Friday, September 23, 2011

ABA decides key to more law school transparency is less transparency

According to Kyle McEntee and Patrick Lynch, the two founders of the Law School Transparency project, the American Bar Association Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar is about to do something that could well represent a significant setback in the struggle to achieve law school transparency.
  Understanding what’s going on requires some background on how law graduate placement statistics are gathered.   (I’m indebted to the LST folks for helping me to understand a confusing bureaucratic maze of overlapping constituencies and procedures).

Each year in February, law schools report nine month employment statistics to the National Association or Law Placement (NALP), on the basis of the responses they get from graduates to a questionnaire designed by NALP.  NALP has no regulatory authority over ABA schools, hence cooperation with NALP is voluntary (several law schools don’t participate, although something upwards of 95% do).   At the end of the process, NALP has some sort of individual data on almost all graduates of ABA-accredited schools from the previous year -- or at least it does to the extent one can trust law schools to accurately report to NALP the information they’re getting from their graduates.

It’s important to recognize that this data set --even if we assume law schools are reporting the information they gather accurately to NALP -- is very incomplete.  For instance less than half of 2010 graduates reported any salary information, and my research indicates that what graduates do report in regard to matters such as full-time versus part-time employment, and permanent as opposed to temporary jobs (and some graduates don’t supply this information) is far from completely accurate.  Schools don’t, as far as I know, audit the responses they get, and NALP doesn’t audit the information it gets from the schools.  (Given stories like this this it makes sense to be concerned about the lack of verification procedures throughout the system).
 
An even more important limitation, from the standpoint of law school transparency, is that NALP and the schools have a confidentiality agreement that prohibits NALP from publishing school-specific data.  NALP publishes only national statistics, which have some limited value for prospective law students trying to figure out whether law school in general makes sense for them, but obviously no value at all in regard to choosing between individual schools.

In the fall, eight months after the previous year’s employment data is reported by the law schools to NALP, the ABA starts collecting aggregated school-specific data from the schools themselves. The ABA, unlike NALP, does publish data on individual schools in its Guide for prospective law students -- but in such a heavily redacted form that it’s worse than useless for prospective students.  The questionnaire the ABA currently uses requires schools to disclose to it the NALP data on what percentages of students report themselves as being employed in jobs that require or prefer law degrees, jobs that are full-time and part-time, and jobs that are permanent and temporary, but the ABA doesn’t publish any of this: instead it publishes an overall employment rate for each school, i.e., it counts all jobs equally for the purposes of determining “employment.”  This is worse than useless from the perspective of the potential law students because it gives a wildly inaccurate picture of how many law graduates are getting real law jobs (it would be better if the ABA Guide published no employment stats at all rather than publishing stats this inherently deceptive).

Finally, subject to a couple of minor caveats, USNWR uses the same data the schools supply to the ABA, with all its distortions, to compile employment statistics for its rankings.  (This is why the 2011 USNWR rankings use employment data from the class of 2009 – the ABA hasn’t even begun to gather the data on the class of 2010, although NALP has had this data for seven months now).

This summer, the ABA piece of this puzzle appeared to be moving in the right direction, when the Legal Education section announced that starting this October it would begin collecting the individual student data from the schools, for the putative purpose of allowing the ABA to publish more useful employment information in its Guide.   Now, incredibly enough, according to McEntee and Lynch, the committee in charge of creating the new questionnaire has, pending a final decision to be taken today, decided it won’t even be asking law schools for information on whether graduates have full-time or part-time jobs, or whether the jobs they have require or prefer a J.D.  

So the ABA is moving from a situation in which it collected this crucial data but didn’t publish it, to one in which it won’t even collect the data in the first place! The rationale for this appears to be a masterpiece of lawyerly obfuscation, with the central claim being that the current definitions of full-time versus part-time employment, and J.D. required versus J.D. preferred jobs,  aren’t “clear enough.”  

The truly unfortunate consequence of all this may be that, since the ABA isn’t going to collect this information about the class of 2010 (keep in mind that this whole process has the added extra bonus of being two full years behind the employment market by the time anything gets published), many law school may well treat this as an excuse for refusing to report any full-time/part-time, J.D. required/J.D. preferred data to USNWR, which as of June was promising to publish more detailed employment information, given that the ABA had announced it was going to start collecting information at the same level of granularity as NALP.

The upshot is that, when March 2012 rolls around, law schools will have, thanks to the ABA’s legal education section (which is essentially controlled by law school deans), a brand-new justification for continuing to refuse to publish meaningful employment statistics, in the form of the claim that the ABA has determined that better definitions must be devised before such statistics can be released.

Why would the ABA legal education section take such a step in the current climate, in which more attention than ever is being focused on the failure of law schools to report meaningful employment data? My guess, based in part on what I’ve seen of 2010 and 2011 employment numbers, is that the legal administrators who are the dominant force in the ABA section are all too aware of how bad those numbers really are.  My sense is that as bad as things were for the class of 2009, things were worse for the class of 2010 -- and 2011 is shaping up as worse still.

If this is right, then they’re behaving like gamblers desperately trying to buy time for one last score that will get them out of a deep hole (the score here being a big turnaround in the employment market for law grads).  That would mean the law school establishment is all in favor of transparency – but not just yet, not until the numbers are better, and we can cover all these bets we’ve made with our new $100 million buildings, and our 12 new faculty slots, and our terrific new programs in this and that and the other.  We just need one more chance to get back to even . . .

Sign the Law School Transparency Petition.

127 comments:

  1. Could you ask them why they are making the change?

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  2. Did these guys bring Nick Leeson in as an adviser? Or did they get that guy from UBS instead?

