Friday, May 31, 2013

Wash U. Grad Proves Anew That You're All Losers.

See, kids, the legal education system works.

As proof, I give you this recent Wash. U. graduate:

The roots that brought Kevin Fritz to law school in St. Louis were planted in a kid who wouldn’t allow the congenital spinal muscular atrophy — a form of muscular dystrophy — that placed him in a wheelchair from birth to squelch his thirst for knowledge.
“I cannot take care of myself physically, but I can coordinate everything — that’s independence,” he said. “I have great management skills.”

Inspired by what he encountered at Illinois [in undergrad], Fritz decided to take advocacy for the disabled to the next step by applying to law school.

“If I fight for everything in my life why not get paid for it?” he reasoned.

Yeah, why NOT get paid for it? Hear that, you douchebags interning for free after graduation? You slackers on mom's couch eating Doritos and Cheetos and Oreos in an elaborate scheme to get yourself fat and diabetic so you take even MORE of MY MONEY?

This story is legitimately awesome, a testament to a young man's drive and mental fortitude that he trekked through seven years of post-high school education despite lacking what most of us take for granted. It would have been easy to just give up, take disability payments, and whatnot. But he chose the path of effort, hard work and education and he deserves to be commended for that. Like for real.

And he's getting rewarded, too - with one of them job things that seem so foreign to the rest of you helpless waifs.

At Seyfarth Shaw, a prestigious Chicago law firm where he begins work in September, Fritz plans to represent defendants rather than plaintiffs seeking redress for acts of discrimination based on race, gender or disability.

“I have an opportunity to prevent discrimination and be proactive,” he said. “It’s an opportunity to tell an employer how to knock down barriers.”

See, kids? You keep saying "there are no jobs," but this guy with muscular dystrophy got a job at a major law firm in a different metro area - AND he's going to be telling their clients what's what when they've been sued for employment discrimination. Obviously, there's a strong hiring demand that they can't fill with local people.

Now look at you. You can dress yourself (probably), but you can't even get an interview at Joe Bob's Workman's Comp Shop.

Obviously, it's you.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Just Like Plantation Owners, We Love Free Labor

Oh, that stupid government!

The ABA (THE leader in lawyer advocacy and law school accreditation) continues its fight for justice, as President Laurel G. Belows (real name!) is begging the U.S. Labor Department for its full blessing to let large law firms take on unpaid interns:

“The ABA agrees that exploitation of law students and other interns is unacceptable; however, the FLSA uncertainty inhibits law firms from offering students the opportunity to work on pro bono matters in a real-life practice setting.”

She also said a ban on such internships would curb “access for future employment prospects” and squeeze the “potential supply of legally trained women and men willing to spend their time working on behalf of persons without the resources to pay for legal counsel.”

Partner 1: What is with the group of 20 dorks in the sub-basement?
Partner 2: That's our new pro bono program. They'll all unpaid interns.
Partner 1: What pro bono matter are they working on?
Partner 2: Benefits for veterans and widows.
Partner 1: Really?
Partner 2: Sort-of. You know that chemical explosion class action thing?
Partner 1: They're doing doc review, aren't they?
Partner 2: Oh, no, sir! It's our pro bono program. The feds say it's okay!

That's your ABA, fighting for the American lawyer.

Of course, there's nothing stopping students from interning with a legal aid or with a school program that does the exact same thing. For some reason, the ABA, large firms, and schools want to get them into large law firms instead of the large firms simply donating the operating capital to legal aid programs.

I wonder why...

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Widener Looking to Become Two Kick-Ass Law Schools

Yup. Check it out:

Delaware Law Weekly reports that the school may split its Wilmington and Harrisburg campuses into two separate schools.
[S]ources indicate that the move is an effort to cut costs as law school enrollment at Widener – and around the country declines.
[The reporter] adds that while school officials confirm such a split is likely – they deny it’s a response to financial concerns or declining enrollment. The school says split has been part of its strategic plan since 2006.

