Saturday, February 27, 2016

Valpo Reformers Endangering Appropriate Legal Market Saturation

Just a few years ago, we built a brand spanking new spaceport for rocketing million-dollar careers in Fort Wayne, Indiana.  You might know it as Indiana Tech.  Before they built it, they did a peer-reviewed feasibility study upholding the highest in scientific and statistical virtue that showed, very clearly, that the state of Indiana was facing a dire lawyer shortage and had an unmet demand for legal education.  The rational conclusion, based on all the available science, was to build another law school.

Now, Valparaiso - a mere 100 miles away - is downsizing its law school.
Facing a sharp decline in student applications and enrollment at its law school, Valparaiso University is offering tenured faculty and those with multi-year contracts a buyout.
[Spokesperson Nicole] Niemi said the purpose of the buyouts is to align the size of the faculty with the expected future law school enrollment.
I understand I'm normally fully supportive of how America's accredited law schools teach the next generation of white-collar juris-heroes how to kick injustice in the dickhole.  But good God, what a confused message.

Contrary to the reasoned analysis of Indiana Tech's study, Valparaiso's decision smacks of knee-jerk irrationality that essentially caved in to short-sighted thinking.  We know what the future holds for the legal profession, and it's a tidal wave of Baby Boomer Barrister's dying and retiring, falling like dominoes that jeopardize the Rule of Law in North America, leaving rural areas functioning with only 1 lawyer to every 0.6 actual, lawyer-able legal issues, a ratio of great peril for the genetic fiber of our society's judicial branch.

Departing from this truth because you want to save a few dimes here and there is not only reckless, but "right-sizing" sends the wrong message to students: that there's somehow less demand for lawyers despite our expanding population and increasing justice gap.

Please note that my discussion about the pending lawyer shortage isn't completely concocted like the Great American STEM Shortage.  This shit's real, and we to scold schools like Valparaiso for disregarding rationality and making possible a future where the yellow pages may not be stuffed with solo and small-firm attorneys chasing the legal dragon.  Bad, Valpo.  Bad.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

UC Davis Laying Pipe to Diverse Candidates

The ABA doesn't just work to maintain lawyering as a great profession with a bright future for all practitioners, it also likes to reward those institutions working tirelessly to make our noble profession a little less white and a little less schlub-y.  Appropriately, then, it's rewarded UC-Davis for its pipeline program:
KHOP has been a staple of the school since the program’s inception in 2001. It is designed to not only aid students from underrepresented communities in the law school admissions process, but also in receiving mentoring and pre-law advising during their academic career. Students receive tips, and learn the writing, analytical and reasoning skills needed to strengthen their skills in their academic pursuits. [hopefully there is a wine bar involved, -ed]
According to ABA, 100 students have at least one year finished at KHOP to date, while 240 students have finished the two-year program. In addition, 41 percent of the students involved have graduated or are entering a law program, and 99 percent of the alumni involved are graduates from four-year universities. 
That's the sort of delightful pipe one can smoke; if you dislike that I'm suddenly mixing metaphors, you can "suck it," as the kids say.

Given that there's never been a better time to go to law school (remember, when the smart money sells, it's always time to buy!), UC Davis is doing marvelous things having a program specifically laying pipe for these students to swim through, then to be gloriously discharged into serving the American public and preserving the Rule of Law.

The career boost given to that 41% of students in the KHOP program who go to law school can't be quantified.  I mean sure, we can calculate up the modest tuition payments to American law schools, and we could hire a mathematician and figure out how much money a 160k median salary figures to be after middling debt payments, but the real value of legal education is intangible.  Knowing that we have a body of warm bodies ready to sacrifice themselves on grenades of justice, well, shit, money can't buy that.  The comfort in having that group of people becomming sligthly darker and speaking with more of an accent?  Well, that assuages centuries of social injustice, when minorities weren't allowed to find out how wonderful being a justicei crusader can be in a world that is desperate for them.

