Saturday, September 18, 2021

Law in the time of COVID-19: surviving schools increase enrollment

With law schools closing left and right over the past five years and others headed for the grave, a rational person might expect a decline in enrollment. But this is the law-school scam, after all, where pennies are not left on the table and lives are not spared.

Although the figures will not be in until the filing of the ABA's required reports in December, most law schools have already announced the size of their first-year classes in 2021–22. Collectively, those schools have increased enrollment by more than 9% since last year. The bulk of the increase, of course, lies in the vast realm of toiletry and über-toiletry, but even those schools in the so-called top 13 have not been shy about leading fresh lambs to the slaughter: Cornell, Duke, and Penn have all increased enrollment by more than 10%. As for über-toilets, notorious Vermont Law School has seen fit to tack on 72%, proving once again that it is not in the Green Mountains for nothing.

While scam-schools' coffers spill over with ducats, sane heads—there are still two or three, despite appearances—have asked where the hell the new graduates of 2024 are going to find jobs that will support the monstrous cost, mostly financed with expensive, non-dischargeable student loans. Kyle McEntee of Law School Transparency offers a polite understatement: "It does not seem to me that the entry level labor market can handle this many 1Ls… Schools should have continued to decrease enrollment, at least a little bit."

McEntee also correctly lamented the rise in cost to people stupid enough to sign up for law school. Flush with so many applicants, law schools could afford to charge more. Expect them to have done so. Allegedly pious Notre Dame even pitted its new lemmings against one another by having them scramble to reserve their spaces in the class by paying their deposits early, lest they lose out. 

If you like the prospect of paying an even more obscene price for an even less useful degree, then law school is just the thing for you. Old Guy urges to you pledge your next of kin right away to the über-toilet of your choice.


  1. Lots of young people have recently graduated from college and either cannot find a good job or simply don't want to work for a living. Many of them are also already deeply in debt with student loans. So, their plan is to go to law school, and again borrow their way into three more years of easy living. By enrolling in Law School, their current student debt repayment will be put in forbearance for three more years, and they can borrow even more money to support their lifestyle (and, incidentally, "pay for" school). Now, after they have spent 7 years of their lives supported by student loans, instead of actually working for a living, they won't want to work, or repay any of that money, so then they may spend another couple of student-loan funded years getting an MBA, or another degree. We are creating a whole class of professional students, who don't want to work, and have no intent of ever repaying their "student loans". As long as one set of people is willing to work hard, and pay taxes for another set of people to spend seven or more years in school, living on "student loans" this will keep on happening. And, according to one political party, hard working folk aren't paying enough in taxes, and all those pesky "student loans" should just be forgiven. . . and people wonder why inflation is going high, and our currency is steadily losing its value.

    1. College is the new national religion:
      In 1940, the US had 500,000 college students. That was 0.35 percent of the population.
      1950: 2,900,000 students, 1.93 percent
      1960: 3,600,000 students, 1.90 percent
      1970: 8,600,000 students, 4.0 percent
      1980: 12,100,000 students, 5.13 percent
      1990: 13,800,000 students, 5.35 percent
      2000: 15,300,000 students, 5.26 percent
      2010: 21,000,000 students, 6.82 percent

      Lying politicians scream "Free college, like 1960!" They never follow up with "cut enrollment by 2/3rds, like 1960!" Sending people to college is a convenient fake solution to every problem, especially for politicians who are too stupid to govern effectively.

    2. Elon Musk once said that now that so much information is freely available online, "Colleges are basically for fun and to prove you can do your chores."

      He's right. An employer will only care about a degree if it's needed for a required gov't license, or about the school's admissions selectivity if hiring based on prestige. Otherwise, all a degree really tells them is that you can do chores, i.e. jump thru hoops and set long term goals and stick with it. The student, meanwhile, gets a sort of "intro to adulthood" and if going for the traditional residential college experience will hopefully make memories and friends and a variety of intangible benefits like that.

      That is worth something, just nowhere near the price charged and it isn't for everyone. And for graduate degrees, the problem gets even worse because the politicians don't really have it on their radar so the schools get away with all the more. When pressured to get undergrad tuition under control, for example, they just subsidize it with graduate tuition where they already have a captive audience that will borrow pretty much any amount to stay out of the real world for awhile longer.

    3. Were Old Guy instead Young Guy, he would not go to college except to fulfill a requirement for a profession in the medical field. Or he would go to college outside the US. For decades now, a Yankee college diploma has been little but a receipt for fees paid.

    4. Yeah if I were doing it over, my rule would be "Healthcare or Harvard or Bust." A truly elite school can still open a lot of doors no matter what you major in, but otherwise I don't know of any industries where a degree/license alone can put you in a position where demand exceeds supply, except for medicine, PA and nursing and MAYBE some of the disciplines that people go into if they can't get into med school, like pharmacy, optometry and dental school. Otherwise? idk. Maybe get a CDL and drive an 18 wheeler. The logistics companies always seem to be hiring, so much so that they advertise on the radio and plaster the trucks with ads begging people to apply.

