Law Schools

The scream.jpgTimes are difficult for 3Ls. The legal economy is in shambles. Their debts are about to come due, and they have no reasonable opportunities for legal employment. Many third years have resorted to cold, unsolicited résumé dumps, hoping against hope that they’ll get lucky.

There is a lot of pressure on 3Ls. But handling enormous pressure is an important skill for would-be attorneys. One 3L who faced this employment pressure totally collapsed. Unfortunately for the 3L, that collapse is preserved over email.

The situation started innocently enough. The unidentified 3L sent in a résumé and cover letter to Webster & Associates LLC, looking for legal work. The letter was inartfully addressed to “Esteemed Mr. Webster, Partner:”

I know, you’re thinking that this 3L thought he was addressing Partner Emeritus instead of a regular person. But that’s not really the problem here.

The problem is that Webster & Associates is not a law firm; it’s a company run by a man named Bruce Webster that specializes in IT consulting. Two seconds on the Webster & Associates website would have revealed this fact.

Webster sent the job seeker back an — admittedly curt — response. And then things got out of hand.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “3L Achieves Networking Failure: Disaster Preserved via Email”

northwestern law school.gifEarlier this week, at the PLI Law Firm Leadership and Management Institute — which was excellent, by the way (and not just because we presented there) — Dean David Van Zandt, of Northwestern University School of Law, offered some reflections on the future of legal education. (We used one of his comments as a recent quote of the day.)

Dean Van Zandt’s presentation was thoughtful and thought-provoking. He analyzed a number of recent reforms made by leading law schools. He also explained the changes that Northwestern Law School has made to its academic program.

One of his most interesting tidbits was the starting salary that would constitute a “break-even point” for going to law school. In other words, what salary would you have to earn upon graduation in order to make going to law school an economically rational decision?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Changes in Legal Education: Some Thoughts from Dean David Van Zandt”

Southern New England School of Law logo.jpgEd. Note: We apologize for our technical difficulties. The commenting function should now be working again.
It’s official. Southern New England School of Law will be converted into the first Massachusetts public law school by the University of Massachusetts. The Boston Globe reports:

The Board of Higher Education today approved the creation of Massachusetts’ first public law school, a historic vote that opens the doors for the initial class of students to enroll in the fall. Under the controversial plan, vehemently opposed by three private law schools, UMass-Dartmouth will acquire the private Southern New England School of Law, which is donating its campus and assets to the state.

Of course the plan wasn’t just opposed by private law schools. It was also opposed by a number of people who actually care about whether or not graduates from UMass Legal will be able to spin off their legal education into an actual practice.
But, it sounds better to say that only “private” interests were arrayed in an anti-competitive attempt to block the new school. Never let facts get in the way of a good story.
More spin after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “UMass Law School: All Systems Go.”

Your problems are our problems, and our problems are your problems.


– Northwestern Law School Dean David E. Van Zandt, discussing the relationship between law schools and law firms at the PLI Law Firm Leadership and Management Institute.

Vinny Guadagnino Vinnie Guadagnino law student law school lawyer.jpgAre you one of the 21 percent of law school students who, due to the changing legal job market, regret going to law school? If going to law school was a stupid decision decision for you, then congratulations — Vinny Guadagnino, the “self-confessed mama’s boy” of Jersey Shore fame, is smarter than you are.

We mentioned his recent interview with Us Magazine before, but in case you missed it — and, judging from all the emails we’ve been getting about it, it seems many of you did — let’s go over the highlights.

Like his undergraduate GPA — which is probably higher than yours….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Is Vinny of ‘The Jersey Shore’ Smarter Than You Are?”

aba_logo_K.gifEarlier this month, Mark Greenbaum penned a blistering op-ed in the Los Angeles Times, blasting the American Bar Association for not exercising greater regulatory control over law schools. Obviously, I’ve been publicly begging the ABA to do something about the proliferation of new law schools and new law students, hoping against hope that lawyers would be afforded the same kind of professional protection that doctors enjoy.
Apparently, ABA President Carolyn B. Lamm is sick of hearing lawyers and commentators complain about the ABA’s lack of regulatory oversight over the law schools they accredit. Lamm shot back at Greenbaum (and anybody else who thinks there are too many law schools). If you’re hoping for the ABA to step up and stem the tide of new lawyers, Lamm’s message is clear: don’t hold your breath. Here’s the opening to her full-throated defense of the ABA:

To the Editor:
You published a recent opinion piece by Mark Greenbaum. His analysis is premised on incorrect facts from which he draws flawed conclusions. He misstates the number of American Bar Association-approved law schools, ties it to what he describes as a “flood of graduates,” and insists the ABA should “block” new schools. He fails to acknowledge that in fact existing law schools have reduced voluntarily class size and therefore despite a minimal increase in the number of accredited law schools (7% over a 5 year period) first year enrollment grew by only two percent. Hardly producing a “flood of graduates”.