It's, frankly, enough to inspire anyone who understands the value of legal education to start laying pipe, too.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Response to Vermont Law School Request for Public Comment

Vermont Law School is being evaluated for the NEASC, its regional accreditation body.
Vermont Law School invites the public to submit comments regarding the institution as part of a New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC) evaluation.
You've got until March 23 to submit comments to the contact information on the link.

But why wait for such an obvious answer?  Here's the basic LSTC public comment regarding Vermont Law School, with descriptive phrases, adjectives, and verbs underlined so readers can simply copy the form and change the positive-vibe-y words for themselves!

Vermont Law School is a/an _excellent__ institution that _assists__ its graduates by providing them a/an _orgasmic and valuable_ legal education for a _ relatively modest_ tuition price.  The average Vermont graduate is _set___ for life because in exchange for that __check that - insanely low__ tuition price, those _brilliantly clever_ students receive __life-changing_ skills such as _thinking like a lawyer_, __dressing like a lawyer__, and _drinking socializing like a lawyer_.  With these __totally necessary__ skills in their arsenal, VLS graduates are _gently placed__ onto the American legal marketplace, which is _always desperate for more and better justice warriors in the unending battle for social justice that just won't stop no matter how many lawyers we pump out because these evil corporations keep hiring lawyers or something__.  Once there, new VLS lawyers learn that _a significant number of them (that's not actionable, is it?)__ of them are employable in full-time legal jobs that typically earn somewhere between _models___ and __bottles___.  _Multimillion-dollar_ degrees, indeed!  For those who _voluntarily decline_ to work as a _commodore__ in the _royal navy_ of _liberty on the high seas of jurisprudence__, the world is their oyster as the Juris Doctor is _the most versatile degree in the history of degrees including a master's degree in fucking versatility_.  Simply put, the world needs more law degree holders like it needs _more waterbeds! everyone loves a waterbed!_.  Even among all the _certainly not cancerous mole-like third and fourth tier_ law schools in the United States, VLS is extra special because it is __the only school in an entire heavily populated state with a border that must be guarded - immigration law!__ and offers excellent programs in _shit that makes you think of Bernie Sanders - GO BERN!_.

Accreditation is important for law schools, as it proves the administration is capable enough to place a sheet of paper in just the right place for a rubber stamp to fall atop it.  It's a very fine art.  Please help VLS by submitting a comment about VLS's value as a civic and educational institution in the justice-desperate northeast.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Justice Scalia Now as Deceased as Non-Living Constitution

As the informed reader has no doubt heard, Justice Antonin Gregory Scalia has passed away at the age of 79.  May he rest in peace.  This unexpected twist reduces the Catholic majority on the court to a mere 5-3 advantage and removes a stalwart conservative with firm principles onto which he obdurately held in the face of social change with only a few select exceptions when they got in the way of important votes like Bush or Citizens United.  For Scalia, making law was like making love: you do it the same way they did it 200 years ago, except for the occasional whim when you want to fist it in the ass and piss all over it.

As a witty, staunch defender of the Rule of Law and limousine lecturer to America's finest law schools (now more than 200 locations!), he will be irreplaceable and greatly missed. The nation now faces a political stand-off in replacing him.  President Obama has already announced his intent to nominate a replacement for Senate consideration.  Meanwhile, Senate Republicans have already decided (over a weekend, no less!) that the next Supreme Court appointment should be made by the next President, preferring the Donald Trump dice-roll to a former constitutional law professor.  Let us all hope that a compromise candidate is named and America be blessed with the next Anthony Kennedy.

