Friday, April 27, 2012

Storm clouds

I learned yesterday by happenstance that the University of California Hastings is cutting its incoming JD class by 20% this fall, and plans to maintain this new level going forward. This means that two years from now the school will have a total of about 240 fewer JD students enrolled than are currently attending it.  As a consequence the school is cutting its operating budget for next fiscal year by $2.1 million.  These cuts will be apparently borne exclusively by the school's staff: ten staff people are being laid off, another ten are having their positions reduced from full-time to part-time, and seven others took voluntary severance deals ("voluntary" in this context being what lawyers call a term of art).

If the school's faculty are being asked to throw anything into the pot the administration is doing a good job of not revealing this, as Frank Wu, the school's chancellor and dean -- Hastings is a free-standing state law school which is not part of either the UC system or a larger university -- mentioned nothing of the kind in his letters to the Hastings community.   Indeed per these communications it appears the faculty got a 5% raise in over the course of the 2011-2012 academic year. (It says something about the social structure of legal academia that if Hastings had laid off a single tenure-track faculty member this would have been the talk of legal academia, but the school can eliminate 20 staff positions and hardly a word about this can be found on the internet.)

From an outside perspective, an unsympathetic observer might conclude that Hastings' current situation can serve as an exemplar of the kind of rampant financial irresponsibility that we've seen all over American legal academia in recent years decades.  Consider:

In 2004-2005 Hastings charged a resident tuition rate of $20,900. This coming fall, it will charge California residents $46,500 for the privilege of attending.  This is an 83.5% increase in real inflation-adjusted dollars.

As of three years ago Hastings was getting a quarter of its $40 million annual operating budget from the state of California.  At that time Gov. Schwarzenegger attempted to eliminate the subsidy almost entirely but was rebuffed by the legislature, which kept the subsidy intact. (A mordantly charming detail: $155,000 of the school's annual operating expense was coming from California lottery proceeds). In short a heavily subsidized school has nearly doubled its price of admission but still finds itself having to make major budget cuts.

Now what could explain this situation?  Well for one thing between 2007-08 and 2009-10 Hastings decided it would be a fine time to hire nine new tenured or tenure-track faculty members, in the middle of period in which the school was in the process of nearly doubling its tuition in real terms, while the status of its state funding was in increasing question. (I should emphasize I don't mean to pick on Hastings here -- this kind of behavior is SOP at many law schools).

Meanwhile as all this was going on the employment prospects for the school's graduates were in the process of collapsing: nine months after graduation 44.4% of the 2010 class had no long-term employment of any kind, legal or non-legal, which was one of the very worst performances of any ABA-accredited law school in this category.

Obviously under these conditions cutting the size of the JD portion of the student body by 20% is both warranted and something of an act of desperation.  We will be seeing similar things and worse at many other law schools soon, although we can expect that various central administrators will be less inclined than Hastings' own administration to allow the pain to fall exclusively on law school staffs rather than faculties.

A final note: How utterly absurd and irresponsible was it for the state of California to approve the opening of a new law school at UC-Irvine in 2009? I'm not going to bother to look it up but I can guess this boondoggle was approved on the basis of some nonsense about rigorously combining theory and practice in a new model for 21st century legal education while maintaining "accessibility" to legal education for the people of California, who were previously making do with about 41 law schools (In three years the school's tuition has gone from free for its first class to $44K for residents and $54K for non-residents).

Anyway, what's going on at Hastings is merely a preview of coming attractions all across the nation. As Bette Davis once remarked, fasten your seat belts, it's going to be a bumpy night.

133 comments:

  1. What I am waiting for, eagerly anticipating even, are the scores of stories that will come out in the coming years about the shock endured by those in legal academia who find themselves competing for jobs out in the real world after they get, what's the term, Lathamed.

    I read the other day of a prof at Yale or Harvard (or wherever the Ivy doth grow) who "specialized" in "law & __." I believe I may have audibly groaned. At least, when I looked up from the printed page, complete strangers were looking at me.

    I feel like the scrappy protagonist in a Dickens novel. I suppose I may find some sort of justice in another 900 pages or so.

    Until then...

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  2. How many of the people who were let go were in positions that actually help students? (As opposed to the faculty who navel gaze and ponder ridiculous things that no one values...) Many "staff" members at law schools are actually legal writing teachers. Another "staff" position is academic support, who work with first-gen college students, low SES, and teach legal analysis and BAR classes. These are things that students value, but are the first thing to go when budgets are cut. The deans at Drexel and Dusquesne said as much at AALS. It's just shameful.

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  3. @Crux-- what are you even talking about?

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  4. Maybe if professors taught more than three classes a semester, we wouldn't need so many of them.

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  5. @ 7:22:

    I believe Crux is saying that many coddled law professors, who make ridiculous amounts of money for navel-gazing bullshit, which is funded by life-ruining student loan debt, are going to be faced with some really ugly truths in the next few years about this scam, truths they've been ignoring as this "profession" we're in circles the drain while they've been collecting extremely nice paychecks and benefits--that when this whole house of cards comes tumbling down and the gravy train stops rolling, they are going to lose their sweet, sweet jobs as law professors and, if there is any justice in the world, have to compete with their former students for document review jobs or fun gigs working for solos at $12/hour. (I mean, who is going to hire these out-of-work law professors? They don't have any skills or knowledge about the actual practice of law.) And unlike Tiny Tim, in the "Christmas Carol," we're not going to invite these law professors to share our Christmas goose (because we can't afford one). But we will laugh and laugh and laugh.

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  6. Oh, I get it...

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  7. @ 7:39, that day of reckoning will not be coming any time soon IMO. My gut tells me the law schools will fight hard to keep the professors.

    They will give the staff and the adjuncts the boot rather than risk losing a single tenure track professor.

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  8. Burdened by multi-generational student loans.

    http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2012/04/25/kirk-4_05_custom.jpg?t=1335369183&s=4

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  9. Unemployed Hastings grad here. I hate that school so much. I wish I never heard the name Hastings.

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  10. Remember when Frank Wu wrote an excrement-covered sales piece for US "News" & World Report labeled "Why Law School is For Everyone."

    http://www.usnews.com/education/best-graduate-schools/top-law-schools/applying/articles/2009/04/22/why-law-school-is-for-everyone

    By the way, I have yet to profile UC Hastings on my blog. I suppose I could put it on the short list.

