Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Scamsuit Updates

Yesterday, a panel of the Sixth Circuit affirmed Judge Quist's decision to dismiss the lawsuit against Cooley.

You can read the ridiculous opinion:

The panel of judges spend pages on a weird technicality related to Michigan's consumer laws.  Basically, they reason that the students might have a claim if the complaint mentioned that law school affected their personal lives and not just their business interests.  This distinction made at the dismissal stage is a stretch and makes little sense.  Of course, the judges spend the rest of the opinion discussing how unreasonable it was for law students to ever give any credence to anything that the law schools ever said or wrote.  It is written in an eye-rolling tone, like the judges are saying, "Of course the law schools lie about the benefits of a J.D. -- Duh!"

Apparently, thousands of law students across the country are objectively "unreasonable" for relying on the information provided by their federally funded law schools about the benefits of earning a J.D.  The one question that the judges never seem to answer: if the employment and salary data is not important or not a reasonable source of information, why do the schools go to such lengths to manipulate the data and to hide information even in this current era of Law School Transparency and new ABA rules (which some schools still do not comply with because no real consequences exist).  If the employment and salary data are truly irrelevant and unbelievable, why would the schools not just tell the truth about 50% or more of graduates who never work as lawyers?  Obviously, the law schools gain some benefit by misleading their students, otherwise they would not do it.

Even though a few of the other lawsuits have survived, so far, it makes me a little queasy to think that a lawsuit against Cooley cannot survive.  If you read the opinion, the judges recognize that Cooley has an open admission policy, huge class sizes, a one third dropout rate, and all sorts of other factoids that I did not know before but that reinforce the sad joke that is Cooley.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Am I Outside of the Scam . . . or Part of it?

As opposed to many of the other posts here, this is a more personal one, sort of like the one Adam B just posted, but not as useful.  Keep in mind that I am in no way trying to brag about my situation or put anyone down, I am merely trying to establish a context from which I can muse about something that I have wondered about for a little while.

Most of you should be familiar with the law school scholarship game.  Professor Brian Tamanaha refers to it as a "reverse Robin Hood" scheme.

The short version is this:

"Better" credentialed law students at many law schools are given varying discounts which are borne by "lower" credentialed law students.  Credentials are measured by one's LSAT and UGPA.  People with better credentials tend to come from wealthier backgrounds.  People with lower credentials tend to come from less-wealthy backgrounds.  Combining the LSAT and UGPA correlates to better rank relative to people with lower LSAT/UGPA stats.  Better class rank correlates to better job prospects after graduation.  Thus, law students from less-wealthy backgrounds subsidize those who come from more-wealthy backgrounds and who will have better job prospects after graduation, because "scholarships" are used by law schools to buy those with better credentials than the median.

Monday, July 29, 2013

News: In the Eye of the Beholder

RAB is on vacation for awhile, so I would ask for a group effort with News Roundup.  Feel free to post links and a short summary or money quote in the comments.

This article about beauty schools using non-dischargeable federal loans to rip off poor people with dreams of a lower-middle class job is alarmingly similar to the current state of the law school scam.

RAB - we miss you!

CounterPoint #2: Take responsibility for your 250k debt

Another thing you scambloggers don't get is that law students are adults. A 22 year old is not a baby, nor an infant, not even a preadolescent. He is a fully formed hairy creature with an adult (sized?) mind and body. Whether he uses his mind is his own business. Let's actually examine what anti-Law School law grads have in common; this what you, the typical complainer, has done:

1) You decided to research law schools (or not), gathering as much information as you wished; you did that 
2) You decided to go to law school; you did that 
3) You decided to pay your deposit, whether or not it was by loans; you did that 
4) You decided to take out loans, and knew what the tuition was; you did that
5) You decided to take an obligation to pay back those loans, with interest (money ain't free); you did that. 
6) You decided to earn a J.D.; you did that
C'mon guys, you, and not short fat professors with maturity problems and teenage-girl-style personal blogs, did all of those things. You need to take responsibility. Now is the time. Besides, even if you were "scammed", it's over, so there is no point in worrying about that now. Even Bill agrees with me. Remember this one?

