Monday, February 24, 2014

Threat To Tenure Brings Professors' Desperation To The Forefront

Tenure is under attack. At an ABA meeting last month, described as being "tense at times", professors were up in arms over the potential elimination of the tenure requirements for ABA accredited schools. In a departure from the norm, there were many professors present, face to face with ABA decision makers. I have often said that being a law professor is the most lucrative part time job in America. No rational being wants to work hard if laziness is a viable option. But, the vehemence with which professors are protecting their bottom line is due to some other factors at play.

Law professors often hide behind the fiction called "academic freedom" when arguing that they deserve tenure. During the ABA meeting, all of the usual excuses reasons tenure is oh so important were trotted out. The article's author states that "many of the law professors on Saturday... argued that law faculty members fulfill a different role in the academy than do medical or dental faculty. Their scholarship and advocacy can make them targets of criticism, and they need tenure protection to take unpopular positions and participate fully in law school governance..." In a moment that I can imagine would be seen as especially perverse to the millions of debt shackled students stuck with no opportunities, "the discussion was interrupted numerous times by applause from the audience following passionate remarks defending the importance of tenure." Let's get this straight: many law professors do not publish anything worthwhile after getting tenure. And why should they? The law school gives the professor a virtual lifetime appointment without much ongoing accountability. While there are a few professors who do champion unpopular causes, many more professors do not publish or do much more than deliver presentations in front of CLEs and legal symposiums. The name of the game in those types of venues is to be as boring as possible so that all the attorneys pretending to listen can keep doing actual work. Alternately, tenured professors continue to spiral into ever more esoteric areas of legal history and minutiae, like how the Supreme Court's fondness for knitting affected their jurisprudence in Pennoyer. Most law professors do not have anything of substance to say. The academic freedom they fight for is a shield to protect them from being forced to account for doing so little and getting paid so much.

In the university setting, tenure is what differentiates winners from losers. Higher education's dirty little secret is that the majority of university faculty are now adjuncts and non-tenure track professors. These people are seen as being less than tenured faculty. Tenured faculty look at adjuncts as being inferior due to their inability to get on the tenure gravy train and law professors know this. As an example, most of the regular faculty at law schools look down their noses at the clinical professors (Note: Bad poetry warning). If law professors' precious tenure is taken away, they will lose their hallowed status within the university power structure. Like the legal profession at large, law professors are obsessed with status and credentials. Just witness the professors who hop from university to university in an effort to reach a Top 20 school. Not to mention that adjuncts and non-tenured faculty have little protection when it comes to salaries and benefits. There aren't too many adjuncts who are able to afford a nice house, multiple luxury cars and vacations abroad on a regular basis. Status chasing is a problem in most areas of life, but has an outsized impact in the academic arena.

As this post on PrawfsBlawg says, law professors are hired to do three things: scholarship, teaching, and service. Right now, the law professors have it great on all fronts. With scholarship, not only do tenured law professors usually have no requirement to publish a certain amount, they are paid extra stipends in the form of summer research grants. It's like if a law firm paid its senior partners bonuses for writing and submitting briefs to the court and didn't care if they decided not to do their job anymore. It is well established that law professors at many institutions have a laughably low teaching load. At the top schools, many professors can get away with teaching six hours a year. Contrast that with adjuncts, who often teach two or three sections per semester for little above minimum wage. Service is so broad that almost anything can go under this umbrella. This could ostensibly include the summer teaching stints in the vacation tours masquerading as study abroad programs. The professor might even be able to write up his thought on his own vacation if so inclined. The best part of all this is that professors are free to choose how much or how little of each they feel like doing, in most cases. In an even harder to believe development, many schools leave it up to the professors to decide which of their three primary duties they want to focus on. That is a pretty sweet gig by any measure. Imagine if an attorney told his bosses that he no longer wants to work on paying cases, instead choosing to concentrate on pro bono work and bar association activities. She would be out on her ass in a hot minute. I don't blame law professors for fighting as hard as they are. They have a great racket going.

The system is broken. We have a desperate group of overpaid, pompous and self-important professors fighting tooth and nail to continue to keep riding the gravy train they've been on for the past century. It's time for students to tell professors that their free ride is over in the only way that will make an actual impact: with their wallets. The drop in law school enrollments is encouraging, but our work will not be complete until law schools are forced to start shutting their doors. Kick these useless professors out into the real labor market. Then the free market can show us if their claims that they are forgoing salary to be law professors are actually true. I look forward to it.

144 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. I particularly like the last paragraph. Let me emphasize that the ABA is not considering this proposal because of the scambloggers. They don't care about the scambloggers, the students, or even the truth. They are considering this proposal because it can save the law schools lots of money. The law schools are hurting because of lower enrollment, in some cases because of catastrophic drops in enrollment. They need to lower their costs or go out of business.

      That's where the scambloggers enter into this. The conversation has changed, the debate has gone against the law schools, and even some very dimly lit minds are figuring out that incurring huge debts for poor job prospects is not a good deal. That's why enrollment is down at law schools, because most students and their families are affected by public opinion. I hope that everyone is proud of helping to change public opinion over the last few years.

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  2. http://outsidethelawschoolscam.blogspot.com/2013/09/butthurt-lawprofs.html

    http://outsidethelawschoolscam.blogspot.com/2013/09/oblivious-lawprofs_18.html

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  3. This is excellent news! How many of these "elite" workers will Sullivan & Cromwell snatch up?!?!

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    1. Once the layoffs really begin, where will displaced law profs look for work? Why hire a spoiled-ass former law prof, when there are thousands and thousands of desperate new grads willing to work long hours for fast-food pay? Sorry, guys...your two choices are retire, or retail.

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    2. Excellent news indeed!!

      I first became aware of the scamblogs about three years ago, and my, how things have changed since then. We're seeing massive gains in available information, economic efficiency, and social justice every time we look. Whether they were precise and elegant, skeptical and iconoclastic, ornery and intransigent, or even "demented" according to a certain sociopathic philosophy professor, everyone who threw out a few seeds is reaping massive harvests these days.

      These are good times, great times, and I hope everyone enjoys them to the fullest. Just keep spreading the word.

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    3. ROLF!
      Professors: we're so erudite and shit, in the private marketplace we're worth MILLIONS. This is a PAY CUT FOR ME!

      Big Law: who? Never heard of him.

      You see, there's this howling unmet demand out there in big law for your fucking bullshit law review articles! That's why big law is always offering these huge compensation packages to lure professors away from their institutions, and MY GOD, the outflow from law schools to big law is just sssoooo disruptive! WE NEED TENURE. HAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHA!!

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    4. Kathleen Sullivan

      And...ummm...eh...well, ok then

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  4. In the rest of academia, adjunct labor mainly consist of professionals with the same qualifications as tenure and tenure-track professors and who have spent their entire life in academia. They have just failed to get on the tenure gravy train. Potential adjunct labor for law schools is completely different and does not, for example, consist of newly-licensed lawyers who can't get a job elsewhere. The likely source of adjunct labor for law schools are mid-and late-career practicing attorneys who want to dial it down a bit and, since their houses are paid off, are happy to take a salary of $50,000 to $75,000 to teach three courses a semester and have summers off. These potential adjuncts will have significantly more practicing experience than tenured law professors and really, in all likelihood their classes will be better in that they can incorporate actual practice experiences into their teaching.

    Once a law school states that their goal is to have their graduates be practice ready, then the relevant question becomes; Who is better qualified to help the students become practice ready? It should be beyond argument that attorneys who have had significant practicing experience are in a much superior position to accomplish this goal than law professors.

    Law professors should be very afraid.

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  5. They "need" tenure because they make controversial political statements of great social importance? Since when? If they write anything at all, it is some dumb screed on "law and hip-hop" or "law and the open road in popular culture" or some other useless topic, read by no more than three people on the whole fucking planet. Very few law professors do anything of social significance—and they could do it without tenure, like the rest of us who are politically radical and active.

    The profe$$ors are the first to crush an applicant for a job who does take a political stance that challenges the power structure. Can't have anyone around here who might rock the boat. Oh, no, that person wouldn't fit in. Send in the candidate who looks just like me—same rich suburb, same boarding school, same country club, same sense of entitlement.

    Profe$$ors are just about the only people nowadays who have guaranteed employment. The claim that they "need" it for political protection is self-serving foolishness. Fire the bastards and give them the kick in the ass that they so richly deserve.

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    1. In most of higher education they also fight tooth and nail on hiring committees to make sure that the faculty is as ideologically homogenous as possible. Witness the prof at Iowa alleging she didn't get tenure because of her politically conservative beliefs. The survey of 50 profs showed that 49 were democrats.

      Take unpopular stances? Please, they shriek like crazy when anyone says anything that deviates from acceptable and approved groupthink.

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  6. The oblivion that professors have and their desperation to protect their self-interests are actually good things. Had they been willing to recognize that the system is broken and that they needed to make adjustments to keep it sustainable, we probably would be looking at gradual change, as there would be less a need for it.

