Wednesday, June 21, 2017

JD Advantage Job in Phoenix, Limitless Potential

Do you have an accomplished non-profit pimp academic leader in your life who needs to get off the couch and start minting money?  Have I got an opportunity for you!

The Phoenix School of Law Arizona Summit is looking for new leadership after Scamqueen Dean Shirley Mays' departure in February.

Here are the job requirements:

1.  Oversharing transparency!
Although having had impressive bar examination outcomes for many years, the school in recent times has experienced a serious decline in this critical area.
2.  Interest in history!
The vision for Summit originated with legal educators who saw the need for an institution that would focus less upon law school rankings and more upon providing opportunity for persons with historically limited access to legal education.
3.  Throw shade at the fake liberal news media and their racist obstructionism!
Summit has been the subject of considerable negative publicity, especially in recent years as bar pass results declined.  This publicity has obscured the institution’s mission and motives.
4. Embrace the massive happy alumni network!
The School has thousands of successful alumni...
5. A magic fucking wand!
An essential attribute for the position is familiarity with accreditation standards and ability to ensure the school’s long-term viability.
Seem impossible?  Don't worry, Summiteers and JD Advantage aspirants, they're not seeking a purple squirrel here!
Experience in legal education and law school administration is desirable, but is not an absolute requirement.
Have at it, friends!  Climb the Summit and rule scamlord over the whole of Arizona's most diverse and accessible law school!

Monday, June 5, 2017

New Page on Law School Reform

The LSTC has added a new page providing a serious reform proposal for legal education.  You can view it by clicking the link the the right, or by clicking this link here.

Officially, the LSTC has to disavow it as a work of revolting samizdat.  Antitrust and anticapitalist and undemocratic burp da blah da deedily dum.

Will be a bit before the next post absent a major law school story in need of counter-propaganda.  With Trump as President, coal is making a roaring comeback, and the LSTC is doing a strenuous workout program to be in tip-top shape for heaving it into the red-hot boiler of the Million Dollar Express.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Indiana Tech's Bittersweet Departure

If there's one silver lining to Indiana Tech's depressing closure, henceforth denying Fort Wayne its rightful place as a monument to excellence in the American legal hierarchy, it's that the ponds for other law school fisher-deans are slightly more stocked.

Read the prose and you can feel the hooks being baited
Toledo has already admitted some Indiana Tech transfers and expects to have a total of 13 enrolled by the start of the fall semester. All the law schools in Indiana have received transfer applications from Indiana Tech students, according to the deans of the respective institutions.

Both Indiana University Maurer School of Law, which received two transfer applications, and Notre Dame Law School, which got “a few,” are still waiting for spring semester grades before making any decisions about accepting the students. Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law received four requests to transfer and is still considering the applications. Finally, Valparaiso Law School had a total of five applications from Indiana Tech and expects two will matriculate in the fall with one student repeating the entire first year.

Western Michigan University Cooley Law School has received “a number” of transfer applications, said James Robb, associate dean of external affairs and general counsel. Some Indiana Tech students have been admitted, others are still being reviewed, and Robb is anticipating a few more will submit applications because Cooley keeps fall enrollment open until classes begin.
Yes, even though Indiana Tech only had "a number" of students pass the bar last year, precipitating the final towel-throwing, the region's law schools are more than ready to find these former Techsters a spot in the livewel...wait, I mean a spot in the greatest profession in America.  Look at these fine white knight institutions rushing to the rescue whippin' their big-ass fishing rods around.  And the perseverance of students willing to repeat courses to better themselves!

Bonus points to Superdean Ben Barros, who encourages schools to stay open long enough to deny any of their students that pesky student loan discharge option:
“I think what Indiana Tech did was wrong,” said D. Benjamin Barros, dean of the University of Toledo College of Law. “The expectation is for an ABA-accredited law school to have a teach-out plan to educate all the students. It’s shocking to me Indiana Tech didn’t meet that obligation.”
Shocking indeed; I expect that 9th-tier institutions hastily founded after the recession against all rational advise to linger as long as possible even if it costs them their ridiculous art collection.  Don't you?

 Barros' response, however...that's refreshing stuff, like spiked lemonade on a warm spring day.  It's special lemonade, kids.  Not urine at all.  Who said it was urine?  It's not.  Drink it up.  The natural creatine in the lemonade helps build the muscle legal employers want to see!

In other silver linings, the U.S. is apparently going down the political tubes so precipitously that it's difficult to imagine a fallout scenario where America doesn't need a veritable army of lawyers to sort through the bureaucratic rubble.  Some only see gallows' humor, but damn, it's an opportunity if you pretend it's one.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Tell 'Em What They Died For, Johnny

You, soldier, were slain before your time at Saratoga, Shiloh, Luzon, or Hamburger Hill.  You served our nation, gave more than anyone should reasonably offer, and for that you have our gratefulness, as inexorably insufficient as it must be, on this Memorial Day.

I write specially to reassure you that your service and sacrifice have not been rendered callously insignificant statistical accumulations by the parade of platitude-spouting politicians and obnoxious working class pseudo patriots who practice casual jingoism as a second religion.

As I wistfully imagine it from my corner office on the 3rd floor (for I write this on Thursday), you lie there in the bloody mud, a limb or two blown off, a river of dark liquid flowing from holes in your torso you can't even feel, delirious as the medic shakes his head and his triage efforts enlist you for the angel of death's coming corps, the deafening hail of bullets and artillery the soundtrack of your final moments as a living, breathing entity. 

You stare up as that last bit of blue fades from the sky, replaced by an empty white light as your neurons realize the futility of it all.  You might think of the needlessness of mass mutual homicide to resolve sociopolitical disputes.  You might think of your gifted heroism.  You might think of your family and that faithful gal in Columbus or Wichita who will now have to find herself another fella.

But most assuredly, I know you were asking yourself if the United States of America would continue to be a leader in establishing legal norms for the human race through a peerless, comprehensive professional educational system.  Indeed, given our enlistment age brackets, you likely would have been a fine candidate for bar membership, particularly back in the day when bar membership was as simple as bringing a flask and a risque lithograph to the local magistrate judge.

More important than memorializing the tragic loss of those who would now be of an age to donate curriculum-saving wealth accumulations to certain third-tier institutions is the confirmation that our legal education system remains excellent, vastly superior to our enemies and better, even, than our staunchest allies of engagements past.

Solider, I bring the Good News.  As I write this, the federal government, the one on whose uniform you bled, will still lend funds to all individuals interested in maintaining American justice at an ABA rubber-stamped school.  The number of institutions serving the vital function of educating the public has increased in the last few decades.  Law professors have become so ruthlessly efficient that they can work only two to three days a week and continue delivering results that make their students weep with happiness as they pay their student loans.  Everyday lawyers are as wealthy as ever, law graduates are not defaulting by and large, and our courts are a model of efficiency and professionalism.

Open and affordable, providing a versatile degree that gives penetrating expertise in the law with broad insight into an incalculably broad list of other industries, there has never been an opportunity like enrolling in an American law school.

But would you believe people criticize it?  Audacious.  They speak of paying back $400,000.00 of non-discharagable debt like it's an anchor upon their career.  But you, soldier, you know sacrifice, and that $400,000 is nothing.  Certainly less than a life.  To compare the two is patently ridiculous.

If you could only see what we've become, soldier, I have no idea that you would put on the uniform yet again and read headlong into the peril of enemy fire, knowing that your country will continue to set the global standard for law school.

Often on holidays such as this, certain people will take remarkably cynical and self-serving approaches to the holiday, reducing your fulfillment of duty to some weak justification for shameless exploitation.  I hate that. 

Crucial to combating that nonsense is educating our future leaders as much as possible.  Three years of legal education may not be raising the stars and stripes in enemy territory, but it's darned close.

Since riding the Million Dollar Express is better than taking the doleful train to basic when war is afoot, I don't know what these little maggots are doing complaining except spitting on your hallowed graves.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

The Tao of Frank Wu

Frank Wu may have stepped down from being dean of the Million Dollar Express depot known as UC-Hastings, but like any good academic he can't help himself but to continue serving heaping ladlefuls of his beatific wisdom to the wisdom-starved assholes who show up at The Huffington Post.  So, so much wisdom.  Like can we call him Frank Wu-Tang?  Yes.

