Wednesday, December 26, 2018

A New Year Approaches, With Increased Applicant Rates

As discussed previously, LSAC's new and improved data reporting comes on the heels of a significant increase in applicants for 2019, some 15% more compared to this time last year.

For those who care about the legal landscape, the current market, or the fate of future students, this is difficult to see as anything but troubling news.  For the Cartel, happy times are seemingly here again, as we are seeing data that goes back nearly to 2012, compared to the nadir of 2014-2015.

As per usual, the Cartel seems to miss the overall point - people are attending law school for laudable but unrealistic reasons for the most part.  And rather that discussing what is realistic (e.g. how many lawyers can the economy support), the conversation goes sideways into notions of the way things "ought to be":

Data show that large numbers of students entering law school say that they hope to work in the public interest, but then end up working for large firms instead — though debate rages about when precisely they defect and why. Debt burden is one explanation, but informal expectation and institutional pressures are probably more to blame. And the realities of this "public-interest drift" fit very poorly with the self-advertised rationales about how legal training in its current form serves social justice.

Debt-burden is the entire explanation, once one is removed from discussions surrounding the first-world problems of Yale or the remainder of the T14.  Whether one is working towards social change or something as pedestrian as merely trying to put food on the table, the "realities" are that we live and move and have our being within a market economy.  State and local government, to say nothing of foundations, are apparently unable to absorb the costs necessary to engage in the desired amount of public-interest work, which in turn asks struggling students to work for free.  While no doubt idealism plays a role, the crushing of said idealism forces many, many law students to do what they have to.  Perhaps if law schools charged less...?

To respond to this disheartening situation, law schools will need to consider how to reset their missions for those students no longer able to suspend disbelief about how their ideals and their training fit together.  The point is not to reorient law schools entirely. Their primary task will always be the production of lawyers for the bar — a core commitment with which other agendas will necessarily fit uncomfortably. Law schools will never be staging grounds for fundamental social change when they are organized to advise private dispute resolution and administer extant forms of public justice.

And a certain amount of hypocrisy and rationalization is the essence of most people’s ethical lives in all times and places, especially when those people are at the top of unjustifiable hierarchies. "The important thing," a moralist once remarked, "is not to be cured, but to live with one’s ailments." Ethically pure law schools are not an option. An age in which American elites have remedied some exclusions while leaving many others intact or even more entrenched, and in which "meritocracy" is a rationalization for unprecedented elite ascendancy, is one we have to inhabit indefinitely. Sure, it is hypocritical when Yale Law students, each and every one of whom chose to enroll because the institution is at the top of the rankings, indict the school’s proximity to power and prestige. But nobody is above hypocrisy.

This is at least a fair indictment of the situation.  We of the scamblog movement, however, have never "suspend[ed] disbelief about how their ideals and their training fit together."  That fact falls squarely upon the hypocrisy (recently admitted, above, now that it is late 2018) of the Law School Cartel.  In fact, perhaps we scamblogs were too brazenly cynical, but one of the planks of our movement is that law schools have sold pipe-dreams for decades in order to induce a flood of naive students to march to their economic (and perhaps idealistic) doom.  Sadly, the above data reflect the beginnings of a new flood, and I expect we will hear more "tsk, tsk" lamentations not about the fact that the gristmill exists in the first place, but that the gristmill is still not sufficiently social-justice-oriented-enough to allow the Cartel to regard itself in the mirror at night. 

What if the truth of law schools is that their main social function, aside from producing the next round of elites, is that they buy off those who initially doubt that perpetuating elites is what law schools ought to be doing? If law schools faced this haunting question more routinely, they might resolve to demystify the law as a first step to reinvigorating democratic life. This would matter not just for the ethical conundrums of a handful of elites, but also to the country and the world.

A certainly worrying and justifiable conclusion, but I maintain that this hand-wringing pales in comparison to the thousands upon thousands of law graduates bound to modern-day indentured-servitude with few to no prospects.  While this may not occur around the halls of Yale, it occurs on a daily basis at scores and scores of law schools around the country.  Let's address the most egregious aspects of this practice first, and then turn our attention to the "elites" and their practices within the Halls of Power at Yale and Harvard and the social-justice-cooling effects there may be.

"Elites," I note, that are themselves complicit in the detestable practices at said scores and scores of law schools around the country.  The mal-administered "democracy" of the law student applicant cycle appears to begin anew, with Nothing Learned as to its effects or consequences.  0Ls, pay heed.

Monday, December 17, 2018

A look at the ABA's 509 disclosures for 2018

Every year around this time, the ABA requires those law schools that have received its "accreditation" (scarcely distinguishable from a rubber stamp) to produce a "Standard 509 Information Report" presenting some basic data, notably on the class that entered in the autumn. We at Outside the Law School Scam read a sampling of 509 reports, principally but not exclusively from über-toilets. The reports can be downloaded here. Our friends at Law School Transparency have also updated their data in light of these reports.

As you might expect, the scamsters' effectively unaudited data don't reveal much. There are, however, a few highlights:

Thomas Jefferson enrolled only 59 students this year, of whom 52 were "Enrollees from Applicant pool" and 7 were "Other first-year enrollees". How exactly a person is admitted otherwise than from the applicant pool is not clear to me. Are people abducted off the street? Does Thomas Jefferson, like Harvard's undergraduate college, maintain a "Z list" of people admitted on the condition that they first spend a year lounging on the French Riviera? Anyway, 59 is a long way down from last year's figure of 241. It provides further evidence that Thomas Jefferson is not long for this world. Note also that a sixth of last year's 1Ls failed out (the ABA prettifies this category with the term "academic attrition") and that a tenth of the class transferred to other (unidentified) schools. Not a single person transferred to Thomas Jefferson.

