"Ideology" can mean a number of things. I'm using it here in the sense of the received consciousness of a particular social order, which legitimates that order and helps reproduce it. The lawyer and sociologist David Riesman aptly described how ideological modes of thought produce a kind of "sincere" mental state that allows someone to habitually believe his own propaganda. A dominant ideology generates a set of views that distort social reality in a particular way: in a way which advances the economic interests of the dominant group, without the members of the group becoming conscious of the fact that they believe what they believe because it is in their self-interest to believe it.
A simple example might be how the ideology of free enterprise capitalism in early 21st century America creates a sincere belief in the mind of a hedge fund manager that paying himself a salary of one billion dollars, which is then taxed at a lower rate than the salary of the average American full-time worker, is wealth maximizing for society as a whole, and therefore by definition a good thing.
An unavoidable difficulty that arises when one points out that in many respects contemporary American legal education functions as a scam is that this observation creates a defensive reaction, which involves claiming that it isn't a scam because no one consciously intends that it be one. Now this claim about the scam's lack of intentionality is for the most part true. I very much doubt that, even now, more than a small minority of people in legal academia understand themselves to be participating in a scam, and the size of the subset of people within that group who intend that it should be one may well be literally zero.
The overwhelming majority of legal academics would most sincerely and vehemently deny that law school is a scam. Now if, despite this deeply sincere belief, law school functions as a scam anyway, then what we're dealing with is what can be called a legitimated scam. A legitimated scam is a scam which is not understood to be such by those profiting from it, but which is interpreted as being something else altogether. It will be seen that what a legitimated scam requires is an ideology -- a set of beliefs that allow those who profit from the structure of the enterprise to misunderstand the nature of that structure, in a way that allows them to behave in a fashion that advances their own interests, while at the same time believing (again, with all sincerity) that the purpose of their behavior is something else.
This is what makes the law school scam fundamentally different, as a qualitative matter, from something like Bernie Madoff's Ponzi scheme. Madoff, assuming he hadn't become what the mental health profession would characterize as delusional, did not understand himself to be doing anything other than ripping off his customers. He was not, in other words, functioning under any ideological misapprehensions. He was simply stealing from people, and he knew it (some of the people from whom he was stealing surely suspected what he was doing, in which case they, too, were stealing from fellow participants in the scam).
By contrast, the law school scam depends crucially on ideological misapprehension: on the maintenance of a sincere and widespread belief among those of us who profit from it that it is something other than what it is. Here I will list a few of the specific beliefs which help maintain this more general faith:
(1) Law school turns law students into critical thinkers. Critical thinking is valuable for its own sake, and has value for those graduates who go on to do something other than practice law.
(2) A law degree is a versatile credential, which is considered desirable by non-legal employers, such as the Pittsburgh Steelers, who might make you president of the organization.
(3) Law graduates are having trouble getting jobs as lawyers because of the overall state of the economy, and complaints about under- and unemployment will return to historic (translation: acceptable) levels as soon as the general economy has recovered, because in a complex modern economy there will always be a high demand for legal services.
(4) Law graduates, like other disaffected young people, have an entitlement mentality, and believe that a law degree entitles them to a six-figure starting salary.
(5) Legal jobs are available for those graduates who are willing to do lower-paying government and public interest work, or who don't mind moving from Atlanta to Nebraska.
(6) The Income-Based Repayment program makes law school a good investment.
(7) Tuition is so high because legal education is inherently expensive.
(8) Subsidizing the production of 10,000 law review articles a year is a good use of tuition revenues.
(9) Prospective law students who undertake due diligence regarding employment prospects prior to enrolling are consciously assuming the risk of ending up with massive educational debts and no job. Those who do not undertake such research are barred from complaining by the doctrine of contributory negligence.
(10) Law school isn't any more of a "scam" than higher education in general, or for that matter the post-industrial American economy.
Within minutes of posting this, readers came up with a couple of terrific additions that I can't resist adding (there are no doubt many more).
(11) Law school, and the availability of loans for law school is an important part of the social mobility and egalitarianism that makes this country such a wonderful place. Any student, from any background, attending any school could conceivably become a great lawyer, and to deny people that opportunity is wrong.
(12) Yale Law School is awesome.
Once subjected to serious scrutiny, these beliefs are revealed to run a gamut from the irrelevant, to the highly questionable, to the obviously preposterous. An ideology functions by ensuring, to the extent possible, that such scrutiny doesn't occur. It does so by raising these sorts of beliefs into the realm of the taken for granted, the commonsensical, the things that "serious people" don't question or for that matter even think about. That legal education in its present form is, despite whatever problems it may have, a fundamentally Good Thing is a belief that can't be questioned as long as one functions, even marginally, within the ideological structure of American legal academia.
Indeed, it has been pointed out that questioning that belief ought by itself to disqualify one from performing the professionalization function that is the law school's primary reason for being. In other words, go be a sociologist if you want to ask questions like that (David Riesman, who graduated at the top of his HLS class and clerked for Brandeis, did just that, as not surprisingly he found legal academia less than congenial to his intellectual interests).
In short, ideology patrols the borders of acceptable thought in a way that is designed to maintain the status quo, without those either benefiting from or being harmed by that status quo becoming aware of that design. Thus "design" should be understood here to be a metaphor for the unconscious circulation of social power, rather than a description of a conscious conspiracy. Conscious conspiracies to defraud, after all, are, as any law professor could tell you, illegal. Unconscious ones, on the other hand, tend to be much more successful.
Monday, January 30, 2012
The ideological structure of a legitimated scam
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TL;DR - rationalization is just about the most predictable outcome of human behavior when self-interest is involved.ReplyDelete
Doesn't the President of the Pittsburgh Steelers, while holding a law degree, also have the last name of Rooney, the founding family of the Steelers?
Allow me to add number 11.ReplyDelete
11) Law school, and the availability of loans for law school is an important part of the social mobility and egalitarianism that makes this country such a wonderful place. Any student, from any background, attending any school could conceivably become a great lawyer, and to deny people that opportunity is wrong.
Ironic that you listed critical thinking first when the entire legal establishment can be used as an example of the failure of critical thinking on such a large-scale institutional level.ReplyDelete
You are absolutely right.Delete
See other blog post ----JD no preferred page. One had posted on it critical issue WHO made JD grads as a law degree only. This WHO are----ABA/ EACH STATE COURT ,made JD grads as a troopers for the law school but can not fight in the reality in the society after graduated. They made rules ----JD GRADS can not give legal advice, can not present client in the court.
What a ideologically brain washes to society.
Such MONOPOLY CONTROLLING RULES IS VIOLATED us constitution ---FIRST AMENDMENT.
JD GRADS had been trained 3-4 years intensively , time, money, learned the law systems, is a profession. In England called it a LAWYER, can do all kind of legal works, legal adviser . Just can not present client to the court unless licensed ( called it attorney).
WE NEED TO WAKE UP, TO PRETEST THAT RULING. ABA/ STATE COURT VIOLATED FIRST AMENDMENT.
(5) and (7) are lies; (9) is mean-spirited and 100% unfair; the rest range from mostly false to partially false to mostly true but besides the point.ReplyDelete
I don't understand why you lump together all law schools as undeniably "bad". An education at HYS DOES offer all those things: extra exit strategies, critical thinking, contacts, etc., whereas an education at most other law schools does not.ReplyDelete
A corollary of #11 is law school loan default rates are "only" around 2% overall which is much less than private for-profit vocational schools so there is not much to worry about.ReplyDelete
Source: Center for American Progress "What Can We Learn from Law School?"
