Lat here. It’s March, so you know what that means: prospective law students, those wise or foolish people who have decided to ignore the warnings of law school’s manycritics, are deciding where to matriculate. And they want our — and your — advice.
Last year, my colleague Elie Mystal offered advice to 0Ls who were considering such schools as Columbia, Chicago, NYU, Michigan, Northwestern, Vanderbilt, Illinois, and Minnesota. In case you missed the post, you can check it out here.
This year, Elie and I are going to offer conflicting advice — yes, it’s an ATL Debate — to a future law student with a real high-class problem. He’s choosing between Yale Law School and Harvard Law School.
Grab yourself a drink, make yourself some popcorn, and sit back, as Elie and I argue against our respective alma maters. And then, at the end, cast your vote in our reader poll….
Law school students are becoming more and more vocal about the myriad unresolved problems with the law school industry. Things are getting so bad that yesterday, a Rutgers student (and former Navy SEAL) got into a shouting match with Governor Chris Christie about the Rutgers merger drama.
Something has got to break soon. Right?
If Above the Law’s 2011 Lawyer of the Year Paul Campos has anything to say about it, the answer is a definite “yes.” And he has a drastic idea for fixing what he would call the “law school scam.” It all starts at Stanford University, where he visited earlier this week to talk about his idea.
What did Professor Campos have to say? Does “30 percent unilateral tuition cut” mean anything to you?
Our ongoing ATL School & Firm Insider Survey (take it here!), asks current law students, among other things, “What do you expect to do after you graduate?” A whopping 71% tell us that they expect to work for a firm. (This percentage was consistent across class years.) That this proportion is so high, and so at odds with the NLJ findings, can mean some combination of two things:
The ATL student readership skews heavily toward that minority of students who will actually snag Biglaw gigs.
Many (if not most) expectations of law firm employment will be dashed against the reality of a contracting job market. In other words, a majority of students think they are in the fortunate minority
After the jump, we’ll look at how wide the gap between student expectation and market reality is, even at the “go-to” schools:
Which law school helped her land a fabulous Biglaw job?
The general economy started to turn around last year, but the legal job market remains sluggish. In 2011, many top law schools sent fewer graduates into first-year associate jobs at the nation’s largest 250 law firms than they did in 2010. That’s the bottom-line finding of the National Law Journal’s annual survey of which schools the NLJ 250 firms relied on most heavily when filling first-year associate classes.
The results of the survey should be interesting to current law students and law firm attorneys. And they’re of possible practical import to prospective law students who are now choosing between law schools (or deciding whether to go to law school at all, based on a cost-benefit analysis that pits tuition and student loans against post-graduate job prospects).
So let’s look at the top 10 law schools, ranked by the percentage of their 2011 juris doctor graduates who landed jobs at NLJ 250 firms (i.e., “Biglaw”)….
Yale is making a slight change to its low-income loan forgiveness program, and it’s going to make it a little harder for people who leave Yale Law School and take low-paying jobs.
Now, this isn’t anything to yell and scream about. Yale is still committed to making loan repayment feasible for people who don’t take the Biglaw money and run. And they still have one of the most generous programs in the country.
But the program is getting a little less generous. Which isn’t a great sign about the long-term ability of lawyers who have the financial flexibility to service poor or working-class clients….
Yesterday we covered a controversy at Yale Law School over an Administrative Law class with an oversubscription problem. The course, taught by visiting Stanford law professor Daniel Ho, wound up with a waitlist of about 100 students.
Some 3Ls who were denied admission into the class were quite upset, since this represented their last chance to take Admin Law. The situation was described to us as a “near riot.” As a tipster noted, “Only at YLS could students get this bent out of shape about not being let into a black letter law class.”
This morning we bring you an update to this story — which has a happy ending, we’re pleased to report….
In a few weeks, we’ll start hearing from prospective law students — i.e., 0Ls — who are already reading Above the Law (smart kids!), and who consult us for advice when choosing between law schools (not such smart kids). Last year, for example, we advised students choosing between such fine law schools as Illinois, Vanderbilt, Michigan, Northwestern, Columbia, Chicago, NYU, and Minnesota (with help from you, our readers; we hosted several reader polls pitting the schools against one another).
When I was a college senior choosing between law schools, I did not employ a very sophisticated approach. I simply picked the law school I got into that was highest in the U.S. News law school rankings.
Even though I have no regrets about my law school pick, my decisionmaking process wasn’t very sound. There are real differences between law schools, in terms of their educational programming, their cost to the student, their location (hai Stanford!), and a whole host of other factors.
