Law school students are becoming more and more vocal about the myriad unresolved problems with the law school industry. Things are getting so bad that yesterday, a Rutgers student (and former Navy SEAL) got into a shouting match with Governor Chris Christie about the Rutgers merger drama.
Something has got to break soon. Right?
If Above the Law’s 2011 Lawyer of the Year Paul Campos has anything to say about it, the answer is a definite “yes.” And he has a drastic idea for fixing what he would call the “law school scam.” It all starts at Stanford University, where he visited earlier this week to talk about his idea.
What did Professor Campos have to say? Does “30 percent unilateral tuition cut” mean anything to you?
As I mentioned Friday, the National Jurist (subscription) came out with a very interesting ranking of law schools. As Tax Prof Blog explains, the publication looked at schools that helped people pass the bar despite their low LSAT scores.
It’s an interesting methodology: the Jurist predicted a bar passage rate for people, state-by-state, based on their LSAT scores, then looked at the 25th percentile LSAT scores at each school, and figured out which schools had the largest deviation from the predictions. High-ranking law schools were the ones that significantly outperformed the bar passage rate expected from their low-scoring students.
These could be significant findings: while poor performance on the LSAT doesn’t necessarily mean the student is dumb, it almost certainly means the students is bad at taking standardized tests. If schools have students who go from being bad at taking a relatively easy standardized test (the LSAT) to passing one of the hardest and most stressful standardized tests out there (the bar exam), it sounds a lot like they are educating people, instead of simply benefiting from the achievements of motivated admitted students.
But, should the law school get the credit for the success? Or are there some test prep companies that should take a bow?
Yesterday we covered a controversy at Yale Law School over an Administrative Law class with an oversubscription problem. The course, taught by visiting Stanford law professor Daniel Ho, wound up with a waitlist of about 100 students.
Some 3Ls who were denied admission into the class were quite upset, since this represented their last chance to take Admin Law. The situation was described to us as a “near riot.” As a tipster noted, “Only at YLS could students get this bent out of shape about not being let into a black letter law class.”
This morning we bring you an update to this story — which has a happy ending, we’re pleased to report….
In a few weeks, we’ll start hearing from prospective law students — i.e., 0Ls — who are already reading Above the Law (smart kids!), and who consult us for advice when choosing between law schools (not such smart kids). Last year, for example, we advised students choosing between such fine law schools as Illinois, Vanderbilt, Michigan, Northwestern, Columbia, Chicago, NYU, and Minnesota (with help from you, our readers; we hosted several reader polls pitting the schools against one another).
When I was a college senior choosing between law schools, I did not employ a very sophisticated approach. I simply picked the law school I got into that was highest in the U.S. News law school rankings.
Even though I have no regrets about my law school pick, my decisionmaking process wasn’t very sound. There are real differences between law schools, in terms of their educational programming, their cost to the student, their location (hai Stanford!), and a whole host of other factors.
Today’s story provides an illustration of the phenomenon. Right now, students at one top law school are in a “near riot” — our tipster’s words, not ours — because they feel they’re being denied the education they’re paying so dearly for….
When you are a transfer student, you are constantly fighting for respect. If you don’t think your non-transfer classmates look down on how you gunned your way into their school despite whatever faults kept you out the first time, you really aren’t paying attention to your surroundings.
But most transfer students do feel the sting, and they try like hell to prove that they belong.
Which is just weak. Come on, there’s nothing worse than trying to interact with somebody who has a huge chip on his shoulder. Actually, the annoyingness of transfers is directly related to the rank of the school: the better the ranking, the more annoying the kids who transfer in.
Call it “elite law school problems.” One of the pleasures of going to an elite school is that you get to spend time around people who aren’t frustrated that they couldn’t get into a better school with better prospects. There’s a calmness on campus; everybody’s doing their thing, everybody feels like things are going to work out. Then the transfers get there and they’re gunning, and annoying, and have ridiculous bro stories about bombing the LSAT, “But it’s ALL GOOD, ’cause I’m HERE NOW buddy, YEAH. I’m taking a class with PROFESSOR FAMOUS PANTS which will really help in my CALLBACK at [mid-tier firm that is actually a fallback option for people at elite schools] DAY.
Sigh. At least that’s how transfer students talk to non-transfers. We don’t often get to see how transfer students talk among themselves.
But today, we’ve got a whole transfer student email thread from Stanford Law School — and boy, like Fredo in the Godfather, they want respect….
The picturesque Richard H. Chambers Courthouse in Pasadena, home of the Ninth Circuit.
California has released some macro-level results from the July 2011 administration of the bar exam. The California bar is notoriously difficult, and every year we like to take a look at which schools prepared their students well for the exam, and which schools did not.
Last year, the overall pass rates were 68.3% for all takers and 75.2% for graduates of the twenty ABA-approved law schools in California. This year, overall pass rates clocked in at 67.7%, while students who went to ABA-accredited law schools in California passed at a 76.2% clip.
But you might be surprised at which California law school had the best passage rate on the California bar. Hint: it’s not Stanford, or Boalt Hall, or UCLA….
