Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Embrace the Surge of JD and LLM Entrants

It's the holiday season, time of joy and gifts and religious posturing.  In that festive spirit, I bring you the Good News:
New student enrollment at the nation’s law schools increased 3 percent this fall, according to figures released by the American Bar Association Friday.
More than half of schools—122—reported an increase in the size of their first-year class, while 81 schools told the ABA that their 1L class is smaller than in 2017.

It’s not just J.D. programs that gained in popularity this year. Enrollment in non-J.D. programs, which includes LL.M. and masters programs, grew more than eight percent from 2017.
LLM programs grew eight percent?  It's like these kids haven't read a damn thing that's been typed by the petulant "realists" over the last decade.  Eight percent!  Hot damn, Mary Sue, there is a Santa Claus, and he's got a nice list full of law deans, apparently.

The three percent JD boost is like having something good happen in your morning:  a good night's sleep, a great cup of coffee, a notably good commute.  An EIGHT PERCENT LLM boost is like getting that while high on free cocaine.

I mean...

With all that's out there, how are law schools still winning?  Isn't this enough to cause a "truther" to spiral into serious crisis and depression?  What would law schools have to do to lose?  Could Robert Mueller bring them down?  Were the few schools that closed basically making the herd faster through their sluggish departure, suggesting that their crapness was actually a stealth benefit?

All I know is, I'm going to enjoy the hell out of going to work tomorrow.
Seriously, eight percent LLM increase?!  Am I off-base?  That's nuttier than turtle pie.  And if it's all importing foreign kids while the JD enrollment is boosted by sudden concerns over Donald Trump, that's even better.  As Clarence Darrow once said, paraphrased, the law is a never-ending pleasant surprise.

Thanks for this one, Santa and/or Jesus.  

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Congratulations, Manor College

Have you heard of Manor College?  Just north of Philadelphia, it's poised to be one of the fastest-rising undergraduate schools in America.  Why? Well, even though Manor College typically is only a two-year school, it's now offering a three-and-three fast-track admissions program with Widener, Delaware's highest ranked law school.  This sort of program isn't new, per se, but when it happens - particularly with a glorified community college - it's a truly amazing sight.

Guaranteed law school admission three years from now.  All you have to do is earn a 3.0+ GPA each of six undergraduate semesters, do the law school admissions paperwork and score higher than Widener's incoming class on the LSAT (which is basically doing the law school admissions paperwork).

This article also gives us one of the best zingers in crap regional journalism memory:
The program is intended to save students time and expense allowing for the completion of both degrees in six years instead of seven.
The program is intended to push sheep into a meat grinder and make snow angels out of the resulting blanket of wool. 

What I love the most is the implied persistence on Widener's part to gain an additional handful of profit generation toys.  Again, Manor College traditionally is a two-year school after which students transfer.  How many schools have they called? sat down with? sent a mailer?  Did they call Penn?  Haverford?  Swarthmore?  Weren't any of those schools interested in getting their students to professional unfulfillment more quickly?

As if one didn't need enough motivation to enroll in a school with a median LSAT of 148, the school offers a partial scholarship to students in this three-and-three program, which reduces the sticker tuition cost for Widener Law from a fist in the ass to four heavily knuckled fingers. From hearsay, I believe a thumb in the ass at a brothel would easily cost more than $20,000 if monetized year-round, so this is a considerable bargain.

So congratulations, Manor College.  Your students now have the immeasurable benefit of potentially not suffering through arguably the best year of undergrad with easy admission to a school that's desperate for anyone who can recite the alphabet half in the bag.  Anyone who buys such an agreement is surely an exemplary candidate for Widener and Delaware bar admission.

Saturday, December 1, 2018

Law School "Compliance" Update: A Kiss for Lincoln Memorial and a Gentle Spanking for Vermont

True love is a delicate balance, a consensual carrot and stick, if you will.  Pure adoration is not love - no, that's simply being a slavish sycophant. No better than a computer program, really.  The art of love requires the occasional stick served with those sweet carrots. Metaphorically, of course; this blog only condones intangible relationship abuse, the kind that can't be fully articulated to meddling authorities.

For example, law schools excel at telling students just how amazing and wonderful they are, how they'll change the world, free jailed polar bears, and ghost write important opinions for important judges deciding important things.  At the same time, law schools smack those supplicant bitches with criminally excessive tuition bills.  Far from deceptive fraud, that's love - a form of love older than the Bill of Rights, older than our political parties, older than our school system.

And so it goes with the regulation of law schools.

Here's the ABA throwing Lincoln Memorial a nice, hot, juicy bone.
Lincoln Memorial University's Duncan School of Law has been found in compliance with accreditation standards set by the American Bar Association, eight months after the school was found "significantly out of compliance."
[LMU Dean Gary] Wade said LMU was found to be out of compliance in April because of the percentage of students who did not graduate, or the attrition standard, grew above 20 percent. 
"Lincoln Memorial University has as its core mission providing higher education opportunities to the people of Southern Appalachia, who score lower on standardized testing," Wade said. "We are what I call an opportunity school."

Wade said LMU admits students who may have lower test scores, which contributed to their being out of compliance. Since March, Wade said they "have had to be very discriminating in the admission of our students."
This fine opportunity school had a median LSAT of 148 and a median GPA of 3.08 for the Fall of 2017.  Thankfully, it's on track to be fully accredited.  Just have to keep those students from dropping out or transferring.

Letting your partner get away with the bare minimum of acceptable conduct? That's love, baby, and you know that Lincoln Memorial will pay it forward to their brood of students as long as the ABA permits them and pesky things like ill-advised new building loans don't intrude (what coulda been, Thomas Jefferson, what coulda been).

But of course, sometimes regulators have to scowl and sleep on the couch.  The American Association of University Professors - which, to be clear, is not the glorious ABA - is not exactly happy with Vermont Law School's decision to slash its tenured faculty like erotic knife-play gone awry.

“We’re concerned about the way in which the administration and board made a judgment about the financial situation and reduced programs and reduced faculty without consulting the faculty in a meaningful fashion,” [AAUP official Anita] Levy said in a phone interview.
VLS “failed to consult with the faculty as a whole about its plan for involuntarily restructuring the faculty,” the AAUP said in a statement on its website. “It appears that the ‘restructuring’ process deviated from widely observed standards of academic decision making, including those mandated by the bylaws of the Association of American Law Schools.”
The object lesson here, of course, is that if you want to fuck someone, you have to actually involve them in the decision-making process whether they're interested at first blush or not.  As noted above - and in numerous of this blog's better posts - law schools are adept at the art of exploitative courtship with their students, but when it comes to screwing over the professors, their methods could use a bit of refinement.

That's okay.  Scam is a way of life, but it's also a work in progress.  Next time, put some tenured faculty on the blue-ribbon panel and let them develop the idea of hosting a good ol' fashioned facultycide.

Because that's love, too, and, er, "compliance."  Scam on.

Thursday, November 22, 2018

This Thanksgiving, Toss Some Buzzwords Into Your Potatoes!

Perhaps more than any other holiday, Thanksgiving creates a golden opportunity for benign-appearing law school recruitment.  Other relatives think it's a good time to casually snipe at Donald Trump or Nancy Pelosi. Reject that superficial nonsense and play 5-D chess by conning the next generation while smirking and throwing a whipped cream-shot on that hot warm pumpkin pie.


Here, for example, are just some classics for those ripe relatives.  Bonus points if you rope someone's tag-along significant other into applying and then they break up, and double bonus points if you work in a tasteless reference to current events (e.g., Pepperdine being a hot choice).
  • "The LSAT is way easier than the MCAT or GRE.  It's not even curved or anything, and law schools are now taking people who score like a 150."
  • "The time to buy is when other people are selling, and people have been selling law school for years."
  • "My friend is in Brooklyn and can't find a lawyer to take a definitely good and viable case.  Brooklyn!" 
  • "I saw on the news the other day, you won't believe this, but apparently so many law schools have closed that the lawyer shortage is expected to increase dramatically in the next few years."
  • "Rural places are so desperate for lawyers that they're actually paying people to practice law there now!"
  •  "The only good thing about all that regulation that Bay-rack O'bummer put in is that there's got to be a demand for all sorts of lawyers now gettin' rich off it."
  • "My lawyer friend just bought a 7500 square foot house."
  • "My lawyer friend just bought a Porsche."
  • "My lawyer friend's kids won't speak to him because he's banging his smokeshow secretary."
  • "My lawyer friend says it's exactly like Law & Order."
 But if you really want some inspiration for your script, check out this hooker thong of an article and get drunk on self-righteous buzzwordin':
  • "Law is entering the age of the consumer and bidding adieu to the guild that enshrined lawyers and the myth of legal exceptionalism."
  • "Law is no longer solely about lawyers; law firms are not  the default provider of legal services; legal practice is no longer synonymous with legal delivery; the legal buy/sell balance of power has shifted from lawyers to legal buyers; lawyers do not  control both sides of legal buy/sell; and the function and role of most lawyers is changing as digital transformation has made legal consumers—not lawyers—the arbiters of value."
  • ""Knowing the law” is now a baseline that must be augmented by new skills that are seldom taught by law schools—data analytics, business basics, project management, risk management, and "people skills" to cite a few."
  •  "There is enormous opportunity to train students to better serve law’s “retail” segment. Tens of millions of new legal consumers would enter the market if there were more new, efficient delivery models that better leverage lawyer time utilizing technology, process, data, metrics, and a client-centric business structure."
It's like when you find a politician who agrees with you on a pet issue and then he keeps going and you try to get out of the room but some jackass has barricaded doors and you've found your own private hell.

