Thursday, January 29, 2015

More Potshots at Former Texas Dean Larry Sager...Yawn

Will they ever lay off Larry Sager and the University of Texas?

If you'll recall, there were some silly allegations thrown about against Larry Sager, former Dean of the University of Texas' Top 17ish law school.  Well, even though the UT thoroughly investigated the matter and the state legislature tried to impeach the muckraker for his "unreasonable and burdensome requests for records and information from UT Austin", the Texas attorney general got in on the fun and issued a "damning" report.

This is infuriating.  Sager and the University of Texas had a good thing going: scurrilous behavior, a well-done cover-up, and politicians and media who think investigation and transparency is a form of harassment, if not treason.  Then a god-damned UVA grad attorney general and his cabal of mischievous underling investigators have to play spoilsport.

I mean, look at this scandalous nonsense:
The report concludes that former law school Dean Lawrence Sager "supported a lack of transparency."
Like a prestigious law school would lack transparency!
[Investigators] found that the UT Law School maintained a set of double books for its so-called "forgivable loan" program...
Who wouldn't keep double books?  What if one gets lost?  Or this non-story:
The squirreliest chapter of the report deals with a lawsuit brought by law school Professor Linda S. Mullenix accusing Sager of running a secret good-old-boy pay scheme in violation of university bylaws and of state and federal law....

Sager denied to investigators that he was worried about the suit's potential for taking the off-the-books compensation scheme public, but the investigators found Sager's own notes in which he said just that...

Instead of reporting the lawsuit first to the university's general counsel, Sager took the matter to the law firm Vinson & Elkins. Out of that process came a lucrative settlement with Mullenix including "a forgivable loan from the foundation, a state-funded permanent pay increase and reimbursement of attorney's fees," all tossed together without proper signatures and in a way the investigators said "did not follow required internal approval processes for settlements."  
"Squirreliest" can't be a real word.  Besides, how is he a bad guy for paying a fair settlement to an injured party?  Remember, it can't be hush money (particularly to a law professor steeped in the highest virtues of social justice) unless it's a really good deal!

My favorite part of this "journalism" about an "attorney general report" (seriously, it must be a political ploy, right?) is this:
The investigators say they found records showing that within two months of being denied a raise from the university [for frozen salaries and such] Sager was using Vinson & Elkins again to put together the half million dollar forgivable loan for himself from the private foundation. The report, again with Sager's name redacted but obviously describing him, says Sager, "denies that the loan was sought after President Powers rejected (Sager) for a pay increase."

But the report says Sager's recollection of the facts is "not consistent with the emails and other evidence obtained during the course of this office's investigation."
Again, why is Sager a bad guy for seeking alternative funding for his swank lifestyle?  He was already sacrificing a lucrative private sector salary, just as everyone in legal academia does.  If the university stupidly wants to put a salary freeze in place, he's got to make an even greater killing somehow.  Now, years later, you're going to ask him questions about this stuff and expect him to tell the truth?  Give me a break.  UT is still highly ranked by all reputable publications, so I don't see what the problem is with his tenure.

The point of all of this, prospective law students, is that you can still trust your law schools.  Their leaders may cover up questionable payment schemes, watch their truth-telling enemies get witch-hunted, and slightly fudge the truth when speaking with official investigators...

But damn it, when they tell you you're going to make a great decision going to law school, or reporting unaudited jobs outcomes, they're telling the God's honest truth.  

That's the straight dope, yo. 

Monday, January 26, 2015

"Four Questions" Game Lets New Albany Leader Spread the "Good News"

Here is the Albany Business Review's recent article asking new Albany Law dean (and soon to be President) Alicia Oullette "Four Questions."  For the pea-brained demon dogs at OTLSS, the four questions might be something like this:
1.  The class of 2013 reported 17.3% of your graduates were totally unemployed after 9 months.  Would you agree that the entry-level hiring market thinks you pumped out too many JDs that year?
2.  How many of your graduates landed positions paying more than $150,000, the expected cost of an Albany J.D. with a 50% tuition discount?
3.  A recent report indicated that New York is the 9th most saturated state, with a 3.1-1 graduate-to-job ratio.  Do you agree that New York does not need fifteen law schools to meet market demand?
4.  Will you agree to an independent third-party audit of Albany's employment statistics?  If not, what is the basis of denying consumers transparency?

