June is just around the corner, the sun is shining, and many of our readers are hopefully enjoying their shiny new law degrees. Mazel tov! Unfortunately, the thousands of dollars you spent on three years of law school didn’t quite cover everything you need to pass that pesky bar exam.
The ink on your JD is still drying, but it’s already time to crack open the books again and sign up for bar review classes.
For the next two-odd months, three recent law school alumni will share their experiences with law school graduation, studying for the bar exam, and life in general. Welcome to Above the Law’s newest feature: The Bar Review Diaries.
Our illustrious contributors were chosen by Themis Bar Review. For their efforts, Themis has given them free tuition.
Ervin Burell was a man who know how to 'juke the stats.'
All right folks, graduation is upon us. If you are a 3L who did not secure a post-graduate legal job, I’m sorry. Your life isn’t over, but law school didn’t work out as well for you as you might have hoped. At least not yet.
Not that your law schools want anybody to know that. No, according to your law school, you, unemployed 3L, are an embarrassment. They wish you would just go away. They don’t want to be reminded that you exist. Why? Because your unemployment could hurt your law school’s U.S. News ranking.
Unfortunately for some schools, U.S. News is actually paying more attention these days to schools that simply ignore their unemployed 3Ls for purposes of reporting their employed-upon-graduation statistics. Maybe U.S. News can’t force schools to report only those students employed in legitimate legal jobs, but they can punish schools that refuse to report on all of their recent graduates.
You know what that means: bring on your fake job programs, designed largely for rankings-enhancement purposes.
Let’s try to collect all of the schools that are enacting ridiculous “employment” programs that seem designed primarily to enhance their U.S. News rank. We’ll get you started with a fun one….
And now things get interesting. As we continue to run through the U.S. News 2012 law school rankings, we get to a crucial set of schools. The schools in this batch are certainly top tier, but they’re not “top 14″; for the most part, though, they charge like top 14 schools (especially the private ones).
So this is the batch of schools where we usually hear questions like: Should I go to this school at full price, or a much lower-ranked school for free? And our answer is usually, “How much lower-ranked are we talking about?”
The bottom line is that when people get into schools like Duke, or Penn, they are going to end up going to that school. But when people get into some of the schools on this list, they do seriously consider other options. Should I retake the LSAT, score better and apply again? How much financial aid am I getting? What’s the job market like in the [secondary market] this school is located in, just in case I get stuck there? Is it worth it to go into this much debt for a degree from that school?
These factors should come into play no matter which law school you get accepted to, but at this point on the U.S. News list, cost factors take on increased importance…
I don’t think Idaho gets enough credit for being positively weird. Sure, Napoleon Dynamite did a good job of highlighting that state’s peculiar relationship with llamas and quesadillas. But what of the insane racial animus that resides in the Potato State?
(I don’t know if Idaho is the potato state. It should be, right? We’ll just assume it’s the potato state for these purposes.)
Idaho was the site of the Southern Poverty Law Center’s huge victory over the Aryan Nations in 2000, and even though that lawsuit largely bankrupted the organization, the state apparently is still home to remnants of the group. Who now fight delicious tacos. Or something.
The state is also home to one Edgar J. Steele, proud graduate of UCLA Law, old racist crank, and alleged contract-hit enthusiast….
Falling snow? Not in sunny California. Falling bar exam passage rates? Yes — at least for 2010.
A few days ago, the State Bar of California released overall statistics for the July 2010 administration of the (notoriously difficult) California bar exam. The overall bar pass rates went down by a little — but at some schools, the pass rates went down by a lot.
Which law schools’ pass rates tumbled, and by how much?
Last month, on their blog, Bruin Briefs, staffers in the career services office of UCLA School of Law offered some advice to 3Ls who didn’t receive offers from their summer employers. If you’re in this ship that be sinking boat, you might find the counsel helpful; check it out here.
One UCLA law student identified this language as the best excerpt:
To many, [being no-offered is] a huge, unforeseen blow. If it’s happened to you, you may be cycling through feelings of anger, betrayal and/ or self-doubt. You’ve worked hard only to have the rug pulled out from under you. Give yourself a bit of time to recover. Remember to use your support systems and seek out help if needed. Take care of yourself and remember you’re the same person you were at the beginning of the summer. This experience doesn’t define you.
The tipster’s take: “It sounds like it was lifted from a suicide prevention handbook.”
We found a part of the post that we liked better….
It’s been a while since we’ve had a true contestant for the title of most depressing job offered to a law student. Sure, there have been a lot of jobs that offer $10 an hour, or even $0 an hour, for legal work. But at least those jobs were offering the opportunity to put long years of legal education to some sort of use.
No, the most depressing jobs for would-be lawyers in this economy are jobs they could have easily gotten before they went to law school. Or college. Really, the most depressing job I’ve seen appeared last year, when University of Texas law students were given the opportunity to do some babysitting for extra money. That’s an opportunity you present to responsible high school students, not students at the fifteenth-best law school in the country.
If you thought those days were behind us, think again. Take a look at the job that was blasted out yesterday to students at the other law school ranked #15, UCLA Law.
Traffic in L.A. is notoriously horrible, and now one UCLA law student might profit from his or her stop-and-go driving skills…
It’s not every day that we see a Biglaw associate on the cover of a celebrity gossip magazine. So we were a bit shocked when a tipster sent along the scanned image (right) of last week’s In Touch magazine, with this message:
The guy identified as “Ali’s new guy” in this week’s Intouch weekly (and pictured on the cover) is a Skadden associate — and I think a fairly well-regarded one at that.
Ali, of course, is the current star of The Bachelorette. Background from our resident celeb gossip expert Marin:
This season stars Bachelorette Ali Fedotowsky, an unemployed 25-year-old who quit her job at Facebook and moved back in with her parents to be on the show. Fans of the series will recall that Ali was a castoff from last season’s Bachelor, where she endeared herself to fans by wearing low-cut dresses, crying frequently, and vaguely resembling a poor man’s Reese Witherspoon as seen in dim light through cataracts. Anyhow, she’s back this season and more determined than ever to find love with one of 25 white bachelors, not including the one Hispanic dude, Roberto.
The Skadden Arps associate is not one of the two lawyers who was competing for her hand on the show. So this story would ruin the season, if true. Who is this associate?
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: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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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