Saturday, February 21, 2015

Lucky Hamline Law students may receive two diplomas.



Harvard. Yale. Stanford. No matter which top law school you attend, and no matter how well you do, you will only be provided with a single diploma.

But students of St. Paul's Hamline School of Law, who will likely complete their degrees at nearby William Mitchell due to Hamline's recently announced proposed merger with Mitchell, may get to boast twice the number of law diplomas offered by other law schools, even the very best. From the "Current Students Frequently Asked Questions" page on Hamline Law’s website:
What will my diploma look like (which school name)? 
Following acquiescence by the American Bar Association, classes of the combined school will have Mitchell | Hamline on their diplomas and students may be offered a second document with the name of their school.  

With double diplomas, students of the law school soon to be formerly known as Hamline will surely be able to double their problem-solving abilities and global perspective. Double their alumni network. Double their anticipated earnings in excess of similarly-situated non JDs  (so instead of a single lousy Simkovic million, they can anticipate two). 

Beyond a name on the wrong side of a vertical line and the parting gift of a second diploma, it will be interesting to see just how much of Hamline Law School actually survives the merger. And here I am not wondering about the exciting dual degree programs planned with Hamline University, or about "access to Hamline's athletic facilities" for William Mitchell’s presumably gym-deficient law jocks. Whether this merger is truly the birth of a "unified and vibrant blend of two institutions with common goals" (as Hamline Dean Jean Holloway characterizes it), or the elaborate burial of a dead law school, depends on how many Hamline faculty and staff will be retained by the new entity. The Dean of Mitchell stated that he "hoped" to avoid layoffs through voluntary attrition, but acknowledged that there will be "some cuts in faculty and staff." We will see.  

I want to note that Hamline Law, though small and relatively obscure, was a scam trendsetter in identifiable ways, and therefore merits the distinction of being the first law school to flunk out of existence.

1. Hamline has consistently reported one of the very highest percentages of law grads employed in full-time "JD-Advantage" positions, which a reasonable person may deem suspicious, especially given the vagueness of the JD-Advantage category.

For the Class of 2013, Hamline reported that it had placed 25.9% of its graduating class in full-time (FT) JD-Advantage jobs, the second best performance among the 200 or so ABA-approved law schools. By comparison: William Mitchell reported 12.9% (73rd place), the University of Minnesota reported 8.4%, and the national average was 11.3%. For the Class of 2012, Hamline reported that 31.6% of its grads landed in FT JD-Advantage jobs, making it the #1 JD-Advantage school in the nation for that year. For 2011, Hamline reported 20.0% in FT JD-Advantage jobs, a sixth place finish. [1]

2. Under its former Dean, Don Lewis (2008-2013), Hamline made a big effort to nourish a secondary income stream by marketing master’s degree and certificate programs to the non-JD seeking multitude.
 
For instance, in an article in Attorney at Law (Twin Cities Edition) published in May, 2013 ("Don Lewis of Hamline Helping to Shape the Legal Experiences of the Next Generation"), Lewis was quoted as follows:     
"There are a number of people out there who work in a number of professions who need some measure of legal education, but don’t necessarily have to go to law school. My view is that law schools (and particularly Hamline has embarked on this path) need to offer other options other than the JD. . . . We also need to be much more expansive in offering a legal education to a broader range of people."
Accordingly, Hamline currently offers certificate programs in Dispute Resolution and in Health Care Compliance to non-law students. In addition, wannabe conflict interveners can obtain a Master's in the Study of Law (MSL) with a Concentration in Conflict Resolution that can be completed in just 15 months, in-residence or online. ("One of our key goals is training you to be a conflict intervener who can deliver real value to an employer through your ability to creatively anticipate and solve problems"). Hamline also boasts a program in international business negotiation that interactively connects its students with fellow international negotiation students in Budapest via an IPad platform. 

