Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Glossy Propaganda

Ah, the unsolicited new-academic-year glossy brochure in the mail.  Pages and pages of full-color splats about my alma mater - how great the program is now, and how great it will continue to be in the future.

I wish I could read all this and be excited about it.  I really do.  The pages are full of smiling LawProfs lecturing and hopeful students beaming.  The pages almost drip with that joie de vivre that comes from righting the wrongs of society and all that jazz.  I don't know, personally- it certainly looks very different from my vantage point.

According to the text, approximately 50% of the student body in 2012 went to "law firms."  20% went to "business and industry" (woohoo, "JD-Advantage" graduates, represent!).  Another 20% went to "government and public interest."  No mention of salaries, of course.  No mention of debt loads.  No additional "real" information beyond that - I guess I'll have to go to Law School Transparency for a more detailed analysis.

There is all kinds of discussion about "experiential learning" and "practice readiness" and major changes in the curriculum.  Oh, how I indeed remember all the letters from the Dean a scant two to four years ago that often dismissed the need for crass, vulgar, pedestrian vocational training, and questioned why people were tying long-term gain to the pure intellectual reward of a JD from my alma mater.  My, my my, how the tides have changed.

I count approximately ten exposes on current students and alumni.  They are certainly doing interesting things and have obtained some amazing opportunities.  The featured alumni range quite a bit in graduation dates but seem to be doing quite well for themselves.  Then the cynic in me says, "Yes, but what about the other 200 or so 3Ls?  How are they doing?  What about the thousand or so alumni from the past, say, 5 - 8 years?  Are they doing well for themselves?"

And then there are the professors, some recognizable and some new.  Various papers have been written, various awards have been won, various conferences have been held.  Great.  I suspect they are living quite comfortable lives and funding their own children's educations quite well, compared to most.  Enjoy that blood money.

Again, I wish I could be more proud.  I wish could look back and say, "Yeah, me too!"  It's hard for me not to look at the brochure and think about hundreds of students, severely indebted, with no clear place to go.  It's hard to think back to recent, random alumni whom I didn't know, contacting me out of the blue, scared, looking for advice and hope, and me being unable to help them in any meaningful way.  It's hard for me to not look back at the past ten years and think "Wow, I should have done something completely different with my career rather than having gone to law school.  I was scammed, and my student debt will continue to follow me for the next ten to 15 years." 

This is why I blog.  Instead of supporting my alma mater, I join my voice to the thousands who, every year, across the country, are dumped out on the market with crushing debt and few to no real prospects.  The handful that are chronicled will do just fine and don't need any help - being well-connected tends to do that for a person.  For everyone else there is MasterCard, and all I can do is salute you and wish you good luck. 

My alma mater does not need to be turning out the current level of new graduates.  They should cut the numbers in half.  Period.

For the vast majority of those considering the plunge, I can only sincerely hope that you have been or will be persuaded to choose some other path.  The machine will grind on, perhaps more slowly than in the past; but there is no need to add additional fuel to that fire.  Enough damage has been done already.

31 comments:

  1. The lemmings are going to do what they are going to do - nothing we can do for them. Also, for those in need of a good laugh, check out this link to a video of the oath ceremony at Indiana Tech.
    http://www.journalgazette.net/article/20131011/LOCAL/310119928/1026/LOCAL04

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  2. Nice post. We are working for the 90% who are screwed by law school and not the 10% who succeed and end up with their smiling faces in glossy brochures.

    It's time that those who are struggling start to speak up because I know FOR A FACT that most of them are too scared to admit that they have a problem, like drug users who don't see their own problem because they only smoke weed or snort cocaine at weekends.

    If you went to law school and took on six figures of debt and are not earning at least the $75K that the school said you would as an average grad, you have a problem. Please, address it now. Start to speak up, because things are getting very quiet around here and it's not because the scam doesn't exist or that everyone's lives are working out just fine.

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    1. I have a problem. The stats looked great and you think that you will find something because afterall you are an attorney. Even if you did not finish in the top 10. And older students and the "experience" factor is bullshit. Be connected, finish in the top 10, or get lucky and never practice and find a federal job. Not state but federal job. Feds pay more. It makes me feel worse because from my vantage point my classmates are all doing well. One day I will get out of the law game. (we need our Omar to go around sticking up law schools). Till then, I now know what the working poor is in this country. Over educated in a new robber barron era.

