Wednesday, July 19, 2017

This Summer I Hear the Grumbling. More Debt in Ohio

The Ohio State Bar Association recently did one of them blue ribbon reports on new lawyer practice, and I have to say, for a state with numerous outstanding law schools worth attending at double sticker, it's disappointing in its lack of context comparing debt to long-term starting salaries.

You can see the full report here, although if you're like most of my readers the lack of guns, cash, teets, or anti-Trump drivel will likely deter your better attention.
The average 2015 Ohio law school graduate has approx. $98,475 in law school debt. Yet, only approximately 58% of Ohio law school graduates are employed in jobs requiring bar passage, and a national study shows median law firm starting salaries have dropped more than 40% from 2009 to 2013. In addition, without effective mentoring, many of these graduates may lack crucial “practice-ready” skills they need to competently serve clients.
The conspicuous omission here is long-term salary earnings premium.  Exactly how many peer-reviewed articles have to be published showing a lifetime lawyer boost before these hack journalists get it?  Does it have to be more than one?

Sure, there's $98,475 in debt now.  Sure, only 58% are employed in jobs requiring bar passage now. 

But what about 20 years from now when the Boomers are drooling in nursing homes and these Millennial badasses are sipping gin and juice on beaches in the Balearic Islands?  Are you going to be complaining about debt or jobs requiring bar passage then???

But I digress.

Setting aside the chicken little debt bitching, it's a fairly comprehensive report with a sui generis poetic grammar.  For example, there are concerns about legal pedagogy connected to a nut-licking of large law firms:
The traditional Socratic method of teaching law students to “think like a lawyer” is more widely scrutinized than ever as law schools and the practicing bar acknowledge that law school graduates are not graduating practice-ready.  They enter a field of law which remains highly interdisciplinary and entrepreneurial, but the economics have shifted. Fewer attorneys, for example, are being hired by large firms, which have historically provided invaluable, on-the-job training and mentoring to help new lawyers learn the business.
There's a bizarre and awkward interjection of the opioid crisis.
[W]ith Ohio facing an opiate epidemic and knowing that so many Ohio lawyers, like the rest of the population, continue to struggle with substance abuse, chemical dependencies and mental health issues, there is still a need to educate attorneys on how to recognize the symptoms and seek help when necessary.
Chet, of course, can lay off the Hydro and go to a rural part of Ohio, because they drop that white lightning, too:
OSBA should continue to offer and expand upon its “Rural Practice Initiative” to encourage new lawyers to practice in nonurban areas of Ohio, where there is a growing access to justice need due to the diminishing number of attorneys practicing in these areas. Many new lawyers aren’t willing or able due to debt to re-locate. We must develop a program to entice them to do so. 
One may wonder how debt prevents someone from living in a low-cost area with a market need for legal services, but it's best to simply not ask questions and go with the mojo.

See, the good thing about these Task Force! reports is that they always find a way for the important people to have their cake and eat it, too.  With just a few minor changes, poor folks can find affordable representation and new lawyers can get themselves easy payable work.  One has to admire the sheer pluck of the liberal reformer.

Of course, these folks are so left-wing Bernie Sanders-y that they missed the long-term earnings increase that comes from having a law degree even if one never practices law.  So many of the concerns in the report could be more properly addressed by simply letting Case Western and Toledo produce exemplary graduates in an efficient and factory-like manner.  Enough law graduates and eventually legal needs in East Shitsberg are met or, better yet, created.  Enough work and eventually some of it becomes high paying - that's a law of economics.  Enough easy money and eventually the private market invests in companies that end the opioid crisis by producing even better drugs.

Sometimes we just need to trust the market.  Free markets work, especially when you subsidize them with government-guaranteed loans.  At least the report didn't get all hell-bent on that particular "solution."

Saturday, July 15, 2017

The Charleston Saga, Cont'd: The Law School Strikes Back

The Trump era has been nothing if not the indisputably glorious triumph - finally - of the red-blooded, punch-first white American male, the type of schmoes who toil in moldering factories to buy bolt action rifles and heavy duty pickups for their daily trip to the domestic-only liquor store 'cross town.  The mid-shelf hard stuff and none-too-crafty beer.  God bless 'Merica.

Charleston, SC, is a city of Men. Colonial, southern, true blue American, 70% white, coastal, nice climate, nice-assed women, Fort Sumpter - that most American of places - just off the beautiful harbor...