    The thing is, the way that the scam is set up in the US there is no way, so long as the information of the poor empoyment prospects of many law school graduates are kept from prospective students, that the scam will ever finish short of the government stepping in. The banks are secured against students not being able to repay by the government, the schools don't give a damn about the students, the students don't know what is happening until too late.

    At least in the UK the banks, lacking the assurance of IBR, are withdrawing loans from law students who do not have a good chance of gaining employment, although the law schools are stepping in with high-interest loans to pay their own ever-increasing fees - something that stinks to high heaven.

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  3. FOARP, in the US as of last year almost all law school loans are now direct from the government, so the banks are out of the picture for the time being. Although if there's a new administration next year that could easily change . . . I'm intrigued that UK law schools are loaning tuition money to students -- that's a road I could see US law schools going down if the government money gets cut off.

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  4. I wish I could be surprised that yours is the only law professor blog covering this story.

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  5. I can't believe I was ever so naive as to think the ABA was an important and respected institution. Sad as it may be, I think we are going to have to rely on Congress to fix the problems with law schools because, amazingly enough, Congress is less whorish than the ABA.

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  6. the ABA’s legal education section (which is essentially controlled by law school deans)

    It all seems to follow from this, as night follows day.

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  7. PartnerX: Yeah it appears to be a textbook example of regulatory capture, i.e., the regulating body is unduly influenced by the industry it's supposed to be regulating. Indeed in this case the regulating body and the regulated industry are pretty much one and the same.

    7:12, I have to confess that made me laugh.

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  8. This is what happens to meek, pathetic and indecisive cowards who want to make change by posting on their computers.

    Did you see what the ABA just did? Do you think they might have responded differently had 50 student been loudy and publicly protesting outside of their meeting? Do you think they might have responded differently had 50 students, just 50 OUT OF 50,000 KIDS WHO GRADUATE EACH YEAR, students paralyzed a law school with a protest?

    But they don't have to worry about that because their enemy is you losers, and you losers couldn't look them in the eye in the real world, never mind do something that matters.

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  9. " . . . and you losers couldn't look them in the eye in the real world, never mind do something that matters."

    Great, schedule a demo. What's stopping you?

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  10. I should. I guarantee I could have a greater impact than all of you internet commenters combined.

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  11. Two comments from abovethelaw:

    ----------------

    This is a blantant RICO criminal conspiracy on the part of the ABA and law school Deans to defraud kids out of government student loan money that should have been spent on other programs.

    So why isn't a prosecutor going after them?

    ------------

    Fraud is a RICO crime. If law school Deans and the ABA (which is essentially run by law schools) sit together and devise a scheme by which they use purposely misleading statistics to induce kids into giving them money that they would have otherwise spent on another program, that's a blatant RICO conspiracy. I could write up the indictment in five hours, and the action described in this article would be just one of the "overt acts."

    The FBI goes after people who contrive such schemes in other areas of economics all the time, so why is the ABA/law school conspiracy exempt?

    -----------

    Perhaps when Cooley and NYLS get off by saying "we reported statistics in the way the ABA said to do it" people will inquire into why the ABA said to do it that way, which will make the criminal conspiracy clear.

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  12. "Why would the ABA legal education section take such a step in the current climate, in which more attention than ever is being focused on the failure of law schools to report meaningful employment data?"

    The better question is "Why would the 50% of this nation's lawyers who are small practitioners and getting crushed by the oversupply of lawyers, tolerate, much less join, the ABA"? I hope, at some point in time, a critical number of small practitioners say enough, start calling the ABA out as the corrupt organization that it seems to be and demand the Department of Education remove accreditation power from this morally bankrupt organization. The truth is, only 7% of small practitioners are members of the ABA, so the ABA represents only 57% of the practitioners of this country---yet it acts as if it speaks for all of us. It certainly doesn't speak for me.

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  13. (sorry for the bad cut & paste. Not sure what happened)

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  14. Trying to cut & past again . . .

    President Obama’s visit to the Solyndra solar panel factory in California last year was choreographed down to the last detail — the 20-by-30-foot American flags, the corporate banners hung just so, the special lighting, even coffee and doughnuts for the Secret Service detail.
    “It’s here that companies like Solyndra are leading the way toward a brighter and more prosperous future,” the president declared in May 2010 to the assembled workers and executives. The start-up business had received a $535 million federal loan guarantee, offered in part to reassert American dominance in solar technology while generating thousands of jobs.
    But behind the pomp and pageantry, Solyndra was rotting inside, hemorrhaging cash so quickly that within weeks of Mr. Obama’s visit, the company canceled plans to offer shares to the public. Barely a year later, Solyndra has become one of the administration’s most costly fumbles after the company declared bankruptcy, laid off 1,100 workers and was raided by F.B.I. agents seeking evidence of possible fraud.
    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/23/us/politics/in-rush-to-assist-solyndra-united-states-missed-warning-signs.html?_r=1&ref=politics
    ----------------------
    Law schools receive about $2 to $3 billion of federal loan guarantees each year, and they’re very obviously committing fraud as has been documented in hundreds of sources, so why isn’t the FBI raiding their offices?

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  15. Lawprof, your last paragraph pretty much nailed it.

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  16. Law Prof-

    Wouldn't the best result be for the ABA to stop publishing employment data altogether? If the claim is that students are relying on misleading data to enroll in law school (which I find somewhat unconvincing because it assumes that the employment data is a predominant factor in one's decision to enroll in law school but also that few prospective students care to see how it is derived), wouldn't getting rid of the data from the Guide to Law Schools entirely solve the problem? Few other professional schools collect employment data, after all.

    In addition, the current system imposes a number of costs on law schools (subsidized by student tuition) without providing useful information. Adopting your proposal might provide better information but would also increase costs on law schools and possibly lead to even higher tuition, and, as you concede, would still provide students with imperfect data on which to base enrollment decisions.

