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?"


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.