Sunday, December 18, 2022

Über-toileteers continue to perform terribly on bar exams; ABA issues four notices of non-compliance


The disclosures that the ABA requires from law schools under its so-called Standard 509 are due by December 15. Usually the ABA publishes the reports on a Web site, but this year it still has not done so; one must hunt up the reports on the law schools' own Web sites.

Old Guy can't be bothered, but he has checked a few, for your information.

Appalachian School of Law has long been a target of derision here at OTLSS. This year only 51 new students enrolled, a number well below the figure of 75 that Old Guy has estimated as the minimum for a law school's long-term sustainability. Such low enrollment is bad news for this particular über-toilet, which has been in dire financial straits for several years. 

Another piece of bad news for Appalachian School of Law is its graduates' abysmal performance on the bar exams. Of the 53 graduates from 2021 or prior years who took a bar exam for the first time, only 18 passed. That's 34%, far below the level of 75% that the ABA has nominally required since 2019 (the rule says that "[a]t least 75 percent of a law school's graduates who sat for a bar examination must have passed a bar examination administered within two years of their graduation"). I say "nominally" because in practice the ABA readily excuses non-compliance; its rule contains more holes than a wheel of Gruyère. It is true that the data show only the number of graduates who passed on the first attempt, so these data do not prove that Appalachian School of Law is out of compliance; however, it would take a hell of a lot to catch up, and the über-toilet has little control over its graduates' preparation for the exam or even their willingness to take a bar exam again. 

At the odious Western State College of Law, which in recent years has changed hands among a wacky church and a couple of private entities supposedly in the field of education), only 55% of this year's candidates passed a bar exam for the first time. First-year enrolment soared from 23 last year to 128 this year, Old Guy is sorry to report.

Über-toilet Charleston enrolled 223 new students, which is 223 more than it deserves. The bar-passage rate was 59%, again well below the ABA's threshold.

Ohio Northern, another über-toilet that seems too small to be sustainable, has not yet published its 509 report. Its bar-passage rate was 71%, still below the threshold.

Cooley this year had 191 new students and a 38% rate of bar passage. See below for more on this poster child of über-toilets.


Last month the ABA issued new notices of non-compliance with the standard of bar passage to four law schools: Ave Maria, District of Columbia, Hofstra, and Vermont. All four have been called before a meeting to be held in May 2023 so that they can try to prove that they are in compliance with the standard. That is likely to be difficult, in light of this year's new data:

Ave Maria, 63%
District of Columbia, 33%
Hofstra, (no data since 2020)
Vermont, (no data since 2021)

Vermont Law School doubled down this year and turned itself into Vermont Law and Graduate School, the "Graduate School" part apparently referring to a whole slate of new degrees of questionable value marketed to people who don't have a background in law. Perhaps that was done in contemplation of losing accreditation, because the "graduate school" could go on operating anyway, although I fail to understand what would attract anyone to the little unincorporated crossroads of South Royalton, Vermont.

In August 2022, two Puerto Rican law schools each got a three-year extension of the time to achieve compliance, however remote the possibility may seem. Cooley got the same in May, and we can see how very little progress Cooley is making towards its fulfilling its purported plan to reach the 75% mark (which is disgracefully low, but that's another issue).

Old Guy is going to bet that the ABA will rubber-stamp a similar extension for the four über-toilets newly notified of their non-compliance (as if they hadn't long been aware of it) and that it will also find some cockamamie excuse to grant additional indulgences once the extension lapses for those four and the others. In the meantime, Old Guy will say yet again that nobody at all should attend any of these so-called law schools, or indeed any other law school in the US but perhaps as many as thirteen (Harvard, Yale, a few others) that in theory may be worth attending under certain conditions.

Monday, December 12, 2022

Fifteenth closure: Penn State Law to be merged into Penn State Dickinson Law

An anonymous poster mentioned in the previous article that Penn State Law and Penn State Dickinson Law are merging. Although nothing official has been announced, it appears that the Dickinson campus, located in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, is going to absorb the much larger campus of Penn State Law, which is in University Park.

The poster opined that this merger constitutes the closure of a law school. I agree: it's on a par with Hamline and Mitchell, several years ago. Merging law schools is a discreet and subtle way to effect the closure of one of them, without drawing adverse attention.

Of course, there will be plenty of talk of "synergy" or "improvements" or "economies of scale", all of it designed to cast this effective closure in a favorable light. Students, however, are already complaining that the news was broken to them just before their exams, when they did not need the stress and worry of uncertainties about where they would be next year, and that the president severely curtailed the period for questions about this topic of great interest to everyone in either law school.

In any event, the number of law schools that have closed in the past six years now stands at fifteen:

Cooley (one campus)

Hamline (merged with Mitchell)

Indiana Tech





Arizona Summit

Cooley (a second campus)

Thomas Jefferson (relinquished ABA accreditation in favor of state accreditation)

La Verne (relinquished ABA accreditation in favor of state accreditation)


Cooley (a third campus)

Florida Coastal

Penn State Law (probably) 

Which scam-school will be the sixteenth to close? Appalachian, Ohio Northern, Faulkner, Western State, Mississippi College, Golden Gate, District of Columbia, Vermont, Western New England, Charleston, the rump of Cooley, and a number of others seem like prime candidates. Feel free to discuss this topic below.

