Tuesday, February 5, 2013

The American Way

I have an article in Salon on how the law school mess is an early warning signal for a system of higher education that is ultimately unsustainable, given the economic base from which its ideological superstructure (i.e., the axiomatic claim that educational debt is good debt) rises.

In the short term, lots of institutions are banking (literally) on young people continuing to play a losing game because of poor information and -- even more crucially -- a widespread belief that with no apparent good alternatives, it makes sense to roll the dice by buying radically overpriced credentials, in the hope that something will work out.

The other day, in the context of an argument about law school budgets, I heard the head of an admissions committee say with perfect complacency that there really wasn't much to worry about, because after all, what were these kids going to do, become investment bankers? This remark elicited an equally complacent chuckle from many of his colleagues.

At that moment I had, perhaps for the first time in my life, a visceral sense of exactly why revolutions tend to be so violent. Not, of course, that I believe the lost generation is likely to head for the barricades any time soon.  But if something cannot go on forever . . .

167 comments:

  1. "Let them eat Ramen!"

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    1. let them NETWORK

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    2. Joan King's ChroniclerFebruary 5, 2013 at 9:13 AM

      "Between the years when the oceans drank Atlantis, and the rise of the sons of Aryas there was an age undreamed of. And onto this, Joan King. Destined to wear the jeweled crown of Brooklawonia upon a troubled brow. It is I, her chronicler who alone can tell thee off her saga. Let me tell you of the days of high tuition!"

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    3. Joan King's ChroniclerFebruary 5, 2013 at 9:14 AM

      Valvoline Dean: Hot damn! Enrollments are up! We won again! This is good, but what is best in life?!

      Dean Matasar: The open road, a fast car, a chick on your dick, and the wind in your hair.

      Valvoline Dean: Wrong! Joan King! What is best in life?!

      Joan King: To crush your lemmings, see them admitted before you, and to hear the lamentations of the graduates!

      Valvoline Dean: That is good! That is good.

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    4. In a dystopian near-future, half of all law schools in the US are facing severe budget shortfalls as the number of enrollees in law schools plumets to an all-time low.

      Drastic measures must be taken. Faculty must be reduced. Out of the chaos, one man steps forth and implements a drastic solution:

      "The revolution is successful. But survival depends on drastic measures. Your continued existence represents a threat to the well-being of society. Your lives mean slow death to the more valued members of the colony. Therefore, I have no alternative but to sentence you to death. Your execution is so ordered, signed Kodos, Chancellor and Executive President, ABA."

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    5. Maybe they'll attack & publicly humiliate Rutger's law profs, now that 50% of the police force was laid off.
      Police laid off in high crime Camden NJ

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  2. This just shows how out of touch admissions and other people are. They dont understand that not going is a choice. For many people, not going for the next year or two is the smartest move. Schools are going to have to understand that admissions were so high because they lied about employment statistics.

    Now the truth is being widespread- people are not going to go to law school. And if they do go, they are going to drop out if they aren't getting jobs. The dropout option is going to increase over time.

    The fact they want to delude themselves, in spite of the obvious drop this year, is surprising.

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  3. The bastards cannot wrap their pinheads around the fact that there is a serious glut in the job field - or that the "professors" play a role in this filthy situation.

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    1. They understand their is a glut. They don't care, because they are getting paid. Was Bernie Madoff "unable to wrap his pinhead around the fact that he was deceitful?" Or was he only in it for the money? The 50 year old faculty need to get paid, and they'll deliver self-serving platitudes if that puts butts in the classrooms.

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  4. There are many life options that don't require $200,000 or more as the price of admission. People are understanding this.

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  5. What are the laid off "law professors" going to do, join Jones Day and pull down $800K per year?!?!

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    1. I'm a little worried about that too. You would think that the lower class sizes might allow some marginal increase in employment. Unfortunately, elite law firms will be too busy hiring laid off law professors.

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  6. Kids don't need the option of becoming investment bankers to decide not to enroll in law school. They simply need to realize that not being 150k+ in debt is better than being 150k+ in debt. This is a realization they are beginning to make.

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  7. Sounds like this woman has drunk the Dean Mitchell koolaid: "What else will these thousands of students who have been discouraged from attending law school do? Where will they find a more fulfilling career? They’re not all going to be doctors or investment bankers, nor should they."

    The DoE and American Federation of Teachers are looking at greatly increasing barriers to the teaching market. Higher standards mean less supply of teachers, which should raise salaries, and higher standards should increase public perception, which will make tax payers more willing to spend more on education.

    Given that the path is much shorter than law school, comes with much less debt, better hours than law practice, summers off, much better job security, better benefits, and on top of all that pays on par with non-BigLaw firm jobs, it seems like teaching might be a very reasonable answer to the "What are these people going to do?" question.

    Of course, Dean Mitchell (and this admissions person) can likely not conceive of anyone who could have been a lawyer settling for a job that only pays $50,000 --the alternatives are only other elite careers-- not being aware that many lawyers, including experienced ones, would love a steady $50,000 paycheck.

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    1. Raising the entry quals for teachers would be awesome. Right now, the profession is kind of suffering from the same problems as law, with too many grads being pumped out for far too few jobs (despite the "shortage of teachers" bullshit).

      Raise the quals, get rid of the stay-at-home moms who decide to get a job when their kids go to elementary school (and whose brains are rotted, not that there was much of a brain to begin with in most of those suburban Mrs-degree wives). Get rid of the fresh-out-of-college dumbfucks who teach in half of our classrooms and replace them with experienced, educated professionals who can control the kids and inspire them to do more than catch a look down the whore's shirt when she's bending over helping them with their schoolwork.

      If teachers want to be treated like professionals, then they need to step up and set professional qualifications for entry. Not the weak, watered down bullshit they have right now where schools are pumping out two "teachers" for every job, even at the shittiest colleges for the borderline mentally retarded.

      Same goes for lawyers. You want to be treated with respect? Stem the inflow, raise qualifications.

      How to do this? Simple. Close the bottom half of the law schools. No huge inflow, the dummies are shut out.

      Easy.

      But listening to cunts like that admissions committee chair that Campos mentioned makes me certain that change is the last thing law schools want.

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  8. "America’s law schools — are merely the canary in the coal mine of an educational system that, sooner or later, is going to cave in on itself."

