Get your brackets ready, March Madness is here! It’s the most wonderful time of the year, at least for those who enjoy illegally gambling with co-workers.
Every year, we here at Above the Law like to put together a little bracket of our own. In the past, we’ve asked you to vote for such things as the coolest law firm or the douchiest law school.
This year, we’ve come up with a question that you don’t hear a lot of people asking when they’re talking about pursing a career in law: Which law school is the most honest?
Don’t start checking youLST transparency index just yet. Sure, being honest to prospective or incoming students can be a factor in a law school’s reputation for honesty. But we want to look at this question in the broadest possible sense….
Johnny Appleseed was carefree -- and unsaddled with law school debt.
Over the past few weeks, it seems Above the Law has unleashed a torrent of populist rage against law school career services’ departments posting crummy job opportunities.
Yesterday, we heard about another unfortunate career services posting, this time from the Vermont Law School. What was almost more depressing than the job, though, is our tipster’s testimony of postgraduate life.
Yesterday, we brought you news of a job opportunity that is currently available on the University of Maryland School of Law’s Symplicity job bank. When we first wrote about the listing, we called it a “career services nightmare.” After all, the job had more to do with orange parking cones than the law.
As it turns out, the powers that be at Maryland Law weren’t very happy that Above the Law called them out. Instead of hanging their heads in shame for trying to sell a job as a parking garage manager to its students, the career development office issued a vigorous defense of this exciting opportunity in vehicular supervision and coordination.
The email was written by the assistant dean for career development herself. What did she have to say?
It was rumored that the law school’s dean, Phoebe Haddon, fought valiantly to keep tuition from rising due to students’ hefty debt loads and the “impact of the economic downturn on the legal employment market.” At the time, we gave Maryland Law major kudos for protecting its students from tuition increases. Now, we wonder if a just little more tuition money would have prevented this career services nightmare.
As it turns out, even students who attend a top 50 law school are in danger of landing awful jobs, especially when the career development office is offering up gems like this one….
Last Thursday, we opened our ATL Firm & School Insiders Survey and so far, so good. We’ve heard from students at nearly 100 law schools and lawyers at about 200 firms. As previously noted, this survey is one of the first data-gathering tools we’ll be using to create a new, expanded ATL Career Center. While we’re pleased with this initial response, of course we encourage all of you who haven’t yet to take 3-5 minutes and head over here to take our absolutely confidential survey. Thanks in advance.
To all non-law firm attorneys: thanks for your insight regarding your law school alma maters. Please know that we are looking forward to asking about your professional experiences soon, whether they be in government, non-profit, in-house, academia or elsewhere.
As our data accumulates, we look forward to slicing and dicing it in myriad ways, in order to find patterns of interest to our readership, but more importantly, for useful insights for anyone researching legal education and careers.
After the jump, we share a handful of early trends in the survey data:
In case you haven’t noticed, 2012 is going to be the year where I try to take a more critical look at the level of career service that law students are receiving from their law schools. The legal job market has been crappy for a long enough time that law schools and career service officers should have adjusted their game plan. Rolling into 2012 with 2007 career service programs is simply unacceptable.
A couple of days ago, I offered some networking advice to the functional alcoholics in the audience. Sure, my thoughts were a little bit outside the box, but they were better than the kind of standard networking tripe most law students get from their overmatched CSO administrators.
Case in point, take a look as some networking advice sent around by the Dean of Students at a New York-area law school just last week. The advice was perfect if the dean was trying to ensure that the students made no impression, and left all employers wondering why they bothered to show up for a silly networking event in the first place….
Instead of hiring a new professor to teach Cross-Cultural Comparison of Masturbatory Prohibitions, I want law schools to start paying six-figure salaries to the people they hire to work in their career services offices. I want U.S. News to include the number of CSO professionals and money spent on CSOs as data points in their law school rankings. I want deans to start asking rich alumni if they would like to donate to help fight mental disability and extreme laziness in career services offices.
Because honestly, the lack of effort put in by career services professionals at the nation’s law schools really seems to be out of hand. Maybe they’ve just been collectively beaten down by the years of terrible job prospects and the throngs of students in need of help. Maybe they believe that there really is nothing they can do, and they are significantly more worried about protecting their own jobs than finding jobs for eager law students. Maybe the lack of institutional support and respect for their efforts makes them feel like second-class citizens whenever the Professor of Impractical Studies That Serve No Clients walks into the room.
I don’t know why we’re here, but when you can’t even trust your CSO to effectively cull Symplicity to remove stupid and insulting job prospects like the ones below, it’s time to change the entire approach to law school career services….
I’m a 2L at a second-tier midwestern school. Fall OCI didn’t go so great for me and, after resigning myself to failure, I accepted an unpaid internship with the government in my home metropolitan area. If I keep the job, chances are good that I’ll end up taking out loans for externship credit and will also be forced to obtain some sort of weekend employment to pay the bills.
Surprisingly, I just got an offer to be a summer bitch at a decent-paying firm within my home town. I talked to Career Services about this problem, and they made it clear that I needed to reject the firm offer. But that option would obviously strain me, both career-wise and financially. So my ultimate question is, can I tell the government that I’m sorry, but will no longer be able to take the position? From a purely financial point of view, I can either borrow ~6k this summer for tuition and living expenses, or make ~20k.
-Money on the Table
Dear Money on the Table,
As if law students didn’t have enough strikes against them — sh*tty economy, no jobs, worthless degree — a new and insidious threat also conspires to keep them broke and unemployed: Career Services. Everyone tolerated their quaint but useless “resume writing workshops” and rhetorical great-unpaid-opportunity-in-Kansas emails when the economy was great, but now that sh*t has tanked and they are unable to fulfill their express job duties — namely, creating careers — they’ve turned underminer. If they can’t create careers, no one should have them….
Here at Above the Law, we write all the time about crappy law job postings. A good deal of these awful employment listings come from law school career services offices (which is not at allimpressive!).
We recently received word about a law school career services job posting that was so horrendous, so ridiculous, that we could not help ourselves but to write about it. After all, writing about crappy law jobs is like opening a can of Pringles: once you pop, you can’t stop.
And this job — well, let’s just say that it takes the cake, or the potato chip, as the case may be….
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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