Tuesday, July 3, 2012

The crash

Last Friday Cooley sent around a letter to its 3700 or so JD candidates. I'll quote the first part:

"From: President LeDuc
To: Cooley Students
Re: Tuition for 2012-13
Date: June 29, 2012

Cooley’s Board of Directors just approved the 2012-13 budget, which includes an increase in tuition, as is usual. Tuition for the next year for both incoming and returning students will increase $100 per credit hour. For returning students this is an 8.5% increase, about 1% more than was the case last year. The new hourly tuition for returning students will be $1,275 and for new students it will be $1,325. Tuition in the LL.M. program will increase to $650 per credit hour.

Applications to law school have turned abruptly down across the nation. And as is usual, the schools that tend to tout their exclusiveness and high standards in good times are now taking students they would not take because of the downturn in applications. This lowering of standards exacerbates the challenge we face in filling our classes at Cooley when applications decline. This year’s three incoming classes declined in enrollment by about 28%, leading to an 8% decline in total enrollment.

That lower enrollment carries forward into next year, where we anticipate additional, substantial declines in the total enrollment. In putting together the budget for the coming year, we assumed that we would have new student enrollment at the same levels as last year. In reality, we anticipate further declines in new student enrollment in 2012-13, based on applications and deposits to date. So, we face a serious challenge for the coming year.

Per ABA data Cooley had 1,583 matriculants in 2010, so a 28% decrease would mean 445 fewer students enrolled at the school this past academic year (Cooley has three different academic terms each year, and new students can enroll in any of them. The school's decline in 1L enrollment is larger than the entire 1L classes of all but a handful of schools).

The letter goes on to whinge quite a bit about how Cooley is still a bargain at $37,140 per year -- 33rd lowest among 117 private law schools per the letter's calculation -- and to explain why it's becoming increasingly difficult to maintain a tuition level in the bottom quartile of private schools, despite the commitment in the school's Strategic Plan to do so.

I'm sure Cooley students find all this quite fascinating, but for them of course the bottom line is that Cooley is raising tuition by a startling 8.5%, in a year in which most schools seem to have tried to keep nominal tuition increases to inflation or less.

And that's nominal tuition.  There's a lot of evidence that this year's 1L class, nationwide, may actually pay a lower average tuition than their 2L and 3L classmates.  Although systematic data is not yet available, it's clear that many schools, including a lot of high-ranked schools, are going to have significantly smaller (as in 10% to 30% smaller) entering classes than normal. Furthermore, in at least one case a high ranked school is combining a significant cut in class size with the same total cross-subsidized tuition "scholarship" outlay as in the previous year.  In other words, this school's true average tuition per capita is going to go down for its first year class. And, since that class will be smaller, the gross tuition yield from the class will go down sharply relative to what will be collected from what is now the rising 2L class.

That a high-ranked school is willing to combine lower real tuition per capita with a smaller entering class is a symptom of how desperate schools are to prop up their LSAT/GPA numbers, to avoid the dreaded death spiral in which lower admission standards lead to a reputational hit, which leads to a lower ranking, which leads to fewer applications from people with good numbers, which leads to having to spend even more on buying good numbers, etc.

This is not all: at least one top five school is now offering significant "scholarships" (discounted tuition) to potential transfer students from lower-ranked schools.  The theory seems to be that if the incoming first year class is going to yield less revenue, then some of this can be made up by taking more transfers than ever before, even if some of them have to be purchased with cut-rate tuition.

It all adds up to a nice little social struggle all along the Great Chain of Being or the law school equivalent of the food chain, depending on what metaphysical metaphor seems most apt to the rapt observer.  Despite having in the course of just a few years doubled and tripled and quadrupled tuition in real terms, law schools spent every penny of all that increased revenue, in part because the alternative was to have it taken from us by rapacious central administrations, and in part because we're participants in a consumer culture in which that's just what people do. So now that the lean times are upon us there's nothing to fall back on.

The bright side of all this is that now that it's not just our graduates who are feeling the pain of an economic model that doesn't make any sense, we'll actually have to start to do something to fix it.


  1. Wow I couldn't believe this was real. I thought DJM was trolling again.

    Do you have any info on exactly how profitable schools like Cooley were in their prime, compared to how profitable (or not) they are now? I imagine we eventually would have to reach a tipping point where the school actualy starts to lose money, at which point closing will become more realistic.

  2. Welcome to the future law schools!

  3. Statistics collected from Lawprawfs and the Top Law Schools shows that law schools are still doing great business. Cooley should just accept that not everyone gets to be a winner. It's hard, I know, but for there to be winners there have to also be losers - that's just how the system works. If Cooley doesn't like it, they should re-locate to France or something.

  4. Yes, and Cooley is clearly a sophisticated market operator that understands the risks inherent in running a law school and trying to attract students in a competitive environment. Hail the free market! :)

  5. Wow. If it's this bad at the second best law school in America, how bad must the slaughter be at the real shitholes?

  6. Campos,

    "Applications to law school have turned abruptly down across the nation" in no small part due to your efforts here. You've made a real difference to the lives of many would be lemmings.

    Perhaps Brian Leiter will not give you the stink eye anymore. Or perhaps he'll at least extend to you an acknowledgement in one of the 300 footnotes of some upcoming neo-post modern critical analysis of law schools and Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche, or whatever nonsense passes for legal scholarship these days.

  7. you're on the clock, cooley!

    and this is just one being publicized. you know there must be at least 20-30 schools feeling this same pinch. they'll soldier on for a year or two, but "the good times are never coming back." "this is the new normal." and other platitudes law students were made to understand the hard way, post 2008.

  8. President Donald Duc's letter doesn't make sense. Didn't he recently state that there was such an overwhelming demand for Cooley JDs that they had to expand to Tampa and open yet another satellite branch? How can such demand be waning since all it takes is a pulse and the ability to sign a check with sufficient funds to get unto this "school?"

  9. 6:59 --

    Just as the Corleone family moved to Nevada, so too is Cooley heading for greener pastures. Frankly, the Michigan market must have been tapped out, especially with part-time students. More options in Tampa than Lansing.

  10. "This is not all: at least one top five school is now offering significant "scholarships" (discounted tuition) to potential transfer students from lower-ranked schools"

    Is it Columbia or Chicago, doubt it's HYS. Also, proof of this?

  11. If top 5 schools are willing to offer scholarships to potential transfer students, maybe I can make a lateral transfer to the local public law school and manage to save a little more.

  12. They had to raise tuition; after all, it costs money to defend lawsuits for fraud and to go after anonymous posters who point out the obvious.

  13. I hope we get more transfer stories in. Can you imagine how easy it would be to transfer to GW or Rutgers-Camden this year? Bottom 25% at Cooley should even be able to trade up. Transfer students can get a school closer to financial viability without making the school pay the price in the rankings. I'm surprised some of the higher ranked schools experiencing problems aren't organizing recruiting events for 1Ls at lower ranked schools. The transfer market this year will be another disgusting facet to this downturn.

  14. So, you're saying we should try to transfer for $$$?

  15. "And as is usual, the schools that tend to tout their exclusiveness and high standards in good times are now taking students they would not take because of the downturn in applications. This lowering of standards exacerbates the challenge we face in filling our classes at Cooley when applications decline."

