The Honorable Joel F. Dubina to Receive the 2013 American Inns of Court Professionalism Award for the 11th Circuit
Fort Mills Times, So. Carolina
April 29, 2013
ALEXANDRIA, Va. -- Chief Judge Joel F. Dubina has been selected to receive the prestigious 2013 American Inns of Court Professionalism Award for the 11th Circuit. The award will be presented at the 11th Circuit’s Annual Judicial Conference, to be held May 2–4 in Savannah, GA. The award will be presented to Judge Dubina by the Honorable Marc T. Treadwell.
The American Inns of Court Circuit Professionalism Awards are awarded on a federal judicial circuit basis to a lawyer or judge whose life and practice display sterling character and unquestioned integrity, coupled with ongoing dedication to the highest standards of the legal profession and the rule of law.
Dubina has served on the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals since 1990, and has been its chief judge since 2009. He is a member of the Judicial Conference of the United States and currently serves on its executive committee. Faithfully committed to improving the legal profession, Dubina was a member of the organizing committee that formed the Hugh Maddox American Inn of Court, and served as its president from 1993–1994.
Dubina earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Alabama and his J.D. from the Cumberland School of Law at Samford University. Upon graduating in 1973, he clerked for the Honorable Robert Varner, U.S. District Judge in the Middle District of Alabama. He practiced law with the firm of Jones, Murray, Stewart and Yarbrough, PC, for nine years. He was selected as a U.S. magistrate judge in 1983, and then appointed a U.S. District Judge in the Middle District of Alabama in 1986.
Dubina is a life member of the Alabama Bar Association. He is also a member of the Alabama Trial Lawyers Association, the Federal Bar Association, the Federal Judges Association, the Supreme Court Historical Society, and the Eleventh Circuit Historical Society.
“Judge Dubina is passionate about civility, the nobility of the law and the legal profession, qualities which the [American] Inns of Court espouses. He is a worthy example of the highest and best aspects of the legal profession,” wrote Keith B. Norman, Executive Director of the Alabama State Bar Association.
The American Inns of Court, headquartered in Alexandria, Virginia, fosters excellence in professionalism, ethics, civility, and legal skills. The organization’s membership includes more than 30,000 federal, state, and local judges; lawyers; law professors; and law students in more than 360 chapters nationwide and more than 97,000 alumni members. More information is available at www.innsofcourt.org.
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FPMS student creates winning poster
Lindsay Slater, Times-Journal (Fort Payne edition)
April 30, 2013
Fifth-grader Taleah Sadler gets to travel to Montgomery on Wednesday and be honored for her winning work in the Alabama State Bar’s statewide Law Day Competition. Sadler entered a poster that won third place overall in the fourth-through-sixth-grades category.
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2 Birmingham area students place second in state bar's Law Day competition
By Kelsey Stein, al.com
April 24, 2013
BIRMINGHAM, Alabama - Two students from the Birmingham area placed second in competitions at the statewide Law Day event sponsored by the Alabama State Bar.
Alex Lipscomb, a student at Hilltop Montessori, placed in the essay contest for seventh, eighth and ninth graders. Alex's teacher is Sherry Cook.
Taylor Harris, a student at Pleasant Grove High School, placed in the social media - Facebook category. Taylor's teacher is Lori McCrary.
The winners will be recognized at a ceremony at 11 a.m. May 1 at the Alabama Supreme Court. The ceremony will include remarks from Morris Dees, a co-founder of the Southern Poverty Law Center, and a luncheon.
More than 750 entries were submitted as representations of the national Law Day theme - "Realizing the Dream: Equality for All."
Law Day is a national day set aside to celebrate the rule of law, according to a news release. Past competitions have only included categories for using posters and essays to creatively interpret the year's theme, but social media - Twitter and Facebook - was added this year.
Winners in the essay and social media categories receive $200, $150 and $100; winners in the post contest receive $125, $100 and $75. All winners receive engraved gold medals and award certificates. Teachers of winning students receive a $25 contribution for use in their classrooms.
See the full list of winners here.
