Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Gone to Texas

Pretty much the only thing I remember about bankruptcy law is that 19th century financial documents would sometimes include the marginal notation GTT, which stood for Gone To Texas, land of generous homestead exemptions and difficult process serving.  This useful piece of information came to mind when I read (h/t Taxprof) about Texas A&M's decision to buy Texas Wesleyan's law school, which shall henceforth be known as the Texas A&M School of Law at Texas Wesleyan University.

Financial details: TAMU is paying TWU $20 million, and in return is getting the school as an ongoing concern.  TWU, however, will retain ownership of the building in which the school is housed, along with the four blocks of land in Fort Worth on which it's situated, which TAMU will lease.

Needless to say this transaction was announced with the help of a Texas-sized hailstorm of business jargon, celebrating the various proactive dynamic synergies this union is intended to produce.

Why is TAMU buying a law school, and why is TWU selling theirs? Obviously because both parties think that the price is right -- and that price is quite low.  $20 million is less than TAMUOLATWU is charging its JD students per year, at least in nominal tuition.  In short TWU -- a quite small (just 1,483 undergraduates) institution -- is dumping what it now considers a fiscally unsound and/or too risky operation, while retaining the operation's most valuable assets (real estate and fixtures).

Meanwhile TAMU, a huge university, thinks it can leverage its institutional capital (these cliches are habit-forming) in a way that will allow it to buy on the cheap what has become a financially dubious enterprise  and turn it into a money maker.

Clearly, Texas Wesleyan is selling at this price because its law school must be having significant financial problems.  TWU's tuition is among the cheapest of any private law school ($30K for this coming academic year), but even at this "bargain" price it's apparently having trouble filling its class.  Here we may be seeing the beneficial effects of improved transparency.  A prospective student who visits the school's web site will find no employment statistics of any kind, but thanks to the work of Law School Transparency and others it's now possible to examine the school's placement data beyond the phony "employed at nine months" number advertised in the USNWR rankings.

What that data show are the following facts for the 223 members of the class of 2011:

(1) Five graduates got jobs with law firms of more than ten attorneys.

(2) Nearly 10% of the class listed themselves as solo practitioners.

(3) The school produced zero federal or state judicial clerks.

(4)  No graduate got a public interest job (including public defender positions).

(5) Nearly 30% of the class was either unemployed or had an unknown employment status.

Basically, almost nobody got a job, if a job is defined as "an acceptable employment outcome given the cost of attendance."  (That cost is north of $160K if debt financed).

From a public-regarding standpoint, there is no conceivable reason why this law school shouldn't be shut down at once -- a judgment which apparently enough prospective law students now share that they've put the enterprise's future in serious jeopardy.

TAMU has chosen to swoop down on this mess for who knows what reason exactly, although I suspect the decision is a product of equal parts willful ignorance about the current employment market for lawyers and unwarranted optimism about its future.  After all the federal student loan gravy train is still running, tomorrow is another day, and the Aggies are in the SEC now, so anything is possible. 

It will be interesting to see if TAMU's administration decides to sink significant resources into trying to patch the Titanic's hull, or whether instead it expends minimal capital on its bargain basement acquisition and simply closes up shop in a few years if and when it discovers that its new cash cow should have been turned into all-beef patties.

In any case I expect we'll see more of these sorts of deals in the near future, as desperate law schools look for various white knights -- even if most of the latter end up looking a lot more like T. Boone Pickens than Sir Lancelot.


  1. I wonder if TAMU wanted to open a law school and just saw TWU as a cheap and easy way to get ABA accreditation.

  2. What I don't understand is how the purchaser expects to make this a viable school .

  3. TAMU tried to acquire South Texas in the late 90s but the Texas Higher Edu board blocked them. They were trying to go around the regulations to avoid having to get the deal approved. South Texas' then Dean got sacked over the failed deal.


    On TTTTexa$ We$leyan Univer$iTTTTy's 2009 Form 990, head down to lines 20-22 of page one. Notice that the "non-profit" corporation/university had $100,242,230 in total assets countered by $33,408,213 in total liabilities. According to this document, as of May 31, 2010, the institution held $66,834,071 in end of year net assets.

    It feels great to watch these commodes in desperation mode!! When I see law schools extending their Fall admissions deadline to August 1 - or give away up to $1,000 in free books - I know that these pigs are trembling at the mere prospect of actually practicing law.

  5. @8:16 It's all in the marketing. TAMU obviously feels they've got a better shot at marketing it than TWU was doing...

  6. This news kind of sucks. So if a university starts to think its law school isn't a wise investment, rather than closing it someone more optimistic will buy it and continue to take in students.

    Granted, maybe in a few years this new purchaser will close it down (unless they can resell it to a third party), but this is just extending the whole mess.

    Over time, there might not be any buyers, but I had hoped that if a university decided that its law school was a liability it would just cease to exist.

    This is going to take longer than I thought.

  7. What makes them think they can provide better job placement? If students can't get jobs, I doubt new shit name will improve their career prospects.

  8. Texas A&M has been talking about opening a law school for at least four years. That doesn't mean anything in this post is wrong, but the powerful motives of ego and institutional ambition can prevent purely economic decision-making. Whether that's a good bet or not here, time will tell. Those employment outcomes are not good, and Dallas is getting a new law school soon.

  9. Similar thing has happened in Massachusetts, where the state university system (UMass) has acquired non-ABA accredited Southern New England School of Law, an institution probably rated the lowest among the nine (!!!) law schools extant in the Commonwealth.

    The UMass Board initially rejected the proposed acquisition (in 2005), but later (in 2009) acquiesced. The stated purpose is to expand the UMass academic portfolio (lol), while theoretically broadening the availability of legal education and thus legal services to the "underprivileged." Get ready to hear much more of the latter as specious justification for keeping underperforming sewers of legal education open, on taxpayer subsidies.

    More likely, future ex-pols see this as fertile ground for planting themelves and their coathandlers in cozy "academic" sinecures, again on the taxpayers' dime. Perhaps this played a role in TX as well?

  10. What happens to the TWU faculty and Administrators? Will they be either let go or on probation?

    In either event, I wonder if some of them are disappointed.

  11. Am I not reading carefully? How does $30K per year in tuition translate into over $160K indebtedness??? That's over $20K per year in living expenses.

  12. If you borrow $45K per year and assume a 3% rise in tuition and COL then that adds up to more than $160K six months after graduation because of accrued interest.

  13. $15K still sounds high for living expenses. I guess it doesn't really matter though, it's still a ton of debt from a school that isn't placing students in jobs.

  14. Why didn't TWU try to raise money with a bake sale first, or put on a variety show like in an old Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland movie.

    They could have saved the school that way instead of calling Boone Pickens.

  15. $1650 per month sounds high for living expenses in Fort Worth? You have to buy books and medical insurance out of that too.

  16. texas a&m has a much larger and successful alumni base. i am sure many of their undergrads are attorneys somewhere or businessmen who hire attorneys. i suspect that the emplyment pic will improve for the new law school - at the expense of other law schools.

  17. Speaking of Texas, it occurs to me that it's kind of a shame David Koresh never got it in his mind to start a law school. Seems like a much safer path to wealth, prestige, and access to impressionable younger females than founding an apocalyptic cult. And the government will even pay for it!