Such political maneuvers, though, are not our focus on this blog.  Instead, we celebrate Scalia's contributions to legal education beyond his annual tour.  In Scalia's view, legal education didn't teach much, but was invaluable as a three-year sorting function for separating gods and clods:
By and large, I’m going to be picking [clerks] from the law schools that basically are the hardest to get into,” Scalia said. “They admit the best and the brightest, and they may not teach very well, but you can’t make a sow’s ear out of a silk purse. If they come in the best and the brightest, they’re probably going to leave the best and the brightest, O.K.?
Words that will live on.  In an age where people are constantly wanting law schools to teach "practical" skills, Justice Scalia understood that the purpose of law school is not to be schooled in law, but to acquire a stamp on one's curriculum vitae to certify genuine intellect and societal worth.  The Supreme Court, with its grand tradition of well-reasoned opinions that guide the nation's legal superstructure, depends not on practitioners with real-world abilities, but rather on an endless conveyor belt of Harvard and Yale graduates to pontificate, that innate skill held by elitists who clearly earned every promotion that they were quickly given.

It doesn't take real-world skills to write twenty pages that punt the most important issues in a case; it takes pedigree.  Justice Scalia understood this concept.  Sure, nothing stops a 174 LSAT from staying home and going to Florida State or Colorado, and nothing stops Georgetown from admitting total nincompoops and laughing about it in the faculty lounge.  But to use that sort of "logic" would jeopardize the Rule of Law, if not America.

Law schools simply aren't designed to teach.  They weren't designed to do so in the 60s and therefore they shouldn't be amended to do so now.  Their purpose is to let silk purses be silky and sow's ears to be sow-y.  Such a stable system provides the public with confidence that their legal sector is well-maintained, enforcing a stable framework where words like "Harvard Law School" and "AV Preeminent!" mean something dating back to Thomas Jefferson, all to preserve the almighty Rule of Law.

Reform, then, is not only superfluous, but potentially dangerous.  If you enforce some sort of useful pedagogy or merits-based consideration, even for a minority of schools, it may set a troubling trend where the best and the brightest may not leave the best and the brightest.  While we at the LSTC encourage law school experimentation as a cheap marketing exercise to rubes, to have the ABA or any other regulatory body make substantial changes to law school imperils the natural order and would undermine the Rule of Law.

So the best way to celebrate Justice Scalia's legacy would be to maintain the status quo: a system where our nation's best and brightest pay a hefty sum to take a three-year study vacation that teaches them little outside a selection of pleasant, antiquated writings and pseudo-philosophical conversations where windbags blow past each other.  Then, they would stride into good jobs where they then learn the actual craft of law as relevant to their station.  Recycle graduates of the most prestigious institutions for the top positions and leave the remainder of law schools to educate those who will serve the grossly under-served remainder of the population. 

Sicut erat in principio, et nunc, et semper, et in saecula saeculorum. Amen.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Minnesota Law Faculty Operating Without Coffee, School Hopes to Break Even Soon

Although its graduates are regularly savoring models and bottles in many of St. Paul high-rise condominiums, times are tough at the University of Minnesota College of Law.
With applicants down by half since 2010, the University of Minnesota Law School has been buying out faculty, soliciting more donations and accepting cash transfers from the U to cover operating deficits.

“We cut the coffee in the faculty lounge, and I get more complaints about that than all the other faculty cuts combined,” dean David Wippman told the Board of Regents’ finance committee Thursday.
These are law professors who are already sacrificing lucrative private practice careers with corner offices and million-dollar bonuses for those expert queer theory analyses of Good News Club v. Milford Central School.

Now they have to come to work and suffer the indignity of teaching ungrateful white collar dumpster naifs without the benefit of caffeine.  How in the hell can anyone be expected to put in a solid 10 hours a week putting up with lemming shit without a boost of morning joe?

Regardless, Minnesota currently needs annual cash injections from its affiliated university.  This is a school ranked in the first tier (i.e., the top 50) of the USNWR.  And it required $2.5 million this past year to break even even with a $73 million fundraising campaign.  If we're lucky, and the heroic, gulag-like sacrifices of the faculty pay dividends, the school will get to cease taking money from the university by 2019.  I shudder to think of the financial infirmities of equal-but-lesser schools.  It's truly a miracle that schools like NYLS and Thomas Jefferson can continue to educate tomorrow's leading lawyers.

