Friday, January 29, 2016

Santa Clara Asst. Dean for Career Services Vicki Huebner explains how a visit to her favorite dog groomer gave her insights into obtaining legal employment.

I know that some discontented law students and grads have been heard to whine or growl about useless law school career services professionals. And that is a doggone shame because these canine, I mean canny, career companions can actually offer much food, or puppy chow, for thought.

Take, for instance, Santa Clara University School of Law Assistant Dean for Law Career Services Vicki Huebner’s remarkable September 16, 2015 post on her school’s Career Management blog, entitled "What I Learned About Finding a Job in the Legal Profession from My Dog’s Groomer."
In this post, Dean Huebner explains that the practices of her favorite dog groomer correspond to the skills or strategies needed to successfully obtain legal employment. Dog grooming and law job hunting are analogous in three crucial regards: (1) being excellent in the substance of one’s work; (2) branding one’s own market niche; and (3) developing one’s professional relationships.

From Huebner’s post: 
  • "What occurred was not only an excellent grooming session for Gabriel [Dean Huebener's prize Shepland Sheepdog], but a lesson for me on how to apply the principles of thinking like a business owner to the job search strategy."
  •  "There is no question that Juan is an excellent groomer. Just in case I had any doubts, Juan took pictures of Gabriel before and after his grooming sessions. . . . The quality of Juan’s work is the foundation for building his book of business and retaining clients. Likewise, legal job seekers need to demonstrate their ability to engage in the practice of law at a high level. Their attention to detail, demonstrated analytical skills, ability to articulate thought, and clear and concise writing is the foundation to be considered for employment opportunities. Law students should actively seek opportunities to enhance their practice related skills. . . "
  •  "Juan's salon was not the grooming environment I was used to. Juan wants to have a high-end dog grooming business. It is clear from the moment you enter his salon that he is branding himself to be that. . . . Similarly, job seekers have to consider whether or not they are communicating a brand which is conducive to the job market they are trying to enter. In other words, do they "look the part" on their cover letters, resumes, and job interviews." 
  •  "Juan, Gabriel, and I have longstanding relationships. . . . Networking is not about asking for things (e.g. contacts, referrals, and a job). It's about building longer lasting relationships."
  •   "Thanks to Juan, Gabriel looks and smells great once again! More important for me, a visit to Juan’s salon reinforced key strategies about how to advance a job search."

You know, one could write a virtually identical post by identifying the general practices of any successful small businessperson, not just the owner of a high-end pet salon. What is more, one could analogize job hunting or practicing law to almost any activity that requires a modicum of organization, skill, or commitment.

Therefore, if a career services dean enjoys some absorbing little hobby, interest, or lifestyle choice, then he or she can use that to articulate or frame his or her career advice. All it takes is sufficient shamelessness plus a facility for artfully embedding trendy business buzzwords in one's bullshit, I mean dogshit, professional counsel.  The kids won't realize until it is too late that they have been scammed, indeed mocked. 

On the other paw, the job placement record of Santa Clara School of Law and Kennel of Justice speaks, or rather barks, for itself. For the Class of 2014, 35.2% of Santa Clara Law grads obtained non-solo full-time law jobs within 10 months of graduation. Now, relative to other law schools, this is not an impressive result– indeed, it is worse than all but 20 of the 203 ABA-accredited schools and worse than all but five of the 21 ABA-accredited schools in California. But who is to say that the remaining 64.8% are not making a JD-Advantage fortune shampooing dogs?  

60 comments:

  1. Just took a look at Santa Clara's 2014 job stats over at LST and they are absolutely brutal:
    -91/261 (34.9%) unemployed
    -71/261 (27.2%) allegedly employed but no salary reported - if you can't report a salary, you are not employed.
    -99/261 (37.9%) employed with a reported salary.
    Also, Santa Clara claims 21.1% of the class obtained "JD Advantage" jobs. I call bullshit.
    This Huebner woman should be fired.

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    1. What a disgrace! With the allegedly "versatile" "million-dollar" JD, more than a third of the graduates have no job whatsoever ten months after graduation.

