Saturday, December 27, 2014

Mississippi Burning ...up the Job Market!

And with the birth of Jesus, your apostle at the LSTC is ready to return to bringing you the Good News, this time from the land of Colonel Sartoris.

From the Jackson Free Press (ed.: as opposed to...?)
The University of Mississippi School of Law's first-year enrollment has dropped from 199 in 2010, to 156 in 2012 and just 127 students this year.
The decrease was intentional.
Officials began reducing their class sizes at a time when a recovering economy and improving job market began to lure potential students away from law school.
Emphasis added.  See, kids, your "scamblogger" "friends" are telling you that law schools have had to slash enrollment because law school isn't worth it.  Au contraire.  As our friends in Mississippi are telling us, it's because the economy is going so darn good that it's luring students away from law school like Pied Pipers or Sirens or pick your analogy.

Of course, they understand math, too:
"We were much more concerned about placement. If we had a large class that impacts the profession in a negative way when the market isn't real strong for lawyers. What we've found by getting smaller is placement percentages have gone up," law school dean Richard Gershon told The Sun Herald.
Last year, about 85 percent of the law school graduates had a job in the legal field nine months after graduation, Gershon said.
Wow, that sounds excellent!  I mean, their law school transparency numbers are significantly lower (NALP 2013 = 71% bar passage required), but I'm happy Gershon - who the internet says is a pioneer of Charleston School of Law - is here to give us the straight dope without cutting it with malicious anti-law school lies.
"One thing I've found that keeps me optimistic is that people applying, getting in and going to law school really want to be in law school," Gershon said.
 Thank God we're finally getting people who really really really want to be lawyers, as opposed to the class of 2008, whose members were obviously just throwing three years of their lives away, in a much better non-legal employment market, to only sort-of want to be lawyers.  Maybe that's a byproduct of making residents spend around $100k for a public school law degree?

I just hope the improving job market for undergraduates doesn't lure them away.  Otherwise, Mississippi just may run out of lawyers.  So the next time you're in Biloxi or Tupelo, please make sure you talk up the virtues of buying from China or India.  Things simply can't go so well that we risk not having enough lawyers to stock the yellow pages and bench backs.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Dean Satan's Christmas Carols, Volume I

OUR HERO in the Valentino suit with the pure silver cufflinks and the adorable red horns poking through his immovable sculpture of salt-and-pepper hair had a minor problem.

"Applications are still falling," Dean Satan huffed to the boardroom of esteemed faculty and donors.  "Kids these days simply don't understand the long-term benefits of a legal education."

Professor Mammon, a ninety-year-old who hid the smell of cancer with astringent aftershave and jokes from the 70s, slowly raised his shaking hand.  "I think we could use an LLM program in something new and current."  He rustled around in his saddlebag and pulled out a real actual newspaper.  "Russian law," he said.  "Oil law.  Horoscope law..."

"No," Dean Satan snapped.  "We need to attract fresh blood."

"Let's have one of those wine soirees," Professor Sin said, her eyes wide with excitement at the prospect.  "The new students always love those.  Let's just invite the prospectives, get everyone hammered, and have then sign master promissory notes at 2 a.m.  It's how I bought my lake house!"

"Tempting," Dean Satan replied in his grease-slick tone.  "Most tempting.  But I fear not even free mid-shelf booze can remove the torpor of this bunch.  No, we need something truly devious, something truly soul-clenching, revolutionary in its ability to make moderately-intelligent people believe our horseshit."

"A jingle!" Assistant Dean Beelzebub said.  He was just 26 and fresh out of a Supreme Court clerkship term, but he obviously brought with him the cutting insight of the sharpest legal minds.  Shit like this is why he taught courses like contracts and such.  "I've got eight cars because of those holiday jingles.  Surely we can get the suckers to fall in line if we lure them like Pied Pipers to our snowmobiles of jurisawesome!  I mean, most of our arguments for law school are just repeating the same discredited things over and over again.  Why not do it in song?

And what happened, then?
Well, in Hellville they say -
that Dean Satan's small heart
grew three sizes that day.
And when he recovered
in the hospital room
Dean Satan found the idea
simply unable to doom!

"We'll do Christmas Carols to market our law school!" he yelled with a fire of, well, hellfire.  Boom!

...somewhere, on a public access station...

  ...a jazz beat, piano intro...a group of handsome devils sings into a microphone...

Your phone rings; have a listen
Law school calls; your future glistens
A beautiful sight; protect some animal rights
Walkin' in a law school wonderland...

When you're a lawyer you can build a straw man
And sell it to a judge with robe and crown
He's ask "are you smokin'?"
You'll say "Law, Man!"
"And add some costs and fees; let's party down!"

Later on, you'll conspire,
while a-drunk, in the mire,
To face unafraid,
All the models you've laid,
Walking in a law school wonderland...

...key change, mood change to stately, festive...Professor Moloch - late 40s, fatter, bearded, maybe runs a blog on rock music and the law or something - steps up to a microphone...

Good King InfiLaw looked out;
On the Feast of Schemin'
Middling LSATs all about
Deep and crisp and even
Brightly shone their futures bright
Tho' the news was cru-el
When their applications came
"Welcome to our schoo-ooo-el...."

...minor key, somber, like, a hymn or something...Professor Sin steps up to a DIFFERENT microphone...

O Come O Come Emmanuel
And ransom captive all those 0 Ls
That mourn in lonely exile here
where jobs for undergrads have disappeared
REJOICE!  REJOICE!
Emmanuel
Law will change your unemployment hell.

...massive drum beat, Professor M.C. Mephistophales is in da hizzy...

Sittin' in my office readin' my law book hard
And I thought to call up, a champion of justice
Picked up the telephone, then dialed the seven digits
Said, "hey, want to talk wit' me about Hobby Lobby?"

I arrived at her house, knocked on the door
Not having no idea of what the night had in store
I'm like a dog in heat, a freak without warnin'
We talked about the ACA 'til early next mornin'

...at this point, Professor M.C. Mephistophales raps "Me so horny...for law!" in between Dean Satan singing "All I want for Christmas is more butts in seats..."

Abrupt stop...a spotlight shines on a child who has been pushed onto the stage at gunpoint...

Jolly lawyers everywhere,
Lean your ears this way!
I just might, starve real soon
hear what I have to say.

Notice applications swoon,
listen while you can,
my Boomer counsel retires soon
who will replace that man?

When his career strikes at twelve
And fees rise up real steep;
Our promises to justice, well,
how can you claim to keep?

Johnny wants a pair of skates
Susie wants a sled
Me I just want counsel to
protect my home and bread.

 The child is unceremoniously ushered to the pits of hell, which, in this scenario, is a green room with watered-down orange drink.  The piano goes upbeat and Dean Satan, Prof. Mammon, and a ghastly pale figure called Spoiler step forward...

Spoiler:  Alright you lawprofs, ready to sing your song?
Dean Satan:  Every year!
Spoiler:  Okay, Mammon?
Prof. Mammon:  I think I wet myself.
Spoiler:  Okay, Mammon?
Prof. Mammon:  Ready.
Spoiler:  Satan?...Satan?...SATAN?!?!?
Dear Satan:  Ready!

Christmas, Christmas, time is near;
Like the bar, it's every year.
Go to family, advertise!
Dean Satan:  Imagine the view from your high rise!
We can hardly stand the wait; please don't apply here late.

Spoiler:  Okay, fellas, get ready. That was good, Prof. Mammon
Prof Mammon:  I met JFK once.
Spoiler:  I meant the singing.
Prof. Mammon:  My CV is 30 pages long.
Spoiler:  Uh, Dean Satan, only 35% of your students passed the bar exam last year....Satan?...Satan?...SATAN?!?!?!
Dean Satan:  Fuck you, asshole, it's the bar examiners.

Abrupt darknessSuper-cool laser light show.  Symphony orchestra starts playing "Carol of the Bells."

Hark! Zero Ls
Sweet Zero Ls
All seem to say,
"Debt bombs away."
Law school is here
Build good career
For young and old
Meek and the bold
All really want to study, helps you buddy, any path you may take!
JD, JD, JD, JD 'vantage
JD, JD, JD, JD 'vantage

DING DONG DING DONG DING....

...fade into Prof. Belial strumming at a guitar in the corner...

Billy, the English major,
chose to get a law degree
and if you ever saw it,
you would want to get a J.D.

All of the econ majors,
used to laugh and call him names
then never let poor Billy
play their silly MBA games

Then one foggy Christmas Eve
The big firm came to say
"Billy, with your mind so bright,
won't you lead our bet-the-company fight?"

Then all the MBAs loved him,
and they shouted out with glee,
Billy, the Super Esquire,
You'll go down in history!

ALL:  YOU'LL GO DOWN IN HIS-TO-RY!!!

Editor's note:  I hope you have enjoyed another thrilling adventure in the Dean Satan Chronicles.  I will likely not be posting again until after Christmas.  So, be you hero or villainous whiner or a lost soul in the chasm of unfathomable uncertainty, the LSTC wishes you a happy holiday of your choosing, or just a good December if you dislike all the present options.  

Please feel free to add your own holiday songs for Dean Satan and the gang in the comments section, but please note that particularly good ones may be stolen and incorporated into a future post, as is lawyer tradition.

