Friday, March 29, 2013

A Treasury of Idiotic Quotes by Law School Profs. and Deans, Vol. II (The Versatility Edition)

This is the second installment in my series entitled "Idiotic Quotes by Law Profs." Most of the quotes in the first installment reflected the declarants' idiotic belief that legal instruction is best provided by six-figure salaried scholars (and pseudo-scholars) who have limited background or interest in actual lawyering.
This set of idiotic quotes concerns the versatility of the JD degree, or simply the all-around wonderfulness of being a law student. Proponents of the view that a JD is versatile assert that nonlaw white collar employers are eager to offer employment to JDs in light of the super-cerebral skills that can only be had by attending law school. The truth is otherwise-- any mystique that a JD once held has been destroyed by the massive overproduction of lawyers. Now, in fact, a law degree carries toxic connotations. It is a degree that seems to convey the message: "I have no marketable skills, but I have elite expectations and an argumentative personality." 

The quotes below are clearly idiotic, and so are worthy of inclusion in this series. Yet, I do not really consider these quotes to be scamming, as I define it. Scamming means offering economic arguments about how a law degree is worth millions of dollars in future earnings or will become a rare and valuable asset as the boomers retire. Such scamming arguments may be highly enticing to those who do not realize that the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that the economy will create 218,800 job openings for lawyers, including growth and replacement needs, and including part-time jobs, during the decade of 2010-2020, in contrast to the 450,000 JDs that law schools are primed to confer during the same period.

I doubt that many kids spend three years and $100,000+ on law school in order to compete for a job in human resources or to find inner bliss. So why are these quotes relevant? Why do so many law deans and professors keep yapping about versatility or about the intellectual and personal fulfillment that can be found only in law school? I believe that it is about self-delusion. These academics believe fervently in the myth of versatility because it helps them avoid a painful truth and its moral implications-- namely, that most of their students, the kids who trusted them and made them rich, emerge from law school with brutally curtailed life options and prospects, rather than expanded ones.

Forgive the long-winded introduction. As usual, notes and links to sources appear at the bottom.

1. Prof. Patricia Leary (Whittier): "This [attending law school at Whittier] is an experience that changes them, makes them completely who they are in terms of intellect, emotions, conscience, values. When a student really fully engages in this experience, it is a joy to see."

2. Prof. Steven Diamond (Santa Clara): "A JD is a powerful degree to have in our kind of society and despite the current mismatch in the job market a relatively rare one."
3. Prof. Sam Halabi (U. of Tulsa): "The ability to draft simple but important documents for family and friends; effectively negotiate with future employers and businesses; and, communicate clearly in a variety of media is invaluable no matter which career a student pursues after graduation."

4.  Dean John Corkery (John Marshall): "The question is, really, why would someone go to law school? To get a legal education, but also to improve themselves and to improve their ability to meet challenges they might face in life."

5. Dean Harold Krent (Chicago-Kent): "Many people do wonderfully creative and interesting things with a law degree other than practice law, including being a journalist or being an investor or being a counselor."

6.  Dean Harold Krent (again): "There are still people who are going to graduate school in art history. There are still people who are going to graduate school in ancient Greek. There are not that many lucrative job opportunities in those fields, but people are engaged, interested and motivated and they think the sacrifice is worth it."

7. Dean Chris Guthrie (Vanderbilt): "One of the virtues of legal training is that it equips you to pursue so many different career paths successfully."

8. Prof. Hazel Weiser (Fordham): "At a time when our country, actually the entire planet, needs a large and diverse reservoir of talented civic leaders with analytical capacity, problem solving, and mediation skills, law school seems like a fantastic educational option. . . . Because legal study is inherently political (although I went to law school when admitting that was considered heresy), law schools offer the curious and the intellectually prepared an opportunity to critique society and the ways in which we have tried (and failed, sometimes) to regulate, to induce, to cajole, to punish, and the ways in which we have succeeded in making a fairer and more inclusive society."

