Lawyers are obsessed with rankings. When the new U.S. Newslaw school rankings come out each year, our readers swarm around them like sharks who smell blood in the water.
And with good reason. Where you went to school matters in this profession. In our series of open threads about the rankings, Elie commented in the posts on the third tier and fourth tier schools that only a lucky few of their graduates would be able to score jobs that pay the big bucks.
So how good exactly do you have to be to appeal to employers?
Shell Oil is currently advertising for an in-house position. Shell is willing to accept applications for graduates from all four tiers — unlike U.S. News, Shell recognizes and defines the “Tier II” schools (#51-#100) — but the lower down your school is on the U.S. News rankings, the closer to the top of your class you have to be.
So exactly what rank do you have to be to qualify for a BigOil law job?
It’s just one exam, but you know that Cornell law students can be somewhat skittish. The school is ranked #13 by U.S. News, and so their spot in the top-14 is always under attack.
After our story about the contracts exam, one Cornell law student did some research about the school and its competitors. He put together a pretty interesting rankings of law schools — based entirely on Above the Law coverage.
Below, we reprint his (admittedly nutty) message to the Cornell listserv in full. If members from other schools want to do something similar, feel free to check out our archives for ammunition against your competitors.
For now, enjoy this humorous take on law school rankings:
This is the end
This is the end
My only friend, the end
We’ve come to the end of the U.S. News Law School Rankings. The Fourth Tier. The schools that are friends to those who will do anything in order to go to law school. Here is an open thread to discuss these schools, collectively or individually, and to compare and contrast.
Are any of these schools worth the price of admission? Well maybe for the Lulz. Check out how even high-achieving students get treated at 4th tier Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School…
SMU Dedman School of Law is now officially willing to pay law firms to hire its graduates. The school is calling its new program “Test Drive,” which adds a nice layer of hilarity: Toyota wouldn’t pay me to test drive a Camry.
Even the logo for this program screams sadness:
Let’s look at the blast email from SMU career services…
What do your clients think of your firm? Unfortunately, in-house counsel don’t usually send a review of services along when they’re paying their Biglaw bill. But a number of them do rate firms when asked to by Corporate Board Member magazine. It has released its 10th annual list of top law firms, based on what those paying the bills think of the firms.
The rankings are based on a survey of over 2,200 general counsel and 8,500 directors serving on boards of publicly traded companies. GCs were asked to select “up to 10 national firms they would choose to aid them should their company need a firm of national scope and reputation,” and the directors were asked who they would call when they had legal issues. In a press release accompanying the list, the magazine’s CEO says:
“When it comes to trust and loyalty, it is obvious these firms have both the depth and breadth of expertise boards are looking for as well as the necessary staying power to deliver it—even in challenging economic times,” said TK Kerstetter, president and CEO of Corporate Board Member.
It’s time for us to discuss the third tier law schools. Every year, U.S. News ranks the top 100 law schools, and then throws everybody else into the third tier morass (which is better than the fourth tier morass, I suppose).
We won’t list them all, but you can click here to check them out.
One could argue that the legal profession would be better if there were just 100 ABA accredited law schools (as opposed to 200). One could argue that we should have very different kinds of law schools: a top 100 that caters to Biglaw, big time clerkships, and elite legal work, and another “tier” of law schools that better prepares graduates for small law and the kind of low cost legal services we need more of.
One cannot credibly argue that the price of these third tier institutions should be similar to the first and second tier schools we’ve previously discussed.
But don’t try to get the administration at these schools to reduce the cost of the education just because the debts put their graduates in a bad financial situation…
Though these rankings pages purport to rank the “party-ness” of the top 102 law schools, they might better be described as “quality-of-life” rankings. Why the misnomer? Sensationalism mainly. Don’t be too disappointed though, these “quality-of-life” rankings have far more utility than any strict “party” rankings could provide.
Check out the full methodology here. My favorite factor:
Value: 10% total score.
Based on the amount of bars and liquor stores within a one-mile radius of the law school. This category benefited schools located in large metropolitan areas.
Enough with the preamble, let’s get to the top law schools to go to if you want to have some fun for three years while placing yourself in a massive debt hole…
We have finally come to the last batch of top-100 law schools according to U.S. News.
