Unemployment

We’ve done a surprising number of stories about law school career service officers who push babysitting gigs on their unemployed students. I say “surprising” because after our first story, you’d think law schools would figure out that law students don’t like being put up for jobs that they could have secured in high school.

Since that first one, most CSO personnel and other law school staffers have figured out that babysitting jobs are best when the employer is a professor or somebody else connected with the law school. Then it’s less of a “career of last resort” and more of “helping out a member of your community” (who happens to be well-connected).

But it looks like one school has regressed to the point of just insulting its students with a babysitting ad that kind of rubs salt in the unemployment wound….

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Law students are coming back to campus now, mainly for on-campus interviewing. How is 3L recruiting going for you, class of 2013?

Ha ha, just kidding. Hopefully when these kids decided to go to law school back in 2010 — despite overwhelming evidence that it was a risky proposition — these kids had some kind of back-up plan for just this situation.

Speaking of “overwhelming evidence,” there’s been a fun little infographic making the rounds around the blogosphere. It’s about the “new” trends in the legal market.

I’m not sure these trends are particularly new. In fact, I think these are trends that people should have been aware of for years. But since so many people show up to campus without critically thinking about their post-graduate job prospects, I’m going to guess this infographic is breaking news to a lot of returning law students…

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* Vicious infighting, “arm twisting,” and discord at the Supreme Court? It almost sounds like the justices are in a sorority. According to this report, there hasn’t been so much bitterness and tension at the high court in almost 70 years. [CBS News]

* The Supreme Court might have issued a ruling on the Affordable Care Act, but the battle is far from over. With a repeal vote coming this week in the House, critics are now on the offensive about interpretations of insurance subsidy provisions. [New York Times]

* Dewey have a bankruptcy filing potpourri for you! With countless objections from the U.S. Trustee and many D&L motions on tap, advisers for the failed firm may be in for a long, bumpy ride at this afternoon’s hearing before Judge Martin Glenn. [Am Law Daily (sub. req.)]

* Noting that legislators hadn’t violated the New York Open Meetings Law, an appellate court overturned a trial court decision and refused to push the Empire State’s gay marriage law back into the closet. [Bloomberg]

* Lincoln Memorial’s Duncan School of Law has again been denied ABA accreditation. Seeing as the ABA would likely accredit a shoe, maybe the administration should throw in the towel. [Knoxville News Sentinel]

* If you’re having trouble getting a job as a scientist, you might want to consider going to law school instead. Many schools have near-perfect employment rates nine months after graduation. /trolling [Washington Post]

* Footloose in NYC: a middle-aged couple was arrested for dancing on a subway platform, and now they’re suing. We shudder to think what would would have happened if the pair was drinking soda. [New York Post]

Life moves pretty fast in the digital age. Yesterday, we reported on the horrendous decision by Dean Paul Schiff Berman of George Washington University Law School to cut the stipend of GW Law’s “Pathways to Practice” program. The program is for unemployed graduates who get a stipend from the school to take a fellowship while they continue to look for more remunerative work.

When George Washington Law students signed up for the program a month ago — just in time to be counted as “employed upon graduation” — they were told that the stipend would be $15 per hour for a 35-hour work week. But Dean Berman decided that GW Law grads needed more of an incentive to find paying work, and yesterday he announced a plan to cut the stipend by a third, to $10 per hour.

Last night, after an outcry from students (and some bad press), Dean Berman changed his mind and decided to restore funding to the $15 per hour level.

Good times! There’s nothing quite like having to fight and beg for a one-year, $15-an-hour job after paying $45,750 per year in tuition.

In his letter reversing his decision, Berman has recast the reasons for wanting to cut the funding in the first place. I hope the class of 2013 is paying attention, because in the high likelihood that funding is cut next year, this is the justification you should expect to see….

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The conceit of every Republican administration of my lifetime has been that poor people wouldn’t be so poor if they just “worked harder.” The dismantling of the welfare state was fueled by the notion that certain people needed more incentive to find work — as if being on public assistance somehow needs to be more hardscrabble and humiliating in order to really help people.

Now, it seems the same kind of flawed and sheltered logic will be coming to a law school near you. But the kicker is that it’s the students employed by the school, in programs designed to help the school game the U.S. News rankings and fleece the next generation of paying 1Ls, who are being told that they need more of an incentive to find employment.

