Thursday, September 24, 2015

Brooklyn Law School Dean Nicholas Allard writes smug and jokey law review article bragging about how he refused to allow a nine-year-old girl to have a pet dog.

Last November, if you recall, Brooklyn Law School [BLS] Dean Nicholas Allard wrote a letter to Erica Moeser, President of the National Conference of Bar Examiners, imperiously demanding that Moeser provide a "sincere apology" for her "not only surprisingly defensive, but offensive" comment that the decline in bar passage rates was attributable to less able law grads, and also demanding that Moeser provide a "complete explanation" of her motives and timing.
 
In his letter to Moeser, which he cc’d to every other law school Dean, Allard instructed Moeser that there had to be a problem with the integrity and fairness of the bar exam when "more than a small number" do not pass since "graduating from an ABA accredited law school requires intelligence and hard work." Allard did not mention, in his pompous rebuke, that the 25th percentile LSAT score of incoming Brooklyn law students has declined by nine points between 2010 and 2014, prima facie evidence from his own institution that Moeser’s assessment was correct.
 
At the time, Allard’s letter to Moeser struck me in tone and substance as a thuggish attempt to deflect well-deserved blame from himself and fellow law deans by trying to bully and humiliate Moeser for the crime of stating the very, very obvious. However, Allard has a gentler and more personable side, which he exhibits in his recent boosterish law review article "A Dean Grows in Brooklyn," 46 University of Toledo Law Review 273 (2015). This light-hearted article about his first couple of years as Dean is filled with cutesy witticisms and mildly self-deprecating little vignettes meant to depict BLS as an upbeat, diverse, and tight-knit community of "thinkers, doers, leaders, and motivated bright students." Dean Grows, at 275. See e.g. Id. at 277 ("While pizza may seem like the great unifying force at the Law School, there are other common factors: namely their pride in their law school."); Id. at 275 ("Law schools are places of unbridled energy, intellectual curiosity, and unwavering purpose, preparing leaders in law, government, commerce, and education"); Id., n.20 at 288 ("Oprah Winfrey once told me to stop my name-dropping").

Consider the following anecdote from the article in light of Allard’s conflict with Moeser. It seems that Allard and a law student were chatting in an elevator the day before the bar exam. The student said that there was still "so much I still don’t know," but that she would nonetheless "just handle it and wing it if need be." Id., n.9 at 279. Allard supposedly replied, "I could not be prouder of you if you knew all the material. You are ready!" Id. The student later effusively thanked Allard for giving her the confidence she needed. Id.
 
Granted, the day before the bar exam is a little late to say "You are doing it wrong," but did Allard really find her can-do attitude to be as praiseworthy as actually learning the law? I suppose if Allard had had an extra few seconds in that elevator he could have added some additional confidence-building bullshit, such as: "And if you fail the bar, I will personally admonish the chief bar examiner that the test she administers must be terribly flawed in that it did not reward your intrepid winging.

Allard's article drips with accolades for the quality and commitment of the BLS faculty, but I was drawn to the paragraph where Allard gently teases the lawprofs for throwing themselves drinking parties in the middle of the day. He states, "What other group of people will use words like oeuvre a half dozen times in a single faculty meeting, talking about a number of different agenda items? I never even knew that oeuvre was word you said out loud! And of all the different jobs I’ve had, I’ve never worked with anybody who throws an off-site going away party during the week at four in the afternoon!. . . Who has a party at 4 p.m.? You gotta love it!" Id. at 279.

Yes, you gotta. Nothing fills my heart with love like the thought of six-figure-salaried law faculty at a trap school with an appalling job placement record and a declining bar passage rate toasting their oeuvres and slurping down cocktails at off-site parties held during work hours.
 
