Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Vermont Law School to start buying out faculty next month

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.
 Of the 12 staff members that left, 10 accepted buyouts, VLS spokeswoman Carol Westberg said. The other two people were laid off. None of the affected workers were faculty members.

The buyouts, Westberg said, were originally offered to staff in November, with a deadline of Jan. 3 to accept or decline. While the 10 who took buyouts have worked out individualized plans for when they will depart, the same can’t be said for the two who were laid off.

“They’ve already left,” Westberg said, adding that the 12 affected staff members were notified on Monday.

Diane Hayes, the director of the school’s human resources department, said that of the the workers who were laid off, one position was cut from Buildings and Grounds and another was cut from the Office for Institutional Advancement. 

Both offices currently employ seven workers, Hayes said. The latter office currently has a job opening, but Hayes said the opening and the laid-off position are at different levels with different duties. 

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.”
The next six months will be crucial.

P.S. Prospective students should be sure to check out VLS's #1-ranked environmental law program.

167 comments:

  1. The fat lady is beginning to warm up for quite a few of those TTTs.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't know. AU's model is a powerful one, just cut and cut admissions standards to maintain a float.

      Delete
  2. But isn't that the best environmental law program in the country?

    What's going to happen at the second best environmental law program? Or, gasp, the third best environmental law program?

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    Replies
    1. No more best environmental law program?

      I guess I'll have to start looking into space law programs...

      Delete
  3. I can't say that I am happy to see staff members losing jobs. Not really time for celebration.

    Please make sure your loan payments are on time.

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    Replies
    1. I'm sure those on the faculty could save these staff members' jobs if they offered to resign in their place.

      But you law professors won't. So this unfortunate kind of thing has to happen before you greedy fuckers are finally dismissed.

      Delete
    2. ^ Agreed. Staff people are generally paid miserably. I'm looking forward to seeing you elitist academics on the next doc review circuit paying somewhere in the vicinity of $22 - $35 per hour with no benefits and no stability whatsoever. Only then will you people realize the consequences of your greedy ways.

      Delete
  4. So a school is cutting personnel, and enrolling fewer students -- which is presumably what they should be doing in the current environment -- and you are reacting with scorn and sarcasm?

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    Replies
    1. No I'm reacting with glee. I feel bad for the staff, but as for the faculty, fuck them three ways to Sunday.

      Delete
    2. Feel bad for the staff? Really? Staff salaries are also well above market. At least at my school, several of the "staff" members had JD's from the law school.

      The person fired from "The Office for Institutional Advancement" sounds like a fundraiser. They are part of the bubble. Even the contractors on the second Death Star were liable. http://youtu.be/iQdDRrcAOjA

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    3. It's not about being happy about staff losing their jobs. It's the fact that this sort of thing is happening at exactly the same time some folks are ramping up the "law school is a versatile, smart investment" talk. The disconnect is starting to become more and more obvious.

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  5. Ugly season about to begin

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  6. 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.

    WELCOME TO ADJUNCT HELL PROFESSORS!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's not that you're unemployed - it's just that your employment has become more selective.

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    2. I just hope they can find the time to continue teaching amidst all that work they'll be doing at their new NLJ 250 firms which offered them equity partnerships.

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    3. They should move to Nebraska.

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    4. I'm glad to see professors being reduced to volunteers. I want to see what happens when they try to get jobs.

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    5. Don't you just love this academic/corporate speak. Read between the lines suckers - your time is coming up. No more 6 hours working per week to get that 6 figure salary. If you end up working for me, please make sure to kiss my ring.

      Delete
    6. Yes, move to Nebraska for a cushy partnership. I wonder which white-shoe firms have their offices in North Platte.

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

    Translation: Professors pay will be cut and they will all become at-will employees.

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  8. I am sure Steve Diamond has a reasonable explanation for this, especially since VLS ranks above SCU.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Probably has something to do with that 100 years storm he's always talking about.

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

    This sums up the dumcunt attitude of law schools in a nutshell. If they bothered to just LOWER THEIR COSTS, they would not have this problem! They would have more applicants than they could possibly deal with if they could just run their program for the same cost as a comparable MA program (which is all a JD is, for god's sake).

    This is a case of the greed of law professors shining through. I bet that no law professor at that school took a paycut, but happily laid off those support workers (janitors? secretaries?)

    Those fuckers are so greedy that they would rather rape the law school for two more years and see it collapse, rather than take a pay cut and have a job for the next twenty.

    But that's Boomer attitude - I'll get mine for the next couple of years and then I'll retire, and fuck everyone behind me.

    My god, I can't wait until those Boomer fuckers really do retire, then start to get too old, start to get sick. I cannot wait to fuck over every Boomer I possibly can. They WILL get theirs. Don't you worry. And there are millions like me, just waiting to stick it to the greedy fucking Boomers when the opportunity arises.

    The greediest generation? Nah. The cuntiest generation is more appropriate for what those people have done to us.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm seriously afraid that Boomers are going to find a way to live forever.

