Saturday, April 30, 2016

Monopoly, Rudely Intruding on Monopoly Money

In the classic days of the scam, it was simply picking sides.  Leiter v. Campos?  Easy.

Now, in this post-transparency world where rational skeptics decry the virtues of law schools' papal-like beneficence in bestowing million dollar degrees upon the world, we no longer deal with situations where evil-appearing good must triumph over good-appearing evil.

Now we have nuance in our in-fought battles.  Much in the way the NCBE decided to suddenly go after the fine, hard-working students at places like Brooklyn Law, now LSAC is going after Arizona Law.

As the astute reader recalls, Arizona has decided to expand beyond the LSAT and allow applicants to take the GRE.

Like any good white collar leach, LSAC does not take kindly to assaults on its monopoly over admissions testing schemes.
LSAC’s general counsel in April notified Arizona Law that the school’s new policy may violate its bylaws, which require that “substantially all of” a law school’s applicants take the LSAT.

The group is considering expelling Arizona Law from its membership, which would effectively cut off the school’s access to a crucial student admissions pipeline.
Cutting off a law school's access to fresh applicants is like threatening to make a druggie quit cold turkey tied to a bed of spikes.  You're arrogantly poking a hornet's nest and asking to get mercilessly stung by an irrational fury that one cannot comprehend until it is far too late.  Indeed...
The school said it sent a letter back to the organization Friday that also warned of potential legal risks.

“We believe that your proposed action unreasonably restrains competition in the law school admissions testing market,” said Arizona Law’s dean, Marc Miller, in the letter, which was reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.
And now it's on.

Who will prevail?

Is LSAC unreasonably getting in the way of Arizona's goal to haul in the monopoly money of student loans by taking the GRE?

Or is Arizona obstructing LSAC's ability to reap secondary profits by holding a monopoly over the absurd and outdated testing method used as a gateway to the legal profession?

In a rational world, a public university should care about serving the public interest and a nonprofit testing agency shouldn't give two shits whether it has a competitor or not, but we don't live in a rational world.  We live in a fun one.  And I hope they both find a way to keep milking their own respective teats.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

The Fort Wayne 21 Gun Salute

In its role as Poet Laureate of the law school counter-scam movement, the LSTC offers the following somewhat hastily written poem in celebration of Indiana Tech's inaugural graduation ceremony.

They came, their mettle second to none.
Oh! behold the mighty twenty-one!
Midst smoke and haze of Campos's craze
aimed true, their entry scores did amaze.
Highly recruited, through snow and sun
landed in Fort Wayne, brave twenty-one.

They inked their notes and trudged through the camp
with firmness no god or mortal tamp.
"No lawyer jobs," defamers did say.
Peers and a dean, lost along the way
yet like Sisyphus pushed up the ramp
spurred by gold-bar Sergeants Dre and Lamp.

No drill.  No three-year hibernation.
Those twenty-one have found their station.
Their blood to justice yields libation
ready to flood the legal nation
with Socratic skill, flare, elation.
To them we owe great veneration.

On the dais comes each steely-eyed one
their career wicks burning, almost done
their lawyer minds hardened by the school
cocked to launch under a black-letter rule
indebted deeply inside each gun
Oh! behold the mighty twenty-one!

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Overwhelming Majority of New Texas Lawyers Employed Just Fine 'n' Dandy

Media continues its wholesale war against our nation's most sacred institutions.  For example, this article is titled "Nearly one-fourth of Texas law grads are unemployed or underemployed."  This inflammatory yellow journalism should have no place in the American landscape, but sadly the recasting of benign or even exemplary scenarios as controversial has become a profit-driven plague upon the smart consumer's fragile eyes.

This article should be re-titled as "Over three fourths of Texas law grads well-poised to make make millions over lucrative legal careers."  It's literally the exact same title for anyone who understands math and shyster economics.

This isn't the only part of the article that can be rewritten for a more intelligent audience.  For example, review this line:
More than 13 percent of newly minted Texas lawyers are unemployed, which is actually worse than in 2010 — the year the Great Recession hit the Texas legal industry the hardest — when 9 percent of Texas law school graduates could not find a job after graduation.
Let's make this discourse a bit more adult and less chock full of mom's basement depression.
Due to the booming national economy outside of law school, more graduates than ever are seeking opportunities in exciting new industries.  While only thirteen percent of law graduates are unemployed, that's actually an increase over 2010, when more graduates opted for the safe legal careers readily available to those holding law degrees.
In the yester-year, journalists understood these things.  Now, this new generation just can't throw a bone to convoluted wealth transfer schemes.  Look at this offensive rubble:
Independent legal industry analysts point to several factors, including low oil prices hurting the economy and drastic tort reform measures that limited or ended various kinds of litigation.
Biased hearsay.  Let's rewrite:
Attention-seeking communists point to contracting needs for legal services, but completely ignore the massive need for lawyers to understand continually more ambiguously complex corporate regulations, and further ignore the immense justice gap caused by poor people not being to afford legal services at their present stratospheric rates, which can only come down through a higher supply of labor to those of us who only look at self-serving solutions.
Simple correction of these biases fixes kinks that occur later in the article.  To wit, this:
Recent data indicates that the demand for legal services has remained flat since the end of the Great Recession.

