Law Schools

I discussed in a past column that one of Canada’s finest law schools, McGill, costs about $4,000 per year. Isn’t that crazy? I bet many Biglaw partners have spent more than $4k on a single client lunch (tip included).

McGill’s microscopic tuition highlights the two main differences between U.S. law schools and Canadian law schools: first, almost all Canadian schools are waaaaaayyyyyyyyy cheaper than their U.S. counterparts. Second, the top students from all our law schools can get Biglaw jobs in Canada. We have only about twenty law schools, but each of them regularly place students with big firms across the country.

There is an implication for Canadian schools as a result: our schools don’t really need to differentiate themselves from their competitors. They can get by with similar course offerings and limited specializations.

The U.S. law school universe is vastly different….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “The View From Up North: Law Schools Acting Like Businesses”

When it comes to the debate over the wisdom of going to law school, I fall somewhere in between. I’m not as optimistic as Jordan Weissmann of Slate, but I’m not as pessimistic as Elie Mystal and Joe Patrice, two of my colleagues here at Above the Law.

Back in June, when I reviewed employment data for the law school class of 2013, I sounded some cautiously optimistic notes. I wondered whether a stable job market and shrinking law school classes could produce better employment outcomes for many law grads.

Could the jobs picture be even brighter than “stable”? Check out what looks like a big expansion of the U.S. Department of Justice’s prestigious Attorney General’s Honors Program, along with other opportunities to work as a lawyer for the federal government….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Reminder: DOJ (And Other) Honors Program Applications Are Due Soon”

It’s not a change in concept for us. It’s a change in numbers in some ways.

– Professor Jeffrey Gutman, the director of George Washington Law School’s Public Justice Advocacy clinic, explaining the impact of the ABA’s new rules requiring students to rack up six credits in a clinic or some other “practical” experience before graduating. Speaking of changes in numbers, so much for all those lower-tier schools banking their reputations on their “practice-ready training” now that the top schools have to throw their money into clinical programs for every student.

So, it appears that there are some people who have ignored my advice and are about to show up to law school anyway. Still more people never heard my advice from their pre-law advisor/philosophy major. Welcome to the suck.

Well, there’s nothing for it now. You’re in it now and if you have chosen poorly it’ll be years before you fully realize the gravity of your decision. In the meantime, what are you supposed to do now? Classes are starting and… hey, are you briefing a case? Are you briefing a freaking case before classes even start? Jesus. PUT THOSE HIGHLIGHTERS DOWN.

You’ve heard about “outlines,” right? Outlines allow you to copy other people’s work so you don’t have to do it yourself. This is the way of things. I say, cheating is the gift man gives himself.

It’s time for some tips…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Elie’s 8 Tips For 1L Year”

I enjoy the law school rivalry between NYU and Columbia, much like somebody in the SEC enjoys watching Big Ten Football.

Many students get into both NYU and Columbia. And then, when they don’t get into HYS, they have to make a tough choice. That choice will not define their career options: both groups of students do well in the job market. But the choice defines what they want to present to the world. NYU gives off a vibe of “Law School can be fun.” Columbia exudes the rational calculation of “the chances of surviving Harlem at night are 725 to 1.”

Because the choice is more about personality than options, the rivalry can last beyond 3L year. I meet more people at conferences that went to Columbia, but I get drunk at those conferences with more NYU kids. It’s hard to explain but easy to see.

In a message to incoming 1Ls, a recent NYU grad kind of summed up the difference in one email…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “A Late Summer Law School Burn”

Statistically speaking, people who are currently in law school scored more poorly on the LSAT than the classes that came before. That doesn’t mean they are dumber — and I doubt any law school professor has the stones to do a study on whether or not the students are dumber now than they were before the recession. But it might mean that the current crop of law students were less prepared to enter law school than earlier classes.

We’ve documented the “brain drain” from the law school applicant pool. In 2012, by which point the idiocy of going to law school was plain to see by any who were watching, the number of students applying to law school with an LSAT score over 170 was down over 20%. Meanwhile, the number of applicants with LSAT scores in the 140- 144 range was only down 6.2%. High scorers were taking a pass while low scorers were saying “wow, I wonder who left this fruit here hanging so low to the ground.”

But now, it appears that trend is reversing. That’s probably bad news for the worst law schools…

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Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

If you just needed the skills to pass the bar, two years would be enough. But if you think of law as a learned profession, then a third year is an opportunity for, on the one hand, public service and practice experience, but on the other, also to take courses that round out the law that you didn’t have time to do.

Two years—it does reduce the respect, the notion that law is a learned profession. You should know a little about legal history, you should know about jurisprudence. [Two years] makes it more of a craft like the training you need to be a good plumber.

– Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, explaining why she thinks law school should remain three years in length, in an interview with the National Law Journal.

Earlier this week, we asked readers to submit possible captions for this picture:

On Wednesday, you voted on the finalists, and now it’s time to announce the winner of our contest…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Caption Contest Winner: The Height Of Law School Toolishness”

Kim Kardashian

* First things first, she’s the realest: In light of the ongoing situation in Ferguson, Missouri, of course Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg acknowledged that we have a “real racial problem” in America. [National Law Journal]

* Cooley Law has experienced legal troubles over its job stats for the past few years, and a great deal of it has been handled by Miller Canfield. It raked in almost $1M from the school from 2011 to 2012. [Am Law Daily]

* Yesterday, a federal judge in Florida struck down the state’s ban on gay marriage as unconstitutional. The latest opinion is one of nineteen in favor of marriage equality. The decision was stayed, but yay for Flori-duh! [CNN]

* Half of Concordia Law’s third-year class will not be returning to school this fall because they’d rather wait to receive word on whether the school will be accredited than waste more of their time there. [Boise State Public Radio]

* Thanks to JudgmentMarketplace.com, a dentist was finally able to collect on a a years-old default judgment against Kim Kardashian — but only because a lawyer bought it from him. [WSJ Law Blog]

* Judge John D. Bates wrote a letter to the Senate Judiciary and Intelligence Committee leadership “on behalf of the Judiciary” explaining why it’s important to keep FISA an opaque Star Chamber. Chief Judge Kozinsky, um, disagrees with that “on behalf” part, and calls out Judge Bates in this letter for mouthing off where he has absolutely no authority. [Just Security]

* The twisted, contradictory, desperate logic behind Halbig. In GIF form!!! [Buzzfeed]

* Two InfiLaw schools, Florida Coastal and our Twitter buddies at Charlotte, are offering refunds to students who perpetually fail the bar as well as a refund to students who don’t get clerkships or externships. That’s nice. A whole $10,000 for failing the bar twice and $2000 for not landing a position. Don’t bother comparing that too how much the students shelled out for their degrees because it’s too depressing. [JD Journal]

* Do you want to know how to survive Biglaw? [2Civility]

* Interesting advice on how to best take advantage of the more informal rules of mediation — let your clients build the narrative. [Katz Justice]

* Judge gives a speech and suggests a woman should become a phone sex operator. That’ll work out well for him. [Journal Gazette]

* Maybe we should be getting law degrees as undergrads? That way we might have minors that employers will care about. [Chronicle of Higher Education]

* Geez, lots of judges in trouble today — here’s an elected judge accused of lying about where she lived to get elected. She denies it, but her filings list three different addresses. Oops. [Times-Picayune]

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