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    2. I have to agree 100% with this poster. I'm sick to death of these academics talking about if we just get more clinics, you know make things more praktikal...if we just reduce law school from 3 years to 2 years ..... oooh that will help. If we just have the dean do a cross-country tour of every Amlaw250 firm across amerika and kiss their butt to hire our graduates, everything will get better. HOW ABOUT THIS SOLUTION YOU STUPID, SELF-ABSORBED, ELITIST ACADEMIC SCUMBAGS. Lower tuition, cut enrollment by 25-50% (more for scum sucking schools like Georgetown that have 600 student class sizes). Shut down crap holes like Cooley. Reduce professor salaries. Make professors teach more. Reduce the number of faculty members. Quit kissing the ass of China and the rest of the world at the expense of American students re: the overabundance of "worthless" LLM programs. Use generic toilet paper in your facilities instead of Charmin. Are you getting the picture you self-interested jerks? No clinic in immigration law and foreclosures is going to improve a graduates chances of a job. It's a simple supply and demand phenomenon. Fewer graduates = more prosperity. Now go talk about Pennoyer v. Neff in your fake English accent you blow hards.

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    3. Agreed.

      Why is substantially cutting costs not on the table?

      I assume noone is buying the excuse that schools have to charge as much as Harvard to attract students.

      Delete
  10. BEAUTIFUL!! Let's make sure to keep documenting the law school scam. I have no intention of taking the law school pigs off the meat hook. This is wonderful news. Where are the waterhead shills who told us that we were fighting a losing battle now?!

    With this collective effort, we have managed to put the swine on the ropes. Now, we need to make sure to put their face and ass in the dirt.

    ReplyDelete
  11. I can't believe that a mere drop of 30 to 50 in a 1L class can bring about such changes.

    But then again, 33 students at 30K or more a head is a million dollars.

    Will tenured professors be affected? I thought they are untouchable.

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    1. Most stand-alone law schools like VLS have small endowments and not much in the way of cash reserves, as they spend close to 100% of their income each year, the vast majority of which (90%+) is in the form of tuition.

      They also have very high fixed costs relative to costs that can be treated flexibly. (Faculty salaries being the main item in the former category).

      Furthermore there's no central university to float them if they start running in the red. Each school will have contractual rules in regard to which faculty get cut first if the school's payroll can't be met. This will mean firing untenured faculty first, but that approach is very inefficient, as it means getting rid of young active cheap people rather than old inert expensive people. So step one is to try to buy out some of the latter.

      Delete
    2. It's not just the 1L class - Vermont has concluded that there has been a permanent decline in the number of law school applicants, and is figuring out how to deal with it.

      Better to be proactive and cut now - they are only the first of many law schools that will have to get their cost structure down.

      Converting full-time faculty into adjuncts is a nice touch, though...

      Delete
    3. class of 2013 212 students
      class of 2014 151 students
      class of 2015 171 students
      class of 2016 150-170 students?

      So the total drop in enrollment is much greater than 30 students. Also think about the drop from 212 to 151 students between class of 2013 and 2014 being about 29%.


      Delete
    4. So, even with cutting the class by a quarter, the quality of the admits is still falling appreciably.

      Delete
    5. LawProf, do you fall under the "young, active and cheap" category or "old inert and expensive"? I'm guessing the latter.

      Delete
  12. Vermont Law School median LSAT

    class of 2013 156
    class of 2014 154
    class of 2015 152

    This is important because it shows the next step for law schools after they feel they can't lower standards anymore is to start firing law professors left and right.

    I think this is what most of us thought would happen, but this now offers some proof.

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  13. this is going to get sooooo ugly. should i feel sorry for the professors or cheer as they slip over the waterfall one by one?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You should send every professor a Christmas card that got fired from your school. You can tell them to use all that great career advice they gave you when you had them as a professor. It also would hurt to wish them well on their next document review project.

      Delete
    2. I love it!!! Great idea. I'll have to follow up on this.

      Delete
  14. BTW, annual tuition at Vermont is $45,207.

    Harvard is $49,950.

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    Replies
    1. Most jobs in environmental law don't pay as much as the jobs Harvard grads tend to fill.

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    2. You mean environmental law jobs don't pay 160k a year?

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    3. No you don't get it. The only true Public interest environmental jobs are going to YHS grads. No way someone from Vermont is making a career representing environmentalists.

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    4. How can they possibly justify charging that much for tuition .

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    5. Environmentalists claim to be interested in "sustainability", yet they couldn't figure out that charging 135k to qualify one for a low-paying enviornmental or public interest job (if one was lucky) wasn't "sustainable".

      Oh, I forgot, there's IBR, so tuition charges don't matter...

      Delete
    6. You mean theres some VLS graduates that actually get jobs in environmental law other than, say, document review or conveyancing? Those that can manage to get legal jobs at all that is.

