I don’t know about you, but I would love to be a law school dean. Hell, I’d be the dean of the crappiest law school available. I’d crush the faculty, elevate career services, bottom-out tuition, teach “business management” courses during the useless third year, and ask 0Ls to submit a “career business plan” instead of a personal essay when they apply.
So… where do I send my application?
Actually, there’s a law school in Texas that posted its deanship opening on Symplicity…
As all sentient beings are aware, we have a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad legal job market. According to NALP data, the industry is down 50,000 jobs since 2008 and there is no reason to believe they will ever reappear. If you ignore school-funded positions (5% of the total number of jobs), this market is worse than its previous low point of 1993-1994. In light of these grim economic realities, we feel that potential law students should prioritize their future job prospects over other factors in deciding whether to attend law school. To put it mildly, inputs- (LSATs, GPAs, per capita spending, etc.) and reputational survey-based law school rankings schemes have proved unsatisfactory. Hence our release last week of the ATL Top 50 Law Schools, which is based on nothing but outcomes.
(Although he probably disapproves of all rankings, it must be said that the legal world owes a great debt to Kyle McEntee and his colleagues at Law School Transparency. LST has forced us all to look at the publicly available employment data, submitted by the schools to the ABA, in a more meaningful way. Like all good ideas, it seems obvious in retrospect.)
We received a ton of feedback and comments regarding our rankings and our methodology, much of it thoughtful and substantive. (Our very own Elie Mystal weighed in with this takedown the day after we published.) Quite a few recurrent criticisms emerged from the comments. Of course there’s no perfect dataset or methodology. At best, rankings are a useful simulacrum and just one of many tools available to 0Ls for researching and comparing schools.
What follows are the most common criticisms of the ATL Top 50 Law Firms rankings….
* The horror! The horror! Sacrilege! Constitutional law nerds nationwide will weep at the very thought of someone suggesting that our country’s governing document be amended to abolish life tenure for Supreme Court justices. [Los Angeles Times]
* Quite frankly, it’s pretty amazing how quickly the preclearance section of the Voting Rights Act went from being seen by states as something that wasn’t “onerous” to being “arbitrary and burdensome.” That’s politics for you. [It's All Politics / NPR]
* Jim Woolery, an M&A superstar formerly of J.P. Morgan, has made the jump to Cadwalader after only two years at the bank. Upgrade or downgrade from his Cravath partnership? [Wall Street Journal (sub. req.)]
* It you want to be employed, make damn sure you nail your interview because “[t]he stakes are higher than ever” — fewer than 13 percent of permanent law jobs were obtained from OCI in 2011. [National Law Journal]
* Greenlight Capital’s case against Apple might have been perceived as a “silly sideshow” by some, but it looks like Judge Richard Sullivan of the S.D.N.Y. purchased front row tickets. [DealBook / New York Times]
* Speaking of silly sideshows, the DOJ recently joined the fray with Floyd Landis and his False Claims Act suit against Lance Armstrong. Perhaps it’s time for the disgraced biker to take his ball and go home. [Bloomberg]
* Alan Westin, privacy law scholar and professor emeritus of public law at Columbia, RIP. [New York Times]
There has been a lot of law school dean news these past few days. On Friday, a tipster asked us to help with the NYU Law dean search (we were happy to oblige). Earlier today, we talked about the ridiculous salaries some law deans earn. Now we get to talk about a dean who has been pushed out of his law school. The law school dean carousel is just as interesting as the NFL coaching carousel… only the NFL has the Rooney Rule to ensure that a diverse group of people get an opportunity to interview for the jobs.
Usually, law deans gracefully exit as respected (and wealthy) members of the legal academy. But apparently that’s not how they do things in Texas. A year ago Christmas, the University of Texas unceremoniously ousted its law school dean. This holiday season, it appears that Texas’s number-two law school (more on that below) was busy throwing its dean under the bus.
Even though the job market for new lawyers is still stagnant and depressing, going to and graduating from law school, especially a highly-ranked law school, is still looked upon by friends and family as a huge accomplishment. It’s something to be proud of, something to brag about.
After all, law school graduates have completed three to four years of relatively difficult work, and most take a state bar examination — neither of which is viewed as a simple feat by the general public. Factor into this equation being a middle-aged working mother, and these achievements seem even greater.
Imagine what would happen if someone claimed that she had finished all of this rigorous legal training, when in fact, she never had. It’s all pomp and circumstance until someone discovers that you’ve allegedly been lying through your teeth for years.
That is exactly what happened in Texas recently, and now campus officials are investigating a woman who claims that she attended a law school that was, until recently, a top 50 law school in the U.S. News rankings….
* Kleiner Perkins responded to Ellen Pao’s gender discrimination suit, and it’s not pretty. Not only does the firm’s answer deny her allegations, but it also calls into question her work product. [San Jose Mercury News]
* Joe Amendola’s preferred strategy at the Jerry Sandusky trial seems to be the use of the “tried and tested technique” of ignoring all of the alleged accusers’ tears and making them cry all over again. [New York Times]
* Who in their right mind would attempt to fake being a lawyer these days? Michelle Fyfe, a 43-year-old woman from Texas, is accused of forging a law degree from SMU Dedman School of Law. [Dallas Morning News (sub. req.)]
* Say hello to Baltimore Law’s new dean, Ronald Weich, the former assistant attorney general who penned the notorious false gun letter to Congress. Surely this ex-DOJ official will stand up to Bogomolny. [The Hill]
* This must be like getting it caught in your zipper — but much, much worse. A Brooklyn man claims that members of the NYPD “strangled his penis,” so he’s suing. [Huffington Post via Courthouse News Service]
* Reuben G. Clark Jr., a founding partner of Wilmer Cutler & Pickering (WilmerHale), RIP. [Washington Post]
Maybe for some people, hearing that someone you’ve met was class valedictorian for high school, college, or law school is still impressive. I’m not one of those people, but maybe I’m in the minority. A controversy is currently brewing at Southern Methodist University’s Dedman School of Law over this year’s choice for valedictorian.
Some soon-to-be graduates are upset that a transfer student earned the title. It’s just not fair, they say, to swoop in after an easy-peasy year at some lower-ranked school and show up at a new school to demolish everyone else’s GPAs by comparison.
Let’s see the details of what’s happening down in Texas, and then take a poll: do you think transfer students should be able to earn the valedictorian title?
I remember watching Legally Blonde while I was in law school and realizing even then how unrealistic it was. Don’t get me wrong, I loved the movie and I still do now, but I never for a second thought that my career would be anything like that. I was even more confident that there would be no pink suits in my professional wardrobe.
It seems that not everyone was quite as ready to accept the realities of the professional world. Meet the self-proclaimed Law Lady, Melissa K. Dubose. Ms. Dubose (or MkD, as she has dubbed herself) runs a solo criminal defense practice in Dallas, touting herself as “a brazen straight-shooter with a passion for fighting injustice and a knack for uncovering doubt.”
She also appears to have a knack for dressing as though she works in a David E. Kelley-created law firm. The main page of the website shows MkD in the requisite pink “suit,” staring into the sky with an almost super-hero-like gaze, perhaps caught in the middle of her fight against injustice.
This opening shot is just the beginning of the legal fashion show. A tour through the Law Lady’s website provides a good sampling of the legal services costume changes that MkD has to offer…