Thursday, December 31, 2015

2015: The Year in Review

January 1, 2015:  Young Odysseus, can you hear the voice of destiny singing?  Unbind your mind, and let it follow your heart on the journey!  Law school remains an incredible experience, its teachings both invaluable to the person upon whom the gods bestow it as well as to the Rule of Law and the preservation of virtuous post-liberal western society.  Despite being drenched with the digital, barbaric firehose of factless internet defamation, law school administrators and professors continue to not only run estimable institutions, modern colleges worthy to succeed the Platonic Academy, they do so at great personal and financial sacrifice.  The students, young Apollos and Athenas, meanwhile, benefit tremendously, gaining an educational toolbox that, while not a vulgar trade school in any way, shape, or form, allows them to construct million dollar careers in addition to the mental fine-tuning enabled by mastery of jurisprudential thought processes that will have them slicing Gordian Knots in three years flat.  They may not solely, or even, practice law, for the titanic versatility of the mighty juris doctor allows law school graduates to literally perform any occupation, from philosopher to Senator to philanthropist.  That certain dystopian state actors would derive some newfangled testing technology to tell us who gets to don the garb of Icarus and soar to the sun is disgusting and an affront to our most sacred virtues.  Finally, while law school certainly is expensive due to the high demands of technology as driven by elite students, the costs of legal education, often reduced, are worth it in light of government programs that seem fairly adamantine despite their constant amendment, as well as, of course, the Midas touch upon one's future income stream.  Like Tantalus, your hunger and thirst will be quenched; like Prometheus, you will receive first-rate medical care; and like Sisyphus, you will achieve immense personal satisfaction in each day helping to move the boulder of social justice further up the mountian-side of iniquity.

January 1, 2016:  Young Odysseus, can you hear the voice of destiny singing?  Unbind your mind, and let it follow your heart on the journey!  Law school remains an incredible experience, its teachings both invaluable to the person upon whom the gods bestow it as well as to the Rule of Law and the preservation of virtuous post-liberal western society.  Despite being drenched with the digital, barbaric firehose of factless internet defamation, law school administrators and professors continue to not only run estimable institutions, modern colleges worthy to succeed the Platonic Academy, they do so at great personal and financial sacrifice.  The students, young Apollos and Athenas, meanwhile, benefit tremendously, gaining an educational toolbox that, while not a vulgar trade school in any way, shape, or form, allows them to construct million dollar careers in addition to the mental fine-tuning enabled by mastery of jurisprudential thought processes that will have them slicing Gordian Knots in three years flat.  They may not solely, or even, practice law, for the titanic versatility of the mighty juris doctor allows law school graduates to literally perform any occupation, from philosopher to Senator to philanthropist.  That certain dystopian state actors would derive some newfangled testing technology to tell us who gets to don the garb of Icarus and soar to the sun is disgusting and an affront to our most sacred virtues.  Finally, while law school certainly is still expensive due to the high demands of technology as driven by elite students, the costs of legal education, often reduced, are worth it in light of government programs that seem fairly adamantine despite their constant amendment, as well as, of course, the Midas touch upon one's future income stream.  Like Tantalus, your hunger and thirst will be quenched; like Prometheus, you will receive first-rate medical care; and like Sisyphus, you will achieve immense personal satisfaction in each day helping to move the boulder of social justice further up the mountian-side of iniquity.

Basically, the audience, it seems, is into Greek.  Any questions?

Friday, December 25, 2015

Dean Satan and the Christmas Tale of Jimmy the Slug

Once there was a slug.  His name was Jimmy.  He found himself in Dean Satan's garden chewing on some spinach leafs.  Dean Satan loved nutrition and was quite fond of Vitamin A; his nutritional values were graded on a curve, after all.

Jimmy the Slug figured he would live a nice, easy life eating leaves and the occasional carrot.  He had everything he wanted in the garden and in the slug colony.  Food, women, sunshine.  It was peaceful, tranquil, warm.

But as he ate spinach and the sun shone down in his partly cloudy utopia, there suddenly came the reddish orb of Dean Satan's glowing head.  Jimmy the Slug had been warned of Dean Satan by the other slugs- though Dean Satan gave them everything they had, he had a reputation for smiting the poor insects when the mood hit.  Some vermin simply have no gratitude for their betters.

But on this day, Dean Satan showed total compassion.  He picked little Jimmy up from the spinach leaf and held him in his hand.

"Jimmy the Slug," he said.  "How are you doing today?"
Jimmy was so nervous.  Does one tell a dark lord that he is doing well?  That he is enjoying his simple existence, wishing not to beg for Job-like treatment? (if there's one thing most slugs do not want, it is a job.)  "Good, Dean Satan.  You?"
"Jimmy, I'm doing okay, I suppose.  But there's a hole in my heart."

He cradled Jimmy in the palm of his red head and paced about the garden.  Jimmy was sure this was it for him; the Dean had lured bright young Jimmy, Succubus-like, into his smooth arms, only to take what he wished from Jimmy and then discard the squished remains back to the mean and barren dirt near the spinach patch.

"Jimmy, the folks who monitor law school compliance are starting to get upset about bar passage rates and declining LSAT scores.  I'm genuinely concerned that it's leaving a gaping hole in the ability of justice in the United States for lack of diversity."
"What do you mean, sir?"
"Jimmy, when is the last time you saw a slug attorney?"
"I don't know that I've ever seen one."
"Don't you think it's important to have diversity in the attorney ranks?  What if someone accused you of a crime?  Wouldn't you feel more comfortable going to a slug?  Wouldn't you feel better seeing slugs well-represented in the professional ranks?"
"But slugs don't have the intellect of humans.  I'm sure if a slug could meet the minimum requirements for entry to the profession, it would be one thing.  But slugs are generally unqualified, I would think."
"God damn it, Jimmy!"

The dean was irate.  How could he make this slug understand the importance of advancing bottom-feeding diversity claims that benefit a small group of people at the expense of almost everyone else?

"Look, we've got a justice problem in the United States, agreed?"
"I don't know.  That's a complicated..."
"Damn it, we do!"  The dean spoke more quickly and his skin turned redder; Jimmy shook nervously, as just a simple feverish squeeze of the dean's mighty hand would end his life immediately.
"Opening the doors of law schools to people with 140 LSATs who are disproportionately minorities is a net positive in the grand justice equation because it advances racial gobbledygook goals!"
"I can agree the profession should better reflect social reality, but the solution is not..."
"Jimmy, you're making this way too complicated!"
"What are you getting at, dean?"

The dean sat down on a nearby bench.  "Jimmy, you probably can't tell because I live in a Mediterranean-style sex pad, but it's Christmas time."
"Christmas?  What's that?"
"Jimmy, that's our winter solstice celebration, a time when we come together and celebrate humanity, and continue our efforts to exploit the less fortunate, but while singing them shit and pushing trinkets in their carts.  It's customary among the humans to give gifts to each other."
"Like a birthday celebration?"
"No," the dean snapped, "there's no birthday celebration at Christmas!"

They sat in silence for a few moments, each pondering the meaning of Christmas.  Then Jimmy the slug cautiously broke the silence.  "Golly, Dean Satan, now you have me feeling guilty."
"But why is that, Jimmy the Slug?"
"Well, you give me and the other slugs so much throughout the year in the vegetable garden.  I mean - sure - you spray insecticide every now and then like a genocidal maniac, but for most of us it's a good life.  Ad yet I have nothing to give you in return!"

The dean smiled devilishly.  He knew he had picked up a smart slug.  "Oh, but you do, Jimmy!"
The LSAT folks had been befuddled by the disability accommodation request, but it was nothing compared to the skepticism of the admissions folks.

"Satan, baby, he's not only got a 132 LSAT, he's a mollusk, for Pete's sake."
"Why are you being so damned species-ist?"

Through the force of his sheer will, Dean Satan got Jimmy the Slug admitted to his law school.  After all, who was going to stop him?  That archangel Aba, tasked with monitoring his every malfeasance, basically went into hibernation.  And getting the government to back a loan to "James Slug" was remarkably easy.

His faculty was confused trying to educate a slug, but kept at it, and every wrote articles about the value of diversity in legal education.  Some prostitutes have little quality control, you know.

Three years later, Jimmy the Slug slithered across the stage, proudly accepting his diploma from a giddy Dean Satan.  The only hurdle on Jimmy's open road to riches was the Krampus-y oligarchs running the bar exam.

"I'm sorry, Dean Satan, but Jimmy the Slug scored a 2 on the bar exam."
"You test is racist!" Dean Satan roared.

But then he calmed down.  Yelling was no way to solve problems.  He would write letters, and sue if he must!  All the other law deans with their low-scoring slugs joined him in a powerful chorus, and their song caused the bar examiners' icy hearts to swell three times that day!

After their massive coronaries, there were no bar exams left.  No barriers of entry to Jimmy the Slug's greatness.  And so Jimmy the Slug went on to run a successful workman's compensation practice.

One day, many years later, Jimmy the Slug ran into Dean Satan.  "Dean," he said, "I'm still not sure what I gave you for Christmas that year."
"Jimmy," the dean said, "you gave me the greatest gift of all."

The dean took another sip of wine.  "Now tell me, how fast do slugs reproduce?"