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    7. Holy dogshit - VLS has the BEST environmental law program in the nation. WOW!!! And I have the most purplest of nurples in the nation. I guess that qualifies me for a prize does it not? In all seriousness, I know 2 VLS grads. One 2006 grad never found a job and is trying to find a paralegal position. The other is a 2009 grad woman I work with in an in house position and she is lucky as hell to even have that job. Too much money. Bad weather. No connections in nowheresville VT - seriously if you have ever been to No. Royalton - it's a one horse town - pretty but it ain't going to help you get a job when you graduate. Avoid this school at all costs.

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    8. @6:22. LOL, yeah the closest a VLS grad will get to environmental law is working on a doc review involving a septic tank company's negligence. I hope you VLS grads like excrement. In fact I know you do, as your school spent an inordinate amount of your tuition money on waterless toilets throughout campus. Now you know where your $45,000 in tuition goes. Sniff the vapors. But please, try not to light a match.

      Delete
    9. Environmental law, like international law, is one of those fields of law which crappy schools advertise they specialize in because they sound more glamorous than the extremely mundane legal jobs their graduates can expect (those who can find legal work that is).

      But as LawProf pointed out, these sorts of jobs don't exist for graduates from these schools. Truth is these jobs are extremely rare, highly sought after, often unpaid and only available to graduates from the best schools.

      Delete
    10. True to an extent. I graduated from the #2 environmental law school in 09 and there were 5 to 10 people who got what I think everyone would calll pretty good environmental jobs, mostly with the Feds. Slim odds and they were definitely committed and talented folks, but not impossible.

      Delete
  15. Another great example of law schools "winning." Excellent point there, Mr. Infinity.

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  16. Meanwhile, University of Idaho asks legislature if it can expand:

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

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Someone has already given this website props on spokesman.com!

      Delete
  17. But somehow I get the feeling that even if all of the higher priced salaries of the tenured faculty and key administrators were halved, the savings would still not make up for the big hit that is taken by a decline in enrollment. (An interesting case study for a class in business.)

    So how to further cut costs? By leasing or putting some of the physical campus in mothballs for a few years?

    Converting from oil to gas or solar heat?

    Because from the commentary it seems that if a school is "starved out" over a relatively short term of a few years, it won't be able to revive itself again?



    ReplyDelete
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    1. A lot of schools will flat-out close - there is not enough demand to support any level of fixed cost.

      Otherwise:

      Salary freezes,
      Hiring freezes,
      Increasing teaching loads significantly,
      Eliminating any funding for research/conferences/sabbaticals, etc. - if you want that, you get outside funding, or pay for it out of your pocket,
      Firing half the administrators (no tenure for them),
      Rolling back posted tuition - not just offering a lot of "scholarships" to hide tuition discounts.

      It will take a few dead law schools to motivate the others to make significant changes.

      Delete
    2. "there is not enough demand to support any level of fixed cost."

      AHHHHHHHH .... that's where the butt kissing of foreigners comes in. Let all the Chinese come to our shores to study Amerikan Law and get LLM, and take NY bar exam. Me luv u long time.

      Delete
    3. Again, the vast majority of foreign LLMs cannot find jobs after graduation - their situation is worse than that of the average JD graduate, especially because staying on to find work is much more difficult due to living cost/visa/language considerations.

      Basically, the only reason a US firm is going to hire a foreign LLM over a JD is if they have a special interest in doing business with their country of origin. Unsurprisingly, your average PI firm has no interest in working with people doing business in China/Europe/wherever, and many other areas are similarly unlikely to favour foreign LLMs. Even in IP, which is a fairly international business where foreign languages are an advantage, you're unlikely to get hired if you have a strong foreign accent.

      Basically, stop hating on foreigners. The scam is even harder on them.

      Delete
  18. ^^^Won't be able to revive, or at least return to its former glory days when the scam was in full flower.

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  19. Mr. Infinity committed suicide by cutting his testicles when he heard the news. The night shift of nurses got sloppy and they forgot to secure him on his bed under a volleyball net.

    Anyone wants to take this case of a wrongful death?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ura lyin, I know it.

      Mister Inflimsity never HAD any testicles.

      Delete
  20. Vermont needs a law school like North Korea needs a culinary academy. Burn baby burn.

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  21. How many groundskeepers does a school need?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "How many groundskeepers"?

      DUH!

      The answer is clearly, "one keeper per each ground".

      Delete
  22. After the professors get fired, do you think VLS will ask them for donations?

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  23. I don't get all the fuss. These people will be fine. They have a versatile law degree to fall back on.

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  24. The tide is turning and the levees are starting to break. I cannot wait until these unemployed law professors flock to the profession they eschewed for safer pastures. As a hungry tiger, I cannot wait to pounce on these declawed and neutered cats when they attempt to bring their scholarshit to a court near me. Looks like I won't have to wait much longer.

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    Replies
    1. Most of them are not called....

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    2. Today's mixed metaphor prizewinner.

