Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Top ten excuses (this one goes to 11)

Apologists who defend the status quo in legal academia, by limiting their reformist gestures to various types of ineffectual hand-waving, have developed a stock set of responses to more searching critiques.  I'm going to list the top ones here, without bothering to debunk them.  Feel free to use the comments to do so, and/or to add others that I'm not listing.

(1) The current financial crisis in legal academia is largely if not wholly a product of an unforeseeable once-in-a-generation/lifetime/century melt down in the hiring market for new attorneys, brought on by the financial crisis of 2007 and the subsequent recession.

(2)  Things are starting or will start to get much better as the effects of (1) recede and we get back to normal.

(3)  A first-rate legal education is inherently expensive.  Law schools that cost as much to attend as Harvard did 30 years ago would produce second-class lawyers, doomed to labor in the lower reaches of what would become a hierarchically stratified profession.

(4)  Law professors have to be paid two to four times as much as professors in the humanities and social sciences, because otherwise it would be impossible to recruit quality faculty, given the opportunity cost law faculty incur by going into teaching.

(5)  Nominal tuition rates are far higher than real tuition, because many/most students pay far less than nominal tuition, because of generous scholarships funded by nominal tuition rates.

(6)  Actuarial controls on student loans would create higher barriers to entry to the profession, which would disproportionately affect potential students from traditionally disadvantaged social groups.

(7)  People inside legal academia who criticize legal academia are hypocrites.

(8)  You can do a lot of things with a law degree besides practice law.

(9) Legal education is inherently valuable, beyond whatever increased earning potential it may generate.

(10)  Legal scholarship provides crucial critiques of the legal and political status quo, which couldn't be produced at anything close to the present volume if law school were cheaper because people had to teach more than they do now.

(11)  We're now turning out more practice-ready lawyers than formerly, and that can't be done on the cheap.

168 comments:

  1. I am the king today.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No one is making excuses you morons. This is like someone getting their ass beat and saying, "Oh I bet that guy who beat my ass and took my money is making up all these excuses to justify his behavior."

      No; he's spending your money and enjoying it you fucking losers. lol you're pathetic! You tried to pick a fight with law schools, and they DESTROYED you. IBR, domination in the courts, and tuitions continue to go up by 6% a year.

      Can you say cha-ching? Can you say winners? Can you see a loser? (hint, look in the mirror).

      Delete
    2. ^ Tuitions continue to increase while/because the applicant pool rapidly decreases.

      Don't give up, Mr. Infinity. Perhaps one day, some of the nonsense that you spew will stick.

      Delete
    3. I don't know if this is the same person writing similar comments because he or she does not bother to post comments with a static nickname. Oh well.

      Look, I have no idea what you are talking about.

      Delete
    4. Frankly I find this shockingJanuary 23, 2013 at 9:59 AM

      "he or she does not bother to post comments with a static nickname. "



      (just sayin')

      Delete
    5. I'm worried about Mr. Infinity. Do you think the guy's insane?

      Delete
  2. Damn - I missed my chance to make a useless, irrelevant, and utterly predictable post!

    ReplyDelete
  3. "(5) Nominal tuition rates are far higher than real tuition, because many/most students pay far less than nominal tuition, because of generous scholarships funded by nominal tuition rates."

    Only the complete rubes pay full tuition!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And, the "complete rubes" necessarily populate over one-half of the student body. So, thus the majority of law students are "complete rubes." Awesome.

      Delete
  4. Steve Diamond's blog is down - hopefully he's going to re-think some of the things he said in his previous posts about the law school transparency movement.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Give him a day or two. Maybe there is a technical glitch.

      Delete
    2. No, it will not be back.

      Diamond was pulled into the Dean's office and sodomized with extreme prejudice. Despite what you might think, it was unconventional and unprotected sex. The Dean has the means and the ability to make a professor's life very, very uncomfortable.

      Now that Diamond cannot sit, let alone sit in front of his computer, he will not be posting at all.

      Delete
    3. I just printed off a pdf of the cached version from Google, for posterity, just in case it doesn't come back and anyone wants to see it...

      Delete
    4. I'll try again on the cached hyperlink. Sorry.

      Delete
    5. he said on his blog that his school's brochure was inaccurate puffery regarding employment stats. that had to catch the attention of the responsible adults at the school.

      Delete
    6. @9.19 - Not possible, Diamond enjoys full academic freedom . . . :)

      Yeah, I can imagine what might happen if an in-house lawyer said something similar about corporate marketing material unforced in a blog post.

      Delete
    7. Why, exactly, does a supposedly excellent law school need to engage in puffery? Diamond can't decide whether his institution is a first-rate academy or a sleazy commercial enterprise.

      I, however, have no trouble deciding.

      Delete
    8. I love the puffery comment.

      My law school engages in puffery in our reported statistics.

      Delete
    9. They may also have been worried by his calling other professors racists. It just looks bad and is bound to catch the attention of a lot of people in academics.

      He was an idiot for posting what he did. And I'm sure a lot of people have copies of his blog should he try to deny it.

      Delete
    10. AnonymousJanuary 23, 2013 at 8:47 AM
      No, it will not be back.

      Diamond was pulled into the Dean's office and sodomized with extreme prejudice.

      Is "extreme prejudice" another way of saying the broken end of a broom stick?

      Delete
    11. If he wants to deny it, you could wallpaper his office with copies and my guess is his response would be along the lines of Vinny Barbarino:

      "Wut?"

      "Where?"

      "I don't see it."

      Delete
  5. "(4) Law professors have to be paid two to four times as much as professors in the humanities and social sciences, because otherwise it would be impossible to recruit quality faculty, given the opportunity cost law faculty incur by going into teaching."

    Of course, there is the minor difference in stress levels between teaching and private practice.

    I have a friend who is a successful securities lawyer. Most of his work is on contingency, and he sometimes has very good years, and some years he makes almost nothing at all. He is on anti-anxiety medication, and also needs medication to be able to sleep at night.

