New Ranking Pegs Duke As World’s Top Law School

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Times Higher Education has posted its latest rankings of the world’s 100 top law schools, and five American universities are in the top 10.

Leading the list is Duke University, followed by Stanford and Yale.

The highest ranking non-U.S. law school is the University of Cambridge in the UK, at number 5.

Thirty American law schools made the list, while the United Kingdom had 23. Other countries with schools in the top 100 were Australia, Belgium, Canada, Chile, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Hong Kong, Israel, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.

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Top-Tier College Coaches, Adidas Rep Charged With Bribing Players

Bribe - moneyBloomberg is reporting that top-tier college basketball programs were thrown into turmoil Tuesday as federal prosecutors unveiled criminal charges against 10 coaches, managers, financial advisers and representatives of sportswear companies including Adidas AG, accusing them of making illicit payments to cash in on the vast riches generated at the sport’s highest levels.

“The alleged schemes include illicit payoffs to steer young athletes to powerhouse schools and into clothing contracts and financial advisory deals,” write Christian Berthelsen and Bob Van Voris. “Among those charged were current and former coaching staff members at Oklahoma State University, the University of Arizona, the University of Southern California and the University of South Carolina.”

The case followed allegations that an executive at an apparel company bribed students to attend universities where the company sponsored athletic programs.

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Dallas Attorney Says Admissions Suit against University of Texas is Step Backward

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In another attempt to change the admissions process at the University of Texas at Austin, a group — led by a man who unsuccessfully sued the university previously over its admissions process — has filed a lawsuit claiming UT violates state law by using race and ethnic considerations as factors in its admissions, according to a post on the website of Androvett Legal Media & Marketing.

Edward Blum’s nonprofit organization, Students for Fair Admissions, says UT gives African-American and Hispanic candidates preference over white and Asian applicants.

Lynn Pinker Cox & Hurst partner Shonn Brown says this latest attempt is a step backward.

“The University of Texas still struggles to obtain a diverse student population,” Shonn says. “It proceeds under an admissions policy that has been upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court. Blum’s group and its actions seek to return to the ‘days of old’ and if put into place would likely take UT backwards in its attempts to utilize additional across-the-board process that assists in increasing diversity in the UT student population.”




‘Gainful Employment’ No True Test of School Success

Two weeks before it was set to take effect, the Department of Education has stopped the implementation of a rule designed to hold for-profit colleges accountable for marketing claims about employment rates for graduates. Had the Borrower Defense to Repayment rule taken effect, for-profit colleges would have had to prove their programs led to the “gainful employment” of graduates or risk the loss of federal aid, according to a post by Androvett Legal Media & Marketing.

“There is no doubt that the student loan bubble may burst in the near future due to the crushing amount of student loan debt resulting from the skyrocketing costs of attendance combined with the limited availability of jobs upon graduation,” says Dallas bankruptcy attorney Aaron Gottlieb of Godwin Bowman & Martinez.

“However, some responsibility must still remain with the student loan borrower to carefully choose which colleges and programs to attend. If a for-profit school provides the student an education and degree for which the student paid tuition, then a ‘gainful employment’ requirement following graduation seems to be too broad a brush to wield in determining whether the for-profit school made a material misrepresentation.

“In fact, several lawsuits have been dismissed over the past five to 10 years on the basis of student borrowers’ reliance on publications such as U.S. News & World Report, which listed inaccurate employment rates of graduates. The courts have consistently considered this information mere ‘puffery,’ rather than any sort of guarantee. I fail to see the difference between touting ‘employment rates,’ and promising ‘gainful employment.’ They appear, from my perspective, to be one and the same.”

 

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The 2017 Law School Rankings – Changes at the Top

Above the Law has released its updated statistics on law school employment outcomes, which are entirely outcome-based — by how well their students do upon graduating.

“These are the only rankings to incorporate the latest ABA employment data concerning the class of 2016,” according to the introduction to the rankings. “The premise underlying our approach to ranking schools remains the same: that given the steep cost of law school and the new normal of the legal job market, potential students should prioritize their future employment prospects over all other factors in deciding whether and where to attend law school.”

This year’s rankings of the top 50 law schools saw Yale fall from number 1 in 2016 to number 3. Stanford moved up from the second slot to the top this year.

Some other schools had big changes, with William & Mary Law School dropping 18 places.

See Above the Law’s top 50 rankings.