9. Prof. Brian Leiter (U of Chicago): "I've known JDs both here and at Texas who went into consulting firms by choice, not by necessity, and where the JD was an essential credential, though they weren't doing primarily legal work. What we need to know is whether this is common or uncommon."

10. Prof. Michael Olivas (U. of Houston): "I do not view the migrating role of lawyers to civilian life across non-law fields as evidence of our declining competence, as some commentators have in analyzing legal employment figures, but rather this as robust evidence of the growing value of being a lawyer and applying our skills to the many societal problems in need of our multifaceted talents."

11. Prof. Michael Olivas (U. of Houston): "We have erected a substantial system of training lawyers, one that is a spectacular success by any measure, notwithstanding the cracks in the infrastructure."

12. Prof. Kendall Isaac (Appalachian): "At some point, we need to change the expectation for a JD. Yes, some will go on to become lawyers (even if only 28.6%), but is a legal career the only measurement of success for the degree? It is not. I know plenty of people with law degrees that went on to earn as much if not more money than their lawyer brethren working in fields like human resources, contract analysis & marketing, ethics & compliance, amongst others. If we would widen our perspective on the value of the degree, we would be able to appreciate how the degree can help graduates improve their career and standard of living. I see part of my role as helping my students see this bigger picture so that they don't become disheartened by the rhetoric coming from certain naysayers and doomsday speakers out there."

13. Prof. Lisa Glerman (Catholic): "Nevertheless, I suspect that many people who would like to become lawyers are hesitating to apply to law school because of inaccurate negative propaganda and because of incomplete information. Lots of the employment data is distorted because it falsely assumes that all the good jobs for lawyers require bar passage; in fact, there are lots of great jobs in law and policy-making that are not traditional law practice jobs."

14. Prof. Linda Greene (U. of Wisconsin) "Whether the questions involve constitutional protection for undocumented children or cloning or climate measures or the parameters of humanitarian intervention or the ownership of the resources beyond our gravitational field, the best in legal education prepares its graduates to participate in the discourse and arrangements necessary to such complex concerns. It is true that the cost of this quality education, all in, may exceed $200,000. The value of a new generation of law graduates prepared to take on these challenges: Priceless."

15. Prof. Kevin Noble Maillard (Syracuse): "[P]eople go to law school, pay tuition and graduate to become many things: educators, business leaders, politicians and, yes, attorneys. . . . At the risk of sounding "liberal artsy," law school should emphasize educated citizenship. It prepares people to become leaders in our society, which makes it imperative that they be rigorously trained as thinkers. They will become stewards of policies that affect our everyday lives: in our schools, our jobs and our families."

16. Prof. [so cool he only needs one made-up name] SpearIt (SLU): "Rather than short-sighting law schools as a manufacturing plant for attorneys, legal education might be encouraged beyond. Whether one aspires to business, politics, public service, or scholarly pursuits, law school may be a worthy investment. And there is social good in knowing law, or as famously admonished in criminal law, "ignorance" is no excuse. While the high cost of law school probably prohibits many from studying law, it is certainly true that many J.D.s use their degree in creative ways as non-lawyers, including as directors, educators, administrators, and more."

17. Prof. Leonard Long (Quinnipiac): "First, assume that upon the law students’ successful (very good grades, honor societies, etc.) completion of law school, job market for entry-level lawyers shrinks such that their law job prospects approach zero. From that vantage point, will those graduates still view their legal education as a good investment or not? If a legal education’s only, or dominant, value is that it prepares students to be lawyers, then it seem that three years of law school turned out to have been a poor investment. Contrast our law students with persons who happily (that is, successfully) date someone for three years, with plans to marry that someone at the end of three years (say at the end of law school) but, due to some external factors or events, that someone is no longer able or willing to marry (e.g., that someone’s job requires them to relocate to another country). Even though things did not work out on the marriage front, would these star crossed lovers view the last three happy years of dating as a poor investment and a waste? In some instances, yes; but in most instances, probably not."

