Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Slow learners



Here are quotes from a Detroit business magazine story ($$):


Some Michigan law schools will begin the 2012-13 academic year with a smaller class of incoming students.

Academic experts say a shrinking job market for entry-level attorneys is the biggest driver, but trends vary by school.

The University of Michigan Law School begins its fall semester this week with a class of 345 first-year students drawn from a pool of just over 5,000 applicants, compared with 359 enrolled from 5,422 applicants last fall, and 376 first-years from an applicant pool of 6,312 in 2010.

Wayne State University Law School began its fall semester in late August with 148 first-year students enrolled from 833 applicants, compared with 181 out of 1,123 applicants last year and 197 from 1,363 in 2010.

Dean Robert Ackerman at Wayne State said falling enrollment and applicant interest have plagued law schools nationwide and particularly in Michigan, where most of the school's applicant pool originates. He sees the trend as a mix of the recovery in Michigan's economy and the contracting market for law jobs.

According to a recent report from the National Association for Law Placement, the overall employment rate for class of 2011 law school graduates is 85.6 percent, the lowest it has been since 1994. The association measures employment as of nine months after completing law school.

"Two phenomena here are converging. One is the employment situation, and the harsh reporting on the national stage about legal education. That, I think, is tied to a structural change (in the profession), and not a cyclical trend," Ackerman said . . .

LSAC director of communications Wendy Margolis said the primary reason is believed to be a weakening private-sector job market for recent law school graduates.

"The tenor of the recent articles about this (trend) is really frustrating," said Sarah Zearfoss, senior assistant dean for admissions, financial aid and career planning at UM's law school.

"I feel our students are still very enthusiastic and happy to be here, but they have made the decision in the midst of criticism -- as if friends and academic advisers wonder if they are crazy by choosing to be lawyers."


I guess some people are just incorrigible.  Let’s look at the numbers:

Estimated debt-financed cost of a law degree for the UMLS class of 2015:  $248K non-resident/$237K resident.

Percentage of the class of 2011 that had a legal job nine months after graduation (defined as full-time long term employment requiring bar admission, not counting solos, but counting two people employed by the school):  75.5%

Percentage of the class of 2011 that was employed by UMLS in the fall of 2011 in short-term “fellowships” that paid $333 per week:  20% 

Percentage of the class of 2011 that had a job with a law firm of more than ten attorneys:  38%

That’s a high stakes gamble by any reasonable reckoning.  A quarter of the class of 2011 didn’t get a real legal job of any kind.  About half of the other three quarters didn’t get jobs that come within a mile of paying a salary that allows the average grad to service his or her debt in a timely manner.  (Yes, UMLS has a “good” LRAP program, in that people in low-paying private sector jobs are eligible for it. On the other hand the program, like other LRAP programs at most top schools, has bootstrapped itself to IBR/PSLF, so that UMLS grads have their IBR and PSLF payments made for them by the school up to a certain income level. Almost all LRAP programs no longer pay what graduates actually owe on their loans, although I believe HYS still do).

Is UMLS currently worth sticker if debt-financed? Traditional analyses of debt to income ratios would conclude that it isn’t for a large majority of the class.  Now you can make an argument that UMLS is still a reasonable choice even for many students who aren’t given huge breaks on sticker, but it’s a tough argument to make -- and you have to actually make it, as opposed to engaging in the typical legal academic hand-waving about how education is priceless, prosperity is just around the corner, you could always become president of the Pittsburgh Steelers with the help of your versatile degree etc. etc.

What’s truly absurd is whinging about how all these awful people are saying mean things to our bright-eyed and bushy-tailed 1Ls (“mean things” defined as “quoting actual cost of attendance, employment, and salary numbers.”), instead of just celebrating their choice to spend a quarter million dollars to become – whoops, make that try to become! – lawyers.

164 comments:

  1. Zearfoss should have to take out a 250k gamble on an incoming 1L, picked at random. Zearfoss will then get the difference between that student's 1st year salary per month and the loan payment per month. If the loan payment is more than the salary? Sucks to be you, Zearfoss. But get excited!

    These pigs need to put some hide in the game.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Nice idea! Make schools cosign for student loans.

      Delete

    2. Actually, school ADMINISTRATORS should PERSONALLY cosign.

      Delete
    3. "Sucks to be you, Zearfoss"

      Really? She's pullin' down $178,500 to "work" not all that hard in a job from which she will never be fired.

      Delete
  2. "The tenor of the recent articles about this (trend) is really frustrating," said Sarah Zearfoss

    What is she really complaining about? Is she complaining that blogs like this provides too much transparency in terms of the cost of law school and the potential payoff? Is she complaining because it is now harder to mislead students? It is almost hard to believe people take such a position. But not really anymore.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. People who get caught out as liars often complain about that the new conduct on the part of those who discover the lie diverges from their previous conduct, as if simply responding to the truth (as it now is) is somehow unfair.

