News and information useful to Cleveland-Marshall College of Law students, faculty and staff.

Archive for September 14th, 2010


How Law Firms “Grade” Associates: Core Competencies

According to a recent  survey by the NALP Foundation, an overwhelming majority of  law firms use core competencies for training and evaluations.   About half use them to determine associate’s base compensation.  Core compentencies can include “skills (writing, research, negotiation, oral advocacy), client service, work ethic, interpersonal skills and firm citizenship.” (quote from McKenna, Long and Aldridge, L.L.P.’s website).   During a presentation at this year’s AALL conference, the following were mentioned as core competencies:  research and writing, time management, technology, project management, ethics, negotiating, communication, leadership and client services.

A conference attendee asked whether the top law firms were changing their recruiting practices in order focus on skills rather than law school grades.  The answer was mixed.  One panelist said that their firm still only interviews the top 10% of students, but interview questions are more focused on experience,  management skills and other skills.  Another panelist said that firms are now more willing to take a chance on a B student with paralegal, management experience or other useful experience.  The NALP survey says that about half of firms use core competencies for recruiting initiatives.

The challenge for law school faculty and staff is to help our students obtain the core competencies law firms want.

Tattoos Receive First Amendment Protection

As a happily tattooed librarian, yesterday’s post on Media Law Prof Blog naturally caught my eye. The blog reports on a recent Ninth Circuit decision—Anderson v. City of Hermosa Beach—that has held a municipal ban on tattoo parlors unconstitutional. The judges reasoned that tattooing is a purely expressive activity akin to writing that is thus entitled to First Amendment protection. The judges further stated that the city’s total ban on tattooing was not a reasonable “time, place, or manner” restriction on protected expression. The lengthy decision examines the legality of tattoos themselves, the process of tattooing, and the business of tattooing—and all three come out as fully protected by the First Amendment.