Tuesday, March 6, 2012

When the levee breaks

Yesterday I took part in a discussion at Stanford Law School, at an event sponsored by 17 student groups.  Perhaps 100 students attended (along with a couple of faculty and Stanford's Chief Financial Officer). I spoke for about 20 minutes regarding the economics of legal academia and legal practice, Professor Deborah Rhode made a brief and very helpful response, and then we had a 45-minute discussion with the audience.

The event was recorded, and will be available on Youtube in a day or two, so I don't want to spend much time describing its precise substance, as interested readers can watch it there.  Instead I'll make a couple of general observations and comment on one or two specific details.

As I told the organizers afterwards, I was impressed and inspired by the students' enthusiasm and engagement.  These, after all, are the legal one per cent -- the people who have made it to the very top of where one can be in this profession at this stage of one's nascent career.  If anyone has an excuse and an incentive to stay snugly within the same bubble of denial and delusion that continues to be the home of so many legal academics, these students do.

Instead, I encountered a level of activism and energy that was truly heartening.  These young people, privileged as they are at the moment, realize that something has gone badly wrong with the script that's been read to them since they were children, regarding how success is defined and achieved in the culture within which they find themselves.  What's gone wrong goes far beyond what's gone wrong with legal academia and the legal profession, of course -- but as a great philosopher once said, we must all cultivate our own gardens, and this, at the moment, is theirs.

The most arresting moment in the discussion was when a man who identified himself as a 2010 graduate of the University of Pennsylvania law school described his present (unemployed and debt-ridden) situation: one which he shares with a significant minority of his fellow graduates. Here was someone who was testifying to what I characterized as the rising water line -- the creeping catastrophe that has left perhaps 30% of the third year class at Columbia (and 40% of the class at NYU, and 50% of the class at Michigan, and 60% of the class at Georgetown) in some sort of situation that the members of that class would have considered quite a bit less than minimally acceptable on the day, three years or ages ago, when they received their acceptance letters.

Stanford, for now, remains above the water line But when the levee breaks . . .

Speaking of which.  (H/T to a Duke 3L).  I wouldn't be surprised if the Board of Trustees of Duke University and the administration of its law school consider a tuition hike of "only" 4% to be an exercise in admirable restraint.  But in how many other sectors of society can one keep raising the price of something whose value is clearly declining? And why does it cost more per year to go to Duke's law school than its medical school, given that graduation from the medical school all but legally guarantees one an actual job in one's chosen profession -- and one that, on average, is going to end up paying quite a bit more than the legal jobs a significant percentage of Duke's law school graduates will never even get?

These are the kinds of questions that a lot of students at Stanford's law school are now asking.  From what I've seen, they're going to keep asking them until they begin to get something resembling real answers.  And that in itself is a reason for optimism.

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."

-- Attributed to Margaret Mead --

88 comments:

  1. At $50,750 - breaking the $50k barrier! It puts it in limited company - Yale, Northwestern, Columbia - and it bucks a trend - because some law schools are cutting tuition.

    MacK

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  2. "cultivate our own gardens" is from Candide.

    http://www.infobarrel.com/The_Revolutionary_Ideas_Behind_Voltaire's_Candide

    It stands for "ignorance is bliss." Its a kind of folk libertarian strain of thought at this point that says if one lives a simple life one can achieve more happiness than by being worldly.

    Is that the world we live in rather than the world of globalization and complexity? If we live in the later, it would seem that not only does Candide not apply, but also that Candidate would represent an ineffective approach to a problem.

    How has being atomized helped the American people, and as a subset, now people in the legal industry in the U.S. in the last few decades?

    Which brings up another phrase, "Can't see the forest for the trees."

    Bruh Rabbit

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  3. " I wouldn't be surprised if the Board of Trustees of Duke University and the administration of its law school consider a tuition hike of "only" 4% to be an exercise in admirable restraint. But in how many other sectors of society can one keep raising the price of something whose value is clearly declining?"

    The federally-backed student loan system allows this to occur. After all, the pigs claim, "We are providing you with an education, not guaranteeing that you get a job." (For $ome rea$on, these swine now overlook the fact that their schools often claim a 97% employment rate, with a median starting salary of $80K-$135K.)

    If Stanford law students are now being this critical of the scam, then this is a great development. After all, it is easier to dismiss TTTT grads as "losers" or "whiners." When those at the most secure law schools are speaking out, then the rats can no longer use those labels - or duck the issue.

