Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Ontario rejects proposal for new law school

While law schools have been springing up all over the US, the Canadian province of Ontario has had the sense to reject a plan to create another law school in Toronto.

Ryerson University proposed to open a law school as early as 2020. "Training, Colleges and Universities Minister Merrilee Fullerton reviewed the proposal and concluded, based on a number of factors including a surplus of students for articling positions, modest wage growth and projected job openings, that another law school in the province isn’t needed." Articling positions are apprenticeships required in Canada for admission to the bar, and for years there have not been enough articling positions for the graduates seeking them; Ontario even had to introduce an alternative to articling, the "Law Practice Program", for the many graduates who could not find articles. And those who do become lawyers may still struggle to find work: just as in the US, too many new lawyers are chasing too few jobs.

In light of the evident fact that there are already too many law schools in Canada, Ryerson had promised to "differentiate itself with what it described as a bold, new approach to legal education". Oh, really? Where have I heard that before? Every new law school claims "a bold, new approach to legal education", but not a single one delivers. Furthermore, changes to "legal education" will not address the shortage of jobs, which militates against opening yet another law school.

Ryerson's "aim was to focus on equity and diversity, while being a 'champion for ordinary citizens and driver for small businesses'". This too is a standard canard of the law-school scam. Fostering "equity and diversity" in this context amounts to luring racialized people into a trap of unemployment, for the benefit of overpaid hackademic scamsters. And the bit about "ordinary citizens" and "small businesses" refers to the common but false assertion that lawyers can make a living by serving people who cannot afford legal services. Yes, millions of people go without the legal help that they need—because they can't or won't pay for it. Serving such people is no way to make money.

Ryerson's would-have-been toilet needed funding that the provincial government was unwilling to provide. Apparently the provincial government also rejected the proposal to "bridge the gap by charging higher fees".

So Ryerson's proposed toilet law school was unneeded, unaffordable, and useless. What's not to like?

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

A Tale of Two Feasibility Studies

With the demise of Valpo apparently on the way, it is interesting to reflect on the change of tone between Indiana Tech's feasibility study (ITLS) proposing the need for a law school in 2011 and the Tennessee Higher Education Commission's feasibility study (THEC) denying the need for a law school in 2018.
While it is somewhat difficult to draw up a line-by-line comparison between the two studies, as each study chooses to highlight different points, you can certainly hear the difference between a "sales job" on the one hand and a "pragmatic denial" on the other.  This should not be surprising, as hind-sight has proved to be more than 20-20 given the years that have transpired.  While the Law School Cartel has not been completely shaken up, the toll that has been exacted has shown who was swimming naked when the tide did go out, and who is still treading water
Here are a few examples:
*  Comparing Legal Outcomes
The After the JD Longitudinal study of legal careers sponsored by the American Bar Foundation (ABF) and the NALP Foundation provides encouragement that student loans are a good investment, even for those who take lower-paying jobs when they graduate…[i]t first surveyed them in 2002 and again in 2007…[i]n the 2007 survey, 20 percent of respondents had paid off their loans in the preceding five years, and median debt had fallen by $20,000 to $50,000…[i]t appears that most law students do not pay high law school tuitions seeking a pure economic return on investment.  Rather they see their education as the gateway to meaningful, interesting careers (p.16,17) (data from before the Great Recession but cited by the study in 2011.  Ed.)

At full (enrollment) capacity, there is roughly a balance between the numbers graduation from law school in Tennessee and project employment opportunities, but: (1) the occupation projections are predicated on “full employment,” which is proven overly optimistic in past cycles, (b) It is not clear that the current 10-year projections on employment of lawyers fully comprehends the impact of disruptive technology, particularly artificial intelligence, on the quantity, nature and location lf legal services work, (c) while the current occupational projects may comprehend the fact that 10 percent of lawyers work past the age of 65, it is less certain how the methodology takes into account legislative initiatives in Tennessee to reduce the need for legal services, such as tort and workers compensation reform (p.4)
Already, you can hear the pitch - look, even though its expensive, look at the great results!  Debt isn't so bad after all!  Plus, who can put a price on an interesting career?  Seven years later, the THEC is saying "not so fast, let's look at the data.  There is optimism bias here, past performance does not guarantee future results, and there is market pressure."  
More below the fold:

Sunday, October 28, 2018

US-style legal hackademia infests Indian law school

We have justly lampooned hackademic scholarshit about "the open road" and the alleged intersection of law and hip-hop. Like so much other foolishness that starts in the US, the phenomenon of pretentious nonsense from legal hackademia has spread to the other side of the world: the National University of Juridical Sciences in Kolkata is offering a course on law and Harry Potter.