  18. Something about law schools seems to make the hearts of empire building university presidents and boards beat faster. In Pennsylvania in the last several years Drexel started a law school from scratch in a metro area that already had five, count 'em five, law schools. Around the same time Penn State acquired the venerable but ailing stand alone Dickenson law school. Since Pennsylvania already has two flagship state law schools, one serving the east and one the west, it's hard to see why it needs a third. But then, its not about need, its about empire. Perhaps TAMU is irked the Texas has a law school and it does not.


  19. we scambloggers and internet commentators on the law school scam is what broke Tex Wes. We exposed them,and we got the word out, and consequently they discovered they were going to have a lot of empty seats this fall--because of our efforts.

    Let us all congratulate ourselves. This Tex Wes law school is our first blood drawn in this battle. We will go on to take down yet more law schools, and I suspect we will kill one off here soon. Most certainly we will see other private TTT law schools get sold to public universities.

    Most of all we need to give nando his props. It was about one month ago that he posted his blogpost exposing Tex Wes law. And now they are gone, at least in name.

  20. Hadn't Penn State officials ruined enough kids' lives with their enabling of the despicable Jerry Sandusky? They had to countenance financial rapine too?

  21. 0933 - My need to go get your prescription refilled, and FAST.

  22. this reminds me of Banc of America buying countrywide.

    All aboard the failboat.

  23. Law Prof,

    Speaking of bankruptcy, the city of Stockton, CA voted to file for bankruptcy today. Ch. 9 bankruptcy may be a good field for newly minted for solo practitioners to start learning. I've seen Ch. 7 bankruptcy petitions being advertised for $499 + filing fees. The race to the bottom is heating up!

  24. Rising 2L here, looking for life advice. Lay it on me..

  25. 10:22: How about a little more context before we tell you what to do with the rest of your life?

  26. You serious Rising 2L at 10:22? OK, here goes. Unless you are: (1) going to a top school with good grades, (2) going to a good school with top grades, or (3) have some serious employment connections, you should drop out - preferably before you send in your 2L tuition check.

  27. In the same boat as 10:22, but does it matter or help if I'm also getting an MBA?

  28. Another idiotic article claiming that the debt situaish isnt that bad. These kinds of things make me want to pull my hair out.;_ylt=AqL9BHRWCpL_8KC2tFutLFGiuYdG;_ylu=X3oDMTQzbmY0N3NxBG1pdANGaW5hbmNlIEZQIEp1bWJvdHJvbiBMaXRlBHBrZwNjNDEwOTA0Yy0xYTBmLTNmMzItYjU5MC03OTE1NDhhOWIyZDcEcG9zAzEEc2VjA2p1bWJvdHJvbgR2ZXIDYjlmNWFiNTAtYzA3NC0xMWUxLWJmZmYtNDJkOWJiMjJkNzI4;_ylg=X3oDMTFpNzk0NjhtBGludGwDdXMEbGFuZwNlbi11cwRwc3RhaWQDBHBzdGNhdANob21lBHB0A3NlY3Rpb25z;_ylv=3

  29. @10:22 Go for your dreams.

    But be so damn careful about law and read all the Scamblogs including Third Tier Reality and this blog, and talk to as many people as you can.

    The law school will have one view, and real life lawyers and judges and financial advisors will probably have another.

    In the end only you as a sophisticated consumer will be able to decide.

    The sophisticated consumer of educational products today must be very, very wary

    If the decision to take on more student loan debt is involved as well, remember that American Student Loan Debt is the most oppressive debt in US history and that other than paying it off, there is absolutely no way to get out from under it for the rest of your natural life and, as Suze Orman says, you will carry that debt to your grave.

  30. Also read Cryn Johannsen's blog and the work of Alan Collinge.

  31. Where have you gone Barbara Boxer? Our nation turns it's lonely eyes to you.

  32. 10:22 here. Going to a tier 2 state school, wanted to pursue public interest work. In the middle of my class - would have been in the top 3rd, at least, if it weren't for me absolutely hating/dismissing LRW. Got a stipend through the school to work as an unpaid law clerk for a nonprofit this summer - it has been interesting, to say the least. Have a judicial externship lined up for next semester, as well as classes i am genuinely interested in taking (con law 2, human rights law, evidence, "white collar" crime) - going for the "people's lawyer" sort of thing. planning on transferring to a better school for spring semester.
    also considering just going through the motions, passing the bar, and abandoning the law thing altogether; enroll in another ph.D/masters program, add letters to the end of my name, use the JD as another impressive credential.
    it's crazy, i know. i just don't know what to do - the $8/hr, low responsibility, cheap lifestyle was good to me, but i got bored with it after 6 years. came to school to learn how the world works, develop a closeted aspiration to be a writer or journalist... i know it's crazy, but i'm playing the game now for better or worse. advice is always welcome

  33. 10:22/11:21: You should drop out. Now. You are not going to get a public interest job, being in the middle of your class at a tier 2 public school. Drop out. The debt will ruin your life. It is not worth it.

  34. 1) Isn't failure to public basic consumer information for prospective students on a law school's website a violation of ABA Standard 509?

    2) Would someone like to make a request via the Texas Public Information Act for the financial statements presumably given to TAMU as part of their due diligence review before the purchase was finalized? These doc's could shed a lot of light on how badly the law school was doing financially.

    Publius Lex

  35. I used to think the JD was an impressive credential, but it didn't turn out that way for me.

    The larger, non legal job market seemed to be confused by my resume with a JD on it.

    Prospective employers wonder why the JD is not practicing law, or they see the JD as a flight risk once a better paying law job comes along.

    Many laypeople in general do not like lawyers and see them as adversarial or they might have had a bad experience with one say, after a divorce experience.

    I remember a comment by a non lawyer that said the victims of the law school scam all got what they deserved since they all intended to rip the public off when they started law school.

    That sentiment might be wrong, but as the old saying goes: You can't argue with a point of view.

  36. my suspicion: the contracted building rent is below market, and the 20 million is a face-saving kick-back.

  37. 1022: If you hated LRW, what makes you think you'd even want to finish with your JD? That's the only class that might be an extremely watered-down version of what you'd be doing if you were LUCKY enough to get any kind of law job anyway.

    Not a good sign if you blew that off because you couldn't stand it.

  38. Lawprof: georgetown is waiving the second seat deposit (500) if people let their office tell the other schools the student is withdrawing to go to Georgetown.

    Guess they don't want people getting their scholarships offers upped by other schools.

    They are terrible people. I'm sure some of the admits don't know that they might have a good chance of more money at another school. They just want to trap people into attending without the chance of getting as much money as possible.

    You can't come up with more ways to screw students over than law schools have already thought of.


  40. @11:46. 10:22 here. Yes, i sometimes share the same anxieties about having it on my record at all - even if i end up dropping out, i wonder if i should list the school, or just leave a yearlong gap on the resume?
    Already, when someone asks what I do, I debate privately if i should just lie altogether. The words "law school" rolling off my tongue usually get a response of either a) misguided good impression and/or b) ignorant mocking. With both responses, people get an inferiority/superiority complex, because somehow we are no longer equals.

    @11:23. I'm very open to dropping out, but what i'm getting at is; what else is an english/philosophy major with 1 year of law school to do? I'd sincerely love any recommendations.

    I suppose teaching english abroad indefinitely may be on the horizon...

  41. Every now and then a golden nugget of information appears from a commenter. Here is said nugget for today:

    "I'm very open to dropping out, but what i'm getting at is; what else is an english/philosophy major with 1 year of law school to do?"