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  4. At one point, Chuck Grassley of Iowa made some noise, by basically arguing that the law schools are taking the public's money - and producing a mess. What happened with his indignation?

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  5. One reason Stanford students are engaged is that they are not immune. They can be fired after one year at a firm as easily as anyone else (and a friend who is a Stanford alum was - and in unjust circumstances), and there aren't a whole lot of options even with a Stanford Law degree if the BigLaw door closes and you still have the debt.

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  6. Anyone can be fired in any profession you are in if you do the wrong thing. That's never going to change. They are engaged because that's how they are. They are passionate and committed to problem solving in lots of different arenas.

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  7. 50% at Michigan? Really? I guess there's a reason they wrote this article:

    https://www.law.umich.edu/quadrangle/fall2011/specialfeatures/Pages/theStateofLegalEducation.aspx

    It must be tense in the 3L classes right now. Back in the late 90's, my class of 3Ls were surly, and we graduated in a pretty "hot" market. Of course, even in those heady days, 3Ls still got no offered, etc. Luckily, we "only" paid ~$50-$60k in total tuition, which is like, what, two semesters now?

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  8. Good to see enthusiasm at both UGA and Stanford. This makes it harder to dismiss reformers as a tiny percentage of whiners and it proves that law students and young lawyers are concerned about the future of the profession, even if many Boomers are not.

    Hope you can give a talk at one of the NYC law schools soon, Lawprof.

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  9. @9:17 - somewhere I read a recent study that showed that the proportion of even HYS graduates recruited by the Law 250 have about a 10% chance of making it to partner in a Law 250 firm. The rate of attrition in big law is savage.

    In about 1998, weary of fee issues when I was in an non-US firm that retained US firms for mega-corps to work under our supervision I created a set of billing guidelines. My partners complained that it was not copyrighted because of how many Asian and European companies plagiarised it. I like to think that I did one good thing for associates - I put in a rebate clause, require a rebate/credit of up to 1/3 (it often is 25% in some versions) of the fees of an associate billing on a matter who left the firm before the matter was concluded against the fees of his/her replacements. I also make them send resumés for new time-keepers and explain swap-outs.

    Funny how little associate churn they experienced on their matters - I implemented it as a GC in two corporations and we still put in guidelines when requested by clients.

    MacK

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  10. Law Prof,

    Yesterday I went to an interview for a DDA 1 position with the LA DA's office. The first round had 1,500 applicants - which was capped (surely there would've been more if possible). The second round will have 600. I'm not sure how many will be in the third round. The LA DA is looking to hire 20 new full time DDA 1's for the first time in at least 3 years. While I was waiting for my interview I did some math. I have a 20/1500 chance of getting chosen which equates to 1.3%. 1.3% chance represent my BEST percentage for possibly repaying my student loans off someday (even on a gov't salary) and doing some type of legal work that I can actually stomach. I then wondered what my chances of possibly paying off my student loans would be if I were to just take up "risky" activity such as gambling. To my surprise, I found that my probability of winning by guessing the exact number on a roulette wheel is 2.63%. The odds of me being able to pay back my law school loans is double were I to try attempt an gambling rather than trying to have a legal career. The should put that on the next law school prospective student employment page - for me gambling is actually a safer gamble than going to law school.

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    Replies
    1. Sounds like the only way to get one of the DA jobs in LA is through nepotism.

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  11. ^ This

    Welcome to the desert of the real world.

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  12. "as a great philosopher once said, we must all cultivate our own gardens"

    Voltaire was a great philosopher?

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  13. Non-AmLaw-100 PartnerMarch 6, 2012 at 10:50 AM

    Stanford, for now, remains above the water line. But when the levee breaks . . .

    FWIW, based on my own experience, the water line seems to be receding, at least temporarily. Our best years ever for recruiting top students from top schools were 2009 and 2010. By contrast, 2011 was a terrible year in that regard. Top students seem to have better options in Manhattan again.

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  14. Apparently he was!

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Voltaire#Philosophy

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  15. University of Michigan Law Students are doing just fine...

    https://www.law.umich.edu/careers/classstats/Pages/default.aspx

    https://www.law.umich.edu/careers/classstats/Pages/2Lstats.aspx

    https://www.law.umich.edu/careers/classstats/Pages/employmentstats.aspx

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  16. All the students who graduated from the University of Michigan in the 2008 to 2009 school year are all fully employed...