Of the two remaining InfiLaw über-toilets, Arizona Summit enrolled 17 students—surprisingly many for a school that is not offering classes. That's below the number of full-time professors. Sixteen percent of last year's 1Ls failed out, and 41% transferred elsewhere. Florida Coastal, the other InfiLaw make-believe law school, enrolled only 60 students, down from 106 last year and 808 in 2010. A third of the 1Ls failed out.

North Carolina Central University won the ABA's favor this year by imposing a minimum LSAT score of 142. That measure, allegedly aimed at quality, sent first-year enrollment from 166 last year to 103 this year. Although almost half of the students got no discount at all, 11 students received "More than full tuition", which to Old Guy sounds suspiciously like a means of buying students. Discounts, after all, cannot exceed 100% of tuition; beyond that, the law school must dish out real money. How many grand does it take to bribe someone to sign up at North Carolina Central? Bear in mind that the LSAT score at the 75th percentile is only 150 (below the median for the entire pool of LSAT-takers) at this über-toilet, so apparently it wouldn't take much to cash in. I would not recommend attending for less than $20k per year in cash, but many people who otherwise would have ended up at some Tier 5 toilet instead take Tier 6 North Carolina Central plus a few dollars.

Cooley (listed as "Western Michigan University") still brings up the rear on the LSAT, with at least a quarter of its entering class at 139 or lower. Enrollment went up significantly this year, even though most students got no discount on the astronomical annual tuition of $53k.

Appalachian, that Cooley of the Blue Ridge, saw its enrollment nearly double to 73 last year, but this year was down to 50.

The University of North Dakota is as shitty as ever, with its LSAT score of 150 at the 75th percentile. First-year enrollment declined from 71 to 62, but 28 students transferred in: 25 from Arizona Summit, 2 from Cooley, 1 from Thomas Jefferson. The migration from Arizona Summit to North Dakota was perhaps one of the more bizarre events of the 2018 scam-year. Now more than a tenth of the entire student body at the U of North Dakota is freshly arrived from Arizona Summit. Presumably these Summitites hang around together and bitch about how much better things were at their former, effectively defunct law school. It must make for peculiar dynamics at that juridical Mecca of the Peace Garden State. Perhaps the U of North Dakota is preparing to scoop up the jetsam of Thomas Jefferson and other dying über-toilets.

Please share anything of interest that you discover in the 509 reports or elsewhere.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Ontario rejects proposal for new law school

While law schools have been springing up all over the US, the Canadian province of Ontario has had the sense to reject a plan to create another law school in Toronto.

Ryerson University proposed to open a law school as early as 2020. "Training, Colleges and Universities Minister Merrilee Fullerton reviewed the proposal and concluded, based on a number of factors including a surplus of students for articling positions, modest wage growth and projected job openings, that another law school in the province isn’t needed." Articling positions are apprenticeships required in Canada for admission to the bar, and for years there have not been enough articling positions for the graduates seeking them; Ontario even had to introduce an alternative to articling, the "Law Practice Program", for the many graduates who could not find articles. And those who do become lawyers may still struggle to find work: just as in the US, too many new lawyers are chasing too few jobs.

In light of the evident fact that there are already too many law schools in Canada, Ryerson had promised to "differentiate itself with what it described as a bold, new approach to legal education". Oh, really? Where have I heard that before? Every new law school claims "a bold, new approach to legal education", but not a single one delivers. Furthermore, changes to "legal education" will not address the shortage of jobs, which militates against opening yet another law school.

Ryerson's "aim was to focus on equity and diversity, while being a 'champion for ordinary citizens and driver for small businesses'". This too is a standard canard of the law-school scam. Fostering "equity and diversity" in this context amounts to luring racialized people into a trap of unemployment, for the benefit of overpaid hackademic scamsters. And the bit about "ordinary citizens" and "small businesses" refers to the common but false assertion that lawyers can make a living by serving people who cannot afford legal services. Yes, millions of people go without the legal help that they need—because they can't or won't pay for it. Serving such people is no way to make money.

Ryerson's would-have-been toilet needed funding that the provincial government was unwilling to provide. Apparently the provincial government also rejected the proposal to "bridge the gap by charging higher fees".

So Ryerson's proposed toilet law school was unneeded, unaffordable, and useless. What's not to like?

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

A Tale of Two Feasibility Studies

With the demise of Valpo apparently on the way, it is interesting to reflect on the change of tone between Indiana Tech's feasibility study (ITLS) proposing the need for a law school in 2011 and the Tennessee Higher Education Commission's feasibility study (THEC) denying the need for a law school in 2018.
While it is somewhat difficult to draw up a line-by-line comparison between the two studies, as each study chooses to highlight different points, you can certainly hear the difference between a "sales job" on the one hand and a "pragmatic denial" on the other.  This should not be surprising, as hind-sight has proved to be more than 20-20 given the years that have transpired.  While the Law School Cartel has not been completely shaken up, the toll that has been exacted has shown who was swimming naked when the tide did go out, and who is still treading water
Here are a few examples:
*  Comparing Legal Outcomes
The After the JD Longitudinal study of legal careers sponsored by the American Bar Foundation (ABF) and the NALP Foundation provides encouragement that student loans are a good investment, even for those who take lower-paying jobs when they graduate…[i]t first surveyed them in 2002 and again in 2007…[i]n the 2007 survey, 20 percent of respondents had paid off their loans in the preceding five years, and median debt had fallen by $20,000 to $50,000…[i]t appears that most law students do not pay high law school tuitions seeking a pure economic return on investment.  Rather they see their education as the gateway to meaningful, interesting careers (p.16,17) (data from before the Great Recession but cited by the study in 2011.  Ed.)

