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.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

An Excerpt from Ted Cruz's Magnum Opus

If there's one thing I love doing, it's giving attention whores more time.  And Ted Cruz, buddy, you earned my patronage.

During the middle of his near-pointless rambling yesterday Cruz explained to everyone why Generation XYZ is struggling:
I mentioned that if you were trying to design a law to hurt young people, ObamaCare--you couldn't do better than that. Well, it has produced a lost generation.
Here is what the Wall Street Journal said: 
Like so many young Americans, Derek Wetherell is stuck. At 23 years old, he has a job, but not a career, and little prospect for advancement. He has tens of thousands of dollars in student debt-- 
I know what student debt is like. It was only 2 years ago that I paid off my student debt. I had to take out student debt to pay my way through college and law school. There are a lot of young people right now struggling to pay off student debt. I will tell you, if you combine student debt with a dead-end job or not being able to find a job at all, that is a recipe for a lost generation.

Continuing with Derek Wetherell:
He has tens of thousands of dollars in student debt, but no college degree.
That is becoming more and more common. People take out loans to get a college degree, but they are not finishing. They are not able to finish.   He says he is more likely to move back in with his parents than to buy a home-- 
The American dream used to be that everyone wanted to buy their own home, have a white picket fence, have a swing out front on which your kids could play. That was our parents' dreams. That was their parents' dreams. That has been the American dream for generations. I ask young people, how many of you feel that dream is a realistic prospect for you? It was for your parents when they were your age. Let me tell you, the policies this Congress has put in place because we are not listening to the American people are a direct cause of that. ObamaCare is a direct cause of that.
Decades-long structural issues?  No, no, no, no, no.  The real cause of the "lost generation" of high student debt and low jobs is a law from 2010 and first taken seriously in 2012.

Things were clearly hunky-dory, with no student debt or low employment prospects, until Congress had the audacity to try and address America's health care problems.

And Ted Cruz knows what he's talking about.  He's got himself a law degree from Harvard and worked for Morgan Lewis Bockius and clerked for Rehnquist.  God knows he can't be an idiot.  Not in our prestigious legal system.  At least prior to ObamaCare inspiring Hitler and Marx.

Monday, September 23, 2013

This Thomas Jefferson Has His Hos, Too.

In yet another blow to the cute little ants who keep trying to hold law schools accountable for their gifted salesmanship, the judge in California overseeing the insult to Thomas Jefferson denied class certification.

Game over.

Do not pass go.  Do not collect a refund on your tuition.

My favorite part:
In support of the Opposition, TJSL has presented 111 declarations of graduates. The declarations indicate differences in what factors influenced the graduates to attend TJSL and differing weights to those various factors. Declarants included 42 different factors and less than 15% of the declarants identified employment statistics as important.
The thing you litigious idiots ignored is that law school is a breeding ground for sycophants and people who simply can't recover from Stockholm Syndrome.

Only 15% of applicants relied on employment information.  Keep saying that enough times and maybe it will become plausible.

This is sort-of like back when TJLS got sued and had the the alumni defending its sacred honor.  Clearly, this was not authored by an attorney or school representative:
Thomas Jefferson School of Law complied with industry standards when reporting job placement data.
As even the trial court noted, the original plaintiff in the case was offered full time employment, as an attorney, within nine months of graduating from TJSL.
At its core, this case is really an attack on the method of reporting statistics in use at the time by the American Bar Association (ABA) and U.S. News & World Report – not on the unique actions by Thomas Jefferson School of Law, which provided the specific data requested and in the specific format requested of every ABA law school in the nation. 
Spontaneous alumni love letter, indeed.

That piece of impeccable PR work was signed by twenty-six extremely accomplished attorneys and judges, which is a very, very high proportion of their graduate pool.  It's heart-warming that their ranks swelled to over a hundred when it came time to defend their beloved in an actual court.

I used to shake my fist at the judge for letting this claim go past the pleading stage.  Now I see the subtle grace of his move.  Unlike his counterparts in Chicago and New York, who snuffed the little flies mercilessly with First-Class Legal Logic, the judge in California gave the plaintiffs a glimmer of hope and a year of thinking this was for real...

...and then he snatched it away.  NO SUIT FOR YOU!

Good one, judge.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Task Force Forever, Forever Task Force

Our beloved heroes at the ABA's secret hideout ("IQs between the 94th and 98th percentile ONLY") have issued another eye-popping report, which I can't even link to because my blog simply cannot handle it, which is exactly what my pants say every time the Georgetown Law Review shows up in the mailbox.