    However, given that they are so obviously self-interested and are unwilling to evaluate the needs of the profession with an objective eye, change will come from without and legal academia will not be asked to participate in it, because it now largely lacks credibility. And that is good news, because change from without will be more complete and more fair to everyone and ultimately more thorough.

    Speak with your pocketbooks, kids. Refuse to pay a dime for an overpriced product because quite frankly, the people making the product don't deserve your money. You will be much happier without all that enormous debt hanging around your neck and there are so many things to study (if that's your thing) that will actually teach you skills welcomed in the job market and allow you to work in your chosen field. The law, sadly, does not do this, as it exists only for a few top 1%'ers.

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  7. You hit the problem on the head. There is no accountability with scholarship. Many law professors use scholarship as an excuse to be lazy. "I can't teach another class. I have to work on my piece." "I can't teach a skills class. It would take time away from my scholarship."

    Most law professors are lazy bastards who hide behind scholarship.

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  8. I have this little vignette in my head of thousands of squealing rats on board a sinking ship, resorting to increasingly desperate measures to stay alive. Love it.

    The part I like imagining the most is when these lazy pampered swine have to actually start justifying a salary. I suspect a lot of them will be OK in government, but I really have no feel for how government hiring actually works. Would a law professor with no substantive practical legal experience be able to get anything other than an entry-level government job?

    I think in-house would probably be out of the question for them. I suspect a lot may get interviews with Biglaw and may get hired on the basis of connections alone, but god forbid the first time they have to produce substantive work. And I am not sure any of them really have what it takes to develop business. Their generally odious personalities do not make for developing business.
    At a certain point, where the rubber hits the road, you have to actually produce quality legal work. That requires hard work, and most of them haven't had to do that for years. They're like pampered housecats being forced to live back in the wild.

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    1. Most of them wouldn't get any job in law, entry-level or otherwise.

      As for government, there are very few openings these days, and they're not going to pseudo-intellectuals who scribble unread swill on the law of hip-hop and such.

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    2. "Their generally odious personalities do not make for developing business."

      Could you imagine Brian Leiter marketing himself to potential clients? lol

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    3. The comparison of law professors to pampered housecats is accurate. Many housecats are morbidly obese from lack of activity. So are many law professors, including Brian Leiter at the University of Chicago. In addition, with so much idle time on his hands, the temptation to eat all day long must be enormous.

      These two factors can begin to account for the gargantuan size of Leiter's eternally expanding waistline, which is truly phenomenal for someone of his diminutive moral and intellectual stature.

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    4. Kind of ironic, his surname. He should change it to Heavier.

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    5. Profs with specialties in antitrust, consumer fraud, securities, environmental, etc. etc. might be able to get jobs in state AG offices or policy organizations writing regs. Maybe, MAYBE, after a few years of that they can move into private practice. The idea SullCrom or Cravath will lay out the red carpet for someone without a single client, who can't manage people and has no technical skills is laughable.

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  9. Look up any of your current or former professors' law "scholarship," on Westlaw or Lexis and see how many other "scholars" have cited them. Not only are the individual articles complete garbage, but no one reads the stuff. Not to mention, law journals are not peer-reviewed. It's garbage. Plain and simple.

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    1. That's why I call it scholarshit.

      When I edited one of the leading law reviews, even I didn't read any scholarshit other than the stuff that I was called upon to edit. And it was shit indeed. Typically it was fatuous, illiterate, or both. I annoyed more than a few people by suggesting that the law review put out only one issue per year, or even zero.

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    2. That this scholarship isn't peer reviewed is part of the whole scam.

      Professors are judged primarily for the volume of their scholarship. If it were peer reviewed, that would be a limit on how much could be published. Some other metric, such as the quality of their scholarship or their teaching, would have to be found.

      However because its not peer reviewed, its student reviewed. Students are keen and eager to review as much scholarship as possible, since being on journal review looks good on their resume.

      Thus despite the fact that there's far too many professors pumping out far too much crappy scholarship, most of it gets published thanks to all these student reviewers eager to boost their resume.

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    3. Law academic scholarship is not reviewed because it reinforces the prestige factor of the top schools. There is probably little difference bewteen an average article from a Harvard prof and a Rutgers prof, and this would be easily discernable if law reviewe articles were blind-peer reviewed like other academic articles.But in the current system, where the so called top journals receive hundreds of articles and the students who have a superficial knowledge of the subject matter at best are reveiwing the articles, an easy filter to use is the academic pedigree of the author.

      Not having the articles blind peer reviewed does all those things that law faculties claim that trhey are against, specifically it reinforces a bias of the wealthy elite who attend the top schools.

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    4. I was never on law review, becuase I saw it for what it was (i.e. I wasn't interested in all the gunnery and preening and making mountains out of molehills). I didn't realize, however, than law review artices weren't peer reviewed. Having been in the sciences prior to going back to law school, the concept never even crossed my mind.

      I did have to write a seminar paper, however, to fulfill the "law review" requirement. I put on my industry thinking-cap, wrote a decent paper, and got an A in the class. I wan't proud of the work product, as I thought it was fairly elementary and not really all that novel, but I think I did "good" work.

      My LawProf instructor said "oh, you should get this published!" I remember looking at her like she was crazy. I quickly said "oh, thanks for the encouragement" as I was still in the law school mode, but my main thought was "Seriously? I wrote completely unimaginative, boring dreck becuase that is what the medium calls for. There is nothing novel here. Why would anyone even consider this publishable? Why would anyone even listen to my ideas?"

      After looking at some other law review articles, now I see why. My "dreck", while dressed up pretty well, was still dreck. But it was "marketable" dreck. It was dreck that "advanced the field," or so said my LawProf.

      I couldn't bring myself to publish it. It felt dishonest.

      But now, I understand that dreck is the name of the game. I just needed to take off my industry cap and put on my LawProf cap. I...I...I see it now! My work was sheer genius! It would be quoted by SCOTUS! Why deny the rest of the world? It is my ethical duty to publish this magnum opus!

      I guess that's why I didn't go into academia - I didn't like the idea of feeling dirty all the time.

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    5. Be glad that you didn't waste your time on law review. I did. Even in second year it was mostly scutwork (checking citations and such) that didn't teach me a damn thing.

      And don't regret not publishing that piece of yours. I got a paper published in a law review. Although it actually was topical and relevant to the state of the law, unlike most of what passes for "legal scholarship" these days, it has probably still gone unread. And certainly putting that on my résumé hasn't helped me in the slightest.

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    6. Dupednontraditional,

      I think we must share an identical brainstem or something. A lot of what you say resonates with me. I had an identical experience with a professor when I wrote my 3L paper. I couldn't believe it when she told me I should try and get it published. Although my paper was well researched, exquisitely footnoted and was reasonably well written, it really didn't say anything that hadn't been said about 25 different times in previous law review articles. I would have felt embarrassed publishing something like that in a scientific journal.

      Who do these clowns think they're fooling? I want this rotten edifice to burn to the ground.

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    7. You were lucky, 7:37. I was on a legislative journal. The editors would solicit "articles" from nationally prominent politicians. They'd send us some hogwash speech they had given and then we had to try to create citations to back up the crap they had been trying to peddle. Then we checked our own cites.

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    8. 9:33, that's astounding. I didn't know that the journals had stooped that low.

      The journal that I edited wouldn't even consider an article from me; they said that that would be a "conflict of interest". Unlike, of course, publishing scholarshit from professors of the very same institution—the ones that give them their grades, the ones that are up for tenure and need to rush in a publication or even two (yes, it happened) scant weeks before the application for tenure went in.

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  10. Many years ago Gary Trudeau in his Doonsbury strip had a short one in which an ancient professor is complaining to the President of Walden college about reforms. The professor announces that if they continue he will leave academia for industry.

    "But you are a professor of ancient Greek" the President responds

    "Yes, they'd snap me up..."

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  11. Tenured law profs would not have a chance of making it two years in today's Biglaw. They'd actually have to work 50+ hours a week - every week - and bill and then get clients to pay at least 35 hours of that time. Ain't no way the law prof without recent relevant marketable experience and skills can survive given those realities.

    This presumes that any Biglaw firm would be stupid enough to hire one of those tenured imposters. I don't think many such firms would do that in the current era.

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  12. 8:32:

    1. If you are not a veteran your chances of ever getting a federal job nowadays are slim-to-none. Not many veterans among pampered, silver-spoon liberals. I can only speak as to my state but state lawyers tend to get in the system young and stay there for life.

    2. In-house is definitely out of the question. They hire associates leaving biglaw.

    3. Twenty years ago biglaw might take in a partner on a contract basis who had a proven record as a rainmaker but was temporarily slow, with the idea he'd become an equity partner if he could bring in clients. I doubt that would happen today - no one can afford to carry you. Not book of business means no partnership.

    Any lawyer over age 35 who becomes unemployed and has no portables is screwed. This would include most lawprofs.

