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Interesting Comments, Rumors and Observations…

Well, it’s been a week since we had you over to our place.  We’ve spent time cleaning up, putting the furniture back in place and doing the dishes. All those dishes…who’d have thought entertaining 200 people would be so exhausting.  I’ve also had time to think about those few days you spent with us and here are some random musings.

1.  Will our entering class be 220-strong?  I’ve heard that this rumor was floating around over the weekend.  Unless ALL of you at the weekend accept our offer, this will not happen.  Put any concern you might have about SLS getting any larger to rest.  180 suits us just fine.

2.  I was asked an interesting question about our admissions policy.  Will Dean Kramer’s departure signal a change in the way we review files and make decisions?  Specifically, will we become a school that places a great deal of emphasis on the numbers rather than looking at the entire file?   My initial reaction to the question was one of curiosity.  Why the concern for policy when you’re in and all is good?   But, then I put on my big picture glasses and realized why the question was being asked.  The student wanted to be a part of the community that our admissions process had put together and a change to those policies could signal a change in the kinds of students who were admitted and who chose to attend.  Well, no need to worry.  I’ve worked closely with three deans (Brest, Sullivan and Kramer) and not once in all the years of collaboration did we ever think about doing things any differently.  I have no doubt that the incoming dean – from inside SLS or from outside SLS – will see any reason to change our course.  What do we have to gain in comparison to all that we’d lose?

3.  This dovetails nicely with a question I was asked dealing with change.  As many of you may have heard, Dean Kramer is leaving us to become the head of the Hewlett Foundation.  With his departure, will the school rethink its direction or back away from the reforms that have taken place during his deanship?  Dare I say that the changes at SLS are bigger than the man himself?  As he would be the first person to tell you, these were developed and implemented by and with the support of the whole community—faculty, alumni, students, and staff—after an engaged conversation about what we could and should do to keep SLS at the forefront of legal education.  SLS remains fully committed to its interdisciplinary focus.  We remain fully committed to the idea of collaboration and cross-pollination with other departments and schools on campus.  We remain fully committed to experiential learning, to fostering innovation among and by and with our students, and to doing all this in the unique ways we do.  Dean Kramer leaving will not alter this course.

A good question to ask is what will we do between now and when his successor is named?  A search committee is being formed, and that committee will include student representation.  Students are right now in the process of selecting their voice for the committee, which is expected to start meeting before the summer.  We’ll have the benefit of Dean Kramer’s guidance through the end of the summer, and an interim dean will take over his responsibilities if a successor has not yet been chosen.

Another good question to ask is whether you’ll get the chance to interact with Dean Kramer down the road?  Guess what?  He’ll be back to teach – not in your first year, for sure, but he’ll be back and rumor has it that he’s branching out and will teach other things in addition to Constitutional Law.

4.  Some of you have inquired about being assigned to particular professors for fall quarter classes for a variety of reasons – you went to their home for dessert, you hit it off in a discussion after a panel, your area of interest overlaps with theirs, etc.  Sorry to say, assignments are all done in a somewhat random fashion.  Of course, I do a balancing act to adjust for gender, age, backgrounds and other factors.  Imagine if we ended up with all the hard science PhDs in the same small section or all the Duke undergrads (insert any college name here) congregating in one group.  And, you know what?  It doesn’t matter if you’re not assigned to your dream professor’s section.   You will make the connection without my assignment.  That, I can guarantee.  So, just to be clear, no need to send me books by my favorite author, a case of Diet Coke or anything else you think I might enjoy – there is no need for them.

5.  Who in the world is Ryan Lee?  He showed up on Sunday at the registration table and asked to sign in.  We did not have a packet with his name on in it, but no problem on our end.  We always make up extras for those few admits who show up without RSVPing.  We didn’t question him when he said who he was – who signs in as an admit if they’re really not an admit?  Well, apparently Ryan Lee does.  He picked up a blank nametag, wrote his name on it and then headed off to a panel.  Go figure.  So, for those of you who are planning to walk through our doors come August, be on the lookout for Ryan.  He might just show up for a class.