      Delete
  3. Zearfoss is complaining because she's a "good person," and "good people" don't fraudulently induce naive kids into flushing their lives down the toilet on a gamble that maybe, someday, they might have a 1 in 3 shot at a long-term legal career.
    I expect that's what a lot of law deans are telling themselves these days. They certainly can't be taking an honest look at the facts and concluding that they are offering their students a product worth even 1/3 what it costs. They can't be doing that because regardless of whatever ethical blind spot may afflict them, these are not stupid people. So the sin has to be rationalized.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Translation: Guys like Paul Campos are making it harder to run the scam.

    31 fewer students at $50k tuition per pop hurts. 1300 fewer applicants at $75 application fee per applicant hurts.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. About 1.65 million.

      Delete
    2. UMich's endowment is over $7.8 billion so this is a drop in the bucket.

      Delete
    3. Yes but no one can explain to me- if the endowment is so high and they don't need the tuition to find the law school, why isn't the tuition lower?

      Delete
    4. Because you charge what people will pay - they are getting 15 applicants for every slot. It's a money machine.

      Delete
    5. Yes, but the 7 billion is for the whole University. And, it only kicked in 266 million for 2011. A million dollar hit to the law school is a much bigger hit (albeit still not catastrophic) when viewed in that light.

      That 1.65 million could have supported raises for the faculty or could have been used to fund more summer research or it could have been poached to fund research in the romance languages or whatever. It is in these smaller areas that the pinch will be felt. In time, as the law school scam costs them more money, the pinch will be greater.

      Delete
  5. "That’s a high stakes gamble by any reasonable reckoning. A quarter of the class of 2011 didn’t get a real legal job of any kind."

    The entire law school scam is predicated on tens of thousands of 0L's failing to grasp this concept. UM is selling unrealistic dreams priced in non-dischargeable US dollars. Zearfoss is understandably frustrated that Campos et al. are offering a clear-eyed look at actual costs and actual outcomes.

    Publius Lex

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. UM is not forcing anyone to go to law school and they've got tons of applicants for every slot. Anyone who doesn't like the price is free to go elsewhere or not at all.

      Delete
    2. @3:42 - we usually guard against scams and not midwife them through federally backed loans. Besides, as the previous poster stated - different issue.

      Delete
  6. I'm really glad that LawProf and DJM have not just focused on outcomes from the bottom schools but from the top schools as well. I'm a 3L at a top ten school and I can feel the desperation coming from the majority of the class who didn't get BigLaw jobs. I have a one year position lined up for next year but after that I have no idea what I'll be doing.

    Yet none of my professors has said anything publicly about the rising tuition compared to the jobs. Many people in my class will be financially ruined for life even though they are some of the smartest, hardest workers out there and they did "everything right" within the system presented to them. At this point they don't even get to shift course after realizing they've been scammed - they are crippled with debt that they will never pay off.

    Frankly I have a hard time respecting my professors for not facing this reality, for thinking their "elite" school will be immune, and simply going back to arguing about Obamacare and who helps the poor the most (some of whom will be their own students!).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Welcome to the real world where not everything everyone says is true and not every outcome is "fair"...life is a gamble.

      Delete
    2. Do you feel that law schools have an ethical obligation to be truthful to their students? Because I do. I strongly feel that law schools should not deliberately mislead students, fake their numbers and do all the things that schools have been doing.
      That is why I want to support this fight.

      This isn't just the same as saying some people le, grow up.

      Delete
    3. Support the fight all you want.

      Then look at the teeming masses of fully informed lemmings surging into the law schools as we speak.

      And ask yourself whether any real change has occurred except at the farthest of margins.

      So best of luck getting everyone to act ethically.

      Delete
    4. Lemmings being lemmings and law profs acting ethically are two completely different issues. You can shake your head at the former while going after the latter. Life is complex, which is what you're trying to say in a really limited retarded way.

      Delete
  7. Totally off-topic but:
    http://penny-arcade.com/patv/episode/on-game-schools

    A short 8 minute video on studying to work in the videogame industry. Two things strike me:
    1. The first 2-3 minutes of the video should smack regular readers of the blog in the face with familiarity. It makes me wonder if schools on video game design took cues directly from the law schools, or just people facing similar problems (how to fleece potential students) develop similar solutions.
    2. For any 0Ls looking for an alternative to law school - as a poor grad I would totally have been open to this had I known about it 4 years ago.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I'm going to argue what I see from the point of view of the law professors at the top law schools (T14, not HYS):

    (1) The system worked for them and many, many of their fellow grads, so it's going to take them time, and I mean years, to get the message.

    (2) These are not people which are great with math. The exponential growth of student loan debt almost certainly escapes them. They simply don't realize that two different exponents will run away from each other and ultimately destroy the system (law loans vs. median lawyer wage)

    (3) They completely miss the impact on the private credit bubble. These are *not* economic historians. They have no idea what's going on in terms of the financial system.

    (4) In sum, they think that they're on a tropical island having a summer party. When in actuality, they are on the upper decks of the Titanic and it hit the iceberg a few years ago. The lower portions of the ship are flooded.

    They're in trouble and they are just now beginning to realize it.

