lukegilman.com : The Blawgraphy
Life of a Law Student, University of Houston Law Center

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Please note: I'm no longer updating this particular blog, but keep it around for archival purposes. Visit me at the current blog at www.lukegilman.com

Blawgletter on the U.S. Attorney Scandal

I hesitated on posting about the U.S. Attorney scandal looming over Bush administration and Alberto Gonzales but the Blawgletter’s theory on the appointment of Tim Griffin deserves some attention.

As if I didn’t hear enough about that damn McDonald’s Hot Coffee Case

Jury awards $122,400 for bite from sister’s cat

How To Choose A Law School

For this post, gentle reader, I will enter a new realm of megalomania by writing a post on my eponymous blog quoting myself commenting on another blog. Yes, it’s all very post modern. Please try not to throw up on your keyboard.

Houston Attorney Chuck Newton had an great post on How To Choose A Law School that struck a chord with me. Chuck discusses the subject from two perspectives as a father advising his daughter (who chose Houston, nicely enough) and as a lawyer who fields the question on a regular basis. I left a comment on his blog that he saw fit to use as a new post – Luke On Law – It’s The Student And Not The Law School That Matters -

I love it here at Houston, but of course the reasons I love it have very little to do with why I chose it. It was as much dumb luck as anything, but the things I appreciate about it now are (1) fellow students – these are my kind of people. When I visited Baylor I got there a couple of hours early and sat in the common area and just observed… yeah, not so much. (2) professors – learning the law is painful enough with good professors. Mine have been excellent. (3) Location, Location Location – Houston has a lot of opportunities that aren’t be available in other locations, clerking in fall/spring, interacting with the legal community, etc. As tortured a decision as most of us make it, I’m not convinced it makes that much of a difference. In the long run it’s the student, not the school that makes the lawyer.

It’s the Student, Stupid

I’ve been thinking about this topic a lot lately, so I’ll simply stick to one point now – where you go to law school does not determine, in the causal sense, the quality of lawyer that comes out. This seems to be a surprisingly subtle point in it doesn’t show up in any of the pre-law self-help paraphenalia. The quality of education is of course important, but we all know there are plenty of great students that come out of otherwise dismal public high schools. We’ve all known plenty of superbly competent people in the workplace who went to East Nowhere State University. If you spend any time on online boards covering the selecting a law school process, autoadmit.com you’re left with the impression that if you don’t pick the right school (or it doesn’t pick you) then you won’t be prestigious enough to pass the bar. I submit that nearly any school is the ‘right’ school if what you’re after is to be a damn good attorney and you’re willing to put in the work to get there.

Economists as Expert Witnesses

Jenn Chiang, my classmate and apologist par excellence for the top hat and monocle set, has apparently thrown over Julian Simon and Montgomery Burns as her roll models and fixated, at least for the time being, on David Teece.

Read all about it @ the WSJ: Economists as Expert Witnesses

For high-profile economists like the 58-year-old Prof. Teece, expert testimony has become a way to earn $2 million or more a year. Their rise has its roots in the Reagan era of the 1980s, when a free-market view of the law inspired by University of Chicago scholars gained ground. Courts now rely far more on economic analysis, with its apparent precision, to reach decisions. As a result, big companies in legal disputes race to enlist top economists on their side, paying top dollar in an arms race for talent.

Aside from the rising general need for expert witnesses in complex litigation, I think it helps that Teece advocates a position a particular type of litigant really likes to hear.

In a widely cited 1986 paper, “Profiting from Technological Innovation,” he argued that the big winners from breakthrough ideas can be companies that control distribution and customer service, not the inventors.

Lest I give the wrong impression, I should point out that Chiang and I actually agree on most things, having been re-educated by the same economics program, but I think there is a limit to the number of degrees one has time to make use of on this mortal coil.

Welcome to the Blogosphere: Mary Flood Blogs Legal Issues at the Houston Chronicle

The Houston Chronicle has developed an admirable niche in blogging for a big city paper. The newest horse in the stable is Mary Flood’s Legal Trade Blog. Flood spearheaded the Chronicle’s award-winning coverage of the Enron trial and is recovering from a brief stint as a lawyer.

I should also mention Flood’s interesting article on judges who blog.

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