Sunday, December 20, 2015

Indiana Tech tries to appear selective

I was wrong when I reported that Indiana Tech took in 15 students this year: it actually got only 13:

http://law.indianatech.edu/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2015/12/Std-509-InfoReport-2015.pdf

Recall that Indiana Tech eliminated tuition this year (although the 509 report above does not show that fact) and that this past summer it announced the hope that 20 people would enroll in first year. Why did Indiana Tech miss that target? Did too few people apply?

No: Indiana Tech got 99 applicants. Yet it accepted only 31! What was wrong with the other 68 applicants? Were they all so unspeakably horrible that Indiana Tech, where 143 is a "serviceable" LSAT score, couldn't possibly consider them?

To answer those questions, compare this year's 509 report to last year's:

http://law.indianatech.edu/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2015/09/2014-Rule-509-Report.pdf

In particular, look at the following data:

Admissions:

2015: 99 applicants, 31 were offered admission, 13 matriculated
2014: 96 applicants, 78 were offered admission, 35 matriculated

Undergraduate GPAs (75th, 50th, and 25th percentiles):

2015: 3.61, 3.42. 2.99
2014: 3.15, 2.85, 2.49

LSAT scores (same percentiles):

2015: 153, 151, 148
2014: 151, 148, 142

A few observations:

The number of applicants in each year did not change significantly, but the rate of offers dropped from 81% in 2015 to 31% in 2014. In one short year, during which it failed to achieve accreditation, Indiana Tech went from open admissions to moderate selectiveness. That change is unprecedented.

Moreover, its GPAs shot up more than half a grade point, and its LSAT scores too increased dramatically. Only a few law schools avoided a drop in their median LSAT score. A three-point increase was rare indeed.

We can also reasonably infer that the calibre of Indiana Tech's applicants in general did not suddenly improve. The failure to achieve accreditation would have deterred most of the (ahem) better applicants. In addition, Indiana Tech would not have had to eliminate tuition if it had become a hot commodity.

Putting these facts and inferences together, we get the most likely conclusion: Indiana Tech rejected the bulk of its core audience—the dullards with the "serviceable" LSAT scores and GPAs—to come across as progressing in quality. By admitting only the best of its generally dreadful pool of applicants, Indiana Tech could manipulate its GPA and LSAT figures upwards. And why not? There was no cost to Indiana Tech: revenue was going to be exactly the same—nil—whether Indiana Tech admitted a baker's dozen of applicants or all 99.

Expect to see bullshit propaganda about "progress" and even "excellence" at Indiana Tech. But don't believe the hype.

35 comments:

  1. I find this statement on Indiana Tech's webpage on accreditation to be misleading:

    "Indiana Tech Law School is not accredited by the American Bar Association (ABA). Like any new law school, Indiana Tech must be in operation for one year prior to seeking ABA accreditation."

    There is no indication on the webpage that Indiana Tech's application for provisional approval was denied by the ABA. Shouldn't law schools be required to inform students about the status and history of the law school's application for approval to the ABA?

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    1. Yes, they should be required to give a history of all accreditation events to their prospective students. Treating their applicants as sophisticated consumers demands no less.

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    2. And the full report on each of those events should be made public. Let everyone see exactly why La Toilette was or was not accredited.

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  2. It seems clear that Indiana Tech boosted it's admission standards in the hope that it will help with accreditation. Maybe it will, although I would imagine that only having 13 1Ls would raise a red flag with the ABA.

    Also, a couple of other recently released 509 report statistics that are worth noting:

    -the 25%/50%/75% LSAT stats at Cooley are 138/141/147.
    -the 1L attrition rate at Charlotte (for the class that entered in 2014) is an astoundingly high 44.6% (203 out of 446 1Ls). Only 33 of these were transfers. The rest either failed out or simply dropped out (but not before Charlotte harvested their loan money).

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  3. Another interesting thing to note about Indiana Tech’s 509 Report - it gained 13 1Ls this year while losing 16 people through attrition. Thus, Indiana Tech’s total enrollment decreased this year notwithstanding the fact that nobody graduated last spring (this is the first year that there are three classes attending the school). This place must be bleeding red ink. Maybe it can recoup some money via a malpractice suit against the geniuses who put together the feasability report.

