Thursday, January 30, 2014

Put That JD to Work!

From's Ask Annie feature:
Last spring, I graduated from a good law school and, all these months later, I still can't seem to get hired by a law firm in my (fairly large) city. . . . Do you or your readers have any ideas about how I should broaden my job search? I'd still like to use my law degree if possible, especially since I went into debt to get it.
Welcome to my career counseling center, post-graduate lemming!

I highly recommend checking out Annie's five suggested options.  The first four (in-house, law firm administration, government, and nonprofits*) are excellent options for graduates shut out of the high-salary private law firm market.  The fifth one - "temp" work - I'm a bit skeptical about; after all, who would want to hire a lawyer for part-time when you can bring one on for 60 billables a week?  YOU'RE LEAVING CASH ON THE TABLE!

I would like to add five (5) more options for law graduates who have a lot of spirit but can't get a spot on the private sector squad:

6.  Law librarian
7.  Appellate law clerk
8.  Legal publications journalist / adjunct professor (tie)
9.  Hang. Own. Shingle.
10.  Judge

*And no, you snarky ass, "nonprofit" is not, in fact, a synonym with starting your own firm.

Monday, January 27, 2014

I Hope the LA Times Didn't Fabricate this Story

One of my favorite aspects of The Law is the inordinate amount of hair-pulling we undertake in order to persist in the noble illusion that one needs a certain amount of moral character to push paper around a desk, argue with people, and manage a glorified cash register.  No matter how oily the plaintiff's attorney, no matter how lazy the solo take-whatever-shows-up attorney, no matter how far that one prosecutor bends the truth, no matter how drunk high and stupid the rainmaker's son is, we can all rest assured that at one point in time, they had the right paperwork in order to make it past the arbiters of Good Character.

Stephen Glass does not have that clean past.  And instead of being addicted to crack (from which rehab is possible), Glass was addicted to ill-gained success, which he earned from writing bogus or embellished stories for magazines in an elaborate scheme.  This was, of course, fifteen years ago, when many now-lawyers were regularly concocting fraudulent schemes to illegally acquire alcohol and recklessly fornicate, but the publicity of Glass's actions gave him no hope of salvation.

Lay it on the schmuck, California Supreme Court:
The court said the greater the misconduct in the past, the more the lawyer applicant must demonstrate rehabilitation.  
"Instead of directing his efforts at serving others in the community, much of Glass' energy since the end of his journalistic career seems to have been directed at advancing his own career and financial and emotional well-being," the court said.
I always thought that rehabilitation was rehabilitation, regardless of how "great" the misconduct.  I'm happy the Court straightened me out on that one.  Similarly, I'm extremely happy the Court is chiding unethical dirtbags for trying to advance their career (Glass has shamelessly been working as a paralegal for a decade) and secure their emotional well-being.  Like lawyers need that!

These bastards should be out planting trees and coloring with school kids.  Otherwise, there's no way I can trust them with my landlord-tenant case.  Dude had a job and tried to heal his psychological issues?  Fuck him.

Thank you, California bar, for maintaining the integrity of your bar and rejecting the idea that someone with a public history of dishonesty could be admitted.  It only took several years, an initial hearing process, a ten-day appeal trial, and Supreme Court arguments to figure out that he never had a chance to begin with.  But God, the dance is fun, and provides me with firm faith in the system.

Also: it makes me myself feel really moral and exclusive.  If they let this guy in the neighborhood, I'd have to move to a new suburb.

And the best thing here is that Georgetown got to use his money and stats.  Thank God they never do these evaluations before the tuition downpayment so that people like Glass know what the hopeless abattoir facing in advance!

Friday, January 24, 2014

SUNY-Buffalo at Cool Kids Table

SUNY-Buffalo has been admitted into the Order of the Coif, an organization that is basically the whipped topping on a sundae; you've already got your ticket to the upper middle class, but this appellation gives you first-class accommodation.  If I told you blankly that Applicant A was a member of the Order and Applicant B was not, who would you hire?