      That's the world we're moving into. Everyone is either caring for an increasingly aged population, moving our crap around in whatever years we have left til self-driving takes over, or trying to make a go of it in the tipped wage or gig economy which aren't even really jobs so much as hustles. Absent the right connections, there just isn't much else.

    5. healthcare has its own problems. extreme strictness, regimentation at work, etc. and the allied fields are swamped or getting there. pharmacy, the law school of health, is projected to have a negative job growth by the BLS, despite an 80 percent increase in enrollment since 1998.
      Nursing would have reached law school levels in the 1990s, but low-class women with husbands have a very low threshold for negativity. PA, NP is all kaput.
      Dental and Medicine continue, but those, sir, supersede law school in both pain and duration of training...

  2. We know about the USNWR 4 quadrants of law schools, or Old Guy's 7 tiers of law schools. Has anyone ever done an aggregation of the number of seats in each of these categories. The lowest of the toilets often seem to have a unusually large number of seats. Of course some of the elites have a large number of seats too. I think it would be interesting to see the 4 quadrants expressed in student population. If it turns out that the USNWR group known as Not Worth Rating, I mean Rank not Published were by and far the largest group, I think that would be very telling.

    1. Feel free to compile a report from these data:

      As you can see by clicking on "Enrollment" to sort the schools in either direction, the top by enrollment (the latest first-year class reported, so that of 2020) are Georgetown, George Washington, and Harvard, of which only the latter can be called élite. After those come mostly a bunch of toilets and über-toilets. Down at the end, we find ourselves in the realm of dying über-toilets: Ohio Northern, District of Columbia, South Dakota. Hardly any law school of even adequate reputation is tiny.

      Just a few years ago, the distribution would have differed significantly. The Cooley and InfiLaw chains eclipsed Harvard; now InfiLaw is gone (but for the rump of Florida Coastal that survives just for a "teach-out" plan), and Cooley threatens to dry up and blow away.

    2. I'll try to compile something, but a quick look at the list seems to have some heavy weighting in USNWR so called Tier 1 but it will take some time which I don't have enough of. Many of those schools have large enrollments, i.e. Harvard ~500. Many of the toilets are relatively minuscule in size. So maybe, law students as a whole are not as deluded after all.

    3. Lol I remember when Cooley ranked itself like the second best law school in the country or something, using criteria based on enrollment size and some other nonsense like square footage of its library or something.

      These schools only care about demand for seats, not demand for graduates. Cooley will admit anyone and everyone it possibly can without losing its accreditation, and Infilaw didn't even care about that because they just wanted to make as much as they could while they could and funnel it up to their private equity owners where it couldn't be clawed back. Private equity always has an exit strategy, and it's entirely reasonable to think that in this case the exit strategy might always have been to divest when the regulators start asking questions, which is exactly what they did when they cut Florida Coastal loose to fail on its own: The DOE demanded that the parent company put itself on the hook and that's precisely when they divested.

      So yeah, it is encouraging that even by going to pretty much open admission for anyone with a BA, Infilaw is still gone and Cooley has shrunk significantly.

      There will always be fools and they will always find themselves soon parted from their money, but there seems to be less of them to go around. Maybe COVID has a silver lining: With so many jobs going unfilled and even low-skill employers being forced to raise wages as a result, maybe fewer people feel the same need to take refuge from the real world by going to law school. Getting your rent paid by loans for three years like that was always its most alluring aspect for someone with an otherwise useless BA. Or maybe it's just the early stages of that ever present reality: If something cannot go on forever, it won't.

    4. Yes, nine or ten years ago, Cooley ranked itself second only to Harvard. The trick was that almost all of the factors used for the ranking were proxies for size. The area of the library, the number of volumes in the library, the number of employees—all of these tend to be larger at schools with more students. Cooley, being the biggest by far, easily propelled itself to the top (well, just behind Harvard).

      As I recall, there were 40 factors: LSAT score, undergraduate GPA, and then 38 dumb factors that served only to make size into 95% of the "ranking".

  3. It appears that it's become a zero-sum game; yes several toilets have closed, but if the "better" schools are increasing class size, has anything really been gained? A ton of new JDs will be loosed on the world in three years, and they'll be scrambling for ever-fewer jobs.
    For the few who are willing to think, this blog serves a laudable purpose, as it warns of the immense danger of attending law school, what with crushing debt and no job prospects. But for the overwhelming majority of law school applicants, nothing works. They're hell bent on attending, if only to postpone reality for another three years. Since they weren't going to pay off their UG debt either, what's another few hundred thousand in loans?

    1. I don't mind if the "great" schools like Harvard get bigger. Their grads are fine. And the rankest of toilets are shrinking or closing, which is good.

      What really worries me are the "trap schools" These are schools that range in rank from around Georgetown down to about Fordham range. These schools generally admit some pretty smart kids that could've done any number of other, better things, and they are "good" enough that they generally place anywhere from the top 25-33% of the 1L class in biglaw.

