Thursday, February 7, 2013

Myths of Sisyphus



Last spring I participated in a “debate” with Martin Katz, dean of the University of Denver’s law school, at a bar association event.  It turned out not to be much of a debate:  I presented the argument I published subsequently in my article The Crisis of the American School, and Katz, who had read a draft of the article, said he basically agreed with that argument.

I don’t actually know Katz, but from the few encounters I’ve had with him over the years, he seems like a very bright guy, as well as a pleasant, charming person. These qualities naturally made me want to think well of him. On the other hand, because I realize such qualities are useful if you’re a politician, or a university administrator, or an investment banker, or a serial killer, etc., I’m also aware that as a rational matter being smart and pleasant and charming has exactly nothing to do with one’s character, or lack thereof.

So reading this made me both sad and angry.   It should make everyone who cares about reforming legal education both sad and angry, because it’s really bad stuff.  (A distinguished colleague from a distinguished law school located outside the great state of Colorado reacted to it thus:  “This is insane--so many misstatements and omissions . . . Their selective reporting violates any reasonable standard of professional ethics or academic integrity. Wow.”)

Reading it also made me realize that, for those of us in legal academia trying to do something about the mess we’ve collectively created, every morning our rock awaits us.  I don’t have the patience to go through the whole thing line by line, although practically every sentence in Katz’s argument features some sort of statistical sleight of hand or methodological chicanery that does him no credit. To put it bluntly, becoming a law school dean has either destroyed Marty Katz’s reasoning skills, or his willingness to put intellectual integrity ahead of the felt necessities of the time.  

Here I’ll focus on Katz’s treatment of DU’s employment and salary data for the class of 2011.  Katz argues that legal employment opportunities for new law graduates are on average much better in Colorado than in the country as a whole:


The math in Denver and Colorado is very different. Here the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment projects that there will be roughly 550 lawyer job openings per year over the next few years.[13] This figure understates the job opportunities for JDs in the state, since it only counts jobs for which bar passage is required. (While some critics scoff at jobs that do not require bar passage, many law school graduates seek and enjoy such jobs. Even during the boom years, when law graduates had fewer constraints, roughly 16% selected jobs for which bar passage was not required.[14]) But even counting only the 550 bar-passage-required jobs projected each year in Colorado, the situation looks good. When you consider that our state’s two law schools, the primary suppliers for Colorado’s legal market, produce fewer than 450 new law graduates per year, the math here looks favorable – more than one lawyer job for every law graduate in Colorado. And most of those jobs are in Denver.

Of course lawyers move across state lines. So a comparison of in-state law job openings to in-state law graduates may not fully capture the available jobs situation. Because Denver is such a desirable place to live and practice law, graduates from out of state law schools come here for jobs as well. In 2012, roughly 1,000 people passed the Colorado bar exam. However, because of our strong networks in the Denver legal community (roughly half of the practicing lawyers are our graduates) and our strategic plan designed to produce practice-ready lawyers, our graduates have a strong advantage in competing for jobs in this market.


This argument is weak well past the point of disingenuousness.  Presently about 1100 people pass the Colorado bar each year, so the ratio of available legal jobs to annual bar passers is two to one.  That figure should daunt the most special of snowflakes, but the actual situation is far more problematic than that ratio suggests.

First, lawyers from nearly 40 states can waive into the Colorado bar if they’ve been practicing for at least five of the last seven years, so the out of state competition for available jobs is hardly limited to out of state people who pass the bar exam.  (Recently, I wrote a letter of recommendation for a 2011 CU grad who was trying to get an “entry-level” DA job.  The only entry-level feature of the job turned out to be the pay -- $48,000 – as it ended up going to a lawyer who had been a DA in a Midwestern state since 2005, and who of course didn’t have to take the Colorado bar to get the job).

And newly available legal jobs don’t just go to experienced lawyers from other states. Some portion of those approximately 550 new jobs for lawyers this year will go to licensed Colorado attorneys who are not currently practicing law, and who have enormous advantages over new graduates in the struggle for scarce positions (For one thing they have actually practiced law, as opposed to  being – supposedly -- “practice-ready”).  In other words, the phrase “new jobs for lawyers” is far from synonymous with “jobs for new lawyers.”

As for the claim that “many law graduates seek and enjoy” non-law jobs, there’s an easy way to test this proposition, which is to look at the employment statistics at a law school where almost all graduates have the choice of taking a job that requires bar admission, and seeing how many choose a “JD preferred” or completely non-legal position instead.   For example, in the Stanford class of 2011 a total of nine people took JD preferred jobs, while one took a non-legally related professional position, and no one took a non-professional job.  By contrast at DU, 82 graduates took such jobs (the percentages for the respective classes at the two schools who took non-bar required jobs are 5.2% and 28.6%).

With the occasional exception of the person who enrolls in law school to study international sports law in order to become Leo Messi’s agent, people go to law school to be lawyers.  Perhaps the most troubling aspect of Katz’s argument is that, as he’s well aware, there’s no need to compare the total number of available legal jobs in Colorado to the total number of DU and CU law grads in order to speculate about how many local law graduates get such jobs.  He knows the answer to that question: in the class of 2011 140 of 287 DU graduates got full-time “long-term” -- meaning with a term of at least year, so this counts state district court judicial clerkships and the like -- jobs requiring bar admission.  (Almost everyone else in the class who was listed as holding a bar-required job nine months after graduation was in a short-term part-time position funded by the school itself).

Katz’s discussion of the “average” salary of DU law graduates is also problematic.  Katz asserts that the average salary of 2011 DU grads nine months after graduation was $70,922.  He even gives the impression that he’s being conservative about this, since he then makes the same adjustment NALP now makes with its salary data, which attempts to correct for the higher reporting rates for high salaried positions, and asserts that with this adjustment the average salary becomes $66,713 (What NALP does to create its “adjusted mean” salary figure is to assume that, for example, everyone working for  firms of two to ten lawyers is making the same average salary as the 35% of people working for such firms who  do report their salaries.  This is supposed to correct for the skewing of salary averages that takes place because, by contrast to small firms, 93% of big firm salaries are reported.  Needless to say a lot of can openers are being assumed in all this, as there’s every reason to believe that the reported salaries within cohorts are not representative of the  non-reported salaries within those cohorts).

But how many 2011 DU law graduates were actually making $71K or $67K in February of 2012?  We can’t know the exact answer, but we can make a pretty close approximation.  39% of the class had a salary reported, with a median of $57,500, so we could begin by observing that 19.5% of the class was reported to have a salary of $57,500 or more. Looking at the available data in more detail, the following graduates almost certainly weren’t being paid what Dean Katz characterizes as the “average” salary:

19 unemployed graduates.

3 graduates whose employment status was unknown.

5 graduates who went back to school.

4 graduates who started solo practices.

46 graduates working for firms of two to ten attorneys.  (In Colorado these jobs usually pay between $35,000 and $50,000).

73 graduates working in various public positions (the 75th percentile for the 39 reported salaries in this group was $53,000).