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    3. We had an esteemed professor who took pro bono criminal cases. I worked at the DA's office during law school and saw him in court once. He was a complete tard.

      Delete
  25. So...with trimming of the herd, surely this means the faculty will vastly improve in overall quality, just like the applicant got better once the fat got trimmed and the "people who didn't want to be in law school" left.

    Thankfully, these faculty members can just go back to working in Ropes and Gray's Montpellier office if they don't like the new conditions.

    ReplyDelete
  26. If you had any doubts about attending Vermont Law School, the very real chance that it will shut down (it must be serious, if the dean tells the press about impending faculty cuts) should send you running. You've got to be crazy to pay (or borrow) another dime in order to go there. The only thing worse than a degree from VLS is if it closes its doors beforehand. . . .

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A little birdie tells me a certain Midwest private made cuts similar to VLS this past summer. Even went so far as to institute furloughs for all staff and faculty up to ten days. But unlike Vermont, they were self-interestedly wise enough not to inform to the local media. Whether they know it or not, VLS just very publicly announced their own impending death spiral.

      Delete
    2. Which law school is this? Don't be such a wimp. If you know it, then say it. Or are you just full of shit?

      You may as well say that the little birdie sees what your mother does during the day.

      Delete
    3. Agreed. It's anonymous for goodness sakes. Fess up.

      Midwest, eh? Here are the odds I'm giving based on pure conjecture and no info whatsoever:

      JMLS 2-1
      Cooley 3-1
      Capital 7-1
      Drake 10-1
      Creighton 10-1
      Washburn 10-1
      William Mitchell 12-1
      St. Thomas 12-1
      Hamline 12-1
      Case Western 12-1
      Valpo 15-1
      SLU 15-1
      Chicago-Kent 18-1
      Depaul 18-1
      Loyola (CH) 20-1
      Cincinnati 22-1
      Marquette 25-1
      Notre Dame 40-1
      Wash U. 50-1
      Northwestern 50-1
      U of C 100-1

      Any toilets I missed?

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    4. William Mitchell increased teaching loads and had tenured faculty take a pay cut.

      Delete
  27. Its okay, when Vermont closes, all of its students can transfer to New England Law School. :)

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    Replies
    1. Dean O'Brien should go in corporate raider mode and acquire VLS for 10 cents on the dollar. The acquisition will sure embolden the board of trustees to add another million to his annual salary.

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    2. Vermont Law School should become New England Law School | North Royalton.

      That vertical bar almost screams "toilet".

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    3. Sorry, I mean South Royalton.

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  28. One can run from the laws of supply and demand, but one cannot hide from them even as they are so distorted by student loan/government policy.

    I take no satisfaction in seeing someone lose their job--that can happen to any of us, at any time, including yours truly--but we will be seeing more of this.

    New normal.

    Maybe we should get jobs in an ammo factory--the demand is definitely there.

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  29. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/01/130122142841.htm

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  30. The de facto adjunct faculty model might work in NYC or Boston where, at least, there's a fighting chance of other work. No way it works in South Royalton.

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

    Just close that whole office down. Vermont Law School's only institutional advancement is in the direction of closure.

    ReplyDelete
  32. Ironic isn't it? Who would have thought that the invulnerable law schools would ever be vulnerable to any kind of a "risk".

    They had all the angles covered and under control, right down to the nondischargeability of outrageous tuition debt; they had it all figured out except for the one variable that they couldn't predict or control: a decline in enrollment.

    But stand alone law schools aside, I seem to recall reading that a law school is often the most profitable branch or cash cow of an overall University, and that the revenues the law school generates is a boon to the U in general.

    Ironically the student loan money is still available, but much to the chagrin of the law school cartel, it looks like fewer people will voluntarily want to avail themselves of it because, in the words of the Judge, they are becoming "sophisticated consumers" :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes it is funny how accurate information amazingly allows consumers to become "sophisticated."

      Delete
  33. This is an honorable and somewhat idealistic choice by the school.

    The hard-core, you-can-take-my-student-loan-profits-when-you-pry-them-from-my-cold-dead-hands TJSL and NELS's of the world will just keep cutting entrance requirements and jacking up tuition. It's a cutthroat business, after all...

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  34. ^Actually, I wouldn't be surprised to see strategic mergers start to take place. When enrollments in neighboring schools decline, consolidation is often the no-brainer choice to cut costs while preserving tradition and preventing the losses that accompany full closure. It's a super-convenient way for two schools to slash personnel costs at the same time.

    I'd look for law schools and parent universities to start merging/entering sharing agreements where it's feasible. My best guess is for stand-a-lones to look for larger systems to align with.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There is no school nearby with which Vermont Law School could merge. Perhaps it could merge with a haphazard school far away, but it would lose face.

      Delete
    2. There is no law school at the U of Vermont. Indeed, I can't think of another law school in the state.

      Delete
    3. Was thinking more of an acquisition by UVM along lines similar to Texas A&M's purchase of Tex Wesleyan rather than a merger which of course could not happen.

