Sunday, May 5, 2013

A Brief History of So-Called Scamblogging: Where We Are and Where It's Going

I've decided to break character to address some recently made comments, particularly those that accused this blog of not being Campos/losing it/etc. back when the blog was dealing with a troll attack.

What follows is a brief history of the so-called "scamblog" movement for anyone who came aboard after Campos started and thinks the world began then.

This is not to suggest that at any particular time that information was "out" there for 0Ls.  Most of this stuff was obscure in internet terms, and it's clear that law schools remained the authority figures on the law school scene, and it's difficult to recreate the scene for 0Ls.

Anyway, I wanted to write this to show where we've collectively been and where we're hopefully going, and why it's important to keep pounding the message through whatever means possible until the deans have lost all credibility when they spout nonsense and newly-licensed attorneys aren't stocking shelves at Piggly Wiggly.

Way back in 2004, something called The Calico Cat called law school "the big lie:"
Every year tens of thousands of wannabe lawyers enter law school. The majority will be extremely disappointed by their career opportunities.
If you are reading this, and you’re a law student who already received your first semester grades, and they aren’t top ten percent, then my advice is to drop out now instead of throwing more money down the law school black hole.
The law schools will trick prospective students with bogus statistics about the great career opportunities available to graduates. Don’t believe everything you read.
I further suspect that some law schools outright lie on their reported career placement statistics.
Law schools are run for the benefit of the law professors who have cushy six figure jobs, and the money for their salaries comes from the gullible suckers called law students.
From as early as 2005, the Barley Legal blog run by two Illinois law students/lawyers was noting the severe problems with legal education, including this sardonic parody of Career Services, or this repost of a Wall Street Journal Article, or this missive to new law students:
Hello prospective law students. As I stand before this group today, you and I have something in common. We have all made a poor life decision, the decision to attend law school. But unlike you, I, as a 3L, am too close to the end to rectify my situation, but you all are not. Come Monday, you will step foot into this building and you will officially become a law student. If I were you, I would do some heavy soul searching this weekend and decide if you really want to do that. Take it from me, you do not.
The message boards JDJive/ were already attracting discontent - at least by 2005 - before they ended/were shut down in 2007/2008.  Here is a sample of some JDJive stuff from early 2007. had many posters who figured out the score a long time ago, as exhibited by this thread from mid-2006, which includes this post by someone who somehow thinks schools were generally honest with their stats:
There are already too many lawyers, and there are FAR too many law schools in the United States.
Much legal work is now being outsourced to paralegals/secretaries and other legally-trained professionals in India and parts of Southeast Asia. Law jobs are drying up all over the place, yet TTT's and FTT's are still cranking out grads that have relatively weak chances of passing the bar exam, and an even smaller chance of making a financially rewarding career as a lawyer.
Tom the Temp began blowing the sweatshop whistle on America's doc review mills in December of 2005.  Within a few months, his posts had made the legal media rounds and he was receiving dozens of comments and emails.  These included calling out student loans as "bondage" (May 2006) and this writing in May 2007 about New York Law School:
New York Law School is one stinky toilet. Despite the fact that it is a tier 3 school and provides little in the way of opportunity for its graduates, New York Law School has the audacity to charge one of the highest tuition of any law school in the United States -- higher than even NYU and Columbia!  The dean of the school, Richard Matasar, is a scumbag of the worst kind, making a comfortable living by destroying the lives of naive 21 year olds.
And he directly took on law school fraud again in June of that year:

With the proliferation of heavily indebted law graduates and the growth of horrible temporary attorney sweatshops continuing unabated, an interesting article has uncovered the massive statistical fraud that has going on within the ABA and amongst our nation's law schools. With such twisted statistics (which paint an unrealistically rosy picture of the legal market), is it any wonder why such large numbers of sheep continue to wander over to the slaughterhouse?
The article he spoke of was published in The American Lawyer by William Henderson and Andrew Morriss, professors at Indiana and Alabama, respectively.

In September of 2007, Amir Efrati published a landmark piece in the Wall Street Journal featuring Scott Bullock/Law is for Losers/etc. and noting the plight of recent law graduates:
But the majority of law-school graduates are suffering from a supply-and-demand imbalance that's suppressing pay and job growth.
 The legal sector, after more than tripling in inflation-adjusted growth between 1970 and 1987, has grown at an average annual inflation-adjusted rate of 1.2% since 1988, or less than half as fast as the broader economy, according to Commerce Department data.
On the supply end, more lawyers are entering the work force, thanks in part to the accreditation of new law schools and an influx of applicants after the dot-com implosion earlier this decade. In the 2005-06 academic year, 43,883 Juris Doctor degrees were awarded, up from 37,909 for 2001-02, according to the American Bar Association.
Many students "simply cannot earn enough income after graduation to support the debt they incur," wrote Richard Matasar, dean of New York Law School, in 2005, concluding that, "We may be reaching the end of a golden era for law schools."
Throughout 2006 and 2007, an anonymous poster named Loyola 2L left numerous comments on articles and message boards calling out Loyola for its misleading employment statistics and bleak job prospects enough to be sought out by the Wall Street Journal and Loyola 2L wound up winning Law Blog Lawyer of the Year for the WSJ:
A comment from last summer was typical: “Two years ago I stupidly enrolled in Loyola Law School, thinking it would lead to a decent job,” he wrote. “Now I’m in massive debt and have been taught a hard lesson. … Students from tier 2 schools aren’t allowed to have good jobs, despite all the money and work we put into the education.”
In July of 2008, Paul Campos published a traditional law review article called Shame about law professors, and in the next year, Herwig Schlunk wrote a traditional law review article on the bad investment of law school.  Note that neither gained much traction anywhere.

