Sunday, March 11, 2012

The Joint Tenancy

Credit for this legal definition goes to the authors of the Black Label Law Dictionary (BL1Y et. al.):

Joint tenancy: Smoking herb all day in your parents' basement

Admit it, you laughed.

And, as a great philosopher once observed, "it's funny because it's true."

Deborah Rhode suggested to me last week that one source of political pressure for reforming higher education in general and legal education in particular could come from Boomer parents, who are fed up with having their 20something kids migrate back into the suburban walkout basements that were finished in order to quarantine them during their fractious teen years.  That struck me as quite plausible, given the extent of the ongoing economic disaster that has swept over the so-called Millenials.

This being America, however, it's going to take awhile before enough of those parents realize that the reason Dick and Jane (or rather Jared and Hannah) can't get a job isn't because they didn't work hard enough or smoked too much weed, but because there are no jobs.  We live in a culture where people will do almost anything to avoid considering the possibility that the problems we face might be genuinely structural -- which is to say genuinely political -- as opposed to the product of tens of millions of simultaneous failures of moral character, triggered by reefer madness, or X-Box 360, or too much fast food, or so-called "rap" music, or whatever the moral panic of the moment might be.

Few things are more integral to maintaining the status quo in legal academia than this refusal to give more than lip service (if that) to structural factors.  You can tell a legal academic, and especially a legal academic administrator, that half his graduates aren't going to have careers as lawyers at all, and a large proportion of the other half aren't going to be able to make enough money practicing law to come anywhere close to justifying the cost of their law degrees, and he'll nod and smile and start burbling about teaching our students networking skills, and improving the career services office, and better skills training -- all things that, to the extent they can even be accomplished, do exactly nothing about the structural problem, but rather might improve ever so slightly the prospects of the graduates of our school relative to the prospects of the graduates of other law schools.

On one level this might seem like a failure to grasp basic arithmetic -- and given the innumeracy that plagues traditional legal education that may be a factor -- but on a deeper level it's a psychological and moral failure.  The psychological failure is a product of the tendency we all have to assume that our own experiences can be generalized.  At one extreme this leads to absurdities such as blaming graduates for not having studied harder for the LSAT so that they could have gone to better law schools (I have actually heard a law professor do this).

This reminds me of an argument I once had with a fellow who claimed that any healthy young man could, if he were sufficiently dedicated to the necessary training, eventually run a 2:30 marathon, i.e., 26+ miles at a 5:45 per mile pace.  That makes just as much sense as claiming that anybody can learn to throw down a reverse two-handed slam dunk with enough training, but this guy had turned himself from what he considered a mediocre -- actually a very fast in comparison to average humans -- marathoner into a sub-elite runner through "hard work," so he figured anyone else  could do what he had done.

In fact there are people who can score a 170 on the LSAT taking it cold, and lots of others who could never score a 150 no matter how hard they practiced, but if one's one experience seems to belie that fact it will be ignored. In any case this whole line of argument is from a structural perspective simply idiotic, since 97% of American law schools would be out of business if their clientele was limited to people who finished in the top 2% of the LSAT, but that doesn't stop your basic "personal responsibility" type from making it anyway, especially if he thinks doing so might help protect his paycheck.

People -- even people in the Clueless Generation -- are beginning to realize the reason Jared and Hannah are living in the basement has almost nothing to do with personal responsibility, and everything to do with a system that doesn't work any more.  And this realization is crucial to changing that system.


  1. What is the relationship between the LSAT story and the lack of jobs? Is the message that we could ( should) cut the number of law students -- and law schools-- by raising the bar of entry? If you score below,say,160 you cannot go to law school?


  3. Despite common sense, Boomers tend to believe that things have not changed much in the last 20-40 years. Perhaps, this serves their egos, i.e. "I worked hard and didn't expect someone to hand me a job."

    They conveniently leave out that earning a B.S. in "Political Science" or History from an average state school could lead to a nice job and career, soon after graduation in 1973 or 1980. The fact is they entered an expanding job market. (Seeing that Europe and Japan were devastated by World War II, the U.S. became the world's top manufacturing base, for many years after 1945.) Furthermore, tuition was affordable.

    Boomers: count the number of things you can now do online, with the click of a mouse. In 1986, could you access case law, statutes, appellate decisions, figure out how to file court documents, etc. - without heading to a law library?! Do you think that this automation has possibly, conceivably, impacted today's recent law graduates?!?!

