Sunday, November 19, 2017

Alabama Pride

The football teams are good, but the lawyers?  They're even better, thanks to some excellent law schools in Alabama.

Roy Moore has been in the national news lately for trying to court women because, you know, 2017 is such a whack, perverse, ahistorical year we've now entirely repudiated the time-honored dating technique of harassing teen girls at 2nd rate malls

Moore himself went to the state's flagship law school, the U. of Alabama.  Despite being an apparently mediocre student, losing multiple elections, having multiple bar complaints against him, and switching party affiliations in 1992, Moore was appointed a circuit court judge in 1992.  Eight years later, despite the ACLU trying to stop him, he won election to the Alabama Supreme Court.  Cruel happenstance removed him from the high court, but in 2012, he did the unthinkable and won a second election to the court.  Now, he is poised to do what many lawyers seek by using his legal knowledge to help transition to the non-legal sector.

Imagine the swelling pride at the University of Alabama, having, 40-some years ago, put this young pioneer on the path to success!  It stirs the mind to glorious wonder:  what new arrivals to today's law schools will be tomorrow's Roy Moores, navigating the perilous rapids and thick forests of oppression to national prominence?  Those of you wanting to snuff out sub-150 LSATs or placing other undue restrictions on today's enrollees...what if you are barring the next Roy Moore from being barred?

Imagine the glorious power of rubber-stamping "YES" on applications!  Of knowing that you're securing a bright future, not only for America, but for teen girls looking for lawyer husbands!

And whom did this SuperLawyer hire when HE himself needed a lawyer?  Trenton Garmon, that's whom.  A graduate of the proud Birmingham School of Law.

Garmon likewise is doing Birmingham proud.
Thus, do you know this clearly, yet significant difference which your client’s publication(s) have failed to distinguish. And the legal requirement that your client retract the stories, to include the details which clearly are false.
Birmingham is state-accredited.  Often, these fine institutions exist because the ABA standards are too unnecessarily stringent in multiple respects and may inhibit innovative processes.  Here, we see elegantly transgressive prose, a composition so mind-blowing its merits are being lauded across the snippy internet despite its disregard of "traditional" style and grammar rules.

Garmon has also made noteworthy television appearances and was apparently disciplined one for over-zealous advocacy, as if we do not want that from our lawyers.

All from a "lower-tier" school not even accredited by the American Bar Association.  That's the power of law school, and thank God Alabama understands it enough to have state-accredited lawsuits to supplement its ABA-accredited output.

In a state-by-state review, Alabama gets an A.

Monday, November 13, 2017

How Texas A&M Rose in the Rankings

Giddy-up Aggies; Texas A&M has been rising in the coveted and self-worth-establishing law school rankings.

Why?  Is it a shallow and transparent admission that law school rankings are ultimately little more than superficial national name recognition and the people sorting these things are the type of clueless sinecures who wind up on blue ribbon task forces? 

Not entirely!  The Star-Telegram has the propaganda hard-hitting reporting:
[I]nside, the school — acquired by A&M from Texas Wesleyan in 2013 — has gone from unranked to one of the top 100 in the country, hiring more than 25 new professors in the last two years, improving job placement numbers and putting itself on a competitive playing field with well-established law schools in the state, such as SMU, the University of Houston and Baylor.
...
“While the reputation score went up simply because of the name, I think [Dean] Morriss did actually improve the academic caliber of the school,” [Demigod Distinguished Prof. Brian] Leiter said. “Lateral hires are certainly the right investment to make over the long haul. They’re already known quantities. People take notice if they see those people going to Texas A&M. They go, ‘Oh, things must be happening there.’ 

The way Leiter sees it, A&M is already in a position to at least be competitive with SMU in attracting prospective law students to North Texas.
Surely, the Dallas legal community has already adjusted its hiring networks accordingly.

Perhaps best of all is the school's charity. They magnanimously let a third of the would-be class pursue the million-dollar dream elsewhere:
A&M’s enrollment has decreased from 774 in 2013, when it acquired the school, to 484 last year, according data from the American Bar Association.
Watch out, Texas...

