Monday, February 17, 2014

Chem, the Great and Powerful: In his own words and number$

Recently the "ABA Task Force on the Future of Legal Education" (try saying that five times fast while trying to make the Kessel run in less than twelve parsecs) released its final report.  Our initial impression at OtLSS is that the report is better than earlier drafts, but still leaves much to be desired (such as refusing to recognize the law schools' lies, half-truths, and bogus statistics that have made law school a "scam").

(Photo drawn by Charles Fincher)

Erwin Chemerinski, yes, that Erwin Chemerinski, who I will henceforth refer to affectionately as "Chem," is the Dean of one of the most recently established law schools: the University of Irvine, California, School of Law.  Professor Tamanaha has criticized Chem for chasing prestige and gaming the USN rankings in lieu of trying to shake up the status quo of legal education.   Chem hit back at Professor Tamanaha in a green-blooded fashion, explaining why UCI law was so expensive (apologies to Mr. Spock):

I wouldn’t have come at half the price. No one is going to take a 50 percent pay cut, no matter how beautiful Orange County is, and no matter how wonderful it is to be part of a new school.
He added that:

If we had followed Tamanaha’s advice, we would not have faculty remotely of this quality and then never could have attracted students of this caliber. We surely would have been a fourth-tier law school.

UCI law's website proudly proclaims that its faculty are "recruited from prestigious schools" and are "ranked seventh in the country in scholarly impact in a recent study."  Chem said that he didn't see how a law school could have been created with the tuition that Professor Tamanaha had in mind ($20,000), but apparently he forgets that just a couple decades ago, law school tuition at many schools was in that range, even in 2014 dollars after accounting for inflation.

Chem gently scolds Professor Tamanaha, who apparently "look[s] at the value of a law degree in too much of [a] monetary concern[]."

Wait, what did Chem say?

I wouldn’t have come at half the price. No one is going to take a 50 percent pay cut.
Chem, do you honestly think that you couldn't fill up a law school with new faculty at 25% of the price?  But then again, those lawyers would probably have too much practical experience.  After all, how would a faculty full of lawyers who perform actual work for clients or agencies rank seventh in the country in scholarly impact?

Seriously, this story writes itself, but it is far from over.

Chem wrote an op-ed in response to the Task Force's recommendations, published by the National Law Journal.  The NLJ only lets you view five articles for free a month, so if you have already read your fill for the month of February, head on over to TaxProf blog for an excerpt

At first glance, it seems that Chem has evolved his position on tuition, like the President "evolved" his position on gay marriage.

Chem apparently agrees with the ABA that more needs to be done to address financial-based aid, and he is very generous in noting that the ABA correctly reported that the tuition of law schools has increased dramatically.

However, Chem disagrees with the task force's contention that the ABA's regulations are contributing to the high cost of law school.  In support of this preposterous position, he points to a Government Accountability Office report and his own experience as a law school dean:

I cannot identify any areas where the ABA standards cause us to spend more money.
Well, that settles it!  While I admit that I haven't read the 2009 GAO report yet, I most certainly will and see whether I agree with Chem's interpretation of their report, but Chem's absolute certainty that the ABA standards have caused him to spend more money make me slightly wary.  Unemployed Northeastern, who you probably recognize from his numerous postings over the years at various legal ed-related blogs and publications, was more wary than I:

Library? Tenure? C'mon, Chemerinksy - we know you are proud of UC Erwin, I mean UC Irvine, and its free COA, I mean $250,000 COA, but perhaps it is time to give up the ghost on such ridiculous assertions.

Chem is on stronger ground when he identifies the primary cost-drivers of law schools: salaries and benefits.  As a dean of a law school he obviously has access to all the facts and figures relating to the cash flow of UCI law school.  According to Chem, 3/4 of the budget is spent on faculty and staff benefits, and half of that budget is spent on the faculty.

 However,  only a few sentences prior, Chem had this to say:

The only way to significantly decrease the cost of legal education would be for law schools to dramatically reduce their full-time faculty and rely largely on adjuncts to teach students.
Now, forgive me.  I am not a law school dean.  In fact, I am a third year law student with a generic "Business Management" degree, and I attend an unranked law school, which says something of my judgement.  I also don't have access to the cash flow for UCI law school.

