Thursday, February 28, 2013

Quality?

Inside the Law School Scam was, without doubt, a blog of rare quality.  Each and every post was well-written, thoughtful, respectful in tone (without losing a sharp edge), and a pleasure to read.  I believe that with effort, this blog can show the same level of quality, on a technical level at least.

But can this blog, written by non-professors, carry the same intellectual weight?  Can it attract the same coverage?  Can it cause those on the brink of falling blindly into the law school scam to pause for a moment and listen to us as much as they listened to Professor Campos, then take a step back?

Many would say (and have said) that we can’t.  After all, one of the big draws of ITLSS was that it was the first to be written by a law professor, someone inside the scam, someone who had a unique voice, a unique perspective, someone who could spill the beans.  And that, I’ll be the first to admit, is something that we don’t have on our side.  I’m not an insider.  I’m sure some of the other authors will introduce themselves over the next few days, but as far as I know, they’re not insiders either.

But we have one thing in common that ITLSS did not have.  We are outsiders.  We went through the system and have seen it for ourselves.  We have lived and worked as lawyers, employed and unemployed, in big firms and small, in private practice and public service.  We have struggled in this economy, lost jobs, rebuilt practices, changed careers, reviewed documents, paid student loans, felt the stranglehold of Sallie Mae around our necks.  This is our world.  The real world.  A world that Professor Campos did not experience firsthand.

And I’m not talking about just us, the writers.  I’m talking about all of us – writers, readers, supporters, friends and enemies.  We all have something valuable to say.  And while Professor Campos provided a perspective from inside the scam, one could argue that there was always something of a disconnect between the subject matter of his writing and the actual experiences of those who were not just observing it, but who were living it on a daily basis.  Professor Campos was not experiencing the effects of the scam in the same way we were.  The misery of unemployment, of no health insurance, of not knowing where the next paycheck was coming from, the daily grind of billable hours, dealing with the actual practice of law and the anger of partners, opposing counsel, and clients.  That is what we know best, and what we are uniquely qualified to write about.  The thirty years of working life that you have to live through after you graduate, not just the three years of life spent in law school.

I don’t say that to denigrate the work done over at ITLSS.  It was groundbreaking, and it brought legitimacy to the law school reform movement.  It brought us all together.  I say it to put forth the idea that we are capable of leading ourselves, and the idea that we have something equally valuable to say.  Perhaps more valuable, in fact, as prospective law students may well pay more attention to individual horror stories about what happens When Good Law Degrees Go Bad.  Instead of telling them what might happen via statistics and studies, we can show them in person.  We can bring the discussion into sharp focus, stand in front of them face to face and let them see what a JD does to your life.

While I’d like to see this blog as a follow-up blog to ITLSS, taking the unity, the community, and the drive that was developed over there and building upon it here rather than having it dissipate and lose its strength, I also see it as being something completely different.  As stated above, if we try to continue looking at the system in the same way as Professor Campos, we will fail; we’re not insiders, we don’t have that perspective, and we would become just a shadow of that great blog.  But we can look at it as outsiders, those who have been through it, and who are living post-JD lives in various stages of success and failure.  And that’s the quality discussion and expertise that we can bring to the table.

20 comments:

  1. Agreed. IIRC there were some commenters on ITLSS who had ten or twenty years of legal experience. That alone qualifies them to talk about the job market and what it is like to practice law. To say that we need a law professor or some other academic to lead us, especially when in the same sentence we say that legal adademia is trash, to me seems ridiculous. We have our own leadership and some very experienced individuals who have as much to add as LawProf. They need to step up (and it looks like some have done so already.)

    Luv ya, LawProf. You were great. I can't wait to read what you write next. Part of me thinks that we've got this fight now. But part of me wonders whether too many followers of your blog were there because you were a professor, and will not participate in this blog because they see it as lacking the same authority. I hope this is not the case. Time will tell.

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  2. You'll bring a different perspective. Please keep at it.

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  3. http://prawfsblawg.blogs.com/prawfsblawg/2013/02/the-law-school-crisis-continues-itlss-does-not.html#comments

    Horwotitz hits Campos pretty hard. Drives me crazy when these dickheads don't allow comments on their posts.

    Say what you want about Campos & DJM, but they had the stones to let people say whatever they wanted about their posts.

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    1. True. Leiter does nto allow comments on his blog either and to me that is a sign that he knows that what he says will generate outcry and he does not want anyone telling him that he is wrong about lots of stuff.

      The comments are where i think the real debate happens. The initial post just starts it off and then the ideas are tossed back adn forth by the readers and developed into something greater than the original.

      But that is the ego of law professors over at those other sites. They dont want to be told that they are wrong. They just want to lecture and pretend that everything is just fine with their little world. The think that if there are no comments then there is no problem.

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    2. And Leiter lays into Campos hard too.

      http://leiterlawschool.typepad.com/leiter/2013/02/paul-camposs-final-bit-of-revisionist-history.html

      I'm not Leiter. Fuck off Leiter.

