Saturday, March 17, 2012

Law School Transparency's push for adoption of a revised Standard 509

The ABA's Council of the Section of Legal Education is meeting today in an open session at the Westin Beach Resort and Spa in Fort Lauderdale.  The key item on the agenda is a revision of Standard 509 -- the ABA's consumer information standard.

Law School Transparency has submitted a memo regarding the proposed revision, which apparently the Council will consider.  The memo is mostly devoted to advocating for various technical changes in the proposal, but ends with a general statement that, at this point, I hope few people in legal academia would be willing to disagree with (at least openly):

(5) Regulatory Barriers to More Efficient Law Schools
It has become apparent that legal education has gotten away from legal educators. There are almost 200 schools vying to be Harvard-like think tanks. The vast majority of these schools set tuition prices in a distorted market, with rates loosely based on a school’s U.S. News ranking and geographic location. This pricing model, which relies on student loans and dwindling credibility, will not survive. The Council should acknowledge this reality and ensure that the ABA standards do not stand in the way of schools needing to substantially change how they deliver a quality legal education.

At some point, as more and more graduates question their own ability to practice law upon graduation and more clients refuse to pay for their services, we must do more than idly theorize on changes to the current model. We believe the Council’s first step should be to conduct an inquiry into how the accreditation standards (a) functionally prevent low-cost alternatives and (b) could be adapted to allow other models to emerge. For too long, cost considerations have been absent from reform discussions. The Council should seize the chance to better legal education for the sake of the profession and society at-large.

In November, we asked that Jeffrey Lewis, dean emeritus and professor of law at Saint Louis University School of Law, create a special subcommittee to review regulatory barriers preventing law schools from adapting low-cost models. To date, plans for such a committee have not been announced. It is critical that the Council ask Dean Lewis to create this committee today, and that the Council urges the new committee to act quickly and thoroughly. If the answers do not come quickly from legal educators, the result will be that educators end up forfeiting their right to control the changes. And if the answers have to come from elsewhere, unbreaking the broken law school model will be as painful as it is necessary.
The last sentence in the quote alludes to the fact that, behind the scenes, a couple of U.S. Senate committees remain keenly interested in what the ABA is or isn't doing to reform a broken system.  The Council has been made well aware of this fact -- a fact which has quite direct relevance to the Council's sudden new-found interest in improved law school transparency.

Speaking of which, the current chairman of the Council, New England School of Law Dean John O'Brien, received a salary of $737,482, plus $44,238 in other compensation in 2010, per IRS tax form 990.  I doubt Dean O'Brien shares LST's views on the extent to which this system is broken, but it's becoming increasingly clear that the opinions of persons such as himself are not going to decide these matters for much longer.


  1. $737,482 as dean or as the chairman or both. My God, I guess it doesn't matter... I'm speechless.

  2. One gets the feeling that most of law is just one big shakedown: pay me money so you can do something.

    I mean, what value to society is this dean's work? Most physicians don't even earn this kind of money.

  3. The Story of The Giant Leprechaun

    The boys down at Maloney's Pub were having a great laugh, and they kept on laughing, even as Bill O'Reilly paused, so as to toss yet another tall pint of his favorite black Guiness down his windpipe, in an attempt to assuage both his customary Friday evening thirst, as well as his current confusion.

    After he had drained the glass, and while pounding on the bar for Maloney to draw him another, O'Reilly continued his tale, and with the same unwonted perplexity:

    "I'm telling ye" Said O'Reilly, in his thick Irish brogue, "he was the giantest Leprechaun ye ever did saw! A great big one, and all covered o'er with great big green muscles!" and O'Reilly raised his arms halfway in a mock double biceps pose.

    Another roar of laughter from the boys went up, and young Sean Hannity, the mailman asked:

    "Now, now O'Reilly. Are ye sure that that yer not just a bit color blind, and that they wasn't pink muscles that ye was seein'?"

    O'Reilly shook his head and said: "They wus undeniably grrrreen. And green so it was with his skin all o'er. And, now listen here, cause I'll swear on me mother's grave to it, he was a ridin'.........guess what?"

    The boys could hardly speak they were laughing so hard, but officer Fitzspatrick, or chief, rather, of the local Constabulary, managed to respond:

    "Pray tell O'Reilly. What was it that he was ridin? Was it a broomstick the fairy godmother gave him for his birthday present?" (Which brought a playful shove from behind.)

    But O'Reilly remained concerned, and very serious as he answered:

    "No, I tell ye. T'wasn't no broomstick, and there t'werent no fairy godmother. He was ridin a honest to goodness......... motorcycle!"

    The roar that went up at that statement could be heard from outside a whole city block away, maybe two blocks. It was pure entertainment for the boys. They were well aware of how much O"Reilly loved his Guiness, and of O'Reilly's capacity for telling tall tales after he had had a few, but this story was the tallest, and most preposterous tale yet.

    "A motorcycle! Exclaimed young Sean Hannity. Now is that what it was? A Harley O'Davidson perhaps?"

    But O'Reilly was evidently very serious, and, after another swallow, persisted: "It was a motorcycle for sure. And it was a Japanese one. And he wus a rrrridin' it."

    If you had bet that the chorus of laughter had reached its apex already, you would have lost , for the laughter became positively deafening after Willie O'Sullivan remarked:

    "Now do you be seein the shame of it boys? Even giant leprechauns are refusin to buy domestic."

  4. Lame partisan political hack tale that isnt even funny. Last 50 years, both democrats and republicans have betrayed this country. They are all statists. The whole bunch!!1111

  5. "There are almost 200 schools vying to be Harvard-like think tanks."

    So true. I hate to sound anti-intellectual, but unless the law faculty first meets its basic obligation to provide their students with the training they need to practice law, even scholarship itself begins like an unfair indulgence at the expense of naive kids. And if that scholarship is totally disregarded by practitioners, it begins to seem like a betrayal of the profession.

    Take Professor Paul Horwitz of Alabama, who earns $178,000/yr as a law professor, despite minimal experience as a practitioner. Horwitz has published 22 articles, almost all on constitutional topics, a total of zero of which have ever been cited by a reviewing court or administrative agency. How does that help students or the profession?

    Horwitz has actually provided the following "Advice to First-Years:" “Talking in class, and other ways of throwing yourself into the mix, is a terrific, bad-consequence-free way of actually starting to practice at being a lawyer. Take advantage.”

    Only a true scammer would assert that gunning in a hide-the-ball doctrine course has anything in common with representing a client on any matter.

    Or, take Professor Peter Bayer of UNLV, whose words should shine like a beacon of bullshit: "We are not producing plumbers and bookkeepers, we are producing the leaders of our Society whose primary ability is the strength of their intellects. Law teachers hone the mind in a variety of ways through a variety of methods.”

    If there is any surprise as to the fact a JD is increasing loathed by nonlaw employers, consult Bayer's statement. He thinks that training doesn't matter, and skills don't matter, because law school professors provide such super-cerebral abilities that the grads can expect to become "leaders of Society." In other words, a JD doesn't represent something so vulgar as skills, it represents elite expectations.

    Law is a learn-by-doing profession. It should open with a bar-review-like crash course to teach core doctrine fast. Following that, it should consist of a series of clinics and externships 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. These clinics and externships should be run by adjunct practitioners, paid by the course, not by $178,000/yr scammers like Horwitz.

    In the world we are sailing into--downsized firms, public sector austerity, and offshored document review-- half or more law grads will probably need to go the solo or small firm route if they are to get any return on their law school investment whatsoever. They need the training, confidence, and contacts to hang out a shingle with a few of their friends and practice law on the day they are admitted to the bar. They do not need Nietschze, six-figure debt loads, or three years of classes to teach what a bar review course teaches in seven weeks.


  6. Why do you people take no responsibility whatsoever for your situation? You base the notion of being "scammed" on one webpage on a website designed to advertise the law school, as well as an annual report in the US News and World Report magazine. Even these sources provide true information, but presented in a misleading way.

    It is extremely difficult to believe that had it not been for these sources, you never would have gone into law school. I bet many of you didn't even look too carefully at the above "scamming" information. Going into debt to go to law school is a major life decision. If you make this decision and it was a bad one, it is surely at least to some substantial part your fault. Yes, that misleading webpage buried in the middle of your law school's website was a bad thing to do. But it really is unreasonable to point to that as the source of your problems. Now these schools are being sued, based on the presence of a webpage with true but misleading information??? God forbid you take some responsibility for your life for a change.