The number of full-time practicing lawyers in Texas increased by less than 3,500 during the past four years — from 37,600 in 2012 to 41,000 now, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Yet, the nine Texas law schools — 10 once the University of North Texas College of Law graduates its first class next year — continue to pump out more than 2,000 new lawyers annually.
Is easily and consistently rewritten to this:
Texas law schools continue to meet their social responsibility by graduating more than enough lawyers to meet the demand for legal services.  Despite some publications suggesting that these practices produce a debt-strangled excess to be discarded like the carcasses of dead cows stripped of usable beef and skin, research suggests that these graduates move into orgasm-inducing "JD Advantage" jobs.  Obviously, there's not a 1,000-person surplus of dead body lawyers in Texas being spit out annually,  That's just cray-cray.
At the end of the day, the article need point out only one reliable statistic, which is sadly buried halfway down the article:
On the upside, BLS reports that the median annual salary for practicing lawyers in Texas is $137,000.
If anything, there's too few lawyers.  No wonder poor people can't afford them if they're bringing home that kind of bacon.

Thank God there's no way to re-write that statistic to make lawyers look bad.  We're doing just fine, thank you, and the market can easily absorb 2,000 new lawyers every year in the Lone Star State.  Keep pumpin' the golden milkshake, Texas, and America will continue to drink.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Put on a Brave Face and Hope for the Best

Once a fledgling Japanese-English major, Ross is a departing 3L at NYU and poised to enter the world of large national law firms.  He's also doing God's work.
Should we, the Class of 2016, have bothered? The reality is that the job market may have looked a lot better in 2013. So why did we forge ahead?

When I decided to go to law school, there was growing optimism. Things had gotten verifiably better after the Great Recession. We still heard horror stories, but the economy was on the uptick and firms seemed to be hiring again. Though a J.D. was no longer the safe bet it once was, it still had a sheen of respectability and challenge. It was also a logical choice for many of us that were on the fence about our future.
Law school, the logical choice.  Though not even yet a bar member, Ross, it seems, is already deft at presenting conclusory arguments without serious factual premises, and his willingness to shill and wax nostalgic about the halcyon days of 2013 bodes well for an illustrious career in larger law firms.  Most people don't become bullshit-spewin' true believers until after a few sleep-deprived late-nighters in the conference room, but early indoctrination is a sign of educational evolution.

He also gives a pulsing, Grishamesque (Grishamian?) insight into what it's like to be the law school equivalent of the upper middle class for those of us who ate sliced hot dogs off cardboard:
...[A]n inscrutable flurry of interviews marked the end of our summer. Stress levels were astronomic. All we could do was put on a brave face and hope for the best.  Those students who stepped out of class to take their “callbacks” were regarded with a mix of congratulations and apprehension.
Inscrutable flurry!  Thrilling!  When's the film adaptation?!

For me, the only inscrutable flurry was the number of applications going out and the daily zip-zapping of depressed neurons compelling me to the slow realization that the opportunities presented were mostly illusory and that I was stuck on the wrong half of a drawbridge that went up in the middle of a fiery plague, to where the people on the other side will be shocked if I'm still alive in five years.

But diverse viewpoints are important, law school taught me, and I'll give Ross's vantage credence.  If you just "put on a brave face and hope for the best" and manage to enroll in one of the many, many fine law schools that leads to respectable placement rates, everything will be A-OK.  Get ready for some "callbacks," buckos, and not from Sallie Mae!
So can I conscionably recommend law school? I think I can....
In a conclusion that's by no means premature, you bet your sweet Pravda ass you can!  People tried to "warn[] off" this young man, but he didn't listen; he wanted to be a "professional problem solver" and "felt like lawyering would force [him] into other walks of life, wrack [his] brains, and learn more about [him]self."

Now he's got the chance.  You do, too.  Many people who go down the road may wind up being mugged and left for the vultures and maggots, but the ones who get to the inn at the other end of the woods can fuckin' rhapsodize about it.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Law School: The Get Out of Debt Solution

From the Kitsap Sun:
When Tarra Simmons was released after 20 months in prison in 2013, she found that she still had a hefty debt to society waiting for her, and it had been accruing interest the whole time she was behind bars.

She got back home to Bremerton but was unable to find a job that provided benefits and paid enough to support herself and her son. Saddled with more than $6,000 in court-ordered debt, plus interest, she had to make a decision.
Sure, $6,000 may not sound like a lot of money when we're talking about $100,000 or more in law school debt, but you have to multiply it by 3 when it's court-ordered and slash the educational debt by a factor of 10 since it's spreadsheet monopoly money that's more of an investment on future millions.