Let us read the wisdom.
I hate hyperbole. And that’s no exaggeration.
So-called scam bloggers allege legal education is worthless and ruins lives.
People who in fact had no great wish for [a law degree] were told it would enable them to do everything.
Frame the wisdom, hang it on your unfinished drywall with a rusty nail, and reflect upon its holy gleam for meditative hours.
[Y]ou are more persuasive in a court governed by rules by emphasizing reason over rhetoric.
Smash it on a mirror and snort the wisdom.
It is as important to offer the best question as it is to provide the best answer. 
Molest the wisdom and blame your shitty childhood.
[Evaluating law school] includes appropriate weighing of the opportunity cost.
For some people, legal education can be virtually free, and at that price it can be recommended with enthusiasm.
Slice the wisdom with a jigsaw, blend it with rum and choice citrus fruits, and chug until you reach nirvana.
The truth is most law school graduates are employed. Yet they may well be underemployed relative to their credentials.  Their grievances are well founded. They cannot but be heeded. They reflect the anxieties about the hard edge of global competition.
Douse yourself in gasoline and burn with the wisdom.
For someone who wants to be a lawyer, who is given financial support, and who is realistic about what being an attorney involves, law school is a fine choice. 
If anything, Wu shows us just how powerful a law degree is.  You, too, can go to law school and, years later, still fail to thoroughly grasp basic, ground-level truths of the industry in which you have spent many adult years and are cited as a leader (global competition?  reason over rhetoric because a court has "rules"?).  You, too, can publish witless, empty nonsense that says nothing of substance while positioning yourself as some sort of fart-sniffing, rational centrist from the comfort of your climate-controlled Ivory Tower.

If decade-late piffle like this can make it to the HuffPost, surely special you can make it in criminal defense or patent law, eh, Skip?  Enroll today.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Arizona Bar Continues Relentless Assault on Graduates of Top Tier School

Sadly predictable, this sort of witch hunt:
Students from a struggling private law school in Phoenix are still having trouble passing the Arizona bar exam, with fewer than 30 percent of graduates earning passing marks.

It is a small improvement for Arizona Summit Law School, the Arizona Republic reported. Last year, it had a 25 percent pass rate for first-time test takers.
The Arizona Supreme Court released the state Bar exam results Monday. By comparison, Arizona State University and the University of Arizona law students both had a 74 percent passage rate.
Why do the state's bar examiners insist on doing this every damned bar exam administration?  These rabid sadists will not stop until they have exploited Arizona Summit right out of existence.

Guarantee you that if you look at the Arizona bar membership, it will be predominantly Arizona and ASU grads.  Obviously, this is some sort of conspiracy to drive the hot young school out of business and divide the spoils among the remaining oligopolists.

I'm starting to think the shameless lies about diversity and the law school improving are not even doing anything anymore to move these cruel, heartless lumps of carbon.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Mission Accomplished, Dean Chemerinsky

Less than a decade ago, Erwin Chemerisnky lived every administrative academic's dream and founded a vanity project pile-on graduate school in a swank, college-stuffed metro area that bears the name of a public institution with a pricetag that screams prestige.  He went the extra mile and pledged to get it ranked instantly higher than schools that actually have a historical presence and track record beyond giving out free tuition and buttering up the judiciary.

Now, with U.C.-Irvine up, running, and ranked sort-of well enough, it's time for the Dean to take his show elsewhere.
UC Irvine Law School's founder and dean, Erwin Chemerinsky, will take the helm of the UC Berkeley School of Law on July 1, it was announced Wednesday.

The renowned constitutional legal scholar's new appointment comes nearly 10 years after his hiring as dean at UCI and several months after National Jurist magazine honored him as the "most influential person in legal education in the United States."
Personally, I think the IT guy who manages the website where the little guppies sign their MPNs is the most influential person in legal education, but Chemerinsky makes a great second place candidate.

As we've seen from Indiana Tech, the insolent masses sometimes fail to understand how necessary it is to carpet-bomb the world with indentured lawyers who spread justice like raining hellfire from the mouths of warmongering demons.  Our domestic tranquility depends upon it.

Dean Chemerinsky, being a constitutional scholar, got that high-level thinking.  He showed the world that, yes, if you look at it from various views other than the working attorney's, we did need another law school in California, and with Whittier graciously exiting, there is now an even greater need for other institutions to milk these little wieners dry.  To do that where others have failed and play the rankings game like you're fucking Washington & Lee?

That's dope, friends.  Straight-outta-Irvine dope.  

Chemerinsky has earned his promotion.  And so, just like the small fraction of UC-Irvine students who likewise use Irvine as a launchpad to the top tier, we wish him the best, and thank him for accomplishing his mission.  It may have had no basis in the "rational" world, but it's still a mission.  And he did it.  Mostly.

Scam on.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Federalism and Free Markets Work for Regulating For-Profits

As to for-profit schools, the federal government is going to stop its ruthless, unconstitutional assault on the right of every man to set up a sham company that siphons government funds in the name of the public good.
The Education Department’s sweeping crackdown on fraudulent practices at for-profit colleges has stalled under the Trump administration’s appointees, several current and former department employees say.

Current and former employees, who requested anonymity for fear of retaliation, said tight restrictions have been put on staff members scrutinizing for-profit institutions, constraining their contact with other state and federal agencies without high-level approval — a contention a department spokesman denied.

Some state officials who had collaborated with the Education Department in bringing legal cases against for-profit schools say their joint work has ground to a halt. They also say they are troubled by an apparent slowdown in granting debt relief to students who were cheated.
But don't worry, people who irrationally hate capitalism; there's a solution!  Get out your Con Law books and turn to the discussions of Reagan and Rehnquist.  Federalism!  Our federal apparatus can go back to the halcyon days of being a limited government.  State governments can then do their own thing and choose the appropriate unhelpful response to pressing social issues.

For example, the state of Mississippi might say it simply doesn't care about [issue], the state of Arkansas might say it would care but it doesn't have the funds to address [issue], and the state of Tennessee might take its stance on [issue] because of some veiled reason that ultimately comes down to what Jesus would want.

That's called a free market, and you'd better believe it works.

Look at you go, North Carolina!
As it battles to stay open, Charlotte School of Law is blaming its problems on the federal government, the law school accreditation body and disgruntled former students who have sued the school.

Now, the for-profit school in North Carolina faces a fresh challenge in the form of a civil investigation opened by the state attorney general’s office.

“We are looking into whether students were able to make decisions about attending the school with the full information they needed,” Josh Stein, the attorney general, said in a phone interview. “This affects a lot of students and involves a lot of money. Students had an average of $50,000 in loans a year.”
See?  Students investing $50,000 should get "full information" to be "able to make decisions about attending the school."  If they don't have it, we've got state attorneys general ready to pounce. 

Of course, as a matter of elegant logical reasoning, the fact that state attorneys general clearly will go after law schools when they may be defrauding students of $50k on less-than-full information means, ipso facto teedily doo, that law schools definitively were not defrauding students over the last twenty years, but were instead providing the full information necessary for an applicant to make a reasonable choice about a lucrative career in the law.

In any event, tomorrow is Mother's Day.  Why don't you give Mom the best surprise of all?  Enroll in law school for the fall.  Pay back that nine months rent in the womb with the dividends of a million dollar premium!

Monday, May 8, 2017

Vermont Growing Stronger with USDA Loan

No matter how fiscally conservative you are, sometimes you have to admit that the federal government makes really good lending investments in various remote New England wealth transfer schemes.
Vermont Law School officials say a $17 million loan [at 2.4% interest!  suck it, GradPlus borrowers!] from the federal government is helping the school to restructure debt and invest in a fundamentally different education model in which year-round and online courses offer more flexibility for students.
“Our students may be on a Coast Guard ship. Or running a bank in Ohio,” [President and Dean Mark] Mihaly said. “They’re doing all sorts of things. They’re not going to quit their jobs and move their families to Vermont.”
Christ no - who the hell would?  That no one wants to live there shouldn't stop the location from having a thriving law school that pilfers money from all over the place and benefit small-town America by bankrolling a faculty of 135.
“[The USDA was] attracted because we’re an economic engine [eight cylinders, right? - ed.], and a part of rural America that needs investment,” Mihaly said. “Also, they were attracted because there was a crisis in law schools. There was a rapid decline. We had been through that and more than stabilized.”
Indeed, there was a crisis. If you'll recall, it lasted until about the time we stopped denying its existence.  Then it was poof, a clap of the hands, finished, past tense.  All stable now.  (Does "more than stabilized" mean a rollover?)

For the fall of 2016, Vermont Law School enrolled a class of 139 with an LSAT 25-75 spread of 145-156 and a 25-75 GPA spread of 2.77-3.5.  Its most recent bar passage rate was 60.2%.  Starting cost in the fall for sticker is $261,691 per LST.

Sure, it may seem peculiar, ludicrous, offensive, ridiculous, outrageous, dimwitted, cockamamied, and all sorts of other words that our federal government is lending a piece of dogshit, negative externality, crony capitalist exploitation mill in the forested, folksy corner of the U.S. $17 million to help maintain the economy of a sleepy metro area of 2,700 by sustaining wealth-shifting to a bloated faculty of brave souls willing - gasp - to live there a good part of the year and maintain an institution that should not exist in the first place.

Well step off the ledge, Skippy!  Have some faith!  Your federal government knows how to manage a loan portfolio. 

