Friday, November 22, 2019

Hasenpfeffer Incorporated, meet slave-raping president: Thomas Jefferson and La Verne go down on the same day

November 21, 2019, was an eventful day in the law-school scam, especially in southern California. Thomas Jefferson Law Skule lost its appeal against the ABA's decision to revoke its accreditation. That's the end of the line for Thomas Jefferson.

Old Guy must admit that Thomas Jefferson may not actually die. Earlier this year it obtained state accreditation from California, apparently in hope of living on in some much-reduced form after the ABA finally gave its jive ass the boot. But law skules not accredited by the ABA are ineligible for the student-loan scam, and Thomas Jefferson can hardly thrive as a state-accredited unter-über-toilet.

On the same day, the University of La Verne College of Law became the first law skule to abandon ABA accreditation in favor of state accreditation. Reportedly the board was concerned about "sustainability" in light of the ABA's adoption last year of so-called standards related to the bar exam. Lenny and Squiggy could not be reached for comment.

In the past three years or so, eleven ABA-accredited law schools have gone tits up (if we count two campuses of the Cooley franchise as law schools):

Cooley (one campus)
Mitchell (merged with Hamline—call it a dignified death)
Indiana Tech
Whittier
Charlotte
Savannah
Valpo
Arizona Summit
Cooley (another campus)
Thomas Jefferson
La Verne

This occasion calls for one of Old Guy's commemorative songs:

We're gonna dump 'em…

Give us bar exams, we'll fake 'em;
Read ABA's rules, we'll break 'em.
We're gonna dump our toilet schools
(Dumping 'em our way).
Nothing's gonna save our ass, now,
Though the state gives us a pass, now,
We're gonna dump our toilet schools
(Dumping 'em our way).
There is no scam we won't try;
Never heard the word integrity.
This time we're dead in our tracks
(Dumping 'em our way).
Since we can't go on probation,
We'll take state accreditation
For our two overpriced cesspools.
And we'll dump 'em our way,
Yes, our way:
Dumping our toilet schools.
And we'll dump 'em our way,
Yes, our way:
Dumping our toilet schools
For goddamn fools.

43 comments:

  1. A chicken-or-the-egg conundrum for the age the student loan. Did Hamline absorb Mitchell or did Mitchell absorb Hamline? (Precise corporate structuring being left aside as a matter of mere convenience.) Most factors make Mitchell out to be the stronger partner but there is one thing Hamline and Hamline alone had to bring to the party, a small but well-established parent university that could soak future undergrads to cover the pensions of Mitchell's faulty faculty. That faculty would otherwise be left alone in a cold, dark world with only St. Thomas left as an even plausible merger partner.

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    1. That's why I construed the merger as an absorption of Mitchell by Hamline rather than the other way around. In any event, either Mitchell or Hamline effectively died, so that makes eleven law schools down in a few short years.

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  2. First, congrats to the scambloggers who shed light on what a scam these two schools were.
    And I gotta ask: What's the plan for the faculty/staff of these two schools? It appears that the tuition at CA state-only schools is much less than that of ABA accredited TTTTS-so how are the hackademics going to be able to afford the good life of not really working? At best there will be massive salary cuts and at worst massive layoffs, too; most of the state only schools hire local practitioners for a pittance to teach.
    Actually, I'll answer my own question: all the soon-to-be-cashiered faculty/staff will go back to the biglaw partnerships that they had previously forsaken so they could teach law school. They will of course miss the treasured give and take with budding legal eagles, but will make due with the multi-million dollar partner salaries they so richly deserve.

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    1. One good case study would be Mitchell/Hamline, as noted above a supposed merger of equals. Another would be the Cooley satellites. Unlike les toilettes d'infilaw, they never professed to be separate, independent schools. And then there's Vermont, which simply abolished tenure for all but a few and said "sink or swim."

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    2. All of those, 4:35, still have ABA accreditation. As 12:37 pointed out, La Verne and Thomas Jefferson (imagine the two of them at Monticello or at a brewery in Milwaukee) are about to have nothing better than state accreditation. The Cooleys, Mitchell|Hamline, and Vermont can go on charging a fortune, but La Verne and Thomas Jefferson will have to slash their monstrous tuition. Even then they'll lose students to the many accredited über-toilet law skules in the vicinity (and elsewhere). And how are they going to cover the rent, never mind the payroll? Maybe they'll hang on for a couple of years, but I expect them to fold, or perhaps to pull another "merger" stunt for the sake of public relations.

