Law schools believe that if you start making people give to your program early, you increase the chances of turning them into lifelong alumni donors. That’s why schools try to start their alumni giving campaigns while students are still on campus. It’s not that your law school thinks they’ll make a lot of money off of graduating 3Ls. But they believe that a $20 pledge while students are on campus is the gateway drug to a $200,000 donation in twenty years.
It all makes a lot of sense for the law school, but what do the graduating students get out of it? A lot of students will be paying off their law school tuition for decades, and many will have to start making those repayments before they get a good legal job. Law schools spend money on a slick alumni giving team, with the law school dean serving in the role of “fundraiser-in-chief.” But 3Ls need their schools to focus on “job-raising” instead of fundraising.
To the extent that 3L giving is a reflection of the services rendered by the law school over three years of expensive education, you’d expect a lot of law schools to get squat out of their 3L giving campaigns. That is exactly what one law student is suggesting to his fellow classmates.
The fun thing is that this 3L is on the committee for 3L fundraising…
It was a bad year for the University of Georgia on the football field, but apparently it’s been a bad couple of years for the University of Georgia in the legal job market. A tipster reports:
The job situation at UGA is abysmal. Outside of big law, I can probably count on one hand the number of OCIs that students have had to compete for. There are an alarming number of students, including myself, who are starting to apply to places outside of the legal profession.
UGA is supposed to be a feeder school to Atlanta firms and the surrounding area, but students at Georgia State, Emory, Mercer, and even John Marshall are getting jobs over UGA students simply because we are unaware of such opportunities. Our LCS is a joke. Multiple students have gone to LCS and asked for help and were sent off with a sheet of paper listing a few websites to search for jobs, which is equivalent to just googling it.
People like to say, “It’s not your school’s fault you can’t get a job… in my day, we had to walk uphill to the job center and wrestle a bear to get the him to drop the classified ads. And we liked it, we loved it.” And that’s fine, grandpa. But here in the modern age, it’s reasonable for students to expect that $100,000 worth of education would buy them more than a LinkedIn tutorial.
3Ls don’t have a lot power to voice their displeasure. The school has already cashed their checks; failure to repay their loans won’t affect the school’s bottom line. While 3Ls are freaking out about the bar exam, the law school has already moved onto the important business of
fleecing enticing the next group of 1Ls. Withholding alumni giving is the last chance to get their schools to pay attention to their concerns, unless you think law schools really give a crap about what’s written about them on “scam” blogs.
And withholding donations is exactly what one 3L suggests. From his email to his classmates:
We’re only a few months away from graduation, which means the big push for us to commit to donate money will begin shortly. As the Co-Chair of the Class of 2014 3L Legacy Campaign, I have been tasked with eliciting donations from you all, but I wanted to touch base with you before that process begins.
According to our website, the purpose of the 3L Legacy Program is to promote and support “continued excellence” and “the same high quality educational experiences at Georgia Law.” Although there is no doubt we receive the best legal education there is to offer here at the University of Georgia, the academic experience is only one aspect of attending law school.
If you feel that the University of Georgia School of Law and our Legal Career Services has done an inadequate job of helping you and your classmates search for future employment, I encourage you NOT to pledge money to this school…
Legal Career Services is not fulfilling their purpose. They are not providing students with “the tools, resources, and guidance” needed to secure employment. Something has to be done about it.
Therefore, I encourage you to withhold your commitment for future contributions until we are seen as more than a statistic. Until we are more than just an invisible body that spends three years walking in and out of Hirsch Hall. Until we see real improvement in helping students find careers, not only for our class but for all upcoming and future graduates of Georgia Law.
Otherwise, this school will do nothing to improve their standards for “continued excellence” and will simply offer more of “the same.”
We are leaders. And it’s time for us to lead.
You can read the full email on the next page.
It’s amazing that we’re here in 2014 and law schools still aren’t putting the resources into career services that they need to. You can have the best law professors and the nicest buildings and the most respected “practice ready” education in the world, but if your students are getting beat out of the blocks by John Marshall Atlanta kids, then what are you doing? What the hell is the point of developing people for jobs that you can’t help them attain?
Law schools need to learn that “career” services are the most essential “student service” that a school can provide. Maybe it will take a couple of classes with no giving before they get the message.
UPDATE (1/24/2014, 1:30 p.m.): In fairness to UGA Law, things could be worse. As noted in the comments, the school is ranked #19 in the ATL Law School Rankings, which focus on job outcomes and cost, compared to #33 in the U.S. News Rankings, which focus on all sorts of other factors.
(Flip to the next page to read the full email.)