Thursday, May 3, 2012

One million and counting

Recently this blog hosted its one millionth site visit, so it seems like a good time to look back at a few things that have and haven't changed in the world of legal academia over the course of the nine months of its existence.

(1) Law schools have reacted to pressure to release actual employment and salary data. There's much more data out there now than was the case last summer, and indeed due in large part to the ceaseless efforts of Law School Transparency nearly a quarter of ABA law schools have released their 2010 NALP reports.  Here's an idea: Why doesn't some graduating class donate its class gift to LST, rather than buying an overpriced gee-gaw for its law school's already-sumptuously decorated grounds?

(2) While lots of progress has been made, extracting employment info out of law schools in many cases still requires employing the rhetorical equivalent of the Jaws of Life.  For instance a couple of months ago NYU reacting with remarkably sanctimonious outrage after I raised some questions about apparent inconsistencies between their and Columbia's self-reported employment numbers and the NLJ's report regarding how many graduates were getting jobs with big law firms. This reaction does not read very well in the light of the school's continuing refusal to reveal such key data points as how many of its graduates are in full-time jobs, and how many are in full-time legal jobs.

All this information and much more of interest to both current and potential law students is contained in the school's 2010 NALP report, which it won't release despite the fact that this data is now between two years and 15 months old, and the numerous polite requests from recent alumni that it do so.

As for NYU's friends a few subway stops to the north, it's fair to note that extracting information from Columbia regarding such matters as how many of their own graduates they've been employing has been a strenuous and illuminating process.  In March Columbia "could not say" in response to media inquiries how many of its 2010 graduates it had placed in school-funded fellowships. In April the ABA forced all the schools it accredits to disclose how many of their 2010 graduates were in school-funded positions nine months after graduation.  Columbia then had to decide what to do about disclosing the same information in regard to the class of 2011, since it had recently published "comprehensive" employment data regarding the 2011 class on its web site.

Steve Schwartz's LSAT Blog looked into this further and dug up some very interesting numbers. Columbia disclosed to the ABA that five of its 2010 graduates were employed by the school as of February 2011.  If you visit the employment data published on Columbia's web site, you will find a footnote to the "government" and "public interest" job numbers that notes these numbers include students on "fellowships," along with a hyperlink to more information regarding these fellowships.  The hyperlink sends the sophisticated consumer to a paragraph featuring the following information:

In 2010, we offered 10 of these government and public interest fellowships. For the Class of 2011, as the job market tightened, we further increased the number of government and public interest fellowships to 38. As a result of these opportunities, graduates have engaged in challenging legal work at a broad range of public interest organizations and government departments. We are pleased that the skills, networking opportunities, and experience gained during this fellowship year help graduates obtain permanent employment, in many cases, even before the fellowship ends. (Emphasis supplied).
The italicized phrase seems fair in regard to the class of 2010, since Columbia put ten graduates in school-funded jobs that year, and, per the information Columbia reported to the ABA, half of those graduates weren't in school-funded jobs at the nine-month reporting deadline. (This of course assumes that none of the five graduates who left the fellowships prior to nine months after graduation were among the ten 2010 CLS grads who were either unemployed or whose employment status was not known at the nine-month mark).

But consider the 2011 information: Columbia put 38 graduates into school-funded fellowships. Surely if "many" out of this group (which included one out of every 11 students in the graduating class) acquired jobs prior to the nine-month reporting deadline, this is something the school would disclose?  Schwartz emailed CLS earlier this week regarding this matter, and got the following reply:

Four of the 38 fellows in the Class of 2011 are in permanent positions, however, all 38 were still in fellowships nine months after graduation when we reported to the ABA.

What I find perplexing about CLS's behavior is that it's so unnecessary. Admittedly the school knows that under the ABA's new reporting regime it will have to disclose eventually how many 2011 graduates were put in school-funded jobs; in addition the fact that half the top ten schools (the bottom half, not coincidentally) have "voluntarily" revealed this information already puts additional pressure on CLS to disclose the 2011 data sooner rather than later.  So it makes sense for Columbia to disclose the 2011 numbers now. What doesn't make sense is for the school to make a gratuitous and very misleading representation regarding the outcome of those fellowships. It's just not true that "many" CLS grads in school-funded jobs are getting permanent jobs even before the fellowship ends if one is referring to the most current (and therefore most relevant) data: per the school only four of 38 have.

Pushing for more transparency in legal academia is a bit like dealing with substance abuser who is trying to get clean:  Schools are subjected to various interventions, get on the transparency wagon (sort of), but keep falling off.

