Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Obergefell and the Call for Law School

Because I eat, breathe, sleep, shit, and fuck the law like any good lawyer should, I spent large chunks of this past weekend skimming through remarkably cogent, spirited, and well-thought commentary on the Supreme Court's decision in Obergefell v. Hodges (for those who read USA Today, that's the gay marriage case), and I must ask:  who would not want to go to law school right now?

I'll sidestep the political minefield of discussing the politics or legal issues.  Lord knows if you write something like "I fully support liberalizing marriage, but what the fuck is this?" you're actually a hateful bigot who secretly hangs out in arcades with the other kind of joystick.

But I will observe that whether you like the ruling or not, look at how awesome lawyers are!  While your thoughts are still on the sodomy images invoked by the last paragraph, consider that twenty-nine years ago, the Supreme Court decided that it was totally constitutional for states to criminalize gay sex.  Now, nine new members of the Supreme Court decided that, actually, the states must allow homosexuals equality under state marriage laws.  Without a relevant amendment, we've gone from permissive persecution of godless perverts to mandatory state endorsement of that valued minority's most crucial relationships in less than 30 years.  Same Constitution, great new taste.

It wasn't voters whose flip-flopping mattered.  It was lawyers'.  Us.  We, who all took oaths to uphold the Constitution, can rewrite it to condemn and then - poof - rewrite it to sanctify and scold the condemners.

If you're a gun-toting, mother-loving red-stater who dreads getting dragged to Cousin Jimmy's fabulous wedding to a dude, there's really only one solution, and it isn't to drink twice as much organic small batch liquor made into novelty Jimmytinis.

Don't bitch about the strict Constitution - what do you think this is, 1960?

Don't make up pseudoscience about the "queers" not being able to rear children properly.

Don't blabber about marriage being sacred - see how Mr. Wizard Anthony Kennedy turned that utter piffle against you?

Go to law school.

This is the game.  Of course, it's not new - Scalia's whinging about democracy seems a bit untoward for a member of the Bush v. Gore majority.  And we could talk about Hobby Lobby and Citizen's United (who doesn't want to talk about those cases?!  are you not wet, hard, and/or miscellaneous right now?).  Hell, we could trace the whole privacy case line back to Griswold's "uncommonly silly law" and ask anew what the fuck this "privacy" shit is, exactly.  

The point is simple.  If you don't like the law, you don't have to change it.  You just need the right constitutional framework and five justices who buy it.  That doesn't take money or popular will.  It takes an army of constitutional lawyers.  The civil rights heroes of our age are not Sam Adams or Susan B. Anthony or Dorothy Height, but rather lawyer-scholars like Lawrence Tribe, Erwin Chemerinsky, and Geoffrey Stone.

These are the valiant warriors or our times, but their weaponry is not limited to one political ideology or cause.  Indeed, perhaps anti-gay sentiment in the United States is really just lawyer envy.

Perhaps, thirty years from now, we'll all realize that gay people are mutant cyborgs with no souls.  Who are you going to call to undo that shit?  The Terminator?  The Jedi Council?  A constitutional assembly driven by popular will?

Please - you'll need lawyers.  So you don't like Obergefell?  That's cool.  But don't hate on the law's ability to do whatever the fuck it wants and then find a way to justify it.  It's all in the game, baby.

Go to law school, study the bushido of the sophistry warrior, and fight for your way.  Who knows, maybe someday you'll end immigration or bring slavery back.

Now, surely, there's those of who you don't want to bring slavery back or end immigration.  The answer isn't to stomp around and call people insensitive monsters who want to deny basic rights in a delicious, awesome neo-Fascist empire.  No!  The answer is - you guessed it! - to go to law school to fight for the good guys!

This is an arm's race, and let me tell you, there's always more room in the missile silo for straight shooters who are ready to explode.

It's almost July 4th, but seats are still available at your local law school.

What's dat?

Call today!

Saturday, June 27, 2015

North Carolina May Dock Flagship School $3M; Scamblogging Likely a False Flag Operation

So there's a controversy brewing in North Carolina over a legislator's move to move $3 million from UNC Law School to some medical training center in the western part of the state.  Given than UNC Law has a budget of around $27 million and this doctor factory has a budget of around $48 million, this is clearly stealing from the poor to give to the rich.

