Friday, December 14, 2012

Endgame



What are the economic implications for law schools of an admissions cycle that ends up attracting only 53,000 applicants?  To answer this question, we have to estimate how many matriculants such a cycle is likely to yield.  This is a function of two factors: how many applicants end up getting admitted to at least one school to which they apply, and how many admitted applicants actually end up enrolling.

As to the first factor, the percentage of applicants being admitted to at least one school has been rising for several years now:

2004:  55.6%
2005:  58.6%
2006:  63.1%
2007:  66.1%
2008:  66.5%
2009:  67.4%
2010:  68.7%
2011:  71.1%

In other words, law school applicants were 27.9% more likely to be admitted to at least one school in 2011 than they had been seven years earlier. We don’t have numbers yet for how many 2012 applicants were admitted to at least one school, but since the number of applicants fell by 13.7%, while the number of new 1Ls fell by only 8.6%, it seems certain that the upward trend in percentage of applicants admitted continued.

The second factor – how many applicants who are admitted to at least one school end up enrolling somewhere – has by contrast remained very stable:  86% to 88%.

Now let’s apply these percentages to the current admissions cycle.   If schools end up competing for 53,000 applicants, they would end up admitting only 37,683 people if they maintained the already highly inflated 2011 overall admissions percentage.  Assuming 87% of these people enroll, that would produce a first year class of the 32,784, which would be 26.3% smaller than this fall’s entering class, and 37.6% smaller than the size of the class that will be graduating this coming spring.

This, obviously, would be a disaster from a financial standpoint.  The typical law school derives around 60% to 70% of its operating revenue from tuition – a figure which rises to 80% and higher for low-ranked schools (by contrast elite schools get close to half of their operating revenue from other sources, mainly their endowments).   Thus a 30% decline in tuition will equal, for most schools something on the order of a 20% decline in overall revenues, which in turn will require a 20% budget cut.

How can schools avoid this outcome?  The most straightforward strategy would be to lower admissions standards even further.  But this approach has practical limitations.   Admitting a staggering 80% of all applicants to at least one school would still yield only 36,888 first-years.  And of course there’s the nice little collective action problem/prisoner’s dilemma that arises when schools have to decide individually how best to balance the need to fill seats with the incentives not to cut their admissions standards more than their competitor schools.

Beyond this, the bottom 50 or so law schools already have something very close to open admissions policies, and could hardly cut their standards further without admitting classes that will feature much large percentages of people who have little or no realistic chance of passing a bar exam (think 2.1 GPAs and LSAT scores below the tenth percentile).

Attempts to improve the accepted student to enrollee percentage will be even less fruitful.  Since nearly 90% of accepted applicants end up enrolling somewhere, any individual school that wants to improve its admit to matric yield will have to buy it, by spending even more money on “scholarships.”  But what law schools call scholarships are actually de facto tuition cuts.  Many schools are already in a revenue squeeze produced by a combination of smaller class sizes and lower real, as opposed to nominal, tuition.

Higher ranked schools do have one very obvious strategy available to them, which is to exploit the transfer market.  This, of course, is the very definition of a zero sum game: every transfer represents a gain of a student to one school and a loss of a student to another.  The higher a school is ranked, the better a position it will be in to take advantage of the fact that the LSAT and GPA numbers of transfers don’t get reported to the ABA, and thus have no effect on the rankings.

In recent years, schools like Columbia, Georgetown, and George Washington have been taking huge numbers of transfers, to the point where close to 20% of their graduating classes consist of people who started law school elsewhere.  I expect that this practice will become much more widespread among top ranked schools, with predictably dire results for schools further down the food chain.  In particular “first tier” schools outside the T-14 may find it difficult to entice the number of transfers they need to stanch their budgetary bleeding, when people who normally would have transferred to Boston College are suddenly ending up at Chicago instead.  Indeed the last admissions cycle featured the unprecedented development of top ten and even top five law schools offering significant “scholarships” (tuition breaks) to potential transfer students.

The transfer game will be a real disaster for bottom 100 schools, who are going to see an ever-growing percentage of their classes positively strip-mined by increasingly desperate elite, semi-elite, and non-elite but I’ve always kept myself respectable schools.  This will hasten the financial collapse of a bunch of schools that would have gone out of business long ago if legal education had any resemblance to an efficient market.

Fasten your seat belts – it’s going to be a bumpy night.

256 comments:

  1. An interesting post. But I wonder if the real squeeze will be on the second tier. The true bottom feeder schools will manage to fill their classes with very aggressive recruiting and essentially no academic standards, then will convert law school into three years of Bar prep (or move even further in that direction than they already have). In time this strategy might lead to unsustainably low Bar pass rates (or might not); but it buys the bottom-tier of schools a few years in any event.

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    1. This is what I believe as well. I can only imagine the rapid change coming from the bottom rather than the top.

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    2. They're already failing at aggressive recruiting. That dump called Drexel was hitting people up in late July who had not taken the LSAT.

      Act now and we'll throw in a free set of steak knives. Use one of them to commit harakiri when you find out that your 129 LSAT and your semi-literacy won't even get you to the bar, never mind to a white-shoe law firm offering (for a few short years) a salary capable of supporting your $200k debt.

      The "second" tier (which, as I've said, is really the upper middle of the fourth tier) will raid the bottom hundred, where numbskulls from Barry will be only too flattered to win admission to Brooklyn Law Skule.

      I don't think that the prisoner's dilemma will be a big problem here: the schools will be so desperate that they'll drop standards and whore after transfer students. (It's amazing that transfer students already make up 20% of the class at Columbia.) A few will take advantage of this rare opportunity to rise a few notches on the idiotic "rankings" by doing the respectable thing of upholding standards, which will mean shrinking their classes and getting rid of some professors.

      I'm glad to see this hell-begotten racket come crashing down.

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    3. @ 9:11 "schools will be so desperate that they'll drop standards and whore after transfer students. (It's amazing that transfer students already make up 20% of the class at Columbia.)"

      - I can't quite tell. You're not under the impression that transfers have some effect on a school's stats, are you?

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    4. No. They'll drop standards for regular admissions and also whore after transfer students. Only the regular admissions will have an effect on their statistics.

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    5. The thing is that transferring won't necessarily help you get a job. The top of the class ( and I mean #1) at T1 is better of getting a full scholarship and staying rather than transferring to dear old Columbia. Columbia might give them some broader access to OCI type employers, but most of those employers look at the school you attended before transferring.

      Plus, the current students are going to start hating the transfers with an ever bigger passion than they already do.

      There still aren't going to be enough jobs. And people just plan shouldn't go unless they can go for extremely minimal cost. Or else go to Yale or Stanford.

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    6. I am attending for minimal cost (I'm paying from savings and income), yet I still regret attending law school despite being at the top of the class at one of the top-ranked law schools.

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    7. 12:36 - why? What is to regret?

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    8. Unemployability.

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    9. And that is the real message we need to focus on. Even people from top schools aren't getting jobs.

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    10. Me again. Sorry, so you're saying that even as the top ranked student in a top ranked school, you can't get a job?

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    11. Me again, again. Sorry, another thought just popped to mind. You wouldn't be that non-traditional student who posts here a lot about age discrimination in the interview selection process, would you?

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    12. Ah. Sorry, dude. I'm a non-trad myself, but guess I got "lucky".

      By the way, have you checked out the website "www.nontradlaw.net"? The whole site is non-trads, and a ton of ideas and support for getting lawjobs.

      However, not trying to be offensive, but I'd be doing you a disservice if I didn't mention that you (based on the bulk of your prior posts) really need to check your attitude at the door.

      Make of it what you will. Good luck to you, neighbor.

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    13. Thanks for the suggestion. I don't think that you can even recognize the bulk of my prior posts, most of which have nothing to do with age discrimination or my own plight.

      As for my attitude, I admit that it probably isn't the greatest. I'm at the end of my rope, and I don't know how I can feel positive under the circumstances. Please don't tell me that my attitude came across to employers: they never saw more than a cover letter, a résumé, and a couple of transcripts, none of which was likely to convey my attitude.

      I have seen that Web site but have not found it to be very useful. Most of the messages there pertain to concerns far removed from mine.

      I'm glad that you found work as a non-traditional student.

      Delete
  2. The schools can just get rid of a few of the $200k/year law school professors.

