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April 30, 2014

"Legal Realisms, Old and New"

This was the 2012 Seegers Lecture in Jurisprudence at Valparaiso, now on-line courtesy of their Law Review.

Posted by Brian Leiter on April 30, 2014 in Jurisprudence | Permalink

I don't get to agree with Justice Alito that often...

...but I can happily agree with this observation (from this profile):

The U.S. News and World Report rankings of law schools are an abomination. The legal profession and the country would be better off if they were eliminated. I gather that all these rankings are one of these things that keeps U.S. News and World Report in the black—unlike Newsweek.

(Thanks to Ronald Collins for the pointer.)

Posted by Brian Leiter on April 30, 2014 in Of Academic Interest, Rankings | Permalink

April 28, 2014

On the "social goods" allegedly promoted by religion

Prof. Mark Movsesian (St. John's) tries to respond to the "religion is not special" view (that I, Eisgruber & Sager, and Schwartzmann, among others, defend) in this blog posting.  Here is the crux of his claim:

Religion, especially communal religion, provides important benefits for everyone in the liberal state—even the non-religious. Religion encourages people to associate with and feel responsible for others, to engage with them in common endeavors. Religion promotes altruism and neighborliness, and mitigates social isolation. Religion counteracts the tendencies to apathy and self-centeredness that liberalism seems inevitably to create.

As I argue in Why Tolerate Religion?, it is certainly true that in the Western capitalist societies, religion is one of the most common sources of resistance to the market pressure towards "self-centeredness," but qua generalization, Movesian's claim is obviously false:  religion encourages the communal sentiments Movesesian describes, but mostly intra-religious group; there is no evidence, and Movesian cites none, that it encourages them generally outside the religious group.  This, of course, is why religion remains, as it has been for millenia, one of the great catalysts of inter-group violence and hatred.  

In lieu of actual evidence, Movsesian writes:

Tocqueville saw this in the nineteenth century. Egalitarian democracy, he wrote, encourages a kind of “individualism.” It trains each citizen to look out for himself according to his own best judgment and discount the needs of the wider society. Self-reliance is a good thing; at least Americans have long though so. But the attitude poses two great dangers for liberal society. First, it makes it difficult to motivate people to contribute to the common projects on which society depends: public safety, schools, hospitals, and the like. Second, it makes it easier for despotism to arise. The despotic state desires nothing more than for individual citizens to feel isolated from and indifferent to the concerns of others, so that the state can easily divide and dominate them all.

Tocqueville saw that voluntary associations could lessen these dangers. Religious associations are particularly useful in this regard. They are uniquely good at promoting social engagement—secular as well as religious. According to sociologist Robert Putnam, for example, regular churchgoers are more likely to vote, serve on juries, participate in community activities, talk to neighbors, and give to charities, including non-religious charities. And when it comes to defying state oppression, no groups are more effective than religious associations, which can inspire members to truly heroic acts of resistance, as dictators down the centuries have learned.

Tocqueville was a shrewd observer, but his observations do not constitute real evidence that religion qua religion produces social goods.  Indeed, Tocqueveille's primary claim was about voluntary associations, of which religion was one example--in the 19th-century a very important one, but less so now.  Again, as I discuss in Why Tolerate Religion?, there is no question that religious believers were among the resolute opponents of Nazi despotism (though other religious believers were also among the supporters); but communists were equally resolute in their opposition to Nazism (though less keen on charity, admittedly, since charity is one of the ways that capitalist societies legitimate an economic system that discards a portion of the population). In terms of motivating opposition to "state oppression," communists not in power have a much stronger record (against Hitler, against apartheid South Africa, against Franco's fascists) than any religious denomination.  (Communists in power have the same awful record as all "true believers," including religious ones, in rationalizing oppression.)  I don't think this means there shoudl be a "free exercise of communism" clause in the Constitution, but that is where a Movesesian-style argument would point, if taken seriously.