      Delete
  35. >>Meanwhile, University of Idaho asks legislature if it can expand:

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

    The Idaho story is even more ridiculous because:

    1. Concordia just opened a new law school in Boise.

    2. U of I only placed about 65% of last years grads in full-time JD required jobs.



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    Replies
    1. Doing what? Practicing international potato law?

      Delete
    2. Dean Burnett should be in deep trouble for those statements. They are seriously very stupid. Either he believes them, in which case he probably isn't fit to hold his position. Or he's trying to fool the state legislature, in which case he's dishonorable.

      Delete
    3. I heard Professor Potato Head teaches at Concordia.

      Delete
    4. Of course I was being naive, Dean Burnett doesn't give a crap about honor, or about the future of his students, just about padding his school's income stream (and hence his own) by tapping into that sweet, sweet federal tuition loan gusher.

      But his statements are incredibly stupid. He says, basically, that out-of-state trained lawyers are flooding into Idaho. Therefore Idaho must have a shortage of lawyer jobs (Idaho is special). So U of Idaho must increase the number of lawyer it trains, because Idaho law is so very different from the rest of the country only lawyers trained there can properly understand them.

      And then something about how even if his school is contributing to an oversupply of lawyers, at least his graduates won't have nearly, quite, a high a debt load as some other law graduates.

      Stupidity.

      Delete
  36. I really like LawProf's p.s. about the #1 ranked environmental law program. It calls into question the whole USNWR ranking system especially as to specialties.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous liked this.

      Delete
  37. I just went over to Law School Tuition Bubble and looked at their law student over production table.
    http://lawschooltuitionbubble.wordpress.com/original-research-updated/law-graduate-overproduction/

    Vermont (1) 60 191 131 3.18

    State, law school, number of open positions, excess capacity, and ratio.

    I'd suggest that since no-one moves to Vermont for the weather, or to ski their way through law school, and that the job market was so obviously saturated, that VLS had a much tougher time locally recruiting suckers then other law schools in more desirable locations.

    Low opportunity + isolated location + high ratio of overproduction + private + stand alone = to be shut down first.

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    1. The history of Vermont is mostly about people who were born there and rose to prominence elsewhere. The two most famous lawyers born in Vermont, Chester Arthur and Calvin Coolidge, left the state, practiced law in New York and Massachusetts, respectively, and rose through the political ranks to the White House.

      200 new lawyers in Vermont every year would translate into about one new lawyer for every 3,100 people, and a population of 3,100 probably couldn't sustain one existing lawyer. Over fifteen years 3,100 people would have to absorb 3,000 new lawyers.

      Delete
  38. "None of the affected workers were faculty members."

    All 12 should have been faculty members

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  39. I still have a solicitation email that these fuckers sent me almost a decade ago:

    "...In addition to our internationally renowned Environmental Law Program, we offer excellent classroom and experiential opportunities through our Public Interest Program, the General Practice Program and International Program - all built upon the foundation of our well balanced general curriculum. Our campus is nestled in the magnificent Green Mountains of Vermont, yet we provide numerous internships all over the country - from Boston to Washington, D.C. to San Francisco...."

    - From Kathy Hartman (via Nancy Wright)

    I hope this trash pile files for bankruptcy real soon.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "email they sent almost a decade ago"

      There was email back then?

      Delete
    2. Yes. We had email even 20 years ago.

      Delete
  40. Even if some law professors are laid off, they still have bright futures. Perhaps they will "hang a shingle" and open a lucrative Animal Law or Water Law practice.

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    Replies
    1. Navel Law.

      Lots of staring.

      Delete
    2. "Animal Law"

      Are you aware that thousands of animals go through administrative proceedings every year without legal representation?

      There is a huge Unmet Need here that can only be met by ramping up production of Animal Law specialists.

      And remember, if you think law school tuition is too high, you hate animals.

      Delete
  41. I interviewed at Vermont Law School for a faculty position a few years ago. I left with a sense that it had the most unproductive senior faculty I had ever seen. Untenured faculty had their noses to the grindstone, but much of the tenured faculty were another story.

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    Replies
    1. Was that a plus or minus?

      Delete
    2. Depends on whether you got an offer with tenure or not...

      Delete
  42. My cousins grew up in Vermont and I have visited the state dozens of times throughout my life. It’s a nice place to go skiing on weekends or to check out the foliage in the fall. But it’s a very tough place to make a living. Even in good times, there just isn’t much in the way of economic opportunity for anyone - least of all an attorney. And its not like VLS grads are going to be snapped up by the legal job markets in Boston or NY. Its absurd that this place has been pumping out 200 JD’s every year.