God bless us, every one, tho' obviously me a wee bit more than others.  Happy holidays---

Monday, December 8, 2014

California Style

Less than half of overall takers of the California bar examination passed the test this year, and, as it turns out, they do it on the west coast the same way they do it on the east coast:  blame the test makers.  First, the sympathy set-up so you're emotionally ready to exonerate the leaders:
"Law school deans are in a particularly difficult situation these days," said Derek Muller, a professor at Pepperdine University who writes on the business of law.
And now the flush:
Muller, the Pepperdine professor, said he didn't believe the drop in bar passage could be entirely explained by the test-takers because the rates fell in so many states. "It strikes me as something internal to the bar," he said.
See, if the results of the bar examination dropped in one state in isolation of all the other states, we could assume it was due to that one state being more stupider than all the rest, but since they dropped everywhere, it's just totally erroneous because everyone knows the entire law student population didn't get dumber overnight.  I mean, that's just dumb.

The opposite of dumb is Gilbert Holmes, who's currently leading La Verne on a thunderous comeback to relevance.  Note how he gracefully slips a soundbite into a sentence ostensibly criticizing soundbite reliance (that he surely knew was going to get published):
Many academics say the drop isn't a concern — at least not yet. "We live in a sound-bite society, but one year does not make a trend," said Gilbert A. Holmes, dean of the University of La Verne College of Law.
And now watch Holmes drop-kick the NCBE's cold remark that the 2014 class was "less able" to pass the bar with words:
"To make such a damning statement of this group of law students, to label them as being as less able based on solely that the average score was lower than the year before, is what got me upset and what got the other deans upset," said Holmes, who signed the administrators' letter.
Yeah, why use averages?  Everyone knows that if you want to reflect a data set properly, you give the median and 25th/75th percentiles.  Thankfully, the article doesn't mention that La Verne's 1L enrollment fell from 166 to 55 in 2011, because that's just another ludicrous and irrelevant data point that would make Holmes angry.

Gilbert Holmes?  More like the John Holmes of Semantics.  Only maybe without the AIDS or the cocaine thing.

The simple truth is that the bar examination is not fair if it precludes an open admissions policy,.  The sooner the powers that be accept this, the sooner we can all get back to our Swedish supermodels and Italian sports cars.  (Or, if you're a public defender, Italian supermodels in Swedish sports cars; there's a reason they call public service jobs a sacrifice).

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Law School Worth Investment, Says PhD Liberal Arts Dean

Daniel R. Porterfield is the President of Franklin and Marshall college.  He's also married to an attorney so you know he knows what he's talking about.  And he's on Forbes - leading in with the not-tired-at-all Shakespeare character speaking of killing lawyers - telling the world law school is a good investment.

Let's celebrate some of his best points:
Our society doesn’t work without well-educated legal leaders dedicated to preserving America’s commitments to the Constitution and fair legal frameworks for dispute resolution.
As we all know, our society is now working better than ever.  I don't know about you, but I do nothing but ride unicorns, eat cupcakes, and hold hands with minority business owners.  That's largely thanks to an unprecedented amount of laws, regulations, and lawyers in this land.  Thank goodness all lawyers are dedicated to preserving Constitutional values and securing fair access to courts and other legal frameworks.

But it's not just our nation that's imperiled in the absence of lawyers; it's our money:
...capitalism requires legal checks to ensure fair competition in the economic sphere and protect the rights of employees, consumers, shareholders, and owners alike.
A simpleton might quip that capitalism has been practiced (and is practiced) without any of the above, but they just don't understand a principle I like to call lawfeelgood.  Plus, they don't a PhD, so fuck 'em.

 As he notes later on, law has numerous personal benefits as well (listen up, Sally Selfishes!), from "honing one’s mind" to "earning a living" to "expertly navigating the litigious society that we all inhabit."  I stop and reflect upon that last one. Prior to law school, I used to conduct blasting operations at a chromium factory in a large urban area as part of a horizontal price-fixing scheme while disregarding my child support obligations.  I can't tell you how much law school has helped me navigate the litigious aspects of this country.

His advice?
Sometimes, when a promising undergraduate says she is considering law school, well-meaning people say, “What a shame…”

But we should encourage such aspirations, because we need some of the best minds of this and every generation to become society’s leaders in law.
This follows with what is essentially an advertisement for Franklin & Marshall, which is great, because it apparently has leaders who are more gung-ho for law school than the heretical saboteurs at other institutions that may give their students advice based on statistics, rationality, and probability rather than pop political philosophy and unicorn zoology.

But most importantly, it's absolutely necessary that we send "some of the best minds of this and every generation" to law school.  Because law is super important and even though there's already triple the people to do this work now in a system that is bloated and shrinking, we need more more more gobble gobble more.

I'm off to ride my unicorn (named "Hornylaw") and eat cupcakes of justice as I protect capitalism and democracy. 

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving; I'm Thankful for These Seventy-Nine Heroic Law Deans

As the faithful reader will recall, last month, the NCBE and Brooklyn Law Dean Nicholas Allard had the following dialogue:
NCBE President Erica Moeser:  There was no error on this year's bar results.
Law Dean Nicholas Allard:  Shenanigans!
Once the initial artillery shelling ends, the infantry marches forward, and soon after Allard's canon-shot of perfect and unbiased scientific reasoning, the recruits lined up to march in unison for the Kingdom of Law.

On Tuesday, seventy-nine (over one third!) of America's law deans signed a letter requesting a "thorough investigation" that is "fully transparent to all law school deans and state bar examiners."  Specifically, they are requesting "all data in its possession on reliability or fairness of the July 2014 bar exam and all data necessary for independent expert review of the same."

Now, a snarky scamblogger might say something like "How about....no, fuck off." 

Or a snarky scamblogger might say "What genius former BigLaw litigator wrote this vague and ridiculous  request for production?"

Or a snarky scamblogger might say "Why, yes, transparency and enough information for independent expert review.  That sounds like a splendid thing to ask of an organization determining the fortunes of those with six-figure debt."

Or a snarky scamblogger might say "It's wonderful that law deans and state bar examiners will get this information; obviously, something like the minimal competence of lawyers should not be trusted to the public."

Or a snarky scamblogger might say "When you say "independent expert," you mean someone like Richard Matasar, right?"

Or a snarky scamblogger might say "I don't understand their concern.  A JD is a truly versatile degree and even those who fail the bar examination are well-served by their legal education."

Or a snarky scamblogger might say "With all their constitutional and civil procedure brain power, surely they have collectively navigated past the minor problem that none of them have any sort of recognized standing to even be arguing and asking for this crap."

Etc.  Lord knows what other cynical filth the minds of the unwashed can conjure.

I am not a snarky scamblogger.  I understand that these seventy-nine individuals are making a bold move in demanding open access and transparency in a shrewd sacrifice to ensure that as many debt-ridden bottom-quartile special snowflakes pass the bar exam as humanly possible in future years.  It's not about this particular battle.  It's about the war.

This is some Sun-Tzu shit going on here, and the war is all about whether you want rigid bar examinations by a cold, opaque NCBE or open, fair, and flexible bar examinations whose administrators cower to threats of auditing and mass criticism, helping the status quo to carry on for another year.  Heck, just by sending a few letters, they've already virtually guaranteed that bar examination pass rates will improve next year in several states.  No way those bureaucrats want to further ruffle feathers with law deans.

So hail these brave patriots, and let us celebrate the institutions that they serve.  Albany, Ave Maria, Barry, Capital, Charleston, Drake, Golden Gate, Hofstra, JMLS, La Verne, NYLS, Northeastern, Pace, Roger Williams, St. Marys, St. Thomas (2x), TJLS, Touro, Cooley, Vermont, Whittier, Widener, and all the others are fortunate to have leaders who understand the need for transparency and accountability when the law schools may have an adverse result.  God bless them, every one.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving, Americans.  And if you're not an American, well, I would love to help find you an LLM program.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

The Charleston Saga, Continued: Seeking New President (Likely JD Advantage!)

It's been some time since we've checked in with Charleston School of Law and its ongoing saga, so let's see...

Here we go!  It looks like their latest President resigned after eight (8) days on the job.  My first reaction:  "What an amazing place, where everyone can accomplish their goals in a little over a week!"

Then I read the piece and learned that proposed leader Maryann Jones stepped down allegedly because of the ongoing Infilaw issues and the one anti-Infilaw director being upset.
In an email sent late Thursday to Kosko, Carr and Abrams, Jones said she decided not to take the reins of the private, downtown law school, and would not sign a contract. "The level of vitriol, with all sides making me a lightning rod for an unfortunate situation that was not of my making, makes this truly a situation that I am unwilling at this stage of my life to undertake." Jones stated in the email.

Westbrook earlier Thursday had sent Jones a letter expressing his disappointment in her speaking to faculty and students in support of a sale to InfiLaw.

To get his vote, Jones had agreed to be objective, and to learn more about alternatives for the school, Westbrook stated.
And this is the problem with discord in general.  It winds up chasing away good people who should know full well what mess they're running into.  Nothing screams "BAIL!" faster than a bunch of  malcontents who want a chief executive to make tough leadership decisions and stick by their word.  Obviously, we can extrapolate from this one situation the idea that the law school critics are a bunch of turds spreading lies and killing the profession.

