Posts Tagged ‘bar associations’

Lawyers vs. their competition

Organized lawyerdom is gung-ho for stringent enforcement of UPL (unauthorized practice of law) laws — their own version of occupational licensure — but consumers fare less well when paralegals, automated forms providers, accountants and others are kept from offering competitive services [George Leef, Forbes] As I’ve argued before, part of the key to sorting out the UPL issue is to distinguish between lawyerly capacities which involve the power to wield compulsion or force against others — the capacity to initiate litigation being paramount among these — and less coercive capacities such as the performing of research and giving of client advice.

July 10 roundup

  • Supreme Court agrees to hear case in which feds claim right to ignore deadlines for suit-filing because of Wartime Suspension of Limitations Act (WSLA), passed in 1942 [my new Cato post, earlier]
  • As we’ve advised before, don’t run 10K races while your claim of low-speed-crash injury is pending [Philly.com]
  • Incentivizing complaint-filing: State Bar of California pushes “urgency legislation” empowering it to collect $2500 per enforcement action from targets of its efforts against unauthorized practice of law; association of non-lawyer preparers of legal documents calls it “a cleverly designed effort by the Bar to seek additional revenue from non-members of the Bar.” [Dan Walters, Sacramento Bee via KafkaEsq]
  • Feds get earful on Hawaiian tribalization plan [KHON, Indian Country Today, more, earlier]
  • BP: “Legal feeding frenzy continues four years after the spill” [Melissa Landry, The Hayride]
  • Danke schön! “Overlawyered ist übrigens ein vorzügliches Blog, das sehr oft sehr gute Postings hat zu den Irrungen und Wirrungen des US-amerikanischen Rechtssystems” [Lawblog.de comment]
  • There’ll always be a Berkeley: California city requires medical marijuana dispensaries to set aside some product for free use by indigent and homeless [Reason, KCBS]

Law schools roundup

  • Under DoJ gun, LSAT agrees to end flagging of test scores taken with disabled accommodation, cough up more than $7 million [Justice press release, Caron/TaxProf roundup coverage]
  • “Things law school trustees probably should not do: subpoena their own school’s students for criticizing them” [@petersterne; Danielle Tcholakian, DNAInfo]
  • Should law students graduate without studying the First Amendment? And other thoughts from Justice Scalia’s William & Mary commencement speech [text via Will Baude]
  • “Rank ordering the likelihood of law school reforms” [Prof. Bainbridge] ABA moves forward with law school accreditation changes; tenure, among other institutions, likely to remain sacrosanct [Caron/TaxProf, Fortune]
  • Paul Horwitz reviews James R. Hackney Jr. book on contemporary legal academy [Journal of Legal Education via Prawfs]
  • Alex Acosta dean case: should conservative legal academics steer clear of Florida? [Bainbridge]
  • Orin Kerr vs. Erwin Chemerinsky and Carrie Menkel-Meadow on curricular reform [Volokh Conspiracy]

Baby Veronica case ends; New Republic spots “new anti-adoption movement”

Following an Oklahoma Supreme Court ruling, the youngster has been handed over to adoptive couple Matt and Melanie Capobianco, which most likely spells an end to the legal ordeal [CNN, earlier]

Meanwhile, in yet another indication that propositions that are controversial in the rest of the country are uncontroversial in the American Bar Association, the ABA last month endorsed a resolution (PDF) calling for “full compliance” with, and in general uncritically endorsing the operation of, the Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978; reportedly, no dissenting voice was raised.

The New Republic, meanwhile, gives favorable ink to what it calls the “new anti-adoption movement.” While adoption poses plenty of genuine and difficult ethical and policy issues that deserve a full airing (and even the occasional train wreck at its far fringes; reactions here (PDF), here) sloganeering about “reproductive justice” and intimations of false consciousness (“subtle brainwashing”) on the part of birthmothers who choose adoptive homes for their children are likely to obscure the good that adoption can do [Balding/Yan, SSRN via @tylercowen]

