Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Too Few Lawyers: Dylan Roof Representing Self

One of the most famous [accused!] racist mass murderers in recent memory, Dylan Roof, has apparently been forced to represent himself in a capital murder case:
His three court-appointed lawyers filed a motion Sunday saying that the 22-year-old wanted to discharge them and represent himself. Judge Richard Gergel of U.S. District Court granted the motion moments before jury selection began though he called the self-described white supremacist's decision "strategically unwise."
Objection, elitist jibber-jabber! 

Mr. Roof, assuredly a rational actor like almost all of those who enter our justice system either though shackle or the total non-shackle of a law school loan application, no doubt looked at his court-appointed lawyers and found them not up to the task of defending him in high-stakes litigation.

This is not an insane serial killer trolling everyone; this is a sign that the bar of the U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina simply isn't putting forth sufficient counsel so that [accused!] racist mass murderers feel confident in the public defense system for capital crimes.

It's bad enough that a shortage of barbers has left Mr. Roof with a bowl cut that's not even the envy of a damaged Propecia user.  The least we could do is set up a system that's so flooded with competent legal counsel that Mr. Roof can find one to his racist and insane liking.  I mean, if we're going to conclude that these dudes are able to be tried and death penaltied even though the screws are not even there, the least we could do is give them an overwhelmingly diverse carousel of desperate suits so at least one is to their liking.

I say expand Charleston and build one at Clemson, with maybe a satellite branch at Myrtle Beach.  More lawyers.  More more more.  So many that we go back and take Fort Sumpter with slapdash motions and overwrought, repetitive correspondence...

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Build It, and Someone Will Come

New legislative terms mean new hope for visionary lawmakers to introduce zany bills.

One that's not so zany?  Building a new law school.  After all, America just lost an accredited law school in Indiana, and others around the country report continued shrinkage as potential applicants reject the opportunity to make social justice millions applying law to fact all Clarence Darrow-like.  Some law schools will have to expand or, like, just suddenly show up to fill the void.

And in Big Texas, they find Big Solution:
A new legislative year is bringing renewed hope for Rio Grande Valley lawmakers who hope to establish a law school in the area.
“The law school is a natural progression as our demographics grow, as our population grows,” said Eddie Lucio III, D-Brownsville.
“There are some great, very talented young professionals who for financial reasons or reasons related to family cannot travel to San Antonio, which is our nearest law school.”

Cameron and Hidalgo Counties easily break one million people, and that's only counting the ones who answered the last census.  Meanwhile, thriving law schools subsist in areas with far less population.  For example, Washington & Lee has a highly regarded law school and its home town of Lexington has under 10,000 people.  And yet, W&L attracts three hundred students each year.  Using similar rates and basic fucking math, a law school in McAllen would attract approximately 30,000 students each year.  It's a rough estimate; the real total could be higher.

So build it, Texas.  Consider that paragraph a feasibility study.  Trust me when I say that if you build it, students will come.  There'll be lots of coming, in fact.  A flood of come.  And definitely some smooth supportive commentary from the LSTC.  With the imminent departure of Indiana Tech, a new receptive orifice of hope is needed.

Build it.  I dare you.  Two years ago, people laughed at Donald Trump running for President.  Now, he's going to grope himself some Oval Office.  What that means is that every seemingly stupid idea now should not lack the courage to go forth and become a brilliant one.  Build it, Texas.  Build the greatest law school you can right next to that border and show Mexico what American jurisprudence can do.  Make sure you build it higher than the wall.  But built it.

Monday, November 21, 2016

LaVerne, Surely

Which school have I not thought about in a while, but epitomizes everything I love about legal education?  LaVerne.  LaVerne was in ABA accreditation dubiety before it was hip.  And it persisted.

In this Wall Street Journal article, we can see the type of leadership that has steered LaVerne like the PeQuod against the Moby Dickheads of law school reform.
“Nobody looks at what percentage of Ph.D.s end up as college professors, or what percentage of M.B.A.s achieve their goal,” said Gilbert Holmes, the dean of University of La Verne College of Law in California, who opposes the rule [re: minimum bar passage rates].
Gilbert should change his name to Sherlock, and obviously not because he's huffing snuff.

The article also features the classic "hey, that's racist!" argument, this time featuring Phyliss Craig-Taylor of N.C. Central.  But Holmes' argument, evaluating JDs against MBAs and PhDs in a totally mismatched, tone-deaf, and inapplicable comparison that discards any pretense of a control variable or uniform denominator, is inspired.

If we consider only the alleged failures, an un-barred JD is in much better shape than a "failed" PhD or MBA.  No one, to my knowledge, which is purposefully limited and not even bothering with a cursory Google search, has proven definitively that failed PhDs and MBAs still have a seat on the Million Dollar Express.  There's certainly no reason to think they would; how, one asks, would business acumen or advanced knowledge in a discrete area be even remotely as beneficial as learning the rule against perpetuities?

