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Ever since Anna Alaburda sued Thomas Jefferson School of Law over its allegedly misleading employment statistics, we’ve been waiting for TJSL to respond. Today is that day, and the school’s answer does not disappoint.

The school has filed two documents in response to Alaburda’s complaint. We’ve uploaded their demurrer and their motion to strike. They are not long; you should flip through them.

Thomas Jefferson makes a solid defense of itself. But in the process of trying to quash Alaburda’s lawsuit, the school offers some pretty damning admissions that seem to support Alaburda’s underlying moral, if not legal, point…

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Career paths are easy at big law firms: As an associate, stay fully occupied doing great work, and become a partner. As a junior partner, stay fully occupied doing great work, and become a powerful partner. As a senior partner, generate enough business to keep you and others fully occupied, and become an even richer and more powerful partner.

These things may or may not be attainable, but everyone understands the career path.

Things are much trickier in-house. Corporations tend to have fewer lawyers than big law firms do, and in-house law departments tend to be flatter. Turnover tends to be less common. Six or eight people often report up to a single supervisor. In that environment, staying fully occupied and doing great work may not move you up the ranks. You can be fully occupied doing great work, but your boss is competent, happy in her job, not close to retirement age, and in good health. She’s going nowhere, so you have nowhere to go in the corporation.

The corporation can actually be very good to its lawyers — investing in leadership and management training, using incentive or equity compensation, and employing other tools for recognizing achievements — but still fall short in actually creating career paths that make sense.

How do corporations create career paths for their in-house lawyers?

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Over the weekend, you may have noticed that the New York Times suddenly figured out that law schools are cash cows despite offering dubious value to the students attending law school. We pulled out a fun quote from the article on Sunday.

You know the game: we talk about the danger of going to law school a lot, but because the New York Times is talking about it now we all have to talk about it again.

If you haven’t been paying attention to how law schools operate, the Times article is very, very good. It should be required reading that they send to you when you sign up with LSAC. But even if you have been paying attention, you should still read it. The article, by David Segal, contains a brilliant case study of just how New York Law School goes about generating cash. It’ll make good people sick to their stomachs.

But while the Times takes a critical look at law school deans and university presidents and even U.S. News, one constituency escapes the NYT’s glare: law students themselves…

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In these materials and in our conversations with students and applicants, we explicitly tell them that most graduates find work in small to medium firms at salaries between $35,000 and $75,000.

Richard Matasar, outgoing dean of New York Law School, quoted in a lengthy New York Times article entitled Law School Economics: Ka-Ching!

(We’ll have more to say about the Times article — by David Segal, who has written a series of pieces about legal education — tomorrow.)

UPDATE (7/18/11): Here are Elie’s thoughts on the NYT article.

On a nice, lazy, summer Friday, it’s good to know that rudeness still exists this world.

Today’s example of questionable behavior comes from a midsized Midwestern law firm. Yeah, apparently Midwestern manners don’t extend to how you treat people while you are rejecting them. This firm decided to use its rejection letters as an opportunity to market its new iPhone/iPad application.

It’s an app for people looking for work, of course…

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If you’ve been searching the Illinois State Bar website looking for employment opportunities, you might have come across a “super duper” job option. Unlike most attorney job offers that grace our pages, this is not facially offensive. It’s an in-house position. The responsibilities seem legit.

The salary is not listed, but that is better than a listed wage of $10 per hour or something ridiculous. They appear to offer nice benefits to all their employees.

So why are we bringing this opportunity to your attention? Because when Red Bull and beer are listed as job perks, we know that our “bro” readers will want to hear about it…

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Mabel: the best (and cutest) attack dog ever.

* Reason No. 564,857,495,736 Why Law Graduates Are Unemployable: They don’t have good skills. You know, like social skills, networking skills, bow hunting skills. Just the usual. [Wall Street Journal]

* At 91, Justice Stevens has got a virile mind, but he may have suffered a premature evacuation from the bench of the Supreme Court. [ABA Journal]

* Michele Bachmann wants to amend the constitution to define marriage as between a woman and a man. Those pornless marriages are going to be pretty boring. [The Note / ABC News]

* Sorry, guys, but your “Amazon fishing expedition” is on hold because of the DOJ’s child sex tourism lawsuit. Go Wet Your Line somewhere else, with someone of age. [New York Times]

* Nature, you’re doing it wrong. I said Tyler Coulson should attack the wild like Bear, not be attacked by a bear. Don’t worry, because Mabel saved the day. [New York Post]

* This lawsuit against the PGA is grrrrreat! Which tiger is more distracting: one in a bright orange costume, or one with a bevy of bimbos? [ProGolfTalk / NBC Sports]

* With Deathly Hallows: Part 2 opening this Friday, the Wizarding World of Harry Potter probably wishes it could cast some evanesco and make this Cezanne font lawsuit disappear. [Gothamist]

Are you a recent law school graduate searching for a job in a down economy? Do you hope to find a nontraditional position in the Great Midwest? Do you have an unconditional love for breakfast foods? If so, you need look no further, because Indiana University School of Law – Indianapolis may be able to assist you with all of your employment needs.

As we know, IU Indy Law likes to keep it real — so real, in fact, that Dean Gary Roberts has preached that law students are idiots if they believe their salaries will be $140,000 right out of school. At odds with this tradition of realness, the second tier law school is offering its recent graduates what seems to be a prestigious, in-house opportunity.

The job listing in question touts: “It’s a good feeling to know someone is paying you for what you’re worth.” But unfortunately, at this law school, your J.D. is worth jack squat and a stack of waffles….

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Law school isn’t a bad choice or financially ruinous choice for everybody — just for many people.

Given the state of the legal economy, it sometimes feels like law schools are pumping out two classes of law students. The first blessed group of people can follow a “traditional” path to financial security: summer at a Biglaw firm, get an offer, work there for a few years while paying off debt, etc.

The other group consists of the law school have-nots. They didn’t get Biglaw summer associate offers because the supply of legal jobs has contracted while the number of available law students has increased. The “secondary” or “local” markets aren’t hiring either. Public interest work doesn’t quite pay the bills. Nobody is coming to interview them 3L year. They are members of the Lost Generation.

There are, of course, more law school have-nots than there are lucky ones. That’s just the way of things. But law schools tend to trumpet the few stories of success while ignoring the many stories of distress.

We’ve talked about all of this before, of course. But today we have an interesting opportunity to take a peek inside the head of a successful candidate — and see just how myopic his worldview is. And we can look at the thoughts of a have-not — and see just how bitter he’s become.

Below are two emails. One came from a summer associate at Cravath, raving about his wonderful, awesome world. The other is a response written by a rising 3L describing his no good, very bad employment prospects….

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Remember this picture?

Last month, we asked for possible captions, and after narrowing the field to our top ten finalists, we have declared the winners….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Caption Contest Winners: Living in a Van, Down by the River”

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