28 graduates working in “academia” (26 of these jobs were both short-term and part-time).

59 graduates working in “business and industry.”  (It’s rare for a new law graduate to get an in-house legal job, and even rarer for such a graduate to get a high-paying non-legal job. Again for comparison purposes a total of nine 2011 Stanford graduates took “business and industry” jobs, and Stanford is one of a tiny handful of schools that does place a few graduates each year in high-paying consulting jobs and the like).

This leaves the 32 graduates working for law firms of more than ten attorneys.  How many of these people were making what Dean Katz is characterizing as the “average” salary of a 2011 DU graduate?  We can assume that the 14 graduates working for firms of more than 50 attorneys were.  Nine graduates were working for firms of 11-25 lawyers, and nine others got jobs with firms of 26-50.  Using NALP national averages for the class of 2011, we can estimate that three people in the former group and six in the latter were making at least $70,000.

So, by this estimate, it’s likely that somewhere around 23 of DU’s 287 graduates (8% of the class) were making $70,000 or more.  Now this estimate might be incorrect. It might be 10% of the class.  It could conceivably be 12%, if for example one assumes that a dozen of the “business and industry” jobs paid at least $70,000 (This is extremely unlikely in my view. Note that one graduate reported a salary of $350,000 – a figure that by itself raises the “average” reported salary for the class by nearly $4,000, and which suggests none of these figures should be considered models of scientific accuracy).

But by no conceivable stretch can $70,000 be characterized as an “average” – if by average one means in any way typical – salary for 2011 graduates of Dean Katz’s law school.

The saddest part of all this is that Dean Katz knows full well how misleading his presentation of these statistics is.  This wouldn’t necessarily be the case with every legal academic: there are people on law school faculties who don’t know the difference between a mean and median, and who believe that salary data regarding graduates are comprehensive and reliable.  Whatever else one might say about him Katz --who was a partner at a big Denver law firm before becoming a legal academic -- isn’t a blissfully clueless idiot.

What he is, I’m guessing, is increasingly desperate.  And desperate people do desperate things. 

144 comments:

  1. Dumb question, but do Deans owe a duty to the Law School? Similar to how an attorney owes a duty to his guilty client to get him off the hook even if it involves withholding information, do Deans owe duties to their employer to present misleading facts and data in an effort to willfully wreck the lives of dumb 22 year old kids?

    If they do, this Dean should be applauded. Duty fulfilled.

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    1. they have a duty to their enormous paychecks and lavish lifestyle fed by federally-backed tuition dollars. the transparency movement is the worst thing to ever happen to them.

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  2. Quoting David Simon, approximately quoting Camus:

    Rebelling against an injustice where you are certain to fail is absurd. But to not rebel against an injustice where you are certain to fail is also absurd. Only one choice offers the opportunity for dignity.

    It requires repeating: what law schools are doing is injustice. Succeed or fail, there on only one human choice: to rebel.

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  3. Pathetic whining begins in 3...2....1...

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    1. Pathetic trolling already began at 6:49 a.m.

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  4. There has actually been something of a trend towards selective use of BLS figures to make the NALP figures seem less accurate or threatening over at blogs like Prawfs or Faculty Lounge.

    As it is, I can't really find anything at BLS that tells me exactly how they arrived at an average compensation figure for attorneys, nor why they think that 73,600 more jobs will be available for attorneys between 2010 and 2020.

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    1. And then there's this:

      http://www.thefacultylounge.org/2013/02/the-utility-of-scholarship.html

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  5. As this point, they are just trying to squeeze another year or two of revenues out before the eventual collapse.

    As MacK(?) noted on another board, a reasonable estimate is that three-quarters of law school faculty are going to lose their jobs - half the law schools will close, and a quarter more will be laid off, as teaching loads double, to get tuition down to a level where going to law school actually starts pencilling out as an investment.

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    1. unfortunately it won't be that drastic IMO. we'll likely see ~20 law schools close at the bottom and the rest reduce class size significantly.

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    2. I'm actually thinking that the collapse is going to be a lot more dramatic than that - a lot of schools are going to pull the plug, rather than endure huge financial losses for the foreseeable future.

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    3. It might not be a Lehman Brothers-style event. Some of the mid-ranked private schools sharing the same region might merge AND shrink class sizes just like the airlines-perhaps Catholic and American, Northeastern and Tufts, etc.

      Then again, some of the hubris we are seeing from peole like Katz suggest the administrators are crazy enough to wait until the last possible minute to act. Then it will be too late and universities will "pull the plug." Central university administrators are under their own budgetary pressures. They will not hold water for bleeding law schools that used to give them funds.

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    4. Actually, I did no estimate that 3/4 of law professors would lose their jobs. I suggested that the baseline for the sustainable size for the legal sector is 3,000 professors against the current 12,000 and that if one was to try to work out where things will end up, this 3,000 baseline is a starting point from which one should try to justify departures up or down.

      My explanation is that to be sustainable capacity needs to half (6,000) professors, but productivity needs to double (3,000) professors. The number could be higher, it could be lower, but the best way to approach the question is to try to calculate a baseline and then identify and justify departures.

      The biggest weakness in my argument of course is that there are now 12,000 law professors or so.

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    5. There will be no massive collapse. For the past century, countless colleges have been offering degrees in English, history, liberal arts, fine arts etc. that have all been vastly overpriced and useless compared to the cost to the student.

      All that will happen is that law schools will become finishing schools for the wealthy or the stupid, kind of like a degree from a private liberal arts college is today.

      Some commenters really need to get a grip on reality. "Predictions" about huge numbers of law schools pulling the plug, or three-quarters of law professors losing their jobs, might as well have come from a crystal ball, tarot cards, or reading tea leaves. Totally unrealted to reality, and perhaps more telling of why the person making those predictions fell for the law school scam in the first place.

      Here's the reality:

      - Schools at the top of the rankings will not change at all.

      - Schools towards the middle of the rankings, those attached to respectable universities, will cut costs, cut size, and stay afloat, although the fat days will be over for the professors.

      - Schools at the bottom might be in more trouble, but they will simply lower their standards and move towards the lucrative model that currently sustains countless "for-profit" degree mills: admit huge classes, profit from that huge first year, and who gives a fuck what happens to the students if they drop out after 1L.

      There is one prediction I think we can safely make - we're not likely to see many law schools close, attractive as that may seem. We need to separate "needs" from "desires".

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    6. 7:54am here: I'll stipulate that there will probably not be what you identify as a "collapse." I can't go so far as to say for certain "there will be no massive collapse" or I risk sounding too much like those Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac executives' 2006 testimony before Congress pinkie-swearing that nothing is wrong with the system of underwriting and securitizing adjustible rate mortgages for people with low incomes. As you say, we are in the realm of prediction.

      Your predictions about top and mid-ranked schools will probably prove true.