    Kind of funny how frank he's being with their current students; "yeah, we really scrape the bottom of the barrel here, now we have to fight other scrapers." Surprised he didn't add a "no offense" after that.

    Now we just need the Department of Education to put their boot on Cooley's neck, because there is no way that these loans are going to be be paid back.

  16. "The Wreck of the Thomas M. Cooley" (with apologies to Gordon Lightfoot)

    The legend lives on from the lawyers all 'round
    Of the big school they call Thomas M. Cooley
    The school, it is said, gives her grads up for dead
    And its library, they say, is quite roomy

    With a load of student loans, several thousand accounts more
    That the Thomas M. Cooley would soon empty.
    That big scam, it's true, was a turd through and through
    And the fails of its grads come often and early.

    That school was a crime on the American side
    A crummy diploma mill in Mid-Michigan
    As the big toilets go, it was bigger than most
    With a CSO and a dean both well seasoned.

    Concluding some terms with a couple of law firms
    That they sent fully locked and loaded for Kurzon
    And later that month when the dean's phone bell rang
    Could it be that court word they'd been fearin'?

    When Graduation Day came, the old crook (the dean) came on stage sayin'.
    "Fellas, it's tough, but we no longer need ya."
    Nine months later, as employment surveys came in, he said
    "Fellas, your money was good, but now I don't know ya."

    The Dean e-mailed in, he had discovery requests comin' in
    And his TTTT school and job was in peril.
    And later that fight, when the real stats were brought to light
    Came the wreck of the Thomas M. Cooley.

    Does any one know, where the love of God goes
    When your JD gets you just ten dollars an hour?
    The alumni all say they should have dropped out their first day
    Instead they've got nothing but debt and wasted years behind them.

    The alums' marriages split up or they might have suicided;
    Many became broke and went under.
    And all that remains is shame and blame in the faces
    Of the wives and the kids over their blunder

    Ann Arbor expands its rolls, Grand Rapids bursts at the seams
    The dean adds rooms onto his nice Tudor mansion.
    Lansing, Michigan schemes off young naifs' dreams;
    Soon Tampa Bay will be open for morons.

    As everyone knows Cooley's farther below even Touro
    She'll take in any lemming that can find her,
    And the graduates will all go, as the dean and staff know
    With tons of non-dischargeable debt well-encumbered.

    In a musty old hall in Detroit they prayed,
    In the Toileteer Lawyers' Cathedral.
    The church bell chimed till it rang twenty-nine thousand times
    For each grad from the Thomas M. Cooley.

    The legend lives on from the lawyers all 'round
    Of the big school they call Thomas M. Cooley
    Ol' Cooley, it is said, gives her grads up for dead
    And the fails of its grads come often and early.

  17. "The new hourly tuition for returning students will be $1,275 and for new students it will be $1,325. Tuition in the LL.M. program will increase to $650 per credit hour."

    These figures are insane. How many law firms can bill the hourly rate for 1-to-1 advice of practical application that Cooley charges their students for en masse classroom teaching?

    I quite simply have never paid any of the external counsel I use even half as much as Cooley will be charging their new students per credit hour. And if I were paying this much, an 8.5% hike in fees in the current economic climate would have me sending them a sharply-worded letter followed very quickly by me terminating our relationship if the price-hike was not modified.

    No Cooley grad for sure will ever get to bill this much. This is the kind of idiocy that comes from believing that education is 'priceless' and allowing it to escape the bounds of economic logic.

  18. I know that this is not formally the shuttering of an ABA accredited law school, but a decline of 445 1L's is effectively the closure of two fourth-tier shit-heaps.

    That's progress.

    Publius Lex

  19. 8.5% increase?!?! In this climate? With demand falling, and the value of a Cooley degree firmly in the negative?

    Why isn't the Michigan Attorney General getting involved? Is this not price gouging in its own special way? Sure, the public at large doesn't want the Cooley degree, but the students who are already there are "stuck" at this point - it's July and they're just now levying a massive tuition increase. This wasn't done to reflect real market demand, but to leech out as much as they can from their current consumer base as a last gasp of profiteering before the roller coaster arches over the apex.

    To sum, here are the people who I think should be involved at this point:

    -the Attorney General
    -the plaintiff's bar (partly already in)
    -whistleblowers filing qui tam lawsuits
    -the media (partly already in)
    -the state bar association
    -the ABA accreditation committee
    -the Dept. of Education

    At this point, it's obvious that about 1/3 of the law schools are going to have to wind down over the next few years. Given the situation, I think the bar associations and the government have a duty to protect all parties from the reckless behavior of the fraudsters, who, it appears, are going to go down kicking and screaming about how their law schools should get to keep operating for years and years on a bogus business model.

  20. FOARP--I agree, I just can't identify with paying that kind of money for law school esp a dump like Cooley. I have no reference point for that. I went to law school in the late 90's at a state university--$1325 was almost an entire semeseter's tution and fees for me.

  21. To me, the most amazing thing is that anyone would go to Cooley at all. Even if enrollment decreases 50 percent over 2 years, that means hundreds of people are still deciding to go there.

    Also this all means their admissions standards are likely now even lower than before.

  22. As a reference point, the top publicly disclosed billing rate at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP in 2011 was $1,095.

  23. As a law student at the beginning of the bubble, this story makes my blood boil! I paid full price for my legal education and ended up at a tier 2 school. Tried to transfer out with top 10% grades, but was denied admission anywhere.

    And now I read that top tier schools - some fucking great schools! - are throwing money at transfer students? Five years ago, those schools treated me like a piece of shit. Half of the schools I applied to as a transfer took my application fee and did not even bother responding! I had to beg for a decision from them. And now those same schools, and school ranked far higher, would offer me money to go there?

    Fuck this whole scam. I now have a shit law degree I am ashamed of, but a few years later I discover that I could have a prestigious law diploma hanging on my wall had I gone to school a few years after I did?

    I hope these law schools go fucking bankrupt and shut their doors for good. The entire legal education system is a sleazy toilet. The entire legal system as a whole is a sleazy toilet. I will never allow my kids to ever go to a university that has a law school associated with it. That fucking disgraceful system has taken enough from me and my family, and fuck everything to do with law.

    I will go out of my way to never hire a lawyer. I will support online legal services. I will never tell anyone I went to law school. I vow to do everything in my power to destroy this shameful system that has ruined my life.

  24. So, following things through to their absurd conclusion, you could theoretically pay the top publicly-acknowledged billing partner at Skadden to teach you and it would be cheaper per-credit-hour than going to Cooley. It's only the requirement that you receive education at an ABA-accredited school that stops you from doing this.

  25. Lawprof:

    Can you give me one good reason why the federal government should subsidize Cooley Law School? Cooley is the biggest and baddest grifter out there, and would die in a week if students had to get private loans that could be discharged in bankruptcy (imagine the bankers laughing at that application).

  26. Anybody know when the June LSAT data becomes available? Schools are clearly feeling the pressure so this seems to be a particularly important year for application levels. If they stay at current amounts or continue to drop (likely, I think) that should make a huge difference going forward.

