Wednesday, October 8, 2014

What are law professors whispering about their students?


Here are two interesting quotes, followed by some stats about the decline of admissions standards at a certain poorly-regarded law school.
1. "It’s whispered by colleagues in the law school halls. It’s lamented in faculty lounges, Incoming law students aren’t “what they used to be.” No one seems to define “what they used to be”—only that once upon a time, a better time, students were more prepared for law school, spent more time studying, and didn’t need so much support. Criticism of lackadaisical, underprepared, or unmotivated students has long history, but recent research suggests that incoming law students are less prepared than previous generations of law students." Flanagan, Rebecca C., The Kids Aren't Alright: Rethinking the Law Student Skills Deficit (June 1, 2014). Brigham Young University Education and Law Journal, Vol. 15, No. 1, 2015, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN:
2. "I worked with some people from Harvard and Yale who just couldn't practice. They were useless as lawyers. . . I disagree with the insinuation about the abilities and prospects of people from lower-ranked schools. By the way, I never said anything about large firms filling out the ranks with students from lower-tier law schools. Large firms are very credential focused. I think this is a mistake. But there are a lot of people out there (like you?) whose derive a great deal of their self-worth from their LSAT score. [sic] That will likely never change." -- Widener Law Prof. Ben Barros.  
http://www.thefacultylounge.org/2014/08/the-coming-lawyer-shortage/comments/page/3/#comments  (comment at August 22, 2014 at 11:39 AM)
3. For the Class entering Widener Law (Delaware campus) in 2010, the median LSAT was 154 and the 25% percentile score was 150. For the class entering in 2013, the median LSAT score at Widener was 150, and the 25th percentile score was 147. The significance of this decline is illustrated by expressing these scores as a percentile rank of test-takers. A 154 is at the 59th percentile. A 150 is at the 43rd percentile. A 147 is at the 33rd percentile.  

Let us stipulate that there are bright people who cannot take standardized tests, and also that occasionally someone will butcher an important test that he or she would have ordinarily aced due to major life stressors, or just a very bad day. Let us stipulate that a standardized test like the LSAT can give only a rough approximation of intelligence of the sort that legal practice requires. Therefore, no objection to a law school offering admission to a handful of low LSAT scorers who have signaled potential in other ways. 

But what happens when a law school does not merely take a chance on a few low-scorers, but opens its doors wide (or widener) to virtually an entire classful of kids with LSAT scores that make most academics and lawyers shake their heads and snicker?

What happens is that people notice. Lawyer work (minus document review) requires strong research skills and facility in logic and written persuasion. What answer can a law grad give when challenged by a potential employer about his or her attendance at a school that accepts lots of students with abysmally low scores on a test designed to measure logical and analytical reasoning and reading comprehension, a test regarded as sufficiently reliable that the the vast majority of prospective law students are required to take it? [1] True, a few grads will be able to say: "I know that my school is a joke, but you can infer my personal abilities from my full-tuition scholarship or my top 10% class rank." But what about the others?

The JD mystique has dissipated, including the preconception that a lawyer, no matter his or her faults and no matter where he or she went to school, must at least be shrewd and smart. There are many long-held negative associations or stereotypes attached to lawyers, but the behavior of law schools in dramatically lowering admissions standards is creating a brand new one: the lawyer as gullible lightweight

A law grad of recent vintage should not be surprised to hear his or her scamma mater disparaged by a colleague, or a potential client, or a person in a position to recommend a client, or even a social acquaintance. Maybe the grad can respond with a Ben Barros-style witticism about how there are a "lot of people" who "derive a great deal of self-worth" from their LSAT score, but I doubt that the skeptics will be chastened. 

And, contra the impression one might derive from Benny's blend of defensiveness and boosterism, law faculty are well-aware of the decline in admissions standards and what it signals about their students’ prospects. Law students at low-ranked schools such as Widener (or Flanagan's school, the even more miserable UMass-Amherst School of Law) should be aware: this is what your professors are whispering about you. They think that you are lackadaisical, underprepared, unmotivated, and needy.

Yes, kids, your own professors, your intended mentors in the law, are whispering to each other that you may not be fit for the legal profession. But they are not saying it to your face because they are enjoying the cushy lifestyle and contemplative ease made possible by your tuition money. Do you want to wait three years and spend many tens of thousands of dollars and then hear a potential employer state in clear and blunt language what your professors only whispered behind your back? 

