Law Schools

Get out while you still can!

If you’ve managed to jump onto the speeding “now is a great time to apply to law school” train, then you might want to fling yourself from the tracks, because that thing is about to derail. We’ve got some major news from a law school that’s stereotypically regarded as one of the worst in the country. If you thought things were bad for law schools, you ain’t seen nothing yet.

The legal academy has been waiting with bated breath for something like this to happen, and now it finally has. A law school is cutting an entire class year from its enrollment logs at one campus and laying off faculty and staff — all at the same time.

Which law school seems to be in full on disaster mode right now?

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If your Facebook news feed is anything like mine, by now you’ve probably seen the Slate article encouraging people to “Apply to law school now!”, as well as Joe’s biting reply. The beef has gone back and forth. I’m not going to debate the job numbers; that’s been handled more than ably, and those who are willing to make an honest assessment of the job market already have.

Instead I am going to focus on the human cost of losing the law school lottery….

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For almost a decade, the Forum on Law, Culture & Society has hosted fascinating conversations about legal issues with such luminaries as President Bill Clinton and Justice Sonia Sotomayor. I’ve had the pleasure of attending several Forum events over the years, such as a riveting panel discussion about the Casey Anthony case and screenings of legally themed movies at the Forum Film Festival.

For years, the Forum has made its home at Fordham Law School. But now the Forum is moving. Where is it going, and why?

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* You may have missed this because you were busy lamenting yesterday’s Supreme Court decisions, so here are just a few of the high-profile cases for which the high court refused to grant cert. [WSJ Law Blog]

* A judge tossed a defamation suit filed against Cooley Law by the original law school litigation dream team. That’s too bad, it would’ve been interesting watch the trial. [National Law Journal]

* George Zimmerman lost his defamation suit against NBC. As it turns out, the network didn’t need to edit those phone calls to make it seem like the acquitted artist was racist. [Chicago Tribune]

* Listen, if you really feel like you need include an addendum to your law school application, you should try not to use too much flowery bullshit to explain away each of your misdoings and missteps. [Law Admissions Lowdown / U.S News & World Report]

* Unfortunately, things aren’t exactly getting much better for women in Silicon Valley. A former vice president over at Tinder alleges that the company’s CEO called her a “whore” at a party. Eww! [Reuters]

Elie here. Everybody wants a deal. Everybody wants to “beat the market,” and the internet makes us think that we can. If a baby with an e-Trade app can make money, why can’t you? Buy low, sell high: I’m sure I read that on a bumper sticker somewhere, or maybe in the New Yorker.

Increasingly, the internet thinks it’s identified just the right undervalued asset to snap up at a discount: legal education. The decline in law school applications has been sharp and truly shocking to some. It doesn’t make sense that a law degree would suddenly be much less valuable now than it was 5 or 10 or 20 years ago. The value should rebound. The world still needs lawyers. And if you haven’t noticed, or just disregarded, long-term structural changes in the market for legal services, the fact that every law dean will tell you that the market rebound is right around the corner gives you more confidence in your logical assessment. It’s not like every law dean in the country would lie about the value of their product, right?

We can and will continue to debate the likely future value of a legal education. But can we dispense with the notion that purchasing full-price legal education right now involves “buying low”? You are not buying low, you are buying at historically unprecedented heights. Nobody would put “Buy high, hope to sell at fair market price in three years” on a bumper sticker.

And nobody should be putting that on the internet either….

