Thursday, April 5, 2012

Nice people

Here's Michigan's response to yesterday's post about the misleading information given to 0Ls at last week's recruitment event.

I have to say I'm simply at a loss to even guess whether these people actually believe their own bullshit any more. Sorry, "Dean Z."  That wasn't very nice of me, and you sure seem like a nice person.  Law schools are full of "nice people," who are genuinely (I guess) caring and empathetic and concerned about their students.  I work with a lot of people like that, and I don't doubt they really believe that they care, deeply, about the actual welfare of the people who pay their salaries.  They believe a lot of things.

This isn't even worth saying because any one who doesn't realize it already is the kind of authority-worshiping tool who is beyond hope anyway, but what the heck: the idea that when Sarah Zearfoss stood up last week in front of that audience of all-too-naive 0Ls she didn't know how many otherwise completely unemployed 2011 UMLS grads took "post-grad fellowships," i.e., barely above minimum wage stipends to perform full-time legal work several months after graduation, is a pitiful, miserable, shameful lie.  Of course she knew. How the hell could she not know?

I mean I can tell you off the top of my head exactly how many of its own grads NYU hired in 2010: 38. Virginia hired 40. Fordham "hired" 14.7% of its own class. CU had 27 people in the class of 20011 in such a program in January.  I swear on the health of Denard Robinson's MCL that I didn't look those numbers up right now.  I know these things because I have voluntarily chosen to make it part of my professional responsibilities at present to know them.  Zearfoss's whole job is nothing but to know exactly this kind of thing about the school that she works at. UMLS's students pay Zearfoss $178,500 per year to know these things. And she wants us to believe that after preparing  a talk for a roomful of prospective students on the subject of whether going to UMLS makes sense for them financially she didn't happen to have this information at her disposal?

What is the matter with you people? Seriously.  Just stop lying.  If for no other reason that it insults our intelligence.

Also, $333.33.  I'll say this for my employer: it least it's paying our unemployed grads $10,000 over three months.  Michigan is swimming in money -- you just built yourself some more swank digs for a cool $102 million -- but you can't come up with more than $333.33 a week for 12 weeks for people that you charged $150,000K for what turned out to be a worse than useless degree?

Oh, and this "success story" you put up about what a wonderful thing you're doing for the one in five of your graduates who are flat-out unemployed several months after getting a degree from a top ten law school ought to be especially inspiring to prospective students:

I really, really wanted to pursue a career in the public sector, and the Postgraduate Fellowship program was definitely central to making that possible. There were over 270 applicants, and they interviewed 18, the vast majority of whom had more experience than I do. Had I not already been working here [as a postgraduate fellow] and proving that I could litigate against more experienced attorneys, there is no way I would have been seriously considered.
Kids, this is a test. See if you can figure out what's wrong with this picture.  Please select the one best answer. Results not typical.  Past performance is not a guarantee of future returns. Neither the Securities and Exchange Commission nor any state securities commission has approved or disapproved of these securities or passed upon the adequacy or accuracy of the prospectus.

152 comments:

  1. Wow. Campos bringing the fire today.

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  2. 270 applicants with more experience? So, a bunch of older lawyers desperately competing for a piddling public service job. Nice.

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  3. Get them Campos, one $chool of shit at the time.

    People want you to be apologetic about your work, do not be.

    This people profit without shame and when they get called out they will get offended. Who cares? They are wrong, and the movement is right. You speak for the movement.

    I like how you started from home. Now please work down the US News list. My school is one of the most shameless t1 toilets.

    I am not active with student organizations, they are fucking waste of time. I might do something next year to get Campos to come to my school of shit.

    P.S. I noticed 0l lemmings posting in the last blog entry trying to stick up for the Dean. Fucking clowns, can't even see what's happening after being told. Chasing preTTTige is clouding their judgement.

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  4. Supposedly the money for the fellowships is raised at some sort of fundraiser with students, faculty, and possibly others. Whether they could expand that to avoid dipping into tuition to increase the fellowship is a different story, but I would certainly think so. I'd also prefer for them to use fundraising to lower tuition rather than build buildings.

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  5. Talked to a nice young lady (clearly a student) in the career offices of CU's MBA program yesterday, requesting the number of respondents to the MBA program's salary survey. It took her 24 hours (because the person who compiles the data was out), but she called me back to report that 65 out of 100 students for the class of 2011 responded to the survey with salary data.

    If the MBA programs can do it, why can't the law schools?

    Oh yeah, because the product the law schools sell is disintegrating. Oops.

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  6. Wow! $178,000/year for a posh job where you probably don't have to work very hard nor deal with much stress. There's no question that she has "made it" in life.

    In the University of Michigan's defense, that particular law school is really not part of the problem in legal education and JD overproduction. It definitely wouldn't be one of the 150 law schools that I would close.

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  7. Missing in her blog is any discussion of how she lives with counting any of those 75 as "employed" for the purposes of U.S. News.

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  8. http://www.law.umich.edu/connection/a2z/Lists/Posts/Post.aspx?ID=88

    Read the comments...

    P.S. Items on this list require content approval. Your submission will not appear in public views until approved by someone with proper rights.

    UM is open to discussion.

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  9. Fantastic post! Stoke that fire, man. Dial that shit up to 11 and you'll get yourself fired in about two years but you'll make so much noise on the way out that you will literally save the financial lives of thousands of prospective law students.

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  10. Re the "success story":

    In 1998, my public defender office posted two openings. Ten applied and all were interviewed.(I was one of the two hired).

    In 2008, the very same office posted for two more openings. Over 400 applied.

    I know that Michigan grads have a realistic chance of getting hired by a big law firm. But if they fall through the cracks, they should not regard a public sector job as their fall-back plan.

    Public sector jobs have become extremely desirable because of relative job security, benefits, interesting work, access to loan forgiveness programs, and pensions at the end. They have also become extremely rare because of austerity.

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  11. I agree 7:54 AM... Why pick on Michigan when they are doing a good job of getting their students employed.. Makes me wonder...? There are many LS out there who are doing NOTHING to get their students hired. The students went to those schools in good faith hoping to be employed at the end of 3 years..

    At the end of 3 years those students do not have anything at their schools resembling OCI...

    At U of Michigan OCI is a big affair with MANY Firms & Companies looking for law students to hire & as you can see many are hired each year... Most student leave OCI with 10 to 20 interviews..Then with a Summer offer & after that a permanent offer... Some students for some reason never interview well and never receive offers.. But those are few & far between.

    If U of M is 3rd on the hiring list for Firms... Then what is the state of hiring of all the LS below that...

    And by the way.. You cannot use another person to swear on...This is what you should have written..

    I swear on myself , my children & wife, on my parents & all that I hold dear.....

    Do not choose some body's child to swear on because it WILL backfire on you....

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  12. AtheistATLLawyerApril 5, 2012 at 8:26 AM

    UM is a scam trap school. Period.

    I like how they censor the responses to Dean Z's article. What a great institution of higher learning willing to explore different ideas.

    Here is an idea. Stop charging so much damn money you disgusting pigs. Don't you know the ONLY reason you're allowed to feed at the public trough is due to absurd public policy in re: education in this TTT country?

    You criminal parasites make me sick. Should be jailed.

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  13. I don't see why you're all so outraged. 20 percent of their graduates had trouble finding a job, so they give them some temporary thing to tide them through until they get jobs. Most of them do. 13 (which is only about 3 percent) are still unemployed now... and this is a very difficult year.

    It's one thing to demand transparency, and another to look for any excuse to "get them". You can argue over the details of how they are releasing their data, but seriously they are trying hard to be open with their jobs data, and you shouldn't rail on them due to whatever personal beef you have with the U of M law school or "the system" overall. Sheesh.

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  14. The practice of helping graduates is an honorable one and should be applauded. The practice of counting these kids as "employed" for US News and World is shameful and misleading. You can have both opinions at the same time.

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  15. Cue the Walmart Wolverines getting up in arms . . .

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  16. "they are trying hard to be open with their jobs data" <<< I bet the Dean has 60 hour work week trying so hard to be open about the data. You know what trying hard means?

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  17. @8:37 What the hell.. their website has piles of data on it. What do you want, a listing of every graduate and their job and salary histories? If they have 97% employment after 9 months, even if some of them are in temporary or part time jobs, they're doing pretty well.

    Also, no one is obligated to tell anyone their salary. If they only have 1/2 of their grads' salary info, so be it. You can tell by their salary data incidentally that there are more people with lower salaries than before.

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  18. @8:44, most of it posted this week...

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  19. The hysterical and irrational nature of this attack on Zearfoss suggests to me that Colorado is getting ready to drop the axe on their crazed faculty member.

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  20. Keep -bringing it-, LawProf.

    (Who should play Campos in the movie version?)

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  21. Thank you, Campos. This is just maddening, the self-conscious "hip" references to "truthiness" trying to deflect the fact that Dean Zearfoss is a LYING LIAR WHO TELLS LIES.

    It's just... shameless. It's unconscionable. And the wheels of justice grind on, slowly, perhaps, but also very small, and they will find "Dean Z" and her ilk in time.

