Monday, November 21, 2011

The cost of legal scholarship

Over the past few weeks I worked with David Segal of the New York Times to create estimates of how much tuition money ABA-accredited law schools currently collect, how much legal scholarship gets published, how much of the former is used to pay for the latter, and how these figures have changed over time.  It was an interesting and fun exercise, and some of the results were published yesterday.

In this post I'm going to review the raw numbers involved in the analysis, which are quite striking in a number of ways.

TUITION

Calculating how much tuition law schools nominally charge is easy; figuring out how much they actually collect is trickier.  We have very precise data on nominal tuition rates and total students enrolled at ABA-accredited schools, so figuring out the nominal cost of legal education to students is a simple matter of multiplication.  The actual amount of tuition collected is, of course, a different issue, because of school-funded grants.  I took a conservative approach to this question, and assumed that the approximate present mean discount on tuition paid by ABA law students collectively (about 20%; the median discount is zero) has remained constant over the past 25 years, although there's good reason to believe it has grown somewhat.  All figures are expressed in constant, 2010 dollars rather than nominal dollars, that is, they've been adjusted for inflation.

2010

Actual tuition (discounted for grants and scholarships) paid by JD students at ABA-accredited law schools:   \$3,655,017,960

2005

Actual tuition paid by JD students:  \$2,882,560,973

2000

Actual tuition paid by JD students:  \$2,141,409,942

1995

Actual tuition paid by JD students:  \$1,899,746,851

1990

Actual tuition paid by JD students:  \$1,478,561,524

1985

Actual tuition paid by JD students:  \$1,051,454,096

Note that almost all of this growth in tuition revenue was a product of the increased cost of legal education, rather than in law school expansion, which has been fairly minimal over the past 25 years.  While enrollment increased by 22.4% between 1985 and 2010, tuition revenue increased by 248.6% in constant, inflation-adjusted dollars.

How much of this money goes to subsidize legal scholarship?  This is a more speculative calculation, which we ended up making in the following way.  Assume one half of law school operating costs consist of faculty salary and benefits.  Assume further that (quite conservatively) 80% of total faculty compensation goes to tenure-track faculty who are expected to produce scholarship.  Assume that these faculty are supposed to spend 40% of their professional efforts on producing scholarship (a typical putative evaluation metric for faculty is 40% teaching, 40% scholarship, and 20% service. This formal metric actually understates, to put it mildly, the value law schools, and especially higher ranked schools, place on scholarship relative to teaching).  This yields an estimate that 16% of a law school's operating costs are supposed to be dedicated to subsidizing the production of scholarship.   The figures in the article on tuition money spent per student subsidizing scholarship represents the pro rata share of tuition money that goes toward paying for scholarship, i.e., 16% of tuition is spent on subsidizing scholarship (since a significant part of a law school's operating revenues come from sources other than tuition, the total amount of money spend on subsidizing scholarship is quite a bit higher than the figures quoted in the article).

LAW REVIEW ARTICLES

One can quibble -- and more than one legal academic surely will -- with various aspects of this estimate. Still, it allows for further estimates regarding how much law students are paying for, generally speaking, law review articles (there are of course other forms of legal scholarship, but articles in law journals still represent the overwhelming bulk of publishing done by American legal academics).  How many law review articles authored by tenure-track professors at ABA law schools are getting published each year?

This question requires drawing various somewhat arbitrary definitional lines.  I excluded from these calculations anything published in a venue other than the current list of journals categorized by the Current Index to Legal Periodicals as American law journals in print (this excludes among other things a bunch of purely electronic journals, so these numbers are again conservative).  I also excluded anything less than ten pages long, thus eliminating short symposium contributions, tributes to retiring luminaries, etc.

First, here are the number of American law journals in print per CILP's categorization:

1960:  118

1970:  186

1980:  282

1990:  368

2000:  522

2010:  616

To estimate the number of articles published per year, as defined above, I took samples from a representative selection of journals for the year in question, counted the publications in those journals, and extrapolated to the CILP list.  I also examined the Index to Legal Periodicals and Books to see if the figures were consistent with the growth rate in that publication.

Articles published in American law journals:

1970:  1650

1990:  4255

2010: 9856

How much of this growth rate is due to the increase in the number of tenure track law professors?  From estimates derived from AALS directories I estimate that there were 3289 tenure track law professors in 1970, 5829 in 1990, and 7791 in 2010.  This would mean that:

Between 1970 and 2010 tenure track faculty increased by 136.9%

Total legal scholarship published increased by 497.6%.

Between 1970 and 1990 tenure track faculty increased by 77.2%.

Total scholarship published increased by 157.8%.

Between 1990 and 2010 tenure track-faculty increased by 33.7%.

Total scholarship increased by 131.8%.

So the major increase in the size of tenure track faculties took place largely between 1970 and 1990, but the bulk of the increase in per capita scholarship has taken place over the last 20 years. (Not coincidentally, this latter period correlates with the creation of and eventual legal academic obsession with the USNWR rankings, which give considerable weight to both academic reputation and spending per student).

All this yields some estimates of how much the average law student is paying annually for legal scholarship now, as compared to the student's predecessors.  Again, all figures are inflation-adjusted and stated in current dollars:

1985:   Each student paid an average of \$1424 in tuition to subsidize the production of legal scholarship.

1990:  \$1854

1995:  \$2349

2000:  \$2740

2005:  \$3286

2010:  \$4028

The good news for current law students is that they're each paying only forty-one cents per law review article, which may (or may not) sound like a bargain.  The bad news is that the graphomania of our profession has reached a point where forty-one cents per article means an average 2010 law school graduate paid around \$10,500 in tuition toward the publication of law review articles, and a current 1L is likely to pay closer to \$15,000 by the time he or she acquires a JD degree.

Whether and to what extent this massive increase in both the cost and amount of legal scholarship is a desirable development will be the subject of another post.

1. Wow! Good work but no surprises. Your numbers are conservative.

2. So that's about \$60,000 per law review article. Worth it?

3. Thanks for this lawprof. it's great to see the NY times do an article on the point you made in your first post back in august.

4. I would love to see the raw numbers of tuition paid at top schools compared to Biglaw salaries over the last several decades. My sense is that, even at \$160K, law school tuition as a multiplier of starting salaries has far out-paced the rise in Biglaw salaries.

