Why is he smiling? He landed a job at a top law firm.
If your goal in life, or at least your near-term career objective, is to land a job at a large law firm, which law schools would best suit your needs? When it comes to minting Biglaw associates and partners, not all law schools are created equal.
The National Law Journal has just come out with its annual survey of which schools the NLJ 250 law firms relied on most heavily when filling their first-year associate classes. The results are interesting — and also a little depressing.
We’ll start with the depressing part: hiring of top law school graduates continued to decline. As noted by Leigh Jones of the NLJ, “Hiring of graduates of the top law schools by the nation’s largest law firms slid by 10% during 2010 compared with 2009…. In 2010, the top 50 schools sent 3,822, or 27.3%, of their juris doctor graduates to NLJ 250 firms, compared with 30.3% of their 2009 graduating classes. The top 50 schools produced 13,989 graduates during 2010.”
Let’s look at the top 10 law schools, ranked by the percentage of their 2010 graduates who landed jobs at NLJ 250 firms (i.e., “Biglaw”)….
I don’t know how long they’ve been doing this, but I’ve just learned that Cornell offers a “Pre-Law Summer” program aimed at undergraduates who want to know more about becoming a lawyer. Cornell is charging almost $5,000 ($4,970 to be exact) for an “intensive, six-week program taught in New York City.” The program promises to give students an “unparalleled chance to develop an accurate picture of the realities, rewards, and challenges of being a lawyer today.”
(Oh, did I mention that the price tag doesn’t include housing or food in New York City for six weeks? I should have mentioned that.)
You know, I’m not even going to blame Cornell. If you have college students (or parents of college students) who are desperate to give you $5,000, you take it. In related news, if anybody wants to pay me $5,000 to watch me eat a sandwich, you know where to reach me.
But here at Above the Law, we believe in equal access. For all of the people who don’t have $5,000 for the “Pre-Law Summer,” we’re going to give you all the information you could have gotten from the program in one post, in the middle of February, for free!
We have a message for law school deans and administrators everywhere. To paraphrase Chris Crocker, “Leave… the grades… alone!”
Stories about changes to law school grading schemes aren’t much fun for us to write. But every time you deans tinker ever so slightly with your law school’s curve, we here at Above the Law get flooded by angry emails from law student readers, demanding that we call attention to whatever completely inscrutable change (or non-change) you have made (or not made) to your grading policy. In order to save us from having to write these stories, please cease and desist immediately from further amendment of your grading schemes.
Notwithstanding the views of the guy who posted his grades on Facebook, law school grades aren’t very interesting (except to their recipients). We’d much rather immerse ourselves in the law firm bonus horse race, for example. Compared to law school grading stories, the associate bonus watch is as riveting as the Oscars competition (or the Super Bowl, if you’re into that sort of thing).
Honestly, and with all due respect to our law student readers, we don’t particularly care about law school grades — and neither will you, in just a few short years. Right now you might be obsessed with your grades. And yes, they matter more than before, thanks to the tough legal job market. But you will forget your law school GPA sooner than you think. In the words of Professor Orin Kerr, “[o]nce you’re out of school for a bit, people care whether you are a good attorney, not your law school GPA.”
Cornell Law School recently circulated to its students in the class of 2012 — i.e., rising 2Ls –a list of class of 2010 and 2011 members who landed jobs through the fall recruiting process. Most of these positions, not surprisingly, are at large law firms (aka “Biglaw”). The class of 2010 graduates will presumably be working for their firms in a few months (or in a year or so, if they’ve been deferred); the class of 2011 students are presumably summer associates at their firms right now.
Many law schools circulate such lists to their students. This gives rising 2Ls an opportunity to connect with graduates or fellow students and maybe learn a little bit more about law firms before fall recruiting really heats up.
The Cornell Law employment lists offer an interesting snapshot of the employment prospects for students and graduates of a top law school. The lists provide the name of the graduate or student, their law firm employer, the city they’ll be working in, and the graduate or student’s email address. We have reprinted the lists, but with names and email addresses redacted, after the jump.
Should Cornell Law students be pleased or pissed off by their school’s track record at Biglaw placement? We hear from one CLS student and then debate the question, also after the jump.
It’s just one exam, but you know that Cornell law students can be somewhat skittish. The school is ranked #13 by U.S. News, and so their spot in the top-14 is always under attack.
After our story about the contracts exam, one Cornell law student did some research about the school and its competitors. He put together a pretty interesting rankings of law schools — based entirely on Above the Law coverage.