I have no doubt that categorical commitment to certain moral ideals is a good thing to cultivate in a population; but there is no evidence--literally none--that religion is uniquely good at doing that and doing it well (Movsesian cites none, obviously).  The peculiarity of religion--with its curious conjunction of categorical commands and insulation from ordinary standards of evidence--has always been that it can motivate people to do things that no one else would typically do.  Sometimes that is very good, and sometimes it is very bad.  In Why Tolerate Religion?, I assume that the protection of conscience is a good--in this regard, I am a mundane liberal--and some readers have criticized me on this score.  But that conscience is a good falls far short of thinking that religious conscience--whose history is far more mixed than Movsesian's quick gloss allows--is a good.  But that's what would need to be established for those who want to defend the inequality at the core of our current First Amendment jurisprudence in the United States.

UPDATE:  Professor Movesesian thinks the material he cited from Robert Putnam is evidence that religion uniquely produces social goods that benefit those outside the religious group.  It does not seem to me it is, and the passge he cites does not show that it is.  Many of the activities in question are also not, or not necessarily, "social goods":  e.g., voting (it depends how one votes obviously) or participating in voluntary associations (those may be good for the participants, but they may not be good for society as a whole).

ANOTHER:  Philosopher Craig Duncan (Ithaca College) calls to my attention to his interesting essay on "Religion and secular Utlitiy:  Happiness, Truth and Pragmatic Arguments for Theistic Belief," Philosophy Compass 8/4 (2013): 381–399 (on-line at Wiley-Blackwell).  In that essay he discussed Norenzayan, Ara and Azim F. Shariff. ‘The Origin and Evolution of Religious Prosociality.’ Science 322.3 (2008):  58–62:

An oft-noted datum, for instance, is the correlation between religious belief and greater charitable giving. Yet even here the picture is complicated, since some recent research suggests that much of the increase in charitable giving is due primarily to a concern to maintain a favorable reputation among one’s religious peers. In a recent and wide-ranging meta-analysis published in Science, for instance, Ara Norenzayan and Azim F. Sharif sum up their findings as follows: ‘‘The preponderance of evidence points to religious prosociality being a bounded phenomenon. Religion’s association with prosociality is most evident when the situation calls for maintaining a favorable social reputation within the ingroup’’ (Norenzayan and Shariff 2008, p. 62). Moreover, the authors go on to note that ‘‘the ‘dark-side’ of within group cooperation is between-group competition and conflict’’ (Norenzayan and Shariff 2008, p. 62) – presumably, they have religious intolerance in mind – and they also note that ‘‘there are many examples of modern, large, cooperative, and not very religious societies (such as those in Western and Northern Europe), that nonetheless, retain a great degree of intragroup trust and cooperation’’ (Norenzayan and Shariff 2008, p. 62; cf. Zuckerman 2008).

As Prof. Duncan summed it up to me:  "So the prosocial effects of religion, to the extent they exist, are rather thin inasmuch as they are largely motivated by reputational concerns rather than intrinsic moral concern."

Posted by Brian Leiter on April 28, 2014 in Jurisprudence | Permalink

U of Arizona Dean Marc Miller profiled


Posted by Brian Leiter on April 28, 2014 in Faculty News, Of Academic Interest | Permalink

April 25, 2014

"Why Tolerate Religion?" reviewed in the Philosophical Review

The review is by philosopher Samuel Rickless (UC San Diego); Philosophical Review is the leading philosophy journal in English.  Professor Rickless writes that Why Tolerate Religion?,

is short, an enjoyable read, accessible to the generally educated public but alive to a number of sophisticated philosophical ideas and distinctions, its prose crisp and straightforward, its attitude no-nonsense, its conclusion provocative, and its arguments clear, concise, and analytically rigorous.

Professor Rickless goes on to offer some reasonable (though, to my mind, not persuasive) criticisms as well.  (The contrast between this review, by a philosopher and scholar, and a political hit piece is instructive!)

