Saturday, April 4, 2020

COVID-19 used as an excuse to lower standards to the vanishing point—literally

In response to the spread of COVID-19, the bar exams scheduled for the summer of 2020 have been canceled. New graduates and others who had expected to take the exams this summer may now have to wait until the autumn or later. First-year jobs in law may be placed on hold. Alternatively, new graduates may find themselves having to study for the bar exams while working. People are crying rivers over these problems.

Of course, those with rheumy eyes for the Class of 2020 have rushed to offer solutions. One of these is to admit people "temporarily" without examination on the condition that they work under the supervision of a lawyer. This is just a back door to skipping the exams altogether. Once people had practiced "temporarily" in this way, there would be demands to license them permanently on the strength of their alleged experience. After all, we would be told, they had already demonstrated their competence in practice. But who knows what they would do under "supervision"? Who knows how much supervision they would get, or whether the supervising lawyer was competent to supervise them (or even to practice law)? Even in the best of cases, the experience gained and ability demonstrated would likely be closely circumscribed. Most lawyers specialize in one or two areas of practice, often quite narrow. The relatively few generalists might not be able to offer rich and varied work under supervision to fresh graduates. However much experience a person might acquire under this "temporary" measure, it would not demonstrate even the shallow breadth of knowledge covered by the exams.

Advocates of this "temporary" proposal have pointed out that it offers practical experience, which is required for admission to the bar in many countries but not in the US. Yes, many countries do require a period of apprenticeship—but they also require exams, usually a damn sight more difficult than those used in the US. Canadian requirements vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction but typically include about ten months of "articling" (apprenticeship) and a battery of exams, sometimes also months of part-time or full-time courses run by the bar association. Most of the rest of the Commonwealth takes a similar approach. In Germany, law students have to take multiple exams, some of them oral (no bullshit multiple choice!), over a period of years; usually they get only one or two chances at passing, and the exams are designed to eliminate a large part of the class. After all that, German students still have to complete an apprenticeship. They are usually close to 30 when they are admitted to the bar. By contrast, the weak exams used in the US are constantly denounced as an unfair hurdle—and they're really the only hurdle at all, other than character-and-fitness requirements and the payment of a modest fee.

Another proposal, endorsed by more than two thousand law students in a recent letter to the National Conference of Bar Examiners, is "diploma privilege": simply admit every graduate of an ABA-accredited law school to any bar in the US without examination, on the assumption that the JD itself proves their competence. Readers of Outside the Law School Scam will already know what Old Guy thinks of this proposal. Before ripping into it, however, I should explain that it is actually used in some places: New Hampshire and Wisconsin extend diploma privilege to graduates of their respective state law schools, while generally requiring graduates of other law schools to pass the exams. Old Guy admits that the U of Wisconsin is one of the more respectable fourth-tier law schools (the same cannot be said of the U of New Hampshire—named, incidentally, after Franklin Pierce, one of the worst US presidents other than the current abomination and some of his recent predecessors). At least it can be argued that a state can, in principle, manage its own state-run law school well enough to ensure that each graduate meets a reasonable standard of competence. But the corruption that we have seen even at supposedly élite—Old Guy would say fourth-tier—state-run law schools such as the one at the U of Texas undermines that argument. Moreover, admission to one US bar, for a holder of a JD from an ABA-accredited institution, opens the door to all others. It is not clear that diploma privilege in one jurisdiction should be so readily portable. And if the assumptions underlying diploma privilege even in a Wisconsin or a New Hampshire are questionable, think of the hellacious free-for-all that would result from admitting to the bar every knuckle-dragging über-toileteer that manages to buy a degree (using borrowed money, bien sûr) from the likes of Appalachian or Cooley.

Besides, scamsters, why stop at ditching the bar exams? Why not ditch the JD as well? It obviously does not prove much knowledge of law: even graduates of élite law schools typically sign up for costly, time-consuming bar-review courses in order to bone up for the current exams by learning rudimentary law that they never got from law school. Most of the profe$$ors look down their aristocratic noses at practice; many of them have themselves practiced law very little or not at all, and quite a few have never passed a bar exam or even studied law. Outside a few core courses of widely varying quality, much of the curriculum consists of such crapola as Hip-Hop and the American Constitution, Law & Harry Potter, six-course specialties in Global Law and Leadership, and, by way of proving the cultural and artistic merit of the "million-dollar" JD, lessons enabling one to mutilate "Margaritaville" with three chords on the ukulele. It also eats up three or more years and costs hundreds of thousands of dollars, usually billed to the public. Will the hackademic scamsters that recommend throwing the bar exams out the window, conveniently just after eleven of them fell short of the ABA's new standard for passing the bar exam and many others barely met it, cheerfully throw law school and their own overpaid sinecures after it?

Old Guy won't be found shedding a single tear for the Class of 2020. Its members could not have foreseen the hysteria à la Chicken Little that would be whipped up around a virus that does nothing like the damage caused by such easily cured but criminally underreported maladies as malaria (half a billion infections and hundreds of thousands of deaths every year) and starvation coupled with its associated preventable diseases (some 25 million deaths per year, to say nothing of many hundreds of millions of cases of malnutrition, even though the world produces enough food to make every person morbidly obese). But they knew, or ought to have known, that law school is a giant scam, particularly at prices typically far over $200k and sometimes close to $400k. They get not one whit of sympathy from Old Guy for their stupid decision to attend law school despite the work that we have been doing here at Outside the Law School Scam for years.


  1. In other Covid-19 news, I've observed with great bemusement the recent spate of remote doc review opportunities. When I was on the circuit a few years ago, such a thing was nearly verboten. Reviewers always asked and firms usually had a litany of excuses in response. The most prominent excuse was lack of network security.

    But thanks to the pandemic, firms have suddenly discovered the wonders of VPN.

    Will this change be a temporary blip on the radar or a paradigm shift? I guess some bean counters will compare overhead costs then tell us.

    I can say that if Dr. Fauci saw the layout of some of those doc review rooms, the poor old medic would have a stroke. No such thing as "social distancing" in those parts.

    1. Now, that's interesting. If the work is done at home, what's to stop a lawyer from taking a document-review job and collecting a fee while farming it out for less to a non-lawyer?

      I have never done document review, but accounts of some of those pits raise real questions about health: inadequate bathrooms, inadequate ventilation, overheating from nearby boilers, sick people all about because they need the few dollars per hour… Operate under decent conditions, and suddenly the enterprise becomes considerably more expensive.

    2. Tyler is spot-on, but it's worth noting-in my jurisdiction at least, doc review hourly wages have dropped the past couple of years from about $30/hour to $22/hour(most recent ad). Doing the work at home makes it a bit more palatable, but the pay is genuinely abysmal. But such is the glamour of the life of a lawyer.


      Should Law Schools Be Expecting Another Onslaught Of Applicants Thanks To The Pandemic?

      Get ready for another horde of students trying to escape a poor job market.

      They will graduate with a JD degree, and then be in an even worse situation.

  2. For the past several years, in light of ever dropping pass rates on the bar at scam schools, the scam deans have banded together and basically demanded adjustments to how the exam is graded so more TTTT grads pass. They've trotted out the usual suspects: uneven grading between states creating disparate pass rates, bar failures creating an even greater lack of diversity in the law; the bar exam actually being culturally biased, etc etc.

    Who would have thought a microscopic virus would make every scam dean's dream come true? Every graduate a bar member-that's probably being put on TTTT websites as we speak. And once this happens, how does the bar demand an exam for future classes? That wouldn't be fair, now would it?

    For eons, the one truism about law school that actually was true was that not a single law grad was capable of practicing law right out of school. That's true today at every school from Tier 1 to Tier 50(or whatever). The bar was the one barrier to entry, however feeble, which at least gave the waiting public a bit of a break. Not anymore, if the scamsters get their way.
    COVID-19 is a scourge for everyone-except the scam schools. For them, it's a gift from heaven; no bar is essentially a license to print money.
    And those ABA "standards" regarding bar passage that OG highlighted in his last post? Well, that's yesterday's news.


  3. Haha. Your subcontracting idea would be nice but the as software doesn't allow it. You are monitored regularly to make sure you are logged in to the system and to count the number of docs reviewed (there is usually an hourly and/or daily minimum)

    1. Have your subcontractor work at your computer. Problem solved if you keep an eye on their volume.

    2. Have your subcontractor VPN into your computer. Then they don't have to be in the same country.

  4. Applications actually dropped for the Fall 2019 class at most schools ranked below 50 or so, and they had to dish out more "financial aid" to lure dip-sticks into enrolling. They are not financially prepared for this.

    1. Now the law schools have largely moved to Internet-based instruction, and almost all of the schools with a claim to élite status have switched to pass-or-fail grading. Will these changes toll the knell for the law-school scam? If lemmings had any sense, they would wonder why they were paying hundreds of thousands of dollars to watch stupid little videos on the Internet, without even getting so much as a meaningful evaluation of their academic work.

      On the other hand, lemmings may well be drawn in by this business of pass/fail grading: it will let them get away with the bare minimum, especially if the bar associations institute "diploma privilege" (just a euphemism for abandoning the bar exams).

    2. Mandatory pass fail is such a joke. I'm a T-14 law student (nearly full ride). and the clique types "shamed" the adminstration into it after promising to keep optional pass fail that had large support of the student body. They did it by acting like brats by going on reddit and bashing the school for being "heartless". So the clique self served themselves under "empathy" for those suffering and screwed over a lot of students who needed grades this semester. Fucked over a lot of people.

    3. "Needed grades this semester"? Look, people who did poorly in the first semester are not going to turn into straight A students during their second semester (even though so many have convinced themselves that they will.) Sure, their study skills and understanding of law school, issue-spotting, and so forth will have improved after their first semester, but the exact same thing can be said for the students who got into the top ten percent first semester, and would very likely repeat it if exams were graded during their second semester. A rising tides lifts all boats, etc. Now, if after having gotten into a T14 school, and convinced themselves that such a letter of admission guarantees them a 190K job in BigLaw, if only now they have realized that it doesn't guarantee them anything, and they "need grades" to get any job at all when they graduate, than they should drop out right now and save themselves a lot time, a lot of debt they will never repay, and a lot of aggravation. Go get some education in a field we actually need right now (nursing, auto repair, plumbing, HVAC work etc.) If they hang around until the bitter end, they, as detailed in the above-referenced article, will end up doing "temporary document review projects" for 22 bucks an hour, if they are lucky.