      I have a harder time seeing the bottom-tiered schools find ways to become more lucrative. They have essentially been following the for-profit mill model for years, pre-dating the 2008 recession. These schools have no endowment to cushion soft applicant demand. Most operate entirely year-to-year on tuition subsidized by federal loans. Just look how the shares of University of Phoenix and some of those for-profit colleges have struggled in the past few years since Congress toughened their underwriting standards.

      There are also demographic realities facing these bottom schools. Whatever achievements we proclaim on "increasing access to legal education", law schools still consist primarily of people from families in the top 20% of household incomes. People from broken homes and with criminal rap sheets a mile long by age 19 are not going to apply to law school. (Yes, I know about that guy at Tulane with a prior murder conviction. He made headlines because he was the exception, not the rule.)

      And the finishing school for trust fund babies does not work in locations like Cleveland or Fort Wayne, IN (Fort Wayne??!), or even Denver, unless admission includes a ski season pass. And even if every law school were to move to Sun Valley or the Hamptons, there are simply not enough rich kids paying full freight to fill out the enrollments of the bottom-100 law schools.

      My point is that even if there is no "collapse", that does not necessarily mean that schools will not have to reorganize, merge with other schools, merge their departments (to mimic Wake Forest's law and business program), or even close. I predict that closures will happen if some schools continue to operate in a state of denial when confronted with an increasingly unpleasant reality.

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  6. Situation no. 1 -

    S&P, Moody's, and other ratings agencies overstate the value of mortgage-backed securities, banks rely on these ratings and make massive loses, the US federal government then has to bail out the investors.

    Result: Federal law suit for $5 billion

    Situation no. 2 -

    Law schools overstate the value of their qualifications, students rely on this information and take out federal loans, increasing numbers of students are unable to pay back these loans leaving the taxpayer to foot the bill.

    Result: ?

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  7. Cynical shills like Katz can puff and rant all they want, the smart money is avoiding the law school grinder. Their only hope is to lure in enough mouthbreathing lemmings to fill their sections for a few more years, at great cost to their beloved USN&W ranking metrics.

    The fat lady is warming up...

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  8. Katz is, like most all in the academic industrial complex, a progressive liberal who is expert in rent seeking and in furthering a favored narrative (i.e., education is always good). Katz and his ilk all too often quick to assert that conservatives are overly simplistic (note at time this assertion is accurate). But of course here Katz's assertions and data are incredibly overly simplistic and accordingly he presents a narrow and misleading picture. I would not characterize my criticism of Katz as whining. Rather, if one assumes he has (as a dean of a law school) a fair amount of insight into the legal market (and this assumption may be faulty), he should provide a meaningful status on legal employment in his geographic area, and not one which parrots selected employment statistics without examining any of the realities of market, its participants, and its prospects.

    Having said this, at some point, and maybe we have arrived at it already, especially given the constant flow of information from this helpful site and others, responsibility for the dismal results which obtains from so many law schools will have to be laid at the feet of the students who make the very questionable decision to attend, no matter what drivel law school administrators put out. The industrial academic complex will not solve this themselves. They are too invested in their rent seeking behavior, and have lived too long on a business model which has permitted them to increase costs in the last decades orders of magnitude beyond inflation. Demand side economics is in play - all but the very best (and I mean very best) students must simply cease applying to law school. Until that happens, I will happily put up with a "lot of whining". I intensely dislike horrific business models - let's get rid of this one.

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  9. What is also very obvious is the increasing tone of desperation - a lot of schools are looking at their applicant pool, and it's dawning on them that even if they accept everyone (which will kill their reputation), they are still facing a huge revenue shortfall for next year.

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  10. 2013: "There has never been a better time to go to law school"
    =

    2008: "There has never been a better time to buy a house".

    Sound familiar?

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  11. Just another limousine liberal pretending to serve some positive social purpose, all the while lining his own pockets with taxpayer money. At least conservatives are honest about the fact that they are just out for themselves.

    I would love to see a complete dissection of this garbage. For one thing, Katz' discussion of employement rates for "lawyers" ignores those law school graduates (including at least half of those from his own school) who never get work as lawyers in the first place.

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    1. Generally speaking I loathe your TEA perspective but in this particular instance your point is well taken.

      What you just said is equivalent to me venting about corporate greed on a blog devoted to victims of the Bhopal disaster.

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  12. Well, the heat is really on now.

    Nobody is going to bail these guys out. Law profs combine two professions that the general public dislikes. Universities and other academics have no respect for them, but were willing to tolerate them when the money was coming in. Formers students either can't or won't open their checkbooks. None of these groups are going to come to the rescue.

    Howse's suggestions that law schools water down the JD by selling it to non-practicing foreigners reflects how desperate schools are becoming.

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    1. I actually worry that the law schools will actively lobby for Wall Street-style bailouts (in the form of outright tuition subsidies) before we see any closures or sharp declines in class sizes. What do they have to lose?

      And when they do, they will play the access/equality/serving the unprivileged card heavily.

      The public will not favor such a policy for sure, but the public didn't favor the WS bailouts either, and they still happened.

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    2. Hell, they already get monstrous tuition subsidies in the form of student loans for anyone that they admit in any amount that they designate.

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    3. "The public will not favor such a policy for sure, but the public didn't favor the WS bailouts either, and they still happened."
      That's because the collapse of banks would have precipitated an economic collapse that could have quit possibly made you wish you were a paranoid survivalist stocked with a six month supply of food and ammo. The collapse of the law schools? Only the professors and the staff will be affected.

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    4. "That's because the collapse of banks would have precipitated an economic collapse that could have quit possibly made you wish you were a paranoid survivalist stocked with a six month supply of food and ammo."

      Your post is "quit" the B.S.

      http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/secret-and-lies-of-the-bailout-20130104

      Keep slurping the Wall Street kool aid, maybe they'll give you a job sweeping the sidewalk.

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    5. "... they will play the access/equality/serving the unprivileged card heavily."

      They're already doing that. From the WSJ last June: "most law schools aren't planning to shrink. They include Thomas M. Cooley Law School, the largest in the nation ... Cooley "isn't interested in reducing the size of its entering class on the basis of the perceived benefit to society," says associate dean James Robb. "Cooley's mission is inclusiveness," adds Mr. Robb, who says he worries reducing class sizes could disproportionately affect minority students.

      http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303444204577458411514818378.html

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  13. lol Sturm College of Law

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    1. I'm liking this novelty-account thing you got going on. This is what everyone should think when they hear these TTT names.

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    2. Marco Sturm? I was wondering what happened to him...

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  14. When I first read this I thought who cares, Katz isn't reaching anyone by writing lies on a faculty blog or in a glossy trade magazine. Then, I clicked on the link. I can't believe the school has the audacity to have this posted on their admissions page as a myth-fact retort.

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  15. The 2012 9 month surveys should be going out shortly. All unemployed students, please reply. All retail-employed graduates, please report your $15,000 per annum income.

    Fight them with data. The roof is on fire. Burn!

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  16. I agree with LP in part. Katz isn't an idiot by any stretch. That made me wonder why he would post this. Not only does he surely know that it's hugely misleading, he surely knows that most prospective law students know that it's hugely misleading.* So why do it?