    At their December 2008 graduation only 2 students were graduating without offers....They are employed at this time... At the May 2009 graduation most of the students graduated with offers...

    No I do not work for U-Mich but I know many of the students from those graduating years & I am in contact with many of them today...

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  17. 10:50: The percentage of graduates of top 50 schools who were hired by NLJ250 firms declined from 27% in 2010 to 22% in 2011.

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  18. March 6, 2012 11:02am: I know at least one 2010 University of Michigan graduate who is unemployed.

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  19. Did 11:02 address the Class of 2010?

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  20. Non-AmLaw-100 PartnerMarch 6, 2012 at 11:32 AM

    10:50: The percentage of graduates of top 50 schools who were hired by NLJ250 firms declined from 27% in 2010 to 22% in 2011.

    Sorry, I should have been more specific. Our success in attracting the best of the best as summer associates, and in having them accept our offers for full-time employment, was far above our norm in 2009 and 2010 (and, for full-time acceptances, at the end of summer 2011). Our fall 2011 recruiting efforts for the summer 2012 program were abysmal when compared with the two preceding years. If this is part of a large trend, it won't show up in the reported data until fall of this year.

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  21. @10:53, I'm not sure if your comment is serious or satirical, but these pages raise numerous questions about how well Michigan grads are really doing. An applicant probably wouldn't see the problems, but as an academic they're pretty clear to me. Here's what the pages tell me:

    1. In 2010, Michigan graduated its smallest class in five years (374 students). They also, according to the site, significantly increased the staffing and efforts of their career services people.

    2. Despite these efforts, the percentage of students employed in jobs requiring a JD fell by more than 7 points, from 94.9% to 87.6%. Not so bad, you say? It's the difference between one in twenty students lacking JD employment and one in eight students lacking that employment. For the class of 2009, we might have taken a legal writing section (20 students) and told them "one of you will be unable to secure a job that requires a JD." For the class of 2010, we would give those odds to a single row of students (eight) sitting in a classroom. (I know that some students choose jobs that don't require a JD, but there's no reason to expect that sharp an increase from one class to another absent job shrinkage.)

    3. Among 2009 grads who secured JD-required jobs, Michigan recorded salaries for 83.5% (325 out of 389). That's already low by Chicago standards, which should raise some flags. But in 2010, the percentage of these grads reporting their salaries dipped to 64.9% (211 of 325). That's a remarkable dip, especially considering that this was a smaller class with more career services staff working with them. Why did the percentage of reported salaries fall by almost 20 points? In itself that raises significant red flags--and it means that the reported median and other salary percentiles almost certainly do not represent the class as a whole.

    4. Michigan's career services site makes some pretty strong statements about how "we are now emerging" from "the most recent economic downturn," and that "all current signs indicate that we are on a strong upward trajectory for Summer 2012 and beyond." But the most recent published statistics (jobs in the NLJ 250) show that Michigan--like most other schools--fared even worse in 2011 than in 2010. Michigan sent 42.47% of its 2010 grads to associate positions in NLJ 250 firms; in 2011, it sent only 31.48% of its grads to those positions. That 11 point drop represents more than a quarter of the 2010 placements!

    In considering that number, remember that the NLJ 250 is much more than Cravath and other firms paying the $160,000 salaries; it includes a significant number of regional firms in Michigan an other states. When associate jobs drop that much on the NLJ 250 between 2010 and 2011--as they did for Michigan and many other schools--that's a significant indicator.

    Michigan may have other information that makes it confident that they are on a "strong upward trajectory," but I'm not aware of that information in the market generally. The world economy and U.S. economy continue to suffer significant uncertainty; the legal job market incorporates those uncertainties PLUS serious changes in technology, global competition, client expectations, and the whole design of law practice.

    When Michigan and other schools make representations like this, I think they have to realize that prospective students view them as experts. And they are experts: Michigan's faculty includes its share of economists and law and economic experts. Telling prospective students that "all current signs indicate that we are on a strong upward trajectory" is a representation that requires some support--especially when the 2010 data and the (not yet disclosed by Michigan) 2011 numbers offer some very bleak signs.

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  22. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  23. God bless you DJM.

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  24. DJM, is Michigan's faculty telling prospective students this? Do you think the faculty at Michigan writes or reviews the material in the school's brochures? Do they have information independent of what the school's administration gathers and analyzes? If you think they should compile the stats or should have independent knowledge, that's a separate question from whether they do. How is it done at your school?