Notes and links to sources.
1. (video at 1:05-1:23)
(I sincerely hope that attending Whittier Law is as joyous and life-fulfilling as Prof. Leary says. Because Whittier Law students graduate with an average debt load of  $143,536, which is the tenth highest among the 201 ABA law schools. These same students have a mere 17.1% chance of obtaining a full-time long-term bar-required job within nine months of graduation, the second worst placement outcome among the 201 schools.


3.  The "TU Law Blog" has apparently deleted all posts preceding October 3, 2011. This quote, dated August 15, 2011, can be viewed via the Internet Wayback Machine:
* Go to
* Enter the following link and press take me back:
* Press "2011" at the top of the screen, which "explores captures for this URL."
* Click on capture at date August 31, 2011.
* Scroll down to post at August 15, 2011, entitled "The Decision to Go to Law School."

or, alternatively,  see this JD Underground thread from August 21, 2011 (h/t Nando):

h/t redking 666, commenter in thread on Idiotic Quotes, I.
5. See n. 4
6. See n. 4.
11. See n. 10
12. (comment at Jul 22, 2012 11:16:56 AM)
13. (comment at November 18, 2012 at 11:39 AM)

(Professor SpearIt has no experience as a practicing lawyer, though he does have a JD. He also has a Ph.D in religion, so perhaps he can elicit divine assistance in helping his students obtain professional training or jobs).

17. Leonard J. Long, "Resisting Anti-Intellectualism and Promoting Legal Literacy," 34 S. Ill. U.L.J. 1, 36 n.97 (2009).

(In striking contrast to all the others on this list, and maybe even to his credit, Prof. Long, apparently does not bother pretending to like or respect his students, According to the Quinnipiac Chronicle’s February 28, 2007 article: "Professor offends law students,"  Long sent an email to his students stating that, “several QUSL students will go off to be smug little assistant district attorneys and such, wearing ill-fitting power suit, and thinking themselves as doing justice.” He then refused their requests to continue the discussion he had started.
Hopefully, QU's job placement statistics bring comfort to the irascible Long. The vast majority of his students will never practice law of any sort, and therefore will not harbor thoughts offensive to Long about the value of their legal careers. The Law School Transparency site indicates that only 33.1% of Quinnipiac’s 2011 graduates got bar-required long term jobs within nine months of graduation).


  1. "At a time when our country, actually the entire planet, needs a large and diverse reservoir of talented civic leaders with analytical capacity, problem solving, and mediation skills, law school seems like a fantastic educational option. "

    I live in tennessee. Trust me. None of these hillbillies believe they need "a large and diverse reservoir of talented civic leaders with analytical capacity, problem solving, and mediation skills". These law school people are either clinically psychotic or on drugs. Really. There is no other explanation at this point.

  2. "We have erected a substantial system of training lawyers, one that is a spectacular success by any measure, notwithstanding the cracks in the infrastructure."

    "Cracks in the infrastructure"? Really? That's when the building inspectors come in to condemn the building! Is he soft? Are you making up these quotes? Are we allowing these people near the minds of our children?

  3. Dybbuk

    I always love your posts, and this one was particularly good, but you made my head explode.

    1. Awww, thanks Tricia. :) But this post was written by those deans and professors.

      I agree that Weiser's quote was among the worst. After I read it, I had an image in my mind of a recent Fordham Law grad setting up an office somewhere and telling potential clients: "Look, I don't have the training to practice law, but I can use my elevated thinking abilities to critique your society. So why don't you make me your civic leader?"

  4. Dybbuk, out out the park! Hoooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!

    This is the powerful posting that makes a difference. Fat Leiter pics are funny, but exposing these professor clowns is a valuable service. I appreciate your hard work.

  5. Good stuff. Very good. Thank you.

  6. Awesome post. The last one is probably my favorite:

    "Even though things did not work out on the marriage front, would these star crossed lovers view the last three happy years of dating as a poor investment and a waste? In some instances, yes; but in most instances, probably not."

    If my 3-year relationship cost me $200,000 + interest and gave me herpes (i.e., a JD on the resume), you can bet I'd view it as a big mistake. I'm probably not alone in that regard. Plus, the guy who spends $200,000 getting laid can file a bankruptcy petition to wash his hands of it and make himself more marketable to future mates. No one can do that with their educational debt.