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* For all of you gearing up for the bar exam, take heart that failure isn’t the end of the world. At least if you fail with a last name like “Roosevelt” or “Kennedy.” [Buzzfeed]

* Hobby Lobby may be behind us, but there are still anti-ACA cases on the horizon. [The Advisory Board Company]

* Morning Docket noted Neal Katyal’s op-ed suggesting the Supreme Court was less divided these days. Consider this a detailed response. [mitchellepner]

* Thoughts on Kitchen v. Herbert. [Pollvogtarian]

* The great unpaid internship revolt is on. And based on Harris, we should expect the working stiff’s got a great chance here. [Capital New York]

* Some right-wing college paper is bent out of shape that a full law professor teaching one class (and running a clinic) is paid over $200,000. That salary actually doesn’t sound all that shocking. Now what would be interesting (though these folks probably wouldn’t care) is how that salary stacks up to his female colleagues’ pay. [The College Fix]

* Ever see Jimmy Kimmel’s “Celebrities Read Mean Tweets” sketch? Here’s video of professors reading mean evaluations… [TaxProf Blog]

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* As I noted yesterday over at Redline, the defense in the NCAA trial is putting up some terrible witnesses. Here’s another example. The NCAA’s expert wrote a textbook. The NCAA might have wanted to check it out before bringing him on to help defend themselves IN AN ANTITRUST CASE. [Twitter / Stewart Mandel]

* Elie and I got in a spirited discussion with Slate’s Jordan Weissmann over my edits to his piece on law schools. And it looks like some outside observers took notice. [Law and More]

* The case for grade inflation. [The Atlantic]

* In Wisconsin, a Scott Walker supporter allegedly voted for his boy 5 times. His defense is ripped from a Days of Our Lives script. [CBS News]

* Our mates at Legal Cheek have the ideal follow-up to our World Cup guide: Which last 16 World Cup team is your law firm? As a QPR fan, I’ll tip my hat to their Harry Redknapp quote. [Legal Cheeks]

* Overpreparing for a simple meeting. [What Should Law Bros Call Me]

* An 11th Circuit PIP nightmare. [South Florida Lawyers]

* Hong Kong lawyers protesting what they see as China meddling. Honestly can you blame China? Ever since Hong Kong let Batman just swoop in and grab that guy, you can’t really trust the Hong Kong legal system. [Reuters]

Ed note: This is the latest installment in a series of posts from the ATL Career Center’s team of expert contributors. Today, David Mainiero, Admissions Expert at InGenius Prep, examines major factors pre-law students should consider after taking the June LSAT.

You’ve finished the June LSAT… now what? In this blog series, I will help you navigate the perilous road to 1L.

First, decide whether (and why) you’re going to retake the LSAT in October.

Given that you just finished the LSAT, you’ve put at least three and a half hours of thought into one incredibly important component of the application. For your sake, we hope that wasn’t the extent of the thought you put into the LSAT.

Even in some cases where you have planned and studied appropriately, you might be considering re-taking the test. Or, if you aren’t reconsidering it yet, you might be when you get your score. There is nothing wrong with this. Tons of successful applicants to even the most selective law schools in the country take the LSAT multiple times; that’s not to say it’s encouraged, but it’s certainly not the end of the world. I myself took the LSAT three times.

There is plenty of generic advice out there about the circumstances under which you should retake the test, but ultimately it is a highly individualized decision. Nonetheless, here is some guidance on how to make this decision.

Continue reading at the ATL Career Center…

Many of you have by now seen the Slate article by Jordan Weissmann published yesterday afternoon entitled Apply to Law School Now! Indeed, many readers sent this particular piece along to us through our tips line, deeply concerned. Indeed, one tip came with the message: “Waiting for Elie’s head to explode in 3, 2, 1…”

Well, we’re here to make a confession. Slate sent us a draft copy of this article to edit and darned if we forgot to email over the redlined copy.[1] This piece is therefore totally on us, guys. Don’t blame Slate.

In the interest of rebuilding Slate’s reputation, we’ve attached our redline so we can see how the article would have read with proper editing….

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The Socratic method is the marathon racing of law school: Greek, very few people like it, those that do are way too into it to be healthy, and the best thing you can say about it is that the first guy who did it died. But law professors continue to sing its virtues thousands of years down the road, even after evidence begins to mount that it puts some students at a distinct disadvantage.

That’s why it’s an event to see law professors argue on an Internet board about the merits of the Socratic method as an instructional strategy….

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