Later, Bullock himself had numerous web presences hilariously skewering Seton Hall, as Skadden Farts, Law is for Losers (L4L) and on his own Big Debt, Small Law.  Here you can see the anger coming through in an open letter to the ABA:
How do you endorse (and in fact, require!) an education model that renders recent graduates experts on the common law of 16th century England but wholly unprepared to litigate a client’s simple fender bender case here in good old 2009? It is nothing short of pedagogic malpractice, and given the soaring cost of tuition it is simply unconscionable.
And thanks to the glut of lawyers that your “accredited” law schools have produced, small firms are constantly setting new floors for entry-level salaries. Recent grads are sending out bales of resumes to dead silence, as if trying to sell saltwater on a lifeboat.
Young lawyers are paying a dear price for the disaster that you’ve sown. Like the Joads in The Grapes of Wrath, many young barristers lead an impoverished, transient life, flocking from one document review project to the next while hoping to stay a paycheck ahead of the loan sharks at Sallie Mae. Some try to cut their teeth in the gutter of insurance defense “practice,” cutting and pasting reams of boilerplate dreck for less money than a day laborer on a landscape crew. The temp agency pimps and their masters in Biglaw routinely lie about pay and hours, treat their fellow attorneys like expendable pieces of garbage, and routinely engage in behavior that violates not only your Rules of Professional Responsibility but also our basic human dignity.
Nando started Third Tier Reality in 2009, stating this:
I am writing this blog because I get tired of BigLaw, the ABA, law professors and their apologists in the media (and blog message boards) who argue that those who complain about the law school industry’s lies are just a bunch of malcontents. Surely, some are. However, a very large number who decided to attend law school DID NOT ANTICIPATE OR EXPECT to make six figures right out of law school. Most had REASONABLE EXPECTATIONS, i.e. to be able to pay back their student loan debt; to be able to find work as a lawyer or in a law-related field; to be able to pay a reasonable rent or mortgage payment; to be able to afford a middle class lifestyle. Seeing that many law students end up with law school debt in excess of $70,000 (many are well above this amount), is it too much to expect to come out of law school making $60,000 or $80,000 at least within a few years of graduating and passing the bar? Tons of people make these figures without the rigid requirements, ethical obligations, and immense student loan debt that lawyers must face as a part of their job. The law school industry (by this, I am refering to the law schools and the larger universities, LSAC, casebook publishers, admissions counseling providers like Princeton Review, state bars, the ABA, media coverage, apologists, and those who further feed off the system by charging law students exorbitant fees for their services, such as flash cards, primers on how to write law essays, etc.) has created a nice niche for itself by providing a false picture of the legal job market. This fraudulent conduct should be exposed to the larger world!
This may shock some people now, but Nando's initial posts did not feature feces and was much lighter on raw rage than he later became.

Around that same time, presumably inspired by Nando and Bullock and Tom the Temp, several other blogs started and linked into the existing ones.  But I Did Everything Right, Esquire Never, Underdog Esq/JD Underdog (now defunct), the Legal Nihilist, SubprimeJD, Shilling Me Softly (defunct for practical purposes), Outside Lies Magic, Exposing the Law School Scam (defunct, may have started earlier), First Tier Toilet (old posts removed), Jobless JD (defunct), Tales of a Fourth Tier Nothing, Fluster Clucked, Law School Must Be Debunked, Rose Colored Glasses, Restoring Dignity to the Law (now defunct), Scammed Hard, Duped Non-Traditional, and probably a few others I'm not seeing/forgetting (with no slight intended).  Later on we got PresTTTigious Legal Profession and Do As I Say Not As I Do (now defunct) and a few others.  At one time, at least BIDER, Shilling me Softly, and Jobless JD were major blogs attracting a lot of page views.

While what people focused on was the piss and vinegar that these blogs spit/spat out, there is and was some really good writing, and many of these blogs often took a completely professional tone, notably some of Fluster Clucked's entries and the quasi-scamblog Law School Tuition Bubble, which started around May of 2010 with posts like this.  Forgotten Attorney also writes a professionally-toned blog.  Many, like BIDER or the quasi-scamblog BL1Y, were written by people who had "won" the law school lottery or were working, experienced professionals.

Around the same late 2009/early 2010 period, Elie Mystal began writing for the BigLaw-obsessed Abovet The Law and began pushing more content on student loans, high tuition, too many law schools, etc.  A good early piece on the subject can be found here.

Law School Transparency started in Spring 2010.  Law Professor Brian Tamanaha wrote his first epic article on the scam in June of 2010.

