O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay! On Friday, California bar exam results came out (and 55.8% of applicants passed, with a pass rate of 68% for first-time takers, meaning that just one stat is up (barely) from last year’s results). And today, we’ve finally got a list of the passage rates for the July 2013 administration of the New York bar exam by law school.
In 2012, more than half of the state’s law schools saw their pass rates take a tumble. In 2013, more than half of the state’s law schools were able to improve their pass rates, and in some cases, by epic proportions. The state’s overall pass rate for first-time takers jumped by two percentage points.
So which law schools’ pass rates climbed, and by how much? And which school sank like a stone?
Anytime an email ends with the lines: “Don’t submit this to ATL. It is boring and petty and nobody cares. Plus it’ll just make us sound like Columbia,” I’m intrigued. Boring, petty stories that make law students look like donkeys who take themselves too seriously (no offense, Columbia) is my specialty.
But here, we have a story that isn’t just about grade-obsessed law students taking it to a new level, we also have something that touches on issues of redistribution, unfair advantages, merit, and vigilantism. And we can talk about all of that without losing sight of the fundamental boring pettiness of the student involved.
A law student essentially stole the law review outline bank and posted it to everybody. Like Robin Hood wearing a Guy Fawkes, this kid thought “the people” should have access to the intellectual richness of notes taken by law review types over the years. Welcome to the law student version of Wikileaks…
* The Second Circuit has remanded the New York Stop and Frisk decision, demanding that a new judge hear the case. Among the reasons: that Judge Shira Scheindlin gave “media interviews and public statements purporting to respond publicly to criticism of the District Court.” So basically, act like a contemptuous prick in the press and when the judge calmly reaffirms her impartiality, get her thrown off the case. Thankfully this will all stop being an issue on about January 1, 2014. [U.S. Courts]
* Attorney networking and referral site wireLawyer gave itself a Halloween makeover. Personally I wouldn’t want a Fett as an attorney — they have a tendency to lose their heads or fall into pits of despair. Screenshot if you check out the site after they’ve moved on to what we can only assume is their All Saints Day makeover. [wireLawyer]
* Joe Biden’s niece appeared in court after she clashed with police last month, “swinging at a female officer then slapping another” before being dragged away in handcuffs all while touting how she “studied law.” This actually sounds more like something Joe Biden’s Onion persona would do. [NY Post]
* Penn Law is sporting pumpkins carved with the likeness of all nine Supreme Court justices. [Under the Button]
* Vivia Chen’s epic fail as a mother on Halloween. We still love you. [The Careerist]
* The House of Representatives has now introduced a use restriction on videos of House hearings to prevent the footage from being used for political purposes. That doesn’t sound all that legal. The Republicans just desperately don’t want people to know what they actually do at “work.” [Patently-O]
* Meanwhile, the Senate GOP is going filibuster on Patricia Millett’s nomination to the D.C. Circuit despite lacking any objection to her. [Huffington Post]
* NYU Law carried on its annual tradition of acting out the Erie case. Screw that! They should act out Palsgraf…
When law deans and other law school defenders talk about the high cost of legal education, they try to justify the price in economic terms. They cite ridiculous and largely unsupported figures about the value of a law degree. They point out the cost of the faculty. Explicitly or not, they don’t see a problem with charging the absolute maximum that the market will bear. They feel no shame for enticing young people to invest in law school by any means necessary, fair or unfair.
But the unreasonable cost of law school doesn’t just play out in purely economic terms. Students who graduate with a mountain of debt pay the human costs of hopelessness, deferred dreams, and often the burden of having to rely on parents long past the point when they had hoped to be self-sufficient.
We tend to focus on the plight of unemployed law graduates, but it’s always important to remember that “winning” and landing one of the few Biglaw jobs out there that even gives you a shot to pay off your debts can be pretty awful too. The high debt makes many law graduates feel like indentured servants, forced to work jobs they don’t want, in order to service their loans.
I think there are a lot of people who will empathize with this law graduate from a top school with a Biglaw job who feels like even death isn’t a suitable way around his law school loans…
I’m going to apply to both NYU Law campuses and see what happens, but I’d much rather go to the one in TriBeCa. It’s closer to my boyfriend’s apartment.
– Highlights from a prospective law student’s conversation overheard on the train ride to Manhattan this morning. She later said she was worried about the most recent administration of the LSAT. She had to retake it because her last score was a 148.
(Keep reading to see what happened next during this surreal encounter….)
I’ve been told that, for liability reasons, I’m not actually allowed to “drive” the party bus, but that’s probably for the best as I’ll be showing up after playing about ten hours straight of Grand Theft Auto V.
I posted this on Friday, and then I remembered that law students don’t wake up on Fridays, so I wanted to mention again that the Above the Law Bar Review Crawl (sponsored by Kaplan) now has a sign up sheet, a schedule, and a party bus.