As an unrelated aside, are YOU still running a no-name law school?  Drop that zero and get yourself a BRAND!  All sorts of good affiliations still available.  Princeton, Dartmouth, Brown, MIT, CIT, Central Florida, Clemson, Colorado State, San Marcos, Middle Tennessee St., Cal State Whatever, Mississippi St, Providence, Grand Canyon, Utah State, Butler, Delaware, Nevada-Reno, Boise State, Army, Navy, Air Force, Wossamatta, PCU, you name it!  Why is your school still named after John Marshall like a loser?

Friday, November 3, 2017

Dance the Charleston and Don't Let Bar Failure Stop Your Sunshine and Rainbows

Eventually.

Eventually we all die.  Eventually the sunshine will end and the Earth will be a cold rock drifting in nothing.  Eventually a half-eaten carrot will pass the bar examination and the next day triumph over RoboDarrow 8500 in a motion hearing where a computer program sued itself.

Charleston School of Law only had 44% of its graduates pass the July bar examination compared to 76% from the University of South Carolina.

Don't worry, though.  Dean Andy Abrams has the magic bag o' excuses very sound rational reasons ready to list:
This is the first year South Carolina has administered the Uniform Bar Examination,
...
"It's not a bad skill set to test; it's just very different from the way bar exams have been in the past," Abrams said.
...
Abrams said the Charleston School of Law might be seeing the long-term effects of some high-performing students who transferred out after school leaders entered negotiations with the for-profit management group InfiLaw System in 2013.
...
Abrams also pointed out that while this year's bar results look bleak, Charleston School of Law students tend to perform well in the long run. Law school grads may re-take the bar multiple times, and, according to Abrams, 90 percent of the school's graduates eventually have passed a state bar exam, either in South Carolina or another state.
First:  Bar examiner rug-pulling perfidy.

Second:  Evil capitalist sabotage.

Third:   Eventually the school's grads at an acceptable rate.

We saw this recently with Florida Coastal, now with Charleston, and probably other schools, the defense that the school's graduates eventually pass the bar even if they fall like advancing troops at Verdun the first time around.  Soon, no doubt, we'll see even more law schools adopting the talking point, as s tradition.

And why not?  For years - imprisoned, despondent years - "transparency" enthusiasts have encouraged everyone to look at long-term results, i.e., how much wealth these young strokes are going to accrue before retiring at 52 to sail and drink wine from around the world.

Why not apply that long term focus to bar exams?  Instead of "first time pass results," ask who passes it eventually.

Who does anything right the first time anyway?  You hit a home run your first time at the plate, slugger?  Paint like Rembrandt?  Lay tracks like 2 Chainz?  Cook a perfect omelet?  Make her wake the neighbors?

Of course, if we really look at the eventually side of things, 100% of law school graduates win, every time.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Jacksonville Horror Story, Part II

We've had some fun on Halloween here at the LSTC.  Three years ago, we introduced Dean Satan with a spooky tale of law school remorse.  Last year, we shared the spine-tingling, chilling story of Indiana Tech.

But perhaps our greatest Halloween horror story came in 2015, when Florida Coastal dean Scott DeVito went like Jason Voorhees with the chainsaw of Truth on the school's critics.
Our alumni repay their loans at a higher rate than the “elite” schools.
...
Sometimes it takes a for-profit entity to right a wrong—in this case the lack of diversity in law schools.
...
...taxpayers are not paying for our students’ education.
...
If the board comes I think they will be delighted with what they see: a law school that is educating and preparing a diverse group of students for success in a way that is better than traditional not-for-profit law schools.
Ghoulish carnage.  And like Freddy Kruger, there ain't no keeping a diabolical antihero away...

He's baccccckkkkk...

As first act backstory in this sequel, the stodgy, outworn ABA is questioning Florida Coastal's compliance with ABA standards, presumably in response to grossly misleading first time bar exam pass rates of 25% (Feb. 2017) and 47.7% (July 2017).
Barry Currier, ABA managing director of accreditation and legal education, wrote in a letter to the school Oct. 12 that the Accreditation Committee concluded Florida Coastal is not in compliance with regard to maintaining a rigorous program of education that prepares its graduates for admission to the Bar.
The boiling of the administration's blood - that stirring that will eventually lead to scalding vengeance against the naive population - is palpable even as one reads this ridiculous introductory paragraph.

And sure enough, in the second act, here comes our hero like Pennywise the Dancin' Fuckin' Clown:
DeVito said the “ultimate pass rate” for Florida Coastal graduates is in the high 90s.
...
When the ultimate pass rate is considered, “we are fully compliant,” DeVito said, “and our projections are we will remain in compliance.”
So much blood... so much blood...  so much blood...

