Law Schools

One unintended consequence of the terrible legal job market is that we’ve got law students running around with a lot of time on their hands. They’re not preparing for callback interviews, they’re not eagerly anticipating new legal challenges. Instead they’re sitting around, bored and terrified, and lashing out at whatever they can.

Mostly, they lash out at each other. Sometimes, it’s their Student Bar Association or their faculty. Occasionally they’ll even take shots at their own law school.

But now they’ve gone too far. A group of law students at Suffolk University Law School put together a guide on how to sue Santa Claus. Here’s the note one of the law students sent me:

At our law school (like so many others), we have been chilled by the lack of employment in the legal industry, potential clients and lucrative future prospects. So we figured: f*** it. If we’re going down, we’re bringing everyone down with us. First on our list is the fattest, jolliest figure we could find: Kris F***** Kringle.

Some of you will find this funny, but you are bastards who will be getting nothing but coal in your stockings. Me, I’ve been a good boy and I full expect to collect my PRO-guitar this holiday season. So I wash my hands of this tomfoolery.

As the immortal Herkermer Homolka would say: “Have your laughing, and I will have mine”…

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So you want to go to law school....

It’s a very thorough compilation, for a general-interest audience, of developments that we’ve already covered in these pages. The subtitle sums up the piece quite well: “Law schools are manufacturing more lawyers than America needs, and law students aren’t happy about it.”

We’re not sure what else to say about it, since we’ve opined at length on many of these depressing realities: the cratering legal job market, the oversupply of lawyers, the rise in law school tuition, the crushing educational debt (generally not dischargeable in bankruptcy), the misleading data used by law schools to lure in students, and the American Bar Association’s inability (or refusal) to stop new law schools from sprouting like weeds….

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CORRECTION: This post has been revised since it was first published to reflect the fact that the 13.5% tuition hike for in-state students occurred this summer and applies to the current academic year (2010-2011).

Last year, the University of Minnesota contemplated imposing a significant tuition hike on its law students, while trying to keep college tuition low. This year, Minnesota did in fact push through the tuition increase, while protecting the high salaries of its law school faculty.

Paul Caron at Tax Prof Blog pointed us to a number of reports about how Minnesota hiked law school tuition by 13.5% for this academic year, while planning to cut faculty salaries by only 1.15% in the 2011 fiscal year. So Minnesota law students, if you were hoping for a dollop of Astroglide along with your next tuition bill, you have my sympathy. The administration at Minnesota Law doesn’t even have the common courtesy to give you a reach-around.

Law school administrators don’t care about you, current and prospective law students. They don’t even have to pretend to care about your problems anymore…

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This is probably a joke. In fact, I’m almost sure this is a joke. Law school women don’t really talk like this, not on Craigslist. And law school guys are more than capable of satisfying their female classmates.

Wait a minute, that last line is false — almost entirely false. Crap, does that make this Craigslist ad real?

I don’t know. There’s a Craigslist ad, purportedly from a Seton Hall law student, that’s making the rounds among people who check out things on Craigslist and then email Above the Law.

Give it a look, then give me your true/false sensibility…

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A prudential perspective, because it appeared in Slate’s advice column, Dear Prudence (alongside an inquiry from a woman dating a wonderful man who unfortunately has a “micropenis”):

Dear Prudence,

I am just a little over a year away from becoming a lawyer, and I’m miserable because I hate it. I wasn’t forced into the profession. I just mistakenly believed that since I loved to read and debate, law was the natural progression. But I don’t like law, and I’m not applying myself to it wholeheartedly. I can’t imagine being in this field for the rest of my life or even a few years. My parents have sacrificed and spent so much on my education, and I have no idea how to tell them that I made a mistake. Worse, my mom thinks this is my dream, and I don’t have the heart to tell her that it isn’t. The only thing that really brings me joy is escaping into books that have nothing to do with law. Please help me.

—Inadmissible

So what did Prudence say to “Inadmissible”?

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Look — I want all of you to apply to law school (and to Yale), but I also want you to think about what you’re getting into. These are tough times out there, and while law school might be a great place to hide out for three years, those three years will end.

Asha Rangappa, Associate Dean for Admissions at Yale Law School (and a winner of our law school dean hotties contest), on the (203) Admissions blog.

When the UC Irvine School of Law first burst onto the scene, the school offered free tuition to everyone in its inaugural class. Then, in its second year, UC Irvine offered a 50% discount to all students admitted to the class of 2013.

And now, UC Irvine will knock 33% off its tuition, for members of its third entering class (the class of 2014).

Students considering UC Irvine will certainly appreciate the money. The National Law Journal reports that, not counting the discount, in-state tuition is $40,000 a year and out-of-state tuition is $50,000 a year. Welcome to public law school in the 21st century.

Despite being a public law school, UC Irvine will fund this tuition reduction through private donations. So you have to wonder: how long can they keep that up?

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A posting on Raleigh’s Craigslist board has been flagged for abuse and taken down three times. This post doesn’t use profanity, it doesn’t offer illicit services, there’s really nothing offensive about it.

The Craigslist moderators must just think that it’s a joke. But we’ve seen these type of ads before. A disgruntled law graduate goes onto Craigslist, looking for someone to buy his law degree. It happens.

In the past, as in the case with this Georgetown Law graduate, the J.D. holder has been looking for a little bit of money to offset the massive cost of a degree which cannot be turned into a job. But this new fellow seems to have an even more reasonable request. He just wants to get some lunch out of the deal…

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Yesterday I was busy trying to keep bullies out of jail. Check out my editorial in the New York Daily News for a full discussion on how I would handle mean children. But while I was away, news broke that the Syracuse College of Law is conducting its very own witch hunt, which could lead to the expulsion and deportation of a kid accused of saying mean things on the internet.

I’m telling you guys, this country is going to hell, one ridiculous overreaction at a time.

If you missed the story, the ABA Journal has a nice summary of what’s going on at Syracuse. The facts are pretty straightforward: student writes a satirical blog which attributes funny, Onion-style quotes to real people. The real people get their panties in a bunch. Syracuse launches an investigation into whether or not the blog constituted libelous bullying of other students, and whether the student author should be expelled for a “code of conduct” violation.

Now, to be clear, if we are going to hold people accountable for being mean to others, expulsion (and not jail) is a far more appropriate response. But, to my mind, this isn’t libel. This is clear parody, and satire should be protected, not punished…

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I just bought 4 bottles of wine in sweats at 530 on a monday night. F**k law school.

– a poster at Texts From Last Night

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