    Bottom line, there are no guarantees in terms of employment and students should enroll in law school only if they want to truly be lawyers or believe that law degrees will help them advance in their current fields.

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  17. "Bottom line, there are no guarantees in terms of employment and students should enroll in law school only if they want to truly be lawyers"

    A student could truly want to be a lawyer, but be unable to meet that goal because of the very simple supply and demand issue. However, because law schools publish fraudulent statistics, the student would not be aware of the supply and demand problem and would enroll in a program that he/she should have avoided. Your solution would thus fail. Wanting to produce a product does not mean you will be able to sell that product in a marketplace. If such a cause and effect relationship held, half the population would be movie stars.

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  18. I have asked before about how information is to be gathered. Even in the calls for more and better information reference is often made to unreliable reporting on the part of graduates who, for whatever reason, may not come clean about their situations. You can't badger them. Then there is the mistrust of law schools' reporting on the information they do receive. The other day there was a proposal to have a third party report audit the results of surveys. The person who put this forward conceded that third party involvement would not increase the number of graduates who answered the queries about where they worked and how much money they were making. With all the improvements from the law school side, we could still end up with such low response rates that they would not give prospective students enough information to prospective students. That does not mean that efforts should not be made to do better.

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  19. Bottom line, there are no guarantees in terms of employment and students should enroll in law school only if they want to truly be lawyers or believe that law degrees will help them advance in their current fields.

    Then law schools should quit presenting a law degree as a near guarantee. Law Schools should prominantly state that a law degree is no guarantee of a job in law--that legal jobs paying 160K are not typical---those that do find legal employment will probably make only 35K to 50K a year---and about 25% to 50% of those seeking a degree will not find a legal job at all.

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  20. Merely publishing the extent to which the questionnaires weren't answered would give law students more information than now.

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  21. Interestingly, I think that there is actually some desire among the placement offices at very top schools to go to complete transparency - if and only if everyone jumps. If everyone is being frank, the highest ranked schools look (I am pretty sure) even better wrt placement in comparison to the rest. I don't know enough (or, really anything) about ABA politics to know how much weight the top twenty or schools carry. There are a hell of a lot of not top twenty schools ....

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  22. My view is that at one time it might have been better to advocate no official publication of employment statistics at all, accompanied by stern caveat emptor warnings, but in the current information environment that's no longer an option. You can't put the genie back in the bottle.

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  23. Folks, it’s called lobbying. Call or email these people and tell them to collect the data. Be polite, not a bunch of assholes:

    2011-2012 Questionnaire Committee
    Chair
    Arthur Gaudio
    Dean
    Western New England College School of Law
    agaudio@law.wne.edu
    Phone: 413-796-2201

    Members
    Brent Dickman
    Associate Dean
    Finances, Human Resources, Information Technology
    Yale Law School
    brent.dickman@yale.edu
    Phone: (203) 432-1652

    Pamela J. Duffy
    Chief Financial Officer
    California Western School of Law
    pduffy@cwsl.edu
    Phone: (619) 239-0391

    B. Keith Faulkner
    Vice Dean
    Campbell University
    Norman Adrian Wiggins School of Law
    faulkner@law.campbell.edu
    Phone: 919-865-4652

    Frank G. Houdek
    Associate Dean
    Southern Illinois University School of Law
    houdek@siu.edu
    Phone: (618) 453-8788


    Tomea Mersmann
    Associate Dean
    Washington University School of Law
    mersmann@wustl.edu
    Phone: (314) 935-8598

    Jerome M. Organ
    Professor
    University of St. Thomas School of Law
    jmorgan@stthomas.edu
    Phone: (651) 962-4919

    Gail Richmond
    Professor
    Nova Southeastern University
    Shepard Board Law Center
    richmondg@nsu.law.nova.edu
    Phone: (954) 262-6102

    David A. Santacroce
    Professor
    The University of Michigan Law School
    dasanta@umich.edu
    Phone: 734.763.4319

    Leonard Strickman
    Professor
    Florida International University College of Law
    strickman@fiu.edu
    Phone: 305-348-1041

    Joan Wexler
    President
    Brooklyn Law School
    joan.wexler@brooklaw.edu
    Phone: (718) 780-7900

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  24. People will respond if the group surveying graduated students calls them (I sure wouldn't let law schools collect the data.) Law schools claiming that students can't be surveyed in this way because they lose track of the students after graduation is ridiculous. By graduation, virtually all students know in what state they will take a bar exam. Require students to inform the law school before they receive their diploma where they will sit for the bar. In Tennessee and Georgia, the two states I know about, to apply for bar admission you have to give a telephone number. A survey company can get that telephone number and call each student. Might not get them all, but will get most.

    The US Labor Department calls me every quarter to see how many people I have working for me. If The Labor department can do it, a survey company for law schools can do it.

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  25. Yes, if the numbers of people reporting is revealed along with the statistics about jobs and salaries, that would be helpful. People should not be relying on these statistics anyway to tell them that they want to go to law school. But relevant information would help.

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  26. They have been surveying people already,right?

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  27. Dear lord 10:11, that list is filled with TTTs. These people need to be indicted on a RICO conspiracy.

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  28. Any chance that Christina Applegate could be coaxed to reinvent her "Verminator" character for a law school protest? What would be her appearance fee for such an event?

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  29. 10:33 = law professor trying to make light of a crime.

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  30. I always thought things were screwy at my ttt law school whenever I looked at their job placement data. They would provide a long list of all the firms that their graduates ended up. For good measure they always had some of the top Big Law firms in the country on that list, like Weil Gotshal or Sull Crom. But then you would go to the firms' websites, do a law school search, and discover that it was always one odd ball graduate who managed to snag that coveted Big Law spot. How many incoming students would just take the list at face value and feel they have a chance to get to Big Law from their crappy school and shell out 100 grand to do so?

