Law School Transparency

Above the Law readers are a surprising bunch. After three weeks of voting, the University of Michigan Law School has emerged as the most honest law school in all the land.

Michigan. Can you believe it? I guess all the “Wolverine Scholars” shadiness didn’t stick.

Let’s check out the bracket and the final vote total for Michigan’s victory…

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We are at the final showdown for our March Madness bracket, and all the private school sissy-boys have been kicked to the curb. Apparently, you can’t buy your way into a moral or ethical principle. Only the state can inculcate you into virtue.

For the first time, I think ever or at least as long as I’ve been here, in an ATL contest of law schools, the final battle is between two state schools. And it happens in our contest about honesty and ethics. I guess there’s a lot of truth that comes out after a long round of flip-cup….

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We’re at the final four.

In real life, I am in a pitched battle for second place in my NCAA tournament poll with these guys. I can’t win because the guy in first has the exact same bracket as I do from here on out. But I can still finish second, so long as one of my “friends” who is actually a floppy-headed Kansas fan doesn’t get his JayHicks into the finals.

In more law related news, our Most Honest Law School bracket is chugging along.

But there were some upsets in round 2….

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The real March Madness has been batsh*t crazy. Lehigh? Norfolk State? As sometimes ATL contributor Marc Edelman pointed out, schools that have top law schools took a beating with their basketball teams. Harvard, Michigan, UVA, Duke, Georgetown, and Texas were all in the tournament, and now they’re all sitting at home.

But in the Above the Law bracket, top schools survive and thrive. We’re asking readers to pick the most honest law school. We’re asking readers to tell us which law school graduates are the most honorable and ethical in their private practice.

So far, the readers are telling us they’re unable to understand anything beyond what U.S. News tells us….

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Get your brackets ready, March Madness is here! It’s the most wonderful time of the year, at least for those who enjoy illegally gambling with co-workers.

Every year, we here at Above the Law like to put together a little bracket of our own. In the past, we’ve asked you to vote for such things as the coolest law firm or the douchiest law school.

This year, we’ve come up with a question that you don’t hear a lot of people asking when they’re talking about pursing a career in law: Which law school is the most honest?

Don’t start checking you LST transparency index just yet. Sure, being honest to prospective or incoming students can be a factor in a law school’s reputation for honesty. But we want to look at this question in the broadest possible sense….

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Star Jones thinks some of you are whiners.

When William Robinson, president of the American Bar Association, gave an interview in which he suggested that unemployed or underemployed law school graduates “should have known what they were getting into,” he was widely criticized. His emphasis on “personal responsibility” didn’t go over too well in some quarters of the legal profession and blogosphere.

But in defense of Bill Robinson, other people share his views. And some of these people are prominent personages.

Take prosecutor turned television personality Star Jones, who seems to have little sympathy for jobless law grads….

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People going to bottom-tier law schools ought to know that they won’t go like hot cakes on the job market. But that doesn’t mean you’re allowed to exploit their vulnerability.

Mark Gergen, a law professor at Boalt Hall (UC Berkeley), commenting on the lawsuits filed against law schools over allegedly misleading employment data.

(That’s just one professor’s opinion. What do other experts think?)

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As we noted in Morning Docket today, Law School Transparency (LST) wrote to all law schools accredited by the American Bar Association to request the NALP reports for the class of 2010. The NALP reports contain much more detail than that of the reports released by the ABA, such as information concerning part-time and temporary employment, as well as the number of graduates in jobs that do not require a law degree.

LST’s request was made on December 14, 2011. Two months later, LST has presented the results of that request, and the organization has made some significant strides since it first attempted to collect data back in July 2010. This time around, 34 law schools provided their NALP reports, either by sending them directly to LST, or posting them on their websites.

But which schools provided LST with the information? And which schools are still avoiding action?

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* Chris Christie, you’re making me ashamed to be a Jersey girl. Please allow our state be known for something besides the disgrace that is the Jersey Shore. Just sign the damn bill. [New York Times]

* A Biglaw firm that’s got some Seoul: Clifford Chance is the first firm from the United Kingdom — and the first foreign firm — to file a formal application to open an office in South Korea. [American Lawyer]

* Holland & Knight scored a half-million dollar contract to negotiate a deal for a new Massachusetts casino. Instead of giving out spring bonuses, the firm threw a big party to celebrate. [Boston Herald]

* “I am convinced that [he] was given an intentionally defective bomb . . . to stage a false terrorist attack.” This is what a Cooley Law grad said during the Underwear Bomber’s sentencing hearing. Figures. [ABC News]

* 32 law schools provided Law School Transparency with their NALP reports for the class of 2010. Remember when just one school was willing to provide data, and then reneged? [Thomson Reuters News & Insight]

Back in October, we informed our readers that law school litigators Jesse Strauss and David Anziska intended to file class action lawsuits against 15 additional schools, on top of the two they’d already filed against Cooley Law and New York Law School. In mid-December, we brought you an update on the status of those potential filings after Anziska told us that at least three named plaintiffs had been secured for 11 out of the 15 law schools on October’s target list. And now, about a month and a half later, have we got some news for you.

Anziska quipped in an interview with us last year that he hoped to turn 2012 into the year of “law school litigation.” Well, the class action crusader is off to a great start, because today, Team Strauss/Anziska partnered up with six other law firms and filed lawsuits against 12 law schools around the country. According to Anziska, “these lawsuits will define a generation.”

Which law firms have joined in their mighty quest, and which law schools have been sued? Find out all of this information, plus additional details that we learned during today’s media conference call, after the jump….

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