Thursday, February 26, 2015

The "Edward Snowden" of LawDeans Speaks Out

"LawProfs are Public Servants and Law Schools are a Public Good, eh, Professor...?  Sure, I believe you too.  You see the quotations I'm making with my claw hands?  It means I DON'T believe you!"

James Huffman just penned an excellent piece, and similar to other watershed moments like the merger of Hamline and William Mitchell, or the Segal New York Times Article, this article demonstrates that more dominoes are ready to fall.

While I'm greatful for Huffman's voice on the one hand, the older I get, the crankier I get too, and the less forgiving I am of the academy who should have known better if they actually held true to the views they so carelessly espoused.  Honesty is great, but when the nuclear bomb has already gone off it is small comfort to those struggling to get past the detonation - and no small ire we all share when the establishment tried to pretend that there was no bomb blast in the first place.

This line reminds me of Dean Jay Conison in 2012.  The reason reform has been slow to non-existent is that 

"...most law faculty view themselves as public servants and legal education as a public good[;] they reject the very idea that legal education can even be thought of in business terms."

Public servants?  Give me a break.  That is a pernicious, outrageous lie, unless you consider sending thousands of students every year to the abbatoir "public service."  Firefighters, EMTs and police officers are "public servants,"  thank you.  Say what you will, but people working a thankless job at state agencies, that underpaid public defender, your local public librarian or school teacher, or a domestic violence case-worker are public servants long before pampered and suckled ScamDeans and LawProfs.  Try getting outside the bubble sometime.

Also, education is "not thought of in business terms?"  BWAHAHAHA!!!  Ignoring charter/private schools, technical schools, undergraduate schools or even Infilaw for the moment, whaddaya think this is, Europe, or something? This is 'Murica, where EVERYTHING is thought of in business terms.  Love it or leave it, you pinko punks.  Last time I checked, cheese-eaters may be socialists, but they are not blind.  Or from Wisconsin, necessarily. 

Back to the point, Huffman doesn't let the Cartel get away with this, despite his own prior history:

"Like it or not, law schools face real business challenges.  Demand has declined every year since 2010—not just a little but by nearly 40 percent. The same number of law schools have 33,000 fewer prospective customers than they had five years ago.  At a minimum, this means law schools must be far less selective...[i]t doesn’t matter how much public good they are doing, law schools, like the universities to which most of them are attached, do have a bottom line."

But we know this already.  We know all about preftiege, the bimodal-distribution of salaries, the challege of cutting "expenses," and everything else.  What is this really about?  Lazy, entitled students who don't want to work for a living, right?  Pampered Gen-X and Gen-Y know-nothings that want jobs handed to them on a silver platter, right?

"As someone who promoted all of the above as a law school dean and benefited from it all as a law professor, it pains me to acknowledge that during my nearly four-decade career legal education, I abandoned frugality for profligacy. Some of the rise in cost resulted from program expansions in response to a plethora of new legal specialties and from steady pressure from the American Bar Association for more training in lawyering skills that requires a much lower student-faculty ratio.

But the core factor in the escalating cost of legal education is that the guild of law school professors long ago captured the combined regulatory apparatus of the American Bar Association (ABA) and the AALS. We law professors have constructed a legal education model that, first and foremost, serves faculty interests—higher salaries, more faculty protected by tenure, smaller and fewer classes, shorter semesters, generous sabbatical and leave policies and supplemental grants for research and writing. We could not have done better for ourselves, except that the system is now collapsing."

BOOM!  That's it.  That is the hard, unabashed truth that has taken decades for anybody with any stones to admit.  All those years of laughing, derisive dismissal.  All those years of strawmaning struggling JDs.  All those years touting "versatility."  

It was nothing more than ABA-impotence coupled with Cartel shillery, greed, and regulatory capture.  Just like the SEC "regulating" Wall Street, LawProfs and Deans went back and forth between Schools and Association/Reuglation entities to self-deal.

Yeah, that sounds like "public servants" and "public goods" to me.  All the while denying and obfuscating the truth and blaming anyone but themselves.  Guess the limo-libby-law-profs need to take that log out of their own eyes and actually have something to answer for, after all.  I know, I know, thousands of graduates find the shock to be tremendous.

