Saturday, January 19, 2013

Seriously?

Updated below

Compare this with this.

Steve Diamond links to a 2010 employment report (describing outcomes for the class of 2008 as of February 2009) that any ordinary reader would understand to be reporting a 99% employment rate for graduates of the law school at which he teaches, in order to argue that Santa Clara wasn't posting misleading 90%+ employment figures even before the law school transparency movement started demanding a little transparency.

His rationale for this amazing rhetorical feat is this:

Here is what SCU posted in the Fall of 2008 about employment. If one compares it with what we now post, in response to the new ABA guidelines, it seems to me there is not a dramatic difference. The much vaunted “bi-modal” distribution is clearly visible as is the fact that only about half the class reported salaries (from which any rational individual could conclude that that only half had employment at that point).
This is so nonsensical it's hard to know where to begin.   The first linked set of statistics gives no indication that it isn't a comprehensive account of what the class of 2008 is doing nine months after graduation.  There's no category for unemployed graduates; indeed there's no way to tell from this data how many SCU graduates are unemployed, how many are in short-term or part-time jobs, or how many are in jobs that require bar admission.

By contrast the second linked set of stats, which SCU was reluctantly forced to cough up by the equally reluctant Section of Legal Education of the ABA in the wake of pressure from the transparency movement, reveals that 24% of the 2011 SCU class is completely unemployed, although supposedly two-thirds of these people--  47 graduates out of 296! -- aren't actually seeking jobs (The latter purported "fact" is the kind of thing that ought to be of intense interest to potential plaintiffs' attorneys.)

 Update: SCU's reported number of 47 graduates not seeking employment was by far the highest of any law school for the class of 2011.  For all schools, the average number of graduates purportedly not seeking employment was five, and only two other schools had even half as many graduates listed as unemployed not seeking as SCU. Last year US News started counting graduates listed as unemployed not seeking as simply unemployed, because of widespread suspicions that a few schools were manipulating the category to produce a better putative employment rate for their graduates.

Update II:  As DJM points out SCU's extremely suspicious practice of categorizing a huge percentage of its graduates as unemployed not seeking was not a one-year thing, as it listed 55 members of the class of 2010 in this category.  Again, as in 2011, this was by far the highest number of any law school (Second place went to Thomas M. Cooley, with 32. Cooley's graduating class was three times larger than SCU's however).

All this suggests that perhaps Prof. Diamond could find a better example of law school transparency than his own institution.

Even more incredibly, Diamond's rationalization for SCU failing to reveal any unemployment data for the class of 2008 as of February 2009 is that "only about half the class reported salaries (from which any rational individual could conclude that that only half had employment at that point)."  Apparently "any rational individual" is a term of art for "someone who has no idea what he's talking about," i.e., the author, who hasn't noticed that  the percentage of the SCU class of 2008 which SCU reported to the ABA and NALP as being "employed" in February 2009 is readily available.   That percentage is 92.6%.

In sum, despite Diamond's assertion that he can't find any evidence that SCU was publishing claims of 90+% employment rates for its graduates, the very evidence he cites for this assertion shows that in 2010 SCU appeared to claim a 99% employment rate on its web site, while it reported a 92.6% "employment" rate to the regulatory authorities, which was then reprinted in USN.  Lest we forget, even the marginally lower latter figure was almost wholly fictitious, as it:

(a) Excluded from the denominator graduates the school characterized as "unemployed not seeking" (a category which includes 16% of the 2011 class!);

(b) Excluded people pursuing further education; and, most crucially,

(c) Included every possible kind of employment, from working at Latham to working part-time at Starbucks.




71 comments:

  1. The scam of first year employment statistics has been revealed. Now we should move on to the statistics for more experienced classes. If they really are materially worse than the first year statistics, posting only first year statistics is a scam in and of itself. People are taking on a lifetime of non-dischargable debt for jobs that may not in fact be available in the sense of a career for most law graduates. The truth needs to be told.

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    1. "If they [later-years' employment stats] really are materially worse than the first year statistics, posting only first year statistics is a scam in and of itself. "


      Please get a grip.

      Hyperbole and histrionics are quite unhelpful.

      Delete
    2. What this person wrote is not hyperbole or histrionics. People do not go to law school with the expectation of a chance at a career that is unlikely to last more than a year or two. If indeed the first year or so is the typical high point, that information should be made explicit.

      Delete
    3. The credited response to the first post is "First." Please conform future posts to this tradition.

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    4. It's one of the secrets schools don't like to mention, that your earnings as a lawyer will probably not go up much over your career, and quite possibly may go down.

