Friday, November 25, 2016

Texas legislators contemplate yet another law school

Scant weeks after the notorious law school at Indiana Tech announced its closure, legislators in Texas proposed the opening of a law school in the southernmost part of the state:

Why? Because "everybody [else] has a law school". A perfect reason! Why shouldn't every half-ass town in the state get its share of the pork barrel?

In addition, "[t]here are some great, very talented young professionals who for financial reasons or reasons related to family cannot travel to San Antonio, which is our nearest law school". (Wrong: the nearest law school is at the Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey.) The same argument was deployed at Indiana Tech: pity the many "great, very talented young professionals" (even though actually most of the students there were well past 30) who are so poorly served by the mere four other law schools in Indiana and the thirty-odd within a four-hour drive of Fort Wayne!

Not a word is said about demand, quality, prospects for employment, or even the experience of so many failed or failing law schools, including some in Texas itself. Such paltry considerations should not scupper the latest hackademic boondoggle. After all, who gives a flying fuck about the students or the public? Just open the goddamn law school and ask questions later.

Friday, November 18, 2016

The Con-Man Denominator

Per the Faculty Lounge:

Today, the ABA Section on Legal Education and Admission to the Bar announced it is placing Charlotte Law School on probation for non-compliance with ABA Standards 301(a), 501(a), and 501(b).  The remedial steps ordered include...

At the same time, the ABA Committee censured Valparaiso Law for non-compliance with Standards 501(a) and 501(b).  The notice is here.  The remedial steps ordered for Valpo were similar. 

This got me thinking: we here at OTLSS have discussed Charlotte Law and Valpo Law several times, so it was interesting to see both of these schools pop-up as having run afoul of ABA standards.  Interesting that these two schools should show up at the same time.  Whatever could be the cause?  How did this happen?  If only there was only some thread of commonality in these stories...

Ha, who am I kidding?  An astute commenter at TFL who uses the handle "fyi" had already connected the dots, as I am sure long-term readers of this blog have as well. 

Friends, 0Ls, non-trads, it pays to look beneath the surface of the Law School Scam.  So when you hear terms like "practice-ready," and "service," and "liberty," and "justice," remember who is saying it, and why.  Is it being said to provide needed legal services to your community?  Or is it being said to finance vanity projects at your expense?

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

University of Michigan Law Turns to Play-Doh Therapy

One of the things OTLSS has striven to avoid, by my view at any rate, is partisan politics as regards the Law School Scam.  Yes, we have mocked and criticized various claims, causes, and positions put forth by the Cartel, but we mock them as to how they hinder development and growth of students into graduates who are able to pass the bar exam of their choice and become functioning members of legal society.  While we may debate the utility of various "Law and X" classes, for example, or other areas of personal, idiosyncratic interest to particular LawProfs, it is all done through the eye of "Does this grossly and unfairly increase the sticker price for a JD?  Does this help students obtain relevant theoretical and practical skills?  Are you merely preaching the values of liberty and justice as a pretext for just getting asses in seats, because times are tight?"

I think this particular election cycle has been difficult for all concerned, regardless of one's own political spectrum.  And while we are all exhausted and ready to move on for the most part, the cynical Gen-Xer that I am can only express pure disbelief as regards the following coping and recovery strategies proffered by institutions such as the University of Michigan Law School:

Total Frat Move reported Thursday on the event, titled “Post-election Self-care with Food and Play,” hosted by the law school’s “embedded psychologist” Reena Sheth. Here’s the description:

Join us for delicious and comforting food with opportunity to experience some stress-busting, self-care activities such as coloring sheets, play dough, positive card-making, Legos, and bubbles with your fellow law students.

Writer Dillon Cheverere said the event does not appear to be “a joke”:

I want it to be a joke so badly, but it is not a joke. It’s real. Students have the chance to “post-election self-care” by decompressing and enjoying snacks and playing with toys designed for toddlers.

To be fair, when I graduated from law school in 2005 with a ton of debt and no prospects, I too probably wanted to play with Legos and binge on comfort food - to escape the mind-bending reality of having ruined not only my own career trajectory and earning potential, but the financial well-being of my family as well.  Instead of offering me coloring sheets and toys, however, I was told to "get a job" while the Cartel laughed all the way to the bank.  "Sorry, you can't use the law school computer lab resources because you are a graduate, and we can't have you loitering around here and spooking the lower classes.  Sorry, it is your fault you actually believed the employment statistics in our brochures.  Sorry, ultimately your employment status is not our problem."

Until it became their problem due to declining enrollment, of course.  But these overall trends have been detailed on this site and others.  

Eleven years later, what does it say when a law school proffers a response such as this to difficulty and disappointment?  Who at UMich Law is proud of this (as the event has been "scrubbed", I guess not many)?  What students think this is a good idea?  One wonders how future lawyers will deal with difficult clients, to say nothing of the stress of juggling pre-trial calendars and trials themselves.  Or other real-life responsibilities in general.  I also find it disturbing that a recommended Law School response to student difficulty is to retreat into infantilism.  How will jilted students respond later, when some or many of them cannot find employment?  Temper tantrums?  Funny, that has been the previous accusation by the Cartel against the Scambloggers...

At least according to LST, University of Michigan Law grads probably have less to cry about than many other schools on average.  In any event, this continues to show the stark difference between educational-value-provided and cost, and the difference between real-life and living in the academic bubble.  LawProfs, Deans, and Admins get paid, yo, regardless of your own personal results.  Here is a coloring book to help you feel better about getting scammed.

Prospective students, is this the enviroment you are looking for when it comes to your legal education?  Is this kind of "help" and "support" worth $60k-plus a year?  Are you really looking for Day-Care for Adults?

If you answered yes, then I submit you are in for a rude, rude awakening as regards the long-term effects of the Law School Scam and the market it will ultimately vomit you into.  Law School should be actually be equipping you for the world, not helping you retreat from it.   Perhaps that is too much to ask for in these turbulent times.