      But they are "traps" because the other 67-75% are pretty much just as screwed as someone from Cooley. And yet, unlike the toilets, they're never going to attract regulatory scrutiny. Almost everyone passes the bar cuz these are kids with like 165 LSATs, and there's enough good outcomes that they will continue to attract those kids.

      A 1 in 3 chance of a good outcome is a lot better odds than a toilet, but still not nearly good enough to justify betting 200k.

    2. The trap schools are particularly dangerous because they look vaguely prestigious but are not. I agree that Georgetown is really just Cooley for most of its class. Unfortunately, not even Cooley will attract meaningful regulatory scrutiny, never mind Georgetown.

  4. This is 4:47 I did the analysis. It wasn’t that hard.
    I matched up Old Guy’s list from LCAS or whatever to the USNWR rankings.
    187 schools matched on both lists.
    The first 46 are Tier 1, Tiers 2-4 have 47 each.

    Tier Enroll Grads Attrition
    1 11011 11168 101%
    2 9554 8752 92%
    3 7993 6680 84%
    4 7579 6149 81%
    Total 36137 32749 91%

    Also here are the top 15 schools
    Enroll Grads
    1 4678 4967 106%

    I found it interesting that that Tiers 1 and 2 are similar in enrollment size and attrition rates and Tiers 3 and 4 mirror each other in a similar way. Tiers 1 and 2 are similar to one another but there is a drop off in Tier 3. I would think that indicates that many applicants will consider Tiers 1 and if absolutely necessary Tier 2 but not lower. The negative attrition rate in Tier 1 indicates to me declining enrollment in the time period being analyzed.

    The top 15 school comprise 42% of the seats in Tier 1 but 33% of the schools.

    Unless the demand for law school is no greater than 36,000 for 2021, it is hard to believe that Tiers 3 and 4 are deliberately restricting the number of seats, but there must be some limit they have to maintain standards. What other explanation could there be?

    It will be interesting to see some of the interpretations of this data. Surprised? Not surprised?

  5. Oldguy, if you dont mind me asking, what was your LSAT?

    1. 125. I got a merit scholarship at Cooley.

    2. Come on, really. Just give us a range if you dont want to give the exact number.

    3. OK, let's say that it was over 170.

    4. Ok, really? I know you did well, you went to a top 20 or so?, and finished high up in class rank?...but I can't find the specific post where you mentioned that previously.
      I understand your main issue was age discrimination, which is an absolutely massive, yet underdiscussed, issue in legal hiring particularly. I think its worse for women, but affects all people really.
      Another really obvious bias that overlaps with the age bias in law is the bias toward photogenic people, which is really obvious at the bigger firms.
      Anyway, I respect and value the work you are doing on this site.

    5. Yes, I went to an élite school, and yes, I got a very high score on the LSAT.

      You're right about age-based discrimination. Beyond your late twenties, forget about law school. No one wants to talk about age-based discrimination, but it is very much the reality. Old Guys—and thirty is over the hill—simply are not wanted. Old Gals, you are even less desired past the peak of your nubility and sex appeal (as assessed by oversexed trashy-ass male lawyers). That is trebly true if you presume to have children—and don't be surprised to hear illegal questions (if you get an interview at all) about the contents of your uterus.

      Photogenic people are indeed greatly favored, and of course "photogenic" is linked to race, gender, and class.

    6. A bit old, but interesting study:

      Study finds that fake resumes are called back first for high-class men, then LOW class women, and high class women at the absolute bottom (due to perceived ability to quit to be a Tiger Mom since they are or likely will be married to someone rich).

      They didn't study age discrimination, which is no surprise because age (ADEA) is probably the least enforced and least studied protected class. But similar biases would likely bear out there too IMHO.

      It's interesting. They want you to be from a good background that'll fit in with the rich clients, but they ALSO want people who will have no encumbrances that'd be an obstacle to putting in those brutal hours. Nontraditional age would presumably trigger similar biases as operated against women.

      Funny tightrope they're walking there. They want people of high social class to fit in with their rich clients, but they need those people to be merely aping the behaviors of the truly rich. In other words, they want your background to be good but not TOO good. Someone who is rich enough not to have to work at all isn't someone they want either. It's like a butler: You need to fit in well with truly wealthy people, but you can't be one of them already.

    7. As noted above " probably the least enforced" of protected classes.

      Purely anecdotal, but a law school classmate went to work for the EEOC. His experience is that the agency has so many sexual harassment and related claims it rarely-really almost never-investigates allegations of age discrimination. It just doesn't do it, with the excuse being it has more work than it can handle.
      There's also the factor that it's tougher to prove; many of the sex based cases have, almost unbelievably, have a lot of witnesses. Almost nobody witnesses age discrimination.