Clearly, it would be best for Charleston and the apparently-rogue director Mr. Westbrook to simply embrace the Infilaw borg and get out of its way.  Much of this profession is about paths of least resistance.  Raising a fuss at this point is just driving away good people and delaying orgasm. 

And if you truly cared about the school, you wouldn't be driving away good people (including, of course, Infilaw and its finely-tuned machinery), would you?

Speaking of which, what kind of a "for profit" school looks for a "non profit" future?  That's like turning Philip Morris into a lung cancer institute.

Oh, well, saga continues.  Spoiler alert:  Infilaw wins.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Fashion Law: Tailored for Awesomeness

A lot of the "legally blonde" fans who enroll in law school to be the next Elle Woods likely turn their nose up when the time comes to get a job or pick an actual area of practice.  Corporate law?  Family law?  People getting injured and stuff?  Ew!

Thankfully, there's an exciting and underserved niche in fashion law.  There is a rash of budding entrepreneurs looking to be the next Yves Saint-Laurent, and the John Marshall Law School is willing to sew up the gap.
The John Marshall Fashion Law Society is the first Fashion Law Society in the Midwest....

On Nov. 20, The Fashion Law Society is focusing their efforts on educating current and potential business owners in the fashion industry. The event will feature presentations from John Marshall’s Trademark Clinic and Patent Clinic regarding Intellectual Property issues as they relate to design. There will also be a presentation from John Marshall’s Business Enterprise Law Clinic of information about business entities and agreements that are essential for proper industry business dealings.

Those in attendance will also have the opportunity to participate in client intake interviews with the law clinics presenting at the event.
Obviously, Marshall is on to something, having the first such society and identifying this budding niche.  If you're one of those law school girls who likes shiny and expensive things, you should consider specializing in this area.  Who knows where this open-toed road leads?  In-house counsel at Coach?  Legal beagle for Marie Claire?  Niche criminal defense attorney who defends crimes against fashion?  (Drab black robe again, your honor?)

Without law schools, would the market be able to identify such a "niche" of legal practice while it's busy helping oil companies and banks, evicted tenants and single mothers?  This is a prime example of a law school meeting an unmet need and providing (subsidized? pro bono?) clinical resources to assist in filling it.

Speaking of law schools producing good things that are hip and sexy and smooth, here's Larry Mitchell doing poetry.  (Poetry requires an understanding of semantics, interpretation, and structural relationships; it is clearly JD Advantage!)

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

America's Hot New Game Show: "Cents and Non-Cents" with Dean Nicholas Allard and NCBE President Erica Moeser

ANNOUNCER:   It's everyone's favorite hot new game show...empty your pockets for...

CROWD:  CENTS AND NON-CENTS!

ANNOUNCER:  That's right, and here's your host, Scammy McPhail!

SCAMMY:  Okay, folks, welcome to another addition of Cents and Non-Cents, the game that puts YOU in charge of the change.  Today's contestants are Nicholas Allard, the Joseph Crea Dean and President of Brooklyn Law School...

CROWD:  WOOT WOOT WOOT!

SCAMMY:  ...and National Conference of Bar Examiners President Erica Moeser.

CROWD:  Booooooooooooooooooo.

SCAMMY:  Tonight's debate is about July bar examination scores.  There's no dispute that they're down across the board.  Tonight's question is:  why?  We all know the rules.  We will bounce back and forth in point-counterpoint style and encourage the crowd to stupidly yell to determine a winner.  It makes no sense, but, hey! It's law!   Are we ready to play?!?!?!?

CROWD:  YES!!!

SCAMMY:  Ms. Moeser, you're up first.

MOESER:  All [indicators] point to the fact that the group that sat in July 2014 was less able than the group that sat in July 2013....it is the MBE, with scores equated across time,that reveals a decline in performance in the cohort that took July 2014 bar examinations.

SCAMMY:  Strong words from a law graduate who can't possibly be good at math.  Dean Allard, what say you?

ALLARD:  We don't know what evidence you have to support this surprising (and surprisingly disparaging) claim, but we do have evidence about our own 2014 graduates, and it tells us precisely the opposite:  their credentials were every bit as good as our 2013 graduates, if not even better...our graduates were every bit as qualified as in previous years, and just as well prepared...In plan language, I disagree with you: It is not the students, it's the test.

SCAMMY:  Ignoring the drop in applicants, LSATs, and GPAs.  Slick like butter!  Ms. Moeser?

MOESER:  While we always take quality control of MBA scoring very seriously, we redoubled our efforts to satisfy ourselves that no error occurred in scoring the examination or in equating the test with its predecessors.  The results are correct.

SCAMMY:  Ooooh, "redoubled!"  Sounds "effortacious."  Dean?

ALLARD:  I believe that a thorough investigation of the administration and scoring of the July 2014 exam is necessary because of the quality control issues you yourself raised...There is no explanation how you reached your conclusion, nor transparency to your process, so how can we have confidence in this self-serving unaudited assertion?  Frankly, your statements ring hollow.....please do not retreat behind that fig-leaf....

SCAMMY:  A law dean pushing transparency and auditing!  BOO-YA!  Want to ring hollow a little more, Ms. Moeser?

MOESER:  I can assure you that had we discovered an error in MBE scoring, we would have acknowledged it and corrected it.

SCAMMY:  Dean Allard, we need a non-sequitur about how great your students are!

ALLARD:  [G]raduating from an ABA accredited law school requires intelligence and hard work. Unlike some programs at the undergraduate level, earning a JD is in and of itself a significant accomplishment....

SCAMMY:  Not disparaging at all!  On one side, a neutral national standards organization with very little skin in the game claiming nothing went wrong on a standardized test with quality control metrics.  On the other side, a dean demanding an audited and transparent process to understand why bar pass rates are slightly dropping after admissions standards started dropping, where he has an incentive to push bar pass numbers higher...  What we do we think, folks, Dean Allard???

CROWD:  CENTS!

SCAMMY:  And how about Ms. Moeser?

CROWD:  NON-CENTS!

SCAMMY:  There you have it!  It's Dean Nicholas Allard!!!

Dean Nicholas Allard is given a very large bag of pennies, while Ms. Moeser is pelted by coins from a contingent of insulted third- and fourth-tier law deans.  Let's do another recount, Florida!

Ed. Note:  All dialogue above attributed to Allard and Moeser is intended to be verbatim from the items linked and have been rearranged to form a dialogue to more explicitly show just how silly Ms. Moeser is obviously being.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

New York Times: Possible Lawyer Shortage Looming

For those of you who did not like my rambling, too-genius-for-public observations about Thomas Jefferson School of Law, I give you the New York Times via Prof. Steven Solomon.  For those of you who have short attention spans and the inability to read prestigious publications appropriately, I will give you the two main take-away points:
  • Law schools are incredibly resistant to the normal forces of the business cycle that may cause some to close if they were in other industries.  ("A troubled law school is like Dracula: hard to kill." [After all, there's no blueprint anywhere on how to kill a vampire - ed.])
  • There is a coming lawyer shortage.  To wit: 
    Markets tend to overshoot on the way up, and down.

    Thus, the decline in enrollment could lead to a shortage of lawyers five years from now.... And let’s face it, Dodd-Frank and other regulations are also creating more need for lawyers.
    And there you have it.  Future shortage means now's the time to go.  New York Times, people.  New York Times.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Bondholders Benevolent, but too Agressive with TJSL

If you haven't heard the Good News, the benevolence and grace of debt financiers blessed Thomas Jefferson School of Law.

The net end result is that they shed $87 million in debt, the bondholders take over the building and lease it back to one of San Diego's top law schools, and TJSL can continue with increased cash flow and reduced debt obligations.
Previously, the school was paying about $12 million a year in principal and interest on its debt. Under the restructuring, the school will pay $5 million in annual rent and about $1 million a year in interest expense, cutting its annual payments to the bondholders by almost 50 percent to a total of $6 million.
Let's do a compare and contrast between TJSL and its less-networked graduates.

The GRADUATE makes like $40k a year working some schlub job.  He has $250k in loan obligations.  Because of his imprudence, this is untenable and oppressive debt that is non-dischargable.  He whines in the wake of a totally terrible recession, and Uncle Sam gives him the benevolence of IBR and PAYE, which allow him to pay only a portion of his income - even if it's well below what he gained! - and then POOF it can go away in, like, only 30 years, by which time the graduate will likely be making $100k+ as an ace litigator or trusted wealth consultant.

The SCHOOL does not get off so easy.  There's no IBR or PAYE.  It doesn't get an automatic reduction if the wily "scambloggers" lie to enough sophisticated consumers.  Because it made a reasonable calculation just prior to a totally unpredictable financial collapse, it wound up with an untenable and oppressive debt.  But Uncle Sam did not come with a bailout.  It had to give up its spacious cathedral in San Diego.  Tax discharge?  Shoot, their "tax discharge" was paid 30 years early in the form of a high-priced deed.  This is capitalism, that brutal justice despised by the lazy students.

But this is the sacrifice academics made by devoting their careers to education.  They do not get the perks of their new graduates in private practice, for whom financial obligations are variable depending on the vicissitudes of the legal market.  I don't see any law graduates giving up their gorgeous houses that they scrimped and saved for years to earn, to get only a 3/4 debt reduction.  The idea would be absurd, but here, the bondholers, despite their benevolence, appear to have got the better hand.

