Adjunct Law Prof Blog

Editor: Mitchell H. Rubinstein
New York Law School

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Friday, July 22, 2011

Basketball Career Backup Plan-Law School!!

We all know that the chances of making it professional sports are remote. A career may even be cut short because of a labor dispute. So, it is of course, wise to have a back up plan. But how many professional players have a back up plan. Well, here is a story about one who does.  Ben Wallace of the Detroit Pistons back-up plan is to attend law school. An ABA Journal Blog article is available here. A copy of a Detroit News article which provides further details is available here.

Mitchell H. Rubinstein

July 22, 2011 in Law Students | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, January 9, 2011

So You Want To Be A Lawyer

Is Law School A Losing Game?, is an important Jan. 8, 2011 NY Times article that everyone thinking of law school should read. It describes the terrible job prospects new lawyers face and questions whether law school is worth it since so manner graduate with unheard of amounts of debt. 

My take is a bit different. You should not be going to law school for the money. You should be going to law school because you want to learn to think like a lawyer and you want to be a lawyer period. The jobs will come- when the economy gets better. I know it is easy for me to say this, but the fact of the matter is that is you want to be a lawyer you have to go to law school.

Though many new graduates are unemployed, many many graduates do find jobs-good jobs. But students should go into this with their eyes wide open. That is why it is important to read the above article.

Mitchell H. Rubinstein 

January 9, 2011 in Colleges, Law Schools, Law Students, Lawyer Employment | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, November 8, 2010

Text Book Inflation

The cost of college and law school textbooks is unbelievably high and it gets little attention. The Albany Times Union published an important newspaper article documenting this fact of university life. The article points out that publishers will not have to make additional cost disclosure options available; however I doubt that will mean anything.  As the article states: 


Now, there is some relief for students who pay hundreds of dollars every semester. A provision of the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008 took effect this month.


The first direct federal action to address textbook prices could help lower student costs by creating more competition and breaking the tight control publishers have on the textbook market.

Publishers are now required to disclose prices and revision information when marketing textbooks to professors, which will allow them to choose lower-cost options. Publishers now are required to offer all of the items in textbook bundles for sale separately so students won't be forced to pay for CDs or passcodes they don't need. Colleges are now also encouraged to provide the list of assigned textbooks for each course so students can shop around for the best deal.

Read more:

Some relief will come when electronic texts are used in all classes. However, something tells me that those texts will not be much cheaper than the traditional books. 

Mitchell H. Rubinstein


November 8, 2010 in Colleges, Law Students | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Does It Pay To Get An LL.M?

The Wall Street Law Journal Blog ran an interesting story on September 20, 2010, here, questioning whether an LL.M degree was worth it. The article seemed to concluded that it generally was not worth it unless the student was interested in a highly specialized field such as tax.  

I tend to agree. Also, the academic job market has become so competitive that I am sorry to report that an LL.M is not enough to land a law school or even a college teaching job in most competitive markets (where everyone wants to work). If your interested in a full time academic appointment, your looking at a J.S.D. or P.hd degree. That is the reality of todays world.

Mitchell H. Rubinstein

September 25, 2010 in Law Schools, Law Students | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, August 6, 2010

Study Claims That Grades Are More Important Than The Law School

The Wall Street Journal Law Blog reported on July 30th about a study which indicated that grades were more important than the particular law school chosen by the student. As the article states:

 Go to the best law school you get into.

It’s advice that’s been passed down through the ages, from generation to generation. Law is a profession that trades, the thinking goes, on prestige. Clients like prestigious names like Wachtell and Cravath; the wealthiest firms like names like Harvard, Yale and Chicago. Get into one of those schools, and up go your chances of going to a big firm, kicking tail, making partner and grabbing that brass ring.

Or so the conventional wisdom has for decades dictated.

But is it true? In a new paper, UCLA law professor Richard Sander and Brooklyn law professorJane Yakowitz argue no. “Eliteness” of the school you attended matters much less, they found, than your GPA.

I for one still believe that a student should go to the best law school they could get into. Then get the best grades that you can. I do not know how you can separate grades from school. I think it would not be reasonable for a student to chose a lower ranked school because he or she "thinks" that he or she may get better grades at a lower ranked school.

