Saturday, May 31, 2014

Law Deans Ripe to Tap It

Jumping over the "Texas law schools cost too much" hysteria, this piece caught my eye for this quote:
The rush to cut costs is a healthy response to the shrinking market, said Marc Miller, the dean at the University of Arizona's law school. And with the smaller applicant pool, some schools just might need to look elsewhere for the best students, he said. 
"I still think that being a lawyer is one of the great things that people can do. It's a service profession," Miller said. "I think the global demand for American legal education is untapped."
You stupid dicks think legal education is doomy gloomy because the American consuming public has balked?  I see your American millions and raise you Chinese and Indian BILLIONS.  There's no law that says our finest law schools cannot educate sophisticated foreigners in the twists and turns of the Rule in Shelley's Case.  After all, given that the versatility of a legal education is unmatched in its application to countless fields in our domestic marketplace, it surely is an invaluable commodity on the international marketplace.

Why, if you go to Peru and network with an American JD, you're 47% more likely to get hired.  It's a fact.(1)

If there's one thing law deans are good at, it's tapping the available graduate pool.  If there's extraterritorial warm bodies who want to fill seats, our finest law deans will connect starving ass to polymer desk chair.

The article has other merits as well.  Second prize in noble scamdom goes to the author, who relayed this information:
Of the 258 graduates from [Houston law]'s class of 2013 who sought jobs after graduation, 225 of them - or about 87 percent - found one. UH does not yet have salary information for all of those graduates, but among the 125 the center knows about, the average salary is $109,210.
Average salaries on limited data doubly-self-reported data?  "Yet?"  A claim that a law school only "knows about" 50% of its graduates one year out uncritically reprinted?  Ignoring that UH's 225 "employed" includes 46 who are not in bar required jobs?  Beautiful.

Miss Congeniality goes to Dean Farnsworth at Texas, who has not pulled a Sager-bomb(c) yet, but there's still time:
Farnsworth pointed to UT's success in recent U.S. News rankings - which said law students there get the biggest return on their investment of any law school in the country - as evidence that the school has remained competitive. 
UT law students graduated with an average debt load of $86,312 in 2012 and earned a median starting private sector salary of $155,000 in 2011, according to the rankings. The average law school graduate in 2012 was $108,293 in debt, and the median starting private sector salary for all 2011 graduates was $76,125, according to U.S. News.
The only thing better than U.S. News and its whack methods is watching people blindly quote U.S. News and its whack methods.  With UT, we can verify that 79 students or so reported a salary of $150k or more.  Out of 382.  That's 20% or so being used to calculate a purported return on investment for a whole population that is almost certainly not sharing this subgroup's characteristics.

Gosh darn, I love statistics.  The numbers are transparent, open, free, in plain sight.  And yet our scamtastic alchemy can still make them murky, misleading, and used for devlish lemming trolling of a highly amusing order.

What a beautiful world.  Scam on.

(1) Disclaimer:  Not actually a fact.  Go to law school, kids.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Good Things Happening to Good People: Charleston Profiteers and Indiana Tech's Newest Leader

1.   The Charleston Saga, Cont'd

In this edition of The InfiLaw Triumph:  The Charleston Saga, I give you this piece of muckrucking, capitalist-envy journalism:
Five respected judges and lawyers started the Charleston School of Law a decade ago with the lofty goal of training attorneys committed to public service.
But beginning in 2010, the well-connected founders and owners with deep South Carolina roots began draining money from the school, withdrawing $25 million in profits by 2013 that they split among themselves.
Their taking out the profits instead of re-investing in the school has left it in such financial shambles its future remains uncertain.
Jealousy is quite ugly.  It is particularly distasteful when it manifests itself in nasty hypocrisy.  The state had no problem licensing Charleston as a for-profit school and allowing these elite lawyers to peddle legal education for noble purposes as a way of enhancing their own investment portfolios and raking in a few million each in that sweet, sweet delicious and easy student loan-backed revenues.  That form of dragon-chasing was perfectly cool.