A landmark victory for the Nando/BDSL/Tom-style bloggers came in January of 2011 when David Segal published his seminal article on law school being a losing game.  While it focused on the wrong people, it made a splash and broadly increased awareness in the movement, as did Segal's subsequent articles.

Campos started Inside the Law School Scam in August of 2011.  Readership seemed to coalesce around it and it broke through with certain academic and professionals who rejected the giant mass of stuff above.

Most of the above blogs disappeared or slowed down given that Campos' blog became a go-to source; many cited the fact that the message was "out" now and that they had accomplished what they came for.  But if you look at things like Google Trends, it's beyond clear that all those other blogs formed a necessary foundation to getting us where we are today.

While Campos was instrumental in helping the truth about law schools reach new heights, he was a neither a beginner nor an coup de grace, but merely one big link in a long chain.  Every single thing Campos said can be found in the above blogs.  There was noting magical about his tone.  You can find every level of snark and seriousness in the blogs that preceded him, and none of them attracted his readership levels because they didn't have the title of "professor."

In any event, this blog continues the tradition that pre-dated him in a centralized location, and given the blog's increasing and notable readership, it's clear there's still a need for this information and writing to get out there.  It's also obvious that a purely professional tone doesn't always do it, given the failure of law review articles or LSTB to gain significant public interest.

There are still people who don't believe what we say, and there are still institutional actors who would do everything in their power to make this message go away or terminate it with half-baked reform.  This movement can not - and will not - stop until the people who are in a position to do something actively work towards reform and the system's apologists stop defending its most ludicrous elements.

Some malcontents and stooges have commented that this blog isn't achieving any kind of reform.  Such sentiments betray a lack of knowing exactly what reform is and how it works.  Obviously, ventures like LST play a role, but controlling information and changing public opinion is essential, whether it be through ironic mockery or hard-hitting journalism or some mix of the two, anonymous, pseudonymous  or under one's birth name.

Blog authors like Bullock and Campos can tire of repeating themselves, but law schools will never tire of loading graduates with student debt and pushing self-serving/self-saving measures.  Continuing to spread awareness is essential in making sure that there is not only reform, but meaningful reform.

By running this blog, we - mostly lowly lawyers - are influencing the strength and scope of reform much more than if we wrote earnest, professional letters for the ABA's paper-shredder.

If you need any more proof that so-called "scamblogging" can actually accomplish something, look at where we were in 2008 and look at where we were in 2012.

You can say "we've had too many lawyers for years" and claim with 20/20 hindsight that everyone knew about the problems long ago, but methinks the lack of serious official action or major journalism on the law school shell game suggests that maybe the "scamblog" movement has done more than its armchair critics wish to give it credit.

And it - on the whole - achieved that with a collective tone little different - if anything, less professional - that what you see on this blog.

So we - this blog and law school critics as a whole - are doing quite well, and we'll continue to do well because we have truth and moral superiority on our side.  That's how these things work.


  1. You documented the movement beautifully. "State of Beasley" was also a solid blog, focusing on life at Temple University Sewer of Law, around 2008.

    You understand the concept that those without money or institutional strength MUST grab the reader's attention. I wish that I could have written in a mild tone - relying solely on charts, graphs, ABA statements, state bar warnings, BLS data, NALP reports, etc. - and still attracted the public, in large numbers. My blog initially was reflective. However, a few trolls started attacking me - simply for documenting the law school cartel. These idiots inspired me to come out swinging. Matt Leichter has a great blog, but his professional site does not have a ton of readers.

    Sometimes, it upsets me that most scambloggers have gone dormant - if not outright stopped. These people have lives, and they feel that they have done as much as they can, with regards to highlighting the scam. However, the job is not finished. The schools have large advertising budgets, and we cannot allow the academic thieves off the hook. It is important to continue to document this fraud. I continue to highlight this trash heap industry, because I want to see less victims for the law school pigs and cockroaches.

    In the end, how often does a small group of motivated, non-wealthy people go out and kick the piss out of an indu$try that takes in $3 billion annually?! This is quite an accomplishment, despite the moronic, psychotic rantings of ball-less, semi-literate, terror-stricken third year law students who have not done anything with their "lives."

    1. Nando, you're the Mad Max of scambloggers - patrolling the wasteland with boundless rage and a shotgun.

      Some may be critical of your tone, but this is the age of reality TV. If people want Gordon Ramsay instead of Jacques Pepin, so be it.

  2. This is a fantastic post. Thank you.

  3. Well done! Public awareness of the scam continues to approach critical mass. As this happens, law schools will try to argue that the "too few jobs/too high tuition" situation is a relatively new problem. It's essential that law schools not be allowed to successfully advance that narrative.

  4. Thank you for documenting this history. It is important to see that Campos was instrumental in bringing more attention to a movement that already existed - he was not original in any sense, just useful for drawing media in the media. I think our blog is an excellent go-to scamblog spot...especially with moderated comments that have driven away the troll army.

    I do think that too much of the juvenile prank tone makes us less credible, but it seems we moved (mostly) beyond this. That said, I do think a casual, non-academic tone is important to reach out to the youngest readers that just want a dose of reality to cut through law school salesmanship. In that regard, I see us as a success.

