Monday, May 30, 2016

Northeastern Graduates Ready to Leave Mark on Legal Profession

Graduation ceremonies are a lot like a great swinger's party.  It's air-conditioned, a decent spread for when you're done fucking around, and everyone leaves happy.

Northeastern recently graduated a new class of lawyers, and it's hard to hide the optimistic ecstasy:
No matter what you do after today, as long as you leverage the knowl­edge and expe­ri­ence that you worked hard to gain here at North­eastern and remember to bring your common sense and your humanity every day, no matter what you do, you will be great and you will make a dif­fer­ence,” [Sanofi senior vice president and Northeastern alumna Tracey] McCain said.
[Dean Jeremy Paul:] “In short, you came to North­eastern because you wanted to make a dif­fer­ence, and you are already doing so.”
Law pro­fessor Daniel Medwed deliv­ered the fac­ulty address, and he invited retiring pro­fessor Stephen Subrin to join him on stage to share the moment.  They deliv­ered the address as a Q&A to each other. Subrin asked Medwed what dif­fer­en­ti­ates North­eastern law stu­dents, and Medwed said they were nimble, resourceful, resilient, and com­mitted to team­work and collaboration.
Unfortunately, I'm not able to find a transcript of the Q&A.  I'm also not looking for one, but it's clear I'm going to have to create my own.

Q:  When you say "leverage the knowledge" gained at Northeastern, it's irony premised on the reality that law schools doesn't teach shit about real law practice, right?
A:  No, not at all!

Q:  Do you think people who enrolled at Northeastern in 2013 have a lot of common sense?
A:  Of course.

Q:  Don't you think that telling graduates that they will make a difference - knowing that half of them will never be meaningfully employed as lawyers, much less in any satisfactory role that advances the public interest - is like calling up a fraud victim just to lie to them again?
A:  Those lawsuits were summarily dismissed.

Q:  When people talk about "making a difference," why do they never seem address the possibility that the difference being made is a negative one in the aggregate?
A:  Objection, rhetorical!

Q:  Does paying enough in tuition over three years to afford a Maserati - and not the cheap one - qualify as making a difference?
A:  These faculty members would be making seven figures as partners in Boston's most prestigious law firms otherwise.

Q:  I find "nimble" to be an incredibly odd adjective to describe law graduates.
A:  Obviously, it's meant figuratively.  No one's getting contortion-fucked here.

Q:  Is resilience really a good virtue when it leads to failing the bar multiple times or staying in a saturated lawyer field rather than doing something socially productive?
A:  Damn it, like 90% of the Massachusetts bar is going to retire in the next few years!  We have an old lawyer crisis at the gate!

Q:  Are you saying that other law school graduates aren't as teamwork-y as Northeastern graduates?
A:  Yes.  Northeastern graduates are special, like snowflakes.
Q:  Does that include the professors on your faculty who went to other, more prestigious law schools?
A:  Uh...
Q:  Will you be hiring these Northeastern graduates to the faculty to harness these super-abilities?
A:  This impertinence is why no one can take you seriously.

Q:  Is the mark that graduates will leave on the profession skid in nature?
A:  .... no response ...

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

UW-Tacoma? Yes. And How About UW-Walla Walla, Too?

From the Tacoma News Tribune ("TNT!"):
Lawmakers from the South Sound have recently championed adding a law school in Tacoma, even though law school graduates across the county are having trouble finding jobs as licensed attorneys.
UW officials say they’re working to determine whether there’s a demand for a law school at UWT before going forward and building it.

The university has hired a consultant to conduct a feasibility study to determine how much building a law school would cost, whether students would be interested in attending and whether jobs would be available for those students after they graduate.

“We can’t go into this with blinders on,” said UWT Chancellor Mark Pagano. “We are excited and enthusiastic about it, but we have to do our due diligence.”
No doubt they will do a responsible feasibility study like Charlotte and Indiana Tech.  No blinders.

There's a whole bunch of crap in the article, including some personal interest anecdote and commentary from Brian Tamanaha, who, years after last writing a comprehensive book on the subject, still feels somehow qualified to give his opinion.

