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February 10, 2015


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The large firms that offer summer associate positions and high starting salaries - in a good year - will hire at most 5,000 associates - but more likely 2-3,000. Anyone who thinks that their hiring or their salaries are the solution to the crisis in legal education is actively delusional.


I agree -- the solution is much more holistic. A related subject that doesn't get much attention is what faculty can do to assist students in getting these sorts of jobs or any other meaningful post-graduation employment. Schools should identity the faculty members that have connections to law firms, e.g., because they practiced for a number of years, and have those faculty market their students to law firms and other employers. The idea is for faculty to be both teachers and career guides, which makes sense since law students have chosen to go to law school not just to learn the law but also to get jobs and become lawyers. If faculty don't have connections to firms, they should be asked to secure them. In addition, the marketing efforts need not be limited to law firms and can sweep much more broadly.


Anon - a more holistic solution may allow one law school's graduates to compete more effectively for legal jobs - but it is not going to create those jobs. There is pretty well nothing that law schools can do to create more legal employment. This is at the heart of the problem.


Of course that approach may not create more jobs, but it could increase the employment outcomes for students at schools adopting it. Law schools need to realize that one of their key goals is to secure meaningful employment for their students and that law professors can assist in that endeavor. That certainly is not the only solution but it would help.


For any individual law school better employment prospects for its graduates would be helpful. But to be blunt, it is hardly a vote of confidence that so many law schools are disinclined to hire their own graduates for teaching positions, instead looking to the usual troika of Yale, Harvard and Stanford. I would like to believe that better curricula and efforts by the law school professors would help, but it is pretty apparent that many have a low opinion of their own graduates. Indeed, a pair of midwestern law professors (Harvard grads both) I know told me of their shock when a hiring committee went to seek opinions on a very well qualified graduate of a large T-14 law school, to have their contacts at that school instead vigorously promote a Yale candidate for the post - the professors being, as it happened, Yalies too.

Separately, large law firms at least also tend to go for a fairly standard set of schools - basically graduates of the Top 5, top half graduates of the Top 10, upper ⅓ of the T-14 and so on. Few reach below the Top-20, notwithstanding determined efforts by many law schools to improve the training they offer.I am not going to say that I approve of this - but it seems a reality that is hard to shake.

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