Instead, thankfully, this is righteous, good, industry-supporting journalism, that asks these four questions:
1.  How will the new position impact the remainder of the academic year?
2.  What else has been a focus?
3.  What is the status of the discussions with Albany Law School [sic]?
4.  What will be a main focus as you undertake the role of president?

And to these softballs, she hits home run after home run, or really just this one:
Admissions across the county are down and Albany Law is no different. We really believe we have terrific offerings for students and the faculty have gotten engaged and the trustees have gotten engaged in getting the good news out to counter the narrative that's out there. We see that our students are getting jobs and they're happy. Because we're the only law school in the capital of New York and because we have an incredible alumni system, our students have been able to get jobs.
Narrative countered!  God knows someone has to sell these kids on making awesome career moves that will begin a 40-year voyage of milk and honey.  They're not going to do it themselves, people.  Get the faculty and trustees involved; these kids are sophisticated and it's going to take a team effort.

Again, a scamblogger might read that paragraph and be like "what the fuck?"  But they probably didn't think through their decision to attend law school, as this current crop of students no doubt has.

Friday, January 23, 2015

The State of the Scam

The following was written by frequent (?) contributor Dean Satan as an exclusive to the Law School Truth Center.

Greetings, my fellow mountebanks.  I, Dean Satan, am proud to update you on the State of the Scam.

We are fifteen years into this new century. Fifteen years that dawned with glorious boom times; that unfolded with a new generation benefiting from glorious boom times; that saw a vicious recession almost threaten our glorious boom times. It has been, and still is, a hard time for only a few of our laziest, blame-the-world graduates, that has been amplified, like, way out of proportion.

But tonight, we turn the page.  Like Bob Seger.

Tonight, after a breakthrough year for law deans, our legal economy is growing and creating jobs at the fastest pace since 1999. Our unemployment rate is now lower than it was before the financial crisis. More of our graduates are getting some type of jobs than ever before; more of our graduates are insured to pay their loans than ever before; we are as free from the grip of financial responsibility as we’ve been in almost 30 years.

Law deans, for all that we’ve endured; for all the grit and hard work required to come back; for all the tasks that lie ahead, know this:

The shadow of crisis has passed, and the State of the Scam is strong.

At this moment – with growing tuition, shrinking oversight, bustling legal industry, and still-booming scholarship production – we have risen from recession freer to write our own future than any other law deans on Earth. It’s now up to us to choose who we want to be over the next fifteen years, and for decades to come.

Will we continue to accept a legal economy where only a deserving few of us do spectacularly well? Or will we listen to the pinko scambloggers and give participation medals for everyone who makes the effort?

Will we approach the applicant pool fearful and reactive, dragged into costly conflicts that strain our greatest minds and set back our standing? Or will we lead wisely, using all elements of our power to defeat new threats and protect our summer research stipends?

Will we allow ourselves to listen to these diseased factions and turn against one another – or will we recapture the sense of common purpose that allowed us to to model and bottle at the AALS conventions? 

And if we can't do that, will the right law deans have the courage to jump under the bus voluntarily?

And now I'd like to tell you a story about Rebekah and Ben.  Seven years ago, she waited tables. He worked construction.  As the crisis worsened, Ben’s business dried up, so he took what jobs he could find, even if they kept him on the road for long stretches of time. Rebekah took out student loans, enrolled in community college, and retrained for a new career. They sacrificed for each other. And slowly, it paid off, but, of course, not enough. They bought their first home. They had a second son. Rebekah got a better job, and then a raise, but not nearly enough to be super well off and such. Ben is back in construction – and home for dinner every night - how quaint.

Law deans, Rebekah and Ben’s story is our story. They represent the millions of prospective students who have worked hard, and scrimped, and sacrificed, and retooled, and are a good place, but maybe could want a little more, rewarding us with satisfactory salaries and 20-hour workweeks. They are the reason I sacrificed the chance to have a corner office at Latham and swim in the swill of high-class hookers and top-shelf scotch.