Damn straight.  The only problem with the Order of the Coif is that only 10% of law graduates can get it.

Welcome, Buffalo-ians?
The Order of the Coif — often called the law school equivalent of Phi Beta Kappa — extended the invitation following a lengthy and thorough application process. UB Law is the only new chapter granted this year by the organization. UB joins a select list of law schools that have received this honor, a group that includes Yale, Stanford, Cornell, Michigan, University of California-Berkeley, Chicago, Georgetown and Northwestern.
You forgot Penn and Virginia!  Don't short-change Buffalo on their new dining companions.  Sure, the Order also has Pacific-McGeorge, DePaul, Case Western, Villanova, and the University of North Dakota, but obviously Buffalo's press release wanted to get a snapshot of a more fair representation of the school's in Buffalo's weight class, which, I might add, is much higher up than Columbia, which is still not a member of the club.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Cooley Road Scholars and Villanova Freebies

Everyone's favorite Michigan law school has added a new foreign study option.  Try saying this without a high-class BBC-quality British accent.
The study abroad program in Oxford allows students to earn six credits and provides the opportunity to study at Oxford University. In addition to international and comparative law courses, the program includes legal events in Oxford and London and social activities.
It's one thing to study international and comparative law in the United States.  But to do it in Britain will make future legal employers give a weeping standing ovation mid-interview.

But Cooley isn't the only law school lacing its already-sweet deal with toxic amounts of sugary goodness.  Villanova is upping its scholarship offerings:
Establishment of the program, which will cost the university about $6 million over the next three academic years, means nearly a third of the incoming class will be attending law school on a full scholarship.
Law schools are making it damn near irresistible practically giving away million-dollar legal educations.  Big universities will no subsidize their law schools' price cuts in order to get you - the lucky student - the best deal possible.

Look, kids, if you sign up for the LSAT, you've basically got a 95% chance of Ed McMahon showing up at your door with two C-level models, balloons, and a briefcase of cash.  As we speak, Matthew Lesko is probably writing another book as we speak with nothing but GO TO LAW SCHOOL on every damned page.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Ave Maria Best Catholic Law School in America

It's hard to deny that the the Roman Catholic Church doesn't have at least something in common with law schools, with its ideals of justice and peace and service and building pretty, shiny buildings on the backs of the devout believers.

In any event, one of National Jurist's magazines has named Ave Maria the best Catholic law school in America:
The rankings were based on the percentage and activity of students who belong to the faith; percentage and activity of faculty who belong to the faith; number of religion-focused courses and other ways the school incorporates the faith into the curricula; religion-related journals, centers and clinics; religious services and clergy at the law school; and the mission of the law school.
I wonder if Catholic University is feeling like rejected dumpster trash.  It's chartered by the Pope for goodness sakes and named straight itself after the religion.  Not even a saint or anything!  The whole damn religion itself.

But cheers to Ave Maria!  And never forget their greatest missionary work:  moving from a cold, industrially-developed place to a tropical paradise full of godless heathens and prospective law students who couldn't quite get into Florida's more selective law schools.

Now please enjoy the beginning of my forthcoming law review article Blessed are the Debtors - Placing the "Law School Scam" in a Judeo-Christian, by Which I Mean Totally Christian, Context:
The New Testament is replete with Jesus and his first disciples echoing the virtues of penury.  Indeed, Jesus bluntly dictates the strenuous battle the rich face to breach the glimmering gates of Heaven by comparing it to a camel passing through the eye of a needle.  Yet, two millennia later, law school administrators face an irrational torrent of unfair and misdirected persecution for giving recent students the gift of poverty.  Why are today's entitled brats so bitchy about being primed to inherit the Kingdom of Heaven?  This article explores the psychological roots of such ungrateful angst and argues that whining law school alumni are the modern-day analog to those demon-possessed pigs in the gospels that ran straight to their deaths.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

...And Syracuse Takes the Prize

I don't know what prize, but this should win something:
Syracuse’s Class of 2016 is nearly 25% smaller than its Class of 2014, decreasing from 255 to 196 over two years. The law school’s director of admissions, Nikki Laubenstein, spoke to the campus newspaper about the enrollment trend and offered this take: 
“Our smaller class size is strategically managed and planned to provide the optimal level of engagement for our students with our law school faculty and programming opportunities,” she told the Daily Orange in an article published Wednesday.