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  2. Captain Hruska Carswell, Continuance KingJanuary 29, 2016 at 6:51 AM

    I am pumping my fist in the air with JOY! Finally, Dean Wormer there has provided me with the key to my career success! Not. This is such condescending tripe. This is no different than a motivation seminar I can take at the Marriott and get a box lunch out of the deal. I would expect better from a law school. "Let them eat cake."

    It is simple: When there is work, clients, cases and fees, folks will get hired, regardless of whether they "smell" like her doggy.

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  3. So the lessons Dean Huebner learned were essentially 1) be good at what you do; 2) dress and act professionally; and 3) build relationships with your clients. Truly, a moment of enlightenment! Upon further reflection, perhaps Dean Huebner might consider how different Juan's prospects might be if: 1) entering his profession required a credential costing well into six-figures; 2) 40,000 plus new dog groomers entered the market every year; and 3) the dog grooming profession expected Juan to service clients with little or no ability to pay.

    One also wonders how much time Juan spent listening to lectures on dog grooming theory presented by professors with no actual dog grooming experience.

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    1. Excellent comment. If the Dog Dean were honest with her students, she would tell them that Juan is going to be more financially successful than 90% of them and have much less debt. If he has debt at all, it's probably against a hard asset.

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  4. I know the Deans are trying to be cute and funny when they do this, but the reality is that they come off more tone-deaf that ever before and completely oblivious to the dire straits of their graduates. The only person who might smirk at this is another pampered Dean, or Marie Antoinette.

    Life in the gated-community bubble, straight from the poodle's mouth.

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    1. Is it any wonder that these idiots can't help their students more when they think such "observations" are appropriate or necessary? It's a complete trivialization of the serious financial problems their adult graduates face.

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    2. I'm not sure why she omitted another obvious dog grooming factoid from her legal career advice:

      "You have to tease the fur carefully around the dog's nuts."




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    3. Captain Hruska Carswell, Continuance KingJanuary 30, 2016 at 1:43 PM

      Listen boys, we need to take pity on her. I will bet she has never seen the inside of a court room or stepped up for a client who is charged with Armed Violence or gotten a client his license returned. She would never utter these things.....

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  5. duped is correct. Does she not realize most of her grads lack the disposable income to even have a dog, let alone pay for grooming? Completely out of touch.

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  6. "Engaging the practice of law at a high level" or "building longer lasting relationships" is decent, if mostly hollow, advice for someone who has been around the block a full times. Telling a recent TTT grad who was passed over on the legal job market that is like telling a nerdy kid with a pocket protector that he just needs to work on his three-pointer in his quest to enter the NBA. You don't have "it" and everyone knows it.

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    1. No recent law school grad has the ability to engage in the practice of law at a high level. That only comes with years of on-the-job experience. In fact, anyone coming out of Santa Clara thinking that they have this ability is asking for trouble. People who don't know what the f**k their doing but think they do can cause a lot of damage.

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    2. Yes, but Old Guy the law schools now are convincing students that they are "practice ready" and competent from the get-go. I'm nauseated every time one of these dean of career service types talks about networking. Networking is a kind of barter and occurs when two professionals have something worth exchanging. Law students don't have anything of professional value. Juan is selling his experience. Dean Mutt forgot about that part.

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    3. Networking also depends largely on having a good network. Most of the students in my class had a network—mainly a parental network—that included CEOs, senators, partners in white-shoe law firms, and the like. I did not. Guess who got the least out of "networking".

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    4. Captain Hruska Carswell, Continuance KingJanuary 30, 2016 at 5:24 PM

      Old Guy, I feel like I know you. I am a nobody lawyer too. It took me years and years to develop a shitty little network that feeds me basically, low paying clients. My feeder network is not based on clout or connections. The only reason I get these "mopes," is because the other attorneys in my network hate to drive beyond twenty five miles two for court. So, if the traffic weren't so crappy, I would have no feeder network. I get cases from this other attorney because he likes to "party" too much and is right out of Cheers. He knows I don't drink so he throws me cases when he can't show up to court.

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    5. Well, I'm not a nobody lawyer now, but during law school I was the nonpareil nobody. Beneath the advice to engage in "networking" lay the assumption that I knew lots of rich and prominent people. Most of my classmates did, but I certainly did not. I'm the first and only lawyer in my family. I don't recall meeting a lawyer before my mid-twenties.