(3)  What's happening with law school admissions waiting lists suggests how soft the market is getting.  In the past week I've corresponded with a 0L who as of two weeks ago had only gotten into Touro (unranked), Hofstra (#89), and St. John's (#79).  He was then admitted to Cardozo (#56) and, much more significantly, offered a $30,000 per year discount on tuition in the bargain.  A few days after that he was admitted to George Washington (#20), and shortly afterwards GW offered her a more than 50% discount off the (increasingly fictional) official tuition price. Cardozo reacted by raising its offer to $43,000 per year, i.e., more than 80% off sticker.  A glance at sites like TLS reveals that even schools like Chicago are offering significant tuition discounts (20%) to people who they just offered off their wait lists this week.

For some reason all this reminds me of Ingmar Bergman's one-word reaction when he was told that, after the initial airing of his multi-part film Scenes From A Marriage on Swedish television, the country's divorce rate had gone up: "Good!"


  1. So the whole ridiculous "ranking" BS is going to go out the window as students who previously only got into "unranked" schools are now being admitted to top 50 or top 20 schools. It just goes to show how utterly artificial the whole ranking system is.

    Do they teach a different version of the elements of battery at George Washington than they do at Touro?

  2. 8:05:

    Yes, they do. They don't teach people at Touro the super-secret 79 elements of battery that only T1 grads get to learn about. SHH!

  3. The classes are the same, the caliber of the students vary at the middle and lower ends of the spectrum.

  4. Great post, LP.

    I would ask that your next topic be about alumni giving. As my graduation approaches, I have been the target of increasingly aggressive solicitation by my classmates and school foundation lackeys alike. It usually starts innocently enough with a polite request, followed by attempts to guilt me and then finally derision when I refuse to give. Apparently telling someone no once isn't enough. I have been inundated with requests. They act as if I refuse to give our ranking will fall precipitously and ruin the school's reputation. This reasoning is the same reasoning schools use to raise tuition every year - if we don't then we will fall in the rankings. At what point do people say enough is enough? $60,000? $70,000? Shall we protect our ranking at any cost? Where's the accountability and responsibility from the administration? It doesn't exist.

    Greed, for lack of a better word, is good - Gordon Gekko

  5. 8:22,
    I had a similar experience when I graduated in '09. I said no a few times and then they said I could "pledge" $5 per year, of which I haven't paid a dime to date. I occasionally get mass e-mails about alumni giving, but nothing personally directed at me or as intense as prior to graduation. I wonder if that pledge alone is counted in the statistics regardless of whether I actually contribute.

    I haven't given them anything since I graduated in large part because tuition has increased by 50% since I graduated and because I didn't receive any scholarships.

  6. >>>>>The classes are the same, the caliber of the students vary at the middle and lower ends of the spectrum.<<<<<

    8:13, this isn't true. Yes, there are generally "smarter" students at HLS than there are at Cooley, but the difference between the student body at almost every law school ranked between 5 and 100 is miniscule. The difference between students at a top school and students at a lower ranked school is that the students at the top school got lucky on a few questions on the LSAT.

    That's the whole madness behind the rankings: it makes otherwise-intelligent people believe in this ridiculous fiction that going to a higher-ranked law school means interacting with smarter students, better professors, and suchlike. In reality, almost every law school is identical when it comes to teaching the law and who you sit next to in class.

    Now, that doesn't mean that employers see things the same way, and clearly going to a top ranked law school is the best way to ensure employment. But that's not a function of how great an education the top school gives you...

  7. So what can we assume about the class of '12? Much worse?

  8. @8:59: The difference between a student at a school ranked #5 and one ranked #100 is actually about 20 LSAT questions.

    If the difference was just luck, you wouldn't have students who routinely score 170 on practice tests and others who keep scoring 158.

  9. 8:59,
    Also note that I qualified my response by referring to the middle and lower ends of the spectrum to account for high performers that take scholarships. There is a dramatic difference in life accomplishments as well at the top schools as many of the students have work experience.

  10. I went to Touro, and in a Jurisprudence class I learned about Wichcraft and Feminism, and Law.

    I guess student loan dollars paid for that.

    And one day, my contracts professor walked out of the 1L class with 15 or 20 minutes to spare.

    All becuase 2 or 3 students hadn't briefed their cases.

    I wonder if a law professor would feel so entitled to student loan money today, that they could just walk out on a class like that.

  11. Another way to put is that the difference between #5 and #100 is three times as many errors on the LSAT (a test you can take 3 times) and 1/3 of a letter grade (A- versus B+) average. That's a pretty significant drop in quality though I'm sure, as poster above notes, the top students at #100 are just as bright as those at #5.

  12. This is all somewhat speculative, but I think that one thing that has changed over the last couple years has been the public opinion about law school in general. At least at the better undergraduate colleges, I know that the way people talk about law school has changed. Two or three years ago I knew very few undergraduates or young grads who would would have thought the legal economy was doing worse than the overall economy. Now when I hear the legal profession spoken about, people invariably end up talking about the tough legal economy. Anecdotal evidence, to be sure, but it is from one the largest top public schools and it has been too noticeable to ignore. Even non-law school friends post links to the NY pieces on legal education, etc.

