Thursday, September 25, 2014

A Grand Scam for Legal Education!: The annual National Baseball Arbitration Competition at Tulane Law School.

Many little girls like to pretend to be princesses, causing some to wonder whether the culture is encouraging a harmful fantasy. But at least those children are not duped into the belief that their dress-up games constitute professional skills training for future careers as sceptered royalty.

By contrast, Tulane, Marquette, Florida Coastal, and Thomas Jefferson law schools [1] nurture a smaller scam within the larger scam of law school by indulging a fantasy held by some of their young students, a male fantasy, of launching careers as hot-shot lawyer/agents on behalf of their favorite sports stars. (By law school, these kids have at least figured out that they won’t be actual professional athletes).

Case in point: The National Baseball Arbitration Competition, held annually at Tulane Law School [2], and open to two-member teams from ABA approved law schools that pay an entrance fee of $530, and to three-member teams that pay $570. According to the official rules, "The Committee will create three different salary arbitration cases. Each case will include the player’s final offer and the club’s final offer. The Committee will then assign teams to a side - player or club - in each case. Teams will be required to prepare oral presentations, exhibits, and briefs for their assignments."

The rules restrict participants' briefs to a maximum of 10 pages, double-spaced and inclusive of charts, tables, lists, and other appendices. Because, after all, the celebrity judges and speakers do not want to waste any more time on the students’ nonsense than they must. One typical competitor’s brief from the 2012 competition asserts that "Cruz’s higher base salary, power numbers, and playoff heroics comfortably place his value higher than Francoeur’s $5 million contract. . . . For these reasons we ask the arbitration panel to find for Nelson Cruz and award him $5.3 million."

You can be sure that recent law school grads from lower-tier schools will never ever be writing things like that in non-moot settings. [3] What they will be writing instead is cover letters to temp agencies and checks to Sallie Mae.

Here is an undated segment of a televised San Diego sports show called the "Valley View Casino Sports Wrap" that recognized the victory of a team from the Thomas Jefferson School of Law in the 2012 National Baseball Arbitration Competition. Its tone of pure puffery demonstrates that the Thomas Jefferson communications staff, unlike its career services, is, uh, on the ball:
"If they really wanted to get Moneyball right, they would have gone to the Thomas Jefferson School of Law. You see these guys. . .argue baseball dollars better than anyone else in the country, and they have the trophy to prove it. Forty schools. . . entered the competition at Tulane. Thomas Jefferson won it. Ho! Hum!"  [4]
          See Video at 0:11-0:28, 0:56-1:06.

This moot event has clearly enlisted the involvement of a few out of the ridiculously small number of persons who actually are sports executives or lawyer-agents for sports stars. But there is zero evidence that these practitioners are using the competition to recruit students as sports agents or as in house associate counsel to sports clubs, as students may believe. [5] Their participation, I assume, has more to do with scoring a nice little New Orleans vacation where they can network and schmooze with their colleagues and with sports law professors at the host institution.

I suspect that there is a similar dynamic at play regarding many other inter-law school competitions, as well as law school "centers" for the study of this-or-that. They are gravy trains for academics and the practitioners whom they have cultivated– a source of honorariums, visiting lectureships, expense paid conferences aka vacations, and free labor in the form of law school interns. Gravy trains powered by student debt-- or, shall I say, by human misery.



[1] These are the law schools that offer a certificate of specialization program in Sports Law.

[2] The National Baseball Arbitration Competition is the "brainchild" of sports law guru Professor Gabe Feldman. For OTLSS coverage of Feldman's exciting Sports Law certificate program at Tulane, see:

[3] But wait! What about Thomas Jefferson School of Law Professor Randy M. Grossman, a successful Sports Law practitioner, who is a 1994 graduate of Thomas Jefferson School of Law, and who is featured on the linked "Valley View Casino Sports Wrap" video referenced in this post? Maybe it can happen to you too, Snowflake.

Well, here's the thing: according to Grossman’s faculty bio, his "career in sports. . . spans more than 25 years," i.e. beginning before he even went to law school. "Mr. Grossman began as a sportscaster for an NBC television affiliate on the nightly news. From there, he went to work for former L.A. Dodger and San Diego Padre Steve Garvey, who owned a sports marketing company. There Mr. Grossman was exposed to the world of corporate marketing and endorsements for professional athletes and worked with clients such as Magic Johnson, Tony Gwynn and Robin Ventura, pairing them with companies such as Canon, Xerox and Rawlings." 