Merry Christmas, most of you.  Remember this holiday season that you can help the less sending them a law school application.  And that includes anyone, no matter how stupid or totally non-human.  If Jimmy the Slug can do it, you can, too!

Thursday, December 17, 2015

The Raiding Party Returns

The ABA - working for you, average lawyer! - released the 2015 super-truthful data of law schools recently.  Notice the accuracy disclaimer on the ABA's site and consider that this is the accreditation authority who finds the need to cover its ass.  Then laugh, for life is absurd and meaningless, writes Camus.

Like gold mining, there's tons of nuggets in the data, but the Gen Y populace is too darned lazy to find them.  So I'll find one for you.  It's the return of the raiding party.  For those who don't recall, the raiding party is the idea that certain (impliedly unscrupulous) law schools prey on certain other law schools for transfer students.  This, of course, is an academic example of penis envy.  Let's check out some of last year's best poachers to see how they fared!

In this year's edition, George Washington took 44 students from American.  American basically stood pat because, well, American has standards.

But they were bested!  Arizona State took 47 students from Arizona Summit.  For those of you who don't believe Arizona Summit can produce quality lawyers, Arizona State seems to disagree with you, and Arizona State has high standards.  Ask Ned Flanders.

Schools like Michigan State and Florida State seem to be on a relative diet this year.

But the real standout might be Georgetown.  They didn't reap harvest from any single field - they took 21 students from American and GWU, but beyond that it's single digits - but the overall volume and breadth is astounding.

Consider that Georgetown reported losing only 14 students to transfer attrition.  At least four of these went to Yale, Harvard, or Columbia based on those schools' 509s, so you know that they're not exactly transferring because they can't cut it.

Consider that Georgetown only reports losing 21 persons from their 1L class total.

Consider that Georgetown's 25th percentile LSAT is only a 161 for incoming 1L students, which would exclude transfers who get added to the class later.

Now consider that Georgetown reports bringing in over one hundred (100) transfer students, including students from Arizona Summit, Barry, Capital, Charlotte (2), Charleston (2), Golden Gate, John Marshall (6!), NYLS, South Texas, St. Thomas (Fl.), Suffolk (2), Cooley, Touro, and Widener.  That's 22 students right there, ignoring the mass of imports that come from middlebrow schools like George Mason or Brooklyn. 

We must give Georgetown credit here.  Not only do the administrators there recognize that it's the individual who matters and not the name of the school, they have found a way to somehow keep the vaunted T-14 ranking while completely manipulating the game to get what is basically an entire third-tier law school in the bottom third of the class.

You want impressive?  That's impressive.  For Appalachian to scam a few buck-toothed idiots into dreaming about driving Maseratis, well, that's art.  But pumping through 160s, taking transfers from the shittiest of holes, and still proclaim that you're an elite institution with a straight face?

That, my readers, is a masterpiece.

Scam, er, shall I say HOYA on.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Total Control v. No Control: A Case Study Contrasting Law Students and Law Schools

Here is an article about law school lawsuits and transparency.  Without being explicit about it, it provides a good compare-and-contrast about the guilt and innocence of various parties getting screwed currently.

First, consider law schools, who have been the unfortunate victims of a sudden global economic meltdown seven years ago that has caused a disruption in the willingness of students to sign up for models and bottles.

Law schools are trying their hardest to give transparent data, but simply have no control over certain things.  Consider:
Barry Currier, managing director of accreditation and legal education at the ABA, said the organization isn't done improving the employment data it releases, but warned that more information would not necessarily help prospective students.
[S]ome of the criticism of schools fails to account for changes in the job market for law school graduates.

"We're letting our concerns about employment and the job market, over which law schools have no control, drive too much of this conversation," he said. (emphasis added)
Sure, some snarky practicing lawyer on a blog somewhere might argue that law schools are essential in controlling the supply of new lawyers, a key variable in the employability of young lawyers, but this is the managing director of accreditation at the ABA.  He's not going to mislead you; if he says law schools have no control over the situation, they have no control over the situation.  Whether they put out 10 graduates or 10 million, they simply cannot create jobs.  Jesus, what are you, stupid?

That's an example of no control.

Now, consider the law student who ignores piles of information:
Nikki Nguyen left a $50,000-a-year job at Boeing Co. in 2006 to pursue a law degree at Thomas Jefferson School of Law...

Instead, she struggled for more than a year to find a job after she graduated and watched her student loan debt of over $180,000 balloon.

Nguyen, 34, is among 12 former Thomas Jefferson students who are suing the university in a California court, accusing it of inflating its graduates' employment figures and salaries to attract students.

"They weren't transparent," said Nguyen, whose case is scheduled to go to trial in March. "People who have a dream of law school should go into it with their eyes wide open."
Ma'am, you were a sophisticated consumer, as shown by your gainful employment at an above-median salary.  Thomas Jefferson didn't hide numbers on your loan documents and made at least an effort to comply with existing guidelines.  If you didn't have sufficient data to decide to enroll in Thomas Jefferson and claim your ticket on the million dollar express, you should have spent hours upon hours researching TJLS graduates, talking to successful local lawyers, and hacking into TJLS computer systems to verify that they weren't bullshitting you when they said 95% employed or whatever it was they claimed.

Unlike law schools, who have no control over the future and had no information that would have suggested a possible change in fortunes post-2005, law students have all the data out there to make sound financial decisions as sophisticated consumers and have for some time.

Total control.

If history is a lie that all agree upon, then law schools will never be history, because they are the truth.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Hey, Morons, Stop Using Our Test for its Implied Intended Purpose

Did you know LSAC had a President?  It, like all important organizations, does.  He sends out important press releases when something super-important happens:
The LSAT is a valid measure of certain cognitive skills that are important for success in law school.  However, proper use of the test does not include using score ranges to label law schools and their students as to their potential for successful bar passage.
  1.   law school success is correlated to cognitive skills (sentence one);
  2.   the LSAT is a valid measure of said cognitive skills (sentence one);
  3.   law school success correlates to bar passage success (common sense premise);
  4.   therefore, the LSAT correlates to future bar passage success on some level (logical conclusion drawn from 1-3).
But the expert logicians at LSAC are here to knock your reason aside with the Club of Quasitruth:
  • False Claim No. 1: LSAT scores can be used to assign bar passage risk.
  • False Claim No. 2: LSAT scores can be used to delineate risk categories.
  • False Claim No. 3: A 25-year-old study can be used to assess current bar passage risk. 
Notice how these three observations totally smash the conclusion drawn in no. 4 above and fully support the title claim that "LSAT Scores Should Not Be Used to Label Law Schools and Their Students."

For example, it would improper to say something like "Appalachian School of Law is a crumbling pile of dickcheese for admitting half a class with 144 LSATs or less because the odds of those saps passing the bar and having a remunerative legal career seem unacceptably low for the level of debt incurred and the ignominy of living in Taintville."  That sort of labelling based on LSAT scores, even if based on common sense conclusions based on prior observational data and common sense theory, is improper.  LSAC said so.

Likewise, it would be improper to say "Cooley's low bar passage rate might have something to do with the fact that its 25th percentile LSAT has declined from shitty sandwich to shitty shit."  LSAC cautions sternly against using LSAT scores to generically assign bar passage risk.

Finally, it's improper to say something like "Golden Gate's median LSAT has declined from 154 to 149.  Its risk classification has therefore moved from 'fucking don't it' to 'really fucking don't do it.'"  That's right out, you categorical ass.

Can you feel the burn, Kyle McEntee? 

Is your proctologist charging double to pull the boot from your analytical cavity?

Are you going to have to see the school counselor during nap time?

Are your credentials quaking in the supercilious shadow of Daniel O. Bernstine's?

Were you aware that your use of data and rational conclusions is incredibly racist?

Is the profit in publishing scandalous nonsense really worth being told that you're utterly wrong without any citation or serious consideration of your central premise? 

Does the champagne hot tub wash away the shame? 

Doesn't it bother your conscience that law schools categorize your after-school project as an obstructionist nuisance on their road to guiltless profit?

Monday, November 30, 2015

Valvoline Dean Living Sports Law Dream

For all those of you who think that Patrick Hobbs a/k/a "The Valvoline Dean," former slickmeister at the helm of Seton Hall, is - say - a bucket of oleaginous pond scum - please take heed of the conclusion by this esteemed media organization:
Hobbs' credentials are impeccable.
Suck on that teat, Bullock.  It's been like six years since people started calling out/"slandering" this guy for being a glorified used car salesman at Seton Hall and he's still got an "impeccable" reputation in the media.

Kids, you've been served.  Make sure you tip 20% like grown ups who wear pocket squares.

In any event, Hobbs is about to softly land his parachute in what might be called a top sports law JD Advantage job:
Rutgers officials were unavailable for comment, but two sources familiar with the decision said all signs pointed to Barchi tapping Hobbs to run the Rutgers athletics department.
Yes, Dean Hobbs is going to glide right out of legal education and right into running a Big Ten athletic department.  When you think about it, Big Ten Network money is sorta like the GradPlus program, no?

Skeptics might ask themselves what, exactly, Hobbs has done to warrant this job.  They might point out that his prior stint as an AD was on an interim basis for a school without a D-1 football program where his one revenue hire has gone 30-60 in conference basketball play.  They might observe that Rutgers has a significantly larger alumni base and Hobbs doesn't seem to have any experience with big-program athletic fundraising, which is a different animal that pumping older lawyers for a share of the lucre.  They might also cynically remark that the federal government does not back loans for purchasing Rutgers football tickets.

