Friday, September 30, 2016

The New Math

Just when you think law school professors have tapped their mighty innovation-sticks dry, surely requiring a long refractory period before another great thrust of intellectual energy can sprout, they pleasantly surprise, making one wonder whether it's pill enhanced because it just doesn't seem fair.

Over at The Faculty Lounge, they're now veering out of the law and developing whole new mathematics:
It is not possible for all ABA schools to achieve an 85% (or even 75%) pass rate in Florida.
See, initially, I was thinking that each bar exam taker's pass or failure is independent of other bar exam takers' passes or failures, so it's entirely possible for any individual school to have 85% of its graduates pass the bar, and if it's possible for one school to achieve that, then it's possible for all such schools to achieve that.  Likely, no, but possible.  Like duh.

New math!  It's impossible, apparently.  Why?  I don't know - me not smart enough.

Let's continue with our lesson.
The reality is that if one ABA school gets a passage rate that is above the state average, another one will be below it.
I would've said this was bullshit as well, as law schools do not fall evenly on a bell curve with equal numbers of applicants or anything else that would possibly mandate this result.

For example, the average of 11, 11, 11, 11, 11, and 5 is 10.  Five numbers above the average, one outlier below.  None of this one goes up, one goes down crap.

But hey, new math!  Averages fall on the apex of a bell curve even if they aren't otherwise likely to. Eat your dead departed heart out, Paul Erdos.

The learning doesn't stop there.
[T]he pass rate on the Florida bar has been declining fairly dramatically over the last eight years:
 The numbers provided are 80, 79.2, 80.1, 80.2, 77.2, 71.8, 68.9, 68.2.  Stupid, old-math-me would have looked at the list and concluded that there was no drop-off at all until the 4th entry (2013) and no significant - much less "dramatic" - decline until the 5th (2014).

Nope.  New math.  80 to 80.2 is not a 0.25% increase, but rather a dramatic drop over three years.

Next Fields Medal isn't being awarded until 2018, but I'm not sure why they're bothering with the wait.

Monday, September 26, 2016

LSTC Pseudo-LiveBlogging the First Presidential Debate

It's Yale trained lawyer v. obnoxious 1% scion who uses lots of lawyers!  Make America Great Again?  Fuck, we're already there!

9:09 EST:  Hillary, bright red pant suit like the guy who's lost before he even walks into court, looks like Dean Satan's wife, which is probably not far from reality.

9:11 EST:  American job market apparently expanding gloriously.  Good news for #MillionDollarJDs.

9:13 EST:  Trump effortlessly brushes off $14M non-recourse loan in 1970s as a "small loan." And law graduates think puny six figure debts in 2016 are "crushing."

9:15 EST:  Trump responds to Clinton accusing him of exploiting the housing crisis by saying "that's called business, by the way."  FINALLY, a candidate who understands the shenanigan-zen of being a law dean.  Elect this fucker, please.

9:20 EST:  Hillary drops reference to appointing special prosecutor for some made-up reason.  10,000 Hillarys and there's not even a purported law job gap.  #LawJobCreator

9:22 EST:  Trump yelling about NAFTA and TPP.  Ignoring, no application to law school graduates, aside from the thousands who practice international law.

9:24 EST:  Both candidates are now plugging their websites, and Hillary got a book plug in earlier.  If petulant law school graduates could market themselves like petulant politicians and pseudo-politicians, there'd be a lot less complaining.

9:27 EST:  A nation where a rambling, discursive egomaniac like Donald Trump can be a major party nominee is a nation that desperately needs a stronger investment in finely tuned oral advocacy skills like those taught at over two hundred ABA-approved law schools.

9:29 EST:  Why does the judge in small claims court have more control over the litigants in her courtroom than the moderator in a motherfucking national presidential debate?  I'll tell you why: the legal system knows what the fuck it's doing.  Go to law school.

9:31 EST:  Lester Holt is somehow embarrassing NBC News right now. 

9:33 EST:  Trump making empty promise to discard his tax lawyers' advice not to release his records.  Don't worry about the lawyers; they're drinking cab and receiving nonstop oral sex that needs no reciprocation.

9:35 EST:  Trump claims he's smart for dodging federal income tax.  Shrewd tax lawyers, people.  Get an LLM!

9:37 EST:  5th Amendment name-drop, boom! If that wasn't on the bar exam, dozens upon dozens of lawyers wouldn't be able to turn to their spouses and explain the privilege against self-incrimination!