What are Huffman's recommendations for the future?

*  Cut faculty in half, devote most LawProf time to teaching.
*  Eliminate tenure, rely on the marketplace
*  Reduce law school from three to two years.
*  Stop the facilities arms race
*  Take advantage of on-line technologies.

BAM!  BAM!  BAM!  Things the scambloggers have said for years.  Things local bar associations have said for years.  Straight from the horses' mouth, no less.

Get ready, everybody.  We've know the truth for a long time, but actually having to compete in the marketplace (where the other 90-99% live) is about to launch ScamDean and LawProff butthurt into the stratosphere.  I'm sure there are plenty of struggling JDs (some near retirement, even) who will be more than happy to show the new players the ropes, amirite?  Collegiality, and all that jazz.

It was a long time coming.



  1. "most faculty view themselves as"

    Does EVERYTHING have to revolve aroud profe$$ors? Of course they take a favorable view of themselves as hard-working, self-sacrificing little saints serving a public mission. So fucking what?

    Legal "education" these days is nothing but a business—one of the lowest order, akin to usury. It is run solely for the sake of the profe$$ors, maladministrators, and (in the case of Infilaw and cronies) investors who collect the lion's share of the benefits. Any concern for the students or for society is secondary at best and increasingly is put on for mere show.

    Old Guy

    1. Agree with this 100% and with the following comment.

      And oh yes.. How convenient that they aspire to think of themselves as public servants and doing public good (cough!) typical academy bullshit - as long as the generous stream of salary, pensions, and benefits is flowing.

      Now that the well is drying up, one of them has found religion. Convenient again. Thanks for nothing and it doesn't wash your hands (Pontius Pilate). I find much guilt, in fact, in and with him.

    2. Old Guy -- they totally believe it!

      Academics really do think of themselves as working for the public good.

    3. Law profe$$ors at the elite schools do tend to see themselves as floating high above the sea of common humanity, thinking up great thoughts in their ivory towers and driving innovative discussions. They think their great writings influence politicians and judges. To sink to the level of actual practice and dealing with facts would be beneath them.

      I know one professor fairly well. He doesn't think about the employment market even for his own school, much less any school ranked below about 10 or so. He actively despises his own students. He especially despises the slovenly students and the gunners.

      He makes about $275K/year and takes a lot of vacations on his yacht (true yacht > 30' LOA) in the Bahamas. He'll have an awesome pension when he retires in about 25 years or so, with great health insurance.

    4. @1:28 PM

      I was hoping you'd post here. You've mentioned him before in other entries. This is the exact attitude. All these fuckers care about is their golden pensions, salary, and benefits.

      You know what? IF that didn't come at the expense of everyone else - people's lives and futures - fine. People look out for #1 always. But this isn't the case.

      This guy isn't analogous to Edward Snowden. More like Judas Iscariot.

      And as far as I'm concerned, I wouldn't care if he hung himself. The world, IMO, would be a better place. The rest of the surplus law professors and deans? They can go the same way, and decrease the surplus legal hackademic population.

    5. I'm @ 1:28.
      Well, it's not just him. I've observed that attitude in most of the tenured law profe$$ors I have been around.

      It's pretty easy to tell when someone regards you with contempt. Some people have an innate ability to read body language. Others, like me, had to figure it out as we grew. But one obvious sign of contempt is a dismissive attitude or a smirk. Or literally looking down at a person through your nose, like Steve Carrell in Foxcatcher. And there are the "I am dominant" signs, like putting your hands above your head or leaning back in your desk.

      I remember thinking during 1L that I was paying $30,000 to these clowns, and that they worked for me. I thought they owed me some of their time if I had a question. As a non-trad used to getting along with people in the corporate world. I figured my education was a collaborative effort.

      Man, was I wrong. Every time I entered a law prof's office, a virtual ocean of disdain and contempt poured from the other side of the desk. Small wonder that I quit going to their offices after 1L.

      That's why I'm going to be quite happy when these "people" are thrown out onto the street. If you wait long enough, you'll eventually see the body of your enemy float by.

