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Law School News--Clerkships, Yale, Online LL.M., and the Donald

Vivia Chen

May 6, 2011

Lawstudent Federal clerkship sweepstakes. Two reasons to go to Yale Law School: Tiger Mom Amy Chua teaches there, and Yale leads in the percentage of graduates with federal clerkships. More than a quarter (27 percent) of YLS grads went into federal clerkships, followed by grads of Stanford Law (24 percent), then Harvard (18 percent), reports U.S. News and World Report (hat tip: ABA Blog).

U.S.  News also offers some surprises: Number four in federal clerkships was University of Washington (18 percent), followed by University of Arizona (12.3 percent), then Duke (12 percent), then University of Georgia (11 percent). So how did Wash U., Arizona, and Georgia beat out the top law schools in the country?

To help you get into that most ivory of ivory towers, keep in mind that Yale likes applicants who have done something amazing/eccentric after college. In other words, don't apply directly to YLS. Teach in a war zone, rescue endangered animals, then try knocking at Yale's door (hat tip: Vault).

According to the Yale Daily News, "Only 20 percent of the first-year class at Yale Law School came straight from college, and more than half of the 80 percent who took time off had been out of school for more than two years."

Another money-making ploy or just the direction of legal education? Apparently, it's become increasingly acceptable for law schools--even legit ones--to offer degrees online. The National Law Journal reports that Vermont Law School now offers an LL.M. in environmental law and a separate master's degree in environmental law and policy.

Besides Vermont, Loyola University Chicago School of Law, Southwestern University School of Law, and Florida Coastal School of Law now all offer LL.M. programs "that consist entirely of online coursework," reports the NLJ. "The University of Alabama School of Law, Boston University School of Law, and a handful of others also offer at least one LL.M. program completely or primarily though online classes."

What's more, even the prestigious executive LL.M. in taxation program at NYU Law School is now completely online. Students no longer have to fulfill the two-credit residency requirement for the program.

Show me the transcript, says Donald Trump. Recently, Trump questioned President Obama's academic credentials, suggesting that he didn't deserve to gain admission to Columbia University and Harvard Law School. Trump is calling for Obama to release his college grades. (It's public record that Obama graduated magna cum laude from Harvard Law School, where he also served as the president of the law review.)

Question: Should we require all political candidates to produce their college and postcollege grades? I have the feeling that releasing those records won't increase voter confidence in their elected officials. By the way, has Trump released his?

Postscript: The original post refers to University of Vermont Law School. The correct name is Vermont Law School. We regret the error.

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.

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Photo: Jaimie Duplass/ Fotolia.com

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Please read your sources correctly and thus get the names of schools correct. It is Vermont Law School. The school is not associated with the University.

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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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