    I think blogs like this have forced applicants to face tougher questions before committing to unmanageable debt loads, and that is a great service. The large drop in applicants this cycle is a great sign, as is the softening of the waitlists. I hope it continues.

  13. Campos,

    Thank you for posting regarding the state of law school. 0Ls are impressionable and law schools do engage in sales and marketing or what lawyers would call "puffery." Unlike commercial businesses, though, schools have credibility and a perceived altruism attached to them. Just as you wouldn't expect an eagle scout to sell you a lemon car, most 0Ls are blind to the market and expect that no institution of higher learning would try to dupe them.

    They must hear the truth. Please keep up the good work.

  14. Reporting has come a long way. I'm sure schools will find a way to construe their numbers favorably.

    On another note,
    Fuck Public Defender Offices!!! All they want to hire are female attorneys, especially those who speak Spanish. Never mind that they don't have any experience in the field or it took a them a second time to pass the bar. I personally know four women who applied to those offices and they all got hired! They never worked in that field. I actually clerked for one of those offices but I didn't even get called back for a second interview. The lady who got hired in the office I clerked even told me she was surprised she was offered the deputy 1 position!

  15. Law Prof,

    You're getting increasingly irrational. First attacking Dean Z from Michigan, and now Columbia.


    And to the truly delusional poster above who claims that the median student at #5 is no different than the one at must have gone to #100. Feels good to bash Chicago grads, 80% of whom got biglaw doesn't it?

    Campos is being fueled by these commenters that all have a chip on their shoulders. Everyone who reads this blog failed at law school, and they expect to read bad things about law schools. Campos delivers.

    This kind of pandering is not what's needed. Focus your energy on getting the bottom 100 schools closed. Talk about THEIR statistics. Leave Michigan and Columbia alone.

    At least you haven't dared talk about HYS this way. I guess even you know there are some sacred boundaries you don't cross.

  16. "sacred boundaries you don't cross" <<< lol

  17. Leave Britney alone!

    Yeah, no. And I'll tell you why.

    First, getting any school to be more transparent helps to make transparency the norm and puts pressure on all other schools.

    Second, even if these schools aren't "the problem," it's still important that they release better employment data. It matters a whole lot to students choosing from among those schools. If you're deciding between Michigan, Chicago, and UVA, and each school is posting 95%+ employment rates, it makes a big difference if one of those schools is padding its numbers by including 30 students that are on school funded fellowships.

    One student might say a 90% placement rate is fantastic, while another student thinks a 10% shot at not getting a decent job is too much when taking out $250,000 in loans. The students should get complete and accurate information so they can make informed choices. Having generally good outcomes at a school is not an excuse for hiding your data. Hell, it should be a reason to be exceptionally open.

  18. I'm a reader of this blog. I go to HYS, and my legal employment prospects are secure.

    As evidenced by the turnout for Campos' talk here at Stanford and our efforts to get him here, there are plenty of "winning" law students who are deeply concerned about the profession. As to why keeping the press on the top schools is important, I agree completely with BL1Y. I realize some people got scammed at these TTT/TTTT schools and come here to vent, but real change has to happen at the top. This is an elite-centered profession and it is the top schools that set the rules of the game.

  19. That's a good argument, and you're right.

    I just feel obliged to defend the schools that are actually churning out good lawyers.

  20. 12:27 I go to CLS and have a job lined up, and what Campos has done has been just short of a miracle. When I was a 1L two years ago, CLS was notoriously tight lipped about employment stats even to current students who needed those stats to bid properly. The fellowship program was kept top secret and not even 2L students knew about it. Now, some light has been shone on the school and from what I hear they were much more forthcoming to current 1Ls this year.

    And to 12:27: HYS and the T14 may churn out employed lawyers, but that doesn't mean they are producing good lawyers.

  21. The elite law schools - and the leadership at those schools, who are among the most well-respected academics in legal education - should be setting the examples that other schools can follow. It gets back to Paul's suggestion earlier this year that Stanford be the first to slash tuition. These schools are market leaders, not followers... if they usher in reforms the rest will scramble to catch up. They are also fully aware of the roll they play in legal education. As such their administrations have a heightened responsibility to consider the roll they should be playing in legal education reform, not just what they need to do to maintain their reputation or continue recruiting top applicants. When the academics in charge of running these programs repeatedly refuse to assume leadership on issues as important as reining in costs and improving disclosure of consumer information, then they open themselves up to legitimate questions about whether they are truly dedicated to improving the legal profession. Their programs may not be as risky as others but their inaction is very much contributing to the systemic problems we're seeing right now. This is one instance where deference has to be earned, and so far very few schools at the top are making that effort.

  22. I don't understand why Campos keeps laying the smackdown on Columbia and NYU while HYS remain immune from criticism. Is it really the case that schools from #4 on down have had to resort to these antics as the legal economy crumbles but schools #1 - #3 are completely unblemished?

