Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Legal Practice Guide 1: Making Up Your Own Duty and Requiring New Graduates to File Employment Returns

Law schools are often accused by their least stable outputs of not teaching how to practice law.  In this new series, the LSTC illustrates how to practice law like a professional, using concepts gleaned from the good news headlines of America's legal academy.

Every decent lawyer knows that a negligence claim requires an allegation of duty and that most contracts require some sort of detriment or undertaking to provide consideration and make the contract legally binding, which is basically a synonymous way of saying the parties each take some sort of duty except we can't tilt the little pinball machines in the 1Ls heads too much or else the alarm goes off and they transfer to business school, blue balls, etc.

Anyway, imagine that you're a lawyer and your client really wants to sue someone because that someone did something naughty.  Or, shit, let's say the person's just a bad person.  Say - hypothetically - that you want to stop a blabby former mistress from telling the world about your ten-second performance and hammer-and-sickle tattoo.  No NDA?  No revenge porn?  Sorry, junior.

A lot of mediocre lawyers would take an overly simplistic approach:  if you didn't have a contract and they didn't have a duty under a common law or statutory tort, you don't have a case.

Great lawyers know better.  Great lawyers know that you're faced with a losing hand and your draft Complaint reads like nothing more than a filmy, oozing soapbox, you can still leach your client for tons of fees by making up your own duties.

And you might say, "whoa, LSTC, isn't that the job of legislatures and Supreme Courts."  Well, yeah, chowderhead, but it's not like those people are smart and can come up with ideas on their own.  They need you.

Pace Assistant Dean Jill Backer isn't just a professional-grade whiner, she knows how to make up her own duties that don't many a damn bit of sense but help her out immensely.  BUT FIRST - the foreplay:
[M]ore and more millennials intend to earn a J.D. to use the knowledge it offers in more novel, entrepreneurial venues. Most people agree that a J.D. is a flexible degree, so are we losing the forest for the trees with what we count and how we count it?
Pace, obviously, is getting screwed by not being able to fully count the spate of highly successful Wall Street bro's who graduate from there.

That's a problem, of course, because the JDs who want to practice law are obviously too busy minting their own money to return a phone call:
The real kicker of this whole reporting situation is that while the law schools are required to gather and report this data, no law student is required to provide this information to their law school. In what world does that make logical sense? As a requirement of an ABA law school approved diploma, students providing this information should be mandatory.  Without any requirements for the students to report this information, career centers nationwide have been forced to turn dwindling human capital into detectives—begging, pleading, cajoling the information out of reluctant or sometimes defiant students has become the norm. In addition, career services personnel have become expert online stalkers to obtain required data from social media.
Understandably, Backer is deeply distressed at the countless staff hours wasted checking Linkedin and Facebook, both of which are totally reliable, of course, all because a few graduates can't be bothered to write "Sullivan and Cromwell, $six figures" on an index card and mail it in.

Solution?  Public kvetching, sure, but go further:  tack on a made-up duty.

Want this glistening diploma?  Give us a kidney promise to call and tell us how you're pissing in nine months.  Nothing could plausibly support such a requirement - no one would have jurisdiction to enforce it and by its nature there could no teeth to it.  The schools are the business, the one with an interest in accreditation.  But damn these fucking kids these days for turning their hard-working career services folks into harassing stalkers instead of handing out internship applications and dusting up resumes.

As an alternative, we should just assume that a graduate who can't be bothered to turn over personal employment information to their beloved law school is simply too busy to respond and, therefore, gainfully JD-required employed with a gravy-soaked salary and a smile on their faces.  If anything, that's the one issue I take with Backer: these are obviously your most successful students; why goad them into helping you comply with the rules when you could just make shit up?

But Backer is already playing at an advanced level.  Facts against you, argue law.  Law against you, make up your own!

Scam on.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Shut Up and Make Your Money

It's difficult to comprehend the chutzpah of young lawyers, emboldened by their exponential, skyward salaries, the flaming sword of justice at their sides, all of sudden they start demanding things like making stupid-money is some sort of democracy.