      Large firms have associate attrition rates of about a 90%, meaning 1 in 10 will survive long enough to make it to partner. The remainder will land at smaller firms with a huge pay cut, government with a huge pay cut, or start their own shop, with a huge pay cut.

      For people in small or solo shops, the billing rate you start with will be very close to what you have 10 or 20 years later, so you really won't make much more money. What will change is how many hours of your day you're able to fill with payed work instead of spending so much time trying to drum up business. But, you're basically capped at your initial billing rate x2000.

      $160,000 salaries look like they can easily pay off your loans in a reasonable amount of time, but if in your third or fourth year you drop to $90,000 and still have your same big market living expenses, your $200k+ loans suddenly look much different.

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    5. Thank you, BL1Y. Very well said.

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    6. I am not sure what sort of statistics the schools could develop without further being accused of misleading. If they could find out what everyone who graduated 15 years ago; lawprof would say, well, that misrepresents what the people graduating today can expect. The, of course, there is the problem of finding all those people, and if they did not find all of them they would be accused of providing an unrepresentative sample.

      Perhaps someone else should do a study, and just stop this endless demanding of "we need more disclosure from the schools." Some will never be satisfied whatever is disclosed.

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    7. Disclosing the truth in all respects would be a huge step forward for schools. Stop lying about admissions. Stop lying about your special top rates program in environmental law. Stop bragging about LRAP when only a few people ever qualify for it in a class.

      Don't forget- only very recently have schools even admitted the e tent to which they hire their own students to game the numbers. It was less than a year ago the perky Dean Z misled students at an ASD as to the number of students in fellowships - though the actual, higher number was going up on the website, conveniently a few days after the ASD.

      Two years ago, I doubt 0Ls even realized that school fellowships for a large portion of the class existed and that those fellowships were counted in full time employment 8 months after graduation .

      There isn't a single number law schools haven't faked or misrepresented to the maximum extent possible.

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    8. @ B1LY:

      Just yesterday I saw a post on TLS where the person budgeted paying off over $200,000 in loans based on staying in biglaw to their 5th or 6th year .

      So, yes, I agree that most people feel that their salary will remain at or above their 1st year salary for their career.

      Delete
    9. 1109, our profession and our law schools are not starting with a clean slate. As to employment prospects, they have long term demonstrated track record of selective disclosure and deliberate obfuscation. At best, it may be argued that they merely avoided classical, outright fraud. Being lawyers, that is a relatively easy hurdle to surpass; it should be no comfort to anyone.

      An attitude of consistent challenge is completely appropriate under the circumstances.

      Delete
  2. BL1Y did a good job uncovering the information.

    I'm curious as to what, if any, reaction there will be from Diamond. Every time he comes up against those calling for law school reform, he seems to dig him self deeper with disingenuous figures and statements.

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  3. I see that Diamond is still prattling on about "social justice" and serving the public interest, even though 1. Santa Clara not only sends very few grads into that sector but also 2. charges so much tuition it all but insures their grads can't afford to do public service work.

    Reminds me of that scene from Patch Adams, when Patch is checking out of the hospital and tells the doctor he "wants to learn about people, and help them with their troubles."

    The Doctor responds, "That's what I do."

    Then Patch says, "But you suck at it."

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  4. May I suggest that someone in a bored moment peruse (i.e., fact check) Diamond's resumé and his profile. Somehow, in light of the idiocy and poor judgment he has displayed, I find it a little hard to believe (exaggerated):

    http://law.scu.edu/faculty/file/CV-Diamond-November-2011.pdf

    http://law.scu.edu/faculty/profile/diamond-stephen.cfm

    Based on the numbers he collected his law degree at age 40 and moved straight into a high level job as an associate at Latham (where he claims " and 5 years at Wilson Sonsini during which clients thought he was the "bee knees":

    "While in private practice, Professor Diamond represented investment banks, private equity firms, start-up companies and public companies, predominantly in the high technology sector."

    During his first year tenure as a first year associate at Latham in '94 he really packed in a lot:

    "While an associate at Latham & Watkins in New York he helped the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund and survivors of the Golden Venture, a ship carrying political refugees from mainland China that ran aground in New York, in their three-year legal and political effort to secure the survivors' release from detention in INS jails."

    http://law.scu.edu/faculty/profile/diamond-stephen.cfm

    In addition:

    "Professor Diamond served on the board of directors of a publicly traded technology company for eight years."