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Law Day luncheon includes panel discussion on diversity within the Birmingham bar
By Kent Faulk, al.com
April 22, 2013
BIRMINGHAM, Alabama - A panel of judges and lawyers will discuss diversity within the Birmingham Bar - how far it has come and challenges that remain - during a Law Day luncheon on May 1.
The event will be held at B&A Warehouse, 1531 1st Ave. South. The event is open to the public, but the purchase of advanced tickets is required.
This year's national Law Day theme is "Realizing the Dream: Equality for All," which celebrates the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "I Have A Dream" speech and the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, according to a press release from the Birmingham Bar Association.
The Luncheon program, "50 Years Later, Diversity in the Birmingham Bar, Then, Now, and the Future" takes a look at one measure of Birmingham's progress in overcoming prejudice and misunderstanding, according to the press release. The panel will discuss how the Birmingham Bar has become more inclusive over the past fifty years, what challenges still exist, and the important role a diverse bar association and legal profession play in the quest for equality and justice for all, according to the release.
Panelists include retired U.S. District Judge U.W. Clemon, Alabama's first African-American on the federal bench; Presiding Jefferson County Circuit Court Judge Houston Brown; U.S. District Court Judge Abdul Kallon; Robin L. Burrell, president-elect of the Birmingham Bar Association. Jefferson County Circuit Court Judge Caryl P. Privett, will moderate the panel and Jefferson County District Attorney Brandon K. Falls will moderate the program.
For additional information regarding the Luncheon or to purchase tickets, visit the Birmingham Bar Association website or call 205-251-8006, ext. 3.
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Montgomery judge honored for 30 years on the bench - Price was first black circuit judge in Alabama
Written by Kala Kachmar, The Montgomery Advertiser
April 16, 2013
Presiding Circuit Court Judge Charles Price was honored by the Montgomery County Commission Monday for his 30 years of service as a judge in the county.
Price, who was the first black circuit judge in Alabama, was appointed by former Gov. George C. Wallace in 1983. He has run for re-election unopposed for the last 30 years. Circuit judges serve six-year terms.
Prior to becoming circuit judge, he served as an assistant attorney general for the state of Alabama, the acting district attorney of Escambia County and then deputy district attorney of Montgomery County before he entered private practice. In 1999, he was elected presiding judge of the Fifteenth Judicial Circuit Court.
“I didn’t know (the recognition) was coming,” Price said. “I almost can’t find the words to express how I feel. It’s a great honor.”
Price said he’s seen the community change drastically over the past 30 years, both in and out of the courts. He said there’s “much more to be done,” but that Montgomery is moving in the right direction: toward social justice.
“People are working together to make society what it should be,” Price said.
Dan Harris, vice chairman of the County Commission, presented Price with a declaration to make April 15, 2013 Judge Charles Price Day in the county. Harris said Price has been a personal and professional mentor to him.
“The strength of any community is diversity,” Harris said. “That’s what I’m seeing today: diversity.”
Before becoming an attorney, Price served as a Green Beret and a member of the 82nd Airborne Division in the U.S. Army, where he retired as a lieutenant colonel in the Judge Advocate General’s Corps. He graduated from Virginia Union University and enrolled in law school at George Washington University.
He has earned a Raymond Pace Alexander Award for Lifetime Contributions to Judicial Advocacy, the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage award, the Dr. Martin Luther King Humanitarian award and an Honorary Jurist Achievement Award from the Alabama State Bar.
Art promotes equality
By Phil Johnson, Atmore News
April 10, 2013
Two Escambia County High School (ECHS) students have created works of art as a part of the Alabama State Bar Association’s Law Day. Juniors Malik Deese and D’Andrey McCarthy made their posters as a part of an art competition added to the 2013 Law Day program.
U.S. history teacher Nancy Haddix organized the students’ entries and the school has had them framed and placed on display at ECHS.
Deese did his in paint with a central theme surrounding the Constitution, while McCarthy did his piece in pencil and made the face of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. the focus of the piece.
From a press release from the school, “The Alabama State Bar and the Law Day 2013 Committee have established a competition for students in grades K-12 in celebration of Law Day on May 2, 2013. This year’s theme is Realizing the Dream: Equality for All.
“Students could participate in essay, poster and social media competitions sponsored by the Alabama State Bar.”
