ABA Journal

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What comes next for law schools with two-year bar pass rates below 75%?

Of the 10 law schools that in 2020 received noncompliance notices for having two-year bar passage rates below 75%, half appear to again have pass rates that do not meet that threshold, according to ABA data released in April.



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Despite the COVID-19 crisis, some law schools see increases in jobs for new graduates

When the pandemic started, law schools feared 2020 would be a year like 2009—which was during the Great Recession and saw significantly fewer job opportunities for new graduates, along with many attorney layoffs. But those fears don’t seem to have come to fruition for ABA-accredited law schools.



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Legal historian John Fabian Witt discusses new book on epidemics and law

The experience of this novel pandemic in the past year has fueled questions about the role of the federal and state governments in addressing epidemics; the importance of public health versus individual freedoms; the inequities in access to health care and more.



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Americans are divided by age and race on the fairness of the justice system, ABA civics survey finds

The ABA’s third annual survey of civic literacy, which assesses the public’s knowledge about the basics of U.S. democracy, also included questions about issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Its results were released as part of Law Day.



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Unbundled law firms find success offering virtual legal services

The Law Shop by Skogerson McGinn in Van Meter, Iowa, provides unbundled legal services, which means it helps clients with specific legal tasks rather than assisting them with their entire cases or matters.



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How should the legal profession navigate a post-COVID-19 world? ABA group has recommendations

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the ABA initiated one of the largest national surveys of its members, seeking to understand both how they had been affected and how they expected their practice to evolve in the future.



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ABA calls on volunteers to help with ProBAR video project

Do you want to assist the ABA with its efforts on the border without leaving your home or traveling across the country? The ABA Section of Litigation’s Pro Bono Task Force is offering members a new opportunity to record short videos to help attorneys at the South Texas Pro Bono Asylum Representation Project improve their litigation skills.



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SCOTUS case on disclosure of nonprofit donor names raises First Amendment questions

To some observers, the case may affect campaign-disclosure laws and the court’s 2010 decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, which authorized unlimited independent political expenditures by corporations (including nonprofit ones) and unions.



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If Biden approves loan forgiveness, what could it mean for law school debt?

People with law school loans could benefit if President Joe Biden authorizes a plan to forgive all or a portion of student debt, but it could exclude those who owe private lenders and impose limits based on income, experts say.



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Legal vendors have had mixed experiences with virtual conferences amid COVID-19

Vendors say they look forward to the return of conferences with in-person elements, but they advise organizers not to simply revert back to the way they have always done things.



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A conversation with attorney George Critchlow on his new book, 'The Lifer and the Lawyer'

In his new book, The Lifer and the Lawyer, co-authored by Michael Anderson, an African American man who was charged with committing 22 offenses—including kidnapping, assault and robbery—during a violent crime spree, lawyer George Critchlow recounts his defense of Anderson and how their relationship evolved from attorney-client to a lasting friendship.



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What negotiating trauma looks like from both sides of the bench

Mallika Kaur, a lawyer and writer, recently spoke with Judge Edward M. Chen of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, who draws on decades of practice from both sides of the bench. Their discussion about systemic discriminations is particularly timely in light of recent violence against Asian American and Pacific Islander communities.



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Police are often first responders to mental health crises, but tragedies are prompting change

Cases such as Quintonio LeGrier’s have prompted demands around the country to reform how police respond to people in mental health crises, a movement that advocates believe can help avert such deadly confrontations.



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Lawyers find their skill sets make them ideal candidates for college presidencies

A rapidly growing number of lawyers have been chosen to lead higher education institutions during an era when experts say the job has become much more difficult because of the ever-increasing regulatory demands and crises presidents must confront.



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Attorneys lend skills to help current and former service members

When attorney Timothy L. McHugh, a retired Army paratrooper, meets with a veteran to discuss a frustrating medical benefits issue or a confounding GI Bill problem, he can relate. His own experience as an enlisted soldier gives him insight into the tribulations veterans and service members can face.



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Costly municipal fines and fees spark a movement for reform

Across the country, Americans are being hit with hefty fines and fees for petty violations, advocates for reform say, igniting a movement pressing for change. “Code enforcement exists to promote public health and safety, but the way we’re seeing it happen across the country right now is to make money,” Institute for Justice attorney Kirby Thomas West says.



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50 startup tips to get your practice off the ground

For many, being your own boss is the ultimate dream. But the idea of hanging up your own shingle can be scary and confusing, while others might not know where to start. The ABA Journal asked lawyers, legal professionals, marketers, consultants and other experts what to keep in mind when starting your own practice.



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Amy Breihan has dedicated her career to helping juvenile lifers seek parole

It’s been nearly nine years since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Miller v. Alabama that mandatory life without parole for juveniles violates the Eighth Amendment. It’s been five years since it held in Montgomery v. Louisiana that its 2012 decision was retroactive. In that time, Amy Breihan has helped seek second chances for prisoners in Missouri who were younger than age 18 when they were sentenced to life behind bars.



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Compared with 2016, there are now half as many for-profit law schools

In 2010, there were six for-profit law schools; as of March 2021, however, only three with that tax status remain—and two of the three hope to eventually convert to nonprofit status.



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How quickly can Biden deliver on policing reform?

President Joe Biden promised criminal justice reforms but has had to balance competing interests between progressives and moderates as he finalizes his Cabinet.



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As madness moves through March, SCOTUS considers NCAA case over athlete compensation

Just days before the March Madness tournament crowns a champion, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments in a high-stakes battle between the National Collegiate Athletic Association and a legal class of student-athletes from the top revenue-producing sports of football and men’s and women’s basketball.



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AI certification initiatives could prove very useful to legal industry, experts say

Artificial intelligence is supposed to be a countervailing force against human errors and biases. However, AI-enhanced tools are only as good as the data they rely on.



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Required USC course on race is expected to help law students with various viewpoints

Stephen M. Rich was asked in January to teach the first required course on race, racism and the law at University of Southern California’s Gould School of Law, and he happily accepted the task. He recognizes, though, that the student makeup of the course may be different than it would be for an elective course on the same topic.



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Law student using American Sign Language wins 4th Circuit appeal



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