Monthly Archives: July 2012

In These Desperate Times

Credit: John Aravoisis

Posted in Civil Liberties | 5 Comments

Data Show Legal Corps is Helping Students (Now Please Help the Legal Corps by Voting For It in the Classy Awards)

The UMiami Law Legal Corps is a law-school-funded six-month postgraduate fellowship project that places recent graduates in public service or public sector legal jobs around the country. I like to think of it as something akin to a residency for a medical student. The six months start after the Legal Corps Fellow passes the bar exam, so the Fellow can do some real lawyering.

But any time a law school funds its grads for short-term jobs after law school, it is fair to ask whether the program is really doing any good, or whether the school is just warehousing graduates in the hopes of goosing its US News “employed after graduation” statistic. Given that a number of law schools have been caught doing just that, it’s not surprising that some people tend to view these programs with great suspicion.

But in this case, we have some data suggesting the program is really working.

The acid test for any post-graduation ‘bridge’ employment scheme would, I think, have three parts:

  1. What is the nature of the work the newly minted lawyer is doing — is it real work, producing real training that will be of value to the lawyer and to any future employer? Or it it just makework, or nonlegal jobs like shelving books in the library?
  2. Are the participants in the program getting jobs afterwards, or was this really just warehousing?
  3. Does the law school provide any additional training, or take steps to ensure that someone else does?

I think by all three measures, the UMiami Legal Corps is doing very well. The jobs the students are getting are, by all accounts I’ve heard, prestige jobs with judges, government agencies, and non-profits. With budget cuts all around, these groups seem very happy to have the help, and have serious needs that lead to meaningful work.

But what about the student side? The UM Law school administration was good enough to give me some hard data, and to permit me to publish them here:

For the 2010 class of Legal Corps fellows (which includes December 2009 & May 2010 grads), the numbers are:

  • 66 Fellows total, of which 56 Fellows employed after program ended, ie 85%.
  • Of this number, 8 of the 56 employed Fellows were hired by host organizations = 14.3%
  • 2 of the 66 Fellows entered post-JD studies = 3%
  • 8 Fellows still seeking employment/unresponsive = 12%

(Click on pie charts for larger versions.)

I think that’s pretty good given the nature of the legal market and the likelihood that at least some of these students will have self-selected because they were afraid they didn’t have other options — I say “some” because others may have seen this as a way into the public/non-profit sector; non-profit jobs are often harder to get than jobs with entities that actually make money. And while it’s nice that some of the sponsoring organizations found permanent jobs for their Fellows, I think it’s even nicer that the majority found work elsewhere — it suggests that the experience was something other employers considered valuable.

The numbers for the current crop seem on track to be similar:

  • 76 Fellows total, of which
  • 30 Fellows currently participating in program = 39%
  • 36 Fellows employed = 47%
  • Of this number, 7 of the 36 employed Fellows were hired by their host organizations
  • 2 Fellows seeking post-JD studies = 3%
  • 8 Fellows still seeking/unresponsive thus far = 11%

So not only is this program helping train recent grads in lawyering skils, not only is it helping a substantial fraction of them find jobs, but it is also doing good, by putting them in positions where they can use their new legal skills for the public good.

I’m not the only one who thinks this is a pretty nice combination: the Legal Corps has been selected as a human-rights finalist in the upcoming CLASSY Awards, said to be the largest philanthropic prize ceremony in the country.

Here’s where you come in: The winner of the award will be selected based 50% on online voting. So, please, take a minute, and Vote for the Legal Corps to win in the Southern Region’s “Human Rights” category.

Vote now — balloting closes at midnight on the 26th.

Posted in Law School, U.Miami | Leave a comment

A Guilty Pleasure

For some time now, Daily Kos has been running a regular feature called “The Chronicles of Mitt“. There have been lots of attempts to match Private Eye’s famous and oft-imitated Dear Bill letters but this may be the one to do it. The Dear Bill letters purported to be gin-soaked remonstrances from the UK’s Dennis Thacher, then the Prime Ministerial husband, to his best drinking buddy. They were hilarious.