So law students with prior careers as sportscasters on NBC news television affiliates may have some sort of chance to parlay their JDs into Sports Law careers. Others not so much.

[4] As noted, a team of sports law virtuosos from Thomas Jefferson took home the 2012 trophy. The 2013 National Baseball Arbitration competition was won by a team from Pace, and the top honors for 2014 went to Emory. Are graduates of these schools deluged with job offers from major league ballclubs? A question to pose to the schools' career services directors.

[5] Quote from a Thomas Jefferson 2L:
"The most exciting part of the competition was being in the same room with people like Nona Lee (Senior Vice President & General Counsel of the Arizona Diamondbacks), Alex Winsberg (Director, Legal Affairs and Risk Management at Angels Baseball, LP), and Zack Rosenthal (Director - Baseball Operations/Assistant General Counsel of the Colorado Rockies). . .Being able to listen to Ms. Lee, Mr. Rosenthal, and Mr. Winsberg talk about real life baseball arbitration was extremely interesting and very insightful. I have no doubt that the information I learned will help me be better prepared as I chase my career dream of one day working for a professional team or league." 
No, no doubt at all.


  1. Hell, I'm surprised the law school pigs don't make students each pay $500 bucks - in cash, not from tuition - to take part in legal writing oral arguments and moot court, i.e. fake court, competitions. After all, the swine often have local attorneys and politicians in black robes serve as judges on these worthless activities.

  2. Like “international law” and “environmental law”, law schools use “sports law” as bait to obtain mountains of loan dollars from naive suckers. In the case of sports law, the naive suckers consist of frat boys who spent their college years watching Sports Center, drinking beer, and dreaming of becoming the next Scott Boras. Here’s a piece of advice to any lemmings lurking out there. Any time you see a law school touting its international, environmental, or sports law program, run in the other direction as fast as you can.

    1. I like the title of this post. Sports law, or in this case baseball law, is indeed a "Grand Scam."

  3. The delusions are just so astounding. The top fifth of grads of these sports law programs would be extremely lucky to get a NCAA compliance job at a Division III college. There are just so, so few jobs in professional sports and getting them is heavily reliant on nepotism and dumb luck.

    Going to law school with the goal of being a lawyer or agent in professional sports would be like getting a Master's in engineering with the goal of being an astronaut.

    1. Imagining The Open ToadSeptember 25, 2014 at 10:06 AM

      My 3rd grade teacher didn't like me very much. She always told me when it came to my career goals, "The sky's the limit!".

      Of course, that was after I had told her I planned to get a Master's in engineering so as to become an astronaut.

    2. Your 3rd grade teacher sounds like a very good person. Too bad you didn't let her teach you something.

    3. Imagining The Open ToadSeptember 30, 2014 at 8:32 AM

      She taught me "The sky's the limit!".

      That was good enough to keep my feet on the ground.

  4. Imagining The Open ToadSeptember 25, 2014 at 9:39 AM

    "I suspect that there is a similar dynamic at play regarding many other inter-law school competitions, as well as law school "centers" for the study of this-or-that. They are gravy trains for academics and the practitioners whom they have cultivated– a source of honorariums, visiting lectureships, expense paid conferences aka vacations, and free labor in the form of law school interns. "

    In keeping with certain prior writings by our favorite resident [ ] spook, perhaps a gravy train held in Nawlins should be referred to as a Gumbo Train, or Étouffée Train.

    1. Anyone who really knows Nawlins would call it the "dirty rice" train.

  5. Real wonder why law schools have failed.

  6. I'm pretty sure real sports salary negotiators don't come from Tulane, Marquette, Florida Coastal, or Thomas Jefferson law schools, but I'm wondering, Do real sports salary negotiators write and sound like these students do? Would these types of documents be what an athlete would produce in order to negotiate a salary from a team? There might be two people who have ever visited a scam blog who also have worked in professional athlete law, but I would appreciate it if one could say whether or not what these students are doing even vaguely approaches the reality of what you do.

    1. The writing requirement for the competition has little to do with real life salary negotiations. It's just there as a way to rank/score teams for tie breaker purposes.