9:40 EST:  Per Clinton, Trump is the "king of debt."  Sounds like a perfect prerequisite to either be President or a law school dean, if that fails somehow.  Cardozo, NYLS, or Touro, perhaps? 

9:42 EST:  Trump inviting the nation to change bankruptcy laws in response to allegation that he abused them.  Will that mean good news for indebted, lazy law school graduates? 

9:43 EST:  No, you fucking idiots.  Go bill another hour or two - you're way behind for September.

9:46 EST:  Clinton, a lawyer, has taken a question about race and invoked criminal justice reform and gun control.  Trump follows by promising law and order.  Somewhere, William Brennan and Antonin Scalia are having a remarkably similar debate with equal intellectual heft.

9:49 EST:  Trump, a non-lawyer, just evaluated NYC stop and frisk case potential on appeal with the confidence of a lifetime pro se litigant.

9:53 EST:  Hearing rich honkies talk about intercity crime that they have never, and will never, experience... if you enjoy this sort of caste system pandering, you'll fit right in at dozens of law schools! SLOTS STILL OPEN FOR FALL!

9:57 EST:  Hillary's chin-up, angled to the side facial pose would look good on a Soviet-era postage stamp.

10:00 EST:  Nation's problems are obviously addressed fully in an hour, as we're now talking about Obama's fucking birth certificate.  No mention of law school bubble, scam, debt, whatever.  So, they're obviously not problems.  #SoundReasoning

10:04 EST:   This presidential debate is now discussing a real estate racial discrimination case from the 70s and Trump sticking chest out re: settling without an admission of fault!  The law is literally everywhere, and rude people want to stop others from getting law degrees?

10:06 EST:  The biggest loser of tonight's debate is Lester Holt.  What the fuck does he do, anyway?  They should get federal judges to do this shit, seriously.

10:08 EST:  Hillary now rambling about international cybersecurity.  #NotIrony

10:11 EST:  This cybersecurity discussion is boring.  Know what's not?  The first year of law school.  It's a nonstop tour-de-force of intellectual stimulation, and it's so classically foundational that the idea of discussing dull, modern topics like E-discovery or cybersecurity will seem Jetsonian as you read fine cases like Buck v. Bell.

10:13 EST:  All this Putin talk has made me realize my vodka is not pouring itself fast enough.

10:15 EST:  Who the fuck names their child Lester, anyway?  Do Summit and Cooley even accept Lesters?  [Answer:  Yes!]

10:18 EST:  In another life, Trump would be a personal injury attorney who advertises at midnight.  #BillionDollarJD

10:21 EST:  Trump says he has a "winning temperament."  That's a trait I have seen in a lot of lawyers.  Only some of them were driven to the brink of madness, substance abuse, and violence.  The rest are livin' the dream.

10:24 EST:  Lester is like the name you give a child when you want him to be the plaintiff in a textbook test case for education law.

10:26 EST:  Trump wants to charge other counties rent for our rampant militarism.  (#ContractLaw). We should charge them for the justice we export as well from our willful surplus of lawyers.

10:32 EST:  Hillary doesn't have the stamina to be President? She made it through 1L property, so I'm not getting his criticism.

10:34 EST:  Hillary now forcing a discussion of women's rights.  I'm about as drunk as Lester Holt is going to be in about an hour.

10:37 EST:  Candidates claim they'll accept result of election.  Shoulda read Bush v. Gore.  Lester Holt going back to talking to studio cameras, an audience he can govern.

Overall, a disappointing evening given the lack of discussions regarding crucial concepts like higher education and the domestic justice league, but it's clear to me that regardless of which of these turds gets flushed upwards, America's law schools will continue doing great things and fishing in the stream of naive, youthful optimism.

Scam on, and rock the vote.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Double Speedball of Optimism: ABA and Indiana Tech

They say when it rains, it pours.  I say when the sun shines, it burns!

For our first good news item today, the ABA won't face disciplinary action that could have jeopardized its ability to Always Be Accreditin':
In a letter sent to Barry Currier, managing director of the ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar, Emma Vadehra, the department’s chief of staff, wrote that she was accepting the recommendation of department staff to allow the ABA to continue accrediting new law schools rather than the recommendation for a one-year suspension made by the National Advisory Council on Institutional Quality and Integrity.
That's another win for Barry Currier, who's like the Michael Phelps of defending...whatever it is the ABA has been doing for the last several years.  Enjoy your Friday evening, sir.  You are a hero and the Tsar and/or party leaders [check newspaper to learn who is running things] praise your services. Enjoy the cruise.