    This is how the law schools fill their seats. IMO, the VAST majority of law students ask this question of themselves, don't have an answer and so enroll in law school.

    12:09: If you are asking yourself this question after being in law school for the amount of time you have been in law school, my advice to you is to drop out now. Stat.

    Continuing on because you are unsure what to do is the biggest mistake. Imagine what life would be like with more debt and no job!?!?!?!

    To answer your question: There is no quick answer. If there was, all the unemployed lawyers would be doing it. My advice: Apply anywhere. Do anything. 8 hour job you had is far better than continuing down your current path. GET OUT!

  42. Why do schools like Tex A &M want law schools? they believe they are cash cows. More money for central admin in O/H means more money for the administrator. easy as pie

  43. Meanwhile, 35 miles away, the University of North Texas Dallas College of Law set to open in 2014...

    Also, I bet TAMU has a decent opportunity to funnel its own undergraduates (English, political science, etc.) into a law school that bears the same name. Maybe they can do a Wolverines program like Michigan and avoid reporting low LSAT scores (and snag students who would have gotten scholarships elsewhere).

  44. There has to be SOMETHING unemployed lawyers can do... because there sure are as hell going to be a lot more of them soon. I mean, there isn't anything society can do with these folks? A legal education does have SOME value.. it is surely not even close to worth the price, but saying that knowing the ins and outs of the law is worthless is a little too extreme.

  45. I think law is flexible the way philosophy is flexible. If your are really taught how to think and write well I have to image there will be demand on the job market that you can satisfy. But I still want to re-emphasize that I did compare law to philosophy.

  46. @12:09--
    12:19 hit the nail on the head. Get out while you can. Yes, your options are somewhat limited now. If you take on six-figure non-dischargable debt to get a degree you really don't want that much anyway, they will be a hell of a lot more limited.

    FWIW the only good thing about the current economic clusterfuck is that it has forced people to focus on things besides careers and money. There's more to life than that. It's OK to work to live, rather than live to work.

  47. Rising 2L - this is 11:23 - Look at it this way, what you will be doing as a law school drop-out is (in all probability) the same thing you will be doing as a law school graduate - which is to say, something other than practicing law. The difference is, as a drop-out, you will be two years younger with 2/3 less debt. Go teach English abroad, get a job bartending, work retail, whatever. Point is, stop digging the hole any deeper.

  48. @ 12:27:

    "There has to be SOMETHING unemployed lawyers can do... because there sure are as hell going to be a lot more of them soon. I mean, there isn't anything society can do with these folks?"

    As far as my experience goes right now, no. Apparently there is not anything society can do with me as far as paid work is concerned. :( I am quite sad about it, in addition to wondering how I will continue to pay my rent. (Health care is a distant dream.)

  49. 12:09

    See if some of your credits would count towards an MBA - or any other degree?

    To be honest, if you do not really know what lawyers do...I remember a naive law student saying to me - "I don't want to make a living off human conflict and peoples misery," this after saying he wanted to be a litigator.... "ummmm, well, you know, about litigation....."

    Seriously, any law student saying they went to law school to do "public interest work" troubles me. If tends to suggest a naïf who has come to an idea of what lawyers do by watching Ally McBeal and Erin Brokovich, with a side helping of Law and Order. Don't get me wrong - I enjoy what I do (though not the industry) but there is not much different between the tasks a private practice lawyer does and those of a public interest lawyer. I did not enjoy my legal research and writing class (and despite my typos here I am regarded as a "damn good brief writer," and though dyslexic I enjoy legal writing.) My L&R instructor was some sort of law fellow and former journal editor, a 3L, - and she reminded me of a later colleague who had been editor of Yale's main journal. Perfect English, punctuation, grammar, never split an infinitive - could not write persuasively if his/her life was at stake - dull, pedestrian, no music, rhythm or style. Given someone else's work to edit they could turn it into a soporific turgid and "mumble-able" mess in an hour - but their English was perfect.

    Having a successful career in the law is really about the first 10 years - and a brilliant first 3-5 years may still be leading you up a dead end. I think you cannot really have anything resembling security inside those first 10 years. I also think that luck has an awful lot to do with being successful - some people are simply lucky, but think that luck has nothing to do with it. I am a fairly successful (but not massively successful) international lawyer - some of that success is down to my being actually very good at what I do. But, there are a lot of other lawyers as well or better equipped, in principle, to have arrived at where I am today. Luck, pure serendipity was a big factor. To take an example, I was approached to take a job in the mid 1990s, a dream international public law job - and for unexpected family reasons I had to turn it down - which depressed me for about 9 months, until the person who took the job ended up dead and part of a hillside in the Balkans - and by the way he was a better guy for the job (I know him a bit), a really outstanding person and a real loss to the world. That is an extreme example, but I have had some key jobs in my career entirely by chance, and some key setbacks entirely by chance too.

    It is possible that if you stay in law school the gamble might work out. But the odds are a lot longer for you than they were for the class of 1992 from Georgetown. A much larger proportion of the class of 2012 will lose that bet from GULC and and even larger proportion form a lower ranked school.

    By the way, a defining feature of a lot of top lawyers is that they really do think it was their talent alone that got them there - luck had nothing to do with it - but I know more talented and brilliant lawyers than John Roberts, quite a few actually.

  50. 12:27: Unfortunately, most law degrees don't have value, and more often have negative value. That's the point of this blog.

    I'm not defending it, and I'm not blaming you, so don't listen to the haters who want you to blame yourself. In fact, I think it's a goddamn crime, whether as legally defined or not.

    But the lawscammers will never, never, never, never change... They're still fuckin' with crime, 'cause crime pays.

  51. @12:09, the rising 2L: "I'm very open to dropping out, but what i'm getting at is; what else is an english/philosophy major with 1 year of law school to do? I'd sincerely love any recommendations."

    Apply for underwriting or claims adjusting jobs at Country Companies, Chubb, State Farm, Nationwide (etc).

    These companies all require a bachelors (Lard knows why) for these types of jobs, but don't care what the BA/BS is actually in.

    Good luck. I'll echo those above who say you should seriously consider dropping out, unless you already have some sort of nepotistic "in" towards getting hired somewhere.

    Also, since you mention wanting to do public interest, you really, really, really need to read this linked post on this site. A sad story about a kid who "did everything right" and still can't buy a pubint job.

  52. @12:09 and for any 0Ls or rising 2Ls:

    The thing is that no graduate educational process, law school included, will provide you with the golden "aha" insight into what you should be doing with your life. If you truly WANT to practice law, then you need the ticket and you should acquire the best available at the best price. This probably represents the true attitude of very few of you, but obviously not @12:09.

    Ask yourself why you studied English or philosophy. I studied philosophy because I wanted to think critically and write well. Some organizations, but typically in better economic climates, are willing to pay for that capability. A J.D. isn't going to enhance that likelihood. Until you can use your undergrad education to participate in the market in a meaningful way, you just have to find a job that pays the bills or some other means of covering the daily needs. Not easy. Not fun. Just the cards we've been dealt.


  53. I was accepted to Texas Wesleyan before they announced the TAMU deal. I bowed out of attending (in fact, I withdrew ALL my law school applications to enter in Fall of 2012), and shortly thereafter TWU offered me a one year deferment; no more scholly money or other incentive, mind you, just a one year deferrment. Sorry, but there's just no way I could justify 100k+ in debt to get tossed into a profession where, it appears, the chances of actually getting a job are, what, less than 50%.