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  22. It's interesting how administrators say FERPA (federal student privacy law) delays them from releasing relevant data to prospective students.

    Do any lawyers here know what the student privacy laws say in this regard?

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  23. Thank god for tenure. Keep it up Prof Campos. They fear you now in every single law school in the country.

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  24. It's interesting how administrators say FERPA (federal student privacy law) delays them from releasing relevant data to prospective students.

    Do any lawyers here know what the student privacy laws say in this regard?

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  25. I'm really liking this new harsh and exasperated tone you're taking. Reminds me of Taibbi, only with better metaphors and pejoratives. Keep it up....these people deserve no better.

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  26. There is no way she didn't know the number, or at least an approximation of the number. To say 8,when the actual number is over 70 is misleading. If I had heard 8 but we don't know the exact number, I would have guessed maybe 12 or 15 people have to use this program because they are unemployed.

    I would not have guessed that over 70 people didn't have jobs and had to take a pittance for a few months to hopefully get access to a job.

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  27. @8:44 you need to do a comparison of the numbers that Michigan had released prior to yesterday and what is out there now.

    You can't tell me that Michigan would have released these numbers voluntarily without a great deal of pressure. If so, why not post them all before?

    I know that Michigan is trying to improve here. I give them credit for that. Maybe they can become the leader of disclosure to students. The information they posted yesterday is a step toward being the leader in honesty in employment statistics to the students.

    As for lawprof's post about "nice" people. Nice is not getting you too far in a biglaw environment. Nice might get you specific work as the person who always has to work with difficult personalities. Nice means people at your firm want to be around you. But nice only works if you couple that with extreme competence. Note: clients tend to prefer sharks.

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  28. Maybe the manner in which some of you have falsely interpreted and misrepresented Dean Zearfoss's statements is indicative of why you had difficulties with law school

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  29. 16.5% raise between 2009 and 2010 for the same position? Damn it feels good to be a Deanster. She was already on a meteoric rise before that, and not to witch hunt, but what could possibly be the reason for that, during a horrible recession, and during times of unmitigated tuition increases?

    In any case, more often than not, perception is reality. OU College of Law recently hired a new Dean of Students paying $175,000. From my tenure there, less than a handful of years ago, the Dean of Students held BBQs in their plush backyard (we didn't hate on them - that was going to be us eventually right?) and talked to the "in crowd" (legacies and Top 10%). This isn't about whether these are "good people" compared to Bernie Madoff. This is about the professional positions these individuals chose to be in. These people may be very bright, enthusiastic, empathic (other than to students making $30-50k/year and 150k in debt)people.
    But that doesn't mean that your perception as to what kind of person they are or the ethic the School as a whole holds, should not be changed by the fact a $175k/year employee does not hold pertinent facts in hand, and consistently conveys information in a way that is only beneficial to the School, and specifically not beneficial to prospective and current students.
    This battle is likely to be lost. Perception is unlikely to change until these individuals themselves become losers in the game. And then those people will also be quickly dismissed as disgruntled.
    For those defending Dean Z, what is your defense for not telling prospective students that there could be a 20% chance that for a handful of months after graduation you will make nearly minimum wage, funded (directly or indirectly - it doesn't matter) with your own money? What could change your perception if not that? Why do you start from that position?

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  30. Prof. Campos is channeling Mario Savio. This is great.

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  31. This seems like a misguided witch hunt. Let me see if I can recap what happened:

    1)Campos came to Michigan and wrote a blog post based on a conversation with a 3L (sound empirics, clearly)

    2) During Preview Weekend, Dean Zearfoss told prospective students that school-funded fellowships exist, and also stated that at the 9-month employment mark, only 8 of those fellowship recipients were counted as employed. That does not address how many initially received fellowships, though it does indicate that anyone who had initially received one and was listed as employed at 9 months was actually employed by an outside company or organization.

    3) Some of the listeners misrepresent Zearfoss's statements and Campos dutifully reports this as well.

    4) Michigan posts incredibly comprehensive employment information on its website, including the specific employers for each of its graduates in the past three years. This was clearly too comprehensive to string together solely in response to Campos's posts.

    5) Michigan also makes public the information about its fellowships, which it had previously made public only to current students.

    6) Zearfoss responds to Campos's allegations

    7) Campos expresses outrage and fails to understand the substance of the response, launching ad hominems instead.

    8) Bottom line- Michigan has been nothing but forthcoming with information. Criticizing the school for providing any amount of financial assistance to its graduates seeking work is asinine. They are not doing it to game the system, as only 8 of those fellowship recipients are counted in the employment figures.

    9) There is certainly a need to raise awareness of the misrepresentation that goes on in some schools. Michigan is not one of those, and Campos deligitimizes his endeavor through these asinine accusations.

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  32. Don't worry guys - she's looking into it!

    "That’s a good idea! I’ve done some googling and found some links to these pages. I’ll check it out.

    -Dean Z."

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  33. We need to move away from asking whether people are lying or telling misleading information.

    The better question, as DJM suggested yesterday, is whether they are telling the whole story.  The WHOLE story.  That needs to be the new standard.  Law schools must tell their prospective students the whole story about what is to happen to them after graduation.  Leave nothing out.  If you aren't telling the whole story, why not?  

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  34. Dean Z:

    "Come to UM Law, you'll love it and you'll love working in the law! That's why I clerked 5 years, practiced 2, and have worked at UM Law for the last 11 doing nothing close to anything related to legal work! And I make more than 99% of the rest of the Country! That’s a good idea! I’ve done some googling and found some links to these pages. I’ll check it out."
    If you don't understand why she is happy, why it's probable you won't be, and the reasons for it, you must be a sophisticated consumer.

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  35. Given that Prof. Campos, like Dean Zearfoss, takes a 6 figure salary from a law school (and doesn't seem to be in a hurry to step down), I wonder why he can't be bothered to keep the tone relatively civil.

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  36. @8:44

    What do you want, a listing of every graduate and their job and salary histories?

    Yes. That would be ideal.
    You can anonymize them and refer to them solely by an assigned number if you like. I see no reason to associate people's names with this information.

    But it would give a huge measure of power and justice back to employees if we mandated salary transparency for everyone; and every higher education program should have some responsibility for reporting employment outcomes. (Suitably matched with commentary on the student's goals, would be nice.)

    And the only way to report this transparently is to present the data in a disaggregated format, so that third parties can perform their own analysis.

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  37. That other schools are worse isn't relevant.  The Dean Zs of the world need to be put on notice.  People are watching you now, paying attention to what you say.  If you lie or tell misleading statements to people, Campos will write about it.  And you don't want that.

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  38. If we recall, just a few years ago, realtors and creditors took advantage of misguided lending policies in the housing market. In effect, it became as easy as signing your name as a piece of paper and you could get a fully financed ARM regardless of your credit history or income. We now look at this practice as incredibly dubious and are very critical of the bankers, lending institutions (many of which have now collapsed), and realtors involved in marketing and selling these mortgages to individuals who probably did not fully understand the terms and conditions of the mortgage (they were just exuberant to fulfill the American dream of being a homeowner). Part of the problem at the time was, that the institutions profiting from these practices (realtors, banks, lenders) likely realized that the homebuyers they were dealing with were uninformed, yet did nothing to to help them understand the risks of the products they were buying, and in fact, preyed upon the very misinformation of these clients in order to push the products as quickly as possible. In the end, many of these individuals, once the rates began to adjust and the economic realities of the sum they borrowed kicked in, could never afford to pay those mortgages back and were forced to foreclose.

    We now have law schools engaging in a similar practice. A misguided effort by the government to ensure that everyone can get an education-no matter the cost is resulting in skyrocketing prices at law schools who are charging more simply, as Campos has pointed out, because they can. Furthermore, the deans, administrations, and faculty at these institutions are all preying upon a set of consumers arguably even more naive (due to their youth) than the homebuyers were in the early 2000s (also being motivated by the promise of a different American-dream, that of a professional and monetary success).

    In hindsight, we perceive the practices of the banks and lending institutions and the realtors packaging and pushing these mortgages to naive consumers as greedy and irresponsible. Should we not hold law deans, administrators and faculty to an equal standard of accountability?

    In other words, if these schools are spinning information, even just a little bit, before certain audiences, say at ASW, in order to make their product appear more palpable so that they can sell their law school-then this is problematic. Furthermore, all of these deans should be fully aware of the audience they are dealing with--for the most part, young impressionable 22 year old minds who have no real concept of how indebtedness will effect their lives and who are still idealistic enough to believe that if they just try hard enough they will make it no matter what. The bottom line is, these kids don't understand risk. Period. And the deans, if they have any sense of professional responsibility or empathy for young people would develop messages which ensure that the risks associated with law school come across to young kids as clearly (if not more so) as do the potential rewards.

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  39. In hindsight, we perceive the practices of the banks and lending institutions and the realtors packaging and pushing these mortgages to naive consumers as greedy and irresponsible. Should we not hold law deans, administrators and faculty to an equal standard of accountability?