    This is a mixed metaphor.

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    1. No it isn't.

      Coal mine: Higher ed

      Canary: Law schools

      Canary keeling over is the warning signal that a big explosion is imminent

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    2. not really. Coal miners used to carry canaries because they were more susceptible to the gasses, particularly explosive gasses, that accumulate in coal mines. When the gasses did build up (i.e., firedamp) an explosion and cave in was a likley consequence

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    3. How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?

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    4. what do woodchucks do if they don't chuck wood? what do law professors do if they don't profess law?

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  9. "What else are they going to do?"

    Well they can do whatever it is they would do if they went to law school, graduated, passed the bar, and couldn't find an attorney job. By forgoing law school they avoid 150K or more in debt, and the stain of a JD on their resume.

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    1. The reality is that some of them might become investment bankers instead. The highest scorers are the ones least likely to attend.

      And those who aren't investment bankers will find something else.

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  10. You should name the admissions council head who made the comment, Lawprof. Why are you giving him/her a pass?

    You deserve tremendous credit for getting the word out through this blog and other writings. But I think it's time for you to remove yourself from the innards of the scam, i.e. resign, because the scam cannot be reformed from within, and the revolution will need informed and credible spokespersons. I say this sincerely, not as a flame.

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    1. I say don't resign.

      But with the caveat that you start giving us more of the "Inside" stuff from the scam that the title of the blog suggests. Such as names, more insider info, etc. Not censored stuff like this blog post.

      Otherwise this blog is just "The Law School Scam", not "Inside the Law School Scam".

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    2. To 8:41AM: I think you are putting too much on Law Prof; look at how much he is doing and how much he has single- handedly brought much of this issue to the public. I can't stand people always saying: "Do more, do more, do more" - it's like being back in law school again. Why change a good thing? I think it would be easier for the powers that be to discredit law prof if he were not a professor, so his staying put makes total sense. And maybe he simply loves teaching.

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  11. This is just another example of the core problem: law schools exist to serve law professors.

    It doesn't matter now, though, because the damage can't be undone, and the question of whether or not the problem is cyclical or structural has become irrelevant.

    Applications are down by half in less than a decade, particularly among high quality candidates.

    Law faculty had an opportunity to take charge and lead on this issue, but they opted not to. Instead of making change , they are going to seen change made on them.

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  12. That quote from the admissions committee members is fucking pathetic. All there is to say.

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  13. The lack of decent job prospects for college grads (particularly BA’s) is one of the main reasons (along with Federal loan dollars) why the law school scam has gone on as long as it has. A 21/22 year old college grad faced with the humiliating prospect of moving back in with his parents and working a part time job at Staples can easily rationalize taking out 150 K in debt and heading off to a TTT law school instead. In fact, I think the biggest selling point of a lot of these schools isn’t the supposed “prestige” of a JD degree. Its that law school allows these kids to put off a bleak reality for three more years while retaining some semblance of respectability. Of course, most will end up in a far worse position in the end. But you can understand why so many fall into the trap.

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    1. Not really, nothing humiliating about holding down a job.

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    2. Depends on where you come from. If all your parents' friends' kids are investment bankers, big 3 accountants, or doctoral candidates at Ivies it can be hard to stand the shame of "just" working a regular job. Of course, those kids got their placements and jobs through the nepotism of their wealthy parents and friends and the same routes are firmly, permanently closed to you, but look! You can still be a lawyer and then your parents can hold their shamefully middle class heads high at cocktail parties! When you're 22, this is very compelling.

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    3. Isn't it unlikely your parents will have such wealthy friends with all those connections while not having those themselves? I guess my point is that the shitty economy is hitting everyone so I don't the situation you describe will apply to a lot of people.

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    5. 7:38, try working food service at Subway or something, and let us know how you feel.

      Nothing humiliating about it? As if low-wage, unskilled labor is going to impress either potential employers or potential mates...

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    6. (revised for clarity)

      That's what happened to me, as well as nearly all of the people I know who went to law school with me. Not everyone who lives in an upper class town is upper class, and the pressure to fit in with the neighbors is intense.

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    7. 8:24,
      I've worked fast food (Burger King, not Subway though) and retail and yeah it's not a party but you do what you have to do. And honestly, fuck what everyone else thinks. Chances are they don't give a shit what you're doing anyways.
      7:38

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    8. Unknown, you are on the money. Law schools sell this delayed reality, this idea that prestige can be bought.

      And they sell it to parents as much as they do to kids. I bet that parents are looking at this glossy info and thinking how great it would be if their kid could be a fancy lawyer one day.

      Parents need to tell their kids that lawyers are pieces of shit, and that they will never speak to him again if he goes to law school.

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    9. @824:

      The thing is, no one who is polished and presentable and well-spoken stays at the bottom of the food chain (pun int.).

      Let's say you're a fast food cook at 18. Pretty soon you should be able to get a job as a line cook at a non-fast food place. Then you can move up in the restaurant/catering/food service business. If you have ambition, by 30, you can be debt-free and looking to start your own restaurant.

      If you're 19 and a server at Applebees and you have any sort of cultural cache and are above the median on attractiveness, you should be able to lateral into nicer restaurant service after a few years. Being a venerable waiter at a class restaurant is not a bad gig, and good people are hard to find in the restaurant biz.

      Are these occupations hard and the hours long? Absolutely, but that's the kicker: everything sucks. People think they can cheat the rule that they have to work from the bottom up by getting an education - law especially gave people the prospect of leap-frogging the peons and starting at $160k! - because we so value college graduates.

      In reality, experience in an industry is so much more important than education. Most classified ads now allow you sub education for experience on a year-to-year basis.

      I have a cousin who was managing a McDonalds at 20 or so. Was the money good? Of course not, but managing experience is impossible to come by unless you've already managed people or are already in the organization.

      Are there glass ceilings and walls you'll never break through? Yeah, but we've gotten to the point where buying the hammer to break through the glass is no longer worth it. For most people, the best advice is to build a modest middle class lifestyle and enjoy it.

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    10. Craig I agree with nearly everything you said, but I have to get picky on one detail.

