Monday, August 26, 2013

Dean Peter Alexander just doesn't care!

In a recent interview with Karen Sloan of the National Law Journal, Dean Peter Alexander of Indiana Tech "Law School" gave some revealing insight into how the school is progressing. If you haven't already read it, please do.

Here's my personal favorite answer:

NLJ: What is the profile of your students?
Alexander: I don’t know the demographics per se, but I know the students coming in are older. I know the national average age for law schools is in the mid-20s, and our median age will be 33, which is significantly higher than most law schools. I think we are more from outside of Indiana than inside Indiana, though it is pretty close to 50/50. We have a student from California and one from New York City. We have at least three students from Chicago and one from Ghana, in Africa. We are more male than female, and between 10 and 20 percent of this group are students of color.
Ignoring the rest of this disastrous interview, and especially ignoring (against my better judgment) the fact that Dean Alexander seems to be setting up this school on the backs of nontraditional law students, let’s examine what this particular answer tells us about Indiana Tech Law School’s concern for its incoming class.
 
Dean Alexander knows next to nothing about it. He doesn’t know the most basic demographics, he doesn’t know where these students are coming from, and he can’t even give the interviewer any information about the student breakdown beyond some broad generalizations. And he has just over thirty students in his care. Even spending five minutes per student file before the interview, that’s well under three hours of actual work. You can learn a lot about someone in five minutes.
 
Let me put this into perspective. When I showed up on my first day of class in law school back in the day, the admissions dean knew everyone. Not just names, but information about every single person there – where they were from, what they did beforehand, what they wrote about in their personal statements, everything about each of the approximately 150 students. Ask the admissions dean to profile the students and you would have been given a half hour breakdown of the class in extreme detail. This was five times as many students as Dean Alexander has under his care.
 
Dean Alexander, in an important interview with a national publication, can’t even reel off the first thing about any of his students, other than the fact that one is from Ghana, a place he assumes we’re as unfamiliar with as he is since he feels it necessary to tell us that it’s in Africa. (We know.)
 
Where is his pride in his incoming class? Where are his boasts and brags about the fine students he’s managed to attract? Where did he explain that perhaps he’s attracted a thirty year old female former police officer from Chicago who wants to become a drug task force prosecutor after being shot in a raid five years earlier? Where did he explain that he might have recruited a guy from California who won teacher of the year twice in his school district, who chose Indiana Tech Law School over UCLA, and who has an LSAT of 165? Where did he detail how he perhaps had taken a chance on a motivated mother of four who spent the ten years homeless and who has worked her ass off to put herself through college and maintain a 4.0? (Those students don’t exist, by the way, but that’s the kind of information I would expect – at a minimum – from someone who has merely thirty students to learn about, and who should be hand-picking students, not simply bottom trawling the applicant pool and bringing aboard anything and everything.)
 
Instead, we’re treated to some insight into how he views his incoming class: compiled numbers, and numbers he really can’t even be bothered to pin down with any accuracy. He doesn’t care about who his students are. To him, it’s a business, a spreadsheet of income versus expenditures, just statistics, and the individuals who he is responsible for educating really don’t matter at all in terms of who they really are.  How else can the generalities and vagueness and gaps in his knowledge be explained?  Has he even seen the application forms for these students, or looked over their files in any detail? His inaugural class? The class that will make or break his law school and his reputation, and he can’t even tell Karen Sloan who they are or take the opportunity to throw out a few prime nuggets about his top notch students that make him especially proud of the "school" he's about to lead? He served on the admissions committee and can’t tell her who he admitted beyond some fudging and stalling?
 
Elsewhere in the interview, he stated that he would admit a student late in the day whose application was complete, yet he had not even seen the student's application at the time – all he had was a note from the admissions office that the application was complete! Clearly, the review process for application at the desk of Dean Alexander is non-existent. Got a pulse and some student loan money? You’re in!
 
I would place money on the fact that Indiana Tech Law School admitted thirty-three students because it received only thirty-three applications. And I would place money on the fact that Dean Alexander has no desire to know anything about his students other than how many he has. They sound like more of an inconvenience.
 
Like I said, you can learn a lot about someone in five minutes. And after reading Karen Sloan’s interview with Dean Alexander, I think we all know a lot more about who he is.

In my prior post about ITLS, I offered accepted students a copy of "Con Law", a book that they should all be reading before attending, particularly as they are at the bottom end of the law school machine where costs are high and opportunities are low, and where advantage is taken.  Nobody claimed their book, so I can only assume that those students are either (1) not doing their due diligence and failing to read this site, or (2) just ignoring the warnings we're giving.  So let me double that offer.  Seeing as Dean Alexander is taking advantage of the nontraditional law student population in getting his "ego project" off the ground (and let's be realistic - it's an ego project that has zero merit, because Indiana does not need a new law school), I'm offering every single accepted student at this "law school" a free copy of not only "Con Law", but also "Later in Life Lawyers", the second edition with the forty page addendum dealing with the poor economy, fewer jobs, and higher debt.  Just email me and I'll send them both over.