5. ***WARNING***

There is a nut who will ruin the comments section by posting any of:

"Law school transparency doesn't matter because no student attends law school based on the career placement statistics."

"Most student loans are paid back as you can verify by 'running the numbers.'"

He is very effective at shutting down the comments section because no one wants to talk to someone who is seemingly mentally ill. He will enter this thread soon. Please ignore him.

6. I had a debate with law professors on this exact topic a while back. I had proposed the solution that law professors be forced to use of a billable hours system. Every week, they submit a time sheet showing how many hours the worked and what they spent that on.

The two main categories would be
(a) "Student related work" - Teaching students, preparing for lectures, meeting students in office hours and so on
(b) Publications work - Researching your paper, writing it, publishing it and so on.
There would be other categories like orientation, staff meetings and such but these would be the main two.

My goal was to (a) allow professors to split their time and compensation between teaching/publishing as they themselves chose and (b) see how much each of these tasks, teaching and publishing, cost per year.

You should have seen them scream bloody murder. It was just an internet discussion but even the thought seemingly set them on fire. They came up with complaint after complaint about why a billable hours system wouldn't work (all of their complaints had been proven false by billable hours systems enacted in the private sector decades, if not centuries, ago). Then we got to the gist of it, when they accused me of having a secret goal of getting professors to teach more and write less.

7. The 2005 to 2010 change in tuition is shocking. \$2.8 billion to \$3.6 billion in just five years?

That goes to show you the power, or lack thereof, of internet blogs. IIRC, Tom the Temp, Scott Bullock, Loyola 2L and other scambloggers all in their prime in 2005 yet their blogging accomplished nothing.

I'll say it again, nothing is going to change until you put real world pressure on the law schools. I'll restate the ideas that I came up with:

1. Publish a website listing every professor and legal academic and whether they agreed to the transparency petition. On that note, there are students applying to law schools

2. Protests, although after seeing how the UC system responded to protests I think this will take a lot more courage than I imagined.

3. Lawsuits. Thanks Kurzon Strauss!

4. Making your voice heard to the ABA. LST is doing a good job of this with their "ABA Watch" and "Standard 509" projects, but we could always do more.

5. Senate hearings. Hopefully they'll happen.

8. Continuing where I cut myself off at #1 . . . there are students applying to law school for 2012 admissions right now. If we could get to the point where the 2012 class are the first class making truly informed decisions that would be a great achievement. The period between now and next Summer is crucial.

9. This weekend the law professor blogs were filled with various reactions to the NYT story on law professors and legal scholarship. It's quite sad to see the professors defend what, to everyone else, is an obviously indefensible system. I guess that's what psychologists call denial.

10. Leiter's response (linked below) was particularly hilarious. He actually had the gall to compare his work to that of a scientist inventing a new perscription drug to treat illness.

However, I am not surprised that law professors defend the system. It's how their bread is buttered.

11. If you want to get some sense of how different the world views of those in the legal academy are from practicing lawyers (and from most of the rest of the world), I recommend you check out this post at PrawfsBlawg (and the comments thereon) about Sunday's NYT article:

http://prawfsblawg.blogs.com/prawfsblawg/2011/11/a-recipe-for-trashing-legal-scholarship.html

Among other things, you'll note attacks on the NYT as biased and wildly inaccurate, but essentially no actual rebutting arguments, much less citations of facts. Law professors just don't understand that anyone might doubt the extraordinary value of what they do (and publish). Indeed, they view this point as so self-evident that it requires no support.
I was a full-time, tenure track law professor for a few years. I entered the academy after 15 years in practice and decided fairly quickly that being a law prof was not for me. I loved the classroom, but that is a small part of the job. Law faculties are very, very strange places, folks. Their members simply do not think "like lawyers" (or like plumbers, doctors, bankers or anyone else I know, except possibly other professors).

12. Uh oh, please don't incite Leiter into another embarassing hissy fit.

"But I do matter! Let thousands of pointless \$60,000 law review articles blossom in the meadows. They will help cover up the stench of rotten carcasses and ruined lives."

13. @8:10 is the only nut ruining the threads here. How many times can you post the same shite? Its tiresome and you come across as crazy.

14. What I just posted on prawfsblawg:

I simply want to comment that - there is a joy one feels when one observes justice, when one observes bad people being exposed, and I feel that every time another person exposes the scam known as law school.

There is no need to debate it because the evidence is overwhelming, and indeed you don't have ONE, NOT ONE, non-legal-academic defending you. No no no. There is no need for debate. One should only basque in the warm glow of equity to see you people exposed for what you are.

-----------------

Keep in mind Prof. Bodie teaches at St. Louis Law School (not WUSTL), the school that produced the article, "Why Law School is Still Worth It" that this blog trashed a while back.
http://www.nationaljurist.com/content/why-law-school-still-worth-it

15. I think all of us who spent many, many wasted hours in the law library cite-checking and editing journal articles implicitedly understand the value of legal scholarship. Some of the works were very good and could have some influence on the law, many were valuable only to law professors and perhaps a few practicioners in that narrow field, and some were complete drivel. Of the drivel, most was intellectually dishonest, a cut a paste job from the author's previous works, or in no way useful to anyone. I pains me to think that each article costs about \$60k. How do we structure legal scholarship to keep the good and useful writing, limit the middling variety, and get rid of the bad? I'd be interested in Prof. Campos' take on this issue. Would simply cutting down on the number of journals help or would it be more useful to lessen the pressure to publish once faculty receive tenure. The T-14 professors would likely still produce at the same rate, but do we need everyone at LSU, Ohio, and GW publishing the same amount as today rather than deliverying an education that better prepares new graduates for practice? Sorry, I know it's in bad form to end with a rhetorical question.

16. I'm just going to throw this out there:

Has any person, outside of the legal field, ever praised a law review article, ever? I'm setting the bar really low here.

17. One should only basque in the warm glow of equity to see you people exposed for what you are.

If you want people to take you seriously, don't spell the word "bask" as "basque" unless you meant to reference some sort of quasi-terrorist separatist group tucked away in a corner of Spain.

I know we had the whole "your tone affects the effect you have" conversation awhile back, but this sentence is a good example of the sort of comment that's going to push academics to get defensive or to dismiss you entirely.

