Monday, June 20, 2016

LSAC: Not seeing the forest for the trees

Over the past few months, I have been trying to convince a guy at my work not to apply to law school. He's what you think of when you think of an aimless liberal arts graduate:
  • He has no real plan for the future
  • Law school seems like it will lead to a more secure future
  • He has vague hopes to "help people"
  • His parents are pressuring him to go to law school and "make something of himself"
Each week, I've been giving him tidbits about the things we discuss on this site. I was stonewalled at first.  The most distressing thing he told me: He was going to apply to Arizona Summit because he wanted to move somewhere warm, and then would try to transfer to a school in Miami after his first year. But, it turns out I didn't need to talk to him at all.

A couple of weeks ago, the guy came to me in a huff. He had already paid $500 to Kaplan for a LSAT course. He had paid $175 for the LSAT. He was now being asked to pay another $200 to LSAC to have the privilege to apply to law school. The guy applied for a waiver from LSAC; it was summarily rejected. He didn't have the money or the inclination to keep feeding the gaping maw of the legal industrial complex. So, he gave up the dream in frustration.

Let's review:
  • This guy was going to law school.
  • He didn't have outstanding academic credentials, which means he was going to likely pay full price.
  • Had he been let in, an ABA school would have received at least $120,000 in federally guaranteed tuition money.
  • LSAC decided that a $200 fee was more important than getting almost 600 times that amount to a member of its law school cartel.
Once again, the powers in charge of the train slowly barreling toward the cliff of irrelevance show that they are as short sighted as ever. If they keep acting like this, we may see the first closure of an ABA accredited school sooner rather than later.

Note: edited for clarity


  1. Damn.. That's not the outcome I wanted reading the CYOA storybook.

    The one I envision has him paying the money to LSAC, borrowed from his parents. They don't cosign any law school loans for him, however.

    He gets into his "dream school": Arizona Summit, an unranked "5th-tier" trashpit. The trashpit, formerly known as Phoenix School of law and now part of the Infi law school system. And, by the way, did ya'll (lol!) see this:

    "The total cost of attendance (indicating the cost of tuition, fees, and living expenses) at Arizona Summit for the 2014-2015 academic year is $64,856.[12] The Law School Transparency estimated debt-financed cost of attendance for three years is $243,864.[13]"


    He does his first year and lands in the bottom 25% of the class. Failing to transfer, he incurs the full $250 grand in tuition, plus 3 years COL in the glorious Western sunbelt.

    After graduation, he fails to find a job within a year and resorts to doc review and temp work to support himself, although both pay very little in 2020 at that point and are extremely sporadic.

    Developing an alcohol and heroin addiction, Our Hero is found dead in the gutter one fine day, a broken off heroin needle in his arm.

    Ah.. Now *that* is a perfect ending for a Douchebag such as this.

    Yet, unfortunately, this Ass Clown managed to Luckbox Fail his way forward and out of Divine Tragedy.

    He has cheated the Master of his rightful Fate.

    Ave Satanas baby...

    Ave Satanas.

    1. Maybe this guy has more good sense than we're giving him credit for. It took me a lot longer to realize what was happening.

      LSAC is a joke. Why can't students apply directly to law schools? It's scam built upon scam. Welcome to the legal profession.

  2. Cutting your losses after $675 is a major win, and yet this individual sounds far too naive to appreciate that sort of windfall.

    1. Was going to say the same thing. The good news here is that as the various members of the Cartel "clamp down" and make it harder, rather than easier, for people to apply in order to get their cut, then the spigot is turned slightly further towards the "off" position.

    2. He must not know that Indiana Tech last year covered the cost of the LSAT.

    3. I actually considered going to Indy Tech provided I got a full-tuition scholarship. Now that they're partially accredited, there's actually a chance of transferring somewhere decent. Although Phoenix/Summit DID fire two professors for writing recommendation letters to help a student escape, I rather suspect that Dougie Fresh is above that sort of pettiness.

  3. Also, "move somewhere warm" has to crack the list of all-time stupid reasons to invest hundreds of thousands of dollars in anything. I'm actually astounded that some more of the northeastern and midwestern holes haven't pulled an Ave Maria and relocated to the south just to lure in the crowd who view law school as either a vacation or a good excuse to move where they want to go, anyway. Newsflash, kids, you can move somewhere warmer without enrolling in law school.

    1. Michigan-based Cooley set up a campus in Florida.

  4. It sounds like your guy got lucky; now if only he would realize that...

  5. Captain Hruska Carswell, Continuance KingJune 20, 2016 at 1:49 PM

    Never tell people they are BAD. Show them a better way. A police officer, fire fighter or a corrections officer are great careers for "helping" people. They are not oversaturated like the legal profession. 1.8 million lawyers and multiplying. Tell him law school is a good education, just not a guaranteed ticket to middle class security as it once was. Many police departments will pay for night law school. Show it, don't say it. Tell him that Captain is out 26 years and is struggling to hit 40K on his schedule C.