BUT TO THEM, I would say:  Behold! This be the mighty power of the juris doctor!  When Rutgers looks at Hobbs, it doesn't see a slick bullshitting academic who could sell a traffic court clerkship as a six-figure jackpot to salivating law students.  It sees a man with finely tuned leadership abilities and the breadth of knowledge granted only by a legal education - including an intimate knowledge of how college athletics interacts with law and such.  It doesn't just see a man who's an expert at pulling money out of fools into a ridiculous and unnecessary program; it seems a man who does so while wielding the mighty modern day Tyrfing of Justice with every step in his finely polished shoes.

So to those who argue that sports law is a non-field, I present Dean Hobbs, our latest exhibit that with a bit of hard work, dedication, gravitas, and the right dominoes falling, any law graduate can find himself or herself in a position to hoodwink one's way into running a power five athletic department.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

A Humane Proposal for the Syrian Refugees this Thanksgiving

Syrian refugees have been a big item in the news this week.  There must be, like, a war or something going on over there.  Anyway, our Law Professor in Chief decided to grant 10,000 of them refuge in the United States.  Then France got attacked and a bunch of GOP governors decided to protest the refugees.

Thankfully, I have a solution to this quandary - it starts with "juris" and ends in a drunken hot tub among many beautiful people!

In short (actually, in entirety), we give them all master promissory notes, but only if they enroll an ABA-accredited law school.  Immediately, we have assisted in reducing low law school enrollments.  But the positive effects don't stop there!  By enrolling them a law school with the backing of American funds, you would breed a generation of lawyers who would no doubt have an affinity for law and justice and the American way.
Terrorism?  For the 1 in 10,000 who might possibly want to blow up a synagogue, any such desires will be radically snuffed by learning the almighty rule off law.  Whatever glory comes of being a shoe bomber is sure to wane after reading International Shoe.

And let's not forget the awesome benefits enjoyed the American public when 10,000 new lawyers emerge in three years' time.  As a result of welcoming more Syrian folk, the law schools - and the profession - would be enriched by greater diversity.

After graduating from law school, these fine new citizen superheroes would either enrich the American public by bringing buckets o' justice to the landscape OR they could be conduits for American democracy to enrich the Middle East.  If Jimmy Carter and the Bush family couldn't democratically "fix" that part of the world, I have no doubt that Thomas Cooley and Whittier are up to the task.

So let 'em in and give 'em a hornbook.  For a modest investment from the treasury (and one that will pay back richly when these people are bringing in more bacon than a Wendy's), we can repopulate America's law schools to stop the inevitable lawyer shortage, give these folks a marketable, life-affirming skill-set, and quell any concerns of nervous conservatives by educating these folks in the majesty of the common law.

If that's not a humane proposal in the spirit of Thanksgiving, I don't know what is.  In fact, now that I think about it, if there's one more thing that we should've done for the Native Americans while we were systematically eradicating their presence on this continent, it's that we should've done more to teach them our way of law.  After all, a Cooley law degree is certainly worth more than smallpox.

If you enjoy outside-the-box solutions like this, remember, I'm not just a shameless shill for law schools.  I'm also a law school graduate. 

Happy Thanksgiving.  I'll probably be working in the afternoon.

Friday, November 20, 2015

The Charleston Saga...Concluded?

From The Post and Courier, winner of the Pulitzer Prize:
Last week, the law school announced that Georgetown lawyer Ed Bell will take over as president and managing partner of the law school. InfiLaw is out of the picture.
He is committed to making the School of Law a nonprofit school as soon as it is possible to do so. Doing that will encourage people and businesses to give tax-deductible scholarship money to the school, allowing students to avoid accruing such heavy debt loads. 
Robert Carr and George Kosko, the main proponents for selling to InfiLaw, remain as co-owners. They have said they welcome Mr. Bell (who will be paid $1 a year) and the financial support, vision and stability that he will provide the school. 
Well, sounds like their problems are solved.  Sure, it sucks that good ol' 'Flaw couldn't add itself a crown jewel to the ol' empire, but Charleston School of Law will now be on the sure path of financial success as such other non-profit law schools like Vermont or Indiana Tech.  Charleston School of Law may have only been founded in 2003, and the world at large may still be turning downward for law schools - particularly less-prestigious stand-alone shit heaps - but gosh darn it, CSOL just feels right in the Charleston community and if it gives everyone the warm and fuzzies that it's going to be exploiting the 145s as a non-profit, then I say let's throw money at it and print six-digit promissory notes as fast as we can.

Kudos to Mr. Bell of Georgetown (S.C., not the university) for finding the most pleasing way possible for a plaintiff's attorney to advertise and gain rapport with the public.  Given that law school is poised for a massive turnaround in interest any year now, it's high time that CSOL brings in a visionary who can nudge the school into non-profit territory and reel in a whole new class of sucker who's too good to pick up a million-dollar paycheck from Florida Coastal or Charlotte.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Budding County Star Not in Law School, Losing Potentially Millions in Lucrative Sub-Niche

Randy Houser is a budding country music star.  But when asked how law school is going, he gets surprisingly non-receptive:
[A]ccording to the country singer-songwriter’s online biography posted on Wikipedia, “He enrolled in the Texas Tech University School of Law in August 2015 with intentions to graduate in 2018 and seek admission to the State Bar of Texas. As of September 2015, Houser intends to pursue a double concentration in intellectual property and jurisprudence.”
“I don’t know anything about that,” he says...
Even if his Wikipedia page is "totally fabricated," he should take it as a sign from White Country God that now's the time to strike and become a star in a different sphere.  The world might need another Wrangler-commercial cowboy singing songs about godly white people and their pickup trucks, but the world needs another lawyer even more.  With a law degree from [Texas Tech] concentrating in [Jurisprudence], his estimated annual income stream would be around [$183,913].  Giddy-up!

Still want to twang, partner?

In fact, what if Houser could combine the two?  I see it now: a minstrel lawyer, simultaneously imbued with Gene Autry and Abraham Lincoln, gleefully ripping off clients and Toby Keith at the same time.  Because it's an area I just now made up, it's now doubt severely under-served, and Houser would be poised to make millions and fill a hot tub with the domestic beer of his choice.

Shit, if dre d.p. cummings can fuse hip hop and the law as a scholarly discipline, I fail to see why Houser couldn't inspire a new wave of lawyer-musician-scholars to forge Country-Western and the Law as a bona fide curriculum addition, if not a streamlined LLM program at a school like Wyoming or Tulsa.

I'll even start y'all off with some song lyrics.  Cue the steel guitar:

Sittin' on my porch, my dog 'n' me
Like the night sky came clear to see
I would go to Tech and study I.P.
then sing about justice and liberty.
Well I'm who I am because of J.C.
Now I make my money because of J.D.
...because of J.D.
...because of J.D.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

American Dream Alive and Well at NYLS

Back in May, I praised Joe Plumeri for some sage advice that will ensure many an NYLS graduate a bucketload of clients, joy, and money money money money money.

Now Plumeri is putting his hard-earned money where his mouth is.  Five million to NYLS.  Finally - FINALLY - an American law school will have a "Center for Social Justice and Economic Opportunity."

Mr. Plumeri is never as a loss for ingeniousness.
“The American dream is alive and well at NYLS,” said Mr. Plumeri. “It is truly New York’s law school, with a student body as diverse as New York City itself, filled with real people pursuing their dreams and who will help others pursue theirs."
I remember that one time I helped a gang of tweaked-out cowboy banking scions beat multiple charges of racketeering, embezzlement, and sexual assault.  It was always their dream to conduct a quasi-criminal organization that barely skirts by the Almighty Law.  With my law license and a black suit from Kohls, you can call me Gary Wright, 'cause I'm like a motherfuckin' dreamweaver.

And kudos to NYLS, which, as it is truly as diverse as NYC, is now admitting homeless smack addicts and crazy insomniacs who sit in cafes at 4 a.m. just to stare.  Way to go, NYLS.  You're finally truly opening doors for all comers.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Prof Noah Feldman Builds Ark of Triumph

Consider that when Noah, old-school Noah, built his Ark, the so-called "conventional wisdom" for all marmots but two was to stay on dry land on not get on the boat of salvation with the ridiculous hippie who apparently looked like Russel Crowe.  The other marmots likely mocked those two and accused them of having the antediluvian equivalent of a 140 LSAT score, but they drowned.  Foolish marmots.

Really, it's no different with law school today.  "Conventional wisdom" is to not go.  But those who don't are going to wind up drowning in the flood of poverty-driven tears and wistful thoughts...

Now consider Noah Feldman.  Feldman, a Harvard law professor, author, and Esquire intellecttual, has done something equally impressive as constructing a giant boat.  He - somehow - has published a piece with so much testicular fortitude, so much blithe ignorance of practical commonsense realities, so much bird-flipping to do-gooder reformers, that he got called out by Jordan fucking Weissman, the guy who told people it was a good time to go to law school in JUNE 2014.

Are your loins tingling in anticipation?