    For the most part, if you have access to the internet, you no longer need to immediately call up a lawyer - if you are being sued in small claims court, especially on a frivolous cause of action. You can now download legal forms, on state court systems, online. If you are charged with simple possession or reckless driving, and you are a first time offender, you are probably aware that you can plead to a lesser offense, if you talk to the DA. Why pay a lawyer $4,000 to get you out of a $500 or $1,000 ticket? Unless you are a cab or semi-truck driver, or operate heavy machinery as part of your job, you may not be that impacted much by a consent decree. (Hell, the attorney you pay $4,000 will probably get you the same outcome.)

  4. This is making the rounds and relates to this discussion:

    The middle class is learning what the poor already know.

  5. I'm fine with reforming law school as long as the government keeps their damn hands out of my medicare.

  6. I think cutting the bottom 50 percent of law schools is a great idea. It is completely true that some people will never score above a 150 on the LSAT despite how hard they work. So, those people shouldn't go to law school. This shouldn't get all muddled in with arguments that rich people naturally do better on the LSAT. Everyone who takes this test has been able to get into a 4-year college, and is presuming that he/she will graduate. We're not talking about disadvantaged teens who can't get space to study because they live in shitty neighborhoods with crack dealers on the corners, etc. If you got into and graduated from a college, any college, that means you were able to take the SAT, study for 4 years, complete your coursework, and probably also work part-time. I don't see where the disadvantages toward taking the LSAT suddenly pop up, after you've achieved all that. And I am someone who paid my own way through both college and law school (with financial aid), not some clueless trust fund kiddy. I think we lose when we use people who could only get into bottom-tier schools as our examples of what the legal job market is like now.

  7. Absolutely -

    I can witter on continuously on how law schools could do better in the 3 years that they have young lawyers, do a better job teaching them the practical skills that they need to practice law. But that is not going to solve the fundamental problem of 48,000 graduates for less than 24,000 jobs - in fact if young lawyers came out more skilled, we would need even less. I object to so many law schools charging $150,000 for a bad education - but fixing the quality issue will not solve the employment problem.


  8. If technology and race-to-the-bottom economics makes everybody else's job low wage or obsolete, why not law professors as well?

    I wince at the memory of "hide-the-ball" classroom horseshit, which cost me three years and several tens of thousands of dollars. However, I got fine and clear legal instruction during a 7-week recorded bar review course that cost me a few grand.

    Why must law students pay for instruction from, say, Professor Paul Horwitz of Alabama, who earns $170K per year, but who has minimal experience as a practitioner and whose alleged scholarship on constitutional matters has never been cited by any reviewing court or any administrative agency?

    What if Horwitz was replaced by a series of videotaped lectures by real constitution experts--the kind who argue constitutional issues in court and whose scholarship gets cited? What if law school, after a crash course in core doctrine, consisted of a structured series of externships and clinics, run by adjunct practitioners, not 170K tenured professors, to train students to try a case, write an appeal, run an office, and represent clients in several practice areas of the student's choice?

    Wouldn't that model be way more cost-effective, so that students who do not or cannnot practice law after graduation are not financially ruined? Wouldn't such training provide lawyers with at least some basic level of competence to take cases from the get-go (no small matter, since, when document review disappears, maybe 50 percent will have to go solo if they are to get any return on their law school investment at all)?


  9. Wow. This is great. Getting the conversation closer to the belly of the beast.

  10. @7:50: better yet get rid of the LSAT entirely and replace it with a test that actually predicts success, or at least ability to rapidly comprehend the things you need to know to be successful, and to regurgitate them in a fashion palatable and immediately comprehensible to the lazy assholes who spend ten minutes grading them.

    Or am I doing that thing where you generalize personal experiences, too? I was supposed to do better than ~90% of the people in my class (possible explanation: everyone who went to my school apparently all didn't get enough sleep or had personal crises the night before the test). However, I actually did better than ~33% (possible explanation: I didn't get enough sleep and had personal crises every day for three years.)

    At least as far as my personal data point's concerned, the LSAT's just another, and surprisingly widely-credited angle for the scam.

    In any event, a test that actually tested knowledge and application of real rules would probably be *more* predictive. Not to mention, as an exercise requiring independent study of 1L concepts, such a test would force exposure to the theory-purgatory of the first year and either prepare 0Ls for that, without the potential for catastrophic failure--yes, that's pretty redundant when dealing with tens of thousands of dollars and the psychological and social power of such a significant sunk cost--or, better yet, simply scare them straight.

    Somehow the medical profession figured this out ages ago. But then they actually gatekeep, instead of just pretend to.

