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….
Earlier this week, we brought you some news about an “excellent position” that a tipster found on Boston College Law School’s Symplicity site. As a quick refresher, BC Law touts a median starting salary of $160,000 for graduates in the class of 2010 who entered into private practice. This job… doesn’t come anywhere close to that number.
The position in question promised benefits such as malpractice insurance, health insurance, a clothing allowance, and an MBTA pass, but the starting salary was only $10,000. The MBTA pass must’ve been thrown in as a housing benefit, because the firm had to have known that on a salary that’s below minimum wage, their new associate would be forced to live in the Boston subway system.
As we noted in Morning Docket, one of the firm’s hiring partners has now spoken out about the job, and a spokesman from Boston College Law has come to the school’s defense, too. Let’s take a look at some of their bullsh*t explanations rationales for posting this “excellent position”….
Yesterday, we talked about a Boston College Law professor, Scott Fitzgibbon, who went up to Maine to shoot an anti-gay-marriage commercial. John Garvey, Dean of Boston College Law, didn’t respond to us, but he did send around an email to the BC Law community. As many predicted, Dean Garvey defended Professor Fitzgibbon. Here is the pertinent part of Dean Garvey’s letter:
Professor Fitzgibbon, as a member of our faculty, is free to express his views. His public statements represent his own opinions, as the advertisement makes clear, and do not state any official position of Boston College Law School. We also have faculty members who hold a contrary view, which they too are free to express publicly. Many have done so while referring to themselves as BC Law professors. One of them has publicly led the fight to oppose the Solomon Amendment on the grounds that it is an affront to gay and lesbian students and prospective members of the U.S. military. Others have taken controversial positions on such subjects as abortion, euthanasia, and the treatment of detainees.
I believe that free expression is central to our mission as a law school committed to public discourse and the free exchange of ideas and opinions. We have faculty and students from many different backgrounds, and with many different points of view. It is our expectation that they will continue to engage in public discourse, and argue their positions with passion and civility, with the intellectual freedom that an academic institution affords to us all.
Dean Garvey is clearly right insofar as academic institutions must be grounded on the free exchange of thoughts and ideas, even when those ideas are controversial.
But as NYU Law Dean Richard Revesz found out, the gay marriage issue isn’t always as simple as a mere intellectual debate. If you believe that marriage is a basic civil right, then the issue can transcend the normal bounds of academic discourse.
Not surprisingly, Above the Law readers have some opinions on whether Dean Garvey is taking the correct stance here. We present Dean Garvery’s full letter and some of the best comments and emails, after the jump.
The gay marriage debate continues to rage in New England, and now a Boston College law professor wants to weigh in. The state of Maine has a ballot proposition about gay marriage this fall, and BC Law Professor Scott T. Fitzgibbon decided to shoot an anti-gay marriage ad.
Just to be clear, this is not a Dr. Li-ann Thio situation. Thio was invited to teach at NYU Law this fall and later declined the invitation under a hail of student protests. But Thio seemed to go out of her way to disparage gays and lesbians and the very practice of homosexual sex.
Fitzgibbon at least tries to stick to the legal issues surrounding the systematic denial of civil rights to gays and lesbians. After the jump, check out the ad for yourself.
If you are considering a virtual law practice, you know that many of today’s solo firms started that way. But why are established, multi-attorney law firms going virtual?
Many small firms are successfully moving part—or even all—of their practice to a virtual setting. This even includes multi-jurisdictional practice spanning several states and practice areas, although solo and small partnerships are still the largest adopters of virtual law.
Can you do the same? The new article Mobile in Practice, Virtual by Design from author Jared Correia, Esq., explores how mobile technology bring real-life benefits to a small law firm. Read this new article—the next in Thomson Reuters’ Independent Thinking series for small firms—to explore how a mobile practice:
Reduces malpractice risk
Enables you to gather the best attorneys to fit the firm, regardless of each person’s geographic location
Leverages mobile devices and cloud technology to enable on-the-spot client and prospect communication
Transitioning in-house is something many (if not most) firm lawyers find themselves considering at some point. For many, it’s the first step in their career that isn’t simply a function of picking the best option available based on a ranking system.
Unknown territory feels high-risk, and can have the effect of steering many of us towards the well-greased channels into large, established companies.
For those who may be open to something more entrepreneurial, there is far less information available. No recruiter is calling every week with offers and details.
In sponsorship with Betterment, ATL and David Lat will moderate a panel about life in-house and we’ll hear from GCs at Birchbox, Gawker Media, Squarespace, Bonobos, and Betterment. Drinks, snacks, networking, and a great time guaranteed. Invite your colleagues, but RSVP fast, as space is limited.
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 seven years. You can reach them by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
It’s that time of year again when JDs are starting to apply for 2L summer jobs and 2L summers are deciding which practice area to focus on.
For those JDs with an interest in potentially lateraling to or transferring to Asia in the future, please feel free to reach out to Kinney for advice on firm choices, interviewing and practice choices, relating to future marketability in Asia, or for a general discussion on your particular Asia markets of interest. This is of course a free of cost service for those who some years in the future may be our future industry contacts or perhaps even clients.
For some years now Kinney’s Asia head, Evan Jowers, has been formally advising Harvard Law students with such questions, as the Asia expert in Harvard Law’s “Ask The Experts Market Program” each summer and fall, with podcasts and scheduled phone calls. This has been an enjoyable and productive experience for all involved.