But we here are the Truth Center appreciate that at least the bondholders understood the nature of the financial recession, and that it was perfectly normal for everyone to build unaffordable mansions on the assumption that the good times will roll.  And just as millions of Americans got guaranteed leases back on their homes after executing a deed and reducing the debt significantly, American corporations like TJSL should have the same courtesy.  Citizens United, Hobby Lobby, etc.

This is especially true given that TJSL is a going concern with a steady flow of tuition from young lawyers who wanted some diversity away from the other two schools in the metropolitan area. 

I just hope that future bondholders negotiating with law schools understand how much TJSL sacrificed and make better offers to struggling law schools in the future.  These are non-profitts, after all, whereas the FOR-PROFIT graduate gets to run roughshod over the state with things like PAYE.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Dean Satan's Halloween Carol

It was a dark and stormy evening when the cheery blond Lacey Manx fell onto the sofa and turned on the television to find a world of ebola and terrorists and extremely unattractive people.  "Ugh," she said, quickly changing the channel to... Bravo?  Food Network? Some type of frivolity.

She was twenty-four and freshly married to a healthy accountant.  He had flown off to a Flagstaff or a Spokane for an audit and left her to her own devices.  She relished the brief moment of domestic liberty.  She had worked all day in the human resources department at the bank and wanted nothing more than to order a pizza and eat, like, a whole third of it.

Lacey pulled up her cell and ordered a pizza with pepperoni, olives, and extra bubbles.  In twenty minutes of idle texting and whatever, the doorbell rang.  She grabbed a wad of cash and skipped with joy towards the door.

But there was no pizza.  Instead, there was an impeccably dressed man with thousand dollar shoes, bright red horns, a shimmering pitchfork, and a bag of intangible excellence.

"I'm Dean Satan," he crooned like sexy butter.  "You must be Lacey."
"You're not the pizza guy!"
"Hey, kiddo, with intellect like that, I can see why you got a 152 on your LSAT!"
Her eyes wide with wonder:  "How did you know I took the LSAT?"
"I'll let you in on a secret.  I've got magical access to the LSAC database."
 "But what are you doing here?"
"I think there's been some mistake, as you haven't applied to law school yet."
"Oh, I decided against it."
"I'm sorry," Dean Satan said, mockingly.  "I'm not sure I heard you correctly.  You decided against it?"
"Yes," she said.  "Now, if you'll excuse me, sir, I have a pizza coming!"
"Walk that cute little ass into my car," he said, suavely.  "I won't ask twice."
"But..."

The next thing she knew they were racing down the freeway in his silver Jaguar with the torrential rain pouring down and Dean Satan was delivering a well-rehearsed monologue about the importance of law and social justice and owning Egyptian cotton.  "Consider aliens," he said.  "If aliens show up, we have to have a legal framework in place that can accommodate intragalactic commercial transactions and intraspecies divorce and such."
"Where are you taking me?" she groggily asked.  "Did you drug me?"
"Objection, compound!" he snapped back.  "See, that's a lawyer trick!  I think; I haven't practiced in years.  Anyway, are you familiar with Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol?  Of course you are, you liberal artist, you!  Well, kiddo, welcome to Dean Satan's Halloween Carol!  I'm taking you to three stops that represent your past, your present, and your future."
"Can you please take me home?"
"Can you sign a master promissory note?"

The car slammed to a halt.  To the right, Lacey saw a modest house in observable disrepair.  Inside, a family of six huddled around a small table two sizes too small.  The driveway had a surplus of junky cars, and the backyard had a chainlink fence.

"Lacey, this is your past.  The so-called working class.  They're eating macaroni and cheese for dinner!  The father is a butt-fucking carpenter and the mother is an unstable hairstylist.  I read your personal statement, and your psychological profile.  Do you want to have five babies and wind up back where you started?"
"We're going to have two," she said.  "Then we're getting fixed."
"Speaking of getting fixed, these folks need a lot of things, but nothing is more important than legal services.  In any event, without an advanced degree, you run the risk of being right back here!"
"We're doing very well for ourselves.  While I like the law, I don't see that it adds to my career or happiness.  Please," she begged him, "can you please take me home!"
"As you wish!"

He sped down the empty roads and pulled into another subdivision.  Lacey looked quite confused as he dashed around the unfamiliar terrain and pulled to another hard stop in front of a two-story house.  She really, really wanted her damn pizza.  In the front window of the house, even through the rain, they could clearly make out a young couple sitting down for a piping-hot dinner.

"This is not my house," Lacey said, with a tone straight out of Lacey in Wonderland.
"It might as well be," Dean Satan smoothly retorted.  "Mediocre steak and mashed potatoes.  This is middle class torpor at its finest."
"They look happy," she said.  She had no idea what torpor meant. 
"But are they?" Dean Satan said.  "Somewhere in that house, there's a fireplace, and above the fireplace, a mantle, and that's where they keep their dreams.  She, in particular, has always wanted to be a lawyer who helps children as a form of vicarious motherhood.  But she toils away fooling herself in human resources.  Ghoulish!"
"Sir, I know you're trying to convince me that law school is a good idea, but I have thoroughly researched this and decided that for me and my goals in life, law school is not a good idea.  Many people who go wind up horribly in debt, and the legal job market is like trying to trying to play musical chairs with double the people and fifty pound weights on your ankles in a room that smells like dead fish."
"But you can make a difference as a lawyer!  Fight for justice and international peace treaties!  Don't tell me a pretty girl like you is all about money?"
"I'm not, and I'm mature enough to know that my self-worth is not defined by how much I can claim to help people through my education or career.  Now, please, can I finally go home? My pizza is probably cold already!"
"Alright," he said, "but I need to take a detour."

Dean Satan, indeed, took the long way back to the Manx household.  He turned into ever-deeper subdivisions, higher-numbered circles of suburban hell.  His Jaguar handled turns excellently.  It was at this point, for no reason in particular, that Lacey realized that she totally had a porn name.  It was little wonder that the pizza guy giggled a bit when she said her name.  Indeed, the pizza delivery scenario was straight out of an adult movie.  Still, she wanted her fucking pizza.  Hunger was making her stomach ache, and she started looked around the floor for mints? gum? toothpicks with residue?  But Dean Satan's Jaguar had the satanic spotlessness of the upper middle class.

...Dean Satan was rambling.  "...So that's my scholarship offer.  Speaking of scholarship, people say that legal scholarship is worthless and doesn't help the practicing bar, but those people are Negative Nellies.  Legal scholarship is cited regularly by federal judges, and more importantly, 97% of major courts subscribe to, and presumably read, our law review each quarter.  Do the Judges cite the Bible or Romeo and Juliet?  No, but you know they've probably read it!"

The car slammed to another halt in front of an imposing mansion, New Georgian style with tailored shrubbery and a three-car garage and a glass conservatory-like sitting room that she had always dreamed of one day having.  He put his hand on her shoulder.  She felt its icy claminess through her sweatshirt.

"This could be you," he said.  "This is my house.  And yes, there's a heated in-ground pool in the back with a tropical-themed cocktail bar."
"Sir," she said, desperately, "I think you've kidnapped me!  I just want to get back home and eat my dinner!"
"If you come to law school, you have an 87% chance of being employed in a job that makes $160,000 a year if some other dominoes fall.  I know you think you're happy now, but when you're old and gray and feasting on virginal souls, you will look back and say, my God, I could have had that lifestyle..."

The rain and lightning and thunder increased dramatically, as if ordered by a wicked deity.  A gremlin scratched at the side of the car.  A thumping was heard in the trunk.  Violins screeched.  Freddy Krueger may have been involved.  Dean Satan had a glimmer in his eye and smiled.  He was ready to close.

"All you have to do is come to law school and get on the open road of greatness.  Take out a modest loan.  Give law school a chance, and you, too, will understand the splendor of representing people at their lowest lows, when they most need a lawyer, while raking in cash like a crack dealer at a rehab facility.  And all you have to do is sign the master promissory note.  ...and the application  ...and the background check form.  ...and these other disclosures required by federal law."

Like magic, the glove compartment opened to reveal a stack of eerily-glowing papers, and she found a pen in her hand!  It was a silver Montblanc!

"Won't you take this Faustian bargain?"
She looked at the papers.  She really wanted to get back to her pizza and her night of peace and solitude, just letting her brain relax in front of the television in a haze of nothingness.
"Have I mentioned that the JD degree is versatile?" he added.  "Employers in all sorts of fields are rushing to sign JDs for their helpful knowledge base."
She knew this to be a lie.  "It's our company policy not to hire JDs in non-lawyer positions."
"Is it really a hard and fast policy, though?"
"There's a sign on the wall."

This stumped Dean Satan.  He was equally stumped when she placed the pen down on the stack of papers.  "It's flattering, but I'm really not interested," she said.  "I'm happy with my life, and don't need a law degree."

The pen began smoking, flaming, burning through the smoldering paperwork in a bonfire of charred dreams.  Dean Satan's face turned even redder, but he tried to keep his cool amidst the fears that his law school would have to renegotiate its bond payments if this scenario played out too many times.  My God, he thought, he might have to take a pay cut.

