The Kurzon Blawg
It was just reported in the New York Times how law schools have declining application levels near a thirty-year low. Presumably, this means less tuition money and hence less revenue. Maybe this will lead to cut-backs in lucrative salaries for deans of these fine institutions. But one law school, Thomas M. Cooley Law School, still has enough money presumably to keep suing us. The Honorable United States District Court Judge Laura Taylor Swain allowed us to file our amended verified complaint today alleging claims of defamation, prima facie tort and anti-SLAPP (violation of New York's Civil Rights Law 70-A et. seq.). The action will be stayed, however, pending dispositive motions before the Honorable United States District Court Judge Robert James Jonker in the Western District of Michigan. What are your thoughts? Please share on our Facebook page.
Since we wrote our open letter to Chief Judge Lippman, the New York Times reported yesterday a prediction that with declining applications to the nation's law schools, ten are likely to close over the next decade. We certainly hope so. And it cannot happen soon enough. We appreciate reform discussions such as Chief Judge Lippman recently considering the idea of only requiring law school to be two years instead of three.
The Supreme Judicial Court in Massachusetts recently amended its rules of professional conduct (as of January 1, 2013) to require lawyers to clearly communicate their fees to clients in writing. See an article by Bar Counsel Constance V. Vecchione, Counsel to the Mass. Board of Bar Overseers explaining the change. Long gone are the days when lawyers could send an invoice to their clients reading “For Professional Services Rendered” and then the amount owing. Clients deserve to know how much they are being charged and for what. In New York, Rule 1.5 does not require that the fee agreement be in writing (except in a few instances such as contingency fee matters or domestic relations matters). Rule 1.5(b) in New York reads in part:
A lawyer shall communicate to a client the scope of the representation and the basis or rate of the fee and expenses for which the client will be responsible. This information shall be communicated to the client before or within a reasonable time after commencement of the representation and shall be in writing where required by statute or court rule.
Hat tip to Massachusetts for amending the rule to make it clear that lawyers should heed their own advice. Write it down, good counselor, for everyone’s sake.
Thousands of law school graduates are graduating each year now saddled with a lifetime of debt that they may never be able to repay. This is a scam on taxpayers (who will bear the brunt of having federally guaranteed loans not repaid) and those eager students who dream of becoming a lawyer. We believe that the American Bar Association (ABA) has failed in its duties to new law graduates and that this failure is a result of its inability to properly regulate law schools. We have made a plea to the New York Court of Appeals to establish a task force to better regulate the legal academy. We use Thomas M. Cooley Law School as an example in our letter, as we believe them to be one of the worst offenders.