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17 posts from January 2012

January 31, 2012

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Deep

595px-Schnorr_von_Carolsfeld_Bibel_in_Bildern_1860_001"What gender is the voice of God?"

That provocative question was posed recently in The New York Times. The article ("Why Men Always Tell You to See Movies") was about voice-overs on movie trailers, but it led me think about an analogous issue: What gender is the voice of authority? What kind of voice do you hear when you envision a top dealmaker, a powerful litigator, or a big rainmaker walking into the room?

I'll bet you $10,000 (now that Mitt has established that as the baseline) that it's not a feminine voice.

But before we go there, let's first visit Hollywood. Reports the NYT:

The voice of a sonorous, authoritative, fear-inspiring yet sometimes relatable presence is, invariably, that of a man. Consider the trailer and the omniscient, disembodied voice that introduces moviegoers to a fictional world.

“Most movie trailers are loud and strong, and film studios want that male impact, vocally and thematically,” said Jeff Danis, an agent who represents voice-over artists. “Even if it’s a romantic comedy or nonaction movie, they still want that certain power and drama that men’s voices tend to convey on a grander scale.”

But what's distressing is that our preference for male voices doesn't end in the darkness of a movie theater, says the NYT:

“On average both males and females trust male voices more,” said Clifford Nass, a professor of communications at Stanford, noting some gender disparity exists in that women don’t distrust female voices as much as men distrust them. In one study conducted at Stanford, two versions of the same video of a woman were presented to subjects: One had the low frequencies of the woman’s voice increased and the high frequencies reduced, the other vice versa. Consistently subjects perceived the deep voice to be smarter, more authoritative, and more trustworthy.

I've often wondered myself if my relatively high voice diminishes my credibility. When I was a teenager, I remembered trying to imitate Gloria Steinem's "deep" voice in a history class, thinking that it would give my comments a bit of gravitas. I have no idea if it worked, and I probably lapsed back to my girly voice the next day.

161px-Gloria_Steinem_at_news_conference,_Women's_Action_Alliance,_January_12,_1972It might seem silly to try to alter your natural voice, but that's exactly what politicians do, says the BBC, which reported on how voters preferred candidates with lower-pitched voices. And, as we all know now, Margaret Thatcher—our role model du jour—had coaching to lower her voice so that she could play with the Big Boys.

"When people go too high-pitched, it sounds emotional and less trustworthy," U.K. psychologist Sue Lovegrove told the BBC.

The sad truth is that a woman's voice will not deliver the same punch as a man's. So ladies (and you gents with high voices), maybe mimicking Gloria Steinem or Don LaFontaine (the "Thunder Throat" and "The Voice of God" of movie trailers) is just what your career needs.


Related post: "The Power Look—White Males Only?"

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January 30, 2012

How to Work with a Jerk

Battle©iofoto.Fotolia.comYou will probably want to throttle someone during your career. It could be that self-promoter on your team, the brown-noser in your class, or that calculating little associate who never shares one shred of information. We've all had to work with those types.

As you might imagine, I'm not very good at finessing these type of situations. Hate to admit it, but I'm more Newt Gingrich than Mitt Romney. Which is to say, if someone pushes enough of my buttons, I'll get angry and blow up.

But luckily, Harvard Business Review offers a more rational approach to the challenges of working with an annoying colleague. Here are HBR's dos and don'ts to dealing with a challenging coworker.

1. Focus on your own reactions. "If there is someone who is annoying or abrasive, don't think about how the person acts, think about how you react. It's far more productive to focus on your own behavior because you can control it."

2. Don't bitch at the office. Personally, I find it hard to keep a stiff upper lip about someone I truly despise. But HBR says complaining can have negative repercussions—you might end up looking "unprofessional or be labeled as the difficult one." If you must vent, "choose your support network carefully. Ideally, choose people outside the office."