    ReplyDelete
  43. Vermont may as well be considered part of the Boston legal market as far as jobs are concerned. One of my friends from a Boston law school clerked in the Northern part of Vermont, though she had never even been to Vermont and certainly did not take the bar there. She was so set on clerking after graduation that she went to almost-Canada Vermont for a state trial court clerkship. Other clerks in her program were from out-of-state schools; one from a certain highly ranked mid-west school moved to Vermont to clerk in one of the special environmental courts there. So, if you are going to VLS, don't assume that you can stay local for a job in a market that is built around VLS. You will be competing with students from other states, especially Massachusetts.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. See my comment above posted just after yours that references the two Presidents born in Vermont.

      Vermont has 626,000 people. It cannot absorb 200 new lawyers a year; most VLS grads, of necessity, must go elsewhere to find work.

      Delete
    2. Yeah, and it's not exactly a hotbed of legal activity where there might be a higher demand for lawyers per capita because of urban development or economic growth. It's Vermont.

      Delete
  44. I met a bartender in NYC once who was dead set on VT law for "environmental law." She had no connection to Vermont and when I asked her what jobs there were in environmental law she said something to the effect of "like, for the government or for an organization or something."

    Any idea what a faculty buyout will do to their USNWR faculty rep score?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's very common, and very sad. Law schools are marketers. She was marketed to. US News and other seemingly reliable sources comes up with "specialty" rankings that these schools trot out. Naive bartenders everywhere assume that law school specialties (and specialty rankings) mean something to someone, and they bite -- hook, line and sinker.

      I don't know how those responsible sleep at night. Either they're too scared to say something, or too oblivious, or too full of their own manure.

      Delete
    2. I imagine it would cause grumbling among the remaining faculty over the several extra hours of work per week they'd now have to do. Those poor, poor professors. Additionally, the student/teacher ratio will go probably going up, lowering their USNWR ranking further.

      Damn those scambloggers and their gutless attack on legal education!!

      Delete
    3. There are a couple of TLS threads on a Syracuse specialty program on national security law that 0Ls think will fast-track them for a job with the FBI. Notice that nobody is even attempting to defend the placement rates of the actual program.

      http://www.top-law-schools.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=202802

      http://www.top-law-schools.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=148120

      Like international law and constitutional law, there are probably more entry-level jobs for "national security" law professors than there are for "national security" lawyers.

      Delete
    4. I remember hearing from several classmates in 1L that they were working toward a career in "sports law" or "entertainment law."

      Really.

      Delete
    5. It's Special Snowflake Syndrome. Everyone else can do the drudgery of corporate paperwork; I, however, will get to do something glamorous.

      Delete
  45. Oddly, Vermont Law School hasn't mentioned the layoffs on their web site.

    I mean, why wouldn't you drop 135K in tuition to study things like this:

    "The Center for Agriculture and Food Systems (CAFS) has a dual mission: to develop the next generation of sustainable food and agriculture law and policy leaders while providing legal and policy resources and solutions for citizens to build and support such systems. CAFS' approach to progressing sustainable agriculture and food systems is systems-based, as our name implies. We believe that in order to truly foster sustainable agriculture and food, we need to understand the connections these systems have to the environment, energy, human and animal health, labor, and climate change."

    Vermont's Environmental Law center:

    "Everyone who experiences the ELC’s offerings leaves with a heightened sense of civic responsibility and a deeper understanding of the issues"

    You also leave with six figures in non-discharagable debt...

    ReplyDelete
  46. A lot of college students get zero guidance. It's not like undergraduate profs know anything, as they live in a bubble too.

    So it's easy to see how this happens. A student (maybe even a good student) thinks, "I care about the environment, and I want to work to do something. I have respect for our laws, and public policy, and I'm going to make a difference." Or, "I'm interested in foreign affairs, and I want to get involved in public policy. There is genocide in Africa, the Balkans, Cambodia, etc. and I want to stop it and I want to work for the rights of x, y, z oppressed minority group."

    They look around, and think that law is the way to get from Point A to Point B. And you have a sinister law school carnival barker touting its environmental law or international human rights program. They take the bait. And 3.5 years later they are very, very pissed off and realize they've been duped.

    They really haven't been duped. They've been marketed too. Sold a product that seems valuable on the path from Point A to Point B, but instead, it's like a shitty jungle survival multitool sold to a would-be explorer, or a portable sluice box to a Klondike miner. Kids, you've been sold equipment that's sort of related to the adventure that you want, but it is of no practical use on your path from Point A to Point B and it is exceedingly expensive.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, this is what makes the higher education scam so insidious. They are taking advantage of students who are well-meaning, doing the socially responsible thing and educating themselves.

      It's not like we were greedy or behaving sinfully. We were only doing what we were told our whole lives was the right thing. So our elders tell us that education is a virtue, and then fleece us when we pursue that virtue.

      It's the ultimate bait-and-switch. College is called an "opportunity," until the student loan bill comes due, at which point they clarify that it was actually a "calculated risk".

      Delete
  47. @Anonymous January 24, 2013 at 6:39 AM -

    Right on the money, anon.

    Seriously, in what rational universe is "a heightened sense of civic responsiblity and a deeper understanding of the issues" remotely valued at $150k? Answer: NONE, except the boomer bubble universe that deans and profs reside in where there are no money problems and everyone owns two homes and sends their kids to private school (no offense, Mr. Campos).

