Monday, April 14, 2014

News Roundup: Buffalo and UNC Having Issues

Buffalo Law School Offers Faculty Buyouts
Money Quote: “The school had 1,149 applicants this year, a 50 percent decline from the 2,304 applications it received in 2008—the most dramatic drop in the state during that period, according to the American Bar Association.”

'After the J.D.' Study Offers Weak Evidence of J.D.'s Value
Money Quote: “The not-so-good news is that as of 2012, only a minority of respondents were still in private practice, and roughly one in four had left the practice of law entirely (by contrast, most respondents were in private practice in 2003).”

UNC’s law school receives fewer applications
Money Quote: “Michael States, assistant dean for admissions of the UNC School of Law, said the decrease in exclusivity is mainly due to a declining number of applicants.”

34 comments:

  1. The word is getting out. The foundations of the thieving law school industry are beginning to crumble. I love watching the swindlers squirm.

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  2. After scambloggers and other critics have spent all this time smashing left hooks and right uppercuts into the opponents' portly bodies, the law school pigs can barely stand. They are gassed. When we land that knockout blow, and put their snouts and asses into the dirt, it will be cause for great celebration.

    Just think of the legions of young people that these bastards have financially raped over several decades. The academic thieves do not deserve one iota of sympathy.

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    1. Remember the movie "A Bronx Tale," where they beat up those bikers and threw them out of the bar? Then the neighborhood kids started hitting them with sticks.

      Once the fake professors get canned on their asses, I could see some of their heavily-indebted former students wanting to hit them with sticks.

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  3. “People think it’s much more difficult to find employment with a law degree than it used to be.”

    Note the words "People think", which imply that those people may be wrong—and that this ever-so-deserving fourth-tier institution is being unduly deprived of the federally guaranteed loan funds that are its birthright.

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    1. On the other hand, it wasn't as easy to find employment with a law degree in the first place as the law schools would have you believe, at least not anytime in the past two or three decades, at least not at anything other than an elite-level school.

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  4. And, keep in mind, Buffalo is one of two (I believe..) state law schools in NY. The other being CUNY. Supposedly a good bet for in-state residents.

    Supposedly.

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  5. In 2009-2010: record number of LSAT-takers and applications. Q1 of 2014: the legal educational industry is collapsing in the face of plummeting demand.

    "That escalated quickly! I mean, that really got out of hand fast!"

    The reality is these schools cannot afford, because of financial mismanagement, to charge a price that is attractive or reasonable. They have high, fixed overhead costs of their own doing. They have tenure, bond-financed facilities, and umpteen highly-compensated deans who don't teach (i.e. don't generate revenue). Maybe their staff has unionized and negotiated multi-year contracts...

    They're trying to get more and more (loan) money out of fewer and fewer students.

    The erosion of admissions standards - that plumbing of the lowest end of the applicant pool...that's their last move, their absolute last move. They'll get a marginal bump off it (already seeing that in the LSAT uptick), but it's fraught with tail risks, and it just ain't going to work.

    In a year, we'll be sitting on a list of closed ABA-accredited law schools and discussing which one is going next.

    123 of the 200 ABA schools have rated debt. I'm taking bets on which one will have a Moody's AAA the day it files for bankruptcy...and, oh lord, then there's the SLABS market.

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    1. Absolutely right.

      I remember when my school remodeled. Everything was the "Trump Touch". All first-class. And, honestly, there wasn't a need for any of it. It was done to attract more and more Lemmings because the appearance of money and success adds to what? The image of prestige, of course. This from a TTT.

      And as you say, tenure and extremely fat, bloated salaries and pension packages in addition to the overhead of the physical plant and standard salaries for the administration and staff only add to the high fixed overhead.

      Everything is bloated in the extreme. Living a very, very Good Life off the backs of the indebted students. In a year, we may well be discussing which schools close next. And that is, perhaps, as it should be given the state of the market for their customers.

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    2. I think it's inevitable that there will be a list of ABA accredited law schools which will be closing. As we have seen, there is the downsizing in reduction of faculty and salaries, liquidation of real estate, etc. Some schools may have the possibility of merging with another. But as long as applications continue to drop it will be unsustainable.

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    3. "In a year, we'll be sitting on a list of closed ABA-accredited law schools and discussing which one is going next."

      All right then, I'll meet you here in April 2015 with a drink in my hand. Good times for everyone except the fraudsters.

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    4. The law school I graduated from, a second tier state school with current nine-months-out real employment in the low 60%s (full time, long term, bar required, minus solos and school funded jobs), has embarked on building a massive new law school facility on some prime real estate. I thought the whole thing was totally unnecessary. I read an article which quoted the dean as saying a new building was necessary so that the professors' offices could be on the same floors as the classrooms where they taught. Im not making this up.