    The former professors would have to settle for making millions of dollars as law firm partners, which such professors of course are fully capable of doing when they complain about their salaries relative to their private sector counterparts.

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  3. What's the best site to see applications, admissions, enrollments, etc., by school?

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  4. See Campos? The market corrected itself. We did not need you "scam bloggers" doing your Cassandra thing.

    And this is just a temporary setback. Once the market begins correcting (as seems now very likely in the 2013 time frame), the numbers will go back up.

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    1. The market is correcting itself to normal, idiot. It is not ever going back up, because. it. was. a. bubble

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    2. There is/was no bubble. If you look at the BLS data for lawyers, the median lawyer in the United States is much better off for having gone to law school, compared to those who only have an undergraduate degree.

      2011 was the nadir with respect to hiring and should be seen, logically, as the aberration that it was.

      While employment prospects may remain a little more sluggish for the c/o 2012, in all likelihood 2013 will see significant improvement, and by the c/o 2014 we'll see numbers back up at their 90% + pre-recession levels.

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    3. "There is/was no bubble. If you look at the BLS data for lawyers, the median lawyer in the United States is much better off for having gone to law school, compared to those who only have an undergraduate degree."

      In other words, the treatment (going to law school) was successful for those for whom it was successful (lawyers).

      For the other half of the treated (those who didn't become lawyers), it was not successful.

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    4. "For the other half of the treated (those who didn't become lawyers), it was not successful."

      What other half?

      You people come here and comment Into an echo chamber, where a few voices get multiplied, bouncing off the walls, until you believe that your numbers are legion.

      According to the BLS statistics, lawyer unemployment is much, much lower than the regular population. It's on the order of 2 percent, in an era when the average unemployment is hovering around 10 percent.

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    5. You are still missing the point: lawyer unemployment does not capture people who no longer practice because there are no jobs. For example, the recent law grad who never found a legal job and went into another field would not be counted. Ditto for the 45 year old lawyer who got pushed out a firm or GC's office and is now a house dad. The longer we deny the state of our profession, the worse things will get.

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    6. Look who's really missing things here - you should start putting together the pieces of the puzzle that are right up there before your very eyes.

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    7. STSA respond to the point that many law school grads with j.d.'s do not become lawyers as their profession. This has been well documented by LawProf and others.

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    8. The market is correcting itself because the truth about employment is gradually becoming clear.

      This start on transparency is directly related to pressure by the law school scam movement, LST and lawprof.

      There is no market correction that can fix decades of deceit once the truth starts being well known.

      See, if law schools hadn't been lying in their advertising all these years, people would have stopped attending a long long time ago.

      It probably all started around the time of US News giving rankings that people could game.

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    9. S.T is that Successful Troll from above the law?

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    10. I am not that august personage, but I do boldly post here.

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  5. The law school pigs are becoming desperate. I knew that they would become less selective, which is funny since the law schools were not that exclusive in the first place.

    When will we start seeing some ABA-accredited commodes admit kids with 2.5 UGPAs and 139 LSAT scores? Unfortunately, the banksters own Congre$$ - and the federal student loan scheme does not care if schools and "universities" enroll people who are not that qualified.

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    1. Such commodes already exist.

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    2. Desperate? Really?

      I see nothing of the sort. In fact, I see them sitting there comfortably, actually rather content to do nothing right now because things haven't gotten bad enough for them to bother to change.

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    3. Hastings has begun to shrink dramatically. Vermont Law School is cutting staff. Other toilets are sending solicitations to miscellaneous people who haven't even taken the LSAT. That's doing nothing?

      Delete
  6. HYS aside, it doesn't seem obvious to me that, in the current market, a student with a scholarship stands to gain anything by transferring up. LST actually really helps the lower-tier schools here: "they gave us a 30% rating, but you're talking about paying $25k more a year for a school they gave a 40% rating."

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    1. Depends on the transfer gradient, in-state tuition and the market power of the state school

      Transferring from Mercer to UGA (in-state) would certainly make sense, or from Elon to UNC, Cumberland to Alabama, etc. Some publics are still pretty affordable, have higher admissions standards than their private competitors, and they also sometimes dominate their states.

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    2. Attending any of those, by transferring or otherwise, makes little sense.

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    3. Yes, this is the message. This is why the smartest people are leaving. Law makes sense for very few people right now.

      Delete
  7. Fourth Tier Survival StrategyDecember 14, 2012 at 8:05 AM

    ...start accepting 2L transfers from non-accredited schools...

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  8. A good article reposted from Prawfsblawg. I laughed at the author's outrage that students were paying $60,000 total to go to law school in 1992! Oh the humanity! I wonder what an updated version of the article would look like.

    http://www.chicagoreader.com/chicago/the-catcher-in-the-drain/Content?oid=879786

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    1. Unemployed NortheasternDecember 14, 2012 at 10:23 AM

      Try to find the Duke Law Review article "Will Legal Education Remain Affordable, By Whom, and How?" by professor John R. Kramer of Tulane Law School.

      It's stunning. It's topical. It hits everything we talk about here every day. It was written in 1987.

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    2. I found the article. This quote is interesting: "First-year enrollment has increased from 20,776 in 135 law schools in the 1963-64 academic year to 40,195 in 175 schools in 1986-87."

      I assume that a greater percentage of first-years failed out in 1963-64 than in 1986-87.

      I wonder exactly what the age breakdown among lawyers is, and whether there are actually very few older lawyers about to retire and leave us youngsters all the clients, as the new argument goes.

      Delete
  9. So we'll see more "first-tier" schools following the American Way- let LSAT medians plummet and enroll more students. This will suck up applicants from the mills.

    Perhaps the mills will then go to basically open-enrollment policy with heaving solicitation of underprivileged and minority communities (the same communities targeted by traditional for-profits) and then fail out half or more of their classes, giving anyone who fails out after year 1 a paralegal certificate or something as consolation.

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    1. "heavy solicitation of underprivileged and minority communities"

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    2. No correction neededDecember 14, 2012 at 9:07 AM

      Frankly, my dear, I liked heaving better.

      Delete
    3. LS ads on midday TV...coming soon!

      Delete
  10. Endgame...

    It will not be a collapse of dozens of law schools, with professors all tossed to the street where we can gleefully spit at them and watch them scramble for jobs as ambulance chasers, then laugh them fumble around in courtrooms like amateurs for $30K per year. I'm sure some people here even have erotic dreams of going up against their former professors in court, beating them handily, and then setting the world to rights by dismissing them with a witty, cutting remark on the courthouse steps.

    No. That will not happen. Anyone who thinks professors are foolish enough to fail to cut costs is nuts. They may appear stupid, but they aren't as stupid as some here pretend. Nobody will cut off their nose to spite their face, not when saving the day means getting paid $100K for little work instead of $200K.

    Here's what will happen. Legal education is now a business, and has been for many years. The professors don't really run the show - the administrators do, many of whom are savvy businessfolk. When the wolf comes to the door, they will adjust things, and the professors will take the advice of the administrators and adjust too. But until student loans change, until they can't fill their classes with paying students, there will be not one scrap of reform. Because these businesspeople know that they would be throwing away free money by compromising before the market demands they have to.

    And when they have to compromise and bend, they will. Low end law schools will make more radical changes, top end law schools may not change at all. But they will change. They will do the bare minimum necessary to ensure that they are still as profitable as they can be for all involved. They will not sit there stubbornly holding out for five years while their student body dwindles to zero, after which they shutter the windows and close shop. Salaries will be cut, other revenue streams will be sought (e.g. offering more undergrad classes). But few professors will end up in rags, begging for your crumbs.

    So for those seeking revenge? Sorry. You will not find it, not in the way you want it. Professors will continue professing. Schools will continue schooling. Nobody of any intelligence really expects there to be close to 100 law schools in danger of going out of business.

    If there's one thing that our education system has shown, there's no shortage of fools willing to pay.

    Bumpy night? Nah. For most, it will be a gentle drop in altitude from 40000 feet (or $40000 dollars) to perhaps 30000, with salary cuts that match. Little turbulence, except in the comments section of this particular dark cloud.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. But you make no mention of the supply/demand ratio of graduating law students, which is the first reason not to go to law school. The obscene price of law school is the second reason.

      So they can cut salaries, but that will only delay the inevitable.

