Saturday, February 11, 2012

The kind of thing that gives anti-intellectualism a good name

Anyone who wants to invest five minutes in getting an idea of how dysfunctional legal academia is at present can do so by reading Neil Buchanan's basically unqualified defense of the status quo in legal education (he does aver that it would be good if law school's stopped lying about placement data). Buchanan, a tax law professor at George Washington, is quite upset that articles have appeared on the internet, and even worse on the front page of the New York Times, questioning the current structure of legal education and the economic value of law degrees.  In his view "far too many people are launching broad, baseless, ill-informed attacks on an institution that is both fundamentally well designed and essential to the maintenance of a civilized society."

Buchanan employs the smarmy rhetorical device of not actually naming any of these critics, let alone quoting from, linking to, or otherwise referencing their supposedly defective arguments.  Instead, his argument is long on bluster and painfully short on facts and analysis. He sounds, in short, like a parody of an arrogant, clueless law professor, talking about stuff he actually doesn't know anything about, while appealing to the self-evident truth of his assertions.  Behold:

This raucous atmosphere might have the effect of reducing the number of people who are potentially interested in attending law school. We have, in fact, seen a pronounced drop in law school applications this year, which could certainly be a response to the idea that law school is nothing but a "scam" or a waste of students' borrowed money. Of course, there are multiple explanatory factors at work, most obviously the continued recession-level employment prospects for far too many law graduates. Potential students need not believe any of the nonsensical attacks on the case method, nor pay any heed to the false claim that law professors are writing useless articles, to conclude that their individual best choice today is to delay applying to law school (or even to choose never to attend).
In fact both the number of people taking the LSAT and applying to law school have undergone major increases and decreases for decades now, in anything but a linear pattern. More LSATs were administered in 1990-91 than in any subsequent year until 2009-2010 (and the total number of takers 20 years ago may still be an all-time record, as changes in policy regarding the counting of multiple scores in the admissions process have greatly increased the number of people who take the test twice in the same cycle).  "Recession-level employment prospects" for law graduates existed long before the current economic downturn. "Nonsensical attacks on the case method" (translation: cogent descriptions of both its pedagogical shortcomings and its ideological function) are almost as old the case method itself.  Much the same could be said for the claim that "law professors are writing useless articles."

The rest of Buchanan's diatribe is in the same assertion-rich, evidence-and-argument-poor vein.  I'll limit myself to noting a few of his more audacious gestures. Buchanan asserts that "it seems plausible to imagine that the current media hype itself is ultimately driven by little more than the state of the economy." This is the equivalent of someone pointing out during the Blitz that "it seems plausible to imagine that the current media hype is ultimately driven by little more than the fact that a lot of bombs are being dropped on London."

Obviously the only way someone can say something this absurd is if he simply doesn't have any grasp of either the depth of the employment and debt crisis law graduates are facing, or the fact that this crisis (as noted above) has been building for at least 20 years, and gives every indication of being here to stay.  How many graduates of the GW class of 2011 have, nine months after graduation, six figures of high interest non-dischargeable educational debt and no real legal job?  I'll bet you one million internet dollars that Prof. Buchanan hasn't the faintest idea what the answer to this question is, and that he has made no effort to find out. (Anecdotes are not data but I got an email from a GW grad last fall who had finished in the top 10% of the 2011 class and was still completely unemployed. And it's not an encouraging sign that the school managed to determine the salaries, if any, of only 36.7% of its 2010 graduates nine months after graduation, after gathering the same information for 67.9% and 58.5% of the classes of 2008 and 2009 respectively).

The most astonishing aspect of Buchanan's defense of legal education is that it contains literally not one word about cost versus benefit.  You could read his stirring paen to how law schools are a bulwark of our civilization without ever getting the slightest inkling that it costs approximately $222,000 in tuition and cost of living to attend the law school that employs him (this figure ignores opportunity costs), and that there's no reason to believe that this staggering investment is going to make long-term economic sense for anything like a majority of current GW students, or for that matter future GW classes.  Buchanan gives no hint that he's aware that law schools are pumping out at least two graduates for every legal job, that they've been doing so for decades now, that the price of attendance has increased by a factor of three to five over the past generation, that current 1Ls will average around $150K in educational debt by the time they graduate, and that in short there's a great deal of evidence that legal education in America is moving along a fundamentally unsustainable economic trajectory.

And here's the punch line: the author of this analysis-free analysis of the situation has a Ph.D. in Economics! (As a commenter points out Buchanan hasn't practiced law for a day in his life -- he's basically an econ prof who in mid-career re-made himself into a law prof. Under the circumstances, for him to pontificate on the practical value of traditional legal pedagogy seems a bit much).

Buchanan concludes that the real problem with criticisms of legal academia is that they provide support for yet more anti-intellectualism in American life:

If the current ugliness is not necessarily going to permanently reduce interest in legal studies among potential applicants, is the assault on law schools nothing to worry about? Definitely not. To me, the long-term damage is being done to the notion of the legal academy as an academic institution. Even if future applicants are not being permanently put off of legal education, the public at large -- and especially political players, many of whom are generally hostile to academic inquiry and intellectual freedom -- is being inundated with claims that legal academics are fundamentally out of touch and wasting time and money . . . The future of intellectual inquiry is at stake.
I too am worried about anti-intellectualism in American life, but Buchanan's harangue does nothing but provide more ammunition for the belief that "legal academics are fundamentally out of touch and wasting time and money."   If the future of intellectual inquiry is really at stake, it could use some defenders who show some interest in engaging in intellectual inquiry, as opposed to evidence-free posturing.


  1. I'm so glad you took this clown on. "Assault" on law schools??? Would Mr. Buchanan call it an assault on subprime lenders if their practices had been questioned before the crash? Law schools are rightfully being questioned because the enterprise is beyond highly suspect.

    Mr. Buchanan: Law schools have been actively inducing people to take on massive debt that they should not have been qualified to take, and maybe would not have taken if they knew what their true employment prospects were. And those dollars, secured by deception, pay your salary.

  2. Campos, did you really accuse someone else of "evidence-free posturing"?

  3. Many law professors are disconnected from the realities of the legal market and the practice of law. They would rather cite examples such as Obama or Geraldo Rivera of what a JD can accomplish for you. The legal profession today can be best characterized as a race to the bottom. Go check your local legal listings on Craigslist. You see recent grads going solo not knowing what they are doing and not knowing what to charge. They charge $100 for DUIs, $300 for divorces, $500 for bankruptcies, $1,000 for felony plea bargaining. The profession has become a joke because there are too many lawyers out there and many recent ones don't know how to practice due to the inadequacy of legal education and lack of employment opportunities.

    Legal malpractice claims are up, or so my insurance carrier tells me every year when my fucking premiums go up by 25% even though no client of mine has ever sued or filed an ethics complaint against me. The State in which I practice is thinking of assessing a sales tax on legal services which will drive the costs of services up while rogue solos will charge people less and stiff the State taxing authorities.