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Alabama’s justice cupboard is bare, but there is a remedy
By BOB MARTIN, The Atmore News
April 3, 2013
State Chief Justice Roy Moore is right to sound the alarm. But some state court officials believe he should have sounded it much sooner.
Moore issued an order in early March directing circuit court clerk offices in Alabama to be closed to the public on Wednesdays beginning March 20. Moore said in his order that state funding for courts was cut $25 million for fiscal 2013 and appears to be about $13 million short for the current year and beyond.
The chief justice, who was elected last November, also said in the order that the expected appropriation for the court system for fiscal 2014 would be $16.5 million less than needed.
Moore noted that Chief Justice Sue Bell Cobb had been forced to issue a similar order closing circuit clerk offices in response to a significant but less dire under-funding during her administration.
Moore told members of the Montgomery Rotary Club recently that the court system has $38 million less now than when he took office for the first time in 2001. He said there are 498 fewer court employees now than in 2001, and proposals before the Legislature could cost another 300 jobs. He said if the cuts continue, the system eventually will reach a breaking point.
“There comes a time when you can’t keep the power on,” the chief justice said.
Moore recently ordered court clerks’ offices throughout the state closed on Wednesdays. He said the offices will still be staffed on Wednesdays but closing the doors to the public will allow staff to tend to filing court papers and other duties.
Moore said he believes extra money could be found by prioritizing spending. Some have suggested increasing taxes or expanding gambling as ways to raise money for the courts. The chief justice said he opposes those ideas.
Moore said he doesn’t believe raising taxes would solve the problem, and he’s opposed to using gambling as a way to raise money.
So where does our esteemed chief justice hope to get money to keep justice rolling in the state…call the Tooth Fairy? And, by the way, it needs to keep running along with all the ancillary things like police departments, jails, probation and parole, district attorneys, public defenders and clerks.
It’s a very simply solution, Mr. Chief Justice, and you know how it can be done; it will just take a lot of gumption to pull the trigger.
I presume you have read our state constitution Mr. Chief Justice, and you know what Section 6.10 of Amendment No. 328 says. The exact language is this:
“Adequate and reasonable financing for the entire unified judicial system shall be provided. Adequate and reasonable appropriations shall be made by the legislature for the entire unified judicial system, exclusive of probate courts and municipal courts. The legislature shall receive recommendations for appropriations for the trial courts from the administrative director of courts and for the appellate courts from each such court.”
You see, back when the late Chief Justice Howell Heflin sat in your chair and State Senator and later Chief Justice C. C. Bo Torbert along with many others were helping get judicial reform passed in Alabama, they knew there would be times like you face. They knew that the courts are the least appreciated branch of our government and would likely end up on the bottom of the budgetary list when real bad times hit.
So they proposed the language above and the people overwhelmingly agreed in December of 1973. So don’t put this off on the legislature or the governor. You and the other justices on the Supreme Court hold your own key. I’m sure some enterprising lawyer who wants justice for a client will quickly litigate on behalf of the justice system. The entire State Bar should, but I doubt if they have the fortitude.
Then if the courts find the court budget inadequate to keep criminals in jail and folks safe on the streets, you and your fellow judges make the decision and order a remedy that will allow justice to survive in Alabama. I’m willing to wager a Coke, Mr. Chief Justice, or even lunch at Down The Street Cafe, that you will come out on top. No, I can’t do that so - - -
The compelling case for cameras
Tony Mauro, The National Law Journal
Inside the U.S. Supreme Court last week, the justices were doing what they do best: dissecting a difficult legal issue — this time same-sex marriage — in the intense back-and-forth of oral argument.
Over two illuminating mornings, the justices and top-notch advocates worked through most of the pros and cons of giving same-sex marriage constitutional protection — or instead letting the political process continue the debate.
Outside the court, however, the scene was less noble. People seeking seats for the oral arguments were forced to wait in line, with some arriving five days earlier. Tents were pitched, and money changed hands, with some paying as much as $6,000 to a line-waiting service for the chance of securing a seat inside. Inevitably things got messy, and the line seemed more befitting of a music hall or an Apple store on the eve of the release of a new iPhone.
