Law schools, properly understood, ought to be viewed as regional vocational schools. You will have to pass the bar exam for the state in which you want to practice, and a law school in that state, in theory at least, is more likely to prepare you for the specific content on the state bar. Typically, the majority of alumni don’t stray too far, so the strongest network will be local, for local jobs. It’s to your advantage to go to school where you want to practice, sometimes even more so than going to a higher-ranked school.
With this in mind, last week we looked at our ATL Insider Survey results pertaining to New York City-area law schools. We examined how current law students rate their schools in terms of academics, career counseling, financial aid advising, practical/clinical training, and social life.
Today we turn to Boston. The results of our survey might surprise you….
Oh night students, better known to law school deans as “amazing fountains of money.” The schools milk them for four years of tuition to do two years of work. But a lot of regular students resent night students because they don’t have to take a full course load, yet their grades are counted alongside day students when it comes to class rank.
(Note: this isn’t as much of a problem for schools that can get Biglaw jobs for students outside the top 10 percent.)
At one school, regular day students aren’t just competing with night students for class rank and jobs. They’re also competing with night students over the very scheduling of commencement ceremonies.
Earlier this week, we brought our readers news of the latest Princeton Review law school rankings for Best Career Prospects. Basing a “career prospects” ranking on surveys of current students, students who have yet to embark upon their careers, could be questioned methodologically — but you ate that s**t up like Halloween candy, so let’s give you more.
Today, we’ll take a closer look at the new rankings in categories that current law students actually know something about: the law schools that are the toughest to get into, and the law schools with the most competitive students. While one of these rankings lists is consistent with conventional wisdom, the other might surprise you.
On Veterans Day, we told you about Avery, a Suffolk Law professor with a real bug up his ass when it comes to care packages for troops serving overseas. Not long after our story, Suffolk released a wacky statement in which they tried to seem supportive of everybody and everything.
I told them at the time that wouldn’t work.
Now, an adjunct law professor currently in Kabul has cut ties with Suffolk because of Avery, and Suffolk is now in the uncomfortable position of de facto supporting Avery’s comments against a pissed-off military.
If I were in charge of Suffolk University, I’d have just said, “Yeah, Professor Avery can be a dick sometimes, whatever,” and moved on. I mean, it’s an entire university; I think most people assume that the views of one man don’t necessarily reflect the view of the entire university.
But the powers at be at Suffolk couldn’t leave it at that. Both the dean of the law school and the president of the university had to weigh in and defend, well, everything.
I’m sure all the military guys know what happens when one defends everything….
So it’s Wednesday and I’m watching the second night of the excellent Vietnam in HD series on the History channel while my Iroquois are locked in a quagmire against the Greeks in my game of Civilization V. They’ve got a veteran on and he nearly breaks down talking about how much it hurt him to be despised when he came home from the war. I thought to myself that at least one good thing that came out of Vietnam was that our country learned to distinguish between the political leaders who order wars and the fighting men and women who execute the policy. It’s a point that the very same veteran ended up echoing on the last night of the series.
Meanwhile, also on Wednesday, a law professor was writing a screed objecting to a solicitation to send care packages to troops deployed in Afghanistan.
Let me say that again: the professor was pissed off that students were asked if they could send care packages to soldiers serving abroad.
One unintended consequence of the terrible legal job market is that we’ve got law students running around with a lot of time on their hands. They’re not preparing for callback interviews, they’re not eagerly anticipating new legal challenges. Instead they’re sitting around, bored and terrified, and lashing out at whatever they can.
Mostly, they lash out at each other. Sometimes, it’s their Student Bar Association or their faculty. Occasionally they’ll even take shots at their own law school.
But now they’ve gone too far. A group of law students at Suffolk University Law School put together a guide on how to sue Santa Claus. Here’s the note one of the law students sent me:
At our law school (like so many others), we have been chilled by the lack of employment in the legal industry, potential clients and lucrative future prospects. So we figured: f*** it. If we’re going down, we’re bringing everyone down with us. First on our list is the fattest, jolliest figure we could find: Kris F***** Kringle.
Some of you will find this funny, but you are bastards who will be getting nothing but coal in your stockings. Me, I’ve been a good boy and I full expect to collect my PRO-guitar this holiday season. So I wash my hands of this tomfoolery.
As the immortal Herkermer Homolka would say: “Have your laughing, and I will have mine”…
The legal job market is a little dicey right now, leading some law grads to question the worth of their shiny new J.D. degree. Suffolk Law grads — and not just the ones who can’t get dates — are really questioning the value of their degrees, after an ill-timed job advertisement from Weil Gotshal & Manges went out on their career services list-serv:
Dear 2009 Graduates,
I wanted to make you aware of a great opportunity currently posted on Symplicity. Please find the job information below. Interested parties should apply through Symplicity with a resume and cover letter.
Employer: Weil Gotshal & Manges, LLP (Boston, MA)
Title: Paralegal Position for ’09 Graduate
Description: This posting is for the class of 2009 grads who are not deferred for another position. Monday-Friday, 9:00am to 5:00pm, flexibility with overtime required.
Yay, that Suffolk law degree can get you into Biglaw! But there’s a catch.
More after the jump.
A college graduate without student loan debt is akin to reading a kind quote about Kim Kardashian in a tabloid—it’s rare.
In the past eight years, student loan debt has nearly tripled to a whopping $1.1 trillion, and in the past 10 years, the percentage of 25-year-olds with such debt has risen from 25% to 43%
It’s gotten so bad, in fact, that New York Fed economists warned last month that the burden of student debt could stilt consumer spending by twentysomethings, as well as further hamper the recovery of the housing market and economy.
To get a better idea of what massive student loan debt (we’re talking over $100,000 massive) looks like, we talked to an attorney who graduated with a large student loan debt. We also consulted LearnVest Planning Services CFP® Katie Brewer to see just how their repayment plans stack up.
S. Fischer, 36, Attorney Graduated: 2001
How Much I Borrowed: $100,000
What I Still Owe: $45,000
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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: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
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