Excellent. Excellent post. I normally refrain from these sort of congratulatory posts, but this entry is just phenomenal.ReplyDelete
because i'm sure virtual applause from some random internet asshole matters :P
My suggestion, although this may be subsumed by (8) would be something along the lines of:
The academic enterprise of law schools produces scholarship that is as valuable (or perhaps more valuable) than that produced by other disciplines, and especially those disciplines in the social sciences. This intellectual ferment produces some bad ideas and lots of mediocre ideas, but it is essential to the production of the Great Ideas which change the course of jurisprudence. These Great Ideas are taken seriously by judges and justices across the land.
Here you go again, making something that is very simple into something complex. The law school scam has nothing to do with ideology. Law administrators who give out fraudulent LSAT scores, GPAs, student-faculty ratios, and employment figures to attract students to their law schools are crooks. Used car salesman do not have an ideology (except to make money).ReplyDelete
I think that Yale is awesome.ReplyDelete
Everyone agrees that some law schools probably are scams, but the fact that the Thomas Cooleys are ripping off their students shows nothing about law schools generally. There is no law school scam, there are particular law schools misleading and ripping off students.ReplyDelete
Hey kids, look what you can do or become with a law degree:ReplyDelete
In addition to having played professional football for the Pittsburgh Steelers, Mr. Webster is now partner of a prestigious law firm.
Mr. Webster seems to have done well for himself but make no mistake, his law degree did not contribute to his athletic prowess when he was in his physical prime. Unfortunately, law school deans and administrators will shamefully parade people like Steve Young or a beauty queen and infer that these people benefited from having a JD, which is complete BS because Steve Young did not negotiate his own contracts and without natural beauty, being a Yale law school grad with law journal credentials won't win you beauty contests. Yet, year after year, starry eyed kids buy into the delusions that a JD is worth more than it is. LSU law school printed a joke of an article which implied that actors, singers, artists, journalists and even royalty, are enhanced by the law degree credential.
This is mularkey of course but kids buy it so easily.
IT SHOW THE POSTED IS TRUTH AND PROVED.Delete
SEE THIS OBSTACLES FOR JD GRADS----
ABA/ EACH STATE COURT RULES JD GRAD, NO LICENSED CAN NOT GIVE A LEGAL ADVICE, CAN NOT BRING CLIENT TO THE COURT.
YOU SEE, SUCH RULES IS VIOLATED US CONSTITUTION---FIRST AMENDMENT.
WE NEED TO REVISE / PROTEST MONOPOLY LAW SYSTEMS . ABA/STATE COURT HAS SUPPRESSED LAW GRADS, MONOPOLIZED CONTROLLING.... PURPOSELY.
Campos, I'd encourage you to develop and enlarge Nos 1-12 into a free-standing "library" of links on the blog. I'm sure you'll find no shortage of helpers.ReplyDelete
I'm sure law students/grads would appreciate the chance to point to well-reasoned responses to the typical arguments they face. In the face of a hazy ideology, focusing the issues is paramount.
More importantly, I think legal academics and other stakeholders would appreciate the reference as well. The success of the reform movement will depend on finding allies in academia and at some point you (we) have to rely on their ability to listen to reason.
And when's the book coming out?
I read this blog every day. I have nightmares a lot and worry about how I'm going to support my family moving forward. Going to law school was the single biggest miscalculation of my adult life. It is an error without correction.ReplyDelete
I was lied to. And I'm angry about it. Full stop.
Maybe Lawprof should address the sliding-scale nature of the scam. The further down in the rankings you go, the greater the scam-like qualities.* Yale might be 1% scam while Cooley is 99% scam and the other schools are take a place along the spectrum. But the scam-like element is the same at all law schools, they are all over-selling the benefits of their credential to prospective students, some just more so than others.ReplyDelete
*I think the middling first tiers might be the worst offenders of all, even worse than the TTTs, but my perspective is admittedly biased. These schools can't offer employment prospects appreciably better than their TTT counterparts, while students are fooled into thinking that their "first tier" status is marketable.
"Critical thinking" is one element that needs to be vigorously debunked. All it means is seeing the worst case scenario, negative etc. side in everything.ReplyDelete
Ask ANY AND I MEAN ANY performance coach, psychologist or whatever, and they will tell you that this is a horrible way to view the world. If you thought critically to a sufficient degree, you would just kill yourself right now.
The definition of depression is an excess of critical thinking. That's all depression is - it's seeing everything in such a negative light that you naturally lose all will and spark to act.
A critical thinking businss person would fail miserably, imagine the titanic hit by an atom bomb - that's why business folks hate their legal departments and view them as a necessary evil and not something that will help them grow.
Critical thinking is just another way of stating that law school is a depression factory. Thanks law school, you not only steal from folks and teach them nothing, but you actually HARM their minds and thought processes and turn them into negative-ninnies and debbie-downers.
Excellent summation of this situation. Many of the "professors" defending this sick, filthy $y$tem are sincere believers in their own nonsense. Their is a disconnect with reality. For instance, how can a tenured "law professor" state that he or she is performing a "public service" - when they are grossly overpaid for their minimal workloads, rehashing the same parsed cases for 10-20 years?! Hell, most are not even slightly interested in truly preparing students to practice law.ReplyDelete
To be fair, some of these "scholars" KNOW that the job market is glutted. Yet, they continue to defend a system which continues to pump out far too many grads, on an annual basis. On some level, they are consciously trying to convince prospective students to ignore the odds - and apply anyway. This is almost certainly the case with admissions officers and the administrators.
I'll add another:ReplyDelete
(13) The measure of success of a law school president is largely based on whether he or she can increase its US News ranking. Any action that is done to order to be more favorable to US News is justified, whether or not it increases tuition or improves the educational experience at the law school.
10:11, Keep in mind that US News was a second rate news magazine that was failing rapidly before they contrived their own scam of these rankings. As far as I know law is the ONLY academic field that gives a shit what that rag writes. You certainly don't hear of medical schools talking about it.ReplyDelete
I guess the fraudulent placement numbers are no longer part of the ideology, because they have been so thoroughly debunked that even the strongest defeder of law school doesn't dare legitimize them?ReplyDelete
There is no sliding scale of the scam...all law schools are directly, grotesquely and artificially subsidized by their students, using the federal government as a middle man and enforcer. As lawprof has stated above (#7), law schools are not inherently expensive, and students should not have to pay off a 25 year loan just cuz HArvard grads have access thigh paying jobs. If law profs and admins want access to that cash they should get into biglaw directly.ReplyDelete
I agree with @9:16, so many are trying to make "something that is very simple into something complex." This is not about free market vs, progressive policies or students educated about the real numbers (schools will always find their suckers) or about the rationality of the market....its about federally guaranteed, non-dischargeable loans with zero checks on the price of tuition. No more, no less. Everything flows from that. Pigs at the trough will always utilize whatever they can to keep the slop flowing, including self-delusion.
The fact that law schools teach poorly and are full of self-important, clueless douche bags are separate issues. As is the idiocy of the ABA. These are important issues, but separate ones.
I wish Campos would add the ability to "like" a post, or something similar. I would click it.ReplyDelete
*...Harvard grads have access to high paying jobs.ReplyDelete
I agree with you, LawProf, that part of this may be an unconscious conspiracy. For example, the items 1-12 that you list above are all part of the unconscious conspiracy and are indeed different from the Maddof conspiracy.ReplyDelete
However, there is a part of this that is conscious and very similar to the Maddof conspiracy: that of willfully manipulating the employment data to make it sound better than it is. There is no unconscious conspiracy here: while one may manipulate the data because he or she believes in the unconscious conspiracy w/out realizing it (ie: the end justifies the means) he or she is still aware of the bad data and for whatever reason, thinks he or she is justified in manipulating it. But the fact that he or she is aware of the real job prospects of graduates and consciously manipulates it to make it appear better is a conscious act, no different than what Maddof did to hide the truth from his investors.