 

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The Law Schools With the Lowest (And Highest) Acceptance Rates

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Generally speaking, law schools with low acceptance rates masterfully weathered the storm over the past decade, keeping their standards high, writes Staci Zaretsky for Above the Law.

This came during a time when applications plummeted and entering students’ qualifications sank, while law schools with high acceptance rates fared quite poorly, admitting almost anyone who applied in an effort to keep the lights on, she adds.

Her article covers the release of some data from U.S. News, which compiled statistics showing acceptance rates for American law schools.

The school with the lowest acceptance rate is Yale Law School, with 9.5 percent of its applicants gaining entry. At the other end of the list is Western Michigan University Thomas M. Cooley Law School, which saw 85.8 percent of its applicants getting into class.

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Which State Has the Worst Bar Exam Results?

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Above the Bar reported recently that Florida’s bar passage rate was an abysmal 57.7 percent for the February exam, but now they can report that another state has taken over the uncoveted distinction of having the worst exam results in the U.S.: Mississippi.

“Few things are certain in this life, but one of them is that Mississippi will find a way to be worse at everything,” writes . “After Florida posted a 57.7 percent passage rate for the February exam, Mississippi pulled up and delivered a glorious 36 percent passage rate.”

Patrice puts much of the blame for falling passage rates on declining rates at schools across the country. “While many have begun the process of course correction — bringing in smaller, more credentialed classes — we’ve still got a few more years of this trend ahead of us,” he writes.

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Trial Lawyer Mark Lanier: Teen’s Bullying, Rape Case Appealed to ‘Core Sense of Right and Wrong’

Mark Lanier

Mark Lanier

Trial lawyer Mark Lanier was not looking for new cases when two Idaho attorneys called him earlier this year with an appeal to what he described as his “core sense of right and wrong,” according to a post on the website of Androvett Legal Media & Marketing.

The Androvett post continues:

The always-busy Houston lawyer recently earned a $1 billion  product liability verdict against J&J and is gearing up for numerous other trials. But when he heard more about the case involving Antwon McDaniel, a developmentally disabled teen who was bullied and raped at a rural Idaho high school, the decision to join the legal team was an easy one.

“It’s outrageous. It’s horrible,” Mr. Lanier told the Magic Valley Times-News. “As a lawyer, if I can help in a case like this and I don’t, they ought to take away my bar card.”

The federal lawsuit, filed last year, claims that the individually named school board trustees, administrators, teachers and coaches of the Dietrich School District chose to ignore the ongoing physical and mental abuse being suffered by Antwon McDaniel, effectively depriving him of his constitutional rights. The racially motivated violence inflicted on the now 19-year-old Mr. McDaniel, who is black, included anal rape with a coat hanger by several white football teammates in 2015. Criminal cases stemming from the locker room attack have all been resolved, but the civil lawsuit seeking $10 million is ongoing, with the next hearing set for May 9. Trial dates have not yet been scheduled.

Mr. Lanier described his decision to join the lawsuit in an interview with the Times-News:

“My goal is to make sure no student in Idaho or anywhere else has this problem again,” [Mr. Lanier] said. “We need to do something to protect our children who don’t fit in, aren’t the right color, aren’t the right religion and don’t fit that model profile. There’s a chance to do something here.”

There were three main motivating factors, Mr. Lanier said. The need for the school district to be responsible; the “egregiousness of it all”; and because he “cares deeply about racial issues.”

“America is at a place where we have to find a way to be accepting of people of different race, religion, gender, or even political affiliation,” Mr. Lanier said.




Thousands of Trump University Students Sign Up for Hefty Refunds

Donald Trump

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Former Trump University students who claimed a share of the $25 million settlement that Donald Trump agreed to shortly after he was elected president will recover 80 percent of the money they spent on the real-estate seminars, according to a Bloomberg Law article.

Plaintiffs claimed the university made false promises of riches and instant success. Trump fought the allegations for years but finally agreed to the deal.

“A total of 2,471 claims seeking $21.3 million in refunds had already been verified, according to the filing. With hundreds of claims still being reviewed, the lawyers expect that refund requests will rise to $25 million,” writes Bloomberg’s Edvard Pettersson.

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Law Schools Ranked by Their Graduates’ Salaries

Cornell ranked first in a recent report that looked at salaries of recent law graduates, according to a Bloomberg Law article.

Online loan refinancing company Social Finance, Inc. ranked law schools according to which touted the highest salaried graduates.