Perhaps saying something like:

"I'll admit to no small amount of schadenfreude when I see the difficulties legal academics are having right now. Every dollar in your paycheck comes on the backs of students induced to take on life-crushing non-dischargeable debt through fraudulent employment statistics. Shame on all of you. I, for one, will bask in the warmth of the fires burning down the academy. And if it's a good day, I'll make some s'mores."

18. Although if I'm being totally honest, as an unrepentant fatty, I'll take any excuse to make some s'mores.

19. I don't think any blog comment would persuade legal academics to give up their huge annual incomes.

20. A fat LSAT/MCAT tutor who relishes in nitpicking spelling and grammar in blog comments. You must have been the most popular person in law school.

21. Breezy +1 for the win. I've also mentioned tone as a freindly criticism of our transparency=meaningless friend. To him I say that the professionalism of our discussions will at least not provide those defending the current system with evidence that we are all just the few bitter losers who lacked the social skills to get jobs. We have to be thoughful and articulate or we can be too easily dismissed. Petulantly lasking out at others does not help with this. If you continue, I for one will start thinking of you as an agent provocatour or an employee of whatever PR firm the ABA or law school lobby has engaged.

22. @12:18 - Do you just park yourself in front of the computer and constantly refresh this page?

Are people allowed to think that that the money side of the issue is more important than "transparency" without being provocateurs? Why do you think this is such a crazy proposition? Why does it bother you so much?

And your tone is professional? Why do you persist in childish attacks (its all the same guy! you're a fucking idiot! you support the ABA!)? Why can't you just argue the issues? We all know already....transparency is the most important issue anywhere anyplace - it will solve all our problems....lollipops and puppies will rain down from the sky...tuition will magically fall to !980 levels....now can you just give it a rest and stop posting a million times a day? You're driving people away.

23. The problem with this tone debate is that each of you is subjectively deciding the appropriate tone.

For example, Breezywheezy's post can arguably be construed as an arson threat. 12:18's tone, with its numerous mis-spellings and incoherent lines (what does "I've also mentioned tone as a freindly criticism of our transparency=meaningless friend." mean?) is also problematic. By the way, based on the incoherence of 12:18's post I think he's our mentally ill friend (google schizophrenia and word salads to gain insight into his posts).

To throw my opinion into the mix, I think people change their tone depending on the situation and the person they are speaking with. I doubt anyone here uses a polite tone in all discussions.

When you are speaking with people such as law school professors, I think you should use a tone that you would use when speaking with criminals - an accusatory and uncomprimising tone that communicates your awareness of their actions.

24. FYI to all, 12:18 = 12:29 = mentally ill guy who talks to himself in the comments. Please ignore him.

25. Does anyone know of a way in bogger to give each commenter a unique ID based on their IP address, without disclosing the IP address?

I'm all for debate, but I really don't want to talk to a schizo.

26. 12:29 here.

@12:30 - I can agree with that.

@12:34 - hilarious. So first any post that discusses how student loan reform is more important than transparency became "all the same guy" and now the shrill poster who constantly posting about it all being the same guy is also included? The circle is complete. Stalin would be proud.

Thank you for confirming how mentally and emotionally challenged most law students/attorneys are.

27. This comments section is so creepy.

28. A fat LSAT/MCAT tutor who relishes in nitpicking spelling and grammar in blog comments. You must have been the most popular person in law school.

I like relish.

Especially on hot dogs.

29. What are the "transparency doesn't matter" guy's thoughts on the Cooley, NYLS and Thomas Jefferson lawsuits.

Should they be dismissed? If not, why not? They are purely about transparency.

Finally, what are his or her thoughts on fraud in general, such as securities fraud. Should companies be punished when they publish fraudulent income statements to lure investors? If so, what is the difference between that and publishing false employment statistics to lure students?

30. @1:19 - you seem to be misunderstand the main point. Of course all fraud should be prosecuted...but what would you rather have? Laws that end "too big to fail" banks and a modern version of Glass-Steagall that separates investment banks from commercial banks? That is the heart of the problem. Fraudulent income statements will always exist in one form or another and they have a whole army of attorneys and accountants to help them work around any existing laws. Not to mention the lobbying power to create loopholes, etc. We can also see how the SEC, a fully captured agency, has kept up with cases of fraud. The question is how are we going to end all of this?

Nobody ever said not to pursue fraud...but loans will still exist, schools will still charge what they charge and not suffer if their graduates inevitably do. This why the Slate article was so important. It addressed many of these issues. In a crappy economy with few jobs created a tiny chance at a big law job and three years of fully financed schooling will always prove alluring. Theres a sucker born every minute, as someone once said.

Would you rather make it impossible for banks to give out liar loans and slice them and dice them into supposedly AAA investments (while ending bailouts) or just prosecute them afterward when the shit hits the fan? You know they are currently just thinking up their next scam...."other people's money" is a wonderfully corrupting concept.

31. LawProf,

If you want to monitor IP addresses it's very simple. I'll give you the step by step instructions.

1. Go to the website www.statcounter.com and set up an account. It's free and only requires a name and email address.

2. Once you have your account set up, go to "Add a Project." There you'll be asked for a Project URL (http://insidethelawschoolscam.blogspot.com) and Project Title (whatever you want).

3. Click "Add project" and you will be given HTML code along with instructions on how to add it to your blogspot site. Essentially you go into "design" mode, add a new "gadget", select the HTML/Javascript gadget (it's on the first page of gadgets) and then paste the provided code into the screen they give you. The instructions lay this out clearly.

4. Finally, you click the "Check installation" button to make sure it works.

5. Then simply log in to your statcounter account, go to your project, and then you can see the IP of every person who visits, as well as every person who comments. For example, if you click on the entry (on the left) "Recent Pageload Activity" you'll see an entry www.blogger.com/comment-iframe.g?blogID=nnn&postID=nnn from which you can get an IP for every comment. You can even label IPs by giving them names such as "transparency doesn't count nut" or "Steroid Guy" so you can easily match the IP with the person making the statement.

6. You can also use statcounter to block IPs should you choose.

I hope that helped. I can provide additional answers if you have further questions.

32. "In a crappy economy with few jobs created a tiny chance at a big law job and three years of fully financed schooling will always prove alluring."

