Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Animal Law Program for Legal Professionals and Pet Lovers

The Italian-American Law Student Society is pleased to announce that Carol Ryder, a 2008 graduate of Touro Law Center, will present two programs on animal law. The first, entitled "Animal Law for the Pet Lover" will be held at the Law Center on February 2, 2010 from 12:30 to 1:20 p.m., while the second program, entitled "Animal Law for the Legal Professional," will be on February 4, 2010 from 12:30 to 1:20 p.m. Both programs will discuss interesting topics, including legislative bills currently being considered and statistics on the strong connection between animal abuse and other crimes, including rape, murder, domestic violence, robbery, sexual homicide, and more.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

How Far Back Must Title be Cleared in Post-Katrina New Orleans? (A true story, or so we're told.)

Rebuilding post-Katrina New Orleans often has caused residents to be challenged with the task of tracing title to their home. With a community rich with history stretching back over two centuries, houses have been passed along through generations of family, sometimes making it quite difficult to establish ownership.

A New Orleans lawyer sought an FHA loan for a client. He was told the loan would be granted if he could prove “satisfactory title” to a parcel of property being offered as collateral. It took the lawyer three months to track down the full title to the property which dated back to 1803. After sending the information to the FHA, he received the following reply.

(Actual reply from FHA):

"Upon review of your letter adjoining your client's loan application, we note that the request is supported by an Abstract of Title. While we compliment the able manner in which you have prepared and presented the application, we must point out that you have only cleared title to the proposed collateral property back to 1803. Before final approval can be accorded, it will be necessary to clear the title back to its origin."

Annoyed, the lawyer responded as follows:

(Actual response):

"Your letter regarding title in Case No.189156 has been received. I note that you wish to have title extended further than the 206 years covered by the present application. I was unaware that any educated person in this country, particularly those working in the property area, would not know that Louisiana was purchased by the United States from France, in 1803 the year of origin identified in our application. For the edification of uninformed FHA bureaucrats, the title to the land prior to U.S. ownership was obtained from France, which had acquired it by Right of Conquest from Spain. The land came into the possession of Spain by Right of Discovery made in the year 1492 by a sea captain named Christopher Columbus, who had been granted the privilege of seeking a new route to India by the Spanish monarch, Queen Isabella. The good Queen Isabella, being a pious woman and almost as careful about titles as the FHA, took the precaution of securing the blessing of the Pope before she sold her jewels to finance Columbus's expedition. ..Now the Pope, as I'm sure you may know, is the emissary of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and God, it is commonly accepted, created this world. Therefore, I believe it is safe to presume that God also made that part of the world called Louisiana. God, therefore, would be the owner of origin and His origins date back to before the beginning of time, the world as we know it, and the FHA. I hope you find God's original claim to be satisfactory.

Now, may we have our damn loan?"

The loan was immediately approved.

Lawyer Who Inflated Grades Gets 18-Month Suspension

The ABAJournal is a great website to find news about the law, the practice of law, and attorneys. Today, the Journal has an interesting article by Debra Cassens Weiss about the results of unauthorized grade inflation:

"A lawyer who inflated his law school grades to get a summer associate position at Sidley Austin got something of a reprieve from an Illinois ethics review board.

In April, a hearing board had recommended that Loren Friedman be suspended for three years for altering his transcript from the University of Chicago Law School. The chief counsel for the Illinois agency that oversees lawyer discipline appealed, saying Friedman should be disbarred.

The appeal has resulted in a recommended 18-month suspension, according to the American Lawyer and the Legal Profession Blog. According to the opinion by the Review Board of the Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission, Friedman did not harm any clients."

* * *

To read the rest of the article, go to the ABAJournal site here.

The 2010 Cover Retreat: Shaping Public Interest Law for 2015

Shortly before his untimely death in the summer of 1986 at the age of 42, Robert Cover, a beloved law professor, legal scholar, and social activist at Yale Law School, circulated a memorandum among his colleagues on the faculty, advocating the creation of an annual public interest retreat for law students, law teachers, and public interest practitioners that would serve four related purposes:

First, it would be an opportunity to break the isolation. Students from around the country with common concerns would get to know one another and would realize our national scope of problems and professional opportunity.

Second, students would interact with lawyers, legal academics, and other professionals who might provide both practical guidance and role models for the variety of possible public service careers.