Hamline also offers a Certificate of Global Arbitration and Practice, but no IPads and distance learning for that. Rather, you earn your Certificate by going to London for four weeks of intensive courses, at a cost of $6,850 in tuition and program fees (airfare and meals not included). Merger or not, there is still at least one more chance to become a global arbitration and practice certificate holder. Hamline's next intercontinental boondoggle-- excuse me, Global Arbitration program-- will run from June 14th to July 16th, where your international arbitration guru and jolly traveling companion will be Hamline Law Professor Allan Blair, a guy so wild and crazy that he has been known to spice up his scholarly work with reference to Saturday Night Live skits. See Edwin Butterfoss  & H. Allen Blair, "Where is Emily Litella When You Need Her? The Unsuccessful Effort to Craft a General Theory of Obligation of Promise for Benefit Received," 28 Quinnipiac  L. Rev. 385 (2010).

3. According to a recent article at Minnpost, Hamline "zealously marketed. . . its weekend JD track, which was apparent to anyone who walked through the downtown Minneapolis skyway system."  Does any other law school peddle a weekend JD program on skyways? Thanks to Hamline, I now visualize aggressive marketing and recruitment as an elevated pedway where higher education crosses over into scam. 

Given that Hamline may be on its way out, it is only fair to conclude this post with a kind word. I would like to praise the unnamed Hamline communications person who wrote up the merger announcement for Hamline Law’s "news and events" web page. In what I took as a snarky little dig at the 135th-ranked school set to devour 121st ranked Hamline, the announcement concludes by describing Hamline as "the top-ranked private law school in Minnesota according to US News & World Report."

So a possibly premature, but still heartfelt RIP to Ham the Scam. 

---------------------
note:

[1]  Go to this site:   http://educatingtomorrowslawyers.du.edu/law-jobs/calculator     

Then Click on JD Advantage, Long Term (LT), Short Term (ST), and Full Time (FT), which will generate the employment rates for law schools in rank order, according the formula selected. 

28 comments:

  1. After the merger, of course, St. Thomas will become the top-ranked private law school in Minnesota.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A law school founded in 1999 will soon be Minnesota's answer to Drake and Creighton.

      Delete
  2. Will they merge the law reviews as well? How about the Hamline Journal of Public Law and Policy?

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  3. This is a closure; they're calling it a merger to save face. I wonder what will happen to Hamline's faculty, especially those with tenure. Both of these law schools are rather small, and there's no way William Mitchell will be able to absorb everyone. If I worked at a law school, I would feel a little nervous about the precedent this could set...the poor dears.

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  4. The only RIP to Hamline is the fact that the scamblogs RIPped it a new asshole. Who's next?

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  5. I would not go there with a loan;
    I would not go by telephone.
    I would not with Dean Holloway;
    I would not go there any way.
    I would not go for MSL;
    I'd sooner burn for aye in Hell.
    I'd not to London town with Blair,
    Nor Budapest, nor anywhere.
    Not for "JD-Advantage" jobs;
    I would not, could not, join those slobs.
    I do not like Mitchell and Ham'.
    I do not like them, Scam-I-Am.

    Old Guy and Dr Seuss

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are blessed in the art of scam poetry.

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    2. Thanks. Unfortunately, scam poetry offers no greater chance of remunerative employment than does international environmental sports law.

      Old Guy

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  6. The grads from this dung heap can now wipe their ass with two law degrees. What a great bonus, huh?!?! Now, if they run short on toilet paper while sitting on the bowl - contemplating their MASSIVE debt and piss poor job prospects - these young men and women will now have access to two emergency reserves.

    Seeing that a typical law degree is physically about 2-3 times larger than an undergrad degree, this reserve should not be discounted. After all, who doesn't want to spend three years and an additional $140K+ in NON-DISCHARGEABLE debt - for two emergency reserves of toilet paper, i.e. white gold?!?!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Agreed. As if the stain from one TTT degree isn't enough, just to be completely sure that their grads are 100% unemployable, these "lucky" folks will receive two - that's right! - TWO shitstain JD degrees.

      Good Grief..

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  7. Another benefit to students from this judicious merger is access to TWO different alumni networks. Access to the powerful, the successful, the connected and protected within the prestigious Twin Cities legal community. Now every graduate from Mitchell/Hamline will have both Mitchell and Hamline graduates eager to help her reach her destiny.

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  8. A "document with the name of the[] school" is not necessarily a diploma. The "document" could be just a letter stating that Hamline clo—er, I mean, merged with William Mitchell. Indeed, the contrast between "a second document" that "may be offered" and "their diplomas" suggests that the document would not be another diploma. Hardly an exciting perq for the latest members of the vertical-bar set.

