Law Students

Spring has sprung, and you know what that means: we’re now seeking submissions for our annual law revue video contest. Last year, 19 law schools submitted 30 videos for the contest. Some of them were funny, some of them were “meh,” and some of them made us want to close our heads inside of our laptops. You do NOT want to be in the last category.

But if you think you can carry a tune or tell a joke, we ask that you send us your very best law revue videos so that we — and the Above the Law audience — may pass judgment upon them. Prepare yourselves for the worst, but hope for the best (that’s what we’ll be doing, since we expect we may be seeing some twerking this year).

Those responsible for the winning video will get Above the Law t-shirts and the pleasure of knowing they’re the envy of all their law school brethren. As for the losers, well… how embarrassing for you.

Before you start sending us your videos (and some of you have already tried), we’ve got some rules. As future members of the legal profession, we hope you’ll be able to follow them….

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Non-lawyers are often surprised to learn of the lockstep salary schemes of large law firms and the near-perfect information we have about them. (Recall Kevin Drum’s befuddlement at the bi-modal distribution of law graduate salaries and the “weird cultural collusion” it suggested.) Even annual bonuses are frequently spelled out in what amounts to public memoranda and are typically some variation of the “market” dictated by our Cravath overlords. Of course, there are some “black box” firms and a few gilded outliers such as Wachtell Lipton or Boies Schiller, but generally speaking, the world of large firms practices a degree of relative transparency around compensation that is unsurpassed outside the public sector.

In order to distinguish among firms, we have to look to the margins. For example, law firms vary quite a bit when it comes to paying for the bar and living expenses of incoming associates. Some firms may reimburse for covered expenses after the fact; others may pay some expenses directly to the provider. Some may give a stipend to cover living expenses, whereas others may offer the ability to take out an advance on salary.

Greater transparency (or, at least, aggregated information) on these questions might make one firm’s offer more attractive than another’s, or perhaps even give an offeree some basis for negotiating a package upgrade (but of course tread very lightly there)….

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Some law students are still naive enough to believe that they’ll be able to take a stand against every day injustices and walk away victorious — just because they’re law students. That’s simply not the case, especially when you’re a law student who’s trying to come between a police officer and his lunch…

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You may think law professors have easy lives, but the truth is, they really don’t. Tossing papers down a staircase to grade them is rough. Writing articles that no one will read aside from poor law review techciters is demoralizing. Teaching “Law and [Insert Noun Here]” to students in search of easy A’s is likely painful. Getting pepper sprayed in the face while teaching one of those classes is excruciating.

Things can get crazy pretty quickly when law professors at Top 50 law schools get attacked during class. Where did this happen, and was the law prof injured? Keep reading to find out…

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Above the Law and Kaplan Bar Review will be back in Washington, D.C., for trivia night on Wednesday, April 2. If you missed us last time, here’s your chance to have some fun. So, drink up, prove your smarts, and get a chance to win mini iPads for your team (maximum of five per team).

Here are the details:

Date: Wednesday, April 2, 2014
Location: Bier Baron Tavern (1523 22nd St NW)
Doors Open: 6:15 p.m.
Start Time: 7:00 p.m.

Fill out the RSVP form below to attend. We look forward to seeing you!

I’m about to show you a train wreck. Feel free to laugh as this would-be summer associate impales himself with his own questions.

But I’m not showing you this just for the lulz. This is a public service, a teachable moment for everybody who doesn’t know the line between “effective networking” and “annoying striver”….

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Wait, law students aren’t supposed to do this?

If you’re a woman working in the legal profession, the odds are already stacked high against you, especially if you want to work for a large law firm. You’ll likely be paid less than your male colleagues. You’ll find that your life’s work has been reduced to a diversity talking point. Motherhood might as well be a crime. You can’t even dress yourselves without assistance.

We’ve heard about that last point of contention from law schools, multiple bar associations (see here and here), and even law firms. The latest slight against women comes from yet another law school, one perhaps too eager to assure potential employers that its female students exude the sensibilities of Lauren Bacall, not Marilyn Monroe.

How many times do women in the law need to be told not to dress like streetwalkers? Enough already…

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For some law students, taking classes during the summer is the right choice. In this infographic, the folks at the UC Hastings Summer Legal Institute make their case for a summer spent studying in San Francisco. Registration for summer 2014 classes will open March 24, 2014, for current UC Hastings students, and April 1, 2014, for all other students. Applications will be accepted until May 7, 2014. Full program details are here….

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The most polarizing figure in the field of syndicated trivia programming watched over a microwaved TV dinner is Arthur Chu. Chu, a 30-year-old insurance analyst, has lit up his competition on Jeopardy since late January. Chu rejected the tried-and-true method of running categories from top to bottom — giving the viewer a pleasurable run of questions with an increasing level of difficulty — to employ game theory in a mad hunt for Daily Doubles. Some hated him. Some Jeopardy experts defended him. Most of us really didn’t care that much over the media-manufactured controversy.

For a bit it seemed the only things capable of halting his reign of terror were Jeopardy’s prescheduled tournaments, which did put the champ on ice for a few weeks.

But last night, a law student put Chu down. Sure, that’s impressive, but could she win the next ATL Trivia Night? (It will be in D.C. on Wednesday, April 2; RSVP here.)

So what law school boasts a Jeopardy champ?

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It’s almost mid-March, and you know what that means: broke law students are starting to freak out about the costs associated with their upcoming commencement ceremonies.

Most of them have already forked over six figures of government Monopoly money to their law schools, so why on earth are they so concerned about the cost of renting their caps and gowns for graduation?

To be honest, the loan money is starting to run out. While some schools have reasonable rental options (in the $50-$70 range), other schools are foisting very expensive graduation gear upon their graduates in some sort of a “gouge ‘em before they go” cash grab.

But how much is too much when it comes to one-day rental prices? Students at one top-tier law school have described what they’re expected to pay as jaw-droppingly “insane”…

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