Friday, July 6, 2012

So that explains it

A correspondent has forwarded me a letter from Valparaiso's dean to current students.  After a bunch of really confusing stuff about how until now law schools have never had to think about whether law degrees were worth what they cost because they're parts of universities (?) and "their missions invariably relate to serving a public interest" (???) we get this:


Some critics depict law schools as not caring about consumer issues or students economic life. This is not a fair charge. Law schools and faculties are acutely aware that legal education has become expensive and that it is now more difficult for graduates to secure good jobs. Law schools very much want to deal with these problems (to the extent within their control) and make things better for their students. But these problems are not ones that can be solved through a quick fix.

For example, law school tuition has been rising steadily. Many factors contribute, and there is a temptation simply to assign blame—it is all too common to blame administrators (supposedly too many) or faculty (supposedly more concerned with scholarship than with teaching). But a structural cause (not unique to law schools) is that most of a school’s costs are in compensation. Compensation costs steadily rise, and it is very difficult to achieve productivity increases (e.g., through larger classes) without sacrificing quality. As a result, increasing compensation costs are passed through as increases in tuition.

To control the rising price of the I.D. education, it must be subsidized and, unless there is a very large endowment, the only real option is through revenue from other programs. But just as it takes time to build endowment, it takes time and a fair amount of business acumen to develop new programs and bring them to financial success. And so the problem of rising J.D tuition cannot be solved overnight.
The reason nothing can be done about people getting paid twice as much to teach half as many students as three decades ago is because "compensation costs rise steadily."  The only way to keep these unstoppable cost increases from being passed through completely to JD students through tuition increases is either to have a huge endowment (which means getting rich people to give us lots of money so we can get paid more to teach less, although I guess we might want to phrase that slightly differently), or to create "new programs," which means convincing people other than JD students to give us lots of tuition money so we can get paid more to teach less.

But it would be unfair to blame any of this on law school administrators or faculty, given that compensation costs rise steadily.

BTW here are Valparaiso's employment stats for the class of 2011.

Update: Dean Conison has a post today on Huffington celebrating the Versatile Law Degree.  (Running an art gallery does sound more fun than document review).

114 comments:

  1. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jay-conison/law-school-_b_1653400.html?show_comment_id=166410111#comment_166410111

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  2. Valpraiso's Dean says you can get any of the jobs below with a law degree. So what are you people whining about?

    • Vice president for public affairs of a major corporation.
    • Human resources directors.
    • Executive directors of non-profit organizations.
    • Wealth managers.
    • FBI agents.
    • Global Vice President for Claims of a major insurance company.
    • Policy official in a federal agency.
    • Real estate developers.
    • Consultants (in many fields).
    • Lobbyists.
    • Business entrepreneurs.
    • Project manager.
    • Art gallery owner.
    • Professors and teachers.
    • Fundraisers.
    • Foreign Service officer.
    • Business managers.

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  3. Dean, what you've just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.

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  4. Let's play a game - how many people can post to his huff post blog. I'm going to guess zero get approved...

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  5. lmao at "Art gallery owner"

    What a motherfucking asshole.

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  6. Wow,

    I always knew that law professors were blind fools, but until now I never appreciated the full extent of their willful ignorance.

    Valpo 0Ls, be warned.

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  7. Now you see why I refer to "law professors" and deans as pigs, cockroaches, rats, and morally bankrupt ass-clowns.

    The bastards simply do not give one damn about the students or graduates. That is the cold, hard truth! The dung beetles also like to throw out other meaningless drivel, i.e. "I had to work hard. So do you. Quit expecting things to be handed to you."

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  8. 10:26: I doubt he is a fool. Seems much more like a clever swindler to me. Too much doublespeak and deception in his words to be taken in by the con himself.

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  9. That "logic" employed by that Valpo leech is akin to the following:

    "I ran over you with my car in the parking lot. I even tried to move out of the way. I felt so bad about your "situation," I went forward after I hit you. But I only heard a big crunch. Hopefully, that wasn't the sound of your skull or ribs being crushed. I even went in reverse a few times. Again, I am sorry about complicating your day. I wish there was a way for my car to quit causing damage to you."

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  10. LawProf,

    You missed the point of the early comments. He needs to sell "public interest" mission early for obvious reasons: so that no one asks why Valpo should continue to operate. If costs and salaries inevitably go up, and it's tough to make a living as a lawyer, why continue that game? Ah, friends, because law school is that special liberal warm womb do-gooder public interest institution. If you shut us down, you must hate the public interest.

    Otherwise, why not ask why my rubber dog shit company should not be subsidized by Uncle Sam so that I can give myself and my employees their inevitable raises? He has what I lack, the public interest at heart. And so, dear Valpo students, feel nice and warm and fuzzy when Dean Blowhard jams it to you.

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  11. But law schools subsidize the rest of their universities. It's about 30% at most law schools.

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  12. Say you're a law prof at a non-elite school, and you have a decent amount of self-respect. You graduated law school, oh, ten years ago, and aside from a year clerking and maybe a year as a Big Law associate, the only full-time job you've ever had has been teaching law school. What do you do if you accept that you're making a living off the taxpayers and deluded/defrauded customers?

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  13. This is so poorly written. I wonder if an intern in his office wrote it? A high school intern?

    Also, blaming high prices on "compensation costs" smacks of the GOP justifications for eliminating public sector unions, except that law professors aren't even in unions. So why not just cut their pay? Where they gonna go? I guess they'll all go to big firms and make tons of money. Oh. Wait.

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  14. 10:37: probably troll this site, repeatedly stating that Campos is a hypocrite. Oh and also that his scholarship sucks!

