It’s time to check in on the scandal involving the University of Illinois College of Law and its false reporting on the qualifications of its admitted students. Every time we do look at Illinois, the school tells us that “this time” they’ve figured out the full extent of the problem — and it’s a bigger mess than the last time they piped up.
On that scale, today is no different. When the story first broke in September, Illinois claimed that admissions data had only been falsified for one year. Then, a few weeks later, Illinois said that data for four class years had been falsified. Today, Illinois says it has completed a two-month investigation that cost the school $1 million. Now they’re saying that the admissions data for six class years have been compromised, based on a report prepared for the school by Jones Day and Duff & Phelps.
I wonder how many years of lying Illinois would have discovered if they spent $2 million?
But people will be distracted from the ever growing number of times Illinois is self-reporting it lied to people. That’s because today, Illinois has offered up a sacrificial lamb. There’s a head on a platter, there’s a body on the pyre, and Illinois College of Law would have you believe that it has identified the one, the only, the sole person responsible for this entire scandal….
Just last month, Villanova Law was busy receiving a light slap on the wrist from the American Bar Association for the crime of falsifying admissions data to the ABA. Obviously, law schools misreport information to the ABA so that they can make the same false statements to U.S. News for the benefit of the law school rankings.
Since the U.S. News rankings help law schools pay the bills, and U.S. News does not have a data point for “censured by the ABA,” the ABA’s censure penalty seemed particularly ineffective.
But the news of today makes the way the ABA handled the Villanova situation look like even more of a joke. That’s because another law school has been busted for reporting inaccurate admissions information….
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…
You’d think that a school which has had its own problems keeping everything on the up-and-up wouldn’t be so eager to go after its own students who commit the little white crime of illegally downloading something off of the internet. But you’d be wrong. Apparently the Illinois Law administration will aggressively discipline students caught making illegal downloads.
Wonderful — so the job market is in the tank, you’re starting to figure out that living in Champaign is nothing like living in Chicago, and now the law school itself is going to come down on you if grab Iron Man 2 without paying Paramount its pound of flesh? Things are rough…
Given the legal economy, prospective students should clearly be shooting for law schools in the top-15. But, not everybody can rock the all powerful LSAT. Going to a law school in this group can still result in Biglaw jobs for graduates who want them — especially if the school is located in the market where you ultimately want to practice.
18. USC (Gould)
19. Washington University in St. Louis
20. George Washington
22. Boston University
22. University of Minnesota
22. Notre Dame
27. Indiana University
28. Boston College
28. William and Mary
28. U.C. – Davis
Thoughts on these schools? I’ve got some thoughts on this particular group of rankings as a whole…
Earlier this summer, we wrote about the University of Illinois College of Law admissions scandal. Former Illinois governor (and soon to be ‘Celebrity Apprentice’ star) Rod Blagojevich pressured University of Illinois Chancellor Richard Herman and Heidi Hurd, former dean of the University of Illinois College of Law, to admit underqualified students who were politically connected.
In the eyes of some, it wasn’t all bad. Hurd was reluctant to accept under-performers. In exchange for her willingness to admit TTT students, university officials attempted to obtain jobs for struggling law school grads and offered scholarship money to recruit better students. The admission of one underqualified student meant jobs for five offer-less law grads.
Herman’s severance package isn’t too bad either:
Herman will continue to receive his current salary in a new position: special assistant to the interim president, Hardy said. But he will forgo a $300,000 retention bonus that was due in June.
In June, when his chancellor contract would have been up, he will take a one-year paid sabbatical at a new faculty salary of $244,444. The following year, he will be required to teach two courses a year as a tenured mathematics professor, fewer than his original contract that called for teaching four courses a year.
The University of Illinois has spent nearly $500,000 on legal bills for six firms retained in the past two months to help it navigate an admissions scandal, reports the Chicago Tribune.
The bulk of the money went to Latham & Watkins, which advised the university on cooperating with the state commission reviewing the school’s admissions procedures. In a statement released Friday, University of Illinois general counsel Thomas Bearrows said that Latham has been paid $392,120.
That’s a nice get for Latham, Chicago.
But there are other firms, large and small, that have been suckling off of the law school scandal. More firms after the jump.
Last week, professors from the University of Illinois College of Law launched a spirited defense of their law school against the against allegations of improper admissions policies reported in the Chicago Tribune. Part of the professors’ argument was that the kind of influence connected people put on public law schools happens all of the time.
But today the Illinois College of Law Dean, Bruce Smith, announced a new policy aimed at taking political influence out of the admissions process. The National Law Journal reports:
In a letter to staff, faculty, students and alumni, Smith said the new policy will also require the college to respond only to inquiries on the status of an application if the inquiry is made by the applicant. In addition, the school will now accept only formal letters of recommendation that are made to the admissions office and placed in the applicant’s file.
“Under my deanship, the college will give no ‘special’ consideration, treatment, or procedure to any application,” Smith said in the letter. “All applicants will be treated equally.”
So, is that a tacit admission of guilt? More details after the jump.
A college graduate without student loan debt is akin to reading a kind quote about Kim Kardashian in a tabloid—it’s rare.
In the past eight years, student loan debt has nearly tripled to a whopping $1.1 trillion, and in the past 10 years, the percentage of 25-year-olds with such debt has risen from 25% to 43%
It’s gotten so bad, in fact, that New York Fed economists warned last month that the burden of student debt could stilt consumer spending by twentysomethings, as well as further hamper the recovery of the housing market and economy.
To get a better idea of what massive student loan debt (we’re talking over $100,000 massive) looks like, we talked to an attorney who graduated with a large student loan debt. We also consulted LearnVest Planning Services CFP® Katie Brewer to see just how their repayment plans stack up.
S. Fischer, 36, Attorney Graduated: 2001
How Much I Borrowed: $100,000
What I Still Owe: $45,000
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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: email@example.com.
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.
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