Margaret Russell Op-ed on Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission

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Here’s a thoughtful op-ed piece by my colleague Margaret Russell on the pending Supreme Court case regarding a Colorado baker’s violation of the state’s public accommodation anti-discrimination laws in refusing to sell a wedding cake to a gay couple’s due to his religious beliefs:  https://www.dallasnews.com/opinion/commentary/2017/12/01/wedding-cake-debate-serving-public

 

California Bar Success

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“Graduates of Santa Clara University School of Law have exceeded the California ABA-accredited law school average pass rate on the state’s bar examination for the third year in a row.

Santa Clara Law’s pass rate for first-time takers for the July 2017 exam was 78%. This is 8 points higher than the average for first-time takers from California ABA-accredited law schools, 18 points higher than the average for all first-time takers, and 29 points above the overall pass rate.”

For the full news, see this link to SCU Law website:

http://law.scu.edu/news/santa-clara-law-bar-passage-rate-exceeds-state-average-for-third-consecutive-year/

California Supreme Court Retains Bar Exam Pass Score at 1440

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The California Supreme Court decided to keep the passing score for the Bar Exam at 1440, the second highest in the nation.   The review was prompted in large part by the steady decline in the Bar pass in recent years.  The pass rate for the 2016 July Bar Exam (which most new law graduate take) stood at about 43%, compared to 55-60% in earlier years.

As is well-known, California has the lowest bar passage rate in the country.  Of all the 50 states, Nebraska’s was the highest nationwide, at almost twice that for last July’s Bar Exam, 82%.  For comparison, other states’ bar passage rate for last July’s exam:  New York – 64%, Florida – 59%, Texas – 71%, Illinois – 72%, Massachusetts – 71%, Pennsylvania – 69%, Virginia – 73%, Washington – 70%, New Jersey – 65%, Georgia – 66%.  (The only jurisdiction that had a 100% pass rate was the Northern Mariana Islands, but it is not a state and only had 2 persons take the exam last July.)

Clearly, many lawyers who are unable to meet the requirements in California would have passed the bar exam in other jurisdictions.

For a complete listing of bar passage rates across the country, see the National Committee of Bar Examiner’s report for 2016.

Rock’n Roll San Jose Half Marathon

I had a terrific morning running the San Jose Half-Marathon with my friends Professor Frank Wu (Hastings Law) and Professor Carol Suzuki (U. New Mexico Law).   I came in at 2:15:07, a personal best, just edging out Frank (2:17), who also ran a personal best.  Even though Carol would have been faster than either of us, she decided help pace Frank.

The highlight was seeing a group of my first-year torts students at the corner of Washington and Newhall, closest to Santa Clara University, who had come out to cheer me on (Bekah, JP, Garrett, Osvaldo, Justin, Davis, Hikari, Caitlin, Joyce, Felipe, Alexis and Roosa). There even seemed to be a student who had called in via face-time, though I don’t know who.  What a cheer squad!  Of course I had to stop and take a selfie with them.

In my Garden: A Confused Tree

Some of my friends know that I am an avid gardener. Over the past several years, I have been transforming both my front and backyard into something more of an mini-orchard/farm.  The farmer in me enjoys the connection to the land, the work that is part of producing food, and the idea of self-sufficiency.  But it’s definitely still a work-in-progress.  My front yard is now a mini-orchard, with the lawn that used to grace it now gone and replaced with wood chips.  (Some of my neighbors probably see it as as something of an eyesore; but I feel good about getting rid of the front lawn, which was purely ornamental and served no useful function (at least not to me) .)

This morning, as I was inspecting my fruit trees  (in my suburban version of “walking the land,” something I used to do when we still lived in Vermont and had 2 acres of land for our house),  I noticed this on one of my Asian Pear  tree.

It appears to be a set of blossoms.  In late September!  After I just harvested a nice crop of pears just a month ago! Obviously, the tree is confused.

Ordinarily, fruit trees require some period (several months) of chill time before they will bloom and fruit again.  However, we’ve had a rather hot summer.   It is rather mysterious.  In June, something similar happened to my blueberry bushes.  One of them also set some blossoms, well after I had already picked all of the ripe berries.  Those few additional berries just ripened recently.  I had attributed that to a late bloom.  But the blooms on the pear tree are a real anomaly.  Very peculiar indeed.

Jim Rubin

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I am deeply saddened that my friend Jim Rubin, a great Washington, DC environmental lawyer, passed away last week.   The environmental bar lost an incredibly  talented and dedicated attorney far too soon.

Law 360 has a write-up  on him. https://www.law360.com/articles/949845/dorsey-whitney-enviro-pro-best-partner-jim-rubin-dies