    4. I did. Went from Bs to straight As. People paid at least for two cracks at the apple and they ended up getting one which is just crappy.

    5. Assuming that what you are saying is true--and that is not meant to be insulting, but people say all kinds of crazy things when posting anonymously online--but assuming it is true, so what? Factually, very, very few people will ever go from B's in their first semester to straight A's in the second one, although many people who did strike out in their first semester will convince themselves that will happen to them, because they are special. . . Yes, statistically, some microscopic number of students will go from B's to all A's in their second semester, and some equally tiny number of students will get all A's in their first semester and B's in their second--which in no way changes or refutes my point. Generally speaking, people who did well in their first semester will do well in their second, and people who were B students in their first set of exams will, again, be B students in their second set of exams. . .so Pass/Fail second semester will have little to no affect on most student's GPA's. . .and again, if you got into a T-14 school with big dreams, and suddenly realized that you "need grades" to achieve those dreams, and haven't gotten those grades, then leave law school today. Go become and X-ray technician and you will be hired immediately, eventually make six figures, and have very little debt. This isn't rocket science. JD's are not worth 150K in student loans, they weren't worth it last year, or 5 years ago, or 10 years ago, and they won't be worth it in the future. If you're reading this blog, you should already know that. . .

    6. Addressing 4:30p-interesting observation, and it will be interesting to see what happens this time. Back during our other most recent economic disaster(for the proles, not the elite)the Great Recession, applications went up pretty dramatically in 09 and 10, the vapid "thinking" apparently that law school was a good place to wait it out.
      Things started dropping though, as it was the heyday of scamblogs, and also the period when the MSM highlighted for the first-and really last time-the scam. Applications started dropping in 11, finally leveling off about 25% below the peak.

      So...will the virus lead to another spike in law school apps and attendance? Or will it finally kill off some of the weaker TTTTs?
      My cynical view: don't hold your breath. To borrow a quote from PT Barnum: Nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of Special Snowflakes.

    7. There has been a stark division in applications, though. The Top 50 are having healthy applications and enrollment, the rest were actually setting new record lows in applications in 2019. I think the word is out that it really, really matters where you attend law school.

    8. Top 50? The word is out that anything outside of HYS is risky, and the most anyone without great connections but with knowledge/guidance will touch is the top 6 schools. Even then it's not a guarantee of anything other than at least you'll probably end up only slightly worse off some 6 years later than if you hadn't gone at all.

      And the really smart people knew this in the early-2000s. I remember an HS classmate telling me he didn't want to go to a non-top law school, and he didn't even bother applying because his practice LSATs were only getting in the low 170s. He felt he needed closer to a higher 170s score to give him a real chance. I wish I had paid attention to that, but I personally didn't know what else to do.

      In retrospect, it makes more sense to go to a DO program in the US or an MD overseas, rather than law school. The MD program in the US is only slightly less selective than HYS Law, so most people do have to go DO or overseas and that works out well. Or Nursing, even though that is usually hard for male students it's still better than working against a JD stigma.

  5. I graduated Can'tyears ago so I have no skin in the game. But I cant help but laugh at the anti-pass/fail people who act like law is nuclear physics or advanced epidemiology.

    By the sound of these chicken littles, you would think the temporary abandonment of law grades will keep somebody from an important post finding a cure for coronavirus.

    Get over yourselves, law profs AND students. Biglaw and Big Fed that rely heavily on grades for OCI will be smart enough to figure it out

    1. As usual, they will rely instead on pedigree.

    2. I'm for it being an option (under optional pass fail your GPA can only go UP) but at a t-14 not having grades can really screw some people. Especially since for the government it really is just a cut off number. No further thinking involved.

    3. I have to agree. There is a cognitive dissonance in bashing the profession and the rigors of law, commenting on the class system of legal jobs, and then turning around and trying to insist it's all meritorious and on the up and up and so we must all "earn" our grades and we will all get "great jobs" because we're all so smart and hard working and deserve it and that's how life works.

      It obviously doesn't. The entire game is rigged. It makes absolutely no difference for the vast majority who were playing roulette for the opportunity of working a few years in a "job" (not a career) before being summarily dismissed, regardless of grades or work or anything else, because they did not possess the proper breeding.

      The only winning play was to not go to law school and not take the debt and not enter the field. Let's not now pretend the pass/fail system changed the metrics. People need to get over themselves and stop thinking they are special snowflakes that will land in the top 2% and law review and as commoners get somewhere in the legal industry. You won't.

      You're far better off clamoring for the system that advantages the 98%. Incidentally, that top 2% isn't actually mutually exclusive, many of those top grades were actually reserved in advance anyway, due to the elites having the answers beforehand and bribing the professors whenever they can. So it's more like a 0.1% shot.

      It is actually in the interests of the non-aristocracy to be all for systems like socialism and communism, where resources are redistributed to the masses, than the "elitism" system the aristocracy of today have managed to get acceptance for behind the facade of meritocracy.

      Honestly, it's really just impossible. Even on here, people will spend months or years commenting on how rigged everything is, and at the first chance they get to complain about others being dumber or a system not being "meritorious" they tear at each other upholding the status quo. This is why the commoners will always lose, even the somewhat educated ones. They can not remain consistent, they can not even hold core beliefs. They easily get confused and swayed. Perhaps the elites have the right to rule over everyone else after all, the way they honestly believe.

  6. The most powerful symptom of this virus is that it overcomes inertia. Forces people to do (or stop doing) all kinds of things RIGHT NOW, and a lot of people are asking whether things really even should have been the way they were in the first place. If that "silver lining" comes to lawyer licensing, my thoughts are these:

    Everyone takes the same classes in 1L, but can skate by doing silly seminars the remaining two years if they want. Biglaw does its hiring based on 1L grades. The bar exam tests (almost) entirely 1L subjects.

    Diploma privilege would be absurd given that learning anything useful in 2L or 3L is entirely optional. Sure you can work on the side, do clinics, take "bar classes"., maybe do moot court or a journal, but you can also do poofter "law and..." liberal artsy seminars the whole time.

    I am all for an apprenticeship system, but that is what should replace the second and third years. The residencies should pay a stipend, be accredited as "teaching law firms," and have something like a match type of system. Schools that can't match at least X% lose accreditation and thus loan eligibility.

    If we did all that, THEN I could get behind diploma privilege.

    1. An apprenticeship system would be a great way to train law students and lawyers. Medical schools recognize the benefit of practice over classroom instruction and are trying to get students into the hospital and clinics earlier and earlier. My first 3rd year clinical rotation was overnight labor and delivery. I had to deliver a baby my first night. You can’t teach a med student how to assess a decompensating patient, suture a patient in the ED, or surgical skills from a classroom. Clinical skills are best learned by doing. You would think law schools would learn this lesson.

      But there are a number of problems with law schools adopting an apprenticeship system, besides the fact that law schools are giant scams. First, med schools do try and teach clinical knowledge during the classroom phase of med school to prepare you for the 3rd and 4th year of med school and residency. Basic courses such as biochem or physiology were taught by PhDs. But clinical courses such as cardiology, neurology, ID, etc, were taught by, get this, actual practicing doctors! And the teaching is focused on high yield topics. So when you are an intern on overnights and you get paged about a patient in Afib with RVR, you know what to do. Law schools do not have practicing lawyers to teach students basic law. The material does not focus on high yield topics. Rather, you spend an entire hour debating who owns a fox in 1800s America. Oh, but law profs can’t be expected to practice, they need to publish! Strange that physicians are able to teach courses to 1st and 2nd years, round on patients and do procedures while teaching 3rd and 4th years, and still have time to publish peer reviewed studies, but law profs just don’t have the time. In order to emulate med schools, law schools would have to dump the dead weight, hire practicing lawyers, and revamp curriculum to be high yield.

      The second problem is the demand for law grads. U.S. med school grads have a 90+% chance of matching into residency. There is very high demand for U.S. med school grads, particularly primary care. The reason U.S. med school grads usually don’t match is because they pursued a highly competitive specialty like derm, neuro surg, ortho, or they did not apply to enough programs and get enough interviews. When I was in school, we were counseled on how to get into competitive specialties by getting involved in research early and taking a year off for research. In order for law schools to adopt an apprenticeship system like medicine, you would need to significantly reduce the number of law grads so that they could get a residency spot. Working in doc review, going solo, or starting a firm with a classmate does not count as an apprenticeship. And if small law can’t absorb the glut of law grads now, how are they possibly going to be able to absorb them for a residency. Law schools are not giving up student loan dollars.

    2. Big differences between legal and medical education:

      1) Just to apply to medical school, one must first complete a bachelor's degree, a range of fairly difficult courses in the natural sciences and mathematics, a difficult exam on substantive material, and even some volunteer work in a practical setting such as a hospital. To apply to law school, one need only get a bachelor's degree in any field and take an exam on basic logic and reading skills. Even the bachelor's degree is not required in some states. As for the exam, no particular score is needed; people are commonly admitted with scores below the tenth percentile. And many law schools have replaced that exam with a general-purpose one used for master's programs.

      2) As was said above, medicine is taught in medical school (fancy that!). Law schools, by contrast, teach little law. Graduates routinely sign up for bar-"review" courses that attempt to inculcate a knowledge of rudimentary law that was never taught during law school.

      3) Medicine, as was mentioned above, is taught by practitioners. Law is taught primarily by self-important, silver-spoon-up-the-ass hackademic fakes who look down their noses at practice, have little or no practical experience (if they are lawyers at all), and even pride themselves of knowing nothing of the practice of law. During a course on property, a student asked the professor how to go about starting a lawsuit. The profe$$or shamelessly announced that he had no idea of the required procedure.

