Sunday, December 17, 2017

The ABA 509 reports are out

By last Friday, the law skules had to file their 509 reports for the year 2017–18 with the ABA. The reports can be found here.

While waiting for our friends at Law School Transparency to tabulate the key data in a more approachable form, I have read the reports from a few über-toilets. Some of these odious establishments cashed in, quite literally, on the closure of Indiana Tech, Whittier, and Charlotte: Appalachian grabbed up 16 transfer students from Charlotte and one from Indiana Tech, and Western State took one from Charlotte and 22 from Whittier. Even Cooley, still widely considered the poster child of shittiness despite hot competition and the notorious Cooley rankings (which several years ago placed the toilet second only to Harvard), managed to snatch up four dumb bunnies from Charlotte.

True to their word (for a change), the two remaining InfiLaw toilets managed to improve their LSAT scores considerably, from 141 to a still horrific 145 at the 25th percentile. This feat, however, accompanied a collapse in enrollment: Florida Coastal's entering class fell from 245 last year to 106, and Arizona Summit's fell from 143 to 49. Methinks InfiLaw's days are numbered. To my great disappointment, Appalachian nearly doubled its enrollment, from 38 students to 73. It would have grown even without the influx from Charlotte.

Failing out remains commonplace at the über-toilets. Rates of attrition of 1Ls for reasons other than transferring run well into the double-digit percentages at most of these institutions. Of the ones that I checked, Thomas Jefferson wins the—er, prize with a shocking rate of 37.2%. Remember the old commencement speaker's joke that either you or your neighbor to the right or the left will not be there in a year's time? At Thomas Jefferson, that's an understatement.

More news will follow. In the meantime, feel free to review the 509 reports yourself and post your own comments.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Reality is Incoming

What is everyone freaking out about...?  We'll just increase tuition another 4%, just like we've done for last couple of decades...
 

Cross-posted from PrawfsBlawg:
 
 
[As] a recent article from Inside Higher Ed points out, a more immediate problem for educational institutions and their students may be the Prosper Act's proposed annual lending limits. The bill would limit federal loans for non-medical graduate and professional students to $28,500 per academic year...
 
The GradPlus program does one thing really well--it makes graduate school accessible to students regardless of their family wealth. The federal government offers loans up to the full cost of attendance (defined to include both tuition and reasonably living expenses) for graduate and professional programs. Parents do not have to co-sign the loans. Combined with income-driven repayment plans that cap repayments at 10% to 15% percent of a graduate's income, it makes attending graduate school a low-risk proposition...
 
The Prosper Act would change all of that immediately...there would be an immediate crisis in funding law school--after all, the federal loans would barely cover the cost of living[.]  There would be little to nothing left over to cover tuition. Certainly, some students could rely on family contributions, and some may be able to lessen living expenses by living at home while attending law schools. But not all families are in a position to help, and the legal profession would suffer greatly if only the very privileged could join.  Private loans may step in to fill some of the gap...[but] private loans have decreased so much (declining by more than half) in the years after the introduction of GradPlus that I doubt private lenders could ramp up fast enough to avoid massive disruption in the short term. Finally, any such private loans would probably have more onerous terms[...]
 
 
We can sit here and debate where the various forms of concern-trolling are coming from - some say the Prosper Act is nothing more than a thinly-veiled attempt by conservatives to stab at the Heart of Darkness that is American Liberal Education and try to kill the beast.  Others will say that limousine-liberals are merely crying champagne tears for the underrepresented, when in reality all they care about is gettin' that next helping of thick-cut pork with extra gravy.  I don't doubt that some mix of both is going on, as human psychology is rarely, if ever, purely altruistic or unburdened by ulterior motives.
 
The practical, Aristotelian reality, however, is that if something can't go on forever, it will stop.   Long before the "law school scam," many have warned, argued and decried against the unbridled escalation of educational costs, of which law schools have become the poster-child.  Much hand-wringing took place, summits were held, people shook their heads sadly - but nothing substantive was done.
 
Well, folks, if you are unwilling to clean up your own mess, then you force someone else to clean it up for you.  See, for example, the Financial Crisis.  And you may not like how the cleaner-uppers choose to handle it, but by then it's Too Late.  And, as per usual, the brunt of it falls on the folks currently mired in the system - yet one way or another, it's coming.
 
All in all, this is why we can't have Nice Things.  Heckuvajob, lol skool cartel!  Mission Accomplished! 
 
 

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Off to the Races with a New Year of Applications

It's that time of year again, where LSAC starts reporting the application and applicant tally for 2017-2018!  I, your humble wanna-be data wonk, have been diligently hitting the F5 key for the last several days, and LSAC has updated their website on  December 5, 2017.  Let's see what is going on:


As of 11/24/17, there are 81,877 applications submitted by 15,083 applicants for the 2018–2019 academic year. Applicants are up 14.2% and applications are up 17.1% from 2017–2018.
 
 
 
 
Strangely enough, there appears to be at least two data points on the graph, not one.  Comparing the new data to the older data I have been recording as LSAC publishes it, this time last year the first data point was 14,892 applicants, so I show an increase this year of 1.24%, not 14.2%.   Maybe they are representing a point with a small line, but this would indicate another data point we are not privy to, regardless.
 
Another small anomaly - for the past four years by my reckoning, LSAC always produces their first data point from "Week 48" of the calendar year.  This year, they produced it from "Week 47", which leads me to believe there is another data point out there.  "Who cares?" one may ask, but in the past it has been notoriously difficult to line up yearly data in an apples-to-apples fashion, so I personally believe that the 14.2% increase has to be taken with a grain of salt.  Perhaps it's correct, perhaps not.
 
In any event, expect the Diamonds and Simkovics of the world to declare Mission Accomplished, Problem Solved in the legal education arena.  What more evidence do you need, other than more dupes flooding through the doors?  Although, I do want to make special mention of Matt Leichter's analysis (who is already on our blogroll) - back in 2012-2013, when the Cartel was declaring that by 2016 "things would be different," it appears it is yet still more of the same on the job front. 
 
Happy Days are most decidedly not here again, but now that a handful of law schools have decided to call it quits, everyone must think all of the slack is out of the market.  Time will tell.
 
 
 

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Does anyone want to buy Florida Coastal?

InfiLaw is trying to sell Florida Coastal. If it did so, it would be left with only one law school, namely Arizona Summit, since Charlotte closed down several months ago after losing its license. But Arizona Summit is also in trouble with the ABA and must be suffering financial pressure from rapidly shrinking enrollment.

Measured by the LSAT scores of their entering classes, the InfiLaw toilets (including defunct Charlotte) are among the bottom ten of the 200 or so ABA-accredited law schools. Their median LSAT scores of 143 and 144 represent the 21st and 23d percentiles, respectively—down in the bottom quarter of the pool of people taking the LSAT. Graduates of these über-toilets also face perfectly dreadful prospects of employment. Of last year's graduates, 22% from Arizona Summit and 40% from Florida Coastal were unemployed ten months after graduation, and many others were in short-term, part-time, or non-legal (very likely low-paying) positions. Only 1% from Arizona Summit, and none at all from Florida Coastal, got Big Law. No graduate from either school got a federal clerkship.

Florida Coastal recently had to answer allegations from the ABA of non-compliance with various standards for accreditation. Scam-dean Scott DeVito has claimed that his toilet school is "fully compliant, based on [its] data". Elsewhere we have discussed the accuracy of that claim.

A change of ownership could hold up any disciplinary action against Florida Coastal, but the ABA has the power to prevent any "major change in" Florida Coastal's "organizational structure"—presumably by withdrawing accreditation or imposing other sanctions if the change goes through without the ABA's consent.

