I was never a huge fan of firm mentoring programs. In the days after firms started cracking down on using mentoring funds for hookers and blow, mentoring became distinctly less exciting. For the male associates, it seemed to revolve around mass quantities of red meat and booze. For the female associates, it was a lot of talk about “feelings,” and “glass ceilings,” and figuring out how to get a manicure on the firm’s dime. And while pretty nails are always nice, it was just one more billable hour that I’d have to make up at night.
The first day of the bar exam is about 13 days away. THIRTEEN DAYS. The number thirteen is just evil (especially for those with triskaidekaphobia), but pairing that number with the term “bar exam” makes it that much worse. You’re probably on edge. Your Facebook statuses are bordering on homicidal. You’re so pissed off at the pen-clicking guy in the library that you’re contemplating slicing his throat with the worst notecard paper-cut ever.
I know that we’re not supposed to panic, but some people are panicking, and rightly so. The powers that be at the University of Minnesota Law School are not making it pleasant for recent graduates to study for the bar exam at the school’s law library. Apparently, there’s a lot of banging going on between the stacks, and not of the variety you’d brag to your friends about….
Do you know an easy way for moderately priced public law schools to make even more money? Charge more for tuition. Do you know an easy justification for jacking up tuition rates? Say that you are moving to a “private funding model” while you bemoan the lack of public support for your institution.
After that, it’s all profit baby!
The big news in the law school hot stove league is that another major public law school is toying with moving to a private funding model. The logic for eschewing public funds for an increase in private dollars is, as always, disingenuous. But hey, as long as the law school keeps paying its tithe to the university, few will object to increased gouging of prospective law students…
We started taking submissions for our third annual Law Revue Video Contest way back in March. It’s taken us so long to review the videos because we’ve had scheduling challenges with our special, returning, awesome guest judge. As you’d already know if you follow Above the Law on Twitter, editor emerita Kashmir Hill has returned to her ATL roots, to pass judgment on the funny videos submitted by our wonderful readers.
This year, 25 law schools submitted nearly 30 videos for the contest. Some of them were entertaining, others excruciating less so.
We’ll start with the latter. If we may paraphrase The Simpsons: other legal blogs reward knowledge, Above the Law punishes ignorance.
Aww… just kidding. We really just want to give shout-outs to as many law schools as we can. And we figure the students who submitted these clips are grown adults who won’t mind some gentle ribbing.
Of course, if you submitted a video we’ve singled out for dishonorable mention, you might want to whip out the Astroglide before you read the comments, just to make sure the ribbing feels gentle enough. Your three ATL editors aren’t that harsh, but we can’t speak for the commenters….
This is the time of year when future lawyers have to make a crucial choice that will follow them for the rest of the legal careers: where to go to law school. The choice of law school is critical, maybe unfairly so. When you look at medical schools, the hard part is getting into a medical school. But in the legal profession, your choice of law school will be a huge factor in what professional opportunities you can take advantage of with your J.D.
Perhaps in past years, this choice was really easy for 0Ls: they could just go to the highest-ranked school they got into, and then hope for the best. But given the realities of the legal economy, 0Ls need to look at a number of factors beyond the U.S. News law school rankings: how much the school costs, what job markets the law school feed into, and so on.
Over the past few weeks, we’ve received a number of inquires from 0Ls asking for advice about which law school to attend. We’ve pulled out two of the best questions, and now we want to open it up to the Above the Law readers to give these students — and all 0Ls — the combined wisdom of the ATL community.
These are really tough choices, and we know reasonable people will disagree. Hopefully you guys can help these 0Ls feel comfortable with their decisions, whichever way they go….
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…
CORRECTION: This post has been revised since it was first published to reflect the fact that the 13.5% tuition hike for in-state students occurred this summer and applies to the current academic year (2010-2011).
Last year, the University of Minnesota contemplated imposing a significant tuition hike on its law students, while trying to keep college tuition low. This year, Minnesota did in fact push through the tuition increase, while protecting the high salaries of its law school faculty.
