Transparency Review in Advance of New Law School Jobs Data

Law schools have collectively never been more transparent about jobs data, but there’s much room for improvement. Today, 55% of law schools publish their most recent NALP report—a collection of statistics sought by transparency advocates and prospective students alike.

Executive Director, Law School Transparency.

Our Job, Not Hers

Dean Erwin Chemerinsky wants Justice Ginsburg to retire this summer, giving President Obama ample time to confirm her successor. Chemerinksy worries that a Republican will win the White House in 2016 and that Ginsburg’s health will not endure until the next Democratic administration. To avoid the risk of a Republican President replacing Ginsburg, Chemerinsky urges […]

Clever Cleveland-Marshall

Back in the fall of 2012, I suggested that law schools could help students–and attract new applicants–by offering students a master’s degree at the end of the first year. That degree would allow students to try law school, and to gain the significant skills learned during the first year, without committing to a full three years of legal education. Students who decided at the end of the first year that they disliked law, that the benefits of practice were unlikely to outweigh the further costs of law school, or that they could pursue an attractive job with just one year of legal education, would be able to leave law school with appropriate recognition for their work.

I wasn’t the only person to propose this option. A faculty member at the Cleveland-Marshall College of Law had a similar idea. And this week, Cleveland-Marshall announced its “risk-free” JD program. The initiative will allow JD students to convert their first-year credits to a Master of Legal Studies degree if they opt to leave school at the end of the first year. Here’s why the program makes sense.

RT, MT, and HT

Student writers sometimes struggle with attribution. They know to use quotation marks, and to cite the source, when they take language directly from another author. But when should they credit that other author with an idea? Or with paraphrased language? Social media now give us a way to explain these key practices. The “RT-MT-HT” culture also illustrates the positive role that attribution plays.

Contracting with the Feds

Today’s National Law Journal has an interesting story about the federal government’s cuts to contracts with private lawyers. The story interested me for three reasons.

Fighting Hierarchies in Hiring

Law students quickly learn the hierarchies that govern the legal profession. Top employers, especially in BigLaw, prefer students from elite law schools. High class rank, law review membership, previous work experience, and personal connections matter, but the status of a student’s degree sends a strong workplace signal.

We deplore this fact in academia, and many employers rue the practice as well. Over time, employers have learned that graduates of the elite schools aren’t necessarily the best lawyers. Still, the preference continues. Just as no one ever got fired for buying IBM, no one will lose face for hiring graduates of Harvard, Yale, or Stanford law schools.

But now one BigLaw firm has decided to fight back.