Friday, April 6, 2012

The decline of American journalism

The decline of American journalism has some things in common with the decline of the legal profession.  Consider this piece of "journalism," published yesterday in Forbes, by reputation one of the nation's leading financial magazines:

The recent economic downturn has sparked a media frenzy over the value of graduate school. Pundits and young professionals alike are wondering if grad school is still worth the hefty investment. Law school, in particular, has been maligned by everyone from The New York Times to independent bloggers, who use anecdotal evidence to question the job prospects for future graduates.

Business school has also not escaped the fray. While there have certainly been isolated cases of law and business school graduates having trouble finding jobs (this trend is limited primarily to graduates from less well-ranked schools), graduate school is still undoubtedly a “slam dunk” investment for nearly all potential applicants. The costs of business and law school may be substantial, but the significant, lifelong returns justify the investment for the vast majority of applicants. The numbers speak for themselves . . .
The average tuition of a top 14 law school in the 2011-2012 year was $49,551 per year, according to U.S. News & World Report data analyzed by The AM Law Daily, so the cost for the full three years of law school is approximately $150,000. As with business school, the full cost of law school must also account for the three years of lost salary, which comes to approximately $135,000. Therefore the total cost of law school is around $285,000 (and slightly over $300,000 for those with substantial student loan debt).

That number is only a small percentage of a lawyer’s lifetime earnings, which average $4.3 million, according to the same Georgetown University study. Thus over a 40 year career, a lawyer will earn nearly double the lifetime earnings of (or $2 million more than) a person with only a bachelor’s degree.

As this data clearly demonstrates, the full cost of business and law school is only a small percentage of the total income the graduates of these schools will likely earn throughout their lifetimes. The investment a student makes in these degrees today is likely to produce at least a 10x return over his or her career.

It is also important to note that in many ways this analysis is a worst-case scenario. Many students receive substantial financial aid grants and pay far less in tuition than suggested by this analysis. Furthermore, the cost of these degrees is lessened by government and school loan repayment programs for those who choose to pursue non-profit/public interest careers and accept a lower salary as a result.

When considering any type of graduate school, you should certainly consider the cost. But also look at the high returns on this relatively low-risk investment that will have an impact on  your future and can pay exceptional dividends over a lifetime.
How, you might well ask, did this astonishingly mendacious bit of propaganda find its way into what is still for the moment considered a well-respected news publication?  The answer is all too evident if one considers the biography of the author. Shawn O'Connor is:

Founder and CEO of Stratus Prep, an internationally-recognized leader in law, business, and graduate school test preparation and admissions counseling. I also recently founded Stratus Careers, a comprehensive career counseling firm. With many years of experience and success, I provide personalized test preparation and admissions counseling to hundreds of law and business school applicants each year. Prior to launching Stratus Prep, I worked domestically and internationally for McKinsey & Company, Lehman Brothers, Mercer Management Consulting, and the Boston law firm of Sullivan & Worcester. I achieved my Masters in Business Administration with Highest Honors (Baker Scholar) from Harvard Business School and my Juris Doctor, cum laude from Harvard Law School.
One could call O'Connor a whore but that would be a grave insult to whores, who after all tend to provide at least some sort of reasonable value for their services.  The mystery of how this unctuous creep managed to place a remarkably fraudulent advertisement for his services in a major news magazine under the guise of dispassionately evaluating the substance of a "media frenzy" over the supposed decline in the value of professional degrees is solved if we observe that O'Connor is publishing his lies on the electronic version of the magazine, in the section labeled the magazine's "blog."  By calling part of the content of what appears under its name "blogging," Forbes, like many other publications, seems to have renounced any pretension to enforcing even the most minimal editorial standards (I'm assuming, perhaps optimistically, that Forbes would not allow something like this to appear as a self-identified opinion piece in the print version of the magazine).

The advantages for Forbes of this arrangement are obvious: I would be surprised if the magazine is paying Shawn O'Connor, Esq., anything for being a "content provider" for the electronic version of the magazine, and indeed it wouldn't surprise me if O'Connor is paying Forbes for the privilege of being a "contributor." (I am told that at certain Las Vegas casinos the valets pay the casino for the right to park the cars of arriving guests).  The advantages for O'Connor are even more obvious: he is allowed to expend a bit of Forbes' cultural capital in the form of its reputation as a reputable news source in return for services rendered while running something that ought to be considered actionable fraud even if it were in the form of what was self-evidently an advertisement, let alone a piece of  "journalism."  (Forbes does its best to absolve itself of any responsibility for this fraud by stating that O'Connor's "opinions" are his own rather than the magazine's. Whether his purported "facts" are the magazine's responsibility is another matter).