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  15. http://www.forbes.com/sites/jmaureenhenderson/2012/06/26/why-attending-law-school-is-the-worst-career-decision-youll-ever-make/
    It's getting out there more and more, although I have to say the comments bum me out a bit - despite overwhelming statistics there are people still saying "hustle and network"

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  16. 10:37 - I'd probably use my position as a professor to advocate for legal reform and to warn students of the problem.

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  17. 11:03 - amen. i am grateful that campos has the courage to keep up the fight in spite of the huge pushback. there is no better way to be heard and make a difference than from the inside....

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  18. I don't understand the 2nd half of the HuffPost column. He says that the versatility of the degree is not stressed enough and that this has two consequences: 1) underserving the students by not educating them about alternative career paths and 2) underserving the value of legal education by not touting it's versatility.

    He then goes on to say that the law schools, by not emphasizing the versatility of the law degree and not helping students find non-legal jobs/careers, "needlessly support criticism that legal education is not a good path to a rewarding career".

    Um....no. Assuming his argument to be true and that there are viable non-legal options for law grads, and the law schools aren't successfully steering law grads in those directions, then law schools behavior WOULD justifiably support criticism of its model.

    Just a couple of other nits to pick:

    No one is lumping the McKenzie consultant in with the starbucks barista and devaluing the McKenzie consultant. It's the fact that the barristas drastically outnumber the McKenzie consultants that is the problem. Further, the fact that there is even 1 law grad working as a barrista is evidence that the degree is not versitile as he claims.

    But, perhaps my favorite: "Yet the message about the strength and versatility of legal education seems forgotten once the conversation turns to actual jobs and careers." HAVE YOU TALKED TO YOUR GRADS LATELY!?!?! THERE ARE NO ACTUAL JOBS AND CAREERS!!!!!

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  19. LawProf can you post the whole letter? I would love to see it in its entirety.

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  20. He seems to be saying, in a circular way, that tuition keeps going up because law professor pay keeps going up. So because law professors should get low to mid six-figure salaries for working a few hours a week, the only answer is to somehow get more money to pay for it.

    OK. Got it.

    He also says law schools want to "deal with these problems" and "make things better for our students." The law school cannot create real jobs (as opposed to fake ones). All that law schools can do to help are 1) shut down (at least 25% of them) and in the meantime 2) publish accurate information about employement, e.g. how many graduates get full-time, long-term, JD-required jobs which actually pay (the fact that the latter has to be specified shows how bad things are). One last thing, salary figures are meaningless unless 90-something % of all graduates give accurate responses.

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  21. The parasitic dean quoted in this story is a dishonest shill who insists the world is flat when in fact it has been proven to be a round sphere. I am sure he is the type of asshole who tells foolish college grads that Ruben Blades became a famous singer and actor because he has an LLM from Harvard. Or Scott Turow became a best selling author as a result of his JD. A JD is a toxic degree outside the legal profession and a non-prestigious JD is radioactive in it. Even today, T10 law grads are having a hard time finding jobs. All this drivel about a JD being a golden ticket is not just sales puffery, it's an outright falsehood. These so called "academics" are nothing more than wannabe demagogues engaging in sophistry to fool impressionable kids who have been sold by Hollywood that being a lawyer is right move.

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  22. "Fundraisers"

    I guess this is where the Dean puts all the homeless law grads begging for change.

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  23. "Lobbyists"

    This is how he would characterize Nando and the commenters.

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  24. 12:02 PM you are spot-on. A relative handful of law school gradautes may get secure, well-paying jobs in other fields. This does not mean their JDs had anything to do with that--I would say they ended up there despite their JDs rather than because of them. I mean come on, how does a JD help one get a job at an art gallery?

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  25. Let’s consider:

    First, when the dean of a Law School in Valparaiso Indiana, a school with such a tiny reputation that its graduates get asked why they went to law school in Chile says that “it is now more difficult for graduates to secure good jobs” what does he mean? What is a good job in Indiana for a 24-27 year old newly minted JD? According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics the mean management wage in Indiana is $92,110 – while the mean for a lawyer is $100,610. Let’s make a guess that a new junior lawyer will make about 60% of the mean – say $60k a year. That is a good job for a law graduate.

    Valparaiso Indiana is a town/city with:

    An average income of $55,847 and an average house price of $133,600 – where say $500,000 would get you this 5 br, 4 ba, 4228 sq. ft. home on an enormous lot with a coiffured ceiling it has hair, tray ceilings, cherry floors, fireplace, bay windows, huge kitchen opening to a great room. Upstairs you will find 4 bedrooms including a huge master suite with a tray ceiling. The daylight basement is fully finished with a wet bar, tray ceiling, wine cellar, amazing 3/4 bath, wine cellar, custom carpet & a 2 room bedroom or office suite 0h and an acre or two of garden. Valparaiso also has some great public high schools to go with the low housing costs (e.g., Morgan Township Middle/High School, heeler High School.)

    Compared with say Cambridge Mass where average house price is $385,000 and average household income is (less) $49,500 and that $500k would get you a 2 bed 1 bath condo. Public schools in Cambridge – well there is one oversubscribed public high school that is considered very good Cambridge Rindge and Latin School.

    But obviously at Valparaiso the law school is competing with Harvard )or even Tuoro) for professors and need to pay the same as schools in DC, Boston/Cambridge and New York….

    So I have to ask – Valparaiso’s cost of attendance at $152,836 – (assuming no tuition increases) that is – 3 times the average income in Valparaiso, 120% of the average house price, close to 3 times what would be a good paycheck for a new lawyer in Indiana, 1.5 times the average lawyer income in Indiana. What is the dean’s salary? Enough to buy that $500k home I just mentioned - a 2 bedroom house in Georgetown would cost $1 million. WTF is a professor in Valparaiso demanding pay commensurate with a high cost city for…

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  26. Regarding the good Dean Conison's HuffPo article (intellectual equivalent: "farticle"), and his description of the wonderful versatility of the law degree, why is it that people who sternly teach that "anecdotes are not evidence" are the most likely to trot out a list of anecdotes as "proof" of something?

