Thursday, September 13, 2012

Hope and Change, Cook County Circuit Court Edition

Yesterday Cook County Circuit Court Judge Neil Cohen granted DePaul's motion to dismiss a class action suit brought by several DePaul graduates, who enrolled at the law school between 2003 and 2008, incurred massive student loan debt (one now has an outstanding balance of more than $300,000), and were either unable to get any legal jobs at all, or are doing very low-paid legal work that doesn't allow them to pay their loans in a timely manner.

The essence of Judge Cohen's ruling can be boiled down to this:


(1) DePaul didn't literally promise prospective students that they would get jobs as lawyers, or what those jobs would pay.

(2) The plaintiffs had no legal right to rely on DePaul's representations regarding employment and salary prospects, because they had an obligation to independently investigate whether these representations were materially misleading.

(3) Law schools have no fiduciary obligation to prospective or current students.  Deciding whether to enroll or remain enrolled in a particular law school involves an arm's length contractual quasi-negotiation, and if prospective students don't want to get ripped off they should do their own research regarding whether they're being fed tarted up stats that can't be taken at face value (see 2, supra).

The plaintiffs' complaint puts forth the view that prospective students have, or at least had at the time the plaintiffs' enrolled (a critical detail the court simply ignores), a reasonable expectation that law schools were the sorts of institutions that wouldn't publish misleading employment and salary statistics:

De Paul, like other law schools, is an integral part of our legal system, and the first place in which incipient lawyers are inculcated not only with legal principles but legal ethics. As such, it is almost inconceivable that a prospective student would even contemplate that a bulwark of the legal profession would ever publish information that was false, incomplete and materially misleading. A student would expect to be able to rely on the accuracy of such information, unlike promotional material from, e.g., a department store. It would not be reasonable for a student to think there was a need to make an effort to verify such information provided. Thus, Plaintiff’s reliance on the Employment Information was reasonable.
Judge Cohen doesn't agree:

Plaintiffs' allege it was reasonable to rely on the employment information without making any independent investigation of their own because DePaul is a law school and prospective students should be able to rely on information provided by a law school. Plaintiffs, however, offer no authority standing for the proposition that prospective students or enrolled students may close their eyes to publicly available information on employment opportunities for lawyers and rely solely on the data provided by the educational institution in deciding to enroll at, or stay enrolled at, the institution. Nor have Plaintiffs alleged  any facts, or offered any authority to support the proposition that they can reasonably assume  that all the employment obtained by DePaul’s graduates was full-time and in the legal profession when no such representation was made. Common sense alone should have allowed Plaintiffs to determine that a graduate making $20,000 a year is not employed as a  lawyer. [$20,000 was the lowest salary DePaul reported for one of its graduates during the years in question].

Plaintiffs have not alleged sufïìcient facts to support reasonable reliance.
Some questions I'd like to ask Neil Cohen:

(1) Do you really want to assert, in the context of granting a motion to dismiss, that law school graduates should not be able to even litigate the question of whether law schools have an obligation not to publish information, that if not independently checked for accuracy by prospective students, would be materially misleading? Because that remarkable proposition is what you're asserting here.

(2) What "publicly available information" was available between 2003 and 2008 that would have allowed the plaintiffs to determine that DePaul's employment statistics (which claimed "employment" rates of 95% and 98%) were materially misleading?

(3) You appear to be under the impression that it's literally impossible for a lawyer to make as little as $20,000 in a year practicing law.  In 2009, 23% of Alabama lawyers made less than $25,000.

(4) How was the wedding?

WASHINGTON--Cook County Circuit Court Judge Neil Cohen officiated at the Saturday wedding of the daughter of White House Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett, attended by President Barack Obama, Michelle and their daughters.
 
In a ceremony at the home where Jarrett spent much of her youth--a block north of the Obama home on South Greenwood---Laura Jarrett married Tony Balkissoon before family and friends.
 The two met while at Harvard Law School and the graduates of HLS '10 now practice at rival Chicago law firms, Balkisson at Sidley Austin and Jarrett at Mayer Brown. 

Cohen sits in the Chancery Division at the Daley Center and is the husband of Jarrett friend and confidante Susan Sher, who is the former chief of staff for the First Lady. Cohen also is close to Jarrett's parents: her late father Dr. James Bowman, who died last year, and her mother, Dr. Barbara Bowman
 Sher left the White House last year and is now the Executive Vice President for Corporate Strategy and Public Affairs at the University of Chicago Medical Center. Many of the attendees at the wedding--as does Jarrett and the Obama family--have ties to the U of C.

The wedding festivities took place in the house and in a tent in the large yard. City of Chicago records show Dr. Bowman received a permit to erect the tent for the wedding.

Among those present: 

Newton and Jo Minow: Minow is a senior counsel at Sidley. When Obama was at
Harvard Law School, Minow recommended that Sidley hire him for a summer job in Chicago. Obama took the job and met his future wife, Michelle, at the firm. Minow's daughter, Martha, is the Harvard Law School dean.

John Levi: Levi is the Sidley partner who actually hired Obama--and before him, one Michelle Robinson. Obama tapped Levi to be the Chairman of the Legal Services Corporation. Obama also appointed Martha Minow to the Legal Services board.

Martin Nesbitt:
He is a close personal friend of Jarrett and the Obamas' and lives a few blocks away. Lesser known is that he is the treasurer of the Obama for America campaign committee. His wife, Dr. Anita Blanchard is also one of Mrs. Obama's closest friends; she delivered the Obama daughters. She is an Associate Professor of Obstetrics/Gynecology at the U of C Medical School--where Dr. James Bowman was the professor emeritus in the departments of Pathology and Medicine.

Eric and Cheryl Whitaker:
The couple are close to Jarrett and the First Couple. Whitaker and Nesbitt are also frequent golfing companions of the president. On Sunday, the men were playing at the Beverly Country Club at 87th and Western. Whitaker is the Executive Vice President for Strategic Affiliations and Associate Dean for Community-Based Research at the U of C Medical Center.

Vernon and Ann Jordan
: While Jordan has a high national profile - a Washington insider's insider--the connection with Jarrett is through Ann, a cousin. Ann Dibble Jordan is a former Chicagoan with long-time connections to the University of Chicago, where she is a trustee emeritus.

John Rogers and his daughter, Victoria:
Rogers, the founder of Ariel Investments, grew up with Jarrett on South Greenwood. Years later, by chance, Rogers recruited one Craig Robinson to play basketball at Princeton. Robinson is Mrs. Obama's brother. Rogers is a major Obama fund-raiser. His former wife--Victoria's mother--is Desiree Rogers, a former White House Social Secretary whose departure strained the relationship with Jarrett and Mrs. Obama.
Roxanne Ward: A friend who is a former executive at at Ariel.

Paula Wolff and Wayne Whalen:
Wolff--who has a long civic resume--Mayor Rahm Emanuel tapped her to head the City Colleges Board in February--and Whalen--a partner at Skadden Arps--are longtime Jarrett neighbors, living on the same block on South Greenwood.


Antoinette Cook Bush: a Jarrett cousin who is a partner at Skadden.

Attorney General Eric Holder and Sharon Malone: While Holder gets most of the attention, lesser known is that his wife, an ob-gyn, is also a close friend to Jarrett and Mrs. Obama.

Allison and Susan Davis: Obama joined Davis' law firm out of Harvard Law School. The couple live in Kenwood.

Dan and Fay Hartog Levin: Jarrett was a one-time top staffer for former Mayor Richard M. Daley. When she left City Hall, she landed at The Habitat Company, founded by Dan Levin. She became Habitat president in 2007. Obama tapped Mrs. Levin to be the U.S. Ambassador to the Netherlands, a position she resigned last year.
Meanwhile, a few miles to the north:

14. As to Plaintiff Allison Leary:
(a) Alison Leary (“Leary”) enrolled in De Paul in August 2007 and graduated with a JD degree in May 2011. She was admitted to the Illinois bar on November 4,2011.
(b) After graduation Leary was unable to find full-time employment as a lawyer. As a result, in December 2011 Leary joined Electric Cowboy, a company that runs country music themed nightclubs. She currently works as a waitress at Electric Cowboy, despite many attempts to find work as a lawyer. Leary earns exceedingly  modest wages in that position. Leary’s salary is far too low to service her student loan debt.