Ah, yes, American law schools: where a non-profit spin-off takes seven years and just happens to span a global financial meltdown and a collapse in law school applications. God knows there's no one of the campus who could have worked on that or anything. They probably had to wait this long for attorneys to even look at it, given the massive shortage of attorneys on the east coast.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

A Law School For Every Major City/County in America: Tacoma Edition

So here a news article that can be summarized as follows:

1. U. of Puget Sound Law School gets bought by Seattle U. and moved the joint up north to Seattle from Tacoma.
2. Tacoma is now desperately devoid of attorneys and other legal professionals.
3. Committee is formed to bring branch of the University of Washington law school to Tacoma (at UW-Tacoma)


In 2002, just three years after the law school left Tacoma, a UW survey of 77 legal employers in the South Sound region showed most of them said they struggle to recruit and hire new lawyers.
According to a survey by the Washington State Bar Association cited by the committee, a quarter of the state’s practicing attorneys plan to retire in the next five years. Almost three-quarters of the WSBA membership is 50 years old or older.

Every one of the dozen attorneys interviewed by The News Tribune acknowledged the contradiction [between local need and national oversupply], but noted that any law school in Tacoma likely wouldn’t produce lawyers until several years from now.
“The present demand for lawyers is less relevant than what it will be.”

In the two decades since the South Sound region lost its law school, attorneys in Kitsap and Thurston counties have been creative about recruitment and hiring, particularly to ensure interns are available year-round. The Thurston County prosecutor’s office has a program for legal interns designed to draw students from across the country, including working with schools who allow students to work entire semesters in exchange for class credit.

Kids, these arguments will not die. These people KNOW there is a major oversupply of attorneys nationwide. Washington has an excess of 300 new attorneys every year over the amount of jobs. But that's "less relevant" because in 5 years everyone's going to retire, and damn it, we want our free interns back in Tacoma!

Friends, you can't kill mythology. A 300 annual lawyer job shortfall goes poof with little more than threadbare conjecture. So don't be shocked when this committee pumps $2.25 million into building a 30-student-per-class division for evening students across the Sound from two full-sized law schools.

Let's just put a law school wing in every county with more than 100k and get it over with.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Ign'rant Animalistic Commentary

Because I love you - yes, you - I'm interrupting my weekend partying (beer just tastes better when it's paid for with debt bondage), to bring to light a comment left on my Top 20 LLM programs list (seriously - put it in list form - gift that keeps on giving) by "Cathy":

I wonder how you came down with this list? Under which criteria you decided those LLMs were in “your” worst top 20? Because by reading your comment of the Lewis &Clark’ animal law LLM: “Look, puppies!!! A kitten on top of a law book! Awwww! I like animals!” it pretty much shows you know anything about animal law. I strongly recommend you to first get that degree and then you’ll be able to make a professional opinion about the worthiness of the L&C animal law LLM. We don’t need opinions based on ignorance.

Yeah, scambloggers, don't knock it until you've paid the cash to try it! Otherwise your "professional opinion[s]" are worthless. Dat's ign'rant.

Also, if my comment "pretty much shows [I don't[?]] know anything about animal law," what does it say about Lewis & Clark, whose Animal Law LLM website has pictures of a puppy and a kitten on top of a law book?

Keep it goin', L&C. There's whales and baby seals that need a-savin'.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

The Top 20 LLM Programs in America

Number 18 on this entry was formerly Chapman's Prosecutorial Sciences LLM. Upon further review, this LLM does not currently exist (maybe?) and Chapman limits enrollment to experienced prosecutors with office backing (how shameful to deny access!). I'm blaming the ABA for omitting the limitation from the list I reviewed. Yes, everything is the ABA's fault. That's my story and I'm sticking to it! In any event, I have replaced it with Chapman's Entertainment Law LLM, which I have confirmed is open to normal JDs like you, you unemployed sob.

I have a business trip (recruiting lemmings in Saskatchewan - here's to hoping Saskatoon hasn't gotten the news yet!) so I will be out until Friday, but I wanted to leave my most loyal scam-hungry readers with some solid content to moisten their law-loving loins.

Here, my friendly scamtastics, are the top twenty best, most lovable, adorable LLM programs in America:

Honorable Mention: Allegedly, Pacific-McGeorge offers an LLM in experiential law teaching that's under the radar, but I can't find hard evidence of its existence, so I have to leave it here, but they get major props if they figured out a way to suck loan money out of junior law faculty at other schools.

