Friday, June 12, 2015

Athornia Steele, Nova Southeastern Law Prof. and LSAC Board of Trustees Chair, compares scambloggers to the "wicked witch" from the Wizard of Oz.


(The Hotel del Coronado, where the Law School Admission Council recently hosted a four-day, three-night vacation/ conference for hundreds of law school admissions professionals).

Somewhere over the scambow is an enchanted realm called law school. You get there by riding a twister of career service lies, and then just follow the lemming debt road to an unforgettable three year long encounter with a faculty-full of wise and beneficent law wizards. It does not matter if you have a munchkin-sized LSAT score and the social conscience of a rusty can. The magic pedagogy of the law wizards will supply you with brain, heart, and a lollipop-sweet career that will have you up to your ankles in million dollar rubies. Just don’t be unnerved or led astray by the wicked scambloggers, or all those angry-as-a-flying-monkey law alumni.

From May 27 to May 30, 2015, the Law School Admission Council (LSAC) hosted a conference for some 500 law school admissions professionals at the Hotel del Coronado, an enormous Victorian-era luxury beachside resort hotel near San Diego. The hotel is alleged to have been author Frank Baum’s inspiration for the Emerald City of Oz. Naturally, the LSAC hosts did not forego the opportunity for some tongue-in-cheeky Oz-inspired wordplay and analogies. (E.g., "Speakers and beaches and workshops, oh my!") Indeed, the very title and theme of the conference was drawn from Oz: "A Brain, a Heart, and Courage: Leading Law School Admissions Today."

LSAC's most recent biannual newsletter, issued in May, is partially devoted to the conference and its objectives. The newsletter includes the following unforgettable comments from Nova Southeastern Law Professor (and former Dean) Athornia Steele, who is also the Chair of LSAC's Board of Trustees:
* "You, the admission professionals, are like Dorothy, the Scarecrow, the Tin Woodsman, and the Lion courageously in search of a way home, a feeling of stability, and a sense of forward momentum. We are all hoping that there IS a Wizard of Oz, or at least a Good Witch, who will help us in our quest."
* "Like the journey our Wizard of Oz friends took across the poppy fields, into the Emerald City, and through the dark forest, the work of LSAC and member law schools will not take place overnight and without some challenges. Unlike the journey to Oz, we’re not dreaming up these challenges; they are very real."
* "I have always loved the story of the Wizard of Oz and believe it to be a story directed to adults as well as children. If you go to your library’s catalog or Google any combination of the words leadership and/or personal development along with Wizard of Oz, a number of books and articles written on the leadership and personal development lessons of the Wizard of Oz appear."
* "Legal education in general, and admission professionals in particular, are engaged in a journey. It may take a bit more than clicking our heels together to overcome the wicked witch of the scam bloggers, rankings, negative media stories, declining applications, and pressuring deans, but at least at this annual meeting and educational conference, we can take some time to consider possibilities, recharge our internal strengths, and bask in the support of our friends and colleagues (and some lovely beaches and sunshine)." (Emphasis added). 
Now, Dorothy did say that there is no place like home, but a fancy resort vacation is still pretty good, especially when LSAC or one's employer is picking up the tab. And, of course, there is also law school-- there is definitely no place like that. 

It may be presumptuous to criticize a children’s fantasy classic, but it really is a shame that the story did not end on a more uplifting note. There should have been a joyous concluding scene where Dorothy mortgages the family farm to attend law school so that she can address the obvious crisis of unmet legal needs in her small Nebraska, I mean Kansas, rural community, as well as elevate her own leadership skills and personal development. In solidarity with Toto, she could then go on to obtain an LLM in Animal Law, the better to critique the legal system's species-based hierarchy.

Lacking that, it is fortunate that we have great and powerful legal intellectuals like Professor Athornia Steele to tease out the similarities between Oz and law school recruitment. Which scambloggers can do too, of course, but our perspective is tainted by wicked witchery. 

(There are a few other only slightly less ridiculous things from LSAC's newsletter archive that are worth discussing, and I will highlight them soon in another post or posts, my pretties. [Evil cackle, cloud of smoke, and exeunt]).
 

32 comments:

  1. "and then just imagine following the open road of never-ending lemming debt to an unforgettable three year long encounter..."

    Just a suggestion. Perhaps too cumbersome.

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    1. I think it's more like "the open commode" rather then "the open road."

      And that commode is open because a scam dean just took a huge nondischargeable shit on a couple of lemmings with LSAT scores in the 140's.