    These law professors are domesticated housecats living in an ivory tower. They are unaware of how it is to live on a daily basis in a jungle. Their job is simple: recite trite explanations of the law based on outdated cases and rules that have no application in the real world. Neil Buchanan is either blind or an idiot. The legal education model is broken. The legal profession is going through apocalyptic changes and this "professor" Buchanan is saying everything is ok? I stopped taking law professors seriously when I started practicing law and realized they were only glorified administrators just cashing a check until they are put to pasture.

    I feel terrible for the law grads from the Classes of 2008, 2008 and 2010. The fools that saw the writing on the wall and disregarded the warnings and graduated in 2011 and after were too dumb to know what was good for them and deserve their misery.


  4. Buchanan teaches at GW, a school that is notorious for milking every student for every dollar on a bullshit education. I didn't know they offered bachelors degrees in paralegal studies let alone masters degrees in paralegal "sciences." GW apparently has such a programs.

    This is pretty fucking shameless. Oh, and they even proudly display the USN&WR logo and the "best colleges" designation. Normally I would laugh at this joke but people are getting hurt all around. This is no laughing matter.

  5. "To me, the long-term damage is being done to the notion of the legal academy as an academic institution. Even if future applicants are not being permanently put off of legal education, the public at large -- and especially political players, many of whom are generally hostile to academic inquiry and intellectual freedom -- is being inundated with claims that legal academics are fundamentally out of touch and wasting time and money . . . The future of intellectual inquiry is at stake."

    I learned quite a bit in law school. Some of it was useful. I came out of law school knowing more than I did when I enrolled.

    However, I was under the impression that I would be learning something in law school that I could use in an employment setting once I graduated. You know, practicing law in some capacity.

    Instead, I work in a bookstore for $9 an hour, earning the same wage as 18 year olds with only a high school diploma.

    But the funny thing is that I am lucky to have a job at all. Plenty of my fellow classmates are still looking for paid work. In fact, a fellow alum was rejected for employment at my bookstore a few weeks after I landed the job.

    So excuse me, Prof. Buchanan, if I'm a little bitter about being screwed for life in order to fund your ilk's 25 hour workweeks and lavish lifestyles.

  6. The academy is doing real, long-term damage to the profession by continuing to pump out twice as many graduates as there are legal jobs. That doesn't even begin to talk about the effect on students who graduate from law school with $100K or more in debt and no job. How can they not understand this? Are they that divorced from practice that they don't realize they have abdicated their gatekeeping role?

  7. Neil Buchanan's CV:

    Buchanan has no business being on the faculty of a law school. From his CV, it is clear that he has zero experience as a lawyer representing clients.

    Buchanan was an economics professor BEFORE going to law school. He clearly eyed the higher salaries attached to legal academia, and got a JD for that purpose.

    As to actual legal experience, he was a judicial clerk on the Court of Appeals from 2002-2003 (months or seasons unspecified, which means that this clerkship was probably lasted considerably less than a full year). He also did a summer law school internship with a magistrate. That is the sum total of his legal experience. He spent the other three decades of his adult life, pre and post-law school, as an academic.

    Buchanan claims that attacks on the caselaw method are "nonsensical," but, really, how would he know? Buchanan wouldn't know a courtroom from a faculty lounge. Maybe he should talk to some actual practitioners--i.e. the minority of his former students who actually got a law job--and ask them to assess the caselaw method for its value in efficiently teaching core doctrine and in preparing them for practice.

    Oddly, I probably agree with this guy on economics matters and I am sure that he was a fine economics professor. That does not give him the moral right to masquerade as a teacher of law. The guy is a fraud. When a practitioner enters the room, he should lower his eyes in shame.


  8. "This is the equivalent of someone pointing out during the Blitz that "it seems plausible to imagine that the current media hype is ultimately driven by little more than the fact that a lot of bombs are being dropped on London.""

    I approve of analogies to air war.

    There's nothing wrong with legal education a few thousand Lancasters couldn't fix.

  9. Neil Buchanan, as most "professors," simply wants the gravy train to continue. His goal is to increase the public's faith in "higher education" - especially that of students and young people, i.e. potential future victims.

    As such, this ass will continue to flap his gums - and lie about job prospects and "versatility." Notice how he didn't counter with any facts.

    To any potential law students reading this entry:

    Do you want to learn from a dishonest tool who is supposed to teach you to rely on facts and research?!

  10. If someone is willing to take on 150 or 200K in student loan debt, with no guarantee of a job after graduation, then I have to wonder how bright they are in the first place. Even when I was 22 years old, I knew I could not take such a gamble anymore. That is why I dropped out of law school. But that said, I do feel sorry for those involved in these scams. I am going back to school now, but doing the sensible thing: I investigated job prospects in my chosen career before choosing a major. There are still problems in all areas of academics, though, not just law school. Things have changed in the twenty years since I've been out of school, and many professors these days want to hand out grades based on how they "feel" about a particular student, rather than basing the grade on actual academic performance. I have actually dropped courses when I found out the grading wasn't anonymous. Students out there, be careful.

  11. @Jan,

    What is your chosen 2nd career, and how did you investigate job placement rates?

  12. @Nando,

    I would disagree that all of higher ed is a scam, because I went to Community College first and then a non-selective state univ., my total cost for 4 years of college (books and tuition) was around $10,000 (graduated in '06) This makes me better educated than 73% of the population.

  13. "If someone is willing to take on 150 or 200K in student loan debt, with no guarantee of a job after graduation, then I have to wonder how bright they are in the first place."

    This blog has covered personal responsibility as a component of the problem with law schools and their graduates, but I would like to raise two responses this:

    1) "[N]o guarantee of a job after graduation." Well, other than hordes of schools advertising 90+ percent employment rates and $100k+ average salaries. But the students should have investigated further. Sure. But the data just is not available. Perhaps that is enough of a warning sign, but with a society that constantly tells young people the only way to true value in life is education, it's difficult for some to scrupulously analyze something everyone they have ever trusted tells them is worth it, no matter the cost.

    2) Let's assume that the scam here is apparent. Students are at fault, just like lottery ticket buyers and customers at payday loan establishments are at fault. What does this say of law schools and law school administrators and professors? Of people like Mr. Buchanan? It's certainly still fine to call attention to what is actually going on at some/most schools.

  14. Maybe the person who accused Campos of evidence-free posturing would like to clarify exactly what he's talking about. Just this post alone contains about 15 hyperlinks to source material, and that's not unusual. Campos has routinely cited Law School transparency and the data they've collected.

    Is somebody out there really trying to argue that Campos is making all of this up? That law school is cheap, debt is low, and salaries for grads are high?