Part of overcoming your problematic reasoning skills, is realizing that not everyone makes decisions in the way that you do.

Say it with me slowly,

"Not everyone makes decisions in the way that I do."

"For me, a tiny chance at biglaw is worth the time and money of law school, but it might not be for others."

"I do not know what others are thinking or how they will behave."

33. lol...exactly - not everyone thinks like me...you need to regulate for the lowest common denominator. I went to a school because I received a partial scholarship and in-state tuition...not everyone thinks like me. Most students just went to the highest ranked schools.

You really need to think more critically and less obnoxiously. So since not everyone thinks "alike" why would transparency solve a thing? Complete logic fail on your part.

And why should law schools who don't prepare anyone for the bar or for life as an attorney be allowed to charge outrageous tuition based on government backed loans?

34. Right, not everyone thinks like you, and so you ***could be wrong*** when you claim that honest job placement numbers will have no effect on law school enrollment. Your thesis, could be wrong.

Say it with me slowly,

"Because I don't know how applicants will behave, I could be wrong when I claim that transparency will have no effect on enrollment."

I'm going to improve your thinking ability one comment at a time.

35. http://www.legalethicsforum.com/blog/2011/11/more-on-the-ny-times-article.html

36. But Im not the one yelling every time somebody else brings up a different resolution. You're the one that starts on your conspiracy theories and yelling about psychos and supporting the ABA. I simply express my opinion. Thats what we do here.

You are not very bright. Honestly

37. ....so I apply your I ***could be wrong*** platitude to yourself. Get it, genius?

38. 2:03 is a continuation of 2:02....not different people.

39. "why would transparency solve a thing?"

"Some students go to law school to get a good job."

"They based this decision on the fraudulent job placement numbers published by law schools."

"With transparency, schools will not be able to publish these numbers."

"Seeing that law school is not a ticket to a good job, these people will not go to law school."

Once you've gotten that I'll help you see why decreased law school enrollment will solve the problem.

40. http://www.theconglomerate.org/2011/11/theory-and-practice-in-legal-education-and-the-ny-times-news-cycle.html

41. But I thought not all law students think the same? So why would transparency solve this problem universally? Your argument not mine...

And why don't you think that you may be wrong?

You see arguing about ideas instead of crazy ad hominem attacks is so much more constructive. But I can see why that may be difficult for you since you fail to apply your own logic to yourself.

42. "But I thought not all law students think the same? So why would transparency solve this problem universally? Your argument not mine..."

This is wonderful. I'm so glad that we are exposing and fixing your reasoning flaws. Say it with me slowly:

"We don't need need all law students to act in the same way for transparency to solve the problem."

"For example, if transparency leads to a 25% decrease in enrollment then that will be an improvement over what we have now."

"In addition, transparency will cure the immorality of the fraud, because no longer will students be deceived into attending."

"There is a moral difference between being deceived into doing something, and doing it based on complete information."

Please repeat these, slowly, for ten minutes before posting again.

43. What happened to the long post I wrote telling LawProf how to get the IP addresses of commenters? That sucks because I'm not writing it again.

44. My god are you extremely stupid or just a troll having fun?

And how do you know this?: "For example, if transparency leads to a 25% decrease in enrollment." Use your own logic, "I may be wrong"

Anad agin, your logic - not all students behave exactly like you.

And if we make loans dischargeable (like any other form of debt) and make law schools offer refunds after the first year and make law schools a party to the loan and attach tuition limitations to any federal loans...won't these solve these problems directly and on a larger scale? Yes transparency is a good thing but only a small part of the equation.

You do know that laws addressing fraudulent income statements and insider trading and fraudulent investment vehicles have existed for 80 years....hows that going for you?

45. (2:29 here)...and btw nobody cares that you think transparency will solve all problems. I think its incredibly naive and shallow....but is it OK with you that others believe that addressing loans is much more important? is that OK with you? With you posting its a conspiracy of one multiple poster?

People don't think like you after all...I heard that once somewhere.

46. Let's slow down. What you're doing now is what most mentally ill people do, that causes others to avoid them. You're machine gunning so much crazy that it's hard to keep up. Let me go one step at a time.

Repeat slowly:

"Even in the unlikely scenario that transparency doesn't lead to any decrease in enrollment, it's still desirable for moral reasons."

"There is a moral difference between being deceived into doing something, and doing it based on complete information."

Now let's move on to your other crazy. You write, "You do know that laws addressing fraudulent income statements and insider trading and fraudulent investment vehicles have existed for 80 years....hows that going for you?"

Repeat slowly:

"The SEC prosecutes hundreds of lawsuits each year."

"I'm going to go on to westlaw and read the SEC fraud cases filed this month to convince myself that the securities fraud statutes are being enforced."

47. Ok, everyone stop. None of this has anything to do with the post. It's now a personal thing between a few people and the rest of us are tired of it.

48. Finally, regarding your "solution" of getting rid of education loans, say it slowly:

"Educational loans are not specific to law schools."

"Thus I should not be promoting my idea to get rid of educational loans on a law school scam blog."

"Law schools are not responsible for educational loans."

"Thus it's wrong to categorize educational loans as part of the law school scam, like we do transparency."

Please repeat these statements slowly, and think about them. If you can learn to reason properly on this issue then you can do it in other ares of your life as well.

49. @2:38

Holy shit are you one sad little naive fucker....hundreds of SEC fraud case\=\ the thousands and thousands that exist. Do you not read? What cave do you live in? Are you saying that the SEC is doing its job satisfatorily? Ever hear of Bernie Madoff? A guy named Harry Markopolos?

Where have you been the last 4 years? Do you not know whats going on? Your lack of intelligence and knowledge is stunning. And why is it that the dumbest guys are always the most obnoxious about it?

50. "Ever hear of Bernie Madoff?"

Good good. Now say it slowly.

"Bernie Madoff's crime was one of lack of transparency. He lied about the investment returns he was earning, just like law schools lie about their ability to place students."

"Thus, I should not be using Bernie Madoff as an example of unenforced securities laws, or to bolster my point that transparency is not important."

51. @2:47 - Just wow -- the SEC was handed all the info on Madoff by Markopolous and they did nothing about it. The SEC did not catch him, the economy imploded and his ponzi scheme collapsed on itself. Again, do some reading. The SEC was raked over the coals over this.