    And don't even get me started on the stupid Alumni of the Month nonsense, highlighting those special recent graduates who managed to snag the most coveted (to some) positions. What would be the purpose of such things if not to entice some unsuspecting 0L to attend their school with the promise of being that 1 in a thousand graduate.

    When Nando is done highlighting all the ttt dumps, I would love to see him start an anti-Alumni of the Month blog where he highlights the complete and utter failure of graduates of each of the dumps. It should be called Beyond Scared Straight.

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  31. I am so depressed after seeing the list in 10:11.

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  32. I guess that list answers the 'how much power to the top 20 have' question.

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  33. Brent Dickman? Wow, that is too perfect.

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  34. 9:21

    The best result would be for the ABA to publish accurate employment statistics. Except if you are a TTT dean who's mid-six figure salary (how can anyone call a law school a NON-PROFIT since all it seems to do is pay huge $$$ to it's admins and law profs) might be in jeopardy.

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  35. How does this happen? Now I'm no big law attorney but I do seem to remember something about conflicts of interest from my law school days. The people who stand to lose the most over allowing greater transparency are the ones put in charge of whether to allow greater transparency? How is this allowed to happen? ABA, you motherf*cken scoundrels.

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  36. Can any federal prosecutor or criminal law expert explain how this is not a RICO conspiracy? It's so obvious that these TTT Deans are scheming to defraud kids out of government money that should have been spent on another program. Where in the indictment? You have people working together to commit fraud. You have overt acts. What else do you need?

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  37. I have two pitchforks now.

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  38. Someone on ATL had the idea of a False Claims Act prosecution, using the qui tam provisions (that allow private citizens to prosecute rather than having to wait for a federal prosecutor to file an indictment).

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  39. The profession is at a turning point. Being a lawyer used to be considered an honorable profession, like being a doctor. Part of this reason was because not everyone could be a lawyer. Now that the media is starting to sit up and take notice of the oversupply of lawyers, in 30 years lawyers will be treated just like any other white collar employee. This is simply because there are too many people graduating from law school right now who can't use their degrees to practice law and make a decent wage. The prestige and veil of respect surrounding the lawyer as professional will have disappeared, to be replaced by yet another office drone with a job. The ABA is presiding over this change right now.

    This latest attempt to obfuscate the data is an attempt by the ABA to protect the profession from its "unmasking" while at the same time preserving the benefits of the system for the people at the top. Rather than fix the problem by mandating the closing of 50-100 law schools, immediately halting the new accreditation of law schools that cannot prove they will be able to secure jobs for their graduates, or placing pressure on states to increase the difficulty of the bar exam, the ABA will attempt to eliminate any data showing that the value of the JD is not what prior generations think it is. Instead of making the hard choices and sacrificing their own well being for the good of the profession, the scam artists will fight tooth and nail to let wages drop because of oversupply. Ultimately, the public's respect for law as a profession will be eliminated. Like so many of their generation, rather than solve the problem they will simply cover it up until they can't anymore, and then run crying for a bailout. It makes me sick to watch the destruction of what was once a great profession by people who have in all likelihood never practiced it.

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  40. In 30 years? Try 10 years ago, at least.

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  41. I have had several recent conversations with people outside the profession who have family members who have graduated law school who cannot find jobs, including my doctor who was wondering if I was hiring. The secret is getting out there, the legal profession is bruised, screwed, and tatooed.

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  42. "My view is that at one time it might have been better to advocate no official publication of employment statistics at all, accompanied by stern caveat emptor warnings, but in the current information environment that's no longer an option. You can't put the genie back in the bottle."

    I disagree completely. If employment statistics were banned completely and all students were required to sign a statement as part of law school application that gave stern warnings about the risk and low likelihood of getting a good ROI, that would work fine.

    Let's face it, law schools will always fudge their numbers and will always use deceptive marketing to induce student enrollment. They'll always go as far as they can get away with. But if law school marketing was severely limited in terms of what it say and if students had to sign a statement that shows in stern and clear terms the risk of attending, then that will be much better.

    The ABA, law schools, etc are saying that collecting data is "too hard", etc. FINE, then don't collect it at all but simply issue fair and accurate warnings about the risk of attending and make all students sign it.

    Of course the law schools won't go for that. Therefore, perhaps the Dept of Education could require it as part of accepting any govt loans.

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  43. I just got an email from moveon.org saying their student loan petition got 400,000 signatures. Has the law school transparency petition received 40?

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  44. "Let's face it, law schools will always fudge their numbers and will always use deceptive marketing to induce student enrollment."

    What the hell?

    What you're describing is a crime. You are not allowed to use fraud to induce someone into buying your product. You can't do it by yourself, and when you do it in a conspiracy with others it's an even more serious crime.

    We have criminal laws for a reason and I'm not going to stand by idly and watch them applied only to impoverished black men who stole a few hundred dollars. These law school administrators (the list is right there in 10:11) are commiting crimes. These are overt acts in a conspiracy. Prosecute these bastards now.

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  45. 11:12 Yeah, that change that the ABA is presiding over is in line with their belief that everybody should have access to low cost legal services. The only problem with that is that when they do get to the point of having enough lawyers to provide ubiquitous access to low cost services, they will have to begin giving food stamps to all the lawyers providing these low cost legal services.

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  46. The "everyone should have access to low cost legal services" line is nonsensical and incoherent. Even if law school was completely free, and even if law school actually trained people to be lawyers, you still wouldn't live in a world where everyone had access to affordable legal services. That's because lawyers need to earn a living by providing these services. If these services don't pay enough to pay their rent, food, medical . . . bills they're not providing them.

