Above the Law

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Since we released the ATL Top 50 Law Schools last week, we’ve received a fair amount of feedback and criticism regarding our approach to ranking schools. As noted (again and again), our methodology considers “outcomes” only — the idea being that, in this dismal legal job market, that’s all that truly matters. Our rankings formula weighs six outcomes; these three below were the most disputed:

Supreme Court Clerks. This is simply the number of SCOTUS clerks produced by the school over the last five years, adjusted for the schools’ size. By far, this is the most heavily criticized aspect of our methodology. “Preposterous!” “Irrelevant!” “Reflective of some weird fetish on the part of one of your editors!” And so on. To which we say, sure, SCOTUS clerkships are irrelevant in assessing the vast majority of schools. Properly considered, this component is a sort of “extra credit question” that helps make fine distinctions among a few top schools.

Federal Judgeships. The number of sitting Article III judges who are alumni of the school, adjusted for size. Some complain that this is a lagging indicator that tells us something about graduates from 25 years ago but little about today’s students’ prospects. Besides, aren’t these appointments just a function of the appointees’ connections? True enough, but this is certainly an indicator of the enduring strength and scope of a school’s graduate network — surely a worthwhile consideration. Connections matter.

Quality Jobs Score. The percentage of students securing jobs at the nation’s largest law firms combined with those landing federal clerkships. The principal criticism with this metric is that it fails to include some categories of desirable job outcomes, including so-called “JD Advantage” jobs and certain public interest/government positions. However, parsing out the “good” jobs from the rest is the problem. Whenever we could, we used the most straightforward, obtainable, and well-defined data points, with the goal of a “quality jobs score” as a reasonable proxy for quality jobs generally.

Read on for a look at which schools rated best in each of the above categories, as well as on Employment Score and Lowest Cost. We’ll also look at some of the biggest gainers and losers in the ATL 50, plus significant differences between our rankings and U.S. News….

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Amanda Knox

* Of course there’s a gender pay gap in Biglaw, but none of the firms are going to tell you about it. We’ll be discussing the results of the annual National Association of Women Lawyers survey later today. [ABA Journal]

* In case you’ve been sleeping under a rock, Texas struck down its ban on gay marriage, but stayed the ruling pending appeal. Seriously, of all places, this happened in Texas. Yeehaw! Ride ‘em, cowboys! [New York Times]

* Well, there goes that “judgment proof” argument. An insurer must defend the Temple Law student who shot a Fox Rothschild partner’s unarmed son under his parents’ homeowners insurance policy. [Legal Intelligencer]

* New Mexico Law didn’t like what it found after auditing its SBA’s off-campus bank account. FYI: the SBA apparently isn’t supposed to spend money on bars, liquor, and restaurants. Who knew? [Albequerque Journal]

* “I don’t want to pay for someone else’s peculiar behavior.” Amanda Knox’s ex-boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito, is changing his tune about his former flame as their appeal date gets closer and closer. [CNN]

Earlier this week, we asked readers to submit possible captions for this photo:

On Wednesday, you voted on the finalists, and now it’s time to announce the winner of our caption contest….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Caption Contest Winner: Futures Made, Bank Accounts Crippled”

Earlier this week, we asked readers to submit possible captions for this photo:

Let’s have a look at what our readers came up with, and then vote on the finalists….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Caption Contest Finalists: Futures Made, Bank Accounts Crippled”

These days, all anyone cares about are employment statistics. Law schools are getting sued over them. Law school rankings are dropping because of them. Law school administrators are losing their jobs over them. It’s at the point where even average joes are aware of the problems law school graduates are having when it comes to getting a job. Dear Lord, when is the madness going to end?!?

Probably as soon as ads like this stop showing up in the most curious of places….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Caption Contest: Futures Made, Bank Accounts Crippled”

Gerald Ung (left) and Edward DiDonato Jr. (right)

This shouldn’t come as a shock; we predicted it last February, when the criminal case ended in acquittal. But Eddie DiDonato Jr., a former lacrosse star at Villanova and the son of a prominent partner at the Fox Rothschild law firm, has filed a civil lawsuit against Gerald Ung, the Temple Law School student who shot DiDonato in January 2010 in the Old City section of Philadelphia.

Gerald Ung isn’t the only defendant. DiDonato is suing a half dozen other parties, relying on various theories of liability. Let’s think of this as a Torts final exam: Who else might DiDonato be suing besides Ung? What causes of action can you see?

Let’s take a closer look at the lawsuit, filed on behalf of DiDonato by one of Pennsylvania’s leading personal injury lawyers….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “DiDonato v. Ung: The Temple Law Shooter Gets Hit — With a Civil Suit”

Here at Above the Law, we sometimes write about career alternatives for lawyers. We’ve noticed a trend: former lawyers turning to the food service industry. But no, they’re not serving overpriced scones at Starbucks — they’re selling cupcakes out of trucks.

As it turns out, working at a cupcake truck can be a lucrative career. In the past, we’ve profiled several successful lawyers with mobile cupcakeries, like Lev Ekster, Sam Whitfield, and Kate Carrara.

And Temple Law School has apparently caught on to the fact that a lawyer can rake in the dough as a baker, so they’ve posted an exciting job opportunity on their Career Planning Manager. See what’s cooking, after the jump….

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Even witches must pay full price for BAR/BRI.

Law school is expensive. We get it. Preparing for the bar exam is expensive too. We know.

What’s a law student to do? Taking out more loans is the obvious answer, but at a certain point, one cries out, “!No más!”

Some have turned to, for lack of a better word, begging — like this aspiring UNC law student, and this 3L at Arizona State. But their efforts were not well-received. In these troubled times, we all have our own financial burdens to bear.

Alas, one student at Temple Law School didn’t get the “no begging” memo. She sent out a Facebook invitation to almost 800 people, requesting their attendance at an event entitled “HELP [REDACTED] RAISE MONEY FOR THE BAR EXAM IN JULY!!!!”

Yes, she’s asking her law school classmates — some of whom are probably just as cash-strapped and debt-burdened as she is — to just give her money.

Or pay her for one of her magic spells. Because she’s a witch, you see….

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(And begs her classmates for cash, too.)

I wouldn’t have felt good about [Gerald Ung] going to jail for 40 years for a bad decision made in 70 seconds. If he went to jail, it doesn’t take back the year of recovery and rehabilitation my brother has had to endure. There’s no malice towards the shooter here. And I wish his supporters would feel the same towards my brother. These are two guys who didn’t know each other who were thrown into an irreversible situation that ended horribly….

The truest thing I know is that a handgun should not have been on an intoxicated individual at 2 a.m. This is bigger than this specific situation. This is a societal issue that unfortunately has and will continue to kill and maim countless individuals because no one is willing to to say, “Enough is enough.”

— the sister of Eddie DiDonato, on her blog (gavel bang: commenter).

Gerald Ung (left) and Eddie DiDonato (right)

Judging from the comments section of our last story about Gerald Ung — which is still active, like a volcano — many of you are still interested in talking about the Temple Law student shooter. Even though Ung was quickly acquitted of all charges arising out of the January 2010 shooting of Edward DiDonato Jr., the trial goes on — in the court of public opinion.

We’ve selected a handful of stories from the avalanche of news and blogosphere coverage that we believe merit your attention. You can check them out — one of them reveals what Gerald Ung’s future plans are, while another has the reaction to the verdict of Eddie DiDonato’s father, a prominent partner at Fox Rothschild — after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Commonwealth v. Ung: A Morning-After Linkwrap”