Patterico's Pontifications

4/6/2007

Monica Goodling I Can’t Defend

Filed under: General — WLS @ 7:05 pm



I can defend her exercise of her Fifth Amendment rights.  McNulty threw her under the bus by telling Schumer that his (McNulty’s) inaccurate statement to the Committee was caused by Goodling’s incomplete brief of him on the issues.  So, I wouldn’t wander into a Senate Comm. meeting not knowing all of what McNulty has said, and I wouldn’t go back to DOJ to work for McNulty under similar circumstances.  McNulty spent more than a decade working for Dick Armey on the Hill, so she’d be fighting on his turf if it came down to a swearing contest between the two of them.

But, what I can’t defend about Monical Goodling is the not inconsequential fact that she even had a job on the Staff of the AG to begin with.  As I said in a post earlier, “Who the heck is Monica Goodling”

 Well, I googled around and found answers that I can’t believe — except, given some of my own experiences, I do believe them.

Goodling, 33, is a 1995 graduate Messiah College in Grantham, Pa., an institution that describes itself as “committed to an embracing evangelical spirit.”

She received her law degree at Regent University in Virginia Beach, Va. Regent, founded by Christian broadcaster Pat Robertson, says its mission is “to produce Christian leaders who will make a difference, who will change the world.”

Ok — lets break this down. 

Goodling is 33.  She graduated from a small evangelical Christian  college in Pennsylvania in 1995 — at the age of 22.

She then attended a law school that is part of Regent University, created by Pat Robertson.  Presumably she enrolled in 1995 and graduated in 1998.  But when she resigned today from the Justice Dept., it ended her five year stint there.  That means she began working there no later than 2002 — only 4 years after graduating from law school — when she was only 28.  I haven’t found any info on what employment she had been 1998 and 2001 — although I did find a reference to her working for the GOP National Committee leading up to the 2000 election.

  This year the incoming class at Regent was only 161 students.  I imagine it was somewhat smaller a decade ago when she enrolled.   That’s pretty small.

 More troubling is the fact that the 156 of the 161 students in this year’s class scored between the 25th and 75th percentile on the LSAT — hardly the cream of the crop.

 Goodling didn’t start at Regent Law School — she spent one year at American University Law School in DC, but while American is an OK school, its certainly not a top tier school.   

And, in looking briefly through the faculty of Regent, I’d estimate that one in five are Regent Law School grads, so there is not a lot of intellectual diversity.  You also see a lot of faculty members with theological backgrounds, and you see a lot of small Christian undergrad schools listed among the undergraduate institutions attended by the current law school attendees.  So, its an institution that caters to a particular pool of applicants, not simply the best possible candidates for admission.

It appears that Goodling rode into the Dept. as part of AG Ashcroft’s “staff of faith”, starting in the Public Affairs unit, and then moving up until she landed on the AG Ashcroft’s staff, where she remained after Gonzales took over. 

Frankly, the description of her involvement in assisting in the selection of US Attorneys who should go/stay (reports have her involved in looking into Iglesias’ shortcomings, while defending the US Attorney for the WDNC, saying “there are others who should go first”) really trouble me.  She’s just not someone who I think by background or experience should be making any judgments about the performance of US Attorneys around the country.  She has no experience as a prosecutor — or any litigating job in DOJ.  She is the embodiment of the term “political hack”, and she was given the opportunity to have substantive input on the job performance of prosecutors who would run her over in court.

 Its also curious that she has retained John Dowd of Akin Gump to represent her.  He only costs about a million dollars an hour.  I don’t expect that Goodling was making much more than $100,000 a year, so someone else is picking up Dowd’s fees.

Update on 4/10 — A reader has communicated that Goodling worked for 2 years as a federal prosecutor in the Eastern District of Virginia in Alexandria, though he can’t provide an independent confirmation.  He met Goodling in the past, and says she told him that.