Tuesday, November 22, 2022

"Rankings" by defunct magazine finally being dumped

In the past few days, at least eight law schools have decided not to participate in the "rankings" put out by defunct magazine U.S. News and World Report (called by Old Guy You Ass News): Berkeley, Columbia, Georgetown, Harvard, Michigan, Northwestern, Stanford, Yale. Typical explanations focus on the flawed (or meaningless or irrelevant) methodology employed by You Ass News and the perennial manipulation of the idiotic "rankings" by law-school scamsters.

Those points are, of course, perfectly valid. And one might well wonder how a failed mass-market magazine became the sole authority on the quality of law schools. But Old Guy says that all of that is beside the point. The main reason to oppose these "rankings" is that law schools shouldn't be ranked at all. For years and years I have said that maybe thirteen law schools are worth considering, under certain circumstances. If I am right, there can be no point in distinguishing #14 (however identified) from #200, because no one should be going to either of those schools. And even the thirteen that possibly might be reasonable choices for certain people don't need to be ranked: Harvard and Yale form a little group at the pinnacle; then there are the other eleven. It is true that Stanford is not Duke or Georgetown, but nobody needs a numerical ranking to draw whatever distinctions exist within this small set of law schools.

The fatal flaw in the "rankings" is not the particular choice of criteria (although the criteria chosen by You Ass News are undeniably stupid) but the idea of "rankings" itself. Far more useful than any "ranking" would be an article—such as those published here—that said "Consider attending these 13 schools, but be careful" and "Don't attend any other school". Of course, there's no money to be made in that simple proclamation (which is why Old Guy will have to defer those plans to retire on the Côte d'Azur). Lemmings wouldn't heed it anyway: they would just go looking for some other publisher of "rankings" that would allow them to take pride in admission to the 37th or 56th or 83d or 121st best law school, as identified by some scam-profiteer.

Undaunted, You Ass News has announced that it will continue to assign these schools a "ranking", notwithstanding their refusal to genuflect at the temple of you-assiness. And something tells me that some of the institutions that had the temerity to defy godlike You Ass News will find themselves kicked down several notches next year. Maybe You Ass will take a leaf from Cooley's book and come out with a "ranking" that places Cooley in second position, ahead of all others but Harvard (or maybe Appalachian will displace the pride of Cambridge, Massachusetts). 

In other news, the scam-fostering American Bar Association is setting the stage for abolishing the requirement of standardized testing for admission to law school. Until recent years, everyone applying to an ABA-accredited law school (and also to most Canadian law schools, and even some in Australia and elsewhere) had to take the LSAT and divulge the score. Then a number of schools began to accept the GRE instead, on their own initiative. Now testing of any sort is about to become "optional". Of course, those who avail themselves of the option to skip testing will be overwhelmingly those who would score poorly. And where will these people apply? Realistically, to über-toilets. Although the measure is being passed off as a "progressive" way to promote "diversity" (perceived exclusively in racial terms, it seems), Old Guy predicts that it will serve mainly to let the über-toilets conceal some of their shittiness. If data on LSAT scores are reported at all, they will be skewed upwards by the simple expedient of encouraging the worst applicants to skip the LSAT. Once again, the ABA does a great service to the law-school scam.

Saturday, October 29, 2022

Wilmington University to open the seventh law school in greater Philadelphia

Wilmington University, in New Castle, Delaware, is preparing to open a law school in 2023. This new über-toilet will be seventh law school in the general Philadelphia area.

Whatever its charms (and Old Guy must admit that he likes a good cheesesteak), greater Filthadelphia does not need the law schools that it alraedy has, let alone another. So what are the gimmicks that supposedly set this future über-toilet at Wilmington University apart?

First, allegedly low tuition of $24k per year. According to dean Philip Closius, who has made his career at various über-toilets around the US, "it will cost [students], at most, a total of $72,000 to earn a law degree". The cost, however, involves more than multiplying the annual tuition by three years. (And is he guaranteeing that tuition won't be raised?) On top of that, what is the value of a law degree from an unknown, unaccredited upstart of an über-toilet? He doesn't discuss that inconvenient little question.

Second, it proposes to prey upon "traditional- and non-traditional-age students, professionals transitioning from other careers, and multicultural populations". In short, it will be Indiana Tech all over again: a few local people whose commitments keep them from going to a decent law school (if they could get into one), older people whom age-based discrimination within the legal profession will soon hit right in the face (Old Guy being the poster boy for that), and various exploitable ethnic or racial minorities who can be duped into signing up for law school whether they belong there or not. According to LaVerne Harmon, president of the university, "[o]ur law school instructors will genuinely care about their students and be committed to making a difference in their lives." Pardon me while I yawn. She continues: "One of their main functions will be to prepare students for the real world that awaits them as attorneys." Assumes facts not in evidence, Harmon. Already lots of law students never pass a bar exam—a fact admitted in Wilmington's puff piece of an announcement. There is no reason to suppose that Wilmington's students will become attorneys. Closius makes the same mistake: he says that his über-toilet will help those many students who "want to specialize in areas of law they find meaningful but can’t because they have to choose specialties that aren’t as rewarding — just to pay off their loans". Something tells Old Guy that Wilmingtonians in the main are not going to enjoy abundant options in the legal profession—and that many won't become lawyers at all. But of course scamsters cheerfully dangle fantasies before the glassy eyes of 0Ls.