Feldman claims that law schools in the business of collectively denying 140 LSAT scorers a spot "would rightly be accused of elitism and denial of opportunity."
You see, law schools just can't collectively be elitist - but it sure seems that some law schools can be elitist if they so choose and find themselves in the socio-historical position to do so.
Not every law school needs to subscribe to the technocratic-elite belief that all its handpicked students are excellent and should therefore be guaranteed success.
In other words, it's completely okay for Harvard to have elitist, high standard admissions practices that it relies upon, but schools at the bottom of the food chain should not be held to high standards or else the whole system will be elitist. 

There has to be somewhere for dreamers to dream.  Places like Florida Coastal serve a vital public function by making sure there's somewhere on the Titanic for everyone.  So what if it's in the third-tier deck?  They're allowed to pay 150k for a low chance of survival when boat meets ice.  This is America.  If people want to throw good money at bad and enrich educational oligarchs channeling Morrissey in the process, so be it.

In fact, a high bar passage rate isn't so much a sign of success, but is a sign of systemic failure to provide enough dreamspace for all the dreamers who are more than happy to put a bucket o' taxpayer-backed student loan money on black to dream.
If all law students were passing the bar, it would be a sign that law schools weren't taking a chance on students at the margin of the capacity to succeed.
Don't worry; if there's anything wrong in Feldman's "parochial" thinking, law students all over the country - even the 140 LSATs - should be able to easily suss it out on their way to holding any of the proliferate amount of JD-advantaged positions:
 We teach (I hope) rigorous thinking, strategic analysis, and a distinct approach to identifying structures of power and shaping them. Those are benefits even to graduates who don't practice law, and indeed many of the most successful graduates of my school and others don't practice law at all. They’re writers and hedge-fund managers and community organizers and presidents.
And then with the wrathful fire of Old Testament god Noah Feldman lays his big staff to the bare asses of namby-pamby paternalists:
Those who think law schools shouldn't admit students with low test scores are reflecting, whether they know it or not, a culture of paternalism that verges on infantilization. Since when did college graduates pursuing the American dream of professional success come to be seen as an act of self-delusion? Do we really need to protect people from trying to achieve their dreams?
After reading this, who wouldn't follow Noah Feldman onto the equivalent of a DIY boat built by people who believe in impending doom to the scorn of the rational world?

No one needs infantile protection from their dreams.  After all, when the world fucks one over, it sure as hell doesn't wear a condom. 

If a young person has a fantasy, and that fantasy just so happens to have a particular set of narrow historical advantages that allow its shifty purveyors to claim it's unique from other dreams, consumer products, and investments, so much so that the dreamers are willing to take on escalating amounts of absurd, non-dischargable debt for decreasing chances of earnest repayment or beneficial experience, while a bunch of loafer-wearing jackanapes can take home a cozy six figures because they had the right chairs when once the music stopped, then by the GOD of NOAH, we're going to write those dreamers a blank check no matter how badly they botched some entrance exam that only correlates with law school and career success the overwhelming majority of the time.

This is America.  If infantile snowflake wants to snowflake like an infant, we let it snowflake like an infant.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Once More Unto the Breach, Dear Friends, Once More!

If you think the legal academy is easily going down like a tweeking zit-faced ten buck hooker without a fight, you'd be sorely mistaken.  These folks have spunk in their blood.  They're going to fight back against vicious calumny, and they don't care if they have to close the fictional holes in the opposition's arguments with the bodies of their loser graduates.

The New York Times recently published an editorial about alleged shenanigans.  A cry went into the night, and the academy responded.  Blake Morant (GWU dean), Kellye Testy (U. of Washington dean), Judith Areen (Georgetown professor), the aforepraised Scott DeVito, Michelle Anderson (CUNY dean), Debra Raskin (Fordham and Columbia adjunct), and Matthew Diller (Fordham dean).  There's also David Stern, who heads the Equal Justice Works and wants PSLF to continue.

They're names that can be safely added to the Annals of Truth and Justice.  It doesn't even matter what they individually say.  We could spend days arguing over who laid down the greater wit between Morant/Testy/Areen's claim that capping student lending will damage poor students and Diller's claim that law schools were responsible and prudent actors in trimming their enrollments.

What matters is that they do it.  See also my post from two months ago.

Every time there is a big swing by an opponent to legal education, someone from within hits back.  It doesn't always have to be Leiter or Diamond or Allard.  Great men like Matasar, Mitchell, and Hobbs can ride off into the sunset, and there will be a whole new group of brave warriors to step up in the ranks and wield the Mighty Sword of Paralogy against foes who would prefer the federal government to have rational student lending polices that don't confuse default with non-repayment.

It's like Leiningen v. The Ants.  For those who haven't read that one, here's a spoiler alert: the species closer to cockroach wins.  Always do. 

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Setting the Record Straight

If you pay attention to legal education news at all, you probably saw that the New York Times tried to body slam Florida Coastal and like schools this weekend, and, in fact, dropped the "s-bomb" in referring to such schools.  Of course, we rational, sane citizens know that if Florida Coastal is a "scam" then so are 185 other law schools in America.

Well, Florida Coastal dean Scott DeVito (sounds mafioso-y) is setting the record straight.  As someone with fairly impressive testicles, I know a good pair when I see 'em in action, and at the poker table of academic life, Dean DeVito's got the nuts.
Our alumni repay their loans at a higher rate than the “elite” schools. Approximately 1.1% of alumni at Florida Coastal are in default while 2.5% of alumni at the top 20 universities with law schools are in default. Our alumni even outperform alumni at Ivy League schools who default at a 1.2% rate.
Our students repay their loans because our students succeed.
Sometimes it takes a for-profit entity to right a wrong—in this case the lack of diversity in law schools. The student body in not-for-profit law schools is about 29.7% diverse. According to the U.S. Census bureau, the United States is currently about 37.9% diverse. The student body at Florida Coastal is approximately 44.4% diverse.
Yes, [our students'] debt load is higher but that is because taxpayers are not paying for our students’ education. In addition, if you want to diversify the profession across race and socio-economic lines, then you will have to admit students who do not have the same resources as students at “elite” law schools.
If the board comes I think they will be delighted with what they see: a law school that is educating and preparing a diverse group of students for success in a way that is better than traditional not-for-profit law schools.
My record has been set so straight it's making John Wayne look like John Waters.

For those who have a hard time following sound law school reasoning, "not defaulting" is now the same as "repaying," "not defaulting" means an institution's students are succeeding, prior to FC's founding there was a dearth of non-profit schools in the country that expressly sought to boost diversity, for-profit schools are expense because the taxpayers aren't funding anything, and Florida Coastal and its 33.5% LST employment score is a better option than places like Florida State or Florida.

Reading things like this really makes me want to do law school all over again.   If you're keeping score at home, that's a beatdown.  Mercy rule applies.  Go home, and do not try to mount a comeback.  You will only hurt yourself.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Godspeed, Larry Mitchell

Two years ago, I reported on the initial filings in the case that turned out to be key to Lawrence Mitchell's downfall as one of the great law deans, and also, in retrospect, revealed him to be a master of a bygone age, a time when men were men and the world was one giant titty.

It went somewhat under the radar earlier this school year that Mitchell resigned his faculty position and did not come back to the Case Western faculty this fall as initially planned.

I continue to believe that Larry Mitchell was unfairly railroaded by snooty, progressive nutballs infected with the disease of modern academic decorum. For example, the recent piece criticizes the dean for conduct including the following, documented in an affidavit in the court case:
Specifically, the affidavit mentions a dinner at Felice Urban Cafe attended by Mitchell, some staff, and some Chinese exchange students. Mitchell had been drinking heavily, it notes, and continued drinking during dinner. "Dean Mitchell was very touchy feely with the female exchange students, cuddling up against them. In particular, Dean Mitchell pulled one Chinese student... close to him. At one point he had his arm around her." The staff and the student made sure no students rode home with Mitchell that night.
Call me old fashioned, but I think school administrators should try to have more personal relationships with their students, particularly foreign students who need a strong male figure to welcome them to the United States and our strange customs relating to middle-aged white men and their lechery.  Really, who the fuck goes to a well-reviewed French restaurant with Larry Mitchell and doesn't plan on some connectivity?  If "touchy-feely" is now a bad thing, take me back to 1960 and smash the time machine, thanks.  Mad Men was way better in season 1, amirite?

The good news is that it appears the Case Western top brass generally agreed with this approach for quite a long time.
[T]he trouble remains that according to the tenured professor and Ku's lawsuit, many upper level staff members at CWRU, including the provost, the office of general counsel, and the right-hand man to president Barbara Snyder, heard all of the allegations and not only protected the hand-picked dean, but allegedly authorized Mitchell to dispatch with Ku.
Damn courts and journalists interfering with a good thing. Again, in the good old days, America protected its leaders.  We hushed up good and proper when they wanted to drink and ram their cocks in whatever was willing, under pressure or not.  We didn't banish them from educating the next generation.

Oh well.  If this was the quiet last hurrah in legal education, I say godspeed, Dean Mitchell.  I'll never forget the indelible impression of your words:
I’M a law dean, and I’m proud. And I think it’s time to stop the nonsense. After two years of almost relentless attacks on law schools, a bit of perspective would be nice.

For at least two years, the popular press, bloggers and a few sensationalist law professors have turned American law schools into the new investment banks. We entice bright young students into our academic clutches. Succubus-like, when we’ve taken what we want from them, we return them to the mean and barren streets to fend for themselves.

