Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Dean Nick Allard and the Future of the Scam

Despite the plummeting law school applications from the highest LSAT scorers, which could prove problematic as bar passage rates in some jurisdictions continue to tank, the law schools still have a few tricks up their sleeves.  As the downward spiral becomes permanent, not just a blip resulting from “bad press,” the deans must find new methods for generating income for these failing institutions.

For example, Brooklyn Law School recently announced that it will offer a two-year J.D. program designed for non-traditional students, i.e. middle-aged students, foreign-trained lawyers, and other people trying to reenter the workforce in a second post-recession career.  Obviously, this is a particularly nasty scam, which attempts to attract the least hirable potential students.  Most law firms do not want to hire older lawyers even if they have years of experience.  It goes without saying that the majority of older lawyers will not have the ability to scrape together a makeshift solo practice, nor would most want to or plan to.  

BLS is marketing this new program as a great way for older people to reignite their careers and to find employment stability before they retire.  It is only incidental, I suppose, that it is also a great way to scam unemployed middle-aged people who think that a two-year program will cost less (it won’t).

The BLS factory has always had a version of this scam: the night program.  However, the night program still admits mostly students in their 20s and early 30s with LSAT/GPA scores that the school wanted to divert away from USNWR (until recently).  Most of the students in the night program are rejects from the full-time program.  Now, with applications from the more-informed internet users drying up, the school might think that older potential students may be easier to con.  Perhaps they do not realize that the over-45 crowd reads blogs at almost the same rate as the rest of us.

Touro Law School seems to have a similar plan for trying to circumvent the cynical blog-reading young adults.  Recently, Touro has targeted prospective students on the opposite end of the age spectrum by offering to lock undergraduate freshman into a program with University of Central Florida where they would graduate a year early with their B.A. and enter Touro immediately.  I guess that the compressed educational timeline is supposed to attract students (six years instead of seven, what a bargain)! More importantly, Touro sees that the viral spreading of information is killing the normal application pool, and so they must target a younger and more na├»ve crowd. 


Given these desperate final attempts to scam, it is as important as ever to bring the widest possible audience to the scamblogs.  Perhaps we should launch an OLSS Junior edition with scam deans played by Disney villians…

31 comments:

  1. Older lemmings, listen up! Here is a simple fact: law firms do not want to hire your flabby old butts. Age discrimination is rampant in every field but it is especially pernicious in law firm hiring.

    Law firm partners do not want new attorneys who might have competing priorities like taking care of kids, spouses or elderly parents. Law firm partners do not want new attorneys who might question (based on life experience) their supervisors. Older people also tend to work slower, and also might not be able to handle putting in all the billable hours.

    So if you are older than your early 30s and considering law school, de-consider it. Don't be a fool and think that your work and life experience counts for ANYTHING in the marketplace; it doesn't. It might sting, but it's true. Reinvent yourself in some other way. You're also going to have that many fewer working years to make back that investment in law school.

    And bear in mind that you might not have the greatest law school experience. All those young kids will not look at you like you're a wise elder; to them you're just some out of touch old man or woman.

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    1. Credited. The very fact that they are offering a two-year program is telling. I was early-30s at the time and I got stuck with the standard three years, because the scam was still alive and well. I can't imagine what happened to the handful of 50-somethings in my class.

      Non-trads, no discount is worth it. Do not go to law school unless (1) you are extremely well-capitalized, (2) have strong connections in the field, and (3) you want to be a solo practicioner more than anything. That's it.

      Even then, why do it? Go do something else that doesn't require you to gamble all the financial security that you have worked for decades to obtain.

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    2. Totally agree with everything OP said, and each of the previous commentors said, too. Going to law school in one's 30s... or later... is nonsensical. In fact, like most military academies, there should be strict rules against it. (They won't take cadets over 25 or so). Imagine a 48 year-old reporting to West Point late this summer.