    February was a 13.6% drop from 2011 and that exam tends to split between 2011 and 2012 applicants but June seems more like the proverbial canary in the coalmine for this year's cycle since it is (almost) exclusively class of 2016 or later applicants.

    Last June saw an 18.7% drop in LSATs administered. Even a small drop from this figure should signal huge problems for law schools.


    An 8% decline in enrollment.

    But an 8.5% increase in tuition?

    Are my math skills really bad, or does that sound like a tuition hike that exceeds the loss of revenue? A 0.5% net tuition increase?

    You scamming cunts, Cooley!

  28. Sounds like Cooley needs a bailout.

  29. Well, 7:47, your math is slightly off... Recall that a 20% loss needs to be offset by a 25% gain to get to original parity, so .92*1.085 is slightly less than 1 (.9982).

    But still, your "scamming cunts" observation hold water.

  30. Your math skills are that bad.

    .92 x 1.085 = .9982 or a -0.18%

  31. @FOARP:

    Yes, but if Professorial experts were practicing in the real world, endowing their grace and wisdom on mere mortals, they would charge $1200/hr, easily.

    I would actually love to see what would happen if professors struck out as solos.

  32. "And as is usual, the schools that tend to tout their exclusiveness and high standards in good times are now taking students they would not take because of the downturn in applications."

    I'm sorry, but you'd think a law school dean would be able to compose a coherent sentence. The above tends to indicate the opposite of what Dean Donald LeDuck or Pepe LePui had actually intended to say.

    Try this, O' Dean: "And as is usual, the schools that tend to tout their exclusiveness and high standards in good times are now, because of the downturn in applications, taking students they would not normally take."

  33. I too would love to see that:

    In-house guy: "So I'm still waiting for an answer to that question I sent you"

    Ex-prof: "I was kind of busy looking into how your question would have been answered in the Middle Ages, plus I decided to punish you for being five minutes late for our last telco, and I don't like the format you asked me to send my answer in"

    In-house guy (CC'ing ex-prof's boss): "This guy is an asshole. If I see his name on any of the work you do for us again I'll transfer my work to another firm."

  34. 7:45 a m--there is no good reason for the fed. govt. to subsidize Cooley, or any other law school for that matter. It was a mistake for the fed. govt. to get involved in higher education funding, just as it was a mistake for it to get involved in the housing market. In both cases this artificially inflated the perceived value of a product, and caused loans to be made which had/have little or no chance of being paid back by the borrower, leaving taxpayers (you and me) on the hook.

    (The difference, of course, is that if you are terribly upside down in a mortgage you can walk away, and the worst that can happen is you have to declare bankruptcy if the lender pursues you for the deficiency--but that option is not available for student loans).

    It would be interesting to see how fast tuition would plummet if the govt. stopped guaranteeing student loans, and allowed them to be dischargable in bankruptcy after a period of time (7-10 years).

  35. Not really defending Cooley, but the $1,275 rate is most likely per credit hour, not per actual hour. Meaning a 4 credit class would cost $5100/semester. Still outrageous, but not quite Ted Olson hourly rates.

    I graduated from a well regarded state school in 2002. In-state tuition was ~$9000/year. I'm absolutely floored by the increase in 10 years. And don't understand at all how anybody could justify paying Cooley rates for a Cooley degree.

  36. "But still, your "scamming c___" observation holds water."

    Only if upside down, as when posing in a hand-stand.

  37. 8:14, "I graduated from a well regarded state school in 2002. In-state tuition was ~$9000/year."

    What's the range on your LS's tuition for 2012 entrants?

  38. @8.14 - You're correct, must be the credit-hour rate otherwise Cooley students would only be getting ~25 hours a year of contact-time. Still, an utter disgrace.

  39. Perhaps the cockroaches could stop leasing the naming rights to AAA baseball stadiums:


    Maybe, the commode could stop paying its founding dean $370,245. He is an old retiree in Florida. How much "work" is this man producing, which will benefit the students?!?!

  40. http://lsatblog.blogspot.com/2012/04/cooley-law-school-founder-still-paid.html

    Check out this April 30, 2012 blog entry from LSAT tutor Steve Schwartz. The piece was entitled “Cooley Law School Founder Still Paid Six Figures. Why?” Here is the opening:

    “Former Michigan Chief Justice and Cooley Law School founder Thomas E. Brennan retired in 2002.

    According to Cooley's 3 most recent IRS filings available on GuideStar, he received $370,245 (2009-10 - PDF p35), $368,581 (2008-9 - PDF p50), and $365,008 (2007-8 - PDF p6) in total compensation for each of those years.

    These IRS documents suggest that his formal titles are "Professor Emeritus" and "Former President" and that he works just 10 hours/week. Taking the average of his total compensation for these 3 years, and assuming he worked 52 weeks/year (no vacations), he earned $707.58/hour during this 3-year period.”

  41. ProfBoss: I want to talk to you about this motion to dismiss that you wrote.

    Prof: Pretty good, eh?

    ProfBoss: It's 32 pages long.

    Prof: I cut it down from 40. It was tough removing the stuff about Pennoyer and sovereign power. But isn't the minimum contacts analysis good? I love the section about the conundrum of Burham v. California, and the hypothetical where their salesman gets lost on the way to Wendy's and crosses state lines.

    ProfBoss: There was improper service. This should have taken you three pages, tops.

    Prof: But I think there's an argument for unconstitutionality under the due process clause. Minimum contacts is the sine qua non of jurisdiction. You have to at least address it!

    ProfBoss: Half their customer base comes from this state and they advertise all over the place.

    Prof: Really?

    ProfBoss: Yes. If you read the file, or didn't live in a cave, you would know that.

    Prof: But have you done the full analysis? What if that's their ONLY contact with the forum?

    ProfBoss: No.

    Prof: But what if the state long-arm statute only applies if the contract was signed, not necessarily performed, in-state?

    ProfBoss: Stop the Socratic bullshit.

    Prof: Improper service is so boring, though. Won't the judge be BORED reading just that?

    ProfBoss: No. Redo it. Cite only state court cases and take no more than 4 pages.

    Prof: Okay, but can we still bill the 30 hours I spent on the first one?

    [ProfBoss walks away, fully understanding why his first year associate hires know nothing]

  42. Rising 2L at a top 40 school here. I was offered a scholarship by Chicago to transfer. I'm taking close to a full ride from a lower T-14 instead.

  43. Rising 2L who's transferring - what was your class rank?

  44. 7:42
    Your message is clear. Your story is powerful. It is now time to spread the word that everyone who is contemplating going to law school should defer for at least a year. If that word gets out to all 0Ls then the problem will start to correct itself. It's going to be painful but knowledge is power. Tweet. Twitter. Toot. Text. Email. Start an online Flash Mob. Your time is today.


  45. Law School orientation is a mere 6 or 7 weeks away. I think now is the time for folks to organize flash mobs to protest the schools' business models. Get T-shirts made that say "Member of Class of 2008-12 and Unemployed." Stand in front of the law school. Make sure the incoming class of lemmings gets a good look at you.

  46. Is a JD from Cooley* an inherently dangerous product? Should it be regulated as opposed to being subsidized? Who are the idiots paying for a Cooley degree?