After all, look how many Vermont Law School students they've funded already, and every dime paid back with interest.  Those coins from heaven are coated in maple syrup - and don't worry, they float to the Earth like feathers. This is fluffland, and not even the metaphorical bodies of dead legal careers tossed out of the Million Dollar Jetxpress follow that queer 9.8 m/s^2 acceleration bullshit.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Forget Nebraska and Make Haste for the Delta

It's repeated refrain that down-on-their-luck law grads in urban areas just need to pick up the Million Dollar Express in more rural settings.  Nebraska is a common example of an area pining for lawyers: bleakly married couples going undivorced, scummy drug dealers being set free, state government grinding to a halt the bureaucrats up and down the organizational chart await that precious thumbs up from the harried legal department...

But what if I told you there was an even better get-rich scheme? Here, in this article praising third tier law schools for their innovative academical gris-gris, comes the down-low info of where you really need to send your lazy law graduates:
Nationally, the average ratio of population to lawyer is roughly 250:1, according to Michael Hunter Schwartz, dean of the William H. Bowen School of Law at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. In Arkansas, it’s 500:1, and in the state’s delta region, it’s 4,000:1.

What are all these ridiculous lawyers doing?  Anyone within a dead body's throw of Bylthville or Stuttgart should be setting up shop! 

4000-to-1!  Since lawyers are sixteen times as scarce as in the rest of the country, we know by the power of Math! that demand for each lawyer if sixteen times as much.

I know some of you aren't exactly diamond-level economists, so I'll give you a hint:  lower supply and higher demand means higher price for you.

If $200 represents a fair fee for legal services nation-wide, in the Arkansas Delta you can expect to charge $3,200 an hour.  Your trip on the Million Dollar Express just got a lot shorter.  In fact, 313 hours and you'll hit a million in revenue.

That's a lot of money just sitting in the Arkansas Delta doing nothing, just waiting for an intrepid lawyer to come and get rich serving these terribly under-served folks.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

The Parenthetical Steven Diamond

A great writer (me) once said (wrote) that you can tell everything you need to know about a writer (dickwhiz!) by what they place in parentheticals, like when they place ellipses in creative parentheticals as such:


So here's the parentheticals of one Steven Diamond's latest essays on Whitter's closing; for the uninformed (all of you), Professor Diamond has recently begun a series (like Police Academy) of internet writings (*) where he continually fights (academically, of course) the good fight - now against (!) Brian ("Wu-Tang") Leiter:
(in Orange County which is 60% white; fwiw, [**ad hominem warning**] Chicago and NU are in the low 30’s in a city that is 55% non-white)
(even Rodriguez has admitted there is a California problem)
(as I observed in the recent debate)
(Figures back to 2012 below.)
(One myth out there is that lower ranked schools have somehow turned into horrible schools once the credit crisis hit – in fact, lower ranked schools have always had much lower placement rates – applicants certainly know this despite paternalistic claims that they are too stupid to understand the challenges.)
(to borrow a felicitious [sic] phrase of Prof. Leiter)
(employment growth for lawyers is up 22%)
(perhaps under severe political pressure)
(hubristic and unkowing [sic]?)
(reported to ABA/2016 is preliminary)
It's naturalistic po-mo poetry.  If you submit this sort of thing to a truly prestigious competition, you just might wind up associate general counsel at a hot Silicon Valley start-up, where they snap up Santa Clara graduates like *that* because there's jobs aplenty in Californey, except for, you know, the fact that lower ranked schools have always had much lower placement rates and their applicants are just smart enough to make stupid decisions, or something...minor logical reasoning stumbling block on the road to literary eclat.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

The Week in Quotes: Teenage Superlawyer; Charlotte Sometimes Triggers Investigation, and Cincinnati Irony

The Good:
“My goal is to become the youngest lawyer in America and from there I want to change the world,” said [Danya] Hamad.
Danya said she plans on taking the summer off, then it is one more year for her bachelor’s and three years for her law degree all at Capital University. She hopes to graduate from law school at 19-years-old which would be another record.
The Bad:
North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein has opened an investigation into Charlotte School of Law...Laura Brewer, a spokeswoman for Stein, confirmed in an email to Morning Education that the office “is investigating the school under the state’s civil consumer protection laws and is very concerned about the current situation at the school.”
The timing of the school’s possible closure might limit students’ ability to obtain a federal “closed school discharge” of their student loans. Education Department rules allow students who are attending a college that suddenly collapses to have their federal loans wiped out. That protection also extends to students who withdrew from the school in the 120 days leading up to its closure, a clock that is now ticking for the hundreds of students who fled Charlotte School of Law in late December and January. 
The Deliciously Ironically Ironic:
The dean of the law school at the University of Cincinnati, who was placed on administrative leave last month, sued the university Friday.
[Jennifer] Bard's complaint asserts Landgren and UC illegally placed Bard on administrative leave in March immediately following her response to local media reports about financial deficits at the law school and faculty members’ responses to her efforts to reduce those deficits.
“There is a certain irony here that the very institution tasked with teaching future lawyers and jurists about due process and the constitution is violating those very sacrosanct principles,” [Bard Attorney Marjorie] Berman said in a statement.
Some weeks the sparks of inspiration, those flecks of atomic light in the great distance that we strain our pupils to see, just don't appear against all hope and the Author wonders if the proverbial well has run dry as he stares into the dark, bricked abyss of cyclical, soulless repetition, pondering, on a broader level, the black hole of human existence, its intense gravity suffocating true ingenuity and innovation into a balled, banal mishmash of perpetual bludgeoning to the human spirit until we have formed into fungible ball bearings rolling in a cruel, monotonous machine, clinging and pinging along like controlled pinballs, and perhaps, maybe, this shtick has run its course, but then - zounds! - a spate - an assault, if you will - of the Good News hits the Author's inbox and all is good in the world.

Scam on.

Monday, April 24, 2017

The Whittier Saga Cont'd: Whittier Students Reaffirming Faith in Youth

With Whittier's announced closure, one might think the student body, incipient million dollar lawyers, all, would connive their way into discharging those student loans under the closed school exception.  Back in my day, of course, people paid their debts; sign the dotted line, do the work, make the payments.  But kids these days are often called thriftless waifs who will sign a master promissory note with no real intention or understanding of paying back the mortgage-sized indenture.

But look at Whittier students!  Kids these days may be amateurs at protesting injustices compared to their Boomer elders - who rocked the 60s, got black folks their freedom, and tore down The Wall - but the last few years have given us BLM, anti-Trump marches, and - now - protests against the irrational deprivation of 4th-rate legal education opportunities.
About 100 law students angry over the announced closure of Whittier College’s law school in Costa Mesa this week demonstrated at the college’s main campus on Friday.
“They just dropped this bomb on us a week-and-a-half before finals without any regard to how we would react or feel,” said Stephanie Rigoli, a third-year student...
An emergency meeting on Wednesday held at the Costa Mesa campus to announce the decision to close quickly turned tense...

The students at the meeting became increasingly frustrated as Brown and Whittier College President Sharon Herzberger answered their questions.

After about a half-hour, both left the meeting saying they would take additional questions from the student via email. Some of the students booed as the pair left.

Rigoli and other students said they felt the decision and the announcement on short notice was a “slap in the face,” and didn’t take into account their hard work and the money they’ve invested in the school so far.
I'm proud to by an American in 2017.  Aren't you, dear comrade?

We could all learn from Whittier students.  When you make a terrible decision, and life is trying to suggest to you a convenient path out of it, take the road less traveled, double down, and holler for your right to be stuck with the consequences of your ill-made choices.  

Thursday, April 20, 2017

The Whittier Saga: Law Professors Fight Back

With Whittier closing in an unprecedented, brash show of arrogance by a reckless administration pulling the rug on a highly successful law school, many schadenfreude-ridden maggots likely thought the law faculty would slink away quietly like humble donkeys with their tails between their legs.

Misinformed, fake news.

Far from sullen donkeys, law professors rise mighty like Harambe the Gorilla and beat their chests.  They're going to kill a fucking child before someone puts them down if they have to, even if it delays their inevitable ascension to partnership at MoFo or O'Melveny

From the OC Register:
A day before the Whittier College Board of Trustees announced that the law school will be discontinued, attorneys for more than a half-dozen faculty members filed an attempt for a temporary restraining order against the parent school.

A judge denied their request. But the issues raised in the court filings – including questions about the fate of millions of dollars raised in a recent sale of the Costa Mesa campus property that faculty contend was promised to the law school – will likely be at the center of future litigation, an attorney for the faculty members said on Thursday.

“It was a very irresponsible decision,” said attorney Hanna Chandoo of the trustee’s decision. A Whittier College alum, Chandoo filed the restraining-order request. “It is very sudden and not thought out.”
These professors are not effete Ivory Tower hermits. By filing futile, last-ditch legal papers, they're teaching their students a valuable lesson of bare-knuckle, mud-soaked litigation:  lose sorely and don't stop until the wall is thickly coated with the shit you've slung.