      And I think that 12:37 is right. Corner offices in Manhattan await those godlike professors. After all, isn't Dougie Fresh ensconced in elegant quarters atop Law & Hip-Hop Tower, with a breath-taking view of the Hudson?

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    3. 4:35 here. The question was what now happens to the faculty of TJSL and LaVerne and my point was that the Mitchell/Hamline deal and the shedding of satellites by Cooley left a lot of former ABA school faculty with no place to hang their hats. Leaving aside the tongue-in-corner-office humor these losers must have wound up somewhere, leaving a road map for those now on the non-ABA side of things at the two latest washout schools.

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    4. Hiring of law professors has been in decline for several years, and the disappearance of many toilet schools leaves more scam-professors chasing fewer openings. It does appear that a couple of the scamsters-in-chief from Indiana Tech have finally found temporary positions at other toilets, but garden-variety scam-professors may struggle to find jobs.

      Those that stay behind at La Verne and Thomas Jefferson can expect to see their contracts renegotiated. Tenure and scholarshit are not typical of state-accredited dives. Nor are fancy salaries, pensions, and junkets to coastal resorts. Typical are low-paid part-time gigs.

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    5. So Laverne being a 501c3, its balance sheet is publicly available via its form 990 on Guidestar.org. Per that form, as of the end of the 2017 fiscal year, they had about $47m in cash, and about $106m in publicly traded securities investments, not even counting presumably less-liquid other investments.

      So they're sitting on, give or take, somewhere in the neighborhood of $150m in cash (and/or liquid investments that can be converted to cash within a day or two). They also have about another $150m in real estate, and that's just book value which is depreciated and based on purchase price not actual market value.

      Point being, I bet they'll take a one-time hit to their net assets in order to buy out tenured faculty contracts and such. And they could always downsize on facilities to something more appropriate for a state-accredited school, but that'd be in the longer term.

      So yeah, in short, I suspect the answer as to what happens to faculty is that they'll parachute out. A quick check of their website indicates there are only about 20 faculty members to begin with, and 5 of them are visiting which means they already have a faculty position somewhere else to return to.

      Even if they all had tenure (which they don't) they could still easily afford to pay out a million bucks or more on every one of them.

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    6. La Verne is much bigger than its law school. Even with that mountain of liquid assets, the university might not be willing to spend much on its law skule. Switching to state accreditation is probably just a prélude to closing the thing down.

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    7. Good point, I didn't realize Laverne law wasn't freestanding. That said, I still think they'll put SOMETHING forward to buy people out. You may be right that the school is on track to close entirely, but that isn't what's happening right now. That means that laying off tenured people could expose the school to any number of breach of contract suits that, regardless of result, would cost more to defend than just buying people out.

      I mean sure, in theory schools can (and do) lay off tenured faculty when they truly are eliminating a position or closing, but they aren't closing, at least not yet. And replacing the contracts prof with an adjunct is not really eliminating a position either. I think it'll be in their interest to put some cash on the barrel in exchange for people "voluntarily" surrendering their contract rights, at least for the tenured people.

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    8. Yes, La Verne (with or without the help of Shirley) will presumably try to buy those people out or else end up in litigation or some other sort of dispute. But then what will happen to the newly discharged? They're unlikely to find jobs as scam-professors. In southern California, they'll face competition from their counterparts from Shittier (Whittier) and Thomas Jefferson, plus any other toilets there that shut down in the next year or two (there's at least one strong candidate).

      La Verne could instead keep most or all of them on—but at lower salaries. But slashing salaries could land La Verne in trouble for constructive dismissal.

      Old Guy has no horse in this race. He certainly isn't going to spend his time promoting the interests of one set of scamsters over those of another. He's just happy to see yet another über-toilet flushed.

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    9. True that, Old Guy. Law profs like to deceive themselves into thinking they can waltz to biglaw and make bigger bucks anytime they want, but the truth is biglaw is a door that is open only once, even to elite grads. It's true that most tenured and tenure-track profs at even the worst law schools usually HAD the credentials to get biglaw when they were fresh out. They practically all got great grades at elite schools, did summer associate and federal clerkships etc. But there's no getting back on that tightrope once you step off of it and are now 10+ years out with no book of business and no real practice experience or at least not nearly as much practice experience as someone who didn't go into academia would have X number of years out.

      So yeah, the buyouts will need to be substantial. Not "never have to work again" type money, but a couple years' salary or something at least.

