Wednesday, December 7, 2016

U Mass Dartmouth accredited; students are worth $53 per hour

Don't accuse the ABA of letting ink encrust its rubber stamp of approval. Just months after accrediting Indiana Tech (only to see this internationally esteemed center of law & hip-hop shut its doors forever), the ABA has done the same for the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth. See this puff piece that U Mass Dartmouth—call it "You Ass" for short—published yesterday:

http://www.umassd.edu/news/abaaccreditation.html

U Mass Dartmouth rose like a phoenix (the University of Phoenix?) from the ashes of an entity called the Southern New England School of Law, which dumped its ass(ets) onto the state in 2010. The state, in exchange, felt compelled to set up its ninth—yes, ninth—law school.

Now, the establishment of law schools at Indiana Tech and possibly soon in southernmost Texas has been justified in part by the great distance that the fine denizens of Fort Wayne and McAllen would have to travel in order to attend the nearest law school. Weak as it indubitably is for Indiana and Texas, that argument seems downright risible for Massachusetts, which can be traversed from Pittsfield to Provincetown in only four hours—even more quickly if a Masshole is behind the wheel. So that argument wasn't even proffered in support of U Mass Dartmouth. Instead, the upstart academy was justified as the state's only public law school. Eight private ones, evidently, just do not meet the needs of the Bay State. Why stop at Harvard when you can have U Mass Dartmouth?

Like every other toilet school, U Mass Dartmouth claims a special mission: "to diversify the legal profession and expand access to justice for citizens". Ho-hum. Where have I heard that song before?

The puff piece proclaims that "UMass Law had the most diverse entering class in New England in 2015 (35.5%) and the rate is 33% this year". Rate of what, exactly? Apparently the reference is to racial diversity, as if no other form of diversity existed. Thirty-three percent is the proportion of students not identified as white. It includes those in the category "Race and Ethnicity Unknown" (4.9% of the entering class in 2015), since of course the very failure or refusal to answer an intrusive question about race proves that the person is not white, just as failure to answer a survey about employment after graduation proves that the person is employed—no doubt in a corner office at a big law firm in Manhattan.

Does this "diversity" reflect a conscious effort by the admissions office, or is it an accidental consequence of the racialized nature of the pool of applicants? U Mass is far from selective, admitting as it does two applicants out of three. (Just imagine the quality of the people that it rejects.) And although it doesn't descend quite to the depths of Cooley ("UMass Law’s 25th percentile LSAT is already higher than 40 out of the 205 ABA law schools in the country"—what an achievement!), U Mass bears all the hallmarks of a toilet, especially its dreadful median LSAT score (148). Like so many other toilets, U Mass preys upon people who shouldn't be in law school, all the while congratulating itself for its "diversity".

What's this about "access to justice"? Just four days before announcing its accreditation, U Mass published another puff piece, this time about its students' volunteer work:

http://www.umassd.edu/news/umasslawsevicerelease.html

"Since the UMass School of Law was established at UMass Dartmouth in 2010 to serve the public interest, its students have delivered more than 87,000 hours of service to the community. This service has been valued at more than $4.5 million."

Pardon me? How can the "service" of students at a then-unaccredited toilet be worth that much? Because the bulk of the work, falling in the legal field (though what the students actually did is not clear), is assessed "[a]t $53 per hour (the amount paid to District Court-appointed lawyers in Massachusetts)".

Yes, the admini$trators of U Mass Dartmouth have the unmitigated gall to equate the work of their dipshit students, most of whom scored well below the fiftieth percentile on the LSAT, to that of court-appointed lawyers. Why, those godlike students should be licensed forthwith! Why encumber them with such bootless chores as finishing law school, passing the bar exam (only half of the candidates from their alma mater passed the exam in Massachusetts this past July), gaining admission to the bar, and maintaining a license when already they are performing at precisely the level of court-appointed counsel?

Paradoxically, the juridical colossi of U Mass Dartmouth don't ordinarily bring in $53 per hour after graduation, by which time they should certainly have attained barristerial nirvana. See these data from our friends at Law School Transparency:

https://www.lstreports.com/schools/umassd/jobs/
https://www.lstreports.com/schools/umassd/sals/

Ten months after graduation, 20.7% percent of the previous year's graduates were "Non-Employed"; only 34.5% were "known to be employed in long-term, full-time legal jobs". How much do they make? As usual, we don't have full data: only two-fifths of the employed graduates reported salaries. But the median salary reported by that group was $45k per year, and the salary at the 75th percentile was $67k. What happened to these graduates, whose volunteer work just a few years earlier was worth $53 per hour ($106k per year at a full-time job)? They must have lost their Midas touch when they left the nurturing embrace of U Mass Dartmouth.

