Say this for the University of Miami Law School: it tried to warn its own students that there were too many of them. Remember, back in 2009, Miami actually deferred incoming 1Ls. The class was oversubscribed; too many people wanted to go to law school. Dean Patricia White even told prospective students: “I urge you to think hard about your plans and to consider deferring enrollment.”
But still they came. And now, there are no jobs for them. What, are we supposed to feel sorry for them? The law school basically came out and told them that things were terrible. It told them to stop and consider before blindly running to law school.
Now, Miami is trying to get employers to hire these students for free. Yes, we’ve seen this before. This program is similar to SMU’s Test Drive program. But Miami’s program is a little bit better (this post has been updated with stipend information)…
While the initiatives are fundamentally similar, there are some key differences between SMU’s Test Drive and the Miami “Legal Corps Fellowship Program.” SMU will pay employers to hire SMU students, while Miami will be making direct payments to its students.
Tipsters sent us an email that Miami career services sent to legal employers:
The University of Miami School of Law cordially invites you to participate in our newly-created Legal Corps Program for law school graduates. The Legal Corps Program gives you the opportunity to hire graduates from the Class of 2010 to provide legal assistance to your organization, for up to six months, while they receive stipends from the University of Miami School of Law in many instances.
Six months is another big distinction from the SMU program. SMU is only paying for a month’s employment.
Will it work? Who knows. But we should look at this new Miami initiative in the context of everything else that Miami has done. Just yesterday, we talked about how the SMU dean’s claim that he’s known that the legal job market has been terrible since 2008, yet he has seemingly done nothing to warn prospective students matriculating to SMU.
Compare that to Miami. Dean White hasn’t only deferred incoming students, she’s also tried to keep tuition low.
So look at Miami in totality. It’s telling students to rethink going to law school, it’s trying to keep its expensive education a little less expensive, and now it’s willing to pay graduates for up to six months if they can just find an employer to hire them for free.
Short of Miami requiring prospective law students to undergo a psychological evaluation, I’m not sure what else Miami is supposed to do.
UPDATE: We received additional information from a student who is eligible for the program. Here are some important details:
It’s a $2,500 a month stipend. Graduates have to find a public interest position. You can’t just go work for any solo looking to exploit free labor instead of hiring someone.
Right, but at least the school is actively pitching the Legal Corps option to prospective employers. And $2,500 a month for six months is better than nothing. I’d ask that Miami not include people who take this program as “employed upon graduation” when they report to U.S. News, but I also ask to magically win $100 million every Tuesday. I imagine that Miami will stop reporting these types of temporary placements as “jobs” the minute everybody else stops doing the same thing.
Earlier: University of Miami Law School Defers 1Ls: This is Not A Joke
SMU Law Dean Knew About Terrible Job Market in 2008: But Did He Tell Anybody?
University of Miami School of Law Slows Growth of Tuition