You know what's morbidly scary?  The thought of Jacksonville, Florida - a metropolitan area of 1.6M - having to ship bright young 0Ls to Gainesville, Orlando, or Tallahassee for cost-inefficient legal education.  That's fucking scary.

I'm back to the Trick or Treat door with my A-game brogues, snifter of brandy, and model girlfriend dressed like a horny cheerleader.  Everyone gets a Snickers and a law school application.  Helen next door may be handing out scrumptious cookies, but I'm doling out tickets to these little rat bastards' futures.

Friday, October 27, 2017

The Grisham Endorsement

In The Rooster Bar, John Grisham, a proud but typical third-tier graduate now worth well over $100 million, features for-profit law school graduates who, with bootstrap-pulling moxie and legal knowledge, win big and drink from the golden tits at the milk bar.

The media is trying to spin it as "Grish" putting such institutions in his cross-hairs, but he's actually quite complimentary of legal education if you think about it.

For one thing, he rightly chose to focus on a for profit institution, preserving the sacrosanct truth that non-profit schools serve the public good and don't lead to the sort of spooky Halloween-level fictions of joblessness, debt, and skill mismatch.

For another thing, he doesn't even excoriate all for-profit schools.
According to the American Bar Association, there are currently six for-profit law schools in America that are accredited. One of them, the Charlotte School of Law, was recently closed.

"Not all the schools are shady....." 
See?  Using super-lawyer logical reasoning, that means no more than five (5) of the ABA's 205 accredited schools are "shady," which is less than 2.5%.

"Grish" may not write sex scenes well, and he may not have known about the student debt crisis until 2014, and his books may be highly enjoyable formula pieces about superficial injustices, but god damn it, the man understands law.

Not having read or even been sent a courtesy copy of The Rooster Bar, I have no idea if there's a dedication.  But let's give "Grish" a proposed epigraph for his next book, which I can only hope will be about an enterprising law dean who fights defamatory and unscrupulous journalists in the trenches of a courtroom and torches their asses with the hellfire of precise rhetoric and glimmering cuff-links:

97.5% of law schools are not shady. 
- John Grisham

Saturday, October 21, 2017

California Bar Exam Held Hostage

As you will recall, a common thread lately is bar examiners unreasonably rejecting qualified lawyers, much as armies everywhere reject 6'1"/180 workout freaks because they had a pulled muscle or a sinus infection that cost them 300 points on an entrance exam.

It's baffling.  We have a known justice gap.  People are going unrepresented.  Doesn't repeating this resonate?  Default judgments are a norm and government offices are burdened with lots of paper that extra lawyers should shuffle with aplomb.  It's beyond debate that the solution to our national crisis is turning as many 22-year-old waifs into 25-year-old card-carrying bar journal cover photos.

I've been on a multi-year crusade to get my readers to understand the importance of letting any shit with a briecase defend a murderer.  You'd think our cloistered elites would at least grasp the concept before the proletariat.  You really would.

And yet even the California Supreme Court doesn't even get it.
In view of the rising costs of legal education and the financial hardship potentially resulting from non-admission to the California bar, the court determined last February to assess whether the current pass score (cut score) of 1440 for the California bar exam is appropriate for evaluating the minimum competence necessary for entering attorneys to practice law in this state.
...
On September 13, the court received the State Bar’s “Final Report on the 2017 California Bar Exam Standard Setting Study.” ...  Opinions of the study were mixed:  two independent psychometricians identified flaws in the study but ultimately found its process and conclusions sound, while a number of legal educators and others concluded the flaws of the study were so significant as to render it unreliable.
...
[T]he court is not persuaded that the relevant information and data developed at this time weigh in favor of departing from the longstanding pass score of 1440.
If you are not going to listen to your amici curae law professors, the very people whose views have assisted in writing voluminous, perfectly cited briefs skimmed thoughtlessly by your clerks for decades, who are you going to listen to?

Plainly, the California Bar Examination is being held hostage by a body that doesn't understand the nuances of disregarding scientific methods and turning the regulatory state over to limousine capitalists.  Someone should commission another study.

