Note to Self: Never Tweet “That Dress Makes You Look Fat”

As my Internet law students know from my recent classroom rambles lately I am focused–it sounds much better than obsessed–with exploring and defining the complex relationship between privacy, social media, and electronic data tracking. The issues are not new to me but something has ratcheted up my appetite for privacy stories, like this from the NYTimes about tensions that arise when one partner in a couple objects to the other partner’s public disclosures.

[S]ome spouses have started insisting that their partners ask for approval before posting comments and photographs that include them. Couples also are talking through rules as early as the first date (a kind of social media prenup) about what is O.K. to share.

“Talking through rules as early as the first date?” Do couples handle these conversations face to face or via text? I’m just wondering.

Public Like Me*

If you wonder what it is like to be a Foursquaring, data-tracked, social-media denizen then read Living in Public: What Happens When You Throw Privacy Out the Window on Lifehacker. The author, who normally does not expose herself to location tracking, online data collection, and personalized ads, abandoned her clickstream reserve for a few weeks to experience life with a constant trail of digital breadcrumbs. She reports it had some positive aspects but not enough to convert her. (Thanks, E.C.)

*Few of my readers will conjure up the association this subject line intends. Click here if you want to get the joke.

It’s Whimsy, Not Actual Math

Re: Parsing LSAT Stats: My fanciful point, unrelated to real-world arithmetic, is that future law school classes will be so heavily populated by underperformers that the bottom half won’t accommodate them. I do know that it is not actually possible for the bottom half of a class to contain more than 50% of its students–but law students can display fantastical perceptions of their chances of success relative to their peers: see Law–The Faith-Based Career Choice and Law: The Cuddly Profession (”In a recent survey of 330 prelaw student by Kaplan Test Prep, 52% felt “very confident” that they would land a legal job after graduation, although only 16% felt confident that most of their fellow graduates would be as successful.”

It’s Between “Scalper” and “Scandal” in Black’s Law Dictionary*

It’s low-hanging fruit, I know, but I cannot pass up juxtaposing my post about the smartest people avoiding law school with this ABA Journal article about a law firm that got hooked by a first cousin to the Nigerian 419 scam:

Milavetz Gallop fell victim to the scam when someone claiming to be a 40-year-old Korean woman hurt in Minnesota told the firm she needed help securing a 400,000 legal settlement, report the Minneapolis Star Tribune and Courthouse News Service. The firm received a settlement check for the amount, received assurances it had cleared, and forwarded $396,500 to a Hong Kong bank for the client.

While this scam’s narrativemay not be as outlandish as “I am a government official/son of Mohammed Gaddafi/whatever and need your assistance transferring $27 million in assets from my country,” extraordinary skepticism is not required to recognize that this smells like week-old walleye. Variations on this scam have been Internet regulars for 15 years or more. From what I’ve read Wells Fargo is not blameless but still, I’d like to believe lawyers are a little savvier than this.

Another reason not to go straight to law school from college: you get life experience necessary to develop the common sense and good judgment to avoid falling for something like this.

*Not in mine, actually, which is the 5th Edition from 1979, but that’s where scam would be.

Parsing LSAT Stats

The latest indignity for those thinking of becoming lawyers: Are Smartest People Avoiding Law School? Stats Show Bigger Drop in High LSAT Applicants.

Are the wrong people losing interest in law school?

That’s the question posed by the Atlantic, which notes a 13.6 percent drop in applicants who scored highest on the Law School Admission Test, but only a 4.3 percent drop in applicants who scored the lowest.

The linked Atlantic article includes a chart of the year-to-date percentage changes in the those taking the for ranked by LSAT score, e.g. 140-144. The Atlantic characterizes the results:

The number of students applying who probably have no business going to law school has dropped the least. The number of students applying who probably should apply to law school has dropped the most . . .

[T]he smart kids got the memo. Law school is largely a losing game, and they’re not going to play, even though they can probably count on a better hand than most. Meanwhile, the number of laggards applying has barely budged.

Of course this means less competition at the top of the law school heap. Hmm . . . can more than 50% of law students land in the bottom half of their class?