Sunday, September 23, 2012

The scandal

 Updated below

If you want a glimpse into the short-term future of American legal education, take a look at what New England Law did this year with its entering class.  NEL has, even by the standards of low-ranked law schools, atrocious placement statistics: only a little more than a third of the 2011 class got legal jobs (full-time long-term bar admission required; and this figure is bolstered by 15 people who listed themselves as starting solo practices), one in five graduates was completely unemployed, only four graduates out of 308 got jobs with law firms of more than 50 attorneys, and the median reported salary for the class was around $50,000, even though less than 25% of the class had a reported salary (Given these stats, it's likely the true median salary for 2011 graduates of NEL was under $30,000.) 

NEL has raised its tuition faster than almost any other private law school in the country, nearly doubling it since 2004, from $22,475 to $42,490 (these figures don't include health insurance, which will run students close to another $2,000 if they purchase it from the school, and which they're required to have under state law).  The 2011 class had a mean reported law school debt of $120,480, but keep in mind this figure doesn't include accrued interest, private non-government guaranteed loans, and other educational debt. Taking these factors into account, the average 2011 graduate almost certainly had at least $150,000 in educational debt, and quite possibly as much as $175,000.

The large majority of NEL grads aren't getting legal jobs, and almost everyone who does get a legal job isn't getting one that justifies the cost of attending the school.  So what did this institution decide to do this year, given these extraordinarily dire statistics?  If you guessed "raise tuition more than twice as fast as inflation and increase the size of the incoming class by 17%" you win a prize.  NEL increased its incoming class from 385 to 452 students. It achieved this, while applications to law school in general were plummeting, by dropping the median LSAT score of full-time matriculants from the 53rd percentile to the 41st percentile, and that of part-time students from the 41st percentile to the 33rd (fully a quarter of the part-time admits had LSAT scores below the 26th percentile of test takers).

But we haven't even gotten to the punch line yet, which is that the dean of this monument to catastrophic market failure  is John O'Brien, who was none other than the chair of the ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar during the 2011-12 academic year -- that is, the section of the ABA that is supposed to be regulating the conduct of accredited law schools.  (O'Brien was paid $867,000 by NEL in 2010-2011).

What we have here, in other words, is the academic equivalent of what in the world of finance is known as a pump and dump operation.  With an eye for the main chance that would make the likes of Whitey Bulger proud, O'Brien, who has been dean of NEL for 24 years, seems to have decided that he might as well get while the getting is good. With unlimited federal loan money there for the taking, NEL continues to jack up tuition as fast as it can, while tossing any semblance of admissions standards out the window, and not even pretending to care whether graduates are taking on life-wrecking amounts of debt in return for degrees that will rarely produce returns that justify their cost, and which indeed in many cases are going to be worse than worthless.

And while it's true that if something can't go on forever, it will stop, there's still at the moment nothing to stop people like O'Brien from running educational boiler rooms. Yes the whole thing is starting to crash, but in the meantime there's still money to be made, and lots of it.  (My guess is that, as fiscal reality slowly sets in, a lot more law schools will stop trying to hold their LSAT medians, and instead admit whoever they have to admit to keep classes from shrinking even further.)

As Michael Kinsley once observed, the scandal isn't what's illegal -- the scandal is what's legal.

Update:  Nice catch by commenter MacK on the "special board" appointed to make sure that O'Brien's astronomical compensation is warranted (I guess it's a positive that somebody felt it necessary to produce some bureaucratic justification for paying O'Brien what is probably three times the average dean's salary at an unranked school).

The only actual achievement cited by the review board is that, like a lot of bottom feeding schools, NEL has been turned into an apparently effective three-year bar review course.

NEL makes a very big deal of the fact that it spends lots of student tuition on paying SCOTUS justices to give little talks and such. There is to put it mildly zero evidence that this has produced any "elevated prestige" for the school.

As for "financial stability," until about 15 minutes ago running a crap law school was a license to print money, and it would have taken an extraordinarily incompetent dean to fail to achieve "financial stability."

The best part of this is citing heading the ABA Section of Legal Education as evidence that this guy is "strengthening the field" (the field, remember, being the practice of law) overall.  Just imagine how bad employment stats for lawyers would have become if John O'Brien hadn't been strengthening the field by running the Section of Legal Education.



163 comments:

  1. "(these figures don't health insurance, which will run students close to another $2,000 if they purchase it from the school, and which they're required to have under state law)."

    you're missing an 'include'

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Epic. Law professors everywhere are cheering.

      Delete
  2. hehe, pump and dump :)

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  3. those lsat scores are basically people who are barely functional. i mean, couldn't you blindfold yourself and fill in the bubble sheet and get these scores???

    This is taking advantage of the frail of mind. i'm sick.

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  4. fifth!!!!!!

    and good post.

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  5. The dean got paid $867,000! I would like to know what deans got paid 30, 40, 50 + years ago. This is fuckin' ridiculous!

    ReplyDelete
  6. $867,000!

    Wasn't there some liberal tradition among academics that intellectual riches were and should be the main component of an academic's compensation package? Guess that one's dead.

    When people sell out, other people get hurt. Right. It's a good reminder. And were I ever presented an occasion to forget it, I would be reminded.

    ReplyDelete
  7. The fact that applicants with scores in the 140s are allowed to attend law school at all is itself an indictment of the ABA regulatory regime.

    A 145 means you GOT MORE ANSWERS WRONG THAN RIGHT (usually about 54 wrong out of 101 questions). Why is that not a straight "fail"?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And answering the questions randomly will result in about 20 correct answers.

      Comparative data: Michigan's dean was paid $67,000 in 1981 (about $170,000 in present dollars).

      Delete
    2. And Michigan is actually a respectable law school, unlike this mephitic shithole.

      Delete
  8. It is doubtful that someone with an LSAT score this low would be able to pass the bar. But that is beside the point:

    $$$

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  9. the reason so many young people are committing financial suicide by going to law school is the same reason that so many young men volunteered to go to war, even the Vietnam war, where they "died face down in the muck" for nothing--society tells them this is the 'right thing to do.' And young people, many of them, will do what society tells them to do.

    Until very recently the major voices of society told young people that if you go to law school, that is the right thing to do.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A lot of young men went to Vietnam because a recruiter filled their heads with visions of trade schools, frisky fräuleins and foaming steins of German beer, kinda like law deans and their visions of six figure salaries practicing international law.

      RPL

      Delete
    2. You must be quite young, and didn't live through the Vietnam era.