    I suppose; however, that TAMU will now enroll legion after legion of lemmings who will somehow feel that the TAMU deal will somehow lend some real credibility to an overall dung heap of a law school. Having met several TWU law grads at court in my volunteer work, I can say not one of them were single and trying to make it. They all had a significant other to fall back on. I was reminded of that old joke about a musician without a boyfriend / girlfriend; now, however, I think we can modify that joke to ask,"What do you call a law grad from a 3rd / 4th Tier school? Answer: Homeless."

  54. 1:38 - I was a history major, albeit from one of the top 10 USNWR ranked national universities -- a "name" school everyone would recognize. This was thirty years ago, but I had little trouble convincing a commodity based business I could trade futures for them (my first position, admittedly was modest in terms of responsibilities, but I was promoted quickly). They liked the fact that I could write both well and fast, and could intuit cause and effect and think critically. I told them so in the interview process.

    I only did this for three and one-half years, with the last nine months on my own trading for my own account (with a credit source backing me up). I did well enough to buy a modest condominium in the city where I attended the top 10 law school, and paid for all of my tuition, working in law school to save for a house (and a baby in my third year). I have often thought I should have stayed with trading, as the financial rewards could have been significant. I left it because while volatility was necessary to make money (and there were periods when it was absent), the same volatility made the job pretty darn stressful. It also didn't serve to develop long term relationships, as relationships were defined by the last trade. And I wanted the education very badly, as I was a Division 1 athlete who did not spend enough time on studies in college. But no doubt - the history major - and I wrote a thesis on economics history - was very valuable in its own way. And this was in 1982 - an economy not as bad for college employment as it is now (and certainly not as rife with insane educational debt). Liberal arts degrees are useful in the long run; it is just very difficult to get a start in a career with one.

    I don't mean to imply that all graduates can do this today. The market is tougher, and the value of a college degree has cheapened, and so has the cost, making it harder to start out in life a lap or two behind financially. This having been said, if one can develop or work on vocational skills along with their education, well, the chances of finding employment with a BA are enhanced.

    I did leave out one item. The futures job I took, while with a fairly large corporation, required at least a one year commitment in Omaha, a place where very few young people determined to live a fast paced city life want to live. I didn't care. I wanted to learn and take some risk, and the frighteningly chaotic economic world of agricultural futures naively seemed enchanting. And yes, compared to trading, law school was easy - I did about as well as one could possibly do in law school.

  55. @12:20 Not buying the "cash cow" thesis. In fact, I think you have been listening to too many law deans laments. Look at some numbers:

    TAMU has 50,000 students; TW Law has 254. Even if you double that number tuition from 500 student cannot contribute enough to TAMU to make economics the motive for this deal.

    Or take Penn State: Penn State has 82,000 students; Dickinson Law School has 629, .0077 % of the PSU student body. In perspective, how much can it really contribute to the administration?

    The fact that law schools historically have made a positive contribution to the schools bottom line has been important because it assured the empire builders that they are unlikely to have to explain to a future board why they made a deal that lost money (of course, this may no longer be the case). But the actual contribution that a law school can make to the bottom line of a great state university is trivial. The motive is empire building.


  56. Should be 0.77%, not 0.0077%.


    I speak with a bit of experience here: I dropped out of medical school after two years. Why I did is a long story, and irrelevant. But it was the hardest and best choice I ever made.

    So what I can tell you (based on what little I know based on what you've written so far) is the following:

    You should drop out of law school.

    This will be a very hard thing to do. You will put up with a lot of bullshit from friends and family. Your former law school classmates will treat you like a pariah, and they'll assume you dropped out b/c you were rolling a 1.9 GPA.

    But it will be worth it. Just grit your teeth and bear it. When the issue comes up, just keep saying to people, "I thought a lot about it. I did a lot of reading and talking to people and in the end leaving was the right choice." Don't extrapolate. No one really wants to hear the story (I had to learn this the hard way after dropping out of med school).

    Staying in an unimpressive law school with middling grades and a milquetoast attitude will net you nothing, and cost you two years and lots of money. It's not worth it.

    So what do you after dropping out?

    That's a good question. I ended up teaching after leaving med school and through sheer dumb luck it turned out I loved it, was phenomenal at it, and it paid the bills well enough. I can't say you'll have a similar experience, but you might (and you certainly won't if you stay.

    But here's the important thing: you'll be able to get on with the necessary business of fumbling around and fucking up your life and figuring things out. And you'll do that two years sooner, and with much less debt. Go get a job, any job. Flip burgers, wait tables, become a cubicle monkey, tutor ESL kids in English. Something. Develop skills and then move to another job along the way. Maybe you'll luck out and meet the right guy/girl along the way.

    Cause here's the thing: there's no easy path to a "good life". Law School or a JD certainly is not that path, if it ever was. You've just gotta go through the day-to-day work of building your own vision of what a "good life" is, and the fact that you studied philosophy as an undergrad (as did I!) means fuck-all.

  58. Typical cover letters like this, and in so many words, sent online in response to a job posting, along with my resume, never worked for me.

    Dear Human Resources Dept.
    XYZ Insurance Company:

    Enclosed is my resume for the position of (for example) Insurance Underwriter or Claims Manager.

    Although my qualifications and experience do not exactly match what is in your job posting for the Underwriter position, or as the Manager of a Burger King, I would like to state in my defense that I have a law degree and have very strong problem solving and analytical skills and therefore you ought to be impressed and hire me.............

    and they never called me back.

    But seriously I would try to create cover letters that would sell the concept of the legal training as something that would be of value in a general managerial or even administrative capacity, and it was like the resumes and cover letters went into a black hole of cyberspace and disappeared forever.

    On the other hand, when I took the JD off the resume I seemed to get more relies and interviews.

    I was able to get an Insurance sales job by removing the JD, and I made a big blunder by mentioning to the Agency's owner and key managers that I had a JD.

    They looked at me like I had two heads and seemed like I had just told an off color joke to people of very refined manners and sensibilities.

  59. On the other hand, when I took the JD off the resume I seemed to get more relies and interviews.

    It boggles my mind that more people don't do this. Lying on your resume (to fill the gap in) may not be the most high-minded thing you can do, but when the rent's two months past due, "high minded" has to go out the window, and it takes the JD with it.

  60. In response to this post by me:
    Speaking as someone who initially went to law school here in the U.S. with no real ambition to practice law, just a great deal of curiosity about the subject; our system is designed for practioners. It wasn't particularly philosophical or provocative of deep thought.

    The tuition cost in Oz is way more reasonable than here in the States. Today, getting the three-year J.D. can leave the average student with more than $150,000 in non-dischargeable debt. And the demand for lawyers is plummeting; so that well over half of the graduates will probably never practice in a meaningful way. If you want to see the travesty that U.S. law school has become, check out this blog by a law professor:

    My advice to anyone considering studying law in America: DON'T DO IT. The system is broken and needs massive reform.

    I get:
    Just curious - what would you suggest someone who is interested in legal "stuff" do instead? I am thinking like, legal secretary, court clerk, paralegal? I almost did the law school thing but got the warning in time, thankfully... but I do enjoy researching case law, writing, presenting a case to a judge and winning (take that stupid traffic ticket!) What are some other ways to get into the enjoyable parts of law work without law school?

    How do I respond to that? My suspicion is that legal admins and paralegals aren't really doing anything all that interesting; but I don't have any personal experience to back that up.

