Admissions

I think we should see more of this. I think we should see more professors, deans, and law school administrators outraged by the practices of some unscrupulous law school officials. I think we should see more legal educators who are disgusted by what other money-grubbing deans and officials do to fill up their classes. I think the bad people in legal education have an easy time of it because the good people won’t stand up.

Happily, you can mark down the Yale Law School Assistant Dean of Admissions on the list of good people willing to fight against the unfair practices of other law schools and call a scam a “scam” when she sees one.

Asha Rangappa isn’t just a winner of our law school deans hottie contest: she also writes a good blog about the admissions process. Her latest piece challenges other law schools to stop bullying students with misinformation about their scholarship offers…

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I would read these horror stories in The New York Times and The Washington Post about how law firms were no longer guaranteeing jobs. But I always knew I was going to go to one of the top 14 law schools, where employment statistics have remained pretty strong. Most of the bad numbers are coming from the worse-ranked schools.

Emily Cusick, a senior at Cornell University and president of the pre-law fraternity Kappa Alpha Pi, commenting to the Cornell Daily Sun on doom-and-gloom stories about the legal job market.

(Additional interesting tidbits from the Sun article, including statistics about the declining number of law school applications, after the jump.)

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Quote of the Day: Will a T14 Law Degree Ward Off Unemployment?”

In the before times, in the long, long ago, everything about law school was hard. Getting in was hard. Completing the training was hard. Passing the bar was hard. Everything was hard and everything was stressful.

And legal educators and successful lawyers were proud that it was hard. The hardness is what made it mean something. I remember one of the reasons some people in my family told me to go to law school instead of business school was that law school was harder, and thus it intrinsically had more value.

But now, we don’t want law school to be hard. We don’t want thousands of students to break their dreams against high barriers to admission. We don’t want kids to be so stressed out that they spend their first year crying themselves to sleep at night like a new, fleshy prisoner in a penitentiary.

We want law schools to be like a goddamn camp — a goddamn hippie law learning camp where the professors are “down to earth,” and the administrators are there for “encouragement,” and there’s freaking ice cream in the student lounge. Look to your left, now look to your right: all three of you will be getting smiley faces on your transcripts!

This trend to make law schools the “aww shucks” destination for regular folks has made all the way down to Texas, the state that’s supposed to be the balls of this country….

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Prospective law students always get excited when they’re offered application fee waivers. Law school application fees can run high, and getting tossed a freebie is a nice way to give your bank account a break. Normally, these kind of fee waivers aren’t that out of the ordinary. Offering application fee waivers is standard practice at most law schools.

But what happens when a law school offers prospective applicants a fee waiver after its undergraduate institution is involved in one of the biggest college sports scandals of all time? Talk about bad timing….

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Way back in 2008, I noted with skepticism the University of Michigan’s “Wolverine Scholars” Program. I wasn’t the only one. The initiative allowed Michigan undergraduates with very high GPAs to get into Michigan Law without having to take the LSAT.

The program seemed like a pretty obvious attempt to game the U.S. News rankings. It’s so obvious that the now disgraced former Dean of Admissions for Illinois Law, Paul Pless, who had a similar program at his school, had this to say about it:

I started a new program for U of I undergrads to apply in their junior year and we don’t require the LSAT. We have additional essays and an interview instead. That way, I can trap about 20 of the little bastards with high GPA’s that count and no LSAT score to count against my median. It is quite ingenious.

Pless was talking about Illinois’s iLeap program, which was substantially similar to the Wolverine Scholars program at Michigan.

The Pless quote came out earlier this month, as the admissions director was being ushered under the bus by Illinois Law as the “lone gunman” for its embarrassing admissions scandal.

With the spotlight on a Big Ten school that manipulated admissions statistics for years, Michigan very quietly canceled its Wolverine Scholar Program.

There’s been much less fanfare about the end of the program than there was about its start. In fact, we obtained FOIA documents that contain various emails from Michigan Law Dean Evan Caminker and Dean of Admissions Sarah Zearfoss.

They talk about the program, and the how “the blogs” are covering it….

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I am a maverick and a reformer so I started a new program for U of I undergrads to apply in their junior year and we don’t require the LSAT. We have additional essays and an interview instead. That way, I can trap about 20 of the little bastards with high GPA’s that count and no LSAT score to count against my median. It is quite ingenious.