Shit, I'll give you your conclusion right here:  free the bar examination.  Let the people who know the industry best administer the examination and determine where an appropriate cut-off for passing scores is.  Legal educators have their manicured hands on the pulse of the legal community.  While the Supreme Court is listening to oral arguments on high, most law professors are working 25 hour weeks delivering oral arguments to students in lecture halls and receiving them during office hours.

Law professors, deans, and other concerned parties should be "setting the bar."  It's the passion that they devoted their lives to the day they realized the BigLaw partnership wasn't happening.  They shouldn't have their life's work ruined because some political homeboys want to rubber-stamp a number pulled out of someone's ass when Ronald Reagan was President.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

The Assault on Arizona Summit Continues; Have Bar Examiners No Shame?

Predictable and sad.
Pass rates for first-time test takers from Arizona Summit Law School dipped to 26 percent in July after having improved to nearly 30 percent in February. Results hit a low of 25 percent in July 2016, according to results released Monday by the Arizona Supreme Court.
...
Arizona Summit once boasted State Bar exam passage rates as high as 97 percent.
I'm sure the self-appointed critics will see this as validation of what they've been saying about Arizona Summit.  They're such mental midgets they would use a term like "mental midget."  Lord knows I wouldn't.  I'm sophisticated and well-endowed. 

The only variable that matters with bar passage rates is whiners bitching about the law school scam and thereby driving bar examiners to make the test more ludicrously difficult for would-be lawyers.  When Phoenix has a shortage of qualified attorneys in a few short years, there's going to be plenty of blame to go around, but squarely, indisputably, it can be directed at the legal media who have driven intelligent, hard-working students towards less-"scammy" professions premised on a presentation of evidence that is unnecessarily and absurdly objective and even-handed.

But-for you assholes, Summit would still be scoring 97 percent on the bar exam.  No doubt in my mind, as the test-makers would have no incentive to make the test more difficult.

I heard there's now a math section on the bar examination.  That's how bad it's gotten.  Did you know that?  Like why are they making future criminal law defense attorneys do integral calculus?

Oh well...

What you all don't realize is that the survivors of this ludicrous system are going to the baddest millennial badass attorneys to ever badass.  It's called evolution.  More resistance makes the trainees who escape the cruel system even stronger.  The fascist cretins at the bar association may be unjustifiably shredding tickets to the Express but the ones who can board are going for a long, multi-million dollar ride.  Most of us would prefer a more egalitarian approach, but to each his own.

Scam on.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

The Blunt Beauty of Dean Chemerinsky

Four years ago, Richard Susskind published a book about the future of lawyering.  Befitting the role of academics to always be publishing, Susskind has published a second edition.  Here is an excerpt from it that will restore your cynic-shot faith in academic writing.

In this section, Susskind addresses what law students should be teaching their students, i.e., how to train them for the post-Terminator reality of a legal profession that has no practical jobs for lawyers (spoiler alert: in the year 2000, the Million Dollar Express will run on solar power fuel cells and the money we swim in will be digital!).

As some of Susskind's more agressive conclusions could be perceived as potentially contradictory to the pump 'n' dump strategy of America's fine institutions of legal education, AMR appropriately asked for comments for the salted cashew gallery of American legal academia. 

As might be expected, Dean Chemerinsky cuts to the heart of the matter:
Legal education is better than Richard Susskind realizes.
Chemerinsky, the Graham Greene thoracic surgeon of legal academia. If he didn't believe in the long-term prosperity of legal education, he wouldn't have built a brand new vanity project law school in a congested metro area and bail to Berkeley.

Go to law school, kids.  It's better than Richard Susskind realizes.  If that doesn't convince you, you may not be law school material, but it's okay - someone's going to have to program our robots and clean the digital money pool.

Monday, September 25, 2017

The Megyn Kelly Plan

Today, former Fox News all-star and Donald Trump advisor Megyn Kelly debuted her morning show/segment/whever on NBC, ready to complete her makeover from bitter MILFish icon of conservative propaganda to a mid-morning MILFish matron for middle America.

As many of you know, Kelly is a proud graduate of Albany Law School (the number one law school between NYC and the border!).  Like many Albany graduates, she's making millions each year, albeit in a slightly different field than most lawyers.

