Saturday, June 8, 2013

Lemmings: Why Bother with Tuition?

I know that many of the die-hards believe that the one and only goal of scamblogs should be the dissuasion of all prospective students from law school.  I do not disagree that such a goal would lead to victory, as it would empty the bank accounts of the law schools once and for all.  However, I recognize that in reality, many people will still attend law school for various reasons, including those people with connections in government or big law or rich families.  Also, those people who get into the higher-ranked schools and achieve top grades will probably survive the post-law-school financial wasteland (although Con Law explains why even those graduates often become miserable and leave the law).

To help those young people who will attend law school despite the scam warnings, perhaps because many of the major facets of the scam do not affect them in the same way, there are additional messages that we should advance that will still help to destroy the Law School Industrial Complex.  For example, Campos (remember him) recently reported on Lawyers, Guns, and Money that he emailed with a student matriculating to a higher-ranked T1 school this year who received an unsolicited tuition discount of 60%.  To be clear, this was not a contingency scam-scholarship—this was a straight tuition cut given to a student with below-median LSAT/GPA. 

If the schools are desperate enough to retain a below-median student without any negotiation whatsoever for only 40% of sticker price, the end is nigh.  Think about what would happen if he did negotiate.  This begs an even better question: could all above-median students receive a full-ride for all three years?

I agree that attending law school will harm the majority of people no matter what.  Even those people with initial connections to government or big law may find themselves out in the cold after a few years, especially as things get worse as the overproduction of new lawyers continues.  Also, the scammers always find new ways to scam, whether they target freshman undergraduates or the middle-aged unemployed.  So, yes, the primary goal of scamblogs should be education and dissuasion.

However, educating prospective lemmings about tuition discounting can also help to accelerate the collapse of the Law School Industrial Complex because it keeps the money away from the scammers.  Sure, some of these students may still face lifelong consequences for attending a school even at a fraction of the sticker price: unemployment, the J.D. resume stigma, three years of lost income, etc.  However, if these lemmings pay only a fraction of the tuition, at least they will not face the same problems of debt servitude.  Most importantly, they will have taken profits away from the scam deans. 

If the application numbers continue to tank, leaving the schools with slim pickings, and the lemmings who matriculate from these slim pickings still only pay a fraction of the sticker price, the schools will have to face the following choice: 1) downsize (or microsize) or 2) accept the same number of students but face a dramatic USNWR ranking drop as they admit mouth-breathers from further down the short bus aisle.

24 comments:

  1. How I miss Lawprof's morning musings.

    I wish he'd bring back ITLSS at least for a few more months.

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    1. Me too.

      If only there was something we could read while waiting for him to return. Something similar - nay, better. Some daily blog where the law school scam is analyzed and publicized and where people comment about it and where the writing is really good and sometimes funny too.

      If only...

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  2. or 3) give big tuition breaks to below-average students, but charge the very worst matriculants (the bottom 20% of LSAT/GPA) even HIGHER tuition (which they will simply borrow) to compensate.

    It isn't going to "take profits away from the scam deans." Dream on, dude.

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    1. If we make this information about the amount of leverage that students have common knowledge, and all students with median LSAT/GPA or higher now negotiated a 60%-100% tuition break, and the lowest scoring students either stopped matriculating (knowing how badly they are getting ripped off) or dropped out upon receiving mediocre first semester grades, the schools would lose huge amounts of revenue.

      I did not know until it was too late that my LSAT/GPA could have gotten me a 50% break because the negotiating with students happens in secret. I thought that there were, like, standards and regulations and whatnot...

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    2. Finding out Law school tuition is increasingly like haggling at a middle eastern bazaar. How much you got? Becoming a social justice warrior ain't cheap yknow.

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    3. For those not yet in the game (and somehow not yet deterred), the tuition-discount game is discussed in detail in a fairly new book by one Professor "X" in Law School Undercover. Link below, if anyone's curious.

      Thane.

      http://www.amazon.com/Law-School-Undercover-Professor-Admissions/dp/1888960159/ref=sr_1_5?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1370743326&sr=1-5

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  3. Many schools are now offering all kinds of incentives, such as free books for first year, better chances of admission for early applicants; flat tuition rate for three years, etc. Before long, some of these commodes will probably throw in weekly masseuse sessions, free movie tickets, or vouchers for pedicures or Starbucks.

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    1. It's like buying a new car - they never discount the price (it's always a trick with interest rates or trade-ins or something), but they are happy to throw in countless "extras" to make you think you're getting a great deal. Law schools are acting in much the same way.

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  4. "the J.D. resume stigma"

    That is what most people generally don't understand, and it merits more posting about.

    Being overqualified can be just as bad as being underqualified bacause the result is the same. No Job.

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    1. good point.

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    2. insidethelawschoolscam.blogspot.com/search?q=overqualified

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    3. thanks for that link to the JUNE 13, 2012 post. even though i read almost every ITLSS post, somehow i overlooked that one. the game is completely fucked up. the odds of winning the LS game are so low that one would have to be moderately retarded to play it.

      i've been a temp before and it sucks balls. i can commiserate.

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    4. Overqualified is far WORSE for two reasons:

      1 - Those qualifications cost money.

      2 - Those qualifications cannot be undone.

      An unqualified person can always become qualified if need be. An overqualified person is stuck.