Whereas most businesses are free to jettison underperforming and socially flatulent business units, academia must be forced to maintain its deadweight and uphold every last unenforceable non-promise.  I'm not even sure what the super-lawyer legal theory would be or how Whittier's faculty members would have standing to prevent a college board of trustees from acting in the best interests of the college, but I'm sure the legal dream-team of Whittier alumni can make the school choke on its own medicine.

Whittier College is about to find out that one does not simply dump a law school.  Other central administrations are warned.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Intelelctual Diversity Now: Admit the Pro Se Litigants.

We here at the LSTC have previously written about the need for intellectual diversity - Republican/Democrat; stupid, smart - as delectably spicing the law school gravy train as much as racial or ethnic diversity.

Here is Jonathan H. Adler at The James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal:
Judge Gorsuch is an avowed proponent of “originalism,” the idea that the original public meaning of the Constitution’s text should control the outcome in constitutional cases.
What is notable about the academic debate over originalism is not that such a debate exists, but that so much of the debate is misinformed—misinformed about what originalism does or does not entail and why it might be endorsed.
Some of the straw men offered by otherwise-notable academics were so flimsy, it was as if they had never encountered a real originalist in the flesh, let alone spent time trying to understand the point of view they were critiquing.
Training lawyers requires teaching students how to understand and get inside the arguments of those with differing interests, outlooks, and orientations. 
If you are not forced to confront, thrust, and parry with an alternative worldview, chances are you will not understand it, let alone grasp its strengths and weaknesses. Instead, you are more likely to imagine a caricature—a caricature formed as much by your own in-group’s biases as by the relevant characteristics of that philosophy.
If unintentional irony were raindrops, this piece would be a dead grass fire hazard waiting for a spark to burn burn burn.

It's central point - that without having real people to argue unpopular views, they cannot be easily discredited by skilled rhetoricians - is sound.  For years, for example, I have been advocating sending Strawmen Supremecists to various college campuses for just this purpose. 

Specific to law schools, it isn't even enough to admit an influx of legal conservatives (which should be a simple enough question on an application, yes?) to provide balance to the student  - and subsequently professor - ranks.  More importantly, we must prepare lawyers to argue against those arguments they will face in court.

Obviously, law schools should deliberately seek out amoral people with personality disorders or substance abuse problems.  Far from being red flags to bar administrators, these students would be indispensable in helping the student body understand the unpredictability and manipulation used by lawyers great and small.  Professional Responsibility class would be so much more meaningful when students must actually think through is this something to phone in, or just pretend that I didn't hear that?

Other lawyer archetypes will need to be represented as well, like that unkempt old due who writes last-minute one-line motions and never fully prepares; the clueless mill-style lawyer who has a stack of fifteen files and knows nothing of any of them; and the whining extrovert whose legal reasoning skills seem to begin and end with an impressively convincing version of but your honor....

Finally, no well-rounded, diverse legal education could be complete without witnessing in the flesh, in all their glory, for full thrusting and parrying, the mighty pro se representing his own interests, outlooks, and orientations.

Think of all the arguments our pro se litigants make that are never even considered! in American law schools.  Don't we do a disservice to our future lawyers by underpreparing them for a significant chunk of the litigating public.

I remember the first tie I went head to head against a formidable pro se litigant.  I had prepared for the motion hearing on its own terms.  Outline.  Key cases.  Unassailable points of law.

Then it happened.
JUDGE:  I agree with Mr. LSTC, and I don't believe the defect can be cured.  I'm granting the motion to dismiss with prejudice.
PRO SE:  I'll just file it again.
JUDGE:  You'll what?
PRO SE:  I said, I will just file it again.
JUDGE:  Sir, it's dismissed with prejudice.
PRO SE:  I will go to a different court then.
JUDGE:  My ruling will likely have preclusive effect. I would advise you consult an attorney regarding any further options you have.
PRO SE: I'm advising two attorneys right now.  I'm going to file until I get a judge who won't dismiss it.
Such arguments are never presented in law schools.  I was never forced to spend time understanding the pro se's point of view, to fully evaluate such an argument's strengths and weaknesses, to grasp the relevant characteristics of his philosophy.

And so I stood dumbfounded even as the judge called the next case.  Had I actually wonHad my socialist dunderhead professors betrayed me with their progressive, pragmatic rationalism?

The solution is obvious:  we simply need to look beyond the institutional biases inherent of admitting intelligent people and simply admit anyone who's interested enough to creatively defend themselves in court.  Law schools would benefit greatly from the perspective-based diversity of having pro se litigants in law school classrooms, and the pro se litigants would obviously benefit as well from sampling intellectual goodies at the million dollar buffet.

So, yes, we need more diversity from a political perspective.  But don't stop there.  We need to better represent all people who wander into America's courtrooms and raise remotely cogent arguments, and we simply cannot let our elitism stand in the way of educating our students to thrust and parry their adversaries' cutting rhetoric.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

JD Advantage Opportunity in Charlotte!

As a new feature, I'm going to experiment with using this space to advertise some of the exciting opportunities in law.  Today, I learned of a new vacancy in Charlotte:
The Charlotte School of Law’s interim dean announced Thursday morning that he is stepping down from his role after spending less than a month on the job.

Professor Scott Broyles sent an email to the faculty and students at the law school announcing his resignation. He did not give a reason, but said he plans to continue as a faculty member and do everything he can to help the school.
Typical media, focusing on the negative.

Let's rewrite this one.  ScamSpin Power ON!
President, Charlotte, NC
Sexy start-up with backing from Sterling Partners seeks entrepreneurial-minded rock-star to manage broad portfolio of educational products.  Background with innovative consumer finance and artfully navigating federal regulations a plus.  Candidates with a Juris Doctor - or a Juris Doctorate! - strongly preferred.  Despite being in North Carolina, diversity welcome, encouraged even!  Opportunities for advancement are endless.  Last person in position excelled and rapidly moved to greener pastures.  Right candidate with receive nothing but patience and administrative support following long list of successful executives; employees "will do everything [they] can to help."

Note:  Charlotte Law School alumni need not apply.  We're not that desperate.
This pessimism, this insistence to phrase everything as law school is bad that slants the world as-if Charlotte Law School is a festering pus-oozing wound being prepped for surgical excision, is fake news at its finest.

Charlotte is a cruise ship in need of a captain.  If you love shuffleboard, and can find creative ways to harvest tuition cash from a generation of hapless, hopeful schmucks, hop aboard!

Friday, April 7, 2017

Enjoy Your Loan Forgiveness, Public Servants

As I have explained before, there is a delicate art to the scam.  Amateurs believe it is simple as distorting reality to get a sucker's commitment - bait hook, dangle before hungry fish, fish bites, set hook.

Oh, no, dear readers.  Scam has an Olympic-sized panoply of deceitful disciplines for the decathaletic auteur.  It's not just punching a sport-coat hair product punk in the face; it's stabbing one in the gutless ribs with a needle that deposits an arsenic pill whose coating doesn't dissolve until after the graduation cake is shat.

Consider PSLF.  For years, law schools have pitched themselves as a catapult for the careers of would-be public servants, those special types willing to ride the Eight Hundred Thousand Dollar Express, their desire to act pro bono publico and help war widows battle slumlords exceeding, ever so slightly, their desire to money-fuck a lubed piggy bank.

Rising tuition?  Don't worry, kids.  The federal government's got this great program called PSLF.  Under PSLF, you can pay ridiculous tuition up-front and it's like monopoly money because it just vanishes like poof 'n' shit when you make ten years of payments.  100k? 200k? 500? 1.3 mil?  Once your indentured sentence is done, the loan is gone, no tax bomb, zap!, and you can leave your dreary PD job to hop back on the mainline Express, where your lack of debt payments provides extra allowance for models 'n' bottles.

Naive servile lemmings.  That career catapult just hurled you headlong into a spider's web that wasn't yet spun when you launched.

Fuck soccer; this is the beautiful game.
Under a program known as Public Service Loan Forgiveness, some student loan borrowers were supposed to be able to have the balance of their student loans forgiven after ten years of both on-time payments and eligible work in the public sector. Meaning, a qualifying nonprofit, federal, local, state, or tribal government.
Last year a small group of borrowers learned that their eligibility for the program had revoked.  [blah blah blah; some go-getters have sued to enforce PSLF rights, and the Dept. of Ed. has filed a pleading arguing that filing annual certifications with FedLoan Servicing means jack diddly.]
Not only have many people made financial and career decisions based on the program, some told us they avoided getting legally married [...or...] reconsider having children.
...Congress may eliminate the program. President Trump has talked about streamlining the many student loan repayment options currently available, a proposal that has bipartisan support. When Sen. Patty Murray, a Democrat from Washington, asked Education Secretary Betsy DeVos directly during the confirmation process whether she would uphold Public Service Loan Forgiveness, DeVos she said she "look[ed] forward to discussing" it.
If you fuckos are stressing about the uncertainty of your loan discharge program while performing grueling and underpaid work for ungrateful pseudo-charity cases, just remember that most of your tuition money is probably earning a really nice rate of return in someone's investment account, probably just a little less than the interest accruing on your loans. 