Posted by Brian Leiter on April 25, 2014 in Jurisprudence, Navel-Gazing | Permalink

April 24, 2014

Chat room devoted to law school bashing asks how grads from "Tier 2" and lower law schools fared

And lo and behold, lots of them are actually doing quite well (as someone reading Simkovic & McIntyre would have expected--economic/professional success isn't really measured nine months after graduation).  Thanks to a colleague elsewhere for forwarding this remarkable thread:

cheapbrass (Apr 18, 2014 - 2:53 pm)
If you are a tier 2 or below grad...and are somewhat successful ($100k+ salary) post here.  how far out of school you are and your firm size, or if you are a solo, partner, or associate
Me first:  Tier 3, 10+ years out, firm size 5-10, forever associate.
tttnoregrets (Apr 18, 2014 - 3:49 pm)
It takes a salary of over 100K to be considered somewhat successful? Shit
reasonable_man (Apr 18, 2014 - 4:42 pm)
Fourth tier Law school.  5 years out.  Salary is over 100k.  Firm size is over 100 but not biglaw.  Associate.
suzyq (Apr 18, 2014 - 5:06 pm)
An attorney I know well is a Cooley grad, solo practice, and earns WELL over $100K as a criminal defense attorney. He started out as a prosecutor then joined a small firm then went into practice for himself, which he's had for about 6 years.
adamb (Apr 18, 2014 - 7:25 pm)
What region?  That is rare for a criminal defense solo.
suzyq (Apr 21, 2014 - 7:44 pm)
South Carolina. Small town. He represents a lot of drug dealers.
bigcitywannabe (Apr 18, 2014 - 5:36 pm)
2002 grad of 4th tier school - 100K+ gov't job (since 2002)
adamb (Apr 18, 2014 - 7:26 pm)
raskolnikov (Apr 18, 2014 - 5:39 pm)
2011 grad, T2, eat what you kill arrangement in a two attorney firm with a senior attorney.  Netted around $120k last year.
adamb (Apr 18, 2014 - 7:27 pm)
What area of practice?
shtlawaspiration (Apr 18, 2014 - 6:46 pm)
Boss is a T4 grad in a small market, he's been out roughly 10 years and manages a 5 person firm. Last year it appears he paid himself a salary of around $130-150k. Not bad in small town america.
actionbronson (Apr 18, 2014 - 7:04 pm)
T3. 1 year out. $70k salary. Gov't jerb.
adamb (Apr 18, 2014 - 7:28 pm)
How? Where?  What type of job?
actionbronson (Apr 18, 2014 - 7:43 pm)
Civil litigation. State government. I interned there during law school, then went back there and worked for free for a few months. I got offered a full-time, paid position not long after my bar results came in.
Interestingly enough, my office routinely hires new members of the bar and experience attorneys. Most people just don't bother applying because they forget it exists.
suzyq (Apr 21, 2014 - 7:45 pm)
Help me, actionbronson. I'm blonde. Government job that's civil lit?
actionbronson (Apr 21, 2014 - 8:08 pm)
Yes. I defend a certain state entity when lawsuits are filed against it.
top5 (Apr 18, 2014 - 7:06 pm)
2009 Grad, T4, 4 years with Govt as attorney, 100K+ (household income $310K)
lefty (Apr 18, 2014 - 7:17 pm)
2009, T2 grad.  4 lawyer firm.  ~$120k total comp.  Have never billed over  1200 hours in a year. Boss wants me to take over firm in 5-7 years so he can retire.
adamb (Apr 18, 2014 - 7:29 pm)
How did you swing that?
josephine (Apr 18, 2014 - 7:31 pm)
Pre-2000, $180k+ in 2013, Brooklyn Law School.  Loans are a distant memory.
wateryplanet (Apr 18, 2014 - 11:23 pm)
Class of 2007, T2 grad, top 30%. Background in engineering. Started at $160k at an IP boutique, 2 years later lateraled to biglaw, 2 years later took a client away from biglaw and now partner at a small firm making $500k+.
helloladies21 (Apr 19, 2014 - 1:02 am)
This was great to read. I wish we could do more of this.
kansas (Apr 19, 2014 - 1:21 am)
I know some folks who are making 70K solid net who are about 10 years out, solo.  They all do PI.  They had someone supporting them for a while though.  Probably will continue to make more and more, they aren't unrealistic and do a lot of small cases and getting better and better referrals.  I also know some folks who used to make 180K who are older, who do work comp now, and are crying all the time, evidently that doesn't pay anymore.  Most folks I know who do tax don't make too much, though a few tax lawyers I know with bank clients do way better, mostly they took them with from biglaw gigs.
mrlollipop (Apr 19, 2014 - 4:15 am)
Thomas Jefferson grad, class of 2008, doing entertainment law in LA, now partner of a boutique firm, representing several hollywood big names now. Pulled 600k first year as a partner
murdock (Apr 19, 2014 - 4:43 pm)
How many times has TJ asked if they can put you in their brochure?
trollfeeder (Apr 19, 2014 - 3:56 pm)
T4 grad, $65k state gubmint job, with a good bit of growth potential.
shikes (Apr 19, 2014 - 5:29 pm)
I pull in 85K as a first year associate who graduated jobless out of a T2. Got the job through, you guessed it, networking.
fmllawyer (Apr 19, 2014 - 6:39 pm)
what was your GPA? did you network through family connections? did you get the job because of your undergrad? was your undergrad degree from a prestigious institution? do you have an IP-friendly undergrad major?
shikes (Apr 19, 2014 - 7:01 pm)
