Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Tenure Under Attack

After all the exciting news about the new global initiative and the cheerleader pep rally for more money, the University of Buffalo makes the news once again. A former law professor is proceeding with a federal lawsuit against the law school dean and others for wrongful discharge and breach of contract related to his termination. Reading between the lines a bit, it appears that said professor might have been somehow involved in an attempted coup of the law school dean. The university president quashed said attempted coup. Thereafter, said professor was terminated because his job no longer existed. The law school decided to "terminate" "Legal Research and Writing" and replace it with a whole new program called "Legal Analysis Writing and Research." The dean apparently won't provide the terminated professor with a letter of recommendation thereby effectively ending his professorhood. The article doesn't go on to explain why the professor didn't just take a six-figure salary with Big Law to mitigate his damages. Remember budding revolutionary professors, if you are planning to overthrow the king, you must kill the king.

A Paint-Free Future!

Sorry Painter.  You didn't win after all.

For the immediate future, all comments on this blog will be moderated.  Comments are still welcome, and there are enough readers out there to add some significant value to our work through intelligent and thoughtful comments - that's half the power of blogs like these.  But the constant trolling - all done by one person, and we all know who that is - has to stop.  We can't block individual IPs very effectively in Blogger, so we now have to read every comment before it's published.

More work for us, but there's enough mods here so we should be able to keep the time between submitting a comment to publication minimal.  Don't get discouraged because you don't see your words immediately up on the blog.  Again, we value your comments, and they are what makes this blog successful.  And the same policies still apply - your comments are your comments, and are valuable no matter what the content.  But if they refer to Painter, or about Painter, they will not be published, just as any other troll-related comments will also not be published.  There are no limits on tone, style, length, subject matter - just no trolling.  Use this blog as a place to feel free to air your concerns and discuss the posts in any manner you choose.

But we're in general agreement that moderation is wise at this point.  One person has spoiled it for everyone, but his goal was to see this blog shut down and disappear.  That's not happening.  We're just taking the one surefire step to stop that one person from bothering us anymore.

We tried.  I reached out to Painter personally.  He made an agreement to stay away, which he broke.  (Just like he broke it at ITLSS and every other blog he's been banned from, so I don't quite know what I was expecting to have changed.)  Other writers here also personally contacted him to try to get him to stop - more broken promises.  One made a heartfelt personal and public plea a couple of weeks ago to get him to stop.  I've blocked his IP address as best I can, but that hasn't worked.  Nothing has worked.  So it's time to prevent him from posting in the only way we know how.  He clearly has a destructive agenda, various issues in his life that need dealing with, and far too much time on his hands.  And we put too much effort into this blog, all of us, from writers to mods to readers to commenters.  One person should not be allowed to ruin our work.

So again, Painter, you didn't win.  You've lost every friend you had here, those who tried to reach out and help you and give you a voice.  You've wasted every opportunity presented to you.  And now your comments will never again be published here, not even for those few precious moments between you posting them and the mods discovering them and deleting them.

I guess this is actually goodbye.  Or good riddance.

Has scamblogging lost it?

I have to comment on recent events here.  I'd do it in a private email to the blog mods and authors, but it affects the readers too - you're part of this movement.

Serious question.  Have we lost it?

This blog started off great.  High interest, good community involvement, lots of effort from all concerned.

Over the past week - over the past month, really - it's gone downhill.  Through no fault of those writers who are spending their time and effort producing high-quality articles each day for you all to read, to get the message out there.  It's hard work.

And in return, we get what from the readers?  A stream of dumb comments?  One or two sensible, thoughtful comments amidst a sea of utter trash that makes us all look like idiots?  From JD Painter ruining this for everyone, to whoever that moron Tannebaum was, recently things have got out of hand.  Sorry to be the one to call you on it, but do you want this blog to survive?

We have extraordinary writers like dybbuk putting himself out there consistently for you.  There's a whole team of us who are writing and producing articles and trying to keep this movement alive, because to be honest, there's only us and Nando who are still bothering to fight.  Nobody gets paid to do this.  Nobody gets any glory or reward.

We're not here for your entertainment.  We're here to work for you to help you receive a better education, better opportunities, and more respect.

So I think it's time to take a step back and ask yourself what your role is.  Active participants, or hangers-on and clowns who are looking for somewhere to screw around while bored?  I'm willing to do everything I can to work towards reforming legal education.  We all are.  So at least show us some scrap of respect and stop treating our work like trash.

Comments relevant to this post will be welcome.  It's time for a discussion and a roll-call.  Who is with us?  And who's just here for fun?

What do you need to become more engaged and focused?  Moderated comments?  Different articles?  A new direction?

You tell us.  Because right now, all you're telling us is that this is a giant waste of time.

Monday, April 29, 2013

International Law? You have got to be kidding me.

I received a copy of this mailing from a friend who was just flabbergasted at its insanity. Take a look at what you can expect your law school to be spending your tuition money on, and asking you for more money to fund even when you graduate:

Here's the text from the front:

Whether or not a student wants to practice locally or internationally, a basic knowledge of international law is now required.

And from the back:

The Annual Fund will support the expansion of the school’s international law curriculum and programs.  Students will hear from speakers, attend conferences, study and work abroad, and choose classes from an ever-growing curriculum taught by a world class faculty.
 (along with Professor Giorgetti's profile, which can be found here.)

From what I gather, this is a fundraising effort from the University of Richmond – not one of the traditional trash schools, but hardly up there with Harvard either – and was sent to alumni, begging for money to bolster its “international law curriculum and programs.” Really.  Have applicants still not learned the following truths about the mythical career in “international law”?

For all intents and purposes, it does not exist, because there are (a) only about five openings per year, and (b) you’re not getting one of them if you graduate from anywhere but Harvard or Yale.