      Law school has been a form of Boot Camp intended to yearly vomit forth vast armies of young labor for the insatiable appetite of the Up-or-Out law firms. This, combined with the tournament nature of the profession, once made sense. For the young.

      Doesn't any longer. Never did for the nontrad.

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    3. The attorneys at my firm wanted to hire pretty young law school girl grads, just to see them wandering up and down the hallways in their new tight little business suits. (I was not opposed to that either, but that's another story.)

      Nontrads are non grata. Older attorneys are dirty little pigs who aren't getting sex action at home and are living in a timewarp where chauvinism and spanking secretaries and Don Draper are all cool.

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  2. http://grad-schools.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-graduate-schools/top-law-schools/law-rankings/page+4

    Currently, Crooklyn is ranked as the 80th greatest, most amazing and fantastic law school in the entire country - according to US "News" & World Report. I'm sure that this two year program will only add to the school's pre$TTige.

    Adam, you nailed this scam perfectly! This initiative is especially harmful, because the school is targeting those who will be least likely to find legal employment after earning a JD. Law firms typically discriminate against job applicants, based on their age. Hell, if you are 30, you have an uphill climb for a summer internship.

    As we all know, the deans and "professors" do not care about the students once they graduate. Others have noted that the schools don't give a rat's ass about you, if your first semester grades don't place you in the top 10% of the class. As a student or recent grad, YOU are not THEIR concern. If you can't repay you student loans or find a damn job, don't expect the academic thieves to lose any sleep at night. They get paid up front, in full. The student and graduate is stuck with the loans, plus interest, for the next 20-30 years.

    Perhaps, the "professors" and scam deans will come up with the following justification: "These guys will be 45 or 50 when they graduate. It's not like they need to worry about repaying those loans anyway."

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  3. Hear! Hear! The biglaw high paying jobs do not go to older students with only a few exceptions. Your lifetime of experience in another field, education in another substantive area, etc. are worth zero for what you do as a junior lawyer in a big firm, with only a few exceptions. Biglaw firms especially are not pleasant places, and many partners and senior associates feel threatened by anyone with experience or education outside of their own. They mostly will not hire you if you are older or bring added education or experience to the table. If they do hire you, they won't keep you.

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    1. This is completely correct. These days law school is so expensive that for most, a large-firm job is the only way to make it financially sensible. The sad part is that most people in these jobs are miserable. They took out student loans to get a job they hate, but have to keep, so that they earn enough to pay back the student loans. Fail.

      And yes, the large firms do not want older hires, with very few exceptions. They want pliable, impressionable attorneys who can be pushed around. Older people tend to be more self-confident and assertive in such an environment, due to life experience, and this is not a good fit with large-firm culture.

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  4. As a non-trad (who entered law school at the age of 41), I must disagree, in part. While it is true that biglaw discriminates against older prospects, the same is not true in government hiring. Many government agencies actually give credit for work experience and value people who actually have life experience outside of K-JD. I worked for four different state agencies and have never had any trouble finding a job. I must agree that I would not attend law school as a non-trad unless it is on a full scholarship or if you can pay on your own. It is foolish to take on 100K plus in debt after the age of 35, or so. I would not have attended law school if I wasn’t in a position to pay full tuition and living expenses (out of savings and spouses employment).

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    1. I agree a government job is a decent outcome if one doesn't have six figure debt (and that is doable--I went to a T2 state LS part time in the late 90s, worked full time, and graduated with about 35K in student loans). The working conditions are usually better than big firms, benefits are generally good, and the pay is on par with (or better than) what most non-biglaw jobs pay. The problem is that these days, at least for the fed. govt. and most state positions, there are hundreds of applicants for each open job and those are tough odds to beat.

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    2. If it's foolish to take out 100k in debt for it, it's foolish to pay for it out of your savings.

      Also - those government agencies that you mention have drastically cut back entry-level hiring since you went, and many of them are now have the same hiring views as a low-level large law firm.

      Many people currently in government positions would never, ever get their jobs if they were applying with an identical resume today.