    (reference is the Dean's list of 20 or so "versatile" Valpo grads (out of the literally thousands of other Valpo LS grads))

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  27. There is a point that I think needs discussion - the idea that a law degree is versatile outside the legal profession.

    There is some truth to the idea that a law degree may be versatile in other fields, banking, management in highly regulated industries, diplomacy, etc. However, the demand for lawyers in these other fields is limited in the same way that demand for lawyers is limited, but with the caveat that there is a lot less demand for JDs in non-lawyer jobs than in lawyer jobs, and that the JD faces competition from the MBA or even the non-academically trained candidate. Realistically there are only non-lawyer jobs for a minority of trained lawyers - and in my experience those jobs tend to go to lawyers with legal practice experience. In any event there are jobs where a lawyer may be better in some respects at that job - but there are not a lot of them.

    The result is that quoting anecdotal examples of JDs securing big jobs outside law misses the point. Someone like Herb Kelleher needed his legal skills in antitrust etc. to make a go of Southwest Airlines - but Southwest did not hire all lawyers into its management, notwithstanding Herb Kelleher. Law schools cannot swamp the legal market for JDs, which is many times the size of the non-legal market, and then blithely announce that the non-skills they teach are "transferable." There are too many law graduates chasing too few law jobs and too few non-law jobs for which a JD is useful.

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  28. "law school tuition has been rising steadily"

    Wonderful use of the passive voice.

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  29. Many lawyers working in "good" (ie, non-barista) positions outside the law either would have qualified for them without going to law school because of foreign language ability, STEM background, being related to the owner or are the result of having successfully practiced law long enough to make the contacts or saved the money to make a go of that art gallery. It tells you nothing about the prospects of the average 2012 Valpo grad.

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  30. One of the mind boggling aspects of law school costs is the difference between law professor salaries and their colleagues' salaries in other departments. Law faculties have it easier in work load, qualifications needed for the job (in the current academic environment many students/postdocs struggle for a decade before they land their first TT job), administrative support, and general teaching/grading obligations. It isn't close. Yet their salaries are often double, triple, or quadruple their colleagues in other departments.

    Does anyone really think that law faculties could not be filled with top scholars in the field if their salaries were similar to those of, say, public law scholars in political science departments or ethics faculties in philosophy departments? Particularly when the minimum qualifications for law teaching is still only a JD?

    US News is a huge part of the problem but so is the legal academic culture which has embraced such salaries as an acceptable outcome. A lot of the anger on this site is directed at law schools funneling funds to the rest of the university but the truth of the matter is that this is probably the optimal result for the student loan funds that are being appropriated by law schools. Certainly better than funneling more of that money to law faculty members.

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  31. 12:02 Completely agree, great post.

    The best question to ask someone with a JD who is purportedly doing one of these glam jobs would be, "Why aren't you practicing law?" A purely academic exercise of course. :)

    Even during better times, there was no cost-efficient rationale for obtaining a JD unless one wanted to practice law or work in a closely related field like law enforcement or legal academia.

    The fact is there are relatively few opportunities for jobs as GM of the Cubs, TV news reporter, talent agent, book editor, and professional novelist – to name some common “alternative careers” for JDs cited by frauds like Dean Conason. And a law degree, while perhaps useful, is NOT a requirement. If he bothered to poll some of his unemployed recent grads, they would no doubt report finding the JD to be an actual obstacle to obtaining jobs in other fields.

    The notion that a JD is attractive to employers in other fields is the most persistent and destructive lie of all of those put forth by the law school cartel.

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  32. Law professors and administrators are acting exactly as you would expect them to act given the ethics of law practice. As a lawyer you are ethically bound to make the best argument for your client, even if doing so is misleading, obscures the truth, and even if the lawyer thinks it is the wrong thing to do. Law school deans and administrators have done exactly what they would have done if they were practicing lawyers: they are cherry picking employment stats to make to most persuasive argument for going to their law school. If there is a very low probability that the lawsuits against law schools will be successful (which I think is a excellent assumption), then why would you expect anything different? Lawyers aren't supposed to do the right thing for everyone involved in the structure of our legal system. Instead of pointing to law professors and administrators and crying foul, maybe you should be looking at the ethics of lawyers in general. The US system of legal ethics is NOT the only system of ethics possible. (I understand that ethics are state dependent, but I'm fairly confident that the states are consistent in ways relevant to my point).

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  33. 1:00

    Analogy fail.

    Legal ethics in the context of the professional obligation to zealously represent a client have nothing whatsoever to do with fraudulent misrepresentation for the purposes of self-dealing.

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  34. Put another way, the law school is the Dean's/law administrator's client (not in a technical sense, but by strong analogy). If there is a conflict of interest between the school and the law student, the Dean/law administrator must choose the law school at the expense of the law student given out legal ethics system. I think it has been pretty well established that there exists a conflict of interest between law schools and their students. So why would you expect the Dean/law administrator to advocate for the students at the expense of the law school?

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  35. 1:00, Not gonna defend legal ethics or the adversarial system as I think it's tangential to this blog... but at the very least the system does allow for claims made in advocacy to be challenged or rebutted. I doubt very much you will see any rebuttals to any of Dean Conason's ridiculous statements in the next Valpo Law newsletter.

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  36. 1:05 You assume that just because the lawyer's interests are connected to the client's interests that it must be "self-dealing." This is obviously not true in the case of a contingency fee agreement. I.e. the plaintiff's lawyer benefits by misrepresentation by receiving greater total compensation after he/she wins a larger verdict.

