These days, it seems like every media outlet that has any remote connection to the law is making an effort to dispel the allure of the esteemed U.S. News law school rankings. U.S. News encourages law school administrators to attempt to game the rankings, they say. The U.S. News rankings are too focused on the test scores of incoming students, they say. And while we agree that some of the U.S. News methodology could be changed for the better, others have only offered up absurdities in their alternative ranking systems.
National Jurist recently came out with its own set of rankings which measure much lauded criteria like the number of Super Lawyers each law school produces, and the quality of each law school’s faculty, as measured by the oft revered website, RateMyProfessors.com. And as with the glorious Cooley rankings, any traction that the new National Jurist rankings might have received went totally out the window when the powers that be at the magazine decided to rank Alabama higher than both Harvard and Yale. Come on, everyone knows that the only place ‘Bama should be ranked ahead of Harvard is on a football field!
As far as we’re concerned, this serves only as an exercise in how not to make a new rankings system….
As we reach the end of the year, it’s time to step back and assess 2012 as it draws to a close. In the legal world, things have certainly changed from years past, but the one thing that remains constant is the focus on the state of our nation’s legal education. Something’s got to give, and while no one agrees exactly on what needs to change, many have influenced the way the discussion has developed with their insightful visions for the future.
At the end of the day, certain voices were more powerful than others. Whether through reducing class sizes or increasing the transparency of employment statistics, certain individuals have wrought substantial change in the way that law schools are currently operating — and have laid the groundwork for how law schools will be run in the future.
Whose words mattered most? Let’s take a look at this year’s most influential people in legal education….
I’m looking at the National Jurist rankings of “most diverse law schools” and, I gotta tell you, I can’t really see why anybody would or should care about them. Don’t get me wrong, I like diversity, I think it’s critically important to a good educational environment.
But I guess I find “diversity” to be a kind of binary issue: either you have a diverse campus, or you don’t. And we can argue about what makes a place diverse, what gets you over that intangible line. But being the “most diverse” is kind of like being the “most wet” person at the beach. I’m sure that distinction goes to somebody, but the key distinction is separating the wet from the dry.
I dunno, maybe I’d be more interested if any of these “most diverse” student bodies had better than a “snowball’s chance in hell” at getting a job….
Earlier this week, we brought you news about the 10 worst cities for young attorneys ranked by standard of living, size of the legal community, and an active social scene for young people. Many of those cities were located in the South or in the Midwest, where law school administrators have insisted there are good jobs waiting. While some complained that the rankings were suspect for one reason or another, others — perhaps they were bitter? — went so far as to suggest they didn’t “want people that ‘rank’ the ‘worst cities’ coming to these great places anyway.” Sheesh.
Well, those worst-city defenders may be in luck, because today we’ve got the rankings for the 20 Best Cities for Young Attorneys, and this time, average billable hours per city are included. Once again, NALP’s Buying Power Index for the Class of 2010 was used to establish each city’s standard of living, and the resultant best cities were not only big, but they were also extremely Biglaw-centric, with reported median salaries to match.
Given the glut of attorneys being pumped out into the market on a yearly basis, recent graduates are being told to consider applying for employment in places that they normally wouldn’t — rural places like the cities in the Midwest or the Deep South. And for some, it’s been working out, but for others, the experience has been less than enjoyable.
Enter the latest set of rankings. Last year at about this time, the National Association for Law Placement (NALP) released its Buying Power Index for the Class of 2010. This year, National Jurist has presented a list of the Worst Cities for Young Attorneys, based, in part, on NALP’s figures. Unsurprisingly, many of those cities fall near the bottom of NALP’s buying power list, and one was even in second-to-last place. If you have other options, you may want to seriously consider them.
So where are the worst cities for young attorneys?
We know how much our readers love rankings, so for your viewing pleasure, we present to you the National Jurist’s sixth annual list of the Best Value Law Schools. This year’s Best Value ranking system takes into account the following criteria: tuition (25% of study), cost of living expenses (10%), average indebtedness upon graduation (15%), the percentage of graduates who got a job (35%), and bar passage rates (15%).
We’ve covered these rankings before. As in years past, National Jurist ranked only the top 20 schools, and has given letter grades to the rest of the schools on the list, ranging from A- to F. But this year, because of the uproar about transparency in employment statistics, the National Jurist’s rankings include adjusted weights for employment percentages based on 12 different categories.