I doubt, however, whether Florida Coastal will change hands as a going concern (rather than as a package of land and other assets). Who, after all, would want to buy a failed toilet that has seen its first-year enrollment shrink by more than 70% in six years? that struggles to keep the middle half of its class within the 140s on the LSAT? where a minority of students hold long-term, full-time jobs of any kind ten months after graduation? that faces disciplinary action on multiple grounds from its accrediting authority?

Perhaps some readers of this article will assist the InfiLaw scamsters by posting bids below. Would anyone like to start with 1¢?

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

John Marshall to merge with the U of Illinois?

The University of Illinois at Chicago is proposing to absorb the John Marshall Law School) (only the one in Chicago, not the one in Atlanta), thereby forming what someone with a poor sense of grammar, style, and concision would call the University of Illinois at Chicago's John Marshall Law School. Officials ju$tify this proposal on the grounds that UI Chicago somehow needs a law school—everybody else has one, you know—and that John Marshall would benefit from the resources and facilities of a large university backed by the (nearly insolvent) state of Illinois.

In decades past, John Marshall offered working-class people reasonable and affordable access to the legal profession. Today, however, it is a toilet par excellence (so to speak). Its LSAT scores have fallen from a shameful 151/154/157 in 2010 to an utterly contemptible 145/148/151 in 2016. Enrollment, too, has plummeted, from 539 first-year students in 2010 to 282 in 2016. Seventeen percent of last year's graduates were unemployed ten months after graduation, and 15% were in short-term or part-time jobs; only 4% were in Big Law, and none got a federal clerkship. The cost of attendance, $75k per year, would run up a bill exceeding $280k if fully financed with student loans. A third of the class gets no discount on tuition; most others get only a slight discount.

UI Chicago seems to be proud of its reputation. Why, then, is it so eager to take over one of the US's most toilety law schools? Can the putative benefits from this proposed take-over really offset the reputational harm?

Bear in mind that John Marshall does have one thing going for it: land. It was established in 1899, when Chicago was much smaller and land was much cheaper. Perhaps the idea here is to grab the assets (especially the valuable urban land), ship the remaining students down to Urbana–Champaign (home to a formerly faux-prestigious, now plainly toilety, law school shaken by scandal in 2011), and then shut John Marshall down. Just imagine the excuse proffered for public consumption: "Enrollment had fallen by 50% in the few years before we acquired John Marshall, and economic conditions in legal education remain poor. Our feasibility study"—yes, one of these has already been produced, à la Indiana Tech—"convinced us that this project would succeed, but circumstances conspired against us. At least we have a great building, though, which we are going to convert to cozy administrative offices just as soon as we can get rid of the little bast—er, I mean, once the law students have left."

Is this merely an asset-stripping ploy? Could UI Chicago seriously have in mind to sustain a bottom-of-the-barrel law school? I'm eager to hear your thoughts.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Profiles in shittiness: La Verne, Western State University, Appalachian

To get an idea of the shitty depths to which the law-school scam has fallen, consider three toilet law schools: the University of La Verne, Western State University, and Appalachian School of Law. The data presented below come from Law School Transparency, a valuable resource.

1) THE UNIVERSITY OF LA VERNE

Denied ABA accreditation in 2011, La Verne finally achieved it in 2016. Yet its already abysmal standards have been plummeting: for instance, the LSAT score at the 75th percentile in 2016 (149) is below the LSAT at the 25th percentile in 2011 (150).

Less than 10% of the class gets any discount at all on tuition, and in most cases the discounts are well under 50%. The cost of attendance, when fully financed with student loans, stands just shy of $200k.

What does one get for that price? Nearly half of last year's graduates (47.1%) were unemployed ten months after graduation, and 11.8% were in short-term or part-time positions. Not a single graduate worked in public service or as clerk to a court. The minority that were employed full time, at least by a loose definition of "employment", worked in law firms (almost invariably small ones), "business", or non-academic positions in "education". La Verne provides no information on salaries, but it's clear that very few people coming out of La Verne make enough money to justify the cost of attendance. And of course the half of the class that is unemployed has done poorly indeed.

Only a real schlemiel or schlimazel, the intellectual peer of a Lenny or a Squiggy, would consider attending this dump. Unaccountably, however, first-year enrollment has soared from 44 in 2012 to 116 in 2016.

2) WESTERN STATE UNIVERSITY

Don't be fooled by the name: this "State University" is a private institution. (It has lately changed its name to Western State College of Law at Argosy University.) It was a profit-seeking institution until its sale last month to an entity controlled by a big Bible-thumping church.

More than a fifth of the class pays full fare, and most of the others receive only modest discounts. If fully financed with student loans, a JD from Western State will run up a bill exceeding $284k upon graduation. That's more than the University of Michigan or Berkeley, and only a few thousand dollars less than Yale.

Worth the cost? Ask the 37.4% of last year's graduates who were unemployed ten months after graduation, or the 11.0% that found only short-term or part-time work. Of the rest, all were in small law firms (not a single graduate worked for a firm with more than 50 lawyers), public service, or "business". No graduate had a clerkship. The mean salary, for the relatively few that were employed, was about $59k.

Notwithstanding the manifest shittiness of Western State, first-year enrollment rose by half between 2014 and 2016.

3) APPALACHIAN SCHOOL OF LAW

Located in remote Grundy, Virginia, Appalachian seems likely to close its doors, thanks to high costs and low enrollment. Only Cooley posts lower LSAT scores: Appalachian's last year were 140, 143, and 147 at the 25th, 50th, and 75th percentiles, respectively. Only defunct Charlotte had lower undergraduate GPAs.

All but 3.6% of the students get discounts, which exceed 50% for almost half of the class, although many of those discounts were conditional (and 21.2% of the class saw a reduction or a loss of discounts after the first year). Attendance, fully financed by student loans, leaves a bill of $185k upon graduation.

Last year's graduates fared quite poorly: 31% were unemployed ten months after graduation, and more than 14% were in short-term or part-time positions. No graduate worked for a law firm with more than 10 lawyers. There were a few state and local clerkships, and two graduates reportedly found academic positions. The law school provides no information on salaries, but graduates of an über-toilet deep in the Blue Ridge Mountains can hardly be pulling in princely sums.

Appalachian enrolled only 38 first-year students last year. Maintaining its imposing brick building with so few people, almost all of whom are getting large discounts off tuition, is threatening to sink the law school financially. Proposals to move it to Tennessee or elsewhere are likely to be thwarted by a contract with the county. Closure appears to be in the cards. Students seeking to transfer out of the toilet find themselves obstructed by the non-standard grading system used in first year, which other law schools are reluctant to recognize. Citing its "academic standards" (!), Appalachian refuses to issue conventional letter grades even to people wanting out.

————————————————————————

All three of these toilets, and many others, are fully accredited by the ABA, which seems not to mind dreadful outcomes for students and the absence of meaningful standards of admission.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Valparaiso Exploring Alternatives to its Continued Existence

Let's be clear.  Valpo Law is not closing.  Not yet.  Folding such a great hand would be silly, particularly where Indiana Tech just closed a mere one hundred miles away and after Valpo's  most recent blessing from the ABA should give them incentive to hang on the cliff a bit longer.

No, Valpo Law is just taking an admissions year off, looking for alternatives:
Valparaiso University announced Thursday that is [sic] suspending admissions to its law school and exploring alternative possibilities related to the "severe financial challenges" it's been facing for a number of years.
...
The school mentioned several other options: It could affiliate Valparaiso's law school with another law school or relocate it to a place where the demand for a law education is higher. The school also is preparing plans to allow its current law students to complete their degrees.
It's a Chapter 11, not a Chapter 7.  Sure, Chapter 11 is often a gateway drug to Chapter 7, but hold your cheers, sadists; these law schools are going to hang on for dear life as long as they possibly can.