Another of those fantasies is the possibility of working far from Delaware—in Arizona, for instance. Outside a few élite and slightly sub-élite law schools, students rarely enjoy in practice the portability that exists in theory. If you want to work as a lawyer in Arizona, go either to a Harvard or to a law school in or very near Arizona. Do not throw your lot in with a bullshit question mark in distant Delaware. For that matter, if you want to work in Delaware, still don't go to Wilmington: look around for a decent school, such as Penn.

Yet another fantasy is access to "externships". The über-toilet will offer students academic credit for a 21-week "externship" with a lawyer. The difficulty is that local lawyers are hardly likely to snatch up all of the students who would like to avail themselves of this option.

Sound familiar? That's because we've seen it time and time again: an über-toilet opens amidst a load of self-congratulatory propaganda about being "a different type of law school", its tiny entering class has a median LSAT score in the 140s, and soon enough the propaganda yields way to reality. Old Guy predicts that Wilmington will prove to be yet another bottom-trawler that tries to prettify its students' general shittiness under the signboard of "diversity". The fancy educational opportunities envisioned by Closius will turn into mandatory bar review, and soon enough the school will shut down.

As is by now well known at this site, Old Guy recommends staying away from law school—except maybe Harvard, Yale, and eleven other schools listed elsewhere, and even those should often be avoided. Don't even consider Wilmington.

Friday, September 30, 2022

Golden Gate is the new Indiana Tech

Marx famously said that the major events and personages of history appear twice: first as tragedy, then as farce. With Indiana Tech, however, the farce seemed to come first. The second time around will be scarcely better—and now it is taking place at Golden Gate University.

In a desperate but ill-fated attempt to save itself, Indiana Tech one year reduced tuition to zero and slashed enrollment to 15 students. Über-toilet Golden Gate—maybe Rusty Gate would be more like it—has taken a leaf from Indiana Tech's book by doing the same: only 21 full-time and 24 part-time students enrolled, so this year's class is a third of the size of last year's. And all of the little full-time dolts, and about half of their part-time analogues, who were ass enough to sign up at this dump are getting zero tuition for all three years.

Why would a moribund über-toilet suddenly whore itself out free of charge? Obviously not in a spirit of generosity or public service. No, Golden Gate did this for the sake of its survival: the ABA threatened last year to pull the plug because Golden Gate fell short of a standard by which at least 75% of those graduates who take a bar exam pass one within two years of graduation. In theory, Golden Gate could lose its ABA accreditation next year by failing once more to meet the standard. In practice, we know damn well—from ample experience—that the ABA doesn't seriously enforce its "standards": it instead readily makes excuses for the underperforming über-toilet and offers extensions and other dispensations as often as it pleases. Thus Golden Gate isn't really in danger, even though last year only 38% of those who took the bar exam in California passed it. None of the 17 other ABA-accredited law schools in California did so poorly.

Anyway, by offering free tuition, Golden Gate hopes to draw in slightly better students. And it has succeeded: the median LSAT this year went up to 153 from last year's 151. Two lousy points, however, can hardly suffice to bridge the immense gap in bar passage so as to propel Golden Gate barely over the line this year. In any event, cheap stunts such as this are unsustainable. Perhaps for a couple of years this über-toilet will draw money from an endowment or otherwise keep the lights on for its handful of charges and its similarly large faculty (many of whom are being reassigned to bar-review courses in support of that desperate attempt to meet the 75% threshold). Once the gimmick of free tuition has expired, however, whatever appeal this thing may have will predictably dry up and the median LSAT score will sink like a stone. 

Two new ventures—a useless master's degree and a "Bachelor of Arts in Law"—will throw a few shekels into the coffers. But these recent stunts in the JD program presage the law school's death in the next, say, four years. Old Guy reminds everyone that Golden Gate is not worth attending even on free tuition.

Friday, August 12, 2022

Jacksonville: Newest über-toilet attracts only 14 students

One might think that the closure of fourteen law schools in the past six years would deter prospective scamsters. Jacksonville, Florida, would seem an especially unlikely place for a new über-toilet, since the stench of recently shuttered Florida Coastal, which once brought in classes in excess of a thousand students, still hovers mephitically over the city. 

Alas! one would be wrong. The Jacksonville University College of Law opened on Wednesday with an inaugural class of 14 students. Scam-dean Nicholas Allard, who had hoped for 15–20 students and had imposed a ridiculous "cap" of 30, claims to be proceeding "in a very methodical, brick-by-brick fashion". Well, so did Indiana Tech (apart from the astounding expenditure on a curated art collection from the first day), which nonetheless dried up and blew away within four years—in one of those years not collecting a single cent in tuition, for it tried to give itself away by offering zero tuition to everyone but still got only 15 takers. 

