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Editor: Paul L. Caron, Dean
Pepperdine University School of Law

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

More on Arizona State's Residency Program for Law Grads

Arizona State logoFollowing up on my previous post, Arizona State to Launch Law Grad ‘Residency’ Program at Law School Law Firm Modeled After Teaching Hospital:  Inside Higher Ed, A Residency Program for Lawyers:

Arizona State University plans to launch a nonprofit teaching law firm next summer to hire some of its recent graduates and provide on-the-job training -- a move the law school’s dean said is motivated by a desire to serve students, not to boost the employment data frequently used in law school rankings.

Plans for the firm – which debuted in the New York Law Journal earlier this month – include about five or six permanent attorneys who will operate the firm through its own nonprofit foundation, said Douglas Sylvester, dean of the university’s Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law, in an interview. The firm will eventually employ between 25 and 35 recent graduates, he said, adding that the firm’s main focus will be to teach and mentor young attorneys in the same way that hospital residency programs train newly minted M.D.s. ...

Sylvester said the firm will not cost the university any money. He said he's investigating different sources to help fund startup costs, and he expects the firm to be self-sufficient through its foundation once it is established. He said the firm differs from post-graduation options at other universities -- programs he called "solo practice incubators" which provide graduates with a mentor and real estate space so they can pool resources and work collaboratively -- because it puts graduates in a real law firm environment. ...

Sylvester said plans for the teaching firm were born out of a desire to help graduates find jobs and become better prepared for the workforce, and a positive effect on the U.S. News & World Report rankings would be an effect, not a cause, of creating the new firm. He said he thinks any criticism of the teaching firm as a tool to boost rankings does not consider the impact it has on job-seeking graduates....

Many universities fund fellowships, which pay graduates a stipend to work for nonprofit organizations or government agencies for a limited period of time. George Washington University’s fellowship program reached the news this week because of an announcement made Tuesday – and rescinded Wednesday following student outrage – that it planned to cut the fellowship's stipend from $15 an hour to $10.

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