Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Elliot Milstein Fancies Himself An Advocate For Change

With the ABA contemplating wholesale changes to the tenure process for law professors, it is to be expected that professors will fight any proposal to change the current system. After all, it has enabled law professors to have the most lucrative part time job in the country. Inside Higher Ed did a blurb about these potential changes and received an email from Elliot Milstein, a professor at American University. Milstein states in part, "As both teachers and scholars, law professors often play an important role in a society built on the rule of law, to be critical of injustice and advocate for change."

There is a certain black humor in Milstein's words. American University has one of the worst employment rates in the country. In an effort to save his own position, Milstein makes the laughable assertion that he as a law professor should be "critical of injustice" and that he is an "advocate for change". Perhaps he should look out his office door at the students who are soon going to be thrown into the world with minimal job prospects and a worthless credential that will be an albatross for the remainder of their lives. Milstein has no interest in remediating real injustice. Milstein's CV states that the only time he has held a non-law school job is from 1971 to 1972, after which he ran back to a law fellowship at Yale. For over forty years, he has been paid a handsome wage to "teach" the law. I would like to know what he is doing to crusade against the injustice being perpetrated on his students. As for being an "advocate for change", isn't this letter going against that concept? Milstein wants to preserve the status quo because it will continue enriching him. Like most law professors, his "advocating for change" stops when it begins affecting his bank balance.

As I have stated before, Milstein should be thrust out into the job market with his grads. He will quickly find that most firms don't have any use for theory. But until the student loan tap is shut off, Milstein and his ilk will gladly take hundreds of thousands of dollars from students to teach them nothing of any real value.


  1. Replies
    1. I wuz thinkin the same thing. Where'd David come from? Change title please so his correct name is linked.

  2. You gotta fight for that change! Fight! Fight!!!

    A pedigreed Academic Who has been comfortably ensconced in the towers of academia for 40 years, closing on the half-century mark.

    Flight that academic flab! Yeeeeaaass!!

  3. And..........(drumroll) ............has everyone seen this about the nonmonetary value of a JD:


    All I am doing is goggling the words "Law School Debt" and I'm finding these articles

    And after reading the remarks of Lucille Jewel I just don't know what to think.

  4. And here is a little collection of links the Huff Post already assembled for easy reference and regarding law school debt.


  5. Not to overdo it with the links, but this one is interesting too:


  6. I think the fellow is roughly 70 years old. So your comments about thrusting him out onto the market are kind of silly -- there is no market for 70 year olds in any field.

    1. The Rolling Stones might disagree with your last statement.

  7. Oh, yes, these vaunted "teachers and scholars" are ever so concerned about change and justice. That's why they spend half of their dozen-hour "work" week churning out such earth-shaking works of advocacy as "Postmodernist Pseudotheoretical Musings on the Psychosocial Nexus of Law and Hip-Hop".

  8. Funny isn’t it. Half of all law school grads these days never even make it to the starting line of a legal career. And here you have some guy pushing 70. A guy who graduated from a (non-elite) law school at the right time, got his and won the f-ing game. And he still refuses to give it up. Typical selfish boomer. Also, anyone else notice how this guy’s CV prominently features his “honorary” LL.D degrees from Nova Southeastern and the University of Hartford? Err . . . that’s nothing to be bragging about Elliot.

    1. [quote]And he still refuses to give it up. Typical selfish boomer.[/quote]

      You know I read this stuff here and at TTR and I laugh. You got to be crazy if you think the boomers have any obligation to retire or die just so others can take their job. I am sympathetic to the law school scam portrayed here, but many of you really need to grow up and join the adult world rather than pout about the fact adults are not moving out of your way, any more than you would do if you were in their position; Some of you are simply insufferable and probably too immature to be a real lawyer.

    2. I am a real lawer. Gen xer graduated 20 years ago and done ok in a govt job. Point was, why does this guy care about tenure? The game is over for him and he won.

    3. 6:53, if you are in a govt job you are not a lawyer. Be happy for what you have but don't think you live in the real world.

    4. 9:02/6:53 here. Believe me, I know how fortunate I am. I deal with practicing attorneys on a daily basis and I have a lot of respect for most of them - but I wouldn't want to trade places with them. I know what their real world entails and am glad I don't live there.