And their attitude?  Cavalier, my friends.
"We all know that the law school can absorb this (cut) and nothing will change," [Sen. Ralph Hise] said.
Imagine other public service institutions being told such things:
"We all know that the homeless shelter for war widows with children who have cancer can absorb this (cut) and nothing will change," he said.
Why is it any less heartless when a school of law is involved in this reverse-Robin-Hooding by wicked and capricious governance?  Is North Carolina lawyers having to absorb the cuts in their loan payments not a problem?

More troubling is that there is speculation the move may be attempted retribution against a presumably tenured faculty member.
Sen. Mike Woodard, D-Durham, said during floor debate the move could be aimed at Gene Nichol, a law school professor who has been a harsh and prominent critic of actions by the General Assembly's Republican majority. A decision in February by the UNC Board of Governors to eliminate a center on poverty at the law school that Nichol heads drew accusations of political payback from Democrats, a charge board members denied. Nichol is still employed at the school.
It's not like it was a secret what they were getting with Nichol when he came back to the faculty.

But let's run with this idea.  Is this really all it takes to get funding slashed at a public law school?  Have one faculty member piss off a few Republicans?  Shit, that's easy.  Just launch an atheist stinkbomb at Christmas or post something on Facebook about using Obamacare's "free abortion" provision.

I know right now knee-jerk liberals are giving them a run for their money with Confederate Flaggate 2015[1], but no group in this county is better at pitchfork anger than a Bible belt-ish social conservative.  And despite avowed belief in the Constitution, they don't believe in academic freedom of speech because universities have been overrun by hyperliberal loonies.

This brings me to amateur law school criticism.  If getting funding slashed is really so easy that it can be done simply by some armchair political sniping, why do these blogs keep talking about student debt, unemployment, and all sorts of other ridiculous sidebar issues?

I'll tell you why and it's because these blogs are false flag operations backed by arch-conservative think tanks.  Think about it.  There's a highly-effective method for getting state funds slashed in becoming political and attacking the right targets.  Yet the "scamblogs" are decidedly apolitical and, in fact, coincidentally attack the soft liberal targets of academe instead.

The only logical conclusion one must make is that these outfits are being bankrolled by conservative activist groups in an astrotrufy attempt to get funding for law schools cut but not by insulting their friends.

This is called logical reasoning, and it's why I scored high enough on the LSAT to get into Yale.  Or something.

Mayor:  Gentlemen, I understand you are here to present both sides of an issue. I wanna hear you both out and do this in a civil and constructive manner so that I can give you both the time and attention you deserve. Jimbo, why don't you begin?

Jimbo:  Mayor, it's about the South Park flag.

Mayor:  Jesus Christ, not this again!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Prof. Jeffrey Harrison Hates Law School Innovation, Market Capitalisim

The title is about the only conclusion would could make from reading Harrison's latest angry-citizen letter to the Gainesville newspaper.  In short, Harrison - at the elite University of Florida - wants to merge all of Florida's public schools into one.
It’s time for the irrational way that Florida delivers legal education to change. There can be four campuses but one set of admissions guidelines, one acceptance letter per applicant, one admissions office, one PR department and one diploma that does not distinguish among campuses.
Gee, I wonder which marque would be the survivor of this deathmatch?

Harrison, as readers may know, runs an opprobrious legal education blog.  His latest shock-jock piece nicknames the former deans of his own institution things like "Champagne Man" and "The Can Kicker."  These are law deans, distinguished public servants who deserve our respect and admiration.  He criticizes things like class bias and regulatory capture as-if they are negatives.

Thus, it should be no surprise that his letter to the editor shows a startling lack of respect for the core concepts of market competition and law school innovation.  See, law schools are like fast food chains.  Many are like McDonalds.  But sometimes, you don't want McDonalds, and for those times you want to get your burger and fries at Burger King, Wendy's, or Sonic.

Harrison is basically a Big Mac-peddler telling the world it doesn't need the Whopper, the Baconator, or those two idiots on the commercials who hang out at Sonic all the time because they're mutually repressing their homoerotic feelings for each other in the most inconvenient way possible.  But the point is that sometimes, you want a little variety.  You want a more experiential dining experience, or maybe one where the burger is injected slightly differently to simulate the practice of eating real beef.  You aren't always in the mood for the daunting Socratic questioning of McDonalds: "Would you like to try our ___________?"