Those who enroll in this ridiculous course are "expected [to] have already read all the books at least twice, if not more". Old Guy hasn't read one page of any Harry Potter book and doesn't intend to, but he wonders about this requirement. Is Harry Potter really so profound and complex that it—unlike all other texts assigned in law school—must be read at least twice?

The course is "intended to encourage students to think critically about Indian social problems" such as discrimination, torture, slavery, and religious strife. Infantile shiterature, we are expected to believe, provides a neutral framework for exploring these problems. I doubt very much whether any Critical Thinking™ will occur in an environment that can't pull it off without invoking the genre of puerile fantasy.

The forty-student course quickly filled up. Presumably it is viewed as an easy way to get a good grade without having to read anything: just show up for class, spout some platitudes about Indian social problems, write (probably with a crayon) a couple of pages on sophisticated philosophical conclusions derived from the exalted books, and collect an A. The popularity of such foolishness, however, is no mark of merit. Nor will it be of much help on the bar exam or in legal practice.

Friday, October 26, 2018

Toilets Я Us, Part VI: Arizona Summit to close down

Privately owned über-toilet Arizona Summit is preparing to shut down. It has offered the ABA a "teach-out plan" whereby the remaining 22 students would finish their studies elsewhere but would still get their degrees from Arizona Summit, which would retain its accreditation for a year or two. In exchange, Arizona Summit has offered to drop its appeal from the ABA's decision to revoke its accreditation.

Back in August, less than two weeks before what would have been the start of the semester, Arizona Summit announced that it would not be offering classes after all. The students were left to scramble for another school that would take them at that late date. Some of them reportedly transferred to Florida Coastal, InfiLaw's only other remaining law school—itself likely to close soon because of financial problems, potential loss of accreditation, and plummeting enrollment. About two dozen students transferred, surprisingly enough, to the U of North Dakota, another über-toilet.

The ABA may accept this plan, negotiate something else, or proceed with its intention to revoke Arizona Summit's accreditation. In any event, it seems that Arizona Summit will be closing down in a year or so. Even if the ABA unconditionally continued Arizona Summit's accreditation (an unrealistic possibility), the über-toilet could hardly come back to life with only 22 students and presumably no professors.

Arizona Summit is becoming the eighth law school to close, if we count Valpo (which is apparently winding itself up).

Friday, October 19, 2018

Über-toilet update: Valpo not moving, apparently closing; Thomas Jefferson not admitting students


The über-toilet law school of Valparaiso University, which oddly uses the hideous nickname Valpo, will not be moving to Middle Tennessee State University after all. The Tennessee Higher Education Commission voted 8–5 against the proposal to absorb Valpo.

The commission relied on a feasibility study that, in sharp contrast to the one that justified the creation of defunct über-toilet Indiana Tech, found that the acquisition of Valpo would harm Tennessee's many other law schools and the law students as well, without fostering access to justice. In addition, the study reported that Valpo has a poor reputation and that the acquisition would cost a great deal of money that Tennessee could ill afford.

Hackademic scamsters predictably denounced the decision.

So what becomes of Valpo? Apparently it is being closed down. The Web site refers over and over again to a commitment to keep the school open for "current students". New students are not being accepted, and indeed the information about admissions has all been removed. Spokeswoman Nicole Niemi has just said that Valpo "will continue to provide the opportunity for all currently enrolled students at Valparaiso University Law School to complete their legal education through Valparaiso University Law School in a timely manner". This language suggests an intention to shut up shop once the currently enrolled students are gone.

If Valpo is indeed closing, it is doing so a damn sight more responsibly than many other toilet law schools. Charlotte, for instance, simply locked everyone out, without so much as an announcement until it had ceased operations. Arizona Summit recently cancelled all classes less than two weeks before the start of the academic year. Valpo at least deserves recognition for doing more or less the right thing.