  15. One thing prospective law students should always do is to talk to current 2Ls about their summer job prospects and what kind of ( and how many) employers interview at the school. I am talking mainly about schools that are not top 5. And people who want to work at firms should look at Martindale Hubbell to see how many people from the schools they are interested in work there. You could actually contact the firm to find that out.
    When I was thinking of breaking into a new field, I actually wrote to people in that field and asked about it. I got some very candid and helpful responses from people who did not know me from Adam. There are more people out there than you may imagine who want to be helpful to young people. All they can do is say no if you ask. But of the people I contacted, no one refused to respond.

  16. His final two sentences made my jaw drop:

    "That damage, however goes far beyond the possibility that our future client pool is being drained on the basis of over-hyped claims."

    Their client pool. I take it he means clients only in the broader sense of "people who pay him" as opposed to what most practicing attorneys see as "someone to whom I owe a duty." If practicing lawyers misrepresented known facts about a client's case the way law schools misrepresent their statistics, they would be brought up on ethics charges before their respective boards of professional responsibility.

    Then there's this little gem....

    "The future of intellectual inquiry is at stake, and there is good reason to fear that the damage being done now will have serious consequences well into the future."

    No, what's at stake is the profession itself. Far beyond the thousands of lives the law schools are helping to ruin through financial disaster, think about the bottom rung that actually are out there trying to practice, without meaningful skills, and what they are having to do to make their electric bills.

    How many cases get screwed up by folks who have no skills and no one to teach them? Everyone of those is tied to a real human being, mostly those without the resources to hire the best counsel or to know any better.

    How many criminal defendants are getting sentences much longer because of the inexperience of their attorneys to evaluate offers?

    This used to be an honorable profession, linked at the hip with medical professionals...indeed "doctors and lawyers" were the careers most doting parents aspired for their children. Now the public looks at us like used car salesmen. All because those getting their palms greased abdicated their responsibility to be stewards of the profession.

    There is little to no reason that the last forty to fifty or so (and certainly not the last twenty since the turn of the century) law schools should have ever been accredited...or for that matter, even proposed.

  17. $222,000 is simply a shocking amount of money. Out of curiosity, I looked up Harvard's cost of attendance. It's about the same ($217,800):

    And, of course, these figures ignore many other unavoidable costs, most obviously the interest that accrues on unsubsidized loans, the $5K or so bar loan most people take upon graduating, and the fact that tuition will increase at a rate dramatically exceeding inflation going forward.

  18. lol, why would anyone go to GW? The school makes you pay a fee to apply for financial aid.


  20. GW law school is particularly milked as a cash-cow - and it was going on in the early 1990s - I think a Dean quit over it.

    To explain - the ABA accreditation guidelines requires the "rakeoff" by the main school to be no more than 20% However, GW-law is on the same campus as the rest of GW (to the extent that you can call the environs of Foggy Bottom a campus.) What this means is that for decades GW has been taking more than 20% by charging "overhead" and "facilities" to the law school at very-inflated rates. This was incidentally the reason why Dick Gordon as dean of Georgetown moves the law school to its own Capitol Hill campus and away from Georgetown University main campus.

    Other law schools with shared facilities encounter the same thing - but GW is very notorious, in part because it is one of the most expensive law schools in the US. This is interestingly a subject that pretty well no professor at GW will discuss - tho' it is something that a lawyer should be taught about (how to see fiddled books and inflated charges.)



  22. GW is big into churning people through that place. I recall setting aside a large portion of my spring break to visit prospective law schools. Drove all the way to D.C., making several stops along the way at W&L and UVA, both of which were very accomodating.

    At GW, though I had called ahead for a campus tour, they didn't bother to have anyone meet me. I sat in the office for nearly half an hour before someone finally advised me no one was there to give the tour I had made an appointment to take. It should be noted that I was an admitted student at this point. Finally they just told me I could walk around on my own and take a look around.

    Fortunately I had other friends in D.C. so it wasn't entirely a wasted trip, but it helped me make up my mind pretty quickly to cross GW off the list.

    Shortly after I returned home, I received word that my financial aid package at G.W. consisted of full sticker price, which surprised me since I had scholarship offers at every school to which I had been admitted, including those ranked much higher than G.W.

    I wondered how they attracted any students at all, but I guess when you're a top 25 law school in D.C., you don't have to make much of an effort since there are always more folks dying to plunk down the money to attend, and I'm sure there are plenty of folks every year that didn't get into Georgetown.

  23. LawProf, FYI . . .


    Rather than wasting your energies getting trolled by some asshole law professor, did anyone here submit a comment? If not, how do you have the time to comment here when you don't have the time to respond to a CFPB request for comments on student loans?

  24. Perusing GW's employment statistic, one sees that only 188 out of 484 of their graduates reported having a non-zero salary. That's a pathetic 40% salary reporting rate (compare to e.g. 91% for Chicago) and it's on par with what you see from second tier law schools.

    The fact that they report a "median" salary of $160,000 when that is a bald faced and outrageous lie is disgusting. When you only know the data for 40% of your graduates, you can't possibly know the median.

  25. By the way, here is a huge potential source of bias in the employment statistics:

    "Employment and salary information is taken from a variety of sources, including: student self-reporting, alumni surveys, employer information, published salary data, and electronic resources."

    So let's suppose for a moment that 0% of graduates report their salaries. In that case, the school can rely on published salary information. Which as a practical matter means it will report only BIGLAW salaries. The school can claim with a straight face that it is not engaged in fraud since it is simply relying on the available data.

    Of course actual salary reporting is probably not zero percent. But I bet it's a lot closer to zero percent than 100 per cent.

  26. GW even has the gall to give salaries at the bottom 25% range which they claim is $145,000 for graduates who went into private practice.

    You only have 40% of your graduates' salaries, all from your highest earners, so you could not possibly know what the bottom 25% is making you fucking fraudsters who give a bad name to our nation’s founder. The aforementioned sleight of hand is done in the hopes of deceiving some na├»ve 0L who will take a quick glance, see that even the bottom 25% get huge salaries, and pay you taxpayer funded money.

    If I calculated my GPA as a 3.9 based on my highest grades, which represented only 40% of my grades, and put that on my resume I would get fired and likely face a disciplinary proceeding before the state bar. So why do law schools get to do THAT EXACT same form of fraud and get away with it?

  27. 10:35 PM " I'm sure there are plenty of folks every year that didn't get into Georgetown." That's inflammatory, of course Judy Areen and Peter Edelman were reputed to say of their 1Ls at Georgetown that they were there because they did not get into Yale (and occasionally they added Harvard.)

    5:19 AM With regard to "the fact that they report a "median" salary of $160,000 when that is a bald faced and outrageous lie is disgusting. When you only know the data for 40% of your graduates, you can't possibly know the median."

