University of Virginia School of Law

The new U.S. News law school rankings, which we’ve been covering extensively in these pages, contain all sorts of interesting tidbits about the ranked schools. For example, in each school profile there is an “employed at graduation” figure, which “represents the percentage of all graduates who had a full-time job lasting at least a year for which bar passage was required or a J.D. degree was an advantage.”

That seems like an important and useful piece of information to know if you’re going to pay or borrow a six-figure sum to attend law school. Comparing the employment rates of different schools would be an important part of one’s due diligence when selecting a school.

Among the top 14 or so-called “T14″ law schools, which one had the highest “employed at graduation” rate? The answer might surprise you….

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100% of kids who got into this box were in this box!

Earlier today, we talked about the brain drain as law schools have to compete for a dwindling pool of high-scoring applicants. In this market, hitting your targets for your entering class is a tricky business for deans of admission at our nation’s law schools.

It’s an issue of yield: law schools need to make offers to enough applicants to fill their seats, without becoming overwhelmed with matriculating students. If schools that are ranked higher than you start admitting applicants with slightly worse qualifications than usual, you end up with not enough students — and your yield rate (the percentage of students you make offers to that actually accept the offer) goes in the tank. Poor yield rates look bad, and make it harder to predict how many people you need to admit in the first place.

Man, if only there was a way you could know whether or not people would come to your school before you admitted them….

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Jump for joy if you landed a Biglaw job!

For the past few years, the National Law Journal has been publishing a list of the best law schools to go to if you want to work in Biglaw after graduation. But through the lens of this annual report, we can see some of the changes that have happened in a profession that’s been in transition ever since the Great Recession. From layoffs to law firm collapses, Biglaw has faced many difficulties, and these challenges have been passed on to would-be associates when it comes to hiring.

Take, for example, the hiring scene in 2008, when the law school that earned the highest honors on the NLJ’s report could brag about sending 70.5 percent of its graduates to top law firms. Although we’ve started paving the road to recovery after several sluggish years, the employment picture for law students hasn’t rebounded to those levels.

Slowly but surely, it’s been getting better. In fact, this year, the future for law students seeking Biglaw jobs looks “marginally brighter.” But how much better? Let’s find out….

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Ed. note: This is the first in a new series, “Across the Desk,” from Bruce MacEwen and Janet Stanton of Adam Smith Esq. and JDMatch. “Across the Desk” will take a thoughtful look at recruiting, career paths, professional development, human capital and related issues. Some of these pieces will have previously appeared, in slightly different form, on AdamSmithEsq.com.

As noted in the American Lawyer recently, the lateral recruiting boom of recent years continues unabated. As the Am Law article points out, “At the same time [as they’re focused on hiring lateral partners], firms appear to be homing in on their poor performers. Nine out of 10 survey respondents said their firm has ‘unprofitable’ partners, and seven out of 10 said their firms have partners at risk of being deequitized or ‘put on performance plans.’ As one survey respondent put it: ‘There are too many partners without sufficient billable work.’”

Now, wouldn’t you think it would make sense — if firms are worried about underperformers — to pay some attention to associates as well as partners? After all, some of those associates should, speaking theoretically at least, be your future partners.

Yet there’s unrebutted evidence that firms look at the wrong criteria when hiring associates….

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Chris Dumler

Is there anything quite as grand as allegations of a UVA Law grad behaving badly?

Today’s installment of “Lol-VA” involves serious allegations against a lawyer and 2009 graduate of UVA Law who was dubbed a “rising star” in Democratic politics in Virginia. Unfortunately, instead of the usual fun allegations of getting belligerent and drunk or stealing transcript paper, these claims are more serious.

Albemarle County supervisor Christopher Dumler was arrested and charged with forced sodomy, yesterday.

Collars should go down to half mast, as these allegations could put a stop to Dumler’s career…

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[UPDATE (9/5/2013, 11:30 p.m.): The charges discussed in this story have been expunged.]

If I may be so bold, I have an idea for a new class to be taught at UVA School of Law. It would be called “Use Your Words,” and it would go over the proper way for lawyers and law students to address police officers.

I’d teach the class at 2:00 a.m. That way the students could get in the habit of addressing people with respect even while they are intoxicated.

They could use the training. A couple of years ago, a UVA law student found herself accused of spitting on the police after a night of drinking (although the charges were ultimately dropped). More recently, a UVA Law alum and DLA Piper partner, Laura Flippin, did use her words about her own intoxication — she just allegedly didn’t use truthful ones, while under oath.

Today, we’ve got another UVA law student who allegedly didn’t use her words with the police; instead, she used her phone. No, not in the way you’re thinking….

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Bees: nature's most lovable insect.

Here’s a fun way to deal with declining law school applications across the country. UVA Law is literally sweetening the deal for their students. The school is now providing free honey in Slaughter Hall. That’s where UVA houses its student organizations, in addition to some administrative offices.

I think it’s a great idea. Honey is a tasty treat that… wait, hold on, I’m getting some new information. Sorry, sources are now reporting that the the free honey is due to an… am I hearing this right… an infestation of bees at the law school.

Can you pop a collar on a beekeeper suit?

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Why should you let bad grades get in the way of a good job?

Last year, we reported on the strange arrest of Joshua Gomes. Gomes was charged with breaking into the registrar’s office at UVA Law School and trying to steal a ream of transcript paper.

If you think that there’s only one reason that a person would want to steal transcript paper, you’re not going to be disappointed by Josh Gomes’s guilty plea. It’s that familiar story of a person popping his collar while wearing no pants….

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The second-best law school in the country has decided on a new dean. And nobody will make fun of her if she wants to pop her collar.

We told you back in March that Larry Kramer would be leaving Stanford Law School. Today, the university announced the selection of Mary Elizabeth Magill, vice dean of the University of Virginia School of Law, to lead SLS. She takes over on September 1st.

Magill got her J.D. at UVA, but she’s a native of Fargo, North Dakota. So let’s everybody cue up the Frances McDormand voice while we take a look at the rest of Magill’s wonderful résumé….

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Last month, we solicited law school success stories from you, our readers. We’re often quite critical of law schools around these parts. So, to even out the scales a bit, we’re going to be running a series of happy stories, focused on graduates who are glad they went to law school.

We’ve tried to organize the success stories under a few broad themes, to lend some structure to the discussion. Some of the themes exist in tension with each other, and not all themes will apply to all readers. By the time the series is done, however, we hope that the stories will collectively shed some light on the question of whether one should go to law school.

Let’s launch into our first collection of law school success stories. They could be grouped under the theme of “go cheap, or go home”….

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