Let’s continue our march through the U.S. News law school rankings. Today we finish up the traditional top-14 — and we’ll throw in the schools tied for 15th, because we’re pretty sick of hearing UT and UCLA students whine. To refresh your memory, here’s the next group of schools:
All joking aside, dropping to #6 is really not that big of a deal. NYU Law students will be fine — check out how the kicked it on the basketball court just after the rankings came out…
Former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich has been charged with corruption for — among other things — allegedly attempting to sell Barack Obama’s vacated Senate seat to the highest bidder. Blagojevich has not been hiding from the public eye. Since being charged, he has appeared on the Late Show with David Letterman and competed in The Celebrity Apprentice (Donald Trump fired him in the fourth episode).
The trial is set for June 3. Blagojevich’s defense team is sparring with federal prosecutors over the 500 hours of recordings from secret FBI wiretaps, and how they should be used at trial. The big-haired former governor wants jurors to sit through 200 hours of tape.
Blagojevich’s love of being on camera has not faded. He has a J.D. from Pepperdine, but must have a certification in spin and cliché from some other venerable institution. He issued a challenge to U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald at a press conference on Tuesday. The bombastic display drew media cameras, but didn’t do much to bring the judge around to his side. A round-up of Blagojevichisms from Tuesday’s press conference, after the jump.
* Arizona State is paying out $700,000 for turning the Havasupai tribe into unwitting genetic guinea pigs. [New York Times]
* Jan Crawford confirms shortlist of ten potential Supreme Court nominees with the White House. There are some new names there, including Seventh Circuit judge Ann Claire Williams and someone named “Elana Kagan.” [Crossroads/CBS]
* If Judge Diane Wood can handle Posner and Easterbrook, she can handle Scalia and Kennedy. [New York Times]
Lat here. Today’s topic: transparency in how law schools report their graduates’ “employment outcomes” — i.e., the jobs that their graduates obtain.
When we attended admitted students’ weekend at Yale Law School — back in 1996, so almost 15 years ago — we were given detailed lists showing where the past few classes ended up working. The graduates were listed in alphabetical order, and below each person’s name was the name and address of their employer. For prospective law students, it was reassuring to see so many federal judicial clerkships and large law firms on these lists. The implicit message: if you graduate — or when you graduate, since we’re talking about YLS, not known for failing people (although it does have grades) — you will be able to secure a good job.
Alas, we understand that not all law schools are so forthcoming about where their alumni end up working (or not working, in this economy). There have been widespread allegations of law schools gaming the system, by massaging or manipulating the employment data they report to the American Bar Association and, perhaps even more importantly, to U.S. News & World Reports (for use in the magazine’s highly influential law school rankings). There have even been claims of law schools outright lying about how many of their graduates wind up employed, where they end up working, and how much they earn from these jobs.
Most observers are content just to complain about law schools not being forthcoming enough about employment information. But two enterprising law students at Vanderbilt — Kyle McEntee and Patrick Lynch, a 2L and 3L, respectively — are doing more. They’ve started a nonprofit organization, Law School Transparency, which has the goal of “encouraging and facilitating the transparent flow of law school employment information.” They’ve also written a paper, A Way Forward: Improving Transparency in Employment Reporting at American Law Schools (SSRN download), proposing a new approach to reporting of job outcomes by law schools.
More details and links — plus commentary from Elie, who feels strongly about this issue — after the jump.
I am a lawyer, not a lobbyist. Goldman Sachs has hired me as a lawyer — to provide legal advice and to assist in its legal representation — and that is what I am doing.
– Greg Craig, former White House Counsel and now a partner at Skadden, explaining why he is not bound by the president’s ethics policy barring former White House officials from lobbying for two years after leaving office.
Back in March, a couple of 3Ls took it upon themselves to try to pressure Mayer Brown into letting them know their start dates. You know them as “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern,” though Rosencrantz later revealed himself to be NYU 3L, Chuck Egbuonu (a.k.a. Mr. Chuck).
Chuck and his cohort were widely criticized for essentially threatening the firm with a “public relations nightmare” unless Mayer Brown told them when they could start. Eventually Mr. Chuck reported that he had spoken with Mayer Brown regarding start dates:
I just received a phone call from partners at Mayer Brown informing me that decisions are being made as we speak, and we will be informed of the decisions in a timely manner.
We published that story on March 5th. Today is April 21st. Apparently Mayer Brown’s understanding of the phrase of “timely manner” is much like the South’s comprehension of the phrase “with all deliberate speed.”
Incoming Mayer Brown associates are about to graduate and need to know where they are going in a couple of months. But Mayer Brown seems content to make their new hires wait, and wait, and wait…
The ATL Career Center, powered by Lateral Link, is constantly being updated with responses from users and the latest news from the legal markets. While layoffs seem to have abated for the most part, many firms are now coping with the effects of the economic downturn by making major changes to compensation structures and partnership prospects.
Click here to find out what kind of salary increase associates at a certain Chicago-based firm can look forward to under the firm’s new compensation structure.
Click here to find out what associates at a certain "pedigreed" New York firm think about their chances for partnership under an increasingly "up and out" promotion system.
Use the Career Center’s firm snapshots and comparison tool to find the most up-to-date information on compensation structures, benefit programs and layoffs at dozens of Big Law firms across the country.
If you followed my reports from the Future of Legal Education conference, you’ll note that “experiential learning” was a big buzzword among those contemplating how to make their students more desirable to potential employers. Many law school deans and faculty touted their school’s experiential course offerings, ranging from traditional clinical courses to for-credit externships.