Über-toilet Jacksonville charges $36k per year in tuition. Suppose that it didn't give a single discount ("scholarship") and that it will fully collect tuition from all students but will not receive other income (so, for instance, no profitable sales of highly coveted Jacksonville sweatshirts). That's $500k in revenue. With ten scam-professors to pay, not to mention support staff, payroll alone will suck up all of revenue and much more. I'm well aware that few lawyers, and still fewer law-school scamsters, could perform arithmetic of this sort if their lives depended on it; but it doesn't take much intelligence—admittedly a lot more than one can expect from either the students or the faculty of this dump—to discern that erecting this edifice brick by brick while posting large losses is going to cost the parent institution a pretty penny. 

And ten professors for fourteen students? Why not throw in four more and offer full-time private tutoring? They're building it brick by brick, so they say, yet they front-load it with a bloated faculty. They could have started with two or maybe three professors for their tiny cohort, but they had to hire ten. Well, at least they included Scott DeVito, whose recent experience as scam-dean of Florida Coastal will come in handy when his new über-toilet likewise has to be wound up.

Indiana Tech offered to its handful of students such luxuries as four—four!—certificates in Global Leadership™ (a Fort Wayne specialty) and absurd courses such as Hip-Hop and the US Constitution. Old Guy would consider those frivolous at best, idiotic at worst if they were found at a serious law school like Harvard; at vacant Indiana Tech, they stood as monuments to the hauteur and self-importance of the scamsters who bled the parent university for their short-lived vanity project. Whatever can be said for the fifteen to thirty-odd dolts a year who signed up at Indiana Tech, they could ill afford to pose as the global leaders of tomorrow or listen to André Douglas "Dougie Fresh" "Pond Scum" Pond Cummings prate endlessly about hip-hop.

If Jacksonville University wants to be raped of its endowment for the sake of this flash in the pan, Old Guy certainly cannot stand in the way. He will only point out that opening in "the largest U.S. city without a law school" does not guarantee success. In Fort Wayne or Shreveport, in Anchorage or Murfreesboro, there is only so much demand from local people who want to go to law school but cannot move or commute a couple of hours away to attend a toilet school that at least has the significant advantages of an image (however shitty) and ABA accreditation. Very few people from other places will matriculate at Jacksonville, and those who do will probably be desperate for a visa or else will be bought off with free tuition—something that won't contribute to the über-toilet's coffers. Already Florida Coastal could not sustain itself even with a twentieth of its peak entering class in supposedly thriving Jacksonville, so why should an upstart in the same city do better? 

When will Jacksonville shut up shop? Difficult to say. That depends on the willingness of the parent university to inject cash. Old Guy would never have let it get past the bullshit "feasibility study" that must have been cobbled together, but maybe Jacksonville University is prepared to throw a lot of good money after bad. In the meantime, scamsters are about to pull the same stunt in North Carolina and West Virginia, and a foul über-toilet in Louisiana that draws its so-called students primarily from the low 140s on the LSAT is pretending to operate a branch in Shreveport. And the general public, saddled with federally guaranteed student loans that will never be repaid, will end up footing the bill.

Saturday, July 16, 2022

The seven tiers of law schools: update

Our article "The Seven Tiers of Law Schools" is now more than five years old. It's time for a brief update.

That article was written about seven months after the start of the wave of closures that continues to batter the law-school scam. Two schools in Tier 6 (the lowest tier) are described as "soon to be closed".

Well, in the ensuing five years, fourteen schools have closed (or switched to state accreditation only), if one counts three campuses of the Cooley chain as separate schools:

Cooley (one campus)
Hamline or Mitchell (the two merged)
Indiana Tech
Arizona Summit
Cooley (a second campus)
Thomas Jefferson (relinquished ABA accreditation in favor of state accreditation)
La Verne (relinquished ABA accreditation in favor of state accreditation)
Cooley (a third campus)
Florida Coastal

All fourteen of these defunct toilets were in Tier 6. Several others in Tier 6 are apparently endangered, and even Vermont (Tier 5) and the U of Minnesota (Tier 4) seem to be tottering financially. 

Old Guy hasn't taken the trouble to appraise each surviving law school anew and make adjustments to the tiers, mainly because his basic position remains the same: below Tiers 0–3, all schools should be avoided. Those four tiers collectively contain only thirteen law schools—the very ones that they contained five years ago. It's true that Tier 4 is not altogether out of the question for those who get free tuition (a "full scholarship", in scamsters' jargon), so maybe there's still a point in reviewing Tier 4, in which case Drake, Chicago–Kent, Case Western, and a few others would be demoted. But Tiers 5 and 6 really need not be finely distinguished. And Old Guy has doubts about Tier 4.

Anyway, for convenience' sake, here is the updated list—now down to six tiers, the last two from the old ranking having been consolidated:

———— * ————

TIER 0: Definitely worth attending. Leap at the chance to enroll at one of these schools, even if you have to borrow the full cost.