  7. Don't give up so quickly on encouraging those girlish aspirations to the noblesse de race. Why not start the annual National Princess Arbitration Competition? Watch the geniuses of Indiana Tech and Nova Southeastern wheel and deal over Her Grace's dowry! "Beatrice’s Saxe-Coburg–Gotha pedigree, power numbers, and collection of diamond-encrusted tiaras comfortably place her value higher than Isabella’s $5 million portion. . . . For these reasons we ask the arbitration panel to find for Beatrice and award her $5.3 million, plus the style of Duchess of Berwick-upon-Tweed."

    Old Guy

    1. There is no scam tactic completely below a law school. Professor Christine Corcos actually published one of those 'What else can you do with a law degree lists' whereupon she lists Queen or Prince of the Netherlands as one of the things you can do.
      The list is here ->

    2. Imagining The Open ToadSeptember 26, 2014 at 8:07 AM

      I gots me my Herr Jooris Docktor Degree, can I has crown now?

    3. lol, great comment! And, of course, there is far more to Princess Law than arbitration disputes over proper compensation for top royal talent. Princesses are beset by legal challenges from very resourceful adversaries:

  8. What's the point anymore, honestly? I look at the law school lemmings site and it just seems to me that the people going to law school fit into one ore more of the following profiles: 1) deluded egomaniac, ii) brainwashed child of a boomer, with all that that entails, and/or iii) just plain stupid.

    Read the first few posts at law school lemmings to get an idea. These kids are so deluded it's funny. There is no stopping them. They are convinced that we are trying to keep them put of some golden path, when all we are trying to do is stop them from destroying themselves, while enriching the professorate.

    I graduated top 5 percent of my class at a TTT. I graduated summa in Computer Engineering/Science at my stare school. I have 1 year experience as a systems engineer and another 4 years experience in mid law practicing IP (patents, etc). I make in the low 100s in salary and I paid off my student loan debt 2 months ago. I had a full ride to both college and LS ( student loans were mainly living expenses because I went to LS out of state).

    The above is probably a pretty fucking good outcome for most law school graduates, but in reality, it isn't a good outcome as a general matter.. I make less money than my friends in the trades or in city jobs. I haven't received a raise in 2 years. I can't get a single interview anywhere anymore. It is clear to me that in a few years I will be laid off as clients realize they can pay less and less for patent pros ( on account of the surplus of Stem grads headed to law school). I have no pension or retirement and 50 percent of my income is taken out because I'm "rich," but the guy who drives the garbage truck, who will retire in his 40s (courtesy of my taxes), and who has a higher salary than me, is just "middle class." (I won't get into the rest of it, ie job security, opportunity cost, etc)

    My brother's fiance has a sister that is chair of the HR committee at a v 50 firm. I asked her if there was anything she would do for me on account of my excellent credentials, and she flat out said the market was saturated and she could not see herself hiring someone from a TTT.

    This means people with top TTT creds, experience AND connections are having a trouble in this market, and unconnected fucking lemmings think they are going to go to a TT and/or TTT for the purpose of practicing sports law? Lololololololol.

    I don't feel bad for anyone, not even myself. Hubris has a steep price. Everytime I watch a show and someone makes the case that it's still worth to go to college I chuckle, but when the STEM shortage is brought up or the versatility of a JD is brought up, I find myself laughing like a Bond villain. In 20 years, when these lemmings are unemployed and/or working for trustfundarians for minimum wage, and the cop/plumber/fireman/electrician with a GED is retired with a six figure pension and benefits, then, and only then, will they comprehend the true price of their arrogance.

    As I said, my above outcome is better than what 95 percent of my graduating class experienced, and I would even wager it is better than 85 percent of the entire graduating class of every law school of my graduating class experienced. I am thankful for that because at least I'm not in shit law taking it up the ass from some shit law king. I pray and say thank you to God everyday for that. However, for my level of education and experience, when I see what city workers make, not to mention job security and retirement benefits, I made a very serious mistake. I can only imagine what is going to happen to the average lemming.

    1. The point is the profession itself. Society still and always will need intelligent lawyers, so it's important that there are sufficient "perks" to attract the best and the brightest to the profession.

      The Law School Lemmings blog brilliantly highlights the abject stupidity of the current generation of law school students. These are the types of idiots a law school admissions committee should be laughing at. Instead, we have greedy law school professors and Deans (not to mention for-profit investors in the case of Infilaw) doing what they can to court these fart-for-brains all for short-term profit to the detriment of the profession.