    "Here is your heightened sense of responsiblity and deeper understanding. That will be $150k, please."

    This is pure, unadulterated horsesh*t. Die, lol skools, die.

    ReplyDelete
  48. Constitutionaldaily.com also notes that Vermont has been ramping up the "scholarship" tuition discounts ("awards" of half to full tuition have gone up from 4.5% of the class three years ago to 24.6% of the class now). With the reduction in class sizes, even given some increase in stated tuition, the school's revenues have to be off by at least a third.

    Death spiral time...

    Interestingly, even three years ago, 62.9% of the class got some "scholarship" award, even if most of them were for relatively small amounts - so you win the rube award if you were in the third of the class paying full freight.

    Now, 33.3% of the class is still paying full freight. Can I get a mailing list with their names on it - there are a number of things I would like to market to them...

    ReplyDelete
  49. Someday soon a book will be written about how law schools and their greed caused their own destruction.

    Even in the face of overwhelming evidence that they cannot continue with business as usual, no law school has come up with a plan that reflects the oversupply of attorneys and the lack of employment.

    Only barefaced lies in employment stats and salaries kept schools in business this long. Now that model is disappearing, even though the scam has just begun to be exposed. What will happen when all applicants really understand the reality of the cost vs. benefit of a JD?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They never will go out of business. There always will be at least 50,000 suckers with a political "science" degree who want to be the next Alan Shore. I predict the suckers will soon be taking of 500,000.00 in private loans to get a JD degree. (Do not forget - it is extremely versatile degree). What else these losers can do with those worthless soft arts degrees? Do not get too exited just because one stand alone skool is in dire straits. If everything fails, the law skools, like big tobacco companies, will go after different ethnic groups to recruit more suckers. As long as suckers enroll to get political "science" degrees and the like, there always will be more than enough targets for law skools.

      Delete
    2. "What else these losers can do with those worthless soft arts degrees?"

      The worthless soft arts degrees are next. Leiter says that free-standing law schools (like Vermont) are most likely to close. That may be true, but it's not as if most universities can afford to bail out their law schools forever.

      Law schools are just the canary in the coal mine - but there is going to be a massive disintermediation of higher ed (particularly in soft subjects) generally.

      Take our friends at Santa Clara - yeah, the law school charges $43,680, but undergraduate tuition is $40,572.

      How much better are the employment incomes for SCU undergraduates with soft degrees - maybe better than the law students, but not a whole lot better.

      Fun fact: at current tuition rates, to go to Santa Clara undergraduate for four years and Santa Clara law school for three years would cost $293,328 in tuition. I don't think either side of that value equation is sustainable - I don't think that the undergraduate program will be in a position to subsidize the law school for very long.

      Delete
    3. "Someday soon a book will be written about how law schools and their greed caused their own destruction."

      I continue to be amazed at this. I did not realize when began applying to law school back in '07 just how much of a sweetheart deal the law schools were running. I really only learned once I was well entrenched and a year and half into the process of getting a "legal education" (love that phrase). They had one of the greatest things going, and they just couldn't help themselves. It was as if they had a giant ATM just pumping out money. Greed, hubris, etc., killed it. Amazing.

      Delete
    4. I disagree that people will still keep going to law schools once the truth gets out.

      I know the truth is still percolating its way down.

      It will just take time for the word to get clearly out.

      Delete

  50. All environmental law/"civic responsibility" bs aside, a typical VLS grad would, more likely than not, have to try to hang out a shingle in one of the small rural towns within that state. Definitely a tough row to hoe. Even assuming that this VLS grad makes it within said small town, how much can he or she really expect to make? $50-60k after expenses? Maybe?

    And that's certainly nothing to scoff at. It's an honest living, and these small towns certainly need a small number of attorneys for divorce, probate, real estate closings, etc.

    But how can this grad possibly service the debt they accumulated at VLS? They can't, and that's reality. Sorry VLS, you are charging about 4x as much as your product is worth. If you can't figure out a way to make it on about 1/4 of what you are currently spending, you're not going to make it. Just like your grads. Welcome to reality.

    ReplyDelete
  51. Get a load of this:

    http://www.usnews.com/education/articles/2010/06/21/how-to-get-in-vermont-law-school

    I quote:

    "Basics first: we look at grammar, punctuation, and writing style. Has this essay been proofread? Is our school name correct? Vermont Law School is not affiliated with the University of Vermont. Our essay topics ask very specific questions: 1. What are your goals and how do the programs at Vermont Law School help you to meet them? 2. How have you affected change?"

    Perhaps they are using "affected" in the sense of feigning. I suspect, however, that they meant "effected", despite their vaunted concern with the basics of correct writing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "Vermont Law School embodies a commitment to service, thus our motto "Law for the community and the world." Whether a student is committed to environmental issues, international human rights, or local community legal services, we have programs, internships, and service activities in place. This is a campus for advocates."