In one sense, the avid interest of those in line was a healthy sign that people really care about the issue and about how the Supreme Court — their Supreme Court — would handle it.
In another sense, it was a disgrace. The notion that spectators have to camp out or spend money to see a public institution do public business is offensive. It is the direct result of the court's arrogant and stubborn refusal to allow cameras to record and broadcast its proceedings. Some of those waiting for days for seats might still do so if cameras were allowed, but it is a safe bet that most would have preferred to watch the oral arguments in the comfort of home on C-SPAN rather than wait in line over several cold and snowy days in March.
While the public shivers, the justices — newcomers and veterans alike — refuse to give in to the reasonable demands of the information age. They are fearful of the changes that cameras might trigger in the dynamics between justices and advocates and with each other — as if the court were a fragile flower, instead of the sturdy institution it is, an institution that usually holds up well under public scrutiny.
Having watched the arguments in the same-sex marriage cases, it is hard for me to imagine how they would have been different if small, unobtrusive cameras had been there to record what was going on. With or without cameras, Justice Antonin Scalia was his spirited self, demanding that lawyer Theodore Olson tell him "when did it become unconstitutional to exclude homosexuals from marriage?" Olson's sharp reply would not have been different with cameras on hand. "When did it become unconstitutional to prohibit interracial marriages? When did it become unconstitutional to assign children to separate schools?" Olson said.
Judges and lawyers with experience before cameras in other courtrooms universally say that, especially at the appellate level, the questioning, listening and responding demand all their faculties. They soon forget cameras are there.
Last week, we got a taste of how useful and informative camera access would have been. The court released the audio of the arguments on a same-day basis, in time for broadcast journalists to incorporate the sounds from inside the court into their spot reports. Clips of substantive as well as funny exchanges were used, but both types helped make the issues understandable and vivid. They would have been much more so if video were added to the audio.
In a forthcoming law review article, University of Georgia School of Law professor Sonja West, a former clerk to Justice John Paul Stevens, applauds the court for the steps it has already taken toward greater public access to its proceedings. It releases the transcripts of argument, as well as the audio — albeit usually at the end of the week, not on the same day.
That high level of access, however, makes West wonder why the justices don't just take the next step by allowing video coverage. "Why the fear of video cameras?" she asks. "After allowing so much access, why not add this additional avenue of communication with the public? Why close this single door when the walls around them are made of glass?"
The time has come, West argues, for the court to finally open that door to the premier medium of the last century, even as it is supplemented by other media in the new century.
"While there is no doubt that caution can be a virtue, there is a point at which caution becomes paralysis," West wrote in the Brigham Young University Law Review. "The Court has come far in opening its work to the eye of the public, but that very movement has helped to show that there is no real danger in televising the Court's oral arguments." Last week at the court only made the logic of West's argument more obvious.
Women Lead the Way in White-Collar Law
By PETER J. HENNING, The New York Times
April 2, 2013
It’s still a man’s world in many sectors of the legal profession, as it is in much of corporate America. It’s true for prosecutors, for white-collar defense partners at major firms and in executive suites. But when it comes to researching and being an authoritative voice of study about white-collar crime, women are taking the lead.
The roster of faculty members who have written the books and articles establishing white-collar crime as an important field of study is made up largely of women who combine substantial legal practice experience with strong academic credentials. Among the notable women in the field:
Kathleen F. Brickey of Washington University in St. Louis, the dean of the field, having written the first law school text on the subject and later a multivolume treatise that came out long before corporate criminal liability became a topic of public debate.
Sara Sun Beale of Duke University, who has written extensively on federal criminal law and federal grand jury practice, a crucial component in any white-collar crime investigation.
Sandra D. Jordan of the Charlotte School of Law, who brings a decade of experience as a federal prosecutor to her work as a teacher and a co-author.
Julie Rose O’Sullivan of Georgetown, who clerked for Justice Sandra Day O’Connor and worked for the leading New York law firm Davis Polk before joining the United States attorney’s office in Manhattan, after which she published her own book for students who study white-collar crime.
Pamela Bucy Pierson, whose experience as a federal prosecutor before she joined the University of Alabama has helped her write many influential publications on health care fraud and corporate criminal liability.