  7. The Giant Leprechaun Part 2

    But there was indeed a very large and muscular, arsenical-green skinned Giant Leprechaun in town, as all who were in Maloney's Pub that night were to soon learn the following week when they noticed him riding about town on his unmuffled and offensive Suzuki motorcycle.

    It was rumored that the Leprechaun had been hired for the position of Constitutional Law Professor by the recently ABA accredited fourth tier tier law school situated not very far from Maloney's Pub, and adjacent to the railroad tracks.

    The Professor also had large and pointed ears, and therefore could not fit a motorcycle helmet over his head.

    Not that it mattered really, for the state of the Professor's new domicile was New Hampshire, which has no helmet law, much to the gratification of the deafening herds of spiked- leather clad motorcycle gangs with the wind in their hair that travel up and down the Kangamangas Highway, in New Hampshire's White Mountains, during the warmer months of the year.

    It was also noted by some, and with consternation, that the Professor, the Giant Leprechaun that is, seemed to wear a sort of disturbing and menacing scowl on his face as he went by. But people could not be so sure of that, for the Professor would go past them so quickly, and almost always in great excess of the speed limit.

    But what the townspeople failed to notice was that hidden within the saddle bags of his motorcycle was the Giant Leprechaun's Shillelagh, or Irish Walking stick, which, it was also rumored, the Professor was wont to brandish in the faces of his first year Law students whenever it was discovered that they had not done their homework and briefed their assigned cases for class.

    In short, the new and celebrated mythical resident of the town wherein Maloney's happy Irish Pub was situated, was shaping up to be an obnoxious, mean looking and unrepentant bully.

    Exactly where the fourth tier Law School that hired the Professor found him in the first place was a mystery. Some said it was a small town in Ireland situated near a vast tract of deep forest land. Other's said that the Professor was from the Highlands of Scotland. And that is probably more accurate if last names are any indication of from where it is a person of the Celtic lands hails; for the Professor's full title and name was: Professor William MacGregor VIII

    To be continued.....

    Happy St. Paddy's Day!

  8. @ Anonymous MARCH 17, 2012 9:15 AM:

    Here's the deal - we're not talking about "true but misleading information." We're talking about outright lies.

  9. Well, I am not sure that only a few people in legal academia would fail to agree with the propositions in that memo. Not that people on this site are representative, but when the idea of having different types of law schools has been floated here, the reaction has ranged from negative to indifferent. Only a couple of people spoke up for it, even though it is the logical conclusion of nearly all of the complaints that have been lodged here about the present system of legal education.
    The expressed fears center on the creation of a two tier, or multi-tiered system of elite and non- elite schools. We have that already, of course. But the new regime would tend to formalize that. And that makes some people uncomfortable.

    HYS Is going to keep doing what they do, although even there all three schools are making internal changes that fit their particular strengths. But there should be room for some schools to chart a different course.

  10. I wish LST would stay on the message of honest and accurate job placement disclosure. Raising other issues only takes away from the first one.

  11. Please delete the leprechaun posts. They have the trademark inane ramblings and lack of conclusion that distinguish JDPainterguy's "stories".

    He's apparently Anonymous now but he's still the same insane idiot.

  12. Looking at 9:15 AM's posting, the - somewhat tangential - thought occurred to me that if the Law Schools had any brains at all, they would immediately start to produce the accurate numbers on their employment figures, or put on their website something like "Please contact us for full employment data", yet when they are contacted, actually provide *accurate* data.

    The reason why, is that for even the TTTT schools, I'd bet at most they'd only lose about 25% of their potential enrollment, even if they keep the same disgusting (6 times the rate of inflation I think?) tuition levels. More than enough money to stay viable judging by the stats I've seen on how much money these filthy Universities are sitting on (this goes beyond just Law).

    It's the same psychology as those who play the lottery or go to the casino. Even when presented with the stark details (which for some schools I'd guess are like 25-30% true JD employment after graduating), there will still be plenty of applicants who want to play, and if they end up unemployed and in debt no fault can be put at the Law School's door, even though the latter are basically con artists - "A fool will always be removed from his money" or whatever the saying is.

    At least for the next 5-10 years as the idea of law as a guaranteed money maker is removed from the general public mindset.

  13. @9:15: Why do people get so upset when they learn that a restaurant they were eating at had spoiled food and filth all over the kitchens?

    It's extremely hard to believe that but for the A rating the health inspector they paid off gave it, or the website that showed a pristine kitchen (picture taken in the first week of opening) you never would have eaten a meal at all. You made a decision to eat there, a bad decision, but it is surely substantially your fault.

    And now you want to sue because a rotten oyster destroyed your liver? God forbid you take some responsibility for your life for a change.

  14. I think most victims do blame themselves, at least in part.  And I think it is a good thing when society does blame victims, it encourages smarter behavior (I hope).  But that doesn't excuse what the law schools are doing.  They should not be allowed to publish misleading information and they should be punished for doing so.

  15. Speaking of which, the current chairman of the Council, New England School of Law Dean John O'Brien, received a salary of $737,482, plus $44,238 in other compensation in 2010, per IRS tax form 990.


    Holy shit. That is mind blowing when you consider the mechanism (fraudulent job placement number) by which he tricks people into giving him what is no less than a fortune.

    TTT Deans who make a few hundred thousand are bad enough, but people like this who make close to a million, and who insinuate themselves into positions whereby they can rubber stamp the fraudulent techniques that allow them to take this (ultimately from taxpayers) have taken the word scam to another level.

    Nando PLEASE do an expose.

  16. That motherfucker makes SIXTY THOUSAND DOLLARS per month.

    That motherfucker makes, IN ONE DAY, ONE DAY, what your average shit lawyer would be happy to make in one month.

    Holy shit that pisses me off.

    Do you think he's going to stop at anything in order to keep the scam going?

  17. Please do not delete the Giant Leprechaun posts, because, in this fictious story, what happens is that the mean bully Constitutional Law Professor Leprechaun places the entire first year class under a paralyzing financial spell, with the help of the mysterious and glittering fairy dust that he sprinkles on the air of the classroom beforehand, and then goes up and down the aisles and literally robs the 1L law school students (except for the wealthy ones that did not borrow money for tuition) of all the money from thier pockets, and any jewelry and portable property they happen to have so as to fill his pot-o-glittering gold. All the while the mean bully Constitutional law professor/chimera (half human, half beast) whips and beats the class with his Irish walking stick (mostly, and symbolicaly, about the head so as to render the law school class the most psychological and emotional damage :)

    In the end, the Giant Leprechaun disappears, with impunity, to the far off Irish forest, or the high country of the Scottish Highlands, and is nowhere to be found ever again, and all of the young, naive students are left destitute and broke for the rest of their lives are financially ruined and off the American societal grid, in much the same way the children that were led into the side of the mountain by the Pied Piper of Hamelin were never heard from again.

    All except for one, the poor limping boy that couldn't keep up and who lived to tell the tale. Call him asshole Painterguy.

    It is kind of like a Robert Browing Poem, or a Grimm's tale, or a Hans Christian Anderson tale I guess.

    And if you want to read the whole story, youse had all bloddy well pay me so I can pay off my freakin student loan debt!

    "Nuff said." He said with a merry Irish twinkle!

    Comment all you want and I will see all of youse all critics in the funny papers after your asses are sued!

    And but good!

  18. Bl1Y: This is 9:15 again. The issue is who is at fault over law grads facing a tough job market. If you go to a restaurant and they serve you spoiled food, everyone agrees it's entirely their fault. If you go to law school and get a degree that isn't worth it, I don't think you can totally blame US News and World Report or the law school's website, because there are so many factors that led to your decision to go there and also to not getting a satisfactory outcome.

    For example, the economy has made things harder for new grads, as has improved technology and foreign competition. Also, many factors go into a decision to attend law school besides the webpages. "Not knowing what to do with your life", parents, thinking you'll be better than other graduates and therefore "it won't happen to me". And also, to be brutally honest, being not that good at or interested in science, engineering, or business.

    I am not saying the law schools are innocent here. Just the attitude you see here and similar sites is that it's absolutely not their fault that over a three-year period they spent all this money on their degree. They claim that the primary reason they kept plunking out money over their whole law school education were the rosy webpages of the law schools and the US News and World Report.

    People still go to law schools in pretty large numbers, despite the word being out. This suggests a lot of you would have too, if you had known then what you know now.

  19. The reason that law professors didn't sign Campos' petition is because they don't want to be associated with his extreme rhetoric. If someone more moderate had circulated a similar petition lots of profs would have signed. Just look at all the blogs out there that criticize law schools. Law profs are not afraid to stand up.