    6. You are describing people with personality defects, which might be why they are professors and not working as practicing lawyers. I went to a TTT in the evening, and I remember most of the professors being genuine, down to earth people. Maybe because it was a Jesuit University. I don't know. But I don't remember disdain or contempt for students. I would guess they are more arrogant at the higher tiers though.

    7. "As a non-trad used to getting along with people in the corporate world. I figured my education was a collaborative effort. Man, was I wrong. Every time I entered a law prof's office, a virtual ocean of disdain and contempt poured from the other side of the desk. Small wonder that I quit going to their offices after 1L."

      6:26 AM, this is why law school is just not for non-trads, and I'm living proof of it as well. Your initial inclinations would have been valid, but for the bait-and-switch that is law school. The real world operates on different principles than the cloistered ivory towers of legal academia.

      Real people work for a living. Posers teach law.

  2. There are no atheists in a foxhole, and Mr. Huffman seems to have gotten religion.

  3. Law school is a meat-grinder for the hopes and dreams of so many young people. The professors justify it with an ideological commitment to the following insane ideas:

    -There's not enough lawyers! Underserved communities! Diversity!
    -Most grads will go out and become millionaires anyway!
    -More lawyers = more social problem fixers = more social good

    The reality is that flooding America with too many lawyers decreases lawyers salaries and lowers the quality of person who wants to become a lawyer. This is bad for the legal profession and for professors, assuming they care about their students (loan conduits). The theory of flooding America with lawyers to solve all its social problems is turning into a nightmare for the legal profession, law students, and now law professors. Their monster is turning on them.

    The best case scenario for lawyers is: fewer, better paid, better quality students, better quality people. Reforms ought to take us to this endgame.

  4. He's not really leaking anything of substance. It's more like a deathbed confession of a crime the police knew about but couldn't quite prove. But I do respect him for going public and putting more pressure on the shills who still try to defend the scam.

    1. True, it does come across as "well, hey, I got mine over a 40 year timespan, so NOW I'll speak out about the problem...!" But some pressure is better than no pressure, I guess.

  5. If law "professors" think of themselves as public servants, perhaps they should be compensated like public servants....teachers, fire fighters, police officers, etc. I am not shocked by the idea that they are scandalized by the notion of thinking of legal education in business terms. That kind of aloofness is pervasive in academia. Do professors (both the law variety and the real kind, i.e'. the ones with PhD's) not understand who pays their salaries? Do they not understand the concept of student loans and debt? I know first-hand how oblivious some professors are. I remember in grad school talking to a professor who was SHOCKED to learn that I was financing my education with loans....he just assumed that my parents were paying everything for me (just as his parents probably paid everything for him). These people are so clueless.

    1. Fire fighters, police officers, and even public school employees are quite well-paid, relative to most people. Certainly, relative to most of the recent law school grads.

      There are a lot of local governments out there with strained finances because they can't fund the pensions owed to these public employee unions.

      If the law school system is collapsing, local governments that cater to public employee unions can't be that far behind.

    2. Not to derail the conversation too much, but I come from a non-union state so the idea of a public pension is foreign to me. I don't hate the idea in principle, but I still don't understand how the public-pension folks did the math on these things, or why they thought the music would just play on indefinitely at the formulae they came up with.

      "The stock market never goes down! Neither do home prices, it's a sure thing!" Talk about wishful thinking. Now everyone will pay the price for over-optimistic stupidity.

    3. In or about 1979-1980 I read a quote by a Japanese auto executive along the lines of: "Certainly you couldn't have thought you could go on forever paying people $25.00 an hour to build cars for people who made $10.00 an hour." But that's the point. The UAW thought that it could go on. It didn't. It won't go on forever with the public sector unions and it won't go on forever with people supporting law schools by borrowing $200,000.00 to be able to earn $50,000.00 a year.

    4. Thomas Cooley -- shut down its Ann Arbor campus and affiliated itself with Western Michigan University.

      Detroit -- declared bankruptcy.

      Do you see a trend starting? There's not much difference between the concept of tenure at law schools/univerisities and seniority/job protection at public sector jobs. It should be no surprise that they seem to be heading in the same direction.