      4) Medical students and recent graduates spend much time learning their profession in practice. They have to complete a lengthy residency and sometimes further specialized training in order to be licensed, and then they typically practice only in one or two areas. JDs, by contrast, are fully licensed to practice in all areas of law once they pass a dippy little exam, and now people are clamoring to drop the exam, too. Old Guy is no exception: when he was admitted to the bar, he had not one minute's practical experience (he couldn't get a job). If physicians were licensed as lawyers are, 95% or more of them would not know first aid.

      5) Because so many law students are scarcely literate, the much-vaunted practical—or "experiential", to use the current buzzword—approach to legal training cannot work: outside the élite schools and a few others, many if not most of the students would simply be incapable of doing anything practical such as analyzing a legal problem, formulating sound advice, drafting a pleading, writing a will or a contract, examining a witness, presenting an oral argument, or performing rudimentary legal research. On top of that, many of their professors are themselves not qualified to practice law, to say nothing of teaching it. So an approach like that of medical school cannot work in law school, without major structural changes including dismissal of many if not most students and many if not most professors.

      6) Medical schools advise their students on finding work, and the great majority of graduates succeed. Law schools do next to nothing in this respect, and at many of them 20%, 30%, 40%, even 50% or more of the graduates are still unemployed ten months after graduation, while many other graduates work in fields that don't use legal training (such as flipping hamburgers at a fast-food restaurant). Large numbers of graduates from many schools fail the bar exams or don't bother to take them.

    3. You can't compare medicine with law. They are different mindsets. Law does teach critical thinking, didactic thinking, at least it did to me. Medicine is far more learning large amounts of information and than trying to apply it to the body as a whole as opposed to thinking critically. I think good doctors are worth their weight in gold, but I am tired of this comparison of lawyers to doctors. I could not imagine being a practicing exciting is a career where you listen to a person's heart with a stethoscope, look at their throat and prescribe a common antibiotic? Even for top surgeons...cutting into a human body? Dealing with blood and guts? No thanks. I have had to learn a fair amount of medicine over the years, have taken countless numbers of medical depositions....the one thing that surprised me early on is that most doctors really seem to be pretty clueless about many aspects of medicine, sometimes in their own fields. There is a lot of guessing going on. A lot of procedures that are done that are non-evidence based...maybe as many as 50%. They are done simply because a doctor gets in the habit of doing them, or leans on something they learned long ago despite the fact the science has advanced. Needless to say,doctors often disagree with each other even when they are in the same specialized areas...that is because they all get in the habit of doing the same things over and over and over and never think outside the box. Lawyers though are taught to see and advocate for subtle differences, I just think law is more intellectually challenging the medicine. I know that doctors have to be very good students and do well on their Mcats, etc., but I got to tell you, they do not impress me generally with their supposed overwhelming intelligence. Just saying..

    4. Much medical practice is indeed routine. People other than physicians are increasingly allowed to attend to some of it. One specialist whom I saw a few years ago pulled a signed prescription out of a drawer: he apparently used the same ten medications over and over again, and he had the prescriptions already written out and ready to go. But much legal work is also routine. Indeed, I've often advised clients to handle certain matters on their own rather than retaining counsel.

      Are there incompetent physicians? Certainly. I've seen physicians that don't know basic anatomy. A resident observing an appointment that I had with a specialist could not answer a single one of his questions, even though I, with no medical training beyond first aid, could answer some of them. But have you seen the astounding incompetence that pervades the legal "profession"? Physicians at least have to acquire years of practical experience before they can be licensed. Not so lawyers, who just take a couple of dippy little exams, without ever having to demonstrate a goddamn thing in practice.

      Do physicians always know what they're doing? Of course not. Once I was in and out of the hospital repeatedly with a condition that was never diagnosed, despite all kinds of expensive tests; finally it went away. I attributed that unfortunate experience not to incompetence but to the peculiarity of my condition (whatever it was). The physicians conducted reasonable tests but just could not tell what was wrong. Lawyers rarely have the same excuse for not knowing what they are doing.

      The "critical thinking", sometimes glorified as "thinking like a lawyer", that is supposedly taught in law school is overblown. I'd love to hear what exactly "critical thinking" is and how law profe$$ors go about imparting the skill.

    5. Some very cunning, evil and hypocritical people figured out they could have a great life by using identity politics to enact a disastorous fiscal policy that is shouldered by the US tax payer, namely that anybody should be able to borrow any amount of money to become anything and the cost should be shouldered by the US tax payer.

      They control the government. They brainwashed the public. There is never going to be a solution, except in the unlikely event that Trump wins a second term and someone explains to him what’s going on. Then, something will happen, and not because Trump isn’t corrupt, but because he knows these people pose an existential threat to the country and they oppose him politically.

      I pray he wins and I pray these vermin pay, but I won’t hold my breath.

      They’ll continue to collect vast pay checks teaching material that is outdated and with no practical experience. They will opine on matters that even if you accepted the facade of their expertise, are beyond even said facade. They will govern for their benefit and at the expense of everyone else, and they will ultimately succeed in making the government larger and more powerful so they can inflict even more abuse, and they will do it using identity politics and exploiting the emotionally driven population.

      Law is just one microcosm of the larger scam.

    6. They're all in on, Trump included. The GOP controlled both houses of Congress his first two years in office, and what did they do? Exactly nothing. And since then? Exactly nothing. As in, didn't even try, period.
      They're all in on it; no matter who wins in November, the scam continues.

    7. Yes, "critical thinking"; that's why there are so so many JD-advantage jobs out there, since the critical thinking skills of JDs are so highly prized. Oh, wait, my experience is that most of the time, if you're looking for a non-lawyer job, the JD is a huge black mark on your resume. Aren't all lawyers rich? So why are you applying for this job?

      Every lawyer I've ever met, just like 1:28, thinks he's smarter than every physician he's ever met, because of these vaunted "critical thinking" skills. Well, maybe 1:28 spends his time practicing before SCOTUS and various appellate courts; he clearly has no idea what most attorneys do. To wit:

      The grinders in criminal docket; the DAs and PDs who plea out 90% of their cases; yep lots of critical thinking there; and
      The grinders in PI mills or their counterparts in miserable insurance defense, spending days sending threatening form letters, and doing it so often they forget to change the client's name-and they settle probably 95% their cases, with pleadings-again, often forgetting to put the right caption on-obtained from the office computer or from some CLE form bank.
      Yep, lots of critical thinking there.

      And keep in mind these people have lawyer jobs-which require, literally, no actual legal skils.
      And what about the solo or small practice when someone walks in asking for a will? Yep, grab that from the computer, too.

      And let's not forget the political hacks who populate the state trial bench. When there is the need for actual critical thinking, you won't find it here.

      The people I know who went to medical school actually took tough classes in college, did well, took the MCAT and did well, and they all now have high paying jobs. Most of my TTT class mates no longer practice law, and the few that do are government employees, making comfortable but not high salaries. You can decide who's smarter.

    8. Wills are written from forms. Occasionally some rich person or other person with complex needs will get a creative estate plan prepared; but that person will probably go to a big law firm, not to Bubba's Law Awfice. Even then, the estate plan will be more or less formulaic.

      Criminal docket court is itself a crime. I've seen many a "lawyer" start the first meeting with the accused by asking "All right, guilty or not guilty?" As if the lawyer weren't supposed to give advice on that very question. As 9:51 said, criminal cases are overwhelmingly pleaded out (unless the accused is some rich prick eager to get off a charge of drunk driving, in which case again Bubba's Law Awfice won't be retained to fuck the matter up). Often that's the right thing to do, but often it is not. No skin off the lawyer's ass, though: the accused is hardly likely to complain about being told to plead guilty, or even to find out if there were viable lines of defense.

      A lawyer who has made a fortune from representing plaintiffs in personal injuries tells me that a monkey could do the work. And she is right. It is not so much legal work as a financing scheme reserved for lawyers. Until recent decades, taking a cut of the plaintiff's claim on contingency was regarded as champerty in many jurisdictions—rightly so, in my opinion. On the insurers' side, the defense follows a shopworn script: deny the claim, make some low-ball offer, send out sheaves of threatening correspondence and other bullshit paper, settle after years of this sort of nonsense.

      Immigration usually involves filling out forms. Ditto transactions in real estate. Ditto most corporate transactional work. Contracts too are drafted from forms, with the same clauses over and over again (integration, choice of forum, choice of laws—you know the routine). Family "law" rarely involves law at all: a clever raccoon could divide up the matrimonial property and bitch about the children.

      Some civil litigation does involve legal skills and the application of intelligence, which is why so many so-called lawyers bitch this sort of thing up to a fare-thee-well. Appellate litigation, which again doesn't go to Bubba's Law Awfice, really does require legal skills, but it's a tiny part—a niche, really—of what counts as the practice of law.

      People urged me to go into medicine, but I thought that I was too old. Actually, I was too old for law. Medicine was viable, but now I'm too old to change directions yet again.

    9. Yes OG, there is a huge discrepancy between the scholarly sort of law taught in law school and practiced in federal/appellate venues, and the drudgery of most lawyers' day-to-day practice. Most litigation is really just a form of haggling over civil settlements or criminal pleas, and most transactional stuff is filling out forms or redlining preexisting templates back and forth. And family law is a mix of the two: For spouses who stay professional and civil, it's a transactional exercise redlining consent decrees back and forth. For high-conflict cases (which usually involve poor people, one or both pro per) the litigants just do their best to turn the courtroom into their own episode of Jerry Springer while lawyers, if any are involved, just try to convince their clients to settle before the retainer runs out, isn't replenished, and they move to withdraw.

      Still, I defend the 1L curriculum. It does teach a manner of thinking that is a good baseline for every lawyer to have. This is no way defends the price charged, the lack of selectivity, or the uselessness of the second and third years that would be much better spent getting actual experience. But, you do need to be able to recognize an issue of "real law" when you see one. It isn't often, but every once in awhile you do find yourself arguing a motion on some novel issue, even in lowly state courts.

