Saturday, November 30, 2013

It's not what you know, but who you know

Recently, I wrote about the Pless family – remember them?  Paul Pless, “convicted” law school fake stats fall guy, and his wife Stacey Tutt who just so happened to get a nice teaching job at the same school at the same time that Paul took the heat for the entire scandal.  Yeah, acting alone and all that.

Turns out that family connections are often exploited for employment purposes.  Take for example our good friend and self-proclaimed lifelong oppressee Nancy Leong, now an assistant professor at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law (currently clawing her way up the prestige ladder at UCLA as a visiting professor - I guess only T14 is good enough.)  According to her New York Times wedding announcement, she’s shacked up with one Justin Pidot.  Back in 2010, Justin was a rising star with the Environmental and Natural Resources Division of the Department of Justice.  And now, concurrent with Nancy’s arrival at Denver in 2011, Justin is miraculously a law professor at Denver too!

There is an undeniable connection.  Just guessing, but I think Nancy pulled strings and helped her hubby get a cushy gig as a law professor, just like Paul Pless pulled strings or made a deal to get his wife a teaching gig in return for him taking the heat for the stats scandal.  Furthermore, looking at Justin’s resume, she’s been pulling strings to get his levels of “scholarship” to where they need to be too.  For example, she recently worked as an assistant law professor at William & Mary, and he has managed to get an article published in the William & Mary Law Review - another strange coincidence.

(How Justin obtained his plum job with the DOJ is itself most likely another family connection being used, for his father was the chief of the natural resources division of the Maine attorney general’s office and consequently probably had some connections that could be exploited to get his son in the door at the federal version.)

So what does all of this go to show?  Is it trying to show that Justin Pidot doesn’t deserve his position as a law professor?  Is his scholarship worthless because it’s conveniently published in journals where he has connections?  Of course not.  In fact, I’ll go so far as to say that Justin, with his actual real life law experience, is precisely who we need in law schools.  He practiced environmental law recently at a high level, and now he’s teaching it.  He’s no “old fart” out of touch professor who has spent the past twenty years regurgitating the notes he took himself while a 1L at Harvard, nor is he some inexperienced K-->JD-->clerkship-->classroom "walking credential collection" with a resume stuffed with high dollar prestigious school names but who has never held a real job, let alone a legal job.

I'm sure Justin is doing just fine in the classroom.  He has the education, and more importantly the experience.  That is precisely what this blog is advocating for.  Law professors who know how to be lawyers, not just who know about the law.

No, my point is nothing of the sort.  Nancy and Justin are just an illustration for anyone who still doesn’t get the fact that post-JD employment, especially those legal jobs that are actually worth having (DOJ, for example, or Biglaw, or a law faculty position – we’re not talking about slumming it at some two-attorney strip mall social security claims mill), is not so much a matter of what you know but who you know.  If you don’t have the connections, your chances of landing a good legal job when you graduate are slender.

As one commenter to a prior Leong-based post spent so much time trying to argue, it’s not as if we wouldn’t do the same thing if we could.  And he or she was absolutely right, to some extent.  While becoming a law professor is not everyone’s idea of a dream job, I don’t think anyone would not use their connections to get a good job with the federal government, state government, a great firm, or a cushy corporate gig.  I don’t begrudge anyone using those connections.  Nothing wrong with that, and I’d do the same.  So well done to Justin - you did what you needed to do to get where you wanted to be.  That's how life works, and you get it.  I’d advise anyone seeking a law job to use whatever connections they have, because the career services advisor at their law school sure isn’t going to help.

But let’s all be very clear and honest about this.  Those with connections succeed, and those without struggle.  I could have gone to the same law school as Justin Pidot, had the same experience as him, but would never get hired as a law professor because I didn't have an insider connection.  Some people have good connections, most people don’t.  It’s an unwritten rule of the legal employment game, and one that law schools fail to disclose.  For many jobs, you need someone else to put their foot in the door for you.  You need an invitation.  You need insiders.  You need juice.  Whatever you want to call it.  And for many reasons, those who end up getting nice jobs because of connections tend to hide this fact.  It’s not inherently unfair, but it’s distasteful for many who firmly believe that employment should be on merit alone, not legacies and connections and under the table deals and knowing the right people, especially when we’re paying six figures for the opportunity to even get a shot at a legal job.  To pay all that money in tuition only to find out that the game was rigged from the start is unpleasant.  It’s the way society works though, and the point of this post is solely to make sure that all applicants are fully aware of the two following points:

First, even attending a top school and doing well sometimes isn’t enough to get a nice job unless you have connections.

Second, those successful students at low-ranked schools are often successful not because of the law school, but because of connections.

The second point is the most important, given the fact that students at top law schools can generally find some kind of work.  It’s the tens of thousands of law students at the 185 or so non top-14 law schools who suffer under this culture of connections, because they go into law school thinking that the playing field is level, and that they have (statistically) the same chance of success as everyone else.  In reality, anyone without proven preexisting legal connections should never go into law school under the assumption that if they succeed they will obtain either a job that pays anywhere in the upper 25% of that school’s reported salaries for its graduates or any secure job in government.  Those kinds of nice jobs are generally reserved for students with connections and not necessarily those who work hard and get the best grades.

Connections are vitally important in law (and life), especially now that jobs are hard to come by.  Parents hand books of business to their children, and attorney uncles and aunts make sure their law student nieces and nephews get the summer jobs in law firms rather than hiring Joe JD through OCI.  Government employees open doors for their relatives and friends while the rest of us blindly toss resume after resume into government recruiting web sites.  Without having someone already on the inside, your chances of ever getting through the door are greatly diminished, and your analysis of whether law school is a good choice for you should factor in this unspoken rule of the game.  Most of the good jobs are already allocated before you even walk into your first 1L class, so ignore those success stories prominently displayed on your target law school’s web site because the school is hiding the fact that the kid going off to work in Biglaw is the son of a prominent rainmaker, and the kid who is going off to be a prosecutor has an uncle who is a judge.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

A Note From Richard Sander

Given the universally negative reaction to my post yesterday, I chose to remove the post. But, before I made the choice to do so, Richard Sander sent the following email to us:
From: Sander, Richard
Date: Thursday, November 28, 2013
Subject: Please retract your post and issue an apology
To: "" <>

            I had never heard of your blog until yesterday, when someone alerted me to the above post.  I write to point out that the post is inaccurate in almost every particular, and ask that the author retract the post and acknowledge that its claims are not based on any established facts.
            To be specific:
            --It is not true that UCLA has “stopped placing black students in Sander’s 1L course”.  Most student assignment to the eight 1L sections is random, subject to some shifting to ensure that, for example, a section does not include only one black.  No professor is “avoided” with respect to any assignment.  I have averaged about the same number of 1L black students as my colleagues over the past several years; in this fall’s class, I had an above-average number of Hispanics (though I was unaware of the number until a reporter asked me about it).
            --It is not true that I have a bias, either “provable” or otherwise, against *any* of my students.  Both my impression, and that of my Dean of Students, is that my black students actually perform *better* in my class than they do in their other 1L classes, though I have not tried to measure this difference to see if it is statistically significant.  Partly because I work on a wide range of civil rights and inequality issues, I have mentored an unusually large number of African-American students and graduates over the years; many of whom have gone on to highly successful careers in practice or in legal academia.
            --If there was any evidence that I (or any other professor) actually discriminated against students of any race, the appropriate action for UCLA to take, and one I believe they would take, would be to do a thorough investigation and, if the evidence was convincing, to remove me from the faculty.  I think the real, as opposed to imagined, evidence would show a  fair and dedicated professor who puts in above-average hours and resources to help all of his students get the most out of law school.