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  37. 1:09 Our legal system does not impose any obligation for the lawyer of one party to make arguments for both parties. Also the students' perspective is being represented currently in law suits, which is exactly what defenders of our system would point to as evidence that the system is working. The fact that the students will be completely out gunned is ignored and is irrelevant in our system.

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  38. So 1:12, are you arguing that law schools and their students are in an adversarial relationship similar to parties in litigation? If so, then the correct analogy seems to be a lawyer who purports to represent a client but is actually representing the client's opponent while lying to the client about who the lawyer is actually representing.

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  39. 1:17, Your entire string of posts is irrelevant. Please read 1:19 a few times, and then go away.

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  40. The Unending Versatility of The Law Degree:

    With your law degree in hand, you can:
    (1) Fold it into a really cool paper airplane.
    (2) Fold it up into a really cool three-cornered German drinking cap (“Mein Hut, der hat drei Ecken; drei Ecken hat mein Hut!” (“hut” is pronounced “hoot” for you yanks)).
    (3) Fold it up into literally thousands of origami shapes, including but not limited to the following:
    __a. Bipedal animals
    __b. Quadrapedal animals
    __c. Winged animals
    __d. Snakes
    __e. Winged insects
    __f. Non-winged insects and beetles
    __g. Flammable caricature/effigy of the hiring manager who last rejected your employment application
    (4) Fold it up into several varieties of elegant dinner napkin.
    (5) Shred it for a vast multitude of uses, the list including but not limited to the following:
    __a. Tinder for starting fires
    __b. Wadding for nosebleed pledgettes
    __c. Ticker-tape or confetti-type party favors (color decorated if desired).
    __d. Spit wad fodder (a personal favorite)
    __e. Toilette tissue
    (6) Folded over itself several times into a pad-like product for a number of uses, the list (say it with me, people) including but not limited to the following:
    __a. Table coaster to avoid beer glass rings
    __b. Table corner prop for that unbalanced table you can’t afford to replace
    __c. Forehead padding for slamming of your forehead into the table when you get that next batch of rejection letters.
    (7) Roll it up into a megaphone shape (to shout your disappointment)
    (8) Roll it up very tightly into a stick shape (to poke out thine offending eyes in frustration)
    (9) The list just goes on and on, and;
    (10) The hits just keep on a comin!

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  41. 1:19 No, I wouldn't say the relationship is usually that of litigation adversaries (however, that is EXACTLY the relationship given the current lawsuits). I'd say a better analogy is two corporations that do business with each other. Some of their interests are aligned. Some of their interests are in conflict. Another possible analogy is the student is a consumer of a good made by a corporation (the law school) which is represented by a lawyer (the dean/law administrator). It is obviously not completely adversarial, as in litigation, but equally obviously there are situations when the interests of the two parties are in conflict.

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  42. Huey Lewis,
    Sorry to challenge your "Law school deans/administrators are evil" and "It's the government's fault" ideas. I didn't mean to upset you.

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  43. @1:12 and 1:19

    I disagree - though this seems to be the prevalent view. First, most US colleges and Universities and more strictly law schools have honor codes which are written as a contract between all members of the school - including between the faculty and the students.

    Second, a plurality of the states impose in commercial dealings and implied warranty of good faith and fair dealing.

    Third, in at least some courts there has been a finding that colleges owe a fiduciary duty to their students.

    Fourth, a few states recognise the idea of bad faith lending - which incorporates the idea that a lender has a duty of good faith to the borrower, and that this extends to the agents - since law school financial aid offices are agents arranging the student loans ... why is the law school off this "hook"?

    I think that judges and bar associations, representing mostly the winners in legal practice, are either in denial of the issues - or are terrified at the implications of considering that their states law schools have so many ethical and legal problems ... but they are there.

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  44. Hey, 1:31 etc. I think I recognize your style of writing.

    Is your name Patrick Ronald Izing?

    I knew a guy by that name long ago. Real irritating creep, he was.

    Most folks used a shorter version of his given names, though, and just called him "PatRon".

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  45. I would say 1:00, 1:25, and all similar-source posts in between need to bash their head against the wall repeatedly. Perhaps - and this is just a theory - maybe then the light would go on that law professors are not in any way shape or form analogous to attorneys in practice representing their law school employer.

    Super-mega-analogy fail.

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  46. "law school tuition has been rising steadily"

    Wonderful use of the passive voice.


    You're right to call out the agent-free nature of that sentence. But it's not the passive voice. Technically, it's one of the phrasal past tenses of the active voice. I wish I could rephrase this in the passive voice as a demonstration, but it's impossible because "rising," in the sense used here, is an intransitive verb.

    (Sorry, it's a pet peeve, and I have some time on my hands.)

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  47. MacK - My point goes to practical outcomes. It is very different to say that one has a fiduciary duty, is bound by an honor code, has an implied warranty of good faith and fair dealing, etc. than it is to say that an alleged breach of any of these would result in actually losing a law suit. If a client doesn't lose a lawsuit then there is no practical breach. And as a lawyer, your job is to inform the client of the likelihood of losing the lawsuit (persuading the client to do the right thing even to their financial detriment is not a high ethical priority - or even a consideration to most). If you think the students will win in their lawsuits that's one thing. But if you think the students will be unsuccessful, then as a lawyer you are ethically obligated to use that analysis to your client's advantage. Although this might not have been a conscious decision on the part of deans/administrators, you can't blame them for executing the principles that they were taught and they continue to teach.

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  48. ^^^ So, teach, can you give us an example (of a non-intransitive form) that starts in the phrasal past active, and then convert it to passive voce?

