Wow, I guess the complaints that have been pouring in about the state of the legal industry has made some form of a difference:
The Law School announced this week that it will take steps to ensure that all students are employed upon graduation. The proposed program will be similar in spirit to those recently implemented at schools like the Dedman School of Law at Southern Methodist University and the University of Miami School of Law, which are intended to help unemployed recent graduates make the transition to gainful employment.
Yet unlike those programs —under which the schools pay for students to work temporarily for third-party employers – the U.Va. program will afford unemployed recent graduates the opportunity to work for the newly constituted law firm of Mahoney, Mahoney, Mitchell, Jeffries & Kneedler.
“We’re very serious about MMMJK,” said Dean Paul Mahoney. “Because they will be full equity partners in this groundbreaking venture, the faculty will be incentivized to teach actual law and practical skills rather than meaningless abstraction. More importantly, we’ll be able to leverage faculty expertise and our unusually strong clinical programs in order to hit the ground running in terms of our junior associates’ workload.” In light of this strategy, the firm is expected to have especially strong practices in the areas of Supreme Court litigation, feminist legal theory, and international human rights law.
MMMJK partners expect the firm to reach profitability quickly through a combination of outdated computer equipment, print-only research in the U.Va. Law library, and aggressive performance-related layoffs at nine months and one day after graduation. Until profits per professor exceed $1 million, however, associate salaries and other operating costs will be funded entirely by a “modest” student activity fee increase of an as-yet-undisclosed amount. Entry-level associate salaries will be competitive with the Charlottesville market.
According to Mahoney, “Since our thoroughly vetted statistics indicate that more than 96 percent of recent classes were employed at graduation, the firm is only expected to employ a handful of graduates from the class of 2011.” In order to fill out its ranks, MMMJK will interview for summer associates beginning next year. Leadership expects the firm to hire the bulk of its summer class through OGI programs at Harvard, Yale, and Chicago.
The school appears to be serious about having graduates with practical skills entering the workforce. Yet, with the amount of students that have passed through their doors as well as many other law schools, it seems to be a ‘too little too late’ scenario, as this will not have any retroactive benefit for those law graduates struggling not to drown in the mire of debt. So as an incentive to attend their law school their guaranteeing potential 0Ls employment upon graduation. No word on the actual salary.