This new factoid provides some important blogging points. First, might he become a law school dean after the presidency? Sure, it'll be tempting to take over an entire univesrity such as - say - Harvard. But that would require him to focus on so many large institutional issues and problems. Why take on those headaches? And of course, there will be other job options: he could create a TV network . He could make a new neighborhood safe for Starbucks. Hell - he could suspend the constitution and become the General Secretary of the United Socialist States. (Yes, somebody really believes this.)
But it seems to me that he'll want to follow his inner compass and become a law school dean. So the obvious question is: which law school? Personally, I hope that the President will be able to keep his current gig for four more years. But if not, there are a few schools with existing openings that might be willing to wait if he shows serious interest immediately.
The University of LaVerne is an obvious choice. The President has shown that he knows how to take decisive action under extreme conditions. Given all the complicated noise going on in the Inland Empire, LaVerne needs a leader with the sort of bold vision led to a takeover of GM and Chrysler back in 2009. Feeling entrepreneurial? Oxy Law sure has a nice ring! If he's looking to integrate his "left wing liberal" values with his burning desire to lead an ABA accredited, JD granting institution, the food stamp President can head to Northeastern Law. There, students can alternate classes in payment systems and employment law with a co-op in which students represent Dorchester residents in their SNAP denial hearings. On the other hand, if he's missing the sturm and drang of Rahm Emanuel, can you spell UT?
Right now, the Republicans are doing their best to insure the President of a second term. Maybe they'll succeed. If not, those of us in the law school industry may soon have a new fellow traveler.
I just hope he's not too cocky. Sure, he might be able engineer a leaner military that can fight two wars at once. But if he thinks law professors are going to get their finals graded before Christmas, he's as crazy as a betsy bug.
On the Observational Epidemiology blog, Mark is trying to coin the word "ddulite." A ddulite is the opposite of a luddite, a person who prefers new tech to old tech even when the old tech is better--more functional.
My first thought is that the early-adopter community can spur innovation, and help make it ready for prime time. Early-adopters are the beta testers.
More importantly, who decides what is more functional -- or even how to define functionality? Hand-lettered books on vellum are more "functional" than books printed on paper, in that they last longer. But the printing press made books cheaper and more available, and changed the world. E-books are inherently ephemeral, but they are much more portable (especially if you have a smart-phone!). E-books, too, are changing the model for publication and delivery of books, newspapers and magazines. The same thing can be said for the vinyl records-CDs-MP3s continuum.
Of course, the versatility of both e-books and MP3s depends largely on the Internet, rather than on sneaker-nets. As an early-adopter of the Internet, I connected--via dial-up--to a Linux server and used a virtual terminal with a command-line interface. I remember the wealth of information available via highly-structured, but awkward, "Gopher" pages. I saw the Internet explode after teams at CERN and the NCSA developed the World-Wide Web and the Mosaic browser, respectively.
In Job Statistics: What about Unknowns?, I began exploring the distribution across law schools of the rates at which law-school graduates do not respond to the employment surveys sent out by law schools for NALP and ABA reporting purposes. I noted that most schools with "unknown" rates of 5% or higher have LSAT 75th percentiles of entering classes in the bottom two quintiles (bottom 40%).
A common problem with surveys is selection bias. For example, most law-school graduates that report their employment status do not report their salary. As you might expect, graduates with high salaries may be more likely to report salary information than those with lower salaries. But what about persons who don't respond to employment surveys? Are persons who are unemployed more likely to throw the survey in the trash? As I discussed earlier, one of the argument for counting unknowns as unemployed is the assumption that the unemployed are less likely to respond to employment surveys.
But is that true?
Having already noted the divide in the rate of unknowns at a 157 LSAT 7th percentile , let's begin by looking at the relationship between a school's entering LSAT profile and its reported employment rate. As the chart below shows, law-school employment rates tend to fall as LSAT falls. That said, notice also that the range of variation increases as LSAT falls (which is what one would expect in the range shown (unknown rates between 0.55 and 1.00).
Is anyone else bothered by all the advertising AT&T is doing about how much better AT&T service will be after anti-trust clearance of its acquisition of T-Mobile? AT&T has a "Focus: Houston" web-page that advertises all the upgrades AT&T has made to cell-service in the Houston area. On the right-had side is a link to an interactive map of 4G/LTE service in Texas with, and without T-Mobile.
All that advertising makes two things clear:
the relative quality of AT&T's existing service; and
anti-trust law & policy is less about law & policy, and more about politics and lobbying!
It's not your father's anti-trust--or even the anti-trust I studied in law school. As The Byrds, interpreting Bob Dylan's My Back Pages sang:
Ah, but I was so much older then I'm younger than that now
I suppose it was always about putting your own spin on it. The Road Not Taken (Frost), and all that.