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  2. Good. I, for one, consider it a badge of honor to wear the black, pointy-hat-ed, Elphaba-ean mantle of the Wicked Witch of the West. Somebody has to defy gravity and tell the truth.

    http://outsidethelawschoolscam.blogspot.com/2015/01/old-predictions-still-unfortunately.html

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  3. If we're wicked witches (is that jd advantage?), and the admissions folks are Dorothy and the Tin Man, are the lemmings anything other than yellow bricks in the road to walk on?

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  4. Athornia Steele is freaking out that the days of ripping people off and blowing the fire hose of federal (printed) cash on destination "conferences" for a bunch of half-wit fucking secretaries is coming to an end.

    They are desperate because they were always grifters. Boomer wastes of skin, with IMPRESSIVE CREDENTIALS from "J.D., Capital University, 1977."

    If this country had any balls every one of these pieces of shit would be stripped of their property and rotting in a tiny cell.

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    1. Haha I am struck by the irony that even then, they would still be wasting taxpayer money and serving no useful benefit.

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  5. The better analogy is that of the Scamdeans and Law School shills to the Wizard himself, creating illusions from behind the curtain. The flaw in that analogy is that unlike the Wizard, these really are bad people.

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    1. "Pay no attention to those real stats behind the curtain!"

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  6. Yes, we're the ones charging idiots - and billing taxpayers - $143,456.21 in NON-DISCHARGEABLE debt for a worthless-ass law degree, right?!?!

    If only Athornia Steele had the balls, the brains, and the backbone to realize that the law school pigs are the ones feasting on young lemmings.

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  7. ♪ I could go to Thomas Cooley,
    The number-two law schooly,
    And sing a blithe refrain,
    Every scam blog condemning
    Like a zero-L lemming,
    If I only had no brain.

    I could take the LSAT,
    Score nowhere near one-eighty,
    Yet get into Duquesne
    And make buddies, I fancy,
    With dear Dougie Fresh and Nancy
    If I only had no brain.

    Oh, I'd get my JD,
    But just as a proem:
    White-shoe law firms, oh, I'd have my pick of them—
    And I'd go back for an LLM!

    A respectable civilian
    Should owe a quarter-million,
    The grandees to maintain.
    Go to Barry or Valpo,
    Spend your days eating Alpo,
    If you only have no brain. ♪

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  8. Nicely done, Dybbuk, as usual.

    The cheapest room at that hotel costs $309 per night, plus taxes and fees. (Members of the AAA get it for only $285.) For a mere $60 more, one can get the breakfast buffet for two (an $80 value). Parking costs extra.

    Aren't you glad to know that the LSAC, which seems to get the bulk of its money from people taking the LSAT, shelled out for a conference for 500 "professionals" at this expensive location despite "the wicked witch of … declining applications"? Obviously the interests of prospective law students are central to the LSAC's concerns.

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  9. Not a single word about the students enrolling in these fine institutions. That's pretty telling.

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    1. That really isn't fair, is it? Their job is to find gullible students who haven't incurred any bad credit yet. That's hard enough already. Don't expect them to care about the commonly understood purpose of law schools, which is to guide their students into legal careers. That's asking far too much of these beach-blanket party animals.

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  10. "Athornia Steele" sounds like some kind of tech gadget. Just the thing to attract a new generation of tech-savvy morons to Fort Lauderdale for a useless three-year initiation ritual. I hope they get a few beers along with their "financial aid" documents.

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    1. To me, "Athornia Steele" sounds like a madam.

      Believe it or not, the bearer of that name is male. He goes by Thorny. That's hardly better.

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    2. He sounds to me like someone from CaliTHORNIA.

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    3. "Athornia Steele" is clearly the pen-name of a writer who specializes in trashy romance novels. "Lashed by the Litigator", "50 Shades of LSAT", that sort of thing.

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    4. Wait, "Athornia" is a dude's name?

      Not that the "thorny" connotation was all that complementary even when I was expecting another gender. Oh well, you learn something every day, I guess.

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  11. Uncle Screwtape? Is that you? Comin' back as Athornia Steele?

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  12. I caught a big one today!

    No, I didn't catch some kind of ocean fish at the Coronado resort. But I did look up Athornia Steele's name. Turns out he's a man rather than a woman. And his name is listed in something called Rosenblatt's Deans Database, which should be very useful to legal scholars probing the lies, misdeeds, and felonies of some of these accursed creatures.

    Now you can just find a dean (or former dean, that's the real prize) in the database and google away. Imagine what those shysters were saying ten years ago.