    Another successful attorney in my city, known for his very cool and calm demeanor in court, was appointed to a judgeship. He was asked at a meeting what the difference was between being a litigator and being a judge. He said, "Well, I don't have to go into the bathroom and throw up before I go into court now."

    Compare that to a tenured law professor, who may be worried about his job a few years down the line, but whose main concern at the moment is that he may be forced to teach an extra class next year, to reduce costs.

    ReplyDelete
  6. "It's such a fine line between stupid, and uh..."

    "Clever."

    "Yeah, and clever."

    ReplyDelete
  7. Somewhere in there is a claim that practicing law is fun, interesting, financially rewarding and socially useful.

    ReplyDelete
  8. It is so important that we continue to spread the message as often and as loudly as possible. We need applicant numbers to drop even further, to the point where schools can't fill their seats, even after scraping the bottom of the barrel.

    The kind of downward financial pressure that would create would quickly answer any questions about what professors need to be paid.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think one of the law schools here in Boston will close. I wouldn't worry about it though, it's not a big college town.

      Delete
    2. Agreed. Every day there are plenty of posts on TLS by people who are clueless about the scam. The number of people who don't know about the scam far far exceeds those who are well informed.

      Delete
  9. "(5) Nominal tuition rates are far higher than real tuition, because many/most students pay far less than nominal tuition, because of generous scholarships funded by nominal tuition rates."

    Half of students pay full freight, about 50% of scholarships are for a quarter of tuition or less, and about 90% are for half tuition or less.

    Maybe 5% of students are paying on par with costs 30 years ago.

    ReplyDelete
  10. (4) Law professors have to be paid two to four times as much as professors in the humanities and social sciences, because otherwise it would be impossible to recruit quality faculty, given the opportunity cost law faculty incur by going into teaching.

    The typical law professor's salary is higher than the the income of the typical lawyer according to the BLS.

    Moreover, the amount a law professor is paid has to be assessed in terms of the security that tenure offers the professor (especially in a world where mandatory retirement is "age discrimination") as compare to the precarious situation the same law professor would have faced had she or he stayed as a practicing lawyer - tenure has huge value.

    Finally, most law professors join the academy at the point that they would have been second year associates - but a long term law professor is not for the most part marketable to private practice - there is thus no "opportunity cost" to a senior law professor staying a law professor , so why raise pay with seniority.

    It might be justifiable to pay a mid or big law partner $300,000 plus to join the academy; it makes no sense to pay that money to someone who bailed out of legal practice with 2 years' experience and then taught for ten years. For the latter there is no going back to a job at even $160,000 - for a well paid partner who had proven practice and rainmaking ability there is.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think that one reason that they are paid so much is that if one college pays a professor x above market, then the rest of them do as well to be competitive with the other colleges, and then the market for professors gets reset. So basically colleges are not competing with private industry for professors, they are competing with other colleges.

      This also happens with CEOs. In both cases, they are not competing with all the other workers, they are competing in their own stratified bubble, which is why compensation gets so out of whack with everybody else.

      Delete
    2. Why would you want to pay a biglaw partner $300,000 for doing the same job as another law professor? The biglaw partner was paid the big bucks in private practice for being a rainmaker. That skill does no good when he or she is merely teaching classes and researching like other profs. Such people often tend to do their law practice on the side, so still make the big bucks while devoting fewer hours to teaching.

      Delete
    3. Law professors are as mysterious as Druids. Someday songs will be sung about them.

      "No one knows who they were, or what they were doing."

      Delete
    4. 8:45 AM

      I am not saying that you would want to pay this much, I am saying that the opportunity cost argument only makes sense when you are getting someone from such a role , i.e., partner in firm.

      Law professors are not giving up lucrative private practice opportunities - the argument to the extent that it makes sense only does so with respect to law partners in successful firms.

      Delete
  11. BUT Justice Sotomayor says that "being a lawyer is one of the best jobs in the whole wide world."

    If you're not sharing the "magic ride" of someone who got pushed forward for being a latina, she thinks you should "go back to square one."

    http://www.abajournal.com/news/article/sotomayor_lawyering_is_a_gift_and_unhappy_lawyers_should_go_back_to_square_

    Good luck doing that with your 300k in debt!

    Sadly, this stupidly-happy bitchery is common in blessed boomers. The elites could not give a less shit at WHY being a blue collar lawyer is personally deflating, WHY money runs thin, WHY there are two jobs for every opening. That's not her problem.

    Bitch.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Although I will not be using some of the same language in the comments above, I find myself agreeing with Anonymous @ January 23, 2013 at 8:20 AM. Sotomayor's comments are simply insane. (More insanity here: http://www.abajournal.com/news/article/sotomayor_lawyering_is_a_gift_and_unhappy_lawyers_should_go_back_to_square_) "Any lawyer who is unhappy should go back to square one and start again." Are you kidding me?

      Delete
    2. I saw her comments and thought she is completely out of touch.

      Delete
    3. Of course she is out of touch. She lives in a different world of law and lawyers. It would be like expecting Kate Middleton to understand the life of an unemployed British poor. She just can't grasp it.

      I'm sure sotomayer has no idea at all of the oversupply of lawyers, the rampant unemployment . The 50% who will never practice and their 6 figure debt.

      Delete
    4. There's a rather big difference between Sotomayor and Kate Middleton (who is a poor choice since she grew up middle class, but w/e).

      Middleton is a celebrity royal, essentially given wealth and fame in exchange for serving as a focal point of British culture. As much as the Royals deal with charity hospitals and all that, they exist specifically NOT to care about poor people and understand their plight, but rather to live above it with dignity and class.

      Sotomayor is a justice on the United States Supreme Court, the ultimate overseer of the federal bar and enforcer of various rights regarding state bar associations and the practice of law, not to mention an exemplar of professionalism and excellence in the legal field.

      Delete
    5. I'm sure the poors of Britain would be happy to know their future Queen is not expected to know or care about them. I think that clueless comment would be a big hit with the British tabloids.

      The point is that sotomayer lives in an entirely different world than any jobless attorney. Hell anyone with a biglaw job is in a different world and sotomayer is leagues above us.