In any event, this is America.  We value competition.  It drives our finest people to do great things in the never-ending quest to get more sales.  We don't need intrusive government telling the citizens of Florida that they can only have their choice of eight (8) law schools.  The sunshine state deserves the full eleven.

If anything, Florida needs three more.  Pensacola needs a law school, and I think Jacksonville and Tampa would be better served with additional public school options.  To think that they need to be cut in such an environment for government efficiency is just communist.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Task Force!: The Sequel

Remember when the ABA decided that it would address to problems afflicting the future of legal education?  Remember when it pooled together the best and brightest thinkers who happen to be lawyers with enough prestige to get past the velvet ropes?  Remember when it solved the problems afflicting legal education and being a lawyer returned to the halcyon days of To Kill a Mockingbird meets Even the Losers Will Be Well-Paid Public Defenders?

Well, the Force! is back.

Like many a sequel, the ABA's Task Force! on Financing Legal Education didn't generate the buzz of the first, but it's still a big-budget box office smash that leaves readers assured that the ABA is truly looking out for the common man lawyer and can offer a wealth of wisdom and solutions.  For example (SPOILER ALERT), it writes:
Finally, the report has considered the importance of the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program as a means of encouraging and supporting students who elect to work in the public interest sector after graduation. The Task Force urges all actors– especially bar associations and educators – to continue to this program, as well. This is an important access to justice issue.
The Task Force! doesn't have just one enemy, see?  They may be off halfheartedly fighting villains in the jungles of student finance, advocating that sophisticated consumers need more financial counseling, but that doesn't mean they've forgotten the real villain, that horned, bile-blooded devil Socialinjustice.

 I don't want to spoil all of the conclusions, but I would like to make two observations.

First, it takes a very rare breed of Force! that can scrupulously edit and pack two or three blog posts' worth of material into a mere forty-two (42) page document with colorful bar graphs.

Second is that the report shows the practical impact of invaluable legal scholarship.
Despite the cost, the best available evidence suggests a significant lifetime income premium for those with a law degree compared to those with a bachelor’s degree.[50] This holds for those who graduate in a down job market and for those whose earnings place them at the 25th percentiles of the income distribution. Debt, however, can diminish the degree of premium for all law school graduates and so remains a factor to contend with. Still, even with the focus on debt by many commentators, the question is ultimately one of long-term value – and that value is significant.
They cite, of course, to Simkovic & McIntyre's "Economic Value..."  Indeed, the next time I'm litigating a million dollar case and need expert support for some set of ridiculous notions, I'll have a statistician take a shit on a cocktail napkin.  "But judge," I'll argue, being all lawyerly, "I don't care that it lacks many basic prerequisites for a reliable survey-based statistical analysis to support the conclusions presented, my shit-stained cocktail napkin is the best evidence available!"

Thank you, Task Force! for providing meta-commentary on the value of legal scholarship in a report on legal education costs and financing that totally sidesteps unjustified tenured faculty salaries relative to productivity as a cost drier (see p. 35).

Finally, the LSTC must make special note of Phillip Schrag of Georgetown, who writes a concurring opinion in Appendix D.  Among the highlights:
  • "Without federal loans, students would have to borrow commercially to attend law schools, or their families would have to support them."
  • "It is less clear that opportunities for lawyers in small firms or in solo practice have diminished substantially..."
  • "Also, the baby boom generation is nearing retirement age, and it is possible that in a few years,there will be more jobs, even in urban markets, than lawyers available to fill them."
  • "Not enough attention is being paid to whether the increasing cost of legal education will have adverse effects on public service."
  • "There is, of course, no direct correspondence between the wealth or income of a client and the complexity of the problems that the client faces."
The 5th one is my favorite.  The fact that it's blatantly false is moderately interesting in its own right, but the fact that Schrag adds "of course" as if it's a self-evident truth adds a welcome wink of scrumptious irony to the slick prose.

The most important attack combo is that with one hand Schrag throws a frag grenade at the "too many lawyers" argument without much in the way of fact-based evidence while in the other hand he waves forward the Non-JD Limited License Legal Services Corps.  It's a beautiful synergy of arguments that provides a non-solution to the extraneous problem of his concern, and one that may, in fact, harm solo and small firm attorneys...which, of course, we may have a shortage of.  

