“You are not just individuals. You are the Michigan Law School Class of 2016, and you will always be a member of that class. And it’s not just a class: It’s an idea, a tradition, a tie to something greater than you.”
– Mark West, the new dean of the University of Michigan Law School
You can learn a lot about a law school by how they greet their incoming students. The famous Paper Chase quote — “Look to your left, look to your right, because one of you won’t be here by the end of the year” — pretty much tells you all you need to know about Harvard Law School, or at least how it would like to see itself. If Dean West’s prodigious statements appeal to you, Michigan Law might be more your cup of tea. West continued: “You are not here to get your degree, and not simply to learn to ‘think like a lawyer’ or even merely to learn how to be a lawyer. You are here — at Michigan — to develop a lifelong association with all that is here. There will never be another time like this for you.”
Conquering heroes all, no doubt. Champions of the West.
Other law schools don’t take themselves nearly so seriously, but they all think their entering class of 2016 is pretty special. And they are. These are the kids who decided to go to law school when, historically speaking, everybody told them it was a bad idea. The class of 2016 is either the most motivated in history or the people most resistant to information and statistics in a generation.
Let’s look at how their own law schools describe them….
* “The situation is an absolute mess.” Last summer’s SCOTUS decision on mandatory life-without-parole sentences for juvenile offenders has created a “legal limbo” for inmates. We hope they find suitable dance partners. [Wall Street Journal (sub. req.)]
* Even after you retire, you apparently still have to deal with the Cebullsh*t from your life on the bench. Former Chief District Judge Richard Cebull’s misconduct review is likely heading to Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts. [Great Falls Tribune]
* Woe unto them that call unpaid work fair: the Second Circuit quickly granted Fox Searchlight an appeal in the Black Swan unpaid intern case in the hope of offering some “much-needed guidance.” [Deadline]
* Which private law schools offer students the best value? Some unlikely contenders are named on this list, and some T14 schools even make appearances. We’ll have more on this later today. [National Jurist]
* GW wasn’t the only school that grew the size of its entering class (although it was the largest increase). William & Mary and Missouri-KC saw big gains, too. Yay, more lawyers! [National Law Journal (sub. req.)]
* If you’re considering applying to law school, think about schools that have lowered their standards and are offering scholarship money like candy. Otherwise, here are some helpful hints. [Huffington Post]
* Henry Putzel Jr., former reporter of decisions at the Supreme Court, RIP. [Washington Post]
When Professor Paul Caron of TaxProf Blog sent me a link to a story on his blog last night, all I could do is hit “reply all” and say, “Are you sh**ting me,” only without the bleeps.
I think, my friends, I have seen the most desperate and naked money grab by a law school in the modern era. They’re only asking for a thousand dollars, but if you know somebody willing to pay it, you should just steal $1,000 from them and punch them until they figure out why…
In our last story asking you to advise a law school applicant, the 0L in question was choosing between UVA, Northwestern, and Minnesota, which offered him scholarships of different sizes. You voted in favor of Northwestern, which offered him a generous scholarship, and he took your advice.
Today we bring you a doubleheader. Our first candidate wants to know whether she should go to law school at all, given the options she faces. Our second candidate is choosing between two excellent law schools, but with different price points….
Here at Above the Law, we try to pay attention to every sector of legal employment. We often find ourselves skewed rather heavily toward Biglaw, but as we all know, not everyone wants to work in Biglaw — including some of the people who are ensconced in high-paying Biglaw jobs themselves.
Imagine a place where you won’t be shackled to the billable hour. Imagine a place where you’ll get all government holidays off without having to worry about showing up just for the sake of appearances. Imagine a place where your clients are people, not corporate entities. If that seems nice to you, it’s because it is.
Today, we’re going to open the floodgates for the members of our audience, prospective law students in particular, who aspire to some day work in government and public interest jobs. Which law schools should you be considering if you’d like to have the best odds of reaching your goal?
We live in a horrible time where mass shootings are a thing. Law enforcement can’t do what it needs to in order to protect us from nutbags with guns because our post-revolutionary founding fathers didn’t fully anticipate that hundreds of years later uncompromising people would declare a sacred right in Uzi ownership. And so we all have to live in fear of getting our heads blown off while lawmakers talk about regulating video games.