1. I was top 3rd in grades. 2. My networking was 100% cold emails. My family have likely never spoken to anyone in the legal profession (except for me). I literally emailed every single alum in the market and asked to meet for coffee. I even emailed some non-alums out of desperation just to see if they would meet with a new attorney and give some advice. We're talking like 400 emails. About 40 agreed to meet with me, Like 30 were completely useless (Just mass mail biglaw and you're gonna have a job by the end of the month-type), 5 were very aware of the market and said they would try to help but never responded to my follow-ups, and then the last 5 were very open to helping out, kept in touch with me after we met and gave me some leads that ultimately led to my job (I got an email from one guy I met a month before saying he heard of a firm hiring and I should apply for the position and send my stuff to his friend, etc.). "Info interviews" as a grad is pretty pathetic and feels uncomfortable, but by the 5th meeting its all the same. Same questions, same jokes, you're just on autopilot. At worst, I got some free lunches at some fairly expensive restaurants. 97% of the time they will pay for you if they were nice enough to meet with you in the first place. 3. My undergrad is a joke that most everyday people have never heard of. 4. I have a history degree...so yeah, nothing there. 5. Nothing IP related at all.
suzyq (Apr 21, 2014 - 7:49 pm)
You're a genius. Seriously. I'm impressed. Way to go!
lqclamar (Apr 19, 2014 - 5:54 pm)
2009 T3 grad, associate at 250+ attorney firm making around 110k total comp
siezetheday (Apr 19, 2014 - 7:01 pm)
2011 T2 grad - Compliance - 120k total comp for 2013...(Note:2 years worth of paid compliance internships in LS)
livingthedream (Apr 19, 2014 - 11:06 pm)
Graduated from T4 in a small market. Graduated middle of the pack. Moved east to a city with no ties and no real alumni network. Applied for jobs the entire time I was studying for the bar and got a job the December of the year I graduated. Speaking foreign language and being charming/funny where the difference makers in getting the job. Small firm doing plaintiff side lit. salary was 45k at start with no bennies. 3 years later 89k no bennies. wife covers insurance through her job. love my job and ive had numerous offers at bigger firms but im staying put.
fwiw love this thread- to much negativity generally
wanka (Apr 20, 2014 - 10:29 pm)
There are a ton of lower tier success stories. But ask about lower tier and bad grades, success stories,and then make a call
baquilae (Apr 21, 2014 - 10:59 am)
+1. Just about all T2 schools (and beyond) regularly place a small but still sizable chunk (5%-10%) into biglaw, by virtue of grades and OCI.
spaghetti (Apr 21, 2014 - 2:19 am)
T30 school with worse employment prospects than plenty of other lower-ranked schools. I graduated barely above median in 2011. I work at a preftigious govt agency. Pay is good, especially with my school's LRAP.
I got my job through a judge I interned for. I got really, really lucky, so I don't know if I can call it a success story.
elitttist (Apr 22, 2014 - 2:16 pm)
Similar. T30 trap school with inflated numbers and pretty bad employment prospects. Graduated near the bottom of the class. On track to pull in $85k this year doing contracts administration. 40-50 hour work week, every week. Five years out.
reasonable_man (Apr 21, 2014 - 7:43 am)
If we are discounting luck, the thread would be empty. Anyone posting here (myself included) has to admit that some manner of luck plays into success from a lower tiered school. Sure I worked very hard and really made things happen for myself (hell I killed myself to get where I am), but I'm not stupid enough to think that luck didn't play some role in it too.
livingthedream (Apr 21, 2014 - 4:44 pm)
Yeah I disagree re luck. Are employed individuals who graduated from T2-T4 schools fortunate if to be working? Sure. But it's fortunate in the same way that I'm fortunate to have been born in the U.S. and not Mali. I think the difference maker is "hustle". The reason I have my job is hustle. The reason my friends have jobs is because they hustled. The job fairy never once visited them after law school. People who hustle will always have work. People who bitch and moan about how bad things are will always struggle regardless of pedigree.
actionbronson (Apr 21, 2014 - 8:19 pm)
I think some degree of luck definitely had to do with where I ended up.  I was in the right place at the right time, but I definitely took the right steps to get there. I was dealt a fairly crappy hand but I played it very well.
The problem is that a lot of posters here erroneously think that a graduate of an average (or downright terrible) law school cannot possibly have landed a real legal job without some major advantage they aren't fully disclosing. They think dudes like me were really lucky, or their uncle owns the law firm, or their dad is in state government, or they are very smart and in another era would have inevitably ended up in BigLaw. Nope. In my case, I'm a regular guy with an average GPA from an average law school who had to work for free for a few months before getting an offer.  Bottom line is, my employers (though at the time they were more like my slave masters) liked my work product enough to start processing me through the morass that is the state hiring process. The tone of the questions these "T2 Success Stories" have been getting have a tinge of resentment behind them.