Mitchell H. Rubinstein

Hat Tip: Neil J. Dudich, Esq.

August 6, 2010 in Law Schools, Law Schools, News, Law Schools, Rankings, Law Students | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Law Student Sets Up Pay Pal Account To Accept Tuition Donations

Here is a new one. A law student, actually a accepted student to Univ of North Carolina at Chapel Hill set up a web site and is seeking donations for her tuition. So far, she had gotten 3 donations. An article about this student in the ABA New Journal Now is available here.

Mitchell H. Rubinstein

June 26, 2010 in Law Students | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Law Students Push For Transparency In Law School Employment Data

The ABA Journal News Now reported on two law students who are pushing for transparency in law school employment data. They published a scholarly article on the this topic (and cited Adjunct Law Prof Blog) which is available on SSRN. They also maintain a web site. This is a serious issues that schools need to pay attention to. It is also an important issue and the U.S. News ranking data is based, in part, on employment stats.

Mitchell H. Rubinstein

June 17, 2010 in Law Students, Lawyer Employment | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, May 24, 2010

Bar Exam Apps

You new it had to be coming. There are now bar exams apps for the iphone. A company called BarMax makes one for the California Bar and it is not cheap. It is over $1,000. BAR/BRI also offers an app, but the students must be enrolled in the their course. Emanuel Bar review also makes a series of apps at $12.99 each. You can read more about it in the May 2010 ABA Journal.

Mitchell H. Rubinstein

May 24, 2010 in Law Students | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

St. John's Law School Announces Boyd Scholarship Winner

SJ_Logo SJU masthead

I am delighted to be a member of the Board of Advisors at St. John's Law School's Center for Labor and Employment Law. The Center has several important events planned. On June 2, 2010, the Honorable Wilma Liebman, Chairman of the NLRB, will speak at the Center’s official opening.On June 3-4, the Center will co-sponsor, with the Cornell University ILR School, NYU Law’s 63rd Annual Conference on Labor. Other events planned include:

September 16, 2010, - Professor Jack Getman, the Earle E. Sheffield Regents Chair in Law at the University of Texas School of Law, will discuss his new book: Restoring the Power of Unions: It Takes A Movement
• September 22, 2010 – The Center will host the Law School’s 14th Annual Management Lawyers’ Colloquium
• March 18-19, 2011 - The Center, in cooperation with the St. John’s Center for Law and Religion, will host The Theology of Work and the Dignity of Workers symposium conference (8 CLE credits available)*
• July 20-23, 2011 - In cooperation with the Law School’s Hugh L. Carey Center for Dispute Resolution and Center for International and Comparative Law, the Center will convene the symposium conference Labor and Employment Dispute Resolution: International and Comparative Perspectives (20 CLE credits available)

One of the core purposes of the Center is to support our students through scholarships and internship opportunities. One such scholarship is The Boyd Scholarship (2010). It is funded through the generosity of Patrick Boyd ’00, senior partner of the Boyd Law Group. This scholarship supports the summer employment of a law student committed to employee rights. The first winner is:

Shazana Zumpfe-Cochran ’12
Inaugural Boyd Scholar for Labor and Employment Law
BBA, Baruch 2005

Mitchell H. Rubinstein

May 18, 2010 in Law Schools, News, Law Students | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Some Washington Area Law Schools Are Trying To Help Students Get Summer Jobs

The March 16, 2010 Blog of the Legal Times reported that some Washington area law schools are taking steps to help students obtain summer employment. Unfortunately, the article is short on details. It does describe one school that his increasing a fund to presumably fund summer jobs and increasing access to the law school for recruiters.

Mitchell H. Rubinstein

April 27, 2010 in Law Schools, Law Students | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, March 13, 2010

So You Want To Be A Law Clerk

Crunching Clerks is an excellent Feb. 2010 ABA Journal article which highlights something I was totally unaware of. Today it is much more difficult for law students to find jobs as law clerks. Why? Because of the poor economy. Quite simply some jurisdictions are cutting down on the number of people they hire.