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  5. I imagine the law school administrations are looking at the profits that they make and the "tax" they have to pay to the parent universities. Why should they pay that tax? Why not just pay out the tax money to law students to keep the game going, so the administrators and law profs can continue their comfortable way of life?
    Not a bad plan, I suppose. But it will only buy time. They cannot pay out massive "scholarships" to large numbers of students forever, or perhaps even beyond a few years.
    After that, they will have to come up with a new scheme. Such as stop hiring when faculty retire and replace live prof lectures with old ones on videotape. Who would know the difference? Who would care? A lecture is a lecture.

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  6. Even if Law School were absolutely free it nevertheless

    (1) wastes of 3 years of your life,

    (2) brands you as a lawyer thus making you unemployable in many other fields,

    (3) requires so much reading and focus that it prevents you from developing in the ways in which you must develop in order to have a healthy, productive life,

    AND NOW

    (4) it shows you're a misguided young person whose world-view is outdated and who is quite possbily living in a fanatasy or delusion: "I'm going to be a partner in BigLaw before I'm 30..." Just like my boomer mom

    Now law school's offering deep 'discounts.' It still doesn't cut it.

    People go to law school to become lawyers. That's why it's called 'Law' School, rather than 'Do a lot of cool things with your life school.' There's no need for any more lawyers, but we keep creating them. The need for lawyers is certainly not growing (a realist recognizes it's shrinking) and you can't ethically create your own cases (the Left is right... it's about servicing others' problems). 'Practice Ready' assumes there's a practice out there.

    CLOSE law schools.

    Don't reform them. Don't downsize them. Don't discount them. Don't make them two years.

    CLOSE THEM. NOW.


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    1. (2) is the absolute worst.

      I am sick of how many times people in non-law settings (parties, meetings, conversations) have learned that I am a lawyer (a fact I always try to hide) and then literally walk away or make some joke or just come out with a fucking rude comment straight to my face.

      People hate lawyers. And you will hate being a lawyer as a result.

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    2. "hey... wanted to talk to you... I hear that you're a lawyer. Ah... listen, if my neighbor owns a tree and it's overgrowing into my yard and making a mess with all the seedlings and fruit it's dropping, do I have to pay to have it cut or does he? Just asking..."

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    3. (1) waste of three years and opportunity costs are biggest reasons not to go. It used to be, "someone else is working harder than you while you're sleeping." Now it's, "someone else is getting the jobs-and-experience you should be getting while you're spending three years soaking up useless information."

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    4. Youi got it, 6:44 am.

      Much of the reason why the public loathes lawyers stems from the ridiculous overproduction of them, which has forced lawyers to throw themselves at people with obnoxious advertising and, worse, push ridiculous liability cases on micro-thin facts hoping to pay the bills. Not everyone can be a lawyer legitimately, and when lawyers are forced to earn money, unpleasant cases are filed. As a lawyer, you're held responsible for the foot-long sandwich, the hot coffee case, and the general economic decline of America.

      Curious, however, that the general, class-based notion of "lawyer" still has luster in the American psyche. Kids grow up hearing the well-worn phrase "doctors and lawyers," as if there was some equivalency, and lawyers strive to be board-certified.

      Law School is so pernicious because it grasps people at a time in their lives when they're aware only of the class connotation of "lawyer" (e.g., "doctors and lawyers are professionals who drive nice cars" "doctors and lawyers dress nicely, are well spoken, and live in nice homes and don't have full-body tattoos.). The parents love it. "A lawyer in the family." TLS probably survives on the longing to tap into this dream.

      The person gets the title from Law Skool and then.... no jobs, no new fertile ground for a new practice, etc. Then, the lawyer's branded and despised by the public, and the lawyer usually becomes underemployed and far too often, a substance abuser and alcoholic.

      A dream that kills ... or is it just class-biased youthful naiveity? Either way, the actual practice of law sucks balls.

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    5. The public hates lawyers because most of their experience is dealing with the opposing lawyer in a divorce or being sued, or bringing a legitimate PI case just to be victimized and skewered by the soulless insurance defense lawyers out there. As a trial lawyer who has watched other trial lawyers in actions for decades now, we are a pretty repugnant lbunch. We do what we do for money. Justice is meaningless. Even truth is meaningless. It is only the perception of truth that a lawyer can try to sell to a Judge or Jury or arbitration panel that is important. We deserve to be scorned. That all being said, it is a profession where you can truly help people, and it is a profession where you can make lots of money, but there are simply too many of us who really are people worth despising.

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  7. One gripe that I have with the scam blogs: criticisms of law school usually include the qualifier "but it's okay to go if you come from a wealthy family." You don't stay rich by making bad investment decisions, and your forebears certainly didn't get rich by making bad investment decisions. No one is rich enough to throw money away.

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    1. Unfortunately, some people are rich enough to buy $350 sneakers and $200,000 law degrees that make little Richie Rich feel important. The divide between the Powers That Be and the indentured loan servants is almost feudal...

      If money is not an issue, the main problems of the scam do not apply. If daddy owns a casino and an oil company, who cares if junior cannot find a job. Debt would not apply.

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    2. Even if you are rich, it is a bad idea to blow $200,000 with no meaningful return on investment except for someone's so-called happiness. That is how fortunes are destroyed.

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    3. All true, but keep in mind that, in addition to trust funds, Richie Rich likely also has family connections that will, ah, "assist" in getting one of those top jobs. And, of course, if they don't like it (as most won't), no prob. Chances are good that the same (or additional) connections will "assist" in making the next career transition, to an "advisory" capacity with nary a partner in sight.

      Thane.

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