      Almost all of those who went to Vietnam went because there was a DRAFT. Granted, until late in the war it gave a deferment to those in college or grad school, but even those two escapes were terminated as the need for fresh cannon fodder grew.

      Ask your male parent or grandparent about the draft and/or what his "lottery number" was. [The number you received to indicate where you were in the line to be inducted.] Most can remember that better than Paul Ryan can "remember" his mythical marathon time(s).

      Delete
  10. Dean John O'Brien reminds me a bit of Robert Rizzo, the now infamous former city administrator of the impoverished small city of Bell in southeastern Los Angeles County. Rizzo used bribery to stack the city council with friendly players, then got them to approve a personal salary of $787,000, an outrageous act of corruption that was ultimately uncovered by the Los Angeles Times. Rizzo was subsequently arrested and is slated to go on trial next January. O'Brien is no less a thief and a criminal.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Wow, just wow. Great post, LawProf.
    I don't know whether to cry, or start a law school . . .
    Outrageous.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Let's start a law school. We'll split the students' student loan money 75-25. I get the 75, or course.

      Delete
    2. I volunteer to teach international human rights law!

      Delete
  12. Yes, it's clear that this NEL is a dying concern that is being milked for every penny.

    O'Brien's salary alone costs the students $2k each per year.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Are these issues being covered by the local press?

      Delete
  13. The bottom line is that if you are one of the 452 1L students this year, you are an idiot. Have fun with all that debt and no job at the end of three years. Meanwhile, Dean O'Brien makes the bank of your pathetic wannabe lives. You empower him while bleeding yourself to death.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wannabe what? I just graduated from New England Law and am a successful journalist with a law job, and I'm making enough to enjoy life. I have all the debt mentioned in this article, but I bust my ass harder than the guy next to me and will pay it back and live a successful life doing what I enjoy. Those that fail are those that accept it.

      New England's career services did not, in any way, help me find a job.. However, the professors prepared me well, and when I reached out, one of them helped set me up with my position.

      I understand you are talking about this 1L class, but don't generalize. There are always people that work hard to get what's theirs. Those people aren't wannabes, so pump the breaks before you sound like an anonymous jerkoff.

      Delete
    2. What kind of law job do you have? What does it pay? How much debt are you carrying?

      Delete
    3. One that combines law and journalism just enough to know to never answer personal questions posed by an anonymous interviewer on a public forum. Cheers.

      Delete
    4. A journalist who can't spell brakes.

      Delete
    5. Every journalist needs a candid editor. Thank you, anonymous.

      Delete
    6. Gee, "Bob McGovern," would this be you? [From LinkedIn]

      Bob McGovern

      Co-Owner, Maroon Musket

      Greater Boston Area | Law Practice

      Past:Judicial Intern at East Boston District Court, Law Clerk at New England First Amendment Coalition, Law Clerk at The Dunn Law Group, Managing Edit...

      Education: New England School of Law, University of Massachusetts, Amherst

      "Owner of Maroon Muscrat"? Do tell us more.

      Delete
    7. Oops, "Maroon Musket."

      But Maroon Muscrat sounds promising.

      Delete
    8. Say hello to Bob.

      "Bob McGovern graduated from UMass in 2005. During his time in Amherst, Bob was a reporter and editor for the Massachusetts Daily Collegian’s sports department and was a four-year letterman for the UMass rugby team. Bob is currently a third-year law student at the New England School of Law in Boston and will take the Massachusetts bar exam in July."

      http://maroonmusket.com/about-us/

      Also, http://twitter.com/bobmcgovernjr

      You can work as hard as you want, bust your ass more than the next guy, all that. But if the numbers show the majority of the graduating class cannot obtain they kind of employment that justifies the tuition costs incurred, the system is broken.

      There. I pumped my brakes.

      Delete
    9. Thanks for the free plug (you forgot maroonmusket at gmail dot com) and taking a personal interest in me. You are welcome to shoot over an e-mail if you want to chat further.

      It looks like I have to update my bio. My apologies for the lack of maintenance. I trust that you understand. I appreciate you taking the time to bring this to my attention.

      My comment was not regarding the "system" you describe above. I also do not argue with the validity of this article. Quite simply, I addressed the fact that you said that every 1L at New England was an "idiot." You then went on to say that each of them is unfortunately in the process of living a "wannabe" life.

      Those are called generalizations, or maybe you were going for cutting hyperbole. Regardless, that comment rubbed me the wrong way. Maybe you didn't mean it with the full force of the words you chose, but if you did then I fear you are, indeed, a jerkoff.

      Fortunately, that potential affliction is not a me problem.

      Best of luck to you and yours. If you wish to continue this discourse, please use the above e-mail address. I only returned here today because a classmate told me I had a stalker.

      Cheers,

      Robert P. McGovern, Jr., J.D.

      Delete
    10. Robert, I like your style. Really. But, c'mon. I may be in a better position than a lot of the folks I graduated with (which really says something about the spot they are all in), but it doesn't change the fact that choosing my alma mater now, in 2012, is a horrible, horrible idea. (And, to be clear, I'm not your stalker. That's just creepy.)

      Delete
  14. Gross, whats gross? THATS Gross.September 23, 2012 at 2:31 PM

    In three years, these 2012 matriculants will be facing about $150,000 or more in debt on (if lucky), $40,000 per year jobs.


    Meanwhile, in the same three years, Dean John O'Brien will have personally raked in over $2.6 million in gross salary.


    Sometimes "gross" means large, and sometimes colloquially it means grotesque.


    In this case it's large and grotesque.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Would you trade positions with him? I sure would.

      Delete
    2. I'd like the $900k per year, but I wouldn't like to look at myself in the mirror.

      Delete
  15. Gross, whats gross? THATS GrossSeptember 23, 2012 at 2:33 PM

    Holy cow, 140's LSATs.

    That's like, "hey, gotta pulse? C'mon Down!".

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. mmm... Downs Syndrome puns

      Delete
  16. I actually figured that a lot more fourth-tier schools would announce: "damn the rankings, full scam ahead" and enroll anything with a pulse and access to loans.

    NESL gets a lot less attention than Cooley on the scamblogs due to Cooley's outrageous class size and its lawsuit against a blogger. But NESL is actually a scammier school.

    From LST:

    Thomas Cooley: 29.9% employment rate (Long-Term, Full-Time Bar Required, excluding solos). $183,465 nondiscounted costs, class of 2016.