I'm awestruck.

Nikki, you ever come to the Center, there's a golden barstool with your name on it and drinks are on the house.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

A Tribute to Elle Woods: The Face that Launched a Thousand Debts

If you're like me, you probably enjoy reading Law School Lemmings.  It's an amazing and refreshing reminder that, despite all the pessimism, there are still people who yearn to endeavor in the noble service of the law.

One of my favorite themes to pop up on Law School Lemmings are the numerous posts that praise Elle Woods, the star character of Legally Blonde.  Like this.  Or this.  Or this.  My heart is so warmed I'd be roasted marshmallows...if my lungs were made of marshmallow.

In any event, Elle Woods is essentially a Barbie Doll.  An anatomically-incorrect, impossible, non-existent fiction that's an exemplar for young women everywhere and totally, totally coo'.

Elle did the impossible, managing to be a nonconformist feminist who remained thoroughly attractive to males while finding vaguely-appropriate courtroom attire.  More importantly, she got to show off how smart she was in spite of her looks and fashion sense.

She is, exactly, what young women can and will be if they go to law school and remain true to themselves in spite of the social pressures of the conservative, male-dominated legal system.  You want to stay the misfit and ignore your stodgy law school classmates?  No big deal, you don't need to network with any of them.  You don't want to use your God-given attractiveness?  No big deal, you won't need that to get anywhere, and you can choose not to use it.  You want to wear pink to court?  Don't worry, it won't prejudice your client at all.

And remember:  even if you're out on an island of individuality, you can always prove your smarts at your first trial, which will happen well before the credits of a movie where you started in undergrad.

So for propagating the splendid message that colorful independent spirits have a great place in law, here's to you, Elle Woods.  Just as Barbie implanted three generations of girls with fanciful, world-enriching ideas of giggly-flat stomachs, playful legs, and better curves than the ones in torts class, you, Elle, have taught a generation of female 0Ls that their love of boutique shopping won't be interrupted by the modest workloads expected of young female attorneys at elite firms.  Just as America has been blessed by generations of ideal blondes as designed by hormonal teenages, Elle Woods has spawned a decade (and counting) of bright-plumed, cheerful, super-feminine ladies who defy bimbo stereotypes in our nation's courtrooms.

And now - praise be Hollywood - our Barbie has found her token black friend in Olivia Pope to go with the Ken Dolls on the show Suits.  God bless America.  And God bless Elle Woods.  May thousands more follow her blazing pink path to the destiny of awesome.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Yes, Starting Your Own Firm is Realistic

Hosted by the business savants at Business Insider, 29-year old Branigan Robertson tells all how he started his own firm out of law school.  Branigan is a 2012 graduate of Chapman University and he has started his own employment law firm in Orange County.
1. Ignore the People Who Say You Can’t
The reason why this is number one is that 98% of your law school classmates, lawyers, and professors honestly believe you can’t. Ignore them. Many attorneys are pessimists by nature and love to tell people what they can’t do. They never tried it so they don’t know. If you believe them, there is zero chance you’ll succeed. I’ve done it, and I know you can do it, too.
Branigan understands that differences is personality, connections, and financial support are irrelevant.  He did it.  You can do it.  Anyone who says you can't - like the people who tell you not to go to law school - are all pessimists.