  11. NY Post today carried the story of NY based law schools inflating their employment statistics. Such a scam. So sorry I went to law school many years ago. What the law schools are doing is totally devaluing the degrees and careers of their less recent grad as well by creating this awful surplus of lawyers. Such an embarrasment to be a grad from my NY-based law school. They are acting in the interest of their faculty and staff and no one else in this transfer/ tuition hike/ increased class size/ inflating employment statistics game. Congress should tax them if they do not place their full student body. Lose part of their tax exemption for this conduct.

  12. I tried to warn somebody against law school and they sent me back this:

    "Out of 146 Boyd graduates in 2010, only two are unemployed and looking . . . the facts should be researched and challenged more often. Maybe everything isn't always as bleak as we think. Just something to consider by those perpetually looking at life through a negative viewfinder."

  13. Boomer parents will be unable to sell their homes and downsize for retirement:

    "In it the study authors note that excessive debt among young Americans has a profoundly negative effect on the U.S. housing market, and on the economy in general, since it is those very young people who typically are first-time buyers for modestly sized homes.

    The paper notes that from 2009 through 2011, just 9% of 29- to 34-year-olds were approved for a first-time mortgage. Not coincidentally, that age group is at the front of the line for those drowning in debt from student loans (especially graduate school students and those who have left graduate school), fueled by the apparently unstoppable increase in tution fees at schools around the country."

    I know many boomers who are pinning their hopes on being able to downsize and move to the sunbelt in order to be able to afford retirement. Many of these same boomers mock those caught up in the education bubble.

  14. "Admit it, you laughed."

    Actually, I didn't.

  15. I know many boomers who are pinning their hopes on being able to downsize and move to the sunbelt in order to be able to afford retirement. Many of these same boomers mock those caught up in the education bubble.

    Joke's on them.

    I spent all my housing money on a worthless degree, that helped boomer professors and admins buy big houses.

    Good luck selling anything to my generation. That money's all been spent.

  16. I agree, let's make the LSAT a better test. But even as it is now, it does predict the ability to study and comprehend what you are reading, and to understand basic logic. (I don't know what the "games" section really shows, maybe the ability to be good at party-seating arrangements?) You can't just throw out the only part of law school admissions that is in any way impartial and not replace it with anything, though - what then? Only the rich and connected get to go to law school. How is that better?

    The bottom line is, most people have never heard of Florida Coastal Law school, and most people have heard of Columbia. Therefore, an unemployed Columbia grad is going to get people's attention better than someone who got a 140 on the LSAT, C's at a crap school, couldn't pass the bar, and now is unemployed. I agree that these bottom-feeder schools are scum and should be thrown in prison for preying on these students. But that's a separate issue from the main one, "There are not enough jobs."

  17. I seem to recall reading somewhere that there was a certain score on the MCAT which basically functioned as a cutoff, as one could pretty much abandon hope of attending a U.S. medical school if they did not attain that score.

    The comment went on to state that the corresponding score, percentage-wise, on the LSAT was 155.

    If we went back thirty years, and eliminated every person under 155, what would the legal academy look like?

    I can virtually guarantee that there would not have been nearly two dozen new law schools open up since the turn of the century.

    That may sound harsh, but how many of those folks would have been far, far better off today if they had not taken on six figures of non-dischargeable debt?

  18. Thank you so much for this post. As an unemployed 2010 grad, I appreciate your hammering away at the problem and applaud you for taking on the herculean task of destroying the "personal responsibility" myth. It's disheartening how ingrained it is everywhere...even on JDU people adhere to it.

    If they don't understand that poverty/unemployment isn't due to an individual moral failing, it's an example of how hardened this perspective is.

    I try to explain this to my brother but he is too blinded by his own experience (out of law) that he thinks it's the same everywhere--work hard and you'll go far. It's so frustrating when even poor people embrace this reasoning that only serves to benefit the elite.

    Many point to the token 3 or 5 people who may have come from humble backgrounds and done well and use that as evidence that anyone can do it. It's a perverse confirmation bias that only maintains the status quo.

    As someone who completed his first marathon under 3 hours and qualified for Boston every single time time I've run one (even after walking for a mile one time), I can say that I would likely not have gotten as low as 2:30, even though I ran sub-5 minute miles in high school.

    Great example, great post.

    Thanks for a great post.

  19. "Out of 146 Boyd graduates in 2010, only two are unemployed and looking"

    "So I went looking for a negative local story. Instead, I found a positive one."

    I graduated in 2010 and while I didn't attend every school, based on my interactions with people from my school, U of IL, and others, if that statistic is real, it is an extreme outlier and is not to be taken at face value.

    I guess stories like that one is the "outside research" that lawyers like me are supposed to have done. A column that is basically just uses the columnist as a stenographer. I do hope the law school's administration pays her a kickback.