    New England School of Law, 29.5% employment rate (Long-Term, Full-Time Bar Required, excluding solos) $234,296 nondiscounted costs, class of 2016.

    dybbuk

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  17. Let's see... So the MEDIAN for part time students is 33rd percentile- that must mean half of them were lower than that. According to Alphascore.com, 33td percentile is a 147 LSAT score, so they probably accept some people with scores in the 130s. A 135 LSAT score means getting only 30 questions right. With a 20% chance of guessing each question correct, and 101 questions total, using a binomial distribution calculator I calculate a 13% chance of getting at least 30 questions right. And that's with just blindly guessing on each question. Literally anyone who can fill in circles can get a score high enough to get in if they just take the LSAT about 5 times

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Time for some elementary courses in mathematics.

      Delete
  18. Low LSAT scores:

    http://lawschoolexpert.com/low-lsat-2/when-is-a-low-lsat-score-too-low/#comment-1030

    Sample quotes, for everyone's amazement or amusement:

    "Registered to thake the LSAT 4 yimes ... Each completed exam netted horrible scores – in the low 130s ... I completed my undergraduate work from a prestigious Ivy League school with a cumulative GPA of 3.26. I have appeared before many judges and worked with many attorneys on both sides. I have recommendations from an appellate court judge and 2 supreme court judges who agree that i have the acumen necessary to do exceptionally well in law school and in the legal profession. My scores tell a different storyy however. ... I believe my personal, professional, and academic background ... uniquely qualifies me for a spot at Harvard or Yale ..."

    "I have a cum GPA of 2.6 from undergrad i took the lsat three times and i scored the times I took it i was not ready 132, 129, 133 do i stand a chance going into law school"

    "I have a 129 LSAT score with a 2.7 GPA. ...
    What are my chances?"

    "I took the LSAT three times and average out at 140. My GPA is a 4.0 and I applied to 12 law schools and got accepted into 2, Thomas Cooley and Florida Coastal. I was wonderding if I will have a good shot at transferring out ( maybe University of Michigan) of either school into a Tier 1 school, with excellent grades?"

    Of course, most of the people posting comments such as these are quick with excuses, such as "I'm not good at taking tests" (oh, yes, dear, tests cruelly conspire to downplay your intellect while accurately reflecting everyone else's).

    And if Bumblefuck U decides—for whatever reason—to admit one of these special snowflakes, the person can borrow a couple of hundred thousand dollars guaranteed by the state.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. 4.0 GPA and a 140 LSAT sounds like flame to me.

      Delete
    2. Some of the postings could be fraudulent. I rather doubt it, though. As for the 4.0, it's possible that the person got that by majoring in underwater basket-weaving. Or maybe it's on a scale of 4.3 or (at one law school in California that raised its grades across the board a couple of years ago) 4.7.

      Delete
    3. It's also possible that the person with the 4.0 is just completely inept also at typing and meant 2.0.

      Or, you know, it could be 4.0 out of 10.

      Delete
  19. Has the Boston Globe ever profiled John O'Brien? If not, can someone familiar with the paper suggest the name of a Globe reporter or columnist who might be interested in doing a bit of muckraking and exposing O'Brien and NEL? It would definitely be public service journalism.

    ReplyDelete
  20. In a just world Dean O'Brien would be in prison in three years. In our world he'll be in the South of France. Wm. Ockham

    ReplyDelete
  21. To 3:40 ... show your work?

    N=101
    p=.2
    Mu = 20.2
    StdDev = sqrt(n*p*q) = 4.02
    Z = (30 - 20.2) / 4.02, about 2.44, implying P<1% of a guessing monkey getting 30 questions right.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. 3:40 here. I just used the calculator at http://stattrek.com/online-calculator/binomial.aspx with probability .2, 101 trials, 30 success. Looking at it again I did make a mistake... it's 1.3% not 13%. But still, that could plausibly happen, especially if a lot of people are guessing, or if you can know the answers to just 1 or 2.

      Delete
  22. I don't see how this hurts the students since they can finance their education with federal loans and then just turn to income based repayment. The government covers their living expenses for the next three years and then, at most, they have to pay 10% of their income for the next 20 years. Bush created IBR and Obama made it more generous so its unlikely its going away; neither party is suggesting that.
    And, given bipartisian support for ibr, its highly likely the government will pass a law to forgive any taxes on the eventual loan forgiveness. Its true the government is getting ripped off. But the government is ripped off much much more by others.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Even if it's good for the students (which I dispute), it's bad for the people that end up paying for it.

      Delete
    2. LawProf noted in his book that Paul Ryan's budget plan involves eliminating IBR.

      IBR is meant to be a helpful tool for someone to stay afloat while they leverage their way to a higher paying job that can deal with their loans. IBR is not meant to be the default position for a law grad.

      Delete
    3. "IBR is not meant to be the default position for a law grad."

      I agree with you. However, I think we're past the "default position" stage. IBR is now part of the plan from the beginning. These people don't ever expect to pay their loans, so basically what you've done is take one or two cases in the 70's when people filed for bankruptcy opportunistically and institutionalized it for everyone. Good one.

      Delete
  23. Dubbyuk - Interesting post. If you go to the ABA's employment figures for New England Law School it gets a lot worse. These show 308 graduates in 2011 with 17 graduates having jobs with law firms of more than 11 attorneys, 21 with the government, 6 in public interest and 2 federal clerkships. Which is to say a total of 14.9% of their graduates with real long term legal employment. If you only count jobs with law firms of 26 and above then you're down to 8 graduates. And I wonder how many of positions with the government are in the legal department. Are the clerkships with Article III judges? Under analysis the NEL job figures shrivel up like cheap bacon. Wm. Ockham

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    Replies
    1. I also wonder how many of those jobs in medium-sized law firms were arranged through nepotism.

      Delete
  24. I appreciation Prof. Campos for expressing the outrage that so few other people in The Establishment seem to feel. Yes, people have criticized him as a hypocrite because he also profits from the law school scam, but I doubt that half of law professors are going to quit their jobs in protest of student injustice during a recession. Besides, I love the irony of an untouchable tenured professor railing on the scam that employs him.

    The outraged tone in articles about blatant corruption hopefully will snap other well-meaning professors out of the law school stupor and will warn prospective students about the law school casino. I have turned a few professors onto this blog, and they have been shocked by much of the data -- they honestly had no idea what happens outside of their bubble. Fortunately, the 20% drop in applications indicates that the prospective students are thinking twice.

    ReplyDelete
  25. I say that ISTLSS commentators stage a mass intervention at NESL. Maybe we can save a few lives.

    ReplyDelete
  26. What is the median salary of people doing solo practices? And no, I am not joking.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. for new solo practices, maybe zero? I'm not joking either.