      Delete
    2. You make some valid points, but your post would have a bit more credibility were you to offer some more examples of the "radical changes" you foresee. "Offering more undergrad classes"? To whom? And how will that save the bottom feeding schools?

      I agree with you the law school cartel will not go quietly into the night. I predict a marketing blitz in the form of still more specious "op-eds" and other less subtle forms of puffery, combined with heavy lobbying efforts for more gov subsidies. I think these will occur before we see signicant pay cuts or even significantly increased workloads for tenured faculty.

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    3. "But you make no mention of the supply/demand ratio of graduating law students, which is the first reason not to go to law school. The obscene price of law school is the second reason."

      The cost cuts will exist to offset lower enrollment, which as it turns out is shaping up to meet demand pretty handily. As for tuition, they won't lower it except as a means of beating local competitors. Why would they? Even Tamanaha's conceded the new PAYE's basically resolved that problem, even if it's not in a way you'd like.

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    4. 9:05, I agree. There will be efforts to maintain the status quo before there are efforts to change the system.

      But there are so many changes that could be made to the system. Radical changes would include:

      - cutting salaries
      - relying far more on adjuncts
      - more dual degrees
      - allying the law school with more institutions
      - cutting tuition
      - a greater focus on online courses
      - downsizing in terms of location (moving into disused office space rather than a fancy building on campus)
      - more undergrad courses offered
      - creating a BA in legal studies
      - paralegal classes

      That's just thirty seconds of shooting from the hip. Given a year or two, I'm sure that law schools will find a clear path forward.

      Shutting their doors is extremely unlikely to happen. Retooling is far more likely.

      No crash, no lines of unemployed professors at the employment office or soup kitchen (or welcomed with open arms to their top floor corner offices at Cravath). Just a correction.

      And if law schools can correct their path and find their way again, surely that should be encouraged, rather than this incessant chant for heads to roll and schools to burn?

      Are we in this for reform or revenge?

      Delete
    5. Also:

      Require professors to teach more. Six-hour-a-year sinecures are for the birds. Require three courses per semester—and at least two of those courses must be useful, not self-indulgent bullshit such as Postmodernist Literary Approaches to the Law of International Sports and Animal Rights.

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    6. People are already touting the: its less competitive now, so you should go because you can get into a better school.

      This thinking is bizarre to me.

      I don't know why people can't read the writing on the wall. Law school is still a huge risk for most everyone.

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    7. You're not appreciating the extent law professors are just tools in the system, just like law students. Do you think administrators with their mid six-figures compensation packages care how many law professors get fired? Vermont law school is already cutting staff. Law Professors for them are next on the chopping block. Schools have already be showing Law Professors the door as enrollment has declined. Maybe dozens of law schools won’t close in the next few years, but this doesn't mean hundreds law professors won’t be shown the door.

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    8. A huge risk, perhaps.

      But what isn't these days?

      I'd love to see a list of alternatives that are legitimately good options.

      That means don't bother including the following career choices:

      1. Cop
      2. Working for the government in any capacity
      3. Truck driver who supposedly earns $70K working in N. Dakota
      4. Electrician or plumber or other tradesman - so 1990s when real estate was actually moving
      5. Working in the oil fields
      6. Medical school - it's a legit better option, but out of reach for anyone who has not really been working towards it since they were 18 years old
      7. Bartending in a third world country

      Even education schools are pumping out far more teachers than are actually needed, so standby careers like that are still probably a 50/50 shot at a paying job. Same goes for nurses.

      STEM? Yeah, right. Outsourcing central, and budget cut mega-target.

      Where are these options that might give you a better than 50% chance at a decent job, with low opportunity costs?

      Look, work sucks. Most jobs suck hard. Most jobs have zero security, low pay, and need an expensive college degree to enter. Not all grads get into their chosen fields. All career paths are "risky" right now, there's a recession, and there's a huge oversupply of grads and unemployed people who will work in any careers for peanuts.

      So where are the better options?

      Because to be honest, attending a top 25 law school with some kind of scholarship is actually a pretty fucking good option when you think about it.

      Cooley? Not so much, obviously.

      What are the alternatives? These risk-free, stable, easy-entry alternatives?

      Delete
    9. At their highest levels, law firms resemble big firms. One particular "average" partner/professor may not be as powerful as the Managing Partner/dean. But get a cabal of most of the partners/tenured faculty, or all the big time tenured faculty, and the dean doesn't stand a chance.

      What will happen is that the powerful tenured faculty members will either decide to cut loose less powerful faculty members, or just not oppose the layoffs. That will only happen when they have exhausted all other revenue sources- cutting lower level admins, student programs, tuition hikes, etc. etc.

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    10. Nah, that's what they did to Tamanaha, and now everybody knows he was right.

      If Campos wasn't fibbing about being offered a few deanships, the culture is changing at SOME schools, and at those schools, it seems likely an aggressive dean would continue to get enough support from some faculty and the university at large to make ugly cuts and survive.

      To think otherwise is to assume we still live in a world where most profs don't realize there's a problem (regardless of whose interests they have at heart).

      Delete
    11. Er, yeah, that was a fib.

      Delete
    12. Still waiting on the alternatives to law school...

      I think I'll be waiting for a long time. It's real easy to bust on law schools for offering "only" a 50% chance of an attorney job (and a slightly larger chance at jobs that include those outside law), but what are the alternatives?

      Pray tell!

      Where would YOU be if you had not attended your TTT? What else could you have done? What "opportunities" did you miss out on?

      $40K with no benefits as a "programmer"?"

      $30K as a substitute teacher?

      $45K selling cars?

      $55K selling your soul as a drug company rep?

      Because the problems with law school are relative. On its own, law school seems like a fucking raw deal. But compare it to what else you could have done, and it's probably your best shot at success in life.

      Sorry it didn't work out! But for well over 50% of us, it kinda did work out rather nicely! Were we stupid too?

      Delete
    13. Yeah, me again. 3:05PM.

      Still waiting for that list of what else you were planning on doing with your lives...

      Delete
    14. Still waiting...

      Delete
    15. If law school were free, you might have a point - after all, most entry level jobs pay little and offer few visible paths to rise to a higher position and salary. That programmer earning only 40k with no benefits? In a few years, he's making 60k with bennies - in 10 years he into six figures managing a team; after that maybe he is a VP of his division, etc.

      Law school is the default path for young people who have low self-esteem and lack confidence in themselves - they don't think that they have what it takes to hustle for a job (most people actually do have that ability) or get hung up on the "prestige" attached to their title or how they sound at cocktail parties when they say what they do for a living.

      However, I think I'm in a good position to answer your question, since I am one of those people who decided against going to law school. In '07, I had two things: a 168 LSAT score and MS Excel. I ran the numbers on a law school loan, looked at salary data, did some "due diligence" by talking to recent grads - and I decided not to go. Instead, I became a paralegal, the guy who logs your mail and gets your coffee right? At 30k/year, I struggled to get by. Three years later, I was the lead paralegal, making 70k. A year after that I joined a firm as a patent agent and now I make a pretty good living (almost six figs). You don't need a law degree in life to "make it", you have to be able to work hard and know how to hustle - thankfully those things are free for the taking.

      Delete
    16. @ 3:05 et cetera - before LS, I was making about 95 as an engineer/scientist.

      Delete
    17. I appreciate the response, but I don't particularly agree with all of it.

      "That programmer earning only 40k with no benefits? In a few years, he's making 60k with bennies - in 10 years he into six figures managing a team; after that maybe he is a VP of his division, etc."

      No. Coming from that world myself, that programmer has been passed around five companies, is now working on temp projects (like doc review), has no bennies, and is losing all hope because some really smart Indian programmers are banging out solid code for $5 per hour. C++ and Java are international. Just like that cop is now earning $45K a decade later, up from $35K, and not the $150K plus full retirement that people claim.

      The grass is by no means greener on the other side of the fence. People here merely regurgitate propaganda from other "hot" careers, failing to realize that everyone else is a desperate as law grads these days.

      "Law school is the default path for young people who have low self-esteem and lack confidence in themselves - they don't think that they have what it takes to hustle for a job (most people actually do have that ability) or get hung up on the "prestige" attached to their title or how they sound at cocktail parties when they say what they do for a living."

      That is 100% true.

