Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Just say no jobs

Philip Closius, who made some waves last year when he got fired as dean of the University of Baltimore and then wrote a scorched earth letter revealing the extent to which the central administration was mulcting the law school's revenues, published an op-ed yesterday on the crisis of the American law school.

Closius' heart is in the right place, and at least his head acknowledges there really is a crisis, but unfortunately the piece is a tangle of bad data and wishful thinking.  As to the data, I realize it's "only" an op-ed, but if anything legal academics should be even more careful when quoting statistics regarding the state of legal education and the legal employment market to the general public (who have no realistic way to judge their accuracy) than when discussing the subject in academic fora.  Closius starts with an implausible claim:

Elite schools (the top 25 in U.S. News & World Report's rankings) and the 43 non-elite state "flagship" law schools are almost immune to market pressures. Those at risk will come from the other 132 law schools — the ones that produce the majority of law graduates.

Northwestern University's law school, one of the top programs in the country, is considering shrinking its class size because of the continuing job crisis in the legal industry.

The key numbers Closius quotes in support of his argument are completely wrong. For example:

Law schools have increased tuition drastically for almost 20 years, beginning in the 1990s when universities refused to continue subsidizing the affordable public law schools. Annual tuition increases, previously modest, moved into the double-digit range to eliminate deficits.
In real inflation-adjusted terms, Harvard Law School's tuition increased far more between 1971 and 1991 (119.9%) than it did between 1991 and 2011 (74.9%).  (Since elite private law schools all more or less charge the same tuition every year this single data point is sufficient to illustrate how inaccurate Closius' claim is).  This doesn't even touch on the obvious question of why cutbacks in state subsidies to public law schools have any relevance to private law school tuition (the solid majority of ABA law schools are private).

Closius' claims regarding the employment crisis for law graduates are no more accurate:

Pre-2007, law students did not require much institutional support to find jobs.
Per NALP, percentage of graduates in full-time legal jobs nine months after graduation:

2001: 68.3 percent
2002: 67.0 percent
2003: 65.5 percent
2004: 65.1 percent
2005: 66.7 percent
2006: 68.3 percent
2007: 70.7 percent
2008: 67.2 percent
2009: 62.5 percent
2010: 59.9 percent

Closius does make some good points about the extent to which law school faculty, deans and university presidents busy themselves with counting law review articles, marginal curricular tweaking, and raising tuition like clockwork rather than paying attention to how much all this costs and whether it's actually worth it to our students, but his suggested reforms are an exercise in denial:

In today's depressed environment, resumes must be reviewed, mock interviews mandated and realistic job searches ensured. Not every alumnus can donate $1 million, but all can help a student get an internship or job. The dean, faculty and staff must also visit potential employers.
I'm sure Closius doesn't mean it this way -- unlike most legal academics he actually seems to have a clue regarding the extent to which our students are facing a genuine disaster -- but his response comes across as essentially victim-blaming: Graduates aren't getting jobs because their resumes aren't sufficiently well-crafted and they don't interview as well as they could.

This is sheer nonsense on its  face, as is the stuff about deans, faculty, and staff visiting potential employers. (To be fair to Closius his suggestions appear to be the standard response of concerned legal administrators and faculty to the mess we've created). There are twice as many graduates (at least) as there are jobs. The most better-drafted resumes and successful sales pitches from law faculty to legal employers will accomplish is  to very slightly improve the catastrophic employment rate of our current students at the expense of our alumni.

Can't anybody in this business do basic arithmetic?

Since I quoted the Crain's Chicago article above I can't leave this subject without highlighting this choice apercu from John Marshall's dean:

[Despite the employment crisis] not everyone sees a reason to change.

“People want to go to our school, and why should we say no?” says John Corkery, dean of John Marshall Law School. “There are people who really want to go to law school because that is how they want to spend their lives.”

You know what kids these days also want to do, Dean Corkery? Meth!


  1. "People want to go to our school, and why should we say no?” says John Corkery, dean of John Marshall Law School. “There are people who really want to go to law school because that is how they want to spend their lives.”


    Stupid degenerate baby boomers.

  2. They're not childern so parents aren't in the picture. They're young adults making poor decisions. People have to make their own mistakes. Perhaps these experiences are needed to wake the young generation from their political apathy.

    At the end of the day the main drive of this nonsense is politics. People are going to have to get organized.

  3. I'm pretty sure being unemployed and burdened by ridiculous amounts of student loans will only increase political apathy as young adults become more marginalized.

  4. 6:52

    Get organized? Really? "People have to make their own mistakes." Again, really?

    Do we even live on the same planet?

  5. "They're not childern so parents aren't in the picture. They're young adults making poor decisions. People have to make their own mistakes. Perhaps these experiences are needed to wake the young generation from their political apathy."

    These are the same kind of people who say, "no one put a gun to your head and told you to sign for those crappy loans ad go to law school."

    This attitude is the fundamental problem with this country today and why it is falling apart. There is a special spot in hell for ya, asshole.

  6. "Can't anybody in this business do basic arithmetic?"

    No, and this is the beauty of math, and the reason why it dominates all endeavors (despite sometimes being mis-applied and abused, see 2008 financial crisis).

    Math offers simple, no bullshit explanations for things that others falsely view as "complex."

    If the legal community could do math, I doubt you'd have any of these problems.

  7. Is attending law school preferable to becoming hopelessly addicted to crystal meth?

    It's an interesting question.

  8. "Can't anybody in this business do basic arithmetic?"

    Yes....they can.

    At least the ones at the very top of the Law School Industry. They're minting money, those ones.

  9. "At the end of the day the main drive of this nonsense is politics. People are going to have to get organized."

    *Buzz* wrong! It's about economics. Always has been, always will be.

    Under the John Marshall dean's logic, if people want to spend their lives on the couch playing xbox and watching porno, we should let them do it. If people want to spend their lives learning how to stand on one leg and sing opera, we should let them do it. These jackwagons have (and continually) confuse personal want (a liberty argument) with economic demand (a social one), and think that because the federal government will pay someone to go to law school, there's "demand" for it because people have chosen to take the free money and the three years away from harsh reality.

    Socially/economically, there's no demand for new lawyers at all. Personally, there wouldn't be either but-for the spout of aid money that goes to education and the fraudulent marketing. But we have this screwed-up system where the dean can look at the numbers and be all "hey, they're coming, who are we to stop them?"