Below you can see our plans, and one person who signs up will be picked at random (on Thursday morning I assume) to join us as we bus around the city. Right now, I’m actually just interested in your music suggestions for the party bus playlist…
* The NFL has reached a $765 million settlement with the over 4,500 retired concussion victims whose injuries paved the way for the league’s success. [Sports Illustrated]
* Dennis Rodman confidante Kim Jong-un had his ex-girlfriend executed on pornography charges. Kind of puts the whole “revenge porn” thing in perspective. [The Telegraph]
* A lawsuit against Curt Schilling, based on allegations that he deceived the state into giving his company $75 million, will go forward. Like most conservative Republicans, Schilling saw no problem with taking millions in handouts from the government so long as poor people don’t get $4.50 a day for food. [Comcast SportsNet]
* Judge Mark Bennett (N.D. Iowa) ripped the Department of Justice for creating massive drug sentencing disparities because the DOJ went years without a policy for when prosecutors should double the prison time for repeat offenders. In Northern Iowa, that’s a LOT of meth heads in prison. [Des Moines Register]
* Attorneys for the Governor of Pennsylvania equate gay marriage to letting 12-year-olds marry. Just because a demographic calls everything “gay” doesn’t make them gay. [ABA Journal]
* Study shows academics use lots of adjectives and adverbs. This is really a very terrific and awesome study. [TaxProf Blog]
* REMINDER: OK NYU, Columbia, Fordham, Cardozo, and NYLS students! It’s time to send nominations to us for where you want us to go on the Great Above the Law/Kaplan Bar Review Bar Crawl. Send bar nominations to firstname.lastname@example.org, subject: “Bar Crawl.” See you on September 18th! [Above the Law]
Being a legal academic is probably a lot of fun. You can act like a complete jerk with zero repercussions. Your job is pretty safe so long as you don’t work at a sinking law school. And you can write the most ridiculous tripe and pass it off as research.
Have you ever wondered which law school has the most cited academics?
No? Well, here you go anyway.
Using Brian Leiter’s patented “Scholarly Impact Score,” here are the top 10 law schools in terms of cited academics….
The holiday season is upon us, and yet again, you have no idea what to get for the fickle lawyer in your life. We’re here to help. Even if your bonus check hasn’t arrived yet, any one of the gifts we’ve highlighted here could be a worthy substitute until your employer decides to make it rain.
We’ve got an eclectic selection for you to choose from, so settle in by that stack of documents yet to be reviewed and dig in…
Ed. note: The Asia Chronicles column is authored by Kinney Recruiting. Kinney has made more placements of U.S. associates, counsels and partners in Asia than any other recruiting firm in each of the past six years. You can reach them by email: email@example.com.
We currently have a very exciting and rare type of in-house opening in China at one of the world’s leading internet and social media companies. Our client is looking for an IP Transactional / TMT / Licensing attorney with 2 to 6 years experience. The new hire will be based in Shenzhen or Shanghai. Mandarin is not required (deal documentation will be in English) but is preferred. A solid reason to be in China and a commitment to that market is required of course. This new hire will likely be US qualified (but could also be qualified in UK or other jurisdictions) and with experience and training at a top law firm’s IP transactional / TMT practice and could be currently at a law firm or in-house. Qualified candidates currently Asia based, Europe based or US based will be considered. The new hire’s supervisors in this technology transactions in-house team are very well regarded US trained IP transactional lawyers, with substantial experience at Silicon Valley firms. The culture and atmosphere in this in-house group and the company in general is entrepreneurial, team oriented, and the work is cutting edge, even for a cutting edge industry. The upside of being in an important strategic in-house position in this fast growing and world leading internet company is of the “sky is the limit” variety. Its a very exciting place to be in China for a rising IP transactional lawyer in our opinion, for many reasons beyond the basic info we can share here in this ad / post. This is a special A+ opportunity.
If your firm is in ‘go’ mode when it comes to recruiting lateral partners with loyal clients, then take this quiz to see how well you measure up. Keep track of your ‘yes’ and ‘no’ responses.
1. Does your firm have a clearly defined strategy of practice groups that are priorities of growth for your office? Nothing gets done by random chance, but with a clear vision for the future. Identify the top practice areas for which you wish to add lateral partners. Seek input from practice group leaders and get specifics on needs, outcomes, and ideal target profiles.
2. In addition to clarifying your firm’s growth strategy, are you still open to the hire of a partner outside of your plan? I’ve made several placements that fit this category. The partner’s practice was not within the strategic growth plan of my client, but once the two parties started talking with each other, we all saw how it could indeed be a seamless fit. Be open to “Opportunistic Hires.” You never know where your next producing partner might come from, so you have to be open to it. I will be the first to admit that there is a quirky element of randomness in recruiting.
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