    I agree with your sentiment, but I don't recall anyone being held accountable for the financial crisis. All innocents. Some have yachts. But still, no one saw this coming.

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  40. Paul -

    I am the Michigan grad whose email you published a few months ago. I think you are absolutely right about the need for transparency. And I agree that most if not all faculty/administrators do not understand what has happened to legal employment options and how crushing law school debt has become.

    But I don't think you are being fair to Sarah Z. She has not interest in lying about this now - not when the numbers were about to be released under such pressure.

    That being said - I think that she (and the rest of the faculty and administration) should be troubled by the fact that Michigan engaged in this kind of employment gaming at all. Even if all but 8 students were able to find full time legal employment through their post-grad fellowship - the fact that the students reached that point is troubling. And the fact that Michigan was happy meet the bare minimum under NALP reporting guidelines - is also troubling.

    Michigan's actions suggests two things. First, Michigan, like many of its peers whose graduates have historically done well in the job market, believes that this difficult job market is temporary. Second, Michigan believes that its actions to minimize the visibility of the problem will benefit its students AND help the school ride out this "blip" and thereby protect its brand/cash flow.

    The problem is that all law schools are wrong about the first point. The fact of the matter is that it is much harder to get legal employment today that it was even five years ago. For years my current firm used to bring in well over 50 summer associates for one office. This summer we will have 7 slots for the same office - and we don't plan to increase that number anytime soon. The same downsizing happened at my previous firm - and seems to be par for the course for many Amlaw 100 firms. At the same time - government work and public interest work has become even more competitive. In short - there are a lot fewer jobs and too many graduates. The result is that even students at top schools are having a very hard time getting the experience they need to build a career. (All this means of course is that students at "elite" schools are now experiencing the scam that everyone else was subject to for years.)

    At the same time - (loan subsidized) tuition has gone up so much - that failing to get a job has become financially ruinous for any law student. In short - the social contract between schools and students is broken. Fixing it will require a lot of changes (employment transparency, loan reform, massive reduction in tuition, and closing of many law schools).

    I think this blog has been very helpful at raising awareness of the problem - which is the first step in changing things. But I also think that people like Sarah Z. are needed allies. Sarah is more than nice - she is someone who really does care. And now she knows the score. I would hope that you could continue a dialogue with her - that would help move this issue forward.

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  41. Thanks Lyricist, I appreciate the perspective. Someone I very much respect on the UM faculty has a very high opinion of SZ as well which of course gives me a certain amount of pause.

    Ultimately I don't think there's any excuse for the kind of continual hiding of the ball in which UMLS (along with everybody else) continues to engage. I'm frankly tired of the excuses people keep making for disingenuous behavior. Assuming for the purposes of argument that she didn't have the exact numbers at her fingertips (which I don't believe but whatever) she could have told those prospective students that "about 70" grads in each of the last two classes had gotten paid by the school while doing volunteer work.

    And I'm also tired of the rationalization that it takes months and months to disclose information that in fact could be put up at any time with the equivalent of a day's work by one person in what is no doubt an overstaffed office (because everything in law school is overstaffed). And we all know little or none of the information schools, including UMLS, have disclosed recently would have been disclosed if not for the pressure these institutions have been put under to stop "misleading" their present and future students.

    At some point people have to be called to account.

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  42. Unfortunately, this blog seems to have an obsession with the T14 and the less than stellar outcomes for 100% of the graduates while the carnage of the remaining 90% of law students (outside of T14) are largely ignored.

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  43. "Also, $333.33. I'll say this for my employer: it least it's paying our unemployed grads $10,000 over three months. Michigan is swimming in money -- you just built yourself some more swank digs for a cool $102 million -- but you can't come up with more than $333.33 a week for 12 weeks for people that you charged $150,000K for what turned out to be a worse than useless degree?"

    Oh damn burn. However, to be fair, there are much worse actors than Michigan out there. They should be getting attention too.

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  44. I think Campos' law school employer should strongly worry about a retaliation claim under the false claims act for Campos' whistle blowing - because all these law schools are accepting federal money based (allegedly) on false and misleading data.

    How much are treble damages on the federal money each law school has taken in within the statutory period?

    One article has already been published in this vein. Remember "Law Deans in Jail"by two professors at Emory University School of Law?

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  45. Still kicking myself for bidding for Chicago firms on the advice of OCS. OCS should be completely overhauled and everyone there for 2011 fired. They told us that NYC was a ghost town for summer associates and that Chicago was picking up and we had an automatic connection. EVERYONE applied there. Chicago had the worst year as a city it ever had, relying heavily on Chicago and Northwestern because those are the schools that really matter in the Chicago market. The law review people and the super strong candidates got all the interviews. Most of the rest of the Chicago folk got fucked. WHY do they still have jobs after ruining a good amount of 2011's chances?

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  46. I think the prior two comments (when I started 11:53/12:07) illustrate the civility one poster was calling for...I'm the 10:04/10:26 anonymous poster that was spewing some hatred toward "Dean Z". I don't mean to come across as callous, but my emotions become overwhelmed when seeing these salary figures. It is difficult for me to synthesize the characteristics describing Z and her increase in salary over the last few years. No matter the increase in responsibility that may have occurred (maybe she went from assistant dean to senior assistant dean - who knows), I have a hard time drawing a line for what is reasonable. What is the standard for decency? Should a person in her position refuse a raise? Should Campos? I'm still pretty young (29), lucky to be working as an attorney, in a publicly supported position, making mid-40s (okay, lower mid)salary. Can I ever reach the heights of Dean Z? Do I deserve to? In my case, probably not. But is there moral culpability for making that much money working as a "public servant"? Is it different because they work at UM? When did it become okay to start paying people based on their credentials as opposed to the difficulty and volume of the work (or their connections)? This just seems to be a time where salaries and their connection to the work and place of employment have become incredibly convoluted. Financial sector, energy, higher education (I'm sure I am leaving out other sectors) - there seems to be no relationship to the rest of the world's salary reality. Is this due to their status as commodities and/or subsidization rates (seriously, is there any other industry where you are guaranteed success moreso than banking?)?
    Long story short - can you be a "good" person, making 175k, funded by tax money and tuition? I'm not sure. I definitely think Campos offering himself up for this debate and pointing out the system as a whole is a "scam", shoves him farther down the line to moral decency than others in his position.

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  47. If they don't pay Dean Z $170K they might lose her to the private sector!

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  48. 12:47 said: "But is there moral culpability for making that much money working as a "public servant"?"

    As a public sector attorney who definitely aspires to make north of 100K for most of the rest of my career (although I don't currently make that much): no. Definitely not. We already make huge sacrifices in the name of doing public service work relative to our private sector colleagues, while - in the case of many government litigators - putting in extremely long hours for very little per hour. The idea that a fraction of our private sector colleagues' salaries is too much is, without more, insulting to our credentials and skills. The public is not entitled to legal services for free, and public servants should still be entitled to a strong quality of life commensurate with their education, qualifications, and contributions to the public sector.

    However, I share your concerns "as applied" to the law school context. To the extent that law schools are unable to deliver a product of value to their students and societies - i.e., 100% of the class has access to JD-required positions that enable them to pay off their debt (even if a handful of graduates choose not to take these positions for personal reasons) - then law school administrators have no legitimate claim to draw high salaries as a result of their "public service."

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  49. Ack, typo - should have been, "to their students and society"

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  50. @12:42 I have wondered about this. Everyone says that 2011 was the class that had terrible advice from OCS. The comments usually end there. I haven't seen anyone call them into account for basically sabotaging a number of careers.

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  51. So much for writing less! Go prof!

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  52. "If they don't pay Dean Z $170K they might lose her to the private sector!"

    That's my favorite argument. I want to see all those old people go into private practice. Let them go solo, see how they can handle finding clients with all of their pretttige.

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  53. @1:06 - I don't think they sat around Dr. Evil style plotting to fuck us over. But what they did do is have the scam artist alums that they pay generous consulting fees like Carol Kanarek and that other guy come puff us up about how awesome Chicago was doing and that NYC was a pipe dream. Somehow Michigan came to the conclusion no other OCS did - that Chicago was the healthiest market, and NYC was worthless. OCI is (ignoring clerkships, as those were even harder to get than firm jobs) the one shot law students have to break into the big firm life (and the corresponding salaries to pay down that 200K debt) - it should NOT just be "oh, well, bad advice" - it should be "grossly negligent bad advice that sabotaged a class's career opportunities for years and years to come."

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  54. It takes $170K to attract top talent!

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  55. "And I'm also tired of the rationalization that it takes months and months to disclose information that in fact could be put up at any time with the equivalent of a day's work by one person in what is no doubt an overstaffed office"

    It takes about 30-40 minutes to enter all of a school's NALP data in to a spreadsheet. It takes less time to scan the NALP report and post it to the website.

    ReplyDelete
  56. And so sorry she had to make a post "devoid of levity." She should always be entertaining for the benefit of the 0ls looking to mortgage their future.