And finally to the most compelling portion of the article. Allard writes at considerable length about denying the request of a lonely nine-year-old girl, the daughter of a faculty member, to have a pet dog in law school housing. On the surface, Allard’s response to the girl would seem contrary to the nice-guy image he seeks to create. I mean, he did tell a lonely child that she could not have the doggie she yearned for. But here is thing: He was so solicitous of the child, turned her down in such a sweet way, and told the tale so amusingly, that his decency and caring shine through anyway-- sort of like a jolly St. Nick who spreads such abundant cheer and goodwill that you don’t hold it against him when he says that he deeply regrets that you can’t have a present.  
"I’d spent most of my career in the nation’s capital with a track record of problem solving. I worked with some of the finest law firms, leading public servants, and some of the best educational institutions in the world. But frankly nothing quite prepared me for the email I received one afternoon during my first week on the job. It was from a nine-year-old, a daughter of a member of the faculty. She wrote politely, articulately, and persuasively about a dog, or, more accurately, her lack thereof. In her email, she asked that she be allowed to have a pet dog in the law school housing where her family lives, even though BLS policy forbids pets. She explained that she had recently moved to Brooklyn, had not yet made a lot of friends, and would love the company of a dog, which she promised to love and care for. Moreover, she promised to make sure the dog would never bother anyone. "Please, Dean Allard," she wrote, "let me have a dog." I handled tough matters in my career, but I never had to tell a lonely nine-year-old she couldn’t have a dog. And, as it turned out, I had to dig very deep into my reservoir of life experience to handle such a skilled advocate.  
I emailed her back and empathized with her plight. I mentioned that I had lived in Washington, D.C. for a long time and had left many friends there, and admitted that I too was trying to make new ones. I explained that, while I was getting ready to become the dean, I had lived in the very same building and hoped that she and her family would like it as much as I did. But, I continued, I thought the law school residence was a better place for humans than for dogs. I closed my email by inviting her and her family in for a meeting to get to know each other and discuss her request. The precocious child emailed back, "I can fit you in Monday between 3:45 and 4:00 p.m." I’m no dummy. I took the slot. 
On the day of the meeting, in the presence of her mother, I heard the young girl argue her case in One Dog Lover v. BLS. I patiently explained the policy reasons behind the school’s ban on pets. "I really want a dog," she replied. I made a tactical retreat. "I wanted a dog as a kid too, and my parents said, ‘No,’" glancing sheepishly at her mother. "My folks gave me a goldfish instead. Perhaps you would like a pet fish?" [13 sentences of additional repartee between girl and Dean omitted] . . . I turned to her mother: "Not sure what to tell you here. She’s a tough, capable advocate. I recommend she go to law school."
Id. at 274-275.
Dean Allard does assure his readers that the girl adjusted alright to her dogless reality, and being the child of a law professor, there is no reason to doubt that her circumstances are relatively good. Although that may not last if she takes Allard’s rotten career advice-- or, shall I call it, the fruit of the poisonous Dean.
 
However, I am wondering about the children of recent and not-so-recent BLS alumni. It just may be that many of them have to do without a lot of things they might enjoy, or even need, because they have a parent who is struggling with educational loan payments (Brooklyn Law grads accrue an average of $114,953 in law school debt) or the stigma of a toxic degree. Perhaps the ever-gregarious Allard will consent to meet with each such child for 15 minutes to bestow some insincere commiseration plus a complimentary pet goldfish. Think of all the law review articles that would yield.
 
Unfortunately, all the starry-eyed mush and gush in Allard’s article, and even the humorous poster of Dean Wormer from Animal House that he hung on the wall behind his office desk (Id., n.8 at 278), failed to alter my conclusion that this guy is one cold fish. Pre-BLS deanship, Allard was a Rhodes scholar, a Yale Law grad, counsel to a major U.S. Senator, a partner at Latham & Watkins and then at Patton Boggs, and was widely recognized as a top D.C. corporate lobbyist. That is, a serious person and a faithful servant to the powerful. My guess is that the reason that Allard acts like an overly enthusiastic buffoon now that he has made a late-career transition into a high-profile academic leadership position is because he thinks that it gives him the common touch, sort of like George W. Bush with his fake cowboy act.
 
Maybe my resistance to the jokey charm that Allard displayed in A Dean Grows in Brooklyn is due to having read yet another article that Allard wrote, this one entitled: "Lobbying is An Honorable Profession: The Right to Petition and the Competition to be Right," 19 Stan. L. & Pol’y Rev. 23 (2008). In that article, written when he was still at Patton Boggs, Allard states that, "The simple truth is that our government cannot be bought." Lobbying, at 29.
 
I simply cannot believe that a man as sophisticated  as Allard wrote those words without experiencing a surge of duping delight, and that goes likewise for his letter to Moeser, and probably for all his law school promotional activities, not excepting recommending law school to a nine-year-old girl whom he has just screwed out of a pooch.

33 comments:

  1. Publish or perish.

    Please don't give this toady free publicity. Also, BLS as a "trap school?" They wish.

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    1. They trap wide variety of imbeciles, morons, fools, dingbats, and schmoes.

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    2. Like PresTTTige, I don't agree that Crooklyn rises to the shabby dignity of a trap school. It's just a plain old toilet.

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    3. I think Campos gave the classic definition of a trap school about 3 years ago. Part of his definition was that employment outcomes are good enough to create a false perception of low risk in the minds of applicants. His examples at the time were Fordham, USC, and George Washington.

      So Brooklyn, or American or Hastings for that matter, really aren't even good enough to be trap schools. However, they do meet another qualification, namely their location in cities that law students see as trendy and fun.

