New thoughts on Legal Education

February 9th, 2010

I haven’t updated this blog in almost two years so I thought I would spend a little time and clean it up a little bit.  Baby steps. . .

For now you can get an interesting read (from Above the Law) on Dean Van Zandt’s views how the legal education is evolving:

Changes in Legal Education: Some Thoughts from Dean David Van Zandt

“Van Zandt and some of his Northwestern colleagues did a study to determine the added value of a J.D. degree. They concluded that the break-even starting salary for a law school graduate is $65,000. Put another way, going to a law school with a median salary upon graduation that’s below $65,000 is not a wise investment.

Schools with median starting salaries under $65,000, which generally land somewhere in the 70s in the U.S. News & World Report rankings, are not good values. They need to either lower their cost to students and/or improve job opportunities for their graduates. . .

Van Zandt described the law school business model as follows:Clients—-fees——>Law Firms—-salaries——>Law School Graduates——-tuition——>Law Schools”

Penn and Wharton Creates “the Second” elite 3-Year JD-MBA Program

September 14th, 2008

OK, I guess I am biased b/c I went to a competitor school (or that’s what I thought) . . . but obviously people at Wharton and Penn Law don’t agree that Northwestern’s JD-MBA program is an elite “Law and Business school”.

According to Penn/Wharton’s preses release:
“Penn’s three-year J.D./M.B.A. is the country’s first fully integrated three-year program offered by elite law and business schools.”

Obviously Edward Rock has not done his research and realized that Northwestern Law/Kellogg has been doing this for almost 10 years before Penn.

OK I give props for Penn for finally stepping up to the plate and integrating their program, but acting like it was the first program to recognize this trend or to shorten the combined degree into a three year program is irresponsible.

People at Penn are probably thinking. . .well Wharton is better than Kellogg and Penn Law is better than Northwestern. Well I guess that depends on who you ask (There are so many different rankings, but U.S. News is most commonly referred and they have Wharton at #3 and Kellogg at #4, and Penn Law at #7 and NU Law at #9). Maybe they should retake their statistics class to find out of these differences are statistically significant. If you ask me or anyone who has taken a graduate level stats class — there really is no difference (both are elite) and Kellogg/NU has been doing this for 10 years, so obviously the statement in the press release is factually wrong.

OK, I’m an alum who is probably nit-picking but I think Penn/Wharton and Edward Rock should retract that above statement so applicants really know which program is more developed and was really the “first.”


PHILADELPHIA – The University of Pennsylvania’s Law School and Wharton School are launching an accelerated three-year program leading to both the J.D. and M.B.A. degrees.

“As the world becomes more complex, leaders must be able to integrate financial, legal, political and cultural issues like never before,” Michael A. Fitts, Penn Law School dean, said. “From corporate scandals and globalization to crises in the housing and credit markets, there is an obvious need for people with advanced training in the law to be highly skilled in business, and there is no better place anywhere to study business and finance than the Wharton School.”

Additional information is available at

Law School Graduation!

May 22nd, 2008

So I am in Koh Samui, Thailand for our Honeymoon and it is amazingly beautiful here. Neha and I flew straight to Thailand the morning after Law School Graduation. After 3 years for Law school and Business school classes we are officially lawyers (or I guess that will really happen once I pass the Bar exam). Anyways, the ceremony went well, and Jerry Springer’s speech was actually quite nice–much of the graduating class actually gave him a standing ovation. So I guess I am almost officially done with the JD-MBA program (I need to graduate from Kellogg on June 21). I would love to write more (and hopefully over the summer I will fill out a lot of the questions and clarifications about the program for future applicants and admits) but for right now, I need to get back to the beach!

US News and JD-MBA Rankings

April 21st, 2008

Ok so it’s the end of the semester, I have a couple weeks to go until I graduate and what better way to kill time than write up a blog post about a controversial topic. No it’s not that Jerry Springer is going to be our Graduation Speaker at the law school (he is an NU Law alum — and even though he is the king of Trash TV, he actually has done some cool things). I actually highly recommend this short piece that “This American Life” (a PBS Radio show) did on him:

Lucky for us JD-MBA Students we also get to hear the CEO of General Electric–Jeff Immelt– at the Kellogg Graduation. So I’m not too worried if Mr. Jerry Springer, Esq. does a shabby job–even though I don’t believe that he will.