      "However, I think I'm in a good position to answer your question, since I am one of those people who decided against going to law school. In '07, I had two things: a 168 LSAT score and MS Excel. I ran the numbers on a law school loan, looked at salary data, did some "due diligence" by talking to recent grads - and I decided not to go. Instead, I became a paralegal, the guy who logs your mail and gets your coffee right? At 30k/year, I struggled to get by. Three years later, I was the lead paralegal, making 70k. A year after that I joined a firm as a patent agent and now I make a pretty good living (almost six figs). You don't need a law degree in life to "make it", you have to be able to work hard and know how to hustle - thankfully those things are free for the taking".

      A great point, but how inconsistent with the message of this blog. Because in 2007, there was evidently NO POSSIBLE WAY THAT ANYONE COULD HAVE KNOWN THAT LAW SCHOOL WAS A BAD DEAL.

      That's the crux of this blog, right? That people were scammed by all these evil law schools who were hiding all this data?

      Yet you managed to figure it out with nothing more than a spreadsheet?

      According to this blog, that's KrAzY!!! Nobody could ever do that!

      (I am, of course, being ridiculous. The data and analysis has been around for many years, and you were smart enough to figure it out. This blog is full of morons who couldn't do the most basic cost benefit analysis. They weren't deceived by law schools; they were either too lazy or too stupid to figure it out.)

      So for everyone else, we have an example of how someone back in 2007 figured this shit out.

      So where's the scam?

      Delete
    18. The "scam" is not that it was impossible to realize prior to this blog and others that law school would not pay off - JD underground has been around for years, most lawyers will talk to you frankly about the profession if you ask them - but that young people have been sold a false bill of goods ("more education = more $") by their elders, including their own parents. When I ran the tuition/loan numbers through my spreadsheet, I saw that, even if I were to make the income law schools were promising in their pamphlets, I would still not be making enough money to justify the risk (I admit that if law schools had promised starting salaries of 500k, I would have been "scammed" though). For me, the "risk", was not being able to make payment on loans that I would have to take out (I thought I got burned pretty badly with my 30k of undergrad loans, thank you very much - but sometimes the burned hand teaches best). It has never been a secret that student loans are not dischargeable by bankruptcy. I thought about what this really meant and about how screwed I already felt by my undergrad debt, and then I thought about how I would feel with six times the debt. I thought about what it would mean to have that hanging over me and then I turned away from it. (Also, I had, and will always have, a huge moral issue with non-dischargeable loans being written at 8% interest, which is way out of line relative to the risk taken by the lender, and obviously unfair and predatory). All of that said, I see how young people who did not put as much thought into it as I did were misled by law schools and have been, in effect, scammed by them. I sympathize with you and others in that regard. What I meant by my original comment is that (i) there are ways to make a living other than a law degree (the original question you asked) and (ii) it was possible, given enough diligence, to have seen through the scam before the "Wallerstein"/scamblog moment. With respect to point (i), I rest my case (and by the way, my wife's lab was looking for a java programmer to start at 70k, only had three candidates, and had to settle for someone just barely qualified in the end, so those opportunities are out there). With respect to point (ii), I think most people will spend 3-5 hours researching a tv before they will spend $1k on one, but when it comes to spending 250k on something like law school, they only look at the "manufacture's brochure"? If you apply the same logic to spending 250k on a degree as you do to spending 1k on a tv, you should be spending hundreds of hours on due diligence before you buy. That is what I did, nothing really magical about it.

      Delete
    19. 6:34, I 100% agree with you.

      But I think that you're arguing for the wrong side. Everything you say bolsters the reality that law school is not a "scam", but merely a raw deal for those who lacked the common sense to do the most basic due diligence.

      Like you say, there is nothing magical about law school economics: the stats were there, the tools to analyze the stats were there, but people just couldn't be bothered to use them.

      You did, you made the right choice.

      Half the commenters on this blog, and half the people involved in the scamblog movement, have this strange, fucked-up idea that they were scammed by law schools, when really the fault lies at least partially (equally?) with themselves. They just screwed up and didn't figure out the finances, or they bought into some dumb advertising materials that trap the most foolish.

      This isn't rocket science. Precisely as you say, "it was possible, given enough diligence, to have seen through the scam before the . . . scamblog moment".

      I 100% agree.

      So is this a scam, or is this an illustration of the pitfalls of poor analytical skills on a large scale?

      (Because to be honest, if the "victims" of the scam used the same skills when analysing law school as they do when commenting on this blog, I have no doubts as to why they fell into this awful place in their lives.)

      Your TV example is great. I bet that most victims of this scam literally spent more time researching their latest laptop purchase than they every did on their purchase of a law degree that cost at least 100 times more.

      Delete
  11. It's a mistake to think bar exam standards will stay the same; they will be adjusted downward so the same rough percentage make it through.

    ReplyDelete
  12. "..gleefully spit at them.."

    ....gleefully put them on a spit..

    There, fixed it for you

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Try instead the principle of least effort and:

      "...gleefully spit at them" becomes, "...gleefully spitted them".

      There, FTFY.

      Delete
    2. There was one particular attractive young professorette who I would have...

      Nevermind.

      Delete
    3. ^^^ for the most part my female profs were older and... how to say this politely... not interested in men in any event...

      Delete
  13. The so-called "End Game" will be very anti-climatic.

    The changes will be very gradual over a long time. Most people won't stay engaged long enough to notice. At the end, it will be obvious to everyone what the problems are.

    Think of the Big 3 auto companies and workers from the 1960's to today, 50 years later. I lived through it. The unions forced insanely high wages and management bled the companies while the Asian imports were slowly gaining momentum.

    After 50 years of this, there's almost nothing left of the old auto industry in America. "What's good for GM is good for America" turned into "Government Motors."

    Virtually everything in America has been on a long, slow decline and we're just the frogs in the kettle who don't notice the temperature keeps rising...

    The reason for the decline lies largely with globalization and the equalizing of standards of living that were formerly wildly skewed in favor of America.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Two digit-plus YOY reductions in applications is not a "gradual" decline, Tea Party troll.

      Delete
    2. 9:14, I never realized that it was the big bad unions behind the law school scam the whole time! Thanks for that.

      Oh, to have lived in that golden age you so well describe, so I could retire with SS and medicare bennies funded by my underpaid youngers, with plenty of time to rant about the government and unions on anonymous internet boards!

      Delete
    3. And, if only you had had a decent education, you would have learned to comprehend as well as read...

      Delete
    4. As for the guy who thinks 2 digit YOY reductions in application is not gradual...

      I take it you're predicting an imminent, rapid end to law school as we know it based on your smart-ass comment. But of course, you didn't do any math (or don't know how to do it) before you wrote.

      Start with 100% enrollment in year 1 and assume 10% decline annually.
      Yr 1 = 100
      Yr 2 = 90
      Yr 3 = 81
      Yr 4 = 73
      Yr 5 = 66
      Yr 6 = 59
      Yr 7 = 53
      Yr 8 = 48

      So, it takes 8 years to reduce the level to about 1/2 but law school goes on because we're just now starting to get close to a sustainable number and we're not even close to the end of law school.

      But, you didn't like math, did you? No, that's why you went to law school where your glib mouth is mistaken for intellect. I know because I used to tutor people like you.

      So, how long do you predict? Two years, three years, five years to the end of law school? Is that what you're saying?

      As usual, there's no analysis, just name calling.

      Delete
    5. "As for the guy who thinks 2 digit YOY reductions in application is not gradual..."

      You are referring to yourself here.

      What kind of tutoring did you do exactly, Grandpa?

      "Glib." I love it. Young whippersnappers getting all glib and sassy!

      Delete
    6. 12:14, where the hell did LP or anyone else post this means "the end of law school." The situation in broad terms is that there are too many law schools producing more JDs than the legal job market can sustain, and that the degree costs too much to justify the investment for most JDs, including most of those lucky to find jobs. No one has ever argued that all law schools need to close, and the use of "Endgame" as a post title would only imply that to a literal-minded fool like you.

      Also, a 50% decline in applications over 8 years is hardly gradual, but of course that's an entirely subjective term.

      And why do you care, anyway?

      Delete
    7. 12:14 - "where the hell did LP or anyone else post this means "the end of law school."

