Today is the official release date of Law & Reorder, a new book by Deborah Epstein Henry, a leading consultant to the legal profession. Henry, whom we’ve interviewed and written about before, is an expert on such topics as workplace restructuring, talent management, work/life balance, and the retention and promotion of lawyers — all topics that are covered in her book.
We chatted with Henry on Friday over the phone, about the changes taking place in the legal profession, whether they’re good news or bad news, and how law students and lawyers can navigate in this new environment….
A third-year student at Boston College Law School made a very reasonable request of the law school’s interim dean, George D. Brown: Give me my money back.
I say it’s a reasonable request, because it is customary in this country to get a refund when you buy something that is defective in some fundamental way. And the people who won’t give you a refund are usually scam artists or a**holes.
I wanted to wait until I calmed down before I posted on it, but it doesn’t look like that is going to happen. So I broke into the Bronx Zoo this morning and stole some elephant tranquilizers. I’m going to shoot up and finish this post, now.
Carl Paladino’s had a bad week. A no duh. It began with a bizarrely homophobic speech to Orthodox Jewish leaders last Sunday. It continued with a sad attempt to apologize for those remarks. And Carl’s crazy exploits threaten to become The Neverending Story (sans flying dog-thing with floppy ears), as yesterday the twitterverse, blogosphere and other made-up words were filled with chatter about pornographic emails, Planned Parenthood, and a Paladino campaign adviser who marched shirtless in a gay pride parade. Really, all those things happened. A full week for anyone.
So why you gotta bring up old sh*t, Juggalo?
Because it looks like we totally missed a story that came out before this week’s avalanche of goofiness. As it turns out, Carl Paladino was a law school student once. And the Syracuse Post-Standard interviewed him about his law school career last week, only to find out embellishment might come as naturally to him as rattling off homophobic rants…
A tale of two Yalies: former president Bill Clinton and aspiring senator Joe Miller.
According to the all-powerful ranking gods of U.S. News, Yale Law School is the nation’s #1 law school. In fact, Yale has been the top law school ever since the magazine started ranking law schools.
Recently, however, controversy has arisen over possible damage to the school’s reputation. As first reported in today’s New York Daily News, former President Bill Clinton and Alaska Republican Senate nominee Joe Miller are pointing fingers at each other for “diminish[ing] the university’s reputation as an elite institution.”
Let’s explore the spat — and review and vote on the seven contenders for Yale Law School’s most disgraceful graduate….
Here’s seemingly every affirmative action conversation I’ve had since I started working at Above the Law:
PLEBES: Affirmative action is racist — reverse-racist. It lets an under-qualified minority get into a school I deserved to get into, just because of their skin color! And why? Because 100 years ago things were tough for blacks? Not fair! [Some quote from Justice Roberts I'll care about the minute I care about what an aging white man thinks about racial harmony in America.]
ELIE: Actually, affirmative action can be justified by simply pointing out that diversity of thought and experience is essential when it comes to educating people.
PLEBES: It should be about merit! [Quotes standardized test statistics as if the LSAT is both objective and a standard of merit.] If you get a higher score on a test, you should get in over someone who gets a lower score. That’s merit!
ELIE: But we know that universities look at all sorts of things when considering applicants. They look at whether you have any other talents like sports or music. They look at legacy status…
PLEBES: [Foaming at the mouth now] Legacies are an ENTIRELY DIFFERENT THING. We’re talking about discrimination based on RACE. That’s ILLEGAL!
Let’s close the loop on the latest changes to the Harvard Law School grading system. Last month, we reported on stealth grade reform at HLS. The school decided to attach numerical values to all of its grades — and place students numerical GPAs on their transcripts.
That was a big deal because Harvard made a big show of moving away from letter grading just last year. What’s the point of having no letter grades if your GPA can still be easily reduced to a four point scale?
Well, there is no point. And the latest changes confirm that the school’s experiment with no letter grades was just a useless and annoying show. The most recent changes will remove the GPA calculation from the students’ transcripts — but most employers should still be able to figure it out, provided they understand basic math…
It’s always a little underwhelming when the Princeton Review Law School Rankings come out. Unlike U.S. News, Princeton Review ranks schools by categories instead of an all-in numerical ranking. So it’ll tell you which law school has the “best career prospects” or the “best classroom experience,” but it won’t tell you which law school is the G.O.A.T once you factor in everything.
More annoyingly, the rankings are based in large part on student surveys. Do you particularly care that students at Vanderbilt rate their career prospects slightly better than students at Harvard? ‘Cause I don’t — which is perhaps the only thing I have in common with a Supreme Court justice.
This year’s rankings seem more useless than ever before. In the initial press release, Princeton Review announced that Brown had the best law professors in the land. Brown. Apparently Princeton Review is now being written by John Grisham. Faculty Lounge captured a screen shot of the initial inaccurate release (now corrected).
But rankings are rankings, and it’s always fun to discuss them. I mean, Princeton Review has U. Penn Law rated as the law school with the best career prospects. I’d ask Penn grad Marin what she thinks about that, but she’s busy pushing a shopping cart full of cans to the grocery store to augment her ATL pay.
Let’s take a look at some of these lists. Hilarity is sure to ensue….
Say this for the University of Miami Law School: it tried to warn its own students that there were too many of them. Remember, back in 2009, Miami actually deferred incoming 1Ls. The class was oversubscribed; too many people wanted to go to law school. Dean Patricia White even told prospective students: “I urge you to think hard about your plans and to consider deferring enrollment.”
But still they came. And now, there are no jobs for them. What, are we supposed to feel sorry for them? The law school basically came out and told them that things were terrible. It told them to stop and consider before blindly running to law school.
Now, Miami is trying to get employers to hire these students for free. Yes, we’ve seen this before. This program is similar to SMU’s Test Drive program. But Miami’s program is a little bit better (this post has been updated with stipend information)…
The legal job market has been so bad for so long that it hardly even feels like news when we get more information that stinks.
But the terrible legal economy apparently counted as “emergency” news to the students at SMU. At least, that’s how the dean sees it. Students report that Dean John B. Attanasio called an emergency meeting last week to update students about the job market.
UPDATE: SMU sources now report that it wasn’t an “emergency” meeting, but a mandatory graduation meeting.
During the meeting, the dean revealed that he saw the terrible legal economy coming as far back as 2008. Which makes you wonder why he didn’t call such a meeting back in 2008…
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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.
In a land that is right here and in a time that is right now, a technology has arisen so powerful that it can replace basic human document review. Is it time to bow down before our new robot overlords?
First, here’s a little story about me: my life in the legal world began as a paralegal. My first case was a GIANT patent infringement case that was already six years old and had involved as many as five companies, multiple US courts, the ITC and an international standards committee. I knew nothing about any of this.
On my first day, my supervisor (a paralegal with at least eight other cases driving her crazy) sat me down in front of a Concordance database with a 100,000+ patents and patent file histories. “Code these,” she said. I learned that “coding”, for the purposes of this exercise, meant manually typing the inventor’s name, the title of the patent, the assignee, the file date, and other objective data for each document. I worked on that project – and only that project – for at least the first six months of my job. After a week or so, time began to blur.
What I know, in retrospect and with absolutely certainty, is that as time began to blur, so did my judgment. So did my attention to detail. If you could tell me that I did not make at least one mistake a day – one inconsistent spelling, one reversed day and month, one incorrectly spaced title – I frankly would need to see your evidence. I would not believe it. The human mind is trainable but it is not a machine.
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