3. Maybe it's you (at least partially) and not her. "Start with the hypothesis that the person is doing things you don't like but is a good person," says Stanford Business School professor Robert Sutton to HBR. "It's reasonable to assume you're part of the problem. . . . If everywhere you go there's someone you hate, it's a bad sign."

4. Spend more time with your nemesis. This is probably the last thing you'd want to do, but the idea behind this exercise is to build empathy. But if you really don't respect or  trust the other guy, hanging out won't do much good. "If it's someone who violates your sense of what's moral, getting away [from him] isn't a bad strategy," says Sutton to HBR.

5. Try telling the other person why her behavior is bothersome. "It may be that what bothers you is something that regularly gets in her way as a professional," says HBR. "Of course, you shouldn't launch into a diatribe about everything she does to annoy you. Focus on behaviors that she can control and describe how they impact you and your work together."

And if all else fails (or if the person bothering you is your boss): Grit your teeth, tune out as much as possible, and get the job done. As Sutton tells HBR: "Practice the fine art of emotional detachment or not giving a shit."

Isn't that what being an adult is all about?


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January 27, 2012

Female Bosses Are Getting (a bit) More Respect

FemBoss©pressmaster - Fotolia.com1. Well, I guess this is progress—A majority of Americans don't give a hoot whether their boss is male or female. Harvard Business Review reports: "A recent online survey of more than 60,000 people by Kim M. Elsesser of UCLA and Janet Lever of California State University shows that the proportion having no preference now stands at 54 percent." (This is certainly a better result than the recent study that found that  secretaries much preferred working for male lawyers.)

This latest study notes that there's been a steady improvement in employee attitudes about women bosses. In 1953, 25 percent had no preference, according to a Gallup poll taken at the time (who knew there were even women in supervising positions back then?). By 1983, the number was 36 percent;  by 2006, it was 43 percent.

But before you assume everything is hunky-dory, Vault notes that most of the remaining 46 percent still preferred male to female bosses—"with 33 percent stating they would prefer male bosses, 13 percent preferring female bosses."

Vault also noted this "creepy (though amusing)" finding: Four percent of men who preferred female bosses said they found them "sexier/prettier," and 3 percent noted that they were "easier to manipulate." (Unsurprisingly, 0 percent of women reported this effect.)

2. Quick—hire their PR agencies! Four law firms are on Fortune's 100 best companies to work for list—and, by some miracle, they are the same ones from last year. The "I-can't-believe-they-are-law-firms" firms are:

    - Alston & Bird (#24 this year; #11 last year). Fortune touts the firm's treatment of support staff, who often "join task forces with lawyers and meet regularly to discuss operations." Now that sounds exciting.

   - Bingham & Dana: #30 this year, #28 last year. "Prima donnas and malicious jerks are practically unknown here." Really?

    - Baker Donelson: #54 this year, #50 last year. "One hourly clerk wrote that if the entire Baker Donelson staff were on the Titanic, managers would have dived in to save the staff," reports Fortune. My question: What is the definition of "manager"?

    - Perkins & Coie: #58 this year, #55 last year. Firm supposedly has "happiness committees" and gives frequent parties. Well, it is based in Seattle. (Not to worry--I'll be following up on this one.)

3. Miracle—the ABA takes a stand! The ABA has come out with new reporting rules that require law schools to be much more specific about how their graduates are employed. Reports Karen Sloan of The National Law Journal:

Individual schools would have to report 25th, 50th, and 75th percentile salary figures for graduates in jobs requiring a juris doctor degree; jobs in which a J.D. is preferred; jobs in other professions; and nonprofessional jobs. The salary breakdowns would have to be provided for 15 job categories, including solo practitioner, government attorney, public interest work, and academic.

Law schools would post this data on their Web sites for at least three years. Thus, prospective law students would have much more detailed information about different types of jobs and the salaries they pay, and would have an apples-to-apples comparison between different schools.

You know what I'm about to say: I'll believe it when I see it.

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January 26, 2012

Too Old for Law School?