    Keep it up and comment at the Faculty Lounge (for example), especially when the profs try to push back against the notion that law school is a losing investment for all but the rich. Our message helps to incrementally change ingrained opinions and assumptions.

    1. I agree with this assessment. I don't see a problem with hyperbole and comical crudeness. I think, however, pictures of unflushed toilets was overboard, as were comments that certain people, whether real or fictional, were "whores," etc. as well as personal vitriol about how named people should "rot in hell," etc.

      Keep it full of hyperbole and crude humor - that's fine. Laugh as named people for their statements or positions. That's fine, too. Mock them even. There's a difference between that versus being hateful.

  5. My father went to law school in the '70's, and what I find fascinating is that many of the complaints that he made about law school are still being made today, ie the academics are totally impractical, and the lucrative Big Law jobs are reserved for a small portion of graduates. The only difference is that things seem to have gotten much worse, as he found a decent, non-Big Law job and eventually had a successful career as a solo. A current graduate finishing the same law school at the same middle-of-the-road class rank would probably find some job, but would have more trouble transitioning to a solo practice that would be solvent, and would carry over $100k of debt the whole way through.

    Another thing that occurred to me is that people who look at a successful lawyer and see dollar signs don't understand the source of that success. They think that person is well-off because he or she is a lawyer. They don't understand that person is well-off because he or she is at the top of his or her profession. A successful insurance agent, accountant, engineer, etc. would have a similar lifestyle, and yet we don't see people beating down the doors of accounting school. Only law and a few other career fields, such as medicine and banking, are seen as showering gold on their members just for joining.

    1. Some thoughts on the differences between 1970s and now:

      1. Tuition adjusted for inflation was between 50% and 75% less.

      2. Undergraduate tuition was similarly lower, so many parents weren't tapped out, and could afford to pay for all or some part of law school tuition.

      3. Student loans, to the limited extent they existed, were for much smaller amounts, even after adjusting for inflation. And student loans were dischargable in bankruptcy.

      4. The job market, while tough, was nowhere nearly as saturated as it is now.

      My guess is that about 35-40% of every class that graduated from law school in the 1970s went on to have long-term successful careers as lawyers (with some schools of course having a much higher % of successful lawyers, and a few much lower). For at least the last 10 years, and today, the % of graduates who will have long term successful careers as lawyers is closer to 10%, with a few schools having a much higher %, and many, if not most a much lower one.

      The low % success rate, combined with the astronomical cost of tuition and non-dischargable student loans is what makes law school today a SCAM.

  6. It would be interesting to know what has become, career-wise, of all the early scambloggers named in the post above. My hunch is a lot of them came out okay (it just took a while).

    1. How do you define "okay?" A full-time job, even at $50k, still doesn't justify the debt load taken out.

      Bullock has apparently gone out and started a 2-person firm:

      Nando has a full-time non-law job, I believe.

      Subprime recently left his associate's gig with a scathing post about his last employment. I think he said he's looking at non-law gigs.

      Kimber Russell is apparently still shilling for Kaplan.

      One of them (don't remember) has left practicing altogether and moved to this blog:

      Rose took a non-law job after graduating law school.

      Angel @ BIDER is still, I believe, hustling to make ends meet as an NYC attorney.

      Offhand, I don't know about anyone else.

    2. Jeff, I suspect that is the case as well. One can write only so much before it gets repetitive. Also, some (including myself) go through great lengths to stay anonymous so it is inconvenient to post on a regular basis.

  7. A law school analysis of the anti-law school movement. Oh, sweet irony.

    Jewel LA. You're Doing It Wrong: How the Anti-Law School Scam Blogging Movement Can Shape the Legal Profession. Minnesota Journal of Law, Science & Technology. 2011;12(1):239-278.

  8. Excellent post. There's a book in there somewhere. Someone like Michael Lewis could make a best-seller out of it, I suspect.

  9. I think this whole scamblog history is interesting. I don't think the plight of lawyers is new by any stretch.

    Lawyers, as long as they could fake prosperity by financing a Lexus or Mercedes, have been by nature fake people. They do things to make others think they make "lawyer" money ($250k) when, in fact, they're pulling down $75k (or less) without benefits (barely above school teachers, when you consider their benefits).

    In recent years, the new generation of law grads has brought on large numbers of lawyers who could no longer fake success. The cat is being let out of the bag.

    It's a healthy move in the right direction. It will not fix the problems. It will just educate would-be law students that it's not what it's all cracked-up to be.

    The unfortunate part is that most parents of these students discourage their kids from learning blue collar, skilled trades. Plumbers and electricians, for example, routinely do as well as a great many lawyers. Yet, parents discourage this, and their kids have no choice but to go into vast debt to obtain the pay that they could have earned by simply learning a skilled trade in the teen years.

    This is not only a law school issue.

    1. You keep raising the issue of blue collar trades, often implying that we think ourselves too good for these jobs, but you forget how many of these people are unemployed as well. Unless you own your own business and tools and have an in-road with the unions and general contractors you will end up just as screwed as a plumber or carpenter or mechanic. In some states, like NH I believe, you cannot practice many of these trades for profit without apprenticing -- being a slave to a boomer -- for five years! Yes, it is the same bind faced by attorneys working as "volunteers" to place themselves in the nepotism line for the rare job openings.

