NYU Law

Having a bad day in Biglaw?

Did you love Legos as a child? Well, who didn’t? They’re colorful and creativity-triggering. Having your child play with Legos is probably better than handing him an iPad equipped with Angry Birds (although I’ve witnessed firsthand the power of Angry Birds to mollify a misbehaving child, so I don’t judge).

But did you ever think, regarding Legos, that you could turn it into a living? And not just a living, but a successful career as an artist?

Today in career alternatives, we meet a lawyer turned Lego lover. His sculptures have appeared in museums and galleries around the country….

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* “The bottom line is … I’m the 800-pound-gorilla that you want to settle with.” By the way, if you weren’t sure, Howrey’s trustee Allan Diamond wasn’t kidding about suing the firm’s former partners. “Either we’re going to cut deals, or I’m suing you.” [Am Law Daily]

* It takes two to do the partnership tango: in the expansion of its Financial Institutions Group, Goodwin Procter picked up Brynn Peltz, an attorney with more than 20 years’ experience, and an ex-partner at Latham and Clifford Chance. [Fort Mill Times]

* Hello, predictive coding! Goodbye, jobs! Not only can computers do the work of lawyers on the cheap, but they can do it more intelligently, too. Get ready to welcome our new digital overlords. [WSJ Law Blog (sub. req.)]

* Another day, another op-ed article about the law school crisis in the pages of the New York Times. But at least this one is about something most can support: changing the third year of law school. [New York Times]

* As it turns out, with 82 applications for the program’s first five spots, there’s actually a demand for Yale Law’s Ph.D. in Law. So much for this being “[t]he worst idea in the history of legal education.” [National Law Journal]

* Linebacker Jonathan Vilma’s defamation suit against NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell in connection with Bountygate was dismissed. Wonder when Goodell will suspend Vilma for thinking he could win. [Bloomberg]

* Francis Lorson, former chief deputy clerk of the Supreme Court, RIP. [Blog of Legal Times]

DaNae Couch

* “I’m a New Yorker, and I jaywalk with the best of them.” Don’t be fooled by the rocks job that she’s got — she’s still, she’s still Jenny Sonia from the block. The Supreme Court’s very own wise Latina, author of a new memoir (affiliate link), is proud of her city. [New York Times; 60 Minutes]

* If you’re looking for an M&A adviser, you’d be wise to seek out counsel from Skadden Arps. The firm swept three separate rankings lists based on the total value of its clients’ 2012 M&A transactions. [Am Law Daily]

* Only in the world of legal education could the dean of a law school that isn’t even numerically ranked by U.S. News have the highest salary of all law deans nationwide. (We’ll likely have more on this later.) [Boston Globe]

* Arizona schools will allow 3Ls to take the bar exam, but New York schools may soon do away with 3L year altogether. Of course, the ABA will find a way to muck it up, but still, hooray for progress! [National Law Journal]

* Remember “Made in Jersey,” the show about a stereotypical Jersey girl who made the jump to Biglaw? Yeah, neither does anyone else. Hopefully “Staten Island Law” won’t face the same fate. [New York Daily News]

* “Sexiness is all about being a woman of character.” Our congratulations go out to DaNae Couch, the Texas Tech law student who advanced to the Top 10 of the Miss America competition. You go girl! [Lubbock Online]

* Aaron Swartz — Reddit co-founder, friend of Larry Lessig, felony hacking defendant — RIP. [New York Times]

Housewife: best job ever?

* Go to BuzzFeed to see pictures of cute animals, or go to BuzzFeed to see some quality journalism — like Chris Geidner’s profile of Edith Windsor, plaintiff in one of the landmark gay-marriage cases before the Supreme Court. [BuzzFeed]

* “A python is fairly dangerous. There’s definitely a turn-on about hunting something carnivorous that could, in theory, eat you,” says the NYU law student heading to Florida to hunt pythons for prize money. [Bloomberg]

* Looking for work? It’s time to head south, before everyone else does. Word is starting to get out about Texas, which boasts a low cost of living, no state income tax, and jobs — yes, actual freaking jobs. [Instapundit]

* But there’s no shortage of jobs in the housewife sector. If that’s what you want to do, then be fruitful, multiply, and remove your résumé from consideration at the jobs you’ve unwillingly applied to. [The Careerist]

* Although a reference from this century would’ve been appreciated, both Lat and Elie agree that I’m pretty damn great at “mak[ing] everything be okay.” Where’s a cute hat to toss when you need one? [Law and More]

* Lat sometimes dabbles in Biglaw predictions (despite the risks of being wrong). If you’re interested in seeing more, watch him in this interview with Lee Pacchia of Bloomberg Law….

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What if your law dean didn’t look like everybody else?

Have you ever noticed how law school deans are all kind of all the same guy? They’re mostly white, mostly male, mostly smart, mostly charismatic, and mostly good at getting you to part with your money.

Law school deans are usually successful academics and respected faculty members. And when they’re not, we make fun of them. The virtue of having a dean who looks and thinks like everybody else is that you don’t risk getting a weirdo who will screw up your capital campaigns. There’s a reason why guys are generally happy when they show up to a party and they’re dressed like pretty much everybody else; it means that nobody screwed up.