      I've got no dog in this fight either, but I've never seen an example before of a school that was accredited deciding to continue to operate unaccredited. As you so rightly said, the student loan gravy train stops with that decision but a formerly ABA school is going to have significant legacy costs that may be hard to shed. So I just have a sort of academic interest in how they might handle a transition like that. Of course, odds are they won't be able to hack it without loan $$ and will close, but I'm still interested in how they might try to survive on the prices an unaccredited school can charge. I think there are private lenders who will loan for such places (given that they get the same bankruptcy-proofing as federal loans and can demand cosigners and such) but it still will exert significant downward pressure on price.

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    10. Again, I don't think that La Verne is serious about keeping that toilet around. As I mentioned at the top, this is indeed the first case of a law school's switching to state accreditation. Admittedly there are only a few states that offer accreditation—California being the main one, but Alabama and Tennessee also play this game, and I recall a school that was accredited in Massachusetts. Still, it's a novel development. And I don't take it at face value. Does La Verne—the accredited university—really want to run a bullshit state-accredited law school? Can it do so with plenty of similar state-accredited toilets in the vicinity?

      I'm willing to bet that this is just a ruse to avoid shutting the law skule down directly, for appearance' sake or maybe to get out of a bunch of fat severance packages.

      You're right about the legacy costs, too. An ABA-accredited law school has to have various facilities, tenured faculty, a broad range of courses, and other costly accoutrements. A law school with only state accreditation typically does not have those things. So now La Verne, be it schlemiel or schlimazel, is facing the choice of maintaining all that at great expense or trying to dump it. The former is undesirable; the latter, probably infeasible in some respects.

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    11. "I'm willing to bet that this is just a ruse to avoid shutting the law skule down directly"

      Yeah, prolly. Another thought I have is that I noted that the ABA letter that you linked to stated that they have to submit a teach-out plan to the ABA, which of course is an obligation that is based on the assumption that a school that loses its accreditation will close.

      I wonder if, by saying they will just get CA accreditation, they intend to argue that there's no need for a teach-out plan because they simply are not closing. Of course, then the parties will have to (I guess?) come up with some way of bifurcating the students. Those who enrolled when the school was still accredited usually graduate with degrees that are still considered accredited, that's the normal purpose of a teach-out. But unlike a standard teach-out, there are still new students enrolling, so you have to say "if you were enrolled as of X date and remain in good standing until graduation, then your degree is accredited, but for persons who enroll on and after that date, it is not." That'll be another interesting thing to figure out, because it's not always a lockstep 3 years so you can't just set a graduation date cutoff. Some people will be on medical leaves of absence, pursuing joint degrees, etc., so you can just take the current 1L crop and add two years.

      So with a bifurcated student body, some with the right to sit in every state and others not, various state supreme courts outside of CA are going to have an interesting time figuring out whether to let someone sit for the bar. Explaining the whole mess will probably fall on the student seeking to prove his degree is accredited even though this other guy from the same school, who maybe even graduated on the same date, is not.

      Nonetheless, I am beginning to wonder if the real purpose is to avoid the necessity of crafting a teach-out plan, or making their teach-out plan less onerous/expensive, because unlike schools that are closing they aren't going to be looking at transfer arrangements or something like Arizona Summit did.

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    12. Those are very good observations, 2:15. Do the rules contemplate the relinquishment of accreditation? La Verne being the first case, I wouldn't be surprised if there's no provision for that.

      Teach-out plans seem to last for two extra years only. Dying law schools don't stay open for years just for two or three people who are on leave or missing a few credits.

      So I don't think that the change to state accreditation will create confusion about eligibility to join the bars of other US jurisdictions. The answer will presumably be that those who graduate by 2022 will be eligible throughout the US and those who graduate later will be eligible only in California.

      But maybe the relinquishment of ABA accreditation was indeed a sly way to get out of producing a teach-out plan. Charlotte chose an even easier way: it just shut its doors, without bothering to show its backside to the ABA. Indiana Tech did much the same, but it was never fully accredited.

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    13. La Verne Law opened in 1980 and was a state-accredited school for years before deciding to seek ABA accreditation. Of course, today's environment is completely different so it's questionable whether the old model will succeed today, especially if they continue to occupy the building in Ontario rather than moving back to the University's campus.

      Tuition can't really get any lower without substantial cuts in staff, faculty, and services. Several years ago it decided to switch to an honest tuition model where, instead of having an official tuition and then giving almost everyone a grant of some amount, it charged $20,000/year flat with no grants or scholarships. I'm sure the amount has increased a little each year. So the question is, will it be able to continue charging that amount while not being ABA accredited? That can only happen, I think, with big cuts.