    ReplyDelete
  57. Zearfoss's post appears to make the following points:

    Re commitment to transparency:
    (1) Michigan has long been one of the most transparent law schools in the country. Its template for disclosure was developed in strong economic times, and the details of 'the process' as it was routinized in strong times can surely be faulted under present conditions. But benchmarked against best industry practices, Michigan has had every reason to think of its disclosures as market-leading.
    (2) Given present economic conditions, Michigan has made the -- laudable and ethical and once again market-leading -- decision to invest substantial resources in collecting and publishing an order of magnitude more information about its employment outcomes. This once again appears to have put it in a position of being the most transparent law school in the country.
    (3) The project of gathering the information for this unprecedented level of data collection and disclosure has been ongoing for months.
    One might also add:  (4) anyone with even second-hand exposure to empirical analysis knows how hard it is to collect and clean accurate, meaningful, and verifiable data about *anything*, let alone the current activities of a widely dispersed population, each of whose members who have better things to do than respond to surveys about the sensitive details of their personal financial situation.

    Re the allegation of fraud:
    (1) Zearfoss knew the employment statistics would be posted on the heels of the admitted students weekend.
    (2) Even assuming the very worst of faith, it is therefore astoundingly improbable that Zearfoss set herself up for an epic gotcha by giving even the *appearance* of misleading information -- let alone actual lies -- that she knew to a moral certainty would shortly be proven false.
    One might also add:  (3) Zearfoss's contrary account of what she said has been factually confirmed by multiple prospective students who were at the meeting. Although there is of course no way to conclusively disprove the theoretical possibility that the individuals posting comments to that effect might be Michigan employees engaging in a coordinated disinformation campaign. Or space aliens.

    Campos's post offers no substantive response to any of these points. Instead, he chooses to 'respond' by reiterating his accusations at louder volume. The reason for that choice seems obvious.

    - Not Disinterested

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    Replies
    1. Re: "Not Disinterested":

      But how did you not follow Campos's irrefutable argument that Zearfoss was lying?

      You see, Campos, who has finally made a name for himself by devoting an incredible amount of his time exclusively to researching and exposing the failures of different law schools, knew several funding numbers off the top of his head. Logically, therefore, an admissions dean who spends the vast majority of her time focused on reviewing applications and building an incoming law school class simply must know these numbers, too. As a matter of science, it is also factually impossible that Zearfoss could only know that 8 people from last year's class were still receiving those funds without automatically knowing the exact number that had received them in the first place. Because, as you very well may know, the Office of Admissions at the University of Michigan Law School is in charge of placing students in these positions. As an incredibly even-tempered, mature, and hardly rash individual once wrote, her whole job is nothing but to know these kinds of things.

      I don't know about you, but I don't think tact or professionalism was even remotely possible in this situation, and I (for one) commend Professor Campos for managing to show the utmost restraint by characterizing Michigan's handling of this matter (including the despicable updated employment data that was included in the post that prompted his elegant response) only as "bullshit". This dear man is a beacon of sophistication.

      Now, Mr(s). Interested, can you not see how incontrovertible Professor Campos's claim is? Or are you, too, a pitiful, miserable, and shameful lier? While I may lack the impetuous nature required to call you one myself, I nonetheless imagine that I can surely find somebody on this website with the wisdom to reject the possibility of a misunderstanding and jump straight to making such accusations. Especially if you respond to these posts with a "reasoned" explanation and that fancy "civility" bullshit that you do.

      Delete
  58. So why didn't she give the accurate number? IF she knew the employment statistics were being posted, why didn't she have the number?

    Saying that the numbers were ready to be released just give more weight to the argument that she should have given them to the ASW. ISn't that the only question here?

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  59. Ummm, $170,000 is shit for a law school Dean. I'm seriously shocked that she makes that little. The going rate is like $500,000 even at fourt tier toilets.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dean z is an admissions dean, not the dean of the school, who will be leaving U of M in a year.

      Delete
  60. Sweet lord. Being *almost* done with your analysis is not the same thing as being *done* with your analysis. You bullet proof your data before you publish your results. This is not cloak and dagger stuff.

    ReplyDelete
  61. LawProf,
    To be fair, what if a bunch of these fellowships are going to people with biglaw offers that have been deferred for a few months?

    ReplyDelete
  62. LP, I think you're losing perspective. I can understand your feeling a bit beset, but you're beginning to sound a little too shrill.

    Is your argument really along the lines of "she couldn't possibly not know the things that I know, so she must be lying"? Step back from the immediate context for a moment--is this an argument you'd accept from one of your students in class?

    There are plausible reasons for the 8 students claim to be closer to top-of-mind for Dean Z than the larger number. One of the most damning interpretations of the fellowship program is that it's just a matter of gaming the US News rankings--that the law school doesn't really care about students, it just wants to push the employment numbers up. But if the way Michigan is running its program has most students leaving it before the magic nine month date, well, maybe you have to say that the school really is doing it to help students find jobs rather than to pad the numbers. I think the Dean can make a pretty good case: there are a bunch of people who got jobs from our fellowship program, at least some of whom wouldn't have gotten them without it. And if we were really just trying to game the rankings, we would have made sure that anyone who was still unemployed was still in the program by the magic date.

    I think you owe it to yourself and the rest of us to make good on your resolution to post less. You're tired of being at the center of this maelstrom, and who can blame you? Why don't you write on some other topic for a while?

    Publius

    ReplyDelete
  63. Ummm, she's an assistant dean, and for Dean's, your rate seems a little inflated from what I've seen, though not by much. Of course, I'm always weary of the other unknown "benefits" (see: UT Austin) when determining exactly what slop is in the trough.

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  64. Wise PhilosopherApril 5, 2012 at 2:12 PM

    All I have to say is that if a man's bitch tits are so large that he can stretch his niple up to his mouth and touch it with his tongue then he needs to lose weight. That is all.

    ReplyDelete
  65. "So why didn't she give the accurate number? IF she knew the employment statistics were being posted, why didn't she have the number?"

    Because not being straight with people if you can possibly avoid it is extremely habit-forming, even when it's obviously not in your long-term interest to continue to tap dance around unpleasant facts.

    Anybody who continues to defend SZ should really read her response to the original Segal NYT piece. Keep in mind she wrote this immediately after UM had "hired" nearly 20% of the 2010 class which had been unemployed several months after graduation.

    http://www.law.umich.edu/connection/a2z/Lists/Posts/Post.aspx?ID=48

    This is what counts for unusually forthcoming transparency in the law school world I suppose.

    ReplyDelete
  66. I think you owe it to yourself and the rest of us to make good on your resolution to post less. You're tired of being at the center of this maelstrom, and who can blame you? Why don't you write on some other topic for a while?

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

    Could you be any more transparent? Also, read Wise Philosopher's post above and perform the test, and heed his advice.

    ReplyDelete
  67. @ 1:53

    You, and all the other people who are misinformed about the situation, please read VERY closely:

    I was there when Dean Zearfoss spoke. The question was specifically about the fellowships artificially boosting Michigan's employment numbers. She responded that there were only EIGHT of these that were still ongoing at the time of the employment figures coming out.

    The number in the 70s (though a concerning figure) would have been pertinent to an ENTIRELY DIFFERENT QUESTION, ONE THAT WAS NOT ASKED. It was not misleading, and no one was asking about how many fellowships were given upon graduation. It was entirely about the employment statistics. She answered, accurately, that only 8 of these were used in the employment stats, and then said that the total number that were given could be found online the next day!

    You, Campos, and several others are ENTIRELY spinning this. You were not there, so let's please stop this witch hunt. The entire event has been taken out of context. It's disgusting.

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  68. I like how are modern culture believes that stabbing someone with a knife in a "polite fashion" is appropriate.

    If you think having someone correct your misleading statement is "disgusting," you should meet the people whose finances and futures were destroyed by this exact scam. That's disgusting.

    ReplyDelete
  69. LawProf,
    This is good and all, but don't make Michigan your sole target. There are much worse actors out there.

    ReplyDelete
  70. @2:21

    That entirely misses my point. There are valid arguments related to how law schools report things, and there are valid arguments on this blog. The point is that this particular one is based upon a false account of what happened in that session/ what was said

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  71. @2:17 So people needed to ask the direct question to get the answer? She had to know, unless she is as out of touch as some think she is, that 0Ls would be keenly interested in the total number of people who took the fellowships. The fact that more than 70 people took the fellowships is relevant information to prospective students and merits discussion with them.

    Just because only 8 people are still unemployed and counted as employed in the stats (which, doesn't that bother you? These 8 people making nothing were counted as employed?) that doesn't paint the whole picture. Dean Z knew the whole picture and didn't explain it when she could.

    I think that the people who hear the number 8 are going to assume the actual number is 10 to 15. I am sure no one there thought that more than 70 people were SOL at graduation and had to take a paltry sum from the school just to look like they had something going jobwise.

    Why don't you see this as a problem?

    ReplyDelete
  72. Here's my favorite line from the Zearfoss article on the Segal piece:

    "Clearly, our mission has to be to minimize those numbers—but realistically, in a group of 400, a couple of people are going to have a very hard time finding a job."