Want some proof?  How about you look at Richmond's latest employment stats, found here.

  • How many students got JD-required jobs?  58%.  If the school can't even get barely above 50% JD employment, then what chance do its grads have at the top jobs?  Hardly a degree in demand.

  • And how many grads in firms where international issues might realistically come up?  9.  Not 9%.  9 grads.

  • But surely this international law powerhouse sends plenty of grads overseas to work internationally on international matters of international law?  Er, no.  Zero grads work abroad.

  • The school sends more grads - a whole 2 - to West Virginia, its third biggest employment location, than abroad.  That's like the opposite of international, right?  When you send your grads to places where the average citizen doesn't even know that there's any countries except the USA?

Ok, so looking at Professor Giorgetti’s bio, she’s one of the unicorns – someone who actually has a claim to have practiced international law.  International boundary disputes, war claims commissions, international investment disputes, and she put in some time at the International Court of Justice at The Hague.  I’ll give her credit for that; she does seem like a legit international lawyer.  But dear applicant, don’t fall for the trap: none of her magic, and none of her prestige, will rub off on you (although doubtless some of the male students will be rubbing........er, no, forget that joke.)  When you graduate from the University of Richmond, or any other non-Harvard and non-Yale law school, you will be just another average to below-average law grad, desperately hoping for any kind of paid employment in any field.  Only a select few have the creds to get one of the handful of legitimate jobs in international law.

Compare yourself to Professor Giorgetti to see what you’re up again.  I made you a handy table.

See the difference?  You just don’t stack up to the kind of person who gets those kinds of jobs.  Not even close.  That’s why you aren’t getting the jobs, and it’s why you never will get those kinds of jobs.  (Admittedly, some of her work experience was after she became a lawyer, but still, that’s who you’re competing against for those prestigious international law jobs.)

Now, I’ve complimented her enough.  She is literally the perfect law professor; practice experience, stellar creds, and possibly the most beautiful professor I have ever laid eyes on.  (And you’re an idiot if you take issue with me bringing her physical appearance into the equation, because employers do notice, especially those Europeans with their "bunga bunga parties" and cheek-kissing and perfect little bodies, places where us chubby American girls don't stand a chance.)  Why she isn’t at a better school than Richmond is beyond me – I’m sure a rather fat paycheck had something to do with it, or some under-the-counter perks such as guaranteed tenure after one year - but whatever.  That's her business.  It’s time to take issue with her moronic quotation:

“Whether or not a student wants to practice locally or internationally, a basic knowledge of international law is now required.”


Maybe she doesn't speak English properly and mixed her words up.  Let me check.........no, she speaks fluent English.  So she's serious?

Perhaps for grads of Harvard and Yale, where they might actually come into contact with something international in their careers.  But for everyone else?  The grads from the other 99% of law schools in the US, who will be working (if they’re lucky) in small firms, third-rate markets, or as solo practitioners and document reviewers?  They need no knowledge of international law whatsoever, certainly not to the extent of attending a law school with an international law program that is doubtless costing a fortune to set up and run, the costs of which are passed along to these hapless students. What they need is incidental knowledge at best, not three international law classes in law school.

That quote is clearly from someone whose career has been so lofty and prestigious that she simply has no idea what life will be like for her students when they graduate.  But I suppose she has to say things like this to justify why she should get a job as a law professor, right?  She learns quickly, does Professor Giorgetti - the way to keep a job as a law professor is to say things that sound like you're job is important, when in reality, it's not. Certainly not at this kind of toilet where there are zero international lawyers produced and few, if any, who even work in firms that have foreign offices.

There is no need for a knowledge of international law in residential real estate.  Or family law.  Or traffic tickets.  Or any of the other boring tasks that make up the day of 99% of all lawyers.  But before you jump on me and say, “Ooooh oooh oooh what about immigration issues in divorce, or criminal issues for immigrants, or someone foreign buying real estate”, that’s not international law; that’s US law as it pertains to foreigners.  Big difference.  (Immigration law, for almost every practitioner, is US law that happens to deal with foreign citizens.  It’s still US law.)

What these schools are selling, when they talk about international law programs, are these ideas that their grads will be studying these cerebral issues like war crimes, international trade disputes, and things like that, and that their grads will go off to work for multinational law firms, foreign governments, international courts and suchlike.  These schools are not selling the idea that you’ll be figuring out how to plead in a DUI when your client holds an H-1B visa, which is about as international as most lawyers ever get.  These international programs are pure theory, pure mental masturbation for a select few professors, and will stay that way because few, if any, grads from schools like the University of Richmond will ever have gainful employment at that level (and by that, I mean beyond bullshit unpaid internships and things like that, which might be prestigious, but are hardly “careers” in international law.)  Real life lawyers need knowledge of US law as it pertains to the handful of foreign citizens who they may have as clients, but it’s nothing that can’t be learned in a three hour CLE of practical issues that you need to watch out for.  It certainly doesn’t need an entire law school specialty program.

And note to law schools: how about you figure out how to teach your students basic US law first, before running off and setting up expensive international law programs?

Professor Giorgetti is clearly an accomplished, experienced, high-caliber person, and one who looks like she’d make an excellent law professor: smart, real world experience, and highly-qualified, not like half of the dummies with JDs and no legal experience who inhabit law school faculty lounges.  If anything, we need every professor to be like her.  And by all means teach an international law class or two, because it is interesting, if not particularly relevant.  But hounding alumni with such a dumb fundraising campaign, and setting up such irrelevant fluff when we haven’t even figured out how to produce practice-ready grads yet?  Please.