    There is a basic problem with this statement - the median means 50% above and 50% below. However, a median salary of $160,000 for even HYS would not pass the smell test. The reasons are simple - there are very few legal markets in the US where starting salaries for 1st year associates of $160,000 can be found - DC, NYC, SF, Chicago. In those markets such starting salaries are paid by a very small minority of top law firms, whose recruiting is tiny, in DC probably less than 1/2 of a Georgetown class (or even a GW class). Much of that recruiting goes to firms ranked in the top 19, i.e., HYS, Georgetown, UVa (and the occasional Catholic U grad), with some GW grads. The $160,000 figure presupposes that GW is in fact placing at least 20% of its number 20 school grads in the elite private jobs that generally go to the top 10-15% of the T-14 - as GW has 500+ grads per year that means 100 placed in top tier DC and NY firms, and that they are more likely to place there than HYS or Georgetown - be real!

    Better still, look at the BLS data for Washington DC - the average lawyer (and that included people with 20+ experience, partners, etc.) makes $162,830 What GW is claiming is that their little darlings are so much better than average that the day they graduate more than half make more than the average DC lawyer with years of experience.... I mean they should rename it the Lake Wobegon school of law!

    Ah, a bulb lights in someone at GW's head - but many of our graduates move to New York (average lawyer $150,510) and California ($155,740). Uhhh no, doesn't work


  28. Personally, I'm most amused by two things:

    1) His writing style is jarring, ponderous, and wasteful. As a practicing lawyer, one has to be concise and persuasive. In contrast, he suffers from many of the worst aspects of academic writing:
    "It seems plausible to imagine . . ."
    "Even so, we might imagine a time when . . ."
    "I am reminded of . . ."
    This style of writing is completely unacceptable in a lawyer. Moreover, academic writing should avoid it as well.

    2) He response to the attack on Law School as a primarily "academic" institution: "I wish it went without saying, is completely wrong." He also suggests that it undermines the case for other academic institutions. Both are completely false.

    Law Schools ARE a "trade school," and legal scholarship should not simply imitate the scholarship produced by the other disciplines. First, a lot of legal scholarship is simply a shoddy version of scholarship produced by other disciplines (history, political science, economics, etc.). Second, practicing lawyers are also engaged in an intellectual enterprise oriented towards discovery of the truth (while also representing clients, etc.). Legal academia makes a mistake in assuming that legal practice is not intellectual. They need to justify their scholarship in a field that itself engages in scholarship. Third, some law professors engaging in more purely academic scholarship is valuable, but it doesn't justify 200 law schools worth of such professors. Certainly, some of the legal scholarship has been incredible influential and useful (in fields ranging from history, economics, social studies, etc.), but even 20-50 faculties focusing on that endeavor would certainly suffice. Not every law school should attempt to have a faculty engaged in the type of scholarship performed at Yale, etc. Some should be focused on more practical scholarship AND, even more importantly, lowering the costs for students by reducing scholarship expectations in exchange for greater teaching loads.

  29. @6:06am--many months ago on this blog commenters were urging law schools to gather salary information "from a variety of sources..." instead of just relying on self-reports. Your comment illustrates what I have long thought: reporting is absolutely necessary, but there is virtually no way of gathering and reporting stats on salary or employment that will not be deemed insufficient or misleading by someone for one reason or another.

  30. 7:06 AM - I have a little question that I have wondered about for the last 20 odd years (when I graduated from law school) - but only seriously for the last 2. Who gets sent the NALP questionnaires on post-law school employment data is based. I have never seen one - never! in 20 years of practice, not for me, not for an associate, none.

    Does any of the practicing lawyers posting on this site remember a NALP form with respect to them?


  31. @MacK --I am a terrible person to ask this because I almost never turn in surveys of any kind. My spouse remembers doing a post-graduate survey and turning it in. We evidently both got them, but I did not turn mine in. We were both at law firms, and making the going rate. So, it wasn't concern about reporting a low salary. I just did not want to do it.

  32. I've been practicing for 4.5 years, and I've never seen one.

  33. Thirty years of practice never saw one.

  34. 7:25 - I may be the wrong person to ask too - most Georgetown grads of the 1990-5 era are known for roundfiling correspondence from Georgetown pretty automatically and for being incredibly tiny donors to the school. The alienation between a faculty where the Dean (Areen) could say things like of her students that the "failed to get into Yale") and when queried by a senior professor on failing to hire Georgetown grads to teach ("oh we found one that was qualified recently"), let alone circulate a 4 page gatefold letter to graduates that mentioned Yale about twice as many times as Georgetown (I counted - and that included the G-Town letterhead on all 4 pages and the name in her title) - or that failed to recognise that giving Peter Edelman any authority when he was widely referred by almost all students (and indeed some senior faculty (at least 3 I knew)) as "Pete the Prick" - or that 80% of the class of 1990-81 showed at graduation wearing pins with NoPE (NOt A Penny Ever) for a class campaign - probably avoided sending out the NALP surveys for fear of the answers.

    Still - I have heard many people say they never saw a NALP form form various schools, including some with good jobs.


  35. 5:19: It's not helpful to reform efforts to characterize every level of misrepresentation as a "bald-faced lie." A bald-faced lie would be the claim "the median salary for graduates of the GW class of 2010 is $160,000." The school isn't saying that. We can argue about how misleading the salary information they're publishing is, but it's not a lie.

  36. I graduated from Georgetown 10 years ago and I've never seen a salary survey either. And I know they have my address, because I still get solicitations for donations all the time!

  37. Professor -

    while I do agree that bandying the term liar around is not helpful - the most recent USNWR numbers for GW, which are based on GW supplied data is, I quote:

    "Median private sector starting salary: $160,000 (87% reporting)"

    which actually means that they reported to USNW that 43.5% of their graduates earned more than $160,000 - which is the top salary pretty well for any new law graduate in DC and New York. This means that somehow they managed to place more than 200 new graduates in jobs paying more than $160,000 per year. Since a first year associate at the likes of WilmerHale, Hogan Lovells, Covington & Burling, or Skadden—makes $160,000 per year starting pay - somehow GW-law is achieving the remarkable feat of placing 200+ graduates in firms that pay more than these firms - or so they are telling USNWR

    Where are these 200+ law jobs paying more than $160,000 to a first year associate and how come other law schools like Harvard and Georgetown have not heard of them?

    The problem with the GW law numbers is that they have, objectively, to be false - they cannot be true - whether GW is lying turns on the question of whether the people sending the report to USNWR consciously know the numbers to be false - but then they would have to be pretty "brain dead" to think they were true? I would not use the term "bald-faced lie" because it is pretty unhelpful - but I gotta say, do they have beards at GW??