6.  Deadlines are approaching and you’ve got some thinking to do.  I’ll leave you alone to your thoughts and we’re keeping our fingers crossed that you’ll choose wisely.


Years before the economic crisis hit us and years before the media turned its attention to the problems facing law schools and legal education, SLS started charting a new course for legal education.  In looking back, we now know that the economic crisis not only accelerated the pace of changes to the profession but, as well, accelerated the pace at which legal education must adapt to these changes.  Today, as we reflect on all that has taken place, what we are most certain of is that the course we charted years ago is exactly on target.  Read through this and see for yourself.


As of 5 pm on December 16, the university officially closed down for our winter break.  Every year our Facilities and HR people keep telling us that we’re not supposed to be in any of the buildings if at all possible.  Stay home, take a break, rest, relax, etc., etc., etc.  Bah, humbug, I say.  Whoever made the decision to shut this place down clearly does not understand the intricacies of the admissions cycle.  Could there be a worse time for us to stay home, take a break, rest, relax, etc, etc. etc?  Well, just between us, we actually arranged to work one day last week and we’ll be doing a little bit more this coming week.  Sure, we’re ignoring the phones and emails for now, but applications are being processed.  And right now, that’s what matters most.  I’m still keeping busy with my file reading and trying really hard to get caught up.  In fact, I made some calls this first week of the shut-down and will make some again this coming Tuesday and Wednesday.  After that, though, we’ll really turn everything off and stay away from the office until January 3 so there will be silence on my end when it comes to making new offers.

When I woke up this morning to feed Malcolm (my golden retriever and not my husband or son who are capable of feeding themselves although you’d not always know that if you met them), it was freezing outside.  I know my idea of freezing is probably quite different than yours, but it was still really, really cold – all the way down to the low 30’s.  My iPhone said 28 degrees but my rule of thumb is to add on about five degrees to whatever I see.  But, why am I bringing up the weather?  Yes, it’s cold for me – maybe not for you – but you should revel in the fact that I’m shivering because this means I have no plans to do anything but sit here with my computer reading files.  The house is cozy.  I’ve got a cup of hot tea nearby.  I’m reading files and perfectly happy doing so.   And that’s a good thing – you want me happy as I read!

I can now only wistfully recall the warmth last Christmas when I was in that small town on the Big Island – my ancestral home as one of my colleagues here told me I should say in order to distinguish Waimea from Palo Alto.  He claims he gets confused by my usage of the word “home”.  Do I mean here or there?  So, ancestral home it is.  As you might imagine, it was a bit harder to read files in Hawaii last year.  Family and friends beckoned, Hapuna Beach called out to me, old haunts yearned to be visited, but I still managed to read.  That is, until my sister told me to take a couple of days off.  Her reasoning?  I was home for a visit so what I really needed to do was take a break, rest, relax, etc., etc., etc.

Funny how that message keeps popping up.  Maybe there’s a lesson here for all of us.  Take the time to enjoy the season.  What’s left undone with your application will wait for a couple of days.  What could you do instead?  Go see a movie.  Browse the shelves in your local bookstore and find some books to read.  [My stack includes The Boy in the Moon, The Buddha in the Attic, The Last Werewolf, Cocktail Hour Under the Tree of Forgetfulness and In the Garden of Beasts.] Cook a meal that takes more than 30 minutes to put together.  Bake some cookies and pay a visit to your neighbors with some in hand.  Flip through your old photo albums and reminisce about people far away and moments long gone.  Take a breath and just be.

Moshi Moshi…

It’s mid-December and I’ve not yet started to make my calls to you.  That will change very soon (as in today or tomorrow) and you may be the one to see the 650 call come through or you may be the one to read that congratulatory email in your in-box.  I’ve got a stack of files in front of me and I’m feeling a tad playful and mischievous  thinking about who will be that first person I call.  Should I do it in alpha order?  Should I do it by date the files were completed?  Should I just toss the files up in the air and pick the one that lands face up?  Should I get out my map of the country, close my eyes and pick a state?  [Remember spinning the globe when you were young – with no idea of what was yet to come – to decide where you’d live when you grew up?]  Should I do it by time zone?  I really shouldn’t call someone from California when it’s 7:15 am, right, especially if that someone is still in school?