*** NONE ***

Comments: Formerly occupied by a handful of schools, this tier has been vacant for years and is likely to remain that way until the second half of the century. Not for nothing is it named Tier 0.


TIER 1: Excellent choices for trust-fund babies. Others should seriously consider them while bearing in mind the very real risk of a bad outcome. You cannot, after all, eat prestige for breakfast.


Comments: No, Stanford, your jive ass is not in the same league as Harvard and Yale. Petulant Californian demands for representation in Tier 1 don't sway me one bit.


TIER 2: Rich kids should feel free to attend these. Others should not enroll without a substantial discount and should weigh the risk of a bad outcome carefully.


Comments: Formerly this category also included Michigan and Penn.


TIER 3: Rich kids are likely to consider these insufficiently prestigious. Others should not even apply without a fee waiver and should not enroll without a large discount, probably at least 50% off; even then, the risk of a bad outcome would loom large.


Comments: This category, which has shrunk considerably since 2010 or so, is the end of the group that, as of the last time that I checked (, saw at least 50% of the graduating class get jobs in Big Law or federal clerkships. I advise against attending any school below Tier 3. Even Tier 1 is questionable nowadays.


TIER 4: Expect a disastrous outcome at these unless you get tuition waived, have local connections, and intend to build your career in the vicinity of the school (no farther away than, say, an adjacent state). As always, rich people can go to one of these schools if they really want to.

Arizona State
Boston College
Boston University
Brigham Young
California—Los Angeles
Florida State
George Mason
George Washington
Georgia State
Louisiana State
Loyola Marymount
New Mexico
North Carolina
Notre Dame
Ohio State
St. John's
Southern California
Southern Methodist
Texas A&M
Texas Tech
Wake Forest
Washington and Lee
Washington University in St. Louis
West Virginia
William and Mary

Comments: Many of these are what Paul Campos has called trap schools. Others are toilets with employment figures that are better than those of typical toilets. All are best avoided, from the faux-prestigious outskirts of Tier 3 to the toilety outskirts of Tier 5.


TIERS 5 & 6 (combined): Tier 5 was originally described as follows: "Don't go near these unless you are independently wealthy, crave a little wind-up-toy law degree, and are too dumb to get into a school in a higher tier even after exploiting your rich connections." Tier 6: "The survival of these into 2017 offers an argument against the existence of a just god. Anyone who enrolls at one of these should not be allowed to roam the streets unsupervised." Now, in 2022, Old Guy's ranking of law schools merges these into one tier: "Hell, no."

Arkansas—Little Rock
Ave Maria
California Western
Case Western Reserve
District of Columbia
Florida A&M
Golden Gate
Florida International
John Marshall—Atlanta
John Marshall—Chicago
Lewis and Clark
Lincoln Memorial
Loyola—New Orleans
Michigan State
Mississippi College
Missouri—Kansas City
Mitchell | Hamline
New England
New Hampshire
New York Law School
North Carolina Central
North Dakota
Northern Illinois
Northern Kentucky
Nova Southeastern
Ohio Northern
Oklahoma City
Pennsylvania State—Dickinson
Pennsylvania State—University Park
Roger Williams
St. Louis
St. Mary's
St. Thomas—Florida
St. Thomas—Minneapolis
San Diego
San Francisco
Santa Clara
Seton Hall
South Carolina
South Dakota
Southern Illinois
Southern University
South Texas
SUNY Buffalo
Texas Southern
Thomas Cooley
Wayne State
Western New England
Western State

Comments: The distinction between Tiers 5 and 6 was not meaningful in practice, except for a handful of rich kids. None of these schools is worth attending: all are very likely to lead to atrocious outcomes. Anyone with potential in the legal profession can do better than these. If the best that you can get is a school in this tier, do not go into law; find something else to do with your life. By the way, any new law school that may be opened—and it seems that three or four are in the works—will presumptively start in this tier and will probably never get out. Special circumstances that are unlikely to be repeated allowed Irvine to get into Tier 4, and even its scam-dean never aimed for Tier 3.


GRAVEYARD: These have been shut down since 2017, the start of the unprecedented wave of closures in which the anti-scam movement played a major role.

Cooley (one campus)
Hamline or Mitchell (the two merged)
Indiana Tech
Arizona Summit
Cooley (a second campus)
Thomas Jefferson (relinquished ABA accreditation in favor of state accreditation)
La Verne (relinquished ABA accreditation in favor of state accreditation)
Cooley (a third campus)
Florida Coastal

Comments: Every one of these was in Tier 6. Outside the Law School Scam reported on the deaths—often colorful—of every one of them. Expect more closures still, but not nearly enough.

Friday, July 1, 2022

"Law-school lite": will bachelor's degrees in "legal studies" deplete the ballyhoo'd "JD advantage"?

The so-called University of Southern California joins other institutions in offering a bachelor's degree in "legal studies".