    This was written after a fifth of the previous graduating class didn't have a job four months after graduation.

    ReplyDelete
  73. To reiterate LawProf's point, in January of 2011, after hiring 20% of the class in fellowhips, she writes:

    "Having worked with law students for more than a decade, I am pretty dubious about any institution that claims to have completely eliminated the population of unemployed, not looking, and unknown. Clearly, our mission has to be to minimize those numbers—but realistically, in a group of 400, a couple of people are going to have a very hard time finding a job."

    Unbelievable.

    ReplyDelete
  74. Doesn't a "couple" mean "two?

    I guess in law school math 2 =more than 70

    ReplyDelete
  75. @2:29

    I understand that you will never accept what I am saying- so be it. That's fine. People have a right to be upset with how law schools are handling this.

    But you are still overlooking my point- this was a single isolated question and had nothing to do with Michigan's hiring difficulties from the class of 2011. It only had to to with employment statistics. And the answer was entirely focused on that. Rough paraphrase of the Q and A: How many fellowships counted toward Michigan's employment rate? Eight.

    There's nothing more I can say. I know that you, and many others, are frustrated and angry with the system. But this is a particularly bad example to be using. You can continue to believe otherwise, but I would suggest finding better examples (and there are plenty out there in the law school world)

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  76. No matter what was said at the meeting, the fact that no prospective student could get this information is what is important. And of course UM is better off than most, no one is arguing against that and obviously Campos understands that. For obvious reasons, he is a little more passionate about UM's situation. I do hope his realization about what counts as "transparent" even among the top tier does not lead to more of a "burnout" feeling.
    In addition, looking at the rate of salary response on UM's website, that is a precipitous decline. Also, due to the relationships for this fellowship program, outside of a couple years, how much longer will these agencies be able to hire fellowship recipients? According to the "success story", probably not much longer.
    Yes, for a couple days, this "tree" has become the focus instead of other, worse "trees", and instead of focusing on the "forest". But that's fine. Any attack on Campos is misguided. He's not saying she's a witch out to cook these recent grads in her boiling pot. He's simply saying as a professional, making that level of salary, in her position, at that forum, with that topic at hand, it was incredibly disingenuous to not say anything more about this situation other than what was said, given what we now know.

    ReplyDelete
  77. I know someone working for 2 years now who thanks the University of Michigan for their excellent education and caring guidance.

    They cannot believe that they are making a larger salary than Dean Sarah Zearfoss. That person has been given 2 raises & 2 bonus'. They are not allowed to discuss how much money they make, but with their last raise and bonus in March, the person who handles their "billable hours" remarked that Harvard & U of M Law graduates make the most money. I believe that other Attorneys are feeling a bit left out because they suspect that these 2 groups, when they walk into a Firm, their salaries start at $160K.

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  78. @2:36 Yes, I am angry with the system, but don't confuse me with some scamblogger. I posted the other day - I graduated in 1983 and I made a more than enough money practicing law in NYC for more than 20 years. I have taken a new career path, which my law income funded, because I was tired of working all the time. I want to enjoy the next 30 years of my life.

    Part of my frustration is that I can no longer recommend to my son or his friends that law school provides a future for them. The only one I supported in her decision in going to law school is a girl who got 178 on the LSAT, got into Harvard and has two physicians for parents who can easily pay the tuition. She is also one of the brightest people I've ever met and she will most likely end up as a professor somewhere.

    The other part of my frustration is that I am ashamed of my profession for letting this happen.

    ReplyDelete
  79. It really looks like you people are looking for any excuse to accuse Michigan and the assistant dean of fudging statistics. Already in the comments at least two people who were there at the meeting said they understood what she really meant.

    And besides, the fact that you consider it an outrage that 20 percent of the class of 2011 didn't have jobs on graduation and thus had to take on these interim jobs shows how utterly entitled you are. A lot of people nowadays are having trouble finding good law jobs coming out of grad school. They are very clearly making efforts to get their students employment, giving them interim jobs even. And your response is outrage that they didn't do the data dump earlier, or that she might have (but probably didn't) misspoken at a meeting about the interim jobs.

    As of now, three percent don't have jobs. Three. How many people from there fail the bar or exam, or otherwise might be unqualified to be lawyers? Why does every single human being who manages to make it through U Mich law school automatically deserve to have a law job handed to them immediately upon graduation? They're clearly trying to help. Stop complaining, it's tough out there.

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  80. 2:29PM.. These student know all this for at least a year and a half and they will break down doors & step on corpses to get a seat at "ANY" LS that would have them, then at the end of 3 years, they too will be moaning and groaning because they did not get an offer and everywhere they look there are no jobs...

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  81. @2:51 Please go back to reading your copy of Highlights Magazine and cease your trolling. TYIA.

    ReplyDelete
  82. @3:08 Please learn to think like a lawyer so that you actually might qualify for a job.

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  83. @3:06 I think the passion expressed in Campos's post and these comments is because this particular exchange illustrates a broader frustration - no one is willing to own up to the law school scam.

    The actors in the law school scam are the opposite of Harry Truman - the buck stops nowhere.

    If you get paid six figures and your title as "Dean" includes the phrase "Career Planning," you should probably be aware of, I don't know, people's careers.

    ReplyDelete
  84. AtheistATLLawyerApril 5, 2012 at 4:01 PM

    It doesn't matter because UM is still a scam trap school. Don't you realize that? What on EARTH could justify a 170k salary+ absurd benefits at UM for an "assistant dean".

    What EXACTLY does an assistant dean do, BTW? Can someone please tell me?

    I guess 170k is required to keep dean Z from fleeing into the private sector right?

    I just have to laugh at this complete joke. Dean Z would STRUGGLE to make 25k as a REAL LAWYER.

    She has never even practiced law in her entire life. SHE'S NEVER PRACTICED LAW!

    These people make me so SICK. It's DISGUSTING.

    ReplyDelete
  85. 3:08 You sound so bitter and unhappy.

    Try taking a self improving course that may give you the boost to walk into a company with some sort of confidence..

    I can tell you for a fact that people like you, the moment you sit down to an interview.. you give off negative vibes and are considered un-employable. There are many more pleasant un-employed attorneys I would rather hire.

    Next year this time you will still be unemployed.

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  86. 4:09 I: Her title is

    Senior Assistant Dean for Admissions,
    Financial Aid, and CAREER PLANNING

    This person wrote an incredibly disingenuous reaction to Segal, based on her intimate knowledge of exactly what was going on with Michigan's grads in terms of immediate career outcomes. She knew dozens and dozens of grads weren't getting real legal jobs, or even jobs at all, yet she had the gall to quote a 99% employment rate as accurate and relevant.

    4:09 II: Nice victim blaming little lemming. Swim faster, I'm sure you'll get to shore soon!

    ReplyDelete
  87. Sorry Professor, I do advocacy for a living, and the Dean's response makes you look like an ass.

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  88. This woman is an idiot, or certainly thinks that we are. The whole purpose of those fellowships is to dodge around having to tell NALP that 20% of the grads simply found no jobs whatsoever.

    I'm sick to death with these liars, cheats, twisters, linguists, and marketers who pose as law school admissions deans.

    ReplyDelete
  89. And. Boom. Goes. The. Dynamite.

    ReplyDelete
  90. At this point I'm just completely disgusted. Given some reactions I wondered if the OP was too harsh. Then I went back and reviewed the history of how the fact that 142 UMLS grads were being paid poverty-level wages by the law school while having their labor extracted at no cost to various legal employers came to be made public. If anything the OP wasn't harsh enough.

    Either you have some minimal sense of personal integrity or you don't. Since this personality feature seems to have been removed from a huge number of people in legal academia it's pointless to argue with them. This blog is intended for a different audience.

    ReplyDelete
  91. At 8:31am...

    >>>>>"I don't see why you're all so outraged. 20 percent of their graduates had trouble finding a job, so they give them some temporary thing to tide them through until they get jobs."<<<<<

    Let me correct that for you...

    I don't see why you're all so outraged. 20 percent of their graduates had trouble finding a job, so they give them some temporary thing to HIDE them until they get jobs.

    ReplyDelete
  92. As an employed lawyer and member of the older generation, I read this blog eagerly every day.

    Finding out the truth is very important in terms of a lawyer's prospects of being employed and paying off his or her law school debts. There is also a problem of stress if you don't know if you will get a job until 9 months after graduation and the question of interest accruing on one's loans.

    My view- this is a scam. A degree even from a top law school is useless to more and more people as they get older. The law schools are getting away with pretending they are offering a valuable degree. In many cases, even the top law school degrees are a bad choice, and would be a bad choice, even if they were offered for free.

    My lawyer colleagues, even with the best records, have had a lot of trouble hanging on to jobs. They have had years of or permanent unemployment and underemployment. This profession does not compare favorably to many others in terms of job security, how hard you have to work and sheer stress of knowing you could be permanently out of a job any day. Even if you are working, you have to worry, worry, worry about how long it will last.

    LawProf should go further and expand his blog to more experienced grads. How many are working and how many not?