    She did what I or anyone else on the outside does, she went to the school and they sold her a load of BS and she bought it.

    "A recent woe-is-me national study said that the class of 2010 showed a 20 percent drop in salaries and that the national median salary was $63,000 for new lawyers."

    "Woe-is-me national study?" As if the study's main purpose was to show that new lawyers have a great median salary!

    Thank God there are people exposing this mess. The American Dream has become the American Delusion.

  20. "That may sound harsh, but how many of those folks would have been far, far better off today if they had not taken on six figures of non-dischargeable debt?"

    I, for one, would be better off. Hindsight is 20/20 though, but I can definitely say that becoming a lawyer hasn't been worth it.

  21. 4th Turning...........BITCHEZ !!!!!!11111

  22. Nando-
    "For the most part, if you have access to the internet, you no longer need to immediately call up a lawyer"
    Very true. I actually had a situation last year where I thought I needed a lawyer (I've never been to law school and know nothing about the law). But after talking to several lawyers, it seemed like they couldn't tell me anything that I hadn't already figured out for myself from internet searching. One lawyer was very obviously google searching the topic while I talked to her on the phone! I'm not going to pay $100 an hour for someone to do Google searches for me.

  23. "For the most part, if you have access to the internet, you no longer need to immediately call up a lawyer - if you are being sued in small claims court, especially on a frivolous cause of action."

    In LA County you cannot use a lawyer in small claims court (even if you wanted one).

  24. @1:27pm (and all others who want to know what the legal job market in Las Vegas is like):

    Regarding the employed Boyd law graduates that the RJ reported about, I happen to know one of them. She works at the same place I do (also a law graduate, but from another school.) We both work for a government agency as file clerks. Can't say for sure what she makes, but I make about $13,000 a year and she does a similar job.

    I wonder if this is what the article was referring to, when it talked about the great statistics on employed Boyd law school graduates. I am hardly cheering.

    As for Las Vegas being the sunny side for legal employment, hahahahahaha (coming from someone who has worked in the legal field in Las Vegas now for free for about a year and a half and is no closer to getting a legal job than when she started. But don't take my word for it. For a more realistic perspective, your acquaintance can and should check out this:

  25. 4:58 again...

    Note: to clarify, I have worked in the legal field for free for the last year and a half. Paid legal jobs in Las Vegas? Unless your daddy owns a firm, you're going to be working at Starbucks. (Again, don't take my word, just watch the above video.)

  26. LawProf: A couple of thoughts on Prof Rhode's comment from a formerly clueless boomer:
    1. You absolutely must engage the boomer parents of the current lost generation. Twenty somethings who live in debt peonage to the federal government and whose debts will never be repaid have no political clout. Their elders may.
    2. Its a funny thing but our fractious teenage children actually mutate into adult human beings with whom we can empathise sometime in their mid twenties. We can even come to understand that their dire situation might not come from smoking, well, less dope than we did.
    3. The first twenty minutes of your Stanford talk, emphasizing the changes in the cost of legal education and where the money is going, in constant dollars (I can't stress the constant dollars thing enough,)is a message that will resonate with at least some boomers. If your first message is "there are no jobs" then "they are charging your children three to six times what they charged you in constant dollars" should be the second.


  27. The American Dream is the true opiate of the masses.

    As long as the rich sedate us with empty promises that "you too can make it despite your background!" and can point to a few meager examples, people will focus on that.

    The non-rich believe that they can work hard and be one of the righteous few. Their effort is directed towards that goal and by the time they realize that it was all smoke and mirrors (say two years after law school with no job), they have already been co-opted into having believed in the dream.

    If enough people realized just how much of a lottery (due to political factors that we can control) gainful employment, and indeed maintaining anything more than a subsistence living, has become we'd have to change our political and education systems.

    Yet, by channeling what would be boiling rage into the "American Dream," the comfortable maintain the status quo and enlist their poorer counterparts in shaming those who aren't rich into believing that the system functions as it should.

    How many people believe that they are a day or year of hard work away from joining the elite? That is the phenomenon that the rich profit from. Raise taxes on the rich? The poorest among us will fight tooth and nail to prevent that from happening and so the structural inequities continue and Mitt Romney and his ilk laugh all the way to the bank.

    It's the same everywhere. We've been imbibing this opiate for so long, it'll be years before we can wean ourselves off it and say something's wrong here. If we ever get to that point.

