Let’s give a round of applause to these great firms.
Earlier this week, the American Lawyer released the results of its annual survey of Biglaw midlevel associates (third-, fourth-, and fifth-year associates at large law firms). We’ll start with the good news: midlevels seem to be quite happy. The average composite score for satisfaction hit 4.08 — the highest in a decade, and higher even than last year’s healthy figure.
But just like last year, which revealed a significant gender gap in terms of job satisfaction, this year’s rosy news comes with caveats. The latest survey shows, for example, that women, African-American, and LGBT lawyers are less satisfied than their non-minority counterparts in terms of measures like training, fairness of evaluations, and partnership prospects.
Now let’s move on to the juicy stuff: the firms with the happiest — and unhappiest — associates. Plus a new ranking from Am Law, focusing on which law schools best prepared their students for Biglaw life….
Just as the Egyptians marked the passage of time by the flooding of the Nile Delta, Above the Law can mark time by the release of the annual law school rankings by U.S. News. Or, more precisely, to the deluge of “get off my lawn” complaints from crusty old deans complaining that the rankings are useless and should be entirely ignored. Unless their school made a significant leap. Culling the public statements of these “butthurt deans” is such a joyous task we’ve labeled it a parade.
They proclaim that the rankings are “not accurate” and unreliable because they constantly shift and that students can receive an excellent education regardless of a dismal ranking. Every time a law school drops, a Communications grad toiling in an administrative office gets his wings.
Some people work really hard explaining how no ranking of this kind could have any value. After all, no one gets as worked up about the rankings for undergraduate institutions. Or B-schools, or even med schools. Isn’t that proof that all these rankings are arbitrary?
Well, it turns out you really, really, should be paying attention to law school rankings, and here’s the evidence to prove it….
* President Obama suggested he may be able to nominate a new SCOTUS justice before he leaves office in 2017. When reached for comment, Justice Ginsburg noted: “Bitch, please.” [POLITICO]
* Chief Justice John Roberts has been asked to stay the Fourth Circuit’s decision as to Virginia’s same-sex marriage case, lest the state truly become a place for all lovers. [National Law Journal]
* Whitey Bulger is appealing his conviction, claiming he didn’t receive a fair trial because he wasn’t allowed to testify that a prosecutor who had since died once promised him immunity. Aww. [WSJ Law Blog]
* On the whole, school rankings matter generally, but law school rankings can be truly meaningful when it comes to getting a job after graduation. Don’t believe me? Check out these graphs. [Forbes]
* “They’re not the one if this fails will have a law degree that we cant do anything with.” Students at Concordia Law are starting to feel the pain of attending a yet-to-be accredited law school. [KBOI 2]
* Let’s get ready to rumble! Not wanting to be left out of the party, Oklahoma has also asked the Supreme Court to take a look at its same-sex marriage statute which was recently slapped down by the Tenth Circuit. [National Law Journal]
* Dewey know what financial restructuring adviser Joff Mitchell of Zolfo Cooper said to this failing firm’s partners right before it flopped for good? “Look, there is no way here to save this firm.” Ouch. That had to have sucked. [Forbes]
* The examiner who was appointed to monitor law firm billing for the City of Detroit’s bankruptcy is now questioning Dentons’ fees of up to $27K per month to talk to the press. Whoa there… [Detroit Free Press]
* Working Mother and Flex-Time Lawyers have released the latest ranking of the Top 50 Law Firms for Women. Vivia Chen feels “a bit dirty” after reading the list — and you probably should, too. [The Careerist]
* Leisure Suit Larry’s successors are here to stay for a while: Case Western Reserve Law’s co-interim deans will stay on in their current positions for the upcoming school year. [Crain's Cleveland Business]
A quality building may not be more important than a school capable of getting you a job, but there are advantages to nice buildings. If you’re going to law school, you will have to spend significant time there, so it may as well be nice. If you’re an alum, it’s always nice to see your donation to the school went to something nice.
So did your law school make the list of the top 50 best law school buildings in the world?
If you’re still searching for a law school to call your home for the next three years, then it would be wise to try to get one where you’ll be surrounded by the best of the best, academically speaking. If possible, you’ll want to attend a law school that’s located at the tippy top of the U.S. News law school rankings — one where those applying have high GPAs and even higher LSAT scores.
For those new to the law school game, the schools with the very best applicants are generally located in the Top 14 of the U.S. News rankings (and in the Above the Law rankings, too).
But which of those schools has the highest median LSAT scores? As it turns out, U.S. News has a handy dandy list, but not all law schools in the T14 are on this list. Why? Let’s check it out…
Not since its pursuit was enshrined in the Declaration of Independence has “happiness” had a bigger cultural moment than now, and not just because of that “room without a roof” earworm. There is a new and rapidly growing science of happiness, a mash-up of economics and psychology sometimes called “hedonics,” which tells us that money can buy happiness, but only to a point. Meanwhile, in corporate America, we witness the emergence of a new C-suite character, the Chief Happiness Officer, who is responsible for employee contentment. Sort of like an HR director, but smiling and magical.
Recently, the U.S. National Bureau of Economic Research released a paper, “Unhappy Cities,” reporting the findings of a major survey asking respondents about their satisfaction with life. The authors, academics from Harvard and the University of British Columbia, found that there are persistent differences in self-reported subjective well-being across U.S. cities and, unsurprisingly, residents of declining cities are less happy than other Americans. (Interestingly, the authors suggest that these unhappy, declining cities were also unhappy during their more prosperous pasts.)
So there are unhappy cities; there are also unhappy (and relatively happier) law schools. When ATL’s own Staci Zaretsky learned that Springfield, Massachusetts — home of her alma mater, the Western New England University School of Law — made the list of unhappiest cities, it came as no surprise: “It’s hard to tell where the local misery ends and that of the law school begins.” Prompted by Staci’s observation, we wondered whether unhappy cities make for unhappy local law students. Or is the law school experience so intense and self-contained that one’s surroundings have little impact? What are law students in the happiest (and unhappiest) cities in the country telling us about their own personal satisfaction?
* With all the fire-breathing over the humanitarian crisis at the Mexican border, Texas Judge Clay Jenkins stands out for being reasonable. “I don’t feel like we have to solve the border crisis for a terrified child to be shown some compassion.” Why don’t we hear about more people like Judge Jenkins? This article suggests there’s a deeper problem with the media. [Dallas Observer]
* I’ve been beating the drum that the Obamacare cases aren’t bound for SCOTUS because the D.C. Circuit will reverse Halbig en banc. The contrary view is that the Supreme Court may not let the lack of a real circuit split stand in its way. [Constitutional Accountability Center]
* Outrage over the government’s school lunch health standards have Republicans fighting back at the state level. Remember, we need fatass kids because… freedom! [National Journal]
* The Second Circuit approved antibiotics in animal feed for animals that aren’t even sick. Enjoy your superbugs! [Kitchenette / Jezebel]
* Judge allegedly fell asleep during a child rape case. It’s not like it’s an important case or anything. [Gawker]
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The Trust Women conference is an influential gathering that brings together global corporations, lawyers and pioneers in the field of women’s rights. Unlike many other events, Trust Women delegates take action and forge tangible commitments to empower women to know and defend their rights.
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