A steady drop in law school applications indicates that many would-be law students are choosing to forgo an expensive legal education in favor of another career path.
As law schools adapt to a changing market, they are devising new and innovative approaches to legal education in an attempt to recruit students and stay on top of the wave of reform sweeping the nation's law schools. Some of these changes may surprise you.
Below are a few recent trends in law school education:
1. Sample Classes - Not sure if law school is right for you? William & Mary has announced a new program in which non-lawyers can get a taste of law school life through online learning and a three-day on-campus program. This innovative "try before you buy" program is designed to help students decide if they want to attend law school before they commit to incurring large student loan debt.
2. Shortened Programs - Accelerated law school programs have been around a few years but more law schools are joining the ranks of legal institutions offering an alternative to the traditional three-year curriculum. Most recently, Cooley Law School announced a new "three-year plus" program that will shorten the path to a law degree by allowing students to take law school courses in their final year of college. According to the school, "Participating students will save a full year of tuition, room, board and books, and this will make law school more accessible and more affordable." Stetson University College of Law recently unveiled a similar program.
3. Tuition Freezes - Sharp declines in law school enrollment have prompted some law schools to freeze tuition in order to make law school more affordable. The University of Akron Law School, Barry University Law School and UMass School of Law are three schools that have announced tuition freezes for the upcoming school year.
Cover letters are a crucial job search tool. They can help you stand out from the crowd and secure an interview.
Many cover letters could stand improvement. Common issues are cover letters that do not target the specific job, simply rehash the resume, ramble on too long or are clearly cut-and-paste masterpieces. Below are five golden rules to help you craft an effective cover letter:
1. Be specific - Your cover letter should target the job you are seeking and include specific experience and accomplishments that tie into the job ad.
2. Be proactive - It is wise to include a call to action at the end of your letter and follow up.
3. Be original - Your cover letter should not be dull or formulaic. Let your unique personality shine through.
4. Be compelling - Most busy employers skim cover letters. Start your letter with a strong, compelling lead that will hook the reader and encourage them to read the entire letter.
5. Be succinct - Your cover letter should be brief, concise, compelling and to the point. It should never exceed one page.
For more information on writing a great cover letter, review the resources below.
Cover Letter Resources:
For the third consecutive year, the Law School Admissions Council (LSAC) has reported a double digit dip in the percentage of individuals applying to law school in the U.S., prompting some schools to cut the size of their entering classes.
The drop in applications follows one of the nation's most difficult job markets for attorneys. The economic crisis, which began in 2008 (also known as the "Great Recession"), prompted layoffs, hiring freezes and curtailed recruitment in law firms of all sizes. At the same time, law school enrollment steadily increased. Enrollment hit "a 10-year high of 52,500 in fall 2010 -- leading to the lowest levels of employment for new graduates since 1996, a growing proportion of them carrying loans of $120,000 or more, " according to the Washington Post.
Experts speculate that the decrease in law school applications is a natural market adjustment to the glut of attorneys in the marketplace. A shrinking number of jobs, growing law school debt and other factors have encouraged many would-be lawyers to pursue other career avenues.
If you are considering law school, now is a good time to apply - the applicant pool is at an all-time low, creating less competition for those who do apply.
- More Law School Trends
- Law School Guide
- LSAT Facts
- Law School Admission Factors
- Preparing for Your First Year of Law School
In the aftermath of the work-from-home debate sparked by Yahoo's Marissa Meyer, other companies like Best Buy are following suit and eliminating telecommuting perks.
Still, 20 to 30 million people currently work from home at least one day a week and 72% of employees say flexible work arrangements like telecommuting would cause them to choose one job over another.
Below are a few tips from Brad Karsh, President of JB Training Solutions and author of Manager 3.0: A Millennial's Guide to Rewriting the Rules of Management, on how to make telecommuting work for everyone:
1. Managers: Make time for regular feedback. Even in a remote work situation, feedback should be day-to-day, and it doesn't have to be formal. This is your opportunity to set clear expectations and address anything about the remote work situation that is/isn't working. Be open in discussing productivity if you think it's an issue.
2. Telecommuters: Keep your team posted. To avoid the assumption that you are sitting on the couch catching up on Season 3 of Downton Abbey, be available to your team so they can depend on you for support and connection. Send "FYI" updates to the team so everyone is in the loop. Figure out how to anticipate the needs of your team - even from a distance. Go above and beyond to honor the privilege of flexibility you've been given.
3. Everyone: Make some face time. It's difficult to build a strong company culture when people don't see each other. If possible, make face time with your co-workers at least once a week. Meet for coffee, grab lunch, or go to the office for meetings. As the Yahoo HR Department put it: "Yahoo isn't just about your day-to-day job, it is about the interactions and experiences that are only possible in our offices."
