Thursday, June 20, 2013

Belmont Law School Scammers Triumphant.

 
 
(Jeff Kinsler: The man who persuaded the ABA to accredit Belmont, Elon, and Appalachian).
 
The ABA has just granted provisional accreditation to Belmont University School of Law in Nashville, Tennessee. The school did not admit its first class until 2011, and now, a mere two years later, it has joined the ABA's anointed. Here is a smattering of links, facts, and quotes from Belmont honchos. I guess what ties it all together is the following lesson for all would be scammers: It really helps to be, or to employ, a telegenic detail-oriented person with a flair for sounding sincere, confident, and idealistic while spouting baloney. In other words, a Jeff Kinsler.

I. Let Jeff Kinsler Quarterback Your Scam into the End Zone!
 

According to the Nashville Business Journal, Kinsler has been instrumental in obtaining accreditation for two other law school--Appalachian (where he served as Dean from 2005-2007) and Elon University (where he was a Professor of Law and Senior Scholar from 2007 to 2009, and where his salary was $221,800, h/t Third Tier Reality). And now Kinsler has completed an unprecedented trifecta of scam by obtaining accreditation for Belmont, which picked him as its charter Dean in 2009.
 
II. Belmont Honchos Say: There is Desperate Need for More Attorneys in Tennessee.
 
a.  Belmont University Provost Dr. Thomas Burns stated that "Whether the overall national picture has changed, the local picture hasn’t. . . There still is a substantial need as our research indicated for lawyers or legally trained professionals in Middle Tennessee or this region." Similarly, Kinsler asserted that "There’s a big gap in the market here; there’s no question." Kinsler added that the time for a new law school was not just right, it was "overright."
 
However, using data obtained from Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), a firm called Economic Modeling Specialists (EMS) projected 389 annual law job openings in Tennessee through 2015. (See "The Lawyer Surplus, State by State," NYT, 6/27/2011). Seemingly exceeding the demand for 389 jobs, the three (other) accredited law schools in Tennessee (two of which are in middle Tennessee) graduated 485 new JDs in 2012 (Vanderbilt: 196, University of Memphis: 134, University of Tennessee: 154). And a lot more JDs educated elsewhere, or at non-ABA but locally accredited schools, take the Tennessee bar. Indeed, 676 passed the Tennessee bar in 2012. Now, if 676 newly licensed attorneys were somehow insufficient to fill 389 in-state lawyer job openings, couldn’t the existing schools simply increase the size of their classes? 

b. Here is a good post from Above the Law from 2010, though ultimately misplaced in its optimism. The post is entitled "Someone at the ABA is Aware that New Law Schools Make No Sense," and it quotes a choice bit of scamming nonsense from Kinsler. Kinsler noted that the BLS projected a certain employment growth rate for lawyers from 2008-2018. He then blithely asserted, based on the fact that there was almost no growth in legal employment from 2008-2010, that "Statistics must be assuming that most of [the]...growth will occur between 2011-2018." Another possibility-- that no growth for the first two years of the 10 year projection meant that BLS had overestimated job growth --was confirmed by BLS's subsequent projection of lawyer job openings for 2010-2020, which reflected a significant downward revision from the projection it offered for 2008-2018. Kinsler was criticized for his remark in the ABA Journal, but it did not matter in the end.  
 
III. Belmont  Law is Serious About Ethics (Never Mind its Own Scamming Hype or the Torture-Enthusiast Teaching Constitutional Law).

a. Kinsler asserted that other law schools display "an inadequate concern for ethics, professionalism, and integrity,"  but that Belmont would "tackle. . . head on" these deficiencies by requiring students "to take an ethics or professionalism course each year." (video at 1:04-1:12, 1:43-1:47) In the same vein, Belmont University President Dr. Bob Fisher, stated that "Given the public role of many legal professionals, we believe a vital element of the Belmont Law education will be preparing our students for roles as community leaders and change agents."