The allegations are that the schools misled students by reporting placement rates that were substantially higher than the percent of graduates with full-time jobs that require a JD. According to the complaint against New York :aw School, the school has
consign[ed] the overwhelming majority of [its students] to years of indentured servitude, saddling them with tens of thousands of dollars in crushing, non-dischargeable debt that will take literally decades to pay off.
Complaint, New York Law School, ¶ 3
The "Preliminary Statement" in each complaint that the problem is not limited to the two current defendants:
10. Unfortunately, NYLS’s false and fraudulent representations and omissions are endemic in the law school industry, as nearly every school to a certain degree blatantly manipulates their employment data to make themselves more attractive to prospective students. It is a dirty industry secret that law schools employ a variety of deceptive practices and accounting legerdemain to “pretty up” or “cook” the job numbers, including, among other things, hiring recent unemployed graduates as “research assistants” or providing them with “public interest” stipends so as to classify them as employed, excluding graduates who do not supply employment information from employment surveys, refusing to categorize unemployed graduates who are not “actively” seeking employment as unemployed, and classifying graduates who have only secured temporary, part-time employment as being “fully” employed.
11. Thus, the law school industry today is much like a game of three-card monte, with law schools flipping ace after ace, while a phalanx of non-suspecting players wager mostly borrowed money based on asymmetrical information on a game few of them can win. To a remarkable extent, law schools have been astonishingly successful in carrying out this scheme. Last year law schools awarded over 43,000 JD degrees, an increase of 11 percent from a decade earlier, while law school tuition over the past two decades has risen exponentially, far exceeding both inflation and any increase in attorneys’ starting salaries. Not surprisingly, the debt burden of law school graduates has risen correspondingly, and the average debt burden for graduates of private institutions is now over $100,000.
12. The dramatic increase in law school tuition has dovetailed with the dramatic increase in faculty compensation. Law school professors and deans are perhaps the best remunerated in academia today, enjoying both lavish perks and exorbitant salaries that rival those of Fortune 500 executives. For example, during the fiscal year of 2008-2009, Dean Matasar earned a staggering $543,738 in total compensation, making him one of the highest paid law school deans in the country.
13. After much public hand-wringing and increased scrutiny, the legal profession has finally begun to recognize the systemic fraud the law school industry has been perpetuating. Senator Barbara Boxer of California and Senator Charles Grasserly of Iowa have each sent separate letters to the President of the ABA, taking the organization to task for failing to properly police the law school industry. Additionally, a coalition of 55 law school student body presidents have sent to Congress proposed legislation that would, among other things, create new reporting standards for employment data, require law schools to submit annual employment reports to the Department of Education (“DOE”), and empower the DOE to audit these reports. The problem has grown so acute that even the President of the California Bar Association in a much publicized article in the California Bar Journal openly implored law school deans to adopt more rigorous reporting standards by disclosing the type of detailed employment and salary information that would allow students to get a more realistic picture of their post-graduate financial situation.
14. These entreaties had fallen mostly on deaf ears until now, as the ABA’s committee on accrediting law schools has just recently enacted guidelines that would expressly require law schools to report their true post-graduate employment rate, by disclosing the type of information Plaintiffs are seeking here: the exact percentage of graduates who have obtained permanent, full-time legal employment. Specifically, law schools will be required to break down their employment data so as to indicate whether a position is full-time or part-time, permanent or temporary, funded by the law school or an affiliated university, and whether bar passage or a JD degree is required or preferred.
It should come as no surprise that Kurzon Strauss LLP is advertising for plaintiffs for similar suits against other law schools:
If you are interested in joining the fight against unscrupulous behavior by certain American law schools to lure students with deceptive post-graduate employment statistics and salary information, please let us know here [link deleted]. We are currently investigating additional law schools throughout the country. (Emphasis added.)
In the 60s, my grandmother got me interested in coin collecting. I am not even close to being a numismatist. Even coins from the 60s are starting to be 50 years old, but there were so many minted that a coin not in mint condition has little value. But still, when I pull out some change, the older-looking coins always catch my eye. Most of the the time, the coin is recent, but just dirty.
Today, I was about to slide a nickel into a soft-drink machine, but stopped to check the date. It was a 1942 D! I thought of my grandmother, who died in 1974, and slipped it into another pocket for safekeeping.
Oh, and "always check, it might be mate"? That's horrible chess advice!
Now I've truly outed myself as a nerd. Interested in math. Collected coins. And, yes, President of the Chess Club in high school.
Update: According to Cointrackers, that nickel has an estimated minimum value of $2.00. That's probably less than the inflation-adjusted value of $0.05 in 1942 vs. now. But better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick.