-Older woman© olly - Fotolia.comPeople usually ask me about how to get out of law. But today a reader asks if it's too late for her to get into the game:

Dear Careerist,

I am a D.C.–based, middle-aged, midcareer government relations professional who's trying to decide what to do with the second half of my life. I'm going through career counseling now, looking for a job that pays bills and is emotionally and intellectually rewarding. I've been aptitude-tested (high on verbal, analytical, and logic skills). I'm thinking seriously about public service law.

I'm married, have two kids (15 and 11), and I want my life to mean something more. And law is portable: I can go anywhere in the U.S. (all things being equal) and be a lawyer. I can't go anywhere and be a PAC [political action committee] manager, which is what I do now.

So, the economy is in the tank, there's a glut of lawyers, and new grads can't find jobs. And, oh, by the way, we're all going to die. Is law school at middle age worth doing?

I don't usually recommend law school to most people, but I do remember that some of the most focused students in law school were older. Unlike the 20-somethings, they saw studying law as a privilege.

But what happens when they leave law school? How do they ultimately fare? Two experts' views:

Marilyn Tucker, director of alumni career services at Georgetown Law Center (she's also served as an adviser for women who pursued law as a second career):

Before you leave your current job, you should do the following:

1. Do an honest assessment of why you want a law degree—is it the work (assuming you know what the work will be like), the prestige, or the intellectual exercise?

2. Do the homework—contact the career service office at law schools in your area and ask them about programs on public sector careers; shadow lawyers in the field; and talk to people who have gone to law school in midlife, and ask them if they would go back to law school again.

3. Ask yourself whether a law degree is really necessary for what you want to do. Is it worth the cost? Or can you achieve the same ends without it? Keep in mind that you will likely make less as a junior public interest lawyer than what you are currently making.

It is worth noting that federal agencies have law-related positions that do not require a law degree, including contract administrator, equal opportunity compliance specialist, and consumer safety inspector—to name a few.

4. Understand that going to law school at this stage is risky, especially given the uncertain economy. But even when the economy was sailing along beautifully, it was more difficult for second-career graduates. Be prepared that it might take nine months to a year to get a job. Age discrimination is definitely out there.

You really have to step out of your comfort zone.

Dan Binstock, recruiter at Garrison & Sisson: 

My advice: Find five attorneys in the public service sector who went back to law school as a second career and ask them:
1.  If you could do it over again, would you have gone to law school?  
2. What do you like most about being a lawyer?  What do you dislike most?  
3. What do you know now that you wish you had known when you decided to go to law school? 
4. If you didn’t go to law school, what else would you have done?
It sounds like you are a good candidate for an evening program. Don't quit your day job, in case you don't like law school. 

You mentioned public service law, but that is very broad. More important than the public service versus private sector distinction is how your personality fits with certain types of practices. If you enjoy debating with your friends, you might enjoy litigation. If you hate debating, you will not be happy as a litigator, even if it’s in the public service sphere.  

Many people choose law school because they are at a career crossroad and are not sure what to do next. It happens to recent college grads and midlife professionals as well. If you have enough money saved up and your debt will not be overwhelming, going to law school can’t hurt. But it also can’t hurt to learn how to fly a helicopter.   

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January 25, 2012

Lessons from the Iron Lady

Margaret Thatcher_Time Cover - Time.comBad news, ladies: You might have to trash the Manolos and the Jil Sander ensemble. Instead, break out the sensible Ferragamo pumps and head to the nearest Talbots for some royal blue suits. And while you're at it, stock up on the extra-hold hairspray.

If you want credibility in the workplace, there's only one tried-and-true style model. "Put down the self-help books and rush out to see The Iron Lady this weekend," advises More magazine. "That Margaret Thatcher—she's the one you want to emulate."

On both sides of the Atlantic, Maggie Thatcher is being hailed as the originator of the power look for women. (British Vogue even provides an item-by-item diagram of her clothes and accessories.)