    And "acquiescence by the American Bar Association" suggests that the ABA reluctantly gave in to petulant demands from soon-to-be-closed toilet Hamline.

    Old Guy

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    Replies
    1. Possibly so. I interpreted "document" as "diploma" because it was a response to the question: "What will my diploma look like (which school name)?" I figured that the vague wording about "second document" was meant to forestall criticism and ridicule.

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    2. Would the ABA prefer that law schools never merge or close?

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  9. It could be the first diploma with lenticular imaging. Like a flicker ring, when you look at it with your left eye closed it will say one school and then when you look at it with your right eye closed it will say the other school.

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  10. Hamline has a nice law building, built in 1981 in the modernist style. I wonder how they're going to repurpose such a jewel. I'd hazard a guess that the undergrad school will find an urgent need for more administrative offices.

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  11. It's true that Hamline will lose visibility, if not prestige, from this closure/merger. I never would have given Hamline a second thought without their law school. Overpriced private schools are a dime a dozen, and that's where the real closure news is going to come from in the next five years.

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  12. I hope the leeches who have been pried off from this merger suffer extreme financial hardship.

    I hope they lose their homes, cars, savings, retirement accounts and never find work again.

    Then, when they die from exposure living under an overpass, I hope they go to hell for all eternity.

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  13. You all are looking at this the wrong way, e.g., with your "it's a scam!" glasses too tight on your bloodshot eyeballs.

    Hamline students now have an *unprecedented* advantage as they approach the marketplace. Dybbuk cues it here: "Double their alumni network." These special snowflakes are going to hit the twin cities with a double-barreled shotgun. William Mitchell's alumni network will clamor to hire them...as will Hamline's. JUST THINK: if some rich law partner got a JD from one school and an LLM from the other, these new graduates are practically already employed!

    Of course, you all miss this "jd advantage" because you don't realize the importance of networking despite the career services folks telling you over and over and over again.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Is that what the career-"services" folks told you? They told me only that helping me to find a job was not their responsibility. Oh, yes, and in the middle of first year, when I asked about finding work for the summer, they said that I didn't need a summer job and that I should spend the four-month vacation traveling all over France instead.

      Old Guy

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    2. This talk of mergers leads me to think of Cooley, that McDonald's of law skules, with its declining cluster of outlets in Michigan and Florida. And also of the corporate raider Infilaw. Could brand-name chains be the wave of the future?

      New England Law School | Boston may have hit upon a workable name for a law-skule franchise. It could turn Vermont Law School into New England Law School | South Royalton. Perhaps eventually it could even attempt a hostile takeover of New England Law School | Cambridge and New England Law School | New Haven.

      Old Guy

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    3. There is no future.

      Delete
    4. I love the idea of law school franchises. It would seem to me, though, to work better up the food chain. Remember when past crap-holes have adopted the Michigan State and Texas A&M names?

      Imagine a changed world:

      Elon becomes "Duke U. School of Law | Greensboro"
      Charlotte becomes "Duke U. School of Law | Charlotte"
      Richmond becomes "U. of Virginia School of Law | Richmond"
      Appalachian becomes "U. of Virginia School of Law | Appalachia"
      Regent becomes "U. of Virginia School of Law | Virginia Beach"
      Liberty becomes "U. of Virginia School of Law | Lynchburg"
      George Mason becomes "U. of Virginia School of Law | Washington"

      And so on.

      The first tier can get a whole log bigger!

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    5. Job applicant: I attended the law school that was recently absorbed by the law school you graduated from.

      Hiring partner (wiping away tears of nostalgia): We are like long-lost siblings separated only by a thin vertical line.

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    6. Oh, I do like the stately vertical line, but I hope that it does not become the standard for law school mergers. There are so many other attractive symbols to choose from:

      +♥✌☠☢☻☹☎ ▻➪Ⓜ☂☑♬ ❀✿✤♡

      Delete
    7. How about the skull and crossbones?

      Indiana Tech: University of Michigan ☠ Fort Wayne

      Old Guy

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  14. Class of 2010 here. It took me 6 years and 3000 applications to find a legal job and it's document review. Law school is quite possibly the stupidest thing I ever did.

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