Earlier this week, a Michigan Law alumnus complained to the ABA about the school’s Wolverine Scholars Program. Well, last night the Michigan Dean of Admissions emailed the students about the complaint and a popular legal blog that she “doesn’t read.” Here’s the email from Sarah Zearfoss, Director of Admissions at Michigan Law:
Hope your summer is going well–we miss you here in Ann Arbor, and are confused by the number of empty parking spaces. My own summer has been quite lovely, and my vacation hiking in various western desert national parks made me profoundly, profoundly grateful for that Michigan weather about which so many have Issues. “Dry heat,” my fanny. 120 degrees is brutal.
So, I don’t actually read the Above the Law website, but I can’t seem to stop people from forwarding links to me from time to time. Yesterday featured a blurb that has prompted me to write to all of you because of a fundamental misconception it contained.
Oh come on Dean Zearfoss, you want us on that wall, you need us on that wall. Besides, we know your boss, Michigan Law School Dean Evan Caminker, loves to read us. Don’t you want to do what all the hot kids are doing?
More from the Michigan Director of Admissions, after the jump.
Last September, the University of Michigan Law School announced its Wolverine Scholars Program. The program allows the law school to admit University of Michigan college students who have a 3.8 GPA — so long as those students don’t take the LSAT.
We were critical of the program. We wrote:
Look Michigan, if you are going to try to rig something, at least have the decency to do it under the cover of darkness.
To a UM college student with a 3.8, the Wolverine Scholars Program looks like an interesting example of game theory. But to the rest of us, it looks a straight bribe. It’s like Michigan Law School is saying: “Please, please, please don’t take the LSAT. Because if you get a 167 we probably have to accept you anyway. And if you get a 175 you will better deal us for a lobster dinner.”
We weren’t alone in our criticism. Indiana University professor Bill Henderson also panned the program:
The lofty rhetoric of the Wolverine Scholar program cannot be squared with the unnecessarily rigid admissions criteria. In my opinion, the only rational explanation is that Michigan seeks a rankings payoff. Here, an elite law school sets a new low in our obsession of form over substances — once again, we legal educators are setting a poor example for our students….
Above the Law’s critiques of the Wolverine Scholar Program are now a matter of record with the American Bar Association thanks to one Michigan Law graduate. Details of his complaint to the ABA after the jump.
We’ve been keeping track of law schools that are coming up with new programs to help their graduates navigate the terrible job market. Even if these measures help a law school (a) keep its “employed upon graduation” statistic high or (b) make money, law students need all the help they can get right now.
The administration of the University of Michigan Law School availed themselves of the quiet time after graduation to come up with some new programs:
With exams behind us and the new class of summer starters now on campus, we anticipate a busy and productive academic year ahead. However, these are not ordinary times in our world, as we face a continued global recession and uncertain legal employment landscape; it is not “business as usual.” These times require a proactive and strategic effort on the part of the whole Law School community, and so I write to update you on some of the work the Law School has undertaken to mitigate the negative consequences of the economic downturn for Michigan Law students, as well as offer some guidance on how best to approach employment searches for 2009/2010.
It’s certainly a better use of their time than fending off FOIA requests. The law school announced a slew of new programs aimed at recent graduates and rising 2Ls and 3Ls.
Additional details after the jump.
Last week, the “normal-seeming” couple won our reader poll in a romp over the buttoned-up, hyper-achieving competition. No danger of that this week! All three of these contestant couples give off major type-A vibes and are firmly locked in prestigious-degree-accumulation mode. And oh, how we love them.
Here are the contestants:
Tempers flared this week over Michigan’s Student Funded Fellowship program. A tipster explains:
It’s a program where 1Ls doing public interest during the summer apply for funding, and judgments are based on the history of their public service, what job they envision doing, and other essays. Typically around 75% of applicants receive funding, but it’s probably down this year since there will definitely be less people at firms.
Apparently one Michigan student didn’t get the fellowship. Chastened by failure, he or she did what any aspiring lawyer would do, and started filing papers.
More details after the jump, including a response from the rejected applicant.
I have a radical idea. Let’s move the start date of the 2009 on-campus interview programs from the middle of August 2009 all the way up to the end of August 2006. That way there will be jobs for everybody! Somebody get Daniel Faraday and “magic” Desmond on the phone.
Michigan Law School is the latest school to try to give their students a competitive edge along the fourth dimension:
The 2009 Early Interview Week will be from Tuesday, August 18 through Friday, August 21. We will have orientation for it and a program on callbacks on Monday, August 17. We regret that this early schedule may be an inconvenience for some students, but we believe the early start date may help maximize students’ success in this difficult economy. We will have numerous programs and communications in the next few months to prepare you for Early Interview Week.
Students seem to feel good about this decision. One tipster reports:
At least they were up-front about the reason.
With all these schools interviewing in the middle of August (prime vacation time for partners and senior associates), you have to wonder if firms will have enough interviewers to go around.
We have been following the sad tale of a University of Michigan 2L and a U-M professor who got caught up in a prostitution scandal. Yesterday, the Michigan 2L responded to some of the comments that have been made about her.