While the motivations may be different (Maddof did it out of greed and under your theory, those in the legal profession do out of believe in the profession overall), it still does not change the fact that the act is a conscious one, which more accurately makes this a conscious conspiracy motivated by unconscious reasons as opposed to an unconscious conspiracy.
I, too, believe that those in the profession truly believe that the scambloggers exagerate. They sincerely believe there is no problem because they believe in the inherent goodness (ha, ha) of the legal profession. Nevertheless, they are conscious something is amiss when they make a concerted effort to hide the facts and details. In other words, there is another category in all of this: those involved in a conscious conspiracy for unconscious reasons, who simply believe the end justifies the means.
The definition of depression is an excess of critical thinking. That's all depression is - it's seeing everything in such a negative light that you naturally lose all will and spark to act.ReplyDelete
The word "critical" in the phrase "critical thinking" has nothing to do with being a negative, picky, captious and unpleasant individual.
It is "critical" in the sense of Descartes' philosophical skepticism that critically examines ideas and asks if they have the validity and reliability that we think they do.
I assume LawProf left that off because he is listing the defenses of law school, and their employment data is no longer defensible. Even Cooley and NYLS, in their motions to dismiss, did not dare claim that their placement statistics were credible - rather they said it was the ABA's fault for making them use a bad method.
But perhaps that can be the (13)'th defense - Our fraudulent job placement numbers are a result of ABA rules and not our own willful intent to deceive.
The word "critical" in the phrase "critical thinking" has nothing to do with being a negative, picky, captious and unpleasant individual.ReplyDelete
It is "critical" in the sense of Descartes' philosophical skepticism that critically examines ideas and asks if they have the validity and reliability that we think they do.
Those two paragraphs completely contradict each other. It reminds me of the time you tried to correct someone's logic, and got owned. http://insidethelawschoolscam.blogspot.com/2011/09/law-school-cost-educatinal-quality-and.html?showComment=1315241436572#c7108024492186331659
You're not that smart BW, and you're also not very sincere about the law school scam since you voluntarily tutor the LSAT.
This WSJ- http://is.gd/9IpCGy - piece demonstrates why the "sliding scale" argument is so poor. Even top law grads are being squeezed by economic factors. So everyone gets to keep their money (partners at elite law firms and law school coffers) except for this generation of law grads. So how far does this go before law schools start getting fore bombed? Eventually there will be someone with the morals of law school administrators and with absolutely nothing to lose....ReplyDelete
"Those two paragraphs completely contradict each other. It reminds me of the time you tried to correct someone's logic, and got owned. http://insidethelawschoolscam.blogspot.com/2011/09/law-school-cost-educatinal-quality-and.html?showComment=1315241436572#c7108024492186331659
You're not that smart BW, and you're also not very sincere about the law school scam since you voluntarily tutor the LSAT." - 10:36
My response (and I'm not BW): Let's save our attacks for the ones that deserve it: those perpetuating the law school scam: it's not necessary to rip apart others posts, is it?
That's one of the biggest faults w/ the law school scam - they attack each other like never before, even if it's to attack the logic of someone making a simple post.
People accomplish a lot more when they are united. Maybe that's another fault of law school: it doesn't teach that. What a waste of energy.
@10:36 - you're not very bright.ReplyDelete
Don't underestimate the extent to which even the employment numbers are ideologically legitimated. Every day, legal administrators continue to cite the "overall" employment rate for their grads nine months out, as if this were a meaningful statistic. They do so not, in my opinion, because they're consciously scamming, but because when they see NALP statistics indicating 17% of the class is employed in "business" the word business conjures up in their minds a vision of an in-house lawyer at Google, not a sale's clerk at Target.ReplyDelete
BreezyWheezy started the attacks by trying to start a sematic game (arguing that "being a negative, picky, captious and unpleasant individual" is not the same thing as " critically examines ideas and asks if they have the validity and reliability that we think they do.")ReplyDelete
On top of that I would be money that BreezyWheezy himself is a very negative, cynical, probably overweight "comic book store guy" type of person himself who suffers from the very depression that law school instilled in him. Amirite BW?
We always talk about lack of jobs, tuition, blah blah, but by far the most harmful impact of law school is the "critical thinking" and negativity it instills in students. Law school will depress you, it will alter your view of the world, and it will make you someone who is far less likely to succeed or have happiness in the world - because your newfound critical thinking skills will talk yourself out of it.
The biggest harm, by far, of law school is that it trains you to have the exact opposite of the mentality required for success in life. Not everyone falls victim to the negativity and "critical thinking" aspect of law school. I know many lawyers who are deludedly optimistic and naive, and huge risk-takers without even knowing they take risk - but they definitely do not think critically.
when they see NALP statistics indicating 17% of the class is employed in "business" the word business conjures up in their minds a vision of an in-house lawyer at Google, not a sale's clerk at Target.ReplyDelete
And even sadder, having a JD on your resume hurts your chance to get that job at target. BL1Y had a brilliant and cutting blog entry where he described his failed attempt to get a job even at Wal-Mart.
Hey look it's Tony Robbins.ReplyDelete
A buddy of mine graduated in '09 and is now a Sales Clerk at Target. So lucky - he got in full time and has health insurance.ReplyDelete
I should ask him how he managed to shed his sense of entitlement.
Target gives their sales clerks health insurance? That's amazing.ReplyDelete
No document review or temp agency, or small firm hiring law clerks gives health insurance as far as I know.
LawProf @10:49 - Does it really matter whether its all a conscious scam or "ideologically legitimated?" If so, why?ReplyDelete
the most harmful impact of law school is the "critical thinking"ReplyDelete
Law Schools, as with colleges in general, fail at teaching what educators mean when they say "critical thinking". It's not for not trying, I think.
For a superficial view of critical thinking, start with wikipedia:
For a look at the elements of thought that go into good critical thinking, check out websites that cater to educators, such as:
To see what educators at the college and university level mean when they talk about critical thinking and assert that good critical thinking is the single most important outcome of an education check out:
"Critical thinking" is not at all synonymous with "learned hopelessness" or excessive pessimism or something - I'm not exactly sure what you're referring to.
Fundamentally, I agree with you - there's strong value in optimism in generating success in both professional and personal endeavors. It's a bit superficial but this is a fantastic look at the very real, empirical effects of the optimism that you're talking about:
@ 9:44. How is Yale even 1 percent a scam-- or Harvard, Stanford, or Chicago?ReplyDelete
11:05: It matters from a practical perspective because ideological rationalizations are powerful barriers to reform. The scammer who realizes he's scamming is at least capable of understanding when the gig is up.ReplyDelete
GOOD POINTS-----ideological rationalizations are powerful barriers to reform. The scammer who realizes he's scamming is at least capable of understanding when the gig is up. EXCELLENT POINTS. THANKS PROF.Delete
It time to reform this rules by ABA/ STATE COURT ON---JD grads , can not give legal advice.
That rule VIOLATED FIRST AMENDMENT---FREE SPEECH.
That's great, now that your semantic game has been exposed you throw a flurry of links. More academic bullshit.ReplyDelete
I'll put it to you very simply - there is no example of critical thinking that isn't also an example of negative thinking. Sometimes it turns out to be right, and we would all hope that we have the ability to think negatively when faced with danger, and positively when faced with opportunity - but that's not how the world works. We don't have that prescience.
You basically have to pick a perspective, and as has been proven time and time again, the perspective of negativity and critical thought will harm you.