But students and Rebekah and their sweet, succulent families still need our help. She and Ben are working as hard as ever, but have to forgo vacations and a new car so they can pay off student loans and save for retirement.  That's where we step in.  See, Rebekah and Ben's biggest mistake is that neither of them ever went to law school.  With a legal education, one or both of them could easily get a job paying $160,000 in salary each year, with plenty of vacations and new cars even after paying modest student loan payments.

My fellow law deans, we are a strong, tight-knit family. We have made it through some hard times. Fifteen years into this new century, we have picked ourselves up, dusted ourselves off, and begun again the work of continuing our beautiful exploitation like nothing bad as ever happened. We’ve laid a new foundation that looks remarkably similar to the old one as we prattle on about "experiential learning" and other hogwash. A brighter future is ours to write, particularly with slick brochures and subway ads targeted to minorities. Let’s begin this new chapter – together – and let’s start the work after having a round of pina coladas and cigars in Havana, since it looks like men of our class can do that again fairly soon.

Thank you, God bless you, and God bless this industry.  Scam on.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Hosting a Raiding Party on the Free Love Transfer Train

There's been some other articles around talking about the transfer antics in D.C.  Georgetown brings in 100+ transfers (13 from American), G.W. sends a raiding party! to American to carry off 54 well-bred legal beagles.  American nibbles 12 from DC and UB. 

Let's look at some other raiders and call it "Free Love Transfer Train!"  (All numbers hastily pulled from ABA Standard 509 forms).


A.  Cal-Berkeley responds to some mild losses by sending a raiding party! to Cal-Hastings to pick up 18 new partners.  They also grab 4 from San Fran, 2 from Santa Clara, and 1 each from Golden Gate and McGeorge.  All-in-all, Cal-Berkeley (a T14) is +46.

B.  Cal-Hastings now has an empty space in its heart to fill with love.  They grab 5 from Golden Gate, 4 from San Fran, and 2 from Santa Clara.  They even grab students from LA and San Diego schools, but still wind up being more prey than predator.

C.  Speaking of the Southern part of the state, UCLA, after losing 5 students to Cal-Berkeley's marauders, went balls-to-the-wall in its recoupment efforts and wound up +21 enrollment.   They turned and grabbed 5 from Cal-Davis, 3 from Southwestern, and 8 from Loyola-Marymount, among others.

D.  In that next group, Loyola lost 49 students by attrition, and tried their hardest to recover.  They definitely get effort points by taking 6 from Southwestern and a whopping 15 students from Whittier.


A.  Columbia didn't gorge at one table, but rather enjoyed the whole buffet:  5 from Brooklyn, 4 from Cornell, 3 from Fordham, etc.  All in all Columbia (this is a T-14, okay?) brought in 46 students and only lost 9 to attrition.  Not to be outdone, NYU brought in 8 from Cornell, 4 from Brooklyn, 4 from Fordham, and a smattering of other transfers to bring their total to 50.

B.  While those three victims were surprisingly restrained in bringing in transfers, St. Johns caught the spirit and decided to nab 16 of Touro's students.  That's a raiding party!  Considering transfer attrition alone, Touro was -34.


A.   As much as people rip on Florida Coastal, it's basically a strip mine operation for other law schools to come in and take what they want.  This class slut gave up 55 transfers:  10 to UF, 9 to FSU, 5 to Miami, 4 to St. Thomas, etc.

B.  In possibly the oddest swap around, FIU of all places sent a raiding party! to Nova Southeastern and brought home 16 choice specimens.  Nova lost 41 students to transfers altogether.


Michigan State took 31 new prospects from Thomas Cooley.  They rounded 3rd hard, and Lansing blew a lug nut.


Emory took 20 transfers in from JMLSATL.  Overall, Emory brought in 56 transfer students and only lost 13 students total to attrition.  While we're on the topic of JMLSATL, Mercer nabbed 5 and Georgia State took 10.

Anyone got any other good stories from the transfer swap?


So basically, kids, if you want to go to a really good law school with a low LSAT or uGPA, it's okay to go to a crappier one.  Just doll yourself up and after a single solitary year, the bigger suitors will come knocking like you're on special.