      The overall systemic problem is economic, i.e. not enough jobs and not enough distribution of wealth. Ovrerpriced education and regulatory capture are symptoms of much deeper social problems.

    2. Not at all, Adam. I am not suggesting you, or anyone else, considers themselves above blue collar people - at least, not at this point. I do believe that you have learned, the hard way, that the differences in what the earn are more nominal than you used to think. I am saying that these days, families need to take a harder look at skilled trades. Computer programming, printing, plumbing, sales, etc. These all can be had without spending $50,000 on undergrad and 4 years. Also, the pay is as good or better than that with a 4-year degree.

      I think there is a common impression which remains for all those families whose kids are "pre-destined" for college that skilled trades are "not good enough." If they ever see the light, boy, are they in for a surprise (and perhaps disappointment).

      The main subject here is law school, but really, the same issues apply to college. The main difference is that the issues surrounding law school are more dramatic because of the additional $100,000+ price-tag, plus 3 more years.

      College, itself, is probably not all that great a value (with some narrow exceptions, such as certain branches of engineering).

      You are right as regards the overall economic picture concerning wealth distribution.

  10. There is no doubt in my mind that the scamblogs deserve the largest share of the credit for bringing attention to these issues--for enhancing transparency in employment results, for raising public awareness about the dubious pitches law schools make to prospective applicants, and for prompting the ongoing decline in the number of applicants to law school. None of this would be happening today had the scamblogs not been out there making noise. Scamblogs have an essential role going forward because new crops of uninformed 20-year-olds emerge every year thinking that law school is a good bet. Young people get their information from the internet, not from newspaper or law review articles; they read things that are entertaining, informative, and brief. That's why it is essential to keep this effort going.

    1. Mr. Tamanaha, I am an author on this blog, and very honored that you are reading what we write. I found Failing Law Schools to be an accurate and balanced look at the current law school crisis.

      I have a post coming out tomorrow about the laziness that the tenure system encourages for some professors. Given the recent drop in law school enrollments, do you see any sense of urgency in such professors to make themselves more useful or do they just carry on as they have been?

    2. With due respect to professors, I do not think they have god-like powers and can make demand for lawyers in the marketplace. It is up to the public to realize, by way of analogy, that 8-track tapes are on their way out.

      If they can't make demand, they could possibly form some of the impetus to reduce supply. But this is a stretch. "Which among us is ready to resign? Please raise your hands." How many hands do you expect to go up?

      And now that the aristocracy effectively controls politics (too big to fail, austerity for the working class, etc.), the direction is "budget cuts" on the government spending side.

      Americans have demonstrated a fantastic tolerance for a return to aristocracy/oligarchy. Just recently, Eric Holder admitted that Wall St. is "too big to prosecute." And there were no pitchforks, no tar and feathers - just crickets....

      This has been a long process. It didn't happen in 2008. You can look at graphs over the last 30-40 years showing inflation-adjusted family income, family debt loads, the GINI coefficient (measuring wealth disparity), etc.

      There is a 2 class society now (with just a smidge of the population still in the middle). Look at the DOW. It's at a record high. Then, compare the Wall St. boom to the employment situation and the austerity the working class is being told to expect to continue for the next several years. It tells you all you need to know.

      It will be interesting to see how much American working masses will tolerate, but I bet we tolerate quite a lot. Just look at countries like Mexico. Their working class is quite poor, and yet aside from drug trafficking issues, the country is very politically stable. This is where we are headed.

      Perhaps another bubble will come around to head of our destination for a while longer.

    3. I am curious how Tamanaha sees the student loan bubble bursting? A fast pop? A slow long-term spiral downward?

  11. Great post, but the question still arises. If you have a none stem degree and are an unemployed college graduate or working at Starbucks, what do you do with yourself and your poly-sci degree if you don't go to law school? State supported law school tuition is no more expensive than many low priced private universities today. At least with a law degree, you have the opportunity of working for yourself and the chance of making a very good living. Of course, you have to get out of school with little to no debt to make it work effectively.

    1. Concern troll from the law school industry, right on time.

    2. Its really sad when some of you are so called law school graduates fail to realize that things are never black and white. If you didn't learn this in law school, it is true that you incurred lots of debt for no reason whatsoever.

  12. This is a very good summary of the whole fucking thing.

    When I started Outside Lies Magic, it was just to lend another voice, view, and verification to the whole scam. In the early days there was a ton of collaboration and commenting and contribution amongst the 2009/2010 wave with a common sense of purpose.

    Then life happened. There were some that piggybacked on the pageviews for their personal gain. The early sense of purpose and energy got lost by many, and the law school collapse we're watching now was inevitable---but I do honestly believe it would not have happened as quickly or as publicly without the scambloggers pushing it.

    And despite the contribution from Campos and Tamanaha as being incredibly "valuable" to the scam blog movement, and it'd be ridiculous for me to deny their impact and I think you accurately sum it up here, I still am the minority amongst my peers in my scorn and disapproval of them.