Why O'Connor is taking advantage of this cozy arrangement is self-evident; the interesting question is why a leading a well-known mainstream semi-elite media source is prostituting its journalistic integrity in this way.

The answers are, ironically, related to why O'Connor can get away with what he's getting away with.  Forbes -- a glossy print magazine -- is a particularly vulnerable example of a business model that's dying.  In its desperation to hold down costs Forbes is willing to sell out its journalistic integrity to the Shawn O'Connors of the world. The parallels with the willingness of law schools to spend their cultural capital in a desperate attempt to survive in the context of a dying business model are fairly obvious. 

Beyond that, the corruption of the news business and of higher education in general and legal education in particular are both driven by the loss of any sense of performing a legitimate gate-keeping function -- a loss which in both cases is a consequence of surrendering to the relentless pursuit of revenue maximization.  Maintaining journalistic integrity means not printing lies even when it is profitable to do so.  The existence of such standards means that readers can to an extent depend on legitimate journalism, in a way that is qualitatively different from the world of advertising.  Maintaining academic integrity means, among other things, not misleading potential students about what an institution is offering them even when it's profitable to do so.  The existence of such standards means potential students can treat the representations of academics about what they are offering as something other than advertising.

A further irony here is that if "news" magazines and institutions of higher learning were actually held to the legal standards applied to advertisers in regard to their representations, both journalism and academia would be more honest enterprises than they have now become.

81 comments:

  1. LawProf could - - without the slightest hyperbole - - be the greatest human being on the planet.

    This blog was awesome. A+.

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  2. I know a few posts back you said you would reduce the frequency of your posts here Professor Campos, but I would like to see more, now that you and other reformers are really beginning to have an effect on law schools.

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  3. I was a journalist for a time in my life. The parallels you draw between journalism, law school and the profession of law, and academia are spot-on. Here is another: All have fallen into their current state, in large part, because of corporatization.

    When media conglomerates started to take over newspapers and magazines during the 1980's, the corporate exectives saw that very few, if any, print publications had the same potential to be profit centers as organs of the electronic media could. So, they slashed budgets. Papers in one city after another got rid of their foreign desks; some even did away with city reporters. Instead, they relied on feeds for those stories and filled their publications with more articles about "lifestyle", investments and such because corporate advertisers were willing to hawk their wares next to those articles.

    It could be argued that the downward spiral of print media was inevitable as the electronic media--the Internet in particular--became more prevalent. However, the media megaliths accelerated that decline through their cost-cutting measures. Real investigative journalism takes time and money that the media companies didn't want to spend. So, the quality of their publications suffered. One result is that people stopped reading them. Why buy a newspaper or magazine if there isn't any investigative reporting or research in it? The average blogger does more of those things that most reporters are allowed to do (if indeed they still have the skills to do that kind of journalism).

    As the profession of journalism is dying, print publications are withering away and corporate whores are trying to wring what's left of them. It seems to me that something very similar is happening to the law profession and law schools.

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  4. As what some people like to label a 'China hand', I have long ago become used to thinking of Forbes as anything more than advertainment. Gordon Chang's endless doom-mongering (which never fails to mention his book) and Shaun Rein's endless cheer-leading for the Chinese government (which never fails to mention the 'reasearch' of his 'market research' company - including doozies like a 60% answer rate from a sample of 12) have, between them, destroyed any faith I might have once had in that publication. This guy is just trying to sell a different brand of snake oil.

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  5. Lawprof:

    It gets better:

    This asshole also peddles his bullshit once a week in US News and World Report. Nando already had a field day with this bozo on TTR.

    Us News:

    http://search.usnews.com/index_library/search?keywords=shawn+p+o%27connor

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  6. Palm? meet forehead.

    Also, I guess the "sophisticated" consumer needs to look past the propaganda of the MSM too?

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  7. What's even more insulting is the underlying connection between journalism and higher education: Where the hell are students/reasonably intelligent individuals supposed to get their information regarding law schools' atrocious employment rates if they can't even depend on print media? If there is such a large amount of misinformation being "printed" by a "reputable" and well-respected news organization, how can students possibly get valid/accurate information?