    It seems that this company was OPTi, Inc. widely regarded as a patent troll

    http://seekingalpha.com/article/251736-opti-inc-a-patent-troll-in-decline

    http://www.engadget.com/2006/11/17/patent-troll-going-after-amd-for-infringement/

    He is also on the board of CNH Capital which is not as it seems a venture capital company, but a company that finances purchases of agricultural equipment and backhoes:

    http://www.engadget.com/2006/11/17/patent-troll-going-after-amd-for-infringement/

    In any event, just reading the nonsense that Diamond writes, I think some of his professional claims should be examined.

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    1. Oh dude- everyone worked on that golden venture debacle. It was a pro bono time sink that looked good on a resume.

      Delete
  5. It took me some more thinking to figure it out, but what the SCU website is probably reporting is just what type of jobs employed graduates got, which is why they've been posted 98-99% rates, the remainder are just those who were known to be employed but in an unknown job type.

    However, the title of graph is "Employment Statistics for the Class of 2008." The plain reading of that would be "The Entire Class of 2008" not "An Undisclosed Subset of the Class of 2008."

    Can someone provide a theory under which this is not outright fraud?

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    1. I mean, no, I can't think of how this isn't fraud.

      Delete
    2. ""An Undisclosed Subset of the Class of 2008."

      You have hit upon the crux of the law schools' deceit going back decades - while they may not have (or maybe *did*...) lie outright about the employment status of the graduates *who responded to their surveys* the schools often neglected to indicate that their *widely published* placement reports only included a *self-selected subset* of their entire graduating classes.

      Not their entire graduating classes.

      Not a representative *sample*.

      Only those responding of their own accord.

      Often explicitly stated or implicitly implied to be *the entirety of the graduating class*.

      *That* is the core of the schools' deception.

      More/all were smart enough to not lie outright.

      But most/all were immoral/unethical/tortious enough to mislead through omission and construction.

      If judges can be made to see this (or causes of action selected wisely enough to account for this) then the schools are going to be held widely and expensively liable.

      Ultimately.

      I haven't reviewed the filings of the cases ruled on to date, but I do wonder if the causes of actions selected (I can think of over a dozen possible) were best suited to the specific behavior of the schools (and their multiple obligations to multiple parties - including local/state/federal governments, taxing authorities, loan guarantors, etc.).

      The law schools have lived their lives skirting the edge of the law - it is likely they stumbled/slimed their way over the line more than once.

      Delete
  6. Wow Steve Diamond is a tard. Someone with his resume and background is unable to make anything resembling a rational argument. Kind of blows up the hierarchical illusion of this profession (Yale Law + Latham = good, smart lawyer).

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    1. He knows what he is doing. It's called fraud.

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    2. "He knows what he is doing..."

      Agreed - law schools/professors have been afforded an absurd default presumption of honor and competence for...well...for forever.

      But as demonstrated by their (once hidden - now revealed) behavior over many decades, the truth is that many law school administrators/professors are much *shittier* (in terms of simple decency and common honor) than the average person picked at random off the street.

      And much more relentlessly shameless about obscuring this fact.

      The saving grace of their inherent disgracefulness?

      It has made them lazy, stupid, and superannuated.

      Their long habit of lying without concern (or consequence) has blinded them to exactly how quickly and thoroughly the internet can now cut through the bullshit that is the core of their existence.

      Keep them talking - because it will keep them *lying* - and each new lie builds a cause of action.

      Delete
  7. Prof. Diamond is just scared and grasping at straws. He has written that Prof. Tamanaha's proposals would be disastrous for academia. He's not wrong about that. For Profs at TTTs and near TTTs such as SCU, they are starring into the abyss. He knows that the reformers want to take away the job he loves. It is a dream job as it that allows him to work so very little for so very much. He knows that schools like his just should not exist, there is no reason for them. So he is desperate to argue that this is a rational market and thus he and his institution are not to blame if students want to purchase a defective product. It's odd, so many in the academia think themselves good progressives and yet cling to a Randian philosophy of the law school market.

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    1. Interesting - Diamond has been tenured since 2005 - but he got his BA in 1977, JD in 1994. A bit of math says that he was born in 1954-6 which makes him 57-59 - before that he was a sort of eternal graduate student in Poli-Sci or a VAP - he was essentially in full time education until his late 30s or early 40s - looks like he worked out that his tenure prospects in Political Science were nil - and went to law school in his late 30s.

      Seven years tenure (with 5 as an assistant prof) is not long enough for Diamond to take early retirement and a healthy pension - but he is closer to his 60s than his 50s. I think scared is a safe assessment... Santa Clara is unlikely to survive a major shakeout and as a fairly junior professor he is also vulnerable if layoffs go very deep.