    In a world where law school costs $200,000 and trains you in philosophy, such a statement is beyond nonsensical and it is indescribably absurd.

    That statement needs to die and that will happen by way of you pointing out its incoherence whenever it is uttered.

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  47. Again this focus on transparency. Its merely a symptom of the larger problem. Even if you get the biglaw job why should it cost $36-$45 grand a year in tuition except to extract as much of your future salary as possible (based on a false market of guaranteed loans, no less)? Why should the gatekeepers of a mostly useless 3 years of education get to extract what amounts to a mortgage? That is the issue.

    Its the money, stupid.

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  48. @11:32 I know a public defender who had to move into the projects...surrounded by her clients. No joke.

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  49. When I see new lawyers advertising no fault divorce services in my area for $400.00 which includes a $150.00 court filing fee, I know that the legal profession has succussfuly completed its race to the bottom. I do not know how any lawyer can make a living that way without getting food stamps.

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  50. 11:44,
    You can, although quality of service suffers. Basically those shops use a ton of admin people to fill out the forms and the lawyer signs and files. This happens in landlord tenant law a lot as well.

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  51. Yeah, that's essentially a legalzoom divorce paper signed by an attorney.

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  52. @ 11:32

    If a good case could be made, then by all means let's prosecute them.

    But in the meantime, my point is that since the ABA and many law school deans keep making excuses about the "difficulty" of providing transparent data, then let's make it easy on them and say that all such data should not be provided and ban it outright. There a lot of work is saved.

    But then make sure that stern warnings are printed in all marketing materials and force all students to sign a statement when applying saying that "for many students attending will not pay off in terms of time and money spent and to consider their decision carefully."

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  53. 11:46 - I'm not talking about mills. I'm talking new lawyers in my area, just them on their own, advertising nonsensical rates. They could do 100 of the darn cases in a year (which I highly doubt they do) and earn $40,000 gross for the year. That's not a living in the slightest. But this is the hell that the ABA has wrought on the legal profession.

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  54. It is impossible to get a tttt law school administrator to figure out how to obtain meaningful, accurate, and non-misleading employment data when his/her salary depends on non-meaningful, inaccurate, and misleading employment data.

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  55. @ 12:09

    Exactly. As this blog post states, they'll do whatever they can to stall or water down "transparency" requirements to meaninglessness. Therefore let's go the opposite way and say to them that since you can't/won't provide fully accurate employment data, they don't provide it at all and instead issue disclaimers and warnings about the risks of attending.

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  56. "let's go the opposite way"

    It doesn't matter which way this crowd goes, because you people do not matter in any way. See 7:50.

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  57. @ 12:35 Professor Leiter? Is that you?

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  58. @ 12:35 Fuck you you piece of garbage. You come around here with your nonsensical tardness claiming how none of this matters and yet there you are on a Friday afternoon reading the meaningless rants and rambles of us folks who don't matter. How pathetic you piece of craptard.

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  59. Even if all of that was true, it doesn't change the fact that none of you matter. Say "fuck you" to me a few more times on the internet to cover up the fact that you don't have the backbone to look one of the people who scammed you in the eye.

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  60. @1:12 - what do you do all day that allows you the time to sit online and endlessly repeat the same (not very well thought out) message? Just from observing your methods this can't be the only site you troll...

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  61. Again, even if everything you wrote was true, the point stands. You people are all angry anonymous internet vitriol and no action.

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  62. Ok but why do you keep repeating this message? We've all heard it now many times, your views are well known. Why do you persist?

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  63. Because that's what an angry anonymous internet troll does...

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  64. You heard it, but do you admit it 2:28? Do you admit that you are a spineless coward who would run like the wind if ever confronted by a law school administrator or professor in the real world?

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  65. I'm taking action: writing a letter right now to Barbara Boxer, who needs to be made aware of this little development in light of her calls for the fraud to stop.

    CC'ing the U.S. Dept. of Justice.


    http://boxer.senate.gov/en/press/releases/033111b.cfm

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  66. "Bottom line, there are no guarantees in terms of employment and students should enroll in law school only if they want to truly be lawyers"

    I wanted to be an astronaut. But I realized that their was a supply and demand issue which would make my dreams highly unlikely, so instead I decided to get a degree in computer science and get a career that would actually make me money.

    It doesn't matter if "they want to truly be lawyers". It doesn't make sense to borrow $100,000 if you are only going to be able to get a doc review temp job at $20/hr.

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  67. To all those postings which ask how this isn't RICO fraud etc., the answer is that proving such an allegation is nearly impossible. I read the Cooley and NYLS lawsuits... They are doomed to fail. Poorly crafted arguments with mediocre representative plaintiffs. All these cases can be defended by pointing to the speculative nature of all higher education. No one guarantees jobs to science grads, accounting students etc. Etc. The inducement and detrimental reliance allegations in the 2 cases are supported by weak anecdotal evidence in the pleadings. The NYLS suit will definitely be dismissed for not being representative of the class. Each plaintiff has such an idiosyncratic story. Most have found some type of job. The judge will laugh them out of court. I really would like to see the movement succeed. The best hope might be a state legislative effort to require the collection of accurate data for state subsidies.

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  68. If people admit it, will you then go away? Is your goal to make people admit it? Why are you doing this?

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  69. "the answer is that proving such an allegation is nearly impossible."

    What the hell are you talking about?

    RICO cases are proven all the time on much weaker grounds. This is an open and shut case. You have law school administrators receiving an pecuniary benefit by conspiring to create fraudulent statistics designed to induce students into paying them FEDERAL loans that would have been better spent on other programs.

    All you need for the indictment are "overt acts" and the above is one very clear example, and there are hundreds of other overt acts that we have evidence of or that we can very reasonably allege.