In other words, it's perfect for law school persuasion.  Remember: these kids haven't gone through the process yet.  They still believe in fairness and that money-making systems can change because they morally should.  Dumb Millennials.

And what's really great about this multi-sided naivete is that the law school industrial complex can milk the fuck out of this fat cow. New faculty specialists in legal technology.  Hybrid, Frankenstein-spawned law/business management degrees.  Certificate programs in SQL and the Law.

But of course, nothing is more crucial to this "new" lawyering than experiential learning.  And what better way is there to learn the methods of venture capitalism than torching three years of time and a stack of cash on a risky venture?  Which brings me to my final selling point at the o' holiday table:
  • "And if it doesn't work out, it's not like Chapter 13 is the end of the world."

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Why Aren't Texas Southern Students Passing the Bar?

Why Aren't Texas Southern Students Passing the Bar?  It's such a mystery.  Better get one of those blue ribbon investigations!
Only 44.52 percent of Thurgood Marshall students who took that exam for the first time passed it—a rate that was by far the lowest among Texas’ 10 law schools and much lower than the pass rate that comparable groups of Thurgood Marshall students obtained in recent years.
[T]he law school has launched an investigation to figure out why the pass rate was so low.
It is too early to speculate why the pass rate was lower than normal, he said, but he is concerned that current students may transfer to other schools after seeing the low pass rate for the most recent bar exam. [The Superdean] said other schools do reach in and “poach” the school’s best students, despite Thurgood Marshall’s desire to keep them.
And he should be.  Normally, the healthy reaction to "poaching" is simply to admit more students.  Unfortunately, the bar examiners have to cooperate by not making the examination too tough for the lowest rung of would-be lawyers to pass.  When the bar examiners are unduly harsh on tomorrow's white shoe tap-dancers, it makes it incredibly difficult for schools like Thurgood Marshall to profit as much as their namesakes would want.  What are they supposed to do, hire ringers or else go the way of Valpo?

But, hey, let's have us an investigation as to why one of the worst(-rated!) law schools in Texas can't cut it anymore on some elitist, unwinnable contest because some grand poobahs in Austin think you need a fucking Fields Medal to make millions divorcing unhappy trailer park denizens.

I mean, for fuck's sake, the school's incoming median LSAT is 143 with a median GPA of 3.02 - and we're talking about astrophysicists at Cal Tech.  What the hell do you expect?  You're going to investigate that, really?  This is like the New York Times food critic suddenly running Rizzo's Pubic Hair Sub Shop and calling for an investigation as to why the ham doesn't quite taste like the prime jamon iberico that law deans nibble off the nude bodies of "performance artists."

"It's too early to speculate..."  Okay, Deano... let's do a full investigation.  Put together a panel.  Get Deborah Merritt involved.  Put Seth Abramson on the case.  Start issuing subpoenas.  Hold some hearings.  Consult the experts.  Write an 85-page white paper with citations aplenty. 

Doesn't change the fact that the bar needs to accommodate the school's disability of not being to find better applicants.  If that's not an ADA violation, it damn well should be, and we need tons and tons of lawyers, especially the dumb ones, to prove it.

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Arizona Summit Gets Blast-Mined

I met a traveller from an Arizona land,
Who said—“A vast and empty cadaver
Lay in the desert. . . . Near it, on the sand,
Half sunk a shattered Justice lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
Shaped well by the old Socratic Method;
And on the pedestal, these words appear:
Look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair!'
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal Wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.”

Well, you finally did it, you caustic maniacs.  Arizona is back to two law schools, regressing the state's legal educative process to the hellscape of 2004. 

Everyone suffers.  Students have one less place to blow through hundreds of thousands of dollars in the worst way possible.  Arizona is deprived a key production facility for budding shitlawyers.  The bar examiners will see a massive drop in retakers.

But alas, some people can't restrain their selfishness.  That, my friends, is how empires fall.

The survivors will, as always, scam on. Let's sip somma that top-shelf booze 'n' remember the good times:

Sunday, October 21, 2018

PSA: The LSTC Will Offer Pro-Law School Consulting Services Much Better Than Relative Hacks in Valpo/Tennessee Case

Proof Middle Tennessee State needs the magical logical reasoning granted only by casebook/Socratic-style legal education after all:  when the matter was before the Tennessee Higher Education Commission, the consultants retained by the commission were Aslanian Market Research (the fuck kinda name is that?) and Jane Sadd Smalec.

Problem: as far as I can tell, Ms. Smalec does not have a law degree.  This brings to my mind an immediate question: have not enough JD Advantage graduates been produced that these government-adjacent easy-contract consultancies are still using non-lawyers?!?!?  Oh my gosh, ABA, turn the faucet back on!

This blatant and regrettably systemic failure to understand the legal education marketplace is readily apparent even from this news summary, e.g.:
"Valparaiso does not have a good reputation," Smalec said during her presentation to the commission.
That's a self-own, Jane. As we all know, Valparaiso's reputation is dried dog-food solid.  The school is, admittedly, chronically underappreciated or, apologies to Spinal Tap, its appeal has become more selective.  But in the words of a rapper (somewhere): 
bein' niche
don't mean
thatta bitch
is in da ditch
So where did this idea that Valpo is somewhere inferior come from?  Oh, the other law schools in Tennessee seeking to protect their oligopoly, of course.
During the public comment period, both the University of Tennessee College of Law and the Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law in Memphis wrote letters of opposition.
C'mon! I know you academic beefsteaks want your piece of the pie so you can fart apple-spiced fragrance during your "office hours", but there's plenty of justice education to go around - Tennessee could support 15 law schools - not that Smalec is convinced by the basic math of more is better:
A seventh law school in Tennessee won't improve services to those underserved, Smalec said.
Did she not research the teeming mass of people who show up at court without counsel, their uneducated stuttering causing them to regularly lose winnable cases?  Does she not understand competition reducing prices for the Joe Schmo legal consumer?  Does she not want her local dean's creating jobs by investing in real estate, vanity restaurants, and shitty art?

It's not the only place Smalec's grasp of law, economics, and competition provokes skepticism from a would-be rival consultancy:
The transfer of Valparaiso University's School of Law to MTSU would increase competition for qualified students.
The study says adding another law school will only increase the competition for a limited number of opportunities for enrolled students.
The study showed that a new law school wouldn't increase employment opportunities across the state; it will only increase competition.
Is competition a bad thing now?  I thought we were still doing capitalism.  Has Tennessee gone pinko on us?  In America, if you have a business accredited by the government and backed by generous public student loan financing, you should be able to set up shop wherever you want in order to maximize your institutional profit and happiness at the expense of whatever misfired carbon-splatters successfully complete the entrance exam.  If you don't like that, you can get out.  I hear Saudi Arabia is nice and much more progressive than it used to be.

All in all: it's a flawed feasibility study, much like the one that was used to kill any idea of an Alaskan law school, and not at all like the one that green lit legal education in Fort Wayne, Indiana.  Do you need specific reasons why it's flawed?  Like reason-based arguments?  Well you're in the wrong place, bub; I go from the gut.

In the spirit of free market competition, I propose the LSTC as rival consultants to Aslanian.  The LSTC has now been in business for five years, acquiring diverse expertise in evaluating the American legal education market and licking its rippled, leathery body from every possible angle.  For a high enough fee, the LSTC will write as many pages of academic-ish argument as your rump-roasting commission desires explaining the virtues of affordable, mass produced student loan disbursement in Murfreesboro in language written specifically for gutless government sinecures and delusional interdisciplinary advocates who haven't kept up with the fake news in the last decade. 

Best of all, the LSTC offers very affordable hourly rates for the cash-strapped legal education enterprise.  In fact, for good applicants, I might even offer a scholarship discount.  (Hint: they're all good applicants).

Chug chug goes The Express; chug chug!

The actual, full feasibility study is located here if for whatever reason you want to see how to construct a fairly good feasibility study documenting why Tennessee doesn't need another law school, even though we all know it just does.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

There May Be No Jobs But There Will Be Work

Are you a prospective law student or perpetual malcontent STILL harping and fretting about the lack of traditional j-o-b-s in the legal sector?  Well buckle buck, butt wart, you're not even asking the right questions:
[T]he improving employment rate may not be influencing law school applicants for the simple reason that employment prospects are not their main reason for going to law school.
But even assuming that every law students wants to practice law, and that there are fewer traditional law practice jobs to go around, this misses the point. While there may be fewer law jobs to go around, there is more than enough legal work.
Emphasis added because half of you can't read more than two paragraphs without sobbing uncontrollably and Googling for a summary.

