Friday, September 9, 2016

Association of American Law Schools Pres. Kellye Testy touts the MJ and the law school BA.


It may be that the innovative law school of the future will not focus exclusively, or even primarily, on JD education. The JD has faded in public esteem, perhaps permanently, as word has spread about about the astounding tuition spiral, deceptive recruitment practices, worthless professional training, sinking admissions standards and bar passage rates, and above all, about the awful employment outcomes. Recall, though, that it is called law school, not lawyer school, and, indeed, University of Chicago lawprof Todd Henderson once pricelessly suggested that a "better moniker" for the institution would be "leader school." 

What if financially ailing law schools could be revived through the creation or dramatic expansion of non-JD and non-LLM degree programs, such as the "MJ"? (For the unfamiliar, this acronym stands for the illustrious "Master’s in Jurisprudence," not only for marijuana, mango juice, and monster jam). What if law schools could experiment with bachelor’s degrees in law, thereby not only mulcting revenue from teenagers fresh out of high school, but also intensively grooming those same teenagers for eventual JD matriculation? What if non-JD degree and certificate programs could be marketed all over the world, perhaps even offered entirely in convenient online format, so that people can be scammed from the comfort of their own homes? What if overall law school enrollment could soar without the troublesome, if largely theoretical, possibility that the ABA might enforce its quality control standards? 

This intoxicating vision is no mere cannabis-and-mango juice hallucination. As the ABA explains on its website, "ABA accreditation does not extend to any program supporting any other degree granted by the law school. Rather the content and requirements of those degrees. . . are created by the law school itself and do not reflect any judgment by the ABA accrediting bodies regarding the quality of the program. Moreover, admission requirements for such programs, particularly with regard to foreign students, vary from school to school, and are not evaluated through the ABA accreditation process."

University of Washington Law Dean Kellye Testy provided some details in a recent, though undated, talk to the law faculty at Touro, that was posted online four months ago. Testy's perspective deserves attention because her services as Dean of her public law school are so highly valued by her State’s taxpayers that they are happy to provide her with a $378,900/yr. salary. She is, moreover, President of the Association of American Law Schools (AALS) and has been designated the sixth most influential legal educator in the US. So a notable driver in the thrilling monster scam, or jam, crashfest that is American legal education.

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The crisis in legal education, as understood by a $378,900/ yr. law school dean:
  • "What’s happening right now is a lot of schools are living on either reserves they have build up or they are living on the good will of their University letting them have deficits. Neither of those things are going to last a lot longer." (Video at 42:01-42:14)

Remedy 1:  The MJ:

  • "I’ll share this just in case its of an area of interest. The JD education we do is really just one small part of the education we provide [at the University of Washington School of Law]. In addition to admitting those 165 or so JDs every year we have about 200 students a year that we educate that are in LLM programs, Ph.D in law program, and most recently what we call an MJ, a Master’s of Jurisprudence, and that is something that I know some schools have started thinking about." (15:42-16:12)
  • "Like a lot of schools, when revenue issues got difficult, we started thinking how can we have alternate revenue sources and build on the teaching capacity that we might already have. So we started this master’s degree of jurisprudence to educate people who don’t want to become a licensed lawyer, but just want to know something more about law. And we were thinking about people like HR professionals, compliance professionals, there is so much health care industry. . .And so we began this program last year and we have one class, and the first class drew about 25 students and they are fascinating." (42:45-43:24) 
  • "The downside is my faculty colleagues do not like having them [MJ students] in their classes. I thought it would be kind of neat because we are already teaching a class on X, Y, and Z, to have two or three more students in the class wouldn’t seem to be a huge thing. . . [but] the faculty find the difference between those students and our JD students so stark that they are kinda like “What do I do with these people?"" (43:47-44:17)
  • "The problem with the MJ is. . . students come to it with the idea that what I really want to do is learn more about employment law or communications law [but]. . . you are not going to have two classes in advanced communications law." (46:14-46:27)