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    2. Older students like myself who finish in the top ten get absolutely nowhere, while the well-connected little palsgraves near the bottom of the class do find jobs.

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    3. Yes, we do need a sort of "Scam Victims Anonymous" vibe around here. It's easy, just use the "Anonymous" option when commenting.

      It's the tragic experiences and sometimes pathetic stories of the victims that make me care about the scam, and the opposing anti-scam movement. I hope no one ever encounters any shame in describing what happened to them.

      And I'm eager to heap shame, as much as I can ever conceive, on the parasites who want to come here and mock the victims. Even if they didn't do extensive research, even if they trusted scammers who appear untrustworthy, how much poverty and misery do they deserve for that? Nowhere near as much as they experience, due to a system designed to aggrandize a few attention-seeking narcissists and punish the rest.

      Don't get me going on this...

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  3. Great post, Duped!

    In the end, the "professors" and administrators do not give one damn about their graduates or students. They are a mere means to an end, i.e. those federally-backed student loan dollars.

    Of course, the pigs will parade the relative few success stories - in order to give potential students the idea that they too can join in this "prosperous, honorable profession." I am proud of the work that we have collectively done, in bringing a true picture to the general public.

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  4. ""because things are getting very quiet around here " This is the problem with this site and Third Tier Reality, and that is censorship of opposing opinions, ". When everybody says the same thing over and over again without any sort of healthy debate, things get boring and people stop coming. Preston Bell authored an opinion some time ago and I offered a countering viewpoint. He refused to Post my opinion because it contradicted his own. Nando of Third Tier Reality is famous for mocking those with whom he disagrees, even giving them their own prime-time so they can be publicly pillaried, or exposing their IP addresses. Nando has gone so far as to block IP address and transfer them to a gay-black-Porno site. The thing is, I am personally in agreement with much of what is said here, but there is room for disagreement in certain aspects of what you all call the Law School Scam. Not allowing for healthy debate simply makes these sites non-worthwhile. Campos at least allowed for all opinions on his site, pro or con.

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    1. As far as I know, we moderators publish all comments. In fact, we have had some complaints in prior posts that we don't moderate enough and we let "everything" through.

      If you believe you have been slighted, would you send an e-mail to OTLSS describing the situation? The goal here is not to squelch debate. It's (rarely) possible that something unknowingly went to a spam folder, or was accidentally deleted, or something similar.

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    2. Hey 9:52,

      You don't deserve an audience just because you contradict someone. To deserve the attention you crave, you need to present a sound argument, with good reasoning and good evidence. I'm tired of kids from your generation who expect to have everything handed to them.

      As far as Nando daring to "mock" those who disagree with him, just cry me a river so I can get over it. Have you ever "mocked" the scam victims in your posts? Have you ever questioned their honesty, or suggested they deserved to be scammed?
      Most of the "dissenting" voices around here don't waste any time getting to the dirty ad hominem arguments that add mockery to previous injury by the scam.

      If you want open debate, then get ready for open debate. You have no guaranteed status here.

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    3. On what points specifically do you disagree? (at 9:52)

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    4. As far as I can discern, there *were* no points at 9:52, just a red herring about censorship.

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    5. 9:52 seems pretty spot on IMO.

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    6. I am a moderator at this blog. I've voluntarily censored one comment out of the many, many, many comments I've published, and that was for hardcore and blatant trolling. I have published incredibly stupid comments, such as 2:53s, which I just approved.

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  5. I just noticed: that new coat of arms is great!!

    The fancier, the better. If OTS were a JD factory, I'd put it in the top 6 for sure. But given that OTS is dedicated to the truth, it's much better than any JD factory.

    If

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    1. On behalf of OTLSS, thank you! Some of the credit goes to Anon Oct 10 2013 at 9:00am in the "Students Scamming Students?" post, as that got some of the gears turning.

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  6. You know, I never want to "censor" anyone, not even that poor guy at 9:52 AM. I do, however, want to "censure" him for being an idiot.