      Er, this blog is a mecca for commenters who pine for the days when law schools close.

      And perhaps the use of the word "Endgame" gave the game away? Kind of implies something final and terrible, yes?

      And did you not get to the end of Campos' post? The bit where he said: "This will hasten the financial collapse of a bunch of schools that would have gone out of business long ago if legal education had any resemblance to an efficient market."

      To you, that doesn't imply that some law schools will be forced to close? Not all of them, obviously (and 12:14 clearly meant something else - i.e. that some would close, and not that we'd be left with a nation devoid of law schools entirely).

      Do you not read the comment, where half the morons here are screeching and clawing for the days when law schools crumble and they can finally sleep at night?

      Tard.

      Delete
  14. What a bunch of garbage this is:

    Law School Applicant “Capitulation” - By David Bernstein

    http://www.volokh.com/2012/12/14/law-school-applicant-capitulation/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What he said isn't necessarily wrong. I don't believe its the best advice you could give someone who wishes to enter law school.

      Delete
    2. He's a George Mason law professor, what do you expect?!? :)

      Delete
    3. Any time someone who is trying to sell you something says there hasn’t been a better time to apply to law school [buy a house, buy a car] in a long time, if ever, you know you're in the presence of a charlatan.

      Delete
    4. Why is it garbage? All he said was circumstances alter cases.

      For some people, going to LS now might be a very bad idea. Yet for others, right now may be their best shot at going for free.

      Delete
    5. I left a half-dozen comments referring people back to this blog.

      Delete
    6. One cannot attend law school for free. Even if one gets a full scholarship covering tuition and living expenses (which is just unrealistic), the opportunity cost is huge.

      Delete
    7. Shhhhhh! We don't want to talk about opportunity costs here. ;)

      Delete
    8. The focus on demand for law school rather than demand for young lawyers is the mistake. Also, though applicants have declined, enrollment has not.

      There's still a glut, it's just that fewer people are willing to play the game.

      Delete
    9. One can attend law school for free if they attend part-time, have a 100% tuition scholarship, and maintain a job that pays their living expenses. The only opportunity cost would be forgoing other part-time education or forgoing possible overtime payment or earnings from a second job. This obviously applies to very few students, but they are out there. These are also the only people who can derive any reasonable benefit from low-ranked law schools.

      Delete
    10. That's unrealistic. The law schools that are worth attending don't even allow part-time attendance, at least not in first year. And maintaining a job that can cover living expenses while also accommodating a student's irregular and shifting schedule is not easy.

      Delete
    11. 11:14

      This is the thing. How do we get 0Ls to really focus on the demand for new associates, and actually the lack of demand, versus the focus on the status of the school.

      The biggest problem with 0Ls is that they get so focused on going to school and trying hard to get accepted that they really aren't looking down the road.

      Delete
    12. The question for them is not "Should I go to law school?". That question doesn't even arise. Instead, they ask "Which is the highest-ranking law school that will take me?".

      So they go to "Top" Law Schools and ask whether New York Law School at full fare is better than Cooley with a $1000 "scholarship".

      Delete
    13. Clearly NYLS is 130% better than Coolie.

      After all, employment chances from NYLS are like 38%.

      That's much, much better than Coolio's Gangsta Paradise Skule de Laws, with only a 29% chance.

      Muwahahahah.

      Delete
  15. @8:46 - you are right on point. Maybe a few law schools will close - the schools that never should have opened. Next up, undergrad & grad schools. Consumers can no longer afford to pay 9% increases in tuition and fees every year. There will be an adjustment in the market there, as well.

    ReplyDelete
  16. @9:20 make sure your loan payment is sent on time

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. @9:25, Make sure the gubmint keeps its dirty hands off your medicare!

      Delete
  17. A few senators are demanding that the DoE look into whether for-profit schools are manipulating SL default rates. Law and some grad schools should be a great target for this investigation.

    Hope they expand the investigatory scope to non-profit schools as well.

    http://www.lautenberg.senate.gov/assets/default-manipulation.pdf

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Can we contact these senators and get in on the action?

      I personally hate NYLS.

      Delete
    2. ^^^^ Don't take it personally.

      Delete
  18. If you're doing well at Duke or Cornell or Virginia or Northwestern, you likely won't transfer to Columbia or Harvard. It really makes more economic sense to just make law review and moot court and kill it at a T-14 than to shoot for HYS.

    Below the T-14, though, you're better off being a non-law review graduate of Harvard or Columbia than to be on the law review or Dean's List at George Washington or Fordham.

    So Fordham/GW/Wash St. Louis lose their best students, and make up for the loss by cherry picking downmarket at Cardozo, American, and Mizzou, etc.

    The problem, of course, is that if you've got a full ride to Mizzou, you likely aren't transferring to pay full price for years 2 and 3, unless to Cambridge, New Haven, or Palo Alto. So the downmarket schools will lose their best full fare (or near full fare) students to the T-30 schools, who will likely enroll these students for the same or less than they were currently paying.

    From the downmarket perspective, you now have scholarships committed to the best students who never left except for HYS b/c the economics make no sense, and you lost your cash cows. This is a terrible situation.

    From the good but not great schools, you've lost fewer students (to HYS only), you're still committed to your scholarship students, and you have to entice transferees to pay (perhaps at a discount to full sticker) to come so that you can keep the lights on.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I wonder whether employers don't exhibit prejudice against transfer students. The obligatory transcript would give those applicants away.

      Delete
    2. Still cannot believe Columbia with 20% transfers. Talking about lowering admissions standards!

      Delete
    3. How many transfers do Yale, Harvard and Stanford actually take?

      I don't think Yale and Stanford have huge transfer classes. Harvard seems to take a lot.

      Delete
    4. I was surprised when Columbia, just a few months after I took the LSAT, wrote out of the blue to offer a waiver of its application fee. (That was three years ago.) I had expected Columbia to be so sought after that it wouldn't have to offer waivers.

      Delete
    5. I'm pretty sure Stanford's and Yale's typical transfer classes are 10-18 people or so, i.e., under 10%. I can't speak about Harvard (who is the most likely of the HYS trinity to spread her legs a little too easily admissions wise).

      20% is an abomination.

      Delete
    6. 12:20, this is not a new phenomenon. Columbia offered me a fee waiver way back in 1998. They go after people with the top scores, that is all.

      Delete
  19. The scourge of credentialism is responsible for much of the problem. I think that the brightest and most diligent students—maybe the top 3% or so—could learn law on their own, as lawyers used to do. (Lincoln certainly didn't go to law school.) But access to the profession requires an expensive diploma. And that's true of damn near every other line of work these days. So people feel compelled to attend a costly university. And then, after borrowing a six-figure sum for the purpose, they find themselves unemployable.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Access to the best jobs drives the top students to go to law school. Biglaw, fed gov, A3 clerkships, and prestigious PI are not going to engage in a rigorous application process. They want law schools to rank applicants for them.

      Delete
    2. BoredJD is right.

      Employers like to use screening signals. Also, H.R. departments at large companies don't like nepotism or allegations of racism or sexism. They like objective hiring criteria. A college degree is not necessary to perform or even to excel at most jobs, though intelligence, aptitude, focus, and interest likely are necessary to do so. These are "soft" criteria while "college degree" is an objective one.

      So companies use it to cull out "qualified" applicants. And everyone who wants to be considered has to buy into the expensive game, and colleges get to profit as the toll taker.

      Delete
    3. Right, and law school does not prepare one to perform the entry-level tasks for these jobs. The argument used by law professors is that law school gives you a theoretical foundation for the tasks you will be performing as you rise up the ranks, say, if you eventually get to write a brief as opposed to doing doc review or researching narrow questions. This both assumes you actually get to the point where you can take advantage of "thinking like a lawyer", and is also impossible to verify, since there is no control group to test whether an equally intelligent person would have gained those skills through three years spent in the workforce.

      Delete
    4. They don't seem to mind allegations of ageism. As for nepotism, it's pervasive. The professoriate at my smallish law school includes four husband-and-wife pairs and one father-and-son pair.

      Delete
    5. Sorry, that should be five husband-and-wife pairs.

      Delete
    6. We had a father, mother, and son all teaching, and another Prof who may have been a cousin.

      Delete
    7. They really keep it in the family.