      Ideally, there need to be much fewer people practicing law and being admitted to law schools. There need to be barriers to entry, making it difficult for brainless lemmings to be admitted. And, most importantly, there need to be just enough lawyers entering the workforce as are needed, with so called "contract work" and "document review" jobs going to paralegals (because there aren't enough lawyers, so mindless jobs have to be done by someone else).

      Should this ever happen, the law degree will re-gain some value. And, being that all (or at least most) of us are members of the Bar, we have the right to voice these concerns and highlight the problems our profession is facing.

      My advice to you: Since you have such an impressive resume AND managed to pay-back your loans, consider switching professions (going back to school if necessary). Think carefully, but it may be worth an investment.

    2. @11:04,

      I agree with what you say. I appreciate the advice as well. I am thinking about getting out, but unless you want to go into the medical field, there isn't much else. I'm too old to get into the good muni jobs. STEM is also not that good at my age; in fact, the only advantage to STEM is that you can work from 22-35 and make a decent living (most liberal artists will not even get that).. Thereafter, good luck.

      Also, my background IS NOT impressive. That's the point. There is such a glut of T10 credentialed folks looking for work, that going into any LS outside of the T14 is an enormous gamble, unless you have ridiculous connections. That is why the lemmings are so fucking delusional. In this profession, if you can call that anymore, by definition, you cannot have "impressive" credentials if you attend a TTT, especially long term. The competition and oversupply, in conjunction with lack of demand, in conjunction with the ridiculous elitiism, make all TTT creds mediocre by definition.

    3. @12:10 -- which is precisely why you need to get the hell out of the legal profession.

      Law is so damn shallow. It's hard for people in the general population to grasp this, since it's so illogical for employers to ONLY care about certain things on a checklist that happened 20+ years ago (law review?? seriously?? why the f#@k do you care if I'm 70??). So if you're fortunate enough to not have loans AND under 50, it's worth investing some time and money to get out.

    4. From 22 to 35? For me it was over at 31.

      Old Guy

    5. You are deluded if you think high paying muni jobs are obtainable for the average joe. You have to be more connected than what it takes to get into big law.

      I work in a lucrative trade after going to college for STEM and agree that some trade jobs are fantastic.

      Too bad you didn't stay an engineer. Sad story, I feel bad.

    6. 2:15 PM, I think the point now is to keep going until some law schools actually close.

    7. Jon,

      Some trades require connections, others do not. I know plenty of unconnected folks that got into trade and muni jobs. It is true that there are certain trades that require connections, the extremely lucrative ones, but again, not all.

      With respect to STEM, it is better than law, but still bad. Outsourcing and H1B1 visas are obliterating the field. Also, there are plenty of fresh US grads entering the market every year.

      In a globalized economy, political protection is the only way to survive if you have to work for a living.

    8. I don't feel bad for someone who's making six figures and no longer has any student loan debt. Give me a break.

    9. @11:10,,

      I didn't ask for sympathy. I am making the case that my outcome is generally bad but very good for law. This is the point.

      Your post indicates why the professional class is never going anywhere. Envious, spiteful, egotistical, and largely stupid.

      Do you think the blue collar workers in the city got where they see by quibbling? Do you think they got where they are by settling for scraps? A NYC garbage man with a GED makes more money than me, has more time off, can't be fired, has better benefits and will retire at the ripe old age of 45. He doesn't have student loans either. He got that deal because he was willing to unify and demand it.

      If you think people with close to a decade of post secondary education, multiple professional degrees, and specialized experience should make less, then you illustrate why this profession is such a fucking cesspool. After taxes, health insurance, etc my pay check isn't that enviable. For people who live in rural areas or for people that are truly fucked it may seem pleasant, But to people outside the law, it is At best average.

      If it makes you feel better, given current trends, I won't be making 6 figures for many more ears because I'll be replaced by indebted lemmings and or third world slaves willing to work for 50k. I won't have loans though and I might be able to squeeze into something else, but they wont. And to be honest, with the massive hubris, envy and hate I see from folks, perhaps it is well deserved. (Although I would not wish such a fate on my worst enemy).