      Delete
    6. If the "poors" of Britain have some illusion about what the modern monarchy is, that's their problem and not mine.

      Where Sotomayor actually lives is irrelevant. What I care about is where she SHOULD live, and that's in some world where she has knowledge of what's going on.

      Delete
  12. 12) Our students are to blame for their own unemployment. Unlike earlier students, this generation lacks the "get up and go" needed to volunteer, work for low pay, pound the pavement, or hang up a shingle.

    That's what we did. How else would we have gotten our gilded sinecures?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This reminds me of a story told to me by a clueless OCS counselor when I was a few months from graduating with no job. He told me how in the 60s he walked down Wall Street handing his resume to secretaries at every single firm.

      Delete
    2. Gawd.

      1) Did he get a job?
      2) Did he ever hire anybody through that method?

      Delete
    3. And I bet, then as now, all those resumes went straight into the bin soon as he was out the door.

      Delete
    4. Of course he got a job. The whole story was meant to be a boomer lecture on how good I had it for having 14 career services officers giving me job tips and resume advice.

      Delete
    5. Career services is a demanding job BoredJD, having to hand out booklets on interview and resume tips really cuts into your gossip and net surfing time.

      Delete
    6. Lol. I though it was a story on how easy it was to get jobs in the 60s. I thought he was commiserating with you how tough the market is now.

      Not to mention how cheap living in the city was then.

      Delete
  13. (11) We're now turning out more practice-ready lawyers than formerly, and that can't be done on the cheap.

    a. There is no evidence that the new graduates are more practice ready - and to the extent that they have lower GPAs and LSAT scores, they are less capable in general.

    b. Turning out lawyers can be done more cheaply - and at lower costs by raising faculty teaching hours and recruiting more experienced faculty.

    c. Pace Berni Burk - it does not matter whether law schools are turning out more practice ready lawyers if they are still turning out too many, i.e., 50,000 for 22,000 jobs.

    d. Nothing makes a lawyer more ready for practice than actual practice. By turning out so many law students law schools are decreasing the opportunity that each has to get experience, reducing the supply of practice ready young lawyers. Indeed, the main way students secured real practice experience in the past - working as law clerks while in law school - has been eliminated by the the massive overproduction of lawyers (n.b., I worked 20-30 hours a week as a 2L and 3L in litigation departments as well as being a summer associate my 1L and 2L summers. I had a lot of experience by the time I graduated. Those opportunities are gone.)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Mack, I don't think I've ever seen your comments on 11.d before, but it makes so much sense.

      Since there is a huge overproduction overall ability to gain practical experience is diminished.

      Delete
  14. 13) Today's law students have an entitlement mindset, and they aren't willing to put in the work first. (Of course, I expect and demand to be paid $190K for teaching 4-6 hours per week, because I've earned it over the years with my amazing and wondrous scholarly contributions.)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And , add to that, students shouldn't expect a job even though they have paid 6 figures for a degree.

      Delete
  15. (10) Legal scholarship provides crucial critiques of the legal and political status quo, which couldn't be produced at anything close to the present volume if law school were cheaper because people had to teach more than they do now.

    Actually legal practice challenges the status quo - not scholarship. Thurgood Marshall was not a legal scholar, he was a practicing lawyer when he brought Brown v. Board of Education. Bernard Cohen who represented the Lovings in Loving v. Virginia was a practicing trial lawyer, not a professor. In every major civil rights case of the last 50 years the key legal figure was a practicing lawyer, not a law professor.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And a typical piece of legal scholarshit is read by perhaps three people on the planet.

      Delete
    2. Thurgood Marshall is a hero of mine. Just saying.

      Delete
  16. Response to #6. As the first and only college grad from my racially diverse, low-income family, I wish to hell that there would have been a financial barrier to stop me from attending a TTT chasing after the American dream. The only thing I got out of law school was a TON of non-dischargeable debt and a bumpersticker. I wish that I would not have qualified for the loans. Creating a legion of indentured students in the name of diversity is shameful.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "Creating a legion of indentured students in the name of diversity is shameful."

      You are assuming that the people running law schools are capable of shame, if shame gets in the way of their continuing to receive a large paycheck.

      People can rationalize anything, if it is in their financial interest to do so.

      Delete
  17. 14)

    There are still lots of career opportunities available catering to underserved markets. There is a great demand for affordable legal services among the middle class and poor, and new JD's should come up with a business plan for opening up a solo practice to serve this market.

    LULZ

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There are actually tens of thousands of career opportunities available for lawyers catering to underserved markets.

      Catering, in the sense of cooking and serving food.

      Delete
    2. I love this. A business plan. For what? Going solo? Zero plus zero is, ahem, zero.

      Delete
    3. Hey Crux - I know lawyers are notoriously bad at math and all, but...

      ... it's not a sum that you add.

      It's a product that you have to multiply.

      See, it's zero TIMES zero is... ...uh.... (nevermind).

      :-)

      Delete
    4. New attorneys need to Give Back, and this is a wonderful way to do that.

      Delete
    5. I graduated in 2011. I remember vividly the one person in law school who was honest with us about how bad it was out there. I was in an employment law clinic, and she was a practicing plaintiff-side employment lawyer who came in to help with a mediation simulation. She told us that she had a catering business on the side, to pay the bills.

      Delete
    6. Ah yes, Anonymous @ January 23, 2013 at 10:46 AM, I get what you're saying. My point, poorly phrased at best, was that zero projected income and zero prospective clients and zero... I need to stop typing.

      Delete
  18. (8) You can do a lot of things with a law degree besides practice law.

    Is there any objective data. Please show examples of someone doing something other than legal practice, teaching law or being a legislator where a law-degree was actually useful as compared to say an MBA. Just saying things doe snot make it so.

    (9) Legal education is inherently valuable, beyond whatever increased earning potential it may generate.

    And people who say things like this teach "law and economics?" What demonstrable value does a degree from anything outside the top 14 or top 20 law schools have?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think the tone of this blog post was lost on you, MacK.