It fits that Charleston has a resplendent law school worthy of its environment.  Contrary to all you granola poops who said the place was done, Charleston School of Law is a haughty roar of thunder on an otherwise pacific afternoon.

Charleston is off the naughty list of the Department of Education, which has finally realized it has better priorities - like doing nothing at all.
Several years after the Charleston School of Law became engulfed in chaos over a pending sale to a private company, its president says the institution has rebounded in enrollment and finances.

"The school is turning around quicker than anyone could imagine," President Ed Bell said Friday. "We literally thought it would take four to five years, but we've done it in less than two."

Bell noted that in October 2015, the school had only 82 members in its freshman class. Last year, that had climbed to 202, and he said he expects between 200 and 225 this fall.
Look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair! 
Good for Charleston.  Like the 42-year-old freshly divorced father of three who bagged a 23-year-old Denny's waitress, it's rebounded nicely, showcasing an admirable amount of institutional prowess.

And, back on the road to freewheeling American white male success, it's telling its disposable consumers - all pending millionaires - to go fuck themselves in remarkably adroit ways:
The school is appealing its failing rating on another federal list that compares graduates' incomes with their student debt. Bell said his goal is that future students can cut their student debt in half within five years — without abandoning the school's emphasis on encouraging graduates to take unconventional jobs, at least at first.

"We encourage students immediately after getting out of school just to take a couple of years and give back," he said. "Go be a policeman, go be a fireman. Go work as a law clerk. A lot of these are low-paying jobs, but it teaches them something they will take with them for the rest of their lives."
Can you imagine a better way to metaphorically shove a razor wire dildo up a lemming's firm buttocks than to tell him or her to go work as a policeman, fireman, or law clerk?  The former two are basically crashing a high-demand fraternity with the wrong skill-set and the third one is telling them to do what lawyers sometimes do anyway out of career ambition (judicial) or a failure to find a real lawyer job (private).

Selling public service as a mask for the fact that one's graduates maybe perhaps sorta can't get good lawyer jobs is the sort of scam cookin' that wins James Beard Awards. 

"A couple of years" also happens to be the shelf life for many third tier law degrees.  Trying to get an entry-level lawyer position after three years of fightin' fires sounds like a great way for employers to assume there's something mentally wrong with you. 

You're as employable as you'll ever be the day you graduate law school, so why not take some completely unrelated job and piss away the short window of opportunity you have?

Well, if anyone can do it, it's Charleston students.  These plucky bastards ran straight back on the Million Dollar Express right after a derailment.  If anyone can pull off K-JD-cop-lawyer, it's this snowfall of special flakes.

Like  Ken-doll, I guess, you can dress your little superman in all sorts of new outfits.  For example, here's a cute little Jos. A. Bank suit with matching briefcase.  And here's a snazzy policeman's outfit complete with a whistle, baton, and a working Glock!  Hands up, don't shoot!

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Nevertheless, Charlotte Persisted

I'm not saying it's misogynist for the fascist thugs to go after Charlotte School of Law before its gender neutral brethren siblings Coastal or Summit, but we're running out of arguments here, so... the ABA is a vast conspiracy in mansplaining...

Charlotte School of Law is however setting a first-rate example to our young girls on how to persist in the face of desolate futility.  Like the brave girl ready to be trampled by the Wall St. Bull or Sen. Warren showing off her ability to schoolmarm, it's persisting.
The for-profit Charlotte School of Law has been forced to stop accepting new students, and the faculty count has been reduced by about 70 percent. Only about 100 students remain enrolled, down from about 750.

But it’s still limping along. Summer school is currently underway, and fall classes are scheduled to start on Aug. 28.
Good speed, li'l' fighter!

Of course, you can set the best example in the world and still have people not follow it:
Hunter is concerned about getting a job with CSL on her record. She said she and other students are viewed as “damaged goods,” and some local law firms aren’t interested in hiring any CSL graduates, regardless of class rank.
...
Herrera said there were signs that the school wasn’t all that it was supposed to be. When he first enrolled at CSL in August 2015, Herrera said the bar exam passage rate was around 30 percent.

“It was an eye-opener that maybe something’s wrong here,” he said.
These students had the right idea in completely ignoring red flag after red flag.  But then - when their school needs them the most - they suddenly find favor with nonsense!