I do not make this stuff up. The Sperm Bullitt recently appeared on the Copenhagen cycling scene, courtesy of Nordisk Cryobank. Nordisk is one of Europe's leading sperm banks -- the company was looking at environmentally-friendly transport methods to deliver sperm samples to fertility clinics around Greater Copenhagen and landed on the Sperm Bullitt. In addition to being CO2 friendly and having a sophisticated cooling system inside the head of the giant sperm cell,the Bullittprovides an added benefit: folks stop to ask about it and have their photo taken with the bike, thus raising awareness of the need for sperm donors. "We're always looking for new donors so it's a fine bonus that the Sperm Cell Bike gets peoples attention," says CEO Peter Bower.
Wonder what sort of reaction that’d get at the next cycling club group ride?
Six major law professor blogs announced, this morning, the most significant mergers since Gordon Smith of Venturpreneur and Christine Hurt of Biz Fems Speak! got together to form Conglomerate back in 2004.
Prawfsblawg and Concurring Opinions are re-combining. (Co-op was formed when Dan Solove and Kaimi Wenger left Prawfs back in 2005.) The new blog, PrawfsOpinions, will dedicated entirely to...well, you get the point.
Glenn Reynolds and Brian Leiter have agreed to combine their two blogs into a dizzying mix of news and blog aggregation and critiques of U.S. News rankings. The new LeiterPundit will appeal to people on both ends of the political spectrum. Their new motto will be "nothing in moderation." The original proposed blog title, InstaLeiter, was seen as too frivolous. Reynolds commented that "with the addition of the most controversial legal philosopher in the blogosphere, I expect our Pundit brand to reach 89 millions viewers daily. Philosphers are huge these days."
Finally, Jack Balkin and Eugene Volokh are bringing together their two stables of respected bloggers to create Volkinization. Eugene Volokh stated that "although this may seem like a play on Vulcanization, the process by which two less durable polymers are combined and made more durable together, we believe that both blogs were durable on their own and would have been completely stable even had we not merged. We just felt like it." Another earlier proposed name - The Balkin Conspiracy - was rejected because filmaker Mel Brooks had previously claimed the name for his planned sendup of the Bourne Conspiracy series.
A friend sent along yesterday the case of In re Gary Ronald Perez, 30 F.3d 1209 (9th Cir., 1994). An appeal from an order approving a Chapter 11 reorganization plan, the case is primarily interesting (at least to me) for this paragraph in Judge Zilly’s dissenting opinion:
I write also to disapprove of the sexist reference in the first sentence of Judge Kozinski's opinion. The term "iron maiden" refers to "a medieval instrument of torture fashioned as a box in the shape of a woman, large enough to hold a human being, and studded with sharp spikes on the inside." Random House Dictionary of the English Language, 2nd Ed., Unabridged (1987). The use of the term unnecessarily perpetuates the misogynistic nomenclature of medieval torturers.
The first sentence of Judge Kozinski’s opinion reads: “In this appeal from an order approving a Chapter 11 reorganization plan, we confront the iron maiden of bankruptcy reorganizations--the dreaded cram-down.”
I will leave it to others with more expertise in either etymology, torture devices, feminist theory, or bankruptcy to opine whether the term “iron maiden” has misogynistic origins and whether Kozinski’s use of the phrase is sexist, though Zilly’s characterization of the device as medieval appears incorrect. Wikipedia (which, of course, is always reliable) and several other websites suggest that the iron maiden is actually of much more recent origin and that the “maiden” in question is likely the Virgin Mary. Either way, the exchange sure made my bankruptcy reading for the day more engaging.
Perhaps I should pass this news along to the music minister at the local mega-church where I worship. I'm attending our Christmas extravaganza this afternoon, and I'm told that an elephant will walk the aisle. Guess I better check the location of my seats.
Three children are playing the game of "rock, paper, scissors." They all throw down, one selecting the "rock," another the "paper," and the third a pair of "scissors." Will we have a clear winner?
This issue pops up now and then in Secured Transactions, when three (or more) creditors are fighting over a pool of collateral with a value that falls short of adequately securing repayment of all of the debts (creating a genuine priority dispute). The relevant legal rules may resolve the priority dispute as follows: A beats B, B beats C, and C beats A. Now what?
If this topic is of interest to you (it is, isn't it?!?!?!), you'll want to read Circular Priorities in Secured Transactions Law, authored by Roderick J. Wood (pictured), a professor on the law faculty at the University of Alberta. Here's the SSRN abstract:
Circular priority problems are endemic in secured transaction law. A circular priority situation arises when there are three or more parties with competing claims to the same asset and there is no clear ranking of priority among them. There are multiple approaches applied by courts or advanced by commentators to resolve circular priority problems. The different mechanisms used by the courts to resolve a circular priority problem are evaluated using criteria that reflect the general values and goals of commercial law, and the mechanism that best accords with this criteria is identified. Although consensus on the best way of breaking a circularity will reduce litigation costs, it does not provide a complete solution as it can be undermined by ex post bargaining among creditors. Given this instability, priority rules should be designed so as to minimize the occasions when such problems can arise.
