Monday, April 24, 2017

The Writing was on the Wall at Whittier

Given the conflagration that has occurred now that Whittier has voted to close its law school, I'm reminded of earlier discussions in late 2015 where a defense was proffered for the existence of the school.  Given the lofty-pedestal that selfless, sacrificing non-profit schools have occupied, it was especially telling to read the recent TRO that was filed in defense of the law school, whose arguments for non-closure were all about how profitable the law school was to the parent university, and how much money had been made in the selling of land the law school stood upon.  
 
Frankly, I'm not posting here to get into that (although Professor Frakt did pointedly chime in), as we all had our opinions then and years prior, Whittier or no Whittier.  What I remember more are the following comments from (former) Law Professors:
 
 
Several years ago I had the misfortune of being a professor at a TTT/TTTT law school, and let me assure you that it was predatory.
 
To the point where I quit working there after only one year rather than continue to be associated with it and also reported its shenanigans to the ABA.
 
Which did nothing, of course. Which is a big part of the problem.
Sheldon,
 
You are obviously bright and accomplished. Like you, I taught at a low-ranked law school. I made all the arguments you make. You have to make those arguments to convince yourself that you are not part of the problem. I understand. It was a wonderful, rewarding, flexible job, and I did not want to leave.
 
At the end of the day, however, most of your students, like most of mine, are worse off after graduating from your law school. You can deceive yourself by keeping in tough with the handful of graduates that, by luck, connections, or brilliance, land lucrative or fulfilling legal jobs, but if you are honest, most of your students will never get a reasonable return on their investment. The vast majority of your students at Whittier are not given opportunity by their JD, but rather are given a financial burden that will crush them.
 
Again, you are smart. You can poke holes in LST's work. Congratulations. You have a PHD and a JD from elite schools; you should be able to do that, even with work from much more sophisticated people. But you should be seeking the truth. And do you actually think that the vast majority of your students are better off after obtaining their law degree from your school? Have you surveyed your graduates? Have you kept in touch with the ones who failed the bar multiple times? Again, you have a wonderful job, but at some point you may realize that most low ranked law schools create more burdens than opportunities.

22 comments:

  1. Excellent post. Sometimes, being more intelligent just means being more adept at defending the same failing propositions. Lawprofs defending TTT schools need to reflect for a minute and consider the possibility that they might be wrong.

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  2. Rare indeed is the person coming out of Whittier who can get ahead even with connections. Why? Because anyone with such powerful connections should have been able to get into a far better law school than Shittier. Below, say, a Cardozo, people just aren't likely to have connections of any consequence.

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  3. Throwaway AttorneyApril 24, 2017 at 4:06 PM

    At some point, defending bottom-tier law schools will simply become indefensible.

    Just as it was with subprime mortgages, providing minorities and people from marginal economic backgrounds the opportunity of owning a home became an outright predatory lending scam. And just as with the subprime meltdown, there were plenty of scamsters and politicians who defended the good work of Countrywide and IndyMac all the way to the bitter end.

    Yes. I'd say the writing has been on the wall for quite some time. The only real question is how many more lives will these toilet schools end up ruining before the game is finally over?

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  4. I'm surprised indeed that the Faculty Lounge, noted for its friendliness to the law-school scam, published Frakt's pointed questions and the similar comments of others.

    In response to the claim that Whittier fosters racial "diversity", a poster named Jojo likened it to "the payday lender/pawn shop", and MacK likened it to brokers of racially targeted sub-prime mortgages. Indeed, like Whittier, such establishments also prey disproportionately upon a racialized clientele. Yet I certainly won't be found congratulating them—or the dozens of Whittiers—for blaxploitation.

    Is anyone really stupid enough to fall for this attempt to cast the aggressive mining of the 130s and 140s as a noble campaign for racial liberation? It isn't plausible even on its face. Black and Latino students with respectable LSAT scores go to far better schools; they don't need the "opportunity" that Shittier offers. That "opportunity" goes overwhelmingly to people scoring well below 150. And Shittier would admit those people from the bottom of the barrel whether they were Black, white, or fuchsia with chartreuse polka dots. The high proportion of racialized people among the classes of Shittier & Co. reflects not a plan to foster diversity but a mere consequence that can be wielded as a politically appealing post facto justification of their predatory efforts to admit damn near anyone with access to money (usually through federally guaranteed student loans).

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    Replies
    1. It only works if you are racist yourself and believe minorities are too stupid to succeed at more selective institutions.

      This if course flies in the face of reality, and is a hidden narrative. If minorities really were an inferior subspecies of humanity with lower intelligence and ability, then these schools would still be toxic but could at least somehow justify their narrative. However the diversity argument falls apart when you factor in this is not the case, and there are many minorities and women at the top law schools. They may be shut out of long term legal careers, but that is not because of some sort of biological inferiority, but rather the racism and misogyny of the legal field, and THAT would need to be cleaned up, rather than throwing less capable minorities (and less capable Caucasian men as well) into the grinder.

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    2. Only RACISTS! close law schools! You know who supports closing law schools?

      LITERALLY HITLER!!!!!!!

      Racist! Racist! Racist!

      Delete
  5. Pointing to "a diverse student body" as justification is garbage. The pigs want dances to believe this means more diversity in the "profession." But if you cannot pass the bar, you end up being just another student loan slave with darker skin and a worthless-ads law degree. And the swine laugh their way to the bank.

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    Replies
    1. Yes, indeed. The faculty swine laugh their way to the bank.

      Now they're even trying to rob the corpse of a failed law school.
      And they'll laugh again if they win that ineptly argued lawsuit.