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  11. Watch it, Campos. The Univ of Colorado administration might try to tranquilize you:

    http://blog.sfgate.com/hottopics/2012/04/26/amazing-photo-captures-bear-floating-through-the-air/?tsp=1

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  12. At Hastings, the people at the top (the deans and tenure track faculty who make up the elite of Americna law schools) have numerous "barriers" to the infliction of real pain. Instead of taking a haircut to their enormous salaries and perks, as one would expect from supposedly honorable people, they people will raise class size. When they cannot raise class size any more, they will raise tuition. When they cannot raise tuition any more, they will lay off staff. When they cannot lay off staff, they will eliminate non-tenure track faculty. When they cannot eliminate any more non-tenure track faculty, they will cut funding for student programs.

    Now all these things might have a small blowback on them, but it will be some time and much more pressure brought to bear before we might see layoffs of tenure track faculty.

    It's really sad that for the students, profession, and taxpayers to gain, lowly paid administrative workers will have to be laid off. The pain simply gets shifted among people at the bottom while the folks at the top insulate themselves with ever increasing layers of security. How much would each tenured Hastings faculty member have to kick back to blunt these cuts?

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  13. @ bored 3L -- Didn't Law Prof just say that Hastings was cutting its class by 20% in response to the crisis?

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  14. I know a 3L at Hastings who was an editor of the law review and is still unemployed.

    What a terrible school. The only school in California worth going to is Stanford. The only schools anywhere else worth going to are Harvard and Yale.

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  15. @Shark Sandwich:

    At the school I work at (I'm in one of the "first-to-go" categories mentioned by 7:08, although I am considered contract faculty rather than staff so we can improve our student-faculty ratio for U.S. News) they teach two classes per semester. Anything more would "interfere" with their "scholarship."

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  16. 9:10: I doubt the cut in class size has much to do with bringing the market back into equilibrium. It is an attempt by Hastings to maintain LSAT/GPA rankings for USNWR WITHOUT killing their faculty reputation score which is what would happen if they laid off tenure-track faculty. This will also keep their per student spending relatively flat. This is a crucial decision that law schools will be facing in the coming year. Right now the pain is being shifted around between groups at the bottom, not being felt by folks at the top.

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  17. Three classes per year is now standard for tenure track faculty at all top 50 schools and quite a few schools in the second tier. As a functional matter tenure track faculty at elite and even some sub-elite schools tend to average more along the lines of two classes per year, because of generous research leave and sabbatical policies.

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  18. My admin law prof loves to use word scholar or scholars or scholarship. She says it about 3 to 4 times per class. Every time I hear it, I just have this urge to stab her.

    Thank atheist gods that I am a reasonable consumer of higher ed. or this bitch would get it.

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  19. @bored3L -- I was only pointing out that you said that the first thing the school would do would be to be to increase class size. For whatever reason they did it, their first act was the opposite of raising the class size.

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  20. @10:06 - I think bored3L is both referencing what has happened in the past, is happening, and what is likely to happen in the future. We are now at the "lay off staff" portion of the analysis.

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  21. 10:06: I assumed we are at a much later stage in this process. In my mind, they have already maxed out class size and increased tuition and are now found it extraordinarily difficult to do the former with such a large drop in applicants and especially a drop concentrated among applicants that are Hastings' bread and butter (low to mid 160's folks). I think law schools are also finding it harder to get many students willing to pay sticker price, as students are much more price sensitive and less influenced by moderate differences in rankings now. Therefore, you are going to see them begin to cut costs internally rather than increase revenues.

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  22. There's a difference between reducing the size of the incoming class as a whole to reducing (or increasing) the size of individual classrooms. That's part of cutting staff. You can allow in fewer students in the entire entering class but increase the number of students to, say, 75 students per classroom (from 50), allowing you to reduce the number of professors needed.

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  23. Didn't find any recent articles on upcoming changes at Hastings, but here's one from October that may shed more light on what's happening there:

    http://legalpad.typepad.com/my_weblog/2011/10/staff-at-uc-hastings-law-school-are-tired-of-feeling-undervalued-outside-the-school-on-mcallister-street-this-afternoon-30.html

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  24. Some time ago LawProf stated he felt he was just repeating himself.

    This post is a demonstration of the value of this blog. Not only does ILSS provide information about the scam generally, but, more importantly it documents and reports the massive changes that are beginning in legal academia. Many of these changes would and will otherwise go unnoted unless brought up by LawProf.

    Thank you for documenting this event specifically, and this chapter in American legal history generally. These are important times.

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  25. Small rankings differences matter little when 20 to 40 percent of your class will not work as practicing lawyers.

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  26. How can you have it both ways? Isn't Hastings being responsible by no longer graduating the 20% of its class that has no reasonable chance of employment? You are nitpicking about who should get fired? Maybe the staff members aren't efficient -- or are less efficient than getting rid of a faculty member who actually needs to do the core work of educating people.

    It seems you can't spend half your days whining about law schools doing nothing to accommodate new realities and then spend the other days giving the few schools to try to do something a hard time for making a modest effort to change the tide and adapt to new realities, like that there are no real public law schools in California anymore.

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  27. @ 7:22

    ***as this "profession" we're in circles the drain while they've been collecting extremely nice paychecks and benefits***

    A cruel, cruel irony will be if these folks get to collect "pensions" funded by current & future law school tuition.

    Perhaps LS administrators should take a page from the evil "public sector" book and slash these pensions for austerity's sake.

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  28. "Maybe the staff members aren't efficient -- or are less efficient than getting rid of a faculty member who actually needs to do the core work of educating people."

    LOL at tenured faculty being either 1) efficient, or 2) doing the core work of educating people.

    I mean, if you fire tenured faculty they can all just take those lucrative higher paying jobs in the private sector, right?

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  29. Two classes a year? Nice work if you can get it.

    I don't think it would be so ridiculous to teach 3/semester.

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  30. I wonder has anyone read a typical tenure contract. Generally the contracts have pretty similar provisions -

    * Non-tenure track staff are cut first, least senior first
    * Then tenure track must be transferred if possible
    * finally tenure track can be cut - with compensation - junior to senior

    The only way a college or university can get around the tenure problem is to close an entire department - which is what happened to say dentistry departments a few years back. This leads to a simple point - Hastings 20% cut of non-trenure staff will probably not solve the problem - and they will cut further. However, in many instances, if the "cash-cow" law school becomes a money loser, and there is no likely return to profitability, a lot of colleges and universities will unsentimentally make the choice that lays off the expensive tenured law professors - close it down.

    The legal reality is that the easiest way to deal with medium to long term sectional downturn in the legal education market is for colleges and universities to close the law school and reuse the facilities for other purposes - maybe teaching nursing......