b.  On the video linked below, Fisher (whose salary in fiscal 2010 was $862,686), yaps about how Belmont Law will facilitate nobility, justice, fairness, ethics, and self-criticism:
"You know I think law schools and people who become attorneys and judges are so critical to our democracy. We want to be a part of that, of the noble side of the law. We want to have justice and fairness and we think that our commitment as a place. . . that is a Christian University where ethical standards are a big part of what we examine ourselves on all the time, where we strive to do the right thing, and when we don’t we call ourselves on it and say...that’s not who we want to be. We think that kind of environment for attorneys to be. . . will be a wonderful thing."
          (video, 0:19-1:06)

My own view: I do not think even an academic's extraordinary ability to deceive him or herself extends this far. Fisher is not clueless at all about the likely fate of kids who attend Belmont Law or about the windfall that he anticipates that the law school will bring to himself and the rest of his crappy University. In Fisher's pious blather, I detect the smug and contemptuous cynicism of a Madoff becoming teary-eyed over orphans and sick kittens.

c. Belmont Law's big celebrity hire was Alberto Gonzales, White House counsel from 2001-2005 and Attorney General from 2005-2007. Gonzales made himself notorious by "redefining" torture and by deeming provisions in the Geneva Convention to be "quaint" and "obsolete," apparently over the objections of military lawyers. Gonzales also made himself an international laughingstock in April 2007, when he testified in the Senate about his mass firing of US Attorneys. Gonzales used phrases like "I don't recall," or "I don't recall remembering," no less than 64 times during the hearing, causing disgust even among conservative Republican allies of the Bush Administration. According to this post by Prof. Jonathan Turley, no law firm or ranking law school would hire Gonzales, such was his reputation. Even a number of Belmont (nonlaw) professors signed a letter of protest.

d.  On January 20, 2012, the National Lawyers Guild, Tennessee Chapter, staged a small protest against Gonzales in front of the main entrance to Belmont University. The student newspaper, the Belmont Vision, relates that: "During, the protest, the demonstrators were photographed by Dr. Jeff Kinsler, the dean of the Belmont College of Law. He declined to comment officially. . .but a Vision reporter overheard Kinsler later calling the group of "a bunch of aging hippies."" It surprises me that the Dean, no less, photographed and insulted the demonstrators, rather than leaving such unpleasantness to security. Is this smooth-talker so easily rattled by, uh, insolence? Or maybe, at heart, he is just an aging narc.
 
IV. Belmont v. Nashville School of Law: An Instructive Comparison.

Assuming arguendo, and against all evidence and logic, that Tennessee faces an incipient shortage of lawyers necessitating a new ABA-approved law school--why choose Belmont over Nashville School of Law? The latter, unlike Belmont Law, has actually has been around for 100 years. An article by David Segal in the New York Times, part of his great series on the scam, states that Nashville Law's graduates get high marks from local judges. ("For Law Schools, A Price to Play the A.B.A. Way," 12/17/2011).
 
Well, the thing is-- Nashville School of Law charges $5,000 per year and its professors are untenured and part-time. ("[T]uition costs $21,000 — in total, for all four years it takes to complete the degree. The reasons? Nobody has tenure. There are no full-time professors. The library costs $65,000 a year"). Thus, Nashville Law’s model not only defies ABA standards, it threatens the existing model of legal education with the awful specter of a realistic low-cost alternate model, one that does not involve law professors getting rich.

Oh, Belmont Law’s tuition? $34,800/yr. Yes, about double the resident tuition at the University of Tennessee School of Law. Belmont is also surprisingly stingy in awarding scholarships, perhaps on grounds that it cannot routinely discount the price of its educational wares and pay its fabulous President his $862,286 annual due.

V. All the Brain Dead Moguls, Where do They All Come From?

The law school is housed in a new building called the Randall and Sadie Baskin Center, named after the elderly retired insurance mogul (and his wife) who gave Belmont a seven million dollar donation to fund its construction. I am constantly amazed that aged philanthropists, seeking their legacies as well as big tax deductions, give money to law schools. It doesn't take much imagination to think of the good that seven million dollars could have done elsewhere; indeed, could have done in providing legal services to people in need who do not qualify for legal aid. 



49 comments:

  1. I live in Memphis and it is literally awash in bottom feeding lawyers. They are more plentiful than catfish in the Mississippi. It's almost exclusively grubby s$#t-law down here.

    At least the local TTT is sanguine about the dismal career prospects of its lemmings.

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  2. I'm surprised this even got one post! I mean it actually talks about an issue relevant to scamblogging.