While I’m happy to post this information, it appears that it overstates her employment there somewhat.  There is a WaPo profile of her — which she declined to provide info for — saying  she received her JD from Regent in 1999,  and went to work for the RNC after graduating.  She later moved to the DOJ Press Office.  Dan Corrallo, the head of the Press Office under Ashcroft confirmed this in another article I read.   This article also says she spent 6 months in the US Attorney’s Office for the EDVA as a Special Assistant US Attorney.  That would be a temporary position, and could be for any number of tasks.  It appears that she was in the Executive Office of US Attorneys for at time before that, which is the administrative arm of the US Attorneys, so I don’t suspect she went to the EDVA as a prosecutor.

Goodling

39 Responses to “Monica Goodling I Can’t Defend”

  1. After reading this post (and the Paulose one) I wonder; is there any hope at all for someone from a lower tiered law school to be appointed to one of these positions and not be called a hack? I know for Goodling, it’s more than just the law school she went to, but I’ve read other commentary on this that wasn’t as thorough as WLS’s and focused a lot more on the law school? For instance, if Paulose’s resume were exactly the same, but she went to, I don’t know, the University of Mississippi law school, would that transform her into a “hack”?

    Jinnmabe (aad7f1)

  2. I think of her as a “hack” not because of the law school she went to, but because she’s in a position of significant importance in the Justice Deparment but has no background or experience that would qualify her for that position. She has her position by virtue of her political affliation which got her into DOJ at a low level staffer position, and loyalty caused her to advance as other, more important positions opened up. She didn’t advance on merit, she advanced because she was moving “station to station.”

    The point about her law school is simply that I find it astonishing that someone from a very small law school with no history of distinguished graduates, would be at such a senior position in DOJ — especially in light of the fact that she has no experience.

    I know many senior DOJ officials who went to middle tier law schools, but have advanced through the Department because of their accomplishments. They aren’t 33 — they’re over 45 and they have 20+ years experience — and they didn’t join the AG’s staff at 28 barely out of law school.

    The ones that are younger — and I know one in particular in his mid-30s in a very significant position — have solid gold backgrounds and experience. Military academy grad, active duty service time, Top 10 law school, trial experience in big cases in big US Attorney office — that’s the kind of younger staffer that you find in positions of authority, being asked for their judgments and input on the firing of US Attorneys — not peole like Monica Goodling.

    WLS (3f9087)

  3. WLS, what is your opinion of Kyle Sampson’s qualifications?

    James B. Shearer (fc887e)

  4. James B. — I wasn’t particularly impressed by him on television, but frankly, he’s the type that both sides of the aisle slide into positions of authority in all the various federal departments and agencies. Why do I say that? Look where he came from.

    He’s a grad of BYU and Univ. of Chicago Law School.

    Univ. of Chicago is a top tier institution, and the upper echelon of DOJ has a lot of Univ.of Chicago law grads.

    But, more significantly is that Sampson was a chief aide to Orrin Hatch on the Senate Judiciary Committee in the years leading up to the Bush Admin. That opens a lot of doors, because everyone in a GOP administration is going to answer the phone when Hatch calls.

    Sampson turned that connection, and a friendship he had with Elizabeth Cheney from law school into a spot assisting in making personnel decisions for the incoming Bush Admin. Someone with that kind of spot can pretty much name what position they want when it comes time to transition somewhere else. Sampson went into the WH Counsel’s Office — and I’m sure they were happy to have him given his connections to Hatch and VP Cheney’s daughter.

    Once there he develops a relationship with Gonzales. He then uses the strength of that connection to move to the Eastern District of Virginia as a Special Assistant United States Attorney — working for Paul McNulty who was the US Attorney at that time. McNulty was also one of the most influential of all the US Attorneys because of his lengthy service on Capitol Hill on the House Judiciary Committee staff — meaning he probably crossed paths with Samspon while Sampson worked for Hatch on the Senate Judiciary Committee staff.

    McNulty was also Chairman of the Attorney General’s Advisory Committee — which means McNulty would have had a lot of contact with Ashcroft as AG. Sampson then turns those connections into a move to become Special Counsel to the Attorney General. After serving in that capacity for a period of time, he is named Dep. Chief of Staff, and later Chief of Staff.

    When Gonzales takes over as Attorney General, Sampson is there to greet him, and to make his transition from White House counsel easier.

