Our 10 most-read stories of 2017
Law-office coffee breaks come with a strong dose of law-focused chatter. In 2017, Trump administration legal initiatives were a constant source of politically charged news. But headlines that drew the most interest were largely calming water-cooler distractions.
ABA Journal posts news updates throughout the work week from its website, in a mid-morning newsletter and on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Popular posts are included in Friday e-mails to American Bar Association members.
Here are the most-read 2017 posts, with status updates on the year’s often notable, sometimes distracting events.
Law student with felony record and Skadden fellowship denied character and fitness recommendation (May 12). Tarra Simmons, a Skadden Fellow with the Public Defender Association who served prison time, was graduated magna cum laude this year from the Seattle University School of Law. After a November hearing focused on Simmons’ substance abuse recovery, the Washington Supreme Court ruled in November that she can sit for the state bar.
- Why did Posner retire? He cites ‘difficulty’ with his colleagues on one issue (Sept. 7). Judge Richard Posner held that pro se petitioners were poorly served, and vowed in October to fund a pro bono law group to advise them.
- These 7 law schools may be the most underrated (Dec. 13). A pending Alabama Law Review article compares the grade point averages and admission test scores of incoming law students to their schools’ U.S. News & World Report rankings.
- Snarky, profane ACLU brief supports John Oliver against coal company CEO (Aug. 3). A federal district judge in August remanded a defamation suit brought by Murray Energy Corp. and CEO Robert E. Murray against HBO and Last Week Tonight satirist John Oliver. The American Civil Liberties Union brief argued: “You can’t sue people for being mean to you, Bob.”
- Law prof’s exam question on Brazilian wax is deemed harassment; is academic freedom threatened? (July 10). Professor Reginald Robinson was reprimanded at Howard University School of Law after posing a hypothetical case claiming inappropriate touching at a day spa.
- Department of Education flags 5 law schools’ debt-to-income ratios, including 3 in InfiLaw System (Jan. 11). Charleston School of Law and Florida Coastal School of Law failed to meet the Education Department’s gainful employment standard—should those schools again fail to meet it, they will lose access to the federal student loan program. In October, Florida Coastal was deemed out of compliance with ABA accreditation standards.
- Lawyer who advised client to ‘relax’ in response to Facebook inquiries gets suspension (May 8). Dustin Garrison was eligible for reinstatement in 90 days after the Nebraska Supreme Court found that he had not adequately communicated with a personal-injury client.
- Chemerinsky brief argues Trump’s pardon of Arpaio is void (Sept. 12). In October, a federal district judge in Arizona rejected the argument of University of California at Berkeley law dean Erwin Chemerinsky but refused to vacate former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s criminal contempt conviction.
- Susman Godfrey is sanctioned for wrong line spacing in brief (April 4). An Amazon Web Services civil filing with 24-point spacing was judged substantially longer than 12-point double-spacing.
- Defense lawyer in rape case tells jurors that women are good at lying; defendant is acquitted (April 24). Memphis, Tennessee, businessman Mark Giannini faces trial on other sexual assault charges after pleading no contest in September to a drug felony, according to the Commercial Appeal.