The Massachusetts School of Law at Andover is branching out. It is launching the nation’s first college dedicated exclusively to the teaching of history, including American legal history. To be called the American College of History and Legal Studies, the college will open its doors in August 2010 in Salem, N.H., according to an MSL announcement.
The ACHLS will be an undergraduate “completion college,” offering only junior- and senior-year courses. After completing their junior year, students who meet certain criteria will have the option of starting law school at MSL. These students will receive their bachelor’s degrees after the first year of law school.
Let me get this straight: you spend a whole year of college learning legal history, and then you still have to go through three years of law school at Andover? So it’s kind of like an extra fourth year of law school that is even more useless to a practicing attorney than the long three years that come after it?
HOW DOES THIS HELP ANYBODY GET A JOB??????
Sorry, I didn’t mean to go all-caps there. It’s just my head, and the blood coming out of my ears. And the eye: lidless, wreathed in flame.
I take my blood pressure medication after the jump.
Remember the days when junior associates thought that work-life balance was important? Remember when people thought that law firms could be forced to change to accommodate associates who wanted to be lawyers and have personal lives?
Those days are seemingly over. An interesting post on Law21 suggests that the quest for work-life balance (WLB) is pretty much dead:
[T]he market has changed just a little. After 10,000 lawyer and staff layoffs at large US and UK firms, even the most active WLB boosters have toned down talk that might earn them the dreaded “entitlement” label. Articles and posts that reference the term “work-life balance” now do so in an environment of cold pragmatism: Ashby Jones at the WSJ Law Blog and Dawn Wagenaar at The Complete Lawyer provide good recent examples. Realist observers like Dan Hull and Scott Greenfield have gained the upper hand in the WLB discussion — check out this slam-bang debate at Legal OnRamp about “work-life balance” generational expectations.
We have mentioned before that law students and junior associates have lost any kind of leverage over law firms. People are desperate for jobs, and firms feel they can pretty much do what they want. But some people think that the work-life balance attempt was doomed to fail:
Where proponents of “work-life balance” went off-track, to my mind, was that they argued the duty to ensure a satisfactory proportion between a lawyer’s work and the rest of her life was an institutional responsibility — that it was up to the law firm, basically. The firms disagreed, and all they had to do was wait for the marketplace to turn their way to make that clear.
Law firms aren’t going to unilaterally change their business models for the sake of WLB. No law firm ever budged an inch on its billable quotas or offered associates more money and perks because its partners genuinely felt they should be nicer employers — appeals to conscience at partners’ meetings don’t have a roaring record of success. Firms change their working conditions as the talent market dictates. In a seller’s market like the one we’ve just had, they play nice; in a buyer’s market like this, they don’t.
But just because the movement towards better working conditions has been stalled, it doesn’t mean that many young lawyers don’t still need better working conditions.
Let’s remember how this all got started, after the jump.
Graduation usually marks a high point in our lives. Ceremonies celebrate graduates’ achievements and their bright futures. But this year, grads are faced with a rocky economy, a terrible job market, and predictions that things will stay this way for quite some time. A sign of the dire times: Harvard grads used their ceremony as a staging ground for a protest against layoffs. New York Magazine conducted an unscientific survey of 2009 graduates to see what they think about the future. New York City may be ground zero for the fiscal meltdown, but NY Mag managed to find people who are bright-eyed, bushy-tailed, and hopeful about the future:
We were startled by the fact that, circumstances be damned, we found very little bitterness at all — caution, yes; worry too — but judging from the responses to our questions, this is a reflexively optimistic cadre of graduates, feeling, if anything, existentially freed up by this era of radical change. They’re nervous about the job market but figure it’ll sort itself out.
The survey included 200 students from 10 schools. Among the allegedly hopeful lot are a bunch of Fordham Law students, photographed above.
If your depression over the End of Biglaw is still weighing on you, read on. Maybe the delusional optimism of the 2009 grads is contagious. (Or read on if you’re curious to find out when the majority of those surveyed lost their virginity.)