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[1]  The ABA recently adopted an interpretation of its Standard 503 which will allow a law school to waive the LSAT for up to 10 percent of its incoming class provided those students achieved a certain level of academic success in college or scored in the top 15% on some other post or pre-college standardized test. (SAT, ACT, GRE, or GMAT).  

From 2008 through 2011, years before this ABA rule amendation, legal education trendsetter Paul Pless implemented this practice at the University of Illinois School of Law. In internal correspondence, Pless provided a vivid explanation, saying:
"I am a maverick and a reformer so I started a new program for U of I undergrads to apply in their junior year and we don't require the LSAT. We have additional essays and an interview instead. That way, I can trap about 20 of the little bastards with high GPA's that count and no LSAT score to count against my median. It is quite ingenious."

The ABA’s new LSAT waiver provision is called “Interpretation 503-3,” which seems rather cold and clinical.  Couldn’t they call it the “Little Bastards Subrule”?

  







52 comments:

  1. For around 20 years, I have taught as an adjunct at a top 50 law school and have hired law clerks for several years. The most disturbing trend among the recent cohorts of law students is a complete lack of any work experience prior to law school. Many students have cynically breezed in and out of a nonprofit just to put it on their resume', but few have had jobs where they have been supervised and earned money. The second most disturbing trend is that there seems to be a lot less of a correlation between law school grades and performance. Due to the great leaps in grade inflation over the past decade (just see the articles in Above the Law), most students are now bunched up in the 3.1 to 3.4 range with very few points separating the top and bottom thirds. At a Biglaw firm, a difference of a tenth of a point in a GPA may be meaningful as a prestige factor, but it's a poor indicator of potential performance. As a result, I usually find grades to be fairly meaningless. In other words, law schools are no longer doing their job to "brand the beef" and instead seem to be intent on creating a fantasy factory for wannabe global leaders (who then should move to a rural area to fulfill some fuzzy legal need).

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    1. ^^^ Exactly why we need more adjuncts involved at a higher level in legal education. This was, not surprisingly, one of the recommendations of the Illinois Bar Association, and undoubedly among other state bar assocations as well, when addresing the current state of affairs.

      The current ScamDean/LawProf model has outlived its usefullness and is about taking care of their academic-own at this point.

      As for lack of work experience, that may be a sign of the times. As a non-trad, I can say that my prior work experience acconted for diddly, apparently, when I was looking for legal jobs several years ago. But then again, this was before the crash and the pressure had already been building, I guess.

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    2. I agree w/ you, duped. I also had prior work experience and it accounted for nothing. It was as if it was mysteriously wiped away the instant I graduated from law school. I became an idiot w/ no work experience because I hadn't graduated w/ eighteen years of LEGAL work experience the day I graduated from law school.

      The happiest day in my life was the day I left the legal field after never having had a chance to work in it. No more begging for unpaid legal internships. (I worked for almost a whole year in an unpaid legal internship just for the pleasure of having the opportunity to try to enter the legal field.) No more feeling like shit because I applied to 800 legal jobs and no one would have me because I didn't graduate from law school with 3 years legal work experience. It's so nice to be back in the normal world, where I actually have a chance at employment. It's nice to have someone recognize my talents, instead of being told by the legal field what I lacked.



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    3. 8:22, this is even a worse tragedy than the law school scam, if that's possible. Not only are degrees outrageously expensive in the first instance, but one's prior degrees and experience vaporize on contact when pushed through the higher-education sieve.

      I find that disturbingly convenient for higher ed, and I don't see many battle cries from the tuition-drunk limo-libbies trying to overturn this unfair status quo. On the one hand, get degree X to better yourself. On the other hand, everything that came prior is now instantly outdated and irrelevant, so what have you done for me lately?

      If this is "the way it is," then degrees should be much cheaper. If people are required to go back to school to retrain and edify, then they shouldn't be penalized for it at the same time. But that affects the rentiers, so expect all the psuh-back in the world.

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    4. Two decades of professional experience counted for naught when I applied for jobs during law school: I got few interviews and no job other than a federal clerkship.

      Meanwhile, the little rich kids who had never worked at all—except maybe, as 7:43 aptly hinted, as volunteers for some flashy NGO on the other side of the world, with their parents footing the bills—got both interviews and jobs, even at the white-shoe law firms.