This is how OxfordStudent analyzes Thatcher's sartorial arsenal:

She was a woman who throughout her career managed to turn her clothes and accessories into clever mediums of communicating power. . . her signature pearls, shoulder pads, handbags, and lurid blue suits stand out as a medium of control.  .  .  . Her style was always precise and impeccable. It was a regal uniformed [sic], highly groomed and sharp. She opted for tailored suits so that she could stand quite literally ‘shoulder to shoulder’ with men.

One golden rule about the Thatcher power look: Don't wear pants! Suzy Menkes in Harper's Bazaar writes that "Mrs. T certainly dressed to please men, [so] perhaps the skirt or dress seemed a better choice." (Did Hillary Clinton and Nancy Pelosi falter because they favor pant suits?)

A study by the University of Hertfodshire supports Thatcher's choice, finding that says skirts deliver a "better first impression." Reports today.msnbc.com about the U.K. study:

In the study, 300 participants (males and females aged from 14 to 67) were asked  to provide snap judgments of images featuring women in various office outfits—skirts and pantsuits made in the same exact fabric and color—with the faces blurred. They then gave feedback based on five factors: confidence, success, trustworthiness, salary, and flexibility. In just three seconds, they were able to determine they far preferred the more feminine options.

So it comes down to this: Walk softly and carry a big stick—but do so in a skirt. The idea that women are taken more seriously if they look ladylike and are a tad dowdy (e.g., neutered, sexually unavailable)—was something I thought we'd outgrown.

It's disturbingly retro, but I fear there might be some truth to all this. What do you think? Is donning Thatcher's armor the logical choice for women who want to get ahead?


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January 23, 2012

The Model Minority Is Grumpy

Kids© Kim Gunkel - istockphotoIt's the start of Chinese New Year—the Year of the Dragon—but Asian Pacific Americans lawyers might not be in a mood to celebrate. According to The American Lawyer's 2011 midlevel minority associates survey APAs are not happy campers.

But let's start with a positive: APAs are not griping about their work. Amazingly, they like it! APAs reported the highest score of all groups (including whites, black/African Americans, and Hispanics) for "overall satisfaction with work" and "quality of assignments."

Moreover, APAs also seem valued by their firms. They have the highest billing rates ($450 per hour), eclipsing the average rates for whites ($424), blacks ($405), and Hispanics ($427).

Good work, high billing rates—what else could a lawyer ask for? Well, how about better dough? According to the survey, APAs had the lowest satisfaction score of all groups when it came to compensation. Here's how Brian Zabcik describes the money issue in Corporate Counsel magazine (where the Am Law diversity survey first appeared):

Black associates reported an average annual salary this year of $180,727, an increase of $3,197 from their average in our 2008 survey (the last one conducted before the recession hit that fall). From 2008 to 2011, Hispanic associates showed an increase in average salary of $7,085, whites essentially held steady, and Asians had to contend with a drop in average salary of $3,619. That decline may be why Asian associates reported the lowest satisfaction with compensation and benefits.

Despite that drop in earnings, APAs still took home the highest compensation of all the groups. APAs made $191,074 (both whites and Hispanics made about $6,000 less than APAs, while the gap for blacks was over $10,000).

It's a bit of a mystery why APAs' earnings dropped. What's apparent, though, is that they feel undervalued and less secure about their future at their firms. APAs ranked third in how they assessed their partnership chances—only 63.7 percent considered themselves on partnership track. This is in marked contrast to 76.3 of white associates and 68.4 percent of Hispanics. Black associates, however, persistently showed the lowest expectation—60 percent.

Then there's the issue of mentoring, which is considered critical for promotion to partnership. For whatever reason, APAs seem to be getting lost in the shuffle. Reports Zabcik:

Firms seem to be aware that they need to make an extra effort to retain their minority associates. Black and Hispanic associates were the most likely to say that they had mentors—86.5 percent and 83.1 percent, respectively, said that they did. Asians were the least likely, at 73.8 percent.