20. Thomas Cooley's National Security LLM

Recently added! There are apparently 3 other schools with National Security LLMs: Georgetown, GWU, and Catholic. Gee, what do they have in common that Cooley doesn't? Hmmm...

19. Arkansas's Agriculture and Food Law LLM

Here it is. Wow Applebee's with your knowledge of USDA policy.

18. Chapman's LLM in Entertainment and Media Law

Open to JDs.

17. Florida Coastal's LLM in Logistics and Transportation Law

It's apparently the first of its kind. Legal employers like UPS love logistics. I've seen the commercials.

16. Duke's Entrepreneurship LLM

Link here. This degree is basically a clinic in how to combine a prestigious school name with a lovable, cutting edge topic to create a really attractive sheet of paper.

15. NYU's LLM in Legal Theory

Because you became addicted to the BS of law school.

14. Mississippi's Air and Space Law LLM

At least you're in the Sun Belt for this one, I guess. And Boeing will surely snap you up.

13. Pace's Environmental Law LLM

Don't you want a Green Planet? There are a few environmental law LLMs (for some reason, the ABA guide lumps these in with Energy Law LLMs - LOL), but studying at Pace seems worse than going to Vermont or Oregon, where the environment is actually the environment instead of being right by NYC. Bonus points for gaining a "highly regarded" environmental law program over the years, as that will no doubt open doors for graduates.

12. NYLS' Mental Disability Law Masters

While not technically an LLM, this thing looks like an exercise in deliciously-jaded irony.

11. Catholic's LLM in Communications Law

Is this like a communications undergrad degree?

10. Arizona State's Biotechnology and Genomics LLM

Link here. I can see the hiring interview now:

Interviewer: Do you have a masters degree in biochemistry like our last candidate?
Candidate: No, sociology. But I've got an LLM in biotech and genomics.
Interviewer: Hired!

9. Southwestern's Entertainment and Media Law LLM

Link here. Much like biotech, this is actually useful to certain people in LA. But, shhh, UCLA has the exact same program. So, uh...

8. St. John's Sports Law LLM

To clarify, it's "International and Comparative Sports Law." So not only can you represent Lebron James, you can add Messi to your client list, too.

7. The 50+ law schools that offer comparative or international law LLMs. (orgy tie)

No, I'm not going to list them.

6. Lewis & Clark's Animal Law LLM

Look, puppies!!! A kitten on top of a law book! Awwww! I like animals!

Application deadline extended to June 30.

5. St. Thomas of Florida's LLM in Intercultural Human Rights

Proof here. Because why just study international law when you can study human rights and really make a difference?

4. New Hampshire's Masters/LLM offered in International Criminal Law and Justice

From Concord to the Hague. Doesn't this make you feel good: "The LLM degree program enables practicing attorneys to experience financial, career and personal success by earning the mark of distinction of the Master of Laws degree. Only a very small percentage of the world's lawyers distinguish themselves with a proven academic record of subject expertise."

3. Michigan State's Global Food Law LLM

Surely this qualifies you to be manager at all sorts of global food conglomerates like McDonalds and Starbucks. It's like Arkansas's, but it's gone global.

2. Ohio Northern's Democratic Governance / Loyola-Chicago's Rule of Law/PROLAW LLM (tie)

From an UNROL press release: "The students will be provided with the specific knowledge and skills they need to become qualified and effective rule of law advisors in national and internationally sponsored initiatives to improve the rule of law in developing countries, countries in economic transition and countries recovering from violent conflict." Official link for Loyola here.

The Ohio Northern Program is Here. "Training Lawyers to build stable democratic institutions and develop systems to support the rule of law in a market economy."

1. Nebraska's Space, Cyber, and Telecommunications Law LLM

Yes, it exists. Ground Control to Major Tom - not even Houston Texas Southern or one of the Florida dumps, but NEBRAKSA.

Well, there you have it. What will they think of next, those dastardly law deans and their trustees wanting to "appeal to consumers?" Stay tuned, in 5 years this list might look a lot more...interesting.

Memorial Day Weekend Doin' It SoCal Style

Prior to my recent LLM list, traffic for this blog was up roughly 6x over March's numbers. The LLM post got linked in a few places, and traffic on the day it posted was up 15x what this blog gets on a normal day. As we approach Memorial Day, I want to sincerely thank all my happy little scammers out there for helping spread awareness about this blog so that we can make fun of the stupid people who keep buying our bullshit together.