But even I can identify a fatal flaw with his reasoning: if 3/4 of the budget is spent on faculty and staff, and half of that budget is spent on the faculty, you don't need to "dramatically reduce full-time faculty and rely on adjuncts" and not have a faculty ranked seventh in the country for scholarly impact in order to significantly decrease the cost of legal education.  You don't even need to fire anyone!

All you have to do is reduce the compensation of the faculty and staff.

Wait, what was that?

I wouldn’t have come at half the price. No one is going to take a 50 percent pay cut.

Now, hold on a second folks.  Ok, I lied.  Hold on for a lot longer than a second, because this segue is going to take a while.  So grab some popcorn, your poison of choice, and return to your web-browsing device.

Thanks to the internet and public schools having to be transparent about certain information, we can get a pretty idea of what "half the price" means to Chem.  I didn't have much luck with UIC's IRS 990 forms at Guidestar, but a certain PDF from a certain "Committee on Compensation" from a certain school in December of 2007 gives us an idea of how much Chem, Public Servant, Esq., is paid.  Keep in mind that everything in the document was "Effective June 1, 2008, pending approval by The Regents," so we can't know for sure how much of the Committee's recommendations came through.

According to the Committee on Compensation, Chem was originally slotted to receive $1 million in maximum eligibility for participation in a  "Mortgage Orientation Program."  However:

After working with Chem on his relocation to a new residence near the Irvine campus, the campus has determined there is an immediate need to increase the MOP loan maximum to the policy maximum of $1,330,000.
Also, according to the Committee on Compensation, or as Nando would put it: the CommiTTTTee on Compen$aTTTTion, Chem was slotted to be in "Grade 110," with a salary of a minimum of $233,220, a midpoint of $298,800, and a maximum of $364,300.  In the spreadsheet, it was indicated that Chem would receive a $350,000 annual base salary.  Not bad, Chem, not bad.  Michael Simkovic and Frank McIntyre thank you for helping validate their little study.

In addition, Chem would be getting the "Standard Benefits Package," including Health, UCRP (whatever the hell that is), Vision, Dental, etc. (you know your benefits package is good when it ends with an "etc.").  Furthermore, Chem would be getting a one-time payment of $87,500 as a "relocation allowance."  Note that some of the benefits that Chem would be receiving, such as sabbatical/administrative leave, movement of household goods - 100% of covered expenses, and life insurance are not quantified monetarily.

It seems clear that Chem, Public Servant, Esq., is doing quite well for himself.  But among all those dollar bills is even more gravy, Chem can claim martyrdom and victimhood!

"Inconceivable," you may say.

I didn't previously know this, but Chem was hired by UIC as the law dean for something called the Donald Bren School of Law, unhired, and then re-hired!  Much of the drama was due to an op-ed that he wrote, criticizing ex-Attorney General Alberto Gonzales' proposal to fast-track death penalty cases.  Even if he hadn't been re-hired, we at least would have had "a lesson in academic freedom" from Chem himself!

All of the Mean Girls drama and poorly written snark aside, it gives us the crucial context in that the "Committee on Compensation" was recommending salary and benefits numbers when they were trying to patch things up with Chem.  After such a valuable lesson in academic freedom, it was time for an equally valuable paycheck to be cut.

Thus we come full-circle to this portion of the story:  Chem wouldn't have come for $175,000.  I know its been a while, but remember:

I wouldn’t have come at half the price. No one is going to take a 50 percent pay cut.
This is coming from a man who the ultimate liberal bastion, the New York Times, calls a "prominent liberal public intellectual . . . [who] has written scores of opinion articles taking liberal positions." 

Which brings me to my next point about Chem.

Where does a public law school get its funding from?  Three main sources: tax subsidies, fundraising, and, wait for it, subsidies from the federal government through its student loan system.  Chem knows this very well, and in 2010 he took to the Los Angeles Times, another great liberal bastion, imploring the state to invest more in higher education.