So regulators would be wise to not be so harsh on JD programs who can't get their graduates to pass the bar exam.  Sure, one could say that we need more oversight of worthless MBA and PhD programs or that JD programs should be evaluated on their own merits rather than to the paltry standards of other bogus educational ventures.  But that's fucking stupid.  People should be allowed to pursue whatever lottery-chance educational voyage they wish, be it JD, MBA, PhD, or something that the educational innovators make up in the future.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Announcing My Candidacy for Supreme Court Justice

With the apocalyptic election of Glorious Leader last week (if you can run a scam university, you can scam the electoral college!), I'm not only frantically scrubbing my internet footprint and spending significant amounts of time forming play-dough into consent-friendly penises (really, what else do you do with play-dough?) to soothe my millennial angst...

....I'm prepping my resume to apply for Supreme Court Justice.

Obviously, Judge Garland may as well go and hang with Harriet Miers at this point.  But beyond securing the Rule of Law by saving appointment of a new justice until 11 months after the vacancy was created, President-elect Trump has already announced that his Supreme Court will be more egalitarian.
In important ways, Mr. Trump’s candidates represent a sharp break from the current conservative justices, who all went to law school at Harvard or Yale and who all served on federal appeals courts in the Northeast or in California.

If the list has a main theme, it is that there are plenty of good judges who went to law school at places like Notre Dame, Marquette, the University of Georgia and the University of Miami.
That's right.  And some of you thought these were "second tier" schools!

In the context of this administration and this zany election, anyone has a chance and anything can happen.  That Trump is broadening the horizon of government isn't just an example of his Jacksonian populism, it's high time for the rest of us to grab life by the pussy.  As lawyers, we are a step ahead, already intimately familiar with getting gently pegged by the rousing boost of law school premiums.  But now, someone's finally found a bottle of lube and the keys to the handcuffs.

I'm announcing my candidacy for Supreme Court Justice.

No more is it about prestige or knowledge (was it ever?).  It's a circus contest sideshow, about as side-splitting as that satirical film where numerous moneyed interests are suddenly motivated to keep older Supreme Court  Justices functioning as long as possible until a Democrat can be reelected.  (Hilarity ensues).

So, to meet the Senate's concerns head-on here are my twitter opinions on the issues that matter as a Supreme Court Justice, in no particular order:

1.  The Constitution, love it!  But it was written by losers and shouldn't stop the Pres.from making great deals!
2.  Scam on.

That's my platform.  I look forward to donning the black robe - which, if my Facebook feed is any indication, we might all be doing soon anyway just before we drink the punch and board the mothership.

But until that time, I want to tell all the law school students of America not to despair at the President-Elect.  The worst case scenario is that he has opened up even bigger doors for 95% of you.  The best case scenario is that we've boldly launched into a brave new world of endless lawsuits over presidential authority, new slander legislation, mass deportations, media regulations, sexual assault sentencing guidelines, federal zoning law preemption, conflicts of interest, executive branch immunity, you name it.

If you thought Donald Trump was litigious as a private citizen, imagine the exponential increase when he's sitting atop the most important executive branch on the planet.

In any event, justice might have taken a bong hit, but the prospects for the legal field in general almost certainly have improved in the last week.  Don't let the pessimists drag your mind to their level. And if you value sound reasoning that gives appropriate deference to moneyed and exploitative interests, vote me, the LSTC, onto the Supreme Court.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Editorial: LSTC Endorses Hillary Clinton for President

Never before has the LSTC endorsed a candidate for President of the United States.  We may never do it again.  That's your trigger that this shit's serious.  A call to action.  What action?  Uh...deposit money in the box?

But today, November 9, 2016, we feel compelled to join almost every major media outlet on the planet by endorsing Hillary Rodham Clinton to be the next President of the United States.  The last polls before the election suggest that she will win in a relative landslide well before we have published this piece.  The media does not lead its consumers astray, and imagine by the time you read this piece, Donald Trump has politely conceded.  But please do not let that stop our endorsement.

Simply put, as we all know, legal education is the United States benefits from a continuation of the elitist status quo, an entrusting of the means of education and loan regulation to the existing moneyed parties and executive leaders.  Hillary Clinton, herself a lawyer married to a lawyer, politically embodies everything that has worked about the law school scam, including the gracious acceptance of wholesale, uncritical endorsement from media outlets such as this one.

Scandals?  Corruption?  Shit, who doesn't have a scandal or two?  Most of them are simply a distraction developed by hostile agents infected with the personality disorder of being an asshole.