    *Cooley or any other garbage law school.

  47. @8:22, I believe in-state tuition is around $18,000 now. The state government, which has been getting a lot of national press lately over its management of the state university up the road, has implemented some pretty impressive fund reductions.

  48. @8:22. I am completely wrong. Just checked. In-state tuition is now almost $28,000.

  49. "never doubt that a small, committed group of people," "first they ignore you, then they mock you," etc., etc...... CONGRATS SCAMBLOGGERS!!! CHANGE IS COMING.

  50. June results were out yesterday. The data on the test should be available soon if it isn't already. I don't know where to look for it.

  51. @9:42, thanks for the feedback info. That's amazing - or maybe flabbergasting is a better word - for tuition to have gone from 9K to 28K since 2002.

    My own (locally well-regarded, 50-ish ranked LS) is still well under 15k... I'm going from memory, but I'd guess it's "only" doubled in the 12 years since I left.

  52. This comment has been removed by the author.

  53. It'll show here once the data is released:


  54. Law school is fool's gold.

  55. So let me get this straight. Cooley is telling students that they are inferior and that better schools are poaching the best inferior students. This is true despite the fact that the same institutions wouldn't deign to touch such unwashed masses during the before times. Then Cooley explains that it must plug the hole in the now worse law school by raising the price to be paid by students that Cooley considers the dregs.

    This is really insulting to current Cooley students. Why should they continue to enroll there? If I was a Cooley student, I would be looking to flee that ship for even a marginally better school.

  56. Love the original post, as well as the "Wreck of the Thomas M. Cooley." The Edmund Fitzgerald ballad was one of DCM's early favorites, so we hummed along to your lyrics.

  57. I wonder what the breaking point is for these bottom of the barrel schools? At one point do they become financially unsustainable and are forced to close?

    Plus, I suspect these increases in tuition may backfire. That is, if consumers are becoming more sophisticated about entering law school, we might safely say that they are also becoming more price savvy. Sooner or later Cooley is just going to price itself out of the market if it keeps this kind of trend up.

  58. Madoff, in his heydey, used to refuse to accept many people as clients. It was his way of maintaining his firm's mystique as selective and elite. However, near the end-- when the foundation of the pyramid began to crumble--he solicited everyone and accepted every dollar foolishlessly invested in his scam.

    Law schools are following the same trajectory, as seen by the lowered admission standards, the waitlist scholarship offers, the dirty little transfer game, and, most egregiously, jacking up tuition for already-committed 2L's and 3Ls.

    I think that it will take only a couple more admissions cycles, or just one more recessionary dip, for the vast majority of JD-granting schools to be seen as the approximate equivalent Madoff's investment firm. Moreover, kids who borrow to attend will be deemed, by peers and popular opinion, to be suckers who have ruined their lives, not bright yuppies about to join a noble profession.


  59. Just a few years ago, our tier 1 faculty voted to raise tuition by about 5%. The purpose of the tuition raise? To raise faculty salaries! The reason to raise faculty salaries? In order to compete for the best "scholars" and Law Review article writers. The reason to seek those scholars and Law Review writers? To keep our ranking up! Did it work? Well, the professors mostly got raises but the school's ranking actually dropped a few notches. The solution? Higher more outstanding faculty!

  60. This is the start of a death spiral for Cooley. My advice to a rising 2L at Cooley - drop out - for even a 3L that might be wise. However, Cooley are not so much showing stupidity as desperation in raising tuition 8.5% - the need the money. This puts a rising 2/3L in a powerful position. For Cooley the marginal gain from say taking just $5,000 off a student is probably more than the marginal cost in keeping that student - that is to say most of the cost of running a law school is fixed cost - salaries and buildings - the marginal cost per student is very low. So a rising 2L or 3L could simply call Cooley and say:

    "Cut my tuition by 50-75% or I am not coming back - I'll transfer, I'll drop out."

    For Cooley that is a threat of a straight $37k in revenue loss, and real loss if marginal cost is say 10% (which it probably is) of $33k. The smart thing for Cooley to do would be to say - we will cut your tuition to marginal cost plus a small margin - say $5-7k - certainly a 50% cut makes sense.

    However, for a rising 2L there is another issue to consider - Cooley would be top of my death watch list right now - to have to raise tuition by 8.5% in current environment means that Cooley's finances must truly be in the toilet - and so I have to see the school closing by May/June 2013.

  61. Partial Law School Death Watch List (with factors) - ranking the schools in the order in each state that I think they will close.

    1. Miles School of law (unaccredited, has the lowest bar pass rate conceivable (sometimes 0%)
    2. Birmingham School of Law (unaccredited, low bar passage rate
    3. Cumberland School of Law (low ranking, poor employment performance, parent college decision)

    Pheonix School of Law (commercial operation, will close when it loses money, new Obama administration policies on use of revenue large factor, huge student debt, poor reputation)

    Washington DC
    1. UDC (poor reputation, bad law passage rate), possible it will consolidate with Howard.
    2. American University (a steadily declining reputation and high cost and student debt puts it ahead of Catholic U – decision lies with a parent college);
    3. Catholic University, Columbus law school (despite a good local reputation for its graduates, better than American in fact, it will struggle if GW and Georgetown start making big offers to secure students, but it has wealthy donors)
    4. Howard – as a historically black college it has struggled as segregation has vanished in DC law schools.

    1. Florida Coastal (commercial, investors will kill it when it loses money, new Obama admin regs on student loan expenditures will hurt)
    2. Ave Maria (what is there to say, small, terrible bar passage rate, broke, expensive)
    3. NOVA Southeastern - Shepard Broad (you went where? Low rank, no reputation for good or ill, larger school makes the decision)
    4. Florida International College of Law (parent calls the shot, no reputation, low rank, money losing or soon will be)
    5. Barry School of Law (oh dear, what good things can you say)
    6. Stetson (poor reputation, low rank, parent college decision)
    7. Florida A&M (it is a state school, but weakly performing, new and in a state with two other state law schools.

    1. John Marshall School of Law (private, for profit, will close when it is a long run money pit)
    2. Mercer (Walter F. George) (low rank, decision lies with a larger institution Mercer University, and if Georgia needs to close schools Mercer is the most vulnerable)

    Valparaiso (bottom of the rankings, in a recent sign of desperation it has decided that “sports law” is the wave of the future)

    Drake (low rank, private, where?)

  62. Top 5 school taking more transfers than ever before must be Columbia. When you call to complain about about this issue, they send you to a Chief of Staff to the Dean who tells you the school needs $10 million a year and transfers pay it. The fact that the Dean even has a Chief of Staff is a symbol of the academic bloat Columbia is suffering.

  63. Oh, another point: Cooley's placement stats provides another reason to try to determine the true quality of jobs in the "law firm: 2-10 attorneys" category.

    Cooley graduated 999(!) students in 2011. 416 got bar-required, long-term, full-time jobs, nine months out. However, 76 of these were as solos, and no less than 173 were in firms sized 2-10. Are there really 173 small firms out there that provided an associateship to a fresh young grad from America's worst law school, notwithstanding a massive glut of desperate and available experienced lawyers and recent top-tier grads? What is the true nature of these alleged "2-10" jobs?