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  8. I wish we could get Starbucks to disclose how many law grads actually work for them. Is that the only job that will hire JDs?

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    1. its already disclosed in most statistics under "JD Advantage"

      Delete
    2. I stopped in at Starbucks the other night and the barista was a teacher by day.

      Hey, "barista" good job for someone who passes the "bar" exam. I'm onto something.

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    3. Starbucks can't disclose that information because Starbucks doesn't know.

      You're not actually under the impression that getting a job slinging joe requires you to submit a resume, are you?

      You just fill out the application form and hope for the best.

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    4. "You're not actually under the impression that getting a job slinging joe requires you to submit a resume, are you?"
      Actually, it probably does. Even fairly menial jobs like Starbucks must get a lot of applicants in the current dismal economy.

      Delete
  9. So let's review Prof. Diamond's sterling reasoning:

    Application numbers are plummeting because rational students are simply reacting to the bullish economy, even though total applicants are lower than at any time in the last 20 years and I have no evidence that the economy is appreciably better for recent college grads.

    SCU posts such low employment numbers because we pursue a different "mission" than Stanford- to serve the public interest. I refuse to explain why Stanford places 2x as many students in "government and public interest" jobs as SCU.

    Students at SCU* will have substantially the same employment opportunities as Stanford students.

    *What I really mean is students at SCU who were admitted to Stanford and then place in the top 2% of their class at SCU.

    Law schools adopted more honest disclosure statements in a vacuum. Law students are deciding to forego law school in a vacuum. Scambloggers, LST, or articles in the NYT had nothing to do with this.

    Law schools aren't in the business of profiteering. LST, on the other hand, is really trolling all of us. Their diabolical scheme is to use the roughly $3500 they've collected so far to develop a computer thingamajiggy to sell to applicants. The "right" way to do this whole transparency business is to convince SBAs at every law school to petition the ABA. I'm a "business law" professor so I know what I'm talking about.

    Academic freedom allows me to say anything I want and nobody can react negatively to it. A student cannot read my posts and then decide their content would make me a poor teacher. If you're reading this and think about dropping one of my classes remember I can sue you for infringing my constitutional right to academic freedom!

    Suits in NY, MI, and IL against law schools for fraud have been dismissed, so our conduct can never be ethically or morally questionable and law school is obviously not a rotten deal. Also there was a suit against TJSL in California that got past a motion to dismiss, but that must somehow be different than the other complaints because I said so. I'll continue to opine on documents I've never read based on how things "must" be.

    Law professors produce amazing ideas that will change the world, like having the Republican Party pay entry-level lawyers to incorporate LLCs in Hispanic communities and that the AFL-CIO should unionize So-Cal farm workers (I bet nobody ever thought of that last one before!) Therefore, my job should be government subsidized through federal loans and IBR.

    Source: http://jdunderground.com/all/thread.php?threadId=39271#post563756

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    1. Damn. That was well done, sir or madam!

      Delete
    2. You lost me at "bullish economy." LOL, the stock market just reached its five-year high. Anyone feel like investing their money in this powerhouse "recovery?"

      Delete
  10. It amazes me that anyone is still attempting to deny the reality of the situation for law students and lawyers. THERE ARE HUMAN BEINGS BEHIND THESE NUMBERS!

    Maybe Diamond, Leiter and those who think things are just fine should get out and meet some of them.

    I dislike Tamanaha intensely having known him well for many years, but he and Campos have done a great service here.

    I would suggest that Diamond, Leiter and their ilk read the recent Citibank report on the state and future of the legal profession and then tell us that this is cyclical, just a result of the recession, things are normalizing, etc., etc.

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    1. "THERE ARE HUMAN BEINGS BEHIND THESE NUMBERS!"

      Law school professors are human beings too, and outside of HYS, they are are increasingly terrified of losing their jobs.

      Delete
    2. "Law school professors are human beings too, and outside of HYS, they are are increasingly terrified of losing their jobs."

      Yep.

      Delete
    3. "Holy underwear! Sheriff murdered! Innocent women and children blown to bits! We have to protect our phoney baloney jobs here, gentlemen! We must do something about this immediately! Immediately! Immediately! Harrumph! Harrumph! Harrumph!"

      Delete
    4. ""Holy underwear!..."

      The Law School Version of Blazing Saddles:

      *Flaming *ssholes*

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    5. A lurker here, but where did Lieter deny any of these things? He thinks Campos is an ass, but he even wrote a blurb in praise of Tamanaha's book.