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    1. Absolutely right on the federal job bit. Fed. gov. is probably more competitive than biglaw... Thousands of applications for like 2 or 3 open spots for entry-level attorney positions. Also, summer programs, for the vast majority of agencies, do NOT lead to full-time employment. Federal government is THE hardest gig to get now. I'm talking fed. agencies in DC or other major city.

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    2. Yeah, that's kind of what I thought. I was trying to put an optimistic spin on their chances, but I think most of the ones who get the boot will be up the creek.
      Good.
      Let us kick these swine to the curb and let them experience some of what they inflicted on us for so many years. Years of depression and anxiety await these pigs.

      I just hope the encouraging trend continues and potential lemmings catch on. From the tumblr, it appears there are a lot of naive, moronic 22 year olds.

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    3. Those that have a brain will have salted away most of their ill-gotten gains from the law-school scam. But not many of them are bright enough to do that.

      I long to see numerous reports of suicide among law profe$$ors and especially scam-deans.

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    4. 7:22, are you old enough to remember the 1987 NFL strike? Within weeks players with multi-million dollar contracts were crossing the picket line because they had never imagined the flow of money would be interrupted. What comes of having led a privileged life.

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    5. If I were a law professor at a low-ranked school, I would immediately start organizing my colleagues. We could then demand ironclad tenure protection, permanent raises, higher summer stipends, higher housing allowances, multi-million-dollar retirement packages at age 50, and a lavish lunch buffet in the faculty lounge.

      If those greedy, entitled trustees refuse to meet our demands, what do we do? We go out on strike! It's not like they can replace us. That strike won't even last two weeks.

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    6. Yes, I remember it. So inflated is their self-image that they simply assume that they'll keep on getting undeserved money by the barrel, and therefore they never save anything. The same is true of many law professors and, yes, partners in big law firms.

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    7. It's very easy to spend $150K/year. My guess is most profs don't have much savings.

      Remember that the overall goal in all of this is to increase awareness of the scam. Hoping for suicides, bankruptcies, etc. just makes you look petty. Profs losing their jobs is a necessary byproduct, but if there were some way to have them keep the jobs while saving even more kids from lifelong financial destruction, I'd take that option.

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    8. Fine, I'm petty. I do want those people to lose their jobs. They're so god-damned arrogant, entitled, and self-absorbed that a nice slap-down is necessary.

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    9. "...but if there were some way for them to keep their jobs while saving even more kids from financial destruction..."

      Come to think of it, there is a way. The faculty at some worthless school could vote to reduce their own salaries and those of the administrators, to increase their own workloads, to forfeit their summer stipends, and to reduce the number of parasitic positions at their school. If the deans didn't comply with democracy, decency, and common sense, then they could vote to censure the deans. Perhaps they could vote to strike as well, which would give them a few legal protections.

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  13. So I'm not sure you understand the ABA amendment. The amendment would do away with tenure *as an accreditation requirement*. Individual schools would still be free to retain tenure systems, and, unsurprisingly, almost all would. That is, the vast majority of law professors would still have tenure, and virtually none would lose their jobs or anything close to it without many many other things happening first. Even if the ABA adopts the amendment -- which it isn't at all clear would happen -- this isn't the dramatic development you're reporting it to be.

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    1. "...and, unsurprisingly, almost all would."

      To tell you the truth, I'd be quite surprised if almost all law schools retained tenure. I could see the top 30 or so schools, maybe the top 50, 70 or 80, earnestly trying to do so. But after that, many law schools would choose to compete on price, which would necessitate serious restrictions on faculty entitlements. To be sure, a few "lifestyle" schools could afford to keep tenure, and a few low-ranked state schools would feel political pressure to do so. But overall, I see a strong majority of law schools doing away with tenure, at least in the sense of never making another tenure-track faculty hire. And fortunately, a few schools will be under such financial pressure that they'll do away entirely with the pretense of tenure. In that case, I'll say good riddance and wish them the best.

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    2. 12:12 here. 4:34, are you a law prof? (Sorry if this sounds snarky; it's not meant to be.) I'm 7-10 years into a teaching job at a 40-60 school that's part of a larger university and at my school this would never happen -- or, if it did happen, a lot of other fairly dramatic things would happen first. For law schools that are attached to universities, the administration would never take tenure away from law professors but leave it intact for English professors, philosophy professors, business professors, etc. I think we'd have to see a large-scale collapse of the university as we know it before most schools did away with tenure, and then it'd be no tenure for anyone, not just law professors. And any school that did away with tenure would immediately be less uncompetitive in hiring, less competitive at retaining the best faculty, and its US News ranking would plummet. No dean wants that.

      Perhaps things are different at schools with a different model than mine, but this is similar to what I've heard from colleagues at similar schools.

      I think a much more likely development would be that schools cap or cut at least some salaries, which I personally think would be a wonderful idea. The junior faculty at my school work the hardest and get the best evaluations, but their starting salaries are decidedly less than six figures (something I've noticed on this blog -- there's a tendency to overestimate salaries for most profs, and I think it detracts from the credibility of many posts that are otherwise well done). But there are a few people who for various reasons make in excess of 300K, and it in no way correlates with ability. That should be changed.

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    3. Tenure isn't the problem.

      The problem is that tenure is given where it isn't deserved, there are too many law profs, and they get paid on the backs of their debt-ridden students.

      Tenure is actually great in terms of exploration of ideas, and academic freedom. Tenure is good for smart people, it allows them to delve into topics of interest to them.

      The problem is that most law profs don't deserve tenure.

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    4. Warm greetings and thanks to 12:12 and 5:52. This is 4:34, and no, I'm not a law prof. I'm on the outside looking in.

      I like your analysis quite a bit, but I don't think that low-ranked schools (let's say below 80) will worry too much about rankings, since they're competing mostly in local markets and half of them are unranked anyway. I also don't think they will need to offer tenure in order to compete for the "best" faculty in an academic sense, since they'll be hiring mostly clinical and adjunct faculty for the next few years. That's what they're having to do to compete for students these days, and as important as professors are, it's the students that bring in the loan money.

      It also seems quite possible that without a tenure requirement, the general importance of "prestige" in faculty hiring will be diminished. This would greatly expand the pool of faculty candidates, to the point where competition for positions is far more relevant than competition for candidates. I'll admit this is somewhat speculative, though.

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    5. 4:55 and 6:21, thanks for the reasoned replies. I'll think more about it (and am open to the idea that my own institution is an exception and/or the effect on lower ranked institutions may be greater than I'd thought).

      Two other preliminary thoughts, feel free to push back of course:

      1. I don't teach contracts nor did I deal with them in practice, so perhaps someone can step in and correct me, but I think one obstacle to abolition of tenure might be breach of contract claims with already-tenured faculty. Put bluntly, even if a school were to do away w/ tenure, it would be hard for it to do away w/ already-tenured profs who have contracts in place. So we would be looking at a phase-out of the effects of tenure. To the extent tenure were abolished, I think the immediate impact would be on the untenured faculty, which I think would be a shame because (again, mostly talking about my school) they work hard, teach well, and are the lowest paid. So you'd be protecting the senior prof who makes 300K and does nothing at the expense of good but untenured profs who haven't gotten the tenure contract in place. Does that seem right, or am I missing something?

      2. Would love to see a forum where profs and other stakeholders can have real, non-acrimonious conversations (like this one -- thanks to both of you) about these issues. I know many profs would like to have that conversation but are turned off by some of the louder voices (on both sides, believe me). Any thoughts about how this might happen?

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    6. Responding to professor X above, "Would love to see a forum..."

      As far as forums go, where people post their own topics, I've really appreciated Top Law Schools. It's usually well moderated and attracts, within limits, a variety of readers, many of them quite intelligent--undergrads, law students, and relatively new attorneys. Somehow it stays finely balanced, so that blatantly foolish law school decisions get ridiculed while decent schools (good state flagships, local powerhouses, and the 40-60 crowd) aren't routinely trashed, except where excessive debt is involved. It could be that several thoughtful questions posted there on the right subforums could evolve into the epic threads for which TLS has become famous.

      One problem with TLS is that there aren't a lot of professors who post or comment as professors. That seems inevitable, given that it's mostly focused on admissions, current students, and freshly graduated attorneys. But professors who do post there appear to be received well. And since the most popular lawprof blogs are dominated by prof concerns, prof agendas, and prof comments, they really aren't the best places to discuss law school reform either. Lawprofs interested in the questions and possibilities of reform may just need to seek out new venues for the time being.

      Another possibility would be Poli Sci Rumors, or even Econ Job Market Rumors. Both places are notorious for trolls, freaks, and psychos attracted by the challenging content, frank discussion, and laissez-faire atmosphere. But there are enough professors and aspiring academics around to keep the whole enterprise reasonably stable. Especially at PSR, there are enough political theorists, social scientists and public law types to ensure that well-posed questions about law or education will get discussed at length. If you can just ignore half the comments, most of the rest are gold.