    8. Old Guy,

      You mentioned above that you would only go to college to fulfill a requirement to enter a profession in the medical field. With your excellent LSAT score, I’m sorry you never had the opportunity to go into healthcare. You would have definitely succeeded as a physician, pharmacist, nurse practitioner, or any other professional in healthcare.

      I didn’t know law school was a scam when I enrolled in the early 2000s. Good grades and law review at a tier 2 toilet in the mid 2000s during a booming economy, when law schools advertised 99% employed earning six figure salaries, provided zero opportunities for me. Big Law and Big Fed rejected me at OCI. Didn’t even get a callback interview. Later in law school and after graduation, prosecutor offices, public defender offices, local governments, and s—t law rejected me. After graduation when I had $150k in debt and no health insurance, I went to a legal job fair. Firms flat out refused to even accept my resume. I certainly wasn’t alone in my class. Many people took non-legal jobs.

      Compare that to graduating med school. 100% of my classmates matched. Some of my classmates took a year off to pursue research in the competitive specialties like ortho and neuro surg. They all matched into the competitive specialities they were pursuing the following year.

      Had you gone to med school, your age would not have been an issue. I did not go to med school directly after law school. I enlisted in the Army, went to Iraq, had my student loans paid off, and then used the GI Bill to go to med school. When I applied for residency, I had no difficulty obtaining interviews and matching into a competitive specialty at a competitive program despite being older than the average medical grad.

      A career in medicine has given me the opportunity to work at two Ivy League teaching hospitals. While they are great places to learn and work with great doctors, in medicine there is a genuine need for rural doctors (contrary to the law prof recommendation for law grads to move to Nebraska). When I was a medical student I rotated through a rural community hospital. The rural doctors were outstanding. They were very important to the community and took care of a lot of complex patients. They tried to recruit me to come work at their hospital. Rural physician jobs tend to pay more too. Perhaps one day I will take a rural job.

      My career has given me the opportunity to actually save lives. I think back to the stupid OCI interviews I had. One big law interviewer lectured me on how there was a lot of pressure in big law. I wish I could find that person. They probably washed out of big law anyway. I’d tell them something about pressure. Try saving a decompensating patient’s life at 2 AM. Try making it a day in the Army while deployed to a war zone.

      There have been some horrible days too in medicine. I do not forget the patients who have passed. Sometimes the only thing you can do is provide comfort care and tell yourself you did your best.

      You would have definitely been successful and enjoyed medicine.

    9. Thanks, Anon JD/MD. I suppose that I would have done well on the MCAT, though not without studying (as I did on the LSAT).

      I considered medicine but thought that I was too old for it, and was told as much. Only when it was too late did I find out that I was far from being too old for medicine—but decidedly too old for law. Again, I could not even get an interview for a job. I still can't.

      I'm sure that medicine has its challenges, but law is a real mess. Last week I found myself screaming about wanting to disbar 99% of lawyers. Almost every time I go into court, opposing counsel is an idiot. I used to think that that was because I was stuck with shitwork, but even appeals are often circuses of incompetence. Recently opposing counsel in federal court said nothing against my arguments; she instead spent her time arguing against positions that I had never raised, on points that I had never invoked. A person off the street would have conducted her side of the matter with more aplomb.

      Anyway, the die is cast. I'm going to practice law for a few more years and then retire. Fuck it.

    10. @7:14: I envy you, and wish I'd had the courage to make the kind of decisions you did. I thought about going medicine after LS, but the massive debt and time it would incur on top of the debt I already had dissuaded me.

      The biggest problem was the undergrad prerequisites for med school. There's what, like 30 credits just of science prereqs? The list is as long as your arm. As a liberal arts major I had essentially none of them, and there's no student loans available to just take prereqs: You have to be in a "degree granting program" or pay out of pocket for those classes which I couldn't afford. So I essentially would've had to go back to undergrad for a second bachelors which at the time, I just couldn't stomach given all the money and time I'd already poured in to education, not to mention the risk of spending several years getting prereqs only to ultimately not get in anywhere, which about 50% of med school applicants don't last I checked.

      In hindsight, I should've disregarded the time and money already put in as a sunk cost. I was only 25 and unencumbered except as to student loans which I should've put secondary to the pursuit of happiness. I totally should've done it.

      That biglaw interviewer you described was right that it's high-pressure in law, but the real problem is that the pressure is arbitrary and made up - you can't connect the pressure you suffer with a benefit to society because there usually isn't one.

      The pressures you describe in medicine exist for a real, a priori reason. There's purpose behind the pressure. I envy that so much.

    11. JD/MD: It took a lot of intelligence and courage to do what you did, and the fact that after military service you've got a successful and rewarding career-well, I applaud that.
      And no question that OG would have done well in medicine.

