Law Schools

You have to wonder what amount of research the student in question pursued before deciding that law school was a good idea, which then leads you to ask whether you’d want him as your lawyer. Sounds like he would be a good candidate for a sub prime interest-only mortgage, until he wanted a bailout on that, too.

– “Steve” of Geneva, NY, whose comment on the New York Times’s Bucks Blog was highlighted in Saturday’s print edition of the Times (page B5).

This year The Apprentice, a television show in which contestants compete for the privilege of working for Donald Trump, features 16 who are down on their luck, having lost previous jobs or otherwise having to start anew. No fewer than five of them are lawyers.

– from Trouble with the Law, an article about American law school graduates “finding that their chosen career is less lucrative than they had hoped,” in The Economist.

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

Remember the hilarious So You Want To Go To Law School video? The genius behind it, Virginia lawyer David Kazzie, recently sat down with The Careerist to share the backstory behind the video (which was one of the 25 most-viewed videos last month in YouTube’s film/animation section).

So who is David Kazzie? And has he done other law-related videos?

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The library at Brooklyn Law School is fast becoming the most sexual law library in America. Last week, the class of 2010 dedicated a plaque inside the library warning students, “It’s supposed to be hard.” This week, we’ve learned that the law library also plays host to some hard bodies.

Apparently, Brooklyn Law allowed models from Diesel Jeans to use its law library for a photoshoot. The jeans didn’t stay on for long. Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you the law library for the 67th best law school in America….

WARNING: The pictures after the jump should be safe for work — there’s no nudity — but they are mildly risqué. Read on at your own risk.

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There’s been a lot of buzz coming out of Notre Dame Law. No, the students are not being being pressed into service to defend the university from Declan Sullivan lawsuits. Instead, ND Law dean Nell Newton held a town hall meeting with the students to discuss the future of the university.

After the public meeting, Dean Newton met with some students, and they got into a discussion about the future of tuition at the law school. Depending on whom you talk to (and we’ve now talked to a bunch of people), Dean Newton suggested during this private meeting that there would be either (1) a significant, “dear God, what are you doing” tuition increase at the private law school, or (2) a modest tuition hike. We’ll let you decide whom to believe.

But one thing is for sure: tuition is going up. Notre Dame will not be holding the line with tuition, so current and prospective law students should be prepared to pay more, despite the weakness in the legal economy…

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In the good old days, an aspiring lawyer could just read the law under the tutelage of an existing member of the bar. Then, around the beginning of the twentieth century, the ABA and AALS teamed up to begin requiring that wannabe lawyers graduate from law school as a barrier to entry. This was, I presume, mostly a barrier to entry, which I also presume actually worked at some point.

Fast-forward about ninety years to 1992, when the ABA finally figured out that they’d created a mess, formed a task force, and issued a long-winded report, to which law schools responded by creating more “real world” credit options for students. Well, it’s almost 2011, and the process still isn’t working.

Newly minted lawyers are, for the most part, still woefully unprepared to actually practice law. Enter the recession, and now we have thousands of graduates a year, some of whom are attempting to simultaneously solve their unemployment issues and bridge the chasm between legal theory and legal practice by opening their own practices right out of law school.

As an aside, I was amused that one of the ABA articles I found mentioned Harvard’s efforts at reform as including the requirement that first-year students “take courses in legislation, international law, and problem solving in addition to more traditional classes.” Gee, thanks Harvard.

Well, say what you will about their ranking, but at least the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law is taking the problem seriously….

UPDATE: CUNY is also taking things seriously, i.e., incubating its graduates, and has been doing so since 2007 (thanks to one of my readers for the tip).
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The class of 2010 at Brooklyn Law School decided to give themselves a plaque in the library for their class gift. Given the state of the legal job market, I’m impressed that this class gift phenomenon still exists, it’s a testaments to man’s ability to look on the bright side of getting screwed with your pants on.

At the risk of starting a flood of emails about stupid class gifts, a tipster sent us the picture of the Brooklyn Law plaque that simply begs to be mocked. In fact, other students at Brooklyn are mocking it already.

Take a look at the plaque, but then you have to get a look at the explanation the class of ’10 gave for going with a plaque…

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To steal a line from Sports Illustrated, I must bring you this week’s sign that the apocalypse is upon us.

Law students are struggling to find jobs; this we know. But what I didn’t know until this very day was that law students are also struggling to find the basic professional necessities. Like clothes. That’s right, clothing drives are not just for homeless people and impoverished third-world children. Not anymore.

The good people at Duquesne University School of Law are putting together a clothing drive to help out their first year law students get the professional clothing they need for interview season. Don’t worry, it’s not too late to give your used clothing to distressed 1Ls in need of assistance…

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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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