That money's in a better place.  Face it; you would've spent it on frivolous goods like housing, kids, new business ventures, 'n' such.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

The Bad Boy Law School of Arizona

Phoenix School of Law n/k/a Arizona Summit has been placed on probation by the ABA for low bar passage rates, admissions issues, whatever.
The American Bar Association put Arizona Summit Law School on probation Monday for a variety of issues, including low passage rates on the bar exam and the school's admission policies.
The bar, in a letter on Monday, said that Arizona Summit is out of compliance regarding admission practices, academic standards, and support and bar passage.

The letter says the law school is now in a position where "only immediate and substantial action can bring about sufficient change to put the Law School on a realistic path back to being in compliance within the time allowed."
I want not to criticize a law school that obviously knows what it's doing.  Staying in business at least thirteen years is a proud achievement for a small business, buoyed by delusions of greatness and scandalous federal loan programs or not.

But sometimes I think law school marketing has got it partially wrong.  Maybe, instead of everyone trying to be Harvard, we need a mix of law schools, diversifying the types of legal education available to America's future Justice League.

Just as any public high school worth its cheap tile flooring and rotating staff of soon-deflated freshmen English teachers has social cliques, maybe the law school community should have cliques of its own.

Just as Harvard and Yale are the snooty rich kids, schools like Arizona Summit and Charlotte can be the bad boy rebels who don't give a fuck.  Perhaps one of the problems with such "toilet schools" is that they pretend to be something they're not, namely honor roll students with still-marrired parents and functional health insurance.

But law school needs diversity.  If aspiring lawyers want to go to a law school that smokes at lunch and has taken up armchair nihilism with a wardrobe of black clothes, they should be allowed to enroll enroll enroll  For such schools, probation would not be a mark of shame, but a worthy accomplishment.

For bottom-rung law schools feeling an enrollment pinch, it's hard to see the downside.  Stop merely being bad, and start acting bad.  Own it, fifth tier.  Be bold.  Be true to yourself.  Drop out and get an 8th-grader pregnant.  Many kids no doubt want to go to Harvard and Yale and, like, make money for the corporate-government meritocratic-o-matic.  But others obviously are willing to take on unpayable debts and tattoo their resumes with bad-assery. 

They should have a law school, too, and you can sell to them.  Instead of saying "probation, oh no!" spit in the ABA's face, grow your hair out, and give the proverbial middle finger of admitting a thousand more underqualified prospects to have window seats on the Million Dollar Express.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Fare Thee Well, Dr. Jay

Not unexpectedly, given the hysteria of some when a going concern suddenly loses its primary source of revenue, Jay Conison, Charlotte Law Dean, has gone the way of Matasar and Larry Mitchell, although he'll be remaining on the faculty:
With his school’s future hanging in the balance, the dean of the beleaguered Charlotte School of Law is stepping down.

Jay Conison has led the uptown, for-profit school for almost four years. Charlotte Law announced his departure with a four-paragraph statement Monday afternoon. Conison will remain on the faculty, the statement said.
Conison brought the thunder to Charlotte from Valparaiso, which apparently was not enough of a scam-challenge for his Herculean talents.  Like upping the difficulty level on a video game, say, Lemmings (PC, 1991).

He had the misfortune of taking over Charlotte Law School a good two years after the national media awoke to the unfiltered swindle of the lowest-tier law schools.  Nonetheless, his efforts to keep Charlotte and its Infilaw backers well-fed pigs rather than well-slaughtered hogs were noble. 

But alas, his move to Charlotte seems akin to many a classical, tragic hero, they who overreached their grasp and exposed a fatal flaw.  In Conison's case, he left the relative comfort of a midwestern low-tier school attached to a longstanding university for the one of the south's most notorious sinkholes and targets for reformers who think for-profits are evil and non-profits walk on water.  It's sort of like leaving a sniper's nest for the front lines.  Balls, yes, but the chances of them getting blown off...

He puts the GOAT in scapegoat.  Let us remember the good times.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Million Dollar Express Chuggin' Through Boise

Right on schedule.
The University of Idaho College of Law’s efforts to begin a first-year law program in Boise have come to fruition, after the American Bar Association gave the plan its seal of approval this week, the UI announced Wednesday.
Yes, the University of Idaho - flagship of a state with a thunderous, expanding population of one and a half million - has found itself a two-campus solution, following such successful examples as Penn State, Rutgers, and the Widener College of Law.
“We expect to have 60 students at Boise and approximately the same number in Moscow next year,” Adams said. “There’s a really strong demand for both locations.”

Adams said each campus offers distinct benefits: Boise is surrounded by the business and legal community, while in Moscow students benefit from “the advantages of deep ties to other programs, dual degrees on UI campus and also at WSU.”
With Concordia University's law school already in Boise like a slowly growing tumor leaking blood, Idaho is finally catching up to the rest of America by realizing that there's absolutely no downside to over-saturating the population with lawyers, the only people capable of stopping various vague but urgent catastrophic insults to the Rule of Law.

A mere decade ago, this massive state had but one law school to fill its ranks of lawyers, leading to employment scores at lofty, anti-competitive levels like 80%.  Now it has three law school campuses.

That's what progress looks like.  I truly wish our lingering one-flagship states like Wyoming and North Dakota take note so their citizenry, too, can know the bounty of a properly saturated marketplace.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Movin' to Nebraska

It's been almost six years now since then-Prof. Sara Stadler told law school graduates they might have to move to Nebraska to hop on the Million Dollar Express.

Behold, from the Omaha World-Herald, we have the glistening, steaming, huffing, full-speed-ahead reality.

The article is unnecessarily pessimistic, natch, claiming that law school enrollment has ticked up without a commensurate boost in the job market, Faustian journalists being wont to bias their "work" towards the scandalous in exchange for sales and clicks. 

You know, what life's like in an actually dying cesspool of a once-proud profession.  Compare and contrast.

Instead, one has to read between the lines of this yellow rag to see the robustness of the job market in Nebraska.  First is the pessimism boldly displayed in the front window, so to speak.
Chris Schmidt had struggled to find a full-time teaching job in social studies a few years ago. One of his pickup basketball friends happened to be Richard Moberly, currently the interim dean of law at NU.

One day Schmidt told Moberly he was thinking about going to law school. The hesitation in Moberly’s response and the advice he gave surprised Schmidt at the time.

“Just be sure it’s what you really want,” Schmidt quoted Moberly as saying that day several years ago. 
The set-up here is pure pessimism.  Prospective students - lazy, we know - may read to this point in the article and receive only the caution from the now-interim law school dean.

But there's a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow!  That thing you covet is in the back room, so to speak!
Schmidt has a one-year job clerking for a federal appellate judge in Omaha and a spot lined up with a Lincoln firm after that.
The Omaha Whatever might have viewed this as some sort of "a-ha" moment like a joke's punchline, the twist in a Maupassant or O. Henry story, or the obnoxious ending to a Paul Harvey radio bit, but let's be honest: very few prospective law students can read an entire news article and comprehend the greater message therein.

So I'll say it here, as elegantly as an Aesop fable summary:  if you play pickup basketball with the interim dean, serve as editor in chief of the law review, and graduate with highest honors from the state flagship, you too can work for a U.S. Court of Appeals and have a job in hand when the exit door opens.

Reports be damned, that's a Million Dollar Express that's working just fine. 

Still time to board for fall.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

The Summit Spreads 2100 Miles

Back in August, I wrote on Arizona Summit (in Arizona - I know it's odd, but the name is not least that part) and Bethune-Cookman (Florida) entering into a $12.5 million dollar partnership.

Now they've signed an affiliation agreement.
Arizona Summit Law School has signed an affiliation agreement with the private, nonprofit Bethune-Cookman University in Daytona Beach, Florida.
Bethune-Cookman President Edison Jackson said in a statement, “Together, we aim to be a leading force in disrupting a legacy of exclusion that has persisted into the 21st century.”
Details are imprecise, but one thing's for certain: dynamic synergy will commence. 

When looking at a school like Arizona Summit, it's hard to not see the truth in President Jackson's words.  For years, Arizona Summit has put out a fine crop of good young lawyers.  Yet they find it unduly difficult to land long-term positions in the legal sector, and most recently a disproportionate amount of them have been barred from being barred altogether by the elitist, anti-competitive bar examination.

If Bethune-Cookman can help Arizona Summit break that pernicious legacy of exclusion, the only regret is not signing this agreement years ago.