Without more tax subsidies, Chem wrote, professional schools, such as UCI law school, would have to charge tuition and fees similar to those of private law schools.  For UCI law school, this meant that 2013 resident tuition would be set at $43,280, non-discounted tuition would be $53,125, and indirect expenses would be $24,004.  One of the solutions that the lawmakers proposed was to put faculty and executive salaries on the chopping block.  Chem lambasted those lawmakers:

But this is no answer. If the University of California is going to retain and attract high-level faculty, it must pay the same as comparable schools across the country.

As Chem was negotiating salaries with law professors from elite law schools, UCI law had to match their existing salaries in order to get them to move.  And Chem couldn't resist adding that:

As much as I love living in Southern California, I could not have afforded to leave Duke University if it meant taking a substantial pay cut.
While a wide-eyed, left-wing 0L would have assumed that a great Public Liberal Intellectual who was running a law school in the great liberal state of California would find ways to minimize the cost of higher education so that less-affluent people, of which California has many, would be able to attend the Donald Bren School of Law, would approach the topic from a neutral perspective and let facts and good policy guide him to the answer, I, a skeptical 3L, who suspected the truth, now know beyond a reasonable doubt that for the Raymond Pryke Professor of First Amendment Law, just like the fellow 1%'ers that he and the New York Times editorial board bash, everything comes back to his big paycheck, and the paycheck of fellow liberal law professors.

Remember when Chem said this?

The only way to significantly decrease the cost of legal education would be for law schools to dramatically reduce their full-time faculty and rely largely on adjuncts to teach students.
He said that because he cannot possibly imagine lowering compensation.  For him, a salary of $175,000 would not have been enough to be the Dean of UCI law school.  How mind-numbingly out-of-touch! 

With faculty and staff salaries taking up 3/4 of the budget of UCI law school, the astoundingly high tuition could be lowered significantly without making one job cut or hiring one new adjunct.  All that would be needed would be for the left-wing, Democrat-voting, 1% criticizing law professors to be paid $150,000 instead of $300,000, and maybe teach another class or two a semester instead of writing non-peer reviewed articles that three people read.

If Chem wasn't so interested in maximizing salary, benefits, and "MOP"s, he would be able to see that the following would create a good law school at a very low cost:

-Having  tenure-track faculty which are paid $75-80,000 instead of $150,000 or even $300,000.  The savings would be astronomical.

-Having these law professors teach as many classes as were taught be law professors thirty years ago so less tenure-track faculty would be needed, further increasing savings.

-By increasing the amount of practitioner adjuncts, further savings could be had while providing more practical and hands on experience, with the added benefit of increasing students' professional network by having them interact on a daily basis with respected members of the local legal community.

-By having tenure-track faculty take on more administrative tasks, the bloated balloon that is the law school administration would be popped.

-By having a stripped down law library, less money would be needed on redundant law books that few read and savings could be had by reducing the staff needed to run the library.

-By reducing the amount of money a parent university can skim off the law school, even further tuition savings could had.

-By refusing to engage in reverse-robin-hooding for the scholarship game, real tuition for all students would be even lower.

With all of the above implemented, a law school could then let the market for their graduates dictate class-size, rather than the salary and benefits of faculty and staff.  A law school that Nando previously criticized as a "toilet" law school due to high debt levels and low job placement could have very good outcomes for, say, a graduating class of 100 who borrow an average of $50,000.

But Chem, Public Servant, Esq., Public Liberal Intellectual, and RPPoFAL, believes that there would be very few law schools interested in going that route.  He certainly didn't go that route.  After all, the faculty that he recruited ranked seventh in the country in scholarly impact!

Chem is now in a very interesting position.  His name and brand are very well-known; practically every law student reads a Con Law book or supplement by him.  And I have to admit, the supplement was quite good, with that and an outline or two I didn't even need to read the casebook.

But Chem is also now Exhibit A for out-of-touch deans and law professors, with their bloated salaries, egos, and hypocritical liberalism.

Congratulations, Chem.  In trying to create a new Stanford in California, you have also created the ultimate caricature in the legal academy, and have given cover for those at less-prestigious schools to avoid the cost-cutting for a handful of more years.


  1. Devils gonna dev, scammers gonna scam. Its what they do. They can't help themselves. God bless!

  2. Absent from the report - a recommendation to drastically shrink the number of law graduates of U.S. ABA accredited law schools. The ABA report is a scam as a result.

