It’s Christmas morning here at Above the Law. Thomas M. Cooley Law School has released a new set of law school rankings designed to make Thomas M. Cooley Law School look good. Back in 2009, Cooley incredibly ranked itself the 12th-best law school in the country.
Now the farce reaches new and glorious heights. In this latest edition of Cooley’s own Judging the Law Schools rankings, Cooley has rated itself — wait for it, wait for it — the SECOND BEST law school in all that land. That’s right, #2! Harvard is #1, so according to Cooley, if you can’t get into HLS, you’d be making a wise career decision to go to Cooley instead of, oh, I don’t know — YALE. Click over to the Cooley website if you want to see the full list; I don’t want to befoul ATL’s pages with a breakout of Cooley’s top ten.
This, my friends, is funny. But it’s also serious. Because there are real people studying at Cooley right now, and I don’t think they understand how horrible it makes the school look when the administration publishes things like this….
* BarMax has launched its new app, BarMax NY for iPad — and it’s giving away one BarMax NY to a lucky law student at each law school in New York. [Yahoo Finance]
* Nancy Gertner and Stephen Shay have been named Professors of Practice at Harvard Law School. Lat wonders if Judge Gertner will wear peep-toe shoes to class. I wonder how it came to pass that I know what a peep-toe shoe is. [Harvard Law School]
* Speaking of the Crimson diploma factory, the Harvard Law Review elected its first “openly” gay president. You see where I put the scare quotes? Yeah, you know it, baby. [Harvard Crimson]
* Professor Larry Ribstein explains why Malcolm Gladwell’s an idiot so I don’t have to. [Truth on the Market]
* Once again, ABA president Stephen Zack seems to get why law school transparency is important. But we’re still waiting for him to actually do something to force law schools to divulge complete and accurate information. [Law School Transparency]
* A “Tiger Cub” talks about how annoying it is to live with “Tiger Mothers” like Amy Chua. You know, if some Western mother went to China extolling the benefits of a laid-back upbringing, wouldn’t the Chinese government just ban her book and get back to lending us money? I think American parents need to put Chua’s book down and go back to letting the television and nanny do their jobs. [Cornell Daily Sun]
* Confession? There’s an app for that (kinda). So, for those keeping score at home, you can pray to God via an iPhone, but you better not be texting about a CONDOM because that still pisses Him off. [Time / NewsFeed]
This Villanova scandal is going to get uglier before it finishes. On Friday, we reported that John Y. Gotanda, the dean of Villanova Law School, sent a letter to students and alumni in which he revealed that the school reported inaccurate admissions information to the American Bar Association.
The letter was light on specifics. According to comments made by a Villanova spokesperson to the ABA Journal, the problem involved Villanova providing the ABA with incorrect LSAT and GPA numbers.
The Villanova administration has not yet disclosed exactly what data was inaccurate, who was responsible, and what the school is doing to make sure that this kind of thing won’t happen again. That could be because the school is still investigating the full scope of the problem.
But Villanova students and faculty members are talking. Here’s what we’ve heard so far…
In a letter just released to students and alumni of Villanova University School of Law, Dean John Y. Gotanda admits that Villanova Law knowingly reported inaccurate admissions information to the American Bar Association, for years prior to 2010.
The school has conducted an internal investigation and has been independently audited by Ropes & Gray. In response to the investigation and audit findings, the school will reorganize its admissions reporting process, with the goal of implementing “a reporting system which is above reproach.” In addition, according to Dean Gotanda’s letter, “the University will hold those responsible accountable for their actions.”
Sadly, this is not the first scandal that has rocked the law school in recent years….
Recent law grads already know this, but humor me for a moment while I bring the law students up to speed.
Dear 3Ls, if you graduate with no job, your school will start telling you about how your law school’s career services will still be available for you after you graduate. It’s February, so expect to have this conversation in a couple of months.