     Look, what is done cannot be now amended:
     Men shall deal unadvisedly sometimes
     Which after hours give leisure to repent.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

A Brief Open Letter to Those Students Enrolled at Indiana Tech Law School

Guys, a few days ago, I wrote a piece about how it’s not too late to really evaluate whether or not you are making the right decision.

I’ll cut to the chase.  You’re not making the right decision.

Attending an unaccredited law school is always a bad decision.  Paying $30,000 per year in tuition alone for an unaccredited JD – and one from a school that explicitly “makes no representation to any applicant that it will be approved by the American Bar Association prior to the graduation of any matriculating student” makes this bad decision even worse.  Do you have any idea how difficult it is to pay off that kind of debt, which will be well above six figures – maybe even close to $200,000 – by the time all your living expenses, bar review courses, interest, books, and other fees and charges are added on?

And do you have any idea how impossible it will be to pay off coming from an unproven, probably-unaccredited law school?  Half of all law graduates today find no work as lawyers.  There are twice as many grads as there are jobs.  For schools at the bottom of the pile (which is where Indiana Tech is, and is likely to remain), the chances of ever working as a lawyer are dramatically reduced.  With your unaccredited Indiana Tech JD, you stand a very good chance of never working as an attorney, but paying the same price for your JD as those students who attend some fine law schools.

Indiana Tech wanted an enrolment of 100 students.  As of yesterday, there are 24.  On the one hand, this makes me very happy – at least 76 people are seeing sense and being smart about their futures.  But on the other hand, 24 clearly still don’t get it.  You are one of those 24, who rank as some of the most willfully-blind, poorly-informed individuals living in a snowflake dream world who just don’t see how you will regret this decision for the rest of your lives.  Some of the lower ABA-accredited law schools are begging for good applicants right now.  Is Indiana Tech really the best you could do?  Is law school even right for you?  The school is not even open yet, and it’s already giving Cooley a run for its money in terms of being a punch line.

The scam isn’t some pretend scheme that we’ve made up.  It’s not a group of disgruntled grads who failed because they were lazy.  It’s a legitimate problem, recognized by many people, clearly documented and based on facts.  And you 24 students are about to become its latest victims.

Why are you ignoring this?  Do you still not get it?  What parts of it do you still not understand, because maybe we need to be clearer?

I strongly urge you to read everything on this site, then on Inside the Law School Scam.  Then read Nando’s work at Third Tier Reality.  It’s all free, and it will take maybe a few hours to browse through in its entirety.  Then read Paul Campos’ book, Don’t Go To Law School (Unless), and then read my book, Con Law.

No, I’ll go one step further than that. If you are one of those 24 students who have enrolled at Indiana Tech Law School, I will send you a copy of my book for free.  You don’t even have to pay the $2.99 to download it from Amazon.  It’s on me.

Look, at this point in time, you’re a mere $400 out of pocket.  That’s the sum of the non-refundable deposits you’ve sent into Indiana Tech.  Please, for your own sake, walk away.  $400 lost now is far better than $200,000 lost over the next two decades, along with the countless opportunities you’ll miss out on because you’re in debt up to your eyeballs and branded as a lawyer.  Leave the $400 on the table, write a quick email to the admissions dean, and walk away.  Save law school for next year if you have to, and make sure you at least go to an accredited school.  Rolling the dice for a $200,000 bet on law school is risky even at the best ABA-accredited law schools in the nation.  Rolling the dice for a $200,000 bet on an unaccredited new law school where you will be “educated” by the most ridiculous bunch of academic misfits I’ve ever seen calling themselves a law faculty is insane.

You can do far better than this.

Anyone attending Indiana Tech this fall must want to be a lawyer really badly.  Or perhaps just wants to be a really bad lawyer.