      Delete
    8. Of course a law school pedigree and class rank is a screening signal. But I think it is partly a screening signal to identify the status obsessed who will work endlessly to satisfy biglaw clients.

      But how else are firms going to know who to hire? There are way to many candidates who have absolutely no experience.

      Delete
    9. Partly, but it is also taken heavily into account when hiring for other high-status legal employment like federal government honors programs, especially the more desirable agencies such as DOJ, SEC, OCC, FDIC, for Article III clerkships, and for the prestigious civil rights firms and organizations. And I don't think it just has to do with alumni helping out current students, for example a NYU student is more likely to get hired at the ACLU even if it is a Harvard grad hiring.

      Delete
  20. Lawprof,

    I think you overstate the negative impact that they lowering of admissions standards will have on future bar exam pass rates and in turn, on the ABA accreditation standards.

    Bar exam passage rates are, to the best of my knowledge, curved. The MBE is certainly curved, and the essays are graded on a curved scale.

    Thus, law schools can comfortably add plenty of mouth breathing neanderthals with 2.1 GPAs and 130 LSAT scores. The 10-20% of bar exam takers in each state will always fail the bar exam, whether their LSAT average is 130 or 160 and whether their average UGPA is 2.1 or 4.0.

    This is the problem with a curved bar exam, a problem that is consistently overlooked within the movement. A bar exam is supposed to ensure a minimum level of OBJECTIVE competence -- not a minimum level of relative competence.

    If 100 pilots take a licensing exam in a simulator, and 50 fail to land safely, but the exam only fails the 10-20% of the relatively-most-incompetent, then 30% of the objectively incompetent will pass the curved exam and crash real-life airplanes. Obviously, for this reason, pass/fail for this kind of license has absolutely nothing to do with your relative performance. The FAA would fail every single applicant if they failed to meet objective benchmarks. Lucky for the law schools, it's more difficult to measure objective attorney incompetence than objective pilot incompetence.


    But the costs of the dumbing-down of the incoming law school talent pool will ultimately fall on malpractice carriers (whose liability for claims are based on the objective incompetence of their insureds) rather than on law schools, who will always have just 10-20% of their students fail the exam, depending on the state's cutoff point, no matter how stupid the overall talent pool is.

    Publius Lex

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That jackass of a dean at Cooley was bitching because every law school in Michigan posted a lower percentage of students who passed the Michigan bar exam on the first try. That result can't be explained by a curve unless huge numbers of people who didn't attend law school in Michigan swooped in and outscored Michigan's students.

      Delete
    2. Yes, this can be explained by changing the curved passing score. If the curved passing score was held steady, then your observation would be correct.

      E.g., last year, bottom 20% of curved scores didn't pass. This year, bottom 30% of curved scores didn't pass. Hence, every school has a lower % of passing applicant. Says nothing about whether or not the passing grade is objective or relative.

      The problem is the curve means that an incompetent person can pass by simply being relatively competent, instead of being objectively competent.

      Publius Lex

      Delete
    3. True, it would work if they have raised the bar. Is there evidence of that?

      Delete
    4. The results in Michigan were a result of the Bar Examiners stopping the practice of scaling the essay scores in relation to the MBE scores.

      Delete
    5. So what does that mean exactly?

      Delete
    6. My understanding is that, previously, they were adding points to essay scores in order to make the weight of the essay score exactly the same as the weight of the MBE score, even if the people taking the test did collectively worse on the essays than they did on the MBE. This year, they stopped adding points to the essay scores and simply added up the essay score with the MBE score, leaving the minimum score required to pass the test unchanged.

      Delete
    7. The bottom line is that they did "raise the bar," making it more difficult to pass the test.

      Delete
  21. What would it take not to get admitted to Cooley?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Their motto should be "Cooley: Where the K stands for quality".

      Delete
  22. Ummm, 71% is still WAYYYYYYYYYYYYYY below 100%. So it seems we're no where near an "end game."

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Go back and read the message again.

      Delete
  23. Friday is trollday ... allday!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ah, the good old "I don't like your arguments so I'll call you a troll" troll is back! I wondered when you'd show up, lured by the scent of reasoned debate in a blog comments section...

      Delete
    2. You are indeed a master debater.

      Delete
    3. How about a sans de master debater?

      Delete
  24. The ABA might step in and impose some kind of transfer rules to help the toilets

    ReplyDelete
  25. "What he said isn't necessarily wrong. I don't believe its the best advice you could give someone who wishes to enter law school. "

    What he said was a crock of bullsh*t, starting with the fact that just because we're no longer at a high doesn't imply that it's a good bargain.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "What he said was a crock of bullsh*t"

      Calm down, Mr. President.

      Delete
  26. I want to see law schools actually close before I get too excited.

    One would hope that legislatures, universities, and private corporations would be more wary to open new law schools in the future if they actually see some existing ones go bankrupt and close.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The Indiana Institute of Technology and Underwater Basketweaving is opening one in the autumn.

      Delete
    2. Have they (IISOL&UBW) gotten the second of their "Marks" yet?

      Delete
  27. I am not going to break out the champagne until the word about employment really is well known.

    Here are some TLS posts about Drexel, a school that has been mentioned on this blog a lot:

    ***Phillygal, I understand what you're saying. I got that email from drexel with the money at the bottom and was amazed. A full ride?! It would be so hard for me to pass that up over just about anything. I check my email much less frequently now, because I'm satisfied with what has been offered to me. I have talked to many Drexel law students and they all tell me, "If you put the work and time in, the stipulation really isn't that hard to keep." Everyone LOVES Earle Mack for many reasons. For what it is worth, I'm very close with a partner at a big firm, and he has even told me that the job prospects in the Philly market (if you attend a Philly school) really arent that bad, and Drexel will be a t30 school in a very short time. So best of luck to you, I look forward to meeting all of you on the 5th.



    I've been somewhat surprised as well. I work at a law firm in Philadelphia, and a few of the attorneys really do believe that - once Drexel gets several more years under its belt and builds its alumni base - it could be a very very good school. They cite their co-op programs as a major factor.

    I didn't go to drexel, I went to another area school and grew up in the Philly area, but I spent a lot of time there with friends. They're kind of notorious for giving out a ton of money and seeing who can make it. I know people who lost scholarship in undergrad. However, like one of the previous comments - this is completely within your own control.

    The campus is really nice and the people are friendly. It literally is joined with penn's campus which is beautiful. Lots of good restaurants and a late night cookie truck. It's also pretty safe if your not an idiot and wander too far off campus. I work for a couple attorneys and they think drexel is on the rise. My LSAT teacher was also an attorney who said he would go to drexel over Villanova. I also know a 1L there who likes it. I'm really interested to see what the law school will do, it's definitely a rising star.



    Although Drexel (and I think Northeastern) have the most established co-op programs, many law schools have clinicals or externships that their students can participate in. So... I think it would really have to step up its game to be in T30. But maybe there's something I don't know!****

    ***Just curious, what exactly makes you/your friend think Drexel will break into the T30 any time soon? Their employment numbers aren't good by any measure and their GPA/LSAT profiles aren't similar to T30 schools either. I could see them breaking into the TT pretty easily, but T30 is way down the road, if at all.***

    ***I think Drexel is really pushing to move up in the rankings and get more recognition. When I visited, they were interviewing new candidates to build their faculty and strengthen the programs they're already good at, like IP, Health, and Business. Also consider the huge scholarship money they're offering- they're definitely trying to attract some of those higher-numbered students who are taking financial considerations seriously. ***




    ***Applied two days ago and just got the email that I got in with a full-ride (2.95 stip)! So that's a relief.***



    ***Keep me posted (well TLS that is) about your decisions. I keep hovering back over my copy of USNEWS :roll: lol, but it's encouraging to see that others in the field believe Drexel has a shot at becoming something greater. Plus, tbh with shaky employment stats everywhere except the T14, I feel like a free
    education (for those of us planning to work hard and keep the 2.95) might be worth it. That would allow me to take almost any job and begin to accrue an income instead of paying off debt (I'm excluding considering COL as debt (for now) bc I haven't gotten that far).***

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. See, what I am saying, is that these 0Ls are not looking at data on employment. Though, that is the applicants thread and TLS doesn't allow people to trash those threads with negative comments about schools.