At least the graduates aren't suffering at all.  In fact, their fortunes are going to skyrocket.
Wippman said that for whatever reason, the Great Plains has seen an especially large drop in law school prospects. Minnesota has had the nation’s largest decline in Law School Admission Test (LSAT) takers, followed by Wisconsin, he said.
Wippman said he expects the job market for people with law degrees to catch up soon after a few years of smaller graduating classes.
That's what we call a near monopoly.  Don't let anyone tell you these kids aren't thriving.  If anything, the million-dollar career trajectory aims low.

Successful graduates would be advised to donate generously to law schools in the future (naming rights always available!).  And to think of the sacrificial lambs who suffered career setbacks as a result of the law school downturn.  For example, Dean Whippman is parachuting himself to the presidency of a smaller liberal arts school.
Wippman, who leaves at the end of the school year to become president of Hamilton College in New York, said that when he started as law school dean in 2008, “everything was good.”

“I thought, ‘What could possibly go wrong?’ I don’t ask that question anymore,” he said.
Probably because that question makes no sense.  Nothing has ever seriously gone wrong in legal education...except the heartless charlatans throwing pointless barbs at good-natured people and depriving white collar workers of their sacrosanct right to coffee.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Lemmings of the Month: Depaul Law Students

Depaul College of Law recently announced that it was moving its formal because the shindig was to be held at Trump Tower and people can get all butthurt about the things political candidates say to get elected.
“[The decision was to] select a venue in which all of our students will feel welcomed and respected; a venue that is consistent with our university values and commitment to serve its diverse student body,” Hughes said.
There are a number of observations one could make about this news. 

For one, law schools - even in a time of great peril for the Rule of Law and Justice on Planet Earth - still find the time and the resources to pamper their fully-grown, post-graduate tuition payers with a glorified prom to make everyone have a grand night out before embarking on the U.S.S. Million Dollar Justice.  Sure, everyone involved could give the money to throw said party to a local legal aid and enjoy a cost-saving night of pre-alcoholism at home.  But law schools are looking out for the emotional needs of tomorrow's justice warriors and nothing boosts morale for a profession proudly stuck in the 19th century than to celebrate with a ball.

For two, one could point out that these students on a daily basis attend school at a place that overtly subscribes to the values of an international institution that - despite its virtues - has wrecked far more harm - including directly against Muslims and certain other groups found within the "diverse student body" - than a bloviating windbag of a half-assed politician could possibly accomplish in his wildest wet-dreams even if he were sincere.

For three, on a related point, one might wonder what will happen when, in a few years, the sort-of lucky ones will be plying their trade at the Richard M. Daley Center.  Will they demand to move court because they object to the legacy of political machinery and corruption still plaguing the city, citing the precedent of DePaul v. Name of Loudmouthed Political Candidate on Building?  Will they object to walking down Washington or Madison because those gentlemen literally owned other people instead of insulting their intelligence?  Can they object to holding depositions in buildings whose corporate sponsors' present activities they find displeasing?

But overall, consider what this situation says about the greater law school "scam."  A relatively small number of students complained about something relatively minor, and the law school responded with a breach of contract policy change like that, all to save a few kids' feelings.  And yet, apparently, we're supposed to believe that this same law school is "scamming" students out of tens of thousands of dollars each year and either there's no uprising or there is one and the school is silent?

Yeah, right.  If you believe that, I have a bridge to sell you.  Don't mind the fact that it's named after Pat Buchanan. 

Thursday, February 4, 2016

ABA Answers Long-Debated Question, Would Accredit a Turkey Sandwich

For those who missed it, the Section on Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar of the American Bar Association ("ABA") - representing the American lawyer and loving every second of it - recently decided to give a positive recommendation for provisional approval to Indiana Tech Law School.