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  31. MacK: Far from being a cash cow, Hastings bleeds red -- their total revenues were equal to just 75% of operating expenses, at least as of three years ago. Somehow they've managed to double tuition in the course of eight years and still fall far short of breaking even. Of course hiring nine more expensive tenure-track faculty at the same time that the school is running a huge operating deficit and half the class can't get a job of any kind wouldn't normally be considered a savvy business plan.

    Of course it's a good thing that they're contracting but in fact it would make more sense to shut the school down.

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  32. I'd expect to see a spreading freeze in tenure-track hiring in the coming years. Deans will be loathe to cut existing professorships (if they even can) but will have to stop the bleeding some way. So the support staff will go and, gradually, the faculty will shrink by attrition. Consequently, teaching loads will go up and/or class offerings will decrease. The academy will age into retirement with precious little young talent to replace it or challenge its methods.

    So really, even if one's concern is scholarship over professional outcomes, you have reason to fear a period of great stagnation. Someday they might even have to let real lawyers blog at Volokh.

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  33. There was supposed to be a /swoon at the end of that.

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  34. Hastings staff was incredibly lean already. The people laid off were two technical services librarians, one collections person in the finance office, a financial aid clerk, the mail person, admin assistants in the general counsel's office and at a very profitable well known center and one of the two Dean's secretaries. Rumor has it two libarians are the block. Forced out were the two senior IT people. Most staff salaries of those fired were between 50 and 60 per annum, which in the Bay Area is barely able to make a living territory. It takes two $100K to have a shot at butying a house in a mediocre neighborhood here- crappy efficiency apartments start at $1500.

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  35. Lawprof:

    I don't deny that Hastings is bleeding red - but at many schools - say GW the universities have been raking off a chunk of the tuition money for years - and as you know the behaviour got so extreme that even the ABA had to cap the number at 20% Law schools have been lucrative for many universities and colleges - especially those that share campus facilities with the main school (the overhead sharing charges are very padded.)

    However, as they become substantial money drains I would expect that many private schools will make an unsentimental decision to close the whole school - rather than cut tuition and numbers to the point where the school becomes a net financial drain. This is rendered more likely by the way the tenure system works - it is easier to cut the whole department - all the tenured faculty, than cutting some.

    The more interesting question is what will happen in states with multiple state law schools - like California. Will California choose to shutter the weaker of its state schools? It would make a lot more sense to close 2-3 CA state law schools than reduce the size of all the CA schools by 20-40% If nothing else, it means that when a school is closed the faculty can be more cheaply laid off in one fell swoop, rather than the problems that would need tp be faced with RIFs at all the CA state law schools.

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  36. With the State of California on the verge of bankruptcy, why did the taxpayers agree to saddle the budget with UC-Irvine Law School? And don't tell me that rich lawyers in the O.C. are funding UC-Irvine Law School. You can tell your lemmings that O.C. law firms are begging to hire your graduates but don't bullshit me by saying those same firms are subsidizing operations. 41 fucking law schools in the State of California. I bet there are not even 41 Best Western Hotels in the State of California. California should have no more than 3 or 4 law schools, tops. The rest should be SHUT DOWN immediately.

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  37. 12:19 California is also flush with students from other states looking to come and work there, even people with no preexisting ties. It was one of the more competitive markets at OCI IIRC

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  38. MacK: Agree with your analysis. From what I've been able to determine the skim taken by central administration from law schools varies enormously, from as high as 45% of revenues to schools being subsidized by central (or as in Hastings' probably unique circumstances, directly by the state government).

    The first to close will probably be some of the proprietary schools, of which I believe there are about 20 ABA-accredited. These places are extremely tuition dependent, and don't have a university to bail them out. But I think you're right that some universities won't hesitate to close money-losing law schools. Law schools and law faculty aren't exactly popular in academia as a whole, since other faculty tend to consider law schools jokes in academic terms (with good reason), and the situation isn't helped when somebody who got their job by doing well on issue spotting exams is paid two or three times as much as much as far more distinguished people in the humanities and social sciences.

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  39. DZ

    You are right that schools will avoid cutting tenured faculty - but that is very much driven by the collective bargaining deals the faculty have ... a layoff - a reduction in force - of tenured faculty - is generally a nightmare. It is guaranteed to normally be extremely slow and very expensive - and you will usually have to cut the least senior but most productive and lowest paid faculty first - where as the real gains would be in cutting the very senior and very high paid. The usual end result is very expensive buyouts of faculty - multi-year pay packages offered for early retirements - and the perverse fact that the professors that take such a deal are the ones that are in fact employable outside the institution, the ones you might want to keep.

    As I said in my earlier post there is only one way around this conundrum - close the whole department. This has happened - a lot of Dentistry departments were cut a while back when they ceased to be economically viable - and I have seen say Georgetown close whole departments. Closing a department is normally an exception to the tenure rules - and so it is ultimately the easier option.

    I am pretty sure that some colleges and universities are considering the question - do we try to cut costs and will that work - or do we just close the law school. The first to cross the close the law school rubicon is probably not that far away.

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  40. California wasn't the only state that approved a public law school in 2009.

    http://www.boston.com/news/education/higher/articles/2009/12/11/umass_trustees_ok_a_public_law_school/

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  41. LawProf, I'm no UC apologist, but I don't agree that opening UCI was a waste. Calfornia may not need more law schools or more lawyers, but we absolutely need to support the development of better models of public legal education.

    Close some low-tier private schools, close or shrink Hastings (which is effectively a private school and infamous for its poor treatment of students, staff, and legal writing instructors), sure.

    But don't knock the emergence of something with potential. UCI has a chance to get it right, and so far they have been open to innovations in approach and seem to be doing remarkably well by their students (Chemerinsky appears willing to go to the mat for his students to get jobs--we'll see how the first graduating class fares this year).

    Rather than knocking UCI for existing, let's put it under the microscope as a potential proving ground for the transformation of legal education in California. The folks there read this blog. Relatedly, everyone should be fighting like hell for increased affordability of public law schools, and for the primacy of public law schools as our main training grounds for public interest/public service lawyers (reversing the trend of modern public universities "increasingly [being] regarded as suppliers of private goods (individual economic benefits) rather than public goods (broad-based economic development and social equality)"*). UCI could make their name by getting ahead of the curve on this, as well.

    -Z32

    * Scott Gelber, Book Note, Going Back: The Social Contract of the Public University, 47 HIST. EDUC. Q. 368, 370 (2007).

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  42. Z32, I am not sure how public law school education is going to be transformed when it costs a whopping 44K per year for in-state residents. What Irvine seems to be to me is Dean Chemerinsky's attempt to see if his name will help his school jump everyone else in the USNWR rankings and become another high priced T30 with mediocre job prospects after he is done calling in every favor he has.