    ReplyDelete
  9. ***"Two phenomena here are converging. One is the employment situation, and the harsh reporting on the national stage about legal education.***

    It's striking to me that this coot says not a WORD about debt and financing of one's legal education!!

    What is he pretending not to know?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. One phenomenon is occurring: A lie is crashing back to earth.

      Delete
  10. Sarah, it's not the becoming-a-lawyer part that's crazy.

    It's the attending-your-law-school-at-four-times-the-national-average-salary-for-lawyers part that's crazy.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. People are entitled to be crazy and many choose that route.

      Some UM law grads actually succeed.

      Delete
    2. I hope you're not in their marketing department.

      "Michigan Law: Some *actually* succeed."

      Delete
    3. Probably not...he/she just hasn't embraced the ludicrous idea that law school is a bad choice for everyone.

      The failures rarely blame themselves...hence, they must have been scammed.

      Delete
    4. What are you talking about? You mean the kids from the top of the class at Columbia who miss big law are just failures? Is every lawyer who fails to get a job that will allow them to repay their loans a failure? There aren't enough of those jobs out there. But for years schools lied as if there were plenty of these jobs that their grads were getting. So people thought they would be able to repay their loans. No one goes to law school expecting to be unemployed.

      Delete
    5. The "failures" in the law school game have been blaming themselves for years and years now. Everybody else is well-to-do and successful, I just couldn't take that same toolkit and make it happen for myself, said the unsuccessful graduate over the last century. I'm sad and embarrassed, and I guess I'll just keep it all to my unsuccessful self as I give up law for something else.

      But then this thing called "the Internet" came along, and as it turned out, these "failures" were pretty goddamn numerous. My God, they said, how can so many of us be such "failures" when our employment rate is 90%+ and our median starting salary is over $100,000? After a while, the truth sank in: the sales pitch was bullshit, and far fewer than advertised were "successes" in the sense that they had attained full-time, JD-required employment at or above the "median" starting salary - which was mostly a sample of the upper quartile salaries anyway.

      Law school isn't a bad choice for everyone, and nobody here is framing it that way. I think most people would argue that law school is a bad choice for most prospective students, who (a) attend with full-time, JD-required employment as a goal, (b) aren't independently wealthy and (c) are attending at a price that makes sense in light of the actual salary outcomes enjoyed by the average law graduate.

      Delete
    6. OMG how long does the broken record have to play.

      Everyone who wants to face reality KNOWS this stuff.

      The rest have selected their fate and enrolled in law school.

      Those who haven't succeeded blame others; there was and is no scam.

      Delete
    7. I smell the rotten stench of a troll all over this comments section.

      Delete
  11. Law should be an undergraduate major, and people that want to be lawyers should study for a bar exam which should be much harder to pass. People that don't pass or don't want to be lawyers should do other law-related jobs in the public or private sector. There should be a different, less selective qualification for legal document preparers. People that want to teach law should get a PhD in law. The "Juris Doctor" degree is a failed experiment this country can no longer afford.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That is exactly what should happen. It's how law is the rest of the world over, and they seem to manage just fine. Law is an undergrad major, and law professors typically have PhDs or extremely solid practical experience (e.g. top judges, top lawyers etc., not the never-practiced-a-day-in-my-life-or-got-a-PhD dummies we have.)

      I fully agree that the JD is a completely failed experiment.

      Now, which college is man enough to turn its law school into an undergraduate major, charge undergraduate fees, and produce grauduates who might actually be rather employable?

      And I bet that once the "law professors" are dumped and hired back at regular tenured professor salaries, and no longer participate in the stupid law review process, that the school would be cheap, effective, and full of students. Like, stuffed with students.

      When will universities learn that a law school is no longer a prestigious jewel in the academic crown, but rather a turd uncomfortably half-hanging out of the ass of the institution?

      Delete
    2. Thank goodness you got here in time to tell us how the world should be!

      Your completely worthless post is greatly appreciated.

      Delete
    3. @3:46 ~ Trolled for reaction = none. As it should be.

      Delete
  12. Sarah Zearfoss is a shamelessly corrupt shill, and she is willfully pulling the wool over her own eyes as to the lives she's destroying. If you're reading, Sarah?

    You're a bad person. Put down all the nonsense about how you know it can't be a scam because you're a good person and you would never intentionally hurt someone; you're destroying lives, you know or should reasonably know it, and continuing as you do makes you a bad person. The wheels of justice grind slow but small.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sarah is doing the job she's paid to do to the best of her ability. Michigan Law doesn't scam anyone. If you don't want to be a lawyer, don't go to law school. If you don't want to go to Michigan go somewhere else. All the dopes on here who failed to find employment need scapegoats...when in truth, they've only themselves to blame.

      Delete
    2. Trolling for reaction.

      Delete
    3. The job she is paid to do is put bodies with the right numbers in the seats. That she can continue to do this while wearing blunders about the actual employment outcomes of grads from her own school shows the thrush of her character.

      Sure Michigan is great for some people. Even Hofatea is great if you are first in your class. But for many grads, and for many of the students she is getting into her school, it will be the worst mistake of their lives.

      Delete
    4. Truth of her character. And Hofstra - sorry for the errors!