Today, the professor involved asked ATL for equal time and an opportunity to tell his side of the story. In a letter entitled: “Have you considered whether she may be simply lying?” and sent to the entire law school, the professor says:
I wish to raise with you the claim that, for whatever reasons, your student is simply lying. Allegations must be substantiated with facts; here are the facts as they emerge from the police report (which, as I am sure many of you know, anyone is entitled to get from the police).
We reprint the letter in full after the jump.
And just to be clear, this will conclude our coverage of these events. Both parties have had an opportunity to say their piece, and we’d like to leave it at that.
Last week, we brought you the story of a Michigan 2L that got caught up in a prostitution scandal with a university professor. The story generated a lot of discussion, including some comments apparently generated by the 2L herself.
A long comment was posted in the thread about the 2L, and sent to U-M Law listserve telling the other side of the story:
I’m the girl who got into the mess with the professor. I posted a version of this in the comments on ATL, because using my uniquename email on lawopen means outing myself, which gives the press permission to publish my name. Fortunately, one of my classmates has offered to transmit this message to you on my behalf. Those of you
who don’t know who I am yet will find out soon enough.
We can’t confirm that the 2L in question actually wrote this message. But we can confirm that the message was sent to the entire U-M Law community, and that many of our sources believe the message to be authentic.
Clear as we can tell, the Michigan 2L wants and deserves an opportunity to clear the record while maintaining her anonymity:
It’s difficult reading all of these things written about me without being able to offer an explanation/defense/vignette:
I know a lot of readers think we have an ax to grind with the University of Michigan Law School (even though we take pot shots at Head Coach Sweater Vest at every opportunity). We like Michigan. Maybe if more U-M Law students trusted that, a certain student would have come to ATL instead of the police. At least then she wouldn’t have been (immediately) charged with a crime for her involvement in a prostitution scandal that also implicated a U-M Near Eastern Studies professor:
The case came to light in April when the student went to an Ann Arbor police station to report she was assaulted by [Professor Yaron] Eliav after they met at a hotel on the city’s north side.
The student told police she was advertising sex acts online via Craigslist to help pay tuition costs. For an in-state student, U-M Law School tuition is $41,500 a year; out-of-state students pay $44,500.
The student told police she reluctantly agreed to allow Eliav to strike her buttocks with a belt, but got upset when he slapped her in the face twice, reports said. She said she suffered vision problems afterward, but did not have any lasting injuries.
Even the Ann Arbor police couldn’t keep from cracking wise about the law student’s “term-time job”:
The rarity of how the case began – with a law student showing up at the police department’s front desk to report she was assaulted while committing a crime herself – was not lost on investigators.
“Perhaps she should have cracked a legal textbook before coming in to the police station to talk about this,” Ann Arbor Detective Sgt. Richard Kinsey said.
After another craptasticical week for lawyerdom, here’s your weekly dose of wedding cheer. Unfortunately, like many of the firms we cover on ATL, LEWW has been forced to make some difficult decisions. We had to show one set of newlyweds the door–entirely for performance-related reasons, of course, because LEWW doesn’t do layoffs.
If your firm is in ‘go’ mode when it comes to recruiting lateral partners with loyal clients, then take this quiz to see how well you measure up. Keep track of your ‘yes’ and ‘no’ responses.
1. Does your firm have a clearly defined strategy of practice groups that are priorities of growth for your office? Nothing gets done by random chance, but with a clear vision for the future. Identify the top practice areas for which you wish to add lateral partners. Seek input from practice group leaders and get specifics on needs, outcomes, and ideal target profiles.
2. In addition to clarifying your firm’s growth strategy, are you still open to the hire of a partner outside of your plan? I’ve made several placements that fit this category. The partner’s practice was not within the strategic growth plan of my client, but once the two parties started talking with each other, we all saw how it could indeed be a seamless fit. Be open to “Opportunistic Hires.” You never know where your next producing partner might come from, so you have to be open to it. I will be the first to admit that there is a quirky element of randomness in recruiting.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org.
We currently have a very exciting and rare type of in-house opening in China at one of the world’s leading internet and social media companies. Our client is looking for an IP Transactional / TMT / Licensing attorney with 2 to 6 years experience. The new hire will be based in Shenzhen or Shanghai. Mandarin is not required (deal documentation will be in English) but is preferred. A solid reason to be in China and a commitment to that market is required of course. This new hire will likely be US qualified (but could also be qualified in UK or other jurisdictions) and with experience and training at a top law firm’s IP transactional / TMT practice and could be currently at a law firm or in-house. Qualified candidates currently Asia based, Europe based or US based will be considered. The new hire’s supervisors in this technology transactions in-house team are very well regarded US trained IP transactional lawyers, with substantial experience at Silicon Valley firms. The culture and atmosphere in this in-house group and the company in general is entrepreneurial, team oriented, and the work is cutting edge, even for a cutting edge industry. The upside of being in an important strategic in-house position in this fast growing and world leading internet company is of the “sky is the limit” variety. Its a very exciting place to be in China for a rising IP transactional lawyer in our opinion, for many reasons beyond the basic info we can share here in this ad / post. This is a special A+ opportunity.
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