@11:01 - -ReplyDelete
He is a full time employees, so I believe that that is why he gets insurance.
Side question: Does anyone know when Obama's national health insurance plan will be implemented? It was passed like two years ago right? I could really do with not having to pay $300/month for health insurance.ReplyDelete
When your buddy applied to Target, did he state that he had a JD on his application? I don't know whether to include or not include my JD when I apply for non-legal jobs.ReplyDelete
LawProf @11:05 - but isn't the heart of the scam the flow of guaranteed, largely unregulated cash into law schools? Or is it your argument that reform revolves around some sort of "come to jesus moment" for the scammers? And do you think its OK if HYS take a huge chunk of income from their students, as long as the numbers are fully transparent, because they have access to biglaw jobs?ReplyDelete
Related question: Can employers do anything to you if they find out you left a degree off your resume/job application? Is it considered falsifying your resume/job application? In many organizations that is grounds for immediate dismissal.ReplyDelete
As somebody pointed out, the top schools still charge too much. And to the extent top law programs are claiming to be "versatile" degrees, that is untrue. Those degrees are good for elite law jobs and little else. The basics of the law school are the same everywhere.ReplyDelete
"And do you think its OK if HYS take a huge chunk of income from their students, as long as the numbers are fully transparent, because they have access to biglaw jobs?"ReplyDelete
I'm personally OK with this, as long as it's an informed decision. If we limit tuitions regardless of what the buyer wants to pay, then that's a price control which has its own problems.
"If we limit tuitions regardless of what the buyer wants to pay, then that's a price control which has its own problems."ReplyDelete
An unchecked subsidy is a worse problem. Just take a look around you. The answer obviously lies somewhere in the middle.
True, but Harvard could fill their seats without government loans. So perhaps the subsidy only benefits poor people who want to go to Harvard, and not so much Harvard itself?ReplyDelete
I think Yale is amazing but there is no way I would pay 6 figures to go to any school. There isno education that can justify paying that much. If thee 6 figure schools end up with only trust fund kids who can afford the tuition, that is just too bad. Paying so much for school that you have to get a certain, very limited in scope and availability, job in order to afford the school is just a recipe for disaster.ReplyDelete
It would be nice to hear from some recent grads who have jobs and remain hobbled and handcuffed by debt. It isn't just the unemployed who are struggling, though they have it much much worse than their employed classmates.
@11:26, top law schools do provide degrees that are versatile. Not only law firms interview at HYS. Mackenzie was when I was a student, and still is, a very popular interview at HLS. Looking at their stats, the salaries of those graduates who are in business and industry rival big law salaries.ReplyDelete
And are you complaining that top law schools provide access to elite jobs? If people who have access to elite jobs don't want to take them, then they don't have to. I don't understand your point.
I don't think Harvard could fill their seats with the quality of applicants they want, if the students can't get loans. They would fill their class- but the quality would fall drastically.ReplyDelete
That depends on how you define quality. For example, Harvard hurts themselves when they take a poor kid with a high LSAT over a rich connected kid with a 160. The latter is virtually guaranteed success, and they will bring acclaim to Harvard. The former is more of a risk.ReplyDelete
Harvard would still get quality applicants, because even setting aside any gov't mucking about in the market, a private bank would be all too happy to give a HLS kid all the money he wants or needs.ReplyDelete
Right good point 11:47. Then again you have the BL1Y factor (top law school, unemployed after 2 years . . .)ReplyDelete
"True, but Harvard could fill their seats without government loans."ReplyDelete
Not at the current tuition rates (pushed up by federal loans) and if they wanted to maintain their high numbers (entering GPA, LSAT). Also go back to the 70s and compare the tuition in today's dollars. Want to guess why such a disparity exists?
"So perhaps the subsidy only benefits poor people who want to go to Harvard, and not so much Harvard itself?"
Im pretty sure that sky high tuition caused by the subsidy itself is not much of a benefit. At the very least these poor students should have the choice of discharging their loans in bankruptcy since its such a great deal and all.
"a private bank would be all too happy to give a HLS kid all the money he wants or needs."ReplyDelete
Which is fine if the rules of bankruptcy applied just like very other private loan. Otherwise this is not truly a loan but a guaranteed subsidy.
Any way, I totally agree that the subsidy allows for tuition increases at lower ranked schools. With Harvard I'm not so sure, but who knows maybe it contributes there too.ReplyDelete
I really hope the government will disclose the rate of IBR by school.
If its true that HYS degrees open up non-law opportunities for fresh graduates, then I'll stand corrected. Your comment is the first time I've heard such a thing and I recall that one of Brian Tamahana's studies showed that elite law grads almost all took law jobs upon graduation. Maybe other HYS grads or students could weigh in on this. If I'm wrong I'm wrong.ReplyDelete
"Which is fine if the rules of bankruptcy applied just like very other private loan. Otherwise this is not truly a loan but a guaranteed subsidy."ReplyDelete
Lack of bankruptcy discharge is not a subsidy. That's simply asking you to honor your agreement.
Actually bankruptcy discharge is sort of a subsidy for debtors.
(a subsidy paid for not by the government, but by the responsible debtors who will effectively pay back both their loans, and the discharged loan).ReplyDelete
@11:43, if by MacKenzie, you mean McKinsey, McKinsey has always hired people who demonstrate that they are able to jump through academic hoops and come out on top, whether they be undergrad philosophy majors, law grads, mba's, med school grads or phd candidates. McKinsey does not hire law HYS law grads because of knowledge or skills they would not have but for having gone to law school. If you got into one of those schools in the first instance, and then found your true calling was management consulting, you could have done managing consulting before going to the school, as the criteria for admission to a top consulting firm or a top law school are largely the same. That someone ends up first at a top law school and then at McKinsey does not mean that their law degree was also good for management consulting.ReplyDelete
11:43 here Sorry, McKinsey-- I knew it was wrong as I was typing. Thinking of a friend.ReplyDelete
McKinsey far prefers an MBA to a JD, so if your goal is to get into McKinsey you should be getting a Harvard MBA.ReplyDelete
McKinsey recruited heavily at my T-14 as well. They have an extensive interviewing program complete with tests that weed out people who don't have the skills they need.ReplyDelete
11:54: Actually, no. McKinsey hires out of HYS Law School associates--meaning they consider law school equivalent to work experience/business school.ReplyDelete
That is, associates instead of analysts.ReplyDelete
Totally not true that they prefer law school to business school. It's the direct opposite.ReplyDelete
211:54, Yes, you caught it before I could retype. McKinsey. Yes, but the students have chosen to go to law school. It's not all about what McKinsey wants. Is there no room for people to say they want to go to law school, and then do other things? HLS and YLS and Stanford, people to do that if they want. I had no intention of practicing law forever when I went to law school. But I knew that where I went would allow me to branch out to other things. That was part of the plan.ReplyDelete
No, we as a society decided long ago that part of the banking system is the ability to discharge through bankruptcy (why do you think high interest rates exist? Against the risk of non-performing loans).ReplyDelete
"Lack of bankruptcy discharge is not a subsidy."
So how is it not a subsidy? They get their money no matter what. You may want to call it a loans but it shouldn't be viewed that way...its a government subsidy that a student pays for themselves over 25 years instead of upfront. Loans carry risk....these loans/subsidies do not. Furthermore, the very nature of the loan/subsidy drives up the cost itself.