      Delete
  13. Average salary per law school graduate 9 months after graduation (including all the lawyers who never get jobs requiring a JD) is likely below $25,000 per year.

    Average cost to attend law school is above $150,000. If you including lost income for 3 years, it likely could be $250,000 to $300,000 for most.

    This is such an insane risk for 90% of the people attending law school. HYS or top 10% at a few other schools. Everyone else is likely going to lose out on this deal.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Citizens are free to take "insane" risks. Those that do so are not necessarily being scammed.

      Delete
    2. When they have been lied to and mislead by false statistics they sure have a claim that they were scammed.

      Delete
    3. Yes, and they are free to seek legal redress.

      So far they have failed to prove their claims - and they will continue to fail as such claims are groundless.

      They are failures masquerading as victims; unwilling to face the truth of their proven inadequacy.

      Delete
    4. ^^^
      8:03, must be the judge who dismissed the lawsuit against Cooley. "Obviously the employment numbers were fake, duh!"

      Delete
  14. "as if friends and academic advisers wonder if they are crazy by choosing to be lawyers."

    If not crazy, flat out delusional.

    ReplyDelete
  15. "Estimated debt-financed cost of a law degree for the UMLS class of 2015: $248K non-resident/$237K resident."

    Really? As a Michigan alum who graduated in the late 90's, I have to say that the Michigan degree opens some doors and is valuable.

    For comparison, I graduated owing $60k. I thought that debt was staggering at the time.

    The degree is not worth a quarter of a million dollars of non-dischargeable debt at 7% interest. That is an astounding amount of money.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "A quarter of the class of 2011 didn’t get a real legal job of any kind. About half of the other three quarters didn’t get jobs that come within a mile of paying a salary that allows the average grad to service his or her debt in a timely manner."

      When I read that, I thought the same 3 statements Token Black Guy said: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vyq61qQF9ik

      Delete
    2. Yeah, those 1990's Michigan law degrees are good. How do you get one of those?

      Delete
    3. How is there only a $11k difference between 3 years of resident and nonresident tuition? Is the difference per year really less than $4k?

      Delete
    4. Yes ==> instate = $48k/yr and non-resident = $51k/yr.

      Delete
  16. But it is a versatile degree.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Frankly, it's extremely sad that law school has now become such a losing game that attending a T14 isn't even a good gamble anymore.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Law schools are running out of gas.

    At $250k borrowed, the only way to convince enough dupes to enroll is with IBR. IBR will keep the game going for 5 more years -- just enough time for current debtors to realize the consequences of IBR.

    Unlike pre-2008 entrants, all 2012 entrants now know the world is different. In a few more years, all parents will know the world is different.



    ReplyDelete
  19. Excellent post, LawProf.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Probably not PosnerSeptember 5, 2012 at 9:38 AM

    A lot of students at t10, non-HYS schools have little to no debt at all. These are those who have been enticed by merit scholarships or who have well-connected, rich parents (often an overlapping set). Given their merit and connections, they are also the population most likely to get a Big Law job. For this group of people, law school is still a good deal.

    The problem is that their merit scholarships are being subsidized by those paying sticker price, and this population is less likely to get a job because they have worse LSATs, less connections. The dirty open secret of t10 non-HYS schools is that in this economy there has to be losers in the class so that others can emerge as winners.

    Can this system be reformed? Making the class smaller means less lawyers (a good thing), but it also risks sending a signal to the community that your school's value has plunged, which might hurt students too. Perhaps a better solution is to ask fewer students to pay sticker. This means cutting down on overhead so that more of the class gets a scholarship or possibly admitting more people with the resources to pay for school without a loan.

    The latter solution obviously privileges people from higher-income backgrounds. But, in the new economy where not everyone gets a job, I'm increasingly convinced that employers with the luxury of picking amongst an excess of smart, hardworking people will pick those with higher-income backgrounds over lower-income backgrounds anyway. It makes business sense to pick people who will make your clients comfortable or whose parents are your clients.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You forgot the obvious solution: lower sticker tuition.

      Delete
    2. I'm actually somewhat more in favor of lowering the effective rate across the board rather than the sticker rate in the near future.

      The reason is that I think it might hurt current students if the school is widely perceived as having to slash the price dramatically. I mean, we here all know the reality, but image does count to the less informed.

      Delete
    3. Why should a business where demand is outstripping supply cut its prices. You fail at econ. 101.

      Delete
    4. Well, I don't think law schools are supposed to be maximizing profits. If they were, this blog woouldn't have much of a point.

      Delete
    5. Hasabrain:

      Your comment seems to assume that just because an organization can raise prices it should.

      I read this site because I believe nonprofit law schools should not be maximizing their profits at the expense of their students. Our disagreement is not on economics; it's on first principles.

      Delete
    6. Hasabrain:

      It's possible that I also misread your comment and that you are merely stating that it's hard to persuade schools to act in a way that benefits their students when they are still receiving applications from the naive. I'd agree with you there.