    Tamanaha is now finally starting to react to the whole situation the way that he should have when he first decided to comment on the situation. Campos got pressured and once his pageviews got up he could milk it as a way to get the kind of visibility he never really got before on his pet topics.

    Until they both resign from their posts, hang up a shingle like the rest of us, and actually earn a living by real world standards not the ivory tower standard, they'll always be morally and ethically culpable in my opinion--but that's just me they live by their own choices.

    I have dialed down my scam blogging because I've moved into a post-law phase of life that lets me live the way that law school and higher ed implicitly promised. It wasn't because I was smarter, or worked harder, it was just pure dumb luck my life led me to here without being ruined.

    A lot of my friends aren't that lucky, and not just the ones who went to law school. My generation is being decimated and the only way to stay out of it seems to be to avoid it, which was the whole point of my blog.

    Just to try to help others from falling into the trap because no one else cares.

  13. L4L/Skadden Farts started WAY before 2009. He is the godfather of scamblogging so to speak.

  14. Don't forget JDUnderground. There was good information to be found there at least as early as '08. People posted a lot of anecdotal stories that made me finally realize I wasn't the only sucker. I think a lot of us went though law school seeing only the success stories and wondering what the hell was wrong with us. I remember my mild concern at not getting any fall 2L interviews gradually rising to dread by the summer before 3L. The depression hit full-on by the winter of my third year and lasted for a year and a half. The depression has impacted my life expectancy and added years to my retirement date. Remembering that is enough to keep me in the fight against the law school scumbags.
    A lot of us had some rough years; years of depression, frustration and rage. We weren't looking to get rick quick and were willing to work hard. The game was rigged against us.

    It's important to the healing process that we keep the pressure on and continue to tell the world about the stinking greed and corruption in the law schools, the repulsive nature of law school deans, professors, and all their paid schills.

  15. Hypocrisy is multifaceted and has many layers and faces.

    I'm glad Demo put Tamanaha in his place, or at least is able to submit an undeleted critique of the opportunistic "rebel" law professor that winks with one eye at the scamblogs and winks with the other at the student lending system from which he has profited.

    Hell, anyone can write a book, and I got news for you all, a NY times bestseller is 300 thousand copies or so and don't make much money all around.

    1. We delete curse-filled trolling, which has been eliminated, not dissenting opinions.

      The weariness toward Tamanaha and Campos, seeing them as profiteers, is as old as the Scam blog movement. This post correctly gives the core credit of the progress made so far to the unglamorous and hard working scambloggers. But Tamanaha has a place in this movement because like it or not he has the credibility to change the minds of colleagues face-to-face and to advance policy.

    2. True there, but don't you think he has a good enough gig already that this revealing book of his should be circulated for free? If he's really in it to change society, maybe he would consider that society is benefited by the free dispersion of knowledge.

  16. "But Tamanaha has a place in this movement because like it or not he has the credibility to change the minds of colleagues face-to-face and to advance policy. "

    That is lame. How much more time are you going to give Tamanaha to talk and advance a vague policy that has never been put down in writing, such as stated aims? A list of 5 or ten or 20 goals and by a bunch of people that cannot be identified?

    And deleting curse filled trolling is a promise and not a premise.

    Put it this way: What do the university presidents of the schools that Campos and Tamanaha work for think of their pet rebellions with all life expenses paid in full?

    1. I imagine that the presidents, deans, administrators etc. at the schools where Campos and Tamanaha are employed wish they'd shut up. I imagine that most presidents, deans and professors at other law schools feel the same. Who cares what they think?

      I'm also quite sure that some of those people come on here and post stupid comments about how Campos and Tamanaha are hypocrites and should quit or give their pay back to the law school etc.

  17. you are missing the shift in scamblogging that took place first in 2008 and accelerated thereafter. This shift incorporated a focus on the employment/salary stats.

    Also missing is how we forced the law school industry to adapt--we made Third Tier Toilet a phrase of the times. And in return the industry did away with the third tier.
    Now they are doing away with the 9 month employment stat, and they are going to 10 months. All in reaction to us.

    We are driving this ship.

    1. The "we" is all anon and wont get a ticket on the subway.

      A ship needs a captain and cant be driven by a ghost

    2. It is hard in a conservative image-based profession to loudly dissent or to call bullshit. If we do not have the protection of tenure, many of us would have more doors shutting us out of scarce jobs, and few doors (if any) exist as it is. I do not think anyone needs to be a martyr.

      Again, that is why the Tamanaha's of the world have a pragmatic place in the movement even if they do not pass some people's moral purity test.

  18. It seems that some of these critics of Campos and Tamanaha, etc are saying is to either go all out and quit, possibly donate all "ill-gotten gains" or just stay quiet thus avoid being called a "hypocrite".

    That is an absurd choice.

    The lawprofs-turned-scambloggers didn't need to do this. And its hard to believe that the "rewards" of the attention is anywhere commensurate with the "cost". If I were a lawprof who just didn't care, I'd just keep quiet and ride out the scam.

    Do all critics of US policies then also need to "quit" the US as well?

    All I can say is that if any supporter of any social movement were "required" to go all out and self-sacrifice to avoid "hypocrisy", nothing would ever get done.