At full (enrollment) capacity, there is roughly a balance between the numbers graduation from law school in Tennessee and project employment opportunities, but: (1) the occupation projections are predicated on “full employment,” which is proven overly optimistic in past cycles, (b) It is not clear that the current 10-year projections on employment of lawyers fully comprehends the impact of disruptive technology, particularly artificial intelligence, on the quantity, nature and location lf legal services work, (c) while the current occupational projects may comprehend the fact that 10 percent of lawyers work past the age of 65, it is less certain how the methodology takes into account legislative initiatives in Tennessee to reduce the need for legal services, such as tort and workers compensation reform (p.4)
Already, you can hear the pitch - look, even though its expensive, look at the great results!  Debt isn't so bad after all!  Plus, who can put a price on an interesting career?  Seven years later, the THEC is saying "not so fast, let's look at the data.  There is optimism bias here, past performance does not guarantee future results, and there is market pressure."  
More below the fold:

Sunday, October 28, 2018

US-style legal hackademia infests Indian law school

We have justly lampooned hackademic scholarshit about "the open road" and the alleged intersection of law and hip-hop. Like so much other foolishness that starts in the US, the phenomenon of pretentious nonsense from legal hackademia has spread to the other side of the world: the National University of Juridical Sciences in Kolkata is offering a course on law and Harry Potter.

Those who enroll in this ridiculous course are "expected [to] have already read all the books at least twice, if not more". Old Guy hasn't read one page of any Harry Potter book and doesn't intend to, but he wonders about this requirement. Is Harry Potter really so profound and complex that it—unlike all other texts assigned in law school—must be read at least twice?

The course is "intended to encourage students to think critically about Indian social problems" such as discrimination, torture, slavery, and religious strife. Infantile shiterature, we are expected to believe, provides a neutral framework for exploring these problems. I doubt very much whether any Critical Thinking™ will occur in an environment that can't pull it off without invoking the genre of puerile fantasy.

The forty-student course quickly filled up. Presumably it is viewed as an easy way to get a good grade without having to read anything: just show up for class, spout some platitudes about Indian social problems, write (probably with a crayon) a couple of pages on sophisticated philosophical conclusions derived from the exalted books, and collect an A. The popularity of such foolishness, however, is no mark of merit. Nor will it be of much help on the bar exam or in legal practice.

Friday, October 26, 2018

Toilets Я Us, Part VI: Arizona Summit to close down

Privately owned über-toilet Arizona Summit is preparing to shut down. It has offered the ABA a "teach-out plan" whereby the remaining 22 students would finish their studies elsewhere but would still get their degrees from Arizona Summit, which would retain its accreditation for a year or two. In exchange, Arizona Summit has offered to drop its appeal from the ABA's decision to revoke its accreditation.

Back in August, less than two weeks before what would have been the start of the semester, Arizona Summit announced that it would not be offering classes after all. The students were left to scramble for another school that would take them at that late date. Some of them reportedly transferred to Florida Coastal, InfiLaw's only other remaining law school—itself likely to close soon because of financial problems, potential loss of accreditation, and plummeting enrollment. About two dozen students transferred, surprisingly enough, to the U of North Dakota, another über-toilet.

The ABA may accept this plan, negotiate something else, or proceed with its intention to revoke Arizona Summit's accreditation. In any event, it seems that Arizona Summit will be closing down in a year or so. Even if the ABA unconditionally continued Arizona Summit's accreditation (an unrealistic possibility), the über-toilet could hardly come back to life with only 22 students and presumably no professors.

Arizona Summit is becoming the eighth law school to close, if we count Valpo (which is apparently winding itself up).

Friday, October 19, 2018

Über-toilet update: Valpo not moving, apparently closing; Thomas Jefferson not admitting students


The über-toilet law school of Valparaiso University, which oddly uses the hideous nickname Valpo, will not be moving to Middle Tennessee State University after all. The Tennessee Higher Education Commission voted 8–5 against the proposal to absorb Valpo.

The commission relied on a feasibility study that, in sharp contrast to the one that justified the creation of defunct über-toilet Indiana Tech, found that the acquisition of Valpo would harm Tennessee's many other law schools and the law students as well, without fostering access to justice. In addition, the study reported that Valpo has a poor reputation and that the acquisition would cost a great deal of money that Tennessee could ill afford.

Hackademic scamsters predictably denounced the decision.

So what becomes of Valpo? Apparently it is being closed down. The Web site refers over and over again to a commitment to keep the school open for "current students". New students are not being accepted, and indeed the information about admissions has all been removed. Spokeswoman Nicole Niemi has just said that Valpo "will continue to provide the opportunity for all currently enrolled students at Valparaiso University Law School to complete their legal education through Valparaiso University Law School in a timely manner". This language suggests an intention to shut up shop once the currently enrolled students are gone.

If Valpo is indeed closing, it is doing so a damn sight more responsibly than many other toilet law schools. Charlotte, for instance, simply locked everyone out, without so much as an announcement until it had ceased operations. Arizona Summit recently cancelled all classes less than two weeks before the start of the academic year. Valpo at least deserves recognition for doing more or less the right thing.


Despite its usual practice of admitting students in the fall and spring, über-toilet Thomas Jefferson has decided not to admit students for the coming spring semester. According to interim scam-dean Linda Keller, "[t]he law school is committed to providing the best environment for our students. We’ve decided to forego [sic] the revenue that a spring entering class would provide because a proportionally smaller spring entering class might not provide the vibrant, collaborative atmosphere for our new students that is an essential part of the first-year law student experience."

Note that the decision is explained first and foremost in terms of "revenue". So much for the typical pretense of selfless devotion to the profession and the public; what matters is money, and this scamster doesn't even have the taste to shut her tacky-ass mouth on that subject.

