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?" 


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.