As an aside, if you’re someone who does donate to law school alumni fundraising campaigns, here’s my suggestion: continue to do so if you must, but accompany your donation with a letter stating that you condition it on being used for debt repayment plans for unemployed graduates, or practical training programs like clinics, or something else that will really help.  Setting up an international law program is just madness, and shows the utter insanity, the complete disconnect with reality, of those who run law schools these days.  Don’t validate it with your money.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Opposition's Fifth Epistle: On Mens Rea, Accepting Your Guilt and Shutting Up

Indebted Law School Graduates
c/o Mom's Basement
Loserville, USA (DC? Chicago? Tulsa?)

Re:  Your Mental State

Dear Bum,

We need to talk about Mens Rea, a/k/a the guilty mind of your 1L criminal law days.  If you're now broke and unemployed, you probably had it before you went to law school.  Law schools didn't.  The sooner you accept this truth, the sooner you'll be able to move on, and learn to stop worrying about debt and love the law.

I.    Reality

I'd like to direct your attention to a few quotes about YOUR mental state back when you applied to law school.  Here's one from Philadelphia attorney Jordan Rushie:
I went to law school to become a lawyer, not for a paycheck. I never paid attention to what career services said.
Twitter @JRushie, April 25, 2013, 9:25 am.  And here's one from legal ethics expert Jack Marshall:
Many of today’s out-of-work lawyers prepared for a profession, a calling, for purely financial motivations: they wanted to be rich.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

The JD as a sub-paralegal qualification?

I want to follow up on a post made by dupednontraditional on the 23rd, and one comment in particular made by BoCo:

BoCo  April 23, 2013 at 10:01 AM
From a job posting for a legal assistant with the Colorado AG's Office:

"A J.D. degree will not substitute for the paralegal certificate."


And here's the relevant part from that job ad for a Legal Assistant:

Minimum Qualifications:A paralegal certificate obtained through either an ABA approved paralegal studies program or an accredited college or university AND at least one year (full-time equivalent) of paralegal experience.

Substitution: Four years of work experience in a paralegal capacity which included conducting legal research, preparing drafts of legal documents and gathering and compiling data from legal references and resources will substitute for the paralegal certificate. A J.D. degree will not substitute for the paralegal certificate.
These kinds of job ads are not uncommon; other examples are regularly brought to our attention.

I teach law (part time) and work full time as a lawyer.  I supervise many paralegals.  I have also taught in paralegal programs on occasion.  I'll be the first to admit that a JD program lacks much in the way of practical teaching, but let's put this into perspective:

1.  A JD is far more rigorous, far more in-depth, and far more practical than a paralegal certificate.
2.  An average JD student is far smarter, harder-working, motivated and committed than the average paralegal student.
3.  An average JD grad is almost always a far superior employee (in terms of ability) than a paralegal grad.
4.  Paralegal programs are disgracefully lightweight, easy, and are in no way superior to JD programs.
5.  A JD grad could walk into almost any paralegal job and pick up the skills in a week after being told how to do things just once, not ten times.
6.  Online paralegal certificates are pathetic, as are those who "attend" those programs.

I think that our message might be getting lost on some people.  The message we want to convey is that a JD program is not a good economic choice right now - no jobs, too expensive.  Our message seems to be interpreted by some (e.g. Colorado AG's Office) that a JD has no value whatsoever, even less than a paralegal certificate.  This is a bad outcome.

Let me explain further. I don't mean to insult paralegals out there - you do a great job (some of you) - but don't start to think that you're "better" than JDs.  The paralegal students I taught, at an ABA-accredited paralegal program, found it hard to understand basic legal concepts, wrote like middle school kids, lacked motivation, and were doing this because they had nothing else to do with their lives.  A couple were highly-motivated and smart, but most weren't.  Most were rather stupid to be honest. Most just didn't care.  The work I graded was embarrassingly bad.

The paralegals I see in my office are good, but they are the one-in-one-hundred paralegals, and they tend to be older, with no formal paralegal education, and a decade or two of experience.  When I have to interview paralegals for openings, the vast majority are poorly-spoken, have resumes riddled with errors, seem lazy, entitled, and I know that they would just make a mess of things at work.  Their work experience up until that point is fast food or retail, and generally they get through three or four jobs each year.  Once in a while, there's a good one who we hire straight away.  But most of the new paralegals these days are literally idiots.

Compared with the law students I teach, there is no comparison.  A law student is a vastly superior person in almost every way; professional, smart, motivated, good writers, quick learners, committed etc.  And law students these days are hungry for work.  Paralegal grads think that they should be handed a career on a plate.

So let's try to make sure that when we're complaining about JDs and law schools, that we are careful that we don't shoot ourselves in the foot.  Our job is to bring down the trash law schools, remedy the oversupply, reduce the costs of law school, and reform legal education to make it more relevant to practice.  Our job is not to destroy the reputation of the JD degree so that we look inferior to paralegals.  The day paralegal certificates are considered more attractive than JDs for even these low end positions is a sad day indeed.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Cheetos and Cheerleaders

Money Quote: "And someone should bring the Cheetos."


"UB Law School Strategizes for World Wide Impact,"  by Ilene Fleischmann (UB Reporter)

The University of Buffalo Law School has it all: A "newly appointed director of global strategic initiatives," an accelerated JD program for students from outside the United States, and, yes, taking New York law to the world! One would think UB will need to raise money for this new global initiative.


"[UB] Law School Launches $30 Million Campaign," by Charles Anzalone (UB News Center)

Oh, wait! The University of Buffalo Law School is launching a new fund raising campaign! The campaign's theme is "Our Time is Now." The kick-off is Friday, April 26, so there is still time to attend. Here's a fun down -- I mean run down -- of the festivities: "Festivities included in the ceremonies include: UB cheerleaders doing backflips and other acrobatics at 6:30 p.m.; collective cheers from the crowd spelling out the reason for the law school’s campaign at 6:35 p.m.; unveiling of an illuminated campaign sign showing money already raised for the campaign at 6:45 p.m.; and a firing of confetti cannons and a mass-audience waving of pom poms at the finale at 6:49 p.m." Maybe the collective cheer could be "D-E-B-T-R-E-L-I-E-F!" or "L-A-W-J-O-B-S-N-O-W!"