      My point is that my position to people outside of law is not particularly enviable. The fact that people like you, in the legal or professional class, finds it enviable demonstrates why it is such a bad fucking idea to enter the legal profession, namely, most people aren't merely worse off than a trash collector, their life is totally destroyed.

    10. High paying muni jobs are reserved for elite graduates or the well connected. I have friends who work at the federal and state level, and they all knew somebody.

      Now, regular muni jobs are stable, but don't pay well ... And you don't actually work for a living, you babysit or push papers and pretend to be busy.

    11. Jon,

      When I say muni jobs, I'm not talking about elite white collar government jobs, I.e. Attorney general office for the state or feds. I am talking about protected blue collar jobs: police, fire, sanitation, and trades, and for white collar, in certain instances, teachers. In certain instances, connections are required, in others, not. This is the way to go now for people without truly elite credentials. If lemmings think this is beneath them and attending a TTT will lead to careers in sports law, well, let them suffer what they will then.

    12. You mention high paying muni jobs with big pensions ... That's the minority and those pensions are coming to an end.

      If u really think that state workers can retire at 47 with a 60k pension and live another 35 years, thAts delusional. System will collapse soon.

    13. Fire is impossible to get into. Police jobs don't pay well. Teaching is a good deal though, but generally its for lazy people with low iqs.

      I am in the trades and I believe there's great opportunity here ... More so than white collar work.

      My trade nets me six figures, not physically strenuous, and I enjoy working. My income cap will be around 200 to 250k if I gained all certifications and worked 60 hours.

    14. Jon,

      I disagree with the first part of your statement re: those jobs being impossible to get and police jobs paying low. Major city cops make very serious bank (look up any major city and certain state police salaries and pensions).. Also, it is possible for your average law student to get those jobs, and in the event they don't get those jobs, the risk is less than attending law school.

      Also, regarding your second point, the pensions are never going to disappear, ever. The public loves blue collar workers and teachers. The unions they have have real political power. Cops, teachers and firemen have secured raises throughout the country while the private sector is getting hammered. I can cite innumerable counties and cities that pay cops, fireman, sanitation, teachers, and in certain instances tradesmen, 100 - 250k a year with pensions to boot. The only way that will change is if those states go bankrupt and if those states go bankrupt, ie NY, CA, IL, MA, etc, the great depression will look like paradise. The new upper middle class (for the portion stemming from labor) is going to primarily consist of blue collar and other protected government employees. Some private sector trades with quasi - government protection will also be ok. I'm not criticizing these folks. Good for them. I'm just trying to help as many people see this is their best shot for social mobility, even if they ultimately fail pursuing it. It's better to be working as a barrista at 22 with no debt after you failed to get a muni job and/or trade job than it is to be 22 with 40 k of debt with a useless degree, or worse, 25 and 200k of non dischargeable debt.

      The bottom line is this: the worst thing you can be is a private sector employee with no political Protection in today's global economy. 99 percent of all white collar employees fall into this category, especially Lawyers. In the 50s, 60s, and 70s becoming a white collar professional was the way to go, many people couldn't do it and they did something else. Today, blue collar and muni is the way to go. Many people won't be able to do it, and they will do something else. However, if you can spend 7 years getting a JD and 200k doing so, than you can at least try doing that instead first.

      Moreover, and this is where I agree with the sentiment beyond your third point, ie yo u have an upside of 250k, muni jobs are just one path, the trades, with your case being a prime example, are also a much better bet Than school

      I know very well what tradesmen can make. There are plenty of tradesmen I know who make retarded money.

      This is the point: try to get those jobs over law. Instead of going to college and law school, put all your time into trying to nab one of those jobs. Even if you fail, the consequences are lower and the upside is much higher.

    15. My father was a big city cop ... didn't pay that well, although he has a good pension which he's terrified of losing soon (the younger guys don't have a good pension promise any longer ... it's 8 percent contribution). The work he did was some tough shit ... I won't recommend that in today's economic times fraught with political correctness.

      Everyone hates the cops now ... which I find pathetic. Fire fighting is much less stressful and has no negative image associated with it.

      Yea but you're dead wrong about how easy it is to get a good muni job. In my state, 12,000 people try out for state police and 95 get in. Like your odds? How about fire ... we literally have hundreds of applications for every new opening in our county.

