By Evan Forster, photo by Alan Light

Question: Isn’t spring of senior year party time?  

Answer: No Prince, this is not 1999!

Recently—and hardly for the first time—I received a phone call from a mom who went from excited to panic when her daughter was accepted early to college. In this case, I’m talking Vanderbilt.

Let’s back up just a little.  Her daughter, Felicia, was no clear admit; she had some difficult times in 9th and 10th grades, but she pulled it together as the semesters went on so it wasn’t an outrageous idea to apply early to Vandy—her number one choice. When she got that fat acceptance packet, we all did the happy dance. And then, a day later, I got the following call from her mom:  

“What if Felicia doesn’t keep her grades up this spring? I’m worried she’s not keeping her grades up."

Let me answer that in simple terms by showing you the letter I sent to all of my college candidates and their families:

Dear Felicia,

I know it’s very exciting to know you’re going to Vanderbilt this fall! You worked your ass off and got in, and the crew at Forster-Thomas is incredibly proud of you.

BUT it’s not over yet. The admissions office is keeping track of what you’re doing, and there was some fine print in your acceptance letter: Your acceptance is contingent upon your continuing high grades and activities. If you suddenly make straight Bs or (god forbid) worse, you are putting your acceptance in jeopardy! We’ve actually seen this happen before, where an acceptance was revoked or someone was put on probation before they even got to school. You don’t want that to be you.

So, keep those grades up, and keep being the marvelous person who we enjoyed working so much with! We want to know what’s going on with you for the rest of the year, and beyond! We are so proud of you and what you’ve accomplished, and working with you has been AMAZING. 

And be prepared: In the fall, your whole life is going to change—and you’re going to LOVE IT. 

Please let me know you got this email, and keep us in the loop with any questions.


Auntie Evan

This advice about keeping your grades up affects you not only if you applied early, but also to those of you who are still waiting on that fat envelope. Ignore this advice at your own peril. You certainly don’t want any college saying “Bye Felicia!” 

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Every year, NALP pulls the employment and salary statistics of law school graduates -- these are the most important developments this year.

By Ben Feuer

NALP's selected findings for the class of 2013 have been released, and they provide some fascinating insights on current trends in the overall law school community.  Bear in mind that this is broadly targeted information -- at your particular school, mileage may vary -- sometimes a lot.  Still, certain overall trends are easy to spot.

1.  2008 is not coming back.  If your interest in the legal profession is based solely, or even primarily, on the pre-crash salaries at big law firms, choose another line of work.  Like almost every field in this country, law is becoming more entrepreneurial and there is less tolerance for baby lawyers learning on big law salaries.

2.  Graduating classes are going to shrink.  Partly because of decreasing demand, law schools intend to cut their class sizes by 30% over three years.  This is a smart, responsible move on their part, but it will make top law schools more competitive for prospective students.

3.  Lawyer/entrepreneurs are on the rise.  There have always been a certain number of lawyers hanging out their own shingle after graduating law school, but that number is on the rise, and now stands at 4.8 percent for law jobs.  This is a good potential option for recent graduates seeking opportunities in the field.  On a related note, the percentage of lawyers employed in business has risen to 18.4 percent, an all time high.

4.  Academic jobs are rare -- and often part time.  Although "Law School Professor" is definitely a great gig, it is also very hard to come by.  Only 2.6 percent of all legal jobs were in academia in 2013, and of those, 39 percent were part time (read: adjunct).

5.  This is still a great field.  Overall unemployment for law school graduates stands at 12.9 percent.  High?  Yeah.  But the opportunities accrue disproportionately at the top end, and law is a very hierarchical field.  What does that mean?  It means that if you are a top student throughout school, law can provide you with a stable and lucrative career, which is more than can be said for many other degrees.


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