  64. MacK, I look forward to reading the rest of your Law School Death Watch List.

  65. I'm wondering how many rising 2Ls and 3Ls will gain some smarts and just DROP OUT.

    Anticipating their screams of "but, but, but I've already PAID $$$$$$$,"perhaps an analogy would help them get a better view of their predicament.

    Say you're looking to buy a car. You know you're going to have to finance it, and the car's not going to be delivered to you until your payments are complete.

    So you go to the car lot and see a spiffy looking car. You're so dazzled by the color, wheels and new car smell that you don't bother to look under the hood. You put down $10,000 [1/3 of the purchase price] via a loan.

    End of year 1; beginning of year 2: suddenly you DO look under the hood or have a mechanic test the beast, and discover IT WILL NOT RUN. Almost nothing you can do will make it run.

    Are you REALLY going to put the next $10,000 into that piece of junk this year, plus another $10K next year? C'mon. You can see that the best outcome is to just walk away and thank your lucky stars you're only out $10K, not $20K or $30K. [And, of course, that your "car debt"is dischargeable in bankruptcy.]

    But these lemmings will continue to go over the financial cliff at these crap schools, despite the fact that it's clear -- no matter how much or how little they may have paid over the last year or two -- that they should cut their losses and run.

    Various scam blogs are clearly beginning to have an effect on NEW law school students, but how do we save those already trapped there?

  66. Maybe over the weekend - I have work to do - but it is easy to see which schools are circling the drain - this took 20 minutes over coffee.

    I would like someone to do California - too many schools for me and if anyone else wants to do a few states. To list a few criteria:

    - "turkey's voting for thanksgiving/christmas" - stand alone law schools will usually close later unless they are "for profit" because the Dean and faculty would be voting for unemployment. Schools that are part of bigger schools are more vulnerable because the host institution can usually make the decision.

    - value in closing - can a parent school realise value by repurposing or selling facilities.
    - size own endowment - the school will blow through its endowment before closing.
    - large 2012 tuition hikes - a sign of financial desperation.
    - low reputation and low ranking
    - lower ranking than parent school (does it lower the schools prestige)
    - for profit school
    - controversy (see e.g., Tuoro)
    - recency - it has not been around long enough to build up wealth alumni and powerful friends
    - low ranking private - especially with higher ranking schools in same metro
    - public in state with multiple public law schools and low ranking.

  67. LawProf:

    Just read your Salon post today. Between this invaluable blog and that kind of work, you're one of the few law professors who is actually earning his/her keep. (In my humble opinion.) Keep up the good work. This blog is one of the things that makes it worth getting out of bed in the morning.

  68. 11:55, people are horrible at recognizing a sunk cost even if it is staring them in the face.

  69. Pennsylvania:
    1. Villanova (dear God, Villanova... that law school is a continuing source of shame for an otherwise respected school). Beautiful new building that could be used for just about anything else, scandal, stats falling like a rock, private and crazy expensive, two more respected schools in the same metro.

    2. Drexel. It is shameful that they even opened a law school. No alumni/donor network. Are they accredited?

    3. Duquesne. Charging 34,000 dollars a year for what, exactly?

  70. 11:55
    You are absolutely correct. There are two different constituencies that we are dealing with. Over the next month or so the most important one is that group of students who are planning to matriculate this late summer or fall. Unless they are absolutely certain that what they are doing is the right thing, they should, as DJM said a few days ago, defer their admission. They won't lose much by doing it but they will gain the possibility of either reduced tuition in the future or the extension of one of the "scholarships" that we have been talking about here.

  71. MacK-- you don't have work to do on the weekends?

  72. "8.5% increase"

    Ummm, REALLY?!

  73. @12:34 Drexel was accredited in 2011; had been provisionally accredited a few years before. It has a brand, spanking new building on Market Street that would serve other puropses nicely. Reaction of local bar when it opened a law school can be summarized as "WTF?".


  74. Tuition plus other expenses at Cooley if you matriculated before 2011 and you take 15 hours TUITION ONLY is just about 35,250 a year

    If there are 3700 students and say even 2/3 are full time at 15 hours = 2467 say 2460

    2460 times 35250=86,715,000

    86,715,000 dollars in just tution

    if they borrow the loan fee is $986
    so just for loan fees for 2/3 of the class they are getting:
    986 * 2460 = 2 425 560

    Read that again
    over 86,000,000 just in tuition

    For 2460 fulltime students who won't be getting jobs.

    Then if the remaining students - say 1240 students are half time thats $21,150

    21 150 * 1240 = 26 226 000

    loan fees 560 times 1240= $694,400


    86 715 000 + 26 226 000 = 112 941 000

    A cool $112 million plus.

    How many companies can guarantee that much income and know it will be paid?

  75. MacK said:

    "I have a lot of objections to JD Painterguy - he is in many respects undermining the whole cause of legal education reform because such a large proportion of his problems are self inflicted and he is atypical of law school debtors, but meets and reinforces a clichéd view of them.

    But still - if Tuoro Lw(sic) School was my client, I would honestly advise them that they should call Sallie Mae and try to collaborate on a deal - a confidentiality agreement in return for paying off/cancelling JD Painter guy's loans over say 3 years - and the tax. He is probably the single biggest reason I would put Tuoro at the top of the New York death watch list. It has got to be worth the $300k to silence him."


    MacK, with that statement sounds a little diabolical in seriously creating a rather devious and politically street level shrewed- though misinformed-under the table deal such as that.

    In fact, I kind of feel sorry for anyone that MacK has ever had contact with in a legal capacity if that is how they are served: with sharp practice and low cunning in other words.

    MacK has a whole LOT of theories about LS and reform, and sounds off readily and with a right good will and loves to hear himself talk and will listen to himself forever and ever.

    But "he" (I can use the detatched 3rd person too) doesn't even know my story or have the slightest idea about how the labaryinth of the student lending system works.

    I recommend that MacK read the work of Allan Collinge at www.studentloanjustice.org

    My loan is not with Sallie Mae anymore BTW, and as to where it is now MacK will just have to spend time reading my blog in order to find out.

    In all fairness to the law schools, and to concede a point (And I mean ALL of them and of whatever tier) they are only phase 1 of a multilayered scam.

    (And what self respecting and effective scam is not multilayered?)

    The second phase begins with SL repayment, and all of the abuses that have come to pass in late years spanning 2 or 3 decades. And in that sense there is a commonality with the plight of all the Higher Educaionally "scammed"

    The law schools have no control over the operations of the servicers and the collection practices on student loans after law school.

    Today, Rush Limbaugh sadi something on the radio that I thought was pretty true.

    Rush said that the Federal Gov't gets involved in so many things (i.e. healthcare) and then screws it up, and then Liberals cry for more Gov't intervention so as to clean up the mess that government involvement created in the first place.

    After that, we have a mess and that is food for thought.

  76. 3:10 You will lose credibility among most educated people if you paraphrase Rush Limbaugh in an argument. Not to say that the point isn't valid, but there are lots of people who have made the same point before who don't have the ridiculous reputational baggage of Rush Limbaugh.

  77. No. I have been listening to Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity and sometimes Mark Levin (if I work late enough) on the radio and through a couple of election cycles while slinging a paint brush and roller for almost a decade now.