      Delete
    2. Legal education may be valuable in the sense of fostering personal growth, just as a mistake may be valuable for the lessons and experience that it affords. But very few people pursue legal education primarily for whatever inherent value it may offer; indeed, very few could afford to spend a quarter of a million dollars for that "value".

      Delete
    3. 9:04, LawProf said he wouldn't be answering the defenses himself but invited the commentors to do so themselves.

      Delete
  19. 15)The scambloggers, without exception, are a bunch of bitter, entitled losers who would have failed in any career they tried.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hope you choke on someone else's vomit.

      Delete
    2. 9:07, lick my love pump.

      Delete
    3. Dread Pirate RobertsJanuary 23, 2013 at 9:21 AM

      Awww, c'mon now, 9:11, don't be quite so bitter.

      Here's my favorite wish for 9:07:

      "May the fleas of a thousand camels forever infest your pubic region."

      Delete
    4. Fuck off, Leiter.

      Delete
    5. Well, those "bitter, entitled losers" are going to have a hard time finding success... because they are absolutely buried in student load debt. A large majority of recent law school graduates would have been better off with damn near any other choice than attending law school. That is the hard truth.

      Delete
  20. (4) Law professors have to be paid two to four times as much as professors in the humanities and social sciences, because otherwise it would be impossible to recruit quality faculty, given the opportunity cost law faculty incur by going into teaching.

    This is the law professors' own version of the Special Snowflake Syndrome. They assume that they would in fact be the rainmakers who would have been named as partners had it not been for their selfless decision to forego that money and dedicate their lives to the thankless job of working 9 months a year on with a 2/2 teaching load at a mere $150,000 to $250,000 salary.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. FWIW, I think 150-250 (not 300) is a fair estimate, though a great many start lower than 150. The comparisons seem off to me, though. I'm not sure that this is 2-4 times that of professors in humanities and social sciences. And as to practitioners, at least if you focus on law faculty who entered academia 5 or more years ago, I think they could be reasonably certain to have found partner, counsel, in-house, and even nonprofit positions that would pay them this amount or considerably more. Matters are of course different now.

      Delete
    2. I've looked at UNC-Chapel Hill numbers. The lowest assistant profs make $110k. The dean makes $320k. The average associste prof is at about $140k The average full prof is about $180k.

      Delete
    3. I posted 9:22 and 9:57. And here I am again to say, this is easily checked. But the fact is actually, yes. Unless you are a superstar humanities prof, you're probably making somewhere between $50k and $120k. So a 2-4 times estimate is not far off.

      Delete
    4. Oh, one more thing. Law profs have a cushy job. They rarely write in peer-reviewed journals. These law reviews they write in are edited by 2Ls and 3Ls. This is hardly a rigorous process, far less rigorous than having your work checked by peers in your field.

      They rarely supervise dissertations, unless they teach Legal History or something like that and have someone from a PhD program who asks them to be on a dissertation committee. They didn't get PhDs, usually. PhDs have all kinds of problems, but one problem is not usually the rigorousness of the program.

      Before I went to law school, I was in a PhD program in history and the rigor and level of scholarship and level of ability far outstripped anything I saw at UNC-CH law school.

      Delete
    5. Even if they could have had those positions in practice, they would not necessarily have been able to keep them. Tenure itself is an enormous benefit of the hackademy.

      Delete
    6. W/r/t the last five years, the chances of making partner at a V100 firm, even if starting out with a federal clerkship and from an elite school are so low that I don't think you can assume professors would have made partner. There's also a lot more that goes into making partner than goes into getting top grades at HYS and a clerkship.

      Many professors would have undoubtedly risen high in policy positions in government and public interest, but those jobs do not offer salaries (when all-in compensation is considered) much higher than a law professor.

      And don't forget that professors essentially have (1) a lot of discretion in what they do each day, (2) don't generally have to report to anybody, (3) pretty solid job security. The combination of these things might be worth a lot of money to some people.

      Delete
    7. BoredJD, I would gladly take the 3 points u listed with a salary of 40K with raises matching inflation.

      How unlucky my generation is to be entering the workforce at such a horrible time and government mismanagement (16+ trillion in federal debt with nothing to show for it, etc.).

      Delete
  21. x) What else are these people going to do?

    ReplyDelete
  22. On other fronts:

    Dartmouth will no longer allow students to use Advanced Placement exams for college credi

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/higher-education/dartmouth-will-no-longer-allow-students-to-use-advanced-placement-exams-for-college-credit/2013/01/17/15a7c7fe-60c4-11e2-bc4f-1f06fffb7acf_singlePage.html?tid=obinsite

    Money grab by colleges.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dread Pirate RobertsJanuary 23, 2013 at 10:27 AM

      Holy Cow, did you see this?

      " But with the average time to complete a bachelor’s degree increasing to six years at most colleges..."


      Seriously? Did someone increase the standard BA to 180 hours while I wasn't looking?

      Is this a typo, or is the AVERAGE person really spending 6 years on a BA?

      That's ludicrous.

      Delete
    2. Bastards.

      Dartmouth is also the inspiration behind the movie Animal House.

      Delete
    3. @Dread Pirate Roberts

      The article also said that students were only taking 3 courses per semester, so it isn't surprising that it is taking longer to graduate. I guess 3 courses are that with you can take at Dartmouth, with all the Animal House partying going on.

      Delete
    4. Dread Pirate RobertsJanuary 23, 2013 at 10:50 AM


      @ 10:44 - yeah, but what shocked me was the allegation that the average at "most colleges" was 6 years to BA.


      Can that possibly be correct?

      Delete
    5. Think about all the people going to college part-time, working part- or full-time (to PAY for college/feed families), and it starts to make sense. Especially if they sign up for more than they can actually do, wind up not passing and having to re-take courses..

      "Roughly 40 percent of America’s college students are non-traditional students. They are workers who’ve gone back to school, former members of the military embarking on new careers and single parents wanting to do better for their families."

      From: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/college-inc/post/guest-post-non-traditional-students-key-to-college-completion-goal/2011/03/25/AFV8eIXB_blog.html

      Not sure where that statistic is coming from, but having worked in the higher education sector for years, I've seen this as a widely accepted statistic.