We could have all sorts of fun with this, like picking new affiliations (Cooley? Infilaw?  Yale-West?) or locations (Alaska? Florida? Fort Wayne?).  We could also ask how and why anyone would merge with Valpo.

But let's think of the students a second.  The school mentions fairness and plans to allow current students to complete their degrees.  But a school clinging dearly to life while facing "severe financial difficulties" and imminent closure isn't doing its students any favors.

What on Earth is the advantage of graduating from a low-tier law school that's closing?  The alumni network moving forward will be disadvantaged, they'll be no career services support, and lawyers everywhere - hiring or otherwise - will mark you as one who went to that school that shuttered.

Wouldn't it be a better service to all but administrative egos to shutter outright?  You can help your better students - the ones who are capable of passing a bar exam - transfer to decent schools where they'll have a better alumni network with future support.  Plus, you might give the bottom rung a shot at a closed school discharge.

This Hail Mary, hoping that the dead parrot flies again, that grandma comes off life support, that your kid actually goes back to college after taking a year off, this failing to throw in the cards when the operation is a sinkhole not assisting in meeting any public demand, isn't just institutional egoism, it's harmful to the very people this "non-profit" has historically claimed to assist.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

"Whataboutism" and Double-Secret Probation

See if you guys can guess what I am now...I'm a Law School Dean explaining declining admission standards and bar passage rates!  Get it?


According to Florida Costal School of Law Dean DeVito's letter to current law students (h/t to David Frakt for keeping the heat on this issue):


The first major misconception I have heard is that Florida Coastal must have engaged in highly questionable conduct because Florida Coastal is one of just four schools noted on the ABA website.
 
The facts are:
1.     The ABA has only just started publicly posting this information[...]
2.     There are approximately 23 other law schools listed on the Department of Education website that received an ABA letter relating to non-compliance since 2016 [...]
 
             a. Schools listed as subject to “Heightened Monitoring or Focused Review”
                    1. Ave Maria School of Law.
                    2. Thurgood Marshall School of Law (Texas Southern University), and
                    3. Valparaiso University School of Law.
 
            b. Schools listed as subject to “Probation or Equivalent or More Severe Status: Show Cause”
                    4. Appalachian School of Law,
                    5. Arizona Summit School of Law,
                    6.  Florida Coastal,
                        a.  Florida Coastal falls under the “show cause” designation
                    7. John Marshall School of Law (Atlanta),
                    8. Thomas Jefferson School of Law, and
                    9. SUNY Buffalo Law School.
 
            c.  Schools Listed as “Removal of Show Cause Status[...]”
 
 
Well!  Like any good politician, the first move in dealing with embarrassing facts is to reframe and redirect.  "Yeah, we may suck, but what about these OTHER guys, amirite????  They are WAY worse than us...!!!"  I'm not sure of the wisdom of identifying yourself as being in the same company as Valpo, Appalachian, John Marshall or TJSL is the best argument to your current students.  But hey, I'm not a high-priced Law Dean so I dare not question their hard-won Promethean Wisdom.  Those who can, do, and those who can't hang around scamblogs, or something to that effect.
 
Also, look at these categories:  "Heightened Monitoring or Focused Review,"  "Probation or Equivalent or More Severe Status," etc.  Hilarious.  There is more wiggle room here than a greased eel has in a mud wrestling pit, or something.  How about "Compliant" vs. "Non-compliant" vs. "Sanctioned"?  I mean, I came up with that in under two minutes, but it must be too rigid a definition.  While I guess I am glad the ABA is finally paying attention, I hope the regulators don't develop a hangnail while applying their exacting standards.
 
By the way, let's not forget that Florida Costal in merely in the "show cause" category, as highlighted by Dean DeVito.  Charleston, George Mason, Hofstra and Loyola also had show cause designations, and those were eventually lifted.  Whew, pressure's off!  Take that, you T14 snobs!
 
Although LSAT-takers are again on the rise, I think it will take some more Deansplainin' to get over this hump and convince them to apply.  Can't wait for the next round of "it's somebody else's fault" argumentation from the Law School Cartel.  

Friday, November 3, 2017

Toilets Я Us, Part II: InfiLaw's Florida Coastal not complying with ABA standards

Is InfiLaw striking out?

Arizona Summit was placed on probation in March. Strike one.

Charlotte closed down in August. Strike two.

Now Florida Coastal has received a letter from the ABA advising of non-compliance with standards requiring "a rigorous program of legal education", sufficient "academic support", and "sound admissions policies and practices". Florida Coastal had to answer these charges in writing by November 1 and has been called to appear before the ABA's Accreditation Committee next March.

Will this be the last pitch in InfiLaw's ninth inning? Time for a little music:

Take me out of the law school,
Take me out of the scam.
JDs from boxes of Cracker Jack;
Student loans that will ne'er be paid back.
Down the chute, chute, chute go the test scores;
Deans and shareholders don't give a damn.
But it's one, two, three strikes, you're out
Of the law-school scam.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

The Rooster Can Only Crow so Many Times...



Grisham's 25th legal thriller, "The Rooster Bar," explores the world of for-profit law schools through a group of students who learn their school is owned by a shady hedge fund operator.
 
Grisham told "CBS This Morning" he was inspired to write the novel after reading an investigative article in The Atlantic about for-profit law schools and the crisis of student debt in the U.S.
 
"It was an investigative piece by Paul Campos published three years ago in The Atlantic and I somehow stumbled across it. I was not familiar with for-profit law schools and I was not really familiar with the student debt crisis. And the article really opened my eyes. It was a great piece but also a troubling issue and I started researching and the novel was quickly born from that."
 
"Not all the schools are shady. There are a lot of success stories from these schools, but the levels of debt that these students incur, and then they pass it off in the form of high tuition to people who are making a profit. That just struck me as being wrong."
 
 
Strangely, even a well-known author is able to look through the information and distinguish the nuance of the law school scam.  Too bad many ScamDeans, LawProfs, the ABA, and even some Judges, who are much more familiar with the details, are not able to do the same...

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

JD Disadvantage, Part VIII - No Conference for You!


 
 
 
Hello folks, I wanted to get this post in early in case anyone happened to be near the GWULS this Friday, October 6!  NALP is having its first-ever "Summit on emerging Careers", with a specific focus on "JD Advantage" jobs!  Let's take a look:
 
The JD Advantage job market has more than doubled in the period since 2005. This event will focus on understanding a number of specific employment opportunities that have developed quickly in the period following the recession, including jobs for law school graduates in compliance, legal process outsourcing, and data privacy and security, among others.
 
The Summit will provide education about how to advise students and graduates who are examining these new career opportunities and will feature innovative career services professionals and deans who have capitalized on these opportunities for their graduates, as well as recruiters and others from some of these new law grad employer organizations. The entire conference will feature experts on 21st century legal careers.
 
Sounds great!  I'm sure lots of job-searching law grads would like to get in on the ground floor with all this new information!  I mean, why hold it all close to the vest, let's get that info out there!  Open the doors!
 