So APAs seem to be falling off the radar screen once again.

Is it time for APAs to make a lot more noise? How about setting off some firecrackers at the office to start the new year?

Related posts: "Still Too Nerdy To Get to the Top?," "Still Underdogs."

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Do you have topics you'd like to discuss or tips to share? E-mail The Careerist's chief blogger, Vivia Chen, at VChen@alm.com.


January 20, 2012

Why Leave the Kitchen?

RetroMom_© Ethan_Flickr.comI won't pretend: Parenting (really, "mommy") magazines drive me nuts. Those helpful articles on breast feeding, potty training, and vegetable pureeing always put me into an immediate funk.

Unfortunately, those publications are not limiting their advice to those drippy subjects. These days, they're wading into the whole work/life balance mess, targeting moms who work, once worked, or would like to go back to work.

To cheer on this generation of conflicted women, they're offering advice about how women can have a spectacular  career while fulfilling their noble role as nurturers of the species. The oft-cited solution—drum roll, please—is job flexibility. It goes something like this: Golly, if you just put your mind to it, why shouldn't you rise to the top of your field from your own kitchen, with the little darlings hanging at your feet?

Feeding this fantasy is Working Mother magazine, which lists "15 Surprising Work-From-Home Jobs." Out of curiosity, I checked what those careers might be.

Some of them seem plausible enough: Bilingual technical adviser, grant writer, vacation counselor (is "travel agent" no longer an acceptable term?), and CEO (which is a fancy way of saying that you work for yourself). Some of the other proposed jobs sound a bit obscure (county transportation planner, online fitness coach, and community garden director). Then there are a bunch of jobs that I'm not convinced can be performed at home, including director of global advertising, project manager, and nurse coach.

But I really hit the roof with this one: senior trial attorney! The author, Sara Sutton Fell (who happens to run a business call FlexJobs.com), writes:

Virtual attorney positions have starting popping up throughout the country. Attorneys looking for work from around the U.S. can find work-from-home positions. This allows them to provide counsel from their home offices, while still collaborating with coworkers through a variety of communication tools. Virtual attorney positions can be found with large, national law firms or with law firm staffing companies and lawyer-on-call firms.

I'm sure there are virtual legal positions out there—sexy jobs like reviewing reams of tedious documents online—but "senior trial attorney"? Are you kidding me? Doesn't being a "trial" lawyer mean you have to show up in court? Is the author just totally clueless about law practice? Or is she trying way too hard to be encouraging about the type of legal work you can do from home?

But what truly bothers me about this type of article (aside from the lie it tells) is that it depends on magical thinking—that women can play traditional mom, do challenging work without leaving the house, and somehow reach the top.

I don't know any women with real-world experience who would find this plausible. You can do a lot of jobs from home—but being a trial lawyer, or any high-level lawyer? I don't think so.

But what's offensive (and patronizing) is that the author and Working Mother seem to think that women will buy this stuff.


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January 19, 2012

More Male Partners Going Part-Time (Except in Birmingham)

Byheaven-Fotolia:comThe way firms brag about it, you'd think every third lawyer has worked part-time at some point. Whenever I talk to firms about women partners, someone invariably adds, "And did you know she was promoted to partnership after working part-time?"

So is part-time work gaining traction? Not exactly. According to NALP's just released survey, only 6.2 percent of lawyers at big firms work part-time—and the number is trending downward, albeit slightly:

In 2011, nearly all law firm offices, 98 percent, allowed part-time schedules, either as an affirmative policy or on a case-by-case basis, but as has been the case since NALP first compiled this information in 1994, very few lawyers are working on a part-time basis. . . . In 1994, just 2.4 percent of partners and associates were working part-time. By 2011, the number of lawyers working part-time stood at 6.2 percent, after reaching 6.4 percent in 2010.

But here's the curiosity: Despite that downward trend, a steady stream of partners is opting for part-time. "The growth rate of part-time work among partners has been greater, rising from 1.2 percent in 1994 to 3.6 percent in 2010 and 3.5 percent in 2011," reports NALP.