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  25. 12:24: It's a little late in the day for this kind of response. If Michigan's faculty isn't paying attention to what the administration is selling prospective students then that's on them.

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  26. @12:24 - That would be sort of like running Milgram experiments with deaf participants.

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  27. Do not fuck with DJM. Do not go around spouting bullshit about your school's stats and how great they are. DJM will find you, here or on your own blog.

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  28. Not late at all. Are they to go out and gather information themselves and disseminate it? Do you and your faculty compile and write the information on Colorado's website? Do you feel personally responsible for what is up there today? Actually, feeling a certain way about something is easy. What exactly would you want the faculty at Michigan to do about the stats that are up now?

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  29. I am not being facetious. What specifically should be done. PH suggested some things he has done. Would that be enough?

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  30. Evidently, there is a high demand for legal education among both sexes; a demand that highly exceeds the need for lawyers at this moment.

    What is the solution to this problem though? To tell people to forget about a legal career and instead pursue the over-saturated PhD market? Or go into medicine even if the person has no desire to do so?
    Or to simply forget about grad-school all together and "settle" for something that pays the bills?

    There is a problem, no doubt, but what is the SOLUTION?!

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  31. 11:10 AM ... I do not know anyone from the class of 2010 at U-Mich.but I do have a friend who went to law school in Chicago, graduated & passed the Bar in 2010 & she cannot find a job as an Attorney & is working part time as a Teacher...

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  32. Again people, you can post stats or tell anecdotes about unemployed friends. I'm not even a man, but I would like this discussion to focus on a solution. Every single thread talks about the scam, which is real. But it seems it's time to talk about a solution.

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  33. 12;24/53 here-- It's a mistake to zero in on two or three years stats-- and seem almost gleeful anticipating bad news (disaster porn)-- when that is the same technique people used to make people think everything was going to be okay forever. As soon as things get any better, folks will point and say, "2014 was a great year and therefore..."

    And, of course, lying is bad.

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  34. Here's a solution that has been posted frequently here:

    Have the government stop subsidizing student loans.

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  35. 12:51: Ok, I'll bite. Yes, professors should familiarize themselves with the representations made to admitted students and if those representations are misleading or leave information out they should put pressure on the administration to provide more accurate information. Meanwhile they should attempt to gauge the job prospects of all their students- even those who aren't their law review pets.

    After all, law schools are communities and professors are supposed to be concerned with the welfare of their students, right?

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  36. They can start by being honest about employment realities for lawyers as they discuss those matters with students applying to the law school, participating in admitted students events, and Michigan undergrads who may ask them for their opinion about whether or not they should attend law school. When I spoke to professors as an undergrad regarding the pursuit of a PhD in history, every single one of them began by giving me a sharp look and asking me if I was serious. They then proceeded to discuss the economic realities of acquiring a Phd: the dedication you need to complete the degree, the oversatured job market(history programs are commonly flooded with hundreds of applicants for any tenure track opening), the realities of life as an adjunct (a job which offers no benefits or job security and little pay), and so on.

    Nearly every professor I spoke with about the matter was frank and to the point. Shouldn't we expect that Michigan's law faculty be equally candid in discussing the issue with their current and future students? And if they are genuinely concerned about their students in any way, than they should also pressure the career services department to post accurate (not misleading)information on Michigan's website.

    Of course, this should not be true of Michigan alone; we should hold all faculty at every law school to the same set of expectations.

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  37. Yes, they are. And how do we know what folks at Michigan have or have not done in the regard. Not what do we think, feel, believe suspect, have a hunch about...what do we know?

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  38. Yes, they are. And how do we know what folks at Michigan have or have not done in the regard. Not what do we think, feel, believe suspect, have a hunch about...what do we know?

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  39. DJM, I only published the facts presented....

    And for those who have the time...
    Look up the names of the graduates for December 2008 & May 2009 and you will find most, if not all, employed & many of them working for Big Law...

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  40. 1:03 - that was probably the smartest statement I have seen yet. The main problem is the government and the ABA. Then comes academia.

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  41. I'm not sure what you are suggesting. Do you want us to stop calling out law school faculty on the good faith that they are working behind the scenes? Because they've been silent or defensive about this issue for years. If they really care about presenting transparent employment stats they will do so regardless of what we write here. If they do not care about the job prospects of their graduates or the representations they make to students, that's something admitted students should be made aware of.