      Delete
    2. I'm not a true "solo," but I am doing contract work here and there. Close to solo as I can imagine getting. I'm busy right now with a few other things (not law related), so I'm not looking for a greater time commitment. And, I should not, I may not find it even if I start looking. All that aside, if I were to continue my current path for the calender year, it would be about $25-30k. Yes. Really. And, no, I can't really afford to do so.

      Delete
  27. Hello. I wanted to post a reply about this article although the scope of my comments might seem off base since I am not writing about the NEL. However, I am writing about one school very much like NEL and if it wasn't for this blog and a few others with credible sources; I might have lost my life (not literally) due to false promises.

    I currently reside in Charlotte, NC. I was very interested in attending law school and have been for the past nine years. It was my undergraduate area of study as well as psychology; I double majored. For the past 13 years I have worked in the medical device arena, but have never felt "secure" and never felt as if I were doing anything "fulfilling". I sought out several law schools in the state; i.e. Duke, Cambell, Wake, Elon, and Charlotte School of Law. The latter is where we begin.

    I sat with the Dean of Admissions last year and he PROMISED me that I merely needed to "sit" for the LSAT and that the "LSAT is not an indicator of success for the study of law". I bit. I signed up for this years October 6, 2012 test and have been through the "Power Score and Velocity" preps. I wanted to do great; not just get in. I was "promised" that as long as I got into the 130's; I was in. Because I had networked with the school, because I live in the community, and I also attended the CSoL's "Law School for a Day" program last April--I showed "promise and dedication" that any law program would require. The dean's words; not mine.

    Three weeks ago, after my mother sent an article from the WV Sunday paper about how "law grads are not getting careers in law", I began investigating. And very,very, critically. I found this site as well as many others connected to it. However, I then went to my TUTOR from Pscore and asked him, "Why would I want to go to law school now? I make over $120,000 a year and have a company car. I have dreamed of starting my own practice but the economy seems dismal for allowing that. And I hear jobs in firms (I never wanted this type work) are twice as hard to find.."

    So, on September 20th, he replied, "Most of my students do not go to law school today assuming they will practice the law. They go to build their resume.."

    I was shocked. Totally baffled and amazed that this blog and many others are RIGHT ON TARGET. This came from a tutor who he himself;is a practicing attorney in Charlotte. And I threw all my LSAT books away. I contacted LSAC and withdrew from the October LSAT.

    I am shocked at how these "Tier 4" law schools keep popping up and "Promising" a "better life" and stating that "it does not matter where you attend. Only that you attain a JD from "any accredited (ABA approved) law school".

    Kudos to this blog and many like it. I am one of most likely many, who believed that with a "JD" one could attain any job in life. Maybe if you have a degree from Harvard, Duke, Yale, etc., one can attain almost any job. But the scam will continue and I can only hope many students do their homework prior to applying with a 135 LSAT score,getting accepted to a school "assuming" the LSAT is not indicative of their success; going $150,000.00 in debt and then graduating with NO hope for practicing the law. Again, my tutor stated, "My students usually go to law not to practice law, but to build their resume.." Shattering. I wish I would have known this PRIOR to dropping the $1400.00 for the LSAT Prep. However, at least I will not be out $120,000 (or more)three years from now. See, I always ASSUMED a law degree would bring SECURITY. Not any longer.. not in the world today. Thank you to all who post. It can be life changing for some. A cautionary tale if you will.

    This is my first time writing. I will be watching for many,many months to come. This is a great source of the "truth". Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. How exactly do they propose to build their résumés by going to law school? Outside the legal profession, a law degree is a minus, not a plus, unless it's accompanied by prior experience in legal practice.

      Anyway, it's plain that a school that will admit anyone at all whose LSAT score is at least 130—that's the second percentile—is a wretched diploma mill.

      Delete
    2. If you answer "C" to all the questions you will do better than a 130.

      Delete
    3. If you answer C to all of the questions, your expected score is 125. (The minimum score, 120, is for a raw score at least five points below random guessing.) To get 130, you need only do better than chance by five questions out of a hundred. That's how bad 130 is.

      I do think that I could do better than that if the test were written in Lithuanian.

      Delete
    4. Dude, you're on $120,000 a year and you're looking at law? Why? With the school you were thinking about going to, the best outcome would have been making ~25% more but with loan repayments that would have left you making less, while likely having to work many more hours.

      Delete
    5. FOARP, I think the point was this person makes a good living & wanted to find something different which was "secure and "fulfilling." They were led to believe law would offer this. Of course, it does not and would not.

      Delete
  28. Great story, 5:57. Only gripe. Why is the "truth" in quotes at the end? It's just the truth.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Kind of reminds me of Brian. "Scam," "movement," "truth" - it's all in quotes. An incredibly effective way of detracting from substantive discussion. That's right, it's just a "scam."

      Delete
  29. I wonder if there is a NESL student forum where we can post this. What is going through their minds when they see something like this? Just curious.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They're happy to have been admitted to a law school. That makes them special snowflakes.

      Delete
  30. Shawn..I put the truth in quotations because if eager students speak with admissions counselors at law schools about these blogs or articles (current) about the investment of law school; they do not give you truth. They tell prospective students everything they would want to hear about how marketable their program is and that the sky is the limit with a JD. I think today; blogs such as this (minus a few others which seem to point out all reasons "not" to attend and numerous angry rants)only state the reality of the marketplace. In other words, many on this blog have true insight.

    ReplyDelete
  31. Whitey Bulger, Al Capone, John Gotti, et al. could not have envisioned a more clean and profitable scam that is legitimized by the federal loan system. Hell, when Michael Corleone wanted to go legit in Godfather II, he should have opened a law school on the Vegas strip instead of casinos.

    John O'Brien is the capo of all capos. Campos, I believe O'Brien is clearing more than a $1M per year on this scam operation. Only in America can you admit mentally retarded students to a law school and charge $150K which is being footed by the taxpayer. And here I thought the Federal Reserve was the ultimate scam on the taxpayer.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The legal scams put the illegal ones to shame.

      Delete
    2. "We're bigger than U.S. Steel!"

      Delete
  32. Maybe this has been answered, but I'm wondering how to reconcile the news I read about here and on several other sites with the following data:

    http://www.askapeer.com/pages/labor-market-data


    which claims that the median salary for lawyers is 115k (avg: 133k), with an *unemployment rate of 2.1%* ...

    I'm just wondering, assuming this site is even credible (although I have heard this roughly 2% figure before), how this data fits in with all the lawpocalypse stuff I read so often now.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Just a quick fyi- numerous federal judges think you're a complete idiot if you think law school is anything other than a losing proposition.

