Friday, August 29, 2014

Widener Law Prof. Ben Barros sounds the alarm: A shortage of law grads is on the horizon, along with a shortage of sand in the Sahara.

Prof. Ben Barros, who teaches at poorly regarded Widener University School of Law (median LSAT score 150), has published several provocative posts at the Faculty Lounge arguing that the job outlook for recently graduated lawyers is not as bad as people believe or as the nine-month-out survey data indicates. In fact, according to his latest post “The Coming Lawyer Shortage,” the slight contraction in overall law school enrollment means that the good times will shortly roll. In this post, Barros asserts that “in a relatively short time, we will have gone from an environment where employers received hundreds of resumes for every open position to one where employers might not receive any resumes at all.”

Barros dismisses the far more pessimistic projection as to anticipated lawyer job openings over the next decade made by the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).  The BLS is merely composed of unbiased expert statisticians and economists, and so can hardly match the credibility and reliability of a self-interested law professor whose cushy job rides on the decision of young people to borrow many tens of thousands of dollars to attend his bottom-of-the-barros school. 

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Strict Scrutiny: Michael I. Krauss Tries To Hustle People Into Attending Law School

It's been a while, my friends. Things have been busy at my non-law job and quite frankly, there wasn't a lot coming across the radar that I was moved to write about or that the other excellent authors on this site hadn't tackled yet. Then, Michael I. Krauss dropped this gem of subtle scammery. As you read this, it appears that Krauss is empathetic and could be an agent of change. But we should all know better. This valiant attempt deserves some Strict Scrutiny. As usual, his words are in italics and mine are normal.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

A Case of Scam, starring co-interim law dean Michael Scharf and a cast of international law gurus.

(Case Western Reserve University School of Law co-interim dean Michael Scharf smiles broadly as he contemplates his next lemming buffet). 

Michael Scharf recently became co-interim Dean of Case Western Reserve University School of Law in Cleveland, following the resignation of that outspoken law school shill and, uh, notorious ladies’ man Lawrence "Train Wreck" Mitchell. Scharf is a creditable scholar and practitioner of international law. According to his CV, Scharf worked for the State Department for five years as an attorney-advisor, and he cofounded an NGO that provides pro bono legal advice to states and international institutions on such weighty matters as peace negotiations, constitution drafting, human rights, self-determination, and war crimes prosecutions.

But watch Scharf’s performance in the remarkable seven and a half minute long recruitment video linked below. In the video, Scharf and several faculty colleagues try to persuade an intended audience of prospective law students that a Case Western Reserve JD is the key to the jet-setting job of their dreams. Without being overly harsh, I would say that Scharf looks like an overfed wolf in a burgundy dress shirt, with a huge self-satisfied toothy smile that only he believes is ingratiating, trying to sell straw homes to piglets. And the other faculty come across as similarly sleazy despite their credentials and soft voices. It is another example of how legal academia turns decent people into predators.

A.  Selected quotes from the video by Case Western Reserve law faculty advising that Case is the place to embark on a career in international law.

Scharf: "We hope you will come to Case, so we can help you launch your career in international law."

Prof. Jessie Hill: "This year, a national survey of law professors ranked Case Western’s international law program as one of the top in the country. Our program attracts students from around the world to study here and they graduate with international law jobs across the globe."

Scharf: "Case’s international law program has a four million dollar endowment... with this money we provide students summer, semester-long, and post-grad internships grants to help them break into a job in international law."

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Cooley's Michigan Campuses going to take a Faculty Haircut

This was the next logical step after Cooley, now known as "Western Michigan University Thomas M. Cooley Law School," instituted a "Financial Management Plan," was to swing a battleax at Rapunzel's way-too-long hair and lay off large amounts of faculty and staff.

Friday, August 22, 2014

The Wreck of the Thomas M. Cooley

Well, it was a long time coming, that's for sure.

It appears that Antiro will have more to say soon about the latest news concerning faculty and staff cuts at one of our favorite law schools, Thomas M. Cooley School of Law ("the law school with the most 'O's' in its name, several years running).  Y'know, the school that is famous for changing names, for filing libel suits against critics, and where the employment statistics were deemed "objectively false" by the Court.
In any event, I felt that this momentous occasion was worth reprising one of OhioDocReviewer's greatest hits, as a commemoration of the event.  Without further ado:

"The Wreck of the Thomas M. Cooley" (with apologies to Gordon Lightfoot)

The legend lives on from the lawyers all 'round
Of the big school they call Thomas M. Cooley
The school, it is said, gives her grads up for dead
And its library, they say, is quite roomy

With a load of student loans, several thousand accounts more
That the Thomas M. Cooley would soon empty.
That big scam, it's true, was a turd through and through
And the fails of its grads come often and early.