Thanks, Kyle McEntee, you ungrateful bastard.
That report, titled A Way Forward: Transparency in 2018, calls for the ABA to immediately add two young lawyers to the legal education council and eventually designate two of the 15 at-large council positions for young lawyers.
“The deans and faculty on the Council know the cost of today’s tuition only in the sense that they can recite the price,” the report reads. “They do not understand the life impact of tuition prices of $40,000, $50,000, or even more than $60,00[0] per year have on decision making.”
It's minimal.  When you make $180,000/year, $50k in debt is a sneeze on the morning crapper.  It doesn't matter if your old or young or from the dark side of Uranus. Money's money.

And what of young lawyers wanting to join forces with the ABA?  Is that not a party admission that the ABA is looking out for the best interests of all lawyers young and old?
Beyond the addition of two young lawyers to the council, providing more data on law student borrowing, diversity, and bar pass rates will help legal educators better understand the larger trends, McEntee said.
We know the larger trends.  We make lots of money.  You human communion wafers make slightly less money.  Clients win, law firms win, justice wins, etc.  No one loses in this scenario.

So stop complaining.  Make your money, enjoy the whirlpool in the belly, and pay the generosity forward to the next morsels of food sliding down the tube of digestive love.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

The Battle of North Carolina Continues

As you may recall, Charlotte Law School was driven to closure by what can only be described as fascist extremism in a late and disproportionate reaction to the completely unexpected changes in the legal and legal education sectors after the global recession of 2008.

Now the implicit Hunger Games continue; North Carolina Central - the state's only law school for black people - is in the radar of these white-collar cannibals.
Alumni leaders started suspecting N.C. Central University’s law school might wind up in trouble with the American Bar Association when they saw last summer that slightly more than a third of the 2016-17 first-year class had washed out.

Now, they’re waiting to see how the school answers the ABA’s December demand for a report on admission standards...

NCCU law’s first-year attrition rate had floated between 20 and 30 percent for four years before spiking to 34.3 percent in 2016 and 37.7 percent in 2017.  
That's it?  37%?

As the article points out, NCC uses a more aggressive grading curve compared to its local rivals Duke and UNC-Chapel Hill, where students can be relatively lazy.  At NCC, they prepare students for the real world with tough love and C-averages.

That isn't the LSTC propagandizing, either.  It's in the damned article, as is the claim that NCC is low-cost and that it's better to flunk out students quickly than keep them around for three years and "laugh[] to the bank."

The LSTC concurs, obviously.  Different strokes (no "Diff'rent Strokes" pun intended!) for different folks.  The ABA should embrace diversity in the law school community and realize that if a school wants to enroll a full brood and drown the bottom 40% in the river, they should be free to do so.

As then-student Martin Luther King once wrote, "[i]f we are not careful, our colleges will produce a group of close-minded, unscientific, illogical propagandists, consumed with immoral acts."  If the ABA is hell-bent on making North Carolina nothing more than pompous cane-wielding graduates of Duke and North Carolina, it should be prepared for a homogeneous that serves a very narrow set of interests - none of which will be criminal defendants, sub-rich civil litigants, or the cocktail party's worth of people who benefit mightily from our most sacred and lucrative legal industrial complex.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Fake News Awards 2018

Our President sees fit to publish a list of award-winning fake news stories.  Those in the law school skepticism business seem to love centralized accrediting authorities, so surely they agree with the executive up top in spirit.

It's a herculean effort and the President is to be commended.  As much as the LSTC would like to issue similar awards for fake news in legal education, we lack the time, energy, and fortitude to wade through the massive heaping pile o' bullshit that's been published in the last year telling people how bad legal education is, usually because they're false flaggin' it, selfishly wanting the perceived value of law school stock to drop so they can profit from the shortage of good lawyers.  They're selfish assholes and law schools are the good guys.  Don't forget that.

So we'll give an award out for the fakest article published in the last forty-eight hours.  Let's go with this one.  That was easy.
After enjoying an enrollment surge in the first decade of the new century, many law schools have more recently struggled mightily amid a dearth of jobs for young lawyers, dwindling student interest, worries schools were encouraging students to take on high debts they would struggle to repay, and intense criticism that many schools had been admitting students who never had the academic chops necessary to become practicing lawyers.
F is for Fake like Orson Wells wrote it.
Experts predict the contraction will come not among the largest, most prestigious institutions, but among small, private law schools that are already struggling to enroll enough students who can pass the bar.
Experts?  Fake like your step-mom's bazongas.
Some schools find themselves facing the unsavory choice of admitting more students who might not be able to pass the bar or not admitting enough tuition-paying students to keep the doors open.
Fake like the Faberge egg your Grandpappy lost in a poker game in Altoona, 1956.
Pass rates started slipping several years ago, though -- right around the time when students admitted in years with sharply fewer LSAT takers would have been graduating and passing the bar.
Fake like the first moon landing, fake.