      White collar is a death sentence in 2014, I agree ... which is why I went into the trades after getting a STEM degree from notre dame. I make more money than everyone I graduated with except a slim number.

      People want government jobs, but they aren't as stupid as you imply (average wait time to get a police job is 2 to 3 years of applying, if you're a good applicant). When it comes to the trades, yes people look down upon these occupations. The average union electrician in my state makes 80 k, but you have no shot of getting in without knowing someone.

      It's not easy across the board, I got lucky and I know that ... but your suggested strategy isn't viable.

    16. You are naive if you think those of us in the trades and muni don't give jobs to our friends and family first. I just got my friend a job paying 57k starting with no prior experience ... that job gets filled by referral, never resume.

      You need an in everywhere. Muni is worst of all.

      It's the same game as law school, but even more nepotism.

    17. High blue collar wages have nothing to do with unions or political protection btw. It's a myth, as I have neither.

    18. I am not implying anyone attempting to get a blue collar job is stupid, in many instances, quite the contrary. I also never said those jobs are easy, no high paying job typically is. With respect to the pay being low though, we will have to disagree. Every cop I know makes over 100k. Many of them work in some very fucked up environments, others do not.

      Where I live, much of municipal employment is based on exam performance. People can search engine the exams to get a sense of the questions. There is some nepotism, but that is not unlike anything else out in the world. I know many people who got biglaw jobs based on merit and I know a few who got them based on connections. I imagine the same holds true for everything. THis does not change the risk reward calculation.

      Further, you can't merely look at the number of people taking the exam because although the actual cops, firemen, tradesmen, etc may not be stupid, that 12, 000 number you quoted ( for test takers) is going to have a very large number of unmotivated people, in many instances said people will be without a high school diploma. For instance, my cousin took the NYC firemen test without cracking open a book. His buddies did the same thing. All of these guys didn't make it past the 10th grade. Now, certainly, most people who pass the test are not going to fit into that category; however, the number of test takers is not dispositive..

      Also, although the number of competent people taking the exam versus the people who get the jobs will admittedly still be high, this is the case for all good jobs. Again, the consequences of failing are much lower and the rewards are much higher.

      With respect to political protection, as a general matter, I disagree strongly. Where I live, these guys are very protected, ie wage negotiation, benefits, etc. Now, as to your specific situation, this further buttresses my point because there is probably unprotected blue collar work out there that I am not even aware of where you can make serious bank. This means people have even more options than they are aware of. In my opinion, that sounds like a tremendous fall back plan for people who can't get into the public sector, ie some nuanced trade where the skill set is so special there is a benefit to the attempt based on supply/demand dynamics.

      I think we agree more than we disagree.

    19. Just for the record, most cops make half of 100K, I have no idea where you get your info from. You must live in NJ or NY where the average salaries are through the roof ... this isn't typical for the rest of the country. I thought about being a cop but the pay is mediocre at best.

      Look at non union electricians in industrial and oil producing states ... I know many making six figs because they are in demand ... not because of wage control, unions, and political protection. Plumbers same ... good plumber can make 75 to 100K easy.

      The unions are so corrupt ... and their members hate anyone non-union. Unions only boost wages for union members, they crush the rest of workers through exclusion.

      In terms of my trade, it's lucrative because most people don't know about it and couldn't tolerate the irregular hours anyway.

      You can't get into a good fire job without knowing someone ... I have three good friends who are fire fighters and will tell you as much.

    20. 1) As to your first point, I was referring to the big cities. I am not sure how cops do in rural America, but the high salaries are not limited to NYC or NJ etc. Check out LAPD, Chicago PD, state troopers in some southern states, etc.

      2) Fair point. This means that people have even more options if they strike out at getting a big city municipal job or if they prefer rural life. The muni job is still better because of the pensions and benefits, but this certainly beats private sector white collar work.

      3) With regards to your point on union workers and exclusion, it is irrelevant. They have power and they live well. If you want to live well, you need to emulate success. These guys are successful by and large. The fact that there are other non union workers that do well does not diminish the situation.

      4) With respect to your trade, as you describe it, this is good. Again, even more evidence of the options out there.

      5) In the big cities, you absolutely can get into a good fire job without connections. It's primarily based on a test score and a physical fitness tests. There are some exceptions, but that is generally how it goes. Again, I don't know about rural America.