  61. I was so full of myself with my JD at one point, I sent out dozens of cover letters and resumes addressed to the key Executives of all kinds of corporations.

    I would make the cover letter succint and convey the message that I was seeking a "Position".

    Sometimes I would get a personal reply from the Executive. A dictated letter, signed by the high ranking executive from say, a Health care system, and the reply would go something like this:

    Dear JD:

    Although we are very impressed by your credentials we unfortunately do not have a position available at this time that is suitable for your qualifications and experience.

    Best of luck in your continued job search.


    Chairman or President or Exec VP

  62. I recall seeing ads in the classifieds for paralegals that explicitly stated: "No JD's"

    If I went through the newspaper archives I am sure I can find those postings.

  63. And nuts like Jack Marshall continue on about how versatile a law degree is.

  64. "when the rent's two months past due, "high minded" has to go out the window, and it takes the JD with"

    Thank you. The money pressure after law school was relentless and everything was hand to mouth and the stress was horrible.

    Hence the underemployment folks!

  65. Just changed my resume by taking the law degree off. All the esq jobs I have held are now suddenly, "customer service" titles.

    I have a great fucking resume!


  66. Question:

    If my loans are federal and I can IBR them, plus, if I can never be kicked out of IBR, then wouldn't it make sense to use up all three years of deferment and all three years of deferment before entering IBR and paying anything at all?

  67. Meant to say forbearance.

  68. Another question:
    wouldn't it make sense to go to all three years of law school if the loans are going to be IBR'ed anyway? 150,000 vs. 45,000.. either way, you're "only" paying 10-20% of your income, right?

  69. if I can never be kicked out of IBR



    All it takes is one session of Congress deciding that its omnibus spending act of 2014 is going to terminate the IBR program and you'd be screwed.

  70. But your credit is ruined. IBR is a black mark on the credit score.

    At the end of IBR you will be out of the student loan frying pan and into the IRS fire in that you will owe income tax on not only your original loan, but all of the interest that has accumulated after.

    And you will also be old.

    IBR is a cunning political maneuver and the lenders and the schools continue on as before, while the debtor must face in many cases a life as a financially handicapped second class us citizen.

  71. I agree with everything being said about IBR, HOWEVER, it beats a default. What does one do when they cannot pay? IBR and all the shit that comes with it seems to be the only alternative. Any other ideas?

  72. Thank you. The money pressure after law school was relentless and everything was hand to mouth and the stress was horrible.

    lol you're welcome.

    I'm feeling the pressure myself, and I'm one of the "lucky" ones - I can transition back into the job I had before law school. If I didn't have a very understanding girlfriend with a good job, I'd be SOL. No joke, if I were flying solo in life, I'd be looking to leave the country.

  73. What does everyone think reaction would be if President Obama proposed forgiving any amount of student loan debt?

  74. @4:11PM

    In my case I got into IBR through the conduit of default. Now it seems that the path to IBR is more direct and no collection agency need be involved:

    I defaulted with Sallie Mae after my divorce, and in 2009 a private collection agency called GC Services

    added on an 18.25% "collection cost" to my then student loan principal of 210 thousand dollars.

    My loan jumped from 210 to around 260K as a result of collections.

    It was then that I gave up more than 10 years of hope that I would ever be able to handle my student loan debt. The finish line was simply moved too far away, and it has been a cause of great psychological stress and despair on an emotional level.

    You do not want to default and to maybe help your understanding here is that old flow chart which I will again shove under the noses of the readers of this blog:
    I have all the papers to prove it and will post them.

    I always wondered if the financial labaryinth of Sallie Mae through one of its countless subsidiary companies got the "second bite at the apple through collections and GC services that is discussed in the flow chart.

  75. Default in my case caused an 18.25% of my principal balance "Collection cost" to be added.

    The loan jumped from 210K to 260K in one fell swoop.

  76. Drop out. Immediately. It is the only option you will not regret.

  77. Please for the love of God read this if you have not seen it already.

    The debtor loses and always loses and IBR just kicks the can down the road so that the boomers can sit around and live to Schmuckers Jam 100 and drool in old folks homes and read the Capitalistic rag: Rolling Stone Magazine

  78. The fact that TAMU is entering the law school racket has to piss off Baylor, TSU, STCL, and Houston to no end.

    If there's one truth in the law school scam, it's that name means more than anything. TAMU has one of the top two names in Texas and an instantly-recognizable brand nation-wide. It's not quite as bad as the joke if Princeton were to open a law school, but TAMU opening a law school instantly jumps into the same level as quality brand-name publics, probably higher than Florida or Iowa, but lower than Texas or UCLA.

    Yeah, it's the same damn school. But name alone, they'll be a first choice over Baylor or Texas Tech or the lesser schools. Case in point is schools like Illinois or Emory. The law schools suck, but they have well-known name brand universities and sha-zam, they're placing BigLaw better than 3/4 of the schools out there.

    Yeah, they haven't worked as hard as Baylor or STCL or TSU, but that's law! A name and a pedigree and you win, hard work and experience be damned.

  79. IBR wouldn't be so bad if they took say 25% of gross income. The 10 or 15% of adjusted gross income above the poverty line isn't nearly enough.

  80. @3:13, who is trying to respond to this question posed to him/her (apparently by context on some other board): "What are some other ways to get into the enjoyable parts of law work without law school?", and who asks, "How do I respond to that? My suspicion is that legal admins and paralegals aren't really doing anything all that interesting; but I don't have any personal experience to back that up."

    (Apologies for such a long lead-in).

    Legal secretary/admin stuff is by and large boring, repetitive work combined with gopher stuff. It can be a good job if you're working with/for good people, or sheer drudgery if working for/with jerks. But it isn't going to be "exciting law stuff".

    Heck, most of what lawyers do ain't "exciting law stuff".

    A trained paralegal with a good head on her shoulders (sorry, it's almost always "her" not "his") can get much more in-depth assignments. I toss my paralegals everything they can handle and maybe then some. Besides their "day jobs", I have them doing analyses of competitive activities and putting drafts of these in good form for advising clients, chasing down (and then reviewing, and advising me on) statutes and regs in the 60 or so countries where I routinely need to make official filings, and other fun stuff that they enjoy doing and which I could do, but don't really have time to do anyway.

    But that's just me. I know an awful lot of lawyers who are afraid to give anything they view as a substantive task to paralegals, I guess for fear someone would find out it doesn't take a lawyer to do all those things. And frankly a lot of lawyers just find it really hard to give up work, period.

  81. Here is an argument in favor of the Republicans and Conservatives and it is not of my own invention but a composite of things I have heard:

    Liberals, unlike conservatives, favor more big government involvement in the lives of every citizen.

    However, such an ideology needs management, and it has long ago been proved that government management in the form of the Administrative state and bureauocracy is highly inefficcient and counterproductive.

    So the good intentions of liberal programs such as student lending inevitably harm rather than help due to the inefficiency of the administrative oversight.

    For instance the Dept of Ed. financial body has not the organization or resources or tools to deal with all, but is keeping a brave and good front.

    And so if the Republicans take all 3 branches in November a whole lot of house cleaning will be done and student loan debt will be wiped out from the funds that would have gone to the Obamacare.

    After the dust settles, only the rich will be able to afford college.

  82. @5:02, "Default ... 18.25% ...principal balance "Collection cost" to be added. The loan jumped from 210K to 260K in one fell swoop."