Thankfully, the article balances it out with people who are living in 2016 and not 2013.
But the deans of the other two law schools in Washington state said the ABA employment numbers don’t always reflect the ways the legal profession is changing.
Today, many people enroll in law school without intending to work as lawyers, said Jane Korn, dean of the Gonzaga law school. They instead might want to do compliance work for the NCAA, or work in investment banking or the technology industry.
Kellye Testy, dean of the UW Seattle law school, said it’s possible that a law school at UWT could be more attractive to applicants and potential employers because it bears the UW brand.
Paula Littlewood, the bar association’s executive director, said the organization expects it could lose up to half its membership in the next five to 15 years.
Law school backers envision a law school that would be different from others in the state.  
Ah, that's the verbal opium my system loves.

The feasibility study practically writes itself.  That Tacoma is somehow operating without a law school is like a nuclear power plant running without a T-437.

Amid the classic arguments - retiring boomers, JD-advantage jobs, a "unique" fourth-tier fuckwad factory - I'm particularly delighted to see the estimable Kellye Testy whip out a new one:  the state school brand name argument.

We've already seen it work in other states.  IU-Indianapolis is one of the top law schools in Indiana.  Arkansas-Little Rock is the second best school in its state.  For a while, Rutgers had two schools that were neck-in-neck to be among the best in the northeast.  California's got like five schools milking the state school thing.

Frankly, more schools should try this.  Instead of "North Carolina Central" having a law school, why not call it "University of North Carolina Law School - Durham?"  Instead of "Western Michigan Cooley Whatever,' why not "University of Michigan Law School - Lansing Campus?"  Remember when they slapped Michigan State on some crap school and it shot up the rankings?

These aren't geniuses buying at sticker here.  Make every school a name brand and they'll be like 75k lining up to study Palsgraf and replace the masses departing the profession on their million dollar retirement savings.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

I Would Never Caution You Against Going to Florida Coastal

Some anonymous filmmaker is purportedly making a documentary about law school graduates, and not of the "they're versatile cash machines" type.

I can tell you that I, official ombudsman of the law school industry, have not been contacted, so you know this thing is going to be a biased ball of muckraking spooge requiring the full Simkovic treatment, but in any event it appears the provacateur is conspiring with nefarious agent Paul Campos, because Paul Campos somehow got hold of the provacateur's mail.
[A lawyer] has sent a letter to a documentary filmmaker, who is working on a film about recent law school graduates:
I write on behalf of my client, The InfiLaw System (“InfiLaw”), regarding your inquiry into interviews with Florida Coastal School of Law officials for a documentary you are making.  I write to caution you as you proceed with fact-finding and information gathering associated with your planned documentary.
Individuals, such as Paul Campos, have distorted facts and data and engaged in nefarious and inappropriate investigative tactics in order to accomplish a false agenda attacking law school admissions and career advancement policies.....
I would think nefarious Campos might have just made this up, as is his method. In fact, I don't believe a thing Campos says, so take everything herein as a hypothetical, and nothing herein should be taken to mean or imply that Thomas A. Clare, Esq., wrote this letter or is a subject of any criticism herein.

Not that I would criticize such a lawyer, because whether it's real or not, this lawyer's correspondence is brilliant.  I mean, top of the line stuff like they teach at highly-ranked Thomas Cooley.

A lot of average lawyers, I imagine, would have approached the problem differently.  There would have been talk of the First Amendment, truth as a defense, etc., not to mention the strategic issues of not shining a bright fucking light on your efforts to silence criticism.  "No," I can hear the lesser lawyers say, "I'm not going to write a stupid cautionary letter to a documentary filmmaker.  Are you high?  It's going to wind up on the internet and make all of us look like rectal warts."

But this lawyer is a superior lawyer and not a leaking rectal wart at all.  He apparently wrote a letter.

I'm feeling the caution, aren't you? 

Obviously, I love what Florida Coastal does and would never skew facts to show that it is damaging anyone's career opportunities.  After reading this letter, I would think twice before pointing out that sawing your foot off with a jigsaw to gain disability benefits is a better career option than enrolling in Florida Coastal.  No way would I continue with any blog, report, documentary film, or any other speech-y venture that criticizes Florida Coastal's abysmal bar passage rates, full-time employment numbers, or purported tendency to try and stifle criticism of its skilled plundering efforts in Stalinesque fashion.