"Well," Dean Satan said, "I wish you the best of luck."  He opened the car door and stepped out of the car.  "Word of advice, though, refuse to drop urine if they ask."
"Aren't you going to take me home?"
"Shit, no," Dean Satan said, setting up a punchline.  "That's not my car!"

A tremendous bolt of lightning crackled overhead with a thunderous roar.  Terror washed over Lacey's eyes.  Before she could even think of what to do next, the rain and thunder was replaced by sirens and the red and blue of police lights.

Lacey suddenly understood the demand for attorney services that just a few moments earlier she had refuted with the temerity of a half-informed journalist.  "I need a lawyer!"

Lacey hated the striped jumpsuit, and she had only slept a few hours in a constant state of fear.  The whole place smelled of urine.

She was hauled into the bright, sterile courtroom and looked like ass.  She had never gotten her pizza, although she had remembered later on that she really did not like olives as much as she thought.  Her name was called, the bailiff snickered, and the elderly female judge read the charges:  grand theft auto...intent to sell...driving while intoxicated...criminal fraud in the false ordering of a pizza...transporting a minor across state lines...Sarbannes-Oxley...

For a moment, she thought about explaining everything to the judge.  "It was the law school dean," she mumbled.  Then she realized how utterly insane that was.  I mean, really batshit crazy.  Unfathomable.  Jesus on roller skates, who the fuck would believe a law school administrator would do anything untoward to get a student in the door?  The idea seemed so ridiculous that she thought about setting up an insanity plea (if only she could think like a lawyer!).  Law schools are non-profits that exist for the public good.  They don't do things like commit consumer fraud and ruin a perfectly good evening.  No one would believe her that Dean Satan was actually, like, you know, satanic.  It was totally outside the bounds of acceptability in a modern, civil society that values education and journalistic integrity.

"Ms. Manx, how do you plead to these charges?"
"I should have gone to law school!" she cried.
"I find you guilty of stupidity," the judge quipped.  Everyone laughed.  "If you had gone to law school, you could easily contest these charges like a boss. But you did not, and so you are fucked sideways."

The judge laughed maniacally.  Lightning and thunder.  Rueful tears as her peers went to law school and were almost entirely gainfully employed within nine months after graduation, many even as lawyers.  Frivolity no more.

And, somewhere, Dean Satan was resting his pitchfork against a podium at a chamber of commerce meeting, a bar association luncheon, an elementary school, working ceaselessly to turn the nightmarish dreams of commoners into the lollipops and sunshine of happy-smiley justice and investment returns.  

If only Lacey had listened...

Don't let Lacey's fate befall you, kids.  Remember, this Halloween weekend:  stay safe, don't drink and drive, and for the love of all that's holy, accept a Faustian bargain when presented to you!

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Law Student Not Screwed

Not all "millennials" are singing in minor keys.  Check out this proud young law student who is destined for a 40-year tour of paradise.

Michelle, who is a twenty-three (23) year old 2L at Northwestern with a summer associateship lined up (as almost all law students have), was saddened to read an article about her generation in Crain's, which she has "delivered to [her] apartment on a regular basis in order to stay up to date with business news in Chicago."  Would hire!
I, like many of your profiled young millennials, have a discouraging amount of student loans that I will have to begin paying off upon graduation.

I knew going in to law school that I would be taking on this type of debt, and I did not allow that to discourage me. I did not give up to be a bartender or a nanny. I followed my dream. And I find it very disappointing that none of the millennials you chose to interview were able to offer an inspiring story of following one's dreams, like many of my classmates and friends have chosen to do.
The title of this article is literally "I'm a millennial, and I'm not screwed."

Three cheers for student loan debt and the inspiring dream-chasing it enables!  I'm so inspired by Michelle's unfinished story, I'm going to go out right now and sign myself up for an LLM or maybe even a PhD in legal studies philosophy or something.  The good news is that I've got hundreds of schools to choose from and a friend in Uncle Sam who's more than willing to hook me up with the good stuff. 

My dream, after all, is to chase the educational dragon.  If you ever see me on skid row, don't shed tears of pity.  I'm actually experiencing the economic reality of the lower-class individual to better understand the personal consequences of our deleterious socioeconomic policies, an elaborate form of performance art/graduate school research.  Go ahead, ask me about John Rawls.  I dare you.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Santa Clara and Pepperdine: Better Than Sex, Georgetown, and Harvard Business School

Curious whether you'll be able to afford that Audi as general counsel to a hot new start-up?  Go to this link:

http://www.payscale.com/college-salary-report/grad

and readily see just how much bank you'll make at many American law schools.

Look at the glory of it, particularly numbers 3 and 6, just look at it!  Really puts things into perspective, doesn't it?  With all the naysaying going on, people lose track of just how much money a graduate of a school like Santa Clara or Pepperdine can make when you just totally ignore the negative-nancy bad outcomes.

Even the much-maligned Thomas M. Cooley School of Law has its graduates over six figures, and is clearly a better option than many master's programs.  Go ahead and get your masters at Penn or Harvard, asshole.

Other law schools that kick ass:  Hofstra (29), Brooklyn (43), American (47), Pace (49), JMLS (62), Baltimore (63), and Seton Hall (85).  All of these fine institutions are clearly better than getting an MBA or PhD in virtually any other program.  And how!

Even graduates into so-called "public interest" fields will make $60,000 a year.  How can you lose?

Still spots available for spring semester, kids.  Still spots available.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

T14? Try T169.

Lots of "scambloggers" think there are only a handful of schools in the top tier.  Princeton Review - like, a professional publishing company - knows better.  Their most recent tome is aptly entitled "The Best 169 Law Schools."  Those of you scambloggers who thought that official publication book titles couldn't get more absurd were yet again wrong.  WRONG.  Wrong.

My favorites would include the "most competitive students" list and the "most chosen by older students" list.  Of course, the greatest thing about this is that it assists the idea that there are 169 law schools that are worth going to in the United States.  Granted, they're like 30 short, but they're WAY ahead of the morons who wouldn't go to Boston U. or Texas and pay sticker.

And of course it allows some of our most unique law schools to properly boast their status as a top law school.

I'm off to go buy a copy.  I plan on putting it between "142 Best Days of World War I" and "195 Smartest Women Meth Addicts."  Alphabetical order and such.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Elon's Turn to Revolutionize Legal Education

Elon is a fairly new law school, which means they aren't behold to stodgy ideas stuck in the 1960s like all the other law schools.  Dean Luke Bierman (formerly of Northeastern) understands that now is the perfect time to become the next school doing radical things to try to connect student debtor to market wealth.
Elon will adapt a seven-trimester schedule, which means law students will graduate in 2.5 years instead of the traditional three.
...
The revised curriculum will emphasize real-world experience. Elon says it’s the first law school in the country to require all students to serve a full-time faculty-supervised residency during the academic year rather than during the summer.
Viva la revolucion!  If I wasn't so greedy with all the money my law firm is raking in, I'd sure as shingles hire someone who did an academic-year faculty-supervised residency.  No way would I instead hire someone with a "summer associateship" at some hole like Skadden.  Legal business is clearly better during the academic term than in the summer, when everyone stops working to take month-long vacations to Dubrovnik or Mallorca.

Also, tuition is reduced, so Elon students are going to have an unhealthily-high amount of debt instead of a total shit ton of debt.  That's progress!

Meanwhile, long-time readers will remember that just last week I noted the rise of hookups among law schools with single undergrads.  Lo and behold, the rabbit orgy continues.  Florida State went for a convenience relationship and now has a six-year undergrad/JD deal with West FloridaIndiana, on the other hand, scored with Vassar for a unique scholarship-nomination program.

As pointed out in the article, Indiana has various relationships with Rose-Hulman, Wabash, Grinnell, Georgia Tech, Knox College, and Princeton.  Just like its graduates who ace the employment market, Indiana knows how to play the field.  And just like other types of noble whoring, Indiana is clearly more likely to get positive results.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Vermont Gets Its Own Delaware Connection

On their mutual love of environmental law, the University of Delaware and Vermont Law School have decided to hook up.
The agreement provides that UD students who have earned bachelor’s degrees and who meet the Vermont Law entrance requirements will be guaranteed admission into its juris doctor, master’s or joint juris doctor/master’s programs.
Guaranteed!  More and more, we're seeing law schools make love connections with undergraduate institutions, sealing their devotion with a promise of guaranteed enrollment at the law school for special certain students.  Everyone wins, particularly the students who, like children of a happy marriage, grow up to be rich.

In the olden days, these types of relationships were mostly local affairs that made intuitive sense, like Suffolk and Wheelock College.  But now, law schools are making connections at places in other states!  This is sort of like when you're in high school and the clique-based relationships make intuitive and predictable sense, and then five years later, people have discovered all sorts of ways to surprise with their love lives, and then when they approach 40, it's like "wait, what, you're marrying THAT?"  And it's always beautiful, because that's what love is.

With law schools facing increasingly-difficult times, it's reassuring that Vermont is still a hot option for Delaware, and that in the age of the internet, these two institutions were able to find each other.  Also, thank God that academia is polyamorous.

