Elis Mystal of Above The Law did a great job picking the study apart. Firstly, this study encompassed the period from 1996 to 2008. Hmmm, when exactly did the bottom fall out of the legal job market? Oh right: 2010. Second, the study did not factor in tuition costs. What??? The explanation from Simkovic is that including the tuition costs was too complicated because students all pay different prices. Well Michael, how about using an average? The data is not hard to find, because I found it in 20 seconds using Google. The omission of this data is like bragging you got a great deal on a 1985 Caprice Classic you bought for $600, while ignoring the fact that you will likely spend at least twice that amount in gas each year. Simkovic responded to Mystal and other critics with more fancy charts, but the major flaws in the study remain.
Mystal points the reader to some studies that are actually truthful. Simkovic displays the type of blatant intellectual dishonesty that law schools and their minions need to employ to keep their delusions intact. They use charts and “data” to delude readers into thinking all is well. They will tell you that over a lifetime, a law degree will pay off handsomely. This study fails to account for the fact that the outcomes in the legal profession are bimodally distributed, more so over the past five years. If 20% of grads are making $80,000 or more and another 20% are making less than $20,000, of course you can show an average of $60,000 in yearly earnings. But this method ignores the fact that the legal profession is a boom or bust proposition. Like the country at large, the middle class is rapidly disappearing.
Studies such as this one fall apart under scrutiny like law school lies do. But, the legal education industrial complex (to borrow a term from Con Law) requires more and more sacrifice on the part of young people so that law professors can have the highest paid part time job in America. But, as long as this type of drivel has outlets that will publicize it, naive young people will continue to fatten the pockets of Brian Leiter and his cohorts.