      As far as blogs go, Paul Campos' old blog was as good as it's ever going to get. Fresh, interesting posts on almost a daily basis, a huge and variegated audience attracted by his name and celebrity, a general atmosphere of adventure, excitement, and controversy...don't get me started. I miss his blog dearly and would love to be able to replicate a fraction of what he did. Again, if you can ignore or dismiss half of the comments, the archives of Campos' blog are to this day absolutely priceless, an endless source of both questions and answers. And this being a (somewhat authorized) successor blog after Campos, you can find a lot of good material here as well. I wholeheartedly recommend this blog, its writers, its members, and its general attitude as a great resource to keep prospective students from making disastrous, irreversible, life-destroying decisions. It may have helped me to do just that--to avoid a disastrous decision. But since we will, for the foreseeable future, need both lawyers and law schools, I would fully support discussion in a different forum, mostly by different people, of a different set of questions related to law school reform.

      Which brings me to....My Own Blog, which will discuss various conceptual and empirical issues related to law, society, and legal education. I hope to get it up and running soon. Thoughtful comments from professors and attorneys will be most welcome.

      Delete
    7. Prof X at 11:21 back again. Thanks for the thoughtful response, 2:47. Does your blog have a name yet? The empirical focus in particular sounds like a great contribution.

      I really like all of your suggestions for different reasons and it seems like each would serve its own purpose. I suppose what I had in mind is just a bit different insofar as the core participants would be (a) a diverse group of attorneys, students, OTLSS alums and sympathizers; who (b) could all start their own threads. More popular threads would get more comments and rise to the top, and would help highlight the most important issues. (Sort of like JD Underground for want of a better comparison, I suppose, but with a better mix of people.) Am I basically describing Poli Sci Rumors but for law school? Or a more focused TLS with stronger prof participation? I've looked around both sites a bit but as a non-regular I don't have a strong sense of who the regulars are.

      I truly don't mean the next comment to offend and apologize if I word it poorly, but here goes. It seems to me that there is a bit of a "set fire to the whole system" sentiment from some people who comment on OTLSS. I don't mean that to sound critical, because clearly commenters are entitled to that opinion, and given the really disheartening experiences of many here I can understand the sentiment. But I do have the sense that fear of being attacked deters participation from professors who really do share many, if not all, of the goals of the reform movement. (For example, almost all of my colleagues at my 40-60 school wish that the bottom 25ish schools would close already, and I'm positive the faculty is nearly unanimous that some of our more senior members are far too highly paid. I could list other commonalities if anyone is interested.) I admit I was a little worried about posting and did so anonymously because I didn't want to disrespect the space you have set up for discussions.

      Anyway, just one mid-level prof's perspective for whatever it's worth -- probably not that much. I'll look forward to the new blog, 2:47.

      Delete
    8. The problem here is that a school in the 40-60 range (e.g., Florida State, Hastings, Baylor, Temple) believes itself substantially better than schools in the "bottom 25ish."

      There are certainly 5-10 private 5th-tier trash pits like NESL, Cooley, Coastal, Phoenix, etc., that need to close, but why do clowns at a school like Richmond (rank: 53) think they have a more important existence than schools like Regent or Florida A&M? Unless you can name 25 and justify your choices, that attitude smells of unjustified snobbery and a willful blindness to the fact that schools outside the top 25-30 are almost as worthless as the utter trash heaps.

      Delete
    9. "Set fire to the whole system" may be taking things a bit far, but many of us have very good reasons for hating the system. I wouldn't quite set fire to it, but I do insist that a radical reform is needed—a thoroughgoing reform that would shake up just about every aspect of the academy and the "profession".

      I doubt, however, whether our strident rhetoric is deterring many professors. That said, I don't blame you a bit for posting anonymously. I too am posting anonymously, primarily because I still quixotically hold out a tiny bit of hope for finding work, preferably work that makes use of my legal skills.

      Delete
    10. The rankings mean next to nothing. Number 53 isn't worth much more than number 153. Both are fourth-tier institutions.

      A couple of years ago, I said that the third tier ended around number 25. Today I'd move the limit up to number 17 or 18.

      Delete
    11. I don't get Top Law Schools. There are so many threads from prospective students saying "I have such-and-such a GPA and LSAT, and have offers from these schools, which should I accept?" If the job market is even half as bad as the comments on this site say, then there should be plenty of 3Ls and graduates replying simply "DON'T GO, AT ALL".

      Instead all the replies are normally along the lines of "sure go to that school" or "retake LSAT and reapply to better schools". It looks like the forum moderators bans anyone who consistently advises 0L to simply "DON'T GO".

      Delete
    12. Prof X again. 9:12, I understand what you're saying, and I think that you're making an important point about the flaws in the US News rankings as a proxy for school "importance."

      What about this: perhaps what's needed is a more nuanced discussion about geography? So, for example, I think there's a good case that every, or most, states should have a public law school. The current rankings aren't sensitive to that. I also think there's a pretty strong distinction between a private school that (say) is the highest-ranked school in a three-state area versus a private school that's the seventh-ranked school in NYC.

      At a minimum would you agree that every state should have a good public law school with a reasonable price tag? (We could discuss class sizes, and that's an important conversation, but I think perhaps a different one than the threshold question of whether every state should have a public school.) Or maybe you are envisioning a more dramatic shake-up? I'm interested to see whether we can find common ground.

      This is the kind of question I'd love to see discussed in one of 2:47's suggested forums, by the way.

      (And I confess I don't know anything about Richmond, so I can't speak to your specific example.)

      Delete
    13. (1) I'm down (or up, depending on your linguistic subculture) for naming the bottom 25 schools, with the decisive factor being which schools would make the world a better place by closing. Given the right forum, that would make a great thread, or even an entire genre of threads that would pop up regularly.

      (2) Not a professor here, but I'd like to defend the concept of decent law schools, including "good state flagships, regional powerhouses, and the 40-60 crowd." I can think of one important difference between those schools and the cellar-dwellers. I've noticed that some of the decent schools have reduced their class sizes in order to maintain, or largely maintain, their admission standards. Iowa and Case Western come to mind.

      Delete
    14. All right, professor X, if you'd care to list more commonalities I'd be interested. We may never pass this way again, and this thread will soon be old news, even for committed members of this blog. (I accidentally typed "blob," but I suppose this is a fairly good blob as well, one of my favorites in fact.)

      By the way, you previously mentioned that other departments at a university would get involved in discussions of law school tenure. You also mentioned the salary problem, sort of the inverse of salary compression, where experienced professors are overpaid relative to their contributions. Let me just add to that mix by mentioning a post on this blog last summer, in which one of the writers appealed to non-law professors to protest excessive salaries at their respective law schools. I'm hoping to put those ideas together somehow. All in the context of reducing tuition, of course.

      Delete
    15. Perhaps each state should have a law school. I don't know. The fact is that Alaska never has had one, and before long Vermont and Delaware may well lose their only law school. Maybe it would make sense to put one law school in Alaska rather than having seven in Washington, DC (the city proper), and four in Minneapolis–St Paul and two in South Carolina. That might be a source of common ground for us, but I'd prefer not to discuss it. Why?

      Because that line of talk only ends up favoring toilets like Vermont Law School, which are the only law school in their state. They'll use the "need" for a law school in their state as an excuse to clamor for funds from the public coffers, because after all there is no chance of building a new law school or of moving some unneeded toilet to Vermont or Montana or Arkansas, so they of course must be kept alive—and of course that has nothing to do with such selfish concerns as preserving those cushy administrative and hackademic jobs.

      Should the law schools have been allocated differently? Yes, indeed. We agree fully on that point. But they weren't allocated differently, and reallocating them isn't realistic.

      Delete
    16. The issue is not closing schools, per se. There are two issues:

      1. Half of graduates will never get jobs as lawyers. You need to kill half the seats, however many schools that takes. Killing Cooley will eliminate a lot more seats than killing VLS. There is no magic number of schools that must close, there is a magic number of seats that must be eliminated through closures and enrollment reductions. Killing the bottom 25 schools will not eliminate half the seats.

      2. Even if you kill half the seats that will save only those who never would have found jobs. The same people who would have found jobs before will get the same jobs they would have gotten anyway and still be in the same boat. Very, very few will make enough to cover serious student loan debt and many of those will see their incomes fall at some point. Law school costs too much and eliminating half the seats will not bring the price down.

      3. State schools are just schools where in-state students get a de facto scholarship from John Q. Taxpayer. Calling for more state schools is part of how the game is now played. When the cost of education comes up people talk about how to help people come up with the money, no one asks why it costs so much. I went to a private T-25 in the 80's when tuition was $8,000/year. Scholarships did not exist. It was understood that you already had a college degree and were buying a ticket to a higher level of income. Decent-sized states like PA and MA did not have state law schools for the same reason. Private school tuition was fair and reasonable and there was a perception that you didn't need a subsidy to go to a professional school.

