Monday, April 8, 2013

ScamMadness: Shock Upset in Final Four!

We're back for Round 5 of Scam Madness, where we separate the Elite from the...well, you get the idea. It's Final Four time, meaning shit just got real, like for real for real.

Originally, the LSTC decided to use "faculty ideal" as the determining criterion in this round, where a school's faculty was to be examined for how closely it resembled the idea ScamLaw professorate (T14, followed by CoA/BigLaw/cush govt gig (<5 years), followed by a retreat into the caressing/molesting hands of academia). But your humble LSTC administrator became so utterly disgusted upon reviewing the faculties at Widener, Cooley, and Florida Coastal - let's just say you're more likely to find Widener, Cooley, and Florida Coastal graduates than Yale or Chicago graduates, which is simply...unsavory - that we had to change the topic entirely.

The result? Bar exam pass rates. Straight-up, how many people pass the bar, with no correction for the statewide average, numbers from the horse's mouth (ABA). It's one thing to graduate with a ton of debt and a bleak job market. It's a whole 'nother ball of crusty pizza-deliverin' yarn to do it when you can't even gain a license to practice. Frankly, I've never understood why publications compare bar passage rates to the state average. I mean, Santa Clara's bar passage rate is 70%. That's fucking terrible. But they're only a point or two below California's statewide average, so the administrators basically can claim EVERYONE in the state is equally terrible and they're just hitting par. Meanwhile, schools like Dayton and Southern Illinois have over 80% of their students pass but because certain forms of radioactive waste have passed the Ohio and Illinois bars, they look worse than Santa Clara. But in reality, six months after graduating, Dayton and SIU have that many more kids actually able to work as attorneys and compete for the small pool of jobs while Santa Clara has that many more graduates paying and nervously studying to play round 2. It's not like it's any consolation to the failer that the California bar is tougher; to the random bimbo at the bar, a fail is a fail and you won't be fucking her; worse, if that bimbo is named Sallie Mae, she'll still be fucking you. The grad is still broke while the school is still stuffing the money in the stickered suitcase and heading for the jungle airstrip.

Don't get me wrong, I love the extra rhetorical tools. Dayton and SIU can push their overall pass rate while Santa Clara can push its relative pass rate. Scam wins, and I suppose it's a testament to the scam that someone actually came up with relative rates to justify high failure rates and/or the failure to cajole state bars into opening the gates.

But I digress. Here are the results. If you want to make them scores like a basketball game, just reverse them. For clarity, I'm keeping the numbers with the schools they represent, rounding them to nearest whole number, and bolding the lower team to advance.

Widener: 88
Florida Coastal: 75

Thom. Cooley 74
Willamette 71

Yes, friends and scammers, the Tour de Cooley got dismissed, first by its oh-so-practical faculty, and then by the fact that it flushes out people before they have a chance to fail the Michigan bar. Cooley has so much of what makes law school a scam, but they have far from a perfect school. Better luck, next year Don (who, I'm sure, has his own tournament where Cooley loses to Harvard in the final! Lollerz!).

Widener also proved disappointing. How the hell can you be a multi-campus, worst-school-in-PA diploma mill and still get 88% of your graduates admitted to practice? Creative accounting? Did they steal the test like in [insert camp teen comedy here]? I don't know.

So part of me is flabbergasted that two great teams are gone, but part of me is ecstatic about the final. We've got two great squads left: one, a powerhouse in the southeast, a notorious dump that turns out grads by the boatload and boasts for-profit, stand-a-lone status; the other, a quiet, under-the-radar contender from the northwest, part of a larger university, and not a traditional target of insults in these parts.


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