Today brings us more evidence that the number of people applying to law school is dropping. A new Kaplan survey shows that 51 percent of law schools have cut the size of their incoming classes. Of those schools, 63 percent claim they are cutting in response to the weak legal job market.
While the job market is certainly a factor, we know that schools are also struggling to keep up their admission standards as fewer and fewer people apply to law school. Some people think this is a temporary trough and that applications will pick back up once the economy gets better.
But some people see a crash coming, one that will force a few law schools out of business…
* “Whether or not the law is dictating it right now, the people are dictating it.” In light of First and Second Circuit DOMA decisions, in-house counsel are considering benefits for same-sex spouses and domestic partners. [Corporate Counsel]
* “I’m a woman of integrity. My emotions got the best of me.” A Dish Network executive had to publicly apologize for accosting a Gibson Dunn litigation partner’s elderly father outside of a courtroom after the Cablevision trial. [Am Law Daily]
* A potential farewell to the typical liberal bias in education: at the end of the day, Teresa Wagner’s political bias case against Iowa Law could alter hiring nationwide in higher education. [Iowa City Press-Citizen]
* Not prepared for the bar exam, and currently without a law job? Let’s give that school a “B” rating. The results of this survey pretty much conclude that recent law school graduates are out of their minds. [WSJ Law Blog]
* A soon-to-be high school graduate wants to know if he can “go into a creative career” with a law degree. You silly little boy, the law is where creativity goes to die. Hope that helps! [Law Admissions Lowdown / U.S. News]
If you take the blue pill, you wake up in law school and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill — you keep reading Above the Law, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes.
Apparently no one can be told what law school is. You have to make the mistake yourself.
The ability to learn from other people’s mistakes is a mark of intelligence, but it’s not a skill shared by your average prospective law student. Despite an internet full of information, they continue to make the same mistakes when it comes to choosing a law school.
The fact that prospective law students quickly learn the error of their ways when they become actual law students only seems to emphasize their failure. By January, I’ll start getting the first emails from 1Ls saying, “I wish I had read you before I decided to go to law school.” By springtime, people who shouldn’t have started in the first place will be asking me whether they should drop out. By the time people graduate, they’ll be experts on all the things they should’ve thought about before matriculating to law school.
Kaplan actually has a new study out that confirms this obvious reality….
If Congress wants lessons on how things work from Jamie Dimon, they should have to pay him a speaker fee or something.
* Another year, another survey that shows prospective law students care more about the U.S. News Law School Rankings than anything else when applying to law school. In fact, it’s the exact same number from 2010. Kids are dumb. [Kaplan]
* Everybody is worried about what will happen when computers replace attorneys. I’m much more interested in what will happen when computers replace hookers. [The Atlantic]
* If watching our Congress ask idiot questions of Jamie Dimon doesn’t make you feel like we need vastly more intelligent Congresspeople, maybe watching them fawn over Jamie Dimon will do the trick. [Dealbreaker]
* I really hadn’t thought of this — in addition to your huge educational debts, your parents are most likely out there spending your inheritance. I swear, if I ever spend money on more education, it’s going to be on a post-apocalyptic survivalist class. [Law and More]
* Former TSA lady gropes current TSA lady after inappropriate groping from TSA. [Threat Level / Wired]
* In real life, unlike Monopoly, a bank error is never really in your favor. [Legal Blog Watch]
* Do the Republicans have an abortion problem? [New Yorker]
* Happy Birthday, Lat! Check out the very cool gift (affiliate link) that he received in the mail today — signed by one of the authors. [Twitpic via Twitter]
Did you take a BAR/BRI bar exam review course sometime in the past five years? Or are you taking BAR/BRI now, having paid for it prior to March 21? If so, keep reading.
As we recently mentioned, the deadline for joining or objecting to the proposed class action settlement in Stetson v. West Publishing Corp. is fast approaching (May 30). The lawsuit, alleging antitrust violations, was filed against West Publishing, which owns (but is selling) BAR/BRI, and Kaplan, the test prep company owned by the Washington Post. The class is defined as “[a]ll persons and entities who paid for a BAR/BRI full-service bar-review course from August 1, 2006, through and including March 21, 2011.”
Are you a class member? Let’s review your options….
UPDATE (5:30 PM): Please note the updates added to the end of this post.
As we reported last month, it looks like Leeds Equity Partners will be acquiring BAR/BRI, the well-known bar exam preparation business, from West Publishing / Thomson Reuters. If you’ve taken a bar exam prep course, odds are that you took BAR/BRI — although there are alternatives, such as BarMax and Themis (disclosure: ATL advertisers, whom we thank for their support).
If the deal goes through, Leeds will get its hands on what would seem to be a very good business. BAR/BRI courses aren’t cheap, at a few thousand a pop (often paid by law firms, which aren’t very price-sensitive). And since BAR/BRI has had its bar-prep infrastructure in place for a long time — curricula, instructors, etc. — its marginal costs for each new teaching cycle aren’t that high. In short, BAR/BRI seems like a money-making machine.