      The legal "profession" wants rich kids, not old guys.

      Old Guy

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    5. I got my first job at the age of 14 - part-time in a store. Came back for summers during college, though I didn't work during the school year during college. I worked full-time on a night shift before going to law school. Curiously, by going to law school, I magically became an entitled, lazy, unskilled, unemployable, worthless leech best kept out of all but the most tenuous of jobs. Funny how that happened.... apparently a JD made me such a smokin' bucketful of awesome that employers can't handle the intensity....

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    6. "The legal "profession" wants rich kids, not old guys."

      Precisely. All my prior work experience and education also evaporated once I started law school. You'd have thought law firms would want someone not-too-old and who had strong academics and decent prior employment, but no.

      The only people whose prior experience counted for anything were those who brought business to the firm because of said experience. Firms see new associates not as employees, but as an annual source of new business. Hire the kids who have the connections, try to profit from those connections, then fire the kids whose connections aren't worth anything after all.

      I'm extremely glad to have been working in a non-law job for many years now. The profession was bad when I left it, and it's only gotten worse.

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    7. @6:57 -- one slight caveat. Law firms see associates as revenue generators, not just as annual sources of new business.

      New associates are tolerated for a few years without delivering new business, so long as they keep producing 7-10 hours of billable events per day. After about 3-5 years, the associate pool is replenished to make way for younger, cheaper labor.

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    8. I never went to law school I admit, but my impression from reading sites like this is associates at big law firms mostly do drudge work that ordinary clerical staff could handle. But clients will pay a lot more per hour when they see the work is done by "associate lawyers" - with the more senior partners pocketing most of it. But clients are cottoning onto this scam.

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    9. Charles, a key reason for which old guys are not welcome is that we can be safely assumed not to come from money and connections. Scions of the landed gentry do not go to law school in their thirties or forties or later.

      My experience did not evaporate when I went to law school; it was held against me.

      Old Guy

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    10. I wish I had known all this 11 years ago, when I applied to a Toilet at the age of 32 after 10 years of engineering experience.
      I didn't, but I hope others heed these words.

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  2. ITOT, channeling thoughts about students from a certain (former) Dean/ProfOctober 8, 2014 at 9:02 AM

    Regarding student 1: "Wow, she's hot."

    Regarding student 2: "Wow, SHE's hot."

    Regarding student 3: "Wow, she's HOT."

    Regarding student 4: "WOW, she's hot."

    (Incredible, the sheer variety of thoughts about his students)

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  3. I think these complaints are really founded in the staggering decline of the legal job market and the law school scam in general. The top 5% still go to T-14 schools, and the lemmings, of course (the people these professors complain about), still go. It's the middle tier, the ones who are smart enough to do a little research, that are deciding not to go to law school.

    Anon 7:43, That's the problem with the mandatory grading curve most schools use - between the top 10-20% and bottom 10-20%, there is a tiny difference in GPAs. Wouldn't it be crazy if students were graded based on how well the knew the material, rather than just compared with their classmates? And let's face it, 1L grades, and most law school grades in general, are based highly on the ability to memorize large amounts of black letter law. That's not a terribly important skill for a practicing lawyer.

    Grades are further distorted because classes are split into sections, and schools that have conditional scholarships tend to put all the high performers (with scholarships) in the same section so that some of them can't get the grades necessary to keep their money. At these schools, especially, grade comparisons outside the very top and very bottom are meaningless.

    What is the lowest level of LSAT score that someone, on average, has a decent chance of passing the bar and having a career as an attorney? Low 150s? It would never happen, but the ABA should institute a minimum LSAT requirement for admission into any accredited school. That would shut down about 25 of the worst schools at once, too. Unfortunately, things seem to be moving the other way.

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    1. The ABA technically does have a minimum LSAT requirement: 120. That's the lowest score available.

      In the absence of a meaningful minimum score, the requirement to take the LSAT is hollow. Not surprisingly, people with scores as low as you please get into law schools, even supposedly prestigious ones (last year the U of Texas admitted someone with a 128: http://watchdog.org/146432/128-lsat-ut/).

      Set a threshold, and make it a damn sight higher than the minimum that one would need to have a decent chance of passing the bar exams. People who can just barely do the minimum should not be admitted as lawyers.

