Thursday, April 27, 2017

The Week in Quotes: Teenage Superlawyer; Charlotte Sometimes Triggers Investigation, and Cincinnati Irony

The Good:
“My goal is to become the youngest lawyer in America and from there I want to change the world,” said [Danya] Hamad.
...
Danya said she plans on taking the summer off, then it is one more year for her bachelor’s and three years for her law degree all at Capital University. She hopes to graduate from law school at 19-years-old which would be another record.
The Bad:
North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein has opened an investigation into Charlotte School of Law...Laura Brewer, a spokeswoman for Stein, confirmed in an email to Morning Education that the office “is investigating the school under the state’s civil consumer protection laws and is very concerned about the current situation at the school.”
...
The timing of the school’s possible closure might limit students’ ability to obtain a federal “closed school discharge” of their student loans. Education Department rules allow students who are attending a college that suddenly collapses to have their federal loans wiped out. That protection also extends to students who withdrew from the school in the 120 days leading up to its closure, a clock that is now ticking for the hundreds of students who fled Charlotte School of Law in late December and January. 
The Deliciously Ironically Ironic:
The dean of the law school at the University of Cincinnati, who was placed on administrative leave last month, sued the university Friday.
...
[Jennifer] Bard's complaint asserts Landgren and UC illegally placed Bard on administrative leave in March immediately following her response to local media reports about financial deficits at the law school and faculty members’ responses to her efforts to reduce those deficits.
...
“There is a certain irony here that the very institution tasked with teaching future lawyers and jurists about due process and the constitution is violating those very sacrosanct principles,” [Bard Attorney Marjorie] Berman said in a statement.
Some weeks the sparks of inspiration, those flecks of atomic light in the great distance that we strain our pupils to see, just don't appear against all hope and the Author wonders if the proverbial well has run dry as he stares into the dark, bricked abyss of cyclical, soulless repetition, pondering, on a broader level, the black hole of human existence, its intense gravity suffocating true ingenuity and innovation into a balled, banal mishmash of perpetual bludgeoning to the human spirit until we have formed into fungible ball bearings rolling in a cruel, monotonous machine, clinging and pinging along like controlled pinballs, and perhaps, maybe, this shtick has run its course, but then - zounds! - a spate - an assault, if you will - of the Good News hits the Author's inbox and all is good in the world.

Scam on.

Monday, April 24, 2017

The Whittier Saga Cont'd: Whittier Students Reaffirming Faith in Youth

With Whittier's announced closure, one might think the student body, incipient million dollar lawyers, all, would connive their way into discharging those student loans under the closed school exception.  Back in my day, of course, people paid their debts; sign the dotted line, do the work, make the payments.  But kids these days are often called thriftless waifs who will sign a master promissory note with no real intention or understanding of paying back the mortgage-sized indenture.

But look at Whittier students!  Kids these days may be amateurs at protesting injustices compared to their Boomer elders - who rocked the 60s, got black folks their freedom, and tore down The Wall - but the last few years have given us BLM, anti-Trump marches, and - now - protests against the irrational deprivation of 4th-rate legal education opportunities.
About 100 law students angry over the announced closure of Whittier College’s law school in Costa Mesa this week demonstrated at the college’s main campus on Friday.
...
“They just dropped this bomb on us a week-and-a-half before finals without any regard to how we would react or feel,” said Stephanie Rigoli, a third-year student...
...
An emergency meeting on Wednesday held at the Costa Mesa campus to announce the decision to close quickly turned tense...

The students at the meeting became increasingly frustrated as Brown and Whittier College President Sharon Herzberger answered their questions.

After about a half-hour, both left the meeting saying they would take additional questions from the student via email. Some of the students booed as the pair left.

Rigoli and other students said they felt the decision and the announcement on short notice was a “slap in the face,” and didn’t take into account their hard work and the money they’ve invested in the school so far.
I'm proud to by an American in 2017.  Aren't you, dear comrade?

We could all learn from Whittier students.  When you make a terrible decision, and life is trying to suggest to you a convenient path out of it, take the road less traveled, double down, and holler for your right to be stuck with the consequences of your ill-made choices.  

Thursday, April 20, 2017

The Whittier Saga: Law Professors Fight Back

With Whittier closing in an unprecedented, brash show of arrogance by a reckless administration pulling the rug on a highly successful law school, many schadenfreude-ridden maggots likely thought the law faculty would slink away quietly like humble donkeys with their tails between their legs.

Misinformed, fake news.

