Thursday, August 29, 2013

The Scam Boat: Southwestern Law School's Two Week-Long Intersession Law School Course aboard an Island-Hopping Cruise Ship.

Hey, law students, it is never too early to plan your vacation getaway for winter break. And definitely you should splurge, because following graduation you will probably have a hard time scrounging up enough money and credit to afford a modest rental apartment, let alone a fancy trip.

May I suggest a Hawaiian cruise? Much less hassle than flying overseas somewhere, and no need to wander around a strange foreign land, feeling and looking like a ridiculous tourist. Just relax, swim and eat, gaze at the ocean, chuckle through the preposterous shipboard entertainment, and let the galley slaves tend to your whims and clean up after you.

But to get the most out of your cruise experience, you should definitely take along a bunch of law professors to yap at you. Fortunately, Southwestern Law School meets this need, for its own students and those at other ABA-accredited law schools, via its annual "Hawaii Winter Intersession Program." As described in its brochure:

"Southwestern Law School presents an exciting 15-day winter intersession program in Entertainment Law and Alternative Dispute Resolution. The program will take place on the Star Princess cruise ship, leaving from San Pedro, California on December 20, 2013, stopping at four (4) Hawaiian Islands and returning to San Pedro on January 4, 2014." The brochure promises that "[t]his groundbreaking program will offer a variety of academic, cultural, and social experiences" through:

* Courses on entertainment law;
* Courses on negotiation, mediation and dispute resolution;
* Instruction by recognized U.S. and international experts;
* All the amenities of a luxury cruise ship;
* Four days on four different Hawaiian islands;
* Social events onboard.

The scholarly effort will be less onerous for the law professors than for the law students. The students must take three credit hours (three one-credit hour courses from one of two "tracks" selected by each student). However each of the six professors will teach only one one-credit course. Your genial shipboard supervisors will include Southwestern Law Prof. Cristina Knolton (Negotiation), Chapman Law Prof. David Dowling (Mediation Advocacy), Whittier adjunct Prof. Raphael Lapin (International Conflict Resolution), Southwestern adjunct Prof. Michael Blaha (Entertainment Litigation), Southwestern Prof. Steven Krone (Selected Topics in Motion Picture Production Law), and Wolk & Levine Managing Partner Zachary Levine (Selected Topics in Live Entertainment Law).
This whole cynical enterprise makes one feel unclean in a way that even a vigorous swim in the Star Princess’s "against the current" lap pool could not remedy. The professors (and Levine, the law partner hanger-on) are obviously getting a free Hawaiian cruise, in addition to their prodigious base compensation. The scammed students are getting three credits towards their JD. They may not even be entirely foolish to sign up for this thing-- that is, no more foolish than enrolling in law school in the first place. The $3,300 tuition plus "materials fee" (on top of the $2,495 cost of the cruise itself) may or may not be an additional financial burden to any student who is attending a school that charges tuition by the credit hour and who is paying close to full fare. Plus, the application form helpfully directs students to apply for financial aid as soon as possible to ensure timely funding for the program, and provides a consortium agreement for them to take to the financial aid administrator at their home institution.
But how can any educator honestly say that legal education takes place in such an environment? Doesn’t learning  require focus, pace, commitment, and time? Can you squeeze both an authentic law school course and a vacation into fifteen days of Hawaiian cruising and island-hopping? When law students step off the cruise ship will they be that much closer to being entertainment lawyers or trustworthy mediators? Or to being able to, uh, resolve an international conflict? But, of course, these are stupid questions--nobody believes that these cruise courses are about learning or professional training. They are about selling law students a vacation plus credit hours, through the delightful medium of student loan money.
Where is the ABA? I appeal to them on the basis of their own not-so-long-term self-interest. Hasn’t it occurred to those ponderous and compromised sub-mediocrities that crap like this will persuade the general public, not just scamblogger types, that legal education is a despicable scam, an expensive cruise to nowhere?


  1. Law, neither exciting nor new,
    But Come Aboard, ScamDeans are shilling you!
    Law, Society's sweetest mirage,
    Let loans flow, watch debt flow back to you.

    The Scam Boat, soon will be making another run,
    The Scam Boat, touts six-figure-medians for everyone,
    Set a course for Pennoyer,
    And "Ignore all the scamblog rants!"

    Soon, it won't hurt anymore
    You'll be brain-dead, as a doc-review whore,


    2. Overheard on the cruise:

      "Deans and Law Profs first! ... there's just not enough lifeboats to hold everyone on this ship."

      "Will the lifeboats be seated according to tenure ranking?....