Despite its usual practice of admitting students in the fall and spring, über-toilet Thomas Jefferson has decided not to admit students for the coming spring semester. According to interim scam-dean Linda Keller, "[t]he law school is committed to providing the best environment for our students. We’ve decided to forego [sic] the revenue that a spring entering class would provide because a proportionally smaller spring entering class might not provide the vibrant, collaborative atmosphere for our new students that is an essential part of the first-year law student experience."

Note that the decision is explained first and foremost in terms of "revenue". So much for the typical pretense of selfless devotion to the profession and the public; what matters is money, and this scamster doesn't even have the taste to shut her tacky-ass mouth on that subject.

Thomas Jefferson would not forgo revenue lightly. It is deep in debt. Recently it had to leave the lavish building that it had built just a few years ago; now it operates out of shabby rented offices that reportedly are altogether unfit for the classrooms, library, and other facilities that it needs. On top of that, it is under probation from the ABA and has recently applied for alternative accreditation from the state of California in case the ABA gives it the boot. I suspect that Thomas Jefferson canceled its admissions for the spring because it would not have had the money, even with that precious "revenue", to support another entering class.

Monday, October 8, 2018

The Truth Rears Its Ugly Head, Again

Um, guys...these tuition, student and employment statistics don't measure up, at all...
Thanks to commentators on this blog, an interesting study concerning changes to the Legal Academy has been brought to our attention.  Per the Faculty Lounge:
From 2010-11 through 2016-17, the number of unique applicants to accredited law schools fell 36%...[t]he conventional metrics by which most admissions decisions are made – [LSAT and GPA] – declined even more, as more highly credentialed applicants disproportionately stayed away...
But the effects on the academy have been profound, and far more widespread than many realize.  By 2016-17, the average accredited American law school had an entering class that was nearly one-third smaller and had a median LSAT score seven percentiles lower than in 2010-11.  And while Base Tuition (a school’s published “sticker price”) had risen 15% on average over that period, the average tuition discount per student had doubled, causing the average net tuition paid per student to fall over 6% in constant dollars. 
The authors of this study blame contraction in the legal job market due to the Great Recession as the cause for Law School Cartel woes.  While that is no doubt true and a highly-pronounced effect in and of itself, the history of commentary on this and other blogs would demonstrate that the situation was unraveling for decades.  Not unlike the housing market marching along, getting progressively riskier, operating on less and less reliable information, until the bottom abruptly dropped out.  The rise of the internet and greater transparency also certainly got the word out, a word that had only been whispered in select circles heretofore and only mentioned in occasional press publications.  While the academy derision of scamblogs was certainly high at first, it has certainly quieted down as the evidence continues to mount.  It sucks when the truth comes out, I guess.
Of particular note is a subset of (imperfectly formatted - Ed.) published figures, where law schools are subdivided into three broad “reputation” categories:
Reputation Group
Base Tuition**
Avg. Net Tuition**
Avg. Discount**
Tuition Revenue (millions)**
-16% = -$  5.9 million annually/school
-43% = -$11.6 million annually/school
-47% = -$12.2 million annually/school
** 2018 Dollars
More below the fold -

Monday, October 1, 2018

Cooley scamster Thomas Brennan dead at 88

Thomas Brennan, the founder of the odious über-toilet Western Michigan University Cooley Law School (until recent years known as Thomas M. Cooley Law School), died on September 29, 2018, at age 88.

We have discussed Brennan many times. Most recently we revealed that he was being paid nearly a third of a million dollars a year for working five hours per week, some 16 years after resigning as dean. In the same article, we quoted his recent celebration of minstrelsy (good clean "fun", according to him) and his vituperation against Islam and same-sex marriage.

Cooley, of course, is the very poster child of über-toiletry. As long as I can remember, Cooley has had the lowest LSAT scores of any ABA-accredited law school (other than two of the three in Puerto Rico, which probably get a pass because most of their students take the test in a foreign language). It is often called the worst law school in the US. Yet it charges more than $51k per year to its 1000+ students, of whom half get no discount and most of the rest only a small discount.

Let's hope that there is a special place in Hell for the scamster who created this godawful über-toilet and milked it for decades like a feudal baron.