There's not a chance I would write that anyone so incredibly daffy as to enroll in Florida Coastal in 2016 is as fit to be a lawyer as a typical Judge Judy participant. Not a chance - I've been cautioned.  Pointing out that I would rather bareback a homeless drug addict than hire a recent Coastal grad to defend against a traffic ticket is not only untrue, it's completely off the table.

We all know that Florida Coastal is an excellent law school that produces excellent, employed attorneys in stark contrast to what all the supposedly objective numbers pushed by Campos and Kyle McEntee tell us.  I'm particularly averse to comparing Florida Coastal and its various advocates (which would never include this lawyer, of course) to creationists and climate change deniers.  It's an open debate whether T-Rex ever walked the Earth, but there's no ambiguity that going to Florida Coastal is a life-changing decision.

I know it's tempting to say things like "you don't go to Florida Coastal to follow your dreams, you go there to kill them over and over again like a demonic sadist."  But such statements - even if true or matters of justifiable opinion - are distortions that use "nefarious and inappropriate investigative tactics in order to accomplish a false agenda attacking law school admissions and career advancement policies."

I'm not even sure what that means, but it sounds really smart, and had I such inclinations I would be immovably intimidated from claiming that Florida Coastal's "admissions and career advancement policies" are the law school industry's equivalent of skinny-dipping in a latrine with open flesh wounds.

Appropriately cautioned, men and women of civility can govern themselves, and will often reevaluate their opinions and speech in light of stern correspondence.  That's how democracy works.  Artists develop kooky ideas.  Large for-profit ventures politely caution them.  The art changes to a more agreeable form. 

I do hope that Florida Coastal can impart these sorts of wise lawyering lessons onto tomorrow's million-dollar litigators, who need no caution before leaping aboard the train with their $200k tickets, unsure of where, exactly, they're going, but knowing that the "career advancement policies" are going to get them there.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

55 Arizona Summit Graduates Reach Bar Exam Pinnacle

Arizona Summit, an ongoing experiment in how high everyone can get while still functioning within the strict accreditation confines of the ABA, continues to elevate itself.

Arizona's February 2016 bar exam results have been released.  194 of Arizona Summit's took the challenge.  55 sustained the brutal obstacle course, that extreme limits test of endurance and skill that only a select few people nationwide can survive.  But Summit went above and beyond.  Indeed, one Summit student even scored a ridiculously stratospheric 353, higher than any other test taker, including those from "higher ranked" Arizona and Arizona State.  With such lofty scores, readers should have no doubt that the most prestigious firms west of the Mississippi will be hurdling foothills just to gawk upwards at the monumental glory.

On a test where only 48.7% of test-takers passed, Arizona Summit's 38.1% pass rate for first-time takers is impressive, particularly for a relatively new law school that manages to charge enough to ostensibly profit.  Said pass rate was also significantly higher than 30.4% repeat rate for all ABA accredited schools, which may just possibly include students from places like Stanford or Cal.

Keep on climbin', Shirley Mays.  With such leaders and the motivation of modest public service profits, this school will continue to build towards excellence.  That's no pile of died shit they're climbing, either; it's a craggy rock of justice.  That steady stream of brown liquid isn't an avalanche of diarrhea, but rather a river of chocolate milk and honey flowing from the apex to which the best lawyers inexorably climb.

With other law schools, you might get a million dollar degree, graduate, and sit at any number of upper middle class desks.  With Arizona Summit, you're trekking up a mountain to kiss the legal heavens.

Arizona Summit:  Are You High?

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Citizens of Minnesota Investing in Legal Education

Minnesota - a state of 5.5 million people now somehow functioning with only 3.5 law schools - understands the importance of legal education and the need to bankroll tomorrow's jurisprudence (indeed, the Rule of Law itself) by directing stupidly insane amounts of public money to pseudo-prestigious second-tier schools despite any temporary market ambivalence.

Consider the University of Minnesota Law School.  Between being associated with a reputable state flagship school and being the number one law school in the fourteenth (14th!) largest metro area in the United States, ranking agencies and students have historically ignored the minor inconveniences of the frozen urethra and a regional saturation of justice warriors.