nowayjose (Apr 21, 2014 - 8:24 pm)
Agreed. Granted, there aren't enough jobs for ALL law grads to land an entry-level position. But it's not all about luck, it's a combination of hustle, work-product, networking and how well you did in whatever school you went to.
livingthedream (Apr 22, 2014 - 12:11 pm)
I don't see any benefit in looking at the numbers from that perspective. All that an individual needs is one job. That should be the focus imho.
tobeornottobe (Apr 21, 2014 - 11:17 pm)
Lots of myopia on this thread. People tend to wrongly extrapolate from their own circumstances in almost any context, but especially when it comes to jobs it seems. Those who have jobs despite the long odds claim they succeeded because they "hustled." The snarkily imply that anyone who doesn't isn't trying hard enough, didn't network, and of course isn't "hustling."
I am 48. I had a good job as the legislative counsel for an association in DC. It only paid about $55K, but that was enough for me. I am single and have no children. But I had to quit to care for a dying parent, my father, who had so many health problems the list would stretch from your wrist to your elbow. I had previously cared for my mother, a WWII victim, who died a few years earlier. My elder sister was a violent drunk for many years, and then refused to provide any help to me to care for our father.
Dad died in 2008. At that time I had been working part time for another association, but that job ran out at the end of the year. The employer I had quit gave me $10K worth of consulting work a year. So I set about to find a new job, and did the following:
Went on over 100 informational interviews with alumni from my undergraduate and law schools, and with local lawyers. Joined a bar association, and went to many of their networking events. Joined three job search clubs. Spent $3,500 to take adult and continuing education classes in real estate, HIPAA, ERISA, government contracts, tax, human resources, employee benefits, and grant writing. Did volunteer work for two food banks and a kidney foundation. Joined a Chamber of Commerce. Volunteered for their legislative committee, had a two part article in my area published in their newsletter, and gave free presentations to their members and other business groups. Self published and marketed my book to book bloggers all over the world. The book was received rave reviews, although it isn't earning any money. Applied for hundreds of jobs, legal and non legal, including jobs at fast food restaurants, gas stations, supermarkets, and big box retailers. Offered to volunteer, but was turned down, because they had too many other lawyers trying to do the same thing. Could not even get a single document review assignment, either in DC or Richmond. Too much competition.
And yet I still have to listen to condescending, patronizing, insulting lectures that I am not "trying hard enough" and not "hustling." It's still my responsibility to find a job, despite the discrimination against the long term unemployed and anyone over 40 practiced by employers. But accusations that I need to try harder are bullshit. And my "area"? It's unemployment compensation. The real unemployment rate is the U-6, which the government says is about 12.7%. I know many people who think it's closer to 20%.
jd1997 (Apr 22, 2014 - 12:15 am)
If the unemployment rate was calculated the same way it was calculated before 1994 it would be over 22% today:
gribble (Apr 22, 2014 - 11:48 am)
I've been avoiding this site because it's overly negative, but there is also a need to be objectively honest.
The truth is everyone hustles, and everyone works hard, and everyone is pretty smart. Well fine, not "everyone" but the people you are competing with. Sure there are some junkies and failures about, but that's not the majority of your competition, it never was and never will be.
Society couldn't be built any other way really. There really aren't that many geniuses, and the IQ stratification isn't really that extreme. Most people can do most jobs, but it just depends completely on if they will be given those opportunities. You can't make a system where things don't work that way, because it's too hard to match people up and then create a society where people can do things based on intelligence (i.e., if only 15% of the population could drive, or use a smartphone, etc.).
So what it comes down to is usually luck. Luck in what family you're born into, where you're born, when, and then things happening as you live your life, in terms of schooling, testing (how you feel that day, how the grader feels, etc.) and the broad state of the economy. There are so many things happening all the time that people don't pick up on.