      In this respect, it's not unlike something like a primary care physician. MOST of the time, they're just going from 15 minute consult to 15 minute consult, reviewing lab reports, doling out scripts, and doing immense amounts of charting to satisfy insurance companies. But every once in awhile, a complex case will walk in the door and they need to be able to recognize it when it happens.

      That's what most professions are, frankly. We train you for things seen at the highest and most sophisticated levels and then consign you to drudgery that uses a fraction, at best, of your training. Law is not different in this regard, it just has a horribly imbalanced relationship of supply to demand, price to ROI, and theory to practice.

    10. The 1L curriculum varies considerably from law school to law school. You'd probably be happy, 3:52, with what is done at the élite schools but very unhappy with the multiple-choice exams used at toilet schools, a number of which see 30% of the class fail out despite the childish exams.

      Since lawyers are licensed to practice in all areas of law, we should be generally capable. I wouldn't necessarily object to letting toileteers practice only in very circumscribed areas, such as the sort of paper-shuffling that you and I have discussed. Already there are jurisdictions that license paralegals—and make damn sure that they know better than to play Perry Mason. But we should cut the crap and stop pretending that Cooley, Appalachian, Vermont, and the rest are training people who can handle everything from notarizing a document to conducting an appeal at the Supreme Court.

      Even most specialized physicians do a lot of routine work. The dermatologist sees lots of garden-variety cases of acne and eczema, for instance, for every unusual case that really calls for expertise. But when that unusual case does arise (and the patient seldom has the competence to determine what is unusual), that expertise is needed. In law, however, everyone is licensed to do everything, and too few lawyers admit that they can't handle simple litigation or whatever. So we end up with matters that are fucked up badly if they eventually fall into the hands of competent counsel, who often cannot undo the mess that has been made.

      Law school as currently run is a one-year program with two years of electives tacked on. One could fill those two years with candy-ass bullshit of the Law & Hip-Hop variety, and plenty of "students" do. One really has to wonder, then, why lawyers enjoy an image of intellectual superiority when their course of study is really just one year with a few weeks of bar review tacked on. Hairdressers and welders may get more training.

    11. "Most litigation is really just a form of haggling over civil settlements or criminal pleas" That doesn't even make sense. Litigation is not haggling. Litigation involves marshaling the strongest witnesses / evidence you can to prove your case, to persuade the jury. There is of course negotiation involved but delegitimizing litigation as just haggling is pretty clear evidence you are not a competent litigator if you litigate at all. Seven figure cases don't just become seven figure cases because of magic. Competent litigators need to know how to put together cases, how to cross examine witnesses, etc. Litigation is not for everybody..some lawyers should stick only with transactional work. And yes, law is intellectually challenging. I used to love reading opinions as they came out to see how the Courts reached their conclusions. Regardless, seeing the nuances and distinctions in statutes and cases does take above average intellect..regardless of what all of you doomsayers think. I am sorry for you who are so down on the law. Yes law is very competitive. Yes many lawyers are sociopaths. Yes, if you have large student loans, that sucks. But yes, Law can be a challenging and a rewarding occupation too, for those who make it in the law anyway, which is at least 50% of law school graduates I would think. Some of you who post here never had the abilities to be lawyers anyway so I am not surprised you are down on the law. Old guy though is obviously intelligent, would probably be a very good appellate attorney. Only takes a computer to write a brief. Anyway, to those of you who despise the law, go to Med school, or go get your plumber's certificate..nothing is stopping you. If you are weighed down by large student loans, you simply have to do what you can to deal with them. Student loans are not a fatal disease after all, or shouldn't be for well adjusted individuals.

    12. About 98% of "litigation", be it civil or criminal, is settled or abandoned. The claim about haggling is correct.

      For the 2% of cases that proceed to trial, you are right: the lawyer has to adduce evidence, make arguments about law and fact, handle unexpected difficulties, and so on. And even the cases that are resolved through a negotiated settlement ordinarily involve advancing some sort of legal position. So there's more to litigation than haggling (an impolite but accurate description of negotiation). But, again, the great majority of cases are resolved through negotiation, not through a battle in court.

    13. To Old Guy at 10:34, there is a national law firm that advertises on the syndicated TV channels which states that liability is less important than ability to pay, so they only go after cases where the defendant is heavily insured.

      What openly admitting sleezebags. This ad has been repeated for months, yet aren't there huge red ethical flags here? But apparently not state bar association has taken action against the firm.

    14. I just read a case in which the court denounced a lawyer as incompetent, condemned her for bringing the same hopeless claims over and over again, awarded costs against her, and sent the decision to the bar association for disciplinary consideration. She is still practicing, with no record of disciplinary action.

      So I'm not surprised that the bar association hasn't taken action against a sleazy firm that advertises in the unacceptable manner that you describe.

    15. What is unethical about being honest? There is no point in bringing lawsuits against judgment-proof defendants. That's just the truth. Nothing dishonest about saying that there are lots of people who are liable for things but nonetheless not worth pursuing.

      Don't confuse that with saying you'll pursue people with no good-faith reason to be held liable just because they have a deep pocket. That would be unethical. But saying that ability to pay is "more important" than liability is simply true. A good faith legal theory on which liability can be based is of course necessary, but it is not sufficient to make a case worth taking unless the client is going to pay by the hour out of pocket. Lawyers should be upfront about that.

    16. Liability comes first. If there is no liability, forget about whether the proposed defendant can pay.

      After evaluating liability, one sees whether the defendant can pay. Often that means being insured, but sometimes it means having assets or a source of income. Sometimes it means finding another party that can be held liable.

      I don't consider it accurate to say that liability is less important than ability to pay. Beyond misstating the law, the advertisements as described above may discouraging people from pursuing tortious claims in which the alleged tortfeasor may not be heavily insured. And I'm only assuming that the ads described above limit the context to torts such as personal injuries. If the claim be contractual, or if the dispute pertains to title in land or to a claim against an estate, being "heavily insured" may not matter at all. Are we sure that the general public will not be misled by such advertisements?

  7. Hmmm
    Seems like my flippant comment about Biglaw and Bigfed "figuring out," how to hire under a pass/fail regime was misconstrued. I am not claiming that legal hiring is all meritorious, because it never has been.

    My only plaint is with the over -reaction by some students and profs.

    The sky is not falling: there are still only about 4000-5000 new biglaw jobs each year and the 90 percent who don't get them have to see scramble

  8. New Jersey has authorized new graduates to practice law despite the cancellation of the bar exams, subject to certain requirements:

    I remain opposed to "diploma privilege" of this kind, but now it will probably spread to other jurisdictions.

  9. In May 2020, the LSAT will be administered remotely, from the test taker's own computer. Obviously this sort of administration raises questions about security, namely the possibility that the test taker might use a proxy or otherwise obtain unauthorized help. Monitoring will be carried out through microphones and cameras, but I remain suspicious. People will find ways to cheat on a test administered in this way.

    1. Between diploma privilege and a take-home LSAT, COVID-19 has become a scam dean's dream.

    2. Interesting observation, 3:21. Certainly diploma privilege would foster the scam. The take-home LSAT may not, however. LSAT scores are scaled so that the results from one administration look much like those of another. Widespread cheating might raise raw scores (the numbers of questions answered correctly) but should not raise scaled scores in a general way, though it could help the cheaters themselves (at the expense of everyone else).

      Get a load of this:

      The ABA's Board of Governors—Board of Scamsters, really—has unanimously approved a proposal to let graduates of 2020 and even of 2019 practice law on a "limited" basis under "supervision" without taking a bar exam until 2021. Failing a bar exam would terminate the "limited" license. A number of the scamsters have had the gall to "express[] concerns about the suggested emergency rule being unfair to people who failed the February 2020 bar exam". So even someone who has failed an exam should be licensed to practice? Christ.

    3. Apparently the key to this online LSAT is a company called ProctorU, which supplies live proctors watching the camera feeds in real-time. If they (or some supplemental AI) see or hear anything suspicious they'll pause the test and order you to point the camera wherever they tell you, essentially conducting a virtual search of the area in which the test is being taken. The software is also remote-controlling your computer so they can see what's on your screen, lock down other programs, and can also see if you've got a second monitor hooked up or whatever.

      Sounds like a workable but expensive solution cuz it's going to need a much lower proctor-to-student ratio than a live exam would. Of course it isn't foolproof, but neither is a live exam.

      Wonder if LSAC will try and pass the cost of all those proctors on to the test-takers, though...

    4. Thanks for the information, 11:13. Perhaps the cheaters will try to subvert the new test by getting their own agents hired as proctors…

      Pausing the test would interfere with it. Sounds like a source of complaints and other trouble.

      And not everyone has access to a quiet space in which to take the test. I don't even have a camera that I can connect to my computer, nor would I agree to remote control of my computer (a big breach of security). So there seem to be practical obstacles to the widespread implementation of this sort of testing.

    5. Well, even if you could get your accomplice hired there's no way to ensure they'd actually get assigned to proctor any particular student or even to the LSAT in general. There's thousands of kids taking the LSAT and whatever other tests the company handles for various other customers. You could just as easily end up proctoring some civil service exam or something if hired.

      As to hardware and space issues for people who don't have anywhere quiet and/or lack hardware, right now it sounds like LSAC says they'll "work something out" with people. I bet that if the person is low socioeconomic status or disabled they might need to go so far as to rent 'em a hotel room or something and give 'em a loaner laptop.

      But people who are just worried about the privacy of their own machines? They might have to take it or leave it. Maybe just pick up a cheapo craptop with a built in camera just for this, and put nothing personal on it. A chromebook would be ideal for that if this thing can run in just a browser.

    6. OG, I probably should have been more specific-but clearly COVID is a scam dean's dream. It's pretty clear that many attend the TTTTs because they think they've got nothing better to do-why work retail at minimum wage when the govt will pay for three years of law school? And since there was no way to pay the UG debt, what's a few more hundred thousand?