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  42. 1:09: don't you know you're not allowed to point out that LawProf just makes shit up to keep this circus going?

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  43. 1:06--that's actually a damned fine comparison. The profs in my history department were the same way when I mentioned it.

    And yeah, you'd expect law professors to be at least as candid, given their ethical responsibilities, or if you disagree those exist, their representation of themselves as highly ethical individuals and the tenders of the rule of law etc.

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  44. @ 12:54 & 12:59:

    Here are a couple things to start:

    (1.) Make law school loans dischargeable in bankruptcy.

    (2.) Get the Federal Government out of back-stopping student loans.

    (3.) Acknowledge that IBR is a "soft default" and keep accurate, audited records of all law school grads, grouped by school, in default and on IBR. Make those rates publicly available.

    (4.) Require schools to post employment statistics based on JD-required jobs.

    (5.) Require schools to post employment statistics that are based on ALL graduates, and that assume that a "no-response" = $0.00 earned.

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  45. 1:17: My estimate regarding how many 2011 Michigan grads had satisfactory employment outcomes (liberally defined) is based on this: http://insidethelawschoolscam.blogspot.com/2012/02/class-of-2011-big-law-employment-stats.html

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  46. The recruiting market in recent years has at times been so tight that some firms spent as much as $250,000 to recruit a single summer associate (The American Lawyer,) between the lost billing hours spent on recruiting, the plane tickets, the fancy dinners at Nobu. The issue is clear: When you are paying big, you are less inclined to risk or experiment, and pedigreed associates are the default “safe” choices. Indeed, the presence of ”highly prestigious” grads has played a key role in firms’ marketing efforts (“90% percent our lawyers come from Top 10 schools”), while also “justifying” a firm’s high hourly billing rates for what are, in the end, inexperienced lawyers. At a minimum, firms could assure clients that they were buying the “Harvard” or “University of Chicago or University of Michigan” brand. The irony is that law firms consistently grumble that such law schools don't teach useful, real-world information, while relying on these same schools to produce the caliber of lawyers they need.


    In a market where law grads held all the cards, only a handful of elite firms could even think about expanding the standard hiring formula — 20 minute initial interviews, half-day meet and greets , surface questions— to isolate those candidates with specific desirable qualities. (Presumably—and hypothetically—three days of additional testing would not deter you if you were dead set on Wachtell or Cravath.) But “difficult” law firms that put applicants through extra hoops faced a competitive disadvantage. Now that barrier to experimentation has been removed. Firms revamping their recruiting approach is a real possibility.

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  47. #2
    Law is a service industry. While difficult to define and complicated to test, soft skills are crucial. Transcripts can't predict who will have a gift for building relations, upon which a firm’s future depends. You can teach someone to draft a contract, but can you teach them to network? to listen attentively and respectfully disagree? to greet the receptionist at a client-site? Barring those notorious anti-social partners, who achieved career success in large part by stamping out any evidence of humanity, in the “real” world of law, interpersonal skills and emotional intelligence count.



    So how might law firms conduct hiring differently? Well, they might look to their finance and consulting brethren. Banks and consultancies have long relied on sophisticated interviewing techniques to choose their incoming crew. In the course of the hiring process, applicants can expect case studies, group clinics, mini-projects, short presentations and peer reviews. The obvious goal is to immerse applicants in a simulacrum of what their real work would be, while showcasing leadership skills, project management capabilities, ability to work within time constraints, and networking ability. In this more competitive hiring market, will law firms adopt similar measures — e.g., asking applicants to engage in group exercises or to review case studies? In the UK, intensified application procedures are already the norm. Magic Circle firms such as Linklaters and Allen & Overy require applicants to analyze a commercial case study as if advising a client, pick out the salient points, and present their conclusions to partners.

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  48. #3
    Psychometric testing is another avenue for US law firms to consider. In the UK, Linklaters employs a critical reasoning test, typically consisting of 30 minutes for 30 or more questions that gauge verbal, numerical, diagrammatic or spatial reasoning. Psychometric testing is also used for personality assessment. Proponents trust that such evaluations inform how recruits will interact with each other and with existing teams, and give clues as to motivation levels, work style or ability to perform under stressful situations. UK law firms Dundas & Wilson, Dickinson Dees and Olswang are believers; all employ such testing and/or personality questionnaires. In the US, some law firms are already paying greater attention to candidates’ psychological attributes. California-based Orrick, for example, briefs its interviewers in behavioral interviewing techniques.