  20. extreme? paul campos isn't lying on this blog. he's laying out data points and more-less "reading the news." if it comes off as extreme, it's because it IS an extreme situation. christ sakes. 1 trillion dollars in outstanding student loan debt extreme enough for you?

  21. 2:28,

    Who are these "moderate" people you speak of? Tamanaha? Henderson?

    It doesn't matter who spearheads these petitions demanding transparency. No lawprof will sign it because it will damage their credibility within their campus and may even threaten tenure.

  22. I said extreme rhetoric. I didn't say his facts were wrong. If Leiter started a petition lots of profs would sign it.

  23. What are people's thoughts on the subject of LawProf's post: LST's idea of having different types of law schools, ones that do not follow the HYS model?

  24. Thank you Paul Campos. You truly are a great person. History is going to be VERY kind to you.


  25. Paul Campos is fighting on the side of the children. God bless Paul Campos.

  26. 2:52: And Leiter DOESN'T use extreme rhetoric?

    By the way, who IS Leiter? Who is he that makes him so influential/feared among academia? Why are law professors so scared of him? Does he have some magical power to influence tenure to those who properly genuflect towards him? Based on his positions, he seems like the Al Sharpton of the professorate.

    Based on the comments I have seen here, more than some professors hate him. Most of the legal practitioner community does not know him, but if they did, they would probably hate him.

  27. brian leiter's screed against venerated philosopher tom nagel- extreme

    brian leiter's screed against lawprof back when lawprof was anonymous- extreme

    brian leiter's screeds against anyone who dares disagree with him about anything- extreme

    really? you want to introduce brian leiter as the calm voice of reason? campos uses rhetoric for emphasis and effect, but that is just the sizzle to a HUGE steak. if law professors aren't with him on the facts, they're naive. if they're with him on the facts but not publicly with him in spirit, they're cowards. or villains.

  28. The proposal on the table at the ABA?

  29. Deregulation here will have the same impact it has had everywhere else its been tried in this society: Screwing the public while making it easier for the wealthy to get more wealth. When I asked how does this make legal education cheaper in way that does not hurt clients, I get crickets or attacking the questioner. I expect more of the same since the idea has nothing behind it in terms of substance.

    Bruh Rabbit

  30. And by substance, I mean the "Harvard Law School" route as I have been told in other threads means things like requiring a law school library. If there is one thing we need to guaranteed equal education it is a lack of resources being allocated to teaching like libraries. Those massive conspiracies by the law school administrators to impoverish us.

  31. its funny how all the "solutions" here are the same as have been pushed since the 80s

    (1) Deregulation

    (2) Government bad

    (3) Labor is the problem

  32. I would hate to lose all the public goods being generated by the ABA's regulatory regime. That would be a terrible loss indeed.

  33. Here is the argument in part, and they have been presented here before.

    If scholarship is the centerpiece of the law school, professors have to spend less time teaching. Instead of teaching four or five classes per year, they teach 2 or three. That requires a larger faculty to cover classes when people are off. That costs money. They have time off and get stipends, in many cases, some percentage of their salary, to work on scholarship during the summer. That costs money.

    "Law and Courses", which are usually smaller classes, cost money. They are more expensive than larger classes. The HYS model favors this.

    Tenure costs money. A system that allows schools to hire more adjuncts, practitioners and others professors, without granting lifetime employment will make it easier to hire professors and fire them if they do not perform.

    Answer the people on this blog who have said they would have preferred a different system, one that did away with the "extras" that they do not think added value to their educations. Are their views presumptively meaningless?

    Not all schools would have to follow the new model. HYS will not likely go down this route. But does that mean that every other school has to have the same program as they?

  34. we need a clean slate. can't make an omelette without breaking some eggs. the public goods you refer to [???] are bones to keep the status quo. progressive policies have been the cause of most of the cronyism. the whole foundation is rotten.

  35. 5:53: The ABA regulations protect nobody but law school faculty and administrators, and those (apparently decreasing) number of universities that get significant cross-subsidization revenue out of their law schools. They certainly don't protect the public, and they no longer even function as a meaningful barrier to entry to protect the earnings of practicing lawyers.

  36. 5:53 here, Why was that directed at me?

    On the last point, they cannot directly set up a barrier to entry to protect the incomes of practicing lawyers. That's an antitrust violation.

  37. In short, as I already said

    (1) Deregulation good (notice you didn't mention the idea of no law libraries, which is a part of "saving" money that's being discussed).

    (2) Government bad (public loans are worst than private even if this is empirically not true etc.)

    (3) Labor bad (law professors are the cause of education cost even if this may not empirically be true considering the realities of adjuncts, the cost of law school in part occurring to defray cost cuts in other departments in larger schools, etc).

    Same arguments. Different industry.

  38. Why does the law school pay this Dean $750,000 per year?! Who negotiated that?! That probably does not even include the pensions and various other perquisites he gave himself.

    It's mind blowing that he's the person who decides, for the ABA, how to regulate law school transparency.

    I have to bust my ass for $50,000 (and I'm glad to have it as I know how bad it is out there) as a lawyer, and this mother fucker makes that in a few weeks for doing jack shit.

  39. ABA rules aren't designed to protect the public, but creating a two tier system is. Right. Okay. Got it.

  40. what does the dean's pay have to do with what is occurring with adjuncts?

  41. anti-trust violation? the mass subsidization of young people to go to law school below market price distorts the free market. Hence,with more supply of attorneys than the market can bear (with demand constant for legal services - - results in lower prices attorneys can charge[ correlates with wages]. Ultimately, all these meddlings into the market ARE the problem.

  42. (1) that suggestion does not have to be a part of the proposal (Just because one proposal is bad, does not mean that the entire concept of differentiated law schools is bad)

    (2) I never voiced an opinion on that.

    (3) Faculty do, in fact, contribute to the cost of schools. How they configure their time matters.

    Again, not every school would change drastically. But there would be some, giving people what they say on this site they want.

  43. @6:21-- yes, if a bunch of lawyers in the ABA get together and conspire to keep others from entering the profession because they want to protect the salaries of current lawyers, that would be seen as a problem...

  44. The law school scam is embezzlement. Pure and simple.

    "To the economist embezzlement is the most interesting of crimes. Alone among the various forms of larceny it has a time parameter. Weeks, months, or years may elapse between the commission of the crime and its discovery. (This is a period, incidentally, when the embezzler has his gain and the man who has been embezzled, oddly enough, feels no loss. there is a net increase in psychic wealth.) At any given time there exists an inventory of undiscovered embezzlement in - or more precisely not in - the country's business and banks. This inventory - it should be called the bezzle. It also varies in size with the business cycle." - John Galbraith

  45. Who is naive enough to believe there isn't a two-tier (actually a multi-tier) legal educational system already? What we have are "private" law schools of greatly varying quality and even far more varying value to their graduates that all charge essentially the same price. So we have a multi-tier system that largely lacks multi-tier prices.

    Public legal education used to provide a real alternative, but it's in the process of disappearing as a practical financial matter, in part for the same reasons that private law schools all charge roughly similar tuition rates.

  46. Law Prof, you are right about the existence of tiers. I think the concern might be that, even with different tiers, most schools deliver the same kind of education. There aren't schools that have no libraries, for example. The first year programs are pretty much the same. The fear is that differentiation will bring an inferior education.

  47. Law Prof

    I see you take the Obama approach to progress. Since private insurance companies were screwing over the public anyway, he felt it was a good idea to institutionalize it with mandates to buy private insurance as "reform." Since inequality exists, you feel its a good idea to institutionalize it. Lord, I know law professors are wed to their ideas as "gold" but come on, you don't see the problem with this institutionalizing and formalizing the tier of not just how schools are perceived, but also now decreasing the education of those who attend certain schools versus others. You don't see how this screws the public, really? Wow.

    And, let's be clear here. Every time I mention CUNY Law, you magically have nothing to say to that point. CUNY doesn't sacrifice giving a full legal education for reduced tuition. As I said to you before, if you going to advocate your "solutions" you got to explain the existence of CUNY. ANd if you can't that should give you pause.

    By the way, please stop lecturing me on the problem. We aren't in disagreement about the problem that law school, indeed all education, cost too much. We are disagreement on the solutions being (1) labor bad (2) government bad (3) deregulation good.


    Its not theory. Its happened in almost every instance in this country in which its ever happened. It follows naturally from how this country thinks - which the majority here is not attempting to challenge, and, therefore, I can make easily provable statement about separate but equal, public education, welfare, and other attempts to parse systems over resources in this country in a formal way. It almost certainly will not only produce worse outcomes for clients, but for the very clients who are the most in need of qualified rather than badly trained lawyers.