      Old Guy

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    2. "last year the U of Texas admitted someone with a 128"

      I don't even understand how anyone could get a 128. That's at the 1 percentile range. Amazing.

      Thank goodness for Senator Daddy, if you're this kid (or whatever it was got him in).

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    3. To get an idea of just how bad 128 is, consider that the expected score from random guessing is 125. The difference between 128 and 125 is just three correct answers better than random guessing. That's only 3 questions out of 101. On a four-hour multiple-choice test.

      Old Guy

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  4. "But there are a lot of people out there (like you?) whose derive a great deal of their self-worth from their LSAT score. "

    It's pathetic and hilarious that this professor recites a mantra in his posts at TFL that he only wants substantive criticisms and that everyone should avoid personal attacks.

    Then in most of his comments, he makes personal attacks on commenters (he's "disappointed" by BT, he accuses commenter JM in the quote above, for no good reason at all that I can tell, of grounding his sense of self-worth in his/her LSAT score).

    He gets pounded with valid criticisms of his posted arguments and then repetitively blithely states "no one has rebutted anything yet!".

    Like, "La-La-La-La-LAH-my-fingers-are-in-my-ears-I-can't-hear-you-so-you-obviously-haven't-laid-a-rhetorical-glove-on-me!".

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    1. That's typical Ben Barros schizophrenia for you.

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    2. He gets pounded with valid criticisms of his posted arguments and then repetitively blithely states "no one has rebutted anything yet!".

      That's really his go-to move "If you don't get me to admit I'm wrong, I win!"

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  5. Even if you graduate top of your class, no debt, and land a decent paying job, you are still fucked. This is especially true for TTT grads irrespective of performance. The reason is that this is a dying industry through and through. The only thing that matters is getting clients and that almost always means coming from a wealthy and connected background or having super elite credentials.

    I have posted here before. Supposedly, I am in one of the legal market's growth areas, IP/Patent, but there are literally no decent jobs out there for a toiletier. I graduated top of my class, almost full scholly, BS in CS, technical work experience, and a few years legal experience in mid law doing IP/Patent work. I cannot get a single interview anymore. The stain of the TTT degree is too much, irrespective of my performance in LS or my work experience.

    Even though I make decent money for now, my situation is objectively bad (by non legal standards).I cannot get a single lateral interview. I am on call all the time. There is no such thing as a vacation ever. I haven't had a raise in years. I have no job security, and it is being made clear to me by senior partners that as the market further saturates, things are only going to get worse. Once I get laid off, it's lights out, career over.

    I cannot possibly imagine what it would be like competing in the non-IP legal market with a TTT degree. Even if the stars align and you get a job, a decent paying job, and even if you have no debt, you will be unemployed at some point and you will not be able to get another job.I know so many toiletiers with top toiletier creds and big law experience who, after being let go, cannot get anything.

    I work with people who have serious family money and they have flat out told me that they know there are blue collar jobs that pay more than law, have better stability, etc., but it is a class thing, ie they have to be lawyers to appease the family. I totally get it. If you come from a rich family and they are going to support you through law school and through life, becoming a lawyer for the prestige might make sense.

    The problem comes into play with people who do not come from that kind of background trying to play this ridiculous game because the chances of losing are high, and for those kind of people, the consequences are ruinous. In fact, I think a critical thing folks are missing is that even if every single thing they hoped for comes true in law school and the job hunt thereafter, the lifestyle they imagine isn't going to be there. The people I work with aren't living large and driving nice cars because they make 100k plus and take home half of it. They are living large because they have trust funds and/or significant family assets. Yet, when the average lemming sees these folks he or she assumes that the accompanying lifestyle stems from being a lawyer. It doesnt. And don't expect people to admit it either. People born with money have pride and a need for self worth like all of us do. They aren't going to admit to you that they live in 5k plus a month apartment because of family money, even if the rent exceeds their monthly take home pay.

    In terms of a toiletier outcome, I am probably in the top 5 percent of positive outcomes and my situation is not good (see above). People I know with GED out earn me and have better job security. I accept that and it is my fault for picking the wrong career; at least my life wasn't destroyed. However, these poor bastards going to school today are so fucked it's utterly stunning to me. Even though many of them are stupid, egotistical, and naive, I still pity the ass reaming that awaits them come graduation.

