Saturday, August 10, 2013

Southern California Institute of Law: Where Bar Passage Has Gone Out Of Style

Over the past four years, I have conquered the timidity and embarrassment that I had failed because I hated the close to useless legal degree I was paying a handsome sum for. The ways in which law schools and professors obfuscate the truth is appalling. It has caused some of our nation's best and brightest to ruin their lives chasing the alleged prestige that society places on lawyers.

I thought that the recent "Million Dollar Law Degree" study by Michael Simkovic was the point at which the law school scam had hit rock bottom. But then, I read this article about a suit being brought by the Southern California Institute of Law (SCIL). The school is arguing that being required to publish its student bar passage rate infringes upon the school's free speech rights. The utter shamelessness and self-seeking attitude of the school's administration caused me to fly into a deep rage from which I may never emerge. If any of you didn't think that the law school scam existed, the proof is right here.

Let's look at the points brought up in the article:

"A California law school is claiming that it has a First Amendment right not to help students find out how many of its graduates are passing the state’s bar exam."

We have reached the point where any pretense of providing an education has been thrown out the window. To the fine folks at SCIL, a law school's main purpose is to line the pockets of its dean and professors. Why would students expect that law school would teach them (perhaps, poorly) the central concepts that lead to admission into the tarnished fraternity that is the law? Much better that the school operates as a reverse Robin Hood, leaving professors free to produce "scholarship".

"It claims that [the bar passage statistics] forces them to endorse the notion that a school’s exam passage rate reflects the quality of its legal education. SCIL thinks one has nothing to do with the other.

“[D]efendants have no right to foist their ideology onto SCIL and compel it to refer or disclose bar passage rates of its graduates,” the school stated in a legal brief last week. "

To analogize: Should people pass their driving tests even if they hit several cars while out on the road and don't know how to reverse the car? Sure! Why not? Acquiring the skills to pass a driver's test has nothing to do with driving. If you see the logic in this, please replace the large spike that must be lodged in your frontal cortex. Or apply to be a professor at SCIL.

“There are good years, and there are bad years when it comes to bar passage,” said SCIL’s attorney, George Shohet. “It’s not something that the school can control.” He said going to law school and passing the bar require “different skill sets.”
Mr. Shohet says about a quarter of SCIL’s students ultimately pass the exam — a statistic he views as more meaningful."

I sincerely hope that the attorneys for the bar examiners plan on filing Rule 11 sanctions against Mr. Shohet. The legal theory the school is hoping to ride to victory is a farce. The fact that this suit was even filed shows us that many attorneys are content to completely abdicate any and all professional judgment in pursuit of the almighty dollar. Would Mr. Shohet allow his child to attend SCIL and pay thousands of dollars for the privilege? Shohet is just as disgusting as the thieves and scoundrels running this abomination of a law "school".

"In the original complaint, SCIL also objected to a new requirement that California-accredited law schools maintain a pass rate of at least 40%."

If an institution is unable to maintain even a minimal standard of competence, it needs to be shut down immediately. The veneration of universities as ivory towers far above the mundane every day world must stop. These institutions are now being allowed to rob the taxpayers in the guise of providing "access" to a legal education to everyone. The scam has officially crossed the bounds of all decency and morality. We must put a stop to it before an entire new generation of students is forced into a life of debt slavery.

33 comments:

  1. Reminiscent of how the public school teacher unions give students tests all school year long as a measure of performance then rant and rave that the standardized tests (by which their job performance can be measured against that of other teachers) prove absolutely nothing.

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    1. Yes and no. It's kind of the same because student performance is related to teacher performance - shitty teachers produce shitty results. But it's different because regular teachers aren't trying to hide this. They publish their data, and then justify the anomalies. This law school is flat out refusing to publish the data.

      I'd be fine with this law school publishing its bar passage rates and giving a disclaimer that they do reflect student performance rather than teacher performance. It's the whole hiding the data that is the issue.

      They are right in that some years, teachers get classes full of dummies and some years classes are far smarter. But historical data can show averages and trends that are useful and which smooths out the bad years and the good years. Just publish and explain and let the chips fall where they may. Hiding data always makes people suspicious.

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    2. "regular teachers aren't trying to hide this. They publish their data, and then justify the anomalies"

      In my state the teacher unions say the tests are worthless and prove nothing and should be abolished. At the same time they fight like wild animals to prevent private school or home schooled kids from being allowed to take those tests. That sounds a lot to me like SCIL saying the bar exam proves nothing about the quality of education their students received. And it's not the teachers or their union bosses who publish the results, it's the state. The unions would NEVER publish them were it up to them.

      Law professors are a lot like union school teachers, I suppose. They are greedy, tenured, overpaid thugs who think they are above having their motives questioned and delude themselves into thinking that they are motivated solely by the well-being of their students. But then when the students fail to achieve good outcomes it is always the "dummies'" own faults.