If you’ve not read my blog from last year about my Don’t Do This list, spend a few minutes and take a glance at it.  All five points are still relevant.  I did not hear “I’m in the middle of lunch. Can I call you back?” last season and thank goodness for that.  I was fully prepared to first scream into the phone and then very politely say “I’m sorry.  I think I’ve reached you in error.  Sorry to have been a bother.”  I do want to add one question to that original list and I really hope no one will ask this of me this year.  “I know you send out t-shirts, so could I get one in an extra small?”  If that question pops up, I guarantee that particular admit will end up with the largest t-shirt in our stash.  I suppose it’s not really an outlandish question and nowhere as obnoxious as the out to lunch comment, but still.

Now, I hope you won’t be nervous or anxious when I reach you quite simply because there is no reason for you to be nervous or anxious.  It’s just me calling.  It’s okay if you can’t think of anything especially coherent to say at the moment.  I understand.  It’s okay if you start screaming and can’t seem to stop.  I understand.  Someone who did just that last year is here now in the 1L class and we laugh about it with each other.  It’s okay if you think about something witty you could have said three minutes after we end the conversation.  I understand.  I’m here if you want to give me a call back.  It’s just me and you’ve got my number.  It’s not okay to tell me you’ve already heard from other schools.  I won’t understand.  Just kidding.  Remember one thing…if the call (or email) comes, it is well deserved and I should really be the one screaming into the phone hoping you’ll choose Stanford.

Talk to you soon…

(Curious about the meaning of Moshi Moshi?)

Full Steam Ahead and the Importance of Threads…

My fall travels are O-V-E-R and I don’t need to get on a plane again until mid-February.  No more checking weather.com to learn how to pack that suitcase.  No more trying to decide whether to layer or just take that winter coat.  No more perusing Google maps to figure out how to get from my hotel to wherever it is that I need to be.  This is especially difficult as I have no sense of direction – all I needed to know growing up in Hawaii was whether someplace was mauka or makai.  No more putting my life in the hands of NYC cab drivers.  No more wishing and wishing for that upgrade to first class.  Has anyone else noticed that since the United and Continental merger these upgrades are harder to come by?  No more cursing those passengers who can’t figure out when they should board.  No, Seating Area 3 does not board immediately after first class.  No more trying to trying to unlock my hotel room door only to find that it’s not my room.  Right, that was last night’s room number.  But, why should you care about all of this?  Well, this means I now can devote my full attention to your application.  No more reading an application here and an application there.  The reading season is now fully underway and it’s full steam ahead.

Now that I’m reading in earnest, let me tell you a little bit about my reading process and my reading habits.  I get numerous distractions in the office over the course of the day and I sometimes find I cannot make the desired dent in my electronic reading stack so I actually do a lot of my reading at home. The hubby is watching football (insert any other sport here) or some History channel show (yuck – still don’t understand why he’s not a Criminal Minds fan) and the only child is off at college.  All this equals no distractions.  If I’m in the zone and have had a marathon reading day, I probably am not going to do the same thing again the next day.  If you ran a marathon today, you’ll probably not run a second marathon tomorrow – you might instead take the day off from running or do a light workout.  Ditto with file reading for me.  Reading takes concentration and focus and it needs 100% attention.  Some files are easy to read and the decision comes easily – there is depth to the application and everything ties in together.  Things are connected and I am able to get a really good sense of who you are – how you think, what you think.  Others, however, I labor over because I’m not able to easily put together the puzzle pieces and have to really dig to get to know you.  It just depends on the file.  Sometimes I can’t quite put my finger on it, but my Spidey sense starts tingling and those files take longer as well.  Sometimes I come across a personal statement that is enthralling and that makes me push the file into the admit group.  Sometimes I come across a personal statement that is appalling and that makes me push the file into the deny group.  Sometimes everything falls into place and I jump up and down and start clapping – not literally, of course, but I will smile and you know which group this file ends up in.  My critique of applications could be visualized, I suppose, along the lines of the San Francisco Chronicle’s Little Man icon for movie reviews .  And, yes, sadly, there are times when an empty chair is appropriate.