These are law schools that should not be called “TTT.” They aren’t in the third tier. Okay? They are in the top-100. That means that U.S. News thinks they are better than at least 100 other law schools incomprehensibly accredited by the ABA. Let’s all remember that as I list these schools:
78. Loyola (Chicago) 78. UNLV (Boyd) 80. Chicago-Kent 80. LSU 80. Rutgers 80. University of Denver (Strum) 80. Oregon 86. Hofstra 86. Indiana University – Indianapolis (IUPUI) 86. Northeastern 86. Seattle 86. Syracuse 86. Arkansas 86. Richmond 93. Chapman 93. Santa Clara 93. Missouri 93. Nebraska 93. West Virginia 98. Catholic University of America 98. Depaul 98. San Francisco 98. University of the Pacific 98. William Mitchell College of Law
Sometimes, if you don’t have anything nice to say, you shouldn’t say anything at all. And you know what, the level of acrimony and lack of civility flying around Above the Law the past two weeks has been really ridiculous. So, after the jump, I will endeavor to say one nice thing about every school in this batch…
Welcome to the top … of the second tier. We are at the point where the value proposition of going to law school is questionable. But the “nailing attractive co-eds” possibilities remain high. Check out some of the schools ranked in this batch. If you are going to spend three years and six figures on something, you’re going to need more than illusory job prospects to keep you warm at night:
54. Florida State
54. Yale Law School’s Hartford Campus/University of Connecticut (j/k)
56. Case Western Reserve
56. Loyola (Los Angeles)
56. San Diego
60. Georgia State
60. University of Houston
64. Lewis & Clark College
67. New Mexico
72. Penn State
72. Seton Hall
72. St. John’s
See what I’m saying. I bet young law students are just cutting a swath through the undergrads at Yeshiva University.
Seriously though, FSU, Miami, Rocky Top, Ha-freaking-Waii. Good times! You know, unless you want to get a job…
You can access the various charts via this portal page. Aric Press and Greg Mulligan summarize the results:
It could have been worse. That’s the best that can be said for the performance last year of The Am Law 100, the top-grossing law firms in the nation. Three of the four key categories we’ve measured for 25 years — gross revenue, head count, and revenue per lawyer — fell, while profits per equity partner (PPP) barely increased by 0.3 percent, or $3,463, to $1.26 million.
So PPP was basically stable in 2009 — not a bad result given the continuing economic weakness last year. Perhaps law firm partners are better business managers than they get credit for?
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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.
Deal flow has clearly picked recently up for most US associates, counsels and partners in Hong Kong/China and Singapore. We are on the phone with a lot of these folks on a daily basis, many of whom we have known for years. Further, the head of our Asia team, Evan Jowers, and Kinney’s founder and president, Robert Kinney, frequently meet in person with leading US partners in Asia to assess their needs and keep on top of the inside scoop at as many firms as possible. The need for legal recruiting help in Asia from experienced recruiters appears to be live and well. In March, Evan and Robert were in Beijing at such meetings, in April, Evan was in Hong Kong, and for half of June Evan will be in Shanghai and Hong Kong. Thus its pretty easy for us to tell when there has been an across-the-market pick up in capital markets and corporate work.
On an average day in Asia when Evan and Robert visit firms, they typically have 5 to 9 meetings a day, mostly with US partners in the market. The reason they have these meetings is not simply because Kinney makes a lot of US attorney placements in Asia and that a particular firm may have openings; instead these are just visits with friends. After years of working together as business partners, the folks at Kinney are actually these peoples’ friends. The firms Kinney work closely with in Asia (which is just about every law firm – call us if you want to know the one firm in the world we will never place anyone with again, ever, and why) look forward to the visits, or at least act like they do. After seven years in the market, many of the client partners are former associate candidates. Also, these US partners see Kinney as a very good source of market information as well, because they know how deep their contacts are in the market and how frequently they are speaking to counterparts at peer firms.
In a land that is right here and in a time that is right now, a technology has arisen so powerful that it can replace basic human document review. Is it time to bow down before our new robot overlords?
First, here’s a little story about me: my life in the legal world began as a paralegal. My first case was a GIANT patent infringement case that was already six years old and had involved as many as five companies, multiple US courts, the ITC and an international standards committee. I knew nothing about any of this.
On my first day, my supervisor (a paralegal with at least eight other cases driving her crazy) sat me down in front of a Concordance database with a 100,000+ patents and patent file histories. “Code these,” she said. I learned that “coding”, for the purposes of this exercise, meant manually typing the inventor’s name, the title of the patent, the assignee, the file date, and other objective data for each document. I worked on that project – and only that project – for at least the first six months of my job. After a week or so, time began to blur.
What I know, in retrospect and with absolutely certainty, is that as time began to blur, so did my judgment. So did my attention to detail. If you could tell me that I did not make at least one mistake a day – one inconsistent spelling, one reversed day and month, one incorrectly spaced title – I frankly would need to see your evidence. I would not believe it. The human mind is trainable but it is not a machine.
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