An alternative title to this piece could be called Triumphs and Sacrifices.  Clearly, there are law schools that lose at this game, either by keeping their standards too high (Loyola) or simply by not scraping at the bottom of the barrel enough (American).

But hey, what kind of a law school shill would I be if I didn't wholly endorse exploitative capitalism?  It's a meat market out there, and the shrewdest butchers know how to play the game.

Has there been enough metaphor-mixing in this article?  I think not.  Here's some more metaphors:

Law students are like cars.  If you're at Yale, you're like a Bugati.  If you're at American, you're like a Toyota Avalon.  BUT with a stupendous first year, you could, like, pimp dat ride.  So much that G.W. wants to put you on its lot.  It's the one behind the fence where the LSAT people don't go, but DUDE that's where the hot buyers go.

Law students are like a box of chocolates.  You never know what you're going to get.  Except you're pretty damned sure the Belgian artisan stuff at Harvard is better than the Russel Stover going stale at some Roadside InfiLaw Outlet.  But the hungry hungry hypo-law-deans at the Tier 2 and 3 schools have plenty of room in the bellies, so you need to be one of those candies with the nougat or salted caramel - none of that rubbery fake cherry shit.  And then they'll select you for their new assortment where you can be bought by all kinds of employers who won't care what box you used to be in.

Law students are like babies.  If you have a really cute and smart one, a nicer family may come along and take it.  But that's okay - what goes around comes around, and, frankly, that one was a little too perfect for your shit-stained cluttery house.  Go get a raiding party! and steal some poor family's baby.  It's not like they can nurture it the way you can.  You're a Tier 2 house.  Besides, if you wanted to keep the first kid, you wouldn't have made it so attractive to thieves.

Law students are like vodka.  At the start of the night, you can probably tell the difference between Belvedere (Georgetown), Grey Goose (GW), Absolut (American), watered-down mid-range Polish vodka (Catholic), and Skyy (D.C.).  After a while, you're drunk, you've run out of the real premium stuff and suddenly Absolut is lookin' really drinkable.  Plus, they've got slick marketing.  Look at those ads; you could do international law if you drink Absolut!  Shit, I'd take 54 shots of that, too, if my liver metabolized six-figure salaries and cirrhosis was only going to happen if Bartender Uncy Sam cuts me off.  Which he won't.

So, in closing, law students are drunk-driving babies eating chocolate.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Investment Lawyer Says "Buy!" for Legal Education

From some surely-reputable website called "" we get a rap from Edward Klees, a gung-ho investment lawyer:
Supply and demand is starting to favor the law student. With even a little faith in the future, a young lawyer now has a better shot at success.
Truth.  Supply and demand definitely favors the law student.
 They Want YOU! Corporations need lawyers to meet the huge demand for regulation, which soared after the 2008 financial crisis. 
Uncle Sam in the hizzy!  I wish law schools would do more to promote this truth, instead of re-posting discouraging and obviously-fake job listings for non-JD "compliance" folks on job boards.  Everyone knows regulation means lawyer time. may only need a laptop and a phone. Many lawyers with children or a parent to care for have more flexibility than a doctor, dentist or banker. It’s tougher for courtroom lawyers, but even for those folks, much work can be done outside the chambers.
Kids, one of the great advantages of being a lawyer is the how-low-you-can-go game other people like to play with your personal overhead.  Being a lawyer is great because there's no need for all sorts of things that every stable full-time lawyer stubbornly clings to.  I mean, if you're an investment manager or a sales person or a corporate drone, there's just no way you could ever do that with such minimal items.  And if you're an ER doc, you need, like a full exam room with triage and nurses and shit.  Lawyer you just need a laptop and a phone and you've got your ticket for the 98% lottery.
Investment Law. This field didn’t really exist 30 years ago.
Before that, people would do their own IPO paperwork and standard securities filings and compliance shit and Blue Sky lawsuits apparently without legal specialists.  God damn that must have been a dark age.  Than God Congress passed all this regulation that makes lawyers super-duper-employable.
As financial firms have grown and globalized, a once-sleepy area of the law is now a thriving epicenter of the multitrillion-dollar investment world.
Remember Natty the Natural Disaster Gnat's Number One Rule:  When there's an epicenter of a shit-storm, run headlong to the middle of it.
So forget Mr. Robinson and listen to me. But don’t sue me if I’m wrong.
...but definitely copy the expert disclaimer and Boomer movie references. That's how real lawyers do it. 

