Saturday, October 26, 2019

Onward and Upward...More or Less.

Image result for concept art post apocalyptic wasteland
Progress continues, unabated, since 2008.

Well, it has been a long time between postings.  Some of it is in part due to slow-news days on the legal education front.  Another part of the downtime, for me at least, has been due to the transition to a new position, and that has cut into my time recently for delivering on the “JD-Advantage” perspective.

“Wait, a new job?” I hear the critics say.  “That is proof positive that all your whining and belly-aching about how JDs are not worth the time and money is a complete and utter fabrication.  Why don’t you just buckle down and work hard for once in your Gen-Xer life, and see what actually comes of it.”

We’ve all heard this before, multiple times.  Never mind the fact that the Boomer cohort as a whole, from whom this particular criticism often comes, has suffered from significant ageism in the workplace, under-funded investments vehicles for retirement, and the need to continue working because they will be destitute if they don’t.  Some of this is “their fault,” some of it isn’t.  Given the vagaries of life, however, you would think there would be some solidarity between generations on these difficult issues (sort of a “welcome to how the other-half live, now let’s actually stop with the slings and arrows and try to do something productive together” approach), but generally, not really.  Lazy Millennials, et. al. still need to get off the lawn, etc., so here we all are.

(In fact, one notable Boomer in particular has concluded that the federal student loan program is a colossal train-wreck and debt needs to be forgiven.  And no, not Bernie Sanders nor Elizabeth Warren nor similar individuals who have to, in-part, pander to the masses, but a long-serving chief officer at the DOE who ostensibly should know something about the issue.  Though, he is getting into politics also, so...)   

Some may recall an older post of mine where I ran the numbers, and concluded that the good old JD, outside the law, is not that remunerative.  The numbers didn’t work for several years, they barely “worked” for a few more, and even now, with some improvement, still are not great – some 15 years after my glorious non-traditional graduation.  Considering the fact that I have 20 years to go before I am eligible for any federal benefits, it still seems tenuous and one-disaster-away from ruin.  Overall, the cost-benefit analysis says “no.”

Why?  Because I would argue that the rent for a JD is just too damn high.  I think after the last several years of scamblogging, it can probably all be distilled down to this one fact.  We can debate the utility (or uselessness) of traditional legal education, the bar’zam hazing ritual, the lack of true clinical and/or apprenticeship models in the profession, the brutal economics for solos, or even newly minted lawyers with no connections having to compete for jobs with legacy lawyers coming from T14 institutions.  All these things matter and contribute to the picture, but they would all be a bit more survivable without six-figures-plus of crushing debt at 7%, give or take.

“A bit more survivable,” though, is the key phrase.  My own “successes,” should they be termed that, came very, very slowly, and did not adjust for inflation well at all.  Note again that I do not actively practice law (though I maintain the license as a credibility marker), and had to flee from the idea very early on due to my non-traditional status and the inability to break in.  “JD-Advantage” was, and still is, a face-saving measure to try to spin the narrative on a bad decision.  I won’t say it has zero utility, but the utility it does present is very watered-down, and could have been achieved through alternate, less-costly means.

Maybe the K-JDs, in contrast, are rocking their Maseratis and their models-and-bottles, and I don’t doubt that a few are.  However, my sources say “no” for the majority, even though self-interested parties will say "yes," and it is not clear how it will strongly improve any time soon.

0Ls, make sure you are considering alternate career paths, and not just choosing law as a default.  Sadly, many do, and some (like me) thought they were making a good decision back in 2002 or so, before the “word got out” on the now-ubiquitous internet.  I’m not saying the world doesn’t need lawyers, but clearly the world does not need that many of them now or in the future.

52 comments:

  1. Hi Duped!
    One would think that 15 years of internet-fueled scamblogging, mainstream press coverage of law school lies since at least 2006, and a generation of debt-ridden, marginally-employed law graduates all would have had a more disruptive effect on the Scam, but no, it didn't turn out that way. Although there have been some reforms, and a few marginal schools closed, the law school cartel mainly survived but for minor scratches, and with their massive honeypot of federal student loan money completely intact. (Which is all they really care for!)
    Just a few scamblogs remain where the courageous may continue to speak truth to power. So, even if your posts are infrequent, they are important and certainly welcome!

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  2. The big problem remains the American Bar Association @howlowcanwego and their commitment to antitrust rather than wages, hours, working conditions and full employment of lawyers.

    As a result of the American Bar Association's policy of ignoring wages, working conditions and the inability of a large number of lawyers to get full-time work in the legal profession - things that matter most for lawyers - and the severe and increasing oversupply of lawyers, the legal profession is dropping in pay relative to other professions. The unemployment and underemployment rate of licensed lawyers is at or very close to 50%, given the number of lawyers vs. the number of jobs for lawyers in the US. It is getting worse every year because so many more people graduate from law school than there are jobs.