It’s time for celebration of a different sort — time to celebrate, and congratulate, the latest class of Skadden Fellows. The winners of these prestigious public interest fellowships were just announced, as they are every December.
As explained in the Skadden Fellowship Foundation’s press release, the 28 new fellows are graduating law students or judicial law clerks who are devoting their careers to public interest work. They’ll be working for organizations located in nine states and the District of Columbia, “focusing on issues ranging from the health and safety of low-wage immigrant workers in California to representing Russian-speaking victims of domestic violence and sex trafficking in New York.”
(Baby Jesus would be proud of what they do. Unless they work for the ACLU and try to ruin his birthday.)
Who are the Skadden fellows for 2012? Which law schools produced the most fellows? And what’s different about this year’s program compared to past years?
Over the weekend, the emerging West Coast powerhouse added a new impressive statistic to its quickly filling trophy case. This year, the school boasts one of the highest federal clerkship placement rates in the country.
Keep reading to see which elite law schools have been edged out by UC Irvine….
Not surprisingly, we’ve noticed a sharp uptick in same-sex weddings in the NYT since New York legalized gay marriage this summer. If you’re planning your own same-sex celebration, don’t miss this article on “Dressing Two Grooms.” Apparently lesbians are on their own.
Although we don’t have any gay finalists this week, we’ve unintentionally chosen a slate of opposite-sex finalists that looks like a United Colors of Benetton ad campaign. Here are our fabulously diverse contestants:
A wheelchair-bound Oaklander in the tear gas fog. That's hardcore.
It has been a strange couple of days. I woke up on Tuesday at 5:30 a.m. to finish some writing. It was still dark, but I heard several helicopters buzzing near my house. I checked Twitter and discovered several hundred police officers were clearing out the Occupy Oakland tent city a few miles away.
Well, I wasn’t expecting the morning’s eviction to turn into a national media s**t storm. By Tuesday evening, somewhere around 500 people were marching through downtown Oakland. Police told them to go home, but they didn’t. People started throwing things at police. Police launched tear gas. By the time things wound down at around 1 a.m. on Wednesday, police had fired several rounds of tear gas and beanbags at protesters, and there were various semi-confirmed reports of rubber bullets, flash grenades, and even a sound cannon.
Why do you care? Well, it turns out these protesters are not just deadbeats and drug addicts. There were several lawyers in the crowd, too. We spoke with a few of them, starting with Shahid Buttar. He is a Stanford Law School grad and the Executive Director of the Bill of Rights Defense Committee. He spent Tuesday afternoon lecturing on privacy in a UC Berkeley journalism class, then spent the night getting tear gassed in downtown Oakland….
A college graduate without student loan debt is akin to reading a kind quote about Kim Kardashian in a tabloid—it’s rare.
In the past eight years, student loan debt has nearly tripled to a whopping $1.1 trillion, and in the past 10 years, the percentage of 25-year-olds with such debt has risen from 25% to 43%
It’s gotten so bad, in fact, that New York Fed economists warned last month that the burden of student debt could stilt consumer spending by twentysomethings, as well as further hamper the recovery of the housing market and economy.
To get a better idea of what massive student loan debt (we’re talking over $100,000 massive) looks like, we talked to an attorney who graduated with a large student loan debt. We also consulted LearnVest Planning Services CFP® Katie Brewer to see just how their repayment plans stack up.
S. Fischer, 36, Attorney Graduated: 2001
How Much I Borrowed: $100,000
What I Still Owe: $45,000
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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 six years. You can reach them by email: email@example.com.
Deal flow has clearly picked recently up for most US associates, counsels and partners in Hong Kong/China and Singapore. We are on the phone with a lot of these folks on a daily basis, many of whom we have known for years. Further, the head of our Asia team, Evan Jowers, and Kinney’s founder and president, Robert Kinney, frequently meet in person with leading US partners in Asia to assess their needs and keep on top of the inside scoop at as many firms as possible. The need for legal recruiting help in Asia from experienced recruiters appears to be live and well. In March, Evan and Robert were in Beijing at such meetings, in April, Evan was in Hong Kong, and for half of June Evan will be in Shanghai and Hong Kong. Thus its pretty easy for us to tell when there has been an across-the-market pick up in capital markets and corporate work.
On an average day in Asia when Evan and Robert visit firms, they typically have 5 to 9 meetings a day, mostly with US partners in the market. The reason they have these meetings is not simply because Kinney makes a lot of US attorney placements in Asia and that a particular firm may have openings; instead these are just visits with friends. After years of working together as business partners, the folks at Kinney are actually these peoples’ friends. The firms Kinney work closely with in Asia (which is just about every law firm – call us if you want to know the one firm in the world we will never place anyone with again, ever, and why) look forward to the visits, or at least act like they do. After seven years in the market, many of the client partners are former associate candidates. Also, these US partners see Kinney as a very good source of market information as well, because they know how deep their contacts are in the market and how frequently they are speaking to counterparts at peer firms.
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