Hmmm, wait...the conference is for law school administrators and staff.  Hmmm...it costs $475 to attend.  Hmmm..."NALP Members only."  Hmmm... the speakers appear to be mostly law school professors and deans.  There are executives from CapitalOne, Facebook, Senior Counsel from FirstNet, a couple of law firms, Spotify, USDOJ, Assistant General Counsel from JP Morgan Chase, SunTrust Bank, and Kroger, however.   So, go!  Here are nine entities who are looking to hire thousands of JDs for compliance, legal process outsourcing, and data security!  Maybe the uninvited should barge in anyway with some Boomer-moxie and distribute resumes, because hey, they must be hiring!  Why else would they show up and wax poetic on this "emerging" subject?  This "new" information should be trumpeted from the rooftops!  Salvation for the beleaguered is at hand! 
 
Snark aside, here is the fundamental problem.  The market for JD Advantage jobs has more than doubled, not because market demand has increased, but because graduates and down-sized practitioners are desperate for work.  Here, let's look at NALP's own data:
 
-more below the fold-

Friday, September 15, 2017

Pay No Attention to the Correlations Behind the Curtain

 
Dean Allard Prepares to Formulate an Explanation Regarding Bar Passage Rates, One that Does Not Require Increasing Standards...


UPDATE:  David Frakt just weighed in on Florida Coastal SOL, here, with similar conclusions.


Every so often, the debate comes up as to whether the bar exam is "too hard."  The obvious concern being that being too strict will lower the number of lawyers available to engage the need for low-cost, effective services, and it has nothing at all to do with, say, the financial viability of law schools themselves.  It was almost a year ago that we discussed that topic, and I'm sure it won't be the last time.
 
However, an interesting data point has occurred recently regarding Bar Exam results in North Carolina
 
This year, the results of most recent North Carolina bar exam were not only obtained and published by state law schools humbling bragging about their graduates’ success rates, but they were also obtained and published by the Triangle Business Journal. The data has revealed that the state’s overall passage rate is the highest that it’s been in the past three years.   
 
One has to ask what the change was!  Better-qualified students?  Practice-ready teaching?  Anomalous statistics?  Easier bar exams?  The intersectionality of Law and Nietzschean Philosophy?

-more below the break-

Monday, September 11, 2017

The future's so bright, but the legal industry refuses to wear shades

The law's fierce resistance to change and technological advances are soon going to collide. Over the past two years, there have been advances made in natural language processing and machine learning that could take drudge work like doc review out of the purview of human workers. Companies that normally subsidized the training of BigLaw associates and the doc review industry are turning to other avenues. This is not good news for the thousands of law graduates kicked out into the real world every year.

Read more...

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Toilets Я Us: The InfiLaw chain of scam-schools

As long-standing readers of Outside the Law School Scam will know, the privately owned "InfiLaw System" operates law schools for profit. InfiLaw claims that its "schools have a demonstrated ability to achieve superior outcomes that are a function of admission processes (which probe beyond traditional quality indicators and factor otherwise overlooked predictors of success) and programmatic innovation, academic support processes, and faculty focus on student success". Let's evaluate this "demonstrated ability".

InfiLaw's three schools are (or were) the following:

Charlotte School of Law: Defunct since August 2017, when the state yanked its license. The LSAT scores of the last entering class were 141, 144, and 148 (at the 25th, 50th, and 75th percentiles, respectively). In November 2016, the ABA put Charlotte on probation for failure to meet even the ABA's dreadfully low standards of admission. One student "there was no application process" and that the school would call "two and three times a day" to badger prospective students with "aggressive predatory sales tactics". A federal criminal investigation of Charlotte has been under way for more than a year. Forty percent of last year's graduates are unemployed, and only one-third of last year's graduates have long-term, full-time jobs.

Arizona Summit Law School: On probation since March 2017 for falling short of the ABA's abysmally low academic and admissions standards. LSAT scores: 140, 143, 148. More than 20% of last year's graduates were unemployed, and more than a third of that class did not find long-term, full-time work. Only a quarter of first-time candidates passed the Arizona bar exam in July 2016.

Florida Coastal School of Law: At risk of losing eligibility for federally guaranteed student loans. LSAT scores: 141, 144, 149. Only a third of those taking the bar exam last year passed. Forty percent of last year's graduates are unemployed, and less than half of that class found long-term, full-time jobs. Not a single graduate got a federal clerkship or a job in Big Law.

InfiLaw also made an unsuccessful bid to buy the for-profit Charleston School of Law (LSAT scores 141, 145, 149), the only other school that currently fails the "gainful employment" standard of eligibility for student loans.

Where have the InfiLaw schools "achieve[d] superior outcomes"? Not in the department of employment for their graduates. The unemployment rates listed above are reminiscent of the Great Depression. And even the most happily employed InfiLaw graduates can hardly be called smashing successes, concentrated as they overwhelmingly are in tiny firms, "government", and "business". Of the many adjectives with which one might describe those outcomes, inferior would be an understatement; superior, a whopping lie.

How about "admission processes"? The disaffected student reported above suggests that her toilet had no meaningful admissions process, just an aggressive telemarketing campaign. How exactly does an InfiLaw toilet, with "no application process", ferret out "otherwise overlooked predictors of success"?

In the running of scam schools, however, InfiLaw has "demonstrated ability" in spades. All three InfiLaw toilets rank in the top third by cost of attendance. Until recently, they ranked among the top few in enrollment, with four-figure student bodies: as recently as 2012, Charlotte alone enrolled 626 first-year students. Roughly a third of InfiLaw's students pay full fare, and only 2% or so get free tuition. While it lasts, therefore, InfiLaw milks about a hundred million dollars per year out of the public—thanks largely to the arbitrage scheme known as federally guaranteed student loans. Small wonder that InfiLaw "probe[s] beyond traditional quality indicators" to take in just about anyone who can arrange payment of InfiLaw's obscene fees.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Will Valparaiso be the next to close?

Valparaiso, which unaccountably prefers the ugly name Valpo, will have only 28 students in this year's entering class. As recently as four years ago, it had 208.

The good news, from the Valponian scamsters' perspective, is that the quality of the class has gone up significantly: "Students just starting their legal studies this semester have a median LSAT of 151 and a median GPA of 3.23." Last year's median score was 147, so Valpo has risen from the 33d percentile to the 48th. It's still drawing the bulk of its class from the bottom half of people taking the LSAT.

Scam-dean Andrea Lyon "feel[s] optimistic about the school", which appears to have changed its approach to admissions in response to last year's censure from the ABA. She could hardly be expected to say anything else. But the university's administration cannot feel optimistic about a micro-sized toilet school that, after the closure of Indiana Tech, has earned a reputation as the biggest laughing-stock in the region.

With only 28 new students, the law school must be draining money from the university, even while it tarnishes the university's image. If the new students all paid full fare (primarily with federally guaranteed student loans), they would bring in scarcely a million dollars. But Valpo must have had to slash its fancy tuition in order to attract students of substantially higher (albeit still dreadful) quality. Who with a score above 150 would pay full price at risible sixth-tier Valpo, slapped last year with a censure and exposed in The New York Times for its graduates' failure to find proper jobs, when any number of fifth-tier institutions and even some fourth-tier institutions would offer a discount?

Valpo, therefore, is beginning to look like Indiana Tech redux. It cannot have taken in much money from the entering class, nor is it likely to see meaningful growth in the coming years. The parent university will not want to go on subsidizing the failed law school forever. I estimate that Valpo will announce its closure within a year or two.

But Valpo is only one toilet among many. To see just how far legal "education" in the US has fallen, consider a hypothetical requirement that at least three-quarters of the class at each ABA-accredited law school score in the top half on the LSAT. Many people might deem that a modest requirement for access to an influential profession that claims to uphold a standard of excellence. It would entail a minimum LSAT score of 152 at the 25th percentile for each school's entering class. How many schools today fall short of that level? Wait for it: 107. That's the majority of ABA-accredited law schools.