      Delete
  23. (10) Legal scholarship provides crucial critiques of the legal and political status quo, which couldn't be produced at anything close to the present volume if law school were cheaper because people had to teach more than they do now.

    Who are these people who read legal scholarship? There are 800 law reviews, who reads them?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. 99% of legal scholarship is never read by anybody except the author, a handful of articles editors and (maybe) a half dozen or so other law professors, if the piece is part of a tenure evaluation. This isn't hyperbole, it's fact. Except for the really stupid types like Marcia McCormick most legal academics realize this, but they keep up the charade, because without the obligation to crank out a law review article once in awhile it would be impossible to pretend that it's anything like a full-time job.

      Delete
    2. As I posted above, legal scholarship undergoes far less rigorous review than academic scholarship. Say what you will about Brian Leiter, his CV indicates that he's actually be published in peer-reviewed publications and for academic publishers that undergo peer review. That's much more impressive than about 95 percent of other legal publications.

      Delete
    3. Dread Pirate RobertsJanuary 23, 2013 at 10:34 AM

      " Except for the really stupid types like Marcia McCormick most ..."


      Say, didn't she play Jan Brady?

      Delete
  24. Unemployed NortheasternJanuary 23, 2013 at 9:42 AM

    http://www.abajournal.com/news/article/sotomayor_lawyering_is_a_gift_and_unhappy_lawyers_should_go_back_to_square_/

    Ugh.

    ReplyDelete
  25. 16) The law is a revered (or holy) profession and its institutions, how they use their money, and unending tuition increases should not be questioned.

    ReplyDelete
  26. 12. Tuition is set by central University/state legislator. Cutting faculty salaries will not result in a reduction of tuition; the money will just be spent on another dept.-- perhaps to give underpaid social science or humanity profs a raise.

    ReplyDelete
  27. My personal favorite, promoted and articulated best by none other than Mr. Steve Diamond:

    17) Communties have a sacred duty of promoting the intellectual freedom of professors and that privilege should be protected at all costs. Protecting this privilege is more important than maintaining low tuition so that lower and middle-incomed individuals can attend law school.

    Or, alternatively written:

    17) Law schools exist to promote the intellectual freedom of a few chosen individuals. They don't exist for the benefit of the students or to train the next generation of attorneys, dummies. The students exist merely to provide financial support to the professors, so that they can continue on with their important duty of preserving their intellectual freedom.

    ReplyDelete
  28. (8) You can do a lot of things with a law degree besides practice law.

    Let's first redefine "a lot of things with a law degree" to the intended result for an average graduate. You can do a lot of PAYING things with a law degree. For example a law degree qualifies me to do all kinds of volunteer work, which unfortunately does not earn me any money.

    Let's also subtract graduates of Harvard and Yale law schools from our sample of law school graduates, since such law degrees are much more likely to produce flexable career results, which are not typical for the rest of the profession. i.e. the signaling value from a graduate program from these two Ivy League law programs, is far stronger, then almost all the other law schools, though I suppose people could argue about Stanford or the University of Chicago or Columbia. These Harvard and Yale are approximately 1% of our law school sample.

    If you apply for a job that does not require a law degree from almost any other law school you then have to deal with the standard question. "Is he more argumentative then the rest of our applicants?" "Is he more likely to sue?" "Is he more likely to jump back into the law". and my favorite, "I don't care what he brings to the table, since my contested divorce I've hated all lawyers!" Given the economy its far easier for the HR department to simply exclude the lawyer from the non-legal job, and instead take no risk, by choosing all the obvious round pegs for the round employment openings they need to fill.

    Let's collectively call this the JD disadvantage.

    Now perhaps, in a small minority of cases, Catbert the HR director actually prefers JD holders over non JD holders for a job that does require such a degree. Perhaps there is something in his or her background that influences this choice.

    However, I do not need to prove that a JD is ALWAYS a disadvantage when applying for a job that does not require such a degree, I am only arguing that the majority of the time, based admittedly on antidotal evidence that JD Disadvantage exists, and that the applicant would have been more likely to have obtained that non-legal job, with a degree other then a JD.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A good point. I would add that 20-40 years ago when law schools were much more selective a law degree from any of the T-14 had substantial signalling value. The less selective a law schools gets, the less signalling value their degree has.

      25 years ago the range of LSATs and GPAs for students between the tope of the T-14 and the lowest ranked T-14 was really quite narrow - all the top tier law schools were very selective. Now having a pulse will get into many.

      Delete
  29. @Anonymous, January 23, 2013 at 7:44 AM -

    Don't forget about "serving the less fortunate," "defending liberty," "pursuing justice" and all that. Laudable goals to be sure, but only the very wealthy can afford to take on those noble positions while servicing law school debt loads (if the very wealthy ever had to service debt in the first place.)

    For the rest of us, there's doc review.

    ReplyDelete
  30. "(8) You can do a lot of things with a law degree besides practice law."

    So true. There's so much you can do! With my degree, I conducted an earth-shatteringly important experiment: I found out how many times you can chuck the degree at a sharp edge (a door, or the edge of a wall) before if becomes torn and eventually rips into two and then into small pieces. Diplomas are surprisingly made of very sturdy materials - you have to throw it many times at a sharp edge - getting it to hit the edge just right - before it will begin to rip.

    For the record, it took about a half hour to get it to completely rip into two, with no artifical assistance from me other than throwing it against the wall. It took about 10 minutes of tossing it before it first began to rip.

    Those scambloggers who say that you can't do much with a law degree other than practice law just aren't being creative enough.

    ReplyDelete
  31. 18) Law school is for everyone! (That asswipe Wu wrote an article on that subject for You Ass News.)

    ReplyDelete
  32. Dread Pirate RobertsJanuary 23, 2013 at 10:38 AM

    "(8) You can do a lot of things with a law degree besides practice law."


    This one is true.


    If everyone from the C/O 2011 who finds themselves not using their law degrees could please forward them to me (P.O. Box "Versatile", care of Enigo Mentoya), I will then knit them all together into a new mainsail for my Pirate Ship, The REVENGE.

