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Truth Hurts: Law School Edition

So, it's just your first year of law school, but you've got your future all mapped out. First, law review, then a cushy, high-paying job at a big law firm. Well, leave it to bloggers to provide a cold reality slap.

First comes FSU College of Law Library Blog, which reports that Yale Law School's Career Development Office has posted a page that all would-be and current law students should closely inspect: The Truth about the Billable Hour. As the page explains it, its purpose is to help students understand "the billable hour expectations most law firms have for associates, and the impact of those expectations on your lifestyle." To illustrate this, it does the math, first for a target of 1,800 billable hours and then for 2,200. 

To achieve 1,800 billable hours, Yale computes, an associate would have to work from 8 a.m. to 6:20 p.m. Monday through Friday, for a total of 2,434 hours of work a year. A target of 2,200 hours would require the eager associate to work 12-hour days Monday to Friday plus three Saturdays most months (with an extra Saturday off in November and December), for a total time at work of 3,058 hours.  The computations do not include commuting time or

"any personal calls at work, training/observing, talking with co-workers, a longer lunch (to exercise? Christmas shop?), a family funeral, any pro bono work (if not treated as billable hours), serving on a Bar committee, writing an article for the bar journal, interviewing an applicant, etc."

Meanwhile, Paul L. Caron of TaxProf Blog has the inside track on what law review editors really want. He describes a survey of the article selection process at more than 150 law reviews conducted over the last year by the University of Pennsylvania Law Review.  The survey revealed the factors most and least likely to influence article selection. As Caron explains it, authors most likely to have an article accepted are those who:

  • Are highly influential in the field.
  • Have published frequently in highly ranked law reviews.
  • Are employed at a highly ranked law school.
  • Have a large number of previous publications.
  • Have related practice experience.

Negative influences on selection, Caron reports, are when the author:

  • Is a student.
  • Does not have a law degree.
  • Has no previous publications.
  • Graduated from a poorly ranked law school.
  • Is employed at a poorly ranked law school.

There is good news for law students: It's never too late to consider a public-service career.

Posted by Robert J. Ambrogi on March 28, 2006 at 11:23 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)


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