Richard Sander, UCLA

To be clear, I'm removing the post only because I feel it was not up to the high standards of this site. I would also like to make it clear to Mr. Sander that I am not a wet behind the ears law student who fears him as if he were Professor Kingsfield from The Paper Chase.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

A Thanksgiving Suggestion

Towards the end of our book, Con Law, Thane Messinger and I detail what we describe as "quitting points": moments during law school when it is very clear that your chances of successfully landing a worthwhile legal job following graduation are dramatically and often-irreparably reduced, and when you should take a step back and reconsider whether you should remain in law school.  For example, if your grades are merely average at the end of your first year, it’s probably time to quit; you are highly unlikely to be selected for any on-campus interviews, and your resume is highly unlikely to stand out as that of a superstar future lawyer from that point forward.  Time to cut your losses and leave, saving yourself two years of your life along with a six figure loan balance that you would accrue during your remaining time in law school.

With Thanksgiving rapidly approaching, I’d like to describe an earlier quitting point.  If you’re a 1L, you’ve now been in law school for a couple of months.  You’ve seen it from the inside, and you have a pretty good feel for what law school is like and how well you stack up against you classmates.  You now know should have a reasonable idea of whether this is what you want to do for the rest of your life.  So take the time over Thanksgiving to relax and look around the dinner table.  Take a look at the lives of those who are near and dear to you, what they’ve done over the years.  Look at the friends at home you might be reconnecting with.  Those lives that last year, you thought you could do better than.  Your aunt who has taught high school for two decades?  She’s pretty happy, right?  Your father, who has an average job in an average company, something he works hard at, he’s stressed sometimes, but generally manages to keep the household afloat.  Your cousin, struggling from the bottom up, trying to forge a life for herself in New York City; how is she getting on?  The brother you always thought was an idiot for dropping out of undergrad and going off to be a fitness instructor, but who now has a new girlfriend and is about to move to California.  Your buddy from college who started working for the local government and has risen through the ranks quicker than he expected.  How does all of that stack up against law school now that you’ve had a taste of 1L?

Sit back and take stock of where you are.  And start to think about whether this is where you want to be.

Chances are, those around you will be more secure than you previously thought, living happier lives, more fulfilling lives, have more freedom (financial and otherwise), and generally don’t miss the fact that they don’t have advanced degrees or the “prestige” of being a licensed professional.  Sure, they may ooh and ahh over the future lawyer at the table, but watch at how quickly their interest fades and the lawyer jokes begin.  And you might – just might – wonder how you made the mistake of attending law school in the first place.

If any of this rings true, then you should start to plan your exit.  By all means stay until the end of the semester, see how exams go if you want, enjoy your last few weeks of higher education because you’ve already paid for it, but start to plan around not returning after Christmas.  Think of how much money you’ll save by not going back.  Your mistake has cost you just one half of one year of tuition and fees – a hefty sum, undoubtedly, but at least it’s not six times that amount, which it will be if you stay and finish up your degree.  You’ve given it a try, you decided you disliked it after a good effort, and people respect that.  More importantly, this does not make you a quitter; it makes you an independent adult who is not afraid to admit when things didn't turn out as expected, and who has the strength of character to make changes when changes are needed.  Don’t leave it too long and finish 1L, because then you run the risk of being pressured into returning to finish up the entire degree, or falling foul of the sunk costs argument which doesn't even apply to law schools in the first place.  It’s okay to make mistakes.  It’s okay to change your mind.  And it’s better to realize that you’re on the wrong path sooner rather than later.

And next Thanksgiving, any awkward conversation about you and law school will last just a couple of sentences.  You tried it, you hated it, you moved on, just like that new hairstyle or jacket that didn't quite fit your style.  And everyone else will move on too.  Perhaps you’ll even laugh about it, your brief foray into the sleazy world of lawyering.  (More than likely, those around you will offhandedly mention how they didn't think you'd make a good lawyer anyway, or that they knew you were making a bad choice but they didn't want to spoil your dreams.)  And perhaps you’ll spare a thought for those students who didn’t have the yams to quit when they realized they didn’t like studying law; instead of enjoying their Thanksgiving next year like you will be, an exciting chapter of your life just having opened up, they’ll be excusing themselves from the table early to sneak off and read cases about corporations and tax and evidence.  You’ll be watching football and drinking a beer, toasting the fact that you dodged a bullet.

I’m absolutely serious about this.  During Thanksgiving, you should be examining whether you made the right choice.  Was law school what you thought it would be?  Brilliant minds debating the law, or dreary professor phoning in a decade-old lecture about the development of the law of personal jurisdiction?  Thrilling mental journey, or mindnumbing two hour slog through hundreds of pages of boring opinions to figure out a point of law that you realize could be explained in two minutes by a lawyer rather than a professor?  Because it doesn’t really get much better or easier than it is during 1L (students just learn the rules of the game and get lazier in subsequent years).  Law school is semester after semester after semester of the same thing.

Where do you want to be next Thanksgiving?  Ignoring lawyer jokes, or making them?

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

Monday, November 25, 2013

One of life's mysteries solved

Life is full of mysteries.  Do aliens exist?  Is there life after death?  And of course, where do those lost socks go when you can't find them in the washing machine?

I can happily reveal that through extensive research, I've discovered the answer to that lattermost problem.  Those missing socks have been located.  Turns out that when a sock goes missing in the washing machine, it's actually been recruited by inGenius Prep to work as part of an army of sock puppets pretending (1) to be interested in inGenius Prep, and (2) to have used inGenius Prep's services and been very satisfied.

inGenius Prep's "Marketing Department"
Here's how it works:
1.  Puppet #1 visits web site and posts message on the discussion board, like this one posted by the puppet named "D14", interested in medical school admissions:
"I've been looking for a good application consulting company, and my cousin recommended inGenius Prep. Has anybody heard anything about it?"
Note that Puppet #1 joined that community on Thursday June 27 at 10:52am, and the post was made that same day only twelve minutes later.  Note also that this is Puppet #1's only post ever made on this site - it came here solely to pretend to be interested in inGenius Prep's services.
2.  Puppet #2, in this example called "GBG2014", visits the same site and answers the question:
"Actually, yeah I have used their services. They were really helpful and gave me useful advice and constructive criticism on my application. Their counselors are from top med schools so they know what they're talking about. They are also less expensive than other companies, which for me was a huge plus. I am planning on using them again (hopefully) for interview prep.