    Unionized workers in the government, at least in blue states, have higher total compensation, more reasonable working hours and infinitely better job security than lawyers. Teachers in the big city and suburbs can earn $120,000 or more in base salary alone after 15-20 years with no layoffs and generous state-tax free pensions as well as subsidized retiree medical benefits.

    Most lawyers, on the other hand, cannot retire because they cannot afford to retire. So the oversupply of lawyers will not abate any time soon. If a lawyer averaged what the average city worker gets, without the benefits, the lawyer's pay is too low to have a prayer at retirement.

    Not only is the pay terrible for many or most lawyers. The working conditions are close to what one would see with illegal aliens because it is so easy to replace a lawyer. You have long hours if there is work, low pay, no pension benefits at all or a 401k with a low match and the longest possible waiting period and vesting schedule, so only a few partners vest. The jobs are in an inconvenient locations because legal employers do not need to be conveniently located to attract lawyers, so the commute is back-breaking. There is no life with the low paying long hour jobs. If the lawyer is in a high paying job in a good location, expect staggering turnover, simply because the employer can replace the lawyer easily.

    Top 14 and top 3 law degrees do not save lawyers from this fate. Everyone ages, and the older the lawyer is, the more vulnerable the lawyer is to horrible treatment by employers.

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    1. The strange thing to me is that law schools just aren't closing down and most people still claim law is prestigious. It makes you feel like a complete loser and failure, and that you're all alone. I think blogs like this are almost a lifeline, but there's just so little content and so few people talking on it.

      I've mentioned this before, but there just aren't really any scam blogs or other anti-law school resources/places around anymore. 2009 was the highmark for scam bloggers, and then the NYT article and a few other things happened. But the scammers just seemed to bide their time and now in 2019 the scam seems even healthier than ever. A full decade after the scam blogging really got into full swing.

      And it seems like the old guard gets tired and just stops. As duped mentions, the news is slow.

      The biggest problem at least for me is the shame of it all. I've seen it mentioned before on here too, the long term underemployment and periods of unemployment, the fact that most of us are above average in intelligence and have all that education, work ethic and have clean criminal backgrounds etc., and it just seems there is more of stigma for people in this position than anything else. Feels like you'd be better off becoming a drug addict or joining a gang and being a criminal, those people are more respected than an underemployed attorney.

      I think the only real option for most is solo practice. Which of course has its own issues. The most disgusting part of the legal field to me is the competition on document review. Poor conditions, poor pay, irregular work yet it has some 20 poor sods for each doc review seat, even for projects lasting 3 days, and many of these people having done it for a decade or longer. I last about a half year on doc review before deciding sitting in a small office as a solo attorney actually losing money is still better than getting paid for doc review.

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    2. Don't blame the ABA too much. The antitrust issues are real, as in, it really is illegal for them to decide how many law schools there ought to be. And unlike the AMA, it's hard to limit quantity based on quality justifications when all you need is classrooms and profs, as there's no labs or anything. And even if they could do it, so long as unlimited student loans exist it would only drive up the price at the schools remaining.

      Meanwhile, never underestimate how much people HATE lawyers. In my state, the bar association has only managed to survive by putting the statement front and center on everything they do that they are a "client protection agency, not a lawyer protection agency" and that such protection from poor and/or unethical service is the ONLY reason the profession is licensed at all. Protection of lawyers' investment in their training is not, and cannot, be on the radar.

      In my state, our legislature has even repealed all the statutes that criminalized UPL, so the only way to stop an unlicensed practitioner (unless the committed literal fraud e.g. by falsely holding themselves out as a lawyer) is for the bar to petition the state supreme court for an injunction, which they only do in the most egregious cases. So the legal definition of UPL isn't worth the paper it's printed on. For all intents and purposes, as long as you don't physically show up in court on behalf of someone else, or falsely claim to be a lawyer when you aren't, you can do whatever you want.

      And even that injunction-based process only survives because the courts are a separate branch of government with the exclusive right to decide who can practice before them. If lawyer licensure was in the control of legislatures as it is for other professions, then a lot of red states would probably do away with the profession entirely and would just say people can hire whomever they want to represent them with the market deciding whether a JD is worth anything.

      The only way to reign in the excessive number of law schools is to restrict their fuel source: Student loans. Federal loans need to be limited, and private loans need to be dischargeable in bankruptcy. That's something only DOE and congress can do, not the ABA. (don't get me wrong, the lobbying arm of the ABA is beholden to law schools and would resist such an effort and that's abhorrent, but my beef is with their lobbying side of operations, not the accreditation side).

      There is also a role for state supreme courts, as the exclusive authority that confers these licenses. They could require graduated licensing, such that independent practice would require a period of apprenticeship or residency as exists in every other common law country. Then, just as the limited number of residency slots also effectively caps the number of med school seats, so too it could function with law schools. State supreme courts can easily justify a measure like this since new lawyers clearly don't know what they're doing, but since it's a post-graduate licensing matter it too wouldn't really be the ABA's mantle to take up.