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Paging Andy Kaufman: Here [the Poor] Come To Save the Day!

Here is a thoughtful article about how Suffolk plans to kick ass.  As part of an "overhaul" of how it does business to meet the demands of a changing world, the article highlights five major take-a-ways about legal education is changing, summarized from a recent interview with Suffolk associate dean of academic affairs.

Amidst some nice buzz-wording, the article notes this:
 Underserved markets will save the day: Legal experts estimate that 85 percent of people in the U.S. involved in civil cases are without legal representation. New models for the delivery of services at reasonable rates will change that dynamic. "This is the law. This is what lawyers do ... So that people who need legal representation can have it, and people who have legal training can do meaningful work."
Such dulcet and harmonious breath you utter!

Let's assume - arguendo! - that shoddy statisticians like Matt Leichter are correct and that there is currently an oversupply of attorneys.  Shit, let's assume a 2-1 oversupply.

If, currently, only 15% of the population is hiring attorneys in situations that warrant the hiring of an attorney, an increase to 30% would gainfully employ every attorney and virtually guarantee a shortfall.  An increase to 60% (which will happen when legal services are more reasonable in price) and suddenly we would be underlawyered by a factor of 2!  And that's assuming - arguendo! - that there currently IS an oversupply, which is about as real as saying global warming exists.

A 1-to-2 undersupply of attorneys would mean that greedy lawyers [a redundancy] could charge more, which would make their services again non-cost-effective for the poor and middle class. 

So, in summation, the poor and middle class are going to start purchasing legal services in the future at a higher percentage because of "new models" [models and bottles, indeed!] that will be "dynamic" in bringing about "reasonable rates."  We should err on the side of oversupplying to meet this potentially massive demand.  QED.

It's economics, folks.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

A Serious Post Re: Parody, Charlie Hebdo, and the Law School Scam

This blog obviously trades a great deal in parody, satire, irony, sarcasm, caricature, and similar literary devices (fun fact: these are not all the same thing!).  As a writer, I hold these expressive forms as valuable as journalistic expository writing or bare-all, straight-shooter opinion pieces, and I don't believe a civilized free society can have it any other way.

Writing, like all art, is designed to communicate ideas and provoke emotional reactions.  In the right circumstances, parody and satire can do one or both of these things more effectively than other forms.  These devices are excellent at pointing out absurdities, silly ideas, and wrongful behavior.

For example, this:
Jay Conison is little different than a crumbling sweatshop operator.
is an opinion, expressed in simple metaphor, that someone might hold after reading something like this, which is an excellent straight-up piece.  But one could also say this:
The factory manager, Jay Conison, defended the recent spate of violent machine-related tragedies by stating the following:  "A factory is a complex commercial enterprise delivering a wide range of production-related services. Different factories have different strengths and weaknesses. Some are very strong in safety, others very strong in craftsmanship. Some position themselves to provide opportunity to workers; others, like ours, position themselves to develop an employee pool of diverse, tough survivors who made it through the gauntlet of death that kills 50% of careers and maims the rest."
The hastily-thought parody is not necessarily better, but different, and seeking to convey a slightly different idea.  For a more well-known example of this same concept, you can look at this viral Onion article (likely not workplace safe, unless your workplace is either depraved or chill), which makes an opinion comparison between religions so much more elegantly and poignantly than the blunt opinion of "other religions don't do this shit." 

There is certainly a sliding scale of ease in these forms.  It is difficult to satirize or parody Mother Theresa or Gandhi.  It is even harder to do the same to the humble and pleasant World War II veteran who quietly and dutifully performs volunteer work with a dying body.  It's remarkably easy to lampoon politicians, televangelists, celebrities, newscasters, and all-purpose assholes.  I will leave it to the reader to surmise where law school promoters fall in this matrix.