    Holy smokes, Painter.

    Question for anyone, how is this legal? From what I've read on this guy's blog, it sort of sounded like they just said, "hey, you're in default, here's your revised plan, and by the way, we're adding 18% to your princ as a "fee" for doing pretty much absolutely nothing".

    Is this windfall ($50K in painterguy's case) some kind of candy our Congressional Panderers gave out to the industry?

  83. I spent a large part of my childhood in Thailand, and thankfully I have dual citizenship so if this student loan shit continues to go will I.

  84. 5:36,
    I'm sure a lot of it is accrued interest from when he didn't make payments.

  85. @5:45

    Never mind the 3rd person "He" and my name is good enough for cowardly and anonymous you.

    Part of it is accrued interest and true, but I have the paperwork and will scan again and all of this 3 year struggle to make people aware has been exhausting.

    I also have the telephone conversations confirming that income tax is added at the end of IBR and ICR and will post them once more on youtube.

    Default means an almost 20% jump in the SL balance.

    I am not the authority on all this that Cryn Johannsen is or Alan Collinge, and my story is not all that unique:

    Even Mark Kantrowitz referred to default as a kind of "hell."

  86. Hi 5:45, 5:36 here. No, if I understood his blog correctly, this was strictly a "fee" they added immediately onto his principle. Basically a "collection" fee.

    If the amount and circumstances are as stated - maybe I'm just naive but that (>18% / $50K) sounds extreme....

  87. This comment has been removed by the author.

  88. This comment has been removed by the author.

  89. *Can't get it to work and trying again:

    Go and have a look:

    I have lots more files, and I never threw anything away as far as Sl correspondence goes.

    Maybe the worst part about the whole saga has been being ignored, even on a blog like this, with the very cream of American legal and moral society reading along.

    Which is a disgrace.

  90. "when the rent's two months past due, "high minded" has to go out the window, and it takes the JD with it"


    I run a small consulting firm; don't think McKinsey, think "eat whatever you can kill". I am absolutely infuriated by this law school scam, and I want to help - in the limited ways I can - people who are victims of it. I have already offered to a few victims that I know closely to use my firm's name as an employer for the 1, 2, or 3 years that they threw down the drain, just to fill the resume gap created by law school. Is this dishonest? Absolutely. If it helps someone recover from the human tragedy that is crippling debt that ironically reduces their marketability in the labor market, I don't give a shit.

    Law Prof, I emailed you recently regarding a "green-screenriffic commercial." I totally understand if you want no part of me participating in an act of deceptive commission to help scammed law school grads or dropouts by filling in their resume gaps, but if are comfortable simply passing me a few names, I want to help anyway I can.

  91. IBR is a terrible idea. It still saddles a graduate with a shitty credit rating (he or she will be unable to do things like buy a home, get a car loan, etc) while at the same time putting the taxpayers on the hook for a loan that never should have been made in the first place. Comparisons to various government schemes to artificially prop up housing prices (HAMP, HEMP, HUMP, gimp, or whatever they call it now) are irresistable.

    It was a mistake for the federal government to get involved in higher education funding, just as it was a mistake for the federal government to get involved in the housing market.

    Not sure what the solution is, though I believe student loans should be bankruptable after a period of time (7-10 years?). At that point one's career trajectory, and resulting ability (or lack thereof) to pay off student loans will be obvious.

  92. 7:08,
    Or just post a throw away e-mail address?

  93. 7:08 I applaud your willingness to help victims of this scam. At the same time, I can't help but think that one lie leads to another, and another, and another. The glorious advantage of always telling the truth is that one never has to keep one's stories straight. But honestly I don't know what I would do if I was a recent law school graduate and was confronted with the choice of putting my JD on a resume vs. leaving it off and maybe being able to get a job which would pay the rent and put food on the table. As it is I have been practicing for 10 years, have a rewarding job at a small firm, and enjoy my job and (truly) love my bosses and co workers. If I lost all that there is no way I could cover a 10 year gap in my work history.

  94. BamBam is right. But I'll go with it anyway. Throw away email is, as per 7:17's suggestion.

    My fear is that I'll wake up tomorrow with 500 emails, half terrified that one of them is a law school shill trying to expose me, and half depressed that there are so many people irreparably damaged by this scam. I guess if you want to help the world, you have to take some risks.

    I don't know what direction this will take. I may freak out and back off because I'm worried that someone will try to out me. But I'll give it a shot. No promises.

  95. On second thought, I am not going to check that email account, and it's because BamBam is right. If we start resorting to the same deceptions that law school deans are using, we fall to their level. The scamblogging movement relies on truth, and I don't want to undermine it by offering what a contracts professor might call "efficient deceipt."

    My bad.

    This whole thing is so goddamn depressing.

  96. I can't believe I need to say this but apparently I do. Look, to fill the 3 year gap just say you tried to start a business and it went under.

  97. Oh really? Better have a pretty frickin elaborate and interesting set of lies pre-fabbed up to explain the hopes, dreams, trials, tribulations, and eventual death of your small business dreams.

    When you are asked about it, I mean.

    And you will be.

    I can't believe I need to say this but apparently I do: SHEESH, think before you type.

  98. 8:08 thanks for the feedback. There are other things that you, and all of us, can do to help. I am contacted on a regular basis by prospective law students and try to talk them out of attending law school. Also contacting our congresscritters and apprising them of the law school scam may help. Student loans need to be dischargable after a certain period of time, and the fed. govt. needs to stop shoveling money, no questions asked, to law school loans. All of this can change with a single vote.

    Not go off into left field, but you don't want to do anything that would expose you to possible criminal prosection.

  99. Er, I mean criminal prosecution.

  100. Well, prosection either, man. It sounds horrible.


    F'd up world we live in, eh?

  101. Way OT...but...

    I attended the Decalogue Society annual dinner in Chicago, a genial ethnic bar event at the very ritzy Union League Club. There were a whole lot of judges there, and most of the attendees looked well over 50, and prosperous.

    The incoming president of the organization gave a speech, and much of it was devoted to the lousy situation faced by new lawyers. He noted that only 55 percent get jobs, even nine months after graduatijng. He added that, unlike in sharp contrast to the affordable legal education he enjoyed, law school costs as much as "a house in a gated community." He urged everyone to try to act as mentors for these unfortunate young lawyers.

    I mention this as evidence that practitioners, even older and successful ones, have substantial awareness of the scope of the catastrophe. is too late for law school academic apologists to minimize and obfuscate their behavior in flooding the market with debt-ridden untrained lawyers. And, Mr. Letier, et. al, it is too late obfuscate and minimize the scope of the catastrophe by trying to trash Professor Campos. The cat is out of the bag!

  102. Yes, it is. As I tell some of my clients, sometimes there is no perfect solution. But the bubble is bursting as we speak. If something can't go on forever, it won't.

  103. The trick is determining what that thing is...

  104. Nice post, and great comments. I do want to respond to Studentdebtforlife comment regarding his sample cover letter. It just seems some of the job searching woes are due to self-imposed errors.