    ReplyDelete
  33. Ah, serving the less fortunate, my favorite.

    I am an under-employed solo, who is earning perhaps $20,000 a year after expenses are paid. My case load goes up and down depending on how many closings I am working on at a given time. But lets say that I am working on about 20 paying cases, which typically go from month to month.

    Within six months I could easily pick up 400 new, non-paying cases by word of mouth if I so desired. There is that much demand for pro-bono work out there.

    But with the expenses for each pro-bono case, I can rarely handle more then one at a time, or perhaps 1-2 a year.

    I can't exactly afford to do much good here.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dread Pirate RobertsJanuary 23, 2013 at 10:43 AM

      "My case load goes up and down depending on how many closings I am working on at a given time."

      Dang, you mean someone's still actually using a live attorney at RE closings?

      Residential? Or office/retail space?

      Delete
  34. 19) Unemployed students just need to lower their sights and take rewarding public interest or government work or go to North Dakota because the Times said there were jobs up there. Not everyone can work for Cravath you know!

    Sources: http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2012/05/a-message-to-law-grads-instead-of-corporations-help-ordinary-people/257945/

    http://abovethelaw.com/2011/05/possibly-the-most-hypocritical-commencement-speech-ever/

    ReplyDelete
  35. Hi Roberts,

    Generally Residential with a few commercial properties.

    Yes, the buyer's bank uses me as the escrow agent so they need an attorney at the closing.

    In my state they still prefer to have lawyers attend closings though I have seen a few out of state firms with a state license holder "mail it in".

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dread Pirate RobertsJanuary 23, 2013 at 10:57 AM

      Well, very good for you, man (or woman). Sorry to hear the pickings are so slim. But frankly amazed that, even with things as they are, you keep your head up and still DO do some pro-bono.

      Very good for you, man (or woman).

      Delete
  36. Steve Diamond's website is no longer public - you need to log in to see it.. What an interesting development. has the dean of SC Law come back from vacation and curtailed Diamond's academic freedom?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, Turday` SnoozeJanuary 23, 2013 at 10:59 AM

      Yo, Where You Been, Dude?

      Delete
  37. Leitner must have chewed Diamond out in private and then took his Übermensch card back. "You were defeated in argument by a bunch of seedy per-diem attorneys! You are worthless and weak.!"

    ReplyDelete
  38. (8) You can do a lot of things with a law degree besides practice law.

    I misplaced mine - and my other degree, and the other big cert I got (which was on photocopy paper) and the various courts. I have not seen them for some 20 years I think. Never bothered to frame them and put them on the wall. I don't know where they are - might be in Japan maybe, or DC, or Brussels, or in my parents' attic

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dread Pirate RobertsJanuary 23, 2013 at 11:04 AM


      Dangit, MacK.


      You by your ownself could likely have given me at least enough for a jib or spinnaker, if not the mainsail.

      Delete
  39. Seeing some commenters respond angrily to other's suggested additions to the list gives me pause. Yes, pause. What is up with these people?

    (5) is hilarious.

    Suggested (12): Our graduates are doing better, all things considered, than the rest.

    ReplyDelete
  40. Thanks Roberts:

    Life Lesson #1 for all the TTT and TTTT law school kids below the top half of your class. If you want to succeed as a solo you have to be really good at selling, marketing, recruiting new clients, and collecting your billings. Could you be a successful real estate agent in a crowded market? If not, time to rethink law school :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. make that below the top 10%

      Delete
    2. Or top 5 people, not even 5 %.

      Delete
  41. Frequent listener of Left, Right, and Center on NPR. Last weeks episode included the Dean from Berkeley law, Edley. I think we've talked about him before based on his public musings. Just noting that he had nothing impressive to say, therefore doesn't seem like such a special snowflake, and must have plenty of free time. Talented enough to take on all these heavy responsibilities I guess.

    Also, Michael Steele used his rant time to say he hadn't been invited to any inauguration parties. He sounded really sad.

    Random comment over.

    ReplyDelete
  42. If anyone has comments as to how to reform the practice of law, the ABA is soliciting them.

    A read of some of those submitted suggests that there is no screening. Indeed, they published a rant that states, in part, "There are too many damn law schools in this country because the crooks who run them figured out that the law school business model is extremely profitable for them. This means we need to have fewer law schools with smaller class sizes. The focus should be less on theoretical bullshit and more on professional training so that when people graduate they are practice ready, rather than knowing just enough law to be a danger to themselves and others. . . ."

    I think that some of the ideas floated on this blog are pretty good and might start to address the problem. Share them with those who can make a difference, the regulators:

    http://www.americanbar.org/groups/professional_responsibility/taskforceonthefuturelegaleducation/comments.html

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Er. Uh. No. What I mean is, the scamblog movement isn't haven't any effect.

      Delete
  43. http://www.constitutionaldaily.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1917:steve-diamond-just-outright-lies-about-scus-historical-employment-rate-claims&catid=42:news&Itemid=71

    ReplyDelete
  44. http://www.constitutionaldaily.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1914:steve-diamond-can-get-you-a-job-at-wachtell-and-a-scotus-clerkship&catid=42:news&Itemid=71

    ReplyDelete
  45. If anyone would like to continue the debate with Mr. Diamond, you may want to try his e-mail account on the SC Law website:

    sdiamond@scu.edu

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

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Fuck off, Leiter.

      Delete
    2. I tried, but he threatened to call campus security. And I'm completely serious.

      Delete
    3. 4:28, can you tell us anything more?

      Delete
  46. UI Wants To Expand Law School

    http://www.spokesman.com/blogs/hbo/2013/jan/23/ui-wants-expand-law-school/

    Just when you think administrators couldn't be anymore clueless...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. To follow up, this is another argument by their dean for why they need more law students:

      “Holding down the number of seats in public legal education does not hold down the number of lawyers,” said Donald Burnett, dean of the University of Idaho College of Law.” It only means that they come in with a higher debt … and then they have to charge their clients more, and that’s a hidden tax on Idaho.”

      http://www.spokesman.com/stories/2013/jan/23/dean-idahoans-pay-hidden-tax-lawyers/

      Basically he's saying we need to produce more law school graduates from Idaho so they don't have to "import" law school graduates from other states. The thinking is that the hiring of law students from schools out of state drives up the cost lawyers charge in Idaho. At least it's a creative argument!