    5. God have mercy on Detroit.

  6. Professors are nothing more than self servants and any belief otherwise is hilarious. How can they be serving the public collecting a bloated salary and leaving far too many graduates in financial ruin?

  7. You guys still give way too much credit and or lack of credit to law professors. They are generally people who grew up in the upper middle class . . . went to top law schools, and determined early in their careers that being a law prof was preferable to being a practicing lawyer. Same with most Judges. Give up the potential income that successful lawyers obtain in return for security, a guaranteed salary and pension, and prestige. Not a bad gig if you can get it. I highly doubt though most of them are under any illusion of being anything more than they are. . . bureaucrats and teachers.

  8. This LawDean focuses on the "business model" of law school, rather than the state of the legal profession as a whole. Frankly, he's just looking-out for the interests of the school administrators, thus kicking under the bus law professors, students and the overall profession.

    Bottom line: you need to shut down HALF the existing law schools. One cannot get around this fact, regardless of what self-serving suggestions the Dean proposes. We need only 40% to 50% as many law school graduates pumped-out per year.

    Frankly, anyone who talks about law school reform without FIRST proposing a significant reduction in the overall output of law school graduates does not seem to understand what the real problem is.

    This is why I OPPOSE making law school 2 years (rather than 3). It will only saturate the profession even more. It frustrates me to no end how people are so shortsighted into thinking making law school 2 years will help the situation. It will make things WORSE!!

    1. Check your math there, Einstein. Shortening the course won't produce more lawyers. It'll produce exactly the same number of grads each year except in the year the switch takes place and the last class of three-year grads graduates at the same time as the first year of two-year grads.

    2. Although from a mathematical perspective the original poster made an error, maybe he or she meant that turning law school into a 2-year program would make entice more people into wanting to attend, since it would be less of a time and money commitment (although I could easily see the schools charging $75,000/year in order to squeeze the same amount of money from students in two years as they currently do in three). As more people start applying, the current trend of declining numbers of 1Ls would reverse, and the problem would in fact be made worse. I could easily imagine a bunch of new law schools opening up if law school became a 2-year endeavor.

    3. I think what 11:24 is trying to say is that by making law school only two years and allowing on-line degrees etc ... it will entice more people to go to law school because it would be easier to get a JD degree (less time, money, and effort). I'm all for reducing costs, but I agree with 11:24 that the first priority has to be bringing the number of JD's produced each year into alignment with the number of legal jobs available to those JD holders. And that means a lot of schools need to disappear (either through mergers or outright closures) and most of the schools that remain need to reduce enrollment.

    4. Yes! Yes, to 5:45!!! The unnecessary law schools MUST close. We can debate the exact number that need to close (I would say the bottom 100 should be shut down immediately, for sure, and maybe a few of the scammier of the top 100 schools as well) but massive closure is an absolute prerequisite for fixing the crisis in legal education and legal employment in this country. We can talk all day about greedy, parasitical law "professors," high debt levels, and desperate, unemployed JDs, but nothing will change until we see about half of the existing law schools close their doors. And that won't happen until either 1.) enough lemmings wise up and stop applying to law school, or 2.) the government turns off the spigot of federal loan money.

    5. Honestly, what do you think will happen when law schools go down to only two years (thus, becoming a Masters Degree)?

      The law schools will almost certainly expand their class sizes, and we'll see a proliferation of law schools in the same way we saw a proliferation of business schools.

      Further, we may start seeing non-law schools offer law degrees, in the same way non-business schools offer MBAs.

    6. 9:10 here -- I want to expand on my comment.

      If, for example, you have 100 students for each year of law school, there will be 300 students total in the school. If it's a two year program, you'll have only 200. You can be assured the school will expand the class size to 150 to make-up the lost revenue.

      Also, a Masters degree (which is what the law degree will become) is really easy to obtain. The only thing prohibitive about it is the cost. Otherwise, you can get one in your sleep. I know people in their 50s and 60s that go back for one, and they do it on the side with a minimal time investment. This includes an MBA.

      Thus, the flood gates will open for people wanting to return to school and get a law degree, especially given how easy it will be to get one now. Before too long, you'll start to see "Executive Law Schools" popping up (modeled after the Executive MBA programs), which cater to working people who want the degree.