      Still, that people would say things like "this lawyer I know says that employment in Philly isn't that bad" and that Drexel is trying to move up nationally to T30 rank (LOL!!)is motivation that a lot more has to be done.

      My Dad went to Engineering School at Drexel and it has so many good things in Engineering I guess, but for them to have added another law school in the Philly area is crazy.

      Delete
    2. Sorry, I have to add, that oLS could say that "drexel is a rising star" while we are seeing the law school scam starting to teeter, just shows how far we still have to go.

      Delete
    3. The late night cookie truck does sound enticing...

      Delete
    4. The mods have banned the usual cadre of posters from posting negative things about schools in the "Acceptances" threads. Otherwise these posts would have been shot down real quick.

      Delete
    5. None so blind as those that will not see.

      Drexel, which I'll call Drek for short, is currently ranked 119th (tied with six other law schools for that honor) by You Ass News. How in the highest reaches of hell is it going to get into the top 30? Even a school ranked 37th has no real chance of getting into the top 30.

      But never mind such piddly details: it has a cookie truck! What more could one want?

      Delete
    6. 2nd part isn't true. Schools jump in and out of the T30. The rankings from 20-60 are kinda ape-shit. Schools aren't that dissimilar.

      For example, Arizona St. jumped from like 55 to 26 in five years.

      Delete
    7. "But never mind such piddly details: it has a cookie truck! What more could one want?"

      A DREK TWO COOKIE TRUX.

      Delete
    8. I know the regular TLS posters would correct this attitude- but the problem is the huge numbers of 0Ls who remain completely ignorant of the law school scam.
      Even TLS which an 0L has to be relatively savy to find and join, has many unaware people. Often the clueless people argue with the more aware consumers- and sometimes the clueless people will listen to reality- but the truth is that most of the people on TLS should not have gone to law school. It will not work out for many people even at T14 schools- see Virginia hiring its own class- and those at lower ranked schools are still deluding themselves.

      Delete
    9. "Top" Law Schools is ridiculous. I'm sorry, but any Web site that purports to be about "top" law schools should not even include discussion of Drek, New York Law School, Cooley, and the like.

      Delete
  28. Above, 12:20 writes, "I was surprised when Columbia... out of the blue to offer a waiver of its application fee. ...I had expected Columbia to be so sought after that it wouldn't have to offer waivers."


    You misapprehend the function of the app fee waivers.

    The schools do this to pump up the sheer numbers of apps, knowing they plan to admit none of these fee-waived people.

    Then, later, their acceptance-to-application ratio is nice and low.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. But does Columbia need to do that?

      I won't discuss whether I was admitted or not, but I certainly wasn't some zero with no chance of getting into Columbia.

      Delete
    2. Yes, Columbia does that.

      Delete
    3. And yes, you were.

      Delete
    4. Not necessarily, I received a waiver and was accepted there back in the olden days. I don't know what they're up to now, maybe there's a different motivation.

      Delete
    5. 2:40 is full of shit. I'll say no more.

      Delete
    6. ^^^^^^ Nope. They segregate the no-cost apps from the rest. The no-cost apps are for suckers pumping up the app/admit ratio.

      Sorry you weren't aware of this, Sucker.

      Delete
    7. For all of your arrogance, you're quite wrong. I turned Columbia down.

      As I said, you're full of shit.

      Delete
    8. how does Columbia know who to target for the no-cost apps (i.e. how does Columbia know the LSAT scores before the applications are sent in)?

      Delete
  29. Those lawyers in the Philly area who think Drexel will one day be "good" and "respected" are fooling themselves. Especially considering there are more established schools like Temple right next door, whose alumni are competing in the same market for the same non-existant jobs.

    I actually graduated from Temple and have been practicing (in mid and small firms) for almost 10 years now. I can tell you that the market has gotten harder for ALL of us in recent years, even us "older" graduates.

    This, by the way, as Temple's US News ranking jumped up about 20 points in the past decade (from the mid-70s to #58 NOW). So, YES, to the person above who said schools outside the top 14-20 are all the same.

    Still, at tuition of $15K per year (when I was a student), I consider myself one of the lucky ones, despite the fact that my future as a lawyer is uncertain.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Amazingly, Temple still has in-state tuition below 20k sticker. Unclear how they can be so cheap when schools in their area ranked 50 spots below (Nova, Drexel) charge 35K sticker.

      Delete
    2. And that's why I say that all of them outside the top couple of dozen fall into the fourth tier.

      Delete
  30. I lost a lot of respect for Columbia Law School, which pads up its tuition revenue by accepting 90 or so transfer students each year. They definitely know how to play the numbers game.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Columbia is a huge business machine carefully concealed behind its snobby exterior.

      Delete
    2. Awful.

      They do not give a hoot about the employment prospects of their students or their grads. Horrid to take transfers when only 2/3 of the class, including transfers, get good jobs. Even without the transfers, there are not enough jobs for their students.

      Hurts the reputations of their grads. Devalues the Columbia Law degree.

      Also, they know many of their grads are unemployed. To flood the market with new Columbia Law grads is unconscionable.

      Delete
    3. ^^^^^^^^^^ Grow up, ya whiners.

      Cold hard cash can sooth any trouble conscience.

      Delete
  31. As it stands now, law schools are profit machines, so if applications drop 30 percent, doesn't it just mean they are less profitable but not necessarily money drains?

    I just view this as the market correcting themselves. I think the law schools will survive.. hiring might go down, or they might do with smaller class sizes. Or they can lower tuition below their competition to get more students. If tuition and class size stabilize and some level below their current size, I think law schools would adapt. They might have to cut costs (i.e. salary) but given how much they make now I don't think it's an "endgame" at all.

    ReplyDelete
  32. New TTT / TTTT Advertising CampaignsDecember 14, 2012 at 2:53 PM

    - With Every TTT Law School Seat Purchased At Regular Sticker Price, Get 1/2 Off A TTTT Seat!

    - Forget "No Pain; No Gain". The New Normal Is: "No Pain, With PAYE".

    - Drexel: WE'VE GOT COOKIES! LOTS AND LOTS OF COOKIES.



    - Law School: Because Seriously, WTF Else Have You Got To Do With Your Life??

    ReplyDelete
  33. Which will be the first law school to close, and when?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Er, none and never. This blog is located between dreamersville and nutstown.

      Delete
    2. Freud, Herr Doktor FreudDecember 14, 2012 at 5:58 PM

      Hmm... why is it zat chu dreams of nutz, eh?

      Delete
  34. Just a few words about transfer students:-

    I would be really pissed off if my school admitted a ton of transfers which would then all be competing with me for jobs. This would be especially true if I were close to any of the break points (top 10%/top 25%/top third) and I was pushed out by a trnasfer student.

    Also, transfer students routinely harm the rankings of the original students. When a student transfers, usually the credit but not the grade transfers. Transfer students begin at the new school with a clean slate. Grades are much higher in second and third year, so a transfer student has a much better chance at a higher rank than the original students.

    The reasons the schools provide for accepting transfers are laughable. Michigan for example says:

    "We find that our community benefits strongly from this influx of new scholars with proven records of achievement."

    (See http://www.law.umich.edu/prospectivestudents/admissions/Pages/TransferStudents.aspx)

    Really the only the faculty are benfitting. There is no benefit to any of the original students.

    ReplyDelete
  35. Well, tonight, and in the span of less than 15 minutes, Toyota, Macys, and Hyundai, and Cheerios and the Chanannel perfume Co. and etc and the Newsises Broadway play all got their tasteless commercials in on Channel 2 CBS.

    Something else happened today, but the commercials must go on without a respectful break of silence.

    Such is the world we have made, and no need to question why someone going postal is a regular annual or even 6 month thing in US society.

    Maybe the corporate Wall street commodity artists can show up for another benefit concert.

    Maybe at the public games, such as the superbowl.





    ReplyDelete
  36. See how self centered the commenters around here are?

    Three cheers for the lawyers and upholders of society or whatever they call themselves such as honorable and esteemed and prestigious and outstanding and blah blah.

    They don't care about anything but themselves and their own welfare and the big news that took place today means nothing to them, or someone would have mentioned it, other than disgusting network TV, by now.

    This blog is all talk and no action and the authors get paid no matter what happens.

    And I suspect that most of the commenters here are all in a similar cat bird seat position.