Ellen S. Podgor of Stetson University, a former state prosecutor who has since become a leader in the defense bar and co-author of numerous works on white-collar crime and international criminal law (I am a co-author of several books with Ms. Podgor).
The story of these women’s career paths is intertwined with how white-collar crime evolved into a major practice area over the last 20 years. They attended law school when the number of female students was expanding significantly.
“The enrollment of women in law schools shot up rapidly” in the 1970s, Ms. Beale said. Her class “was 10 percent women for the first time ever at Michigan, and the trend of more women increased thereafter.”
When they graduated, many started out as federal prosecutors. Ms. Jordan, for example, was the second woman to work in the United States attorney’s office in Pittsburgh, and later headed its white-collar prosecution unit. Ms. Beale, who worked in the office of legal counsel at the Department of Justice said, “As the number of women coming out of law school rose, D.O.J. became relatively open to hiring women.”
Working for the government has a significant benefit for any young lawyer, who is typically given responsibility for cases from the first day. Thus, being a prosecutor brought training and experience that might not have been available in private practice.
In the 1970s and early 1980s, few large law firms had robust criminal defense practices. Ms. Podgor points out that this was “an era when the large law firms did not want to mention the word and instead either referred the cases elsewhere or chose to call their sections ‘special matters.’ ”
In today’s era of corporate fraud, bribery and other financial misdeeds, the opposite is true. Many white-shoe firms generate outsize billable hours paid by client companies that are having to address a multitude of internal and external inquiries.
But 30 years ago, women found that they could be trailblazers in the field of white-collar crime.
“Guns and drugs were a lot more exciting and got much higher priority at D.O.J.,” Ms. Pierson said of the seven years she was a prosecutor, starting in 1980. “So, as the low person on the totem pole, the white-collar stuff came to me.”
The work proved to be fascinating to her.
“It was like being an investigative reporter — you never knew where in the world the fraud was going to end,” Ms. Pierson said.
When many of these women moved to teaching, white-collar crime was still largely considered to be a minor subset of criminal law. They set about to change that.
In 1989, when she started teaching a white-collar crime class, Ms. Jordan said that only eight or so law schools even offered a course in such crimes.
Many of the women wrote the pioneering articles and books about corporate criminal liability, grand jury practice and the differences between corporate managers who are defendants and ordinary street criminals.
Unlike robberies or murders, which usually involve eyewitnesses and forensic evidence, white-collar cases are about documents and piecing together circumstantial evidence of criminal intent. Until the 1990s, these were issues that had received scant attention in the legal literature.
Because white-collar crime didn’t really exist as an area of study when they started teaching and writing, the women had no glass ceiling to break through. Instead, they set the standard, and their influence on the white-collar bar continues to be significant.
Nothing defines an area of study in law schools like a casebook, or the legal texts involving court rulings on cases. Each of these women has published books aimed at instructing law students, and their students have gone on to fill the ranks of prosecutors and defense counsel now involved in white-collar cases.
At a judicial conference in 2011, Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. said about law reviews that “the first article is likely to be, you know, the influence of Immanuel Kant on evidentiary approaches in 18th-century Bulgaria, or something, which I’m sure was of great interest to the academic that wrote it, but isn’t of much help to the bar.”
That criticism could not be further from the truth about the writings from the leading white-collar academics.
Many are continuing to wield influence. Ms. Beale serves as the reporter for the committee that updates the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, while Ms. Jordan headed the Pennsylvania Supreme Court committee responsible for the state’s evidence rules.
Ms. Pierson wrote a leading treatise on health care fraud, and Ms. Podgor started an intensive training program described as a “boot camp” for defense practitioners. Ms. O’Sullivan has worked with the United States Sentencing Commission and the American Bar Association on projects related to corporate sentencing and guilty pleas.
Studying and practicing in the white-collar field has been appealing to them because of the high stakes in the cases.
Ms. O’Sullivan said, “If I was going to be redacting documents at 2 a.m. on a Sunday night, if I was going to miss Thanksgiving to write a brief, I wanted it to truly matter to someone.”
