Maybe for some people, hearing that someone you’ve met was class valedictorian for high school, college, or law school is still impressive. I’m not one of those people, but maybe I’m in the minority. A controversy is currently brewing at Southern Methodist University’s Dedman School of Law over this year’s choice for valedictorian.
Some soon-to-be graduates are upset that a transfer student earned the title. It’s just not fair, they say, to swoop in after an easy-peasy year at some lower-ranked school and show up at a new school to demolish everyone else’s GPAs by comparison.
Let’s see the details of what’s happening down in Texas, and then take a poll: do you think transfer students should be able to earn the valedictorian title?
* Former Quarles & Brady partner Jeffrey Elverman has been sentenced to five years of probation for swindling money from a little old lady. Does that count toward PPP? [Journal Sentinel]
* K&L Gates is suing a casino in Macau to recover client funds that were allegedly gambled away by former partner Navin Kumar Aggarwal. Silly Biglaw firm. Don’t you know the house always wins? [Am Law Daily]
* “I am not a lawyer. I’m a server. Lawyers do lawyer things. Lawyers work at law firms. Lawyers do public policy work… Lawyers don’t serve pizza.” Ah, the plight of the New York Law School graduate. [CBS News]
* Cooley Law: you can check out any time you like, but you can never leave. A former student’s suit over the school’s alleged attempt to keep him from transferring was dismissed this week. [National Law Journal]
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….
As we noted, Tammy Hsu’s blog is now restricted to invited readers. Some posts are still accessible via Google Cache (and in the comments to our original story, some of you identified favorite posts of yours).
Shortly after we wrote about her, we heard from Tammy C. Hsu. She sent us a defense and explanation of her blog’s origins, which we will now share….
We begin with a message to our readers. Consider yourselves on notice: we regard almost anything you place on the internet, even if just for a brief hot second, to be fair game for coverage. It doesn’t matter to us if you later try to “recall” your mass email or delete your public blog. Once you’ve put something out there, thereby forfeiting any reasonable expectation of privacy, then it’s gone, baby, gone. [FN1]
And honestly, in the internet age, what privacy expectations are reasonable in the first place? Emails can be forwarded; images can be downloaded or photographed themselves, then re-posted. If it’s not already dead, privacy is rapidly dying. You might as well start living in public now, and make life easier for yourself. Just let it all hang out, and then you’ll never be embarrassed about anything getting leaked. (This is my philosophy on Twitter, where my feed is often TMI.)
Living in public: that’s the premise behind a charming new law student blog by a 1L with ambition. Like a fair number of bloggers — Brian Stelter and his Twitter diet come to mind — law student Tammy Hsu seeks to harness public exposure for her own benefit. Hsu, a first-year student at Wake Forest University School of Law, writes a blog built around her goal of transferring into Yale Law School. It’s right there in the title of her site: “Confessions of an (Aspiring) Yalie.”
By putting her ambition out in the open, Hsu is motivating herself to succeed, because failure would be so public. She is lighting the proverbial fire under her own arse, turning her classmates and the internet into one big Tiger Mother. If she’s not at 127 Wall Street this time next year, people will look down upon her — so now she has every incentive to excel in her 1L year at Wake Forest.
For many law students, the path to Biglaw riches looks something like this:
Step 1: Get into cheap law school.
Step 2: ???
Step 3: Profit.
A lot of kids fill in “Step 2″ with the idea of trading up to a “better” law school after a successful 1L year. Now that finals have wrapped up at most law schools (and the law schools still conducting finals are generally places nobody wants to transfer from), many students will set their sights on the goal of transferring out of their current law school.
Of course, just because students want to transfer doesn’t mean they can. And unfortunately many students will find that their current law school actively tries to make it difficult for kids to get out and into a better law school.
Is your school cock-blocking you from scoring a better legal education?
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.
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.
We at Kinney Asia have made a number of FCPA / White Collar US associate placements in Hong Kong / China thus far in 2014. Most of such placements have been commercial litigation associates from major US markets, fluent in Mandarin, switching to FCPA / White Collar litigation. Some have already had FCPA experience, but those are difficult candidates for firms to find (this will change in coming years as US firms are now promoting FCPA / White Collar to their 2L summers who are fluent in Mandarin and have an interest in transferring to China at some point).
Legal Week quoted Kinney’s Head of Asia, Evan Jowers, extensively in the following relevant article here.
There is a new trend in the market, though, where mid-level transactional US associates, fluent in spoken Mandarin and written Chinese, are interviewing for and in some cases landing junior FCPA / White Collar spots in Hong Kong / China at very top tier US firms.
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.