More on Telecommuting:
- Work-From-Home Opportunities in the Legal Field
- Telecommuting is on the Rise
- Work-Life Balance Tips
- 20 Advantages of Freelance Work
- 20 Drawbacks of Freelance Work
"Content marketing" is a hot buzz phrase for 2013. Lawyers are beginning to understand the importance of blogging and other forms of online marketing, including:
- Press releases
- White papers
- Social media posts
These and other forms of online content can help lawyers - and other legal professionals - establish themselves as an authority on the web and gain a competitive edge.
What should you write about? One of the most common complaints I hear from attorneys is a lack of topic ideas. This list of over 65 topics is a good place to start if you are short on ideas for your blog.
If you are a legal professional with a blog, add it to our blog directory so that others can learn about your site.
More About Blogging:
The Equal Pay Act celebrates its 50-year anniversary this year. However, females' pay still lags behind their male colleagues across most job functions. In fact, according to a new report released in February, the gender wage gap widened by slightly more than a percentage point in 2012--back to levels last seen eight years ago. Across the economy, females now earn 81 cents for every dollar earned by males.
Despite the continuing pay disparity between men and women, a recent list of the Top 20 Best-Paying Jobs for Women in 2013 by Forbes ranks women lawyers in the number 3 spot.
Women attorneys make up 33% of the profession, earning median yearly earnings of $85,000 and a median weekly salary of $1,636, according to Forbes. Despite these healthy wages, women lawyers only earn 80% of the income earned by men.
The gender gap is particularly pronounced in leadership positions within the legal industry such as law firm partners and corporate general counsels. However, women lawyers in the U.S. are making greater strides than women attorneys in many other countries. For example, a recent study of the pay gap at Britain's law firms shows that the average female lawyer is paid half the average bonus of men and only 76 percent of the average male attorney's salary.
- Women Advance in the Law
- Women in the Workplace
- Law Firm Dress Code for Women
- Best Law Firms for Women
In the past decade, the legal industry has undergone a radical transformation driven by increasingly sophisticated clients with changing needs and shrinking legal budgets. Clients are now much more selective as to which law firm to retain for which type of work. As a result, a number of trends are impacting the industry. A recent report by Huron Consulting Group highlights a few of these trends:
- Market Segmentation - Firms are stratifying into different market segments. According to Huron, segments include:
- The Global Elite - International mega-firms
- Wall Street Firms - Powerful New York firms that have a limited presence outside the Big Apple.
- U.S. Multi-Region Firms - Leaders within their home regions that have expanded into other regions within the U.S., either organically or through merger.
- Regional Firms - Firms that are recognized as leaders within a specific state or region (usually in secondary markets).
- Specialists - Firms focused on specific expertise and often have broad national reputations.
Changing Legal Needs - Law firms are consolidating, partially because clients are choosing from a smaller list of firms to perform high value work. In turn, segmentation is due to greater firm focus and to businesses selecting specific types of firms for particular types and values of work.
Mergers - After a prolonged quiet period, law firm merger activity in the U.S. is starting to pick up as firms scramble to remain competitive by adding scale and capability in key markets.
These key trends will continue to transform the law profession in the coming year. Meahwhile, here are ten other trends shaping the legal industry.
Happy New Year!
Did you make any New Year's resolutions this year? Studies show that most resolutions focus on personal goals such as losing weight, spending less, getting organized or spending more time with family. While these are worthy goals, making career-related resolutions is also important and can help set you on the right track for the coming year.
Studies also show that while nearly half of Americans make New Year's resolutions, only about 8% are successful in achieving their resolutions. If you need a little help in sticking to your goals, here are three ways to help you make good on your New Year's resolutions.
Here's to a happy and successful 2013!
Litigation is the bread and butter of many law firms. It is also a fairly recession-proof practice area since many areas of litigation increase in times of economic uncertainty. Learn more about litigation as well as various career opportunities within the field.
- Civil Litigation
- Pros of a Career in Litigation
- Cons of a Career in Litigation
- Litigation Attorney
- Litigation Paralegal
- Litigation Secretary
- Litigation Support Professional
Hurricane Sandy, a 900-mile-wide hybrid of several weather systems, is wreaking havoc across the Eastern Seaboard, flooding streets, toppling trees and causing widespread power outages and property damage.
Hurricane Sandy and the flurry of recent hurricanes have led to a new law practice niche: hurricane law. Many personal injury attorneys are finding new avenues of revenue by handling hurricane damage claims on behalf of business and property owners. Hurricane lawyers help hurricane victims file insurance claims, interpret coverage issues and litigate insurance bad faith claims, in which hurricane insurance claims are wrongfully denied or mishandled. Hurricane attorneys help clients navigate all phases of the claims process, from initial damage evaluation through settlement, trial and appeal.
Other law practice areas that benefit from hurricanes and other weather disasters include wrongful death, personal injury and bad faith.