If you are interested in applying to law school and are not already listening to the Law School Podcaster, we definitely recommend that you subscribe and tune in. Law School Podcaster has done a great job of assembling top admissions experts to weigh in on all of the key aspects of the admissions process and the JD experience as a whole. For someone considering law school or in the midst of the application process, it can be an invaluable resource.
Furthermore, we are excited to be a regular contributor to Law School Podcaster! Our Director of Admissions Consulting, Adam Hoff, was recently featured as an expert guest for the second time, weighing in on Personal Statements and Letters of Recommendation.
In an article on Forbes.com yesterday, Deb Weinstein reports that jobless grads are increasingly turning to grad school as a backup option in the face of dismal job prospects, even though some of their possible post-school job prospects are also disappearing.
If you are a law school applicant, chances are you already heard about the recent LexisNexis survey that presented some pretty brutal sentiments among current law students. That said, it is still worth reviewing the survey summary and accompanying law-related blog posts to take in the carnage. Basically, when it comes to law school and the legal industry, nobody is happy.
It is high season for law school applicants as candidates scramble to get their applications submitted by Thanksgiving (one of those half unwritten rules / half myths about rolling admissions) and one of the most common situations we are dealing with is whether clients should use Addenda items in their applications.
If you’re in the middle of your law school applications, then you should know that the potential shape of the job market in 2013 (when you’ll graduate) may have a big impact on your chances of gaining admission this year. That doesn’t mean that you need to gaze into your crystal ball and try to divine what the job market will look like in three or four years, but it does mean that there are some important themes that you need to keep in mind as you draft your law school admissions personal statements.
We’ve spent a lot of time in this space discussing the career prospects of law school graduates. From salary freezes to law firm job deferrals to entirely new apprenticeship programs, we’ve looked at the way that the brutal hiring landscape has changed the way current and incoming law students should look at career prospects. It is important information for applicants to consider, before they devote three years and upward of $100,000 to a JD.
Over the past nine months, there have been numerous indications that a job crisis was looming for law students. Firms were deferring start dates for new associates, cutting summer programs, and even introducing new apprenticeship models of initial employment. Veritas Prep has been actively following each development to the hiring landscape and has covered a variety of angles in great detail. For more information, please visit past entries regarding:
We’ve been helping business school applicants for a long time now, so long that it’s easy to forget that we didn’t start out in that business. After Veritas Prep co-founders Markus Moberg and Chad Troutwine launched our GMAT prep service in 2002, it quickly became apparent that our students not only needed GMAT help, but they also needed help in pulling together their entire business school applications. How did we know? Because they came back to us time and time again, asking us to help them with their applications just as we helped them with their GMAT prep.
When the financial crisis hit in the fall of 2008, the assumption held by many is that law school would emerge as the safest of havens for college graduates and young professionals. The length (three years, great for riding out a recession), versatility, and perceived job security of a JD all made it an ideal candidate for those students that would normally pursue plum jobs or perhaps an MBA. Many have gone on record predicting a massive increase in applications for the coming 2009-2010 cycle.
Prospective law students will be pleased to learn that a new resource has become available that will help them navigate the difficult path to a legal education. The folks at the highly successful MBA Podcaster have expanded into the law school world with the appropriately named Law School Podcaster.
An ongoing trend in the law school world over the past few years is that the University of Chicago Law School has been losing top professors to rival schools at an alarming rate. And not just any old professors either – the attrition has included some of the most brilliant and famous legal minds in the country, as well as several other prominent subject matter experts and prolifically cited researchers.
One ongoing story to come out of the recession has centered on the changes taking place at the associate level of big law firms. New associates are seeing their jobs deferred, salaries frozen, bonuses going away, and mentoring programs vanishing. Much of it is being couched as temporary, but ask any young associate and they will tell you that there is reason to believe it is all too permanent. More than anything, all of these changes feel reactionary at best (attempting to deal with economic conditions) and predatory at worst (taking advantage of market conditions to drive down expectations). That’s why it is refreshing to see an entirely new idea being broached at a handful of firms that is actually trying to improve the associate model. A fascinating article on Law.com was posted today that outlines new “apprentice” programs that have been rolled out at a series of mid-size and large law firms.
The idea is relatively simple: rather than throw new associates into the typical billing gauntlet right out of the gates, these firms are trying to transition them in a more effective way through training and low stakes opportunities. Every firm described in the article is different, but the standard model seems to look like this:
The following entry is the third part of an ongoing series exploring the pros and cons of the increasingly popular JD/MBA degree path. Part 1 explored finances and the many costs and benefits to securing dual degrees in one educational experience. Part 2 analyzed the good and the bad with regards to opportunity — what are you gaining by pursuing both of these degrees simultaneously and what are your chances of successfully doing so?