    It is clear that the recruiting climate of 2011 will be vastly different— and not solely due to a global financial crisis. Other factors are also at work: the growing influence of technology, the scope of legal outsourcing, evolving structures for law firm ownership, mergers, trends towards greater transparency, demographic shifts and rapidly-liberalizing legal markets (e.g., South Korea and India). Law firms that craft sophisticated, efficient and cost-effective methods for finding and developing talent —and the law grads who swiftly and unflinchingly adapt to a hiring landscape so very different from that which existed when they entered their professional programs — will have a competitive advantage.

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  49. The law school dean at the University of Michigan makes an annual salary of $457,964.

    That puts Evan Caminker in 11th place among the school’s highest-paid employees, after its current business school dean ($550,000), former b-school dean, who remains on the faculty ($448,155), medical school dean ($524,509) and engineering school dean ($470,195), reports AnnArbor.com.
    Jesus. Did any of these people beat Ohio State?

    You know, I don’t think anybody should begrudge Dean Caminker his salary. He could probably make a similar salary at other schools, and obviously he’s on the scale of what Michigan pays to its deans. I bet the engineering school doesn’t bring in the kind of money the law school does to the University of Michigan. These salary figures are surprising, but you can’t hate on people for making as much as they possibly can.

    UPDATE (10:45 AM): And Evan Caminker is also a hottie. Lat reminds me that Dean Caminker was the male winner of our hottest law school deans contest in 2006 — an honor that he graciously accepted. Research shows, of course, that hot lawyers earn more than their non-hot colleagues.

    Don’t hate the player, hate the game.

    And the game here is disgusting. While elected officials squeeze education funding and the American Bar Association stands idly by, universities and professional schools are able to charge whatever they want for their degree programs. The education market has become completely detached from the value of the degree, because any student — every student — can just borrow what they need. Borrow it, pay it back, don’t pay it back, who cares, the university still gets its money.

    One of these days, the bubble is going to burst. I bet even Dean Caminker knows that. I hope he’s saving some of this loot for the inevitable rainy day.

    Copied From "Above The Law"

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  50. @ Law Prof-- are satisfied that Colorado reports that more than 88 percent of graduates from 2010 had jobs. Your school goes into some detail about the numbers. Would people applying to Colorado be getting good information?

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  51. 2:22 here-- I think you may have said something before in general about Colorado's numbers, but not specifically I don't think.

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  52. Since most of the first biglaw jobs appear most often to be in doc review a new case should be of interest. If this Federal Judge is correct in his assessment of the state of computerized document review (and I think he is) then traditional doc review jobs will be 21st century buggy whip makers. If those doc review jobs disappear in the next 18 months the job market will be further contracted:

    " This Opinion appears to be the first in which a Court has approved of the use of computer-assisted review. That does not mean computer-assisted review must be used in all cases, or that the exact ESI protocol approved here will be appropriate in all future cases that utilize computer-assisted review. Nor does this Opinion endorse any vendor … nor any particular computer-assisted review tool. What the Bar should take away from this Opinion is that computer-assisted review is an available tool and should be seriously considered for use in large-data-volume cases where it may save the producing party (or both parties) significant amounts of legal fees in document review. Counsel no longer have to worry about being the “first” or “guinea pig” for judicial acceptance of computer-assisted review. As with keywords or any other technological solution to e-discovery, counsel must design an appropriate process, including use of available technology, with appropriate quality control testing, to review and produce relevant ESI while adhering to Rule 1 and Rule 26(b)(2)(C) proportionality. Computer-assisted review now can be considered judicially-approved for use in appropriate cases."

    http://www.ediscoverylaw.com/uploads/file/Da%20Silva%20Moore%20Opinion.pdf

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  53. @ChristineCodyParker

    If you haven't, you should post on Top Law Schools. Get an admin to verify who you are. There have been posts by unemployed NYU and Columbia students.

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  54. What about the Michigan graduation stats for 2010 and 2011? The market has changed at Michigan. I think they got creamed in at least one of those years by advising people to bid Chicago.
    Most people think this year is better, though. People are bidding on NYC and using Chicago as back-up.

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  55. Generation y gets it. Most baby boomers view education in an enthnocentrically. They fail to realize that there has been a paradigm shift. Thankfully those of us who see the light at the end of tunnel realize that the student loan bubble is going to crush the baby boomers just as much if not more than generation y.