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

The Wizard of Law

Dorothy was an average pigtailed Kansas farm girl with a dog named Toto and a fine collection of homespun dresses and picnic baskets.  She loved her Uncle Henry and Auntie Em, who so graciously took her in after her own mother and father were ruined and buried by Mr. Social Injustice.

But Dorothy wanted more than to live a rural middle class life.  She didn't know what, but she wanted to do something.  She had smarts, energy, drive.

Dorothy was reading about her various options - medical school, law school, business school, etc. - and humming some gay song about weather phenomena when TORNADO ALARM.

Despite being the middle of fucking Kansas, everyone seemed surprised by this and was running around like it was emergency or something.  Dorothy somehow got knocked unconscious in the confusion and the next thing she knew her bedroom was swept up by the mighty wind while Pink Floyd's The Great Gig in the Sky just so happened to play on her iTunes.
When Dorothy awoke, she and Toto stepped out of her house and learned they had landed in Munchkin Village and crushed the Witch of the East, who previously owned all of Munchkin Territory in fee simple defeasible, conditioned on her being a total bitch.

All the Munchkins cheered and celebrated her demise.  Moreover, they celebrated Dorothy for her innovative problem-solving skills.  See, the Munchkins had been trying to kill the Witch of the East for decades.  They had never thought of simply dropping a house on top of her.

"We need that type of problem-solving!  Would you like to be our new judge?!"
"I'd rather not," Dorothy said.  "I really want to get home.  I'm not even a lawyer."

The Munchkins gasped at this.  How could she solve a broad social problem without a law degree.

"You should see the Wizard!"
"Yes, the Wizard!"
"What Wizard?" Dorothy asked.
"Why, the Wizard of Law!" the Munchkins said, as if she were as stupid as she was.  "He lives in the Socratic City!  He can give you a law degree AND help you get home!"
"But I'm not sure I want a law degree," Dorothy said.

The Munchkins then broke out into a medley of songs:

1.  "Ding Dong the Law's Not Dead."
2.  "Mayor and Coroner Talk About Projected Lawyer Shortage After Witch's Slaying."
3.  "The Social Justice Guild."
4.  "The Boomer Retirement Guild."
5.   "The Employment Stats Say You'll be His, You'll be His, You'll be History."

Dorothy was convinced, and, her iPhone not having reception, asked the Munchkins for direction.

Follow the Open Road
Follow the Open Road
Follow follow follow follow follow the Open Road!

And so Dorothy and Toto set out on the widest, most openest road out of town.  All they had to do was sign a simple promissory note on the way out of town, and their passport to Law was firmly in hand.
About a half mile out of the Village, Dorothy and Toto came to a fork in the road.  Nearby sat a very confused young man wearing a potato sack over his head.

"Excuse me, sir," Dorothy asked.  "Which way is to the Socratic City?"
"Maybe it's this way," he said, pointing behind him.  "Or maybe that way!"
"Do you not know yourself?"
"I don't know which way to go!" the man said.  "Should I go to see the Wizard of Law, or should I take the road to the Wizard of Biz?"
"Why are you wearing that sack on your head?"
"I went to a costume party.  I couldn't decide between Scarecrow from Batman and Fred Flintstone, so I brought this sack and thought maybe I could change."

Dorothy snapped her fingers.  "What you need is a versatile degree.  You should come with me to the Socratic City!  With a law degree, you can do anything, including business!"
"The Wizard can give me versatility?"
"I bet he can, if he can get me home."

And with that little nudge, Scarecrow joined their travels.
Down the road, they came upon an old cabin.  A young man sat outside, a hideously ugly, bearded, slovenly-dressed, dirty young man.  He was sitting virtually comatose, and was totally unresponsive when Dorothy and Scarecrow tried to wake him, which they did for some mysterious reason despite the foul odor.

Nearby, a bottle of whiskey sat.  "Me drnk," the man mumbled.  Quickly, Dorothy and Scarecrow pour a few drops in the young man's mouth, and soon he was lubricated enough to speak.

"Thanks," he said.  "I have to keep my BAC above .2 or I zone out."
"What's your name?" Dorothy asked, covering her mouth with horror.
"Friends call me Tin Man."
"What a funny name," Scarecrow said.
"I have to fuck tin because I'm so broke and repulsive to the ladies."
"Well, Dorothy and I are off to get law degrees!"
"You should come, too!" Dorothy said.  "A law degree can give you charm."
"I dunno, I ain't got much of a brain.  Does it cost anything?"
"All you have to do is sign a promissory note.  It's free to sign!" the Scarecrow said.