      Delete
    17. I'll tell you why killing some schools (or more accurately, allowing them to die a natural debt) should be a goal.

      (1) Some law schools are in areas with too few people or too many law schools to require the extra seats or attract decent students. Examples would be Vermont, South Dakota, Wyoming, Northern Kentucky, Northern Ohio, La Verne, Western State, Thomas Jefferson, Washburn, Willamette, Golden Gate, Barry, Florida Coastal, Hamline, St. Thomas, Ave Maria, Seton Hall, Hofstra, Pace, Touro, New England, Widener, Dickinson, Catholic, Regent, Baltimore, DePaul, Detroit-Mercy, and many others...Closing these schools would not only reduce available seats, it would improve the allocation of the remaining seats, allowing students to attend law schools closer to their potential jobs.

      (2) Reducing seats by closing schools would be a way to eliminate tenure quickly for a large number of professors and remove a large numbers of deans. Hopefully this would shake up the market, establish new equilibria, and allow the productive individuals among them to find new employment without having to support large numbers of free riders. A huge annual dead-weight loss in terms of lost money and productivity would be removed from the economy.

      Delete
    18. Yes, we should start with the fattest and the foulest, such as Cooley. Unfortuntately, we don't get that choice. Cooley is likely to soldier on for some more time just because it is so big: it can close a campus or two if necessary or otherwise manage to avoid the guillotine quite a bit longer than Vermont Law School, which is in financial trouble and has no good way to save itself other than hitting the state up for funds.

      Delete
    19. 9:07 here, I made that big list of redundant schools and forgot Cooley? Shame on me, but I did remember Thomas Jefferson. ;)

      Delete
    20. I'd group them this way: Top 3, Top 6, Top 12, Top 18, and all others in the Fifth Tier, meaning that no one should ever borrow the slightest amount of money to attend them.

      Delete
  14. DA and PD offices used to have significant enough churn to at least present open positions on a fairly regular basis. Now our office only has an opening if someone retires or leaves for another DA's office. Those spots used to be filled with new law graduates seeking trial experience. Now they are filled with refugees from private practice, thankful for a steady paycheck and without the overhead of their own shop. We've hired four in the past five years or so that all had more than 10 years experience practicing law, and two of them had previous stints in the DAs office and had been trying to make it back for some time. If any of us were to leave, the resumes would pile up immediately with similar practical experience.

    I cannot imagine a scenario in which most similarly situated offices would hire a law professor without significant prior courtroom experience in criminal law, which would eliminate a great deal of tenured faculty.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. One reason for the general inexperience of criminal law faculty is the fact that for many professors, criminal law was an afterthought. It just seemed like a good way to indulge their interest in constitutional law, which to them symbolizes power, influence, dramatic cases, and moral superiority. Since they need a first-year doctrinal class as their specialty, many of them choose criminal law or criminal procedure. Other favorites are evidence and civ pro, since they don't require much in the way of math skills or economic analysis.

      A good example of this would be Nancy Leong, whose practice experience was with Americans United, a constitutional advocacy group. She doesn't appear to have practiced criminal law at all, yet she claims criminal procedure as a specialty. Even then, her interest in criminal procedure veers far outside the courtroom. I wouldn't want her prosecuting an important case, or representing my friend in municipal court.

      Delete
    2. A law professor's "specialty" is whatever she damn well decides that it is. She need not know the first thing about it.

      Delete
    3. I have been reading this blog for a long time and think a lot of the posts are really important but honestly I am finding the obsession with Nancy Leong to be getting a little old and it is turning me off the blog. Why does she have to show up in every thread? I actually had her as a professor 3 years ago and she was fantastic. Everyone thought so. She puts all her teaching evals here, if she is such a bad teacher how do you explain her evals? https://udenver.academia.edu/NancyLeong/Teaching-Evaluations

      Also she def has crim practice experience. When I had her she was doing tons of pro bono work for battered women's organizations and some of it was defense of women falsely accused by their batterers which I guess is a common tactic. I don't think she lists it on her cv b/c of concern for client privacy given who the clients are.

      Delete
    4. 11:12 AM, you may not have heard, but a lot of the dislike of Nancy Leong in the scamblog community has to do with the "trumped-up charges" Leong leveled in her ethics complaint against Dybbuk, one of the co-bloggers on OLSS. The issue is that many in this community felt like Dybbuk's critiques of Leong's scholarship were on target. Leong took some of Dybbuk's Bill-Maher-style humor and went completely off the charts in the response, at least in the view of many, by sending stalker e-mails, demanding an audience and an apology, threatening to "out" him, and the like.

      Basically, she did what no other LawProf has ever done, even more so than Brian Leiter, whom I would not consider proud company or a model for behavior, himself. Feminist-oriented LawProfs, of course, defend Leong tooth and nail and rail against the meanie, meanie scambloggers, and that is, of course, their perogative. No one says that people have to like the style of humor. But Leong chose to bring a gun to a wrestling match by filing an ethics complaint and intentionally threatening Dybbuk's career, all for the purposes of silencing those who dared to criticize the high and mighty. That is a disproportionate response, given the fact that Dybbuk is an actual, practicing attorney and helps those whom Leong would also claim to defend.

      Apparently, free speech is only for "pre-approved" messages, but in my experience you can't really expect much else from Libby LawProfs. Given all the heat LawProfs are feeling lately, however, one can see how someone could go off the rails and lose their head.

      Delete
    5. Had it not been for Leong's own contemptible behavior, including that rank-pulling attack on Dybbuk, her worthless name would have been quite forgotten after we all had sufficiently mocked her stinking scholarshit.

      Delete
    6. I'm leaving these posts up that have already been posted, but please tread carefully. This blog is not about Professor Leong nor any other individual professor, and repetitive discussion of her or her ethics crusade is not helpful, and is a distraction of little productive value on this particular forum. Please take note that such posts are subject to deletion as a result. Thanks.

      Delete
    7. How can you describe her actions as an "ethics crusade," given that the actions themselves are unethical?

      Delete
    8. Please keep in mind that they all claim to be readers of this blog, supporters of this blog, etc....even as they try every trick in the book to discredit its fundamental message.

      Delete
  15. Law school tenure is the foundation of American democracy.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Just as judicial independence is the foundation of Russian autocracy.

      Delete
  16. Biglaw hiring: The new "go-to" law school rankings are out. These need to get as much play as possible on the law school message boards. Basically it ranks the percentage of the class that got what would traditionally be considered the Biglaw jobs (placement in the NJ250 law firms).

    Only six schools had over 50% of the class in NJ250 firms. Columbia places about 65%, which is first overall. Five more place between 50-55%. Granted, Yale and Stanford probably do better after clerkships, but still only a handful of schools can even give you better odds than a coinflip, and many would be better putting their student loan money on a roulette wheel.

    By the time you get down around the 14-15 rated schools and below, it's dropped down into the 30%, so only a third of graduates land in jobs that justify their student loan burdens.

    http://taxprof.typepad.com/taxprof_blog/2014/02/nlj-law-school.html

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Cooley, the second-ranked law school in the US, isn't on the list?!? Obviously there's a mistake. And doesn't Florida Central send its people with LSAT scores in the low 130s to white-shoe law firms by the boatload?

      Delete
    2. Almost a quarter of the people from Fordham get jobs at NJ250 firms. Almost 30% of the people from Fordham graduate without having taken out student loans. How much overlap is there between those two groups?

      Delete
    3. Can we officially retire the term Top 14 in favor of Top 13? At 37% going into Big Law, Georgetown, the perennial laggard, clearly does not belong in the top group.

      Delete
    4. Better yet, don't rank them at all. Just acknowledge that the last, say, five of the "Top 14" make up the top of the third tier. The fourth tier starts around Minnesota or Notre Dame and runs all the way to the end.

      Delete
    5. The list is interesting. I'd break it into four parts to (mostly) explain how those schools got there:

      1. The T14.

      2. USC, UCLA, Texas and Fordham are well-regarded schools in the three most populous states where there are more biglaw opportunities.

      3. Notre Dame has a truly national student body and a fiercely clannish alumni network.

      4. Vanderbilt I can't quite figure. Anybody have any thoughts?


      Delete
    6. Fordham: location (New York City); aristocracy (30% of the class graduates with no debt—in other words, can get Daddy to write a check for $300k).

      Notre Dame: reputation built on a goddamn football team unaffiliated with the law school; proximity to Chicago; Roman Catholic connections.

      Vanderbilt: The best thing going in the South, other than Duke (which is only incidentally in the South, catering primarily to people from other places). Will make a minor splash in Atlanta, Houston, and the like.

      Delete
    7. How about Dallas? Will Vanderbilt take me to Dallas? And will Virginia take me to Dallas in greater comfort, with greater room for error?

      Delete
    8. I went to Vanderbilt. I've been out over a decade, and my class seems to have done very well comparatively in terms of having a lot of people make partner.

      The best I can figure, there are probably three reasons for this:

      1. The class is small. It was around 180 per class when I was there, and even when enrollment began to swell across the country I don't think they went much over 200. I think they've gone back to around 180 now.