      My advice to any prospective law student would be not to attend Brooklyn or American under any circumstances. At least hold out for semi-legitimate trap schools like Fordham or George Washington. Insist on genuine financial aid as well, meaning no loans. You most likely can't repay them coming out of a trap school.

      And for California, avoid Hastings and hold out for Boalt Hall at Berkeley. Yes, the West Coast is that competitive. If you can't get into Boalt, you were never meant to practice law in California.

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    4. Yes, it was Campos:

      http://insidethelawschoolscam.blogspot.ca/2012/02/trap-schools.html

      His criteria for a trap school:

      (1) It's expensive to attend.

      (2) It's located in what the sort of people who go to law school tend to consider a desirable place to live (obviously these first two factors are related).

      (3) It has superficially attractive employment and salary statistics.

      Crooklyn certainly satisfies (1) (which law school doesn't?) and (2). But not (3).

      Campos's trap schools fall into the third tier or the very top of the fourth tier, by Old Guy's criteria. Recall that my third tier—schools such as Georgetown and USC—is decidedly dodgy and that my fourth tier should be avoided altogether. So I advise against the likes of Fordham and George Washington, even though they may not be quite so horrible as Brooklyn.

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    5. Yes, I can see that my use of the term "trap" deviates from Paul Campos's three characteristic test. I suppose I used "trap" in a broader sense to mean that the school has historically managed to attract a far better credentialed class than it has the right to, given what it has to offer. For instance, in 2011, Brooklyn's job placement record was below 50%, but its median LSAT was 163, same as Arizona State and Chapel HIll.

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  2. I really hope this Erica Moeser has the backbone to tell Dean Allard what needs to be said.

    In other words, (i) there are no jobs, (ii) thus, fewer applicants, and (iii) schools accept anyone these days to stay solvent.

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    1. I hope that she'll have the backbone to tell All Lard to fuck off. His petulant demand doesn't even deserve an answer. It's a threat rather than a question.

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  3. Good lord. All that is missing from this corny, self-congratulatory piece of smugness is a faculty lounge farting incident.

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    1. "Daphne tried to warn Percival about indulging in beluga caviar and Champagne at the mid-afternoon off-site party, but he just wouldn't be told."

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    2. Thanks loads. You made me spew orange soda all over my keyboard.

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    3. Which, due to Allard's heartlessness, the faculty would not be able to simply "blame it on the dog."

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  4. That article should constitute fair warning that Toledo law graduates may not be worth hiring. Especially those who made law review.

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  5. The headline should have read:

    "Brooklyn Law School Dean Nicholas Allard advises nine-year-old girl to ruin her life by going to law school."

    That's far more abusive than denying her permission to keep a dog.

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  6. I have visited Brooklyn Law School and I can tell you that the closest you will ever come to encountering Doers on Jorelemon Street is a few blocks down from the law school at a watering hole where they serve Dewars on the rocks.

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  7. Is Allard finally in the pantheon with Leisure Suit Larry Mitchell and the Valvoline Dean, et. al., yet?

    I think he might be.

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    1. Oh, you bet he is. I haven't seen this level of smugness and obvious duping delight in ... Forever.

      The thing is, at this point I tend to share his views of the idiots that go to law school. Anyone with half a brain is not going to law school. The Truth - that law school is a scam- has been widely disseminated for almost a decade now, so only the truely idiotic are attending now.

      Our mission should be larger - to destroy the lawyer brand rather than deter a few Lemmings.

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  8. All Lard lost an argument with a spoiled urban nine-year-old. Apparently the intellectual deficiency at Crooklyn isn't confined to the student body.

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  9. Just today that odious scamster All Lard published in The New York Times a criticism of the bar exams, which in his not exactly unprejudiced view are an evil monopoly's ploy to keep deserving Crooklyn toileteers from becoming lawyers.

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    1. Allard doesn't give a fig whether his students find jobs or pass the bar. The sole purpose of that commentary is to attract students to Brooklyn who feel ashamed of their low LSAT scores. That just happens to be Brooklyn's new admission strategy.

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  10. Apparently, sociopathy and narcissism are legitimate BFOQ's for becoming a law dean.

    By that measure I'm not qualified, but then again I still have a small shred of a soul left. I probably come out ahead in the bargain, on balance.

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    1. Allard is extremely unusual in that he's very much a narcissist and very much a sociopath. It's more "normal" in the world of psychopathology to lean towards one or the other. Allard, like others in our rogue's gallery, is literally one in a million. Very few people could do what he does. And very few people would want to do it, since it's morally depraved.