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    6. Oh STFU Leiter, I mean "lurker." Your silly little "blurb in praise of Tamanaha's book" does not wash away your plethora of desperate trolling and blog posts ridiculing Campos and scambloggers.

      Delete
    7. Leiter, please just come out swinging (in the right direction). You know that's the only way to save yourself at this point.

      Delete
  11. Why? I thought they were all brilliant lawyers that any firm would snatch up if given the opportunity. At least that is what some of them have told me.

    If that is not the case, isn't it immoral to ensure your six figure salary and life-time job security on the backs of young people?

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  12. 22nd!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  13. This Diamond guy really is quite weird. It would be so easy for him to just slow his posts regarding the law school scam to a trickle, and then people could go back to ignoring him. He doesn't need to keep leading with his chin like this, but I guess that's why we call them stupid people.

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    1. He's a lot like Leiter. At some point their actions become so embarrassing - and everyone just accepts as fact that they are complete assclowns - that they have no choice to keep going, hoping that something, somewhere is going to stick and make Campos, Tamanaha, scambloggers, etc., look foolish and crazy.

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  14. Comparing the two job reporting statistic websites, I find the salary report differences the most striking. For the previous version, you're led to believe things are pretty rosy. For the second, you see that only people making money are reporting their pay. That is good.

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  15. YALE CLASS OF 1994 RESULTS

    Exposed as either Idiots or Defrauders: 1
    Status Unknown: 136

    ...so Yale is at 100% I/D, right?

    ReplyDelete
  16. The former Dean of California Western School of Law put on a "podcast" recently titled "Why Should I go to Law School?"

    Summary:

    One professor, Bennett, discussed the powerful versatility of the degree. The degree connotes the ability to understand the law and reason effectively. A CWSL degree will qualify you to, among other things, be President of the United States one day like Barack Obama, another law graduate. You can also use the degree to represent relatives in administrative proceedings where they have been denied government benefits.

    Another professor, Smythe, discussed the "misunderstandings" on the internet concerning funding for the degree and repayment. Under a new government benefit for law students called "IBR" loan repayments are capped at a certain amount above your poverty-level earnings. This makes law school very affordable. (There was no discussion of the tax bill waiting at the end of the program, adverse impact on credit scores, or the potential that the "benefit" might be revoked in the future).

    Current students discussed their recent experiences, and possible reasons why you should not pursue a J.D. and possible reasons why previous graduates tried, and failed, to obtain gainful employment. The current students feel that you should not pursue a J.D. for money, the prestige of being an Esquire, or if you don't genuinely want to help people or are unwilling to commit the necessary time to law.

    There was no discussion of CWSL's current tuition rates, the highest in the nation.

    http://lawreview.podbean.com/2013/01/09/why-should-i-go-to-law-school/

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Boy, they are really going downmarket.

      Everyone knows you will never make more than a poverty-level wage anyway, so who cares how much law school costs, as long as there is IBR!

      "You can also use the degree to represent relatives in administrative proceedings where they have been denied government benefits."

      Think about that one for a while. Forget tuition - imagine spending three years of your life so you can "represent relatives in administrative proceedings where they have been denied government benefits."

      Think about the social class that you are in if you have multiple relatives who have been "denied government benefits".

      Delete
    2. I think that the downturn in law school applications is hitting CWSL particularly hard and forcing the school to resort to some pretty shady marketing strategies.

      Another tactic is to market San Diego's climate, attractions, surfing, etc. and basically invite applicants to go on a three year taxpayer-subsidized vacation.

      The school had once banked on a merger with UCSD, becoming the new UCSD School of Law, but it would appear that a merger with TJSL (also located in downtown San Diego) is far more likely at this point.

      Delete
    3. In that recent video Professor Campos did he said IBR would allow greedy Law Schools to completely divorce tuition rates from reality and "wallow like pigs in slop" since they no longer have to worry about scaring off prospective students concerned about repayment.

      But another factor is that federal loan authorities have been effectively writing law schools (and other graduate schools) a blank cheque, taking them at their word that they need to charge $40k+ a year and loaning this out without so much as a quibble. If the law schools go nuts and raise their tuition even higher then Sallie Mae may be forced to take notice.

      Delete
  17. Professor Campos, thank you for creating this site, which has verbalized what a lot of veteran lawyers have known all along about legal education and the legal academies.