Many law students — especially ones staring at the terrible market for recent graduates — feel that these programs will help them get jobs. Why wouldn’t they? Traditional legal education doesn’t seem to be helping them, yet their law schools keep jacking up tuition.
This month, students at Georgetown University Law Center decided that GULC’s for-credit externship opportunities were not on par with the offerings at other peer institutions. The GULC Student Bar Association put together a proposal for the faculty that called for more resources to be put into the school’s experiential courses. The SBA also wanted more school credit given for externships. The proposal seems to be in keeping with what employers claim they want from law school graduates: better practical training, better understanding of client services, better legal problem solving. Isn’t that the wave of the future?
No, according to a very vocal minority of Georgetown faculty. The proposal touched off a serious debate on campus. And some professors have gotten into the fracas with heavy-hitting arguments against the proposal…
Can lawyers love one another? ATL Courtship Connection is our attempt to matchmake legal types. Initially, I had somesuccesses. But if you’re a regular reader of this column, you know that the lastfew have been the worst kind of first dates: not great, not disastrous, just kind of “eh.”
This column’s tale is similar. I set up two gay Biglaw attorneys who both named Justice Breyer as their favorite Supreme Court justice. Alas, a shared appreciation for SGB’s pragmatism did not lead to any liberal love.
Feeling discouraged, I sought out a professional. I reached out to Lisa Clampitt, a high-end matchmaker at VIP Life who started her Cupid career under the tutelage of Millionaire Matchmaker Patti Stanger, and founded the Matchmaking Institute here in New York. She manages the social calendars of 30 high-earning lawyers, doctors, financial analysts and entrepreneurs at any given time. She offered some insight on matchmaking those with JDs.
I asked her if her lawyer clients differ from her other high-earning bachelors:
Lawyers tend to have a strong analytic/cerebral element, which is helpful at the office but not necessarily in the dating world. Lawyers can bring skepticism and caution to a date that can sometimes be a little off-putting at first glance.
When setting up a lawyer, it is actually helpful to pick matches that have complementary characteristics that help to create balance. A more artistic and creative energy can be a great match for a more rational/analytical personality type.
What is your take on young associates taking pseudo-legal positions for the time being? I am strongly considering taking a job in DC (after all, it beat my current location, Chicago, in your brackets) with a federal agency. The position technically doesn’t require a J.D., though it will increase the pay. It is not ideal, but it is in my practice area. Also, the pay would be more than I have ever made, and the benefits, oh the glorious federal benefits.
My dream job would be a mid-sized boutique law firm. But (1) they generally aren’t hiring anyone right now, and (2) they specifically aren’t hiring me right now. Will no one want to touch me in a couple years because I will not have been in a firm and have been “inactive” for a couple years?
-Even Better Than the Real Thing
Dear Even Better Than the Real Thing,
Last week A few years ago, as I was rifling through my baby book looking to see if any of those damn $50 Israeli bonds had matured, I came across that classic nursery arts & crafts project, the “what I want to be when I grow up” booklet. It’s always hilarious to read things your young self once wrote, and I was curious to find out if early me could have possibly envisioned the wild success and embarrassing wealth that I currently enjoy as a weekly blogger for this site. Apparently early me didn’t dare to dream that big, as I had only hoped to become a ballerina and a model. The point of the story is that sometimes our early dreams are derailed, but they’re often replaced with a reality that is SO much better. You dream of a midsized firm, but I say, dream bigger: one day you could work at a 500+ attorney firm or, god willing, a mega firm….
Ed. Note: Our post on harsh rejection letters generated a lot of talk among people interested in applying to Small Law jobs. Donna Gerson — the author of Choosing Small, Choosing Smart — provided us with a list of tips that former-Biglaw associates should consider when applying to smaller firms.
I spend an enormous amount of time interviewing small firm practitioners throughout the U.S. and speaking to law students about the expectations small firm lawyers have when it comes to interviewing, hiring, and promotion.
The feedback from SOLOSEZ, the ABA’s solo and small firm mailing list, was on point. Take the time to write to an actual person at the firm and never use a “To Whom It May Concern” salutation. Mass mailings are the kiss of death and lawyers know when they’re getting a mail-merge monstrosity. Know what practice areas the firm engages in and write a cover letter that addresses one’s interest in those practice areas. An applicant’s cover letter ought to connect the dots for an employer and not simply recite one’s résumé. And – of course – job-seekers need to clean up their Internet presence. I cannot even begin to tell you some of the atrocious (and hilarious) stories I’ve heard over the years from legal employers about Facebook.
So what should former-Biglaw associates keep in mind when applying to Small Law?
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When Chintan Panchal decided to leave a global BigLaw partnership to start his own firm, he could only hope that he would face the high-quality problem of firm building that many had cautioned him about. Focused on the uncertainty surrounding of a new firm launch, he decided to tackle staffing needs, IT challenges, and financial planning requirements after he had built up his legal practice.
Panchal Associates LLP–a corporate/finance and outside general counsel boutique–was quickly off to a great start. Clients and matters were flying in the door, and Chintan soon had a team of lawyers and staff with a variety of operational needs. To continue building an excellent team and provide them with a competitive benefits package, to expand his physical presence to include a European practice and additional partners, and to scale his operations and IT capabilities to support this growing enterprise brought with it demands of time, money, and expertise. Chintan knew he needed help.
“With the assistance of NexFirm, we have upgraded the capabilities of our firm to meet, and in some cases exceed, the standards we were used to at our former BigLaw firms. Operationally, we can now attract and service clients we didn’t have the bandwidth to support in the past, and continue to build our team with the best and brightest legal talent in the industry,” said Chintan Panchal, adding “It has worked out quite well in our case; NexFirm is an essential partner for us.”
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…
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