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  49. Oh! "PatRonIzing". I get it. You so clever. (Idjit)

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  50. Doc,
    Telling me to bash my head into a wall repeatedly and I've made a "Super-mega-analogy fail" hasn't persuaded me. I guess we can just agree to disagree.
    Thanks for your insights.

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  51. 1:49PM -

    I cannot disagree with your point "your job is to inform the client of the likelihood of losing the lawsuit." I have had to tell clients on many occasions that they have right, and the law on their side, but in the court in ----- they are probably screwed - in Indonesia because the other side bough the judge (as happens most of the time) and we can' buy him back, in certain places because they are not local and the other party is, etc.

    I would agree with the premise that what law schools have done is objectively wrong, morally despicable and in principle legally actionable - but, I would say to anyone bringing a suit, you are playing on a field where most of the umpires, the the judges, the sponsors and the owner of the stadium are co-opted by the other side, are chauvanists for the other side, but in any event want you to lose and will make every call for the law schools.

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  52. 1:41 I was the person you were making fun of, and I was literally about to write to say I wasn't PatRon, but that it made me feel bad because you said he was an irritating creep. Anyway, now that I understand the joke, I must admit that it was very clever and that makes me feel a little less bad.

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  53. bought the judge and can't buy him back

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  54. ^^^, 1:41 here. Well then, "don't be a PatRon", because no one likes a PatRon, and after a while, people on blog comments will stop engaging the PatRon. :-)

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  55. So, teach, can you give us an example (of a non-intransitive form) that starts in the phrasal past active, and then convert it to passive voce?

    I'm so glad you asked.

    "Those SOBs have increased tuition again." (Phrasal past tense (the past perfect, specifically), active voice)

    "Tuition has been increased again by those SOBs." (Past perfect tense, passive voice)

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  56. 2:02 I'm honestly saying things that I think are true and looking for insight into whether they are true are not. I don't understand how that is patronizing other than the fact that I haven't seen that opinion expressed here before.

    Maybe you're referring to me responding to people that aren't addressing the content of my statements/questions and are just being mean. I don't believe in being mean back, so as I see it I have two options:

    1) Don't respond back
    2) Respond back in a nice way (even if it may
    be interpreted as patronizing)

    I have a real aversion to ignoring people, especially in an argument setting, so it really only leaves me with option 2). Sorry if it annoys you.

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  57. 2:02 Also, I forgot to say that I would actually prefer it if people didn't respond to me unless they are going to respond in a substantive way. Responding to people saying I should bash my head into a wall is not exactly interesting or enjoyable.

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  58. I don't know. I think Dean Conison is at least thinking things over, and comes to the table with agreement that there is a problem.

    Let's not all crush him with ad hominem venom, but rather try to persuade.

    After all, courtesy and composure are the queen's jewels.

    Play it cool:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xkdP02HKQGc

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  59. You know, you guys could say "personal" instead of "ad hominem." Remember, many of you want to educate 0L's. Using language that very few people understand which doesn't really add to the substance of your point is inconsistent with that goal. Studentdebtforlife, you do make a good point though.

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  60. I give him credit for identifying annual faculty and staff compensation raises as the main driver of tuition increases that far exceed the rate of inflation. Strangely, while acknowledging that his graduates face dire employment prospects, he doesn't even question the proposition that compensation must nevertheless "steadily rise."

    Perhaps the "savvy sophisticated consumers" considering law school will read into this that Valparaiso Law School is not a wise investment. So there's that.

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  61. 2:41PM

    Perhaps the "savvy sophisticated consumers" considering law school will read into this that Valparaiso Law School is not a wise investment. So there's that.

    Better would be if those extending credit reasoned that VLS was a poor credit risk - that would curtail tuition faster.

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  62. 2:06-
    What an incredible triumph of form over content.

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  63. 2:44, no shit. I was being facetious, but nevermind.

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  64. "• Vice president for public affairs of a major corporation.
    • Human resources directors.
    • Executive directors of non-profit organizations.
    • Wealth managers.
    • FBI agents.
    • Global Vice President for Claims of a major insurance company.
    • Policy official in a federal agency.
    • Real estate developers.
    • Consultants (in many fields).
    • Lobbyists.
    • Business entrepreneurs.
    • Project manager.
    • Art gallery owner.
    • Professors and teachers.
    • Fundraisers.
    • Foreign Service officer.
    • Business managers."

    I think what's interesting about this list is the obviously flawed logic behind it. Just because someone with a law degree has ever become any of these things doesn't mean that any of these is a "use" of a law degree. "Educating" students that they might try becoming an art gallery owner or a foreign service officer when they graduate would be tantamount to slowly explaining to them in an implicit (though still more honest) way that they are just completely fucking wasting their money.

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  65. I'm also quite sure that were this list to be represented pictorially, the "business entrepreneur" circle would be really, really big.

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  66. Obviously, 2:58, you did not take the seminar in Art and the Law.

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  67. I am watching my wealth dwindle dramatically. Does that make me a wealth manager?

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  68. @3:54PM

    Cool Boy! Cool!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xkdP02HKQGc

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  69. What an incredible triumph of form over content.

    S/he asked for an example, and I have her/him an example. What's the problem?

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  70. 4:04 There's definitely no problem with me. It's way over my head, but I appreciate your effort. Thanks!

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  71. I am trying to raise funds to pay my student loans! Fundraiser!