      2. The class was comprised of people from all across the country, and in large part scattered all over the place when they left. It wasn't cutthroat because the whole class was not trying to get the same job. Some folks from California went back. One of the guys from Boston went back. The half that came from the south mostly stayed in the south.

      3. Vanderbilt may be outside the top 14, but it may as well be Harvard in most of the south. If you just wanted a good firm job and weren't dead set on NYC, Chicago or D.C., those were fairly easy to come by in the south. Now, some of the T-14 folks might roll their eyes at a law firm job in Birmingham or Little Rock, but a lot of those people made partner and are still employed a decade later.

      Delete
    9. Roll my eyes at Birmingham or Little Rock? When I'm reduced to visiting the food bank? Are you kidding? Hell, for a job in one of those places I'd do anything short of enlisting in the Confederate army.

      Delete
    10. 9:27 here again. I think 11:33 and 6:36 nailed it. Leaving out Duke, in NC, SC, GA, FL, AL, MS, LA, AR, TN, WV and KY the only standout schools are Vanderbilt and Emory. So it's like USC, UCLA, Texas and Fordham. Top non-T14 dog in a geographic area that can provide enough biglaw opportunities.

      Delete
    11. BU/BC are as good as Fordham, if not better. So is GW. What are we trying to do here, make a list of the top 30 law schools?

      Delete
    12. No, 7:46, we are noting that there is an advantage to going to a top 30 school in a major population center if your goal is a job in biglaw.

      Delete
  17. We're in the midst of a prolonged "recovery." It's not a recession or depression. No sir. It's a "recovery." And having the ability to shed worthless fat from an organization is just too dangerous to our fragile recovery. If law professors are unconscionably let go by their selfish employers, how will we go on as a culture? How will we survive without the latest piping hot paper on law and economics, law and space, and critical race empiricism? Our economy will grind to a screeching halt and it won't be pretty. How will we feed ourselves? Think of the children!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Don't worry; that won't happen. As any law professor will tell you, the trenchant political commentaries and proposals for societal reform that fill the law reviews are far too valuable to be compromised. Why, even the otherwise benighted general public has finally come to appreciate the value of legal scholarship. The latest issue of the Valparaiso University Law Review adorns many a trailer-park nightstand, and Nancy Leong's distinguished œuvre is being adapted into a television series.

      Delete
  18. Berkeley should pull John Yoo's tenure for his scholarship that the Geneva conventions are quaint which is a crime against humanity and a war crime.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That was a memo, not scholarship.

      Delete
  19. O.M.G.!!! Did we just catch some professors admitting they participate in "law school governance"???? Hold the presses! I thought law professors had washed their dirty little hands of tuition inflation by arguing - PROFESSOR ORIN KERR - that they have no knowledge or interest in the peasant's task of governance; no knowledge or interest in the ponzi scheme they leach off of, of the outcomes for their students, and are mere innocent recipients of the largess of tuition inflation.

    I guess they're arguing in the alternative, the dirty little bastards.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Participating in law-school governance means showing up at one meeting per year just for the free food.

      Delete
  20. Tonight I made my first visit, an hour and three-quarters long, to the food bank. I wish to share with everyone a careful account of my bounty:

    Bean sprouts, fresh, 1 small bag
    Pineapple, crushed, 1 can
    Cranberry sauce, whole berries, 1 can
    Corn, creamed, 1 can
    Green beans, seasoned French-cut, 1 can
    Baked beans, 3 cans (all different kinds)
    Pasta sauce, 1 can
    Soup, chicken and rice, 1 small can
    Soup, golden mushroom, 1 small can
    Oats in an old margarine tub, with recipe for oatmeal taped on top for the benefit of the woefully incompetent
    Almonds, slivered, 1 small packet
    Almonds, yogurt-coated, 1 bag
    Chicken gravy, powdered, 1 envelope
    Stuffing mix, dried, 1 box
    Risotto mix, 1 box
    Rice, mixture of long-grain and wild, 1 packet
    Baguette, ciabatta, 1
    Pitas, large fresh, 6
    Milk, fresh, in a plastic bag
    Toothbrush, children's, 1

    They would have given me half a dozen eggs, but they had run out. I was offered a can of tuna instead, but I can't eat the stuff. Sliced cheese was offered only to families; I got nothing in its place. The can of pineapple could have been exchanged for four "fresh" Anjou pears that were mostly brown with rot; had the soft spots been cut away immediately, perhaps a third of the flesh could have been salvaged.

    Such is my allocation for the entire month. Since I have no income, I'm actually allowed to go twice a month—provided that I bring along a copy of my lease (you didn't suppose that I had a mortgage, did you?) and a copy of my bank statement. Rather than submitting to that indignity and compromise of my privacy, I'll let them keep their extra three cans of assorted baked beans.

    Tomorrow for lunch I intend to be creative and make the most inviting meal that I can out of these ingredients. If there's interest, I'll post the recipe that I devise. Perhaps others can benefit from my culinary creativity.

    The scammers are right: you can do piles of things with a law degree. As I've just proven, with a law degree you can stand around for most of the evening at a food bank in order to collect one and a half sacks of humble provisions.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There are some good ingredients there, but what you really need is more protein.
      If you have any money at all, buy some eggs and milk. Maybe you can do like I do, and buy some pork that's almost expired for half price. (I hope that pork doesn't offend you for any reason.) I had three good meals for less than three dollars over the weekend, thanks to some pork steaks I found.

      I'm using my eggs and milk with 8 grain bread to make French toast for breakfast, and maybe for lunch as well. You can combine grains with beans to balance your proteins, so I intend to have my baked beans for dinner. I also combine black beans with rice, canned chili with corn meal, and refried beans with flour tortillas. If they sell masa (Mexican corn meal) near you, that's the cheapest food I've ever found. You just need some beans or peanuts to help balance the amino acids.

      Delete
    2. 7:15 PM, not to make light of your circumstances at all, but I like your style. A bitingly sarcastic "cook book" could be an important weapon to publish against the law school scam.

      While LawProfs whine about their "tenure" (i.e. already-bloated pocketbooks), you could offer the alternative view of what wonderful outcomes our Promethian Betters generate for the lawyers in the trenches.

      Delete
    3. Oh, pork doesn't offend me in the slightest; it's delicious. Would that they had offered me some pork at the food bank.

      I had had in mind to work those ingredients into the most appetizing dish possible. But there's so little with which to work that I may just give up and supplement it with some pork.

      Delete
    4. Good point, dupednontraditional. Maybe I should send the list of ingredients to the dean who pressed me in third year to abandon the idea of becoming a lawyer. Perhaps he would be willing to share some culinary advice.

      Or I could devise some recipes on my own and offer them up as money-saving suggestions for the next catered event. Let the dean and the profe$$ors feast sumptuously upon pitas full of baked beans, with slivered almonds for garnish and texture.

      Some dipshit princess in my clAss just sent out a request for donations to the law school. The letter included some rubbish about wanting to reflect the diversity of the student body. Well, obviously they'll never see another fucking farthing from me, but I did feel the need to respond to that rich bit about "diversity". I told her that the institution was filled to the rafters with identical rich kids and that I, the unemployed middle-aged guy from the top of the class, represented by myself a large share of the "diversity" in the whole school.

      Delete
    5. You seem to have a good feel for nutritious, cheap meals. I have been there myself brother. Beans and cornmeal formed the foundation of my diet for several years. I was unemployed for two years after law school and burned up a lot of my meager savings trying to keep a roof over my head and my kids clothed/fed.

      You do what you have to do to survive. In my case I took on manual laborer work because it was literally all I could get. I networked my butt off for 4 years during and after law school but no one was willing to entertain hiring a 35 year old Toileteer.

      I'm articulate, personable, reasonably intelligent and physically attractive; it's just that there were 6 younger Toileteers competing against me for every job. I am incredibly lucky I was able to defer medical and dental expenses during this time.

      As long as you have some form of housing it's relatively easy to make tasty beans by using a good amount of spices. Fresh beans are a lot cheaper. If you can afford it, go to the Mexican groceries and you can save a lot by getting their discounted fruit. Only fools shop at places like Kroger, Jewel, Albertsons, etc.

      I also found that the big grocery chains throw out their fried chicken if it isn't sold by a certain time in the evenings. The benefit of getting stringy fried chicken is that the crust forms a protective layer against bacteria, it keeps well for a few days and you can shred the chicken and use it in other recipes.

      Delete
    6. That’s a challenging ingredients list. I’m thinking the Food Network could turn this into an episode of “Chopped” for destitute law school grads. Only instead of using celebrity chefs as judges, they could use law school deans.

      Delete
    7. 7:15, are you able to get food stamps and/or cash assistance? I don't get cash assistance, but I do get food stamps. I use it to buy pricier items like fresh meat, milk, coffee, etc. I hope this doesn't sound corny, but I will pray for you and everyone else who's been hurt by the law school scam. God bless.