    I have been practicing law for about 21 years in NJ. I have seen this profession get harder, more competitive, and more miserable than when I first became an attorney. I witnessed firsthand how ambulance chasers abused the insurance system so much that tort reform came in the form of verbal threshold laws and *poof* gone were the days of easy 5 and 6 figure settlements over soft tissue injuries. Now, insurance companies will fight tooth and nail to pay out $2,000.00 for a case. The tragedy is that will the law schools pumping out all these grads, there are new attorneys who are willing to take these cases not knowing the time and stress it will take from them. When you add up the hours and when you get your fees, you will realize you are working for less than minimum wage.

    The courts here have prepared pro bono packets for pro se litigants. Let me give you a startling statistic. A colleague told me recently that in NJ, 45% of consumer bankruptcy filers filed pro se without a lawyer. These people downloaded the forms from the court's website and did their own cases. Some screwed themselves in the process but others got the results they desired.

    Young lawyers are undercutting rates, charging as low as $100 for a traffic case or $500 for a divorce or bankruptcy case. In 1991, I recall doing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy case for $1,500. Now the market is at $500. And things are only getting worse.

    I have an office and a staff. I have high overhead and it is getting harder to compete with these fly by night rookies who see clients in a Starbucks (which is an ethics complaint waiting to happen because you are not preserving attorney-client privilege while you are discussing your client's upcoming case for child molestation as patrons overhear and order their frappucinos). Also, these rookies are violating the bona fide office rule and attorney advertising rules. Have you seen the craigslist ads for attorney services? I have seen attorneys guarantee results, quote low fees and even offer money back if your client is not satisfied. This was unheard of when I became an attorney.

    This profession has a toll on your health. I have ulcer and liver problems. I don't sleep well and my blood pressure is always high. I had 4 seizures last year.

    When I think of law school, I think about how it is the biggest scam to operate out in the open. The law school professors, for the most part, are unskilled when it comes to the practice of law. Years ago, I represented a client, landlord, against a law professor who ran a clinic on landlord/tenant issues. When I won the case, the bitter professor threatened to appeal. I invited him to do so and reminded him where the appellate division was located since he had no idea of the appellate court structure in my state.

    Law professors are the ultimate shysters. They produce no value to society and have contributed to the demise of the legal profession. I know it is only a matter of time before some law schools start to close down. I cannot wait to school the laid off law professors on the practice of law. In fact, I anxiously await the day to give them payback for what they did to this once noble profession. And all for what? Unmitigated greed.

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    1. You hit the nail on the head, friend. Just remember that those Craigslist kids are doing it out of sheer desperation and would much rather be learning under your wing for a reasonable wage. Obviously, with the things the way they are, you can't offer that.

      All I am saying is that the recent grads are as much of a victim as you are, if not more so, and not the cause of this problem.

      Delete
    2. @12:08 and 2:20.

      I believe we covered both ends of the spectrum here. And I think the complaints on this blog--and on others like it--tend to be from newer attorneys that either never got a job or are one of the "fly by night rookies" trying to bust into the practice as solos. I am one of the fly-by-night'ers, and I actually work in an office shared by a number of veterans. But, as 12:08 points out, its not just the new school that is getting royally f*****. Yes, we probably graduated with more debt on average, but these people are suffering too. And most are too late in their career/lives to try another career (youth is a luxury we have--though crushing debt has a way of limiting options as well).

      The attorneys I work with--and with whom I maintain decent relationships--echo what 12:08 says. These guys and gals are serious attorneys--good attorneys, many of whom were at bigger firms at one point; now they're grinding out solo practices. Scary point: almost ALL of them maintain OTHER businesses to earn a living. And most of them maintain at least some criminal defense practice, and are still taking appointed cases (nothing wrong with this just doesn't pay much).

      I do feel bad, because I am sure I am undercutting them--at least in the aggregate with others like me. I really can't imagine them now--having lived through the relative good times--to now see what is happening to the profession.

      If more experienced/older attorneys joined the discussion, there would be enhanced credibility to the argument/movement against the academic status quo. I think sometimes the movement is perceived as a bunch of "entitled" whippersnappers whining about their self-induced failure. Older attorneys who had "made it" and who are struggling now, or are still doing well but see the trend in the trenches, might be able to help amplify the voices here.

      @12:08, right on wrt most law professors being clueless about the practice of law (no offense Professors Campos and Merritt, I really appreciate what you two are doing). Oh, except for the adjuncts who get paid shit--most of them actually have to PRACTICE in addition to their teaching load. And guess what: I learned more useful information in 5 minutes of instruction from the 2-3 adjuncts I took than the fucking lot of tenured/tenure track professors. But that's not saying much, because I didn't learn anything from the full-time bunch that I wouldn't have ultimately learned from the bar prep courses.