Thomas Jefferson would not forgo revenue lightly. It is deep in debt. Recently it had to leave the lavish building that it had built just a few years ago; now it operates out of shabby rented offices that reportedly are altogether unfit for the classrooms, library, and other facilities that it needs. On top of that, it is under probation from the ABA and has recently applied for alternative accreditation from the state of California in case the ABA gives it the boot. I suspect that Thomas Jefferson canceled its admissions for the spring because it would not have had the money, even with that precious "revenue", to support another entering class.

Monday, October 8, 2018

The Truth Rears Its Ugly Head, Again

Um, guys...these tuition, student and employment statistics don't measure up, at all...
Thanks to commentators on this blog, an interesting study concerning changes to the Legal Academy has been brought to our attention.  Per the Faculty Lounge:
From 2010-11 through 2016-17, the number of unique applicants to accredited law schools fell 36%...[t]he conventional metrics by which most admissions decisions are made – [LSAT and GPA] – declined even more, as more highly credentialed applicants disproportionately stayed away...
But the effects on the academy have been profound, and far more widespread than many realize.  By 2016-17, the average accredited American law school had an entering class that was nearly one-third smaller and had a median LSAT score seven percentiles lower than in 2010-11.  And while Base Tuition (a school’s published “sticker price”) had risen 15% on average over that period, the average tuition discount per student had doubled, causing the average net tuition paid per student to fall over 6% in constant dollars. 
The authors of this study blame contraction in the legal job market due to the Great Recession as the cause for Law School Cartel woes.  While that is no doubt true and a highly-pronounced effect in and of itself, the history of commentary on this and other blogs would demonstrate that the situation was unraveling for decades.  Not unlike the housing market marching along, getting progressively riskier, operating on less and less reliable information, until the bottom abruptly dropped out.  The rise of the internet and greater transparency also certainly got the word out, a word that had only been whispered in select circles heretofore and only mentioned in occasional press publications.  While the academy derision of scamblogs was certainly high at first, it has certainly quieted down as the evidence continues to mount.  It sucks when the truth comes out, I guess.
Of particular note is a subset of (imperfectly formatted - Ed.) published figures, where law schools are subdivided into three broad “reputation” categories:
Reputation Group
Base Tuition**
Avg. Net Tuition**
Avg. Discount**
Tuition Revenue (millions)**
-16% = -$  5.9 million annually/school
-43% = -$11.6 million annually/school
-47% = -$12.2 million annually/school
** 2018 Dollars
More below the fold -

Monday, October 1, 2018

Cooley scamster Thomas Brennan dead at 88

Thomas Brennan, the founder of the odious über-toilet Western Michigan University Cooley Law School (until recent years known as Thomas M. Cooley Law School), died on September 29, 2018, at age 88.

We have discussed Brennan many times. Most recently we revealed that he was being paid nearly a third of a million dollars a year for working five hours per week, some 16 years after resigning as dean. In the same article, we quoted his recent celebration of minstrelsy (good clean "fun", according to him) and his vituperation against Islam and same-sex marriage.

Cooley, of course, is the very poster child of über-toiletry. As long as I can remember, Cooley has had the lowest LSAT scores of any ABA-accredited law school (other than two of the three in Puerto Rico, which probably get a pass because most of their students take the test in a foreign language). It is often called the worst law school in the US. Yet it charges more than $51k per year to its 1000+ students, of whom half get no discount and most of the rest only a small discount.

Let's hope that there is a special place in Hell for the scamster who created this godawful über-toilet and milked it for decades like a feudal baron.

Monday, September 24, 2018

LSAC Updates its Data Reporting Methods in Honor of 2018 Applicant Increase

A brief-update:  long-time readers of this blog know that I have poked fun at LSAC and their difficult-to-compare data reporting methods for some time now.  Varying start dates, compressed eyestrain-o-vision scaling methods, x-axes that are not uniform, changing how students are counted, strong indications of miscalculated year-to-year comparisons...all have come into play one way or another.  I won't go through it all again, but suffice it to say it has been a problem.
Why does it matter?  For the same reasons the SEC requires accurate data for trading - (some) people (at least) attempt to make informed-decisions based on the data at hand, and accurate market valuation is key to that process, or so I'm told.  It does no good to chide people for not "doing their research" when the available information is slanted, or at worst, faulty.  Scamdeans and Judges alike may blame "sophisticated consumers" for having the temerity to believe the false-statistics generated by the Cartel, as blaming the victim is easier than instituting real reform.  Law School Transparency did not arise in a vacuum, nor did the troubles of Whittier, TJLS, Valpo, Indiana Tech, the Infilaw schools, Cooley, and others.
In that vein, I do have to commend LSAC for the new data presentation and ability to even run reports over more than a three year time span.  This information is clear to the eye and denominated in a way everyone can follow.
Call me cynical, though, but this change strangely comes about after several years of declining applications as have been previously documented.  Now that the Cartel has finally had an upswing year in several past years, look at all this new, easy to read information!  Clearly, the conclusion is "everything has recovered!" and "buy now!"
But that's the law school "market" for you.  As we all know, caveat emptor, 0Ls...

Monday, September 17, 2018

Charlotte SOL Taps its CGL Policy to Pay-Off Students

In an interesting stroke of "justice," it appears that Charlotte School of Law is reaching a settlement with its former students:
The school and student plaintiffs on Tuesday asked a federal judge in North Carolina to preliminarily approve the class and the settlement, saying it was the best deal the students could hope to achieve given the dire financial circumstances of the shuttered school and its parent company, InfiLaw Corp. Judge Graham Mullen of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of North Carolina granted preliminary approval Wednesday.
Should it move forward, the class-action settlement would end four federal suits and 90 state court suits targeting the school.