    The conservatives, unlike the Liberals, are always available to talk, and that goes for Ann Coulter as well.

    Agree or not, it is nice to have a Conservative talk TO you rather than DOWN to you as the Liberals do on NPR.

    It is never a perfect world of beliefs, views, arguments and opinions and ideology or agreement, and I do not agree with all I hear all the time, but the Conservatives do make valid points, and they can sway the populace and elections.

    As for baggage/luggage and the concept that so called "educated" people might have a just a wee bit of it, I submit for your contemplation the cool sum of 1 Trillion dollars in Student Loan Debt.

  78. JD Painterguy:

    By your own admission you are someone who did not do the reading in law school for class - failed the bar exam multiple times - and graduated with a relatively manageable $67k in debt in 1997, fifteen years ago ... you are on its face feckless, lazy, self-pitying and financially incompetent. You are everything that law schools and their defenders want everyone to believe the typical law school debtor is - and you are an egomaniacal publicity seeker - who walks on set everytime there is a meaningful discussion yelling "look at me, look at me - this is what it is all about - all the other people screwed by their law school are just like me, me, me, me, me!!!!"

    You have also no idea of what a lawyer does, which is probably part of the reason that you did not get hired in 1997 (when there certainly were legal jobs) and did not pass the bar. If you did you would understand that a lawyer solves problems for his or her clients - within the law. While you are undermining the case against the whole student loan and law school fiasco by constantly making it look like everyone effected is like you ... you have almost certainly become a huge problem for Tuoro - if only because by being such an evident jackass it leaves people to wonder how (a) they let you in, (b) you stayed there for 3 years (c) they gave you a frickin' JD. But, although Touro's dean could probably walk outside and find someone to deal eliminate the problem for a small amount of money - that approach is illegal - and you have the right to keep on with your position under the 1st Amendment.

    So - and I's ask a few other lawyers on this forum - if JD Painter Guy was proving as big a pain in rear to your client - as much of a liability - and the only solution was to pay him off with a confidentiality agreement - and the cost was a lot less than the negative impact - what would you advise - the payoff or the hitman?

    And I remember Ann Coulter having a nice racist rant in front of me in DC once - got her fired by Spence Abraham (wrong place to have that rant, not that type of conservatives.) She was a poisonous ---- then and still is.

  79. But Mack, you are kind of a judgmental jackass who likes the smell of his own farts. I think your view(s) on Painter are a little short-sighted and simple.

  80. And Mack, sometimes I think you would be better off if you stopped pontificating and just STFU. You talk to much and you irritate the hell out of me. I am sure you have heard this from more than one family member and friends...if your irritating personality even has any friends.

    Seriously, STFU.

  81. MacK,

    That was beautiful. Thank you.

  82. My own farts have a sort of oniony aroma - I am not sure of what I think of them - but I have smelled worse. Since JD Painter guy was being somewhat judgemental of me .... well .... he can you know STFU - and 3:55/57 FYVM

  83. @3:49 macK

    Geez! Stop digging a hole for yourself dude!

    Put that bottle of Schnapps away and I recomment the same to FOARP from Poland with his bottle of vodka!

    I'm just a friggin house painting guy that listens to talk radio (I forgot O'Reilly) yet I sure got under your skin!

    Now, just remember kid that politics is the art of the practical, and if you happen to succeed in recommending to Touro that they make a dirty little old deal with Sallie Mae about me under the table, I promise that I will hold my nose and take the convoluted loan forgiveness.

    Quit while you are ahead and stop being the international jet setter.

    No one is impressed.

  84. Oh and 3:55/57 - on being judgemental - you of course missed the point that my concern is that people are judging the typical law school victim by reference to the atypical but loud attention seeker, aka JD Painter Guy. Yet another reason to judge you....

  85. Oh, they try folks!

    Oh how they try :)

  86. I agree with MacK in some respects. I think JD Painterguy hurts the law school reform movement if people think he is the typical person. On the other hand, few people are willing to speak out. A lot of the recently scammed still think they have a chance at a job or they think that it is all their fault or they are afraid to identify themselves. He gets some credit for being willing to put his name and face out there.

    It couldn't have been pleasant for his family to find his blog and see how he was considered suicidal. I don't care how many mistakes you've made, you shouldn't have to be pushed into suicide because of your debt.

    No question JDPainterguy is screwed up and makes poor decisions. But the amount his loan has increased, beyond the manageable amount he started with, to where it is now, is preposterous.

    If there are other people willing to step up and be identified other than JD and Crynn, please post your name here. I don't think there will be many takers. I hope I'm wrong

  87. Oh no.....

    Folks...tis I, and only me so ye can relax.

    But I think.... (and confidentially speaking) that I might be gettinn a wee bit nervous.

    Mackie baby is probably now busy typing up a big one! A real hum dinger of a reply, and I'm all a tremble!

    OH! I'm so scared!

  88. @4:19PM

    "No question JDPainterguy is screwed up and makes poor decisions."

    What poor decisions and why don't you write to me and ask for the details? I will gladly recount my whole life in every detail if you ask?

    So why doesn't anyone care enough to ask?

    No one has ever done that, except for Cryn or Nando and a few others.

    And macK talks all about how successful he or she is, and with all industry ties intact and doing quite well, and what is the motive?

    What is the MO for MacK or for FOARP?

    They are not suffering now, and I am.

    I put myselff out there and yet no one can tell me, for example why a law professor walked out on a contracts class at Touro with 15 to 20 minutes of tuition dollars (a portion of which were likely federally backed student laons) to spare all because 2 or 3 students hadn't read their cases.

    Who were these people?

  89. 4:19 It couldn't have been pleasant for his family to find his blog and see how he was considered suicidal. I don't care how many mistakes you've made, you shouldn't have to be pushed into suicide because of your debt.

    I entirely agree with you. I have reached the point where I do not say that I am a partner in a law firm because of the resulting need to say - "we are not hiring." Not only unemployed young lawyers but their parents and relatives are so desperate and saying those 4 words is so shitty - the shoulders slump - and you try to say positive things to some of these kids - but they know and you know that you are bullshitting them. The way in which they have been screwed, the callous self-serving heartlessness of the law schools - their indifference enrages me. But the main reason this situation makes me post here is the totally shitty experience of refusing people who are well qualified, decent smart kids and their friends and relatives who are begging you to look at them for a job ... and I can't. So maybe I am driven by self pity, but every time that happens it is just soul destroying for me - but it is worse for them.

  90. 4:34PM

    Good enough. And yes it is lonely at the top.

    Catch up on weekend.

    And bucker up dude.

  91. I've always thought that JD Painter highlights an important component of the law school scam. Specifically, there are thousands of people who are admitted to ABA accredited law schools every year who have no business going to law school. Most students enrolled at Cooley fall into this category. And if JD gives those bloodsuckers at Touro fits, then he is performing a useful service.

  92. @4:52 - you do have a point - if only JD Painter did not drown out the kids who had a high GPA, maybe a job or job offer, came in the upper half of their mid-ranked law school class - or these days T20, passed the bar on the first try - and found themselves massively in debt, unemployed and totally ****ed. A lot of the victims are like that - when they plead for an interview it is turning them down that sucks the most - not the people who should not have been in law school in the first place, but the kids who did everything right.