      Delete
    7. These comments maybe altruistic, but they ignore the fundamental tenet of our society--how to separate a consumer from his or her money. The student is the consumer, the "money" is either cash or debt, and the business is the school. "Non-profit" doesn't mean shit.

      Delete
    8. Correction, it means the business doesn't pay taxes.

      Delete
    9. True dat-LOL.

      Delete
    10. At my top-ranking law school, the scions of the great and the good do indeed get the bulk of the jobs. Those of us whose working experience, age, or other factors betray a non-aristocratic background are passed over, even for interviews.

      I have never seen so many rich people in my life as at law school. And I went to an Ivy League university for my undergraduate degree.

      Delete
    11. Thank goodness you are being passed over. Sounds like you spent too many years doing something else and the law firms wisely perceive you to be a clueless relic. Enjoy your solo practice, Mr. Ivy League.

      Delete
    12. How on earth would you know?

      Delete
  21. The first cut is, indeed, the deepest. When you've been in school your entire life financed with other people's money it is shocking that people would ruin your lives for a buck.
    Not condoning it, but if you think this is limited to law schools, or tje current generation... Um, you'll encounter this again and again.
    Fer realz

    ReplyDelete
  22. The New York Supreme Court and the California Supreme Court should let graduates of undergraduate programs take the bar in those states. Within 10 years, every university in the country would have a law major and many would have PhD programs in law.

    ReplyDelete
  23. And also, other states would follow within those 10 years. ABA would not be allowed to accredit these programs if I had my way. Let the state judiciaries set the bar for admissions with testing, not library size, etc.

    ReplyDelete
  24. 0938 confirms one of my pet theses: that a lot of law schools, even the TTT I went to, serve as "finishing" schools for the children of the elite in that particular area. The kids didn't have the grades/lsat/connections to get into HYS/top 50 and daddy wanted to hide 'em for a few more years before they were connected to a job or placed in the family biz.

    I'd say at least 35-40% of my class fit into that category.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. that is a lot of rich folks

      Delete
    2. I'm not sure if the percentage of like students was as high in my TTT class (35-40%). But, I can say that I had never been around so many people of wealth. Many were K-JD's, had never worked, and had no immediate need to be concerned with securing employment upon graduation. A surprising number had no plans to even sit for the bar exam.

      I have no idea what has happened to these people during the past year. I was not close friend with any of them during school, and have had very limited contact since graduation.

      Delete
    3. Why should it bother anyone if the "children of the elite" go to law school?

      Delete
    4. @ AnonymousSeptember 5, 2012 4:15 PM:
      It doesn't bother me in the slightest. But it does say something about the goals of the student body and the institution if one third of the graduates aren't looking to, you know, work as attorneys.

      Delete
  25. IBR worries me. The President announced that IBR will now be 10 percent per year for 20 years for all income above 150% of poverty. Once discharged, you'll get a tax bill for the forgiven debt.

    This plan is a pure giveaway to the university industrial complex, and is expressly designed to keep the music going for a few more years.

    This is horrible reform, and will cause major problems in a few short years. Why can't we have adults in political office?

    More debt on the pile. I'm sure that future budgets will assume tax revenue from the 20 year discharge in some Congressional accounting scam, but holy shit boys, we can't keep this up forever. We'll run up entitlements, new subsidies, debt, cheap money until we can't do so any longer.

    Then what happens?

    ReplyDelete
  26. Kablamo! zerohedge.com

    ReplyDelete
  27. Says I, and to meself, that LawProf and DJM ought to be high ranking officers in the Navy.

    That is because this blog is Admiralble.

    ReplyDelete
  28. Jd painterguy should be paid by schools to give their orientation....and if kids want to stay, they are on notice..not necessarily "bashing", but just full disclosure.

    ReplyDelete
  29. States could have publicly funded legal training institutes lasting 3 months to a year, to prepare those people that passed the bar.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, because states have all kinds of extra cash to spend.

      Delete
  30. Finally, majoring in law as an undergraduate would NOT be a requirement to take the bar exam.

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  31. It's a dog eat dog world. Charlotte School of Law had record admissions this Fall (500+)while the school's bar passage rate remain dismal at best.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And every single one of the students is a volunteer.

      Delete
  32. Lawprof,

    You're wrong about the cost of law school. With IBR, law school is free.

    Say you've just graduated with a lot of undergrad debt, like $100,000. Cost of law school will be . . . nothing! Why? IBR, of course.

    Pile it on, and on. So $100k undergrad will add another $200k in law debt. Why not? Total is $300k in borrowed funny money.

    Cost: Still only 10% of post-grad income for 20 years. Might as well spin the wheel. Oh, you're worried that the discharged amount will be taxable in 20 years? You really think Congress will let that happen?

    So buy now, pay later. Shift the bill to others. Give me my bread and circuses now government! I'm an American!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't believe the Obama administration's proposal to reduce the IBR period from 25 to 20 years has actually been enacted (not that this was your main point).

      Delete
    2. The scariest comment of them all........

