Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Do you have any questions for us?

 "Yes -- how do you plan to keep your doors open, all things considered?"

This weekend Arizona State's law school hosted a conference for aspiring law professors, which featured Prawfsblawg's Paul Horwitz, along with 15 other law faculty, mostly from ASU and Arizona.  One topic which I've been told came up quite a bit in the discussions is how to handle the potential awkwardness of questions regarding the crisis in legal education.

Should a candidate doing screening interviews at the annual DC hiring conference raise the issue in that context, or even allude to it?  This is a tough issue, pragmatically speaking, given that there's a pretty compelling argument that half the schools at the conference ought to be closing their doors rather than hiring yet more faculty.

Take a look at this spreadsheet, which gives a very fragmentary glimpse into what various hiring committees are looking to do this year.  Chapman -- a massively overpriced law school with horrible placement statistics located in the middle of the most saturated legal market in the country -- is looking to hire three more professors.  Suffolk is looking for a few good men (or women).  Hofstra wants to fill two or three junior slots. And so forth.

It would be interesting to know what advice aspiring legal academics were given on this obviously touchy subject, especially since, law faculties being what they are, it's likely that many hiring committees include some people who remain in partial to complete denial on the subject (It's arguable that some level of denial regarding the future of legal education would almost be a prerequisite for being on most law school hiring committees at this point).

Anyway perhaps someone who was there can help shed light on this topic.

On a related note:

I'm an attorney practicing trusts and estates law in Oakland.

I need someone who can be available from time to time when I meet with clients to execute instruments. Your job will be to act as a "witness." Days and times are flexible, generally.

No pay. You won't have any duties other than to show up and bear witness to what's happening, so. . . yeah, no pay.

I offer more than nothing, though. Although now I'm a solo doing trusts and estates, I used to be at a firm doing complex civil litigation for big scary financial service industry clients. I can probably answer any questions you might have about practicing law in the real world. I can help you with your writing, and give you edits and suggestions on stuff you've written.

Also, if all goes well, you can use me as a professional reference, and I'll speak glowingly about you to prospective employers.

Email if you're interested. Thanks.







54 comments:

  1. Good use of resources:

    http://www.law.georgetown.edu/news/web-stories/hip-hop-for-justice.cfm

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Looks like it would fit into the catchall category of "and the law."

      A sure way to be ignored or mocked by serious minded people is to take a class ending in "and the law." For example, "gender, and the law," "hip hop music, and the law," "race, and the law," "international sign language, and the law."

      If law is an afterthought in the title, it likely is an afterthought in content. Not to knock "empowerment through Brazilian Hip Hop" but there's a time and a place for it. The time is Carnival, and the place is Rio.

      Delete
    2. Oh come, come, hip-hop and the law is serious scholarship. It takes a studious mind to appreciate it.

      Delete
    3. First day's class applying NWA's old skool classic "Fuck the Police" topFourth Amendment jurisprudence.

      Delete
    4. First day of class: applying NWA's old skool classic "Fuck the Police" to contemporary Fourth Amendment jurisprudence.

      Delete
    5. I don't even know what hip-hop is.

      Delete
    6. 5:53, spoken like a true boomer.

      Delete
  2. I considered going to the aspiring law professor conference.

    Regrettably it is scheduled to occur at the same time as the aspiring buggy whip manufacturer's conference, the aspiring full-service stock broker's convention, and the greater Las Vegas homebuilding society's annual meet and greet with the mortgage brokers.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Here's the famous skewering of document review in one of the original scamblogs, Bigdebtsmalllaw:

    "At Paul Weiss, for example, they crammed 120 people into a basement room that NYC fire code rated for 80. This was in 2005. Like steerage passengers on the Titanic, we labored in the bowels of the building, right alongside the boilers and HVAC equipment. Lacking air conditioning and adequate ventilation, many came down with colds that went untreated due to the lack of health insurance. A cockroach problem soon erupted due to the crumbs and food garbage strewn about the cellar floor, which was treated with multiple Raid roach fogger bombs. The morning after the exterminators finished, dead roaches littered our keyboards and even crawled, stunted but still living, from the floppy drives and servers!
    We were paid $21 an hour, straight time, and required to work from 9 am to 11 pm seven days a week. Forbidden to use the firm’s lavish upstairs restrooms, they had all 120 of us split a pair of airplane sized-bathrooms that were on the Concourse level under the Rock Center, open to the public and a favorite bathing spot for the homeless. One affable homeless chap named “Bones” would use the lone toilet in there as a foot bidet, rinsing his diabetic ulcer in the excrement-caked shitpot and yelling “I’m in here motherfucker!”every time one of us coders needed to relieve himself. Most of us just went next door and used the Heartland Brewery’s bathroom (did I mention that restroom breaks of over six minutes had to be deducted from one’s timesheet? As a coder, bowel movements can quickly cut into the bottom line).

    The next stop on my vagabond coding career was Sullivan & Cromwell, that whitest of the white shoe firms. This dump has three levels of sunless, underground bunkers where the temp attorneys and their documents are warehoused, far away from the skyline corner offices where the serious shitpaper gets pushed. It’s like those alternative communities of urban legend that one reads about online: the subway’s “mole people” and such.
    You are instructed by your temp agency pimp to meet in the lobby of 125 Broad Street at 9 am sharp, where you assemble as a group to be marched upstairs and “processed” like that busload of inmates from The Shawshank Redemption. Told to dress in a “suit and tie” for the first day, they soon march you downstairs to the dungeon where the “coders for life” toil in pajamas and sweatpants, chanting “new fish, fresh fish, we got new fish today” at the suit – clad newbies who are starting the first day of the rest of their lives. Many start openly weeping into their spiffy leather Perry Ellis portfolios, some even freshly monogrammed as recent law school graduation gifts. Many start bleating mindlessly for the mothers, returning to an infantile state as the overwhelming sadness and abject disappointment slowly seeps in. As I said, welcome ye to the first day of the rest of your life!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. OSHA and FLSA violations abound in doc review.

      Delete
  4. (cont). Due to their colossal ineptitude, complete lack of common sense, and probably outright billing fraud, squads of coders arrive for the mandatory 14 hour “workdays” only to be kept idly waiting for hour upon endless hour as documents are loaded, clarifications are sought, software is configured, the moon rises in Taurus and Capricorn descends into autumn, etc. It’s rare to squeeze more than 45 minutes of actual coding time into a 14 hour day. Not knowing the Sullivan drill, many newbie coders turn down Sullivan gigs because the long mandatory hours rightly terrify them.
    But us veterans know the old “Clownshop” (as the temps call it) all too well. The waiting coders nap, play cards, vandalize the workstations and so on while waiting for documents and instructions that rarely arrive. Some even operate wire fraud scams and lotteries on the S&C computers, thus “double dipping” and making real bank. A cool Nigerian coder even once used the break-room hot plate to cook us all an authentic African ox-tail stew, which ended with a dessert course provided by raiding the partner’s pantry freezer and ripping off a case of ice-cream sandwiches that were meant for some lame Merrill Lynch client meeting or whatever.

    Of course, the clients are billed regardless, since firms of this caliber are as immune to the ethics rules as Typhoid Mary was to disease. It’s always some solo ambulance chaser who ends up disbarred for screwing up a $1500 fender bender whiplash case, while Sullivan and the other white-shoe thieves rip off Fortune 500 client’s cash by the wheelbarrow load with time-wasting make-work and pointless re-reviews of the same irrelevant documents."

    http://abovethelaw.com/2009/08/mamas-dont-let-your-babies-grow-up-to-be-contract-attorneys/

    ReplyDelete
  5. Cutting off funding must be the focus of reform. There are too many lawyers chasing too little work.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I recently met a JD/philosophy PhD aspiring law prof who was very worried about the meat market because the focus has apparently shifted to the "practical" in law prof hiring. I felt bad for him for preparing for a career in a way that surely made sense at the time that he started his education, much like many of us thought that a law career made sense when we enrolled because the bogus statistics had not yet been exposed. I guess it's a good sign that law schools are starting to respond to pressure by hiring more "practice-oriented" profs. But as has been rehashed many times on this site, it obviously does no good so long as there as twice as many JDs as there are job openings.

