Law Schools

I’m getting used to the idea that people think it’s appropriate to try to get law students to babysit their children. At the very least, I’ve gotten used to the fact that law schools don’t find it insulting at all to offer students babysitting gigs as a way to supplement their income.

I suppose if you are a law professor, you are somewhat used to having students take care of your expenses as they desperately try to jump start their careers. Still, it’s a little bit surprising to see a babysitting job coming out of Columbia Law School.

But the pay is right. And heck, these are Columbia students — they should be able to multitask babysitting, studying for torts, and fending off criminals in Morningside Heights all at the same time….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Another Day, Another T-14 Adventure in Babysitting”

* Politicians are barred from speaking at this year’s memorial ceremony at Ground Zero, but will this ever be a day without politics? That still remains to be seen, but it will always be a day of remembrance. Never forget. [ABC News]

* What could possibly be more important than a resolution in the South Carolina voter ID case? Prejudice by font size. The Department of Justice is arguing over the alleged 12-point font size used by the state in a brief. Yes, seriously. [National Law Journal]

* Stephanie Rose was confirmed by the Senate as the first female federal judge in Iowa’s Southern District by a margin of 89-1. Damn, the one guy who voted against her better have a good reason. [Des Moines Register]

* “[He's] still trying to exculpate himself from one of the biggest blunders in the history of jurisprudence.” O.J.’s Dream Team denied allegations that Johnnie Cochran tampered with the bloody glove. [Los Angeles Times]

* Shepard Fairey, the artist who created the Obama “Hope” poster — you know, the one that Paul Ryan says is fading on your wall — has been sentenced to two years’ probation for tampering with evidence. [CNN]

* What are some of the advantages of applying to law school on an early decision basis? If anything at all, you’ll find out earlier that you won’t be getting any scholarship money. [Law Admissions Lowdown / U.S. News]

To all of our law student readers who are in the middle of hunting for federal judicial clerkships, good luck. Right now we are at the height of clerkship application season, at least for those judges who follow the official (but non-mandatory) law clerk hiring plan. For those judges who follow the Plan to the letter, this past Friday at noon was the first date and time when judges could contact third-year applicants to schedule interviews, and this coming Thursday at 10 a.m. is the first day and time when judges can interview and make offers to 3Ls.

That’s for judges who follow the Plan with maximum strictness. But how many judges actually do that?

Let’s discuss how the clerkship process is unfolding this year — and hear from those of you who are going through it….

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* There are only 56 days until Election 2012. Does anyone actually think that’s enough time to resolve all of the state election law battles? Even if it is, we could still be looking at a “potential disaster” in terms of post-election litigation. [New York Times]

* “It’s a horrible feeling when you keep waiting for the phone to ring and slowly realize that it isn’t…” Second-year law students are learning that waiting to see if you’re getting a summer associate position is a lot like dating — but worse. [Wall Street Journal]

* Meanwhile, law school graduates are trying to figure out what to do because the call never came. Per the BLS, the legal sector lost 1,400 jobs in August. Must be encouraging if you’re looking for a job. [Am Law Daily]

* Seventeen years after the conclusion of O.J. Simpson’s murder trial, the lead prosecutor on the case accused the late Johnnie Cochran of tampering with the infamous glove. Um, better late than never? [Reuters]

* “If you wouldn’t have been there that night, none of this would have happened to you.” Because being groped by a cop wasn’t traumatic enough, this judge wants you to know that it was all your fault. [New York Daily News]

* If you allegedly tell a judge’s clerk that his boss should “get the f**k off all [your] cases,” and then follow up by allegedly telling the judge to “straighten the f**k up,” then your next stop is probably jail. [National Law Journal]

* Fashion law goes to Fashion Week and makes it work: Fordham’s Fashion Law Institute celebrated its clinics with a presentation at Lincoln Center. Papa Gunn would be so proud. [Crain's New York Business]

After going through this week’s entries for Comment of the Week, it seems that many of our commenters really want an Above the Law T-shirt. There was some stiff competition (what up, Richard Brosner?), but in the end, we decided to address a topic that’s germane to anyone who has taken out a loan to attend law school.

Over Labor Day weekend, the New York Times had an interesting article about the apparent “ease” with which one can get student loan debt discharged through bankruptcy. And by “ease,” we mean that there’s a whopping 39% chance that you’ll receive a full or partial discharge, but only if you can show that you’re a lost cause to society without any semblance of dignity or hope for the future. Easy, right?

Well, actually, yeah. Because when you’ve got six figures of law school loan debt hanging over your head for a degree that you thought was going to be marketable and you’ve resigned yourself to a job as a sandwich artist at Subway just to make a buck, you’re going to lose hope pretty quickly.

And that’s exactly why our Comment of the Week was just so damn appropriate….