      Leiter does not allow comments because every single one would be fuck off Leiter.

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  4. Wouldn't it be weird if all the people writing "Fuck Off Leiter" were actually Leiter himself, cheerfully thinking that there is no such thing as bad publicity?

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    1. Can we limit the Leiter comment to one per day, just like the "First!" thing? Perhaps a new tradition of putting FOL as the immediate response to the First comment? Just so we can keep the comments here on topic. Uncensored comments are great up to a point. We should try to keep it clean ourselves before someone else decides to do it for us.

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  5. I don't expect this blog to be more of the same. I was hoping that it would be different. ITLSS had started to say the same thing over and over. A new perspective would be good to freshen things up a little. Keep up the good work.

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  6. Oh enough of this masturbation over Paul Scampos. It's done. End of story. Move on.

    The comments over on his blog are like a eulogy, and you can bet that attention-seeker Scampos is sitting there, stroking it to all the praise he's getting.

    Here's the real story. He saw an opportunity to ride the wave. He started off anonymous, was busted, and then proceeded to retell us everything we already knew, pretending that it was him who thought of it all by himself. Then after he was done, he disappears and on to the next big thing that will bring him publicity.

    He is an attention whore.

    And the damage he did to the scamblogs can not be understated. There were many vibrant scamblogs and lots of voices before he rode in on his white fucking horse to save us all. And he was responsible for silencing all those voices and making people listen to him alone. Sure he gave props once in a while, but he singlehandedly destroyed the scamblog community. Who is left? Nando. That's it. Just one.

    And after destroying the scamblogs, he has the fucking nerve to say "Fuck you and goodnight!" and disappear, leaving us holding the empty bag?

    Fuck him. He added very little. He destroyed the scamblogs for his own personal ego boosting gain.

    And what is worse is that everyone worshipped and defended someone from the heart of the scam. In the two years he blogged, he probably took home a salary of close to half a mil, all paid for by student loans. And he'll keep doing that in the future. He chose the scam over us. Remember that. He chose the scam over us. And he left us with nothing. He had an enormous conflict of interest and silenced everyone who questioned it. And in the end they were right. He was part of the scam and still will be. To me that makes him a dick. Who cares what he wrote? It was old news, and based upon his return to the mainstream faculty, it was dishonest because he didn't believe what he was writing. Like everyhting that man does, it's all about campos.

    So enough with the fucking sCampos worship. He is gone. If you want to help move the scam forward then get behind this site, ebcause like it or not this is all we have.

    I have never seen so much collective delusion as I saw over at inside the law school scam.

    Can we move forward?

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    1. Even before ITLSS, the other scamblogs were already dying. Its not like very many people were reading them anyway. Its absurd to think that he somehow "destroyed" them. What, did he hack them or disable them or something. No one forced people to not read other scamblogs or come to ITLSS.

      People stopped reading the other scamblogs because, well for one thing, not many people ever read them in the first place. Furthermore the few people reading them stopped because, they didn't post that regularly, post quality was hit and miss, and their message was starting to get repetitive (just like ITLSS itself BTW).

      Also I don't get your comment about how he "silenced everyone who questioned his conflict of interest". He and DJM rarely ever deleted comments and allowed many that were clearly critical of them, sometimes unfairly so. You've or someone like you made these very comments on his blog and he has never deleted them since we all were able to read them.

      In the end, you are suggesting that if Campos had never wrote ITLSS, that that would have been better? That is just complete nonsense. No one really paid attention to the other scamblogs. The potential lemmings who were convinced to go in a different direction found a far more convincing voice in Campos than any scamblogger who could be dismissed as a bitter loser who didn't have what it takes (unlike themselves LOL).

      Face it no one was reading the dozens of other scamblogs. If Campos never wrote ITLSS, its stupid to think that they would have continued to pick up more readership and more attention. They were already dying and it was just a small handful of people who read all of them regularly.

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    2. So if I hear you right, no law prof should ever speak out unless they are willing to go all out and quit, give up their "ill-gotten" worldly possessions, etc, otherwise they should just remain silent. Am I right?

      This is so absurd. Why would we want to impose that kind of "standard" and therefore drive away any lawprof willing to speak out while giving all OTHER lawprofs who are silent a pass. If that's the case, then a sympathetic lawprof might as well just stay silent if not being silent "obligates" them to go "all-in".

      Its like if during the Civil Rights Movement, any white person who spoke out in support but weren't willing to go all out and quit their jobs or donate all their worldly possessions to blacks should be criticized. Or if people who criticize US policies should therefore renounce US citizenship and move abroad.

      Remember also that Campos didn't create the scam. And until recently he didn't really "benefit" from it. He was a lawprof from 20+ years ago when CU tuition was low, outcomes much more matched the costs of going to CU Law School and also his salary was somewhat more modest.

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    3. Don't be obtuse. You know what the ethical issues were. I would have had no problem with Campos himself explaining them away, but instead he relied on his shills (which were probably him in disguise) saying stupid shit like you just did rather than addressing the problems but also the benefits.