That school was a crime on the American side
A crummy diploma mill in Mid-Michigan
As the big toilets go, it was bigger than most
With a CSO and a dean both well seasoned.

Concluding some terms with a couple of law firms
That they sent fully locked and loaded for Kurzon
And later that month when the dean's phone bell rang
Could it be that court word they'd been fearin'?

When Graduation Day came, the old crook (the dean) came on stage sayin'.
"Fellas, it's tough, but we no longer need ya."
Nine months later, as employment surveys came in, he said
"Fellas, your money was good, but now I don't know ya."

The Dean e-mailed in, he had discovery requests comin' in
And his TTTT school and job was in peril.
And later that fight, when the real stats were brought to light
Came the wreck of the Thomas M. Cooley.

Does any one know, where the love of God goes
When your JD gets you just ten dollars an hour?
The alumni all say they should have dropped out their first day
Instead they've got nothing but debt and wasted years behind them.

The alums' marriages split up or they might have suicided;
Many became broke and went under.
And all that remains is shame and blame in the faces
Of the wives and the kids over their blunder

Ann Arbor expands its rolls, Grand Rapids bursts at the seams
The dean adds rooms onto his nice Tudor mansion.
Lansing, Michigan schemes off young naifs' dreams;
Soon Tampa Bay will be open for morons.

As everyone knows Cooley's farther below even Touro
She'll take in any lemming that can find her,
And the graduates will all go, as the dean and staff know
With tons of non-dischargeable debt well-encumbered.

In a musty old hall in Detroit they prayed,
In the Toileteer Lawyers' Cathedral.
The church bell chimed till it rang twenty-nine thousand times
For each grad from the Thomas M. Cooley.

The legend lives on from the lawyers all 'round
Of the big school they call Thomas M. Cooley
Ol' Cooley, it is said, gives her grads up for dead
And the fails of its grads come often and early.   

Given the way things are going, it appears that further verses will need to be written concerning The Battle of Law ScamDeans as well.  Friends, stay tuned.  We appear to be living in interesting times.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Do They Deserve Gold Stars or Red Flags? Which Law Schools are Promulgating Questionable Claims of Placement Success?

In 2011, the ABA revised its consumer information provision (Standard 509) to require accredited law schools to conduct nine-months-out employment surveys of graduates and provide segmented data. These surveys revealed, beyond any residual doubt, that law schools had been massively inflating their job placement success rates on their websites and in their promotional literature. Revealed that our oh-so-progressive legal educators-- our profession's very own "Republic of Conscience"-- are little more than a gang of puffed-up quick buck artists, with approximately the same regard for their students as tobacco manufacturers have for their customers or military contractors have for the troops. 
The survey requirement was unquestionably a watershed reform. But these surveys are not 100% precise. Not every newly minted JD fills out the placement survey, and law schools are permitted to guess the employment status of non-responsive grads from publicly available information, such as Linked-In or Facebook profiles, from resumes uploaded to Symplicity or other resume collection sites, or from a google search. [1]

If you think about it, this guesswork leaves ample room for law school career service functionaries to present a false picture of employment outcomes, even if they cannot scam as brazenly as in their pre-survey glory days. That firm listed on a recent grad’s Facebook profile-- is it a legitimate JD-required small firm job or is it an empty shell of a solo practice conjured up in an effort to save face by some kid whose true status is "JD/Mom’s Basement"? That vaguely white-collarish job snagged by a recent grad--is it a true JD-Advantage job or did the kid obtain a nonlaw job in spite of, not because, of his or her law degree?  

In June, 2014, a mere three years after revised Standard 509 went into effect, the ABA adopted a protocol for reviewing law graduate employment data. One may applaud the ABA’s adoption of reform or oversight measures, however piecemeal and snail-paced, and I do. Though there is the little matter of the thousands of young lives being destroyed in the meantime by the law school scam. 

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Support Law School Transparency.

Is that lighter defective? Is that glittering diamond really just cheap junk? Will that filler tube spring a leak? Is that toilet prone to clog? Absent disclosure of clear and accurate consumer protection info, you might not find out until it is too late. 

The small nonprofit Law School Transparency has done invaluable work in monitoring law schools, formulating proposals for accountability, and following through with effective lobbying. I believe that Law School Transparency was the prime mover behind revised ABA Standard 509, the most important law school reform to date, which forced accredited law schools to survey their recent grads and provide segmented employment data. As well, the Law School Transparency website is a treasure trove of well-organized data as to the cost and performance of each and every ABA-accredited law school.

Law School Transparency is doing a fundraiser, and I encourage readers to throw a few tax-deductible bucks their way if possible. Think of it as a payment in advance for the joyous spectacle that transparency plus scamblogging may bring about within a few years-- when scores of law schools will be forced to shut down or radically change their business model because they are no longer able to sucker a sufficient number of naive kids out of a sufficient amount money to maintain the status quo.