I just found out about them during the application process, but they also offer services to help craft your med school candidacy while you're still an undergrad. My little sister, who is going to be a sophomore, is going to use them for that.

Hope that helps."
Note that Puppet #2 joined the site Monday July 8 2013 at 12:57pm, and made its one and only post on that site eleven minutes later.
Neither puppet is ever seen or heard from on that site ever again.  The sole purpose of the visit was to ask about inGenius Prep, then give a glowing review of inGenius Prep.
But wait!  Puppet "D14" is evidently not just interested in medical admissions; he's also interested in law school too.  This is one smart puppet!
Over on a law school admissions site, Puppet #1, "D14" (and that's some lazy sock puppetting when they can't even be bothered to change the name of the puppet), asks the following:
"I've been looking around for an application consulting company to help me with my personal statement and other application stuff this fall, and a friend of mine recommended inGenius Prep. Has anybody heard anything about them?"
This time, the readers figure out that "D14" is merely the sock-covered hand of inGenius Prep, and quickly tells "D14" to shut up and move on.  Note once again the puppet MO - join, post question about inGenius Prep just minutes after joining, then never appear again.
I appreciate viral marketing, and I appreciate trying to drum up support for a new business online.  But do so on the merits of the company, not by providing fake reviews of your own services and pretending that you have satisfied clients.  Remember what we talked about recently, David?  How all these little things point to one conclusion: "SCAM!!!"
David, my offer still stands.  If you can provide me with anything to counter any point I have made about your company, I will publish it right here and eat my own words.  I have offered you the chance to give examples of your success stories, your proven record of helping students truly get into schools they would not have been able to otherwise, and any shred of evidence whatsoever that your company is providing value in any form.
I have still heard nothing from you.
I guess it's hard for you to type with socks on your hands.
David Mainiero - "I'm shocked!"

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Ego and Exploitation: A response to Law Prof. Nancy Leong's post entitled "Identity and Ideas."

In a comment on a JD Underground (JDU) thread last year, I referred to a law professor conference at a seaside resort in Hawaii, where Sturm Law Prof. Nancy Leong was one of the speakers, as "a gravy train, or shall I say, a luau train." "Gravy train" was a reference to the free vacations masquerading as scholarly conferences that law professors routinely hold for themselves, vacations ultimately paid for by their massively indebted students. "Luau train" was my reference to the fact that this particular law professor conference was held at a Waikiki beach resort. Where, you know, they stage luaus for resort guests. Leong described my joke about "luau train" as an effort to disparage her Native Hawaiian ancestry, something I had no idea she possessed. I can hardly believe her ludicrous interpretation, and suspect that she does not believe it either.

Leong suggests that the scamblogs do not provide substantive criticism of her scholarship, just attacks on her identity. This is false. It is telling that Leong, in her blog post at Feminist Law Professors ("Identity and Ideas," part one), declines to identify the actual JDU threads and OTLSS posts in question, which are chock-full of substantive criticism of her work and qualifications. Furthermore, Leong does not once refer to her own article, "The Open Road and Traffic Stop: Narratives and Counternarratives of the American Dream," 64 Fla. L.Rev. 305 (2012), which is the target of most of the scamblogger criticism, and my own satirical post:

In this law review article, Leong complains that caselaw analyzing the constitutionality of traffic stops is "dry," "mundane," and "focused on minutiae," as compared to Hollywood road movies, and uses the word "narrative" 164 times, which must be some kind of record. Her article is a prime example of puffed-up and sophomoric cultural criticism pretending to be legal scholarship. A prime example of irony too, in that Leong has asserted that legal scholarship is immensely valuable to students and practitioners. I wonder if any medical school professor has ever published an article in a professional journal complaining that diagnostic manuals are dry, mundane, and focused on minutiae as compared to the exciting doctor narratives presented in fictional TV shows.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The Marble, The Sculptor, and the Spoiled Milk

Darcy, on the contrary, had seen a collection of people in whom there was little beauty and no fashion, for none of whom he had felt the smallest interest, and from none received either attention or pleasure.  
          —Actual Writer of something that contains actual literary value to society 
The Marble and The Sculptor is not for people who want to blame others for their lot in life. It is not for people who want to cry over spilled milk. It is not for people who want to whine about being scammed. The Marble and The Sculptor is for people who realize that they are behind the 8-ball and are willing to work hard to get out from behind it. For people who are looking for a blueprint or guide to help them navigate being a new lawyer in the worst legal job market ever.   
         —Keith "Birmingham Keef" Lee (aka B.K., or the "Burger King" himself)
Writing a book is as close as a man can get to having a baby – and nobody wants to be told they’ve got an ugly baby.  
          —B.K. again, from his blog
I post this in support of the B.K. because I am highly offended by the other posters and commentators here and their superficial criticism of the book in question. I instead think that B.K. is nursing us exactly what nutrition we need. I hope you don't mind if I plug this guy's book; we need some positive, dairy-based, past-the-expiration date energy on this site. His book is incredible—so incredible that when I bought my copy, I knew at once that this adorable neonate had to be signed in person by the author. 

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The King Continues to Reign!

About two months ago Paul Campos made some blog posts on his section for Lawyers, Guns, and Money, that I summarized here.  There he discussed declining enrollment figures for American University and University of Iowa, and how the schools were addressing the challenges differently.

Within the past week, however, Campos has made waves with his newest pair of posts, linked here and here.  Rather than solely relying on me to accurately summarize his posts, I encourage you to read what he had to say.  I also encourage you to read the comments section to his legal education-related posts, not only will you recognize a lot of great posters but the commenting content is as good as they come.

The first post that Campos made, which was widely cited and circulated through law-related news, from the ABA Journal to Above the Law, was provocatively titled: "80 to 85% of ABA law schools are currently losing money."  Supporting his thesis was recent budget data from 23 public and 8 private law schools:
My survey of law school budgets suggests that, on average, law school revenues will be down this fiscal year by about 15% in real terms from where they were three years ago. Costs, meanwhile, have not decreased by the same amount — if anything, they are slightly higher (as of now the rankings struggle continues unabated). Very few law schools were running 15% operating surpluses three years ago, which means that the large majority of law schools — I estimate between 80% and 85% — are incurring significant operating deficits in the present fiscal year.
Campos did say that the data he was provided was often from anonymous sources whose parent institutions may not be happy having their information spread, so he has not revealed which schools that he has looked nor will he let on which schools are in the clear.

