Celebrating 10 years! 2007-2017

Paging L4L: Seton Hall Spins Declining Applications

http://www.nj.com/education/2017/02 /seton_hall_law_school_qa 6figuremistake02/08/17
while I hate to stand up for a law school, especially one as dingbat02/08/17
Perhaps. I wish Scott (aka L4L) was still active in these pa 6figuremistake02/08/17
Just to reiterate, I don't want to upsell Seton Hall. A lot dingbat02/08/17
Yeah, I regret I came across as too argumentative in my resp 6figuremistake02/08/17
I don't think a ton of T14 grads, even those from NJ, go bac prestiiigiousone02/15/17
Just to reiterate, I don't want to upsell Seton Hall. A lot dingbat02/08/17
Im not a shill for SHU law. I graduated in 09, and I am sti psusurf02/08/17
Well, one thing I hate is when people double down when they 6figuremistake02/08/17
No such thing as a traffic court clerkship in NJ. The rest sjlawyer02/08/17
thanks to psusurf and sjlawyer for setting the record straig williamdrayton02/08/17
While I agree with the sentiment of only one NJ law school, sjlawyer02/08/17
You really do need two schools - one serving the camden/tren dingbat02/08/17
This clerkship thing reminds me of post-docs for newly minte dnabrams02/12/17
actually, it makes me think of EVERY OTHER COUNTRY, where la dingbat02/12/17
6figuremistake (Feb 8, 2017 - 10:09 am)

http://www.nj.com/education/2017/02/seton_hall_law_school_qa.html

The new dean has an odd definition of "doing well":

"We're doing well. But, you're exactly right. Applications have declined nationally 40 to 45 percent since 2008 and I think a little bit more than that in the New York metropolitan area."

Of course, she probably would also assert that her graduates are doing well when Seton Hall's employment numbers look about as abysmal at their application numbers.

According to the ABA employment data (http://employmentsummary.abaquestionnaire.org/), for 2015 Seton Hall listed 185 of 194 graduates being employed in some capacity after 10 months (itself kind of a sad figure), but...

100 of the 185 were employed as state or local law clerks! Given that only one (yes, one) person was employed as a federal clerk, we can be pretty sure no more than a handful of the graduates landed state supreme court clerkships or similar roles. In fact, NJ is notorious for their one year clerkships (particularly in traffic court), so after one year, plenty of the grads will be right back where they started.

The next largest cohort are the 22 students who ended up in "business" AKA jobs that don't require a law degree. Only 17 students ended up in BigLaw (100+ attorney firms) - assuming this doesn't count temp doc reviewers.

Maybe a bunch of students just wanted to help the trodden and decided not to pursue a lucrative career in private practice? Not according to these numbers; just one lone soul went into public interest law. Only eight found roles in the government - which I assume includes DA's and PD's.

Scam on, scammers.

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dingbat (Feb 8, 2017 - 10:46 am)

while I hate to stand up for a law school, especially one as crappy as Seton Hall, I do want to interject.

My understanding has always been that NJ is one of the places where a state law clerk is actually not a bad outcome. Very few law firms in NJ hire fresh out of law school, they almost always want attorneys to have a clerkship under their belt.

Because of this, it's really hard to understand employment outcomes in NJ. A clerkship could be a stepping stone to a real job (generally, county courts and up), or it could be a way to temporarily defer desperation (municipal courts)

From my law school class, everyone I know who ended up doing a clerkship in NJ ended up with a real job afterwards.

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6figuremistake (Feb 8, 2017 - 11:18 am)

Perhaps. I wish Scott (aka L4L) was still active in these parts as he could respond better. It's true, he ended up with a "real job" after SH (not sure if he had a clerkship immediately after graduation), but despite graduating in the top part of his class, he still rode the PI/doc review/solo circuit in NYC/Northern Jersey.

If SH publishes authenticated post-clerkship numbers that demonstrate this, I'll become a believer, but given that according to a comment on Nando's blog, up until several years ago, SH was claiming top tier salaries for non-attorney graduates, I doubt this will be forthcoming.

I'll concede that the unique situation in NJ may inflate the number of grads going into clerkships rather than into small firms (such as at other similarly ranked schools). Nonetheless, assuming this would even be preferable, if I'm a prospective student, I'd definitely like to see more data before plunking down tuition on the assumption that I won't be one of the traffic law clerks who ends collecting unemployment the year after.

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dingbat (Feb 8, 2017 - 12:48 pm)

Just to reiterate, I don't want to upsell Seton Hall. A lot of NJ clerks went to better schools. Just that it's normal for NJ attorneys to clerk first.

The local biglaw firms/offices barely ever hire someone fresh out of law school, though a few do. There are enough highly qualified people who get a clerkship, and those have already had some training.

Don't forget, for New Jersey, Columbia, NYU and Penn are local schools (for those who don't quite land big-city biglaw), as are Temple and Fordham, both of which are generally considered better than Rutgers/SHU - or at least on par by those schools' alumni. Not to mention plenty of people from the state that go to other T14s and want to return home.

So, while unlike other states a state clerkship is a viable path to employment in NJ, that doesn't mean that a school's graduates who clerk will all be gainfully employed

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6figuremistake (Feb 8, 2017 - 12:55 pm)

Yeah, I regret I came across as too argumentative in my response. In my post below, I conceded that you can't really draw an inference based upon the clerkship data. Unfortunately, with the limited employment data, it's hard to say what the next steps will be for these graduates. They could all go on to work at BigLaw for big bucks or they could all be unemployed. Most likely, it's the usual mix of some unemployed; most ending up in small law; few in the BigLaw. Thanks for the insight into NJ hiring practices!