      That said, the value of this blog for dolts like me is its stark warning: for most, getting a JD is a dead-end, with only huge debt for your future. No 160K job, no saving the whales, no making policy in DC. But the ugly reality-again, for dolts like myself who attended TTTs after getting our liberal arts Ba-is that there was no way we'd get into medical school. We hadn't taken the pre-reqs, which are extensive, and frankly were either too lazy or too unfocused(and speaking for myself and others like me) not smart enough to get the grades required to get in. I spent most of my Fridays drinking beer and goofing off, while the focused pre-meds were in organic chem lab from 1-5p-yes, on Friday afternoon, every Friday afternoon.
      So I sought the easy way to a "great" career as a lawyer-as in, all lawyers get great jobs and make a lot of money, right? And no, as in zero, UG pre-reqs.
      So, to me anyway, this blog is essential, as it shows that almost all JDs don't provide the Golden Ticket, but are instead fool's gold.

    12. First of all, it is worth noting that not everyone is cut out for medicine (or law or anything else in particular). Leaving aside for the moment the subjective questions of individual preference and aptitude, there remains the fact that the requirement of courses in such fields as organic chemistry and the calculus serves as a pons asinorum that keeps out many people who might otherwise have been interested in medicine as a career. Unlike some people, I don't suggest that these courses are inessential or unimportant, even though most practising physicians do not often apply their knowledge (if any) of integration or molecular structure.

      The comments above about drinking and goofing off rather than studying exemplify much of what is wrong with the so-called legal profession. Law has come to be viewed as an easy path to a fortune, not as a calling that demands application and effort. I am inclined to advocate the imposition of prerequisites, such as a reading knowledge of Latin or a demonstrable facility with statistics, if only to separate the sheep from the goats.

  6. Big Lawfirms also really really like pretty people (of any gender).

    1. Very true. The pretty girls in my graduating class are all doing very well for themselves. Some of them also did really well in Law School (a Toilet), so I can't say they got great jobs solely because of their looks. It definitely helped though.

    2. For those who did not do well in law school, appearance may have been an important factor.

  7. The other odd thing is that it shows High Class men first, then High Class women, then low class women then low class men. It then obsesses itself with discrimination against high class women, but ignores the very obvious point that low class men are the lowest of the low, getting one sixth the callbacks of low class women. So really the real gender discrimination is against men, particularly low class ones. And of course, at the interviews, the pretty people are the ones that will be hired anyway.

    1. As I said above, what counts as pretty in this society is rooted in race, class, and gender. I should have added age.

      Likewise, what counts as "a fit for our organization" is rooted in the same factors. "Not a good fit" is practically an admission of discrimination.

    2. I say that all the time about the "good fit" euphemism! If the person was qualified enough to get an interview, but then doesn't get the gig for reasons of "fit," it's discrimination 90% of the time.

      If you've got two (or more) applicants equally qualified, I say stop using "fit" as the tiebreaker. Just narrow it down to the most qualified applicants and then you could literally flip a coin or do an eeny-meeny-miney-mo. I'd defend that in front of the EEOC all day: Maybe even videotape the coinflip so you can prove that you really did just hire by lottery. Randomness is actually the fairest thing imaginable: All qualified candidates have an equal chance.

      I think some civil service jobs even do this already: They basically take everyone who passes the background check and who scores above a cutoff on the exam and put their names in a bucket. When a job opens up they draw a name at random from that bucket and call them to see if they still want it. If yes, they start the onboarding process. If not or if the person can't be reached, they just draw another name. Seems like a great way to avoid discrimination claims.

    3. Another problem with age discrimination is that the might sometimes be a justification for it.

      I think age discrimination occurs most frequently for people making a lateral career move. From staff level to staff level. For a candidate over 50 the question will come up, why hasn't this person progressed to a higher level? Why have they bounced around from staff level position to staff level? Why the gaps in employment? There is going to be some apprehension about hiring a 55 year old when the supervisory and managerial levels are all filled with younger people. For the over 60 candidate the question of stamina and also job longevity arises. Even though there is a 50/50 chance that the up and coming 'Young Turk' will jump ship for a better opportunity within a year or two.

      I think for the older person with a status commensurate with their age, such as the 55 year old vice president, trying for an executive position in a more prestigious organization would probably encounter less age discrimination.

    4. For a candidate over 50, the failure to progress to a higher level could reflect nothing more than recent admission to the bar. If you accept that, you also accept exactly the sort of age-based discrimination that Old Guy and other "non-traditional" people here experienced when we applied for jobs during and after law school, and even when we applied to law school.

      If an older person cannot be hired because "the supervisory and managerial levels are all filled with younger people", the answer is to hire more older people into supervisory and managerial positions. You might as well justify not hiring a Black person on the grounds that all of the managers are white. I consider that a flimsy an unacceptable excuse.

      And if "the question of stamina and also job longevity arises" for a candidate over 60, the question of loyalty does indeed arise for a younger applicant with many years ahead of her and no burden of age-based discrimination that makes it hard for her to change jobs. I would not presume that anyone might quit soon because of her age. Lots of lawyers work into their eighties or nineties, and not necessarily because of a shortage of money. At the other end, lots of young lawyers leave the profession.