National Jurist also paid special attention to average graduate indebtedness this year — and by “paid special attention to,” we mean that the publication hasn’t been following the news about the incorrect debt figures that were being used by law schools to pimp their programs like low-rent street walkers.
Check and see if your school made the grade this year….
Back in August, we reported on National Jurist’s fifth annual list of the 60 Best Value law schools. The Best Value ranking system takes into account the following criteria: in-state tuition, average student debt, the percentage of graduates employed nine months after graduation, and bar passage rates.
Two months ago, the list was unranked, but the final tallies for the honor roll have now arrived. As in years past, in addition to the rankings, National Jurist has given letter grades to the rest of the schools on the list, ranging from A- to F. Wouldn’t you hate to be a student or an alumnus of a law school with a failing grade?
Check and see if your school made the grade, after the jump….
We know how much our readers love rankings, so as we mentioned in Morning Docket, the National Jurist has released the fifth annual list of the 60 Best Value law schools in its preLaw magazine. As it stands, the list remains unranked, but the final grades for the honor roll are expected in October.
The Best Value ranking typically takes into account the following criteria: in-state tuition, average student debt, the percentage of graduates employed nine months after graduation, and bar passage rates.
But this year, the National Jurist made some adjustments to its rankings methodology to account for “fairness.” It now takes into account averages for bar passage rates and post-graduation employment over the past two years. And even if a law school didn’t meet one of these important standards, the school wasn’t automatically excluded from consideration. Everyone gets a trophy in this year’s Best Value rankings.
You may be surprised at some of the law schools that made this year’s Best Value honor roll. Check and see if your school made the list, after the jump….
Last month, we reported on the Best Value Law School Rankings produced by National Jurist. The initial list just mentioned the publication’s “honorees,” with a promise of numerical rankings later. That day has arrived, and the magazine is ready to tell us which is the very best value for law school in 2010.
Ed. note: The Asia Chronicles column is authored by Kinney Recruiting. Kinney has made more placements of U.S. associates, counsels and partners in Asia than any other recruiting firm in each of the past seven years. You can reach them by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please note that Evan Jowers and Robert Kinney are still in Hong Kong and will stay FOR THE REMAINDER OF THIS WEEK. We still have a handful of available slots for meetings with our Asia Chronicles fans. If we have not been in touch lately, reach out and let us know when we could meet! There is no need for an agenda at all. Most of our in-person meetings on these trips are with folks who understand that improving a legal practice through lateral hiring is an information-driven process that takes time to handle correctly.
Regarding trends in lateral US associate hiring in Hong Kong, we of course keep much of what we know off of this blog. Based on placement revenue, though, Kinney is having one of our most successful years ever in Asia. We are helping a number of our law firm clients with M&A, fund formation, cap markets, project finance, FCPA and disputes openings. These are very specific needs in many cases, so a conversation with us before jumping in may be helpful. As always, we like to be sure to get the maximum number of interviews per submission, using a well-informed, highly targeted, and selective approach, taking into account short, medium and long-term career aims.
Making a well informed decision during a job search is easier said than done – the information we provide comes from 10 years of being the market leader in US attorney placements at the top tier firms in Asia. There is no substitute for having known a hiring partner since he/she was an associate or for having helped a partner grow his or her practice from zip to zooming, and this is happily where we stand today – with years of background information on just about every relevant person in all the markets we serve, and most especially in Hong Kong/China/Greater Asia. So get in touch and get a download from us this week if we can fit it in, or soon in any case!
The legal industry is being disrupted at every level by technological advances. While legal tech entrepreneurs and innovators are racing to create a more efficient and productive future, there is widespread indifference on the part of attorneys toward these emerging technologies.
When the LexisNexis Cloud Technology Survey results were reported earlier this year, it showed that attorneys were starting to peer less skeptically into the future, and slowly but surely leaning more toward all the benefits the law cloud has to offer.
Because let’s face it, plenty of attorneys are perhaps a bit too comfortable with their “system” of practice management, which may or may not include neon highlighters, sticky notes, dog-eared file folders, and a word processing program that was last updated when the term “raise the roof” was still de rigueur.