Saturday, August 24, 2013

ABA moves goalposts - in favor of law schools, of course!

Breaking from format for this post, we’re trying something new.  Rather than have one writer comment on one issue, we’ve picked a story that a few of us have written a short comment about.  See what you think.

The story this week is the ABA’s decision to push back reporting of graduate employment levels from 9 months following graduation until 10 months.  Story is here:

Adam B:

This "controversy" reminds me of every other discussion about reforms for law schools and the legal profession -- at least, those discussions that take place among the officials, elites, and mainstream media.  As most of us agree, these discussions are nothing more than a red herring designed to distract from the real problems and to keep the gravy train running for as long as possible.  We will see years of distractions before anyone in power starts to deal with the central problems: 1) unlimited student loans for everyone with no underwriting standards and 2) no bankruptcy protection.  If something as simple and irrelevant as a one-month change in the employment statistics reporting date causes these idiots to devolve into a deadlocked cage-fight, we will not see real change anytime soon.

Too bad...I guess that the same volatile "market forces," which are sinking the law profession, will cause us all to stumble from crisis to crisis.  By squandering the present opportunities for enacting real regulation and reform, these market forces will increase the intensity of the current pain most of us feel (more debt, less relief, more glut, less jobs).  Also, it will increase the number of young people in pain.  No solution is the worst possible solution.

Law School Truth Center:

Some law schools likely think that this is a great development, having an extra month to land graduates jobs.  But others surely see the pitfall - the further out you move from graduation, the more likely it is that the graduate has already been shitcanned.  As law schools wade into the murkier parts of the applicant pool, you can expect them to be turning out lower quality, where holding a job suddenly becomes a challenge in addition to the already-shaky legal market.  Let's face it: no matter where we set the timeline, it's going to be terribly, terribly unfair to law schools.  I can see the narrative developing now, and the good deans already clearing their throats for soundbites next spring.


I don’t think this change matters much, even though it is the result of lobbying by law schools. I doubt that significant numbers of new lawyers are obtaining plum legal jobs during that allegedly golden 28-day period between mid-February (nine months out) and the Ides of March (ten months out). The jobs simply are not there. (See Bureau of Labor Statistics estimate of 21,880 lawyer job openings per year through the rest of the decade, which includes both growth and replacement needs). Some law school honchos in New York and California apparently think otherwise, and I am happy to call them on their wishful thinking.

Of course, what with having to eat and pay the rent, grads will be ever more desperate to accept jobs of any sort with every day that passes after taking the bar. So maybe the extra month allotted to the law schools will result in a boost in the fraudulent category of "JD Advantage," as well as the categories and subcategories of "Professional," "Bar Passage Required, Part-Time," "Bar Passage Required, Short-Term" and "Law Firms: Solo" We should continue to advise others to disregard jobs in those categories and focus on the only segment that could possibly justify the expense of a JD: bar-required nonsolo jobs that are full-time, long-term (which includes one year long clerkships and fellowships), and non-school funded.


Deborah Merritt nailed it.  “Moving the collection date back one month would make it difficult to compile and release the statistics before would-be law students must put down deposits to secure their place in a school.”

As I read the article, all I could think of was the core motivation of any law school when delaying the release of pertinent data: How to trap students.  Think back to releasing grades so late into the following semester, so that poorly-performing students have already paid their tuition and have little time to decide whether to stay or quit.  Grades should be released within two weeks of taking the exam, not two weeks after the beginning of the following semester.

These new employment reporting dates are the same thing, just a statistical trap.  Push out the date so incoming students have less time to make an informed decision.  There’s nothing more to it than that.  Law schools have little to fight the scam movement with.  We’re winning – slowly, but we’re winning.  And these little tricks are all they have to play with.  What can they do to fudge the stats more so that law school looks better?  Oh, I know, delay reporting of critical information.  If they can’t beat us in a fair fight fact-to-fact, they can just play their old game of lie, lie and lie some more in order to manipulate statistics and produce a brighter picture than the one which actually exists.


The shamelessness of law school and state bar administrators continues to get more craven and brazen by the minute. They think that putting a Band Aid over the job numbers will help address the myriad issues facing the legal profession today. Nowhere do they talk about holding schools accountable for positive outcomes. They just want more time to massage the numbers because “California and New York schools took a beating in U.S. News this year because of their placement data.” The law deans care more about preserving their rankings in the desiccated husk of a magazine that has not been relevant in a meaningful way since the last millennium. The business of running a profitable operation has given way to any pretense about wanting to preserve the integrity of the profession.

The ScamDeans think that they can make it all better by putting Band Aids on the massive head wound that is legal education. If your law school is not producing decent job outcomes within nine months, why is an extra month going to help? It's not like there are thousands of jobs that open up to new grads at the ten month mark. The ABA and law school administrators don't get it. They think that students will keep buying their lies and not do any research into the phony numbers that litter law school admission materials. Like an unpaid bill, the day of reckoning is long past due.


