Thursday, March 18, 2010

Deja Poo: UNH Plans Merger With Franklin Pierce Law Center

In a deal that sounds eerily similar to the UMASS/Southern New England Merger, The University of New Hampshire and Franklin Pierce Law Center are moving ahead with a proposed merger agreement.

Under the plan, the state’s only law school would remain in Concord for the foreseeable future but would be renamed the University of New Hampshire School of Law, pending approval by the American Bar Association and the New England Association of Schools and Colleges.

The earliest the ABA would consider the merger is August, said John D. Hutson, the law center’s president and dean. In the meantime, committees will be appointed to explore how best to integrate the schools’ academic programs and administrations.

Great, just what we need, another private third tier law school and public university merger under the guise of serving students who want to go into public interest law. What I think is that these third tier law schools believe it is easier to con more students from these public universities into applying to their law school through joint pre-law college classes and programs.

Before UNH students drop off their law school apps, here is a huge piece of information that the Boston Globe article omits:

Tuition at Franklin Pierce is steep, even by the lofty standards of private law schools. For a full-time student during the 2009-2010 academic year, the bill comes to $36,900, not including books and university fees. Students are also advised to budget about $12,000 for living expenses, bringing the annual cost of attendance closer to $60,000.

...Although not many of them work in high-paying “biglaw” jobs in Boston or New York, most Franklin Pierce
graduates do find some kind of work. Most recently, 65.8% of the class had employment at the time of graduation, and within 9 months, 95.5% had found work. For those working in the private sector, the average starting salary was an impressive $95,000, compared to $48,500 for those working in the public sector. It should be noted, however, that average salary statistics tend to be self-reported and often do not reflect the entire graduating class, so that $95,000 (which is markedly higher than that of similarly ranked law schools) figure should be viewed with some skepticism.

Hah. I don't know where the 95.5% employment statistic comes from (I'm guessing from Franklin Pierce or the ABA) but it does state that most graduates do not find high-paying biglaw jobs in Boston or New York . So where exactly are these students "working"? McDonalds?


  1. Ugh. The law school where I work is currently collecting the Class of 2009's employment statistics (for USNWR purposes). The guy who is doing "part time research for a solo practitioner"? Counted as employed. All the people who don't report back? 75% of them are "deemed" employed (this must be a USNWR rule). Non-legal employment, including I assume at McDonald's? Counted as employed. Smells like bullshit!

  2. I graduated from Pierce in 2007. I would say about 1/3 of my class graduated making big-law salaries.

    One piece of information you omitted is that nearly 50% of Pierce grads are engineers that find jobs in patent law. Students coming out of Pierce for intellectual property do pretty well.

  3. Thanks for your input and 2007 stats, anon. I'd like to know the stats for last year's graduates at Pierce. If only 1/3 of the class found jobs in patent law/biglaw in 2007, I imagine the number is much smaller today. I'd post accurate stats if I knew where to find them. If anyone has those stats please post them here. Also, if engineers are the few Pierce graduates finding jobs, then the majority of us who go to law school because we hated math and science are still screwed. Applicants to Pierce need to be informed and warned that if they don't go into a specific area of law that their chances of getting a good paying job are minuscule.

    Jadz, when I applied to law school I remember seeing the outrageous 98% employment stats at both T1 and T2 schools. Law schools will count part-time, temp, and minimum wage employment as full employment. Not surprised to see that they also count people who don't reply as employed too. They know most college students won't bother delving any deeper into the numbers to find out the truth.

  4. A toilet by any other name...would still stink like rancid piss and shit.

  5. $36,900/year seems like a ridiculous amount of money to attend a law school outside of the Top 20. I also suspect that the cost of living today is closer to around $15,000/year before adding in the costs of casebooks. Let's do the math. 3 x ($36,900 + $15,000) = $155,700.

    $155,700 is a crippling amount of student loan debt and it cannot be discharged in bankruptcy. As I contemplate today's runaway tuition costs, I am starting to conclude that the cost of my legal education was a bargain.

    It is a travesty that the ABA and our legislators have not done much to address or to even substantively acknowledge the tremendous human tragedy that is occurring today in the legal profession. Every year, thousands and perhaps tens of thousands of well-meaning young people's lives are absolutely destroyed or at least heavily scarred by student loan debt as they obtain overpriced legal education that our nation's economy does not need. Where is the sense in training people at huge expense for non-existent job positions? This situation outrages me to no end. I am not sure if I will ever tire of repeating this same message over and over again.

  6. HK, I think we usually report in the 90% range -- and we are solidly Tier2 (that's still #50-100, right? it seems like USNWR is now calling 1-100 tier 1). I know even our law review editor last year had a tough job search (ended up with a mediocre clerkship in another state).

  7. The first comment says that 50 percent of pierce/UNH grads work in IP and 33 percent find BigLaw positions. This does not mean that all of the BigLaw positions are IP. I suppose arguments was not your strong suit on the LSAT. Also puzzling that you suggest only a few pierce grads have found jobs, despite no evidence of any kind outside of your own apparent bitterness. At least a third of the lawyers across all fields in the state went to pierce/UNH. A T3 with an elite IP program is really nothing like an unaccredited and bankrupt school.

    Finally, you contradict yourself in criticizing a T3 school and then attacking high tuition costs. If you were smart enough to go to a T3 school, you would undoubtedly be more financially stable right now. The net tuition at pierce is about 10k less, evidence that the school provides the opportunity for candidates capable of admission at a T1 school to minimize the debt concerns that people like yourself dwell on.

  8. UNH School of Law (Franklin Pierce) is hard to compare to other schools because of its EXTREMELY heavy Patent focus. If you are an engineer (I am talking about the kind with some personality and personal hygiene), and this is especially true for electrical engineers, you can coast through Pierce with a 3.1 GPA and get a sweet gig prosecuting patents at a prestigious firm in any metropolitan area pulling down $140K-$170K starting. Mechanical, biological, and chemical engineers will need to prove themselves through similar or higher grades and extracurriculars such as law review, but their chances are also strong.

    If you do not have an engineering degree or some serious connections (serious meaning, your Dad is the managing partner at a firm), you have a 1% chance of getting a real paying job doing trademark or copyright work. Yes the school has an excellent 'soft IP' faculty, but employers are not looking for entry-level trademark and IP lawyers. Just ask any patent attorney; trademark work is what patent attorneys do in their spare time.

    Outside of IP, some of the more driven students (20%) get solid jobs in the New England area doing civil litigation and/or government work.

    Luckily, despite being in the 40th percentile, and being non-IP, I was able to land a great mid-law job in a nice area of the country, with great pay, interesting work, and job security. I had to work my butt off to find it, and I got lucky. The truth is, I almost became a hamburger flipper with $160K of debt.

  9. No, not McDonalds. lol Franklin Pierce/UNH Law has an excellent reputation in the IP community around the world. So, we get good jobs in Patent law and Trademarks Law, too.

    Plus, our school is pretty small and close-knit. You can walk into most professor's offices and ask for advice. The job market is tough for lawyers, but for some reason at Pierce, if you look hard enough and stay positive, you'll get the job you want.



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