      Delete
    2. I think he is saying that they are not going to lower the cost of their operation, so they need to graduate more students than the market can absorb to make budget.

      Delete
    3. How can fewer law students not translate into fewer lawyers?

      Delete
    4. When there are already far more law students than entry-level positions for lawyers.

      Delete
  47. https://twitter.com/stephenfdiamond

    ReplyDelete
  48. The UI administrators are clueless? OR, the students that enter law school?

    At this point, given everything that we know about the law school scam and the legal market, I blame the students.

    ReplyDelete
  49. #20 The dumb kids are smart enough to figure it (the law school scam, the benefit-cost analysis, the effect of $250,000 in nondischargable debt on their lives, etc.) on their own.

    ReplyDelete
  50. (2) Things are starting or will start to get much better as the effects of (1) recede and we get back to normal.

    Please define normal? It appears as though this is the new normal...and the pre-recession normal wasn't that marvelous to begin with.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. According to citi, the new normal is single digit or flat growth, more off site and off shore workers, limit income partners, etc.

      The new normal means the huge oversupply has finally and irredeemably come home to roost.

      Delete
  51. Not quite on point here, but I just tried to register for one day of the New York State Bar Association Annual Meeting, which is going on right now in New York City.

    The cost they quoted me was $423 to attend for a single day. That is fine for people who work for big firms. It should be drastically scaled down for solos who may earn almost nothing in a year.

    The whole setup is for the benefit of big firms, and you cannot even get in the door of a frigging bar association meeting if you are a solo. This is a real "Let them eat cake" presentation by the NY State Bar Association in the midst of a crisis in the legal profession.

    What is the excuse here? New York State Bar Association. For rich successful lawyers only. NY State Bar Association prices those lawyers who are not rich and successful out of their organization - intentionally.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They turn their own members away for not working at a big firm?

      Delete
  52. What's wrong with those people at Santa Clara Law. And I'm not talking about Professor Diamond. Why didn't the dean/faculty stop this guy, lock him in the basement or something before he went on his two week destructive rampage. I practiced in California and always regarded Santa Clara as respected law school, a place that you might want to attend if you missed out on the T14 Certainly the best school in the Bay area after Stanford and the UC schools. In less than a month this guy has made it a joke that people are laughing at across the nation. He's done as much damage to his law school as Villanova and Illinois did to themselves with their own scandals. William Ockham

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I honestly think the Dean didnt know about it until today. I believe this weekends work with the puffery comment and the Jim Crow allegations just went way too far.

      Diamond isn't going to insist that he be allowed to keep making his arguments. I think diamond believed he was doing the right thing. Once it was made clear that he was making himself and his school ridiculous, and that lawprof's comments were factual, he had to stop.

      Delete
    2. "Certainly the best school in the Bay area after Stanford and the UC schools."

      You may want to revise your assessment of what merits respect. From what I can tell every law school in the country that can't claim to rank higher than 4th in its relevant geographic area should have been closed 5 years ago.

      Delete
  53. (8) You can do a lot of things with a law degree besides practice law.

    (9) Legal education is inherently valuable, beyond whatever increased earning potential it may generate.


    Unfortunately aw degree is a red flag. I'm talking about a blazing, burning crimson flag accompanied by alarm bells and sirens going off.

    Scarlet letters, and a real turn off for non legal employers. The JD actually is capable of decreasing earnings potential, or even puts one in dire financial straits by very likely making it impossible to land a non legal job.

    A real turning point in the life of the JD holder is when he or she seriously considers removing the JD from the resume altogether, and the motive is pure animal survival in the jungle at that point.

    As stated by a commenter above, there is the bias, and also the fear of flight risk, and also a general incomprehension as to why the JD is seemingly taking a huge step down in life by applying for said job.

    I have also noticed a general discomfort among fellow workers in the non legal workforce once they learn that I have a degree in law. They have their own preconceptions about lawyers and going backwards in life is not one of them.

    ReplyDelete
  54. It has begun .....

    Vermont Law School Gives Buyouts To 10 Workers

    By Jon Wolper Valley News Staff Writer
    Friday, January 18, 2013

    South Royalton — Vermont Law School cut a dozen jobs earlier this week in a move telegraphed last year, when the school offered voluntary buyouts to staff members in light of declining admissions.

    [...]

    http://www.vnews.com/news/3896880-95/buyouts-laid-law-members

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Vermont Law School is half an hour from the nearest grocery store. Why does it need an eight-person Office for Institutional Advancement?

      Delete
  55. My only ad is this: the dumb kids are not the only kids who pay the full freight. This is crap.

    The kids who want to go up -- who are mainstays in the third tier but got into a second tier school -- will pay the full freight (not knowing that they are not getting that cash back in the form of salary for a very long time). Kid who don't make GPA requirements associated with scholarship will also pay full freight. ANd these kids will be burdened with thousands already and cannot leave voluntarily. I mean, seriously, it's a big problem.

    ReplyDelete
  56. ==> Warning to ANY current or potential students, Vermont Law School looks like it might shut down. . . . President affirmatively says that buyout packages are being planned for professors for NEXT month.

    The VLS degree is already worth next to nothing, but now imagine if the school closes while you are there or soon afterwards.

    From the Vermont Law School news article (http://www.vnews.com/news/3896880-95/buyouts-laid-law-members):

    "According to President Marc Mihaly, those who took the buyout offers received severance packages based on the length of time they had worked at the school.

    For the two who were laid off, Mihaly said, “we’ve sort of sweetened the sweet a pot a little” regarding payouts.

    The downsizing comes as a result of fewer applications over the past three years, VLS officials said, a problem that exists for law schools nationwide as potential students, dissuaded by a lack of open law jobs, don’t bother to apply.