    I never send out cover letters for jobs and there is reason, I either know someone who works at a company or not. Also its too easy for those generic and fake letters to work against you, as saying the wrong things just give someone an additional reason to say NO. I also don't speak with HR waste of time reps unless i have a scheduled meeting with the hiring manager or I am friends with such HR Rep and want to see what opportunities there company has. I don't meet with recruiters in person unless they have an immediate need for me to go out to interview for their client's position and the client has pre-approved my resume. If I don't know someone working at the company, I ask around to my social network, and get to know someone working at the company (writing a letter to a stranger seems passive). My social network includes my business and personal contacts, university/law school contacts (all it took to meet new people is to sign up for the email list and get beer occasionally with the alumni), and thanks to my online resume postings on Monster, Careerbuilder, etc, I find recruiters all over call and email me unsolicited for temp/permanent work in my field and outside of it. When I get these emails for strangers I always respond so they know I am happy they sought me out for their opportunity (regardless of how crappy the job is). So should I ever need work I have someone to contact and I can still get their latest job working hunting requests.

    So pre law school I got that job you were applying for because I had befriended a local girl (by just being polite and saying hi). As she happened to be the girlfriend of a guy whose father was the VP of an insurance company. Meeting her HR recruiter guy, who just happened to work for his dad's company, I found myself shortly employed.

    Job hunting is hard, but make the search easier on yourself by finding those personal connections. Claims and Underwriting jobs offer good training, but there are other positions within Sales, Business Development, HR (even Legal recruiting), Finance, Facilities, and even within IT (depending on your skill set) that may need someone with your background. If you must stick to insurance its good to know many of those contacts are on LinkedIn. Why don't you strike up a meaningful connection by requesting informal phone call or office visit (note for the positions you seek, the CEO and VP's doesn't really do much of the hiring for the low entry folks, so you need to target Sr. Claims/Underwriters or higher). Also if picking a Sr. Claims person to contact don't talk about wanting an Underwriter job unless the Claims Manager brings it up--the 2 jobs require different social skills and job demands so someone mentioning both off the bat may appear unfocused, even though yes there is a lot of switch over between both departments employees).

  105. Criminal prosecution for lying on a resume?

    I think not.

  106. He wasn't addressing the individuals and their resumes. The comment addressed the individual who would provide false "past employment cover" for those individuals.

    Whether that might be illegal may be covered by individual state laws, I dunno. I would be willing to wager a beer (or three) that there are federal statutes covering it, though, in the context of an applicant applying for government jobs.

    By the way, to put the above small business owner's conscience to rest, those who would be interested in such services might try:


  107. First, I have a success story to report: last week, I was able to persuade a recent acquaintance not to go to law school. I talked to him about the myth of the versatility of the degree, etc. I pointed him to several specific posts on this blog. He was scared straight. Thank you, Professor Campos and commenters!

    Second, and unrelated, I repeatedly see the unsupported assertion in the comments of this blog that IBR will severely and negatively impact your credit score. Does anyone have any support for this?

    FICO scoring is of course a black box, but I don't see how it would have the catastrophic effect some here obviously believe it will. If you're paying as agreed, that should be most of the effect on the score. Other than that the negative amortization on the loan could be a problem, but the extent of that effect is not clear to me either.

  108. Good question on FICO. Why would IBR be any worse, e.g., than paying the debt off without IBR? In either case, your debt-to-income ratio really bites and (I would think) have a fairly strong negative effect on FICO.

    Maybe IBR is worse because the Fair Isaac formula could take into account the fact that at the forgiveness end of the deal, you'll also have a large "debt" to the IRS as the amount forgiven is counted as taxable income? Or also that under IBR, there's a significant chance that you're never paying down any principle, and that's some part of the scoring?

  109. @ 9:43. I think your last point is likely, but I doubt it's a large enough factor to trash your score. I don't know for a fact, though, and could be wrong about that. Otherwise though, FICO doesn't know your income, so it can't know your DTI. The particular lender will figure your DTI based on your credit report (debt) and your verifiable income. Also, FICO doesn't take into account contingent liabilities like a potential tax bill after 25 years. They only know what is reported on your credit reports.

    I think a lot of people who are talking about the horrors of IBR on FICO are confusing DTI and credit score. Totally legitimate, but separate concern.

  110. Hey BreezyWheeze, I'm not sure if you are still following this thread, but I'd be very interested why you dropped out of medical school. (I'm pursing medicine after law school). Thanks in advance.

  111. FICO looks at credit limits vs. credit used. If a person is applying for a mortgage and has this nasty debt, the bank is gonna want questions answered.

    If a person has a mortgage and is ten years into IBR looking for a credit or car loan, the bank is gonna want questions answered.

    The size of the IBR debt after a few years will negatively impact a borrower's ability to borrow money because the total amount owed on student loans will be high.

    As far as it impacting FICO, a person's score may not be reduced but this is unclear. A bank will be apprehensive when they see such a high SL debt and may refuse to lend or charge higher interest. So, even if FICO is not impacted from growing IBR debt, the conclusions drawn from a DTI analysis will result in a negative impact on the ability to borrow.

    Just remember, the gubmint wants good little spenders and borrowers. In a few years, as the economy circles the drain, the scumbags at NAR will want people to buy houses. In turn they will lobby Congress not to hold IBR debt against the borrower so the future debtor can get a home loan. The same for cars and credit cards. I say, if you can do IBR, do it. It beats throwing money at a debt that will NEVER be paid off in an economy where the relationship between easily losing a job is inversely proportional to the ease in getting another one.

    Either that or the gubmint will abolish IBR altogether.

  112. I find it almost incredible that things have come to such a pass that holders of a 3 year graduate degree are obliged to conceal their JDs. However, I am not going to disagree with those posters who say it is the case - I have not "been in their shoes."

    However, as a practical matter, I would regard resumé fraud as claiming credentials the applicant did not have or claiming that the applicant was successful at a job when they were fired for serious cause (in my experience usually non-existent MBAs, embezzlement and/or theft, or job roles that are exaggerated (intern turns into manager, or being a former McKinsey consultant ("who?"))) Not owning up to the possession of an actual credential would be extraordinarily hard to claim as fraud - describing law school as graduate school and the JD as a "doctoral degree" (so long as you did not suggest that it was a doctoral degree in a subject specifically relevant to the job you are applying for (e.g., PhD in engineering for an engineering job)) would not appear to me to be dishonest - and god knows the number of people I have interviewed with seemingly pointless graduate degrees. (Inter alia, I know highly qualified Clinton White House interns who worked very hard to get the internship, and worked hard when there, who, post Lewinski, took the internship off their resumés.) That said most of the US is "employment at whim" and an employer would probably be able to fire you on such a whim, driven by not knowing of the JD and finding out - but I think that would, post-employment, be unlikely.


  113. I applied for store credit at Best Buy not too long ago. I was rejected and the lettter that came said I had: "Excessice Obligations in Relation To income"

    That is the second such credit rejection I have received with such language.

    You can google the terms: "Excessive Debt to income ratio" or "Excessive obligations in relation to income.

    When I was married, my ex-wife co-signed on a low interest car loan with our credit union.

    As we were going through a divorce I tried to get the car loan placed in my name only and I sat down with a bank manager and gave her my social security number and she pulled up my financial info on the screen. She did a double take an saw the 200K plus loan and said: "Wow! what is that?"

    I told her it was my student loan.

    I didn't get the car loan and instead traded the car in for another at a used car dealership and obtained a new loan at a higher interest rate.

    You gotta love the used car business. They can sometimes get you financing even if you are on death row!

  114. This comment has been removed by the author.

  115. OK, I found a letter from the Collection Agency from 2009.

    It is called a "Collection Fee Letter" and explains everything as plain as day.