    Cut off the federal aid spigot and that "demand" disappears instantly.

  10. 6:26 AM: "WHERE ARE THESE CHILDREN'S PARENTS?! Stupid degenerate baby boomers."

    Um, don't you mean, "Stupid Degenerate Generation Boom-X-Ers"??

    Most of the grist for the LS mills, 2012 edition, having been born ca. 1990 (give/take a few), I'm guessing as many of their parents were born in the mid-late 60's (solidly gen-X) as earlier (boomer).

    But I agree whole-heartedly with your main point, the "what of their parents?" thinking. I'm hoping that when my kids are that age, if they are going to do something as monumentally stupid as paying sticker for LS (or their generation's equivalent thereof), that they'll be willing to sit down and listen to some hard facts and reason.

  11. Ah but cutting off the federal aid spigot is a matter of politics as well. You do realize we live in America, the most corrupt country on Earth?

    Except America's corruption is legalized, in the form of lobbying. How much does academia lobby Congress? Will Congress go against their benefactors?

  12. "Cut off the federal aid spigot and that "demand" disappears instantly."

    That's politics.

  13. Lawprof, I vehemently disagree with your comparison between kids wanting to go to law school versus kids wanting to do meth!

    Here's why: It doesn't necessarily destroy your life if you make sure it is not your only focus in life, so you can turn off that part of your brain with other activities from time to time. A lot of people feel that it leads to serious financial trouble, but if you're proactive and disciplined, you can hold a steady job that does not get in the way of it (or vice versa) which can cover it's expenses, and you can therefore make it a positive, joyful experience in your life without having to endure years of emotional and financial stress. Law school, on the other hand ...

  14. How about the graph in the Crain's article? Those employment figures seem skewed toward positive results.

  15. I'll throw this link on the pile as further evidence that the mainstream media is finally picking up on the student loan debacle:


  16. I volunteer at a pro bono clinic in Chicago. We get a lot of kids coming in to help out who are either in law school, or thinking about going. Lately we also get kids who have graduated from places like Michigan and Illinois and can't find jobs.
    Anyway, about a year ago we had a nice young lady in her mid 20s who was working as a nanny. There were doctors in the family, and a lot of pressure on her to "do something with your life." She was at the clinic hoping to get some exposure to "the profession," and had her heart set on going to JMLS. From what I was able to discern the only reason this was the case was because they'd accepted her with a 145 on her LSAT.
    I tried to talk her out of it but she did not like what I was telling her and I expect my advice was drowned out by the nitwits telling her that this was a good option for her life. How insane is it that there are still people believing that you can get a good outcome from going to places like JMLS when kids from real schools can't even sniff employment? It would be funny if not for the fact that most law schools are nothing more than tragedy factories at this point.

  17. 7:20- America, the most corrupt country on earth? I present, for your consideration, Italy, Greece, Zimbabwe, China, and Paraguay.

    Relax a little of the rhetoric. It weakens the otherwise solid point.

  18. @8:13: Unfortunately, that is not is what is going on in that article. That article tries to claim that private student loans are for worse for borrowers than federal loans because of the "consumer protections" they carry, meaning chiefly IBR

    What the article does NOT say is those same consumer protections allow the school (whether law school, grad school or undergrad) to pocket the money while the borrower lives in a state of debt peonage for a period of 10 or 20 years (in some cases 25), or whenever they no longer qualify as facing a "hardship" by the gov't's standards. It also does NOT mention anything about compounding interest (it is capitalized when the gov't determines you no longer "need" this benefit), the impact on DTI ratios for other debts like car loans and mortgages, the potential tax burden for any forgiveness (it is taxed as income for private sector workers), etc.

    It sounds so wonderful politically, but IBR is basically a kiting scams which protects schools, not borrowers. In spite (or perhaps because) of this, President Obama appears to be doubling down on IBR. Here is the latest from Reuters:

    Ahead of his visit on Thursday to the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, President Barack Obama will direct his administration to improve student information about options that can help them pay off their debt - in particular an income-based scenario that caps monthly payments based on the ability to pay.


  19. So universities take part of law school revenue for non law school purposes. LP, how much? How much are we subsidizing students who already have much lower tuition than we do? So we are taking out loans to subsidize art majors??????

  20. Hey good news!

    Turns out the alternator is only going to cost 120 bucks!

    It would have been 80 dollars but my old alternator has a cracked housing, and so I won't be able to get the 40 dollar core charge or trade in.

    My truck is my rolling toolbox and an essential part of my my livelihood BTW. Without it I cannot do my work.

    I think people should care, because if some law grads decide to disappear into the trades, and struggle financially for a while as they learn, they too will be dealing with mechanical issues for their vehicles, and might have to try and save money on repairs.

    But save the receipts, because repairs etc. and all that stuff is tax deductible.

  21. For all Student Loan Debtors:

    How To Make A Gimlet

    Combine in a mixing glass, add ice, and shake. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass or a short tumbler filled with ice. Garnish with lime wedge.

    Ingredients (makes 1 drink)
    2 ounces Gin or Vodka
    3/4 ounce Rose's Lime Juice or Fresh Lime Juice


    Lime Wedge

    Prep Time

    2 Minutes

    Boston Shaker
    Cocktail Glass
    Hawthorne Strainer
    Short Tumbler

    *Enjoy! And Please drink responsibly!

  22. 8:27 is exactly correct. The impression given is that private loans = bad while federal loans = good. Even Lynn O'Shannessy peddles 'em.

    IBR is insidious and much like deferment and forbearance, it gives the borrower the impression that they are better off. They are not. This statement: "Can't anybody in this business do basic arithmetic?" rings true with law graduates as well. IBR is not helpful and should ONLY be used in the event that default is the only option. Additionally, IBR policy makes no mention about living in a CP state. Asking a spouse (who may be working) to take on the debt acquired years before you met puts a lot of pressure on a marriage. MFS is not really an option when you figure that so many deductions are lost.

  23. IBR must be publicized as a bad thing, not a good thing. Please do not allow politicos and profs to perpetuate these lies.

  24. @ 8:59: "It would have been 80 dollars but my old alternator has a cracked housing, and so I won't be able to get the 40 dollar core charge or trade in."

