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The latest law school rankings from U.S. News and World Report show Yale holding its top spot, with most premier schools engaging in musical chairs. Among few surprises, Northwestern for the first time cracked the top 10. The 2005 rankings prompted George Mason University professor David Bernstein to cry out for alternatives and University of Texas at Austin law professor Brian Leiter to post rankings based on faculty quality. Their employers ranked 38th and 15th, respectively, in the U.S. News charts … We just want to stay accredited, says Western State University College of Law. But the ABA shot down a last-minute appeal from the California school, which last year sued the ABA for alleged discrimination against for-profit institutions. In this, Western looks to be a trendsetter. Last week, Michigan’s Thomas M. Cooley Law School sued the ABA for blocking accreditation of its satellite programs … Plaintiffs pioneer Stan Chesley may lose his latest big client. Hamilton County Prosecutor Mike Allen has sued to block the county from hiring Chesley for its antitrust case against the Cincinnati Bengals. Chesley’s just-signed contract is illegally generous, says Allen, who claims that state law requires a judge’s approval any time fees for outside counsel might exceed the prosecutor’s annual salary. The county has offered Chesley and co-counsel Robert Furnier up to one-third of all monetary damages and up to four times their hourly rates if they secure non-monetary lease concessions … Getting roughed up in a Kmart parking lot turns out not to be worth $23 million. That’s how much a North Carolina jury had awarded one couple for their violent treatment by store guards. Later, a judge slashed the payment to $500,000, and Friday, the state Supreme Court upheld his ruling — along with the state’s cap on punitive damages. — Lori Patel

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