    Normally to get posts and interest on this site, it needs to be some introspective, "look how far we've come" or "look how powerful we are" kind of post.

    The readers here are useless. Unless it's all about them and how great and powerful they are and how many applicants they've stopped going to law school, they aren't interested in commenting.

    Readers here are interested in scamblogs, not in the issues behind scamblogs. Pathetic.

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    1. What are we supposed to say if we just read the post but don't have anything to add at the moment? "Interesting"? "Yep"?

      Delete
    2. If you get to the end of stories like that and have nothing to say but ""Yep", I think you need to go back over to the other side of the battlefield, Professor!

      Delete
    3. A+ trolling.

      Delete
  3. "..the time for a new law school was not just right, it was 'overright.'"

    Brings to mind that line from Three Amigos: "He's not just famous...he's IN-famous!"

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  4. This proves that the ABA ignores the facts. Also, I can't believe this guy is pulling down over 800K at a school like Belmont! No one involved in the law school inductrial complex deserves a salary close to that amount. I like the Nashville model.

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    1. That's all part of the con. When an undergrad sees a law school president or whatever making this kind of money and doing essentially nothing they start to think "Hey, I want a job like that, I bet if I go to law school I could get something like that". Law School is like a 3 year Tony Perkins seminar backed by federal loans.

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  5. It would appear that it is easier to open an ABA-accredited law school than a hot dog stand. How could we possibly need more law schools?

    Law schools exist solely for the benefit of law school professors. These professors and "academics" are worse than the greedy bankers and arms dealers they despise, because at least bankers and arms dealers admit it's all about the money. Opening new law schools is the academic-industrial complex's version of war profiteering; it ruins countless lives but enriches those at the top.

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    1. This really an important part of the scam. Law schools exist in no small part to give former government officials a cushy place to land after they retire. Finance and media are the other outs.

      We live in a sick society.

      Delete
  6. The sad part is it's supposed to be a "Christian" law school, too. WWJD?

    Maybe we need to form a non-profit Buddhist law school and locate it right across the street. Could you imagine the regular skirmishes between Christian lawyers and Buddhist lawyers sharing the same parking spots and sidewalks?

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    1. The joke is these guys pretending they have a clue about what Christianity is like.

      Did Jesus earn $800,000 a year, plus perks, while going around deceiving people for profit and claiming it was not for profit?

      These so-called "Christian," highly-paid executives are ass-clowns and make a mockery of what Jesus' message was.

      Jesus: Father, why would I work here for $345k, when I can work over there for $800k? I have a family to feed!

      Somewhere, Christianity was totally perverted and monetized. Now, the message is:

      Joel Osteen: Have faith! God WANTS you to have the Lexus you always wanted.

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    2. Oh, don't get me started on so-called "Christian" law schools.

      By their fruits ye shall know them, not that the schools actually care. They are doing "God's work", just like Goldman Sachs.

      Indebted graduates with no prospects will continue to grow on trees, and ScamDeans will continue to rake in "non-profit" salaries. Sheep and goats. WWJD, indeed.

      Delete
    3. "Indebted graduates with no prospects will continue to grow on trees..."

      Which does bring up an interesting second inquiry.

      Devil: Sign the dotted line, and you will get a big $$$ career in just 3 years, where you can charge people all they can afford.

      Student: Deal!

      Delete
    4. Yeah, the Faustian bargain is a two-way street.

      Although, I still think the information assymetry (and questionable motives) still resides largely with the institutions, rather than the individuals, most of whom are mid-20s.

      Delete
    5. Yeah, if you look at it from a perspective of "the law." Looking at it from a perspective of ethics, lack of information does not matter. What matters is the motivation. Just one bite of the apple....

      It just depends on what code of ethics appeals to you. The one which concerns itself primarily with ownership, profits and claims, or the one which concerns itself with cooperation, sharing and even giving.

      This dichotomy ought to be a lifelong struggle.

      Delete
  7. Kinsler asserted that other law schools display "an inadequate concern for ethics, professionalism, and integrity," but that Belmont would "tackle. . . head on" these deficiencies by requiring students "to take an ethics or professionalism course each year." (video at 1:04-1:12, 1:43-1:47) In the same vein, Belmont University President Dr. Bob Fisher, stated that "Given the public role of many legal professionals, we believe a vital element of the Belmont Law education will be preparing our students for roles as community leaders and change agents."