As a result, Minnesota remains one of the strongest law school brand names in the Midwest.  If Mitchell Hamline can rake in a million dollar premium over the life of a lawyer, U. of M graduates are probably looking at 1.2.  That's a lot of space heaters, kids.

Unfortunately, something has scared off the lemmings.
The number of law school applicants nationwide has plummeted, to 51,000 as of April from 88,700 in 2006, according to the Law School Admissions Council. The Great Lakes region has been hit particularly hard, catching respected institutions like Minnesota by surprise when applicant numbers went into a tailspin.
But even though public interest is being tempered by temporary irrationality, the State of Minnesota understands the importance of the Harvard of Minneapolis-St. Paul.
Minnesota has gradually admitted fewer students, shrinking its first-year class to only 174 in the 2015 academic year from more than 250 a few years ago. It offset the sharp loss in tuition income with more public subsidies, which in Minnesota are decided by a Board of Regents.

Minnesota’s law school has closed its deficits with university money — expected to total $16.1 million through 2018 — according to university officials.

“The law school is a crucial part of the university,” said Karen Hanson, the university’s provost. “We did not want to hurt the law school’s standing.”
$16.1 million.  Ignoring some variables that would get in the way of an otherwise good point, every man, woman, and child in Minnesota has effectively given the University of Minnesota Law School an extra $2.92 cash injection, as if out of their own pockets to donate to lawyerdom.

While far from sufficient to greedy hands, it is certainly appreciated.  I ask all ardent supporters of law school wealth transfer systems to thank every single Minnesotan you see for their generosity and support.  Make a hashtag or something.  Your three dollars no doubt makes the difference between Minnesota having a top 25 law school and having a top 30 law school.

Unfortunately, things may not stay so excellent for very long if the lemmings mysteriously continue to not take the delicious bait:
Applications for the fall are flat. More worrisome is that Minnesota in recent years has had one of the largest declines in applicants among the top 20 law schools, but no one knows exactly why.

“We’re trying to figure that out,” said Mr. Wippman, who is leaving for another job at the end of the academic year. 
Dean Whippman is leaving to become the president of Hamilton College.  As we all know, Hamilton College does not have a law school, so it's likely best that his massive intellectual faculties be spent elsewhere other than trying to Sherlock why 165 LSAT-level students are no longer interested in moving to Minnesota to study law for three years when they can go almost literally anywhere else.

However, some people still have the free time to navigate such mental labyrinths:
“People are turned off on legal education because of a lack of suitable paying jobs,” [Walter] Mondale said. “I don’t think you can underestimate the havoc that these law school debts can cause.”
Yeah, well, your analysis got you the vice presidency in a crappy administration.  Eat a dick.  (Thanks for the cash, though.)

There's no havoc, folks.  Plenty of jobs for great students.  You can't go wrong here - it's the University of freakin' Minnesota.  A top 25 law school!  If million dollar degrees mean anything, this is the safest bet since putting cash on the Washington Capitals.

And that's why the fine Citizens of Minnesota are going to use dollars to patch the cruise ship and keep it afloat in the high seas of prestige until this typhoon blows over.  After that, it's smooth sailing and profits for all.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

The Charleston Saga, Cont'd: What Golden Times Ahead

Longtime readers - despite the high incidence of using crack 'n' shit - likely recall The Charleston Saga, the ongoing hard-hitting exploration on this blog of Charleston School of Law and the ruthless jackwads who tried to get in the way of a few sweet old gentlemen getting their fair share on this cruel rock.

In any event, here's the next chapter.
The Charleston School of Law’s new president predicts that the upcoming class of freshmen will be the largest in the institution’s history.
Based on the number of deposits that have already come in, the freshman class in the fall could reach 200 or more, [Pres. Ed] Bell said after commencement.

“There’s a chance we could blow everything out of the water,” he said.
Speaking of blowing impressively, let's talk about these torpedoes CSOL is launching.  After enduring the waves of turmoil at CSOL, these new graduates are hardened badasses no doubt significantly more employable, each one like lubricated, vulcanized dildo - versatile, and ready for action.  Because the legal market isn't flooded at all, these graduates will no doubt make a big splash, and doubtless prepare the legal marketplace for the coming tsunami of hundreds more of the finest fish from this ABA school.