Plus, getting married to this fine Floridian institution is changing Arizona Summit for the better.
The agreement doesn't make Arizona Summit a nonprofit school. However, Lively said the school is working toward nonprofit status.
 See?  You complain enough about for-profit education, the for-profits affiliate with a school on the other side of the country and look for ways to change their status.

Can we get federal loan money back to Charlotte now?  Please?

Please?  They're doing good work here!  They can speak in euphemism!
We bring in students who are in catch-up mode.
Shouldn't every law school?

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Praise Be to God for the Trump Effect

Somehow I missed it last week when hero-worthy-of-psalms Nick Allard fired yet another thunderous sniper-shot from the right side of history:
Almost single handedly, President Trump has made lawyers the breakout stars in the early days of his new administration.
Praise be to God for giving having our peers scurrying to airports like maggoty mice who just discovered a bread factory; surely such blessings equals breakout stardom profession-wide - and revenue to pay rent, bar dues, and bottles from the top shelf.
Law schools can seize this moment and, like the generation inspired by Woodward and Bernstein to pursue careers in journalism, lead the renaissance in legal education that would revive a profession in need of an injection of youth, idealism, and high-tech savvy.
Praise be to God for sending a 1979 law school graduate to deliver the Good News of salvation in youth, idealism, and tech savvy.

Praise be to God for the generation of journalists inspired by Woodward and Bernstein, who led a euphoric cloudburst of hard-hitting investigative journalism that led us to our current most blessed political-media state.

Praise be to God for the coming renaissance; may Botticelli's Venus pull her hair up, wear a gray pantsuit, and reverse Citizen's United.
[A]nother compelling factor is the intense interest among many Millennials in issues of social justice and the urge to make a positive difference.

They are a keenly entrepreneurial generation, and the law and well-trained lawyers are central to success of new ventures.
Praise be to God for the Millennials, particularly the ones who lack the relative pragmatism and thrift of their Gen X counterparts and instead want to pursue social justice as a lifestyle choice.

Praise be to God for the Millennials' open entrepreneurial spirit, readily observable in companies like Theranos.  Prior generations just, like, didn't want to roll the dice and see if their little thimble landed on the Instant Billionaire square.

Praise be to God for start-ups, who love burning capital on cost-effective legal services, usually performed by fresh law school graduates who can "bro out" with them at the Foosball table and not at all on partners at the shiny firms with a choke-hold oligarchy who know what the fuck they're doing.

Praise be to God for the Hamilton name-drop in the middle of the article; that will play nicely with the culturally savvy Millennials.

Praise be to God for furtive Brooklyn Law School advertisements; Brooklyn is now only $245,982 at non-discounted cost, and almost all receive a discount!

Praise be to God and the Rule of Law, whose very existence is just precisely imperiled enough, perpetually, that the solution is more lawyers and neither tanks for the rebellion or, perhaps in security, that would-be law students find something socially productive to do.

Praise be NOT to this blaspheming jackass here, who is obviously just trying to reduce competition for when he gets out of law school so he can profit profit profit.  Trust us; it takes one to know one.


Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Trump Bad. More Lawyers Good.

The non-sequitur.  A classic of absurdist humor utilized by Carroll, Beckett, and everyone in between.  After all, when a bulldozer runs over an alto-soprano mongoose, it sings a bit flat.

But did you know the non-sequitur is also a logical fallacy?  It's true, readers.  Sometimes, sophists establish premises and then draw conclusions that in no rational way follow the presented factual scenario.  Taken seriously, it's not quite as funny as  Monty Python sketch, unless it's taken really seriously. 

Thankfully, the non-sequitur has no application to this article here, which argues that Donald Trump's nascent presidency has made law school "cool" again.  (Does it really lose "cool" status by having a more exclusive appeal?)
Even if law school remains a difficult and potentially costly path, the importance of good lawyers is becoming increasingly clear. “This new administration is challenging some things that we’ve taken to date as long-standing legal truths, ranging from civil rights and civil liberties to administrative regulations,” says Adrienne Davis, a law professor and the vice provost at Washington University. “So yes, we need more lawyers.”
Notice how it follows logically that because we have an administration "challenging some things" that we need more lawyers?  Because - and this is totally implied unless you can decipher the subtext like perspicacious moi* - we developed our present equilibrium of lawyers (where demand equals supply) under the Obama administration.  With an articulate Constitutional scholar at its helm, our prior presidency simply wasn't going to challenge basic tenets of the Rule of Law.  Now that we have a genuine challenger, well, Adrienne, it's time to recruit some more legal Rocky Balboas to put on the gloves.

Much of the article is a masturbatory piece for social justice lawyers (which, remember, is all of us!  we all ride the Million Dollar Express!) and how, you know, you should totally go to a school that has a high return on investment (all of them!).  And of course, there's an "unmet legal needs" claim slipped in the side door like a flood of Honduran migrant farm workers who, swear to God, have all been living in Albuquerque with their families for generations on my very large, labor-intensive farm...

The novelty of the article remains its drawing the astute observation that a Trump White House creates a commensurate need to print more and more law licenses until the cost of legal services hits zero.  One day it's going to happen, by God, and you fat cats and your $140/hr monopolistic rates will feel the wrath of bottom-barrel competition.

You can't make this shit up.  It might even be impervious to parody.  Poe's Law.
But one of [Trump's] accidental accomplishments may be to make lawyering great again.
A slight demurer: it's always been great.

*Perspicacious Moi is the name under which I plan on releasing future solo hip-hop efforts.  Copy it and I will hire one of the impending gazillions of new lawyers to sue sue sue.

Friday, February 24, 2017

New School Alert: Selling Down the (UC-)River(side)

California Needs Another Law School, State Legislator Says.

Be still my grease-clogged heart!

Sabrina Cervantes (D., Corona) - in no way, shape, or form quixotic like the title character of her potential ancestor's greatest work - has proposed a new law school at UC-Riverside.

Cervantes - 29 and daughter of a local politician - is a graduate of UC-Riverside and some program at Harvard, so you know she has the chops and the institution's best interests at heart.

Even if she doesn't have the details yet.
The bill contains a single sentence: “It is the intent of the Legislature to later enact legislation that would provide for the establishment and construction of a school of law at the University of California, Riverside.” The proposal does not include cost or timeline projections—details, Cervantes said, that would be worked out later.
Obviously needed a legal writer or two to tackle the task.  Much like the million dollar law degree, we can figure the pesky details out later.  For now, it's simply time to act, to build a great institution of the law to serve Southern California, a place so devoid of legal education that the closest law school to Riverside is an absurdly ridiculous 22 miles away, which can take up to an HOUR when traffic along Highway 60 is a bitch, the indignity!  How the fuck are you supposed to stop for coffee before class?  Make finals week "work" while not missing Game of Whatever?

This Los Angeles story is timely.  With the Academy Awards this weekend, I would like to pitch my hot-as-burning-zoo screenplay.  It's called Law-Law Land, and it's about a young male lawyer in LA whose only dream is to run a solo firm trying cases like Perry Mason because pretending it's 1960 without the civil rights shit gives him wood.  He meets a spunky young woman who wants to take her case of wrongful discharge from In-and-Out to the Supreme Court so she can be a case title and bathe in the riches and limelight of jurisprudential fame and ain't no 9th Circuit gonna stop her.  There's singin', dancin', foregone bland romancin', and eventually they get everything they could ever ask for in their careers, because life is easy for these PBS millennials with their Twitter and their lattes and their craft alcohol and their iPhone apps and their stockpiles of post-ironic kitsch...

Just go to this new UC-Riverside law school, put a bit of interest in, and you'll be swimming in the river of cash like Scrooge MacFuckstick.  Holy Buddha, Batman, a 29-year-old is in the General Assembly; don't you think YOU, scion of the digital revolution and consumer of Cool Things, can work as a measly lawyer?

Well, don't ya?

Tuesday, February 21, 2017


Like any good liberal artist, the personified LSTC is familiar with a random smattering of important short fiction, including Yukio Mishima's Patriotism.  In Patriotism, an army officer commits a visceral, detailed seppuku instead of choosing between rebelling against his emperor or leading a counter-insurgency against his neighbors and comrades, selecting the method of self-execution preferred by samurai when necessary to preserve honor.  The case brief-level moral of the story is that when faced with moral dilemmas, one can always killself, just as the author himself did a few years later.

Often, I like to think of lawyers and law students as samurai warriors living by an ancient code, the Constitution our emperor and the rules of professional conduct our bushido.  In the face of certain danger, like rational statistics saying law school is NO NO NO, the best ones wear the kimono of courage and charge headlong towards hundreds of thousands in debt screaming BANZAI like cliched motherfuckers.

With that I give you this:
Melchor Matias flew from Seattle to Detroit every weekend to study for his J.D. at WMU-Cooley Law School-and graduated in January.

