- Does No LSAT = More Diversity?– As part of a conference at the University of Virginia School of Law on improving diversity in the legal sector, a panel of admissions experts didn’t feel that getting rid of the LSAT would increase diversity at law schools. One reason mentioned was that admissions officers might focus on less objective factors without the LSAT. Those in the other camp might point to the fact that Hispanic and African-American test takers have median scores below those of whites. However, “that gap […] is evident across all major standardized tests, not just the LSAT.” Another issue is that some schools rely too heavily on LSAT scores, and perhaps those results should be emphasized less.
- More First-Time Test Takers Passed NY Bar- As reported by New York Law Journal, of those who graduated from ABA-accredited schools and took the July New York bar exam for the first time, 86.1 percent passed, up by 0.5 percent from last year. However, 69.2 percent passed out of all the 11,182 July test takers, compared to 70 percent, 72 percent, and 74.7 percent in the previous years.
- Best Law Schools for Externships– The National Jurist has adjusted its externship rankings to only include full-time law students. The rankings are based on a ratio of field placements to enrollment, with University of St. Thomas taking first place. Filling out the top five are Northeastern University, University of Utah, Brigham Young, and Thomas Jefferson.
- Can Anyone Become a Lawyer?– In an op-ed piece for The New York Times, Clifford Winston argues that anyone should be able to practice law—whether or not he/she has a J.D. or passed the bar. Accordingly, the poor would be able to afford legal services by those with less training, while others can choose to pay higher fees for more formally trained lawyers. Potential competition from “non-lawyers” would also bring down legal costs in general, Winston speculates. He also calls for a better assessment of lawyer quality by consumers, since “in the absence of an open, competitive approach to information about the quality of legal services, the existing licensing and discipline system creates a false sense of security.” Above the Law, among others, takes issue with Winston, noting that he doesn’t differentiate well between quality and quantity, and is not using common sense. A blog from The Washington Post argues that deregulation would not only lower standards, but quality as well. A better solution would be to reform law schools “by offering a better balance of the doctrinal, skills, and values education that students need to become competent legal professionals.” Additionally, the bar exam could become less concentrated, and instead be extended over years and test a number of skills. It seems that whichever side you fall on, some modification of legal education and training is in order.
- Pre-Law Students Are Facing Reality- Potential law students are taking off their rose-colored glasses. A survey by Veritas Prep revealed that 68 percent of respondents would still apply to law school even with the knowledge that many would not be able to find jobs after graduation, versus 81 percent last year, The National Law Journal reports. More students are expecting to take on loans—49 percent, as opposed to 38 percent in 2010. Plus, the top concern for 73 percent of those queried is to find a job that would enable them to pay back their student loans. Last year, most were concerned with finding an “appealing long-term career.” While location and prestige remained the top two factors in choosing a law school, more students this year are considering affordability as well.
- Interested in an International LL.M.?- The National Jurist covers everything you need to know, including what to consider when choosing a program, and researching its faculty and courses. While international students are more likely to pursue these LL.M. degrees, U.S. students are increasingly drawn to the courses as well. The article also has a comprehensive guide to all LL.M. programs offered at U.S. law schools.
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