Far from sullen donkeys, law professors rise mighty like Harambe the Gorilla and beat their chests.  They're going to kill a fucking child before someone puts them down if they have to, even if it delays their inevitable ascension to partnership at MoFo or O'Melveny

From the OC Register:
A day before the Whittier College Board of Trustees announced that the law school will be discontinued, attorneys for more than a half-dozen faculty members filed an attempt for a temporary restraining order against the parent school.

A judge denied their request. But the issues raised in the court filings – including questions about the fate of millions of dollars raised in a recent sale of the Costa Mesa campus property that faculty contend was promised to the law school – will likely be at the center of future litigation, an attorney for the faculty members said on Thursday.

“It was a very irresponsible decision,” said attorney Hanna Chandoo of the trustee’s decision. A Whittier College alum, Chandoo filed the restraining-order request. “It is very sudden and not thought out.”
These professors are not effete Ivory Tower hermits. By filing futile, last-ditch legal papers, they're teaching their students a valuable lesson of bare-knuckle, mud-soaked litigation:  lose sorely and don't stop until the wall is thickly coated with the shit you've slung.

Whereas most businesses are free to jettison underperforming and socially flatulent business units, academia must be forced to maintain its deadweight and uphold every last unenforceable non-promise.  I'm not even sure what the super-lawyer legal theory would be or how Whittier's faculty members would have standing to prevent a college board of trustees from acting in the best interests of the college, but I'm sure the legal dream-team of Whittier alumni can make the school choke on its own medicine.

Whittier College is about to find out that one does not simply dump a law school.  Other central administrations are warned.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Intelelctual Diversity Now: Admit the Pro Se Litigants.

We here at the LSTC have previously written about the need for intellectual diversity - Republican/Democrat; stupid, smart - as delectably spicing the law school gravy train as much as racial or ethnic diversity.

Here is Jonathan H. Adler at The James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal:
Judge Gorsuch is an avowed proponent of “originalism,” the idea that the original public meaning of the Constitution’s text should control the outcome in constitutional cases.
...
What is notable about the academic debate over originalism is not that such a debate exists, but that so much of the debate is misinformed—misinformed about what originalism does or does not entail and why it might be endorsed.
...
Some of the straw men offered by otherwise-notable academics were so flimsy, it was as if they had never encountered a real originalist in the flesh, let alone spent time trying to understand the point of view they were critiquing.
...
Training lawyers requires teaching students how to understand and get inside the arguments of those with differing interests, outlooks, and orientations. 
...
If you are not forced to confront, thrust, and parry with an alternative worldview, chances are you will not understand it, let alone grasp its strengths and weaknesses. Instead, you are more likely to imagine a caricature—a caricature formed as much by your own in-group’s biases as by the relevant characteristics of that philosophy.
If unintentional irony were raindrops, this piece would be a dead grass fire hazard waiting for a spark to burn burn burn.

It's central point - that without having real people to argue unpopular views, they cannot be easily discredited by skilled rhetoricians - is sound.  For years, for example, I have been advocating sending Strawmen Supremecists to various college campuses for just this purpose. 

Specific to law schools, it isn't even enough to admit an influx of legal conservatives (which should be a simple enough question on an application, yes?) to provide balance to the student  - and subsequently professor - ranks.  More importantly, we must prepare lawyers to argue against those arguments they will face in court.

Obviously, law schools should deliberately seek out amoral people with personality disorders or substance abuse problems.  Far from being red flags to bar administrators, these students would be indispensable in helping the student body understand the unpredictability and manipulation used by lawyers great and small.  Professional Responsibility class would be so much more meaningful when students must actually think through is this something to phone in, or just pretend that I didn't hear that?

Other lawyer archetypes will need to be represented as well, like that unkempt old due who writes last-minute one-line motions and never fully prepares; the clueless mill-style lawyer who has a stack of fifteen files and knows nothing of any of them; and the whining extrovert whose legal reasoning skills seem to begin and end with an impressively convincing version of but your honor....

Finally, no well-rounded, diverse legal education could be complete without witnessing in the flesh, in all their glory, for full thrusting and parrying, the mighty pro se representing his own interests, outlooks, and orientations.

Think of all the arguments our pro se litigants make that are never even considered! in American law schools.  Don't we do a disservice to our future lawyers by underpreparing them for a significant chunk of the litigating public.

I remember the first tie I went head to head against a formidable pro se litigant.  I had prepared for the motion hearing on its own terms.  Outline.  Key cases.  Unassailable points of law.