So ultimately all anyone can do is put effort in, and live their lives the way the chips fall. And most people in this economy will find their lives aren't what they were led to believe they'd be for putting that effort in. That's probably why the government's estimates were 90% off on IBR LOL.
livingthedream (Apr 22, 2014 - 12:20 pm)
Setting aside the age discrimination which absolutely exist, I'd be curious to know how you come across during an interview. Often times people are their own worst enemies. People think they are great at interviewing but are bad. If you can get the interview you've done the hustling part but that isn't enough obliviously. You need to close the deal. Many people can't close the deal. Often times they can't close the deal due to personality, demeanor, or attitude. Contrary to what most would have you believe outside of biglaw the pedigree and credentials matter very little. Most people hiring don't know the difference in ranking between UTexas and Oregon. And if you are talking to a guy chances are he'll know more about their NCAA rankings in various sports than their newsweek rankings. A person can EASILY overcome a degree from [insert T4 school here]if you are charming and engaging at the interview.
jd1997 (Apr 22, 2014 - 12:40 pm)
Where will this person be interviewing where the interviewer will be completely uninformed about law schools and their ranking.  Is this for a Starbucks or Home Depot Associate position or one the too many to count imaginary JD Advantage positions. 
There is going to be very little demand for any attorney with more than 10 years experience without portables or significant connections.  Sadly, do not think a Polly-Anna-ish or Little Orphan Annie outlook on life will help much.
nowayjose (Apr 22, 2014 - 12:56 pm)
shouldalearnedmath (Apr 21, 2014 - 8:40 am)
2010 Grad from a tier 2.  Did doc review for awhlie then a temp job for a year.  Then got a job in banking compliance for 1.5 years around 70k. Just started a job in-house for a Fortune 100.  Total comp is just over 100.
fmllawyer (Apr 21, 2014 - 11:55 am)
How did you get the banking compliance job? Where did you learn of the opportunity?
shouldalearnedmath (Apr 21, 2014 - 12:05 pm)
I was able to spin my temp job to sound a bit compliancy.  I also had a relevant internship in law school.  I saw the compliance job on linkedin.  It was actually with a large retailer on the credit card program, and not a bank.
mississippilawyer (Apr 22, 2014 - 12:25 pm)
been in practice for 7 years. I was able to pay off my loan debt quickly, so I guess I am lucky (compared to what people say here). I have done o.k. I have had a few good fees on some cases, but I have also taken some colossal losses too. My income varies wildly from year to year. I am primarily a plaintiff attorney who actually litigates cases (not refers, settles, ect). This is an extremely competitive business, and it is extremely expensive and risky. My vocation is gambling. I accept cases based on risk analysis with no guarantee of earning one penny. I have won big, and I have lost big. The name of the game is not to spend money like you are going to earn a big fee every year. The steady players spend money as if they will have their worst year every year. In the end, defense attorneys who make equity partner probably make the same amount of money as their counterparts over the long run. Most people are misled when they hear that lawyer X got a $1million fee on a case. That may be the only fee like that he ever gets (and probably is).
In the final analysis, success is really what you make it to be. If you want to make a ton of money on lawyer fees, then you will have to give up your life to do that. Contrary to popular belief here, you can make a lot of money practicing law if you are willing to sacrifice your soul and spare time. After doing this for a little while, I define success as having a practice that is simple, and allows me to experience life outside of the office. Do not let your vocation define you, or you will end up a miserable human being, and have many regrets on your deathbed. Life is short. Live it while you can.
nowayjose (Apr 22, 2014 - 12:58 pm)
This is nice to hear, thanks.
3rdamendmentscholar (Apr 22, 2014 - 2:28 pm)
T2 (borderline Tri-T), Class of 2009, Top 25%.  Have gone from "paid" (barely) internship -> solo screamer associate -> midlaw associate. Live in a low-COL area in the South.  ~$80K for hours that are hardly brutal and let me spend a lot of time with my kids.  Still buried in debt but there's hope.
shillelaghlaw (Apr 22, 2014 - 4:31 pm)
I'll throw my hat into this one, some positivity is a nice break.  Class of '08 from a lower T2 school.  Right in the middle of the pack grades.  STEM ugrad.  Small firm for three years in New England, now inhouse at a Fortune 500 in the southern states.  ~200k.
1sttimepasser (Apr 22, 2014 - 5:06 pm)
T2, class of 2011.  Small firm, 4 lawyers.  110k salary, no benefits (have through spouse).
daveykleinfeld (Apr 22, 2014 - 5:33 pm)
T3, graduated almost 7 years ago...did not pass bar exam for years.....now making around 150k with base and bonus in "Quasi" Legal position...work about 45-50 hrs a week.


