Scrooge McDuck must have attended the right law school.
Another day, another set of law school rankings. The world’s appetite for these things knows no bounds. Earlier this week, we covered U.S. News & World Report’s best law schools as ranked by law firm recruiters — and the reader interest and traffic were off the charts. Apparently there’s no such thing as “rankings fatigue.”
(Wait until we launch our list of law schools ranked by the quality of the toilet paper in their public restrooms. Because that’s something that actually matters to law students — probably more than, say, the number of volumes in the library, or even the square footage of the place.)
Today we bring you law school rankings by Forbes. The eye-catching title of Kurt Badenhausen’s post: “The Best Law Schools For Getting Rich.” Because you all went to law school in the hopes of becoming rich, right?
(If so, that was pretty dumb. According to some observers, a junior associate’s salary means you’re poor, and even a midlevel- to senior-associate salary doesn’t make you rich. Partner-level compensation is better, but even a million or two won’t get you access to the top slam pieces.)
Okay, let’s take a look at this list of law schools ranked by their graduates’ median compensation. Some of the schools on it may surprise you….
Ed. note: Gabe Acevedo will be covering LegalTech for Above the Law this year. If you are interested in communicating with someone from ATL about LegalTech coverage, please contact Gabe at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks.
It seems that judges are no longer afraid to unleash the power of the gavel when it comes to e-discovery violations.
Professor Chua seems to have it all: brains and beauty; an incredible academic career, with an endowed chair at Yale Law School; a hunky husband, fellow YLS prof Jed Rubenfeld; and two lovely and accomplished daughters. (Speaking of Chua’s kids, does anyone know where her oldest girl, Sophia Chua-Rubenfeld, is attending, or applying to attend, college? To Asian parents, sending a child to a top college is the ultimate vindication.)
But Amy Chua may need to work on her bitch-goddess qualities. After her controversial essay about the superiority of Chinese mothers and hard-ass Asian parenting set the blogosphere on fire — and sent her book rocketing to #5 on the Amazon bestseller list — Chua backtracked a bit, instead of defiantly standing her ground.
Last spring, Duke Law students had a fit because Duke undergrads were taking up valuable space in the law library. I admit, I enjoy having a little bit of fun with Duke Law students (haters gotta hate), but I’m with them on this one.
Undergraduates have two or three libraries (or maybe more, I don’t know if Duke is one of those schools where every major department has a library in its campus headquarters) where they can go play footsie and pretend to study. Or they can go to the business school library (the MBA kids are all at the bar “networking”) or the medical school library (the would-be doctors are busy being bought by drug companies or conducting unnecessary tests).
But at the law library people need to work. You can’t learn the law without spending a lot of time quietly reading the opinions of old white men (shut up “law firms,” nobody spends three years and $100K to learn practical lawyering skills). Those cases aren’t going to brief themselves! Law students need a quiet environment to think deeply and prepare for the eight hours of terrified regurgitation to come.
It looks like the administrators of Duke finally got the message…
As I was putting together last Friday’s post about the challenges faced by Duke Law School in recruiting minorities, I had this Gchat conversation with former ATL editor and Duke alum, Kashmir Hill (paraphrased and annotated in various places):
KASH: Good post. But one issue: there are actually a lot of black people living in Durham.
ELIE: Not to pull a Nifong but I don’t think I’ll get a lot of blowback by suggesting Durham isn’t a bastion of racial harmony.
KASH: Yes, there are tensions, but there are a lot of African-Americans who live in Durham.
ELIE: And it’s certainly not a ‘black city’ like Atlanta or anything.
KASH: Yes, but a lot of black people live there. I’d change it.
ELIE: You’re missing the point. The point is whether or not Durham is a welcoming place for blacks.
KASH: But you wrote that there “aren’t a lot of brothers in Durham,” and there are.
ELIE: For Christ’s sake, I’m not saying no black person has ever set foot in Durham. I’m saying that Durham isn’t a black city. Maybe it looks like a black city to white people who get freaked out when they see two brothers on a corner, but it’s not a black city.
KASH: Maybe it looks like a white city to people freaked out by cold, hard demographic statistics.
ELIE: [increasingly annoyed]: Look, NOBODY is going to give me s**t for a throwaway line that’s a segue from a Chris Rock joke to the larger point I’m trying to make. It’s one line in a 1500-word post. Come on.
KASH: [remembering/enjoying that she no longer has to work with me]: Just saying dude… lots of black people in Durham.