A CPA at Boeing in Seattle, Matias did licensing audits on royalty and technology contracts, and designed audit programs. His interaction with the lawyers of Fortune 100 companies sparked his interest in earning a law degree.
This sort of effort is true patriotism in modern America.  For the legal samurai in our times, thankfully no impassable dilemma exists.  In no way does taking an established career for a major company in an in-demand professional certification to Cooley resemble cutting open one's belly for the entrails to disembowel while praying the head is soon mercifully chopped off.

But being a legal samurai paying homage to our Constitutional emperor requires effort.  This gentleman, deprived of an appropriate, accommodating law school west of the Mississippi, flew to Michigan to earn his juris doctor.  Unfortunately, lots of people feel a school like WMU-Cooley is completely unnecessary, a fifth tier toboggan turd sliding out the crusty, wart-lined anus of legal education.

Yet it obviously fulfills a valuable function for people who require a law school for working professionals near major airline hubs and tourist destinations.  Anecdote, you know, is the singular of fact.  To deprive people like this of that opportunity would be to create a moral dilemma for the patriotic legal samurai to choose between his heart and overwhelming rational consensus telling him a lower-tier law school is a stupid idea.  And various feasibility studies show there are literally hundreds of thousands of people interested in signing up for that training.

Perhaps our best and brightest, when deprived of a place to learn The Law, would not resort to actual seppuku.  Perhaps it's more akin to one of them metaphor thingies.

But the truth, as cutting and adamantine as an expertly forged katana, is that if you get in the business of closing law schools, you've eventually got patriotic blood on your hands.  A spoiler for your Lady Macbeths out there: it don't wash out.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Cleaning the Swamp: 3rd Tier Law School Dean Nominee to Head Labor Department

Donald J. Trump, populist, riding to Washington in his shiny black chariot from his New York fortress, a kingdom so removed, so distant from the hustle and bustle of DC that his fair queen can't possibly stomach the culture shock involved in moving to one of the most secure and posh buildings on the planet, has appointed R. Alexander Acosta as his replacement choice to head the Department of Labor:
In Mr. Acosta, Mr. Trump has chosen a nominee with deep experience in labor relations, law and education. The pick answers concerns about the lack of diversity in the Trump administration, in that Mr. Acosta would be the first Hispanic in the president’s cabinet. And his chances of being confirmed appear relatively high, since Mr. Acosta, currently the dean of Florida International University’s law school, has made it through the Senate process three times for different roles.
Talk about a grand slam!  You poor schmucks have been clamoring for widespread, systemic reform for years now - and the dean of a public scam school just zipped right past in the glass elevator on his way to helping set policies to keep the underclass just barely content enough.

According to Law School Transparency, Florida International costs $179,807 for residents increasing faster than inflation.  Roughly 1/3 pay full price and only 1/3 get a discount of more than $5k.  Its employment score is 63.9% with a quarter of all graduates working in small firms and a quarter working in public service.

Lest the "scamblog" crowd think those numbers are "bad," it's objectively one of the top 5 schools in a state that has 11.5 of 'em. Just look at this beautiful back-alley appendectomy of a law school picture.  If sunshine be the best disinfectant, the Sunshine State's law school output is so mercilessly bright it's the equivalent of dumping chlorine bleach into a beer bong.

I'd say the fact that the nominee helped flood the ranks of lower-paid lawyers in a saturated state with an above-average law school more than qualifies Mr. Acosta.  Wouldn't you?

Monday, February 13, 2017

Thanks, ABA! or: Good Times, These are the Good Times!

Remember how the ABA has been debating tightening bar examination pass rates with respect to law school accreditation?  You don't, but they have.

House of Delegates says nope! Diversity, that all-encompassing Wonderbread of American geopolitical argument, always cheap and filling, to the rescue:
A storm of criticism has surrounded Standard 316’s proposed revision, which would have required that to meet accreditation standards, 75 percent of a law schools’ graduates must pass a bar exam within a two-year period. At a notice and comment hearing the section held in August, various groups, including the National Black Law Students Association (PDF), testified that the proposal failed to address racial inequities in the law school admissions process and legal education.

According to data ... submitted for the hearing by William Patton, a professor emeritus at Whittier Law School, 33.4 percent of black students in California and 29.8 percent of the state’s Hispanic law students attend the five ABA-accredited law schools that would be most at risk of violating the proposed revision.

And in January, the Association of American Law School’s Law School Deans Steering Committee wrote the council to ask it to withdraw the proposal, based on concerns about different state bar scoring standards, falling bar-passage rates and a lack of diversity in the profession.
In other words, vague sociological ideals trump some strict "standard" that also happens to disadvantage quite a few law schools and other institutional actors who need more people of color in the feel-good brochures that solicit donation$ from mostly liberal lily-white donors.

What I particularly love about this particular issue is that apparently no one in this "debate" has ever seriously questioned the Defenders of the Faith on what, exactly, the causal connection is between having race-neutral strict bar passage standards as an output and a sufficient level of minorities being enrolled in law schools as an input.

It seems a highly relevant question where there is already a massive oversupply of lawyers generally and at least some minorities living in the legal profession's margins of incompetence or pseudo-poverty.  And if the legal profession really is too damned white, couldn't we cull some of the barely ethical boomers pulling the slouching court system towards Gomorrah? 

Consider how beautifully nonsensical this argument becomes upon even a whiff of scrutiny:  If minority students are able to pass the bar and the law schools deny them admission out of fear of stereotypical failure, the law schools are being blatantly racist.  If minority students aren't able to pass the bar, the law schools aren't doing them a favor by admitting them.

SO:  What does this fucking regulation do, but either relieve law schools of their own institutional racism OR permit the law schools to profit profit profit from students who have no business in an American law school under the Great White Cloak of "Opportunity"?

Why does a $10k soft tissue claim get more adversarial scrutiny than the policies that affect a generation of lawyer-serfs?

It's exploitation.  Glimmering, shiny exploitation.  Gleaming like polished alabaster in the noonday sun, fine as the deftly carved ivory in the foyer of warlord's mansion, as brilliant as bleached teeth or a birch forest covered in silent ice.  As beautifully shameless and blissfully overt as Mandingo or Foxy Brown, both of whom would be easily admitted into La Verne's night program.  Lexploitation.

God, even to a jaded, cynical political-legal realist, barred of any idealism related to law and justice, agnostic regarding the sacrosanct of the legal elite, this argument is awesome and ethereal:  superficially infallible, latently unsupportable, bigly profitable. 

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Meddling Self-Appointed Investigators Slander a Bunch of Noble Schools

Remember Scooby-Doo and the Mystery Machine gang?  Those cartoons were always incredibly biased towards the trespassing, interfering little whippersnappers who obstructed spookerific scams.  Alternative facts should have been in order.

Law School Transparency is legal education's equivalent of those noisome little thong-stains.

With the tone of a know-in-all kindergarten moral philosopher, LST has issued an updated report on "high risk" law schools to try and influence the ABA.
[I]f a school cannot survive without exploiting a large number of students, it should not survive. For the students who would have attended these schools and had a reasonable chance at passing the bar, they will find another law school to attend. For the others, they will be better served by not attending law school.

Many of the law schools we are most concerned with are placing a bet that the profession, accreditors, and government will stand idly by. As these updates show, the very high and extreme risk schools are headed in the wrong direction. Holding them accountable through smarter accreditation standards will right their path.
 Blah blah blah.  You can see the actual, exaggerated school data here. LST lists EIGHTY-TWO (82) schools as "High" risk on any level.

Now, if you honestly think that, like, 80+ of 200-some law schools are "high" risk, well, mister, I've got a bridge to sell you.  Also, you're probably the sort of dope who falls for fake ghosts so facile a bunch of teens with a stoned dog can figure it out in a half-hour.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

UMKC Law School Doing Things Right

Not that there's a wrong way to run a law school (other than closing up shop, of course), but UMKC seems to be doing things right.  Let's go to the independent newspaper hosted on a UMKC website!
“Our goal is always to have the right level of enrollment and sometimes that’s going to mean growing and sometimes it’s going to mean a decrease,” said [Student dean and admissions committee chair Allen] Rostron. “We’re always going to be careful not to admit more than would be justified by the quality of the applicant pool or the strength of the job market for graduating law students.”
Indeed.  Let's look at the numbers!

Non-discounted cost:  $125,062%
% paying full sticker:  61%
Employment Score:  61%
Underemployment: 19.1%
LSAT splits:  149-152-156
Last published NALP report showed median salaries generally in the 50s-60s, half in small-ish firms and public service.

According to LSN, there's a 58% acceptance rate

In light of the fact that every law school in the country is acting carefully to admit qualified students that are justified by the quality of the applicant pool and strength of the job market, I'd say UMKC is being super-responsible.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

SoFi Shows Robust Market for Lawyers

There's a natural leeriness with private student loan companies, just as there is with any private loan consolidation scheme that spams the mailboxes of people expecting a steady stream of massive settlement checks, five-figure retainers, and paid bills with happy client gratuities.

