The following will shock no one who has been paying attention to how law schools are trying to openly game the U.S. News law school rankings and mislead prospective law students. When it comes time to collect employment data, law schools are selectively surveying their graduates: they’re seeking survey responses from employed graduates, while ignoring graduates who are unemployed. They’ve been playing this game at least since the recession started.
And now we have evidence. A tipster emailed pretty much everybody in the legal blogosphere spilling the dirt on how his law school is trying to inflate employment statistics. He claims that the directive from his law school is not at all subtle. If you are employed, the school hounds you to complete a graduate employment survey. If you are unemployed, the school would like you to ignore it. That way, when the school hears from U.S. News or NALP or the ABA — or Law School Transparency, which just issued another request to law schools for more comprehensive employment data — law school officials can throw up their hands and say, “It’s so hard to get our graduates to fill out a jobs survey.”
Still confused about how law schools massage the facts? Let this tipster explain it to you….
This year The Apprentice, a television show in which contestants compete for the privilege of working for Donald Trump, features 16 who are down on their luck, having lost previous jobs or otherwise having to start anew. No fewer than five of them are lawyers.
– from Trouble with the Law, an article about American law school graduates “finding that their chosen career is less lucrative than they had hoped,” in The Economist.
We’ve already titillated you with an interview of one of the Apprentice contestants, former Clifford Chance associate James Weir. Now we’ll get our first look at the rest of the contestants on tonight’s premiere of The Apprentice, which this season is built around a recession theme (and stocked with a number of layoff victims, including laid-off lawyers).
Click on the liveblog below to experience the glory and majesty of Donald Trump, Donald Trump’s hair, and the recession-aided desperation of strangers.
The new season of The Apprentice: Recession Edition premieres tomorrow night on NBC, and if you weren’t planning on watching it because it’s the 87th season and nobody cares, you just might want to reverse course. No fewer than five unemployed lawyers — cupcake-wielding Brandy, ex-beauty queen Nicole, fashion-obsessed Mahsa, old person Clint, and Prince Harry-lookalikeJames — are competing to be Donald Trump’s main minion this season. Above the Law scored an advance interview with one of them.
James Weir, 31, was a second-year litigator in Clifford Chance’s New York office before getting laid off because of the economy back in October 2008. Unable to find work, this Duke undergrad and ’06 Georgetown Law grad became a “couch surfer” (according to his Apprentice bio), brazenly unafraid of bedbugs (I asked), who spent his time applying for jobs, watching a lot of Netflix Instantly Viewable, and learning to stain furniture (presumably on purpose).
In our brief interview, James reveals ATL’s role in his casting (!!), shares the two things he wishes he said on air, and tells us what his mom really thinks about all of this…
I hope all of you had a fine long weekend. I also hope at least some of you have some skills at building infrastructure.
But maybe you have some legal skills. If you do, the market for your talents is ever-so-slightly recovering. The latest jobs report shows that the American economy stinks as a whole, but less so for lawyers. Am Law Daily reports:
The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ monthly employment report for August was released early Friday and the news was still a bit glum overall — the U.S. economy lost a total of 54,000 jobs. But the news for lawyers and legal industry employees was a bit brighter.
The legal sector handed out 1,000 jobs last month, marking the second straight month of improved numbers for the industry.
As of this writing, Ethan Haines, writer of the UnemployedJD blog, has gone 32 hours without food. I think the kid might be joking, but Haines said he is going on a hunger strike — to convince law schools to be more transparent about the employment options of graduates, before the schools rope them into three years and six figures of debt.
He’s even served official notice of his hunger strike on five law schools, and he’ll put five more on notice today. From his self-styled media advisory:
On August 5, 2010, Ethan Haines, self-designated J.D. Class Representative, emailed an Official Notice of Hunger Strike to administrators of ten randomly selected law schools ranked in the Top 100 of the 2010 U.S. News & World Report’s annual rankings. These schools were selected because they stand to gain the most from keeping the current rankings structure in place.
Ethan intends to bring awareness to the concerns of law students and recent law graduates by having them addressed by law school administrators. Their primary concerns are inaccurate employment statistics, ineffective career counseling, and rising tuition costs. The strike was motivated by a recent American Bar Association (ABA) investigate Report, which concluded that educational leaders are unable to timely combat the adverse affects of U.S. News’ rankings on legal education.
It’s a worthy cause, even if Haines’s methods seem a little tongue-in-cheek. At the very least, unemployed law graduates with mountains of debt don’t have a lot of spare money lying around for food. Might as well put all those hunger pains to good use.
And maybe he’s not joking? Like all legitimate hunger strikers, Haines has a list of demands…
While there are students enjoying the good life as summer associates, many rising 3Ls are staring into the abyss of entering 3L recruiting without a post-graduate job lined up. At the University of Michigan Law School, the office of career services is preparing students for just how abysmal the abyss is going to be:
As you look at the employers coming to campus to interview 3Ls, some of you may be feeling quite frustrated at the number of employers willing to interview you as a 3L when there were far more willing to interview you when you were a 2L. Unfortunately, in the next few weeks there may be even more firms that cancel or reduce the number of interview slots they want reserved for 3Ls.
Welcome to “the suck,” my friends. I hope you brought your BFG…
CORRECTION: It appears that the jobless rate reported below is INCORRECT. Please click here for the correct information.
I really hope that students at the University of Colorado Law School have enjoyed their time in Boulder. I hear it is beautiful country out there. But it’s no country for old law students who want a job. The ABA Journal reports on the terrible employment situation for Colorado law students:
The numbers are bleak for the class of 2009 at the University of Colorado School of Law.
About 35 percent of the students had jobs at graduation, down from 55 percent the year before, Law Week Colorado reports.
On a totally related note, Law Week Colorado has this interesting statistic from the July 2009 Colorado bar exam:
In 2009, more people passed the July Colorado bar exam than in any other year this decade. But the boom in the number of new lawyers is happening during a bust in the job market.
Future Colorado law students, please take note. There are no jobs for you. Do not apply. I repeat, “The way is shut. It was made by those who are dead. And the dead keep it. The way is shut.”
For those already in the pipeline, is there any hope?
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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.
In a land that is right here and in a time that is right now, a technology has arisen so powerful that it can replace basic human document review. Is it time to bow down before our new robot overlords?
First, here’s a little story about me: my life in the legal world began as a paralegal. My first case was a GIANT patent infringement case that was already six years old and had involved as many as five companies, multiple US courts, the ITC and an international standards committee. I knew nothing about any of this.
On my first day, my supervisor (a paralegal with at least eight other cases driving her crazy) sat me down in front of a Concordance database with a 100,000+ patents and patent file histories. “Code these,” she said. I learned that “coding”, for the purposes of this exercise, meant manually typing the inventor’s name, the title of the patent, the assignee, the file date, and other objective data for each document. I worked on that project – and only that project – for at least the first six months of my job. After a week or so, time began to blur.
What I know, in retrospect and with absolutely certainty, is that as time began to blur, so did my judgment. So did my attention to detail. If you could tell me that I did not make at least one mistake a day – one inconsistent spelling, one reversed day and month, one incorrectly spaced title – I frankly would need to see your evidence. I would not believe it. The human mind is trainable but it is not a machine.
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