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  7. Thank you, duped, for your insight and commitment. You went to a T2, right? I'm guessing Chicago-Kent, San Diego, something of that order. A decent institution that became a scam when inundated by credit customers. Once the greed of the administrators was aroused by huge transfers of money, things were never the same again.

    And I don't need to know your exact situation, either. The point is that T2 institutions ought to reduce admissions by a minimum of 50%, period, just as you indicated. Even practice-ready graduates don't have much of a chance when output is twice what the market can absorb.

    And the T4 scams deserve to be shut down, period. We can hope.

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    1. "T2" and such are not even salient categories. These are the real tiers:

      T1: Harvard, Yale, Stanford
      T2: another half-dozen schools
      T3: another dozen or so
      T4: all others

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    2. T1 includes Ohio State, remember? The dean said it was "elite."

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  8. Can you please investigate seton hall laws historical emp. statistics and do an entry on them. they famously boasted a "median" salary for first year grads who went into non-jd required "business" jobs. does harvards mba program even claim that type of salary outcome?

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    1. I'd like to see a profile of this sort as well. really in depth. Much like nando but with a more historical perspective. And less doody pictures. Ok, ok, you can post doody pictures.

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    2. As much as I respect Nando--as a man, a father, and a heroic protagonist--I don't care for his scat graphics and prefer not to see them here.

      No doody pictures, por favor.

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    3. I concur. The photos of excrement and such discredit our movement. Please stop. Even the constant scatological language is too much.

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    4. I would have been in agreement until he posted that bulldog photo. I laughed so hard. Nando does his thing and our world would be the lesser if he stops or changes.

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  9. I, too, like the new coat of arms.

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  10. Duped and OTTLSS Admins,

    You guys HAVE to do a post on Chicago-Kent's new "Have it your way" 1L program!

    I'd love to talk to the genius that came up with that slogan.

    It's kind of funny that they're branding a new initiative with a fast food slogan, as that accurately reflects the wages you can expect to earn after graduating from this Toilet.

    "Have it your way" is what a large number of unemployed C-K graduates will be saying to their customers now and in the years to come. That and "Do you want to Upsize for $1.00 more Sir?"

    They must be getting desperate. Oooooohhh ...goody goody goody!

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    1. What a horrifying way for them to brand their program!! And why didn't someone catch it before it went out? Just goes to show the degree of conformity and incompetence in the administrative ranks. And the academic pretenders are even worse, as far as conformity and incompetence go.

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  11. "We are working for the 90% who are screwed..."

    It's the truth, sadness, and beauty of that statement that keeps me active in the reform movement, doing whatever I can, which isn't much...

    By the way, I'm one of the unscammed, but I care as a human being about those poor suckers who never even had a chance. Not just in Fort Wayne, but everywhere. I went to my neighborhood "Top 50" institution yesterday to hear a visiting speaker, and my heart went out to those eager first-year students who just don't get what a scam it is. There was a sad non-trad woman who spoke up, and I'm sure she doesn't understand how she's throwing away what remains of her future.

    The arrogance of those who profit from the scam is shocking sometimes. There was a young "professor" there yesterday, responding to the visiting speaker. Harvard undergrad, HYS JD, and COA time server. He bragged about his night-before preparation, jabbered faster than anyone can understand, and made a genuine mockery of his own supposed merit. I'd hate to have him trying to teach me for a semester. He's pampered, overprotected, and overbred, a product of perverse incentives at every step of his career. That's the kind of freak who thinks he's profiting from the misery of the students, and I hope he gets canned before he reaches tenure.

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    1. "Sad non-trad" sounds kind of redundant, doesn't it?

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    2. Hi, this is 1:52 again. The arrogant "professor" I mentioned does indeed have tenure. He's just shy of 40 years of age, but acts much younger than that.

      I just find it so sad that yet another impostor is profiting from the scam and shifting the burden to even younger groups. We can hope that students quit incurring debt to attend his pretentious courses, but when the cutbacks come, he has a certain amount of job protection. Other academics, much younger than him, are going to pay a high price for his security.

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    3. To 3:37, when I referred to her as sad, it wasn't her age I found sad. Rather, she didn't show any excitement about new experiences or a new career. She just seemed discouraged by everything.

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