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?
Suppose your company has a system: All payments are run through the finance center in New York; all emails are encrypted by a certain process; all reports on a certain subject contain items 1 through 10.
As sure as I’m sitting here, someone on the sales side of your company will tell you that we must make an exception for his new client. For this client only, we should run the payments through Canada, use a different encryption service, or delete item 5 and add items 11 through 14 to the report.
Because you’re reasonable, you’ll explain that this isn’t possible: “We have a system that is hard-wired into the computers. We have 3000 different clients. We are able to offer clients only what the system permits. If we start making exceptions for particular clients, then costs will escalate and we’re sure to make mistakes. Please don’t ask us to tailor our systems to fit your client, because we just can’t.”
The sales guy will then sputter and turn red in the face: “But this client is different! This is the firm’s biggest client! And the best! And the one with the highest margin!” . . .
* In November, Supreme Court justices engaged in the “totally unnecessary” practice of releasing 41 pages of nondecision opinions. In all fairness, we can’t really blame them for enjoying hearing themselves speak. [National Law Journal]
* These D.C. Circuit judges of differing political viewpoints “disagreed less than 3 percent of the time” over the course of two decades. Please, keep arguing about the court’s “ideological balance.” You’re accomplishing lots. [New York Times]
* With more tie-ups than ever before and another record broken, 2013 is officially the year of full-blown law firm merger mania. Query how many more we’ll be able to add to the already huge list of 78 by the end of December. [Am Law Daily]
* Speaking of which, Baker Hostetler is merging with Woodcock Washburn, an intellectual property firm with a name that sounds like the aftercare instructions for a painful sex toy injury. [Philadelphia Inquirer]
* Of course a fired ADA’s scandalous emails landed on BuzzFeed. This is one more embarrassing chapter in the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office’s terrible, horrible, no good, very bad year. [New York Times]
* It’s amazing how things can change in a year. In 2012, New York bar pass rates for in-state schools fell. In 2013, they’re up — except for one school, which is way down. Which one? [New York Law Journal]
Because if you are, you might be a douche. The ATL gang didn’t all agree on how to respond to the story of students at UCLA Law donning Team Sander shirts and decided to record their real-time reactions to the story.
Was it intentionally racist? Unintentionally racist? Is unintentional racism even worse than intentional racism because of how it tries to excuse itself? Is UCLA Law racist for employing this guy?
* Paramount is flexing its legal muscles to stop producers from making a sequel to It’s a Wonderful Life. Wait, Hollywood is trying to stop a mindless and unnecessary sequel? Where was this Paramount when they greenlit Kingdom of the Crystal Skull? [Indiewire]
* Are you a “young, outgoing lawyer and recent law school grad” looking for your big break? Because it looks like a TV show may want to talk to you. [Get Entry Level Attorney Jobs]
* Remember the woman who accused the Duke Lacrosse team of rape? She was convicted of second degree murder today. Yikes. [The Expert Institute]
* This is an awesome program: a number of lawyers are helping first responders prepare wills for free. [KEZI]
* Overzealous IT guy who tried to keep everyone at work locked out of the system because “he was the only person capable of running the network” is going to jail. If you’ve ever dealt with some form of this guy, this story is like a dream come true. [IT-Lex]
* A majority of students say that a two-year law school program would make them more likely to go to law school. This is the best argument against a two-year program ever. [Valley News Live]
* Full-time jobs will exceed the number of law school grads by 2016. Except this assumes the number of legal jobs holds steady, which is a hell of an assumption when demand for legal services is still in decline. [Tax Prof Blog]
* A company’s lawyer had secret communications with a judge and ultimately secured a multimillion dollar verdict. The Mississippi Supreme Court frowned on that behavior. [Cleveland Plain-Dealer]
* For the 50th anniversary of the assassination of JFK by Fidel Castrothe MafiaLBJALF Lee Harvey Oswald, here’s a look at just how difficult it is to kill chief executives these days. [Vocativ]
Ed. note: This is another installment in a series of posts from the ATL Career Center’s team of expert contributors. Today, Casey Berman, founder of Leave Law Behind, a blog and community that focuses on helping unhappy attorneys leave the law, discusses the truth behind the phrase “you can do anything with a law degree” and lists nine real-life, non-legal jobs that are in fairly good alignment with an attorney’s skill set and can realistically be a stepping stone for a lawyer to leave the law behind.
Many of us unhappy attorneys are tired, exhausted, and frustrated with the practice of law. We are confused as to how, after all of the work we did in law school, all of the loans we took out, all of the hard work we did as an associate attorney, we now sit three, five, eight, 12 or more years in and wonder, “I’m not happy. How did this happen?”