I think it is a bit much to extrapolate the results of 31 law schools and claim that they are representative of the 200+ ABA accredited law schools.  However, there is no denying Campos' feat in collecting so much data, nor the soundness of his analysis.  If that many schools are really running deficits, it is only a matter of time before schools take more extreme measures in order to stay in business, and when that happens, you can bet OtLSS will be there to help cover it.

Monday, November 18, 2013

The Demise of Horatio Alger

Charles Cooper laid out the motivations of the scambloggers in his recent post:

So why do we do this? Why do writers here spend hours each week penning articles for you to read? Why did I spend a few years of my life writing a book on this subject? Because it’s important. It’s because we care about not handing a broken system to our kids. It’s because we have a conscience and don’t agree with turning our fine higher education system into a business model for syphoning money from college students to wealthy professors or, worse still, investors. It’s because we care about making sure future generations of students go out into the world with degrees that are effective in terms of cost and opportunities. We worry about the young people today saddled with mortgage-sized debt for degrees, and how this will affect their ability to do the normal things in life, like take a low-paid entry level job, buy a house, raise kids, or even afford to eat in some cases. We worry that the JD is being turned into a worthless piece of paper.  We are bothered that the legal profession continues to eat itself alive.  These are real issues. We want to be part of the solution. It seems that many others are content to be part of the problem, take their cut of the ill-gotten gains, and not particularly care what hollow shell of an education system (or profession) they leave behind. They’ve got theirs, and everyone else doesn’t matter.

Really?  Is that it?  Is it possible that people could be motivated out of a sincere desire to see things be different, now and in the future?

Some would cynically say "never, without an economic incentive to do so."  The "rational economic actor" would never do anything without some form of remunerative incentive.  Clearly, the scambloggers make a huge windfall off of this somehow, though it is not apparent how, yet.

Plus, those who have the temerity to critique the law school cartel are whiny, bitter, losers.  Yes, we've heard it all before.  All you have to do is want it bad enough, and then you will make bank. 

Yeah, about that "bank":

It would appear that the Horatio Alger myth - that hard work and pluck will lift a person from dire circumstances to enviable success - is not living up to expectations for Americans. As WSJ's Lauren Weber notes, 40% of Americans think it’s fairly common for someone to start off poor, work hard and eventually rise to the top of the economic heap but a new Pew study shows that in reality, only 4% of Americans travel the rags-to-riches path. Unfortunately, they discovered considerable “stickiness” at both ends of the income spectrum and that Americans attached to the rags-to-riches myth might be disappointed to know that other countries show greater mobility among have-nots - "this is what we call the 'parental penalty,' and it's really high in the U.S. - If you’re born in the bottom here, your likelihood of sticking in the bottom is much higher." 

Oh, but law school, says the law school cartel and it's affiliated industries.  Are you going to listen to the protestations of millions of people throwing a national pity party, or are you going to go out there and be a lawyer, dammit?

Well, things aren't looking good on that score, either:

Competition should continue to be strong because more students are graduating from law school each year than there are jobs available. As in the past, some recent law school graduates who have been unable to find permanent positions are turning to the growing number of temporary staffing firms that place attorneys in short-term jobs. This service allows companies to hire lawyers “as-needed” and permits beginning lawyers to develop practical skills.
Job opportunities are typically affected by cyclical swings in the economy. During recessions, demand declines for some discretionary legal services, such as planning estates, drafting wills, and handling real estate transactions. Also, corporations are less likely to litigate cases when declining sales and profits restrict their budgets. Some corporations and law firms may even cut staff to contain costs until business improves. 
Because of the strong competition, a law graduate’s willingness to relocate and work experience are becoming more important. However, to be licensed in another state, a lawyer may have to take an additional state bar examination.

Did you catch that?  More students are graduating from law school each year than there are jobs available.  This is not scamblog-whiner central, this is the Bureau of Labor Statistics who has no dog in the fight.  I count two instances of "strong competition."  I see that "students unable to find permanent jobs" are going to that "growing number" of holy of holies, "short-term, as-needed" jobs (i.e. doc review) to develop "practical skills".  Hah.  I thought law schools were turning out "practice ready" students, anyway.

Going back to Cooper's post, tdennis239 makes a telling observation:

Yesterday, I was in court, waiting with four other lawyers, for my turn to see the judge. Two in our group were insurance defense lawyers, the rest of us plaintiff lawyers, but all of us came from the "small shop" part of law practice; which is to say the typical American law practice. All of us were in our late fifties and sixties (yes, cursed baby boomers) and our collective legal experience totaled about 180 years. We are the lucky ones; the ones that what passes for "making it" in this profession. In short, when we talk criticize legal education and the practice of law, we are not crafting our slings and arrows "in the darkness and ignorance". Quite the contrary.

As we caught up on each other's lives, soon the conversation turned to practicing law: how hard it is for us, much less young, inexperienced lawyers, the obvious oversupply problems and its effect upon the market place and how, to a person, we forbid, not discouraged, forbid our children from following in our footsteps---not because we are losers---but because we can read the writing on the wall: there is no future in law for the vast majority of young lawyers. That topic flowed into the recognition, fired by hindsight and lengthy experience, of the laughable ignorance and sheer ineptitude of our law professors in teaching us anything about the practice of law. We all agreed, however, that as bad as the bombastic musings that passed for legal teaching was when we attended law school, at least we didn't have to pay $150,000 for the dubious privilege of having to listen to it as our young people now must do.

I suppose if Dean Alexander or Prof. Leiter or Mr. Lee or Prof. Leong had heard us, they would have detected some bitterness---I admit to that. But, it is bitterness born of righteous indignation because all of us agree that the ABA, our trade organization, has allowed professors, deans and big-law managing partners, most of whom cannot find the court house, much less draft a complaint and try a jury case, to trash our profession. One would have to be a stone not to be bitter at the utter disrespect these gangsters have shown for, what is to us, a once noble profession.

Finally, as for Keith Lee's "step by step plan", it is nonsense. Each and everyone of us old, wizened lawyers affirmed that starting a law business in the 1970s and 1980s was hard. Keeping it a profitable concern for thirty or forty years is even harder and with each passing years, only getting harder. Starting a law practice now, in the present market, simply makes us shake our head in wonderment that anyone would recommend such a scheme to a young, vulnerable person.