      I can't imagine this will be good for the legal profession. Just because law schools currently are failing to adequately train lawyers doesn't mean there isn't proper training required in order to be a "good" attorney.

    7. I believe that Northwestern already offers a 2-year JD. Of course, right now it's a traditional 3-year JD program compressed into 2 years, but it could be a sign of things to come. And Northwestern is also offering some sort of master's degree in law, which is just a debt-inducing cash cow.

    8. @10:23 -- it's NOT really a 2 year degree.

      It's the full 3 year curriculum compressed in 2 years, AND it costs the full 3 years price.

      Yup, the law school scam artists are going to get their money one way of the other.

    9. 10:23 here. I know it's three years of coursework compressed into two years -- I described it that way in my post. :-) I know they couldn't award a JD if you only took 2/3 of the classes. I think it attracts a lot of non-trads who want to earn a law degree and start practicing law fast to ,make up for lost time. But in the hyper-saturated legal market of Chicago, it's a terrible idea.

  9. One, and the most pertinent, component absent here is:


    Yes, the man's recommendation would cut costs, but one of the points--law school should be two years, would just flood the market further, with more clowns being popped out.

    Question: Would making law a four year B.A. be better? That is, tuition would be cut in-half, there would be less impetus to open a law program, and there would only be new crops of clowns every four years?

  10. "This is why I OPPOSE making law school 2 years (rather than 3). It will only saturate the profession even more. It frustrates me to no end how people are so shortsighted into thinking making law school 2 years will help the situation. It will make things WORSE!!"

    So perhaps we should make law school six years long?

    1. To answer 11:43 above, it will only add additional graduates for one year. Each year after that you'd have the same number of graduates per year as you would with 3 year degrees.

    2. Law schools will just increase their class sizes.

      If you have a 3 year school with 100 students per year, you have revenue from 300 students. A two year school with 100 students per year, you will have revenue from just 200. I'm pretty sure schools will expand class sizes to 150 in order to make up that lost revenue.

    3. Seconding 9:18.

      Six years is obviously an unrealistic length, but a longer duration for law school would be better--notwithstanding the cost.

      The basic problem is that there are too many people seeking a JD. As the ABA has demonstrated, it is incapable of curtailing the supply side of the JD production--thus scam schools like Cooley exist. In the case of curtailing supply, the ABA is clearly more susceptible to antitrust claims (as this would be an effort made to directly affect trade).

      Conversely, if the ABA were try to affect overall matriculants by extending the duration of law schools or the general accreditation standards it has in place, this would be a professional regulation. A regulation is much more defensible.

      The blunt restraint of JD output would be a restraint on trade. A pure restraint of trade (in the context of a learned profession) would make this like Professional Engineers v. U.S. However, a professional regulation would be like California Dental v. FTC. At least in the case of a professional regulation, the ABA has much more leeway.

      I do not necessarily mean this as a defense of the ABA. I sincerely doubt that the ABA's interest is aligned with students. However, there are only certain actions it can take. Unfortunately, an economist with only the vaguest understanding of antitrust law could devise a better strategy than has the ABA.

    4. I don't get it. Why can all the other professions restrain trade/regulate but law can't? I haven't read those cases, but I just can't understand this. The reason doctor salaries, and really all other salaries, are so high is because they not only restrict output, they generally also have unions and regulations creating a minimum rate/also receive FLSA protection. For instance mechanics have a minimum labor rate they can't actually go below by law.

      If I knew law was this stupid, obviously I would not have entered it. I would have joined one of the other professions. Being a lawyer is like being a fast food or retail worker, except you don't get paid OT.

    5. I think doctors are the only profession which really restricts entrants. All other similar professions do suffer from overproduction. Law is the worst though, for a number of reasons.

    6. 10:11, 9:22 here -

      It's not that other professions can restrict output and law can't--in theory the legal industry plays by "professional standard" rules that would grant it some degree of immunity from antitrust issues--it's just ironic that the legal education industry can't use legal reasoning (the same reasoning it should be imparting to students) for the benefit its students. What I was getting at is that there are lots of things that the ABA could do to reduce applicants. However, the ABA is clearly not operating for the ends of the debtors--merely for the academy.