    Then DON'T give them your old alternator; tell them you want it for a paperweight, or you want to pull out the copper wiring and weave it into a noose... Anyway, if they still think they should have your old alternator, ask yourself why they want it if it's worthless and they can't give you an exchange credit.

    As for some of your other posts - make sure you have a wrench that fits the nut holding the dead AC compressor's pulley. That way if it seizes up on the road you can pull over and take that pulley off before you burn through your new serpentine. Better yet, find out (now) if you can figure out how make it truly a free-wheel (i.e. not turning the compressor's innards), and so not have to worry about it seizing later.

    Good luck.

  25. 9:04...just as an anecdote, and to further the discussion about screwed up policies, I'll note that in my situation (married; bought house and paid mortgage interest, mortgage insurance, and property taxes for full year; I have $122,000 and my wife $73,000 in federal debt; we make about $78,500 combined income after student loan interest credit) it actually makes sense (I am finding out after-the-fact; a lawyer decent at math, but figuring this out prospectively was quite difficult) for me to file MFS because the increase in IBR payments (for whatever reason; I thought after the changes they made that filing jointly was no longer a financial mistake in regards to IBR) is more than the tax savings I accrue by filing jointly! So that my purchasing a house and getting married has actually resulted in a net loss in regard to federal government payments. I will file separately next year and take the standard deductions - only in America! It should be noted also that moreso than MFS or MFJ, my wife and I would have been better off staying single in the eyes of the law.

    Someone else doing the math:


  26. @720/722:

    Economics is a higher force than politics. Politics may create short-term economic problems and offer short-term economic solutions, but in the end that's the real driving force.

    Politics could remain unchanged and the problem could be "solved" if the economy could actually support entry-level attorney work at levels justifying the current debt loads. And shutting off federal loans isn't necessarily a "political" thing, either; it takes two to tango, and while it's far-fetched, the populace could realize that signing the MPN is one of the worst possible economic moves you can make. Thus, a sudden increase in popular knowledge would also cut off the problem (this is why the fraudulent conduct is so nefarious; it prevents knowledge) without resorting to political means.

    The reason I take issue with classifying the problem as a political one is that it leads to stupid counter-arguments about political apathy on one hand and a fatalism on the other (big money controls, ergo I have no power).

  27. Re: Emigrating to escape a lifetime of debt.

    Leaving the Land:


  28. 9:15:


    A few things: Your spouse has SL debt. Try explaining that to a spouse who does not. It gets harder to do. Additionally, both you and your wife have debt (a lot at that) and relatively small combined incomes. My wife nearly makes as much as the two of you combined-with no debt and no college education!

    IBR is built and designed for people who have a ton of SL debt and low income-like you two. You described the inherent problem: people are encouraged to go into debt because of IBR for an income that is less than livable....in turn you feel good about it! Your schools are 200K richer and you too are poor. This is not a good outcome.

    At that amount of income, both of your debts under IBR are going to EXPLODE. Good luck trying to finance anything at those debt levels. Have you thought about the tax consequences-for the both of you?

    No offense, but I am not sure two people with that much debt should be married. However, IBR allows it.

    Using your numbers: MFJ, no kids, added 5K to your income (for SL deduction), standard fed rate. You are not even tackling interest.
    All I can say is, UGH:


  29. Good one, Anon 7:23!

    If we follow his logic, we should allow any young man who wants to emulate Charlie Sheen, or any young woman who wants to live like Paris Hilton, to do so.

  30. One more thing about IBR that nobody talks about:

    The student loan servicer, according to my SL company, gets paid the full amount at the END of the 20/25 year period. In other words, the student pays the servicer during the full 20/25 year period, the interest (in most cases capitalizes) and at the end of that period, the servicer is paid for the amount forgiven....at the taxpayer's expense!

    How is this not a scam!?!?!?

  31. LawProf, thanks for this post about Closius's op-ed. I read the op-ed yesterday and practically yelled at my laptop, "Really???!" Tweaking resumes and twisting the arms of alums isn't going to create jobs out of thin air. "Sheer nonsense on its face," indeed.

    No jobs no jobs no jobs no jobs.

  32. @9:33:

    I'll let my wife know we shouldn't have gotten married :)

    Yes, I definitely did not mean to comment in regard to whether there is emotional weight for entering in to marriage.(I should also mention we are both currently on the 10 year forgiveness plan; and yes, the payments usually don't quite cover all the interest - but they are not exploding) Did not mean to compare, just wanted to illustrate insanity of situation in regard to cash outlay increase due to house and marriage.

    However, I will say, and maybe this is due to my lower-middle class upbringing (my expectations too low?) that based on living in "flyover country", with that income, and yes, god-forbid IBR, my wife and I live a relatively comfortable lifestyle. We bought a new 3 bed, 2 bath house a year and a half ago, and I finally just recently got to replace my old car with a new one for the first time in my life (29 years old)! We also just got back from a one-week vacation where my wife got a job in LP's area so I may be throwing it all down the hole again! Not to ramble on, but just to give a little counterweight to the "no hope" outlook. Which, believe me, I have been there, and most likely will fall back in to soon enough.

    Anyway law schools suck.

  33. "I should also mention we are both currently on the 10 year forgiveness plan."

    This is PSLF, not IBR. The two are not interchangeable. Small fact that makes a BIG difference, so long as you can keep your jobs, which I hope you both do. IBR and PSLF are in many ways, like apples and oranges. Details, details.

    Additionally, flyover country is nice but many people live in coastal cities/coastal states. I guess we should move.

  34. Right, aware that it is PSLF rather than IBR in terms of the actual forgiveness. But in regards to cash flow, IBR is all that matters. Now, if we weren't on the PSLF, I would be more concerned with IBR payments going forward, but it seemed from my numbers it would be damn near impossible for me to realistically get to an income level that would kick me out of the program. Now, in regard to tax implications at the point of forgiveness, I'm just trying to enjoy this month and next, not how I would make that payment in year 2034. Now, should I be concentrating more on long term financial health? Maybe...but as the hipsters say, YOLO.

    No doubt that many are on the coast, so perhaps these numbers are more anecdotal than I even intended. And they may be for myself when we get to Denver, but yes, I think there is also an ounce of truth in opening oneself up to changing locations if the financial situation gets to the point that you can't enjoy the location and you have a greater chance of relief somewhere else.

    IMHO anyway. Do what you want.