And that is exactly right ....he lied about his investments, etc. and it was the SEC' job to make sure he was transparent. How did that work out? YOU argued that the SEC was doing its job.

Now you want to apply that argument to law schools? You do realize that in this case Madoff = the schools and the SEC = ensuring transparency. How did that work out? You don't know that even after Madoff the SEC is still underemployed and underfunded and still not really doing its job?

And you don't think that there will always be Madoffs? That the incentive of \$\$ ensures this?

Again, your lack of intelligence and knowledge is stunning.

52. ...also, ever hear of Goldman Sachs? Their recent slaps on the wrist for massive fraud (creating vehicles that would fail and selling them to customers in order to bet against them)? Yea, the SEC is awesome.

53. "the SEC was handed all the info on Madoff by Markopolous and they did nothing about it."

Yes, please keep writing. You're not going to be helped until you articulate your misfiring neurons. Now please say it slowly:

"He is in prison because the SEC prosecuted him."

"He lied about investment returns to attain investor money, and he went to prison for it. Law schools lie about job placement to attain student loan money, and none of them have gone to prison."

"By analogy, if law schools were held to the same SEC regime as Bernie Madoff, thier leaders would be in prison too."

54. Holy sweet jesus....the SEC did not catch him. He was prosecuted AFTER HE TURNED HIMSELF IN. So thats your proposal...allow massive fraud and prosecute it only after the perpetrator ruins thousands of lives and turns himself in. Genius. It actually perfectly represents your "solution."

55. "Their recent slaps on the wrist for massive fraud (creating vehicles that would fail and selling them to customers in order to bet against them)?"

I'll take as long as you need to rewire your brain. This is a good deed on my part. I'm curing a sick person. Now say it slowly:

"Goldman Sachs had to pay the SEC a \$500 million fine in the Tourre case."

"The trader who orchestrated Goldman's activities in that case, Fabrice Tourre, is still litigating against the SEC."

"Law schools have never paid any fine, or litigated against any government agency over their fraud."

"Thus my claim that an SEC like regime would not treat law schools differently than the current regime, is false."

56. Oh lord...nobody at Goldman went to jail, the fine they paid was minuscule compared to the profits they reaped from theses deals....this happens again and again. hence, very little incentive to change institutional behavior or end fraud.

My friend, you deserve every bad thing that is going to happen to you in your life because you are stupendously dumb.

57. "the SEC did not catch him. He was prosecuted AFTER HE TURNED HIMSELF IN."

This is good. Slowly,

"Bernie Madoff did not turn himself in."

"Bernie Madoff was turned in by his son. His son turned him as a result of a chain of events caused by investors demanding their money, that Madoff did not have because he was lying."

"I was wrong when I said Madoff turned himself in. This was a documented fact that I was wrong about, and it exemplifies my poor thinking skills."

"When Madoff's scam unravelled, the SEC put him in prison. The law school scam unravelled years ago, but no one has gone to prison. Thus I am wrong to say an SEC like regime would make no difference to law schools."

58. "My friend, you deserve every bad thing that is going to happen to you in your life because you are stupendously dumb."

You don't deserve your jumbled and short circuited thinking. That's why I'm trying to help you fix it.

59. "None of this has anything to do with the post."

None of the "ban all educational loans" guy's posts have anything to do with this blog. This blog is about the law school scam. It's about nefarious acts specifically committed by law schools. That list is long, but does not - as far as I know - include the creation of the nation's educational loan program. Thus the "ban all educational loans" proposal doesn't even belong here.

60. hahaha...I love how the main points that show how idiotic your logic is you just ignore...Madoff told his sons (and other employees) that it was all one big lie and it was all a fraud. So what do you think would happen next? Did he run? Actually the whole series of events is why many think the sons were involved. That it was pre-planned that they would turn him in so they looked innocent.. Same difference. But again, THE SEC DID NOT CATCH HIM. E

But Ive seen you try this before - you get throughly schooled on your shallow logic and resort to some tangential point as if that changed everything. Did the SEC catch him?

" Thus the "ban all educational loans" proposal doesn't even belong here." Llolwat? Nice try. Law schools profit directly from these loans and why the problem is so huge and why most graduates suffer so badly. What we discuss here are the resolutions to the problems...or did you not notice LawProf's post about the Slate article? Or this very post where he examines the cost of tuition and whether its reasonable.

61. "Madoff told his sons (and other employees) that it was all one big lie and it was all a fraud. So what do you think would happen next?"

Slowly.

"By virtue of nepotism, it's not a certainty that your children would turn you in."

"Thus my statement, what do you think would happen next, does not have a clear answer."

-----------------------

"Law schools profit directly from these loans and why the problem is so huge and why most graduates suffer so badly."

Say it slowly:

"Profiting from something is not in and of itself wrongful or nefarious. It only becomes wrongful when your profit is a direct result of a wrongful act."

"Law schools' wrongful act is their fraudulent job placement disclosure. Law schools can be blamed for the fraudulent job placement numbers."

"Law schools can't be blamed for education loans, because they had no role in creating that program."

63. @ 3:32,

I have posted several times about how I do not think transparency will solve the problem (I did like the solution proposed in the previous thread though), and I think the person who you are having an exchange with, has lumped you, others, and I into one person. I believe this person likes irritating people. I am not sure you should get worked up over this guy/gal. You are making very sensible points and he is looking for minute details to discredit your posts, i.e. even though the SEC did not stop Madoff from operating a ponzi scheme for years, the fact that they prosecuted him after it was apparent from the market collapse what he was doing means the agency is justified.

I would recommend you stop this exchange this person is enjoying this for perverse reasons.

64. So did the SEC catch him? That was your main point...that SEC was doing a wonderful job. Again a tangential point means nothing to the main arguments...but you do this again and again and again. You must make a wonderful partner in life. Im guessing you're single?

And the rest of your babbling is just that - babbling. Nobody said that fraud shouldn't be pursued only that your solution is extremely shallow and ineffective, as has been shown point for point above.

Again, is that your proposal...allow massive fraud and prosecute it only after the perpetrator ruins thousands of lives and turns himself in or confesses to family and employees who turn him in?

"Law schools can't be blamed for education loans, because they had no role in creating that program."

Are you really this dense? Who cares who created them if this is how they profit of off poor students.