    Pride is indeed the worst of all sins.

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    1. anon @ 8:44.
      There may be a perception among some that IP/Patent is a growth area, but that's a horribly misplaced perception. I work in-house and graduated in '08 from my Toilet. I'm very lucky to have the job that I do but I'm terrified of being kicked out onto the street because there just aren't that many opportunities for patent lawyers.

      For one, there are a lot of boomer patent attorneys who are going to hang onto their jobs well into their 70s. (Don’t listen to these people if you’re considering patent law. They have no idea what the job market is like.) Second, the Alice case is laying waste to LOTS of software patents, and at the pleadings stage. This will cut back on a lot of prep/pros/litigation opportunities.

      We're also seeing a lot more technical innovation coming from outside the US,, which also means less IP to file on. The Chinese practically own the IP on solar, and South Korea owns technologies like OLED. I am immersed in the weeds on this, and I can tell you that the Chinese have really been ramping up their filings, and not just the Utility Model filings.

      The upshot is even bright, personable, pretty EE double minorities can't find work as patent attorneys, much less your average, schlubby-looking MechE white guy (§).

      Law school and specifically Patent Law is a very dangerous thing for a practicing engineer to consider. Take a typical 27 year old mechanical or electrical engineer with 3-4 years of work experience, and looking to go to law school. They're typically going to be making something like $80K/year. Of course, a lot depends on location/competence/field, but they should be making a comfortable living.

      Even if they go to law school with a full ride for three years, that's $240K of income they've foregone. Then they are dumped onto the street with maybe a 50% chance (§) of gaining employment as a patent attorney and zero chance of going back to engineering.
      I’ll repeat this – After you graduate from a Toilet there is zero chance of going back to your old career as an engineer, so this should not be a backup plan.

      So even if this hypothetical fool decides that patent law is something they really, really, really want to do (†), at best they have a 50% shot of getting some type of work in a declining, saturated field with massive price pressure from inside counsel, foreign outsourcing, etc.

      And if this hypothetical fool doesn’t get a Biglaw job with the attendant delights (horrible hours, working for psychopathic partners, dealing with unreasonable clients, etc.), they're not going to be making significantly more than a 7-10 year engineer, which is what they would have been had they not gone to law school.

      Check out the NALP directory or the AIPLA career survey. Salaries for small and mid-law patent jobs do not go much over $100K, if it is even $100K. I know plenty of people from my 1995 engineering class getting $140K+, and not even as managers. Again, these numbers are based on recent hard data I have gotten from an engineering recruiter.

      Of course, if one gets into a top ten school, some of these considerations evaporate, but you still have to consider the forgone income and the rampant age discrimination in entry-level legal hiring (Yes, I know you’re an experienced engineer, but you’re still an entry level lawyer, and being 35 ain’t gonna cut it for Biglaw).

      In short, Patent Law is a minefield.


      § - The 50% number comes from my Toilet. Other Toilets may differ.

      † - Nuts and bolts of patent law can be exceedingly dull for many people. Patent law is the kind of thing that puts the average person to sleep within 10 seconds.

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    2. "In fact, I think a critical thing folks are missing is that even if every single thing they hoped for comes true in law school and the job hunt thereafter, the lifestyle they imagine isn't going to be there."

      That is so true. I'm someone for whom everything I hoped for came true, pretty much. I graduated from HYS before the crash and got a job in BigLaw. I survived the crash and seem to be safe for the moment. The thing is, the more senior you become, the less and less your job depends on being a good lawyer.

      I've heard old guys talk about how 30 years ago you didn't need to worry about marketing. If you did good work, your name got out and clients came to you. I'm sure a large part of that is just nostalgia, but I think part of it is true. Even in my own years of practice, I've seen marketing get more and more emphasis. On top of knowing the law and being responsive to your clients, you now have to prove yourself as a salesman. In the law firm pecking order, good sellers who are mediocre lawyers come ahead of great lawyers who are mediocre sellers.

      I get that law is a business, and that we won't be able to keep the lights on if there isn't a constant flow of paying clients. I get that no one is entitled to succeed without competing. I get all that. I just want 0Ls who are planning on borrowing a small fortune to get into this field to know what their lives are likely to be like, under even the BEST circumstances. They may very well find that all the golden ticket does is get them a chance to be a lot like the owner of a restaurant or a car lot or any other small business, but with non-dischargeable debt thrown on and a lot less autonomy.