  93. Mack, Mack, he is nothing more than a jackass.

  94. MacK
    I know what you mean. I'm just a little personal injury lawyer and even I get about one resume a month. I can hardly look at the anymore. These kids are in the prime of their lives, they should be having fun, falling in love and starting families. It's both maddening and heartbreaking the same time.

    JD Painterguy doesn't like me either (I don't think he likes any actively practicing lawyer, bless his heart), but I think you gave him some advice he might want to think on. I believe a first class negotiator perhaps could persuade Touro that it is in their interest to mollify JDP. Extortion? I don't think so. After all, in order to get his loan money, Touro repeatedly led him to believe he could pass the bar in the face of multiple indicators that could not.

    Okay, here comes the s---storm.

  95. I'm not sure why you guys think Touro would want to silence JDP. Do you really think any bright eyed little snowflake thinks what happened to him could happen to them? If anything, prospective applicants probably look at him and think wow, "so as long as I'm not as bad as that guy I'll probably do ok."

  96. Hey 7:42am ==> why is your complete failure everyone else's fault?

    Just wondering.

  97. No one is forcing anyone to go to Cooley.

  98. Why does Fernando Rodriguez care so much about how much a private business, even a non-profit, pays its employees?

    Everyone tries to earn as much as they can - this is news?

  99. 7:47/7:49/8:01: Spoken like a true douchebag law professor. Enjoy your pending unemployment.

  100. How is that top 5 school gaming the system by offering "scholarships" for transfer students? I am guessing that the incoming 2Ls' LSAT/GPA combos do not matter for USNWR ranking purposes and the transfer students' tuition revenue would be to offset any future reduction in 1L class sizes (where the LSAT/GPA combos do matter)?

  101. 8:59,
    I think that's the point. Stacking 2L classes with less desirable candidates to increase revenue while not taking a hit to USNWR ranking.

  102. People who are forced to go? They should not if it's a bad deal for them.

  103. Painterguy highlights that -

    1) People who should never have gone to US law schools are going.

    2) The lack of bankruptcy protection in the US means that student debt can balloon to massive proportions.

    The thing is, he's become the go-to guy for journalists writing on this subject when really he's not representative of why this issue has become a full-blown crisis.

  104. Why go to Cooley when the same GPA/LSAT circa 2012 will get you into the University of San Diego School of Law (or, worse case scenario, Cal Western). Beautiful city, beautiful women, surfing, c'mon how can you beat that. Michigan on the other hand...

    The Galaxy's a pretty barren and desolate place when you get right down to it.

  105. JULY 3, 2012 8:59 PM here,

    Has it been publicly stated that Chicago or Columbia Law will be reducing their class size such that they need to take in lesser qualified transfers? Here it says UChicago is NOT changing up its 1L class size, so I'm trying to figure out why the transfer students are covering the supposed 1L revenue gap (unless that article is outdated and the dean changed his mind)


  106. I would like to address President LeDuc, since I am supposing that Cooley frequently polices the boards.

    President LeDuc's comment:
    "This lowering of standards exacerbates the challenge we face in filling our classes at Cooley when applications decline. This year’s three incoming classes declined in enrollment by about 28%, leading to an 8% decline in total enrollment."

    Dear President LeDuc:

    As a Cooley graduate, I wrote you and a few select deans in 2010 with my concerns, at the time, about the lack of employment options for Cooley graduates. I was greatly alarmed at the trend I was seeing of NUMEROUS recent Cooley grads working in low-paying and retail positions. I was so concerned by this that I outlined some of the low-paying and retail jobs held by several of Cooley's recent grads whose situations I was familiar with and I indicated my concern for what that might mean for the reputation and future of the school. In fact, I predicted the harm to the school's reputation if it did not IMMEDIATELY address this situation, since I could only imagine how successful a law school could continue to be if it established a reputation for having its graduates working in retail after graduation.

    I received a reply from one Dean (not President LeDuc), who nicely offered to meet w/ me, misunderstanding, however, that I was not writing about my own personal situation but about a frequent trend that was alarming. I never received a reply from the President of the school which astounded me, given that I had a business background and if a former client of mine who had spent a substantial amount of money at my business wrote to me to suggest changes to my business model to make it more successful for future clients, you better believe I would respond, and I would probably have something like 'thanks' in my reply.

    My concerns, however, did not compel a response from the school's president. Now, I have had to watch while the value of my degree (yes, everyone, my degree did once have value) has plummeted because the school did not appreciate, as it should have, the importance of successful graduate job outcomes on its reputation and future. Instead, the school emphasized increasing enrollment, opening a campus in Florida, while giving less thought than what was needed to what would happen to the school's reputation when those graduates couldn't find jobs. It emphasized (and was willing to pay a handsome sum for) placing its name on a local stadium to improve its reputation, particularly in the Lansing community, when that money would have been much better spent on programs that improved job prospects for its graduates and thereby improved its national reputation - something of utmost importance when so many students are from out-of-state.

    Now, Cooley, your reputation is absolutely in tatters and you've dragged the reputations and job chances of so many of your graduates down with it. By not realizing how much your own success was in sync with and dependent upon the employment success of your own graduates, you have so greatly tarnished your own reputation that so many now question whether you even have a future. And your response is to raise the tuition on current attendees to make up for lost revenue due to a loss in reputation due to YOUR own mistakes? I am completely appalled that the leadership of the school has chosen to take this tactic. I can only hope that graduate after graduate as well as many others from the legal community will let the school know that this is an unacceptable response. (Simply put, it is absolutely irresponsible to raise tuition given the job outcomes many of your graduates are facing! My God, have you no compassion whatsoever?) And while everyone is at it letting the school know his or her opinion, also let the school's current leadership know how unimpressed you are with its recent decisions and the resultant drastic diminuition to the school's reputation that they have caused. I am speechless.

  107. @ 1:43 AM

    Cooley's reputation never mattered and it does not care about the job prospects, much less the reputations, of its former/current/future students.

  108. @ 1:43am ==> "My God, have you no compassion whatsoever?"

    You're kidding, right?

    Cooley is free to charge as high a price as it wants for what it sells.

    The umbrage you took at being contacted by a mere dean and not Cooley's president was particularly hysterical - thanks for your hilarious comment!!!

  109. @11:02

    If someone made a simple list of maybe a dozen aspects of the overall problem popularly, or rather colloquially known as "The Law School Scam" then I might fall under one or two items on that list, and I think you will agree.

    For instance: Item 5-Don;t admit dummies like painterguy to law school, and item 7-make student loans dischargeable in bankruptcy and also give a refund to everyuone that has ever successfully paid off a student loan (neither the former or the latter is ever going to happen btw :)

    But anyway.... for what it is worth... I share my story.

    Some time ago I saw a law review article by a Law Professor that I think was entitled: "Off The Grid", and the article sort of speculated about what happens to the law grads that never pass the bar. I think the Prof. concluded, and in very dense legal prose, that they disappear over the top of a Tibetan mountain and hang out with Father Perrault in Shangri-la.