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    14. I don't think the law school professors really are deceiving themselves that but for being professors they would be partners at large law firms. They know that maybe 10 percent or so of the new associates in BigLaw end up becoming equity partners, and that once they stopped practicing law and started teaching it, their odds of going that route fell to zero. Rather, these professors and the schools they work for actively try to Deceive applicants, and to a lesser extent, law students that they are sacrificing fame and fortune to take a lowly teaching job. Law Professors are already seen as Demi-Gods by law students who literally fetishize their grades and the vast impact that the professors who assign those grade will allegedly have on their future. The whole thing is a scam, from beginning to end. Law professors, unlike college professors or teachers generally, don't actually teach anything. They typically assign no mid terms, no written papers, no supervised lab work, they just drone on about 18th century precedents for an entire semester, dump out one 3-hour exam recycled from last year at the end of the semester, and go on vacation. The whole thing is an absolute joke, and the clowns are the students and applicants who fall for it.

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    15. A school that's teaching out closes, but its tail goes on. They have to contract with someone to keep their records in perpetuity, as you might need a transcript 20 years from now. And visiting student status is usually obtained at another law school, especially for those who may need more than the "normal" timeframe to finish.

      It's not like they can just padlock the doors and walk away. An orderly wind-down takes more time than just 2 years.

      As to the profs and their biglaw prospects, truth is they **DID** give up more lucrative options to teach. The tenured profs at even the worst schools pretty much all went to HLS, so they truly did give something up.

      But, they can't take that decision back and return to that other path anytime, and often delude themselves into thinking they could. Also, they pretend the decision was charitable when in fact they were compensated handsomely in quality of life for the money they gave up, and still make salaries that keep them plenty comfortable.

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    16. I recall reading that the state of North Carolina took charge of those records when Charlotte went tits up.

      Schools have indeed just turned the lights off and locked the doors. Charlotte did just that—a few days before the fall semester was to start. Indiana Tech (which was only provisionally accredited) announced in October 2016 that it would close in June 2017.

      Not many graduates of HYS teach at the worst schools. Earlier this year I looked at the faculties of a number of über-toilets. Some schools had not a single professor from the so-called top 14.

      Most profe$$ors would not have lasted long in Big Law. Those that quit Big Law for hackademia didn't really forfeit much; most of them came out well ahead.

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  3. I think that when the next recession hits, lemmings will flock to toilets again, and in greater numbers. We saw that in 2008-2009. But hopefully more people will read sites like this and realize the idiocy of taking out hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt for a degree that will never pay off.

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    1. Aren't we in a recession now? It certainly feels like one.

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    2. I guess it depends where you live and what you do. My company is doing great, but most of people below the top 10% in income earners are not doing so well.

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    3. Well, there are personal depressions and economic recessions.

      Our economy happens to be doing just fine.

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  4. Old Guy, with TJ, Whittier, and La Verne out of the picture, what does that do for San Fransico and Golden Gate in terms of their bar passage rates and how those rates relate to accreditation?

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    1. Good question. Despite being far away, San Francisco and Golden Gate are likely to collect some of the jetsam of southern California's defunct toilets. That may tend to lower their bar-passage rates from their already appalling levels.

      Last year the ABA introduced a new rule requiring each accredited law school to ensure that at least 75% of each cohort is admitted to a bar within two years of graduation. As usual, however, the rule sounds more demanding than it is. Law skules can and will expel students who seem unlikely to pass the bar exam, thereby keeping them out of the pool of graduates for the purposes of the rule. In addition, when a skule is found to be out of compliance with this rule (compliance will begin to be measured in 2020), the ABA won't just strip it of accreditation; instead, it will grant a period of several years for the skule to come into compliance, and even that period can be extended as long as the skule shows signs of progress or trumps up an excuse that the ABA will accept (and you can just bet that the rubber-stamp-wielding ABA will be more than generous in this respect). Apparently the ABA will cheerfully sacrifice thousands upon thousands of students on the altar of law schools' profits.

      Both San Francisco and Golden Gate are rotten über-toilets that the ABA will go on cosseting.

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    2. At schools that admit students who are likely to fail the bar (sub-150 LSAT is at significant risk, and sub-145 is at "extreme risk" per an LST-published study), it might not be so bad to weed out the bottom X% of the class after 1L, if it's clearly disclosed up-front.

      They could award those kids a consolation prize like a "masters in legal studies" or something so their transcript doesn't show a fail-out. With 2/3rds less debt, those weeded out might often find themselves better off than those who finish!