  35. There is NO tax liability for PSLF.

    There is tax liability for IBR.

  36. I'm not sure I understand. Do you mean in regard to credit implications? Like applying for a mortgage? Or do you mean the tax liability that accrues at the end of the 25 year (or 20) payment period? That would be my 2034 comment...apologies to taking over the thread but hopefully some people are getting a little useful knowledge out of the IBR/income tax/MFS;MFJ conversation. Maybe not...

  37. 10:17:

    Actually, I am not sure you understand it:

    IBR: 20/25 years, depending upon when you entered the program. Tax liability on the amount forgiven.

    PSLF: 10 years, provided you keep your public service job. No tax liability at the end of ten years. The caveat: again, you gotta have employment that qualifies for PSLF.

    If you are on PSLF, your forgiveness would be in 2022, assuming you started this year. Are you sure you know what program you are on? Your comments suggest you do not.

    Both link your monthly payment to the amount of money you make, NOT what you owe. If your monthly payment does not cover the bare monthly interest (which capitalizes DAILY on student loans), your loan balance GROWS. The credit implications are as follows: your debt to income ratio worsens because the loan balance is growing. Do you think, if a person is on one of these programs, a bank will loan them money for a mortgage when they see huge principal resulting from capitalized interest on their credit report? No way. Not in this credit environment.

    Additionally, the government could change the rules in the middle of the game. See 1998 retroactive changes on BK.

    Either way, it is a RISK.

    But I guess YOLO, right?

  38. 8:18 I will answer your question. Universities generally take 30% of law school tuition for non-law school purposes. That means if you are paying 50,000 in tuition 15 goes to the university. Sweet deal huh? If things were fair, you would be paying 35 instead of 50.

  39. "If we follow his logic, we should allow any young man who wants to emulate Charlie Sheen, or any young woman who wants to live like Paris Hilton, to do so."

    Hey Dona: No one needs your permission to emulate anyone or no one. You have no authority to "allow" anyone to do anything. People are free to live as they please. If they commit crimes, they risk the consequences.

    Good grief.

  40. Using some of the numbers from 9:15:

    122K balance at 6.8%.

    Interest accrual year one: approx: 8,300.00 for year one.

    Your IBR payment: 475 mo X 12 = 5,700.00.

    Year 1, not counting interest that capitalized quarterly, your loan has increased $2,600.00 per year. Quarterly capitalized interest would push the 2,600.00 closer to 3K. This is just the interest, not the principal amount that you would be paying under normal loan terms. I would find out if the principal portion of your monthly payment amount is also added into this capitalization. If so, the cap is larger.

    Also, even if you assume that you make the 475 payment every month (would not count on raises too often in this shitty hiring environment), the balance capitalized is not increasing at a constant because due to capitalization, the principal is increasing as the yearly quarters go on.

    If PSLF, this is done over ten years, the debt is nasty...think Tulane nasty:).

    IF IBR, it is fucking horrible, like Thomas M. Cooley horrible :(:(:(:(.

  41. Well I wasn't being combative, I thought. And I started with, "I'm not sure I understand", which I thought would indicate that I was admitting I didn't understand. I see from what you have written that I understand the programs already, and that you are conveying bad information.

    PSLF has nothing to do with my current payments. The government has no idea whether I meet PSLF requirements currently. My payments, even though working for the government, are currently all processed through Dept. of Ed. using IBR calculations, using the IBR process. Dept. of Ed. only recently came out with the form so that a borrower can actually now apply, and have their income and job site checked, so that they can start having their 10 year payment count down for PSLF purposes. The application is retroactive to the origin of the legislation, 2007, I think. I graduated and have had this public job since November, 2009 but as I mentioned, will be giving it up for Denver (a bit of a RISK, I am aware).

    To qualify for PSLF, you either have to be making payments under the standard repayment plan, or IBR. So to clarify, yes, I am correct, that you can be on IBR and PSLF program at the same time. In fact, you have to be for it to make any sense. If you are on the standard repayment plan, you wouldn't need PSLF because you would be done with the payments at the end of the 10 years anyway. You seem to think they are separate programs that are incompatible. You are mistaken. One is the repayment option (IBR), the other is the forgiveness program (PSLF); you can't make PSLF payments literally.

    As I mentioned earlier, yes, my loan balance is growing. However, essentially, the balance remains right around the starting point based on my and my wife's payments (we basically cover nearly all the interest) due to our income. I never said that the payment amount was linked to what I owe as opposed to what I make. I mentioned the amounts owed to give insight in to the entire situation. I do note however that amounts owed matter a lot in regard to whether you can qualify for IBR in the first place, and how much your income can increase while still remaining qualified for the program.

    In regard to your points about credit..what can I say? I told you we bought a house, on that income, with those debts (plus $35,000 private loans to boot! Got to get that Bar loan!), closing on a $165,000 mortgage in December of 2010. I recently got a $23,000 vehicle, with that income, with those debts (plus the mortgage!) for 3.24% interest from a credit union.

    Don't know what else to say...maybe the people railing on commenters being more in to hysterics than trying are more right than I thought.

    Of course congress could change it...but not going to go through life worrying they will.

    Still, law schools suck. And, right on man, YOLO. YOLO!

  42. @10:46 - yes, those numbers are pretty close. Though by the time I did auto debit, paperless statements, whatever else, one way or another my interest rate I think is right around 5.625%. So we come pretty close to covering the interest. I agree, being on a 25 year plan with that hanging over your head would/is very burdensome. But in terms of cash flow, paying 15% of discretionary income is pretty sweet. Again, not going to worry about all the "what ifs"...yet anyways. Or that possible insanely large payment due in 2034 if things go another way.
    Law schools suck. They shouldn't be that expensive and for the most part the "profession" as a whole is pretty shitty. Just trying to shed light on potentially stress reducing financial pathways for those of us that got in to way too much debt.

  43. Whoa.

    I was not trying to be combative. Just trying to educate. I am still not sure I completely understand your situation but either way, it appears as though you have an answer, so hey, more power to you.

    IBR, ICR, and PSLF are all separate programs with some similarities. A bunch of factors will determine where a person falls, I mean ends up, at the end.

    I think, in the spirit of this website, that these programs perpetuate the current system by allowing the school to charge full tuition while leaving the borrower and taxpayer in dire straits. Everyone loses except the university.