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  7. --In other words, do they "look the part" on their cover letters, resumes, and job interviews."--

    No matter how pretty the candidate or her resume, no way to fix the Santa Clara Law School that is an autoding for 95% of legal employers. Actually "top 2% of class" might be enough to get the rest of the resume a read.

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  8. I wonder how many of Santa Clara school of law's graduates end up having to work in dog related fields; like dog grooming, or dog walking, or dog sitting.

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  9. Santa Clara is a rather pretty, but deadly dull campus that feels deserted after 5. And yes, there is the fact that it is one of too many expensive Bay Area toilets. I suppose it just barely beats out Golden Gate. Every Bay Area law school except Stanford and Berkeley needs to be shut down.

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    1. Every law school in California except Stanford and Berkeley needs to be shut down.

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    2. Oh come on. So Cal needs at least one school. How about USC and UCLA merge to form USCLA.

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    3. No way. As a Larry Layton Law School alumn, I can personally attest that I am a successful counselor at law. I am putting my wife in either Tesla SUV or BMW X5. We are closing on a 5,000 Sq Ft. Bay Area property and purchasing farm ground throughout Illinois and Iowa. We are also in the process of purchasing the water rights to Lake Michigan and Lake Superior. I got my golden ticket at the Larry Layton Law School, suckers......

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  10. Weird, I was taking a shit when I realized that I was gaining an insight as to how Vicki Huebner came into being.

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  11. Huebner's essay would be laughable but for the condescension oozing from every sentence, thinly veiling one insult after another, all directed at the clueless attending Santa Clara and every other TTT. It is so bad on so many levels that she ought to be fired, as it's clear that she thinks very, very little of her TTT victims.

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    1. If her little "don't sleep on the subway" and "come in out of the rain" insight actually is a revelation to any of Santa Clars Law School's students, they shouldn't be in law school.

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  12. Vicki Huebner should ask Juan to do something about her own looks. Jesus H Christ.

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  13. I'll go on record as disapproving of snark referencing this dean's gender.

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    1. You're right. I seem to have ended up in the doghouse for that. Substitute cur for the word that I used.

      Properly dog is masculine, although few people nowadays know that. (Similarly, duck and goose are feminine.) And it serves as a term of abuse, though one not nearly so powerful as its feminine counterpart.

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    2. You mean the sensitivity training worked?

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    3. I agree with Old Guy. Is this Dean a virgin? Her comments are so naïve. Her observations are so frustrating and cliché. Is she really a Dean?

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    4. She and the other scammers simply can't acknowledge the real problems; it would be taking bread from their own mouths. The decent people have spoken out or left the game at this point.

      I agree with dybbuk. Comments about an individual's gender or appearance only weaken an argument.

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    5. Comments about appearance aren't inherently gender-based, although many fanatical, intellectually dishonest feminists find it convenient to assert that they are.

      As evidence, I offer a certain sociopathic "law professor," Brian Leiter of the University of Chicago. It's difficult even to conceive how any one person's appearance could present as many sickening failures as does Mr. Leiter's. Pompous, dishevelled, perpetually sneering, morbidly obese...Leiter's appearance faithfully portrays his obsessive, malicious, deceptive mind as well as his morally depraved soul.

      I'm quote certain that, one of these days, a Canadian court will find a published photograph of Leiter to be grossly defamatory and award infinite damages.

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  14. Replies
    1. Captain Hruska Carswell, Continuance KingJanuary 30, 2016 at 5:04 PM

      The irony of your little rhyme is that the Dean of Valpo was a renowned and accomplished death penalty lawyer in Illinois. She should know first hand about the value of quality, effective representation.

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  15. Vicki Huebner is a dogface herself. If that's the best her groomer can do, maybe he should get a lawyer for dog grooming malpractice.

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    1. Captain Hruska Carswell, Continuance KingJanuary 30, 2016 at 5:44 PM

      In your blog, I told the World Wide Inter Webs that I dated a lot of cute locals during law school and played a lot of Road Blasters. If she was in my class, I would have asked her out too. She was probably a zoomer and did all of the readings. She had a clerkship...Could have been a very beneficial relationship....I would have gotten better grades and she would have ended up with a hottie like me.