      LOL. Have you noticed that the worse the actual outcomes for law students, the more professors and schools stress "advocacy", and emphasize how gosh-darn moral and wonderful they are?

      To quote the New Englander Ralph Waldo Emerson:

      "The louder he proclaimed his honor the faster we counted the spoons."

      Delete
    2. Advocates, my ass! How many of their graduates do any advocacy? A bit of poking around on the Internet reveals one who claims to have gotten a job harvesting apples after graduation.

      "Law for ... the world" is also ridiculous. International pretensions from a place that's half an hour from the nearest grocery store.

      Delete
  52. Here's a new contest: Bet on the first state to be without a law school.

    I'm betting on Vermont. Its only law school is in financial trouble, and there are many other—and better—law schools within a few hours.

    Delaware is another good candidate, for similar reasons.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Former Wilmingtonian (DE) here. Agree. Unlike VLS, Widener has immediate access to the Phila and Balt markets, but Philly, in particular, already has way too many LS.

      Delete
    2. Philadelphia probably has more law schools than the whole of Pennsylvania needs.

      Delete
    3. My bet is Alaska, which has never had one. That was easy; what do I win?

      Delete
    4. You're right about Alaska. A law school is being built there, however, and there's a summer program in law at the U of Alaska.

      Delete
    5. We can call it the Sarah Palin School of Law.

      Delete
    6. Can you say "1st in the country for sports journalism law"?

      Delete
  53. Take a look at 2011 endowment levels as reported by the National Association of College and University Business Officers, which includes some of the free standing law schools (although not VLS).

    http://www.nacubo.org/Documents/research/2011NCSEPublicTablesEndowmentMarketValues319.pdf

    It would seem to me that schools with low endowments should be avoided because they are likely to need to cut the most, if not close, in this market downturn. Cooley Law School does very poorly with a 18M endowment (750 out of 839, one of the smallest in the nation). Any others? Vermont does not seem to be listed. Any idea why?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You can review their 2010 balance sheet on Guidestar.

      Looks like bond liabilities increased by 33%. They show a slight loss for that year with grants (~7.5m) at about 1/4 the level of tuition receipts (30m). Very little in additional contributions (govt or private), total net assets around 26m.

      If they had any increase in bond obligations since then, they'd be screwed given the declining gross receipts and limited external funding sources.

      In contrast, NYLS made 84M in tuition and gave back only 8M in grants. And William Mitchell, a school that isn't as cash cow-like as NYLS, had half the bond liabilities and double the donations.

      If you want to know who will close first, look no further than balance sheets.

      Delete
    2. To understand the impact of endowments you need to segregate a University or college's main endowment and the dedicated endowment of the law school (unless it is stand alone.) Universities and colleges want to grow the main endowment and can decide whether or not to spend any of it supporting the law school - only the law school's own endowment is available to it to spend.

      Delete
  54. Re: 6:45 a.m.: Ok, it's true that college students don't get any guidance, I didn't get any guidance either (in fact the only guidance I got was from a prof telling me NOT to go to law school because all lawyers are miserable), but I still knew which schools were considered high-ranked, and which ones no one had ever heard of. I knew about US News. I think it's kind of a leap to say that someone bears no responsibility because they were lured in by Vermont Law School's amazing brochure about environmental law - come on, everyone knows that's a crap school.

    I'm not excusing the law schools at all, as they are predatory scam machines that ought to be shut down, but there should also be some responsibility taken by people with college degrees who took a blind gamble on schools like that.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The LSAT scores suffice to show that Vermont Law School is a crap school.

      Delete
    2. There are a lot of people that are naive about law. Just the fact that this marketing works proves they are naive.

      Some people truly don't understand that a JD is not like an MD. I recall a girl from San Francisco who thought she should stay home and go to Golden Gate instead of Michigan. Her family thought that a JD was the same from wherever she went. She actually argued this point for a while. She was finally convinced after excerpts from the New York Times article about the predatory scholarship scam run by Golden Gate with the comments from their dean.

      I bet most of the people who went to Vermont who are not from there are special snowflakes.

      Delete
  55. http://www.top-law-schools.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=202736&p=6336863#p6336863


    Santa Clara 3L taking questions.

    ReplyDelete
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  59. The Dean of Vermont Law School had a dream last night. An elf visited him in his bed and sprinkled some Ivy magic.

    Dartmouth bought his TTT and VLS went to a T14 overnight.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dartmouth is in New Hampshire though., not Vermont.

      Delete
  60. Query:

    Does anyone actually have a recent and complete list by law school of dedicated endowments. Brian Leiter published a top ten a few years back - which ran from Harvard Law at $926 million to Vanderbilt at $78 million - but this was data he points out from 2000.

    The size of the dedicated endowment of a law school is a crucial issue in how long a school can hold out - how long before it burns through the money - though if the school has incurred debt to build a shiny new facility it may be trickier.

    ReplyDelete
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