      -- One of the Lucky Ones

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    3. 8:44 here.

      @10:22,

      Thank you for your analysis. I think it illustrates the issue much better than I could ever hope to do. The real fucking problem with IP/Patent law is the toilets are seeing it as one of the last few areas they can keep sucking on for a little while longer because it's substantial decline is a very recent phenomenon. That's why alot of schools are offering IP clinics and IP concentrations. As outsourcing increases, they see the potential to exploit a heavy supply of seasoned and unemployed technical people looking for work.

      I'm amazed that, based on what you say, the quality of jobs is deteriorating inhouse. I thought there was a last breath of hope there, but apparently not.

      One of the associates at my firm made 45k more as a EE before LS. She had better work hours too. It's also exactly as you said, for small mid law you reach the low six figure cap fast and hard, and job security declines substantially. As this field becomes super saturated, I expect patent law to resemble shit law very soon. Also, as you said, there is 0 chance of getting her old job back.

      @11:06,

      What you describe/imply is the full transformation of law as a profession into a business. As that happens, the primary factor that matters for revenue generation is sales ability and connections. Sometimes, and almost exclusively in big law, this is supplemented with ability.

      However, as the profession declines further, the who you know factor will transition from the main medium of advancement to the sole medium of advancement;, and by who you know, I mean getting clients. This is dangerous because there are so many con artists out there that tell people what they want to hear to get business, and then casually disregard or fuck them.

      This is why medicine is different than law: you get paid for what you know and how you deliver it, not your capacity to sell. I remember one day when I was at the doctors office I could over hear some fat guy asking the same question over and over and over. Essentially, he was asking the doctor if he was going to get diabetes unless he changed his life style. The doctor's answer was unwavering "probably yes." The doctor did not have to worry about losing this guy as a patient if he did not tell him what he wanted to hear. He told the guy the truth. He got paid for his professional skills.

      My friends who practice shit law tell me that partners at their firms have to routinely lie to unreasonable clients just to get by. They tell me that in some practice areas the only thing that matters is using nefarious and unethical means to get clients, and that some partners like to brag as to their incompetency with respect to an ability to practice law, but excellent ability of obtaining business.

      Law schools can never admit this because they are appealing to the lemming ego. It has to be about skills and work ethic. Even when they spout that bull shit about "A students become professors, B students become judges, and C students become millionaires," they always portray the C student ad having some unquantifiable skill related to practice, ie so and so wasn't a good student but he/she is a he'll of a trial lawyer. It is true that some people have such skills in spite of academic performance, but it rarely translates into money (at least for the new crop of lawyers). The truth would sound something like so and so was a C student, but man was he able to build a shit law practice leveraging family money and bribing medicaid clinics for case referals . Or man, so and so was a C student but, even though he knows 0 about the law and legal practice, he somehow operates a referal mill with a several million dollar marketing budget, where said firm does almost 0 legal work and refers all of its work other firms for a piece. However, that won't sell a lemming in the bottom of the class. He/she wants to think they will be the next big time trial attorney in spite of it all.

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    4. "... some partners like to brag as to their incompetency with respect to an ability to practice law, but excellent ability of obtaining business."

      Yeah, doesn't surprise me. None of my colleagues (as far as I've noticed) is quite that bad. But we do, unfortunately, have a couple whose philosophy is, No matter what the client asks for, we can do it! "We can advise a client on Icelandic trust law, right?" EFF no, we can't! Stop promising that shyte to people.

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    5. 8:44 AM, 10:22 AM, 11:06 AM, 1:22 PM - - Great discussion.

      I don't have a lot to add except a bit more in-house perspective. I've been in-house over 15 years and so, so many of my in-house colleagues and friends have been RIFd, some with over 20 years experience in the same legal dept.

      Some few of them land on their feet, more or less, scrounging at eat-what-you-kill "of counsel" positions in law firms of their friends. Some never find attorney employment. Some few also do get back in-house, but at sharply reduced salaries, 60-80K less than before, since it is indeed a buyer's market.

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    6. @2:31,

      My comments re general practice are mostly second hand. I also agree with your sentiment regarding competency in BL, it can never become as low as what is exhibited by some small law practitioners, but as you pointed out, the pressure to make unrealistic promises has crept it's was there as well.