    I think they are bad programs so I have an inherent bias AGAINST them. I have found that people in these programs have a tendency to be very defensive of them, and rightfully so. After all, they have staked their future financial position on them. This does not sit well with me on a personal or business level. So hey, to each their own. I do have a good understanding of the programs and I wish you and your wife the best.


  44. But, you get that not everyone can use your solution, right? If all the lawyers crippled by debt tried to go get government jobs in the midwest, that would not work. Your solution can only be used by a select few. For the rest of us who live in places where you can't buy a house for 165k, for example (which tend to be places where there are a lot of lawyer jobs!), paying 15 percent of our "discretionary income" IS a big burden. It's a big burden if you're already paying half your take-home income in rent, for example. It's a big burden if you are single and limited to one income. It's a big burden if you also have private loans that have to be serviced. I fully admit that I suck at managing my money, but I'm currently living in such a "high cost" area (thankfully I am employed) and I can't even afford to make the monthly payments that IBR wants me to pay based on my income, because of all the issues I just listed. It's my GOAL to pay down my other debt and reduce my rent to the point where I can finally start making the IBR payments. And no, I don't live in a palace, buy designer clothers, or even have a car. I did take a vacation this year (sorry!).

  45. Managing these loans and repayment programs is like a second job... who can do it when working in an entirely different field, 60 hours a week. Between work and commute I don't have the time or energy to go over everything to determine how I'm going to get screwed knowing that either way I'm going to get screwed.

  46. LawProf,

    You may want to consider instituting a rule like "Please comment about IBR only in response to posts about IBR."

    It's tiresome how a few people hijack unrelated threads to preach their sermons against IBR.

  47. ^ Teacher, teacher, we need more rules and homework.

  48. 11:25:

    Of course, you can understand that IBR is part of the grease that moves the student loan debt wheel (scam) which in turn fuels the law school scam, right? In other words, it is part of the problem that has contributed to the current state of higher ed in this country.....

  49. 11:31:

    IBR is new. It contributes, yes, but its contributions are new.

  50. IBR and programs like it stop real reform and thus perpetuate the scam.

    I wonder how many discussion like this take place at law schools across the nation:

    Student: "I owe 122,000 in student loans."

    LS Financial aid: "Well, you can always go on IBR, or PSLF."

  51. 11:33:

    Not as new as you think. The program was started in 2007. Not that the Dems would want you to know that.

  52. This is why the student loan justice people are trying to have that solidarity pledge of having people sign a petition and after a million signatures people agreed to stop paying student loans and stop perpetuating the problem.

  53. This comment has been removed by the author.

  54. 11:33#1 here. Actually, I knew when the program started. The law school model has been broken longer than that. It perpetuates a broken model, as 11:33#2 said, but it's more a symptom than anything. IBR is still voodoo to many -- hence why there's been such a push by Obama and others to get people informed about it

  55. As a taxpayer who pays nearly six figures in taxes a year, I am incensed over programs such as IBR. Why must I finance a foolish kid's decision to attend law school? Why must my hard earned tax dollars subsidize some kid's crackpipe dream of becoming a TV or movie version lawyer? I would rather the government buy $1,000 hammers which have more utility than a class of indentured servants who will be tied down to student loan slavery.

  56. 11:51:

    True: a few more things:

    IBR was was passed in 2007, it started in July, 2009. Guess that Bush admin, like the Dems, wanted to kick issues further down the road.

    Voodoo is a good word to describe it. Time and time again I have tried to get answers to some of my questions regarding these sham programs. When I call the DOE, I am told to call my law school. My law school tells me to call my servicer. My servicer tells me to check out the federal website. None give a clear answer to some of my many questions. I guess that is what you get when you learn to think like a lawyer. Sometimes ignorance is bliss.

    There are holes in these programs the size of Rushmore.

  57. 11:37:

    It was not Student Loan Justice (Alan Collinge) advocating a one million person default it was Occupy Student Debt. Apparently with no relation to Occupy Wall Street. Cryn Johannsen has pushed for the one million default, now for the second time in a year. Few people have signed up because it is such a bad idea.

    People like Collinge and Applebaum are against a voluntary default for the very obvious reasons.

  58. I don't know why my comments keep getting stuck in the spam filter (or whatever it is that you have). Is it because I am not in the U.S.?


    Enjoyed the post. I have 2 related comments/ideas.

    First, although, in percentage terms, increase pre-1991 has been more than since, things were pretty sustainable until 2008. I went to law school about a decade ago. When I was young, I can remember the song "the future's so bright I gotta wear shades" from the 80's and endless talk about the "goldilocks economy", that was literally too perfect, from the 90's. Can you imagine anything like that today? In the early 2000s, interest rates were so low it kind of compensated for a worsening economy. I graduated with debt on which I owed like 2.6% interest. My monthly loan payments (spread over 25 years) were something like 300 bucks. Not something that would force you into bankruptcy if you could find some job. Tuition just kept on going up because it could. Now it can't anymore--the economy is crap and loan interest rates have effectively come up while law school tuition has continued to expand--it's no longer sustainable--so a solution will be found. There just weren't enough people to complain before because it didn't destroy quite so many lives. Kudos to LP for being in the vanguard of this change! Leiter must be full of jealousy that he wasn't able to identify this issue and become a hero to the masses.

    Secondly, I'm wondering if part of the solution isn't a different model of law school. What if a decent private (or public law school) completely changed its model? Don't necessarily pay profs less, but recruit top profs from other schools. Instead of a prof making say 300k, you offer 500k. The profs have to teach huge classes and have increased teaching loads. Since it's not difficult to have huge classes and law profs are generally extremely spoiled, perhaps number of law students served by said professors could increase 5 fold. The profs wouldn't even be that overworked. Then you could bring in some practionioners to work on the cheap (a little extra money for them and great for their resumes, while also making the school look more practical). Viola, you can offer lower tuition (maybe less than half the current price if administration and facilities related expenses are reasonable) while still advertising top education and top professors. Research and law school articles decline (but are not completely eliminated). Couldn't this kind of new law school destroy the TTTs? Who would want to go to a TTT when you could pay less than half price and get the best teachers in the country? Even if rankings were not great in USNWR because of the huge class sizes, with better students you could beat the TTTs and eventually USNWR could be persuaded to recognize these new law school models by adjusting its criteria to include "value". Why start such a new kind of school? Because you could make money. So can this happen? What do you think LP?