But now InfiLaw wants to show up and do basically the same thing, only with more opportunity for diversity and access to education, and suddenly a bunch of pseudo-employed jackwads decide to cry foul.

2.  The Lower Case Law Dean

In bittersweet news, Dean Peter Alexander suddenly resigned from Indiana Tech on the Friday before a holiday weekend.  Dean Alexander's tenure is to be commended.  Although naysayers said a law school in Fort Wayne would not work, Dean Alexander kept it going strong for a year.  In a time when most law schools were cutting back on enrollment, Indiana Tech went up +28 students or so.  And of course, let us not forget that Dean Alexander went head-to-head with the ignominious Paul Campos.

We wish him well in whatever BigLaw partner, elite foundation chair, judgeship, or other employment capacity to which he is moving.

But out of the burnt pit of sadness and despair rises of the phoenix of eloquent flame-throwing:
Indiana Tech announced andrĂ© douglas pond cummings, who does not use capital letters in his name, will serve as the interim dean at the school. 
Cummings is the associate dean for academic affairs and a professor of law at the fledgling law school.
Andre Douglas Pond Cummings, d/b/a andre douglas pond cummings, has risen from being a leading scholar in hip-hop and the law and serving youth in the Chicago ghetto to being a prestigious law dean in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

Those of you who doubt there is karma and justice in the world, your faith, I'm sure, is restored.

Friday, May 23, 2014

The InfiLaw Triumph Story, Cont'd: A Temporary Set-Back

The sale of the Charleston School of Law to a private, Florida-based company should be stopped, as the company's lower academic standards and lawsuits against it provide concerns about the company's health and the direction it would take the school, a majority of members on a state higher education panel said Monday. 
The Committee on Academic Affairs and Licensing, part of the state's Commission on Higher Education, voted 3-1 to reject recommending a license for InfiLaw to operate the law school.
Up yours, South Carolina.  In honor of the Memorial Day and the countless soldiers who have fallen so that YOU may enjoy world-class legal education at a rock-bottom price, I am going to provide a picture response:

I think the last time that meme was popular was like 2009, which is the last time there was any rationality in law school discussions.

Scam on, friends.  Still time to sign up for summer early entry programs and PLENTY of time to get the lemmings in for fall!

Thursday, May 15, 2014

The InfiLaw Manifest Destiny: The Charleston Saga, Cont'd

As previously reported, InfiLaw is fighting tooth and nail to expand its justice-wielding arms into South Carolina with the purchase of Charleston College of Law.

Unfortunately, a certain insolent minority dislikes InfiLaw and their practices of making law accessible to the 135 LSAT at a bargain rate.  Remember, these anti-progressive monopolists were also the first people to break away from The Union.  Like they can be trusted when it comes to evaluating positive changes.

ANYWAY, the present finds our heroes facing a penultimate hurdle in getting license approval from the state.  You may recall that the villains delayed the earlier rubber-stamping and NOW the commission will hold hearings TOMORROW and MONDAY and then vote afterwards.

And of course, the damning stain of villainy has sneaked into the Prestigious ranks of the faculty:
Last week, nine other faculty members joined Bridwell and Finkel in sending a letter to the commission, encouraging members not to support a license for InfiLaw. 
In the letter, faculty members said under InfiLaw, the school's sense of community would be replaced with "a culture of intimidation and fear." They also said InfiLaw schools had lower standards than those of the Charleston school. "We do not wish to see the Charleston School of Law mirror the admissions practices, attrition rates, transfer rates, or educational programs at the InfiLaw consortium schools," the letter stated.
Lies!  Misrepresentation!  Ignorantly Ironic Hypocrisy!  

