Law Schools

Back in December 2010, we reported that tuition at the University of Maryland School of Law (now known as the Francis King Carey School of Law) would not be subject to the four percent hike for the 2011-2012 academic year that was thrust upon the rest of the programs doing business at the university’s Baltimore campus.

It was rumored that the law school’s dean, Phoebe Haddon, fought valiantly to keep tuition from rising due to students’ hefty debt loads and the “impact of the economic downturn on the legal employment market.” At the time, we gave Maryland Law major kudos for protecting its students from tuition increases. Now, we wonder if a just little more tuition money would have prevented this career services nightmare.

As it turns out, even students who attend a top 50 law school are in danger of landing awful jobs, especially when the career development office is offering up gems like this one….

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...to take a survey

Last Thursday, we opened our ATL Firm & School Insiders Survey and so far, so good. We’ve heard from students at nearly 100 law schools and lawyers at about 200 firms. As previously noted, this survey is one of the first data-gathering tools we’ll be using to create a new, expanded ATL Career Center. While we’re pleased with this initial response, of course we encourage all of you who haven’t yet to take 3-5 minutes and head over here to take our absolutely confidential survey. Thanks in advance.

To all non-law firm attorneys: thanks for your insight regarding your law school alma maters. Please know that we are looking forward to asking about your professional experiences soon, whether they be in government, non-profit, in-house, academia or elsewhere.

As our data accumulates, we look forward to slicing and dicing it in myriad ways, in order to find patterns of interest to our readership, but more importantly, for useful insights for anyone researching legal education and careers.

After the jump, we share a handful of early trends in the survey data:

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “ATL Survey Update: We Heart Our Firms, Money isn’t Everything, and CSO Seriously Unpopular”

The people over a Thomas M. Cooley Law School have a long and illustrious history of inventing ridiculous law school rankings that magically show Cooley Law at or near the top. It’s pretty pathetic to make up your own ranking and rank yourself.

But now a third party has put together a ranking where Cooley has risen to the top. A Georgetown professor has ranked all the websites from ABA-accredited law schools, and Cooley’s website ranks eighth. Hey, they know how to sell themselves.

The top of the list isn’t only about law schools that are trying dazzle students into making a ruinous financial decision. The rankings mainly seem to reflect whether or not law schools care about their website at all….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Ranking Law School Websites: Cooley Ranks Near the Top!”

Fashion: brought to you by lawyers.

* A bill to legalize gay marriage in New Jersey has passed in the state Senate. If this passes in the state Assembly, will Chris Christie put the kibosh on it? Someone better make him a faaabulous offer he can’t refuse. [Wall Street Journal]

* They might not be the most stylish bunch, but without lawyers (and the contracts they write), events like New York Fashion Week wouldn’t happen. Models, please keep that in mind while you do your little turn on the catwalk. [Reuters]

* Is a mandatory life sentence a cruel and unusual punishment for the Underwear Bomber? Because you’ve got to remember, it’s not like the guy actually killed 300 people. He only almost killed 300 people. [Detroit Free Press]

* Hey 0Ls, here’s some advice on how to “beat” the wait-list blues that’s reminiscent of bad dating advice: don’t call too soon; it’ll make it look like you’re “desperate and hasty.” [Law Admissions Lowdown / U.S. News]

* Two Occupy Wall Street protesters are suing the police officer who pepper-sprayed them. Here’s a video of what happened. Those poor little hipsters, they didn’t even see it coming. [New York Daily News]

In preparing for this august occasion, I asked one of my colleagues, a veteran of these events, ‘What is one supposed to say at the Midway Dinner?’ This colleague proposed three main themes: first, encourage the students to enjoy the rest of law school; second, encourage the students to take classes ‘across the midway,’ in other units of this great university; and third, encourage the students NOT to forward e-mails from the Law School to the ‘Above the Law’ blog.

– Professor Brian Leiter, delivering the Annual Midway Dinner Speech at the University of Chicago Law School last Friday evening.

Law school leaders only care about the Benjamins.

Now comes the time when law schools tell students that the 2012-2013 academic year will cost more than the 2011-2012 academic year, even though the schools will be providing no additional professional help to struggling graduates.

Some law schools will blame it on state budget cuts to education. Other schools will blame it on weak fundraising. Still others will give you a song and dance about how the increases are necessary to hire top professorial talent, and then there will be some schools who offer the unsaid, “we’re doing it because we can and you’ll just borrow more money to pay us.”

We don’t track every tuition hike, because just about every law school raises tuition every year for one reason or another. But when a law school is brazen enough to raise tuition by a higher rate than other institutions at the university — and expects law students to be too stupid to notice how they’re getting taken advantage of — we tend to notice…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Time To Pay More For The Same Education: It’s Tuition Hike Season”

Yale is making a slight change to its low-income loan forgiveness program, and it’s going to make it a little harder for people who leave Yale Law School and take low-paying jobs.

Now, this isn’t anything to yell and scream about. Yale is still committed to making loan repayment feasible for people who don’t take the Biglaw money and run. And they still have one of the most generous programs in the country.

But the program is getting a little less generous. Which isn’t a great sign about the long-term ability of lawyers who have the financial flexibility to service poor or working-class clients….

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We’re still waiting to see if the lawsuits marshaled against law schools over their questionable employment statistics will have any effect. Obviously schools are misleading people about the employment outcomes of recent graduates — notice that the law schools aren’t even arguing that they give students an accurate picture. They just say their numbers shenanigans conform to the pathetic guidance laid down by the American Bar Association. But it’s still an open question whether this employment obfuscation will be legally actionable.

Basically, nobody cares if law schools lie to potential students.

But if the credit ratings agencies feel they’ve been lied to, that might be a whole different kind of problem…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Will Sued Law Schools Take A Hit To Their Credit Ratings?”

In case you haven’t noticed, 2012 is going to be the year where I try to take a more critical look at the level of career service that law students are receiving from their law schools. The legal job market has been crappy for a long enough time that law schools and career service officers should have adjusted their game plan. Rolling into 2012 with 2007 career service programs is simply unacceptable.

A couple of days ago, I offered some networking advice to the functional alcoholics in the audience. Sure, my thoughts were a little bit outside the box, but they were better than the kind of standard networking tripe most law students get from their overmatched CSO administrators.

Case in point, take a look as some networking advice sent around by the Dean of Students at a New York-area law school just last week. The advice was perfect if the dean was trying to ensure that the students made no impression, and left all employers wondering why they bothered to show up for a silly networking event in the first place….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Dean of Students Gets Networking Advice All Wrong”

Beyoncé

* “All My Justices” may soon be coming to daytime television station near you. In a close vote, the Senate Judiciary Committee approved a bill that calls for television access to Supreme Court proceedings. [Legal Times]

* A former Cravath associate’s law license has been suspended as a result of a DV assault charge. For every day spring bonuses go unannounced, another CSM attorney will do something to embarrass the firm. [Am Law Daily]

* Duncan Law wants wants a judge to reconsider an injunction, claiming “eight students have withdrawn” since its accreditation was denied. In other news, only eight students at Duncan Law have half a brain. [National Law Journal]

* If you liked it, then you should’ve put a trademark on it. Jay-Z and Beyoncé have filed a trademark application for their daughter’s name. Nothing says love like exploitation. [New York Post]

* Remember the siblings involved in a nationwide manhunt last summer? Stripper and bank robber extraordinaire Lee Grace Dougherty pleaded guilty, and now faces up to 28 years in jail. [New York Daily News]

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