But not everyone loves this blog as much as my bulging, erection-inducing audience numbers would suggest. Cue Dr. Ronald Steiner, Chapman law professor and head of the school's LLM programs, who allegedly left the following commentary on the LLM list posting:

Do you have any interest in exhibiting some credibility, or are you just in this for cheap and easy laughs?
[D]rive-by cheap shots are fun and easy, but it's precisely that kind of thing that makes it similarly easy for people to blow off bloggers as Cheetos-eaters in mom's basement. Don't be that guy. If you've got something to say, say it in a way that demonstrates professional rigor.

At first, these words made me scratch my Valvoline-coated head. Is dis dude for real? I thought. Everything on this blog exhibits the utmost loftiest highest standards of professional rigor, credibility, and fine scholarship. This should be obvious to anyone who reads so much as a post, a line, a word.

Cheap and easy laughs? Far from it. These are complex, hard laughs, laughs that take professional educations and years of scholarly training. Stephen Hawking monotone voice box laughs. Sophisticated laughs restricted to those who make $80,000 a year or more. If you want "cheap," go to Above the Law. This is the site most favored for that special brand of humor cultivated by America's foremost legal intellectuals.

Mom's basement? No, sir! The LSTC has an office with a receptionist and a fish tank. No Cheetos allowed; they leave orange dust all over the white leather couch.

But perhaps, I thought, Dr. Steiner takes issue with the word choice and tone employed herein. So I decided to explore other methods and do a compare and contrast of two models.

Take, for example, this article and choice quote on UCLA establishing a Food Law Program:

The Resnick Program for Food Law and Policy, said to be the first program of its kind at a major law school, will explore ways to hasten improvements in food safety, distribution and access, according to UCLA.

Here's my interpretation of a "professionally rigorous and credible" answer:

I believe UCLA is intentionally misleading the low-level journalists who apparently take the school's word at face value. Harvard, unquestionably a "major law school," already runs a Food Law and Policy Clinic, which features a variety of projects that study and advocate for food policy changes. Drake has a Center for Agricultural Lawthat explores "how the legal system shapes our food system and influences the ability of the agricultural sector to produce, market and utilize agricultural products." Vermont has a Center for Agriculture and Food Systems that "develop[s] the next generation of sustainable food and agriculture law and policy leaders while providing legal and policy resources and solutions for citizens to build and support such systems."Arkansas has a major program in ag and food law with an LLMHoward has a World Food Law InstituteMichigan State has an Institute for Food Laws and Regulations.

Obviously, UCLA has access to Google and likely knows its own industry, so the question then becomes how they can justify claiming to be the "first program of its kind at a major law school." Is UCLA claiming to have some sub-niche focus that these other institutes, centers, and programs do not, or is the third-best law school in California finding technical comfort in using the word "major?"

And here's something more in the style of this blog's traditional voice:

Christ, this has to be like an unwritten challenge or something. Who can tell the biggest whopper to a bona fide news publication and have them believe it? It's like the Penis Game, only with amplified dishonesty couched in weaselly technicalities. Utah claims it'll have the first "green" building. UCLA ups the ante by claiming it'll have the first world-changing food law center. Dude, there's like 5-10 of these things already floating around. Somewhere on the eastern seaboard, there's a Legion of Doom-esqe meeting with deans wondering how they can slip "first law school to offer feminist studies" into the New York Times. Way to go, UCLA. Leader in the Clubhouse.

In my feeble mind, there are several advantages the latter has over the former. And if I have to explain them to you, I'd rather be selling you on attending Valparaiso or Florida A&M.

But then it hit me: perhaps Dr. Steiner was being ironic. Perhaps Dr. Steiner is satirizing the absurdity of a studious law prof's reaction to the Law School Truth Center's Voyage of Epicness. Such a witty, layered, complex reaction would be remarkably clever and certainly worthy of every golf clap my tiny hands can deliver.

That has to be it, right?

In other news, Friday is coming to a close on Memorial Day weekend, meaning most of us will enjoy a three-day weekend. Or, as some law professors call it, the dawn of a three-month vacation.