Jobs don't matter, kids, it's all about whether there's work available.  This may surprise some, particularly those of you who believe that the "free market" can create jobs to meet existing real "demand."

Oh, no, my friends.  Current market participants just can't meet the needs of America's massive prospective client base. There's tens of millions of people willing to pay completely manageable rates of $50/hr to $125/hr for quality legal representation.  In the branch of mathematics called fictionometry, that's $500B of sidelines legal work if we simply take the $50/hr number, the minimum of ten million, and say that each lawyer pull just 1000 hours of work each year from this shitpile, bringing in revenue of $50,000, which is sustainable because it's above the national median income level.

You might ask yourself why current lawyers aren't simply meeting this demand.  The answer, one must assume, is either that tens of thousands of lawyers aren't good at the whole "business" thing or that they're all getting too rich already to bother with $50/hr work.

The author insists that law schools must - at a minimum! - teach lawyers how to exploit this "low bono" marketplace, you know, the people who get turned down by all the greedy, snooty lawyers presently in practice, among other things.

While I think it's unfair to fault law schools or require that they teach anything, I wholeheartedly endorse enrolling more and more of these boofers in law school to send more infantry to the slaughtering trenches of the justice crisis.  Teach them about limited scope representation and digital law practice.  Shit, let's teach 'em about dowsing rods, too.  It's like chucking handfuls of seed at the barren, salty Earth.  If just a few land, we'll soon have trees of justice and new sources of precious ground water.

Scam on...and scam online!

(The author of the linked article helps run "the nation’s first fully online law school" in case you or a dear law school applicant needed an even more innovative pathway to the Million Dollars Express)

Friday, October 5, 2018

2400 Law Professors Got Nothin' on Two Senators

As I write this, 2400 (and counting!) of America's finest law professors have signed an open letter in The New York Times opposing the confirmation of Judge Kavanaugh.  It's a motley group - newbie soft socialists mixed with the doddering emeritus faculty titans.  Chemerinsky, Tribe, and Geoffrey Stone are there.  There's Deborah Rhode.  Notorious faith-defender Ted Seto signed; so did legal Bolsheviks Brian Tamanaha and Paul Campos.

A notable name isn't there, of course.  Don't worry - the Prophet opposes Kav, too, just on other grounds. Is that the perfect rad neato MTV response or what?

More than anything, though, this petition shows just how insignificant legal academia is.  So what if they agree on everything?  Poof, this guy's getting ramrodded through to a Supreme Court anyway and all because a very small handful of Senators don't want to be shunned at barbecues and future consulting engagements. Neither Jeff Flake nor Susan Collins are enlightened with the gift of law and yet their thoughts mean more than the opinions of thousands of full-time law school faculty members they're going to summarily ignore.

God bless America.  You might think, reader, that as a law school advocate I would scold the Senate for not trusting their obvious betters.  On the contrary, this is what educators refer to as a teaching moment.  There is perhaps no better way to show law students past, present, and future the utter and obvious futility of having informed opinions shared publicly. No greater lesson can be learned as a young lawyer than to have an ignoramus of a client trample one's advice.  This epistle is clinical education on a national scale.

If you think you can actually win when you go out and make it rain justice like a god of yore, you've got a lot to learn about The Law.  It's all in how you play the game: wear a snappy suit, say the right things, collect your paycheck.

Because these law professors aren't doing a god-damned thing to move the needle a micrometer.  They might as well be playing Learned Hand with themselves.  But holy cow it looks swell.

What do they all have in common?  They're getting paid, suckers.  The Million Dollar Express tracks run parallel to the Big Money Line.  We all can get rich.

...and so can you.  With just 300 easy payments of $1500/mo, you can finance a legal education at any number of outstanding law schools whose professors make their voices heard on very important matters.  Some day you'll make enough money that no one will care what you and 2399 friends have to say publicly, too!  All aboard!

Thursday, September 27, 2018

The Great Big Legal Bacchanalia

I have no idea whether the allegations of sexual assault, etc., made against Supreme Court nominee Hon. Brett Kavanaugh are true or not.  I leave to the unassailable discretion of police and prosecutors whether they should be investigated or charged, and to the wise and august United States Senate whether he should be confirmed.

I must say, however, that the LSTC disappointed in Kavanaugh's public responses.  Producing a milquetoast calendar from one's high school days and claiming one's prolonged virginity in response to allegations of being a drunk ravenous animal are not the way of the Million Dollar Express.

As this blog has attempted to make clear to our audience, the legal game is a lifelong bacchanalia for white collar elites who lack the personality and cunning to make it in business and/or the stomach and math skills to be a surgeon.  If you got the chops and hit a stroke of luck or two - particularly if you avoid the fly-trap of actually trying to make it as a real lawyer - you can milk this racket dry and feel damned good about your gluttony while other well-dressed people lick your boots.

Judge Kavanaugh has so far played the game beautifully.  White, male, DC to Yale and back, obviously affiliated but not overtly political, perpetually passing off polemics as brilliance to people still angry at the Bork confirmation hearing.  He even got it once, when he was on the Ken Starr team pressing to ask the President about his sex life. Why stop now because of this brief fad of society actually doing something about male excess?

Why do we resist this last barrier?  Why do we maintain the charade of prestige and integrity like a syphilitic hooker powdering herself?  It's never been clearer that legal elites in America - and this is by no means limited to one political "side" - have only a superficial interest in justice, the law, or even legal philosophy.  The whole point is to metaphorically wag one's genitalia in the faces of lessers, whether that be third-tier law students gunning for The Hague or the general public focusing on one or two pet issues.

Legal analysis isn't rocket science.  On pure intellect or legal understanding, there are thousands of lawyers just as qualified as Judge Kavanaugh.  What most of them lack is the whole package, the gravitas, the haircut.  Kavanaugh has the pedigree, but I sense a failed understanding of the bigger picture.  That isn't to condone any past wrongful conduct, but it speaks volumes that Kavanaugh elected to go with "that's not me!" instead of "who gives a shit?"

These people didn't care about the giant stack of unknown documents and opinions hiding in a White House vault.  They don't and never were going to care about drunken teenage skylarkings/indiscretions/felonies.  The Senate embraces the elite white collar white man bacchanalia.  Why not you, too, Brett?

The biggest fear, of course, is that a Supreme Court Justice or nominee being held accountable for his behavior will lead to a rippling domino effect where law deans might also be held accountable for their decades of collective nonsense.  And folks, I hate to burst your liberal bubbles, but we simply can't have that without a breakdown in our justice quotient.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Law School Applicants Appropriately Numbed to Sticker Shock

As it turns out, law school applicants don't care how much money they're flushing down the toilet, as long as it's one of them golden plungers.
Author Amy Li, a professor in the University of Northern Colorado’s department of leadership, policy and development, found that not only is there no correlation between lower costs and the number of applicants and matriculants at individual schools, but that increased costs correlate to higher enrollment at many private law schools. 
You have to take this research with several caveats, of course.  For one, there's no real control group against which to actually test the hypothesis, which is typically damning to scientific-ish conclusions.  Second, the articles' time range coincides with global economayhem that caused a slight but correctable dip in the rocketing fortunes of budding lawyers.  Third, it's not written a law professor, and this Northern Colorado doesn't even have a law school itself from which the author could draw knowledge, inspiration, and analyses of Pleasant Grove City v. Summum (2009).  Fourth, it's a behavioral economics study where no one's using "real" money.

But I kinda like the conclusion, so I can look past these problems.

What I particularly like is that Professor Li assumes that this pool of maimed indentured servants is rational.
Law students may understand that their employment prospects are the best at elite law schools that charge the most, Li theorized, and thus are willing to pay top dollar. Or law students may feel more comfortable paying for the school they want because they are older and more established than undergraduates, she speculated. Law students may also be savvier than undergraduates about federal loan repayment options such as income-based repayment—which limits monthly payments to a percentage of their income—and public service loan forgiveness, Li wrote.
You could also consider the LSTC official hypothesis which - and this theory that I have, that is mine, that belongs to me, etc. - is that law students simply don't care about marginal increases in digital Monopoly funny-money.  They don't have to worry about repayment until they've been baptized into the legal faith 3-4 years down the road.  Law schools, meanwhile, get the immediate benefit of real, spendable money and everyone wins.

In terms of shameless law school apologia, we can now have a vibrant debate.  On one hand, many people - including the LSTC at times - believe that law applicants are stupidly naive and being exploited by masters of white collar public service debauchery.  On the other hand, there's a very nice strain of alluring, sexy economic scholarship developing that justifies this superficially insane behavior.

The question moving forward is no longer "How many law schools will close?" my dear friends. 

The question is now "Are law students dumb with ignorance or dumb with knowledge?" 

I propose we name our sects.  Sticking with the cleverness of lawyers in general, I would suggest "Ignorists" and "Knowists."  Do law students just not know they're running headlong into helicopter blades or have they calculated the rotation and earnestly believe they'll be sipping gin without a drop of blood on the coat?