    I know they aren't receiving great services right now, but trying to institutionalize this seems to be double downing on cheating them rather than helping the public, and more importantly, doesn't really solve the educational (rather than just law school education) crisis.

  48. 7:52:

    "The fear is that differentiation will bring an inferior education."

    Actually, I think the fear is that another school (or one that chooses to evolve) may expose the uselessness of the current law school model.

    Let's all be honest:
    The current law school model is 1) built and designed to take $$$$ from naive young kids who have no life experience and 2) to find the next wave of professors in order to peddle their crap to the next set of bozos. Learning how to practice law is just a side show taught by these people under the canard of teaching them to "think a lawyer."

    I went to law school to practice law....period. I never wanted to be a professor or for that matter, have anything to do with academia after I left. As much as I have been tempted to leave the law from time to time, I always have been drawn back to it because frankly, I love representing others who need help. Making an argument is fun too:).

  49. I think you missed my point. The people on this site who are against differentiation fear that the new schools will cut corners in ways that will be detrimental to students. They will do away with libraries, for example. But that does not have to happen.

  50. This is the first time I have ever heard of the New England School - I mean I did not even know a law school of that name existed. I have to research who they were. Not to give the USNWR rankings any credibility - this is a law school that seems to be an "unranked" fourth tier school - must of whose graduates do not report employment - while in private practice those who do report a median of $67,000 - but changes over $40,000 in tuition. To be fair to the school - it has been around for long time and historically seems to have had a better reputation (it started as a women's law school when my law schools would not admit them.)

    However, all of the things quoted above makes the pay of its Dean, and effective $780,000 plus I suspect a benefits package that brings the number to almost a million completely outrageous - compare the package for example with the median 2012 law school dean salary of $282,958 - it is three times as much! Even if one were to accept arguendo that law school deans should be getting packages with a median of $283k - or $308k if they run doctorate awarding institutions (by which I think is meant an LLD/PhD in law and not a JD) should the dean of a school which is considered the weakest school in the Boston area (after Boston University, Boston College, Suffolk, Harvard and Northeastern) be earning more than the deans of those schools - especially when his graduates earn substantially less? Should he be above the median for law school deans - three times the median?


  51. On the law school debate - these days I have spent the majority of my career in high end boutique firms - though I did have a patch as a GC running law departments on 3 continents - each with teams of lawyers. As a firm we run cases and matter worldwide and also retain counsel - usually Law 250 firms everywhere and that includes managing the staffing to a degree. What I want to see in a first year and second year associate in terms of their legal education is that it is thorough and it covers in a fair degree of detail the key things I think a lawyer should know - and frankly, formal law school is important for that - I have had one or two law office trained people, but there are gaps in their knowledge because they learned what the office does. The subjects I want covered are:

    1. The big first year subjects - i.e., Contract, Tort, Criminal Procedure, Civil Procedure, Property, corporations - and Constitutional (but please make it not focus on the Con law profs favourite topics), Legal Research and as a separate subject legal writing (divided into persuasive writing (in its various forms from briefs to letters, wheedling, grovelling, intimidating, just the facts memorandum), contract drafting, etc. and basic legal construction (laws, statutes, contracts, regulations).

    2. Evidence, commercial law (including UCC), criminal law, conflict of laws (including international conflicts), private international law (conflicts, different legal models, basic civil law principles, EU law), Antitrust/Competition (including EU competition), Basic Intellectual Property (trademark, patent, copyright, know-how, quasi-IP (with more advanced courses on patent and trademark), Family law, Landlord/Tenant, Employment law, creditors rights and lending law, Agency (in its flavours), bankruptcy, legal-rights law (as in privacy, etc. other "rights"), and presentation skills (including fixing students weaknesses - interview, speaking to audiences, presenting arguments, arguing to judges, persuasion), Economics for lawyers, accounting for lawyers (including forensics accounting, management accounting and law office accounting.) On the last - I am admitted in 3 countries - in one I had to pass a very tough law office accounting exam - for which the DC law firm I was in arranged a one-on-one course taught by the firm's office manager - without which I would have flunked.

    In my personal opinion - if law schools were doing this training properly, it would take 3 tough years. I did get some of these courses at law school (except the ones that were seminars) - but in practice many were oversubscribed and/or had schedule conflicts with others.

    If schools were to do a more thorough job they would have to reconfigure their faculty to have more experienced practitioners and less practice neophytes. It is hard to say how much more expensive such a faculty would be - I earn a multiple of what the average law professor makes, but to do that I fly so much that my partners joke that at say certain airline's check-in as I approach the counter they hear a choir of angels (revenue) and the checkin people don't ask me for my passport because they recognise me (actually some of the lounge people do.) The travel is very wearing, as is the perpetual jet lag, the stress and the cost of housing, plus the separations - I would not like to be a professor I think (three of my partners (two who travel less) are adjuncts), but I certainly could live on a lot less - but then it took a long time before my income reached its current level and that is precarious. I could see a lot of practitioners on say $300-600k taking a professor job on $120-160k, especially if they could do some private "of counsel" work to keep their skills up.


  52. On the silly leipreach√°n story - if they were riding a domestic motorcycle it would have been a Feehan, Myles & O'Connor 200 or and 1935 Fagan or maybe an NSU/Quigley or a DKW, but not a Harley. Moreover, putting roman numerals after your name, as in William MacGregor VIII, is a wholly US affectation that causes hilarity in England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, Brittany, Cornwall, the Isle of Man, etc. That is to say, if you do plan on working or doing business outside the US, drop the roman numeral thing on your business cards - it makes you a caricature.


  53. Yes, because in Geat Britain, only royalty gets to put roman numerals at the end of their names. The common people there know their place, and heap great hilarity and scorn upon those who do not.

  54. Instead of continuing to rant once per day on this blog, I think it might be time for Campos to spend some time trying to recruit other professors to his cause.

    Campos just doesn't have the clout to go at this alone and this blog has become just another "scamblog" but without the toilet-shots.

  55. @8:37--did you go to CUNY?

  56. @6:17 a.m.:

    By his non-clout-having self, Campos has managed to be referenced or quoted in the paper of record and network TV news segments covering the topic at the heart of his blog. What exactly would other professors add to the brand?

    Also, it's not like Paul doesn't have a publicly available work email or phone, so as to provide that any-day-now groundswell of law professors admitting their institution's worthlessness in public.

  57. 5:56

    Are you a III or a IV? You know that in the Republic of Ireland they don't do titles and think the numerals are silly too.


  58. vis-à-vis Professor Campos - very few law professors are willing to stick their head above the paraphet on this issue, so the idea that he can easily get other "guest bloggers" is dubious at best. I will suggest that though fair, the title "law school scam" for the blog does not help, even if initially arresting. Before too many people rant back at me - consider how much crap junior associates put up with, and see, and keep silent about - because it would be career limiting to do otherwise. Campos has something to lose by what he is doing - a lot of the critics frankly don't.


  59. @MacK:

    Exactly. In defense of law professors generally, it isn't like they haven't been continually rewarded for cowardice and opportunism in the rest of their professional lives, up to now. Even though they might have tenure and thus be as secure in their jobs as anyone ever will be, why expect law professors to stand up for something unless they can clearly see the percentage in doing so?

  60. @MacK Nope. As for the Republic, they were under British rule much longer. 1776 versus the early 1920s.

  61. Let's take an issue that I know something about: Privacy Law.

    I will bet there are many people here who think you could stand to cut out courses about privacy law because it doesn't touch on the lives every American.

    They would be wrong. But I would be willing to bet that in this institutionalized two-tier legal education system there are those who would think "what do the poor need with privacy laws" or attorneys who can represent them on privacy law issues

  62. The other example I live to give is consumer bankruptcy. Who would have known a 7 years ago that consumer bankruptcy would involve under complex issues about securitizing mortgages. Yet they do. So, should we cut out courses in those areas since it would be cheaper to not teach them? What gets cut out as unnecessary at any given law school? That's assuming one were to not cut out law school libraries, etc, which I highly doubt since the "innovations" so far in this society are to deny resources and cut labor rather than properly fund the cost of infrastructure and labor. We can all point to the odd course that should not be taught, but is that true of the great bulk of courses taught?

    Its like the citation of what people here think law professors make. The median on SALT as well as puts it at about 150k. This is a lot money, but to win the argument people here try to take outliers as proof of what the situation with regard to salaries. I would ordinarily not care except these are the same people I am suppose to trust to not cut instrastructure or necessary courses when it suits them. No thanks.