164 comments:

  1. What an embarrassment.

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  2. But if you are a teacher or similarly situated public sector union employee in Cook county, no one gets to do shit like this to you... and the people who get shit done like this to them have to pay you, and pay you well...

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  3. "they had an obligation to independently investigate whether these representations were materially misleading."

    How does this judge think that "investigation" is supposed to go? Where is a prospective law student supposed to look to get independent information about jobs and salaries? At least whem people bought that shoe that would make you thin they could consult medical professionals or physicial trainers. US News and the law schools numbers were the ONLY NUMBERS AVAILABLE. I don't see why this is so hard to understand.

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    1. It's hard to understand things you don't want to understand.

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    2. Probably from the ABA, but wait, wouldn't the ABA have the same information that law school has provided?

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    3. Yes, they were the only *DePaul-specific* numbers available, but it's a stretch for anyone to claim, as many readers of this site do, that there were absolutely no indicators anywhere else that raised huge fucking red flags about the dubious nature of the legal education system.

      For the past decade, there have been huge warning signs around obtaining a legal education. Massive, flashing, neon, sparkly, skywritten signs saying "LAW SCHOOLS ARE LYING TO YOU!" Yes, only recently have specific stats from schools started to be disproven by real data and analysis, but for god's sake, it's not as if people didn't have extremely strong suspicions and circumstantial evidence to show that law schools fail to provide even a fraction of the employment opportunities they brag about.

      Many of us seem to have gone into law school with blinders on, seeing only the narrow US News stats, and deliberately avoiding the wider picture that shows countless signs and warnings that law school is a fucking scam.

      This entire scanblog movement suffers from one huge problem: nobody seems to think that they bear any individual responsibility for attending law school. And that's the part that many judges find distasteful, as do so many rational outsiders. Law schools hid data, that's for sure. But don't play dumb and claim that there were no other obvious, clear, and easy-to-find resources that told a different story.

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    4. 9:25, agreed. It's unfortunate you're going to get flamed hard for saying it.

      I also find it strange that there is no focus on how currently enrolled students ignore information the people aren't getting jobs.

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    5. 9:25:

      I'm not going to flame you because on the main point, I think we agree. I do think we disagree with a lot of the background, though.

      The first thing is that none of these lawsuits would be attempted if bankruptcy rules allowed people who made a bad personal business decision to discharge their debt. It's not like we couldn't craft a rule that separated the opportunistic bankrupts from the desperate bankrupts. It's just that we choose not to. And if you want to argue that these were not just unlucky bets people made in going to law school, but were instead irresponsible and naive, then I would have to say that that's an argument against bankruptcy as a general concept, well divorced from the student loan context.

      The fact that there were "massive, flashing, neon, sparkly, skywritten signs" warning prospective students is obviously a difficulty for these kinds of claims. However, your personal responsibility argument falls pretty flat (again, see my first point above) when, really, the original motivation for scamblogs - I was there - was to warn people not to go. And, in any event, the fact that people were warned that law schools were lying, doesn't even approach the true question that these blogs get at, which is whether law schools should be permitted to lie. I assume that you would agree that the fact that someone knows you're a liar doesn't absolve you for being one.

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    6. 11:29, it's 9:25, and I do agree with what you are saying. Were it not for the fact that the bankruptcy rules were changed to favor the lenders when it came to student loans, this would not be an issue. 100% agreed. In fact, I would say that at its core, the whole law school scam is just one of many symptoms of the real problem, which is the bankruptcy code. Skyrocketing tuition, predatory lending, for-profit colleges, they all rely on bankruptcy protection to keep the "blame" firmly on the students, and the focus off themselves.

      So why are most readers focusing on the symptom rather than the problem?

      There's one part of your reponse that needs to be followed through to its logical conclusion though: your last sentence. "I assume that you would agree that the fact that someone knows you're a liar doesn't absolve you for being one." Agreed. If people know I am a liar, I'm still a liar, and it doesn't make it right. But it does many anyone who relies on anything I say a fool, and at least equally responsible for their own loss!

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    7. Hi 12:42:

      Yes, I agree with your post. Thanks for your moderated response.

      As for your last point that knowing someone is a liar makes one a fool for relying on him, that's correct, but to only for those people who actually know that. That's not the case at all for the people who, perhaps were naive, but actually didn't know. Should we just charge them with knowledge anyway? I have a hard time with that. Why should the punishment be the same for the person who genuinely had no clue this was going on and for the person who had all the information but ignored it? I would add that I believe it's wholly at odds with the basic concept of education to put educating behind making profits. This runs exactly opposite the entire culture and history of academia. It would be like lawyers putting their own economic interests ahead of their clients; doctors the same of their patients. You're free to disagree, and that's fine. This is clearly a belief. However, I do think that this kind of raw profit-seeking behavior by law schools was not really common knowledge - outside of legal circles - before about 2007.

      This is all, of course, completely separate from the fact that it's entirely inappropriate for a law school, run by people subject to ethical obligations, to publish marketing material that demonstrates their complete lack of general good faith. Regardless of whether we let anyone off the hook, I'm sure we agree that law schools simply should not be permitted to do that.

      This post was written with a hands-free proofreading device, which is to say I didn't proofread it.

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    8. As I wrote below, as between the law school and the student, is it reasonable to expect students coming into law school to be aware of the deceptive practices of the law school or is it more reasonable to expect the law school not to engage in those practices.

      The judges answer seems to be that the law schools can be deceptive because the students can figure out the deception. That's a really strange argument if taken seriously in terms of consumer protection laws. We don't usually require that consumers must first investigate before finding that companies were acting deceptively.

      Part of the problem with the argument of relying on the students is that it assumes factual arguments about the students while ignoring actual arguments about the schools.

      You are trumping "should have" with "what the law schools did"

      That's a very odd argument to be making even under the best of circumstances, and this is not the best of circumstances for the defense.

      Yet somehow "magically" judges keep buying the argument. "magically" means they are corrupt. In other words, this sort of analysis is all well and good on a blog- that the students should have known, but is not a basis for dismissing a case since "should have known" is a factual determination that jury should decide.

      Regardless of what you think of the case, you should agree that these aren't legal questions under which the judges are making their decisions.

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  4. Note Judge Cohen's attendance at State Dinner (bottom pic):

    http://blogs.suntimes.com/sweet/2011/01/obama_china_state_dinner_guest.html

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  5. What a brilliant post. It encapsulates what is wrong with America today, in the context of one particularly appalling court decision--we are being ruled by a political elite which is completely detached from and unaccountable to the people they are supposed to serve. Instead they merely shovel taxpayer money to their friends and cronies.

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  6. Ah, yes, Obama, the Harvard-trained Chicago constitutional scholar
    who thinks it is quite OK to indefinitely detain Americans without charges or even drop bombs on them from drones - at his whim!

    Did the lowliest graduate of Cooley ever harbor such delusions?

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    1. The detentions and bombings are all quite constitutional.

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  7. and the law school scam rolls....I will not rest until all the major players are in jail.

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    1. Hahaha...

      What a joke.

      When will this kunt-try rise up and revolt against this nonsense?

      Meanwhile poor graduates continue to make their meager loan payments.

      Of course, I dont make my loan payments. I never will. I'll just drive around in my Audi R8.

      Enjoy poverty.

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  8. And this is why Obama will do nothing about the scam -- he's surrounded by people who have everything to gain from the status quo.

    Pity, because Obama could fix this problem if he wanted to, but he'll be as big a disappointment on higher education reform as he has been on everything else.