For those of you who hired lame accountants and have been doing hard time for fraud the last five years, here's a refresher:  Indiana Tech opened its doors to all comers less than three years ago, is located in Fort Wayne, has far fewer students than anticipated, has already had turnover in the dean's office, has a faculty that promoted the white collar academic version of Vanilla Ice to an associate deanship, and is changing legal education so radically that enrolling in Cooley still seems like a safer bet given that this shit school may not be around in a few years.

For any accreditation body that had a modicum of standards, accrediting this dead turkey would seem like a long-shot.  Thankfully, the ABA understands the need to be inclusive in a field rife with elitism, such as the idea that a law school should be functional and seriously benefit students.

To use a metaphor, the confident young woman of pious virtue would simply scoff at the greasy drunken slob at the end of the bar who just suggested spontaneous bathroom coitus.  There's a minimum bar to even having the negotiation, and that disgusting and hairy dude's not even close.

But the ABA is not a confident young woman of stuck-up pious virtue who sets arbitrary bars of availability based on traditional heuristics like attractiveness or health.  No - the ABA is the kind-hearted, yet tough as nails, sex-addicted slut, who sees disgusting Indiana Tech feebly sitting in that port-side attraction, lonely day after lonely day, showering himself only with slurred philosophy and brushing his teeth only with suds.  The ABA's one of the sporty gals who welcomes every able-bodied seaman into Manilla or Havana.  With a wink and some routine procedure, she inducts them into that fraternity of one-time sailors who've spent a shore leave in that comforting port-of-call.  To that honeyed whore, the ABA, the thought of revolting Indiana Tech isn't so much a turn-off as it is an opportunity.  Indeed, this young sailor is special; he might grow into a strong and vibrant man of the community, enrolling hundreds of students and being a beacon of light to all who could see.  Indeed, it would be undue discrimination for her, the ABA, to deny the application.  But more importantly, it's just what the ABA does.  Some women make careers; some women make house; the ABA is the seasoned whore who sees nobility and prestige in fornicating with a cross around her neck.

And so, even as the bartender starts chuckling and whispers "are ya sure?" she taps him on the shoulder and smiles, consummation of a beautiful relationship about to blossom over an unkempt toilet five feet from a broken condom machine that wouldn't have saved either of them from the other's filth had they bothered in their horny euphoria to drop a damned quarter...

But I digress...

There's an old saying about grand juries that they would indict a ham sandwich, or a hamburger, or whatever other sandwich is capable of vaguely obstructing justice.

One could have seriously debated whether the ABA would likewise accredit a foodstuff, and I think after seeing that the sub-committee is recommending Indiana Tech, we have our answer.

The ABA would accredit a turkey sandwich.

And who could blame it?  Turkey sandwiches are diverse and nutritious.  While distinctly American, the turkey is an excellent compromise and does not violate any major religious beliefs the way beef or pork would.  It's name lends itself easily to study abroad programs in Istanbul.

If you spend three years learning law from a turkey sandwich, I would guess that your odds of finding gainful legal employment would be as good as they would be from any number of presently accredited schools.  And also, let's not forget the unquestionable statistic that people who eat turkey for three years invariably have a million dollar lifetime premium over people with other lunch options regardless of when they started eating turkey or what brand of turkey they ate.

Now that I think about it, it's frankly ridiculous that the ABA is still stringently requiring that accredited schools even actually be a brick and mortar enterprise when there are all sorts of things that could provide equal positive benefits to students without all the bells and whistles.  For example, a turkey sandwich would cost far less than a traditional legal education.  I'm sure that I personally could run a law school that was basically a turkey sandwich for no more than $150k a head.

All you fools who think this is a bad thing need to look at the bigger picture.  By accrediting a shithole like this, the ABA is effectively saying that objective proof doesn't matter if the ABA understands the value of your enterprise using the standard of "fuck it."  And by gum, if that doesn't encourage people to keep opening law schools to bestow million dollar careers, I don't know what will.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm serving as a special consultant to a gerbil coffee shop that wants to dabble in handing out LLMs...