  59. "As a taxpayer who pays nearly six figures in taxes a year, I am incensed over programs such as IBR. Why must I finance a foolish kid's decision to attend law school?"

    Because I said so bitch. Now shut the fuck up, go to work and pay me my entitlements. Pwned!

  60. "Voodoo is a good word to describe it. Time and time again I have tried to get answers to some of my questions regarding these sham programs. When I call the DOE, I am told to call my law school. My law school tells me to call my servicer. My servicer tells me to check out the federal website. None give a clear answer to some of my many questions. I guess that is what you get when you learn to think like a lawyer. Sometimes ignorance is bliss.

    There are holes in these programs the size of Rushmore."


  61. IBR is about three things: (1) subsidizing law schools; (2) perpetuating the dreams of college students and their parents; (3) perceived "fairness" of enabling everyone to do whatever they want regardless of cost or consequence.

    None is a good policy goal.

  62. As a taxpayer who nearly figures he should pay taxes six times a year... ...wait, I'm sorry, where was I going with this?

    LOL at 12:31, too.

  63. "IBR is about ... perceived "fairness" of enabling everyone to do whatever they want regardless ..."

    IBR is yet another tool of the Handicapper General.

  64. ^you have no name or voice.

  65. "Not every alumnus can donate $1 million, but all can help a student get an internship or job. The dean, faculty and staff must also visit potential employers."

    To the Dean of my law school, University of Tennessee, in case you are reading this blog:

    Please Dean of UT Law School (whatever the f___ your name is), please come and visit me and ask me to train some more competition---I mean its not like you and your ilk haven't already produced such a massive over-supply of lawyers in our little state, already. Its not as if you and your cohorts at Memphis, Vanderbilt, Nashville School of Law and soon to be Belmont, dear Dean, haven't already done enough to significantly and materially affect my income (and that of my colleagues) as you all march toward fulfilling your goal of more law firms than churches in Tennessee (and there are a lot of churches in Tennessee). So yea, right, just imagine how happy I will be to train one of your new graduates. And by the way, you aren't getting a dime in donations from me unless you shut your doors forever. Then, I'll give you $10,000.00 dollars. Promise. I can get at least another nine lawyers to do the same. There is $100,000.00 dollars right there. How is that for fundraising?

    Fellow readers, I apologize for the rant, but it staggers my imagination when confronted with the cluelessness of law school deans and and professors (most) regarding the legal market in which most of us practice. Do these people ever leave their offices and talk to real, on-the- street lawyers? Are they just pretending to be or are they really this obtuse; or, are they just crazy as road lizards? Which is it? 'Cause I really, really want to know.

    Train more competition than I have now? Does Closius think a law school dean can convince to contribute to our own demise? Idiot!!!

  66. I walk by JMLS every day as I trudge home from my biglaw jerb. I always see the law students there smiling and laughing. They don't seem to know how screwed they are.

  67. @ 1:12, "^you have no name or voice."

    Why not?

  68. i'm glad the mainstream media finally is beginning to appreciate how screwed everyone in this profession is.

    once it's well known, mom will stop pressuring junior to go to lawschool. Instead, she will be pressuring junior to learn how to program and start one of those facebook internets.

  69. I love tdennis' posts.

  70. @9:14AM

    Thanks and I will look into it.

    I can scrape up the money for the whole AC unit for less than 400 bucks, and install it myself. See here:


    The trick is taking it out and putting it in, and I have a brother who is actually a Subway car diesel mechanic that can help me with taking off and replacing the coolant lines.

    My truck is a 2000 with 130K miles.

    But AC in the summer is not what anyone wants to do without, and we all know how those hot days suddenly come up, and so replacing the AC is now on the top of the priority list.

  71. Ronnie in ChicagoJune 5, 2012 at 2:08 PM


    You basically just described the TTT model, except with paying the no-name "top teachers" 500k instead of 250k.

    I don't know anyone who went to law school because Prof. X taught there. Heck, I can't even name you anyone on the current faculties at Columbia, Cornell, Penn, Virginia, etc., so it's not like poaching those people is going to accomplish anything.


    Delusion is extremely high at JMLS, just like the tuition! I wonder why you walk down Plymouth if you don't have to, but it's like Shiny Happy People over there. BigLaw will barely touch Loyola or Kent or DePaul. By the time you get down to JMLS level, there's maybe 5-10 people who can land respectable jobs. Yet kids there specialize in trial ad, IP, white collar, corporate law, etc. Good luck paying back that $150k in tuition debt alone, new entrants!

  72. If young people want to emulate Charlie Sheen, or Paris Hilton or go to John Marshall Law School that is their own choice. The problem is that as a society we are massively subsidizing behavior that is not in the public interest. For law schools it always comes back to the guaranteed student loans. If young people want to use their OWN money for law school that's their choice. Unfortunately, they are using OUR collective funds through the Federal Government.

    The US Student Loan program is maybe the worst of all situations. I believe that the vast majority of these loans will in the end not be paid back and in the meantime the loans are wrecking the lives of millions of former students.

    This blog is, of course, about the law school problem. In scale of things, the undergraduate and "vocational schools" are a much bigger problem. I tend not to blame the young people because they have been brought up from kindergarten that education is the answer to all things. There is an education establishment from K through grad school that has sold almost everyone that education is the only key to success. Only in the last few years have some people begun to question the US model of increasing levels of education and its increasing costs. It is still conventional wisdom that everyone needs a college education to be successful.

  73. For those of you who hate Boomers, the comments on this article - - the one about the $10k job offering at BU - - are pretty good.


  74. This is like Nuremberg. It's nobody's fault. Professors, administrators, deans, and university presidents are all just following orders.

    Law Prof, somebody suggested a post to pop the lower tier schools' "Best School for X" claims. I'd like to second that.

  75. @ 2:08PM said:

    "If young people want to use their OWN money for law school that's their choice. Unfortunately, they are using OUR collective funds through the Federal Government."

    That is what puzzles me a lot. If the LS scam is a drain on the taxpayer, which it really is, then why, in the interest of the general public isnt anything being done about it?

    And as for your second point, which I will quote:

    " I tend not to blame the young people because they have been brought up from kindergarten that education is the answer to all things."