As if that act of bastardry weren't enough, GET A LOAD OF THIS:
Charleston lawyer Capers Barr also sent a similar letter to the commission last week on behalf of a group of faculty members who wished to remain anonymous out of fear of retribution. Barr did not specify how many faculty members he represented, but stated that a "super majority" of faculty members were opposed to a sale to InfiLaw.
WELL WELL WELL, if it's not anonymous speech from a bunch of cowards!  As we all know, anonymous criticism has absolutely no bearing whatsoever, particularly when it has no grounding in rationality or is not supported by proper credentials.  I bet they're adjuncts.

Who the hell hires a lawyer named "Capers," anyway?!  Was Mr. Shallots not taking clients?!

It's a public hearing.  If you're in Charleston and a friend of law school progress, please go and encourage members to vote YES on InfiLaw.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Albany "Professors" Taking After Whiny Scambloggers

You know when big companies like shed employees to regroup and then their stock shoots way up?

I give thee mortals the gift of Albany Law.
An undisclosed number of professors at Albany Law School are willing to leave in exchange for buyouts as school leaders deal with an increasingly restive faculty that may soon be facing possible pay cuts or unpaid leave.
In a confidential April 15 memo to the faculty, [Board Chair Daniel] Nolan rebuked them for waging a "smear campaign" against Dean Penelope Andrews as part of "mudslinging" and "vitriolic attacks" that were bringing "dishonor" to the law school.
Jumpin' Jehoshaphat, what are you, jack-assed scambloggers?  Be honorable, law professors, like the British on a sinking ship!

Unfortunately, it appears some Albany professors do not grasp the concept of RESPECT, KNAVES that is supposed to permeate academia, which may explain why the school is having to rebound from a slight slump.
He wrote that the faculty messages delivered to trustees by the Faculty Long-Range Planning Committee were "filled with many statements that are inaccurate or unfairly taken out of context" and "filled with distortions and untruths by anonymous posters. It contains personal attacks and questions the good faith of many actors."
Why don't you trash heaps join the commenters at Third Tier Reality?  It's obviously where you belong, with the other anonymous bad faith mudslingers.

Other lowlights of these rebellious dogs:

  • Some of the faculty memos complain of low morale among faculty; maybe they should go into private practice, where morale is at all-time highs.
  • Albany professors hired an outside economist to examine the finances at the school from 2008 to 2012, who naturally found no "empirical evidence" that there was financial pressures on the school.  Ugh.  Everyone knows law schools were doing just dandy until, like, 2012, and then the effects of the global recession eased and people started finding better things to do than law school.  Or something.  Shit, I can't remember the narrative today.
  • A bloc of faculty members filed a "complaint" with the AALS requesting "mediation."  LOLERZ, complaint dismissed.
In any event, Albany is in serious trouble now because of the applicant pool finding better things to do than invest in a legal education, but once expenses are lowered, it'll go gangbusters.  Once we shed some of the dead weight, this clipper is going to six-figure knots.  There, does that work as a marketing pitch?  

Oh, fuck it, $160k, 97% employed at 9 months.  

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

New ABA Task Force to Solve Things, Get Stuff Done

First you must find... another task force report! Then, when you have acquired another task force report, you must place it here, beside this task force report, only slightly higher so you get a two layer effect with a little path running down the middle. ("A path! A path!") Then, you must cut down the mightiest tree in the forrest... with... a herring!

Remember in the last TASK FORCE, where our heroes, after getting their hands quite dirty with months of callous-creating hard work, concluded that another TASK FORCE was necessary?

Friends, the bugle call of the cavalry is just o'er the ridge.
The task force is charged with looking at the cost of legal education for students, the financing of law schools, student loans and educational debt. It will also consider current practices of law schools regarding the use of merit scholarships, tuition discounting and need-based aid.
And who is on our Super Best Friends list? Among others:

  • Dennis Archer (chair!): policy board member, InfiLaw
  • Luke Bierman: incoming dean, Elon
  • Christopher Champan: President and CEO of Access Group
  • Heather Jarvis:  "advocate for reducing the financial barriers to practicing public interest law"
  • Philip Schrag:  Georgetown Professor, cogent and insightful critic of Brian Tamanaha's work.

