Friday, July 31, 2015

Coming Soon: the 367 Day Long Term Fellowship

As the Wall Street Journal reports, tensions have grown between the ABA and law school administrators over one year fellowships that are rather transparently, brilliantly designed by schools to boost their full-time bar passage required employment rates.
Emory University School of Law funded 52 of those jobs for the class of 2014, making up 23% of the 224 full-time, long-term legal positions its graduates found.

The school’s dean, Robert Schapiro, said in a comment letter to the ABA that the new proposals appear to be “driven by a desire” to label the so-called bridge-to-practice positions as “bad” jobs versus “good” jobs. The accrediting body, the letter says, should not “place subjective value judgments on differing employment opportunities.”
Oh come on, ABA!  Objectively, we know most of these fellowship things are "bad" jobs for a law school that leaves graduates with six figures of debt in an oversatued marketplace.  What the law school is trying to do is "mask" that "reality" through "creative advertising" in the form of a "manipulated statistic."  Thus, a one year gig working for the school can become a "long term bar passage required job" and therefore a "good" job in the eyes of lemmings.  How many "good" jobs are there in law, period?  This whole thing is about passing out shit sandwiches as cheeseburgers.

Of course, we have to remember that there are plenty of people who want "bad" jobs and, in fact, choose them even when the market is going supergangbusters instead of just normal gangbusters.  Perhaps that's the ABA's concern?  Yet, most of those people can readily find a "bad" job if they want one, and frankly it's not the ABA's place to cockblock unique forms of lemmingfucking.  Plus, how is the ABA going to guarantee that private employers don't dump their factory workers in a year?  It's quite ridiculous, actually, and I can't help but thing we should just use the federal standard definition of employment.

Getting back to the article, it's clear that law deans will likely pull altruistic programs designed to ostensibly benefit recent graduates if they don't get their way.  You might think, "gee, that's telling," but in actuality, they're benefiting their students.  Instead of simply being charitable and saying, "hey, guy, we fucked you, here's a biscuit," they're going to use threats to their graduates' employment opportunities to get concessions from the ABA.  Don't believe me?  Here's "Go to Law School" Guru Martin Katz:
But if the jobs no longer count as full-time employment, as the new rules propose, “schools are going to be less inclined to do this,” Mr. Katz said.
Sounds like a threat to me; if it's not, it should be.

Call off the dogs, ABA.  One-year fellowships are an essential part of academic freedom providing a leg up in the job market, by which I mean convincing the world that the job market is better than it actually is and kicking the can down the road to lateral time.

Of course, there is another solution, and it happens to be the title of this very piece.  Law schools will simply make the fellowships slightly more long term.  That's regulation, baby.  Doesn't matter whether you clear the hurdle by a micrometer or a kilometer. 

While I oppose the ABA making "scam on" more difficult, it's not like you can really win against slippery law deans.

It's actually a wonder anyone tries.

1 comment:

  1. Anyone know what the employment prospects are for people coming out of these fellowships? "Abominable"? "Horrific"? Maybe the schools actually achieved something and the prospects have actually risen to the level of "shitty".