Law in Contemporary Society
My question at the EIP meeting: Will we also be given information about which firms deferred CLS students?


Are you referring to Petal Modeste's response to your question, which I summarize as follows: "They would not be interviewing you if they did not intend to hire you." It reminded me of one of the wrong answers in an LSAT logic games section.

-- KalliopeKefallinos - 23 Apr 2010

I suspect that they could not tell us a lot of things because they don't want to burn bridges with certain firms. If they were completely transparent with us, it would have ended up on above the law tomorrow and the relationships that they are trying to re-build would be gone. From their reaction to some of our questions, it also felt as though they thought they were being attacked. I'm going to reserve judgment until I sit down with them on a one-on-one basis but after today, I'm a bit nervous about the entire process. -- AshleySimpson - 23 Apr 2010

Yea, I agree with Ashley and think that firm relationships are a valid concern.

LOL @ this. My only question is : why lie to us? If you're nervous, say so. If you're not sure, say so. Tell us we need to start thinking in new ways about the field to make our mark. We know what's happening around us and I kind of find it offensive that they think we aren't "tracking" this ourselves and could even begin to believe some of the statements. "Layoffs don't indicate that firms are in economic [struggle]" (or something like that) WHAT?!?! I LOL'd at that in the meeting. It was a blatant lie. If layoffs don't indicate a firm's stability (or lack thereof)...what do they indicate? I also found it interesting how many law students who were leaving called "bullsh!t" on that whole meeting. The Kent Scholars comment was hilarity. Most of us aren't Kent ummm...where does that leave the rest of us?!

All in all...good times. Typical law school moment. I'm unimpressed.

Oh Nona, I also laughed when you asked your question. I couldn't hear what you were saying but I knew it was a "give 'em hell" moment.

-- KrystalCommons - 23 Apr 2010

Oh one more thing:


I think that SOMEONE has to grow a pair and start telling the truth. I'm not sure if I'll partake in EIP, more likely than not I will because I'd like to keep my options open. However, who cares if it winds up on What would the headline be? "COLUMBIA LAW SCHOOL TELLS STUDENTS THE TRUTH?!" The problem is that they are blatantly lying to us. I know they are just doing their jobs, keeping their connections to firms, etc. But this is Columbia Law School. How much will their relationships be effected? The name speaks for itself. We shouldn't have to go one by one into the office to beg for real information. This is our lives. Aren't they "career services"? Shouldn't they be helping us build careers in whatever area it is that we want? I just think there was way too much nonsense being spewed. Whether or not they felt attacked, they should've been prepared for it. People are NERVOUS.I'm not so concerned about their nerves, they have jobs. People who are paying hundreds of thousands of dollars to be here. It was almost sad -- the other day I saw the Class Gift table and there was a 3L (I assume) standing there saying to someone who was tabling- "If I give, will they actually read my comment about how ridiculous I think it is for them to still be asking us to give money when many of us don't even have jobs and they won't give us any honest answers?". I mean...come ooonnnnnn...let's live in reality for a moment. Even if it's just one, I'd be present. I don't care about their nerves or sensitive feelings or their "fragile" relationships, I don't believe the hype. ( I'm done)

-- KrystalCommons - 23 Apr 2010

I thought the whole thing was a joke. Aside from the fact that you could have found all the information on their website, it was outrageous to have to sit through an hour long lie. I just wonder if they know they are misrepresenting the truth when they get up there and tell us those things, or if they really believe what they are saying.

@Krystal - right on with the comment about the layoffs. Maybe layoffs make a firm more profitable for the equity partners, but it sure doesn't make it a more attractive option for 1Ls looking to get hired.

@Nona - totally agree with you about the "Career Services" name. If they were actually Career Services they would help students with ALL kinds of job searches, not just trying to funnel us into the same firms year after year. Why is somebody who helps students find jobs with government/NGOs/non-profits excluded from working for Career Services?

One last thing - has anyone seen those fliers around JG encouraging people to donate one day of summer pay to public interest? I thought that money was guaranteed by Columbia and I thought THEY were going to pay for it instead of asking students to contribute to the fund on top of the $50K we already pay them. Isn't it ridiculous that public interest has to beg people to give them money to pay for guaranteed funding?

-- NathanStopper - 23 Apr 2010

As I read these posts, it all seems to stem from us being really scared. They all basically revolve around the criticism of OCS not telling us 'the truth' (which I deal with below), but I can't help but think that if you really believe what Eben has said than 1) you already know the truth, so what difference does it make, and 2) why would you care, and why were you at EIP orientation anyways? The only conclusion I can come to is that we all apparently still desperately want these jobs, so we are freaking out when people aren't telling us that they aren't there (as if that would somehow make us feel better).

