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Legal News Roundup: November 18

Here’s a roundup of recent legal stories in the news.

An RBG Moment? Law School Applications Are Way Up

LAW.COM – As of Monday, the total number of law school applicants was up 32 percent compared to this time a year ago. The number of applications submitted thus far is up nearly 57 percent. Not only are more people applying, but they are also submitting applications at more schools than in the past. Admissions officials at law schools across the country are struggling to make sense of the surge.

“It has become trite, but 2020 is a unique year,” said Law School Admission Council President Kellye Testy. “We are seeing a real surge in candidates taking the LSAT and applying. There are a lot of factors at work here. But we hear a lot of about motivation from [Ruth Bader Ginsburg]—the RBG moment. We’ve been saying our candidates have really big goals.”

The boom in early law school applications is in contrast with other areas of higher education, which have declined amid the pandemic. College applications submitted through the Common Application—which is used by more than 900 institutions—are down 8 percent.

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Facebook and Twitter Founders Grilled During Senate Hearing

USA Today – Republicans on Capitol Hill accused Facebook and Twitter of meddling in the election to harm President Donald Trump by censoring conservatives with warnings on GOP tweets about mail-in balloting.

Democrats criticized the social media giants for failing to rein in Trump’s efforts to delegitimize the election and the rise of hate speech and white nationalism. They also took aim at their GOP colleagues for putting on a “political sideshow” to browbeat two of the nation’s leading technology CEOs.

The bipartisan grilling from lawmakers before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday—the second virtual appearance from Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and Twitter’s Jack Dorsey in less than three weeks—reflected growing and collective ire about “Big Tech.”

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Ohio Pro Bono Attorneys Receive Honors

Court News Ohio – For many Ohioans, the coronavirus pandemic has caused unexpected hardships. Fortunately, there are plenty of legal aid volunteers stepping up to support them. Five of these pillars of the legal profession recently were highlighted for their efforts during an annual pro bono awards ceremony coordinated by the Legal Aid Society of Columbus, Columbus Bar Association and the Columbus Bar Foundation.

“My mother and my father always taught me that your time and talents were given to you in order to serve others,” said Hannah Botkin-Doty, an unemployment appeals hearing officer who was honored for her service as an attorney advocate.

The event was held virtually, which has become these good Samaritans’ primary method of assisting others with unemployment, housing and other issues.

“More than ever, access to justice and information about legal rights remains important to members of our community,” said Keesha Warmsby, a corporate financial attorney and award recipient who increased her legal aid involvement during the pandemic.

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Trump campaign lawsuit over Pennsylvania remains on track

Associated Press – A hearing on the Trump campaign’s federal lawsuit seeking to prevent Pennsylvania officials from certifying the vote results remains on track after a judge quickly denied the campaign’s new lawyer’s request for a delay.

Rudy Giuliani, the former New York City mayor and Donald Trump’s personal attorney, filed Tuesday morning to represent the president in the case.

The Trump campaign is suing to prevent certification of results that give Joe Biden the state’s 20 electoral votes.

Pennsylvania Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar has asked to have the lawsuit thrown out, calling its allegations in court filings “at best, garden-variety irregularities.”

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