The hysteria has masked some important realities and created an environment in which some of the brightest potential lawyers are, largely irrationally, forgoing the possibility of a rich, rewarding and, yes, profitable, career.
It was true way back then and it is true today.  As enrollments continue to decline, it's clear that Mitchell's words were prescient.  This industry just wasn't made for him.

I pray the dean, now publicly using the name "Ezra" apparently, finds goodness in his new ventures, and that he continues writing and producing top-notch poetry.

I also give him bonus points for claiming resume-worthy achievements from a place that - for all practical purposes - unceremoniously canned him.

Monday, October 26, 2015

When the Seventh Seal Opened, There Cameth a Parade of Honda Civics with Opinionated Drivers

Happy Monday, law school scammers!  

This is the LSTC Morning Show letting you vent all those valuable opinions you have as you drive in to enjoy the rightful fruit of ignorance for being well-positioned in life.  Remember, opinions are like butts; you've all got 'em, and I want to lick every single one connected to a mind that reads the paper of record.

Now, yesterday, the New York Times ran an article that basically echoed the ramblings of Crazy Campos.  I know you're all chomping at the bit to opine on this liberal spillage, so let's put on some light jazz and hit the phonelines.

Here's Jack in California:
Do these "students" do any homework? How many minutes of Internet research does it take to find the pass/fail rates of students in these law schools? How much research does it take to discover the average income of lawyers, the job prospects for lawyers, the odds of passing the bar, etc?
Amen, brotha.  With accurate information at the click of the mouse (much of it put out by schools themselves), these lazy cats deserve what's comin' to 'em.  It's not like the schools put out intentionally misleading disinformation or anything, just the awesome truth of the million-dollar degree.

Thanks for calling. Now here's Lynn:
Graduation from a good law school can prepare one to do any job that requires critical thinking, diligent preparation, public speaking, and/or wise judgment....
Taking on student debt is a gamble just like taking on a mortgage or a car loan or at the national level, war debt.
 That's right, Lynn, it's just like those other debts.  These law grads should use some of that "diligent preparation" and "wise judgment" and get themselves a job to pay back that debt, just like you would if you had a million dollar housing investment scheme go bust.

Let's go to Bryan in motherfuckin' Canada:
Your analysis leads to the profoundly illogical conclusion that somehow the will of these gullible students to resist law school allure has been overcome by predatory, profit-seeking law schools. Are they children? Please.....
 Whoa, wicked burn, Spock! Your command of logic is outstanding. Now let's go to Tim in New York:
Where is the culpability of the student, who, after receiving a pathetic LSAT score, fails to say him or herself "maybe I am not cut out to be a lawyer and shouldn't incur $150k of debt" (thereby proving again that they aren't capable of being in a profession requiring logic skills )?
 When we're faced with a Catch-22, blame the decision-maker and not the one who put the absurd system in place.  Timmy, I like the cut of your jib. Go Mets!

Next we have wsf (surely not a real name) calling in from Michigan.  What's on your mind, bro?
We are a nation of laws so we need lots of lawyers. It would seem to me that some of our lawyers should be smart enough to know how to provide us with a law that would prevent this law school debt crisis.
If only!  Unfortunately, no one has been able to come up with a single law or policy change that would stop the federal government from writing prospective students a black check ticket to whatever degree they least not one that keeps the good schools in business and doesn't deprive impoverished minorities of vital education.  If anyone can come up with anything that is fair and equitable to all parties and allows college administrators to continue eating the ass of the piggybank, let us know!

Finally, here's Beverly in Florida:
The answer is to give students FREE tuition in exchange for 10 years of work as a lawyer for the public sector. Those willing to do the pro bono work and the low paying work for low income clients deserve free tuition.
Well herpa derpa ding ding ding FREE, I think we just solved the problem.  That doesn't exist, of course, because all lawyers make bank over their lifetimes, but we solved the problem nonetheless!

Friday, October 23, 2015

Crazy Campos Continues Curmudgeonry

Just when we sane readers of upstanding, industry- and hierarchy-friendly news think it's safe to open our browsers, Professor Paul Campos, a/k/a "Crazy Campos" ("CC"), is back, his ongoing efforts surely an exercise in training for Monty Python's Twit Olympics, or maybe it's all a gigantic ruse put up by some clever, puckish law professor with multidisciplinary abilities and an impressive publication recordIn any event, one might need five "CCs" of something potent to make it through this dribble.

In any event, he's back at railing against InfiLaw and bar passage results, as if that's really a legitimate issue for law faculties who are saving the world one footnote at a time:
Bar-passage rates at the InfiLaw schools are now in a free fall.
The InfiLaw schools’ bar-passage numbers are almost certain to get even worse. Although the schools reduced their admissions standards drastically in 2012, they have since cut them further, to the point where they are now admitting huge numbers of students with credentials including lower LSAT scores and GPAs that would have barred them from getting into these schools three years ago.  The admissions process at the InfiLaw schools is now close to a fully open-enrollment system, that inevitably matriculates many people who have little chance of ever passing a bar exam.
CC has apparently never read about the million dollar premium.  Yet again, let's go over this.  People who get law degrees make shit-tons of money, okay?  Whether they pass the bar or not is irrelevant because they can always go out and get one of those super-duper JD Advantage jobs that pay $90k to anyone with a JD, a white shirt collection, and a comfy 9-5 time slot.  InfiLaw is doing these kids a massive favor by letting them into the elite club.  They get bonus points when they admit poor minorities.

Of course, CC just can't keep his wild opinions - not supported by the law review literature - to InfiLaw schools.  He has to take the piss out of pure non-profits, too:
The only difference between these schools and the InfiLaw group is that most of them waited a year or two longer before reducing their admissions standards in response to plummeting application numbers, and that therefore it will take another year or two before this is reflected in the national bar-exam results.
...That's, of course, only if Erica Moeser continues her conspiratorial rampage that victimizes hard-working students who should be greenlit through the bar process so that schools can boast about something that doesn't really matter since all their students are getting rich...or something.

There's some other stuff about regulatory capture and law schools being predatory and the endangerment of American taxpayers, but it's hard to ignore that CC and others like him believe in a world that's too conveniently rational

Sure, the pieces of the puzzle fit together, but who wants to live in a black-and-white world when one can simultaneously believe that law degrees statistically make graduates rich at the same time courts are pitching those graduates' lawsuits because the graduates were sophisticated consumers who fell for an obvious sham?  Who wants to live in a world where falling bar passage rates are the natural consequence of open enrollment when you can buy penny stock in a conspiracy theory and try to sell the idea that the 2015 class is comparable to the 2010 class despite a lack of empirical evidence supporting the idea?  More importantly, why believe in reality when it threatens the bottom line?

I'll tell you who, a damned crazy curmudgeon.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Play a Sad Violin for Villanova the Victim

The winner for best, finely-tuned tone of any news article I've read in the last week is clearly this piece by Chris Mondics of regarding the martyrdom of Villanova for the sin of telling the truth.
Honesty is the best policy, goes the childhood refrain.

But it can come with a price. Just ask Villanova University School of Law, which is finding that the truth still hurts years after it acknowledged a handful of administrators secretly manipulated admissions data of incoming first-year students.
Price isn't just an abstract metaphor here.  It's real, like cash money and shit.
And it has had to spend lavishly to stay in the ratings game...

Nearly 20 percent of Villanova law students now attend tuition-free, under a generous scholarship program that has been a big draw for top students [note: 75th percentile LSAT is a quite impressive 159]. It has blunted some of the effects of the scandal, but has cost the school millions of dollars.
[I]magine what the university might have done with the added resources had more top students been willing to attend based on Villanova's reputation alone.
Not only does the article orchestrate an entire string section's worth of sympathy for the defrauder, it manages to completely remove Villanova's post-2011 reality from the national law school marketplace, as well as claiming the prior fraudulently-earned gains are evidence of Villanova's post-hoc damage.

Imagine a world where top students enroll in Villanova based on the school's sterling reputation and pay sticker, indeed!  It would have happened, by gum, if only that sterling reputation hadn't been built in part on the dastardly fraud still damaging the school's prestigious reputation and costing it millions that it maybe never would have earned in the first place absent fraud.  Surely, in absence of fraud, the school still would have ranked as highly - maybe even higher! - and attracted top-caliber students wanting to pay full sticker price.  Reality is pretty fun when you can pick and choose what facts you want like it's a dreamland buffet.
Villanova, in short, did everything right. Yet it continues to pay a steep price in terms of reputation damage, even as other colleges that engaged in deceptive practices, notably by providing misleading post-graduation employment statistics, have paid no price at all.
While I wholly sympathize with victimized Villanova, Mondics loses me a bit here.  Law schools nationwide have been paying a steep price for their collective honesty, while chronic liars like MBA programs, computer programming schools, and large for-profit corporations are now profiting by their dishonesty.  There's plenty of violins, and all but the tip top law schools (where Villanova surely would be but-for fraud) deserve a somber, lonely song.

Play a sad song for Villanova, but forget ye not the Cooleys and Saint Thomases and John Marshalls. Being a law school in 2015 is like listening to the sobbing hymns at the funeral of an upstanding twenty-eight-year-old father of six who died while saving every last invalid from a burning nursing home. So much good snuffed out, so much cosmic cruelty, so much sadness and uncertainty.

