Thursday, March 17, 2011

"Right-Sizing" Law School Admissions

As reported in the Wall Street Journal, and on the ABA site, applications to law school have dropped 11.5% - to the lowest level since 2001. There's also a post over at Jobless Juris Doctor.  But what does this mean for the future?

Monday, March 14, 2011

"Stability" And Short Memories

I was talking with a law student recently and they indicated that what they really wanted in their law career was "stability."  Consequently, their plan was that they were only going to consider working at the largest of law firms because the larger law firms "never go out of business".   (Obviously, this was a 1L because you can see that they had no idea of the actual supply/demand of the hiring market and that they would be lucky to get any job whatsoever.)

When I looked skeptical, they said "Seriously, I bet you can't name one large law firm that has gone out of business in the last 10 years."  I responded instantly with "Brobeck."  They said "What?  I never heard of that firm!" (I think that they thought I was misleading them.)  I replied "It was a 900-person firm that went down in the dot com crash."  "Well OK," they said, "but I guess you can't name three!"  To which I replied "Jenkins, Altheimer, Testa, Thelen - and there are a bunch more."

I can understand where the law student was coming from - after the real estate crash and the associate layoffs, I can see how the desire for "stability" has replaced in many instances the desire for "top dollar".  However, the student apparently has a short "memory" for recent events in the law firm world.  Let's take a look at the associate's wrong assumptions and look at some aspects that they can be on the lookout for to help increase the stability of their career.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Increasing Return on Education Dollars

Paul Krugman's article in Sunday's New York Times is generating a lot of talk.  Krugman points out that a lot of jobs considered "white collar" are subject to automation and are currently being outsourced.  From this point he extrapolates that "education is not the answer", but instead the answer is to give more bargaining power to unions.  

Over at Restoring Dignity To The Law, J-Dog emphasizes that although increasing education may have led to a better life 40 years ago, the same may not hold true now.  He also mentions that education has shrinking economic returns.  Over at Law School Tuition Bubble, Matt also references the article.

Is Krugman right?  Should we just encourage our kids to be janitor with strong unions instead of going to college?  More below.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Law School Song

On the lighter side, someone recently sent me a link to this hilarious video.  Could this be good, cost-effective advice to provide an alternative for potential law students? Heh Heh.  Woof!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Stop Exploiting Foreign LLM Students

As we all know, law schools are reporting misleading statistics (especially regarding employment) in order to convince students to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars obtaining a law degree.  This leaves many students with hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt and no job or any other realistic way of paying off the loan.  For those that do get a job, they can look forward to a lifetime of crushing debt - for example, if they owe $200K at an average interest rate of 8% (which is pretty realistic for a law school with a $40K/year tuition) then the first $16K/year that they pay goes to only pay interest - if they are in the 28% bracket, that means that the first $22K they earn goes to loans.

That's bad - but it could be even worse.  Imagine that the promises were even higher - this misleading statistics even worse - and the debt even more insurmountable.  That's the reality for most foreign LLM students. 

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Public Unions And Competition

Most people are aware that the Wisconsin Governor has taken on the Wisconsin public unions.  The Governor wants to take away the rights of unions representing government employees to ask for more than the rate of inflation as an increase in salary.  Also, they would have to pay more for their health insurance and more toward their pensions.  Finally, government jobs would no longer be able to force anyone who gets hired to automatically join the union and pay union dues.  The Wisconsin situation raises a whole host of issues and there is a lot of misinformation on both sides.  Let's take a closer look below.