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  7. It's about damn time. Universities and colleges have long figured out that they can get just as much - if not more - work out of TAs, graduate students, adjuncts and associate professors. Of course, this doesn't lower tuition or anything.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I found this xtranormal cartoon which depicts the life of a doc reviewer/coder. Can anyone attest to how true this cartoon is regarding doc review work and conditions?

    http://www.xtranormal.com/watch/6310145/super-toileteer-stuck-in-biglaw-dungeon

    ReplyDelete
  9. bummer no local school is looking to hire someone with my expertise.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Easy as it is to mock non-T14 schools for continuing to add faculty rather than try to rein in costs, perhaps they are being rational? I.e. they are betting that the Fed. $$'s will continue to roll in due to the impracticality of shutting down bad schools due to diversity obsessions. If you look at the faculty hires at Indiana Inst. Tech law school it's difficult not to infer that the school is targeting minorities.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Today I was waiting for class in the lobby of a university building - I'm getting out of the law morass - and saw a copy of PreLaw magazine on the coffee table. To its credit, there was an article called something like "The Real Cost of Law School" but also an article on "What is Human Rights Law?" - speaking of it as if it were a career option. And an article about going to the Gulf State region for law school, because it's cheap. High paying international human rights job in Mississippi, anyone?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, that is local practice there.

      Delete
  12. Unemployed JDs should open up vocational schools designed to help laid off law professors get real jobs.

    ReplyDelete
  13. About the Oakland job in the post: Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't it customary to offer a man a beer in exchange for him doing you a favor?

    WTF?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You want a tip?

      Don't spit in the wind.

      Don't eat yellow snow.

      That's twice what you asked for.

      Delete
    2. I see what you're saying.

      Delete
    3. But he'll speak glowingly about you to prospective employers because you came and stood around while his clients signed some papers. That should help land you a great gig.

      Delete
  14. Re: The surreal Oakland Job post and the nut that posted it.

    When I was at Touro Law School and in my third year, I signed up for an elective course, and the instructor, who was a lawyer, wasn't there for the very first class.

    So we all sat around in the class kind of confused, and then a law prof. dean, came down to the basement classroom and said that the instructor's mother had called and said that her son, the instructor or teacher, was running late.

    So we all sat around some more, and then the Instructor finally showed up, and was really strange.

    He cracked a few bad jokes and asked questions, and then, thinking he was funny, said: "Fuck You" in reply to an answer that a woman in the class had given to one of his questions.

    I stood up and walked out.

    I wrote a letter describing the whole event to the registrar of Touro Law School, and followed up with an office visit not too long after.

    I sat down and across the desk from Dean Waxman, the Registrar of Touro Law School, and asked him face to face for my $1,800.00 dollars in borrowed tuition money back.

    Dean Waxman said to me: "We are not inclined to grant it."

    And so that was it. I never got my eighteen hundred bucks back.

    Dean Waxman was a big fan of Winston Churchill and had pictures of Churchill in his office.

    Oh... I have more stories like this.

    ReplyDelete
  15. accept no wooden nickels

    ReplyDelete
  16. How come comments are down? I think we're all waiting for the first law school to close. should be soon, right?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Probably Whittier first.

      Delete
    2. I guess a lot of law professors are busy with the conference.

      Delete
  17. And why is the US Department of Defense in Columbus Ohio following my blog so closely?

    I am not a terrorist and not a threat to US security.

    I am proud of my US citizenship and heritage.

    My grandfather and great grandfather practically erected all of the steel in Washington DC in the 1930's and for so many buildings.

    They built the US Supreme Court building in 1932, and my grandfather even did top secret heavy construction work for the Manhattan Project.

    I complain about student loan debt and now I am a public enemy?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They need bodies to look for IEDs in Afghanistan and heavily-indebted former students are first on the list. Do not go out alone at night or you may wake up in a cargo plane enroute to the sand-box.

      Normally they would train you and give you a uniform and all that, but times are tough. Anyway you won't be doing it long.

      Delete
    2. Dude, lay off the paranoia for a while. Every blog gets these kinds of visitors, mainly because there's a hell of a lot of bored and lazy people working for the government who have nothing better to do than surf the net.

      Delete
    3. Could just be an aspiring law schoolchild who works for the DOD in Columbus.