With hundreds of undergraduate colleges out there, I can imagine that law schools are working through their little black books to find all sorts of new potential mates.  Could we see a Tufts - Tulane linkage based on alphabetical proximity?  Dakota Wesleyan and Southern Methodist on their shared faith?  Will Full Sail place into Southwestern for a shared destiny of entertainment law?  Could Angelo State and Fordham "ram" each other?  Thomas Jefferson University and Thomas Jefferson Law School?  Baker University and the Cookie Monster Law School (California accreditation pending)?

Someone should make this into a game show!

A hot young undergraduate school with massive...enrollment...blindly asks lurid questions to handsome law school suitors with massive...seats to fill.  It's The Matriculating Game, brought to you by FedLoan Servicing.  Here's your host, Wink Elsac...

I would watch.

Friday, October 3, 2014

22 (!) Reasons to Go to Law School!!!

Given the general (and misplaced) skepticism towards the value of legal education, many of you may only be able to come up with 2 or 3 good reasons to go to law school.  I, being of superior stock, could likely come up with fifteen or so.

But the good folks at College Magazine* have come with a whopping TWENTY TWO!  That's the type of creativity America's business leaders are looking for!

Just look at the lead-in:
Suits and Legally Blonde convinced you that you want to be a lawyer. Will you get to argue a high profile case during your three years? Probably not. But law school offers rewarding experiences you won’t find anywhere else.
"Probably" not.  There's still a chance, SuperLemming!

I don't want to spoil all the reasons for you.  But some of my favorites include:
2. Contest a Ticket Like a Boss ("You’ll no longer have to groan when you see that white slip neatly tucked under your windshield wiper or panic when you see flashing lights in your rearview mirror."
10. Know How to Act When Disaster Strikes ("Being a law student prepares you to plant both feet firmly on the ground while the walls are caving in around you....Keep calm and get a law degree.")
16.  Get a Leg Up in the Job Market ("Law school provides the confidence and credentials for any job, even if a law degree isn’t required.")
22.  Ease into the Real World ("Law school provides a transition from the wild world of college to the wild world of life.")
This is all topped with a list of upcoming LSAC forums at the bottom.  Of course, the list omits the best reason to get a law degree, but I guess 22/23 ain't bad.

*Is College Magazine like Seventeen where it's actually read by a half-generation lower than the target audience?

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Widener May Join New Identity Club

It's been a trend lately for law schools to find a new identity, like when Snoop Doggy Dog became Snoop Dogg became Snoop Lion, or when Jefferson Airplane got a hyperdrive and became Jefferson Starship.  With each iteration, better and better.

Phoenix School of Law became Arizona Summit
Thomas Cooley Law School became Western Michigan Cooley Law School
Earle Mack School of Law became Thomas Kline School of Law

More prestige, more glory, more life of luxury and splendor.  Like a new haircut or pair of sneakers, they all look hotter and way more worthy of reaping the harvest of student loans.

Now Widener might be joining the club!!!  Don't get me wrong, the name "Widener" has evoked the most estimable virtues of the bar for some time now, and their employment rate is easily the best in Delaware for said campus.  But a new coat of paint never reduced the resale price.

Let's help out that marketing firm, shall we?

Versatile Bi-State School of Law*
John Marshall College of Law
Ronald Reagan School of Law
Prestige Law School
Advantage School of Law
Excelsior School of Law
Money Law School
Didn't I do this same list when Phoenix changed its name?
Elle Woods Law School
Olivia Pope School of Law
Suits Legal Academy
New Crap Law Show College of Law

Any better ideas?  Most of my readership are dumb attorneys, so please feel free to ask more creative folks, like the co-workers of those of you who got JD-advantage gigs at marketing firms and in entertainment compliance.

*I realize the name change is designed to help the campuses splitting into two awesome law schools, but why not tip a cap to the school's legacy?

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Statement of Non-Concern Regarding Brian Leiter

I write this post as a riposte to the "Statement of Concern" posted by some renegade philosophers who have a problem with Brian Leiter, law professor and guardian of professional virtue at the University of Chicago.  It's revolting that these philosophers would use Leiter's words against him, when clearly his razor-sharp invective was meant for nefarious third parties.  If you especially hate yourself and want to be frustrated at the insolence of certain people, feel free to read Paul Campos's wrong-headed take on the situation.

I write not to share in these unhinged whack-jobs' concerns, but rather to declare my non-concern.  Let us review his words as reported (we can only hope these statements are fake and the real ones have even more BAM to them):
Also, calling me “unprofessional” is probably defamatory per se in Canada, so I’d suggest you stick to “unethical” (since “ethical” as we all know has no cognitive content). It may be in the US too, I haven’t asked my lawyer yet, but I will.
...
So what should I expect going forward? I’m trying to plan out my litigation strategy for the next year! 
[in later correspondence] 
The statement now on your blog that I am not a philosopher is defamation per se, since it impugns my professional competence. You can express the view that I am a mediocre philosopher, but you can not, without legal consequences, assert that I am not a member of the profession I am a member of. That comment better disappear or be revised so as not to be defamatory. 
[in later correspondence] 
I'm a lawyer, my wife is a lawyer, and most importantly, one of my best and oldest friend is a lawyer, and you don't want to get to know him.
Whiny impertinent bastard children sometimes defame Leiter by saying he isn't a real law professor or that he doesn't have a lot of practical experience as a lawyer or what have you.

Well, look at this!  Counterproof!  The man obviously not only understands the black letter law of defamation, but he can apply that black letter law to factual situations in his daily life.  And he's not just dangling ivory tower theory here; he's actually writing lawyerly correspondence.  The man's got a litigation strategy for goodness sakes.

And to top it off, by using Leiter's correspondence in this way, they're actually copying (plagiarizing!) a tactic Leiter masterfully used on Thomas R. Grover, Esq. of Nevada.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Flush Drexel

Drexel, which as you may recall is one of the top ten law schools in Philadelphia, used to be known at the Earle Mack School of Law.  That is because in the 2006 - 2008 golden age, a man named Earle Mack donated $15 million to the school (along with pledges for $15M from other sources) to get it kick-started and the school put his name on the door.

The largess continued unabated, as in 2013, Mack agreed (out of magnanimous volition, one assumes) that he didn't need to have his name on one of the most elite law schools in the mid-Atlantic:
Since then, the university said, the school has suffered from the global financial crisis and a related decline in the number of applicants to law schools. 
"The Earle I. Mack Foundation and Drexel jointly concluded that this will require an economic foundation beyond what was established by his gift and the university's matching funds," the university said.
Part of me wants to scream something like fucking lemmings!   But lo and behold, ye children of law, every dark cloud has a silver lining, and no shortage of law applicants can stop the rainbows of fun.

Thomas R. Kline, a Philadelphia lawyer who is obviously doing well with his Duquesne legal education representing the poor and downtrodden, is giving $50 million to Drexel, who will slap his name on the door.  They're going to have a new institute of trial advocacy and everything!

For all you shit-for-brains who think law school is going under, the Drexel Model just proved to be an innovative way to get around the fact that no one currently wants to go to law school.

The Drexel Model
1.  Sell law school naming rights to highest bidder.
2.  A few years later, inform original donor that they need a new infusion of cash and it would be best the original donor would remove his name from the school.  In business, this would be a laughable breach of contract and all that, but remember, law schools are non-profit do-gooders who don't have to abide by such rules.
3.   Find a new donor with a massive ego who wound up with more money than sense and get a much larger donation
4.  Repeat Steps 2 and 3.

Let's do some quick financial calculations to see how much the Drexel Model can make a law school over the long term:

2008:  15M
2014:  50M
2020:  150M
2026:  450M
2032:  1.4B

You can tell graduates that they won't make a mint practicing law and charging a reasonable fee for their services (as an aside, if there were a lawyer shortage, how did Kline make so much?), but you can't stop those same law graduates from paying back the system by donating a ton of scratch to a fine law school from which they didn't even graduate.

Perhaps Thomas Jefferson Law School's mistake was naming its school after a dead guy with a longstanding connection to San Diego.  They should look at changing the name to get an instant cash infusion.  Might I suggest the George W. Bush Law School?  Try it out - if it doesn't work, you can change it in a few years for a handsome profit.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Thomas Jefferson On Road to Recovery

So Thomas Jefferson Law School has defaulted on some bonds or something.  Apparently there was a payment due in June that was missed, and they're working on restructuring some $133M in debt obligations under a new agreement that lasts until October 17.

I know what you're thinking:

Well, shit, that was a good run.  We put a lot of great lawyers into practice and built a glorious new law school building at the tail end of a legal education bubble.  We can be proud of what that school accomplished, easily living up to its namesake, but it is obvious that maybe the law school enrollment market isn't what it used to be, since, you know, the world has gone fucking crazy and no longer values high-quality legal education.  Thank God many of our peers were able to ride the wave for so long.

But, you know, you're a negative nancy and the school has other ideas.
The School expects to have additional positive information concerning our work with the bondholders within the next few weeks. Because a restructuring of the School’s obligations to the bondholders is likely, the School believes that it will be able to continue to prosper.
Continue. to. prosper.