When I tell you that you should not jump off of a six-story building because there's a good chance you won't be around for awhile, I'm really just being a pessimist.  Ignore me.

Likewise, it's essential that you pick the right area of law:
[T]he clientele in plaintiff’s personal injury, criminal defense, bankruptcy, employment law, and family law (to name a few), are, for the most part, individuals who have never worked with a lawyer. They are not extremely picky. They are simply looking for someone who cares, who is competent, and who believes in their case.
You don't need to be an excellent attorney, or take the time to train with excellent attorneys.  You just have to be like Jesus and get people to believe in you.  Just open a church, and you'll have contingency clients ready to tithe their compensation.

And you need to believe in yourself:
You can do it. You can do it even if you have mountains of debt, a growing family, a low GPA, or a dwindling bank account. Trust me, you can do it.
Especially if you have a growing family and a dwindling bank account, starting up your own business in a saturated and narrow field selling little more than your inflated charisma seems like a grand idea.

Oh, by the way, you'll need a little bit of money:
You also need to save up a small nest egg. Depending on the area of law you choose (see below), it may be 4-6 months before you start seeing any revenues
Emphasis added, so that no one misreads and thinks he's talking about "profits."  But I'm sure if you look around, you'll see that you have 4-6 months worth of funding lying around, as pretty much everyone does if you just cut going out to eat and don't buy a new television set and car every year.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

You Are Living at the Dawn of the Law School Renaissance

Don't take my word for the fact that law schools are entering a renaissance, take it from Brooklyn Dean Nick Allard, writing the first of his Nostradamian prognostications for 2014:
Ten years from now, people will look back at 2014 and say it marked the start of the new world of law, a renaissance where the respect and reputation of lawyers and law schools began to rise by measurable benchmarks (polls will show lawyers’ and law school popularity rising–not as fast as Pope Francis, but better than Congress). With apologies to Churchill, after several dark years, 2014 will not be the end, nor the beginning of the end, but rather the end of the beginning. It will take time, but 2014 will eventually be seen as the start of the “up” market for law.
As one proud to be riding this tidal wave with the golden surfboard of a Juris Doctor, allow me to say, "COWABUNGA!"  Surfs up, dudes, and the time to hit the water is when the timid are still cowering their moldering mothers' basements.

As Dean Da Vinci notes, the respect for lawyers and law schools has reached its abyssmal basin, and it will now rise, so now seems to be a good time as any to fill out your application and head to the local law school.

Imagine yourself in Italy long ago.  A young man comes to ask your help with a sculpture.  You haughtily laugh and turn him down.  "Sculpture!" you say.  "My boy, there is already a massive oversupply of sculptors and not enough rock and orders for sculptures to go around.  Besides, have you seen the cost of getting an apprenticeship in sculpting?  The tuition by those greedy teachers?  Do you know the remote odds of landing BigSculpture?  Do you know that everyone thinks they're going to be in the top 10% of sculptors?  There are sculptors waiting tables right now!"

Blah blah blah.  You just discouraged Donatello.  Don't be a dick to Donatello.  Encourage people to get on board with renaissances when they start, not jump off the wagon when you think it's a "dying" career.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

SUPER Lawyers Go to SUPER Law Schools

Everyone who actually practices law knows that SuperLawyers is the real deal when it comes to rating lawyers.  If your attorney isn't a SuperAttorney, you're getting SuperScrewed in the SuperAss.