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    3. "Many people currently in government positions would never, ever get their jobs if they were applying with an identical resume today."

      This. I work somewhere where I have a lot of contact with the local USAO. I can count the number of AUSAs who would be competitive for their current jobs if they had to apply in this day and age on one hand. Strike that. On one finger. In this day and age, even if DOJ was hiring (and it's not), you basically need all three of a AIII clerkship, big firm experience, and a prior state or local government stint. And even if you have all three, the competition is stiff.

      I used to work for a state government (medium size state) as well. By the time I left, they were basically only hiring JD interns who had been working there for free for 6+ months, clerks from the state supreme court, and the occasional superstar (top 5 law school, COA clerkship, big firm stint).

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    4. "If it's foolish to take out 100k in debt for it, it's foolish to pay for it out of your savings."

      Well, not really - no accrued interest and no stress about making payments. Also, 100K may not be too much of a burden for someone who worked for 10-20 years in a good position prior to going to law school.

      As for govt positions - I know there have been entry level hires at every agency I previously worked for (except the job I have now) over the past two years. The job I have now - requires some experience - but a friend who is a 2008 grad just made the finals on a job here. Not a person here is from a T14 or even close. Sometimes the facts get in the way of an argument.

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    5. @12:59:


      "Well, not really - no accrued interest and no stress about making payments. Also, 100K may not be too much of a burden for someone who worked for 10-20 years in a good position prior to going to law school."

      A fool and his money are soon parted.

      12:14 knows what he's talking about. The crunch at the DOJ has caused a backlog of interest at county prosecutor offices. You don't need T-14, but it's much worse than it used to be.

      For goodness sakes, county PD offices are now competitive. Places that have more business than they know what to do with regularly turn down top 10% grads.

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    6. @9:52 - how about some facts - total tuition (1999-2002): 17K.
      First job after keaving TTTT: Fed clerkship 2 yrs.
      moved from the east coast to the mountain states with no contacts.
      hired as state PD - lasted 6 mo (hated it)
      hired as a DDA in a rural county - hated the commute - quit after first month
      hired in mid-law private practice - hated it and left for govt after one month
      hired at the AG's office (w/o required 5 years of experience) - stayed 18 months
      hired as a DDA - stayed 4 1/2 years
      hired as an ALJ - current

      no law school debt - no undergrad debt - it can be done

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    7. If deans spent half as much time trying to improve their law schools as they do scamming their students, law schools would be a great place. I don't know how deans like Allard and Demleitner sleep at night. Don't they know the damage they have done to hundreds of students.

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    8. Law school deans > drug dealers.

      Law school = the white collar version of crack.

      Scam blogs = AA.

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    9. Are you sure you're not imputing a motive to Hofstra? Not everything a law school does is intended to scam students.

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    10. Oh I'm sure. The Evidence Prof has a big mouth. He also said that Hofstra's night program was delayed a year because the school reported "incorrect" numbers to the ABA.

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  5. Many part-time programs are scams. About ten years ago Hofstra started a night program. At that time part-time students didn't count in the US News calculations. Hofstra started the part-time program so that they could get the tuition of the night students, who didn't count against US News, and use that tuition to give merit scholarships to full-time students, who did count. They hoped that this would raise their gpa's and lsat's allowing them to move up in US News. To be clear Hofstra admitted part-time students to use them to raise their US News rank. US News caught on to this kind of scam and they started counting part-time students. Consequently Hofstra ended their night program. Brilliant, brilliant scam.

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    1. Reading shit like that truly makes me want to get some red spray paint and write "you cunts" on the front door of that law school. And every other scam law school with evening programs.