Paul Pless, former dean of admissions at the University of Illinois College of Law, in a 2008 email about iLEAP, a program that offered early admission to University of Illinois undergraduates with high GPAs (and no LSAT scores).

(The reaction of the other party to the correspondence, after the jump.)

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Even a caveman needed to go to law school after he thawed out.

It’s the danger of working in a profession that few people respect. The general public understands that not everybody can practice medicine: performing surgeries, prescribing drugs, and even giving advice about surgeries and drugs are things best left to “professionals.” Or look at accountants. People want to have one who is “certified” because, well, math is hard.

But lawyers? Annoying, money grubbing, bastard lawyers? Hell, anybody can do that. That’s what the general public thinks: anybody who is anal and can read can be a lawyer.

And because of that, occasionally lawyers have to deal with op-eds like the one just featured in the New York Times. Clifford Winston of the Brookings Institution argues that everybody should be allowed to practice law.

Seriously, everybody. No law school, no bar exam, if you want to do legal work, go right ahead. If you want to charge people for your uneducated legal advice, feel free!

Somehow Winston believes that allowing untrained dumbasses to take advantage of poor people who don’t know any better will magically help poor people….

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* The TSA must be stopped. They’re now leaving creepy notes when they spy personal items in your luggage. [Not So Private Parts / Forbes]

* Law students, trust me, there’s nothing on your Facebook page that three more points on the LSAT won’t fix. [WSJ Law Blog]

* Berkeley Law 1Ls are playing an awesome game of assassin. Man, I miss college. I mean law school. [Nuts & Boalts]

* Would there even be medical malpractice if libertarians ruled the world? [Overlawyered]

* The Casey Anthony jurors are probably dying for a closeup. [Huffington Post]

* The future of Law and Economics. [Truth on the Market]

Rover's last wish was to have his ashes sprinkled over a pile of money.

* Saying your dog ate something isn’t a creative enough excuse these days. Try this instead: “I kept the clients’ missing money in my car, which I left running in the parking lot to keep my dead dog’s ashes from freezing. Someone then stole the car, and now the missing client money is gone forever!” [Canadian Lawyer]

* Oh, to be a lawyer with the ability to tell opposing counsel that his client is a “spoiled, brainless twit.” It’s even better when opposing counsel’s client is Meghan McCain. [Spectacle Blog / American Spectator]

* Next time you feel like kicking the crap out of someone, make sure your twin is there, because there’s a high likelihood that you’ll both get off. [Legal Juice]

* A judge in Louisiana just threw a case out because he didn’t want to catch the flu from a witness. Elie was right: germaphobia is the real contagion! [Lowering the Bar]

* How would Jesus feel about guns in his church? He’d probably change them into dildos and tell the violence-bearers to go f**k themselves. [WSJ Law Blog]

* There’s been a lot of talk about personal branding for lawyers lately. This guy probably has the right idea, but you’ve got to wonder if he really wants to be known as the “Bald Lawyer” for the rest of his life. What happens if he decides to get plugs? [Legal Blog Watch]

* Here’s the best thing written about Steve Jobs today. [The Wirecutter]

* Here’s who the ACS is inviting to speak in Georgia. Take that George Mason Federalist Society. [ACS]

* Are you applying to law school (or do you know someone who is)? Have Lat review the application essay — and support a good cause at the same time. [Kickstarter]

Poor little white boy.

According to a new study by UCLA law professor Richard Sander, discussed in an article in the Denver University Law Review, “the vast majority of American law students come from relatively elite backgrounds; this is especially true at the most prestigious law schools, where only five percent of all students come from families whose SES [socioeconomic status] is in the bottom half of the national distribution.”

In other breaking news, studies show that the vast majority of people who get into water emerge wet.

It’s beyond obvious that American law schools favor the elite. Talent will take you far, but having a financially sound family will take you farther. Professor Sander — whose prior research on law school prestige generated lots of buzz last year — argues that schools should use socioeconomic factors as a partial substitute for racial preferences.

Well, that’s a false choice if I ever heard one. Why can’t we have both socioeconomic and race-based affirmative action? Look, you can accuse me of playing the “race card” if you want to, but I’m just trying to figure out a way to help white people get into law school….

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