Above the Law

Recent Headlines from Above the Law

 

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….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Again With The Law School Rankings: Winners, Losers, Critics, And U.S. News”

Games are underway. Your daily routine of blowing off work to read Above the Law is now complemented with blowing off work to watch a streaming CBS feed. If you’re going to do anything legal today — and I mean “legal” both as “law work” and “not illegal” — you might as well vote on the worst law school in America.

Polls for all 16 first-round matchups appear below. Get down there and vote for your favorites. Or least favorites, as the case may be.

Whatever you do, may your degree not be permanently sullied by this competition….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “ATL March Madness: The Worst Law School In America — First Round”

Now that you’ve listened to the Above the Law editors draft their picks for the Worst Law School in America, it’s time to start filling out your brackets. The official ATL selection committee arranged the picks into a bracket retaining the integrity of the seeds, but otherwise shifting teams around to avoid having an editor’s teams face off in the first round.

So check out what the bracket holds….

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* The DOJ and a number of state attorneys general are suing to block the merger of American Airlines and US Airways. American and US Airways weren’t fazed because they expected lengthy delays. [Courthouse News Service]

* Following up on yesterday’s tale of divorcing law professors — which may as well have been Jarndyce v. Jarndyce — here’s a post collecting some other entertaining divorce battles. [Lowering the Bar]

* The Consumer Product Safety Commission is going after a CEO individually. Craig Zucker, the CEO of the company that makes the office toy BuckyBalls, has really gotten under the CPSC’s skin in resisting their efforts to get BuckyBalls off the market. First they came for the BuckyBalls and I said nothing, then they came for the drinking bird and there was no one left to speak for it. [Overlawyered]

* Here’s a look at law school applications for top schools charted over time. Spoiler alert: if these schools are playing a Ponzi scheme, they’re failing. [Associate's Mind]

* More Americans fled overseas to avoid taxes this year. If we make it so the traitorous ninnies can’t come back, this sounds awesome. [Wall Street Journal]

* Judicial Clerk Review asks how Shon Hopwood disclosed that whole “convicted bank robber” thing in his application. [Judicial Clerk Review]

* Professor Robert Anderson has a new bar passage calculator. Take it for a spin to figure out whether or you much you should be freaking out. [Witnesseth]

* Is this the worst job listing ever? Perhaps not. Definitely the most honest in being a bad job listing though. Check it out after the jump (click to enlarge), via the University of Houston Law Center…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Non-Sequiturs: 08.13.13″

Welcome back to our series of open threads on the latest batch of U.S. News law school rankings. Last time, readers weighed in on the schools that filled out the middle of the traditional first tier (ahh, the good old days when there were more than two). There were some rather significant moves worth noting in that group, like Alabama and Washington. Also worth noting are the schools that disappeared from that list, and now we’ll get to talk about them.

This time around, we’ll be taking a look at the law schools at the bottom of the top 50, the schools that some would argue belong in the traditional “second tier” (no, not the dreaded “rank not published” or “RNP” tier).

These schools might not be at the top, but some of them charge like they’re the cream of the crop….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Open Thread: 2014 U.S. News Law School Rankings (33 – 48)”

A couple weeks ago, we shared with you some of our survey data, which showed that, generally speaking, law students’ experiences with their schools degrade over time. The ATL Insider Survey asks law students and alumni to rate their schools in the areas of academic instruction, career counseling, financial aid advising, practical/clinical training, and social life. When the ratings by first-year students are compared with those of third-years, the 3L scores are lower across the board, in all categories. In other words, the longer students are exposed to their schools, the lower their regard for the institution becomes. More equals worse.

We wondered whether or how this downward trajectory manifests itself after the students become alumni. After the jump, we compare the perceptions of students to those of graduates. The answer may surprise you, but probably not. Also, we identify the law schools where there is the greatest contrast between the views of current students and alumni — both negatively and positively….

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Ed. note: This is the first in a new series, “Across the Desk,” from Bruce MacEwen and Janet Stanton of Adam Smith Esq. and JDMatch. “Across the Desk” will take a thoughtful look at recruiting, career paths, professional development, human capital and related issues. Some of these pieces will have previously appeared, in slightly different form, on AdamSmithEsq.com.