The article appears at 47 Alberta Law Review 823-852 (2010).
A large open room in an old industrial building with three wooden picnic tables lined up end to end in the center of the room. The tattoo station was small portable table, two folding chairs, and a cheap floor lamp. Our research assistant, with her clipboard, was by far the cleanest and most official looking person around. And when she offered to help the tattoo artist by taking the names of the people in line, he was delighted. In the 5 hours she was there (from 9pm to 2am) a total of 76 people signed up for free tattoos.
Some interesting observations:
4 individuals did not know what they wanted, but knew that they wanted some free tattoo
5 individuals wanted a free tattoo, but did not know where they wanted it
68% of those in line for free tattoos reported that they would not get the tattoo if it were not free
Ariely concludes that:
the power of “free” is surprisingly influential. When we face a decision about a tattoo, one would hope that the long term permanency of the decision, coupled with the risks of getting different types of infections would cause people to pay little attention to price, and certainly not to be swayed one way or another by the power of free. But sadly, the reality (at list in the nightclub scene in New York) suggests that the power of free can get us to make many foolish decisions.
It’d be interesting to know more about the “power of free” in this context and the full range of questions that were asked. Had the subjects at least been contemplating tattoos even before the event? Were they undecided, hesitant, or afraid, but pushed over the line by the free offer? Or did they just hear about the offer and, think: “Free tattoo. I’m there!” And were these first-timers, or folks who already had one, or even multiple, tattoos? (The subjects’ self-reported levels of drunkenness were relatively low).
I am particularly susceptible to the lure of “free stuff” – which often isn’t really free – and this makes me the target of much mockery and ridicule from friends and family members. But even I would not get a tattoo (permanent, painful, and subject to some infection risk) only because it was free if I didn’t otherwise want one.
And remember, when it comes to tattoos, you can do better than free. Pictured above: Kari Smith, who reportedly auctioned her forehead space on eBay in order to pay for her 1-year-old son’s private education. Goldenpalace.com, an Internet gambling company, spent $10,000 to have their website address tattooed on Smith’s forehead.
Most readers are aware that UCC Article 9 permits a lender to perfects its security interest in almost all types of collateral by filing a "financing statement" (also known as a UCC-1).
A few times during every semester in which I'm teaching Sadistic Transactions a student will throw out the phrase "financial statement" (as in, "the creditor is perfected because it filed a financial statement"). I cringe, inwardly and outwardly, and the students soon learn the error of their ways.
My students aren't the only ones who, on occasion, commit this error. Judges, too, have been known to make the same mistake. See, e.g., Agriliance, L.L.C. v. Farmpro Serv., Inc., 328 F. Supp. 2d 958, 966 (S.D. Iowa 2003) (“filed the appropriate financial statement”); EH Yacht, LLC v. Egg Harbor, LLC, 84 F. Supp. 2d 556, 560 n.2 (D.N.J. 2000) (“the UCC financial statement”); 21 West Lancaster Corp. v. Main Line Restaurant, Inc., 614 F. Supp. 202, 203 (E.D. Pa. 1985) (“financial statements were timely filed”); U.S. v. Trans-World Bank, 382 F. Supp. 1100, 1103 (C.D. Cal. 1974) (“a financial statement filed with the California Secretary of State”); In re Tamis, 398 B.R. 124, 126 (Bankr. D.N.J. Dec. 2008) (“The Chase security interest was perfected by the recordation of a UCC-1 financial statement”); 1st Bank v. Winderl, 60 P.3d 998, 999 (Mont. 2002) (“two financial statements filed in 1990 and 1994”); LBM, Inc. v. Rushmore State Bank, 543 N.W.2d 780, 785 (S.D. 1996) (“a valid and filed financial statement”); Texas Beef Cattle Co. v. Green, 883 S.W.2d 415, 425 (Tex. Ct. App. 1994) (“filed financial statements”); Simmons Oil Corp. v. Holly Corp., 796 P.2d 189, 197 (Mont. 1990) (“Holly filed UCC financial statements in Montana.”). And I recently discovered the same linguistic faux pas in a "problem" that appears in a leading commercial law casebook ("... quickly files an initial financial statement ...").
My point in writing this post isn't to hold myself out as one who never makes a mistake (I may not make this mistake, but I make plenty of others; e.g., approximate cause v. proximate cause, payroll evidence v. parole evidence, administratrix v. dominatrix, etc.).
My point is this: to solicit other suggestions where a word or phrase, of significance to a particular body of law, is often mangled by its users. What might those words or phrases be?