      If federal judges think only a complete idiot would think going to law school gives one a reasonable shot at 115k/yr salary at a nearly guaranteed job, maybe you should think twice about treating "askapeer.com" as a credible website.

      You know on second thought, screw it. You've already made up your mind, haven't you?

      Delete
    2. 7:37

      Please keep in mind that your stat refers to lawyers. Many law school graduates are not working as lawyers, and the trend is toward MOST graduates not working as lawyers in the future.

      Delete
  33. You are not required to have health insurance in Massachusetts, but you will lose an exemption on your taxes of $219 if you do not. It's actually cheaper not to have health insurance if you're comparing the cost of having it versus the cost of losing the exemption; if you suddenly need critical and/or long-term medical care, however, the low-cost investment in health insurance suddenly seems brilliant. Just food for thought.

    ReplyDelete
  34. "raise tuition more than twice as fast as inflation and increase the size of the incoming class by 17%"

    while everyone zigs, he zags. quite smart. bleed the gravy train dry until it runs off its tracks, which is soon. maximization of utility.

    ReplyDelete
  35. For fun take a look at the faculty profiles on New England Law School's website. You would think that being in Boston, less than 3 miles from Harvard, that the faculty would be filled with Harvard Law School graduates. Every other law school in the country stuffed with them. Well not so much here. Dean O'Brien himself hails from NEL. So do a number of the other faculty and administrators. The remainder come from such scholastic centers as Nebraska, Kentucky, Lewis and Clark, North Carolina Central, Kentucky again, Cleveland State, Suffolk, Northeastern, South Dakota and Washburn. In an interesting sidelight, Professor Eric Luftig states in his write up about himself that he was an "attorney advisor to the Hon. Lewis A. Wright of the U.S. Tax Court." Does "attorney advisor" mean law clerk? If so why didn't he just say so. If it doesn't, why is he mentioning it at all? William Ockham

    ReplyDelete
  36. This is a reposting but a good-one. Would someone like to take the explanation below apart, statement by statement.

    I found the Chairman of the board of trustees explanation for the astonishing pay 7 months ago (before they put it up again!!) on LinkedIn


    Martin Foster • As chair of the New England Law | Boston Board of Trustees, I recognize that law students invest precious resources – both time and money – in their legal education. The leadership and boards overseeing those institutions have a responsibility to make sure those resources are used well.

    Yes, we know Dean O’Brien’s compensation is a lot of money. But the Board believes that his continued leadership is a critical part of what makes New England Law | Boston an outstanding place to earn a law degree.

    Law school deans who are capable of transforming an institution are extremely rare. Our Board has not a shred of doubt that Dean O’Brien is the catalyst, that once-in-a lifetime “game-changer” who makes our program exponentially better than anyone else could make it. He is not only a committed Dean and the single biggest advocate for New England Law, he functions as the organization’s CEO and has taken on national leadership roles in legal education designed to strengthen the field overall. To compare his compensation after 23 years as dean and legal education leader to the compensation of deans with little or no experience or track record is misguided.

    A special trustee committee that I appointed to determine Dean O’Brien’s compensation did an exhaustive study and issued a report concluding that our dean was special, a recognized educational and civic leader. It noted among other things:

    1. The elevated prestige of the law school, including the school’s special relationship with numerous members of the United States Supreme Court;
    2. The school’s consistent and extraordinary progress, affirmed year-in and year-out by our students’ success on the bar exam;
    3. Our financial stability despite high levels of competition and challenging economic times;
    4. The dean’s nomination and election by his peers to serve as Chair of the ABA Section on Legal Education, the highest position attainable in legal education.

    From there we worked with two independent compensation experts who helped us arrive at numbers that were appropriate to his role and the fact that Dean O’Brien is regularly the subject of recruiting efforts by other law schools. (Worth noting: the “loan forgiveness” amount reported in this discussion is incorrect; that can only be earned over a 10-year period.)

    I hope my perspective is helpful.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. “In part, Jeff Skilling’s influence can be explained by his particular brand of intelligence. When people describe Skilling they don’t just use the word “smart” — they use phrases like “incandescently brilliant” or “the smartest person I ever met.”
      Skilling in the late 1980s wasn’t a physically striking man — he was smallish, a little pudgy, and balding — but his mental agility was breathtaking.

      He could process information and conceptualize new ideas with blazing speed. He could instantly simplify highly complex issues into a sparkling, compelling image. And he presented his ideas with a certainty that bordered on arrogance and brooked no dissent. He used his brainpower not just to persuade but to intimidate.
      Without question, Skilling’s formidable intelligence had a lot to do with turning Enron into a company that was successful — at least for a while.

      But he also had qualities that were disastrous for someone running a big company. For all his brilliance, Skilling had dangerous blind spots. His management skills were appalling, in large part because he didn’t really understand people.”


      - A quote from "The Smartest Guys In The Room: The Amazing Rise And Scandalous Fall Of Enron"

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

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
  38. At a time when the market for legal employment was collapsing especially in Boston, NESL was renting entire walls of ad space in subway stations, trains, and buses. As recently as last March 2012 when I took pictures of the ads, some trains that run through student neighborhoods were plastered with NESL's ads, presenting hilarious slogans like "The job market is strong when you have connections across the country" and "NESL, The law school that connects you" and "This network was built to help you launch your career."

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If the job market is so fucking strong, then why does this dump have to plaster its expensive ads all over the place? People should be flocking to the place even if it doesn't advertise at all.

      Delete
    2. This blog is NESL's alumni network.

      Delete
  39. "(O'Brien was paid $867,000 by NEL in 2010-2011)." Such pay is insane. I agree with an earlier poster about the similarities to the City of Bell payroll scandal. It just doesn't pass the smell test when looking at all factors involved.

    ReplyDelete
  40. I agree with Mr. McGovern: like everything else in life, it is what you make it. I certainly won't defend the Dean's outrageous salary. And as any involved member of the student body will likely confirm, the Dean is relatively disinterested in any actual attempt at intellectual stimulation, particularly if it doesn't make the local papers. For example, the New England Law Review is quietly ascending the ranks of reputable legal publications, yet its budget and faculty support continues to be undercut. I will, however, defend the education I received at NESL. They gave me a free ride to boost their median LSAT score and I worked my ass off. I had a job when I graduated and make enough to feel the degree was well worth the trouble. Nobody should be whining about loans they promised to pay back. There were no flashy tricks or smoke screens. The placement statistics weren't all that much better three years ago when we signed up. If you couldn't afford to go to law school, or knew you were going to sit in the back and pick your nose for 3 years, maybe you shouldn't have enrolled.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Translation: I've got mine, now fuck you.