  23. @12:27 p.m.:

    No school is "churning out good lawyers." They're producing law graduates who may go on to good careers as lawyers, provided that they're given an opportunity to learn the generalities of practice along with a specific practice area or two. The average HYS graduate trying to hang a shingle right after a bar admission would probably be just as unsuccessful as the average State U grad trying to do the same thing.

  24. Morse Code @ 1:12:

    Perfectly, beautifully said.

  25. @1:09: Columbia and NYU have both made recent public statements defending their employment statistics. That puts a target on their backs when it comes to transparency.

    Yes, HYS do need to be more transparent, but NYU is the kid who raised his hand in a class he didn't read for.

  26. The populism in this blog is laughable.

    No one is willing to admit graduates of elite schools are just better lawyers and better people. Everyone insists on the fantasy that "we're all the same".

    Maybe you've been taught to believe that when you were raised in your suburban house by your liberal middle-class parents.

    It's not true.

  27. Both groups are right.

    Of course we need to close down about a hundred schools, preferably at the bottom. And those schools bear a lot of the responsibility for charging too much for inferior products.

    However, like somebody else mentioned, everybody takes their marching orders from the top schools. In particular, this strange idea that we need to churn out 45,000 law professors each year is a product of the HYS model of legal education.

  28. Again, that's why we need a two-tier model.

  29. 1:20 wrote an excellent flame post.

  30. 1:21--

    I give it a 146

  31. @1:20

    "No one is willing to admit graduates of elite schools are just better lawyers and better people. Everyone insists on the fantasy that "we're all the same".

    Better lawyers and better people? I really would like to meet people who actually think like this. I don't think they have many real friends.

    What trash. Your parents should be ashamed they raised such an entitled, judgmental, and shallow person.

    This is America, we don't have a class or caste system. We don't shouldn't judge someone's worth by the diploma hanging in on their wall.

    The Catholic Church has a similar problem with human excrement faking their way through seminary, and the legal profession is no different.

  32. "This is America, we don't have a class or caste system. We don't shouldn't judge someone's worth by the diploma hanging in on their wall. "

    We absolutely do.

  33. @1:20: I'll admit it. I'm superior.

  34. @anon 1:49

    We do, and we should be open about it. this should help us get rid of it.

  35. It is already open.

  36. Why should we get rid of it?

  37. Hey I'm the applicant he's talking about in (3). I had a low GPA/high LSAT, so that might have been a reason for the law schools to take so long in admitting me. But I do agree that law schools might be getting desperate. I guess I'm just lucky to be benefiting from their desperation.

  38. Hey I'm the applicant he's talking about in (3). I had a low GPA/high LSAT, so that might have been a reason for the law schools to take so long in admitting me. But I do agree that law schools might be getting desperate. I guess I'm just lucky to be benefiting from their desperation.

  39. What?! I'm lower middle class, grew up barely lower middle class, and I fully agree elite school graduates are better people.


  40. As Scalia said about elite law schools, "They might not teach very well, but you can't turn a silk purse into a sow's ear."

  41. Can you imagine how stinky Scalia's poop must be? I bet really, really smelly. Look at the man. Probably grayish in color.

  42. Probably holds some type of tapas ingestion related record. His sexual habits simply have to be what most would consider disgusting.

    A better person though? Certainly. He's really, really, (what's the word?) smart.

  43. Our society has objective measures for "better":

    Money and power.

    Scalia has plenty of both. Elite law school grads are much more likely to get both.

    Therefore, Scalia is better than you, and so are elite law grads.

  44. That's true, if you're not listening to "society" about what makes a person "better", you're probably a "loser". "Society" is great. There can be no doubt. Women, money, power, prestige, luxury, comfort; all of it. I need all of it.

  45. People who think they're above what society dictates are sadly deluding themselves.

    You WANT it, you're just upset you can't get it. Therefore, people who have it are bad, are the "1%" that needs to be put in their place.

    Good thing the people with power...are the people with power and will make sure their kind keep getting it.

  46. Stop feeding this troll.

  47. The fact that you think I'm a "troll"--as in a person who doesn't believe in what he says--is further proof of my point.

    Most people are not like you. You're angry and cynical and you feel cheated by the system, so the system is unfair.

    Unfortunately, the system turns out plenty of winners, and we're interested in keeping the system going.

    You lose.

  48. Sorry, have a slight buzz and just read today's post. Thanks LP! Doing great work...the professors and top administrators must follow this troll's line of thinking. I'm not sure how they could otherwise rationalize the situation.

  49. Just look at the contradictory arguments you people make:

    Don't even go to elite law school because you won't get biglaw even there.

    Biglaw is soul-sucking and a monkey could do it.

    These two arguments are designed to put down people at elite schools, no matter what. They really don't make any sense.

    Some people WANT to live that life (I should think MOST would). Why wouldn't you? To be 25 and making $160,000, to have the prestige associated with an elite degree and working at a megafirm.