In addition, tuition is sky-high.  Go see Third Tier Reality or Law School Transparency if you don't believe it.  Or here at Volokh.  Or even more recently, an excellent piece by Elie Mystal over at ATL (awesome charts as well):

You’re familiar with these arguments: a widening gap between haves and have nots, Cooley grads rising up to stick Harvard grads with pitchforks, dogs and cats living together. It’s pretty sad that law degrees — long thought of as a path for upward mobility for hardworking people — now serve as a way of locking in massive inequalities between elites and everybody else. If you are not starting from a position of strength that allows you to get into the very best law schools, going to law school at all is probably an extremely bad call. 
Just 20 years ago, the “bimodal” distribution [of lawyer salaries]… did not exist. The value of a law degree was more or less standardized. Getting into a law school, any law school, conferred a certain range of expected benefits. Now, getting into law school is like playing a slot machine: some will win, most will lose, others will win just enough to keep playing[.]
Note that the spike around $30,000 in the 90s is pretty much the same as the spike around $50,000 today, adjusted for inflation. At the low end, law school is almost exactly as valuable as it was 20 years ago… except that law school tuition has skyrocketed to the point where it is often more than double what it cost 20 years ago. Do you think law schools know they are charging everybody a lot more for the same slop? I do.
The next law professor type who wants to defend law school based on how things were when he went to law school can jump in a lake of statistical reality. The experience of a person who graduated in 1996 is irrelevant to the experience of a person who graduates today[.]  The next law professor type who wants to talk to you about the value of a law degree over the lifetime of your career is LYING TO YOU[.]

What does that mean for you, current law student or recent graduate who does not have access to a DeLorean? I think it means that you must do what all people must do who find themselves on the short end of market forces beyond their control: it means you need new skills. Your law degree was a bad investment, sorry. But instead of clutching your buggy whip and waiting for people to come back to the rustic simplicity of horse-powered transportation, you need to develop skills for which there is an actual market...Whatever you do, you probably shouldn’t keep banging your head against the bimodal salary distribution curve in a desperate attempt to jump from one end to the other. History is against you.

Friends, this in not about "working hard," or being a "loser" because you can't handle the heat so you better stay out of the kitchen, or whatever the lame motivational-speaker platitude of the month happens to be.  The scamblogs have always said that if you have the passion to be an attorney, the funds to do it, and the social capital and connections to pull it off, then go do it!  Please!  Really!

This message is for the majority who don't have the money, who don't have the connections or social capital, and who don't know what law school or the business of law is really about.  This message is for those who have no business going to law school, no offense intended.  And I say this as one who had no business doing so, myself.

This is about the death of the Horatio Alger myth overall, and in the practice of law in particular.  The law school cartel peddles poor advice, dubious preftige and false hope in order to lure the marks in and profit.  The practice of law is one that has considerable "stickiness," and all the Dudley-Do-Right-Horatio-Algerism in the world doesn't affect the fact that the market, starting capital, pedigree and connections matter.  Thousands of graduates face this reality every year.

0Ls, don't fall for the line that "all this can be yours," when those who profit from your decision are counting on you to take the bait.  It takes much more than determination to be successful, but they want you to think that is the core ingredient.  If it was that easy, everybody would be doing it.  Instead, go invest your efforts in something else that has a better chance of return, and be a part of the solution instead of the problem in the process.

Friday, November 15, 2013

What the Washington and Lee Law Salary Survey Says.

In 2011, the ABA amended its Standard 509 to require each law school to conduct an annual nine months out segmented survey of its graduates to determine employment rates and categories of employment. From the Class of 2011 and 2012 surveys, we learned that the overall percentage of recent law grads who obtain full-time nonsolo law jobs is barely 50% overall, and for some schools much lower, a rude awakening from the sweet law school narrative of 95% employment rates and hefty starting salaries.

In deference to the findings of various courts, I will not use the word "fraud" to describe the behavior of the law schools in luring bright but naïve kids into massive debt by marketing a beautiful mirage. So here are some other words in lieu of "fraud": false, deceptive, deceitful, unethical, unprofessional, disgraceful, a sickening betrayal of trust, a forfeiture of the moral right to instruct students on professional values, a scam.

Unfortunately, the ABA has rejected proposals to require the law schools to conduct salary surveys. Therefore, the inflated salaries touted by the schools remain uncorrected and unapologized-for. [1], [2]

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

The Nature of the Argument

I was forwarded a proof of Keith Lee’s recent book, “The Marble and the Sculptor,” and thought long and hard about whether or not I should write a review. Because no matter what I wrote about the book, any negative comments would be misinterpreted by many readers as me simply trying boost my own book at the expense of his, or dismissed by him as worthless because I’m a vocal critic of the current state of legal education. As he preemptively wrote on his blog, in an odd post dated October 18, 2013, and entitled, “The type of people who should not buy my book”, he warns that:

The Marble and The Sculptor is not for people who want to blame others for their lot in life. It is not for people who want to cry over spilled milk. It is not for people who want to whine about being scammed.

Which pretty much says it all.

And that led me to write this post instead, discussing the nature of the argument about legal education today. Let’s first of all summarize the “scamblog” position (a term I still dislike, because it mischaracterizes our position - we're reform advocates and activists).   Our position is very, very simple: law school costs far too much, teaches far too little, and there are far too few jobs. Simple. Nothing more, nothing less. Obviously, there are finer details that we often write about, such as the wretched state of legal “scholarship”, and the extraordinary salaries paid to law professors for, well, we’re still not sure why they get paid so much, etc. But at its core, the argument is simple. Costs too much. Teaches too little. No jobs.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Book Review: The Marble and The Sculptor by Keith Lee

Keith Lee, a graduate from Birmingham School of Law and blogger on Associate’s Mind, recently published The Marble and the Sculptor: From Law School to Law Practice.  The American Bar Association has supported this book about how to be a successful young lawyer in the post-apocalyptic world of law.  As you can imagine, this ABA-blessed work has none of the real life tales of new graduates facing stunning desperation in Biglaw or no-law.  It makes no mention of the important statistic that half of everyone graduating from law school will never practice law.  It makes no mention of the scamblogs and indeed takes tangential digs at the “pessimists.”  The only warning to prospective lawyers comes in the form of a gloss-over chapterette about how one should think hard before deciding on law school.  Oh, and one should work at a firm for six months. 

The prose in Marble express none of the urgency of Con Law or any of the depressingly entertaining stories all over the internet by talented writers (from Scott Bullock to Paul Campos).  For the most part, it provides the detached voice of an instruction manual.  The collections of mini-chapters, each about two pages long, provide brief advice on everything from how to act in law school, how to write, how to speak, how to dress, etc.  No topic is covered in great detail or with useful examples.  For the most part, the advice delves about toe-deep into an average person’s commonsense.

Friday, November 8, 2013

inGenius Prep continued: David Mainiero (finally) responds

From: David Mainiero <d******>
Date: Thu, Nov 7, 2013 at 3:19 PM
Subject: Your October 10th Post about inGenius Prep

To Whom It May Concern:

I have submitted the following as a series of comments on your October 10th blog post about inGenius Prep and me. I would appreciate if you ensured that it was posted.