    Employment, employment, employment - the ABA refuses to come to terms with the very poor long term employment outcomes in the legal profession. Huge numbers of law graduates from top law schools with top experience who are outright unemployed or struggling with underemployment. A high percentage of graduates from lower ranked schools with useless degrees or a career that lasts only a few years at most.

    The ABA refuses to come to terms with dire lawyer oversupply in this report. It is the oversupply that kills legal careers.

    Oversupply, oversupply, oversupply of lawyers, horrific or no employment prospects for more than half of all law school graduates, and the need to drastically reduce the number of law school graduates.

    The ABA refuses to come to terms with the fact that they need to reduce law school enrollment to maybe 15,000 a year in all ABA accredited law schools to make a dent in the existing unemployment rate for law graduates.

    There is a backlog of unemployed top law school graduates who have not been absorbed in the job market and can only be absorbed by dramatically shrinking the law schools.

    This report is a scam without a recommendation to drastically shrink the number of ABA accredited law school graduates.

    1. The ABA is not going to fix anything. The only way anything will change is if less and less people enroll in law school every year. This has begun, but it's going to be a long battle.

      Most movements that create meaningful change begin as grassroots efforts. God bless the scam bloggers for fighting the good fight.

    2. "Hey, hey, ABA! How many careers did you kill today?"

      "Hey, hey, ABA! How many careers did you kill today?"

  3. The other problem is that the ABA report mentions employment problems of recent graduates. The less recent graduates are having even greater employment problems, but the ABA ignores that possibility.

    How about surveying what has happened to the over three quarters of a million law graduates that BLS says are not working as lawyers, ABA?

    You really think the job market is satisfactory for experienced lawyers in light of these numbers, ABA?

    ABA, you need to come to terms with the fact that your accredited law schools are producing much too many lawyers. Your accredited law schools are producing hard core, structurally unemployed Americans by the hundreds of thousands. If no one stops you, ABA, you are going to have produced more than a million hard-core structurally unemployed Americans whose skills do not match the needs of the American job market within the next decade, or sooner.

    Congress needs to rein in the ABA. They are no going to do it themselves and are ruining countless American lives in the process. The number of ruined American lives at the hands of ABA accredited law schools is going to be one million soon. Who will stop this travesty?

  4. I would rather listen to the Chemical Brothers while my brain is on actual chemicals than buy the bullshit that the Chemical Dean from UCI is selling. That egomaniacal shill created UCI out of vanity. Did CA need another fucking law school? Aren't there over 50 law schools in CA (when you count the unaccredited ones)? What hack wrote the feasibility study which concluded that Orange County was in DIRE NEED of yet another commode law school?

  5. Re: "All that would be needed would be for the left-wing, Democrat-voting, 1% criticizing law professors to be paid $150,000 instead of $300,000, and maybe teach another class or two a semester instead of writing non-peer reviewed articles that three people read."

    Agreed. When I tried to get a law prof job a few years ago, my jaw dropped when I found out how much the jobs paid, and how little work was involved (including the incredibly minimal publishing requirement). Right then I knew why every Harvard and Yale grad fresh out of law school would want to profess instead of making only slightly more money billing 2,200 hours per year at a law firm.

    Lowering the pay is actually a big part of the solution to all of law schools' current woes, and, as the author suggests, would even result in more qualified applicants, i.e., actual practitioners with solid academic backgrounds and even useful publication records.

  6. ABA "standards" are all about creating a racket for failed attorneys called "law professors." There is no valid reason as to why an academic who "works" 10-15 hours a week, tops, MUST earn $200K per year. In fact, adjuncts are often much better - due to their personal knowledge, work history and insights into how the legal $y$tem really operates. But the ABA cockroaches don't want these men and women training future practitioners, because then there would be little need for academic leeches.

  7. Apparently,it's gauche and entitled if students make decisions based on money, but rational and enlightened when law profs choose jobs to maximize their salaries. Glad we have scholars of this caliber to point this out to us.

  8. So liberals are people who work for below-market salaries, is that the idea? I thought liberals were people who supported progressive taxation and systematic redistribution through government.

    1. Who said "liberals are people who work for below-market salaries?" If you're talking about law professors I have yet to meet one who was working "below-market."