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    5. You know bambam, a few years after graduation my college roommate announced he was going to buy a motorcycle. He explained how it would pay for itself over time because of all the gas money he would save. I countered that the gas savings had to be weighed against depreciation, maintenance, registration and insurance, and that since he would be unable to use it in the winter months even the gas savings over a year might not be such a big deal. He replied: "Shut the fuck up. I want a motorcycle."

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  6. "I'm taking bets on which one will have a Moody's AAA the day it files for bankruptcy"

    Good question. On the one hand, we know that the rating agencies were heavily involved with mortgage fraud. On the other hand, law schools are small fish in the financial world; they might not be able to afford the bribes.

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    1. Too true. But even when one of the big three's only bribe is its standard rating fee, they're not known for pessimism.

      Just read a Bloomberg article entitled, "Small U.S. Colleges Battle Death Spiral as Enrollments Drop," featuring statement from Moody's: "Expenses are outpacing revenue at 60 percent of the schools it tracks even as many try to slash their way to balanced budgets," according to Fitzgerald.

      Compare to law school: Campos estimates 80% of law schools are operating at a loss currently.

      36 of the 4k small colleges/ universities had their bond ratings cut by Moody's in 2013...with Harvard Business School commentary: "2,000 of these small colleges/ universities will close in the next 15 years."

      Compare to law schools: 26 of the 200 ABA-accredited law schools were downgraded by S&P in 2013...puts that ratio of downgraded:existing into some kind of perspective. Do we see an imminent rash of law schools closings? My Magic 8 ball says, "Yes."

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  7. I cannot wait until law schools start closing and law professors are forced to fend for themselves in the miserable legal market they created by pumping out tens of thousands of oversupplied JDS every year for the past three decades. We will see how their "hide the ball" and scholarshit will be in demand as they beg for their old jobs back at the white shoe law firms. What kind of book of business can a law professor who taught "Critical Race Theory and the Law" offer Cravath?

    I will personally enjoy demolishing these academic scoundrels in Court.

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    1. I hope you do meet them in court, and I encourage you to enjoy the experience and relish your victory.

      I doubt if clenching their fists and screaming "Racial Capitalism!!!" will work for them in any court in the land. They have lots of learning to do, an experience they denied their students by teaching with inadequate knowledge and experience.

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  8. It's been said before and it's been said again: their appeal is becoming more, um, ah, selective.

    Marty: The last time Tap toured America, they where, uh, booked into
    10,000 seat arenas, and 15,000 seat venues, and it seems that now,
    on their current tour they're being booked into 1,200 seat
    arenas, 1,500 seat arenas, and uh I was just wondering,
    does this mean uh...the popularity of the group is waning?
    Ian: Oh, no, no, no, no, no, no...no, no, not at all. I, I, I just think
    that the.. uh.. their appeal is becoming more selective.

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  9. I find it comical that the dean at Buffalo is an international human rights lawyer or scholar, or something like that. Why is that amusing? It's totally inappropriate and irresponsible for a school at that level to encourage students to study a field they have almost no chance of entering through a paid job. This was true even before the recession. Here we find yet another structural problem in legal education, created by the New York regents when they failed to apply due diligence to the hiring of a new dean.

    It's so much more fun for regents and administrators to imagine new "directions" for a law school than to consider how to help the average student find a job. It's possible that a local or regional practitioner could have filled that function, but the high-living higher-ups couldn't care less. It's always party time at the top. That's why Buffalo is slipping into the gutter faster than it otherwise would, and won't be able to climb out even if the economy returns to normal. The cyclical explanation for student debt and unemployment was conceived in guilt, greed, and grandiosity, and simply intended to postpone the day of reckoning for a few more years. Let's hope that day comes sooner rather than later.

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  10. I loved the comment about UNC having student inputs identical to Northeastern. And they wonder why the UNC name alone doesn't get them any respect. They desperately need to fire some deadwood professors. That could help pay for downsizing their class.

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  11. Meanwhile, back at the ranch, your and my Treasury Secretary Mr. Lew signs a 1 billion dollar "loan" guarantee so that the Ukraine can use IMF funds to pay its passed due gas bill to the 50.1% Russian-government-owned, Gazprom. A bipartisan Congress passed this loan guarantee in a few short weeks, because, you know, it was the "right thing to do." Morality demanded it.

    Ukrainian revolutionaries just got a better interest rate than you at 5%...No, the Department of Education will not re-fi you 8.3% Grad Plus loans.