I am very upset about what you have said, insinuated, and encouraged others to believe about inGenius and about me personally. It is very irresponsible blogging on your part, and it is unequivocally false

inGenius is not a scam. If you wanted to express your opinion that the price quoted to you was out of whack, I would have no problem with your post (except the fact that you conveniently omitted how you asked for the "soup to nuts" package and said "money would not be a problem"). I know you fashion yourselves as legal experts, and you probably do know a little bit about the law. Nevertheless, I can assure you that your comments are defamatory. In saying this, I don't mean to threaten you, or speak negatively about you or your blog (which, executed more responsibly, I believe would be a great source of information on an important topic). I do ask, however, that you take down this post immediately and issue some kind of retraction statement. It is extremely detrimental to me personally and to the company and is not based in any semblance of truth.

If you would like to post again about how you think that people should not use admissions counseling services, and use inGenius as an example, that would be more appropriate (although I would vehemently disagree with you).

You should consider the impact of the lies you have spread about me on my life and my livelihood. You should consider that you are not the master of the Internet, who can cursorily read a couple of blogs/articles and ascertain the truth. You should consider how you would feel if someone made such unfounded allegations on you, and how you would feel if you had no opportunity to get them recanted, or at least have the truth juxtaposed with that article.

Please read the post I have pasted below (pending approval) in your comment sections. If you have
the decency to speak with me about this over the phone, I would be amenable to doing so.


David Mainiero

Above is the email I received a month after I first wrote about David Mainiero's inGenius prep company.  His comments (which I'll get to soon) were posted as he requested.

First of all, if this blog - if any writer on this blog - ever posts something actually libelous, it will be removed.  Just send us an email explaining why, give us the accurate information, and the material will be corrected, published, and we'll apologize.  This offer is always open.


This blog will not cease to expose dubious, fraudulent, or criminal behavior directly or indirectly associated with the legal education system.  This blog will not stop calling things as we see them, highlighting those whose activities - while legal - are dishonest, unethical, or just downright shady or scammy.

So David, the ball is now firmly in your court.  Since you want to play jailhouse 2L lawyer with your thinly-veiled threats, your mild insults, your misplaced 1%er sense of superiority that oozes from your entire email, go for it.

Please explain, in detail, what was false.  You're crying "libel".  The burden is on you to prove it.  You want us to give you a Sharpie and let you redact an article on this site?  I'll gladly hand it to you, but you've got to tell me where I'm wrong.

In your email, and in your comments to my post, you don't actually state anything to counter any of my assertions.  You merely claim that it's all false, lies, and not based on any semblance of the truth, but you offer no proof whatsoever.  Merely saying that I'm lying isn't good enough, because I'm not - I'm calling out admissions consultants for what they are; companies that offer commonly-available advice and proofreading services for extremely high fees, and which base the "value" of their services solely on the prestige of the universities their employees attended (or in your case, still attend), implying that they have some kind of insider connection to improve the clients' chances of success.  But more than that, I'm drawing those conclusions from the information I have on hand - from your company's site, from wider research, from news sources etc.  I'm not sitting here writing fiction, which is what you're implying.

Here's the only admissions consulting advice that is honest:

1.  If you're smart enough to get into Harvard or another top school, you're smart enough to proofread your own application, and you're smart enough to find the "insider" information yourself by simply buying one of the countless $20 "how to get into top law schools" guidebooks freely available at Amazon.

2.  If you're not smart enough to get into Harvard or another top school, you should not attend law school.

End of story.  Anything above and beyond that, especially for hourly rates of $150 or packages costing thousands of dollars (or, in the case of your quote to "Peter", $3,749!), is - in our opinion - a scam.  And that word doesn't imply illegality.  The definition of scam is: "A dishonest way to make money by deceiving people."

And that's what you're doing.  You're deceiving people.  You claim that you never would, that you'd never take someone's money without vetting their chances of success and giving them clear warnings (which you actually never did give to "Peter", if you'd care to re-read your response to him - I believe you urged him to get started and contact you "ASAP").

I beg to differ.

In order for an applicant, no matter how unsuitable, to transfer thousands of dollars to you, there is no vetting whatsoever.  Let me show you.

Pretend I'm "Paul".  Í have an LSAT of 160, a GPA of 3.2, and I've dreamed of going to Harvard Law.  I find your site.  Here's the front page:

Cool.  Front page, your Ivy League admissions experts will help me get accepted to my dream school.  Sounds nice.  First click is on the "Law School" button.  And here's what I see:

When am I applying?  Right now - it's November and I'm in a rush to get in the next class.  Click two - "Right Now".

Oh my, that's Prestigious with a capital P!  I'm bombarded with the crests of Yale, Harvard and Stanford!  Do I want to talk to an admissions expert?  No way.  I want to click on the "get started now" link.  And I do, so that's just three clicks so far.  You're making this too easy.  Harvard, here I come!  So far, nothing has warned me that I'm wasting my time or money.

Options, options, options.  All "great opportunities" according to the site, so what the hell.  Let's go for pre-law advising.  Click four.

More choices, none of them cheap, but hey, it's my education and my future.  I want the best.  I'm using my fifth click to choose the "Platinum Pre-Law Advising" option.  Still nothing telling me I'm not in with a snowball's chance in hell.

I'm getting sooooooo excited!!!!!!!!  The text says that this is "The best pre-law advising in the world.  Period."  What can go wrong?  It's been encouragement all the way so far.  I've got to buy this right now.  And that's my sixth click.

And there's the Visa logo and the payment form.  You've got my money.  Seven clicks (eight if I had to confirm a payment.)  $3,499.  Not a hint of "perhaps you shouldn't do this."

What am I missing?

And that's just one example, David.  That's what bothers me.  Your entire business is set up around fancy crests and prestige-by-association, because there's very little actual expertise behind the curtain.  Look at your JD Admissions Team - twelve out of the eighteen consultants, a full 66%, are merely JD students.  What is their expertise?  Having gone through the process just once?  Or are you banking on the fact that people will assume that because your consultants got into Ivy schools, that they mysteriously know some kind of hidden secret that can be shared for a mere few grand?  Is this anything more than you and your buddies setting up a little sideline business for beer money during college?

Like I said originally, it's students scamming students.  At the very least, that's a fair conclusion judging from how you're operating.  $3,499 per year, for what?  Remember that your site allows people to send you that money without you describing your services even once.  I got to the payment page and still have no idea whatsoever what I'm signing up for, what you can offer me, and how it will benefit me.  It's vagueness, wrapped in prestige, all for a very lofty sum of money.

Could "Paul" get his money back?  Here's your terms of service:

Section 2: Payment and Services

inGenius prep Payment Plan


The customer’s credit card on file will be charged automatically pursuant to the selected payment plan option.