    And that is why I try to find examples from the popular culture that reinforced the idea that Higher Education was the key to success and not to a lifetime of trainwreck debt and life and soul destrouing failure within a now upside down American society.

    For example The Cosby Show held up a model of success to emulate, with an MD Father and a Lawyer Wife. And early in the 1st season of that highly popular show, which undoubetedly shaped public thoughts and ideas, Dr. Huxtable lectures his son Theo about the value of aspiring to attaining more schooling, and, by extension higher ed, in so many words; a foundational premise for a cultural and economic belief that just does not hold true for the people that have to borrow to attain it if they end up as lifetime debtors.


  76. oh snap


    also check drudgereport

  77. Hey dumbasses who don't understand how IBR fucks you, go look up something called the "back end debt to income ratio." It's a key statistic that banks look at when deciding whether to grant you a loan.

    If you have IBR, your monthly payment might be low but your back end debt to income ratio is fucking your back end! hahahaha

  78. In the blatantly obvious absence of any human rights remedy, legal or political or otherwise, I predict a diaspora of the American Indentured Educated Class from a very young and relatively new and experimental (upon the world stage) American Democratic and Capitalistic country that has proved, after the countercultural end of the 20th century, to have failed many of its most trusting and talented young citizens with a horrible and rapacious and one sided educational lending system that will never be brought to human rights justice within the time frame of the natural lives of all who suffer under it.

    However, the fleeing or at least the scattering of a people from a homeland is not a new thing, or unprecedented.

    The world will survive, with or without bankruptcy protections for American Student Loan Debtors seeking the freedoms and human rights protections against unrestrained robber baron capitalism that America used to protect against, but, it seems, does not do any more.


    There is nothing wrong with capitalism. But capitalism without consumer protections is absolute and unmitigated tyranny.

    Major players in this fiasco are the baby boomers and the counterculture who will probably best be remembered for USURY

  79. Inflation was galloping along from 1971 to 1991. Not quite as true after then.

  80. 4:41: Numbers are in real not nominal dollars.

  81. I noticed this trend on TLS a while ago. A few people posted about how IBR will save them so they will go into debt. And now more and more people are posting that they will rely on IBR. (Such as the poster from yesterday's blog post.) This attitude scares me. They are so willing to sign up to be in debt for 20 years. And it is difficult to dissuade them.

    IBR is going to be seen as a bigger part of the problem, not a solution. It will prop up the whole scheme for another 20 years.

  82. 2:08, 12:29 here. My point is that it would be pretty easy to make a profitable law school model with much lower costs to students. If that could be set up as an alternative, couldn't such schools at least potentially aid in the demise of the current law school model? As soon as a school that was deemed to be "really good" started doing something like that, good students would flock there and the school becomes more selective and therefore more desirable--the only issue being that less spending affects other variables of current USNWR rankings--maybe it would have to start with supposedly state schools (including UT Austin, Michigan, etc.) being forced to go back to their traditional roles of being low cost providers, but even if we say the new school would be a TTT place, wouldn't it be easy to outcompete a place like Cooley if you could charge (on average) 1/3 of the price for an education that is demonstrably no worse?--I guess the main issue with this is that radically lower cost degrees would need to be combined with something to fight oversupply of lawyers generally. However, I think this idea applies to colleges as well. The system has encouaged increasing costs up to now. However, going forward, it's become clear to many people that radically decreasing costs (by, e.g., increasing class sizes) are the only way forward (at the very least, costs can't continue to go up on inflation adjusted terms, indefinitely). Cutting off the spigot of student loans is one way to do it (and is probably necessary, ultimately). However, setting up places that are intentionally competitive and serving as alternatives to more expensive existing models could work under the right circumstances, too, I think... if such places were deemed to be highly desirable (i.e., the wave of the future) they could avoid certain TTT stignma with applicants and employers...

  83. 6:18-

    I agree. IBR will enable the music to continue playing for 20 years before the whole system folds.

    Lately it seems that everything is propped up with debt. Housing, education, nations. When we can't consume now and defer payment until later, I worry that systems or even societies will collapse. It will totally screw everyone.

  84. 6:42:

    Real simple:

    Less law schools = less lawyers = higher chance at jobs for those who attend. Reform student loans.

    Practice ready lawyers are real groovy but at this point, jobs are much more important.

  85. In response to an earlier comment about changing the law school teaching model, in my opinion promoting a law school by having the best law professors is a marketing ploy. Its like claiming fruit you are selling at a store is "organic" as opposed to another seller's fruit. A good law education does not require a top law professor teacher, just a litle teaching which I feel can be put on a couple of you tube videos, and then real intership work. The law school professors if involved at all can be saved for the bar exam topics, since those test topics appear to be rather off in the clouds and not reflecting reality.

  86. There is a simple way to illustrate the lack of jobs without resorting to a lot of statistics: take a look at the yellow pages listings for attorneys in one's community.

    Imagine a potential client looking for an attorney who is reading these listings, and ask what are the odds they will call you. Unless one's name happens to be A. Aardvark, the odds are pretty low.

    Compare this with other listings, like auto repair, and the problem is pretty obvious.

    Regardless of whether one has a job with a firm or simply is hanging out one's own shingle, this is the competition.

    Ultimately, a law firm only offers an attorney two real benefits: (1) a shop, and (2) paying clients. Providing a shop for oneself is not a huge challenge, getting paying clients is.

    One hopes that a legal employer will have a leg up in attracting paying clients. This usually comes from being established and having high name recognition. (If they don't, one's job will not last very long.) The deal with a firm is that they provide the young lawyer with business, while keeping the lion's share of the fees.

    But those yellow pages listings ultimately are what any newly minted lawyer faces. Today's law students should consider that every lawyer listed has more experience than they do.

  87. As I understand it, IBR or ICR does not stop interest accrual, and after 20 or 25 years the inflated debt amount on the discharged loan is considered income and will be taxed.

    Then the debtor will be dealing with a potential seizure of assets and other IRS collection methods.

    But I guess all of us will have to wait 20 years to find out what will happen.

    One bit of advice I got told me to stay poor and then I will have nothing to worry about in my old age.

    As the extremeely wealthy capitalistic custodial businesspeople and artists and baby boomer icons Neil Young and that Crosby fellow (who are part of the one percent) sang in a popular commodity bit of music of theirs to the American Democratic nation:

    "Don't know when things went wrong. It might have been when you were young and strong."