Note that her primary rival, Donald Trump, is almost equally worthy of our nation's tenth-highest office (normally there are nine Supreme Court justices, although presently justice somehow functions with only eight).  In particular, the LSTC unequivocally praises his leadership with ventures such as Trump University.  That amoral siphoning of funds from hopeful lemmings portends an excellent tenure running the scam o' scams.  Likewise, his particular brand of capitalism - ostentatious self-aggrandizement, brash misogyny, aggressive defense litigation, strategic use of the tax and bankruptcy codes - would find allies on many a law school board.

Yet, when it comes to this particular race, we feel Secretary and - let's go ahead and say it - President-Elect Clinton has slightly more of what it takes to become the leader of the pseudo-free world and, therefore, enforcer of justice and profitable pedagogy.

Just as we jumped onto the law school bandwagon at the perfect time to continue supporting a fantastic and necessary venture as others started to become skeptical, we have chosen to throw our support behind Hillary at the precise moment that fringe elements of the media show signs of abandoning her.  Our timing and track record on this front is as unimpeachable as the decision to open a post-recession law school or acquire a legal education in 2016.

Regardless, we are proud to give Hillary the first endorsement in the history of the LSTC, and not a moment too soon.  You go get 'em, Ma'am, and scam on.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Accredited Law Schools Go Green: Opt Not to Create Necessary Compliance Paperwork Until Audited

It is a truth universally acknowledged that convoluted, expensive regulatory systems are designed not to protect consumers or market fairness, but rather to ensure that the larger, more shrewd companies - those able to selectively shave compliance as close to the bone as possible or, better yet, ignore it altogether - will thrive over more honest ones.  Competition on price, quality, or convenience simply isn't enough; the Game needed a new twist, and that twist was to implant an obstacle course of regulation.

So it's no surprise that a few prestigious ABA schools flunked an audit of employment reporting.  Shit, we should be looking skeptically - or giving ludicrously high praise - to the half that achieved 95% compliance.  The whole point of an audit is that entities fail them.  Why else would one go looking except to find something?  You don't see me showing a pan in the river just to say the water's clean; no, I want some fucking gold.

And gold is this, my friends:
Just five out of 10 reviewed schools posted compliance rates of 95 percent or more. A sixth school missed the mark by a hair, posting a compliance rate of 94.8 percent. Two more came in at 86 percent, and a final two were found to have compliance rates in the mid-50 percent range. One of the lowest scorers appeared to have created supporting documentation after it was told it had been chosen for audit, the memo said.
That's not poor compliance.  That's flaunting.

Holy hand grenades, ABA, these places aren't IBM or Monsanto.  They're in one industry and deal with a few hundred lines on a spreadsheet for each class.  Most of them have been voluntarily keeping such records for years. 

On the menu of difficulty for institutional compliance, the ABA's regulations are saccharine baby food.  Considering that it's incredibly easy for most law schools to hire highly skilled professionals collecting that lifetime lottery premium, one would think they could handle compliance questions over an after-work beer and that someone just wouldn't fucking ignore creating supporting documentation until after the notice of audit shows up.

"So, Carl, this isn't, like, legal advice or anything, but, I mean, really, you don't have to create any of this stuff until they're going to audit you.  I mean, otherwise you're just wasting energy and paper - let's try and run a green law school, you know?  If the ABA really wants us to have this shit, they'll ask for it."
"But what if we get busted?"
"One of two things will happen.  Either everyone else does it, too, if they're smart like us - then it's an industry problem and nothing happens.  Or we're it, and then we fire the temp who already left, pretend that we were confused about what we were supposed to have, we're a footnote in a memo, and next time around we're bound to improve." 
"Thinking like this is why we're one of the top 150 law schools in America."

Plus, the ABA is going out of its way to assist in developing defense arguments:
“Our documentation requirements are quite specific and some think complex, so it is reasonable that in the first year of this review, there may be confusion over what we require,” Adams wrote. “The two schools that appear to have created their documentation after the fact raise more serious problems, but they may also be able to explain that what we perceive is not accurate.”
Imagine a federal prosecutor putting that disclaimer in its press release on a murder or massive RICO case.  You could throw a textbook in a law school and hit ten people who understand ejusdem generis.  But suddenly it's herculean to check the right boxes and keep a file?

And there, too, is the redoubtable Barry C., opining that the issues were mostly minor, the underlying data appears accurate, we've always been at war with Eastasia, they're not expanding the scope of audits, and - to this blog's understanding chagrin - names will not released.

So, sadly, we will never know the institution or institutions that apparently didn't even bother to have supporting paperwork until after they learned of the audit. 

But know this:  you, John Doe Law School, are an inspiration to us all.  May the ABA bless you and keep you, and make its face to shine upon you, and be gracious unto you, may it lift its countenance onto you, and grant you lemmings for all the days to come.

Amen, and scam on.