Not only do Friday afternoons bring Obama vetoing 9/11 legislation, police shooting vids, and dumps of whatever other crap someone hopes to go unseen, but mixed in the pile is Indiana Tech news.

You might have heard some idiots barking about Indiana Tech's purported 8% bar passage rate for having a purported one (1) student pass the Indiana bar examination out of twelve (12) (which is actually an 8.333% pass rate, you nerds).

Well guess what, math geniuses, you're full of shit.  Indiana Tech is on the verge of raising that number to 50%.
Five graduates of Indiana Tech Law School have filed appeals with the Indiana Board of Law Examiners to have their bar exams reviewed, according to the law school’s dean Charles Cercone.
Cercone was angry about the attention the law school has received since the results were publicized Sept. 12. He said the graduates have been put under a level of scrutiny that graduates of other Indiana law schools have not had to face.

“I understand it’s your job and the media’s job to make law schools look bad, but you overlooked in your zeal to make us look bad that you hurt young men and women trying to take the bar,” Cercone said. “Now these people will be branded for the rest of their careers.”
That's some fine zealous advocacy, Chuck!

Personally, I like the idea of branding Indiana Tech graduates.  Literally.  On the fucking forehead like Charlie Manson.  With a degree so innovative and refreshing, so inspiring, so improving of its recipients core competencies regardless of what some stupid, inane, slack-jawed, totally objective and thoroughly scientifically tested "bar examination" says, we should be identifying these people.  Marking them with a brand of quality.  We can't leave such things to the chance of a resume being read.

But this isn't empty zealous advocacy.  No, watch the law school alchemy of golden institutions being made slightly more golden through the thought that only comes with years of seasoned practice, that merger of the insight of Oliver Wendell Holmes with the craft of a Machiavellian fox.  By God, beebop a luah, you got a functioning law school where every fucking graduate passes the bar exam!
Cercone, speaking publically [sic] for the first time since the bar exam results were announced, said he is confident the law school will turn the results around. The school is offering a “very expensive re-taker program” to the graduates free of charge and is offering other bar prep and doctrinal courses to the graduates and the current third-year students.

“If they do what we tell them to do, they’ll pass,” Cercone said.
Listen, kids, this bar examination company has sold bar examination quick-passes to Brockway, Ogdenville, and North Haverbrook, and by gum, it put them in the US News Rankings!

It's not like Indiana Tech has ever been mistaken about anything.

If only more students just did what law schools say, there'd be a lot more million dollar dreams that only end when the cruel touch of jealous Death's scythe hits sometime during the second hour of the yacht orgy just off the coast of Corsica, with the lingering taste of the Swiss chocolate fountain's avalanche and the warmth of 20-year-old breasts and/or ...manparts?... fitting ends to a life well lived and a justice well-served...

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Indiana Tech Survivor: Finale

Against the cries of people who had no sense of cosmic humor and felt like Fort Wayne didn't need an entertaining law school attempt, Indiana Tech started in 2013 with 100 slots for competitors in what became the ultimate legal education reality show.

Sadly, only thirty people had the courage to sign up for the contest with the promise of potential riches if they could survive the brutal challenges of professors who couldn't get better jobs at elitist law schools founded before the recession.

After three years of intense training, only two out of three survived, and this past May Indiana Tech graduated a class of twenty brave souls.

Of those twenty Navy Seal-like soldiers, twelve moved on to the Final Round, the supreme hurdle challenge of the Indiana bar exam, a test so grueling, mere thousands of living people have passed it.

As of now, one has survived.
An Indiana Lawyer review of the names of successful applicants for the July 2016 Indiana Bar Exam released Monday only includes one student from Indiana Tech. A spokesman for Indiana Tech would not confirm or deny that student was the only one who passed the test, but did clarify that a dozen graduates sat for the exam.
Critics with a pre-set narrative see this as a negative, only one student apparently passes the bar exam without appeal from an initial class of thirty.

But in reality, that lone student standing atop the metaphorical Rocky staircase is the most employable law graduate in America. 