Remedy 2: The Law School BA
  • "One of the conversations underway at U-Dub right now is whether the law school itself should offer an undergraduate law degree. And the theory there is that in every country but ours law is undergraduate and that if you were teaching an undergraduate law degree your pipeline might even be better. . . so we’re in high conversation at UW with the undergraduates. . . because you can imagine that that does not thrill the Department of Political Science." (32:32-33:05)

Remedy 3: China

  • "The University of Arizona. . . started an undergrad law program in Arizona and also in China, and they ended up with something like 200 students in Arizona and 600 students in China for this program. So that’s obviously going to get people’s interest up too, when everyone’s trying to think about student numbers and all." (47:28-45:57)

The Bottom Line:

  • "Like everything we do, it is a good reminder that we are not after gross revenue, we are actually after net revenue." [nervous chuckle] (44:45-44:52)

24 comments:

  1. Don't forget "not-patent law" programs, either. All part of the money-making scamfest.

    http://outsidethelawschoolscam.blogspot.com/2014/01/patent-law-light-same-great-debt-but.html

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    1. Vanderbilt Law has one of those masters programs. It's exclusively Chinese national and is merely a summer program. The kids know they can't practice law in China, but it's a kind of ESL program and they still see Merica as a functional place--at least in comparison to China...

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  2. She shows her true colors. Far from being an "educator", she's little but a stooge and a tout for the law-skule scam.

    What matters most is law skules' net revenue. Go ahead and fill advanced classes with people who don't know the rudiments of law; after all, their money is as green as anyone else's. Take advantage of foreign students with more money than brains. Do whatever it takes to bring in more money. "Education" be damned.

    Law is an undergraduate program in many other countries, but generally it does not operate in the same way as a four-year bachelor's degree in the US. Canadian law schools generally require at least two years of undergraduate study, and in practice all but a few of their students have at least a bachelor's degree. Germany, like the US, allows damn near everyone to study law; unlike the US, however, it weeds the idiots out early on (the first exam eliminates the majority of students) and does not allow them to come back. Becoming a lawyer in Germany requires many years of study, multiple exams (including oral ones) that are actually challenging, and an internship. Small wonder that the German legal profession actually deserves and enjoys respect, unlike its Yankee counterpart.

    But why trouble ourselves with the facts when there's so goddamn much money to be made?

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    1. Chiming in here (a bit late): the situation in France is similar. Anybody can study law as an undergraduate, and many students stop with the equivalent of a bachelor's degree (called a "licence," it's 3 years of study, but the workload is more intense then in the US, so I feel comfortable calling it equivalent). Then they go into a specialized two-year master's degree program; some of these programs can lead to the bar exam and the practice of law, whereas others funnel into law-type jobs that don't require a person to be barred, things like compliance and a lot of what is done in a corporate legal department. The kids who want to be practicing lawyers also have to do internships.

      Oh, and all of this schooling is of virtually no cost to the students. (How do we afford that? By paying the instructors poverty wages, and I mean that literally: I teach full time and would be under the poverty line if I didn't have a second and third job. University instructors are also fucked over because our contracts are temporary and the university manipulates the system so that it doesn't have to comply with the law that requires pretty much every other employer in France to treat people as long-term employees once they've served for 2 years max. Most university teachers have family money, high earning spouses, or rely on welfare and/or unemployment benefits to fill the gap. If I am hired as a real live professor after I defend my Ph.D. later this year, I will receive a raise of 300 euros a month, which would still put me under the poverty line were it not for my other jobs. I would LOVE to see an American law professor work under these conditions, but virtually no American law professors would ever be hired to work in this system, because a JD is not considered to qualify a person for the job. )

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  3. Wow. Just when I think these scamsters couldn't broadcast their selfishness and their complete disregard for the public, students, and taxpayers any more clearly, this comes along.

    Why do we put up with this scam? Let's vote their enablers out of office - now.

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  4. Legal education is just a giant fraud running on fake money. I wish I could go back in time and never go to law school. These people are complete scum and are laughing about stealing federal money that should be used for something with actual social utility. Nothing is being done and won't until the whole system crashes just like the housing market in 2008.