Mitchell H. Rubinstein

March 13, 2010 in Law Students | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Study: Minority Law Student Numbers Dip as Law School Capacity Rises

The percentage of African-American and Mexican-American students enrolled in law school dipped between 1993 and 2008, even as overall law school capacity rose across the country, according to a study released Tuesday by Columbia Law School's Lawyering in the Digital Age Clinic. Over the 15-year period, the study found that there was a 7.5 percent decrease of African-American first-year students and 11.7 percent drop of Mexican-American first-years.

The American Lawyer Jan. 7, 2010

Mitchell H. Rubinstein

February 17, 2010 in Law Schools, Law Students | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Berkeley and Georgetown Law Announce Student Loan Forgiveness Program

Karen Sloan (National Law Journal) reported last weekend that law schools at UC-Berkely and Georgetown are offering to forgive law school debts for graduates who commit to work in public interest law for at least 10 years.  

Sloan reports that the programs are tied to recently enacted federal legislation designed to assist debt-laden college students:

The loan forgiveness programs at Georgetown and Berkeley are designed to complement the College Cost Reduction & Access Act — a federal program intended to help borrowers manage their student debt that went into effect in July. The federal program is especially helpful for public interest workers, because the government will forgive the loan balance after the borrower has made payments for 10 years. Loan forgiveness applies to lawyers working at nonprofit organizations, government agencies and legal aid organizations.

Under the income-based repayment portion of the new federal program, monthly loan payments are capped at about 10% of the borrower's income, which is important because public interest lawyers generally make far less than their counterparts at law firms. A survey last year by the National Association for Law Placement found that public interest attorneys can expect starting salaries of about $41,000.

Both Berkeley and Georgetown will pay the entirety of those capped monthly payments for 10 years, until the federal government forgives the debt.

The program does not offer full coverage for graduates in public interest law making high salaries.  Full coverage is available Berkeley graduates making up to $65,000 annual salary and to Georgetown graduates making up to $75,000 annual salary.  Graduates earning more receive loan assistance on a sliding scale to around $100,000 in annual salary.  Sloan further reports that the program is funded by alumni donations at Georgetown and student fees at Berkeley.  

With the economy in recession, law school costs rising and the demonstrated need for attorneys committed to public interest work as strong as ever, these loan forgiveness programs look like they can't miss.

Craig Estlinbaum

December 3, 2009 in Announcements, Law Schools, Law Students | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Careers In Education Law

The National School Board Association has an excellent web site, as well as a brochure, here,where they describe careers in school law. That web site is available here.  The web site summarizes potential school law or what I prefer to call education law, careers as follows:

Most public school districts are multi-million dollar entities. The school attorney (whether in private practice or as an employee of the district) acts as corporate counsel, and advises the school board and the school administration on contract and general business affairs, human resource and collective bargaining issues, state and federal constitutional provisions, state and federal statutory issues, and case law that may impose liability on the school district. School attorneys represent kindergarten through 12th grade elementary, middle, or secondary level public schools, but some also advise community colleges and universities.

On any given day, the school attorney might find himself/herself advising a public school board client about separation of church and state issues such as the constitutionality of teaching “intelligent design” and/or evolution; investigating an allegation of sexual harassment of a student by a school staff member; meeting with a committee of school personnel and parents about the educational programming of a student with a disability; arguing a case about student dress codes in federal court; or researching and drafting a school board policy on state open meetings laws. School attorneys have the opportunity to be involved in some of the most significant legal issues of our time.

I would add that there is tremendous opportunity for students truly interested in education law because most law schools do not focus on it. Thus, it is often off the radar. However, both large and small law firms represent districts. There are opportunities to work in labor unions, advocacy organizations as well as the school district irtitself. The NYC Department of Education, for example, employs hundreds of attorneys. The Newark Board of Education employs large numbers of attorneys as well.