  63. sorry for the typos, its hard to type on this computer

  64. by the way- if anyone expects in a country where people are not even willing to pay for infrastructure such as roads as this point, that this unchallenged mind set of cut and ask questions later will not include law schools, well I got a broken down levee to sell you.

  65. The momentum is on the side of Mr. Campos. I predict he will be a Dean of a major law school in 5 years.

    Other law professors would be advised to get on board to avoid getting run over. This scam is reaching a tipping point.

  66. right now outside of law school the goal is to turn public institutions into private for profit making insiutions. i would be similar is happening in law. the one thing i could find was concord law

    the suggest deregulation would provide law school administrators a way to squeeze even more money of the system by using cheap labor and eliminating infrastructure. the assumption of those here that they would receive the "savings" is not born out in any other industry.

    Again, this song has been played for 4 decades now. Same exact arguments. Same exact game of pretending its to help people. same likely outcome.

  67. "Instead of continuing to rant once per day on this blog, I think it might be time for Campos to spend some time trying to recruit other professors to his cause."

    It's statements like this that show why you losers do not have jobs. You are lazy, shiftless, do-nothing unemployables whose only action is to ask others to do things for you. You're all bums and no one wants to hire a bum.

  68. Seriously - stop arguing for a segregation of legal education or the "two-tiered" legal model. As Lawprof pointed out, we already have that and as I would like to add, it would add absolutely nothing to the current model. Just remove the requirement of law school altogether if that's your shtick. Those who can bass a state's bar exam should be licensed. Period.

  69. You have got to be kidding me with these arguments.

    Since we already have racism, we should institutionalize Jim Crow

    Since we already have economic inequality, we should institutionalize the principles in a legalized feudal system

    Since we already have anything bad you want to fill int he blank with, we should institutionalize it

    Yes Prof Capos says it exists. It makes Prof Campos someone I stopped taking seriously when he seemed to not have a problem with his plan exacerbating it.

    That tells me a lot about Prof Campos' priorities about policies

  70. What the hell are you talking about?

  71. @10:29 a.m.:

    You make a lot of unjustified assumptions, but possibly the biggest is that only hewing as closely as possible to the Langdell model and the present ABA accreditation standards is what will produce the good attorneys-to-be.

    We are the only graduate program of which I am aware supporting a cottage industry of textbooks to explain the f**king mandatory textbooks or a professor's interpretation thereof. And yet somehow those geniuses at BarBRI and Kaplan manage to cram a state bar's worth of information into four to six weeks of cogent lectures and supplemental notes - as well as offering graded practice taking the exam that gets you admitted to practice law in your state. But we forgive legal education its flaws because it purports to teach you "how to think like a lawyer." What a mountain of self-congratulatory bulls**t that is.

    I don't claim to understand how best to reach the average law student in all of legal education's strata, but the current model is absolutely wretched at teaching its graduates how to function in the career field for which it allegedly prepares them. Stringent and well-enforced employment reporting standards will force at least some change at every level beneath the 5 or 6 schools which could put silk gowns on monkeys and find them jobs through OCI. This will have to happen because the non-HYSCCN schools will have to show their prospective students how they will survive in the marketplace with the same debt and none of the cachet. Or else prices will come down.

  72. 10:29: You apparently believe that everybody ought to have what you consider a high quality legal education at a low cost. This is a splendid plan in theory. In practice people disagree quite a bit about what a "high quality" legal education consists of. If, for instance, a high quality legal education consists of producing graduates who upon graduation are prepared to actually practice law competently without close supervision from competent practicing attorneys, then certainly very few law schools, and no elite law schools, are providing a high quality legal education.

    In any case your whole line of argument is premised on the idea that the ABA standards actually do something to protect real educational standards, which anyone who has experience with the way the ABA accreditation standards can tell you is a mistaken notion.

    The ABA process is considered almost exclusively with inputs (how many books are there in the library; how many classes are taught by tenure-track profs etc) rather than outputs. Whether graduates are in any way competent to be lawyers when they graduate isn't something the ABA Section of Legal Education concerns itself with.

  73. 11:18

    If you don't claim to understand what is necessary to teach legal education, that means everything else you say on the subject is moot. The question once against isn't "is there a crisis in education, not just legal education, with students being high tuitions." The question is how to solve it. If you are not equipped to answer that question other than jump on the band wagon of proposes you can't fully defend, you shouldn't be defending them.

    Law Prof

    I appreciate the honesty that you are not just talking about high price law professors. It took a few posts, but the truth finally comes out after all the denials. You still do it in a way that allows you wiggle room, but when you start saying things like people disagree with what the standard should be I read that as "infrastructure, not just labor" is on the table because you didn't specifically exclude it. Like I said, its one thing to complain about the system, and quite another to offer solutions. Your solutions would make the situation worse. Essentially, its the standard Neoliberal argument warmed over under the guise of pretending to help people. I simply don't believe, whether you intend it or not, that you are capable of real reform at this point because you are so focused on maintaining the same policies that got us in here in the first place.

    Again, stop lecturing me about what's reality. The entire point is that your arguments focuses on certain parts of that reality while leaving out other truths. If as you say the ABA does nothing to protect legal education, there's nothing in your comments thus far that increases the chance of a better legal education. In fact, what you say here is that you are willing to institutionalize the elements that are making that system worse. Why do I know this? Because I have seen this song before. Let's deregulate. Let's decrease cost. that will help the consumer. Except it never does. That's a fantasy. What it does it allow people to obtain new "innovations' to make more profit by offering even less. That's what deregulation does. But this does not fit with "deregulation good."

  74. again sorry for the typos

  75. why are some of my comments not appearing?

  76. Will that change once we have differentiation, the ABA 's failure to protect educational standards? I think the idea of having different types of schools makes sense. But there must be a body that oversees those schools.

  77. Shorter answers because I got to go back to work

    (1) The assumptions I made are no worse and in fact based on empirical evidence of what has happened with deregulation in this country in the last 40 years. You are all fond of claiming to be realist. Deal with the reality of what deregulation has meant. Moreover, if you don't know anything about whether your specific proposals are solution to the crisis in tuition cost then you shouldn't be jumping on the bandwagon like you do. Skepticism should be your mantra in way that it wasn't when you got into this mess inthe first place.

    (2) Law Prof

    As i said, in the other comment, thanks for indirectly confirm this is not limited to labor cost.

    Your argument suffers from the "I am going to solve a problem by making it worse" syndrome that defines the "solutions" of the last 40 years. You are going to solve the problem of educational standards by deregulating them and lowering the standards.

  78. This comment section has derailed.

  79. Lawprof,

    Motion to strike and delete santililaw's 11:50 and 11:51 posts on the ground that it is spam and adds no substantive value to this discussion.


    Lawprof, I never bought the argument that law schools do not properly train graduates how to practice. This argument seems to be made by entitled employers for the purpose of masking their own shortcomings (failure to manage their firm properly, failing to obtain business, etc.) I think that when the student is employed at a certain firm, the firm has to teach the student the nuances of practicing and fitting in with the individual firm's goals.


    This is depressing. Good Lord. What has this country become?

    Why Your Waiter Has an MD

    The increase in the number of medical students would lead to an increase in residency positions as well, right?


    Since 2001, the number of first year residency positions has increased by 3,000, compared to a whopping increase of 6,500 applicants. The slow growth in residency positions is likely due to a 15 year freeze in Medicare support. The current federal budget problems make lifting the freeze unlikely in the near future.

    So what does this mean?

    For an unmatched M.D. like Sam, it doesn’t bode well. After going unmatched his first year, he tried to match again the following year, but failed.
    As the years pass, it’s becoming more and more likely that Sam will never be able to use the degree he earned.

    I watch Sam meticulously clean and rinse the surgical instruments, his hands moving steadily and purposefully. There is not an ounce of unused motion. The fluidity and grace in his hands remind me of my surgical mentors.

    Then the sad realization hits me. It doesn’t matter how much Sam wants it.

    He will never be a surgeon.

  81. Large law firms are not going to teach students. They are multinationals now. The economies are not there. Small law firms are not going to teach because they don't have the time. Wishing it were otherwise is not going to make it so. Neither can you put pressure on them without regulations either. The fact is this is also a part of the trend of the last 40 years. Companies, not just law firms, do not invest in training, they do not want to cover the cost of benefits, and the list goes on. That cost has been passed to the government even as the government has gotten into the business of acting more like businesses. The squeeze, therefore, happens to the average voter or the average employee or the average consumer because the two big organizing principles in society- government and business- are getting out of the business of helping on these issues. They want to do things like not offer law libraries and shut down engineering schools because they cost too much.