We’re trying a new format today, which is to include a series of noteworthy links from the world of law school admissions and the legal market. There have been a lot of interesting takes on two topics in particular: deferred law firm jobs and the new U.S. News & World Report rankings. We’ll offer up a few links in those areas, as well as a couple of this blog’s favorite law school topics, including faculty hiring.
In early March, the consensus within the law school admissions community for 2009 was that the recession had not sparked a noticeable increase in applications for the fall. At the time, the ABA reported just a 1% increase in applications across the board, leaving many to speculate about the reasons for the delay. We looked to the 2001 recession and the application trends that followed, as well as the difficulty in “throwing together” a law school application at the last minute and assumed that the big increase was still coming, but that it might not take place until the 2010 cycle.
The Philadelphia Inquirer ran an interesting article about the recent trend of deferred associate jobs at major law firms. Many of the article’s key points echo the thoughts of a previous column on this blog, which lauded the efforts of several current law students who seek to create a union of sorts in order to push back against some of the more onerous changes taking place during the recession. That blog post anticipated that law firms would capitalize on current market conditions in order to cut back salaries, benefits, perks, and quality of life expectations of incoming lawyers. The column in the Inquirer further illustrates that point and suggests that the current changes will indeed have a lasting impact beyond the current economic downturn.
In the column cited above, several credible sources weigh in on the most visible and dramatic recession trend, which is the deferral of start dates for new attorneys. James Leipold, the executive director of the National Association for Law Placement (NALP, the producer of the leading law firm guide) notes that both the breadth and the volume of deferrals dwarfs what occurred during the 2001 recession, while David Skeel, a corporate law professor at Penn Law, envisions the deferral movement paving the way to lower salaries and other cutbacks in the future.
Back in October, we linked to an important announcement made by U.S. News & World Report that the magazine would be ranking part-time law schools for the first time in 2009. We endorsed the decision, noting that it would affirm both part-time programs and the ranking system itself. Less clear was whether U.S. News would be folding part-time matriculation numbers (mainly average GPA and LSAT) into its general rankings, which was another topic of discussion on this blog. Well, the magazine has gone all the way, adding part-time numbers to its rankings, which is big news indeed.
In the midst of a recession that has graduates from top law schools scrambling, there are still a large number of current students from elite programs who are looking forward, trying to shift the balance of power in the legal workforce. Anyone with a working knowledge of the world of law firms knows that once a law student graduates, that person is suddenly and totally at the mercy of the machine that is BigLaw. A group of elite law students belonging to an organization called Building a Better Legal Profession (BBLP) are trying to change that. And at their National Conference of Student Leaders, they started talking unions.
The details of the conference can be found in the link above and there are some interesting and nuanced thoughts presented on hot topics such as billable hours and workplace diversity. It is also exciting to see future lawyers trying to take control over their destinies, rather than just waiting to get there and then complaining about things. However, what I found most fascinating and inspiring about the conference is the way these top law students are focusing on the future of the legal industry, rather than the present.
The following entry is the second of an ongoing series exploring the pros and cons of the increasingly popular JD/MBA degree path. Part 1 explored finances and the many costs and benefits to securing dual degrees in one educational experience. Today’s post explores the good and the bad with regards to opportunity — what are you gaining by pursuing both of these degrees simultaneously and what are your chances of successfully doing so?
Last week, Nathan Koppel of the Wall Street Journal wrote a thoughtful piece about young professionals retreating to law school as a form of safe harbor in the current economic climate. The column explored both sides of the issue, offering both reasons for and against going back to law school. While I agreed with much of it, I also felt that a great deal of analysis –- and more importantly, critical advice -– was missing from the article.
We put you on notice that the new UC Irvine Law School could be a force to be reckoned with right out of the gates with its inaugural 2009 class. Now we have our first confirmation of this new program’s validity, in the form of Brian Leiter’s faculty rankings, which places the scholarly impact of UC Irvine’s law faculty in the top 10 in the nation.
The announcement that a brand new law school without any students currently occupying its building could rank in the top 10 in any list seems insane, but Leiter is one of the most respected individuals in the rankings game. That said, this particular placement of UC Irvine has to be taken with a grain of salt, as Leiter acknowledges that less than half the faculty has been staffed at the program. Since the rankings are based on “scholarly impact,” and therefore, the number and prestige of academic citations, it is entirely possible that the front half of the Irvine roster is stacked with great researchers and writers, which would inflate the impact of the final faculty. Of course, it could go the other way as well, and Leiter has appeared to take great pains to assess this as fairly and accurately as possible, even diluting the impact of Dean Erwin Chemerinsky, one of the world’s most prolific and respected constitutional law scholars.