    I really doubt that people like "Demosthenes" are more willing to self-sacrifice any more than they are asking of Campos and Tamanaha, etc. I'd be like if during the civil rights movement, any sympathetic white supporter were called "hypocrites" because they didn't quit their jobs and all their wealth and hand it over to the blacks due to racism/Jim Crow.

    1. There is no politics if 3/4 of the advocates are anon and have no one place for stated aim or purpose or goals by now after the years of slogging against cruel injustice that they seem to claim.

      Hell, Campos and Tamanaha are just curious and comfortable and quasi political dabblers, and I will ask any University higher ups in the country to disagree with me.

    2. There are so many logical flaws here that it could only come from a law professor or some kind of administrative role at a school whose mind has slowly dulled from lack of competition in the actual world.

      1) Well for starters, I don't have to sacrifice anything more than the years of my youth and hundreds of thousands of dollars I've already given to line the pocket of fraudulent gasbags. I did enough when I paid for their new school provided IT equipment.

      2) I didn't say shit about them donating any of their "ill-gotten gains." They just tacitly admit oh yeah I profit but I'm in this for the passion of teaching and some other overflowing pile of bull.

      And yeah I disagree that the "rewards" outweigh the "costs," Campos has now become a quasi-regular contributor at sites like Daily Beast that he would have never been offered but for the pageviews garnered from subsuming the scamblog movement.

      3) Remember when the NY Times asked Tamanaha to publish an op-ed when "Law as a Means to an End: Threat to the Rule of Law" was released? Of course not because it didn't happen because no one gave a shit about his esoteric babbling.

      Education is a business, professors are vain, and any kind of publicity is good publicity that makes their little netherparts swell with pride. Moron.

      4) I don't think they should stay quiet, I think they should actually do something other than whinge after the fact. Tamanaha is even worse than Campos because he was in a dean's position at one point which he has said "Oh no I took it very seriously." Yet here we are.

      Campos had a "promising" student die. Campos was all shook up by it in his hotel room after a day spending the blood money that came from that student's ruined life on crap like coffee and room service porn. Awesome.

      He could at least stop being dazzled by the alchemy that dissolves any responsibility on his decisions, but I'm not going to dictate someone else's morals just point out when they're lacking or rotten to the core of what it means to be a human.

      Critics of US policies don't just criticize they do something. They vote. They demonstrate and advocate. They start or participate in non-profits to pick up the slack. They do anything other than what the law professors who acknowledge a problem are doing. Did anyone take a pay cut voluntarily recently? When Vermont Law cut staff, did the profs get together and say hey wait if you cut our salaries by X we can still make the cuts and keep these support folks? No no they did not. Is anyone doing that? No no they are not.

      The "supporters" of social movements do give their all, they do self-sacrifice, and for the important ones, like Civil Rights in America, they have died for it you completely asinine ignoramus.

      5) The blacks? The blacks? Jesus.

    3. Self sacrificing is all in your head.

      Campos and Tamanaha play around here like it is a taxpayer backed playground.

      Demo IMHO got it all figured out a longtime ago, and I am grateful that he at least can give the skinny on Tamanaha who is a loose cannon in the academic world, as is Campos.

      Both will have their pensions etc. intact.

    4. Tamahana took responsibility in his recent vitriolic critique. I think this kind of message helps to snap some colleagues out of their collective stupor as he shows them that they became the classist robber barons that they supposedly were supposed to fight against. They may not pass a moral purity test, but at least he admits his own mistakes and encourages his peers to fess up and wake up.

    5. I think I made the same comment that he's just starting to sound the way an upright person with a sliver of human decency should be acting, took him long enough.

      I'll be the first to write a congratulatory post when he puts his money where his mouth is and actually does something about his supposed convictions by oh say resigning from his professorship.

      Until then he an Campos are nothing but idiots strutting across the stage full of sound and fury but signifying nothing. The same goes for the ABA and its token task force and the rest of those directly benefit from it pretending they are decent and do care. Bunch of do nothing quislings.

    6. Campos and Tamanaha have helped spread the word about the law school scam. That's ultimately what matters. We can talk all day about their supposed "ulterior motives" but they lent their voice when they clearly didn't have to.

      In the end there is nothing inherently wrong with being a lawprof. If there were, like say, being a drug dealer, than yes it would be hypocritical to continue to be one while saying how immoral it is. But since there isn't, I don't see why there is a need to quit.

      If somehow Campos or Tamanaha quitting would make any difference AT ALL then maybe there's a point. But it would make no difference, maybe be on some obscure article that is quickly forgotten.

      Also. I don't know about Tamanaha but I believe Campos was a lawprof many many years when UofC (and most other LS) were anywhere near as scammy as they are now.

      In the end, you're again saying that Campos and Tamanaha are worse than real scamprofs that are actually promoting the scam or simply remaining silent b/c they are "hypocrites and don't go far enough by not quitting. That is just complete BS.

  19. "Critics of US policies don't just criticize they do something. They vote. They demonstrate and advocate. They start or participate in non-profits to pick up the slack. They do anything other than what the law professors who acknowledge a problem are doing."