The piece ends with thoughtfulness, and some sound words of advice:
But is [prior fraud] any reason to punish a school after the perpetrators have left? [uh, yes? -ed.]

Maybe it's time for law schools and prospective students to ignore the rankings and focus on the quality of the legal education day to day.
It's amazing. Trust me. I'm not only a certified law school propagandist. I'm also a lawyer.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Mitch Hamline: Clever Pickup Artist

Today, I ran across this article, where former Hamline dean George Latimer celebrates the merger of Mitchell and Hamline with relevant, touching lines such as this:
...[The dean] has stellar credentials: bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Columbia, and a J.D. magna cum laude from Harvard (a law school I’ve always respected for being the only one to reject my application, many years ago).
Ignoring the total non-contradiction of praising a school like Mitchell Hamline in the same piece one gags on the gilded totem pole of prestige, I greatly appreciate the author disclosing his exact place in the admissions pecking order several decades ago.  It's one thing to be a tone-deaf douchebag pontificating to generational lessers about how "both Hamline and Mitchell have strong traditions of training students for a variety of careers." But when you can deftly add a human touch...well, that's the craft of the white collar mandarin marketing editorial at its pinnacle.

And Latimer certainly knows how to finish a piece as well:
He’s got the right experience and the perfect approach for the leader of a law school in today’s world, where not every law student is dreaming of joining the partner track at a big firm. As Mark is fond of saying, “There are two reasons to go to law school. Either because you want to be a lawyer or because you don’t want to be a lawyer. If you fit into one of those categories, you should come.”
The underlined isn't just a marketing slogan.

It's a philosophy.

Let's consider it as an ethos, and a well-trod pickup line, for our latest personified cavalier, a young Lothario named, well, Mitch Hamline....

Mitch Hamline walks into a meat market bar.

MITCH:  Yo, barkeep, get me a beer.
BARTENDER: Sure thing, Mitch.  What kind?
MITCH:  Coors Light.
BARTENDER:  Coors Light?  Are you shittin' me, Mitch?  No one drinks that shit anymore.
MITCH:  Oh, I don't want to drink it.
BARTENDER:  You what?
MITCH:  No, see...there's two reasons to order a Coors Light.  Either because you want to regret your choice in alcohol or because you don't want to regret your choice in alcohol.
BARTENDER:  Well, herpa derpa, you sure are smart, Mitch!  No wonder you're a law professor thingamabob!
MITCH:  Hey, mama, want to dance?
HOT CHICK:  I don't know.  I've heard some pretty shifty things about you, Mitch Hamline.  You only leave like 50% of your customers satisfied and you stick gals like me with $200k in nondischargable herpes, I mean debt.
MITCH: Fuck this.  Let me tell you what.  There's two reasons to go home with me.  Either because you want to fuck me or because you don't want to fuck me.
HOT CHICK:  Why would I go home with you if I didn't like you?
MITCH:  I'll say it again.  Listen.  It's really fucking clever.  There's two reasons to go home with me.  Either because you want to fuck me or because you don't want to fuck me.
HOT CHICK: I'm incredibly confused
MITCH:  Don't you get it?  You have a reason to go home with me either way!  And then I fuck you Mitch Hamline style!
HOT CHICK:  Uh, yeah, I'm going to go to business school or something...
MITCH:  Hey, girl, come here often?
MITCH:  So there's two reasons to be here tonight.  Either because you want to hook up with Mitch Hamline or you don't want to hook up with Mitch Hamline.
MITCH:  He's a first-tier lover who can make you rich and versatile with the Mitch Hamline Premium Effect.
MODERATELY ATTRACTIVE CHICK: I'm not fully grasping...
MITCH:  Look, there's two reasons to keep talking to Mitch Hamline with an LSAT score, I mean drink, in your hand.  Either you want to be date raped, or you don't want to be date raped.
MODERATELY ATTRACTIVE CHICK:  I don't get it.  What you're saying applies to literally everybody, including people who you have no interest in, and people who have no business going home with you for your legal premium effect, and people who literally cannot go home with you.  Also, technically it applies to the people you've already fucked over and swindled.
MITCH:  Fuck this, I'm finding a woman who's got a brain.
MITCH:  Hey, kid, what's your sign?
LUMP-COVERED GOAT:  Bah, I got a 136 on the LSAT.
MITCH:  Holy shit, I'm buyin' you a double!  There's two reasons why you should keep drinkin' the Kool Aid with ol' Mitch and saddle up for a juris-im-prudent adventure:  either you want to be a lawyer or you don't want to be a lawyer.
LUMP-COVERED GOAT:  BAHAHAHA!  That's funny, mister!  I...Uh....I want to be a lawyer!
MITCH:  Mitch Hamline scores again.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Touro! Touro! Touro! ...Bombed

If you'll recall, almost two years ago, I reported that Touro was bringing a class action on behalf of all ABA schools to judicially declare a legitimately sham law school a "diploma mill" because Touro got duped and let one student through the cracks and apparently wound up in litigation.

As I wrote at the time:
1.  Touro obviously has standing to bring a declaratory judgment action against another for making representations addressed to a third party that the third party made subsequently to Touro.
I had forgotten about this important issue entirely until a friendly commenter (you know who you are - thanks!) tipped me off last week that the court had issued an order dismissing the case.
Oh, cruel wheels of justice, with your gnashing spokes like axes against the soul!
You can view all of the moving papers and orders through this site here.  The order states that "Touro fails to sufficiently allege its standing, i.e. that it has a "legally protectible interest, that is in direct issue or jeopardy, in order to invoke the remedy of declaratory judgment.""

This, of course, is a grave injustice.  As Americans, we all have the right to file class actions against parties with whom we have no direct dealings to declare them whatever mean words we want.  For example, if I wanted to bring a class action on behalf of all accredited, legitimate law school supporters that Paul Campos is an "opium-smoking three-toed sloth," that's my right as an American.

Although Touro lost, one has to give credit to Touro and its general counsel, who fought the good fight and gave Touro's first-tier students a first-tier lesson in "fuck it" civil litigation.  For example:
  • Touro apparently brought a class action pro se, which normally wouldn't be viewed as advisable or proper (or allowed at all, at least in federal court, see Rule 23(g)), but let's call it innovation.
  •  In Touro's response to Novus' motion to dismiss, Touro pulls out one of the most essential tools in the civil litigator's kit: indignant bluster, accompanied with its cousin, barrage of conclusory adjectives (from page one alone of the memorandum: "defendant's nefarious operation...specious motion...well-founded opposing affidavits...smoke-and-mirrors legal argument....).
  • Touro also delivers a nice serving of language errors, almost certainly to give the brief that nearly flushing shitlaw feel.  For example, "slight-of-hand" is used (1), and the brief states that "Novus prays on the market and in turn its students pray on Touro and other law schools." (6)  The second mistake is particularly ingenious, as it puns on the idea of Touro being both infallible and a victim at the same time.
  • The brief spends two and a half pages discussing personal jurisdiction, which does not seem like it was even (or seriously) at issue.  Classic misdirection.
  • In addition to a barrage of case law, there's citations to a treatise and two law review articles.  Lord knows lawyers need to cite to those more often.  Lead by example, superheros.  Lead by example.
  • Finally, there's the clunky metaphor, another favorite of small law all-stars. "Novus has shot its sham degrees out from California, and those degrees have landed in New York...." (1).  "The legal education community finds itself faced with a consequential choice between two roads, which are long and different [but are they open?  -ed].  At least one of the roads is shrouded in legal uncertainty...And one road must be chosen....We are at a crossroads. The road should not end at the pleading stage...." (10).
Here's to hoping the appeal goes well...if there's one thing we all must do, it's stamp out law schools that trade in overpriced or worthless degrees that may only yield a $500k premium. 
The sanctity of the ABA-approved million dollar degree must be preserved.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Can't Tame the Buffalo

One truism of any potential legal education reform is that it absolutely must be handled by people who are currently profiting the most out of the system.  Just as The Law is an indecipherable labyrinth of fine-tuned, justice-dispensing complexity only comprehensible by seasoned masters, the law school graft is not a simple educational mill operation.

Consider Buffalo, NY, where state lawmakers are proposing to move UB's law school to a vacant downtown federal courthouse - that apparently the school could get for free.
"Lawyers need to be trained where the work is. And a law school being in the old federal courthouse will allow the kind of hands on training that we haven't ever Buffalo's Law School," Panepinto said at a Friday morning news briefing.
Currently the law school is a twenty-minute drive to downtown. Given that there may be no acquisition costs, this may seem - to a slackjawed, "practical training is good!" layperson - like a good approach to best serve students.

So is the school open to this possibility?  Oh, hell no.  It's time for the Buffalo to shoot the pioneer.
In a written response, UB said "The university has no plans to move the UB Law School from the North Campus. Isolating the UB Law School off-campus, away from UB’s other professional schools, is neither academically nor economically sound. It is not consistent with the interdisciplinary nature of legal education and research."
Oh, you think your publicly financed and subsidized-to-its-balls school should focus on actually training lawyers in the craft of law? Check your privilege, bro', and get on the Interdisciplinary Express. Future lawyers have to theoretically mingle with future dentists and future accountants, not with actual judges and lawyers.

This part of the subscam is all about turf control.  You can't give a centimeter to these haughty reformers, or they'll soon think they can actually do something when your students aren't getting jobs or passing the bar.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Rosy Future for Law School Admissions!