  9. Good find, MA. (n. Poster #1 is correct, guy's name is Elliott Milstein).


    This guy must have earned millions off the scam. 41 years as a lawprof (at a trappy school with an upper second tier US News rank, but fourth tier job placement outcomes). Seven of those years as the law school dean, one of which included a simultaneous position as interim President of the University. 16 years as director of law school clinical programs (though his experience as a practitioner was no more than single year as a legal aid lawyer right after getting his LLM).

    Traveled three times to China, and once to Hong Kong, to yap about the glories of American legal education. And let's not forget his trips to Ghent, Paris, Santiago, and Saratov.

    Can a lawprof's CV get any more scammy? Well, yes. Milstein's list of publications (surprisingly few in number) and his presentations, have been almost entirely in the area of law school pedagogy. He teaches, inter alia, criminal law, though his sole foray into criminal law scholarship has been to serve on a commission that proposed revisions to the DC criminal code back in 1977. Oh, he also gave a presentation on PTSD and the law in 1979.

    Maybe Elliott Milstein can conclude his long and miserable career by rendering the following service: He can give presentations, yes in Hong Kong and Paris if necessary, about how persons with his own meager qualifications and substantive contributions ought to have no place in legal education.

    1. Claudio Grossman makes like over $400,000. This guy surely made bank.

  10. You should post a picture of this asshole. It makes for better public shaming.

  11. First-Year Law School Enrollment Lowest Since 1977:


  12. Has everyone seen this?


  13. Measuring other outcomes:


  14. Message to the guy/gal posting the links: liking your work. Do you want to collate these and post them as a main post once a week? They deserve being posted up front and center, not tucked away in the comments. Interested? (And if not, please keep on posting them in the comments!)

    1. No. Anyone can do this. Just keep googgling and changing the search terms slightly such as:

      Student Debt outcomes
      Law School Debt
      Law School Horror stories
      Student Debt Horror Stories
      Return on investment on student loans
      Student loan debacle
      Student Loan problems
      The scamblogs law review article
      Law professor and value of a JD degree
      Higher ed and debt statistics
      Law grads struggling in economy
      Student loans and the family
      Student loans and real estate purchases or auto loans
      Make up your own search terms etc etc etc

      The one thing to filter out is the UK student loan debt articles since it seems there is a parallel universe in the UK, although in a different form.

      Although the UK guardian does publish about US student loan debt as well.

      Happy googling and spending the time. It does take a bit of time, but you will be surprised at what you will discover.

      Salon seemed to recently republish the most radical anti capitalist article from what I gather is an overseas source that is not favorable to capitalism as a concept.

      I sent that link along to TTR.

      If I can humbly suggest though, the most recent remarks by Lucille Jewel about the non economic value of a law degree in a warm and fuzzy way are like the remarks of an extraordinarily naïve and green as grass pampered academic in the ivory tower fresh off the cabbage cart.

    2. At the heart of the law school crisis, and all the other various educational crisis, is the federal student loan system. Although set up with the best of intentions, it has now evolved into a glorified loan shark racket.

  15. Government Monopoly of Student Loans:


  16. Oh man, I just read that WSJ blog post about the "cultural cache" that comes with a J.D. degree. I am holding both my hands on my hands, in amazement at the stupidity of the idea. It's stupid because a lot of people actually believe in it.

    "Every graduation, when I see the beaming smiles from my students’ family members, I do not think about the fact that they are getting a degree from a so-called fourth-tier toilet law school; I see people who have achieved a dream (albeit at great financial expense) and obtained a credential that signifies membership in a powerful profession. Even for low-status members of the profession, there is still power, because all attorneys are vested with the ability to bring the power of the state to bear (even if this means filing a small claims lawsuit or negotiating a personal injury claim with an insurance company). That the symbolic value of the credential does not convert to a purely economic value is irrelevant in this equation …"

    This is surely worth a follow-up post here at OTLSS. It explains why the idiots at Law School Lemmings are unreachable, why the real toilet schools can still find any warm bodies to fill their seats, and why so many still enroll at at sub-T14 by borrowing money, in spite of all the warnings not to do so.

    Go read through the Law School Lemmings posts. The people there are are one step removed from trailer trash and degrading manual professions -- they want respectability and "preftige" and do not do a real-world, cost and benefit analysis.