Charlotte School of Law ran a net $8 million deficit in 2017, the year it closed, according to the settlement motion. InfiLaw lost more than $7 million in 2017 and $6 million through June 2018, the motion said. The settlement consists of the $2.5 million left from the school’s insurance policy, as well as an additional $150,000 directly from InfiLaw.
As it should be.  Anyone who honestly thought InfiLaw and its affiliated schools were anything but a cynical cash grab should have their heads and consciences examined.  This is at least a pyrrhic victory for these students, compared to prior suits against schools where the student plaintiffs were essentially told they were "sophisticated consumers" and "should have known" the Law School Cartel was peddling pipe dreams.  Better to settle rather than have "bad law" on the books showing that the student-loan conduits might have an actual case, at least from the Cartel perspective.
This from the school that blamed its own students and told them that "It is on with these f***ing morther****ers" to pass the bar, dammit, while the dean continued to obfuscate and misdirect.  These paragons of legal virtue certainly deserve what they have coming.
Hopefully these payments, while not making students whole by any means, doesn't interfere with getting a student loan discharge from the DOL given that the school is closing.  Make sure you read the fine print, and run away now.  Go pursue something that is actually worth your time and effort. 

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Just what we need: more Cooley

The boot-licking, apple-polishing, brown-nosing ABA has authorized Cooley to open another campus—this one in Kalamazoo. So-called students will be able to complete as much as two-thirds of a law degree and finish up at one of the Cooley outlets in Auburn Hills, Grand Rapids, or Lansing, Michigan, or even the one in Tampa, Florida.

The ABA had held up its rubber stamp of approval until it was satisfied that Cooley complied with the "standards" for admission. Lo and behold! the poster child of über-toiletry was found compliant six months ago. At least three-quarters of last year's entering class scored in the bottom 30% on the LSAT, and at least a quarter was in the bottom 11%. Such are the "standards" of the ABA.

The Cooley chain of über-toilets shut a campus down several years ago but now feels emboldened to open another, albeit one that can offer only 2/3 of the credits needed for a degree. Perhaps the opening of another branch is just the desperate act of a dying franchise, but I suspect that it manifests the reinvigoration of the law-school scam. The number of applications to law schools has been increasing even as six law schools have closed or are in the process of closing. Let me repeat what I have said for years: people who apply to law schools today, especially schools of the Cooley variety, get no sympathy from me. I don't want to hear complaints about $350k in student loans for a worthless degree, such as the one brought by a former student of now-defunct the Charlotte School of Law in a suit against the ABA. Literature exposing the law-school scam abounds. Don't come crying to Old Guy if your stupid decision to enroll in La Toilette predictably proves disastrous.

In other news, InfiLaw über-toilet Florida Coastal has lost its appeal from the ABA's finding that it did not comply with certain "standards" respecting admission and instruction. Will the ABA proceed to revoke the accreditation of InfiLaw's last über-toilet, or will it give Florida Coastal the Cooley treatment by affirming compliance with the "standards"?

Sunday, September 2, 2018

Students leave Arizona Summit … for North Dakota

In my previous article, I wondered what would become of the students of Arizona Summit after their über-toilet law school, just days before the expected start of the semester, announced that it would not be offering classes after all. Now we have the unexpected answer: some 25 students from Arizona Summit have transferred to—wait for it—the University of North Dakota.

"One transfer, Morgan Cosgrove, first interacted with UND’s law school earlier last year at a conference in Los Angeles. Cosgrove said thousands of students at the conference were lined up to talk to schools like Georgetown and other big law schools. But she started chatting with Rob Carolin, director of public relations at UND’s law school…" Here's a hint, Ms. Cosgrove: you weren't going to Georgetown, even in your dreams. And there's a reason for which you were able to speak with the head of public relations (!) at the U of North Dakota without waiting behind thousands of other students.

Ryan Rehberg got out a year ago, while the going was good. He is happy with the "helpful and accomodating [sic]" people of his new alma mater: "[t]hey cared about the whole person, making sure I was set up good". (Apparently they haven't taken pains over his grammar.) Mr. Rehberg has returned the favor by promoting the U of North Dakota to his former classmates. Since he seems to have helped to persuade twenty-five of them to quit the scorching desert for the snowy prairies, perhaps he should take over for Mr. Carolin as director of public relations.

At the 25th, 50th, and 75th percentiles, the U of North Dakota and Arizona summit have exactly the same LSAT scores, though the U of North Dakota is ahead by about half a grade point on undergraduate GPAs. Transfer students' numbers don't count for the purposes of the idiotic rankings produced by You Ass News & World Report, however, so the gleaming legal academy of the Peace Garden State could safely admit anyone with the means to pay. As for payment, it's about $27,500 per year for non-residents (presumably these transfer students all fall into that category), which is admittedly a lot less than the $45,300 charged by the Arizona scum pit. Unsurprisingly, moving from Phoenix to Grand Forks will also reduce the cost of living.

This infusion of transfer students increases the student body at the U of North Dakota by more than 10% and adds nearly two-thirds of a million to the coffers. How did the U of North Dakota pull this feat off? First, by being "nice", as Ms. Cosgrove eloquently put it. Second, by accepting all credits from Arizona Summit. Many law schools accept no more than 45 credits, or even only the first year (understandably, since traditionally people transferred after one year at most); but the U of North Dakota was only too happy to take their mon—I mean, their credits. But the established students may not welcome a large cohort of Summitoids who are likely to keep to their group, compare their new environment unfavorably to their old one, and bitch about the weather or the distance to the nearest major city.