As noted in the American Lawyer recently, the lateral recruiting boom of recent years continues unabated. As the Am Law article points out, “At the same time [as they’re focused on hiring lateral partners], firms appear to be homing in on their poor performers. Nine out of 10 survey respondents said their firm has ‘unprofitable’ partners, and seven out of 10 said their firms have partners at risk of being deequitized or ‘put on performance plans.’ As one survey respondent put it: ‘There are too many partners without sufficient billable work.'”

Now, wouldn’t you think it would make sense — if firms are worried about underperformers — to pay some attention to associates as well as partners? After all, some of those associates should, speaking theoretically at least, be your future partners.

Yet there’s unrebutted evidence that firms look at the wrong criteria when hiring associates….

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Erica Rose

Remember Erica Rose? You may be wondering what has happened to this reality TV law school hottie since we last wrote about her endeavors on VH1’s “You’re Cut Off.” Back then, Ms. Rose, a former Bachelor contestant and a delicious debutante from Texas, struggled to survive without her father’s trust fund to guide her through life.

But don’t judge this book by its cover, because she has very high aspirations — she wants to become the next Nancy Grace or the future Judge Judy. And, of course, she thinks that she’ll be able to rise to the occasion in no time flat. Why? Because she’s “prettier than they are.” Beauty Plastic surgery from daddy certainly has its perks.

Since graduating from the University of Houston Law Center in 2011, Erica’s been working it out mentally and physically. “Dr. Phil” has endorsed her career as an Entertainment Legal expert, and she plans to take the Texas and California bar exams.

Unfortunately, as we all know, it’s hard out there for a recent law school graduate. Hey, if you can’t get a job, make one for yourself. And like Kanye West, Erica wants to help you get right for the summer with her Stiletto Bikini Blast Workout DVD. “Because who wants to wear a bikini without stilettos?”

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'Hahaha, and then I said that I didn't know they were prostitutes.'

* Was the Obamacare case brought prematurely? Did the Supreme Court’s judicial intervention come too soon? Yesterday’s arguments before SCOTUS can be summed up in four simple words: “That’s what she said.” [New York Times]

* Howrey going to get out of this one? The defunct firm’s bankruptcy trustee, Allan Diamond, is trying to decide whether he’ll be bringing adversary claims against the dissolution committee and its members. [Am Law Daily]

* U.S. News is doing what the American Bar Association refuses to do: make law schools its b*tch. Listen up, administrators, because your next “reporting error” could cost you your ranking. [National Law Journal]

* Armed with a treasure trove of new evidence, Facebook has moved to dismiss Paul Ceglia’s lawsuit. What does his lawyer from Milberg have to say? A hacker planted all of the evidence, duh. [Wall Street Journal]

* Apparently Dominique Strauss-Kahn’s got hos in different area codes. He’s been keeping his pimp hand strong — so strong, that he’s been charged with aggravated procurement of prostitutes. [Bloomberg]

* Broke your nose trying to walk through a glass wall at the Apple store and now you’re suing for $1M? That’s an app for that! It’s called common sense, and for a limited time only, it’s being offered free of charge. [Forbes]

Erica, of VH1's Cut Off

This is not a good month for legal types in reality television. Albie Manzo of The Real Housewives of New Jersey failed out of Seton Hall Law School. Brooklyn Law School grad Victoria Eisner of Downtown Girls failed the New York bar exam. And now all of the law school classmates of Erica Rose have failed to live up to her expectations.

Who is Erica Rose? She’s a cast member of the VH1 reality TV show “Cut Off,” about rich heiresses whose parents have indulged their every whim. The nine heiresses thought they were going on a reality TV show about “The Good Life,” but instead discovered that their parents had dumped them in a communal house, cut off their bank accounts, and canceled their credit cards. Now they’re trying to figure out how to work real jobs and survive without a trust fund.

Erica met with a career coach in the show’s most recent episode to go over her résumé, which includes a J.D. He asks why she went to law school. She responds that she “hoped to be like Nancy Grace” or to be the future Judge Judy. Such lofty goals! He points out that those women “put in a lot of hours before they got on the air.” Her response? “But I’m prettier than they are.”

Then she segued into bemoaning the looks of her classmates…

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