  28. The problem is also that people think it SHOULD be so that "Anyone who works hard enough can be a successful lawyer." This is what led to the opening of all these "TTT" schools in the first place - the idea that everyone should be able to earn a law degree, regardless of intelligence or aptitude for the practice of law. Because everyone thinks that, if he/she works hard, he/she can do "anything." But we can't all be great at everything. I will never be great at marathon running no matter how hard I work at it, and many graduates of toilet schools should never have tried to enter the profession, because they have no aptitude for law. That is fine! Why does everyone have to be a lawyer? Go do something you can be great at, not something that just does not agree with you.

  29. Why admit that structural factors exist at all when the school's employment stats clearly show that more than 90% of graduates are employed x months after gradation with a median salary of $100k or more.

    People won't wake up to the structural issue until the existing employment stats are admitted to be frauds. Otherwise, people will just say that the one out of ten who couldn't get a job didn't work hard enough.

    Like an alcoholic, you must admit there's a problem before you can address it. Thankfully you're blog is the intervention law schools need.

  30. I am amazed at all the anti-capitalist / communist talk here. Comment before last and one before that in particular. Sure we are in a state of crony capitalism, but blame the sheeple who vote 'Bush-Obama' into office not the idea of 'American dream as a fraud'. There is a better institution to build, set yourself to this task !!!

  31. In Election terms, nothing that appears in or on this blog, or mine, or any other similar blog is of any account.

    All powerful conservative reps. such as Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity are true titular or maybe more accurately: de-facto, political leaders, and have the final word, and that is just the way it is.

    They are too powerful, and will sway elections for a long time to come.

    The commenters here had better start talking in the FOX news pared down simple language.

  32. Gary Indiana, if you think this began with "Bush-Obama," where have you been??

  33. (a) The American Dream is a concept that came about because of the New Deal and the fact that the U.S. was a superpower and an empire. The New Deal meant things like (1) cheap finance for homes and cheap education as a social safety net for the middle class and (2) That as the world apex, we had much of the economic pie. Both variables are changed. Piece of advice: If the only thing you have to say in response to economic data is to keep on hoping, you are preaching religion since you aren't discussing how to address the economic data.

    (b) Capitalism is working as it should. Anyone saying its not doesn't understand the point. The point is to have losers and winners. Mostly losers. If you didn't, then its not taking risk.

    It works on risk taking, and, therefore, will always promote instability. This is not leftist. Arguments over Crony Capitalism has more of leftist tinge. Its something that you can see in the writings of Hyman Minsky. His works is well regarded, even on Wall Street, because it predicted 2008, or the so-called Minsky Moment.

    The Minsky Moment states that as people become more encroached in normalcy or a sense that things are stable the more they will take irresponsible risks:

    "As a boom leads to euphoria, Minsky said, banks and other commercial lenders extend credit to ever more dubious borrowers, often creating new financial instruments to do the job. During the nineteen-eighties, junk bonds played that role. More recently, it was the securitization of mortgages, which enabled banks to provide home loans without worrying if they would ever be repaid. (Investors who bought the newfangled securities would be left to deal with any defaults.) Then, at the top of the market (in this case, mid-2006), some smart traders start to cash in their profits."

    His theories are actually a lot more complicated than that, but for our purposes it sums up the point that capitalism is inherently unstable.

    While its true that one could offer a similar leftist (Marxist critique) it would be coming from a place of argument that owners of production want to control labor. That's not Minsky's point. His point is all you need to do is to set up a system of capitalism, and due to the premise of relying on risk, you produce instability.

    Bruh rabbit

    Part 1

  34. part 2

    You actually see this playing out in our economy. That's why they call American style capitalism "cowboy" or "casino" capitalism. Its based on pure risk taking without regulating growth. In Biology, unregulated growth, to give you an analogy, is like cancer. There's no way I can full explore the problems with excessive risk taking here. But, its what leads students to think they can recoup the cost of going into 150k of debt. Although Minsky's arguments are Macroeconomics, they provide, in this case, an analogy that can help us understand why students go into so much debt. Its why I linked earlier to the psychology of the poor. Its because circumstances are driving them to believe they can overcome the debt.

    Its not just the false numbers reported by law schools. Its also a culture that says that the American Dream will like the magic spaghetti monster form the sky save you. This all ignores risk. We are lulled into a sense that we can do anything. We delude ourselves into believing that the US is on top for some other reason than being the world super power with a large part of the economic pie.

    The problem with all of this is that we are losing that status as the world super power. The BRICS are coming.

    There are many theories of economics. The idea that if one questions the stability of capitalism equals Marxism is the ignorant pushed onto Americans by Neoliberal/Neoclassical/Conservative thought. Its simply not true.