      Delete
    8. 9:17, sorry to hear of your difficulties. I was trying to find a job as a manual laborer. Two people at the employment office, however, told me to give up, as I'd never be hired for that sort of work. I'm a good decade past the age when you were looking for jobs.

      10:00, it is indeed a challenging list of ingredients, mainly because it's so repetitive: a few cans of this and that, some grain, and that's about it. There isn't even any oil or other fat to work with. The toothbrush is obviously out (I even threw the tiny little thing away), and the pasta sauce isn't much good without pasta. The stuffing mix requires butter. At least the other stuff can all be eaten as it is or prepared with just some water.

      So far, the best thing that I can think of making using only those ingredients is a summery salad (yeah, in bone-chilling February): Steam bean sprouts; drain and chill. Tear pita into wedges; toast until crisp. Line bowl with pita. Drain crushed pineapple, reserving juice in a drinking glass. Cube cranberry sauce; toss with bean sprouts and pineapple. Pour mixture into bowl with pitas and garnish with slivered almonds to taste. Serve with juice from crushed pineapple. For dessert, have half a dozen of the yogurt-coated almonds. Bon fucking appétit.

      10:47, thanks for your kind thoughts. Unfortunately, even the gods may be unable to get rid of age-based discrimination in the legal "profession". I don't qualify for unemployment compensation and don't yet qualify for public assistance either.

      Delete
  21. But but, these swine told us they were highly sought after in the private market.......

    Law professors are nothing but thieves, stealing from their students.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "Law professors are nothing but evil megalomaniacs 'earning' their living by destroying their students' lives."

      There, fixed it for you.

      Delete
    2. I prefer the corrected version. Evil megalomaniacs indeed.

      Delete
  22. Hey guys!! I have an idea!!

    Tenure is important because it allows professors to argue for controversial ideas...like retaining tenure!!

    It's so simple and beautiful, once you think about it.

    ReplyDelete
  23. A great comment from the Law School Tuition Bubble:

    http://lawschooltuitionbubble.wordpress.com/2014/02/18/2013-the-year-of-student-loan-delinquency/#comments

    "But…just think of the Mercedes dealerships’ frequented by professors, the restaurants attended by the administrata from 10 AM to 2 PM weekdays, the Great Climbing Wall of Academia stretching – infrastructurally – from coast to coast, the faux conferences held in sunny climes, the hookers at those conferences, etc.

    To paraphrase Joseph Conrad:

    “The stimulus…the stimulus”

    Surely all that is worth the pyramid of human skulls the student loan system is energetically producing."

    Just add "Tenure....Tenure" after “The stimulus…the stimulus”.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Man, that is a great comment.

      Delete
  24. Can we just get the pitchforks, torches and other blunt instruments, form a mob and take it to the law schools already.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No mobs or torches, please. Maybe some boycotts. Even better, how about some naming and shaming, which is what this blog does from time to time? It seems to have helped at least 72 people to avoid the attractive nuisance known as Indiana Tech Law School.

      We put up road signs to warn about flood waters or hairpin turns. Let's warn some naïve young people--too naïve to go to law school anyway--just how dangerous life-destroying debt and job-destroying anti-credentials really are.

      Delete
  25. Kind of amusing to compare this website to The Faculty Lounge, where almost every post elicits a grand total of zero comments.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The fact that the Faculty Lounge is suspected to have leaked IP addresses to a famously vindictive professor in Chicago may tend to inhibit the free flow of debate over there.

      Delete
    2. What is interesting is that tenure is supposed to protect professors from their vindictive peers who happen to posses clout.

      When a law professor says that law school is like the open road or something stupid, or writes a law review article about a topic nobody cared about and nobody will read; the mighty fortress of tenure guards their career.
      But when a law professor says that law schools are enrolling more people than can possibly find legal profession jobs and that the debt will ruin them all of a sudden it is time for IP harvesting, whisper campaigns, and other actions against the spirit of academic free inquiry

      Delete
    3. MacK seems to show up at TFL to twist their tits from time to time. But according to Campos Leiter threatened him to try to shut him up, which only seems to have pissed him off and made him mean[er]

      Delete
    4. I really think that MacK is far from mean. He's been a scholar and a gentleman, eminently polite and reasonable since day one. He just won't go away, and the censorship ethos of academia requires people to go away once they've been properly scorned.

      That's why Leiter lost his marbles, just as he has in so many other cases. He's a pompous, ponderous professor who's accustomed to dispatching straw-man arguments in front of an adoring class, and he gets infuriated when reality (and MacK) can't be so easily dismissed.

      Delete
    5. Yeah, MacK seems like a good d00d. I've enjoyed the posts over the years on multiple fora.

      Delete
  26. For more amusement regarding "the famously vindictive professor in Chicago", check out the talk section of his wikipedia web page, where unknown individuals are currently trying to scrub his wikipedia entry of anything negative (this has happened repeatedly in the past).

    To wit:

    "The edit war appears to be created mostly from Chicago IPs, including one registered to the University of Chicago, and a single-purpose account that bears an extraordinary similarity in name to one of Leiter's colleagues. This pattern (as I learned following an IPs recommendation to look into the archives) has been going on for a while. It is my suspicion, as well as the suspicion of past editors, that the article's subject himself, and his colleagues, are participating in the maintenance of the content to suit a specific POV, which would be a clear conflict of interest as well as intellectual dishonesty. I'll post at some relevant WikiProjects to see if extra eyes can't be brought over. Regards, Cyphoidbomb (talk) 21:43, 20 February 2014 (UTC)"

    ReplyDelete
  27. Leiter is not the only one to do this. Nora Demleitner or her agents have sanitized her wikipedia article. You can see it on the talk section of her page.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, "sanitized" is one word for what they've done. Another word would be "vandalized," as in "removed relevant information so as to render an article incomplete."

      I suspect it won't do her a bit of good, though. She was extraordinarily fortunate to have left Hofstra at the last possible moment, but she escaped through the wrong door. Washington and Lee won't take her anywhere. It's extremely overrated, and they expanded their class in a down market. Their upcoming employment statistics will drive away their last vestiges of prestige and excellence, and their free-fall through the rankings will finally stabilize somewhere between 60 and 80.

      Delete
    2. "Nowhere to run to, baby...nowhere to hide..."

      Delete
    3. Washington & Lee also sanitized its Wikipedia page. More academic dishonesty.

      Delete
  28. OTLSS admins, this Law School Lemmings post would make a good post here:
    http://lawlemmings.tumblr.com/post/77754629968/i-have-a-question-do-the-people-whose-tweets-you
    (why do lemmings ignore the obvious truth)

    ReplyDelete
  29. I suspect that if Demleitner had been at Hofstra when it did its freefall in us news that she would have been fired. Still Hofstra remains a stain on her resume and if W & L falls this year her career is over. She also made a major mistake with her liberal friends by testifying for Alito.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'd say that if W+L falls *enough* this year--maybe 8 places or more--that Demleitner's career as a *dean* is effectively over. She'll stay for a few years, make excuses, get replaced, and won't be able to land on her feet. I think she's also a tenured professor at W+L, though, so she won't be eating beans and cornbread any time soon.

      She may also have a future as a professor somewhere else. I can see how her performance at the Alito hearings could help her get hired at a place like Georgia or Notre Dame. She's a good self-promoter, just not a particularly effective leader or manager.

      Delete
    2. And a great liar.

      Delete
  30. The biggest problem with Nora Demleitner is her association with bait-and-switch, reverse robin hood, racially exploitive merit scholarships. Although Hofstra is certainly not the only law school to have adopted these scholarships, the practice seems to be most closely associated with Demleitner. No top law school wants a dean who has been associated with these scholarships.

    ReplyDelete
  31. Great new article titled "Why do so many people hate law school?"

    http://management.fortune.cnn.com/2014/02/24/law-school-haters/

    A MUST READ

    The prospects for graduates are horrendous.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The scummy dean of John Marshall is displaying classic bully behavior: when someone stands up to you, start whining. When the interviewer asks him what he thinks of the storm in the legal profession, he asks what storm and says as far as he is concerned, the real storm is the decline in law school applicants.

      Delete
    2. "Hating law school?" That's so quaint.

      The shennanigans have gone on far, far too long to let it go at simple 'hate.'

      The hate needs to turn into positive action: State Bar authorities need to give law schools the option either to close at Spring Break 2014, or else face forced administrative closure at the end of this term-- i.e., June 2014. Then, going forward, the production of lawyers will be based on the projected need for them.

      The outrageous, irresponsible nature of this business has now been on full display for years, and yet we're still moving at a horse-and-buggy speed towards a few of the schools 'reducing' tuition. All the while, the law schools and their feeder institutions still strive to lure more students into the system.

      Forget the disappointed, embittered, unemployed indebted grads. The system of justice in this country is suffering under this gross over-saturation.