It turns out too that the students had a motivation for their "service": U Mass Dartmouth "make[s] pro bono and experiential learning service a graduation requirement". Never mind: their time is still worth every bit as much as a lawyer's, even though employers are too blind to see that.

28 comments:

  1. Great work, I lawled.

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  2. Replies
    1. Two or three others in Massachusetts alone are at least as bad.

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  3. "only two-fifths of the employed graduates reported salaries. But the median salary reported by that group was $45k per year."

    In other words, three-fifths of the purportedly employed graduates are not employed at all. If you can't report a salary, you are not employed. As for the two-fifths who are employed, why spend three years of your life and incur six figures of debt for a degree that lands you a $45 K job? Anyone with an undergrad degree and a sliver of ambition can make $45K three years out of college.

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    1. Yes, a parsing the numbers a little more:

      40% of the employed graduates (80% of graduates were "employed" which means the unemployment rate is 20%--about 4 times the national average) actually reported a salary, with a median of 45K. So we know that 16% of all graduates were employed and earning at least 45K. Those are not good numbers.

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    2. People might fail to report a salary for reasons other than unemployment: for instance, they might not have received the survey, they might not have bothered to complete the survey, their completed survey might not have reached the school, or they might prefer not to disclose private information about salary. So we cannot conclude that the majority who have not reported salaries are all unemployed.

      On the other hand, the low rate of reporting salaries does raise suspicions. Only six of the 210 graduates in Yale's class of 2014 who reported employment failed to report a salary. Needless to say, the outcomes from Yale are a damn sight better, though still far from glorious (the median reported salary is only $72k).

      You're absolutely right about the dreadful outcome of a job paying only $45k after a course of "professional" study costing almost $200k. Even at the 75th percentile, the salary would not cover the payments on $200k of debt. And note that more than 20% of the graduates of U Mass Dartmouth report having no job at all. In short, nobody, but nobody, should attend U Mass Dartmouth.

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    3. If they didn't receive or answer the survey, then how could the school report that they are employed? They did respond to the survey, but failed to put in a salary amount. In most cases, this is because their supposed job is an unpaid internship, or they are working as solos and making little or nothing, or even losing money. Anytime a high percentage of a school's supposed employed grads fail to report a salary, its a huge red flag. Just by way of comparison, at BC, 70% of the employed grads reported a salary (as opposed to 40% at U Mass Dartmouth). And as you noted, at Yale, practically every employed grad reports a salary. If you spend some time on LST, you will notice a trend - the worse the school, the higher the percentage of supposed employed grads fail to report a salary.

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    4. That's correct--a struggling solo doesn't have a salary to report. Neither does someone doing temp work, or working in an eat-what-you-kill arrangement. Of course, the crappier schools have more such graduates.

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    5. I certainly am not taking You Ass Dartmouth's part. Indeed, the high rate of non-disclosure of salaries by people purporting to be employed raises suspicions. Some people, for reasons of privacy, might decline to disclose their salary to their law school. (I would be among them.) But why should the proportion vary from 3% at Yale to a solid majority at U Mass Dartmouth? Probably, as people have suggested, because many of those "employed" graduates either don't have a salary, and thus cannot be said to be employed at all, or else make such derisory wages that they are ashamed to admit how poorly they're doing.

      The ABA disgracefully includes "Solo" as a category under "Employment". A sole practitioner is not employed. For that matter, many people in larger "firms" are not employed either.

      U Mass Dartmouth reported last year only 16 graduates in law firms, of whom 4 were sole practitioners. That fact alone accounts for much of the discrepancy in the reporting of salaries.

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  4. Call me old fashioned, but I just don't think it is appropriate for directional schools (and UMd is the old Southeast Massachusetts state) to have tax-payer supported law schools.

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  5. Captain Hruska Carswell, Continuance KingDecember 9, 2016 at 7:48 PM

    This new law school will be beautiful, believe me. They'll build a big student union with a Hardees in it.

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    1. Believe me, I'm a liberal law school professor that cares about the general welfare. Those republicans are no good, believe me. I'm here to help you and correct all the social injustices of the last 100 years by making sure you have a path to success: higher education. Without education, you'll be poor, like an NYC sanitation worker or plumber, believe me.