      And with the massive economic recession heading our way, even getting minimum wage jobs will be tough. And being able to take the LSAT while eating Doritos and drinking a beer, knowing the scam schools couldn't care less about my actual score? What could beat that? No doubt the scam schools will waive the application fee, too. And there are zero standards for the fed loans...And with diploma privilege, no pesky bar exam(yes, the waiver technically applies only to this year, but hey a TTTT grad can dream), so automatically attorney-at-law.
      Sure beats being unemployed...or working retail.
      So between COVID and a deep recession, I see lots of people going to the TTTTs, as applicants can watch cable and take the LSAT at the same time. And the taxpayer will pay for everything-what possibly could go wrong?
      N.B.: This is not to say that people ought to do this-but it's what happened during the Great Recession. Thousands thought law school wes a good place to wait things out. They were wrong.

    7. Why not get a masters in education and become a teacher in Illinois? Why not enroll in community college and take the police test in your jurisdiction? Why not anything else other than law?

      The blank checks don’t extend just to law school. What sounds better? Retirement at 45 with a pension or document review?

    8. Getting a Med and teaching? No way-that makes way too much sense.

  10. 3-7-2020

    "Phuck you, Lemmings!!" (me)

    They'll keep going. Everyone 'knows' lawyers are rich.

    1. I've always been a bit disapproving of the PSLF program. It's not really fair or sustainable to have a taxpayer-funded lending scheme that produces taxpayer-funded civil servants who then don't repay their taxpayer-funded loans. And, it provides false hope for dipstick law students who just plan on not repaying their debts. It promotes law schools' price gouging and hiring more "professors." My toilet law school had 15 students per teacher in 2011, now it has 6 students per teacher.

    2. Enough. I graduated law school with less than 20k of debt that I paid off. My life is about to end because this profession annihilated me, and mostly everyone else who didn’t come from money and entered into this trap.

      I don’t want to hear about student loan forgiveness scam, I don’t want to hear about how law students are stupid, and I don’t want a lecture on personal financial responsibility.

      I don’t care what happens to me. I don’t care if the public forgiveness program ends. I don’t care if student loans are never forgiven. The only thing I care about is that the guarantee on student loans from the federal government ends. I don’t care if bankruptcy protections isn’t restored, but I do care that these liars are making a fortune off of this scam while distracting everyone with left and right wing talking points.

      If there’s some poor black transgender kid living in Providence RI and he or she can’t go to Harvard because the loan program is abolished, that’s tough. I guarantee you if the federal government handed out guaranteed business loans to young kids all over the country, a handful would make it as rappers, Instagram stars, chefs, auto mechanics, whatever. Most of them would fail and everyone else would have to pay for it. (In fact, this is a better idea than giving student loans, as more businesses would start up, which would be better for the economy as a whole, and the actual winners would actually live a good life, instead of- best case scenario- making wage slave money and living a wage slave life to sustain the big cities and to start at point zero after losing the best years of their life grinding).

      Similarly, I don’t care what you do with people in existing debt. Forgive the loans or keep them enslaved, it doesn’t matter.

      What matters is that the Federal Student loan program end. Period and end of story. The Federal Student Loan Program has to end. The Federal Student Loan Program has to end. Keep repeating that line.

      Anyone citing identity politics on the left or fiscal conservatism on the right to detract from this main problem (like 6:41) is a sociopath at this point.

      If a mob boss sent a sub-IQ retard to your house to steal your furniture, and said sub-IQ retard succeeds, sells the furniture, and goes to jail, but the furniture or it’s fair value is not restored to you, and the mob boss remains free, nothing is solved. The mob boss has to be stopped. The mob bosses are the professors and deans. They have to be stopped. They can only be stopped by ending the free flow of risk-free, quality control free, and condition free student loans. The loan program has to end. Any other discussion is a waste of time.

    3. Well considering the government has historically failed to reign in mob bosses, I guess that really means the higher education cartel is safe. Heck, I wouldn't be surprised if the mob just moved in on that to begin with. They were always involved in debt and gambling, and I don't know any greater form of debt or gambling than higher education in the nation today.

      You have a fairer chance at the slots for a lot less money.

    4. lol on the mob. I am a bit surprised they haven't gotten into this racket.

      When you think about it, starting a school that can get federal loans isn't that hard. Basically, accreditation is the key that opens the door. If you are accredited by an entity the DOE recognizes, then the DOE will allow you to receive federal loans.

      Getting accredited requires a good bit of startup capital, of course. You've got to have facilities and faculty and course offerings the accreditor will see as adequate, and you're going to have to stand all that up before the loan checks start rolling in. Usually you've gotta bribe an entering class or two with cheap tuition as well, so that you can get provisional accreditation and prove yourself as an actual operating school.

      But if you've got the startup cash that you can burn for a couple of years til accreditation is granted and the loan checks start rolling in, then you can get a school rolling and your investors can reap a return if they have a sufficiently long-term view.

      Historically, governments raised taxpayer money and floated bonds to get public schools started, and nonprofits used endowments and capital campaigns and such.

      But places like Infilaw figured out that the business model is also perfectly suited for a school to be owned by things like private equity which can lock up investor cash for significant periods of time before returns are expected. It's all about that startup capital. If you've got that, and can convince students to enroll, you've got everything you need to start a college.

    5. The DOE is captured by the wolves that are to be regulated. The same applies to all the other regulatory agencies.

      That is why big government and high income taxes are a bad thing.

      Get the government out of most things and things will get better for most people that have some degree of work ethic. Prices will go down, more businesses will start, corruption will be reduced, etc.

      As the government grows, the people that staff the government will pursue their own interests. Their own interests are eventually working for or receiving direct or indirect compensation from the institutions they are supposed to regulate.

    6. The solution to regulatory capture is not easy, especially politically, but it is simple.

      First, we need to pay government bureaucrats more, often a lot more. That's never politically popular, but it's gotta pay better than the industry job.

      Second, we need to prohibit taking jobs or consulting arrangements in the industry you regulated for X years after leaving office, and this needs to be aggressively enforced as a criminal matter. Former regulators should probably have their tax returns and client lists audited for like 5 years after leaving office or something.

      Lastly, we need to get politics out of it. The regulatory agencies should not be headed up by a political appointee. Rather, the person or persons in charge should be selected based on merit, by selection committees with majority representation from the classes of people the agency is supposed to protect, and they should be removable only by death resignation or impeachment, similar to a federal judge's life tenure and irreducible salary.

    7. Plenty of countries do well enough with state-run universities, which eliminate the ejookayshun "industry" altogether.

    8. @11:51
      Are you serious, pay them more? That just compounds the corruption.

      The public sector unions would agree however. They would balk at suggestion #2. With #3 you are describing a quaint process known as civil service. Generally, the public sector unions are in favor when there is a Republican administration, but opposed when it is Democratic. But life tenure and untouchable salary is a new one. You must be from a family of government employees.

    9. The biggest problem is that they get paid too much and have overwhelming job security. As well as the power they wield.

      Realistically, not until AI is advanced enough to replace politicians is there a real way to build a system that works.

      A system can only impair good people and you hope check bad people. But bad people always know how to get around the system and they always seek to do so. Hence relying on the system just doesn't work. You need good people and give them freedom while having some guidelines. But of course the longer in age and the bigger an empire gets the harder that is. Hence why all large organizations have corruption.

      Nobody has found a way around this and nobody ever well. Empires will rise and fall just as companies always rise and fall the same way. That is the way of human beings. We are are the very end phase of Western civilization, that's why these problems are so apparent (interestingly in all end phases there is a proliferation of education as well as an expansion of women into important roles---even the Islamic and Ottoman Empires had this, the West is not unique, it did not "invent" the women's movement or academia).

    10. @10:44,

      I will add this to your point. They typically see a comparative reduction in pay at discrete and rare periods when the private sector employee (temporarily) experiences rapid rise in wages.

      In other words, legal salaries have been rising rapidly at the top during the last five years. That is temporary. Most people will see dramatic cuts to their salaries if they aren’t outright unemployed (at the top).

      The public sector employee compares himself to the private sector employee during those increasingly more brief period of prosperity and to the individuals at the absolute apex. You’ll frequently hear them compare their income to hedge fund managers or Jeff Bezos- never mind that 99.99 percent of the people that work for them make nowhere not only what the oligarchs make, but often far less than the public sector employee.

      Once locked in, and in the long term, they absolutely crush their private sector counterparts in overall compensation, and this doesn’t even begin to consider quality of life and job stability.

      They also hide behind overall averages. I don’t care what the average cop or teacher makes. In the blue jurisdictions, they absolutely kill it and that’s what counts.

    11. @10:44: I think you vastly overestimate the potential of so-called AI. We don't really have any AI. Machines are still as stupid as they've always been. They're just a lot faster and able to hold a lot more information.

      So what we have is not intelligence but machine learning, a very different concept that refers to a form of pattern-matching that cannot and will not substitute for actual human judgment. This is why self-driving cars are a lot further off than people think:

  11. I don't know if there's anywhere in the developed world where private universities don't exist at all. Certainly there are places where there are fewer of them, and where the public ones aren't expected to subsist almost entirely on tuition, but I don't know anywhere government has taken over higher ed 100%.

  12. Law Students in ‘No Man’s Land’ as Coronavirus Delays Bar Exams
    Thousands of soon-to-be law school graduates across the U.S. are uncertain about their job status:

    JD graduates are off to an even worse start this year. Will these graduates just be passed over next year, or whenever law firms start hiring again?

    1. Yes. They'll be flushed down the same toilet as the class of 2009. The Old Codgers will shrug their shoulders and say "Kids these days." The kids will waste another decade struggling in bottom-rung jobs and voting for crank politicians promising free stuff.

    2. I would imagine that so long as the state grants these "supervision required" licenses, and as long as clients will still pay for these people at attorney rates, the bar exam delay would make no difference in and of itself. New grads need a lot of supervision anyway since they have no idea what they're doing fresh out of school.

      But if a state does not grant the limited licenses, or if clients won't pay for the work of those on such "learners permits," or if the firm is experiencing a revenue downturn and just needs a justification to cut associates without admitting to downsizing, then people would end up on the unemployment line.

  13. It's happening:

    1. Interesting. Thanks for that.

      If the big universities' law schools are suffering losses that threaten them financially, imagine what must be happening at a tiny über-toilet such as Appalachian, Ohio Northern, or Faulkner. Already a year ago these were too small to be sustainable ( Let's hope that current conditions will flush a bunch of toilet law schools for good.