    Let me give you something to contrast this with. Solyndra solar is being investigated by the FBI for fraud without any basis whatsoever, because they may have squandered $450 million in federal loan guarantees. The law school conspiracy squanders billions of federal loans every year and causes far more harm to far more people.

    If Solyndra can get raided by the FBI, then the schools of every conspirator in 10:11 should be raided by the FBI, a criminal indictment should be filed and we should see these Deans taking the perp walk.

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  70. What kind of sick age of moral relativism do we live in where we accept that people are colluding to commit fraud, and yet that's a crime that's "nearly impossible to prove?"

    Many successful criminal indictments started out far more tenuously but they were filed because IT'S THE DAMN RIGHT THING TO DO.

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  71. 6:56, I've been giving you the benefit of the doubt this whole time, that you aren't an actual troll, that you aren't posting here strictly to fuck with people, that you actually care about this issue as we do and just have different ideas about how to deal with it. It seems pretty clear based on your last response you are here strictly to fuck with people. Ok, ha ha, I'll ignore you from now on.

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  72. You don't know what the hell you are talking about 7:08. Why don't you go into westlaw or whatever you have and search for RICO cases. Do you even know the elements of a conspiracy? Do you know what an overt act is? Do you know how write a RICO indictment? These are all right on the DOJ attorney's manual which is public.

    Next time you get the urge to open your mouth and spout off about a topic you are ignorant of, please choose no to.

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  73. In addition to RICO you have a simple conspiracy to commit fraud, a false claims act case and probably countless others crimes you can add to the indictment.

    The bottom line though, is that fraud is a crime. Conspiracy to commit fraud is a bigger crime. Conspiracy to commit fraud where a victim is the federal government is an even bigger crime. There are no two ways about it. Further, what these schools do is morally wrong and it's robbing the government of very serious money so it would be a just indictment.

    This is a crime that needs to get the attention of a federal prosecutor. There are too many victims, too much wasted and stolen money and too much public outrage to ignore this while the conspirators in 10:11 play their game.

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  74. How hard would it be to put together a comedy routine? It pays well.

    http://www.comedianbookings.com/category/political-humorists-agent-booking-appearance.php

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  75. 10:58 and 11:12:

    Classic comments. Brilliant. "I have two pitchforks now."

    Law Prof:

    Blatant warnings would have been great, but why would caveat emptor ever have been appropriate? Also, the petition seems to have been buried, no?

    I love trolls that use the word "doomed". Fucking brilliant.

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  76. Just the fact that there are no student, consumer or regulatory representatives on that Questionnaire Committee . . . . Wow. Maybe I'm missing something, but talk about hiding the fraud in plain sight.

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  77. The "everyone should have access to low cost legal services" line is nonsensical and incoherent. Even if law school was completely free, and even if law school actually trained people to be lawyers, you still wouldn't live in a world where everyone had access to affordable legal services. That's because lawyers need to earn a living by providing these services.

    I 100% agree with the "nonsensical" part of your comment. Frankly, I'm not even sure than "everyone" or even "a large majority" of people actually need legal services to get through their lives. The simple fact of the matter is that most conflict resolution in day-to-day life happens the way it's always happened: by two adults sitting down and talking to each other. Aside, perhaps, from buying a house or the inevitable car accident, I'd be willing to bet that a huge portion of the public never does anything in life that really requires the expertise of an attorney.

    On top of that, spending a week sitting in a trial court actually watching attorneys work can pretty sharply demonstrate that a huge portion of them are not terribly intelligent, not doing their best to help their clients, and scarily large proportion are downright harmful in their incompetence -- so much so that the client would be better off just working pro se, as that would at least get them some indulgence from the the court.

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  78. How many law professors take on pro bono clients?

    And, I mean poor clients who actually are in need of the free service, not high profile non-profits like the ACLU.

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  79. It seems to me that the very worst of the fraud perpetrated by law schools could be solved very easily by changing one measurement: instead of publishing the median salary statistics, publish the average or the mean. Right now, a school that has 10 people earning $190,000 and 190 people earning between $30,000 and $70,000 with no more than 9 of that 190 earning the same amount can nonetheless report that the median salary is $190,000. I can't think of a less meaningful statistic than the median salary of graduates.

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  80. 8:49, the fraud committed by schools is more like: 10 students earn 160,000. 90 students earn 35,000 to 80,000. 100 students can't get full time jobs as lawyers and work part time, retail, drive cabs, whatever and they do not report salaries. The school reports this as 99% employed with a median reported salary of 80,000. See law school transparency profiles to find examples of what I'm talking about.

    Your example makes no sense because no school has 100% of its students report salaries, and no school would report a median of 190,000 under your reported salaries (that's not how you calculate a median) and your solution would in no way solve anything.

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  81. How many law professors take on pro bono clients?

    ------------

    I personally have never met a lawyer who did pro bono work unless there was something in it for them, such as networking, gaining experience in a new practice area, case that they liked and so on. The ACLU example you give is a perfect indication of this. Millions of people need legal help but they only take cases that they personally want to advance for political reasons.

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  82. Law Profs and Pro Bono work

    Survey of policies in law school

    http://apps.americanbar.org/legalservices/probono/lawschools/pb_faculty.html

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  83. I don't see professors doing pro bono for a couple of reasons. (a) most can't practice law and (b) it's not in the nature of a sociopath to help those in need.

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  84. A number of law profs serve as consultants to law firms, which should count as practicing law. The article below suggests that ABA site inspection teams sometimes think they do it too much

    http://www.law.com/jsp/llf/PubArticleLLF.jsp?id=1170928969030

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  85. Law professors would kill for a lucrative consulting position. Those pay a huge hourly rate, but only the best professors can land such work. Famous civ pro professor Arthur Miller? Yeah he consults non-stop. Tier 2/3/4 civ pro professor? Not so much.