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  13. Something that I found mildly distressing was that one of the keynote speakers for this event was Richard Clarke, a genuinely admirable figure.

    http://www.democracynow.org/2014/6/2/ex_counterterrorism_czar_richard_clarke_bush

    Now, that IS a come-down. From standing up to the bush admin. on counter-terrorism and Iraq to being the after-dinner entertainment for an assembly of academic carny-barkers.

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    1. That is indeed distressing. Why did Clarke get roped in with these carbolic-smoke-ball touts after correctly denouncing "Baby Doc" Bush for war crimes? Presumably he just collected his fee and left after a few days at the resort, without taking a more active role in the law-school scam. Even so, it's a shame that he lent his reputation to those scoundrels.

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    2. Say what you will about Bush and the Republicans. The scammers are all progressives. All of them.

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    3. Unfortunately, government-backed pseudo-capitalist scamming has no political persuasion.

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    4. I wasn't speaking about the Republicans. Obama is every bit the war criminal that Bush is, save for the latter's conviction by an international tribunal. The Democrats and the Republicans, in my view, have long since merged into a single right-wing, corporate, imperialist, militarist party.

      Most, though by no means all, legal hackademics fancy themselves progressive. But their self-image need not be true.

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    5. @6:48 PM

      I am writing this as someone who was once seduced by the divide and conquer of political affiliation. (There are lots of recovering partisans in the USA now.)

      Ave Maria Law School? Catholic? Notre Dame? Baylor? The University of Tex-ass? All the scammers are progressives? Then what are these guys?

      Count the scammers behind the scammers and see where your tally is at on the liberal / conservative divide.

      I am waiting with bated breath for some of the gurus on the right to sniff out the ULTRA SUBTLE RELATIONSHIP between federal government domination of higher education - that they fully participated in - and the complete clusterfuck that is at least 1.3 trillion in mostly bad debts (approx. half of that 'financed' via treasury borrowing...) that we're required to pretend are not bad.

      This clusterfuck was and is a bipartisan effort.

      Allow yourself to see that the veil has slipped down on the 'right,' too. The 'conservatives' are just as enthusiastic about bribes as the 'progressives.'

      Until the cavalry shows up (which is you and me, because none of the bastards in power are sufficiently interested in you or me), all I can offer you is a couple of liberal, progressive, law professors blogging athwart history and yelling, 'stop.'

      Sorry, you just won't find the relatively small(er) number of conservative law professors raising their voices in any comparable way.


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  14. Being a con man knows no party.... look up Mark Rich.

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  15. Does anyone know whether LSAC is cooking the books on Three-year Applicant Volume statistics? You know...so law deans can go to University administration and say "don't pull the plug on us because things are actually turning around. Just look at these LSAC stats and graphs."

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    1. I have wondered about this, especially earlier this year when the 2015 curve was plotted directly on the 2014 curve before LSAC "fixed" the charts later in the term. The curves are just so mathematically PRECISE for something that is supposed to be statistical data gathering, you know? They certainly pick and choose when to publish numbers (1 week here, six weeks there) and that non-regularity of data reporting could "smooth" the curve a little bit.

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  16. I remember applying to law school about 12 years ago. I knew absolutely jack shit about the law, and held the "esteemed" "law professors" in high regard. Much like Kingsley in the Paper Chase. This "Athornia Steele" is the typical dean material: his resume shows almost no legal experience at all. Still, he fit in well in academia, where it doesn't take much stress to work a silly job managing law professors who work about eight hours per week, re-use their old lecture notes from 10 years ago (because, as all trial lawyers know, the law never changes), "teach" to 1L's who are forced to guess at the answer through the "Socratic method," and who use their research time to write such interesting and useful articles as the Open Road, or Religion and Law, 18th Century Byzantine Orifices Juxstaposed Against 20th Century Victorian Gothic Rights, Space Law, etc. What's truly amazing is how word has spread (thanks to you, TTR and others) to the point of job losses, significant drops in applicants, and the actual planning by these fat-cats as to their own demise. Well done.

    Now that they are confronting the reality of their own demise, they have countered the situation with lowering standards. Here's the rub - lower quality students means reduced bar passage rates, and more students who obtained truly worthless degrees. None of that is a concern to this assholes. And, will the ABA actually police itself (or change its bylaws) so that dumbass schools like Thomas Jefferson can stay open, if, for instance, its bar pass rates are only 40%? Also, don't count out the new idea of letting students wipe away student loans if they claim they were deceived by the stats from their shitty law schools. While it looks doubtful that more lawschools are going to open, it seems they will fight like crazy to at least survive, whether by merger, lower standards, or some change in the laws/rules with regulators and the ABA.

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