According to an interesting report from the American Bar Association, law school applications only increased by one percent this year, despite the severe economic recession that typically serves as a catalyst for large application increases.
February is a fascinating month to work with law school admissions consulting clients, because half are scrambling to find their way off the waitlist and decide which program to attend, while the other half are already planning for next year. It is a great reminder that, for some people, the idea of law school isn’t a major practical decision staring them in the face, but rather an esoteric concept that seems an eternity away. It also a reminder that many of our clients still control most of the factors that will ultimately impact their law school opportunities.
Yesterday we described the waitlist and how it works. Today, we’re focusing on specific waitlist strategies.
Being placed on the waitlist of a top graduate program is a frustrating experience. It feels anticlimactic after such a long process and it can also lead to a period of ambiguity as you wait to see where you will ultimately enroll in the fall. The key to surviving a waitlist process is to create and follow a plan of action, just as you would for your initial application. Putting together a checklist can help you gain valuable insight and perspective into your situation and will allow you to maximize your chances of gaining admission off of the waitlist.
Last week we initiated a two-part series on the law school personal statement. Part I focused on the art of positioning and answering the reader’s biggest question, Part II will describe the five law school themes as well as some thoughts on creating entertainment value in the personal statement.
Much has been made of the economic crisis and its impact on the job market, but other than some anecdotal evidence (“Latham just made a capital call!” “Howard Rice is paying new associates to go away for a year.”), there hasn’t been much insight into the way jobs are being affected at top law firms.
For law school applicants, this time of year tends to be all about personal statements. It is often the last remaining piece holding up submission of an application. Candidates struggle with the blank canvas nature of the assignment as they try to figure out what to write about and how to fit it all into two pages.
This story broke during the holidays, but is worth examining after the fact, because UC Irvine’s new law school is planning to offer free tuition to students entering in the Fall of 2009 — which will be its inaugural class.
Adding to a faculty that is becoming an embarrassment of riches, Harvard Law School has once again nabbed one of the nation’s top legal scholars to come teach in Cambridge. Harvard recently named Lawrence Lessig to its faculty and announced that Lessig will run the Safra Foundation Center for Ethics.
This Monday, Dec. 15, Adam Hoff will host an online law school admissions seminar for those who are considering applying to law school this year.
Adam, who is Veritas Prep’s Director of Law School Admissions Consulting, is a law school admissions expert, former admissions officer, and University of Chicago Law School graduate. He will discuss:
- Admissions trends for the 2008-2009 application season
- What law school admissions officers look for in an application
- The increasingly popular JD/MBA dual degree program
- Strategies for dealing with rising applicant numbers
- What to do if you’re waitlisted by your dream school
- Q&A and general discussion
This free online event will run this coming Monday, Dec. 15., from 4:00 PM to 5:30 PM PST. All you need to need to access it is a PC or Mac with an Internet connection and sound capabilities.
One of the most underrated tools for monitoring and projecting law school rankings is to track the migration patterns of the country’s most prominent legal scholars. An influx of elite law school professors is sure to impact a program in ways both subtle and obvious. It can swing a candidate’s decision about where to attend (typically unlikely) but more importantly, it will certainly affect the all-important “peer evaluation” component of the U.S. News rankings. The flipside is true as well – when a school starts to lose its most highly regarded faculty members, it is certainly going to generate some negative results.
On November 7, the American Bar Association Journal posted an entry about a very interesting study being conducted at the UC-Berkeley School of Law. According to the ABA post, the study is being conducted by “researchers” and has unearthed tests that measure legal skills such as negotiation and problem solving (in addition to the rather ridiculous “skill” of stress management). The biggest news of all? Berkeley’s law school dean, Christopher Edley has announced that two professors have validated the test and is now pushing to take the study to a national level. The Law School Admission Council (LSAC) is taking a look and plans to help fund the research. Amazing!
The American Bar Association blog is reporting a spike in LSAT prep among Princeton students due to the recent financial crisis. While law schools have been tight-lipped with regard to application increases, this is further anecdotal evidence that the expected recession-driven law school bump might be headed toward something historic.
To introduce our new law school admissions consulting services, Veritas Prep has announced a contest for law school applicants. The contest winner will receive a complimentary Veritas Prep Admission Brief consulting package that includes comprehensive assistance with the application process for three law schools. The Admissions Brief is a $3,100 value, and includes:
- An admissions consultant from the school of your choice to personally work with you throughout the entire law school application process
- The Veritas Prep Law School Game Plan