This should be obvious to anyone who knows American economic history.  All sorts of companies have gone into Chapter 11 or similar situations and come out stronger and better than ever.  Like Blockbuster, Eastman Kodak, KMart, and most of the major airlines!  Like them, I expect TJLS to heal its wounds and become stronger than ever.  Broken bones heal stronger.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

The Unfortunate Side of the Decline in Applications

This thoughtful editorial in the Connecticut Law Tribune asks where law schools' former applicants have gone and whether that is a good or bad thing for the world.  Here are some choice cuts:
But the decline is also unfortunate. Unfortunate for the young people who choose not to go to law school, because they are missing what can be incredibly rewarding career.
...
It is also unfortunate for the clients. How ironic that so many new lawyers have trouble finding jobs and yet the great majority of Americans cannot afford a lawyer?
...
These observations would suggest that the decline in applications will reverse itself at some point. Big firms may find trouble finding new associates of the quality they need, and students may see more examples of successful new lawyers who have found satisfaction from practices that serve what has too often been an unmet need for services. 
If so, word may circulate that good law jobs are going unfilled, and talented people will start applying to law schools again.
Like the hearers of Christ's words, the hearts of the meek (law school sympathizers) should be encouraged by the hope of a prosperous future foretold in these dark times.

You know how Paul Campos quotes or paraphrases Herbert Stein about how if something is not able to go on, it will stop?  Well, kids, if large law firms can't fill their six-figure jobs, the decline or plateauing of applications WILL stop.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Acrobats, Gun-Slingers, and Other Future Lawyers

In our first heartwarming item today, I bring you a future law student who uses the power of flexibility to cut back on that looming student loan debt:
The chill of the handcuffs gripped Ainsley Brundage’s wrists as the police pushed him out of the subway. A sea of strangers’ eyes stared and judged. Hooligan. Rascal. Imp [Imp?  How Dickensian you write! - ed.]. Most would not guess that Brundage’s dearest dream is to attend a school like Harvard Law, or that it is likely that he will.  
Brundage, 19, dances illegally inside subway cars to feed a small but steady flame inside him. He grew up in Bushwick, Brooklyn, and is saving each dollar toward his dream of going to college upstate, far away from negative influences.
Life: it's a Disney film!  By the time Brundage makes it to Harvard, tuition will likely have dropped substantially (which I base on the principle of absolutely nothing), meaning that the money he makes on the subway can surely help him put a dent in the bill, if he doesn't get one of those full-ride scholarships.

And don't worry about C&F.  They usually look the other way on high school dropouts with fourteen arrests before the age of the 19.  His bar application is more likely to lead to a movie deal than a hearing.
So Brundage has said no to many parties the first week, and has been reading about Supreme Court cases and American business law in his room instead.
Give that man a scholarship!  Might I suggest Albany, which is a lot "like Harvard Law" in its own special ways???

But bending over and forgoing a social life aren't the only skills future lawyers need.  Law schools understand that new lawyers also need to be practice-ready, which will cure any employment/lawyer glut issues (which we deny exist).  Penn State (Carlisle edition) understands this, and is implanting a whole new program of tailored courses and experiential opportunities.  Let's hear from Interim Dean Gary Gildin:
"This is an effort to guide students in their elective class choices," Gildin said. "In a tougher legal marketplace, it will help them go into that marketplace with maximum ammunition as to their qualifications."
...
Gildin believes that scale, coupled with Dickinson Law's proximity to several county courts, the state Capitol in Harrisburg, and the federal government in Washington gives the Carlisle campus "unique attributes that are going to allow us to do this as well as or better than anyone else."
Maximum ammunition, motherfuckah!  You walk into Skadden or Weil Gotshal with the full ammo.50 cal machine gun of a Penn State-Carlisle business law concentration, you're getting ushered to a spare office with a private bathroom.

I'm also incredibly happy that Dean Gildin recognizes the unique placement of his law school being near a state capital and federal offices and such.  Other law schools like Maryland or Richmond simply can't offer that level of access.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

¡Las Universidades Fantasticas!

Hispanic Business has for us an excellent list of law schools - a top 10, in fact - for Hispanic students.

You're probably thinking stupid thoughts like, "Uh, Harvard?  El Michigano?" 

¡Incorrecto!

Among the top ten are NO traditional "T-14" schools; such "prestige" rankings are obviously culturally biased. 

Instead, Hispanic Business advises that Hispanic students should look to more Hispanic-friendly schools such as:
1.  Florida International
...
4.  American University
5.  Nova Southeastern
...
8.  University of San Francisco
This makes sense.  Florida International is International, just like Puerto Rico!  American is a self-explanatory.  Nova has a Spanish word in its flirking name.  San Francisco has a city name that is entirely in Spanish.  Much more Hispanic-friendly than going to a "better" school with allegedly better employment results (which none of you believe, anyway, right?)

ContinĂșe la estafa.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Suffolk Latest Victim of Applicant Selfishness

As many "scambloggers" would likely concede, law school applicants have incomplete knowledge, to put it euphemistically.  One thing they may not understand is how crucial law school revenue has been in keeping entire universities afloat.  It's one thing to be Harvard, where the endowment can sustain the place for years to come.  It's another to be a school that's "tuition-dependent with a modest endowment."  Like Suffolk:
Given the general decline in law school enrollment, Smith said he would expect to take a “quality over quantity” approach in assembling new classes. “I don’t think there’s growth there,” he said, referring to enrollment.
...
The unexpected change in leadership comes as Suffolk seeks to stabilize its finances and attract students in the college-dense region. Facing a decline in enrollment and revenue, the university announced in June it would freeze employee salaries for the next fiscal year.
It also offered buyouts to all law school faculty members with tenure or renewable long-term contracts.
See what you little mutinous charlatans have done?  You've made Suffolk go out and bring in a 68-year old to clean up things and you've made him lose faith in law school enrollment.

For years, Suffolk could bank on a nice crop of incoming 0Ls to plop 35, 40, 45, 50k into the bank.  Now, because the lemmings have completely abnegated their role in the circle of life, Suffolk is offering buyouts to people who have jobs waiting at Ropes & Gray and freezing salaries.

Karma's a bitch, Boston-area lemmings.  When you've had a long and prosperous career and you decide to kick back, take it easy, and saddle the next generation with beautiful amounts of non-dischargable debt to fund your lifestyle choices (which may or may not be described as "drug dependent with women of large endowments"), don't expect any cooperation from the applicant pool.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Valvoline Dean Slippin' Out

One of our heroes here at the LSTC, Dean Patrick E. Hobbs of the prestigious Seton Hall law school, is leaving his post after what is assuredly the best run of law school leadership in New Jersey history.

Thankfully, the "Valvoline Dean" - a name he acquired due to the fact that the engine (Seton Hall) does not run nearly as well without him - is moving on to places that will benefit from the gift of his skills.
In the wake of the George Washington Bridge scandal, Gov. Chris Christie recruited Hobbs, 54, to a new position as ombudsman in the governor's office. Hobbs, the governor said, would have free rein to police any wrongdoing, conduct ethics training and improve email policies among Christie's staff and inner circle of advisers.
The article says it's only a part-time job, so let's hope Dean Hobbs can find another gig to share his talents with the world.  Maybe practice part-time in bet-the-company litigation?  Maybe get a spot on Sallie Mae's Board of Directors?

In any event, if there's one thing that's true, it's that if you're looking for someone to police bureaucratic wrongdoing and train others on ethics, it's the longtime law dean of a third-tier urban private school.
Lemonnier said Hobbs chose to step down as dean in part because law-school admissions have stabilized after a period of declines. "Honestly, there is nothing else going on," she said, adding that "it's a good time to hand over the reins."
Indeed.  Now go and hire someone who can live up to the legacy.  If you want, I can direct you to a faculty blog or two where some excellent candidates post regularly.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Law School Slump Busted: High LSAT Scorers are Back

A common refrain I have seen from the "scamblog" movement is that high scorers on the LSAT were rejecting law school.

Well, like The Terminator, they're back!  Cue Slate's Jordan Weissman:
The number of top-tier applicants—those with at least a 170 on their LSAT—is growing again. These are students who can probably make it into one of the very few law programs where graduates never experienced significant underemployment. Their numbers are still well down from a few years ago but seem to have stabilized—they're realizing that now really is a good time to go to law school (so long as you can get into a decent program).
Never experience significant underemployment!  Come and get it, 170-pluses.  It's not like the 169s can take your spot or anything.  And it's not like the LSAT is normalized and allows for multiple chances to be a 170+ scorer or anything.

Thank God for science.  And law, of course.  With all these new-blood high scorers, we're going to keep the law school train rolling for some time.  Scam on.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Western Michigan Cutting Jobs

Remember Western Michigan's concerns from a year ago?
"Our model has basically been the grasshopper and the ants from your fables," LeDuc said. "We set aside a fair amount of money to weather what we thought the storm would be. Our only concern is how long this lasts."
...
LeDuc believes this a cyclical downturn. He said the effects of a bad economy have been "exacerbated by the stuff on the Internet."
Now, Western Michigan, is weakened as a result of the internet:
Faculty and staff at [Western Michigan] Law School campuses in Michigan will be cut by the end of the month as part of a broad "right-sizing" program announced July 1.
...
In announcing the plan, the university said it needed to cut costs because "enrollment and revenue have continued to decline while health care and legacy costs continue to rise."
For the uninformed, "legacy costs" are generally costs that are left over from a time when the organization had different priorities, which is a euphemism for saying, "when cash flowed a lot easier."