    This is so misleading. The Tennessee Board of Bar Examiners requires a course in the ethical code. One cannot take the Tn bar without it. Every TN law school requires this course for graduation. I took it 27 years ago at UT---this is nothing new. If I thought the Tn Board of Professional Responsibility would do anything I would turn this Dean in for ethical violations. But the Board wouldn't and dollars to donuts this Dean is not even licensed in TN. So, more young, bright lives ruined and Tennessee's once proud bar further degraded. It is heart-breaking that the TBA did little to nothing to stop this school.

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    1. ScamDean Alexander said much the same thing about Indiana Tech Law School:

      "...Alexander was again asked about it. He is adamant: It's not about the number of job openings versus the number of law school graduates. It's about the quality of the law school graduate. And Indiana Tech's new law school will turn out high-quality graduates, making them necessities in any market, he said."

      The ScamDeans have been reduced to flapping their gums about spurious nonsense and by inference putting down their neighboring schools, as if it really matters which law school you go to after a while outside the T14.

      But who cares! Fill the goddam seats! This $800k paycheck won't pay itself!

      Delete
    2. That's the thing. Most of these guys are not even licensed anywhere, so legal ethics do not apply to them.

      Delete
  8. Oh, one more thing. A shout- out to the Nashville School of Law. The best trial lawyer I ever saw, and I've seen plenty in 26 years, came from the Nashville School of Law. I wouldn't try a major malpractice or products case without him. My associate came from Nashville School of Law. Did she ever take any courses about Nietzsche and the Law or Extra- Terrestrial Space Law? No. But does she know how to handle a case from start to finish? You bet. ( and a lot of times does it better than me).

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  9. "Jesus"

    By Maurice Leiter


    He touches me
    Deep inside, to my core.
    I read his book.
    He watches over me while I sleep.
    I pray that he will come
    Come quickly.

    Not Jesus.
    Brian.

    Brian touches me,
    cupping my wrinkled balls,
    wrinkled like God's face.
    Then he enters me with his cock, pushed
    deep into my core.
    I read his books, like
    Why Tolerate Religion?
    Why indeed! A question deeper than the probing head of
    his staff.
    He watches me while I sleep,
    his penis is in his hand, rubbing gently.
    His shoulders rise and fall, like an ant rising and falling.
    I smell it, its purple head close to mine, unwashed for years like John the Baptist.
    Oh come, great Brian! Come quickly!
    Baptize me again in your milky stream!

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    1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

      Delete
    2. Someone is going to hell.

      (Brian for his role in the scam, not the author of this dirty rhyme.)

      Delete
    3. This poem kind of looks like you-know-who's work....

      Delete
    4. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  10. being familiar with the legal market in middle Tennessee, I would like to correct just one small point in dybbuk123's excellent story. There is only one accredited law school in middle Tennessee and that's Vanderbilt. Nashville School of Law is not accredited but is actually a reasonably-priced law school and is +/- $21,168 for the entire degree which is taken over 4 years at usually two nights a week. NSL has only night courses and thus, working adults can pursue the degree. NSL has absolutely no pretensions of wanting accreditation which is why it can keep the price down.

    If there is any need in middle Tennessee for another law school (and there isn't), it would be for an accredited state school which would offer a flexible schedule.

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    1. Only 21 grand for an entirely worthless law degree?

      A bargain!

      You could come to the Anon Poster School of Law for half that price, for half as long, and earn a JD from me if you like. That would even better.

      Delete
  11. LSAC just finally updated the entering Fall of 2012 full stats (except 1 metric):

    http://www.lsac.org/lsacresources/data/lsac-volume-summary.asp

    Few notes
    - Law schools now accept 75% of applicants, up from 57% in 2003
    - The rate of matriculation is pretty flat, still in the 81-84% range. 82% this cycle. Doesn't seem like there's much of a way to move that needle, so they'll need to continue to accept close to 100% to fill class sizes.
    -applicants are down 31% from 2003 while admits are only down 11%. the entering classes are getting less and less strong on average

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    1. You think they care about "strong" stats? When stats drop for all schools, rankings don't change. The only stat schools care about is the number of paying students they attract. They don't care if it is a class of einsteins or retards if they are paying.