Business Insider agrees:
"Super Lawyers" is a respected rating service for lawyers, so in a sense, the infographic tells you which law schools produced the best lawyers in a region. 
The results are surprising.
Favorite revelations from the referenced InfoGraphic:

  • Wayne State > Michigan in Michigan
  • Quinnipiac > Yale in Connecticut
  • Suffolk dominates R.I. and is > Harvard or Boston U. in Massachusetts
  • Temple and Nova > UPenn
  • Depaul > UChicago or Northwestern
  • IU-Indy > IU-Mauer or Notre Dame
  • Denver > Colorado
  • It's appropriate to bunch Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and Oklahoma together, but Delaware, Alaska, and Upstate New York each get their own lists.
  • Biloxi, Mississippi, is apparently in the "Mid South"
  • No SuperLawyers live in mountainous areas or boring flatlands.  You wouldn't either if you were making eight figures a year!
This has been another edition of Law Schools You Should Definitely Attend and Helpful Geographic Information

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Innovative Strategy at Drexel

This is a more or less pedestrian article until we get to this:
Drexel University has also felt the decrease in applicants, changing its name from the Earle Mack School of Law to the Drexel University School of Law to make way for more benefactors to contribute to the school.
See, Drexel realized that having the name already taken prevented other wealthy donors from serving the public.  The law schools will not stop innovating.  Not only will they kick graduates to the curb after graduation (unless they want an LLM to improve marketability); now they will kick names off the school marquee in order to add the newest rich benefactor (Mr. Mack graciously voluntarily yielded his spot, the benevolence of our wealthy elders unyielding).  One has to wonder why Arizona Summit changed its name so quickly when it might have held out for the Rich Ass Dude Arizona Summit Law School.

So now Earle Mack, Drexel alum and former ambassador to Finland, is without a law school in his honor and the bidding to replace him and help keep the ship afloat is on!

On a semi-related note, I'm now taking donations to raise funds to buy the naming rights for an American law school.  It will called Superprestigious Megarich and Reallyhappy School of Law.  If you happen to have eight figures of net assets and are serious about contributing to the welfare of an American law school, please contact me at once.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Paul Pless Apparently Victim of Fraud

Fraud is not fudging a few LSAT numbers.  There is no material difference between a 160 LSAT and a 162 LSAT, and it isn't going to deter any student from going to a law school.  This is especially true now, when law school is an all but sure bet to pay off after 2016, when the expected shortage of lawyers will kick in.  And it's especially true for a prestigious flagship university in a state with immense demand for attorneys, like - say- the University of Illinois.

What is fraud is when a comely young woman says she'll work the Socratic Method on your Cardozo in exchange for a modest retainer of $200.00 cash against her $500.00 hourly rate and it turns out she's a cop with no interest in said actions after you relied on her claims and shelled out the Benjamins.  Your dreamy road trip to Orgasmville just got halted by a legitimate fourth amendment seizure.  More importantly, the young woman lied on which you materially relied causing a bad time.  That's real fraud, people.  Fraud.

 On that note, Above the Law is reporting that Paul Pless was arrested on charges of soliciting prostitution in a "sting" operation.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Brian Leiter Slam Dunks Scambloggers...Again

A common theme of this blog is that scambloggers have lost all rationality and perspective, and completely missed the subtle grace and beauty of the legal education business model.

As a fitting first post of 2014, I give you Brian Leiter's piece on "Cyber-Hysteria."  This is such a lucid explanation of the whiny scamblogger psyche that it couldn't be contained on his ordinary blog.  Oh, no; it's on HuffPost.
The cyber-hysteria about law schools is not only tediously repetitive, it is immune to facts or evidence. That became clear last summer when Michael Simkovic, a law professor, and Frank McIntyre, a labor economist, conducted the first systematic study of economic outcomes for those with a JD compared to students with similar credentials who only earned a B.A. The results were unambiguous: students who earned a J.D. earned substantially more than their B.A. counterparts at almost every level of the income distribution; even the 25th percentile earners fared better. The cyber-mob counseled against earning a J.D. without offering any other guidance; yet the best evidence on offer, from Professors Simkovic and McIntyre, demonstrated that a J.D. was a good financial investment for the vast majority over the long term.
Unambiguous.  Facts.  And there's a Nietzsche quote.  

I don't know why the whiny JDU crowd even bothers.  With a thunderous click of his mouse, Leiter just wiped out six months of scamblogging efforts.  And that's a fact.