We can debate these things at law school symposia instead of shit that actually matters to law practice.  I will gladly volunteer to argue on behalf of the Ignorists.  Just get me a lunch that's nicer than that sandwich-and-an-apple bullshit.  I know the dining car on the Million Dollar Express has fresh prawns, and by gum, the audience knows it, too. 

I can see them salivating the more I louder I hit the pleasure bill. 

Monday, September 10, 2018

Extrapolation of Hyperbolic Study Suggests We Need More Law Schools

It's a truth universally acknowledged that law schools are liberal and that makes lawyers liberal and it's, like, super-unfair to conservatives and Republicans.  And you might think conservativism is the last movement needing a boost given their current pedal-to-the-floor ram-rodding of another whitebread originalist onto the Supreme Court, but read this troubling piece:
The findings seem to indicate that conservative-leaning law professors are facing discrimination at top-tier law schools in ways distinct from their liberal counterparts.
According to Phillips, the inability of law school graduates to “candidly and accurately assess the weaknesses in their own views and the strengths in opposing views” is essentially “professional suicide.”

“Law school graduates who are ill-equipped to make persuasive arguments in front of half of the judiciary are ill-equipped to be lawyers”, says the study.
Those you who are actually "experienced" in practicing "law" may say that 99.9% of the time politics as understood by Joe Public has fuck-all to do with the price of orange juice, but this dude is a non-resident fellow at Stanford and you are almost certainly not.

You see discrimination.  I see opportunity.  What's the harm in grossly increasing law school enrollments to ensure that conservatives and libertarians can have safe spaces on law school campuses?  What would be the harm in building whole new elite law schools in places - San Antonio?  Colorado Springs?  Huntington?  Pensacola?  Fort Wayne? - where future conservative jurists could feel comfortable discussing whether Justice Scalia was brilliant, a genius, or both without seeing the scowl of their intellectual lessers? 

Failing that, how about affirmative action?  Intellectual diversity should be just as valued as phenotypical.  Being black doesn't affect how you'll argue in front of a federal judge.  But staying in a liberal bubble?  That'll give you blind spots, not that you'll ever want for caviar and cognac.

The point of all of this:  if you're sitting and home and debating whether law school is for you, while at the same time thinking maybe climate change is a hoax and that socialism is a dirty word and that you think the police have permanent probable cause to shoot anyone whose shirt is untucked, we want your money, too!

Just because your typical law professor loves Mao, Marx, and Muslims more than the book of Matthew or Mike Pence doesn't mean you shouldn't go to law school. In fact, it's the opposite.  Law schools need you to show up, bond with like minds, and annoy the redoubtable liberals.  All of you will become better lawyers in the process, we'll get rich, and people who don't understand the fucking law will eventually stop writing stupid fucking articles about the thoroughly irrelevant political leanings of law professors.

And since most of you little runts pride yourself on economics, have you seen the ROI on law school tuition?  A mere up-front payment of, like, $250k will yield you a $1 million net benefit over the next forty years.  With those numbers at 7% interest, the only way you lose is if you don't pay a dime for like 20 years. 

Which you will, because you will make bank as a lawyer.  And when you do as a conservative or libertarian, you'll have to beat back Fox News with a stick.  The world will be your oyster, and how much tax you pay on the pearl is dependent strictly on how many of these Young Republicans pledge their lives and a six-figure check to restoring the partisan balance in a place where it doesn't fucking matter.  So sign up, bring a friend, and march onward, young Reaganites.  Robert Bork isn't going to preserve his own legacy.

Saturday, August 25, 2018

An Open Letter to Potential Law Students: The Truth is not the Truth

Hold yer nose and check this presumptuousness:
If you’re in it for the money, the truth is that very few lawyers will see those highly coveted and published $190,000 salaries as first-year associates.
This is just one of many, many quasi-truths in a piece full of them.  Have these cretins learned nothing from our current administration?  Truth is not always truth, bub.

For this particular passage, the twist rests in the initial dependent clause - if you're in it for the money.  Newsflash, here, but no one is in the legal industry for the money.  Truth.  Some of us signed up to carry justice on our backs.  Others were more interested in defending liberty.  Still more wanted to change the world.  But money?  Bitch, please, if we wanted money, we would've gone to MBA school.

Of course, had we gone to MBA school, we wouldn't make nearly as much money as we would going to an ABA-accredited law school, which provides a $2 million premium over homelessness.  And those 190k jobs are easy to nab for the true hustlers.  But no one goes to law school for the money.  We have higher purposes and if the train's voyage involves a few old fashioneds and oral gratification from 8s and 9s here and there, so be it.

The entire "open letter" has this sheen of collected rationality that is grossly undercut by true truth.  For example, the following things are totally false even though they look true:
"[L]awyers suffer from high rates of depression, substance abuse and suicide."
"Technology continues to supplant and replace much of the legal work traditionally performed by newly hired associates."
Yawn.  The world needs good lawyers, and good lawyers don't get no mental illness. Technology can't replace a good legal mind. They'll just replace the lowest quality legal jobs, the ones that lead mediocre lawyers to alcoholism and shooting people.  Yada yada yada.

But, to be fair, the article offers some dead-on accurate statements, some true truths:
"[B]eing a lawyer is still a noble profession"
"Consider night school or a lower-tier law school that offers scholarship options so that you can pay for law school as you go and avoid debt."
"Realize that the decision to attend law school is not a choice between right and wrong: It is a choice between right and right."
God, that feels nice.  I'm going to read it again, do some blow, and give my mistress a call to discuss when the truth is the truth or not.  You? You should go to law school.  I'm drinking at home on a Friday night and you can, too!

Friday, August 17, 2018

The Celebration of Glorious Indentured Servitude

In a feelgood news story, the internet sees a good comrade, celebrates:
After Nicole Medham, an attorney based in New York City, finished paying off her $180,000 student debt, she announced the news in a [tweet]...We asked Medham, who graduated law school in 2010 with $180,000 in loans, to explain her strategy.
The tl/dr version of this Super Dave Ramsey strategy is that she went to Columbia, nabbed BigLaw, and lived at home until her mid-30s.  Going without them daily Starbucks purchases and primo cell phone plans, most law school students can effortlessly replicate this task and, most importantly, avoid the social opprobrium associated with default and shirking one's financial obligations to God and country.  Your Boomer Uncle paid his $15k loan over twenty-seven years; why can't you do the same?

On a broader level, who needs early adulthood, anyway?  Trust me, it kinda sucks.  Wouldn't you much rather have illusory financial independence with those beautiful plump zeroes staring back at you than have the actual personal independence of being a grown-up in the relative prime of life as our forebearers once had to suffer?  Building careers and families and nest eggs at age 24 like a schlub!  What's the point of earning six figures if you can't blow an extra twenty grand every year to make your credit report glisten like your life's report card while ensuring that fingers can still be pointed at student debtors everywhere?

Don't say the billions in student loan debt haven't given us anything but a generational wealth transfer while reinforcing the same inequalities they sought to eradicate. (Piffle!)  They've enhanced the neo-capitalist religion of borrowing an obscene sum of money to work like a dog, eventually paying it back and being left with nothing but a great American sense of accomplishment.  Like building a demolition car or a nuclear bomb.  You may have only a fraction of the savings that you should, may have relatively little for whatever sacrifices have been made, but by gum, it's going to feel amazing and get you all sorts of likes around the internet.

Saturday, August 4, 2018

Number of Law School Applicants Increases; LSTC Goes Straight Dope Mode

From Law.com:
The number of people applying to law school for the upcoming academic year shot up 8 percent—the only significant annual increase since 2010. The Law School Admission Council (LSAC) reported that 60,401 people applied for admission this fall, up from 55,580 the previous year.
This year’s applicant pool was not only larger, but also more qualified, council data shows. The number of applicants with LSAT scores of 175 to 180—the highest score band—increased 60 percent over the previous year. Applicants with scores of 170 to 174 were up 13 percent, while those with scores of 165 to 169 were up 27 percent.
For fuck's sake.

I gave my penchant for convoluted irony a few days off, so I'm going to put this bluntly; I apologize for offending delicate sensibilities but you all don't listen to rationality and you don't seem to grasp sarcasm: you're all a bunch of fucking stupid nutsacks, and I don't just mean the applicants.

First, the percentage of LSAT scores within a certain band and how it changes year-over-year is functionally meaningless.  It does not mean, ipso facto, more "qualified" people are applying to law school this year than last.  Read the goddamned news and take a fucking stats 101 course.  Stop enabling this shit.

Second, what the fuck are you dim naifs doing?  Cue the broken record.  The nation has too many lawyers.  The cost to become one is too high.  It's a bad investment for like 2/3 of you people.  I say this as someone gainfully employed as a lawyer who enjoys the work much of the time and as one who didn't have a bad undergrad record or LSAT score or anything like that.  Listen up: I wouldn't do it again.  The cost of the product was and is simply too high.  If being a lawyer is that important to you, find a psychiatrist or a new dream.