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  43. There was an article a few months ago about Colorado at Boulder's law school operating at a deficit. Not all schools are cash cows.

    http://www.gazette.com/articles/law-132975-questioning-regents.html

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  44. I will add, Z32, that CUNY Law School with an annual cost of about $12,000 per year for in-state residents already provides a model of a public interest focused school at a fraction of the cost of UCI. However, I doubt any HYS > 2/7/9 COA clerks are going to want to teach there, so the point is obviously moot.

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  45. UC-Irving Law School is nothing more than a shameless experiment or attempt to get a law school to crack into the T20 within the first 5 years of existence. They gamed the admissions standards by offering high LSAT performers full scholarships in the first year. I heard those full-ride scholarships are gone. Many of the students that took the money and gambled on an unaccredited school will have only wasted 3 years of opportunity costs since they had full rides. However, 3 years of learning in an "innovative" environment is still a waste. I don't care if Dean Chemical or whatever his name is calls in every favor in his black book, he cannot guarantee that his schools' graduates will be fine. Tell me, does Irvine Law have an alumni base? Is there one practicing lawyer with a Irvine law degree? Are you really going to tell me that law firms will bypass Stanford, UCLA and USC grads for Irvine grads?

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  46. 11:10 & 12:35 - I think you two are not getting it. The parallels between the mortgage crisis and the law school education crisis are striking, except that as opaque as the mortgage backed securities and CDO markets were, they don't hold a candle to the law schools, which have been by and large been operating in secret. The law schools are facing a significant and forever changing structural economic event - a black swan event. The dislocations will be tremendous, and unlike as with the mortgage market, the federal government will not step in and subsidize organizations like Fannie and Freddie to the tune of hundreds of billions to keep oxygen afloat in the system.

    The problem is that law schools are so opaque (where would we be without Professor Campos?) is that I cannot get a good on the depth of the market dislocation to come. As a former futures trader who met with some success in that field, my feeling in the absence of available data is the the law school failures will come faster and quicker than most of us can comprehend. One thing about cataclysmic down markets is that when one things the bottom is near, no, the bottom is not even close. Yes, the proprietary schools will fade first, and so will (Mack is right) lower ranked private schools who in no way want to subsidize a law school. But like the US Government, the overhead factor is oh so high (and the tenur contracts work like trade union contracts) and it limits alternatives other than liquidation. When the schools have to lower their sticker price tuition, and I mean dramatically lower it to 1985 inflation adjusted levels, the damage to the schools will be difficult to comprehend. 100 law schools gone? I think so. And frankly, while some might think I am cheering this on, it has to be done. The costs of a legal education are almost completely exogenous to the return that can obtained.

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  47. Z32, I agree strongly that the ongoing destruction of public legal education in this country in all but name is a terrible thing (and I say this as somebody who works at a public law school that raised tuition from 10.7K to 31.1K between 2004 and 2011). But as Bored3L points out UC-Irvine already has a resident tuition that makes it almost as expensive as the priciest private schools. How is this going to advance the goals of public education? Did you read that essay by Berkeley's dean that I linked last week, where he argues that public legal education can't possibly mean less expensive education, because charging less than $50K per year makes it impossible to maintain educational quality? His definition of a public law school's mission is to engage with big public issues. From what I can see UC-I is going down the same path of ratings obsessions and sky-high prices.

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  48. We're in agreement on the tuition problem, bored3L, and I'm a fan of the CUNY model.

    Obviously we're a long way from getting public legal education in California back to anything that affordable, but a guy can dream. If I were Chemerinsky, substantial across-the-board tuition reduction is where I'd be calling in my favors to set UCI apart (not just heavy scholarships below the line, which they already do).

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  49. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  50. @11:10 a.m.:

    It's kind to Hastings to assume that they're making some kind of principled choice by reducing their class size by 20%.

    Maybe Frank Wu is just a saint, but I tend to believe that all this means is that (a) Hastings cannot reasonably expect to attract an applicant population sufficient to ensure a class of 400 with a median LSAT of 162, but (b) they might with a class of 320.

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  51. @ Morse Code for J--As someone said before, what do you want? If they increased class size, as bored3L predicted they would do contrary to what the original post said, people would complain. So you say they cut class size rather than take in people with lower scores. What is the complaint? Hasn't cutting class size been the mantra all along?

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  52. I thought this statement and correlated it to some other event outside law school:

    "In 2004-2005 Hastings charged a resident tuition rate of $20,900. This coming fall, it will charge California residents $46,500 for the privilege of attending."

    I believe that 2005 was the same year that the Bankruptcy Code changed, making it close to impossible to discharge student loans.

    e.g.,
    http://www.cjr.org/the_audit/the_ap_on_student_loan_hell.php

    There are still public law schools in the South which are reasonable priced. However, one has to make the sacrifice of living in the South to obtain fair priced legal education.

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  53. Hasting alum here. Hastings has poor employment numbers because Dean Wu made a point of issuing transparent employment data.

    UC-Davis is another school in the region with similar class competitiveness but claims out of line employment numbers in comparison to Hastings. Davis reported to US News 80%+ employment at graduation for the most recent issue while Hastings reported 40%.

    Hastings should deserve credit for honesty. All the schools that are among the very worst employment performers based on self reported data should probably get credit for transparency.

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  54. All the schools that are among the very worst employment performers based on self reported data should probably get credit for transparency.

    I'd give those law schools credit if, reading their own beautiful data, they understand the harm that they are causing, and close their doors.

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  55. I will add, Z32, that CUNY Law School with an annual cost of about $12,000 per year for in-state residents already provides a model of a public interest focused school at a fraction of the cost of UCI. However, I doubt any HYS > 2/7/9 COA clerks are going to want to teach there, so the point is obviously moot.

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  56. The sad thing about UC-Irvine law is that it was shown to be utterly unnecessary before it even got off the ground.

    A study was performed, that clearly showed no need for a new law school in CA. It was simply ignored by the UC Regents.

    The school was forced upon the people of CA by the Regents. CA taxpayers had no say in the decision.

    There was some lively discussion about this, and a call from a well known UCLA law professor for UCI Law to be shut down:

    http://www.professorbainbridge.com/professorbainbridgecom/2009/07/kill-uc-irvine-law.html

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  57. What will happen at Hastings is the same thing that generally happens in our society:

    The people with the least amount of money in the system at the school will pay the most for the school's choices. So adjuncts, instructors, and lower tier administrative staff will go first.

    The last people to go with people the people that everyone here complains about.

    This is a part of the great risk shift in the U.S. economy. The lower tier always bares the risk first of any failure. The higher tier may fall eventually unless its too big to fail. In which case it shares in none of the risk, and all the reward.