      Glad to see NEL imparted such a great degree of social consciousness and benevolence.

      You appear to be a good example of what NEL has to offer/graduate.

      Delete
    2. I agree that people should bear a great deal of responsibility for taking on six figures of debt. That's not something that I would do lightly. Indeed, it's not something that I've ever done.

      What you appear not to notice, however, is that your free ride was paid for by other people in your class. Their enrolment is what made your decent outcome possible. Without them, you would never have gone to that dump of a law school.

      Delete
    3. Per her Linked In profile Ms. Kyne is a tax consultant with Ryan, which is a position that does not require a JD (it's usually filled by people with BAs in accounting).

      Delete
    4. No, most positions at my company do not require a J.D. Mine does. As another comment pointed out, a J.D. is often used as a resume booster and many law grads do not go on to practice law at all. (I wasn't sure what point you were driving at--did that help?)

      I didn't intend my comment to be a "f**k you" to my classmates--at all. I apologize if it was taken that way. I wanted to point out that this "bottom feeder school" has been great for a lot of people who otherwise couldn't afford to access legal education at all.

      Delete
    5. If you want to go to law school, retake the LSAT until you get into a decent law school with the scholarship.

      I'm not sure how you can call $44K per year (before living expenses) in non-dischargeable, high-interest student loan debt "affordable."

      Delete
    6. It's affordable to the handful of people like you who are subsidized by the rest, and also to those who are bankrolled by Mommy or Daddy. It's nice that things worked out well for you, but for almost everyone else your alma mater is a distinctly poor choice—much poorer than not attending law school at all.

      Delete
  41. More and more, you are going to see these bottom feeder schools go into survival mode and abandon all admission standards. Ultimately, this will lead to accreditation issues when none of their grads can pass the bar, but in the mean time, there is money to be made. As for the ABA putting this fox O'Brien in charge of the hen house, that tells you all you need to know about the ABA.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Watch them become three-year-long bar-review courses.

      Delete
  42. On the SCOTUS talks - I would add that so far they seem to have been the the school's summer program - which in 2011 was at UCG in Galway (probably the lowest ranked law school at any Irish University.)

    The nice thing about this from the perspective of Anthony Kennedy is that it was a free trip to the West of Ireland which is a great place to go fishing and golfing when it is 90 degrees plus in Washington, and Galway is quite a pleasant place to spend a few days (especially if you are an Irish American) with some seriously good seafood and other restaurants (Kinsale is still probably better.)

    ReplyDelete
  43. On their web site New England lists seven of it's 43 profs as having a JD from Harvard, two from the University of Michigan, two from Cornell, one from Columbia, one from Stanford, one from the University of Chicago. The balance seems made up of respectable state schools and second-tier private schools and six of their own graduates. What is the problem? You would like 100 percent Harvard faculty? Does the school get their students past the bar exam?

    ReplyDelete
  44. I love the comments about "bottom feeder" schools. What would you call a law school that produces a graduate who thinks he can detain American citizens without charges indefinitely? Or drop bombs on them from drones? Honest to God the elitism here is sickening. You have a f------ idiot who wipes his ass with the Constitution and you think it is wonderful because he went to Harvard Law.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You can't possibly be referring to the Peace Prize Nobel laureate in the White House that I voted for.

      Delete
    2. If you want to shit on many of the people coming out of the Harvards and Yales, you'll get no argument from me. But at least the Harvards and Yales tend to take in students who are functionally literate, which is more than can be said for a hundred bottom-feeder schools that will take anyone with an LSAT score above the second percentile—while charging Harvardite tuition and rarely producing a graduate who makes money as a lawyer.

      Delete
    3. Well if New England's student body is composed if Animal House rejects and the faculty is recruited from skid row, does anyone there pass the bar? How do they stack up against Harvard? I don't have a clue, just curious.

      Delete
    4. New England Law has a 93.7 bar passage rate..better than a lot of 1st tier law schools.

      Delete
  45. New England School of Law. 308 grads in the class of 2011, of whom 106 obtained full-time, long-term, bar-required jobs within nine months. And, of those 106, 58(!) were either solos (15) or working in firms of 2-10 (43).

    Given that this school is what a feeder for very small law for the luckiest few, and retail or the unemployment line for most, what should it offer its students in terms of educational resources? What it needs, obviously, is a "Center for International Law and Policy" headed by a jet-setting law professor director.

    "Through the Center for International Law and Policy (CILP), students and faculty collaborate to research, analyze, and provide resource documents on topics ranging from CIA renditions in Europe to intergovernmental peacekeeper accountability and human rights. Students also immerse themselves in the practice of international law during overseas externships. New England Law has well-established relationships with a number of international criminal courts and tribunals that make it possible for several students each semester to assist in war crimes prosecution."

    http://www.nesl.edu/centers/cilp.cfm

    Since October, 2009, the director of this Center, Professor John P. Cerone, has traveled to Poland (multiple times), Morocco, Athens, Barcelona (Montjuic Castle), San Jose, Amman Reykjavik, Bishkek, Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok, Oxford, India, China, Mauritius, the Phillipines, Brussels, the Hague, Uganda, Salzburg, and Geneva.

    http://www.nesl.edu/centers/cilp_ceroneActivities.cfm

    Let us hope that Cerone traveled first class to all those places. This professor's globe-trotting do-gooding, like the dean's steely-eyed business acumen, redound to the benefit of NESL students somehow or other, and must be lavishly rewarded.

    dybbuk



    ReplyDelete
  46. Wow:

    This "dean" will make more in the 3 years that students are enrolled than most will earn over their LIFETIME.

    Think about it, he'll probably make $2.7MM. In order to make that, somebody would have to make $67,600 every year for 40 years...Factor in the debt most students took on and you'll have to make somewhere in the vicinity of $75k a year, EVERY YEAR, FOR 40 YEARS.

    I bet most graduates make LESS than 1/2 of that...

    What do you want to be the "dean" gets a raise in a year or two?

    It is completely LOGICAL for the people running the skam to "blow it out". Why not? They are making so much money, they only need to keep it going for a few years and they are set for life...

    They are making so much money, who cares if it blows up 5,6,7,8 years from now? They'll milk it till they can't and then move on. They will be set for life.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Actually, their average annual income over forty years would have to be even higher to come up to his $2.7M in present value.

      Delete
  47. It's been said hundreds of times on this blog, but it bears repeating: only by eliminating the full flow of Uncle Sam's financing spigot will the scam end.

