Monday, February 28, 2011

Malcolm Gladwell and the Law School Rankings Game

A hot topic recently in the legal education blogosphere has been Malcolm Gladwell’s latest New Yorker article, The Order of Things: What College Rankings Really Tell Us (subscription required). He focuses on the U.S. News and World Report rankings for colleges but uses their law school rankings for a particular example. His main point is that its impossible to make comprehensive, useful rankings between institutions as different as a big state law schools and small, urban law schools who serve two entirely different student demographics.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Mardi Gras

As the season of Mardi Gras is upon us we would be remiss if we did not remind our patrons to beware of New Orleans Code 154-1036 - Parking in violation of Mardi Gras traffic plan.

No person shall stop or park a vehicle or other conveyance upon any street in the area of the Vieux Carre determined by the superintendent of police to be restricted as part of the Mardi Gras traffic plan between 6:00 p.m. on the Friday prior to Mardi Gras Day and 6:00 a.m. on the Wednesday after Mardi Gras Day. This violation shall be enforced only after the following conditions are met by the superintendent of police: Barricades shall be erected at intersections entering the restricted area; due notice shall be published in the city's official journal; any flyers outlining the Mardi Gras traffic plan, its boundaries, and restrictions shall be distributed to the public.

Any person stopping or parking a vehicle or other conveyance on-street in violation of the Mardi Gras traffic plan shall be subject to a fine, as set forth in section 154-699.

Unoccupied vehicles of whatever kind or description may be immediately removed or impounded by any police officer or other person duly authorized when found stopped or parked in violation of the Mardi Gras traffic plan, as set forth in section 154-777.

For many other New Orleans Code sections please see our hard copy code near the reference desk or

Monday, February 21, 2011

Five Years

An odd anniversary has not gone unnoticed. Many newspaper stories and blogs have commented upon it. There has been much discussion of a rather singular silence. Tomorrow will mark the fifth anniversary of the last time that Justice Clarence Thomas has spoken during oral arguments.

Here are a few links to some of the stories:

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

What to do with the law degree

Most people come to law school to become lawyers but there are many alternatives to the JD career path. One of our most used resources in the library is What can you do with a law degree? : a lawyer's guide to career alternatives inside, outside & around the law found at KF 297. A875. This post is about a specific alternative, law librarianship.

I admit I am a law librarian, and as such I'm biased, but these jobs really are an excellent alternative career for many. I will list a few of the general benefits

- Generally very static hours, which is excellent for the family centric
- No need to worry about being able to move from state to state and having to keep taking new bar exams (some jobs don't even require the bar license)
- No clients, while we do have students who are somewhat client like they rarely come with the emotion and perspective loss (think jail time, loss of child custody, bankruptcy) for practicing
- No 3 a.m. calls - if you have not practiced you probably don't understand that your clients will call you at ANY TIME since they have paid you to be their lawyer
- Generally work in a larger institution that worries about insurance, vacation, etc. - I know that many like to be independent figure out these decisions on their own but others take comfort of being part of the larger group which can spread risk and lower administrative costs

I have dozens more reasons but if you are interested I'm sure that any of our law librarians would be more than willing to talk with you about what the job consist of on a daily basis. Additionally, here are a couple of links for investigation on your own American Association of Law Librarians and Southeastern Chapter of AALL.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Attorney Advertising

The Fifth Circuit has struck down many of the Louisiana Bar's new, more stringent rules on advertising while upholding others. In Public Citizen v. Louisiana Attorney Disciplinary Board, the Court found that certain restrictions violated an attorney's right to commercial speech under the First Amendment. The LADB argued that the new rules were necessary to protect the public from deceptive advertising, but the Court rejected the Board's "assumption that Louisianians are insufficiently sophisticated to avoid being misled" by some of the ads in question. The opinion and related materials can be found on the Louisiana Bar's web site,