  38. Lawprof:

    Further to what I just said. I am a litigator primarily - international technology litigation and antitrust (so I am used to seeing economic expert reports and tearing them apart.) Speaking as a litigator, I would get killed by a court if I presented numbers as absurd as GW's:

    "Median private sector starting salary: $160,000 (87% reporting)"

    because the number simply does not pass the "smell test," and given the 87% reporting - how could they get the $160,000. There is no other way of seeing how this number was reported other than it was simply "made up" to meet some target for the placement office. There is to me no conceivable way that they could have gotten $160,000 with 87% reporting.


  39. MacK

    While I generally support your perspective, I think you may have an incorrect understanding of "median," which is "the numerical value separating the higher half of a sample, a population, or a probability distribution, from the lower half."

    As such, in a population of twenty one individuals, if 12 have exactly 160,000 salary's, and 9 have 20,000 salary's, the median is 160,000, because an observation with a 160,000 value separates the top and bottom half of the population listed from lowest to highest. At least, I think that's how it works.

  40. @ MacK--Again, I had no problem with my law school--at least not about jobs, it was excellent on that front--I just did not bother to turn in the survey.

  41. half the population have values less than the median, and, at most, half have values greater than the median. If both groups contain less than half the population, then some of the population is exactly equal to the median - but you still measure a median so that the number above equals the number below. So (using wikipedia to save time, have a brief and a contract to review) if you have a set of 1, 5, 2, 8, 7 - then in order the set is 1, 2, 5, 7, 8 and 5 is the median - 2 above, 2 below. The median is the (n+1)/2 item.

    The fact that GW reports the round $160,000 number is itself unbelievable. Given that $160,000 is the top of the salary range in DC and pretty well nationwide, every person making less than $160,000 must be below this value - and everyone making the top paycheck must be at $160,000 or right on the median. But with in the year this was reported at:

    Means that in 2008, 2009 and 2010 the median salary for GW graduates did not shift by $1 (it was $160,000 all 3 years - and that in 2010 the 94.5th from the bottom graduate (188+1)/2 was making $160,000 - and 163rd in 2009 and the 180th in 2008. That means that a lot had to be making more than $160,000 - WHERE???

    When you see faked surveys used in economic reports it is this sort of round number and lack of proper distribution that often gives it away.
    The point I am making is that the $160,000 round median number in USNWR, at 87% reporting found here

    simply cannot have been found in the data - so where did it come from? It has to have been simply made up - nothing else makes sense - just as the same number $160,000 for 2008, 2009, 2010 cannot make sense - it has to be false, it cannot be true, and no one remotely thinking about the numbers can see anyway for them to be anything other than a deliberate fiction.


  42. MacK: If you have a group of 100 graduates and 51 of them make exactly $160K then the median salary for that group is $160K. If the "going rate" at big firms is $160K (I don't actually know how many firms fall into this category nationally -- how much of the AMLAW 100 and 250 are paying this?), and 24.76% of GW's 2010 grads got jobs with the AMLAW 250 and salaries were reported for only 36.7% of the class, and that latter figure included 100% of the salaries in the former group (as it would because these salaries are public information), then it's quite possible that GW's 2010 grads WITH REPORTED SALARIES had a median salary of $160K.

  43. "Some of the complaints about law schools are clearly meritorious -- for example, it is impossible to make a case in favor of allowing law schools to lie about their employment statistics"

    Yet you don't exactly see law professors or law school administrators declaring with one voice that 2012 is the year that they tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth to their prospective students.

  44. "many months ago on this blog commenters were urging law schools to gather salary information "from a variety of sources..." instead of just relying on self-reports."

    Please quote and link those comments. TIA.


    I didn't count them up, but this suggests it's not just a few firms who start at 160k. It is not just NYC and DC. V&E, for example starts at 160k. That will buy a lot more in Houston than in Manhattan!

  46. 1. Presenting the median of a biased sample as the median of a population is fraud, and that's what GW does. If I got 4 As, 4 Bs and 2 Cs in law school, and I put "GPA of 4.0" and at the bottom of my resume in tiny letters I put "*based on four reported classes" that would be the type of resume fraud that would get me on abovethelaw and possibly result in a bar complaint.

    2. Mack is wrong when he states 87% reporting. GW HAS 37% SALARY REPORTING, NOT 87%. That is pure second tier law school shit.

    3. What the fuck terry malloy how do you not know the plural of salary is salaries not salary's? Get some coffee after what was apparently a late saturday night of drinking.

  47. wow, that was a pretty bad gaff.

    I did wake up fully clothed this morning, with my shoes on, sitting up on my couch. The television was broadcasting catholic mass.

    Oh, John Powers.

  48. LawProf -

    The problem you are describing is the reason for the use of "the mode," i.e., the most common recurring value. In the instance you give you are addressing the problem of calculating the median when more than half the values are the exactly same and all are at the top of the distribution. Leaving aside the unlikeliness of this phenomenon the actual definition of median means that half of the remaining sample must be over the median. Let me give you the results of a test with a standard statistical calculator on the set:

    40, 40, 42, 50, 60, 75, 120, 120, 140, 147, 160, 160, 160, 160, 160, 160, 160, 160, 160, 160

    So that is 20 values, 10 of which are 160 - the output is:

    Count: 20
    Sum: 2434
    Mean: 121.7
    Median: 153.5
    Mode: 160

    Arguably adding another 16 might make the median 160 - but this is not actually within the definition since there are no values above 160 - there is no actual median for the set - in strict terms the distribution violates the definition of median - it does not actually happen often (except in surveys about numbers of sexual partners).

    To your question about the AmLaw 100 and 250 - a good proportion of the AmLAw 100 pay less than $160,000 and indeed have cut their pay - and not all pay uniform paychecks in every market. From a article in the American lawyer in 2010:

    "Dozens of Am Law 100/200 law firms--Nixon Peabody, Baker & McKenzie, and Greenberg Traurig among them-- announced salary cuts, which in many instances amounted to a $15,000 cut in base salary for first-year associates who had been earning $160,000 a year. The American Lawyer's annual survey of law firm managing partners, released in December, found that 40 percent of law firm leaders said they reduced associate starting salaries."

    This raises a host of problems with the GW numbers - for example, how can they have stayed $160,000 for 3 years when law firms including AmLaw 100 were cutting salaries - and where $160,000 was not the most common starting salary.

    There is no way to escape the problem, GW was reporting numbers that could not past the smell test and for which there is no sensible explanation of how they could have been arrived at absent some sort of malfeasance.


  49. 10:22 - did you check my links before yous said the 87% number was wrong - see

    And you will find the 87% number which you will note I put in quotes

    "Median private sector starting salary: $160,000 (87% reporting)"

    Play nice,


  50. MacK,

    That's because when you have an even number of observations the median is the average between the two middle numbers, (#10)147 and (#11)160 = 153.5. Add one more 160 to the population and the median is 160.


