According to cleveland.com, CWRU Law SchoolProfessor Michael Scharf began teaching a free, online, 8-week class called Introduction to International Criminal Law today, May 1st. At least 17,500 signed up to participate in this venture, which is called a MOCC, or a Massive Open Online Course. Ever since Stanford invented the concept in 2011, MOCCs are apparently taking hold in academic environments across the United States. For his class, Professor Scharf "adapted a course he teaches at CWRU by adding videos, photos and pop-up quizzes. People will post assignments, such as writing a judicial opinion, and others can comment. He will monitor the chat room and participate when possible. The quizzes and final will graded by computer." Like other MOCCs, Professor Scharf's class cannot be taken for credit. The Cleveland Law Library wishes him well with this amazing initiative.
According to law.com, two law schools are offering money-back guarantees to law students. Charlotte School of Law is offering law student graduates $10,000.00 if they do not pass the bar after two tries. In addition, "Florida Coastal School of Law is offering the same refund to students dismissed for academic reasons following their 1L year, plus $2,000 to those who fail to secure a externship, clerkship, clinical experiences or other substantive legal work while in school." Naturally, there are limitations under the law schools' "Assured Outcomes Partnerships," as described in the article.
Nathan has enjoyed his work at the Law Library. His duties
have included, helping patrons locate library materials, suggesting changes to
the Library's collection of Internet Legal Websites, and assisting with reference
inquiries by telephone.
According to the latest 2010 census figures, women now hold 33.4% of the legal jobs in the country as lawyers, judges, magistrates and other judicial workers. These stats are encouraging compared to the 2000 and 1970 figures of 29.2% and 4.9%, respectively. However, the Wall Street Journal reports that there are still disparities between what men and women in the legal field are paid, which the article indicates may be due to individual choices, discrimination or other unknown facors. In addition, although as many women as men are graduating from law schools, many women are apparently leaving the profession for jobs that offer greater flexibility in hours and location. Another discrepancy to which the article refers occurs in law firm management:
"While women have made strides in the legal profession, at law firms few are taking management positions. Some leave for jobs as counsel to corporations, where hours can be more predictable. At large law firms, women make up just 15% of equity partners, according to a survey released in October by the National Association of Women Lawyers. Of the 200 firms surveyed, just 4% had a woman at the helm in the role of firm-wide managing partner."
Yale Law School is starting a brand new degree called a Ph.D. in Law. This degree will be the first of its kind in the United States and will offer lawyers with JDs who want to enter academia the opportunity to focus on legal scholarship for another three (3) years. According to Yale's web site:
"This program will offer young scholars an opportunity to contribute to the development of law as an academic field, and it will provide an alternate path into law teaching alongside existing routes such as fellowships, advanced degrees in cognate fields, and transitioning directly from practice or clerkships."
Applications are already being accepted, and classes will begin in September of 2013.
According to NALP (The Association for Legal Career Professionals), "[t]he median starting salary for new law school graduates from the Class of 2011 fell 5% from that for 2010 and has fallen nearly 17% just since 2009. The mean salary fell 6.5% compared with 2010, and since 2009 the mean has plunged almost 16% according to new research...The research also reveals that the median starting private practice salary fell over 18% from 2010 and since 2009 has fallen an astonishing 35%." More information on this huge downward trend can be found in NALP's extensive press release, which includes a chart showing mean (average) and median (middle) salaries for individuals and firm attorneys. Although the numbers are down a lot, the mean starting salary is $78,653, and the mean firm salary is $97,821. Comparable median figures are $60,000 and $85,000 respectively.
The Ohio Supreme Court will soon be swearing in 250 lawyers. According to the Court's press release about the results of the Feb. 2012 bar exam in Columbus:
"Out of 397 applicants, 250 applicants (63 percent) received passing scores; out of 224 first-time applicants, 79 percent received passing scores. This year’s February bar exam results for all test-takers compare favorably to previous years, which saw 69.77 percent receiving passing scores in 2011, 65.6 percent in 2010, 61.2 percent in 2009, 65.5 percent in 2008 and 63 percent in 2007."
The Court has also posted the list of all the successful candidates' names.
Lawschooltransparency.com has launched a new database that provides key financial and job placement information for potential law students. I compared the numbers for Case Western Reserve University and Cleveland-Marshall to see how local grads are doing. Case currently costs $42,564 compared to CM at $27,204. Barring scholarships and grants, Case 2015 grads face $228,904 in debt, compared to $157,010 for CM grads. Interestingly, however, their employment statistics are pretty close at 64.6% for Case and 62.9% for CM. However, the website reports more under-employed lawyers (i.e., unemployed, part-time or in non-professional jobs) at Case (31.8%) than at CM (22.5%). The final statistic I compared was location of employment, and 53.6% of Case grads stay in Ohio, compared to 96% of CM grads.
Click here for a good article about this new database from law.com.