  82. to the people whining about "derailing" if the conversation isn't about what the policy will mean in practical terms like is being discussed now, then you are really just talking about yourselves, which no one outside of l aw students wants to hear. They want to know what benefit or burden this will produce for the average legal consumer, what type of lawyers are going to come of the process, does you argument about cost hold water when it comes to quality and value? Those are all legitimate questions that you should be prepared to answer. If you aren't. If allyou have is "i believe in this idea because its doing something" then I don't see you as reformers.

  83. And you continue to be irrelevant.

  84. If i am irrelevant, why are you responding at all?

  85. for most of you, this is a case of Cutting off the nose to spite the face

    Even if you were to prove I am irrelevant, the problem you face is your "solutions" will end up screwing you and your family. My part in this at this point is that I have to live society with you and the resultant consequences of your misguided policy making so there will be more of you who will be losers in the process.

  86. @11:45 a.m.:

    Maybe I should have been more arrogant and said that I had the answer, despite never having taught anyone (other than myself in most of my 1L classes) a subject in law school. You seem to like answers that will fit comfortably on postcards, or perhaps grains of rice.

    Not having a complete theory on how to educate law students in a law school setting is not the same as an inability to see the weaknesses of the status quo. For all the good that the volumes in the library ever did anyone who wasn't a professor or student checking a professor's cites, we could have rented noise-baffled warehouse space. With WiFi, so that students could research online in the manner that they and most practicing attorneys do. Nonetheless, here we are with these wondrous ABA-mandated libraries, that cost millions to build, maintain and staff - while adding almost nothing to the average student's experience.

    Let's also talk about how we ask 1Ls to read overwritten appellate decisions and discuss them awkwardly with a professor, to get at a piece of doctrine that could have been explained in five minutes and perhaps applied in a live group discussion (or some kind of software app) to varying fact patterns. Or how you meet real practicing attorneys and judges who teach their material more effectively in 2L and 3L. Or how you learn so much more about writing memoranda of law working for a week in a judge's office or a firm your first summer, than you ever did with the afterthought that generally is Legal Writing.

    At the end of it, we're paying in excess of $100,000 and 3 years of our lives to have a chance to take a bar exam and then to practice law, while the law school itself does almost nothing to prepare you for either because it's so very busy teaching you how to think like a non-practicing lawyer. What regulation there is works to preserve this unsatisfactory state of affairs, with no real benefit I can see to the student.

    Somewhere between bar review spoon-feeding and the first-year rain of bulls**t lies a means of teaching absolute beginners how to find doctrine, read cases for their holdings, synthesize arguments where none of the similar cases are exactly on point, and interface with the mechanisms of the criminal and civil judicial systems. None of this necessarily requires a Harvard professor or a $100M building (which provide you with less feedback in four months for $8,000-$20,000 than you can get in a bar review in a month for less than $3,000).

  87. How such a system would work is, in fact, on point with discussing a post championing the creation of different types of law schools. If the ABA is not protecting people now, there is no reason to think it will do so after differentiation. The proposal must include some consideration of how such schools will be monitored. That is the missing piece here.

  88. @1:00 p.m.:

    Monitored for what? Numbers of library volumes? Variety of clinics? Aesthetics of foyer or lobby area? Other items which mean nothing to someone who wants to come to school to be a lawyer on the other side?

    For Christ's sake, we're here because the ABA absolutely refuses to monitor employment reporting disclosures among their schools in an effective way.

  89. Morse Code for J,

    We're here because no one wants to reform legal education. All parties involved blame someone else with one hand and blame the students with the other hand.

    Look at just about every statement law schools, academics, law firms, ABA and US News have made over the last few years. Each will come up with their own theory but somewhere in the middle of their thoughts, they will say something like "the potential student should have done their due diligence" or "unemployable loser".

    Hey, its easy to blame the students - what do they know? Most are in no position to speak out for fear of being blacklisted. But what the students will begin to realize after a few years is that they have already been blacklisted. And short of winning an Olympic gold medal, there is little they can do to meaningfully differentiate themselves.

    So 12:42, the "solution" in its purest form is to limit law school admissions. Period. I suppose some exceptions can be made to accommodate geographic and socioeconomic need, but no law skool needs to enroll 100 students when only 30 will find meaningful jobs. I suppose in 20 years, that will create some unintended consequences. Fine - when that day comes, make some more changes.

  90. @Mirse Code--You are missing the point of what I said in favor of making the arguments you want to make. What I was saying is that were we to go to a regime of different law schools SOMEBODY will have to make sure that the schools meet minimum standards.

  91. "Somewhere between bar review spoon-feeding and the first-year rain of bulls**t lies a means of teaching absolute beginners how to find doctrine, read cases for their holdings, synthesize arguments where none of the similar cases are exactly on point, and interface with the mechanisms of the criminal and civil judicial systems. None of this necessarily requires a Harvard professor or a $100M building (which provide you with less feedback in four months for $8,000-$20,000 than you can get in a bar review in a month for less than $3,000)."

    Wow. Just wow.

  92. So, you reform law schools to better train (more?) lawyers. What about the thousands of underemployed and unemployed law graduates? What about the fact that our current inefficient model is already producing twice as many graduates as jobs? Who are these lower-cost, practically trained, lawyers going to have for clients and/or paying jobs, o' wise one?

    You are a ritard.

  93. What is amazing is that the ABA could've kicked this can down the road a few years if they had just stopped rubber-stamping new schools at the turn of the century. There were too many then, but they continued allowing more pigs at the trough.

    Had they held the line at 180 schools, demanded some belt-tightening and had the bottom schools trim their classes just a bit, they probably could've coasted for at least another decade, with the hopes that some innovation might happen to stabilize the profession or that the wave of boomer retirements to come might create a little breathing room.

    But they couldn't step back from the bar. Like the alcoholic convincing himself he's fine, they couldn't bear to face the truth.

  94. 1258

    There's nothing arrogant about questioning assumptions, which you steadfastly refuse to do. You are using same lazy mindset that got you here in the first. I try to learn something from my mistakes. One of them is not to get on bandwagons without asking a lot of questions. I remember back when I was told that the law degree can be used for anything, and I didn't question it because it was a general theory too. That kind of lazy thinking cost me a lot of time. So, no, I am not going to simply ignore the fact that you and others can't answer these questions, especially since I know the history of deregulation in the U.S.


    Exactly. The problem requires more regulation, not less, to address quality of education. The shell game is to complain about the cost of education and quality of education, and then pretend that deregulation will solve the lack of standards, and pretend it will cut cost. Yet in few other industries in the US has this occurred. This is not something the Prof can dispute.


    Deregulation does not reduce the number of lawyers (it increases them), and nor does it address those admitted into law school (it increases it). It increases it while reducing the standards and doing little if anything to contain cost (because people here assume that the cost will be magically contain for what reason exactly?). When I say this is the standard shell game, that's because it is. 40 years of deregulation binges has taught me that they are rarely to serve anyone but those with serious power.

    See 206- deregulation is not a means to address cost reduction for training or decreasing number of lawyers. It does the exact opposite.

  95. On the other hand, it might make people seriously think about whether they want to go to law schools if it is clear, as it would be, that they will not have access to BigLaw, Article III clerkships , and the best government jobs--to the extent they continue to exist. Perhaps different types of people will apply, people who are more serious about becoming lawyers.

  96. There seems to be a basic misunderstanding about the ability of firms to train lawyers - and it seems to result from a lack of practice experience.

    The reality is that it is extremely hard for law firms to impart a good comprehensive legal training. The reasons are simple - and any lawyer with few years experience can explain. Legal practice is episodic, especially for junior lawyers - and they must focus on the law relevant to the current episode, whatever it is. The result, especially in large firms, is that 2-5 years out an associate may have been "deep dipped" in say a particular area of bankruptcy with small sides of property and contract - or they may have had to deal with a securities law issue at length, or they may have dealt with patent validity extensively, but little contract. In a law firm you do what the partners are working on - and you get little opportunity to cover other subjects. BigLaw is even more specialised and requires more specialisation early of associates to justify their billing rates. Even in systems with apprenticeships the same problem appears, the trainees do what the firm does and do not get exposure to what it does not.

    The idea that law-firms will be able to cover the sort of range and depth in core subjects that law school classes can cover (but don't necessarily do) is delusional.


  97. So....let's add more law schools at a lower cost because it *might* make more people serious about becoming lawyers. How the hell does that help anything other than creating more lawyers without jobs who will have less student loan debt?

    It's obvious that the government will have to step in. End of Story.