      Delete
    4. If the DOD does get you, is there anything you want us to do?

      Delete
    5. Doin_Dark_Ops_BUCKEYE_STYLESeptember 18, 2012 at 6:14 PM

      Oh, man, nothing is more fearsome than the DOD in Columbus, Ohio.

      Them Buckeyes is scaaaaa-ry, Dude.

      Delete
    6. Two things:

      1. It's someone AT the DoD looking at your blog, not the DoD itself. It's probably a bored administrative assistant browsing the blogs on her lunch hour while dreaming about escaping her tedious career and going to law school. Do you know how many computers filter through government IP addresses? Everyone from the janitor ordering supplies to department heads. Nobody is spying on you. You're not that important or interesting!

      2. It's extraordinarily creepy for you to be so interested in tracking visitors in this way. People like the anomymity of blogs like ITLSS because Campos does not (yet) "reveal" or "out" visitors he doesn't like, or brag about who is looking at his site. And that, as you can see, leads to very vibrant discussions in the comments; we trust him. With your blog, you have no visitors and no comments because people don't trust that you will not try to "out" them if you don't like what they say. Cryn's blog suffered from the same disease too: she started to "out" people and started focusing on telling everybody the IP addresses of visitors, trying to claim that the FBI was watching her, and it drove the blog into obscurity as people just stopped visiting. In the real life professional world, we don't want to be the guy who gets in trouble for looking at a blog and getting posts written about us. Same for Nando - when he "outs" people, people don't trust him anymore and don't comment on his blog. He has stopped this recently, thank god.

      There's a reason everybody has flocked over here. It's not just that this blog is intelligent and on the money. It's also that this blog is a safe place to discuss these issues without the ego and paranoia of the blog owner getting in the way, and thinking that he's so important that the government is tracking his every move.

      Delete
    7. 6:44, "Campos does not (yet) "reveal" or "out" visitors he doesn't like"

      `Zactly. The day that happens, this frequent reader and frequent poster will stop being either/both.

      This despite some of the sycophants here urging LawProf to out people they disagree with.

      Delete
    8. Each morning when you get up, just remember that you didn't get a knock on the door the prior night and be thankful. It is helpful to be optimistic.

      Delete
  18. "Should a candidate doing screening interviews at the annual DC hiring conference raise the issue in that context, or even allude to it? This is a tough issue, pragmatically speaking, given that there's a pretty compelling argument that half the schools at the conference ought to be closing their doors rather than hiring yet more faculty."

    LawProf, this is a damned exaggeration of the situation. Only 47% of them should close their doors.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So, which extra six are you going to keep? Can't go by USNWR rank, since (a) it's meaningless over #100, and (b) oh yeah, they don't even "rank" them past 100 anyways...

      Delete
    2. I'm thinking of hiding the answer to this question in a million pages of documents and then forcing the law profs at each of the unranked schools to congregate in a unheated basement and be chained to their workstations until the answer is found. Don't find it quick enough, your school gets the chop!

      Delete
  19. @2:04PM

    OMG, that reminds me of something, and I guess the world never changes :) Go to:

    @1:46 here:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FoMueViET0w

    ReplyDelete
  20. The sooner you kick the bucket, er, IED, the sooner your account gets closed and paid. Little Jamie Dimon of JP Morgan Chase needs the bread. Nothing personal, if that helps.

    ReplyDelete
  21. @2:22PM

    Jamie Dimon (MBA) is kind of like a ship's figurehead, sailing us all to a brave new world of debt. I guess:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nFFtj4N9rfw

    And by and large the MBA's don't want to know from the JD's for nuthin'.

    Al Lord doesn't have a law degree either, and does quite nicely.


    ReplyDelete
  22. I'm more excited about lawprof's ebook which is being published this week.

    I'm looking forward to having a great resource to send 0Ls to.

    By the way, TLS has several summers who were no- offered at Winston. All of whom have grades and LR. Other people from southern firms, including people for
    UVa don't have jobs. These are all great candidates who are struggling now. Then there are all top people from places like UT and Hastings that have nothing yet.

    I can't wait to start hammering advice. I'm starting my big law V10 job soon. I want to get this message out!!