    I think that there's a few possibilities:

    1.) It's to reassure the current students at DU who are freaking out that they decided to go to law school.

    2.) It's to reassure the faculty at DU, some of whom might be flight risks. (DU actually has a pretty good faculty for a mid-T2 school.)

    3.) It's to encourage current DU undergrads (who generally aren't the brightest bulbs on the tree) to apply.

    Any other thoughts?

    * For example, based on only the numbers provided in his pitch, there are 450 DU/CU grads and 550 available lawyer jobs (yes, many of those will be for the experienced out-of-state lawyers who take the Colorado bar or waive in, but let's set that aside). But as Katz says, about half of the Colorado legal market is filled by out-of-state JDs. So it's not 550 jobs. It's 275 jobs. For 450 students.

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    1. I doubt #2 has any bearing on anything, at least as far as them being flight risks is concerned. Where are they going to go? Having been a member of a "pretty good faculty for a mid-T2 school" qualifies you to join all the DU Law grads behind the counter at Starbucks. Other faculties aren't hiring given the impending downsizing and a resume full of law review articles means nothing to a law firm.

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  17. I know you didn't get to dissect everything Mr. Katz said, LawProf, so I'll assist you with this one. With regards to the apparently lower unemployment rate Mr. Katz quotes that pertains to lawyers, it should be noted that BLS configures its unemployment figures based on the number of individuals who file unemployment claims.

    In order to be eligible to file for an unemployment claim, one must have been involuntary terminated (ie: laid off) from a paying job through no fault of one's own. New graduates are typically not eligible for unemployment unless they were employed and lost a job. In order to be classified as an unemployed attorney, one must have been involuntarily terminated, through no fault of one's own, from an attorney job.

    Since we all know that the problem is that new graduates are unable to obtain paid, attorney positions, this means that that wonderfully low unemployment rates for attorneys quoted by Mr. Katz does not include recent graduates unable to obtain employment in the legal field as an attorney. Given that attorney unemployment disproportionately affects younger, newer, and more inexperienced attorneys, the unemployment rates quoted by Mr. Katz, then, do not count the majority of unemployed attorneys and are wildly inaccurate.

    Can Mr. Katz be reported to the state bar for ommission of material facts or false statements in advertising? Anyone? I'm ready...



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    1. Nice work.

      And to tie it in with the ABA reporting stats, the 1.5 also wouldn't include document reviewers, many of whom are counted as full time (or part time), short term employees under the NALP/ABA reporting statistics (contract employees not entitled to unemployment). Also wouldn't include people who go solo and make nothing (technically employed for purposes of BLS, ABA/NALP statistics, and unemployment). These make up a large portion of the new grads as well.

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  18. I always laugh (sometimes it’s a sad laugh) when lawyers like Martin Katz play around with numbers. I’m a retired economist and my wife’s an almost-retired lawyer with nearly 40 years of law firm (big and small) experience. She wisely leaves the numbers to me. I leave the law to her.

    Katz’s statements are dumb in the extreme; LawProf highlights only the most egregious examples of his silliness. The best thing law school deans and other legal academics can do in this market is lay low, keep their heads down, and quietly engage in the type of institutional reform that will strengthen their schools and improve the ability of their graduates to find gainful employment – mostly though reducing class size, maintaining admissions standards (these two go hand-in-hand), and, very importantly, increasing scholarship endowments to keep net tuition costs under control.

    Somewhat counter-intuitively for all his bloviating about the value of a law degree, the real Marty Katz, the one who struggles with administering a law school on a day-by-day basis, seems to understand this. While touting the merits of law school, in practice Katz has significantly reduced the size of Denver’s entering class (by roughly one-third over the past few years, with additional decreases expected this year), while simultaneously greatly expanding the size and scope of DU’s scholarship funding.

    By the same token, there is no need for Katz to overstate DU’s employment outcomes – although he clearly does. As the only law school in Denver, DU grads, especially those who do well academically, enjoy some status in the Denver legal marketplace. Thousands of DU graduates practice in the greater metropolitan area; combined, DU and CU graduates commonly make up 20 to 25 percent of practicing attorneys at the area’s large and mid-sized firms. Moreover, the local Denver economy is growing somewhat faster than the nation at large. Booming oil and gas industries and a surging population contribute to this growth, which shows no sign of abating anytime soon. At this year’s OCI, many DU students in the top 20-25 percent of their class had more than one offer. Overall, in what can best be described as a horrible legal job market, DU is doing as well or better than most schools in its situation.

    Thus, it’s sad (and as LawProf says, a bit desperate) for someone with Marty Katz’s obvious intellect and excellent reputation to engage in this type of oversell. I know it’s hard to imagine Katz or anyone else in his position doing so, but far better to admit that the market’s bad and that his school is responding to this reality in the best way it can – cutting class size and raising scholarship money.

    DU has a (relatively) good story to tell. Katz should tell it.

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    1. Umm yeah, I guess so, if you think that about 10% of the class making more than $70K with average debt around $100K is a "good story"...

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    2. As an interested economist - would you be willing to model a few scenarios:

      1. Slow decline to a stable equilibrium;

      2. Fast decline, precipitated perhaps by say Congress inserting some underwriting standards into student loans.

      I actually think the latter is likely as both democrats and republicans start to rationally see the problem with IBR, the inherent moral hazard

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    3. @MacK:

      The problem is that the federal student loan generation system is one of the last originators of credit left after the credit bubble burst.

      That leaves only health care as a source of fake credit.

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    4. "Umm yeah, I guess so, if you think that about 10% of the class making more than $70K with average debt around $100K is a "good story"..."

      Perhaps he should leave the numbers to his wife, as well as the law.....

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  19. Loyola's dean now has a post on ATL. lolz

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  20. It must have been 4:20 when Marty Katz made this statement.

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  21. http://economix.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/06/27/the-lawyer-surplus-state-by-state/

    Economic Modeling Specialists Inc. estimated that Colorado will have 547 annual attorney job openings from 2010-2015. In 2009, 967 people passed the state bar. The surplus was 420. Presumably, the data did not include those who waive into the jurisdiction.

    The pigs are running scared. Notice how many of these tools have published weak-ass op-eds recently. These "professors" and deans do not want to return to the "profession" that they ran away from shortly after graduating from law school.

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  22. @7:38

    "The 2012 9 month surveys should be going out shortly. All unemployed students, please reply. All retail-employed graduates, please report your $15,000 per annum income.

    Fight them with data. The roof is on fire. Burn!"

    Unfortunately, the schools have created it so that retail salaries are not included in the statistics - they really thought of everything, which just demonstrates the level of intention that went into all of this.

    On the employment surveys, they ask you to mark if you are employed, regardless of what job it is. But, when it comes to salaries, they only ask you to report your salary if you are working as a lawyer or law clerk. That way the schools can boost their employment numbers (although they probably can't do that anymore with the 2012 ABA changes)without having to include the lower salaries of the retail folk.

    They really put a lot of thought into this...