      Delete
  6. Penelope Bryan, dean of Shittier, has stated that "[t]he LSAT score has no predictive value for the success of Whittier Law School students on the bar exam".

    All right, then, Bryan, let's suppose that that is so. How do you account for the abysmal results, year after year, of Shittier shitlings on the bar exam? If they have nothing to do with the quality of the students as measured by the LSAT, or any other factor correlated with the LSAT, then might they reflect incompetent instruction from your institution?

    And what's the basis for your denial of the predictive value of the LSAT score for your graduates' collective results on the bar exams? Show it to us so that we can assess it for ourselves. Not a single law school releases the data on LSAT scores and bar scores. Why not be the first, if indeed you are confident that there is no correlation?

    Lyin' Bryan, cut the crap. You know damn well that your toilet school preys upon very shitty students with very poor prospects in the legal profession.

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  7. Which one goes next?

    Investigate the goings-on of the Trustees of the Universities that have shit law schools. Seriously, the ones in your areas, send an email, make a call, try to find out what the trustees are thinking. Try to get the budgets of the University itself. If a University's finances are getting tight, and their law school is losing money, they're in the running for being the next one to close....

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  8. For even more amusement, the illustrious Stephen Diamond is denouncing the decision to close Whittier, just at the point that the market for law school graduates is turning around (at least for the quarter of Whittier graduates capable of passing the bar).

    http://prawfsblawg.blogs.com/prawfsblawg/2017/04/the-hubris-of-the-unknowing.html#comments

    From Diamond's blog:

    "As for the actual impact of getting a JD at Whittier, while the unranked school does not have the best track record of late with respect to bar passage, it has been a gateway school into the legal profession for a diverse array of students for many decades. In a state like California that is very important, particularly in the era of Trump when racist and anti-immigrant messaging is making life even more difficult for black, hispanic, asian and native american students to enter the most rewarding professions."

    Comedy gold.

    http://stephen-diamond.com/2017/04/21/whittiers-big-mistake/


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    Replies
    1. Yes, he reports that legal jobs increased in the area by about 1600 in 3 years, without bothering to mention how many more lawyers were dumped into the job market during that time. The job and salary figures do not include solos or law school graduates who did not pass the bar exam. We are watching a slow motion train wreck, here.

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    2. If you can't pass the bar exam, and you owe $198,866.42 in NON-DISCHARGEABLE debt for a TTTT law degree, then you are not joining this gutter "profession," genius. Plus, if you are a minority, you likely have fewer meaningful connections. Stephen Diamond truly is a pig.

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    3. Diamond's "argument", stripped of its white-chauvinist race-baiting (a subject for another discussion), seems to come down to this:

      1) Jobs for lawyers in Orange County have been increasing.
      2) Whittier is located in Orange County.
      3) Therefore, Whittier's graduates enjoy improving prospects for employment as lawyers.
      4) Therefore, Whittier should not close down.

      Class, what is wrong with that argument?

      Delete
  9. 1. A number of large companies have their headquarters in Orange County.
    2. Most corporate headquarters house a significant portion of their legal team.
    3. Therefore, these companies employ many lawyers in Orange County.
    4. Whittier is a law school in Orange County.
    5. Therefore, many Whittier grads are hired as in-house counsel to large corporations headquartered in Orange County.

    FLAWLESS LOGIC

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  10. Frothing at the mouth, scamster Stephen Diamond appears to maintain that Shittier owes its law professors ongoing employment—without so much as a drop in salary, one presumes—and should stay in business for that reason.

    Obviously the toilet school is losing money, and it appears to have no endowment of its own, so it is being run at the expense of others—most likely the undergraduate college to which it is attached. Does Diamond care? Oh, no. Those sacrosanct profe$$orial salaries and benefits simply must be paid, in perpetuity, though the whole world go to hell in a handbasket. Bleed outsiders dry so that a law professor born with a silver spoon up her ass can go on taking luxurious trips around the world and boasting about them, even with reference to brand names, in the media.

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  11. To Stonemason and Old Guy:

    If I wanted to do logic problems, I would have taken the LSAT seriously, instead of finding a law school that simply didn't care.

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    Replies
    1. Come on, guys. You're not trying.

      Richard M. Nixon went to Whittier.
      Richard M. Nixon became 37th President
      Richard M. Nixon was also Vice President
      Therefore, you can do anything with a law degree

      Delete
    2. Nixon went to Duke University Law School.
      Nixon was on Full Scholarship
      Nixon won a scholarship to Duke by working hard at Whittier College as an undergrad.
      Therefore, if you're a hard worker who's going places, you'd win a scholarship at a top 14 law school.

      Delete
    3. Old Guy excelled at an élite law school.
      Old Guy has struggled to find work as a lawyer.
      Therefore, a law degree will lead at best to marginal employment.

      Delete
  12. It appears that my and others initial reading of Whittier's closure was correct: They are NOT closing down immediately.

    They are cycling through the remaining students and THEN closing:

    http://www.thequakercampus.org/newsblog/2017/4/27/whittier-law-school-adjourned-forever

    There will be no student loan closed school discharge for these nitwits..

    This will allow some time for the faculty to parachute out to a soft landing - while their students get thrown into the jaws of the Education Debt Machine Gun Nest.

    Excellent!

    The students lose *again* as always!!

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  13. And for an added dose of reality-compare the general jobless rate-lowest in 10 years https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/05/business/economy/jobs-report-unemployment.html?_r=0
    to the unemployment rate of the rogue's gallery of schools in tiers 2-7; does a single one of those schools have a jobless rate of 4.4% or even close?

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