Friday, September 27, 2013

Praise for Iowa Protecting Meaningless Caliber of its Class

The University of Iowa's law school has gone from 203 incoming students in 2010 to 93 students in 2013.  Why?  Because they're protecting their esteemed caliber:
“With significantly fewer applicants to choose from this year, we were left with a decision: maintain the number of students in the incoming class or maintain the high quality of our student body,” Dean Gail B. Agrawal wrote in a letter last month.  “You will not be surprised to learn that we chose to protect the caliber of the class, rather than its size."
And what an excellent choice they made!  Their decision, as we'll see, lacks no basis in reality except for letting other law schools live.  Your charity feels so good, Gail!

As you can clearly see from Law School Numbers, the mean LSAT score at the University of Iowa is a 164, whereas the median applicant had only an LSAT of a 158.

Those six points are a difference of dignity, my friends!  Or at least that's what they tell people.  Iowa would apparently rather starve out of existence than take a single one of you pups who would sully the entire lot with your paltry performance on the LSAT.   Down, you vulgarians!  Down!  Take your 159 LSAT to Drake!

Iowa will never be Harvard, but it sure as shit doesn't want to be third tier.  This is America. They're bourgeoisie, and they love it.

What's especially applause-worthy about their bold rejection of those who didn't guess right on the last five questions - and why it's transparently awesome they're just trying to keep the scam alive - is that the LSAT has very little to do with the caliber of law student or attorney one actually is.

Anyone who has been out of law school for more than a few weeks realizes this.  Thankfully, people like Gail B. Agrawal never really left the Borg (at least in spirit) and therefore they still have prestigitis and an absurdly harsh view of incoming students.  Anyone above about a 150 or so has the potential to learn law, pass the bar, and become a decent attorney (depending, of course, on career roulette).

For Iowa to arbitrarily put its foot in the sand and say yes to the 161 and no to the 158 and shrink by over 50% is sort of like a guy sleeping with fat chicks but not obese chicks.  Sorry, Iowa, your 163ers aren't going to be spitting out high-level analysis or clerking for John Roberts.  At that point, you're looking to produce solid attorneys, which you can do just as easily at the 157 level.

So what is the effect of Iowa going on a thoroughly irrational diet?

-They lose tons of revenue for no reason whatsoever.
-They lose potential future donations from successful members of the bar
-They deny qualified candidates the opportunity to study at the only such public institution in the state.
-They let other law schools continue to eat.

Indeed, if Iowa had kept class size at the 2010 level, they would be taking 100 or so students away from other schools.

Protect the herd.  God bless you, Iowa.  You look so hot with your new slimmed-down body.

Also:  They're looking for ways to expand.


  1. As I noted on ITLSS earlier today:

    Hell, even Third Tier Drake only has a first year class size of 113 students. Before we started documenting the overall law school scam, graduating classes were typically 145 students at this commode.

    I emailed one of my former "professors" about this fact. The bitch has yet to respond.

    Thanks for tossing a stiff jab at Third Tier Drake. In all honesty, someone with a 159 would end up higher than the 75th percentile score for that private toilet. The 25th/75th percentile for the Third Tier Drake entering class was 149/158.

    This is significant, because the applications are WAY DOWN for this TTT. I remember when the number of applicants to Third Tier Drake was in the 900-100 range. Now it is 595. Furthermore, the 25th percentile LSAT score at Third Tier Drake was either 152 or 153 when I applied. What a prestigious commode, huh?!?!

  2. Damn, you're right, and then again you're wrong. Those good-enough candidates and competent attorneys are headed for 40 years of misery, no matter what institution spits them out. There isn't enough paying work to support them.

    One of my pet observations is that forcing students downmarket makes the scam more obvious. If that's true, Iowa may have done those peasants a favor by rejecting them. On the other hand, you made the accurate point that Iowa, by accepting them, might have deprived third-tier or worse institutions of debt-incurring students.

    I'm stuck here, but thanks for a smart and passionate post.

    1. In what industry do you have a golden opportunity to take a key competitor down and you reduce production volume by 50 percent?

      What would happen if Toyota came out and said they wanted to keep the caliber of Toyota drivers high and as such were going to limit production and sales to the most credit-worthy, wealthy, and Caucasian people? They would be scorned and ridiculed.

      It would be absurd and yet that's exactly what's happened in many T2 law schools

  3. Wanna bet all the alums will get a letter on how Iowa Law needs our support to maintain "the quality of the law school experience for future generations"?

    This isn't about the saving the school for future law students, it's about alumni fund raising, pure and simple.

    That's the only thing dear Gail cares about, the $$$$$.

  4. I think the Iowa deans want to maintain their ranking, or maybe rise a bit, because they just don't understand yet how bad the job market is. They're hoping to ride out the storm, and then admit more students in a few years.

    But more and more, students are going to care about jobs, and not ranking or prestige. The admissions market has changed forever, and Iowa won't ever see the easy money again.