And for any student who gets to Indiana Tech Law School and realizes that it's really the worst investment in legal education today and decides to quit, please email - I'd appreciate the opportunity to interview you.

Charles Cooper is the author, along with Thane Messinger, of “Con Law: Avoiding...or Beating...the Scam of the Century (The Real Student's Guide to Law School and the Legal Professio)”, in addition to being the moderator at Nontradlaw.net and the author of “Later in Life Lawyers”.  He can be contacted at charlescooperauthor@gmail.com.

33 comments:

  1. That anecdote about the expedited admission was devastating. They seem to have no admission standards whatsoever.

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    1. I wholeheartedly agree, especially the word choice used by Dean Alexander.

      For a major interview (and let's face it, there's not much coverage of ITLS outside this blog - it's hard to even find news stories about it more than once every few weeks), Dean Alexander really missed an opportunity to show us that we are wrong. The fact that he didn't tells us perhaps that we're absolutely correct in our analysis.

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  2. By the way, keep up the good work. I discovered this site about two weeks ago, by reading every comment on JawProf's swan-song post.

    Whatever opposition you may have encountered, you're continuing JawProf's mission with great honor, courage, and dignity.

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  3. This post was up yesterday but switched after I commented. So I will say it again Karen Sloan should have asked this clown whether IT rejected a single applicant.

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    1. My bad. I switched it after the article over at American Thinker was published. But I would guess you are correct - I assume all who applied were accepted, provided they had a college degree and had taken the LSAT. A rather forgiving interview, and Karen Sloan could have pushed a little harder with her questions.

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  4. Agreed. This guy comes off as an uncaring piece of trash.

    Oh by the way, you referred to Indiana Tech Law School wrong. It's not 'ITLS', it's 'shITLS'.

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  5. Complimentary shingle, nail and twine included with every ITLS diploma!

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    1. ...and rope too, for hanging yourself when it all goes to shit?

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    2. Ouch. I hope it doesn't come to that.

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  6. Great analysis. I hadn't thought of it from this angle.

    Enrolling just 33 students is a major disaster for Alexander and Indiana. He's trying to spin things and sound upbeat, but at the end of the day he's just failed spectacularly. There's no sugarcoating the truth - Indiana Tech Law is a mess, Alexander is an embarrassment, and the school will be lucky to be open 2 full years.

    Dean Alexander has personally failed; unfortunately he's going to take about 33 students and millions of (probably well-intentioned) donors' money down with him.

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    1. There's been a history of academic hucksters swinging on vines from one mess to another, with generous bonuses, buyouts, and raises at every step of the process.

      Not this time. Peter is done, cooked, finished.

      What an arrogant buffoon.

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  7. The numbers don't lie...

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/08/26/introducing-the-tuition-is-too-damn-high/

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    1. Hmmmm. The author is arguing that even though we're going into debt to pay historic high college tuition, it's still a great investment?

      He seems to quote lots of academics who - obviously - will say that college is still a bargain. Fake stats giving fake answers from fake academics.

      The good thing about this blog is that it deals on real stories of real life, not misleading stats that hide the human face of the higher education scam.

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    2. College for some is a good deal. For others, it's just a way to get a $400/mo bill in the mail first of every month.

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  8. "the higher education scam"? How is higher education a scam? My daughter just left home for school. I expect she will grow up in the next four years and will likely greatly expand her knowledge of the world. Whether she gets a job out of college is another issue, but we know the cost of the school and her job prospects for a middle class existence will be far better with a college degree than without. She simply would not be happy in the trades or the military. She also selected a very reasonably priced public institution for a top bang for the buck education. There is no scam. We know exactly what we are paying for.

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    1. It is not a scam for top 200 universities. It is a scam for the rest. There is no need to pay $35,000/year in tuition. Coupled with another $15,000 for room and board, and that's very costly for four years of growing up. The secret is out -- Universities are in an amenities arms race. It used to be that one could earn a degree for $2,500/semester. So what are you paying for? You're paying for the business of the education business.

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    2. Right on, 1:12.

      Tuition and Required Fees, 4 Year Public University, 1964 - $295

      Tuition and Required Fees, 4 Year Public University, 2006 - $6,836

      http://nces.ed.gov/programs/digest/d07/tables/dt07_320.asp

      This is approximately an 8% increase PER YEAR for 42 years. Anywhere from 2x to 4x the rate of inflation each year. Who wouldn't love a rate of return like that?

      This does not include private universities, law school, medical school, etc. They are even worse. This does not include data from 2006 to 2012, which is even worse.