      So here's the story: young lawyers are getting f*****; old lawyers are getting f*****; clients, young and old, are getting f*****; the taxpayers are getting f*****; law schools (that is to say Deans, admins, and full time profs) are getting rich while doing the f***ing. And what I think upsets everyone the most is the "we win you lose, go fuck yourself" attitude adopted by the Deans and professoriate. It's the kind of thing that makes me wish I believed in karma, because I know that these people will never be held accountable by natural means.

      And @ LawProf: your destruction of these pro-law school statements by these people (Diamond, Mitchell, etc.) have been the highlight of my day on numerous occasions. So thanks!

      Delete
  18. Also, look carefully at the salary information.

    In 2011, they only had 50 people give reportable salaries and a *maximum* of 66 students reported anything. They've completely gotten rid of aggregate numbers, and there's no way to figure it out because they've obscured the data with their "less than 5 salaries" data. In other words, they apparently made new categories so they could conceal information better.

    Just 3 year earlier, they had 132 students report salaries, which is allegedly double what report today.

    From their salary chart, we're to believe that:

    -66 graduates total found employment making $91k or more.
    -at least 32 of them made $160,000 working in BigLaw
    -at least 16 more supposedly made $125k or more working in BigLaw (BigLaw 25th %)
    -a presumed 14 more probably have to make over 91k in BigLaw to make the BigLaw average (151k) make sense. (average is 9k less than median spread over 32 sub-median data points)
    -at least 6 make over $100k working in business
    -it's likely at least 2 make over $100k in medium firms

    That's 70 that they likely show over 91k as a matter of basic math, but their total only includes 66. And that assumes that no government or "small firm" attorney reported an above-median salary.

    Also, we have this curiosity: the "average" of the 83% in the private sector averaging 124846 and the 16% making 57533 should be 113970. But down the page, they show the overall average as 105k.

    Also, we have this curiosity: the 75% for all employers is $175,000, even though no single subrgounp has a 75% higher than $160,000. That is obviously bogus and shows a sloppiness on whoever put the numbers together.

    Oh, wait, does the fact that it's absurd mean it's not fraudulent? Because no one should believe anything Santa Clara says?

    Are we supposed to know that 25/75 actually means "min/max"? Is that just for the bottom number, or all of them?

    And the biggest two numbers are these:

    Overall Median: $91,000
    Overall Average: $105,000

    The fraudsters know this is exactly where the doe-eyed graduates' eyes are going as he dreams of models and bottles. And for the ones with minimal math savvy, they'll note that because the average is skewing high, it means that the data is top-heavy. In other words, salaries diverge more towards $160k than 40k.

    The data is also presented with this in the opening paragraph:

    "To give you an idea of what our graduates do and how much they typically earn, here is a snapshot of our 2008 graduating class."

    "Typically."

    Derived from 132 graduates in a class of at least 250.

    With numbers that are put together sloppily (or "massaged") and/or outright bogus.

    FRAUD, Steve Diamond. FRAUD.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "They've completely gotten rid of aggregate numbers, and there's no way to figure it out because they've obscured the data with their "less than 5 salaries" data. In other words, they apparently made new categories so they could conceal information better."

      Those are NALP's categories, and NALP reports don't have salary data when there are less than 5 for privacy reasons. Also, it's too few data points to be meaningful. This is one of the uses of the aggregate "Public Sector" salary data, so that you still get some information when the smaller categories become too small.

      For the other information though ...uh, yeah. Something's afoot.

      Delete
  19. Asking Steve questions over email is even more fun than reading his expository diarrhea blog posts.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Does anyone know if either the firm doing the TJSL litigation or Team Anziska/Strauss are looking into this TTT?

    ReplyDelete
  21. LSs reporting salary info is like Wall St splicing risk. you cut and recut until you get the rosiest picture possible.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Except have you ever actually read a 10-k? The "risk factors" section almost always goes overboard and hypothesizes everything short of a nuclear meltdown.

      Of course, in press conferences, it's usually the sky's the limit, but they pack that stuff in the 10-k to avoid '34 act liability down the road.

      If the law schools had to release something like 10-ks for prospective students, things would get a lot more interesting, especially re: the fraud suits.

      Delete
  22. 12:08 is absolutely correct regarding the demise of the legal profession...and to think what the future beholds. It is just too hard and it might be worth it if the money is there, but it usually isn't for new graduates and small solos.