 The overall point is that satire and parody - which would include visual artists in a tradition including Hogarth and Nast - are a tool in the arsenal of speaking truth to power and engaging public debate, whether that be political, economic, religious, or social.  It can also, I will readily concede, be used for ill purposes, like to promote intolerance.

Often, the powerful can easily deal with negative, straight-shooting opinions; any good politician has thought through opposing viewpoints and knows how to address them.  Any enduring religion has developed a foolproof flow diagram of religious reasoning to counteract the claims of unbelievers and heretics.  For straight matters of opinion and debate, the powerful have usually already won those battles, and can often deflect them easily.

Parody, satire, and its relatives strike a different nerve, and often bring something that the target did not or could not anticipate.  Instead of addressing a powerful person straight on, they strike from an angle, away from the powerful target's home turf.  Often, that's what makes really good parody more discomforting and threatening.  There usually is simply no great response to well-done parody or satire, and certainly no way to compose one in advance, which makes it a volatile force of nature to people who build houses of power and belief on infirm foundations.

And this brings me to Charlie Hebdo.  The crazy people who do things like this aren't lashing out because some juvenile cartoonists violated a sacred tenet of their religion.  Let's be clear on that one.  For one, if extremist terrorists were going to kill because of the violation of Islam's tenets by 3rd parties, they've got much bigger fish to fry.  For two, the whole reason for the ban on images of Muhammad was originally to prevent idolatry (take yourself back to medieval Christianity for a comparison, which ignored its own religious teachings, but that's another story for another day); now the absence of depictions of Muhammad is a form of worship in its own right in some select Islamic interpretations (an irony no doubt lost in the haze of blind faith).  Western depictions of Muhammad, particular those in parody,  threaten them, threaten their ideas and beliefs and, ultimately, threaten what power they have.  The depictions of Muhammad found throughout the middle east and in art history, not quite as much.

And so their reaction is not so much punitive against Charle Hebdo and the staffers who were tragically and senselessly murdered, but rather chilling.  They sacrificed a little to gain a lot: the overzealous respect of Muhammad (or their interpretation of his life and work) in global media.  And for fuck's sake, it worked.  At a time where media outlets should be publishing Muhammad cartoons as items of legitimate news interest in a free society, they're self-censoring.  Because wackjobs exist who feel so threatened by grade-school parody that they will set Paris on fire, Muhammad and Islam have been isolated and are treated differently than other religions.  Of course, this is simply a continuation of the Danish cartoon fiasco from a few years back (and, as an aside, not that far from fair criticism of Supreme Court opinions like Pacifica).  As South Park (I can't believe I'm citing South Park and "The Federalist" in the same paragraph) eloquently put it at the time:
Either it's all okay, or none of it is.
Once you place something in the category of the unimpeachable or unmentionable, you give it an unassailable power.  Any addressing of the idea or person has to now be on that person or idea's own terms.  That's as good as effectively having removed it from the marketplace of ideas.  And if something as big as a global religion can be removed from our marketplace of ideas so easily, we might as well not have one, as it has literally no security.  So for all the media organizations trying to report on these topics while conceding turf to extremists and self-censoring, eat a dick.

I mention all of this now because I can't help but draw comparisons to the law school scam media.  The most salient example is Nancy Leong's crusade of insanity against dybbuk.  Without reheashing the whole ordeal, Dybbuk wrote some sarcastic tributes to her work.  In response, Nancy defended her work with churlish sarcasm, accused him of sexism, accused him of racism against her Hawaiian ancestry, and her and others reframed the debate as one about dybbuk's character and attorney ethical rules.  Dybbuk's speech was and has been chilled as a result, and speech critical of Leong's work has been effectively chilled from other writers.  And given the choice, to be blunt, why would any of us write about Nancy when the Open Road of Least Resistance showed paths to others, like ADPC or Joan King or the 99.99% of others who haven't filed expensive bar complaints? 

It's really tempting to give in to terrorism's logic.