In less than a year we have seen three law schools close. Valpo may well be next, although Appalachian, Florida Coastal, Arizona Summit, and various others seem to be competing for that honor. It will be interesting to see how far the wave of closures progresses. I don't think that it will swallow up 107 law schools, although that would be a good start.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Charlotte School of Law has quietly closed

UPDATE: The Charlotte School of Law has indeed closed down, without so much as an announcement. See the comments for details.


The Charlotte School of Law, known as Harlotte by those who call a spade a spade, may have followed Indiana Tech and Whittier into educational-scam hell.

Now the ABA has rejected Harlotte's "teach-out" plan for enabling the remaining students to finish their Mickey Mouse degrees while the toilet school shuts up shop. In addition, Harlotte has lost its license from the state of North Carolina. By Harlotte's own admission, it is not eligible to ride the federal student-loan gravy train. A visit to www.charlottelaw.edu results in a logo and "Website Unavailable".

To their credit, most of Harlotte's lemmings had the damn sense not to come back for more abuse from the scamsters who screwed them last winter. A hundred or so, however, remained loyal to their InfiLaw overlords. Some people will never learn.

But what can they do, now that their precious toilet school seems to have shut up shop? Lee Robinson, head of the alumni association (yes, there actually is an alumni association), suggests that "these students’ only option is to transfer to a different school, and in the process, likely lose thousands of dollars and years of their lives". Transferring in the middle of August, just a couple of weeks before they had expected to start classes at Harlotte, would not be easy: even if another school took them at this late date (probably several dozen would), they would have to move in a great hurry and suffer substantial financial and other losses. That's unrealistic for many people, and undesirable for all.

Are the richly paid bureaucrats of Harlotte rushing to the students' aid? Probably not, since the very Web site has been taken down. Back in January, Harlotte locked the students out of the administrative offices and stopped answering the telephone. I shouldn't expect courtesies to the faithful now that the operating license is gone and even the ABA is denying its rubber stamp of approval. Maybe the other two outlets of the InfiLaw chain will reach out to the stranded students and, more importantly, the proceeds of their student loans. But Harlotte itself appears to be dead.

Let that be a lesson to other lemmings. You're just a dollar sign to the law-school scamsters. That's doubly true of unabashedly commercial ventures such as InfiLaw.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Charlotte School of Law misses deadline for license

Imagine that you were ass enough to enroll at Charlotte School of Law ("Harlotte") within the past two years. Imagine further that you doubled down on your bad bet by staying at Harlotte even after the school screwed you over in December and January and also lost the right to enroll a new class of lemmings. Two or three weeks from the start of classes, Harlotte's license from the state of North Carolina remained in doubt. To get the license renewed, Harlotte had to present by August 10 a feasible plan for shepherding its remaining students through to graduation. Harlotte all along has been claiming to have the best interests of its students at heart. Question: Did Harlotte meet the deadline?

Answer: Of course not.

Harlotte is now seeking an extension of time in order to produce its plan. It proposes to have the remaining lemmings transfer to one of the other two InfiLaw scam schools—in Florida and Arizona. For that it needs extra time and also access to millions of dollars from federally guaranteed student loans. Those funds, incidentally, are predicated upon reinstatement of Harlotte's license to operate in North Carolina.

So here you are, lemming, not knowing whether you will be attending classes in Charlotte a couple of weeks from now, but knowing that your toilet school intends to have you pull up stakes in a hurry and move to a distant state in order to remain within the InfiLaw chain of scam-schools. What do you do now?

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

The ABA again Demonstrates Whose Side it is Really On



And the ABA wonders why membership among young attorneys is down...

 
Per TFL, TaxProf, and others:
 
 
At a meeting in June,...the ABA Section of Legal Education and Admission to the Bar approved a proposal that begins a process, as Jerry puts it, “to completely eviscerate the steps [the Section] approved in 2015 to assure greater transparency in reporting law-school-funded positions,” and to undo the disclosure of other potentially valuable and important employment-outcome information...:
  1. [T]he proposal apparently seeks to eliminate disclosure of the number of students graduating from a law school each year...thus making it difficult or impossible to determine what percentage of the graduating class got what kind of job, or any job at all. This is an incredibly easy number to determine and disclose...[and] it has been disclosed for decades.
  2. The proposal also makes it more difficult to determine how many postgraduate positions a law school itself has funded, and makes it impossible to differentiate any school-funded position that is long-term, full-time and pays more than $40,000 annually in its first year from any other LTFT Bar-Passage Required or JD-Advantaged job.
  3. In the guise of “simplification,” the proposal seeks to eliminate a number of different employment outcome categories that have been reported for years and in some cases decades, namely:
                    Collapsing [non-JD required jobs]...into a single category entitled “Employment Other”;
                    Collapsing five size-based categories of private firms into...“Firm 10-100” and“Firm 100-500”;    
                    Collapsing ["other"]...into a single category entitled “Unemployed or Status Unknown”; and
                    Collapsing [clerkships] into a single category.
 
The process by which these proposals were adopted was utterly unworthy of any responsible system of representative policy-making.  According to Prof. Organ, the justifications offered for these changes were factually inaccurate in some instances, and apparently many of the changes were not even discussed before being voted on.  Even more disturbingly, the proposal was offered to the Council just two days before its meeting, with no public notice or opportunity for comment. 
 
 
While this shocks absolutely no-one among those of the cynical, wizened readership of this and other scamblogs, who are often the debt-ridden products of the above-referenced, bait-and-switch system, it is nice to hear some LawProfs actually call this out for what it is.  Given how some LawProfs have virtually made a side-career of dismissing and even mocking the plight of the loan conduits students and alumni from whom they have benefited, one would think that the entire academy was in on the whole sick joke of it all, and couldn't possibly care less so long as the checks clear.
 
Granted, that does describe the vast majority of the academy, but hey, at least it's not 100%.
 
Potential 1Ls, this is your national accreditation body playing hide the ball.  These are the law schools who are suffering from low enrollment, complicity wanting the ABA to obscure the truth.  These are the "ethicists" and "justice-seekers" who are desperate for you, the "sophisticated consumer," to sign on the line that is dotted such that the gravy-train keeps on rolling.  They do not want you to know the truth, because, well, the truth hurts, and that impacts them adversely.  While I applaud those who are willing to speak up, as that no doubt subjects one to some slings and arrows from one's so-called compatriots, notice the deafening, resounding silence from all the other interested parties.
 
What meaningful and permissible purpose is there for the ABA to recommend a course AWAY from transparency?  How can this possibly help you, as the future student?  Consider this before taking the plunge.  For most of you, that means walking away, now.  For those who choose to remain, know what game you are getting yourself involved in, eyes wide open, and make sure you have ample backing if you do.  
 
 
 
 

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Harrison Barnes, John Cleese, and the Million-Dollar Dead Parrot



I was skeptical when I first perused Harrison Barnes’s article on lawcrossing.com: Twelve Sexy Things You Can Do With A Law Degree That (1) May Make You Famous And (2) Do Not Require Practicing Law,” which was illustrated by the colorful and informative chart republished above.  

But I have to admit that its author, Harrison Barnes, J.D., has attained a certain credibility by virtue of the impressive accomplishments listed in the bio he posted on the website of the legal recruitment firm he runs, BCG Attorney Search. Barnes has taught professional responsibility at soon-to-be-defunct Whittier Law School, and truly Whittier needed all the ethics it could get. Barnes has spoken at Tony Robbins motivational events, though hopefully not the one involving the recent ill-fated fire-walk. And Barnes’s remarkable articles have been utilized in classroom instruction by legal academia’s most fatuous self-promoting windbag, and therefore most influential person, Indiana Law Prof. William Henderson. 