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  58. @2:51

    Funny ... when law schools are shut down the admins and support staff may be - well - more redeployable within the overall college - but not the tenured faculty.

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  59. Supposing law faculty must return to practice, will their lack of experience really impede them? They have the prestigious schools and clerkships on their resumes already. Isn't this what really matters for large law firm hiring?

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  61. @3:27 very few if any big law firms will be interested in hiring law professors who don't have clients already or who cannot quickly get clients. They may get hired for a year or two, but if they don't deliver clients in that period of time, they will be out of the big law firms.

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  62. A law professor practicing law? If you want to picture that, why don't you conjure up an image of a bird with clipped wings attempting to fly?

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  63. I practice public interest law in the Orange County area and the"public interest" job market was already overly saturated even before UCI opened. I'm not sure how these newly minted inexperienced UCI grads can compete with experienced candidates from more established law schools.

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  64. Hastings is not "a heavily subsidized school" by any definition. It now only gets around $7.2MM on a budget of nearly $70MM. The state announced a few years ago to very little fanfare that it will be eliminating all state monies for any of the law schools, i.e. within a few years the subsidy for Hastings will be almost zero. For historical reasons having to do with its founding grant, Hastings must always get some subsidy.

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  65. Opening a new law school has nothing to do with filling a need in the marketplace for new attorneys (there is no need for more attorneys in any market that current schools cannot provide), but rather about "justice", "fairness" or "access" which are also irrelevant in a state with so many law schools and such a massive tuition.

    In other words, it's just another place for the graduates of elite law schools to find cushy employment.

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  66. @1:12 p.m.:

    Why should I give Hastings credit for being virtuous when its administration is only acting in its immediate self-interest? Its USNWR rank will go into freefall if it can't keep its median LSAT up, so they make sure that being able to draw fewer 162+ LSAT applicants won't hurt them. It has the incidental effect of lessening the population of students, but that's not the purpose.

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  67. What difference does the purpose make, if the end result is something you want?

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  68. I think things have gone off-kilter a bit (much as I respect LawProf and agree with many of his insights) when people are upset that *staff* is being curtailed rather than professors. Part of the run-up in costs has in fact been the proliferation of staff and the relief of professors from doing this traditional staff work, like helping with clerkship applications, etc.

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  69. Mac K

    That's not what has happened in general in our society.

    What has happened is that a certain percentage never recover. This is what happened this recession. There are, I believe, 10 million permanent unemployed more now than there was in 2007, but those people aren't counted due to how we count unemployment.

    I am the guy who wrote the comment about how lower tier workers are always harmed.

    Bruh Rabbit

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  70. A quibble

    The cost for CUNY is 13,900, but that's still ar cheaper than any other public law school.

    Let me add, I think the public interest element misses the point.

    If law is 13,900 a year rather than 45,000 per year it doesn't matter whether one goes into public interest or not.

    What it means is that we aren't producing a group with so much debt that they can't recover from the choice they have made.

    The point, in other words, is the lower the risk of having gone to law school so that if it doesn't work out people can have the option of starting over.

    Right now, with the debt, that's simply not a realistic option.

    Someone said this before, and I agree with them: at one point going to law school may have been a bad choice, but it wasn't so costly that it became a life destroying one.

    Now the choice of gambling to go to law school really is a crap shot or a lotto. Either one succeeds really well or one, according to the bifurcation of outcomes, is screwed.

    We don't expect to end winners and losers (meaning someone people will win by getting high paying jobs), but the price for losing should not be life destroying.

    This is where CUNY's tuition is the most relevant for me.

    it shows there's another way.

    The public interest part is certainly important. But its not the only value.

    Bruh Rabbit

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  71. semi-related

    UPenn Dean Faked his PhD

    http://news.yahoo.com/university-pennsylvania-dean-faked-phd-173731687--abc-news-topstories.html

    lulz

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  72. @5:22 p.m.:

    The original post at 11:10 was about how Campos couldn't have it both ways, i.e., complaining about which staff it laid off to compensate for doing the responsible thing by shrinking its class sizes by 20%. It was the responsible thing for Hastings to do, but it had nothing to do with the welfare of Hastings' current or future students.

    If Hastings believes that it can enlarge its class size without harming its USNWR rank and thus its prospects of attracting similar applicants at a similar price or higher, it will enlarge its class size. That so many of its graduates cannot find meaningful work at a decent salary doesn't appear on the decision tree for Hastings or any other law school. If Hastings can find 321+ applicants in any given year with the right numbers and get them to commit, I imagine that Hastings will make room. And therein lies my problem with them doing the responsible thing for the wrong reason.

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  73. @ Bruh Rabbitt,

    Yes. One can recover from $45 or $50K in debt. $150K (or $200K, as we seem to be headed toward) is a rock one cannot get out from under.

    I had a little over 7K in debt after undergrad. Now, it took a lot to get there, namely scholarships, full-time work in the summer, part-time work during school, and some help from my parents, but having bought a used car for $6K a few years earlier, $7K for a college education seemed very reasonable.

    These days, average undergrad debt is $20-$30K, which I still think is fairly reasonable, since even if you don't have great prospects, you still aren't much worse off than the goofball who decided his first car should be a brand new Mustang. Bad choice, but won't follow you around for life.

    Going to CUNY, or the few remaining state law schools with similar tuition, is like buying a Mercedes or a BMW that you can't afford. It's a bit worse in that you can't just sell your law degree for half price or surrender it to the repo man when the payments get too high, and the debt is unsecured. But still, not "ruin your life forever" type of money.

    Getting a law degree at most American law schools, however, seems to bear a pretty decent resemblance to buying a $150,000 house that burns down before you get it insured.

    Except with the house, no bank would ever lend you the money without proof that the home is insured. With law schools, it's easy to get the loan, and nobody seems to care if the investment goes up in smoke.

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  74. Why do people want to practice law at big firms?
    http://dealbook.nytimes.com/2012/04/27/new-york-prosecutors-examining-former-dewey-chairman/?hp

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  75. 745

    Not to be all Leftist (which I know some people hate, but I am what I am), but not only is additional 100 to 150k debt rentier, but its puts a major drag on our economy in terms of (1) the actual debt not having gone to other economic activity (2) the servicing of the debt (e.g., interest rates, late fees, collection fees, default fees, capitalization of interest, etc) not having gone to other economic activity.

    Rentier means "The beneficiaries of income who are a property-owning social class that play no productive role in the economy per-se but who monopolize the access to physical or financial assets and technologies. They make money not from producing goods/services themselves, but purely from their ownership of property/investments (which provide a claim to a revenue stream) and dealing in that property."