      The assumption of a lack of stamina is nothing but petty bigotry. When I was in law school, I was always fully prepared for class. People half my age admitted that they didn't have my stamina: they couldn't even read the assigned texts. And unlike me, they were not working at odd jobs, managing a household on their own, doing different sorts of volunteer work, and applying for hundreds of jobs because they couldn't get an interview anywhere.

      Note too that the arguments that you presented are not limited to the legal field: they are regularly used against older people in all lines of work, professional and otherwise. So what exactly is a fifty-year-old supposed to do: crawl under a rock and die?

      Finally, note that new graduates of law school as young as 30, maybe even 29 or 28, face discrimination because they are considered to be over the hill. What "justification" do you see for that nearly universal practice?

    5. Yes, 11:29, there is much to be said for random hiring from a pool of qualified applicants. It is arrogant and downright ridiculous to suppose that people with no particular qualifications are able to draw minute distinctions and choose just the right person from the job from a number of substantially similar candidates. In my experience, people involved in hiring cannot even weed out those who are plainly incompetent, still less identify the best candidate (whatever that means). They may as well cut the crap and hire at random from the pool of finalists.

      Incidentally, that goes for admissions to university, too. Although I certainly don't share the political views of the author of the following piece, he makes a compelling case for random admission of qualified applicants to élite universities:

      The prevailing scheme of admission postulates a "holistic" analysis that supposedly achieves the ideal class from a large pool of applicants. If you believe that propaganda, may I sell you a few shares in the Brooklyn Bridge?

    6. 12:46 here. My comments were directed more to the corporate world, but could be applied as Old Guy did to the legal profession.

      The problem with populating supervisory and managerial positions with older people is that someone from outside an organization is not going to be hired as a manager without prior management experience. The way to get that experience is to move up the ladder within the current organization. The problem there is politics and favoritism is a major factor in advancement within an organization and the fact that it is a pyramid scheme means most will not advance.

      This is why the 50 year old who loses a job is in such a perilous situation unless in an age commensurate level of responsibility. Unless in a managerial position they are seen as a child in a state of arrested development. Or at any rate a failure.

      In theory, age should matter less in the legal profession since as an actual profession, the work is relatively autonomous, without much supervision. Also, due to the nature of the profession, managerial advancement is less likely to be seen as a reflection of competence. But as in Old Guy's experience, age discrimination still manages to worm its way in.

      As far as choosing the young rising star who will probably jump ship in two years versus the qualified 60 year old who will probably give you at least 5 years and maybe 10, hiring managers don't care. They just see the feather in their cap for recruiting a big catch.

      As far as what is the 50 year old supposed to do? Well, we know that society has a long tradition of not giving a shit about that.

      Justification, was probably the wrong word. Understanding their actions might be more appropriate.

    7. This society is obsessed with youth, to the point that even thirty-year-olds can be considered over the hill. Little thought is given to the fact that older people often have more experience than younger people, not to mention more skills and greater wisdom. That is by no means always true, of course. (A teacher who was turned down for a promotion advanced her "twenty years' experience" only to be told aptly that she had not twenty years' experience but rather one year's experience repeated nineteen times.) But often it is.

      It is wrong to judge people on their age, be it 16 or 106. The argument about longevity rings particularly hollow in this age of decidedly short-term appointments. Perhaps it is left over from the baby boomers, who often stayed in the same job for life. Or perhaps it's just yet another bullshit excuse for discrimination against older people.

      And you're right to observe that society doesn't give a shit about people past a certain age—that age being a lot lower than 50. I submit that it should give a shit about them, but that takes us into broader questions of justice and efficient use of human potential that won't be resolved here.

      The presumption of moving upward through the ranks is, as you pointed out, unrealistic in most areas of legal practice, precisely because lawyers typically work on their own and thus have little use for a managerial hierarchy. Ceteris paribus, a more experienced lawyer is better.

    8. In all fairness, OG, when a young person first starts out it's often rough for them too. With the possible exception of Silicon Valley, most jobs are actually very interested in experience and young people often find a dearth of entry level positions, leaving one feeling like they're in a catch-22: Can't get a job without experience, can't get experience without a job, especially if your family lacks the resources to support you through a series of unpaid internships.

      What really grinds my gears is when you see job ads that say "3-5 years experience" or something like that. Setting a MAXIMUM amount of experience or turning people away for being "overqualified" absolutely reeks of age discrimination and reflects the true reality of the job market IMHO, which is that you need to be in a sort of sweet spot: not too young OR too old. No experience is bad, but so is too much.

    9. When Old Guy was young, he went through the same phase of struggling to find work because he was short of experience. When he went into law, he found that young people with no experience of any kind were prized while older people with rich experience were entirely unwanted.

    10. In law I think that depends. For biglaw, I think you're right. They do most of their hiring from on campus interviews after all. People with "too much experience" are only going to get considered if they have a large "portable book of business," but all that tells me is that they can be bribed out of discriminating, lol.

      Outside of biglaw though, I saw a lot of the same thing as mentioned above: Minimum AND maximum experience levels.