Let me ask the same question I asked in the first paragraph of this posting.  Why should you care about all of this? Three reasons.  First, I want to highlight the importance of having that thread in your application that unifies things.  Remember this – it is your responsibility to make sure that thread exists.  It is your task to weave that thread in and to make sure it is there for me to discover.  I will find it, but only if you have put it there to begin with.  Second, excellent writing skills are so important and this comes through most significantly through the personal statement.  Your task is not just to tell me a story, but to tell me a story in a well-written and compelling fashion.  You may have one heck of a story, but if it’s not written well you can imagine which Little Man icon most accurately portrays my reaction.  Finally, and perhaps most importantly for you as you wait out the decision process, I hope you will see that it’s not a simple and cursory review that takes place.  You’ve put a lot of time into your application and I want you to know that I put a lot of time into reading what you have to say.

A Brief Reading Assignment…And Lucy Reigns…

A Brief Reading Assignment…And Lucy Reigns…

As you embark on the application process this year, there is one very important document you should read now, then read again when you begin to see admission offers appear in your mailbox (or in-box).  This 4-page Law School Admission Council document is titled The Statement of Good Admission and Financial Aid Practices and is a statement that all law school admission officers are expected to adhere to and abide by. Take the time to read through the document.  Print up a copy and keep it handy.  I’ve done the same – there is a copy always within reach on my desk.

The statement outlines the principles that guide our work as admission officers.  It keeps us honest and focused on fair practices concerning you rather than our own need to outfox or outwit other schools and climb the rankings ladder.  Admissions is a business – I get that – but let’s put the games aside and really help you make the best decision you can based on your own sense of “fit” and not by having law schools twist your arm and force a decision before you are ready to make it.  Hold us to the tenets expressed in the statement.  I hate the next statement I’m going to make because I shouldn’t have to say it, but I’m going to say it anyway.  Keep us honest.

When I hear from an applicant about a situation they’re facing, I silently say “Tsk, tsk, tsk…” and brace myself for the ensuing conversation and say “There is a statement you need to familiarize yourself with.”  When you read the statement, you will discover that a school cannot ask you to make a decision prior to April 1.  You will discover that you may accept any new offer even though you’ve accepted a scholarship elsewhere and paid a deposit.  You will discover that a school at which you’ve placed a deposit or confirmed your enrollment cannot require you to remove your name from another school’s waitlist.  Really?  Yes, so you need to take an active role if you find yourself in a situation that just doesn’t feel right.  Reading the statement is a very good way to start.  Now you know, but how do you go about “reminding” an admissions dean or director of this pesky issue?  I am keenly aware that this act of reminding is an awkward and uncomfortable situation.  I understand and I feel your pain, but you need to find your voice and be heard.  Take the bull by the horn, bite the bullet, etc., okay?

In reading over this post, I’m beginning to feel that it’s kind of a heavy topic.  Right?  So, let’s see if I can turn this around and end on a happy note.  Click here – Lucy is always good for a smile and she’s headed in the right direction, don’t you think?

International Law…Thriving at SLS

I was surprised by one question I was asked during our Admitted Students’ Weekend, which was whether our international law program was as strong as the program at some other schools.  It shows you how slow reputation is to change, because we’ve developed an amazing program in the last decade or so.

It starts with a substantial group of faculty whose expertise is in international law—all leaders in their respective subfields:  Al Sykes in international trade, Jenny Martinez in public international law, Allen Weiner in public international law and national security law, Amalia Kessler in comparative law, John Merryman in comparative law, Tino Cuellar in international criminal and administrative law and in national security law, Josh Cohen in international jurisprudence.  Plus, faculty in a variety of arenas teach international courses in their areas of expertise, such as Paul Goldstein’s courses in International IP Law, and Michael Wara’s in International Environmental Law.  There are, as well, visiting faculty each year from Europe, Latin America, and Asia teaching comparative courses.  In most years, SLS offers more than 25 international law classes – so many that our problem has been not spreading the students out too thinly.