    The message is clear. If students want debt relief from debt necessitated by federal government price manipulation, they better burn Kiev...

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    1. I took beans at supper last night and I "passed due gas," too.

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  12. Whatever their individual faults and failings may be at least state schools tended to be a bargain for the in-state students. If they are in trouble the day of reckoning is at hand.

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    1. The last semester I was in law school, the state cap on tuition was repealed. The tuition for in-state students immediately went up by 20%, and has not stopped increasing since then. Today, being in-state means owing $100,000 instead of $150,000.

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    2. All things are relative, and yours is but one state.

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    3. There are, say, about 8000 state legislators across this country, and every one of them will look you square in the eye and give you the canned nonsense about college being critical to the knowledge jobs of the new economy....

      Let's scrap the Federal Student Loan system. If the People's Commissars for the States want kids to go to college, they will have to reign in costs, ditch faculty, halt useless construction projects, and maybe find a dime to fund the state colleges like they did for the Boomers back when college was actually a good idea.

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  13. Why was the AMA so much better than the ABA. It didn't have to be this way right? The AMA carefully controlled entrance to the profession to ensure that there was not an over supply of doctors. The ABA did the exact opposite starting decades ago. Is there a huge difference between the types of people who headed the AMA vs. The ABA? If you ask me, both professions are filled with Narcissists, so that can't be the distinguishing feature. So what is it?

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    1. The difference is barriers to entry for law schools. Almost none compared to medical schools.

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    2. Because when physicians screw up people die. That holds off the USDOJ anti-trust goons and forces the people running medical schools to have something of a conscience.

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    3. 1. Medical school requires actual individual training, which is expensive. Adding more medical students does not produce meaningfully more, or perhaps no more, 'profits' for the medical school.

      Law school involves no training - it's a 3 year marathon of bullying, hide-the-ball lectures and supposedly learning to 'think like a lawyer'. The marginal cost of additional students is close to zero, so the more students who are admitted, the more money the law school makes. The only effective constraint on a law school's class size has been a desire to keep the average LSAT score and GPA at or above a certain level.

      2. Everyone who graduates from medical school is well on their way to becoming a competent, professionally successful doctor and medical schools aim for, and are proud of, that result. The percentage of medical school graduates who fail to make long term careers as doctors is I would guess way less than 10%.

      Law schools (other than perhaps Harvard, Yale and a few others) have always seen somewhere between 25 and 75% of their graduates fail to make long term careers as lawyers. That's how it's always been, and how it will always be. The market for lawyers has always been saturated and not everyone who graduates from law school has what it takes to be a successful lawyer. (Look at Big Law firms who hire only top law students from top law schools, and yet make perhaps one out of twenty associates partner and invariably say the ones who did not make partner "didn't have what it takes".)

      In the past that did not matter the way it does now, because until recently law school graduates were not burdened with hundreds of dollars of non-dischargable debt.

      3. Doctors take responsibility for their actions, lawyers blame the other guy.

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    4. My understanding is that it is the Congress (rather than the AMA) effectively limits the number of doctors. Congress sets the limits on the number of residency programs (or positions/residents, rather) that can be funded by Medicare, and the large majority of residency programs take Medicare funding.

      That's not to say that the actions Congress takes (or fails to take) aren't influenced by AMA lobbying, although one should also note that the AMA doesn't represent even 1/3 of licensed physicians.

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    5. This is such a good question. I wish someone would do an article on this issue. I can't help but wonder if all the law prof types didn't want the anti-trust ruling. Remember, the same skills to be a top student at Yale don't necessarily guarantee the book of business one needs to make partner in big law. Could all of these law schools and huge law classes be essentially a jobs program for the law prof types that we're never going to make it in big law, but wanted a relatively large paycheck and prestigious title? It is so hard for me to believe the ABA put up a serious fight. But maybe I'm wrong.

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    6. Law schools make money, medical schools lose money. The ABA is controlled by Big Law. The overall supply of lawyers is irrelevant to them. Saying "No" to a potential law school is a landmine - law school promoters are quick to throw out claims of "access" and "racism." ABA simply sets costly standards (of course passed on to students and ultimately taxpayers) and approves those who meet the standards.

      Medicine requires residencies which are controlled by the federal government. It is a whole different ball game. But if medical schools suddenly became cash cows, you would see dozens of new medical schools magically appearing.

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    7. Medicine is a profession in which you need to actually add value to succeed, law is a profession dominated by sociopaths.

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  14. No one seems to notice the middle post - law degrees do not produce legal jobs for three quarters of law grads 10 years out.

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