    The judge in the dismissed case would likely reply that we're all savvy internet consumers in this day and age, but the information wasn't/isn't available on a detailed scale (as Michigan only released it very recently after "months of hard working") even online.

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  8. It's probably not a coincidence that Forbes started a higher ed. ranking system a couple of years ago to compete with US News.

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  9. Campos back on track after his Michigan debacle

    Thanks for going back to what you do well/ what needs to be out there, instead of trying to bring down a school based upon a comment that was misreported to you. This is the right type of stuff to be exposing

    (cue some minion who completely misses the point that I am a Campos supporter)

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  10. Without being a minion (hopefully), and without missing your point, and to repeat something already said again and again, UM does prospective students a disservice by not furnishing that information to the public (20% using fellowship at some point after graduation) and UM Administration did the group at the meeting a disservice by not offering that information, as it is obviously related to the specific question that was asked.

    As to this article, it becomes harder and harder not to see this whole human race as rotten. I know there are good people out there, they just aren't in control.

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  11. Law Prof,

    Amazing post. Thank you so much for staying on top of this issue.

    Unfortunately, the problem in a case like this is that many thousands of people will read that article on Forbes and therefore many thousands of people will probably be mislead about the prospects of law school.

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  12. 11:14:

    Then be proactive and help out: Post how you feel in the comments section of the Forbes article. There are already a few comments blasting it, add one yourself. People do read them.

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  13. Keep doing what you're doing. The more these law school industry people are taken to task and the more this information gets into the mainstream fabric, the more people will be aware of exactly what legal education and the legal "profession" have become: for the most part an enormous waste of time, resources, money and human potential.

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  14. LOL at the "isolated cases of students having difficulty finding jobs," is this person for real? I think this "journalist" is a few days late on a terrible April fools day joke.

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  15. Lawprof, the print journalism model is dying. I just realized how serious it was when I was reading the latest issue of GQ. I would say 2/3 of the magazine was advertising.

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  16. Hey prof,

    This ain't nuthin new. When I worked at a certain for-profit college (2 year/4 year) they circulated (accidentally?) an email for an upcoming snippit in the local news about how essentially you could come to our tech school and the English profs were softies who cared about adult students needs.

    On the bottom of the email - the fee. 1800.00 bucks paid to the local news station for airing about 90 seconds worth of "content" about our "school" (i.e. diploma mill)

    You're doing good work Prof Campos - don't forget all the detritus of the country too....they get chewed up and spit out by even shadier for-profit schiesters.

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  17. "Therefore the total cost of law school is around $285,000 (and slightly over $300,000 for those with substantial student loan debt).

    That number is only a small percentage of a lawyer’s lifetime earnings, which average $4.3 million, according to the same Georgetown University study. Thus over a 40 year career, a lawyer will earn nearly double the lifetime earnings of (or $2 million more than) a person with only a bachelor’s degree."

    --
    That is why schools like Michigan and its peers need to be targeted. Because of misconceptions (misrepresentations?) such as these.

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  18. Self-interest is everywhere. Over on the Chronicle of Higher Education, reports/research funded by a thing called The Lumina Foundation are frequently on display. Their common message: we need more college graduates in this knowledge-based, fast-paced economy. As it turns out, the primary mission statement for The Lumina Foundation is to 60% of Americans have college degrees of some sort - associates' right up through PhD.

    And guess what? The Lumina Foundation was founded with the sale of USA Group's (an erstwhile non-profit student loan provider) outstanding loans and assets to Sallie Mae. The $770 million in proceeds was mixed with USA Group's non-profit status, given a board of directors of current and former student loan executives, and WOOSH! - an instant mega-foundation. Before the recession hit, they had $1.5 billion to play with. If one goes to their website, it is a constant drumbeat of "We need more college students!" No word of the student loan crisis, or the law school scam, or the for-profit scam, or the lack of state support to state universities, or the NY Fed Reserve report that 1 in 4 student loans are delinquent and 1 in 2 are in forbearance or deferral.

    It reminds me of the doctors that tobacco companies use to pay to endorse their brand of cigarettes, or of the "scientific" organization paid by Exxon and BP to question global warming.