As a bonus, Archer is former mayor of Detroit and member Kurt Schmoke is a former mayor of Baltimore.  If there's one industry that knows how to make a declining industry thrive and prosper, it's mayors who oversaw decaying industrial-growth cities.  If they could only get former mayors of Cleveland or Buffalo or Scranton or Youngstown, we'd have a freakin' law school financing renaissance.

God speed, TASK FORCE.  I know there are a lot of villains out there.  And I have no doubt that you will respond appropriately by calling for another TASK FORCE.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

The "Struggles" of Law Grads in Boston

In the last few years, we've gotten quite a bit of publicity in large newspapers about the oh-my-stars awful job market for newbie lawyers.

Just listen to these god-awful and hideous employment outcomes:  BU 3L and new associate at WilmerHale and BU 3L with a two-year paid fellowship at a legal aid.

Golly gee willickers, the law school graduate environment must totally suck.

Eye-roll to the max.

In any event, I want to point out that America's top law schools are being pro-active in addressing the purported concerns and phony data (remember: you can't trust anything a law school says, even the "bad" data).  Check out what Suffolk Law School is doing:
Suffolk University Law School, for example, now offers a course on “project management,” or how to research, analyze, and estimate the time and money a legal case might take. Law firms increasingly want attorneys with such skills, said Andrew Perlman, a Suffolk law professor and director of the school’s Institute on Law Practice Technology and Innovation. 
“The opportunities within the legal community are different today from what they were in the past,” said Perlman. “There’s a real structural shift underway within the industry, with lawyers expected to do more with less.”
Bingo!  Now - even in the event that Suffolk's graduates cannot find jobs in the legal marketplace - they can easily go solo and better evaluate the steady stream of cases that walk through the door.  As I understand it, there is a lot of legal business out there that is desperate for lawyers who can provide more precise cost estimates, particularly in the under-served communities.

Thanks to Professor Perlman and the Institute of Law Practice Technology and Innovation, Suffolk graduates will now be able to compete with Harvard, BU, and BC students for associate positions where the partners want the junior associate to estimate the cost of prosecuting or defending the case that just came in.  There are so many employers hankering for this skill-set in a newbie attorney, the author would be hard-pressed to name just one if asked.

But of course, if non-Harvard law graduates are still landing in paid multiyear fellowships and getting gigs with some of Boston's most prestigious firms, I'm not sure giving graduates these bonus skills is necessary, as there's obviously a place for prestigious Suffolk graduates in the Boston marketplace.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Ne'er-Do-Wells Stall InfiLaw's South Carolina Triumph

A state regulatory panel delayed voting Thursday on InfiLaw’s request to buy the Charleston School of Law to allow it more time to review documents and public comments.
Charleston School of Law alumni and parents of students came to the meeting in Columbia. Some of them, along with Charleston officials, have decried the for-profit InfiLaw as a diploma mill.
What the fuck is wrong with you people?  Don't you have jobs?!  Why aren't you alumni out working like the rest of your classmates?  It's 99% employment after 9 months, get it?  That means you all were skipping work to boycott the growth of the law school that landed you those positions.

Ungrateful gits.

See, these jackwagons show up and suddenly the state commission freaks out.  "We can't handle a few letters."  You know who didn't submit harebrained papers?

The scores of Charleston Law graduates who are working hard and making big-time cash.

Surely they, like I, know that InfiLaw is the best option for the school's continued growth and excellence.  InfiLaw has resources, a faculty of gifted scholars, a wicked business model, and most importantly, InfiLaw cares.  Most American law schools are cutting to absurdly low levels while we have a critical shortage of justice.  InfiLaw still believes in pumping 'em out.  I mean, yeah, the big schools are dropping in enrollment thanks to "market correction," but the intent is obviously still there.

The helicopter parents of law students bitching about InfiLaw taking over is like the sheep complaining because the new shepherd is too damn good to them.

Like I said, ungrateful gits.