Law Schools

If you talk to recruiters, they’ll tell you that lawyers are terrible networkers. There just seems to be something about the personality of lawyers that makes them either afraid to strike up conversations with contacts or unable to proceed like normal humans when they do.

Some people I’ve talked to suspect that the problem comes from legal training: the adversarial nature of law makes people look at networking as a zero sum game instead of a mutually beneficial relationship.

I think there’s also something to be said about the way this generation communicates. If they send you an email or a text, they expect a response, immediately. If you don’t respond, that must mean you didn’t receive the message. So they either don’t follow up, or resort to networking by badgering.

I’ll tell you one thing, though — “badgering” won’t get you anywhere with the administration at Yale Law School. That’s a lesson a prospective student learned the hard way…

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I wonder if Todd Akin has some way of shutting this whole thing down, or is it that he secretly wants this?

It’s been a fun couple of days trying to figure out what Republican Senate candidate Todd Akin meant when he said, “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”

Akin claims he misspoke. In a new political ad (look, if the guy doesn’t understand how women get pregnant, it’s probably going to take him a while to figure out how voters decide elections), Akin says: “Rape is an evil act. I used the wrong words in the wrong way and for that I apologize… The mistake I made was in the words I said, not in the heart I hold. I ask for your forgiveness.”

But what did Akin really mean when he tried to distinguish “legitimate” rape from the regular kind of “rape-rape” that seems to void a woman’s reproductive rights?

In these times when words are mean and hurtful, we tend to turn to Northwestern Law for guidance. The students at Northwestern Law have long taken their role as the PC Police very seriously. And so it shouldn’t surprise us that a Northwestern 2L is credited with main definition of “legitimate rape” on the incomparable resource of Urban Dictionary…

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Jim Chen

Law students should take merit stipulations into account when they decide whether to accept an offer of admission paired with a conditional grant of financial aid. By all accounts, they do not. Law schools should transparently disclose the likely effect of merit stipulations on their financial aid awards. By all accounts, law schools do no such thing.

Jim Chen, former dean at the University of Louisville’s Brandeis School of Law, opining on the merit scholarship racket in a new working paper.

(If you recall, Chen’s school recently over-promised financial aid to incoming students, which will result in a $2.4 million shortfall over three years.)


It seems like we’ve written about the general decline in LSAT administrations and law school applications ad nauseum. At this point, people know (or at least, they should know) that there is a problem with the legal education system in this country.

But according to U.S. News, that’s not stopping would-be law students from applying in substantial numbers. The leader in law school rankings recently compiled a list of the ten schools that received the most applications for full-time programs in 2011. At almost 75,000, the sheer number of applications remains astounding.

When looking at this list, we noticed a trend: all of the law schools are in the traditional first tier, and most of them are in major cities. But not everyone can get into these schools, and given the reported drop in admissions at Cooley, curiosity got the best of us.

So we created a top-ten list of the unranked schools that received the most applications last year — the cream of the crap, if you will. Is your school on either one of these lists?

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With both law school and the law school application season about to resume, let’s return to our popular series of Law School Success Stories. While we believe it’s important to provide our readers with accurate information about the perils of law school, including data about high lawyer unemployment and crushing student debt, we like to balance out the doom and gloom with stories of successful lawyers who made winning bets on legal education.

Today’s success story comes to us via the august pages of the New York Times. Even though this young lawyer didn’t go to a top-tier law school, he’s enjoying a phenomenal legal career, marked by fame and fortune.

His story contains valuable lessons for people thinking about, or already enrolled in, law school. Let’s learn more about him, shall we?

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* So now the judge accused of watching porn from a courthouse computer admits to watching porn on a courthouse computer. Let me just get this out of the way: if I’ve used your computer, it was probably to watch porn. [Chicago Sun-Times]

* Too soon for Aurora jokes? I think it’s weird that more people believe in waiting periods for zingers than for handguns. [Tax Prof Blog]

* Lance Armstrong’s suit against the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency was dismissed by U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks. How come the only athlete that seemed to get his day in court was Roger Clemens? [Bloomberg]

* Another kid is packing in his sports dreams to go to law school. Though, in fairness, one of the few things worse than the law graduate economy is probably the NHL economy. [North Dakota Inforum]

* I think Republican political candidates should know by now that they only bands they are allowed to like are country music bands. If they want to like non-country music, they should get the artist’s approval, in writing. Meanwhile, liberals are allowed like all kinds of music, even music performed by people who don’t know what they are talking about. [What About Clients?]