"Our Opinion: UND Law School's Renovation Needs Approval," by Tom Dennis (The Grand Forks Herald)

Money Quote: "For the sake of all North Dakotans, who depend on the graduates of their law school to staff courtrooms and serve residents’ legal needs throughout the state, funding for the $12 million project must be assured."

Why must it be assured? "The American Bar Association accredits law schools, and the association has made itself clear: In 2007, the ABA’s site visit report called the law school’s building ‘less than adequate,’ ‘cramped’ and ‘substandard,’” the State Bar Association of North Dakota reports. The team stated that a major addition to and renovation of the law school was ‘crucial to the success and future of the school.’ That’s accreditation-speak for 'Do it, or else.'"


Published on Apr 25, 2013
April 24 (Bloomberg) -- On today's "Off The Charts," Bloomberg's chief markets correspondent Scarlet Fu examines the soaring costs of legal school tuition, growing nearly 10 percent per year since 1985 as average salaries have recently declined. She reports on Bloomberg Television's "Market Makers."


"Should you go to law school?" by Rosa Brooks (FP National Security)

Since dream jobs in national security and foreign policy are difficult and difficult to come by, a discussion as to whether law school is a viable option...and Ms. Brooks' (a law professor) answer is "maybe" with caveats.


"ABA Panel Struggles for Answers on Law School Reform," by Karen Sloan (National Law Journal)

Money Quote: "It turns out that if you ask 30 different law professors, practitioners, judges and bar association leaders how to fix legal education, you'll get about 30 different answers."

The two faces of Whittier Law Dean Penelope Bryan.

(Whittier Law School Dean Penelope Bryan cuddling a puppy in a promotional video. And I always thought that supervillains stroked pet cats).
I found a couple of  quotes from Dean Penelope Bryan of the Whittier Law School that I think are instructive. But to fully appreciate the quotes, you must first know that even among other law schools, Whittier is at the scammy extreme. The average debt load (excluding undergrad debt) for a graduating Whittier JD is $143,536, the 11th highest among the 201 ABA accredited law schools. However, the percentage of Whittier law grads from the class of 2012 who obtained bar-required full-time, long-term, non-solo jobs within nine months of graduation (i.e. its Law School Transparency [LST] employment score) was 31.2%, which was the 11th worst outcome among the 201 ABA-approved law schools. [1] And even that is a significant improvement over 2011, when it ranked second from the bottom among the 201 schools, with an incredible 17.1% LST employment score. [2]
Oh, one other nifty data point: Whittier Law School paid Dean Bryan $410,524 for the fiscal year 2010. [3]
Good Dean Penelope Bryan: "We consider this [Whittier’s placement results] a problem. We have redesigned completely our career development and we expect to see some improvement, but in the meantime we’ve had to live with this transition."  [4]
Bad Dean Penelope Bryan: "Any student, no matter what you’re trying to accomplish or what you’re trying to become, is very well served by this law school." [5] 

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Law Schools Search for Loose Change

In the never-ending quest to find loose change in the couch cushions, law schools are offering some creative new course offerings. Many of these are online! Here's a sample from yesterday's announcements:

"Washington University School of Law in St. Louis, Missouri, has begun offering a ground-breaking course in Legal English to help international legal practitioners develop the skills needed to conduct law-related business matters. The law school is the first top-tier U.S. law school to offer such a course in an online format, allowing legal practitioners to develop related skills without having to travel to the United States for an extended stay."

"The University of Oklahoma School of Law is launching a new program designed to help American Indian tribal officials and others navigate the legal landscape in Indian Country. OU recently opened enrollment for its new online Master of Legal Studies program in Indigenous Peoples Law. Classes begin in the fall semester."

"Lincoln Memorial University officials announced Tuesday a new leadership center and degree programs they hope will bolster its downtown Knoxville law school, which has been struggling to achieve accreditation and battling a decline in enrollment."
"The Center for Leadership and Community Advocacy, modeled after a similar facility at Pepperdine University in California, will focus on conflict resolution and mediation, university President B. James Dawson said. The center will offer an educational doctorate in executive leadership, a master’s in education in community agency counseling, a master’s of business administration and a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice."

Reveling in failure

To Keith Lee at Associate's Mind when faced with failure, millenial lawyers "revel in it." Instead of going out and finding a job, millenials are content to sit at home and whine about the law school scam on the Internet or take the audacious step of suing their alma maters. Finally, in a call to action, Mr. Lee, 32, asks "If new lawyers cannot solve the problem of their own millenial malaise, how do they ever expect clients to trust them with their problems?"

Mr. Lee is one of the lucky ones who got a law job in short order. But, his article is in rather poor taste. Most young lawyers are not as lucky as Mr. Lee. The BLS statistics show that the average law school graduate is more likely to wait tables than to practice law. So the lucky few like Mr. Lee should try to offer real solutions to graduates. How did you find your job, Mr. Lee? How might your experience help others? Reading through Associate's Mind brings to mind the self-aggrandizing attitudes found in most "blawgers" twice his age. Mr. Lee's attitude seems to be "I'm working so hard, while those without jobs are sitting at home watching Maury Povich." Why not stop rubbing salt in the wounds of those who were left behind in this historically bad job market?