I say this knowing many people for whom law has been an objective and rousing success by raw economic metrics or objectively positive accomplishments.  I encourage you to develop the critical analysis skills that would be necessary in most legal careers, anyway, assuming they're even a possibility.  Also, look up cognitive biases, like optimism bias and survivorship bias.

I say this because few other first-world industrialized nations waste so much intellectual capital on lawyering as the United States.  We need smart people to do other things with their prime earning and intellectual years.  We don't any more dumb lawyers, either.

I say this nonetheless because I can do basic fucking math.

But what does it matter?  Do kids ever listen to their elders?

I do not say, categorically, to avoid law school.  We need a replenishment on some level of good, common sense attorneys, and often the salt-of-the-Earth lawyers come from relative "toilets" as opposed to the lower-end prestige peddlers.  But at least 40,000 of you fuckers are making a mistake, including many of you who think you scored well on the LSAT or can do anything with a law degree.  Many of the rest of you have profoundly stupid ideas regarding law, justice, Donald J. Trump, or the Antarctic penguin.

One of the difficulties with the "scamblog" movement, and the broader information war with respect to law school applicants, is that the skeptics, pseudo-victims, I suppose, have little incentive to stick around too long or air grievances too loudly.  Once you find a career and get a few years out, whether in the law or not, you "move on" and the fates of a bunch of young carbon-copy idiots hopping on a misleading conveyor belt of mediocrity no longer matter.  Personally, because of how the legal market works, there's no real effect on my own fortunes whether there are 100k law school applicants this year or zero.

Meanwhile, law schools have every incentive to continue dancing to the same old rhythm year-in and year-out; buy high, buy low, buy buy buy.  People like Larry Mitchell or Nick Allard show up, bang on the table, get their pie, and bail, sure, but the institutions of misinformation and exploitation remain as steadfast as the fucking sun, the relative victims not nearly powerful or instantly sympathetic enough to effectuate any real change in a hot-take, plug-and-play, meme society. It's ultimately those institutions who have a nonstop incentive - addiction, sorta - to market the fantasy - more like a mirage - whether that's the schools themselves, the insulated legal establishment, or the toady niche media.

On January 8, 2011, the New York Times published "Is Law School a Losing Game?" - a piece often seen as a breaking point for public consciousness regarding the dubious economics of this scratch-off game.  That was over seven years ago.  Many of the dolts entering law school this fall were sophomores in high school at the time.  This broad and loose campaign no doubt steered many of their peers to other life ventures, maybe well before college, and certainly it took some toll on the lower-end institutions in the long-run.  No eight percent "surge" will bring Indiana Tech back from the grave. But short of having studies that don't exist, we'll never know the exact effect of transparency, either in the volume or quality of deterrence.

But the marginal applicants today... why?  It isn't just a failure of consumer rationality - though I blame the applicants to some extent - but a failure of entire fucking support systems; strict calls of "personal responsibility" are often a denial of the reality that no behavior exists in a vacuum.  Where are the parents and guidance counselors?  Where is the media?  Where are the friends who tell you you're doing something stupid and decidedly uncool - and not like ironically uncool but straight-up dumb?  Where are the policymakers, besides going after fish in a barrel?

You can say the information's out there, but it's not enough when trusted opinion leaders who should know better either don't know better or play dumb, whether with well intent or reckless malice.  Discussing whether the transparency/"scamblog" movement has been a success or a failure misses the point entirely:  "outside" voices never should have been needed in the first place.

Consider, too, that it's actually harder to have an outsider's voice heard today as compared to five years ago.  Traffic here, at OTLSS, and broadly across the non-social media internet has steadily trended downwards, not because of shortcomings in content, but because of modes of delivery (see, e.g., this among many sources).  If your content isn't "fit" to be insta-shared on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc., it won't be seen unless someone knows it's there, and the algos used by Google, Twitter, etc., all prioritize the institutional, the recent, and the already shared - even though these blogs are hosted on a Google product. That we've now politicized these modes of information delivery with "fake news" fake and real isn't going to help "outsider" or anonymous voices in gaining traction.

That doesn't mean these ventures are pointless or that the blogs have been ineffective (which I don't believe), but there's a finite amount that lone voices can do in this internet wilderness, nor is there any real motivation to invest in a mode of information delivery that's more friendly to how the internet has changed in the last decade.

What we can do is continue telling the truth, and I implore those of you who are in positions of any influence over potential law applicants that you give them pause and direct them to balanced literature, because Lord knows the institutional actors aren't going to do it and the information game is almost as rigged as it's always been.  It isn't enough that the information is "out there" or that the accreditation folks are going to close down the worst offenders.  We need a broader consciousness and a broader will to communicate directly to the thousands of students still making an economically unfortunate and asocial decision.

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Chicago Finally Has a Public Law School and It's a Damned Good One

Congratulations, America's perennial bronze medal city, you finally have a public law school (not counting the glorious one in Dekalb, which is more of a tourist attraction than a part of the city).  Better late than never, so to speak. 

The University of Illinois-Chicago and the highly ranked John Marshall Law School are merging, benefiting pretty much everyone.
  • Prices will drop precipitously to a spitball estimated $35k in addition to a low cost of living amount.  That's a bargain for lawyers who can expect to make $180k/year upon graduation.
  • UIC will expose John Marshall students to other areas "to give law students a better understanding of how law works with other disciplines," particularly those where UIC is world-renowned.
    Dickerson said she forsees [sic] the law school expanding offerings in three key areas that are strengths for UIC — intellectual property, health sciences and law and public policy.
  • The impeccable national reputation of UIC will dramatically boost the quality of JMLS applicants (“While we were not a financially distressed school; we were seeing reduced applications and credentials,” [JMLS Dean] Dickerson said. “UIC is on the rise and should help expand our application pool.”) just like other famous private-public mergers like WMU-Cooley, now the 2nd-best law school in America.
  • Illinois taxpayers will reap the pleasurable benefits of supporting a 4th public law school, joining residents of states like Ohio and Florida in providing public solutions to the unfortunate lawyer gap, which persists despite all objective evidence to the contrary.  Dire straits or not, kleptocracy or plutocracy aside, investing in legal education is a must.
Enjoy the spoils, you big shouldered steel-and-iron erectors.  While other locations face law school impotence (heya Phoenix, you torrid 6th-rate layover city), Illinois just installed a champagne hot tub on the weakest link in its rock-solid Million Dollar Express, which is thumpin' along, just as Carl Sandburg wrote in 1914 that Chicago was a "Player with Railroads and the Nation's Freight Handler."  Baby, in 2018, the city's carrying capital-B capital-J Big Justice on its intangible golden tracks.  May you be blessed enough to catch some of the sparky shrapnel upon your unworthy face.

Scam on.

Monday, July 16, 2018

Tyranny in Vermont: Give us Tenure or Give us the White Shoe Firm Jobs We'd Otherwise Hold

Vermont wasn't a state yet when we broke free of the then (and now!) dreaded redcoats, but it's hard not to see the freedom vs. dictatorial fascism thing going on in bucolic Royalton right now.

"Tenure," it seems, has been rendered as meaningless as the flaccid rights of British subjects in 1776, capable of revocation solely because the coffers are low and the place might  go bankrupt if it keeps honoring all these debts.
Fourteen out of 19 members of the Vermont Law School faculty lost tenure on July 1 as part of a restructuring effort at the South Royalton institution.
[The walking condemned] were told they could choose to continue teaching another year under a new contract or they could opt for six month contracts with varying teaching requirements and salaries, or they could leave.

[The "lucky" survivors] were required to sign a non-disclosure and non-disparagement agreement, prohibiting them from speaking to anyone except their spouses. The agreement prohibited faculty from making derogatory remarks about Vermont Law School and its administration.

The American Association of University Professors, based in Washington, D.C., says the school has “depart(ed) grossly” from standards set by the association.
I'd say so.  What's the point of a benefit that can be retracted solely because a going concern is going kaput?  We must protect our professors.  The ABA and other organizations in charge must enforce tenure promises to the fullest extent of their selfish interpretations of the law.  Otherwise, who would they find to teach law schools?  Real practitioners?

I love law schools as much as the next shameless apologist, but you have to protect your talent and guarantee that they get their share of the cookies even if it means fucking the little maggots or closing down the school.

What American needs now is a new Bill of Rights... for law professors.  These people sacrifice a chance at big-firm glory for the passive income stream of a sinecure.  They command our adoration, our respect, and our unwarranted legal guarantees.  I say given them each a contract that secures the right of tenure, not just in empty words that can be revoked by King George wannabe Chapter 11 trustees, but real rights, backed by a guaranty that the school will place them in a partnership position at a major urban law firm or pay the cash equivalent out of its future revenue stream.

All we have seen in the last 5 years is law schools contracting and removing or deterring talented faculty.  And all that's happened in response is that the juiciest young  cherries take their ripeness to business or medical school.  Maybe - just maybe! - there's a correlation.  We must not cut costs with the professorship, but instead view it as an investment.  Spend millions to make thousands, that sort of thing.

