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Whether or not you think that the LSAT should be important, we all know that it is important. Scoring well on the LSAT is absolutely crucial to getting into a good law school.

But usually the power of the LSAT fades after you matriculate to a law school. Usually people who are concerned about your LSAT score are the people who consider their own LSAT score their greatest achievement in life. Pathetic, I know, but I’ve met these people in real life. They really think that scoring well on a standardized test means something more than being able to score well on a standardized test.

We accept that law schools need to be focused on the LSAT — they need some way to compare people from different schools and programs. But should employers still care about your LSAT score? Should legal employers really be concerned about a test that you took years ago, before you had any legal training?

At K&L Gates, the answer appears to be yes…

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Well, it’s a start. If you think it’s a good thing for law schools to be more transparent about the employment prospects of their students, then you have to applaud Washington & Lee Law School. The school had been building a bit of a reputation for taking an outside-the-box approach to legal education, but that momentum seemed to stall with the departure of Dean Rodney Smolla (to become the president of Furman University).

But one good way to distinguish yourself from other law schools is to tell the truth to prospective law students. Washington & Lee just dumped 17 pages of employment information on its admitted students. A lot of it is public information, such as general statistical data about legal employment, but still.

Having led the horses to water, we’ll see if any of these kids want to take a drink…

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If you can't do this, there's no point in getting a J.D.

Well, I think we are officially at the point in the legal economy where servicing law school debts is just like servicing an expensive drug habit. The parallels between the two are too great to ignore:

  • Is it something you started because everybody else was doing it?
  • Is it something you initially thought was a harmless way to kill some time?
  • Did somebody make wild claims about how “great” it would be for you to try it?
  • Do you find yourself whoring yourself out in order to make money for it?

In the J.D. context, we usually think of “whoring” as a figurative state. But not for much longer.

We already know that many strippers do what they do in order to get money for their drugs. Now, through the wonders of Craigslist, we’re about to see strippers baring all in order to get money for their educational debts.

Sallie Mae might be just a lending institution now, but she dreams of becoming a madam…

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Job openings in the legal industry are up by 97 percent (December 2010 over December 2009).

A Sign of Hope for More Hiring, New York Times

(Speaking of jobs, Above the Law has a new jobs board. If you’re looking for a new job, check out all the listings over here. If you’re an employer with a position you’re looking to fill, please email [email protected]. Thanks.)

I know lots of guys fantasize about boinking “barely legal” teenage girls. Not me, I like women: fully formed, adult women. There’s just something unseemly about older men salivating over girls who could have been in high school a year ago. Call me crazy, but it’s just more interesting as an adult to be intimate with other adults.

Similarly, I like my lawyers to actually practice law. There’s something unseemly about watching market forces turn law school graduates into glorified paralegals and secretaries. Call me a prude, but there’s just something gross about seeing young, nubile attorneys going around begging for document review positions. These people spent three years of their lives and six figures of their (or someone else’s) money to get law degrees; they should have something to show for their efforts.

But even if I don’t like to look, I can’t deny that this is happening. We are all living in a time that will be studied by future generations: a time when attorney career paths bifurcated, between traditional partnership-track associates and what I’ll call “barely legal” career paths….

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Ed. note: This is the latest installment of Inside Straight, Above the Law’s new column for in-house counsel, written by Mark Herrmann.

First, a story; then, an attempt to find a job for an unemployed former editor-in-chief of the Chicago-Kent Law Review.

Here’s the story: After I wrote The Curmudgeon’s Guide to Practicing Law, I thought about how to maximize sales of the book. I had the clever (if I do say so myself) idea of sending free copies to the editors-in-chief of a bunch of law reviews. I figured that those folks were likely to (1) read a book and (2) be “opinion leaders” on their respective campuses, so word of the book would spread.

But there was a fly in my ointment. If you send a law student a book, the student is likely to read the book and pass it on to a friend, who will do the same in turn. That generates readers (which is nice), but it doesn’t generate sales (which is nicer).

How do you prevent this?

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It’s the new year – time to dust off that résumé.  Even if you are happy with your 2010 bonus and not ready to jump ship just yet, you never know when you might get a call about a job opportunity that you simply can’t pass up.  Or maybe you have been searching for a new job for a while now, with no luck.

With recruiting departments receiving hundreds or even thousands of résumés for a single job opening, your résumé only has a 30- to 60-second window to be reviewed before it gets forwarded to the hiring attorney or ends up in the trash.  Is your résumé ready to land you an interview?

This week’s Expert Insights article, brought to you by Lateral Link, gives you advice to help you re-evaluate your résumé to make it an effective marketing tool in your job search….

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Are you ready for some stop-gap measures?

Given that law schools keep pumping out more graduates than the market can handle, the state of Oregon is trying an interesting approach to deal with the mass of lawyers being unleashed into the system. Following in the footsteps of Georgia and Utah, Oregon will now require new lawyers to enroll in a year-long mentoring program.

People sitting for the February bar were informed that they will be subject to this new requirement. The goal of the program is to provide some guidance for all the unemployed law graduates, especially those who are thinking of going out there and hanging a shingle.

Because, you know, it’s not like three years in law school actually prepare you to start a career…

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When you read the accounts of recruiters at these firms, you get a sense of why they might choose these metrics. They have multiple stacks of resumes. They meet hundreds of applicants at career fairs. Rather than scrutinizing anyone’s resume it’s easier just to limit the pool to the top three or four universities.

Do you really want to pore over the transcript of that kid from the University of Michigan? Wouldn’t it be easier just to call the Harvard grad? In essence, what they’re assuming is that the admissions offices at the super-elite schools have already picked the best of the best. Why second guess them?

Tom Bartlett of the Chronicle of Higher Education, writing about a paper by Lauren Rivera, a professor at Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management, entitled “Ivies, Extracurriculars, and Exclusion: Credentialism in Elite Labor Markets.”

Like many of you, I read the epic New York Times article on law school debt over the weekend. To answer the most consistent question I’ve received in the past 36 hours: no, I don’t feel like I’ve “won.” And I don’t feel like the NYT has somehow validated some of my commentary over the past two years.

Because the New York Times article, by David Segal, simply captures a story that everybody who has been paying attention already knows: law students are getting themselves into serious debt problems, with no plan for how to pay the debts back. This we know.

But there are things we don’t know. How do you get prospective law students to pay attention to the harsh economic realities before they sign up for law school? What can be done to make those economic realities a little bit less harsh? And what can be done after somebody makes a ruinous investment in higher education?

Now, as far as getting prospective law students to pay attention, your guess is as good as mine. Maybe a big-time article like this in the NYT helps. We already know, however, that unless it shows up in the U.S. News Law School Rankings, prospective law students don’t really care.

So let’s focus on the other questions…

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