OK the real controversial topic — the US News Grad School rankings — Ohh Ahhh. . .

I was reading an old blog post about Law School and how they have changed over the past decade. There is an interesting table and chart and it is sort of cool to look at it visually. You’ll notice that the top 6 don’t really change much. And then the top 15 or so are a little more volatile but are also pretty consistent:

This made me think of the rankings of JD-MBA Programs. So how do you choose an Law or Business school if the rankings are out of whack. Well the easy business solution is to add them up. . .which is what I did: So here are the “Un-official” US News JD-MBA Rankings:

Law School Top 20:

1 Yale University
2 Harvard University
2 Stanford University
4 Columbia University
5 New York University
6 University of California–Berkeley
7 University of Chicago
7 University of Pennsylvania
9 Northwestern University
9 University of Michigan–Ann Arbor
9 University of Virginia
12 Cornell University
12 Duke University
14 Georgetown University
15 Vanderbilt University
16 University of California–Los Angeles
16 University of Texas–Austin
18 University of Southern California (Gould)
19 Washington University in St. Louis
20 George Washington University

Business School Top 20:

1 Harvard University
1 Stanford University
3 University of Pennsylvania (Wharton)
4 Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Sloan)
4 Northwestern University (Kellogg)
4 University of Chicago
7 Dartmouth College (Tuck)
7 University of California–Berkeley (Haas)
9 Columbia University
10 New York University (Stern)
11 University of California–Los Angeles (Anderson)
12 University of Michigan–Ann Arbor (Ross)
13 Yale University
14 Cornell University (Johnson)
14 Duke University (Fuqua)
14 University of Virginia (Darden)
17 Carnegie Mellon University (Tepper)
18 University of Texas–Austin (McCombs)
19 University of North Carolina–Chapel Hill (Kenan-Flagler)
20 Indiana University–Bloomington (Kelley)

Combined (Added up “total points” which is the placement for each grad school and then ranked it)

(3) Harvard
(3) Stanford
(10) Penn/Wharton
(11) Chicago/GSB
(13) Northwestern/Kellogg
(13) Columbia
(13) Berkeley/Haas
(14) Yale
(15) NYU
(21) Michigan/Ross
(23) UVA/Darden
(26) Cornell/Johnson
(26) Duke/Fuqua
(27) UCLA/Anderson
(34) Texas/McCombs

It’s some interesting data. There seem to be two big “powerhouses” — Harvard and Stanford. Then the next five are all pretty close only separated by a couple of points (Penn, Chicago, Kellogg, Columbia, Berk, Yale, and NYU). In my opinion all of these are really “top five JD-MBA programs” (even though there are nine of them). It matters mostly on what you want to specialize in. Also the above list is pretty close to what I would rank them. Hopefully, on a future post I will try what I think the rankings should be and provide will also some provide some analysis. . .

Rahul Pagidipati and Neha Jadeja - Wedding Website

February 12th, 2008

So I kind of alluded to it several months earlier (in the very short post “Engaged. . .”) but I as many of you know I’m getting married in May. Because of my experience in Website Developing (The company I founded, Anion Technologies does software and BPO outsourcing), Neha asked me to take the lead on building our wedding website. The beta site is up and operational, so I thought I would provide a link from blog home page (it requires Flash Player):

This last semester has been and will continue to be busy, because not only do I have school work, but also need to help out with the wedding plans (but to be honest, Neha and her mom are doing almost all the planning).

Legal Diatribe

January 24th, 2008

So I flew back to Chicago from Florida yesterday and on the way back my cab driver asked me where I wanted to go.  I told him Chicago and Lakeshore. . .or Northwestern’s downtown campus (not knowing if he knew where that intersection was).  He then asks “so are you in school?”  (He was probably trying to make some friendly conversation thinking I was in medical school).  Anyways, I answer –  “Yeah, I’m in law school”

Next thing I know, he gives me a very wicked eye.  All of a sudden the cab driver goes on a tirade about lawyers and how they are ruining America.  “America has more lawyers then all other countries combined. . . .you know in my country if there is a problem, then people just fight it out one on one.  There’s no need for courts, you take care of it yourself”  I then ask him what country he is from, but he won’t tell me (he eventually says “somewhere in the middle east.”)