My thoughts on the proliferation of American law schools have been well documented. But let’s take a moment to look at the other side of the argument. Thomas M. Cooley Law School — which already pumps out 12,000 degrees a year to swarm like locusts across the great state of Michigan — is opening a new law school campus. In Ann Arbor. Because, clearly the University of Michigan law school just isn’t serving all of the people in Ann Arbor that need a law degree. Last night, Cooley students were told the great news:
Tomorrow, Cooley will announce to the public that the American Bar Association granted acquiescence to open a new campus in Ann Arbor, Michigan this September. We will do so in the facility currently occupied by Ave Maria School of Law, which is leaving Michigan at the end of this month to begin operations in Naples, Florida this fall. We will be leasing the facility for three years with an option to purchase it, but will have no other relationship with Ave Maria. In essence, Cooley’s Ann Arbor branch campus replaces Ave Maria School of Law.
Sure, I know replacing one largely irrelevant law school with another sounds bad, but you’re just not seeing the full upside. Thanks to schools like Cooley, we are one step closer to the glorious world where every single educated person also holds a law degree.
And that is a world worth living in! After the jump, join in my grand vision for the future.
We’ve been keeping track of law schools that are coming up with new programs to help their graduates navigate the terrible job market. Even if these measures help a law school (a) keep its “employed upon graduation” statistic high or (b) make money, law students need all the help they can get right now.
The administration of the University of Michigan Law School availed themselves of the quiet time after graduation to come up with some new programs:
With exams behind us and the new class of summer starters now on campus, we anticipate a busy and productive academic year ahead. However, these are not ordinary times in our world, as we face a continued global recession and uncertain legal employment landscape; it is not “business as usual.” These times require a proactive and strategic effort on the part of the whole Law School community, and so I write to update you on some of the work the Law School has undertaken to mitigate the negative consequences of the economic downturn for Michigan Law students, as well as offer some guidance on how best to approach employment searches for 2009/2010.
It’s certainly a better use of their time than fending off FOIA requests. The law school announced a slew of new programs aimed at recent graduates and rising 2Ls and 3Ls.
Additional details after the jump.
On Monday, we warned you that student loan forgiveness programs were under attack. Today, the University of North Carolina School of Law informed students that the school could not afford to make the promised loan repayments to students in low income jobs. Here’s the email from UNC Law Dean Jack Boger:
We are writing to share news about a regrettable delay in our implementation of the new LRAP program at UNC School of Law. Unfortunately, because of the grave economic downturn that has hit the North Carolina state budget, we will not be able to go forward this spring with Loan Repayment Assistance Program funding. As you may know, various statewide freezes and other severe restrictions have been imposed this spring on all state funds, including the UNC law school account that was designated for LRAP purposes. Moreover, the state has made clear that it intends to ‘recapture’ those funds to meet its larger budgetary needs sometime before June 30, the end of this fiscal year. This will leave us without the financial means to make LRAP awards.
While we share your disappointment with this turn of events, we remain committed to the LRAP program – and will keep your application on file. We hope to be able to relaunch this program sometime during the 2009-10 fiscal year.
Thank you for your patience, and for your help in the development of this program. We also thank you for your continued support of Carolina Law.
Jack Boger, Dean, UNC School of Law
UNC Law seems to be developing a pattern of raising people’s hopes, and then dashing them.
A student affected by this decision shares an interesting viewpoint after the jump.
Hallelujah! Bring me the finest bagels and muffins from throughout the land! According to the ABA Journal, the ABA is going to take a serious look at the accreditation and review standards for law schools:
For months, the ABA’s law school accrediting body has quietly been working on a comprehensive review of its often controversial standards governing legal education….
The most significant change in the Standards for Approval of Law Schools is likely to be a move away from evaluating law schools on the basis of criteria that measure “input”–such things as faculty size, budget and physical plant. Instead, the Legal Education Section would evaluate law schools more heavily on the basis of “outcome” measures.
Outcomes? As in whether students actually learn anything from law school? Or whether they are able to get a job after law school?
The essential difference is that outcome measures would focus on what students actually take away from their educational experience at a particular law school rather than what the school teaches, and how, explained E. Christopher Johnson Jr. Johnson was one of three members of the Accreditation Standards Review Committee of the ABA’s Legal Education Section, who gave a status report on the committee’s work at a program held in Chicago on Friday during the 35th ABA National Conference on Professional Responsibility….