      Delete
    3. You're wrong. The Law Professor in Chief signed an "Executive Action" (didn't learn that one in Conlaw or Adlaw) to make the IBR period 20 years and 10 percent.

      http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2012/06/07/income-based-repayment-everything-you-need-know

      Delete
    4. The linked memorandum describes the 20-year plan as "proposed" rather than enacted.

      Delete
    5. Current law allows borrowers to limit their loan payments to 15 percent of their discretionary income and forgives all remaining debt after 25 years. However, few students know about this option. Students can find out if they are currently eligible for IBR at www.studentaid.ed.gov/ibr. Last year, the President proposed, and Congress enacted, a plan to further ease student loan debt payment by lowering the IBR loan payment to 10 percent of income, and the forgiveness timeline to 20 years. This change is set to go into effect for all new borrowers after 2014—mostly impacting future college students.

      Today, the Administration is proposing to offer even more immediate relief to many current college students by giving them the chance to limit loan payments to 10 percent of their discretionary income starting in 2012. In addition, the debt would be forgiven after 20 years instead of 25, as current law allows. For many who struggle to manage their student loan debt—including teachers, nurses, public defenders and others in lower-paying jobs—these proposed changes could reduce their payments by hundreds of dollars each month. Overall, this proposal would provide an estimated 1.6 million borrowers with more manageable monthly payments.

      Delete
    6. That's all fine, but what about private student lending and loans in default? What are those people supposed to do?

      You know, you really do get some interesting looks paddling your raft to Cuba from people who are going the other way.

      Delete
    7. Private lending is not preferred by the administration.

      You are out of luck. Congratulations on getting a versatile degree that will reward you over a 40 or 50 year career though. I'm sure it will open a lot of doors.

      Delete
    8. Well, there is some truth to that. Law degrees can take you places. Albeit you're a refugee of sorts. But they do open the opportunity for international travel.

      Delete
    9. I thought the 20 year limit that Congress passed for borrowing starting in 2014 was changed to borrowing in 2012. I can not find where it was finally enacted, however, so I am not sure if it passed or now.

      Delete
    10. replying to myself: i know that Obama approved changing the limit to 20 years, but I can't find it actually becoming law.

      Delete
    11. It's still no good, though. They've done it before (see 1970's, 1990's and 2005 bankruptcy reform), and they'll do it again when they need to squeeze revenue out of people on IBR to pay down the debt.

      Delete
  33. The Newspeak word for Professor Obama's new plan is called "Pay as You Earn"

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If you don't earn, you don't pay? So who pays? [Independent thought alarm. don't ask questions of the educational industrial complex].

      Delete
  34. Lawprof (and DJM especially, based on your post on the same) please, for the love of God, straighten out this prattling moron, Prof. Carla D. Pratt:

    http://www.law.com/jsp/nlj/PubArticleNLJ.jsp?id=1202569826512&Law_School_still_a_good_investment_for_AfricanAmericans

    Publius Lex

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You can make your argument yourself: cdp10@psu.edu

      Delete
    2. The important bit starts at 3:11.

      One phrase has such a significant impact on students. What was that word she used? "Power". Hm.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=01RepVFL0cs

      Delete
    3. In response to 11:20AM, there are 2 reasons why I won't personally argue with prattling moron Pratt.

      1) First, a tenured law professor carries a degree of credulity that a twenty-something law grad does not.

      and

      2) Second, this blog reaches tens of thousands of people, and many of them are 0L's, who have the most to lose from following the advice of morons like Prof. Pratt.

      It might come to the surprise of a navel-gazing law professor, but the point of this blog is to save people from life-altering real-world consequences. A private email would not accomplish that goal. A heavy dose of DJM's reality therapy will.

      Publius Lex



      Publius Lex

      Delete
    4. Thanks for the link to this; I'll work on a response. Some of Pratt's article is useful--she clearly recognizes how expensive law school has become. I think she's torn because she wants Black students to continue entering the profession. But rather than urge individuals to put themselves at risk, the better argument is to tell schools to lower their friggin' prices! And it's clearly a bad idea to suggest that Black students should plan to hang out a shingle and serve minority communities after assuming today's debt loads.

      Delete
    5. @11:53, "credibility". Just sayin'.

      (The sentence is not necessarily incorrect the way you have it, from an absolute standpoint, but it doesn't convey what you meant.)

      Delete
  35. @10:31AM

    LOL!!! "LawProf in Chief!" What a funny sobriquet!

    And my eyes grow damp to think that Obama might sign such legislation
    with his own rubber stamp.

    ReplyDelete
  36. The perils of law school and the dismal employment prospects are no secret but interestingly, there were over 5,000 applicants this year to UMLS for which over 90% were rejected. Why are there still so many applicants?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Because the type of people who apply to law school are inherently egotistical and accustomed to being successful academically. They think, "Bad economy? Whatever. I scoff at your warnings! I will make it because I am special."

      It's called DENIAL.

      That...or daddy owns a law firm and a job is guaranteed after graduation.

      Delete
    2. Many students are still in denial. They see the salary of $160,000 ($95,000 after taxes though I get $93,000) and think they will make it.

      They are not willing to listen.