    2. The vast majority of higher education cost is the staff salaries. The admin and profs will just accept paycuts, because the alternative is they loose out on their cushy scam. They'll of course whine and complain and make a big deal about the sacrifice they're making, but they're still not going to give up that easy money.

      If anything, they will just work even less, if that's possible. Especially law profs, I don't know how anyone can work less than them. It honestly should be a minimum wage job, if we went just by value created and effort/time invested.

    3. Higher Ed, and especially law schools, could probably cut faculty salaries to the bone, and still retain most the faculty to get the teaching done. What options do a lot of these teaching faculty really have? What law firm is going to hire some legal dinosaur who never taught anything really practical and useful to the day-to-day affairs of a law practice (since law school is not a "trade school" as they smugly say), with no book of business, and who hasn't practiced law in 20-30 years, if ever?

      Paraphrasing the Late business professor Peter Drucker (I think): "Once information becomes outdated, Universities make it core curricula."

    4. Yes, it's absurd to defend high salaries for law professors on the grounds that those professors have to be lured away from well-paying positions as practicing lawyers. Many of them are not lawyers at all, and very few would have a prayer of finding work as lawyers. And hardly any position anywhere is as cushy and light as that of law profe$$or.

    5. The error lawprofs make is that just because they once could have practiced at an elite level, that they still can. Fact is, most tenured or tenure-track profs at even crappy law schools went to top law schools themselves, and did quite well there.

      Your average tenured lawprof was law review at a top 10 school, probably did a federal clerkship at a minimum and probably got to a circuit clerkship too, etc. There's no question it takes serious prestige to become a full time tenured law prof.

      So, 20 years ago when they graduated or finished their clerkships, they probably DID have their pick of biglaw firms. But they turned that down and went on a different path, one that is irrelevant to practice. So although biglaw would have salivated over you back when you were first coming off your federal clerkship or whatever, that was 10+ years ago. Once you're that far out of law school, prestige remains necessary but it is no longer sufficient. You'd need a big book of business to come in as a partner, and they're not going to hire associates who graduated that long ago and who have often never billed an hour.

      So that's the problem. At some point in time, they really did give up big money for the "life of the mind." But that choice is not revocable; the world where big firms snap up profs in a heartbeat if they ever become willing to leave academia only exists in the profs' minds.

    6. Most people would kill for the cushy-ass job of a law professor. Big Law, even if available, pales in comparison.

    7. I have posted this point before but it merits repeating. Follow the money. The profs' rubber heads meet the road of reality in all those independent schools trying desperately to get annexed by state universities. From this we can establish two hard facts. First, at least since the twin Hoosier debacles in Fort Wayne and Valparaiso no private university is likely, within our lifetimes, to take on a money pit law school. Second, as a consequence, the profs at those toilets know that their continuing to eat both before and after retirement rides on just one shot - getting some stupid legislature to bail them out.

  14. Ok, let's say diploma privilege gets approved by many states. In California, there's a strong push for it; my question: how does this affect the CA Bar only law schools? Do they also get diploma privilege? The fact that the "state bar only" schools even exist(in CA but also AL/TN and a couple of other states) would seem to argue against excluding them. After all, even though the schools aren't ABA approved, the grads can take the state bar.

    And what happens with reciprocity? For the states that offer it, the usual requirement is passing a bar somewhere. Are special exemptions made because of COVID-19?

    Seems pretty clear that diploma privilege will cause many more problems than it will solve, especially since it's agreed that new JDs have no idea how to practice law.

    1. Interesting question, but calbar-accredited schools are not the same as unaccredited schools and would probably be treated same as ABA in CA for bar exam/diploma privilege purposes.

      Truly unaccredited schools, however, are different. They have to take the baby bar after 1L. It would seem that once you've passed the baby bar you've proven yourself sufficiently comparable to ABA kids to carry on, but the big question will be what they do about administering the baby bar during the covid outbreak.

    2. Well, if the Calbar-accredited schools get diploma privilege, that really is a scam dean's dream. For July 2019 all-takers from Calbar schools, the pass rate was 14.4%. Now the deans can say-truthfully-that every grad from out most recent class is an attorney-at-law.

      May the Good Lord watch over the clients of these newly minted "attorneys" because it's going to take a miracle for the clients to get even barely adequate representation.

    3. Yeah. This is the big loophole: The distinction between California bar accredited, and "unaccredited registered" schools.

      The former are usually treated like ABA as far as the their own state's bar is concerned. Unless this crisis motivates the state supreme court to start treating them differently, they just can't get federal loans or take the bar in other states but are treated same as ABA by local bar.

      The latter, OTOH, are schools the bar knows little about other than the fact that they exist. Those schools just "register" which is why the baby bar is there to weed kids out early who have no chance of passing.

      But as you point out, the calbar accredited schools enroll a lot of people who cannot possibly pass too.

      I guess the other question is whether the bar really tests whether you can practice anyway. I mean sure, people who do terribly on the bar are probably pretty dumb and don't know much law. But the bar is also very broad, tests essentially every subject you take in 1L. But the calbar kids aren't going to have broad practices; they're mostly going to do one or two very low-end things that are mostly cut-and-paste.

    4. As long as graduates of state-accredited schools get full licenses, it is appropriate to examine them on a broad range of law. If they were limited, say, to handling divorces or drafting wills, the licensing régime could be made less exigent. Washington State was toying a few years ago with the idea of licensing practitioners for limited purposes only. Some jurisdictions license paralegals and others in well-circumscribed areas of practice. I'm open to the idea of doing that rather than pretending that every toileteer is fit for everything from routine paperwork to appellate litigation. People seeking licensure only in narrow areas might then be able to skip law school and attend instead a cheap course of study at a community college or maybe even an on-line program.

      I agree that the bar exams do not test whether a person can practice. I would increase the requirements so that a person licensed to practice would be demonstrably capable of practicing. But the question before us is whether "diploma privilege" should be extended while the bar exams are suspended.

    5. The bar pretty much tests your ability to take the bar. My concern is more related to the reality that up until now, in order to put that ever-so-valuable JD to good use, you had to pass the bar to get licensed. This was true whether you went to Yale or Whittier. And pretty much everybody posting here has passed the bar, so it can be done.
      The concern is that everybody knows how is one to interpret a sub-15% pass rate? One extreme would be that the students just didn't care and/or bother to study for the bar(and who would do this after slogging through 3 years of law school)? The other extreme is that the students were incapable, for whatever reason, of passing the bar.
      In either case, it's a scam dean's dream: ABA accredited school, CA bar only school, it doesn't matter: everybody is an attorney at law.
      And in light of the terrible pass rates, this seems like a very bad idea.

    6. On top of that, 4:33, we know damn well what would happen if these graduates got "temporary" licenses: there would be demands to make those licenses permanent. "Why should I have to take a silly exam? I've proven my ability to practice! My clients all love me! I'm improving access to justice! Just give me a full license now."

    7. It looks like one will not even have to take the LSAT or GRE to even apply to law school:

    8. Thanks, 1:24.

      The law school in question is Arizona State University, incorrectly billed in that article as a "top" law school. Requiring neither the LSAT nor even the GRE would seem to violate the ABA's rules. Already the use of the GRE is questionable by the ABA's own so-called standards, but the feckless ABA hasn't done anything even after numerous law schools have adopted the GRE.

      Scam-dean Douglas Sylvester justifies the change on the patently silly grounds that "[t]he best test to determine whether you are going to be a great law student is whether you are a great law student". Obviously being a great law student is not something that can be known before admission, so that "best test" cannot serve the purpose of evaluating applicants.

      By making that stupid comment, Sylvester did a service to the many über-toilets. They will happily abandon testing if given the chance, so that they can go on pretending that their shitty students are all excellent jurists-to-be.

    9. ABA standard 503 specifically allows the school to use an admissions test other than the LSAT if they can demonstrate that it is "valid and reliable."

      Now, look at the link to the ATL article. ASU is not technically admitting students into the JD program with neither LSAT nor GRE. They are admitting them to a "masters in legal studies" for one semester and then transferring them into the JD program if they're in the top half of the class. If they're not in the top half, they can complete the MLS in one more semester. Thus, first semester 1L exams are the "valid and reliable" admission test because they haven't actually been admitted yet. Sneaky.

      And it gets sneakier, because the other standard it evades is Interpretation 501-3, which states that a school is presumptively noncompliant with admissions standards if it has a non-transfer attrition rate above 20%. This was intended precisely to prevent schools from adopting the very kind of weed-out system ASU is using, e.g. by admitting everyone and then just flunking a big chunk of them out before they ever take the bar. BUT, they've come up with a scenario where these kids are technically MLS students, not JD students, and half of them get admitted to the JD program while the other half just get the MLS. Thus, they have found a way to forego an admissions test and use a FIFTY PERCENT weed-out rate, far higher than the normal attrition standard, by simply playing games with what degree program the student is technically enrolled in.

      So. They're taking the same courses as the JD students, with the JD students, but some people in those classes are placed in an MLS program. Thus, they can have a 50% weedout without violating the attrition standard AND they can use their own 1L exams as admission tests in lieu of the LSAT or GRE. And since the curriculum for the MLS degree is really just finishing 1L year, all of this is at no extra cost to the school.

      It's like how people who already have JDs can take a bunch of additional courses a law school already offers to JDs and call it an LLM. This is the same thing in reverse: Offer the same classes you already do but pretend it's for a different degree. Whether that degree is higher (LLM) or lower (MLS) level than a JD, either way you rake in the tuition without impacting your costs, USNWR ranking or accreditation, or bar passage rates.

      Clever. Fiendishly clever.