Sigh...  

Charlotte has until August 1 to provide the UNC Board of Governors with proof of its financial viability and until August 10 to have the ABA approve its "teach-out" plan.  Do a sistah a solid, friendly citizens, and donate now.  Charlotte's persisting, just like the Million Dollar Express onto which its trying to cling.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Florida Coastal Admissions Stats to Surge

Just as a third grader can turn that wimpy, wiry frame into a 6'4" beefcake who bench-presses Volvos merely by drinking milk and doing some pushups, law schools can change, too.

Florida Coastal has some shit-stained admissions numbers.  But it's about to polish that shit-stain to a lustrous shine.
[T]he Jacksonville law school says it has introduced stricter admission requirements.

For admissions, the law school plans to raise its minimum LSAT score by almost 7 points, the Florida Times Union reports.
At this thunderous pace, Florida Coastal will rival Harvard in a mere four more years.

But of course it comes with noble sacrifices.
Scott DeVito, the law school’s dean, told the newspaper that some elective classes have been cut to focus more on bar preparation and law practice schools. [sic]

“Our classes are shrinking based on that,” he said. “We want a core set of classes that are rigorous enough to really teach students how to be prepared to practice law.”
Finally, a law school that's going to teach students how to be prepared to practice law.  It only took a a century and a half, but finally one of them cracked the code.  This will be like installing nuclear powered crack cocaine in the Million Dollar Express's boiler.

Infilaw might get a lot of flack, but you know what? They're trying.  They're learning.  And in like five years, you're going to regret making fun of them.  They might be puny now, but they're chugging milk.  Swimming in the stuff.  No lactose intolerance here.  They're going to kick. your. ass.

Monday, July 3, 2017

USA Today and the Glorious, Super-Interesting Future of Law

You know it's bad when USA Today has to find the right experts to correct your rampant misconceptions.

While this recent article focuses at first on the common themes of recent attention-seeking headlines - law schools closing, fewer student-marks enrolling, etc. - the meat comes halfway when writer Greg Toppo essentially hands the keys of the Lambo to Suffolk Dean Andrew M. Perlman and LegalZoon General Counsel Chas Rampenthal.

Perlman concedes initially that there may be "fewer opportunities" for lawyers in the future, but those that exist are going to be pretty damned sweet:
The upside: lawyers these days “are practicing at the top of their license, so to speak — that is, they’re doing higher-value work, which is actually a good development," he said. "It’s good for lawyers, because the work they do get is more interesting. And it’s also good for the consumers, because they aren’t having to pay for lower-value work.”
With this view, one would logically expect that Suffolk is producing the Goldilocks amount of lawyers to meet the market demand for this future interesting work.  There's no way it would recklessly pump out hundreds of kids when only twenty of them get to play with the big boys someday, right?

To think otherwise - to even think that Suffolk is willingly selling kids on job opportunities that its leadership knows aren't going to exist in 5-10 years with oppressive loans that take 25 to pay back (if!) - is to assume Perlman is assisting in a duplicitous slaughterhouse of a monstrously obvious scam.  That would be a crass thing to do, and I categorically will not do it.

Likewise, I wouldn't want to debate what, exactly, is interesting about attending mundane status hearings, writing pointless objections to poorly written discovery requests, rejecting tracked changes on the 4th draft of an asset purchase agreement because another attorney blew off a lesson or two of middle school English, receiving client calls on a Friday afternoon because the internet says something so terribly wrong one wouldn't know where to start, arguing frivolous or stupid motions because [pro se; someone's bill padding/selling value to hapless client; someone's rolling the dice with a maverick judge; opposing counsel is just plain stupid; etc.], watching a contingency case blow up two years in because the broke-ass client lied about something sort-of important, scratching one's eyeballs out because small businessman client ran three businesses and his personal bills through one LLC that he created through a scam company in Nevada, deposing a generic back injury auto accident victim for the 50th time, writing unread research memos on things your $750/hr boss should probably know if he actually earned that A- in civil procedure, showing up at a traffic court call with anything more than a cheap sport-coat hangover and the bleary smile of lifetime defeat, or any of the hundreds of other things that make law practice go go go.

I wouldn't want to discuss these things because it's self-evident that being a lawyer gives one a sense of self-actualized vivacity and power that makes Robocop look like a freckled, scrawny armed hall monitor.  Imagine drinking wine for fun and not as a coping mechanism!  Lawyering is like that.