      I can't for the life me understand how people that are victims to the law school scam can possibly still not see that the Democratic Party represents the greater of the two evils in American politics. It's stunning.

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  6. Note that some of the vaunted "hours of community service were delivered in areas unrelated to legal services, such as helping the Dartmouth YMCA Farm harvest produce for area food pantries". Did harvesting produce count towards the requirement of "pro bono and experiential learning service"? In view of the shockingly high rate of unemployment (four times that of the general public), perhaps picking fruit should indeed qualify as "experiential learning" in support of the graduates' future occupational endeavors.

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    1. Captain Hruska Carswell, Continuance KingDecember 10, 2016 at 3:36 PM

      In other words, Who put Michael Dukakis in the tank?

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    2. Their legal work is of such little value that they cannot give it away, and thus must do menial labor instead. Sounds about right.

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  7. My brother in law does the accounting for three NYC union shops. A union electrician makes 75 dollars and hour plus time and a half. The salaries I see range between 135 and 175k. One guy has a conviction for armed robbery.

    The NYPD has been protesting over the last few months that it's memebers are underpaid with an average salary of 80k. That average include police cadet pay. Most cops make well over 100k after five years.

    Here is the article:

    www.nydailynews.com/amp/new-york/cops-mayor-face-demand-wage-hike-article

    An ADA with 200k in debt can expect to make 55k.

    And here I am reading this post, which basically confirms, that you would be lucky to graduate and make 53 dollars an hour as a lawyer (with no benefits and a W9). BWAHAHAAHA.

    This is getting comical. 53 dollars an hour is a very bad outcome for seven years of education and years of experience. Literally, people are going on strike that get paid more than that with no debt or opportunity cost!!!!!!!!!!!

    And the point of this post isn't that that's bad, but that if you graduate most toilets, you aren't even going to make that!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I only have one question: why is the federal government guarnteeing the loans? Fuck the idiots (like me) who went to law school. Fuck the discharge ability in bankruptcy. Fuck the interest rates. Fuck the people making shit money or suffering unemployment. Why are the Feds making the tax payers cover these losses? I mean, if experienced attorneys are getting paid what other professionals consider strike worthy wages, what the fuck are we doing here?

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    1. And of course $53 per hour is only for the time when the lawyer is serving as court-appointed counsel. If that could be collected for 2000 hours per year (fifty forty-hour weeks), the income would be $106k. But that's a very big if. Court-appointed counsel would get those appointments only part of the time. The rest of the time would be filled in with struggles to retain fee-paying clients, and to collect money from them. On top of all that comes a big administrative burden of bookkeeping, accounting, billing, and the like.

      Even $106k, as you mentioned, is far from glorious after deduction of self-employment taxes, business expenses, and whatever is needed to offset the absence of benefits (such as funds for medical insurance).

      A year and a half ago, I pointed out that switchboard operators and janitors are paid more than lawyers working for the state in the courts of Massachusetts:

      http://outsidethelawschoolscam.blogspot.ca/2015/06/jd-disadvantage-make-less-than-janitor.html

      Oh, yes, by all means go to the "public" law school in Massachusetts and ring up $173k in debt in the unrealistic hope of getting a job that pays less than unskilled work.

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    2. 5:43, your article disappeared. Where are you getting info. that union electricians make over $135? I'm not seeing it.

      http://salarygenius.com/ny/new-york/salary/union-electrician-salary

      Union Electrician Salary in New York, New York
      The average yearly salary for Union Electrician in New York, New York is $91,291. If you are just beginning to work a new job as a Union Electrician in New York, New York, you could earn a starting pay rate of $75,181 annually. As is true for most jobs and careers, you can expect your hourly pay rate or salary to increase as you gain experience and the longer you are employed with the same employer. In New York you could potentially make an average income of around $107,401 after several years on the job with increased wages. When pursuing your career of choice, you should compare salaries of similar professions and factor in variables such as health benefits and potential for raises and promotions over time.

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    3. The point of this article was that experienced, highly experience attorneys, make 106k with no benefits. I'm comparing apples to apples and oranges to oranges. I'm not going to compare an average NYC electrician to an experienced attorney. I assure you the top guys, with overtime, are pulling in quite a bit more than 90k. In fact, some are pulling in considerably more than 175k (the total comp numbers with overtime may not be online).