SoFi is totally legit.  The LSTC has not done business with it, but its good purpose and honesty is clear from its valuable and helpful research into salary-debt ratios.
Elite institutions are generally worth the outlay, but, according to a newly released study, a few less nationally known schools also make the cut.

The University of Texas at Austin, the University of Houston and the University of Georgia were among the 10 schools offering the best salary-to-debt ratios, according to the study by SoFi, which stands for Social Finance Inc., an online student loan refinance company. They are grouped with Harvard, Yale and Stanford among the top schools that offered their graduates good value for the substantial debt they incurred while law students.
See?  You don't have to be at the tippy top to put your graduates on the fast-track to success, you only have to close to it!  Thanks, SoFi!

Of course, composing such a list requires high math.  As a result, a quick lesson in multi-dimensional, base-10 integer fractions is in order.  Salary-to-debt ratios require both a numerator and a denominator.  These are fancy Latin terms that mean "top" and "bottom," drawing a nifty parallel between fractional math and butt sex. 

Anyway, our numerator is first year salary and our denominator is long-term debt.  And how did SoFi determine "average" salary and debt at law schools?
SoFi rated the schools after examining salary and debt records of more than 60,000 people who applied to refinance their student loans with the San Francisco company between 2014 and 2016.
If anything, SoFi is being too harsh on law schools here.  Who applies for refinancing?  Obviously, it's people who need lower monthly payments.  The graduates who have the best salary-to-debt ratios would have no need for such things.

And we know this must be the case when we look at the salary numerators used by SoFi:

Worst law schools by lowest return on education 
We know these numbers are artificially low for averages.  Almost certainly, graduates of - say - TJLS are making more than $101,173 on average with debt loads of far less than $169,951.  But since SoFi is using a pool of lawyers going to loan sharks, most probably those few with substance abuse or gambling issues, the numbers get skewed and TJLS only has a 0.6x ratio.  In reality, it's probably more like 1.5.

While it's concerning that SoFi would present certain schools with a thumbs down logo, the salary numbers provided by those desperate for financial help show a robust lawyer market and that these people talking about gluts and overlawyering are ignoring that the Million Dollar Express is chugging down the tracks as fast as ever.

Thanks, SoFi!

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Bringing Law School Jobs Back to Charlotte

The internet articles write themselves, filling the gaps like a LegalZoom form filing, the headline usually looking something like:

[Metro Area] Might Lose [Failed Business]? [Metro Area] Needs a New One!

This sort of economic atavism is, economically speaking, stupid.  Just as jobs in defunct industries just don't wang dang reappear like global commerce is a fucking magic trick, it's ridiculous to try and reinvigorate businesses where they obviously fail and rational economic actors have chosen to move elsewhere, purchase elsewhere, etc.  The Free Market is the Free Market, and if we're moving to government intervention forcing industries and jobs to exist against the order of the Free Market, we could do a heck of a lot better than...

WAIT!  What the fuck am I smoking?  I'm in Trump's America now, and that means we're bringing old jobs back. While most of the hubbub so far has been about metalworkers and light industry in the rust belt, I challenge the reader to ask why not law schools?

Indeed, why not bring lost law school jobs back before they've even left?

Charlotte's got the right idea.
Our city needs to have a law school. And with Charlotte School of Law on the ropes, it’s time to get going on starting a new one.
It’s a shame that the many Charlotte School of Law alums now working in the city’s legal community have had their degrees tarnished. But it’s important that future students like those can still attain their educational goals here in town.
Article pitches UNC-Charlotte law with an intriguing but less satisfying backup suggestion of relocating Wake Forest to Charlotte.

The article does not seem to be a parody.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Always Look on the Bright Side of Life

Well, Charlotte Law, the doctor's leather shoes are walking back to the examination room and the news isn't good.  You've got the law school equivalent of a perplexing malignancy, so many tumors in so many bad places - bile duct, brain stem, blood, stomach, you name it - they're not even sure how to label your particularly malady and they're not sure it's worth the effort because you should have died months ago, ya fucked-up harlot.


Federal loan funding vanished.

Faculty layoffs, up to two thirds.

The executive branch is... not primed for a bailout.

It's a lot to be pessimistic about, as the school is basically on life support pending how many of its students can sell enough drugs and/or plasma and/or false promises to relatives to make a few tuition payments. In such times, cynicism becomes an alluring philosophy, to scowl at the world and fortune and God, to ask "why me?!" and keep telling yourself that you just wanted to do good things.
“We all know in our hearts that Charlotte School of Law could have been a good school and done a lot of good.

“Then for all of it to come crashing down, and in a way that met our worst fears. … The levels of frustration have just become overwhelming. We were all trying to do something good, and it just went bad.” 
Tragic, when all a group of people want to do is make an unreasonably high income making easy profits doing lax work for a shady corporation that harvests government-backed funds from sub-marginal professional school candidates with relatively low chances of career success, and they just get curb-stomped by  a cruel, cold system wearing the stormtrooper boots of pseudo-fascism.

So let's look on the bright side!

On the bright side:
  • the school has a chance at survival, these fires of adversity forging and hardening its steely resolve
  • the students who remain at the school will get first-hand experience in what it's like to work in a fledgling law firm that could shutter its doors at any moment, valuable experience for many of them
  • It's never been a better time for UNC-Charlotte, Winthrop, Davidson, Gardner-Webb, Catawba, or Queens to explore adding a law school
  • the school is now an experimental hotbed for alternative methods of financing personal investment products that show, typically, on average, routinely, etc., a million dollar lifetime premium
  • students are still earning JDs there, meaning one of them might grow up to be the next Kellyanne Conway!  #LifeGoals
  • while professorial turnover is high, the worst case scenario is that the Charlotte metropolitan area will be blessed with a dump-load of experienced practitioners ready to step into partner-level positions providing their expertise to the region's well-known banking and tech corporations
  • there's still any number of fun wealth-transfer schemes for the moneyed and credentialed to deploy and exploit socioeconomic advantage; get creative!
That's a lot of positives that shine through despite the dark clouds of oppression.  So keep scammin', but just in case no one rescues Charlotte Law from the cross on its own American Golgotha, there's plenty of bright side for all involved.  That's the power of law. 

Whether you slowly wilt from thirst and starvation or a merciful creature slits your throat, look skyward, Charlotte, and whistle in a major key.

Friday, January 20, 2017

The Department of Education is in Good Hands

It is likely (barely) within the comprehension of the readership that the federal student loan programs come within the ambit of the Department of Education.  We need not delve into the particulars; we can safely leave such matters to Education Law(c) specialists with LLMs from any number of fine institutions.

But earlier this week, Trump's nomination for Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, came, saw, and conquered her confirmation hearings.
A billionaire investor, education philanthropist and Michigan Republican activist, Ms. DeVos acknowledged that she has no personal experience with student loans — the federal government is the largest provider — and said she would have to “review” the department’s policies that try to prevent fraud by for-profit colleges.
But if she was sometimes rattled on the specifics, Ms. DeVos was unshakable in her belief that education authority should devolve away from the federal government and toward state and local authorities. Whether the issue was allowing guns in schools, how to investigate sexual assault on college campuses, or how to measure learning, her answer was always that states and what she called “locales” knew best.
The LSTC has little interest in becoming a political blog.  Scam is universal; anyone can do it with a bit of know-how, some pluck, and landing the right spot on the Conveyor Belt of Career Fortune in one's mid- to late-20s.  Super-liberal professors and arch-conservative businessman can team together in a beautiful fusion of misplaced idealism and wink-nod capitalism.

But Betsy DeVos is pretty bitchin', am I right?  She's got billions of dollars and yet - like many law professors - she has chosen to sacrifice and serve the public by selflessly taking the highest position in the American education superstructure.

Free of any need to advance her career, she has no need to play academic games and pretend she understands the nuanced arguments made by losers of various stripes who have devoted their careers to education policy. We should respect someone so far up her own ass that she stands firm on absolute principles like "local government" without even understanding the bigger picture or having reviewed various key government policies prior to testifying in front of Congress.

For years, the federal government has been a thorn in the side of profitable, necessary law schools, even recently taking away the funding of over 10% of for-profit law schools.

But DeVos understands that education shouldn't be left to "policy folks" who have "standards" and want to prevent "fraud" and "abuse."  Education is best left to "localities."

In the context of law schools, that means the following:
  • The ABA and its member institutions are left to regulate their own industry with their own "local" expertise, flimsy distinction between profit and non-profit aside;
  • Federal loan money keeps flowing unabated - I mean, you just can't take that away;
  • American public schools will become so abysmal that even more post-secondary institutions - including law schools - will be necessary to correct earlier deficits in the educational system.
Inauguration isn't until later today, but this administration is already shaping up to be the best in the last five years or so by a wide, wide margin. 

I'll have a mint julep in hand and a smile on my face.  Scam on.