  98. @2:06 you are absolutely correct. Why begin by reforming law school teaching and not begin by reducing the total number of law school seats by at least half? That is the only sensible answer.

    @3:21 you are also correct. I add that a part of the reason that law firms cannot train lawyers is first because of the personalities who often rise to the top and second because there is no incentive in big firms to do so. Big firm partnerships are not filled with generous, altruistic, kind souls. Quite the contrary. Also, partnerships are structured with each partner having his or her clients, i.e. his or her own work. There is no incentive to train lawyers. Each partner can just pick from the associates who are already trained for the task at hand whatever it may be. Most of the time, there is a surplus of associates on hand anyway. Big law firms are sink or swim sorts of places where a very large percentage, the vast majority sink at some point within a very few years.

  99. That is what law schools were originally for, to cover subject areas that lawyers might not get to see working with "Lawyer Jones" in some law office. Apprentices were limited to the cases their masters handled. That would not do for the increasingly complicated business world of the late 19th and early twentieth centuries. We credit (condemn) Langdell for "law as a science", but American business wanted law schools,too--to churn out
    young people to work for their interests.

  100. Mac K

    I agree the idea that law firms can cover subject matter as well as law schools is delusional. However, II think a mentoring program, as a transitional process, does have some value, but the value is overstated here for the purposes of winning arguments rather than dealing with practical realities of representing clients. Clients do not want to turn their cases into academic lessons for attorneys to learn subject matters. The value of a mentoring process is for the attorney to learn how to take a vast store of knowledge and apply it to the episodic issues. So, I think both are necessary components, but people here over state the value of the mentoring alone. To properly work the mentoring requires a base of knowledge. The base of knowledge has kept me from making mistakes that could have harmed my client and my career on more than one occasional where the specialized knowledge would not have allowed me to realize there was even a problem.


    Remember- government bad. So that's not allowed as a possibility. I have said one of the solution should be that the Dept of Education taking over the accreditation process, and shutting down some of the law schools directly in addition to state governments resuming its role of funding education rather than expecting tuition to make up the difference. Those would be direct solutions rather than these already failed in the past "solutions" like deregulation.

    Bruh Rabbit

  101. Bruh Rabbit, thinking that government regulation is necessarily desirable is as wrongheaded as thinking that deregulation is always the answer. Entry into the legal profession is one of the most heavily regulated enterprises in America, but that regulatory system has gradually managed to produce a situation where the vast majority of Americans can't afford to hire a lawyer, a large proportion of law graduates can't make a living practicing law, and law schools are massively inefficient institutions that largely fail to be either effective vocational training schools or genuine academic units within research universities.

    Saying we need more rather than less regulation seems even less plausible to me than saying we need no regulation at all.

  102. A training/apprenticeship model of legal education is relevant to the questions of the expense of a legal education and oversupply of lawyers--though, of course, it does not provide a complete answer.

    First, a clinical model would require replacing most tenured law professors with adjunct practitioners, and these would not require $170K salaries plus benefits. The cost of legal education would come crashing down(especially, if law school were reduced from six to five semesters). Thus, a law grad who, ultimately, does not or cannot practice law would not be financially ruined by his or her prior decision to attend law school.

    Second, a practice-ready law grad, who fails to actually get a law job, could at least get some return on his or her law school investment, by getting a handful of clients and practicing law part-time. Without the obligation of massive debt servitude, this legal representation could be provided by the fledgling lawyer at low cost. There are still people who need affordable legal representation, but do not qualify for free appointed counsel-- for instance, most of the million or so homeowners facing foreclosure.

    Third, and this is perhaps a minor point-- I believe that a skills-based legal education would restore some of the JD's lost cachet among nonlegal employers. The degree would stand for something other than elite expectations-- it would stand for actual practical and marketable skills.


  103. Law Prof

    (1) You want to cut the cost of law school by deregulating law schools, but you don't explain how deregulation equals cost reduction.

    (2) You say that there are too many law schools in separate posts here if I remember correctly, but for some reason you think deregulation will not increase the number of lawyers and law schools.

    (3) You engage in straw men arguments about regulations causing the problem you describe rather than the fact you are dealing with an industry of corruption, bad faith actors, and fraud. Yet, you want to deregulate these bad faith actors.

    (4) You think entry into the practice of law is heavily regulated? Compare to what? Being a dentist? being a doctor? Being an accountant? being a social worker? being a teacher?

    (5) You claim that the cost is explained by regulations. Explain why CUNY Law can exist under the regulations? Why it is cheaper? .

    (6) I am sorry. I think you in this post have shown your true colors. The idea that you give a crap about the quality of services of clients who can't afford lawyers while talking about institutionalizing economic inequality just does not ring as authentic. But, let's pretend that it did. Do you think the poor are better served with well trained lawyers or untrained lawyers. Before you answer, let me tell you something. I've been poor. The poor need better services than the average person because they have less of their own to fall back on. When you are up against well paid lawyers with deep pockets, you had better know the law better than everyone else around you because that will be your own defense against the resources of the other guy. This is common sense. Its something I learned form actually being poor. Nor do you explain how they will be able to afford the services in your two tier system other than assume they can. Will they able afford them? We don't know. We just know you assume they will. Will regulation increase or decrease the damage they face so that not only are they facing legal issues, but they are facing them with ineffective assistance of counsel? You don't answer that. You assume they will get better services. I assume that they won't. I make that assumption on the realities of American society. The poor are treated like crap now. A two-tier system isn't going to treat them better.

    I am getting tired. I think you are being disingenous, and I no longer trust that we simply have differences of opinion.

    bruh rabbit

  104. by the way, you always seem to have some excuse about why you would prefer to use market rather than direct solutions to address the problem.

    if the problem is the regulators, why not change who regulates, require that a certain number of law schools shut down directly, require certain educational standards, etc.

    Why even go there with this rather strange (as in you have not explained how it helps anything other than the bad faith actors you complain about) argument about how deregulating a market will through magical thinking cure the problem.

  105. dybbuk

    I will be blunt, and I can't believe I am agreeing this much with Mac K, but I question whether some of you have ever actually practiced law or dealt with a client.

  106. 5:13:

    Thanks for your bluntness, I was a public defender for many years.


  107. I don't beat around the bush.

    I will take you at your word.

    Still can't imagine any client being happy to find out that you are less well trained than the other lawyer.

    bruh rabbit

  108. Of course, I was well-trained. However, my training-- the training that mattered--was provided by my employer. Some of it could have and should have been provided by my law school via an apprenticeship/clinical model. As I never tire of saying, law is a learn-by-doing profession.


  109. and if I thought that was the world we lived in, I wouldn't be so resistant to the on the job training. But its not. You got lucky. Most jobs are sink or swim, especially in the civil arena, which i know a lot more about. and for the poor, that's a time they need you to already know how to swim. i am not against better training. i am against pretending deregulation is a substitute for building training or for reducing the number of law schools, etc. there are some direct line ways to deal with these issues that are being couched in the same old rhetoric of the last 40 years, and those policy choices are why we find ourselves here in the first place.

    bruh rabbit

    bruh rabbit

  110. by the way, law is both learn by doing and having a frame work for how to think about issues.

    the thing you are doing is something i was accused of (rightly so) last year when I was explaining some concepts to non lawyer. I've been doing this for a decade. What's straight forward and "i learned by doing" is actually a process, and that process includes more than just things that you learn on the job. I learned how to integrate my law school education into what I am doing. that includes a lot of unique concepts.

    This was far from high end corporate. It was some straight forward consumer contract issues that were to be incorporated into client contract for customers, but that's kind of the point. What I thought of as simple or straight forward required me to go back to think of the bigger ideas so that the client could understand why it mattered which also gave me a way to research the topic and how competitors dealt with it.

  111. "by the way, law is both learn by doing and having a frame work for how to think about issues."

    Exactly. I actually don't have a huge beef with how 1L classes are tought. The problem is that the first year summer should be an internship/clerkship of some kind to give students some mental hooks on which to hang these concepts.

    Then second and third year classes should be taught largely by adjuncts or in a clinical setting. A few "scholars" that taught the first year courses might be useful in a third year bar review course.

    Not unlike a well-tried case: The first year is the opening statement or roadmap. The third, fourth and fifth semesters are the actual case itself, giving the jury concrete facts and examples (clinics and classes taught by adjuncts with real-world examples). Finally, closing argument is a bar review course (or series of them) tying it all together. Ideally this would be generously included in exchange for the six digit tuition fees remitted by the student.

    This would be an improvement for virtually everyone involved save for one specific individual--the law professor. Specifically the law professor that does not/has not have extensive experience actually practicing the law.