    Education, as I have mentioned before, is a canary in the coal mine of the limits of growth. We can't educate our way out of a system that's inherently unstable. That doesn't mean education is not a public good (you want a well educated population to prevent further exploitation (now that is a Marxist statement). It means that we must understand its limitations as an economic engine. Its not going to solve the jobs crisis (which is a world wide crisis since there are 5 billion people searching for a job,a nd only 3.5 billion jobs) in the U.S., anymore than it solved it in Egypt, or Europe.

    One can have varying theories of how we can get out fo this mess. The one thing that one can not do is waste time with idiotic statements about "the American dream." it was never real in the first place. it was a welfare system mixed with a hegemonic economic power that masked the facts that the rest of the world had to face.

    One of the reasons I am for the welfare state is because I am not delusional about what's that's meant for the middle class.

    Don't believe me? Compare the U.S. to Brazil right now:

    Bruh Rabbit

  35. re Brazil

    its growing because it has an aggressive welfare state. Its not practicing austerity or cutting.

    "Brazil adopts a mixed system of public and private funded universities. Usually public funded universities offer the best quality education, and they are 100% financed by the government. Public universities can be federally funded (all universities with acronyms in Portuguese starting with "UF" are federal universities), or financed by State governments (such as USP, Unicamp and Unesp in the State of São Paulo)."


    Its economy has passed the UK, which is focused on the route that many here advocate.

    Bruh Rabbit

  36. Bruh Rabbit,

    Centrally planned welfare states ALWAYS lead to malinvestment.

    Welfare states that are directed from the top down can not compete against pure capitalist models.

    America used to have such a model,...

    until the Federal Reserve and Progressives shoved their welfare / warfare state onto the populace.

  37. Gary

    Ia m not interested in a series of received (because they are things you have been taught rather than you have ever really thought about) assertions (because they are conclusions not analysis pairing logic to empirical facts).

    Also, welfare states need not be centralized, that alone tells me you have no idea what you are talking about.

    Your coment about what America "used to have' is also pure ignorance. You sound like the Tea bagger arguing that government should get out of health care, they should leave medicare alone.

    FInally, I am not interested in rants about the Federal reserve. It just comes across under the circumstances as just more proof that you are throwing out random memorized talking points that have no link to the argument that I actually made.

    I just gave you one example that is exactly the opposite of what you claim. Brazil and much of Latin America followed the Neoliberal/Neoclassical model forced onto them by the IMF to near ruin. It was only after they stopped listening to the eries of assertions that you are throwing out now that they started on economic success. Indeed, most of the parts of the world heading towards economic dominance do not follow what you are preaching here.

    Its on you to explain why the comparative economic analysis does not fit your claims. Not me.

    Bruh Rabbit

  38. Maybe I'm wrong, since I don't really have a statistically significant sample set to work with, but I think we're looking at a huge change in how education is viewed between Boomers and Gen Y.

    For Boomers, a college degree was a credential. It wasn't common, and was a sign of possessing a decent overall intelligence, along with some basic skills like algebra, writing, and knowing how to do the computers. What you studied wasn't too terribly important. A degree in history would probably be as useful for getting a job in business as a degree in business. Obviously some degrees matter more, like engineering, but your main distinction was that you had a degree at all.

    Boomers got degrees because that allowed a middle manager to check the appropriate box so he could hire you. Gen Y knows that this doesn't work any more. Everyone has a degree and soon everyone will have two. We're starting to look at not what level of education you've reached, but rather what you actually know how to do. Especially with law, Gen Y wants skills over generalized liberal arts education.

    This is reflected in a tendency I've seen in Gen Y to care more about what it is they do with their life, rather than Boomers who too often seem to just care about having a job and a paycheck. The focus has gone from saving for retirement to doing something with your life today.

    I think that's the attitude that's going to turn the economy and education around. We don't want the degree, we want the education; we don't want the job, we want the work. We'll take the degree and the job, of course, but that's not the driving force.

  39. 1:47 here.

    Those students who are suing the law schools should consider using that column. It shows how even a seasoned journalist (a reasonable person, if you will) trusts that the statistics provided by a law school will be accurate.

    Las Vegas was subprime central, and people are living in the storm drains under the casinos. Unemployment is around 17%.

    If the numbers featured in the column are accurate, then their career center has discovered the philosopher's stone of the legal industry.

    It's worth reading, and a window into the perception of the average person on law schools:

    It may have also been a deliberate PR move to counter blogs like this. Here it is on UNLV Law's twitter page:!/UNLVLaw/status/134435687503118337

  40. Well said Bruh. I know some don't like your commentary, but I like to read what you say.

    It is very curious that countries practicing austerity seem to be the worst off. Conservatives don't ever address this reality and always make the leap to communism. If you criticize anything structural you're a communist and a socialist!