And so Tin Man, too, joined their party.  But all was not happy.  They were soon accosted by the WITCH OF THE WEST.

"My pretty lemmings!  You think you're going to represent Apple some day or something?  That promissory note will cost you dearly!  There's no need for new lawyers and there's no advantage to having these skills in the employment marketplace.  Snarl snarl!"

But they defied her, and kept going anyway.
They soon found themselves in a nasty, scary, enchanted ghetto.  They felt threatened as naive white people, and matters only got worse when the self-proclaimed famous rapper Lyon jumped out of a boarded up home.

He tried to intimidate them with a protest song, an updated version of Public Enemy's Fight the Power.  But it simply didn't work, and Dorothy soon found herself giggling.

"I'm sorry," she said.  "I know you meant well."
"Dat's just the thing," he said.  "I got the music in me.  I feel the struggle in the street, but I don't know how to express it."
"You should get a law degree," Scarecrow said.  "As a lawyer, you can fight for social justice."

The others convinced Lyon that a law degree was an excellent way for him to seek social justice in the world, and now their foursome was complete.

Dorothy, Scarecrow, Tin Man, and Lyon embraced arms and continued along the open road.

We're off to see the wizard, The Wonderful Wizard of Law....
But the Witch of the West was not satisfied.  She watched the foursome from afar, likely bitter because her own legal career had stalled, we can only presume.  I mean, seriously, why on Earth would anyone without any skin in the game want to warn people off of something?  It must be a psychological defect or something, to just go around making up garbage to save others from going on pointless quests to see imaginary wizards.

The Witch of the West was cunning, and used astroturf money from the Coke Brothers to set up a series of signs along the Open Road, saying slanderous and demeaning things like "massive decline in travelers to Socratic City - may be wise to turn around" and "hey, the people in Socratic City charge you $300k in usage taxes and only work fifteen hours a week."

But the foursome ignored every last sign that foretold of peril.  Just before getting to Socratic City, they decided to have a massive bender of a party.  Scarecrow, as it turned out, had a stash of opium.  Things were done to each other that can't be undone, but that wasn't the worst of their problems.

No, the worst of their problems was that they awoke inside the Witch of the West's Dungeon, which looked a lot like a conference room at the local Marriott!

 "My special snowflake lemmings!" the Witch said.  "I really would appreciate if you did some honest research about your decision to go to Socratic City, because, look, I've been there, and it's not what it seems.  I mean, there, the people are nice, but later on a lot of us who went there regretted it."
"KTHXBYE!" Dorothy yelled.  She threw a bottle of water at the Witch of the West.  The Witch was knocked unconscious, and they made their daring escape.

"Wow," Scarecrow said.  "It was really easy to beat that Witch.  Water?  Seriously?"
"Was it just water," Dorothy said, "or logic?"
Once they got to Socratic City, the door was held open for them, and the red carpet was rolled out.  Good food, good wine, droll lessons in legal instruction.  They sang songs about poor people and songs about women's rights, songs about attorney ethics and songs about social justice.

The Wizard, it turns out, was the nicest guy on the planet.  None of that curtain or smoke and mirrors illusions like the Witch of the West had warned them.  Oh, no.  He left them crash for three years and even gave them special positions for nine months after they formally graduated.  Dorothy was even a Fellow in the Socratic City Institute of Law!

But after a while, Dorothy and the others remembered the plot device of why they had come in the first place.

And so the Wizard bid them well.  Dorothy left with a bus ticket home.  Scarecrow had a set direction in life.  Tin Man had a new suit and "I'm a lawyer" as his newest pickup line.  Lyon had a ticket to social justice.
 Dorothy awoke in her bed back at the farmhouse, with Uncle Henry and Auntie Em standing over her.

"Oh," Dorothy said.  "I had the most wonderful dream!  I went to a far away land and there was a wizard and he gave me a law degree!"
"That wasn't a dream," Uncle Henry said.  "You went to a third-tier craphole in a far-away state.  You convinced Joe, Jim, and Johnny to go to law school, too."
"I did?" Dorothy said.
"Joe's now a public defender in Utah.  Jim's doing doc review in Manhattan.  And Johnny set up his own private firm in Michigan.  Must be makin' a mint."
"What about me?" Dorothy asked.
"You're 300k in debt and unemployed.  We had to give Toto up because we couldn't afford the food and he wouldn't stop nipping at lawyer commercials.  You've been so depressed, you're drinking all the time and apparently blacked out pretty badly."