    21. You romanticize a bit.

  9. Air: "Take Me Out to the Ballgame"

    Let's go down to the law school,
    Where the Open Road leads.
    If you're admitted, you're crackerjack;
    Sign the loan papers and never look back!
    Scamsters root, root, root through your wallet
    When you join the entering class;
    Then in one, two, three years you're out
    On your debt-bound ass.

    Old Guy

  10. If any moot activity would aspire to be relevant to the law most students will practice (if they get to practice) then it should involve a bail hearing, a divorce property settlement, an admission of a breathalyzer test into evidence, or a credit-card induced bankruptcy. But these topics are not particularly interesting to the law professors as they address the real problems encountered by the majority of practicing lawyers so instead students have the opportunity to participate in international law, space law, sports law and environmental law moots.

    1. More importantly, every law student—right down to 120 on the LSAT—is destined for grander things. So the scam needs prospective students to believe. If law skules were honest about the sorts of legal work that their graduates might really do, the scam would collapse. And that's why, as I've pointed out before, law skules all have programs in international law and moots in sports law and other such sexy stuff but never anything to do with bail hearings or real-estate closings.

      Old Guy

    2. So what you want is moot activities in document review, bogbite law, insurance defense, and other more likely activities for the majority of lawyers.

    3. Well, at least that would be a damn sight better than the status quo. There is not a law skule in the US that doesn't have a "program" or "center" or "specialty" in international law, space law, sports law, environmental law, human rights, or leadership (Indiana Dreck's latest folly). There's also not one that does have a program in document review, insurance defense, personal bankruptcy, or no-fault divorce. Doesn't that seem just a trifle out of balance?

      Old Guy

  11. I would love to know how much effort actually goes into deciding who wins these things.

  12. These guys are screwed. No doubt the 'industry professionals' who 'judged' their moot were laughing behind their backs at their hopeless job prospects.

  13. By the way, what exactly does this "arbitration" have to do with law? It seems like an exercise that a group of twelve-year-olds could handle with equal aplomb.

    Old Guy

    1. I always thought "baseball arbitration" just meant one side proposes one number, the other side proposes another number, and whichever number is closer to the one picked by a neutral third party is the final amount.

    2. My impression was much the same. The only difference is that I had thought that the third party would come up with a number in between, just to create a "win–win situation".

      Old Guy

    3. Well, the arbitrators pick either the MLB Club owners' number or the Player's Association's number. There's no middle ground.

      But there's nothing legally oriented about the process and a lawyer isn't necessary. There's absolutely no law involved, just player stats and salaries. See a sample brief for the Tulane competition here:

  14. "You can be sure that recent law school grads from lower-tier schools will never ever be writing things like that in non-moot settings. [3] What they will be writing instead is cover letters to temp agencies and checks to Sallie Mae."

    Comedy gold.

  15. So, where are the 2012 TJ Law national champions now?

    Justin Ryan Heim passed the California bar and is listed as working for a ~25 attorney NYC PI firm's Orange County office according to the state bar website and Avvo. He does not appear, however, on the firm's website, indicating he may no longer work there, or at least is not working there as an associate.

    Sam Ehrlich is not a member of the California Bar, but has a linkedin saying he works at "World Sports Agency," which does not have a website despite the impressive name, and is based out a office small suite in Solana Beach, CA. The same office suite is shared with an immigration attorney with a confusing website that has a lot of links to equestrian news and websites: Sam also says he works there.

    His LinkedIn says he's worked on two MLB arbitrations, so maybe his dream of sport law fame and fortune has come true:
    Arbitration cases have included:
    - Juan Nicasio (projected by MLBTR at $1.7M, settled at $2.025M)
    - Esmil Rogers (projected by MLBTR at $1.0M, settled at $1.85M)

    Daniel Nguyen is not a member of the California Bar, and looks like he co-founded an ADR firm: He lists as a prior employer the same PI firm as Heim. In fact, he lists an amazing number of legal employers for someone who is not a bar member:

    "Daniel has worked for the San Diego District Attorney, United States Navy Judge Advocate Generals , Thomas Jefferson Veterans Legal Assistance Clinic, The Legal Aid Society of Orange County, Napoli Bern Ripka Shkolnik LLP and The Farrise Law Firm."