      I can only speak for myself and my acquaintances, but I don't think people get advanced degrees to "cheat the rule" of working from the bottom up. Trust me, I've worked at the bottom A LONG TIME and choosing to go to LS didn't feel like cheating. It felt like looking around and seeing peers with useful degrees being productive and desiring the same.

      I think saying people want to cheat ahead with education incorrectly moves the focus from LS admin. and onto the shoulders of someone who probably thought they were making a reasonably sound judgment.

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    11. The thing is, no one who is polished and presentable and well-spoken

      For a lot of employers, this means white.

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    12. @7:38 -- you're not looking at it like a "special snowflake" (or middle class suburban youth).

      Assume this hypothetical-- you're working in the suburbs, part-time, while living in your parents house. You're also working in a retail, temporary, or food service job after receiving a four-year degree where you did everything they told you would lead to a middle-class existence, or at least an apartment and car of your own. After four years of education, if you have one at all, you've only managed to land a job that you could have done immediately after high school, surrounded by high school graduates and other sundry drop outs. Your social life consists of either re-connecting or avoiding those of your age group who never left for college. Don't you see that this is the very definition of humiliation?

      That was me in 1994, back in suburban Chicago, working as a temp., living in the basement, and studying the Kaplan LSAT program 30 hours a week.

      Good or bad, this is what the law schools tap into.

      When prospective students realize that what I've just described is still better than six figures of non-dischargeable debt, we've won.

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    13. @935: I can see where you're coming from, but I imagine the typical law student is still the K-JDer who thinks they deserve an office for existing and showing up every day. Lots of upper/upper-middle class people think they've above 35k careers, so they use education as a reason to go straight to 90k-ville.

      What's sad is that there are places willing to pay completely marginal, inexperienced people 75k+ if they sat through some classes or because they came out of the right womb, which only perpetuates the madness and sense of entitlement.

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    14. Yes. There are racial, ethnic, and other implications to "polished and presentable and well-spoken".

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    15. "There are racial, ethnic, and other implications to "polished and presentable and well-spoken""

      Do you think there isn't in post-BA/JD hiring?

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  14. "Its that law school allows these kids to put off a bleak reality for three more years while retaining some semblance of respectability."

    Couldn't have stated it better myself. At least when I was in law school (not that long ago), people in my age cohort (who were pursuing things like design and production work) would swoon at my industriousness and drive. I allowed myself to feel sorry for them, but at least I now know they weren't wasting three years of their lives, even if our economic outcomes remained the same.

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  15. AU 3L, thank you for making an example of my toilet law school again. I think think it is the biggest trap school and the heart of the scam. AU will never cut class size, no they are just going to cut standards as you have pointed out. As for the revolution I think something will happen, everyone at my school is so pissed. But it's not only law students in massive debt, all my friends stuck in debt and unable to utilize their degrees while living at home are pissed. This country has a whole generation that is disillusioned, it's a powder keg. That is a problem.

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    1. Serious question: Does the shuttle that goes to the law school campus first stop at the main campus?

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    2. yea, usually, I haven't taken the shuttle in awhile though

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    3. "Anytime you put too many sparks around the powder keg, the thing is going to explode, and if the thing that explodes is still inside the house, then the house will be destroyed."

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  16. Law school is overpriced, no argument there.

    I'm curious why you feel undergrad programs share the same problems as law schools? There's plenty of inexpensive community and state colleges out there so there isn't the same debt problem.

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    1. Do you think paying 20k to get a sociology degree from 3rd Tier State is worth it? Or worse, 50k to get a crap degree from a 4th Tier Private School?

      I don't. The government does. Five people taking 40k is little different than one person taking 200k if none of the debt is justified and repayment will be a struggle.

      We simply need to end the social fantasy than the 4-year college is the preferred post-grad option.

      Community College, on the other hand, is great. We need to be training tradespeople and encouraging small business growth instead of relying on professional school or corporate America to find a place for us.

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    2. "We need to be training tradespeople..."

      Wrong. We do not need fifty pages of plumbers in the phone book, like the fifty pages of lawyers. Nor do we need fifty pages of electricians. Or fifty pages of HVAC installers. Or fifty pages of anything.

      What we need is a broad spectrum of everything. And we achieve that by pushing the idea that educational prestige is a myth, and that a college degree does not define who you are but is rather a tool to get to where you want to go if you choose that path.

      It will never happen though. Us Americans love us some prestige, fake or otherwise. For examples, see McMansions, "private" colleges, country clubs, "luxury" cars, etc.

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    3. That's because, unlike nearly every other country out there, we openly equate worth with social class. Our pundits and media echo versions of it every day. If you're poor, it's your fault. The poor are simply worse people than the rich. Naturally, this leaves people desperate to increase their social class by any means possible.

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    4. Doc,
      My point is more that there's plenty of affordable options for college whereas with law school they're almost all priced north of 30K per year.

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  17. My generation will never take to the streets in any meaningful way until there is an interruption in the supply of anti-depressants.

    If that ever occurs, mayhem.

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  18. Great point about the choice between law school and the parent's basement. People that age can be very short-sighted.

    I think this phenomenon is probably related to the drop off in applications among the highest LSAT scorers. It may surprise some people to know that many people take the LSAT without significant study or preparation (like me). I figured it was just a test of brilliance and that I either was or wasn't and my score would show it. Not true, you can study and practice and prepare and score much higher.

    The sorts of people who study, practice, and prepare are the very same sort who adopt a longer view and are looking beyond the immediate future. The unfortunate thing is that most applicants are probably short-sighted dummies.

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    1. I too took it with no preparation (and did very well). I was astonished to find out later that some people spend five-figure sums on private tutors just to bone up for the LSAT. Yet another manifestation of the significant part that wealth plays in admissions to law schools.

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    2. To be faro, there are plenty of self-study guides out here. Paid course will not always get you to above 170.

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    3. But a paid course almost certainly will improve a person's score. That's an advantage that's linked to money.

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    4. But self-studying can raise your score even higher.

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    5. Bull, 7:03. I am friends with a guy, a CalTech PhD who wanted some extra money, who taught advanced ways to game the variety of standardized tests. Have you even helped produced such tests? It's not exactly the purview of rocket scientists or the partners of international law firms. Anyways, the of results of advanced study were often unbelievable.

      Anyone who doesn't think the right money paid to the right people can radically change one's standardized test scores (be it LSAT or SAT or GMAT) is very naive.