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  19. "While there have certainly been isolated cases of law and business school graduates having trouble finding jobs... graduate school is still undoubtedly a “slam dunk” investment for nearly all potential applicants." -Forbes

    For fourth tier law schools, it would be justified to rewrite this paragraph to say the exact opposite. Something like this:

    "While there have certainly been isolated instances of fourth tier law graduates actually finding good jobs as lawyers, these law schools are undoubtedly financial and professional suicide for nearly all who attend."

    Take Thomas Jefferson, which ranks in the top 5 schools in terms of student debt. The young graduates can look forward to the following prospects as their nondischargeable six-figure debts accrue interest:

    http://www.tjsl.edu/sites/default/files/files/NALP-Employment-Report-Salary-Survey-Class-2010(2).pdf

    At first glance, the placement numbers are merely horrible--69 out of 221 had full-time bar required jobs, nine months out, 55 of whom obtained a law firm job (and a mere three of whom obtained a judicial clerkship). However, even these stats are a scam. If you look closely, the vast majority of alleged law firm jobs are in solo or small firm law, or in firms of "unknown size." Most of these allegedly employed lawyers have undoubtedly started their own firms in desparation after failing to land a jobs-- and are likely making nominal sums of money or none at all. Moreover, the 221 total constitutes only those who responded to the survey, not to the entire class of graduates.

    So you could plausibly estimate that the real chances of a TJ graduate getting a decent lawyer job within nine months at under 10 percent, maybe even 5 percent. As Forbes says: "[t]he numbers speak for themselves."

    dybbuk

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  20. "graduate school is still undoubtedly a “slam dunk” investment for nearly all potential applicants"

    LOLOLOLOLOL LOLOLOL LOLOLOLOLOL LOLOLOL LOLOLOLOLOL LOLOLOL LOLOLOLOLOL LOLOLOL LOLOLOLOLOL LOLOLOL LOLOLOLOLOL LOLOLOL LOLOLOLOLOL LOLOLOL LOLOLOLOLOL LOLOLOL LOLOLOLOLOL LOLOLOL LOLOLOLOLOL LOLOLOL LOLOLOLOLOL LOLOLOL LOLOLOLOLOL LOLOLOL LOLOLOLOLOL LOLOLOL LOLOLOLOLOL LOLOLOL LOLOLOLOLOL LOLOLOL LOLOLOLOLOL LOLOLOL LOLOLOLOLOL LOLOLOL LOLOLOLOLOL LOLOLOL LOLOLOLOLOL LOLOLOL LOLOLOLOLOL LOLOLOL LOLOLOLOLOL LOLOLOL LOLOLOLOLOL LOLOLOL LOLOLOLOLOL LOLOLOL LOLOLOLOLOL LOLOLOL LOLOLOLOLOL LOLOLOL LOLOLOLOLOL LOLOLOL LOLOLOLOLOL LOLOLOL LOLOLOLOLOL LOLOLOL LOLOLOLOLOL LOLOLOL LOLOLOLOLOL LOLOLOL LOLOLOLOLOL LOLOLOL LOLOLOLOLOL LOLOLOL LOLOLOLOLOL LOLOLOL LOLOLOLOLOL LOLOLOL LOLOLOLOLOL LOLOLOL LOLOLOLOLOL LOLOLOL LOLOLOLOLOL LOLOLOL LOLOLOLOLOL LOLOLOL

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  21. "Founder and CEO of Stratus Prep, an internationally-recognized leader in law, business, and graduate school test preparation and admissions counseling. "


    Oh that is FUCKING DISGUSTING. Was this published in Forbes as an advertisement or as an objective piece? Did the article disclose his blatant self interest?

    What a shitty country we live in.

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  22. Who knew that when I graduated unemployed from that shit scam school Loyola with close to $200,000 in debt, that I had just "slam dunk[ed]" the basketball through the hoops of life? Did anyone take a picture of me doing it? Of me "posterizing" life so brutally?

    Take that life, you got pwned!

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  23. who loves ya, babe?

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  24. 12:23,

    Pls be more specific when you say Loyola. There are several law schools with the name Loyola.

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  25. 12:38,

    Not 12:23 here. Does it really matter? Do any of the Loyolas provide their students substantially better opportunities than the other ones?

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  26. 12:41,

    Probably not, but just curious. Although one of the Loyolas has been shamed and laughed at in the last few years.

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  27. Anecdotal evidence?!

    We have been relying on, and citing to, BLS data, ABA and NALP publications and charts, industry statements, etc. This Forbes "journalist" is an intellectually dishonest hack.