(Note: This analysis about the economics of BAR/BRI is somewhat speculative. Please correct us, by email or in the comments, if we’re wrong.)
But Leeds will also inherit complaints about BAR/BRI. Some are of the consumer variety — e.g., the website going down when people were trying to pick their course locations, the date by which books must be returned in order to get deposits back being set too early, unfair late fees, etc.
And some complaints are of the legal variety, in the form of antitrust class actions alleging collusion between (1) West Publishing, the owner of BAR/BRI, and (2) Kaplan Inc., the test prep company owned by the Washington Post Company that is known in the legal community for its LSAT courses. One of the lawsuits alleges “that BAR/BRI agreed not to compete in the LSAT business and that Kaplan agreed not to compete in the bar review business, thereby allocating to BAR/BRI the market for full-service bar review courses in the United States.” (Now, of course, Kaplan has its own full-service bar review course.)
To the legal complaints we now turn. You should follow along, since there might be some money in it for you….
At some point, even a lemming needs to take care of itself.
We’ve devoted a lot of coverage around here to efforts at forcing law schools to be more transparent about the true employment opportunities for law graduates. We’ve screamed at the ABA, at NALP, and at law school deans themselves. We’ve begged them to just tell the truth about jobs to would-be law students.
Maybe it’s been a colossal waste of breath. Maybe, at the end of the day, prospective law students just don’t care whether or not they’ll ever be able to get a job. Maybe trying to get them to think about their own futures before they leap into law school is as effective as trying to convince a lemming not to follow his brothers off of the cliff. Maybe they just don’t want to learn.
A new study from Kaplan asked students what factors they considered before choosing a law school. Getting a job barely made the list. I say again, getting a job barely made the list of things people consider when choosing a professional school. You simply cannot help people who won’t help themselves….
It’s not yet November, so California and New York test takers still have some time left to wait. But if you took the Massachusetts bar exam, release of the results is imminent, according to Stuff To Do During BarBri.
(Random aside: BAR/BRI isn’t the only provider of bar exam preparation services. For a comparison of BAR/BRI, Kaplan PMBR, and BarMax, see here — including the comments.)
Stuff To Do During BarBri attributes the Massachusetts mailing, said to be taking place tomorrow, to “the grape vine allegedly originating in the Massachusetts Superior Court.” So at this point it’s still rumor.
But we do have confirmed news of bar exam outcomes from other states….
Kaplan, the prominent test prep company, conducts an annual survey of law school admissions officers. This year, those admissions people expect to be swamped by even more people clamoring to get into law school. Here’s the stat from Kaplan’s press release:
Law School Applications Continue to Climb: 56% predict an increase in applications this year, while only 6% predict a decrease – 25% predict application numbers to remain flat, while 13% were not sure.
Last year saw record or near-record numbers of applicants to law schools. So this year is going to see even more applicants? This is getting ridiculous…
Hey, have you read Above the Law for like one single minute in the past month? If so, you probably know that we’re having this big blogger conference on March 14th at the Yale Club. Yeah, the Yale Club. You’ll be able to recognize me: I’ll be the only big… blogger guy surreptitiously holding a can of crimson spray-paint.
Speaking of coming, you should come. We’ve got CLE and all that. Click here to buy tickets to get CLE credit for listening to bloggers scream about stuff on the internet.
To refresh your memory, details on the panel that I’m moderating — almost entirely sober, mind you — follow.
My panel is called Blogs as Agents of Change, and we’re going to talk about whether all of these spilled pixels are actually making a difference. You know my view… just ask Lawrence Mitchell, but here are the panelists:
So you spent a considerable amount of time courting, selling and maybe even doing some friendly stalking of that attractive lateral partner candidate with a sizable book. After he or she ignored your emails and didn’t return your calls, a few weeks go by and you read a press release in the legal media announcing the recent move to a competing firm.
Rats. Another one got away from you. You cringe when you consider how much time was spent in meetings that did not bear fruit. Your heart aches when recall how you were led to believe this was a marriage made in heaven.
You have been rejected.
The sting of rejection is painful, even for fancy law firms. But you need to find a way that you can turn this disappointment into a legitimate learning experience.
No, this isn’t a pre-party before we come back next fall for the real thing. This IS the real thing. Quinn Emanuel is pushing the envelope on recruiting. The party is now. This is when you meet the partners and associates face to face. This is when we begin the dance that could land you an offer for your second summer BEFORE school starts in the fall.
First: You come to the party. Second: If you like us, you send your resume after June 1, 2014. Third: If we like each other, you get an offer.
We’re not waiting for fall. We’re not doing the twenty minute thing. This party is the real thing!
We hope you’ll join us, and look forward to meeting you.
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