Archive for Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Heard on the Hill: Law school assistant dean responds to Times article on the law job market; two KU moot court participants complement each other well; KU alum, former KBI director, dies at 82

January 25, 2011


Your daily dose of news, notes and links from around Kansas University.

• The KU School of Law’s assistant dean for career services responded on Monday to my recent call for comments on a New York Times article that discussed how law school graduates were dealing with the recession like the rest of us.

Todd Rogers, the aforementioned assistant dean, posted the response on the school’s blog. It’s an interesting take, and you should go read it.

The Times article detailed how some law schools inflated their job-placement numbers to make it seem like students were getting better jobs than they really were.

Rogers called for students to carefully scrutinize those figures. He said to watch out for figures that blend public and private sector salaries, saying that would result in figures that are “relatively meaningless.”

Perhaps more interestingly, he noted that the author of the Times article said “a school with the guts to report, say, a 4 percent drop in postgraduate employment would plunge in the rankings, leaving the dean to explain a lot of convoluted math, and the case for unvarnished truth, to a bunch of angry students and alums.”

And then he goes on to point out how KU essentially did just that from 2008 to 2009, when its percentage of employed graduates dropped from 93.6 percent to 89.0 percent. Whether KU will see that ‘plunge in the rankings’ has yet to be seen. The 2008 figures were included in the 2010 rankings, when KU placed 67th. The 2011 rankings aren’t out yet, but will take into account the 2009 employment data. I bet a lot of other schools’ numbers will fall, too, so we’ll see what happens. I’ll be watching.

A third point he brought up was the percentage of students in “bar admission required” positions nine months after graduation.

In 2009, 62.2 percent of KU graduates were in those posts, a 12 percent dropoff from 2008. Rogers encouraged prospective students to ask for those figures from law schools, and, after reading the Times article, I can’t say I disagree with that.

I’m still working on a story that brings some of this stuff home locally — so let me know if you’re feeling the pressures of being unemployed and facing a big law school debt, or if you have another perspective on the matter.

Rogers and I agreed to discuss this stuff some more, and I’ve got some more questions for him, but this was a really interesting start.

• Staying in law school briefly.… Today, I’ll be writing about KU’s pair of law students — well, one student and one December graduate, actually — who will be representing the school in an upcoming national moot court competition.

Evan North, who’s still in school, and Lindsay Grisé, who graduated in December, have spent more than 260 hours prepping for this national competition that simulates an oral argument before an appellate court.

That includes time writing a 40-page legal brief, hours and hours of practice rounds before local attorneys, judges and law faculty members and participation in the schoolwide and regional competitions.

Read all about it later today, but I just wanted to pass along something that I thought was kind of neat.

Interviewing both Evan, who has a journalism undergraduate degree, and Lindsay, who has a mechanical engineering degree, it was easy to see how they won over judges. Each told their story in very different ways. Evan’s descriptions had a sort of compelling flow and were well-delivered (I could tell he studied broadcasting), and Lindsay was to-the-point, with supporting facts and details no one else could remember (she knew, for example, without looking it up, that there were 28 teams in the national competition).

But one thing was the same; at the end of nearly every interview I give, I always ask if there’s anything else that the person would like to say, or make sure that I hit in the story.

Both Lindsay and Evan independently said the same exact thing when I asked that question: that I should be sure to give tons of credit to the other person, because each couldn’t have done it without the other.

From talking to them, I could easily see how that’s the case. Good luck in New York, you two. And be sure to tune in later on today to for more on their story.

• I spotted that another notable KU alumnus died recently: Fred Harris Howard II, who died on Friday at age 82.

Howard, a Lawrence resident, was a former director of the Kansas Bureau of Investigation and a former Topeka chief of police. He also taught at the Kansas Law Enforcement Training Center.

• Keep sending in those tips for Heard on the Hill. I’m always here at


nobody1793 7 years, 3 months ago

Andy, did you by any chance interview anyone who gave one-word answers, and who said "first" a lot?

ahyland 7 years, 3 months ago

Not sure I understand where you're headed with that?

nobody1793 7 years, 3 months ago

Read the first entry on OTS just about any day of the week....

ahyland 7 years, 3 months ago

Got it now... not just OTS, but an Internet-wide phenomena, unfortunately... for some reason I thought you meant that I used the word "first" too much. Or something like that, anyway.

MyName 7 years, 3 months ago


Oh wai... I see what you're doing there...

mrjcg2 7 years, 3 months ago

Andy, good article. I'm an attorney with about 20 year's experience. I've always been amazed at how many lawyers the two law schools in Kansas pop out each year. There have never been enough attorney jobs around and I, frankly, have been lucky to have been employed for the majority of my career. I would be interested in the Dean's take on whether we are simply producing too many attorneys for the market to absorb. If so, aren't the law schools partially to blame for over-producing lawyers?

Fatty_McButterpants 7 years, 3 months ago

You should take a look at the interesting article in the NY Times (which is the basis for this story). The onus for too many attorneys is most definitely on law schools. Another article I read noted that many colleges are adding, or trying to add, law schools because of the near-immediate cash flow they produce.

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