  7. Take a look at Kevin Maillard's evaluations from when he was at Hofstra, 1.6, 1.4, 1.9 (8 ratings)

    "This guy is a complete joke. I corrected him on the law 3 weeks in a row in class and he stood up there and said "ohhhh.....reallly....wait you are right." His final was not representative of what was taught in class. Law schools and law students should avoid him at all costs."

    "Avoid... teaching style is confusing and pointless. Final exam was ridiculous. Told us specifically to memorize info that wasn't on the exam, and he tested multiple topics he never even touched upon in class (thus the hard rating). Better off buying a review book than showing up for class and paying attention. Horrible / disappointing experience."

    Now his ratings at Syracuse 1.3, 1.0, 1.7

    "Pretty much dreadful; unclear why he's teaching, since he's not invested in it at all."

    "Aloof, expectations not clarified, teaches in a whimsical tangent orientated manner, no focus, sets objectives and then evaluates on different criteria."

  8. The "Law School Truth Center" (LSTC) is one of your contributing writers.

    Let us compare what LSTC has posted recently, to an excerpt from what Mr. Infinity has posted this week, and note the coincidental use of the word: "Boom!"


    1. From the desk of the Law School Truth Center @

    Court of Appeals...DENIED, you FREAKIN' FOOLS

    Well, well, well, remember the idiots who decided to file a motion for leave to appeal the NYLS fraud case dismissal? Wid it was fruitless, but y'all listened even less than when we tell you finding a job is easy if you just got a little pluck.e sa

    BOOM. The Court of Appeals denied the Motion in a 4-1 judgement, even after a former law professor judge recused herself.

    What's that I hear in the background? Why, yes, it's the smooth sound of Steely Dan:

    "FREAKIN' FOOLS," surprisinginly not from The Royal Scam.
    This is the day
    Of the victorious schools
    Our glory won't fade
    That's why the 0Ls drool
    It seems like only yesterday
    We kicked your ass
    At appeals
    For reals
    That's the present, not past

    You called us a fraud
    You say it's a crazy scheme
    It's legal for real
    You already bought the dream
    So useless to ask us why
    The high court said goodbye
    They made it this time
    You couldn't come close to that fraud line

    You'll learn to work the saxophone
    if you want to pay the bills
    Drink Scotch whisky all night long
    And die behind the wheel
    They got a name for the winners in the world
    You get a name when you lose
    They called NYLS a legitimate thing
    We'll call you Freakin' Fools


    And now a line that Mr. Infinity/World Traveling Law Student/Epic Fail posted this past week:

    "......In the past year I have dabbled. First, I tried my hand at creating my very own business. It has resulted in success. Then I wrote a book. Boom! Success. Now I am about to create a non-profit organization...."


    I hate to break the news to OLSS, but I think Mr. Infinity, (the troll of many voices and role playing disguises) is one of your contributing writers.

    That is one of the limitations of blogging. One never knows who the anon commenters really are.


      Ok, that is *IT*!

      Alright, boys. Time for every last one of us to rally 'round the roach! Everyone reading this needs to mail $1000 to Paintroach. TONIGHT. No more slacking off. The future of scamblogging is now inextricably intertwined with the sweet, sweet, magical destiny of the home-sitting Paintroachie.

      Paintroach, could you post a good mailing address for all the money that is undoubtedly already heading your way?

    2. LOL at being accused of being Mr. Infinity.

  9. If you liked Mr. Infinity's Steely Dan lyrics above, then I guess you also enjoyed his poem from the last OLSS Post, which I copied and pasted below:

    "The Rape of the Fool"

    By Maurice Leiter

    Papa! Please! Papa!
    Pleading. Praying. Pointless.
    Papa playtime.
    Parent’s penis plumps, prepuce peels.
    Pushes. Pressure. Penetrates.
    Pumps, pumps, pumps. Powerful pumps!
    Please! Please! Prohibited!
    Painter prostate pain, papa pubic pleasure.
    Poopy penis.
    Poopy perfume.
    Penis pulsates, pulsates, pumping
    Perverted pleasure pearls poopward.
    Pleure pas, Painter. Pleure pas. Papa penitent.