  1. Extending the deadline one month increases the chances that a graduate will have already been terminated from his "JD Advantage" job. However, does anyone think that many such law grads are going to call up the CSO and inform them that he got fired?

    Hell, if that does happen, what is to prevent the ABA-accredited trash pits from publishing that info? After all, no one audits those numbers and outcomes. NALP and US "News" take the schools' figures on faith - which is truly idiotic.

    Adding 28 days to the artificial reporting deadline will probably add a percentage point or two to the overall "placement" rate - as long as the bastards don't bother to report the stories of recent grads who have told them that their job came to an end. It's amazing the depths that the ABA pigs will go, in order to keep up the charade.

    In the final analysis, the "law professors" and administrators truly DO NOT GIVE ONE DAMN about their students, recent grads, or the taxpayers. These academic thieves have NO INTEGRITY! And anyone still defending these turds has no balls, brains or backbone.

  2. I like OTLSS/Deborah Merritt's explanation.

  3. I have to agree w/ dybbuk that extending the date won't make much difference. Good luck, law schools, in thinking it will. You have a shitty product, no one wants to buy it, and now that people know how truly shitty and worthless a law degree is, good luck in thinking that extending the deadline by a month will make much of a difference.

    No one wants the majority of law grads at the nine-month mark. It sure as hell won't change at the ten-mark month. For law schools to waste so much time on lobbying to get that change just shows how much they are willing to stick their heads in the sands.

    Law schools: "Yeah, yeah, that's it - that's it. The problem w/ legal education is ..... drumroll - the statistics are being done toooo early! If we just wait one more month, because we know how valuable our graduates are and how much everyone wants them - if we just wait one more month, we will prove how wrong the scambloggers are. You see, the problem w/ the statistics was simply that everyone didn't have enough time to find a job after passing the bar. There are thousands of millions of jobs out there for attorneys. The scambloggers are just liars. And if we wait for one more month, we will be able to prove them wrong...."

    And so, folks, that is why nothing will ever get fixed. The denial is too strong. And if you are not the one unemployed and waiting tables as a bartender, it's easy to think the problem doesn't apply to you.

  4. Why not have the individual State Bars make an educated, policy- and market-based decision about how many people will be allowed to sit for the Bar Exam in a given year, and then have the state's law schools tailor their class sizes accordingly?

    Yeah, it's not a perfect fit (because of outstate lawyers, etc.) but it's a good approximation.

    Allowing the law schools to determine the number of lawyer entrants in a state in each year is madness. Law schools are not part of the state's legal system.... the bar is. Lawyers perform an important role in the administration of justice, and having too many to them competing for work invariably forces some to create work, etc., or worse.

    It's not about making lawyers a scarce commodity so they can earn more money, but an honest concern that justice and the court system is harmed by hordes of desperate underemployed lawyers. And many of these folks appear to be miserable, struggling, and regretting their career choice. No one's really happy.

    Limiting the number of law students to a number that generally tracks the state's projected need for lawyers (or at least its ability to absorb them) should offend no one. Surely, the public isn't clamoring for more lawyers. While it's harsh to tell young persons there's a limited chance for them to attend law school, it can't be anywhere near as harsh and cruel as the present system.

    We do this with the service academies now. It's real tough to get in to them, and many, many candidates don't make it. But if you don't get in, you know then and there. And you don't see blogs of embittered, angry candidates who were rejected from West Point or Annapolis saying they were scammed or cheated.

    1. "Why not have the individual State Bars make an educated, policy- and market-based decision about how many people will be allowed to sit for the Bar Exam in a given year, and then have the state's law schools tailor their class sizes accordingly?"

      Law schools are still pushing the idea that the JD is valuable in many contexts other than law practice. So even if state bars limited the number of people allowed to sit for the bar, law schools would continue to use the "versatility" argument to justify admitting more students than could sit for the bar exam.

  5. This is a weird story. My initial impression is that they are desperately rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. Could the New York and California schools have some data showing that a large number of their graduates get hired in late February and early March, so that they could catch up to the "heartland" schools in less saturated markets? Seems unlikely.

  6. i suspect the cartel is looking to get a small increase in job numbers overall through this mechanism, which they can tout via the media a year later as a sign of an improving job market.

  7. So, is the reason they picked 9 months so that they could wait for bar results?

    Personally, I would be interested to see a class employment rate say, 15 months after graduation. 9 months or 10 months allows them to count the clerks as employed... but after one year they are back out into the pool of applicants for jobs.

    As an aside, does anyone know the rationale for making clerkships only last one year? Is it to simply prop up employment numbers on a year to year basis? I would think a judge would want a full-time, regular clerk... not a greenhorn they have to train every year and teach the same old things...

  8. One job for every two grads - at best. Address that problem ABA! You f-ING bastards!

  9. there is too much money on the table for the taking, even as the size of the table is shrinking. they will place heavy emphasis on expanding their LLM programs, give more acceptance letters to minorities, more seminars on law school flexibility, etc. the shit not change until all the tires are bald and the wheels fall off their axles.