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  19. Leaders at South Carolina’s two law schools — Charleston School of Law and the University of South Carolina School of Law — said the shrinking pool of applicants has forced changes. The schools have had to be more careful with how they spend money, and to ensure that their enrollments don’t drop to a level that won’t sustain them financially.
    http://www.postandcourier.com/article/20130203/PC16/130209784/1177/law-schools-changing-with-the-economy

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    1. One clanger in the article:

      "At the same time, many big law firms took a financial hit in the downturn. In the past, many recent law school graduates would get jobs at big firms that gave them hands-on training largely paid from client accounts. When those clients cut back on legal services, the large firms cut back on hiring new law school graduates."

      Really, many big firms were hiring from Charleston School of Law and the University of South Carolina School of Law? An 87th ranked and unranked school? With a median starting salary at 62% reporting of $75,000 for USC-Law? As for CSOL big firms hiring - really??

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    2. So U of South Carolina Law need 210 students in each entering class in order to be financially stable. The class entering Fall '11 had 213. Applicants are down 20% this cycle. Look out ahead!

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    3. South Carolina can't possibly need a law school: there aren't enough literate people there to fill a class.

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  20. I don't know if it's reasonable for people with so much to lose to feel safe in the assumption that it won't get violent. There's no real historical basis to make that assumption. Desperate people are unpredictable, and desperate people is probably the primary output of American law schools at this point.
    My firm keeps our doors locked for a reason, as I imagine many firms dealing with litigation that involves "average people" do. It would be negligent not to, because as we all know, all you need is one unhinged person and things can get horrifying quickly.

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    1. Look around man, people in general are too glued to their iphone to get violent.

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  21. &
    7:05, this may surprise you but-where I live, in Westchester County, experienced teachers make well into the 130s. Yes, that is not a typo. Mid 130s. And that is base salary, not including health care, pensions, stipends (thousands of dollars to act as class advisor, coach, department coordinator, whatever). Plus, after 3 years, you get tenure and you can never be fired-and you retire in your late 50s. Plus you get summers off and go home at 3 PM. Also, unlike in Police work, there is minimal veterans preference and no nights. And for those who are ambitious, you can become a principal. Now tell me how many lawyers, and I'm sorry for sounding sexist, particuarly female lawyers, can beat that.

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    1. You also need a masters to get hired and those positions have gotten extremely competitive. Better than law yes but you're still taking on a lot of debt and may not get a job.

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    2. It is unbelievably hard to get such jobs. Impossible almost without connections (I knew a guy out of college who got such a position- but his dad was a principal).

      Sadly, biglaw is still more likely than a 130k teaching gig.

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  22. The problem too is the parents don't understand that law school is a terrible idea. Instead of helping their kids figure out what to do , they worry that they are going to live at home forever.

    So they help the scam by pushing kids into law school.

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    1. I think the bigger incentive to parents is getting to tell friends, family, and coworkers that your child is going to law school.

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    2. This way the scam being exposed by the NYT, WSJ, and their ilk is so important. Many people are impressed by law school attendance even if the school is an unheard of TTT. Hell, my parents bragged about me, and I went to Temple. Now when parents tell a friend that little Johnny is applying to law school; The friend can tell them about the latest NYT times article questioning the wisdom of attending.

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    3. The battle will be won when saying "my child is studying law" garners the same reaction as saying "my child is studying art history".

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  23. The Salon piece answered a question for me that I had been wondering about. As I followed this blog I kept thinking about two things.

    1. When I was a boy in the 60s and 70s my father would take me with him to the barber shop on Saturday morning to get our hair cut. While waiting I would read the outdoors type magazines. These always had ads for correspondence courses to teach you how to work in fish and wildlife management. They were filled with visions of how you'd be living a manly life in the great outdooors and getting paid for it: "Catch your breakfast from icy streams. Look like a million and feel like a million, too." In about the early 70s the feds said these places had to disclose in their ads how many of their graduates actually got jobs in that field. The ads then said that as required by law they had to disclose that, and that while many people took their course solely for personal fulfillment about 2% of their graduates got jobs in fish and wildlife management. (I presume the 2% included guys who were vacuuming trout shit out of the pools at the hatchery.) Special Snowflake Syndrome could not overcome 2% and the ads eventually vanished.

    2. Late 80s/early 90s on my morning commute I would pass the Computer Processing Institute, a for-profit trade school that supposedly taught IT skills. Then the feds passed a law saying that if more than a certain percentage of your graduates defaulted on their student loans your students could no longer get loans to go to your school. The problem was that some schools were conjuring images of the lucrative career you could have if you just signed the loan papers. Within about thirty days Computer Processing Institute shut down. The building is now a church.

    So my question was why didn't these laws cause the shut down of TTTs? Now I know. If a school is not-for-profit it is exempt. Maybe the first reform should be to make the same rules that apply to for-profits apply to non-profits. Non-profit is oftentimes a scam in itself. I have seen great fortunes made by people who started non-profits that provided services funded entirely by the government (e.g., housing for mentally retarded people who are wards of the state) and disposed of thenorganization's surplus revenue in the form of huge salaries to themselves.

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    1. I saw that too re: fortunes made by non-profits, particularly the emergency shelters for families evicted from their houses. The amount they charge social services compared to the services they provide is criminal.

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  24. Lawprof, that was an excellent article in Salon.

    I would also encourage everyone to read Michael Lind's essay in Salon, The Fantasy of a Vast Upper Middle Class,

    http://www.salon.com/2010/08/03/myth_upper_middle_class/

    which discusses the same issues.

    It is impossible to discuss the financial burdens of higher education without someone reciting stepford-like the extremely tired canard and horrendously false dichotomy that college grads earn more than people without a Bachelor's degree. I haven't seen it often disputed in print but there is obviously no justification to compare degree holders versus non-degree holders, although this is the red cape distraction preferred within the the Higher Ed Complex.

    A more accurate--and useful--comparison would examine the income of college grads versus someone engaging in a trade for which a college degree is not necessary. Plumbers, electricians, massage therapists, EMTs all make a decent living and almost certainly earn more than the average liberal arts graduate with a small fraction of the cost of entry into the career. The guy who cuts my hair makes between $80K and $90K a year and (of course) never had a student loan. My partner and I recently renovated a house and I personally can testify to the fact that the average contractor could equip and maintain a small army, if they so desired.