LawProf - can you block this guys IP already? He just sits here and spouts complete BS and yells about conspiracy theories when perfectly reasonable arguments like student reform are put forth. At this point every other comment is his. He is ruining your blog. Pretty soon it will be a circle jerk of one or two.

65. "i.e. even though the SEC did not stop Madoff from operating a ponzi scheme for years, the fact that they prosecuted him after it was apparent from the market collapse what he was doing means the agency is justified."

This is good. Repeat slowly:

"Sane people don't pretend to be multiple posters making the exact same point, with the exact same wording, so they can gain supprort in the comments section of a meaningless blog."

66. @3:46 (this is 3:32 and the rest above) I know who you are - you're the guy who called him a "dick" after tiring of his rants and after trying to be reasonable with him.

Watch - next post from him, me and you are the same person.

Again LawProf - this troll is ruining your blog.

68. "Are you really this dense? Who cares who created them if this is how they profit of off poor students."

This is good. Get it all out there. You're not going to fix your thought process until articulate your poor reasoning.

Now repeat slowly:

"Profiting from student loans is not in and of itself wrongful."

"Yale Law School profits from student loans, but no one is accusing Yale Law School of being part of the law school scam."

"The law school scam is about nefarious acts - specific to law schools."

"The list of nefarious acts by law schools is long. But educational loans are not a nefarious act by law schools, because they did not create that program."

69. FYI - (last two back to back posts above from same person 3:53)

70. "hahaha...."

Slowly:

"Sane people don't start statements with laughter. That's a classic sign of being crazy."

71. genius, student loans were successfully lobbied on behalf of schools so that they acme non-dischargeable....go to town with your pie-in-the-sky transparency resolution. Good luck to you. Nobody said not to go after fraud (for the millionth time).

Other people here are addressing a different issue - that student loans need to be reformed. These are not mutually exclusive. If you don't like that then simply stop reading them.

72. @3:55 holy shit! You better tell the million other people online that use hahaha or lol that they are "crazy." Me, I prefer to label a tool who sits on a blog all day posting about commenter conspiracies and mixing up logic as the insane one. But wharves. Your meltdown is interesting to watch.

73. "genius, student loans were successfully lobbied on behalf of schools so that they acme non-dischargeable...."

Say it slowly:

Now repeat slowly:

"Profiting from student loans is not in and of itself wrongful."

"Yale Law School profits from student loans, but no one is accusing Yale Law School of being part of the law school scam."

"The law school scam is about nefarious acts - specific to law schools."

"The list of nefarious acts by law schools is long. But educational loans are not a nefarious act by law schools, because they did not create that program."

74. And we are talking about student loan reform, which others happen to feel is the heart of the issue. Deal with it, you kooky bastard.

But again, tell me how effective the SEC is with prosecuting fraud? Tell me again who employ the "I might be wrong" method of thinking?

75. "And we are talking about student loan reform"

This is good. Let all your crazy out right here, because I'm going to do the world a favor and realign your neurons.

Slowly:

"When you can choose to fight a very difficult battle between a very strong foe and a relatively weak foe, you should start with the latter."

"We have no chance of ending educational loans, because that is a cherished program that affects all academic progams nationwide."

"The idea of ending educational loan programs is so unrealistic it's crazy."

"We do have a chance of ending fraudulent job placement because that is an unpopular scandal that affects only a small group - law schools."

"Thus we should focus on transparency issue, and I should stop clogging the comments section with my prescription of ending educational loans."

76. My kooky friend...I no longer read your long posts. You lost that privilege long ago. But I'm sure you're used to it.

So is it OK if people discuss student loan reform and have a different opinion than you? Since you own the internet and stuff.

77. "I no longer read your long posts. You lost that privilege long ago."

Slowly:

"Giving me psychotherapy by listening to and correcting my thoughts is not a privilege."

"It's something the other person is doing because I creep him out that much."

"It's something the other person does because he doesn't like me disrupting the comments by attacking the transparency movement, and promoting my crazy and unrealistic 'we should end all student loans' idea."

"The other person is hoping a slow and methodical discussion will get me to think before posting my short circuited thoughts."

78. Im so imagining you in the infamous De Niro in front of the mirror Taxi Driver scene slowly repeating your babblings.

Who am I kidding? You are too ill-informed to know what that is. Just look it up. But try not shooting anyone. If you do...you didn't hear about it here.

79. "Im so imagining you in the infamous De Niro in front of the mirror Taxi Driver scene slowly repeating your babblings."

Slowly:

"If I'm going to recover my sanity, I should work on getting visuals of mental illness out of my thoughts."

80. Now I have to go. I have a life and I'm done working on the computer for today. Hopefully you're starting to question the way you think and stop being a disruption to others.

81. Please. Stop. Now. You guys are killing the discussion. Student loan reform would be worth pursuing if it lowers costs to students without preventing deserving students without independent means from getting an education. Transparency would help new graduates by reducing the number of total new JDs competing for available jobs. If transparency fails, we can try something else. If some student loan reform fails, we can try something else. These reforms are not mutually exclusive. Please move on, this has been two-person argument for about a week.

82. @ 3:32,

Yeah, dude, its me (I did call him a dick). This guy is doing this on purpose.

If you read the article referenced in one of the above comments, and view the comments section, you will see that several professors are concerned about the decline in LSAT and/or law school applications (they blame Seagal for this).

They have centered the discussion around transparency because so much money is at stake. So, you have two groups of people: 1) thinks transparency is the answer because they feel doing anything else presents insurmountable challenge and 2) people that have an interest in keeping the discussion there.

I am not sure if this guy busting our chops is a person with a financial interest in keeping things the way they are now, or if this person falls into category 1, but has had his pride bruised so bad he has gone on a tirade.

In either event, I totally agree with you, transparency is not the answer. The lemming ego is incredible, and while transparency would save a few of them, it would do nothing to put a dent in this industry and/or save the tax payer.

I would like to see the Federal Guarantee go, but maybe this is too ambitious given the current view on education in our society. Perhaps a suitable alternative is what the Yale LS professor suggested.

Of course, you and I know that the risk of regulatory capture is real and probable, but if you are going to have the government involved in this industry, the scheme should look like that.

83. "2) people that have an interest in keeping the discussion there."