Charles Cooper is the author, along with Thane Messinger, of “Con Law: Avoiding...or Beating...the Scam of the Century (The Real Student's Guide to Law School and the Legal Profession)”, in addition to being the moderator at and the author of “Later in Life Lawyers”.  He can be contacted at

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Back to the Future II

My vacation allowed me to think about my place in the legal profession, such as it is.  I have decided to relate a few personal experiences to approach from a different angle the topic of why solo practice is a bad career path for most new attorneys.

I have an unusual experience in that I have developed a solo practice and have turned a $25,000 profit after business expenses and taxes in one year.  Also, this current year is getting progressively better.  Because of a variety of factors with my constantly changing debt payments, I did not subtract student debt from this “profit” calculation—which is important to recognize.

Most people would see this first year out of law school as a pittance, which it is.  After seven years of post-high school education and a lot of stress, opportunity cost, and debt, I am able to make the same amount of “profit” that I made before law school.  And I am a rarity!  I know of no other recent graduate in this hyper-glutted city to earn this much money as a solo attorney out of law school.  So, I relate my experience as a warning that I am the so-called “success story” for hanging out a shingle.  This reality should scare you.  It scares me.

Friday, July 26, 2013

The Millon Dollar Law Degree?

A new study by Michael Simkovic and Frank McIntyre argues that a law degree gives the holder one million dollars more income than someone who only has a bachelor’s degree. Where can I even start? The usual suspects are defending the study, wanting the gravy train to keep running a little while longer. But, is the hypothesis of this study even remotely plausible? Let’s take a look.

Elis Mystal of Above The Law did a great job picking the study apart. Firstly, this study encompassed the period from 1996 to 2008. Hmmm, when exactly did the bottom fall out of the legal job market? Oh right: 2010. Second, the study did not factor in tuition costs. What??? The explanation from Simkovic is that including the tuition costs was too complicated because students all pay different prices. Well Michael, how about using an average? The data is not hard to find, because I found it in 20 seconds using Google. The omission of this data is like bragging you got a great deal on a 1985 Caprice Classic you bought for $600, while ignoring the fact that you will likely spend at least twice that amount in gas each year. Simkovic responded to Mystal and other critics with more fancy charts, but the major flaws in the study remain.

Mystal points the reader to some studies that are actually truthful. Simkovic displays the type of blatant intellectual dishonesty that law schools and their minions need to employ to keep their delusions intact. They use charts and “data” to delude readers into thinking all is well. They will tell you that over a lifetime, a law degree will pay off handsomely. This study fails to account for the fact that the outcomes in the legal profession are bimodally distributed, more so over the past five years. If 20% of grads are making $80,000 or more and another 20% are making less than $20,000, of course you can show an average of $60,000 in yearly earnings. But this method ignores the fact that the legal profession is a boom or bust proposition. Like the country at large, the middle class is rapidly disappearing.

Studies such as this one fall apart under scrutiny like law school lies do. But, the legal education industrial complex (to borrow a term from Con Law) requires more and more sacrifice on the part of young people so that law professors can have the highest paid part time job in America. But, as long as this type of drivel has outlets that will publicize it, naive young people will continue to fatten the pockets of Brian Leiter and his cohorts.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Abolish the Law Schools.

The New Republic recently featured a mini-symposium on "how to fix law school."  However, I wonder if the thing should be repaired at all, as opposed to being consigned to the junkyard. Why not consider the benefits of eliminating almost all non T13 law schools, and returning to some version of the apprenticeship model of legal education, appropriately modified and updated for these more complicated times? The apprenticeship model produced Abraham Lincoln, Clarence Darrow, and Justice Robert Jackson, so maybe there are few things to learn from the 19th/early 20th centuries.