Paul Caron at Tax Prof Blog pointed us to a number of reports about how Minnesota hiked law school tuition by 13.5% for this academic year, while planning to cut faculty salaries by only 1.15% in the 2011 fiscal year. So Minnesota law students, if you were hoping for a dollop of Astroglide along with your next tuition bill, you have my sympathy. The administration at Minnesota Law doesn’t even have the common courtesy to give you a reach-around.
Law school administrators don’t care about you, current and prospective law students. They don’t even have to pretend to care about your problems anymore…
There’s also perhaps the most painfully stylish wedding we’ve ever come across. The bride is the daughter of modernist architect Richard Meier, who keeps his homes “very relaxed and casual but everything has to be perfect” — “[e]ven the Snapple bottles are lined up perfectly in the pantry.” (Oh . . . so not really relaxed and casual at all.) Watch the slideshow of the uber-posh wedding, and take note of those origami flowers; you’ll be seeing poorly executed versions in weddings near you for the next few years.
Now, our legal eagle couples. Here are the finalists:
Yesterday, we told you about a law firm that left a war veteran without an offer. Today, we are able to confirm that the firm in question was Foley & Lardner. But we also have a correction and some additional details about the situation.
Let’s get to the correction first. The Minneapolis Star-Tribune reported:
Matt Nelson graduated last week from the University of Minnesota with a law degree and an MBA. Nelson, 36, was on track to earn $145,000 his first year at a Milwaukee firm. But duty called, and while he was serving as an Army paralegal in Iraq, Milwaukee withdrew its offer.
The Minneapolis paper got it wrong here. Matt Nelson was a summer associate at Foley & Lardner in 2008 and 2009. Foley no offered him at the end of his 2009 summer at the firm, which was after he had returned from Iraq. The firm did not pull his offer while he was serving overseas.
That’s lucky for Foley. As many commenters pointed out, yanking an offer while Nelson was in Iraq (as the Star-Tribune reported) might have gotten Foley into legal trouble. As it stands, Foley’s actions are just a depressing statement about insufficient respect for our war veterans.
Above the Law reached out to Matt Nelson, and he made it clear that he doesn’t want anybody feeling sorry for him just because of one no offer….
If you are considering a virtual law practice, you know that many of today’s solo firms started that way. But why are established, multi-attorney law firms going virtual?
Many small firms are successfully moving part—or even all—of their practice to a virtual setting. This even includes multi-jurisdictional practice spanning several states and practice areas, although solo and small partnerships are still the largest adopters of virtual law.
Can you do the same? The new article Mobile in Practice, Virtual by Design from author Jared Correia, Esq., explores how mobile technology bring real-life benefits to a small law firm. Read this new article—the next in Thomson Reuters’ Independent Thinking series for small firms—to explore how a mobile practice:
Reduces malpractice risk
Enables you to gather the best attorneys to fit the firm, regardless of each person’s geographic location
Leverages mobile devices and cloud technology to enable on-the-spot client and prospect communication
Transitioning in-house is something many (if not most) firm lawyers find themselves considering at some point. For many, it’s the first step in their career that isn’t simply a function of picking the best option available based on a ranking system.
Unknown territory feels high-risk, and can have the effect of steering many of us towards the well-greased channels into large, established companies.
For those who may be open to something more entrepreneurial, there is far less information available. No recruiter is calling every week with offers and details.
In sponsorship with Betterment, ATL and David Lat will moderate a panel about life in-house and we’ll hear from GCs at Birchbox, Gawker Media, Squarespace, Bonobos, and Betterment. Drinks, snacks, networking, and a great time guaranteed. Invite your colleagues, but RSVP fast, as space is limited.
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.
It’s that time of year again when JDs are starting to apply for 2L summer jobs and 2L summers are deciding which practice area to focus on.
For those JDs with an interest in potentially lateraling to or transferring to Asia in the future, please feel free to reach out to Kinney for advice on firm choices, interviewing and practice choices, relating to future marketability in Asia, or for a general discussion on your particular Asia markets of interest. This is of course a free of cost service for those who some years in the future may be our future industry contacts or perhaps even clients.
For some years now Kinney’s Asia head, Evan Jowers, has been formally advising Harvard Law students with such questions, as the Asia expert in Harvard Law’s “Ask The Experts Market Program” each summer and fall, with podcasts and scheduled phone calls. This has been an enjoyable and productive experience for all involved.