    I have to conclude that the naysayers are just grousing about sour grapes. I'm sorry things didn't work out for you...

  50. Have you ever been laid, Troll? I don't think so.

  51. Actually I'm engaged...unfortunately to a med student but I love her.

  52. C'mon folks, show a little self-control so that I don't have to bother with deleting Mr. Grandiose Sociopath.

  53. Oh the professor speaks.

    And apparently now it's sociopathic to want to get ahead in life.

    I think we've been reading too much Rawls...

  54. @8:22,

    "I would ask that your next topic be about alumni giving. As my graduation approaches, I have been the target of increasingly aggressive solicitation by my classmates and school foundation lackeys alike. It usually starts innocently enough with a polite request, followed by attempts to guilt me and then finally derision when I refuse to give."

    I spoke with someone recently who works for an institution of higher learning. This person told me that while fundraising efforts will continue, that this particular institution (and apparently others are trending like it), are creating budgets less reliant on donor money and more on tuition.

    It seems they've figured out that the vital years to cultivate those relationships are going to pass by because the new graduates are so indebted they simply cannot afford to give.

    Previous fundraising strategies, which included lighter solicitation, but heavier contact with recent grads to cultivate giving when the grad was 10 years out or so (i.e. more established, making more money, fewer financial pressures).

    Well, this approach beginning to go out the window as more and more alums are scoffing at this, since they STILL OWE on five or six figure student loans, and see continuing solicitations as craven and insensitive. $5 or $10 pledges used to be cute ways to keep in contact with the old alma mater. Now folks who can't afford a home mortgage on top of the student loan mortgage equivalent find it infuriating.

    The school recognizes that these ties, once severed, are unlikely to bear fruit two decades from now. In the past, a grad in his or her forties or fifties gave back to good old alma mater, as a source of pride, status symbol for having "made it" or to improve little junior's chances for admission down the line.

    This model is unlikely to endure because todays grads will still be paying back their student loans in their forties and fifties, and many may not pay them all back within their lifetime.

    Add on top that more and more of the ridiculous pension liabilities are starting to come due, as some schools are paying out 75% or higher of the professors old salary to people for 20 years past their retirement.

    This is to say nothing of the fact that many of these schools sit on 9 or 10 figure endowments. It might as well be a casino asking for a donation from an average household, from the appearances of it. "Help us keep the Vegas we all remember!"

    Cue the "rising costs" or "maintaing high quality" canards, as well, at a time when acess to information has never been easier, and when technology could solve so many physical space problems (The equivalent of a university library could probably fit on a dozen Ipads stacked no higher than three or four textbooks. Maybe less.)

    So now the die is cast. Schools (and the boomers that now run them) that used to ask for help pushing the load are now, it appears just trying to get the bobsled to crest the hills so they can hop in and enjoy the ride down, at the expense of the millenials and their taxpayer benefactors.

  55. Herp de la DerpMay 3, 2012 at 4:02 PM

    So many lulz

  56. Congratulations on getting Columbia to admit that 34 of 38 of its 2011 grads in the law school funded program have not found jobs. Given that they take 80 or 90 transfer students a year and actually admit the students are to fill their $10 million budget gap, that is a great job by Campos!

    Same on NYU and its total lack of transparency. It is very clear from the information that they have disclosed that Columbia particularly and to a lesser extent Chicago have far better employment outcomes than NYU.

    The other problem - as Campos points out as to the 34 of 38 of the CLS lawyers whose jobs are funded by CLS remaining unemployed - is how hard it is to get a job in the legal profession if you don't have a job.

    My suggestion - Can Campos or someone else set up a Dewey tracker website. Columbia for one says the recession does not affect their grads. It is bull of course, because legal jobs disappear at the drop of a hat today and it is very hard to find a new job.

    It would be great for Campos or Law School Transparency to get contact information for the remaining Dewey lawyers in the United States before the ship sinks and ask them for employment data on an ongoing basis, which would be published in a way that does not identify the lawyer.

    They could determine length of unemployment, type of job found, need to move or to commute long distance, percentage pay cut, long-term or short-term, part-time or full-time and if the lawyer wants part-time.

    The big problem here is the surplus of lawyers. It does not get easier as one gets more experienced. It would be good to get Dewey employment information based on 5-year intervals from graduation.

    Dewey terminations are worse and they are better than regular terminations. Worse because they may not provide severance pay and because so many people have been let go at the same time and are competing for jobs. Better though because for most people, at least associates, these are not cause terminations and do not reflect at all on the associate.

    The Dewey lesson would offer a good picture to 0Ls of what they can expect if the worst happens and they get a good job and lose it. It does not help to get a $160,000 job if the next job is in a different city, pays half of that or is only temporary, and the lawyer is going to spend as much time out on the street as working in the next few years.