      Higher education is important. But it is also a racket, make no mistake. But Baby Boomers still make their arguments like the last 40 years didn't happen.

      .....aaaaaand we wonder where "special snowflake syndrome" comes from.

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    3. If people are getting bachelor degrees just for a line on their resume. If employers automatically discard any resume which doesn't have a bachelors degree even if the job doesn't actually need a bachelors degree. Then this is just mindless credentialism. Its a huge waste of resources and I'm not sure if its sustainable long term.

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    4. Not sure how higher education is a racket. Nobody forces anybody to go to college or pay outrageous amounts of tuition. Its even possible to get a very inexpensive education . . community schools come to mind, although personally I believe going away to school is part of the equation that helps the child grow into an adult. Now when you get to the for profit institutions, yea . . . that's a racket. But even there, people are getting what they are paying for.

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    5. 12:30PM, I'm happy for you - you've done the right thing with the good value public college.

      But many others are idiots, and those are who we are talking to. They get sucked into the scam, and it's a scam because they should not be there in the first place. Schools recruit these morons, take their money, and dump them with expensive private school degrees, trash online degrees, or useless graduate degrees that burden them for life with debt.

      So you are only half correct. You are correct in your approach. But you are absolutely wrong in claiming that because you've *avoided* the scam, that the scam doesn't exist.

      Be careful with that attitude. Schools have seen you coming a mile away, and they will take you and your daughter for a ride if you're not watching your back.

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    6. 7:26PM, you should probably do some more research because you're too trusting and naïve. Just because there are good options, it doesn't negate the scam. Using your tortured (and self-congratulatory) attitude, surely you should also claim that law school is not a scam because there are a handful of good deals with good outcomes still remaining.

      Big picture, dear. Look at the big picture. But it's your money, it's your daughter's future, so hey, it's your loss when it all goes south because you trusted a greedy college administrator with your kid's future.

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  9. OT - but perhaps worth linking to show the mentality of those who are successful in the legal profession, which may in a round-about way help explain the insane arrogance of the scam-deans:

    "The vast majority of lawyers, in their heart of hearts, have little or no respect for non-lawyers. A substantial minority make no bones about expressing this.

    Lawyers believe they could do anybody else’s job, probably better than that person’s doing it right now truth be told, whereas nobody else could possibly do their job."

    http://www.adamsmithesq.com/2013/08/treat-your-business-like-a-business/

    Of course that successful lawyers think that way is both absurd and contemptible, but their ego, like the ego of scam-deans, is apparently unlimited.

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  10. Excellent post. One sign of the rot that sets in after a successful cartel has operated for many years is that people in high positions display a level of incompetence mixed with sheer laziness that's astonishing. Indiana Tech has millions of dollars on the line, and chose Alexander to make its investment pay off. Yet as you point out he isn't even bothering to do some of the simplest and most basic aspects of his job.



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    1. Paul, I have to ask - a long time ago, you hinted that you had been contacted about becoming the dean of an unnamed law school. Could it be shITLS?

      If so, well done for turning that offer down! You saw the writing on the wall, and only a sucker/fool like Alexander would be stupid enough to think that he could captain this sinking Titanic to safety. The fucker was half submerged before he even took the wheel, and he's managed to ram it into more icebergs at every opportunity.

      The fool should be fired and a liquidator brought in to shut this turd school down before it drags the rest of the university with it.

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    2. Great post, Professor. Incisive and provocative.

      Too bad these pretentious, presumptuous scammers have oversaturated the profession, and made a JD even from CU an unwise, risky investment.

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  11. just to play devil's advocate, this dean is just doing exactly what other LS deans are doing: getting money while he still can. the only difference is that his school is brand new. i'm sure cooley and peers' deans are just as reckless as he is right now. so long as he is getting paid, singling him out is of little consequence since the entire LS ship is sailing in one direction.

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  12. Im not seeing a lot of dissent as of late. Please moderators dont remove counter arguments from the opposition.

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    1. You can't depend on the mechanics of "dissent" to make your case. The facts are against you.

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  13. I can't wait to see the stats on *this* cohort--test scores, grades, percent admitted (haha)...

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    1. I expect that to be some great reading. I don't get enough snorts and guffaws these days, but those stats are the cure.

      They report to the ABA in October. I can't wait.

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    2. That's a very good and surprising point.

      Here we have more evidence that the scamdean in question is a pretentious, arrogant buffoon, with no genuine work ethic. That groundbreaking ceremony must have been exhausting for him.

      As they watch their dean to pick up some "ethics," his students are going to find out that hard work isn't necessary and just doesn't pay.

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  14. Adding on to the original post - the Dean didn't even know his students well enough to have a couple of nice anecdotes to throw out in interviews, speeches and on brochures. The admissions guy (I hate to call him/her a dean) could have handed him a nice bullet list upon request, so the Dean is failing to do 60 seconds of diligence.

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