But classes are only one part of SLS’s international program.  There are, for instance, joint degrees in International Policy Studies and in East Asian, Latin American, Eastern European, and African Studies—all capable of being completed in three years.  The school has also recently begun a program in and about China that has several basic courses taught by Mei Gechlik and that will include courses taught by visiting faculty from Peking University, Tsinghua University and possibly even the Central Party School.  Mei and/or the China Law Student organization oversee a variety of other activities, including several annual conferences, travel to China, and a new project in which SLS students will work with Chinese faculty and students translating and generating commentary about the Supreme People’s Court’s new “guiding cases” (the Chinese version of precedent).

Clinics and experiential learning are a key part of our international program, as they are of everything at SLS.  We just hired Jim Cavallaro from Harvard Law School, who will come and enlarge our international human rights clinic, spreading its reach from Africa to include Latin America.  And, remember that students at SLS do not take other classes while taking a clinic, which enables us to send them to work in-country for upwards of 10-11 weeks—something no other law school does or can do.  Similarly, the law school’s development/rule-of-law projects in Afghanistan, Bhutan and East Timor give students an opportunity to work on projects with lawyers and political leaders in these countries.

Stanford being Stanford, research opportunities naturally abound.  Most of the law school’s centers include international projects in their portfolio, and with Cavallaro’s arrival, we will be launching a new center on international human rights that will complement and work with similar centers in the medical school, the business school, the education school, and with the Program on Human Rights at the Freeman-Spogli Institute for International Studies (FSI).  Law students and faculty similarly play key roles in other FSI entities—including the Center for International Security and Cooperation (CISAC), the nation’s oldest and most important center on security, which is co-directed by Tino Cuellar; the Center on Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law (CDDRL), which includes the law school’s Rule of Law Program; the Stanford Center on International Conflict and Negotiation (SCICN), which is directed by Allen Weiner; and various other centers both in FSI and across the University.  The law school then supplements all this with a steady stream of visitors from other countries to teach classes and participate in programs, conferences, and other special events.

On top of all this, we have created a plethora of opportunities for law students to study abroad in countries ranging from Mexico to Germany to Italy to Japan, China, Singapore, and more.  Just as important, or even more so, our Office of Career Services has a staff person dedicated to helping students find work abroad, whether for a summer or permanently.

Just so you know, this quick description just skims the surface of what is happening at the law school—and it scarcely touches the truly limitless opportunities available to law students in the rest of  Stanford University (as Dean Kramer says, at SLS “the University is the law school”).  Do we have the best international program in the country?  We think so.  At the very least, there is more here of high quality than any law student could realistically hope to take advantage of—even under our flexible program.

When It Comes To LRAP, Read The Fine Print…

Loan repayment assistance programs (LRAP) have been around for awhile.  SLS created one of the first programs of its kind – if not the first – back in 1987.  Recently, there’s been a bit of a buzz around this topic as Chicago announced a revamped program.  If you’ve got the time, check out the numerous articles written about it.  Hats off to them for enhancing their program from what they offered previously.  As I read more, what really concerned me was how applicants and admitted students could sift through the sound bites and get the information they need not just about this program, but about all LRAP programs offered at schools of interest.