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  86. The article suggests it is not just famous people. They hook to the piece is Larry Tribe, but others are mentioned, too. And the complaint from site inspectors suggests it's not just the names we all know.

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  87. That's not what I read, it says Lawrence Tribe is consulting to Akin Gump and Kathleen Sullivan to Quinn (by the way that's a pretty dated article). Arthur Miller consults heavily also.

    But do tier 2/3/4 professors do it? No. If you were good enough to charge $600/hour to consult you wouldn't be teaching at a tier 2/3/4 school. If you were good enough to get $100/hour to consult you wouldn't be teaching at a tier 2/3/4 law school. There are rare exceptions but that's the general circumstance. Frankly consulting doesn't happen much even at a top law school. You have to be a real superstar professor to collect those rates.

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  88. Wait. One of my law school professors has represented indigent clients on a pro bono basis throughout her 25-year teaching career. Because the law school I go to encourages public service and pro bono work - that is, holds them up as important aspects of being part of the legal profession, and does its best to provide students with opportunities to be part of both - it never occurred to me that there aren't professors in other law schools who do a lot of pro bono work.

    No? If not, I'm nominating our professor for some national award or something.

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  89. Wow, how many hours a week does this professor give pro bono? One of my professors did some pro bono work on a big political case, but that was pure resume padding. Representing lots of run of the mill indigents on a probono basis, though, is commendable.

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  90. @12:05 Most school administrations do not like profs to consult too much, even if they had the chance. Sure, the people from well-known institutions in any field have more opportunities than others. My comment was offered in response to the comment immediately before it echoing a recurring theme: that law professors are not equipped to practice law.

    The article is not dated on that point. If in 2005 ABA site inspectors were upset that too many professors were doing consulting outside -- and it does not just have to be law firms at lucrative rates--that suggests that it was not just Arthur MIller they were concerned about. He is only at so many places-- namely Harvard and NYU. That was my point; not about tiers. Not much has happened to profs and their abilities between 2005 and now.

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  91. 12:12, I'm not sure, but my guess is quite a few. I could find out. She is a clinical professor (but her pro bono cases are *separate* from those she in which she supervises her clinical students, of course), and through that and the various social service non-profits she is involved with in this town, she comes into contact w/many people in dire straits who are in need of legal assistance. She has never charged a penny. (Of course, cynical classmates of mine point out that she does not need to charge anything, since she makes a good salary at the law school. But that is a separate point.)

    We (students at this law school) just never thought this was unusual. We also have a very active Volunteer Lawyers Program in this town, and so we see lots of attorneys, including ones from all of the big firms, doing pro bono work, too.

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  92. 12:28, Those are a lot of inferences you're drawing there. Rather than draw inference upon inference upon inference using an article which cites to Tribe and Sullivan consulting, why don't you cite to an article that shows a bunch of tier 2/3/4 professors consulting? No such article exists because again, if you had the talent to consult to law firms, you wouldn't be teaching at a tier 2/3/4 law school.

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  93. Good for her 12:34.

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  94. Re: tier 2/3/4 law professors consulting, http://basedontheforegoing.com/about.html

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  95. @12:28 I'm not at all interested in the question whether it's tier 2/3/4 profs who are consulting. As I explained, my comment addressed the charge that law professors are not capable of practicing law. Sure,you are right 1st tier profs have more chances to do that. But they are profs, and they are practicing. That was the point. Some of the other comments about profs. doing pro bono work in other contexts support this. That's all.

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  96. Can you explain how citing to an article showing that Larry Tribe and Kathleen Sullivan consulted to Akin Gump and Quinn Emanuel proves your point that tier 2/3/4 law professors, or law professors from any school, can practice law?

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  97. @12:54 Are you talking to me, 12:50? The article does not prove that "tier 2/3/4 law professors... can practice law." It does not prove the point about the tiers-- which I never said anyway because I'm not interested in that. That was not my point. I never raised the issue of tiers. Consulting, if it involves giving legal advice, does prove that law professors can practice law. The kinds of pro bono work that involves giving legal advice is practicing law. That's all. Saying that no law professor can practice law is not proof that no law professor can practice law, either.

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  98. Meanwhile, back at Federal District Court.....

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/24/business/judges-compete-for-law-clerks-on-a-lawless-terrain.html?ref=us

    ......even students who are fortunate enough to get this far in their careers are being, well, not scammed, but messed with, anyhow.

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  99. I obviously did not mean that no law professor could practice law.

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  100. 1:16, The entitlement culture of the legal profession (lifetime judgeships, tenure . . .) breeds such contemptible and obnoxious behavior.

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  101. Check this out. If enough people sign, the White House will respond. https://wwws.whitehouse.gov/petitions#!/petitions

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  102. Every petition on there will get more signatures than the law school petition.

    Why isn't moveon's student loan forgiveness petition on there?! It has 400,000 signatures so far according to an email they sent me.

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  103. People who matter
    http://www.nydailynews.com/ny_local/2011/09/24/2011-09-24_police_clashes_with_protestors_calling_for_greater_financial_reform_at_union_squ.html

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  104. I hope you are referring to the police and not the "protestors".

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  105. If you watch the video in that link, you'll see a three 120lb women screaming in pain after taking on and then being attacked by the cops. 120lb women have more courage than the "law school scam" crowd.

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  106. Lawyer who matters:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NwYx9H_QP24

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  107. Look at this poor kid get brutally taken down for nothing.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ey3JjYIKHQA

    This is what you would face if you did an actual law school protest. It wouldn't be pretty.