      I have seen many people on TLS who will take advice, but some won't. There is a girl today who posted about the mandatory curve and how do people end up below median. She seems surprised at how smart and hardworking her fellow 0Ls. This girl went to American because she couldn't find a job in international relations, even though she was warned repeatedly not to go to American and to retake to get a better school.

      There are plenty of people like this on TLS. I've even had a person tell me that I was trying to discourage her because I was afraid of the competition for applicants! LOL!

      Delete
    3. Law schools are crazy into international law these days, despite the apparent lack of international law jobs.

      Are they trying to make the JD with an emphasis on international law the new MA in international relations in order to attract a new pool of applicants?

      Delete
  37. http://www.americanthinker.com/printpage/?url=http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2012/09/did_the_president_endanger_his_familys_finances.html

    ReplyDelete
  38. Schools are also dropping application fees this year to get more people to apply. It is a common part of the scam - give fee waivers or completely drop application fees just to get people to apply. It increases your yield by increasing the number of applicants. It also works subtly to entice people into law school.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. someone should keep track of the schools that are waiving their app fees so that they can smart 0Ls can leverage their scholarship offers up the USNWR LS chain.

      Delete
  39. WUSTL is one school that has dropped all application fees.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Washington and Lee has also dropped application fees.

      There is a spreadsheet on TLS but it only has the top 35 schools.

      Delete
    2. Could you provide a link, please?

      Delete
    3. My phone won't let me paste the URL. I will post it from a computer tomorrow. Sorry about that.

      Delete
    4. http://www.top-law-schools.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=188687

      There is the link. I apologize that I wasn't able to post it yesterday. Hope that helps!

      Delete
  40. OT: Has anyone else noticed that this blog suddenly became much more active comment-wise within the past week, i.e., after classes started for most law schools? If so, does that mean students are talking about the scam on campus, getting the word out among scam-ees who didn't discover the law-school critique before they enrolled?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sadly, everyone at my school still seems to be a in a hopeful bubble. Everyone still thinks they will get jobs. Maybe once clerkship season is over people will finally realize they got scammed.

      Delete
    2. No, to my astonishment, no one else noticed that!

      Thank goodness you stopped by to let everyone know!

      Delete
  41. I appreciate the media covering the scam, but it drives me nuts how they entertain remarks from law school deans without acknowledging that they are interested parties. Why would anybody ask a law school dean about the value of a legal education and expect an honest answer?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The media is scammed as well. They think that Deans are honorable and honest people. They don't know how the admissions Dean hide their heads in the sand about the employment outcomes from the people they dupe into attending at 6 figures.

      Delete
  42. I can certainly see why Ms. Sarah Zearfoss is dismayed. Working in admissions/financial aid/career planning at a law school must be a lot of fun right now. The house of cards that the whole law school/student loan industrial complex has built is going to collapse before too long.

    11:58 AM--that drives me nuts too--any decent journalist will point out when someone has a financial interest in a product they are promoting. And the law schools are finally coming right out and saying they are businesses.

    I also wish the media would stop quoting that meaningless "85.6% employed after 9 months" figure. They don't know to inquire about real legal jobs, which shows they don't quite get it.

    ReplyDelete
  43. LawProf,

    Your "debt-financed" adjustment to COA is is confused and apples-to-oranges. You're presenting the COA in future dollars, while comparing it to salaries in current dollars. Similarly, your analysis also implies that the question of whether law school (or any other investment) is a good investment depends on whether it is debt financed or equity financed, which is not correct because it overlooks the fact that cash on hand that is used to pay for law school could otherwise have been profitably invested.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm not talking about COA in terms of future dollars, i.e., in total future outlays to service interest and principal (if I were, the cost of a debt-financed degree from UMLS would be far higher than the figures I'm quoting.)

      The $248K/$237K figure represents what a graduate's *loan balance* will be when the first payment comes due six months after graduation, assuming the COA is debt-financed.

      Delete
    2. Right. That's still in Year 4 dollars, while the salaries you are comparing the coa to is year 1 dollars. You need to inflate the salary numbers to FV. Or just don't make the interest adjustment to the coa. Otherwise apples to oranges.

      Delete
    3. The class of 2015 isn't going to have the salaries of the class of 2011. They'll probably be lower.

      Delete
  44. Warning: There is now adult content on my blog.

    It is all necessary in order to convey my real life underemployed on the job experiences after law school.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I guess that porn is one way of dealing with excessive student loans.

      Delete
    2. I didn't see any T&A:(

      Delete
  45. Look, when risk isnt properly underwritten it blows up. Housing. Education.

    If YOU had $250K to loan to a student, would you give to the Art History major? Anthropology? A Thomas Cooley 1L?

    It's insane and it will blow up.

    ReplyDelete
  46. Are there many current law school students reading this blog? If so, can you let us know at what stage current law students figure out they have been scammed?

    Are the 1L studtents completely clueless about the issues commonly discussed in this blog?

    Do they not figure it out till 2L? or is not till they are getting frantic during the 3L job search?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. All 1Ls are completely clueless. Always have been, always will be. 2Ls feel too invested to care. Nothing sinks in until the 3L job search. We were the same way 10 years ago.