That isn't to say she doesn't have advice for would-be attorneys.  Just check out this sage career wisdom that - apparently - many of you are missing.
In her memoir released last year, "Settle for More," Kelly described how she landed her first job as a lawyer fresh out of law school in 1995, and she offered advice for anyone applying for a new job in any field.

"I did something all job applicants should do — I asked for the job," she wrote. "I told them that if they extended an offer, I would accept it on the spot, that I had done the research and investigation, and this was where I wanted to be."
...
"Don't underestimate the power this message can have on a potential employer," Kelly wrote. "Everyone likes to be flattered. Of course it works better if it's true."
She, a simple third-tier K-JDer, parlayed that job into a nine-year run at Jones Day followed by landing a gig at Fox News.

So, kids, what's your problem?  Why are you bitching about $40k jobs in Boston with many applicants?

Maybe you could start with something as simple as your cover letter.  Are YOU telling prospective employers you're desperate enough to accept on the spot?  If not, what are you waiting for? 

Your spot at Fox News may be waiting.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Dean Satan Q&A: Lawyers... In "Love"

Q.  Howdy, Deano!  Love the new feature and thanks for taking my question.  I've been a lawyer a few years now, and while I absolutely love being in the front ranks slicing the Slimy Orcs of Injustice with my handy TruthSaber - motion for judgment on the pleadings POW - I notice my marriage is sort-of...sad.  Like two ships passing in the night, although we're both taking on excess cargo and I think the other ship may be mingling around the harbor.  What can we do to keep the romance smooth smiling while steering this million dollar cruise ship?

-Drydocked in Des Moines

A:  Ambiguously gendered writer, I'm something of an expert on this topic, as I have been married five times.  You might ask yourself why a philanderer diametrically opposed to Juedo-Christian norms would indulge the institution of marriage and the answer is:  networking.

Once you hit a certain age, professionalism requires that you take a spouse or else everyone will think you're a [weirdo/closet queer/nympho/commitmentphobic/incel/predator/super-feminist/etc.].  Don't believe me?  Show up to a lawyer networking event as a 40-year-old, wait the obligatory hour for the alcohol to set in, and start telling people that you're "single."  Not divorced.  Not separated.  Not "we've been together for a few years now."  Single.

Drydocked, you may as well unbutton your shirt and show everyone oozing, festering boils.

The point is that - much like your decision to go to law school - you have already made an excellent professional life decision.  Congratulations!  Breed a future lawyer or two - they're like sprinkles on your networking sundae, or, to use your boating metaphor, a gilded anchor.

Unfortunately, almost all marriages are superficial scams.  Just as the depression and substance abuse reported in the legal industry are common across all professions and therefore not of concern, please know that no one really has a blissful, fully satisfied domestic life, lawyer or no.

Major unhappiness in relationships, I have found, is the result of unrealistic expectations.  Once you accept the fact that romance is a delusion propagated by other industries' scam operators, you'll find a certain peace with that awkward co-existence with another person from your class in a dull, emotionally vacant, and relatively sexless suburb.  Again, pop a litter out if you really need to add some gravy to that IV of sad mashed potatoes running into your ass.

Sadly, Drydocked, sometimes the significant others of lawyers don't appreciate these truths that you and I, as superior intellects, can grasp.  They still believe in "communication," "emotional support," "work-life balance," "intimacy," and "not stress drinking until you scream-cry pass out," that Disney-fantasy existence of cartoon characters and pop psychology textbooks.

The silver lining - on top of the literal silver lining you can now afford in your bathtub - is that if you find yourself in one of these totally toxic, ahistorical, and unrealistic partnerships, law school gives you the legal resources to fight tooth and nail for what is yours when she sees the "other" credit card statement, at least in theory - you'll still want to hire a peer lest you represent a fool.  My legal acumen has saved me one of my three houses and at least 40% of my earned income over the years.

Many things in law and life are an issue of perspective.  Once you accept that long-term monogamy is a multinational scam and that you should simply approach it as a Machiavellian means to an end, your life is going to get a whole lot better.  When your partner bitches about not doing housework, smile and think "All for the networking."

Your one true love is yourself.  Second-place?  The Law.

My approach to marriage - which is now 5 for 5 - is heads I win, tails she loses.  Non-lawyers won't crack that code until after they've called one of our esteemed peers, which means - yet again - law school put you in a winning position.  Works every fucking time, and you know what?  The network loves crazy ex- stories, too! 

Smooth sailing!