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

    As someone else put it, we are stealing from the future with this debt. There's not long term value to it.

    So, its not just insane in terms of shifting risk to individuals in a way that is life destroying. Its also a problem for the great economy as well. That's why I say the public Interest of CUNY is greater than just its training lawyers to do public interest work. By keeping debt low, its making sure that it does not add to the problem of economic instability.

    People can babble all they want about moral issues like "individual responsibility" The problem with the debt is that ultimately its screwed all of us over, debtor and non-debtor alike- in terms of the overall state of the economy to grow. There are only a small percentage of banks (creditors) that are advantaged by this debt. The rest of us are screwed.

    As a friend recently said the problem with most americans is that they take general trends and ignore "in whose interest."

    In this case, who does this massive debtor class serve? Certainly not the debtor and certainly not the general public.

    Bruh Rabbit

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  76. good, i hope all these schools crash and burn, and I think that in the future the state of California will come under significant federal pressure to not approve any more law schools when the Congress starts to notice that the biggest loans being forgiven under Obama's new rules are from law school students.

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  77. bruh rabbit - you made an excellent case for the destructiveness of big government. The availability of government sponsored loans has permitted an elite cadre of Mandarins at law schools to raise tuition to levels which have vastly outpaced inflation. And these Mandarins largely style themselves as a compassionate liberals who are morally superior to the rest of us. The conveniently forget that the lifestyles they enjoy is largely off the backs of students who have entered into financial transactions, the terms of which would make a loan shark blush. Of course, this does not surprise me. Only a hugely market insensitive entity such as the federal government could wreak such havoc.

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  78. The US has found itself in a rather bizarre situation where it has embraced the worst aspects of a publicly funded university system with the worst aspects of a wholly private system.

    The first thing to understand is that the US college system - not just the law school system - is rapidly becoming effectively a publicly financed tertiary education system. US colleges are very dependent on a student loan system which is effectively tax money - even when the loans are private (because the debt is guaranteed.)

    The problem is that the Federal Government has, in its wisdom, essentially decided to gift this money to the college and graduate school system through the intermediary of naïve 17-23 year old administrators none of whom in a civil service office, or in a company would be left in charge of the petty cash box. If one were to look at spending on universities in even the most profligate of state funded systems (and I have seen these systems), governments impose much more strict controls on expenditure. Thus across Europe and in France, Italy and the UK, what university lecturers and professors are paid is largely set by the departments of education, what capital expenditure can be made is observed centrally and grandiose building programs are "nipped in the bud." Moreover, in many countries the state, who after all is paying for college, dictates to a a substantial degree how many places there can be in incoming classes in various subjects.

    Even so, state funding in say European systems can and does become captive to the very effective political lobbying of academia - which is why for example, the UK has 20,000 law graduates a year and other countries in Europe a similar glut. As we can see in the University of California at Irvine situation and University of North Texas School of Law, in the US public college sector lobbying works too.

    Lobbying is also the reason why the US student loan system works with no real restraints on where the money goes - and part of this it must be said is the fault of the schizophrenic ideological views of the Republican party - who promote the idea of laissez faire even when it is irrationally applied to a federal student loan system that is itself a massive intervention in the market place - and the Democrats, who cleave to the view that any constraints on what is done with Federally backed student loans would impinge on academic freedom - while again neglecting the idea that to be truly academically free, the academy needs to be self supporting.

    There is at the back of all this another issue - if the taxpayer is going to fund the college system - and law schools - and the funding is also to come from law students, then what the law school distributes in return for that money ought top be something beneficial to those who pay for it. The taxpayer deserves a return in terms of greater economic growth, higher taxes paid by graduates, etc. and the student deserves to get what the student wants, an education that makes that student more marketable in terms of skills. However, what the US liberal arts college, and particularly the law schools have created is a system where a law faculty take the view that "we will do what we want and teach what we want and you will pay for it." This is part of what makes "Law and ...." so antagonising, because most are the absolute epitome of the law professor doing what he/she wants to do, while demanding $700-$1800 per credit hour for his/her self indulgence

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  79. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  80. It is not that US colleges are all bad - one very expensive private college is a standout in terms of its results for both its students and the public - Harvey Mudd - which by the way does not have a graduate school but produces a huge number of Science and Engineering PhDs and MScs and pretty high earnings for what is one of the most expensive undergraduate schools in the United States.

    I'll throw in one last detail. In Japan there are a lot of law students - law is the most prestigious course at Todai, Waseda, etc. Thus there are a lot of law graduates. Only about 2% pass the bar (they have raised the passage rate recently) and most do it after 2-6 tries, by the end of which the associates are mostly nuts from the pressure (and I am not joking, a lot are showing clear signs of mental illness.) What happens to the rest - they get recruited by companies while in college join internal management departments and internal law departments. However, a lot go into general management. Of course they get the skills to be managers though company training. If US law professors and deans were not full of the proverbial when they talk about a law degree being applicable to a lot of jobs - they would focus on teaching the non-law skills that would be useful with the legal knowledge - like accounting, business planning, etc. - but they don't because the law school looks down on the business school.

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  81. To clarify my point about the Japanese bar exam - very few Japanese law graduates even take the bar - the vast majority don't even try, or if they do give up after the first try. There is a lot of social pressure to take the sarariman position immediately upon leaving college and certainly after they fail the bar the first or second time - and since a law graduate from a good school will, even in the Japanese economic doldrums usually have an offer for a management trainee position ....

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  82. I am going to post later about how my default with Sallie Mae looks now on my 3 credit reports along with a scanned portion of that report.

    In the meantime I am discussing some of my experiences with: "Taking the JD Off The Resume"

    A crummy reality and topic.

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  83. I have made a case against corporatism, which is what I our system is in just about every aspect of how it operates.

    The simple minded views of government that most Americans learned by listening to Reagan speeches and subsequent Republicans have very little to do with the choices one has in terms of government.

    The programs being pushed aren't leftist programs. They are Neoliberal (which means Conservative in the U.S., but the rest of the world knows the terms) ones.

    There's nothing Commmunist or Socialist or left about the Choices.

    Only Americans think of all government as the same. It fits into the black and white version of reality that they like to believe exists.

    In truth, the idea of a student loan system is the exact opposite of what a Leftist argument would be hear. The idea of creating a permanent debtor class is the exact opposite of the policy prescriptions that they would want. They would have advocate for low cost to no cost education. Just like health care was argued as something that should be publically financed, the same argument would have been made for education. What we got was the typical right wing hybrid as Neoliberalism came into power in both parties.