    10. 3:27-excellent post!
      And I've got to give the scammers credit-these guys just won't stop. It's so thoroughly rotten it deserves some level of admiration.
      ASU creates a totally worthless Master's in "Legal Studies". What can you do with this MLS, you ask? Apparently nothing. You can't take the bar, can't give legal advice, really can't do anything. So it's worthless, a back door way to get into a "ranked"-per USNWR anyway-law school with no LSAT or GRE, and who knows what kind of GPA.
      It's brilliant; in good times(for ASU, that is) these MLSers are debt-ridden cannon fodder left standing helpless with a worthless MLS, but in bad times(again, for ASU, nobody cares about the students)-well, ASU invites them to fill up the law school class. These scammers have moxie and foresight; it's a wonderfully despicable way to get around ABA standards, such as they are, and keep the loan dollars rolling in, even during parlous economic times.
      As 3:27 notes "Clever. Fiendishly clever."

    11. Well, that sort of scam "test" would still have to be shown to be "valid and reliable", at least if the ABA were serious about its undeserved responsibility for administering the accreditation of law schools. There is nothing "valid and reliable" about taking in a heap of miscellaneous people and then accepting those that pass a semester's exams administered by the school itself.

      Of course, this issue won't arise in practice, because the ABA is not serious about standards for admission or for accreditation.

    12. 3:27 here. There are several academic studies (some of which you can find on LST) establishing a pretty close correlation between 1L grades and bar passage. Better predictor than the LSAT in fact, it's just that normally you don't know someone's 1L grades until after you've admitted them.

      So I think they should have little trouble demonstrating reliability, they just have to have a way to say that the test is administered prior to being admitted to the law school, which is exactly what the MLS vehicle does.

      The ATL article has them saying pretty much exactly that, the dean gives a quote to the effect of "the best predictor of how you'll do, is how you do." So I bet they're going to rely on amply-available statistics demonstrating that people who perform well on 1L exams tend to pass the bar, and then argue that since they've found this clever way to administer 1L exams without actually admitting you to the JD, that this test is your valid and reliable pre-admission test. It also just so happens to be the most expensive admission test in the history of mankind, given that it costs an entire semester's tuition to take it. But hey, there you go.

    13. RE the worthlessness of the MLS: Absolutely. I support the creation of these degrees (if crappy law schools must exist) ONLY if they are offered as a consolation prize to people who drop out after 1L or after they come up empty at OCI early in the 2L year. "Getting a masters" even if it's a useless masters, sounds better than "I dropped out" and leaving it off entirely creates a resume gap.

      So offering it as consolation prize could make it more palatable to drop out. Obviously it would've been better had they never enrolled, but people who aren't getting biglaw probably SHOULD drop out. Don't throw good money after bad, so in that sense I'm all for creating an off-ramp if closing these hellholes down entirely isn't going to happen.

      That version is not unlike the PhD candidates who usually pick up a masters along the way. Some of them never finish but can at least list that. It's useless and won't help them get any job, but at least it may help them avoid being stigmatized as a dropout or quitter.

      But offering it up-front like this, as a means of weeding people out rather than as a consolation prize for dropouts, is just pure unadulterated scam.

    14. The law skule has a material intere$t in getting those students through one semester. Its grades, assigned in its sole discretion, can hardly be considered reliable.

      The master's degree is indeed worthless. "Master" of what? Someone with no academic preparation in law who fails exams that can easily be manipulated just to rope people into the law skule is a "master" of law after one year of elementary courses? I suppose that I should open Old Guy University and offer a three-day PhD in underwater basket-weaving, and seek federal funds to cover the monstrous tuition. (Too bad that I don't know how to weave a basket, under water or otherwise.)

      There's an important difference between this sort of Mickey Mouse degree and a terminal master's from a PhD program: the latter ordinarily requires the equivalent of a bachelor's degree in the subject and a couple of years of advanced academic work (often including a thesis), whereas the former requires nothing but the first year of law school (never including a thesis). Another significant difference is that the terminal master's goes only to people who were legitimately admitted to the program, whereas this bullshit "MLS" would go to people who never were admitted and who indeed had been found inadmissible.

    15. In fairness though, 1L at most schools is blind-graded and rigidly curved, and the prof probably won't even know which are JD students and which are MLS students.

      The school doesn't want to admit people to the JD who will just fail the bar. That would hurt their rankings and potentially their accreditation. So they don't really have an incentive to manipulate grades, and there really is evidence that 1L performance is a stronger predictor of bar exam failure than even the LSAT.

      The way I see it, this really is a valid test in terms of what it would predict. The reason it's so scammy is because it will amount to the most expensive (albeit predictively valid) admissions test ever devised, because you have to pay an entire semester's worth of MLS tuition (which will presumably be the same as JD tuition) just to take it. That is a whole lot more than whatever LSAC charges to take the LSAT, and the school gets to pocket it and make people take loans to pay it.

      To put it another way: If attrition rates and admission tests were not ABA standards, then a school probably really could secure a pretty high bar passage rate by failing out huge chunks of the class before they ever sit for a bar exam. It is the attrition standard they are trying to evade, not the validity standard.

    16. Sorry, but have to disagree. The MLS is a classic scammer's tactic. It is well and truly worthless; there is no need for anybody, anywhere to have a Master in Legal Studies(by the way, in a hallmark of what a scam it is, you can get ASU's MLS online). With a MLS you nothing. You can't take the bar, you can't give legal advice, you're not even an ABA "certified" paralegal. It is literally worthless.
      And as a "feeder" to law school-again, a great scam. If you don't cut it, you get washed out, back to the MLS, where all students are encouraged to complete the remaining three semesters so ASU gets that loan $$$. And if you do well enough, they let you into the law school.
      Well, per the ABA's inflated numbers, out of a graduating class of 276, 204 graduates had JD-required jobs. So fully one-quarter of the graduating class couldn't find jobs as attorneys.
      It's all one great big scam; the MLS is only a no standards feeder; you can even do what's called a "MLS fastapp" which consists in its entirely of:
      "The complete MLS FastApp application form and the following uploaded documents:
      » An unofficial transcript from all undergraduate institutions attended
      » Resume that does not exceed three typed pages."
      No standardized test of any type required, and there's no mention of GPA, and by any objective standard, no real standards to get into the MLS program at all. And then the MLS becomes the backdoor to law school.
      Vanishing standards indeed.

    17. The only advantage that I can see for this ridiculous "MLS" is that it is likely to be respected (unduly) as a "master's degree" for employment-related purposes. There are positions for which a master's degree is preferred or brings a higher salary.

      Again, if anything passed off as a "master's degree" suffices for that purpose, why not buy a "master's degree", or even something loftier, in from the Old Guy College o' Basket-Weaving?

    18. I don't think we actually do disagree. We both see it as a scam, just for slightly different reasons. And to emphasize, an MLS is **NOT** something that should be offered up-front to anyone. You should not be able to apply specifically for it at all, and it should not operate as the world's most expensive admissions test either. If a school is going to create it, it should be offered ONLY as a degree that someone in the JD program can walk away with if they drop out no earlier than the end of 1L and no later than the end of first semester 2L (to allow for time to know you came up empty at OCI).

      It serves no legitimate purpose other than to make it more palatable people who have already fallen for the scam to cut their losses. Nothing more or less. Used for any other purpose or offered to anyone else, and it's a scam.

    19. BTW, there's a certain irony associated with the fact that the 1L curriculum (which is also the MLS curriculum, apparently) is the only "real" curriculum at most law schools.

      At my school, for instance, there were NO required classes (other than professional responsibility) after 1L. Other than that single class, it was all electives. If so inclined you could take "real" classes like evidence or corporations or T&E, and there are also of course extracurriculars like moot court, journals and clinics. So you COULD take it seriously if you wanted, but no one cares what optional stuff you did in law school unless it was main law review or the main "varsity" moot court team, and you would earn the same JD just taking a bunch of liberal artsy seminars. Plus, the bar primarily just tests 1L subjects anyway, and the "hard" electives just stand to bring down your GPA.

      What's ironic, then, is that law really COULD be a one-year masters degree. It would cost a lot less, take a lot less time, and it would be a lot easier to give it up and go do something else if it doesn't work out, if only because you borrowed two fewer years of living expenses and tuition and are also two years younger when you graduate.

      So I guess there's one other scenario where an MLS would be good: If they let you actually take the bar with it and just got rid of the JD, lol.

    20. A bit more was required at my law school after the first year, but indeed most of the "requirements" were electives. A serious, practical course on evidence was treated as the equivalent of some bullshit thing such as Law & Hip-Hop. (No, we didn't have Law & Hip-Hop, but there were plenty of courses that were no more useful to a practitioner.)

      I find it astounding that law school is little more than a year's basic training plus two years of any courses offered by legal hackademia. Evidence strikes me as essential, but it is treated as an elective by today's law-school scamsters.

  15. Passing the bar makes little to any difference. If I shoot some hoops in my driveway does that make me a professional basketball player?

    Practicing law means doing it for a living and doing it at a high professional level, and that means getting paid.

    Just like the basketball player needs to first be coached in school and then process through the ranks and make the NBA, a lawyer must be properly trained and then have a professional employer. Otherwise you're not really a lawyer any more than the kid shooting hoops in his driveway is a basketball player.

    I'd say maybe a third of law graduates even get any type of real coaching and real legal experience to call themselves lawyers. In descending order, a government position, judicial clerkship and Big Law. I doubt all that put together is actually a third, but those are the requirements to even have a chance. And for Big Law you're more like an end of the bench guy who will probably be out of the league in a few years.

    I wonder how many people are on the doc review circuit. I suspect much more than the three areas I listed above.

  16. Get a load of C.J. King, a ridiculous peacock who declared himself a "prize" for Black women just because he managed to get a Mickey Mouse JD from über-toilet Southern University Law Center:

    As for the "high paying career potential", it may not amount to much after all: like so many other people that come out of Southern University Law Center, Mr. King failed the bar exam.

    1. Hold on now, OG...I may be stuck in doc review-when I can get it-but can't I still use my JD to meet women? It is the "Million Dollar Degree" after all, and I've got law review articles to prove it! I've been using that as my meet and greet line(ok, with limited, er, no success): "I may not be a millionaire-yet!-but I've got the million dollar degree, ladies, so here I am!"
      When they find out the million dollars refers to my debt, that tends to extinguish any relationship. But as the placement office advised, gotta keep networking-you only need one "yes"....