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prestiiigiousone (Feb 15, 2017 - 1:46 pm)

I don't think a ton of T14 grads, even those from NJ, go back to practice right out of law school. They'd rather live in NYC or DC. They may end up back in NJ eventually, but if you can do biglaw in NYC right out of law school, you'll do that instead of midlaw in Morristown.

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dingbat (Feb 8, 2017 - 12:48 pm)

Just to reiterate, I don't want to upsell Seton Hall. A lot of NJ clerks went to better schools. Just that it's normal for NJ attorneys to clerk first.

The local biglaw firms/offices barely ever hire someone fresh out of law school, though a few do. There are enough highly qualified people who get a clerkship, and those have already had some training.

Don't forget, for New Jersey, Columbia, NYU and Penn are local schools (for those who don't quite land big-city biglaw), as are Temple and Fordham, both of which are generally considered better than Rutgers/SHU - or at least on par by those schools' alumni. Not to mention plenty of people from the state that go to other T14s and want to return home.

So, while unlike other states a state clerkship is a viable path to employment in NJ, that doesn't mean that a school's graduates who clerk will all be gainfully employed

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psusurf (Feb 8, 2017 - 12:14 pm)

Im not a shill for SHU law. I graduated in 09, and I am still paying off my tremendous debt and will for a long time. I think all NJ law schools place a ton in state clerkships, not just SHU. I disagree though that most of those law clerks then become unemployed. The trial court clerkship is basically one year of getting to know all the local attorneys, and then using that relationship to land a job. My clerkship year only 3 law clerks out of about 28 didn't land jobs. They also were mouth-breathers with the social skills of a llama. These clerkships are normally the gateway to small law and some mid law jobs. Thats what I did, and most of my fellow clerks have been successful in the general sense of the word.

And, BTW, there is no traffic court law clerks.

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6figuremistake (Feb 8, 2017 - 12:45 pm)

Well, one thing I hate is when people double down when they are obviously wrong.

I think the problem is that the clerkships in NJ obscure the "real" career paths graduates take. Most likely, if SH was in another state, it would just be the usual story of lots of people going to small law firms (of questionable desirability) and few making it into Biglaw. Without additional data, it's hard to say for sure.

Nonetheless, I stand corrected. The large allocation of graduates into clerkships does not mean that SH is any worse than its peer second tier schools (for what that's worth).

I'll leave it at that.

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sjlawyer (Feb 8, 2017 - 3:37 pm)

No such thing as a traffic court clerkship in NJ. The rest tho - fair. State court clerkships are common, but it's really just a way for schools to avoid the 9 month check-in. No one knows what the outcome is for students after clerking and no one is checking.

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williamdrayton (Feb 8, 2017 - 4:46 pm)

thanks to psusurf and sjlawyer for setting the record straight on the so-called "traffic court" clerkships in New Jersey - there is no such thing - all clerkships are at the county Superior court, Appellate Division and Superior Court.

having said that, New Jersey employers still have a major fetish for judicial clerks. just look at the job postings for proof (you almost never see this requirement/preference in Pennsylvania or New York job postings).

my perspective is purely anecdotal but my impression is that the Superior Court clerkships are no longer the automatic gold ticket they might have been 15-20 years ago. there are simply too many clerks to absorb into the entry level market each year. the political connections are helpful but in many localities it's simply a numbers game. Moreover, the judge is only likely to be able to help you in his county or adjacent counties. a firm in Bergen County may not give a rip that you clerked for a judge down in Mercer County that they never heard of .

by the way - New Jersey really only needs one law school - close down SHU and do a real merger of Rutgers Camden and Rutgers Newark into one campus in New Brunswick. the market simply can't support the number of grads - especially given the local competition from the law schools in Philadelphia and NYC.

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sjlawyer (Feb 8, 2017 - 4:57 pm)

While I agree with the sentiment of only one NJ law school, the dual campus thing is a reality in NJ. Putting a campus in the middle helps no one. They'll probably close camden down eventually, but I'd rather see two small schools with stupid video-classes than one where neither group of students can easily commute to the big cities.

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dingbat (Feb 8, 2017 - 5:46 pm)

You really do need two schools - one serving the camden/trenton market, and one serving the newark market. Both are big enough to support a small law school - except that schools in either market get considerable competition from the NYC/Philly schools. Someone with sub-par grades at NYU, or median at Fordham has a leg up in Newark (except maybe with Rutgers alum) and I'm sure the same is true with philly schools in trenton

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dnabrams (Feb 12, 2017 - 4:38 am)

This clerkship thing reminds me of post-docs for newly minted PhDs: Yet another pseudo-requirement which has the dual effect of degrading lifetime earnings and undermining peoples' chances of ultimately landing a full time job with a living wage. Because a percentage of people will falter at each step for whatever reason.

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dingbat (Feb 12, 2017 - 3:48 pm)

actually, it makes me think of EVERY OTHER COUNTRY, where lawyers need to apprentice under an experienced attorney for a few years before they can get licensed.

Any idiot can get a JD (and let's face it, only idiots even attend certain law schools), and while not everyone can pass the bar the first time, it's not that high a bar. And at that point we're woefully inexperienced.

I mean, just about every law student takes civil procedure. But, how do you actually file a motion? Answer a motion? Admit evidence? File an appeal? Sure, we're all taught what to look for if a case is ever appealed, but, how many law students are prepared to try a case? Or even ever entered a court room for that matter.
How many newly minted attorneys know how to write a contract? Understand how transactions actually take place in the real world? Know how many documents are involved in buying/selling a home?

I can go on, but, basically, a newly minted attorney doesn't know sh*t

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