- New Housing and Construction at Southwestern- According to The National Law Journal, Southwestern Law School has started work on its first on-campus housing project in the history of the school. The project will cost $20 million, and is funded through bonds and private donors. About 153 students will be able to live in the new units, which makes up about 40% of the school’s average entering class. In addition, James Camp has been named the school’s first assistant dean for property administration and development. Camp said that the school will be undergoing continuous construction and developmental changes over the next ten years, “And we’re starting off with a major construction project and major change in the way the campus is focused—from a commuter school to a residential school.”
- Law School Transparency: Take Two- Law School Transparency is hoping for better luck and results this time around. The organization has asked every ABA-accredited law school to “release the graduate job employment report generated by the National Association for Law Placement (NALP) for the class of 2010,” as reported by The National Law Journal. Last year, only one school agreed to share its information, and then reneged months later. According to Executive Director Kyle McEntee, LST wants to “plug some gaps in the information the ABA itself is compiling for the class of 2010, and to provide an apples-to-apples comparison of job and salary data to prospective law students before they decide where to apply.” So far, he has received more positive responses than last year, which can either be attributed to the added pressure law schools now feel to provide accurate information, or the ease in complying this time around, which merely involves forwarding a report from the NALP. While the ABA has added new categories to its questionnaire and some law schools have taken it upon themselves to provide salary and employment data on their web sites, most schools still don’t include all relevant data and don’t present it in a way most helpful to applicants. Accordingly, “Law School Transparency hopes to create a database that allows users to easily compare schools.” The organization also warned deans that refusing to share info could damage their reputation, especially among applicants wary of schools’ tendencies toward misinformation.
- Personal Statement Tips from Chicago Law- Having trouble with your personal statement? The University of Chicago Law School offers advice on their website. The main two things they are looking for in a personal statement are a representation of who you are and your writing ability. When trying to represent yourself, make sure to be yourself and honest in the essay, and make it personal, writing in your own voice. There is no need to discuss anything legal-related in the essay and avoid name-dropping. You also don’t need to restate your resume or list your qualifications in the personal statement. Keep it concise and straightforward; don’t try to cover too much. And of course, proofread thoroughly, but remember to remove tracked changes. Last but not least, the school cautions not to write that you’ll be a good lawyer because you enjoy arguing: “For a number of reasons, it is best to leave this out.”
- Washington and Lee Takes Hofstra Dean- Nora Demleitner, dean of Hoftra University Maurice A. Dean School of Law since 2008, will be the new dean at Washington and Lee University School of Law, The National Law Journal reports. Demleitner will be the school’s first female dean and is particularly interested in the school’s skills-based curriculum, in which third-years take a series of simulation courses. She also “plans to investigate ways to further incorporate international law—and the realities of a global legal market—into the curriculum.” Demleitner has made a significant jump up the U.S. News rankings, with Hofstra ranked No. 84, and Washington and Lee No. 30.
- What’s Hot and Not- The National Jurist reveals what the hot legal practice areas are right now, at least according to the Robert Denney Associates Annual Market Report. “Red Hot” areas are Energy, Banking, Intellectual Property, and Health Care. Labor & Employment Law, Regulatory work, White Collar Crime, Immigration, Financial Services, and Cyber Crime are also “predicted to remain hot in 2012,” and Commercial Real Estate is “starting to get hot.” The country’s hot geographic markets are Washington, D.C. and Texas, especially Houston. Plus, India, Russia, China, and Brazil are the countries considered “major growth opportunities” by global firms.
- Want a High GPA? Hope for the Best…- Law school may have a reputation for its impact on students’ mental health, but a new study has discovered that hope can help determine success. As reported by The National Law Journal, the study asked members of the incoming class at Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law questions pertaining to their levels of hope and optimism. Researchers also analyzed the participants’ LSAT scores and undergrad GPAs. Then, the team “surveyed the participants after four months in law school and collected their first semester grades, performing a statistical analysis to determine how the factors related to each other.” The results? Higher law school and undergrad GPAs were both correlated with high rates of hope. The study also distinguished between hope and optimism, which can boost life satisfaction, but not necessarily GPAs. More surveys have been conducted at other schools, and the data is in the process of being analyzed.
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