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    3. You're letting the ABA off way too easy. There are several non-ABA accredited law schools out there(in CA/TN/AL and perhaps other locations), and they've always been what they are. Cheap, and risky for attendees.
      The ABA, even in the face of actual fraud(utterly fictitious salary and employment figures utilized by accredited schools), has done little or nothing to stop the scam because its #1 job is to protect the schools-not the public, not the taxpayers funding this mess, not the hapless 0Ls or law students, just the schools and the hackademics. Seriously, what the hell in the real world is a "JD Advantage" job? Answer: a way for schools to artificially inflate their "official" employment statistics. It's a joke, and the joke is on everyone but the schools.
      The ABA can't even adopt a gentle "rule" regarding how many law school graduates need to pass the bar. So while there's plenty of blame to go around, the ABA is front and center, as it has totally failed in even slightly reining in the scam.

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    4. Yup, those unaccredited schools are sometimes ludicrously cheap. One, called "People's College of Law" is only 5k per year!

      But why is that? It's not just because they're unaccredited; it's because the lack of accreditation means they aren't eligible for federal student loans and can only charge what people are willing and able to pay out-of-pocket. So they have no choice but to cut costs to the bare minimum. In fact, at PCL even the janitorial services are provided for free by their own students who have an obligation, in addition to tuition, to put in a certain amount of time doing that stuff which they call "accountability hours."

      Places like that are living proof that all you really need for a law school is classroom space (which any ordinary office building or strip mall can provide), Westlaw access, and some practicing lawyers from around town to teach the classes part-time for a few grand per class.

      The only reason accredited schools charge so much is because they can, and they can because of loans. Sure the bar passage rate is very low at a place like PCL, but that probably has more to do with open-admissions than anything else.

      So, I come back to my original thesis: The fuel source of this fire is federal student loans, not the ABA and not a lack of information or disclosure for prospective students. Without fuel, all fires stop burning. Everything else is of secondary importance.

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    5. The antitrust problem is not real. The ABA has not even tried to test the antitrust laws in the face of a huge and increasing oversupply of labor. Antitrust does not mean hundreds of thousands of unemployed and underemployed professionals. No one ever tried to dispute the "antitrust" issues addressed years ago with the counterargument that antitrust does not require training hordes of professionals who will be unemployed.

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    6. Law is the only field I see these antitrust issues come up. Nobody has ever been able to adequately explain to me why physicians can be restricted, despite the well known unmet medical need especially in rural areas, but somehow there needs to be 10 law schools within a 20 mile radius and said graduates once indebted should be practicing in rural areas.

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    7. There's no question that ending the loan guarantees would go a long way to ending the scam. But it's clear that isn't going to happen anytime soon, but that doesn't let the ABA off the hook for actively aiding and abetting the scam. First, the whole antitrust excuse is nothing but a smokescreen. As pointed out above, the AMA has a stranglehold on medical school enrollment numbers, and it has zero antitrust problems.
      Second, the ABA has taken upon itself the role of accreditor of law schools, when in fact and in practice, its main goal is to keep all accredited schools open. For example, an easy dozen schools could and should be closed tomorrow because so few graduates pass the bar. But the ABA won't do that; it picks one or two schools, and that's it. It isn't protecting the public, or the taxpayers, or the hapless students. The ABA exists solely and diligently to protect the schools and the hackademics.
      So yes, the loans need to end-but that doesn't excuse the ABA's malfeasance regarding its accreditation tactics. The simple reality is that if the ABA were aggressive in holding scam schools to even modest standards, things would change dramatically.

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    8. @12:18: The biggest way that med school seats get capped is because residency seats are capped. Residency programs aren't accredited by the AMA, but rather by a different organization called the ACGME. CMS, meanwhile, has essentially frozen funding for more residency slots. In fact, the number of these slots have been capped since 1997 as part of the balanced budget act of that year, and in rural areas the cap is 130% of whatever it was in 1997. That's it. Can't add more regardless of demand, essentially by act of congress. Thus, there'd be no point in adding more med school seats if it would just mean that the students couldn't match. THAT's why you don't see the AMA attacked by med schools on anti-trust grounds: The AMA isn't restricting med school slot nearly as much as congress itself is.

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    9. If you're going to practice law, you need to start at either Big Law or in a government position. The ABA can start restricting seats to however many of those openings there are in a year. There is no reason why a doctor can't practice medicine without residency anymore than a lawyer can practice without formal training. Both cases would be malpractice, it's just one is apparently illegal or otherwise the AMA is responsible enough not to graduate that many students.

      I should note, DO and foreign programs exist, and they in fact DO NOT get matches. They are in the same boat as law graduates without that first great lawyer job. They are the equivalent to non-T14 schools in the US.

      There is no reason the US can't restrict American JDs the same way, create some nonsense fake degree for more US lawyer wannabes while allowing foreign LLMs to take the bar with no guarantee of a match from a US law school program.