      "Good God! You're not letting students on the lifeboats, are you? They only hold third-class tickets."

      And all the while, the Band Played On, while the admissions office courageously directed the students in rearranging all the ship's deckchairs.

      Glub, glub, glub.

    3. Just sit right back and you'll hear a tale
      A tale of a costly degree
      That started out with a useless test
      And a hopeless economy

      But in three years they'd have JDs
      And great jobs, well, almost half for sure
      The students all set sail that day
      For a three credit tour, a three credit tour...

  2. The pigs need an excuse to go to Hawaii in winter, as if Los Angeles is a bad climate. These vultures do not give a damn about their students, and junkets such as this further bring that point home.

    1. Dead on as usual, Nando. No doubt, the scammers are laughing at the brilliance of this particular scam.

    2. I guess they think that the Pacific Ocean is the world's biggest toilet.

  3. The scammed students might as well sign up for the two week tropical junket. After all, once they graduate with their virtually worthless degrees, they'll never be able to afford to take a vacation again, let alone one to Hawaii.

  4. This should infuriate everyone, especially the taxpayers who are funding this crap through student loans! It's literally a vacation paid for with student loan money, and much of that money will never get repaid.

    Could this be a new facet of the scam? Schools launching a week of "Snow Law" in Switzerland, where student loan money is used to fund a professor vacation of skiing, drinking, and chocolate-eating? Or perhaps a safari, complete with killing a lion, paid for by students who are conned into thinking that the professor will be teaching a class in comparative poverty law while they're sitting in their luxury accommodations on the Serengeti?

    These are shameless professor vacations, paid by the students, paid by taxpayers, repaid by nobody.

    Why is government financial aid available for these sightseeing trips?

    1. No "perhaps," about the safari. Just enroll in Seton Hall Law School's two-week intersession program on human trafficking in Zanzibar.

      It is pricey though. $3,000 tuition for 2 credit hours, and $4,500 for three credit hours. With airfare, vaccinations, fees, vaccinations, and insurance-- and, yes, the not-to-be-missed optional safari, the law student is looking at a price tag of $12,885.

  5. They had to have classes on board so the students could pay for this vacation with student loans backed by the fed gov (taxpayers). Most of these students will never fully repay their loans and the fed gov (taxpayers) will have to absorb the loss.

    Taxpayers (many of whom could never afford such a vacation) are paying for law profs and students to "study" on a luxury Hawaiian cruise.

    Federally backed student loans for law school are an outrageous scam.

  6. It boggles the mind. How can a rational adult attend this toilet? Anyone who hasn't lived under a rock for the last 30 years and who is going to law school now is a certified cretin.

    At this point I'm torn between my contempt for these Scammers and the stupidity of those attending the Toilets. Until about 2009 I had a bit of sympathy for the Lemmings but now....

    Lemmings of Southwestern Law School, I appeal to you.
    Do you really think these "professors" deserve a 2-week cruise on your dime? Do you really imagine any benefit of any kind (other than a vacation) will flow to you if you attend this cruise?

    This whole junket thing is reminiscent of the law days of Enron or the housing bubble.

    1. Exactly, complete with ice statutes urinating champagne and all those other grotesque displays of wealth and lifestyle.

      This is disgusting.

    2. Yeah. Talk about getting cold-cocked by legal education!!

    3. Cold comment of the day!

  7. I can't think of a better way to ruin a vacation than by spending it listening to a bunch of ugly, tedious 4th tier law profs and some jackass partner blathering about "the law." Who would be dumb enough to spend money on something like this?

    1. You miss the point. There will be no real classes - that's an illusion. The classes, if anything, will be lightweight, last for about half an hour before they all go to the pool, and might even take place on the sun deck or in the fucking pool!

      There is no education here. Nobody will be listening to profs blathering about the law because the profs aren't even going to be blathering. They'll be slathering sunscreen all over their fat bodies and telling the waiter to bring them another cocktail - "no, boy, make that two as I'm not paying. Quickly now! Run along!"

    2. Who would be dumb enough to spend money on this? No offense meant, but that's a silly question, because the people attending this aren't the ones spending money on this. WE ARE! You think some hard-up graduate who can't find anything more than document review years after graduation will end up paying for this?

      No, thanks for this trip goes to the generous American taxpayer, who seems quite happy to pick up the charge.