Then it happened.
JUDGE:  I agree with Mr. LSTC, and I don't believe the defect can be cured.  I'm granting the motion to dismiss with prejudice.
PRO SE:  I'll just file it again.
JUDGE:  You'll what?
PRO SE:  I said, I will just file it again.
JUDGE:  Sir, it's dismissed with prejudice.
PRO SE:  I will go to a different court then.
JUDGE:  My ruling will likely have preclusive effect. I would advise you consult an attorney regarding any further options you have.
PRO SE: I'm advising two attorneys right now.  I'm going to file until I get a judge who won't dismiss it.
Such arguments are never presented in law schools.  I was never forced to spend time understanding the pro se's point of view, to fully evaluate such an argument's strengths and weaknesses, to grasp the relevant characteristics of his philosophy.

And so I stood dumbfounded even as the judge called the next case.  Had I actually wonHad my socialist dunderhead professors betrayed me with their progressive, pragmatic rationalism?

The solution is obvious:  we simply need to look beyond the institutional biases inherent of admitting intelligent people and simply admit anyone who's interested enough to creatively defend themselves in court.  Law schools would benefit greatly from the perspective-based diversity of having pro se litigants in law school classrooms, and the pro se litigants would obviously benefit as well from sampling intellectual goodies at the million dollar buffet.

So, yes, we need more diversity from a political perspective.  But don't stop there.  We need to better represent all people who wander into America's courtrooms and raise remotely cogent arguments, and we simply cannot let our elitism stand in the way of educating our students to thrust and parry their adversaries' cutting rhetoric.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

JD Advantage Opportunity in Charlotte!

As a new feature, I'm going to experiment with using this space to advertise some of the exciting opportunities in law.  Today, I learned of a new vacancy in Charlotte:
The Charlotte School of Law’s interim dean announced Thursday morning that he is stepping down from his role after spending less than a month on the job.

Professor Scott Broyles sent an email to the faculty and students at the law school announcing his resignation. He did not give a reason, but said he plans to continue as a faculty member and do everything he can to help the school.
Typical media, focusing on the negative.

Let's rewrite this one.  ScamSpin Power ON!
President, Charlotte, NC
Sexy start-up with backing from Sterling Partners seeks entrepreneurial-minded rock-star to manage broad portfolio of educational products.  Background with innovative consumer finance and artfully navigating federal regulations a plus.  Candidates with a Juris Doctor - or a Juris Doctorate! - strongly preferred.  Despite being in North Carolina, diversity welcome, encouraged even!  Opportunities for advancement are endless.  Last person in position excelled and rapidly moved to greener pastures.  Right candidate with receive nothing but patience and administrative support following long list of successful executives; employees "will do everything [they] can to help."

Note:  Charlotte Law School alumni need not apply.  We're not that desperate.
This pessimism, this insistence to phrase everything as law school is bad that slants the world as-if Charlotte Law School is a festering pus-oozing wound being prepped for surgical excision, is fake news at its finest.

Charlotte is a cruise ship in need of a captain.  If you love shuffleboard, and can find creative ways to harvest tuition cash from a generation of hapless, hopeful schmucks, hop aboard!

Friday, April 7, 2017

Enjoy Your Loan Forgiveness, Public Servants

As I have explained before, there is a delicate art to the scam.  Amateurs believe it is simple as distorting reality to get a sucker's commitment - bait hook, dangle before hungry fish, fish bites, set hook.

Oh, no, dear readers.  Scam has an Olympic-sized panoply of deceitful disciplines for the decathaletic auteur.  It's not just punching a sport-coat hair product punk in the face; it's stabbing one in the gutless ribs with a needle that deposits an arsenic pill whose coating doesn't dissolve until after the graduation cake is shat.

Consider PSLF.  For years, law schools have pitched themselves as a catapult for the careers of would-be public servants, those special types willing to ride the Eight Hundred Thousand Dollar Express, their desire to act pro bono publico and help war widows battle slumlords exceeding, ever so slightly, their desire to money-fuck a lubed piggy bank.

Rising tuition?  Don't worry, kids.  The federal government's got this great program called PSLF.  Under PSLF, you can pay ridiculous tuition up-front and it's like monopoly money because it just vanishes like poof 'n' shit when you make ten years of payments.  100k? 200k? 500? 1.3 mil?  Once your indentured sentence is done, the loan is gone, no tax bomb, zap!, and you can leave your dreary PD job to hop back on the mainline Express, where your lack of debt payments provides extra allowance for models 'n' bottles.