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    3. Master's in legal studies? Some toileteers may not have mastered the alphabet.

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    4. Maybe so, but if you passed all the classes but just didn't survive the weed-out, your transcript shouldn't say you flunked out or dropped out. Nor should you be left with a resume gap that cannot be explained other than by admitting to such a tarnishing thing. If there's anything people hate almost as much as they hate lawyers, it's a "quitter" or a "failure."

      It's not unheard of. Cleveland-Marshall did it. Not only does it try to entice more people to enroll ("hey if you don't like leave early with an MLS!") but I bet they also not-so-gently encourage certain people to do it:

      https://www.law.csuohio.edu/newsevents/news/cleveland-marshall-first-school-offer-risk-free-jd-convertible-degree-option

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  5. I wish I could find the photo of a man holding a toddler outside the Peoples College of Law to demonstrate the august company these CBA skools will now have.

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    1. Did the toddler graduate at the head of the class?

      The curriculum at the People's College of Law looks ridiculous—little more than bar review. Then again, the People's College of Law itself looks and is ridiculous.

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    2. That would be this:

      https://farm2.static.flickr.com/1366/1448099709_9ebf2d2aa2_b.jpg

      You couldn't find it? Took me under a minute.

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    3. Soooo ...... Students protest hiring of empty suit right-winger with no academic experience. Are we to believe that the usual hire of a career hackademic with the correct political leanings would improve employment stats? Very unlikely

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    4. FWIW, PCL would still be a notch below. In CA, there are ABA schools, Calbar-accredited schools, and "unaccredited registered" schools. PCL falls into the last category whereas Laverne would be moving from the first category to the second.

      The difference appears to be that calbar grads are still exempt from the first-year law students' examination (AKA baby bar) so long as they have at least 60 undergrad college credits. At PCL though, everyone's gotta take and pass the baby bar to move forward beyond 1L.

      In any case, as laughable as PCL is, you can't argue with the price: 5k per year for four years, and a bar passage rate of about a third, which is not that far below the 40% threshold required for calbar accreditation. The facilities are laughably crappy, for sure, but it really goes to show how little a law school truly actually "needs."

      People with 150+ LSATS of course do not enroll at such a place. But if they did, most of them would probably pass.

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  6. Some news from toiletdom. One term Mass. Senator Scott Brown pegged as New England Law President but met with student revolt.

    https://www.bostonmagazine.com/news/2019/11/12/scott-brown-new-england-law-dean-petition/

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  7. This is excellect news!

    I had a few fond feelings for Whittier and its OC location, but any such losses are far outweighed by the priceless young lives kept out of debt slavery. Especially in today's robust economy, there are much better jobs for them than unemployed lawyer.

    I hope we don't get too smug about TJ going down. After all, Cal Western still exists. And USF and Golden Gate don't fully define the San Francisco problem. After all, Hastings, emulating its neighborhood, has unofficially downgraded itself from toilet to shithole. I can't wait until that name is poison to prospective students. Last I heard, the Eighties were over.

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  8. What happened to Dougie Fresh?

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    1. He seems to have become ASSociate professor of law at the U of Arkansas—Little Rock.

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    2. That crazy impostor! I think he drove my nephew to spritual bankruptcy.

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    3. Really? Dougie Fresh had an influence on someone?

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  9. Visiting faculty don't necessarily have positions elsewhere. There are people who "visit" from school to school until they land a tenure-track gig somewhere.

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  10. Truth. When a guy visits at HYS,he's likely a tenured Prof somewhere else and he's been invited to teach some niche course that HYS doesn't usually offer.

    When a guy visits at LaVerne,its as stated by poster 5:05.

    Big difference.

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  11. Scamblogs move to Youtube?

    "Not Going Back to Law School"
    https://youtu.be/27XoKCXpHjI

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  12. Über-toilet Washburn is pouring $33M into the construction of a new building.

    Jerry Farley, scam-president of Washburn University, praised the decision: "If people outside of Kansas know anything about Washburn, it’s because of Washburn Law. We have a national reputation, and it’s a high-quality reputation."

    The first sentence may be true, but the second is bullshit. Washburn Law and Washburn University are both almost unknown outside Kansas. It is ridiculous to claim "a national reputation" right after correctly expressing doubts about the number of people outside Kansas who have heard of the institution. And Washburn's reputation is decidedly poor. For that matter, not a single law school within hours of Topeka has "a high-quality reputation".

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