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  28. http://thirdtierreality.blogspot.com/2012/01/profiles-in-blatant-elf-interet-law.html

    When will it become acceptable for convicted child molesters to write articles about the supposed benefits of "having sex, with a sick bastard, at a young age"?!?!

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  29. "When will it become acceptable for convicted child molesters to write articles about the supposed benefits of "having sex, with a sick bastard, at a young age"?!?!"

    When it becomes sufficiently profitable to do so.

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  30. There will certainly some tool writing as a "contributor" defending it, if not encouraging it.

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  31. This Forbes "article" didn't even get the numbers right. The article gives average lifetime earnings of lawyers as "4.3 million." The actual number from the Georgetown study cited by the article is 4.0 million (or, to be more precise, 4,032,000--which may be where O'Connor picked up the erroneous 3). The most pitiful fact is that this major factual error ($300,000) seems minor in the context of the overall slop. This is beyond disgusting in every way.

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  32. Here's what I just posted at the Forbes site:

    This is ridiculous. First, you don't even have the numbers right: The Georgetown study estimates a lawyer's lifetime earnings as $4.0, not $4.3. Second, those earnings are for people who work as lawyers--not for people who earn JDs. One of the biggest problems in the legal market right now is that people who earn JDs can't find jobs as lawyers. Consider the University of Michigan (a T14 school). Among their 2011 graduates, only 79% obtained jobs that require bar admission. Did some of them prefer using their JD in other types of jobs? Maybe, but in 2007, the figure was was 95%. See the Michigan career services website for both figures. A lot of people are suddenly "choosing" to use an expensive degree for jobs that don't require the degree. And that's at the school ranked tenth--out of 200--in the country!

    Third, BA grads are a large, diverse group; JD applicants are not representative of that group as a whole. It would be more fair to compare the lifetime earnings of the 75th percentile of BA holders ($3.8 million according to the Georgetown report) to the $4.0 million figure for lawyers. As you recognize, the cost of attending law school (tuition plus 3 years of foregone employment) more than eats up that $200,000 difference--not to mention that the $200,000 plus cost of law school is paid now, while the "lifetime earnings" are spread over 40 years.

    I could go on, but I'm exasperated by the misleading nature of this post. I'm a law professor; I want to find ways to make our education affordable again, and to make legal services affordable to the public. That's not going to happen with wildly misleading analyses like this one.

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  33. Thanks for posting that over there DJM.

    I would like to think that Malcolm Forbes, who whatever one thinks of his politics was dedicated to quality journalism, is spinning in his grave.

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  34. Good comment DJM. Alas, I was too angry and lazy to go through the trouble of setting up an account.

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  35. I'm no economist, but I think its misleading to say that 300k spent now is justified because one will earn X million in the future. Especially, if the tuition is financed by student loans it will accrue interest and thus be much more than the principal borrowed.

    I'm sure there's a more succinct economic way to describe the point i'm getting to above, but at any rate this is one problem with the Forbes piece.

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  36. Quote from the article: "That number is only a small percentage of a lawyer’s lifetime earnings, which average $4.3 million, according to the same Georgetown University study."

    This appeals to people's belief that there's no way they'll end out below average. No one will ever believe in advance they'll be one of the ones not being able to use their law degree.

    Here's a question: Suppose you could play a game, where you flip two coins. If both are tails, you have to live in poverty and debt for the rest of your life. Otherwise, you win 4.3 million dollars, to be paid in installments. Would you be willing to play this game? That's what's going on here.

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  37. Along with the pwnage by DJM, the fact is that those lifetime earnings are retrospective. Are the changes in the legal market cyclical or structural- we don't know but it's idiotic to take out 200K in debt before finding out.

    Using average salary is also foolish when we know entry-level salaries are bimodal.

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  38. "A further irony here is that if "news" magazines and institutions of higher learning were actually held to the legal standards applied to advertisers in regard to their representations, both journalism and academia would be more honest enterprises than they have now become."

    That is surely the truth. Lawprof, your most recent posts on this site have been truly excellent.

    I'm glad that what you said several posts ago, about posting less frequently, is turning out to not be the case.

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  39. As a HLS grad, I'm ashamed that the author of the Forbes piece is a fellow alum of my school, given the embarrassing extent of his (intellectual) dishonesty. This piece, which seems to have been published to serve his own personal financial interests, is at risk of misleading young prospective law students. He should be ashamed of himself. Thanks to DJM for attaching some more accurate comments to the bottom of his post.