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  5. This proves what we've all known for years: law schools exist for one reason only-to keep the deans and professors in their cushy, work-free jobs.

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    1. Yeah, and I'd bet they all would say that they hate Trump because he's a liar and a grifter.

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  6. Someone strip the video and put it on youtube. I can't get the damn thing to run....

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    1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3sWR4JCm7IE

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  7. It's good old-fashioned American values! Gobble up massive subsidies for your industry, get the legal system to overlook your shenanigans, exalt your industry as generating vague, gooey, unquantifiable "values", then yell "free market" if anyone questions your state-subsidized scam fest. Works just as well for bloated military contractors producing nonworking weapons as it does for educators producing worthless degrees.

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    1. Don't forget the wind farms that aren't hooked up to the power grid.

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  8. Captain Hruska Carswell, Continuance KingSeptember 9, 2016 at 8:21 PM

    $380K? She's worth every penny. I will bet that in her mind she is making a true sacrifice. She probably compares herself to an equity partner at a large FOR PROFIT firm. If one were to compare her salary to the average Solo or Small Firm attorney working in the trenches trying to defend and protect ordinary people, she is fabulously wealthy. The average Solo, which is 50% of the profession takes home about 37-40K per year. I just shake my head.

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  9. "Like everything we do, it is a good reminder that we are not after gross revenue, we are actually after net revenue." [nervous chuckle]"

    You have to admire the chutzpah of someone making at least 3x the market value for her position pointing this out.

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  10. Not to channel Dave Barry, or rather, to channel Dave Barry, "[Nervous Chuckle]" would be an excellent name for a Rock Band.

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  11. Captain Hruska Carswell, Continuance KingSeptember 10, 2016 at 8:03 PM

    This is exactly how cars are sold. Same platform, different body style. A VW Golf is essentially a Passat, Bettle, Jetta, SportWagon and a few more variants in other markets. A Chevy Tahoe is essentially a Suburban, GMC Yukon and a Cadillac Escalade. Same shit, different day.... This Dean is simply repackaging a law "degrees." She is going for what automakers call "economies of scale." Sick.

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  12. It turns my stomach that priceless young lives are being ruined to support a fat pig like Kellye Testy.

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  13. 2:34 A.M. has it exactly right. They are ruining priceless young lives.

    How can Kellye Testy sleep?

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    1. Incredibly well; given what her salary is. Most likely on a very comfortable mattress that supports her porcine figure. She and the rest of the scam artists running this scam don't care about anything other than revenue. Years down the road, when the same shitstorm hits as in The Big Short with the housing market, everyone in America will ask did anyone see this coming? The answer is yes, but nobody in power really cares to do anything. As long as these pigs continue to get unlimited amounts of money, they will take it. I wish everyone here the best, I have three degrees including a JD and a law license that is worthless. I am at the point in my life where I really wish I was never born. Law school ruins lives. Peace and best of luck to everyone else who is in the same boat.

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    2. I read and re read your post. You are not alone. My attorney buddies and I are in the same position. What really gets me is that I can't get a better fee from clients. They just laugh when I ask for 5 bills for a court appearance. There is some dude getting $49 dollars for traffic tickets. Roofers, trades folks, coppers all make good coin and drive new Silverados and Tacomas. Hell, a young kid teacher starts in the low 50K range. The old LeSabres with the fading paint and exposed primer one sees in the courthouse parking lot are not the clients' cars, but the attorney's cars. I feel worthless when I schlepp my family around in the old beater and have twice the education. I ask, what the hell happened? I carry on knowing I will hit a PI referral one of these days and I know my loan debt will be forgiven. I got a second job and I am networking with folks who do not want to do the legal work I do.

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    3. Thanks 7:17, at this point I am realizing I made a huge mistakes I've made in life and this was the biggest. I wish you the best along with the other attorneys in this mess. I'm not shocked about the $500 for a court appearance, I worked shitlaw for less than a year and it's a mess. I'm moving on to something else. When you have nothing, you have nothing to lose. I hated almost every second of it and am almost glad.

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  14. This Dean has exhausted my ability to comment.

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