Of course, the downside of picking 200 people with similar backgrounds is that it’s hard to get radical change in the way law schools are run. Instead of every law school being a “laboratory” of ideas, you get every law school just trying to follow the leader — and that leader is, of course, the hated U.S. News law school rankings.

A tipster who went to a school that is looking for a new dean asked Above the Law to suggest some “outside the box” candidates. We know that the school won’t seriously consider any of our suggestions, but it’s still a fun thought experiment. Who should be dean of your law school? We’ve got some thoughts…

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So I’ve quit my job at Debevoise and I’ve spent six glorious months on my couch. Life is good. My wife is making money and paying the bills; my new dog has become a wonderful friend (first Monday of my Biglaw liberation I went to the ASPCA). My Michigan college football dynasty is undefeated in EA College Football (I root for Michigan sports, long story).

But I know it can’t last. I know eventually I’ll have to get a real job (ish). And I know that I don’t want to go back to doing what I had been doing, so I make what seems to me to be the most logical call in the universe: the Career Services Office at Harvard Law School. Remember, these were the people who told me that I could do all sorts of things with a law degree besides the Biglaw thing that most people did with law degrees. This was the school that owned all my outstanding debts. These were the people, if any, who could help me in my time of professional ennui.

And they did. After emailing and calling in and setting up a phone appointment, I was talking not to some receptionist flunky, but the full-on Dean for Career Services, Mark Weber. And he tried to help. Turned out I really had no clue what I wanted to do next, so much of his advice was basic stuff like “we have lots of successful alumni, you should call them.” The point is that I felt like my law school still cared about my career and still had resources to help me, years after I graduated.

Of course, that was back during the salad days at Harvard Law. Apparently, things are very different during these challenging times at NYU Law School. A recent grad there emailed his career services office looking for help, and was told pretty clearly that nobody had time to assist him.

See, our guy had one job, and it would seem NYU Law is in some kind of triage mode…

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The only people who hate final exams as much as students are the professors who must eventually grade them. Some professors look at finals with open disdain. It takes them away from scholarship and they don’t even get the thrill of hearing themselves talk in a packed lecture hall.

Maybe it’s because so many professors hate giving exams that there seem to be so many screw-ups. Mistakes will happen, but often it doesn’t seem like schools have a clear plan of fixing mistakes in a way that is fair to all students.

NYU Law School has had its fair share of exam mishaps. It’s a long and embarrassing list.

But maybe NYU Law is finally starting to learn from past mishaps. Oh, the faculty still make mistakes when it comes time to administer exams, but this time the solution is that the professor is going to do extra work.

Then again, maybe it’s working extra hard after you’ve made an error that separates this famous NYU professor from the rabble….

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We’ve previously discussed how Mid-Atlantic law schools are having to shuffle their class schedules because of Hurricane Sandy.

Cancelling classes is the easy part. It’s not clear that current students are even capable of taking notes in class without power.

But classes cancelled this week need to be made up next week. Not because the extra teaching is all that crucial, but because the ABA and various state bars mandate a certain number of classroom hours for law students. It’s regulation at its worst: they can’t directly measure what matters (are kids getting a quality education), so they mandate an arbitrary figure that at best means nothing.

At worst, it forces schools to jump through hoops to meet the requirements even during times of hardship. At Rutgers Law-Newark, they’re looking to have finals right up until the holidays. At NYU Law, their best solution is just to make classes excruciatingly long to make up the hours…

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Richard Revesz

Big news in the land of top law schools: NYU Law School Dean Richard Revesz will be stepping down from his position at the end of the academic year. Revesz most recently revamped NYU’s 3L curriculum. He leaves behind one of the best law schools in the nation (and some swanky faculty housing).

As David Lat just put it to me over Gchat, “Revesz has been there for ten years and he has seen it all — the boom and the bust of the legal profession.” As a current NYU student wrote to us, Revesz leaves “big shoes to fill, and I just hope that the next dean is just as successful at keeping our amazing professors here and attracting top-flight talent from other schools. His record on both counts has been superb.”

Despite its overall success, Ricky Revesz’s tenure was not without controversy. Let’s review some highlights (along with some UPDATES), after the jump….

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My, NYU Law’s new 3L program sure looks pretty.

The third year of law school is an utterly useless waste of time that exists only to fatten the coffers of American law schools and we all know it. The vestigial human tail is more useful for climbing trees than 3L year is for career advancement.

Of course, the third year of law school is never going away, unless you think that law schools are in the business of giving away a third of their income just because it’s the right thing to do. Like the coccyx, it’s so integrated into the whole system that we can’t really just get rid of it. The ABA mandates it, and everybody loves it when their primary regulator requires an artificial price floor.

Today, NYU Law School is announcing an interesting solution to this problem that it has with taking money from students without teaching them anything useful: it’s going to try not teaching them anything at all! That’s right folks, NYU is “revamping” 3L year to give students more opportunities to study abroad. Because whenever you are gouging students for an additional year of education that nobody needs, you might as well make some other university actually deal with them for the year.

Oh, and this plan comes to you with the Cravath stamp of approval. So you know it’s very prestigious….

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