Law Schools

Harvard Law is #1, according to law firm hiring partners.

We mentioned them briefly in Morning Docket but didn’t do more, figuring that perhaps you might have rankings fatigue. But we were wrong; apparently you can’t get enough of law school rankings. (This really shouldn’t surprise us, based on the traffic we got for this rankings post, and even this one.)

We’ve received several emails asking us for more coverage. And our friends at the ABA Journal and the WSJ Law Blog devoted full posts to them.

So let’s get into them: the latest law school rankings generated by U.S. News & World Report, namely, law schools ranked by law firm recruiting personnel. Which schools made the top ten?

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Are you a law student concerned about this upcoming summer? Perhaps you haven’t figured out what you’ll be doing yet. Or maybe you have landed a coveted summer associate position, but want to make sure that you land that full-time job offer (and don’t get no-offered).

If you’re looking for advice on how to make the most of your summer, Above the Law is here to help. On Wednesday, April 6, we’re hosting a panel discussion, together with our friends at the Practical Law Company, entitled We Know What You Should Do This Summer. The panel will include a wide range of perspectives, including a Biglaw partner, a partner at a small firm, a legal recruiter, and ATL’s very own David Lat (to discuss non-private sector options, like judicial externships and government positions).

There’s a small admission fee (to help us cover the cost of the venue), but from now until this Friday, March 11, at 11:59 PM, we are offering a $5 DISCOUNT. Just enter the following discount code: Y084BG .

But don’t delay, since seating is limited, and the discount code expires on Friday night. You can get details and register by clicking here.

We hope to see you on April 6!

Get Tickets

Lindsay Lohan

* Obama has created an indefinite detention system for prisoners held at Guantanamo Bay. Because he’s too soft on terrorism to make it definite. [Washington Post]

* Utah’s new immigration laws will create a legal storm. El Niño! Spanish for The… Niño! [USA Today]

* Lilo finally starred in another movie, and former wet poodle perm enthusiast Marcia Clark is here to break it down for you. [Entertainment Tonight News]

* Hiring partners have entered the U.S. News rankings fray. Number 1? Yep, Cooley. [U.S. News & World Report]

Charlie Sheen

* Some New Yorkers are suing over a bike lane in Brooklyn. Four wheels good, two wheels bad! [New York Times]

* “Pow! Appeals court upholds comic con’s guilty plea.” [New York Post]

* Charlie Sheen’s attorney isn’t wasting any time fighting Tiger Blood’s dismissal from that show he starred in with Duckie and the lumpy kid. [Hollywood Reporter; New York City Employment Lawyer]

* Yesterday, the Supreme Court agreed to decide whether Congress may take works out of the public domain and slap a copyright on them. I’m never going to fill this Zune up if I can’t score some free Stravinsky. [Wired News]


The Cupcake Stop has rolled to a halt.

Today is a sad day for businesses established by lawyer-entrepreneurs. First we learned that David J. Stern, the South Texas Law grad who went on to become “Florida’s Foreclosure King,” will be relinquishing his crown and closing his once-thriving practice. And now we hear that Lev Ekster, the New York Law School alum who founded a popular mobile-cupcake business called Cupcake Stop, has decided to call it quits.

Longtime readers of Above the Law will recall Ekster and his business selling cupcakes out of a truck that roved around Manhattan. We first wrote about him in May 2009, when we were charmed by the NYLS grad’s creative response to being unable to obtain a law firm job. Spring 2009 wasn’t the best time to be looking for a Biglaw gig, as you might remember.

A few days after our first post, we got to taste Ekster’s cupcakes (and interview him). The cupcakes were delicious (not as amazing as my cousin’s, but pretty darn good).

In the months that followed, Ekster’s cupcake truck picked up momentum, literally and figuratively. On Twitter, @CupcakeStop acquired almost 16,000 followers.

And then today it all came to a screeching halt. What happened?

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Critics of the legal-education industrial complex would probably like to see some radical changes in the U.S. law school system. They’d probably want a few dozen law schools to shut down entirely, to reduce the glut of lawyers in this country. Barring that, they might want to see law schools reduce tuition dramatically — not just freeze tuition, which some schools are already doing, but make an outright cut in the sticker price of a J.D.

Alas, expecting such changes isn’t terribly realistic. Law school deans and law professors aren’t going to willingly reduce their salaries or send themselves into unemployment — and why should they? Despite all the warnings about the risk involved in taking on six figures of debt to acquire a law degree, demand for the product they’re selling, legal education, remains robust (even if it’s showing signs of abating).

Interestingly enough, however, we’re seeing some law schools cutting their production (of graduates, of J.D. degrees)….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “A Trend in the Making: Shrinking 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…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Law Students So Broke They Can’t Afford to Look Decent at Graduation?”

* 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….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Would-Be-Lawyer of the Day: Don’t Put ☺ in a Court Filing”

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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