    There will some who say this doesn't matter. And that's true if you really don't want to find solutions. If you want to have these nice little chats divorced from the people making policy decisions and how they make them and how to change the direction o the choices being made. if you want to do that, you need to understand the assumption of the choices being made because it informs the choices you are making.

    If you think the private sector is the solution after already being affected by private sector choices in this way then you don't understand the problem.

    And as for the problem Mac K mentions, I would trade the problems of Euro and other educational problems over the individual problems Americans face right now with educational debt.

    There is no such thing as a perfect system. The question once one realizes that is how to create one that can achieve the better outcomes over the long term.

    Again know a lot of people want to avoid such discussions. they want to pretend that change in policies that they want will happen in a vacuum. As I have said, if everything that's anti big corporate is labeled "socialist" then nothing changes. THe first step is to start to understand what policies are to fight the b.s. You can bet that any changes to even the bankruptcy laws to include student loans will be labeled socialist.

    Why? Because people babble on about "big government" and the conservatives of both parties know how to manipulate the people who do.

    Good example here:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/12/us/even-critics-of-safety-net-increasingly-depend-on-it.html?_r=1&pagewanted=all

    People here aren't immune to the thinking found in the article when it comes to their own interest.

    So, that's why I make a big stink about this stuff. Any solutions that will be suggested will just be pushed into being called socialist and ignored because the idea of government as a part of the choices has been so demonized that its an effective argument even when the policy makes sense like bankruptcy reform.

    Bruh Rabbit

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  84. Mac K

    The separation between American business education and law school education versus Japan has more to do with how Americans view risk versus how the Japanese view risk. It has little do with the law professors take on education.

    Bruh Rabbit

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  85. From the TLS thread on this topic/your thread, it sounds like Hamline is reducing its class size by 60 students (more than a 1/3 drop, I think -- class size of 205). Another poster at a tier 3 in Florida claims their class size is being reduced by 25% for rankings purposes.

    It sounds like the drop in applicants this cycle is hitting the lower tier schools.

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  86. It seems they are making adjustments. This is what people have been arguing for.

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  87. Sort of related to this blog, I thought this headline was hilarious

    "Obama Advocates Student Loan Plan at U. Offering Class on ‘Disney’s Women and Girls’"

    http://cnsnews.com/news/article/obama-advocates-student-loan-plan-u-offering-class-disney-s-women-and-girls

    What happened to US education? Seriously what the hell?

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  88. More right wing carping about cultural studies. What else is new?

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  89. Might be worth looking into changes in the debt ratings of the independent law schools.

    Here's a change in that of Hastings (4 weeks ago):

    http://www.moodys.com/research/MOODYS-DOWNGRADES-HASTINGS-COLLEGE-OF-LAWS-CA-SERIES-2003-AND--PR_242368

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  90. "There are still public law schools in the South which are reasonable priced. However, one has to make the sacrifice of living in the South to obtain fair priced legal education."

    It's definitely difficult for us, what with the warm weather, superior football and low taxes.

    You would be wise to resist the lure of low tuition. Stay in the other regions of the country, where you'll be safe from the tribulations of southern living.

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  91. @2:41:

    Didn't your part of the country fight a war to keep slavery a while back, and then use state law to encode virulent racism and segregation after you got your ass handed to you in that war? Wait that was all about 'states rights' and honor.

    Thats where I want to spend my time.

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  92. GC Services told me on the telephone, in October of 2009, that my Student Loan Default would come off my Credit Report as a result of signing up with GC Services and enabling them to act on my behalf and place my student loan with the Federal Government.

    I have proof that GC Services told me that because I tape recorded the telephone conversation.

    Yet, I still have the default showing on my Credit Reports with all 3 Credit Bureaus more than three years later.

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  93. @terry maloy

    Exactly my point. Because things stay exactly the same and never change. You all should stay out of the south. The low cost of living should be a dead giveaway--nothing to see here.

    Likewise, we won't wonder up north, lest our female companions get burned as witches.

    Now, if you'll excuse me, I've got a vacation to plan. I'm thinking maybe Cuba this year. Such a lovely place. At least it was in the early 1950's. I'm sure things haven't changed.

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  94. @ 7:27. Bravo! This is probably the best thing that has ever been written on this entire site.

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  95. JD Painterguy,

    What is your problem? You keep injecting irrelevant, self-centered commentary.

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  96. He's bitter because he went to a TTT and now can't find a job. Should've known better bro.

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  97. @7:27:

    True, I do see those "the colonial puritan north will rise again" bumper stickers every now and again. And we do keep electing senators and congressmen that look wistfully on the simplicity of the time when colonists burned witches.

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  98. @ Terry Malloy-- that is a good one,too. Not as funny, but funny and way more accurate.

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  99. @2:41
    LOL. From one Southerner to another, thank you for that.

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  100. @terry Malloy

    (sigh). I can't believe I'm engaging in this old fight, but gere I go.
    Where was the Rodney King beating? Detroit 1967? Didn't Indiana once have the largest KKK membership? I think Rick ("let's keep women barefoot and pregnant") Santorum comes from PA. As for the Boston Diocese--how did that Priest-Alterboy thing turn out? Hey you folks out West---what happen to your Native Americans? Is the south full of ignorant, violent people?--yes---it is---pretty much like the rest of the country, I suppose.

    But please. Don't feel like you have to come down here and see for yourself. No doubt you would find our good manners insincere--and then you would add that to your litany of Southern shortcomings.

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  101. "In a bullish move, Am Law 100 firms also increased their lawyer head count last year. Overall, The Am Law 100 employed 86,272 attorneys in 2011, a 3.3 percent increase from 2010. Firms added more associates and other nonpartner lawyers last year—especially in areas where they had over pruned during the recession, and they upped the number of offers to their summer asso­ciates."

    http://www.americanlawyer.com/PubArticleTAL.jsp?id=1202549688766

    You're right that the industry is troubled. But there are positive data points as well.

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  102. That's the danger of focusing on one or two year worth of results. When the numbers start to look better for 2012 or 2013, that will be trumpeted, too.

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  103. Claim filed with government. Balance paid or being paid by Insurance Company

    Claim filed with government. Balance paid or being paid by Insurance Company

    Claim filed with government. Balance paid or being paid by Insurance Company

    Claim filed with government. Balance paid or being paid by Insurance Company

    Claim filed with government. Balance paid or being paid by Insurance Company

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  104. Unlike almost all of youse people.....

    I'm the one with the problem!

    Most of the rest of you are observers full of talk and no action and couldn't care a less about people like me.

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  105. At 9:32 AM:

    So...if I am reading the stats correctly, two years worth of graduating law classes (from ABA approved law schools only) could fill the needs of the entire AM Law 100 if all of them were fired today?