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  72. http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/gnxp/2012/07/the-law-school-scam-as-a-cognitive-bias/

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  73. "• Vice president for public affairs of a major corporation. TRANSLATION: PR REP FOR LOCAL MCDONALDS.
    • Human resources directors. TRANSLATION: HIRING SCREENER AT LOWES OR HOME DEPOT.
    • Executive directors of non-profit organizations. TRANSLATION: DEACON OF 501(c)(3) RELIGIOUS CULT KNOWN AS THE CRYPTIC ORDER OF BENEVOLENT REPTILIAN APOSTLES.
    • Wealth managers. TRANSLATION: BREAKING PIGGY BANKS AND BUYING TREASURY BILLS.
    • FBI agents. TRANSLATION: FEMALE BODY INSPECTION AGENT AT LOCAL WATERING HOLE.
    • Global Vice President for Claims of a major insurance company. TRANSLATION: CLAIMS AGENT FOR VALET COMPANIES THAT SETTLE FOR SMALL CASH AMOUNTS OR THREATEN CHAPTER 7 BANKRUPTCY FILING.
    • Policy official in a federal agency. TRANSLATION: CONGRESSIONAL PAGE/INTERN.
    • Real estate developers. TRANSLATION: SQUATTER WHO SUCCESSFULLY CONVERTED A BROWNSTONE IN TOMPKINS SQUARE PARK AREA TO A MAKESHIFT DUPLEX.
    • Consultants (in many fields). TRANSLATION: E.G., DANCE INSTRUCTOR, LATTE SPECIALIST, ETC.
    • Lobbyists. TRANSLATON: SQUEEGEE MAN WHO LOBBIES FOR YOUR CHANGE AFTER "CLEANING" YOUR WINDSHIELD WITH URINE.
    • Business entrepreneurs. TRANSLATION: HOARDER WITH MULTIPLE EBAY ACCOUNTS.
    • Project manager. TRANSLATION: CENSUS WORKER WHOSE TASK IS TO HARRASS/QUESTION PEOPLE ABOUT HOW MANY TIMES THEY FLUSH THE TOILET, ETC.
    • Art gallery owner. TRANSLATION: GRAFITTI ARTIST WITH MULTIPLE DISPLAYS ON PUBLIC HANDBALL COURTS.
    • Professors and teachers. TRANSLATION: LEVEL THREE BARISTA WHO TEACHES ENTRY LEVEL BARISTAS HOW TO OPERATE THE CAPUCCINO MACHINE.
    • Fundraisers. TRANSLATION: "BROTHER, CAN YOU SPARE A QUARTER?"
    • Foreign Service officer. TRANSLATION: MEMBER OF FRENCH FOREIGN LEGION.
    • Business managers. TRANSLATION: PIMP OR DOC REVIEW HAG."

    If you look at it this way, the Dean only bent the truth a tad bit. But yes, I agree you don't need a JD to pursue any of the aforementioned positions.

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  74. He forgot to add NFL Quarterback and Sports Announcer to the list...you know Steve Young, Esq.

    I guess, moving in line with law school lies, he could have made three or four unique categories out of Steve.

    1. NFL Quarterback.
    2. Hall of Fame NFL Quarterback.
    3. First Left-Handed NFL Quarterback inducted into the Hall of Fame.
    4. Sports Announcer

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  75. Soooooooooooooooooo, does anyone besides me have any kind of problem with how law schools have been dealing with their students in recent years?

    Some of the conduct strikes me as questionable.

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  76. Dean CONison didn't prepare very well for his speech. He should have consulted with this first rate source:

    http://faculty.law.lsu.edu/ccorcos/Student%20Services/What%20Else%20You%20Can%20Do%20With%20a%20Law%20Degree.htm

    You see, with a law degree you can become an actor like John Cleese or the obnoxious Jewish kid who played Kevin's best friend on the "Wonder Years."

    Why with a law degree, you can become a playwright, a poet, a musician, a journalist, a scientist, inventor, an athlete or even royalty. Well Queen Elizabeth, I have been a lawyer for 20 fucking years. When are you going to knight me?

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  77. What was the point of the "obnoxious Jewish kid" comment? Is he obnoxious because he's Jewish? Nice antiemetic rant fr no clear purpose. Of course you're probably a failed lawyer who is bitter at being stomped day in and day out by smart Jewish lawyers.

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  78. 6:03PM, uh no. Stop making everything anti-semetic. Josh Saviano played a Jewish kid on the show. His religion was discussed on the show. He was also very obnoxious at times, which strained his friendship with the main character. So he was Jewish and obnoxious independently. Why must people like you assume the comment was anti-semetic? As for your other comment, there are many smart Jewish lawyers and also dumb ones. I surmise you belong in the latter category.

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  79. 6:03 - lighten up - for god's sake, do you how much I have to put up with my Jewish colleagues making jokes about JAPs - those are so outrageous - the ethnic stereotyping of Asian and Japanese women is disgraceful - and the jokes are sexist too - they don't make much sense anyway. I've lived in Japan, Japanese women are not like that at all.

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  80. Socrates would have a field day with the versatility argument.

    1) I have a degree in Latin.
    2) I work as an accountant.

    Therefore,
    Accountancy is what I 'did with my qualification'.

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  81. "Compensation costs steadily rise..." --Dean Conasan of Valparaiso.

    I like the subject-less construction. It makes the whole thing seem inevitable, like the rising of the tide when the moon is full.

    A less elegant, but more honest construction might be: "We keep raising our own salaries at your expense."

    dybbuk

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  82. MacK knows all. He has lived everywhere and done everything. Thank goodness he somehow manages to find time to bloviate incessantly on this blog. Let us all be grateful that he deigns to interact with mere mortals. How would any of us get along without his guidance?

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  83. 6:56 Jealous much?

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  84. Since the idiot at 1:25 etc. asked for an actual answer. Here are a variety of reasons why it's improper to analogize the role of law professors/administrators to attorneys for the schools:

    1. They aren't bound by legal ethics rules or "practicing law" for UPL purposes.
    2. Many of them are not admitted to practice law.
    3. They can leave the school voluntarily and are under no lingering fiduciary duties to anyone.
    4. They aren't performing any unique service.
    5. Thanks to ideals of academic freedom and tenure, the school has no claim to a breach of duty for advocating against the school.