Okay, are we all on the same page? So Lewis & Clark Law School has a job posting board, and alumni of the school are allowed to access it. To keep the valuable Lewis & Clark leads within the Lewis & Clark community, the school periodically changes the password needed to access the board.
The password for this cycle hit a little bit too close to home…
U.S. News & World Report issues rankings of law schools. The most prestigious law firms recruit from only the top-ranked schools. I am not endorsing this; it is just a fact of life. If you are good enough to get admitted to one of the schools ranked in the Top 50, and you are in the top 15-25 percent of your class, you stand a chance of getting one of those $160,000-a-year jobs with a big law firm. If you don’t fall into these categories, the chances are that you won’t get one of these jobs.
— Bill Hebert, president of the State Bar of California, in an essay entitled “What is the value of a law degree?”
Whether or not you think that the LSAT should be important, we all know that it is important. Scoring well on the LSAT is absolutely crucial to getting into a good law school.
But usually the power of the LSAT fades after you matriculate to a law school. Usually people who are concerned about your LSAT score are the people who consider their own LSAT score their greatest achievement in life. Pathetic, I know, but I’ve met these people in real life. They really think that scoring well on a standardized test means something more than being able to score well on a standardized test.
We accept that law schools need to be focused on the LSAT — they need some way to compare people from different schools and programs. But should employers still care about your LSAT score? Should legal employers really be concerned about a test that you took years ago, before you had any legal training?
We have a message for law school deans and administrators everywhere. To paraphrase Chris Crocker, “Leave… the grades… alone!”
Stories about changes to law school grading schemes aren’t much fun for us to write. But every time you deans tinker ever so slightly with your law school’s curve, we here at Above the Law get flooded by angry emails from law student readers, demanding that we call attention to whatever completely inscrutable change (or non-change) you have made (or not made) to your grading policy. In order to save us from having to write these stories, please cease and desist immediately from further amendment of your grading schemes.
Notwithstanding the views of the guy who posted his grades on Facebook, law school grades aren’t very interesting (except to their recipients). We’d much rather immerse ourselves in the law firm bonus horse race, for example. Compared to law school grading stories, the associate bonus watch is as riveting as the Oscars competition (or the Super Bowl, if you’re into that sort of thing).
Honestly, and with all due respect to our law student readers, we don’t particularly care about law school grades — and neither will you, in just a few short years. Right now you might be obsessed with your grades. And yes, they matter more than before, thanks to the tough legal job market. But you will forget your law school GPA sooner than you think. In the words of Professor Orin Kerr, “[o]nce you’re out of school for a bit, people care whether you are a good attorney, not your law school GPA.”
Well, it’s a start. If you think it’s a good thing for law schools to be more transparent about the employment prospects of their students, then you have to applaud Washington & Lee Law School. The school had been building a bit of a reputation for taking an outside-the-box approach to legal education, but that momentum seemed to stall with the departure of Dean Rodney Smolla (to become the president of Furman University).
But one good way to distinguish yourself from other law schools is to tell the truth to prospective law students. Washington & Lee just dumped 17 pages of employment information on its admitted students. A lot of it is public information, such as general statistical data about legal employment, but still.
Having led the horses to water, we’ll see if any of these kids want to take a drink…
I guess in some ways the legal economy across the pond is just as challenging as it is in America. And it seems that some British students are just as averse to personal responsibility as American students. A graduate of Oxford Law the Oxford Institute of Legal Practice is suing the school for £100,000, claiming that the school “ruined” her legal career.
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this post may have given the erroneous impression that the plaintiff is suing the University of Oxford, the venerable and world-renowned institution that most people are referring to when they refer to “Oxford.” Although the plaintiff attended the University of Oxford as an undergraduate, where she studied law, she is actually suing the Oxford Institute of Legal Practice. According to a tipster who’s a graduate of the University of Oxford, the Oxford Institute of Legal Practice — which happens to be located in Oxford, UK — is not currently affiliated with the University of Oxford.
How did OXILP ruin her career? She claims that they didn’t prepare her to take crucial legal exams. Yeah, let me rephrase: she failed her exams and is now blaming the school.