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Law school graduates aren’t finding much on the employment docket – The Internet and other technologies have reduced job openings for lawyers
By Maura Dolan, Los Angeles Times
April 1, 2013
SAN FRANCISCO — Michael D. Lieberman decided to enroll at Southwestern Law School after reading that 97% of its graduates were employed within nine months. He graduated in 2009, passed the bar on his first try but could not find a job as a lawyer. He worked for a while as a software tester, then a technical writer, and now serves as a field representative for an elected official.
Lieberman, who earned his undergraduate degree at UC San Diego, is one of dozens of law graduates across the country who have joined class-action lawsuits, alleging that law schools lured them in with misleading reports of their graduates' success.
Instead of working in the law, some of the graduates were toiling at hourly jobs in department stores and restaurants and struggling to pay back more than $100,000 in loans used to finance their education. Others were in temporary or part-time legal positions.
Although Lieberman believes his degree may still be a "useful tool," he and other graduates said the suit was intended to combat "systemic, ongoing fraud prevalent in the legal education industry" that could "leave a generation of law students in dire financial straits," according to the complaint.
Nearly 20 lawsuits — five of them against California schools — are being litigated at a time of dim employment prospects for lawyers. Much of the work once done by lawyers can now be done more quickly by computers.
Online services have made law libraries largely unnecessary, allowing corporations to do more work in-house. Software has sped the hunt for information needed in discovery and other legal tasks, and Web-based companies offer litigants legal documents and help in filling them out. Even after the economy improves, some experts believe the supply of lawyers will outstrip jobs for years to come.
Although lawyer gluts come and go, "I don't think any of them rival the situation we are seeing today," said Joseph Dunn, chief executive of the State Bar of California, which regulates the state's 230,000 attorneys. "The legal community in all 50 states is being dramatically impacted."
New and inexperienced lawyers, unable to find jobs at law firms, are opening private practices, potentially putting clients at risk, according to a California bar report issued in February. To confront "serious issues of public protection," a bar task force has recommended requiring practical experience as a condition of a license. The California Supreme Court would eventually have to approve the new rules.
Besides Southwestern, alumni have sued San Francisco's Golden Gate University, the University of San Francisco and San Diego's Thomas Jefferson and California Western schools of law. Each school charges about $40,000 a year in tuition.
J.R. Parker, a lead lawyer in four of the California cases, said graduate jobs included "literally folding shirts in Macy's."
Parker said he found it "galling" that the schools gathered data that showed graduates were ending up in non-legal jobs but omitted that information from what they disclosed to the public — a contention that is in dispute. Job data are a highly influential factor in law school rankings. The suits allege the schools also inflated their graduate earnings, reporting the results of only a carefully selected sample.
Michael C. Sullivan, a lawyer representing the schools, said they provided employment data the same way as other law schools, publishing the figures they were required to report to the American Bar Assn. The ABA has since changed the requirements so that law schools now must disclose how many of their graduates were in jobs that required a law degree or for which one was preferred.
Once complaints reached the ABA, the schools began breaking down the job categories for its graduates. Suddenly, the outlook for prospective students looked less promising.
In advance of the ABA rule changes, Southwestern reported in 2011 that only 52% of the previous year's graduating class had obtained full-time, permanent jobs for which a law degree was needed or preferred, and that salary figures were based on only 19% of the class, according to the suit.
Sullivan said some law graduates may make only limited job searches. A Thomas Jefferson graduate who sued had turned down a $60,000 law job because she didn't want to make a long drive for training, he said.
"What I find most ironic is that those individuals advertised themselves to law schools as great critical thinkers," Sullivan said of the law-grads-turned-litigants. "Now they say they never considered the possibility that employment might include part-time jobs."
A total of 18 law schools around the country have been sued, and courts in other states have dismissed at least five of the suits, according to Sullivan. In California, which has strong consumer laws, courts have been more receptive. California judges have permitted three of the suits to proceed; two have not yet been heard.
The suits' success may depend on whether courts decide they should proceed as class actions on behalf of all graduates, rather than the named plaintiffs. They are modeled loosely after a wave of suits against trade and technical schools for allegedly misleading students about the value of their degrees.
