We predict no shortage of lawyers in the foreseeable future.
The blood letting in the legal profession has neither snuffed out the spirits of would-be first-years, nor the ambitions of one JFK law school. We've noted their enthusiasm on BART rides, as it seems every car has an ad for the school.
With a campus in Pleasant Hill, John F. Kennedy University School of Law remodeled and expanded its campus in Berkeley last summer and rolled out a new public interest law program (built on the curriculum core of the now-defunct New College law school). Now the tiny East Bay school is wooing more students to check it out.
Chris Kanios, a professor and associate dean, says that the main university has plunked down more than $100,000 for an ad campaign to promote the law school’s new offerings. Billboards featuring actual JFK law students have punctuated the walls at select BART stations (pictured), the pages of the San Francisco Chronicle and local airwaves for the past few weeks. Kanios said it’s a spring effort to attract up to 30 more students this fall, for a total first-year class of about 75 students, up from between 50 and 60 in past years.
So far, Kanios said that applications are up by about 13 percent over the same period last year. By April 30 last year, 95 had come in, compared with 108 by April 20 of this year. JFK will accept applications until July 1.
Where will all these people work in three years?
“I do think that most people are confident that the economy will come back in the next few years,” Kanios said. With tuition costing $20,500, JFK is not cheap, but he notes that alums don’t typically go work in the largest firms that take the biggest beating during a downturn, he said. Though there is no career office to track alumni, Kanios says JFK grads end up working at small local firms (those with no more than 12 lawyers), and with local nonprofit agencies and in public sector jobs.
And JFK students don’t come in expecting that they’ll be as pampered as students in more mainstream schools, who rely on a summer internship formula that has – at least historically – had their future employment pegged by the second year of law school. “Here people have never had that expectation,” he said. “They’ve really had the expectation of finding their own way, and people have been doing that for years.”
Maybe they’d have a few pointers for students at big-name schools who aren’t so used to fending for themselves?
Petra is a Cal Law reporter.