The simpleton might say, "well, the last thing you should do is go to law school and incur more debt," but it's time to think like a lawyer.
"What do I do?" Simmons, 38, remembers asking herself. "I said, 'You know what? I'm just going to go to law school and change this thing that keeps me from getting a second chance.'"

Now she is about to finish her second year at the Seattle University School of Law...
If there was ever a foolproof way to pay down $6,000 in debt, I think tacking on $150,000 in debt for a law degree that can pay off the combined $156,000 in debt is a stroke of genius.  Not only is the $6,000 instantly minuscule in comparison, but with the earning power of the JD, shit, that $6k can be wiped out with a month's worth of discretionary income.

Instead of "going back to sell drugs and committing crimes" to pay a measly six grand, ex-inmates can go back to court every day and commit the slowest, most graceful suicide mankind has yet developed while defending justice in the galaxy and paying down debt.  Paying down debt is no longer an inconvenience; it's a lifestyle choice.

Or, you could find a JD alternative career that pays lucratively.
Simmons doesn't have her sights on a career as a corporate or trial attorney, or service as a public defender or prosecutor, but as an advocate working for those in Kitsap going through what she went through....
Some people - almost invariably 0Ls - get it.  Some - deluded law graduates - just do not.

In fact, as the article elucidates, lots of prisoners leave the clink with perceptively hefty repayment obligations.  It seems silly to have them shuffling around unable to get cars or jobs because of some piddling $10-15k debts.  Let's put these folks on the fast-track to law degrees at fine institutions like Seattle so that they can turn that burdensome, unpayable debt of $10-15k into a much more easily paid $150k with a juris doctor

If there was a post-modern form of alchemy, I think I've just found it, and now I have a patent application to fill out.  Thank God I have a JD, so I know what garbage goes in what can.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Law Dean Double Penetration

When people say that law deans screw their students, the question shouldn't be whether the drilling should stop, but rather, "why not have a gangbang?"  Worked for my first marriage.  Sort-of.

In any event, Inside Higher Education has this fun article about law schools doubling the number of people who get to sit on the throne of awesomeness:
[M]ore law schools are starting to see the benefits -- beyond short-term logistical convenience -- of having two people fill the role.
For some schools, the model can mean an increase in productivity. Two deans can travel to twice as many places, make twice as many phone calls, speak with twice as many prospective students.

And with the right chemistry, they could also feel less isolated. The ability to speak freely with someone -- who knows exactly what the other is going through -- can be one of the model’s biggest upsides.
The article focuses mostly on Case Western, where it's apparently taken two people to fill the gaping chasm left by Larry Mitchell's departure.  The role - perhaps due to the lingering pheromones left in the carpet - has brought them closer together.  Now they carpool and "[o]n the weekends, they take long walks in a park by their houses."  They view running a large professional school like being married parents.  I recall paying my parents $40k a year for the privilege of being their child, don't you?

And don't worry; it's not like both get paid a full dean's salary.  The satisfaction of taking a traditional leadership role and turning into a neutered bureaucratic committee while finding new ways to shove more people into administration is satisfaction enough.

A medical dean at the end of the article says, "I'm having a hard time grasping what the benefits would be."  That's why thinking like a lawyer is such a huge advantage.  We can come up with all sorts of back-formed logic to justify our making a single leadership position over-complicated and virtually brag about it in a national publication.

It would be really something, though, if we could try this double penetration of law deans at ASSOL.

Monday, April 4, 2016

The Only Thing Withering is David Barnhizer's Lingering Credibility

Get a load of this tripe:
Law schools in Ohio and around the Midwest face serious problems, and some may 'wither away,' says a Cleveland State University professor emeritus in a new paper.

"The limited applicant base of the overall Great Lakes/Midwest area, coupled with a saturated employment and earnings market for lawyers compared to the costs of attending law school and career earnings expectations, means that many law schools in the region are in a 'survival of the fittest' mode,"  writes David Barnhizer, a professor emeritus at Cleveland-Marshall College of Law.
How many times do we have to say "million dollar degree" for these completely rational, thoroughly researched, and fact-backed viewpoints to be as eradicated as the Mexican grizzly bear!?  Million dollar degree means million dollar degree.  A million dollars in California, a million dollars in Florida, a million dollars in Cleveland.  Million dollars.  From your degree. 

Economic depression in the rust belt?  Million dollar degree.  Static and aging population?  Million dollar degree.  Job saturation with no economic growth?  Million dollar degree.  Tightened governmental budgets?  Million dollar degree.  Top law jobs going to T14 and Ohio State graduates?  Million dollar degree.

This thing's like Teflon, only better because it's backed by top-notch science from leading researchers on the avant garde of occupational statistical legerdemain.  No matter what facts you throw out there, I can now counter "million dollar degree," with maybe a dash of "a law school only provides you the education; what matters it what you do with it."  You have no counter-move, only capitulation to Truth, which beats "truth" like long-term economic trends or labor market realities.

Also, I'll remind you that it's scientifically useless to time law school.  At the same time, I'm going to tell you with a straight face that now is an abnormally great time to go to law school.  Buy now!