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  108. You're now talking to yourself. I saw a guy on the bus do that today. He grabbed the pole while he was waiting for the bus doors to open. He did a few pretty quick, energetic 80's aerobic squats just to get the joints working, and when the bus doors opened he rocked back on one leg, the other extended straight out in front of him, and using the bus entrance way like a pitcher's mound, he fired his crumpled up coffee cup against the bus shelter on the sidewalk. Then he turned around, raised both arms, threw his head back and yelled, "YEAHHHHHHH!"

    This is you. And just like today, I'll be happy when you're off the bus.

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  109. Whatever incoherent rabble makes you feel better about your cowardice.

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  110. On the question of whether law professors are capable of practicing law, I don't really think the consulting examples get to the issue.

    Law firms hire medical experts to consult on cases, but that doesn't mean the medical expert is practicing law. Even if the law prof is consulting on a legal matter, it's not really practicing law. Most professors who are not clinicians would have a very hard time seeing a client matter from beginning to end.

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  111. Consulting arrangements are not synonymous with being an expert in a case, legal or medical. They can run the gamut of activities from informal to ongoing formal relations. It depends on what the professor is doing for the firm or organization.

    Your last statement is an opinion that can't be proven, but it is also a too narrow definition of the practice of law. You aren't practicing law unless you see "a client matter from beginning to end" would leave lots of folks out of the practice because some matters go on and on for years. Lawyer at firms will drop in to help with a case, or transaction (mentioned so we don't fall into the trap of thinking the practice of law is just about litigation) and then drop out and go on to another matter.

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  112. Here's what makes law professor consulting fundamentally different from practicing law: you can do it without a license to practice.

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  113. It depends on what they are doing. I know profs who are admitted to the bar and registered to practice who do work that would be considered practicing law. I have practiced with them. Some take out liability insurance in case things go wrong.

    The question is what kinds of activities show a capacity to practice law. The kind of consulting that can often morph into being "of counsel" shows a capacity to practice. That's all. There is no major point here.
    Have you practiced? If so, how long and what type of law? The practice is so varied, from what a tax lawyer, litigator, trust and estates lawyers, corporate lawyer would be doing. It's problem solving and some handholding, among other activities, but it is not one thing.

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  114. "Here's what makes law professor consulting fundamentally different from practicing law: you can do it without a license to practice."

    Check and mate for BL1Y

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  115. I just heard the saddest story from a recent graduate yesterday. A graduate of HYS Law. After her summer associateship, this person was told that he/she would be given an offer only if they received an LL.M. in a specialized area. However, the firm would neither pay for the LL.M. nor put this statement in a contract of any sort. My point is it's bad all over.

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  116. How is that check mate? Law profs who are admitted to practice, and do practice, are practicing law whether all consulting arrangements require a license or not.
    This all started as a story about capabilities and whether any of the activities in consulting can be called the practice of law. Some can. That's a fact.

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  117. Obviously some professors can practice law. No one said that zero law professors could practice. Arthur Miller definitely practices and he even delivers the oral arguments on some of the cases he's hired for. I know this because of a speech at NYU. The point was that a sizeable portion, perhaps most, can't practice law.

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  118. Can't in the sense that there are not enough opportunities, or can't in the sense that they are innately incapable of doing it? Lots of people practicing law aren't close to doing it well. They are just doing it. My point was that the blanket statement that most law professors can't (as in are innately incapable of) practicing law is only a matter of opinion and cannot be proven. It is not based on any kind of empirical data. It would be near impossible to gather it, given the number of profs and the myriad ways that people practice law.

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  119. Innately incapable seems a bit strong as they could probably learn to practice law, but for all practical purposes my sense is that most law professors could not practice law without further experience and training. Their abilities are on par with a second year associate.

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  120. @ 11:47. Sure, if a person left law school and went to work at Bain or McKinsey or for a corporation not doing legal work, after years doing that you could say that person could not practice law. Because... they are out of practice. But that would not be a statement about their basic abilities. Once anyone starts down a path in life it often precludes going down other paths. That's very different from where this started, with a commenter suggesting that law professors are incapable of practicing, period. You see the problem with that.
    Second year associate-- again these are things that just aren't (can't) be stated with authority without actual data. They are impressions. There's nothing wrong with impressions. But they should be recognized as that until somebody comes with data; not anecdotes, observations, or cliches. Before the problems in the market there was some concern about profs doing outside legal work because it interfered with the reports on student/teacher ratios. This went beyond Arthur Miller.

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  121. I don't think anyone said law professors were inherently incapable of practicing law, which is something you might say about a blind person who wants to do surgery.

    "They are impressions. There's nothing wrong with impressions. But they should be recognized as that until somebody comes with data"

    If only you professors so rigorously demanded accurate data when preparing your job placement numbers. But here is data: Law professors work about 20 hours per week (and I'm being generous) and earn more than enough for a comfortable living (they are generally in the top 5% of society). Thus they have lots of extra time that they could use to do pro bono work, but they do no such work. Is that because they're selfish and evil, because they are incompetent attorneys and self-aware of that fact, something else . . . I don't know, but whatever the answer it doesn't say much about law professors.

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  122. At September 24, 2011 9:41 AM , Anonymous said...
    I don't see professors doing pro bono for a couple of reasons. (a) most can't practice law and (b) it's not in the nature of a sociopath to help those in need.

    Maybe I'm wrong, but I took this to mean can't in the sense of incapable. That has been expressed before in a number of ways.

    You are right. Accurate data is needed all around. I never said otherwise.

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  123. I just gave you data. Another bit of data is all of the blogging law professors do on nonsense. That's evidence that they have plenty of free time that they could be devoting to pro bono work if they weren't either incompetent attorneys and/or sociopaths.

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  124. It's Sunday...a day of rest and goofing off on the Net

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  125. Ann Althouse is a perfect example of 2:27. She writes a million blog posts on every topic under the sun, but I doubt she has taken on or could take on a single pro bono legal client.

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