Below, we reprint his (admittedly nutty) message to the Cornell listserv in full. If members from other schools want to do something similar, feel free to check out our archives for ammunition against your competitors.
For now, enjoy this humorous take on law school rankings:
How big of a problem is suicide on law school campuses? Recently, a suicide tragedy affected the UNC Law community. In December, a student at Michigan Law took his own life. And there have been sad and high-profile suicides in Biglaw too.
It’s impossible to assess the precise role the recession may have played in these recent tragedies. It’s a little too easy to blame everything on a shaky economy and uncertain job prospects. The thoughts that flash through the head of a person about to take his or her own life are deeply complicated .
The old platitudes — e.g., “if you are feeling overwhelmed, get help” — seem meaningless in the face of actual death.
It appears that some law school and university communities are taking more aggressive steps towards suicide prevention. At NYU and Cornell, officials are trying to limit access to potential suicide points on campus.
Are these steps necessary? More to the point, will these steps be effective?
Cornell’s use of Andy “The Nard Dog” Bernard to promote its law school was a questionable decision. Alumni are saying it makes their toolish reputation even worse, and some are calling for someone at the law school to be fired.
After news outlets like TMZ and Entertainment Weekly picked up our story, the school rethought the promotional item. (Even though over 35% of our readers thought it was a brilliant idea.)
One problem with the ad is that Bernard is a total douche. From CLS alumnus METAezra:
For those of you who don’t quite understand the problem with this (beyond the fact that the ‘Nard Dog has no ties to the Law School), Andy Bernard is like the uncle in your family that nobody quite likes. You can laugh at him in the presence of good friends, and smirk at him in the presence of polite company. But you don’t bring him up unless asked.
There may be a much bigger problem with the ad, though. It may reveal that the law school doesn’t have a very good handle on intellectual property law…
This is not a typical lede for a post on the Wall Street Journal Law Blog. Ashby Jones writes:
Cornell is the Lady Gaga of the law-school world. Both are white hot, but the explanations behind each’s popularity don’t fully add up.
Dem’s fighting words, Ashby. You’re not a bad guy, but Lady Gaga has more fabulosity in a single fake eyelash than you will ever possess. Her popularity is entirely explicable — due to her delightfully danceable music, and her genius as a performer — and richly deserved.
(Just watch the video for Poker Face. Res ipsa loquitur.)
Now, what about Cornell Law School? And other leading law schools — which celebrities do they most closely resemble?
We currently have a number of active openings for associate roles at US and UK firms in HK / China, Singapore and two new in-house openings. As always, please feel free to reach out to us at email@example.com in order to get details of current openings in Asia, as well as to discuss the Asia markets in general and what we expect for openings later this year. Our Evan Jowers and Robert Kinney will be in Beijing the week of March 25 and Evan Jowers will be in Hong Kong the week of April 1, if you would like to meet them in person.
The US associate openings we have in law firms are in the usual areas of M&A, cap markets, FCPA / white collar litigation, finance, and project finance. The most urgent of our top tier (top 15 US or magic circle) law firm openings in Asia (among many other firm openings that we have in Asia) are as follows:
• 2nd to 5th year mandarin fluent M&A associates needed in Beijing and Hong Kong at several firms;
• Korean fluent 2nd to 4th year cap markets associate needed in Hong Kong;
• 2nd to 5th year Japanese fluent M&A associates needed in Tokyo;
• 4th to 6th year mandarin fluent cap markets associate needed in Hong Kong;
• 2nd to 4th year M&A / cap markets mix associate needed in Singapore.
In a land that is right here and in a time that is right now, a technology has arisen so powerful that it can replace basic human document review. Is it time to bow down before our new robot overlords?
First, here’s a little story about me: my life in the legal world began as a paralegal. My first case was a GIANT patent infringement case that was already six years old and had involved as many as five companies, multiple US courts, the ITC and an international standards committee. I knew nothing about any of this.
On my first day, my supervisor (a paralegal with at least eight other cases driving her crazy) sat me down in front of a Concordance database with a 100,000+ patents and patent file histories. “Code these,” she said. I learned that “coding”, for the purposes of this exercise, meant manually typing the inventor’s name, the title of the patent, the assignee, the file date, and other objective data for each document. I worked on that project – and only that project – for at least the first six months of my job. After a week or so, time began to blur.
What I know, in retrospect and with absolutely certainty, is that as time began to blur, so did my judgment. So did my attention to detail. If you could tell me that I did not make at least one mistake a day – one inconsistent spelling, one reversed day and month, one incorrectly spaced title – I frankly would need to see your evidence. I would not believe it. The human mind is trainable but it is not a machine.
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