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

    ReplyDelete
  24. Look, these liberal/progressive law school barons are sellers of an overpriced product that of now negligible value, all financed and paid for by taxpayer guaranteed loan dollars. Why would anyone rely on their assertions or data? The information campaign must continue.

    The upshot is that young people with social context and a middle to upper middle class background will have advisers in their lives to stay away from law school except in rare instances. Those who attend increasingly will be without social context, and likely, with far less impressive achievements (and that will have consequences too). I recall a CFO friend of mine in 2005 - who strongly resisted his firm buying a mortgage firm - telling his line business people that the mortgage market, and in particular the sub-prime market, was no better than a carnival game, except that the mortgage companies could not avail themselves of the option carnival gamesters have of causing relatively little economic damage and moving on to the next county fair. The parallels between the sub-prime market and the education market, and in particular the law school racket (because it is so over-priced), are striking. We know how it will turn out. Change the jargon, and Katz is speaking as if he worked at WaMU in 2005.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Wassup ya'll dis da chicken man here. Now ya'll better recognize dat dis ain't that punk-ass beeotch Colonel Sanders... dis da real chicken, suckers. Dis ain't a damn thang but that fried baby arm looking pieces of crispy golden fried goodness. Better believe that, sucker.

    I just got to say if none of ya'll find no, legal jobs in dis here ecomoney, then y'all can holla at ya boy here at Church's and get ready to go hard in the paint on some feathered friends ya'll.

    And we got the honey buttered biscuits daaaaaaaaaawwwwwwwwwggggggggggg!!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Go back to Nando's blog.

      Delete
    2. Say playa, you ain't gotta hate on da chicken man, partna. Just lettin all ya'll high falootin' lawyah men and women's in on da gravy train at Church's, homeboy.

      Come on down, I'll fry you up a two piece, big homie. Big ass pieces of chicken too, cat daddy.

      So don't hate, commiserate.
      Don't insult, it ain't my fault.
      Don't be no square, get on over here.
      The chicken's hot, the gravy's thick,
      Come on through and make it quick.

      Ya'll come on down now, ya hear?

      Delete
    3. Please stop. You add no value here.

      Delete
    4. Remove.... stick.... from..... your...... ass.

      Delete
    5. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

      Delete
    6. Yes of course, Herr Professor, no humor at all. Strictly verboten here. We're all extremely serious here, thoroughly imbued with the utmost gravitas.

      Get over yourself, windbag.

      Delete
    7. Keep on posting Colonel. Welcome to ITLSS.

      Delete
  26. And P.S. ya'll, when dis here world done got you down, remember these words of wisdom from back in the day:

    Ain't no thang but a chicken wang, what?
    I said ain't no thang but a chicken wang, who?
    I said ain't no thang
    Ain't no thang
    Ain't no thang
    But a funky-ass chicken wang.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. LawProf, please ban this idiot.

      Delete
    2. "LawProf, please ban this idiot."

      But then he would have to ban *all* law school Deans...

      Delete
    3. Now why ya wanna gawn on and ban me, baby boy? Jus' tryin' to spread the word on the good bird, you heard?
      Comic relief ain't all bad, jus ask my homeboy Dean Obrien, he'll tell ya how he be:

      Lyin' em,
      Fryin' em, and
      Dryin' em all gotdamn day baby, and dats wussup.

      Delete
    4. No need to ban. Just delete these comments. Church 39 thinks he adds something important. Nobody else does.

      Delete
    5. Aw come on now, who done boobooed in yo breakfast, big homie? Why so uptight lawyah man? I already invited ya'll on down to mah 'stablishment, playah.

      Let my chicken do the talkin',
      And yo feet do the walkin',
      Walkin' on down to mah chicken shack,
      Cause baby you know dats where it's at.

      Don't you be no stranger now, ya hear?

      Delete
    6. Welcome to ITLSS Colonel! :)

      Delete
  27. Even if a job paying the putative "average" of $70k were guaranteed, law school would be a poor choice at the price of ~$250k (mostly funded through high-interest, non-dischargeable student loans) and a very considerable opportunity cost.

    Anyone with integrity would have excluded the outlying $350k figure, which, beyond being unrealistic (it couldn't really happen unless, say, Daddy's firm hired the trust-fund baby), is so far out of line with the rest of the data that it unreasonably skews the directly calculated average.

    Billing Forbes ("Capitalist [F]ool") as a neutral authority is simply absurd. Forbes shills for the academic–industrial complex.

    I can't be bothered to refute Katz's calculated deception point by point. It's obvious that Katz, like other deans and related touts, is desperate to draw applicants in as conduits for grotesque amounts of money.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. These kids think $70k means you actually get $70k. They don't understand concepts like taxes, insurance, transportation, food, rent, professional wardrobes, etc.

      Debt service of $24k a year not even paying down principal is impossible for them to fathom.

      Delete
    2. It's not even Forbes. It's a Forbes blogger.

      Delete
    3. "Debt service of $24k a year not even paying down principal is impossible for them to fathom."

      Yes. Assume a long-term salary of $30K (i.e., not going to law school and working one's way into something decent). The bump to $70K means (guessing, to be honest) a post-tax bump of $25K. I put the payment period, devoting the entire post-tax bump to paying it down, as 8 years.
      That requires:
      a) Ketting such a job
      and
      b) Keeping it *continuously* for 8 years
      and
      c) No other bad financial things happening in 8 years; this schedule assumes living off (pre-tax) $30K.

      Delete
  28. Gerard Butler studied law, as did Julio Iglesias and Pallavi Sharda.

    It's a worldwide phenomenon.

    ReplyDelete
  29. I think it's time to bust the "two to ten" myth. These small firms would experience the greatest dispalcement and resource drain if they hired a new attorney. Unless it's a very well-connected "practice ready" law graduate, small firms acting rationally would almost always hire one of teh eager and plentiful laterals with more experience and who could produce revenue from day one. I clerked for a five person firm once and can assure everyone that it would never enter their minds to hire a newly licensed attorney. Everyone at a small firm is jammed all the time and no one would ever be able to take the time to train a new attorney no matter how "practice ready" they are due to some unique law school program. When I think of all the small firms I know, it's very rare for any of these firms to actually hire anyone new. I'm not at all familiar with the Denver law market, but I cannot imagine that there are 46 small firms that would add an attorney in a single year.

    So who is getting hired at these "two-to-tens"? The truth is probably nobody. When law graduates cannot find a job, they often will combine resources to share expenses. These arrangements resemble co-ops rather than true firms and very likely consist of two to three attorneys who were classmates and cannot find jobs anywhere else.

    This "two to ten" statistic would be a very interesting to break down and actually should be for the purposes of transparency. Of the attorneys "employed" by "two to tens", (1) how many are true employees, (2) how many firms consist of only two or three attorneys, (3) how many are employed in firms where there is an attorney with more than 5 years of experience.

