Law Schools

There’s poor, there’s broke, and then there’s whatever you would call the economic state of current law students. They are up against it, and they know it.

It’s particularly tough on 3Ls. We’re in March, so graduating law students without jobs lined up are about to get kicked out of school and on to the street (or “mother’s basement” or “youth hostel” or whatever). So right now is about the time when these kids really start to freak out.

At one law school, fear and angst are reaching a fever pitch, over the most trivial of things. The soon-to-be graduates are having a conniption over having to pay $136 to rent a cap and gown for graduation.

Yep, some of these kids took on tens of thousands of dollars in order to go to law school, but now — at the end — they’re making a stand over a hundred bucks…

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* Wesley Snipes wants the Supreme Court to review his conviction. Or maybe he’s just doing research because he wants the lead role in a Clarence Thomas biopic: The Silence. [TaxProf Blog]

* Congratulations to David Rivkin of Debevoise & Plimpton — a man who I remember as having great seats at Shea Stadium — for scoring one for the Americans. [Am Law Daily]

* Speaking of Debevoise, I probably could have used these tips on how to resign gracefully from my former firm. Instead, I think I stood up in the middle of a conference room and started shouting, “give us, us free.” [Corporette]

* Why do law school administrators act like telling the truth is one option among many, instead of a professional responsibility? [Vault]

* You can pick up a sex slave at the Super Bowl? [Change Makers]

* Doesn’t New York State understand that judges are kind of important? [New York Personal Injury Law Blog]

* Honestly, do you think that the diversity rationale for affirmative action also justifies having a preference for white males in some situations? [The Volokh Conspiracy]

* Ha ha. Northwestern college kids need to see a live sex act in order to learn. [Reuters]

* If you’re on Facebook — and who isn’t? — feel free to “like” Above the Law. We’ll be getting busy on FB in the weeks ahead (like we already are on Twitter, @ATLblog). [Facebook]

Here’s some good news for lawyers who enjoy blogging or instant-messenger services like Gchat. It’s right in the headline of this here National Law Journal story: Smiley face, snark, don’t render law grad unfit to practice.

Many of us get snarky in our personal writing, and many of us employ emoticons in email messages or Gchat exchanges. As litigators well know, sometimes a cold transcript doesn’t adequately convey tone. For this reason, I’ve even seen federal judges use winking smiley-face emoticons in email messages.

But you shouldn’t use smiley faces in documents you file with the court — even the super-icky courts that hear traffic appeals (yes, they exist). This is a lesson that Marilyn Ringstaff, a 2006 graduate of John Marshall Law School, learned the hard way….

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Now this is an interesting list. Yesterday we wrote about how the National Law Journal ranked law schools based on how many graduates they send straight into large law firms. Even if you think law school is a “scam,” you have to at least acknowledge that it’s a pyramid scheme. There are some winners. There are some people who mortgage their financial futures but are then rewarded with $160,000-a-year jobs right out of school. (Yes, I’m suggesting that billing 2400 hours a year, locked in a windowless conference room, reviewing some stupid emails or lease agreements, is a “reward” — just go with it.)

As we discussed yesterday, you can look at the list in many different ways, and quibble with certain aspects of it. The ranking doesn’t account for schools who send people into Article III clerkships, for instance. And you should note that getting a Biglaw job isn’t the be all and end all of a successful law school experience.

Still, given the cost of law school, it’s a very useful list. And today the NLJ looks at its rankings through what is to my mind the most important lens: which schools will do the best job of getting you a Biglaw position, while charging you as little as possible for the opportunity. That’s the question more prospective law students should be asking.

The answers that the NLJ comes up with are simply awesome….

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Prom date Ken probably doesn't know anything about sex in the stacks either.

Last week, we wrote about the crazy party at the “Over the Hump” law prom of UC Davis Law.

Many Davis commenters chimed in to say that the party really wasn’t all that crazy. That’s not surprising. If you go to a party that’s off the hook, only you didn’t witness or experience anything particularly memorable, it’s natural to downplay events. Better to accuse some people of “exaggerating” than to acknowledge the fact that you just missed out.

