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We had some trouble choosing what we were going to include in this week's In the News post. The week was full of big releases that required blogging (Forbes Third Annual America's Best Colleges Ranking) and little announcements that needed to be tweeted but not much else (Thomas M. Cooley Law School asks area residents for help in developing new legal services clinic). Luckily, we managed to find six items of medium importance that we found interesting. Without further ado...
The American Bar Association is considering expanding its sights globally by offering accreditation to non-U.S. law schools that follow the American legal education structure. The panel recommending this expansion suggest that allowing foreign law students and graduates to take the bar exam in any of the 50 states could have a number of benefits: lower law school tuition; help for U.S. citizens tried in foreign courts; and the growth of international law. However, there are downsides as well, such as potential political problems (e.g., if the ABA does not accredit a nationally sponsored law school), more competition for U.S. legal jobs without an increase in jobs outside the United States, and more competition among top private law schools (e.g., that Harvard Law School, Yale Law School and others will suddenly have to compete with top foreign universities like Cambridge, Oxford and the Sorbonne).
The recent clamor for law school transparency among so-called "scam bloggers" has reached fever pitch. Recent grads are calling law schools "ponzi schemes," who lure "hapless lemmings" (a/k/a applicants) on the basis because of inaccurate employment statistics. Given the weak market and upsurge of law school applicants, more and more JDs are graduating with tens, even hundreds, of thousands of dollars worth of debt and none of the six-figure job offers they felt they had been promised. "'I just have a piece of paper that says I'm a lawyer," said [one recent grad], who is considering a gig as a revolutionary war re-enactor."
Although the practice is fairly well established in the United States, using MBA students as "searchers" for potential venture capital investments is finally picking up in the United Kingdom and Europe. The premise is simple: a VC firm pays an MBA student a high salary to find a high-potential business and report back to the firm. The firm and others then invest in the business, in which the MBA stays on as chief executive along with the company's founders. A perfect deal for MBAs who get VC, investment and entrepreneurial experience and jump on the fast track to being a CEO.
The Minnesota Supreme Court is filing an amendment to its state Rules for Admission to the Bar. Licensed, practicing attorneys from other states who did not attend an ABA-accredited law school may now take the MN bar exam. The bar exam is still a state-by-state exam testing state laws--meaning that the bar in Minnesota is different from the bar in Wisconsin--and each state has its own rules for who can take the bar and be admitted to the bar association. For example, graduates of Wisconsin law schools (e.g., the University of Wisconsin Law School) who plan to practice in-state do not have to take the Wisc. bar. The new Minnesota amendment opens the door to graduates of non-ABA accredited law schools, but only a little bit.
John A. Byrne, who "created the first regularly published rankings of business schools and authored four editions of BusinessWeek's Guidebook to the Best Business Schools is now taking on his own project: Poets and Quants, a new way to decide on which MBA program is best for you. 'Poets,' in case you didn't already know, are those who go to business school from a liberal arts background; 'Quants' come in from a background in the sciences or math. The website will be a hub of rankings, rankings about rankings, anecdotes and niche blogs.
A Berkeley law student cited "the shame of being a Boalt Hall student while a war criminal is teaching Constitutional Law" as the reason for the first of a series of protests staged on Monday. Professor Yoo sanctioned the Bush administration's definition of torture back when he was a member of the Bush Administration's Office of Legal Council. The justice department had already cleared the council of professional wrong-doing, but evidently that hasn't placated the students who plan on staging several more rallies and events over the next few months.
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