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    Replies
    1. What about Congress...how could Obama "fix this problem" without a Democratic Congress? Obama had the chance in 2009 and 2010 with dems in control - they all chose to do nothing about it.

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  9. It is impossible to imagine this result on similar facts if the defendant were one of those schools that advertise on the back of match books to train long distance truckers, dental assistants etc.

    RPL

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  10. The difference between liberals and conservatives, as a whole, is the following: most conservatives (i.e., traditional and mainline republicans, no matter the flavor) strongly imply they don't give a shit, won't help you, and will screw you if they can. Hence, you have a chance at bracing yourself. Most liberals, like law school and college professors, spend time trying to convince you they care, will help you, and they attempt to build an image of legitimacy in the public's eye, i.e. these are the people who care and will act fairly. In reality though, they are they just as selfish, greedy, and destructive as the conservatives, but they are even more dangerous precisely because attempt and largely succeeded at establishing their institutions as the arbiters of legitimacy and justice. This makes a lot of people, particularly desperate, poor, and./or young and impressionable people, drop their guard.

    Liberals also like to say they are open minded about people’s backgrounds and perspectives, and that they can make decisions based on said different backgrounds. Yet, here, this guy is telling kids they should have known law school was a huge gamble because it’s obvious and the information is out there. If there was ever a decision that involved a vast asymmetry of information benefiting the upper class, the decision as to whether or not to attend law school is it. Yet, this man decided in a manner that suited his interest by using rationalizations that are formed by having information accessible almost exclusively by the upper class. The overwhelming majority of the lower classes think education is the way to go, and they would tell a young kid he or she is crazy for not going to college, and especially for not going to law school. That’s what you have to contend with if you are not from the upper class. Yet, this doesn’t matter to this guy, and at the same time, men like this are attempting to reinforce the brainwashing to ensure social norms, which are contrary to the implications of the information people like him have access to, survive, i.e. education, and especially law school, is a good bet.


    This is why liberalism is so dangerous. It’s mainline conservatism masquerading to be something different. I’ll take a pyramid scheme salesmen ten times out of ten over a liberal academic/jurist. At least with the former you know what you are getting and can lift your guard up, no matter who you are or where you come from.

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    1. This is actually rather insightful. I agree that with conservatives, you know that you are going to get fucked if you're a "little man". No matter what they say, there's out to fuck you and you are prepared for it.

      But like you say, the liberal side (of which I am one) has blindsided us: we trusted that they were true to their liberal, college-professor "we're here to help, we care about you, you can trust us" stuff. But as with just about anything else, when money is involved - and lots of it in the case of law schools, with the huge salaries professors receive in return for a sub-part-time job - everybody's a conservative.

      It's called greed. And it clearly affects even the most liberal of us; the college professors. Once the cash starts flowing, everyone goes conservative and takes the attitude that "I've got mine, and I'm damn well keeping mine!"

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    2. The Devil you know versus the Devil you thought you know.

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    3. I disagree. The issue isn't whether someone is a conservative or liberal (as you have defined them). Rather, it is a question of greed and ethics.

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    4. Crux of law, "conservatism" is the belief that greed is more important than ethics, and "liberalism" is the belief that ethics are more important than greed.

      Forget the talking points, the policy statements, and the "Poli Sci 101" bullshit. Conservatives worship money, liberals worship their consciences.

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    5. Labels versus Actual Beliefs

      I think you are confusing labels versus beliefs

      The vast bulk of people say they are all sorts of labels.

      The truth of who they aren't isn't measured by those labels, but by what they actually do, which tells us their actual beliefs.

      I have learned to ignore labels like Democrat or Republican, and just assume the most important labels are "corrupt" or "greedy"

      My personal label is Leftist, but there are so few of us in this country that I think I may be a unicorn.

      I consider neither the Democratic or Republican Parties believers in Leftist ideas. Obama, for example, is pretty much a small "c" conservative. Whereas Paul Ryan is a Reactionary in terms of actual ideas. Although Obama would label himself Liberal and Ryan would label himself Conservative.

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    6. "liberals worship their consciences":

      Yes, this is why they preach altruism, regulation, consumer protection, etc., and then turn around and tell young kids they should have known about the higher ed and law school scam. At the same time, they are hammering the everyone should go to college mantra.

      All you need to know about how evil these peoole are as a whole us to look at what they have done with the one industry they have total control of: they connived the people into writing a blank check to them (guaranteed student loans), they brainwash the public into thinking people need this product, stupid kids buy the product under false pretenses using tax payer dollars, and then, to hide the ball, they use people's emotions to place 100% blame on the kids, thus enabling the scam to continue, (since people are not likely to care that the money is not going to get paid back as long as the kids are destroyed).

      As they profit handsomely from this travesty, they tell people we need more regulations against fraud and that we should be selfless like them. Disgusting.

      Ill take an overt thief and criminal to a concealed one any day.

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    7. If you believe these people are Liberal, then you believe in unicorns. You are essentially debating labels rather than the substance of what they do in practice. There are few if any liberals in the U.S. anymore, much less leftist. Most of what passes for the "left" is Neoliberalism. That philosophy is one of little c conservatism. That is defined by almost exactly the policies you are seeing. It only seems "liberal" by comparison to the reactionaries currently controlling the GOP.

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  11. Perfect example of non-legal considerations driving a decision.

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    1. Yes, of course, you lost so the considerations are "non-legal."

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    2. It's a motion to dismiss. Maybe the standard is different in Cook County than where I practice, but whether it was reasonable to rely on the law school's data seems like a quintessential question of fact to me.

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    3. Have patience, 9:01, you're talking to a law professor. Small matters like "question of law versus question of fact" are below them.

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  12. I'm not seeing how point 4 is germane to anything, and I'm having trouble seeing this as anything but a bizarre attempt to smear the Administration.

    I would encourage you to either explain #4 or remove it.

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  13. Appears to be very germane, not bizarre at all, and exquisitely factual about the current Administration.

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  14. This is a bizarre anti-Obama rant which I am sure makes sense in your own mind, much like Mr. Eastwood's did to him.

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    1. "Bizarre" is something like Eric Holder not investigating John Corzine's theft of customer funds at MF Global to cover his bets. Or threats of the Black Panthers to kill white people. Or voter intimidation at polling venues. And on and on and on and on

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  15. I'm thinking this will be reversed on appeal

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  16. Heaven forbid that people should take a teensy amount of personal responsibility when deciding where to go to law school.

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    1. Heaven forbid the law schools provide accurate and complete employment statistics to their prospective students.

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    2. Oh please, 9:28 AM. There has to be SOME fragment of personal responsibility here! This hardline "It's the schools' fault, not mine!" gets old very quickly, it's dishonest, and it makes people very unsympathetic to our issues.

      We were lied to alright. But we also knew what we were getting into, and we chose to believe the stats rather than the news, the blogs, the unemployed lawyers warning us not to go etc.

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    3. Then let's just eliminate all legal causes of action based on fraudulent misrepresentation and negligent misrepresentation, common law and statutory, on the grounds that these causes of action violate the principle of "personal responsibility."

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    4. Yeah, who would ever fault someone for being a complete liar just because some people weren't fooled? Classic. Classic. Classic. Binary thinking. Got to love it.

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    5. Don't be dumb, 9:36. It's not black and white and you know it, and attempts to discredit arguments by extrapolating them into ridiculousness rarely work.

      Law schools lied. But law students failed to take heed of some very public and widespread information about what the reality of the legal profession was.

      If I had to put numbers on it, I would say it's about 50/50 in terms of who is responsible. Maybe more, maybe less, but it's by no means 99% law school and 1% student, nor is it 99% student and 1% law school.

      Once again, an utter failure of commenters to treat this issue in a sensible, rational manner just makes us all look stupid...

      Maybe "Painter Disease" is contagious?

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    6. 12:52,
      Your rational viewpoint is refreshing. It's amazing how many people here make this an all or nothing issue.

