On Friday, we told you that at least one corporate GC thinks that first and second year associates are “worthless.” But at the Harvard Law School/New York Law School Future of Education Conference, it wasn’t just business people that had negative things to say about the current state of legal education.
The panel: “Top Three Problems with the Current Model” brought together law firm leaders, consultants, and legal educators to all share their thoughts on what, precisely, is wrong with American law schools.
There were five panelists and a moderator (on my legal pad I made the notation “five person panels are dumb”). And between all five of them, I guess you could say that “everything” is wrong with American legal education. But each of them in turn highlighted different aspects of the process that needed fixing…
It has been a sports heavy day here on ATL, and in its own way this story is much more interesting than a coincidental intersection of legal issues and sports themes. You see, it’s a sad day in your life when you realize that your parents misled you into pursuing higher education. Sure, education is the “silver bullet” for upward mobility in this society, unless you can hit a curveball or a jump shot. If you’ve got athletic talent, you can often go to school for free (instead of saddling yourself with undergraduate debt). If you have rare talent, you can make far more money than most doctors or lawyers you know.
And even if you never make it to the pros, you can earn a living for a time slumming around the minors or coaching sports. If that lifestyle doesn’t suit you, then you can go back to professional school. Hey, at least you took your shot. It’s not like first year torts is going anywhere.
One Kansas Law student appears to have learned that anti-intellectual lesson a little bit too late. Check out his hilarious letter to the editor posted in the Kansas Law Free Press…
Some law school students are getting famous for reviewing t-shirts. Other law students got busy making their own.
Three recent Temple Law grads started their own t-shirt company in 2008 called 3muchapparel, which specializes in legally-themed t-shirts — check out the gallery, after the jump.
I caught up with one of the founders by phone last week. Pong Chulirashaneekorn is the team’s creative genius. His two JD/MBA partners handle the finance and marketing side of the business. One of their marketing ploys was to send the ATL team a Christmas card and three t-shirts: it worked and caught our attention.
Pong said the last year of law school — the partners graduated in 2009 — was a perfect time to launch the business. “The third year is not very taxing,” Pong told me. “It would have been impossible as a 1L.”
The three partners each invested in the company. Pong’s $2,000 investment came out of his summer associate salary at a prominent Philly firm. That’s all that ended up coming out of the summer gig. Though the firm covered his bar expenses, he did not wind up getting a full-time offer there. That’s meant more time to invest in 3muchapparel…
This morning, the Lawyer reported that Clifford Chance was changing the requirements for associate bonuses in London:
Clifford Chance is set for a radical overhaul of its associate bonus system, with the maximum award now open only to senior associates and payments no longer based primarily on hours worked….
A spokesperson for Clifford Chance said: “While billable and investment hours continue to be important, the bonus will not be directly linked to achieving a target number of hours. We’ll weigh a number of factors to ensure a balanced and flexible bonus scheme.”
Dear Lord, it looks like the American epidemic of moving towards merit-based compensation just hopped a transatlantic flight.
But don’t worry Clifford Chance New Yorkers, your bonus requirements will not be affected by the changes in London…
We expect judges to not let their personal opinions influence their judicial decisions. But it’s silly to expect judges to be automatons with no feelings. They hurt, they cry — and just like everybody else, they get angry when they have to deal with assholes.
Sadly being an asshole isn’t a crime, and so one Canadian judge just had to suck it up and let a Canadian junior hockey player charged with assault go free. But not before the judge gave the defendant a little piece of his mind. The CBC reports (gavel bang: Deadspin):
Junior hockey player Chris Doyle was found not guilty of assault Friday, but received some harsh words from P.E.I. Judge John Douglas.
“If he was charged with being a colossal asshole, I would find him guilty,” said Douglas, chief judge of the provincial court.
“Of assault causing bodily harm, I find him not guilty.”
Make no mistake. Judge Douglas was right to point out that Chris Doyle was a giant douchebag…
Last week the Chicago Bar Association held a What Not To Wear Fashion Show [PDF]. The announcement for the event essentially promised a Project Runway for law students, with “guest judges and fashion industry experts” to critique law students selections for “professional attire.”
We imagined 1L women teetering down the walkway in Victoria’s Secret skirt suits and hooker heels, and 2L men sporting scruff and pinstripes, and the judges snarkily lecturing them on proper Esquire attire.
So we rounded up two legal bloggers in the Chicago area and asked them to attend and report back. We sent Legally Fabulous — a 3L who “often dies a little on the inside at the things she sees her classmates wearing for interviews” — and Attractive Nuisance, a Chicago associate who writes for ExitStrategy.
