Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Just what we need: more Cooley

The boot-licking, apple-polishing, brown-nosing ABA has authorized Cooley to open another campus—this one in Kalamazoo. So-called students will be able to complete as much as two-thirds of a law degree and finish up at one of the Cooley outlets in Auburn Hills, Grand Rapids, or Lansing, Michigan, or even the one in Tampa, Florida.

The ABA had held up its rubber stamp of approval until it was satisfied that Cooley complied with the "standards" for admission. Lo and behold! the poster child of über-toiletry was found compliant six months ago. At least three-quarters of last year's entering class scored in the bottom 30% on the LSAT, and at least a quarter was in the bottom 11%. Such are the "standards" of the ABA.

The Cooley chain of über-toilets shut a campus down several years ago but now feels emboldened to open another, albeit one that can offer only 2/3 of the credits needed for a degree. Perhaps the opening of another branch is just the desperate act of a dying franchise, but I suspect that it manifests the reinvigoration of the law-school scam. The number of applications to law schools has been increasing even as six law schools have closed or are in the process of closing. Let me repeat what I have said for years: people who apply to law schools today, especially schools of the Cooley variety, get no sympathy from me. I don't want to hear complaints about $350k in student loans for a worthless degree, such as the one brought by a former student of now-defunct the Charlotte School of Law in a suit against the ABA. Literature exposing the law-school scam abounds. Don't come crying to Old Guy if your stupid decision to enroll in La Toilette predictably proves disastrous.

In other news, InfiLaw über-toilet Florida Coastal has lost its appeal from the ABA's finding that it did not comply with certain "standards" respecting admission and instruction. Will the ABA proceed to revoke the accreditation of InfiLaw's last über-toilet, or will it give Florida Coastal the Cooley treatment by affirming compliance with the "standards"?


  1. 2013 is the "Sympathy Cut-off." You signed up in 2012 and got buried, well, it's hard to quit something once you start, the info was available but not fully understood, I can sympathize.

    You enrolled in 2013, to hell with you. You thought you were too good, too special, whatever, and the laws of economics or reality simply didn't apply to you.

    1. @ Anonymous 10:53 -
      I would put the sympathy cut-off date more like around 2000. I graduated in 1998 and even back then jobs were non-existent.

    2. Exactly. This situation did not happen in 2012 or 2008, it goes back decades. It was just less obvious at first. I went to 6th tier or 4th tier New England Law in Boston in the early 90s. There were 175 ABA accredited law schools then. Some of my class did quite well. A couple got JAG appointments, a bunch went the the DA offices, some went to federal agencies, a few have become state judges. But they all were connected or perhaps with the JAGs very well suited for it. Objectively, the school itself was actually halfway decent. But the part that was swept under the rug was how many didn’t get legal employment, despite bar passage, like me. In those days it was easy for law schools to obfuscate the employment stats because any employment would count as being employment. I went to night school and continued with the same job after graduation and bar admittance as I had before entering law school. The school had virtually no on campus recruiting and career services were abysmal. Yet the school took credit for my employment despite having absolutely nothing to do with it. The same would go for a new lawyer taking McDonald’s employment. This situation goes back to at least the early 90s and must be rooted at least well back into the 80s. The upper tier law schools were not affected much in the early years, but now I understand the blight has spread there as well. How I wound up at and why I stayed at NESL is a whole other story

    3. 6:51 has it exactly; I graduated from law school back in the mid-80s, and the scam was alive and well then. I attended State U, so at least it was cheap back in those days, and it has been laughably ranked in the USNWR's top tier-as if being at the bottom of the top 50 means anything.
      It was an amazing experience in many ways, all of them bad, but the most amazing was the misidentified "Placement Office". The folks running that joint made it clear that they were only interested in assisting the top 10% AND law review students. The rest of us were on our own. And they made it clear to all of us they didn't want to deal with the rest of us-the "dean" of placement services actually told me this, face to face. I would estimate that 75% of my graduating class did not have law related jobs at graduation, or at 8 months, or at 9 months or whatever, and this was back in the days when 75% of the class passed the bar the first time.
      And yes, even then it was known that except for the chosen few, going to law school was a bad idea. There was a hit show, Cheers, and its main character was Sam who ran a bar. His lawyer was also the guy who cut his grass and trimmed his hedges. I laughed at the time.