    Okay how exactly is that different than what Campos and Tamanaha are doing. Aren't they "demonstrating and advocating" on books, blogs, media, conferences, etc. as well? And haven't them lending their voice clearly HELPED the "cause"? I think even you would acknowledge that.

    To make the analogy work, you would have to compare asking Campos and Tamanaha quitting to something analogous to "quitting" when talking about critics of US policies, like leaving the US or quitting their jobs or something like that. Because THAT would be the equivalent "action" that you are speaking of.

    So again, unless you are saying that all critics need to do the sacrifice of "quitting" or equivalent to be speaking up, then its just stupid to be singling them out. Again how is it any different than, say, telling a 1950s white civil rights supporter that he is a "hypocrite" and deserves scorn b/c he isn't putting his life on the line or isn't quite willing to quit his job and give it to a black person and heaping greater scorn on him that the actual racists?

    Its just a real big bar you're setting here. Let's be real and acknowledge that not very many "activists" are going to be willing to make big sacrifices. A few will, many won't.

    No one is saying that Campos and Tamanaha are self-sacrificing saints like Mother Teresa or comparable. But its bullshit to be saying that they are worthless because they aren't understandably willing to quit their jobs, a move that BTW would have purely symbolic purpose.

  20. God I hope you people aren't practicing law, your quality of thinking makes me question your ability to competently represent anyone, but I'm guessing you wear velcro shoes.

    To Anonymous@3:49

    They "support" the cause? Would a symbolic action like Campos resigning from his post at the height of his blog's popularity been better?

    You realize people of good conscience resign from institutions all the time as a form of protest. Including but especially attorneys (go read about the DOJ attorneys that threatened to resign during the Bush administration and those who actually did).

    The fact that the structural integrity of the system was faulty and would have crashed eventually was only a matter of time. All that scambloggers and "Campos/Tamanaha" did was say, "Hey Jerks! That building isn't stable!" That caught people's attention, and when more people actually looked at the same building they agreed. But the people who profit from others going into the deathtrap said "No No Nothing to see here! Everything is fine! Spectacular! Keep paying for admission tickets you saps!" Go read Henry Ibsen's Enemy of the People and learn something.

    Historically was there something wrong with being a law professor? Probably not (although I and others could argue the casebook model is flawed and outdated and useless). And actually yes, that drug dealer analogy is accurate.

    Law school as it is currently practiced--justified with fradulent, misleading information about a student's prospects and potential IS IN FACT AND SHOULD BE RECOGNIZED AS A CRIMINAL BEHAVIOR. That this form of consumer fraud isn't recognized or prosecuted, haha, is depressing for so many reasons but the finance industry isn't regulated either so why not let higher ed get a pass. The fact that Campos and Tamanaha now claim to recognize that fact, but not withdraw from participating in it, and in fact benefiting from it to me, signals a moral failure. If they don't that's up to them but it doesn't mean I can't call a spade a spade. Other people of good conscience in similar situations have refused to participate (see military code of justice, incidents like My Lai)

    To Both of You

    Demonstrating and advocating what exactly? What are they "demonstrating and advocating" for?

    Better yet, What is the "cause"?

    Many scambloggers like Nando or myself any of these make up the "cause":

    1) A significant number of law schools just outright close.
    2) The prices charged significantly decrease.
    3) They publish actual facts and not purposefully misleading or deceptive facts.
    4) These charlatans are held accountable for their lies in some form or fashion.

    And to Anonymous @ 4:09 - I didn't say they were worthless, I have just above and have always said that they are worse than the people who think Law Schools right now are fine.

    They knew better and are going along with it or giving what I consider a token effort.

    Maybe they see whining without proposing real action or taking real action themselves since they are actively involved--i.e. being the beneficiaries of Law School as is, means that they have more of a responsibility than my fellow scambloggers and I do or even a farmer in Idaho.

    And for the love of God, go meet some non-white people to influence your worldview and perspective. You're screwing up the analogy in addition to the fact that only pro-Segregationist would provide a false choice to a "white supporter" of Civil Rights and say either if you don't give up your job you don't support the idea of racial equality.

    Go read a freaking book or talk to someone who was alive, you're a ball hair away from being a dumber version of the dad in American History X.

    1. I don't disagree completely, but like most things in life I don't think it is so black and white. As I mentioned before (which I won't repeat) supporting profs can help influence circles that we cannot. I am slowly collecting some info about this topic and will be curious to hear what people think. Again, I think Tamanaha's recent article addresses some of your criticisms.

      People can effectuate some good even if they are part of a "scam" system. For examples, sometimes politicians or judges can occasionally do good things that don't necessarily benefit themselves. That does not mean that all politicians or judges must resign if Congress or higher courts pass law that they disagree with or find morally repugnant -- instead they try to build coalitions and create change from within.

  21. Even though Campos has quit making provocative statements--about academic corruption and fraud, that is--he continues to do pro bono work to keep young students out of debt and misery.

    When the narcissists over at Top *** ******* get ahead of the game, Campos sometimes shows up with a modest reminder of the consequences of incurring debt for an inferior degree. It's quiet, and it doesn't attract attention, but I recognize and appreciate it. This sort of one-on-one attention is even better than pictures of crapped-in crappers, in my ever-so-human opinion.