      Foreign MD students DO NOT get access to US public student loans. Nor should they. The loan spigot needs to immediately be turned off in the US outside the T-14 as well. The States that believe in law school can subsidize state law schools similar to undergrad, and pay lower salaries to professors and charge low tuition.

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    10. Actually, several carib schools are eligible for federal loans. And yes, residency is required to practice. It's not the AMA "being responsible." Every state in the country requires some period of postgraduate training, typically 1-3 years.

      Granted, this is less time than it takes to actually complete a residency or get board certified in something. But as a practical matter, there is no postgraduate training offered outside the residency system. As such, no match = no license. And yes, that does happen to some people and the results are tragic.

      But keep in mind that right now, law schools are different. They can truthfully promise that if you get an ABA-accredited JD then you will be eligible to sit for the bar in any state in the country. That is the ONE promise they CAN keep. If state supreme courts stopped admitting people with no postgraduate training, schools would close.

      Don't get me wrong. That's not nearly as efficient as restricting the loans. But the point is that these are decisions that would not be made by the ABA, but by the DOE and congress (for loans) and by state supreme courts (for licensure). The ABA is simply the wrong tree to bark up.

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    11. 3:35-it looks like we'll go back and forth forever. But first about the residency match-if you are a US medical school graduate who has passed the appropriate STEP exams, either MD or DO, there is an eventual match rate of almost 100%. That doesn't mean that you'll get the residency you want-hey, everybody can't be a dermatologist-but if you are willing to take any residency available, you'll be accepted. This is the "scamble" which happens after the match; when med students who didn't get the residency of their desire settle for what is left-and there are always slots left in IM or FP. And in terms of Congress limiting residency slots-that's accurate, as far as it goes. But as of now, US graduates willing to take any residency available will ultimately enter a residency program.
      And it isn't "barking up the wrong tree" to indict the ABA-it's the ABA which accredits the law schools. No accreditation and most, if not all, of previously accredited schools close, period full stop. So if any reasonable parameter were issued and enforced-e.g. bar passage rates for graduates-schools could be shut down very quickly.
      But the ABA isn't doing that, and won't do that, because it exists to protect the schools and the hackademics, period.

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    12. Regardless of which entity is in charge of what, the facts are doctors require a residency and there are caps both to residents and medical school graduates.

      Law obviously needs a similar system if it wants a similar level of both prestige, career opportunities and security, as well as to provide a high level of skill and service to society.

      Graduating tens of thousands of untrained and unskilled "lawyers" does not serve the public in any way, it merely drives down wages and lowers the quality and prestige of the profession.

      I do not at all expect any change to be made and I am curious why it ever even occurred for medicine and dentistry, which both I've read in the past suffered from similar issues as law does today, albeit without the heavy debt and human cost most young lawyers are burdened with today.

      The loans definitely need to be restricted, but that probably won't be enough at this point. At some point the legal field will become a complete joke, if it isn't already, and perhaps some of it will self correct, I don't know. Haven't seen it yet of course, the lemmings still go and get bad outcomes.

      On a related note, I could not find any decent law scam material on reddit. However, I did find interesting accounts on r/unemployed, graduates posting stories that of course would be familiar to scam blog readers. I just don't understand why people are still going to law school with all the information out there, and posters do respond stating the legal profession is very saturated and it's a common issue.

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    13. @3:44, I think people continue to go mainly because they are liberal artists who don't feel like they have any other options. As to the history of "why it changed" for docs, you're absolutely right that there was once a "doctor glut" too. Go back to the early 1900s and there were lots of quacks, docs who got paid in barter and made house calls, etc. It didn't look hardly anything like it does today, and the medical profession didn't have anywhere near the scarcity or the prestige it now commands.

      What changed was third-party payment. A WW2-era wage freeze created private, employer-based health insurance because employers needed to find something they could offer in lieu of raises, and the social security act's 1965 amendments created Medicare and Medicaid, essentially meaning the feds wrote a blank check for the medical care of the elderly, the disabled, and certain poor people considered to deserve it. As the definition of who deserves it grows, such as with ACA Medicaid expansion, and as life expectancy increases, more and more people are on these government programs so this kind of demand is robust and growing.

      Lawyers, OTOH, don't get to look to third parties for payment except in fee-shifting/contingency cases and public defender-eligible cases. And none of these obligations come with federal backing, so adverse parties fight the cases tooth-and-nail and governments charged with providing these public defenders do only the absolute bare minimum, and on a shoestring.

      If we had not only a "Civil Gideon" but also a blank check from the feds to pay for it, you can bet that two things would happen. First, demand would increase dramatically. And second, a vast regulatory regime would crop up surrounding this sort of "Medicaid for legal services" that probably would lead to the creation of a residency-type system, as federal payers would want to be damn sure the people eligible to bill for taxpayer dollars knew what they're doing and were also limited in number (the cap on residency slots was part of the balanced budget act for a reason, after all).