    1. I strongly suspect that Mr. Infinity has a substance abuse problem. If not that, then a psychological disorder of some sort.

      I feel sorry for him in some ways.

      BTW, according to Mr. Infinity, he buys gold coins as an investment and has the financial means to travel a lot. The infinity knot is a common jewelry design:

      Celtic knots are sometimes referred to as infinity knots.

      And scroll down here to see a snake eating its tail ring that looks like something Mr. Infinity would approve of.

  10. Let us know if you hear from Bwian again.

  11. Insolent!

    Admit it, dybbuk123, you are really Barney Fife of Mayberry, North Carolina, aren't you?

    I have your IP address!

    All my students can get jobs at consulting firms, if they can't get them at law firms!

  12. "Law Schools Step In to Help War Veterans

    Wall Street Journal ‎- 10 hours ago
    As veterans look to build lives beyond the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan, those opting for a career in law now have a chance to attend ...Write to Jennifer Smith at"

    This is flat-out PR from the law schools. The question is whether the law schools paid the WSJ upfront for this PR or whether it was part of a quid pro quo deal where the law schools agreed to buy some ads in the WSJ and in return the WSJ gives out some free PR "news" stories like this,

    This is how the media works. They run a few truthtelling stories, which is really a form of extortion. Then the industry is forced to pay the media money to run some PR stories.

    Frigging scammers.

  13. There's a law school called Appalachian?

    1. ...and it's every bit as good as you might suspect...

  14. What most of these quotes reek of is the smell of fear.

    Consider - you did well as an undergraduate, went to a T-14 law school, and did well there. You got a clerkship with a Federal judge, and got a job teaching at a law school. You published a few unread articles in law reviews, and got tenure. You Did Everything Right.

    Granted, your law school isn't Harvard, or anything close to it, but your professorship is still one of the cushiest jobs on the planet. Limited work hours, pleasant people, and a six-figure income. You've even convinced yourself that you are sacrificing, since obviously you would have made a lot more money as a Biglaw partner.

    And now it is all coming apart. You've been at least vaguely aware for a few years that almost none of your school's graduates make enough to justify all the money that they borrowed to go to your law school. And now applications are plummeting, and you start noticing nervous little conversations around the law school, and awkward silences when the subject of admissions comes up.

    You try to convince yourself that things will be OK - Leiter says that only ten law schools will close, and your school isn't in the bottom ten. Your school just needs to explain that there is a wealth of JD-Advantage jobs out there, that you can always be on IBR and not have to pay so much loan money back, and that the Federal government is going to provide a huge new program to provide representation for poor and middle-class defendants in civil cases, so that the demand for lawyers is about to explode.

    And yet, you suspect that isn't going to work. You are haunted by the example of the Vermont Law School, which is turning their tenured faculty into adjuncts at a fraction of their former salaries. And the terrible thing is that is the best case - at least they still have jobs, for awhile. But you suspect that Vermont Law School isn't going to be around much longer, and you suspect that your law school is going to be right behind them.

    What are you going to do? The government isn't hiring. Who would take you as an associate? You don't have a book of business to offer anyone. There are going be hundreds of former tenured law school professors out on the street. At this point, your only goal is to keep things going a few years longer - maybe things will turn around (but you suspect that they won't.)


  15. These quotes are from pampered, bloviating professors who add no real measurable value. You can tell by their total cavalier attitude that they themselves have never had any "real" problems in life, so the law grads can eat cake or just phone it in like the hipsters do with their trust funds.

    Any "honest" intellectual in that group would commit academic seppuku over the tragedy of current legal education in order to regain their honor, if nothing else. Not these folks - the gravy train is just toooooo good!

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  17. This particular branch of law (and it can be argued all branches of law) is constantly changing, so it is up to law firms to keep up-to-date with these ongoing changes. Something as critical as law can permeate all aspects of society, so its importance cannot be understated.

    Very well written and highly informative.