You know, if Ben Kenobi was still alive, I think he’d scream, “You have done that yourself.” But let’s hear the sad tale of Maria Abramova…
A college graduate without student loan debt is akin to reading a kind quote about Kim Kardashian in a tabloid—it’s rare.
In the past eight years, student loan debt has nearly tripled to a whopping $1.1 trillion, and in the past 10 years, the percentage of 25-year-olds with such debt has risen from 25% to 43%
It’s gotten so bad, in fact, that New York Fed economists warned last month that the burden of student debt could stilt consumer spending by twentysomethings, as well as further hamper the recovery of the housing market and economy.
To get a better idea of what massive student loan debt (we’re talking over $100,000 massive) looks like, we talked to an attorney who graduated with a large student loan debt. We also consulted LearnVest Planning Services CFP® Katie Brewer to see just how their repayment plans stack up.
S. Fischer, 36, Attorney Graduated: 2001
How Much I Borrowed: $100,000
What I Still Owe: $45,000
LexisNexis and OverDrive®, the digital library solutions provider chosen by 22,000+ libraries, schools and colleges worldwide, have joined forces to provide a library management solution that suits evolving legal research requirements mobility, simplified library management, and space and budget reductions.
Reduce your library costs and extend the budget.
With LexisNexis® Digital Library, overhead and administrative costs for maintaining a print library are reduced dramatically. Adopt an easy-to-use platform that requires minimal staff resources so your organization can make the most out of your library budget. Plus, multi-year purchase options let your library lock in savings.
Empower your librarians.
Your firm’s librarians will have more time to conduct value-added research. They’ll have greater insight into what resources the staff actually uses so they can make adjustments to the collection quickly using a single website. Librarians can gain greater control, which can lead to better library utilization and increased strategic value to the firm.
Ed. note: The Asia Chronicles column is authored by Kinney Recruiting. Kinney has made more placements of U.S. associates, counsels and partners in Asia than any other recruiting firm in each of the past six years. You can reach them by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Deal flow has clearly picked recently up for most US associates, counsels and partners in Hong Kong/China and Singapore. We are on the phone with a lot of these folks on a daily basis, many of whom we have known for years. Further, the head of our Asia team, Evan Jowers, and Kinney’s founder and president, Robert Kinney, frequently meet in person with leading US partners in Asia to assess their needs and keep on top of the inside scoop at as many firms as possible. The need for legal recruiting help in Asia from experienced recruiters appears to be live and well. In March, Evan and Robert were in Beijing at such meetings, in April, Evan was in Hong Kong, and for half of June Evan will be in Shanghai and Hong Kong. Thus its pretty easy for us to tell when there has been an across-the-market pick up in capital markets and corporate work.
On an average day in Asia when Evan and Robert visit firms, they typically have 5 to 9 meetings a day, mostly with US partners in the market. The reason they have these meetings is not simply because Kinney makes a lot of US attorney placements in Asia and that a particular firm may have openings; instead these are just visits with friends. After years of working together as business partners, the folks at Kinney are actually these peoples’ friends. The firms Kinney work closely with in Asia (which is just about every law firm – call us if you want to know the one firm in the world we will never place anyone with again, ever, and why) look forward to the visits, or at least act like they do. After seven years in the market, many of the client partners are former associate candidates. Also, these US partners see Kinney as a very good source of market information as well, because they know how deep their contacts are in the market and how frequently they are speaking to counterparts at peer firms.
The traditional job application and interview process can be impersonal, and applicants often struggle to present themselves as more than just the sum of their GPAs, alma maters, and previous work history. ATL has partnered with ViewYou to help job seekers overcome this challenge. ViewYou NOW Profiles offer a unique way for job seekers to make a personal, memorable connection with prospective employers: introduction videos. These videos allow job candidates to display their personalities, interpersonal skills, and professional interests, creating an eDossier to brand themselves to potential employers all over the world. Check it out today!