Slowly:

"Law schools do not have an interest in keeping the topic on transparency."

"Law schools are spending fortunes fighting transparency lawsuits."

"Law schools have co-opted ABA committees to stifle transparency."

"Law schools have stifled senator Coburn's efforts to get answers on transparency."

"I should never ever again make the crazy statement that law schools want to keep the topic on transparency."

"If law schools would want to keep a topic on something, it would be my crazy 'end student loans' proposal because that has no chance in hell of occuring, and is not something for which they can be blamed."

"And again, sane people don't sock puppet on meaningless internet forums. Nobody cares. The fact that I care is why I need help."

84. "Transparency would help new graduates by reducing the number of total new JDs competing for available jobs. If transparency fails, we can try something else. If some student loan reform fails, we can try something else."

We? When have you ever done anything other than post pusillanimous comments on a blog? Are you Kurzon Strauss, or LST, or the students getting pepper sprayed at UC, or LawProf, or Senators Boxer, Coburn and Grassley?

85. I'm one of the people who thinks the "root" of the problem is the nondischargeability of the debt and I don't think that any reform would work so well as to simply change that.

But that said, I don't see how transparancy could possibly be considered a bad thing. Even if it distracts from more fundamental issues, it can't make the situation any worse and it might very well make it better. I think people underestimate the effect that true employment stats would have. For one thing, if schools were required to publish legitimate stats, then reporters could publish stories about them in the NYT, pointing out what the real "average" salaries are for lawyers, etc. I believe this would have an effect in shaping conventional wisdom among laypeople about law and law school. Its the conventional wisdom that drives the lemmings to law school in the first place.

86. Plus, you can use a form of transparency to address the student loan issue. If schools had to disclose their IBR rates, for example, you would know whose graduates are earning enough to pay the loans back. There was a blog post about that a week ago.

87. Let me summarize: "There may be things horribly wrong with this estimation. But it gives us numbers. So therefore we should go with it."

Let's try this logic on a different application: sleep is a part of the job of professors; without it, they wouldn't be able to do the rest of their job. Professors probably spend about 1/4 of their days asleep. Therefore, 10% of law school budgets is spent paying tenure-track faculty to sleep.

Check yo' economics.

88. Andrew, do you really want to make that argument?

89. "sleep is a part of the job of professors"

No, idiot. Sleep is not the part of any job that I can think of. No one gets paid to sleep. No employment review rates an employee based on how much they slept.

Professors get paid to write. It's part of their job duties. It's how they are reviewed. It's a key basis in determining their raises and tenure.

Holy shit you are a f*cking idiot.

90. AMM, the lighting rod of ITLSS.

91. I'd like to say the entire conversation above was interesting and helpful.

92. sleep is a part of the job of professors; without it, they wouldn't be able to do the rest of their job.

No, sleep is a part of the LIFE of a professor. As is eating, fucking, and taking vacations at the beach. None of these are part of the job for which they draw a salary on the backs of unemployable students.

93. mostly eating, but not much fucking in leiter's case.

94. @4:52 - sadly it isn't a two person argument. Every time somebody varies from what this nut believes is the answer (apparently transparency) he goes ballistic...I know I have gotten into it twice with him and watched him do the same at least 4 other times. I'm not the one posting conspiracy theories and pre-posts about "here comes the transparency" guy...he is on here all day every day - getting sick of his interruptions.

@4:52 - I just think he's too dumb to be anything but a failed law student who didn't properly think through attending law school. His butthurt is too epic and his logic fail too large. A lemming is the perfect description - of most law students and attorneys actually.

To answer some of your other thoughts - student loans simply need to be treated like other debt. If you fully guarantee anything with the full faith and credit of the US with no risk to one side you see the asymmetry in risk/reward we see now.

The funny thing about the guy above is that he is own worst enemy. Doesn't even understand what will and will not help someone like him.

Now watch him say we're the same guy (LawProf step in whenever you want and let everyone know). ProTip - 4:52 is a far better writer than me.

95. annoyed by douchebagsNovember 21, 2011 at 6:24 PM

HOLY SHIT SHUT THE FUCK UP ALREADY!!!! JESUS.

96. (I'm 6:17 and the guy who engaged the transparency is the only answer troll) - so gear I see 4different people agreeing that transparency isn't really the answer. Are we all the same guy? Lawprof, again, join in any time. This troll is ruining your comments section.

@5:10 again, nobody on this side of the ledger is flipping out on transparency supporters. do it. fine by me. Its just history and current political climate tells us that its a limited way to fix the problem.

97. annoyed by douchebagsNovember 21, 2011 at 6:28 PM

Lawprof can you please start monitoring IP addresses and banning people who spam the same statement over and over and over again? I don't know how much more of this argumentative OCD nutcase I can take

98. THE OTHER GUY IS GONE YOU NUT. SHUT THE FUCK UP. JUST SHUT THE HELL FUCK UP ABOUT LOANS YOU FUCKING ASSHOLE!! WRITE BEN BERNANKE WITH YOUR THOUGHTS.

99. LawProf, please ban this person.

100. The guy who tried to give loan nut psychotherapy here.

First of all I'm sorry to see that my prescient warning of 8:10 came true, mainly due to my own fault. I'm sorry but I was only trying to explore an infirmed mind. I was hoping that by breaking down his reasoning errors, step by step, he would rescind and back off. But like all of his type that only made him angrier.

However, I think I might have a silver bullet. Loan nut, you keep stating that federal loans are the problem and that transparency does not matter. You also keep pointing to Madoff to prove your point.

Let me ask you a question - was Madoff caused by (a) federally guaranteed loans or (b) lack of transparency?

As far as I know, Madoff did not receive a penny in federal loans. All of his money came from private funds. Yet he was still able to steal billions. Had he been transparent about his investment returns, however, his scheme would have failed.

You want us to believe that transparency doesn't matter, and that if we ban all government educational loans the problem will be fixed (and again you are downright insane for thinking you have such powers).

Any way, I'm not talking to you any more outside of this thread, so please don't expect this psychotherapy session to be ongoing. What you got today is all you will get from me, and it's more than you've apparently gotten from those who are supposed to care for you.

101. You're just...I'm speechless. The argument wasn't the cause of the fiasco but the cure. your argument is that transparency will resolve the main issues. The counter-argument is that, like the SEC and corporate fraud (that YOU brought up), the power players will always find ways around it and are largely ineffective.