    Later, you claim they're more analogous to situations where the interests of other parties overlap and sometimes contradict. Well, what about that makes them different than any other employee in any other industry? I read you to bring up the consumer "analogy." This isn't an analogy, but a direct truth. Law schools push a consumer product and the professors are agents of the company and therefore has a vested interest in seeing the product do well. Uh...duh.

    What many of us claim makes law professors different from the run-of-the-mill biased employee working the customer service desk at Random Insurance Co. is that law professors have all gone to law school and at some point actually been subject to the ethics rules. At the very least, we would argue, they should be inculcating those values in their students by example. Furthermore, they're academics, and many of us feel that as academics their "client" (to use your language) is knowledge and truth first and foremost.

    As a result, many of us abhor the law professors not because we chide them for advocating for the employers, but because by advocating for their employers' fraudulent and dishonest conduct, they are in serious breach of legal ethics and academic duty.

    By comparing them to ordinary employees or even licensed and hired attorneys, you're relieving them of those two other duties, which, I would argue, are higher duties than their right to advocate for their employer. The conflict isn't necessarily between students' interests and the schools', but rather between professors' duty as academics in a professional school charged with ethical education and their self-created, self-dealing "duty" to participate in the fraud.

    As an aside, if they WERE attorneys serving as inside counsel and they sat on board meetings where the faculty/admin were discussing fraudulent activity, they'd probably be in serious trouble with the bar.

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  85. 7:58 You're whole argument is based on the assumption that what law schools are engaging in is actually fraudulent in a practical sense, i.e. that law schools would/will lose in court. If you actually believe that the law students will be successful with their law suits, then that is one thing, but if you don't then your argument doesn't hold water. I'm guessing you don't have much experience as an attorney given this statement:

    As an aside, if they WERE attorneys serving as inside counsel and they sat on board meetings where the faculty/admin were discussing fraudulent activity, they'd probably be in serious trouble with the bar.

    That statement is not consistent with the reality of practicing law. What you call "fraudulent activity," the law school, their lawyers, and the court will call "marketing." The level of "fraudulent activity" that law schools engage in is so tame compared with the myriad of bad acts that lawyers help their clients engage in daily, that it really is preposterous to say "they'd probably be in serious trouble with the bar."

    Try this exercise: assume you are a practicing lawyer and you are hired by a law school to represent them. What would your advice be? That they need to disclose all data in their possession that makes them look bad? That they need to cut their employees' salaries because it isn't "fair" to students? I'll give you that you can try to persuade them to do that on moral grounds, but such persuasion is not a common practice in law today.

    I am honestly asking you what you would tell them assuming you think students are unlikely to be successful in lawsuits against law schools and they tell you their goal is to maximize revenue so they can enhance their ranking/reputation (which they say will ultimately help their students' employment prospects)?

    Finally to your point about law professors being academics. First, very little scholarship in law schools is peer reviewed - and that point alone should give you serious pause in calling law professors academics. Second, law is unique in that truth and knowledge is never a goal (unless you are a judge or a DA - but in practicality I've observed that DA's don't strive for truth like they should). As a practicing lawyer your goal is to win (in whatever measure your client decides). This is taught in ethics classrooms in every law school in the country. Which brings me to my original question: how can you expect these people to look out for your interests when they are in a system that teaches them that "winning" and making the best argument possible are all that matters? And how can you expect them to operate in a way that you would gladly help them avoid if they paid your hourly fee, and which is not only sanctioned by ethical rules but is required?

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  86. 7:58 Also, I never made the point that they were actually representing the schools they work for. My point was that if they were representing the schools as lawyers they would be ethically bound to help the law schools do exactly as they have done. It doesn't take a huge leap in logic to explain the behavior of trained lawyers acting as law school administrators given that observation (I'd be shocked if any law school dean in the country didn't have a JD).

    Finally, please don't call me an "idiot" because you think my ideas are incorrect (because you can't have an interesting discussion with anyone without calling them an idiot if you follow that rule). If you must call me an "idiot" please do so because I typed "You're" when I should have typed "Your" (or for any of my other typos), but I'd prefer if you didn't call me names at all.

    Thanks for your response.

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  87. MacK -

    Not sure if you were joking but JAP is also a slightly derogatory term for a particular Jewish girl: "Jewish American Princess." It isn't always a slur aimed at the Japanese.

    http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=J.A.P.

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  88. 7:37 Law is unique in that it teaches lawyers that they are ethically obligated to help clients do things that they consider immoral. This training is what makes anyone with a JD different from other employees.

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  89. Ghandi was a lawyer. Just saying. If you currently attend Valparaiso, you could ask your career services office how to get involved with that line of work.

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  90. 7:58, 8:32 and 8:48 - so to summarise, what law school deans and administrations are doing it unethical, immoral, and if an unbiased judge was applying the law illegal and a basis for an award of damages ... but is is a loser because ... well, everyone who should do anything about it has so far been co-opted by the guilty. It is frustrating ... but then it is everyday in the legal game. Don't call each other names about it.

    7:37 - Thanks, but I can fight my own corner - 6:56 is just a guy who has asian girls on the brain and is well, umm embarrassed

    8:53 - maybe it is cognitive dissonance on my part

    "Raised in a wealthy household, selfish, high-maintenance to the point of sheer insanity, stuck-up, the worst woman to date/marry on planet earth" not Japanese at all

    "A Female who collects designer fashion items and status symbols" well, maybe, a little parasaito shinguru

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  91. "You're whole argument is based on the assumption that what law schools are engaging in is actually fraudulent in a practical sense, i.e. that law schools would/will lose in court."

