Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Legal news from around the world wide web

The legal profession is rife with nonsense, and I can't possibly write about all of it.  So here are some great posts from around the www to keep The Dog's readers up to date.

First, prosecutor misconduct.  For me, outside of not-guilty verdicts, some of the sweetest moments in law practice came when prosecutors hid evidence, but then accidentally disclosed it anyway.  (One example is the smoking-gun memo that gets mistakenly placed in my discovery packet.)  But prosecutor misconduct is a serious problem, and we can't always count on their ineptitude to serve as a self-correcting mechanism.  For a great post on prosecutor misconduct (with courtroom video at the bottom), check out The Irreverent Lawyer.

Second, law school shenanigans.  Sure, law profs make a lot of money for a short work year and a 3-4 class per year workload.  That's no longer shocking.  For shocking, visit Outside the Law School Scam to learn how an unkempt dude who went straight from law school to a professorship, and then to a deanship, collected hundreds upon hundreds of thousands of dollars in salary and other creative payments like "forgivable loans," and then still kept his professor job (though not the deanship) when it all came unglued.  

And third, law review publishing.  I once wrote a law review article with about 100 footnotes.  Then the editors sent it back and wanted 200 footnotes, including footnotes for sentences so basic they required no citation.  For example, if I write that "sometimes defendants will defend battery cases claiming self-defense," I don't need a footnote because the claim is obvious and undisputed.  After much battling of our own, we ended up settling on about 150 footnotes.  For more on the intricacies of law review publishing, including how the journals select their articles -- finally, an explanation for why the Harvard L. Rev. has thus far refused to publish my work -- visit Class Bias in Higher Education.  


1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the shout out. I read the two linked articles and have some comments. As to the law professor -- hardly surprising that such loan forgiveness programs have invaded post-secondary education and law school. That gambit has been around in corporate America for a long time as part of the rarefied care and feeding of well compensated corporate chieftains. See, for instance, http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/careers/news/2001-03-20-gold-ceos.htm And who can forget former General Electric CEO Jack Welch and his $417M retirement windfall? See http://money.cnn.com/2002/09/16/news/companies/welch_wsj/

    Indeed, for CEOs at retirement, it's hardly unusual for loans to be forgiven as part of the silk parachuted compensation package. So why not introduce such largesse to law school's self-declared 'worthies'?

    On the other hand, as you have often noted, given their suspect real lawyering bonafides, I am instead hoping for a story one of these days about someone impersonating a law school professor! Lord knows there are enough such accounts of lawyer impersonaters! There is even a Youtube video with over 10 million hits about a chemistry professor impersonator! As for lawyer impersonators, here are a few, http://www.eagletribune.com/news/local_news/danville-man-convicted-of-impersonating-lawyer/article_e9ef65ff-5a83-50f7-a054-ac7f46cc4179.html and http://nypost.com/2011/05/26/brooklyn-man-convicted-of-pretending-to-be-lawyer/ and http://www.gainesvilletimes.com/archives/17491/

    As for the "Class Bias in Higher Education" link, I am not surprised by the reliance by lazy people (in this case law review academics) on "hearsay citations." Faulty research and misattributed quotations have been around a long time -- especially since the invention of the Internet (e.g., not by Al Gore).

    Every time someone sends me a chain email (usually politically-tinged) purporting to quote a famous person (commonly, a long dead personage), my B.S. detector immediately goes off. This is why Snopes exists. A few years ago, for instance, I caught one of those 'too good to be true and on point' quotes in a foreclosure defense lawyer's pleading. When I looked up the quote about banks "being more dangerous than standing armies" supposedly said by Thomas Jefferson -- the falsity was confirmed! http://www.snopes.com/quotes/jefferson/banks.asp