      Honestly, I'm not sure how the medical field restrains matriculants. I'd be curious for someone to explain that one. I doubt it's purely the length of training, otherwise the equivalent of a medical Cooley would start shitting out MDs for any mouth-breather with a pulse. If I were to guess, it would be that the medical education cartel is working under a gentlemen's agreement for the benefit of those who meet their standards/quota.

      However, as for unions, (1) they're exempt from antitrust laws under Clayton §6, (2) they do not agree to exempt themselves from FLSA, and (3) not going under a set wage (I think you're referring to prevailing wage) is another issue all together.

    7. The key with medicine is you need to do a residency and the government funds, and thus restricts, the number of residencies. They are exempt from anti-trust. In addition, those who don't make the cut can become Dentists, PA's, Optometrists or Podiatrists. No similar advanced-degree options exist in the law. Look at all those cater-to-Americans med schools in Latin America and the Caribbean. Create more residencies and all of their students would be fighting to get into the TTT stateside medical schools that would spring up.

      And to be a CPA you must be really good at math which would eliminate most law students.

  11. The ABA is like the SEC except that the SEC is not peopled with regulators who are simultaneously employed by the institutions they regulate, and the ABA is.

    In fact, all these "accrediting" agencies, which are quasi-governmental in that they set the rules under which schools can take money from the Department of Education, are composed of persons presently employed at schools and universities that they regulate.

    How fucking outraged would Americans be if Jamie Dimon (CEO of JP Morgan Chase) was also simultaneously employed at the Commodities Futures Trading Commission?

    Fuck these law professors, fuck the ABA, fuck Congress.

    1. You speak the truth. The ABA fleeced taxpayers out of billions of dollars over the past few decades in fraudulent student loans. Criminals.

  12. Law Professors are starting to now understand that the question is not "Will half of us get fired?" but rather "Which half of us will get fired?"

  13. Reading Huffman, I did not get a sense that he is as a dissident intellectual who is morally dismayed by all the lies and suffering, a la Campos or Tamanaha. Rather, he is more like a clear-eyed business executive who is warning that his company or industry's income streams are drying up, and that its expenses are no longer sustainable.

    But that is fine. In fact, it is a signal that the scamblogging recommendations will actually be implemented because reform tends to happen quickly when business leaders perceive it to be in their self-interest.

    Look at Huffman's five bullet point recommendations! BAM! BAM! BAM! indeed. Hey lawprofs: You know, few of your former students, the kids whose gullibility made you rich, have anything resembling tenure, six-figure salaries, vast workplace autonomy, and free tropical vacations masquerading as conferences. As we are now, so shall you be.

    1. "As we are now, so shall you be."

      Love it.

      Death typically prevents anyone already there from gloating at the impending doom of others. I'm rather enjoying this viewpoint from beyond the grave, watching those who put me here realize that they are precipitously close to the same cold, lifeless ruin that they imposed upon thousands of us.

    2. They won't be in the same cold, lifeless ruin: they'll have their savings and their real estate and so on. Not to mention their trust funds and inheritances.

      Old Guy

    3. Sorry @8:00PM, they aren't going to be in nearly the same position. They won, they won for decades, they have more than enough money and even "experience" to have an easy, soft landing. Those that want to can easily find a position teaching at the undergrad level, it will be less pay most likely but the workload won't even be that much higher. They can teach some random humanities classes. Or most can just choose not to work.

      Or as parasite are wont, they are highly likely to find some other scam to run and suck on the government teat some more.

      These pigs won't suffer at all because nobody is actually willing to push for serious measures against them. The courts won't provide redress, the government doesn't care, and the grads can't even be arsed to do anything either. So they skate by and win. Whatever, that's life.

      I wish I didn't have to pay $150k to find out life isn't fair and that I wasn't born into the right situation in life. It's like being free and then forced into slavery. Probably better off just being born a slave.

  14. Imagining The Open ToadFebruary 27, 2015 at 2:08 PM

    I wanted to ask if you guys have been reading Steven's blog that you have linked here on your blogroll. If not, please do read the last two entries, which are also linked below.