    The focus should be on turning off the flow of GRAD PLUS. The scam is possible only because of bad public policy. If the market disciplined borrowers and law schools, there would be no glut and there would be few schools.

    Why should this country subsidize entry into a bloated profession where new entrants are immediately burdened with life altering debt? There is no good reason to do so, and many reasons to end such a system.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Everything you say is true. Unfortunately there is no will to end the scam among those with the power to do so, for reasons ideological, political, and financial.

      Delete
  48. I don't know if this is relevant, but when I lived in Boston, I found a lot of NEL students/alums were folks entering family businesses whose fathers had decided that person would be the son or daughter who went to law school. Then they were the lawyer of the family. So, at least ten years ago, a lot of them were fairly unconcerned with the traditional career path of a law student.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is relevant, as this factor probably accounts for a good portion of the small number of real legal jobs that NEL graduates get.

      Delete
    2. Rich kid, not bright enough to get into a respectable law school (oxymoron?), parties his way through Bumblefuck U on Daddy's dime just for the cachet of a JD. The job of heir to Daddy's company was arranged at conception; no need to write a résumé. Bumblefuck trumpets rich kid's "achievement" and cheerfully includes his income in the "average".

      Meanwhile, hayseeds like me excel at top law schools but can barely get an interview, since there's no hiding our non-upper-crusty pedigree.

      Delete
    3. When I was working at the Mass. State House (2009), I knew several state legislators and staffers who were in the NESL or Suffolk Law night programs. Also relevant, one of our paralegals is in the Suffolk night program; she will switch to full-time for her last year of law school and re-join our office as an attorney. I would assume many grads finding jobs after graduating from NESL are returning to "law" jobs that they had prior to and during school.

      Delete
    4. Come on 8:24am - only a moron (or someone over 40) could excel at a top law school and have any trouble getting interviews even ITE. Nice try though.

      Delete
    5. I am over 40. And I know people in their thirties who also get few interviews.

      Delete
  49. The scam consists of the exploitation by faculty of academia's goodwill within the middle class. Middle class boomers accepted hook, line, and sinker, that more education was good and that education was a ticket to the middle class. They further swallowed the myth that education, even at great cost, causes increases in earning capacity that dwarf the cost of education over the long term.

    These two premises appear faulty or dead wrong in post-collapse America.

    I find it shameful that law faculty have stepped on the gas to get the federal funds while they can, as they ignore the consequences they heap on naive 22 year olds.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Shameful? No, not shameful! Anything but that!

      Delete
  50. John O'Brien holds the extremely unique position of being two things: 1) exactly what's wrong with American legal education and 2) perfectly positioned to actually fix it.

    If I were a tenured law prof at a worthless law school (see: bottom 50-75% of them) I would send O'Brien a check every year just to encourage him to keep things exactly the way they are for as long as possible.

    Publius Lex

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "John O'Brien holds the extremely unique position of being two things: 1) exactly what's wrong with American legal education and 2) perfectly positioned to actually fix it."

      Sorry, dude, but there's nothing unique these days about an abuse of power.

      Delete
    2. Fixing it would require shutting the place down. Which is exactly what needs to happen, but exactly what won't happen until not enough fools can be found to matriculate.

      Delete
    3. "Fixing it would require shutting the place down."

      Agreed.

      "Which is exactly what needs to happen, but exactly what won't happen."

      Agreed. As with all official frauds these days.

      Delete
    4. Why do you want to give "Martin Foster ... chair of the New England Law | Boston Board of Trustees" the phrase he is going to use to raise O'Brien's pay package past $1 million"

      He's "perfectly positioned to actually fix what's wrong with American legal education ... [and we need to pay him all this money to keep] John O'Brien hold[ing] th[is] extremely unique position" especially "he is regularly the subject of recruiting efforts by other law schools" who want to pay him $800,000 plus to fix legal education when he is their dean...."

      Publius, what were you thinking

      Delete
    5. BTW Martin Foster got paid $74,500 by NEL for services rendered last year. Foster is a name partner in a Boston Med Mal defense firm and a NEL grad.

      Delete
    6. By the way, any law school that uses a vertical bar in its name ("New England Law | Boston") advertises its lousiness.

      Delete
  51. Special Snowflake Syndrome, Law School Dean Edition: when you need to have a committee review and justify your obscene salary.

    ReplyDelete
  52. Job posted on the NESL career services website: $10/hour, with solo practitioner.

    Best/worst part is that it is the "Job of the Week"

    see http://www.nesl.edu/UserFiles/File/Career_Services/FYI.pdf

    ReplyDelete
  53. Exacerbating this acceptance of bargain basement LSAT scores is that any effect won't be felt for at least 3 years. If they start accepting students with 130ish LSAT scores who have very little hope of passing the bar under any circumstances, we won't find that out until students start failing the bar in 2015 and beyond (for the part-timers). In that time, O'Brien will take in between $2 and $4 million. Disgusting.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Obviously those who claim it's impossible to make a killing with a JD from New England Law are wrong.

      Delete
    2. It looks like 644 people sat for the 2012 Massachusetts bar examination in February. http://www.mass.gov/bbe/results.htm

      If NEL has 308 graduates, wouldn't they pretty much set the curve even if they were all 130ish LSAT scores? Of course, I am assuming that a large majority of those graduates would sit for the Massachusetts bar exam.

      Delete
  54. Good article on the general themes discussed on this blog:

    http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2012/09/24/down_with_the_american_dream_115542.html

    ReplyDelete
  55. I got a 143 and went to a TTT craphole. I worked very hard and graduated in the top 10% and made law review, etc. Passed the bar on the first try. Worked in Biglaw for a few years and then moved onto a cushy government job. I beat the odds.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good for you. May I ask what year you graduated?

      Delete
    2. Fed, state, or local govt?

      Delete
    3. I graduated in 2003. I work for the federal government. I have been very lucky. I would NEVER do it again though. Anytime I get word of someone going to law school, I warn them.

      Delete
  56. A nice simple article about the educational industrial complex - complete with a nice barb at law school at the very end.

    http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2012/09/how-liberal-arts-colleges-are-failing-america/262711/?google_editors_picks=true

    ReplyDelete
  57. What ever happened with the Senators that were polking around? This whole NEL thing is something they should be made aware of. Talk about a fox in the hen house. Geez.I'd love to attend the hearings on this.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "What ever happened with the Senators that were polking around? This whole NEL thing is something they should be made aware of. Talk about a fox in the hen house. Geez.I'd love to attend the hearings on this. "

      I'll bet that they were offered some sweet 'honorariums' to give talks at seminars in nice vacation spots.