  57. Why delete posts just because the person offers a different viewpoint?

  58. Last morsel for trolls.

    The ranking system gives schools their claim to function as a sorting mechanism. To the extent that UGPA and LSAT portend one's success in legal studies and the working world, HYS has a demonstrably better pool of human capital than the schools immediately beneath them, although the difference between a Harvard 1L and a NYU 1L is maybe five or six questions on a LSAT of about 120 questions.

    What started us down this tangent was the 1L ubermensch (who apparently was not so uber as to end up at one of the HYSs) complaining about Campos' treatment of NYU and Columbia. Since the beginning, the defenders of the status quo's least convincing argument has been, "Well, you should have known that there was far less of a chance to get a real job in the law than Thomas Cooley told you." As more and more underemployed graduates from more and more institutions check in, the pool of law schools whose applicants have any reason to trust what they say has shrunk to about 3: Harvard, Yale and Stanford. There are still success stories at all of these schools immediately below the Trinity, and possibly even a majority of the graduating class. But in terms of securing the kind of employment that law schools made it seem as though a median graduate could reasonably expect, the difference between a Virginia and a George Washington is maybe as much as the difference between a George Washington and a Maryland. For all the trouble that applicants took to ensure that their school's brand would get them the job ahead of those other losers at ____ School of Law, and all the confidence they had that their investment of $100k-$250k wouldn't leave them as fucked...well, Michigan and Virginia in particular have a substantial number of students who would be thrilled to have an assistant DA's job in East Bumfuck, Arkansas.

    By all means, continue to believe that your law school says something irrefutable about who you are and what position you're destined to occupy in law. However, a growing number of underemployed law graduates from all but the three most prestigious schools should give you at least some doubt. If everybody who didn't go to HYS and didn't find adequate employment for their debt burden is a failure, then how many successes are there out of the 44,000+ law graduates who will hit the streets this fall?

  59. Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and Glenn Beck never graduated from College.

    Yet they can potentially sway elections.

    All three de-facto Republican/Conservative politicians: Limbaugh, Hannity, and Beck, are hardly in any position to offer comment on, or feel any sympathy for the dire issue of:

    Student Loan Debt

    And as for Virginia Foxx.........that is another story for another day.

    Speaking as a guy that listens to the airwaves all day on the radio, many of the commenters on this blog overcomplicate things and have no idea how popular politics works.

    Choose a side now: Romney or Obama, and take it all up with the winning administration in 6 months.

  60. JDP,

    Your life is such a sad story, but surprisingly I feel very little sympathy for you.

    Maybe because you decided to screw everyone and completely shirk your responsibilities to society? Maybe.

  61. To Morse Code for J- Most of the lawyers who are partners at top firms or otherwise hold high level jobs in the legal profession did not go to HYS. Many grads of HYS are unemployed or underemployed. Sure, people going to Harvard generally are more likely to make it than from a lesser ranked school. However, the legal profession has so many surplus lawyers that going to HYS guarantees one NOTHING in terms of long term employment.

    Anybody who thinks differently is looking at only people below a certain level of experience. Look at experienced lawyers and the value of HYS is much much less than a sure thing. It is a very uncertain and risky degree long-term, as many of my colleagues who went to HYS and are currently solos or otherwise underemployed have learned.

  62. Reginald Wilberforce Worthington IVMay 3, 2012 at 5:31 PM

    "Yale or fail."

  63. I think "Mr. Grandiose Sociopath" is posting on JDUnderground as "pinksugar."

  64. "Most of the lawyers who are partners at top firms or otherwise hold high level jobs in the legal profession did not go to HYS."

    This is retarded. Do I really need to point out why?

    Most lawyers didn't go to HYS, period. HYS turns out a very small number of lawyers compared to everywhere else.

    HYS is VERY over-represented in terms of pure proportion as partners at top firms and government agencies. Just go to any big firm website and search by law school. Dozens and dozens of them went to HYS.

  65. This comment has been removed by the author.

  66. I sleep soundly at night, knowing I worked hard and am winning the game of life. I didn't make the decision to borrow 200K for you to attend a third-tier law school, and I didn't make the choices that led you to be not hired.

    Take responsibility for your own actions. There are infinite opportunities in this country (even ITE), and instead of taking advantage of them, you're sitting here whining about your debt.

    Go start a business, write a book, work 3 jobs to support yourself and pay your debt. Whatever.

    There are people whose situations are far FAR worse than yours. People who were smuggled into this country and owe debts to snakeheads who'll kill them if they don't pay, for example. What do they do? They keep their head down and work what jobs they can get, pay off their debts, and try to build a better future for their children.

    What are you doing?

  67. He's not getting a haircut that's for sure.

  68. Leave JD Painter the hell alone! It doesn't take a brain surgeon or a Harvard grad to figure out there is more to his situation than meets the eye. If you need to amuse yourselves, go pull some wings off flies.