    4. Yes, 8:41, the very approach taken by You Ass News makes no sense. It panders to simpletons. La Toilette is ranked 27 or 61 or 139. It goes up or down a position or two, or even ten. None of this means anything, because only 13 or so schools have real merit (and even they are not half so great as they think) for the purpose of working in law; the rest are functionally Cooleys. But the simpletons who keep buying You Ass News lap this shit up.

      And because subtlety and nuance are lost on simpletons, You Ass News "authoritatively" establishes meaningless "tiers": the top 50, the next 50, the next 50, and the rest ("unranked" in You Ass lingo; "über-toilets" to Old Guy). These "tiers" absurdly suggest that the school in 50th position is comparable to Harvard and Yale but vastly better than the school in 51st position. Anyone who thinks for a moment will see that this cannot be true, but not a lot of thinking goes on within the skulls of those who salivate over the "rankings" and cherish every point.

      Your school's "Placement Office" (ridiculous: it obviously didn't "place" anyone into anything) cared only about the top students because the others, with few exceptions, were headed for mediocre jobs at best. Only the star performers from a humdrum school (never mind an über-toilet) are competitive for good jobs. By contrast, my élite law school cosseted the rich kids that made up 90+% of the class but ignored me even though I was on the law review and also easily within the top 10%. Who cares whether employers discriminate against Old Guy on account of his age and undistinguished socio-economic status?

    5. 6:51 here again. The career placement office at NESL consisted of a room with many self help books on starting a practice. Reference books such as the Occupational Outlook Handbook, which was odd, because the only job category in that book that law school trains for is Lawyers and Judges. The job postings were contained in a couple of three ring binders. Some were generic recruiting ads, such as from the Department of Justice. Intersperced were help wanted ads from various law firms mostly regional. I went to the office a few times and even applied to a couple of the two bit law firms looking for real estate associates or whatever.

      I almost made an appointment to talk to one of the career counselors but never followed through with it. This was maybe 6 months or a year after bar admission. I was still working in my accounting job. I seem have a vague memory of the administrative assistant telling me that my class had already been ‘placed’ so it would be difficult for me, but a counselor would still be willing to talk to me. But I’m not sure if the comment actually happened. But I think it does reflect the 1990s attitudes and evasiveness.

      I think the worst though is the reaction of non-lawyers, civilians if you will. Oh, it’s too bad you spent all that time and money and aren’t using your degree. What was your specialization in law school? Uh – well you really don’t specialize in law school – you take some electives. I imagine you will be going into commercial law. Uh – what exactly is commercial law and why would I be a shoe in for it? You need to hit the pavement an start knocking on doors. But the worst was when someone approached with a problem with a neighbor.

      One guy said I should sign up for court appointed work. Well in Massachusetts at least, you don’t just sign up for court appointed work. In the 90s you had to apply to one of the county bar advocate offices, just like applying for a job. The application had questions such as – what languages do you speak – what in your background reflects the diversity of our clients. In the late 2000s the state took over all the operations from the counties and centralized it under the executive branch of the state. It just means your connections have to be at the state government level now as opposed to the local level. For any non attorneys reading, the court appointed attorneys are solo practitioners as opposed to public defenders who are employees of the state.

      I told all of this to this guy and he said, well my friend is on the list and he gets cases. Yes well maybe he started in the 1960s or there was something else in his background they liked, such as going to a better law school. All I know is that I did apply to a couple of the bar advocate groups and didn’t get any responses.

      I keep my law school past quiet now when I meet new people. It's been good. I don't want to answer any questions about why I'm not practicing or explain why I can't use my free time to help someone sue their neighbor or doctor.

      Anyway, it is good to get some of this off my chest.