Obviously it would be nice if they were straightforward, but maybe it's worthwhile to think about why they weren't. First of all, the law firms don't give them clear numbers about deferrals, etc. so it's hard to pin down exactly what the stats are. Second, they are under HUGE pressure from the dean to keep employment numbers up in whatever way possible. They are under an enormous amount of stress to find whatever scraps are left, and are doing their best to do so. You think if they went into orientation and told us 'sorry, no jobs left' some heads wouldn't roll? Would you put your job on the line for that? Lastly, they are also under huge pressure to keep numbers up so we don't drop in the rankings. Maybe we all don't think it's a laudable goal, but ask yourself why you went to CLS instead of plenty of other cheaper law schools before you write it off (and if you say for quality of education/professors, think about how that might be tied to rankings in this admittedly crazy system we're in).

Of course it would be nice if they were straight up, and OCS is certainly not innocent of some smokescreening. My only point is that we should all do a little self reflection about why it happens, and why it bothers us so much, before we lash out.

(And I like the textualist/formalist analysis of the office of CAREER services, but we all know their job is to place students in private law jobs. Maybe the name isn't great, but it's just a name)

-- RorySkaggs - 23 Apr 2010

Rory: I appreciate your point that OCS is under a lot of pressure, and that Columbia's stature is connected with its graduate employment rate. However, there's a middle ground between admitting to students that "there are no jobs left" and what happened yesterday. Saying that layoffs are often unrelated to the firm's economic performance (or whatever the metric is) -- and can even be an indicator that a firm is healthy -- was a blatant lie that offended many, many students.

Also, what's with the packet being private?

-- JessicaCohen - 23 Apr 2010

Another interesting comment was the "don't game the system," statement where they assumed we want to game the system to get more screeners. If I spend any time trying to bid strategically, it's going to be to get a higher quality of screener- meaning a screener at a firm where my grades are competitive for a callback. This is why I'd like to see an unofficial GPA calculation done by CS for every firm so I know not to interview with firms that will in all likelihood chuck my transcript out the window.

Two pieces of information would be helpful and significantly reduce the amount of research I would have to do: (1) the grades and profile of every student who got a callback and offer at a particular firm (2) a list of firms and the number of CLS students (class of 2010) they deferred.

-- JonathanWaisnor - 23 Apr 2010

Actually, to defend OCS: layoffs often don't reflect economic performance. Some firms laid off hundreds of employees but posted record PPPs.

-- MatthewZorn - 23 Apr 2010

I agree with Jon--one of the three points should be calculating GPAs. Maybe grades shouldn't matter, but as long as they do, they should be transparent.

-- MatthewZorn - 23 Apr 2010

@Rory: Like Nona, I'm also not afraid and don't "desperately" want anything. I think we will all be fine to be honest. I understand that OCS is under pressure, but again, a bit of honesty and maybe even a tiny bit of promotion of Eben's philosophy -- be creative, make your own decisions-- would be nice. As stated, I was in the meeting because it was mandatory for me to keep my options open. (p.s. - I know you weren't in the meeting so it's harder for you to understand the amount of nonsense they fed us. Yep. I called you out. LOL. ) I just think that the legal field is changing and CLS needs to be able to keep up with that change and also help students in thinking about different ways to make their mark. Idk. Just my two cents.

-- KrystalCommons - 23 Apr 2010

sorry...make their mark and/or get a job.

-- KrystalCommons - 23 Apr 2010

I think Krystal's comment is telling: "I understand that OCS is under pressure, but...I just think that the legal field is changing and CLS needs to be able to keep up with that change." That I completely agree with-- CLS needs to do something, my point is that we should not be expecting that to come from OCS. They have a specific role within a bigger picture, and are really just low-hanging fruit for our understandable frustration. The problem is with the people giving the orders ignoring the problems, not the people taking them who are forced to engage in futile acts. OCS is just trying to get us jobs which most of us came here for but which are dwindling, and as I detailed above there are various reasons outside their control for doing so. Maybe they crossed the line with the BS, maybe they didn't, but does it really make that much a difference?

-- RorySkaggs - 23 Apr 2010

And I also agree with Krystal that we will all be fine- I've met plenty of smart people here who I think can do great things, and I think the sooner we stop worrying about whatever anyone is selling and focus on ourselves and the work we can do to get where we want to go, the better.

-- RorySkaggs - 23 Apr 2010

There was a palpable buzz in that room yesterday. Can't find the exact word for it; indignation...distrust? A lot of it was definitely anxiety.

There is no reason Career Services can't keep track of rescinded offers and furloughs. They force us to give 1L summer job reports before we do EIP, they could force students to give 3L job status reports if that information were important to them. And I agree that the school should provide information regarding GPAs. They obviously already calculate them, why not make that information available? To give no more guidance than scholar or non-scholar leaves over 2/3 of the class with very little frame of reference.

A student I was walking home with was annoyed that the issue of rescinded offers and furloughs was brought up. Talk about protecting the integrity of the role.