If a customer fails to pay any amounts owed to inGenius prep in connection with a payment plan, inGenius prep reserves the right to pursue such unpaid amounts and that customer will remain liable to inGenius prep for all charges under this agreement and all the costs incurred to collect these charges, including, without limitation, collection agency fees, reasonable attorneys’ fees, and arbitration or court costs.

Section 3: Warranty, Refunds and Cancellation –


Customers desiring a refund should contact the inGenius prep Customer Service department at Customers will not be granted refunds solely because they are not accepted to a desired school or institution. Customers requesting a refund for services rendered by inGenius or its Consultants will only be granted a refund for the most recent billing cycle (i.e., a Customer requesting a refund after 25 hours of services will only be granted a refund for the last 5 hours of services). Refunds are subject to the approval of inGenius. The decision to grant a refund will be made following a thorough review of the Customer’s application materials, a discussion with every inGenius Consultant who worked with the Customer, and a discussion with the Customer. The decision to grant a refund will be made consistent with the good faith, fair dealing, and best judgment of inGenius prep.

Uh oh.  "Paul" may be out of luck, especially as these terms and conditions are tucked away, far down at the bottom of the page, under a tiny little link.

But let's take a break for a moment.  Is there anything above that's not true?  Because embarrassing as it is, it's all right there on your website!

As was most of what was posted in my first article.  Taken from your site, your email, news stories about you.  I'm not plucking this stuff out of my ass, David.  So go back to my original post, read it, and then write to me explaining exactly where the lies are, because I'm just not seeing them.  We provide analysis (aka "opinion") based on our research too, so be careful to distinguish between fair opinions and "lies" upon which those opinions are based.  An unfavorable opinion is not a lie simply because you don't like it.

And as I mentioned earlier, you've got to do better than essentially saying "I'm a Harvard student, I'm better than you, so do what I say."  Because that 1%er attitude doesn't work here.  It doesn't work when law professors complain that we're calling them out for having no legal experience, no teaching qualifications, and producing some truly disgraceful "scholarship".  It doesn't work when law deans complain that the awkward facts about unemployment, debt, and twisted statistical games make them look like con artists.  And it doesn't work when law school admissions consultants don't like being called out for what they are - companies taking advantage of those who are desperate to succeed at all costs because of this crazy prestige-driven scam our higher education system has become.

Admissions consultants - including your company - operate as follows: they sell hopes of getting into top schools, knowing full well that (1) many want to chase that impossible dream, (2) a fraction will succeed, and – most importantly - (3) those who succeed would succeed without the services purchased, and those who fail will fail despite the services purchased.

And it's the third step that makes it all rather nasty, because as I've shown above, you've set up a system that will take anybody's money with no questions asked.  Just like low-end law schools, offering JDs to anyone with a pulse and who can sign their name to a student loan promissory note.

You're welcome to comment here.  We don't censor comments, as you can see from your extensive comments on my earlier post.  If you want to have your say, you've got it.  But what you don't have is any right whatsoever to shut down unfavorable analysis of your business just because you don't like having a little fair criticism.

And I'm sorry that it's hurting your business, but I've weighed that against the disgusting, widespread hardship faced by tens of thousands of law school graduates each year, many of whom are taken advantage of by law schools (and third party service providers) who prey upon them, offer false prestige, hide facts, take money and offer little in return.  You losing beer money from your side business is nothing compared to the hundreds of thousands of dollars in student loan debt that tens of thousands of law students undertake because some people see higher education as a way to make a profit.  Our job is to offer our take on issues relating to legal education, dig deeper than the thin layer of bullshit covering the surface, and provide our commentary and insight.  We're not industry "yes men", nor particularly vengeful.  We're just interested in stopping people making the same costly mistakes we did, and for every one of our voices urging caution, there's a thousand who are still screaming blindly that law school is a really great choice.

So please, comment away.  Email me.  Send me whatever information you have to show that I'm way off base.  I'll happily retract anything that isn't true if you can demonstrate that it isn't true, but you'll have to do better than just offering an alternative "opinion" on how you operate, the usefulness of admissions consultants, and the services you offer.  I've drawn some fair conclusions from my research, much of which is based upon information provided directly by you and your company, and at this point in time I stand behind them.  So no retraction, no removal of the post, and no apology.  You need to earn those.  And if you're a legit service providing demonstrated value, it should be easy.

I believe that only top law schools offer worthwhile access to legal careers, and if you can get people into Harvard who truly couldn't get in without your services, then good on you.  Sadly, I doubt seriously that you'd turn hopeless cases away, nor advise people to avoid lower-ranked law schools.  Care to elaborate?  Got any redacted emails giving this advice to your clients that you care to share with us all?  How do your consultants advise students who want to go to low-ranked schools?  Do you turn them away before they pay, or after?  And does anyone else have any dealings with inGenius that they'd like to share?  What advice did you receive?  Was it good, or merely proofreading services and fifth-hand info gleaned from the pages of "Law School Confidential"?

I'll retract one statement though.  I end the prior article with "He'll make a great lawyer."  Obviously, that was a lie.

(I've also made two other changes to the prior piece - first, I removed the word "scam" before "admissions consulting company" in the final sentence, and second, I removed the word "scammer" from the caption beneath your picture.  I think people can draw their own conclusions.)

Thursday, November 7, 2013

How about a Scholarship NOT to go to Law School?

Impossible, you say?  Just read below:

He's a Super Lawyer. (Yes, that's a fellow Thomson Reuters' company, and a designation for attorneys who have done big, big things.) He also has about thirty-seven badges attached to the bottom of his page, each attesting to his certifications and affiliations. He's also an adjunct professor at Loyola Chicago. Basically, he's been there, and done that.
And what does all of that vast experience tell him about the value of a legal education, at least in today's economic climate? The same thing we've been telling you: it ain't worth it folks, especially if you're paying full sticker price for tuition, fees, and books.
It's a simple enough premise: he'll award a $1,000 scholarship to one lucky student who chooses to take a different path, post-grad. Applicants must have a 3.0 GPA (setting the bar high, eh?), be a U.S. citizen accepted to or currently attending an accredited school, and he or she must be entering grad school in 2014.

Let's hear it for the adjunct law professors, who actually, you know, work for a living and are inclined to tell the truth about the legal marketplace, as opposed to our "favorite" ScamDeans and LawProfs who will frankly just say anything for a buck in order to bask in the bubble. 