This article is a whopping 4000 words and can't even be bothered - once - to give credit where credit is due and thank American law schools for providing the world's most affordable and efficient means of training young lawyers.  Worse, it can't even be honest and admit that even painted in the worst light possible, law school is still a winning option for the 99% of us not born with F-you money.

I've been railing against legal education's malicious detractors approaching five years now.  Trump's calls fake news are nothing new to me.  These reality-benders have been plaguing education for ages, and it's high time we had leadership in the White House and Department of Education who knew how to ignore "evidence" and let the state-boosted crony-market do its nasty thing.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

On Arizona Summit: You Maniacs, You're Blowing It Up

One day, a million gazillion years from now, our descendants - malformed from a tortured re-evolution path within an irradiated (but just!) dust-bowl planet after we wipe ourselves out with nukes and viruses - will want to know what happened.

They will dig in the sand and eventually they will discover a law school called Arizona Summit.  And in their primitive English-gruntspeak dictionary, they will see what "summit" means and they will know that it was the greatest law school in the history of law schools. 

Their historians will theorize, speculate, and keep digging.  When figuring out what went wrong and how they can avoid our decaying fate, they will see articles such as this flushed turd:
A letter from Barry Currier, the ABA's managing director of Accreditation and Legal Education, said the school is not in compliance with an ABA financial standard that states "the current and anticipated financial resources available to the law school shall be sufficient for it to operate in compliance with the standards and to carry out its program of legal education."

The ABA is asking school officials to submit a financial report by Feb. 1 and to appear before the accrediting committee again in mid-March.
They will wonder at our peculiar cultural rituals, our administrative meddling song-and-dance, and be baffled at the hurdles we placed before august institutions who merely want to train aspirants to live in line with our most important virtues at a reasonable government-funded profit.

"But father," a child will say, "could they not see the folly of fascist educational policies?"
"No, child," the father will say, "they felt that legal training could only be done at schools that were financially viable and rigorous enough to produce qualified practicing lawyers."
"What silly times, papa!  No wonder their society collapsed."
"Indeed.  Now we are enlightened, and give everyone a graduate level education in the ways of justice."
"If only we had a time machine to guide them away from darkness!"

I don't understand how you can undercut federal funding and then get mad when the institutions lack sufficient "financial resources."  And doesn't this undercut the argument that law schools are filthy rich?

It's a mad world, and you're all maniacs.  Hopefully whatever deformed, inbred donkey-boner finds this in the remnants of some fossilized server knows I'm one of the good guys.  We tried, Gaug-Vrax.  Oh how we tried.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

ABA Against Success and Opportunity

First, the LSTC is extremely disappointed that no mainstream legal commenter that we have seen has yet called Matthew Riehl a scamblogger.  Not one! 

Second, here's Brian Tamanaha's latest screed, where he accuses law schools of running afoul of Standard 501(b), which requires that law schools only admit applicants who "appear capable" of becoming lawyers because Interpretation 501-3, which proposes a rebuttable presumption of failure at 20% non-transfer attrition.
[Interpretation 501-3] was adopted to prevent schools from admitting large numbers of unqualified students, collecting tuition, then failing them out. In particular, the concern motivating the new interpretation was that law schools in danger of violating bar passage standard 316 might protect their bar pass rate by dismissing students they perceive to be a high risk of failing the bar....

The 509 reports indicate that 14 law schools have run afoul of interpretation 501-3, thus incurring a presumption that they have violated Standard 501(b).
There's a chart with numbers for those geeks so inclined.  Apparently, the ABA's standards are so warped that they've ensnared long-successful programs like Capital and Golden Gate.

The presumption is obviously rebuttable, but let's rebut anyway!

First, the employment market is red-hot.  Do we know why these students are leaving? If they've found a different million-dollar train, why is that the good-hearted school's fault?  Wouldn't Widener be the victim in that case?