11:23/24: according to his post, BL1Y put both his J.D. and his previous job (some BigLaw gig) and salary ($120k/yr iirc, six figures in any event) on his application.ReplyDelete
I don't know, is NY an at-will state? You can fire people for damned near anything here. I think leaving off a degree wouldn't rise to the level of misrepresentation, however, unless you actively lied about it (I did that once, as an experiment--pretended I'd worked at my old job instead of spent three years out of the labor force, got a callback the same day). The point is, if I have a basketweaving certification, and left that off a resume or job app as irrelevant to the position, there's no misrepresentation, right? So wherefore leaving off law school?
P.S. What got me about BL1Y's story (I really like his name, it sounds like a U.S. Navy aircraft from 1937) was that he wore a suit to the mass interview. For real, dude? A suit? For Target? Everything else, I understand disclosing--they asked, you provided without reservation, good for you, you're honest. But, c'mon, the suit was asking for trouble. Even so, my J.D.'s kept me from working from everywhere from a pharmacy as a tech to a Barnes and Noble (surely the 40 year old methhead didn't interview better than me, right? well, it's possible); so the suit was just one more nail in the coffin law schools already sold him.
Anyway, a great read and I recommend it, it's on Constitutional Daily somewhere.
11:43 again--bad typing day today. HLs and YLS and Stanford allow people to do that if they want.ReplyDelete
"So how is it not a subsidy? They get their money no matter what."ReplyDelete
Getting something that you are entitled to is not a subsidy. That's like saying that when you agree to pay $2 for a hot dog, and pay that amount, then it's a subsidy.
Bankruptcy discharge is mathematically a subsidy from the responsible borrowers to deadbeats. The lender loses nothing. They just charge a sufficiently high interest rate so that those honest borrowers who pay back their loans will compensate for any losses caused by the deadbeat thieves who declare bankruptcy - deadbeat thieves such as yourself.
True, LawProf @10:49,ReplyDelete
10:28 again. I don't fault the law school administrators for having a positive, optimistic mentality towards law school or employment prospects. They are entitled to be as positive as they wish with the info., although it has a negative effect on prospective students and I would hope they would give more thought to all of this, if only to ensure the continuation of the legal profession and improvement of legal education.
However, what I am referring to goes beyond simply painting the info. in the most positive light. I am referring to, in the case of my law school, in order to have a higher salary to report for ratings purposes, of deliberately soliciting only the salaries of those who are working as attorneys and purposely not wanting to know the salaries of the other half of the graduates who have indicated that they are working in low-paying retail jobs, even when one purposely included such workers, regardless of the type of job they had, when tallying the percentage of graduates who are employed. Making a decision to include ALL jobs as employed because one cannot believe his or her graduates are employed in dead-end jobs is overly optimistic and is simply a case of painting everything in the best light. However, turning around and deliberately not soliciting the lower salaries of those employed in non-legal, lower-paying retail jobs so that a school does not have to include it in its salary info in order to have higher salaries to report is a conscious, deliberate decision to manipulate the data, not a simple overly positive interpretation of it.
By the way, I am including the recent expostulation by one of Cooley's Deans, Nelson Miller, who recently quoted the Bureau of Labor's statistics for unemployed lawyers to be something around 2% in his effort to convince those reading that law school still is a good proposition. I find it hard to believe that anyone over 12, let alone a dean of a law school, is not aware that the Bureau of Labor's percentages of those unemployed is generated by calculating only those receiving and applying for unemployment benefits, and, as recent graduates are inelligible for such benefits, they are naturally not included in those figures, resulting in wildly inaccurate unemployment figures that do not in any way include any recent graduates. I have a hard time believing that a dean of a law school would not know that and would think (even given the most positive interpretation of the facts) that this is an accurate figure.
In other words, LawProf, what you refer to (what I call 'innocent misrepresentation') definetely exists and exacerbates the problem. However, it's important to note that deliberate misrep also exists. It's important to distinguish between the two, because the one can be improved with more information: if we believe the first group is well-intentioned but simply misinformed due to their inaccurate perception of the legal field, the problem can be corrected with more accurate information. The other situation, however, cannot, because those who engage in it have shown that they have the info. but are willing to consciously manipulate it in order to achieve their aim. For the second situation, only change from the outside will change the overall situation because we cannot count on such individuals to police themselves. No amount of info. will invoke change because these individuals don't err merely based upon their misperceptions of the info: they err because they wish to.
@11:43, you don't seem to get it. HYS law schools "allow" people to do different things because they perform a signaling function, not because they inculcate the students with knowledge and/or skills that are useful to non-legal employers.ReplyDelete
" I am referring to, in the case of my law school, in order to have a higher salary to report for ratings purposes, of deliberately soliciting only the salaries of those who are working as attorneys and purposely not wanting to know the salaries of the other half of the graduates who have indicated that they are working in low-paying retail jobs, even when one purposely included such workers, regardless of the type of job they had, when tallying the percentage of graduates who are employed."ReplyDelete
Exactly. This is blatant fraud, no different than me reporting a 4.0/4.0 GPA on my resume based on my ten (out of 30) highest grades.
If I were the lawyers suing NYLS/Cooley, I would focus on this above all else.
12:03: so you really don't believe HYS provides a "better education" than any other law school? I find that hard to believe, if only because you're forced to be around other smart people and have discussions and study with them.ReplyDelete
12:03, Someone who took 30 practice LSATs to get a 178 will in no way be more valuable to Harvard than someone from a good connected family. Tests can be gamed. Grades can be gamed. Connections can't.ReplyDelete
Can we please stop talking about Harvard? They're not really the best example of the law school scam.ReplyDelete
Harvard is an important aspect of the law school scam- TTT administrators see that a Harvard grad went to work at McKinsey and say see, you can do a lot of things with a law degree.ReplyDelete
@12:03, I do get it. That is exactly why I went to HYS.ReplyDelete
12:03: I agree. The fact that ideological distortion allows for a great deal of unconscious misrepresentation certainly doesn't mean conscious misrepresentation isn't happening. It is. The problem, as I see it, is that the marginal reformist types tend to see conscious misrepresentation as the biggest problem. I think unconscious misrepresentation -- and not just or even primarily in regard to employment statistics -- is a much bigger one.ReplyDelete
On another subject, these arguments about what you can do with an HYS degree strike me as about as relevant to the general topic as an argument over whether John Paulson's salary proves that America is still a land of opportunity.
I was in a business meeting a few years ago. The company had just been taken over and everyone was sitting around coming up with cost-cutting ideas. I was a virtual nobody in the group if you're curious. There were these two lawyers, both of whom made $300,000 and who came with the company, who would constantly argue why you couldn't do this or that. When they would talk, everyone would stay quiet and not engage with them. The next week both of the lawyers were fired and their job was taken over by someone making about $140,000. I knew everyone's salaries because my administrative role gave me access. The company is fine right now, and none of the "critical examinations" those two overpriced lawyers were worried about turned out to be true. Critical thinking has very limited value in business. In business you need to blindly follow.ReplyDelete
"TTT administrators see that a Harvard grad went to work at McKinsey and say see, you can do a lot of things with a law degree."ReplyDelete
Well that's really flawed reasoning, because their graduates are obviously not going to Harvard!
"TTT administrators see that a Harvard grad went to work at McKinsey and say see, you can do a lot of things with a law degree."ReplyDelete
Well that's really flawed reasoning, because their graduates are obviously not going to Harvard!
Of course its flawed reasoning, but it persists, in part because people like some of the commenters here think that McKinsey hires law grads for their knowledge of law.
Law Prof is right. HLS has no place in this discussion.ReplyDelete
For the most part, ideology operates on a subconscious and indirect level. People that benefit from the status quo will tout the virtues of the status quo and all ideologies that support it.ReplyDelete
Aside from sociopaths, people don't plan ahead of time to exploit others. Rather, humans have a remarkable ability to rationalize and feed off of each other opportunistically.