Mitchell H. Rubinstein

December 2, 2009 in Law Students, Lawyer Employment | Permalink | Comments (1)

Friday, November 13, 2009

West Puts Law Books On Kindle

West recently announced that it is releasing e-book editions of 29 of its most popular law books. The releases include the book co-authored by Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia legal wordsmith Bryan Garner, Making Your Case: The Art of Persuading Judges. West is offering the titles for electronic download to be read on Amazon's Kindle e-book reader. Recently, Amazon dropped the price of the U.S. version of the Kindle by $40 to $259.

A sign of the times. Sounds like a good idea to me. Will save everyone money.

Mitchell H. Rubinstein

November 13, 2009 in Blogs, Legal, Law Schools, Law Students | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, November 5, 2009

So You Want To Be A U.S. Supreme Court Clerk

The Oct. 2009 ABA Journal has a very interesting article entitled Shedding Tiers. It describes how the job of Supreme Court Clerk is usually limited to graduates of the top 5 law schools. Justice Scalia was even quoted as such. The article, however, discusses the case of Lucas Townsend who graduate Seton Hall Law School and was hired as a law clerk to Justice Alito.

Justice Alito worked as a adjunct for years at Seton Hall before he was nominated to the Supreme Court. I wonder if Mr. Townsend was one of his students.

Mitchell H. Rubinstein 

November 5, 2009 in Law Schools, Law Students, Lawyers, Supreme Court | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Plagiarism Scanner

Here is a new one. A company actually is marketing a plagiarism scanner. It can be used by students or profs. It only seems to scan the internet so it is of limited utility for lawyers and law professors. A link to it can be found here.

It is questionable that such a program can be of any use to a student (college or law student) as they have no need to check if something they wrote was improper. I can see profs making some use out of this service because they can check on students. I suppose journals and tenure committees could also make use of such a scanner to check on the profs. 

A plagiarism scan does not come cheap, but it is not overly expensive either. The prices are as follows:

       Personal - 10,000 words, $14.95

Mitchell H. Rubinstein

October 21, 2009 in College Professors, Law Professors, Law Students | Permalink | Comments (2)

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

$70,000 Per Year To Attend Law School! This is Real!

Ever wonder how much it is to attend a top ranked law school in New York? Well, Columbia charges $48,004 which does not include $1638 for health insurance or a $95.00 transcript fee.The estimated living expense is $21, 263. That comes to more than $70,000 per year. Now Columbia may be on the high side, but many schools' tuition is in the $40,000 range.

Hat Tip: Above The Law

Mitchell H. Rubinstein

October 14, 2009 in Law Schools, Law Students | Permalink | Comments (1)

Students From Lower Tier Law Schools Are Happier At The Big Firms

Legal Blog Watch has an excellent September 4, 2009 story which discusses a study by the American Bar Foundation, and which was reported on in the September 2009 American Lawyer. In a nutshell, the study demonstrates that lawyers from less elite schools are happier at big law firms than others.

This comes as no surprise to me-having worked at 2 large NYC law firms and have litigated against a dozen or so of them. It is not uncommon for students from Ivy League Schools to have a chip on their shoulder. They think that they are better than this and they are in for a surprise when they actually have to produce.

Don't get me wrong. Many of these same graduates are very bright. However, when your in practice for a while where you went to law school is about as important as where you went to college.

Mitchell H. Rubinstein

October 14, 2009 in Law Firms, Law Students | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Louis Jackson Memorial National Law Student Writing Competition in Employment and Labor Law

I am pleased to advise you that once again the law firm Jackson Lewis and Chicago-Kent’s Institute for Law and the Workplace will cosponsor the annual Louis Jackson Memorial National Law Student Writing Competition in Employment and Labor Law.  The papers and supporting documents are due Tuesday, January 19, 2010.  Papers are blind judged by a national panel of law professors.  Neither Jackson Lewis nor Chicago-Kent have any say in the selection of the winners.


For many years now, Jackson Lewis has funded this competition in memory of Louis Jackson, one of the founders of the firm.  The first place award is $3,000 and there are two second place awards of $1,000 each.  I have attached a flyer with more information about the competition.  The flyer is available here .

Hat Tip: Professor Martin Malin

Mitchell H. Rubinstein

October 7, 2009 in Law Students | Permalink | Comments (0)