But what happens when they finally program the sophisticated SuperLawyerBot to fully evaluate cases and controversies before they even begin?  To evaluate just compensation?  Proof beyond a reasonable doubt?

That's as dumb as talking about smartphones in the 70s, you futurist.  Put down Brave New World and Player Piano and come back to reality.  For now, there's lots of interesting lawyer work.  Tons.

Ask around.  Ask LegalZoom's top lawyer.  He agrees that too many lawyers are just being inefficient right now focusing on un-lawyer things.
...[H]e estimated that 70% to 80% of every hour billed by lawyers “probably doesn’t require a law license.” Finding new clients, wining and dining them and fretting over billing, he said, can be done by someone else. “That is not what lawyers should be spending their time doing.”
No kidding.  Stop billing your clients for these things, you inefficient private practitioners! Do some of that interesting work instead!

And once we get this technology to free up lawyers for that interesting work, WE MIGHT EVEN NEED MORE LAW SCHOOLS!
LegalZoom's Rampenthal said technology may well shrink the job market in the short term, but if costs go down, public demand for legal services will eventually rise. In the long term, he said, demand for lawyers could rebound and more law schools may open.
Hail the future!

Dean Perlman agrees that this technological disruption has more or less created a buying opportunity for the economically shrewd prospective student:
It’s actually “a great time” to go into the legal profession, he said. “From my perspective, it is an especially exciting time to be part of the legal industry, because I think it is changing more significantly and more rapidly than at any time in anyone’s memory.”
I remember a decade ago discussing Amazon with some MBA homies.  A few of them - wild masturbatory loners, really - predicted it would be the eventual end of retail.  "NO!" I said, "it's actually an especially exciting time to be a part of the retail industry, because I think it is changing more significantly and rapidly than at any time in anyone's memory."

I've been buying up Sears and Penney's stock for years.  They're not dying companies, just significantly changing ones.  It's an exciting time to be investing, if you completely disregard the rational conclusions that result from reviewing every fragment of  objective evidence.

Happy 4th of July, readers.  As you watch fireworks beautifully explode like the career dreams of a generation, please remember to make your monthly student loan debt payments.  Some of us have mistresses with expensive habits.

Monday, June 26, 2017

The Fort Wayne Circle of Scam and the Million Dollar Community College Degree

Every American law school is required to have a library.  It's necessary, as law practice requires physically cracking open a book every now and then.  What did you nutless chickadees think this was, a PlayStation tournament?

In any event, what becomes of that golden pile of holy knowledge, that infinite supply of sacred legal wisdom only endowed upon those special enough to pay the tuition fees at an ABA accredited school?

Indiana Tech found a revolutionary solution to dispensing the wealth:
Ivy Tech Community College's Fort Wayne campus will soon have a new resource for students -- a law library made possible by a donation from Indiana Tech.
And when I say wealth, I mean it literally.  Labor economists have these whiz-bang theories that value human capital by seeing how earnings rise with additional training and education.  Inductively, then, we know that the value of a legal education is massive, since the earnings premium of a law graduate over a non-law graduate is over a million dollars.

Knowing that a legal education is worth a million dollars, what's the result if we could squeeze that same product into a shorter time frame, and earlier in the educational process?

Why, with those paralegal students about to pack the knowledge in like their brains are literally made of protein bars, we've developed the million dollar community college degree!  If yer 20 and basic English composition ain't yer cup o' dirt-flavored coffee, why not pick up Pennoyer v. Neff?  25-year-old single mother from Corn City struggling with Intro to Crim?  Fuck it and learn yourself the Roth test!

Endless applications, the law.  For years, the LSTC has supported integrating legal education at earlier levels of schooling, both to promote general knowledge and to develop a bad-ass corps of whip-smart paralegals ready to take low-level lawyer jobs, which they totally won't, because we're all cool about it. 

If it takes a fifth-tier law school dumping its books on the local community college to wind up operations without having to expense an extra dumpster to get there, so be it!

Here's to every community college getting itself a set of law books.  And remember, if you really want to get your students an edge, you'll full sets of Am Jur, the CJS, and the ALR.  Can't get 'em anywhere else.  Accept no substitutes!

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.
Ca-ching!

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 misleading...at 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.

Amen.

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

Patriotism

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.