    I also recall speaking with a Corporate lawyer who was a Columbia grad that said she had a friend that took the Bar Exam nine times. She didn't say what school that person went to or if he or she ever passed.

    And so on.

    It ain't me, but I'm sure the perfect, apple cheeked poster person must be out there who will be a good match for all items on the list that I speak of.

  110. One of the problems is that law school is a scam for most students, even those who graduate Phi Beta Kappa from prestigious undergrads, get into top 20 law schools, and graduate law school with a respectable B+ average and pass the bar. Even these students end up with tons of debt and no job (or no job that they couldn't have gotten anyway with their BA). It's not just the bottom tier schools or the students who couldn't handle the pressure, almost everyone who's affected by the scam. I'd love to hear more stories about respectable T1 schools and how bad they are.

  111. To 5.23 You are absolutely right that even the T5 and T3 can turn into disaster. However, much of this disaster occurs as people fall off the pipeline as they get older. We do not have the numbers except 9 months after graduation. The median numbers and unemployed/ underemployed category would be worse 20 years out and much worse after 30 years. Think about it - you graduate from law school at age 26 and want to work for 40 years. That is not possible for many T5 grads given the overcrowded nature of the profession and the up or out policies of many large law firms that date back to days when the legal job market was better than now.

  112. 1:43 here.

    @ 4:08:
    "Cooley is free to charge as high a price as it wants for what it sells."

    Not when the value of what it sells isn't worth anything, buddy. It's called the free market - you've heard of that one, right? And guess what, continually making decisions that tarnishes the value of your reputation and therefore hurts your future survival isn't considered the best future plan, even if it brings in a soon-to-end profit in the short-term.

    As for my umbrage at being contacted by a 'mere dean' and not the president of the school after spending well over $50,000 at the school - let me guess, you're not a business person are you? A professor who teaches Environmental Law Theory without ever having practiced Environmental Law in your life, maybe? As I indicated, as a former business person with years of experience in the business world, if a client of mine who had spent that kind of money contacted me to indicate some concerns he or she had about my business model and the future feasibility of my business, you better believe that as president of an organization, I would talk to him or her. It's called business and for edification, you might want to take some time to learn a little bit about how it works in the real world.

    I have to disagree that Cooley's reputation never mattered. At first, upon graduating, I actually was proud of my alma mater and the practical skills I had learned from it and I actually got positive comments about it during interviews when I brought it up. Now, I go to great lengths to avoid mentioning the school I graduated from. I simply answer 'Michigan' when asked where I went to school and change the subject. Quite frankly, I am tired of all the Cooley shenanigans that are constantly getting them in the papers.

  113. @ 8:51am - seriously, MR. BUSINESS PERSON, what kind of an imbecile are you? 4:08am is completely correct: if what Cooley is selling "isn't worth anything", then why are free buyers in a free market paying tens of thousands of dollars for it?

    And what could be less relevant than your years of business experience and what you would have done if you were Cooley. Cooley already has your money and they've been making millions of dollars for decades!

    Thanks for providing yet another example of a comprehensive Cooley DB! Now back to your job at the car wash...

  114. "Cooley is free to charge as high a price as it wants for what it sells."

    Not when the value of what it sells isn't worth anything, buddy. It's called the free market - you've heard of that one, right?"

    Actually, you both are wrong. There is nothing "free" about a market when the government is supplying the grease to the wheels in the form of student loans.

  115. Thought Cooley and other LS were non-profit...doesn't that imply that they are not in it for the money?????

    Yeah, right.

  116. Non-profits routinely pay HUGE salaries...so there is no "profit" left after the enormous salaries, perquisites, and other expenses are paid.

  117. 8:51 here.

    Meow. Put your claws back in and no, it doesn't make you superior by implying anonymously on a board that I work at a car wash because I went to Cooley. Get some real self-esteem and actually do some real analysis. You can start by reading Law Prof's actual entry.

    Your quote:
    "if what Cooley is selling "isn't worth anything", then why are free buyers in a free market paying tens of thousands of dollars for it?"

    Did you read Law Prof's entry, 11:05, where it stated clearly that admissions at Cooley dropped by 28%?

    I'll make it easier for you and quote the relevant part, since you obviously didn't catch the implications:
    "Applications to law school have turned abruptly down across the nation...
    This lowering of standards exacerbates the challenge we face in filling our classes at Cooley when applications decline. This year’s three incoming classes declined in enrollment by about 28%, leading to an 8% decline in total enrollment."

    Translation of the above for you, 11:05, since you missed it the first time around: Cooley is having trouble filling its classes due to a decline in applications. In other words, Cooley has suffered a significant drop in 'free buyers in a free market' who are willing to pay Cooley's prices.

    Try, 11:05, in the future, to keep words like 'imbecile,' 'you work at a car wash' and other name-calling out of your future posts. Certainly, you don't think they enhance your credibility, do you? You come across as extremely insecure when you can't even respond to my post with a coherent argument and instead have to respond with immature juvenile name-calling. I'm sure you have more self-esteem in there somewhere - why don't you try to find it?

  118. How many law schools are actually organized as non-profits?

  119. 1:45. Iguess it depends upon what you mean by non-profit !

  120. I"m obviously late to the action but who put the spurs to the Cooley grad and sent him into low earth orbit?

    A couple of mild prods sent him right off the launching pad two or three different times! Paragraph upon paragraph of indignant sputtering.

    Congrats to the trolls...

  121. Hey, are there any Cooley grads out there with experience as a business person that are dissatisfied with anything that Cooley has been doing?

  122. LawProf:

    Your blog is great and I'd like to see more of the same. Obviously, it's having an effect as evidenced by fewer law school applicants.

    The only thing I'd like to see is taking on the ridiculous race argument by schools like Cooley, IF they keep it up. I.e. if you want to shut down our law school scam then you must be racist. Your new "Equal Opportunity" post is good.

    I also liked the idea of having a list of grievances. Maybe you could at least categorize your posts to keep track of certain topics.

    Regardless, your blog is great and doesn't need to be changed much, if at all.

    To the commenters asking for "solutions" for legal academia... I think we need to get the word out to prospective students first. Legal academia will only change and figure out "solutions" when reduced revenue forces them to do so.

    To the commentor calling you a guilty Nazi asking to be forgiven for your sins... I love the fact that you are fighting this system from the inside. I'm sure you have been ostracized from your colleagues and threatened with your job. I can't blame you for taking advantage of the system, even if you disagree with it. (I think IBR and PSLF are both terrible programs but I'm still enrolled in them).

    As bad as legal academics are, they aren't murdering 6 million people based on their religious views. The Nazi comparison is ignorant and insulting.

    Please keep up the great work LawProf. If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

  123. MacK: "For Cooley that is a threat of a straight $37k in revenue loss, and real loss if marginal cost is say 10% (which it probably is) of $33k. The smart thing for Cooley to do would be to say - we will cut your tuition to marginal cost plus a small margin - say $5-7k - certainly a 50% cut makes sense. "

    (sorry if somebody has already covered this)

    No, the smart thing for Cooley to do would be to tell that student to STFU.

    If they grant a cut to one, it's unlikely that he/she won't boast about what they did, and then the dam breaks................


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