  8. Oldguy, so you do have a job in law? I thought you were totally shut out.

    1. No, but after years of struggle, including protracted periods of unemployment, I have finally found a way to make a living with my legal skills. I am unhappy and unfulfilled, but I can last out the next few years and then give up ("retirement" would be the euphemism). I prefer not to discuss the details, as law-school scamsters and their lackeys have been known to harass those of us who write against the law-school scam.

  9. Scam-school Charleston proposes to reduce tuition to zero:

    The last law school that did that was Indiana Tech, which closed down about a year later. And the stunt was a bid, scarcely successful, to raise the über-toilet's status by drawing in students of higher calibre.

    I'm looking forward to seeing where über-toilet Charleston will get the money with which to run its bottom-of-the-barrel school free of charge to the students. Unfortunately, there are people who are dumb enough to donate money to shabby-ass institutions like Charleston, so perhaps what is being proposed here is not out of the question. But I doubt whether Charleston can come up with the amount—something like $100 million—that would be required in order to operate with no revenue from the students. Don't tell me that the state of South Carolina is thinking of funding this stinky shithole of a law school.

  10. There two reasons I can see for a crappy law school to go zero tuition. One is to do it temporarily to buy better students and get into compliance on bar passage rates and thus "reset the clock" for inevitable future violations of Standard 316 once tuition is reinstated.

    The other reason to do it is because you foresee a loss of accreditation anyway and so if you want to survive as a state-only school you need to learn to live without federal loans, the feasibility of which would be quickly figured out by a stunt like this.

    1. Indiana Tech is the classic example of the first. I can't think of an example of the second, but it must be noted that only a few states accredit law schools.

      A third reason might be to create a publicly funded boondoggle. A shit-pit like Charleston (Charlatan) might pass itself off as an eleemosynary venture serving dolphin-saving racialized people with LSAT scores of 139, only to turn around and soak the state government for a fortune every year so that it can continue its allegedly important work. No skin off the asses of the scamsters that continue to draw their fancy salaries and enjoy cushy benefits at others' expense, all while congratulating themselves on their supposed selflessness.

    2. I cannot imagine any state legislature agreeing to fund all or nearly all of the cost of running a law school. If they were gonna do that for anything, it'd probably be a community college or something.

      More likely, it's a matter of seeing if they could live on endowment returns. It's possible. Their website says they already have a $60m endowment, which should reliably generate circa 3m/year in returns without touching principal and I'm sure they'd campaign to grow that.

      You'd have to shrink class sizes, employees and probably facilities, but you could run a small tuition-free law school on 3-5m/yr into perpetuity, and in the process provide a nice little sinecure for the most favored profs and admins.

      If the state is one of the ones that allows unaccredited law schools to operate and take that state's bar exam, it'd also be delightfully free of regulatory scrutiny. Indeed, endowments and grants were how most schools operated in the days before loans. So called "tuition dependence" is a relatively new thing.

    3. Social Justice is a scam to harvest student loans from young people who are terrified of the real world and console themselves by dismissing it all as garbage. Scamsters just have to nod and agree, "it's all garbage, and you're here to fix it!" as they pick the pockets of those idiot young people.

      I'm on the Right, generally, but I genuinely wish the Progressives would open their eyes and see what is being done to their own young people.

    4. Old Guy is definitely on the left, but he too has no use for pseudo-progressives.

      As for the viability of Charlatan Charleston without money from tuition, Old Guy remains doubtful. He has estimated that even a small law school—and Charlatan, which took in 198 first-year students last year, is anything but small—needs $6 million or so per year:

      Old Guy has also estimated that the minimum first-year enrollment at a viable law school is around 75 students per year. To go down to that level for the sake of stretching its endowment, Charlatan would have to slash enrollment almost to a third of its current level. Then, as you said, it would get only about $3M per year out of its endowment if it managed the principal to last in perpetuity. It would need twice as much income in the absence of tuition. Is anyone eager to donate $60M to a dried-up über-toilet? If so, there are loads of other candidates.

    5. The ugly reality, 6:19, is that state legislatures are doing exactly that:

      I'm sure that OG-and just about everybody-would agree Texas does not need one more law school, let alone two-but the incredibly "conservative" TX House passed such a bill.
      And at last glance both Washington and Alaska have a large well-funded crowd lobbying for both states to fund new law schools.
      So let's be clear-this isn't a "liberal" or "conservative" issue; it's clear that the law school grifters have lined enough politicians' pockets that both major parties are part of the scam.
      Need more proof? Well, GOP or democrat, nobody in DC does anything about the non-stop flow of graduate school loans, funded by taxpayers.

    6. Yes, 1:47, the law-school scam attracts support from both parties. We're still waiting to see any serious anti-scam efforts from any so-called leader of whatsoever political affiliation.