    So, Sampson has a very good legal pedigree, has a lot of experience in and around Congress and DOJ — even a short service as an AUSA in Virginia — but his real strength is a series of strong connections he has built up all over Washington.

    What he really lacked, however, was the “seasoning” for the politics of being a Chief of Staff. And that’s why he stumbled as he did. He didn’t appreciate the minefield that he would be walking into daily when the Dems gained control of oversight.

    WLS (3f9087)

  5. 4.

    WLS, you said of Goodling “… She has no experience as a prosecutor — or any litigating job in DOJ. She is the embodiment of the term “political hack”, and she was given the opportunity to have substantive input on the job performance of prosecutors who would run her over in court.” Is Sampson any better on these points?

    James B. Shearer (fc887e)

  6. James B. — A little better but not much. He spent a short detail in the US Attorney’s Office for the EDVA.

    But, in addition, he had a lot more exposure to high levels of government before becoming a key aide to the AG, and later Chief of Staff. He had a much better learning opportunity and was in a position and worked with people who could inform his views on what to look for in the performance of a US Attorney. He had stops along the way for the better part of a decade to see policy being made and implemented.

    wls (42aa7e)

  7. Remarkably good post, WLS. Your report on Goodling is one of the most informative and level-headed things I’ve read on this blog, and it lifts the curtain a little further on the hackitocracy that has been running the Justice Department. Thanks for doing the research.

    My only request would be that you tell us a little bit more about your sources and link to them where possible. I have no reason to doubt anything you’ve reported, but I’m sure I’m not the only one who likes to check the references. I may be an Oregonian, but my family comes from Missouri.

    Oregonian (55e0bf)

  8. what a surprise… Oregonian supportive of a post only when it’s critical of something the Bush Administration did…

    I’m shocked I tell you. Shocked!

    Scott Jacobs (a1de9d)

  9. Interesting article.

    Itsmeee (a74b4e)

  10. I think you’re making too much of her being, in your words, a political hack. She was the Director of Public Affairs for the Justice Department… a position which, to me, sure seems to scream POLITICAL HACK and not likely to be the kind of job that an experienced prosecutor is going to hold. As for her holding a “position of significant importance”, wouldn’t you figure, per this list of offices and divisions at DOJ, that her position was/is one of the least important/significant?

    I also think you’re probably overstating her involvement in this whole mess. Admitting that I don’t know the details, it’s hard to imagine that the person whose job it is to make sure the AG looks good in the press would have any significant involvement in picking appointees or choosing which ones to replace beyond offering her opinion on which moves would play well, and which would play poorly, in the media. For one thing, wouldn’t the person who had that reponsibility b***h if some hack had muscled in? As for her involvement with getting rid of Iglesias, isn’t it possible (and probable) that her looking into the details was to make sure she/DOJ could justify the firing if questioned in the media? If so, there’s nothing wrong with that (that she did a terrible job of this is a separate discussion). And if she did stick her nose in further than her job title would suggest was appropriate, there isn’t evidence that anybody in a decision making position followed through on her advice because of her advice.

    stevesturm (d3e296)

  11. wls I have thought about your article for a while and can only come to one conclusion. Your a snob. your only reason for the article is to demean anyone from a lower tier school, why else write this article? It produces nothing of value other than boost your ego. jeeezz get a life

    rwallis (8a1fe3)

  12. I would agree. What kind of life are you going to have working 80 billable hour weeks at Gibson Dunn? The “prestige” is all hype, unless you are hell-bent on money and power, in which case you won’t be my lawyer anyway.

    There are reasons for lawyer jokes: the profession has become a caricature of itself.

    Petit Bourgeois (375601)

  13. I get the impression, in both the case of Paulose and Goodling, that the “fair-haired girls” were put in by some “godfather” who was interested as much if not more in setting their careers on the upwardly mobile path as he was in taking care of the DOJ’s (and by extension) the country’s business. I have had the same complaint about the President’s inner circle, including the AG. (It’s also something that we see a lot of in Chicago.)

    And rwallis, speaking frankly about the snobbishness which exists in some levels of government and the legal profession does not make one a snob. If graduates of “top-tier” law schools are “the network” for a certain job, it is legitimate to wonder how an outsider got in.