    Faced with accurate information about the costs/benefits of

    Of course, I'm all for education for the sake of education, but we now know students aren't learning very little in post-secondary classes anyway, primarily due to a higher education functional change. Universities initially were providers of education. Sometime in the 80s, there was a mission shift and universities adopted a consumer model to attact more students and became sellers of an educational experience, focusing more on how the students felt rather than what they were learning. Proceeding along the continuum, universities have now become purveyors of an educational fantasy, of which law schools are a particular egregious example (the fantasy being that the students are being prepared for a career). I remember the moment when I realized the extent to which the law school fantasy is entrenched---when I looked for the second tier in the US News rankings and realized that there wasn't one.





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    1. I think the boomers are going to have to accept that getting a college education is not the pathway that it once was. And they will have to discard their fantasy that a college education is the means by which the masses become refined.

      These to things need and will happen, but it's going to be very painful for the boomers because it will mean to them that American society has really become worse under their hands.

      Delete
    2. "It is impossible to discuss the financial burdens of higher education without someone reciting stepford-like the extremely tired canard and horrendously false dichotomy that college grads earn more than people without a Bachelor's degree."

      Whenever I hear someone say this I ask them where they heard it, what study does it come from, when was the study conducted, etc. Of course, they never know. They've just heard so many times and for so long that they assume it's common sense truth.

      Delete
    3. I think the boomers are going to have to accept that getting a college education is not the pathway that it once was.

      Conversations along this path have so far been extremely frustrating. They seem to have no idea that things are different from when they were kids.

      Delete
    4. A Boomer discussing college degree: At the very least you can get a job with the government!

      Delete
    5. Here is a study often quoted: http://trends.collegeboard.org/education-pays

      The Education Pays series from College Board is where these income "Facts" come from.

      Anyone with rational understanding of economic theory realizes that "Correlation does not equal Causation"

      I, like many others, believe that higher education is a good thing. But no one should sell their soul to debt to pursue it.

      Delete
    6. It is so hard to discuss with any boomers the current economic reality. It's virtually impossible to explain to anyone over the age of 40 even that law school is a pretty bad financial bet. And I doubt that will change until the last boomer parent dies out.

      My girlfriend got a BA and sells pharmaceutical products across the US and in Russia. She makes a great wage. But her parents thinks she's a failure for passing on law school. It's very sad how many people don't understand how quickly the economy changes.

      Delete
  25. "Not really, nothing humiliating about holding down a job."

    - A high school grad can stock shelves at Staples just as well as a college grad. Anyone smart enough to graduate college should be able to figure that out. And when they do figure it out, that's when the humiliation sets in. Usually followed by anger.

    ReplyDelete
  26. The good professor makes an interesting point today...

    At some point in the future, will the "educators" have to answer for their actions?

    The admissions guy chuckling at how young people are trapped, and that they are going to fleece them.

    Why shouldn't educators have a stake in the outcome of their students?

    If that outcome is overwhelmingly bad, why not have consequences?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's a symptom of the educational system as a whole, whether it is public elementary/middle/high school union teachers, colleges/universities, or grad schools.

      Educators, for whatever reason, unless they are for-profit, seem to be above reproach and their motives unquestionable.

      Delete
    2. Also, it seems this admission person has bought into the idea that law school brings wealth. He doesn't understand that students are beginning to see past decades of lies, and now know that law is not the path to wealth.

      Delete
  27. The only reason supporting the bubble is the absolute refusal of private business to seriously consider the "uncredentialed," meaning those bearing the requisite university paperwork.
    As soon as business and industry discover that this hiring metric has virtually no correlation to the real needs of the industry; the whole thing is gone.
    In the meantime, however, good luck trying for a white collar job (other than maybe in the creative arts) without that university degree.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Used to be that employers gave IQ tests to prospective hires. Then the U.S. Supreme Court, in its infinite wisdom, deemed that IQ tests constitute discrimination because certain groups tended to do poorly on them. Employers, of course, still needed some kind of screening device to discern intelligence so they decided to use college graduate as an imperfect but somewhat reliable benchmark. In Europe only the top 10%, selected by examinaton, go to college, and corporations take the view that they can teach their own business to someone far better than the most elite university.

      Delete
    2. I'm not saying you are wrong on either statistic, but I am very interested in the SC case on IQ tests and about Europe's college system. Is it true that European schools only take the top 10%? I find that hard to believe, though I do think they are a lot more stringent than American colleges.

      Delete
    3. No, it's not (duh):

      http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-11438140

      Delete
    4. In fact, many European countries, including Finland, the Slovak Republic, Iceland, Poland, Denmark, Ireland, Portugal, Norway, the Netherlands, and Sweden, have more students graduating from college each year than the United States, and the college graduation rate across the OECD is slightly higher than the graduation rate in the United States.

      Delete
  28. Rating agency overstates value of investment vehicle, value collapses leading to government bailing out investors: Federal lawsuit

    Law schools overstate value of qualifications, value collapses causing federal loans not to be repaid: ?

    ReplyDelete
  29. On an even broader scale, the law school implosion is merely a microcosmic reflection of the crisis experienced by the economy at large.
    Because of the inherent flaws in the mechanisms of our central banking and fractional reserve system, which to perpetuate themselves require a constant expansion of all possible inputs—more labor, more product, more CONSUMERS—across all walks of life, the pay-for-labor economic model is destined to fail.
    With increasing technological advances that make many manufacturing positions obsolete, under the current economic model, a good percentage of the human population become liabilities on the system. Unable to work to their fullest potential, they therefore become unable to CONSUME to their fullest potential. Thus, the cyclical flow of money between businesses-workers-consumers has become irreparably harmed.
    And in result, the boundless expansion of our world economic model has become entirely untenable. No longer can we continue throwing more workers and dollars into the slot machine of a fractional reserve/central banking economy, blindly hoping that the next pull will hit the jackpot.
    This is a systemic meltdown.
    It will fail. The question is not “if,” but “when.”
    Check out Zeitgeist on youtube for more information.
    (And on an even more philosophical scale than that, this is a reflection of what physicists opine as one possible death of the universe--the "Big Crunch." When through the laws of physics the expansion of the universe ceases to be possible, everything will come crashing down.)

