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.