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News Briefs--Back to Law School and the Best Firms for Women

Rebekah Mintzer

August 7, 2013

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Back-to-school time at institutes of higher legal learning is right around the corner. In honor of the season, here's the latest in law school news:

1. LSATs are not the culprit for the lack of minorities practicing law. At  least that's what University of Virginia School of Law Professor Alex Johnson Jr. believes. Johnson writes in a new article for the Stanford Law and Policy Review that, contrary to conventional wisdom, the LSAT does not discriminate against minority groups. He instead blames what he says is a tendency by minorities to "misapply" to reach law schools in an age where affirmative action is down and the premium placed on school rankings is up. He also claims that minorities tend to take the bar exam in states with the toughest pass cutoffs, making it harder for them to gain bar admission. Not everyone agrees with Johnson's conclusions. (National Law Journal)

2. Law schools can now get their marketing materials certified....for a price. Is your law school LST certified? Law School Transparency, a non-profit legal education policy group, is launching an initiative to give its seal of approval to schools releasing promotional materials that adhere to both the ABA's guidelines for job statistics, and to LST's own best practices. The only catch is it will cost schools $2,750 a year, since LST is not rolling in dough. Some have criticized the certification initiative. LST Executive Director Kyle McEntee turned the blame on law schools themselves. "We didn't create this market," he said. "Law schools created this market through years of deceptive advertising." (National Law Journal)

3. ABA task force points to a "deeply flawed" system for financing law school in the U.S. The ABA Task Force on the Future of Legal Education has spoken, at least preliminarily, and the future doesn't look too bright. In their draft working paper, which will be finalized in November, the task force calls for "serious re-engineering" of the current system by which the country funds attorney education--a system that often leads to a high student debt. Among the task force's suggestions are a fuller examination of law school pricing as well as another look at any accreditation standards that might make law school unnecessarily expensive. (ABA Journal)

4. Pre-law and pro bono. In a survey of 750 aspiring lawyers by Kaplan Test Prep, 68 percent said they would favor requiring adding a pro bono work requirement as a prerequisite to bar admission. New York is the only state with such a rule in place--as of 2015 applicants to the bar will have to complete 50 hours of pro bono. California is preparing to implement a similar requirement. (National Law Journal)

And if you can make it through law school, and happen to be female...
Working Mothers Media in conjunction with Flex-Time Lawyers LLC announced this week their 2013 roster of the best law firms for women. Their results are based on 300 questions that close to 115 firms completed, which asked them about policies, programs, and numbers relating to flexible work places and the advancement of women. 

The full list of firms can be found in the executive summary of the report. Other notable information in the survey includes:

- In the best law firms for 2013, women hold 22 percent of executive, 23 percent of compensation, and 24 percent of equity partner promotion committee seats. 

- It's raining women-since last year the percentage of best firms that count one or more women among their top ten rainmakers rose from 69 percent to 78 percent. 

-The national average at big firms is for female equity partners to compose 15 percent of the partnership. The average among the best firms is 19 percent. 

Let's make it to 50 percent in every category, ladies.


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I do not miss law school...

Great motivation to keep one's head in the books...

Thank you!

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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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