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  4. You fellers have no right to bash Indiana Tech. Indy Car Drivers are Underserved. IRL now has a practice ready commercial law clinic, I heard. You can tell Indiana needs new lawyers by the dozens and dozens. The only new construction in Indiana are Walmarts and Jails. Indiana is good at poaching business from Illinois. Kinda of like a leach.

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  5. Slightly OT,

    "A guy with $170,000 in student loans who can't find a job in the legal profession is suing his law school and working full time for Uber"

    http://finance.yahoo.com/news/guy-170-000-law-school-204811509.html

    Advance apologies for double post with TTR.

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  6. But with only three students per faculty member, they must be getting a fantastic education, right?

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    1. A fantastic education in cocaine, hookers, and hip-hop justice. So yeah.

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    2. And there are more than two employees for each first-year student.

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  7. Indiana Tech tries to appear selective.

    Adam Lamparello tries to appear seductive.

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  8. What happens to these students if they are not accredited by the ABA?

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    1. There are many locally accredited law schools out there. Their graduates are permited to take the bar exam in from one to a handful of states. I cannot speak to whether Indiana or any other state will let 2016 Indiana Tech graduates take the bar.

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    2. They cannot take the bar exam in Indiana (and I doubt anywhere else).

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    3. They're screwed if they want to practice out of state.

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    4. By what strikes me as a reasonable court order, Indiana Tech's (cl)ass of 2015 will be allowed to register for the bar exams in Indiana, but it will be allowed to take the bar exams only if Indiana Tech is accredited by a specified date (in June, as I recall).

      Therefore, if Indiana Tech does not get accreditation within the next six months, its first graduates won't be allowed to take the exams in Indiana—or anywhere else.

      Don't even consider attending an unaccredited law school. Graduates of these über-toilets (or should I say unter-toilets?) are not admissible to the bar in any state other than the one where the law skule is located. (About a third of the states will eventually admit them if they have been practicing law in another state for several years.) California is home to most of the unaccredited law schools. Tennessee has a few. There may be one or two elsewhere.

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    5. They would need a special exemption, I believe from the Indiana Supreme Court.

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  9. I would like to issue an intellectual challenge to Brian Leiter.

    Leiter, of course, is the morally depraved meisterscammer at the University of Chicago law school. The philosopher without a philosophy department. The shameless huckster who promotes visiting scholars at Chicago for faculty positions that shouldn't even exist.

    Here's my challenge to Leiter. Drive to Fort Wayne; it isn't that far from Chicago. Sit in on some classes at Indiana Tech law school, including those taught by Douglas Pond "Dougie Fresh" Cummings and Adam "Dear John" Lamparello. Listen to the class discussions. Observe the general level of knowledge displayed by the students. Determine whether the students are indeed sophisticated consumers, capable of obtaining and weighing information about their own career decisions.

    And then deny--if you have the stomach to do so--the existence of a law school scam.

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    1. Amused though I am to see "Brian Leiter" and "intellectual challenge" in proximity, I must point out that your exercise may backfire on you: scamsters like Leiter could cheerfully admit that Indiana Tech is a scam while insisting that, say, Boston College is not.

      We have to be careful about focusing on the foulest of the toilets, a practice that may tend to let the more "respectable" ones off the hook. I am guilty of posting too many articles on the Indiana Techs (especially Indiana Tech itself) and not enough on the top end of the law-school scam.

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    2. Then why don't we mention the genuine trap schools more often? The schools that send 20-35 percent of their graduates to biglaw, but saddle their other graduates with huge debts and long odds against success? Schools like UCLA, George Washington, Notre Dame, Fordham, Illinois, Emory with its huge transfer classes, and many others. And the well-rated state schools like Minnesota, Washington, and Indiana that offer horrible employment outcomes to the bottom half of every class, year after year. And below that, the huge enrollment mills like Brooklyn and American that shouldn't even exist. I haven't read much about American lately, even though its admission stats are shockingly bad these days.

      There are lots of targets for both news stories and analytic pieces. The one reason I prefer the absolute toilets as targets of derision would be the possibility of uniting even most academics against their scam tactics. I personally doubt that Brian Leiter or Michael Simkovic would admit that Indiana Tech is a scam, but a majority of their colleagues would. And in return, if the real bottom feeders closed down, then every other school would do a little better in placing its grads.