      From Tacoma to Shreveport, Murfreesboro to Anchorage, El Paso to Fort Wayne, Brownsville to Kalamazoo, wannabe scamsters float proposals for another unneeded über-toilet. "Why, we're an hour or two from the nearest law school! Or if we're not, we still need a law school to call our own! Think of all the brilliant legal minds going unserved! Think of the chance to do something different and innovative! Think of all the mon—I mean, all the opportunities to serve the disadvantaged! And we've commissioned this feasibility study that shows how gloriously it will work!" (Fortunately, sane heads prevailed in Alaska and Tennessee, though they didn't in Indiana, Louisiana, or Texas.) It's all the same rip-off, whether the people peddling the bullshit are "liberal" or "conservative".

    7. If you are a state or local politician, why would you care if there's no demand for lawyers? A law school creates jobs for people who work at the law school, and the students spend their student loan $ locally. It's just another way of drawing down federal dollars to stimulate your local economy where it'll flow right into the hands of local landlords and restaurants and such. And when the spigot gets turned off for one class, i.e. they graduate, another class comes right in behind them to keep the loan dollars flowing. They don't have any reason I can think of to care about what happens to them after graduation, and in fact they have a bunch of incentives not to.

  11. Old Guy, one thing to consider is maybe BigLaw isn't worth it. I also felt bitter etc about not getting into biglaw (though I had pretty crappy marks), but the various horror stories I've heard about it, plus this article, made me reconsider a bit:

    1. I never wanted to go into Big Law.

    2. No one sane "wants" to go into biglaw. And yet, most everyone gives OCI a shot and if they get offers they almost always take one of them. The only pseudo-exception is if they get a federal clerkship, but even then they'll just defer the offer cuz biglaw is happy to wait for those people.

      At the end of the day, nothing else pays like they do and assuming you stay the right amount of time (not too short or too long) then nothing else offers the same kind of "exit opportunities" because they're seen as being the best training there is. It's the closest thing we've got to a residency system. Unlike in medicine, the vast majority of grads don't match. But those who do would usually be fools not to take it.

    3. The best training, in Big Law? I beg to differ. So-called litigators can spend five years in Big Law without conducting a deposition or seeing the inside of a courtroom. Lots of work in Big Law is glorified document review. By contrast, Old Guy once took a fresh graduate to four courts (including federal) within the graduate's first seven days on the job—and Old Guy has never been anywhere near Big Law. That graduate got to take part in a greater variety of court appearances (he even did some oral pleading) in a week and a half than many so-called litigators see in their entire careers. Without being immodest, I'd say that Old Guy can offer better training than any pompous-ass white-shoe law firm. But it's true that Old Guy won't be seen as doing so.

      Those "exit opportunities" are contingent, as you said, on staying the right amount of time. But most people find themselves escorted out the door long before that time comes.

    4. There's a difference between a litigator and a "trial lawyer." Compare the average lit side of biglaw to a true trial-focused biglaw firm like Quinn Emmanuel, for example.

      Biglaw work is mostly corporate transactional work, where you have "deals" rather than "cases" really. And the lit side of the house is still going to be mostly about cutting deals, albeit with a court or arbitration case sortof in the background. Their kind of litigation, though, is a sort in which both sides have no intention of ultimately resolving the matter anywhere other than a conference room. They'll do some motions, they'll exchange reams of discovery and send it to a basement full of doc reviewers, maybe take some depos, but at the end of the day no one is going to trial and everyone knows it. Places like Quinn, on the other hand, are who you hire when you want to send a message that you want what you want and you're willing to go to the mat to get it.

      I don't subscribe to the belief that only trial lawyers are real lawyers, but if a trial lawyer is what you want to be then you'll probably get better (albeit not necessarily better-regarded and certainly not nearly as well-paid) experience in other places, such as prosecution or public defender or apparently your practice!

  12. Shocked, just shocked at Montana's scandal...dean resigns but keeps his cushy tenured prof job:

    1. Graham Spanier had to resign in something like disgrace after the Sandusky thing. He grabbed a severance check, deferred compensation, a tenure buyout, and a forgivable loan.... a golden parachute worth about 6 million dollars.

    2. It always amuses me the lengths employers will go to in order to just get rid of someone, if that person is high-level enough to have a contract, while 99% of the rest of us slog along as at-will employees liable to get canned for no reason at all with maybe a couple months salary AT MOST.

      I mean yeah you "fired" them, but what does that matter if you made it so they could just never work again a day in their life, either with a golden parachute or because (if government) they have a fat pension that can't be taken away no matter what? That's not a punishment; it's a reward.

      And yet, it makes sense from a business perspective. Anyone with a contract can sue to enforce that contract and the result of that will be unknown, so win or lose you'll be in court (or arbitration) for God knows how long and often at risk for massive fee-shifting. Avoiding that is clearly worth a whole lot. Tenure is even worse, cuz pretty much every other contract in the world has some kind of end date beyond which renewal is not mandatory. It's one thing to say a contract can't be terminated without cause. Quite another to say it can't ever be non-renewed except for cause. Those two words "good cause" are words that by themselves can keep you litigating for years.