    6. The switchboard operator in a Massachusetts courthouse makes more than the public defender; the janitor, more than the assistant district attorney:

      Note this in particular:

      "I graduated from Boston College Law School [a fourth-tier school treated as "first-tier" by You Ass News] in 2007. After six and a half years as a public defender, my salary is roughly $53,600 a year. I, like my colleagues, realize many people in Massachusetts are paid less than public defenders. Every single day I work with poor people who don’t have a dime to their name. And I know many people struggle, stay in the middle class, with less than my salary. But $53,600 a year is far too low of a salary to allow me to stay with CPCS. I have over $120,000 in student loans. I have a 2003 Toyota Corolla with 128,000 miles on it. I live in a modest apartment that I share, perhaps tellingly, with another public defender from my office just to make the ends meet. I had a part-time job for five years as a public defender selling wine and liquor at a wine shop until about a year ago when I really had to leave because my social life was nonexistent and I really needed extra time to work on my cases. I live no better than I did when I was a first-year law student at BC. In fact, I probably live less well. I have no savings. I can’t save anything for retirement, and there is no end in sight."

      Two years ago in Massachusetts, court-appointed work—if one could get it—paid $53 per hour:

      That's very little for a professional who must hold two costly degrees and a license in good standing, with additional training and certification required by the state. At the full-time rate of 1920 hours per year (40 hours per week times 48 weeks, allowing for two unpaid weeks of holidays and two unpaid weeks of vacation), that's only $102k. Now, maybe $102k sounds appealing to you. Let me explain why it is not.

      First, one simply would not get that much court-appointed work. There might be only one file here and there, if any. Second, the state won't pay for every hour worked: one might work ten hours but receive payment for only three. Third, running one's own practice requires a great deal of work (file management, administration, professional development, and so on) for which one doesn't get a penny. Fourth, a practice of that size would almost certainly require an assistant, whose wages and the taxes thereon would eat up a fat percentage of that $100k. Fifth, the cost of running an office (the space, utilities, insurance of various kinds, stationery, furniture, legal research, transportation, etc.) would also be substantial. Even many disbursements would not be reimbursed. (One jurisdiction where I have been licensed reimburses parking at the courthouse but not driving within the city.) Sixth, maintaining a professional license and malpractice insurance would cost many thousands of dollars per year, not to mention a lot of time. Seventh, self-employment taxes would take a big cut. Eighth, this arrangement obviously comes with no benefits. Vacation and holidays are unpaid (although the assistant gets them—at the lawyer's expense); health insurance and retirement are one's own responsibility.

      Thus even the Pollyanna case of getting full-time work of this sort from the state leads to a decidedly poor (in more than one sense) outcome.

  2. My college German professor was a Ukrainian from what used to be eastern Poland. He once told us that in the old country, pre-WWII, when a teenage girl got pregnant out of wedlock she and the offending sperm donor were put through a major, semi-organized public humiliation. "It was a terrible thing we used to do," he said, "but then we only had to do it once every ten years or so." We all saw the point, that it took ten years for children with little or no memory of last time to grow old enough to repeat the mistake. I had been thinking, as I watched the slow but steady shrinking of the scamblog movement, that the same thing would happen. 10:53's 2013 rule works, but today's trad college seniors were high school juniors in 2013 when the movement was going gangbusters. A new generation of scambloggers may arise but the people who fall into the gap will suffer.

  3. @ Old Guy:
    How can anyone justify opening ANOTHER Cooley law school?! Look at the precipitous decline in enrollment over the past several years:

  4. Unbelievable. ABA sanctions Cooley, files suit, then turns around and says "hey, it's cool, bro, why don't u open another campus lol."

    Revolving door just revolving door. (Regulatory capture) + (money) = (state of legal profession).

  5. The only ones to feel sorry for are the taxpayers, as they will ultimately foot the bill for the millions of unpaid loans.

  6. Years ago, when Nando would flush a toilet, you could always count on lemmings coming out and defending their toilet in the comments. A Cooleyite once claimed he was going to make 6 figures doing court appointed criminal defense work when he graduated. I wish the current crop of lemmings would comment on this blog and tell us their delusional thoughts, just so we could understand their thought process. A commenter on JD underground provided this a few days ago under the thread why you went to law school and what you are doing now:

    mera88 :

    I went to law school to do big law. My income was very low before law school due to the mistake I made in undergraduate by majoring in a low paying major. However, the law school I went to is the type where you have to be in the top 5% to get big law or have some connections to land a decent job. I am completely screwed now since I have neither of those credentials. Law school is one of the most expensive mistakes I have ever made. I feel like my whole life has been a screw up. Through my internships I have realized I hate the law but my family keeps on asking me when will I become a lawyer and pass the bar. I just feel like I am stuck. However, I do want to pass the bar and become a licensed attorney even if I never practice.

