Harvard Law School

The legal profession has changed greatly over the almost seven years since the launch of Above the Law. Do these changes amount to a paradigm shift? Or are they just a temporary blip that will eventually be reversed?

Professor David Wilkins, Director of the Program on the Legal Profession at Harvard Law School, is one of the most astute and well-informed observers of law as both a profession and an industry. In his recent keynote at the NALP annual education conference, Professor Wilkins considered these questions, and also shared his predictions about the future of the legal profession….

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* An analysis of Vijay Singh’s suit against the PGA. Any legal analysis that requires that much use of the phrase “deer antler spray” is worth it. [Sports Law Blog]

* The highest paid state employee by state. If you’re a lawyer, you want to live in Maine. [Deadspin]

* A visual representation of every Federalist Society event. [UChiLawGo]

* Cheez-Its are really, really good. [Legal Juice]

* “The only thing that can stop a bad guy with a gun is a bear cub with a gun. Or something.” [Bear Lawyer]

* Professor Nick Rosenkranz wonders if a 50/50 quota is appropriate to generate intellectual diversity at law schools since Harvard Law seems to think that gender diversity merits a 50/50 quota. The answer is no. Thanks for playing. [Volokh Conspiracy]

* Our own rankings guru Brian Dalton sat down for an interview about the new ATL Top 50 Law Schools rankings. [PrawfsBlawg]

* And Elie went on Bloomberg to discuss our inaugural rankings, too….

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It’s a good thing lawyers love law school rankings, because there are tons of them. Every year, it seems like there’s a whole new crop of them. Aren’t you getting tired of them? No, of course not. You just want MOAR RANKINGS!

You’ve seen the National Jurist law school rankings (and you raised an eyebrow at the usage of RateMyProfessors.com). You’ve seen the U.S. News law school rankings (and you watched your dean play the blame game). You’ve seen the ATL law school rankings (and you cheered for realistic, employment-based metrics). You’ve even seen the Cooley law school rankings (and you’re eagerly awaiting the latest edition just for sheer comedic value).

But have you seen a ranking of the best law schools in the world? Here’s your chance….

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Justice Antonin Scalia

In the light of the evolving standards of decency, somehow we at the Supreme Court, we Harvard and Yale lawyers, we somehow can perceive these evolving standards of decency because we learned all this stuff at Harvard Law School.

– Justice Antonin Scalia, joking about the justices of the Supreme Court bench and their ability to interpret constitutional law based solely on the prestigious law schools they attended.

For the record, his tattoo should be Larry Bird walking through a door.

* Louisville coach Rick Pitino promised his players that he’d get a tattoo if they won the NCAA tournament. I’m hoping Peter Kalis makes the same pledge if K&L Gates makes its projected annual profits. [Huffington Post]

* The Harvard Federalist Society held a conference on the importance of intellectual diversity in the legal academy. Somewhere out there, Ted Cruz nods solemnly. [Volokh Conspiracy]

* A public service announcement: Don’t wank and drive. [Lowering the Bar]

* Hey, Houston readers! Since I’m in town for our event tonight, I wanted to give a plug for the OKRA Charity Saloon. I visited last night and it was great — a beautiful space and all the profits go to a charity that you get to vote on (one ballot for each drink you get). An all-around great idea. So if you’re looking for a location for your next happy hour… [OKRA Charity Saloon]

* James Poulos makes a good point: it may put you horribly, horribly in debt, but education is still a good thing. [Forbes]

* Tomorrow check out our newest series: Unofficial Orientation to Law School. We will be video chatting with students, professors, and hiring managers about how 0Ls can successfully launch their legal careers. This series is presented by LexisNexis, BARBRI, and Law Preview, a BARBRI Company. [Above the Law]

* Have you ever wanted to see puppets set to the L.A. Law theme song? No? Well, after the jump you can see it anyway….

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Kamala Harris

* If President Obama could send a love note to California Attorney General Kamala Harris, it’d probably say something like this: “Girl, you look good. Won’t you back that ass up?” [ABC News]

* The fun things you learn during a Supreme Court justice’s book tour: apparently Sandra Day O’Connor dated William Rehnquist when they were at school together at Stanford Law. [Legal Times]

* When it comes to law firms, size really does matter. Quite a few midsize firms had the urge to merge in the first quarter of 2013, according to the latest Altman Weil survey. [Am Law Daily]

* In case you haven’t heard the news by now, NYU Law School has a new dean, and he was poached fresh from Columbia. The bonus here is that he’s actually pretty cute. We’ll have more on this story later today. [NYU Law News]

* Law faculties may be a tad too liberal, say some at Harvard Law School, which is basically a bastion of leftie law professors. Cut to Ted Cruz muttering about Commies under his breath. [USA Today]

* Here’s an obvious protip that may not be obvious to 0Ls: if you’re going to ask for a recommendation letter, you should probably make sure that it’s going to be a positive one. [U.S. News & World Report]

* Roger Ebert has died at the age of 70. A great critic (his audio commentary track on the Citizen Kane DVD is amazing), whose work with the late Gene Siskel basically defined film criticism for a generation. At least now we know how we will be judged when we die — a simple thumbs up, thumbs down from Gene and Roger. [Chicago Sun-Times]

* Exploring the link between baseball’s antitrust exemption and Roe v. Wade. It’s more than just saying the Royals are an abortion of a team. [Concurring Opinions]

* “Bring me the head of the person who did this”: the best closing to a C & D letter ever. [Popehat]

* A Rutgers-Camden 3L breaks down the looming sh*tstorm at Rutgers over basketball coach Mike Rice’s treatment of players. [The Legal Blitz]

* If you’ve pulled off a successful robbery, don’t taunt the victim from a traceable phone. I mean, act like you’ve been there before, man. [Legal Juice]

* It is a little funny to say that a city is looking for weaker swimmers to serve as lifeguards, but ultimately this represents the simplistic nature of the anti-affirmative-action argument: no one is saying lifeguards shouldn’t be qualified, just that a system that only privileges a strong swimming résumé will always result in affluent white kids with 10 years of swim classes getting these jobs. [Volokh Conspiracy]

* Lawyers are often jerks, but this is a new twist. Help out a lawyer trying to make it in the small-batch, artisan jerky business.[Kickstarter]

* Maybe there aren’t actual Commies at Harvard Law School, but the ratio of liberals to conservatives/libertarians on the faculty is still extremely high. [Nick Rosenkranz]

Ed. note: Welcome to the latest installment of The ATL Interrogatories, a recurring feature that gives notable law firm partners an opportunity to share insights and experiences about the legal profession and careers in law, as well as information about their firms and themselves.

Don Lents is chair of Bryan Cave LLP. His practice focuses on M&A, corporate governance, and securities law, with particular emphasis upon multinational and domestic mergers. He has been an adjunct professor at the Washington University Law School. He received both his undergraduate and law degrees from Harvard.

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The new U.S. News law school rankings, which we’ve been covering extensively in these pages, contain all sorts of interesting tidbits about the ranked schools. For example, in each school profile there is an “employed at graduation” figure, which “represents the percentage of all graduates who had a full-time job lasting at least a year for which bar passage was required or a J.D. degree was an advantage.”

That seems like an important and useful piece of information to know if you’re going to pay or borrow a six-figure sum to attend law school. Comparing the employment rates of different schools would be an important part of one’s due diligence when selecting a school.

Among the top 14 or so-called “T14″ law schools, which one had the highest “employed at graduation” rate? The answer might surprise you….

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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….

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