    1. Correction officers help people? How clueless are you again?

      My buddy turned his MA in sociology into a corrections job. Just trying to be fair to the inmates got him shut down hard by the other officers. He accepted a depression/disability settlement, but not before the black psychologist had told him what his real problem was. He simply didn't feel enough guilt for his "white privilege."

  6. Captain Hruska Carswell, Continuance KingJune 20, 2016 at 2:16 PM

    Arizona Summit is part or Infilaw owned by Sterling Partners out of Chicago.

  7. Unless you are truly elite, my recommendation is to go to a public Law School in your region of the country for as inexpensively as possible. The three years lost is no loss at all. Your alternative is to be in the working world or alternatively in a world with young coeds and relatively smart people to pow around with. Gee, really hard to figure out where you should be, So the loss of three years working full time is not much of a loss imho. You have the rest of your life to work. With regard to debt, a public law school is no more expensive than relatively inexpensive private colleges. And law school can be intellectually challenging if you are good at deductive and/or analytical reasoning. Take only Federal Loans and get on IBR if you must to limit your payment per month. Keep your debt as minimal as possible. Consider night school and working full time during the day to pay the tuition as it comes due. Law is not rocket science. It does not take much to learn how to practice. Trial lawyers will never be replaced, nor will criminal defense lawyers, divorce lawyers, etc. The layman will NEVER be able to learn their way around the courtroom. As for getting Big Law . . I don't think I can emphasize enough how many aholes are in Big law. If you want to be around arrogant putzes most of the time . . . try big law, at least until you pay off your debt. Far better to get comfortable with a small firm, where you actually meet clients and make a decent living. There is money to be made. People will always need lawyers and they will always have to come up with money to pay for them. There are always personal injury suits which can turn out to make a person't year or decade. Yes there are lots of unemployed lawyers out there . . but there are lots of dumb lawyers out there. Passing the bar does not guarantee you will ever be a competent lawyer. Competence takes knowledge, ability to reason, confidence, natural ability in dealing with people. If you are good or have the capacity to be good . . you will make it. You should know enough about yourself before applying to lawschool to get a feel for whether you would likely be a good lawyer or not. If you don't like to read, don't like to write, don't like to analyze . . . find another profession. If you don't like dealing with people. . . head for transnational law . .tax law, etc.

    1. On the contrary, he's probably a high school student who forgot his dose of ADHD meds and is repeating advice given to him by an older, clueless, lower-middle class relative who still believes there's money and prestige in the legal profession because that is what they were told in the 1970s when they were in high school dreaming about going to law school.

    2. I guess Tricia, I don't get how you practice law and worse, spend so much money pursuing it, and yet you are so down on it. I do not advertise . . at least nowhere near the amount you do. Advertising simply increases the amount of work, the amount of office staff you have to hire to handle the work, and the number of trash cases that come your way . . not to mention that you are working to enrich advertisers. I prefer working for me.

      Further, at least where I am, there are some massive advertisers. It is impossible to compete with them unless you are willing to spend a lot of money. I'm not willing to do so. The most I have spent in any one year is $60K, but over the years, there has been a law of diminishing returns from advertising so I don't advertise at all. I simply have a website to promote myself.

      Law is not paradise. . on the other hand if you are smart but a Liberal Arts graduate, what else can you do where you can have your own business and at least the potential of making money.

      The theme here is to not become a lawyer, but nobody here actually suggests a viable alternative . . other than a few people recommending the trades. If you would be happy in the trades than go for it, but most people who go to law school, or at least used to, wanted to work with their brains and not their hands.

      So okay . . . don't go to law school. So what do you do? Become a drone working for middling wages in middle America somewhere?

    3. So spend three years of intensive study, get into massive debt (which even on PAYE or similar is still very bad) just to enter an extremely glutted field where you will struggle just to make a living wage? The message of this site is that it just isn't worth it for the vast majority of prospective students. Doing nothing, literally sitting at home for three years, is a better alternative for most people.

  8. If I truly wanted something, I wouldn't let $875 stand in the way.

    This guy would have gone to law school on a lark, even though he is obviously not cut out for law. But a trivial obstacle deterred him.

  9. This must be a joke. Arizona Summit? Land of the 30% bar passage rate? The only reason to go there is to hope it closes after your second year so your loans are forgiven. Here's a list of toilets and the risk of failing the bar at each percentile band. Pick one with nice weather and see you in three years.

  10. Why should LSAC care about its member firms? Do they pay significant fees? LSAC has a monopoly.