So, we decide, yes, we want to leave the law behind and do something else. We want to find another job that pays well, that provides us with meaning and self-worth. And we are encouraged by that oft repeated advice, “You can do anything with a law degree.”
And so we begin to think of other things to do, anything. But soon, this optimistic phrase that is supposed to encourage us can actually begin to stress us out.
Career services is a tough racket in this market. The employers are blowing you off, the school is riding you to boost their rankings, and the students are coming to grips with the gravity of their mistake and are getting increasingly panicked about their prospects.
And this pressure is much worse when you’re running career services for a school below that T14 level.
But sympathizing with career services does not extend to forgiving a ridiculous stunt like this. There are a lot of ways to spend money to help students get jobs. Career services decided to skip that step…
The holiday season is upon us, and we hope that we’ll be the first ones on your list when you schedule your party destination plans. Just in case the giant ad bar at the top of the site wasn’t a good enough reminder about the Above the Law holiday party, I’m here to give you all of the details again.
Thursday, December 5, 2013
7:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m. at Dewey’s Flatiron in New York, New York
OPEN BAR FOR ALL THREE HOURS
You’ll get to meet all of the Above the Law editors, some of our finest columnists, and sample each of our specialty drinks. Alcohol is a great social lubricant, and we know that all of our guests will be especially well-lubed (which is almost definitely what she said).
Dewey think you’re going to have a blast at our holiday party? Totally! You know you want to come. RSVP below to join in all the fun:
My colleagues think that there are going to be some law students who didn’t know that the t-shirts they were wearing were offensive to some of their African-American classmates, and when they find out they’ve caused offense they’re going to be all sorry. I think that people knew exactly what they were doing with their offensive shirts and, at best, you’ll hear some after-the-fact rationalization from students who claim to be just stupid enough to “not even see race.” And of course they’ll be some who don’t even think these t-shirts are offensive at all, because why would evidence that minorities were offended matter to people who don’t care about black people? So this is going to be a really fun post.
You see, it’s a subtle thing. A few students wore t-shirts emblazoned with the image of one of their professors. And it’s not like the professor is David Duke. Hell, he’s employed by a respected law school, so at least some people think the professor isn’t intolerably racist. Just not black people….
Well la dee da! Future lawyers of America, welcome to the show. She’s not a lawyer yet, so don’t hate her; root for her to win this….
– Drew Carey, host of The Price Is Right, upon learning that contestant Monique Boyce is a Georgetown law student (around 19:10 in the video). Congratulations to Monique on winning the Showcase Showdown!
In these highly charged political times, you tend to hear the term “nanny state” thrown around quite a bit. Whether it’s the mayor of a major US city lovingly playing psy-ops with citizens on vices like cigarettes and soda, or an otherwise sane nation keeping its citizens safe from the horrors of accurately depicted street view maps, the general impression is that the government in question doesn’t think enough of its own people to allow them to live out their lives as they choose. And, while a simple stroll down the street might cause me to have some sympathy with their premise, most of us tend not to believe that our governments should be in the business of social-engineering our free choices (even though that’s essentially the business they’re in).
But sometimes a nanny state action moves beyond the mildly frustrating and into the realm of the hilarious. Reader btr1701 writes in about one such instance, in which the government of Sweden is engaging in some manner of performance art on the silliness of over-regulation by the government.
Shortly after I was hired to write terrible Morning Docket entries for this website, I went to one of those ATL holiday shindigs in New York. Free booze and the chance to hobnob with the kind of people I actively shunned during law school was too great an opportunity to pass up. When I arrived at the bar, I scanned the room for my website superiors. I quickly spotted Lat, breakdancing in front of the jukebox and screaming lines from the movie Chairman of the Board. Perhaps I’ll introduce myself another day, I thought. Elie was a little harder to find. Is that him? What about him? He could be anyone, I said to myself. Trapped in a room of Elie clones.
I began to strike up conversations with everyone.
It wasn’t until the wee hours of the morning that I began chatting with a meek, retiring fellow. I had to lean in to hear his thoughts as he spoke in something barely above a whisper. Whenever I asked this man a question, his responses were peppered with equivocations like “Well, I don’t know” or “That’s complicated.” A hard man to pin down, this one. But the elegant subtlety of his opinions intrigued. Enraptured by this humble man’s quiet reserve, I was shocked when he apologized profusely for his poor etiquette and introduced himself. “I’m Elie Mystal.”
Naw, just playing. Yesterday, Elie sent me an email that began “Defend YOUR BOY now! And by “your boy,” I mean Alex Rodriguez.”
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.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
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