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    7. Actually 1252 and his or her sock puppet 122 are thinking binary.

      The argument only makes sense if one assumes black or white. Either students were 100 percent responsible or law schools.

      That kind of thinking is called a logical fallacy. Its a false choice. Ev en if one buys 1252 and its sock puppets argument, it doesn't mean the courts could not assign some responsibility to the law schools. They do it all the time, except here of course, where the legal industry's practices are brought into question.

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    8. umm, I think that's exactly what we're saying.
      1:22

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    9. I don't think that anyone is saying that students should bear zero responsibility.

      They are just saying that the issue is close enough that it should survive a 12(b)(6) motion and should be litigated.

      Why not let the jury apportion fault?

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  17. "Oh, goody," said the troll, "now I can accuse Campos of being anti-Obama."

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  18. I like how LawProf highlighted the Judge's close ties to the Obama Administration and other wealthy elites, and then juxtaposes a story of a DePaul grad waiting tables with her JD and Illinois bar passage.

    President Obama could have brought hope and change to student loan reform. But his SecEdu said that "educational debt is good debt." His idea of taking action is to encourage more people to borrow increasing amounts of money to attend colleges and graduate schools for jobs that aren't there, and then tries to have it both ways by wagging his finger at the insane increases in tuition.

    I'm interested in seeing this on appeal. And if other people do not remember, there are two similary cases in California which are going to discovery, I believe.

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    1. I certainly haven't forgotten about discovery. Initially I thought we'd hear about a bunch of slimy communications between law school insiders, concerning enticing students with fake stats in an attempt to "trap the little bastards." Similar to what was discovered in the Illinois admissions stats investigation, but regarding employment stats.

      But if certain posts in this thread are correct, all we're going to hear about are statements like: "well, I guess we'll keep lying about our employment stats, because everyone knows that's what we do and it's their own fault if they're stupid enough to believe us."

      And with that I'm sure the judge will find a way to throw the case out because law schools knew the stats were bullshit, and therefore everyone else should have known too.

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  19. It is factual about every administration. Do you think they are made up exclusively of people who do not know each other?

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  20. 8:46 A--it is germane because they are all part of the 1%. Their speeches last week at the DNC notwithstanding.

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    1. OMG...no...not the 1%!

      No, no, no...not the 1%!

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    2. 1% is fine...if actually earned.

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  21. You think that this post has a specific political perspective?

    I read it as the elite vs. the masses.

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  22. @ 9:25

    "For the past decade, there have been huge warning signs around obtaining a legal education. Massive, flashing, neon, sparkly, skywritten signs saying "LAW SCHOOLS ARE LYING TO YOU!"

    I would find this argument more credible if you could actually, you know, point to at least one of these "countless" flashing neon signs that had as much credibility as US News or the law schools numbers, which largely agreed.

    And no, zero credit will be given for "people have been talking about a lawyer glut for decades" that is neither credible or quantitative.

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    1. How about the infamous L2L?

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    2. You mean one anecdotal story that can be explained away with a 100 different excuses vs. the combined weight of law schools, parents, counselors, teachers, politicians, strangers, all telling you that you'll make sooooo much money one day as a bigshot lawyer?

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    3. Don't be obtuse, 9:56. You know as well as I do that anyone who did any research into law school online in the past decade has seen increasing amounts of negative information.

      How about the scandal with GMU jumping from tier 3 to tier 1 in just one year by simply reworking how it reported stats to US News? That was 2000? 2001? The big stories have been out there for as long as I can remember looking, which is about fifteen years now.

      And you are a fool if you ignore everything anecdotal, or that lacks a fucking research paper with hardcore statistical analysis. The "lawyer glut" is a prime example: the information was there, the rumors were there, but because it wasn't reported to you by a front page story in the New York Times, you decide that it's worthless and untrue.

      There's a huge difference between untrue and unverified. And when you hear something relevant to you (e.g. "there's a lawyer glut"), you better get out there and verify it for yourself if nobody has done so, because you can't just dismiss it as untrue. It's lazy. You clearly heard the stories, but you wanted someone else to check the credibility for you. No wonder you feel that law school ripped you off if you have a "give it to me on a plate NOW!" attitude.

      Delete
    4. It's not "lazy," it's normal human behavior. Google "confirmation bias" and "optimism bias." People are not little rational actor programs like you and Mitt like to believe.

      People hear "don't go to law school" and think, hmmm, this person must have 1) graduated at the bottom of the class or, 2) must be socially repulsive. The fact that it is an anonymous online commentator usually making the statement doesn't exactly help.

      LOL at using the GMU story as an example. The significance of the rankings jump and how GMU did that is something that would only be understood by someone with years of caring about this issue. The average prelaw has no idea how the USNWR scores are calculated.

      Delete
    5. "LOL at using the GMU story as an example. The significance of the rankings jump and how GMU did that is something that would only be understood by someone with years of caring about this issue."

      Yes, like Prof X. Not that he'd spend his time trolling this blog, blah, blah, blah.

      Delete
    6. "For the past decade, there have been huge warning signs around obtaining a legal education."

      That's right! Leiter has been talking about this for the past decade. Why didn't these people read the plethora of posts by Leiter discussing the fact that law schools were/are lying?

      Delete
    7. LOL back at you for thinking that the stats are somehow mystical, obscured, and impenetrable without "years of caring about this issue".

      It took most of us five minutes online - yes, even back in 2000 - to figure out how the stats worked and how they were gamed.

      Delete
    8. "It took most of us five minutes online - yes, even back in 2000 - to figure out how the stats worked and how they were gamed."

      And yet you said nothing. Well, except for Leiter. He spent the next decade talking about it.

      Delete
    9. 4:47, a few questions:

      1) Can you give an example of something you quickly found, in, say, the early 2000s, that made it clear that the employment stats were gamed (aside from the G.M.U. jump)? Preferably something that anyone - not just those who live and operate in the legal academy - might have easily found, and something that isn't only clear with 20-20 hindsight.

      2) Why do you think it is that mainstream news sources have only recently begun covering this issue, when these facts were readily-accessible over a decade ago?

      3) Why didn't law professors say or do anything about these manipulations when they were common knowledge? Didn't law professors at least worry that this would come back to bite them in the ass? I mean we're now well aware that many law professors are disgusting, spineless human beings, but I also expect them to be self-interested. Were they really this stupid?

      Delete
    10. Hypothetical: Someone markets a very expensive cosmetic procedure that says it improves your appearance 95% of the time. The FDA approves it. Prominent labs also agree. A few fringe voices say it only works 35% of the time and are proved correct five years later. Would you say "buyer beware" to the people who paid for the procedure in the meantime?

      Delete
  23. Allison entered law school in September 2008, when Bush was president, based on representations made while Bush was President. Then the economy crashed on Bush's watch. Yet somehow this is all the fault of Obama and his friends.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This kind of partisan reaction totally misses the point, which is that the scam keeps rolling in part because the social and legal elites all across the political spectrum are out of touch. Cohen's ludicrous ruling just exemplifies that.

      Delete
    2. It's not a partisan reaction. It's an attempt to change the subject to anything else.

      Delete
  24. QE3 will substantially reduce next years application cycle. The writing is on the wall.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Under capitalism, the wealthy become powerful. Under communism, the powerful become wealthy.

    ReplyDelete
  26. LP, the Obama stuff is distracting. The Mike Madigan democratic judicial picks rule the Daley Center, not Obama. Leave that junk out of this, it has nothing to do with the scam.

    If someone has links to the motion, response briefs and full dismissal order, that might be helpful for analyzing what's going on with this. The dismissal doesn't seem IMHO to be warranted but if anyone had read the long complaints filed against the Chicago law schools, don't use those as a template...they are crappy. Illinois is a fact pleading state, tossing in reams of pages with rhetoric and citations to the NY Times and other sources I think distracted from the main allegation that the stats are rigged and students relied on them.