There is almost never some grand conspiracy planned ahead of time, even with the most evil of institutions and societies. The world operates on bad principles and in many societies (and movements) the most self-serving and power hungry rise to the top.
I think unconscious misrepresentation -- and not just or even primarily in regard to employment statistics -- is a much bigger one.ReplyDelete
And given the overwhelming "status" factor of being a lawyer, it's those oceans of unconscious biases that keep those hordes of 0L's coming. It's the rare undergrad who does any thorough, critical examination of a law school's employment stats.
God, don't tell any more lawyers to move to Nebraska. The market is bad enough here as it is.ReplyDelete
"It's the rare undergrad who does any thorough, critical examination of a law school's employment stats."ReplyDelete
That's just a rehash of (9), again by someone who tutors LSATs often I imagine to kids hoping to get into TTTs.
The variety of careers HLS and other elite schools provide their grads is largely a result of their placement in biglaw or prestigious federal government and PI work. There may be a couple of people hired by McKinsey (or Bain/Boston) or Goldman Sachs/Morgan Stanley each year, but the majority of people escaping law are doing so with a few years of biglaw or government lawyer work under their belts. So, while the Harvard JD helps in getting the feeder jobs in the first place, it's not the proximate cause. Look at all the biglaw refugees working in finance or lawyers who rose to political/administrative positions in the federal government.ReplyDelete
Whether HLS has a role to play beyond simply helping you get the first job by signaling the degree-holder is really smart is another question. But I doubt the success of HLS grads in other fields has to do with the "value added over natural maturation" by law school.
@bored3L, I think the point is that people go to HYS, compete with other very smart people, and come out with grades or experiences that perform a signaling function to others. What is wrong with that? I know for a fact that a Harvard degree helps in many ways.ReplyDelete
And further, all that anyone can ask for in life is a good first shot. You can't expect any school, or place, to assure that you will be set for life regardless of what you do or the luck that you do or do not have. No school provides a guarantee of long, happy, and successful life. But, as has been said before, talking about HYS makes little sense here.ReplyDelete
This is a very important entry. And most of it new enough to me to bookmark it for several re-readings. But the issue of whether law school is a scam can be made overimportant. Readers of this blog know that half of the current law school graduates, 25,000, are unemployed and unemployable as lawyers, their lives wrecked by debt. The two to four billion it cost for their schooling utterly wasted. So even if you could somehow prove that legal education is not a scam, it still is enormously destructive and should be opposed. William OckhamReplyDelete
I think there's something to be said for critical thinking. A goodly measure of this aging boomer's worldly success can be attributed to my profoundly non-vocational B.A. in liberal arts from St. John's College. Perhaps my first benefits came in law school, where I was able to succeed almost effortlessly at "thinking like a lawyer".ReplyDelete
But in the old days, learning critical thinking was what you did as an undergraduate. The idea is that some people took vocational bachelor's degrees, while those of us who were destined for the learned professions could study liberal arts at some leisure before heading off to graduate school to acquire some more immediately marketable training. The vocationally-minded undergraduates (at least at the better schools) got a "lite" version of liberal education by taking a few courses outside their majors.
Law schools seem to want to treat law as one of the liberal arts. The fact that law schools retreat behind the "critical thinking" excuse is one more indication that they're not particularly interested in teaching their students the things the students need to know in order to start practicing law. That, the law schools seem to think, is the province of the new lawyer's first professional job, where the students are expected to spend another couple of years learning the rudiments of practice.
Count me among those who wish there were more liberally-educated people in the world. Mammas, DO let your babies go to St. John's, or study classics or history or whatever at a another good liberal arts college. And I'm also all in favor of inflicting a few liberal arts courses on more vocationally-minded undergraduates.
But law schools are not liberal arts colleges--they're vocational schools. I suppose there's room in the world for a few law schools, like HYS, to act like Ph.D. programs in the liberal arts. But there is really precious little demand for such rarified legal scholarship (and if not for the present dysfunctional law school system, there would be almost none at all). It will be hard to reform legal education until the law schools decide that they're in the business of teaching their students how to practice law.
You are around more law professors than I, I must admit. But, with all due respect, I just don't buy your argument that social ideology prevents legal academicians from realizing they are participating in a scheme that destroys the majority of their students' lives. After all, you realized it; the plight of your students permeated your consciousness. If the majority of professors and deans don't know what is happening, it is because of willful ignorance--they made a deliberate decision not to know about it or think about it. In my view, willful ignorance is different from socially induced and reinforced ideology. The first is inexcusable—the latter deserves a bit more charity.
Your colleagues remain willfully ignorant because I believe many, if not the majority know there is no place for them in the “real law” world (at least not at their present salary). I have practiced law long enough, have been around enough “biglaw” partners, that I can say with some confidence, that but for a few at the very top law schools, most law firms (big and small) would not be interested in employing law professors (at least at their present rate of pay) if legal education as we know it collapsed tomorrow. Why? The practice of law is the business of selling practical, legal skills executed in the most efficient way possible at the very highest markup possible. Most of your colleagues have little, if any practical experience. On the selling side, most lack the glad-handing talent to make rain. The lack of practical experience similarly makes them poor choices for most corporate and all but a few, government legal employers. For instance, corporations don’t care whether you taught Contracts II at the University of Memphis or Space Law at Vanderbilt---they just want to know what kind of deal you negotiated for your other clients.
Sadly, I believe, most of your colleagues have realized they have little option but to cling to the academy, mouth the necessary platitudes, and hope the scam blog and transparency movement somehow blows over. But I believe most know they are doing so at their students’ expense.
1:25: Well said. I would only add that it's unclear whether it makes sense for people to spend any time inside a research university learning how to practice law. Studying law as a liberal arts concentration as part of a liberal education (as an undergraduate) is a fine idea. Requiring people to invest seven years of university tuition, not to mention 15% to 20% of their putative adult life pre-retirement age, before they can start to practice a profession, is not.ReplyDelete
You said that it would be nice to hear from some recent grads who have jobs and remain hobbled and handcuffed by debt. I’m happy to oblige—the following rehashes some of my comments on the National Law Journal Law School Review forum and Balkinization last fall:
Although large amounts of debt can be “manageable” for certain employed grads, the scope of modern law student debt (particularly as metaphorically and literally compounded by the effects of the recession) is unreal. This is true even for those of us who have won the employment lottery—and it is a lottery.
I’m one of the lucky ones. I went to a highly-ranked law school, knocked the academic ball out of the park, and now I’m teaching (for now—see my later comments on this). I’ve effectively “managed” my debt, kept my credit gleaming by always paying on time, but after nearly four years I still owe as much or more than I borrowed on many of my loans, because of the effects of amortization and compounded interest.
I went to law school in a major city after paying off nearly all of my undergrad debt, and ultimately took out $136,000 in student loans ($5k Perkins, $25k private, the rest subsidized and unsubsidized Stafford and Grad PLUS). Although my income was very low before law school I qualified for no grant aid (my school followed the popular law school practice of taking my parents’ income into consideration for my aid package, despite me receiving no family support for law school and not having been a tax dependent of my parents since the 90s). I accepted all this as the price of admission.
Here’s how “responsible” management of this debt still hasn’t gotten me ahead of it in the recession era, even with enviable employment prospects: I graduated in 2008 with enough bells and whistles to land a federal clerkship and Biglaw job. I started paying off my loans at about $1,300/month on the 10-year standard plan as soon as I graduated. Because of amortization, of course, very little of these payments went to principal rather than interest. Also, although I had paid off the interest accruing on my private loan during school, $8,300 worth of interest had compounded on my unsubsidized federal loans, and was added to principal after graduation.