We’ve got a school scolding students for being too comfortable in the post-graduate employment program the school itself designed to avoid telling the truth to U.S. News….

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On Friday, the American Bar Association released the employment data for the class of 2011 that they collected from their member law schools. By dumping the information on a summer Friday, perhaps the ABA was hoping that nobody would notice the statistics?

Well, we noticed. The numbers are too bad not to notice. Earlier this month we reported on the NALP employment data, and the ABA data here doesn’t look any better. Only 55% of people in the class of 2011 are known to have found employment in full-time legal jobs.

And really, that’s the nice way of putting it….

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* Only 44% of Americans approve of how the Supreme Court is doing its job, but that’s probably because the other 56% wouldn’t know what the Supreme Court was unless the justices were contestants on a reality show. [New York Times]

* Having nothing to do with the outcome of this Tenth Circuit appeal, apparently a juror in the underlying case had no idea when the First Amendment was adopted. As Bush II would say, is our children learning? [U.S. Tenth Circuit / FindLaw]

* Who’s going to win the “Super Bowl” of Android patent trials? Nobody. Judge Richard Posner has issued a “tentative” order which noted that both sides of the Apple/Google case ought to be dismissed. [Reuters]

* You should’ve “known better”: in case we didn’t make it abundantly clear when we spoke about NALP’s data for the class of 2011, the job market for new law grads is being classified as “brutal.” [National Law Journal]

* U. Chicago Law revolutionized the field of law and economics, but much to the school’s chagrin, everyone copied them. Now they’re thinking up new ways to do the same things. Gunners gotta gun. [Businessweek]

* Say hello to Mary Lu Bilek, the woman who’s been appointed as the new dean of UMass Law. Hopefully she’s not keen on using school credit cards for personal spending like the last dean. [Wall Street Journal]

* Occupy Wall Street protesters can’t sue NYC, its mayor, or its police commissioner, but they can sue the police. And with that news, “F**k tha Police” was sung in drum circles across the tri-state area. [Bloomberg]

We try to provide some balance in our coverage of law schools. Last night, for example, we posted our latest round of law school success stories, to balance some of the more depressing fare in our pages — such as the $10K a year lawyer job being offered to Boston College Law School students, which the law school defended vigorously.

At the same time, we have to report the reality that’s before us. And that reality isn’t always pretty.

Which brings us to today’s topic, the latest employment data from our friends at the National Association for Law Placement (NALP)….

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Ed. note: This post is by Will Meyerhofer, a former Sullivan & Cromwell attorney turned psychotherapist. He holds degrees from Harvard, NYU Law, and The Hunter College School of Social Work, and he blogs at The People’s Therapist. His new book, Way Worse Than Being A Dentist, is available on Amazon, as is his previous book, Life is a Brief Opportunity for Joy (affiliate links).

I participated recently in a panel discussion at a conference, speaking with other lawyer/blogger types in front of an audience consisting largely of people from law firms and law schools. After we finished, I did the decent thing and sat and listened to the panel that followed mine. I happened to choose an empty seat next to a woman who introduced herself to me later as a dean at a law school, in charge of career placement, or whatever the euphemism is for trying to find students non-existent jobs. The law school was a small one — yes, one of those dreaded “third tier” places.

She confronted me afterwards. “I guess I’m the bad guy, huh?”

I was startled by her candor, but I knew what she meant. This was one of those people from a third tier law school — the greedy cynical fraudsters signing kids up for worthless degrees, then leaving them high and dry, unemployed and deeply in debt.

Despite her participation in crimes against humanity, I had to admit she didn’t seem so bad, in person.

Then I snapped back to my senses — and went on the attack, assuming my sacred role as The People’s burning spear of vengeance….

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As a law student, having an article accepted for publication in a law review or journal is usually a great way to ensure that your résumé lands on the top of the enormous stack of papers on the hiring partner’s desk. Having a degree from Harvard Law School is an even better way to do the same thing. But the ultimate claim to success is having both of these things. You’ll get the Biglaw job that you’ve always dreamed of, and a six-figure paycheck to pay off your matching six-figure debt.

Unless you’ve been accused of plagiarism. Then you can kiss all of your dreams goodbye, and say hello to the unemployment line. This is what one recent Harvard Law graduate claims happened to her in a lawsuit against her Ivy league alma mater….

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