The debt loads carried by today's graduates are rising with no end in sight. I looked at the historical tuition data for Texas Tech, as it is one of the few law schools that publishes comprehensive tuition data. Between 1990 and 2012, tuition and fees for out of state students for an entire school year rose from $5,947 to $31,847.10. Lawyers in earlier generations were able to pay their loans off within a few years, given a steady income. Today, most graduates are facing 30 year repayment plans or IBR payments for 25 years with an income tax time bomb attached at the end. Mr. Lee either doesn't care or doesn't want to understand that having a $1500 per month loan payment severely restricts the career options of most new grads. I graduated in 2004 and in my last semester, my university uncapped tuition rates and instituted a 20% increase in tuition that very semester. When all was said and done, I owed a little more than $54,000 upon graduation. Only 8 years later, students from the same school are carrying at least twice that amount of debt upon graduation. If a grad today does not have a steady income, life stops.

Articles like Mr. Lee's are built on false assumptions and a lack of touch with reality. How do you pull up your bootstraps if you can't even get a boot in the first place?

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Deans Gone Wild

"Law Faculty Plotted to Oust Dean,"  by Cory Weinberg (The GW Hatchet)

Money Quote: "“I kept thinking of that old proverb, ‘If you go after the king, you better make sure you take the king out,’ ” one full-time law professor said. “We didn’t take the king out, but the king took himself out.”

Inside story of the near coup of former George Washington Law School Dean Paul Schiff Berman.

Hat tip to Not Relevant who recommends a visit to the comment thread in which insiders debate how said former King, err, Dean treated subordinates, err, faculty and lemmings, err, students.


Lewis & Clark Law School Dean Robert Klonoff manages to turn coup of having sitting U S Supreme Court Justice presiding over moot court competition into public relations disaster by requiring college paper to submit story of big visit to Roberts for approval before publication.


"New dean of SLU law school sets course for future," by Tim Barker (St. Louis Post Dispatch)

SLU Law School welcomes its fourth leader since 2010. What could possibly be the root cause for such discord? "The school’s problems, observers say, are reflected in the school’s most recent evaluation by U.S. News and World Report, which publishes closely watched rankings of colleges and universities every year."

Prospective Pre-Law Students Plan Non-Traditional Careers

No.  No.



Stop it.  Just stop it.  Look at my handle - "dupednontraditional".  I was a (1) non-traditional student who went to law school for a (2) non-traditional, "JD preferred" career.

Let me say it again: my handle is DUPEDNONTRADITIONAL.

Normally, I try to write out a thoughful commentary on these topics.  Not this time.  I'm too mad at the Law School cartel to do it justice.  Just read the comments.  Take them to heart.  Do not do this.

Look at JDUnderground:


Read the comments.  Do not do this.

Law School is for being an entreprenurial, gunslinging lawyer, if you can even make it as a lawyer in the first place, assuming you have significant backing.  Period.  Read my posts.  Read this blog.  Read my blog from before I started posting on OTLSS.  You will note a pattern.  The pattern is bad.

ScamDeans and LawProfs will try to tell you that you there are all kinds of things you can do with a "versatile" law degree.  Do not believe them.  Do not do this.

I make no money doing this.  I get no accolades.  I do this to prevent others from making the same mistake.  I have no motiviation to say what I say, other than to try to prevent more well-meaning people from getting chained to an albatross of debt with no prospects.

Do not go to Law School for a non-traditional, so-called-versatile reason.  That is all.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Today's News Round Up

"State bar panel calls for law school reforms," by Chris Dettro (State Journal-Register)

Another article about the Illinois Bar Association Report. It contains many practical suggestions so likely nothing will become of it.

"People are paying way too much to go to mediocre NYC law schools," by Business Insider

Bottom line is that lemmings will pay a premium just to go to a NYC law school.

"Colleges struggling to stay afloat," by Jeffrey L. Salingo (New York Times)

Colleges have been on a spending spree and now their bond ratings are on the decline. A warning to check out a prospective college's financial health before enrolling.

"Northwestern School of Law Dean comes out in support of admitting undocumented immigrants,"  by Cat Zakrzewski (The Daily Northwestern)

Most deans would probably support admitting anyone with a pulse right about now.

"Baltimore shows off its new law school buildings," by Karen Sloan (National Law Journal)

A new $112M law school building!

"WMU's Board of Trustees votes to pursue formal alliance with Cooley Law School," by Yvonne Zipp (MLive)

I think we all knew how this vote would come down. This should be really interesting to watch develop.

"Students foresee promising legal futures,"  by The Knox Student

Yes, those challenging liberal arts degrees foretell promising legal futures.

"Burger King Resignation Letter: How not to announce you're going to law school," by Mitch Kowalski (Financial Post)

Probably should have kept the day job....

"Blair Foulkes, a recovering lawyer, is taking a minimalist approach in his quest for contentment," by Daphne Bramham (Vancouver Sun)

Another cautionary tale -- practicing law can make you sick and flee to Canada. How many practicing lawyers have dreamed of doing this?

"The entire legal profession is on the verge of imploding,"  by Steven Harper (Business Insider)

Harper continues to promote his book.

Oh my! Bell tolls for Broke Law Schools as Spring melts Special Snowflakes Away‏

The same ruthless calculation that led colleges to milk their law-schools into near fatal mastitis will also tend to lead the same colleges to decide that that it’s time that dried up old milk cow went to McDonalds. —MacK Comment from other Blog

The above is a very apropos comment to LawProf's discussions of the increasing budgetary problems caused by declining enrollment in law school. In particular, the original post discussed the greater probability of entire law schools closing instead of just some internal budgetary reform within a school; it turns out that actually reforming a law school budget is too difficult due to the various (inflexible) financial and social interests involved. There is no repairing the ship in drydock, as it were, but she must be scuttled. For instance, cutting faculty salaries is a socially problematic decision, and laying off high-earning faculty even more difficult because of tenure. But the parent universities can easily shut the whole thing down at once, tenure or nay. Cute, isn't it? Tenure makes them individually unfireable—but jointly helpless. My academic freedom! Oy! Not if they are all fired at once by virtue of their being no school to teach at. I have a feeling that dismissed "Profussers",as enablers of the scam, will not be given much sympathy in certain places. It will be a magical day when the first TTTT law school announces it will close at the end of the academic year, and the postings of joy throughout the "scamblogs" ensue.