During my clerkship year, I lived cheaply and continued paying on the standard plan, sometimes a little extra, until the bottom fell out of the economy. Start dates were pushed back, I saw equally qualified friends laid off right and left as jobs evaporated, and in autumn 2009 after my clerkship ended I went on unemployment and deferred my federal loans during the unanticipated three month gap before finally starting work at my firm. I began paying my loans on the 10-year plan again as soon as I was employed again, but another $1600 of interest had compounded during my deferral and was again added to principal. In 2010 I switched to an extended 25-year repayment plan in order to set aside cash for an emergency fund and a cushion for a transition to academia. This year I took a law teaching fellowship for $50k/yr, and went on IBR, where I will remain until I either take a tenure-track position or go back to practice.
Have I been able to “manage” my debt in ways that have allowed me to preserve my credit, pay my bills, and make career transitions on my own terms? Absolutely. Do I feel lucky every day (and never entitled) that I survived the 2008/09 guillotine that took down the careers of so many of my peers? Hell yes. But, after more than $35,000 in loan payments, I’ve only paid off $6k of original principal, and on some of my loans I owe more than what I borrowed. I still owe almost $130,000 (and on IBR my federal loan interest is again accruing). Again, I consider myself one of the lucky ones, as I have at least made minor headway and have credentials/experience that make me pretty employable. I don’t know how grads with different circumstances than mine, or those with kids, have a snowball’s chance in hell at managing numbers like this.
I'll add that there is obviously a vast generation gulf between my perspective and financial situation and that of my older colleagues. I’m equally conversant in scam- and Prawfs- bloggage; it’s simply a reflection of my life. In school in 2007, pre-recession, the Prawfs world was one I aspired to unconditionally. But after watching my peers suffer through the economic crash, “managing” my own mortgage-sized debt (including through a period of recession-based unemployment), and now seeing from the inside the obliviousness of older law professors to the realities of what their students face, my take on the legal education project has radically shifted.ReplyDelete
On another blog last fall, I commented that I hoped that institutional change would be encouraged by a wave of new law faculty members with similar perspectives and profiles to mine. However, at this point I would rank the chance of me staying in academia as pretty slim—the legal ivory tower is just too divorced from reality, I can’t even pay my loan interest on the fellowship stipends available to pre- tenure market candidates, and although I’m teaching at a well-ranked school now, I would most likely have to start a tenure-track career at a lower-tier institution where, as the readers of this blog know, the systemic problems are even more catastrophic.
For now, I can say I hustle like hell to help my students find jobs—one of the most concrete ways a professor can be of use outside of class. I don’t lie to them about employment prospects, or about how bad it all went in 2009. I warn all my students to limit their borrowing and at try to pay off their accruing loan interest during school if possible to avoid compounding (especially because after this year law students no longer have access to subsidized Stafford loans). But for many of them, as it was for me, loans are their only real educational and living option (and making interest payments during school requires a source of cash to make those payments). And, many of my students graduated college at the bottom of the recession so didn’t have paying jobs or savings before law school either.
Z32 hits on something. If older faculty had the loans we do all of this would be over by now. Out of touch parasites, the lot of them.ReplyDelete
Z32: Thank you for that extremely illuminating contribution. If you ever want to touch base off line I would be very interested in whatever else you have to say (in addition to continuing to contribute here I hope).ReplyDelete
Tricia: I can only speak directly to my own experience. It took me a very long time to begin to get a grip on what was actually happening. Legal academia is for the most part remarkably isolated from legal practice. How many members of, for example, the Vanderbilt faculty do you suppose have the slightest inkling of what goes into maintaining a small firm law practice? Despite or rather because of their sterling credentials I'm pretty confident that the answer is the same for them as it is for me: I could no more start doing your job tomorrow than I could get drafted this June by the Denver Nuggets.
Whatever is the basis for your colleagues' cluelessness, I appreciate your intellectual honesty.
Law schools justify their existence and costs by telling everyone that the real useful skill taught by them is "critical thought" despite offering little else.
When it comes to how law schools make their livelihoods though, it is hard for them to see the true impact of the scam using critical thought because:
"A legitimated scam is a scam which is not understood to be such by those profiting from it, but which is interpreted as being something else altogether. It will be seen that what a legitimated scam requires is an ideology -- a set of beliefs that allow those who profit from the structure of the enterprise to misunderstand the nature of that structure, in a way that allows them to behave in a fashion that advances their own interests, while at the same time believing (again, with all sincerity) that the purpose of their behavior is something else."
So....when the only real skill taught by these assholes is used by (or on) them and what they do, the scammers seem to lack an ability to truly realize the true impact of their existence.
In conclusion: law schools truly are useless.
I cannot figure out how (and why) this country is failing.
In the spirit of transparency, they should alter "thinking like a lawyer" to "thinking like a pauper." Course work could then address real concerns.ReplyDelete
When perpetually living in your mom’s basement do you still possess an expectation of privacy if it’s also used as the family laundry facility?
When your LS career services counselor regurgitates offensive drivel, is that protected speech or imminent fighting words?
That would be imminent fighting words. So, in Tennessee, at least, if, in response, you kill the counselor, you could plead successfully the "he needed killin'" defense. However, keep in mind that defense works only in Tennessee, Georgia(outside of Atlanta), Alabama, Mississippi, Texas, Arkansas, and West Virginia.
How is that for issue spotting?
They could be exam hypos or multiple choice. The course could be called Pauper Law.
After working for six years as an attorney and getting laid off do you:
1) Open your own practice despite a flooded market.
2) Defer your loans and capitalize more interest.
3) Go down to your law school and listen to career services tell you it is just the economy not the 44K grads for 28K legal positions.
4) Follow the ABA President's advice and get over it.
5) All of the above.
That's just a rehash of (9), again by someone who tutors LSATs often I imagine to kids hoping to get into TTTs.ReplyDelete
Normally I don't respond to anonymous trolls, but I'll g'head and respond to this: I have neither taught nor tutored a single LSAT client in something like a year. Once I realized what a scam it was, I simply no longer wanted to be part of that system. I already have to turn away work just tutoring in the sciences.
So nyah! :P
So, you really believe there should be no more lawyers. No one should go to law school ever again?ReplyDelete
(13) So, you really believe there should be no more lawyers. No one should go to law school ever again?ReplyDelete
THANKS TO LAW PROF. BROUGHT THIS ISSUE THAT no one ever has guts to discuss under ABA controlling.Delete
Another anonymous reply back this issue. My views to this JD GRADS as one had posted ,---SEE THIS OBSTACLES FOR JD GRADS----ABA/ EACH STATE COURT RULES JD GRAD, NO LICENSED CAN NOT GIVE A LEGAL ADVICE, CAN NOT BRING CLIENT TO THE COURT.
YOU SEE, SUCH RULES IS VIOLATED US CONSTITUTION---FIRST AMENDMENT.
WE NEED TO REVISE / PROTEST MONOPOLY LAW SYSTEMS . ABA/STATE COURT HAS SUPPRESSED LAW GRADS, MONOPOLIZED CONTROLLING.... PURPOSELY.
I AGREED that posted .
LAW PROF. beyond individual's interest go to law school, after 3-4 years intensively of law training, do you think law grads can not give legal advice is fair? If so, what had law prof, done to those law students? Does it mean law Prof.is/ are competent?
ABA/ STATE COURTS ,IS/ARE---dominated,monopolized, controlled, law systems, and each law student. See this results they made today----
1>facing job crisis.
2>society facing respectfulness to the law systems.