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  40. "Thus over a 40 year career, a lawyer will earn nearly double the lifetime earnings of (or $2 million more than) a person with only a bachelor’s degree."

    Where do those numbers come from? Of the people that I graduated with from 10 years ago, more than half have dropped out of law altogether. Those that won the biglaw lottery made a significant amount of money 1-3 years out, but then burnt out, and are now earning significantly less. Those still riding the solo, shit law wagon, or document review circuit probably are earning in the $30-40 an hour range. Given the fact that your average American in the private sector (including those without college degrees) are earning roughly around $25 an hour, I would hardly consider this double the lifetime earnings. Regardless, I would think that 150K of non-dischargeable debt at 6.5% interest would eat up most of these excess earnings anyway.

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  41. Just a fabulous comment, DJM. You and LawProf have both hit the ball out of the park today.

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  42. In a previous Forbes article, Shawn O'Connor gives a small insight to his past.

    Take my career path as an example. I started out in on a very traditional path. I attained both a law degree and an MBA from Harvard University with honors. I worked domestically and internationally for well-known organizations like McKinsey & Company, Lehman Brothers, Mercer Management Consulting and the law firm of Sullivan & Worcester.

    Then about three years ago, I made the biggest decision of my life. I walked away from that traditional path, leaving Wall Street behind, to start my own venture – Stratus Prep. Given my passion for education and mentorship, I identified an opportunity to create value, and I seized it. The choice to leave my lucrative (and then stable) job at Lehman Brothers was a huge risk. But in order to make this career shift, I had to trust myself. I had to have confidence that by creating value for my clients, I could survive and eventually excel professionally.


    This guy sounds like your typical book-smart guy who for one reason or another transferred from one firm to another.

    And he "quit" Lehman Brothers three years ago. Just around the time LB went under and filed Chapter 11.

    Looks like Forbes was seduced by his Harvard JD/MBA and let him start a column.

    I wouldn't be surprised if he is still paying off his student loans.

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  43. Another article about law school on Forbes. I've waded into the debate at the bottom under another name.

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/shenegotiates/2012/04/06/baylor-law-admissions-data-shows-tiny-affirmative-action-bump/2/

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  44. As a non-lawyer, non-law student, and someone who never once thought of going to law school (though I did enjoy watching Law & Order lol), I would say to everyone to continue bombarding these articles with the appropriate information.

    As a taxpayer, the backer of student loans, I prefer that the way our country approaches debt, begins to veer...somewhat...back towards reality

    Thus I sincerely hope that at least 50% of law schools close down. The easiest way for this to happen is to starve the beast. This can be done by changing the national perception of law school being a way to riches as a delusion, thus reducing the number of kids applying, which may eventually force closures of the law schools.

    The reason I bring this up on this particular post is that Journalism, while definitely poor in this country, can still somewhat help. I am not really a fan of journalists, but Television still holds a lot of sway in creating public perception, since Americans love their television lol. Thus my personal recommendation is that Campos try as much as possible to appear on TV (do it for free or minimal price to maintain an ethical standard), as that is - unfortunately I might add - an easier way to invade minds, both of the youth AND their parents/grandparents (An important population to reach, let us recall, as the older generations watch more TV, and are more likely to view law as a profession of guaranteed riches)

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  45. 4:35:

    "Looks like Forbes was seduced by his Harvard JD/MBA and let him start a column."

    US News as well. Guy has a weekly blog there. Every Monday readers can enjoy the Shawn P Scumbag insight into the law school scam.

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  46. Accidentally posted this under yesterday's post, meant to add it here:


    This has been a great week for willful ignorance and blatant mendacity!

    From a law professor at George Mason (because we know that their graduates are doing SO well): Now Here’s a Bad Idea–Allowing Discharge of Student Loans in Bankruptcy

    http://volokh.com/2012/04/06/now-heres-a-bad-idea-allowing-discharge-of-student-loans-in-bankruptcy/

    When law professors state students "have a huge future potential income stream. Bankruptcy would allow them to shed the debts, keep their meager assets, and then protect all of that future revenue stream."

    It's hard to view (and excuse) the dishonest statements coming from any pro-law school institution or professor as coming from "nice people" who misspeak.

    You have law professors spewing this nonsense and "sophisticated consumers" are at fault for believing it!