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  3. The debt incurred is the worst scenario, but even if the tuition is procured with cash reserves, there are the lost opportunity costs with what those funds could have been used for. Towards a house, retirement investments, etc.

    And it is a double whammy. Not only the loss of wealth that will never be replaced, but most people go to law school in their twenties. A vital time for establishing a career. Not only is the income from that alternate career lost, but a critical time in person's life is wasted, pursuing an useless and harmful degree, when the time could have been spent cultivating an occupation paying a living wage.

    And the law schools have failed to make even the most modest improvements, other than the minor disclosure requirements mandated by the ABA. There still isn't even a rudimentary apprenticeship program in any state. Yet, the law schools and ABA insist on the importance of the third year of law school.

    What a tragedy.

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  4. The information is out there for anyone to see for themselves if they bother to look, and there's no debate that there are many other lines of work where things can be a lot easier-and jobs easier to get.
    Don't really know why law school continues to be so popular; I used to dismiss the idea that people were influenced by TV and/or movies, but maybe that is it. All aspects of law look important and exciting in these dramas, and everybody looks good and fights the man and gets results. None of it has any relation to real life, but maybe that's it. Even the "grittier" dramas with seemingly unpolished impecunious attorneys always have an uplifting ending, where the lawyer delivers a closing worthy of Clarence Darrow and saves the day. It would make no sense, but the fact that there are still over 100 lousy laws schools cranking out soon-to-be underemployed or unemployed JDs...well, there has to be a reason, no matter how bad or stupid.
    So no doubt keeping this blog running seems thankless at times-but if you can convince just one 0L to at least look at the information available-well, then you've done good work. How many can say that at the end of the day?

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  5. Sometimes you lose track of how far you've come. Think about what the law school transparency movement has accomplished - about 6 schools have collapsed. There are 30 percent fewer JD students today than 10 years ago. The ABA got reamed by the Dept of Ed in 2016 for high debt, bad employment outcomes, and declining bar pass rates. Bar pass rates collapsed. They might lose the power to accredit law schools in a couple of years.

    Most law schools are probably operating at a loss. More schools will close. The Fed money still flows freely, but that might not last much longer, either.

    Law schools re-purposed themselves into social justice activist factories to take advantage of the Trump Bump, but the jobs won't be there, and serious-minded students are turned off by the venomous political garbage. The real show is yet to come.

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    1. On top of that, Cooley is about to close its campus in Auburn Hills, Michigan. Thomas Jefferson School of Law has been hit with loss of accreditation (https://outsidethelawschoolscam.blogspot.com/2019/06/thomas-jefferson-school-of-law-loses.html) and is trying to have the decision reversed on appeal, but it is so far gone now that even a favorable decision wouldn't save it. Florida Coastal, all that is left of the InfiLaw scam, has applied to switch to non-profit status. The Western State College of Law is trying to sell itself to another profit-seeking "university". Appalachian appears to be in deep financial trouble. A number of others are teetering on the brink.

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    2. This is good news, and the credit belongs to the brave souls-especially those running this blog-who told the truth about the scam.

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  6. The real disconnect is that the Bureau of Labor Statistics and their median salary and other numbers focus almost exclusively on employers and jobs. If BLS focused on individual law graduates and their longer term employment outcomes and income outcomes, there would be a much clearer picture of how people who go to law school or any other graduate program for that matter fare in their careers. My observation is that the drop out rate of lawyers from legal jobs through the course of their careers is high relative to more secure careers, like health care or education. Only by collecting the individual data on a regular basis with people's income tax returns would the truth be told. No one is rushing to revise the income tax forms to provide young Americans with truly accurate information about the long-term outcome of getting any degree, let alone law. Not collecting individual employment data on degree outcomes is very poor public policy.

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    1. This is reasonable advice, and a very good suggestion, but unfortunately it wouldn't help at all. My guess is very few, if any, 0Ls casting their lots with the TTTTs bother to do any research, at all, for even if they bothered to look at the ABA required employment statistics and 509s, they'd see what a terrible decision it is to attend these schools. For example, Florida Coastal had a graduating class of 186; 97 got JD required FT jobs. Appalachian-29 grads, 15 JD required FT jobs.
      This information is easy to find if you bother to look-and that's the problem, as it's clear that either the 0Ls don't bother to look, or view themselves as being "special" and unemployment won't happen to them.
      So while long term outcomes are important, if prospective 0Ls won't bother to look, what good would they be?
      So this blog needs to continue for those who do bother to look.
      And the only genuine solution to the scam is to end the loans.

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    2. A lot of this is blaming the victim but also another red herring.

      Sure TTTs are terrible prospects. But most people already know that going in.

      The bigger issue is say the top 100, and really top 50 and even top 14 still have awful long term employment prospects and high debt loads. Heck these top law schools lie more than the bottom ones anyway.

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    3. "And the only genuine solution to the scam is to end the loans."