      Delete
    2. t14 does. they have no idea what their counterparts are doing w/their class sizes and medians. those ttt and tttt clearly don't give a shit.

      Delete
    3. I do know for a fact that schools will close if the matriculants' numbers decrease--it reflects poorly on the 'integrity of the school', lol. This is what happened in the 80s to dental and pharmacy schools, several closed.
      It appears law school is even worse than that...

      Delete
  12. why do comments take so long to be moderated? just curious.

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    Replies
    1. Er because the site does not have a full time staff with beepers for when people post messages?

      You want better service? Sign up to help. Oh yer I forgot, people here hide or complain when asked to help.

      Delete
    2. I try to check off and on all day. Sorry if it is taking long. At least it is better than before.

      Delete
    3. As far as teh crappiness is concerned about Belmont, I can concur. The school was a quaint, friendly--though Baptist conservative school. It's all about the Benjamins now. They've opened nursing, pharmacy, and PT schools in the last 7 years.
      It's run very casually and I know a guy that has threatened to sue the school to let him continue his course work.

      Stay away....

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  13. The real issue is not that Belmont is accredited but why Nashville School of Law is not accredited?

    If Nashville School of Law could get accredited using its current program, it would drive a stake into the heart of TTTs everywhere.

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    1. Exactly. the Nashville method is how it should be for all schools. low cost. actual lawyers teaching relvent courses that will actually help you learn the law. Not some idiot like Brian leiter "teaching" nietchze and the law. this is what students need. the problem is, if all schools were like this, the market would be more glutted than it currently is. But then again, perhaps these low cost lawyers could assist the underserved poor and lowere middle class.

      Delete
  14. the leftist political slant gets old and quite honestly takes away from the message. considering the left leaning law deans and professors, I am not surprised that they would not want Gonzales. and yet I bet law schools line up for holder

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    1. While they are both scumbags, holder actually has some credentials from his past that indicate "prestige." it's not a left/right issue - cf. John Yoo.

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  15. It was actually goof for us that didn't want to go to knoxville or God forbid Memphis for a lawschool education. I got a half-scholarship to Vandy, by why go there when I got a full ride from Belmont. Now I am about to graduate with 13k in loans (from Undergrad mind you.) and already a job lined up. Another perk is that we always had employers walking through the school and sitting down with us. Good teachers, (people need to stop hating on Gonzales), and an excellent staff. It is a very college like environment where we all cheer each other on, even with competition. It was a good choice that I wouldn't mind making again.

    From:

    Class of 2014 graduate.

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    1. Congratulations. BTW, my office just hired one of your classmates.

      Delete
  16. FYI: The President's salary is for Belmont University's president, not the law school president. They don't have a law school president. Yes, the Dean's salary is pretty high, but that 800k is for the university president. It's a small, mainly white rich kid private school. Obviously the president is going to be loaded.

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  17. Sounds to me like the author here has a problem with those he considers less than him or his own obviously stellar law school credentials being admitted into his very own personal elitist fraternity. Never mind that societal, legal, financial or accreditation conditions, circumstances, contingencies - including demand for law school seats -- all can change; and therefore a new law school may be admitted to the club previously reserved only for "the better half". Instead of celebrating the fact that another law school is ABA approved, something very much needed in the state of Tennessee, by the way, this person cries that someone else gets to join his otherwise exclusive club, reserved just for him and his gaggle of frat buddies.

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  18. Sounds to me like the author here has a problem with those he considers less than him or his own obviously stellar law school credentials being admitted into his very own personal elitist fraternity. Never mind that societal, legal, financial or accreditation conditions, circumstances, contingencies - including demand for law school seats -- all can change; and therefore a new law school may be admitted to the club previously reserved only for "the better half". Instead of celebrating the fact that another law school is ABA approved, something very much needed in the state of Tennessee, by the way, this person cries that someone else gets to join his otherwise exclusive club, reserved just for him and his gaggle of frat buddies.

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  19. Belmont received full accreditation today

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  20. Also, Belmont is killing bar passage rates in Tennessee.

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