    ReplyDelete
  30. keep your eyes posted for the latest lsac data posted this afternoon

    http://www.lsac.org/lsacresources/data/three-year-volume.asp

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's crazy that 0Ls are submitting 7 applications on average.

      Delete
    2. The top 240 feeder schools tab is interesting. Might be a useful add on to the article yesterday about declining applications.

      Delete
    3. @9:46

      It's not that crazy if you consider all the schools emailing fee waivers, free ipods, and free trips to the school.

      Delete
    4. I have a very high LSAT score. Can I get a free trip to visit the campus of the U of Hawai`i?

      Delete
  31. 9:24 again:

    To belabor the point, revolutions are violent because the elite few who benefit from and control failing system often refuse to divest willingly their advantageous positions. Few—so very few—have interest in the welfare of anyone beyond themselves, their family, and perhaps a few close friends.

    The people in control of the world’s economic condition—financial institutions, big corporations, big governments—are laughing in the exact same way as that head of admissions. They know they can continue rigging the game, because “there’s a sucker born every minute,” because not enough people are willing or able to walk away from the table.

    This is why a large portion of the future is predestined. People become self-contained within systems that guide and reinforce their behavior to the point where other alternatives become unthinkable, to the point where the notion of free will becomes a joke.

    The President likely won’t stop assassinating people with drones; he’s not powerful enough to step back from his past behavior and break free from those atrocities. The Government won’t stop monitoring your texts/emails/phonecalls. The financial markets of the world won’t escape a meltdown.

    99.9% of you will continue going to your jobs every day, repeating the same routines that’ve been ingrained into you for years. You’ll work/earn/spend/die, all without ever trying to consider the possibility of engineering a better way of life.

    And for that same reason, kids with no other options will continue propping up law schools, trying to get ahead in a system that’s expressly designed to keep everyone behind.

    The only way to engender change is to spread enough information that people begin to wake up, to see that other options not only exist, but are feasible alternatives.

    This blog does a very good job of that, but understand that the rabbithole of corruption goes far, far beyond law schools.

    Attacking the leaves can slow it down, but you can’t kill it until you dig out the root.

    Watch Zeitgeist, watch Thrive. Learn why things are broken, and try to do as much as you can to fix them.

    Whatever religion you are or whatever else you believe, we can agree on one thing: You haven't been placed on this earth to buy shit.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You sound just like yesterday's baby boomer poster who went on about Obama and drones too. You said you are now retired, so it's easy for you to sit back and tell the youngsters how they should pull themselves up, do something different, all while you're living high on the proverbial hog after rigging they system for yourself.

      And just FYI, drone strikes are positively surgical compared to 100,000 US servicemen wandering into a nation and shooting anything that moved for the best part of a decade.

      Delete
  32. How can the person who authorized dropping a bomb from a drone on an American citizen and his teen-aged son, also an American citizen, be considered anything else than complicit in first-degree murder?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "When the President does it, it isn't illegal."

      Delete
    2. Well, that's what Nixon said just before he could be impeached and he resigned instead. His Attorney General, John Mitchell, was one of the country's worst, right up there with Eric Holder, but Nixon got axed anyway.

      What is very serious here is that Obama may think that he and his perfumed generals, like Petraeus, actually command anything when it comes to aggression against American citizens and may actually try something.

      Delete
    3. What does this have to do with law school
      Admissions and employment?

      Delete
    4. The article at the beginning of the posts touched on revolutions caused by an out of touch government so I would say the comments are extremely relevant.

      To put a quick end to the discussion just explain how Obama can legally order the deaths of American citizens.

      Delete
    5. Why? You provide a solution to the law school admissions and employment problem first. Once we've resolved that, we can move on to something not currently relevant, like what you're suggesting.

      Delete
    6. Not currently relevant? What planet are you on? Perhaps you should dictate to the Law Prof what subjects he should write about?

      Delete
    7. Can you refer to the portion of his article where he discusses the President bombing people?

      Delete
  33. If you want to see the future of education in America, just take a look at what is happening in continental Europe.

    Over there, you have graduates from all sorts of schools unable to get a job in their professions. As a result, some take any job they can get (for example dish washers, store clerks, etc.), while others basically protest all the time.

    The difference is that in Europe, education is mostly paid by the government. They don't have to take-out the loans we have to over here.

    So when it finally "hits the fan" here, it will "hit the fan" hard.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. IMO today's American youths are just too apathetic to protest like we saw in Greece, France, etc. I think we'll see falling tuition thanks to market forces before we see student and alumni uprisings.

      Delete
    2. "the difference is that, in Europe, education is mostly paid for by the government" - that's funny, 10:05, it doesn't sound so different after all!

      Delete
  34. Marx also predicted that the proletariat would rise up and end capitalism. But that did not happen because capitalism invented a way to make the proletariat think that they were part of the system -- the stock market. By making the proletariat think that their incredibly small holdings in stocks were significant, the proletariat don't overthrow the system. Academia will find ways to make the debt-laden continue to incur debt and not question the system. My point is that it will continue forever, just as capitalism has endured long past what Marx predicted.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It can't continue forever if the proletariat is continually thrust into deeper penury and indigence, which is what is happening, as the system also requires that the proletariat consume in greater amounts.

      Delete
  35. I saw someone reference this post by the Dean of Cooley in yesterday's thread. Just baffling.

    http://www.cooley.edu/commentary/admissions_chances_improve_employment_outlook_brightens.html

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's just too dumb to even go through and analyze. At what point is this not fraud?

      Delete
    2. "In sum, there has never been a better time to attend law school."

      Delete
    3. One does wonder how this guy lives with himself.

      Oh wait - his huge, huge, paycheck.

      Never mind...

      Delete
    4. If you believe our fine jurists, it's so absurd that it can't be fraud.

      Delete
  36. Lawprof- Name that fucking Admissions Dean's name! People need to be held accountable for behavior like that.

    ReplyDelete
  37. There's absolutely no fraud here. Our finest jurists have declared that law students are highly sophisticated consumers and any ills that befall them are solely their own fault.

    ReplyDelete
  38. Reply button isn't working, so this is for anon @ 11:12

    The point, kind sir, is that the law school scam is but one cancerous product of the corrupt system in which it resides.