I remember reading nando's profile on my law school but I did not take it seriously. I so regret that now. Only if I had never gone to law school my future would not be so dim.

Oh yeah, my law school and law school professors have forever crushed my dreams.

    1. Don't you have a good career as a physician? Why bother with the shitty, prestige-whoring legal "profession"? Medicine beats law hands down.

    2. Old Guy,

      After getting scammed by a toilet law school in the early to mid 2000s, I just want to save other people from going through what I went through.

  7. @ 9-12-2018 10:53 AM:

    2007 was the cutoff year for me. That was the year of the WSJ article by Amir Efrati.

    And - that is now 10+ years ago!! Amazing..

    Regarding Nutwigg's comment: Yes. It's not like the late 90's were worth anything to the non-PPC folks at 95% of law schools.

    So if you were one of the 95% at 95% of law schools, barring the very few who can work their way in some regard "up and out" of the bottom tiers of law, you were screwed. Don't think there is some kind of "magical" "career progression" that takes place just because you made it in law for 20+ years and with the passage of time. There isn't.

    I know a number this far out who work at 3-person firms.

    Thanks to the unbelievable oversupply created by the opening of new schools under the (cough!) "oversight" of the ABA, there is constant downward pressure on salaries and no one - no one - is irreplaceable. And the firms know it. In fact, a number of them operate as "churn-and-burn" shops off the lowly 1L's who graduate en masse each and every year.

    As far as that commentor - fuck them.

    I posted several entries back about how it's pointless to bother. A quick look at LST tells you - at least those who bother to look and think - all they need to know.

    You get a $300,000 Ticket to Nowhere that can't be bankruptcied away. That's not counting any undergrad debt, etc.

    These morons xferring to N.Dakota are the prime example. Instead of redeeming their Golden Ticket and getting out of debt, they instead choose to rip it up and keep drinking the Kool-Aid believing that in this non-merit based profession - where the Elite kids can afford to do jobs for 1-2 years at some bullshit AUSA thing that doesn't even pay gas money ... or volunteer with Greenpeace or maybe the Peace Corps, which Mommy and/or Daddy can get them into with a phone call - that hard work pays off, etc.

    They buy readily into the Horatio Alger myth pushed by the Elites to keep the Proles working and supporting them and the System they have created.

    In other words, the gov't makes money by turning the 95% into Debt Slaves for life, the Guilded Age legal "profession" is even more stratified than ever because the Rich Kids don't pay $300,000+ to attend and come out of both college and law school debt-free. And everything works out the way it should - at least for those Elites. They continue to more than dominate the profession, they own and run the best firms, etc. and the Revolving Door between the Gov't and the top law firms and lobbyists continues so those at the top get what they want.

    And it's all supported by the 95% at 95% of law schools failing. That's how the System is designed. That's how it works. It's designed to do exactly what it's doing now, period.

    So this moron got exactly the planned and desired outcome. And it's not coincidence.

    The professors may have "crushed" their dreams. But they financially destroyed themselves thanks to asymmetrical information and lack of any edge in playing and winning the game, which the Elite won before they even started collage and law school.

    Again: All by design. The outcomes are known. No one talks about it, that's all. But those in the know understand and realize exactly what's going on and why.

    You are not going to talk these Lemmings out of anything at this point no matter what facts you might present to them or how sound your argument is, bullet-proof or no. So don't even try.. In their minds, they can compete just as well as some toker at Duke who comes from money and is a 3rd-gen. legacy who just needs a law degree as a ticket to the Club and to let Mom or Dad get them that primo first job, etc. and start them on their upwardly-mobile career - which they don't even need b/c .. family money, etc. The job is just for image, etc.

  8. On the bright side, a few years from now, the residents of Kalamazoo are soon to be pleasantly surprised by the sudden uptick in quality employees at Taco Bell.