      Nevertheless, even if we accept your numbers, a 75k-90k salary with no student loans and no opportunity costs blows away what ninety percent of lawyers make out of the water. If we factor in total potential, and include some lucky solos that break 200k, then I have to include some small business electrician outliers that make 300k tax free (as I can assure you many high income tradesmen aren't reporting their earnings to the IRS). What you did in your reply is a standard law school scam technique: you point to the top outcome in the law and compare it to an average outcome in other less prestigious, opportunity costing, and expensive-to-enter profession. What is hysterical though is that things are getting so laughably bad that even top outcomes aren't stacking up versus average alternatives,i.e. 106k on a W9 after mounds of debt and opportunity cost vs 90k with bennies, no student loans and no opportunity cost (alot more stability too).

      Feel free to cite big some big law salary or some outlier solo, and I'll cite the article for stage hand workers in NYC: total comp in excess of 300k. You can't compare the impossibly difficult to get legal outcomes to average blue collar outcomes. Compare apples to apples. 90k with a GED, no student loans, and bennnies? If you are lucky to get an ADA position,you'd make 55k and barely crack 100k after years in practice (and that doesn't even consider the loans).

      As for the article, anyone can perform a search engine search "NYC cops strike pay raise." They'll find it (I don't know why it won't post correctly when I paste it here). Cops are saying 80k average and 100k after a couple of years isn't enough to live in a big city. And you know what? They happen to be right. That highlights just how bad the law is because most lawyers aren't going to make that, ever.

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  8. This is the school formerly known as the floundering Southern New England School of Law, a freestanding private law school. In its throes of failure as a private law school, this school first tried to sell itself to the State, but the Massachusetts Legislature wisely rejected the offer. Then, a couple of years later, offered to give itself away to the State, which offer the Massachusetts Legislature took. It was valued at about $23 million, including the building and land.
    As I recall, one of the pitches made by this school was that it would be a money-maker for the state. How surprised I am to learn that it has been operating on some $3 million of subsidies per year, for a total (so far) of $15.3 million. And to hear it will not become financially sustainable until it doubles its enrollment is just the icing on the cake.

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    1. How exactly was it supposed to make money for the state when it failed to make money as a private institution, and even had to give itself away despite a supposed value of $23M?

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    2. Law school math . . . the numbers do not have to add up.

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    3. Well, I could see it maybe doing better with ABA accreditation provided it offers attractive in-state tuition to lure massholes away from the Commonwealth's other commodes and thereby make up in volume what it's losing now. Each additional filled seat in a lecture hall costs the commode but little.

      All of these completed and attempted state u takeovers of private toilets are driven by the same thing. When a private toilet, especially a free-standing one, goes belly-up the faculty pensions won't last as long as a butterfly's fart. At least the UMass system had the common decency to not attach this dump to its flagship campus. That is no doubt the rub for Vermont Law School. The U of Vermont is by far the most prestigious state school in New England, maybe even the whole northeast. I can't imagine they'd want to sully their brand by taking on a joke of an institution. Hell, UVM was founded in 1791 and in the 181 years before VLS came along apparently never felt the state needed a law school.

      The beginning of the end for Packard Motors came when they introduced a less expensive model and diluted the prestige of the brand.

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  9. Funny write-up, and that linked press release is a gem.

    Yes, I am sure that Massachusetts lawyers, who are only eligible to take assigned counsel cases after undergoing extensive mandatory training and certification, are charmed to learn that their professional representation of indigent clients has the same $53/hr. value as the "related to legal services" volunteer work of a law student who scored 140-something on the LSAT.

    I bet they would be even more charmed if somebody took that idiotic press release literally and moved to cut State funding for indigent legal services by 4.5 million dollars on grounds that 4.5 million dollars worth of work was being done for free by access-to-justice inspired UMass-Dartmouth law students.

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    1. The sophistry that the school employs here is incredible. You could pay more for the services of a 30-year legal veteran, but why bother when a law student's work is worth just as much? Maybe we should pay Law Professors a low, flat salary, considering that experience and talent aren't worth anything in the legal profession.

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  10. Just a few short years ago, it was once the height of prestige for an institution of hire learning to have a law school. Same thing with owning and driving a Cadillac. Because of cheap lease deals, fleet sales, rebates, rentals, poor quality and badge engineering, Cadillacs are driven by cigarette smoking Trump devotees to Wal-Marts nationwide. Today, there are law schools around every corner accepting anybody and everybody....

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  11. The American Bar Association may as well begin every meeting with a Hitlerian rally shouting "heil, heil to the laws of antitrust. Antitrust uber allis. I pledge allegiance to the laws of antitrust. Heil Heil

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  12. What the ABA is doing is making the law degrees it issues worthless by overenrolling the law schools

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