Dorothy looked out the window and smiled.  She was a lawyer.  Something would land, and if worse came to worse, she could always go to Munchkin Village for a job, or maybe use the versatility of the JD to start a hedge fund, or something.

Fuck that Witch of the West, she thought.  She fell asleep, thankfully that she had gone to law school, thankful to the Wizard, so thankful that she made a mental note to make a donation.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Reasons to Support Maginot Line Construction Still Valid, Too

Sure, the Maginot Line cost a fortune that hampered other French army resources and the Germans drove their tanks right around the end of it for a relatively easy invasion of a former colonial power.  But you know what?  I still think it was a good idea, even the part where they didn't build it all the way to the ocean, with forcing the Germans to take a detour and invade weak-ass Belgium and all that.  Why, in replays of history, I'm sure it would work some of the time, and the nasty Nazis would be stopped in their tracks.

Law school criticism has much in common with the historical revisionists who think the Maginot Line was a ineffective waste of money.  Sure, superficially it looks like a colossal failure.  But dig deep enough, and by gum, it's a good idea.

Take Indiana Tech.  Now, the superficial, simplistic analysis in that this low-enrollment, high-cost unaccredited dumpster fire was a bad idea.  In retrospect (and retrospect only!), we might say that putting a new law school in Fort Wayne, Indiana was the damn stupidest idea this side of getting a haircut from a whirlybird blade.

But that's not thinking like a lawyer.  Lawyers provide deep, thoughtful, probing analysis.  Molesting analysis.

Here's an editorial in the Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette entitled "Reasons to support Indiana Tech law school still valid."
 [N]othing has changed from the perspective of northeast Indiana benefiting from the presence of another professional school.
Tim Pape, managing partner of Carson Boxberger, was a member of the feasibility study committee for the law school.

“It had a very thorough and thoughtful process,” he said. “(Indiana Tech) did their homework. They looked at law schools that had opened and had not been successful. They studied the issue; they had plenty of data to support the case that the state and region could support another law school. If you look at the baby-boomer generation and expected retirements, and at the expected growth in the economy, the case was there.”
Pape says the school hit a run of bad luck with the effects of the recession (Tech enrolled its first law students in 2013, so the blindsiding is understandable).  The departure of the last dean "inevitably" damaged their accreditation bid.

Sure, people blasted the feasibility study at the time for being a shoddy piece of conclusion-first dogpoop and literally nothing since then has confirmed the practical need for this institution's existence.  But Pape says they had "plenty of data" and, er, the baby boomers are retiring and the economy is going to rebound and gosh darn it Fort Wayne needs a law school!

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Always Be Accrediting: Concordia Joins the Round Table

Always.  Be.  Accrediting.
The Concordia University School of Law has received provisional accreditation from the American Bar Association as the Boise school’s first graduates – nine students – prepare to get their degrees.
A. B. A.  A-Always, B-Be, A-Accrediting.  Always be accrediting!  Always be accrediting!   A-I-D-A. Attention, interest, decision, action. Attention:  do I have your attention? Interest: are you interested? I know you are because it's fuck or walk. You accredit or you hit the bricks! Decision: have you made your decision for Christ?  They've been waiting since August!  And action. A-I-D-A: get out there!! You got the prospects buildin' law schools; you think they build a school to get out of the rain? Guy doesn't enroll lemmings unless he wants it accredited. Sitting out there waiting to give you their money so they can extract even more from hapless lemmings! Are you gonna take it? Are you man enough to take it?

Thank God someone was man enough to finally accredit this place.  That's nine more attorneys to help fight back against unmet legal needs in Lewiston and Nampa.

Next stop on the accreditation express, Fort Wayne!  Toot toot!  (Note that Indiana Tech's provisional accreditation will come next year, just in time for its 2016 graduates to sit for the bar exam).

Read more here: http://www.idahostatesman.com/2015/06/08/3842047_boises-concordia-law-school-awarded.html?rh=1#storylink=cpy

Monday, June 8, 2015

To Every Problem There is a Solution: LPO Legal Residency for All!

It isn't true that to every problem, there is a solution.  Or, maybe there is a solution, and it just isn't a palatable one.