  69. I was hoping to be motivational rather than cruel. I'm sorry if it came off that way.

    Bottom line is, it's nowhere NEAR over for you. Plenty of people have climbed back from worse. But your attitude is not going to help you overcome this.

  70. Please go on all of youse, and continue to hang yourselves.

    I will try to work on my 'Attitude" and try to stay away from looking at Salvador Dali paintings.

    I will try to come back from 320K of debt.

    If I win the lottery I will have to win twice that amount and, after 50% or so in taxes, I will have enough to pay off my quadrupled debt.

    The line between motivational and cruel is like the theatric line between Citizen Kane and the "Singer" that Kane was caught in a love nest with.

    Kane tried to get her to sing Opera, so as to justify himself.

    In the end she made jigsaw puzzles before a roaring fire, and decided that Kane was a Shit.

  71. tdennis

    pathetic profile views.

    Out of touch, as always

  72. Maybe I will leave this country and try to get smuggled back in.

    I will probably have more rights that way.

  73. It ain't the banjo

    It's the Man Joe!

    It ain't the ski's
    It's inthe knees

    It ain't the tennis racket
    It's how you wack it!

    It ain't the baseball bat at all!
    It's the way you address the ball.

  74. @JD Painter Guy:

    If your situation is as dire as you make it seem, I don't see how you don't qualify for an "undue hardship" under s.523 of the Bk code (which is very hard, but if you come across as pathetic in person as you do on this blog then you should have no problems.) Alternatively, might I suggest (a) finding a psychologist and, (b) filing for SSI and/or Social Security Disability (SSDI). As a back-up Dept of Ed regs allow discharge if a medical professional will certify that you're permanently unable to work...perhaps then you will be able to hyperfocus on something less...distructive.

  75. @7:36PM

    Glad I drew you out of your creepy and equally pathetic hole or rather from under your rock.

    How do you really know what I am all about anyway?

    You seem to think that suicidal student loan debtor's are all crazy.

    You seem to think or imply that graduating from a law school is no guarantee of a job.

    You said it, not me.

    Personal responsibility is the bastard child of usurious despots

    like you

    And believe you me, a decade or more of preposterous usury will wear away the human mind.

    How can it not?

  76. "Schools are subjected to various interventions, get on the transparency wagon (sort of), but keep falling off." Absolutely dead on! And it's shameful in two ways. First, of course, schools are continuing to mislead prospective and current students; if they are forced to clean up one set of statistics, they blur a different set.

    Second, this behavior seems to reflect what legal education has become--and what many clients find so distasteful in new lawyers. We teach students to split hairs, base decisions only on legal principles (rather than business needs, customer relations, etc), and propose the most extreme advocacy position that they can defend with a straight face.

    I talked today with a very senior law professor who has spent the last two decades in central administration. He reminisced that legal education is so valuable because it "teaches people to ask the right questions." I told him that might have been true at one time, but that it no longer seemed true to me. Other disciplines, I think, have outstripped us in problem solving and analytic thinking.

    That failure to ask the right questions is what I see with NYU, CLS, and most other law schools on the employment question. As LawProf points out, the stone walling of some schools isn't even rational. They're not asking the right questions: What's fair to our students and prospective students? What should a responsible academic institution do? Most striking, they're not even asking, Would disclosure actually help us because our statistics are excellent and applicants would trust us more?

    We as institutions react reflexively, rather than thoughtfully, to problems and that seems to be what we're teaching students in the classroom as well as by example.

  77. What is all this bashing? Jd clown might be a victim ho but it does not change the fact that system fucked him like it fucks many other law grads. No need to mix issues... does someone really need to be a saint in order to claim that they were wronged?

  78. DJM:
    Aren't most of the people in those administrative roles (CSO, admissions, etc.) not even lawyers?

  79. I think the right question is why so much time is spent on this blog talking about top five law schools. Also, DJM, do you have a school email that you use for official business?

  80. JD Painter, tonight I said the Rosary for you.. I am so sorry for all that you are going through & I can see that it is slowly chipping away at you.. I pray that you are made whole and that you are given a job soon...

  81. 8:14, good question. Quite a number (but not all) of our administrators are lawyers; I don't know how the percentages break out at other schools. But the administrators take their cues from the lawyerly dean and, to a lesser extent, the lawyerly faculty. It is extraordinary how many faculty defend the limited disclosures that schools make on employment outcomes. If deans and faculty take that position, untenured administrators definitely will follow suit.

    @8:22: But all of those emails forward automatically to my gmail account which, I discovered years ago, functions much more effectively than our university's email. So also works directly.

  82. 8:22,
    Are you really that lazy that you can't even click on her name?

  83. Thanks DJM. I always thought administrators did their thing and law profs were off in their own little world. Apparently I was mistaken.

  84. Since commenters are asking about schools outside the top five: One school that elicited some discussion months ago was George Mason. They had particularly abbreviated employment information and, bowing to public pressure, have now disclosed significantly more data. While far from perfect, GMU's data are now much better than my own school's. They also offer a sobering insight into just how bad the legal market has become.