This situation cuts right to the moral heart of the matter. The law school administration and faculty are not morally or ethically driven, but pragmatic, at least when it comes to pursuing their own interests. Pragmatic is actually a (from a) Greek word meaning "no principals" or "no predisposition" (i.e., amoral). It simply does whatever works to complete its agenda. The ScamDeans and Flaw Schools have done exactly that. They have had the social leverage to take as much federal-backed student loan money as they can carry, and they done that, jacking up tuition as fast as they could open new law schools. (MOAR superfluous degrees! Ok, career counselors, repeat after me: if they ask about jobs, just say versatile, versatile, versatile. Close enough for horseshoes!

Saturday, April 20, 2013

A Generation Wising Up?

Today, The New York Times published a fluff piece about how high school students must consider prospective debt as the main factor for choosing a college.  The article also touched on the reality that many parents push their children toward the most expensive and elite colleges regardless of the tuition or the scholarships, if any.  Within all of the mush about how The Next Generation Will Endure, the article breezed over an interesting study about the relationship between students and elite colleges.  Unsurprisingly, the study found that children in the 1970s who attended elite colleges fared better in life (financially) than similarly “smart” students today.

Practicum-ly Useless: The Washington and Lee Law 3L Program.

Finally, the law school scam is sinking. There will be about 56,000 applicants this year for the 45,000 One-L seats  at the 201 ABA-approved law schools. That is down 17% over last year, and down from 100,000 in 2004. Another couple of years of significant declines and we will see some of these institutions merge, layoff faculty, even close.

Yet, swimming strongly against the tide, Washington and Lee School of Law (W&L) has actually seen an increase in applicants, an achievement matched by only three other law schools. [1] Now, to open on a note of generosity, W&L is known to have some appealing qualities: it is moderately forthcoming in offering  partial scholarships, it is located in a very pretty area of the Virginia countryside, it kept a tight lid on class size until very recently, and it has a whole bunch of charming little traditions. [2]

But, undoubtedly, the main reason that W&L is so popular among law school applicants at a time when almost every other school is experiencing an applicant crunch is W&L's ballyhooed third year "practicum" program. At W&L, law students spend two years studying doctrine instead of three. The third year mostly revolves around semester long role-playing games, or as  W&L law Prof. James Moliterno puts it, "elaborate simulation courses that we call practicums."[3] When the W&L third year program was announced in 2008, it elicited yelps from interdisciplinary professors, those elevated souls who are offended that law school might have something to do with, you know, training kids to practice law. [4]

I hate to take the same side as the interdisciplinary folks in the debate, but I strongly suspect their skepticism is justified, [5] and I say so despite being a proponent of an apprenticeship/ clinical model of legal education. It appears to me that the W&L program involves dabbling, not training, since the first two years of law school at W&L are just same old, same old. But worse, the vaunted third year, overwhelmingly, involves simulations rather than clinics.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Opposition's Fourth Epistle: What If History Repeats Itself, But It Tells a Splendid Joke?

Generic Law Scam Victims
1000 Unemployment Lane
Loserville, USA (New York?)

RE:  Law Dean Conference

Hello Empty Pocket Whippersnappers:

I wanted to send you a quick message regarding a recent conference among legal administrators.  One hundred forty (140) of the country's most prestigiously elite law school deans gathered to discuss the serious issues facing legal education.  Chicago-Kent's dean called the conference "provocative," and stressed the challenge of finding ways to "maintain[] quality programs without passing the increasing costs to students."

Many deans reported very steep declines in applications, they noted the bleak job market, and the gathered leaders discussed how to augment revenues and reduce expenses, including using adjunct faculty members, reducing library expenditures, and utilizing hot new technology like "electronic casebooks."

Solving these issues seemed especially pressing to the gathered intellects, who wished to keep tuition increases at a minimum given that "student loan defaults have increased while state funding for legal education has decreased."

But the dean of Maryland expressed caution by noting that "demographic trends" suggested that if schools continued to downsize, there would be a shortage of new graduates in the next decade, given the massive number of lawyers set to retire in the near term.

Oh, did I say recent?  I suppose I was speaking geologically, for what I meant to say was 1996.  You can read a summary of the lets-tackle-this-head-on pow wow here.

You nitwits.

Anyone out there who thinks the current gaggle of law deans running these conferences will do a darned thing to radicalize legal education in any way that doesn't involve their wallets getting bigger needs to look no further than this conference.  A supermajority of the law deans in the country were there.  They talked about trimming expenses and the need to keep tuition low, especially facing student loan default and dwindling applications.

What happened?  Tuition increases and some fine smooth scammin' like the world has never seen before.  Those dark days of deans having to self-reflect spawned a golden age of spitting out lawyers into a market that had no use for them.  Meanwhile, novel, game-changing technology sat on the sidelines as the ABA insisted that everyone have a fully-stocked library and an office for every faculty member this is very important, and make sure my office has carpet that can handle red wine and semen stains, thanks.

