They say the hardest part is just getting in

And now, apparently, that’s truer than ever.

In the last two years, at least 10 law schools have deliberately changed their grading systems to make them more lenient.

. . .


But the tactic getting the most attention — and the most controversy —  is the sudden, deliberate and dubiously effective grade inflation, which had begun even before the legal job market softened.


“If somebody’s paying $150,000 for a law school degree, you don’t want to call them a loser at the end,” says Stuart Rojstaczer, a former geophysics professor at Duke who now studies grade inflation. “So you artificially call every student a success.”

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Personal statements no one wants to read

... and that you don’t want to write.

“Since early childhood, I have been an over-achieving perfectionist. Not content simply to excel at everything I have done, like be the president of the school paper and work for my state senator while maintaining a 4.0 GPA, I wanted to share my wonderfulness with the less fortunate. So I also have an extensive background in public service. I recognize that there are certain skills that one needs to excel as a lawyer, so I have acquired those, as well, by doing A, B, and C. Now I am primed to enter law school.  Admission to [—-] Law School will be the culmination of my decade of effort - nay, the laurel wreath crowning my wonderfulness.”

From an exasperated law school admissions official via Anna Ivey’s pre-law blog.

Check out some of my tips on... read more »

Alumni guest post: 1L at NYU Law

Our occasional series of guest posts continues with Sam Litton, a 2008 UMass alum. Sam kindly took the time to answer some common questions students have for alumni in law school. Have more questions for Sam?  Please feel free to post them in the comments, and I’ll pass them along.

Q: What’s your name, major, year of graduation from UMass, and law school you’re attending?

A: I graduated in 2008, and majored in Political Science, Philosophy, and Legal Studies, which sounds slightly more impressive than it actually is.  They share a lot of Gen Eds.  I’m currently a 1L at NYU School of Law.

Q: Where else did you get in?  What made you choose NYU?

A: I also got into UC Berkeley, Columbia, Georgetown, Duke, and a few others. Harvard wait-listed me. Yale sent me the nicest rejection... read more »

The Future of Lawyer Hiring, Development and Advancement

NALP (formerly the National Association for Law Placement—the leading research and professional resource on law careers) is convening a series of roundtables to discuss a number of aspects of the future of lawyer training and job development.  Each panel is made up of law professors, law school deans, hiring attorneys and associates in a number of different firms and fields.  I highly recommend them to all who are considering a career in law.  If you want to get a good sense of the current state of legal jobs, legal education and the relations between the two, I’d start with these panels.  They are each available as either videos or transcripts, and there are many supporting documents.

Panel #1 (June 2009)

According to NALP’s summary, participants

  • Concluded that the economic slow-down will have a lasting impact on lawyer hiring and development, including... read more »

Huge increase in law school applications

UPDATE August 2012: Please note the date on this blog post—it’s from 2010 and does not describe the current state of admissions. I’m leaving it up because it may be of interest to some of you to know how application volume has fluctuated.

As expected, the economy is sending people out of the job market and into law and graduate school, in large numbers. Taking on significant debt is not in fact a good strategy for riding out a poor economy, especially given the uncertainty of any commensurate pay-off, but that doesn’t seem to be slowing down the rush to law school:

Officials at many law schools reported substantial increases in applications over last year. Washington University in St. Louis has had a 19 percent year-to-date increase in applications to its college of law. At the University of San Francisco School of Law, applications... read more »

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