    It has been many years since I went to law school, but I feel like I selected the booby prize. My parents paid every dime, and could afford to. I could have done anything, and I kick myself for having done this.

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  93. lawprof should stop commenting on his own post.

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  94. I am not lawprof. I am older than lawprof. Even though I am working, I feel I have suffered in this profession because the opportunities are not that good. I really work myself to the bone for every dime. I would have never done this if I had known the truth before going in. I went to top schools and could have done anything.

    My die is cast, but I applaud lawprof and am in awe of him for coming out and telling the truth.

    Some people really want to be lawyers. I did this by default. After reading this blog, a much higher percentage of people who go through with this will really want to be lawyers. The others, like I was after college, will consider other options, with their eyes much more open.

    But first jobs are not the whole story. I hope lawprof delves deeper into peoples' legal careers to present a true picture of the profession.

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  95. @5:08 "My lawyer colleagues, even with the best records, have had a lot of trouble hanging on to jobs. They have had years of or permanent unemployment and underemployment. This profession does not compare favorably to many others in terms of job security, how hard you have to work and sheer stress of knowing you could be permanently out of a job any day. Even if you are working, you have to worry, worry, worry about how long it will last.

    LawProf should go further and expand his blog to more experienced grads. How many are working and how many not?"

    You are absolutely correct. The first job statistics tell only a small portion of the tragedy, tragic though they are alone. I am still working and doing fine, and I am in a field that was once booming. That field is glutted now, and I worry constantly (like everyone else I know) how much longer my employment will last. I have lost count of all my colleagues who have been unemployed for years now, including partners who once offered me a job years ago. I do not even dignify the law business by calling it the legal profession. The vast majority of law jobs are about as stable and secure as quicksand...including partner jobs at NLJ250 law firms. Neither our own president nor his wife stayed very long at their prestigious, relatively high paying biglaw firm jobs.

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  96. Reading the comments defending this Dean is like watching the end of In the Company of Men.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/In_the_Company_of_Men

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  97. lawprof - where does the 142 number come from? I thought it was over 70? Did I read something wrong?

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  98. Have you seen this? How colleges waste our ‘Investments’ http://www.nypost.com/p/news/opinion/opedcolumnists/how_colleges_waste_our_investments_jBg470pm1PB1dhPPzRwWOJ

    But many university administrators have other priorities. The University of California system has been raising tuitions and cutting departments. But, reports John Leo in the invaluable Minding the Campus blog, its San Diego campus found the money to create a new post of “vice chancellor for equity, diversity and inclusion.”

    “In recent years, study after study has found that a college education no longer does what it once did and should do,” the report concludes. “Students are being asked to pay considerably more and get considerably less.”

    That’s the sort of thing that happens when you pump money into an insular system and don’t hold its leaders accountable for results.

    This doesn’t just happen on the Left Coast. The University of North Carolina at Wilmington saved some money by lumping together two science departments and raised spending on its five diversity-multicultural offices.

    “In recent years, study after study has found that a college education no longer does what it once did and should do,” the report concludes. “Students are being asked to pay considerably more and get considerably less.”

    That’s the sort of thing that happens when you pump money into an insular system and don’t hold its leaders accountable for results.

    Millions of young Americans are living with the results. In a time of economic stagnation, the degrees they’ve earned haven’t equipped them with basic work skills, much less expert knowledge that can command a premium even in a sluggish market.

    They’re saddled with tens of thousands of dollars of student loan debt, which — darn it! — turns out not to be dischargeable in bankruptcy. They can get by on partial payments for a while, but interest keeps accumulating, to the point that Social Security checks may get dunned to pay for college.

    Glenn Reynolds, proprietor of instapundit.com and a law professor at the University of Tennessee, says we’re watching a higher education bubble that’s just about to pop. That’s what happens when you throw a lot of money at college and university administrators who don’t have much common sense.

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  99. I have a "public service" job. What I make now, a decade out of law school, is about half of the advertised "median salary" that my top 25 law school trumpted.

    Even so, I feel lucky beyond belief...I love my job, I have health insurance, 401(k) decent hours, I have a family, own a house, and I "only" owe about 50 grand, at a very reasonable interest rate. Oh, and if I hang around twenty more years, I'll get a pension.

    It's funny, when I took the job, folks teased me that I'd only be there two years until I "gained experience" and would be out the door to a big firm or private practice of some sort.

    Ten years later, and when a job opens up we are hiring Ivy and top 10 grads leaving their private practice worlds. In fact, the last four have left voluntarily, and with a pay cut. Everyone can see the writing on the wall. We used to get twenty or so resumes for each opening. Now the resumes come in reams all the time regardless if an opening even exists.

    Five years ago, I toyed with the idea of looking elsewhere or a bigger income. Now it seems like it would be nearly insane to do so---and this is how it happens. When I began, turnover was swift. Now the only chance is if a totally new position is funded by the gov't or when someone retires.

    It's almost like the NFL. Theoretically are 32 openings for starting quarterbacks every year. But practically, every time a Peyton Manning or Tom Brady gets a hold of one, that "opening" is occupied for fifteen years. I think "public service" jobs are going to become that same way.

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  100. Wow, 6:42! You embody what means to me! Maybe the goal of a legal education is not just big bucks, but wonderful work! And for all the people who will jump on this post and say it's all about the debt -- well don't go into debt. I think Michigan has what one student called GSI? He said he is graduating debt free. I think there might be more ways of thinking about this than just I want a lot of money!

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  101. @LawProf:

    "And she wants us to believe that after preparing a talk for a roomful of prospective students on the subject of whether going to UMLS makes sense for them financially she didn't happen to have this information at her disposal?"

    Have you read the book Crazy U? In that book, a man chronicles his son's search for a college. On a visit to Boston, they drop by Harvard. Harvard has this little program set up where videos of former famous alums like Tommy Lee Jones urge the prospective students to take a chance at admission. (Ostensibly this program is for broad audiences, not Harvard targets, and tries to sell the school in lottery-like fashion---obviously to increase their apps so as to improve their yield).

    Well, one of the parents corners the administrator there after her spiel. Despite encyclopedic knowledge of the ins and outs of Harvard's class, a parent floors her with a simple question...

    How many slots are set aside for legacies? How many for athletes? She begins to stammer that she "doesn't have that information" and talks about how they "don't keep those numbers." This is beyond belief, of course. Everyone in the room knows that this lady knows EVERYTHING. But if she lets it slip that the tiny, tiny fraction of students admitted gets even tinier if you don't have a Harvard alum at your dinner table or if you're not an olympic swimmer...well, these folks aren't going to waste the application. And that's not good for the yield.

    Other parents figure out what the first dad is asking...and so they ask too. Loudly. Persistently. And they keep asking.

    So she stammers. And stammers, and stammers some more, until "well, folks, I'm sorry, that's all the time we have."

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  102. @6:55,

    I don't mean to imply that no one should go to law school, but what I do mean to imply is that if "public service" jobs become plum jobs, then the amount of money schools are asking is way, way out of line with reality, and the starting salaries they are selling become more and more misleading.

    People look at 160K, assume bonuses and raises, and eventual partnerships, and assume a 30-40 year legal career will yield them 10-15 million dollars. Reality is that after they make the first million, they'll either be culled from the herd or will be dying to get out voluntarily.

    My current situation works for five reasons:

    1. I didn't grow up wealthy, so I'm as comfortable/more comfortable than I've ever been--no ego to be bruise, I'm fine driving used cars.

    2. I'm married to a professional who also makes a decent wage (with no student debt).

    3. I got incredibly lucky with my student loan interest rate at consolidation--which I don't think I would get today.

    4. I went to law school a decade ago, when tuition was half of what it is today.

    5. I live in an area where the cost of living is relatively low.

    Had any of those factors been different, life would be much, much tougher for yours truly. And I recognize that.

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  103. If the person giving the talk was not the Director of Admissions-- and she was not-- she may not have known the answer. But she should have because, as far as legacies go, the percentages are no secret. Actually, the people asking the question could easily have found that out before they even got there-- if something like that was a make or break thing for them. The Crimson reports on this almost every year after the class is comprised. Crazy U came out just last year, right-- in the Age of the Internet? The acceptance rate for legacies for the past few years has run to about 30 percent. The acceptance rate overall this year was 5.9. The comment suggests that Harvard is uncomfortable about this. They are not at all. So, if she was embarrassed, that may just have been her personality.

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  104. Granted, it's likely been a year or so since I read the book, but the author presents this event as coming across like a kind of soft sell to apply anyway, even though most of the folks have a better chance of getting struck by lightening than getting accepted to Harvard.

    By the end of the day, most folks realized what the gig was. They were being encouraged to apply, almost like buying a lottery ticket, since "you never know...it might change your life." Certainly nothing wrong with this, but it's pretty clear the only benefit Harvard can really gain is to boost app numbers to make the yield look even better.

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  105. Somone asked on a similar thread how these administrators could look at themselves in the mirror.

    I pondered that for a second. I don't know the answer for sure.

    But I'll bet that the ten grand (after taxes) that hits their direct deposit serves as a salve for the conscience each and every month.