Third, the conference would be a forum for thinking about reform or change of legal education.

Fourth, the conference would provide students with a jump-off or starting place for the formulation of programmatic politics of legal change.

The first Cover Retreat was held at Boston University's Sargent Camp, a rustic outdoor recreation center in Peterborough, New Hampshire, during the first weekend in March of 1988.

The Retreat has become an annual event, held at Sargent Camp during the first weekend of March.

Each year, the Retreat has been coordinated by students from a different law school, providing them the opportunity to learn how to organize such an event, to plan the program, and to select and invite public interest practitioners to be speakers and mentors. Over the years, students from Yale, Boston University, Boston College, Columbia, NYU, Touro Law Center, University of Connecticut, University of Pennsylvania, Dickinson, University of Maine, and other schools have organized the Retreat.

This year's Cover Retreat will be held on Friday-Sunday, February 26-28, 2010, at Camp Sargent, Peterborough, NH. The Retreat is being organized by the students at Western New England College of Law. Click here to download the registration form to reserve your space at this exciting retreat. Students, professors, and public interest practitioners have a chance to engage in formal and informal conversations. Lifetime friendships and networks are born at the Cover Retreat!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Touro Law Center Students and Alums Continue to Fight for Justice on the Gulf Coast

For several years, Touro Law students have made two or three trips a year to New Orleans as part of the Student Hurricane Network (now the Student Disaster Relief Network) to help Katrina victims. Students have worked in all sorts of legal, social, and political offices to help people enforce the rights which they have. Touro community members have been well received by the New Orleans community and are recognized and welcomed every time they return.

Recently, over the holiday break, while visiting the Gulf Coast, Professor Tracy McGaugh, Ray Malone (Touro Law '09), and Cheryl Van Dyke (Touro Law '10) spent some time in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, working with people who are having difficulty getting attention and, therefore, justice on an environmental contamination issue affecting their community. They are being forced to live with contaminated water. The city knows. The environmental agencies know. Nothing is being done.

To help publicize the issue and, they hope, get the attention of both lawyers and journalists who might be able to help, the dedicated trio conducted interviews with community members. Cheryl Van Dyke compiled the interviews into a short video which you can view here.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Okay. This is difficult. Reality check on the job market.

Recently, the Chronicle of Higher Education published a couple of articles on law students, the job market, debt burdens, and managing expectations. The articles say it like it is, which is not always easy, and they have some solid advice for law schools when it comes to preparing law students for the market.

A few snippets are below, but click on the links to read the full articles.

Law Schools Get Advice on Helping Students Cope With Tight Job Market:

"Law schools have a responsibility to teach students how to be emotionally resilient and fiscally sensible at a time when high-paying jobs are hard to come by and student-loan debts are mounting, several speakers asserted at the annual meeting of the Association of American Law Schools, which began here on Thursday.

* * *

Students should also be wary about taking on too much debt, said Jeff Hanson, director of borrower education services for Access Group, which specializes in graduate-education loans. He said more students today were borrowing money for law school—and in larger amounts.

He said more unemployed law-school graduates were also seeking to postpone repayment of their loans. Many of them end up in forbearance, which means that interest charges continue to pile up even if they aren't making payments."

* * *

Law Students Adjust Job Expectations to Accommodate Economic Downturn:

"Many law-school students tossed aside their expectations of working in lucrative private firms last year, instead opting for lower-paying public-interest jobs, according to an annual survey published today.

The Law School Survey of Student Engagement—part of the family of assessments by the National Survey of Student Engagement—got responses from more than 26,000 law students at 82 law schools in the spring of 2009. The research effort, which is in its fifth year, is led by the Indiana University Center for Postsecondary Research.

This year's survey found that the percentage of law students who expected to work in private law firms dropped to 50 percent, down from about 58 percent in each of the previous three years. The percentage of law students who anticipated finding work in the public-interest sector rose to 33 percent, from about 29 percent in each of the past three years.

The findings "may indicate that law students are reframing their career expectations in response to changes in the economic climate that have affected hiring at many law firms," said Lindsay Watkins, the survey's project manager."

* * *

Monday, January 4, 2010

2010 LGBT Job Fair (in NYC) for First-Year Law Students

(Click on the image to make it larger.)