      Patents R US,

      I had a suspicion that the squeeze to firms would eventually creep it's way into the inhouse jobs. It's a shame. It really is. People with multiple professional degrees, technical and legal, and multiple years of work experience are getting fucked hard...

      Lol at law schools marketing this as a growth area. The sad thing is that they'll probably get a few thousand victims a year to sign up for the scam on the false pretense of patent law riches.

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    7. Outside the Law School Scam needs to talk about the bloodbath that is patent law in a post. People might be thinking that IP law is somehow immune to what is happening in the legal industry. I know that I did.

      Granted most lemmings are not even in a position to care as bog standard political science or humanities majors are not eligible for the patent bar anyway. But for people who are it would be a great service to dispel the myth of patent law.

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    8. Why can't an engineer not go back to engineering after they graduate law school? Why will engineering not take them?

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    9. "...can't an engineer not go back"

      For those that bail on IP law and try to go back to engineering, well, it's like any other profession. After 5 years (figuring LS and the time it takes the noob lawyer to find out - and fully accept - s/he's going to fail to get a solid IP law position), you're pretty stale and there's plenty of newgrads who have taken your place.

      Even if you maintained great contacts at your former employer, they know you've been trying to get a job as a patent attorney. They strongly suspect you'll be looking for that kind of work while employed by them and will leap at the chance to get it, if it comes up. So why would anyone re-hire you?

      Scarlet L has branded you for good (or ill).

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    10. All you need to know about a profession is the types of questions you get asked in an interview --

      Law, "you went to school in the South?" and "you made the jump to a better firm after getting a great gig after finishing with a 3.1 GPA... that right?"

      Software, "what's the best way to stop memory leak in garbage collection in LSI call?"

      Corp executive management, "how'd you fix that [SCF] hole after they dropped your staff and raised your figures in two years?"

      Delete
    11. anon at 5:51,
      I'm anon at 8:44.

      In my case it was difficult to go back because the industry had changed, even in the 4 years I had been gone. I was willing to retool, and at a lower pay grade that I was at before. I was willing to relocate to remote locations. I had maintained plenty of contacts within the industry and got several interviews for engineering positions, but I always got The Question: "Why are you going back to engineering? You're a lawyer."

      I had what I thought were great answers for them, but I didn't get any jobs. Apart from the interviews, I applied to dozens of engineering jobs that I was exquisitely qualified for and never heard a whisper. And indeed, the recruiter I had worked with also said he thought I would find it difficult to go back to engineering.

      This topic has been covered before in previous posts and comments on OTLLS.

      From their perspective, you're a person who left for something better, couldn't hack it, and now will be back with a chip on your shoulder, and maybe with a litigious, entitled manner. The JD is a stain that cannot be erased or hidden. You can lie and say you were in the Peace Corp or something. However, most of us will have some link on the internet that ties us to law school, and that a prospective employer will find within 5 minutes doing a Google search.

      Also, note this - many major corporations have formal mentoring programs to let moms get back to their former careers after they raise kids, so they recognize valuable employees can return after taking time off. See the Honeywell website for example. But there's nothing you can do if you got a JD.

      Like a Morgul blade, its damage cannot be undone.

      Delete
    12. @Anonymous 5:51am

      In no particular order:

      Because you're now at least 3 years out of date in the engineering profession.

      Because the JD is perceived to make you a flight risk to jump to law jobs when one comes along

      Because you're not viewed as committed to engineering, otherwise you never would have left it to become a lawyer.

      Because you'll be dissatisfied with an engineering job after having gone to law school.

      Because there are loads of newly-minted engineers that will do your old job for a lot less.

      Because you're too expensive.

      Delete
  6. and this is how UNT Dallas College of Law describes its mission - "widening access to legal education for those who could be superb legal professionals but who cannot realistically access a legal education given factors including location, cost, and ***the current role of the LSAT*** in admission to and financing of law school"

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. In other words, the _UNT (fill in letter of your choice) Dull-Ass College o' Flaw and Bait Shop caters to people who are too goddamn dumb even to get the abysmally low LSAT scores that other toilets require.

      "Mi$$ion: Widening access to legal education for those who certainly will never be competent legal professionals but who are being kept out of the law-school scam by factors such as imbecility."

