Friday, January 27, 2012

Everybody's in show biz

Email from a reader of Lawyers, Guns and Money (published with permission of the author):

This email will seem to you like the least surprising thing in the world, which makes it ever more tragic. I am a law school applicant.  One day I get an email from the University of Miami SOL (funny how "school of law" and "shit out of luck" share an acronym) telling me they would waive my application fee. I didn't do that much research, but thought, hey, Miami could be fun. It's a major city. It's warm. Both my grades are well above their median, so I might get a lot of money from them, etc. Why not fork up the $16 to apply? I did so, and maybe two weeks later I was accepted. A month later, I get a scholarship of $25,000. "A good scholarship! You should consider it!" my parents said (who not-so-secretly want to buy, or want an excuse to buy, a condo there).

Anyway, fast forward to me reading one of your blog posts urging applicants to be persistent in finding detailed statstics on placement/salary, etc ( - "Do not even consider enrolling in any school that refuses to supply you the core employment rate, in writing, of the most recent graduating class for which it has that data.") So I go on Miami's website to look up their career stats for the c/o 2010.  This is the only thing I find that resembles "detailed statistics": At the bottom, the only stats listed are, "How many reported.." and "Of those, how many are employed..." The total number of employed candidates is listed at 386, or ~84% of the graduating class. Not bad right? But there's no information, none, on what types of jobs these are, whether they require a JD, any salary information, any information on their placement in clerkships or public agencies, etc. The fast facts do say "go to our CDO page for more information".  The following is what Miami says is "more information", found under the FAQ for Prospective Students (

"How much money can I expect to earn upon graduating from UM Law?
Salaries vary enormously depending on the type of law you want to practice and the setting in which you wish to practice. Starting salaries of recent UM grads ranged from $30,000 to $150,000. Law firms in the private sector pay more than government and public interest positions, and larger firms pay more than smaller firms do. Salaries of UM law grads are on the whole comparable to the national average salaries calculated by the National Association of Law Placement."

Oh! A salary range of 30,000-150,000. Well I'm satisfied. Oh! Larger firms pay more than smaller firms, private work pays more than public interest, and 10 TIMES 10 is greater than 10 PLUS 10.

I sent them an email asking for more detailed statistics (see below), but they dodged. The last exchange I found particularly maddening because even though I referenced the lack of info on the CDO website, their response was to...send me to the CDO website.

It's becoming clear that these people are hiding something  I see two scary things about this: 1) Any shade of academic integrity by schools like Miami (ranked #77, with ~123 schools ranked below it) is compromised by these kinds of tactics. Some universities have now become corporations -- actively hiding things from the consumer to increase profit. But, unlike corporations, which are (poorly, but nonetheless) regulated, the law schools' regulator, the ABA, is asleep at the wheel with no sign of consciousness.  2) It only took your blog for me to realize that DETAILED career stats are a huge, huge deal, and any school not providing this information probably has something they do not want you to see. Without doing due research, I would have thought, as my parents did: the scholarship is nice, the campus looks beautiful, I would not have to pay rent (because of the folks' itch to buy a condo), and surely a school LOCATED in Miami would have tons of jobs IN Miami, right?  Nope. Not right. But some like me may not realize this.  Is this their fault? William Robinson thinks it is. But I think not. I think the burden of proof should also be on the school CHARGING the hundreds of thousands to give the customers full and honest information about their students' success rates.  I shouldn't have to email the school asking for these statistics. Nor should the school basically dodge my requests for more information.  [Email correspondence below; read from bottom up]

From: Student Recruiting <>
Date: Thu, Jan 26, 2012 at 11:38 AM
Subject: RE: Placement Question

Sent: Thursday, January 26, 2012 11:25 AM
To: Student Recruiting
Subject: Re: Placement Question


Thanks. The fast facts provided here ( do provide reporting %, but no salary ranges or private/public breakdown, nor do they say how many of the jobs required a JD. Can you redirect me to another link or provide some more information on this? The fast facts do say to go to the CDO page for more information, but I am not able to find this data on that page. Thanks for your help.

On Thu, Jan 26, 2012 at 11:05 AM, Student Recruiting <> wrote:

You can find this information on our website: If you check under fast facts, there will be statistics for you to see.

Luis Acosta
Office of Admissions & Student Recruitment
University of Miami - School of Law
1311 Miller Drive, Suite F203
Coral Gables, Florida 33146
Office: 305.284.6746
Fax:   305.284.4400

Sent: Wednesday, January 25, 2012 5:35 PM
To: Student Recruiting
Subject: Placement Question

Good afternoon,

Fairly recently I was admitted to the class of 2015. I'm still interested in Miami but I am nervous about taking out a lot of debt in an uncertain market. I was looking through the UM law website and could not find detailed placement statistics for the class of 2010 or 2011. Most, if not all, of the other schools to which I sent applications had fairly detailed statistics (total graduates, total # of graduates reporting income, pvt/pub sector breakdown, 25-50-75% in salary, etc) on how their graduates fared.  Do you have this information? If so, could you please provide me, or send me a link to, placement and salary information for the class of 2010 or 2011?

Thank you for your time,



Meanwhile, over at the Colorado Attorney General's office:

DENVER — Colorado Attorney General John Suthers announced today that the state has reached a settlement with the Oklahoma-based tanning chain At The Beach that resolves allegations that the company misled consumers about its tanning contracts. The agreement requires At The Beach to pay an estimated $350,000 in consumer restitution, fines and attorney fees and requires that At The Beach halt its deceptive sales practices and record all of its future sales.

“This agreement is a victory for the hundred of Colorado consumers who felt that At The Beach was not engaging in fair sales practices,” Suthers said. “We believe the company’s agreement to record all sales transactions will deter future misconduct, and is evidence of the company’s desire to change its sales practices.”

At The Beach allowed its employees to misrepresent that consumers could “cancel their contract at any time,” according to the state’s complaint. Former employees and consumers told investigators that the company failed to disclose that cancellation would require payment of half of the remaining cost of the contract. Consumers also said they first learned of the cancellation fee when they attempted to cancel.

Consumers will be eligible for restitution if they have already filed a written complaint with the Colorado Attorney General’s office or the Better Business Bureau. The Office of the Attorney General estimates that more than $100,000 will be refunded to more than 300 past At The Beach customers. The company also will be required to pay an additional $75,000 to the state to be used to reimburse consumers who file complaints going forward.

The settlement also requires At The Beach to pay a $75,000 fine and $38,500 to cover the costs of the investigation. At The Beach has already reimbursed Colorado consumers approximately $45,000 as a result of the state’s investigation into At The Beach’s credit and collection practices.

The settlement also will require At The Beach to:
  • Install recording equipment in all of its stores and maintain an audio copy of every sale;
  • Update its contracts to require initialing from consumers throughout the document; and,
  • Simplify the documentation required to cancel a contract when moving outside the company’s service areas.
To learn more about recent actions the Office of the Attorney General has filed against companies engaged in deceptive trade practices, visit

Note that this case involved a  contract which stated in writing that customers would be charged for half the remaining balance on their contracts if they canceled them prior to expiration.

The juxtaposition of these stories will come as no surprise to anyone familiar with the academic literature on professional self-regulation.


  1. Other news: Obama threatens to do something about the tuition bubble.

  2. The email chain should end with:

    "Dear Applicant:

    Congratulations! You are clearly smart enough to attend a better law school than University of Miami.

    Best of luck in your future endeavors,
    Luis Acosta"

  3. You would think the Republicans would be chomping at the bit to undercut government subsidies to liberal college deans and professors especially if those subsidies are wasteful. But then you get comments like this one:

    Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., a former education secretary, said the autonomy of U.S. higher education is what makes it the best in the world, and he's questioned whether Obama can enforce any plan that shifts federal aid away from colleges and universities without hurting students.
    "It's hard to do without hurting students, and it's not appropriate to do," Alexander said. "The federal government has no business doing this."

    It's comments like this that get me frustrated. STUDENTS ARE HURTING BECAUSE TUITION IS TOO DAMN HIGH. What the government giveth in the form of federally backed loans it should be able to take away.

  4. LawProf,

    I checked the links, but I could not find the crucially important "% of graduates who reported salaries" statistic. However, the applicant claims he found the "reporting %"? Where?

    P.S. This applicant is truly badass. I'd definitely like him to be representing me on a matter!

  5. OMFG only 21.2% (20.3% + 0.8%) of U of Miami graduates reported having a non-zero salary.

    THOSE ARE NYLS LEVEL STATISTICS! In other words, you would be better off taking a scholly at 130th ranked NYLS than paying full tuition for "tier-2" University of Miami Law School. This is actually a crucially important bit of information for someone choosing between the above two possibilities.

  6. (I got the 21.2% from law school transparency.)

    Incidentally, a good follow up email might link the LST information and ask University of Miami to explain the low reporting rate.

  7. 10:13: That's the problem, isn't it? On an individual level, it is better for the tipster to retake the LSAT and try to get into a better ranked school or skip law altogether and go into a different career. However, the profession is worse off for losing this student vs. someone who took the LSAT on a whim, got into a TTT and never even looked up placement stats or researched law school before plopping down the seat deposit.

  8. Okay so let's do something. Lets make this weekend write the senators weekend. Spread the news. email your friends, twitter, facebook, announce it around law school or work. Get as many people as possible to write.

    Senator Chuck Grassley
    135 Hart Senate Office Building
    Washington, DC 20510
    (202) 224 - 3744
    Fax: (202) 224-6020

    Office of U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer
    112 Hart Senate Office Building
    Washington, D.C. 20510
    (202) 224-3553

  9. Thanks 10:24. Don't forget Coburn.

  10. UM law certainly does a great job of selling itself. Miami and Coral gables are beautiful. I'd love to live there for 3 years.

    And this is what makes post-graduation sting that much more. You go from living in a beautiful place, pretending to be affluent, with dreams pumped into your head by this website of kicking ass and taking names by day and partying on South Beach by night, straight into your parents' basement with piles of debt and no job prospects.

    And Legal Academics still balk at calling law school a scam. How is it anything but?

  11. Its kind of weird- I'm a fan of this blog, and am on board with the whole scam movement thing. I don't have too much skin in the game in that I graduated law school a while ago and was lucky enough to pay back most of my loans through a combination of scrimping and the bank of mom and dad, but I didn't think Miami's response or data was all that bad. I also felt like the applicant was asking for the school to tell him what would happen to him in his life. The school can only do so much. As I type this, I find myself sounding like a baby boomer saying, the school gave you the degree, right? What's the problem? I don't want to be that guy, but a little research can tell you something about Miami's reputation (particularly in Miami) and the market. Something's gotta be up to the student, right?

  12. @10:39 - Yes, of course, something has to be up to the student. But that doesn't change the fact that any school with results this poor can't justify charging $40,000.00 per year in tuition to anyone. The fact that some students might be smart enough to avoid it doesn't justify the school taking the money from the students who miss the warnings.

  13. " I also felt like the applicant was asking for the school to tell him what would happen to him in his life. "


    The student is asking the school to tell him WHAT HAPPENED TO PRIOR GRADUATING CLASSES. Miami won't answer his question because they want to deceive him.

    Please do not make that insulting and erroneous statement ever again.

  14. P.S. but 10:39 makes a good point that people questioning the school should make sure to frame the question as "what happened to last year's class" (something they have a right to know) as opposed to "what will happen to me" (a question that is not sympathetic).

  15. 10:39: I don't think what the student did was unreasonable. He asked some rational questions based on research he did about law school in general to try and answer the questions left by the statistics. I felt the school's response demonstrated annoyance that the applicant would dare question that some of their grads were working in jobs that were not JD required. It's also not crazy to wonder how many grads are making 150, 140, 130...50, 40, 30, 0 given the info about the bimodal (or trimodal if you count unemployeds/free labor) salary distribution. I think the applicant was rightfully suspicious of their inability to answer these questions in detail, which can only mean 1) they don't know or don't care to know, 2) they are intentionally holding back. Neither of those two reasons provide good justification for such a large investment of time and money.

    Unfortunately, the law schools cannot have it both ways. If they want to act like businesses and withhold information from consumers, they need to be treated as businesses in other aspects as well, such as their reputation among the applicant pool and continued eligibility for federally guaranteed loans.

  16. @10:39 - Yes, of course, something has to be up to the student. But that doesn't change the fact that any school with results this poor can't justify charging $40,000.00 per year in tuition to anyone. The fact that some students might be smart enough to avoid it doesn't justify the school taking the money from the students who miss the warnings.

  17. No, I'm not going to relax as you attack someone for demanding something that is their right, and I'm not going to relax when the scumbags at U of M try to hide the information.

    But you made a good point re: how to phrase the question because, yes, "how will I do" is not a good question, whereas "how did last year's class do" is a good one.

  18. I don't understand 10:39's complaint. This student is proactively requesting detailed employment statistics from the school (salary ranges, private/public breakdown, how many of the jobs required a JD.) He's not whining, claiming to be victimized, or saying that the CDO should predict his future.

    If 10:39 reads the request for detailed statistics about past students' employment to be a request by the applicant "for the school to tell him what would happen to him in his life," 10:39's reading comprehension is severely lacking, at best.

  19. "Oh! A salary range of 30,000-150,000. Well I'm satisfied. Oh! Larger firms pay more than smaller firms, private work pays more than public interest, and 10 TIMES 10 is greater than 10 PLUS 10."

    lol. I think LawProf should do a post on the importance of a comedic perspective in coping with the absurdities, and especially the mental health issues (high rates of depression), of law school.

  20. 10:39 here. The school didn't give out the statistics because it doesn't have the statistics. It doesn't have the statistics for two reasons. 1) It never had a need to keep them until recently. 2) The schools do not hire detectives to follow every student. Rather, they mail out surveys. If you're in a prestigious clerkship or cushy firm position, you take you see mail from your law school and you say lovely, why yes, I'd be happy to answer your survey, I'm clerking for judge so and so, or I'm making 160K at Dewey, Cheetham and Howe, life is wonderful, thank you very much. if you're working in a shitty temp position, or not working at all, you get the survey and throw it in the garbage because you don't care about the school and its too painful to put into writing what you're doing. Is that good? No. But the charicature of the schools as boiler room penny stock brokerage firms is getting a little silly.

  21. A great follow-up question to the "$30,000 to $150,000" statement would have been as follows:

    Are you saying that no member of the 2011 graduating class earns less than $30,000 per year? If that is not what you are saying, then can you tell me how many of them are earning less than that amount?

    I'd like to see Miami's deceivers shit their pants as they try to explain why (probably) 1/2 of their graduating class makes less than $30k.

  22. 11:17: That's not the situation at all. Miami collected employment (or unemployment) information from 95% of its grads. And it's 5% non-reporting rate is actually high for law schools. They have an enormous amount of relevant information (indeed the information the prospective student was asking for), which they simply choose not to disclose, for what by this point should be obvious reasons.

  23. "The school didn't give out the statistics because it doesn't have the statistics."

    That's not true. Law school transparency knows that only 21% of Miami's graduates reported having a non-zero salary, so either LST is lying or they got those numbers from University of Miami (I believe U of M gives them to NALP or USN and LST gets it from those latter two sources).

    It's also not true because University of Miami is practicing the illegal act of willful blindness. If fraudsters could get away by simply "not knowing" then we would live in an entirely different world. They know or can very easily get this information but they choose not to because they want to lie to this applicant, so they can earn a salary by putting him or her into life crushing debt with little job opportunity.

    Finally, it's not true because Miami has a lot more information then they disclosed to this person. Those surveys that you write about are in their possession, so why not remove the names and send them to this applicant?

    This is now the second time you've lied here.

    1. Please admit your first lie (that the student was not asking what would happen to him or her, but rather was asking what happened to prior classes).

    2. Please admit your second lie (that University of Miami has disclosed every bit of data they are aware of).

  24. I once interviewed a U. of Miami law school grad for an associate position in our real estate/foreclosures department. During the interview I asked him if he would be at ease dispossessing people from their homes and he responded that he received an A in property and that he tutored first year law students on the Rule against Perpetuities, the rule in Shelley's case, and was well versed on Blackstone's treatises. His answer was unimpressive but what I found more disappointing was that his answer did not answer my question. Thus, when I read this story it did not surprise me that U. of Miami law school did not answer the applicant's question.

  25. 10:39: If schools know such statistics are important to prospective students and could be useful, what does that say about a school that refuses to collect such statistics, or does not make the effort to ensure their statistics are representative of the performance of their class? Why would an applicant be expected to make such a large investment of time and money in an institution that obviously does not care to provide relatively simple yet vital information?

  26. 11:23- 10:39 again. I renew my request for you to take it down a notch regarding my "lies."

    Regardless, I'm not sure what the outrage here is. A student was offered admission and a scholarship. He poked around a little, realized something didn't smell right, and declined the offer. Tragedy averted.

  27. Miami has these same stats, in this form, which they could put up on their web site in five minutes:

    This is what Law School Transparency has just asked all ABA law schools to do: publish their NALP data.

  28. 11:23- 10:39 again. I renew my request for you to take it down a notch regarding my "lies."


    No. You have now been exposed as completely shameless and dishonest. It is time for you to apologize and retract your lies, or be labeled a scumbag.

  29. 10:39 again, fair enough law prof, and this is a laudable goal.

    It doesn't change that your interlocutor writes that he was saved by doing the barest of research and acting accordingly, whereas others, who do absolutely nothing, might suffer a different fate.

    "Without doing due research, I would have thought, as my parents did: the scholarship is nice, the campus looks beautiful, I would not have to pay rent (because of the folks' itch to buy a condo), and surely a school LOCATED in Miami would have tons of jobs IN Miami, right? Nope. Not right. But some like me may not realize this."

  30. 11:39, you can label me whatever you like. And I recommend decaf.

  31. 11:39 #1: Cut it out.

    11:39 #2: I think what's illuminating about this exchange is that it didn't occur to the prospective student that the law school might be intentionally misleading him until someone to whom he was willing to pay attention told him to consider that possibility, and act accordingly. I don't think he's at all unusual in that regard.

  32. "I recommend decaf."

    I recommend a conscience that is more developed than that of a reptile.

  33. "I recommend a conscience that is more developed than that of a reptile."

    This is not an issue of conscience for me. I'm not a law school administrator, a law prof teaching room fulls of students who will never practice law, or someone in the student loan business. I'm just a guy who graduated from law school, got a job paying about 1/4 of what some of my classmates made, and worked hard to make the best of it.

    There are certain aspects of the scam that are serious- the lack of transparency, the total disconnect between the academy and the profession, the lack of frankness or understanding about bimodal salary distribution. But saving the student who will do no research at all is way down on the list.

  34. I think that, in addition to the clarity poignancy of the writing, my favorite part of this blog is that LawProf gets in the comments and contributes.

    LawProf, do you go out drinking with your students? Should we send you a check so that you can start?

  35. *clarity and poignancy

  36. In Re Due Diligence:

    I recall in-depth conversations with my family and college professors regarding going to law school, as well as lengthy conversations with lawyers whom my family knew.

    Problem was, my family and college professors had no basis for their understanding of the law profession, and my parents were swayed by the cultural understanding of lawyers. And I suppose I swayed them a bit with tales of salary averages and 25%-75% outcomes. I wanted to believe.

    The lawyers I spoke to, including an aunt who is a small city judge with a private practice, warned of the non-financial pitfalls of the profession. However, they became lawyers on average over three decades ago, and had little understanding of the current entry level jobs crisis.

    I should have known, but was trusting when I should have been skeptical.

  37. @11:54 - why is "saving the student who will do no research" so far down on the list? Does the fact that one scam is more obvious than another make the perpetrator of the first any less guilty? If a fraudster fails to trick his first nine victims, but fools his 10th, should we just let the fraudster off because the victim should have known better?

  38. The result of a blog where a large portion of the readership is law students is that you have too many readers with Rule 10b-5 on the brain. Hah! They defrauded me by failing to disclose material information. But Rule 10b-5 doesn't apply to every aspect of life.

    They gave you an education, didn't they? You're eligible to sit for the bar, aren't you? Whether its the right choice for you- there's only so much they can do in that regard.

    Do I think law schools should conduct themselves with greater honesty and integrity than they do? Yes. But the salesman that recently sold me my Hyundai Elantra neglected to tell my that the car would not help me get any chicks and I'm not mad at him.

  39. 11:17:

    As a recent graduate who not too long ago received a survey from my law school about my employment prospects and situation, I believe you are a little bit misguided as to why the schools don't have the information.

    The survey I received from the school (who, by the way, took the time to mail it out to me) asked me what type of employment position I had. Only if I answered an attorney was I asked my salary. That means that the school had already made the effort to solicit my information, but it specifically did not WANT me to fill in salary info unless I was working as an attorney.

    This is particularly important when one realizes that I come from a school where approximately one half of the graduates are unable to get attorney jobs and are working in low-paying retail jobs. By specifically only choosing to gather info on the salaries of the more successful half of the class, they are already guaranteeing that the salary info they publish will be skewed.

    So, while your characterization of law schools not having that info may be correct, it fails to point out that law schools don't have that info because they don't WISH to have it. Given that my school had already mailed out that info to me, it would not have cost them extra to simply ask for my salary regardless of what I was doing for a living. And for the record, I would have been very happy to supply it. I wasn't asked. Only the more successful members of my class were.

  40. The failure to disclose material information is bad enough, but the fraud really comes from admitting students who the school knows - to an almost absolute certainty - will never be able to make a living as an attorney or pay back their loans. It would also be nice to live in a world where the deans of our institutes of higher education were held to a higher standard than used car salesmen.

  41. 12:10

    Yeah, but he didn't lie about your prospects of getting chicks, did he? Then you would have had a claim, if he had lied about it.

  42. 12:14, We saw a sample survey in a post from a few months ago, and yes it was ridiculously complex and asked questions in a way that suggested it was trying to stifle the graduates' desire to communicate information as oppose to solicit the information.

  43. 12:10, 10b-5 is a relatively new development in an area of law that has existed for millenia. That area of law is called fraud.

  44. This is tangential, but the notion that anyone would or should be selecting between UM and NYLS, regardless of the financial factors, just seems crazy to me. I agree that law school is a bad idea for nearly everyone. It is an especially bad idea to go to a law school outside HYS (or maybe T14) in a place* where you don't have roots or a reason to live your adult life.

    All the 'networking' in the world in NYC during law school and a year or two after just isn't going to do that much good if you move home to Alabama. (To pick a nearly random example). You'll be at a huge competitive disadvantage with local law grads who've made comparable efforts, and I don't care what some magazine says (or a bunch of AmLaw 25 partners think) about the relative prestige of law schools.

    The idea that the correspondent here would or should assume to know anything at all about the legal market in Miami -- based on what, presence of a law school there -- without having lived there and having real life connections: this is one of the many ways law students fall afoul of the grim reality described daily on this blog.


    * Market area, not actual locality. That is, there's nothing wrong with students from Montana State coming the 3 hours to UM for law school. People from suburban NJ should not be going to FL, imo, without a serious and well vetted plan.

  45. Even if you don't save the no-research student for the sake of the student, you still save that student for the sake of the profession. It doesn't take a genius to understand that lowering admissions standards to fill every seat and then releasing twice as many JDs then there are jobs into an already oversaturated market is going to hurt this profession in the long run.

    That doesn't even begin to discuss the ramifications the cumulative debt of all these students will have on taxpayers who are on the hook for that money.

    You don't live in a bubble where the poor choices of others have no effect on you. 2008 should have taught you that.

  46. I agree. The extent to which 0Ls do or do not research is irrelevant to the question of whether the law school is publishing misleading statistics.

  47. 12:19, I totally don't understand what point you are making. Are you saying that UM is a better school than NYLS (even though both have an attrotious 21% salary reporting rate, and even though of those reported salaries - NYLS has a higher average and median), so are you saying that UM is better than NYLS or are you saying that both are not worth attending?

    Based on the placement stats I've seen, you should not choose UM over NYLS with scholarship money, and perhaps you should not choose UM over NYLS at all.

    This is what transparency is about - it's about giving you the information you need to make the best choice.

  48. Here's a hypothetical for you all:

    A drug company develops a new treatment for cancer. They conduct a study showing that 20% of the patients get cured and 80% die faster as a direct result of taking the new drug. The drug company then sends out a survey to the study participants, and asks if they are satisfied with the new drug. Of course, the 80% of patients who died don't respond to the survey. The drug company then advertises the drug, claiming that 100% of patients who responded to their post-treatment survey were highly satisfied. How would you characterize the behavior of the drug company, and would you say that they didn't defraud anyone based on either: a) the literal truthfulness of their advertising, b) the fact that they didn't know in advance which specific patients would die as a result of taking the drug, and c) the fact that the patients could have done independent research and discovered the earlier study showing the 70% fatality rate?

  49. 12:22, what he is saying is that law school hiring markets are local. Useful statistics might be knowing how many NYLS grads the NY County DA hires vs. how many Miami grads the Dade County DA does.

  50. lol 12:24. It's sad that you needed to waste your time providing analogies to explain such an obvious point. but thanks any way. please do not allow yourself to be trolled by the ridiculous follow up questions you are likely to get.

  51. Also, proving the stupidity or laziness of the non-researching 0L is not a defense. Law schools should not be accepting stupid and lazy people.

  52. 12:27, Why would that be more useful than statistics telling you whether you will get a job, or whether you will be unemployed and starving? I'd say this is the first question that needs to be answered. Once UM answers that we can get down to local hiring.

  53. "12:27, Why would that be more useful than statistics telling you whether you will get a job, or whether you will be unemployed and starving?"

    I think this question says it all, really. There are no statistics that will tell you whether you will get a job or whether you will be unemployed or starving.

    Whether the local DA's office hires grads from your school however, will give you a decent proxy for the esteem in which your school is held locally, (forget nationally, if its not T-14, the answer is no esteem at all) and whether there are other, better schools occupying the market in which you'll be seeking a job. Whether the local DA's office hires from a particular school is much more useful data then knowing what percentage of the class got a fictional job somewhere between $30,000 and $150,000. The local DA is a real employer, that exists in some form or another in every locality, and if the office isn't staffed by grads of your school, you're in trouble.

  54. 12:22 -- Law school is a bad idea for the vast majority of 0Ls. Bad, bad, bad.

    If someone is going to go, though, they should play to win. I am saying that UM is a better choice if you live in south Florida, have connections in the legal market there, and understand what the practice of law in Florida is like. I think it's a bad idea for someone from NJ to go there because of the weather, or because of a marginal difference in placement stats.

    Similarly, NYLS would be the better choice for someone in that area, but unless you plan to live your adult life there, where the connections you can make are going to have at least the potential of doing you good, it's a bad choice.

    Yes, certainly accurate stats are essential. Necessary but not sufficient, and the idea that one can compare law schools one to another without thought of where you're going to spend your professional career, is pernicious nonsense. Outside the very top.


  55. "There are no statistics that will tell you whether you will get a job or whether you will be unemployed or starving."

    Oh yes there are, for example:

    Stop these lies about how the data "does not exist." Your peers in physics are discovering things the existence of which 99.9999% of the world can not comprehend.

    You are denying the existence of something 99% of the world understands, i.e. the answer to the question "graduate, do you have a job? where? what salary?"

    That tells you all you need to know about the value of legal academia in higher education.

  56. It's funny to see how information reveals that University of Miami Law is probably a worse school than NYLS.

    Again, NYLS and UM have the same percentage of graduates with a reported salary, and of those groups, NYLS's average and median blow UM's away (because they place their top students in NYC biglaw obviously, which pays more).

    Now NYLS has been trashed up and down this blog, but I would like to give them credit and believe they would be a better choice than UM for any student attending law school for a job.

  57. 12:55, I was responding to someone who wondered why it would be preferable to know whether the local prosecutor's office vs. stats on whether you will be unemployed and starving, in the context of a discussion about comparing stats for NYLS and UM.

    Yes, U. Chicago has great stats- both in breadth, and the actual results. Students from U. Chicago do well. If the school you are considering attending is not similarly heralded by U.S. News and World Report, or society at large, as being in the same league with U. Chicago, then the job prospects are not good. This is something that attendees at lower ranked schools have known since long before 2008 and long before the internet. Its only years of the self-esteem movement that has made students wonder that maybe attending Suffolk will put them in the same stead as attending Harvard.

  58. 12:57- in New York, where I practice and live, NYLS is not highly regarded. I know some excellent lawyers who went there, but it is not highly regarded. I gather that U. of Miami is held in higher esteem in Miami than NYLS is in New York.

  59. @12:57:

    My one bedroom in a so so part of brooklyn ten minutes from the train is 1800 per month. I would imagine you can live in and around Miami for far less than you can in and around New York, where most NYLS grads end up.

  60. "I gather that U. of Miami is held in higher esteem in Miami than NYLS is in New York."

    That's the value of transparency and data, is that it demystifies and elucidates such imagined impressions.

  61. That's a fair point Terry, but then again who knows how expensive Miami is. It's not like Miami is the city BL1Y lives in now (just kidding BL1Y you know where's just playing).

  62. Although there is currently no momentum at all in this direction, I think a perfectly good solution to the transparancy problem would be for the schools to publish no employment stats at all and to refuse to say anything other than "we don't know" when asked about job prospects.

    Law schools right now want to have it both ways.  They want to be able to publish job statistics on the one hand, and on the other take no responsibility for their effects.  I think it needs to be one or the other.

    Either schools publish these stats and be held strictly accountable or publish nothing at all and push all responsibility onto the 0L.  I think the latter might actually be the preferable situation.  Cleaner and neater, certainly.

  63. I agree that no answer is better than a misleading one. As far as I know, under the law, saying "no answer" can never be fraudulent.

  64. That all the top schools are putting out more information should give prospective students an example of what questions to ask.

  65. If you can force the schools to publish no employment stats than you can probably force them to publish detailed employment stats like Chicago, Michigan State and others.

    If you can't get the schools to publish detailed employment stats you probably won't get them to give up on the old "95% employed with an average starting salary of $105,000" bit.

  66. Michigan State's "percentage of graduates who reported a salary" figure is very low. I think it was about 30%? Somehow, they know that a large portion of their graduates are holding full time legal jobs, yet they don't know how much these graduates make.

    Michigan State's stats are no more helpful than any other TTT's. They just present them information in a huge and complex chart.


    According to this it says 348 grads reported

  68. If prospective students begin to demand information based on what HYS and Chicago report, it will make a difference. If they do not get the information that is important to them, they should not go.

  69. "According to this it says 348 grads reported"

    Try 85 (out of 348). You have to be very careful when reading these numbers as schools like to hide the important information.

  70. Michigan State's stats reveal that 43% of the class purported to have full time jobs requiring a law degree nine months after graduation. (This includes temporary positions, positions with nominal or zero salaries etc). If that stat doesn't dissuade an applicant I doubt anything else will.

  71. Ah, tricky. Chicago's is much clearer. Still doesn't look too good for MSU though.

  72. To be fair, at least MSU disclosed the information. Sure you have to look hard and be careful, but it's there.

  73. I hope Luis Acosta sees this post and shits his pants.

  74. He's probably too busy coloring the fonts in his email signature.

  75. "Note that this case involved a contract which stated in writing that customers would be charged for half the remaining balance on their contracts if they canceled them prior to expiration."

    I didn't want to comment on the analogy with the tanning company as it's too depressing to be aware of but . . .

    Like I've always said. Open up a restuarant and sell someone a bad meal and they will rip you a new one (I've seen it happen). Open up a law school and take 3 years and a fortune for something that is worth no where near what you promised and your graduates will go away bitter and silent.

  76. The argument goes on as to whether the student who will do no research deserves saving. A position on this is that whatever way you come down on this, fraud is fraud and fraud is reprehensible. Another view is that whatever duty is owed by the law schools to the 0L's , you still save the student for the sake of the profession. All true, but these arguments don't address the effect of the production of a large number of unemployed and unemployable law graduates on the country. They are just lost. Their minimum 150 LSAT doesn't register much with the rest of us. But that's intelligent. 115 IQ or better. Above average college graduates with work habits diligent enough to get through law school and the bar. These people should be at the core of our productive economy. Weighed down with $100,000 of debt, several years of fruitless and unemployed search for legal employment and depression, they never will be. And that's 25,000 this year, another 25,000 next year and 25,000 a year forever. William Ockham

  77. I think the argument is that as more information is available, and more people know what to ask, prospective students will have the ability to make different choices. These issues have been aired all over the Net, and in the MSM. Schools are providing better data. Prospective students will be in a better position to decide whether they should go to law school.

  78. Exactly. It's just about making an informed choice.

  79. How much is Mr. Acosta being paid to send out essentially empty emails? I've never seen such poor customer service. Maybe UM should put their employees through whatever training Amazon gives their customer service folks.

  80. Isn't the ABA voting on disclosure?Schools will likely follow what they require.

  81. That's troubling, since the committee making that vote is made up mostly of profs. and deans from TTTs.

  82. Well, we can wait to see whether what they come up with is sufficient. It cannot be judged insufficient because it is not what LST wants.

  83. They already came up with something, it was not only insufficient but they had the gall to amend it to make it even more misleading. Try to read up on history before commenting.

  84. I know what they have proposed. The final vote is in March. It is not March yet.

  85. Don't mean to digress but I was wondering whether it would be possible to petition the people at USNWR to disregard employment statistics for ranking purposes. Obviously schools fudge the numbers to varying degrees. Not only that, it appears that in most cases, the first job is a temporary one.

    I think the employment statistics should be removed and tuition should replace it. The lower the tuition, the higher the rank. At least if the law schools game tuition, it will most likely benefit the student.

    Or am I being racist and elitist?

  86. One of the many absurdities, outright ridiculous absurdities, of law school is that a second tier failing news magazine was allowed to appoint themselves as the regulators of legal academia.

    It just goes to show you how dumb legal academics are.

    Med schools couldn't give a shit what USNWR writes, but law schools changed their entire model. USNWR says jump, they say how high.

  87. That's because some law students pay attention to it, and make decisions based on it. If med students paid attention, med schools would too.

  88. A follow up on my comments of 3:25 to put the damage to the country done by our law schools in perspective. Say a million students graduate from college this year. The 25,000 unemployed and unemployable law graduates who are largely lost to the economy, represent 2.5% of all college graduates. Or since almost all of the 25,000 came out of the top half of their undergrad class, the loss then equals 5% of our better college graduates. Or say 5,000 of the law grads came out of the top 10% of their college class. Then 5% of our finest graduates are striped out of the economy. You can work these numbers various ways, but the loss to the country is substancial. William Ockham

  89. I'm in my second semester second year and need advice on what to do. I've realized that by the time I graduate, I'll be in the hole close to 130K. I've really come to the conclusion that as a 25 year old, my life is going to be thoroughly fu@ked for at least a decade as I try to pay off the loans.

    I'm from an Asian family and my parents want me to continue. But I've realized that whether I get the JD or not, I'll still be working in a non-legal low paying career. I'm most definitely not in the top 50%, haven't done any competitions or journals etc.

    Should I drop? I would really appreciate any answers. I've been reading this blog for months and have begun to understand that non-law students and even many law students don't get the fact that getting a legal career is not easy.... Please advise as I can't seem to convince anyone else of the truth...

  90. Dude, your more than half way through (2/3rds tuition-wise), just stick it out, and hope for the best (and start learning how to set up a solo shop now=)

  91. 10:27 -

    That's a tough decision. You are right - most people not in the legal field just don't get how tough it is - they just don't understand.

    That's why you have to make the decision yourself, based on your own knowledge and what's best for you. Write out a list of all the pros and cons of if you stay and if you leave. Of course, the cons if you leave will be that your family will be disappointed in you. Maybe show them some literature from sites like these and others that explains how much you will be in debt and the little chance you will have of paying it off.

    Ultimately, you may never convince them but understand that it is because they aren't as familiar with the field as you are. So you will have to count more on your judgment than theirs. Some of the cons of staying you have already remarked upon: high debt load, high probability of being unable to find a job, etc.

    As for being not in the top 50% of your class, I realize some may disagree w/ me, but watching how my fellow grads have fared, I have honestly found it is less about grades and school then it is about luck and the market. I have seen excellent students fare poorly and average ones do quite well. Their success (or lack of it) usually depended more upon where they were looking for work than their performance in law school. This tells me it's less about grades and more about the market. The guy in New York, despite his good grades, had a lot harder go at it than the fellow in New Mexico, who found a job immediately.

    Lastly, don't let the fact that you haven't done any competitions or journals as of now influence the fact. I didn't start getting involved in competitions until I was right where you are, and I ended up doing quite a few in my time by the time I graduated and being quite successful at them. (Of course, none of that mattered in the real world anyway - all they wanted was 3-5 years of experience and by experience, they weren't referring to competitions.) Nevertheless, if you do decide to stick it out, I would start getting involved in competitions now - if nothing else, they build confidence.

    I wish you the best of luck in deciding.

  92. Dropping out in 3L is a tough one. I would absolutely max out on my loans and spend as little as possible, so you'll have some savings when you graduate unemployed and go on IBR (IBR looks only at your income, not your savings).

  93. 10:27: What, roughly speaking, is your law school ranked and what area of the country are you in?

  94. 10:27,

    Keep in mind that your perspective may be warped by the depression you are likely feeling right now. As has been said on this blog many times, law school is a mental illness factory. That's what law school creates - mental illness, mainly depression.

    4% of 0Ls are depressed, but 40% of 3Ls are depressed. I think I read that the depression rate in 2L was like 20-something %.

    In other words, what's happening to you is that the factory's machine tools are working their trade on your mind. You're pessimistic, hopeless, worried about your next 10 years, worried about your parents . . . your mind has gone from one of natural positivity and mental health to one where you see nothing but gray (by the way, this is the "critical thinking" gift that law school gave you, i.e. you are now able to see only the negative in everything. congratulations.)

    Of course a mentally ill mind is not one suited for decision making, so please be careful whatever you do. Since you've already sunk so much into it, it seems to me that you might as well finish and get that "J.D." credential by your name even though you won't work in law.

    But whatever you do, just make sure that's it's your own rational choice, and not a manifestation of the "gift" that law school gave you.

  95. 10:27,

    It's your third year so may as well stick with it and get the JD.

    You probably don't give a shit anymore about your grades so I think you should just go to classes only two days per week and work the other three. Get any job and to the best of your ability, use the money to pay off student loans or save up for a bar review course.

    If you can't get a job, join as many bar associations as a student. You should be able to join for free. Use that opportunity to work with groups and "network" (whatever that's worth).

  96. I wish that this story could be posted in the U.S. News and World Report's 2012 Graduate School edition.

  97. Yes, you should drop out. If you can't get money back from this semester - then spend all your time looking for jobs. I wouldn't even bother with going to school at all. There is no point in continuing. I don't agree with the advice to keep borrowing - it makes no sense to have to pay back more.

    Tell prospective employers you realized that you don't want to practice law, so there is no point in continuing to get a JD.

  98. 12:14 - not sure what survey your school is sending out, but the NALP survey, which is what our school sends out, asks for salary if you are employed regardless of whether it is in an attorney position or not.

  99. What do you enter if you're an unpaid licensed attorney (similar to what the US DOJ is hiring these days), or if you make $10/hour? Any slots for those options, or are you only allowed to write something in if you make a "salary?"


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