    As this is false, misstates the ethical obligations involved, is not what I believe or what I argued, and has little basis in anything I said, I quit reading your post after it.

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  92. If you take LawProf's analysis from the prior Bloodbath post and apply it to Valparaiso's employment stats, Valparaiso's class of 2011 has a bad outcome of 85%. William Ockham

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  93. An ugly reality of the law school scam .... six figure student loan debt, suicide attempt, and facing homelessness.

    http://www.homelessforums.org/showthread.php?t=8649

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  94. @2:41AM

    That is terrible. Is she in the US?

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  95. Sigh. I applied for a low-level teaching job at Valpo Law and was not interviewed.

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  96. 7:58 pm: which lawprofs are advocating for their "employers' fraudulent and dishonest conduct"? Can you cite examples?

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  97. Law schools are evil and law students are victims.

    What a consequential blog.

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  98. When I was in law school (10+ years ago), a tenured spot in academia was what the top students aspired to. As many of my classmates saw it, the pay was good, the work was not that hard, the environment was not toxic like Big Law, and you would have students looking up to you, plus more prestige than most law partners if you're at a halfway-decent school. That was considered an excellent outcome.

    Those who were "lucky" enough to get jobs teaching are now stuck in a system that's ripping off all but a tiny handful of students. Since they're not fit to practice law (and firms aren't hiring, anyway), about their only exit option is teaching at a private elementary or high school, which pays peanuts. But if they try to reform the system in any manner that's likely to have an effect, they become pariahs and invite retaliation. So they just sit where they are and hang on to their jobs and lie low and hope the higher-ed bubble somehow just goes quietly away. They didn't "create" the system, and they usually aren't the ones who actually encourage 0Ls to enroll -- thus, they can even see themselves as victims, even as they cash their large, government-subsidized paychecks.

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  99. Mack does seem to type unendingly about himself and his curriculum vitae.

    How about you just put that BS in your blogger profile? That way you won't have to retype it after every one of LawProf's posts and can enlighten all of us with other, more interesting aspects of your expertise and worldview.

    0656 is absolutely correct.

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  100. I suppose everyone's situation is different, but 8:58 sounds like a parable designed to make a point that could be made without it. But maybe it's real. That, however, was not my experience in law school. There was no one thing to which "the top students" aspired. Their aspirations were varied, because they had choices, due to their success in law school. Some of the top students wanted to go into academia, but many more wanted to get out and make as much money as they could-- in law firms or in financial houses to which they could have gained entree because of their high GPAs. Consulting firms that interviewed on campus, McKinsey especially, were extremely popular. The next big thing for folks like that was to get much coveted public interest jobs. Prestigious government offices in big cities, think S.D.N.Y, were also on the radar screen. I would say that 8:58 can speak of the top students he/she knew at his/her school, but not about all top students there or other places. The picture presented of top students works--kind of-- for the moral of the story, but it is not reflective of reality.

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  101. I just wanted to chime in and say that I enjoy MacK's comments. I think he adds some interesting real-life perspective from a successful practitioner.

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  102. ***"Dean Conison has a post today on Huffington celebrating the Versatile Law Degree. "***

    I hope everyone will hop on over to the FluffPost and make a comment.

    Thanks for providing the link.

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  103. The thing that strikes me about the Valpo dean is his basic assumption that everthing will continue on as its been for the past 30 years. "Sorry about the tough job market, but costs are going up and we have to raise tuition." Wake up Dean, you are charging more money for a product that is worth less and less and for which demand is crashing. Its not hard to see how this ends for Valpo.

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  104. I had a view this past week from the US Government Accountability Office.

    It could have been anyone there, but here is food for thought from the GAO Department's site:

    "Often called the "congressional watchdog," GAO investigates how the federal government spends taxpayer dollars."

    I think I do recall President Obama in a past State of The Union Address telling the Universities to make education more affordable or else the money might be cut off.

    Maybe I'm trying to read tea leaves, but was President Obama implying something about cutting back, or at least placing more controls on Federally backed Student lending?

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  105. Is the Huffington Post part of the law school's attempts to regain the grond they've lost? I noticed that Above the Law didn't cover the famed Victoria Pynchon article.

    You know that with this much money at stake, now that law schools are being shaken out of their complacency by declining enrollments, they are going to be out on the offensive for next year.

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  106. Others have mentioned it, but I still think a "Letters to the Editor" campaign would be particularly effective, especially if we responded to the home markets of the shills each time they spoke out.

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  107. I think you are misapprehending how much people outside of the legal world (or the world of law school related blogs, actually) care about all of this. To call a blog article about law schools "famed" is more than a stretch. It's famous to folks who come on here, but that's not much in the scheme of a regular notion of "fame". The Segal articles might be called "famed". But that's about it, and even that is pushing it.

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  108. There are only EIGHT comments on Valpariso Dean's article, and several of them are complimentary.

    C'mon, folks, head on over there!!

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  109. 4:59:

    I read all eight, only one is complimentary. The rest counter nearly everything he said.

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  110. 5:16, correct of course. And the other thing to note is, with only 8 comments, that's pretty good evidence that no one is reading his post, either.

    Some of the farticles at fluffpo run to thousands of comments.

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  111. Ah if we get into a war they will just delete the comment thread. We should have documented the whole PYNchon comment before she nuked it.

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  112. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  113. When the crash comes, the Valpo dean will become the Alpo dean! Hey-oh!

    Sorry if someone above did that joke already...

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  114. I just want everyone to know that I am confident that I will get the first comment on the next post.

    And that comment will warn against nonpersuasive personal attacks, and say:

    "This is not an uncivilized ultimate fighting street brawl or match! The Marcus of Queensbury Rules apply.

    After all, courtesy and composure are the Queen's jewels!"

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