    All are hypocrites and looking at things from a telescopic distance and telling each other how moral and upright they are.

    If Hypocrisy ever...........oh forget it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This blog is seriously a bunch of whiners, egged on by a law professor who jumps on thë issue of the day, all whipped up into a frenzy of "scam".

      And like a souffle, this movement will collapse with a disappointing puff of warm air.

      Where, exactly, are these golden opportunities that you missed out on because you went to law school?

      I'll tell you where. Gone, or in India.

      Or are you all frustrated NYC cops, missing out on those million dollar pensions? Or perhaps you're mad that you didn't go to North Dakota to some whore-ridden shanty town to earn $100K working the oilfields?

      What, exactly, would you be doing now if you didn't go to law school? Where are your immense skills being underutilized?

      What are you alternatives?

      Delete
    2. Well, I had a double major in Chemistry and Biology. My options were grad school in Molecular Biology, Medical School, Law School or working in a hospital as a pharmacy assistant with just a bachelors.

      I tried working in a hospital and hated it. I did research as an undergrad and hated the lab too. Both the hospital and the lab felt like prison to me.

      So I went to law school. I prefer an office to a lab or a hospital.

      But, also, I went to Columbia for free and lived at home in the city. So I didn't have to worry about soul crushing debt. I don't know what I would have done otherwise.

      Delete
    3. This movement is about requiring schools to be honest and have some integrity with the data they report about employment. It is about waking the world up to the reality of living with debt you undertook in the belief that your school was being truthful and honorable.

      If schools didn't have a problem with reporting the truth, why did it take the ABA to force them to it?

      Why have at least two schools been caught making up numbers on entrance statistics in the past couple of years - so now the schools have an independent auditor in place to prevent them from deceiving their own applicants and students.

      This scam has nothing to do with people whining about not getting jobs. It has to do with the refusal of schools to honestly report a single number they are required to reports. It has to do with schools pushing programs like environmental law knowing that there are almost no jobs in that field.

      The level and depth of the schools deception is just now being uncovered. We have a way to go yet.

      Like: actual average debt, numbers of students how lose scholarships ( that is the number of people given scholarships with stips when the school knows that only a small percentage will keep them), like advertising LRAP that benefits almost no students... the list goes on.

      Delete
    4. I haven't yet read a post from a law school defender on this board that claims employment and other stats from the schools were honest. Hell, they even lie on their websites about small things like retaking the LSAT. I would love to do a survey of law school websites and tabulated the misrepresentations. I just may do that.

      Delete
    5. Other careers people I know have (off the top of my head, and recent grads from college):
      artist -yes went to art school,big talent
      PR rep - yes studied liberal arts
      TV assistant producer - yes,liberal arts
      New media something in advertising
      Dancer
      grad school in underwater archaeology - recovering shipwrecked stuff
      geologist
      traveling nurse
      accountant
      Bartender at upscale Manhattan club
      nutritionist
      ecologist
      game design/tester
      model (still in school)
      real estate developer in family business
      shipping (some greek thing)
      Museum staff at major NYC museum (poor but happy)
      Teacher for kids with learning disabilities
      Social worker
      Probation officer of some kind
      Therapist

      This is just a tiny list. There are many jobs. The difference with law is that people think they are getting a long term profession.




      Delete
  37. do transfers get to take part in the OCI at the new school?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Really? That's your big concern?

      Delete
    2. Not all schools allow it. I don't think Cornell does. But you have to put your school on your résumé.

      Delete
  38. I guess we've discovered this blog's Kryptonite: simply ask, "what were your career alternatives?"

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. replies above. Where the hell you been?

      Delete
    2. Where are the replies? Please point me to the datestamps so I can see all these invisible replies. I must be blind.

      Delete
    3. You waited half an hour after posting at a time when few people still post, then assumed you won an argument when you saw no response?

      Delete
    4. I replied. And, also, I was watching the news and calling friends in Connecticut to make sure they were ok. Do you honestly believe this is the most important question to be answered by this blog?

      The world is full of careers. Only a very few of them require you to completely mortgage your future for an almost non existent shot at a job or a long term career. To act like law school is the only option is just plain wrong. Law school is the worst possible option for most people starting school now.

      Delete
    5. That is what one professor told me; and he said it in a very sinister way. Thats's why I try to point out the alternatives. Even if being a cop, muncipal tradesman, fireman, etc. is really, really tough, and even if getting those jobs is super hard, your still better off than trying to become a lawyer. If you try to become a municipal worker and fail because you lacked whatever it is they look for, your life is not ruined, or better put, you can go do some shit job without the debt, lost opportunity cost, and permanent overqualified status. If you go to LS and it doesnt work out, you are fucked in an unimaginable way. In both instances, the chance of success is low, but.the consequences for failing are vastly different. Moreover, I believe we are reaching the point where the winners of the muni game are going to be, if they aren't already, better off than most of the winners of the LS game. Again, in both instances the jobs may suck, for different reasons, but in the muni game at least you have total job security, a pension, and political protection. In the winning Law game, you make great money or the like for a few years and then you are shown the door with few options.

      The answer to what would you have done should be trying to get one of those jobs, or the equivalent (NC oil rigs), and if things dont work out, at least you didnt lose too much time and money, whereas if it does work out you are better off than most lawyers. If you go to LS and fail, your finished.

      Delete
    6. It is possible to go back and get a second undergrad degree if you can't find a job in your field. I know someone who went back to do accounting. It doesn't all have to be graduate school if you can't find work.

      The argument that law school is the only option for a career is dead for at least three reasons:

      1. There are, in fact, other jobs out there besides working retail. Maybe you need to figure out how to move somewhere else, but there are jobs other than law, and people are taking them. Lots of people get up and go to work everyday, they have jobs, they earn money, and they didn't pay $250,000 for a slight shot to get those jobs.

      2. Law isn't a real job. Law is an illusory mirage at the end of an expensive education that almost no one can afford. Equating law school with law job is false and probably has always been false. So stop thinking of law school as equaling a real job. Law is a very very small potential of success job. As we have seen, almost anyone can go to law school. But so few of the total succeed in employment. Going to law school on its own means nothing in terms of actually getting and keeping a job upon graduation.

      3. The cost of law school is so ridiculously out of whack with the a grads ability to repay that law school should be a non starter for almost everyone.


      Delete
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    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Also jobs in spamming websites seem to be available.

      Delete
  40. I work in the oil field doing a job that only requires a GED and i make more than 50k per year. I went to law school. That 50k per year would go so much farther if i weren't paying almost 1500 per month in law school debt service every month. YES THAT IS A BETTER ALTERNATIVE THAAN SIGNING UP FOR DEBT SLAVERY FOR 10 YEARS. If i had known about this kind of job before law school, i would have jumped on it. I'd probably have about 40k in savings instead of 13k. In only 2 years!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. But you didn't know about it because it didn't exist back when you went to law school. What existed when you went to law school was a reasonable economy and you made a sensible call based upon what you knew at the time.

      Hindsight is always 20/20.

      Delete
    2. Also the schools were heavily into lying stats then. Much of the world was fooled.

      Delete
  41. "Thus a 30% decline in tuition will equal, for most schools something on the order of a 20% decline in overall revenues, which in turn will require a 20% budget cut."

    Whats to stop them from just jacking up their tuitions by 20%-30% to compensate then? Thats the most likely outcome, sadly.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. At some point, people will start to notice the outrageous cost. That point should have come much sooner.

      Delete
  42. 4:54/5:27 You are so right! And please remember: there has NEVER been a better time to go to law school. Even a mental defective like you is all but guaranteed admission to one of the top 237 schools in the land!

    ReplyDelete
  43. I've personally talked three people out of applying to law school who've taken LSATs this year. How many more people like me are turning off applicants, one at a time? I truly think there will be about 35,000 matriculants this year. That's a major problem for law schools.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My sister's friend, who may be the smartest girl I know, passed on Harvard with a 178 LSAT. She didn't get Yale so she didn't want to go to law school. She is getting a PhD in Philosophy from Cambridge on a full scholarship instead. I think she will make it in academics. If not, both her parents are doctors, so she isn't going to starve.

      Delete
  44. on TLS, there is chatter that the 149 crowd and the 175+ took significant hits (even though the official numbers have not been released). should be interesting to see how these TTTTs weather this.

    ReplyDelete

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