  9. Back in the late '90s when Chem was teaching at the University of Southern California, he also taught the Bar Bri course on Ethics.

  10. "I wouldn't have come at half the price", quoth scam-dean Chemerinski. Note that I. The implication is that no competent person could have been found to serve as dean for $175k plus a monstrous slate of benefits. Hell, I'd do the job for a lot less than that—and probably with no less aplomb than the scam-deans.

    And the claim that decent professors can be had only on princely terms, including elephantine salaries and minuscule demands on their time, plainly rings hollow when hundreds of thousands of lawyers are out of work. Plenty of people could be found to teach law for far less than the scam-profs get—and a damn sight better at that.

  11. Imagine a pretty good collegiate baseball player, having graduated from school, turning down an offer to play in the minor leagues in order to pursue a business career. Let's further assume that the starting salary is very similar, but the baseball player sees the obvious advantage of a long term career in business.

    Now, fast forward ten years into his business career, he has risen through the ranks, is in a prestigious positition, and makes a six-figure salary.

    Now just imagine that in a down year for the company, money gets tight, and all executives are asked to pitch in with extra duties, and/or take a 5% pay cut.

    Now suppose our hero gets indignant and threatens to quit. "A guy I played against in college just signed a deal with the Yankees for $50 million. How do you expect to retain talent with these draconian conditions? I might just leave."

    It's absurd, right? Although our hero at one time had the prospect of major league riches (despite long odds against), he attempts to bargain as if that is still the case.

    This is what law professors do. They assume that since they got hired at Biglaw shops, they'd all be partners ten years later, pulling down seven figures. "Why, Brian, from my hiring class just bought a yacht! Sandra has a vacation home! I'm only here toiling away because I'm a public servant! You want me to take on another 2 classes per semester? Are you insane? I'll just go back to Biglaw."

    Except they won't. And they can't. Just like our hero probably did the right thing forgoing the minor leagues because his fastball was never good enough for the majors, these law professors would also very likely have been within the 75-80% culled out through the thunderdome of partnership hiring. Not because they aren't bright enough, but because the real world requires sterner stuff than most of them can give when you get right down to 80 hour weeks for a decade, getting screamed at by partners, and working all-nighters on impossible deadlines.

    But it makes for good bargaining tools in the hypothetical.

    1. A lot of them never were in Big Law. Hell, quite a few of them don't even have a law degree.

  12. Antiro, Antiro...

    Don't you know it's far more important to ensure that the law professors have luxurious salaries that meet their lifestyles than it is to worry about low and middle incomed individuals having access to our legal educational system?

    How many times does it have to be repeated on this board: the legal educational system is not for the little guys! It's not even for our legal system (unless you come from the wealthy, 1% - then it's ALL for you.) This is America, guys. Quit thinking we're some Scandinavian country, where access to justice actually matters. Jeesh.

  13. You guys don't get it. This Dean believes what he says. He believes that he and his profs are all important and worth every penny that they make. He probably believes they are underpaid. This is what law does to people. It makes them into greedy, narcissistic, pigs who are entitled to everything that they earn . . .and its not their fault that their loser students were dumb enough to pay so much to attend law school without having a secure job. They scoff at you guys as being losers. It is impossible for them to see things the way you see them. They truly believe, like Goldman Sachs, that they are doing "god's work". They believe they are entitled. Its really a mental illness that they suffer from, and its going to be very tough for them to give up on this idea that they are somehow superior.

    1. Imagining The Open.... WalletFebruary 17, 2014 at 7:17 PM

      "He believes that he and his profs are all important and worth every penny that they make. He probably believes they are underpaid. This is what law does to people. It makes them into greedy, narcissistic, pigs who are entitled to everything that they earn . . ."

      I'm pretty sure that most people in most jobs believe they're worth what they're paid, if not more.

      Otherwise, yes, I agree that it's close to impossible for them to see things from the other side. Frog-man** Larry Mitchell with his "Law School Is Worth The Money" editorial, uncritically accepted and published by the NYT, no less (and with NO COMMENTS allowed, at that).

      ** I don't know why, but his face, especially when smiling, just reminds me of a big frog's face. Or maybe it's a Toad's face.