    Westberg said that about 200 students are set to graduate with juris doctor degrees this spring. She said the school is predicting between 150 and 170 students to enroll this coming fall.

    “Essentially, law schools across the country have to figure out how legal education is changing, and how to deal with fewer applicants,” Westberg said.

    Although the school’s faculty members haven’t been affected yet, Mihaly said that a similar buyout program is in the planning stages for professors.

    That plan would have professors retain their titles, but no longer be salaried, instead working on a part-time or class-to-class basis.

    “It’s really not a separation, as much as a change in status,” Mihaly said.

    Those offers will be sent to faculty members in early February, he said. He was unsure of the amount of full-time positions that would need to be excised, saying that depended on next year’s total enrollment.

    “We just don’t know where we’re at yet,” he said. “We’ll know more mid-year.”

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This is a shot across the bow for anyone thinking of applying to Vermont Law School. Let me state my advice as simply as possible: DON'T.

      Never mind the line that they've fed you about their supposed excellence in environmental law. The place is a toilet.

      Delete
    2. Actually, it is a very, very good thing for students at Vermont Law. If the school shuts down while you're still a student (before you graduate), you do NOT have to repay your loans! Of course, if you end up finishing elsewhere, you will have to pay back your loans. But otherwise, this could be a wonderful answer to the employment problem faced by all the current 1Ls and 2Ls at VLS.

      Delete
  57. I wonder if anyone at VLS has contacted LP.

    ReplyDelete
  58. Hey guys, there's an article up on law.com about eliminating the 3rd year of law school. Take the battle to the comments section!

    http://www.law.com/jsp/nlj/PubArticleNLJ.jsp?id=1202585130033

    ReplyDelete
  59. The biggest lie of all is that criticism of law school employment outcomes is a result of people upset that they did not get high paying positions with corporate law firms. The truth is, a very high percentage of graduates from law school are unable to get any job period, even low paying positions.

    ReplyDelete
  60. Law professors have to be paid two to four times as much as professors in the humanities and social sciences, because otherwise it would be impossible to recruit quality faculty, given the opportunity cost law faculty incur by going into teaching. Birmingham Process Servers

    ReplyDelete
  61. I useԁ to bе reсommended this ωеbѕitе
    by ωay of my couѕіn. I'm no longer sure whether or not this put up is written by him as nobody else know such precise approximately my difficulty. You're amazing!
    Thаnk you!

    Here is my site ... Chemietoilette
    my page > http://www.themetal-spirit.com/2008/11/theudho-vlsunga-saga-2006.html

    ReplyDelete
  62. She гeceiveԁ thе understаnԁіng frοm
    cοοking pioneer Barbara Kеrr. Sіzzling air balloon rideѕ in excess of the goгge are also
    exсeeԁingly trеndy. They have liveԁ livеs akin to that οf superb saints, sagеs and
    Rishis ωho werе known for their penance anԁ auѕteritіeѕ.


    my site old stone oven pizza stone instructions

    ReplyDelete
  63. Ιt's hard to find well-informed people in this particular topic, however, you seem like you know what you're talkіng аbout!
    Thanκs

    my websіtе: http://andreaolsson.se/?p=10638

    ReplyDelete
  64. It's hard to find well-informed people in this particular topic, however, you seem like you know what you'rе talking about!
    Thankѕ

    my site ... http://andreaolsson.se/?p=10638
    Also see my website :: funpic.de

    ReplyDelete
  65. Appreciation to my father who told me on the topic of this blog, this weblog is actually amazing.


    Feel free to surf to my page; Curved-Shower-Rod-Col7O912Fo.Tumblr.Com

    ReplyDelete
  66. Thanκs for ѕharing your thoughtѕ on
    augеn laѕern. Regаrdѕ

    my ωebsitе; www.hearwish.com

    ReplyDelete
  67. Shе reсeived the аρρгoach fгom cooκing pioneer Barbara Kerr.
    Thіs have generallу been a faѵourite action in mу proρertу.

    Тhe blοod оf all thosе who staу a life of conѕume, consumе and bе mегry is common and theіr reѕpiгatory іs unbеlіеvablу rаpidly.


    Also vіsit my hοmеpage - old stone oven rectangular pizza stone

    ReplyDelete
  68. Highly ԁescгiptiѵе blog, I enjoyed that
    bit. Wіll therе be а раrt 2?


    Also visit my site ... www.latoiledesbatteurs.com

    ReplyDelete
  69. Bake at 350 fοr 25 minutes οr until toothpіck
    іnserted in centеr comes out clean. Сut pig-in-blаnketfree fгom ѕtriρ anԁ
    make 19 moгe ρigs-in-blankets іn ѕame manneг, arrangingthem, seam sіdes down,
    as they are maԁe on prеpaгed bаkіng sheet.
    Noω you're ready to be creative with the outside of the cake.

    Also visit my weblog :: pizza pan avon oh

    ReplyDelete
  70. Be cοnscientious with washing sοԁa аnd use gloves as it iѕ tremendοuslу alkаlіne.
    This Floriԁa camρing area іs iԁeallу suiteԁ fοr a
    family mеmbers on a spending plаn cοnsiԁering that it is
    fаirly pricеd fοr the Orlando region and nonetheless it is shut tо all
    thе prеdomіnаnt attractions lіke Disney.
    Fabric marκeгs have eνen been implemented and can be advаntageous to contact-up the
    parts on the shoes wherеby the shade diԁ not taκе (the seаms mainly).


    Looκ into my ωеblog: how to clean a pizza stone bread
    my page :: 16.5 Pizza stone

    ReplyDelete
  71. Mοnԁау night is ρizza
    night at our hοuse, with Mom's homemade vegetable pizza at the top of the list of favorites. From there we moved on to dinner, a staggering spread of mouth-watering options prepared for us by local restaurant legend 5 & 10. Top the dough with olive oil or cooking spray, and scoop the onion mixture over it evenly.

    Visit my blog post :: pizza pan application

    ReplyDelete

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.