    The issue as to whether there was outside reasonably obtainable info that might or might not have been available in 2003 for a law student to verify the law school stats is something that should have been developed in discovery.

    I hope this gets appealed.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah and I'm sure Obama and Madigan have never met since Obama didn't start his political career in Chicago or anything. Genius.

      Delete
  27. Paul, as an adult, I don't have much admiration for people that others place on a high pedestal (e.g., Barack Obama). In fact, I don't idolize any one human or have any heroes for that matter. However, you are as close to being a hero in my universe than anyone else. Thank you for this article.

    Neil Cohen, Melvin Schweitzer and Gordon Quist? What do these black gowned hacks have in common with President Obama? Obama has destroyed the U.S. Constitution by signing the NDAA 2012. He has executive carte blanche authority to order the assasination of a U.S. citizen without a trial by a jury of his/her peers. "Judges" Cohen, Scweitzer and Gordon have essentially deprived litigants the right to discovery and the right to a trial, preempting these important issues with some very irrational decisions. Next time I walk into a car dealership, I will go the salesman and tell him to let me have the car for a week while I "independently" do my research on the car before I decide to purchase it in light of the sales puffery. Too bad law students can't drop out of law school after one semester and get a full refund after "independently" verifying what a scam law school is.

    Although I (mistakenly) voted for "hope and change" in 2008, I will sit out the elections in November. I now know, and take responsibility that I, did not do independent research on Obama's past before I voted for him.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're going to sit out an election just so you can wash your hands of the nation's problems and smugly say that you didn't vote for whoever won?

      And I guess you'll happily sit back and enjoy the fruits if the then-current administration manages to stabilize and perhaps turn around the economy? Or will you wash your hands of those too?

      Delete
    2. Join the other side in a war with the U.S. and you deserve to die, citizen or not.

      Delete
  28. 10:10 -- It was a partisan reaction, certainly. It read like a partisan post, though. Nothing about the case, the judge, the parties or anything has to do with Obama or any Obama policy, and this judge ruled the same way a few other judges did. I do not know who this judge's friends are, but it appears that he presided at this wedding and therefore was essentially a guest -- it is generally the bride and groom, and their families, which put the guest list together. So this would be a reflection of their friends, not the judge's.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No, but the social conditions underlying these decisions have everything to do with the amorphous "liberal elite" because the people in power are largely a part of it. The type of pragmatic progressivism that characterizes the Obama administration is also the dominant political persuasion at most law schools.

      Delete
  29. This is a useful juxtaposition, LawProf: it says something interesting not only about Ms. Leary and Judge Cohen, and about Chicago and the Obama administration, but also about race. Hypothetical: which of the following Chicago residents deserves a helping hand, whether in the form of affirmative action or some other government program: (a) a jobless, heavily-indebted but politically-unconnected white lawgrad, or (b) a jobless, heavily-indebted but politically-connected-to-the-Obamas-Jarretts-Cohen black lawgrad?

    ReplyDelete
  30. If you feel scammed just burn the school down. The legal system can only provide justice for the privileged.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. After stripping away legal recourse, justice is left to a terrible state of anarchy.

      Delete
  31. So this Judge's wife is the Chief of Staff for Michelle Obama? I didn't realize a disbarred attorney required a Chief of Staff on the taxpayer's dole.

    ReplyDelete
  32. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, I remember that "poem". The one that you read on that NPR interview, when you singlehandedly made us all look fucking insane.

      Thanks for reminding me how your half hour show set back the law school reform movement by five years!

      Delete
  33. I find it hard to believe independent, accurate information about law school employment outcomes has existed for ten years. I went to law school in 2008, and the information provided by my school was extremely, well, rosey for lack of a better word. The numbers that were available in print and/or online via other sources were just as rosey.

    I expected a bit of salesmanship, and revised the provided numbers downward slightly. However, I did not then know that we weren't talking about treating a claimed 97% employed full-time as lawyers stat as a true 80-90% (which still sound like great odds). No, we were talking about a 30-50% true rate of full-time employment after graduation. The numbers provided are bull, they are unverifiable from any outside source, and no one should be blamed for believing them.

    These purposely misleading and completely false employment statistics continue to be published by the law school I graduated from, and many other law schools. I know this because of what happened to me. This is important; my school paid me $5k to after graduation to "volunteer" at a public interest organization for a few months so they could count me (and several other people I graduated with) as full-time employed nine months after graduation. I had not chosen to share my experience in this forum and others, how would anyone know a law school could, and would, do so? I had not heard of any graduate level program, anywhere in the country, that commonly offered short-term BS employment to recent graduates in order to inflate their stats.

    This is a scam. You folks posting that noise can blame the victim all you want. Knock yourself out. But it never excuses the wrongful act perpetrated upon the victim. Anyone withe most basic sense or morals, ethics, or justice can see that. If you don't know that, you don't know anything.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't think anyone is saying "blame the victim." Most of us are saying that the victim isn't blameless.

      Big difference.

      Delete
    2. Not when the outcome isn't assigning proportionate blame, it isn't.

      This is the kind that conservatives love to play.

      "Oh, I am not saying x, I am just saying y."

      If the effect of "personal responsibility" is that judges refuse to find any amount of liability on the part of the law school, that's blame the victim in a legal sense regardless of how you personally define it.

      This kind of game is great for the ignorant public, but in terms of policies and outcomes, it leads to corruption.

      If you want to say that some part of this is on the student, you leave it to the jury to assign damages based on the weight of evidence rather than denying any possibility of liability. Otherwise, you and the judges are full of it.

      Delete
    3. Or, put another way, as between the student and the law school, who is responsible for detecting the deceptive nature of the law school's practices?

      Delete
    4. Another "victim" heard from...

      Delete
    5. I was thinking that Crux of Law sounds like a victim of the law school scam, until I read 5:16 and saw the word victim in quotes.

      Delete
    6. Good "point," 5:16.

      Delete
  34. Mr. Prosser said, "You were quite entitled to make any suggestions or protests at the appropriate time, you know."

    "Appropriate time?" hooted Arthur.
    "Appropriate time? The first I knew about it was when a workman arrived at my home yesterday. I asked him if he'd come to clean the windows and he said no, he'd come to demolish the house. He didn't tell me straight away of course. Oh no. First he wiped a couple of windows and charged me a fiver. Then he told me."

    "But Mr. Dent, the demolition plans have been available in the local planning office for the last nine months."

    "Oh yes, well, as soon as I heard I went straight round to see them, yesterday afternoon. You hadn't exactly gone out of your way to call attention to them, had you? I mean, like actually telling anybody or anything."

    "But the plans were on display..."

    "On display? I eventually had to go down to the cellar to find them."

    "That's the display department."

    "With a flashlight."

    "Ah, well, the lights had probably gone."

    "So had the stairs."

    "But look, you found the notice, didn't you?"

    "Yes," said Arthur, "yes I did. It was on display on the bottom of a locked filing cabinet stuck in a disused lavatory with a sign on the door saying 'Beware of the Leopard.'"

    ReplyDelete
  35. The path of these suits reminds me of a lesson I was taught early in my career.

    I was an fairly green associate. Late one afternoon, one of our blue-chip clients, a bank, sent over a package of documents for a new program they were ready to launch, and needed an opinion letter blessing the program by the next morning. I was given the job.

    I stayed up all night working the issue. From everything I could find, the bank's program was simply and completely prohibited by the applicable regulations. There was no way I could write a clean letter.

    I accosted the relevant partner when he came in the next morning and explained the situation. He listened patiently. And then he revealed to me one of the great truths of the law: that anything that 100 bankers decided to do was legal.

    Now, this great truth is, perhaps, not quite completely true--consider the "robo-signing" scandals. But robo-signing is an exceptional case, and if the public at large hadn't been good and ready to stick it to the banks on account of other recent misdeeds that they'd largely gotten away with, they probably would have gotten away with that one, too. Any judge was going to think more than twice before sending the banking system into a tailspin just to uphold the letter of the law.