By contrast, Arizona Summit has now lost about a quarter of its student body to the U of North Dakota alone. Other students have transferred to Florida Coastal, and a few with only one semester to go are finishing at Arizona State (though their degrees will still say Arizona Summit). And who's to say how many were snapped up by Harvard and Yale? Now that so many have taken to the hills, will anyone be left to turn off the lights?

Some long-standing residents of North Dakota, or maybe of a nearby state, manage to parlay a law degree from the U of North Dakota into a modest, low-paying job in some small firm or government office. Those freshly arrived from Arizona, however, cannot expect local employers to swoon over people who had obviously arrived in North Dakota only out of desperation. And a law degree from the U of North Dakota will be almost useless in Arizona or elsewhere; indeed, the very name of the school will move many people to laughter.

Sunday, August 26, 2018

ABA promotes law-school scam with backhanded warning

What would you say if I told you that the ABA, dominated as it is by law-school scamsters and their cronies, was warning people to think twice about going into law?

"I smell a rat"? "Beware Greeks bearing gifts"?

Nicole Black and Heather Morse, supposedly "two leading voices in the legal industry" (though I had never heard of them), did the law-school scam a service with their obviously staged but less obviously biased dialogue on the wisdom or otherwise of attending law school. They start with some reasons not to attend, and they cover them with reasonable accuracy, albeit with a heavy foot on the soft pedal.


For starters, it’s a great education that will provide foundational skills, such as analytical thinking and persuasion capabilities, that easily translate and provide value to many different career paths, both legal and nonlegal.

No, it isn't. People who don't have those skills probably won't acquire them in law school. And while a legal education may conceivably "provide value" for careers outside the practice of law, it will not open the door to those careers; it is likely to do just the opposite.

For those passionate about social justice, a law degree is a powerful tool. Now more than ever, we need good lawyers out there who can right wrongs, to cut through red tape, to make a difference for their clients. Whether in private practice or public service, being a lawyer is still a noble profession, and we will always need good advocates.

Note the typical equivocation on the word need, and even on the word we. Do "we need good lawyers"? Yes, if that phrase means 'Society will be better off with capable lawyers acting in the public interest'. No, if the phrase means 'Employers and clients demand additional lawyers and are prepared to pay them'.

However "passionate about social justice" you may be, O prospective law student, you must put bread on the table before you can right wrongs, cut through red tape, or make a difference for clients. Don't fall for the noble-sounding appeal to "social justice" or the quixotic starving-artist-in-a-garret fantasy that richly paid scamsters dangle before you: ask the crucial question, Can I make a living as a lawyer?

Access to justice is another important and somewhat related consideration that aligns with social justice. Legal services funding has been drastically cut in recent years, resulting in reduced access. Rural areas in the United States are particularly underserved and in need of dedicated lawyers who are focused on making a difference in the lives of those who need their assistance the most.

There is "reduced access" to the legal profession, too, because there is not enough "funding" for lawyers. Rural areas may be "particularly underserved and in need of dedicated lawyers", but they cannot pay for legal services. Don't believe the hype about allegedly abundant opportunities in Bumblefuck, Nebraska.

To me it comes down to the “why.” Keep asking yourself those why questions to find your motivation. I spoke to a friend recently who is considering going to law school as a second career (he’s in his early 40s). After a series of “why” questions, his motives for law school were sound, and he asked if he could call me once he began his application process.

Having gone to law school in my forties and faced exclusion despite top grades at a top law school and much else to recommend me, I'd love to hear this guy's "sound" motives for going to law school. He'll be in his mid-forties when he finishes, and he'll find that no employer wants to give him the time of day. Again, a good "motivation" doesn't count for much in the absence of opportunities. And there has been a glut of new lawyers for many years.

These two "leading voices" also offer some "FINAL ADVICE", most notably the following suggestions:

Take some time off to travel and explore the world and grow as a person.

That's charming advice for a trust-fund baby. How are ordinary stiffs like Old Guy supposed "to travel and explore the world"?

Intern in a law office to learn what it’s truly like to practice law in order to decide if it’s really what you want to do.

It's hard enough to get an unpaid position in a law office as a law student, never mind as a 0L. Of course, those with the money to travel the world at age 22 are likely to have connections who can arrange an "internship" in some high place.

And I doubt whether many so-called interns "learn what it's truly like to practice law". They stand a better chance of doing makework, or nothing at all, and seeing next to nothing of legal practice.

Consider night school or a lower-tier law school that offers scholarship options so that you can pay for law school as you go and avoid debt.

Stupid advice. It even contradicts the earlier observations about "graduating at the top of your class from a Tier 1 law school" and the trend of "only hiring from a select number of schools". La Toilette may offer a fat discount (incorrectly characterized as a "scholarship"), but it will also leave an indelible stain on your résumé. Take a hint: rich kids don't elect night school or La Toilette (usually the same thing, since the thirteen or fewer law schools that may be worth attending don't have night schools) in order to avoid student loans.

Ensure that you have a thorough understanding of the effects of the changing legal landscape and how they’re affecting the delivery of legal services. That way you can take steps to position yourself to take advantage of the changes once you graduate.

Hell, lawyers don't have a thorough understanding of that. How the fuck is a 0L to acquire one?

Find a great mentor.

For what? Deciding whether to go to law school? That calls for good advice, not mentorship. This suggestion seems to be for those who have already decided to attend law school.

Realize that the decision to attend law school is not a choice between right and wrong: It is a choice between right and right. How you make that decision is a defining moment. (See Defining Moments: When Managers Must Choose Between Right and Right, by Joseph L. Badaracco.)