      Delete
  58. "Two former associate professors at Atlanta's John Marshall Law School have filed lawsuits alleging that their teaching contracts were not renewed in 2011 because of racial discrimination and retaliation."

    No silly, law professors are being shown the door because schools can't find enough students to buy into the scam.

    http://www.law.com/jsp/nlj/PubArticleNLJ.jsp?id=1202572464981&Former_profs_accuse_Atlantas_John_Marshall_Law_School_of_bias_retaliation&slreturn=20120824154241

    ReplyDelete
  59. This article, published today, deserves a response:

    http://dealbook.nytimes.com/2012/09/24/the-economics-of-law-school/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That author is a fool and his article is a monumental piece of crap. I left a comment, and I hope it was politically correct enough to be posted. I was not particularly kind, so here's hping it will slip through!!

      Delete
    2. the NY Times is for sale to the highest bidding advertisers. The Times basically went almost bankrupt a couple years ago and since then they have had to run these advertisements masquerading as news/opinion.

      Delete
  60. @5:30 pm, "I say that ISTLSS commentators stage a mass intervention at NESL. "

    You driving? It's too far for me to walk or bicycle.

    Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. 144 is 12X12 and 6X24 and 3X48 and 2X72.

      It just don't add up!

      Delete
  61. "This article, published today, deserves a response:

    http://dealbook.nytimes.com/2012/09/24/the-economics-of-law-school/"

    Davidoff downed the Kool Aid in one gulp.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. He's selling it, not drinking it.

      Delete
    2. the NYT deleted my reply for that article

      Delete
    3. Holy shit they're spiraling out of control. Let them keep posting this desperate shit. They get shut down within a comment or two, and only continue to embarrass themselves.

      Delete
    4. Boy, that article is complete crap.

      At least one or two commenters have called him on it. Sorry your comment was deleted, JustAClown.

      Delete
  62. http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2012/09/24/the-perils-of-law-school.html

    ReplyDelete
  63. Paul Campos for President

    ReplyDelete
  64. "NEL makes a very big deal of the fact that it spends lots of student tuition on paying SCOTUS justices to give little talks and such."

    I know for a fact that this is not accurate, as I have worked with the Dean personally to schedule such people to speak at the school. The school NEVER pays people to "give little talks" aside from expenses (hotel, airfare, etc.) People that have requested such remuneration for their time have been denied. This blatant inaccuracy undermines the credibility of this blog post.

    Personally I believe the school is better off now than it would be without Dean O'Brien at the helm. That is not to say he couldn't do a better job, that the school is in great shape, or that his salary is justified. I just think that it would be even worse off without him. Say what you want about the quality of the school and whether it is worthwhile to attend, but the attacks on the Dean's character really are unwarranted and unjustified.

    No one is forcing any student to attend New England Law. If the tuition is too high or you don't value having Supreme Court Justices visit the school and speak to the students, etc., go somewhere else or don't go to law school at all.

    ReplyDelete
  65. Nice blog to reading thanks for sharing such useful information this is very helpful for student who study Online Assignment Help and keep continue to sharing useful information.

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

    ReplyDelete
  67. This is really troubling for me, and this article is a one-sided attack on not only the school (which admittedly deserves it) but also against the students which can't help what the administration does. I attend NESL and I can assure you I was not near the statistics that you're mentioning. By posting this you may be hopefully shedding some light on the dean, who's actions are absolutely disgraceful, but you're making it harder for me as a 3L to be able to say "I got a great education" and that "I know that I can be as good if not a better lawyer than a graduate from Harvard." The dean's actions do not represent the students ability to be excellent attorneys and to be highly successful. Going to a 4th tier law school is not always a choice for some people, but I fortunately did have the ability to chose it over a 1st tier and I did so because after visiting all of the schools I appreciated the personal feel of NESL and thought that it would be better to be in an environment that focused on learning, rather than a cut-throat environment that learned what needed to be learned. So while I agree that our Dean's behavior is absolutely reprehensible, I don't appreciate these types of articles trying to take away or represent my intelligence and ability to be an excellent attorney.

    ReplyDelete
  68. Sorry to come to this blog so long after the fury. I was recently directed to it by a mutual NESL grad. I attended in the 1990s when the tuition more accurately matched its standing. I felt it was a great education and was not concerned about a job because I was already working in a small firm that I knew I would with once I had the bar behind me. The low tuition meant that I attended without any need for student loans - I could pay the bill from my employment outside of law school.

    The SCHOOL and PROFESSORS were great to learn from, work with, and discuss the issues in and out of class. In the years to come, that changed. The tuition shot up to match other much higher prestige and better connected / networked law schools without a proportional change in standing, faculty salaries, or anything else we would rate.

    I have worked as an attorney from graduation forward and enjoy my work as much now as a solo as I did in a small firm. I started the discussion on LinkedIn that is described in the string of comments. Additionally, I have heard through the grapevine, NESL may not pay compensation to the Supreme Court justices but I think there may be a Justice who now owns a home in the Mediterranean courtesy of NESL - so I am not surprised that the justices like giving these summer seminars.

    It would appear from the IRS filings that O'Brien and Foster are running a great system that sucks large amounts of funds out of a poorly regulated charitable organization. I can't imagine what happens at the related charitable fund frequently listed in alumni fundraising solicitations ...

    ReplyDelete
  69. Sorry, I, too, am late to this discussion. What brought me here today was an article in the Boston Globe, Sunday, Jan. 13, 2013. Read here:

    http://www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/2013/01/12/law-school-dean-salary-may-nation-highest/L1pjKel7hGWgPKtT21CfSO/story.html?comments=all#readerComm

    Finally some reporter takes the bite. I, too, am an NESL alum. (Note, NESL, not NEL.). When I attended, it was a bargain. Not so anymore. I do not see any justification for the increase in tuition. The school is housed in the same small, very modest building. No real capital expenditures. The relaxation of the LSAT lower limit is very disturbing. If one wants to build the reputation of the school, one would become MORE selective, not LESS selective.

    The bar pass rate is a red herring. NESL always had a high bar pass rate as did the other Boston schools. After spending three years studying basic law, and then a summer in an LSAT crash course, why wouldn't the bar pass rate be high?? It is a statement of the limitations of what precisely the bar tests.

    Without a doubt this is a great embarassment to the present students, the faculty, and the alums. They don't deserve such a bad light.

    NESL is a non-profit. This wreaks of self-dealing and collusion. Note, this is a school that refuses to offer any loan forgiveness for public service legal careers. I guess now we know why.

    ReplyDelete
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