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  106. I actually think Michigan has done a pretty good job with this chart. If everyone would emulate this, I think we could consider it a pretty fair marketplace.

    I have some quibbles with the way they've set it up. For example, since we naturally read left to right, it reads in ascending order...as in 0 Skadden hires to 7 Skadden hires to 11 Skadden hires.

    In reality, of course, those numbers are 2011 then 2010, then 2009, so the reality is that Skadden has gone from 11 Michigan grads in 09, down to 7 in 2010, all the way down to 0 in 2011. That's a disturbing trend.

    It's not untrue or inaccurate, so what's the big deal?

    The big deal is that after dealing with the tactics of law school administators, it's difficult to distinguish if it truly is unfortunate or if someone deliberately cooked it up to make it look like the numbers were getting better. Simple chart construction, or more smoke and mirros?

    THAT is the sad part. When the possibiities are complete innocence and devious intentions, the smart money has been on the latter for quite a while.

    And when the numbers are only released 7 years into a program, seems like the smart money has a point.

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  107. 6:55 PM It can be done a friend of mine whose parents are both Medical Doctors insisted that he worked while in Law school and he graduated in the top 10% of his class his fiancee who also attended Michigan has student loans but not as large as you may think. She saved the money she made with her Summer Associate jobs for the 2 years and used that for rent and necessaries
    her parents also helped with her expenses.

    There are some students who are mature enough to keep their debt down. While in LS a bunch of her friends went to Hawaii (On Loans)She did not go. She saved her money.

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  108. @8:04 That may be so, but by 2011 when that book came out, people should have known that getting into Harvard is no small feat. That's an understatement, of course. Even if the school did not put a thumb on the scale for legacies, it would be tough. With over 34,000 applicants for roughly 2030 spaces-- the vast majority of whom don't show up to the admissions office to get a soft sell to apply-- they will always have more than enough people to make them look good. In fact, there is some thought that having too low an acceptance rate may scare people off. The Common Application has done more to boost applications to colleges than anybody giving a tour of a school could ever hope to do.

    I don't doubt that people giving tours of colleges want people to apply. There is nothing nefarious about that. But I also expect that a book called Crazy U would be full of anecdotes designed to carry forward the book's theme as expressed in the title. Who can be surprised that Harvard admits legacies, or that good athletes may have a better shot at getting in? Talking about it on a tour is not going to change that if, indeed, that is what someone wants to do. But not everyone wants to change that.

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  109. I need to apologize to Campos. I have missed the genius of his approach.

    For the past couple of weeks, I've wondered why he has fixated on schools (Columbia and Michigan) that actually have some valid defenses and generally have better outcomes than 90% of law schools out there.

    So I thought he was crazy. Wasting all the capital he's built up when they try to deflect his arguments. It's beginning to look crazy, Campos.

    Now I realize he's crazy like a fox. Other than Harvard/Yale/Stanford/Chicago (who likely wouldn't even respond to a critique, since they wouldn't need to and have the employment outcomes to back it up), every other school is desparate. They are walking a tightrope.

    Campos recognized this. Schools are getting incredibly defensive. Why?

    Well, their target students are smart. Unlike fourth tier schools, they can opt out. They have other options. Many of them may have worthwhile jobs or attractive job offers to take if law school starts to look even a little risky.

    This wouldn't hurt Yale. Yale could lose 30% of their admitted class tomorrow and line up folks to take their spots without batting an eyelash are compromising quality.

    But the other schools are terrified of losing face in the USNEWS rankings, or among colleagues. They can't stand it, which is why they are trying to punch back fast and hard.

    And Campos knows that those that drive influence couldn't care less if Ave Maria or Cooley are having trouble facing grads.

    But one or two articles in the NY Times, or a section on CBS news that mentions Columbia or Michigan will have alums calling the old alma mater asking for answers "What's going on over there? Why aren't we placing well?"

    Likewise, for perspectives, so many 0Ls are wising up, but slowly. They are saying "I'll sit out one year, up my LSAT score, and go T14 or bust." This is because they are figuring out anything lower ranked isn't necessarily worth it, particularly at these prices. Well, if "T-14" doesn't mean what it used to mean (golden ticket to biglaw nearly guaranteed), then there may not be a reason to go at all. This year, next year, ANY year.

    And that's a problem for administrators who want buckets of cash just for existing and law professors who want to teach two or three classes a year.

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  110. @8:45,

    I understand your point. Not picking on Harvard, just think that the trend of administator as used car salesperson is a sad development in higher education in general.

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  111. whoops, 8:52 should read "without batting an eyelash *while others* are compromising quality."

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  112. I laughed when I read the dean talk about what a herculean task this was to put UM's graph together.

    Out of curiosity from reading this blog, I tried to see if I could find out where some of my old classmates were today.

    Armed with nothing more than an old recruitment manual and google (I graduated before facebook became ubiquitous, it would probably be even easier now), I went through about 1/6th of my class in under an hour.

    Based on results from that simple sample size, I can extrapolate that to ascertain employer information for about 80-85% of my class, it would take me approximately one day. Based on my results, I would have to assume at least a portion of my class is no longer employed in the legal profession, or at least in a capacity that can be located on the internet. Let's say I did that on monday. To create a spreadsheet and/or graph might keep me occupied for another week tops. Even if I had to hire a private investigator, I could probably get pretty close to 100% on graduate outcomes in another week or two.

    Several things suggest that it would really be quite easy to determine if one were so inclined.

    1. Apart from a handful of friends with whom I've kept in touch, I don't have phone numbers or student address information. Law schools have this--you can certainly bet their fundraising/alumni offices have it.

    2. I don't personally meet the employers every year that come to OCI. Law school administrators do.

    3. I didn't even use facebook, or linkedin. Law schools either can or should have these options at their disposal.

    4. I don't have a current NALP book. If I did, I could match salary info with any firm listed. If a school is listing medians of $160,000, then virtually all of the firms I find should be listed in NALP, right?

    5. I didn't even try to use other info that is readily available, such as state bar info, salary databases for state employees, etc.

    6. And this is the kicker.....I'm not paid to do this. I googled names for 45 minutes.

    In 2012, the only reason it could possibly be difficult for the law schools to find out the truth about employment outcomes is if the law schools intentionally do not want to find out the truth about employment outcomes.

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  113. http://thecareerist.typepad.com/thecareerist/2012/04/skadden-women-partners.html


    So Neat!

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  114. That's more like it, Campos. It's about time you people woke up.

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  115. I told you over the past couple posts, LawProf, you need to back it off and remember where you started. You're so far down the road of "just another loudmouth scamblogger" now that I'm not even sure you can regain what respect you once had.

    Sweet mother...this post is even loaded with illiterate typos. Relax, take a deep breath, and post something of substance once a week if you are able to.

    I know the guilt of collecting your Zearfoss-esqe salary is eating at you, but at least do something worthwhile for it. Don't post garbage that belongs on the other scamblogs.

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  116. What does her salary have to do with it? You have jumped the shark here. Her response made reasonable sense to me.

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  117. @4:26 and 5:00


    HAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHHAHAHA.....nice try.

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  118. "What does her salary have to do with it? You have jumped the shark here. Her response made reasonable sense to me."

    It's really more the total picture. Her salary, the gazillion dollar building they just built on the backs of tuition dollars, etc.

    Think about this....what would a district attorney make in Michigan? More or less what this administrator makes? Someone who literally deals with life and death, tries first degree murder cases?

    For that matter, there are probably assistant prosecutors with a ton of experience that have tried a dozen murder cases that make half what this lady does.

    Then, when she responds about her ambitious new project of plugging numbers into a flipping spreadsheet, even though the data was collected for different reasons---but hey, she's up for a challenge! When that should be the baseline minimum of disclosure for anyone in her line of work? The practicioner has to have candor towards the tribunal? Is it really too much to ask for candor towards prospective law students?

    It would be hilarious if it were not so tragic.

    This little episode perfectly illustrates the current status of our "profession." So yeah, her salary has something to do with it.

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  119. @4:26 a.m.:

    For future reference, it's spelled "-esque."

    I'm sorry that Campos chose not to stick with institutions. I'm sorry that Campos chose to call out someone by name for failing to show the same consideration of prospective or current law students that a real attorney would have to show towards a client weighing their options. It must really hurt Sarah's feelings to take point for decisions that go well past her level, but certainly involve her. If it makes you or her feel better, I will apologize on Campos' behalf and light a rosary/chant a mantra/sacrifice an animal on behalf of Zearfoss' soul.

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  120. Great post Lawprof. Never apologize for holding these people accountable.

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  121. @5:51, Just out of curiosity, I checked the salaries for prosecutors in Washtenaw County (where UMLS is located).

    The elected chief prosecuting attorney has an annual salary of $119,268. Salaries for various ranks of assistant prosecutors range from $58,124 to $116,757, with most of them clustered around $80,000.

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  122. @6:04 a.m.:

    If your point is that it's okay for Zearfoss to be worthless to her students because her salary is only $50,000 more than an elected prosecutor's, try harder.