I haven't read Badaracco's book and don't intend to: it sounds like mass-market managerial fluff. Perhaps by choosing "between right and right" he means making the most of whatever one decides to do. But a 0L reading the passage above is almost certain to conclude that the decision to attend law school can only be right. For most people considering law school, however, that decision would be wrong.

Should you decide that [sic] practice of law is not the right choice for you, keep in mind that the legal industry provides numerous career pathways, with or without a JD.

Again, this piece of "ADVICE" appears to be directed at people who have already started, or even completed, law school, and who presumably have had a taste of the practice of law. So what place does it have in an article about deciding whether to go to law school?

The legal industry does provide other pathways for people without a JD but not for people with one. Expect to be rejected out of hand if you, with a JD, apply for a job as a paralegal, a receptionist, or a police officer: you'll be viewed as a pointy-headed intellectual (even if you graduated from Cooley with a C average) and as a failed lawyer. And at least the latter part will be on the mark. Why else would you want another job after pursuing professional training as a lawyer? Well, maybe you have your reasons. But few people will believe you, and anyway you may not be able to afford to pursue another line of work—within or without the legal industry—if, like most graduates nowadays, you bear a six-figure burden of non-dischargeable student loans at a high rate of interest.

Perhaps half or more of those who go to law school never get to try the practice of law, because they failed out or otherwise quit, they graduated but did not pass the bar exams, or they could not find work as lawyers despite being admitted to the bar. Obviously the "practice of law [was] not the right choice" for these people, but they don't get the luxury of deciding to leave the profession.

Far from a baleful warning about the risks of law school, this article amounts to an advertisement (paid or unpaid?) for the law-school scam. Not only the Cooley crowd but also many with a shot at Harvard or Yale will fall for the crass "choice between right and right", especially since they're already inclined to go to law school. And "Find a great mentor" really invites the reader to go ahead and enroll. And of course the "lower-tier law school" is heavily promoted, since this puff piece is directed at people who won't get into one of the few decent schools (few who are admitted to Harvard, Penn, or Duke would seriously entertain Colorado, Brooklyn, or Appalachian).

The correct answer to the question "Should I go to law school?" starts with an N and ends very soon thereafter with an o. Well, there are exceptions: 1) consider Harvard or Yale; 2) consider Tiers 2 and 3 (by Old Guy's ranking) at a considerable discount; 3) do as you wish if you're rich, connected, or both. Note that none of the exceptions invokes "motives" or "social justice" or professions other than that of lawyer.

Monday, August 20, 2018

Toilets Я Us, Parts IV and V: Arizona Summit stops teaching; dead Charlotte stuck with lease

Outside the Law School Scam is delighted to present this special two-part report on the woes of InfiLaw. As our friends know, scam-firm InfiLaw as recently as a year ago operated three profit-seeking über-toilet law schools that drew their "students" largely from the bottom quartile of the LSAT pool: Charlotte, which suddenly shut up shop this time last year; Arizona Summit, slated to lose its ABA accreditation unless (fat chance) an appeal succeeds; and Florida Coastal, which has had to move its dwindling student body to cheaper quarters and put its building up for rent.


Less than two weeks before the new semester, Arizona Summit told its students that it would "not offer any classes" in the fall of 2018. It advised them to transfer to another school.

How generous of Arizona Summit to give its students a few days' notice of the cessation of classes! Charlotte didn't even announce its closure last year; it simply went tits up.

The article cited above lists three options for those foolish enough to be enrolled at Arizona Summit:

1) Double down on InfiLaw by transferring to Florida Coastal or taking on-line classes there. With only one semester to his credit, lemming Kurt Fernandez plans to do just that: "I have a 2-year-old and my wife is pregnant, so I'm sort of stuck in Arizona." Enrolling in a dying über-toilet with one small child and another on the way, then undertaking an on-line degree from the same scam-chain that has now left the students at two über-toilets high and dry? History repeats itself: first as tragedy, then as farce…

2) Transfer to another school. In late August, this is more easily said than done. Arizona State will take the eight or so who are within a semester of graduating, but only as "visiting students": they will still get their degrees from Arizona Summit. Arizona State will not accept all Summitoids: in the words of assistant dean Tom Williams, "We don't have the places for them, and honestly there are a lot of students who wouldn't succeed in our program." Perhaps for similar reasons, Harvard and Yale have not offered to salvage the wretched refuse of Arizona's teeming desert.

3) Hope that by January 2019 Arizona Summit will have concluded a "teach-out plan" whereby Arizona State will take the remaining Summitoids in. As I recently explained, the Summitoids would still get their degrees from long-defunct Arizona Summit, not from Arizona State.

Old Guy meekly proposes a fourth option:

4) Quit, damn it! You dolts never belonged in law school. Now you may have the chance to get your student loans discharged on the grounds that your school shut down on you. That will be the best opportunity of your life. Take it! Take it!


A recent decision of the Superior Court in North Carolina came to Old Guy's attention. Get a bag of popcorn before you read the story.

Charlotte signed, and InfiLaw guaranteed, a thirteen-year lease beginning in August 2013 for a quarter of a million square feet of first-class office space in which to run its law school. In August 2017, with nine years left on the lease, Charlotte lost its license and ceased operations. In October 2017, it failed to pay the rent and vacated the premises.

The landlord sued Charlotte and InfiLaw for breach of the lease and the guaranty, respectively. Since the facts were undisputed and the law was clear, the landlord sought summary judgment. The defendants opposed that motion on the grounds, typical of a Charlotte-an charlatan, that frustration of purpose relieved them of their obligations under the lease.

The judge, of course, would have none of that. He granted summary judgment against both Charlotte and InfiLaw.

The only disappointing part of the decision is the court's refusal (¶ 40) to say whether the loss of Charlotte's license to run a law school was foreseeable. I agree that the court did not have to speak to that question, but I would have appreciated a little obiter kick in the scamsters' asses. Charlotte's demise was not only foreseeable but foreseen: we in the anti-scam movement had been talking about it for years.

