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In Brief: Blast from the past, research tips, legal career advice.

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Blast from the past

“An obvious question is whether all of these well-trained and well-qualified law graduates will find suitable professional opportunities. . . .”

“In the past year, law students, faculty, and members of the bar have expressed serious concern whether the increased number of law graduates will be able to find satisfactory professional employment. . . .”

“The uncertainty of the economy also creates placement uncertainties. . . .”

Insights from an important discussion of fundamental shifts in legal education? Yes … from four decades ago.

In a post called “Questions, concerns and uncertainty: Legal education 1972–75” at thefacultylounge.org, Dan Filler highlights a few strangely timeless observations from a series of ABA Journal articles written during that period.

Law school classes were diversifying and growing larger, he notes, at a time when the economy was less than robust. One big difference, he adds, is that the cost of legal education was much lower then.

Still, the parallels are striking, and, as Filler says, “one wonders what the public dialogue would have been during those transformational years, if we had had an Internet and the granular placement data now available.”
New area of law? Here’s a research tip
If you’re starting research in a new area of law and don’t know where to begin, Alyson Drake of the Coleman Karesh Law Library at the University of South Carolina (USC) School of Law has a tip for you.

Check out the Legal Research Engine from the Cornell University Law Library, she recommends. Atwww.lawschool.cornell.edu/library/whatwedo/researchguides/legal-research-engine.cfm, type in the area of law you’re researching, and you’ll get links to research guides on that subject area from a variety of law schools.

The guides often list the most important primary and secondary sources and tell you where and how to access them, Drake notes in a post called “How to tackle research in a new area of law” at USC’s Cocky Law Blawg (http://blawg.law.sc.edu).

 

“Don’t start from scratch when the work’s already been done for you!” she advises.
A new source for legal career advice
Marc Luber, who earned his JD at the IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, doesn’t mince words regarding why he started a new venture called JD Careers Out There (jdcareersoutthere.com).

“Law schools generally don’t focus on the practical career stuff, and I admit that like most law students, I didn’t make full use of my school’s career center as a student,” he writes at the site. “It’s no wonder that so many young JDs end up on a path that isn’t for them.”

Luber saw this firsthand, he notes, when he worked as a legal recruiter in Los Angeles: each month, he talked to hundreds of unhappy practicing lawyers who felt they had made the wrong choices at the start of their career and then couldn’t go back and fix them.

JD Careers Out There offers a range of services, but the main focus is on one series of videos featuring lawyers who work in a variety of different fields in and out of the traditional practice of law, and another series focused on mentoring and coaching in day-to-day career issues.

The catch? There’s a membership fee—but you can watch shorter versions of the practice area videos at no charge.

Student Lawyer Student Lawyer magazine provides guidance on educational, career, and related issues for ABA Law Student Division members and other subscribers. It is published four times a year by the Law Student Division of the American Bar Association. Student Lawyer is available online to members of the ABA Law Student Division and to print subscribers.