What's more, that uptick is coming from men: "In 2006 almost 72 percent of part-time partners were women. In 2011 that figure was about 66 percent. In 2010 that figure had dropped to 64 percent."

What's going on? Are those hard-driving male partners getting soft?

"Our survey doesn't ask why, so there is no way to know," says James Leipold, NALP's executive director. "It is likely a combination of several factors, including shifting societal norms about gender roles and family, a younger generation of attorneys of both genders seeking more work/life balance, and finally, a group of older partners who, toward the end of their careers, are scaling back and working part-time rather than retiring."

Despite that intriguing development, part-time work remains a female ghetto. NALP finds that women constitute more than 70 percent of the part-timers:

Among women lawyers overall, 13.4 percent work part-time; among female partners, 11.8 percent are working part-time; and among women associates the figure was 10.0 percent. This contrasts with a rate of just 2.7 percent among all male lawyers.

For both sexes, some locations seem more welcoming about part-time arrangement than others. Of the three largest markets—Chicago, Washington, D.C., and New York—the Big Apple is the least receptive. For part-time partners, Chicago has 3.8 percent; D.C., 4.4 percent, and New York, 1.9 percent, reports NALP. For part-time associates, Chicago has 4.9; D.C., 6.1 percent, and New York, 3.4 percent.

As for all U.S. cities, you can probably guess which ones boast the highest percentage of part-timers: places with great coffee or fabulous skiing. You'll find more part-time partners (about 8 percent of partners) hanging out in Portland, Seattle, and San Francisco. Portland also tied with Denver for having a high percentage (over 9 percent) of part-time associates.

But what's the most macho city in the land, where part-time work is strictly for sissies? That honor goes to Birmingham, which reported no male part-timer in either the partner or associate ranks. This Deep South city also had the lowest overall percentage (2.4) of part-time lawyers in the nation. (Question: Is law practice in this city tradition-bound, or is the pace slow enough that part-time work is unnecessary?)

It's a lot of numbers, but the bottom line is that part-time work isn't really catching on—except among the partners.


January 17, 2012

Beg Us, Beat Us—We Still Won't Tell!

© snaptitude - Fotolia.comI'm shocked, shocked: The nearly 200 law schools in this land are not coughing up reliable data about how their graduates are faring in the job market. Law School Transparency, that nonprofit organization that's been pestering law schools to be more forthright, has just issued its latest finding:

—Twenty-seven percent (54 out of 197 ABA-accredited schools) fail to provide any valuable information on their Web sites for the class of 2010. And 22 schools "do not provide any employment information on their Web site whatsoever."

—Fifty-one percent of schools fail to indicate how many graduates actually responded.

—Only 26 percent of schools indicate how many graduates worked in legal jobs. And 11 percent indicate how many were in full-time legal jobs.

--Though 49 percent of schools provide some salary information, the vast majority (78 percent) provide the information in misleading ways.

I would have guessed that top schools, at least, would be rushing to open their books—but I'm wrong. Stanford Law School, for one, provided zippo information about grads, according to LST's index that tracks the schools' responses. (Stanford was in the same company as Stetson, Suffolk, and Ave Maria law schools, among others.)

"In fact, it seems that lower-ranked schools are outdoing their rank in terms of transparency," says Kyle McEntee, the executive director of LST. "The only top schools really doing an okay job are Northwestern, Vanderbilt, and Yale." But the schools that actually earned a "good" for disclosing placement information, McEntee tells me, are "Michigan State, Thomas Jefferson, Houston, Florida, Seattle, and Denver"—though he cautions that "no school has employment data independently audited."

LST also is not impressed by the University of Chicago Law School, which got a lot of favorable publicity when it disclosed detailed employment data about its grads recently. "We believe Chicago received acclaim because the job outcomes for Chicago’s 2010 graduates appear to be strong relative to other law schools’ outcomes," says LST in its report. "But if every law school disclosed employment data according to Chicago’s incomplete methodology, most would still continue to mislead prospective law students."

