Category Archives: Law Students

Attorney General Responds to Partial Summary Judgment Motion in Diploma Privilege Suit

From WisBar InsideTrack:

Reminding the federal district court of the need to develop an evidentiary record in the constitutional challenge to Wisconsin’s “diploma privilege,” the state attorney general criticized the plaintiffs’ motion for partial summary judgment and permanent injunctive relief as premature….
The attorney general criticized the plaintiffs for misunderstanding the rationale of the diploma privilege.
“Plaintiffs’ contention that Wisconsin violates the Constitution by testing general legal principles on its bar exam is based on the erroneous presumption that only instruction in Wisconsin law justifies the diploma privilege,” the attorney general wrote. “From this premise, plaintiffs ask the Court to reach the erroneous conclusion that the bar exam can only test Wisconsin law.”
“The premise and the conclusion are wrong,” the attorney general argued. “The diploma privilege is only extended to graduates who have completed a curriculum mandated by the Wisconsin Supreme Court, which includes instruction in particular legal subject areas, as well as in Wisconsin law, and whose completion of that curriculum has been certified by the deans of the University of Wisconsin or Marquette University law schools.”
Accordingly, the attorney general said, the plaintiffs make a second erroneous assumption that all graduates of ABA-accredited law schools have received an identical education. No out-of-state law school is directed by the Wisconsin Supreme Court to certify that all of its graduates have successfully completed the curriculum set forth in the supreme court’s rules. The attorney general informed the court of its intention to elaborate further on the curricular differences in the course of developing its evidentiary record….
The attorney general noted that in its remand order, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals remarked that the state prevails if the diploma privilege is found to be “at least minimally reasonable.” This is because the state’s power to regulate admission to the practice of law is subject only to “narrow” constitutional limitation, the attorney general asserted.
“‘Minimally reasonable’ is a low hurdle,” the attorney general said. “The Justices’ greater familiarity with graduates of Wisconsin law schools, their greater familiarity with the deans and faculty at these schools, their practical ability to ensure compliance with SCR 40.03’s curriculum requirements at those schools, and their greater involvement in educational activities at those schools are alone sufficient to surmount it.”

Petition Filed with WI Supreme Court Aims to Extend Diploma Privilege to Out-of-State Law School Grads

From the latest edition of WisBar InsideTrack:

Sept. 29, 2009 – A petition filed on Sept. 25 with the Wisconsin Supreme Court aims to extend the “diploma privilege” to graduates of all ABA-approved law schools or abolish it entirely.
Petitioner Steven Levine, a past State Bar of Wisconsin president, and 70 other State Bar members seek to amend SCR 40.03, which exempts from a bar examination requirement those graduates of an ABA-accredited law school whose curriculum includes the specific study of Wisconsin law. Among those State Bar members is Christopher Wiesmueller, the plaintiffs’ counsel in a federal class action lawsuit, Wiesmueller v. Kosobucki, 07-C-0211, challenging the constitutionality of the diploma privilege.

Read the full article for more.

Plaintiff’s Brief Filed in Wisconsin’s Diploma Privilege Challenge

Last week, plaintiffs filed a brief in their challenge to Wisconsin’s “diploma privilege.”
From the State Bar of Wisconsin news:

In the newly filed brief, the plaintiffs ask for summary judgment on the question of whether Wisconsin discriminates against interstate commerce when it requires an examination of graduates from out-of-state law schools in subject areas not particular to Wisconsin law. That is, the plaintiffs contest the rationale for administering only to them the Multistate Bar Examination (MBE), which tests areas of federal and common law.
Specifically, the plaintiffs ask the court to bar Wisconsin from enforcing SCR 40.04(2) which imposes the MBE and counting the MBE toward the requisite passing score on the bar exam. The plaintiffs also seek an injunction against bar examination fees attributable to the MBE and any examination questions testing federal law, the Uniform Commercial Code, or common law principles.

The Next Time You Receive a Corrupted File…

The next time you receive a corrupted file from a student, you may want to think twice. Thanks to one of our faculty members for passing this one on:
From Inside Higher Ed:

Corrupted-Files.com offers a service — recently noted by several academic bloggers who have expressed concern — that sells students (for only $3.95, soon to go up to $5.95) intentionally corrupted files.
Why buy a corrupted file? Here’s what the site says: “Step 1: After purchasing a file, rename the file e.g. Mike_Final-Paper. Step 2: E-mail the file to your professor along with your ‘here’s my assignment’ e-mail. Step 3: It will take your professor several hours if not days to notice your file is ‘unfortunately’ corrupted. Use the time this website just bought you wisely and finish that paper!!!”

That is truly diabolical! It ranks right up there with The Excused Absence Network: “For about $25, students and employees can buy excuse notes that appear to come from doctors or hospitals.”

Article: Law Firms Slash Summer Associate Programs

“Big firms across the country have dramatically cut the number of associates attending their 2009 summer programs, a sign that firms don’t expect to see a talent shortage in fall 2010,” reports Law.com.

Many of California’s biggest firms have cut the number of associates in their programs compared to last year, some by 30 percent to 50 percent, according to data collected from the National Association of Law Placement…. The 10 largest firms nationwide also have cut their programs by similar amounts.
Industry observers said it’s another sign big firms might be backing away — at least for now — from the high-leverage staffing models typical of the boom days. Associate-partner ratios have already taken a dive from layoffs and deferrals.

Social Media Best Practices for Law Schools

The Social Media Law Student has launched a series called Social Media Best Practices for Law Schools. In part one, the author shares her frustrations about her school’s stance on social media:

Like other law students, I was told not to blog about law school and to be careful what I posted on that evil place called Facebook. About a month into law school I started following lawyers on Twitter and reading law blogs (a.k.a blawgs). As anyone reading this already knows, participating in Twitter and commenting on blawgs is a hugely beneficial way to meet people and learn about the field. I got pretty upset with my school, and blogged about it (against their advice, of course). As with many rants, I ended up feeling guilty for whining but not offering up any solutions to the problem. So, I emailed the Assistant Dean of my school and let him know how I felt.
To my surprise, he was really receptive and we’re now working together on a Social Media Best Practices Guide.

If you’re interested in how law schools and students can use technology (esp. social media), I highly recommend following the Social Media Law Student. The site is well designed and features lot of great content.

WI Innocence Project Helps Reverse Wrongful Murder Conviction

From UW Madison News:

Robert Lee Stinson, a Milwaukee man convicted of homicide in 1985, is expected to be released from prison today (Jan. 30, 2009) based on new evidence of his innocence.
Stinson’s attorneys with the Wisconsin Innocence Project and Milwaukee County District Attorney Norm Gahn have agreed that the new evidence — consisting of new forensic analysis of bite mark evidence and new exculpatory DNA evidence — requires setting aside Stinson’s conviction. Pending the expected approval of the court, Stinson will walk out the doors of New Lisbon Correctional Institution after 23 years of wrongful incarceration.

Survey Measures Students’ Law School Experiences

There is an interesting article in today’s Chronicle of Higher Education on the results of the 2008 Law School Survey of Student Engagement. The author particularly discusses one section of the report, Computers in the Law School Classroom.

Law-school professors are fed up with students using laptop computers in class to surf to Facebook, eBay, everything but LexisNexis. And some have even banned the distracting machines. But results from a new survey show that an outright ban might not be such a good idea….
When used wisely, laptops can actually enhance student engagement. The survey found that class-related laptop use correlates highly with reported gains in several areas, including critical and analytical thinking.

Other areas of the report include Ethical and Professional Development in Law School and Developing Legal Skills. The full report is available on the survey’s Web site.
Source: LexLibris