In this age, we have to take any threat or perceived threat of mass violence very seriously. Especially if that threat appears to be targeted at a school campus. A note was found on a law school campus that totally freaked out the school’s administration.
It turned out to be nothing. Funny even. But man, in these times, even after finding the truth, the most I can do is muster nervous laughter….
Earlier this week, we brought our readers news of the latest Princeton Review law school rankings for Best Career Prospects. Basing a “career prospects” ranking on surveys of current students, students who have yet to embark upon their careers, could be questioned methodologically — but you ate that s**t up like Halloween candy, so let’s give you more.
Today, we’ll take a closer look at the new rankings in categories that current law students actually know something about: the law schools that are the toughest to get into, and the law schools with the most competitive students. While one of these rankings lists is consistent with conventional wisdom, the other might surprise you.
Here in New York (and in other parts of the country), there’s a major ad campaign that says, “If you see something, say something.” It’s an anti-terrorism campaign, and it works. Whether you are dealing with terrorists — international or domestic — or just random crazies, being vigilant is necessary in our violent world.
Which is too bad, because back in the day “mind your own business” used to be a fine rule. “If you see something, stop being so goddamn nosy,” is the age-old reason people move out of small towns and into big cities. Who wants to live around a bunch of busybodies? With all due respect to Kitty Genovese, my pre-9/11 inclination was “Snitches get Stitches.”
But we can’t live like that anymore. So I guess we need to applaud the law student who thought he saw a gun and contacted the proper authorities. The fact that he was wrong, completely wrong, and mistook an office supply for a firearm is, I guess, incidental to his nosy, busybody, good intention…
Last month, we solicited law school success stories from you, our readers. We’re often quitecritical 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”….
Virginia is for Lovers, not Partiers. Law students in the Old Dominion State are not as much fun as we thought they were.
We recently wrote about a law school party — called the “Fall From Grace,” aptly enough — that supposedly spiraled out of control. According to an email from the Student Bar Association (SBA) at William and Mary School of Law, the raucous event featured law students “urinating on the bathroom floor, breaking a toilet paper dispenser, knocking over a flower pot, and engaging in inappropriate behavior” at the Williamsburg Crowne Plaza. This supposedly culminated in the Crowne Plaza calling W&M Dean Davison Douglas “to inform him that the law school is no longer welcome at the hotel.”
But now we’re hearing that this incident has been overblown, and that the law school has not been banned from the high-end Holiday Inn at Fort Magruder….
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When Chintan Panchal decided to leave a global BigLaw partnership to start his own firm, he could only hope that he would face the high-quality problem of firm building that many had cautioned him about. Focused on the uncertainty surrounding of a new firm launch, he decided to tackle staffing needs, IT challenges, and financial planning requirements after he had built up his legal practice.
Panchal Associates LLP–a corporate/finance and outside general counsel boutique–was quickly off to a great start. Clients and matters were flying in the door, and Chintan soon had a team of lawyers and staff with a variety of operational needs. To continue building an excellent team and provide them with a competitive benefits package, to expand his physical presence to include a European practice and additional partners, and to scale his operations and IT capabilities to support this growing enterprise brought with it demands of time, money, and expertise. Chintan knew he needed help.
“With the assistance of NexFirm, we have upgraded the capabilities of our firm to meet, and in some cases exceed, the standards we were used to at our former BigLaw firms. Operationally, we can now attract and service clients we didn’t have the bandwidth to support in the past, and continue to build our team with the best and brightest legal talent in the industry,” said Chintan Panchal, adding “It has worked out quite well in our case; NexFirm is an essential partner for us.”
The holiday season is upon us, and yet again, you have no idea what to get for the fickle lawyer in your life. We’re here to help. Even if your bonus check hasn’t arrived yet, any one of the gifts we’ve highlighted here could be a worthy substitute until your employer decides to make it rain.
We’ve got an eclectic selection for you to choose from, so settle in by that stack of documents yet to be reviewed and dig in…
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