He or she is the Survivor of Indiana Tech's Inaugural Class.  The One for whom they make gilded elevators and corner offices with windows on both walls.  The One who can go to a real steakhouse and order off the full menu - not that special offer bullshit - and add the peppercorn Bearnaise sauce.  The One whose French cuff dress shirts are tailored.

Congratulations to Indiana Tech and the Champion.  For the runners-up, whether you took the bar examination or not, whether your appeal is successful or not, you are still a lawyer, an alpha thug of the white collar gang world. 

The runner-up prize is an earnings premium of one million dollars.  Don't spend it all in one place.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Federal Trademark Office Joins Conspiracy Against Low-Tier Law Schools

Regular readers of this blog - all fourteen of you - will recall that South Texas College of Law has recently changed its name to Houston College of Law, which sparked consternation and a lawsuit from the University of Houston Law Center, a Brahman institution that claims some sort of monopoly on Houston-named law schools.

Now the US Patent and Trademark Office has joined the cockblocking party against a third-rate law school suddenly changing its long-held ame to confuse the marketplace in a desperate attempt to attract metaphorical maggots to a metaphorical lump of decaying severed leg:
While the newly named Houston College of Law awaits a judge's ruling in a federal lawsuit filed by crosstown rival the University of Houston Law School, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has officially suspended the application for a special logo featuring the scales of justice with the new name designed for the new school.
Pardon me for invoking traditional ideas that resonate in certain racist parts of the south, but what right does the federal government have to get in the way of lower-ranked law school shenanigans to lure in local applicants?  Go read Gibbons v. Ogden and tell me this is fair and Constitutional.

Besides, as Houston COL's lawyers recently argued, law applicants aren't stupid enough to fall for the confusion that Houston COL is trying to create:
Houston College of Law argued . . . that law school applicants were savvy enough to figure out which school was which, even if they were initially confused
Who cares if "savvy" means "it dawns on them the third week of classes?" As we know from the law school fraud lawsuits, it doesn't matter if law schools attempt chicanery upon their applicants, because in their applicants they have found a happy medium between being just dumb enough to fall for the sweepstakes but barely smart enough to figure it out.

Really, reformers want law school to be this bland thing where a rational number of applicants gains a cost-effective education and then most of them have respectable careers, but god damn, is it not way more fun this way?  Are you not entertained by the endless innovation?

Someone just needs to get the memo to the feds.  I juts hope when Arizona Summit changes its name to Lawyer College of the Sun Belt that they don't have to face this red tape.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Law Enrollees Chugging Along Despite Public Skepticism

A hypothetical:

Critics say the nation has too many antiquated transportation systems, and you build a $50M steam locomotive railroad system and start charging $500 a credit-hour mile anyway.  The same critics lambaste your service and suggest anyone paying your exorbitant prices is a moron, but the customers show up, and in droves.

I think it's pretty clear that you were right and the critics are a bunch of misguided, naysaying dunderheads.

So why doesn't this logic apply to law schools?

Look at the University of North Texas - Dallas College of Law.  A chorus of Negative Nancys.  Accreditation problems.  Yet...
Two weeks into its third year, the UNT-Dallas College of Law reports a total enrollment of 387 students. That includes 145 first-year students, a slight increase from last year.

"I feel good about the numbers," Royal Furgeson, the school's dean, said this week. "We got a little more than we expected."
Yes, even in 2016, an unaccredited start-up law school can reel in 145 new students.  America doesn't need to be made great again; it's already there.

Meanwhile, in Indiana...

Indiana Tech is gaining in popularity.
Hilgenbrink is one of 55 incoming first-year law students who bring the law school’s total enrollment to about 85, Dean Charles Cercone said during the school’s August registration. The school is entering its fourth academic year. Classes began Aug. 22.

The goal was to enroll 50 new students, Cercone said. Recruitment by email and social media played a big role, but gaining provisional accreditation in March was even bigger.

“It has enhanced our ability to attract students,” Cercone said. 
Pessimists, you can cause delays in the Law School Express.  You can create hazards and mechanical breakdowns, damaged track segments and adverse weather.  You can try to sabotage the fuel shipments so the boilers run temporarily dry.  You can torch the train stations and yards.

But you cannot stop the Law School Express.  The people demand the service and the service will come.

Now it's up to the regulators - the good ol', reliable ABA - to take the free muffins and stay the fuck out of the way.