    When you raise children within a culture that promulgates vulturistic consumerism, glorifies excessive greed, and neglects to instill countervailing notions of societal responsibility and morality...

    You get children who are ravenous consumers, gluttons for wealth, and have very few qualms about climbing over the bodies of their fellow humans in their drive to achieve an illusory measure of "success."

    Now can you see the law school parallels? Can you see the real issue?

    Infant minds are blank slates. Big house, expensive car, oversized bank account are only considered "winning" because those are the arbitrary winning conditions that society instills.

    And those are the arbitary winning conditions that absolutely guarantees that people will abuse one each other during their "climb to the top."

    And, most of all, among all the other broken system we enjoy, those are the false ideals keeping the law school scam alive and well.

    ReplyDelete
  39. Lawprof is talking about revolutions tending to be violent. I guess he means only revolutions engendered by law school graduates not being able to get a job and not by extrajudicial killing of American citizens by drones?

    Will we be allowed to discuss the issue when the demonstrating law grads are bombed by the drones, which under the NDAA, seems perfectly legal according to Eric Holder. After all, those "terrorists" are whoever the government says they are.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "Any scamblogger who runs is a terrorist! Any scamblogger who stands still is a well-disciplined terrorist! Ain't war hell?!"

      Delete
    2. I'm in favor of any drone attack that takes out idiot trolls attempting to divert the discussion to irrelevant topics.

      Delete
    3. @Door Gunner,

      How can you shoot women, and children?

      -"Easy, just don't lead 'em so much!"

      Delete
  40. 11:58 above is out of sequence reply to 11:39. Sorry for the misstep.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No, it's an out of sequence reply to a comment on another blog - "Inside the Liberal Scam" - in which crazies talk about conspiuracy theories and how bad Obama is.

      I still don't get how dropping bombs from drones, which kill terrorists most of the time with some notable errors, is worse than an entire army marching into a nation and killing untold numbers of civilians, including women and children?

      Which is worse? The few pieces of collateral damage caused by Obama, or the hundreds of thousands killed by our military in Iraq and Afghanistan over the past decade?

      It's all a fucking mess. But some messes are smaller and neater than others. We can't avoid the fact that killing people is unpleasant. We can only do our best to kill as few as possible.

      Delete
    2. The American citizen killed wasn't "collateral damage"; he was the target. He had not been charged, much less convicted, of anything. That is the whole point.

      I am no fan of Bush or Obama and am sure this guy probably deserved his fate, but no one can set themselves up as judge, jury, and executioner.

      Delete
    3. He's not judge, jury and executioner. Just because "due process" is not public, it doesn't mean it's not occurring. There are - and I know this for a fact - due process procedures that we are not privy to, for national security reasons. He's not sitting in his office putting names on a list on a personal whim. That list and all evidence putting names on that list is being looked over by many other people, including judges who typically make those calls for non-classified matters.

      If you're so up in arms about this one "American" being targeted (which I agree with, by the way, and any US citizen who thinks that he or she is immune from being killed by hiding behind the constitution while attacking the US is nuts, as are those who defend those people), why are you also not so up in arms about the tens of thousands of US citizens who are killed each year because of another constitutional provision, the 2nd amendment? Because for all the NRA's propaganda, we're still running a huge deficit on that one when it comes to lives saved over lives lost.

      How about we start with that fucking mess before worring about one single terrorist guy abroad?

      Delete
    4. Wow...just wow. Facing your accuser in an open court before being killed is no longer the law? But don't worry people like Eric Holder, who wouldn't indite Jon Corzine, who stole a billion dollars from his brokerage firm customers, will decide for the American people! I feel so much better, now!

      And they write a memo to cover their corrupt asses and then keep it secret!

      Do you know why the targeted people are classified? Because about half of them worked for the CIA before they went off the reservation.

      As far as the second amendment how will Eric Holder send his next batch of semi-automatic weapons to Mexico under "Fast and Furious II" if he can't get straw buyers to purchase them at gun shops?

      I have had a hunting rifle for a long time and have never been attracted to the AR-15. However, after seeing the nonstop, organized anti-gun propaganda I
      am on the waiting list for one.

      Delete
  41. California Bar Exam Pass Rate Set to 40% For Law School Accreditation

    In other words all non-ABA accredited law schools in California are going to be shut down.

    http://ivn.us/2013/02/05/california-bar-exam-pass-rate-set-to-40-for-law-school-accreditation/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. too bad this didn't apply to accredited schools as well. looks like the abraham lincoln institute of law's best days are behind it.

      ALU's GBX first time bar pass rate for February 2012 was 36%.

      As of June 1, 2012, more than 130 graduates of ALU have passed the California General Bar Examinations.

      Delete
  42. Good article in the Atlantic today.

    http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2013/02/how-the-job-market-for-law-school-grads-crumbled-and-how-it-could-come-back-to-life/272852/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. the deluge of anti-law school content is overhwleming. the admissions deans must be shitting themselves these last few weeks.

      Delete
    2. It seriously makes me so happy. I think that it is working, albeit slowly.

      My mom wrote me an email the other day that said something along the lines of "thank god you got out when you did."

      She must have forgotten the part where she encouraged me to go for 18 months straight.

      Still, it is progress.

      Delete
    3. Damn, every day there are new articles on this subject in the mainstream media! Lights out for the law-school scam.

      Delete
  43. another blow to VLS:

    http://www.businessinsider.com/vermont-law-school-president-speaks-out-2013-2

    ReplyDelete
  44. Professor Campos,

    Check this out - I'm surprised you ignored this one.
    http://www.cooley.edu/commentary/admissions_chances_improve_employment_outlook_brightens.html

    ReplyDelete
  45. The Valvoline DeanFebruary 5, 2013 at 2:12 PM

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ABfsIInfXgU

    I used to see you on every T.V
    Your smiling face looked back at me.
    I used to see you on every T.V
    Your smiling face looked back at me.

    Then they caught you with the girl next door,
    People's money piled on the floor,
    Accusations that you try to deny,
    Revelations and rumours begin to fly.

    Now you think about reaching out
    Try to get some help from above.
    Now you think about reaching out
    Try to get some help from above.
    Reporters crowd around your house.
    Going through your garbage like a pack of hounds,
    Speculating what they may find out,
    It don't matter now, you're all washed up.