    Patit Bourgeois, I practice a reverse snobbishness, myself, by pointing to all the great trial attorneys and judges in Chicago who are graduates of Loyola, DePaul, Kent and John Marshall, and to certain Yale Law Review “yes-men”.

    nk (306f5a)

  14. I’m not being snarky, I’m actually curious. How exactly does a “top-tier” law school better prepare someone to handle a difficult/important/prestigious government position at an early age than a middle tier or lower tier school? Are there classes on “serving in an increasingly poorly-thought-of Administration” at the Top Ten school? Or are you just using “top tier” school as a heuristic for “smart”?

    It’s fine to use it as a heuristic, I suppose, to some small extent. But the more you rely on it, I have to agree with an earlier commenter, the more you look like a snob. It doesn’t seem to me you’re relying on it that much, it’s more Goodling’s inexperience that sticks out.

    Jinnmabe (aad7f1)

  15. Wow. This woman is a “hack”? Based on what?

    “She has her position by virtue of her political affliation”

    Is not in evidence in the posted material.

    which got her into DOJ at a low level staffer position,”

    Is not in evidence in the posted material.

    “and loyalty caused her to advance as other, more important positions opened up.

    Is not in evidence in the posted material.

    She didn’t advance on merit, she advanced because she was moving “station to station.””

    Is totally unsupported in this post.

    Any of this might be true, might not, but there’s nothing here that indicates this except the writer’s apparent disdain for this lady’s religion and or education.

    Maybe she worked her ass off. Maybe she applied for a job and got it, then excelled by working long hours, being very diligent about how she did her job, making damn sure she exceeded her boss’ expectations. Maybe she’s sharp as a razor and her bosses really appreciated her intellect and efforts.

    Then again, maybe she was simply given a job because she graduated from a religious school did snake handling really well and talked in tongues which is all Ashcroft needed to know.

    Maybe she’s being labeled a “political hack” because she didn’t go to an elite law school and someone resents her success. That’s a lot more in evidence in this post than anything else. This statement says it all “what I can’t defend about Monical Goodling is the not inconsequential fact that she even had a job on the Staff of the AG to begin with.”

    Dwilkers (4f4ebf)

  16. I’m quite certain that the high-priced lawyer is doing this pro bono; it being a high-profile case. At the lefty sites, one can read a lot of similar questions, i.e. who’s paying for all this legal talent? For her, for Sampson, etc.

    You guys think the work might be pro bono?

    The Commissar (5e4083)

  17. She’s a political hack for refusing to testify. No law was apparently broken in the prosecutor firings, so her only jeopardy was perjury or embarrassing her boss.

    Exactly what is a “perjury trap?”

    steve (d87056)

  18. Thank you for this perspective:

    “I can defend her exercise of her Fifth Amendment rights. McNulty threw her under the bus by telling Schumer that his (McNulty’s) inaccurate statement to the Committee was caused by Goodling’s incomplete brief of him on the issues. So, I wouldn’t wander into a Senate Comm. meeting not knowing all of what McNulty has said, and I wouldn’t go back to DOJ to work for McNulty under similar circumstances.”

    To some of us less knowledgeable to “take the 5th” implies there is something you don’t want to have found out. Your perspective, especially in the aftermath of PlameGate, makes it clear one might exercise 5th amendment rights even if there is nothing you object to saying- IF given a fair and impartial hearing.

    FWIW-
    I am somewhat familiar with Messiah College, having friends who are physicians who went there as undergrads. It is known for being challenging and is more out of a Mennonite tradition- a tradition that is more likely to produce “Left Wing Evangelicals” of the Sojourners variety. (No, I did not say Mennonites are Left Wing or Messiah is, I just said if you look at a group like Sojourners you are more likely to find people of Mennonite background than Southern Baptist, Evangelical Free Church, Presbyterian- PCA). For a “conservative Christian” it would be a place where one would feel intellectually challenged and prepared to compete in any secular setting as well, but not a place as a freshman one might anticipate the need to defend one’s faith against a tenured professor, as can happen at other places.