The Chronicles of Mitt is a little different. I take it to be the log of an android-like entity writing to… well, I’m not quite sure to whom. Each begins, “Hello, human diary. It is I again, Mitt Romney, your better.” To his lesser half? I don’t care who they’re to: They are funny.

Take today’s — not exceptional, just averagely good, and the last line — wait for it — still wrested an evil chuckle from my gut: The Chronicles of Mitt: July 23, 2012. I know, I should be better than that.

Posted in 2012 Election, Completely Different | 2 Comments

Is Romney In Contention for a World Record?

Chronicling Mitt’s Mendacity, Vol. XXVI, from The Maddow Blog.

Also, Chronicling Mitt’s Mendacity: Vol. I, II, III, IV, V, VI, VII, VIII, IX, X, XI, XII,XIII, XIV, XV, XVI, XVII, XVIII, XIX, XX, XXI, XXII, XXIII, XXIV, XXV.

This does appear to have the makings of a record-shattering performance. I think Romney may be on form to grab the US title. I imagine there’s some Albanian or North Korean out there with the world title, though.

Posted in Politics: The Party of Sleaze | Leave a comment

Polling South Florida (July 2012)

One of the consequences of living in a swing state seems to be you get polled a lot. I’ve had five robopolls asking who I am voting for in the Presidential election in the last week. So far I’ve told the truth (not happy with Obama’s performance as President, definitely will vote for him, don’t like Romney at all & think he’s bad for the economy, I’m a liberal Democrat of a certain age).

But increasingly as I push the same boring buttons on my phone I feel the temptation to offer tactical answers. The problem, is, I can’t figure out how to shade my answers: Would it help to say I am a Republican who hates Romney? To say I’m older or younger? Would false answers be more likely to mess up the Romney or Obama decisions on how to spend their ad dollars? Do I want Romney to look less popular with his base than he is at the risk of Team Obama getting overconfident?

Of all the polls I’ve gotten this week only one was at all interesting. In addition to the usual demographic questions it asked if I was a veteran, and then what religion I was. The choices included Catholic, Protestant, Evangelical Christian [and there I was thinking that Evangelical Christians were Protestants], Jewish, Muslim, and Mormon. I picked Jewish. Then it asked me how often I go to church….

Meanwhile, regular reader Gustavo Sardina sends in the following account of a push poll he received.

Things to know (that the pollsters probably already knew), I am a registered republican, vote in every election, and live in Coral Gables.

It seems to be a push poll for Erik Fresen (my FL. House Rep.) targeted against his primary opponent Amory Bodin and went something like this:
Continue reading

Posted in 2012 Election, Florida | 4 Comments

Romney “Gets Worse”

In Mitt Gets Worse: Julie Goodridge the lead plaintiff in the lawsuit that brought same-sex marriage to Massachusetts discusses her interaction with Mitt Romney.

It’s pretty powerful stuff. Kathleen Henry’s account of Romney’s first support then destruction of projects designed to support gay and lesbian youth is also notable.

The videos are part of a larger Mitt Gets Worse campaign regarding Romney’s stance on LGBT issues, designed to portray Romney as someone who puts political expediency above principle:

The Mitt Gets Worse project is an oral history of Mitt Romney’s efforts to diminish the rights and the freedoms of LGBT Americans, told by the brave people who have fought back against Mitt’s anti-equality agenda.

When Mitt Romney ran for the US Senate in 1994, he claimed he would be better on LGBT rights than Ted Kennedy. Today, Mitt is one of the most outspoken enemies of the LGBT community, and he’s campaigning for president on an extreme and inhumane platform.

As a politician, Mitt Romney has earned a reputation as a flip-flopper — changing his positions in whatever direction furthers his career. But when it comes to LGBT issues, there’s one thing you can always count on: Mitt Gets Worse.

The Mitt Gets Worse project is powered by grassroots supporters and LGBT activists, and supported by American Bridge 21st Century and Courage Campaign Super PAC.

Posted in 2012 Election | Leave a comment