  14. By the way, the greed of the legal educational industry will eventually (and currently is) doing itself in. There are only so many people who can afford to pay the bloated current tuition rates. People earning $350,000 a year such as Dean Chemerinski can't see nor understand how high law school tuition rates will result in an average, middle class individual forgoing a legal education. I love such attitudes, because ultimately, they will result in the collapse of the greedy legal educational profession.

    1. Imagining The Open.... WalletFebruary 17, 2014 at 7:20 PM

      Meh, unlikely. Lemmings will keep borrowing their 100-200 grand shackles.

      Congress will never have the will to do away with IBR/PAYE type programs.

      Each new generation of lemmings will have vaguely heard about the poor schmoes 25 years their senior getting slapped with monster tax bills upon "forgiveness" but will (as always) think "that won't happen to me".

      Ants Marching.

    2. During the past three years, 334 people have matriculated at Chemerinsky's scam skule. That $350k salary comes to more than $1000 per student per year. Double or triple that to account for his benefits, including that $1.3M mortgage that like as not will ultimately be written off as a loss.

      Just for that scam-dean, each student spends perhaps $3k per year. Jesus H Christ.

  15. Imagining... My Name Is Inigo MontoyaFebruary 17, 2014 at 3:35 PM

    " but Chem's absolute certainty that the ABA standards have caused him to spend more money make me slightly wary."

    I do not think that says what you mean it to say. How about, "...have NOT caused...'?
    - Sincerely, Inigo Montoya.

  16. For those of us who taught as adjuncts, the compensation is not great. I mean it's good if you have another full-time job, which most adjuncts in law probably do. Buys a few extras that you would not otherwise buy. But it would not be good pay if you did not have a real job outside teaching.

    One thing I noticed - most of the faculty at my top law school was adjuncts. There were many fewer real law professors.

    1. Adjuncts typically get a few thousand dollars per course. That's not much. Some of them even do it for the prestige ("I teach law at Bumblefuck U") rather than for the money.

    2. First of all, is not teaching at Bumble__ U if one is a local practitioner and an adjunct at a T14 law school. The teaching position is pretty impressive.

      Second many employers pocket the money if they have a full-time attorney teaching as an adjunct.

      So it is really not about earning extra money for the types of lawyers who actually serve as adjuncts at top law schools because they tend to be employed full-time as attorneys outside the law school context.

    3. It's about prestige for the lawyer and the firm. Many of those employers that pocket the money eagerly encourage the lawyer to teach as an adjunct, or even set those gigs up.

  17. Go and find some independently wealthy, highly experienced litigators who graduated Harvard/Yale, successfully completed Article 3 clerkships, served as solicitor general, and went on to write best-selling books. Hire them to teach at The New Millenium Law School for a dollar-a-year salary. Have wealthy donors donate the school building and chip in to keep it up, and provide ultilites, insurace, etc. Make tuition $25 per year, with a $12 rebate. Have these super-profs conduct small, individually focused seminars for 8 hours a day, after which they take their students to local appellate courts for internships. Throw in some clinics on the weekend, and intensive trial-court exposure over the breaks.

    You're missing the point: There's no need for the lawyers that this dream school would produce. The New Millenium Law School would be a redundancy.

    Building a better mousetrap is pointless when there's no mice around.

  18. When I went to college and law school, professors weren't paid anywhere near as much as they are now but yet they were happy, or at least seemed to be. Following the corporate heirarchy model where CEOs get paid nearly 400 times more than the average employee (20 years ago it was 20 times more), the administration and professors have followed suit. I really don't know if it is too late to be reversed.

    1. Credentialism (in French, diplĂ´manie) drives the ejookayshun–industrial complex. Anyone who wants to be a lawyer has to get a degree from the hackademic cartel; there's no other way. And so it is for many other lines of work as well.

      Ejookayshun has become so expensive precisely because it is essential for just about every line of work with even a conceivable future.

  19. His salary is based on the economic concept of marginal revenue. Just as Clayton Kershaw is "worth" $30 Mil per year because of the marginal revenue he generates, so is Herr Chem, because his name creates instant value and credibility to the institution, and by extension increases marginal revenue. UCI should not have been created, but this move was also an attempt at value creation and validation

  20. You know what is amusing about Leiter (who it is pretty obvious is lurking here) - it is that much of his hostility to Campos and Tamahama is motivated by the strangled jealousy of a toady who wants to be an iconoclast.

