Monday, August 20, 2012

Law School Management 101 (or how to deal with your school’s looming fiscal crisis)

If memory serves, when I started law school about 16 years ago tuition was about $13k per year, which made me very hesitant to enroll in the first place.  And by the time I graduated, tuition was fast approaching $20k per year.  I remember wondering how much longer most law schools could continue to exist.  In other words, who would want to go to law school at these prices?  It turns out that I was more price-sensitive than most, and my concern was actually about 10 years premature.  Much to my amazement, law school applications and enrollments kept climbing over the next decade, even as tuition continued to skyrocket well above the rate of inflation.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

When is a bribe not a bribe?

I love the 1995 case U.S. v. Boyd.  After sitting through a four month trial that ended in a guilty verdict, the trial judge overturned the conviction and granted the defendant a new trial.  Why?  The prosecutor's star witnesses against the defendant were actually incarcerated themselves.  That, in itself, is rarely a problem.  Instead, what bothered the trial judge was that the prosecutors were bribing their prisoner-witnesses leading up to and during the defendant’s trial.  The gifts and favors included providing the prisoner-witnesses with access to illegal drugs, access to visitors with whom they had sexual relations, prosecutor-funded birthday parties, multiple items of clothing, and even phone sex with the prosecutor’s paralegals.  In fact, the litany of gifts and favors was literally so amazing that it makes the case worth reading in its entirety—something that can rarely be said of a judicial decision.