    If we could see the actual breakdown, I would suspect that most of the graduates listed under "two-to-ten" are probably more accurately described as solos, or there is very little difference in their situation from the graduates listed as solo practioners. But "two to ten" sounds better.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Some of the members of small firms may be on a contractor basis, i.e., they get paid per hour and don't have salaries.

      Delete
    2. There's way too much work to actually do here in 2-10 attorney land.

      The problems is that when you hire a new attorney, you need to hire new assistants and there is *no room left in this building*.

      We are stuffed to the gills.

      One of the assistants still doesn't have a desk and it's been three months.

      Delete
    3. Some of these are also "eat what you kill" arrangements.

      Delete
  30. As someone who did not attend CU or DU for law school, but moved back to Colorado after graduation in 2009 and *gasp* took the Colorado Bar and got a job with a Denver firm (after 10 months of looking), here's what i see in the Denver market re: a DU or CU degree. Yes a sizeable number of attorneys went to CU or DU, however the degree only gets you so far. I interviewed with the biggest 10-15 firms in Denver and got the sense (or in one occasion was told) that each firm hires at least one CU and DU grad a year. That number matches up with LPs data. After those firms however, Denver is a small legal community. For smaller firms, in interviewing/applying for jobs, I never got the sense that a DU/CU degree gave any leg up. In fact because of the oversaturation of the Denver legal market, everyone I know with jobs in smaller firms (including myself) got the jobs through connections (and real connections, not networking at happy hours)and as LP said these jobs pay 40-65k . So in short it is worth it to go to DU if 1) you want to live in denver and 2) you finish in the top 10% of your class.

    ReplyDelete
  31. Most insane stat / lie of the article?

    "The Bureau of Labor Statistics (the BLS) reported that, in 2010, the national unemployment rate for lawyers was 1.5%."

    1.5% unemployment?

    How the fuck did they come up with that?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. First Rule of Economic Analysis:

      Never, ever look at the headline number for government statistics.

      Look under the hood.

      Delete
    2. 905,

      How? Easy. They just started dreaming about that sweet magical black booty that's seated behind the desk in the White House - and decided that it was too big to fail.

      Delete
    3. People who gave up on law are not counted as unemployed lawyers.

      Delete
    4. Illustrations of my comment (10:02):

      If, having been unable to find work in the legal profession, you give up and go to operate the cash register at Wal-Fart, you are not counted as an unemployed lawyer; instead, you are an employed cashier.

      After six months of unemployment, you are deemed not to be looking for work (even if you apply for ten jobs a day), so again you do not count as an unemployed lawyer. People who "retire" because they cannot find work also fall into this category.

      A solo practitioner whose "practice" is bleeding red ink is considered to be self-employed. Never mind that this person is desperately looking for a job.

      Delete
    5. "How the fuck did they come up with that?"

      You are not an 'unemployed lawyer' if:

      If you never got a job as a lawyer.

      Your last job was not as a lawyer.

      Your last job was as a lawyer, but you are not currently looking for work (e.g., you're 55 and have been out of work for four years, and don't have sh*t).

      Delete
  32. MacK (8:48 am):

    Some thoughts (in the thinking-out-load category)about your comment:

    The two most discussed objective measures designed to limit the availability of loan monies are employment outcomes (obviously audited by an outside authority or perhaps even the bean counters at the Department of Education) and bar passage rates. Schools with poor counts on either score would suffer some sort of limits on the availability of federal funds for their students. I notice that the California Bar Association recently announced that state accredited schools with bar passage rates below 40 percent will face loss of accreditation. That, obviously, is a penalty vastly more severe than limiting loan availability; it’s essentially a death sentence.

    The other measure suggested by some is tying the availability of current loan funding to each school’s (actually their graduates’) default rates, although this obviously is likely to have significant lag time and may not be as near-term a measure as most reformers would prefer.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have suggested that IBR takeup rates should be used to limit loans - i.e., IBR above a certain threshold - number of loans and value of loans that the course could justify would be cut.

      Delete
  33. @9:05am:

    See the comment at 7:56am that explains how BLS comes up w/ a 1.5% unemployment rate for attorneys.

    ReplyDelete
  34. That post by Katz is eerily similar to the one by Don Leduc at Cooley. Are these guys getting together and trading ideas about how to scam.

    See here for the Don Leduc BS article: http://www.cooley.edu/commentary/admissions_chances_improve_employment_outlook_brightens.html (posted a few days ago by another gracious poster). There is the same tone, many of the same "statistics," and the Denver article actually CITES the Cooley one. Hmmm.

    And here is a list of the headlines of LeDuc's most recent "commentaries" about legal education:

    (1) "Admissions chances improve; Employment outlook brightens."
    (2) "Law school is indeed worth the money."
    (3) "Are the bar results for real?" (blaming the Mi State Bar for horrible bar results)
    (4) "Fourt Tier My..." (denigrating the caste system in legal education, and concluding with his take on what makes a law school great--e.g. library size, see Cooley's ranking system for that one)
    (5) "Answering a question about a Michigan lawyer shortage." (I won't bother looking at the numbers--I practice in Michigan so I need only look around to see that this is garbage. If someone has the time to destroy his analysis I would love to see it).
    (6) "Is more transparency about law schools desirable?" (this is my favorite).
    (7) "Law School Costs, Student Loan Debt, and Advice for Applicants." (concluding with "If you are concerned about that issue, and you do not have sufficient resources to pay for law school without borrowing, you should seriously consider selecting the lowest cost alternative available." Translated: well you're fucked pretty much anywhere so you might as well spend less).
    (8) "Enough about the Ills and Evils of Legal Education." (enough indeed).
    (9) "Does a shortage of lawyers loom?" (Renamed (by me): "Is a mass law graduate suicide on the horizon?")

    Can't make this shit up.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Fourth tier, my ass? I agree. For Cooley and friends, I'd create a special fifth tier. The fourth tier starts after the top two dozen; the fifth tier, after the top hundred. Cooley may even belong in a sixth tier.

      Delete
  35. LawProf,

    Aren't you in effect arguing that law schools should cease to report salary numbers because any references to those numbers will be inherently misleading given self-selection and under-reporting?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous,

      Are you retarded?

      Delete
    2. Nope.

      LawProf criticized the Dean for stating the average salary of his employed grads. How else to calculate the average but use the numbers with which you have been provided?

      Delete
    3. He criticized the dean for lying about the average salaries, law prof stated the average salary.

      Delete
  36. Dean Yellin is getting shellacked in the comments section over at Abovethelaw. Some of those comments are pure gold.

    ReplyDelete
  37. @9:58AM

    No. LP is arguing that law shool deans should not misrepresent the numbers that their schools report. As LP mentions throughout his post, there is no need for Katz to wildly speculate and fraudulently misrepresent employment outcomes becuase we know what the otucomes are. The numbers speak for themselves. Katz could certainly make fair and truthful statements about those numbers, but he won't do that because the numbers are so dismal.

    ReplyDelete
  38. 7:38 AM thanks, but I'm not sure what the tea partiers stand for so I don't identify with them (esp. after seeing one of them with that memorable "get your govt. hands off my medicare" sign).