Mr. Willens, we salute you and your humorous way of getting the word out.  Don't take it from us, 0Ls, take it from someone in the trenches.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Edward Zelinsky: The Most Deluded Law Professor I Have Seen Yet

When I heard about this article proposing the extension of law school to a fourth year, my rage meter went off the charts. There was no way I was going to allow this article to go unaddressed on this site. But, I want to write my unvarnished thoughts as I read this preposterous tripe. The commentary will be written as I go through the article. So, without further delay, let's see if Ed is really as big of a charlatan and poltroon as I think he is. (Note: Ed's words are in the italics)
President Obama has joined with other critics of contemporary legal education in calling for the reduction of law school to a two year program. The President and these other critics are wrong. Indeed, the remedy they propose for the ills of legal education has it exactly backward. Law school should not be shortened; it should be lengthened. The standard curriculum for a juris doctorate degree should be increased to four years.
Three considerations counsel the need for an additional year of law school: - See more at:
 Three considerations counsel the need for an additional year of law school:
Really Ed? I'm sitting on the edge of my seat to see how you justify students spending even more money on such a worthless degree.
First, there is today much more law to learn than there was in the past. There are today whole new fields of law which did not exist a generation ago, e.g., health care law. Moreover, within pre-existing areas of the law, the amount of law has expanded enormously over the last two decades.

Consider, for example, the area in which I write and teach, taxation. No one doubts that the current tax law is more complicated and extensive than the taw law in effect when I went to law school. Important subspecialties, e.g., pensions, partnership tax, and international tax, have grown in complexity and importance.

Many critics belittle the substantive business of legal education by dismissing my tax courses as theoretical or doctrinal. But my courses are where my students learn the law and there is much more law to learn than there was a generation ago.

Imagine a critic of medical education who looked at the explosion of medical science in recent decades and called for less medical schooling. That is precisely what the advocates of a two year JD program are doing.
 Ed, let me break something down for you. Your students don't learn a damn thing about the actual practice of tax law. I'm sure like every other law professor growing fat off placing your students in the shackles of debt, you think that spending five weeks examining the tax treatment of inherited modern art sculptures means your students are "learning the law", but I seriously doubt you are teaching them practical things like how to write a tax appeal letter. The invocation of medical schooling is a popular canard offered by your ilk. Here's the thing. Medical students actually learn how to be doctors. They are forced to train for up to 10 years before they are free to open their own practices and take on patients independently. Your students are highly unlikely to be litigating high level tax matters.
Second, through expanded LLM programs, we are de facto creeping towards four years of legal education. In many areas of the law, such as tax, LLM degrees have grown in prominence. Several factors are fueling the expansion of LLM programs. Chief among these is that there is now more law to cover in a fourth year of law school.

Rather than the currently haphazard growth of LLM programs, it would be more sensible to require universally a fourth year of education for all law students.
Let me get this straight: Ed wants to make all students take a fourth year of courses when only a small portion are currently stupid enough to do so? Might this have something to do with the fact that undergraduates are no longer buying the B.S. Cardozo is selling? In the latest report by Law School Transparency, Cardozo received a 53.2% employment score while students pay $273,327 for the privilege. Your students will not experience better employment outcomes with a de facto LLM from a second rate law school. But you don't really care about that, do you Ed?
Third, many of the same critics who favor a two year law school curriculum also support expanded clinical education for law students. Such expanded clinical education should not come at the expense of substantive legal education but in addition to it. One way of thinking about the proposed fourth year of law school is that it responds to the demand for more clinical education in light of the simultaneously growing need for more substantive legal education.
People already see the third year of law school as being largely useless. Law schools are now trying to replace the third year with a "practice based" curriculum. So Ed thinks that we should keep the useless third year while adding a fourth year of clinical training. Are you serious right now??? Do you talk to any of your students after they graduate? Or do they cease to exist to you the moment they stop paying tuition?
The most serious argument against a fourth year of law school is the additional cost it would entail. Legal education is already too expensive. Adding a fourth year would impart even greater urgency to task of controlling the expense of law school, just as there is currently great urgency to the task of controlling the costs of undergraduate education.

Today’s panacea for controlling educational expenses is technology, most prominently online courses. I’m skeptical of panaceas in general and this panacea in particular. However, there are areas in which law school faculties and administrations can genuinely achieve economies. There is nothing sacrosanct about current teaching loads or about the much noted growth of administrative outlays by institutions of higher education.
I see. So adding a fourth year of law school is going to cause administrators to say, "Hold on guys! These students are paying us way too much in tuition now. We need to cut costs pronto!" And this will be aided in some mysterious way by "technology". Ed, I see that you care more about buying a new Mercedes than the fact that the majority of your students will be unable to afford the lifestyle your school's glossy law porn promised them. What have law school administrators done to date that would lead anyone to the conclusion that adding another year of potential revenue will lead them to start thinking more about students? Most law students are already carrying educational debt from undergrad when schools like Cardozo add another $276,000 to the tally. A fourth year will only allow law school admins to hire more useless faculty and for people like Ed Zelinsky to keep writing more academic books about IRAs and how Baby Boomers can save more for retirement.
An ancillary benefit of a fourth year of legal education would, in the short run, be a reduction in the supply of law school graduates. A fourth year would also abate the job-related pressures students currently feel after the second year of law school by giving students another bite of the employment-related apple after their third year.

The world is more complicated than it used to be. For better or worse, the law’s complexity has grown apace. Well-trained lawyers in the 21st century will need to know more law than did their predecessors. A mandatory, universal fourth year of law school is the right response to the shortcomings of legal education in a complex world.
Ed thinks a fourth year of law school will lead fewer people to go to law school. Ah, but that handy fourth year helps ensure that Cardozo doesn't lose too much of that revenue. Not to worry though: another year of summering at the Dutchess County PD's Office is going to help students find the jobs they can't seem to get today.

Ed shows a shocking lack of knowledge about the current legal employment market. Why should he? He graduated from Yale in 1975, and then got a M.Phil. in 1978. He hasn't had to practice law in the last 30 years. Ed's true motives come to light in the third paragraph. He doesn't care about students; he cares only about himself. Like all law professors, he sees the cushy life he has built for himself possibly coming to an end. He needs law school to keep pumping out grads. He needs to keep living in his nice house and driving his nice car. He doesn't care about the fact that his students are suffering in today's job market. So he hopes to change the situation to suit his life better by making such a ludicrous proposal. I hope that when the scam ends, people like Ed Zelinsky are forced to hang out a shingle and compete like dogs with their former students. It is only then that they will see what they have wrought.
President Obama has joined with other critics of contemporary legal education in calling for the reduction of law school to a two year program. The President and these other critics are wrong. Indeed, the remedy they propose for the ills of legal education has it exactly backward. Law school should not be shortened; it should be lengthened. The standard curriculum for a juris doctorate degree should be increased to four years. - See more at:
President Obama has joined with other critics of contemporary legal education in calling for the reduction of law school to a two year program. The President and these other critics are wrong. Indeed, the remedy they propose for the ills of legal education has it exactly backward. Law school should not be shortened; it should be lengthened. The standard curriculum for a juris doctorate degree should be increased to four years. - See more at: