Thursday, January 5, 2012

Exhibit A

To be stupid, selfish, and have good health are three requirements for happiness, though if stupidity is lacking, all is lost.

  -- Flaubert --

From the ABA's web site:

Wm. T. (Bill) Robinson III is Member-in-Charge of the Northern Kentucky offices of Frost Brown Todd LLC, a regional law firm with offices in Kentucky, Ohio, Tennessee, West Virginia and Indiana. He currently serves as President of the American Bar Association for a one-year term which began on August 8, 2011.
 From Reuters, via the Chicago Tribune:

Young lawyers with huge educational debts and no jobs in a depressed U.S. legal market should have known what they were getting into, the president of the American Bar Association said on Wednesday.

William Robinson, in an interview at the ABA's office here, responded to recent criticisms from Congress, the media and law students targeting the role of the trade group in fostering high expectations about legal jobs.

Robinson, a lawyer in Kentucky, said anyone entering law school has already completed an undergraduate degree or more.

"It's inconceivable to me that someone with a college education, or a graduate level education, would not know before deciding to go to law school that the economy has declined over the last several years and that the job market out there is not as opportune as it might have been five, six, seven, eight years ago," he said.

College graduates are capable of making "an independent decision and a free choice" to go to law school, he said.
To quote a leading contemporary philosopher, the problem with this business is that it's filled to the brim with unrealistic . . . individuals.
  Individuals like Wm. T. (Bill) Robinson III, who apparently thinks that being an old white guy in an (empty) suit with good hair and a fancy title after his name immunizes him and his organization from the potentially unpleasant consequences which might follow from giving an interview in which he essentially tells a few U.S. senators to drop dead.


Critics including two [actually three] U.S. senators have asked whether the bar association does enough to police law schools, a handful of which face allegations that they inflated statistics about post-graduation employment in order to attract more students.

Robinson said the number of schools in question is "no more than four" [sic] out of 200 with ABA accreditation, and he said few lawmakers have expressed interest in the subject. "It hasn't been a groundswell of comment from Congress," he said.

I'm personally looking forward to seeing Wm. T. (Bill) Robinson III's testimony at the upcoming Senate hearings on the subject of, among many other fascinating topics, whether the current president of the ABA is as crooked as a three-dollar bill, or just remarkably stupid.

This isn't as easy a question to answer as you might imagine.  It's true that it's hard to believe anyone with an IQ over 95 could say the things Robinson says in this interview (really, go read it). On the other hand, I've learned over the past couple of decades that there are some really, really dumb people in this business, some of whom, through the mysterious processes by which Persons of Quality rise to Positions of Leadership, are actually running important aspects of this thing of ours.

Robinson, it seems, is happy as the proverbial clam, and roughly as self-aware.  Does he really think anyone who matters is going to buy what he's selling?  After all, his organization's commitment to requiring law schools to publish something other than grossly misleading employment and salary data was completely invisible until his office started getting pointed inquiries from U.S. senators a few months ago -- inquiries to which Robinson's organization made such an inadequate response that they generated polite but firm requests to try again.  Now he turns around and gives a formal interview -- I find it hard to believe that these quotes were generated in such a context, as opposed to a drunken post-midnight conversation in a Palmer House bar -- in which he basically says all these unemployed law grads with six figures of non-dischargeable debt are a bunch of naive idiots, whose current situation is their own goddamned fault.

Robinson's theory of the case, as it were, appears to be that having a college degree precludes someone from bringing an action for fraud.  I'm no expert in this area of the law, but I have my doubts about the soundness of that purported doctrine.  In the alternative, the learned gentleman argues that the ABA is powerless to do anything about the fact that elite law schools charge such high tuition (as compared to non-elite schools), and in any case who's to say whether law school costs too much these days?  Mr. Bojangles tap dances around that question:

"I should take the lead in telling these [elite law] schools that they should reduce their tuition to $25,000 a year? No, I don't think I should do that. I don't think it would be purposeful. I don't think it would be meaningful. I don't think it would accomplish anything for me to do that," Robinson said.

He said "it's a complex question as to whether the cost is higher than it should be or is justified."
You really couldn't ask for a better illustration of how untethered our profession's powers that be have gotten from basic social and economic reality.  Does Robinson actually think that, under present conditions and into the foreseeable future, an annual tuition of $25,000 would make the average law school a good deal?  Is he aware that this number is 70% higher, in real, inflation-adjusted dollars, than what the average private law school cost 25 years ago?  Does he understand that a $25,000 annual tuition translates into an average of $80,000 of law school debt for students who attend such institutions? Does he have any idea how many current law graduates have career prospects that justify taking on that amount of high-interest non-dischargeable debt?

These are not "complex questions."  A complex question is whether you'd rather have Aaron Rodgers or Tom Brady as your quarterback with the score tied in the fourth quarter, or whether the universe is ultimately a meaningless void, or whether Beggars Banquet is a better album than Abbey Road.  A simple question is whether the current cost of legal education is justified by the likely return on investment it produces.

So here's to you, Mr. Robinson. You've provided a perfect illustration of why Congress needs to take a regulatory flamethrower to your clueless organization, at least to the extent it continues to enable a system of professional accreditation that has degenerated into the smuggest and slackest of cartels -- one which benefits law schools, while doing serious damage to lawyers, law students, and, not least, the public at large, which will be picking up the tab for all the selfishness and stupidity that fuels this system.

87 comments:

  1. I wish LawProf took donations. He deserves several, if not dozens of, dollars for this piece.

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  2. Must've been nice to only have to raise $330 for a semester at law school.

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  3. Wow. This guy is unbelievable.

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  4. The author can't be a lawyer. Much, much too good a writer.

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  5. Another excellent post, professor.

    We should be thankful that the ABA is led by such bumbling idiots who are totally disconnected from reality and inept at PR. Totally advances the cause.

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  6. Can't wait to see this clown get the public smackdown from Barbara "Don't Call me Ma'am" Boxer.

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  7. "I wish LawProf took donations. He deserves several, if not dozens of, dollars for this piece."

    He is taking donations, its called "tuition" from these same scammed students.

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  8. This was a delight to read. Thanks, LawProf.

    FYI: your blog helped push me away from the full time law school track. Originally, I planned to drop my job (which I enjoy and pays well) for a FT, top 20 program. After reading your posts and the comments of others, I readjusted my expectations. I now plan on entering a part time program for free. If it works out...great. If not, I've only wasted my time, and not my life savings.

    Commenters: if you think I'm an idiot...please explain.

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  9. This prick wouldn't even be practicing law if he were trying to go to law school these days.

    It costs about $34,000 for a KY resident to attend:

    http://www.law.uky.edu/index.php?pid=154

    Selling a cheap-ass used car would cover maybe 30% of that figure. Then what?

    He borrows the rest, just like everyone else who isn't rich. Then he graduates with a shit-ton of debt, just like everyone else who isn't rich.

    Then he'd be wondering why nobody in authority seems to give a damn about him, just like everyone else who isn't rich.

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  10. Fraud is a strong word. Maybe it's just puffery.

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  11. Never mind. I'm just being a troll.

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  12. Scent of a woman reference. Nice.

    Great post.

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  13. Great rebuttal, LawProf. As I have stated on my blog, for the last two years: the vast majority of "law professors" DO NOT give one damn about their students and recent graduates. The "educators"/failed attorneys are paid up front, in full. They can get away with teaching tepid to meaningless theory. They are not operating under a "free market."

    Furthermore, the ABA, NALP and US "News"& World Report will not police the law schools. Several law schools have fudged their employment placement rates, article III clerkship placement, starting salary data, LSAT scores, etc. Hell, the sewers of law can still count recent JDs working as insurance salesmen and bartenders as "employed" - for the purposes of their surveys.

    These job placement and starting salary statistics are typically placed under the Prospective Students tab, on the schools' websites. WHY would they put that info there?!?! Anyone with an IQ above room temperature can figure that out.

    In the final analysis, the ABA simply doesn't care about the glutted legal job market. Perhaps, they realize that a flood of grads helps corporate clients and Biglaw firms. If associates "step out of line" or "drop the ball," the firms know that they can hire among a giant pool of presumably qualified applicants.

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  14. Ah, Lawprof. Excellent work. I will tip a pint northward toward Boulder this evening in your honor.

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  15. I disagree with the statement that only stupid + selfish + good health are necessary for happiness. There are plenty of smart, unselfish and disabled happy people (unless by "good health" he meant mental health, of course).

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  16. Lawprof,

    A real tour de force. I didn't think it was posisble, but Robinson actually makes past ABA Presidents like Stephen Zack and Carolyn "Lobbyist of Choice to Third World Despots" Lamm look honest in comparison.

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  17. And I don't think Jonathan Swift was being serious when he offered his modest proposal that the Irish eat their children.

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  18. (Satirical response to Anon 9:19)

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  19. It's important to not turn this into a game of "he said she said" whereby the ABA and the schools say "it's the economy / you should have known / it's your own fault that you dont' have a job" and the graduates respond with "it not the economy / I was lied to / there's nothing wrong with me."

    If you let the debate turn into a "I say yes / you say no" back and forth then no one knows who to believe.

    What we need to do is find smoking guns -- i.e. evidence -- and those smoking guns exist in the fraudulent statistics published by the schools. Then it's no longer a "he said / she said" scenario.

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  20. Agreed. They already have a leg up on you. They are all set up with their comfortable lifestyles and pensions. You have no job, no future, and a mountain of non-dichargeable debt. It's easy for them to remain calm, not so easy for you to fly off the handle and go bat-s-it crazy. I wouldn't blame you. Yet, in order to gain credibility you need to be professional, talk calmly, put forth facts/statistics, and be polite. They are deliberately trying to set you off, and make you look emotional/insane. Don't buy into it. Keep doing what you are doing. Constitutional law blog just loudly proclaimed on his blog that this guy was a d-ck. While that is certainly true, I would be careful about using such emotional rhetoric. We already have the media, the truth, the facts, and three senators on our side. It's their game to lose.

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  21. Oh, quick let me write down all that genius advice.

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  22. I agree we should be professional, but honestly I have no problem calling that **** ******* ****** (figure out which curse words I used there) a dick and much worse as long as you articulate why he's a dick, with evidence. The key is to focus on evidence and not baseless accusations.

    "Minnesota commits fraud by taking average salary of the highest earning 33% of their graduates and presenting them as the salaries of the entire class."

    is different than

    "Minnesota commits fraud."

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  23. '...and he said few lawmakers have expressed interest in the subject. "It hasn't been a groundswell of comment from Congress," he said...'

    As someone who regularly meets with Capitol Hill staffers, I can tell you that is absolutely false. More than just "a few" lawmakers are aware of this cluster. This is one of the few issues that gathers bipartisan consensus. Just because members of Congress are not publicly commenting does not mean that things are not happening behind the scenes. As LawProf alluded, these statements are sure to garner even more attention to this situation. Start setting your DVR on C-SPAN for possible hearings.

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  24. Everyone please make sure you write your senators and congressmen!

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  25. This "caveat emptor" defense is really getting old. So because someone attended college, law schools can use false and misleading information to market to potential marks, I mean students, because they should know better? Really that's Robinson's defense???

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  26. Just called my Congressman's and Senators' offices about this. Please do the same.

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  27. Anybody got an email for Boxer or other members of Congress who are on to this issue? We can write!

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  28. @12:21 Be sure to call their state/district offices as they are on recess until Jan. 23(ish). But it is okay if you called their Washington offices too. The legislative aides (and not the members of congress) run Congress anyway.

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  29. lawprof - any way you can mark each commenter through ip addresses? I always get the feeling there is one guy here who spams each post with the same comments day after day, one right after the other.

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  30. p.s. lawprof - can you also add something to your blog that reminds me to take my anti-psychotic medication? i've been told I creep people out when I express what's in my unmedicated head.

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  31. Thanks 12:21. I also wrote a detailed letter to the three senators (Coburn/Boxer/Grassley).

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  32. 12:11, Caveat emptor was something from the old cowboy days when a ripped off customer would show up at your business with a six-shooter. it died in the late 19th century as we moved towards a more civil society.

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  33. I just wrote both my state senators and a few congressman to boot. This is what I wrote to them. Now don't tear me up on the content. I tried to write it as I see it and I'm not an attorney.

    I am writing this letter to bring attention to what I perceive to be a large problem brewing in our economy here in the United States. What I’m referring to is what I call (and many others as well) the Higher Education Bubble, specifically the Law School Scam movement.
    My son recently graduated from a top 50 law school, top 10%, cum laude. He did finally pick up a good job with a mid-size firm in * with a decent salary (decent, not huge). He is carrying approximately 180,000 dollars in debt and will end up going onto the IBR (income based repayment) plan. It appears he has hit what one might call the Law Lottery, at least for the immediate future (check back in 5 years).
    I’ve been actively following the law school scam blog movement and read every blog on the subject on a daily basis. I discussed the law school scam movement in person with Creigh Deeds and I was shocked that he was not even aware of this movement and the implications to law students. All he could say to me was that he had “heard students from Washington and Lee were having a tough time finding jobs”.
    Here are my biggest concerns with Law Schools,
    • It appears that all the Law Schools are publishing almost fictitious career statistical data. Starting salaries and percentage of former students who have jobs requiring a JD degree are totally false.
    • Average salaries are skewed to include very few students and mainly those at the higher end of job spectrum. Those that have won the Big-Law lottery (You can’t take 10 students out of 300 and come up with a mean salary) . A large percentage of the big-law lottery winners won’t be working for Big-Law within 5 years.
    • Extremely high salaries for Dean’s and Law School Professors. Many Law School professors work minimal hours and put out very little effort.
    • Law Schools, don’t teach students to be lawyers, they teach them the Law. These students are graduating un-prepared to be in the legal work force.
    • Over 50% of graduating students will never get a job that requires them to practice law.
    • Law School scholarship scam. Many students are lured into attending 3rd or 4th tier law schools with scholarship offers. If the student does not attain an expected GPA those scholarship offers are rescinded and force the student to make a decision on staying in law school for the 2nd and 3rd years. Law Schools grade on a curve so it’s almost impossible for all students to attain the necessary GPA to continue with a scholarship.
    • What happens when all these students (not just law students) enter the IBR program and 10-20 years down the road some of these loans are discharged? Who is picking up that tab, again the US taxpayer?

    Here are some solutions.
    • Stop the law school gravy train; allow student loans to be discharged in bankruptcy. This would make the banks and the federal government more cautious about to whom and for what their lending money too.
    • Law Schools should publish the true statistics of those actually employed in the legal field, what the true salaries are and also stats on student employment 5 years or more down the road.
    • Stop the crazy tuition hikes, stop outrageous dean salaries, particularly in our state run institutions.
    • Stop these rip-off private schools (Keiser, Phoenix) that have sprung up all over the country, all there doing is dipping into the student loan money. My company just throws resumes away if we see someone who claims a degree from these institutions.

    Please link to the following sites for some insightful information.
    http://insidethelawschoolscam.blogspot.com/

    Sincerely

    Charles Martin

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  34. Great letter 12:47.

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  35. 12:50 Thanks but I wonder what freaking good it will all do. Things are so freaking screwed up!!!!

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  36. 12:47, Good job on the letter. You are doing good work in understanding your son's situation and the problems our generation faces. Thank you for taking action.

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  37. 12:38 - suspicions confirmed. Be less obvious.

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  38. http://www.frostbrowntodd.com/professionals-bill_robinson.html

    Here is Mr. Robinson the Third's firm bio. Notice that his office and mobile phone is listed. You can also e-mail him from the website. I encourage you all to educate him on what the true law school situation is and to ask for his resignation. However, I encourage you to rise above the childish tactics that he has used and engage him professionally and respectfully.

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  39. Thank you for getting it right yet again, Prof!!!!

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  40. Why does he have his hand out like that in a picture? What a douche.

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  41. The ABA has a Law Student Division. So some of the kids whom this clown is telling to stop whining and eat cake are members of his own effing organization.

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  42. Mr. Robinson needs to understand a little thing called empathy. Often, it's not what you say that is important, but how you say it that counts. This is especially important for someone in a leadership role to understand. People are suffering, and are in truly awful situations. Someone that has never suffered through prolonged unemployment can never truly understand the level of despair, hopelessness, and depression that such thing could bring. Even if I thought someone made poor life choices to put themself in such a bind, I would never publicly kick them when they were down. It's just bad karma. Drug addicts, ex-convicts, and warlords are shown less contempt than people that made the wrong decision in going to law school.

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  43. "Drug addicts, ex-convicts, and warlords are shown less contempt than people that made the wrong decision in going to law school."

    Seriously. Drug addicts get government paid for rehabilitation and support.

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  44. Question:

    One person spends three years doing drugs (assume he doesn't contract HIV or Hep-C). The other spends three years at a low ranked law school, incurring $170,000 of debt and winds up unemployed and depressed.

    Who made the worst decision?

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  45. Thank you to everyone who has written letters to congress people. That is awesome!! LawProf, I know we don't want to get any form-type letters going, since I believe those instantly lose validity, but could you (or someone else who posted today, maybe) give suggestions for 3 or 4 main points to include in such a letter?

    I have looked at my law school's web site and it doesn't give anything that is, strictly speaking, incorrect information. It is more just really vague. (x% of graduates employed within 9 months of graduation; breakdown of private and public employment; but nothing about whether the jobs require a JD, whether they are temporary or permanent, etc.)

    Final thought, question: Aside from writing to folks in congress, is there a way to bring this issue directly to Pres. Obama's attention? I mean, the guy is a lawyer, he went to law school, he knows the gig, he has taught a lot of law students, and he has created a new consumer protection agency. He would *have* to be interested in this, I would think.

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  46. 2:50 PM,

    The drug addict, through a lot of work and support, can recover and live a normal life. The law school grad cannot and will suffer until the day s/he dies.

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  47. re: President Obama, an unemployed graduate brought it to his attention at a town hall meeting - and Obama shit all over him with irrelevant USA USA! bullshit, telling him that he has better opportunities here than he would in any other country.

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  48. 3:15, thanks for that info re Obama. That's disappointing. Was that recently (in current campaign cycle)?

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  49. Obama is a disciple of the Oprah Winfrey narrative that education can solve every global ill and that everyone needs to engage in positive thinking. Talking about the higher education scam is totally anathema to that vision (no matter the costs) and they don't want to hear it. It's a cult.

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  50. What about Elizabeth Warren? Of course she is only a candidate at this point, but a lot of Democrats like her, a lot. And she seems to be really clued into poverty issues, etc., and was of course the engine behind the newly-created consumer agency. (And she did/does the law school gig, even if she did teach at Harvard, and she knows a lot about bankruptcy, etc.)

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  51. I'm a solo practicioner who belongs to my state bar association. This comment by the current president of the ABA is a good example of why attorneys like myself do not join the ABA. Unlike many state bar organizations the ABA does nothing to help the small lawyer, and even makes their economic position worse by deliberately increasing the supply of surplus lawyers.

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  52. This clueless donkey makes Joan King look like the Virgin Mary.

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  53. "3:15, thanks for that info re Obama. That's disappointing. Was that recently (in current campaign cycle)?"

    There was a video of it. I saw it on CNN and abovethelaw. I want to say it happened in 2009.

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  54. 3:19 I wrote the president as well, but I suppose it falls on deaf ears.

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  55. By the way, Obama is wrong when he uses patriotic "USA #1" rhetoric in response to student loan debt and lack of jobs. As far as I know, the US is THE ONLY COUNTRY in the world that has both of those things. No other country has the debt issue.

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  56. "It's inconceivable to me that someone with a college education, or a graduate level education, would not know before deciding to go to law school that the economy has declined over the last several years and that the job market out there is not as opportune as it might have been five, six, seven, eight years ago," he said.

    A big problem with this comment is that "five, six, seven, eight years ago", while the job market was better than it is now, it wasn't anywhere near as good as the law schools then made it out to be. You know those middle of the pack law schools that are now quoting 98% employment when 30% of their graduates are in permanent full-time legal employment? In 2005, those same schools were quoting 98% employment when 50%-60% of their graduates were in full-time legal employment.

    Law schools have been churning out significantly more graduates than there are jobs for at least 20 years. The idea that this was all brought on by the economic downturn is a red herring. I'll grant that the economic downturn did make the problem much worse -- so much so that the law schools were no longer able to hide the problem.

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  57. Campos excels at breaking down individual examples of awful behavior/people. If you haven't already, check out his takedown on Paterno, it's priceless.

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  58. lol @ closing "here's to you mr. robinson" line.

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  59. I know several foreign lawyers (mainly Canadians) and a foreign law student (British--specifically English). I'm not 100% sure about Canada, but it seems better from the practicioners' end; I can say with a great deal of certainty that England's legal education system is far superior to that of the United States, and the opportunities are better, particularly in the sense that either by design or accident have limited their supply of barristers and solicitors, and more importantly do not require seven years of schooling and provide practical training in order to finish one's legal education.

    Also, a barrister or solicitor may ply their trade anywhere in England or Wales. That's a market of 53.3 million--which is to say about 16 million people more than *California,* our largest state and largest legal market (at least, afaik). (Scotland has a civil law system, so that's why it's excluded. Dunno about Northern Ireland.)

    But let's say California is a good comparison. According to the Council of Bars and Law Societies in Europe, there are about 120,000 lawyers in the *whole* UK (and, if I understand their breakdown correctly, about 100,000 in England and Wales). California has 178,000 active members of its bar (counting judges)! Not to mention *another* 59,000 inactive members and members ineligible to practice.

    Bear in mind that all of those people in California went through seven years of school, with concomitant debt, as opposed to the undergraduate law degree and conversion programs for those with non-law UG degrees.

    Oh, yeah, we've *totally* got the same opportunities.

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  60. The "afaik" in the second paragraph refers to California being our largest legal market (I *know* it's our largest state). I presume it is, but it's certainly possible that New York is bigger.

    Also, I didn't take into account any reciprocity agreements. Still, you can see the point I'm driving at there.

    Only crossing my Ts here. Just like Admiral Togo.

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  61. LP: I have made a graphic to express how I feel about this: http://constitutionaldaily.com/images/retarded.png

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  62. Markel considers allowing only "preapproved commenters" over at Prawfs - see comments section: http://prawfsblawg.blogs.com/prawfsblawg/2012/01/paul-campos-is-right.html

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  63. B1LY: is "LP" long post and does that mean me, or something else?

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  64. Here's my open letter to Mr. Robinson - http://tabwrites.com/archives/26

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  65. Not sure if being trolled by Mikoyan...

    LP is short for Paul Campos.

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  66. No, I just didn't put those two together and I was confused. Probably ought to have figured it out. -_- Oh well, carry on.

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  67. The reason that our law school system is the "envy" of the world has nothing to do with the quality of our lawyers churned out by the schools.

    It has everything to do with the high salaries and great perks levied on professors, such as the thousands of journals in which to publish.

    I recently had a chance to give some foreign students a tour of my law school. They were impressed by the facilities. They were appalled at the tuition (50K/year).

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  68. From the State Bar of California's twice a decade demographic survey of the bar.

    "The survey results also suggest the harsh economy may be having a negative impact on some lawyers as well. Among the 11 percent who said they are “actively seeking work as attorney,” 31 percent said they’d been looking for legal work for one to two years and another 29 percent said the job hunt had gone on for more than two years. Another 30 percent said they’d been looking for work as a lawyer for between three months and a year."

    probably under-reporting, but interesting data just the same...

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  69. 8:44,

    Thanks for bringing attention to Professor Dan Markel's censorship over at Prawfsblawg.

    Yesterday, Markel deleted my post where I made several points: 1) the inane tone of Michael Teter's guest post; 2) Teter's tepid unwillingness to comment one-way-or-the-other on Professor Campos' efforts as emblematic of a risk averse professoriate; and 3)Dan Markel's unreasonable, inconsistent and hypocritical comment deletion policies.

    To me, Dan Markel is a junior varsity version of Brian Leiter. Dan talks a tough game like Leiter but I think he has a very fragile self-image. He desperately attempts to silence dissent and purge those whose comments disagree with his elitist and privileged worldview (Harvard/Cambridge/Harvard Law/9th Circuit Clerk). Prawfsblawg is purportedly dedicated to "intellectual honesty", but Markel doesn't support intellectual honesty. He is the epitome of the legal 1%ers endemic to legal academia. He tries to play the imperious professor role with non-academics by attempting to silence them. Little does he realize how pathetic, shallow and mean-spirited this behavior makes him look. Earth to Dan: you mean nothing to legal practitioners or those of us in the "real world" - you are a paper tiger!

    Markel recently deleted comments questioning the ethics of professors accepting free food and drinks purchased by the Fourth Tier Drexel School of Law. He then closed the thread for additional comments.

    Yesterday, he deleted my comments on Professor Teter's thread.

    While we need to keep the heat on Leiter, I think academic thugs like Markel deserve a little attention as well. This guy has been flying under the radar for far too long. Bullies like this need to be made radioactive. their arrogance and imperiousness speaks for itself. All means necessary must be employed.

    Clowns like Markel don't realize that the firmament they stand on in legal academia erodes every day. The public isn't on their side. They have the losing hand.

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  70. Over on Balinization, Brian Tamanaha has a very instructive piece about the last NY Times article on law schools.

    http://balkin.blogspot.com/

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  71. Good letter 9:03.

    Dan Markel is obnoxious. He also works for a complete TTT scam law school. What's funny is that he is a *crimina law* professor. I find criminal law professors to be the most ridiculous of all professors. Can you imagine sitting there lecturing to students - who you have victimized via the crime of fraud - about crime?

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  72. Rule of thumb, if you have a website www.[yourfirstname][yourlastname].com, then you're probably an asshole.

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  73. Did law school tuition's rate of tuition rise coincide with the year that Congress declared student loans should be non-dischargeable?

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  74. 11:38, If you're too dumb to investigate and answer that question on your own then you don't deserve to be a lawyer.

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  75. 5:09 - thanks for explaining your experience with Markel's censorship. I, too, have had previous comments censored from his blog, because they have supported the critiques of modern legal academia found at ITLSS and elsewhere.

    Ironically, re: your point about his "elitist and privileged worldview" - I, too, am an alum of HLS, Cambridge, and the Ninth Circuit. I'm not sure if that makes me a "legal 1 percenter" - I'm a government attorney who is certainly not an ACTUAL
    1 percenter ;) - but I agree with many of Campos' points. More importantly, I support intellectual honesty and non-censorship of posts. Markel believes it acceptable to delete even posts that do not use profane language or make individualized personal attacks - and that is certainly his legal right - but it lessens and demeans his blog that he deletes comments that he does not personally like. And I can see that easily, despite the fact that my resume and his may have a couple of entries in common.

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  76. 2:20,

    Thanks for the commentary on my post. I too work for the Federal government and its heartening to see someone of your pedigree committed to government service and engaged on these issues.

    As a point of clarification, I use the term of "legal 1%er" to define one's place in the law school credential hierarchy, not as a suggestion of income or net worth. I think you can agree that someone fortunate enough to have your pedigree easily falls within the top 1-3% of US law school grads. I hope you didn't take offense. Please stay active in this issue - we need you. Folks like us wbo won the "law school lottery" are best positioned to stand up and challenge guys like Markel. They can censor our comments and threaten us, but ultimately they are shrill paper tigers.

    5:09

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  77. This is just more evidence that we need to "Occupy the ABA".

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  78. The "You should have known I was a liar" defense won't get you very far in a court of law.

    What is interesting here is the admission that law school graduates are unable to find jobs and the tacit admission that law school employment statistics are fraudulent.

    As someone who has proseuted civil fraud cases, it is pretty clear that people are not entitled to lie their heads off. The question is whether a college senior can justifiably rely upon the claims and statistics made in glossy law school brochures. A law school is hard pressed to argue the prospective student should have not relied upon law school employment claims.

    Proving the fraud is not hard. Most fraudsters don't put their lies in writing. Here the lies are for all to see.

    Ask how this is going to play to a judge or jury: "Sure we lied, but students should have known we were lying."

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  79. I'm disappointed and surprised to see so many people take issue with a private choice to moderate comments based on the criteria that comments should be 1) signed with verifiable addresses/contact info, 2) on-point, and 3) non-abusive or involve name-calling of various sorts.

    The blog I run is not a public forum and we never promise an open space for people to just rant about whatever they are upset with.
    I try to defend some of my views about comments over here: http://blog.simplejustice.us/2012/01/06/when-lawprofs-troll.aspx

    As it happens, I'm quite sympathetic to the claim that law schools should operate more transparently, and I'm grateful that there's been a lot of good conversation about that of late, whether on other blogs or here. But regardless of the merits of the views espoused here or on my blog or elsewhere, I don't find myself morally (and certainly not legally) obligated to allow anonymous folks who are upset about something to just hijack threads and use those threads for their own purposes. Perhaps the analogy I draw on the Simple Justice blog comments there will better explain things. In any event, I wish you well in your endeavors and hope you'll have the strength to do so under your own name so that polite and substantive conversation can occur.
    all best,
    dm

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  80. Dan --

    Your job is secured by tenure. You do not have to worry about adverse career consequences if your blog comments are Googled and scrutinized by current or future employers. Particularly given that this blog is dedicated to those whose legal employment is much less secure, it is quite ironic and unseemly for you to make comments like "hope you'll have the strength to do so under your own name." It does not take much strength to sign one's comments when one has no fear of serious professional consequences; similarly, it takes more strength than you can appreciate from your tenured vantagepoint to sign one's comments when they can have future consequences for years. (E.g., imagine that an unemployed commenter here signs her comments that are critical of the legal academic establishment - and then is disqualified from a law school staff position as a result.)

    You may have no legal or moral obligation to permit dissent on your blog - though, as I stated above, it surely diminishes your blog to delete substantive dissenting opinions that are politely expressed. However, I do find it morally problematic that you are pressuring another academic blogger to censor comments on their blog. Let me put it to you politely and substantively: you're out of line.

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  81. Dan

    No one said you had any obligation to allow any and all comments on your blog. You are allowed to censor all you want. But people then have every right to have a low opinion of you and your blog when you do so, especially when these opinions are expressed politely and on-topic.

    So do what you want. But people will then think what they want.

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  82. Happy to see your blog as it is just what I've looking for and excited to read all the posts.I am very much interested on this topic.I want to visit the site for other interesting topics. Houston personal injury attorney

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