Speaking of which, here's a fun passage from the paper (eloquently called a "field manual" at certain points, as you can apparently use it to identify moose feces in the forest):
Proponents of a substantial role for scholarship often argue that faculty scholarship promotes the public good, directly and indirectly, by developing more intellectually competent lawyers and by improving law as a system of legal ordering. (They also argue that the work of scholarship makes faculty members better teachers and so confers a private benefit on students by equipping them to earn a living.) 
On the other hand, critics claiming that law schools devote excessive resources to faculty scholarship generally invoke considerations of private good. They argue that faculty scholarship increases costs, and thus the price, of legal education, with adverse economic consequences such as limiting access to legal education and increasing the loan repayment obligations of law school graduates.
What they've done in this passage is simply brilliant.  Legal scholarship - which is little more than house organs playing each other's shitty songs over a ham radio that a few thousand people in the entire country care about - promotes the public good.  How so?  It makes lawyers "intellectually competent" and "improve[s] law as a system of legal ordering."  (Does anyone actually argue these things?!)

If you have any idea what the fuck that means in plain English, congratulations, you are eligible to publish in a tier two law review of your choice.  Write 40 pages on Husserl and promissory estoppel in sub-Saharan Africa.  We need more law review articles to, uh, keep our law legally ordered.

Note also that legal scholarship improves teaching skills, which in turn helps their students earn a practical living.  Meanwhile, critics of scholarship are looking at it only as a private good (indeed - law professors clearly have a more reasoned view, as they see both public and private...)

To sum up:

-Public good-minded:  trying to preserve the convoluted credential circle-jerk conducted by elitist club of six-figure income earners so they can have longer CVs and feel like their lives have meaning despite the utter soullessness of law and legal education because they're convinced the value they perceive their own shit having is the true and actual public value of the shit.

-Private good-minded:  assbags trying to prevent waste of public resources and reduce debt burdens for tens of thousands each year.

Of course, the main problem here is that the TASK FORCE! has continued its needless and senseless redefining of "public good" (hint: copyrighted works are not a public good) to make law schools sound better (I guess?).  It doesn't make a damn bit of sense and I don't know where the TASK FORCE! comes up with this shit, but, really, they're just toying with you at this point.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Cooley-WMU Formalize Their Short-Term Hook-Up at Kalamazoo Love Chapel

Oh, yeah, Faust has signed the accord:
Officials, alumni, faculty, staff, students and friends of Western Michigan University and Thomas M. Cooley Law School met on the WMU campus Sept. 17 to witness the formal signing of an affiliation agreement between the schools and celebrate a range of initiatives expected to grow out of the move.
It's a deft move that I'm surprised more 8th-tier law schools haven't tried.  Then again, there aren't many 8th-tier law schools.

Remember how Michigan State didn't have a law school and then they snapped up a crappy one and now MSU has a law school and the Detroit School of Law got an instant reputation boost for no good reason whatsoever except for the name change?  Or how Dickinson became instantly awesomer when it married Penn State?  And of course, Texas A&M now has a law school...

When Cooley becomes Western Michigan, the idiots who vote for the US News Rankings will have no idea that it's a gigantic crap-shack.  It'll be just another second-rate public law school that they had no idea existed, like Northern Kentucky or Southern Illinois or Eastern Colorado.

Other law schools should take note:

Thomas Jefferson?  San Diego State needs a law school.

Florida Coastal?  How about University of North Florida School of Law...

Don't forget some good private schools.  Why, Phoenix School of Law could become the Arizona Christian School of Law.

C'mon, you single bitches, upgrade those names!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Pittsburgh's Proactive Morality

Does a semi-prestigious law school reduce class size because the quality applicant pool is shrinking and the oligarchs want to protect their lofty 91st ranking?  Oh, no, you rascally Ockham's Razor-happy fools, they did it because it's right:
"I made the strategic decision several months ago to substantially decrease the size of this year's incoming class ... not because we have been forced to, but because it is the right thing to do," Mr. Carter wrote in a recent email distributed to Pitt Law alumni. 
"The most important factor in our decision to proactively reduce the class size was the contraction in the market for entry-level attorneys," Mr. Carter said last week in an emailed response to questions from the Post-Gazette.
Since it's so into doing things because they're right in response to the dead entry-level market, obviously Pitt has proactively been reducing class sizes and slashing tuition for a decade, right?  Or. Mr. Carter's previous institutions were doing it, right?  Or he was at least speaking out about the need for law schools to lower enrollment given the low employment, right?

Proactive?  I've read it twice and I still chuckle at the audacity of the claims these overcoat overlords can spin.  I'm not worthy!

Thankfully, our nation's journalists mailed it in years ago, and I can safely assume that those e-mailed questions didn't include any targeted inquiries about why no one was cutting class size long ago, or at least in time to prevent $170k in total tuition with 50% legal employment odds.