      Old Guy

      Delete
    2. Without resort to newfangled stuff like the Urban Dictionary, Bunt, Dunt, Funt (Allen), Hunt, Lunt, Nunt (nod to dybbuk), Punt, and Runt come to mind.

      That is all.

      ;-)

      Delete
    3. "These be her very C's, her U's, and her T's." ——Twelfth Night

      Old Guy

      Delete
  7. The fact is that most law students today are too dumb to be decent lawyers. That fact should not be whispered; it should be affirmed openly and unapologetically.

    And, yes, there are dumb bunnies at Harvard and Yale, and not just one or two.

    Old Guy

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  8. not to be rude, but why do we care about that stupid book/article? it is just splitting hairs at this point. the LS gravy train is derailing, and the special snowflakes will continue to enroll based on what they see on TV, evident here

    http://lawlemmings.tumblr.com/post/99405804132/festival-of-dumb-lemmings-megapost-watch-out-legally

    ReplyDelete
  9. Comments in this thread are spot on. Law = sales.

    However, its like a sales job where you can only get a start by getting high marks in pointless random issue spotting exams.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yup. You'd be better off borrowing $150k to start a Maids franchise. If you succeed, you'll be your own boss. If you fail, at least you can discharge the debt in bankruptcy and move on with your life.

      Delete
    2. Absolutely.

      To the point of this entry: The professors complain about the quality of their students behind their backs - but cash the student loan tuition checks nonetheless.

      This, my friends, is another hallmark of the ruthless scheming scammer: Nice to their victim's faces. Contemptuous of them and robbing them behind their backs.

      As far as these trash professors, these thieving academics, it's not like they're the sharpest tools in the shed either. Contrary to their own propaganda, I seriously doubt a comfortable mid to high six figure job is waiting for them in the private sector where they could make "so much more money". And all while working 6 hrs per week?

      I don't think so..

      Fuck off.

      Delete
    3. "Contrary to their own propaganda, I seriously doubt a comfortable mid to high six figure job is waiting for them in the private sector where they could make 'so much more money'."

      All but a tiny fraction of them will be lucky to find any job at all when they're cut loose. Some can become administrators at other schools. Some might have government connections or connections with wealthy non-profits. But as far as actually practicing law goes, no way no how. Even freshly minted law grads are probably better equipped to practice than the typical law prof.

      Delete
    4. Yes, but how many people going into law school (other than the rich kids, who needn't worry anyway) can borrow $150k for a franchise? The law-school scam is one of the few channels through which miscellaneous people who regard themselves as intelligent (he says guardedly) can borrow six figures without having to prove the ability to repay the loan. Lemmings flatter themselves as creditworthy leaders of tomorrow. Of course, their creditworthiness doesn't even come into the frame; they serve merely as conduits for funds that the state will foolishly dispense in any amount that the scamsters choose.

      Old Guy

      Delete
    5. Well said, Old Guy. That's the nub of it. Nobody, not even the SBA, is going to lend some 22-year-old 150 large to start a business but that is, in effect, what is happening with student loans. Legal education is a business investment that no sane lender would ever finance under current market conditions.

      Delete
    6. "All but a tiny fraction of them will be lucky to find any job at all when they're cut loose. Some can become administrators at other schools. "

      Probably not, since most schools will be only one financial notch higher, and won't be looking to share their shrinking budget with another body. And the good schools have no reason to hire administrators from failed bottom-tier schools.

      Delete
  10. It is interesting that the law review editors let the author get away with the improper "alright." But then, as Bryan Garner says “alright” as one word “may be gaining a shadowy acceptance in British English.”

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sad but true, literacy is too much to expect from a law student, a law professor, or a lawyer.

      Old Guy

      Delete
    2. The editors probably rightfully thought, "heck, she's from UMass, where only 1 in 5 get real lawyer jobs; cut her some slack".

      To give that LS some credit, though, the last 3 years has seen their incoming 25/50/75 LSATs all increase each year and enrollment has dropped.

      (Although their LSAT even at the 75th still hasn't pierced the paper ceiling of the test-taker 50th percentile)

      Delete
  11. Alright and outasight.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Reading the comments here we can complete the title of Prof Campos's book "Don't Go To Law School Unless..."

    You are a rich kid from a seriously rich family.

    That's it, period.

    ReplyDelete