    Suppose law schools started losing these suits--what then? It's not just one or two bad actors, it's nearly everyone. Where are the law schools going to get the money to pay the judgments? What's going to happen to other kinds of more or less scammy higher education?

    The courts are going to continue to make bad law here, simply because judges think that the consequences of upholding the law are too disruptive. And they may be right.

    Publius

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. yep. i think you're correct. it would be too disruptive to uphold the law. so what's a seriously oppressed minority to do? expatriate? kill themselves? black market?

      Delete
    2. I don't know what to do.

      Under other circumstances, I suppose one could say that this is the sort of problem that calls for a legislative solution rather than a judicial one. Congress could presumably find a way to fix the problem and offer some succor to the oppressed without trashing the system.

      But the idea of finding a legislative solution to anything seems a bit naive these days.

      Publius

      Delete
  36. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm loath to criticize someone who is genuinely suffering, but at this point your self-therapy of posting your rants on this blog (and reading them on NPR, no less) is seriously hurting the likelihood of progress, not helping it.

      Delete
    2. I agree. Get on with life. Find a hobby, if nothing else.

      Delete
  37. Oh horrors! LawProf is less than admiring of Team Blue! Where are my smelling salts?

    ReplyDelete
  38. Great post, LawProf!

    ReplyDelete
  39. Maybe someone should send Neil Cohen a link to the ShitLawJobs website (with which, I would venture to guess, he is not familiar). Alot of ads there for attorneys offer 10-12 bucks an hour. For a 40 hour work week that works out to about 19-23K per year, give or take.

    ReplyDelete
  40. This is missing from your post:
    http://www.scribd.com/doc/105758874/DePaul-Ruling-by-Neil-Cohen-Dismissing-Case#fullscreen

    ReplyDelete
  41. Once again, this site should be MANDATORY reading prior to beginning law school. This is an owner's manual even if you don't own anything but you have been provided it before you buy the product. Now you know the recourse after you do!

    ReplyDelete
  42. The revenge of the one percenters. William Ockham

    ReplyDelete
  43. I'm Mitt Romney and I approve this message.

    ReplyDelete
  44. @Publius: "Suppose law schools started losing these suits--what then? It's not just one or two bad actors, it's nearly everyone. Where are the law schools going to get the money to pay the judgments? What's going to happen to other kinds of more or less scammy higher education?

    The courts are going to continue to make bad law here, simply because judges think that the consequences of upholding the law are too disruptive. And they may be right."

    Once your defense gets to the "but everyone is just as corrupt as me!" stage then your system itself is at risk.

    Because you riddled the entire thing with deceit and fraud.

    What, you thought that you could just collectively ignore reality?

    Yeah, that never works.

    ReplyDelete
  45. Seems like a good decision to me.

    And don't worry, it absolutely will not get flipped on appeal.

    Judges aren't stupid--the argument that the student doesn't bear responsibility is obviously wrong and it'll never win this argument.

    Unless the schools came out and said that student X was going to get job Y for $X or some other job Z for $X you kids just aren't gonna win.

    Suck it up.

    Or don't.

    Keep crying and typing away on some silly blog to vent your frustrations while your nuts shrivel (even more).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. In that case, then all the case law in this area, which actually says the opposite of what the judges are saying should be thrown out and we need to go back to caveat emptor. I know you would applaud that, but I don't think that's what these judges are ready to endorse despite their corruption.

      Delete
    2. I love watching you law professors reveal your true selves. Pretty f&@ked up individuals, you are.

      Delete
    3. Yes, because any and all dissenters must be "law professors."

      Delete
    4. Yeah, it's probably a bunch of non-law professors constantly trolling this site and making the same ridiculous arguments and statements over and over. And they've been doing it for the past year. You have to admire their dedication considering that, unlike law professors, they have no vested interest in dissenting.

      Law professors don't really care about this blog, nor would they waste their precious time trolling it. They've told us so many times.

      Delete
  46. I graduated from a TTT, top of my class, in 2003. I've never had a job as a practicing attorney. I've been unemployed (by choice) the past 3 months. Last night, I got a really sick feeling in my stomach and realized there is no point to go on. The game is finally over for me. I am always going to be stuck doing $hit work like document review or worse. I am never going to get to use my law degree that I worked very hard to get. I spent $100K and ended up with nothing to show for it. I have no future. I'm almost 40 years old and my legal career is over (never even got going). There is nothing I can do at this point to change my situation. I've tried networking, but lawyers look down their noses at me because I have never practiced, I've tried finding other meaningful work outside the legal profession, but I have gained no skills from my time as a doc reviewer. I don't want to spend another decade living like this. I am broke, in bad mental and physical health thanks to all of this, and just want to move on. Other friends in the same situation have gone back to school but I don't want to rack up student loans again. I had a hard enough time paying the ones off from law school. I'm afraid the end is near for me if things don't change soon. I wish I had never gotten in this mess, and I hope prospective law students read this blog and all the comments. The game is rigged from the very beginning - unless mommy and daddy can get you a job, you don't stand a chance.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. 2:38

      Please talk to someone about your feelings of hopelessness. You're not alone.

      Delete
    2. Another victim heard from..."I wish I were a success, *sniffle,sniffle* but I finally figured out *sniffle, sniffle* that I am a failure."

      And everyone is to blame except you.

      Why do you think anyone cares when a quitter quits?

      Delete
    3. 5:26

      It must be liberating to lack empathy or a conscience.

      Delete
    4. Yeah there is a law job for everyone that REALLY wants one. But this guy quit, so no legal work magically appeared for him.

      Delete
    5. 5:26, likely a law professor, is seemingly fine with this guy killing himself. Think about that for a moment.

      Delete
    6. 5:26 is a sociopath. He may have a lot of SSRN downloads though, so there's that.

      Delete
    7. There is that, but SSRN download stats don't tell the entire story. I highly recommend the following article to the (tens of?) millions of people who think that SSRN downloads are all that matter:

      http://leiterlawschool.typepad.com/leiter/2005/08/problems_with_t.html

      Delete
    8. Get out. Leave the situation you're in if it makes you miserable. There's always an escape route - not necessarily to an attorneys job, but just to something else. It's a big world and there's always something.

      Delete
  47. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  48. Yes, there was publicly available information showing that the legal job market was awful IF you knew where to find it and went looking for it.

    That doesn't mean law students are helpless, but it certainly wasn't obvious, and it goes against everything we know about psychology to expect an admitted student to disregard what their parents, the lawyers in their community, and law schools tell them because someone on a top law schools forum says that law school is a scam. Yes, everyone should trust themselves and the numbers, but in practice everyone looks to authorities they trust.

    I knew going in (class of 2013), that the job market sucked, but I've been very surprised at how bad. I certainly had no idea that maybe 30% of my mid-first tier law school class will not become lawyers, and I'm a pretty smart guy (top 1%, LSAT 180). If I didn't get it, how can you expect your average Cooley grad to have gotten it?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wow, a 180! You're smart.

      I'll bet you know all the answers in class and really add to the discussions there.

      Wish you were in my class when I went.

      Then again, I'm not as smart as you, so I probably couldn't have gained admission to your school.

      Did I mention that you're smart?

      Delete
    2. And not just "smart" but REALLY SMART!

      I mean totally and completely and totally S-M-A-R-T!

      Good heavens, how do the rest of us go on knowing that in our very midst there exists a being of such towering smartitude?

      I mean, all of those who scored merely 179 had better watch out...after all, you scored ONE HUNDRED EIGHTY!

      Doubtless your money is no good in any tavern across the land once your pedigree is made known ==> "Attention everyone! Let not your hearts be troubled! HE/SHE scored 180 and he/she is here in our tavern! Let us rejoice and praise the Creator for a test so surpassingly perfect that it identifies the truly smart!"

      Delete
    3. Was there a point here?

      Delete
    4. A point to what? 2:45's comment? You can find his or her point in the first two paragraphs of the comment. It's pretty fucking clear.

