Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Yet More Unsolicited LLM Programs in the Mail (Tax Edition)...

Two things are guaranteed after you graduate from our LLM program...and one of them does indeed involve taxation...!

Ah, yes, another LLM program. This time, in taxation.

Tax is touted as the "most useful" LLM program, and it certainly seems to be at face value. When contrasting this with Space Law or International Civil Sports Environmental Justice Rights Law, one would think that they would get more bang-for-the-buck with an LLM that deals with something so "certain", along with other well-known verities of life.

"Degree and non-degree seeking students are encouraged to apply." Wait, what? Why would "non-degree seeking" students or auditing students even attend in the first place? Boredom? The facinating intricacies of Federal and State taxation? Beats rearranging the sock drawer or drying one's hair? No need to be gainfully employed or otherwise generate income?

"CLE/CPE Credit for the courses is available." At $1,625.00 per credit hour ($3,250 for each two-hour class, 7 classes per semester), one would hope that those who need educational requirements for licensure could get their CLEs/CEs/CPEs/whatever elsewhere for less, as opposed to $3k per class. But no worries, full-time students are eligible for partial-tuition scholarships! And I should certainly hope so, because the full-time program costs $37,000.00 ($45,500.00 on a part-time basis, and no scholarship help there). This is basically the same price as a "4L" year, if there was such a thing (hmmm...waitaminute...).

For that money you get partner-level practicing attorneys as instructors, along with the Director/Senior lecturer of the program. That's at least something for the "practical" side of the endeavour.

What does one receive for this effort and hard-earned cash? A "Dynamic view of the big picture," "learn[ing] theory and keep[ing] pace with important current issues," "theory and practice," and don't forget "command of the tax issues involved in today's sophisticated business and financial transactions." So, in reality...I'm not sure what you get. What speaks volumes to me is that this program is for people already well-involved in the field and looking for another (employee sponsored) credential, not for those wanting to break into the field in the first place. Only BigLaw, BigCorp, or BigFed would be willing to fork over this cost, and then again only for their "rising stars." In my oh-so-lauded JD-Advantage position, do you know how much value I would receive, career-wise, for undertaking this program? That's right, zero, thanks for playing. And my employer certainly wouldn't spend $40k in the process, even if it was "valuable".

This program may be mutually beneficial and worthwhile for a select, select few, but overall the LLM-advocates have no business marketing their programs to a broader audience. Period.

You know, this pattern starts to sound vaguely familiar...high tuition, open-door policy, allegedly sexy (but hopelessly vague and undocumented) outcomes for graduates, hmmm....what is it...?


  1. Make sure to send these pigs a copy of a middle finger jpeg and tell them to cram in their mother's ass, in response. Use their return mail envelope.

  2. Absolutely goddamm right. Chicago-Kent is a First Class Toilet.
    I made the mistake of going there. A couple of years after I graduated I got this solicitation:

    Chicago-Kent is well worth it, [your name].
    At Chicago-Kent, you transformed from an eager applicant, to a hardworking student, to an accomplished professional. Chicago-Kent prepared you.
    Your time at Chicago-Kent was well worth it.
    While you attended Chicago-Kent, our committed faculty challenged you each day. Law school may have seemed overwhelming at times, but your effort and ambition pushed you to succeed.
    It was well worth it.
    Your legal education was enhanced by the financial commitment of Chicago-Kent alumni who gave to the Annual Fund. Gifts to the Annual Fund provide our students scholarships, access to top faculty and career opportunities.
    Giving back is well worth it.
    Make a gift today. [your name], it's well worth it.

    This is what I told them in reply:

    No, it's not worth it. I spent 2 years after graduation underemployed. Now I'm working, but barely getting by and have two jobs. SO it's best if you take me off your e-mail distribution list.

    1. Did they take you off the list?

    2. Yeah. They sent me a pissy little reply and I haven't heard from them since in any way.

      Actually, they have a very slick ad campaign on YouTube. They have always been pretty good at marketing.

    3. Post the reply.

    4. Fellow Kent alum represent!

      Place is a certified shit-hole. Their marketing department has been slick as salesman's hair grease since Dick Matasar's reign o' triumph. The faculty is stodgy and 2/3 worthless, which unfortunately crowds out the people who genuinely helped me develop as a professional (most of whom are adjuncts). Pretending that you're a well-regarded law school does not make you a well-regarded law school. Administration seems to care only about cycling through as many lemmings as possible and keeping smiles and false hope in the air, which is ludicrous since the median class member will have to scrap to get an associate's job with no benefits and 45k (...in Chicago). I won't be crying if they have to close up shop in the next few years.

    5. Who do you think are the worst professors from that festering toilet? My money would go on Richard Warner and Howard Eglit.

      Agree that there's definetly a sense that they pretend to be on par with Northwestern. That's delusional thinking.