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    2. I attended Night School at a TTT years and years ago (actually before US News started the ranking scheme). I was also admitted into a first Tier day program. I went to night school because I got to keep my day job and made good money doing so. The students in night school were all like me. They had jobs during the day. They were older and generally far smarter and more accomplished than the day school students. Yes, it was a TTT school (or would have been so ranked today), but even then there were a number of students in the evening program with an LSAT well in the high 160s or early 170s, significantly higher on average than the day students. Law school was also a blast. After our three hours of classes several nights a week, we would often go out partying. I also avoided all of the stress of worrying about a summer job or my grades. I was not even worried about getting a job in the law. As it is, I worked as a prosecutor, then mid law (civil arena) then eventually went solo. I have done VERY WELL financially. Not saying what I did is doable today, but the point is that going to Evening Law School is a better option for the older student then going to day school.

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    3. I think there is a difference between an evening student who has an established career and wants a law degree to continue up a rung on the ladder they are already on versus an evening student who was displaced from their career and want to start a new legal career. I was not a night student but I took some night classes and those students were very sharp. Some were doctors and CPAs etc. at night. During the day classes there were some middle age women who got a divorce and then decided to go to law school with their rehabilitative alimony. Different story.

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  6. If you want to get the message out, go to Twitter, Yelp and some law school message boards and refer the commenters to this site and others. Or start a twitter account and start writing twits to this website.

    Also, be sure to comment on should I go to law school websites and email the authors of the articles.

    I heard that the University of Kansas is reducing its enrollment by a whopping 30% this year. This should be commended.

    http://www.bizjournals.com/kansascity/news/2013/05/17/ku-law-targets-smaller-classes-now-and.html

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    1. I think most prospective law students have heard the warnings by now, but they believe they are special special snowflakes and the warnings don't apply to them. Check out Top Law Schools forums for example to see just how divorced from reality many of these people are. All your warnings would just fall on deaf ears.

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    2. As with drug addiction, the cure process often involves people seeing the ultimate, complete destruction that the vice causes. It may take a full generation, but the insipid dream that going to law school is a ticket into the professional class will eventually die because it is so destructive.

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  7. KU reducing its enrollment is a step in the right direction. But it's just a first step. The school needs to reduce enrollment by 50%, and lower-ranked schools in the region need to close altogether.

    What if they had a Fall Semester … but nobody came?

    Imagine a day where an entire 1-L class fails to materialize. A Fall with no treasure hunts in the law library, no introduction to the Bluebook, no Pennoyer v. Neff, no Rule Against Perpetuities, no fee tail, no shifting and springing interests. No vast sums of misspent money and deferred life plans. No more prime years squandered on jockeying to enter a market that’s now been saturated far, far beyond any possible ability to survive.

    No more of the uninformed in unexamined pursuit of the unattainable. A year without a 1-L class.

    You may say I'm a dreamer. But I'm not the only one.

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  8. The bubble pops when the money dries up. The money dries up if either the consumer refuses to borrow, or the lender refuses to lend. The lender (your friendly, local federal government) has fixed the game in its favor; and the jobs are gone, so the desperate scramble after any degree they can get. That means one thing stops this: the sovereign has to run out of cash.

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    1. It happened in Greece.

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    2. GradPlus loans are the main culprit here I think. But compared with how much money the government already spends, these are a drop in the bucket. And trying to restrict them for law students would have some negative feedbacks, like protests from college lobbyists or claims that the disadvantaged are being denied the wonderful opportunities of lawyerdom. Easier to just keep the spigot open.

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    3. Education is the opiate of the masses... a theoretical door to the professional class. Credential your way to riches. What else you gonna do?

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  9. I'm a Brooklyn grad who eked out a decent living in the insurance defense cesspool for 12 years before my last firm decided to can me for purported low billing even after I'd volunteered to take unpaid leave (due to an illness in the family), and was assured that wouldn't be necessary. That was 2 1/2 years ago, and I haven't had a permanent job since. I didn't finish law school until I was 32, so I still get a few interviews perhaps because employers think - based on my graduation year - that I'm younger than I am, but I haven't gotten so much as a sniff of a second round interview. The idea the 40-somethings can expect better is just crazy.

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