      Or are you referring to the comments by 2:52 and 5:41? "Their" only point is to derail substantive discussion of this matter.

      Delete
    5. @2:45 How "smart" are you, really, if you can't keep yourself from sounding like an absolute douchebag? You get an A+ in Obnoxious Commentary!! It won't count towards your GPA, though. Sorry.

      Delete
    6. Smart people can sound like douchebags. I often expect them to. Take that great philosopher, Brian Leiter, as an example.

      Delete
  49. So, how do the handful of commenters here think the judges and juries should penalize all of the law schools?

    Should they have to pay off all of their past students' loans, even those amounts over and above tuition and fees?

    Should they also have to pay their reported "average salary of graduate" to each actual graduate? Full boat to those with no job, and top everyone off who makes something, albeit less than the reported amount?

    What about the new MacBookAir that Brittney bought for law school so she could look cool and professional? Can she collect some depreciation on that or something at least?

    And the clothes and shoes and makeup that was necessary to kill it in moot court...can't forget about that.

    Youz all is crazy if you think anyone other than Paul and his ilk are getting one red cent out of the law schools.

    Maybe you ought to just convince prospective law students to send money directly to Paul and avoid the 3 years of wasted time. Same end result; the law prof gets the money and the "student" is unemployed and broke.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. How are plaintiffs usually compensated in consumer fraud cases? Well, usually coupon settlements. But when done right, reimbursements. 5K per student. Can you make do with a few hundred grand less per year for circlejerk symposia and closed-door faculty speakers?

      Delete
    2. Open commenting policies mandated on law professors' blogs.

      Delete
  50. 2:38 pm- I decided for real to get out this summer. just do it. (Tier 1 school, horrible low-paying legal job right now, etc. I am choosing to risk going back to school and at the same time am continuing to work my bad law job.) But anyway advice is 1) read these blogs but not all the time 2) ignore the Bar emails you get; don't read the Bar magazine; if you can, cut off extraneous contact with as many lawyers as you can, not because they're all bad, but just don't worry about their failures or successes in the profession. pretend like you're not a lawyer, really. It becomes liberating after a while.

    ReplyDelete
  51. Our system is a banana republic. If the mortgage crisis didn't teach you that, nothing will.

    ReplyDelete
  52. So this is the second or third time now that a court has taken notice that law school stats do not reflect reality. Have any 0Ls even noticed? Above the Law did a little study recently that showed 0Ls consider US News ranking to be more a more important consideration in choosing a school than their job placement stats anyway. 0Ls literally don't care until its too late. The problem with scam is that both the perps and the victims are equally detestable.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They have taken notice by dismissing the cases. Why would someone not yet attending law school (1) have seen these cases and (2) realize that the dismissals are questionable?

      It is more likely, as I have discovered with even sophisticated clients, that they will read this as a validation of the law schools because they will not understand the dismissals beyond the headlines. They will not know until after law school to read the details of the actual dismissal to know what's happening.

      Delete
    2. "Above the Law did a little study recently that showed 0Ls consider US News ranking to be more a more important consideration in choosing a school than their job placement stats anyway."

      ...b/c rankings draw more job opportunities/employers and the job placement stats are questionable.

      Delete
  53. Lawprof,

    As a quick fix (these lawsuits will keep coming, but the road to justice is going to be very long and hard) could you please post (on a separate page) the excerpts (including the judges' names) from the DePaul and Cooley cases that more-or-less say that law schools are allowed to post false/misleading employment statistics.

    A single, simple page highlighting these ethically bankrupt rulings can be easily linked to - allowing tens of thousands of financially ruined law grads to warn off hundreds of thousands of potential applicants.

    In a single place, easily.

    Without requiring any assistance from "our" "justice system".

    And it can be done in an hour or two.

    Please - you have done so much good - a bit more effort would have tremendous results.

    ReplyDelete
  54. The more experienced lawyers are the ones who are more screwed. We went to law school when the profession was healthier and the internet did not exist. We did not rely on any particular employment data, but rather on the fact that most lawyers around us were actually gainfully employed.

    We were really scammed by our own law schools training huge classes of lawyers since we graduated.

    ReplyDelete
  55. Lawprof, before you take aim at the judges dismissing the student lawsuits, you might wish to see that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau expects similar self-protection out of consumers managing their personal finances. http://www.consumerfinance.gov/guidance/supervision/manual/udaap-narrative/.

    ReplyDelete
  56. There are many insightful, thoughtful comments here. One reason Im addicted to this blog LOL.

    What about the idea of shared responsibility? Yes, law students (esp. those who enrolled after 2007 or so) bear some responsibility for their decisions. But as LP has pointed out, law schools enjoy tremendous cultural prestige and 22 year old 0L's are not taught by our culture to be so skeptical of authority.

    OTOH the law schools babble endlessly about ethics and professionalism. The deans and CSO people simply had to know about the bogus statistics they have been publishing for years.

    Im for apportioning responsibility for this mess at about 65/35 (law schools/students).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "The deans and CSO people simply had to know about the bogus statistics they have been publishing for years."

      A law professor above suggests that everyone knew, so you're almost certainly right.

      Delete
  57. According to Back to the Future Part II, we are 3 years away (October 21, 2015) from flying cars and a world without lawyers. I guess that you could say that is one solution to the law school scam.

    "The justice system works swiftly now in the future since they abolished all lawyers" - Doc Brown

    ReplyDelete
  58. These dismissals should be discussed in a torts law school class. The fact here is that there is no causation. One fool's unjustified reliance on stats that have been known to be skewed has nothing to do with the law grad's injury (e.g., unemployment/underemployment in the legal profession). You can't get to keep the "Esq." and wipe the slate clean with Sallie Mae with a Court decision that will bring down the ivory pillars of higher education. Team Strauss/Anzika are what now? 0-4?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good thing you teach "philosophy" and not torts. You really are a twisted, obsessive freak.

      As another poster mentioned above, "should have known" is a factual standard that should be determined by a trier of fact, not a trier of law. You and your SPs bullshit attempts to make it seem like everybody knew or should have known that the stats were bogus, does not change this simple reality.

      Delete
  59. "One fool's unjustified reliance on stats that have been known to be skewed..."

    Known by who? Oh that's right, everyone. I remember back around 2000 my dentist was like "GMU Law just jumped two tiers, holy shit that school and every other law school must be falsifying employment and starting salary data."

    At least law professors have now moved on from denying that there was any wrongdoing with regards to the data, to admitting that they KNEW it was complete and utter bullshit.

    ReplyDelete
  60. Knowing who attended the wedding was interesting, and marginally relevant, but I would have liked to have seen more legal analysis, especially about the ABA 509 Standard as relates to the Illinois consumer fraud claim.

    ReplyDelete
  61. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  62. What were the actual signs as early as 2002 that my law school was or could be a bad bet for some in my 1L class: (i) yellow pages/online directories that showed how many attorneys per region were promoting their legal services; (ii) 1L Legal Research & Writing professor advising of whether or not its a good idea to drop out of law school after year #1; (iii) OCI--knowledge that not all of the 2L's at my school had job offers; (iv) the extra costs of getting and staying licensed; (v) the knowledge that folks failed bar exams which could take out 5% or more of a law school's graduating class from having a real attorney job; (vi) annual increases in tuition requiring more student loans; (vii) comments from my close by friends who talked about the over supply of attorneys in my state; (viii) knowledge from undergrad days that not all of the smartest and the brightest at my undergrad school were well employed after graduation,(viii) mass layoff of certain legal department members in a regional government agency, and (ix) being able to look up law graduate attorneys in martindale/other online website searches to see what firms they were working for. Yet, such obvious signs still doesn't excuse any blatent lies the law schools told in order to entice more folks to pay for their particular law school training services.

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    1. Not only entice, but keep them in. How many law schools do you think were advising students to drop out after a bad 1L year, or a failed OCI, or negative changes in the legal market? OTOH how many do you think were using "you'll be fine!" tactics to get another semester's worth of tuition?