If you think the water-based references in the previous paragraph were a bit much, I have good news:  I'm all washed up. 

Unlike CSOL, apparently.  Next stop on the million dollar cruise ship:  Charleston Harbor.  Room for plenty more.  Tickets on sale - buy now!

Friday, May 6, 2016

God Bless the 148. Law Deans Show That the Brooks Brothers Suit of Solidarity is Alive and Well

A few posts ago, I expressed the conflict at issue with LSAC pushing its monopoly power in contravention of law schools' desire to continue milking as much monopoly money as possible.

Well, the law deans have struck back.  148 of them have signed a petition/letter to demand that LSAC rescind its threat to expel Arizona because "[e]xperimentation benefits us all."  [seriously? you think that one through? - ed.]
We write as law school deans to express our great concern over LSAC’s threat to expel the University of Arizona Law School because it experimented with using the GRE as a small part of its admissions process. Experimentation benefits all of us. We all expect to learn from the University of Arizona’s experiment and it should not be punished by LSAC.
Among the esteemed signatories are such luminaries as Nick Allard (Brooklyn), Ben Barros (Toledo), Scott DeVito (Florida Coastal), Mark Gordon (Mitch Hamline), Thomas Guernsey (TJLS), Shirley Mays (Arizona Summit), and AALS President Kellye Testy (Washington).

Not listed, either due to momentary treason or a failure to timely read email, are deans some of the nation's highest law schools:   Stanford's Elizabeth Magill, Chicago's Michael Schill, and WMU-Cooley's Don Leduc.

Nonetheless, for 148 law deans to pool together this quickly is an astounding show of unitary force, and makes it significantly easier to pick a side in this little tete-a-tete.

Police officers have the blue code of silence to not rat on each other's gun-dropping and minority-beating.  Physicians have the white coat of silence when one of them slices the aorta or gets drunk reading pap smear results.  Law deans?  Ladies and Gentlemen, this is the Brooks Brothers Suit of Solidarity.  You put on the nice clothes with the law school lapel, and you're going to be okay with the school next door letting junior college kids with a blood test and a color-by-numbers application.  You want to take kids after one semester of undergrad in pottery breaking?  Fuck it, we'll write a letter and support your experimentation.  You want to dump the bar exam in favor of a drunken hopscotch competition?  Why, it's downright uncouth for these monopolists to expel you!

These people aren't just law deans.  They're a fuckin' gang.  Oligopoly > Monopoly.

Law dean clan ain't nuthin' to fuck wit'.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Job Market Obiovusly Improving - Law Schools Not Needing to Hire Own Graudates These Days

Derek Muller has published the results of his research regarding law school-funded jobs for recent graduates:
This year, the first full year of reporting after the change went into effect, law schools dramatically cut back on [law school-funded] positions. There were 520 law school-funded bar passage-required positions for the Class of 2012, up to 777 for the Class of 2013 and 833 for the Class of 2014. This year, however, the number plunged to 397. 
Muller initially suggests this is due to the change in US News' reporting methodology.  But the thought that non-profit educational institutions would somehow rig things to their benefit is highly cynical and seems like a circuitous conclusion that completely ignores Occam's Razor.

Muller, being at some level an academic, can't help mention the actual reason for such a drop:
There are, of course, non-USNWR reasons to see such a decline. Perhaps the employment market is naturally picking up for the best schools...
No reason to go further.

I honestly don't get this obsession with dumping on American law schools when there are much simpler explanations.  The recession of 200whatever is long, long gone and no longer effecting our economy in any way.  The temporary blip in lawyer fortunes eradicated, the market for lawyers is rip-roaring so much that law school beneficence is simply no longer necessary to ensure every last graduate gets a good first step on the million-dollar superhighway.

Today, as compared to a month ago, it is much more likely that Donald Trump will be the next President of the United States.  That's a somewhat surprising result unthinkable five years ago.  But the turnaround in the legal sector was entirely predictable for anyone who understands the situation.  Law schools temporarily gave their students entry-level jobs to ease them into the market until the economic pendulum swung back.

It's so much of a scam, it's not really a scam at all.