    Furthermore, these 86K jobs appear to be the only jobs that really justify the debt or opportunity costs based upon first year salary. I am not sure what your "positive" data points are but I do agree with this part of your comment: the industry is in troubled.

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  106. When people start complaining about getting positions with, say, the other 150 firms in the NLJ 250 I can't help but think some people go into law school with an unrealistic idea of what they or most people would be doing if they did not get a JD from a top 10 program.

    Sure, the legal economy is in the shitter, and many people at NLJ 250/350 firms won't have long term job prospects, but let's not overstate things either. Students landing in the NJL 250 can probably justify their degree in terms of cost/benefit analysis.

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  107. @1:09 I completely disagree. We know that 80% of those who land at NLJ250 firms will be gone within 5 years. A large percentage will be gone within 2 years. A very large percentage of those who are gone will never again be paid anywhere near as much money as they were at the NLJ250 firm, and a large percentage will not continue working in a job that requires a JD degree. I don't think most people would find a cost of c. 200K expense and 3 years of their life worth the benefit of a job making 160K to start and maybe 200K per year at the end for a period of 2-5 years. I certainly couldn't justify a law degree based on that cost/benefit analysis.

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  108. Sallie Mae Default appears on credit report.

    Experian Equifax Trans Union

    Claim filed against guarantor. Balance paid or being paid by Insurance Company

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  109. 1:09:

    Let's not understate the problem either. I HIGHLY doubt 45K newly minted yearly graduates are needed to replace lawyers needed at the NLJ250 (soon to be 350) firms.

    My guess is about ten percent of the 45K are needed. The stats under the BLS seems to verify this, since only about eight percent of all lawyers get these kinds of jobs. In the end, the rest are working for small firms or are largely fucked.

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  110. Call it 3.5 yrs @ 175k = 612.5k income. (the average of the 2-5 yrs cited above)
    Say a conservative 150k for law school.
    612.5k - 150k = 462.5k net

    Skip law school, go get an entry level job at 35k. If you're the type to go to law school, you're a studious, reasonably hard worker who follows instructions reasonably well. You're likely to grab at least one promotion in those years and get small raises otherwise. Let's conservatively say your work history looks like this:

    35k
    Raise to 37k
    Raise to 39k
    Promotion to 45k
    Raise to 47k
    Raise to 49k
    Raise to 50k (but since this is the half-year from above, you only get 25k)
    Net total income = 277k

    It's a lotto ticket, to be sure, but for those who "win" five years of 200k-ish income, it's still a "win" in terms of money. I guess if it turns you into a miserable fuck, you lose though.

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  111. @terry maloy,

    "True, I do see those "the colonial puritan north will rise again" bumper stickers every now and again. And we do keep electing senators and congressmen that look wistfully on the simplicity of the time when colonists burned witches."

    Funny, I saw a confederate flag bumper sticker a few days ago. It struck me because I hadn't seen one in four years. The last one I had seen, was four years ago. Ironically, I saw it in Boston, Massachusetts, less than a block from Harvard's campus.

    In any event, I guess some folks just have blinders on when it comes to the south. People that will gladly visit Munich or Berlin and not think twice about the atrocities committed decades ago by the Nazis will turn up their nose if you mention a trip to Georgia or South Carolina. Oh well. To each his (or her) own.

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  112. @2:41-- That's a mistake they are making. They should be concerned about the tributes to the Confederacy in the southern states, too. It's amazing that people do not understand the problem with all of that.

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  113. @3:27
    Many of us down here understand that perfectly well. But understanding that our forefathers fought for a horrible cause does not mean all present living Southerners must cover themselves with self-loathing. We aren't all backward racists, I assure you.

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  114. @3:27. I know that. I am a southerner, too.

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  115. Yay! Lets hope for more and more law schools closing down. Now their ex staff can try to get real jobs.

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  116. My heart bleeds for the poor law school staff not being able to run their scams and destroy young lives anymore.

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  117. People that will gladly visit Munich or Berlin and not think twice about the atrocities committed decades ago by the Nazis

    How many adoring Hitler memorials are there in Berlin? Do they name parkways and bridges after Eichmann and Goebbels in Germany?

    How many adoring Jefferson Davis and Robert E. Lee memorials are there in the south?

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  118. How do we go from a reduction in Hasting's class size to comparing Nazi Germany to the Confederacy? Time to end the thread.

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  119. "Skip law school, go get an entry level job at 35k. If you're the type to go to law school, you're a studious, reasonably hard worker who follows instructions reasonably well. You're likely to grab at least one promotion in those years and get small raises otherwise. Let's conservatively say your work history looks like this:"

    LOL @ "conservatively." What is this crap with people getting easy 35k entry-level jobs with guaranteed raises every single year?

    Good god, part of the problem that caused the law school bubble is that those type of jobs are extremely rare for undergraduates. Reality is that you take a 28k job hoping it'll lead somewhere and you hit a dead-end three years in and start applying to grad school. I would've killed my grandmother for an office job at 35k with guaranteed raises to make 50k by the time I'm 30. So would 98% of liberal arts and social science majors. They just ain't there, so people go to law school instead.

    Heck, I'm graduating law school, and I would take that career path NOW.

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  120. shut the hell up all of yooz. the country is going down the toilet and everyone is in you're position. except they didn't get no three year vacation on taxpayer funds. you deadbeats are making it worster. get a job moppoing floors and pay back the money. we should have capital punishment for student loan debtors who don't make they're payments.

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  121. How this thread became about the South, I do not know, but please give me a break with the "South is different."

    I am Southern Black.

    Generally (not everyone), the problem with White Southerners is that they have been and remain proud of both their historic and present versions of racial divides. Data and historic record backs that up.

    This is neither the place or time to babble on about the subject. So my advice is move on.

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  122. Read Krugman's column in the times. He gats it.

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  123. "get a job moppoing floors and pay back the money."

    They can't pay it back thats what makes it funny.

    You wrote "moppoing."

    STRIKE TOMMORROW PEOPLE

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  124. All these unemployed JD's out there remind me of the American Beauty movie scene on Youtube called "American Beauty Kevin Spacey applies for job drive through" where Kevin Spacey sits down with McDonald's manager while wearing a 3-piece suit saying he wants to apply for a job at a Fast-Food joint. I wonder how many of these unemployed JD Grads actually did this and had to take the JD off their application so as not to embarrass themselves.

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  125. You don't take JD off of your application ... "so as to not embarrass [yourself]," idiot. You take JD off of your resume so you can get the job.

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  126. Correction: 44.4% is the amount of graduates with a job at graduation. After nine months is around 93%.

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