      Discovery in one of these cases would surely tell us. Unfortunately these judges are manipulating legal standards to prevent that from happening.

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    2. Didn't they get to discovery in the Golden Gate case?

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  63. It's sadly amusing how the fraud standard of reasonable reliance has been inserted into the supposed improvements to 509, while "fair and accurate reflective of actual practice" has been removed. I guess this is progress, in actual practice.
    http://www.abanow.org/2012/06/2012am103/

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  64. OK. No poems.

    But NPR wanted to hear them and asked that I read them.

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    1. Don't listen to these anonymous assholes; most of them sound like variations of the World Traveling Law Student.

      ***

      I personally think this inability to find for the plaintiffs in these scamskool cases is Goddamned disgusting, but then, really you
      asking the judges to stab their beloved system in the gut. I'd drive the blade into the flab and bring Lawpocalypse upon us, but these judges are company men, and they will stay loyal even if the ABA and the skools implode on their own.

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  65. Here is the link to the circuit court's grim 11-page order dismissing the fraud claims against DePaul University School of Law (Phillips v. DePaul, 12 CH 3523) I did not see it in the OP or in any of the comments.

    http://www.scribd.com/doc/105758874/DePaul-Ruling-by-Neil-Cohen-Dismissing-Case#fullscreen

    From the order, here are some additional exasperating quotes. These quotes are more instructive than all the recruitment material in the world plus all the scamming "honor, community, and service" rhetoric they spit out at you and your parents during commencement ceremonies.

    As well, it is amusing that the court states that law schools provided, in return for tuition, not employment, but rather a legal education that "would prepare them to practice law." Law schools don't exactly prepare students to practice law either, so maybe they can be sued for that.

    *[in dismissing claim of common law fraud, element of proximate causation]: “Plaintiffs do not allege facts, as opposed to legal conclusions, connecting DePaul’s alleged fraud to their inability to obtain full-time legal employment sufficient to repay their loans.” (Slip Op. at 7)

    * [in dismissing claim of common law fraud, element of damages]: “Plaintiffs did not pay tuition to DePaul in return for future employment. Plaintiffs paid tuition to DePaul in return for a legal education which would prepare them to practice law. DePaul provided the service paid for by the Plaintiffs.”” (Slip. Op. at p.8)

    *[in dismissing claim of common law fraud/ fraudulent misrepresentation]: “While Plaintiffs argue that DePaul misrepresented their odds of obtaining employment as a lawyer with a DePaul law degree, Plaintiffs have failed to identify any statement made by DePaul which predicted Plaintiff’s odds of obtaining employment as a full-time lawyer, which suggested that the employment obtained by all recent graduates was full-time or well-paid, or which suggested that Plaintiff’s would obtain full-time employment as a lawyer or at a certain salary within nine months of graduation” (Slip Op. at p.4)

    * [in dismissing claim of common law fraud/ fradulent concealment]: “Plaintiffs have also failed to allege the existence of any special or confidential relationship with DePaul. As prospective students, Plaintiffs had no relationship with DePaul, must less a special relationship which would give rise to any duty. Nor have Plaintiffs alleged any facts. . . showing that a special relationship existed after they became DePaul students. To establish such a special relationship, Plaintiffs would have to allege facts showing that DePaul exercised an overwhelming influence on them. [internal citation omitted]. Plaintiffs allege nothing more than a contractual relationship between themselves and DePaul. Plaintiffs paid DePaul tuition and DePaul provided a legal education in return. This does not give rise to a special relationship.” (Slip Op. at p.5)

    * [in dismissing claim of negligent misrepresentation]: “DePaul is not in the business of providing information for the guidance of others in their business transactions. . . DePaul is in the business of educating students. The provision of the Employment Information was incidental to the educating of students.” (Slip Op. at p.10)

    * [in dismissing claim of negligent misrepresentation]: “...but that case [cited by the Plaintiffs] stands for nothing more than the proposition that real estate agents are in the business of supplying information for the guidance of others. It does not stand for the proposition that educational institutions are in the business of supplying information for the guidance of others and no such authority exists. (Slip Op. at p.11)

    dybbuk













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    1. Who cares? The results of this dismissal justify its bullshit, unsound reasoning. OUR SCAM LIVES TO SEE ANOTHER DAY!!

      - Anonymous Law Professor

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    2. Joking aside, is there ANY law professor out there willing to to go on record in support of the reasoning in (not the results of) any of these dismissals?

      Any?

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  66. I think there are a lot of reasons that judges tend to rule against the law school cases - most of which have been illustrated by posts here:

    1. Groupthink "is a psychological phenomenon that occurs within groups of people. It is the mode of thinking that happens when the desire for harmony in a decision-making group overrides a realistic appraisal of alternatives. Group members try to minimize conflict and reach a consensus decision without critical evaluation of alternative ideas or viewpoint" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Groupthink

    Judges and law professors are very much in the same group - indeed judges are commonly former law professors and often expect to return to professorships (very successful practicing lawyers are unlikely to seek judgeships.)

    2. The recognition by judges that a ruling, pretty well any ruling hold law schools responsible for their fraudulent numbers "opens up an appalling vista" of consequences because pretty well every law school was doing it ... a decision holding say DePaul responsible would be very very big with big consequences.

    3. Projection - judges are projecting their knowledge of the state of the legal profession on applicants to law school. To put it another way - I have been generally aware for at least a decade that there are major problems with employment of law graduates - but then I have been in practice for twenty years (ouch) and ten years ago I was hiring law graduates and interviewing them, and pulling resumés out of my hair - you cannot compare the person I was in 2002 with the person I was in 1989 - the:

    For the past decade, there have been huge warning signs around obtaining a legal education. Massive, flashing, neon, sparkly, skywritten signs saying "LAW SCHOOLS ARE LYING TO YOU!" Yes, only recently have specific stats from schools started to be disproven by real data and analysis, but for god's sake, it's not as if people didn't have extremely strong suspicions and circumstantial evidence to show that law schools fail to provide even a fraction of the employment opportunities they brag about.

    have been described by PoorGrad at 9:32 PM - and with respect to PoorGrad, the signs he/she lists are the sort of signs that would only really be apparent to 2Ls, practicing lawyers, judges and professors. What to 0Ls know about OCI attendance?

    Also with respect to Nando - compare the third-tier-reality website, with its images of toilets with the slick USNWR sight and nicely bound magazines available at your corner bookstore - which looks more credible? Think of yourself as a 22 year old - turd in toilet or nice book filled with statistics and polite text?

    The flashing neon signs were right, but they were not visible to most entrants - and like a sign over a strip club promising love, not very convincing.

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  67. What a double standard. So let me get this straight, I have won 11 trials in my life but I can be brought up before the ethics board for advertising the TRUTH? That I am undefeated in trials. That I am 11-0. Yet these cocksucking law school deans can lie with impunity about employment stats. Do as I say, not as I do. Fuck this ugly profession.

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  68. The problem with the flashing neon light theory is the very insidious nature of the fraud itself. But for the fraudulent misrepresentations by the law schools, a student may have heeded the warning.

    But the law school scam muddies the waters. On the one hand, a prospective law student may hear horror stories of people incurring hundreds of thousands of dollars of debt only to find there are no jobs. On the other hand, he reads the rosy assurances from the law schools that this is not the case. Who does the prospective law student believe?

    If he guesses wrong, he takes the risk (1) of being saddled with a debt he can never repay and wasting three years of his life, or (2) passing up on the opportunity to engage in a rewarding and satisfying profession which will guarantee him status and a comfortable living.

    Ultimately, a student can reasonably rely upon the represenations made by a law school in their glossy brochures. Moreover, in the case of state schools, isn't a student entitled to rely upon the representations made by a school run by his state?

    If the law schools would just come clean and level with prospective students, there would be much less confusion.

    High Plains Lawyer

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