    The firm charges $150/hr with a $400 minimum. I don't know how someone just out of law school can get any business at that price. While on the low side for mediators, a lot of court-run programs give big discounts for the first 2 or 4 hours, so the price ends up lower than $150. Also, a lot of retired lawyers do mediation for around $150 an hour, and have been doing them for years and have a bunch of special mediation training on top of that. Also, part of the reason some places can charge $150 is they provide a comfortable, neutral location for the mediation in a fancy office suite, which isn't included here.

  16. Because being a lawyer is not necessary in MLB salary arbitrations, this moot is not a law moot but at most (and that's being generous) a J.D. Advantage moot. Actually, a labor economist with a firm knowledge of MLB players and salary histories would probably have an advantage over a lawyer as the ability to unpack the statistics is critical element in putting together the submissions.

    Also, concerning the potential work for the ambitious law student who plans on a career of MLB salary arbitrations, in 2013, apparently 133 players filed for arbitration but no case went to a hearing. In 2014 a total of 146 players have indicated that they will proceed to arbitration but as of now, it's impossible to tell how many salaries will be submitted to arbitration as all of the arbitrations are conducted between February 1 through 20. See,

    In fact it's rare for players to actually go to an arbitration hearing. According to,

    "Q: What is the record between players and owners in salary arbitration cases?

    Since 1974, and including 2012, arbitrators have ruled on behalf of the players 214 times and clubs 286 times. Although the number of players filing for salary arbitration varies per year, the majority of cases are settled before the arbitration hearing date. Approximately 90 percent of the players filing for arbitration typically reach new agreements before a hearing."

    That's an average of 12.8 MLB salary arbitration hearings a year including the zero for 2013. So this moot is simulating something that happens an average of 12.8 times a year.

    Just another FVP (Faculty Vanity Project).

  17. OT here, but I hope you guys are keeping up with Brian Leiter's moral implosion and well-deserved public disgrace. The lengthy threads at Lawyers, Guns, and Money and the Chronicle of Higher Education are by far the best.

    Hundreds of incredulous commenters are shocked to find out how badly Leiter has been able to intimidate philosophy professors over the years, when he isn't even a philosophy professor himself. That should be no surprise to us. We're well aware that Leiter has been bullying lawyers for years, in spite of--or perhaps because of--his lapsed membership in the New York state bar.

  18. I went to this competition (going again in 2015) and I can assure you almost everyone who attends is someone like me who (1) is getting course credit and a pretty easy A to argue baseball statistics and (2) spend a weekend partying in New Orleans.

    These aren't a bunch of students brainwashed into thinking if they do well some agent will hire them and almost all of the competitors have no intentions of being "sports lawyers." It's a good way to sharpen your oral advocacy skills while talking about sports in one of the best party cities in the country.

  19. I just finished the 2016 compettition. To be brief I did heard academic credit for something I enjoyed. Three studentsa from my school have secured internships with an MLB team. One student looked down a job with a well known player representation firm, and wish me luck as through the competition is met a guest arbitrator who has put me on track to working for the commissioners office this summer. It opens doors too those students who perform well. Of course we know the reality of the world is that we all won't make it in the industry but it's a better chance than those who do not try. Also my school paid our fees and expenses , as do some other schools.

  20. I just finished the 2016 compettition. To be brief I did heard academic credit for something I enjoyed. Three studentsa from my school have secured internships with an MLB team. One student looked down a job with a well known player representation firm, and wish me luck as through the competition is met a guest arbitrator who has put me on track to working for the commissioners office this summer. It opens doors too those students who perform well. Of course we know the reality of the world is that we all won't make it in the industry but it's a better chance than those who do not try. Also my school paid our fees and expenses , as do some other schools.

  21. I don't disagree with the basic premise that sports law appeal to those who want to think they have an "in" into entering a small-closed knit circle of professionals working in sports.


    I was a member of the team that won in 2013 and I turned my experience into an internship with an agency, and a paid post-grad position with an agent doing arbitration work.

    A few other colleagues who compete also went on to work with other agencies and the MLBPA and MLB Teams. It's not guaranteed because like anything in life it depends on your abilities and mostly luck of being in the right place at the right time.

    So I agree that sports law is a tool law schools use to get students to pay egregious amounts of money in tuition chasing an impossible dream. But for those that are inclined, it does give them an avenue to get around the nepotism/internal candidate culture of sports.