Finally, some news that gives me faith in the future of the law and legal education!
The Kaplan Test Prep’s 2015 survey of admissions officers at 120 law schools across the United States found that nearly nine in 10 (88 percent) of law school admissions officers predict that they are going to see an increase in applications, and they are confident that their law schools will see a spike for the 2015-2016 application cycle...
Jeff Thomas, director of pre-law programs for Kaplan Test Prep said: “Something feels different about this application cycle to law school admissions officers, and those sentiments are backed up by some key data points regarding the number of LSAT takers.
Hurrah to the Huzzah!

It's sort of like when you're a hip, single guy cruisin' the scene and you keep gettin' shut down - for five years in a row - because word got out that your "95k salary" is actually 45k and most of the women you've dated somehow wind up with incurable career herpes.  Even after several years of striking out, one night, you walk into that bar and suddenly "something feels different." You're going to score.  Maybe the gals have accepted that they simply can't do any better than a woman-using reprobate who leaves his victims with nondischargable debts. Maybe so many people now have career herpes that no one cares anymore. Maybe the scene has changed enough the half-truths are working again.

Who cares? They're interested, and the Bar just restocked the dispensers in the bathroom. You're white collar; fortune was going to turn around at some point.  Every gambler is due a hot streak, and it's time for Mr. Legal Education to come roaring back.  We don't yet have the empirical proof that law school is, in fact, roaring back, or that the right people are going to apply and take the offers, but damn it, what the law needs is more conclusions determined by gut instinct and wishful thinking.

Nine in ten law school administrators can't be wrong, can they?

Saturday, September 26, 2015

I Love the New York Times / No Evidence (The Bar Exam Saga, Cont'd)

Thank you. For this.

Five people invited to "debate," which can be summed up as follows:

Prof. Jerry Organ, who takes the scamblogger position that lower-quality-on-paper students are coming to law school, yet explaining that it's "for reasons that are hard to document empirically."

Prof. Deborah Merritt, who repeats the idea that the ExamSoft glitch contributed to low scores last year and adds on the idea that the the new subject of civil procedure was just too much for the little bastards to handle. The NCBE can't be trusted and that the ABA should create another Task Force.

Next up is a new face, Prof. Linda Sheryl Greene of Wisconsin.  After writing that law schools must better prepare the slower buffalo to run with the herd, we get this well-worn trope:
It is imperative, however, that law schools not overreact to the bar exam decline by limiting access to legal education. Instead, let’s keep the door open and provide the support students need to succeed in law school and at the bar, as well as to serve the public in and outside of the legal profession.
Is "serv[ing] the public...outside of the legal profession" like serving margaritas during happy hour?  Oh, keep those doors open!

Next up we get a briefer missive from BigLaw Recruiter Diane Downs (Harvard JD who spent time in legal academia), who, without any empirical proof, heaps high praise on the commitment, drive, and skill of the product her firm sells to its prestige-addicted clients at ridiculous and unjustifiable premiums to cover the overhead necessary to have a Chief Recruiting Officer.  Also, she delivers the best. line. ever.
They are exceedingly talented – whatever their scores were on the bar exam.
Fuck me, these people are almost impervious to parody.

Finally, we have the Big Thunder. Dean Nick Allard, who, without any apparent irony, writes things like this:
Why should our most ready-to-practice graduates, who will pass the bar anyway, spend the time, effort and money ($50,000 to $100,000 or more in lost wages and bar prep courses) on an outdated, unnecessary rite of passage...
And this:
For too long the unregulated monopoly of the testing industry has masqueraded as the self-appointed guardian of professional standards.
And this:
It is time for the A.B.A., courts and law schools to take back control of the future of the profession...
Allard is no dummy. He knows full well that some jackass could apply these quotes straight-up to an expensive three years of law school in general. That he writes this shit anyway shows he's a hardcore badass who has not one fuck to give.

Of course, the question to all five of these people was a simple one:  Is the bar too low to get into law school?  That none of the five people - three of whom are regulars in this general non-debate - directly answered the question is a thing of legal profession beauty

The answer, of course, is clearly "NO."  We can go way, way, way lower.  And when we get there, we'll be reading the same motherfucking arguments from the same or similar industry lackeys in the New York Times, and it's so fucking beautiful.

Next year, NYT, could you perhaps invite The Notorious BDG (who appears to be Prof. Brian David Galle):
It could be true that scores were lower because the test-takers were not as able, but then I could also be a Martian or a Soviet spy.  There's really no evidence of any of those.
There's also no evidence that the law professorate pontificating on this subject is a group of biased, propagandizing intellectual lightweights who very well know better but are choosing to shove their fingers in their ears and scream "IT'S NOT THE STUDENTS WE'RE ADMITTING" while they find unpersuasive red herrings because it just has to be something else.  No evidence at all that they're walking, breathing examples of stupidity, cognitive dissonance, and/or willful misrepresentation.  No evidence that this entire thing is a tacit, collective scheme to get state supreme courts to remove or lessen the importance of the MBE and/or NCBE and move to the Wisconsin model so that law schools can pump their graduates into the state bar without this embarrassing little hurdle that's somehow never been a problem before dealing with the grisly aftermath of a burst education bubble that was blown up by systemic fraud.  No evidence that the poor analytical abilities and twenty hour work weeks of the people teaching law school courses contributes to the underdevelopment of lower-quality talent.  No evidence that by making the argument that adding civil procedure is a major variable in determining bar passage rates, these professors are basically admitting that eight weeks of bar preparation developed from consistent past tests may better prepare students than the entire wasted semester or two of civil procedure that they took in law school.  No evidence that law schools would in fact admit a Martian or a student convicted of being a Soviet Spy if they could bring a promissory note and a 147 because the schools are so desperate for warm bodies they've become the post-graduate equivalent of a lonely guy who buys his back-alley hooker pussy with HIV medication.

No evidence.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

More on the Case of the Befuddling Bar Exam

To continue with last week's popular "blame...something else" post, I give you this article from Montana of all places:
Instead, [Montana Dean Kirgis] points to changes in the exam itself.

As of 2014, Montana law graduates are required to pass a new test called the Universal Bar Exam. [Law...on Mars!]  Created by the National Conference of Bar Examiners and recommended by the State Bar of Montana, the Montana Supreme Court adopted the exam in 2012. At the same time, they increased the score needed to pass by 10 points.

The new exam is different because it has more multiple-choice questions and doesn't have any material specific to Montana law, Kirgis said.

"This is an extremely controversial subject nationally," he said. "The law schools are very unhappy about these results. The National Conference of Bar Examiners have rejected calls to reveal their testing methodology. They have said publicly they have double-checked their exam, and this is all because the students aren't as good. To us, it looks like our students are comparable to students in the past."
Of course they look comparable, with their succulent flesh and ability to sign a master promissory note.

One must appreciate Kirgis raising the "it's a different test!" argument in addition to making the vague "NCBE is hiding the ball!" argument. It's not like Montana is the first state to have ever adopted the UBE. Idaho, Wyoming, and North Dakota all adopted it prior to Montana and one would think a law dean and/or news outlet could check some records to see how the switch affected bar exam results in comparable states.

Consider Idaho, which has a higher bar for UBE passage:

February 2010: 69.6%
July 2010: 80.5%
February 2011: 73.4%
July 2011:  80.5%
February 2012: 78.2% [first admission of UBE]
July 2012: 80.3%
February 2013: 75.3%
July 2013: 80.3%
February 2014:  73.4%
July 2014: 65.1%
February 2015:  72.1%

Obviously, the UBE is such an insidiously complicated test that it can have up to a five cycle delay before the dreadful effects are felt.

Of course, as your source for law school propaganda that truly goes above and beyond, I have bribed an unnamed bar exam authority for access to bar examination questions, past and present, and it confirms my suspicions that the new bar exam is significantly more difficult than the old one.


O grants Blackacre "to A for life and then to B." What is B's interest?

A. Contingent Remainder
B. Vested Remainder
C. Life Estate
D. A Bucket of Plum Sauce


In Ulysses, Joyce, through Stephen Dedalus, states that "Every life is in many days, day after day. We walk through ourselves, meeting robbers, ghosts, giants, old men, young men, wives, widows, brothers-in-love. But always meeting ourselves." As you ponder what they means for justice and providing legal services to the poor and needy at no cost, is your client guilty of second-degree manslaughter?

A. Yes
B. No
C. "It depends"
D. Joyce was almost as overrated as Samuel Beckett and I would much prefer Proust or Nabokov on future bar examinations, which I certainly will be taking after this inscrutable nightmare.

Clearly, the new bar exam presents broader challenges for law students, and it should be no surprise that the same student quality is struggling a bit in gaming those beautiful 90% pass rates.

Of course, all of this reinforces my previous idea that we should require a fourth year of law school in order to compensate for the NCBE's treachery in foisting this cowardly new world upon us.

Also, we should audit the NCBE.

And maybe give a standardized allotment of points to account for the inevitable annual ExamSoft clusterfucks, as well as to compensate for past ones causing forward trauma.

Oh - and we should give adjustments to students' scores based on variances in the weather and/or student dieting habits, as medical SCIENCE proves that those factors can affect standardized test outcomes.

Also, some students just test poorly. While that's a constant over time, we should figure out who they are and just give them a passing score for persevering through life with a disabling non-disability.