In other words, Western Michigan is paying for you exacerbaters spraying your crap all over the internet about law being a raw deal.  So, uh, stop it, you assholes.  All this law school is trying to do is recover from its previous mistakes while keeping the funds flowing to the right pockets.  Is that so bad?  Do you really have to go exacerbating and stepping on penny-pinching grasshoppers and ants and shit?  If you really cared about the future of legal education, it seems to me that you would support fresh-start ventures like Western Michigan.

Hypocrites.  Scam on.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Paul Campos Vomits, Law School Enrollment Improves

Paul Campos, who is not a real scholar and who has a paltry publishing record in comparison to my own (I have 200+ blog posts; Campos doesn't have nearly that many law review articles), has decided to dry-heave 5000 words in yet another dying publication.  It starts with the heroic story of Florida Coastal President Dennis Stone thwarting an attempted insurrection by that ruffian David Frakt.
But midway through Frakt’s statistics-filled PowerPoint presentation, he was interrupted when Dennis Stone, the school’s president, entered the room. (Stone had been alerted to Frakt’s comments by e-mails and texts from faculty members in the room.) Stone told Frakt to stop “insulting” the faculty, and asked him to leave. Startled, Frakt requested that anyone in the room who felt insulted raise his or her hand. When no one did, he attempted to resume his presentation. But Stone told him that if he didn’t leave the premises immediately, security would be called. Frakt packed up his belongings and left.
Whoever immediately emailed the President, alerting him to fomenting rebellion immediately, should get a gold star, SuperTenure, and an associate deanship.

I couldn't it make it much more into the article.  I'm assuming it's bullshit or something.  Yawn.

Meanwhile, Law School Tuition Bubble is reporting that law schools are +1100 right now.  ("I speculated that the applicant decline would be 6,000, but it was lower at 4,900.").  Win.


Sunday, August 10, 2014

Etiquette: No One Wants To Hear Your Warnings, Experts Say

A lot of you no-good scam-screamers seem to think other people want you to stick your smelly, cynical opinions in their faces.  The lemmings have fully and appropriately investigated getting on the cruise ship, and yet you think it's kosher to yell your crazy warnings right before their three-year vacation.

Well, your etiquette sucks.

Check out this Q & A from an advice column that - no accident here - ran in the Albany Times-Union.  Basically, "Hesitant," an attorney, has some good friends whose daughter plans on attending an excellent law school that might be below the "top tier."  He's worried because he "knows" the market reality and is concerned that their daughter might wind up with disastrous debt.  Should he "speak up?"

...NO!

First, our advice-givers point out that "Hesitant" (like many scam-screamers) may not have the full picture, and that the student's parents may be planning to help with tuition costs.  Regardless of the economic situation, "it may be worth it to them to see their daughter receive a professional degree, especially if it's in a field that particularly interests her." [as law inevitably does 50,000 times a year].

Further, the advice-givers properly point out that the best solution is to wait for them to come to you and then "encourage him or her to investigate the job offers that graduates of the schools to which Jess is applying are receiving."  In polite society, we do NOT tell friends our earnest opinions backed with concocted "evidence."  No; we take a genteel tone and meander around the truth while hinting at something that may resemble a vague guide towards our conclusions.

This is, indeed, how people versed in the Socratic method conduct a proper friendship.

In short:
[I]t's not up to you to tell them you think that law school is a bad investment for Jess.
And Bingo was his Name-O!

If you want further advice applying these basic principles:

  • It's not up to you to tell someone that their child is getting on a boat with serious engineering flaws headed straight for an iceberg.
  • It's not up to you to tell someone that their future spouse is the bloodthirsty second coming of John Wayne Gacy.
  • It's not up to you, Mr. Real Estate Agent, to tell a friend that they're purchasing a house contaminated with buried nuclear waste and dead prostitutes being peddled as a clean, modern house by the most shameless broker in town; you should wait until they ask you about the property and then vaguely hint at some glowing real estate records or something.

If you need this rule applied to any further hypotheticals, feel free to contact me.  I went to a decent law school and can apply rule to fact all day and night.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Law School: Coming to an Alaska Near You

See now the glory:  Alaska Law School:  International Education.

You might be thinking, "Hey, LSTC - I know that law school is a good idea backed by sound financial models and is 98% guaranteed to lead to the back seat of a Mercedes in short order, but... isn't this one a joke? a scam? a satire?  I mean, Jesus, LSTC, the website says they're going to have a Michaelmas term and possibly conduct classes aboard ships."

To you, I say:  "Ahoy!"

Daun DeVore is listed online as the founder and dean of the Alaska Law School, which also features photographs of a brown-haired woman, identified in captions as DeVore, posing with dignitaries including former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor and members of India’s parliament. DeVore is also named as the person who registered the website through the domain name registrar GoDaddy.
...
The Alaska Law School website also posted an announcement naming Richard Field the editor-in-chief of its Alaska Law Journal. It said he was “previous Chair of the Science and Technology Section" at the American Bar Association and the current editor-in-chief of The International Lawyer, an ABA legal journal.
...
It isn’t a scam,” Field said about the school.
Emphasis added.  See?  Not a scam!  Granted, no law schools are running anything remotely resembling a scam, but when was the last time you heard a law school representative flatly come out and say the operation is not a scam?  Isn't that reassuring?  

I mean, if you ignore the tons of red flags identified by those "journalists," and stick to the selective quoting above, the school seems 98% good to generate $1.6 million in profits in 9 months.

Another selective quote:
A spokesman with ABA confirmed DeVore had informally met with a man named Barry Currier, managing director of legal education and accreditation at ABA, and the two had a short conversation.
Let me speculate how that conversation may have gone:

DeVore:  Hi, I'm thinking of starting a law school in Alaska.
Currier:  Sounds accreditable!

Of course, the antitrusting protectionist state bar (...acting through its cronies at the state government, perhaps...) doesn't like what it sees:
The Alaska Commission on Postsecondary Education (ACPE) is aware of the online advertisement of an entity operating its website as The Alaska Law School. This notice is to advise interested parties that as of August 6, 2014, this entity is not authorized to operate as a postsecondary institution in the state of Alaska, nor is it legally permitted to advertise, deliver, or enroll students into any education programs. Moreover, according to a notice posted by the Alaska Bar Association, the organization has not taken any steps to be recognized by the American Bar Association.
Spoilsports.  Screw the land lubbers; the Good Ship Socratic will be sailing into an Alaskan port near you.  Be ready, sailors of fortune.

Or, if you're looking for something more conventional, Seattle U. is bringing a satellite campus of its kick-ass law school to Alaska.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Law School Architectural Pr0n

I found this - a lengthy article of photos of the prettiest law schools in the world - linked on that scandalous website JD Underground.

I double-dog dare you to look at a building such as Arizona State's and NOT wind up weeping in awe at the resplendent beauty, with each particle calculated to harvest maximum Socratic impact on America's future lawyers.

There are those skeptics who say that revenues backed by onerous student loans should not be used to help finance glorious Taj Mahals of legal education.  I beg to differ.  A look at these buildings, and I am sure you, too, will see the majesty and appreciate their divine purpose of educating students in an aesthetically-pleasing building...right after you wipe the drool off your keyboard.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Dean Chemerinsky: Law School More Important than Ever, Helps Cure Cancer

America's foremost legal education advocate, Dean Erwin Chemerinsky, has a piece in the New York Times as part of a debate about lawyer apprenticing.  It's full of wisdom and insight into the importance of formalized legal education, which one would expect from a public servant who has eschewed high-paying work to run a public law school.

Of all the quotes, this is probably my favorite:
[N]o supervising lawyer can begin to approximate the breadth and depth of knowledge of a law school faculty.
Indeed.  My law school's faculty had at least two professors who may, at one time, have appeared in a courtroom representing a client.  Two is more than one, dog.  Plus, like, fifteen Supreme Court clerks.

Here's another:
If you or a loved one were found to have cancer, would you want oncologists and surgeons who were educated at top universities and then were trained by experts, or ones who learned medicine entirely through apprenticeships?
To be honest with you, I want EVERYONE trained at a top university.  Why is my HVAC guy only trained through apprenticeship?  My breakfast cafe chef?  The foreign people who do my dry cleaning; they've never stepped in a place like UC-Irvine.  How are they supposed to appreciate the nuances of fabric and the chemical compositions of the products they use?  How is my breakfast chef supposed to think like a chef when he never went to school?  How is my HVAC guy supposed to understand the dynamics of air and cooling which are obviously more complex than they were sixty years ago now that we're building with space materials and such?  I love answering rhetorical questions with even more aggressive rhetorical questions.

Here's another:
...the reality is that [law schools] do an excellent job of teaching basic skills that all lawyers need to know: how to analyze legal issues, how to read cases and statutes and regulations, how to develop legal arguments, how to do legal research and writing.
Why, yes, those four things seem to sum up the entirety of basic skills all lawyers need to know.  I am incredibly grateful that under my formal legal education, I learned those four things - and in only three years.

I would keep posting quotes, but I don't want to steal the Dean's thunder while simultaneously serving those among the scamblog crowd who have a sadomasochist streak.