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  16. "Likewise, legal job seekers need to demonstrate their ability to engage in the practice of law at a high level."

    Idiot. Her students have never engaged in the practice of law. They have little idea of what practicing law actually entails so they certainly can't even articulate what practicing at a high level looks like. When I'm interviewing law clerks, I usually consider (1) can they write, (2) are they interesting and engaging, and (3) are they a good fit for the office.

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    1. Your criterion (1) rules out 95% of law students.

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    2. Nowadays you are lucky to get them to stop texting and staring at their smartphones for a few seconds.

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  17. Huebner's knowledge of finding work is limited to a few trivial, hackneyed observations gleaned from a recent visit to her dog groomer. Apparently she knew nothing at all before that visit. Why exactly was she appointed Ass(t.) Dean for Career Services? Her patronizing article constitutes an admission of her incompetence and her inability to help even capable law students, let alone the types of people that end up at Santa Clara.

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    1. It's because law (and other) schools sell a dream and on some level, these people know it. Faculty have financial incentive to remain in denial, and until reality hits, so do students.

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    2. The Dean should spend her time selling her school to local employers.

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  18. Can law schools PLEASE start getting deans, professors, career services people who have at least some real experience with legal practice and employment outside of law schools? This is getting really absurd, laughably so. Students deserve better.

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  19. Your law school before law school:

    "Going to law school is like printing money!

    It is a scientific fact that going to law school is worth one million dollars in increased income over your life!"

    Your law school after law school:

    "If you can't find a job, it's your own fault, loser.

    You're lazy, and you're not networking enough."

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    1. My favorite is the whole "entitlement" thing.

      What, you spent 7 years getting an education we told you would lead to opportunity, and you actually think you should be allowed to show up somewhere and WORK for MONEY??!?! HOW ENTITLED!!!!!

      This does remind me of one thing in law school. Something about easements, and use of the easement. "Nobody uses the easement, obviously, since there was a brick wall erected in the middle of it, therefore the use requirement was met and therefore there is no easement." An argument so stupid people can't really figure out a good counter to it.

      That's what the "how dare they think they should be able to work 70 hours a week and get paid remuneration!" argument looks to me. It's just so beyond stupid, but it's advanced by people, usually Boomers, and it's almost impossible to argue against. It's the type of argument someone makes who is so retarded that nothing you say could possibly cause them to concede anything. You just think "how can someone really even say that? Why would think think that makes any sense?"

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    2. I hear what you’re saying 11:54, but the fact is, if there are two grads for every one job, a whole lot of people are going to be left holding the bag. It doesn’t matter how many years you went to school or what your expectations are. If no employer is willing to pay you a salary, then you don’t make a salary. It’s basic economics. The solution to this problem is obvious - the number of law school grads has to be brought into alignment with the number of available legal jobs. This is what the AMA and med schools do. And that means a lot of law schools would have to close down and many of the remaining schools would have to reduce class sizes. Of course, people like Huebner ignore this obvious solution because she’s got gym membership and dog grooming bills to pay. I’ve long been convinced that all the talk you hear from law school deans about “innovative” teaching methods and “practice ready” graduates is nothing but a smoke screen that allows them to ignore the 800 lb gorilla sitting in the middle of the room: To many grads, not enough jobs.

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    3. 7:21 AM: "The solution to this problem is obvious - the number of law school grads has to be brought into alignment with the number of available legal jobs." -- EXACTLY RIGHT!

      Law school enrollment has fallen because (mainly the smarter) prospective students know there are too many grads for available jobs. As the Moody's news indicates, the economic consequences of declining enrollments are (finally!) starting to hit the schools hard. The SHAKEOUT is coming. Law schools must close or get smaller.

      This happened in the 1980s to dental schools. Dental schools cost much more to run than law schools, so when enrollment declined, the economic consequences happened much faster. In that shakeout, 6 universities closed their dental schools.

      Jerry Organ has a great article here:
      http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/legalwhiteboard/2014/10/what-law-schools-can-learn-from-dental-schools-in-the-1980s-regarding-the-consequences-of-a-decline-.html

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  20. "For the Class of 2014, 35.2% of Santa Clara Law grads obtained non-solo full-time law jobs within 10 months of graduation."