The model would work something like this: Following a bar-review-like crash course to teach core doctrine fast, law students would undergo a two year long structured series of apprenticeships and clinics to train them to try a case, handle an appeal, and represent clients in a couple of practice areas of their choice. The supervisors would be successful local practitioners and, maybe, public sector agencies. Not six-figure-salaried pedagogues who haven't seen the inside of a courtroom in many years, if ever.  
There would be no more hide-the-ball classroom bullying sessions, the core of the prevailing method of legal education. This method sometimes goes by the name "Socratic," but is really just the practice of self-interested law professors, who are either lazy or do not know much about legal practice, of stretching out a few months worth of doctrine to fill three long years, thereby draining their students of three years of tuition.
The costs of an apprenticeship education would be considerably less than the current black hole of law school debt. There would be no need for 90 million dollar "state of the art" School of Law buildings, no need for $500,000+/yr. law school deans,  and no need for faculties filled with dozens of six-figure-salaried academics who, over and above their salaries and benefits and summer research stipends, expect to be subsidized to travel to luxury resorts in Florida and Hawaii for, uh, academic conferences. As well, there would be no need to hire a bunch of do-nothing career services employees. Moreover, for apprenticeship supervisors, tuition would merely be a supplement to their salaries or income, not the whole thing.

Because lawyers should, indeed, have highly developed critical thinking and writing skills, a prerequisite for admission to a law apprenticeship program could be a year or more of grad school, plus excellent grades in college, plus a high score on the LSAT or some other standardized test or tests designed to measure critical thinking skills.
The practicing bar, which would accredit apprenticeship programs, and monitor them for quality, would be unlikely to follow the example of law schools, and allow training programs to flood the market. Practitioners have an interest in keeping the number of bar admissions down, whereas law schools have little stake in the legal profession, and must extract enormous sums of money, mostly from students, just to meet expenses.

Students would complete their apprenticeship program with the confidence, experience, and local contacts to practice law and make money, even if, sometimes, not enough to sustain an entire legal career.  And, being practice-ready and far less indebted, recent grads would be able to take many more low bono cases, thereby actually advancing justice by meeting the unmet legal services needs of the working poor. Under the current system, by contrast, newly minted JDs are rarely practice-ready, and their hideously expensive legal educations are frequently a total loss, especially as document review dries up
Futhermore, I believe that nonlaw white collar employers would not despise a practical legal education, as they currently despise JDs. To many such employers, a JD represents a bundle of elite expectations, rather than a bundle of actual skills. It is a degree that screams: entitled asshole. By contrast, an apprenticeship law degree/license would signify skills rather than entitlement. Nobody despises skills even if they are not immediately useable.

What about legal scholarship? Much of that could be done over on the undergrad campus, in philosophy, history, sociology, poli-sci, or cultural studies departments, which is where many of the "Law and __" or "Critical-This-or-That-Theory" law professors belong. (Though, unfortunately, many such law school professors are just overpaid dilettantes, and would find the transition to scholarly rigor and peer review to be a trying experience). The best of the "Law and __" professors would land in the T13 law schools, which would continue to provide havens for scholars and valuable credentials for well-bred overachievers. There should also be foundations to subsidize select practicing lawyers of a scholarly bent to take one or two year leaves of absence from their jobs in order to write academic-style articles.
There are a handful of law professor critics who have truly honored their moral obligations to their students (and who are far braver and smarter than I am). I would hate to see these professors hurt in any way by the collapse of the system, and so I hope they succeed in reforming the current system from within somehow. I don't think that is possible anymore, and so my proposed solution is Ecrasez l'infame.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

A Dose of Humor : Tenure

Oh, but in Law School, it's Critically Necessary(tm).  Just ask your local ScamDeans/LawProfs.  Defending Liberty, Pursuing Justice, and all that jazz.

Applications are still available!

Monday, July 22, 2013

CounterPoint #1: Law School Tuition is too LOW

Previously, I told you, my dear readers, that I decided to become a law school advocate. (Is shill a bad word? Advocate sounds better). Today I become the number one advocate on the internet for legal education services and begin balancing the ridiculous rhetoric heretofore seen on this "site". I think it is time to have some counterpoints to respond to the lying scambloggers. You are too quick to blame law schools for your own failures, as if you were not responsible for your own life decisions. Ridiculous.

So my first point to make is that contrary to what the Toileteers claim, tuition at law school today is not too high. In fact, based on what you get, it is too low.