True, you can’t please everybody, and Above the Law was notably unimpressed by what it characterized as Barnes’s self-destructive ranting, in particular Barnes’s recent gem in which he gave fair warning to naive young esquires that law firm recruiters tend to be attractive but “ditzy” husband-hunting gold-diggers. 

On his firm’s website, Barnes states that he “wants you to be everything that you are capable of being.” He states that he wants to “awaken[ ] the power that is within you so that the good and power inside of you can come out and make you everything you were meant to be.”  

In my case, Mr. Barnes has succeeded. He has taught me a little factoid that I am actually pleased to know-- that Monty Python’s John Cleese has a law degree. And this factoid has motivated and empowered me to be everything I am capable of being. You see, like John Cleese, I have a law degree. Therefore, like John Cleese, I can write a dead parrot sketch.   

_______________________________

Palin: Okay, guv’, it’s a fair cop, the parrot I sold you is stone dead. But have you considered all the sexy things you can do with a dead parrot? 

Cleese: I don’t bleeding want to have sex with a dead parrot, what do you take me for? 

Palin: I said sexy things, not sex. Look mate, when you have a dead parrot by your side, you can squawk goodbye to your humdrum vocation and prepare for a life of sexy renown. You can write a novel or a screenplay or become a tv star or a real estate developer, and wouldn’t that be something to crow about? You might even get elected President of the United States. What I am saying is that this parrot’s flying days may be over, but sky’s the limit for its owner’s career.  

Cleese:  You make a tempting argument, my man, but I think I have spotted a fallacy in your logic. You are inferring causation from the order of events. See, it is possible, dare I say probable, that the act of obtaining a dead parrot has nothing whatsoever to do with the dead parrot owner’s subsequent non-ornithological achievements. Also, you may cite the odd success story, but why do so many people online claim to rue the day they came into custody of a putrefying Psittaciform?  

Palin: Do you want to listen to a bunch of digital malcontents or to scholarship?  Have a look at this then, penned by the Sage of Seat-on-Toilet University himself, Professor Michael Sycophant [slaps impressive-looking scholarly article onto the counter] “The Million Dollar Dead Parrot” and this [slaps down another scholarly article] “When is the Best Time to Acquire a Dead Parrot? As Soon As You Can!”

Professor Sycophant proves conclusively that the overwhelming majority of dead parrot owners receive a massive lifetime earnings premium. You don't even have to practice bird. As soon as people find out that you went to the trouble of procuring one of these captivating carcasses, they just can’t do enough for you. Which is why dead parrot owners get to do so many very sexy things. 

Cleese: Who is this Professor Michael Sycophant?

Palin: Well, actually, he is a dead parrot salesman. Highly reputable though. 

Cleese: And his scholarship is funded by?

Palin: Umm, by a pair of well-funded nonprofit organizations formed and controlled by a consortium of dead parrot retailers, to advance their interests.  Highly reputable though.

Chapman: I am sorry, this pet store has gotten too silly.

Palin: Pet store? This isn’t a pet store. This is law school career services. 


Saturday, July 22, 2017

LSAT scores by major

According to this chart by Robert Anderson of beach-bum toilet Pepperdine, law-school applicants who majored in mathematics, physics, biomedical engineering, classics, or linguistics on average score above 160 on the LSAT, whereas those in such illustrious fields as criminology, criminal justice, family relations and child development, social work, and elementary education score below 150.

The majors on the Cooleyite end of the range generally seem more closely connected to law than those that approach Harvard's territory. Selection bias may account for part of that effect: maybe the would-be mathematicians and classicists who decide to apply to law school are the crème de la crème, whereas just about every dipshit in "criminology" (which as a major is scarcely better than underwater basketweaving) decides "I's gonna be a loyer!" and brings down the average LSAT score. It's a safe bet, though, that criminology and such don't attract the brightest students. Only in recent years have I even heard of majoring in criminology.

In addition, those majors at the top produce only a tiny handful of applicants. The dumb masses in criminal justice and elementary education drag the average down, down, down.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

A Treasury of Idiotic Quotes by Law Professors, Vol. VI: "[S]eriously underprepared law students occupy a role as "other" just as students from vastly different cultures do." (CUNY Law Prof. Deborah Zalesne)

ABA Standard 501(b) states that "A law school shall not admit an applicant who does not appear capable of satisfactorily completing its program of legal education and being admitted to the bar." 

On the basis of LSAT scores alone, it should be glaringly obvious that most law schools are recruiting a significant and increasing contingent of law students whose presence violates Standard 501. However, law school admissions officers can always claim that, regardless of the general statistical correlation between low LSAT scores and bar exam disaster, they saw the requisite appearance of capability in each and every one of the particular weak-credentialed students they did admit. All appeared destined to beat the odds, glittering like juris diamonds in the very, very rough. 

Therefore, it is refreshing when a law professor (along with a law school academic support specialist)  admits that her classroom includes students who are so "seriously underprepared" and so lacking in "academic intelligence" and "cognitive skills" as to be beyond the reach of "traditional law school pedagogy." In other words, students who do not appear capable of satisfactorily completing a doctoral-level program of legal education and then passing the bar. Even if the law professor only make the admission in the context of trying to normalize the presence of unqualified law students via highly creative forms of obfuscation. 

Consider the following synopsis of a forthcoming conference presentation by CUNY Law Prof Deborah Zalesne and CUNY Law Director of Academic Support Programs David Nadvorney, entitled "Learning Outcomes, Cultural Competency, and the Underprepared Law Student as "Other."" (The conference itself is entitled "Teaching Cultural Competency and Other Professional Skills Suggested by ABA Standard 302" and will be held from July 7-8 at the University of Arkansas School of Law (Little Rock)).
"We believe a student’s academic intelligence is about more than simply cognitive skills; it’s akin to culture, including not only cognitive, but also affective and social skills, all of which contribute to a student’s level of success. Our workshop posits that for many faculty, seriously underprepared law students occupy a role as "other" just as students from vastly different cultures do. The workshop will emphasize the responsibility of the teacher to understand and bridge the gap that exists between students’ level of preparation and the goals of the course. In doing so, we will highlight the failure of traditional law school pedagogy to reach the underprepared student, and suggest a framework and materials for teaching the cognitive component of academic intelligence."
It would be problematic for law faculty to explicitly recommend dumbing down law school classes in order to reach "seriously underprepared law students" because, under ABA Standard 501, students in need of such remedial-skills spoonfeeding probably should not have been admitted in the first place. So Zalesne and Nadvorney make that recommendation implicitly via some very delicate wording and by misusing the fashionable concept of cultural competence teaching. That way, they can talk piously about the diligent efforts that law schools must make in order to satisfy ABA Standard 302 (learning outcomes) while conveniently overlooking the fact that poor learning outcomes are the foreseeable result of law school disregard for Standard 501 (standards for admissions).

Zalesne and Nadvorney’s novel little trick is to analogize, even equate, the needs and skills of law students who are "seriously underprepared" due to cognitive deficiency with the needs and skills of law students from "vastly different cultures."

By pretending that under-preparedness is simply another form of diversity, Zalesne and Nadvorney inadvertently recall the timeless statement by a right-wing U.S. senator from the 1960s named Hruska, who demanded opportunities for the marginalized Mediocre-American, including a Supreme Court seat, stating that "there are a lot of mediocre judges and people and lawyers. They are entitled to a little representation, aren't they, and a little chance?"

