Law Schools

Ed. note: Gradenfreude is a new series chronicling a recent law school graduate’s life after attending an unranked school. Feel free to email the author at TristanTaylorThomas@gmail.com, and he’ll respond ASAP. After all, it’s not like he has anything better to do.

When you are unhappy with your job, you have to take joy in the simpler things in life. For me, sometimes that’s just kicking back and enjoying a relaxing evening of good television. Yes, I have a television, but I also live in my parents’ house, so technically, it’s their television. Whatever.

I planned on watching TV on Sunday night, but unfortunately, something that was said at work stuck with me. During one of my breaks this week, where I sat in a windowless back room with less natural light than a prison, I met a new employee who recently graduated from college, and we were exchanging job-search horror stories. A fellow coworker walked in and overheard me talking to about how much my current job sucked, and he retorted, “Oh, the plight of a law school graduate in 2012.”

That completely ruined my night — so much so that, when at the end of the latest episode of “The Simpsons” the characters asked viewers to submit their own ideas for the opening “couch gag,” my mind instantly went to Lisa reenacting the quest of going to law school, and the life that it can lead to in today’s economy.

This is what I submitted….

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Chris Danzig here. If you read Above the Law, well, ever, you know that we are deeply concerned about the burden of law school loan debt facing many young lawyers. The general consensus at ATL — vocalized most frequently by Elie and Staci, who each have firsthand experience with six-figure loan debt — is to avoid law school entirely, or at least know what you’re getting yourself into (and STFU when bill collectors come calling).

Occasionally, we hear about unusual approaches to dealing with debt that are undertaken by entrepreneurial — or outrageously bold, depending on your perspective — lawyers or law students. Crowdsourcing seems to be one of the new strategies.

Today, we heard from a 30-year-old graduate of an elite law school who is still living with his parents. He has turned to the internet for help paying off his loans.

I think he may be onto something, but my colleague Staci doesn’t exactly agree….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “ATL Debate: Should This Graduate Of A Top Law School Solicit Donations To Pay Off His Student Loan Debt?”

We’ve been writing about shrinking law school class sizes for quite some time now. At first, it seemed like a trend. But then more and more schools started doing it, some voluntarily and some not-so voluntarily (although those schools will likely claim that it was their idea all along).

In this time of struggle in the legal job market, with constant chatter about the unconscionability of student loan debt, you’d think that almost all law schools would be on board with the idea that smaller class sizes will ensure the likelihood of employment for their graduates. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. It appears that a school other than Cooley Law (which just opened its fifth campus) has hopped aboard the MOAR LAW STUDENTS train.

Which one is it? Let’s find out….

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* Chief Judge Edith Jones of the Fifth Circuit, the judicial diva herself, will be stepping down from her role at the head of the bench earlier than expected, due to “family issues.” Perhaps she told someone to “shut up” too many times? [Tex Parte Blog]

* Apple asked U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh to deny Samsung’s request that she bar all further communication with trial jurors, because the company claims it wants “equal access to information” (aka jury foreman Velvin Hogan). [Bloomberg]

* “[T]here’s no way to preserve the definition of marriage [as one man and one woman] other than by preserving the definition. It becomes somewhat circular.” That, and you rely on law from 1885. Argh! [BuzzFeed]

* ASU Law wants to move from Tempe to Phoenix, and to make it financially feasible, the school may increase enrollment and raise tuition. Sound like a good idea, prospective law students cash cows? [Arizona Republic]

* Now compare/contrast: Stanford Law had to dip into its coffers to come up with the cash to cover its financial aid promises this year, but the school isn’t cutting out a dime that’s owed to students. [National Law Journal]

* Massachusetts appealed the Michelle Kosilek sex-change ruling. The state claims it provided “adequate medical care,” but it’s questionable whether that was the case if the prisoner tried to castrate herself. [CNN]

* Tully Rinckey, a midsize firm, is planning to open an office in Buffalo, New York, so it sent out recruitment letters to 5,469 attorneys in the region. Unemployed law grads: open the letter, it’s not a bill! [Buffalo News]

* To prepare for the upcoming term, the Supreme Court added six new cases to its docket. Much to our chagrin, none of them are about gay marriage. In other news, Matt Kaiser was right: this is a term only a lawyer can love. [National Law Journal]

* “We are not going to forget where we came from.” As it turns out, not everyone at this firm is a “huge [bleep]hole.” Cozen O’Connor announced this week that Michael J. Heller will step up to serve as the firm’s chief executive officer. [Philadelphia Inquirer]