Well, that was a bit of a knuckle rap. 

In any case, the upshot seems to be this: There's little rhyme or reason as to which schools are complying, which means that Law School Transparency still has to soldier on in its lonely battle. But, as we've often said, unless consumers wake up to the law school scam and demand more answers from schools (especially those with mediocre reputations) about their graduates, what incentive do schools have to be honest? I mean, they're not the ones who are stupid.

Editor's note: Since the original posting, LST's Kyle McEntee has informed us that Stanford now provides detailed information about its graduates on its website.

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Do you have topics you'd like to discuss or tips to share? E-mail The Careerist's chief blogger, Vivia Chen, at VChen@alm.com.

January 16, 2012

The Zombies (I Mean, Law Students) Are Happy

©George Hubka.Fotolia.comCuriously complacent. This is one reason why there's no real impetus to change legal education: The consumers aren't complaining that much.

According to the 2011 Law School Survey of Student Engagement, law students are perfectly content with their education. Here's what Karen Sloan of The National Law Journal writes:

That report, released earlier this month, includes responses from more than 33,000 law students at 95 U.S. and Canadian law schools about how they study, use campus resources, and interact with faculty. Of the students surveyed, 83 percent responded that their law school experience was either "good" or "excellent," and 80 percent said they would attend law school again if they could start over.

Okay, maybe these kids are just mesmerized by case study. I can accept that. But this is what I find truly puzzling: The report also finds that 40 percent of the students believe their legal education had contributed "only some or very little to their acquisition of job or work-related knowledge and skills."

Then there's this finding:

Despite the contracting legal employment market, 20 percent of students said they have not drawn upon job support from their law school, and 14 percent had not availed themselves of campus career counseling.

Let me see if I can summarize this: The vast majority of law students are happy with their legal education, though almost half of them don't think it'll help them find legal jobs, and some aren't even bothering their schools about finding jobs. Wow, who knew folks go to law school just for kicks?

Oh, goody: four more officially sanctioned mediocre law schools. I guess if law students are content, it only makes sense to crank out more law schools.

According to the NLJ's Karen Sloan, the Association of American Law Schools had a "banner year," approving four law schools for membership, "its largest yearly increase since the 1970s."

This esteemed crop includes Drexel University Earl Mack School of Law, North Carolina Central University School of Law, the St. Thomas University School of Law, and Texas Wesleyan University School of Law.

"Each one of these schools brings its own personality to our membership," said AALS executive director Susan Westerberg Prager in the NLJ article. (Since when was the "personality" of a law schools a relevant consideration for admission to AALS? Are we talking about a puppy contest?)

As you'd expect, ABA president William Robinson III also jumped into the act, lauding the new members and repeating this familiar baloney about the benefits of earning a law degree:

The decision to attend law school is not necessarily about job security, Robinson said, but rather about opportunity. A law degree offers the "widest potential variety of career opportunity" compared to other advanced degree programs, he said.

The ABA is committed to defending law schools from attacks on its ability to produce good lawyers, he said. 

"Our law schools can stand up and measure up against any other graduate program in this country," he said.

Please, kids, don't buy the ruse. Oh, I forgot, you already did.

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About The Careerist

The Careerist takes an inside look at how lawyers shape their careers and manage their lives. The blog aims to dissect developments in the profession, provide useful information and advice, and give lawyers a platform to voice their views. The goal is to provide a fresh, provocative take on the state of lawyering.

About Vivia Chen

Vivia Chen

Vivia Chen, The Careerist's chief blogger, has been covering the business and culture of law firms for a decade. A former corporate lawyer, Chen is fascinated by those who thrive (as well as those who don't) in the legal profession. Her take: Success in the law (and life) doesn't always travel a linear path. If you have topics you'd like to discuss or information to share, contact her: VChen@alm.com

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Member since 03/2010