Certainly when one sees the word “free” linked with the word “education”, all kind of bells and whistles go off and it’s difficult to turn your eyes away from the candy.  Resist the urge to sign on the dotted line for a bit.  I urge you instead to do a thoughtful examination of these programs as you do your research on law schools.  As an applicant or an admitted student, you should create a list of questions to ask of each school you are seriously considering.  Consider it your responsibility to do this.  Ask questions pertaining to academics.  Ask questions pertaining to faculty accessibility.  Ask questions pertaining to the quality of student life.  Ask questions about financial aid.  Ask questions about employment statistics.  Ask questions about things that matter to YOU.  A question that you must include on this list concerns LRAP.  Don’t simply ask if the school has a loan forgiveness or loan repayment program.  A lot of schools have these programs so you’re going to get a lot of affirmative answers and you won’t be any better off than you were before you asked the question.  So, don’t check that question off your list quite yet.  Educate yourself by digging into the details.  Be forewarned, though, as the details should not be left for bedtime reading. Be forewarned, also, that you can easily fall into the trap of comparing apples to oranges.  Be patient and work through the details and discover the principles that drive each school’s program.  Here are some things you should be looking at:

1.       What employment qualifies for coverage?  If there is a requirement that the work must be in the public sector and that is where you believe your commitment lies, then please make sure that the school you are considering has a robust public interest curriculum.  A generous loan repayment or forgiveness program should go hand-in-hand with a very rigorous public interest curriculum.

2.       What are the income eligibility caps? Or, better yet, is there a cap on salary?

3.       How are payments calculated – on a school-based formula or the government’s IBR rate or some other method?  Will the school pay you funds based on a 10-year plan or based on 25-year plan?  Remember, interest is accruing if you’re spreading your payments out over a longer period of time.

4.       What happens if you miss a loan payment or make a late payment?  Are you kicked out of the program?

5.       What loans will be covered under the school’s program?  Will undergraduate loans be covered?  How about bar study loans?  How about private loans (as opposed to federal loans)?  And what about loans you may have for prior degrees or for a joint degree?

6.       How does a school treat part-time employment?

7.       How is spousal income used in calculating available income?  What about your spouse’s debt – will that be taken into consideration when looking at income?

8.       Does the program include a seniority allowance which provides an annual reduction in salary based on the number of years you’ve been participating in the program?

9.       How generous are the leave policies – family leave, periods of unemployment, etc?

10.    What assets are viewed as resources?  What assets are excluded?  Is there a cap on resources that will be taken into consideration?

11.    What is the actual forgiveness policy on the loans that are given to you?  Forgiven after 10 years?  After 5 years?  After 1 year?

12.    How flexible is the program?  This one is really important.  We can all come up with policies and procedures, but I guarantee you that there will be cases where a graduate doesn’t quite fit neatly into a box.  Will the school be able to bend to make the program work for someone like this?

You’ll discover that some programs are very simple and uncomplicated.  That’s the beauty of Chicago’s program to me.  A program with a single cap and an IBR schedule is probably an LRAP administrator’s dream come true.  Imagine no complicated spousal formulas which might or might not take into account the financial health of the married couple as opposed to the earnings of one partner, no seniority allowances, no messy non-federal or non-law school loans to consider for coverage.  Simple is easy and clean, but does simple mean better?  I imagine Chicago created this program with their graduate employment profile in mind just as we are mindful of our graduates’ needs as we annually review our policies.  So we did a little exercise here and looked at our pool and tried to apply Chicago’s new program to our graduates.  Interestingly, but not surprisingly, of our total LRAP population over time, only about 10% of our graduates remained in the program for 10 years AND made 80K or below (and we were helping with undergraduate loan debt and bar loan debt, by the way).  Yes, just 10%.  This range is the requirement to benefit from Chicago’s offer of a free education.  So for those who fit in to that narrow band, it’s a great deal.  Since most of LRAP participants don’t fit in to that band, at least here at SLS, you can see why we’re convinced our program is so strong.  And, hopefully, you can see why you need to do some homework. Now, go back to the list of questions and really start digging deeper.  Read through the LRAP brochures and scan the program terms.  Ignore the hype.  Do your comparisons.   Run the numbers.  Read the fine print and let the strength of the program shine through on its own merits and as it works for your unique situation.