    The smart people, the ones with high LSATs, have analyzed the situation correctly and realized that it's either T13 or T14, or on to something different.

    1. This is really sad. Prestige (sure the general public really thinks highly of lawyers) and cache do not pay the rent or utilities or grocery bills. Or, more to the point, student loans.

      Dont degrade the "manual professions." They provide services that people want and need. A lot of electricians, contractors, plumbers etc are doing much better than many law school grads.

    2. Sad indeed. Law schools have played fast and loose with the two separate concepts of law school and lawyering. The two are different. Getting a law degree has never had as much preftige as "being a lawyer." Law schools conveniently laches onto the preftige of lawyerdom.

      Yet by continuing to vomit forth more and more (and more) graduates into a market that had now reached super-saturation and is in free-fall, the fourth-tier toilet is hollowing out whatever preftige being a lawyer ever had. Far worse, it's undermining the administration of justice. That's because too many lawyers chasing far too little work leads to all sorts of unseemly things.

      Creating 105,000 Senators may make 105,000 people happy but it wouldn't promote the operation of anything resembling a representative government. Even a manageable one. The capitol building simply doesn't have that many seats.... even if they add a new wing with a thousand new seats.

      Don't allow them to pretend they're creating good by dispensing credentials.

    3. No...words.

      Well yes, there are words. First, anybody can file a lawsuit. Guys imprisoned for murder file lawsuits. I'm sure they feel elevated in knowing that they've "brought the power of the state to bear" through their complaint about how the prison doctor left their open wound to fester for three days. There is nothing special about filing a lawsuit.

      Second, there are a ton of cultural markers that we don't fund for people. We don't give everyone luxury cars and pay car salesmen $200,000 a year because of the emotional value someone gets from being seen around town in a Mercedes.

      Third, I'm not sure why she thinks a profession that doesn't work out for most of its grads, and schools that behave like scammy for profit universities, is going to remain a beacon of social mobility instead of becoming known as another way rich fucks in higher education grift off of the hopes and dreams of the middle and lower-middle class people. Being a lawyer is considered desirable for children of the middle class on down because lawyers are considered economically successful relative to the general population. Advising people to take on huge debt on the off chance this is going to continue is morally repugnant.

      Fourth, if law was prestigious back when law school was $1,000 a semester, there's no reason for tuition to be as high as it is now. Just like Joe the Plumber doesn't care where his lawyer went to law school, he also doesn't care if his lawyer was taught in a $25 million building by some prestigious former COA clerk with tenure. We can deliver the same amount of "symbolic value" by returning tuition to where it was 30 years ago, inflation adjusted.

      Finally, I'd love to see one of her students try to pay their tuition by citing the "symbolic value" of their attendance at the school.

  17. And this:

    Cultural cachet seems to be "caching" since there is one lawyer for every 300 people in the USA.


  18. The scamblogs must have the distinction of having overwhelming evidence on their sides. And have things changed all that much?

    And this:


    And this:


    1. I read that first article you linked. It was amusing and informative and pitiful, all at the same time. This just shows how much further we have to go, and that there will always be a certain number of people who are just clueless suckers. (For those who haven't RTFA it profiles a John Marshall grad who graduated 2 years ago and still hasn't found a legal job. But she thinks John Marshall is a great school with a cool new $25M building, and the key to getting a good job is networking.)

  19. And THIS seems to be the most substantial change I have ever seen. Maybe there is a God after all :)


  20. When the universities that include law schools start seeing that law school (which was always somewhat of a trade school) is no longer a profitable pursuit and require law schools either to make money or sink, then the fun begins.

    Universities no longer think they should include the College of Horse-shoeing

  21. Keep on sliding!! Slide baby, slide. At this rate, 2018 may be the first year in which a 1-L class fails to form. That's what's needed. Hopefully we don't have to wait so long. Our profession cannot tolerate even a starting class of 2016 or 2017.

    The lowest enrollment number in 30+ years sounds great .... but it's only the beginning of right-sizing. "Honey, I dropped 20 pounds and am now at 285."

    Anyone planning on being a 1-L in the fall of 2014 (apart from being delusional) should ask figure out whether the school will be around for the next three years.

    Large law classes belong on the rubbish heap of history.