  112. I'm beginning to think that a certain percentage of law students in every school should not be allowed to continue into 3L status, regardless of grades. For these people, a full time clerking job should replace their 3L year with the employer paying off a large percentage of a student's loan balance instead of paying the student directly.

  113. Reading through this thread makes me want to drink a cocktail of battery acid and hemlock.

    The purpose of a law school is [should be] to get an individual from A (intelligent, hard-working college graduate) to B (practice-ready attorney) as efficiently and quickly as possible. The current regulatory system does not do this, and in fact often gets in the way of schools being able to fulfill that mission. [Can anyone seriously disagree with this?]. Advocating to change the regulations to better allow schools to fulfill their core purpose is not "deregulation;" it's reformulating the regulations we do have to avoid the situation we have now from being a perpetual one.

    For example, in some areas, I would advocate more stringent standards than what currently exist. For example, I'd require every single law class to have a practical research/writing component. And I'd try to standardize the curriculum more than it already is, requiring everyone to take corporations, UCC, state civil procedure, discovery, etc., while taking steps to eradicate classes like "law and romantic literature." This is professional training, not a PhD in legal philosophy.

    The inefficient regulations discussed previously do little to improve legal education while imposing significant costs. To the stickler who has a problem getting rid of the library requirement: what purpose does a fully-stocked law library serve in modern, practice-based legal education? The majority of law students today see physical reporters once, during their research course when their professor shows them a copy. Other than that, it's entirely Westlaw/Lexis. Maybe you would need a current set of relevant reporters to show students how to do it if there's no computer available, but in most cases, it's completely pointless for a law school to keep 2-3 floors of what is essentially museum material. Encyc. Britanica recently ceased their physical publications. It's only a matter of time until West follows suit. Obviously, law schools should have an essential collection and have a good research librarian/guru on staff, but to do more is a luxury, not an essential quality of legal education.

    Similar observations could be made for many other requirements that do little to advance students professional while saddling them with debt indirectly. Why some of you want to ignore the obvious flaws and go off on irrelevant tangents about "deregulation" or alarmist (and misguided) arguments that changing the standards would bring more law schools is beyond me. For these two problems - law schools being bound to inefficiencies and law schools not teaching well - going back to the drawing board about the purpose of the regulations and what should be required is the only rational step, which is probably why it would be vehemently rejected by most ABA administrators and law professors.

  114. 752

    In your first few paragraphs you mention all the requirements (regulations) you would place on law schools and law students, but in your last say deregulation, the idea raised by Professor Campos, is a tangent and that discussing it is irrelevant.

    The problem here isn't other people. The problem here is that you lack basic reasoning skills. That's something law school can't teach you.

    I invite you to read your own post and tell me how you can make it consistent throughout.

    Bruh Rabbit

  115. By the way, I do think its interesting how people are creating all these fantasies about what they think would happen in a deregulated environment versus what actually happens in the U.S. in a deregulated environment. You don't get better standards, you get he cheapest, which isn't about hiring working lawyers, or any of the other delusions. Its about the reality that they will seek out the cheapest approach possible and maximize the return on the folks who will pay 40k for crappy degree.

    See For Profit Schools.

    Bruh Rabbit

  116. @dybbuk -- there were no clinics at your school? At my school students in clinics had clients whom they dealt with as lawyers. Was that not possible at your school?

  117. West - its because, once again, we have an obsessed contributor who consistently mischaracterizes what people say so that it fits into his little tight ideological world.

    Bruh - you are a tiresome dogmatic simpleton. The fact that you are questioning other people's "basic reasoning skills" is highly amusing. West and lawprof both explained to you the difference between getting better regulations and having no regulations at all. And yet you insist on repeating your line of BS. It sounds like you're the type of person who would argue that getting rid of the Nazi regime following world war II was a really bad idea because crazy, market obsessed neoliberals were behind the idea and all they want to do is deregulate. i.e., you're nuts, bro.

    dybbuk - your first post here was spot on. Agree with the rest too.

    Lawprof - doesn't Bruh (deregulation boy) remind you of transparency boy? Only he has a better vocab, a calmer disposition and a better education? Its like no matter how many times you say the same thing he just comes back with the same tired argument that nobody is fighting.

  118. There are things that schools could do on their own under the present system. This is just a start, but programs like this could be replicated using alumni from any school.

  119. The February 17th issue of The Chronicle of Higher Education has an article on the chronic over-supply of historians. Leading university history departments are resisting demands that they keep track of what happens to their students after they get their Ph.D.s and inform prospective Ph.D.s of what the market is like.

  120. When in doubt, attack the messenger.

    First, the message was "we are just instituting what already exists anyway" This was Law Prof argument right above.

    Then, it became, deregulation will miraculously achieve you goals too.

    When that failed, now its you are an idiot, and that's not what we said.

    In the same post, we have a guy posting a comment in which he posts puts for a long list of what he wants, and then turns around to say that whether we deregulate or regulate is irrelevant.

    I am quite clear that the reasoning problem is that many of you are not capable of honest debate.

  121. no Bruh -- nobody said any of thos things. Nobody said replace deregulation with the free market. You're creating your own straw men.

  122. Bruh, I understand with your concerns about neoliberals hijacking that the Law School reform movement. I don’t think you’re raising up strawmen. I think you’re bringing up legitimate critiques that those inside the neoliberal bubble are not used to thinking about.

    But you need to tone it down. I know it’s personal to you (it’s personal to me too), but you’re way too personal and abrasive in tone. Rather than opening potentially sympathetic minds with your ideas, you’re closing them off with how you’re expressing your ideas. If this is how you are at work, you can be 100% right and still piss off your boss 99% of the time.

    Chillax – you’re obviously smart enough to recognize the long con of neoliberalism and its overall destructiveness to humane society, so you should also recognize that the law school scam is a tiny corner of the overall scam. Spend your energy on fighting and surviving the battles that matter. Law schools are not, in the grand scheme of things, worth getting your copy of Shock Doctrine ruffled up for.

  123. did you get so pretentious and arrogant at the same time? You have the little secret to all that ails us socially...? Beware the men with big ideas telling us we will al be saved

  124. "I invite you to read your own post and tell me how you can make it consistent throughout."

    Just did. It's only "inconsistent" because you've created a straw man in an attempt to frame what should be a robust and honest debate about proper regulation (which we all agree SHOULD exist, right?) with a regulation/deregulation dichotomy, after which you place more straw men in place to make "deregulation" an utter corporatized hell. (My favorite is that you think "deregulation" would give defrauders more power to defraud, as if it would eradicate common law fraud or something).

    That's how braindead rats in electrically-charged cages think, and yet you have the nutsack to claim I'm the one with the reasoning problem.

    Them's some big'ns. Kudos.

  125. Curious- found this on Linkin from the Chairman of the Board of the law school: Flame away

    Martin Foster • As chair of the New England Law | Boston Board of Trustees, I recognize that law students invest precious resources – both time and money – in their legal education. The leadership and boards overseeing those institutions have a responsibility to make sure those resources are used well.

    Yes, we know Dean O’Brien’s compensation is a lot of money. But the Board believes that his continued leadership is a critical part of what makes New England Law | Boston an outstanding place to earn a law degree.

    Law school deans who are capable of transforming an institution are extremely rare. Our Board has not a shred of doubt that Dean O’Brien is the catalyst, that once-in-a lifetime “game-changer” who makes our program exponentially better than anyone else could make it. He is not only a committed Dean and the single biggest advocate for New England Law, he functions as the organization’s CEO and has taken on national leadership roles in legal education designed to strengthen the field overall. To compare his compensation after 23 years as dean and legal education leader to the compensation of deans with little or no experience or track record is misguided.

    A special trustee committee that I appointed to determine Dean O’Brien’s compensation did an exhaustive study and issued a report concluding that our dean was special, a recognized educational and civic leader. It noted among other things:

    1. The elevated prestige of the law school, including the school’s special relationship with numerous members of the United States Supreme Court;
    2. The school’s consistent and extraordinary progress, affirmed year-in and year-out by our students’ success on the bar exam;
    3. Our financial stability despite high levels of competition and challenging economic times;
    4. The dean’s nomination and election by his peers to serve as Chair of the ABA Section on Legal Education, the highest position attainable in legal education.

    From there we worked with two independent compensation experts who helped us arrive at numbers that were appropriate to his role and the fact that Dean O’Brien is regularly the subject of recruiting efforts by other law schools. (Worth noting: the “loan forgiveness” amount reported in this discussion is incorrect; that can only be earned over a 10-year period.)

    I hope my perspective is helpful.

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