Don’t Believe Everything You Read…

Transparency and accuracy in reporting employment statistics of new lawyers has been much in the news of late.  Just last week, Senator Boxer wrote the ABA to demand that it require law schools to provide accurate post-graduate salary information—prompted, she said, by recent news stories alleging that law schools were publishing misleading information.  Among the stories that may have provoked Senator Boxer’s intervention is a recent Forbes blog post reporting that Forbes pulled data from Payscale.com and discovered that a number of top law schools, including Stanford, had misstated what their graduates in the private sector were earning nine months after graduation.

The blogger does not actually use the word “lie,” but that’s clearly the thrust of his story.  This is unfortunate because the story is not just wrong, but based on misleading analysis.   The blogger says he used information on 8,500 private sector lawyers out of a total of 28,000.  He does not say how the 8,500 were chosen or whether there is any reason to believe it is a representative sample.  He does not say how many graduates from any given law school were in the sample or whether the sample for any given law school is broad enough to be accurate.  He does not even indicate what year or years these lawyers graduated, other than to note that the sample included graduates from the five years leading up to 2009.

These omissions are telling, because he is reporting a median not a mean, and because salaries at private firms rose steadily in those years.  Keep in mind that the blogger is saying that our current data, as reported to NALP (the National Association of Legal Professionals) and U.S. News is inaccurate.  One is simply left to assume that his chart reflects the most current year that data was made available, which of course it doesn’t.

The Forbes’ blogger’s chart says that SLS graduates had a median starting salary of $125,000.  When we look at our internal records, we see that we did indeed report a median starting salary of $125,000—back in 2004 and 2005.  Could it be that the Forbes’ blogger’s data is simply not up-to-date?  That too many of the necessarily small number of SLS lawyers in his sample graduated in these years?  It’s provocative to say that law schools are selling a bill of goods to students.  It’s just not responsible—not when even a little serious research would reveal the truth.

Just to be an open book, here is what Stanford has reported to NALP and U.S. News over the past six years.  Remember, these reports are of median salaries for graduates who take jobs in the private sector.  The real data for SLS is as follows:

Class of 2009: $160,000
Class of 2008: $160,000
Class of 2007: $160,000
Class of 2006: $135,000
Class of 2005: $125,000
Class of 2004: $125,000

The difference between our data and the data in the Forbes story is that ours is comprehensive and reported annually.  We conduct a survey each year in which students self-report their employment and salary information.  We keep track of our students, working individually with each of them to help secure employment.  We fill in the few gaps for our graduates in the private sector with salary information provided by law firm recruiters and the NALP website.  Our data encompasses virtually every Stanford graduate, and we report the data for each given year.  These are the real numbers.

So what lesson do we learn—or relearn—from this incident?  Don’t believe everything you read.

(There’s more to employment statistics than just median private sector starting salary.  I’ll be posting a more detailed chart of our salary breakdown for 2010, so stay tuned.  The chart will show not just private sector salaries, but also clerkship, public interest and government salaries. )

Not so giddy anymore…

Well, the snow gods did not smile on me this weekend.  I still don’t know what it feels like to make snow angels. I still don’t know what it’s like to have a snow day.  I know, I know, I should just drive to the snow and get this snow angel fixation over and done with.  But, it’s not the same.  I don’t even have a snow globe on my desk to shake and make me feel less pouty.  So, I guess I’ll have to be distracted by work instead.

Regarding work, let me tell you about the most aggravating pieces of paper on my desk right now.  As you might imagine, we’ve had requests asking to submit late applications.  These requests never come in with specific reasons for the late filing – I think these applicants believe we’ll not notice.  In any case, staff always reaches out asking for the reasons behind the lateness.  And, what do we hear back?  “I just decided I want to go to law school in the last few weeks.”  “My job opportunity fell through and I find myself with time on my hands.” “I’ve been busy with classes.”  “I’ve been down with the flu.”  Really?  These are not good reasons and you need not worry that any of the people behind these requests are competing with you for seats in the class.  I’m waiting for “The dog ate my application.”  I have a feeling it’s gonna come one of these days.

I heard this song on the radio as I drove in this morning.  OK, I’m now done being pouty.  You gotta smile if you can start the day like this – it’s my Tuesday morning gift to you.