Georgia State University College of Law

I want to do things people tell me I can’t. You don’t think I can do three years of law school? Watch me.

– Shaquille O’Neal. We already knew Big Aristotle was looking into a law degree, but now we know where he wants to go. Once the big man is finished taking the LSAT, he has his sights set on Georgia Tech, Georgia State, or John Marshall Law School. Shaq, your friends at ATL would recommend Georgia State. We’d be alright with Georgia Tech. But we would not recommend John Marshall. Let’s just say it’s the Kazaam of law schools.

UPDATE (3:00 p.m.): Maybe there’s a joke in there that was a tad too dry. Let’s just say there’s a reason why we — who advise against going to most law schools — would be “alright” with one of the law schools Shaq has mentioned because we don’t think he’d really end up going there.

Career services is a tough racket in this market. The employers are blowing you off, the school is riding you to boost their rankings, and the students are coming to grips with the gravity of their mistake and are getting increasingly panicked about their prospects.

And this pressure is much worse when you’re running career services for a school below that T14 level.

But sympathizing with career services does not extend to forgiving a ridiculous stunt like this. There are a lot of ways to spend money to help students get jobs. Career services decided to skip that step…

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Just yesterday, the latest batch of starry-eyed dreamers sat for the LSAT (although the number of these hopeful 0Ls seems to be in freefall). As they wait for the scores to come in, these aspiring JDs will no doubt be doing their research and narrowing down where to apply. Law school applicants have no shortage of resources at their disposal to help them in making their decisions and navigating the process: from U.S. News to Princeton Review, from Anna Ivey to Top Law Schools. But we all know that there is no decision-making tool as beloved as a ranked list. People love rankings — such time and energy savers! We suspect more application and matriculation decisions are made by perusing rankings than will ever be admitted to.

Regular readers of this site might recall that a little while back we published our inaugural ATL Top 50 Law Schools ranking. We are proud that we, rather than burying our methodology in the footnotes or an obscure appendix, prefaced our rankings release with a detailed discussion about the choices we made in devising our methodology.

Whatever the subject matter, anyone looking to rate or rank anything has to make some choices between three basic methodological approaches:

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We know how much our readers love rankings, so for your viewing pleasure, we present to you the National Jurist’s sixth annual list of the Best Value Law Schools. This year’s Best Value ranking system takes into account the following criteria: tuition (25% of study), cost of living expenses (10%), average indebtedness upon graduation (15%), the percentage of graduates who got a job (35%), and bar passage rates (15%).

We’ve covered these rankings before. As in years past, National Jurist ranked only the top 20 schools, and has given letter grades to the rest of the schools on the list, ranging from A- to F. But this year, because of the uproar about transparency in employment statistics, the National Jurist’s rankings include adjusted weights for employment percentages based on 12 different categories.

National Jurist also paid special attention to average graduate indebtedness this year — and by “paid special attention to,” we mean that the publication hasn’t been following the news about the incorrect debt figures that were being used by law schools to pimp their programs like low-rent street walkers.

Check and see if your school made the grade this year….

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Law school graduates both young and old are living under the heavy weight of student loan debt, but we don’t need to tell our readers that law school costs a pretty penny — they already know. The people who do need to know are those who are thinking of applying to law school. Those people need all of the information that they can get their hands on so that they’re able to make an intelligent decision when choosing a law school.

Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be a way to discern the actual debt loads that recent law school graduates are carrying, if only because law schools have been misreporting the average indebtedness of graduating students to both the American Bar Association and U.S. News and World Report.

Which law schools are guilty of this committing practice? The ABA claims that administrators from “a number” of schools have contacted the organization in order to correct their information about loan debt….

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Gun hard!

Last week, we told you about some law students who were holding tryouts — and charging a $20 application fee — to fill the final two spots in their study group.

The students in the group were roundly mocked. Charging an application fee made demanding an undergraduate transcript from applicants pale by comparison.

Now, if the school had been a place like UVA Law, the student body would have gotten defensive and lashed out about how the study group post “didn’t tell the full story.” They’d whine about how the study groupers didn’t “represent” the student body. They’d claim that ATL “planted” the poster, because we “had it in” for the school.

But some students at the Georgia State University College of Law didn’t feel the need to defend their school or the silly students in the study group. They realized that nobody would impute the toolish behavior of a few 1Ls to an entire institution.

Instead, they chose to have a bit of fun with it. Confidence and a sense of humor are beautiful things….

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Want to join them? Bring a writing sample -- and twenty bucks.

In some imperceptible yet significant way, the experience of American legal education has reached a new low.

We all feel this. Between tuition that is out of control, deans who don’t tell the truth, and students who are willing to fight other students to the death to get jobs in a market where there aren’t enough to go around, law school feels like less of a good experience than it used to be.

And we feel that in the air even if we can’t put our finger on it. And then we see something like what’s happening at one state law school, and the whole sad experience of getting a legal education in America suddenly has a new mascot.

Today we have a flyer from a group of three 1Ls who want to hold “tryouts” for the other two members of their study group. We’ve seen this type of thing before — remember the study group at a top-ten law school that required a transcript? — but this latest application process takes things to another level.

This study group wants to charge people $20 for the opportunity to try out….

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Wouldn't you love to lick one of these?

When faced with a job that isn’t making you happy, sometimes creativity is necessary in order to escape. Because hey, not everyone can enjoy courtroom glory like that of Jose Baez, knight in shining armor for Casey Anthony. And so, for these people, there are many career alternatives to choose from.

We’ve written previously about these creative types: some decided that they’d rather walk across the country than work another day in Biglaw; others decided to hang their own shingles in the wonderful world of mobile cupcakes.

If doing something that will make you or your customers wish for a summer oasis is your thing, then I say go for it.

But some lawyers opt to pair business sense with their creativity. Some lawyers realize that during the summer, the ideal treat is not scaling a mountain or munching on a cupcake, but instead, licking a popsicle or two. And that is how one former prosecutor started a delicious frozen empire in Georgia to become the self-proclaimed Earl of Pops….

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