Regardless, this act by Vermont is intolerable.  Law professors aren't at will employees.  They're a national treasure. 

As the splendidly named Prof. Peter Teachout observes in the article:
I think there’s a sense that the steps that were taken are lawless.
Thirteen words where three or four would do.  You simply can't get that from some adjunct.

Protect tenure now.  Scam on.

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Combating the Apathy and Enjoying the Express

Justice Kennedy - who *may* be an unrepentant intellectual hack - has announced his retirement and the President - who *may* also be a hack (though decidedly nonintellectual) only capable of being produced at this point in our thrillingly roller coaster history - is apparently announcing Kennedy's nominated replacement on the Supreme Court tomorrow.

As a prospective law student, actual law student, lawyer, or legal blog follower, you should care.  Really, really care.  Like the coral reef is dying care.

Tons is at stake, I tell you.  Tons.  Don't you read the headlines?  Roe is at issue.  So are Amendments 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8.  Liberty itself, indeed.  Women's rights are imperiled generally speaking. Have you heard a Margaret Atwood quote lately?  When you sip your Sazerac and look out the window of the Million Dollar Express, what do you want to see?  The United States of America, Lady Liberty's tits flopping like batter nozzles at a pancake house?  Or Denmark, France, Russia, India, or Vietnam in all their poverty fiscal and moral?  C'mon, man, don't you want to argue about the fundamental right to take a shit in public and fly a camera drone over an all girls school as our vaunted Founders intended?

Sure, the superficial on-paper amount of pseudo-debt for the bright new lawyer may appear imposing.  Everyday concerns about how to best serve clients and make ends meet and meet one's personal needs, justifying the three years spent in academic safety fantasy land, may rise to the surface, bubbling like the champagne we all drink on a Friday night and at Sunday brunch.

Apathy is tempting.  It's so, so tempting, just to throw one's hands up and say the appointment to the creme de la creme of lawyer jobs being run by a moneyed gaggle of uneducated politicized jackwads is too much to provoke caring.  Just do one's job.  To not be bothered that quasi-qualified judges leapfrog their excellent peers on purple squirrel ideology.  To let them have their fun and just play other lucrative lawyer games, like winning slip 'n' falls or keeping gang-bangin' brokedicks out of jail.

But the Express requires commitment to civic virtue values morals things.  The ABA tells me so.  Pay attention.  Have an opinion.  The future's at stake!  Blah blah blah!  Read the ramblings of god-knows-how-many law professor blogs on Monday and Tuesday.  How are you expected to converse with other dull-faced, sad-suit lawyers at receptions?  What if you meet an impressionable young law student eager to talk shop on The Constitution?  On the road to our shared riches, we all have an obligation to argue passionately for important things and stay abreast of such essential news.  We can't let the relative shit on the windshield get in the way of our leaders' most sacred virtues.  Have you thought about informing the public via newsletter or bus station rant?

Do pro bono work, kids.  You'll feel better and meet your professional obligations, say your betters.  They charge $500/hour.  Heed their wisdom.

I am a little drunk but I love the law, really,, and I await with eager anticipation the next anointment to our circle of legal gods and high value red carpet law school speaking fees with the life apointment and ability to decide what The Constitution means.  But it is all right, everything is all right, the struggle is finished. I have won the victory over myself. I love the law.

Don't you?

Monday, June 25, 2018

Valparaiso: the Murfreesboro Years

Valparaiso has a problem. Despite a university foundation dating to the antebellum years - despite being America's most Lutheran law school - and despite the recent 20% contraction in Indiana special justice training academies, Valpo just can't catch a break.

The libelous wounds of the anti-law school publication assault simply run too deep, hemorrhaging like a ferocious closing on a just but losing cause.  Somehow, few people on the far fringes of a super-saturated legal market want to attend law school in the inverse taint of Indiana.

Solution? Mufreesboro, Tennessee, baby, land of dreams and - now - sweet justice.
Middle Tennessee State University has received a nonbinding letter of intent from Valparaiso Law School, a part of Valparaiso University in northwest Indiana, to transfer to Murfreesboro, the Daily News Journal reported.
Murfreesboro now has a six-figure population.  It's rapidly growing and Rutherford County has no other law schools.  Local businesses like Nissan, State Farm, and Amazon cry out for an influx of 300, 400 new lawyers a year.  As it is, would-be lawyers have to drive (or walk!) 34 miles to Nashville should they want to attend a piece of shit law school.

And yet some of you would rather see them inconvenienced by arduous commuter travel than saturating middle Tennessee with so many lawyers justice becomes freer than a certain minority group in reconstruction.  Murfreesboro just makes sense and if you see someone say otherwise, they're letting reason get in the way of good feeling, which has led exactly no one to success in life.


Of course, lots of places would make an excellent landing spot for Valparaiso.  Oregon State, Central Florida, UTEP, Boise State, Norfolk State.  As the article explains, Middle Tennessee received a "nonbinding letter of intent."  I can't help but think Valpo launched these fuckers like their annual spray of fat-chance admissions pamplets.
Dear Fellow American Acclaimed University:

YOU have been looking for ways to increase your prestige while expanding your donor list and that li'l' special projects' piggy bank.  You've possibly already done a feasibility study that says, "duh, law school!"

WE are a prestigious, top-ranked law school looking for a new home, with a ready-made alumni base and a faculty that could be working at any number of law firms your board of trustees would hire were it sued by students, which it totally won't be, because you're a legit college...or at least you will be one you have a top law school.

Wanna bang?
 It's worked for me on the dating market with rousing success by my own definition.  Why not Valpo?

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Official LSTC Statement on Arizona Summit Losing Accreditation

Oh, somewhere in this favored land the sun is shining bright,
The band is playing somewhere, and somewhere hearts are light;
And somewhere men are laughing, and somewhere children shout,
But there is no joy in Phoenix—mighty Summit is the unfortunate victim of overwrought and misguided administrative regulations that are hamstringing America's entrepreneurship and now endangering our supply of new lawyers in the southwest I sure hope to Christ you snooty narcissists are happy with the hellscape you've created which seems like the equivalent of torching the tracks after your own moneytrain has left the station the hypocrisy the hypocrisy the hypocrisy!

Friday, June 8, 2018

We'll Always Have the Memories, TJ; Now We Have the Future

A bittersweet moment.
This week, the school announced it will vacate its custom-built law campus and relocate to a smaller space in a 24-story downtown San Diego office building that also houses Bank of American and several law firms, including Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith. Classes will be held in the new space starting in the fall.
Sure, you might say, it's a waste that Thomas Jefferson School of Law built a $90 million dollar law school with all the bells and whistles to be expected by America's top law applicants.  That fine mock court room and the swank diner where woke, intelligent students sipped coffee and discussed the detailed holdings of Casey v. Planned Paranthood.

As our most famous real estate tycoon would say: sad!  But on the bright side, TJLS is now in the same building as several law firms.  Now not only is the bright futures of these eager beavers intangibly palpable, it's physically palpable.  A few each year will no doubt be able to smell the new carpeting and paint of their posh offices.

TJLS students, have you ever tried the getting off on the wrong floor trick?  Hundreds - thousands, even - of lawyers in our major cities can land jobs through this innovative form of networking.
1.  Wear nicest $250 suit you own and don't skimp on the shoes or accessories, bro.  Ladies, if you got 'em, let the girls breathe a bit.  Take resumes and print-outs of writing samples that cover areas in which the big firm practices.
2.  Get off on the floor of a top law firm.
3.  Claim you have an interview at some fake law firm - "Jones Johnson Smith, LLP" or something.
4.  When the receptionist points to the sign and says, "yeah, that's not us," get a flustered look, turn, walk confidently, and fall flat on your face, splaying the papers everywhere.  Blood is a plus.  Learn how to feign something being broken.
It's pot luck who walks through the lobby when you're running this game, but talk about getting a foot in the door!  Lower 1st-tier graduates from schools like TJLS usually have to make their fortunes everywhere; it's plain that this prejudice reduces their opportunities at firms like Lewis Brisbois.  But being in the same building, having a security pass, and being able to claim you got off on the wrong floor... go ask Cal-Western if those fuckers can do that.

So of course it's sad to see a school move from its resplendent campus, a tragic result of the fluke recession mixing with irrational fears about the law school scam to create a "perfect storm" of this overlooked, underrated, emerging market law school not being able to reel in the guppies fast enough.  But look at the silver lining - most of these TJLS students are closer to BigLaw than ever!

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Dean Nick Allard Leaves Brooklyn in Best Place Ever

Goodbye, Nick Allard.
After six years serving as president and dean of Brooklyn Law School, Nicholas Allard is set to resign at the end of June, he announced to faculty and staff last week.
Sometimes in legal education, mercenary titans appear, sometimes outsiders, sometimes lifetime academics, only to boisterously make proclamations like a prophet or saint and then to vanish, leaving the life-long lawyers on a slightly better career trajectory by their gentle touch.