The real analogy here is separating investment banks from commercial banks and ending TooBig To Fail. If banks aren't bailed out and if they don't have access to normal deposits then the overall economy can't be held hostage to the degree it is. In the same way, student loan reform ends the motivation to commit fraud, etc. and ensures that thousands of students aren't in debt for the rest of their lives.

But believe that transparency will cure all that ails you. Nobody cares.

102. ...just allow others to express different views from "transparency is the answer" without hijacking the conversations with your crazy accusations.

103. "The argument wasn't the cause of the fiasco but the cure. your argument is that transparency will resolve the main issues. The counter-argument is that, like the SEC and corporate fraud (that YOU brought up), the power players will always find ways around it and are largely ineffective."

That's incoherent. Can you please try to articulate your reasoning, step by step. Pretend you're in a logic class? Do rigorous, if-then style analysis like you're taking an LSAT. Do this for your own benefit.

Remember. Your thesis is that we should move to a world with no government loans and that transparency doesn't matter. Yet Madoff occured in your ideal world. Why?

104. Let me state it another way, and I really hope you have the bare minimum mental faculties to process this question:

Imagine we move to your world. There are no education loans. Law school is now purely a cash game. The only students able to attend are the rich, people who borrow from their parents (against the parents' retirement money), and other people of means. They attend because law schools continue to lie about job placement, and they graduate mostly un and under-employed like current students.

Do you not see any problem with that?

105. LawProf,

This point may already have been made above, but your analysis is deeply flawed in one significant respect, namely your assumption that all law review articles are being produced by tenure track law professors. A significant percentage of the articles produced on an annual basis are student authored notes or comments, rather than pieces written by law faculty. I would suspect that the number of student pieces has increased significantly along with the drastic expansion in student-edited journals. Moreover, your analysis also doesn't account for the not insignificant number of law review articles written by professors outside of law schools, or by practicioners.

That's not to say that your underlying point is mistaken. To the contrary, I don't doubt that the number of law review articles produced by law school tenure track faculty has increased significantly over the last few decades. But the raw numbers you provide here are clearly erroneous based on some blatantly poor assumptions.

106. The calculation is interesting, but it seems to omit two substantial factors--both of which seem much more than quibbles:

1. Technology has greatly enhanced writing/research productivity since 1990. Just as technology has revolutionized journalism, law practice, and other fields, it has had a huge impact on the production of legal scholarship. Think what it was like to produce memos, briefs, client letters, OR law review articles when sources were consulted in hard copy, cites were shepardized in hard copy, people took notes by hand on notecards, lawyers handwrote their drafts or dictated them, secretaries typed on typewriters, and corrections had to be made by cutting and pasting real paper (rather than documents on a screen).

Both practicing lawyers and law professors produce much more written work product per hour now than they did 20 or 30 years ago. Productivity gains are enormous with technology--a calculation that omits this factor seems quite naive. With a constant number of faculty devoting a constant number of hours to scholarship, I would expect three times as much scholarship today as in 1970--just based on technological productivity increases.

2. Many law schools have sources of income rather than tuition--that's especially true at the top law schools. If scholarship accounts for 16% of the operating budget, it accounts for less than 16% of tuition. The fundraising campaigns--and success of those campaigns--at my T5 alma mater astound me. So what percentage of operating budget is due to tuition at these schools? (As an aside to this, large donors seem to give much more money to chairs supporting research faculty than to classroom teaching initiatives, clinics, or legal writing. The donors may be chasing the same elusive prestige as the law schools themselves, but I don't think one can allocate the private donations particularly to teaching. A lot goes toward scholarships but, somewhat surprisingly, much of it may be designated specifically for scholarship.)

I'm all in favor of reducing law school tuition. But I'm troubled by the omissions in these calculations--much more than quibbles, I think.

107. @8:18 - you engage in sloppy reading comprehension (nobody stated no student loans -- go reread the comments and the Slate article) and black and white thinking.

Does being a hysterical annoying clown get tiresome at some point?

108. FWIW, I've always thought it didn't matter whether transparency "fixed" things or not. If there's true transparency then people are free to make an informed (even if stupid) choice. It bothers me that law schools are providing incorrect information / lying to prospective students. Once that problem is fixed then I'm mostly ok with how things are.

109. You're OK with student loans as the only form of debt that you can't discharge? That schools raise tuition based on the availability of govt backed loans? Well, OK.

110. 8:50,
It's not the only form of debt that can't be discharged.
If you don't like the price don't buy the product?

111. Tell us. How do you, a deranged loon, plan to change the student loan system. We plan to change the lack of transparency with lawsuits and petitions. what's your plan? other than rubbing your fingers up and down your fat lips as you exhale crazy breath?

112. 8:56 please don't waste your breath on this nut. He has no qualms about fraud against private money. His only complaint is fraud involving government loans.

113. (1) I'm going to start deleting people who engage in obsessive arguments that repeat the same points endlessly.

(2) 8:21: I excluded student notes and pieces authored by lawyers rather than law professors.

(3) 8:25: I estimated that 16% of tuition revenues go toward subsidizing scholarship. The numbers quoted above (and in the NYT piece) are based on 16% tuition revenue, not total law school revenue. The actual amount spent subsidizing scholarship is higher, since as you say a significant portion of law school operating budgets are provided by sources other than tuition.

114. About time...and its one guy obsessed over transparency so that should be easy.

115. So many morons. So little time.

116. (1) I'm going to start deleting people who engage in obsessive arguments that repeat the same points endlessly.

Thank you. While I'm not exactly a paragon of politeness (it is the intarwebs, after all), there are enough thoughtful interesting commenters that make me want to check the comments here every day or two, but the unhinged folks are making this unreadable.

117. To be honest BreezyWheeze your posts are a little tiresome to read too. We all already know you scored high on your LSATs and got a full ride at Rutgers. Its sad that I know this about somebody I don't know just from this board...

118. 7:40 = "ban all educational loans" nut. Be careful Breezy he has a file on you!

119. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

120. So this is a perfect test - will the above two comments be deleted? The obsessive is back....

121. Protip professor - Toolator will block IP addresses on your blog. http://www.toolator.com/

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