So whatever "reforms" you think will happen or that law deans are open to, remember 1996.  Scam found a way to exploit prospectives at ever greater levels.  Scam will win again.  It always does.  And when law deans talk about reform, it's only happening if they will make enough to remodel the kitchen, which they can do because they're not total losers who fell for the law school bit hook line and sinker, or who believe that when law deans say "keep tuition low" they actually mean "keep tuition low" and not "we're gonna party like it's Zimbabwe in 2007!"

I wanted to share this with you so you can laugh and/or feel the invisible gut-punch when you read an article about an upcoming conference where law deans discuss the exact same things and vow to take action.  It's not an accident; it's God's plan to rub in your loserdom.  Sorry, pal.  Nature is cruel.

Scam on!


Law School Truth Center

P.S.  Is there any truth to the rumor that there's some 0Ls out in Californey?

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Debt News hits the fan: Even the Boomers are screwed over now

Two big scam articles have hit the press. They are about graduate education and not law school as much, but it still shows how widespread the mistaken policy of unlimited and unregulated student loan spigotting (and the academic leeches taking advantage of it) have spread. 

The first one is unbelievable:

She exacerbated her situation by deciding to have a "baby makes two" family in the midst of total debt servitude. There's a bit of "Slut Scam" to this one, where a girl puts out to Alpha-dude/future deadbeat dad, gets knocked up, and the "playa" disappears, and now we are all paying for the illigitimeeto and Baby Momma. Why a single mother decided that society had a great need for Medieval Historians with 'degrees' from an unknown school is unsaid, but we are all paying for her 'education'. Both she and society have been made the worse, but the school got its Danegeld. Society somehow got stuck paying for this disaster.

'I Fully Expect to Die With This Debt' Baby boomers who went back for graduate degrees struggle to pay back their student loans
. . .

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

A Good Use for the LSAT

Preston’s post inspired me to reiterate an idea that has been raised tangentially a few times but deserves serious consideration.

Lawprofs, including Campos now, have signed onto a meaningless pledge for incremental reform akin to a long barren path leading nowhere.  I have asked Campos to explain his sudden retreat from the scamblog movement and this pledge for reform that seems to contradict most of what he stood for just a year ago.  Hopefully, he explains his position at some point.

The mess of meaningless reforms reaffirmed my belief that the simplest messages are the only ones that can pierce through the white noise.  Instead of a package of reforms, the scam movement should promote one simple reform to solve a number of problems simultaneously: we should petition the ABA to require a minimum LSAT score for a school to maintain accreditation.  To support such a petition, plenty of statistics and individual stories of misery could help to shame them.

Manifesto of the Menshevik Fake-Reformers

The French Nation, in simultaneous, desperate dead-pull, and as if by miracle of madness, has pulled down the most dread Goliath, huge with the growth of ten centuries; and cannot believe, though his giant bulk, covering acres, lies prostrate, bound with peg and packthread, that he will not rise again, man-devouring; that the victory is not partly a dream. Terror has its scepticism; miraculous victory its rage of vengeance. Then as to criminalty, is the prostrated Giant, who will devour us if he rise, an innocent Giant? —Carlyle
We have reached the point where the systematic failure of law school is simply undeniable, even by the schools themselves. The new question is, what to do about it; should there be deep or shallow efforts at reform? Should we have a Bolshevik revolution in legal education, or merely a Menshevik touch-up?

Recently, a group of law professors wrote a manifesto, more absurd than even the UNABOMER's, filled to the brim with the dregs of ideas to reform law schools. I made no comment then, because—like the time Bill Maher refused to read Woody Harrelson's book, My Brother P!ssed on Me in Ed TV: I didn't read it, because honestly, it looks stupid. Comments were made here earlier disrespecting the usefulness of these proposals, as the "reforms" merely prune the leaves of a twig of a redwood, leaving the gargantuan trunk and roots both untouched and unmentioned. Professors, ya'll ain't no lumberjacks.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The True Cost Runs Deeper Than You Think

So far, much of law school debt is still viewed as monopoly money, to be IBR-ed or PAYE-ed as a "side concern". It seems that many Deans, professors, and members of the establishment (NALP, ABA) seem to endorse this view – that while it is indeed a burden, most law graduates are young, have a lifetime to pay it off, so where is the harm in the final analysis? Isn’t youth wasted on the young, so why not pay some soft-bankruptcy student loan debt while you’re at it?

I’m a 40-something Gen-Xer, and I made the mistake of going back to law school early in my oh-so-vaulted STEM career (which is overrated itself, another story). I graduated in 2005 and have worked in a "JD preferred" career since, and I’m one of the lucky ones – debt was bad but barely manageable, and my interest rates are low. I’m on the 25-year plan, yet still pay a lot every month relative to my salary. The worthwhile ROI vis-à-vis my law diploma and bar license has not been there, as is the case for many similarly situated.

A cost I did not count ten years ago, though, is looking at my daughter today, who came along herself a few years ago. Every month that I write student loan checks, that is substantive money that does not go to my daughter’s education. Or to her extra-curricular activities. Or to clothes, for that matter. 

There are things I will not be able to for her, due to my decision to believe the law school cartel and buy into the law school scam. Things every parent wants to do for their child. Things that are considered very "normal" or "simple", like "ballet lessons for tots" or small vacations, let alone larger concerns such as her own education. The saying "shirtsleeves to shirtsleeves in three generations" takes on a whole new meaning for me, for someone whose grandfather was a farmer and whose father was an engineer.  Paul Campos recently opined on this trend, saying that law school is just for rich kids, now.  Ah, how things come full circle.