Anyways, I try and tell him that I agree that America is too litigious, but the answer is not a system of lawlessness.  I give an example of India–there the court system is so backed up that it takes years and years, before your case is resolved.  Although there are large transaction costs for litigation, I still believe that our legal system is one of the most important assets of the U.S.A.   I think this is the first time someone has actually become disturbed by the fact that I might be an attorney.  I guess when I was applying to law school, I knew that would happen some day. . .

I think next time a cab driver asks me if I’m in school, I’m going to tell them I’m getting my MBA. . .

30 - Something

December 13th, 2007

Ok so tomorrow I am taking my Bankruptcy exam, and I should be studying. But a good way to procrastinate is writing a short post on my blog. So lets get to the [somewhat] exciting news. Today I turned 30. Another JD-MBA classmate also had a 30th birthday which was around this time so we had a dinner with several of the 3rd year JD-MBA students. We went to Fogo De Chao (for anyone who has not yet been to this Brazilian steak house, I highly recommend it!).

One of the great things about the program is the camaraderie between the class and the program. We usually have a dinner (we try and hit up the various good restaurants around Chicago) with the 3J class a several times a semester and events with the years below us once a semester.

Anyways, the day went well, though I’ve pretty much been studying the entire time learning about different types of creditors, PACA claims, and pre-petition shareholders (yeah. . . .don’t ask, it’s kind of boring).

I can’t believe it’s been a three months since the last post. . .This semester [I guess measured by the number of posts] has been the busiest time in the JD-MBA program. I decided to load up on my schedule with 17 credits this semester so that I could knock out a bunch of my law school requirements (things like my “1-draft” and “3-draft” which are basically multi-page legal papers).

Most of my classes have been pretty cool: M&A, Intellectual Property, Telecom & Internet Policy, Bankruptcy, Law and Economics, and Entrepreneurship Law. I’m done with my requirements for about half of them (I have a couple more papers and exams and I’ll be completely done by Dec 20th).

Then I’m off to Florida and Miami for winter break and New Years. OK enough fantasizing about warm weather, I’ve got to get back to work. . .

Is a Kellogg MBA really worth it?

September 12th, 2007

Interesting article whether an MBA from a prestigious school leads to success. Harvard might not be worth it, but Kellogg sure is — in my humble opinion ;-)

“ABOUT a year before Adam Richman was to graduate from the Harvard Business School in 1996, he took on an extracurricular project. It was long before the Internet bubble inflated and burst, and well before one of the school’s graduates landed in the White House. Mr. Richman wondered: What was the real-world value of a master’s in business administration, especially one from the iviest of Ivies? Was it, as widely perceived, an ace in the hole, a get-out-of-jail-free card, a ticket to the good life?

Graphic: Harvard Business School's Bottom LineTHE popularity of the degrees has surged. In 1970, for example, business schools handed out 26,490 M.B.A.’s, according to the Department of Education. By 2004, after a period marked by an economic boom and heightened competition for top-flight business careers, that figure had jumped to 139,347. But opinion and data appear divided on the tangible benefits of an M.B.A.

On the other hand, Professor Gottesman and a colleague found in a separate study, published earlier this year in the Journal of Empirical Finance, that mutual fund managers with M.B.A.’s from BusinessWeek’s 30 top-ranked business schools — including Harvard — generally outperformed other mutual fund managers. Professor Gottesman is not sure why this was so, either. “One possibility is that at higher-quality schools they simply teach better technical skills,” he speculated. “Or students at top-tier schools have a higher I.Q.”

Networking for Lawyers

August 26th, 2007

Network to Net Worth??

Welcome to the Network-in-Law an invite-only community started by law students and alumni of Northwestern University, Georgetown University, and the University of Florida.

Unlike other professional and social networking sites (Linkedin, Facebook, etc.) the Network in Law was designed by lawyers, for lawyers. Our community is exclusively open to verified law students, attorneys, and legal professionals.

You can use the to find a job or internship, access valuable advice from peers and industry professionals, and even network with attorneys who are halfway around the world.

Whether you are a law student, district attorney, barrister, corporate counsel, or even a judge, the Network in Law can help you stay in touch with your professional contacts. I hope you enjoy our community and get as much out of it as I have. Please feel free to add me as a contact and send suggestions on how to improve the service!


June 25th, 2007

Been a busy week. . . .