There are other examples, of course, such as the lashing out against Paul Campos (who occasionally dabbles in the above literary devices, as it's difficult to avoid in this industry), or Thomas Cooley suing a critical blogger (which, let's be straight, was entirely about chilling effects).  There are lots of people doing great work in the law school criticism field - Above the Law, Paul Caron, Kyle McEntee, Brian Tamanaha, etc. - who color within the lines, and that's wonderful and necessary (as much as I cringe at Above the Law's editorial tone, they do good work on this front).

But there's absolutely a place for more aggressive and emotion-provoking commentary, and to shut those doors (or deny they exist, like much of the media has done in this area) is to decimate a true marketplace of ideas and to potentially stifle the full capabilities of reform.

I say this not to compare scamblogging to a longstanding publication like Charlie Hebdo or to weigh the relative "badness" of law school bullies and Islamic terrorists.

But as a society and as a sub-culture, we cannot let squeaky wheels get more grease than they deserve.  We cannot offend or criticize only those who are mature adults.  We cannot be deterred by people whose response to criticism is childish whining.  We cannot give them more courtesy than we give reasoned people, or else we perversely enhance their power.  There cannot be a right against being offended.  In scamblogging, either everything is on the table - including certain scholarship and everything accompanying how certain professors found their positions in life, if necessary - or none of it is.  We must resist the temptation to give in to such tactics in any respect.

I considered concluding this essay with a short piece entitled Wet Slippers and the Open Road to Mecca but have decided not to for a lack of space.  Instead, I give the following two quotes:
A man is angry at a libel because it is false, but at a satire because it is true.  - G.K. Chesterton 
I have only ever made one prayer to God, a very short one: ‘O Lord, make my enemies ridiculous.’ And God granted it. - Voltaire [who, for the record, never said the quote about defending to the death opponents' free speech rights].
Both of these apply fully to criticism of law school.

My sympathies go to the families and friends of those murdered in Paris, and I pray that people honor their memory, not by emptily reciting "Je suis Charlie", but by refusing to alter their speech or behavior out of fear provoked by criminals and genuine malcontents who seek to chill speech and remove topics from the realm of open debate out of their own self-interest.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Where I Declare Myself the 26th Most Influential Person in Legal Education

Words cannot express how happy I was when I got my double-subscription platinum edition copy of The National Jurist this morning and saw that they've named their "25 Most Influential People in Legal Education."

Some of you might say, "uh, the American taxpayer?  whoever is in charge of the loan system?"  But you would be oh so wrong, just as anyone who said "dybbuk" or "nando" or "lawlemmings" or any other traitor.  Guys, face it:  you're not nearly as important as some 4th-tier professors I've never heard of despite monitoring legal education news for the entirety of last year.

National Jurist broke the candidates into four categories:  Innovators, Controversial, Intellectuals, and (shiver me timbers!) Loathed.

Bill Henderson is 1st.  Our hero, Brian Leiter, comes in 3rd and they list him as intellectual, controversial, and loathed.  What an ubermensch.  Villains Tamanaha and Kyle McEntee (who is NOT EVEN A LAW PROFESSOR) are 7th and 8th, respectively.

The editors clearly wanted to send a message by putting whiz kid mathematician Michael Simkovic at 16 while slipping scoundrel muckrucker Paul Campos at 17.  The jab is clear:  math beats empty douche-ridden sophistry.  Million-dollar law degrees, people.

I'll be the first to admit I did not actually read the article (beyond noting certain omissions, of course), but it appears the "loathed" teaser was just for Leiter and Campos.  If anyone actually reads it and discovers otherwise, let me know.

I'm off to consult books on statutory interpretation to figure out the difference between "controversial" and "loathed" in this context.  May also cruise in my Bentley and fornicate with a stewardess.  See those unicorns out the window?  God, reality is fun.  Have I mentioned that I convinced at least 30 people to go to law school last year?  I should really be more public with my statistics so magazines like this can give recognition where it's due.  Not that I'm bitter or anything; I'll just think of myself as the 26th most influential person.  It's like the 5th Beatle debate, only with more sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Study Proves Law School Innovation Works

"Law schools can't teach practical skills."  Ha.  Get a load of this, you empty-headed sugar-blooded rat mosquitoes:
The study, led by IAALS, the Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System at the University of Denver, found that students who graduated from the University of New Hampshire’s Daniel Webster Scholar Honors Program outperformed lawyers who had been admitted to practice in the state within the past two years.
Boom!  UNH has a practical program for honors students, and it's kicking ass compared to all the other students at all the other law schools in New Hampshire who also joined the New Hampshire bar.  Maybe other schools that heavily feed into New Hampshire should consider funneling honors students into a practical program and then comparing them to the rest of the student body on a practical-based exercise.  That sounds like it would prove bunches.