But we don't need to discuss that issue here.  Law schools have many problems, and stalwart Deborah Rhode is quick to point them out when she can summarize them in book form and have Oxford University Press put it onto a grateful marketplace.  It appears to be the latest addition to the well-dusted bookshelf that includes Tamanaha's Failing Law Schools and dozens of courtesy copies of a law review edition that no one has ever read.


Capitalism is a natural solution-creator.  As some libertarian college sophomores explained it me, the free market naturally destroys that which is bad and builds up that which is good, simply because at the root of all capitalist transactions is consumer will.  You, reader, for example, go to the grocery store.  When you buy a grape, you're not just saying that you're in a queer state wanting that vague wine flavor without the alcohol, no, you're also saying that you support the free-est possible trade with central and south America and that, if necessary, you would support an armed invasion of any country who threatened to jeopardize our precious supply of eating grapes through domestic regulation.  Also, you're most certainly in favor of the FDA expanding the definition of "grape" to items that are 70% grape or more and definitely support hybrid Frankenseeds that are pesticide-resistant if you buy non-organic, which you will, you cheap ass.

That's called "voting with your feet," and if you kick yourself in the ass, it's your own damned problem.

I raise all of this because the wonderful laboratory goons at United Lex have come up with a perfect solution to every problem that ails the legal sector!
 ULX has recently extended its collaborative hand to law schools, teaming with an initial group of four highly regarded institutions across the country (Emory, Vanderbilt, University of Miami, and Ohio State), to provide post-graduation jobs, training, and critical contemporary practice and leadership skills for more than 100 of their law graduates.  Each partnership between UnitedLex and the law school works the same way: ULX and the school agree to create a “legal residency program” populated by graduating students (Bar licensure is required) who serve a two year hitch working for and training under ULX.

The program channels medical residency where young doctors receive intensive clinical training from experienced physicians and “learn the ropes” of clinical practice and patient care. ULX legal residents are paid between $55K-$70K (overtime and other variables account for the spread) receiving rigorous training, then engaging in client work under the supervision of ULX’s senior lawyers.  The training and work focus on: litigation management, e-discovery, cyber-security, technology, patent licensing, intellectual property management and immigration law.  Senior attorneys from ULX as well as faculty from the participating law schools provide the training.  The law schools socialize the program to their donor base; this “marketing” is intended to generate new ULX business opportunities for which the law school is compensated.  The bulk of the law school’s revenue funds scholarships and defrays tuition costs.
It's win-win-win-win.

Did you know that Emory, Vanderbilt, OSU, and Miami were "highly regarded?"  They are!  And they'll be even more highly regarded now that they're shipping ~25 students each to do legal residencies.  Sure, their graduates used to nab $160k jobs all the time.  But, you know, lawyers don't learn shit in two years at a large law firm, even while paying down their massive debts.  So these second-tier schools score a huge win for their students by locking down 55k bar required jobs.

The students get a huge win, having secured employment for two years, and then what I'm absolutely sure is a dynamite credential on the resume when they look to transfer to a private firm doing cyber security or intellectual property law.  Surely, the traditional law firm community will welcome with open arms people who spent two years with intense practice experience in a legal process outsourcing center.

For its 55-70k, ULX can tap a "top tier talent pool" for cheap and then build an army of ex-employees who are out there saving the world and viewing LPO as a positive.

Clients, of course, have the benefit of an excellent legal process outsourcing company to use.  Obviously, the customer wins.

And did you see where ULX is having schools "socialize the program to their donor base?"  My god, I love the lingo.

Large legal process outsourcing company reduces what it sees as inefficiencies in the legal marketplace to create short-term, moderate-wage residencies for 100 speecial graduates. 

Gee, I don't see anyone who loses here.  We should just build 100 companies like ULX.  Lawyer saturation problem solved.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

We Need More Outstanding Citizens

Long-time readers of the blog know the LSTC policy on immigration: open the floodgates and give 'em a promissory note.  As many know, there's a special class of immigrants called "DREAMers," residents of the U.S. who were rudely brought here by their parents, talented youth caught in a bureaucratic limbo that's sort-of by someone else's creation.  Because it's fair to assume that most of these DREAMers crossed a body of water to get here, I imagine admissions departments refer to them as "wet DREAMers."