      And in the end, he preferred his job (or so it seems, because he didn't exactly explain what pressure, if any, he had been placed under, but instead just hinted at it). He dumped the scam when it ceased to serve his needs. Don't come between a law professor and his wallet.

      Don't get me wrong. I know that having Campos onboard was a good thing. But there were some conflicts that could not be explained away as easily as you think they can.

      Yes, he did not create the scam, and I'll give him a pass until maybe 2005 when the scam was pretty fucking obvious. So 8 years of scamming.

      I like your civil rights comment though. Except you got it wrong. What Campos did by going back to the faculty and leaving us hanging would be akin to someone joining the KKK. He's now an active participant, fully 100% active in the scam. Thanks for the blog posts Campos, but you've basically trashed your reputation by going back to the dark side.

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    4. The way I see it, unless being a law professor in and of itself were "immoral", like being a slave trader, I don't see the need for him or any law prof to quit simply due to "moral reasons". As long as they are truthful and honest to 0Ls, don't do anything to entice the lemmings, being a lawprof alone isn't immoral. You even claim that until 2005 or so being a lawprof was not a unambiguously a "scammer".

      I don't think that it is quite fair to label ALL lawprofs with the same brush as scammer if they happened to be a lawprof post 2005. There is a huge difference between someone like Campos, Tamanahana, DJM, etc that are outspoken and warn 0Ls against it VS those that are silent VS those like Dean LeDuc, etc that actively perpetuate it with BS about how law school is still a good bet. You can claim that they are all lawprofs and they are all the same but that is just flatly out ridiculous.

      The reason I suspect he hasn't quit and gone all out is that while he believe in what he says, he isn't quite willing to make a large sacrifice like quitting to do so. (Not that it would actually accomplish anything anyway). But 99.999% of most people that support various causes are that way. I mean how many anti-apartheid white South Africans quit their jobs and their possessions and gave them to blacks because they benefited from apartheid?

      So that's a real real high standard you're espousing here and effectively this kind of thinking would only make any lawprof who isn't willing to go "all-out" stay silent. So unless that is what you want (and maybe you are a scamprof trying to tear down Campos), I just don't see the point of shaming profs who might speak out because they won't go so far as to quit.

      I also don't get your point about him "going back to the faculty" as he never left it. He also said he'd continue doing the other things he was doing, only that he was shutting down ITLSS. I don't get this "leaving us hanging" and "dumping the scam" criticism at all whatsoever. He lent his voice on that blog and in other venues. He claims he'll continue to do so. He hasn't disavowed anything he has ever said, only that he won't keep ITLSS going. What did you expect that he'd keep it going in perpetuity?

      Your criticism would make sense if he suddenly backtracked on his earlier criticism and is now saying that maybe he overstated it or something. He has NOT DONE THAT AT ALL.

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    5. I'm going to chime in on this little debate. To me, Professor Campos did something that no other professor had ever done: he stuck his neck out and put his career on the line for us.

      And that deserves some respect.

      We need to remember that this will be a long fight. And we need to remember that we have few friends. Regular Joes on the street? They hate lawyers, they think that college kids deserve everything they get, and they don't want to give up a dime to help. And there are plenty out there who actively relish in our suffering. And in light of that, I'm reluctant to turn down any offers of help, law professor or not.

      While this issue is in no way as significant as something like civil rights, parallels can be drawn. Did anyone chastise Rosa Parks in 1955 for not singlehandedly solving the civil rights issues on her own? Of course not. She was one - important - player in the movement. And there were many like her, each of whom pushed the movement forward by baby steps, an inch here, an inch there, until they covered a mile, then two miles, then reached their goal (if it's even been reached yet - I don't think it has, but that's another debate.)

      Professor Campos pushed us forward. And for that, he gets my thanks. He didn't win the fight, but that doesn't matter. He made progress, and that's priceless.

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  7. Rutgers plans to merge its law campuses. This is the face-saving move that Campos and so many commentors predicted. Troubled law schools will begin merging, only for efficiency sake, mind you. Doing it for the students. Not because they're on the verge of insolvency. Closures eventually will occur. That will be a wonderful day!

    http://www.philly.com/philly/news/breaking/20130228_Rutgers_plans_to_merge_its_law_schools.html

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  8. Campos at least forced Leiter to respond occasionally. Now that it's just outsiders, Leiter et al. can just ignore all posts and detrimental information. We're just "losers who couldn't hack it", after all, so to him these posts are meaningless.

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    1. He ignored Campos too. The whole thing about Leiter watching that site like a hawk was a schtick that got out of control and people started to really believe that he was trolling there. He wasn't.

      And how about we don't give up before we've even started? Who cares if Leiter ignores us? Not me. I prefer it that way. Our message needs to be tailored to the incoming students, not to the professors who will never change their minds.

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    2. Yeah, you're right. The profs will only change their minds when they get fired. To that end, I'm going to an admitted students event in Chicago this evening. It's likely too late for these kids, but I'll do my best to dissuade them from attending any law school. -1031

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