    The school ranks 39th in US News, so we're still talking about the top tier. But George Mason's graduating class size shrank from 230 in 2009 to 170 in 2011. I don't know how deliberate that drop was; at 26%, it's a larger contraction than the projected one at Hastings.

    Even with a much smaller class, George Mason placed only 63.5% of its 2011 grads in full-time jobs requiring bar passage. The number of grads in firms of over 500 fell from 26 in 2009 to 13 in 2010 and 4 in 2011. Median salary is $63,688 for 2011, with 74% reporting. The average debt load for the class, meanwhile, was $101,170 (per US News and ABA data). 78.2% had debt.

    I don't think GMU is particularly different from other schools of its rank. In fact, I suspect the OSU numbers will be very similar. That's the picture, as I see it, in the bottom half of the top tier.

  85. @DJM OSU actually provided LST its NALP Report

    So did George Mason:

    These are both reflected in our clearinghouse so that it's easier to compare.

  86. 8:43 - Amen. William Ockham

  87. I have a job.

    After a while a person is what they do.

    Once more: There is a window of time within which to pass the bar and get established within the field.

    If not the race against the debt and interest is lost.

    And so, after a while, a prospective employer looks at the JD and sees wonders why in the hell that JD is working serving pizzas or cleaning houses or painting etc.

    If anyone wants to pray for anything, pray that consumer bankruptcy protections are brought back for student loan debt.

    The Law Schools need to have skin in the game.

    I could probably do better for myself if I could get a small business loan from my bank.

    But I have a default on my credit report and my credit is shot for life. (have a look at my blog and see the scan of my credit report showing that)

    There is another little thing called the: "Excessive debt to Income ratio" and I have that as well and there are scans of credit rejection letters on my blog showing that too. million viewers and I might as well be talking to a brick wall.


    What do you want from the rest of us? We can't take the bar exam for you. We can 't pass the bar for you. Are you wanting us to send you $10 dollars apiece until you have enough money to pay for your debt? Do you think the people who succeeded at this game "owe" you something?

    And what is your fixation on my profile views? I have tried to defend you despite your rudeness, but it is getting harder and maybe I was wrong to do so. You are getting creepy. I don't even know (or care) what profile views are. I don't make my living from "profile views".

  89. The Troll is waiting for marriage, how sweet.

  90. jd painter just doesn't know how to accept reality and move on.

    He's like a rape victim still afraid to go out at night; stuck in the house, curled up with a blanket, shaking and looking out the window with fear.

    You got screwed buddy... a lot of us did. Find something new and move on for god-f_cking-sake.

    What do you think other people do?

  91. I see that the troll/fantacist is back - showing how well his parents raised him (he did tell us they were better than most people) by flinging around the word retarded (which I think he thinks would impress his alleged medical student girlfrined). Standby for his mentions of Princeton and Yale (where he seems to be a 1L) and self important discussions of how as a junior analysis at the most important investment bank in the world he mingled socially with partners and associates of BigLaw while they mocked the lesser class of lawyers - and of how everyone here is in shitlaw. I notice he is already operating under the assumption that he has a great job and career in the bag (an offer from Dewey.....)

    I had an interesting discussion recently. I was remembering one of the highest earning international lawyers in the world, whose son was in my class in school (and L is now a filmmaker.) Max was never an equity partner - but stayed "of counsel" his whole career - because he made more money and never had to sign on for the firm's debts and leases and was able to be semi-autonomous. It occurred to me because at another lunch recently we were discussing a young partner - who had just made it to equity at Howrey - when bam - he lost IT ALL - everything, the equity in his house, all his savings, everything (he was in the London office so creditors can go after everything (no Exemptions.) That is what may now happen to the Dewey partners - they lose millions - joint and several - and Dewey's debts are huge.

    Being a HYS graduate guarantees nothing. It is easier to get a first legal job - maybe a second - but after 4-6 years experience no one in practice really gives a shit where a lawyer went to school - they care about whether that person is a good lawyer. For HYS graduates the problem often is that they do not get the sort of experience in BigLaw that makes them good lawyers - their experience is too narrow - or in government they head straight for policy positions that again preclude getting experience. Hence the higher than expected bozo quotient from HYS.

    Moreover, the vast majority of first year associates in BigLaw will end up in small law - and that includes the HYS graduates. BigLaw simply cannot absorb and keep the classes from HYS or from the T14 using its current business model.

    The other issue with BigLaw is that the small rate at which it has made new equity partners and even non-equity partners over the last 2 decades is part of the reason why big firms are now blowing up. They do not have a deep bench and they are too dependent on a small number of rainmaking partners - who can move - or have an off year.

    I have my own private prediction list of the firms in BigLaw that look healthy today that I think are very likely to blow up over the next five years.


    Title says it all.

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