    If you really want to impress me, tell me how many recent graduates on Michigan's post-graduate dole were able to land jobs with the Washtenaw County prosecutor's office.

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  123. @6:12, I wasn't trying to make any particular point - just supplying information since someone was discussing these salary levels.

    Checking a small sample of the staff at the Washtenaw County prosecutor's office on linkedin, it seems like there are more Wayne State and Cooley grads than Michigan grads, and the only attorney who looks like they were hired within the past two years graduated from Wayne State.

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  124. Whatever one thinks of the arguments made by Campos and Dean Sarah Zearfoss, here's a revealing contrast. Early yesterday afternoon, I posted two comments to the "Dean Z." blog; one comment was critical of a statement made by Dean Zearfoss in her blog posting, and the other comment was critical of another commenter's remark. My comments didn't contain any profanity or inflammatory language, yet almost 24 hours later, neither one has cleared Dean Zearfoss's review and been publicly posted, although several comments supportive of her and her school have subsequently been posted.

    I'm embarrassed for Sarah Zearfoss and for the University of Michigan Law School that she's afraid to permit herself to be criticized further -- sunlight is the best disinfectant, Dean Z., and an academic ought to be zealous in her support of free expression.

    Meanwhile, Campos doesn't seem inclined to stifle or censor dissenting opinions. That fact doesn't mean that his arguments are right, but it does suggest that he's in the business of finding truth, not hiding it.

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  125. Mr. Campos. Please keep this blog going. You are making a difference.

    Thanks.

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  126. At least this blog has the dignity to not censor its responses. I have personally posted three responses to Dean Z's explanation, and not one - not one! - has been approved for publication on that blog over at Michigan.

    They are clearly spinning this now, and using their admissions blog as a means to make it look like everyone agrees with them and everybody thinks that Campos is a fraud.

    Surely that is the sign of a dishonest player?

    There is just too much evidence, across the board, for law schools to continue claiming that they don't know what's going on. Just too much.

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  127. 7:20 am, I agree that the refusal to post critical comments suggests not only fear, but dishonesty, on the part of Zearfoss and Michigan. The ironic thing is that in my (unposted) comment about Zearfoss's blog posting, I actually stated that unlike Campos, I didn't believe that she'd deliberately intended to mislead her audience at the accepted-students seminar.

    Now, however, Zearfoss just looks like Ann Arbor's version of the Iraqi information minister.

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  128. Keep fighting the good fight Prof. Campos!

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  129. I'm going to go out on a limb here...

    All law schools teach the same thing in the same way. Having taken classes at multiple schools of varying rankings, I can see, from experience, law schools are no different from each other. The only difference is the cohort of students.

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  130. 7:51,

    I consider myself a sympathizer but there is a significant difference between a law student with a 2.8/149 and a 3.8/169.

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  131. WOW @8:12, are you a contributor to The Onion?

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  132. This has almost become an instance of hurting future Michigan alums by defaming the school

    Michigan's response is reasonable, and this is one of the weakest arguments Campos has made, especially since it is based on a fallacy (according to people who were at the admitted students weekend)

    Focus on taking down the law schools that are truly scamming students, and not simply attacking one law school (and yes, the consequences can be real - you are doing undue damage to one school that has actually been among the MOST transparent)

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  133. @8:22 I bet the Emperor's garments look exceptionally well-tailored to you.

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  134. 6:53 and 7:39 AM again here; better judgment apparently prevailed, as my two comments from yesterday have just now been posted to the Michigan blog, as have several others critical of Dean Zearfoss.

    Credit where due: Michigan is trying harder re: transparency than most places. Criticism where due: Michigan is becoming transparent only in response to outrage and outcry, not out of any desire to help current or prospective students.

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  135. Guilty until proven innocent, I see.

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  136. I graduated Michigan Law 2010, and passed the bar in my state. I was a recipient of the post-graduation stipend. And, I'm currently working for a staffing agency, doing data entry for $12.00/hr, with no other current prospects.

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  137. Putting up a front of being transparent is not equal to being so...

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  138. You just gotta love how Campos has all these law school establishment puppets dancing! About time an insider exposes these phonies for what they really are.

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  139. @8.42 - And you are counted as a success.

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  140. Come on Campos. At least have some integrity in your attacks on law schools. Are you getting off on the hero worship or the nice tidy handjobs you're getting in these comments? Don't attack Dean Zearfoss' salary when you're making something similar, profiting from the system you're bitching about, and having heavily indebted law students pay for your plane tickets. I don't see you in a rush to devote a portion of your bloated paycheck to the unemployed graduates of your TTT.

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  141. Campos could be the only Prof in the country who is actually helping graduates. So in that respect, he is probably the only one who deserves his check.

    I hope he buys himself something nice. Maybe some rims?

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  142. This once again seems to have put it in a place of being the most obvious law university in the nation.

    auto accident attorney milwaukee

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  143. @ 8:42 am. I am trying to figure out where you factor in the comprehensive employment statistucs on the UM website. "Other professional"?

    @ 8:29 pm. I had the same reaction as you, as in I saw an "upward trajectory" of placement based on my left-right reading assumption.
    I recognize that UM has posted more information than other schools, but it still doesn't sit right with me that on one page the career services office boasts that the class of 2010 has a 98.3 percent employment rate, and moreover that the school is "a launching pad to the nation's premier private law firms," yet the signs of a downward trajectory are clearly there even in their own numbers, though they will never acknowledge it. For example:
    # of UM graduates in "JD preferred" positions:
    3 (2009)
    14 (2010)
    44 (2011)

    * JD preferred = "management consulting, investment banking, real estate, legal jobs overseas, et al."

    # of UM grads unemployed yet seeking a job:
    2 (2009)
    4 (2010)
    13 (2011)

    But most tellingly, 25%ile of salary for UM graduates:
    $120,000 (2009)
    $110,000 (2010)
    $62,647 (2011)

    This halving of the 25th percentile salary has happened despite the fact that for the class of 2010, 84% of UM grads were employed by firms of 251+ attorneys, i.e. not "shitlaw" jobs. Contract work at "the nationa's perimier private law firms"? I also note that the % of class for which salary is known has been decreasing as well: 84% (2009), 65% (2010), 52% (2011). I might assume that since first-year associate salaries are basically a matter of public record at large firms, and because any school has an interest in "knowing" the best outcomes of its graduates salary wise, that the top numbers are still present in this data set.

    But everything's fine!

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  144. 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 excuse view the statements coming from any pro-law school institution as "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 call it hearsay and take it back later, eh?)

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  145. **typo above: "it's hard to view (and excuse) the statements coming..."

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  146. @8:22 a.m.:

    (and yes, the consequences can be real - you are doing undue damage to one school that has actually been among the MOST transparent)

    The most transparent law school can take its place of honor next to the tallest midget and smartest Kardashian sister. With that out of the way, Michigan told NALP that 8 of its students were taking advantage of a program which in reality 75 were. Prospective students are impressed with representations that Michigan Law makes to NALP and USNWR indicating an employment rate at or above 90%, yet Michigan Law makes no effort to clarify that a fifth of them are employed in a minimum wage program to perform full-time legal work through the university. In addition, the fact of reporting median salaries allows Michigan Law to emphasize the financial outcomes experienced by its most successful 50.1%, while the remainder are hidden from NALP and USNWR's view. That is to say, hidden from the sources that prospective law students trust to tell them the facts they need to assess whether $150k+ of non-dischargeable debt is a good idea for them.

    Part of the bullshit that law schools hide behind is that Excellence Will Invariably Triumph, and any student who stupidly took Hofstra Law or Ave Maria Law at their word deserves what they got because they were not worthy of real law schools like Michigan Law. In that sense, Michigan Law is absolutely the right school to attack, because its outcomes are equally terrible for a significant minority of its students and Michigan Law has done its best to disguise this without lying outright.

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  147. The thing that is so disturbing about all of this is the University of Michigan Law School and the University of Colorado Law School are owned, operated and managed by the States of Michigan and Colorado, respectively. They are longstanding institutions of their respective states, are funded by taxpayer dollars, and are oerseen by their respective state legislatures. They are not business enterprises and they really are not supposed to make a profit.

    So why do these state instutitions engage in massive fraud? Why do they feel compelled to mislead young adults into making career decisions they will regret for the rest of their lives? How does this behavior in any way, shape or form serve the public interests which caused their respective state governmens to establish, fund and administer these institutions?

    Most people do not expect their state governmens to lie through their teeth to encourage them to obtain services they do not want, they do not need, they cannot use and they cannot afford.

    If state run law schools want to print lies in glossy brochures, it would seem they should do so without relying upon support from the state. They should vacate their state owned premises, negotiate with their faculties for market rates of pay and otherwise operate without the benefit of taxpayer support and dollars.

    As long as they are state institutions, they should be expected to act like state institutions. At the very least, faculty at these institutions should not be paid more than the governors of their respective states -- or more than that received by the judges employed by the state.

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  148. "Cameron" and "Abigail"

    You wag !!

    ReplyDelete

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