Monday, July 18, 2011

Too many lawyers, not enough judges

The NY Times has the story about the lawyers. The intro:

The basic rules of a market economy — even golden oldies, like a link between supply and demand — just don’t apply.

Legal diplomas have such allure that law schools have been able to jack up tuition four times faster than the soaring cost of college. And many law schools have added students to their incoming classes — a step that, for them, means almost pure profits — even during the worst recession in the legal profession’s history.

It is one of the academy’s open secrets: law schools toss off so much cash they are sometimes required to hand over as much as 30 percent of their revenue to universities, to subsidize less profitable fields.

In short, law schools have the power to raise prices and expand in ways that would make any company drool. And when a business has that power, it is apparently difficult to resist.

And BLT has the story about Obama's judicial appointment team. What's wrong with the administration on this?

The article is part of a 42-page package on “Obama’s Judiciary at Midterm,” by political scientists Sheldon Goldman of the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, Elliot Slotnick of Ohio State University and Sara Schiavoni of John Carroll University. (Click here for the Web site of Judicature, which is subscription-only and published by the American Judicature Society.)

The political scientists write that the White House shut out them, too, as they tried to put together the package. Their work is the latest in a long-running series.

“Tellingly, no one from the White House Counsel’s Office was able or willing to meet with us — the first time in our over 30 years of conducting our research on judicial selection that we have not had cooperation from that office,” the researchers write.

They add: “While the perspective from the White House Counsel’s Office would have been welcome, we believe that our other sources have enabled us to provide an accurate portrait of the successes and failures of the president’s judicial selection team. Other sources included interest group participants from groups along the ideological continuum.”

But too many lawyers and lack of federal judges seems like the same ol' stories again and again, no?

To me, the more interesting story is the Clemens trial and what's going to happen now that there was a mistrial. Here's Maureen Dowd's piece from the weekend:

But the trial had barely begun when those lawyers made what Tom Boswell, the Washington Post sports sage, called “the most shocking, inexplicable error in modern baseball history.” An error, Boswell said, that would cause the sports world and the legal community to “oscillate between pity and ridicule, incredulity and laughter, for years.”

With a high, close pitch at the government team, the judge declared a mistrial. “I think that a first-year law student would know you can’t bolster the credibility of one witness with clearly inadmissible evidence,” he said angrily.

Before the testimony started, Walton had said that an affidavit from Laura Pettitte was inadmissible. She had stated that her husband, Andy, who was Clemens’s teammate, told her that his pal had confided that he used human growth hormone. It was hearsay.

But on day two, the prosecutors played some video of the Capitol Hill hearing in which a congressman talked to Clemens about how compelling Laura Pettitte’s affidavit was. They even left her testimony on the monitors in the jury box while they gathered at the judge’s bench. It was such a chuckleheaded move that no one was sure whether the prosecutors had forgotten the judge’s ruling or were trying to sneak the testimony through a back door. Either way, it was another great day for defense lawyers and their clients who have already been convicted in the public eye.

“Government counsel doesn’t do just what government counsel can get away with doing,” the judge said sternly. “I’m very troubled by this. A lot of government money has been used to reach this point.” He added, “I don’t see how I can unring the bell.”


Rumpole said...

I cannot disagree with that headline more. As Judge Moreno used to say in state court about the state attorneys office: "Too many chiefs, not enough indians."

Anonymous said...

Two of our very own criminal defense lawyers, Country Dave Pettus and Joel Denaro, are alumni of New York Law School.