Law schools and administrators were about as proactive as slipping on a condom after she's seven months along with mistake number two.  But if it's the right thing to do, it's the right thing to do, and now there will be no unemployed Pitt alums.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

The Camel's Back May Have Broken, But Law Schools Stand Strong

Old blogging platform seeded like a good idea at the time for reasons I'm not sure I remember.  It wasn't, and now I'm on blogger.  Great story.

Old posts are being migrated by yours truly in a turtle-like fashion, because it's REALLY hard to copy and paste all this shit without stopping to become amazed anew at the stupendous feats of America's slickest law schools.

In the meantime, here's a journalistic punt on football day:   After 8 years, what’s the value of Charlotte School Of Law degree?

Since they make absolutely no attempt to answer the question, I will:  you divin' into money.  That was easy.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Charleston's Sale to Infilaw, Your ABA, and Angry Palmettos

I believe I forgot to report the wonderful news that 10-year-old Charleston School of Law is, indeed, going all the way with its new rich polyamorous boyfriend, Infilaw. Yes, it's old enough, and I hope many, many indebted little babies pop out of this new figure in the Infilaw orgy.

If you'll recall, about a month prior to this, the school announced it has entered into a "management agreement" with Infilaw...only to now confirm that they actually entered into a purchase agreement back in July.

Why did they not announce it immediately?

In an Aug. 28 letter to the commission, Robert Carr, one of the school’s founders, said his group held back in announcing the purchase agreement on advice of its lawyersand American Bar Association consultants.

Yes, kids, this is YOUR American Bar Association: we regulate the law schools, but us and/or individuals affiliated with us take on consulting arrangements with them. Conflict of interest? Bitch, we the law.

(There is a possibility that the consultants are not officially ABA-affiliated and advertise themselves as assisting schools with the regulatory process, as is common in regulated industries. However, the article is not entirely clear and I can't find a copy of the letter to get the actual wording, and frankly, it seems unlikely that an accredited law school would need such a consultant since everything is going to get approved, anyway. Besides, why use the proper noun as an adjective unless it actually means something?)

(And ask yourself why attorneys and "ABA consultants" are telling a school not to publicly announce its sale to Infilaw... should that not be a red flag to regulators?)

AND NOW, a letter from a pissed off state rep who plans to oppose the licensing of the New and Improved Charleston:

Infilaw's history and their (sic) own acknowledgment as testified to our committee make clear (sic) that quality, affordability, excellence and cooperation are not even remote goals in their (sic) operating model. Infilaw is concerned with profit and little else (damnable truth). As a result, they (sic) do not fit into the existing landscape of higher education in South Carolina, nor do they (sic) meet any present or future needs for our state. Infilaw’s presence in South Carolina would undermine those goals thereby injecting a negative influence on higher education in our state (is Clemson going to start smoking pot?). Additionally, their (sic) class sizes, lack of quality and excessive debt burden on future lawyers would degrade and undermine the effective administration of justice in South Carolina.

But the ABA accredited them! I mean, yes, your state government ultimately has the power to determine whether an educational institution can operate in your state, but no one in this industry ever acknowledges that, so I'm going to remind you again that the ABA has not put any roadblock on Infilaw accreditation and you, Mr. "Legislator", should not, either. Now why don't you go appropriate funds for some roads or something and leave the loan harvesting to to the professionals.

This story has legs for a scam article. Wealthy white dudes trying to bail to get rich, for-profit Infilaw just trying to make an honest buck, state representatives with their panties in a bunch, and third-tier law students upset that their school may decline in quality.

Stay posted, friends, although I'll tell you the ending now: Infilaw wins.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

GWU Surging, Doing Its Part to Aid DC Lawyer Shortage

So my last entry - about an actual proposed reform - didn't garner any comments, not even from the digital horde of spambots! Obviously, my Loyal Readership has no interest in actually reforming law schools.

Not that we need it. As much as you say enrollment at school (x) is down, there's always schools that are going to anchor lawyer production.

Like Motherfuckin' George Washington University:

A total of 484 students entered the school this fall, including about 80 more full-time students than last year, according to the school's preliminary data.

Trap school? Yeah...if you want to be trapped in wealth.

And how did they achieve this magnificent feat?

Rich Collins, the associate vice president for law development, said the school considered GPA more than it has in the past, while lowering its LSAT score standards.

To be fair, the real George Washington never even TOOK the LSAT, so today's students still have, like, a 160-point advantage on the school's namesake.

Collins said Maggs stressed the need for a larger class "to make the place run." A smaller first-year class strains law schools' finances with less cash from tuition, which was hiked up by 4.8 percent this year.