    Curious that socialist wasn't thrown around in general conversation until Sarah Palin and others accused candidate Obama of it, then we had legions of armchair-pundits who recognized the malignancy of socialism/communism.

    I guess I shouldn't have used "opiate of the masses" because clearly that makes me socialist/communist.

    Gary: is there only one form of capitalism? One form of communism? One form of socialism? Your casual accusation of socialism/communism based on my comments is precisely the problem.

    If we expose the American Dream (Bruh did a good job above) then you're attacking the very structure of civilization! One can recognize that capitalism is flawed and encourage change without being a communist (or socialist!).

    Bruh did a good job of laying out his position, please respond. You don't have to buy into what is said here, but we'd like to here your view laid out with greater specificity.

  41. 7:59 *hear* your view...

  42. Lol Bruh Rabbit,

    You are a pompous pseudo intellectual windbag who clearly likes the sound of his own voice.

    Moreover, rather than discuss ideas you bring in your shallow politicized agenda with disparaging 'tea bagger' epitaphs (talk about revealing that it is YOU who have been 'hardwired' and 'programmed'.

    As regards your thesis that Brazil's model is a winning model shows what a joke of a thinker you are. Anyone can point to any singular historical data point to draw a conclusion, and that is all you have done. You are a bag of hot wind that has reached his conclusion and offered no model of understanding to support that conclusion. You are a statist Keynesian progressive liberal democrat praddling on as if you have a clue. You do not. Try reading some Austrian economics you smug idiot.

  43. PS - This statement "Also, welfare states need not be centralized, that alone tells me you have no idea what you are talking about." takes the cake.

    Do you know what a free market is? ALL welfare states are centralized you pompous no nothing. It is the central trait of a welfare state. Ironic that you would chide me as not knowing what I am talking about when the statement you make is ON ITS FACE false.

    You really should know what you are talking about before you spout off.

    Oh,..did I tell you you are a smug pseudo-intellectual?

    You are!

  44. In the war b/t the pseudo-intellectual and the pseudo-populist, who wins?

    on the right, name calling now equals political discourse.

  45. Hey,

    I ain't holding water for anyone. Im just stating an observation. Namely, the Austrian School of Economics has most accurately predicted this crisis. Hayek has kicked Keynes ass. Progressives and their centrally planned statist philosophy instituted through their IMF, Federal Reserve, World Bank apparatus have drowned the world in debt and siphoned off wealth from the productive. All the politicians do is pit the productive vs. the freeloaders and sew division to manage the perceptions of sheep so they can retain power. Bernays discussed all this!!!

    And,.........if you read the thread - it was Bruh Rabbit who got uppity with his air of superiority bullshit. I just called him on his drivel.

  46. I think this is a good blog, but the comments usually degenerate into a name-calling contest between two or more posters. It's boring, and it's not helping the cause. It would be pretty easy for an observer to drop in here and think, "maybe these people should improve their manners and grammar, and then would be able to find jobs." Well-argued legal briefs, these comments are not.

  47. Its called a comments section in a message board!?!?!? Are you people for real? Seriously, why does Bruh Rabbit and some of the 'Anonymous' have such a stick up their ass?

    I like this blog too and believe in the cause. That said, it'll be a cold day in hell before a pseudo intellectual phoney no nothing spouts propaganda under my watch and dares pretend to me he is knowledgable when he is nothing more than a bag of Progressive hot air.

  48. "The Road to Serfdom" is my favorite law school memoir.

  49. Unfortunately, Gary Indiana will thrive in the legal profession. Prone to attack the person, not the problem.

  50. 8:59, sad but true...

  51. Gary,

    (1) Unlike you , I raised myself up out of poverty from nothing to get where I am in life. In short, you don't get to tell me shit. If you want to have a conversation about ideas and facts, bring it. If you want to have a fight over which of us is a pseudo-intellectual, look in the mirror.

    (2) Brazil is one among many examples of why spouting the "American Dream" in response to bad economic data is not a solution. You can't even respond to the one example. How are you going to respond to more than one. We aren't going to address the concern over education with someone like you spouting off to kids about the "American Dream" in the mix. You are precisely the kind of mind set that leads young, impressionable kids to believe that that despite the numerical odds, they are going to overcome the present debt trap risk of law school.

    (3) I am not even going to get into this debate with you about Austrian economic thought. Its completely delusional.

    All I can say is good luck. There are people who here I disagree with, but at least I think they are linked to reality. You aren't. I don't discuss issues with delusional people.

