Sunday, July 23, 2017

Asian-American Engineers Passing on Lucrative Career Doesn't Add Up

Two stories today for your simultaneous consideration:

Asian-Americans are underrepresented in law:
Asian-American enrollment in law school has declined more steeply than that of other racial and ethnic groups, according to a report documenting a glass ceiling for this group in the law.
...
The report, “A Portrait of Asian Americans in the Law,” suggests the decline could be because of instability in the market for legal employment, the relative attractiveness of other professions, and recruiting efforts by law schools seeking African-American and Hispanic students.

The report’s major conclusion—that Asian-Americans are underrepresented among the top ranks of the legal profession—was released in January. Findings include: Asian-Americans are the largest minority group at major law firms, but they have the highest attrition rates and the lowest ratio of partners to associates. Asian-Americans make up only 3 percent of the federal judiciary and only 2 percent of state court judges.
The second story is Law School Admissions by College Major:
The chart makes a strong case supporting the conventional wisdom that the GPAs from different college majors are not equivalent. Although French majors and mechanical engineering majors have the same average LSAT, the average GPA for French majors is more than 0.3 higher, which is an enormous difference in the tightly stratified world of law school admissions. The applicant with a 158 LSAT and a 3.25 GPA in mechanical engineering likely has similar prospects as an applicant with a 158 LSAT and a 3.55 in French, but the latter is probably more likely to be admitted to law school and receive a scholarship.

This bias toward higher-GPA college majors creates several problems for law schools. The schools may end up admitting students who will not perform as well as others who were not admitted. In addition, schools miss out on students with science backgrounds who have strong employment prospects in areas such as patent prosecution.
Obviously, high-scoring Asian-American STEM students are idiot savants.  They could go into law, where they're doubly underrepresented. They could make so much money their distant ancestors would awake and cry with happiness at the blessings of corporatized postmodern western culture.    Even the most culturally atavistic, conservative cousins across the Pacific will instantly be quoting Wall Street and buying each other Thomas Friedman books at Christmas.

Instead, the Asian-American STEM student chooses to do "other things."  Well, my Asian- and Asian-American friends, how about instead of shooting off real rockets of limited practical utility you blast through that legal sector glass ceiling?

You can't cure cancer unless you secure the patents first, and need I remind you that no one - no one - solved Fermat's Last Theorem until after the jurisprudential breakthrough of Sony v. Universal City Studios (1984).

Obviously, law schools do the situation no favors.  Presumably under the belief that Asian-American STEM students don't need the benefits of a law degree as much as certain other non-whites, law schools have declined aggressively pursuing these particular marks.

Well, my beloved law schools, that's racist stereotyping.  Who are you to assume that these young individuals wouldn't find law an infinitely more satisfying career than the traditional STEM options?  Who are you to assume that BigLaw only wants the Asian-American as a niche specialist?  Who are you to assume that these youths and their well-intended tigerparents fully evaluate the available information and routinely determine that law school is a no-go post-recession?

Such presumptive race- and ethnicity-driven evaluations are wholly inappropriate for vaunted institutions of higher learning.  If you're going to scam Latinos and African-Africans, you damn well should be exploiting the Asian-American youth, too.  Fair's fair, law deans.

Law schools should develop programs specifically targeted to luring the Asian-American STEM lemming back to the law school scam. Scholarship programs, targeted guilt-inflicting initiatives, and outright lies about the need for international law and IP attorneys seem to be good starting points.  Survivor bias alumni speeches are also good.  Misleading graphs, even better.

Asian-American STEM grads also bear some blame.  Why give law - and by extension, social justice - the childish cold shoulder?  Because other opportunities - boring opportunities irrelevant to the Rule of Law - appear more instantly gratifying?  Because you don't see Asian-Americans filling the ranks of BigLaw partnerships?  Because the hip TV lawyers are all white?  Because your parents are pushing you into a more stable and less alcohol-fueled STEM field?  Because you care more about paying a reasonable amount of debt in a timely matter with a productive career?

Well, grow up, snowflake.  Be your own person and take the bait like a fully integrated old-school Eisenhower American.  If I know the shallow depravity of law schools, they'll even cook it in curry sauce and pair it with rice for you.

That obviously wouldn't be how those of Anglo-Saxon stock get bamboozled hook line and sinker, but fully realized exploitative multicultural paradises aren't built in a day.

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.