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  19. From Dwilkers:
    “Then again, maybe she was simply given a job because she … did snake handling really well…”

    Probably not, as then she would not have needed to exercise her 5th Amendment Rights.

    But given the tenor in Washington, it might be a significant plus on a resume…

    Probably there will be an influx of law school applicants from India as well who do snake charming… I can hear the sounds of the flute coming out of an office now.

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  20. “Probably not, as then she would not have needed to exercise her 5th Amendment Rights.”

    Why would the reason for her hiring affect her need to assert her fifth ammendment rights MD in Philly? As far as I know even in this political environment being religious isn’t a crime.

    Dwilkers (4f4ebf)

  21. I’m coming late to this party, but something caused me to pause when reading WLS’s response above to Jinnmabe’s initial post. After indicating his “concern” with Ms. Goodling was not her law school (or it’s position in the law school hierarchy), he goes on to say “that someone from a very small law school with no history of distinguished graduates, would be at such a senior position in DOJ — especially in light of the fact that she has no experience” (emphasis mine). As I read that comment, the implication I see (and if I’m wrong, I’ll stand corrected) that because she has no experience, her law school affiliation is relevant in measuring her ability to perform. Thus, presumably, if she had the prerequisite experience, her law school affiliation would then be an afterthought. This is an inference I do not agree with.

    To me, it is better to say persons with limited experience – period – would be unqualified to be in the position she held, no matter where there law school they attended is ranked. That would be a better statement, considering 1) WLS’s later discussion of highly qualified persons around Ms. Goodling’s age centered around achievement (though he does note those individuals went to Top 10 law schools – I swear, the law school is the elephant in the room here!), and 2) even persons from Top 10 law schools with limited experience could ride the same ride Ms. Goodling did (and likely have) and end up in a position for which they do not have the requisite experience to perform properly.

    I supposed I’m a bit touchy about this because I attend a second-tier school (and one in the bottom half of that tier) and do not wish to see persons form an opinion about my competency based on where I went to school (though, I acknowledge this will happen). I know plenty of competent persons who attend second-tier law schools and are just as capable (and perhaps more so) as students at “upper-crust” law schools. So, to me, I’d rather where one received their J.D. be an afterthought rather than a factor in discussing their fitness for their position.

    JEN (87edcf)

  22. No, No, no, Dwilkers. Sorry for the misunderstanding. I was being tongue in cheek. (I guess I should have linked to Patterico’s “I’m joking” post).

    I was trying to say that anybody who was well-versed in handling poisonous snakes (rattlesnakes and copperheads*, etc- which is what they do, otherwise what’s the point?) would be able to handle any tough or cunning lawyer. Hence, she would take the opportunity to testify to show up the other side, i.e., would have no reason for concern and take the fifth.

    *Say, didn’t Lincoln have to deal with “Copperheads” as well?

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  23. Oh, sorry for being dense MD in Philly. :p

    Personally think people are making a mistake in assuming that because this woman has ‘taken the fifth’ she must have committed some crime. I think its just as likely that her lawyers know she’s been offered up as a political sacrifice and aren’t about to let her go in front of a democratic witch hunt committee and I don’t blame them or her a damn bit.

    Dwilkers (4f4ebf)

  24. I don’t find anything wrong with legal scholarship from a Christian perspective. Nor Bush hiring 150 Regent graduates just like her.

    But merely because the nation elected a few more Democrats to Congress six months ago doesn’t remit top DoJ officials a statutory ground to take the Fifth.

    steve (d87056)

  25. Do you believe there is any chance that a crime was committed in the firing of the USAs, steve?

    I’d love to get all the Democrats in Congress on record as answering that question “no.”

    But if they won’t, it’s a leetle bit contradictory for them to hassle Goodling for taking the Fifth.

    Patterico (893142)

  26. To Dwilkers- You still get credit for the idea. I think people who handle poisonous snakes without fear are good candidates for Cabinet posts, as well as Directors of CIA, FBI, NSA, and any other alphabet soup of responsibility. (The only candidates that would be better are those who can steal a meal from a mongoose).
    We agree that one is no fool who chooses not to be given up as spoil to save someone’s political career, be they Dem or Repub.