    Bruh Rabbit

  52. 7:59

    The approach in this country when there's a question about "is our economic approach working" is to change the subject. Gary is just playing the role that has been played out for decades now. The points that i am making are actually not leftist, but instead asking "what are the limitations of capitalism" and how should we respond to those limitations? One can be a capitalist, in other words, and still ask those questions. But, we have been taught that we cannot ask questions like "Is education budget something that should be considered in the context of markets?" or "whether students should be subject to massive debt?" all because we can't admit that risk is not a suitable standard for all endeavors in our society. I am glad Gary is here. The reality is that I keep saying that you can't have education reform without addressing the 800-lb guerilla in the room that reform must first deal with the cult-like religion that says there is only one way to run an economy, and that's the way we have been running it for the last 40 years. So long that's true, even simple ideas like including student loans under bankruptcy become hard to see as possible wins. Afterall, its precisely Gary's views that lead to the Bankruptcy Acto of 2005 in the first place.

    Bruh rabbit

  53. @Gary Indiana:

    "The Austrian School Kicked Keynes' Ass"

    Hmmm. The Austrian School to be blunt are just a bunch of erudite goldbugs. As far as an ass-kicking is concerned, the Austrian School economic proscriptions can largely be described as "let's return to orthodox pre-Keynesian Economics" - and as anyone who know Economic history will remember, Keynes kicked ass when it came to ending the Great Depression which had been exacerbated by applying the prescriptions the Austrian School want to return to. As far as the Austrian School being right - since it predicted economic catastrophe for some 60+ years, like a stopped clock it would be right twice a day.

    Ayn Rand was an unpleasant woman, who bathed rather rarely, had a sex life that would make the average Republican faint, thought that it might be a good idea to wipe out all unproductive members of society and signed on for Medicare and Social Security as soon as she was old enough to do so, having ranted against it for decades before.

    You agree with their piffle and nonsense?


  54. @Gary Indiana

    I am not someone who should criticise typos but as it happens "sEw division" is just a glorious one because it turns the meaning of the cliché entirely around - I personally love to sew division, as when I "knit up the sleeve of ravelled care"


  55. It is hard to take seriously someone who repeatedly uses the phrase "no nothing," talks about "sewing" division, and claims to be "knowledgable." Really? That's a whole lot of repeated "bad typing."

  56. I can't wait to tell the career services department that my best plan moving forward in 2012 is joint tenancy.

  57. I had a similar experience with an octagenarian who runs Ironman Triathons (2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike and 26 mile run, consecutively) and insists anybody could do it. On the one hand he is being admirably humble and he has no doubt worked extraordinarily hard to stay that fit into his 80's. On the other hand only a small percentage of the population has the genetics to do that no matter how hard they work. I think this illustrates a key point, which is that acknowledging that some people possess natural (or cultural) advantages does not take anything away from their accomplishments. Anyone clerking for the Supreme Court probably worked really, really hard and they deserve due credit for that. But they are also lucky, either in their IQ, their upbringing, or most likely both. Acknowledging this point doesn't mean that we try to drag down high achievers, but rather suggests that we should be compassionate towards those who--despite their own hard work--haven't been able to achieve the same heights. It means that we should do what we can to help those people out of the holes they've fallen into, such as by allowing them to declare bankruptcy. Then they can apply their work ethic to the next better opportunity and benefit from the lesson they've learned rather than being crushed by that lesson.

  58. More proof Keynesian economics do not work.

  59. @ 3:08

    This is collectivist drivel that makes me want to puke.

    "But they are also lucky, either in their IQ, their upbringing, or most likely both. Acknowledging this point doesn't mean that we try to drag down high achievers, but rather suggests that we should be compassionate towards those who--despite their own hard work--haven't been able to achieve the same heights."

  60. Gary, 3:08 here. Care to offer any countervailing argument, or did you just want me to know your gastrointestinal status?

  61. There is already an over-flowing abundance of 'compassion' for those who do not have what it takes to succeed. Social Security Disability, Disability Accommodations, HAMP, Need Based Scholarships, Affirmative Action, Multiculturalism, Diversity Training, Quotas, Medicare, Medicaid, Food Stamps, etc...etc...

    How about we focus our energy in America on MERIT? I would love a law that criminalizes nepotism. This whole corrupt society needs to have a flame thrower out to it.

    So yes,...I puke with feel good compassion nonsense. Its the same drivel that elected Bush Jr [Compassionate Conservativism]. I am just tired of all the emotional black-mail in the USA. When is this country going to return to the principles which made it great in the first place?

  62. Joint tenancy. Ha! I laughed. For real. :)))))))


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