An article from 2011 about designer jeans discusses that a pair of jeans, made domestically in the USA, cannot be sold for under $200. Most jeans are imported, because as it turns out, 99% of jeans bought today are sold for under $50. There was a chart and explanation to justify the cost of domestically produced jeans. Many commenters did not like the fact that jeans could cost so much, when they are used to themselves paying much less. But that "is what it is", as dumb people (non-JD holders) like to say.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Reality Check – Are you still going to law school for the right reasons?

I decided to write this after reading a couple of comments from a prior post.  The first was someone stating that their career path towards law school began way back in college, many years before actually attending law school, and the seeds of a legal career were sown six years (or more) before actually graduating from law school.  The second was someone pointing out that we have just a month or two left to dissuade the incoming class of 1Ls, many of whom will be making the worst decision of their lives.

And as to the second point, I can’t underestimate its importance.  There is more than enough time to get off the law school path and save yourself a couple of hundred grand in wasted tuition and three years of your life which would be spent better doing almost anything. Forget how many commitment letters you’ve signed, and don’t even get started thinking about “sunk costs” into application fees, LSAT registration and preparation, and so forth.  You can still decide against law school.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Upstairs Downstairs at the Vermont Law School Scam (featuring Professors Jennifer Taub, Cheryl Hanna, Mark Latham, and Career Services).

The law school scam has an upstairs and a downstairs. Upstairs is where six-figure salaried law deans and professors dazzle you with visions of a lucrative, interesting, jet-setting, and socially useful legal career. Downstairs is where career services sells you business cards and advises you to network with your dentist.

Here are some contrasting quotes from the upstairs and downstairs scammers of Vermont Law School (VLS), a horrible third-tier law school, which is currently sailing into well-deserved trouble. Upstairs quotes are in bold print and come from this two minute long recruitment video. Downstairs quotes come from past issues of the VLS career services newsletter entitled Career Strategies. A few thoughts of my own appear in the footnotes.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Fashionable Bar Exam Prep

Hello, everyone. Sorry to be so silent recently. I'm trying to get out of town and so I have to double down on other stuff. I'll be gone through the month but back to post again in August.

In the meantime, enjoy:

The entire article is one giant money quote. Have fun.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Why I am now a Law School Shill‏

Ok, this one is serious: I officially change my colors and announce that I henceforth will be a law school shill. I no longer wish to expose the law school scam, but rather to hide it, cover it up, distract and blame others for it. This may be shocking to many of you, especially our tenured readers. Allow me to explain my change of heart and mind, so I am not second-guessed. Do not attempt to persuade me otherwise, I am resolved to do what is right. 

The problem is the "scam", as the others on here refer to a solid legal education, has been so exposed already, and is now so obvious of its true nature, that it is hardly even a scam anymore. You may have read the increasing number of comments that go like this: "If anyone graduates after [sometime after the commenter graduated], they deserve what they get. Back in [when the commenter matriculated] nobody would have known, but now they should, so too bad, so sad." I find this logic to be solid, and will count this as an unblocked roundhouse given to the scambloggers' pouty faces. 

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Horses, Wine, and Law School

Let's take a quick detour, move away from the facts and figures about student debt, false employment statistics, "professors" who have never practiced law, and misery of the profession as a whole.  Let's take a huge step back and look at law school from a more philosophical perspective.

Pretend for a moment that you’ve just won the lottery or inherited a large sum from a long-lost relative. You buy a beautiful old farm in Kentucky and you build some stables and training facilities to realize your dream of working with horses and perhaps breeding some champions.

You raise all the horses, feed them hay or oats, let them run and play in the fields, and see over time which ones respond best to more intensive training on the track.  Most will never make much of an impact on the racing world.  They’ll be sold off as horses for riding schools or to private owners, but will still lead happy horse lives.  Some will get injured, become sick, or just have bad temperaments or genetics and end up being sent to the glue factory.  But a few will succeed and do well as racehorses after all those years of hard work.  They’ll be strong and resilient, maybe win a few races or place in others, and they’ll win money and eventually be sold for a sizable profit to wealthy individuals.  Now, I’m no horse racing expert, but that sounds about right for how these kinds of stables work.