* Apparently law school deans are “merely middle management.” Frank Wu, Chancellor and Dean of UC Hastings Law, gives an interesting insider opinion about what the view is like from the top of the ivory tower. [Huffington Post]

* “Caveat emptor makes for a lousy law school motto”: an exposition on why law schools should tell their prospective students the truth about their job prospects after graduation. [Thomson Reuters News & Insight]

* Anna Gristina, the Millionaire Madam, pleaded guilty to one count of promoting prostitution. Does this mean we’ll never find out more about the “prominent Manhattan lawyer” who was allegedly a client? [New York Post]

* New Jersey Assemblyman Ronald Dancer (ne Fist Pumper) proposed a piece of legislation called the “Snookiville Law.” If it means more cash for the towns that have to suffer wrath of reality TV, then so be it. [CNN]

Should you go to law school? Is it worth the debt? These are reader questions that we encounter (and answer) all the time, but now that mainstream media sources have caught on to the fact that law schools are facing an existential crisis of sorts, they’re all beating the same drum we’ve been beating for years here at ATL.

You may remember David Segal’s popular series on law schools that ran in the New York Times. The Wall Street Journal has also churned out many articles detailing much of the same subject matter. Now, another reputable news source is running a series called Remake America, which covers the gamut of “issues and challenges affecting millions of Americans.” Apparently one of those issues is whether going to law school is worth the debt associated with the degree.

And let me tell you we were shocked, just shocked, to find out the recent college graduate asking for assistance had absolutely no idea how much loan debt she might incur if she enrolled in law school….

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* The Village Voice is stepping away from Backpage due to its ties to sex trafficking. “This so unfair! Everyone loves online prostitution,” said no one ever (okay fine, a lot of people probably say that). [paidContent]

* Cybersecurity, drones, and smackdowns, oh my! [Lawfare]

* Right now, millions of taxpayer dollars fund legal scholarship. Considering how expensive law review articles seem to be, it’d be nice if law professors could techcite their own material before turning it over to law review peons associate staff members for further review. [PrawfsBlawg]

* We actually needed 25 volumes of things you can’t do on a plane? Apparently common sense is a relic these days. [Legal Blog Watch]

* Should you go to law school? That’s apparently the question on everyone’s mind, so Professor Deborah Merritt of Ohio State Law and Kyle McEntee of Law School Transparency are here to help you out. [NerdWallet]

* Wherein the five worst law partners known are discussed. Oh, whatever, partners should be able to act however they want to anyone. [Greedy Associates / FindLaw]

[D]on’t make a bad situation worse by doubling down on useless degrees. As I argue, going to the average law school at full price because you can’t get a job with your English degree is like having a baby to try to salvage a crumbling relationship.

– Professor Paul Campos of the University of Colorado Law School, in an interview with Megan McArdle of the Daily Beast.

(Campos, our reigning Lawyer of the Year, has a new book out entitled Don’t Go To Law School (Unless): A Law Professor’s Inside Guide to Maximizing Opportunity and Minimizing Risk (affiliate link).)

Ed. note: Gradenfreude is a new series chronicling a recent law school graduate’s life after attending an unranked school. Feel free to email the author at TristanTaylorThomas@gmail.com, and he’ll respond ASAP. After all, it’s not like he has anything better to do.

If you’re a frequent reader of Above the Law, then you’ve seen plenty of stories about the horrors of attending law school. But even so, the editors have expressed a few opinions: Elie doesn’t want you to go to law school at all; Lat thinks you should give law school a try, as long as it’s free; Staci’s ambivalent, but thinks it’s cool if you sue after you graduate; and Danzig stalks people who went to law school, so… yeah.

It’s a little confusing, isn’t it?

Perhaps you’re still unsure about what you should do. That’s why I’m here to tell you about the darker side of being a law school graduate who just so happens to be a member of the Lost Generation. I’m here to tell you about the biggest mistake I’ve ever made in my life. I’m here to tell you about going to an unranked law school….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Gradenfreude: The Beginning of the End”

No, Professor Jacobson, you won’t be getting her scalp.

Yesterday we mentioned the latest issue to arise in the contentious Massachusetts Senate race between incumbent Scott Brown and Elizabeth Warren, the Harvard law professor turned political candidate and national celebrity. On his blog, Legal Insurrection, Professor William Jacobson of Cornell Law School effectively accused Warren of engaging in the unauthorized practice of law in Massachusetts.

Are the accusations valid? Let’s hear from some experts — and from you, through a pair of reader polls….

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