      Delete
    2. Is there any chance at all that different students realize different things at different times?

      Not every law student is or was scammed.

      Many who claim to have been scammed simply failed and now wish to embrace victimhood.

      Delete
    3. I agree with 4:33. If you're a special snowflake or if you suffer from the cognitive bias that has been mentioned, then those students weren't scammed. They knew the deal they just chose to ignore the facts because they're special and they knew they would be the top of the class.

      Delete
    4. I thought I posted a comment, sorry if this repeats. I think students should be figuring it out by the end of 1L. If they are below median, they should drop out under all but a handful of circumstances.

      If they find they are not getting a job for 2L that will lead to post grad employment, they should drop out.

      That way they can get to school but also leave if it isn't right for them before they are completely buried in debt.

      Delete
  47. HLS panel discussion: Are Law Schools in Crisis?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2MVMYdylT3M

    I'm just starting to watch the video.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. More interesting part starts around 40:00.

      Delete
  48. I just got a resume from a 2012 law grad who concentrated/emphasized in international law.

    For a law clerk position.

    If I could get more clients I'd be hiring a hell of a lot more law grads.

    But nobody has any money.*

    DePaulChicago

    * See LP posting by that name

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've gotten 10 or so resumes from experienced lawyers who are applying for a paralegal position I'm trying to fill.

      That's real sad.

      It's not like there's anything in their backgrounds or experience that makes them even remotely qualified for the position. They're just flooding all lawjobs with resumes and hoping against hope something may come of it.

      Delete
  49. The Duncan School Of Law In Tennessee apparently has an entering 1L class of 9 students down from about 80 two years ago.
    http://www.knoxnews.com/news/2012/aug/29/amid-accreditation-worries-students-return-to/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It doesn't say that.

      "The school declined to give specific numbers on the class size until the final day to withdraw has passed,"

      Delete
  50. Kentucky Law School Will Shutter Its Doors by the End of the Year [2008 Article]

    I wonder why I haven't heard about this before.

    ReplyDelete
  51. It is the Barkley School of Law in Paducah, Ky.

    The University of Kentucky Law School has deferred a major building project, but is not the subject of any closing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sorry for the mix up. By Kentucky Law School I ment law school in Kentucky.

      Delete
  52. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  53. Anyone tried this yet?September 5, 2012 at 8:01 PM

    Not going to run through 140 comments to see, but I've noted that Admissions Dean Ms. Sarah Zearfoss sounds a lot like:

    Admissions Dean Ms. Sarah Rearfloss.

    She's a thong.

    ReplyDelete
  54. William Jefferson Clinton, on the DNCSeptember 5, 2012 at 8:07 PM

    President Bill is on-air right now at the DNC running on and on about how great IBR with it's 20-year, not more than 10% repayment plan is.

    Guess what aspect he utterly and completely failed to mention?

    He used the word "forgiveness" a lot.

    Never once mentioned that the amount forgiven is taxable federal income in the year forgiven.

    Never once mentioned that the debtor forgiven will owe income tax, that year in full, on the amount forgiven.

    Slick Willie, indeed.

    ReplyDelete
  55. On Assoc.Dean Carla D. Pratt:September 5, 2012 at 9:01 PM

    Ellie Mystal over at ATL covered Dean Carla Pratt's crazy National Law Jnl. piece on why it's still a good bet for black people to attend law school.

    Some of the more choice comments:

    "Poor black people need lawyers, they don’t need more poor black people who became poor by going to law school."

    "As I said, I’ve heard this terrible argument before, but rarely as boldly as from the associate dean for academic affairs at Penn State Law. Her version of the argument seems more like an attempt to cause active harm to the black community by taking advantage of those who don’t have enough information."


    "This falsehood that law school is somehow a “better” bet for African-Americans must be stopped, right here, right now. ... Shooting holes in this argument will only be challenging because it’s made entirely of Swiss cheese."

    ReplyDelete
  56. On Assoc.Dean Carla D. PrattSeptember 5, 2012 at 9:10 PM

    Another fun one from Ellie Mystal over at ATL:

    " Remember, Pratt’s agenda is to get more lawyers for underserved clients — clients who generally can’t afford to pay a lot for legal services, or pay at all. How are these young black lawyers supposed to make a living and pay back their loans with “entrepreneurial” practices focusing on clients who can’t pay? It makes no sense. Pratt is making no freaking sense. She might as well be pointing to a Wookie at this point."

    ROFL, and I'm not even sure what that last sentence was supposed to mean, but it did make me snort and laugh out loud. The kids are like, "okay, what are YOU doing over there".

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is possible this is referring to the Chewbacca defense.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xwdba9C2G14

      Delete
  57. If states can't afford it, then charge fees for a legal training institute. Better one year after passing a more selective bar than 3 years before with no guarantee of passing bar. Fewer opportunity costs - could keep working and wouldn't necessarily have to tell employers about attempt to become lawyer.

    ReplyDelete
  58. Well,law grads could always get a job hosting on the Today Show.

    ReplyDelete

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