    153.5 =MEDIAN(40, 40, 42, 50, 60, 75, 120, 120, 140, 147, 160, 160, 160, 160, 160, 160, 160, 160, 160, 160)

    160 =MEDIAN(40, 40, 42, 50, 60, 75, 120, 120, 140, 147, 160,160, 160, 160, 160, 160, 160, 160, 160, 160, 160)

  51. 10:13 - law crossing - which I have just looked at is a small sample - and not all the firms in it pay $160,000 - moreover, some such as Orrick have announced that they cut pay to about $145,000 for the highest starting salaries and changed it for various cities. In addition GW is not a top school - top tier, but not top school - it is not even the top in DC - and I very much doubt that many GW graduates were hired at the firms listed in law crossing as paying $160,000 - certainly not enough to make it the median salary.


  52. terry malloy

    The result you show is because the computer program almost certainly has a escape provision in it to prevent an error ... it is done that way because any other result when the original algorithm was written could cause a loop and a crash. There is not a median for that set.

    I learned to put the same sorts of provisions in when doing quantum mechanical modeling on computers in college - because it took me a while to realize I needed to, I gained the painful nickname of "crasher."


  53. I see.

    On a similar note, when I write excel formulas I generally start with =if(iserror(formula),"Crash",(formula))

  54. @10:03--some of the threads discussing problem of relying on just self- reports of employment and salaries. There were other discussions, including one in the context of why more people fail to report, or report employment, but not salaries.

  55. @MacK-- I have no stake whatsoever in GW. But you were writing as if there were fewer than ten firms who paid that amount. That is all. What firms are going to pay now and in the future have no bearing on stats from the past. Who knows what they will be doing 3 years from now?

  56. The discussion about GWU's salaries illustrates just how deceptive current law school reporting is. First, although the GWU stats on purport to be from 2009, most of the employment ones are actually from 2008. You can see this if you line up some of the percentages with what GWU reports on its own pages for 2008 and 2009. I don't know who gathers the data for the TLS site, but law schools make it easy for others to make this type of error: Schools delay so long in publishing employment data that it's easy for outsiders to get confused. The difference between 2008 and 2009, of course, is massive in terms of starting salaries.

    Schools also confuse things by sometimes noting the percentage of salaries reported by all employed grads and sometimes noting the percentage reported by grads *working in private practice.* The latter is almost always much higher, since the private practice grads have both higher salaries and ones that are more easily identified by the CSO. The 87% that MacK found falls in the latter category--it notes the percentage of grads in private practice who reported salaries. The reporting trick clearly worked: It suggested to MacK and others that this was the percentage reporting salaries for the whole class. (Plus, the percentage here is really for 2008, masquerading as 2009!).

    This type of reporting truly is a scandal--and, yes, I know that all schools have done this to greater and lesser degrees. I'm working, as many of you are here, to try to fix it. But the confusion over GWU's report is Exhibit A in this problem. If the numbers are confusing to commentators here, who talk about these issues all the time, just think how they look to prospective students and their families.

  57. Meanwhile, why is non-lawyer public willing to buy into the fraud? Perhaps, because the fraud is preferable to reality:

  58. @11:45 I am not saying that there are fewer than 10 firms that pay $160,000 and up - I am saying that the first year associate jobs that pay this number are a small-minority of jobs even in DC where GW is based (one of the top 3 paying markets), that their recruits tend towards the top 10-15% of higher ranked schools than GW, and that for GW to claim that through some absurd miracle the median pay for its graduates in each year from 2008 to 2010 was $160,000 (i.e., that more than half of those reporting salaries secured that "tippy-top" of available jobs) is so absurd as to be unable to pass anyone's bullshit detector. Moreover, I am also saying that anyway you look at it, there is no way that GW's median pay was exactly $160,000 in each of those 3 years.

    The discussion has become bogged down in the question (raised by LawProf) of whether GW could have encountered a statistical anomaly three years in a row) where more than 1/2 of a reporting class made $160,000 and the validity of reporting this number as the "median." The answer is strictly, the data set described does not have a median. The real issue though is that $160,000 is a suspiciously round number that exactly matches the top pay for associates at any DC firm - and is vanishingly unlikely to be the actual median. In short, it stinks of being a cooked up number - a false number created by somebody, not plucked from the reported numbers.

    My comment was in response to the LawProf's objection to the use of the words "bare faced liar" or "bare faced lying" in relation to GW's numbers - and the LawProf I'm afraid mistakenly saying that GW was not claiming a median reported pay of $160,000 (I think if you look at the links in my earlier posts you will see that yes indeed, GW is reporting this number. I agree with him that the calling them "bare faced liars) may be counterproductive (though I note his explanation of his choice of the word "scam"), but the sad reality is that if you look at the numbers GW is reporting, they do seem to be "made up" - false numbers, and that does well, put GW legitimately in a position where someone can level the bare-faced-liars charge against GW, incendiary though it might be.

    I would add after many years of practicing law that I have met intelligent liars, stupid liars, people who lie to you and they know you know they are lying - and I have met the truly stupid liar - the one that tells a lie that is on its face absurd and unbelievable, but who thinks nonetheless it can be believed. GW's employment numbers are in the last category...


  59. DJM -

    Thanks for that point - I did not actually look behind the numbers at the TLS site - too busy trying to catch up on an overload of work. I see you point - but even given the small sample responding the $160,000 median number does not make sense - it cannot be.


  60. Just for fun, here are some of the ways we can tease apart GWU's statistics (looking now at GWU's own website)--slanted though they are:

    1. The percentage of grads employed in jobs requiring a JD has dropped from 87.8% for 2008 grads to 81.4% in 2010. That's a substantial decline.

    2. GWU does not disclose either the number of grads it hired or the number working in part-time jobs, statistics that some other schools now report--and that are well known trends. This should be a red flag for students considering GWU: Distrust sites that don't provide this information. This is especially true because the school-based and part-time jobs sometimes require bar passage.

    3. The percentage of students obtaining law firm jobs declined precipitously between 2008 grads and 2010 ones: From 66% of those employed to 45% of those employed. Or to be a little more stark, from 64% of the 2008 graduating class to 42% of the 2010 graduating class. That's a decrease of more than a third!

    4. The percentage of students reporting salaries has declined even more precipitously. In 2008, 68% of the class reported salaries; in 2009, 58% did; and in 2010, only 37% did. Even the 2008 number is worrisome for reasons that have been discussed on this blog, but the drop raises a very big red flag of its own. Salaries almost certainly declined during these years, leading to lower and lower reporting. Combined with that, grads probably were taking more marginal jobs for which GWU had no ready salary info--and no incentive to collect that info. Another explanation is that GWU progressively pissed off its graduating classes, so that they refused to fill out forms--as an applicant, I'd want to know about that. But given other facts we know, it's very likely that a decline in reported salaries tracks significant declines in the salaries and jobs themselves.

    Another mark against GWU here is that they publish *numbers* reporting salary, rather than percentages, which tends to mask the dramatic decline.