    Leiter's character is that of a toady who likes to be followed by a little trail of toadies - Diamond, Filler, Leong, etc. Toadying makes him feel influential, being toadied to makes him feel relevant. But Leiter's self image is that of a speaker of uncomfortable truths, an iconoclast. The result is that Leiter would desperately like to be the guy who bucked the law school establishment, who spoke truth to power, who denounced the hypocrisy inherent in supposedly ethical law professors ripping off their students, lying to their students, cooking the data.

    Moreover Leiter is not like his trail of toadies, all of whom have a self-interested reason for defending the status quo, they are all professors are law schools very likely to close, who want to curry favour with the deans (though being associated with Leiter is probably a negative) - he is tenured at a law school unlikely to go out of business. Indeed, his law school reports and law school rankings gave him a weapon he could have used to promote fairness.

    The problem for Leiter is that when the opportunity arose, his natural inner toady led him a position of trenchant defender of law schools, to grovel to law school deans, the ABA. Now, slowly, that position is collapsing into its underlying slough of intellectual dishonesty.

    In the conflict between who Leiter would like to be, and the Leiter that his weakness of character made him lies the root of his rage against Campos, Tamahama, Dybbuk, Nando, MacK and all the others who took the intellectually honest positions that he now wishes he could boast of. Leiter is in fact jealous of people who are who he wishes he was, who have done what in his soul he wishes he had done and who regularly remind him that when he had the chance to be intellectual honest and forthright, he chose toadying dishonesty and obfuscation. Leiter's behaviour will only get worse as the intellectual and moral bankruptcy of his position becomes steadily clearer. He is a pathetic figure really.

    1. ^^^^^^^^^^

      This is 100% correct.

    2. You Are Insolent!

    3. That's an excellent analysis of Leiter and his writings. I've never been able to fully explain the viciousness of his behavior, although I knew that envy, sadism, and self-contempt were somehow involved. While I have my own alternative theory, yours is far more evocative of the shriveled soul of that pathetic, pretentious little man.

    4. "Pushkin/Leiter, your keep using that word....I do not think it means what you think it means...." ;^)

    5. Pushkin is mocking leiter.

    6. Yep,

      Anon at 3:04 has Leiter nailed and that description will have him really torqued; Diamond and Filler are more lickspittles than toadies though.

    7. Yes, Pushkin is mocking Leiter. That's more than fair, because Leiter has been mocking Pushkin for years. How would you like it if someone used your name to harass the victims of a sleazy scam?

    8. Yes, Pushkin is mocking Leiter. But that's fair enough, because Leiter has been mocking Pushkin for years. How would you like it if you were a great writer, and then some miserable hack started using your good name to harass the victims of a sleazy scam?

  21. Yea, but he does have a secure job and, at least in his own simple mind..a prestigious position in the legal hierarchy. But he given some of his postings is also, obviously, a very disturbed individual. Ten to one he feels like a failure. His true accomplishments, as he knows, are none existent. The only legacy he will leave behind is that of an embittered old man. He knows it and it drives him nuts.

  22. If UCI Law had never been founded, then those top students and faculty would have been equally productive. They just would have been at UCLA and USC (20 miles up the road) or perhaps Berkeley. Hard to see what society gains from the new school.

    1. Closer to 40 or 50 miles than 20 miles. Plus, given the traffic there, the difference might as well be 100 miles away.

      More importantly, UCI represents Orange County, not Los Angeles County. How can a place that's given us such luminary television shows such as The OC, Laguna Beach: the Real Orange County, and the Real Housewives of Orange County not have a prestigious elite law school within its borders?

  23. Despite its putative prestige as a "top" school, Irvine may be the most egregious example of a scam yet. When it opened a few years ago, it let the entire first class in free. Of course that little coup drew in scads of applicants who otherwise would never have considered a law school that did not yet exist. In a nutshell, Irvine bought its relatively high initial median LSAT score.

