firms will remain cautious about hiring summer associates in 2013.

Last year was also the fourth consecutive year law firms pulled back on filling entry-level positions. The lowest point for summer associate hiring remains 2009, when just 36 percent of 2L interviews led to offers. But those numbers have been inching back up and reached 46 percent in 2011. And last fall, 44 percent of callback interviews led to employment offers.

The hiring outlook also remained grim for 3Ls. A mere 19 percent of law firm offices said they considered 3Ls last fall, and only 280 callback interviews given to 3Ls led to just 82 job offers. Not surprisingly, 90 percent of 2012 summer associates got jobs from the firms for which they’d worked. That did, however, represent a 1 percent drop from 2011.

So Maryland law students: how is your summer associate job hunt going? And lawyers: Are your firms offering more summer associate positions this year? Comment below or hit me up ( or on twitter (@TDRBeth).

Law blog roundup

obama newtownAnother Monday, another law blog roundup. We tried to find some lighthearted stuff, but this one is written with a heavy heart.

– Slate’s Emily Bazelon on Sandy Hook Elementary School and gun culture

– For John Bratt’s feelings on a certain aspect of written discovery, the title of his Baltimore Injury Lawyer blog post says it all.

– An interesting look at the intersection of gay marriage and affirmative action at the Supreme Court

– The right way to address students when a professors screws up giving the final exam. (HT: Above the Law)

Law blog roundup

facebookHappy Cyber Monday! No holiday specials in the law blog roundup, just our usual mix of news and comment. For instance:

– Ron Miller discusses a phone scam that was new to him you might want to be aware of

– It’s a serious topic that deserves serious consideration, particularly since it appears to be the way warfare is heading. But it had me at “Killer Robots” in the title.

– One law school has come up with a response to decreasing applications: voluntary buyouts.

– If you’ve declared a personal copyright on what you post on Facebook, I’m sorry to break the bad news to you…

Survey finds fewer first-year law students

A recent survey of law schools by test prep company Kaplan shows that almost 50 percent of accredited law schools had smaller incoming classes this year, The National Law Journal reports.

“With the supply of new lawyers outpacing the available number of positions for new lawyers, this is the most critical time for legal education,” said Jeff Thomas, the director of Kaplan’s prelaw programs. “Our survey shows that law schools are taking much-needed action to better prepare new lawyers for the changing job landscape, while at the same time accepting fewer students, as they know jobs will not be easy to come by.”

The Law School Admission Council, which distributes the LSAT, also recently reported that the number of people who took the exam last month dropped by 16 percent from a year ago, while the number of people who took the test this summer was down by 6 percent.

One positive note: the Kaplan survey showed that 47 percent of the schools in the survey increased the total amount of financial aid they give to incoming students.

Law blog roundup

ruth bader-ginsburgWelcome to the first Monday in November, which makes tomorrow, well, you know the rest. Here now some news items to get your week started.

– What ever happened to that lawyer who argued for the respondent in Weinberger v. Wiesenfeld?

– What is your answer to one of the great questions of our time?

– It’s never too early to have a legal battle over ballots.

– “Girls Gone Wild” case reaches the Georgia Supreme Court.

Raskin rips Romney, Ryan and Robert (Bork)

Maryland state Sen. Jamin B. “Jamie” Raskin, D-Montgomery, wants voters heading to the polls to remember that the president has the authority to make appointments to the Supreme Court and lower federal courts — and that Robert Bork is among the legal advisers to the Republican ticket of Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan.

Raskin, an ardent supporter of President Barack Obama, warned in Wednesday’s Huffington Post that a “Romney-Ryan-Bork court would lead to the uncorking of bottles of champagne throughout the boardrooms of America’s largest and most right-wing corporations.”

Romney appointees to the federal courts would lead to “an acceleration of all of the worst trends already ravaging the prospects of justice for ‘natural persons’ in America, including the destruction of what is left of campaign finance and disclosure laws as corporations assume all the political free speech rights of the people, a dramatic change ushered in by Citizens United in 2010,” Raskin added on the post’s Politics blog.

Raskin has been quite prolific recently, having written an op-ed piece in the New York Times last week calling for a constitutional amendment to undo Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, in which the Supreme Court ruled that “the government may regulate corporate political speech through disclaimer and disclosure requirements, but it may not suppress that speech altogether” under the First Amendment.

But Raskin, a widely respected constitutional law professor at American University, might need to brush up on his history.

In the Huffington Post piece he referred to Bork as as “the right-wing polemicist and former Bush Supreme Court nominee so extreme that he was rejected by a bipartisan coalition of Senators in 1987.”

“I think somebody must have changed that,” Raskin said of the error. “I very well know that Ronald Reagan is the one who made that mistake.”

Friday legal news roundup

justice antonin scaliaHappy Friday!

Here are a some interesting legal stories from this week in case you missed them:

A former assistant career services dean at Thomas Jefferson Law School has admitted to padding graduate employment statistics.

The New Jersey Supreme Court’s split decision does not clear up issues surrounding surrogacy.

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia reiterated his position this week that the Constitution “doesn’t change.”

In-House Interrogatory

Asked: Our weekly question to the In-House community

In-house legal departments are getting fed up with paying outside counsel for soft costs like food and photocopying fees, The Wall Street Journal reported this week.

In-house counsel are pushing back against law firms charging them for legal research, photocopying and word processing costs according to a study cited in the article.

Companies’ legal departments argue that these costs are included in law firm overhead and therefore should not be charged to them.

So, here’s our question for you:

Should companies be charged for soft costs like catered lunches and photocopying by outside counsel?

Leave a comment below or email me.

Need to Know:

ABA memberships for all

While there seems to be a lot of negative news about law schools these days, here are some good tidings.

The interim dean at the St. Louis University School of Law, whose dean left amid controversy over accusations the university was using the law school as its cash cow, is buying each student at the law school a membership to the American Bar Association.

Tom Keefe will pay $14,212 for the 836 students at the law school. Memberships for the ABA at the group rate cost $17 per student. Four other law schools across the country buy every student a membership, which allows them to participate in ABA sections and seek grants form the organization.

Keefe is recovering from a bit of a rocky start earlier this summer. After being named interim dean in August, he told our sister paper Missouri Lawyers Weekly that he would not be controlled by the university or be the university president’s “butt boy.”