Let us remember, for example, Allard's Common Sense-style denouncement of the bar exam.  Or his celebration of the 4 p.m. faculty wine soiree. Or his more recent analysis of the "Trump bump."
Law schools can seize this moment and, like the generation inspired by Woodward and Bernstein to pursue careers in journalism, lead the renaissance in legal education that would revive a profession in need of an injection of youth, idealism, and high-tech savvy.
The good news is that law schools still can-do, even as Allard sails to his next port-of-winning, be that super-cool lobbying contracts or sipping beach bum cocktails in a homemade tiki bar.  As we can see from lawyers like Michael Cohen, the country desperately needs quality attorneys.

Consider, too, how Brooklyn has excelled.  For example, from 2012 to the present, Brooklyn's incoming LSAT scores have dropped 5 points at both the 25% and 75% intervals.  That's diversification, bub.  And only the last few years, tuition had actually decreased. While still over $50,000 a year, it's a fantastic bargain relative to the 2013 price.

So once more we shove a legal academic's career onto the pyre and watch solemnly as it roasts.  Allard has inspired us.  He hasn't been the only one.  There will be others.  But there has been only one Nick Allard.

Scam on and enjoy the ride, no matter how long the greats like Allard are leading the train.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Legal Practice Guide 11: What Went Wrong at Arizona Summit?

As Hall & Oates once crooned, what went wrong?!?!?

Indeed, that's what they're asking in Arizona atop the Summit of gory glory.
In the early 1990s, Donald Lively had a vision for a new type of law school.
[H]e never envisioned that the for-profit model that made the schools possible would open the schools to such criticism and scrutiny, eventually threatening their very existence.

He always assumed people would just see his good intentions —  to fulfill the school's mission of student diversity.
Sometimes as a lawyer you have to give your client advice they don't want to hear.  You might - hypothetically! - have to say something like, "Donnie, your idea is fucking stupid."

Thankfully, that isn't the case here.  Arizona Summit was a brilliant idea.  As the article points out, Phoenix was starving for lawyers and the legal profession needed some variety in the bowl of vanilla ice cream.

Of course, as we know from the scambloggers' existence, there are always negative Nebby's wanting to rain on a cash parade:
Some in the legal community were skeptical of the schools' for-profit status. 
The American Bar Association, the national accrediting body for law schools, put Arizona Summit on a two-year probation in March 2017 for being out of compliance with admissions policies and academic standards and for failing to maintain a rigorous program.
First-year students typically take Torts and Civil Procedure as separate courses. But the Arizona school combined them. School officials would later find that students weren't getting enough instruction in either subject. 
ASU typically takes the top 25 percent of Arizona Summit’s class each year.
Arizona Summit officials acknowledged some of their graduates struggle to pass the bar exam. They've been encouraging students to take the exam in New Mexico, where they say it's easier to pass, and graduates had a 54-percent pass rate in February.
Fiends!  That's a veritable rogues gallery of people who simply don't want diversity in the legal profession.

What went wrong?  Nothing except the world turning against it.

Today's legal practice exercise is to pretend that you're Arizona Summit's lawyer.  What advice can you give them facing this parade of horribles?
  1. Keep on truckin', bro', no need to make changes when yer the Summit.
  2. Sue the ABA and/or Arizona State in federal court.
  3. Thumb nose at the ABA: double-down on diversity and lowered admission standards, exponentially increase tuition to account for the risk the school takes in admitting less-qualified students.
  4. Continue adjusting admissions standards and/or gimmicky bar passage efforts just barely enough to stay ahead of the ABA's mercilessly Tantalan chopping block and do little else.
  5. Remodel the school with a mid-century western swing motif and affordable high-class dining options that superficially incorporate the uniqueness of Arizona's cultural heritage with otherwise standard items like delectable salads and ham sandwiches. Use avocado and ancho mayo.
  6. Emphasize faculty publication rates, add to the library, and pay out the nose for top LSAT scorers to play the rankings game.
  7. Rename yourself "Arizona State Summit."
There's really not much else to do here, right?  Sometimes as a counselor the best thing you can do is throw your hands up and say, "ScammerClient, you have the solution within."

Friday, May 11, 2018

Legal Practice Guide 10: Complaint Drafting and Rule 11

A masterclass in complaint drafting.
124. The ABA, in failing to enforce and ensure that [Charlotte School of Law] was in compliance with the Standards failed to act as a reasonable accreditor, recognized by the DOE for purposes of ensuring compliance with Title IV of the HEA. 

125. The ABA was the direct cause of Love’s damages because Love opted to enroll at CSOL based upon the ABA’s certification to prospective law students that CSOL had achieved and was in full compliance with the Standards when, in fact, CSOL was not in full compliance or substantial compliance with the Standards when Love enrolled at CSOL.
Good fuckin' luck with that.  If you want another masterclass, Infilaw's got you covered:
Florida Coastal School of Law filed suit in federal court Thursday against the American Bar Association alleging that the ABA violated due process in its accreditation review process.

The good news, justice warriors, is that Rule 11 simply doesn't apply when you're chest-out justice fightin'.

Scam on.

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Legal Practice Guide 9: Texas-Style Fraud and Exempt Employees under the FLSA

From The Texas Tribune (no, I don't know what it is, either):
A former director at the University of Texas at Austin's law school was arrested Thursday for claiming he was showing up for work while he was actually galavanting in tourist hot spots like Cozumel, Las Vegas and the U.S. Virgin Islands, according to court documents and local law enforcement authorities.
During multiple pay periods, Shoumaker logged regular 8-hour days with the university while he was actually cavorting out of state, according to the affidavit. 
"Cavorting" and "galavanting" sound like actionable offenses, but are they?  As a director of facilities, Shoumaker was almost certainly an exempt employee.  You may have heard the term used pejoratively when people say things like "lawyers are exempt - no overtime for Saturday morning lashings!" But it also applies in the positive sense.  If you're good enough at your job, you're exempt from showing up on strict "8-hour days."  People often criticize law professors for working like three days a week half-assedly, but all they're doing is taking advantage of their full rights under the FLSA.

Should we really be punishing law professors for exercising their rights?

But back to Mr. Shoumaker.  It seems most likely that he was working remotely from those locations.  Supposedly damning - naive journalists and prosecutors - are credit card charges for various restaurants including Hooters and an $81.00 massage.

The massage is obvious: the poor man was stressed from his job.  And Hooters?  Come now - what man of class goes to a hot tourist spot and eats at motherfuckin' Hooters?  In Las Vegas, there's no reason to eat middle class with half-dressed women unless you're there on boring law school administrative business.

So while at first blush this may seem like a man who just said fuck it and did whatever he wanted following the example of Larry Sager's forgivable loan, it's likely not wrong at all, but rather a shining example that you can do law school work even while sipping on glamorous drinks with attractive people taking honest vacations.

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Legal Practice Guide 8: Qui Tam and Google.com

Qui Tam.  It's a Latin phrase, an abbreviation of a much longer Latin phrase, meaning to sue on behalf of the King because someone else broke the law and now gimme gimme gimme a piece of that succulent monetary penalty.  Daddy's vacation condo needs a new bathroom.  In other words: whistleblowers!  People who have inside information that someone's cheating Uncle Sam. 

There are multiple elements to a good Qui Tam case - try Westlaw, it's great - but if one of these discontents stumbles into your office or makes a nervous phone call, you definitely should make sure that it's actually inside information they're wanting to squeal about and not something that's publicly disclosed.  Because if everyone knows about it, it ain't fraud and no one's blowin' any dabgum whistles.

Like with Charlotte Law, the gorgeous murdered slut of North Carolina:
Judge Roy Dalton Jr. of the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida on Monday granted InfiLaw’s motion to dismiss the qui tam suit filed in 2016 by former Charlotte School of Law professor Barbara Bernier, who alleges the school and its corporate owners defrauded the federal government of more than $285 million by admitting unqualified students in order to pocket their government-issued loans. Dalton ruled that InfiLaw’s myriad problems had already been publicly disclosed in news stories and posts written on law faculty blogs before Bernier file her suit.
Cue the sad trumpet of a federal court butt-kicking.

The judge's opinion may be scathing against Infilaw and rely on an assumption that Charlotte Law was committing a massive fraud, but the point is that it was obvious and everyone knew.  The newsmedia, that fantastic fourth estate, did its job perfectly.  No million dollar paydays, here!

This of course fits nicely with the idea of the sophisticated consumer.  If - IF! - law schools were committing fraud, everyone knew it, student and third-tier professor alike.  Tweet it like Trump: No fraud! - particularly since people kept buying the product.

Bernier has time to amend the complaint, so we'll see what gets pulled out of litigation's back-alley dumpster to reserve a judge who obviously was reading the papers and knew the score.  But in the meantime, it's essential to find people who know real secrets to bring a whistleblower action. 

Law schools weren't scamming anyone, but it was widely known that they were.

Friday, April 27, 2018

Legal Practice Guide 7: Education Law Compliance 101 and the Thomas Cooley Machine

You might think the first lesson of compliance practice is... well, I don't know what you think, but it should be celebration.  Because let's face it - if you do all the work - all that legislative interpretation and proofing and hobnobbing at your boss's doorway so he knows you're still there when the clock hits 7:00 pm - you deserve a celebration.