  8. This is pretty funny. You have to understand that these Professors are Narcissists, and feel entitled to these vacations at Student Expense, much as they feel entitled to Sabbaticals to Europe, paid for by their schools. These are people who have accomplished virtually nothing in their entire lives and have contributed little to society. Their claim to fame is having been top students. But that being said, this type of stuff is pretty common. Even my State's trial association has ski trip seminars, cruises, etc. all over the place. You pay for the privilege of networking, having fun and getting a partially tax deductible vacation. Of course, the big difference is that these seminars are taught by successful, practicing lawyers who actually have accomplished something and thus can help others learn from their experiences. What has the average law professor accomplished in their entire lives?

    1. ^^This^^ Law profs believe they are entitled to huge compensation for decades as a reward for getting into "good" schools and getting good grades (by regurgitating exactly what their law profs wanted to hear) on a few law school exams in their mid-twenties. Tenure ensures that they don't have to make any effort to justify their value for the majority of their high-paid careers.

    2. I read here about how many tenured law professors make so much money for not a lot of work. Why would they be rewarded so generously when they are only minor stakeholders, at best, in law schools? This seems to be something that evolved when the legal education was a growth industry and there was plenty of money to go around. Now that this growth is apparently coming to an end, we can expect law professor pay and benefits to gradually dry up.

  9. The University of Baltimore in conjunction with Hofstra Law had a similar winter intersession program in the Caribbean island of Curacao. I know because I attended it. The program begins with what the students termed a "Booze Cruise" (which was an official program activity) where all the professors got drunk with the students (talk about potential liability. As the program went on, some students got drunk nightly with professors. One slimy male professor even had sex with a female student prior to his wife's arrival. At the end of the program I wrote a complaint about the program and that professor to the Dean of the Univ. of Baltimore. They ended up taking him off the Curacao trip for a few years but recently he has been reinstated in their Israel summer abroad program.

    1. Was the professors initials M.S.?

  10. I wonder if any former cast members of “The Love Boat” will be in attendance?

  11. Its all of them, not just law professors, although they are the top of the entitlement scheme. Check out what NYU does with the huge tuition revenues it charges its students, and they truly believe that they can do better elsewhere despite living lives devoid of accomplishment:

    "Certain loans help retain faculty members who “can easily pursue a financially rewarding professional career instead of choosing the path of university scholarship and teaching.”

    1. Its only big law firms which can provide wages and benefits similar to tenured law professors I think. There's only about 5k law professors or so? Maybe at one point big law could have absorbed most of them. But with all the troubles at big law firms we read about, only a small number of professors could be absorbed now.

      So -
      “can easily pursue a financially rewarding professional career instead of choosing the path of university scholarship and teaching.”
      might have been true for most law professors at some point, but now its no longer grounded in reality.

      When law school administrators realize this we can expect to see professor pay and benefits whittled away and tenure offered less and less. Maybe elite schools like NYU might be proof from this, but the rest will be fair game.

  12. Oh, they built the ship Titanic, to sail the ocean blue
    And they thought they had a Scam that the truth would not undue
    She was on her maiden trip, when Recession struck the ship
    It was sad when the great ship when down.

    Oh it was sad.
    SO SAD!
    Oh it was sad.
    TOO BAD!!
    It was sad when the great ship went down!
    To the bottom of the sea....
    Uncles and Aunts, lots of first years lost their pants
    It was sad when the Great Ship went down

    Oh they were not far from Cali; they were not far from shore
    When the profs refused to associate with the poor
    So they put the kids below, where they'd be the first to go!
    It was sad when the great ship when down.


    So they threw the lifeboats out on the dark and dreary sea
    While the band struck up with "Fuck you; I'm glad I'm ME"
    Little first years wept and cried, as the waves came o'r the side
    It was sad when the great ship went down.

  13. Just sit right back and you'll hear a tale,
    the tale of a fateful Trip.
    That started from this tropic port
    aboard a law-school ship.

    The profs were accomplished teaching men
    Their Dean had mighty powers
    200 sheep set sail that day for 3 credit hours.
    Three. Credit. Hours.

    The market started getting soft.
    The little scheme was tossed
    If not for the writings of the ScamBlog crew
    the scam would recoup its costs.
    the scam would recoup its costs.

    The ship's aground on the shore of this
    Unpleasant Market Mess.
    With ADR.
    Mediation, too.
    Some one on board, did my wife.
    The law of movie stars.
    A professor did Mary Ann.
    Here on Law School Island!!!

  14. "Hooray, I landed on Plymouth Rock"

    -0L who just got his law school acceptance letter

    "Fuck, Plymouth Rock landed on me."

    -3L who is fucked after striking out at OCI

  15. In case it's not obvious, this is not much different than the Nigerian 419 Scams. The appeal is to your greed. You are wined and dined and educated with the big names so that you can become specially-qualified in their memorable, little niche. "Such a small investment for the many-fold returns which will be soon to follow." No different than "Super Lawyers" and all the rest.