In many countries, the professional degree in law is a bachelor's degree: students can go straight into preparation for the legal profession after finishing high school, without first obtaining a bachelor's degree in another field. This new bachelor's degree in "legal studies", however, will not give access to the bar. Its purpose is anything but clear. Scam-professor Bob Rasmussen denies that it is "law-school lite": he says that the program will impart "general knowledge for what you would want a smart, educated person to know about the law". Smart, educated people have presumably been learning about the law for centuries without the help of four-year degree programs, so I don't see the urgent need for this new degree. 

The curriculum includes the following courses: "Law and the U.S. Constitution in Global History, Law and Society, Introduction to Criminal Law, Fundamentals of the U.S. Legal System and Current Court Cases". That sounds pretty thin to me. "Current Court Cases" is obviously ephemeral, and a few of those other courses sound like candy-ass crapola of the dreaded "law and" variety. Conspicuously absent is rudimentary training (outside the criminal field): what exactly is a contract, and why should one care? 

Vague notions gleaned from "Law and Society" will not prove useful for employment. At first I speculated that the purpose of the degree was to curry favor with admissions offices at not-quite-toilety law schools. But the piece cited above ends with the following:

Undergraduate degrees in law could help graduates obtain JD-advantage jobs without the cost of a law degree, said Kyle McEntee, founder of the advocacy group Law School Transparency, in an interview with Reuters.

Kyle McEntee was indeed the founder of Law School Transparency, but this year he apparently sold it and the anti-scam movement for thirty pieces of silver and a cushy job at the LSAC. The law-school scam is unlikely to thank him for suggesting that jobs in its mythological "JD-advantage" category can be filled without the supposed advantage of a JD, just a cotton-candy bullshit bachelor's degree in "legal studies". Nor will scamsters be flattered by the unfavourable comparison of "the cost of a law degree" to that of majoring in "legal studies" in the course of an undergraduate program. 

If you are stupid enough to sign up for law school, expect to be undermined by a bunch of undergraduates who opt for "legal studies" instead of some other major with similarly bad prospects for employment. 

Wednesday, June 8, 2022

Namby-pamby ABA gives dispensation to non-compliant Cooley

Two years ago, when the ABA supposedly tightened its so-called Standard 316 for accredition of law schools, we pointed out the weaknesses in the new standard and predicted that the ABA would allow non-compliant schools to remain accredited. We were right.

Odious "Western Michigan University's" Thomas M. Cooley Law School, an erstwhile chain now shrunken to two outlets, has received a three-year "extension" of time to come into compliance. The standard requires that at least 75% of those who take a bar exam pass it within two years of graduation. Cooley's rates for 2020, 2021, and 2022, respectively, were 66.01%, 62.31%, and 59.51%. 

As we pointed out in the article cited above, law schools and their administrative enablers have resorted to various stratagems for temporarily bolstering bar-passage rates without improving quality. One popular old ruse was to cajole or bribe inferior students out of taking the exam, so that their predicted failure would not affect the bar-passage rate. Schools have been known to pay quite a few thousand dollars just to keep one student away from the exams. Another trick is to pare enrollment down artificially just long enough to make the school more "selective", with better students more likely to pass the exams—only to return to open admission as soon as the school achieved compliance with the norm. Unabashed pursuit of compliance has turned a number of über-toilets into glorified test-prep courses. And of course there is boundless potential for special pleading, flim-flam excuses, and other bullshit reasons to get "extensions" that amount to indefinitely renewable licenses for shameful non-compliances.

The scam-enabling ABA reassures us that Cooley's extension comes with strings attached:

They include working with faculty to improve teaching and learning, reviewing the effects of more rigorous grading policies, and making a “significant financial investment” in a “reliable plan” to ensure that the law school has resources to operate in compliance with the standards.

Also, the law school must adhere to a revised admissions policy, so entering classes have stronger success predictors for graduating and passing a bar exam.

What exactly is meant by "working with faculty to improve teaching and learning"? How will that be measured? Not at all, Old Guy imagines. What good will "reviewing the effects of more rigorous grading policies" do, especially if those "effects" turn out to be nil or negligible (or even negative)? Just what will the "reliable plan", the "resources to operate in compliance with the standards", and the "revised admissions policy" entail?

Note too that the ABA gave Cooley a three-year extension to a period of compliance that by default lasts only two years. One does not ordinarily think of an "extension" as being longer than the original period. Furthermore, with a bar-passage rate that shows a rapidly declining trend, Cooley is hardly the ideal candidate for an "extension". If Cooley gets a three-year extension for such dreadful results, would any school be denied?

When will the ABA cut the crap and admit that it is not serious about standards for accreditation?

Saturday, May 7, 2022

ABA proposes to abolish required testing for admission to law school

Having introduced the GRE as an alternative to the LSAT, the ABA now proposes to stop requiring any sort of test for admission to law school. Its so-called Strategic Review Committee recommends that Standard 503, which currently requires the use of "a valid and reliable admission test" (with some exceptions), be changed to read as follows: "A law school may use admission tests as part of sound admission practices and policies. The law school shall identify in its admission policies any tests it accepts."

Cui bono? Above all, the lousiest of the scam-schools. Once the one objective, uniformly assessed element of applications is eliminated, every über-toilet will be able to cover up the fact that it draws its marks primarily if not exclusively from the bottom of the barrel.

