Saturday, May 18, 2013

Graduation Scammin': Villanova Speaker Preaches About Passion and Integrity

Here's what Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett said to Villanova graduates this year:

[Corbett] noted that "in a world filled with cynicism, and where the right to doubt is given precedence over the wisdom to believe, we need leaders with the passion of Lincoln and the integrity of Thomas More."

Instead of trying to decipher what, exactly, "the right to doubt" means (strict scrutiny or rational basis? is there a public safety exception?) or why belief requires any level of wisdom, or how much education one has to blow off to think such statements mean anything, I'll simply note the following:

If anyone in the audience actually had the passion of Lincoln and the integrity of Thomas More, they would have refused to go through with the charade.

They would have objected to the numbers-manipulating money changers on the dais having any standing to speak about integrity or a respected profession. Res Ispa Loquitor.

Lincoln fought a war to keep a country together. Thomas More stood up to the King of England on principle. The people in the crowd aren't even bold enough to get pissed off when they hand a big bag o' cash over to one of the few law schools so audacious that it actually got caught and wrist-slapped by the ABA.

HISTORY LESSON FUN - I get a serious buzz reminiscing about how Villanova got away with this:

[T]he section's council says the law school's intentional reporting of inaccurate information to the ABA would have justified putting the institution on probation or removing it from the list of ABA-approved law schools.

However, because Villanova self-reported the problem to the ABA, corrected it "and separated from the law school all persons responsible for the misrepresentations and misleading conduct," lesser sanctions were imposed, the letter says.
A law school investigation "determined that these four individuals acted in secret, and worked to prevent other persons at the law school and university from learning that admissions data was being misreported to the ABA," the letter states.

Fool-proof plan that I deliver at seminars to law deans and tobacco industry executiives:

Step 1. Isolate people who have an institutional encouragement to fudge things.
Step 2. Reap the institutional benefits of their misconduct as long as possible.
Step 3. When the men in suits come knocking, you KNOW NOTHING, ACT SURPRISED, and THROW THE ROUGE ACTORS UNDER THE BUS.

No, no, no, we are NOT answering any questions about moral hazards!

Back to the ironic graduation speech, the last thing anyone in this business wants is a game changer. Law schools exist to spit out rule-following cogs and people who would never dare question the authority of a court or bar association or state government. Acting like Thomas More with all that higher-power jazz is a good way to wind up scorned and ridiculed out of the legal community. And I would bet the majority of lawyers from Villanova don't have an audience with Obama and friends to even have their passion or integrity mean anything.

Yet name dropping is an excellent way to make the audience feel better about repaying six-figure debt in white collar hell. "You're broke, but you're like a More/Lincoln supercombo the way you represent those workman's comp claimants!"

It's total fucking horseshit that you hear at 50% of graduations, but what else are speakers going to talk about? The day-to-day reality of the future of their lawyers?

He didn't mention one of the biggest challenges surely on the minds of many Villanova law grads, as it is for most young adults: finding a job.

Duh! Better to play make believe that the graduates will face ethical dilemmas on par with famous dead people than talk about whether they should go on IBR immediately or wait it out a few months. This business runs on propaganda. Hiding the man behind the green curtain is the mission from orientation through the nine-month reporting deadline.

For Villanova - on a naughty list of naughty schools - to speak about integrity isn't just offensive to the meaning of that word, it's par for the course.

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