Attractive Nuisance called the event “How To Dress Like A Lawyer As Told By Some Women Haters, Old Men And Random Law Students.” Legally Fabulous was most impressed by the advice from Professor Maureen Collins of John Marshall Law School:
[She] had some of the best quotes of the night, including:
“The interview world is no place for a cheap, ugly tie.”
“I shouldn’t know anything about your underwear… bra straps are meant to be hidden”
“Khakis were invented for men who can’t match clothes”
“Maybe you bought your suit at Express or somewhere… and you bent over to get a Danish and I can see your tramp stamp.”
It’s hard for us to imagine a law professor uttering the words tramp stamp — a derogatory term for a tattoo on a woman’s mid-lower back. But after hearing Clarence Thomas say “TTT,” we suppose anything is possible.
After high school, one should throw out all clothes purchased at Express. Other tips for the fashion clueless, after the jump.
Let’s take a brief break from covering people leaving the Supreme Court and potential replacements, and focus on somebody who is not going anywhere any time soon. In a sports-centric interview with the Philadelphia Daily News, Justice Samuel Alito goes into some depth about his love for the game of baseball and the Philadelphia Phillies.
You know it’s a good interview if I’m covering a right-leaning Justice who likes the Phillies. It’s not easy to write with tears in your eyes. But Alito makes it worthwhile by showing us a little bit of his personal life:
On the shelves are a Phillies cap, several framed pictures depicting various Phillies players, autographed baseballs, a book on the 1950 Phillies Whiz Kids and other Phillies-related memorabilia.
Justice Alito’s work couldn’t be more serious. The decisions he participates in have an enormous impact on the country. Baseball is his escape. And the Phillies have always been his favorite team.
We’ve noted that baseball is such a natural fit with the judicial process. Alito also gives us the scoop on the favorite teams of other SCOTUS Justices:
Unfortunately I had a bet with Justice [Sonia] Sotomayor about the outcome of the World Series. She’s a Yankees fan. Justice [Antonin] Scalia is a Yankees fan. So we had a bet, cheesesteaks vs. Nathan’s hot dogs, and I had to provide Nathan’s hot dogs.
Justice [Stephen] Breyer is a Red Sox fan and Justice [John Paul] Stevens is a Cubs fan. He claims to have been present when Babe Ruth called his shot [in the 1932 World Series] at Wrigley Field. [Smiling] Although about 200,000 people claim to have been in attendance at that game, I trust him that he actually was.
What about John “The Umpire” Roberts? Meh, he probably just roots for a well-played game.
Alito also has some thoughts on the great baseball debates on our time. What would he do if he had a Hall of Fame vote?
Ed. note: Law Shucks focuses on life in, and after, BigLaw, including by tracking layoffs, bonuses, and laterals. Above the Law is pleased to bring you this weekly column, which analyzes news at the world’s top law firms.
Law-firm layoffs have fallen from a peak of 3,682 in March ’09 to 164 in March ’10. Although firms continue to lay people off, firms are increasingly looking for alternative ways to manage their finances. The Law Shucks “This Week in Layoffs” column had evolved to include those alternatives.
Now, we’re taking the next step and expanding the scope further in this new column. We’ll continue with recaps of layoffs and the related economic events (salaries, start dates, PPP, etc), but will also cover a broader range of events in BigLaw.
BigLaw is slow to change, though. After the jump, we kick off the new column with the old stalwart: layoffs.
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 seven years. You can reach them by email: email@example.com.
It’s that time of year again when JDs are starting to apply for 2L summer jobs and 2L summers are deciding which practice area to focus on.
For those JDs with an interest in potentially lateraling to or transferring to Asia in the future, please feel free to reach out to Kinney for advice on firm choices, interviewing and practice choices, relating to future marketability in Asia, or for a general discussion on your particular Asia markets of interest. This is of course a free of cost service for those who some years in the future may be our future industry contacts or perhaps even clients.
For some years now Kinney’s Asia head, Evan Jowers, has been formally advising Harvard Law students with such questions, as the Asia expert in Harvard Law’s “Ask The Experts Market Program” each summer and fall, with podcasts and scheduled phone calls. This has been an enjoyable and productive experience for all involved.
Whether you’re fresh off the bar exam or hitting your stride after hanging a shingle a few years ago, one thing’s for certain: independent attorneys who start a solo or small-law practice live with a certain amount of stress.
Non-attorneys would think the stress comes from preparing for a big trial, deposing a hostile witness, or crafting the perfect contract for a picky client.
But that’s nothing compared to the constant, nagging, real-life kind, the kind you get from the day-to-day grind of being a law-abiding attorney.
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Additional information can be located on our website, at www.sgtlaw.com.