Second, a twenty percent attrition means an eighty percent success rate (math!).  That's pretty darned good!  Imagine if you're a tax driver and only 20% of your passengers die on the way to their destination.  You're probably turning a profit!

Third, even if we assume that these students are "unqualified" (whatever that means), why is this even a bad thing?  Law schools are giving people a chance to better themselves, to take a dice roll at their greatest ambitions. Isn't that worth a $75k fedloan voucher?  Isn't that open road American dream worth leaving ensuring the future of a variety of educational institutions, some of which are Harvard and some of which are borderline mafia-run divebars?  And what of the other students - aren't you harming them by telling law schools not to fish for minnows anymore? 

Fourth, what does "appear capable" of graduating and passing the bar even mean?  The typical maternity ward is full of spongy things that appear capable of someday being lawyers, and that's before we consider intelligent animals and various stains on walls.

Exactly what anti-capitalist interests is the ABA protecting, anyway?

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Merry Christmas, You Barely Successful Non-Victims

As the Gospel of Mark says, blessed if you do; blessed if you don't. 

The Trump Administration hasn't just brought back Merry Christmas.  They've also undercut core principles of basic fraud jurisprudence dating back years with breathlessly under-cooked rationale.  Aunt Betsy isn't just giving you a half-knit scarf this year!
DeVos said under the new standards, forgiveness will now be tied to students’ income as a way of measuring whether they did enjoy some benefit from their educations—even if they were deceived about the worth of their diplomas.
The DOE said students who currently earn less than half the income of their peers from a "passing gainful employment program" will get full relief. Those earning half as much or more than students who completed similar schooling, however, will get "proportionally tiered relief.” According to the government table released Wednesday, an affected student making 70 percent of a peer's income would get just 30 percent loan relief.
While this delightfully asinine and senselessly puerile policy appears to apply only to Corinthian College students, why wouldn't it apply to so-called "victims" of for-profit - or for-profit non-profit - law schools?

As an example, using these tables, let's say you, Skippy, graduate from Charlotte Law and get a job as a public defender in Appalachia making $49k/year.  You owe $250k.  The "peers" are deemed to make like $70k/year - which is artificially low, as we all know, but the government low-balls these things. Despite being gainfully employed in a prestigious position, you are going to get a THIRTY PERCENT DISCOUNT! on your loans.

Your $250k loan just shrank to $175k.  At 6.8% interest, you'll owe only $1,140.87 per month on a 30-year repayment plan with your lush public defender salary.  Makin' America Great Again, indeed!

If there's one thing that's true about federal government policies, it's that they really work their best when they encourage beneficiaries to sandbag by redefining core concepts.  It's been true forever that no one who succeeds in life has been defrauded; we just needed Betsy Devos to deliver us the Good News, so come ye faithful, the herald angel's singing, they have opened heaven's door and we are blest forevermore.

Merry Christmas, you chestnut-crusted yule logs.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Making Law School Great(er) Again

This one's behind a pay wall - and I prefer to donate money to legal education and/or pay student loans to helping what is otherwise fake news - but like an iceberg, the visible stuff's pretty enough:
After years of plummeting enrollment and hand-wringing over the value of a law degree, interest in law school is starting to rebound. The number of people applying to law school for next fall is up nearly 12% compared with the same period a year earlier, and around 14% more applications have been submitted, according to the Law School Admission Council.
The title hints that politics has triggered a new wave of snowflakes to study law.  As we all know, the supple droids that graduate law school in 2021 will have the tools and authority to correct the political problems of 2016.  They just will.

Why didn't we think of this sooner?

For years, legal academics have marched in lock-step with hippies, lesbians, and socialists, taking far-flung progressive positions to form a vital part of the mythical intellectual vanguard.  That stereotype surely attracted a certain number of like-minded students (members of Antifa, you know), but not nearly enough recently to make up for the slanderous national conspiracy against premium lawyering and keep several schools from closing.

Instead, law professors should have gone full-hilt theocratic libertarian alt-right Nazi.  Millenials, it seems, are more motivated by Twitter-fueled disgruntlement than the promise of untold riches.  Demented weirdos, sure, but indubitably exploitable.