    8:59 AM, MacK, JP, 10:01 AM--all good points--a lot of these 2-3 person firms are just classmates huddled together for warmth. And yes there are lots of eat-what-you-kill arrangements, which can actually be OK if one has established connections and a referral network--which most new JDs lack.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I just laughed out loud - "a lot of these 2-3 person firms are just classmates huddled together for warmth."

      Thanks for making the lunch break from my new paralegal / research / assistant / whateverthefuck job more enjoyable. Just started this week. Currently on track to make about half my pre-law school annual earnings (take note, deal lemmings). Which, is a massive improvement over last year where I made, well, about Dick Butkus.

      Delete
    2. Ahem, Crux puts down apple and tries typing with two hands... I meant "dear lemmings."

      Delete
  39. @10:02:

    There's also a story about Dean Katz's statements at the ABA website.

    ReplyDelete
  40. Dumb question, but do Deans owe a duty to the Law School?

    He's in a tight spot. Legally, he has a fiduciary duty to the law school, since he's its agent. As an agent, he's not supposed to work against the interests of the employer/principal. But he also has moral (if not legal) duty to, among others, kids who might be tempted to throw money away on a worthless degree. In the present state of things, those two duties are in conflict. The right thing for him to do (easy for me to say) is to resign, because it's impossible to comply with one of his duties without breaching the other one.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. At a minimum, he could shut up.

      Delete
    2. Dumb question, but do Deans owe a duty to the Law School?

      Not a dumb question. Even if true, there is never a duty to utter false or misleading statements. (Criminal defense attorneys are a special category but Dean Katz cannot claim to be a criminal defense lawyer in the context of that statement about law school.)

      Delete
    3. You are stupid. He doesn't have any duty to lie,

      Delete
  41. People (Deans) who seek the destruction of others - should themselves be destroyed.

    ReplyDelete
  42. And your hero Lawprof continues to cash his paycheck funded by the scam. He is protected by tenure and will likely retire with a nice 401-K funded by non-dischargeable loans. I doubt he cares about anything other than getting his anti law school articles published. Integrity? None. He is part of the scam.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Tell us what you care about, 10:56.

      Delete
  43. 10:56 makes me want to write Campos a bonus check out of my own pocket.

    As the only one who has the stones to say what is right and make a good faith effort at improving the lot of their students, he (and DJM) are literally the only people in academia who actually earn their paychecks.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Fact: Campos is underpaid.

      Delete
  44. LP is forgetting one important fact. Many lawyers take the bar in multiple states. The fact that 1,000 people passed the Co. bar is meaningless, unless you know how many of them were multiple test takers.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My uncle is licensed in three states because he has clients in three states.

      Delete
  45. ^ atleast someone is saying something. but you're right. everything is f*cked and will be for sometime if not forever.

    ReplyDelete
  46. Paul,

    Do you have any interest in being nominated to the ABA's Council on Legal Education? Do DJM or Tamanaha? Nominations are due by April.

    http://apps.americanbar.org/members/forms/2013-2014CouncilNominations.html

    ReplyDelete
  47. @11:00 AM: You've at best qualified the bar passage number, not rendered it meaningless, by pointing out multiple test takers. Even if there are many among the 1,100, presumably many of those take the Colorado bar so they can compete for Colorado jobs. Even without considering the additional people waiving into the Colorado bar every year, LP's argument is valid.

    ReplyDelete
  48. updated LSAC app numbers from the most recent week available.

    http://www.lsac.org/lsacresources/data/three-year-volume.asp

    Applications jumped 12% and applicants jumped 15% last week. Applicants still down 20% Y-O-Y.

    If the time distribution stays consistent with last year, we'll see 47k applicants - lower than the 54k being cited right now.

    ReplyDelete
  49. I know of at least one Colorado opening in 2012 that did not go to a Colorado recent law graduate. The University of Colorado legal office. That opening went to a recent University of Chicago grad. With such anecdotal evidence, I can now clearly pronounce that legal job openings in Colorado and Colorado law school graduates, did not come to a 1:1 ratio.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Scanning 2012 new hires in Denver, it appears that Denver/CU only cover about 40% of the openings. The dean is on crack if he thinks Denver BigLaw isn't recruiting - and hiring - at places Stanford, Iowa, Northwestern, Cornell, etc.

      Plus, I imagine a lot of Denver natives leave the state to go to better law schools.

      Delete
  50. If you actually read the Forbes article (by a blogger, not the magazine) the good dean references, the Forbes guy relies on a piece of propag, er, "research" done by Georgetown.

    If you read the disclaimers of the Georgetown article that concluded a law degree = 4 mil, you would find out that no single JD graduate was actually shown to have ever made that much.

    So how did they calculate the 4 million that the dean is now touting in bold? They looked at census cohorts by occupation declared for the most recent census and extrapolated whole careers based on the average earning for that age bracket.

    So:

    Age 26-30: 10 lawyers making 50k average
    Age 31-35: 8 lawyers making 60k average
    Age 36-40: 6 lawyers making 70k average
    Age 41-45: 5 lawyers making 90k average
    Age 46-50: 5 lawyers making 1200k average
    Age 51-55: 4 lawyers making 150k average
    Age 56-60: 2 lawyers making 200k average
    Age 61-65: 2 lawyers making 250k average

    Translates to a hypothetical lawyer making millions.

    It completely ignores JD holders who aren't currently working as attorneys and/or list something else on the census and/or don't bother filling it out. It also ignores the fact that the profession's earnings are skewed towards people who attained partner in the 70s/80s/90s and it is now considerably difficult to make equity status. It assumes - dangerously - that the today's new lawyer will make what the median boomer lawyer makes today.

    For Forbes to use it to claim a degree is worth the investment TODAY is reckless. For a law dean to cite it either without reading the fine print or ignoring the fine print is irresponsible. By citing such numbers, they're ignoring the massive graveyard their institutions have created.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Also, the Forbes blogger is the founder and CEO of Stratus Prep. A LSAT and GMAT test prep company.

      Delete
    2. Well, there you go. That explains it.

      Delete
    3. In 1987 I started working at a mid-law firm (by the size standards of that city). The first named partner was 42 and had practiced for 16 years. He was from very humble origins. After 16 years he lived in a huge house in an expensive suburb, he had two weekend houses, one waterfront the other in the mountains for skiing. His kids went to a very expensive private school and, of course, his wife didn't work and they both drove high-end cars.

      He was an excellent lawyer and a really good man but the truth is that nobody in that market will EVER live like that again by practicing law. There was a golden age, and it is long gone.

      Delete
    4. Yup. Guys who got in the right areas in the 60s and 70s and early 80s could make out like bandits. Know one who became managing partner of a mid-size firm within a decade of practice, and he's filthy filthy rich.

      He's still at the same firm pulling in partner profits every year. Today's entry-level hires at the same firm work long hours for low pay and they haven't promoted one to partner in probably 20+ years.