If we have the potential to flood the market even further with special snowflakes, why in the world would we stop?  Let's look at Mark Brown's column on a recent Northern Illinois graduate.
Three years ago, Irakere Picon was an anxious first-year Northern Illinois University law school student who didn’t know whether he’d ever be allowed to practice law because of his immigration status.

Now, he’s a perfect example of the good that came from President Barack Obama’s decision in 2012 to grant limited legal status to the so-called DREAM kids caught in the limbo of the American immigration system.
Does Picon need a bar card or a long-term job to be successful?  Nope - he just has to graduate from a fourth-tier public law school.  By somehow running the gauntlet and graduating from this fine institution, Picon is now "Exhibit A" in the utility of a social policy affecting millions.

Of course, he's a special snowflake, as well:
Picon graduated from law school last weekend with an award for having demonstrated the strongest commitment to public interest law among his peers. Previously, he won individual honors at a national moot court competition.

Picon, 26, is currently studying for his bar exams with hopes to land a job working in a Chicago courtroom either as a public defender or doing civil rights law.

In short, he’s what you might call an outstanding citizen, if not for the fact he still has no path to American citizenship.
Out of deference for the man trying to make a partisan point, please ignore that you could throw a superball in downtown Chicago and hit twenty licensed, similarly "outstanding citizens" with full citizenship who are under- or unemployed.  Never mind that slots in the public defender's office and/or doing remunerative civil rights work will have dozens upon dozens of qualified applicants for each opening.

This dude's outstanding, and if you don't amend our immigration laws and allow everyone else through, you're depriving these people of the opportunity to join the ranks of the educated poor at some point.  Being part of a saturated labor market with pseudo-prestigious credentials is a vital part of the new American dream.

Further, being educated with a post-graduate degree is the sine qua non of contributing to our fine society.  Here's Brown again:
Would [conservatives] rather Picon and those like him spend their lifetimes washing dishes in a restaurant than contributing their fullest potential to our society?
They would probably say something stupid like:
"Well, we have more of an economic demand for efficient restaurant workers than we do for low-tier law graduates, and it's incredibly condescending to assume that dishwashers aren't contributing (or can't contribute) to their fullest potential to our society.  People's societal value shouldn't be typecast by their occupation.  Moreover, skilled illegal immigrants who work in restaurants usually work their way up to line positions, which is a transferable skill even if they're deported, and one that's more in-demand than the legal sector.  Also, doc review and contract rates in the largest cities have been declining so much that with the debt or expense of school, it's entirely possible that working in a kitchen is better long-term economic option for a dedicated and intelligent worker."
But that's silly.  Everyone knows you can't be a fully actualized person unless you have multiple degrees to put on the wall, even if you have to go back to washing dishes.  Besides, working in a kitchen seems pretty JD-Advantage with all the regulations on the food service industry.

Dream on.

Monday, June 1, 2015

First Tier New Mexico

God I love rankings season.  It's something of a truism that as the number of rankings with "new" and "better" criteria approaches infinity, the odds of any given school being able to claim top-tier status approaches 100%.

Consider the hot new ATL rankings.  Somehow, the minds at the ATL thinktank came up with a way to take the mostly-bogus numbers provided by law schools and develop a rankings system that places Villanova as the 38th-best law school in America.  I mean, Akron and Tulsa in the top fifty, that's not shabby.  But Villanova - I mean, Villafuckingnova! - in the top forty is icing on a delicious piece of scamcake.

Another key finding is that New Mexico - fyi, that's the state between Arizona and Texas - has the 18th best law school in America.  It's higher than UCLA, Georgetown, Boston U., North Carolina, Georgia, and tons of other schools.

And of course the school knows it:
 “We’re delighted to receive this recognition of our program and to be in the very good company of Northwestern (No. 13), Vanderbilt (No. 15), and Boston College (No. 16),” said Hannah Farrington, UNM School of Law assistant dean, Advancement.
No need to mention the august company of University of Iowa (No. 17), of course.

While only 71st in the U.S. News Rankings, New Mexico's rapid ascension into the top 20 of the ATL rankings shows a first-class school to be reckoned with, or possibly one high on Heisenberg's Blue Sky methamphetamine.  Unlike Blue Sky, though, New Mexico's status as an elite law school is scientifically possible and totally real.

Maybe if graduates can't cut it in Nebraska, they can now head to New Mexico as well.