350-plus comments, numerous emails, and a boatload of tweets later, it appears that I was wrong. Dead wrong. Much to my surprise, people were very invested in the “but Durham has black friends” argument.
Fair enough. There are a lot of black people living in Durham, and I was wrong to suggest anything else. Next time I want to hang out with a bunch of black people, instead of going to Atlanta or Zimbabwe, I’ll go to Durham, North Carolina. Happy?
Now that I’ve accepted that Durham has a healthy population of African-Americans, can we get back to the discussion about whether or not black people actually want to live there? Because the people at Duke Law School seem to think that Durham is holding them back when it comes to minority recruitment, and I doubt that quoting demographic data is really what prospective minority law students are looking for…
Why? Well, that’s what Duke Law wants to find out. A tipster reports that Duke Law has been sending around a questionnaire to the few minority students currently at the school. It aims to figure out what recruiters should tell minority students thinking about matriculating at Duke Law.
You know what they say — there is no such thing as a stupid question…
Law schools — as Elie likes to remind readers on a frequent basis — are businesses. Like any good CEO should, Duke Law School dean David Levi has written an editorial defending his product: young lawyers.
In the National Law Journal, he starts off by acknowledging that the legal market for young lawyers is in worse shape than Duke’s reputation after the lacrosse scandal, and that this is “understandable” given the laws of supply and demand. (A subtle acknowledgment of there being too many law schools?) He then writes:
What is not understandable is the surprising amount of criticism heaped upon younger lawyers, offered as if to justify placing a disproportionate share of the economic downturn on their shoulders.
The criticism comes from law firm managers, in-house counsel and former lawyers who now comment on the legal profession…
Ahem. *Uncomfortable pause.*
They most likely represent a minority view, but they are vocal. They say that clients are no longer willing to pay for the work of young associates because their work is “worthless.” We might expect clients to make any argument that could lead to a lower bill, particularly during an economic downturn. But it is wrong and surprising for experienced lawyers inside and outside of firms to acquiesce in, even reinforce, this line of argument.
It’s become clear that many college graduates make their decision to go to law school based on apathy, a critical misunderstanding of the legal market, and shocking hubris. As we’ve said many times, the decision to go to law school has become disassociated from the expected value of going to law school.
Prospective law students are flocking to law schools in droves. What’s going on at Duke Law School right now is just the latest evidence. Here’s part of a letter Duke Law sent out to people on its waitlist:
Since our tuition deposit deadline at the end of April, the class has been completely full. Although a few people have requested deferrals or otherwise changed their plans for the fall, we have not yet been able to make any additional offers of admission.
When the reigning champion of our douchiest law school competition is getting inundated with applications, you can see why law schools are quite comfortable charging more and more tuition…
Elie wondered how that was possible given the economic climate in 2008. Though the climate in 2009 was even worse, Duke maintained its perfect score. However, we’re told that Duke will likely not have a 100% in this box for its class of 2010.
As Duke Law News reported, Duke worked hard to ensure its graduates had jobs. While it didn’t go the SMU route of paying employers to “test drive” its graduates, it does now provide stipends to some of its unemployed graduates to allow them to work for a couple months at no cost to employers. Using SMU’s car metaphor, the law school pays for the gas while Dukies and prospective employers take a little spin. Duke calls it “The Bridge to Practice” program.
It started in 2008 — employing the nine graduates who would have otherwise ruined that nice round 100%. The numbers of participants have increased since then, as the economy has worsened.
We interviewed a couple of them about the experience. The escalating numbers and Bridgers’ stories, including how much Duke pays, after the jump.
There’s a crisis at Duke Law School. No, it’s not that the school fell out of the Top Ten in the U.S. News rankings. It’s that the law library is being invaded by filthy little pests: Duke undergrads.
Duke law students don’t appear to think highly of their young classmates. They seem to blame the undergrads for their supposedly undeserved douchiest law school victory.
The icky BA/BS infestation was a problem last semester as well, leading one Blue Devil to leave a sloppy handwritten sign near the printers: “Print double-sided, a**hole. Also, please use your own library.” Much to law students’ frustration, the policy at the university is that all students are granted access to all libraries.
This semester, the war on trespassing undergrads is better organized. Each morning, Duke J.D. wannabes flyer the library with the sign at right (unredacted version after the jump), and one infuriated 2L created a Facebook protest group — It’s still the LAW library (even during finals). The Duke Law School administration has taken note of the problem, and responded — appropriately, via posting to the wall of the Facebook group.
But the war does not look good for Duke Law School. The troops are in retreat, and they appear to be fleeing to the Duke business school library…
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: email@example.com.
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