      Delete
  51. My apologies if this was already stated, but I unfortunately do not have time to read all of these interesting posts (too busy looking for a legal job!)right now.
    In the Fall of 2012 I was offered several document review jobs by the obvious recruiting companies in Denver. Hourly rate was b/w $18 and $25/hour. When I questioned the low rates I was told several times: "this isn't really challenging legal work...just entry level." Reviewing mortgage foreclosure documents for fraud is entry level and justifies $18/hour? Really?
    Icing on cake was a CL job posted yesterday for a Denver in-house counsel position (PT)which also paid $25/hour! Apparently law firms in Denver are now implementing this new 'pay scale.' Unbelieveable!
    Once again, why did we ever even think that a legal degree would be marketable? Oh, right, because we believed those experts 'in the know' such as DU's Mr. Katz. It's time for the truth to be told about the future of the legal industry. Didn't we learn somewhere about the critical importance of the truth? I guess it's really always been about the manipulation of the facts...
    Unemployed 3 years and counting....

    ReplyDelete
  52. The Dean of Denver Law School is p1ssin on hospitality! And George Hardy won't allow it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "Goblins still exist! Your Grandpa Seth is telling you!"

      Delete
  53. Once again, the statistics here are flawed. The number of people who pass the bar in a state are in no way equivalent to the number of jobseekers in that state.

    Nonetheless, Denver's statististics are, of course, far more flawed.

    ReplyDelete
  54. it is important to watch what the professors say at prawfsblawg and the faculty lounge and blogs like that. every time nonsense gets printed it needs to be contradicted with hard facts.

    ReplyDelete
  55. For Katz to take the time to write this blatantly inaccurate news letter,just reeks of desperation.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. He has been working on the for at least a couple years. Here is an earlier version.
      http://www.law.du.edu/documents/about/Dean-Katz-Message-to-Students-re-Value-of-Law-School.pdf

      Delete
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    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. the latest from Dean Katz

      Delete
  57. FOARP @ 7:01,

    A bank sued Morgan Stanley because Morgan Stanley sold CDO which they knew would be worthless in the future. MS filed a motion to dismiss and it was denied.

    http://dealbook.nytimes.com/2013/01/23/financial-crisis-lawsuit-suggests-bad-behavior-at-morgan-stanley/

    Guess who was the judge that denied the MTD: Judge Melvin Schweitzer. The same judge who dismissed the NYLS fraud lawsuit.

    So it appears that things are different if a bank is doing the suing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yup, Taiwanese banks are not sophisticated consumers of CDO, but 22 Y/O law students are sophisticated consumers of legal education. Makes perfect sense.

      Delete
    2. With every frikkin' day, it's more and more clear that the courts no longer care about hiding the fact that there's one law for the rich and another for us.

      Delete
  58. @10:20

    "As an agent, he's not supposed to work against the interests of the employer/principal. But he also has moral (if not legal) duty to, among others, kids who might be tempted to throw money away on a worthless degree. In the present state of things, those two duties are in conflict."

    Actually, those duties don't conflict. You see, law schools have failed to realize something VERY important - something realized by business owners across the country: your customers are your life blood. Make them happy. Happy, successful graduates are the best advertisement for schools. And, as schools should have known by now, unhappy, unemployed graduates can be destroy a school's reputation.

    Not sure why law schools haven't yet realized that, but I have. The reason schools are now starting to hurt is because they haven't realized this. When they realize that the success of their graduates aligns with the success of their schools, well, maybe then we'll see some improvement.

    But the current problem is precisely because deans seem to feel that students' need for honesty conflicts with their ability to make money. It doesn't.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Because, like so many other businesses, they focus on the short term. Almost by definition, a scam cannot last forever. Best to milk it while it lasts.

      Delete
    2. "You see, law schools have failed to realize something VERY important - something realized by business owners across the country: your customers are your life blood. "

      Yes, and you restore your life blood by drinking theirs. Any vampire knows that.

      Delete
  59. LawProf, i think these posts regarding non-T14 LSs are just splitting hairs. The message is out about those schools. The most value-add posts would be the ones attacking the lower T14.

    ReplyDelete
  60. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  61. "I realize such qualities are useful if you are . . . a serial killer."

    ROFLMAO. This is classic. LP you are a great writer and stuff like this is why I just cannot stay away from this blog.

    ReplyDelete
  62. "Whatever else one might say about him Katz --who was a partner at a big Denver law firm before becoming a legal academic -- isn’t a blissfully clueless idiot."

    so he actually can say Davis Polk calibre firm wants him

    ReplyDelete
  63. LP: please delete 904

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  64. I was flabbergasted when I read Dean Katz's piece. The level of mendacity in his article is intolerable.

    In 1985, I remember reading career information from the Colorado Department of Labor stating the legal job market was seriously glutted.

    Since then, I have been on both sides of the interviewing table. What is striking is how many very well qualified people apply for every job. A newly minted lawyer really does not stand much of a chance of being hired, and an even smaller chance of long term employment should he find work.

    Perhaps most telling is the Dpartment of Labor projections that the Colorado legal market will have 547 job openings per year for the foreseeable future, but that 967 people will passed the bar in 2009. http://www.economicmodeling.com/2011/06/22/new-lawyers-glutting-the-market-in-all-but-3-states/

    Of course this does not include the number of lawyers admitted by motion. These numbers pretty much tell the whole story, and someone ignores them at their own peril.

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  65. US News could solve a lot of this if they required law schools to reply to new employment categories.

    1st box: number of graduates in class of 2014;

    2nd box: number of c/o 2014 graduates currently employed in the practice of law

    You could add a third box for clerksships, perhaps a fourth with the number going back to academia.

    Then students would do the very simple math, and when they see how many kids aren't in the first few boxes, they'd pass on that school.

    It would also give the law schools a very simple guide to see how many people they should be admitting every year. Add up the number in the boxes, then at most another 10%, and call it a day. That's your class size. Cut staff as necessary.

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  66. Katz even cites Cooley propaganda - footnote 3.

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  67. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (the BLS) reported that, in 2010, the national unemployment rate for lawyers was 1.5%.[2] This was far lower than the 9.6% national unemployment rate for that year.

    LMAO. Try 15-20%.

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  68. Interesting that I've read all these comments, many of which appear to be from attorneys and soon-to-be attorneys, and never saw the obvious post about Katz: Colorado has adopted the model rules of professional conduct, and under Rule 8.4(c), "it is professional misconduct for a lawyer to: engage in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceipt, OR MISREPRESENTATION." Whehter such misrepresentation occurs in the representaion of a client or not is immaterial. Were I a citizen of the great State of Colorado, I might turn in this cheesy twerp to the State Bar for the numerous and clearly intentional misrepresentations in this "appeal." I doubt DU law school continues to employ as a professor and dean someone who has been suspended or sanctioned by the Bar for professional misconduct.

    As important with all of these deans who distort and misrepresent employment statistics, it is up to the beuraucrats in the State Bars to punch tickets on these weasels. But you'd think whomever teachs professional responsibility at these schools would take some ownership of the profession as a self-governing profession and turn these liars in.

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