* Attorney and rape victim Shauna Prewitt has some facts about rape that apparently Todd Akin didn’t know. [xoJane]

Cooley is getting some competition for low-hanging fruit.

Some law schools are voluntarily cutting back on the number of students they admit as they try to be more focused on getting jobs for the kids they do admit. Other schools aren’t making the cuts voluntarily, but want everybody to think that smaller class sizes are a choice and not a reality of fewer law school applicants.

And then there’s Thomas M. Cooley Law School. They’re looking at a precipitous drop in their number of applications and admitted students, but they can’t pretend like they’ve voluntarily decided to stop admitting so many students. Instead, Cooley’s dean acknowledged that other schools are accepting less qualified applicants, which has caused downward pressure on Cooley’s numbers.

Hey, that’s a better story for Cooley than the alternative: that prospective law students have gotten wise to Cooley’s game and are staying away….

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Would that it were easy for women to dress professionally without being critiqued on every aspect of their ensemble. If that were the case, then we wouldn’t have so much to write about when it comes to the intersection of fashion and women’s issues. From hairstyle to hemline to heel height, women are constantly bombarded with differing opinions as to what’s acceptable to wear in the workplace.

With on-campus interviewing season right around the corner, you’ll need to look and act the part. The hour has drawn nigh for some tips that will allow our female readers to maintain a stylish appearance from a day in the office to a night out, all at the click of a button. Because fashion should be a piece of cake, even for lawyerly ladies who are too busy to shop….

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* What happens if a Supreme Court clerk violates the Code of Conduct and leaks information to the press at the behest of a justice? At worst, he’d probably be forced to wash dirty socks from the SCOTUS morning exercise class. [National Law Journal]

* “[T]he great expectations when he was elected have not come to fruition.” Making judicial nominations wasn’t a high political priority, so President Barack Obama will be ending his term with just 125 lower-court appointments in the federal judiciary. [New York Times]

* If there’s anything that Paul Ryan’s good at, it’s soliciting money from lawyers and Biglaw firms. Alston & Bird tops the list of legal campaign contributors, with Patton Boggs in a close second. [Am Law Daily (sub. req.)]

* Apparently the female reproduction system shuts down to prevent conception upon rape. This improbable tidbit from a man who sits on the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology. [Wall Street Journal]

* But a great way to take some of the heat off of the “legitimate rape” dude is to break news about another Congressman’s nude swim in the Sea of Galilee while in Israel. Excellent work on this distraction. [POLITICO]

* What crisis? Despite a steep decline in applicants, the average law school’s tuition will climb by more than double the rate of inflation this fall. It’s really heartwarming how they put students first. [National Law Journal]

* Customs agents in Los Angeles seized 20,457 pairs of faux Christian Louboutins that would’ve been worth approximately $18M. For this heinous crime of fashion, the offending shoes will undergo a trial by fire. [CNN]

* Karma sure is a Blitsch. Matthew Couloute, the alleged lawyerly Lothario who got slammed by his exes on LiarsCheatersRUs.com, is now being slammed by someone else: his soon-to-be ex-wife. [New York Post]

* Beauty school dropout, no pube hair trimming days for you! Seventeen female plaintiffs have alleged that a cosmetology instructor subjected them to less-than-sanitary lessons in a federal suit. [New York Daily News]

Comment of the Week was real goddamn easy this week.

You see, I’m the guy who thinks law schools are trolling all of you. I don’t actually think most law school administrators could possibly believe all of the things they say to their students. It’s a joke. It’s one big joke, and the only people who aren’t in on it are prospective law students.

The person who comes onto Above the Law and says, “the car is spelled LEXUS, not Lexis,” is exactly the same person who comes on and says, “I’m going to law school on the cheap because I received a LOAN through financial aid.”

We live in a world of trolls, so we might as well give a T-shirt to one of the most successful ones….

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