But what kind of business would you be running if one day you decided that instead of using some of the finest horses for racing, you put some of them on the truck to the glue factory along with the feeblest nags? Just throw them out, pretend that they don't exist.  Stupid, right?

Let’s try another example.  You inherit a vineyard, and you decide to continue the wine making business.  You pick all the grapes, sort them according to quality, taste, sweetness, whatever.  The worst grapes are sent to a jelly factory, or to a juice factory, or end up being turned into raisins.  You keep the good and the best grapes to use to make wine.  The good grapes will be turned into average wine, but the very best will be turned into a delicious, complex, expensive tipple that will win many awards.

This year, out of the thousand or so crates of grapes harvested, half are sub par and will be sent to make juice, just under the remaining half are better and will be turned into reasonable wine, but you have twenty crates of absolutely perfect grapes, the best of the best, enough for a small batch of premium wine.  These grapes have been lovingly nurtured over time, and their deliciousness is a result of genetics and hard work.  But instead of turning all twenty crates into the finest wine you can make, you take a few of the crates and just toss them out with the nasty ones that will get turned into fruit juice or raisins or wherever the bad grapes go.  Madness, no?

Let’s try a third scenario.  A society spends the best part of two decades educating its youth. Elementary school, middle school, high school, then college.  Most students are average and will go on to normal careers.  Some will not succeed for a variety of reasons, and they end up in jail or digging ditches or living under bridges, often being a huge drain on society.  But the very top students, those who work the hardest and who have the finest minds the education system can produce, will go to medical schools and graduate programs or work as engineers, teachers, military officers, scientists, and so forth, and will eventually become tomorrow's leaders, innovators and success stories.

Yet this society is content with taking a portion of those top students, some of the best, and throwing them out with the failures. They get sucked into law school, which produces no leaders or innovators, no benefit to society whatsoever, and there are no jobs waiting at the end.  They become debtors, tax burdens, unemployed, homeless, mentally ill from the stress of failure, too broken financially to ever do much of anything. A handful get lucky and escape, but work in law jobs that have a negative effect on society – ambulance chasers, class action trolls, divorce lawyers and so on, all of whom have the goal of generating legal fees and profiting from the misfortunes of others.

Hopefully, the point is clear.  Law is an extraordinary waste of great minds.

Charles Cooper is the author, along with Thane Messinger, of “Con Law: Avoiding...or Beating...the Scam of the Century (The Real Student's Guide to Law School and the Legal Profession)”, in addition to being the moderator at and the author of “Later in Life Lawyers”.  He can be contacted at

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

The Sad, Awful Truth, of Which the Law School Scam is a Part

Why we must keep up the message, while understanding that it has to get worse before it gets better.  We are clearly at the "bloat" stage, and further pressure from all fronts will prompt collapse.  It is unfortunate that we inherit a task that seemingly has nothing but a Pyrrhic victory at its end, but sadly, there is no other choice.  It certainly makes me wary, and I grimly wonder what part of what machine I will unwittingly become, before they come after me in turn with torches and pitchforks.  Is there another way?

Without further ado, I yield the floor to Charles Hugh Smith:

There are two problems with the vast, sprawling legacy systems we've inherited from the past: they're dysfunctional and cannot be fixed/reformed. The list of dysfunctional legacy systems that cannot be truly reformed is long: Social Security, with its illusory Trust Funds and unsustainable one-to-two ratio of beneficiaries to full-time workers; Medicare, 40% fraud and ineffective/needless care; the healthcare system (if you dare even call the mess a system), 40% paper shuffling and 25% defensive medicine and profiteering; weapons procurement--the system works great if you like cost overruns and programs that take decades to actually produce a weapon; higher education--costs have skyrocketed 700% while studies (Academically Adrift) have found that fully a third of all college graduates learned little of value in their four years; the financial system--now that we've given the Federal Reserve oversight over Too Big To Fail Bank practices, do you really think we'll ever get rid of TBTF banks?