    2. While you're heeding the advice of the "placement" office, consider their suggestion of moving to Nebraska. Apparently the rural parts of the Cornhusker State positively teem with opportunities for lawyers, so your Million-Dollar Degree™ may pay off in the amorous department as well.

    3. FWIW, I took the famous "go rural" advice. The good news is that it worked. The bad news is that it worked.

      I did get a job this way, and the rural environment did make it easier to move up more quickly. First few years were very, very rough, both financially and for social/loneliness reasons. But eventually the money got very good, especially for a low COL area.

      But, the downside is, now I'm "stuck." I could leave, and nowadays even get licensed by reciprocity in most other states. But I wouldn't know the local law, wouldn't have connections, spouse would have to find a job too, etc. etc. And even if I could pull it off, I'd almost certainly make a lot less than I make here, even before accounting for a more desirable place having probably much higher COL.

      So for all intents and purposes I'm basically stuck somewhere I never wanted to live. So that's the caveat. The "go rural" advice can work if you just gotta get a job, but be careful because you could end up stuck there.

    4. I once worked in a remote place. I grew up in a small town myself and never really saw a city until my university days; nonetheless, I could not stand the dump of a place where I was. Forty percent of the books in the small local library were "Christian fiction". There was nothing to eat but junk food. Even obtaining straightforward medical care was difficult. And I certainly stood out as not belonging to that community. Social life was nil. Life itself was nil. I left after two months, with nothing else lined up: had I not left, I might have killed myself.

      I suppose that many other rural places would have been tolerable, but again it is easy to become stuck, as 4:16 said.

  17. The COVID-19 Recession is providing a great opportunity for higher ed scammers of all types; it's the Great Recession Education Scam all over again:

    1. Interesting article RE the point about "theft of time." At least the scammy law schools are still a cohort model, so you really do graduate in three years if full time. But the higher ed scam has another tool at its disposal, which is to keep moving the goalposts on you after you've enrolled. Required classes that aren't offered this semester, confusing and hard-to-parse graduation requirements that can lead to you taking classes that you don't realize aren't actually advancing you towards graduation, and so forth.

      This happens at community colleges and such too, but at least there it's cheap and caused more by bumbling bureaucracy than an actual desire to keep you longer. But in the for-profit space, it's another way to keep the scam rolling. Like in Catch 22 when the mission quota kept increasing every time Yossarian would get close to meeting it, you'd think you're about to graduate only to be told you need another year and associated debt to meet some obscure requirement your advisor (if there even is one) never explained.

      Just get you in the door, then keep moving the goal posts after you're "pot committed."

  18. "But they knew, or ought to have known, that law school is a giant scam, particularly at prices typically far over $200k and sometimes close to $400k. They get not one whit of sympathy from Old Guy for their stupid decision to attend law school despite the work that we have been doing here at Outside the Law School Scam for years."

    It's been a while since I've looked at the blogs, and I was surprised to find how difficult it is to find employment stats for individual law schools now. At the height of the law school scam exposé years, a lot of schools were posting 30% employment rates and $50K tuition prices. Now, I took a glance at a third tier law school's "required ABA disclosures" and found raw employment numbers (ex. 54 graduates in 2018 found full-time jobs for which bar passage was required), but no percentages (ex. 43% found full-time employment upon graduation for which bar passage was required). This makes it difficult to determine the degree to which they are scamming potential students. My fear is that if we take for granted that "law school is a scam," while the blogs go the way of the dinosaur, soon we'll start to see the old 97%/$70K per year boilerplate popping up on pamphlets again.

    1. Maybe if the blogs disappeared completely in another 10-15 years I'd have sympathy for law students. But it's ridiculous now. There should probably only have been 5-10 functioning law schools for the last decade after the scam got exposed.

      Yet somehow only a handful of law schools even closed and tuition didn't go down one iota. If anything, more scams popped up, more scam programs and proposals for more years of law school.

      But even if all the scam blogs disappeared tomorrow, it still would not be an excuse for any non-connected individual to attend a non-top 5 law school, and even for a top-5 law school only with a significant scholarships to minimize the risk. It just makes zero sense.

      Nobody respects lawyers anymore. The profession is an outright joke. At this point it appears people expect any under-40 year old lawyer to be broke and underemployed.

    2. 1:42 is 100% correct. The entire profession is worthless and ruins tens of thousands of young lives annually. Law schools are trash pits that destroy people and give them nothing in return. Another American fraud that we are powerless to stop. As a victim of the scam, I don't ever have to worry about my children falling prey to the lies of higher education because I am so poor I will never have them. When you wish you were never born for years on end it's a terrible plight. I wish all of you on here the best in life and tell everyone you know what trash pit law schools do to people.

    3. ...And the courts that have repeatedly dismissed the law school fraud cases would agree with you. Problem is, those decisions are usually premised on something that sounds a lot like the "sophisticated party" assumption - the idea that law school applicants can be assumed to be intelligent enough to do their due diligence by virtue of the fact that they are full-grown and college-educated adults.

      Maybe when finishing an undergraduate degree actually meant something, the assumption that these people "knew or should have known" would make sense. But the crappy law schools have become as predatory as the online undergrad diploma mills, and the undergrads themselves have dumbed down the curriculum something fierce, particularly in the liberal arts.

      The people the law schools now market themselves to do not have anywhere near the level of sophistication that could've been expected of a college graduate in previous generations, especially first generation and otherwise low-SES undergrads. Such folk are vulnerable for the same reason that has justified all manner of consumer protection laws in other contexts. More needs to be done to protect them than just disclosures buried deep in fine print or findable with diligent internet searching.

      I'm reminded of infomercial weight loss products. They always show someone who lost ridiculous amounts of weight, but then they always say "results not typical." Law schools put out viewbooks with the glowing success stories of the top 1 or 2 kids in the class all the time, and appear to be held to a lesser standard than even the shadiest 2:00AM infomercial dietary supplement hawker. And I think that's because of this same kind of persistent belief that only people of a certain level of sophistication would be looking at applying to law schools in the first place. That's an assumption that's no longer true.

    4. I disagree that they actually believe law students are sophisticated, and further that would be a bar to their own fraudulent behavior. It's just courts are rigged and the rich are allowed to make up any excuse to exploit the lesser classes.

      When the Madoff thing happened did the rich just accept that they were sophisticated and thus Madoff was not at fault? Nope, they threw him in jail and then threw tantrums demanding that someone pay them their expected profits, they felt entitled to guaranteed money and guess what they were, they got the taxpayer money and refused any type of the moral grandstanding they usually do when they claim everyone else wants a handout. You don't become rich or powerful in this country without being morally bankrupt, and when you are morally bankrupt you are held to no standards and can make up anything you want and then use the power of the State and the media to propagate whatever nonsense you came up with, or hide it as needed as long as possible.

      I am the same as you @10:43, I do wish I was never born and I absolutely do not want children, although it's really not my choice either I guess. I don't know if I blame law school for it, the nastiest part of this and the current US system is that I've been desensitized from being told how worthless I am for so long and how meritorious everything is that at least on some level I agree I am a loser and I'd have ended up this way no matter what I had done. That's a pathetic way to live life but after decades of being shouted down whenever I'd complain how rigged everything is, I just have accepted everything.

      Part of that may be I'm a minority and I was never really welcome into law in the first place or any of the good jobs out there, BLM has started a discussion on that, but it's too late for me anyway, and I honestly expect it to go nowhere. I suspect even the GOP will capitulate and start giving more of the wealth to the poorer white Americans, so that they have no incentive to protest along with minorities, and that will solve everything. The only way that doesn't happen is if Trump and the rest of the GOP are just that stubborn and stupid that they don't see this easy solution.

    5. It's true, 12:57, that a bachelor's degree from the US means almost nothing nowadays. Everyone and her goldfish has one. The damn things may as well be sold in grocery stores, next to the toilet paper. Much the same is true of law degrees, even at the élite schools.

      So I agree that a bachelor's degree does not prove that its bearer is a sophisticated party. That said, I also do not believe that large numbers of law students are innocent little lambs. Their own conduct speaks against them. Many of them know perfectly well about the law-school scam but deny that they will end up with little but a six-figure debt. Over and over again we see law-school dolts boast that they will find the material and professional success that has eluded so many others. After graduation, some of them sue their law schools for allegedly duping them with inaccurate or incomplete information. No court yet has bought it, and Old Guy isn't buying it either.

      That said, I do agree that government-guaranteed student loans should not be made available so freely and loosely, especially in the enormous and practically unlimited amounts that are now standard.

    6. The graduating class of 2019 was more than 20 percent smaller than the 2014 class. Application numbers are about 25 percent higher for top schools compared to 10 years ago, but TTT schools have seen a 50 percent decline in applications. Check the ABA 509 reports for your favorite TTT schools, many of them are properly screwed.

    7. 10:21: A lot of the enrollment drop, though, is attributable to the kids who DID do their homework, because they're capable of doing their homework. So the schools just dip lower and lower, until eventually they find prey too dumb to run away.

      Take Suffolk Law for instance. Always been and always will be a TTT, but in 2010 their median LSAT was 157. Now? 145. And that's just a median. Half their kids have a score lower even than that.

      These are not kids who can be expected to do any kind of due diligence. They won't even know what the term means. Someone with a score in the low 140s may even have an intellectual disability of some sort. A 157 deserves the consequences if the info is out there and they sign on the dotted line anyway. Someone in the low 140s? Not so much.

    8. Someone in the low 140s should simply not be admissible to law school—and certainly should not be allowed to borrow a six-figure sum for the purpose.

      Again, there should be meaningful criteria for admission, and certainly for student loans guaranteed by the state. As things stand, the only real criterion (at least for residents of the US) is the willingness of the law school to admit the person. Obviously the law schools have a material interest in admitting all and sundry when the state effectively (and stupidly) leaves the student loans in their control, so we end up with thousands upon thousands of state-funded "students" who have no business in law school.

      Time for a threshold of eligibility, such as 155 on the LSAT (and make the LSAT obligatory rather than tolerating the GRE and other tests). Yes, it's arbitrary. So what?