      YES YES and YES. Then the whole house of cards collapses ... overnight.

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    4. I tend to agree with 1:50. Not many people seriously feel sorry for the sort of ass-eyed loon that goes to an über-toilet such as Cooley or Thomas Jefferson or Appalachian, but lots of people do feel sorry for someone like me who graduated from an élite law school and still ended up deep in the shit. They shouldn't feel sorry for anyone today who goes to law school.

      The élite schools too are scams nowadays. Even those vaunted $160k jobs, by no means available to every graduate, seldom last longer than a few years—and they're usually followed by unemployment or severe underemployment. The price tags of several élite schools are close to $400k, but typical outcomes don't come close to justifying that amount.

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    5. You'd need to have a mighty broad definition of "victim blaming" to apply it to the law school scam circa 2019. The information about the scam is out there; it takes maybe ten minutes on the internet to find it-not just this blog, but the MSM articles addressing the scam. And with a few more minutes' work, the ABA employment statistics/509s are easy to fined, too, as are the BLS numbers.
      Current 0Ls are no more victims than the stooges who fall for three card monte. And those stooges know it's a scam-but they've got a system to beat it, just like the 0Ls who are special and won't be unemployed and will get that 160k/yr job and still be a SJW.
      The only "victims" are the taxpayers, having to foot the bill for this whole mess, and who specifically are funding the no work/high pay jobs of the law school hackademics.
      So this blog is important, as it supplies information about the scam to those willing to make an informed decision about attending law school-or more specifically an informed decision about taking on huge amounts of debt. But the only victims nowadays are the taxpayers.

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  7. La Verne is about to go:

    https://www.dailybulletin.com/2019/10/28/university-of-la-verne-considering-closure-of-its-law-school-in-ontario/

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    1. Thanks for that. Also in deep trouble, from millions of dollars' worth of losses each year, is the law skule at the U of New Hampshire:

      https://www.nhpr.org/post/unhs-law-school-faces-extreme-situation-when-it-comes-losses#stream/0

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    2. By the way, the president's ugly blue-green and orange gown looks like the uniform of a cleaner at a tacky Howard Johnson's motel from the 1970s.

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    3. Did I read the article correctly, that it took 36 years for this TTTT to obtain full accreditation? All those years it was cranking out unnneeded JDs it was on "probation"? And it gets accredited in 2016, and by 2019 it's about to lose that accreditation for poor bar exam results?
      The ABA, as a regulatory agency for law schools, is a joke, and the joke is on the taxpayers funding these schools and the hapless law students at these TTTTs. The ABA doesn't regulate; it simply facilitates the transfer of loan $$$ from the cluesless students to the hackademics.

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  8. Wait until the economy turns south and the 150-LSAT crowd rides it out in law school. It'll be like déjà vu all over again.

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    1. A frightening prediction-and one that is probably 100% correct.

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    2. Well-said. The fact that LS represents an "all-expenses-loaned" three-year vacation from cold hard reality for pretty much anyone who can manage to finish a BA (in anything, from anywhere) is a very tough siren song to resist for a liberal arts grad who would otherwise be lucky to get a starbucks barista gig.

      "Wait, you'll pay my rent for three years AND make my parents happy and all I have to do is get an average-ish score on a standardized test, sign this promissory note and take one test per class per semester, none of which involves any math or science? Where do I sign up?!"

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  9. A big boon to the scam has to be the "every state needs a law school" mentality that exists within legislatures for these low population states (NH, VT, SD etc.)
    So they continue to operate joke schools at a loss to produce graduates with poor prospects who will probably move out of the state anyway. But hey, at least there is the prestige of having a "flagship" law school!

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    1. The idea that each state needs a law school is stupid. Vermont is a good example. There are nine just over the border in Massachusetts, one in New Hampshire, heaps in New York, and several in Québec. Everyone in the state is within three hours of a law school. Yet Vermont, for some unexplained reason, just has to have a law school of its own. And of course the damn thing is in one of the worst locations, a ridiculous unincorporated crossroads situated half an hour from the nearest grocery store.

      Neither of the Dakotas needs a law school. People there can just damn well go to law school in Minnesota or Iowa. The claim that a "local" law school (on the eastern fringe of the state, hours from most residents) serves the people of the state is silly. Hell, a large fraction of the student body at the U of North Dakota consists of people who ran from Arizona Summit when it went tits up.

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    2. I think the worst part of it is that no matter the location, they all charge the same high tuition. If there were law schools out in rural areas with low cost of attendance and with local connections/training, that would be a more sensible model than law schools everywhere with high tuition and not even local training. Most law schools can only potentially lead to employment for that region, if at all. But certainly especially outside of the top 5 or so, it's never a national degree. And even in the top 3, there's a strong regional split of EC or WC. And the middle is generally served by Chicago in the North and UT in the South.

      Law probably needs to drop down to 10 national schools at most.