Of course, encouraging anecdotes do not tell us much about the long-term career outcomes of gradautes of low-ranked law schools.  But the critics of law schools have nothing more than discouraging anecdotes about the long-term career outcomes either.

UPDATE:  Professor Simkovic writes:

FYI, After the JD does have outcome data for graduates of Tier 3 (100-150) and Tier 4 (150 to 200) law schools from the class of 2000/2001. 

AJD II (6  years out) shows average incomes of around $83K-$92K among those working full-time in 2006 (inflation adjusted, this would be around $97K-$108K today).


ADJIII (~10 years out) should be released soon.  Of course, these figures are only:

1) Bar Passers


2) Those working full time (whether or not as lawyers)

Frank and I include non-bar passers and those working part time or unemployed.

ANOTHER:  The proprietor of "JD Underground" tells me the original thread, above, came from that website. 



Posted by Brian Leiter on April 24, 2014 in Legal Profession | Permalink

April 23, 2014

Berkeley's Acting Dean Gillian Lester named Columbia's new Dean

Press release here.

UPDATE:  I should note also that Lester's husband, Eric Talley, a leading corporate law and law & economics scholar at Berkeley, will also be moving to Columbia.  This will solidify Columbia's position as having one of the two best "business law" faculties in the U.S.

Posted by Brian Leiter on April 23, 2014 in Faculty News | Permalink

Six legal scholars elected to American Academy of Arts & Sciences

They are:  Christopher Eisgruber (Princeton), Vicki Jackson (Harvard), David Luban (Georgetown), George Priest (Yale), Bryan Stevenson (NYU), and John Witt (Yale).

UPDATE:  You can see a breakdown of all newly elected Fellows by institutional affiliation here.

ADDENDUM:  I should note that the philosopher Gary Watson, who is cross-appointed to the law faculty at the University of Southern California, and who has done seminal work on freedom of the will and moral responsibility, was also elected a Fellow this year.  (USC has a top ten philosophy department these days, as well as an excellent law school.)

Posted by Brian Leiter on April 23, 2014 in Faculty News | Permalink

April 22, 2014

Signs of the times: Moody's Downgrades Vermont Law's bond status again


UPDATE:  More credit rating news from the National Law Journal.

Posted by Brian Leiter on April 22, 2014 in Of Academic Interest | Permalink

April 18, 2014

Not the kind of law school trustee who builds good will

At NYU, but the Law School is defending the students.

Posted by Brian Leiter on April 18, 2014 in Legal Profession, Of Academic Interest | Permalink