Even the LSAC, which produces the LSAT, has been in on the act, with a new alternative scheme for admission that will not require any standardized test. As far as Old Guy can tell, the scheme involves taking a couple of candy-ass courses that somehow magically prove suitability for law school.

Just stay the hell away from the law-school scam. Old Guy doesn't know what else to say.

Sunday, March 20, 2022

Law-school scam surges ahead

March 2022 has been a terrible month for the anti-scam movement, and we still have eleven days to go. Four major setbacks have come to our attention here at OTLSS.

The first was the announcement, reported in the previous article, that privately owned Jacksonville University plans to open a law school and has even obtained the required funding from the municipal government.

Soon after that, privately owned High Point University in High Point, North Carolina, announced that it too is going to open a law school, possibly within two years. As if that weren't foolish enough, the university also plans to open a school of optometry, a school of nursing, and a school of entrepreneurship (whatever that means), while spending $400M—about $70k per student—on construction. How it's going to pay for all of that I don't know, but I certainly am not offering to underwrite the loans. But the law school cannot possibly be needed. North Carolina already has six law schools (seven before the Charlotte School of Law went tits up), only one of them possibly worth attending in Old Guy's assessment. All of them are in the north-central part of the state, from Durham to Winston-Salem. One could drive to all six of those law schools in two hours or so. High Point University is only about twenty minutes' drive from two other law schools: Wake Forest, in Winston-Salem, and Elon, in Greensboro. Why the hell should another goddamn law school be built in that area? If it sees the light of day, it will certainly be another über-toilet, with not even accreditation to offer to new students. Like Indiana Tech, it will fold soon enough.

The third setback is the absorption of Law School Transparency into the Law School Admission Council. As the article states, "Law School Transparency was a thorn in the side of law schools when it launched in 2009, criticizing what it said was misleading graduate employment data and calling for changes in how schools report student outcomes". LST did good anti-scam work. Now the LSAC, which coordinates applications to law schools, produces the LSAT, and thus greatly promotes the law-school scam, has taken LST over. In exchange for surrending LST, Kyle McEntee, its director and founder, has been hired as "senior director"—perhaps one should say scamster-in-chief—of the LSAC. Et tu, Brute? 

And recently the LSAC has announced plans to introduce its "Legal Education Program" as an alternative to taking the LSAT. Until the past few years, law schools in the US and Canada (other than some non-English-speaking localities), and even a few in other parts of the world, required the LSAT of all applicants. A few schools introduced the GRE as an alternative, and many others followed suit even though it had not been approved by the American Bar Association (the scam-leading organization in charge of accreditation of law schools in the US). Now the LSAC will let applicants take a couple of years of courses in lieu of writing the LSAT. Billed as "equally valid", this new approach will serve mainly to confuse the data so that it will become impossible to assess student bodies objectively. Whatever its flaws (and Old Guy thinks that they are greatly overstated, mainly by scamsters and people who score poorly on the test), the LSAT provides a consistent measurement of applicants' ability to think logically and to understand English text. A few cotton-candy courses on "the skills necessary for success in law school", "the legal profession and law school experience", and "strong support networks" will not. 

The two proposed über-toilets aren't of great concern: they can be expected to shut down as quickly as they open. But the LSAC's little coups revitalize the law-school scam. Let's hope that they encourage the federal government to curtail access to student loans, without which the scam could not endure.

Wednesday, March 2, 2022

Jacksonville loses one über-toilet, will gain another

Jacksonville University in Jacksonville, Florida, has announced its intention to open another goddamn law school. Florida Coastal, also located in Jacksonville, survives only to give its last few students another year to finish their studies and collect a Mickey Mouse law degree from the last über-toilet of defunct scam-chain InfiLaw.

As usual, the stated justification is geographic. The mayor of Jacksonville reported that his is the largest city in the US that does not have a law school. (He said nothing about the one that is shutting its doors after having enrollment of almost 4000 students not many years ago. Might it be that Jacksonville just doesn't need a law school?) Of course, he also alluded to the supposedly vast numbers of local people who can't possibly get off their asses and go to any of the twelve law schools that already exist in Florida—such as the U of Florida, only about an hour and twenty minutes away—or for that matter to any of almost two hundred more distant law schools, practically all of which have more to offer than an upstart.

This would-be über-toilet is to be housed "in a downtown office building", rather like Thomas Jefferson School of Law and other whopping failures. Already the city of Jacksonville has pledged $5 million, curiously enough the very amount that the university expects to spend on opening its vanity project. Initially there will be only four professors, not exactly enough to offer Law 'n' Hip-Hop or a range of certificates in Global Leadership—nor even to inspire confidence in the university's commitment to sustaining the dump long enough for the first class to graduate.

Targeted enrollment for the initial class is 20 to 30 students. Within two years the university wants 150 students—whether per class or for the entire school is not clear. Nor is anything said about the important question of costs. Still, Old Guy has seen quite enough to advise resolutely against signing up for three years at an ill-considered über-toilet that may not last that long. Even a horrible shithole like Cooley is marginally better than this big if. Expect another Indiana Tech or worse.