Naive servile lemmings.  That career catapult just hurled you headlong into a spider's web that wasn't yet spun when you launched.

Fuck soccer; this is the beautiful game.
Under a program known as Public Service Loan Forgiveness, some student loan borrowers were supposed to be able to have the balance of their student loans forgiven after ten years of both on-time payments and eligible work in the public sector. Meaning, a qualifying nonprofit, federal, local, state, or tribal government.
...
Last year a small group of borrowers learned that their eligibility for the program had revoked.  [blah blah blah; some go-getters have sued to enforce PSLF rights, and the Dept. of Ed. has filed a pleading arguing that filing annual certifications with FedLoan Servicing means jack diddly.]
...
Not only have many people made financial and career decisions based on the program, some told us they avoided getting legally married [...or...] reconsider having children.
...
...Congress may eliminate the program. President Trump has talked about streamlining the many student loan repayment options currently available, a proposal that has bipartisan support. When Sen. Patty Murray, a Democrat from Washington, asked Education Secretary Betsy DeVos directly during the confirmation process whether she would uphold Public Service Loan Forgiveness, DeVos she said she "look[ed] forward to discussing" it.
If you fuckos are stressing about the uncertainty of your loan discharge program while performing grueling and underpaid work for ungrateful pseudo-charity cases, just remember that most of your tuition money is probably earning a really nice rate of return in someone's investment account, probably just a little less than the interest accruing on your loans. 

That money's in a better place.  Face it; you would've spent it on frivolous goods like housing, kids, new business ventures, 'n' such.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

The Bad Boy Law School of Arizona

Phoenix School of Law n/k/a Arizona Summit has been placed on probation by the ABA for low bar passage rates, admissions issues, whatever.
The American Bar Association put Arizona Summit Law School on probation Monday for a variety of issues, including low passage rates on the bar exam and the school's admission policies.
...
The bar, in a letter on Monday, said that Arizona Summit is out of compliance regarding admission practices, academic standards, and support and bar passage.

The letter says the law school is now in a position where "only immediate and substantial action can bring about sufficient change to put the Law School on a realistic path back to being in compliance within the time allowed."
I want not to criticize a law school that obviously knows what it's doing.  Staying in business at least thirteen years is a proud achievement for a small business, buoyed by delusions of greatness and scandalous federal loan programs or not.

But sometimes I think law school marketing has got it partially wrong.  Maybe, instead of everyone trying to be Harvard, we need a mix of law schools, diversifying the types of legal education available to America's future Justice League.

Just as any public high school worth its cheap tile flooring and rotating staff of soon-deflated freshmen English teachers has social cliques, maybe the law school community should have cliques of its own.

Just as Harvard and Yale are the snooty rich kids, schools like Arizona Summit and Charlotte can be the bad boy rebels who don't give a fuck.  Perhaps one of the problems with such "toilet schools" is that they pretend to be something they're not, namely honor roll students with still-marrired parents and functional health insurance.

But law school needs diversity.  If aspiring lawyers want to go to a law school that smokes at lunch and has taken up armchair nihilism with a wardrobe of black clothes, they should be allowed to enroll enroll enroll  For such schools, probation would not be a mark of shame, but a worthy accomplishment.

For bottom-rung law schools feeling an enrollment pinch, it's hard to see the downside.  Stop merely being bad, and start acting bad.  Own it, fifth tier.  Be bold.  Be true to yourself.  Drop out and get an 8th-grader pregnant.  Many kids no doubt want to go to Harvard and Yale and, like, make money for the corporate-government meritocratic-o-matic.  But others obviously are willing to take on unpayable debts and tattoo their resumes with bad-assery. 

They should have a law school, too, and you can sell to them.  Instead of saying "probation, oh no!" spit in the ABA's face, grow your hair out, and give the proverbial middle finger of admitting a thousand more underqualified prospects to have window seats on the Million Dollar Express.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Fare Thee Well, Dr. Jay

Not unexpectedly, given the hysteria of some when a going concern suddenly loses its primary source of revenue, Jay Conison, Charlotte Law Dean, has gone the way of Matasar and Larry Mitchell, although he'll be remaining on the faculty:
With his school’s future hanging in the balance, the dean of the beleaguered Charlotte School of Law is stepping down.

