Michigan Law School

We resume our examination of professorial pay at the nation’s top public law schools (which generally have to make salary data public due to their status as state institutions). We’ve previously visited the East Coast, represented by UVA Law, and the West Coast, represented by Boalt Hall (Berkeley).

Now it’s time to head into the heartland. Let’s collect and analyze some compensation information for law professors at another elite institution, the University of Michigan Law School (#9 in the latest U.S. News rankings, and #12 in the recently released Above the Law rankings).

These salary numbers are strong. And remember that dollars go farther in Ann Arbor than they do on the coasts….

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Today, April 15, is Tax Day. But it’s an important day for another reason as well: it happens to be the day that some law schools want to hear back from applicants — and collect their deposit checks, of course.

Let’s close out our series of posts soliciting advice on picking a law school with three fact patterns. All of them involve at least two members of the so-called “T14,” the nation’s 14 leading law schools according to the U.S. News rankings….

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In case you haven’t noticed by now, law students tend to be an overly dramatic bunch. If something inconveniences them, their lives have been ruined. If they don’t immediately get their way, they’ll storm off to Change.org and write a petition about it. And if something bad happens to them and they’ve got access to a school-wide listserv, then my God, abandon all hope ye who open that email.

Around these parts, we’re prone to calling these people “Millennials” — the special little snowflakes who’ve been raised to believe that they can do no wrong. That’s why we love it so when one of them gets smacked down by one of their more cynical peers.

Earlier this week, an enraged student from a T14 law school sent out a fiery email to the entire school because oh nooooes, someone had stolen her lunch, which is obviously the worst thing that’s ever happened in this chick’s life. But we’re kind of happy that this most awful event occurred, because the reply email is absolutely fabulous….

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Understand, I would force people to use this calculator from a desire to do good.

The University of Michigan Law School has created something beautiful. It’s a tool forged by the explosive union of “facts” and “math.” It’s a vision of a future where law students actually know what they’re getting into before they go to law school. It’s not perfect, but I feel as if I’ve just looked up at the first light on the fifth day, and seen something brilliant.

Yes, I spent all day playing with the Michigan Law Debt Wizard.

As we mentioned this morning, Michigan Law has a new tool that points students towards “11,000 possible [debt] repayment paths.” And most of them are God-awful.

Because Michigan Law is just trying to tell you the truth….

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Law school is a ‘debt wizard’ — it’ll make your money disappear like magic!

* In the nick of time, lawyers for the Obama administration filed a brief with the Supreme Court urging the justices to strike down California’s ban on gay marriage. Let’s hope their views have evolved. [BuzzFeed]

* As the lawyers and administrative staff who just got laid off at Patton Boggs can attest to, it sucks to be on the wrong side of “rightsizing.” We’ll have more on this developing story later today. [Reuters]

* Lanny Breuer is leaving the DOJ today, and he’s doing it with a bit of “swagger.” He’s shrugging off rumors that he’ll retreat to Covington, insisting he’ll interview at many firms. [DealBook / New York Times]

* It’s time for the changing of the guard over at Milbank Tweed. Mel Immergut, the longest serving chair of any Am Law 100 firm in New York, is passing the reins to Scott Edelman. [New York Law Journal]

* Michigan Law has a new “Debt Wizard” program that’s extremely useful in that it will allow you to see what you’re getting yourself into. Or, in my case, how poor I’ll be for the rest of my life. Yay! [National Law Journal]

* All he wanted to do was “make the world a better place,” but that didn’t work out so well. In a plea deal, Bradley Manning pleaded guilty to 10 of the charges against him in his WikiLeaks case. [Los Angeles Times]

* Of all of the words that are used to describe Cory Booker, one of them is now “matchmaker.” The Newark mayor assisted a young Seyfarth Shaw associate with his engagement proposal earlier this week. [TIME]

Dean Evan Caminker

* Eric Holder has agreed to serve once more as attorney general during President Barack Obama’s second term, but he still plans to leave at some point — after all, he’s no “Janet Reno of the Justice Department.” [Blog of Legal Times]

* AIG will not join the lawsuit against America. To put that in terms that should be just as outrageous, former AIG CEO Hank Greenberg is still suing America. [Washington Post]

* For those who care about Biglaw firms and the landlords who love them, fear not, because there’s a whole lot of moving and shaking in terms of commercial real estate deals for Arnold & Porter, Goodwin Procter, and Sidley Austin. [Am Law Daily]

* Jacoby & Meyers scored at the Second Circuit: its attack on New York’s ban on non-lawyer firm ownership was reinstated. Soon Walmart will own a firm with “Low Prices. Every day. On everything.” [Bloomberg]

* Who’ll step in to fill Evan Caminker’s $400,000+ shoes as the next dean of Michigan Law? None other than Mark West, who’d like to improve financial aid and loan repayment programs. [National Law Journal]

* Gun nuts, commence your rioting… now. If passed, Governor Andrew Cuomo’s sweeping gun-control proposal would make New York the state with the strictest gun laws in the country. [WSJ Law Blog (sub. req.)]

* Speaking of needless gun violence, by Friday, we’ll know whether there’s enough evidence to move forward with a trial for James Holmes, the accused shooter in the Aurora movie theater massacre. [New York Times]

[S]chools don’t have to go so far as to declare such specifics to the world as having a sheep farmer and a professional poker player in their graduating class to make some salubrious steps toward being a bit more forthcoming.

Sarah Zearfoss, Michigan Law’s Senior Assistant Dean for Admissions, Financial Aid, and Career Planning, commenting on the need for increased transparency in the employment statistics law schools present to prospective students who peruse their websites.

It’s been quite some time since we’ve had the opportunity to openly mock Michigan law students. Well, actually, that’s not entirely true — after all, we did pass judgment on their so-so performance on their own state’s bar exam. But thankfully, these kids have given us another chance to chuckle at their expense.

Remember that not-so secret society they had? You know, the one that tried to prank the campus community by putting sheets with sloppy penmanship up on the roofs of the residential dorms? That was a total fake fraternity fail. But now we’ve got a “real” fraternity fail for you to feast your eyes upon.

It appears that students at Michigan Law are trying to re-live their college glory days of coolness (or pretend that those days existed in the first place) via one of their law fraternities. It’s actually kind of cute, because they think it should be like a real fraternity, complete with insane initiation rituals….

(Plus, check our our update with some relevant information from a current member.)

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Was one of the essay questions “design an American truck that runs on candy and rainbows but still has enough power to make a Texan feel better about his small penis”? Because that would be a hard question. And it would explain the abysmal bar passage rate achieved by test takers on the July 2012 Michigan bar exam.

The people who took the Michigan bar exam passed at a rate as if all of them went to Cooley. Okay, it wasn’t that bad, but it was still pretty bad. The bar passage rate for the state was 55 percent. Tipsters and commenters contend that those ridiculous numbers are due to a change in scoring the essays, but the Michigan Bar hasn’t released an official reason for the low rates.

Hell, maybe they want it this way. One way of slowing the saturation of the legal market is to make it a harder market to enter.

Let’s take a look at a school-by-school breakdown…

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We mentioned in Morning Docket that something awesome happened. But I want to emphasize it here. THE WEST WING CAST CAME BACK TOGETHER FOR A MINUTE.

And it was glorious. Anyone who has watched 20/20 Hindsight Room Newsroom knows that the West Wing involves a lot more than witty dialogue and a sense of civic responsibility. The West Wing also required acting, ensemble chemistry, and at least a passing respect for women.

The cast brought all of that to bear in a video made to raise awareness about judicial elections.

And it all happened because a professor and assistant dean at Michigan Law School has awesome family and friends….

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