-- DanKarmel - 24 Apr 2010

Dan - how about "contempt?"

I am not sure I agree with OCS's claim that layoffs/deferrals are unrelated to the economic strength of the firm, but our calculus should be slightly more complicated than "the following firms laid a bunch of people off, therefore they are unsafe and Columbia shouldn't defend them." Every firm is a business and will not hesitate to take away your job if you are not profitable. Even though there are varying degrees of reputation/dignity-based resistence to such actions, the bottom line is clear. Therefore, that a firm resorted to layoffs and deferrals between 2007-2010 show nothing more than a combination of pre-layoff economic problems and the firm's comparative willingness to openly throw you out. That a firm did not resort to such drastic measures (yet) does not mean it's any safer - perhaps it's in a worse position as a result of the holdout, and maybe you will bear the brunt of their bad business decisions. Even in corporate firms, the only way to secure any semblence of safety is to have your own clients.

-- PeterPark - 24 Apr 2010

Some students in Tennessee are working on this: check out Law School Transparency.

-- DevinMcDougall - 25 Apr 2010

I agree on the transparency point-at least be honest. Don't tell us that 76% (or some ridiculous statistic like that) accepted at firms are Stone, Kent scholars and then tell us not to worry about grades in the same breath.

-- NovikaIshar - 27 Apr 2010

The bottom line is that firm summer classes are not going to be much bigger during our 2L summer than they were this year. OCS would like us to believe that last year’s EIP was an anomaly because the economy is in better shape now. Even the slightest understanding of economics will tell you that it takes TIME for firms to catch up to a bettering economy. I listened to firm after firm speak at the 1L receptions and they all said that same thing. It’s still going to be extremely hard to get a firm job for the summer. It’s not impossible, just difficult. EIP won’t be fun...

On the other hand, EIP is not mandatory. There ARE other options besides working at a big firm for one’s 2L summer. We should be active participants in our choice of careers, not merely sleep walking through it and following the crowd. The hard part, in my opinion, is figuring out what your interests are and what kind of career you really want. If it’s working at a firm, then you should go after EIP with everything you’ve got. If it’s not, there’s also fall OCI and beyond. Don’t let the rumors fool you. We have options, just have to use them.

-- StephanieOduro - 20 May 2010

Though I'm a bit late in commenting on this, I whole-heartedly agree with Stephanie's point. I actually found the student's suggestion that OCS was somehow colluding with firms to suppress information to be offensive. Perhaps, though, this is attributal to my interactions with OCS staff -- from Petal to some of the counselors -- where I have seen nothing but genuine concern for students as we try to navigate this tumultuous time. The fact is, if one doesn't consider a certain career choice to be a viable option, one has the power to steer the course in a different direction. If one's broader feeling is that the fact that hundreds of young lawyers have been laid off during the recession gives one pause and concern about working at a firm, that is certainly acceptable. It doesn't take OCS to provide a comprehensive report outlining furloughs and deferments for one to know this -- a quick google or Above the Law search will quickly reveal this information in detail. Petal's unwillingness to engage in a debate with the student essentially about why one should or shouldn't work at a firm was, to me, appropriate. While students certainly should have had, or should have, that conversation with OCS at some point, that forum was not the appropriate time or place.

-- JenniferGreen - 24 Jun 2010

Well, since I think I am the student -- Nona -- referred to, I would like to respond. I want to participate in EIP. In order to participate, you need to rank firms for a lottery. I wanted to know if there would be information about which firms have deferred CLS students so that I could make my decisions with such data in mind. I don't think it was a debate about why one should or should not work at a firm-- actually, there was no debating. I might not be that student since I didn't make any comment about collusion, but I am not sure who else you are referring to. Anyway, don't mean to get into an argument, just wanted to clarify how my question-- "will we also be getting data on which firms deferred students? -- is being characterized

-- NonaFarahnik - 24 Jun 2010

Hi Nona, you actually are not the student I was referring to. The student I'm referring to was the gentlemen who asked something along the lines of, "Why are you defending the firms?" I thought your question was value-added; if, in fact, there were statistics all students would benefit from knowing this. However, thinly-veiled questions about the merits of working at firm are counter-productive at a meeting where people have already decided that, at the very least, they have some curiosity or would like to keep their options open. I hope that clarifies my comments.

-- JenniferGreen - 25 Jun 2010

Thanks Jennifer smile This question has caused me way more grief than I expected so I am sorry if I took that personally.

-- NonaFarahnik - 25 Jun 2010



Webs Webs

r25 - 25 Jun 2010 - 03:08:04 - NonaFarahnik
This site is powered by the TWiki collaboration platform.
All material on this collaboration platform is the property of the contributing authors.
All material marked as authored by Eben Moglen is available under the license terms CC-BY-SA version 4.
Syndicate this site RSSATOM