    Dear baby boomers,
    While you act as though generation y is "entitled" you fail to see that your blessed retirement will not go as planned. The most productive members of generation y will not be able to buy your houses. And a large majority of you have believed that your home is an asset. The housing market can not improve until the student loan mess is fixed. So with nobody left to buy your homes (other than rich foriegners) you will not be able to retire. And your homes will decrease in value. To bad for your "entilted" retirement, it's probably not going to happen

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  56. To CC Parker - Access CL or NYU alumni directory for employment information. Not ideal but gives you an idea of employment stats for these schools.

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  57. Also for people in NY if you have the name you can check it against NY State Office of Court Administration website which has an attorney directory. It also has phone numbers so you can verify what the person is doing. Other good sources are Linked In and Martindale. You can get a fair idea of how many people are working in legal jobs.

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  58. 4:25,

    Exactly. I'm planning on voting for the people - regardless of party affiliation - who plan to reform Social Security and Medicare spending. Otherwise known as "entitlement" spending.

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  59. There is demand for legal services to fully employ all lawyers- but at compensation far below feasible.

    Doctors create practices with patients paying with insurance and Medicare. Why not Lawyers?

    One solution is for Medicare to pay for elder law services. That's one practice area solved. Or at least a start.

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  60. 1:17 - You stated "..LawProf just makes shit up to keep this circus going." On what data exactly do you base that statement? William Ockham

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  61. Without government loans only the rich will go to law school.

    Inherited aristocracy, anyone?

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  62. Only the rich will go to college, too.

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  63. That is unless they revive public education at the post-secondary school level.

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  64. "Without government loans only the rich will go to law school.

    Inherited aristocracy, anyone?"

    What a load of crap. One of my law professors was just telling us that he was spending $28 per credit hour in the 60's when he went to school (university of Michigan). Rich?? Are you kidding me???

    There's no reason for law school to be so expensive. Any bar review course will prove that... for $3,000 or less you get three years' worth of education. If you substituted a bar review course for law school that works out to about $33 per credit hour.

    Explain to me again why law school SHOULD be so expensive. Does each school have a different way of teaching the elements of battery? Does Harvard do a better job at that than TJLS?

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  65. And a bottle of coca-cola used to cost a nickel, then,too.

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  66. 6:26 PM I hope you get a job soon so that you do not sink any lower like those other cowards...

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  67. Let's say $28 per credit hour at U of M is accurate for 1965. After inflation, that's about $201 today... or about $18,000 for a 90 credit law degree...

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  68. 6:48: In 1965 UM resident tuition was $3350 in 2010 dollars. Non-resident tuition was $7,700 in 2010 dollars.

    2:22: I'm not satisfied with CU's reporting. It's a lot better than it was, but not as good as it ought to be.

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  69. LawProf, Thank you for removing 6:26PM post....

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  70. Outside of exceptional scholarships or low cost situations, only the rich should be going to law school. No one should take out 6 figures of debt to go to law school.

    Whether you like it or not, the reality of the situation is that if you have to borrow to go to law school, you will be in significant debt for at least the next 10 years, and probably longer. The chances of you having a bad outcome from taking on that debt are much higher than a good outcome.

    You can call this an inherited aristocracy if you like. You probably don't live in New York so you don't realize this is what is already happening.

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  71. What good does it do for someone if they get a crappy law degree and they never get a permanent legal job (or they get one so low paying it doesn't enable them to pay back their six figure loans and live a semblance of a middle class life)?

    Even with subsidized student loans, there's a de facto aristocrat vs. serf system already in place. The aristocratic lawyers can pay back their loans and the serf attorneys are in permanent debt peonage.

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  72. @7:47 you are absolutely correct. No one should be going to law school unless they get a big scholarship, or they are rich and doing it for fun or have connections to establish themselves. I've been in this miserable business for 19 years and have seen scores of those who initially scored biglaw ruined, much more so those who never scored biglaw. It is absolutely ridiculous that people are paying to enter the lawyering business. They clearly do not know what they are getting into. I'm a 19 year veteran of the patent law business....and still working it for now.

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  73. You can call this an inherited aristocracy if you like. You probably don't live in New York so you don't realize this is what is already happening.

    Amen.