    ReplyDelete
  23. The ebook doesn't show up on amazon yet. It is called Don't Go to law School ( unless).

    ReplyDelete
  24. It seems in the book lawprof's tells us the handful of schools worth sticker; the schools worth going for a steep discount; and, the few dozen regional schools that are worth going to for free.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Sorry for not making in long post for the above. On my phone. Really looking forward to this book though.

    ReplyDelete
  26. I am pleased to see that Paul Horwitz, my favorite "Prawfsblawg" poster, was chosen to give the keynote at this important conference of wannabee scammers. In his verbose and “milquetoast” (his word) online writing, Horwitz displays a self-deprecating wit, as well as a becoming scholarly appreciation of the endless complexity of every little thing.

    However, when the terrible suggestion that law school is a scam is raised in public, as opposed to polite or watered-down criticism in books and scholarly articles that will probably never reach a mainstream or student audience, Horwitz does a quick transformation and becomes as nasty and arrogant as any nobleman confronted with the complaints of ungrateful peasants.

    What did Horwitz say at the conference about the crisis in legal education? On Prawfs, he reports that he earnestly invoked the concept of "vocation" and urged his audience to “think about” and “address” the crisis “both at your own school and in the broader environment.” Fine words and fine sentiments, surely!

    http://prawfsblawg.blogs.com/prawfsblawg/2012/09/what-i-told-the-aspiring-law-professors.html#comments

    Here, however, are some Prawfsblawg quotes from Horwitz, in his less attractive moments, which may provide a window into the true beliefs held by Horwitz and the other great legal pedagogues and future pedagogues who assembled in Tempe:

    1) “I don't necessarily see a one-to-one correspondence between having practical skills and being good at imparting those skills; plenty of brilliant swimming coaches are not themselves Olympics-level swimmers.”

    2) “Talking in class, and other ways of throwing yourself into the mix, is a terrific, bad-consequence-free way of actually starting to practice at being a lawyer. Take advantage.”

    3) [on the author of this blog] “...I think there's something deeply wrong with using cheap tricks to get attention, especially when the author then repeatedly and vaguely disclaims those cheap tricks, while still employing them, leaving a residue of disgust over everything he touches.”

    4) “I am just about ready to shoot any student who walks into law school with the Chemerinsky con law treatise and without the assigned con law casebook (and yes, it has happened [the business with the books, not the shooting]).”

    Sources:

    http://prawfsblawg.blogs.com/prawfsblawg/2011/08/i-am-lawprof.html
    (Horwitz comment, at Aug 11, 2011 2:46:48 PM, on his own Campos-bashing post “I am Law Prof,” at Prawfsblawg)

    http://prawfsblawg.blogs.com/prawfsblawg/2011/08/abandon-hope-all-ye-who-enter-here-or-my-advice-to-first-years.html
    (see numbered paragraph #4)

    http://prawfsblawg.blogs.com/prawfsblawg/2011/09/law-school-transparency-petition.html

    http://prawfsblawg.blogs.com/prawfsblawg/2011/08/abandon-hope-all-ye-who-enter-here-or-my-advice-to-first-years.html
    (see numbered paragraph #8)

    dybbuk

    ReplyDelete
  27. At least one of the speakers from that stupid conference only learned evidence to pass the bar, because, duh, prestigious schools don't require evidence. You don't need evidence to pontificate on what the law could or should be, after all!

    How can you teach the practice of law if you have literally no idea what it's like to practice? Ever?

    ReplyDelete
  28. Yesterday, the Board of Trustees at the University where I work announced a faculty raise pool of 5.5 percent. This includes the law faculty, all but a handful of whom make more than $100,000 per year. The few who don't make more than this sum are "legal writing professors" who teach one class per semester and are paid in the range of $60,000-$90,000 annually.

    The student:faculty ratio is currently 11:1 and shrinking - this year's entering class was smaller than last year's by 7%, and we're currently looking to hire two or three new faculty members.

    Our president, who is already paid more than $400,000 annually, will also receive a 5% salary increase.

    Meanwhile, tuition at the law school went up last year by 6.5% and will probably go up between 5.5% and 6.5% again this year. Undergraduate tuition increased by 5% and will probably increase by another 5% this year. When will it end?

    ReplyDelete

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