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    2. "Allard is extremely unusual in that he's very much a narcissist and very much a sociopath"

      What's so unusual about that? Allard is just like many academics.

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    3. I don't think that most law professors are both narcissists and sociopaths. For example, Nancy Leong has been misleading students and ruining their lives along with the worst of them. She doesn't seem the least bit ashamed of enjoying her ill-gotten wealth and leisure. Yet I don't see any evidence for sociopathy in her behavior. Narcissism, definitely. Entitlement, sure. Moral obtuseness, that goes without saying. Yet I don't see the sadism and sociopathy in her that I see in Brian Leiter.

      In fact, Nancy Leong's shockingly immoral action in bringing false ethics charges against a brilliant and well-informed commentator can be fully explained by the phenomenon known as narcissistic rage. Combined with her narcissistic appropriation of feminism as a supposedly decisive issue in her favor in any and every controversy, that paralyzed her moral reasoning and left her easy prey for Leiter's greasy, ugly, immoral, manipulative, and self-serving coaching.

      Nancy Leong's career appears to have been permanently tarnished and perhaps even destroyed by the shameful and ridiculous "Dybbuk" incident. However, the sadistic, destructive, inhuman, and casually immoral impulses behind it originated with Brian Leiter himself. Those impulses are too ugly for me to attribute them lightly to an entire class of people.

      My own guess is that there are no more than 15 people in the law school scam who are both truly narcissistic and truly sociopathic. We've met many of them, but not all of them, on the pages of this blog. These are people who are not only narcissistic enough to fake their way to the top of legal academia. They are also sociopathic enough to lie frequently and without conscience, and then devise schemes to harm, threaten, defame, and destroy anyone who challenges their lies. I'd claim that that's a rare combination, and that Leiter and Allard are both uniquely pathological personalities, each of them a "rara avis" or rare bird in his own predatory way.

      It's fascinating to find these unusual creatures, and I look forward to seeing more of them displayed on this blog.

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    4. Nicholas Allard is clearly a sociopath.

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  11. I graduated from Law School in the HeyDay of the boomers . . . mid eighties. I too had given up a good job to attend law school. I eventually landed on my feet and got into mid-law . . . but I have to admit that it was difficult at first. And it was a very depressing time until I found my way. I had virtually no loans to speak of at the time. So I can imagine what many of you younger people with large loans and limited opportunity are going through.

    What I recall about law-school is that so many of the Students were A**holes. I still enjoyed Law school and the friends I had there . . but many students were just unbearable.

    What I recall about working in law back then was that many lawyers were Narcissists. Nothing has changed since.

    Not sure what I am trying to say. I don't agree that there is still not potential for good lawyers to make it as solos today. It is far more difficult though then when I graduated because competing with the monster advertisers for business is not easy. You have to prove yourself able to get decent work and even then its tough.

    At any rate there is still opportunity out there. But you are entering a Profession where everybody is scrambling, where this is zero to little civility between attorneys and where, quite honestly, ethics is sorely lacking. The name of the game is winning the financial game. Everything else, including decency, is secondary when dealing with many in this profession.

    And I have been successful as a lawyer, especially financially. I can't complain. But looking back, I can't say that I would do it again. There is just not a lot of joy doing what we do day in and day out. Sometimes I can still get passionate about particular cases, but those days are rare.

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  12. Nando ran a photo of Allard a couple of years ago. I'll be damned if he isn't the most piglike human being I've ever seen. It'.s absolutely uncanny.

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    1. Which is why I gave him the sobriquet All Lard.

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  13. I'm looking forward to the day that Simple Jack (Ben Stiller from Tropic Thunder) gets into law school (See youtube, Simple Jack Trailer). I'm sure it's coming.

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    1. It happened in 2005. There were several people in their 50s and 60s attrnding my toilet. Unless they had a guaranteed "in" at a law firm, there was no way they would be ever be practicing law. Law schools regularly admit people who have little chance of practicing.

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  14. I just went outside and looked at the "super blood moon," which won't happen again until 2033.

    Somehow, it reminded me of all the blood, mostly figurative but occasionally literal, that the greedy scamprofs and corrupt scamdeans have on their hands. How many indebted students have committed suicide because of this unconscionable scam? That kind of blood doesn't wash off. It leaves a permanent stain on the soul.

    I'd imagine that Allard has nightmares about bloody corpses, symbolizing all the lives he's ruined and continues to ruin. I wouldn't trade places with him for anything this world can offer.
    He won't realize the full horror of what he's done until he faces a final judgment at the bar of Almighty God.

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  15. Mr Allard is an example of what can happen when a law school hires a lobbyist (not a practicing lawyer) to be the spokesperson and Dean. The faculty are responsible for their own mess..

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