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Why IBR does not help new solos

I’m going to continue on the theme of solo practice if you don’t mind. One of the lines of comments from my prior post showed a depressing and dangerous misconception: that IBR will save you from the financial devastation of opening up a solo practice.  In essence, the line of thought was that if you're not earning anything, your student loans technically don't matter under IBR.  And on the surface, that sounds reasonable.  No income, no payments.  But that doesn't make starting a solo practice a smart idea, or something that has no risk because of IBR.

Here’s why: most new solos are losing money each month, not making money or breaking even. And IBR is a one-way street. By that, I mean if you’re making only a little money, your payments will be small, but if you’re losing money, your IBR payments will not be negative.  You're still losing money.  IBR doesn't help someone whose business is not profitable.  IBR doesn't give you a refund.

Monday, July 8, 2013

New News & Old News


Conditional Scholarship Scam

"The Law Schools Where You're Most Likely to Kiss Your Merit-Based Scholarship Good-Bye," by Staci Zaretsky (Above the Law)

"Conditional Scholarships and Scholarship Retention for 2011 - 2012," by Prof. Jerry Organ (Legal Whiteboard Blog)

"Which law schools were most likely to yank merit-based scholarships?" by Debra Cassens Weiss (ABA Journal)

Money Quote from Staci Zaretsky: "Now that information like this is readily available online, perhaps fewer people will be able to claim that they were lured to attend law school with false promises of scholarship money. Sure, you may be a special little snowflake who thinks you'll be able to overcome the odds and beat the curve, but with hard data staring you in the face, it'll be just a little bit harder to keep going with such faulty logic. But then again, if you do, it may be the reason why you lost your scholarship in the first place."

Ouch. Hard way to learn what a "bait & switch" is.

Attack of the Special Snowflake Excuses (They know, but go)

Good news and bad news. The good news is I think we won Round One. By "we", I mean those like RAB and Adam B, and all the others who have spoken on the false promises of the student-loan debt + J.D. outside of HYS combination. We have now established a new view, that law school is an uncertain thing to pay your time or money for.

But that has not stopped the influx of suckers. Recently a "hot girl", or attractive young woman, told me that she was in fact an upcoming 1L law student. Before I could react in horror, she said she worked at a law firm already as a legal secretary and would be having an attorney position waiting for her when she graduated. She then added that "law school is a really bad idea otherwise".

So she knows, but goes. I think even until quite recently the 1L would have been far more cheery and oblivious to reality than today. The message of the legal economy has sunk in, but as noted elsewhere, there are still over 48,000 new law students each year. They are still going; now, however, they have excuses. I feel there will be more excuses, perhaps 48,000 of them: "dad" runs a firm, special experience, full tuition scholarship, etc. Every special snowflake has a father who is a hiring partner, (or doesn't care about money "that much"), it seems, just like every anonymous man on the internet is over six feet tall. The unfortunate fact is that there is some truth behind all of their excuses: a hot girl with a job lined up may be safe. But there are still twice as many graduates as new jobs available, and that does not take into consideration the declining standards and income as the profession is inundated with too many job-seekers. The Special Snowflakes, it seems, are still going; they just now need to make up an excuse to except them from the horde of other clueless suckers. Then they get to feel good in the short-term! That is what life is about.

Experience is harsh teacher, but a patient one. Whatever your excuse, 0L types, consider whether it is merely wishful thinking.

Friday, July 5, 2013

"The Happy Lawyer": UMKC Law Professors Nancy Levit and Douglas O Linder's hypocritically stupid advice to law students and law grads.

Nancy Levit and Douglas O Linder, Professors of Law at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, have earned a place in my ongoing list of idiotic quotes from law professors, even though most of their quotes are more accurately described as hypocritical and sententious than as idiotic. The quotes come from their 2010 book, called "The Happy Lawyer: Making a Good Life in the Law." First the quotes and then a discussion below.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

The Madness of Solo Practice

One of the oft-quoted career paths for the fifty percent of law graduates who aren’t lucky enough to find a paying job is solo practice or sharing an office.  For the twenty thousand pre-1Ls who will inevitably find themselves in this dismal position in three years, or who are still going to law school this coming September thinking that this is a fallback option, let’s take a look at the facts.