    You wake up in the middle of the night.
    Your sheets are wet and your face is white,
    You tried to make a good thing last,
    How could something so good, go bad, so fast?

    American dream, American dream
    American dream, American dream.

    Don't know when things went wrong,
    Might have been when you were young and strong.
    Don't know when things went wrong,
    Might have been when you were young and strong.

    Reporters crowd around your house.
    Going through your garbage like a pack of hounds,
    Speculating what they may find out,
    It don't matter now, you're all washed up.

    Don't know when things went wrong,
    Might have been when you were young and strong.
    American dream, American dream.
    Don't know when things went wrong,
    Might have been when you were young and strong.
    American dream, American dream.

    ReplyDelete
  46. Being a pompous windbag - and wholly off topic.

    I draft a lot of complex agreements and legal documents - and generally I use my own form - and have written regularly from scratch. I do use form-books, but as a checklist and idea generator. That is to say, anytime I am drafting something new I look at other contracts and forms that I know of - and I go through them, clause by clause - do I have one of these yes - is it tailored to my clients circumstances, yes.

    From time to time formbooks for particular jurisdictions are useful because they tell you operative legal language you need to include. But using a form is not a solution to being unable to draft - it is a way to make you think about what the document needs to say, be it a complaint in a lawsuit, a motion, a contract, a deed or a will. Learn to write, look at multiple forms - never assume they are correct to the circumstances of the problem you face. Clients pay you to get it right.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You should just link to your various rants since you usually repeat them.

      Delete
  47. Bloomberg.com has an article on Yale and Penn suing recent graduates who can't repay their Perkins loans.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. http://www.insidecounsel.com/2013/02/05/yale-penn-george-washington-sue-former-students-fo

      Delete
    2. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-02-05/yale-suing-former-students-shows-crisis-in-loans-to-poor.html

      Delete
    3. It's on yahoo news too.

      Delete
  48. How long before Leiter posts some nonsense entry on his blog claiming that LawProf is calling for armed revolution?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. After one of his colleagues about ITLSS. I'm sure he hasn't visited the blog in months and forgot all about it.

      Delete
  49. I read that Business Insider piece on Vermont Law School. The VLS president sounds pathetic. VLS should survive because it is unique and different? Talk about grasping at straws! VLS charges 45K a year and its grads can't find jobs. That makes VLS exactly the same as 75% of the law schools out there.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, we're unique and different. Unlike all other law schools.

      Delete
    2. Another form of Special Snowflake Syndrome.

      Delete
  50. Question: won't LSAC post the volume summary after this weekends LSAT? I don't know why they would post it before they know how many people take the test in February.

    ReplyDelete
  51. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NHWjlCaIrQo

    the only way to win...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Also, the way to end the law school scam.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?NR=1&feature=endscreen&v=95y0tPseZRE

      Delete
  52. 1/29/2013: Cooley Dean Don LeDuc, everyone:

    Those seeking a career in law in the next three years(i.e. students who come to Cooley) will "Enter a job market for lawyers that maintained an unemployment rate of 2.3% or less during one of the most difficult economic climates of the last century, and that rate has already rebounded to 1.4%."

    Does anyone here have the stones to file a grievance with the Michigan Attorney Grievance Commission?

    MRPC 8.4: It is professional misconduct for a lawyer to: (b) engage in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, misrepresentation, or
    violation of the criminal law, where such conduct reflects adversely on the lawyer's
    honesty, trustworthiness, or fitness as a lawyer.

    Note for all you Michiganders, you are violating the ethical rules by not reporting this, just saying.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Is Lawprof licensed in. Michigan? Lol.

      I think not, he just went to school there. But that would be awesome.

      Delete
    2. Zearfoss removed Campos from the alumni email registry.

      Delete
    3. I'm sure we'll hear all about this over on EthicsAlarms.

      Keep up the great work Jack Marshall!

      Delete
  53. A surgeon is a person who performs operations on patients. In rare cases, surgeons may operate on themselves. Persons described as surgeons are commonly medical practitioners, but the term is also applied to physicians.


    SEOServices

    ReplyDelete
  54. The Cooley "commentaries" smell pretty desparate and are misleading. I wonder if Dean LeDuc believes his own bs or if he's just so deep in it that he feels he has no other options.

    ReplyDelete
  55. To Anon @ 3:47 AM

    Sorry for off-topic, but this is a point that needs to be addressed.

    The second amendment is fine. More gun control legislation is unnecessary.

    Statistically, more people are killed with blunt instruments (hammers, etc) than guns. Gun control legislation won't stop murders; it'll just bloody up a lot more hammers.

    Look at Chicago. Heavy gun control, so all the honest people are disarmed. Only the criminals have the guns, and the murder rate is one of the highest in the nation. Look at NY for the same reasons.

    Criminals murder people with guns, crazy people murder people with guns. And the funny thing is, both criminals and crazy people have this strange habit of not obeying gun laws, no matter how restrictive.

    To Anon @ 12:22PM

    Why do we need to be shooting and killing anyone? Why do we need to war at all?

    Wars today are fought on behest of corporate interests, to harvest resources, to seize assets.

    Afghanistan? US moved in and restarted the heroin (poppy) industry that al qaeda had shut down).

    Iraq? Oil.

    This has been going on since the early 1900s. See: General Smedley Butler's famous speech.

    In short? No one is attacking the United States. No one is threatening you. You are not in danger of being assaulted by terrorists.

    But people ARE attacking US interests. And with removal of due process and erosion of constitutional rights, you ARE in danger of being assaulted by your government.

    (Sorry about off-topic--won't happen again--but the media and government disseminate so much misinformation that I feel obligated to awaken people to a few basic facts.)

    ReplyDelete
  56. I would like to commend lawprof, DJM, and MacK as true AMERICAN HEROES for their work.

    ReplyDelete
  57. I would like to commend lawprof, DJM, and MacK as true AMERICAN HEROES for their work.

    ReplyDelete
  58. Hamilton Nolan...why does that name sound familiar? oh right! Nando roasted him a while back...

    http://thirdtierreality.blogspot.com/2010/12/profiles-in-brazen-ignorance-hamilton.html

    ReplyDelete

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