    (Guess you can always issue a press release/blog post, call it hearsay, and take it back later, eh?)

    What a week.

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  47. In wall street parlance, Shawn O'Connor is "talking his book."

    Seriously, fuck that guy.

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  48. These guaranteed payday loans can be acquired instantly. You simply have to provide your basic personal information and facts by filling up an on-line form. Your application is approved within minutes through the fool proof method of the lenders. As soon as the application is approved, the money is transferred in your account.

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  49. "The average tuition of a top 14 law school in the 2011-2012 year was $49,551 per year, according to U.S. News & World Report data analyzed by The AM Law Daily, so the cost for the full three years of law school is approximately $150,000. As with business school, the full cost of law school must also account for the three years of lost salary, which comes to approximately $135,000. Therefore the total cost of law school is around $285,000 (and slightly over $300,000 for those with substantial student loan debt)."

    Those banks sure are generous to loan you all that money and not charge any interest for it!

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  50. What is sad and crazy is that the @8:05 bot comment is actually reaching its target audience - broke people, but our broke people have JDs and monstrous debt, with the one small caveat that many of us don't have paydays. That bot should target the disaffected MD boards or something.

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  51. @8:32 “Those who understand compound interest are destined to collect it. Those who don’t understand compound interest are doomed to pay it.”

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  52. Journalists are cheaper to hire than even "High Class Prostitutes" when you think about it. Look at how much Elliot Spitzer had to shell out for that one call girl per night. My impression of these journalists is they were not attractive enough to work at a high end brother so they went into journalism. If Consumer Guide accepted advertisement money to promote a car, they would rate a YUGO the best buy in the world.

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  53. * High End Brothel, not brother

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  54. @4:47 jesus, just read this article. this lady is so clueless. and the responses she offers in the comments...makes me want to hurl. Can't believe Forbes is willing to throw money at these jokers to write for their publication.

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  55. These guaranteed student loans can be acquired instantly. You simply have to provide your basic personal information and facts by filling up an on-line form. Your application is approved within minutes through the fool proof method of the lenders. As soon as the application is approved, the money is transferred into your law school's account.

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  56. I put my old Law School Transcript back online. See it at my blog.

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  57. Not enough time has passed to really say that the vast majority of JDs will come out net-positive from the deal.

    True, the minority who are extremely irresponsible with the amount of debt they take on will probably have a hell of a time and may never do it, but I'll bet that forty years from now most of the JDs will actually have come out ahead from your average HS/college undergrad.

    That's not to say that it's going to be the life of excess that they expected, but it also doesn't mean that, by investment return standards, it is a guaranteed poor investment like most here believe.

    You can't look at the past five years as typical and forecast accurately from them...that is bound to be even more inaccurate than looking at the past 50 and doing so. Somewhere in between is probably more like where we're going to be over the next 20-30 years.

    BTW: Law Prof, when you directly responded to Nando's foolish comment you hit a new low.

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  58. * will NOT come out net-positive from the deal

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  59. Not enough time has passed to really say that the vast majority of JDs will (not) come out net-positive from the deal.

    We can already agree that the 30-50% in any given year who can't find jobs practicing law (and aren't heirs to millions) will probably not "come out net-positive," yes? Or that looking at the "success" of past graduates is inevitably tainted by law schools' practice of determining median salaries based on the responses of a statistically unrepresentative portion?

    Average household income has remained stagnant in this country since the 1970's, when my father went to law school. In that time, the cost of private law schools has quadrupled and the cost of public law schools has quintipled. The going rate for federal student loans is around 7.5%, at a time when the price of credit is at a 30-year low. For anybody financing their education who doesn't get a job in law or one that does not qualify for the public service benefit of IBR, the cost of law school and the interest on those loans will break them the minute they graduate, even if they can't immediately appreciate it because of programs designed to blunt the edge.

    If you want to limit your statement by saying that that subset of JDs who are able to attend law school without debt financing will probably have a better time of it than somebody with a HS/BA/BS, fine. However, that doesn't describe more than a vanishingly small part of the JD population - and those people are going to be legacies at the schools that can still find jobs for most of their students, if not nepotism hires at Daddy's firm.

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  60. @3:43AM

    Why is responding to Nando a new low?

    And its all sounds a bit like kicking the can/problem down the road when you say:

    "I'll bet that forty years from now most of the JDs will actually have come out ahead from your average HS/college undergrad."

    Thinking like yours is toxic.