    To Steve-
    –Pres. Clinton tells his aides to testify, and they do so as if they had traumatic brain injury or Alzheimers and no one protests.
    -Pres. Bush tells his aides to testify, and in spite of no original crime being committed, not only is someone convicted of perjury for not remembering details the same as reporters, but the prosecutor continues to claim in public that an underlying crime was committed.
    –Pres Clinton fires Attorneys en mass with haste, including someone investigating an issue that involves the Pres and Mrs. Clinton themselves, and little protest is made.
    -Pres Bush fires a few and everyone screams scandel until proven innocent (hard to be proven innocent, BTW, compared to being proven guilty).

    What part of that seems “fair”?

    I’ll make a suggestion. Let’s have ALL Federal Republican and Democrat elected officials and career staff in the DOJ to give ALL of their emails to the readers of PP to review, and ALL agree to testify before a “grand, grand jury” of Patterico readers with Patterico himself the prosecutor.

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  27. “Do you believe there is any chance that a crime was committed in the firing of the USAs, steve? – Patterico

    I already answered that question and “Democrats in Congress” can (and probably will) wallow in contradictions all year.

    I can’t accept Goodling as a sympathetic victim nor fathom a crime she might have committed. Even if she were complicit in a firing solely to derail a pending investigation or prosecution, could an obstruction charge be laid? Does she have some plausible basis for believing her prior actions might viewed as criminal by someone else – such as statements of members of the Committee to the effect that prior DoJ testimony was untruthful and misleading?

    A subpoena would be meaningless if a potential witness merely had to fear a perjury prosecution for the sought-after testimony to avoid testifying.

    steve (d87056)

  28. A subpoena would be meaningless if a potential witness merely had to fear a perjury prosecution for the sought-after testimony to avoid testifying.
    Comment by steve — 4/7/2007 @ 10:21 am

    Yep.

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  29. What stuck out to me about Goodling being put in such a position of authority was not the “tier” of her law school–but her age. She’s too young for such responsibility.

    After almost 27 years of practice, I’m more interested in what indvidual lawyers have accomplished–than what kind of school they went to. An associate straight out of any law school isn’t usually profitable–until they get a few years experience.

    I’ve worked with, against and hired lawyers from top tier law schools, lower tier law schools, etc. I didn’t find the school to be indicative of ability. In fact, graduates of South Texas School of Law or Baylor are often ahead of others in trial skills when first graduated because of the nature of the trial advocacy training they get at those schools.

    So, I find this seeming bias and stereotyping about school “tier” to be humorous. That said, I have my own bias about some lawyers. I wonder about the ones who work in government jobs for more than five years out of law school.

    I’m sure that wls and Patterico would find that as unfair and shortsighted as I find judgments about “tiers”.

    Oh, and I think a little Biblically-inspired legal scholarship would do wonders for lawyers. For one thing, it might instill a little humility and patience into our discourse with others.

    Jerri Lynn Ward (9f83e6)

  30. Are lawyers with 10 or 20 years experience even willing to take these $100k per year DoJ jobs? Baseball Crank says federal judges are WAY under paid at only a bit more than that and a federal judgeship has some real honest to God trophy appeal. These positions don’t, so I don’t see how highly qualified lawyer dudes and dudettes are going to be in them.

    If not then I don’t know how we can say she is or is not qualified to do what she was doing. I don’t even think we really know what she was doing. Far as I know she just looked at raw data on the NM office and compiled a report.

    Dwilkers (4f4ebf)

  31. 28

    “I can’t accept Goodling as a sympathetic victim nor fathom a crime she might have committed. Even if she were complicit in a firing solely to derail a pending investigation or prosecution, could an obstruction charge be laid? Does she have some plausible basis for believing her prior actions might viewed as criminal by someone else – such as statements of members of the Committee to the effect that prior DoJ testimony was untruthful and misleading?”

    Apparently McNulty is (or may be) blaming her for his false testimony to Congress. If she deliberately gave him misinformation while she was helping him prepare his testimony that is apparently a crime. So she has at least some basis to take the fifth.