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    3. Well, again, I just admitted that I've said too much about the Cooleys and not enough about the UCLAs. One reason is that the Cooleys, especially Indiana Tech, are easy targets. Another is that we can achieve the most by focusing our fire on them: they are the ones that are likely to close in a year or two, and the closure of one may start a cascade of closures.

      By all means submit a piece on a UCLA. We'll happily consider publishing it.

      Maybe Blighter and Scamkovic would indeed not admit that Indiana Tech is a scam. Maybe they think that every law school that exists is ipso facto worthy. That would be awfully dumb, but I wouldn't put it past those two.

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    4. I'm right with you, Old Guy, in looking forward to "a cascade of closures." It's fun to speculate on which school closes first. I think it could very well be a dark horse like Case Western or St. Louis U., simply because their overall expenses are so much higher than Indy Tech's. We'll see.

      In the meantime, I'd like to do a study modeled on Professor Campos' classic analysis of trap schools. Maybe I'll have something in a month or two.

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  10. By the way, if anyone reading this is a law professor, they should have graded their Fall 2015 exams by now. If not, they should be working at least 10 hours a day, including Christmas Day if necessary, to get those grades to the students who need them.

    Students are often visiting with their families at Christmas, who are the very people best qualified to help them decide whether to drop out, transfer, or continue at their low-ranked schools. To deny them necessary information on their performance and likely prospects is both grossly immoral and legally questionable. I'm surprised that more law professors don't care about that.

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    1. For the love of all that is holy, and for the love of sweet fuck, Quit!

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    2. You're surprised? Why?

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    3. Grading exams is exactly what law professors get *paid* to do. They signed their contract to teach. They didn't mind cashing the paychecks. Don't you think they should do the work?

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    4. In reply to 5:35, I don't think the decision to quit law school after the first semester should be automatic. It would depend on class ranking, cost of attendance, the normal employment prospects for graduates, and so forth.

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    5. Let's say top 10% of class and a full-ride scholarship.

      It's that "normal employment prospects" thing that's the automatic kicker.

      Given that law has always been an up-or-out tournament, and further given the steady erosion of law's profitability in the face of automation plus severe and continuing over-saturation, the **long term** employment prospects of any graduate are bleak. This is regardless of class rank, money spent on tuition and even the relative prestige of the school.

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    6. Even short-term employment prospects are often bleak, if not downright hideous. According to Law School Transparency, 29.5% of the class of 2014 falls into the category "Non-Employed". For Cooley, that figure is 34.1%. For Thomas Jefferson, it is 40.3%.

      Many "employed" graduates of those law skules work at jobs of no relevance to their studies, such as shoveling French fries at a fast-food joint.

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  11. I was just reading an interview with Brian Leiter, the posturing "law professor" who occasionally teaches a class on law. He inexplicably confesses that he only scored in the 94th percentile on the LSAT, which these days would mean a score of only 167. That's currently below median for Michigan, which he attended, and in 2010 would have been below the 25th percentile.

    While some applicants will always be admitted below the medians, I believe that such questionable admissions should be reserved for those who have endured genuine hardship, as opposed to Leiter's extraordinarily privileged teenage years in a wealthy suburb of New York City. Since that was before the insane inflation in tuition rates, a lucky break in admission was actually wrth something. These days, an applicant below the medians is being exploited in ways that would have been inconceivable in Leiter's pampered generation.

    And having exploited the system to its fullest, Leiter is now part of the system, which now exploits its special admittees to the fullest through an unconscionable system of enormous lifetime debt. I wonder how Leiter can live with himself.

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    1. How can he live with himself? Easily. Let-them-eat-cake aristocrats don't even notice the great unwashed.

      Leiter should not have been admitted to Michigan. Had he gone to a school appropriate to his LSAT score, he almost certainly would not have found a hackademic sinecure at the U of Chicago; he might not have been able to teach law at all.

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  12. What I find fascinating is that even with the hard applicant engineering (free tuitions, prestige motivated 'standards', etc) The numbers they managed to hit are still quite mediocre. Assuming that they dropped the bottom third of their applicant pool I would expect the LSAT's to be actually halfway decent. (25th percentile somewhere like 156)

    Their raw applicant pool must be quite dim. Anyone with good scores is certainly uninterested in coming to Indiana Tech, even for free. There is only so much prestige you can mine out of people who would be roundly rejected from anything good.

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