In case there is any sentient being who doesn't understand this distinction, membership in a cultural community, whether racial, ethnic, religious, or gendered, means belonging to a group with a distinctive history, values, norms, customs, and traditions. It makes sense for a law school to welcome students from "vastly different cultures" and try to provide them with whatever they reasonably need in terms of mentoring, counseling, accommodation, and protection against bigotry. By contrast, serious under-preparedness is a personal failing caused by lack of aptitude, poor training, laziness, or disinterest, and does not deserve outreach, but rather exclusion.  

Identity politics may be on the rise, but I do not anticipate a Seriously Underprepared community coalescing within law schools to protest the cruel pedagogical othering of being expected to read and analyze complicated material in the traditional manner. I do not anticipate inspirational chants of communal affirmation such as "Say it loud, I am seriously underprepared and proud!" or "We’re here, we’re seriously underprepared, get used to it!" Though, come to think of it, these would make fine law school mottos, given the horrifying decline in the quality of incoming law students over the past several years, and could even be adopted as formal ABA interpretations of Standards 302 and 501.


Friday, June 30, 2017

Applicants up 1.5% for 2017, at least according to OTLSS

Well, we are at the 97% mark on another fun-filled year of law school applications, and the year turned out more-or-less as expected.  While there was an initial burst of applicants early in the 2017 cycle, everything seemed to level out again to around 55,000 total applicants.


 
For the sake of comparison, the applicant curve looks the most like 2014 as opposed to other years.  The "math error" described in the previous post on this subject continued to hold true, so while LSAC reports a decline of 0.5% applicants, we show that applicants went up 1.5%, and you can see it if you squint at the differences in the chart above.  
From a rate-of-change-of-applicants perspective, 2017 looked a lot like 2014 as well.  2016 continues to be an anomaly compared to past years, in that the applicant rate ramped up very slowly and then declined slowly late in cycle.  In contrast, 2017 was another quick ramp/quick decline in terms of applicant rate.  We still have yet to return to anything similar to 2012 levels, regardless.
 
All in all, applications have not bounced-back for five years now.  While there are still too many people applying to law school, the message appears to be taking hold and applicants are not coming in droves either, despite declining admission standards and efforts to increase the crop by the Cartel.  This is good news for the scamblog movement, so let's keep the message going!

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

LLM-Light: The Return of the Not-JDs



Hoo-boy.  From TFL:

The University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law now offers a Master of Science in Law aimed at non-lawyers.  The website states that the "degree [is] for professionals who want to know more about the intersection of law and regulation with the technical, scientific or administrative demands of their chosen fields."  The subject matter include Environmental Law, Health Care Law, and Patent Law... 

The MSL is a degree in law for professionals who do not wish to practice law, but have a job where a knowledge of the law is useful.  For example, there are quasi-legal positions such as Contracting Officer for the U.S. Government where a background in the cognizant statutes and regulations would be beneficial.  The same could be said for those in the securities industry...this could be a way to counter the decline in law school enrollment, which is currently flat.

A suggestion I have for UMD specifically is to consider offering an MSL in Dispute Resolution.  The Law School has a renowned Center for Dispute Resolution.  The field of alternative dispute resolution (ADR)  often has non-legal professionals practicing in a legal environment...


Here we go again.  The desire to render degrees of the of the not-JD-variety continues to proliferate, for the above-mentioned reasons:  law school enrollment has declined and remains flat currently, and a multitude of whiz-bang LT FT JD-required jobs continues to not appear. 

So why fight it, reasons the Cartel.  Go with the flow.  The market has spoken, so respond in kind with an alternate product.

As I stated in my related post some three years ago, this "go to law school specifically for JD-Advantage reasons" is too little, too late for many who are already burdened with the smokin' bucketfull of awesome that is otherwise known as the Juris Doctor degree.  While the Law School Cartel keeps trying to say "no, really, the scambloggers don't know anything, Law School is still a really great idea," they are clearly hedging their bets by offering these "non-JD" degrees at the same time.  Interestingly, there is not a lot of evidence that these programs were in high-demand previously, when the higher-priced Cadillac JD degree was the only game in town.

Actions speak louder than words.

One advantage, to be fair, is cost: the UM MSL degree is 30 credit hours at around $800 per hour - a mere $24,000.00 investment, possibly something one could do while working in their day job in environmental, health care, or patent matters (whatever that would be).  For those looking for a credential, who are already working in regulated fields, perhaps an employer could be persuaded to pay for an employee's further education.

At the end of all, however, one still has to question the value, even at a reduced price.  There is no practicing law with these degrees, although perhaps that was a pipe-dream anyway for many so who cares.  Would employers rather have a MSL candidate over a JD candidate?  Possibly - the MSL does not appear to come with "Scarlett Letters," as we have often stated the JD does not offer the flexibility/transferability that the Cartel would have one believe.  Are that many employers in regulated industries really looking for an "LLM-Light," however?  That remains to be seen, yet it seems unlikely - many folks learn on the job, and there are whole industry-specific businesses that cater to, train and educate those who work in said fields, not unlike the CLE classes we all know and love.

On a personal note:  I am sick to death of ADR.  I, in my JD-Advantage capacity, have been to enough mediations, arbitrations, and trials to know one thing - give me my trial.  Most disputes where ADR comes into play involve money, plain and simple.  You are not going to get people to agree by splitting the baby (when it's no one's actual baby in the first instance), which is what happens 95% of the time.  ADR is not helping me, it hinders me and wastes my time, and prevents me from asserting the claims and defenses I want to assert in favor of someone else's "judicial efficiency."  So stop it with all the ADR concentration-MSL-LLM mamby-pamby crap, and let's get back down to the business of actually trying cases.  Thank you. 

One thing is for certain - whatever the Cartel tries to say, they are feeling the pinch of lack-of-demand.  JDs are not roaring back, schools are teetering, and another income stream is needed to help offset declining balance sheets.  The rise of the "MSL" indicates the decline of the JD, full stop.

The best bet for all concerned?  Avoid all this, in its entirety, unless someone else is paying for it.       


Friday, June 2, 2017

Requiem for a Hoosier toilet: Indiana Tech Law School RIP

Indiana Tech, which I have styled the glorious Harvard on the Wabash, has made good on last October's promise to shut up shop in June:

http://www.theindianalawyer.com/indiana-techs-closing-of-law-school-leaves-unanswered-questions/PARAMS/article/43828

The Web site is gone; links to it are redirected to the university's home page, presumably for the benefit of those whose erstwhile interest in a JD might become transmogrified into a thirst for a BS in Fashion Marketing & Management or a PhD in Global Leadership. Not one word is said about the plight of the jilted first- and second-year students, who have seen their barristerial fantasies dashed to bits against the porcelain of a toilet given its final flush.

Fortunately, however, Marilyn Odendahl took the initiative for the above-cited article to check such regional juridical behemoths as Toledo, Indiana University (both outlets of the franchise), Notre Dame (Indiana's fourth-tier trap school), Valpo, and of course Cooley. It turns out that all of these illustrious institutions are magnanimously collecting the jetsam of Indiana Tech, although at least one of the Global Leaders, unusually for a transfer student, will have to start the three-year program from scratch. I only wish that Ms. Odendahl had reported the number of centurions transferring to Harvard or Yale, as well as the number receiving free tuition in respect of the godlike excellence that they acquired at Indiana Tech.