Anyway, now the landlord can set about the task of enforcing its judgment against a defunct über-toilet and the parent scam-company. Presumably the asse(t)s of Arizona Summit and Florida Coastal will be available to satisfy the debt. My advice to the landlord: hurry!

Friday, August 17, 2018

NYU Medical School Offers Full Scholarships to All Students

Why would a legal scamblog make reference to a news story concerning NYU Medical School?  Well, leave it to the medical profession to render an accurate diagnosis:
The cost of medical school can keep some people from pursuing a career in the field. Addressing the affordability issue could help alleviate physician shortages, said Rafael Rivera, associate dean for admissions and financial aid.
"The debt can scare people away. One of those individuals could be the one to find a cure for cancer. For us, it's important to have the best applicant pool possible and society deserves nothing less," Rivera said.
All students enrolled in the MD degree program are eligible, regardless of their financial need or academic performance. The scholarship covers the full cost of tuition, which this year amounts to $55,018.
"We want people to pursue those fields because it's their passion," Rivera said.
Because scambloggers clearly have no idea what they are talking about when it comes to law school debt and the state of the legal profession, perhaps people will listen to the medical community instead as an analogous study.  Interesting that NYU is also offering real, actual scholarships, not bait-and-switch section-stacking grants that the Law School Cartel is famous for.  Again, open road narratives ain't cheap, y'all, and don't compare to the cost of laboratories and teaching hospitals.
What about ongoing concerns such as "public service" and diversity?
NYU also says medical school debt is "reshaping the medical profession," as graduates choose more lucrative specialized fields in medicine rather than primary care.
A report from the AAMC in April said the U.S. faces a shortage of doctors of all types — perhaps more than 120,000 by 2030. The predictions vary widely, however, to between 42,600 and 121,300. The group says the country will be lacking between 14,800 and 49,300 primary care physicians by 2030, while "non-primary care specialties" will fall short by 33,800 and 72,700 doctors.
The school says it hopes the plan will also increase diversity among its students — what it calls "a full retrofitting of the pipeline that trains and finances" future doctors.
So, if society needs more family-oriented and/or General Practitioner doctors out there, them with the debt such that they can afford to accept "less" pay to do the work that needs doing!  Brilliant.  While room and board costs still exist, these are also clearly recognized and aid is available for those costs, also.
Interestingly, a shortage is what sometimes occurs when an accrediting body actually, y'know, regulates their given profession.  Sounds like a nice problem to have (as opposed to decades of law graduate overproduction, by contrast) and it is easily remedied.  But the tuition waiver also gets exactly at the core of the public service issue.  While the Law School Cartel whines about graduates not "defending liberty" and "pursuing justice" while offering soft-default, not-solutions to student debt (and the Department of Education eviscerates public loan forgiveness in the meantime), NYU is actually putting its money where its mouth is.  Something the scamblogs have long criticized the Cartel for failing to do - if you actually want more public servants and more diversity, then hey, open the pocketbook.  NYU is leading by example.
Oh well.  It appears that these solutions will help alleviate the SHORTAGE of medical doctors, and also not burden them with a lifetime of unsustainable debt at the same time while increasing access.  I know I am certainly  looking forward to the Cartel's own solution, perhaps using NYU as a model example.  It should be coming along anytime now...I'm sure Cooley and Infilaw are on it, to say nothing of the T100.

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Cooley's Don LeDuc "Got His," Now Retiring to Spend More Time With Family

In a move that surprises absolutely no one:

Don LeDuc, who oversaw Thomas M. Cooley Law School's explosive growth into the largest law school in the country, is retiring as Cooley's president at the end of August.
LeDuc arrived at Cooley as a professor in 1975 and served as dean from 1982 until he was asked to resign in 1987. In 1996, a majority of faculty supported LeDuc's bid to become dean once again. He became Cooley's second president in 2002, succeeding founder Thomas Brennan. 
LeDuc was not available to comment on his retirement Tuesday evening, according to a public relations firm working with the law school. 
One has to ask why a law school, after forcing a resignation in '87 of a professor-turned-dean, would say ten years later "Hey, remember that guy...?  He wasn't so bad...!  Let's hire him!" 
In 1995, the year before LeDuc became dean for the second time, the school's enrollment was about 1,700 students. By 2010, that number had climbed to nearly 4,000, according to data from the American Bar Association. 
The same year, Cooley paid just shy of $1.5 million for the naming rights for what is now Cooley Law School Stadium, the minor league baseball park in downtown Lansing. Those rights expire in 2021.
Cooley also expanded its reach under LeDuc's leadership, opening campuses in Auburn Hills, Grand Rapids, Ann Arbor and Tampa Bay, Florida.
Oh, right.  Nobody else could ride the scam-wave and drum up the Benjamins quite like that, except maybe the Valvoline Dean.  And to think it might have had to do with academic rigor, mission, or something similar, just like the ABA (snicker).  Every law school needs a minor league baseball park and several satellite campuses, some in entirely different states.  Just ask Yale or Harvard.

Many, many outlets decried Cooley's practices and the consequences thereof, with OTLSS being one of the chorus.  Here are a few select examples, and there are many more out there from various sources:  (declining enrollment)  (gaming employment statistics)  (reducing faculty)  (Least selective law school, Cooley lawsuit in response to ABA enforcement) (pipeline program)  (LST Data) (awesome Liberal Arts submission)

Oh well.  At least Cooley has the distinction of being the least-selective law school in the country.  I guess that's something, and Leduc has his golden parachute to show for it.  Scam-on, my friends.