  16. dybbuk123 and OTLLS adminsistration,

    It would be great to have pieces like this more often. Back when I went to law school the boondoggles were things like "Semester abroad helping establish a justice system in Kosovo."

    I had no idea things like this existed and maybe it would help if the Lemmings see this kind of open rot. Can anyone shed any light on other Toilets trying to pull this kind of nonsense?

  17. While we're on the subject of nautical song parodies about the law school scam...

    "The Wreck of the Thomas M. Cooley" (with apologies to Gordon Lightfoot)

    The legend lives on from the lawyers all 'round
    Of the big school they call Thomas M. Cooley
    The school, it is said, gives her grads up for dead
    And its library, they say, is quite roomy

    With a load of student loans, several thousand accounts more
    That the Thomas M. Cooley would soon empty.
    That big scam, it's true, was a turd through and through
    And the fails of its grads come often and early.

    That school was a crime on the American side
    A crummy diploma mill in Mid-Michigan
    As the big toilets go, it was bigger than most
    With a CSO and a dean both well seasoned.

    Concluding some terms with a couple of law firms
    That they sent fully locked and loaded for Kurzon
    And later that month when the dean's phone bell rang
    Could it be that court word they'd been fearin'?

    When Graduation Day came, the old crook (the dean) came on stage sayin'.
    "Fellas, it's tough, but we no longer need ya."
    Nine months later, as employment surveys came in, he said
    "Fellas, your money was good, but now I don't know ya."

    The Dean e-mailed in, he had discovery requests comin' in
    And his TTTT school and job was in peril.
    And later that fight, when the real stats were brought to light
    Came the wreck of the Thomas M. Cooley.

    Does any one know, where the love of God goes
    When your JD gets you just ten dollars an hour?
    The alumni all say they should have dropped out their first day
    Instead they've got nothing but debt and wasted years behind them.

    The alums' marriages split up or they might have suicided;
    Many became broke and went under.
    And all that remains is shame and blame in the faces
    Of the wives and the kids over their blunder

    Ann Arbor expands its rolls, Grand Rapids bursts at the seams
    The dean adds rooms onto his nice Tudor mansion.
    Lansing, Michigan schemes off young naifs' dreams;
    Soon Tampa Bay will be open for morons.

    As everyone knows Cooley's farther below even Touro
    She'll take in any lemming that can find her,
    And the graduates will all go, as the dean and staff know
    With tons of non-dischargeable debt well-encumbered.

    In a musty old hall in Detroit they prayed,
    In the Toileteer Lawyers' Cathedral.
    The church bell chimed till it rang twenty-nine thousand times
    For each grad from the Thomas M. Cooley.

    The legend lives on from the lawyers all 'round
    Of the big school they call Thomas M. Cooley
    Ol' Cooley, it is said, gives her grads up for dead
    And the fails of its grads come often and early.

    1. ODR, if I may be so bold, e-mail OTLSS and get set up as a contibutor here. There can be no discussion of the eldritch, cyclopean horror that is law school without you.

  18. I was just called by my law school for donations. The caller was a young music student. So law schools have now recruited undergraduates to seek out donations on top of tuition dollars. I told him that I think I have given enough.

    1. Dude, when my law school called for donations, I went on a fucking RANT about how screwed I was even ten years out of law school, how he should fucking quit school now, and how insane the entire system was.

      He probably put the phone down and said, "What a fucking nut!"

      You gotta go crazy on these fuckers.

    2. I send email rants to random people at school whenever they call. It's warfare, bitches.

    3. I would but kid was just doing his job. I actually did tell him that my law school is fucking people over daily and that I don't approve of what the school is doing. I was very calm and amicable. He said, "well thank you for being nice about it, you'd be surprised how many people yell at me when I call." I felt bad for him.

    4. The only legitimate response to this sort of rubbish is, "Not a fucking dime, not a fucking dime. But I'd like to donate $10 to a fund to have the campus's existing statue (or portrait) of XXX demolished and replaced by a statue or portrait of Paul Campos."

  19. Of course they overlooked the obvious course offering in Maritime law.

  20. Holy shit! The scam has taken to the High Seas.

    Given that onboard ships, they use the term "head" and not "toilet," we're gonna have to create a new category --- TTH (Third Tier Head).

    I look forward to seeing postings about Marine Sanitation on TTR.

    Scamblogging: Keeping you from getting really bad head.

  21. It would be excellent to have items like this more often. Returning when I went to law university the boondoggles were factors like "Semester overseas assisting set up a rights program in Kosovo."

    Law Firm Connect