Jay Conison has led the uptown, for-profit school for almost four years. Charlotte Law announced his departure with a four-paragraph statement Monday afternoon. Conison will remain on the faculty, the statement said.
Conison brought the thunder to Charlotte from Valparaiso, which apparently was not enough of a scam-challenge for his Herculean talents.  Like upping the difficulty level on a video game, say, Lemmings (PC, 1991).

He had the misfortune of taking over Charlotte Law School a good two years after the national media awoke to the unfiltered swindle of the lowest-tier law schools.  Nonetheless, his efforts to keep Charlotte and its Infilaw backers well-fed pigs rather than well-slaughtered hogs were noble. 

But alas, his move to Charlotte seems akin to many a classical, tragic hero, they who overreached their grasp and exposed a fatal flaw.  In Conison's case, he left the relative comfort of a midwestern low-tier school attached to a longstanding university for the one of the south's most notorious sinkholes and targets for reformers who think for-profits are evil and non-profits walk on water.  It's sort of like leaving a sniper's nest for the front lines.  Balls, yes, but the chances of them getting blown off...

He puts the GOAT in scapegoat.  Let us remember the good times.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Million Dollar Express Chuggin' Through Boise

Right on schedule.
The University of Idaho College of Law’s efforts to begin a first-year law program in Boise have come to fruition, after the American Bar Association gave the plan its seal of approval this week, the UI announced Wednesday.
Yes, the University of Idaho - flagship of a state with a thunderous, expanding population of one and a half million - has found itself a two-campus solution, following such successful examples as Penn State, Rutgers, and the Widener College of Law.
“We expect to have 60 students at Boise and approximately the same number in Moscow next year,” Adams said. “There’s a really strong demand for both locations.”

Adams said each campus offers distinct benefits: Boise is surrounded by the business and legal community, while in Moscow students benefit from “the advantages of deep ties to other programs, dual degrees on UI campus and also at WSU.”
With Concordia University's law school already in Boise like a slowly growing tumor leaking blood, Idaho is finally catching up to the rest of America by realizing that there's absolutely no downside to over-saturating the population with lawyers, the only people capable of stopping various vague but urgent catastrophic insults to the Rule of Law.

A mere decade ago, this massive state had but one law school to fill its ranks of lawyers, leading to employment scores at lofty, anti-competitive levels like 80%.  Now it has three law school campuses.

That's what progress looks like.  I truly wish our lingering one-flagship states like Wyoming and North Dakota take note so their citizenry, too, can know the bounty of a properly saturated marketplace.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Movin' to Nebraska

It's been almost six years now since then-Prof. Sara Stadler told law school graduates they might have to move to Nebraska to hop on the Million Dollar Express.

Behold, from the Omaha World-Herald, we have the glistening, steaming, huffing, full-speed-ahead reality.

The article is unnecessarily pessimistic, natch, claiming that law school enrollment has ticked up without a commensurate boost in the job market, Faustian journalists being wont to bias their "work" towards the scandalous in exchange for sales and clicks. 

You know, what life's like in an actually dying cesspool of a once-proud profession.  Compare and contrast.

Instead, one has to read between the lines of this yellow rag to see the robustness of the job market in Nebraska.  First is the pessimism boldly displayed in the front window, so to speak.
Chris Schmidt had struggled to find a full-time teaching job in social studies a few years ago. One of his pickup basketball friends happened to be Richard Moberly, currently the interim dean of law at NU.

One day Schmidt told Moberly he was thinking about going to law school. The hesitation in Moberly’s response and the advice he gave surprised Schmidt at the time.

“Just be sure it’s what you really want,” Schmidt quoted Moberly as saying that day several years ago. 
The set-up here is pure pessimism.  Prospective students - lazy, we know - may read to this point in the article and receive only the caution from the now-interim law school dean.

But there's a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow!  That thing you covet is in the back room, so to speak!
Schmidt has a one-year job clerking for a federal appellate judge in Omaha and a spot lined up with a Lincoln firm after that.
The Omaha Whatever might have viewed this as some sort of "a-ha" moment like a joke's punchline, the twist in a Maupassant or O. Henry story, or the obnoxious ending to a Paul Harvey radio bit, but let's be honest: very few prospective law students can read an entire news article and comprehend the greater message therein.

So I'll say it here, as elegantly as an Aesop fable summary:  if you play pickup basketball with the interim dean, serve as editor in chief of the law review, and graduate with highest honors from the state flagship, you too can work for a U.S. Court of Appeals and have a job in hand when the exit door opens.

Reports be damned, that's a Million Dollar Express that's working just fine. 

Still time to board for fall.