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I’m telling you folks, the message is starting to filter through about law schools. The education costs so much and the job prospects are so uncertain for new lawyers that people are finally starting to understand that getting a J.D. is not the kind of bankable asset that it used to be.

It’s filtering through to students. But most importantly, it’s starting to filter through to parents. Raise your hand if you are in law school now because Mommy or Daddy thought it would be “good for you” to “get serious” about something. (Wait, don’t literally raise your hand, you might get called on… oh, sorry. Just say something about how the case holding “seems to contradict, at least in part” the holding from the last case you read. That’s always the right answer.)

As I was saying, it’s parents who think that law is the kind of professional enterprise that will guarantee their children good, stable incomes. Armed with this (incorrect) information, they often push their children into legal careers that their kids never wanted.

But that’s all starting to change, and today’s example of that change is Theresa Brenner. She’s decided to “postpone” making a decision about going to law school. Instead, she’s going to drive the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile. And her parents are supporting her decision.

She’s having second thoughts, but I think we can all clearly see that driving around in a car shaped like a hot dog is a FAR SUPERIOR career choice than going to law school in this market at these prices….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Girl Postpones Law School To Drive A Wiener: Good Call or GREAT Call?”

Now that classes are back in session, I really hope some professor at Cardozo Law School pulls Benula Bensam aside and tells her that her keeping the story about her passing notes to Judge Jed Rakoff (S.D.N.Y.) alive is probably not helping her chances of securing a legal job.

You’ll remember Bensam as the student who got reprimanded for passing notes to Judge Rakoff during the Rajat Gupta trial. She went on to sue federal prosecutors and marshals for a number of claims arising out of largely standard courthouse security protocols. As we’ve previously discussed, upon leaving the courthouse Bensam wanted her cell phone back and had problems getting it.

Judge Andrew L. Carter (S.D.N.Y.) kicked most of Bensam’s case today, but he did give her leave to file an amended complaint on one issue.

For her sake, I hope she doesn’t take it…

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One of the things I said at orientation this year — straight out — is, ‘If you’re in here, you know what the job market is, you know what debt you’re piling up, and you need to make a decision.’ Don’t hesitate. If you’re not sure you have a passion for the law, do a re-evaluation in the first days so you can have your money back. We don’t want to take your money.

Donald J. Guter, dean and president at South Texas College of Law, explaining the school’s policy of giving new students about ten days after orientation to drop out and receive a tuition refund.

(If you know your law school’s tuition refund policy, feel free to note it in the comments.)

‘Which one of you is special?’

Today, the ATL Career Center launches its latest feature: a Pre-Law section, featuring ratings, inside info, and expert advice on law schools, LSAT prep, and the application process. Check it out here.

While law school applications continue to decline and legal jobs are scarce, the business of discouraging people from going to law school is positively booming. There is a mountain of data which would seemingly dissuade anyone from taking on massive debt only to then leap into the clogged toilet of this job market. (And yet, see this compelling analysis that now is actually a great time to apply to law school, especially for lower scoring applicants.)

But what about future law students — are the 0Ls getting these gloomy memos? And how is it shaping their choices?

Recently, in collaboration with our friends at Blueprint Test Prep, we conducted a survey of BluePrint’s summer students studying for the October 2012 LSAT. We had nearly 600 respondents. Our goal was to get a snapshot of these 0Ls’ perception of the legal landscape, including the realities of financing a law school education and the current state of the legal job market.

After the jump, see some of what we could glean from the 0L mind, including a striking disconnect between the “job market” and a “career path”….

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* When in doubt, seek divine guidance and bet it all on black. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia is going to be visiting Las Vegas this week, where he will attend a Red Mass and then head for the Strip. [Reno Gazette-Journal]

* After being limited on page length, a licensing expert opted to file a five-page cartoon brief in the Apple e-book case. This dude can retire, because he’s achieved legal baller status. [Bloomberg]

* James Hayes’s lawsuit over ICE’s alleged federal “frat house” has been sent to mediation for a possible settlement — but in real Greek life, he likely would’ve been peer pressured to de-pledge. [Washington Post]

* Bull’s-eye! Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Arthur Schack has recused himself from a personal injury case where he was alleged to have called a Cozen O’Connor partner a “piece of sh*t.” [New York Law Journal]

* The case of the missing asterisk: an Ohio Court of Appeals candidate was fined for wearing judge’s robes in her campaign flyers because she failed to indicate her judicial status or lack thereof. [National Law Journal]

* How much does it cost to cover up and then begrudgingly deal with a child sex abuse scandal? The tab thus far for Penn State University is about $17M — $4M of which went to legal services and defense. [CBS News]

* Despite Villanova Law’s admissions scandal, the dean reports that the school has admitted its “highest-quality” class ever. You know it’s hard to believe anything you say about your data, right? [Philadelphia Inquirer]

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