      I doubt they'll have to close up shop. Too many potential lemmings in and around Chicago. I'd love to see it happen; I just would doubt it. I would love to get some desperate alumni solicitations though!

    6. 4:57 here. Agreed on both paragraphs two and three.

      On which professors combine age and uselessness, there's a lot of horses in that running. If Conviser is still teaching somehow, he would be my choice.

    7. Anon at 3:59 PM,
      Fair point about Conviser. I took him for remedies and he was a total twat - those fuvking hand gestures and that shithead Haaaavuuuh voice.

  3. Law schools peddling LLMs to un/under-employed JDs is like Bernie Madoff calling the people he scammed and saying, "I know those earlier investments didn't work out...but I have this new investment that can't fail. Please trust me one more time."

  4. The market for tax in law firms is very small. The practice area has declined if you look at recent statistics. In an accounting firm or corporation, you do not need to be a lawyer to do tax. They will take CPAs, a discipline which just requires college courses and an exam to qualify, MBAs or people with the requisite experience without these degrees for tax jobs. If you are a lawyer and doing tax other than in a law firm or a large corporation as director of taxes, you are an example of being overeducated for the job. A tax LLM even from NYU or Georgetown, the top tax LLMs, is a superexpensive degree if not paid for by your employer. It will not necessarily put you to work in a tax job.

    1. Nearly all the shovel work for tax schemes is done by experienced CPAs. They come up with the plan, prepare spreadsheets, hire valuation experts etc., and actually file the returns with all the supporting material. Maybe they send out the returns to a tax lawyer for review, and maybe the tax lawyer does an incorporation or two. The CPA appears before the IRS if it's challenged. If it goes to Tax Court, then maybe the tax lawyer gets some work. But in most cases the dispute settles without a trial. So it's the CPA who gets nearly all the work.
      Plus, a lot of lawyers who do tax work previously worked for the IRS, and most of them don't have LLMs in tax. If I had a tax dispute, I would definitely hire an ex-IRS employee lawyer, not a Tax LLM.

  5. I suggest an MST at $35,000. At least you will find a job! Unfortunately, you will have to work at it 70 hours a week!

    Is that out of fashion now?

  6. where's that tax LLM flowchart?

    1. NYU
    2. Georgetown
    3. Florida
    4. Northwestern
    5 to infinity. [irrelevant toilets]

  7. Have no idea if a LLM in Tax is worthwhile, but has anybody checked out what schools like University of Miami Charge . . for an UNDERGRADUATE credit hour? a basically so so school competing with University of Florida at 9 times the cost?


    $1,730 per credit hour plus all sorts of fees on top. Imagine paying that kind of money for a three hour history 101 course? including for NON-CREDIT.

    But if you are lucky, meaning your EFC is not too high, maybe you will get tuition for the year knocked down a few hundred per credit hour.

    So we can pretty much assume the entire educational system is now a scam. Law School is just part of it. And at least you do get a JD and the right to take the bar with an accredited law school. What does a degree in history (or any other primarily worthless undergrad major) do for you from the University of Miami at such a high cost?

    1. amen! Who will buy houses in the future if all of the "educated" are eye-deep in student debt? I always pegged the baby boomers as greedy, but it is pretty shorted sighted of them to financially screw the people they expect to pay for their Medicare and buy their McMansions.

  8. You're on to something there, 3:48. Higher education is destroying itself to feed the greed of the people who run it. The small college I attended cost $4,500.00 a year. I was a history major because I wasn't STEM material and I could see that what they taught marketing and management majors was a bunch of tripe peddled by people who could never have made it in the real world. I came out of college what a liberal arts major should be: a well-educated, well-rounded, well-read person who could write and speak circles around any business or computer science major. I went to college, not trade school. I then moved on to a T25, doubled my earning capacity for $25,000 total tuition and while living very frugally and working my last two years. I was employed at graduation and in five years had recovered the cost of law school including opportunity cost. The prices were fair and reasonable. My professors led comfortable lives factoring in how little work they really did, the security of tenure and the free tuition their children had available to them if they wanted it. A square deal for everyone. This happened late seventies - early eighties. But right after I got out they got greedy.

    My history degree did a lot for me but you are right. At today's prices the concept of going to college to become educated as opposed to trying to acquire some readily marketable skill set is almost dead. The colleges have turned themselves into trade schools by forcing their students to eschew traditional education in order to justify the cost.

    Sew the wind and reap the whirlwind.

    1. Typo. My bad. "Sow the wind . . ."

  9. All the tax court cases that are very lucrative and complex go to the tax attorney who used to work for the IRS Office of the Chief Counsel, where he or she actually drafted the Treasury Regulations themselves. After passing the CPA exam, I had silly aspirations to become a tax attorney but then I learned the sad truth: there is NO way that I could compete with the former IRS attorney type of individual as outlined above.

    A rich asshole like Donald Trump is not going to hire a lumbering law graduate, he's going to hire another asshole who used to work for the IRS.