Small, rural towns in America have a lawyer shortage, reports The National Law Journal. The Iowa State Bar Association, for one, is looking for lawyers who want to settle down in small towns and be a legal generalist.
In fact, the Iowa bar has started a courtship program that matches students, mainly from law schools in the region, with solo practitioners in small Iowan firms for summer clerkships. "The hope is that those students will develop a taste for the work and either return after they graduate or set up their own small-town practices," said attorney Philip Garland, cochairman of the bar's rural practice committee.
So for those of you who complain about Big Law and sing the praises of country living, here's your chance.
2. Beleaguered private school parents should thank a retired Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCoy partner. As every New Yorker knows, Manhattan parents wouldn't think twice about burning their retirement fund to get their child into a good private school. But what you might not realize is that once you are in one of those precious schools (and your circumstances have changed), it's also very hard to get out of those schools without paying through the nose. (Keep in mind that tuition at some private schools in New York is now over $40,000. Warning: If you don't live in Manhattan, this story might not resonate.)
The New York Times reports that "since 2009, at least four private schools in New York City—Mandell, Friends Seminary, Claremont Prep (now Léman Manhattan Preparatory School), and the Little Red School House and [sister school] Elisabeth Irwin High School—have sued parents for tuition." The schools’ argument is that once parents sign a contract for the upcoming school year, they have to pay—even if the family moves out of the city, and even if that spot is filled by another child.
What's more, the article says that schools are bullying parents to get the money: "Some parents have reported being threatened with debt collectors, leading many to cave and pay for an education their child will not receive. And defending a lawsuit is often not financially worthwhile, as the cost of a lawyer can approach the amount the school is demanding."
But alas for the schools, a retired Milbank partner has come to the rescue. The case involved Sarah Brooks, the daughter of retired Milbank partner Russell Brooks. After she signed the contract and paid the deposit for her child to attend the Park West Montessori preschool in New York in 2007, Sarah Brooks got a teaching position at the University of Virginia. She notified the school about her move, and the school promptly demanded the rest of the tuition.
To make a long story short, Brooks won a ruling on behalf of his daughter that required the school to turn over evidence that it had suffered financial harm as a result of the withdrawal.
“They had no damages," Brooks told the NYT. "The entire contract amount—the deposit amount plus what they were seeking—would be a windfall to them, because they could fill up the spot in the class from the waiting list." (Brooks told the NYT that the school dropped its demand for the entire tuition amount.)
Who says that a retired lawyer can't make a difference in people's lives? Okay, this might not be as noble as representing the oppressed or the indigent, but in New York City, it's up there.