“Cornell Law School ranked No. 1 for graduates with the highest salaries, averaging $183,377 in salary, with an average debt load of $148,443,” Bloomberg reported.

Two New York university law schools rounded out the top three: Columbia and New York University.

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Trump Pays $25 Million to Settle Trump University Litigation

Days before President-elect Donald Trump was to take the oath to uphold the Constitution, he followed through on a more painful obligation: coughing up $25 million to settle litigation over his defunct Trump University real estate seminar program, reports Politico.

“Last March, Trump vowed not to settle the long-running litigation — two federal class-action fraud lawsuits and a parallel state court action brought by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.” writes Gerstein. “The suits accused Trump U. of deceiving students by falsely claiming that Trump knew the instructors and that the school was an accredited university.”

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Attorneys in Trump University Case Talk Strategy, Leaks and Deposing The Future President

Donald Trump

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The San Diego Union-Tribune has been tracking the epic class action litigation against Donald Trump and his defunct Trump University, presenting an inside look at the legal maneuvers, the document leaks, the economic and emotional pain suffered by plaintiffs, and the eventual settlement with the future president of the United States.

Reporter Kristina Davis writes that the Trump University lawsuit landed at Zeldes Haeggquist & Eck, a small downtown San Diego law firm, the way so many cases do — with a phone call.

“The class-action lawsuit she filed against Donald Trump and his defunct Trump University became a centerpiece of the presidential campaign, featured in debates and on ‘Saturday Night Live.’ The end result: a $25 million settlement by the president-elect for thousands of former students 6½ years later,” writes Davis.

The attorneys’ big break came when some former Trump University employees leaked playbooks and scripts used by instructors.

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Trump Nears Settlement in Trump University Lawsuit

Reuters is reporting that President-elect Donald Trump is nearing a settlement of about $20 million in fraud lawsuits relating to Trump University, a person familiar with the matter said on Friday.

Some former students of the now-defunct school claim they were they were lured by false promises into paying up to $35,000 to learn Trump’s real estate investing “secrets” from his “hand-picked” instructors.

Reporter Karen Freifeld writes that sources tell her there are three lawsuits relating to Trump University: two class actions in California and a case brought by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. All would be covered in the possible settlement. One of the cases, in U.S. District Court in San Diego, is scheduled to begin Nov. 28.

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Judge Tells Trump University Litigants They Would Be Wise to Settle

U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel

U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel

The U.S. judge overseeing a lawsuit against President-elect Donald Trump and his Trump University told both sides they would be wise to settle the case “given all else that’s involved,” Reuters reports.

In the suit, some former students claim they were they were lured by false promises to pay up to $35,000 to learn Trump’s real estate investing “secrets” from his “hand-picked” instructors.

The statement by U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel came after he had tentatively rejected a bid by Trump to keep some statements from the presidential campaign out of the fraud trial.

“Trump owned 92 percent of Trump University and had control over all major decisions, the students’ court papers say. The president-elect denies the allegations and has argued that he relied on others to manage the business,” according to the report by Dan Levine and Karen Freifeld.

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Trump’s Lawyers Urge Judge Curiel to Keep Deposition Video Secret

U.S. District Judge Gonzalo P. Curiel, whom Donald Trump has publicly denounced as a “hater,” will decide whether to release videos of the presumptive Republican presidential nominee’s testifying in a lawsuit against Trump University, reports NBC News.

The videos Trump’s lawyers want to keep out of the public record are from Trump’s deposition late last year and early this year in a class-action lawsuit accusing him of fraud. They said there’s “no legitimate reason” for the plaintiffs to submit the videos, arguing that the only motive to submit the videos is to create “prejudice” against Trump.

“This is precisely the type of ‘prejudice’ our adversarial system demands,” the ex-students’ lawyers said, adding that Trump “may think anything that does not go his way is unfair, but that is clearly not the legal definition of unfair prejudice,” according to the report by NBC’s .

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9th Circuit Removes Judge Who Slashed Attorney Fees From BarBri Antitrust Class Action

Lawyers who won a $9.5 million settlement in a conspiracy case involving bar exam review courses will get a second chance to seek $2 million in attorneys’ fees, the 9th Circuit has ruled, according to a report by Courthouse News Service.

Plaintiffs sued West Publishing, which offers BarBri prep courses, and Kaplan in 2008, claiming the two colluded to block competition in the market for bar review courses.