    What's your real name Anon?

    Chemical Ali?

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  61. Because Nando is pretty clearly a head case, obsessed with fecal matter.

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  62. So we know that new JDs graduate with a ton of debt. Has anyone run the numbers of the amount of interest payments generated for the Vampire Squids over the lifetime of those loans? Also, what has been the effect on interest payments since the recent federal legislation on student loans is now in place? Prof. Campos, that might be worth a substantive post.

    -Templar

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  63. @3:43AM: Hi, Joan King!

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  64. Gotta love that he used "slam dunk" to describe a transparently bullshitty statement. Freudian slip?

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  65. 1) The question is not whether a JD will have a better time than an average HS/college grad but whether they will be better off than people who could have attended law school but didn't. DJM pretty much pwnd O'Connor in the comments on this point.

    2) 11:30. Having posted a few more comments and received a few more responses, I'm starting to think she is a troll or some sort of Boomerbot. It's almost infuriating. She did an LLM in 06 and her son graduated from UCLA then and she tried to say she graduated into a recession- 2006 was during the boom.

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  66. @ bored 3l:

    Very, very nice job responding to that delusional Pynchon woman.

    (LOL--she earned her LLM at "considerable expense." Now I am certain -that- was money well spent!)

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  67. Well, I think the true testament to the market is what the author DOES, not what he SAYS.

    With such gold-plated credentials as a Harvard MBA AND Harvard law degree, where is he now?

    Not on Wall Street. Not at some white shoe law firm.

    He's in the grad school scam business.....presumably because that's where he feels the money is right now.

    Think about that for a minute.

    He's one notch above the guys on T.V. at 3 a.m. that are willing to share their secrets to getting filthy rich in real estate.

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  68. Campos reader reviewing Shawn O'Connor's course: http://www.yelp.com/biz/stratus-prep-manhattan

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  69. @5:17-- Some people prefer to be in business than to be lawyers.

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  70. If you say so...

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  71. True, but would he not be immediately recognized by most readers of Forbes as an apologist for the industry? The fact that he has to trot out the standard defenses about education being the best long-term investment, etc., etc., just goes to show that mainstream opinion is now beginning to question some of those tired maxims, especially with tuitions being buoyed up out of all proportion to their real value via cheap and easy credit.

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  72. http://www.americanbanker.com/issues/177_63/us-bank-student-lending-cfpb-1048016-1.html

    US Bank and Chase have both decided to stop issuing student loans. The Educational Industrial Complex holds its breath...

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  73. 7:47, FYI the vast majority of SLs come from the government now so there was no market for them.

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  74. 8:32, there still is (or least appears to be) a good private student loan market. The conspiracy theorist side of me thinks that these banks got a heads up that Congress may revisit the bankruptcy nondischargeability issue.

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  75. JP Morgan pulled out of the private student loan business on Friday. The last time they pulled out of a market (mortgages) it crashed a few months later.

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  76. A putative class of New York Law School graduates is appealing a judge's dismissal of its suit alleging the graduates' alma mater inflated its postgraduate employment figures, disputing the ruling that reasonable consumers should have spotted the data's flaws, the class said Thursday.

    In a notice of appeal filed in New York state court, the plaintiffs argue Judge Melvin L. Schweitzer erred in ruling that a reasonable consumer acting reasonably could not have been deceived by the allegedly inflated employment statistics supplied by the law school because information from other sources raised red flags about the school's data.

    Judge Schweitzer "created a very objectionable proposition that, because there’s some information out there from some source that the statements of the defendants are inaccurate, a reasonable person could not rely on them," said Jesse Strauss of Strauss Law PLLC, an attorney for the plaintiffs. "That is absolutely not the law in New York."

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  77. "8:32, there still is (or least appears to be) a good private student loan market."

    You're an idiot.

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  78. The appeal is not a surprise. They said they were going to. Appeals to the App. Div. are a matter of right, not the Court of Aopeals, though.

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  79. Did this guy really get into HLS and HBS? 50K tuition plus opportunity costs but nothing for room and board? Can he honestly overlook that as a recent grad? My best guess is that he is still in the hole himself and his survival instincts have blinded him to the damage he is doing to others.. telling everyone that going to a top 14 law school is a great investment could be defensible, but saying that about any law school without qualification seems completely ridiculous... It would be unfortunate if he ran into some unemployed law grad in a dark alley one night..

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