'Til Monday, if then, scam on, friends.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Law School Admissions: Now Double Elimination!

This isn't an entirely new concept, but props to the LMU Duncan School of Law (accredited in Tennessee!) for figuring out a good way to stock next year's class in advance:

The Lincoln Memorial University Duncan School of Law has introduced "Admission Through Performance," allowing rejected applicants to enroll in a free, four-week course on the Federal Rules of Evidence taught by Duncan faculty. If the applicants do well, they can earn a spot in next year's 1L class.

Did we say "free?" Yes, yes we did! Lots of rascals charge for their "second chance courses." But not LMU-Duncan. Take it from Associate Dean April Meldrum:

We expect that many of the students will not succeed, so we wanted to make sure that we weren't taking advantage of them.

As-if other law schools ever do such things! Why, I never!

After graduating 77 people this year, LMU is trying to find 30 people to fill next year's class. The trade unionists at the ABA have already denied LMU-Duncan accreditation once and LMU-Duncan has reapplied, but remains in limbo. That's sort-of like getting turned down by the perpetually-high girl in your friendship circle who just had a train run on her by your buddies. So send 'em a prospect. Pity 0L?

I mean, it's a school in a Confederacy state named after the satanic Union dictator, and the name on the university is a way more famous lawyer than the guy whose name is on the law school. C'mon...

The free evidence course starts on July 11, and students must score at least a 70 on the 100-point final exam to gain admission to the law school proper. 

Let me try to draft a few questions for them:

1. Which of the following subjects was NOT discussed in this class?

A. Relevance
B. Hearsay
C. Judicial Notice
D. Elephant trunk cleaning

2. Which of the following would likely be prohibited as court testimony by a police officer?

A. "I saw the defendant stab her."
B. "The defendant yelled 'I stabbed the ho.'"
C. "A woman nearby yelled 'That dude stabbed that ho!'"

3. Have you figured out that the answers for 1 and 2 are both D?

A. Yes.
B. No.
C. I'm doing the numbers backwards. No spoilers!
D. Actually, choice C under question 2 may be also correct if the proper foundation for a hearsay exception has not been met.

Note: Answering "D" to this question will qualify you to wear our special "GUNNER ALERT" shirt, which can be purchased at the gift store for $19.99.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Memo to Paul McGreal: The Wall Street Journal is Not the Place for Truth

The Wall Street Journal has an article about law schools expanding their offerings to cater to professionals who want a taste of law without the full meal. It's a noble gesture that basically lets DIYers justify not hiring a compliance attorney. That's called meeting public demand and it's a staple of free market capitalism, which is the system that runs law schools, of course.

In the middle of the article, Paul McGreal, dean of Dayton, Ohio's best law school, lets the following slip:

"Adding new degree programs is like a company diversifying its product lines. If demand for one sags, you've still got alternative sources of revenue coming in," said Paul McGreal, dean of the University of Dayton School of Law, which now offers master's degrees for nonlawyers and practicing attorneys alike.


Paul, repeat after me: off the record. If you want to speak honestly about the law school business model, go off the record.

Because - repeat this, too, as if talking advertising for a funeral home - law schools are not an ordinary business. They train the next generation of attorneys for the higher calling that is the legal profession. We exist for the public good and therefore do not think in terms of revenue. As a non-profit, our goal is to continually serve the legal community. Recently, we've found that many working professionals simply have the thirst to learn the law, but don't have the time or need for a full JD or LLM program. We've thus decided to meet the community need by offering these additional classes, the cost of which reflects the reality of modern, expensive education with computers 'n' such.

We don't talk about "product lines" and "alternative sources of revenue" to major newspapers, Paul. We talk about serving the public.

Like this:

At Emory, Dean Robert Schapiro played down the role additional revenue might have had in setting up the new program, which he said was a response to "strong" demand for legal education in the broader population and outside the U.S. The 40 or so students in Emory's program include physicians, a dentist, a sports-communications staffer at CNN, an environmental-consulting executive and a South Korean patent judge.

See, Paul? CNN staffers, consulting executives, and foreign patent judges! Same jobs your graduates can fill with their versatile JDs!

THAT'S why you put in those programs at Dayton. Not because you want additional revenue streams. Good God, man! Have some decorum!

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.