The opinion also noted that the appellate court has reversed the trial judge’s denials and reductions of attorneys’ fees three times in a related case. Because of that pattern, the panel ordered that the case be assigned to a different judge on remand.

“In light of the history of this case and related litigation, it is clear to us that the district judge would have ‘substantial difficulty in putting out of his … mind’ his previously expressed erroneous findings and conclusions and that ‘reassignment is advisable to preserve the appearance of justice,'” according to the opinion.

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Judge to Consider Timing of Trump University Trial

A federal judge in San Diego said he wanted a trial by the middle of this year in a lawsuit against Donald Trump over the now defunct Trump University, according to a report by ABC News. That was before the real estate mogul appeared headed for the Republican presidential nomination.

“U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel is expected to address the trial’s timing at a hearing Friday in San Diego. Trump’s lawyers, who have put the candidate on a list of witnesses who may testify, have signaled opposition to a trial while Trump is in the race,” the report says.

“This will be a zoo if it were to go to trial,” Trump lawyer Daniel Petrocelli said at a hearing in March.

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70 Percent of 2015 Law Grads Working Full-Time in Legal Field

Results of a study released by the American Bar Association show that 70 percent of the 39,984 graduates of the 205 ABA-accredited law schools last year now have full-time, long-term employment in positions that require or prefer a JD.

“Among the class of 2015, 1.7 percent had solo practices, 40.7 percent worked for law firms and 14.6 percent had ‘business & industry’ positions, 11.6 percent worked in government, 4.7 percent had public interest jobs, 8.4 percent were doing clerkships and 1.6 percent reported education positions,” the ABA reported. “Almost 9.7 percent — 3,871 graduates — were unemployed and seeking employment.”

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Day Pitney and Cohen Seglias Create Collaborative Team for Title IX Investigations

Day Pitney LLP and Cohen Seglias Pallas Greenhall & Furman PC announce the launch of their joint Title IX Investigations Initiative. This initiative will allow the firms to provide both existing and new clients greater services in the wake of a growing number of Title IX investigations, the firm says.

Title IX, enacted in 1972, prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in federally funded educational programs and activities. This is a growing area of concern for many public and private schools, colleges and universities. Besides applying to faculty employment and sport team participation, Title IX also applies to how academic institutions are handling complaints of sexual harassment and sexual violence.

“Our collaborative practice will promptly investigate allegations and provide the results of that investigation to the academic institution – the idea is to combine the best practices from law enforcement and internal corporate investigations with experience in working within the unique setting of academia,” says Day Pitney attorney Steven Cash, who has served at the federal and state level in the executive, legislative and judicial branches, including the Manhattan District Attorney’s Investigations Division, and as Counsel on the Senate Committee on the Judiciary.

The New York Times recently reported how some colleges have increased budgets and have even hired teams within schools to handle the increasing number of cases in an article, “Colleges Spending Millions to Deal With Sexual Misconduct Complaints.”

“Our goal is to provide academic institutions with a team that has the necessary skills that are not generally found in educational facilities, including prosecutorial, investigative, and Title IX litigation experience,” said Paul Thaler, Managing Partner of Cohen Seglias’ Washington, DC office. “ In addition we understand the sensitivity required by academic institutions to oversee these investigations.”

The Title IX Investigations Initiative’s team also includes Christopher Carusone, former Chief Deputy Attorney General in the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office and Secretary of Legislative Affairs and Executive Deputy General Counsel in the Pennsylvania Governor’s Office; Stanley A. Twardy, Managing Partner at Day Pitney and former United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut; and Helen Harris, Day Pitney partner and White Collar group chair.

 




NY AG: Trump University Fraud ‘Pretty Straightforward’

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said that evidence of the fraud perpetrated by Trump University is “pretty straightforward,” reports CNN Money.

“It [was] a bait and switch scheme,” he said on CNN’s New Day Friday, defending his and other lawsuits against the school. “He did ads saying my hand-picked instructors will teach you my personal secrets. You just copy what I did and get rich.”

While Schneiderman said it’s clear that Trump was not involved in hiring instructors or creating the program’s curriculum, “If you tell people we’re going to teach you Donald Trump’s secrets, and he never had any part in writing the curriculum, that’s fraud,” Schneiderman said.

In the CNN interview, Schneiderman said thousands of students paid millions of dollars to the school, which closed in 2010. While the attorney general’s suit is a civil suit rather than a criminal action, Trump could face millions in fines, Schneiderman said.

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