Legal Education

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….

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The students now are generous, collaborative. They share notes with each other. I regularly ask students what has surprised them about Harvard Law School and almost always the response is how nice everybody is. I think the degree to which the students care about the world is very impressive to me. They are not just concerned about themselves.

– Dean Martha Minow of Harvard Law School, in an interesting and inspirational interview with the Harvard Gazette. Additional highlights from the interview, plus commentary, after the jump.

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The legal market for new grads is still sadder than a Sarah McLachlan ASPCA commercial. Job opportunities are still few and far between, and median salaries are taking a hit.

If you wanted to see all that sadness in one super-convenient graphic, we have you covered. Stick this on the wall of your law school dorm room.

Hopefully at one of those law schools where more than 50 percent of graduates land jobs….

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I recently participated in an excellent symposium about the future of legal education that was sponsored by the Seton Hall Law Review. Congratulations to the law review editors on putting on a great event, and thanks to them for inviting me to be a part of it.

Most of the presentations took the form of detailed papers that will be published in the law school’s symposium issue. But there were a few moments of levity, represented by the following seven notable quotations (comments that I found either amusing or interesting):

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Ed. note: This is the latest installment in a series of posts from the ATL Career Center’s team of expert contributors. Today, Sunny Choi shares some advice on ways to save money while fulfilling your CLE requirements.

CLE is one of the many banes of an attorney’s existence. If you’re like me, you’ve probably procrastinated on fulfilling your CLE requirements and the deadline is fast approaching.

As a non-Biglaw attorney, I’ve always had to find my own resources for CLE classes on the cheap. Whether you’re working for a small firm, engaged in your own practice, or working for the government, there are CLE classes available that are either free or relatively inexpensive.

Read on to discover how to get your CLE done without breaking the bank.

Continue reading at the ATL Career Center…

3L year everywhere.

David Lat and I were on CNBC’s Power Lunch with Dan Rodriguez, Dean of Northwestern Law School, discussing whether law school should be two years. As I mentioned earlier today, this debate got started again when President Obama said that he thought law school should last only two years, at least in terms of classroom instruction. Please see my earlier post if you’d like to talk about why Obama’s thought bubble was literally the least useful thing he could have done to effectuate the change he desires.

Here, we’re going to talk about whether Obama’s idea is good in the first place. Should law school be two years long? Let me rephrase that question: is there any possible justification for forcing people to sit through a third year of law school if they don’t want to?

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To accompany Noam Scheiber’s big article on Biglaw — which I discussed yesterday, and Anonymous Partner analyzed this morning — the New Republic asked six prominent observers of the legal profession (including yours truly) for their ideas on how to fix law school. For all of the blame that Biglaw gets for the profession’s problems, some of the difficulties can be traced back to the legal academy and how it teaches and trains lawyers (or fails to do so).

Let’s check out the various reform proposals. Which ones do you agree with?

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Casey Anthony

* Right about now, the Second Circuit is wondering why authors are suing Google and crying infringement over the Internet company’s e-book project, especially since digitization could benefit so many of them. [Thomson Reuters News & Insight]

* This is the end of an era of legal battles: Jeffrey Skilling, Enron’s former chief executive officer, is getting a little shaved off the top of his 24-year prison sentence thanks to a deal with the Department of Justice. He’ll be out in 2017. [CNBC]

* Biglaw expected to have a slow start in 2013, but no one expected it to be this slow. The latest Citi report wasn’t exactly encouraging; on average, firms saw a 0.2% increase in revenue during the first quarter. [Am Law Daily]

* In the past decade, the American Bar Association has created six task forces to explore changing the face of legal education as we know it. Funny… nothing’s really changed. [National Law Journal]

* Bail for Ariel Castro, the accused Cleveland kidnapper, has been set at $8 million. “Just think of how many ribs and salsa albums could be bought with that, bro,” said Charles Ramsey. [Chicago Tribune]

* Casey Anthony had a bankruptcy hearing yesterday, but that news was overshadowed because everyone cared more about the girl who wasn’t going to get away with murder. [Orlando Sentinel]

‘You may take our false hopes for employment, but you will never take our right to sue!’

* Many have compared the possible outcome of the gay marriage cases to the Roe v. Wade decision, saying that constitutionalizing the right to gay marriage will create a similar culture war. Relax, bro, your bigotry is showing. You won’t be any less married if everyone has equal rights, promise. [New York Times]

* Everyone thought Justice Kennedy was going to be the deciding voice in the Obamacare case, and that didn’t happen, but when it comes to the future of gay marriage, in the words of RuPaul, Kennedy’s got the right amount of “charisma, uniqueness, nerve, and talent” to save the day (at least as far as California’s Proposition 8 is concerned). [Sacramento Bee]

* Meanwhile, people waiting in line outside of the Supreme Court in the hopes of grabbing one of the 50 seats reserved for the public like it’s a Black Friday sale outside of Walmart. Unemployed law grads, just think, you could be getting paid to sleep outside in a tent right now! [The Caucus / New York Times]

* Modern-day legal education is a “failure” in the eyes of this Supreme Court justice. Now don’t get it twisted, Scalia wasn’t referring to the post-graduate employment crisis that we’ve all come know and loathe — he just thinks we need fewer “law and [insert bullsh*t here]“ classes. [Portsmouth Herald]

* Dewey know when we’ll be able to retire this punny phrasing? Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be an end in sight because more than a dozen former partners (including John Altorelli of spy-shagging fame) are still clinging to their claims that the failed firm’s estate owes them money. [Am Law Daily]

* Seeing as Widener’s motion to dismiss as to its allegedly deceptive job statistics was denied, it looks like there’s still time to rally behind the law school litigation cause. Someone on Team Strauss/Anziska needs to go all William Wallace and inspire more would-be plaintiffs to sue. [Law 360 (sub. req.)]

* So, after being shut down for more than two years, Caitlin Halligan asked President Obama to withdraw her nomination to the D.C. Circuit. This is how democracy works in our country, folks, and it’s pretty sad. [People For the American Way; Post Politics / Washington Post]

* In America, we’re trying to get official recognition for gay marriage. In Scotland, they’re trying to get official recognition for weddings performed by Jedi Knights. Please, by all means, proceed to stroke each other’s lightsabers over this exciting nerd news. [Volokh Conspiracy]

* Oh my god, this is something I’m definitely going to have to sit down and read, it looks so salacious and — oh. *eyeroll* This just in from the subtitle letdown department…. [Overlawyered]

* A political consultant in Nebraska apparently got himself fired because he called Sen. Danielle Conrad a C-U-Next-Tuesday on his Facebook page. That was way harsh, Tai. [Jezebel]

* Click here to listen to Professor Brian Tamanaha and Dean Lawrence Mitchell talk about rethinking the future of legal education. Tamanaha thinks the tuition is too damn high, whereas Dean Mitchell simply thinks that “life is expensive.” Not even kidding, he really said that. [Associate's Mind]

* At Target, you can definitely expect more and pay less, but that’s probably because your money’s allegedly being stolen out of the cash register. [Legal Juice]

* And just because I love just about everything that Lindsay Lohan does because she’s the hottest of all messes, here’s a timeline of her mug shots ranked in order of her sex appeal. I love that we live in a world where such a thing actually exists! [Gawker]

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