    James B. Shearer (fc887e)

  32. I’ll chime in on the debate although my opinion may further muddy the waters. As for Ms. Goodling, she may be a legal genius but it’s hard for me to believe a graduate of any law school would be ready for this degree of responsibility at such a young age. It doesn’t help that other young people are given this degree of responsibility in Washington DC. It’s a pity the political powers (both GOP and Democrat) view an important government job as an elegant grooming service for tomorrow’s leaders rather than a slot for a professional, experienced employee.

    I agree with Jerri Lynn Ward that there are qualified and able lawyers graduating from every law school. However, I think it’s more difficult to find the best-of-the-best at second tier and lower law schools for several reasons. Here are three that come to mind:

    1. The best students attend the top-tier law schools. Top-quality students motivate and challenge each other to higher-quality thinking and performance.

    2. The top-tier law schools generally have professors with more experience and ability to intellectually challenge their students.

    3. The top-tier law schools typically offer a greater variety of clinics, law review/writing opportunities, competitions, clerkships, and internships that can expose students to more challenging and varied experiences.

    Top-tier law school graduates are not the only good lawyers and some are average or poor lawyers, but established institutions with top-tier reputations still offer many advantages.

    DRJ (50237c)

  33. Top-tier law school graduates are not the only good lawyers and some are average or poor lawyers, but established institutions with top-tier reputations still offer many advantages.

    You work for NBC or something?

    By all means be careful!

    Dwilkers (4f4ebf)

  34. I find the tone of this post somewhat disturbing and elitist. It is also inaccurate to describe American University law school as just ok and not top tier. US News ranked them 47th and they are among the top 5 in clinical training and international law in the country.
    I work as a prosecutor with some outstanding lawyers who went to bottom tier law schools and some average ones who went to top tier law schools like Yale.

    Roberta (0a3c77)

  35. I can’t respond to every post in this thread, but a many have taken from it — and grossly exaggerated — a belief that I am ripping lower-tiered law schools.

    What I’m questioning is how a RECENT graduate (1998) from a small law school almost no one has heard of, managed to climb her way to being an important aide to the Attorney General.

    All law schools produce lawyers who ran the gamut in terms of talent. But, when the slots for senior positions on the staff of the Attorney General of the United States are being filled, I don’t expect to find a graduate of Regent University School of Law, who appears to have never worked outside government or in a courtroom a day in her life, and had been a lawyer less than 4 years when first hired, to be among those staffers.

    More later.

    wls (42aa7e)

  36. To wls,
    I will repeat my appreciation for your comments regarding her claiming 5th amendment rights. I had been disappointed when I heard she did that, assuming that “if you have nothing to hide there is no reason not to testify”. Your comments illuminate what should have become clear by now (objective finding of truth is not necessarily at the top of everyone’s priority list).

    Though I have no direct knowledge of government appointments, having someone relatively young and “inexperienced” in a high position did seem odd, even if she had been from a premier institution at the top of her class.

    But we may find out that she is very good and a hard worker whose choice of law school was based on where she wanted to go for various reasons, not where she could get into, and that her position at DOJ was appropriate for a gifted lawyer serving (and learning) under senior staff. Perhaps the level of responsibility she was brought in at was appropriate but she gravitated up with attrition and priorities being on other things. Perhaps even her current level of responsibility actually is appropriate, and the actual role she had was in gathering info, etc., etc., and putting her forth as “the one to be blamed” was already a twisting of facts. (This last paragraph is filled with “generic” possibilities. I have no factual knowledge to make a specific case. I guess I’m assuming she is innocent of any wrongdoing, including being in a position she wasn’t qualified for, until proven guilty.)

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  37. “If she deliberately gave him misinformation while she was helping him prepare his testimony that is apparently a crime. So she has at least some basis to take the fifth.”

    Or if she believes that the information that she gave to him was not faulty, but he is now (through faulty memory or pure self preservation) willing to throw her under the bus to get out of his own difficulties, then she has some basis to take the fifth.

    I don’t think even Occam’s famous razor is thin enough to slice between these two possibilities.

    Terry (c4498b)


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