Luckily, a few additional King Hall students emailed us, stood up to our cross-examination, and shared some additional fun details about the dance.

One person even shared a picture, and I have to say there is definitely some “talent” at UC Davis…

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Why is he smiling? He landed a job at a top law firm.

If your goal in life, or at least your near-term career objective, is to land a job at a large law firm, which law schools would best suit your needs? When it comes to minting Biglaw associates and partners, not all law schools are created equal.

The National Law Journal has just come out with its annual survey of which schools the NLJ 250 law firms relied on most heavily when filling their first-year associate classes. The results are interesting — and also a little depressing.

We’ll start with the depressing part: hiring of top law school graduates continued to decline. As noted by Leigh Jones of the NLJ, “Hiring of graduates of the top law schools by the nation’s largest law firms slid by 10% during 2010 compared with 2009…. In 2010, the top 50 schools sent 3,822, or 27.3%, of their juris doctor graduates to NLJ 250 firms, compared with 30.3% of their 2009 graduating classes. The top 50 schools produced 13,989 graduates during 2010.”

Let’s look at the top 10 law schools, ranked by the percentage of their 2010 graduates who landed jobs at NLJ 250 firms (i.e., “Biglaw”)….

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When you think about it, naming the band "Massa-Bossmans" would have been more ambiguous.

On Friday we wrote about the settlement agreed to by Cure Lounge, a club in Boston that was accused of discriminating against African-American patrons. In the comments, it seemed like some of our Southern readers where all too happy to point out that this example of racist behavior took place in the North.

Lord knows I’ve never said that racism is an exclusively Southern phenomenon. But I’ve met enough Southerners to know that they sometimes feel unfairly maligned just because of their Confederate past. Sure, I could argue that only Southerners would come up with the name like “Lady Antebellum” for a band — and only Southerners would defend that name as “merely” referring to a time before the Civil War, as if I’m supposed to be the idiot who forgets what was happening in the South before the Civil War. But whatever, the point is taken, modern racism exists North and South, East and West, probably in relatively equal “amounts,” if such a thing could be quantified.

But still, you have to give the South credit. When they go for it, they always seems to have more flair. They have a — what’s the word? — one might say “cavalier” way, at least at UVA Law, of going about racial intolerance.

It would be charming, if it wasn’t so damn disgusting…

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The past few weeks have brought lots of news on the law school dean front. Last week, Chapman Law selected a former congressman as its next head. Earlier this month, Pepperdine Law picked up a judge as its latest leader.

Today the University of Richmond School of Law — a top 100 law school, per U.S. News (#86, to be precise) — announced its new dean. Like most law school deans, she comes not from Congress or the bench, but from the ranks of legal academia — Georgetown Law, more specifically….

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How's the job hunt going?

Are you a female law student? Have you put on a few pounds during your time in law school? Would you like to be reminded that fit, attractive women have better employment opportunities?

Then maybe you should consider transferring to Cardozo Law School. The Cardozo Health and Fitness Club is holding a networking lunch, but the flier makes it sound like they’re staging an intervention for fat chicks.

The Health and Fitness Club is forcing me to ask: Are Cardozo women really ready to whore themselves out to potential employers?

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Being a law school dean is a pretty sweet gig. Sure, it comes with headaches and stresses: overseeing ego-filled law school faculties, sucking up to rich alumni, and fending off whiny students. But at least law deans are paid very well for their trouble. Their positions are extremely prestigious, too.

It’s not surprising, then, that law school deanships attract strong talent. And lately California law schools have been making dean selections that are interesting as well as impressive.

Earlier this month, Pepperdine Law announced its selection of Judge Deanell Reece Tacha (10th Cir.) as its new dean. And this week brings news that Chapman University School of Law has selected a former U.S. congressman as its latest leader.

Which ex-congressman? Rep. Christopher Lee, perhaps? (He’s a Chapman University alum; he got an MBA there.)

Alas, no. Although the new dean is a Republican, he knows how to keep his clothes on….

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