"These cases are not easy to bring," said Ray Gallo, who filed and settled a class action for $40 million against the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco and is consulting in the Thomas Jefferson suit. The law school cases may even be more challenging because "these are by and large higher-quality institutions than these trade schools," he said.
Already, the scarcity of legal jobs has caused law school applications to plunge. A national study of 2011 law graduates found that only 55% of them had law-related jobs nine months after graduation. Some experts believe bottom-tier law schools will be forced out of business and that even the prestigious schools will begin to limit the sizes of their incoming classes.
Indiana University law professor William D. Henderson, citing census data, said law office jobs peaked in 2004. There were 50,000 more jobs that year than in 2010, he said.
At the same time, some legal services are being outsourced to such places as India, and Internet-based companies are offering consumers relatively inexpensive help navigating litigation.
Still, not everyone shares the dismal outlook. Erwin Chemerinsky, dean of UC Irvine Law School, said his students are finding full-time jobs as lawyers even during this slow economy.
"It is not the same across all law schools when you look at employment prospects," he said.
Rudy Hasl, dean of the Thomas Jefferson School of Law, said the retirement of baby boomers also would open up jobs.
Both deans said there was huge unmet demand for legal services for the poor and middle class, and the next generation of practitioners might be able to fill that demand. The state bar agrees.
"Across the country, the need for legal services among those who cannot pay or have limited ability to pay has never been higher," the bar report said.
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Judges, Politics and George Soros - Judicial selection shouldn't be left to the lawyers guild [Editorial]
The Wall Street Journal
April 1, 2013
The so-called Missouri plan for choosing judges has become so troublesome that several states are now altering or abandoning it. In Pennsylvania, however, three former Governors are getting on board with an effort to impose it for state appellate and Supreme Court judges.
On a conference call in March with the George Soros-funded Justice at Stake, former Governors Ed Rendell, Tom Ridge and Dick Thornburgh said they want judicial selection taken away from voters and given to a judicial nominating commission. The state's current system of judicial elections, Mr. Ridge said, "casts a dark shadow, a heavy cloud over the integrity and independence of the judicial system."
This is especially awkward for Republicans Thornburgh and Ridge, who are embracing a plan that has regularly sent state courts to the left. While the Missouri Plan was created with the hopes of insulating judges from politics, and travels under the false front of "merit selection," it has instead transferred power to state bar associations while shielding the selection process from public scrutiny.
The supposed impetus now is a scandal surrounding the conviction of state Supreme Court Justice Joan Orie Melvin for improperly using court staff to work on an election campaign. She is suspended without pay and has said she will resign May 1. But as with campaign-finance reform, the political class is using a political scandal to grab more power.
The three former Governors—all lawyers—want a 15-member judicial nominating commission under the influence of the state bar. Four members would be selected by the Governor, four by the legislature and seven would be nominated by what the law refers to as "groups" but otherwise doesn't define. As many as 13 of the 15 would be lawyers.
The legislation's two state Senate sponsors, Republican Richard Alloway and Democrat Anthony Williams, claim this will remove the taint of politics and fundraising from courts. They don't say how political fundraising plays into their own involvement. According to the National Institute on Money in State Politics, Mr. Alloway received more than $14,000 from lawyers groups like the Pennsylvania Association for Justice (the plaintiffs lobby) from 2008-2012.
Mr. Thornburgh says that "when it comes to the statewide appellate courts, it is very unlikely the average voter has any knowledge of the judicial candidate." The average voter lacks knowledge of many things, but that's no excuse for insulating judicial nominations from political accountability.
For Mr. Soros's Justice at Stake, the Pennsylvania push is a bid to reverse the tide against "merit selection" in other states. In early March the Tennessee state house voted 78-14 for a constitutional amendment that would switch the state to the federal model of judicial selection. The Governor would appoint nominees subject to Senate approval. The issue will go before voters on the November 2014 ballot.
Kansas Governor Sam Brownback signed similar legislation for the state appeals court last week. Oklahoma's Senate recently approved a constitutional amendment to get rid of the Missouri plan.
No method of judicial selection is perfect, but the rough and tumble of electoral accountability is better than leaving the choices to a lawyer's guild that is accountable to no one but themselves.