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    3. Oh, maybe 20 or 30 schools. Put one in Louisiana, just because of the special legal system—although that could be handled with more aplomb out of Harvard, using electives for those few people who were interested in practicing in Louisiana. Keep eight or so in the Northeast, three or four on the Pacific coast, a scattering in the Midwest, one or two each in the Southeast and the Rocky Mountains. Maybe Hawaii should have one, maybe not. Puerto Rico can have one in anticipation of its becoming independent from Gringolandia. Raise the threshold for admission to 160 on the LSAT, maybe higher.

      If there isn't a law school within a stone's throw of your front door, tough shit. Move to a place that has one. Better yet, stay out of law altogether. Haven't you learnt anything from reading this blog for years?

      Your point about local training, 10:39, is a good one. With law, unlike medicine, local variations are significant. Yet law schools do very little to teach local law. (Actually, the toilets tend to do the most in that department.) Of course, scam-professors disparage black-letter law as a question of base "practice" that they, from their lofty positions, wouldn't deign to consider. Supposedly they teach people how to Think Like a Lawyer, even though many of them have scarcely worked as lawyers themselves, if at all. But graduates certainly cannot be called "practice-ready" if they don't know the black-letter law of any jurisdiction.

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    4. Here is a article containing rather useless advice from US News about whether law school is still worth it.

      https://www.usnews.com/education/best-graduate-schools/top-law-schools/articles/2019-10-31/is-law-school-worth-it-what-recent-law-grads-say

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    5. That article, nothing but a piece of scam-promoting propaganda, presents the views of a handful of people who are working as lawyers. They are much more likely to think well of law school than are the many graduates who do not work as lawyers.

      Although the article claims to present a variety of views, it doesn't fundamentally criticize law school. One person suggests that only those who are devoted to the practice of law should attend law school; one or two people allude to the high cost but say that they expect to succeed financially within a few years. That's very tame criticism of a scam that fattens upper-class scamsters while leaving thousands of graduates unemployable and saddled with monstrous debt. But of course You Ass News depends financially on the perpetuation of the law-school scam, which makes possible its idiotic commercial "rankings". So it's no surprise that You Ass News joins forces with the scamsters.

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    6. To Old Guy 8:20 And the article makes a dig at the 4th tier when it refers to those who attended one of the 178 ranked law schools, yet makes no comment about what to do about or whether to attend the remaining 25 percent of law schools. I guess if you read between the lines they recommend No.

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    7. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  10. Well, I have read about how law students now compete, hard, spiffing up their resumes and getting letters of recommendations for unpaid internships. Anyone stupid enough to literally compete for the opportunity to work for free probably doesn't belong in law school anyway. I have also read about "gunners" doing "fist bumps and hair shakes" after a successful cold call. Things must have changed a lot from when I started law school over 25 years ago. If I were sitting in a classroom, filled with adults, and a student did a fist bump/hair shake after being called on by the teacher and giving what the student believed was a good answer, I would get up, walk out, and never go back to that school again. I have zero tolerance for juvenile stupidity from adults who should know better. No one even dreamed of behaving that way back when I was law school. . .Again, maybe todays law students simply are not very smart, or mature, or sophisticated. Perhaps they are the type of people who routinely fall from scams (like law school). Maybe even if they didn't get suckered into getting a worthless J.D. they would just fall from some other scam/con game and mess up their lives anyway. And, when law schools admit young people with 2.6 college GPA's and awful LSAT scores, perhaps that is just how things play out for them.

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  11. BTW, Sally Mae just sent 100 people to the Fairmont Hotel in Maui for a 5 day vacation. They were celebrating another 5,000,000,000 in student loans to 374,000 borrowers.

    They are literally dancing because Lemmings have signed up to be debt slaves for the rest of their lives.

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    1. Not quite, that averages out to a little over $13,000 per student. Car loans are more than that.

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    2. Those students are not paying those loans back. When those loans are made, all parties to the transaction--the lender (government) the borrower (student) the beneficiary (first college, then law school) know that it is a bad loan and that the borrower has neither the intent nor the ability of ever re-paying it. Like our National Debt. I know a guy who borrowed his way through 4 years of college and then purposely attended Law School in Florida because he liked beaches, sunshine, and girls in bikinis. He didn't even bother to sit for the bar the summer after he graduated, then moved back home with his parents, of course, failed the bar exam twice, again of course, and eventually financed a new car. The car loan is Secured Debt, so the dealership was happy to lend him the money, knowing they could re-possess the car if he stopped paying for it. The student loans. . .he told me that the government essentially told him that he doesn't have to pay the money back, with Income Based Repayment, so why should he?

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    3. Yeah, I didn't check the numbers. it was a Dave Ramsey rant.