“It is a sea change to tell law schools you should focus more on outcomes as measures,” said committee member Steven C. Bahls, the president of Augustana College in Rock Island, Ill. He chairs the outcome assessment subcommittee.
Oh my God. Something good. Something good could be happening!
More details after the jump.
Today, the proprietor of Cupcake Stop, Lev Ekster, stopped by our office with his delicious wares. Yumyumyumyumyum.
Ed. note: For the record, I really hate donuts. I don’t even particularly like sweets. I owe my girlish figure to (1) things that can be wrapped in bacon and (2) a zero tolerance policy when it comes to exercise.
The most important part of the visit was the excellent food. Lev brought over his three best-selling creations: cookie dough, Oreo cookies ‘n cream, and red velvet. I’d never had a cookie dough cupcake, but its gustatory greatness cannot be denied.
Lat preferred the cookies and cream flavor, while Kash opted to continue looking beautiful.
After we finished stuffing our faces, we sat down to talk with Mr. Ekster. Our notes from the interview, plus pictures of the cupcake-y goodness, after the jump.
We’ve been trying to stay on top of all the things law schools can do to help their students who have been crushed by the current economic environment. Although it’s a little bit late, it looks like Columbia Law School will be offering a helping hand for some of its recent graduates that haven’t been able to find a job.
On Friday, Dean David Schizer offered five fellowships to the Columbia class of 2009:
I am delighted to announce the creation of five new fellowship opportunities for graduates pursuing careers in public interest law and government service: the Social Justice Pathways Fellowships. Each of the fellowships will carry a $25,000 stipend to fund up to eight months of work. The members of the J.D. Class of 2009 are the first class eligible to become Social Justice Pathways Fellows.
These fellowships serve two important purposes. First, they allow qualified graduates committed to a career in public interest law to gain the experience, skills and networks that will assist them to get full-time jobs in their fields. Second, they provide talented young lawyers to organizations that are confronting great demand and diminished resources.
Cue the “they’re only doing this to massage their U.S. News ‘employed upon graduation’ statistic” in 3 … 2 … 1 …
More details after the jump.
Two weeks ago, we reported on Syracuse College of Law changing its exam guidelines in an attempt to thwart cheaters. Fordham Law School also had some academic dishonesty issues. Fortunately, this new cheating phenomenon is not limited to New York State. The National Law Journal reports:
When a Florida Coastal School of Law student last year spotted notecards poking out of a fellow test-taker’s pocket during finals, she kept her head down and focused on the exam in front of her. “I’ve never been one to rat people out,” said the student, who requested anonymity to speak candidly.
Her classmate was returning from a bathroom break during a final exam, and it was pretty clear to her that cheating was afoot. Like thousands of law students each year, the Florida Coastal student and her classmates had signed an honor code on their first day of school. Law schools rely on honor codes to keep students from cheating. The codes reflect the self-policing nature of law school academic integrity regimes, and they appeal to students’ sense of fair play to keep them in line.
Cheating at Florida Coastal? Noooooooo!
What is your friendly, neighborhood American Bar Association doing about the scourge of cheating at accredited law schools? We explore after the jump.
What does it mean to be “newly admitted?” To us, it means endless possibilities!
We recognize that you already possess the ability and intelligence to succeed in a variety of legal professions. Our job is to expose you to various practice areas in a way that ensures those very attributes are successfully applied. Our seasoned and successful faculty present unique programs that provide an approachable and practical understanding of the avenues of achievement available as you launch a fruitful, enjoyable and promising career.
Our Live Bridge the Gap weekends satisfy the entire year of New York Newly-Admitted CLE Credits in only two days!
After physically attending a full weekend, you will receive:
• 3.0 Ethics CLE credits,
• 6.0 Skills CLE credits, and
• 7.0 Professional Practice and/or Law Practice Management CLE credits
Date: Saturday, June 8 and Sunday, June 9, 2013 Time: 9:00 a.m. – 4:35 p.m. (EST) Location:
55 Exchange Place
New York, NY 10006
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: email@example.com.
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.
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!