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  2. Thanks for the post. Just when I think it could not get any lower for these schools, I am surprised by something like this. Can you imagine a medical school/pharmacy school/nursing school/any professional school where only a quarter of its graduates can pass their boards/get their licenses? No you cannot, because the AMA or whatever other accrediting body would close it down immediately. Yet this attorney is saying, "Whoa, look at the stats: in the end (i.e. after multiple attempts during a period of unemployment and compounding interest on student loans), a quarter of our grads pass the bar. What's the problem?" Where is the ABA on this? How is this heap accredited (are they accredited?). This makes me feel like my head is going to explode.

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    1. This is FREEDUM IN ACTION! This is America - USA USA USA - where people can choose to go anything they like, even stupid stuff, because FREEDUM IS GREAT! Forget that so much freedom makes people do dumb stuff like going to trash law schools and ruining their lives. Anything less would be COMMUNISM or SOCIALISM.

      People in this country need to learn that the government should protect idiots from themselves. Sometimes, people in DC do know best, better than a high school dropout who boasts about his street skills and how college grads know nuffing.

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    2. 6:21AM, they are unaccredited and the school's grads can only practice in California. But make no mistake, the ABA would stop publishing job outcomes in a second if they thought no one would object to it.

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    3. No, they would continue publishing (phony) numbers and continue hiding the reality.

      SCIL (which I've never heard of) is basically trying to establish a Right to Lie.

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    4. You would think that earning a law degree in a state would just naturally prepare you for passing the bar in that state. That what a law degree teaches and a what a bar exam tests you on would just naturally align. And that a law school would place a high importance on fully preparing students to pass the bar.

      I'm not sure, I'm no lawyer I admit, and this is probably an oversimplification, but it looks like law schools concentrate more on teaching their students how to "think like a lawyer" and read legal studies than on studying the more practical aspects of the law that bar exams test.

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    5. 10:05: Not a criticism, just an FYI. Law school should prepare you to pass the bar in any state except Louisiana, which uses a legal system based on French civil law (and the law schools there will prepare you to pass that bar exam). There are some schools with very "national" student bodies, where the vast majority of graduates go elsewhere to practice law.

      The issue with bar passage rates at these bottom-of-the-barrel schools is that they are accepting many people who are simply not intelligent enough to ever pass any bar exam anywhere, a moment of self-awareness for their graduates that will likely come only after they are buried in non-dischargeable student loan debt.

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    6. "read legal studies" should be "read cases".

      You're right come to think of it, most law schools would draw students from all over America. These California-only schools are a special case. None of them should graduate anyone unless they have a reasonable chance of passing the California bar. This one is apparently a diploma mill which will award a prize for anyone merely for attending, which is what its trying to hide.

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  3. The law as interpreted by law schools sure is wacko:

    -it's unreasonable for a consumer to rely on a company's statistics-based marketing materials.

    -regulatory disclosures are somehow forced speech.

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    1. Well, a sub 25% bar passage rate does seem criminal. Maybe that's their next defense

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  4. http://www.politico.com/story/2013/08/law-schools-devise-debt-free-path-to-degree-95391.html?hp=l11

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  5. By their logic, requiring companies to publish quarterly SEC filings is also a violation of free speech. For that matter, requiring people to disclose their income and file tax returns is an infringement of their rights as well.

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    1. "Hey, wait a minute, I have to tell all my neighbors I'm a convicted sex offender? Wha? Hell no, that's forcing me to endorse you and your silly 'no children' laws!"

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    2. Publish your stats. We know that you attract losers, so why not squarely blame them? "Our bar passage rate is 25%, but look at what we have to work with!"

      Don't pretend that you're a secret Harvard. We know you're a toilet school, but not publishing your own stats is not only telling us that you're a toilet, it's wiping your own ass after spraying with diareah, then yanking the flush handle, realizing you've blocked it, and asking a judge for a plunger!!!!!

      Have *some* dignity!!!!

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  6. there is no shame anymore. there used to be a time when people would be ashamed to be involved in something like this. there used to be a time when a president would be ashamed if people found out where he stuck his cigar. or when a married congressman sends pics of his junk to women. or when actresses put their crotch on display getting in and out of cars. or make a sex tape that is "leaked" out. or that record amounts of kids are born out of wed lock. or that many people on disability are actually able to work.

    I think its a consequence of liberalism. when no one is ashamed any more about anything, does this type of behavior actually shock anyone anymore?

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    1. What on this Earth does people's sex lives have to do with SCIL's abuse of the concept of freedom of speech?

      Did I miss the part in the write-up where SCIL wants to make a gangbang video? If so, that may actually trigger First Amendment protection.

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    2. Trust me, they're going to fuck those students real hard.

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    3. one should be ashamed to be associated with a school where 25% pass the state bar,

      one should be ashamed to put forth a 1st amendment argument.

      one should be ashamed after diddling an intern with a cigar and accepting father of the year

      but they are not.

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    4. The school is linked to the Bar, which is responsible for the administration of justice in the State, and thus an arm of Government --one of the 3 branches.

      This isn't just shame.

      This is about taking responsibility for the future of your country and its government.