      Stop the hate: Close the law schools, now. Padlock the doors and board-up the windows during spring break. The looks on students' faces when they return to campus would alone be worth it. Perhaps keep Harvard and Yale as costumed, operational museums --much like we have colonial Williamsburg and Plymouth Plantation.

      Delete
    3. At the very least the bottom 50 schools simply need to lose their accreditation.

      Is it really worth having 200 law schools, more than half of which, place only half of their graduates in full-time, long term positions requiring bar admission, 9 months after graduation?

      It's absolutely staggering.

      The horrible job prospects combined with unimaginable debt is heart wrenching...

      And all some law schools can say is "we'll make you practice ready..."

      Honestly I've been harping on the need to have an undergraduate law degree and other academic reforms, but really what we need is to close schools, and lower costs first and foremost.

      It's really just too bad that people will lose their jobs. They work at institutions that lead to their students' financial ruin. It's untenable.

      Delete
    4. No bar association or any other party in power will do anything to stop the madness. Quite the contrary: the system has been captured all the way up. The only way to stop the madness is to limit the supply of suckers. Go out a save a soul; you're their only hope!

      Delete
    5. I agree, the situation of some of those law school grads is heart-wrenching. Massive and unpayable debts, protracted and discouraging job searches, criticism from ignorant friends and parents, shattered confidence and self-esteem, the slow but inevitable recognition of a life-destroying mistake...

      Delete
  32. Imagining The... Interesting CLEFebruary 26, 2014 at 7:42 PM

    Okay, folks, I've been at this game for about 15 years and, for most of those 15 years of CLE programs, this part of the Post here really is true:

    "The name of the game in those types of venues is to be as boring as possible so that all the attorneys pretending to listen can keep doing actual work."

    For the most part, those of us who have a bit of a sense of shame left try to hide the fact that we're desperately working away... but we are indeed working.

    ReplyDelete
  33. Unbelievably, the state of Washington is now forking over funds with which to open yet another goddamn law school, this one in Tacoma:

    http://www.thenewstribune.com/2014/02/26/3067573/welcome-seed-money-for-uwt-law.html

    The moron who wrote that article breathlessly promises: "There’s obviously a demand for a South Sound law school. In 1999, the year that Seattle University moved the campus from Tacoma, it had 850 law students. A new UWT program would be a modest reboot that almost certainly would be deluged with applicants."

    Oh, sure. Just like Indiana Tech Law Skule, which most likely took in every single applicant but still filled only a quarter of the spaces—and will probably be left a lot smaller still by the end of this semester, once many of its "students" have failed out, transferred out, or simply dropped out.

    Actually, the quotation above should be used on the LSAT:

    The author errs by

    (A) writing incompetently
    (B) taking for granted that relevant circumstances have not changed significantly over the past fifteen years
    (C) assuming without evidence that enrolment at an existing accredited school is indicative of the number of applicants to a new unaccredited school
    (D) substituting dogmatic bombastic language for reasoned argument
    (E) being a dupe and a flunkey of the law-school scam

    All answers are correct. There, lemmings: I've just helped you to raise your LSAT score.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wait until word gets out that OTLSS leaked the June LSAT answers. Could be grounds for an ethics complaint by one of several demented individuals.

      Delete
  34. The Nomenklatura know that the jig is up, but they are determined to hold on as long as possible. You can see it in their faces.... the Show is Over.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FZyGOx3AbDQ

    ReplyDelete
  35. So we now see a bit of a pattern in new law school proposals, like this one, Indiana Tech, and to some extent the proposal to have SC buy CSOL.

    1) Claim that whatever metro area you want to represent desperately needs a law school because it doesn't have one yet, without any evidence of a specific attorney shortage in that metro area.
    2) Whine about how prospective attorneys have to travel to get their degrees, and then how they won't come back, ignoring that if there were any jobs at all in Tacoma or Fort Worth or Charleston you can bet the 25% of underemployed students at Gonzaga, Seattle, or the 20% underemployed from UW would gladly take them.
    3) Claim without evidence of an imminent retirement party for Baby Boomer attorneys, conveniently ignoring that attorneys tend to work till they drop.
    4) Throw some terms you picked up from Econ for Dummies into the mix, noting that the "demand" for seats would be higher than the supply. Again, conveniently ignore that if the federal government gave people 20K in living expenses to shovel shit for a year they'd have more applicants than shovels.

    I knew exactly dick about Washington before writing this post, so I googled Tacoma. It's 33.6 miles from Seattle and its two law schools. At this rate there's going to be a law school in every front yard so some fucking asshole doesn't even have to turn on his car to get his JD.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Indiana Tech ju$tified itself in part by claiming that Fort Wayne was underserved by law schools. I counted thirty-one law schools within four hours' drive of Fort Wayne.

      Tacoma is not a "metro area" at all; it's part of greater Seattle.

      Delete
    2. Every kitchen table is now a university.

      Delete
    3. And every refrigerator is now a financial institution. Just don't make any bad loans.

      Delete
  36. Reality always wins - if this market correction keeps up for another 2 to 4 more years, the diploma mills will have to close. No business can run when half their customers go away...they need to cut costs and fire staff, if that does not help - close the doors.

    When the legal education portion of the university begins to sap money out of the university itself, the university will respond to prevent the bleeding. Simple business bottom line stuff...not brain surgery.

    When consumers don't want to buy a product, (the company that manufactures it goes out of business)...in this case the product is a worthless piece of paper with NO value.

    Time will tell - I say 2 to 4 more years of this correction and we will see the end results, law school failures, closings and consolidations.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree that 2 to 4 more years of correction will lead to major restructuring of the law school business.

      I'm just curious how some of you would define the necessary correction. I'm of the opinion that all we need is to keep enrollments from rising again. That is, the current financial losses are unsustainable, and this will exhaust all financial reserves and easy cost-cutting possibilities within a few years. Then come the inevitable mergers and closings, the well-deserved firings of tenured professors,, the unemployed and discredited deans, etc.

      It's also possible that applicants will continue to decrease every year, bringing the day of reckoning even closer. Does anyone think that's the more likely scenario?

      Delete
    2. Yes, declining enrolment should do in a couple of dozen law schools within the next few years. One thing that could make a difference, though, is external funding, most likely from some order of government. Again, this is why I object to the argument (not really defended, incidentally) that each state needs at least one law school: it only gives the Vermonts and the Wideners an excuse to go begging for public funding (on top of the mountains of public funding that they already get in the from of student loans).

      Delete
    3. The “correction” maybe defined via the market for legal services. This market is changing as consumers of legal services have changing requirements. For example, I have been reading that “large law” firms are having difficulty in finding clients that are able and willing to pay their “large” fees.

      Technology is another factor that impacts the traditional delivery of legal services. Take a look at “Legal Zoom.” Although this is a simple example, it is an effective example of IT delivering legal services instead of the traditional brick and mortar delivery method. There are more complex examples of IT revolutionizing the delivery of legal services as well.

      Even clients that can afford large legal bills are now questioning the services being provided. They are requiring justification for these bills and wanting experienced lawyers working on their cases, not a junior lawyer under the “supervision” of a senior one as in the past.

      If you think about it, “law school” does not “make” a lawyer. Good lawyers are persons that have the skills to be a lawyer before entering into a “law school.” A summary of those skills are as follows: analytical, communication, and writing skills. The law can also be a “calling” to some persons.

      I do not believe that the law school “course of study” is able to weed out persons with those skills. In fact the person grading the “law student” is usually not very adept at these skills (with a few exceptions). Thus the average law profs. grade means nothing.

      It’s all about “marketing” – Yes indeed this is America, and all of the groups that have created the law school scam have profited from the scam. The large law firm sells the fact that Johnny graduated with top grades from a “top” school and received a piece of paper, (a JD), thus MUST be a top lawyer, with super skills…
      Bottom line – as the requirements and delivery method of legal services changes, this impacts the organizations that produce “lawyers.” As less lawyers are needed (as the market for traditional legal services continues to shrink), less consumers will apply to law school. As the market contracts, with an oversupply of lawyers already seeking work, pay for these lawyers drops. We are seeing this now.

      The entire concept of “law school per se” is a canard, legal education was not always delivered in the manner in which it is being delivered in the 21st Century. Quite honestly, it is a failed experiment that liberals love because it keeps them rolling in the dough. There is a crisis in education in America generally including undergraduate education.

      Delete
  37. Will someone please provide this information to the guy on jdunderground who wants to email John O'Brien scam dean extraordinaire:
    jfo@admin.nesl.edu
    jfo@nesl.edu
    http://www.sec.state.ma.us/LobbyistPublicSearch/CompleteDisclosure.aspx?PeriodId=20101&RefId=3508

    (I don't have an account)

    ReplyDelete
  38. Right now it's just four hours short of a week since the original post was made. That may be a record for this blog. Let me say that I fully support whatever the contributors want to do, but they could write shorter posts if that helps get them up more regularly. We have lots of great commenters here who can help fill in the gaps.

    ReplyDelete