How did the university honor its last graduating class? Not in the slightest. They got their degrees like everyone else but no other recognition, not even a mention of their status as the law school's final alumni. Indeed, only 5 of the 21 graduates even attended the ceremony; most or all of the others boycotted it so as not to have to confront the university's retiring president on the daïs. Apparently they had drunk the administrative Kool-Aid and believed that a mean official killed off their thriving gem of a law school. Instead, these worthies held their own ceremony at the Allen County Public Library (which, incidentally, houses one of the finest collections of genealogical information—something worth knowing the next time you pass through beautiful metropolitan Fort Wayne), where they paid homage to dean Charles Cercone and associate dean Charles MacLean. The twin Chucks richly deserved that inspiring accolade.

What will happen to the building erected specially for the law school? The university has not yet decided. It has, however, already sent workers in to measure the classrooms, although an examination of the blueprints should suffice. The fate of the curated art collection and the endowments for scholarships also remains unknown. As for the library's inventory, anyone wanting to bid on it should perhaps call Indiana Tech. This may be a rare opportunity to acquire rare volumes on the subject of Law & Hip-Hop.

And whither the distinguished faculty? What shall become of such superstars as André Douglas "Dougie Fresh" Pond Cummings, whose "reputation goes far beyond ... the nation, and is heard in every corner of the globe, wrestling with legacies of legal thinking on one hand and popular culture on the other"; Adam Lamparello, tell-all autobiographer and all-purpose tramp; and Aretha Green, noted for her refined palate (fried bologna with mayonnaise being her favorite delicacy), her sophisticated hobbies (snooping in houses), and her disdain for books? At the time of publication, I had not been able to verify the abundant rumors of deanships at the Sorbonne and sable-carpeted corner offices in New York's white-shoe law firms.

I'd like to conclude this eulogy with a musical tribute, written to the tune of "Back Home Again in Indiana". Pity that it's too late to hire Hoosier pride and joy Jim Nabors to intone it at a ceremony in honor of those valiant legal centurions with freshly issued JDs.

Back home again in Indiana,
Where it seems that I just saw
The Wabash Cannonball
Go to the wall:
Fort Wayne's toilet school of law.
Discordant strains of hip-hop echo
From the remnants of the wreck.
No more Global Leadership along the Wabash;
Turn the lights out at Indiana Tech.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Arizona Summit must post $1.5M against possible closure

The licensing board in Arizona has just required Arizona Summit (Arizona Scum Pit) to post a $1.5M bond with which to reimburse the students in the event of the toilet school's closure.

http://www.azcentral.com/story/news/local/arizona-education/2017/05/26/arizona-summit-law-school-ordered-create-surety-bond-in-case-closure/338048001/

Only 30% of Arizona Scum Pit's graduates who attempt the bar exam pass it on the first try. At 74%, the rate for the other two law schools in Arizona, both of which are Tier 4 institutions (https://outsidethelawschoolscam.blogspot.ca/2017/05/the-seven-tiers-of-law-schools.html), is still disgraceful.

Arizona Scum Pit and its fellow Tier 6 institutions Charlotte (Harlotte) and Florida Coastal (Horrida Coastal) make up the notorious InfiLaw scam-chain of profit-seeking law schools. All three are in trouble. Harlotte has lost access to federally guaranteed student loans, and Horrida Coastal may join it next year. Arizona Scum pit is on probation by the American Bar Association.

Arizona Scum Pit told the board "that the bond wasn’t necessary and would send a negative message to prospective students". Which negative message? That Arizona Scum Pit is at risk of closing before they complete their Mickey Mouse degrees? If lemmings present and prospective haven't noticed that by now, they won't catch on just because the toilet has to post a bond with the state. Nothing, evidently, would get their attention.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

"Blameless" Tone-Deaf Law Professors Ted Seto and Steve Diamond Whistle Past Grave Yards

What with the recent closures of Indiana Tech and Whittier, to say nothing of mergers and attempts by law schools to raise funds in order to keep operating, what do LawProfs have to say?  By chance, are they implicated in any way?  Let's get right to it:

Not clear that blaming senior faculty is constructive. Like Jack, I work hard. I’m currently on sabbatical, but for the preceding five years, I averaged 20 units of teaching per year, twice what our junior faculty members are asked to teach, while maintaining some of the best teaching evaluations at a school with excellent average evaluations. During that same period, I wrote a first and second edition of a casebook, with accompanying 500-page teacher’s manual, and published numerous articles. I also designed and implemented several new revenue-generating programs for the school, the net revenues of which pay for my salary many times over. When our school went on a faculty-slimming program with buy-out offers, no one offered me a buy-out. I wonder why. (I wouldn’t have accepted in any event; I love what I do.) Sorry to seem self-promoting, but we more experienced faculty members sometimes need to defend ourselves.
Posted by: Theodore Seto | Apr 25, 2017 12:06:16 AM


Well!  Let's count the Baby Boomer bromides: (1) I "work hard" notwithstanding sabbaticals, (2) everybody loves me, (3) I'm important because I'm published, (4) I pay for my cost by helping keep the gristmill going, and (5) I'm better that everyone else and those other (younger) lawprof louses should be fired instead.  Nothing about law school lax acceptance practices, outrageous tuition costs, the dissemination of false and misleading information, that too many law schools are pumping out too many graduates, or the non-recovery of the legal market.  Clearly, no one else works as hard as Seto and he deserves his position, so go looking elsewhere for your pound of flesh from the scam.  

Are things better for the class of 2016 as opposed to earlier?  There appears to be some minor improvement according to recent ABA numbers, but hardly what one would call a huge swing to the so-called "golden days" of legal education.  UPDATE:  For example, the percentage of students from, say, Loyola(LA), who obtained full-time, bar-passage required jobs went down 0.2% from a whopping 47% to 46.8% from 2015 to 2016.

http://witnesseth.typepad.com/blog/2012/12/bloated-is-better-for-law-school-rankings.html



MacK dismissed Seto's arguments in late 2013, and it appears that his predictions were more on point:

Seto's assessment - and for that matter Dan Filler's approving posting of it is remarkable in inherently admitting something that Dan and Seto had until now been desperately denying - that there was a substantial fall in the number of law school matriculations in progress - and that there is an oversupply of JDs.

At the same time, Seto makes a mess of things. The key hole in his analysis is the assumption that until recently supply (JDs awarded per year) was in fact in equilibrium with demand for new law graduates. As has now been relentlessly detailed by numerous careful studies (as well as the missing lawyer phenomenon) that has not been an accurate assessment since perhaps the 1990s. Only a small proportion of the demand-supply mismatch can be attributed to the recession. (The non-equilibrium in the JD supply is a function of the market distortion of a student loan system devoid of underwriting standards.)

Where Seto may be accurate is in his prediction that on current numbers matriculations will be of the order of 39,900 - though it could easily be lower (the impact of law schools' desperate efforts to get applications in the current cycle (waiving application fees, chasing marginally interested applicants) will likely be a lower yield of matriculants from the number of applications, especially if the recovery continues to strengthen through the summer. What does this mean for law schools? Well one good prediction is that in any given metro area with multiple law schools, the bottom ranked law school will be in trouble as students shuffle up to the higher ranked school(s), or the lower ranked school needs to offer very heavy discounts to attract students. It may also lead to competition for transfers in senior class ranks (as schools like Phoenix law are discovering) and further efforts to prevent the losses of 2Ls and 3Ls and tuition dollars. Remember a fall of 8,000 law students means the equivalent of around 20-40 law schools' first year classes (assuming 200-400 per entering class.) The assumption of the pollyanna's is that the fall in matriculations will be evenly distributed across all law schools - but it seems more reasonable to think that those with the perceived worst value offering will take the biggest hit.

The next couple of years are going to be a wild ride for law schools - and September will be very interesting.