In the ignorant Obama years, no one had yet learned that the only way to keep America from descending into hyperbolic fascism is to send our youth to study West Coast Hotel v. Parrish.  The biggest advertisement for law school isn't becoming a skilled professional making easy money.  It's stoking the illusion of needed reform by letting the nation be run by barely competent alt-right goons for a few years.

It's one thing if you try telling students that motions in limine are important for parties to keep out problematic evidence.  Yawn.

Instead, why don't you nominate a lifetime federal judge who doesn't know what a motion in limine is?  That will outrage the little fuckers, plus everyone will think there's a shortage of trained experts who know what these complex and incredibly rare motions are.  Now we need a Jedi army of thousands to learn about pre-trial motion practice and strike back.

12-14% is a good start, but we can do better.  25%?  50%?  Let's make America great again by getting our law school output back to 2005.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

#MeToo: The Prosper Act

I've been touched inappropriately and it's called the Prosper Act.



How the holy fuck can we profit mightily shilling these little shitbags for a measly $28,500?  It costs like $25k just to live in New York with three roommates and a sugar daddy.  Where's St. Johns' and NYLS' cut? 

You know how much money it costs to run a law school?  It's really not much, but it's at least $50k a head for reasonable expenses, particularly with this newer technology the kids demand like white boards and digital projectors. Plus the legal education sector has to compete with the Cravaths and Sullivans of the world for staff.

If these assholes actually kept up with the economic literature instead of the fake news, they would know that every year of legal education yields a lifetime earings premium of $333,333.33.  Minimum.  That's not just phony, mythical money some economic scholars and law school sycophants pulled out of their asses.  It's totally real money in a totally real economy once you get past Marven Gardens.

You think with that sort of premium these butt monkeys can't pay back a meager $75k loan at 7%?  That's easy passive income for Uncle Sam.

With limiting it to $28,500, they're not just morons in Washington D.C., they're abusive.  I'm not going to analogize to a specific sexual predator because that would be somewhat offensive, but I know some law deans would much rather have a dude jack off in their face than be limited to only $28,500 in loans.   About 195 or so.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Cardozo Accepts GRE to Get In on Bitcoin Law Bubble

Pinch me, baby, it's Bitcoin law

Not to be outdone by its metropolitan peers, Cardozo will also be accepting the GRE in addition to, or instead of, the LSAT.

Cardozo gets double points for connecting this move to red-hot Bitcoin law, one of the hottest new trends in legal services.
“We are on the cutting edge of law and technology with expanded programs in bitcoin, cybersecurity, data law and more,” said Dean Melanie Leslie. “The opportunity to accept both the GRE and the LSAT could not come at a better time for applicants and for Cardozo.”
I'd say.   Bitcoin prices have created millionaires all over the place.  They've got to put that new easy money somewhere, and why not into extremely niche, fad boutique law practices, to wit: Bitcoin law?

It's just like the space law rush of a few years ago.  1998 we didn't have space law.  Now we've got space lawyers from Poughkeepsie to Monterey Bay ready for the Mars invasion and disputes over asteroid mining trusts.

Now it's Bitcoin law. Bitcoin needs lots of lawyers ready to tackle its problems.  It's international.  Computer-y.  Financial.  People are going to want to know how to use Bitcoin as collateral, pass Bitcoins to their next of kin, and use Bitcoins to decorate the lavatory.

Cardozo's way ahead of the curve on this one.  Accepting the GRE means you'll pull in all those genius-mopes, would-be scientists and economists, who can't be bothered to take the proper test.  Because, you know, lots of people unwilling to spend three figures and a spare Saturday are willing to spend three years and six figures growing older and fatter, but super-wiser with a more refined liver.

Just think.  In the fall of 2015 if you'd invested $150,000 in Bitcoin it would now be worth over $4 million even after the recent pull-back.  But if you'd invested it in Bitcoin law, you'd be positioned in a few months to be the leading Bitcoin lawyer in America, which is worth way more than $4 million.

Bitcoin law!  Tell me Bitcoin law is a search term.  It's it not, Bitcoin law should be.

By accepting the GRE, Cardozo is taking a splendid step towards not discriminating against those people simply because they don't have a second free Saturday for some ludicrous standardized test, particularly one so discriminatory against the lawyers of tomorrow.  His Honor would be proud.