"We're not the kind of place where you go on a diet and decide you're a size two when you've been a size eight," he said.

Woot! 20+% increase AND a 4.8% hike in tuition!

And I applaud the administrators for refusing to put the law school on a diet. Who cares if the law school has ridiculous hypertension, diabetes, and elevated levels of failed solos and doc reviewers?


Oh, don't worry, kids and new enrollees. GWU ain't croakin' any time soon. The article compares its enrollment increases to Duke, Vanderbilt, Virginia, and NYU, clearly all law schools in GWU's class.

Of course, the best news in all of this is that with GWU being fat, and with the other DC schools hardly being slim there's going to be plenty of greasy lawyer poop shot into the streets of our nation's capital for years to come, ensuring that poor people will never suffer for lack of being surrounded by shitlawyers.

(Yes, I chuckled while writing that).

(*I'm not saying size 8 women are fat by this analogy; although I do think a 450-person law school is grossly overweight. Size 8 women are rarely fat, and I frankly think it's offensive for the dean to suggest that size 8 women can easily and flippantly "decide" to go to a size 2, as it perpetuates a lot of unhealthy image stereotypes. There's no medical reason for the majority of size 8 women to diet, and most size 8 women are likely healthier than their size 2 counterparts. It's also much, much easier for GWU to become reasonably-sized than for a size 8 woman to magically become a size 2. For trained lawyers, these people seem averse to thinking things through before speaking to journalists.)

Monday, September 2, 2013

Two-Thirds a Happy Labor Day

I first want to wish all my readers a happy Labor Day or, as most of my readers view it, an ordinary, indistinguishable Monday spent surfing the interwebs on mom's crumb-littered couch.

I've noticed that over the last week or so, legal education talk has been dominated by President Obama sticking his neck into the law school reform issue. Apparently, he threw out the idea of law school being only two years, and people eat this superficial shit up.

I love it. The "2 year" solution - whether it's a true 2-year plan or a 2-year plan with an externship tacked in - is a big ol' red herring non-reform. It sounds nice. "Hey, wow, same degree for 2/3 the price? I'll take it!" We learned a long time ago that the best sell is one's individual finances. YOU TOO CAN MAKE $160K AND SLEEP IN BROOKS BROTHERS SUITS is now as passe as heroin. Today, law school propaganda is turning, slowly, towards, WE'RE MAKING IT CHEAPER FOR YOU. When you can't sell quality, sell cost.

There's just one problem. 

{Record-player screech}

A two-year JD isn't any more likely to find a remunerative job than a three-year JD.

But, hey, we've now got Barry O on the case. Law schools, consider yourselves reformed. Problem solved, nothing to see here, more kids will enroll because it's a quicker program with less perceived risk so let's raise the price of year two on the little bastards, no need to discuss reforming GradPlus loans or matching educational output with market reality. Nope. Move along now.

Oh, what the hell, why not stay and do some math with me?

Ten years ago, tuition at Harvard was around 34k. Now it's crested 50k. The total cost therefore went from 102k to 150k. So...if they went to a straight two year program with a degree and no further tuition your total cost savings would be... around 2k. For Seton Hall, full tuition for 3 years a decade ago cost around 90k. Two years at present tuition rates is around...90k. And if you look at other schools, they'd still be bringing in more in raw tuition than they were 10 years ago. Because the people who like this reform conveniently ignore how rapidly tuition rates have risen at American's Finest Law Schools(c), which was necessitated by the drastic changes in legal education from 2004 to 2014. Windows 7 was cataclysmic, people, and buying the faculty 4G iPhones was a nightmare. 

If you'll recall that for law schools, the third year is the most expensive, you might understand why THIS has emerged as an acceptable reform possibility. If the ABA says "yes," they'll be a mad rush to dump expensive clinical programs at lower-ranked schools and "economize" the experience. I'll tell you exactly what'll happen. Schools will slash the course catalog in half, kill excess programs, and charge the same tuition rate and...uh...continue making money. And remember: this is their compromise position.

They'll also be a rush to sell law degrees as equally-fast alternatives to MBAs and other short-term degrees. Less committment means less risk, which means more room in the ol' law school queue for all those people who have been passing the last few years. 

Of course, the propaganda ministry has been decrying this and saying it's terrible for law schools. But given all the alternatives, it's an attractive reform as we circle the wagons, which is why it's so awesome the POTUS is agenda setting for us and keeping the intolerable reforms in Lalaland. Limit federal loans? What're you smokin', a-hole?

Just give up now, scmabloggers. No one's touching the loan program and no one's going to make an effort to truly rein in tuition rate escalation.

So raise a beer to the law school complex, friends. It will always win.