But not in the context of law school, because that message just hasn’t sunk in – if it had, low-ranked law schools would be empty.  So let’s think about burgers.

Picture this: your average intersection. On one corner, there’s a McDonalds.  On another, a Burger King. The third corner has a Wendy’s.  And the fourth corner is vacant. Each sells roughly the same product – burgers.  Each has a finely tuned business model, economies of scale, great reputation and experience, and together all three restaurants easily satisfy the burger needs of the passing customers. The lines in the drive-thru lanes are short, there’s not a huge amount of traffic in the area, and there is no need for any additional burger restaurants in the area. Not only that, but people are realizing that they don’t like burgers as much as they used to, and the customer base is shrinking.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Seton Hall Law Cuts on Chopping Block?

"A Law School's Possible Purge of its Junior Faculty Ranks,"  by David Latt (Above the Law)

Money Quote: "Last week, we heard reports of one law school basically axing its entire junior faculty. All of the untenured professors received notice that their contracts might not be renewed for the 2014-2015 academic year. Ouch. As is so often the case, though, there's more to this story than meets the eye....The law school in question is Seton Hall University School of Law (#64 in the U.S. News rankings, and #36 in Above the Law rankings). The cuts are possible, not definite, and the school hopes that it won't have to follow through on the notices."

UPDATED (With Hat Tip to Adam B.)"Seton Hall Law School Cuts Faculty by 10%; Gives Notice to All Untenured Faculty of Possible Termination" by Paul Campos (Lawyers Guns & Money)


Money Quote: "The caps and gowns have been folded and put away and the celebratory balloons have shriveled. But for law school graduates busy studying for the upcoming bar exam, the balloons aren't the only thing that's deflated: so are their chances of finding a job and paying down six-figure student loan debts, particularly for graduates of the state's two private law schools [Cooley Law School and the University of Detroit Mercy]."

Monday, July 1, 2013

Satan's email to the ScamDeans

SECOND SCHOLAR. Yet, Faustus, look up to heaven, and remember mercy is infinite.

FAUSTUS. But Faustus' offence can ne'er be pardoned:  the serpent that tempted Eve may be saved, but not Faustus.  O gentlemen, hear me with patience, and tremble not at my speeches!  Though my heart pant and quiver to remember that I have been a student here these thirty years, O, would I had never  seen Wittenberg, never read book! and what wonders I have done, all Germany can witness, yea, all the world; for which Faustus hath lost both Germany and the world, yea, heaven itself, heaven, the seat of God, the throne of the blessed, the kingdom of joy; and must remain in hell for ever, hell.  O, hell, for ever!  Sweet friends, what shall become of Faustus, being in hell for ever?

Dear Blood Brothers:

How long has it been since last we met? I will have to check our contract, but it has been awhile. But I shall shortly make up for our long absence in communication by offering you some well-deserved praise. You have worked hard for me. The trouble with Heaven & Earth is they so rarely recognize continuous accomplishments, only rare deeds that stand out. Hell is different; we recognize consistent performance. And thus, you deserve some support and recognition to your quotidian but distinguished accomplishments. 

I am not known for praising others, but even Lucifer can sympathize when occasion calls. We down below, even though ensconced in darkness visible, have seen clearly the latest setbacks you have encountered. We are losing souls left and right, faster even than a mainstream protestant denomination. We both know, however, there will never be any shortage of new "customers". Always there will be mortals to sell out their long-term potential (“souls”) for their short term gain (“J.D.”), and we can trust these to ignore all evidence to the contrary of their childish fancy of being Matlock, Perry Mason, or whatever aging ham actor is on Television today "practicing" law. For Devil's sake, even Captain Kirk as a senile senior biglaw partner wasn't enough to dissuade the fools from enlisting in our ranks!