Well, celebrate, Tommy Cool.
Western Michigan University Thomas M. Cooley Law School has come into compliance with an admissions standard that requires accredited schools to only admit candidates who appear capable of finishing law school and gaining admission to a state bar, according to public notice recently posted by the ABA’s Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar.
Woo to tha hoo, WMUTMCLS!  Of course, there's a wet blanket or two ready to douse the burning fire of orgasmic compliance.
David Frakt, a Florida lawyer and frequent critic of the accreditation process, raised questions about what Cooley Law has done to reach compliance with Standard 501, saying it’s possible that as part of a settlement agreement, details about Cooley’s “concrete steps” were not included in the recent accreditation committee finding.
And you, too, might wonder about those "concrete steps" in order to actually learn how to assist educational institutions if you happen to find yourself helping correspondence schools act chill when los federales come 'round.

To that, unfortunately, I can offer no sage practice tips other than to do as Tom Cooley does.  If you're the second greatest law school in the country and you work hard at doing whatever it was they did and you file enough up-yours lawsuits, by gum, eventually you're going to be in compliance.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Legal Practice Guide 6: False Imprisonment, Uber, and Other Thoughts

Here's a downright frightening story of an alleged attempted kidnapping from a law professor's unfortunate and harrowing Uber trip to the Denver airport that, if as reported, absolutely should result in criminal and civil penalties beyond mere termination.

The LSTC offers its sympathies and only the following limited and generic observations, explicitly noting that it makes no factual assertions of any kind and particularly no factual allegations or suggestions regarding the professor in question:
  • The facts as presented appear to establish a prima facie false imprisonment under common law.
  • If a generic intentional tort client comes to your office, young lawyer, I imagine the case is typically much stronger with a police report filed from the scene of or immediately after the attempted kidnapping, if not a 911 call during, but sometimes making a certain airplane flight is crucial.  Furthermore, the ideal client would call an alternative transportation service instead of the one that just sent the attempted assailant.  While I've never actually met an ideal client, juries hold these things against people, particularly women, which is a truly unfair prejudice that should be corrected.
  • Is Uber liable for this sort of thing?  It surely depends on numerous factors such as prior knowledge of problems with the driver, the language of various contracts, and quirks of state law, not to mention a jury's wrath at the apparent lack of safeguards and background checks.  The LSTC expresses no opinion but looks forward to the next detailed law review article(s) explaining the various permutations and possibilities, which we have no doubt will be forthcoming from any number of fine legal scholars.
  • Speaking of jury prejudice, in a hypothetical lawsuit, do you as the evil hypothetical defendant try and inflame jurors' irrational prejudices against academia and sinecure law professors?  Again - hypothetically - if the plaintiff has written articles questioning, say, the idea of segregated women's sports, and publishing such articles is part of the regular course of her occupation, do you as the defendant intentionally bring those unpopular articles up to stoke purple-state prejudice against said professor?  Is it proper to do so?
  • Back to vicarious liability, why aren't law schools shuttling their walking intellectual capital in a private luxury service with black Lincolns and Cadillacs?  A commonplace Uber? I'd suggest suing the law school, too, but all know where that road leads, pardon the pun.
  • We have rules of evidence and rules of evidence are a very good thing with the noble (partial) goal of reducing prejudice, but in my somewhat limited experience with juries, they seem to be able to read the parties regardless of whether the damaging inadmissible material is known or not and adjust their empathetic/sympathetic responses accordingly.  For example, if your plaintiff is the type of man who would seek immediately seek publicity and appeals to secondary officials for relatively minor offenses against him or his property, or has in the past exaggerated what makes a viable claim a claim, a jury can usually sense those qualities.  Case facts that should make a jury go, "my god!" may make them, instead, say, "oh lord..." solely because of a perception - justified or baseless, but there - of someone gaming the/a system.
  • As a brief note on the First Amendment: chilling effects are real.

Friday, April 13, 2018

Legal Practice Guide 5: The First Amendment and CUNY Law

Sometimes students have to show teachers - and the wider civic society - the proper way.  Like at Parkland Stoneman Douglas high school!  You know, that gun control thing!

Now, is it shamelessly crass and inappropriate to compare the Parkland incident and aftermath with, say, CUNY Law Students protesting 4th-tier conservative speak-guru Josh Blackman?   Sure, but fuck it, the LSTC is going to do it anyway in the right honorable spirit of law school rhetoric.

Just look at these bold stallions of maximum horsepower justice, these charging mustang worms in the Big Apple:
Blackman, an associate professor at the South Texas College of Law in Houston, supported Donald Trump's decision to rescind Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)...But Blackman supports the DREAM Act, which would grant residency status to many of these same people.

That distinction mattered little to the student activists who crashed Blackman's event last month, calling him a racist and white supremacist. Blackman was merely "gaslighting" them, they said. They accused CUNY of giving a platform to an oppressor. They tweeted, "My existence > your opinion." They heckled Blackman, making it impossible for him to deliver his prepared remarks. A productive conversation was possible only after the activists left the room, furious that the administration had threatened to discipline them.
How dare the law school administration at a public institution permit peaceable assembly and a frank exchange of views on the legality of executive action.  How reckless!

Sometimes on my darkest days, when the first options in the liquor cabinet have been depleted and mom has taken the car elsewhere, I think these little rat-bastards deserve whatever cruel fate befalls them in the labor market - which, let's be honest, the worst seat on the Million Dollar Express still has bottle service and free cashews.  But then I read stories like this - mature, reflective takes on the First Amendment - and I think it's all going to be a-okay!

Just as the Parkland/Stoneman Douglas kids have showed us that yes, we can talk about gun control in the immediate "thoughts and prayers" period of mourning after a senseless slaughter, CUNY students are showing us the way on the First Amendment and obstreperous protests that accomplish nothing but ego-stroking.  As a Kantian maxim: If I think your position is reprehensible, you have no right to speak.  It's so simple; how didn't Thomas Jefferson think of that?  In any event, it's crucial that we lawyers incorporate this approach to free speech under the First Amendment in our daily practices.  No, judge, my existence is greater than your opinion!

Clearly, conservative-ish viewpoints are just going to clog the way of conducive learning at America's law schools.  After years of trolling law schools, The Federalist Society has finally - FINALLY - been caught red-handed for what they are.  Thanks, CUNY, for your tireless efforts.  Let's purge and jail the malcontents.

The First Amendment isn't a tricky legal concept...until you start demanding it while refusing its protection to others.  Then it becomes the sort of nuanced dance in which lawyers excel.

That's all for today.  It's Friday, April 13, so drink until you see ghosts, enroll a dead person for the tuition check, and scam on.

Friday, April 6, 2018

Legal Practice Guide 4: Class Actions and Savannah Law School

Ask any Civil Procedure student the elements of a class action and they'll probably spout something about International Shoe in a nervous, short-breathed frenzy.  Thankfully - and by design - the bar exam prep booklet fills the gaps, although most practitioners are rusty and may not recognize a good class action when they see one.

Read Rule 23 and you'll recall that the five elements of a class action are:
  • Numerosity:  are there enough people that this should be a class action?
  • Commonality:  are there common questions of law and fact to all claimants?
  • Typicality:  are the class reps' claims typical of the claims?
  • Adequate Representation:  can the class reps adequately represent the class?
  • Favorability:  is this the sort of claim that the judiciary and other influencers politically favors and can allow without vomiting?
Now let's evaluate the recent class against re: poor Savannah Law School:
Attorneys for seven Savannah Law School students and prospective students have filed a class action suit against the soon-to-close school for what they say is a civil conspiracy to deprive the students of a promised law school degree in order to advance their own business and financial interests.
The suit charges that defendants deflated their grade curve, forced students out of scholarships and into student loans, deprived students of in-person instruction by law school faculty, sold the 516 Drayton St. building, and “ultimately closed (the school) in order to financially benefit (themselves) and improve Atlanta’s John Marshall’s financial position during the fall-out over its noncompliance with ABA accreditation standards.”
Woof.  I see numerosity and adequate representation - natch, since the class reps are law students - but how in the world could there be common questions of fact or typicality?  Student A may have gotten a C in Contracts while Student B got a C-.  Each student's scholarship deprivation fraud is radically different.

And favorability?  Fuck 'em from the side.  These are sophisticated consumers.  They knew the terms of their agreement and that rich older dudes could throw some smelling salts into their legal eagle fantasies.  An education isn't a guarantee of any particular career result.  You, the student, have to do the work and network and make it happen on your own.  Stop your whining and pay your debts like an adult.  You should've looked at the materials and the data, properly evaluated risks and benefits. 

Besides, what are their damages?  They can still transfer to any number of excellent law schools for a plush reserved seat on the Million Dollar Express.  Champagne's on ice and there's a dame in every sleeper room.  The only class action you'll be caring about when you teacher-student role play. Enjoy detention!