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  74. "What is the solution to this problem though? To tell people to forget about a legal career and instead pursue the over-saturated PhD market? Or go into medicine even if the person has no desire to do so?
    Or to simply forget about grad-school all together and "settle" for something that pays the bills?"

    I don't know. I do know that as a 17 year old I had to hang up the baseball cleats. Despite some interest from college programs, I had to decide whether I wanted to base my decision on where to attend college on which school allowed me to continue my baseball career, or if I wanted to go to the best school for me in the long term. I chose the latter.

    I owe a huge debt of gratitude to my father, who although he supported me following my dreams my whole life, loved me enough to be honest with me. He'd have supported me either way, but he very bluntly one day asked me what that future might look like.

    Was I likely to play in the major leagues? If not, what did the future hold? Go to a school I'd never considered before I got a letter from the baseball coach? Then what? What's the end game, what's the best or worst case scenario? If the majors was a pipe dream for me, what would my life look like in 10 years? Bouncing around minor league programs, riding buses and staying in cheap hotels for 10 years? Then what? Entry into the "regular" job market at age 23, 25, 27 or whenever the phone stopped rining from minor league teams? What would my resume look like at that point, and whom might I expect to work for in my remaining 30 years prior to retirement?

    He wasn't harsh about it. He was completely honest. And it was exactly what I needed to hear. He told me he wouldn't dictate to me. He knew what it was like to love the game...how he would love to be 17 again for one day, find a glove and a game and play real, honest-to-goodness hardball one more time. He knew that it would be a very tough thing for a 17 year old to look at that decision through a rational analysis instead of having stars in my eyes. (Amazingly, professional sports don't even need glossy brochures and cooked salary information to draw starry-eyed dreamers).

    But in reality, we all have to grow up sometime. If I managed to do it at 17, I don't see why folks half-a-decade older can't do it, weighing the overwhelming evidence in front of them.

    They just need someone that cares enough to be honest with them.

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  75. Yes, parents should be in this discussion, and they seldom are on this site except to be portrayed as the ones who supposedly exhort their children to go to law school no matter what. Parents seem to be MIA when it comes to talking things over with their children.

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  76. "And a bottle of coca-cola used to cost a nickel, then,too."

    It still costs about that much if you buy huge portions from costco.

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  77. Even being honest with people isn't enough. You need to spend some time on TLS. (top law schools) I don't frequent that site anymore. The comment by the person who posted "I heard your warning and I'm ignoring it." stopped me. I'm not interested in trying to save them from their future. Anyone else who wants to join in, go ahead.

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  78. "A bottle of coke used to cost a nickle."

    Actually, when I was in high school in the mid '60's a six ounce bottle of coke cost a dime. That is about $.72 in 2012 money so if the price of coke had gone up as fast as the price of law school six ounces of the stuff would cost almost three bucks.

    RPL

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  79. How much does it cost where you live now?

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  80. @5:38-- That is a scary thought.

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  81. The You Tube Videos have been posted. Paul you are really doing a great service. When I heard you say that 11% of the UVA class of 2010 was hired by UVA I was floored.

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  82. I was floored when he said median wages for household incomes remained the same for the past three decades !

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  83. CM-- why were you floored? We are in a recession. The unemployment rate in 2010 was 10 percent, and that was not the real unemployment rate. How could the country sustain something like that and not have a ripple effect that would touch nearly every segment of society?

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  84. When the levee breaks, Led Zep says you should go to Chicago for law school. Mean old levee!

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  85. Re: Parents, the problem is that they come from a generation that wasn't over-saturated with lawyers and where college/grad school/professional school didn't mean a lifetime of debt servitude. To them, law school is not only "following your dreams" but also a sound long term investment. Hard to talk sense into your kids if you don't know how dire the situation is. The only adults I've known to actively discourage kids from going to law school have been lawyers.

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  86. There is a larger societal problem of simply creating too many lawyers. I've never heard a Stanford engineering or business student complain about the cost of tuition.

    Big companies have figured that its almost always cheaper to settle all but the most strategic litigation early. Much of SMB law can be accounted for using standardized documents, automated and provided significantly cheaper.

    The legal industry is going to be significantly smaller, which for society is probably a good thing. A basic legal degree is not particularly valuable anymore. Guaranteed employment requires both a rare and valuable skill set. In today's world, that is JD plus a MA is stats or some other technical discipline. With so many people struggling today and limited resources, its really tough to feel bad for the top 1%

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  87. 4:51 a.m. - Wonderfully put. William Ockham

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