    I've spoken to many attorneys throughout the years and I can count on my two hands how many of them are happy they chose law as a career choice. The rest all say the same reflective of the comments on this blog.

    However, and this is a big however, the attorneys that I have spoken to did not incur over $100k, and in some cases today over $200k, in law school debt, myself included.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The Future Is BlindJanuary 20, 2013 at 11:59 AM

      ".and to think what the future beholds"

      Sorry, the future cannot behold anything.

      Delete
  23. The nostalgia of 12:08's post brought a tear to my eye. I remember the days of going into the office at 10:30AM, making a couple of calls to some claims adjusters and settling cases for $100K all before noon so you can take the rest of the day off. No pleadings, no court, no work and that 33% cut just kept coming in week after week. Now, claims adjusters deny almost every claim and the insurance companies take you to trial where they impanel a jury who will rule against you because they are tired of their premiums going up because of the phony injuries your client incurred.

    The real madness is why would anyone pay north of $100K to enter this profession? Why? Because as was said in the Cato institute presentation earlier this week, "because the law schools can raise tuition" and people will always be seduced by the mythical TV or movie lawyer. I wish there was a reality show that shadows the shitlaw attorney or coder. Jumping from one assignment to the other, avoiding bitch staff attorneys who you have to call boss and getting nickled and dimed by non-paying clients who know the meaning of the words "pro bono" but act dumb when you try to explain the word "retainer." This profession has gone to the dogs.

    ReplyDelete
  24. How can 47 professional school graduates possibly be unemployed but not seeking work? Are they chronically stoned? Or is Santa Clara near a toxic waste dump that makes everyone sick? Could there be that many trust fund babies?

    Note that this isn't just one year of apparent fraud. The previous year, Santa Clara reported that 57 members of the class of 2010 (almost one fifth of the entire class) were unemployed but not interested in seeking work.

    It's possible that Santa Clara classifies everyone who fails the July bar as "unemployed but not seeking." I've heard about grads at other schools classified in that way--although never on a wholesale basis. But that is misleading in itself; if bar study is the answer, then the school should explain to prospective students that a large number of graduates are not yet seeking work because they flunked the bar.

    This is a matter for either the ABA or the AMA. Either Santa Clara is mis-reporting its employment statistics or there's a serious public health problem in that town.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. IIRC, NALP counts those grads as unemployed and seeking work.

      Delete
    2. I'd like to think so, but at least on the report returned to Santa Clara the "not seeking" group appears as its own category. For 2011, Santa Clara reported 43 unemployed and not seeking on its NALP report (http://law.scu.edu/careers/file/NALP-Summary-Report-for-SCU-Website.pdf), and for 2010, the reported number was 57 (http://law.scu.edu/careers/file/UPDATED-NALP-Class-of-2010.pdf). But I think US News now combines the two categories--that may be what you're thinking?

      Crazy stuff at Santa Clara. I suspect the dean is about to rip out Diamond's internet connection, given that his posts led you to uncover all this. Good work there, by the way!

      Delete
  25. He is also, apparently, a fashion expert:

    http://www.insidefashionlive.com/tabId/147/itemId/147/Stephen-Diamond.aspx

    ReplyDelete
  26. Santa Clara LS ranking
    #96

    ReplyDelete
  27. http://host.madison.com/wsj/news/local/crime_and_courts/alleged-robber-with-bucky-badger-hat-needed-money-for-debt/article_90e71ea0-61ab-11e2-9390-001a4bcf887a.html

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thus begins the madness.

      Delete
  28. You'll all love to know that Pepperdine Law got caught in outright, shall we say, employment stat fraud ala Santa Clara, regarding its employment stats? It was documented on U.S. News Rankings Captain Bob Morse's blog, several years ago:

    http://www.usnews.com/education/blogs/college-rankings-blog/2008/03/25/getting-started-on-the-college-rankings/comments

    Basically, in 2008, a prospective student e-mailed someone at in Pepperdine's career services office, and got one answer regarding the school's employment numbers at 9 mo, U.S. news acknowledged that what was reported to them was something different, and more advantageous to the school. The dean of career services tried, unconvincingly, to explain the discrepancy in subsequent comments.

    The plantiff's firm suing Pepperdine has everything it needs in the archives to Bob Morse's blog to make its case...Start with a subpoena of the Pepperdine individual named in the blog comments...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Don't you love it? The days of burning documents are over. Everything is on permanent record.

      Delete
  29. That table published by SC says it is a "snapshot of the class." If it is a self-serving subset of the students with the best outcomes, they should not call it a "snapshot of the class."

    ReplyDelete

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