According to the Wall Street Journal as quoted by the Wall Street Journal [welcome to 21st century journalism, friends]:
The study compared the standardized client-interview assessments of 123 lawyers who didn’t graduate from the program with the assessments of 69 of the honors students. Daniel Webster scholars scored an average of 3.76 out of 5, compared with an average of 3.11 for the lawyers.
That's science, motherfucker.  Trust me, I'm a doctor.  A juris doctor.

I'm sad, though, that I must dissent from one of my inspirations, Brian Leiter, who at the end of the article says "One of the mistakes in American legal education has been the tendency of all law schools to adopt the same model."  I don't know what Mr. Leiter is talking about.  This isn't a mistake.  The best model for all law schools is as follows:
1.  Make as much money as possible, no matter how unjust.
2.  Dress for the part.
3.  Talk incessantly about justice to cover up 1.
Uh, that's a 2-credit course's worth of material, right there.  If I ran NYLS, that's be like $5,000 or something.  Be thankful I'm not the greedy sort and I'm willing to share my largess of knowledge.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Hurray for Law School Renaissances

In looking over our posts from the last year, I wish to provide my readers with some quotes that encapsulate the year it was:

Nicholas Allard, as quoted in the January 9, 2014 entry:
Ten years from now, people will look back at 2014 and say it marked the start of the new world of law, a renaissance where the respect and reputation of lawyers and law schools began to rise by measurable benchmarks...
 [glorious material omitted]

Nicholas Allard, as quoted in the November 11, 2014 entry:
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.
 As Dean Allard no doubt learned, even the best renaissances sometimes have a rough go of it at the beginning.  In February, of course, he had no reason to believe that the nation's bar examiners would suddenly buy into the scamblogger myths and rig their standardized test to make this year's law graduates look less able.  

 I would be remiss as a respected journalist if I did not mention that Erica Moeser, "President" of the NCBE, "wrote" "something" of a "response" to Allard (without giving him the dignity of recognition for his efforts) in their most recent publication (see President's Page, p. 4).
I then looked to two areas for further corroboration. The first was internal to NCBE. Among the things I learned was that whereas the scores of those we know to be retaking the MBE dropped by 1.7 points, the score drop for those we believe to be first-time takers dropped by 2.7 points.... The decline for retakers was not atypical; however, the decline for first-time takers was without precedent during the previous 10 years.
There's a bunch of other garbage about the MPRE (LOL), the problems with using LSATs, etc., but to a common man law school apologist like myself, it reads like blah blah blah.  Blame the test, people.

Regardless of any setbacks caused by "psychometricians" (that can't a real thing!), the renaissance is well underway, as anyone can see by glancing at a job board or peeking into a courthouse, which I would never do, as my allegiance is to the legal academy.  The job market is thawing so much that there's going to be a lawyer shortage next year unless we can enroll more revenue conduits in short order.

Thank goodness America's law schools are capable of meeting the challenges of this renaissance, as they have done in all previous instances, readily observable by a judicial system that is the envy of not just nations, but entire planetary systems.

Allard's quotes don't just summarize 2014, but they set the stage for 2015 and beyond:  noble scholars leading a renaissance of justicing up the country with certain egocentric agitators concocting self-serving points in opposition.

Here's to 2015, where we will do everything we can to ignore the latter and enjoy the continuing renaissance (if I repeat it enough, it will be true).  And with faculties being like herds of buffalo shedding their slowest members,there'll be more alcohol for the rest of us who show up.

We're going to party like it's 18th century France, and there's not a damn thing you can do about it.