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    5. One should be ashamed to start an unnecessry war that gets thousands of America's volunteer warfighters killed and tens of thousands more maimed based on exaggerations and abstract "foreign policy" ideas

      One should be ashamed to threaten to shut down the federal government because you don't like one or more policies enacted by a lawfully elected Congress and president just because you disagree with those policies but could not defeat them in a lawful, free, and democratic election

      One should be ashamed to get choked up every time one hears Lee Greenwood singing about how he is proud to be an American, where at least he knows he's free, and how there's no other place he'd rather be if he had lost everything and had to start again with just his children and his wife, and then turn around and send jobs out of America and give those jobs to people in foreign countries who hate us, weakening us and strengthening them, all for the sake of a few more pennies of profit and a few more millions in your year-end bonus

      But they are not.

      I agree that there's no shame anymore, but please do not pretend that it is only the Democratic party and its supporters that have lost the ability to feel shame.

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  7. I think you are being too harsh toward SCIL. They are offering crap - next-to-nothing - for only $30,000 for three to four years of instruction. Accredited SoCal law schools like California Western, Thomas Jefferson, and LaVerne are offering the same pile of crap for $90-120,000 (tuition only). Not to mention the deluxe pile of crap you get at Southwestern, Whittier, USD, Loyola Marymount, Pepperdine et al where you pay up to $150,000 in tuition and get almost the same career prospects -- nothing.
    It's better to pay $30,000 and waste 3-4 years than to pay $120,000-150,000 and waste 3-4 years, no?
    In a rational world there would be be no unaccredited law schools, and half the accredited schools would be shut down. But we do not live in a rational world, do we?

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    1. 6:09,

      It is not possible to be too harsh on this school. I understand that you are not pro law school from the tone of your school though. This school graduated 43 students in 2012, not one of them passed the bar. Repeat: not one of this school's graduates passed the 2012 bar. I know the Ca bar is hard, but how poor of a student body must you have where none of them have the ability to pass the bar? Even by sheer luck? How careless do you have to be as a school to admit such students and take their money? How evil?

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    2. I found that statistic so incredible that I looked it up. And it's absolutely true. Zero for 43. No wonder they don't want to tell anyone.

      http://admissions.calbar.ca.gov/Portals/4/documents/gbx/JULY2012STATS.122112_R.pdf

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  8. Don't cloud the issue with facts.

    Don't attempt to quantify the end results of attending law school. Simply accept Law School as Law School, put down your money, saved or borrowed, and go. It's like appreciating fine art. Savor the experience. The memories. Relive 'The Paper Chase.' Appreciate Law School for Law School's sake.

    And Heavens yes, law schools do indeed have First Amendment protections. It's not like they're crying "hire" in an overcrowded theater of job applicants.

    Or are they?

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  9. If you require the Law Schools to disclose bar passage rates, accurate and complete employment statistics for ALL graduates at the 9-month, 2-, 5-, 7- and 10-year marks, and accurate earnings data on ALL graduates over these years, members of the public will then have some meaningful data on which to base their educational and career planning. What a concept.

    The inherent vice in the Scam is that the public has this indelible, religious-like faith in the notion that 'lawyers earn a lot of money.' This article of faith is easily converted into 'ALL lawyers earn a lot of money.' And law school is the front door to lawyering, and hence, the portal to riches. That's why it's worth the rapidly ramping-up tutiton.

    If the schools won't do this --which they appear unwilling to do or in some cases, cherry-pick results-- the State Bars should step in and do this. Hell, the bars should requirte each school to publish something akin to an SEC filing, in which employment and earnings figures are spelled out based on the earnings of an entire class, using the income reported to the federal government on tax forms.

    Sunshine is the best of disinfectants.

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  10. My third tier t oilet > your third tier toilet

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  11. slightly off topic but...i had a dream that law schools could be accomplished online in the same way an MBA could be completed online. (the quality of the school did not matter since the license or bar exam ultimately matters). the 3 year curriculum had been pared down to 1 year and the cost was $1,500 total. then i woke up and realized how impossible this was given how much money was at stake. also, i couldn't believe how logical my dream was.

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    1. As of this writing one can indeed accomplish a JD online in California but the curriculum is the same as that of any other law school and will take at least three years.

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  12. Why any barriers?

    After all, having a JD and passing a bar exam impinges on my freedom to speak before a court and my freedom to associate with a client.

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  13. I went to SCIL and passed the bar on the 3rd try. My law education cost me only $30,000. Without SCIL I would not have had the opportunity to become a lawyer. Now the state bar wants to shut my school down.

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  14. There is an online law school such as scil that is relatively inexpensive, about $300 per month. With this school I really don't care what the pass-fail rate is because it's so inexpensive that I won't be deeply in debt when I'm done. I'm willing to bet I'll be in that smaller group that will pass the bar exam and if I don't it's a chance I'm willing to take. I think it would be wrong for the state to shut the school down and deprive me of that opportunity. This is the beauty of the California idea-- to make access to education affordable , accessible to just about anybody who has an A/A or better and who's willing to put in the effort while CA has a higher standard than many states to pass the exam. That is the way it should be.

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