    I posted it here and I will let the letter speak for itself:

    I tried to avoid the collection fee by calling NY State Higher Education Services and asking if I could deal with them, but they said that once the loan had gone to the "Vendor" or rather the collection agency there was nothing they could do.

    I then called the William D. Ford Program and asked if I coud cut out the middle man collector (GC Services) and sign up directly.

    But I couldn't get a clear answer it seemed from the person on the phone.

    And so I let the Collection Agency handle my transition into the Federal Program with all fees and costs etc.

    Remember that my story is not all that unique and that Collection Agencies have been profiting very well from student loan default and for a long time now.

  116. On a lighter note, I have a 4th of July clawhammer banjo medley arrangement of traditional tunes that I came up with and am going to post on my blog this weekend:)

    Very patriotic: Sherman's March To The Sea/Soldiers Joy/Yankee Doodle

  117. 7:08

    Resume-washing can be a life-safer in terms of filling employment gaps. This is so if you want a legal job, as well as if you want a nonlegal job and must account for three years.

  118. Hey BreezyWheeze, I'm not sure if you are still following this thread, but I'd be very interested why you dropped out of medical school. (I'm pursing medicine after law school). Thanks in advance.

    I'm flattered, but seriously it's one of those stories that's only interesting to those directly involved (sort of like every relationship story ever). I had an affair with a professor who had a heroin-addicted abusive husband. I had serious problems with alcohol. I started way too young (one of those nerdy kids who was constantly skipping grades in school). At the age of 20, halfway through my second year at UMDNJ, I suddenly poked my head up from the shitshow that was my life and realized I needed a big long breather.

    There's not really any bigger "moral of the story" or whatever. If I divorce the actual schooling itself from the rest of what was going on in my life, it was fantastic. It was a phenomenal learning experience, and I loved the material itself. Dissecting a human being was amazing.

    I'll give you the two most important "med school tips" I learned: before you start dissecting, put on a pair of gloves, take a tiny bit of liquid soap and smear them over the gloves, then put on another pair of gloves. The glove-soap-glove creates a nice chemical and physical barrier between your hands and the cadaver nastiness.

    Second, get an empty spray bottle and put a bit of liquid downy fabric softner in it. Then dilute the fabric softener way down. Like 20:1 or 30:1. Before you start cutting, spray down the cadaver. Mid-lab do it again (so you're coating the inside of the thoracic cavity, or whatever it is you're working on that day). Then at the end of lab, when you've put all the organs back and closed up, spray everything down a final time.

    You'll walk out of lab smelling like Mountain Spring freshness, and your hands won't get that formaldehyde stink or a bit of short-term tingly-feeling from a bit of transient neuropathy created by the preservatives.

  119. I know ex-cons who hide their sentences by claiming to have taught English somewhere during the time they were actually on the inside. It's a pretty desperate situation when a JD needs to be treated the same as a 2-3 year prison stretch, but there you go.

  120. MacK
    Just read your post. I agree that the first step of not owning up to the degree is not fraud. Certainly not in the civil law since, because where is the harm perpetuated by the ommission of a graduate degree that the present societal consensus deems valuable. I think an employer would have a tough time proving direct harm. The second part involves explaining this gap. Could you claim a doctorate in, say societal philosophy or some other nonsense? Why not use an alternative descriptor? Is that technically misleading? Not the way law is taught in this day and age. What if you claimed a doctorate in legal information technology? When I was in school, those who wished to be legal librarians often went to lawschool for that purpose.

    On the other hand, I do think if you claimed to be a business consultant and you weren't and someone hired you thinking you had a certain level of skills--that's probably fraud. I think your employer could perhaps claw back some or all of your pay and benefits. It's just a bad idea. But re-branding your degree? Why not? We could come up with some pretty good descriptors that are accurate but not the dreaded JD brand.

  121. i think the author reads way too much into the sticker price of twenty million, i suspect that the concurrent forty year lease agreement is a means of financing and thus includes some measure of acquisition costs.

    i bet the core programs of twu lose tons of money. i bet it has a sad little endowment and entices many students through scholarships. i bet that the law school does in fact make money and subsidizes the main campus to a great extent. the law school was always more or less an independently administered income earning asset, so it's not like this is a huge shakeup in terms of twu's operations. as long as the checks keep coming who cares what the school is called, right?

  122. I hope OSU/T. Boone State buys OCU Law. Buy it, keep it running for enough time to build a new law school building in Stillwater, then move the faculty up there. Slash the class size down to about 80 students a year. OSU wants to "prestige" of having a law school just like TAMU. OCU Law cannot be run at a profit whereas T Boone could fund the new school in Stillwater for years. I bet they could charge the lowest tuition in the state, and with a small class size and thousands of cowboy alums in Oklahoma who would love to hire their own I bet they could actually find jobs for their graduates.

  123. also, you theorize that the law school is in financial trouble by theorizing that it can't fill its seats. you conclude that it can't fill its seats based on the employment numbers for graduates. this of course assumes a direct link between employment statistics that are not well publicized and thus probably don't factor very heavily in attendance decisions.

    what's more, it's admissions numbers don't seem that out of sync with other schools in texas relative to its overall student body size.

    and while i am sympathetic to your cause, this law school has a pretty unique and significant history that makes it a strange target for your scorn. it was created in the early nineties by a handful of working professionals who wanted to attend an affordable night law school. whatever you think of the (over)supply of lawyers relative to demand for legal services, it was sorta ridiculous that the country's fourth largest population center had no part-time law school and, for that matter, no other law school aside from the unjustifiably inexpensive smu.

    in a real sense, this was an access to justice problem because, as a practical matter, you ended up excluding from law practice the people who were most likely to practice in areas that really needed greater access to affordable legal service. that is, people, often women and minorities with working class backgrounds, who obtained undergraduate degrees as nontraditional students were effectively excluded from the profession. when this happens, we know that underserved populations suffer from the lack of availability of legal services.

    so this group convinced a church to donate space for class and study. students called up local law firms and asked for old books. they convinced a tenured professor and former dean to leave a cushy job for something that was far from a sure thing. they got local practitioners and judges to teach classes. the students successfully lobbied the legislature to grant an exception to the ABA monopoly.

    the law school is not the same institution it was when it started. it is even more certain to take on the profile of a typical rankings obsessed law school in the future. but even now, tuition is dirt-cheap relative to the only other law school in dallas. a full third of the student body is attending school part-time. even now, this law school essentially trains local residents who will stay in the area, in contrast to statistical peers schools who heavily recruit undergraduates from around the country.

    whatever, you think of the general state of law schools and legal education, this school serves a legitimate market function - both in terms of facilitating access to the profession for people who aren't privileged enough to pick up their lives and move to, say, austin for three years and in terms of the people its lawyers serve. dfw is an enormous population area that did, and will probably once again, have great difficulty satisfying overall demand for legal services in its absence.

  124. @10:24

    funny you mentioned ocu because i was thinking that it is in the same boat. if and when ocu moves downtown like they talked about, i think it's a pretty safe bet that they'd be setting up a sale on down the road.

    it might make a lot of sense if they do a 3 and 3 ocu undergrad/OSU law program and offer a jd/ocu mba program that would by implication limit osu's own mba program expansion in the oklahoma city market.

    i might say that selling the law school could harm ocu's prestige but then again i actually know quite a few ocu lawyers.

  125. Thanks for responding BreezyWheeze. I will definitely try your tips. That is a pretty crazy story. I'd bet you are a very interesting person.

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