    I have a few other thoughts along the same lines, but have to go for now. I wanted to share these ideas because LST, LawProf, and some others have done some excellent work unmasking the bleak employment story behind the published numbers. The first priority is getting full, honest numbers. But teasing the dark side out of the current, misleading stats can also help current applicants.

  61. The going rate for first-year associate jobs at V100 firms in NY, DC, LA, Chi, Boston, and other big cities is 160K. Those firms do the bulk of the associate hiring. Go to NALP Directory, do a search for firms in NYC or DC and just browse the profiles to see that they almost all pay 160K and the firms that are at 145K in those markets usually have very small summer classes. Obviously getting a 160K or even 145K job from GW is rare, but to say that 160K is rare for a first-year biglaw associate in DC is just wrong.

  62. I hope that Orin Kerr is reading. Your school sucks.

  63. Welcome back, DJM. Nice to see you here again!

  64. Thanks DJM. GWU's stats are indeed an excellent illustration of some of the ways in which very partial transparency can be as problematic as no transparency at all.

  65. Here is a little more probing behind GWU's posted numbers. What is the minimum number of graduates that GWU claims earned $160,000 in each of the last three years? Given their claim of a $160,000 median, we look at half the number of reported salaries.

    So in 2008, GWU says that at least 180 grads were earning $160,000. That's 34% of their graduating class. (I'm looking at the full graduating class for all percentages here, not at the number of employed grads. The more accurate statistic--if we can even use that word here--from an applicant's point of view is the percentage of the full class.)

    In 2009, GWU reported that at least 163 of their grads earned $160,000. That was just 29% of the class. The drop is hidden by a larger class combined with lower percentages reporting their salaries.

    Then in 2010, GWU reported that at least 94 of their grads were earning $160,000. That represents just 18% of the graduating class.

    MacK may be right that all of these numbers are implausible--to get a sense of that, I'd have to calculate the minimum number of grads claimed to be earning $160,000 from a number of other schools (a project I think I will undertake). But the drop--if only it can be revealed to incoming students--should be alarming in itself. The number of graduates earning $160,000 was cut in half over just two years. And, while one-third of GWU's class may have gotten these top-paying jobs in 2008, the percentage now is about one sixth (18%). Kids will still fool themselves about their chance of being in the top sixth, as well as about the longevity of these Biglaw jobs, but suppose that schools disclosed the percentage of their grads earning the top market salary (currently still $160,000) rather than these ridiculous medians?

    The schools actually know the percentage I'm referring to, because they surely know every $160,000-plus salary in their graduate class--either through student reporting or public availability of those salaries.

    The published numbers are very deceptive, but even with these partial numbers, there's a pretty dark story to trace. Imagine what the story would like like with more transparent numbers. And it would be very interesting to know if Buchanan, whose post motivated all of this, is aware even of this much info about his students' post-JD employment.

  66. Again, I have NO stake in GWU, but this thread is making it sound as if it is rare for anyone from there to get jobs in big firms. I just looked at the Skadden site and the Covington site just to see whether I would find any GW  graduates there. After reading the comments, I did not expect to find any-- or just one or two. Skadden has a good number of GW partners and associates, as does Covington where  I found quite a few associates, including some in the classes between 2008  and 2011. Maybe GW has problems with its reporting, but this is not a school that has no real access to law firms. There are plenty of places like that. Anytime you have partners at a place, multiple ones, they are going to try to bringtheir people in if it is at all possible.

  67. One more post using GWU's numbers as an example. The decline in top-paying jobs, and the way that schools have hidden that, is very important. But perhaps even more important is the decline in both pay and conditions of jobs in the bottom portion of the class at each school. I deliberately use the word "portion" because it may range from less than 10% at the top few schools to almost all the class at the bottom ranking schools.

    Anyway, I think many law professors blithely assume that, even if the pool of $160,000 jobs is shrinking, that's fine because graduates will be happier working in smaller firms, government, public interest, etc. Many faculty disliked working in Biglaw, so this makes sense to them--and it allows them to continue in their current state of ostrich-like behavior. The faculty don't stop to think that (a) law practice is very hierarchical, so that as GWU's "second sixth" (the ones who used to get top salaries) move down into smaller firms, government, and public interest, the students who used to get those jobs move still further down; and (b) the bottom jobs probably are worse than they were 5 years ago (e.g., many more contract positions).

    The published statistics, unfortunately, make it even harder to trace the fortunes of these bottom portions of every class. But we can get some clues from GWU's numbers. First, they almost certainly have a program for hiring their own grads. The percentage of grads working in "academia" jumped from 2% in 2008 to 6% in 2009 and 2010.

    Second, those grads in academia earn very little. Note that GWU doesn't report any of their salaries! This probably means that the grads in academia weren't working full-time. Another little trick of reporting is that schools report part-time employment as "employed" but only include full-time workers in salary calculations. Deceptive, I know.

    Third, GWU's grads working in public interest earn very little. The percentage in that work has increased just slightly (from 4% to 5%) but only one person reported his salary in 2009 and non reported a salary in 2010!

    Fourth, it's not clear what GWU's grads in "Business and Industry" do. That percentage has jumped from 7% in 2008 and 8% in 2009 to 14% in 2010. The percentage doubled in just two years? That's worrisome. Especially when you combine that jump with the fact that GWU reports no salary information at all for grads working in Business and Industry. There are more grads in that sector than in either public interest or clerkships, so why not report salary information? It's either not there (embarrassingly low for grads to report, not full-time jobs) or GWU isn't making that public.

    In sum, we have one quarter of the 2010 class (25%!) in job categories for which there are no salary data. These are the grads in academia (6%), public interest (5%), and business/industry (14%). We must conclude that the salary story (and perhaps job description story) for these grads is very, very grim. We also lack salary data for a significant percentage of grads in private practice; I'm trying to figure out a way to calculate that from the given numbers (although, of course, GWU actually knows that figure).

    Add to this, finally, that even among the very reduced percentage of 2010 grads reporting salaries, the 25th percentile has dropped markedly--yet another red flag.

    It's good to be back among the commenters! I've been reading every single day, and agreeing with almost everything I read here, but had stopped posting for a while to deal with some personal stress in my life plus figure out other ways to work on these issues. Those two concerns are still there, but I really enjoy reading even when I don't post--and I try to use info from this site to shape arguments for others. Buchanan, as you can tell, really irritated me to the extreme!

  68. 3:30 cont. DJM, the numbers do not look great, but everyone go blasted in 2009 and 2010. The rebound that is taking place now will not likely bring things back to the crazy days when firms were hiring too many people--everyone paying serious attention knew that what they were doing was not sustainable. It will be interesting to see what the next cycle brings.

