Sunday, May 10, 2015

UMass Law: of Sterling Vision and Silver Spoons

Once upon a time, long ago, UMass Law was a stable, rising law school in a sea of resizing, confused law schools:
"Other schools are losing enrollment and decreasing their academic indicators," Bilek said. "To be stable and be increasing academic quality, at a time when nationally legal education is trying to figure out what to do, I would say is where we want to be.

"Every law school in the country has to resize, unless you started out the right size. We just came in at that moment where we could start out at the right size.
That was Dean Mary Lu Bilek, quoted in an article published September 21, 2014.  And there's more!
If and when UMass Law is granted full accreditation, Bilek said she'd like to double enrollment.
You have to admire the moxie here.  With dozens of public law schools, and numerous regional private law schools, struggling to find warm bodies who can pass a bar exam, Bilek and UMass were going to double enrollment in one of America's newest law schools.  This is the sort of bold, dictatorially reckless ambition that is usually lacking the risk-averse legal field, but occasionally finds its way into administrative positions.  It's the kind of thinking that made InfiLaw America's largest and best law school consortium; to take that basic stuff-'em-in model, but make the school, like, public service-y?  That's brilliant.

Fast forward to May of 2015:
The University of Massachusetts School of Law has a mounting deficit, which hit $3.8 million last fiscal year, a gap expected to widen next year....

The law school for now has scrapped plans to increase enrollment and instead decided to cut the size of its incoming class by a third, to 72 students.
The school has adjusted its goals, and now expects to be self-sufficient when it increases its enrollment to 450, hopefully by 2018. This year it has 213 students.

Bilek is frank about how UMass is trying to bolster its academic profile, by admitting fewer students and those with higher LSAT scores, and by offering more scholarships. Last year it spent $1.3 million on scholarships for its 268 students.
Ah, yes!  They're still going to double enrollment by 2018; that part hasn't changed in the last eight months.  Because if there's one thing Boston needs, it's an additional 150 lawyers dumped into the market every year.  But before they do that, they're going to fool everyone into thinking they have a higher academic profile by reducing enrollment and getting higher LSAT scores.

Per the Globe, the school currently has around 9.3 million in expenses and 5.5 million in revenue.  They're going to offer more scholarships to get better students next year.  Got to spend money to make money, bro'.

This school's whole existence and forward financial model is reckless stupid wasteful offensive moronic arrogant cunningly ingenious.  Imagine if Cooley slashed its enrollment, enjoyed the temporary academic profile boost (US News #109!), and then turned the spigot on doubleblast a mere three years later!  The best part of it being Dean Bilek and UMass that came up with this is that the public of Massachusetts stands to benefit mightily.

After all, UMass's raison d'etre is that the grads being pumped out by Suffolk and Northeastern are too fucking rich and too uninteresting in the plight of the poor to be trusted with something as important as The Law.
The law school was created with a noble mission: To make a doctor of laws degree affordable, and to educate people who will use their degrees to help people who direly need legal services.

Bilek calls it “making sure that not only people born with silver spoons in their mouths are making the law.”
Indeed.  If there's one thing that can be collectively said about graduates from Harvard, Boston U., Boston College, New England, Northeastern, Suffolk, Massachusetts School of Law, Yale, UConn, Quinnipiac, Roger Williams, Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, it's that no one's interested in public service or legal aid work in the region, not even with programs like PSLF.

UMass will likely continue to lose money every year.  But come 2018, watch out, richers.  New England is going to get a Marxist curbstomp of public-serving justice doers.

You can use your silver spoon to swallow the cold medicine of 150 new legal aid-friendly graduates hitting the market every year.  Boston may finally have enough lawyers.


  1. Well, there were 81 graduates in the class of 2014 and 25 found full time/long term bar passage rate jobs in which 7 were in solo practice and 17 were in firms of 2 to 10 attorneys, all according to the ABA required disclosure.

    I think a UMass law graduate is more likely to be on the receiving end of some public service work rather than performing legal assistance for some poor people.

    1. 81 graduates in the class of 2014 and 25 found full time/long term bar passage rate jobs in which 7 were in solo practice and 17 were in firms of 2 to 10 attorneys

      Holy fucking shitballs. The morons currently going here would be better off if they went to community college and got a plumbing license. They'd have a much better chance of a job that can support a middle-class lifestyle. They'd have a better chance of being hired by a law firm, albeit not in a legal capacity (Everybody shits, even Biglaw partners). Hell, a Biglaw firm would probably be more likely to recruit its summer associates from a community college plumbing program than from UMass Law.

  2. I hate all these crappy law schools that claim to be righting some deficit in minority enrollment. Minorities are not better served by going to some low quality law school, debt, and low employment.

  3. how do they make payroll? I mean, I understand they don't pay taxes, in light of their virtuous non-profit status, but they still have a few expenses that aren't merely inflated administration pay.

  4. Hahaha, fuckin' Mary Lu Bilek. Ousted at "public service" CUNY Law and runs to a shitlaw school like a number of other administrators. (Accord, Penelope Andrews, formerly at Albany Law School.) Bilek now further brings her "CUNY Law" model for UM-Amherst. Guess what, this model isn't working there. Take a look at the enrollement and employment figures. Oh, and also take a look at where Bilek went for education, inter alia, Harvard Law School. So much for the "Silver Spoon" talk, she is deserving of several being stuck in the parts "where the sun don't shine." Don't believe her hype, those with CUNY Law knowledge know better. Be forewarned. It's being forearmed.