Law school roundup

  • Now we’re getting somewhere? “ABA Task Force Releases Draft of Recommendations to Reform Legal Education” [Orin Kerr] “ABA Panel Favors Dropping Law School Tenure Requirement” [Karen Sloan, NLJ]
  • Now we’re getting somewhere, cont’d? “Obama: two years of law school should be enough” [Prof. Bainbridge, Stephen Gillers]
  • Many law reviews continue to “struggle with forthrightness” on circulation, Virginia’s claims 1700 but actual number is 304 [Ross Davies’ annual Green Bag survey, just out; my related Atlantic take last year]
  • “Washington U. Dean Syverud Tells ABA Task Force: Law Profs, Deans Are Paid Too Much; 50% Pay Cut Would Solve Problem” [TaxProf] “New Law School Gets Just A Third Of Its Expected Starting Class” [Elie Mystal, Above the Law; Indiana Tech]
  • How misleading are stats Rutgers-Newark puts out for its grads’ “median private sector starting salary”? [Paul Campos] “Sixth Circuit: it was unreasonable for Cooley applicants to believe Cooley’s ‘objectively untrue’ statements” [John Steele] “Former Villanova Law Dean Suspended from Practice for Filing Knowingly False Admissions Data” [Legal Ethics Forum]
  • Claim: under “principles of social justice lawyering …lawyers have a fiduciary duty to create equal justice under the law.” Would she disbar those who don’t? [Artika Tyner, SSRN, via Legal Ethics Forum]
  • Has Georgetown figured out a way to offer free law school tuition, and if so how much of the “free” winds up being on the taxpayers’ dime? [Politico, Milan Markovic, Hans Bader]
  • “Law School to Remove Fraudster’s Name From Atrium” [Indiana; Lowering the Bar]

Law schools roundup

  • “How To Fix Law School” symposium at New Republic with David Lat, Paul Campos, Mike Kinsley etc. follows up on Noam Scheiber article on erosion of BigLaw business model, which in turn drew semi-rebuttal from Mark Obbie at Slate;
  • “So the poor defendants have to spend thousands on legal fees, while law students get their ‘practice.'” [John Stossel]
  • Brian Tamanaha vs. Simkovic and McIntyre “law degree worth a million bucks” study [Balkinization, response here, Adler, Caron]
  • Amid crisis, tone-deaf ABA “actually in the process of trying to make it harder for accredited law schools to fire professors and control their costs” [Elie Mystal]
  • Foundation case studies include Carnegie 1921 report on legal education, Olin support for law and economics, and some others related to law schools [J. Scott Kohler and Steven Schindler, Philanthropy Central]
  • “Shifts in law professors’ views” [Kyle Graham]
  • Bring on the strong verbs, and not just in legal writing [Ross Guberman] In recent Nike shoe case, Chief Justice Roberts wrote rings round Justice Kennedy [same]

Law schools roundup

  • Universities’ prestige game: will “zombie law schools” drag down the rest? [Gerard Magliocca]
  • Law as undergraduate degree works in advanced countries like Germany and Britain, could work here too [Bainbridge]
  • It’s a capitalist plot! Steve Diamond of Santa Clara assails Brian Tamanaha’s critique of law schools as too redolent of Hayek, Cato [SSRN, background, more]
  • “That’s pretty good reason to speak up: Thomas Breaks 5-year Silence During #SCOTUS Arguments to Mock Yale” [@DavidMastio]
  • Dean who took huge pay packet for dismal results is also immediate past president of ABA law school panel [Campos]
  • Does the California experience undercut arguments for relaxing accreditation? [Matt Bodie]
  • “What Do Law Professors Think About the Critiques of the Law Schools?” [Orin Kerr]

As IOLTA shrinks, its advocates get creative

The idea of Interest on Lawyers’ Trust Accounts (IOLTA) programs in California and elsewhere is to skim off tiny sums from clients’ accounts, too small to be worth arguing about (isn’t that what class action theorists are always claiming defendants get away with?) to finance legal representation, sometimes for indigent clients, other times for “cause” litigation, the latter of which results in “a lot of unsuspecting clients funding things they may or may not have believed in.” With interest rates at prolonged lows, however, the sums raised by IOLTA have drooped, and California bar authorities have responded by burying new line items in dues renewals for voluntary levies — which have not, it seems, resulted in the hoped-for flood of lawyer contributions. [Charlotte Allen, L.A. Times](& Legal Ethics Forum)

American lawyers: a disintegrating guild?

Yes, lawyers are organized as a guild, but I’m not convinced that arrangement is disintegrating or on the way to doing so. I explain why in a new piece at Liberty and Law that’s a response to an essay-in-chief by Jim Chen of Louisville Law School arguing that competition and technological advance are fast eroding lawyers’ guild privileges. The other response-essay is by Brian Tamanaha of Washington U. in St. Louis, whose new book Failing Law Schools has been getting widespread acclaim [NLJ, Garnett]
and whose recent essays in the NYT and Daily Beast have stirred widespread discussion. (& Instapundit, Paul Caron/TaxProf, Scott Greenfield).