And also, we should just pass students who have historical metrics (like a 3.5+ gpa) that would equal bar exam passage. Wisconsin has the right idea with just opening the gates to in-state students; they should try it in Florida and Michigan and New York, or something...

Really, do we even need a bar exam?  The more these results drop and serious scrutiny is placed on law schools' admission habits, I start to think the answer is "no."

It may seem paradoxical to get rid of regulation while the regulation is clearly working to prevent the abuse it was intended to prevent, but, uh, it', and it's making law schools very unhappy.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

The Nefarious Bar Exam Conspiracy Continues

From Bloomberg:
Performance on the bar exam has continued to slip, early results show.

The average score on the multiple-choice portion of the July test fell 1.6 points from the previous year, reaching its lowest level since 1988, according to data provided to Bloomberg by the National Conference of Bar Examiners.
And so it continues that our current law graduates - who are all clearly intelligent and hard-working - are not doing as well on the bar examination.

It's incredibly easy to continue blaming this on the student quality. Indeed, such a conclusion would be warranted by every existing piece of evidence such that it could probably withstand the scrutiny of proof beyond a reasonable doubt. And sure enough, Erica Moser, being all rational and shit, is quick to play that card:
"It was not unexpected," says Erica Moeser, the president of the NCBE, which creates the multiple choice part of the test. "We are in a period where we can expect to see some decline, until the market for going to law school improves."
One explanation of science-based thinking is coming up with a theory based on past observations and then seeing a predictable outcome result. Moser, whose office employs real psychometricians, is likely approaching the situation with that mindset.

But that's pernicious bullshit. Sure, you can have your simpleton scientific cause-and-effect explanations that make so much sense I can't believe I'm parodying the inevitable boo-hoo response that will come from the legal academy.

As lawyers, we know better. We know that there are things called conspiracies and if this isn't a giant big conspiracy designed to deprive worthy lawyers of their licenses, I'll eat my hat while having relations with a Victoria's Secret model.

Sure, law schools could be admitting less-able students.

But I'd personally rather believe that the NCBE has developed a multiyear conspiracy to deprive Americans access to justice in order to milk additional bar examination fees. I demand a full-scale audit of the last twenty administrators of the MBE so I can have a paid expert denounce the process.  Our law students are working too hard to have to wait an additional six months to practice due to our failure to educate them to the extent desired by the NCBE's conspirators.

But more importantly, we need to realize that the evil, greedy conspirators, working for a private entity with no transparency, are not likely to change. We're stuck with these assholes serving as the douchebag doormen at the premium club who never lets you in. Knowing that reality, what can we possibly do to exploit students further while passing it off as a necessary change for their own good in the face of troubling circumstances?

I say bar exam coursework for eight weeks just isn't enough.

We need to add a fourth year of law school.

I know, I know - that means we'll have to hire more faculty and that law schools will be bigger. But clearly, three years isn't enough to properly teach and train the current crop of law students. Three years is barely sufficient.

Adding a fourth year of law school that is nothing but bar examination preparation just might be what is needed to get these 148 LSATs over the top. It will be a setback for law schools to try and service an extra, expensive year of law school, but it will no doubt be worth it to better serve law students when we have such conniving bad faith scientists running the nation's bar exam programs.

You gotta do what ya gotta do.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

If It's Broke, Leave It As-Is

As you may recall, recently I featured Milan Markovic and Jeremy Paul's letters to the New York Times in response to Steven Harper's recent Op-Ed. Well, grab some popcorn, 'cause this motherfucker escalated to the internet intermediate appellate level...

Harper responded with a lengthy blog post on September 9. As any good BigLaw litigator would do, he misdirected the matter at hand to an irrelevant rhetorical question that guarantees his side's victory:
Would Professor Markovic and Dean Paul — among many others who similarly ignore the crisis in legal education — counsel their own children to attend a marginal law school that, upon graduation, assured them of six-figure debt but offered only dismal JD-required employment prospects?
Well, the answer is, of course, "No!" But it's not for the reason Harper wants you to believe. See, Professors like Markovic and Paul are such prodigious intellects that any offspring of theirs would truly be a remarkable genius and score a 187+ (with bonus points) on the LSAT. At that level of accomplishment, those students are looking at getting full rides to law schools like Princeton and Johns Hopkins. The idea of the marginal law school or six figure debt simply doesn't exist for them. That said, if there was some sort of selective nuclear holocaust and somehow one hundred law schools ceased to exist, then surely they might countenance a Northeastern or Texas A&M.

Currently, those "other" law schools - the ones employing Markovic and Paul - don't exist to educate the offspring of the wine tasting gentry. They exist to give an education to those 150 LSATs of modest means striving for the slightly-upper-middle-class.

Markovic, of course, knows better than to fall for the litigator's cheap trick. At TaxProf, he responded to Harper and artfully dodged the question entirely:
Even the most strident law school critics acknowledge that 2018 graduates will be in a much better position because of the steep decline in law school enrollment.
Harper’s response does reveal two things, however: His disregard for employment opportunities outside of BigLaw and willingness to conduct a grand national experiment in student loan reform that will likely leave law students more indebted while transferring profits from the treasury to private lenders. 
Markovic's response is enlightening. For one, the man is so amazing he not only can see the employment landscape three years from now, but he can also read the minds of "the most strident law school critics."

You might think, for example, that someone who writes a satirical blog to legal education might be among the "most strident law school critics" and you might presume that such a person would say "fuck no, I would never say or acknowledge that!" But Markovic will gladly play with straw men. Likewise, he adds that Harper "disregards" jobs that Harper expressly includes in his analysis. Surely, Markovic's telekinetic abilities show the sort of keen insight one receives with a T-14 + BigLaw career path...not that such a path matters because Texas A&M grads are going to rock it even if they're practicing law in a strip club bathroom.

But my favorite response is Markovic's claim that student loan reform would be a "grand national experiment." Sure, we used to rely on private student lending. Sure, the government-backed student lending system is fraught with major problems that benefit no one except higher education institutions. Sure, this is an acknowledged crisis on a national scale that only exists because some hippies decided to embark on an even more dangerous grand national experiment a few decades back.

But do we really want to try a "grand national experiment" to solve it?

I say if it's broke, leave it as it is and see if the problem corrects itself on its own. Now that legal academics know that there is a problem with law school financing - I mean, ,they commissioned multiple TASK FORCES for fuck's sake - surely we'll see some meaningful reform by private actors.

And let's not forget the numerous national crises that easily solved themselves without anyone doing anything. What makes Harper's suggestion so utterly reckless is that, in this case, the crisis was exacerbated greatly by governmental intervention. Now, as a solution they want the government to withdraw?

Whoa, Dr. Moreau, let's slow down. The American educational landscape isn't your personal playground sandbox for building phallic towers and bucket-shaped fortifications. It's the personal playground sandbox where professors can educate tomorrow's leaders at ridiculous, predatory prices.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

A Playbook for Scoundrelling from California's Less-Accredited Schools

In an astute comment on the last post, PresTTTige (likely not a real name) noted that the unmet legal needs line of argumentation is the last refuge of scoundrel law school administrators, alluding to a quip by Samuel Johnson, a quirky man who spent nine years working on a dictionary only to have its legacy bested by the hipster fascists at Oxford and Mr. Merriam-Webster.

Unfortunately, PresTTTige's comment is slightly off the mark.  Law deans are so excellent, with such a wide battlefield of scoundrelling, that they get multiple last refuges. It's not a single last refuge, in fact, so much as a Wolf's Lair-like compound of related refuges from which the generalissimos can move deftly back and forth.

Consider this article about Southern California Institute of Law's ongoing battle with accreditation authorities over bar passage rules.

We, of course, have the classic unmet legal needs approach (not only does one need to move to Nebraska, one should maybe stop trying to work solely for Samsung, Boeing, and JP Morgan):
"We're in the business of producing qualified, competent mechanics who can day in and day out assess the basic needs of clients and find a cost-effective way to solve their problems, not work for the rare, sophisticated corporate client," said Mitchel Winick, the president and dean of Monterey College of Law, which also has a campus in San Luis Obispo. [How Cool[eyish]]
But aside from this astounding observation, we have its cousin, the "won't-someone-think-of-the-children loan mules students" approach, paired nicely with the "save the poor immigrants," "we teach our students good even though there's no objective evidence", and "let's snidely compare ourselves to one of the most successful capitalist enterprises in human history like it's a good point" approaches:
"It is our responsibility to help those who are new arrivals, who are new immigrants, who come from lower socioeconomic backgrounds," [SCIL Dean] Pulle said. "Is the only way these students are going to pass is to give them a McDonald's education or is it to challenge them to think for themselves?"
And then, for the non-ABA school, there's the "we're actually better than used car salesmen" approach:
"[The cost of the education] is doable for a lot people and it won't depreciate as soon as you walk off the lot," he said. "They will still have to push [financially], but it is what it is."
And finally - my personal favorite - the "inalienable right to fail and not be haunted" approach:
"As individuals, we have the right to pursue our dreams. Even if we cannot always attain them, there is much to be gained from trying, including the realization that something we had long hoped for is perhaps beyond our reach," the lawsuit said. "To never have tried may haunt a person for the rest of their life."
Put that in your Constitution and smoke it, 9th Circuit.