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A USA Today article claimed the U.S. News & World Report law school rankings are causing law schools to adopt stricter LSAT standards. This in turn is adversely affecting ethnic diversity in law school admissions. Law schools seeking to improve their standing in the U.S. News & World Report rankings are raising their minimum LSAT requirements for admission. This makes it more difficult for minority students to attend the school, according to the USA Today story. David Bernstein of the Volokh Conspiracy doubts the article's claims. Bernstein highlighted ways law schools can admit minority students with LSAT scores below their median without effecting U.S. News & World Report rankings. He also points out the law school admissions have increased 30 percent since 2001, which could potentially raise the median LSAT scores of law school applicants with or without law schools changing their minimum LSAT policies.
In a blog post in response to Cardozo law Professor Justin Hughes's article "Size Matters (or Should) in Copyright Law," Bill Heinze of I/P Update analyzes the "adverse effects of using size in evaluating originality," positing that even innovators in music and the written word borrow from historical sources. IP law protects commercial interests, while rules against plagiarism protect moral or ethical interests. The best way to prevent accusations of plagiarism, according to Heize, seems to be to attribute everything to everybody. The plagiarism debate heated up last week when a novel written by a 17-year-old girl was proven to contain passages seemingly swiped from former Cosmopolitan editor Megan McCafferty. She claimed that the plagiarism was inadvertent and that she had just been heavily influenced by the writing of McCafferty. Apparently, all she had to do was issue and apology and take out the offending passages, and all was forgiven.
Each week, it seems, there is new evidence of the strong power the blogosphere has on the legal and academic communities. Evan Schaeffer's Legal Underground issued sort of an apology for a blog entry he wrote last year doubting the power of blogging for law school professors. Opinio Juris offered a thoughtful assessment of how blogging has changed scholarship. In response to "Blogging and the Transformation of Legal Scholarship" from the Harvard Law School conference on blogging, Roger Alford of Opinio Juris argued that as blogs become more acceptable as a form of scholarship, they will become more formal and less shorthand. The law blogosphere is huge and growing every day. It could reach capacity, according to Alford; and at that point, it will be nearly impossible to get noticed with a new scholarly blog.
Speaking of lengthy and astute analyses of complex issues, Professor James Edward Maule of MauledAgain wrote a really cool blog entry about high gas prices. Maule is a smart guy, and the gas-price issue is convoluted, to say the least. So I'm not sure I understand the whole thing. I can tell, though, that his analysis is very comprehensive. He addresses all the different theories being bandied about as to how to resolve high gas prices, pointing out what's wrong with each. In the end, predictably, his conclusion is that there are no easy answers.
The very, very best law blog entry I saw this week came from Overlawyered. Overlawyered takes to task attorneys and litigants involved in frivolous lawsuits that clog our legal system. I think this one, however, might have merit. Janet Orlando of Fresno, CA, is suing her former employer for bending her over and spanking her while all the other employees looked on, hooting and hollering "bend over, baby" and "you've been a bad girl." Her employer says it was a motivational technique. I believe I would be motivated to write a better law blog article every week if the punishment was being called a bad girl in front of everybody.
To pad this week's law blog review article out, here are the best kooky news stories from Judged last week.
After 12 years in college, a University of Wisconsin-Whitewater is finally prepared to graduate with three majors and three minors. It wasn't bad grades that kept the 29-year-old senior attending classes well after his peers had graduated. He just enjoyed being a college kid. Based on his extraordinarily long stay at the university, the faculty implemented a new law (unofficially named after him) to double tuition costs for students who exceed 165 credits. Citing the astronomical cost of his continued attendance, he announced that he will be graduating this semester. He has already been offered a job with National Lampoon and appeared on The Late Show with David Letterman.
An administrative law judge has ruled that surfing the Internet cannot be used as grounds for dismissal in a case involving a Department of Education employee who was fired for playing computer solitaire on the job. After 14 years with the D.O.E., the man was caught goofing off on the Internet by superiors and issued a warning. He was later caught goofing off again and promptly dismissed. His computer's cookies showed evidence that he had visited several non-work-related websites during office hours. But goofing off on the Internet is not enough to fire an employee, according to the judge. The judge likened surfing the Internet to taking a personal phone call or reading the newspaper at work. As long as it doesn't interfere with the employee's overall performance, cut him some slack, said the judge.
The man who holds the unofficial California record for failing the bar exam the most times has landed in trouble with the California Bar. This time, he found himself on probation. Maxcy Dean Filer graduated from law school in 1966. He failed the bar exam a record 47 times before finally receiving his license to practice in 1991—25 years later! After practicing in Compton, CA, for the past several years, Filer was put on probation by the California Bar for forgetting to file a necessary document. The California Bar ordered Filer to sit for a professional responsibility exam. The exam was scheduled for last month, but results have not yet been released.
Was it cheating to pad this article with "news of the weird" excerpts from Judged? Maybe. At any rate, I achieved my word-count requirement for this week. Nobody can take that away from me.
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