  69. @3:30 PM

    I am not denying that GW places some of its graduates at firms making $160,000 - it is strong in IP. But (and since IP is a lot of what I do I can say this) a MEDIAN salary of $160,000 given that this is the top of the scale, and a round number, is implausible - a mode might just be plausible since even say 10-20% getting into such firms would tend to coincide at $160,000 - but you know, the mode can be just two if every other number has just one graduate on it. Getting the same number 3 years running, look out for falling pig-shit!


  70. DJM - when you do that study of law school pay reporting and medians - it would be tremendously interesting if you could compare it with BLS data. Despite a lot of the complaints, BLS pay data is pretty reliable since it uses tax reporting to gather it. There has long seemed to me to be a clear mis-match between BLS data and law school data


  71. "ome of the threads discussing problem of relying on just self- reports of employment and salaries. There were other discussions, including one in the context of why more people fail to report, or report employment, but not salaries. "

    Please quote and link to the relevant comments. TIA.

  72. @ 4:49

    Nope, life is too short.

  73. 3:30/3:50, I agree that information from the next cycle is crucial. But here is the interesting thing: Schools will have that information by the end of next week. The reporting day for 9-month figures is Feb. 15, next Wednesday. So schools are already finalizing their information on the 9-month outcomes for the class of 2011.

    Traditionally, schools have been very slow to report these 9-month figures; they often wait until sometime in the late summer or early fall. It's not clear why--each school has its own information in February.

    Now, if the 2011 numbers are better than 2010, then I assume schools will eagerly post those updated figures. Why try to recruit the class of 2015 with the worrisome 2010 numbers if those numbers represent a low point from which we're recovering?

    But my prediction is that the 2011 numbers are worse--probably much worse--at most law schools. If that's the case, will law schools keep those numbers back until the fall? I suspect they will try to do so, but that strikes me as fraudulent even within the current deceptive reporting. It will be very, very interesting to see if schools start publishing those 2011 numbers (or even sharing them with admitted students during recruiting visits) over the next month.

    My prediction that the 2011 numbers will be worse than 2010 rests on two things. In part it's based on my personal familiarity with grads of those two classes (as well as current 3Ls, who seem to be facing yet dimmer prospects). But even more important, I base this prediction on what is happening with law practice technology. That is the elephant in the room that so few people discuss.

    Every month, technology is reducing the number of lawyers needed to do legal jobs. I'm not talking here about routine legal work, although that's clearly affected. I'm talking about "bet the company" work on both litigation and transaction matters. Firms are creating very sophisticated document management systems (for litigation) and document assembly systems (for transactional work). These systems don't eliminate the need for lawyers, but they greatly reduce the number of lawyers needed.

    It's sort of like moving from paper and pencil computations to excel. If you're handling a bet-the-company case under a pencil/paper regime, you need a lot of lawyers to do the computations, double check the computations, and triple check the computations. Once you move to excel, you still need a few smart lawyers to choose the right program, keep updating, and make sure the calculations make sense. But you don't need armies of associates any more.

    The point about this technology is that it is only starting to kick in; most of the effects will come on top of the declines we've already seen in the legal job market. Rather than a rebound, I strongly suspect we're in for continuing (and perhaps escalating) declines. I don't say that to be a worry mongerer, but because I think law schools really, really, really need to start thinking about what they are doing. The levels of denial are extraordinary.

    The 2011 numbers will give some clue about where this is all going. I do hope I'm wrong, in which case we'll probably see those numbers quite quickly. If not, be very, very wary (even more than before) about going to law school.

  74. @DJM--as always, it will depend on the school. You can gauge some of it from summer associate numbers. One report suggested the numbers were up.,_but_slowly/

    As I said, there is no reason to think it will go back to crazy time. But I suspect people will, as they should, look at more years than 2010, and pay attention to the economy as a whole. Looking at stats alone makes no sense.

  75. Reasons for going to law school - eating a chinese takeout

    I opened the fortune cookie and it said

    :-) You would make a good lawyer :-)



  76. @DJM -- these changes have been here for a good while. Fewer people will apply to law schools. Schools will hire fewer faculty. Programs will be cut back. When you say, think about what they are doing. What specific proactive thing do you have in mind?

  77. Okay, DJM, I am jumping the gun. We would have to know what the summer associate pool looked like the year before these folks went out. Is that why you think these numbers will be dismal?

  78. Excellent post, LawProf. Nothing more to say. So glad someone of your caliber has taken the time to discuss these issues. I can't imagine what the situation would have been like had you not.

  79. Amazing how simple it can be to communicate with people and have them understand a certain topic, you made my day.

  80. "This raucous atmosphere might have the effect of reducing the number of people who are [-potentially-] (AND FOR THOSE ACTUALLY INTERESTED?] interested in attending law school. We have[-,in fact,-] (HAVE SOME NEED TO STRESS YER YAMMERING IS BASED "IN FACT"? OR DOES THE BULLSHITTER PROFESS TOO MUCH?] seen a pronounced drop in law school applications this year, which could [-certainly-] (YOU SUBJUNCITVELY CERTAIN SHITHEAD] be a response to the idea that law school is nothing but a "scam" [-or-] (IF IT'S A SCAM IT'S OBVIOUSLY A WAST OF MONEY YOU BRILLIANT TURD) a waste of students' borrowed money. Of course, there are multiple [-explanatory-] (GEEEAWD WE HATE YOUR SHAMELESSLY ARROGANT DUMB ASS) factors at work, most obviously the continued recession-level employment prospects for [-far-] (THERE'S TOO MANY OF YOU- WE'LL LEAVE IT TO YOU TO PONDER THE PLACE-HOLDING, USELESS, SUPERFLUOUS QUESTION OF WHETHER IT'S "FAR TOO" MANY) too many law graduates. Potential students need not believe [-any of-] [BULLSHITTER PROTESTING TOO MUCH AGAIN W HIGH SCHOOL GRAMMAR- BUT HE DOES NEED TO MAKE SURE THEY DISBELIEVE EVERY GODDAMN WORD AS THEY'RE PRETTY FUCKING BAD, BC THEY'RE TRUE] the nonsensical attacks on the case method, nor pay [-any-] (UGHH, THIS FUCKHEAD IS EXASPERATING) heed to the false claim that law professors are writing useless articles, [-to conclude that their individual best choice today is to delay applying to law school (or even to choose never to attend).-] (I DISAGREE WITH THIS LITTLE PART THE LEAST ONLY BC I DON'T UNDERSTAND WTF HE'S SAYING).”

    Fuck the legal profession!


    A bright, hard-working, experienced, conscientious, and homeless attorney.

  81. Buchanan is a former economics professor, and writes about debt, deficits, and responsibility to future generations. He must understand the structural issues he ignores, and is obviously just writing to protect his economic position.

  82. All the big 10 educational institutions (exception being Northwestern, Michigan) are all enormous barriers. The quantity of SAs arriving out of some of these educational institutions is extremely TTT little despite the educational status and desirability that the Big 10 normally requires.

    School ERP Software


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