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Yale University’s law school was ranked first by U.S. News this year. In this photo, Yale branded items are displayed for sale at the Campus Customs store in New Haven, Connecticut. (Bloomberg News file photo)
Yale University’s law school was ranked first by U.S. News this year. In this photo, Yale branded items are displayed for sale at the Campus Customs store in New Haven, Connecticut. (Bloomberg News file photo)

Silence from area law schools on U.S. News rankings

A parvenu has arrived to the T14, the best of the best of the law schools according to U.S. News, the Holy Grail of law school rankings. Since 1990, the same 14 schools have been at the top, although they’ve moved around in their space a little bit. But this year, the University of Texas—Austin broke through and displaced Georgetown.

First place honors went to Yale, followed by Stanford and then Harvard, a reversal of last year’s second and third place rankings.

Minnesota schools have been quiet so far on the topic of their rankings. The University of Minnesota dropped a place to land at 23 and the University of St. Thomas tied for 120, a slide from last year’s 111. Mitchell Hamline’s rank was not published, in this first ranking since its merger. Last year, William Mitchell College of Law and Hamline University School of Law were ranked 140. However, this year Mitchell Hamline was ranked fifth in the country for dispute resolution and 11th for health care law. The rankings are based on evaluations of academics, lawyers and judges as well as test scores, undergraduate grades, placement rates, bar passage and faculty resources. Rank unpublished is for the bottom quarter of the schools.

 

Multiple choice (BAD)

Richard Painter, the University of Minnesota Law School professor and former ethics czar in the White House of President George W. Bush, just can’t seem to stop launching Tweet-bombs at the current occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

Some of Painter’s tweets are pretty funny. Virtually all are biting. Some are both.

Case in point, this salvo from Monday: “Trumpcare IQ test. Which more likely? A) Your microwave is spying on you or B) You will lose your health insurance.”

 

Judge stalker strikes out at Court of Appeals

File this under “Not-Very-Surprising:” On Monday, the Minnesota Court of Appeals shot down the latest bid for post-conviction relief from John Patrick Murphy.

John Patrick Murphy

Murphy, you may recall, is the St. Paul man who owes his notoriety in Twin Cities’ legal circles to a protracted and unrelenting campaign of vandalism that targeted a mess of Ramsey County judges, prosecutors, and probation officials back in the 1980s and early 90s.

In 1994, Murphy copped a plea to ten counts of terroristic threats in connection with all those dead animal parts stuffed in mail boxes, menacing messages spray-painted on garages, and slashed tires. Pretty much ever since, the now-68 year old inmate has tried in vain to take back the plea.

In turning down the latest effort, the appeals court panel rejected Murphy’s novel argument that he deserves a post-conviction hearing because he would have never confessed to the spree had he known about inducements allegedly offered to the jailhouse snitch who fingered him.

“Murphy does not provide legal support for his assertion that newly discovered evidence regarding the veracity of an informant’s anticipated testimony can render a guilty plea unintelligent,” Court of Appeals Judge Michelle Larkin wrote in the unpublished opinion.

Although Murphy was twice released from prison following his conviction, a 2006 probation violation led to the execution of the remainder of his 27.5 year sentence.

 

Present Sense Impressions

 

Linda A. Klein

Linda A. Klein

“The American Bar Association is outraged that the administration proposes to eliminate funding for the Legal Services Corporation in its budget and calls on every member of Congress to restore full funding. LSC provides civil legal aid to people who desperately need help to navigate the legal process. Without this assistance, courthouse doors will slam in the faces of millions of Americans, denying them equal access to justice.”

—Statement by ABA President Linda A. Klein on March on President Donald Trump’s proposed budget, which would cut all funding to the Legal Services Corporation.

This article has been revised to correct last year’s U.S. News ranking of William Mitchell College of Law and Hamline University School of law.

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