Meanwhile, the Deans and other professors encourage students to take on even more and more debt and further perpetrate the scam. I’m reminded of Professor Henderson at University of Chicago a couple of years ago, who complained about "high taxes" while being a law professor, having a doctor wife, three kids in private school, and a house in Hyde Park. I see red sometimes thinking that pampered, silver-spooned whiners such as Henderson get to send his kids to Chicago Lab on the nickel of many, many students, K-JDs and non-trads alike, while complaining about his so-called problems. His wife told him to shut up and rightly so, as his own writings on the subject are curiously down (although many commented in the media at the time). At least Chicago seems to turn out good prospects for its students, but that is a rare thing in this legal market with high overproductions of JDs.

My own child will have fewer opportunities than Henderson’s, despite his "crushing" tax burden and other "difficulties." I find it hard to shed a tear for the likes of him, whose attitude seems to dominate the upper-eschelons at essentially all law schools. Pay no mind, however, as JDs are "versatile" and legal careers are "valuable," and $200k is a small price to pay for such advantages. ScamDeans and LawProfs have private school tuition and mortgages on very nice houses to pay, you know, so you JD applicants better be stepping up to the plate. They are our Promethian betters, and are deserving of their hard-earned accolades.

I attended a lower-ranked religiously-affiliated law school, and I have certainly learned one thing in my experience – "the sins of the fathers are visited upon the third and fourth generations", so far as legal education is concerned. This blithely glossed-over fact of creating economic harm down the line, while Deans and professors cash fat paychecks while writing articles to each other in the Law School echo chamber, needs to be heard much louder and clearer.  Clearly, the Deans and profs aren't worried, as they have apparently never had to face real or significant economic difficulty in their lives - otherwise, they would not be so cavalier in their assessment of the situation.

By their fruits ye shall know them.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Unlicensed Therapy from Tulsa Tams

Buonaparte knew everything, even to the names of our cadets in the East India service; but he failed in this, that he did not calculate the resistance which barbarism makes to refinement. He thought that the Russians could not burn Moscow, because the Parisians could not burn Paris. —Hazlitt
Awhile back a professor—Wasn't that Tulsa Tams?—said that those other professors who think that law school is a scam should quit, if it bothers them so much. The comment was directed towards "LawProf". I can't remember if it was Tams or another buffo; the shill quotient is too extreme for me to remember individual distinctions in the borg cube of 12,000 law professors out there, each spamming their 'research' and 'theories' to themselves. But her obnoxious "look how smart and mature I am" self-serving comment deserves more scrutiny. 

The point of her comment, which no doubt she felt was genius when she made it, was based on the pretense that she is both morally and intellectual superior. This belief in turn is based on her preschool-level superficial logic: if you are personally bothered by something, then you should just stop doing it and then it won't bother you. It's like telling a woman who is being stalked by a creepazoid, "Hey lady, don't get emotional about it. Just move to a different city!" Wow, what a genius solution! If a couple whistleblowers shut up and quit, the problem will go away! It's magic!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

The Debt Slave Class

"American Dream Eluding Under-40s with Student Debt," by Kathleen M. Howley (Business Week)

Money quote #1: "“Buying a home and having a family are the hallmarks of middle-class American life,” said Robert Lawless, a professor at the University of Illinois College of Law in Champaign. “The hope is still alive, but for now a lot of people are being forced to rent because all their money is going to pay off their student loans.”

Money quote #2: "Thwarted would-be homeowners are helping to support rental demand for single-family foreclosed homes, the emerging institutional asset class that investors including Blackstone Group LP (BX), based in New York, and Colony Capital LLC, in Santa Monica, California are accumulating."

So, not only are student loan debt slaves paying a huge amount of money to the investor class in interest, late charges, etc., they are also shut out of the housing market (and the tax advantages thereof) and forced to pay rent to the investor class.


"New GSU Law School to be 'showplace' on key downtown block,"  by Maria Saporta and Doug Sams (Saporta Report)

Money quote: "We are literally out of space," said Steven Kaminshine, dean of Georgia State's College of Law. "We can't add one more faculty member. It's time for a school with our trajectory to have a building that is commensurate with our reputation."

And the law school arms race continues....

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Bond Rating Agencies now on the case

"Standard and Poor's Downgrades Albany Law School," by Scott Waldman (Times-Union.com)

Money Quote #1: "The report suggested that Albany Law is more vulnerable to the national trend of enrollment decline because it is not connected to a larger university. Law schools that are part of a larger university or university system were better able to absorb losses of the last few years."

Money Quote #2: "It's also worth noting that higher education enrollments could be on the edge of a bubble. Shifting demographics will drain the pool of potential students soon. The children of the baby boom generation helped swell college attendance, and the next generation of college students will be smaller. That likely means a day of reckoning is near for an industry focused on relentless expansion."

It looks like the ratings agencies are taking an interest in the law schools. Very interesting. The item about connection to a larger university also ties in with Cooley Law School's proposed merger with Western Michigan University.

Money Quote: "The Shreveport building Louisiana College purchased to be its law school in 2011 is now for sale."

Looks like less seats for lemmings.

Money Quote "High student debt poses a risk to the economy, notes the Federal Reserve. But the Obama budgetperpetuates perverse federal financial aid policies that encourage colleges to jack up tuition, driving up student loan debt that now exceeds $1 trillion. One such policy is income-based payment plans that do nothing to cut student loan payments of prudent borrowers, but encourage colleges to increase tuition. They do this by effectively capping the lifetime payments of imprudent borrowers who attended low-quality colleges with high tuitions, and writing offtheir loans at the end of 20 years (10 years if they go to work for the government), regardless of how much the colleges increase their tuition, or how few of their students get decent jobs. Taxpayers, many of whom “work in lower-paying jobs than their degreed compatriots,” will pick up the tab for the written-off loans. Even the liberal New America Foundation calls federal programs like Pay As You Earn a “huge giveaway to” undeserving and imprudent borrowers, as its Jason Delisle explained in an interview with Bloomberg Businessweek."

Anyone want to guess the professor?