3>people suffering pay high prices to license attorney.
4> people would rather file bankruptcy cheaper than hire attorney.
5> scam tricks after another .
6>rather scammed/defraud it first than sit in jail time, or stripped its licensed.
Many more....to come.
My views are---JD GRADS ,WHO not obtained licensed, shall ABLE TO GIVE LEGAL ADVICE, take fee by standardized regulated. Bring client to the court by licensed attorney, the fee shall be regulated.
re- correcting THE WORD IN ONE section---Delete
LAW PROF. beyond individual's interest go to law school, after 3-4 years intensively of law training, do you think law grads can not give legal advice is fair? If so, what had law prof, done to those law students? DOES IT MEAN LAW PROF. IS /ARE INCOMPETENT?
I think that's a good question to someone who seems to have been criticizing a person who tutors folks for the LSAT.ReplyDelete
Or, people should still go to law school, but they shouldn't do anything to prepare so that they might get a higher LSAT and get into a good school.ReplyDelete
LawProf - you finally made me laugh out loud.ReplyDelete
...(with your last comment)ReplyDelete
Yes, he is a very funny guy.ReplyDelete
Lets not go overboard. On funny comment does not a comedian make.ReplyDelete
He has said other funny things.ReplyDelete
Truly, excellent post, Prof. CamposReplyDelete
There is something else operating to cause legal educators to deny that they have become scammers: an inability (obviously influenced by self-interest), to recognize that circumstances have changed and that those changes have the cast of permanence.
Putting aside the piss-poor professional training, and concentrating only on the cost-benefit of a JD, I would say this: there was a time in the relatively recent past when law school crossed the ill-defined line between something that was an overly-hyped but possibly reasonable risk into an outright scam.
While the trend lends have been bad for at least 15 years (rising tuition, too many no-prestige law schools, ect.), I don't think that law school became a scam until 2008. In '08, the legal job market was hit with the triple-whammy of white-shoe firms shedding associate jobs, public sector austerity, and the ABA impramatur on document review offshoring. These events signaled that the US economy would need far fewer entry-level lawyers going forward. And law schools simply refused to acknowledge it and continued with business as usual--boosting tuition and even opening new law schools.
I think some law school academics, who have been teaching since way before '08, have a difficult time acknowledging that the job of legal education, something they cared about and believed in, has become a kind of cover-story for the real task of law school: extracting borrowed money from bright but naive kids in exchange for a promised future that will probably never materialize. However, if the professors care about their students, past and present, they have to be courageous enough to make that mental leap.
I think you are wrong about one thing.
This scam has persisted since the early 90s. It was super shitty back then too. Now it is even worse.
2008 just brought out the worst of something already shitty.
It seems to me that it started going south in 1987 after the stock market crashed in October.
You are missing the time element. At some point in the past, law school was not a scam. It may have been too heavy on theory and too lite on practice but it served a purpose within a system of regulating the supply and competence of lawyers.ReplyDelete
Law school evolved into a destructive scam because of the easy money of government guaranteed loans. The top administrators and the ABA are those who are most responsible. The empire builders at law schools and colleges that added law schools saw the opportunity to build their institutions because of the demand generated by the government loan funding. In Minnesota 30 years ago, we had one day law school and one night school. Now we have FOUR law schools! BTW, two of these law schools are run by “Universities” that were once simply liberal arts colleges and they have both also added numerous Masters programs of questionable value.
Most of the professors and other employees have just gone along for the ride – and what a good ride it has been! At this point, professors and employees don’t want to think about what they are doing in damaging the lives of many of their students.
On a broader level, as a society we have had an ideology of education. We have had the belief that all education is good and that almost no price is too high a price to pay. There has been a mystical belief that education always produces increased income/wealth for the individual and society. We started with the true belief that basic literacy and basic education is extremely valuable. Now we are at the point where we think that everybody needs to go to college and our better students need advanced degrees.
I think that our young people have been sold the myth - from grade school on up - that if they are good students and work hard and do well at school through college and grad school/law school they are guaranteed a very good professional job. Nobody is telling them that if they can’t get in to the very elite schools they will not have career.
"I think unconscious misrepresentation -- and not just or even primarily in regard to employment statistics -- is a much bigger one."ReplyDelete
- Law Prof @ 12:10
LawProf, your point is well-taken.
"They could be exam hypos or multiple choice. The course could be called Pauper Law."ReplyDelete
I have a better name for it: Practical and Necessary Skills for Recent Legal Graduates. And before anyone laughs, might I suggest that it will end up being the only useful class any law student takes?
And sample Muliple Choice Q#2:
Question: After being unemployed in the field for law for two years after law school graduation, with $200,000 worth of debt that Sallie Mae is demanding you pay back RIGHT NOW, do you:
a. take your fifth unpaid internship - focus on resume building and the paid work will follow (sometime in the next five years, hopefully!)
b. take a job at Wal-Mart or Target if you can - forget about resume building, focus on your finances!
c. engage in prostitution - hey, it worked for the prostitutes - they make about 5 times what you do, so why should you follow the law if you're never going to even practice it?
d. ignore all of this and stick your head in a pillow - deal with it tomorrow, when you're sober.
CORRECT ANSWER: d. Rationalization: Never make life-altering decisions when you're drunk.
Very interesting perspective. Could you perhaps do a longer post (guest post on this blog?) about the mindset of the up-and-coming legal academic and how/if it has changed in light of the revelations of the past year?
Cf. a circumspect real estate agent, homebuilder, or i-banker in early 2007...
I haven't read every comment, but don't leave out the law schools' enduring interest in Equal Access to Justice! Which is why they hyperventilate about how all of us need to throw ourselves into pro bono work. Or, at least brainstorm at the bar meeting every year, and in the bar journal, about how More Needs to be Done!ReplyDelete
The law schools are so committed to equal access to justice that they ensure that their tuition is affordable so that grads can afford to volunteer their free time ensuring equal access.
Or rather, the law schools merely do lip service to equal access - the rest is up to us to figure out how to be able to give our services for free or low cost while still paying back our monstrous student loans. Bless their hearts, those law schools.
I went to Yale. Six figure salary on graduation? Yes? Could I practice law? Absolutely not.ReplyDelete
A YLS JD merely shows you scored the highest on the IQ test. It was an easy three years, but wholly irrelevant to the practice of law. I had two YLS roommates who spent the entire three years in front of the television or at Foxwoods, albeit periodically showing up to take a final or turn in a paper. They both got into biglaw with six figure salaries.
Upon my graduation, I couldn't have even argued a traffic ticket. So while our prospects are good, we YLS grads are constrained in our job choices. We have to go to work for biglaw, clerk, become a politician, enter academia, or some such. In other words, we either have to go somewhere that will teach us how to actually be a lawyer or never go near the practice, because we don't come out knowing anything of value.
Even with good employment prospects, that's a hell of a lot of tuition to pay to not get an education in the subject YLS purports to teach and to require those of us who want to practice to subjugate ourselves to other lawyers for a few years so that we can learn.
THE BIG PROBLEMS BY ----ABA/STATE COURT RULED---JD GRADS , NO LICENSED CAN NOT GIVE LEGAL ADVICE, PRESENT CLIENT TO THE COURT. WHICH DEMAND IS VIOLATED FIRST AMENDMENT IN US CONSTITUTION.ReplyDelete
WE NEED TO REVISE/ PROTEST IT.
The ideological structure of a legitimated scam ---FIT PERFECTLY ON ABA/ STATE COURT RULING ON JD GRADS.ReplyDelete
I did see it, what made JD grads hard to find a job. THANKS Law Prof. has guts posted this topic.ReplyDelete