  24. Full listing of REAL employment statistics for law grads at link below. Surprisingly, Irvine ranks really high. Anyway, the bottom 60 schools fail to place more than 50% of their students in full-time, long term, lawyer jobs. Pretty sad. Whenever I mention this to people they are like wow I never realized it was such a problem. Especially when I bring it up with boomer-aged people, they are floored by the statistics. People are willfully blind to this stuff. Like someone said above, lemmings will keep going. They think they can make it. I guess it's good to have confidence but at least understand that you only have a 50% chance of being a lawyer after spending 100-200 thousand bucks on a JD. It's actually mind boggling that the scammer movement isn't mainstream. All this ABA talk of assuming "good faith" on the part of all parties simply doesn't play out. An assumption of "good faith," I would submit, is not warranted where students are saddled with huge amounts of debt and the chances of being a lawyer literally come down to a flip of a coin...

    1. The data for the class of 2013 will be collected this month (nine months after graduation). I'll bet that they'll prove to be even worse than the figures for 2012.

      Only six law schools, according to these data, see even 90% of their graduates employed full time as lawyers nine months after graduation. Only 13 see 80% so employed. Even at Yale, almost one student in five is not working full time as a lawyer. (Yes, some are pursuing other degrees or relaxing at Daddy's villa in Tuscany. Such outcomes, however, are far more common at Yale than at the typical law skule.)

      Keep in mind too that the data are reported by the schools themselves, which have rea$on$ to dance a little minuet around the truth.

      I broadly agree with the author above that the presumption of "good faith" is unwarranted, but I must take issue with the claim that the chances of being a lawyer come down to the flip of a coin. From Yale down to La Toilette, some students start out with far, far better chances than others. Indeed, the chances of finding full-time paid work as a lawyer range from 100% (going straight into Mommy's law firm) to almost 0% (older students at any law school).

      For example, 63% of Fordham's graduates in 2012 got full-time jobs as lawyers. But 28% of Fordham's graduates never borrowed a penny in student loans ( It's a good bet that those 28% are thinly represented among the group that got no job. In other words, an aspiring Fordhamite cannot assume that she has even a 63% chance of finding a job; if she is dependent on student loans, her chances are probably far worse than 63%.

  25. Perhaps you should take that 83.9% number with a grain of salt. Is it possible that they're inflating the numbers just a little bit? Take a look at their own website, which as of today is current for 2012:

    They claim 91% full-time long-term employment. But if you look at their breakdown, 1/3 are in clerkships. For some reason, judicial clerkships are counted as long-term employment, even though they only last for a year or so. After their time is up, what happens to these graduates?

    And, of those in law firms, 1/3 of them are in firms with 25 or less attorneys. How stable are those positions? Then again, how stable is a job at any law firm of any size? The law schools may define "long-term" as lasting a year, but people's careers are supposed to span 40+ years, and it's unclear how long these long-term jobs will last.

    1. Why, judicial clerkships—all of them—lead straight into corner offices at white-shoe law firms! I'm just positive that my clerkship will open doors at the hundred-plus law firms that wouldn't even give me an interview when I was in law school. I even have wet dreams about rubbing elbows with Prof. alllowercaseletters and all the other worthies who, along with me, are headed for the sable-carpeted partners' offices.

  26. I suspect Law Schools are, or were, competing for a limited number of "superstar" prestigious professors. Typically HYS graduates with a very limited but prestigious employment history and who have managed to publish some trendy scholarshit.

    But I also suspect its students expectations that have played a large role in driving up costs. Many students believe, absolutely, that after graduation they will be making a lot of money. Models and bottles and expensive cars. Set for life. Look at many of the comments on Lawschool Lemmings site.

    If you believe that, then you will want to pay a premium for a prestigious school for superstar professors and luxury facilities. You could got to a dingy school with no-name professors for $10k a year - but then you'd be shutting yourself out of that $160k+ job straight out of law school.

    This isn't rational, but a lot of law students don't seem to be thinking rationally. It doesn't help that the government vomits almost unlimited loan money all over them, making it harder still to make a rational cost-benefit analysis.

    If people could be convinced that the legal profession offers only a modest career (or probably no career currently), and realistic limits were placed on loans, then schools would be encouraged to cut costs substantially.

    1. That's exactly it. Realistic limits on loans. Even a limit of 40K per year per student would do wonders for the productivity of law schools and the financial stability of their students.