Monday, February 7, 2022

Über-toilet coming to West Virginia?

A new bill before the West Virginia House of Delegates would establish a law school at Marshall University.

Now, Old Guy had never heard of Marshall University, but he can say that this proposal is even more ridiculous than the proposal to open a law school in Shreveport, Louisiana. West Virginia is declining in population. The largest city, Charleston, does not have even 50,000 people. Pretty though its mountains can be, the state is the very poster child of illiteracy and backwardness. (Q: What does a West Virginian girl say when she loses her virginity? A: "Cut it out, Pa; you're crushing my Marlboros.") This rural, retrograde state absolutely does not need even the toilet law school that it already has, let alone another one.

Even Brad D. Smith, the president of Marshall University, has expressed polite doubts. He points out that he and his colleagues have not "seen or conducted a market study for the development of a law school". Indeed, Mr. Smith, a sensible person would start there! Especially after the Indiana Tech catastrophe. But don't expect much sense in the West Virginian legislature.

How little sense? Have a look at this:

A law degree is one of the most versatile degrees, [Delegate Matt] Rohrbach said. Many corporate CEOs and other corporate leaders hold the degrees to help them better fulfill their roles without ever stepping [sic] foot in a courtroom, he said.

First of all, as we have said countless times, a law degree is actually one of the least versatile degrees. It's useful for practicing law—and just about nothing else. And it's not even very useful for that, because there are two graduates for every entry-level job. 

Second, we've also exposed the fallacy of concluding that the fact some "corporate leaders" or other supposedly prominent people have a degree in law implies that the degree contributed significantly to their professional attainment. Many "corporate leaders" own a set of golf clubs, but it does not follow that by buying a set of golf clubs you will stand a decent chance of becoming a "corporate leader".

Third, a new law school at Marshall University would only ever be an über-toilet, and anyone who wants an idea of what would await its graduates can have a look at the many über-toilets that see fewer than half of their graduates working in law ten months after graduation—and then usually in low-paying positions. An über-toilet in West Virginia could expect to fare even worse than its established counterparts in more urbanized states, because whatever demand there is for lawyers in West Virginia is amply met by the one law school in the state and others in the region. 

In a manner strikingly reminiscent of Indiana Tech's "feasibility study", Rohrbach maintained that his proposed law school would "fill[] the need in the Huntington, Charleston, Beckley market. There's [sic] a lot of people with a need, but they can't really quit what they're doing and move to Morgantown for three years" in order to study law at West Virginia University.

Why does that recall Indiana Tech? Because there too we were told of the vast numbers of people stuck in Fort Wayne who couldn't move their asses to attend one of several law schools within a two-hour drive. But the bogus "feasibility study" could not change the facts. What Indiana Tech found was that the local market consisted of a couple of dozen people at most—by no means enough to run a law school. And hardly anyone moved to Fort Wayne for the privilege of studying law 'n' hip-hop at Indiana Tech. The über-toilet was gone in four years, and the parent university lost much of its endowment on the disaster. The same fate would surely befall a law school at Marshall University, except that Fort Wayne—which is quite a bit bigger than Huntington, Charleston, and Beckley combined—would look downright promising in comparison to southwestern West Virginia.

Mr. Smith, take it from Old Guy: resist every effort to saddle your institution with a law school. 

Friday, January 28, 2022

No merger of Akron and Cleveland State

Toilet law schools University of Akron and Cleveland-Marshall College of Law (Cleveland State University) contemplated a merger, but now those plans are off. It seems that each of the toilets wanted to maintain its campus.

Old Guy never saw anything to be gained from pretending that Cleveland and Akron, a good 45 minutes apart, offered fertile ground for this endeavor. He remains of the view that both law schools should close down—as indeed should all nine law schools in Ohio. The best of the lot is Ohio State University, which ridiculously insists on styling itself "The Ohio State University"—a mediocrity where more than a quarter of the class ends up not working in law after graduation. Far better law schools than this can be found nearby in Michigan, Pennsylvania, Illinois, and Ontario. Down in the depths of über-toiletry lies dreadful Ohio Northern University, which, with only 59 students in the latest entering class, is likely to dry up and blow away. More than two-thirds of the class gets discounts ranging from 50% to 100+% (that's right, outright bribery occurs at the top), while 40% of the graduates find themselves not working in law (and usually not working at all) ten months after graduation.

Despite its undeniable charms, the Buckeye State just does not need a law school at all, let alone a reformed or reconstituted Akron–Cleveland hybrid. The entire region spills over with law schools from Tier 2 to Tier 6. How exactly a large state like Ohio has managed to assemble an assortment of law schools ranging from humdrum to shitty is a good question for historians of the law-school scam, but in practice all nine should go. Never mind that it is a big state; never mind that under more propitious circumstances it might have pulled off a respectable law school: it has not done so, and now is certainly not the time to try.

If you live in Ohio or Indiana, your nearest choices of decent law schools are Michigan, Chicago, Northwestern, Penn, and probably a couple of schools north of the Great Lakes. Do not go to any Buckeye or Hoosier law school.