Today’s story provides an illustration of the phenomenon. Right now, students at one top law school are in a “near riot” — our tipster’s words, not ours — because they feel they’re being denied the education they’re paying so dearly for….
Kyle McEntee (left) and Patrick Lynch (right), co-founders of Law School Transparency (LST).
Late last year, plaintiffs’ lawyer David Anziska pledged to make 2012 “the year of law school litigation.” Anziska, who’s currently spearheading efforts to sue law schools over allegedly misleading employment statistics, told my colleague Staci Zaretsky that he and his team members “want to sue as many law schools as we can to bring them into the fray.”
That’s all well and good — for plaintiffs’ lawyers, and for news outlets like ours seeking juicy stories to cover. But there are other ways to achieve reform. So here’s another thought: Could 2012 instead be the year of law school transparency? Transparency achieved voluntarily, by law schools coming forward on their own to share comprehensive data about how their graduates are faring in the job market?
In the weeks since we wrote about the University of Chicago Law School providing very detailed employment data about its recent graduating classes, based on our interview with Dean Michael Schill, we’ve heard from deans, professors, alumni and students of other law schools, all with similar messages. They believe that their schools, like Chicago, are also transparent about graduate employment outcomes — and they want to be recognized for it.
This chorus of “me too!” messages raises a promising possibility: Is law school transparency becoming, for lack of a better word, “cool”? Will honesty about employment data become the hot new trend for U.S. legal education?
To help me get in the holiday spirit, I’ve been catching up on my favorite movies. Some might prefer It’s A Wonderful Life or Miracle on 34th Street, but I can’t get enough of It’s a Wonderful Lifetime and ABC Family’s 25 Days of Christmas. Give me a movie where a D-list celebrity overcomes the holiday blues to discover the meaning of Christmas, the joy of love, and the warmth of family, and I am a happy girl.
After 22 days of non-stop Christmas movie watching, I began to think that only in a movie staring Melissa Joan Hart would someone devote her professional career to tackling an issue she had to overcome. Not so.
Watch to find out what some of our subscribers received in their May box!
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We currently have a number of active openings for associate roles at US and UK firms in HK / China, Singapore and two new in-house openings. As always, please feel free to reach out to us at email@example.com in order to get details of current openings in Asia, as well as to discuss the Asia markets in general and what we expect for openings later this year. Our Evan Jowers and Robert Kinney will be in Beijing the week of March 25 and Evan Jowers will be in Hong Kong the week of April 1, if you would like to meet them in person.
The US associate openings we have in law firms are in the usual areas of M&A, cap markets, FCPA / white collar litigation, finance, and project finance. The most urgent of our top tier (top 15 US or magic circle) law firm openings in Asia (among many other firm openings that we have in Asia) are as follows:
• 2nd to 5th year mandarin fluent M&A associates needed in Beijing and Hong Kong at several firms;
• Korean fluent 2nd to 4th year cap markets associate needed in Hong Kong;
• 2nd to 5th year Japanese fluent M&A associates needed in Tokyo;
• 4th to 6th year mandarin fluent cap markets associate needed in Hong Kong;
• 2nd to 4th year M&A / cap markets mix associate needed in Singapore.
The last time I flapped my wings your way, I tried to make at least enough noise about your mobile phone to make you more than a little bit uncomfortable. I hope I did. If enough of us become anxious enough about the known and unknown unknowns and knowns in our mobile phones, then we can start making wise decisions about how to manage that information and its resultant investigations.
Today, I’d like to put a finer point on the last installment’s topic by asking a question that seemed to catch most attendees off-guard at a conference panel that I moderated last week: is there discoverable personal information in a mobile app? Our panelists’ answer was a uniform “yes” with one stating that, if he had to choose only one type of data that he could discover from a mobile phone, he’d choose app data. Why? Because there’s simply so much of it and because almost all of it is objective – not just user-created like an email – but machine-tracked like GPS, usage duration, log in and log out times, browsed web addresses, browsed actual addresses. Also, most of us seem to have the idea that data doesn’t actually “stick” to our mobile devices the way it “sticks” to our hard drives. Maybe there’s a disconnect based on the fact that our phones are mobile so we assume the data is mobile to?
The traditional job application and interview process can be impersonal, and applicants often struggle to present themselves as more than just the sum of their GPAs, alma maters, and previous work history. ATL has partnered with ViewYou to help job seekers overcome this challenge. ViewYou NOW Profiles offer a unique way for job seekers to make a personal, memorable connection with prospective employers: introduction videos. These videos allow job candidates to display their personalities, interpersonal skills, and professional interests, creating an eDossier to brand themselves to potential employers all over the world. Check it out today!