Greenbaum says that there are 200 ABA approved law schools. The ABA website also tells us that there are 200 ABA approved law schools. Lamm explained to Above the Law where she disagrees with Greenbaum’s numbers:

Mr. Greenbaum said: “Today there are 200 ABA-accredited law schools in the U.S., with more on the way, as many have been awarded provisional accreditation.” There are 200 ABA-approved law schools. That number includes the six provisionally approved schools. And while he complained about an increase in the number of schools, as we pointed out, the relevant number is of students. Due to self-restraint by the schools, that number did not increase significantly. Greenbaum is even inaccurate in identification of ABA-approved schools in California. He says the new law school at UC Irvine is among ABA-approved schools. That school has not yet even applied for ABA approval.

Well, in fairness UC Irvine will seek provisional accreditation from the ABA in 2010 — which is the earliest possible time for them to do so.
Still, these are fair points, but not really the heart of the debate here. More from Carolyn Lamm after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “ABA Defends Itself — and Explains Why It Can’t Stop New Law Schools”

northwestern law school.gifIf you have friends at Northwestern Law School, there’s no need to worry about them. This morning’s situation with a gunman — er, man with a gun — has been resolved, without incident or injury.
Here’s the latest update from the Northwestern University website (at 1:30 p.m. Chicago time):

Chicago campus buildings open

All buildings on Northwestern’s Chicago campus, including all Law School buildings — Rubloff, Levy-Mayer and McCormick — are now open. An intensive search of the buildings on the Chicago campus was conducted but no one matching the description of the man reported with a gun was found. The investigation into the incident is continuing.

A recap of events, a description of the man, and commentary from Northwestern law students, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Update: All Quiet on the Northwestern Front”

northwestern law school.gifDeveloping; we’ll bring you more as we get it. From a source on the scene (as of 11:57 a.m. Eastern time):

You’ve probably heard by now, but the place is on lockdown, no one is allowed to leave. The place is swarming with fuzz. A good portion of the classes are under their desks.

Yet through it all, the teachers keep teaching and the gunners keep gunning. In these economic times, the choice between a bullet and a B-minus is certainly a tough one.

Stay safe, Wildcats.
UPDATE: The situation has been resolved. Everything is fine.
Man with gun reported in Northwestern building in Chicago [Chicago Breaking News]
Man w/gun seen in Rubloff Building [Northwestern University - Emergency Information]

Gerald Ung Gerry Ung Jerry Ung Jerald Ung Temple Law School 3L shooter shooting.jpgNext month we’ll be speaking on a panel at a conference for Asian American law students and lawyers. It’s taking place at the University of Pennsylvania and being sponsored by the Asian Pacific American Law Students Association (APALSA) at U. Penn. Details and registration info appear here.

Asian law students. In Philly. Will there be a metal detector at the door?

In the past three years, two Asian law students in Philadelphia have gotten into trouble with the law due to gun-related incidents. First there was Joseph Cho, at the time a 2L at U. Penn., who shot up the door of his neighbors’ apartment in January 2007. Earlier this month, Gerald Ung (pictured), in his final year at Temple University’s Beasley School of Law, allegedly shot Edward DiDonato Jr., a recent college graduate and the son of a partner at Fox Rothschild. (See prior posts here and here.)

Today we have updates on both cases.

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Plus the sentencing of the U. Penn. law student shooter.

Snooki Jersey Shore NYU Law.JPGAs a denizen of New York City, I find that I have to deal with people who could be cast members on The Jersey Shore all the time. They clog up my 4 train when the Yankees are playing. They bounce at bars and clubs. Here in the city, you can even see them in their natural habitat, Gold’s Gym.
That’s why I was surprised when students at NYU Law School offered $2,000 in an unsuccessful attempt to get Snooki to come out and party with them. Why buy the landfill when you can get trash for free?
But in the hearty Midwest, it’s a little easier to understand why the cast from Jersey Shore can be so compelling. I mean, from the perspective of a Midwesterner, the cast of Jersey Shore must look like an alien species. I bet a Midwesterner would look at J-WOWW with the same level of fascination I’d regard Michele Bachmann. “What does it eat?” “Can I pet it?” “If I use a sentence comprised entirely of polysyllabic words, will its head explode?”
So, I have a modicum of understanding for the underground movement happening at the University of Wisconsin Law School. Here’s part of a letter that Above the Law received yesterday:

Dear AbovetheLaw,
I am a third-year law student at the University of Wisconsin Law School. My graduation is fast approaching and so far we (my classmates and I) have not heard who is going to be our guest speaker. However, the last thing I want to hear during my graduation is how great we are for becoming young lawyers, and that we have such a promising future ahead, especially considering our employment options currently. Instead a couple of classmates and I have come up with this great idea. If our futures are going to dissolve following graduation, we want to go down “guns blazing.” We want to raise money in order to bring the cast of Jersey Shore to come as our guest speakers.

Wasn’t this the setup for The Simple Life?
Are the Wisconsin students serious? More details after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Wisconsin Law School Seeks to Import Jersey Shore to the Great Lakes”

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