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  12. Northwestern University loses Aaa bond rating. The Higher Ed bubble is showing its age.

    https://patch.com/illinois/evanston/moodys-downgrades-northwestern-universitys-credit-rating

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  13. Don't let that UG/law school debt bother you-instead, run for Congress!
    She's got "six figure school debt" but she's not letting that hold her back:
    https://www.yahoo.com/lifestyle/jessica-cisneros-2020s-aoc-215200571.html

    After all, it's the ultimate "JD Advantage" job...

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  14. With all due respect to some of the commenters in recent months, you understate the accomplishments of the scamblog movement and have unrealistic expectations. The law school scam rakes in hundreds of millions of dollars a year off of student loans. There are powerful deans, administrators, and professors who depend on the scam to maintain their exorbitant salaries. These people were not going to give up their lifestyle just because their product is harmful to a significant number of people. These people had access to newspapers to write Op-eds, resources to publish bogus studies, Judges to protect them for advertising fraudulent stats, and the advantage of hardened longstanding cultural beliefs among many Americans that lawyers are rich and successful. By the time a young lemming is ready to apply to law school, they have seen countless TV shows and movies depicting the opulent and exciting lifestyle of lawyers (which is a reality for a very small portion of lawyers). Against this backdrop, a group of bloggers took to the internet to counter the false narrative of the law school scam. The results of the scam blog movement are quite remarkable. A stark reduction in the number of law school applicants and students. Law schools markedly lowering admission standards just to stay afloat resulting in a dramatic decrease in bar passage rates. The closure of several ABA law schools. A decrease in law prof hiring and law prof layoffs. The law school scam blog movement should take pride in saving thousands of people a year from making a life changing mistake.

    You cannot expect the law school scam movement to eliminate an industry making hundreds of millions a year. Compare the law school scam movement to the Federal Government’s anti-smoking campaign – a campaign against a billion dollar industry. The scam bloggers spread their warnings on blogs and by word of mouth. The government has television, radio, and print advertising campaigns telling people not to smoke. Teachers tell students not to smoke. Doctors tell patients not to smoke. But millions of people still smoke! You can’t expect the number of smokers to drop to 0. But thanks to the anti-smoking campaign, there has been a significant decrease in the number of lung cancer deaths. It wasn’t better chemotherapy that reduced lung cancer deaths. It was simply education. And the antismoking campaign faced similar problems that the scam bloggers faced. The tobacco companies first tried publishing garbage studies claiming there was no link between smoking and lung cancer, just as the law schools published garbage studies on the value of a JD. Then the tobacco companies tried to make their product appear safer with filters and other nonsense, just like the law school cartel touted the JD advantage. Now the tobacco companies are notorious for targeting minorities in their advertising, similar to the law school scam.

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    1. Thanks for those observations. Indeed, our David is ill matched against the scamsters' Goliath, but still we are kicking ass.

      The past three years have seen the closure of nine law schools (if we count two campuses of Cooley as law schools). Others will follow soon enough. Tomorrow the board of La Verne is going to discuss the closure of its toilet school. Thomas Jefferson is fighting a losing battle to get its accreditation back; it has obtained state accreditation in an attempt to survive in some form. The future of Western College of Law is very much in doubt. Appalachian, Florida Coastal, Ohio Northern, Vermont, Concordia, North Carolina Central, the rest of Cooley, and even such allegedly respectable state institutions as the U of New Hampshire and the U of Minnesota appear to be teetering on the brink.

      To be fair, the anti-scam movement cannot take full credit for the demise of 5% of the law schools over the past three years. But it has helped. The scamsters fear us. Just look at their direct attacks, such as the one in that nauseating "novel" by Lisa McElroy (who has gone back to her maiden name, Tucker; apparently we were right to surmise that those expensive package tours that she took all alone reflected disharmony in the McElroy household) and that "Wicked Witch of the West" incident some years ago at one of the scamsters' many luxurious "conferences".

      The analogy to smoking is interesting. Like tobacco, law school is a life-destroying product facilitated by the government for the benefit of private profit-seeking interests. Both products could be regulated, restricted, even abolished (tobacco is unavailable in Bhutan, for example). Instead, the state goes on supporting them.

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  15. A few marginal schools gone. But, the majority of those who in the past made out like bandits, are still in place, still making out like bandits, because that huge honeypot of no-strings attached Federal loan money is still there! The work of the scambloggers is not done, and will not be done, until there is reform of the student loan system, which is the lifeline of the scam!
    As for pointing to the closures of a few marginal schools as victories, has anyone around here looked into the possibility that those schools were just sacrificed to give the illusion that the ABA has the problem under control and that no real reform is needed?

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    1. Aren't you being too harsh? Nine have closed in three years, and a dozen or more others are in big trouble.

      I've spoken before about the ABA's recent willingness to ditch an über-toilet or two so as to create the impression that it was only ever a question of a few bad apples, rather than rot at all levels. After many years of glorifying every toilet in the lot, the ABA seems to have begun to target a dying toilet for loss of accreditation now and then so that it can claim to have taken action, when in fact it has just picked on a toilet that was going to die anyway.

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