    What makes that even worse is that a few Silicon Valley firms still send techies to Santa Clara Law to turn them into in-house patent attorneys. So at least some fraction of people attending have guaranteed jobs after graduation, so the employment statistics for everyone else are even worse.

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  21. Dean Huebner writes on the Santa Clara Law, Office of Career Management wed page:

    "Did you make any resolutions associated with the start of 2016? Have you already broken them? Many of us have experience making – and breaking New Year’s resolutions. One January, I arrived late for my longstanding yoga class because there was simply no place to park in the gym parking lot. I mentioned the parking situation to the instructor after class and his response was not to worry about parking since most of the new people who made resolutions to go to the gym would stop coming within two weeks and would be back to their comfortable old routine.

    Job search behavior reminds me of New Year’s resolutions..."

    It's hard to imagine someone in Legal Career Management who believes that her daily routine filled with dog groomers and yoga classes is in any way instructive to law students looking for a clerking or associate position. The only relevant advice for law students is from the trenches. Law students need to talk to actual, practicing attorneys including recent graduates and seasoned practioners. At the very best, her facile advice is ineffective.

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    1. Funny how she learns about looking for work only through her abundant recreational activities, not in the course of her job as head of "Career Services". What exactly does she do all day?

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    2. Hopefully, read this blog.

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  22. I, too, have dog groomer, and wholeheartedly agree that her polish, professionalism, and being damned good at what she does makes her my choice. But she certainly isn’t the only dog groomer out there with polish, professionalism and talent. I personally know of two others (who started out with her) who are now trying to start their own businesses. As much as I admire their professionalism, I’m not in a position to purchase more dogs and patronize each. And even if I became a two-dog man, one of my three professional grooming friends couldn’t get my business.

    Please be honest and address issues of the marketplace and the concept of saturation.

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  23. Talk about fiddling while Rome burns. 35% of Santa Clara grads are completely unemployed ten months after graduation, and the advice given by Santa Clara's career services dean is to network, dress professionally, and do well in the field? Did you hear that, Santa Clara 3Ls? If 1/3 of you weren't poorly dressed anti-social dullards, the school would have perfect employment stats!

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    1. It's interesting that a formerly respected regional law school now has among the worst job placement statistics of any law school in the United States.

      Part it probably is that the Bay Area is now such a draw that a fair proportion of graduates from elite Eastern law schools want to relocate there - which means that SCL graduates don't have a chance of competing against them.

      Perhaps one of Santa Clara's eminent and voluble law professors would like to explain why SCL's placement statistics are so terrible.

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    2. If not the single most lawyer saturated market in the USA, the bay area is right up there with NYC, Boston, and Southern California.

      The following law schools are all within two hours drive or so of San Francisco:

      Golden Gate, Santa Clara, Stanford, UC-Berkeley, UC-Davis, UC-Hastings, U. of San Francisco, U. of the Pacific. I'm sure I"m forgetting one or two. Add to that who knows how many non-ABA accredited schools.

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  24. Off topic, but I just read over on the Taxprof blog that the ABA accreditation committee has recommended that Indiana Tech receive accreditation. Final approval is probably just a formality. Not really a surprise given the ABA's spineless history. The thing I don't get is why the parent university absolutely refuses to fold this losing hand.

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  25. I note that Dean Heubner's Office of Career Management has a staff of 5 including the Dean but does not include any men, African Americans, or Hispanics. Oh, and the Diversity Gala is April 7th.

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    1. The "Career" "Services" Office at a law school is typically a pink ghetto for glorified file clerks, a few of whom may have a JD. Don't expect to find many men there.

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  26. Hey, Ol' Spook. I'm not sure if you saw my reply, but it was along the lines of

    "I very much appreciate your taking the time to reply and explain".

    Thanks!

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  27. I am a 3L at Santa Clara and I can attest that the employment rates are extremely pathetic. It is almost taboo to talk about your job after law school, probably because most people don't have them, and it is universally acknowledged that the career services office is little to no help to those who aren't specializing in IP. I personally have never met with Vicki, but met with another counselor in her office during 1L. I received very little practical advice and never went back.

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