    I love the way the baby boomers sneered at America when they were young, and then proceeded to decimate the American education system and the generations that came after them with debt for life.

    BTW this is all satire, but maybe with a grain of truth?

  88. There seem to be three kinds of people posting on this blog:

    1) Loan sharks (private student lenders and their "libertarian" water boys)

    who want to kill the federal student loan program so that they can get rid of government competition and charge students 10%+ for student loans, with no IBR

    2) Royalists

    Who want to kill the federal student loan program so only people from rich families who can pay $150K in cash will be able to go to law school and lazy rich kids won't have to compete with kids who are smarter and hungrier than themselves but can't afford school without loans

    3) The dregs of the legal profession

    Lawyers who are losing the competition for clients and promotions, who are not smart enough or hard working enough to specialize in a technical area with high demand (i.e., Patents, Corporate Tax, Healthcare Regulation, Commercial Law), and are afraid of competition from people younger, harder working, hungrier, and with more impressive credentials than themselves.

    What do they all share in common? They're selling an inferior product or service and they're terrified of a little competition.

    That's quite a fan base Paul Campos is attracting. Rapacious capitalists who want to eat the young and the most reactionary and protectionist elements in society. He must be very proud of the company he keeps.

  89. Cruised on over to the JMLS Chicago page to check out there greatness. Don't know if some of you people are aware or not but they are ranked by USNews as the #6 most glorious school in all of the land for legal writing and #17 for IP. Way to go! If you're really interested you can still apply for admission this fall, and your app fee will be waived. I imagine they are extending the deadline and waiving the app fee because the beautiful, wonderful faculty and admin want to make real sure that no promissory note signature is denied it's chance to "prepare for success" as the website says. The good news is that the school was creative enough to report that 51% of graduating promissory notes secured employ last year

  90. This comment has been removed by the author.

  91. @ 8:09

    While I wouldn't want to kill off student loans entirely, having 100% guaranteed loans which are non-dischargeable made to any institution without regard to how grads fare afterwards is not going to work.

    As for not being smart enough or hard working enough to specialize in a "technical area with high demand", there are not enough such positions for all the JDs who graduate nor are there opportunities to train in these areas anymore as firms have the pick of experienced laid-off attorneys who know these areas. Even patent law is facing oversupply.

    There are simply way too many attorneys chasing not enough jobs. There's no way around this other than to close down a bunch of schools and balance supply of JDs with demand for them.

  92. @ 12:07

    Google search "Job openings for patent lawyers." There are a ton of unfilled positions, and not enough lawyers who are qualified for the patent bar to fill them. Take a look on LinkedIn at who is employed as a patent lawyer--plenty of people from second tier and even third tier law schools have cushy 100-200K per year 9-6 corporate jobs at tech and pharma firms.

    Any reasonably intelligent lawyer who finds him or herself unemployed need only get a masters degree in electrical engineering or chemistry, pass the patent bar, and take his or her pick of 6-figure salary legal jobs.

    The lawyers who are unemployed are people who are terrified of math and science, and refuse to invest in themselves by getting the additional education they need to become useful to employers in a tech-driven economy.

    Fortunately for the smart lawyers who are willing to study math and science, the world is full of opportunities. For everyone else: You have no one but yourself to blame. There are jobs for those who are willing to study and to work.

  93. @ 12:36pm

    The market for patent law is a lot tighter than it used to be. There's still opportunity for experienced patent lawyers, especially in some fields like EE but its not like it was before. It's harder now to get a position as a patent lawyer fresh out of law school.

    Anyway most lawyers are liberal artists and simply don't have the science and math acumen no matter how hard they study or work. The fact is people that already have engineering degrees already have good jobs for the most part and don't need to go into law unless they really want to.

    If you are saying that only lawyers with engineering degrees should go to law school to practice patent law, well you might be right. But that's not what most 0Ls would ever realize. If they all knew that their JDs are worthless without, say, an EE and practicing patent law, only a small handful, like 1% of current 0Ls would bother to attend. Because if those people could have become engineers in the first place THEY WOULD HAVE BECOME ENGINEERS IN THE FIRST PLACE.

    And regardless, let's say that every single lawyer who is struggling "studied and worked hard" to become a patent attorney. Would there be enough patent attorney positions then? NO? Then STFU.

  94. @12:36, who writes, "Any reasonably intelligent lawyer who finds him or herself unemployed need only get a masters degree in electrical engineering or chemistry, pass the patent bar, and take his or her pick of 6-figure salary legal jobs."

    I'm sorry, but I think you've mislead yourself based on your having googled "job openings for patent lawyers" and misunderstood what you found in that search.

    One thing is, there are openings for patent lawyers with ~ 4+ years experience. Noobs Need Not Apply, for the most part.

    Another thing is - your comment about "need only get" an MS in EE etc. is way off base.

    First, think about what you just wrote: If you have a BA in polysci (or whatever), what university will admit you as a masters candidate in EE?

    Second, a "pasted-on" MS in EE is not valuable. While a BS+MS both in EE is valuable, a {BA-History + MS EE} not valued, even if you could get one. And the idea that a non-science BA coupled with an MS chemistry could be valuable is just plain ludicrous. Getting an entry level patent job as a chemist needs (nowadays) a BS+MS+PhD all in chemistries.

  95. @ 5:40pm

    "12:36" obviously must not himself be a science or engineering major. My understanding is that you get a MS in EE to specialize or take higher level courses in certain areas of EE after you already have a BS in EE and have the background for the more advance courses. If you have NO background in EE and come from, say a polysci background, and you wanted to be a EE, you'd basically have to get a second BS in EE.

    That he thinks you could just have a BA in polysci, then do a two year program to get a MS in EE shows how clueless some people are.

  96. 8:09, mind sharing your background? The idea that there are loan sharks on this blog trying to get students in more trouble with loans is ridiculous. Unlimited loan access seems like a good idea in theory, but you can see the results. As for wanting to keep poor kids from going to law school, that's also ridiculous. The law school "losers" (i.e., those who don't immediately get into big law) are not really a threat to those who do in terms of stealing jobs.. as for "the dregs of the legal profession", I can assure you that there are a number of folks who are doing just fine in biglaw (myself included)...

    There are generally 2 types of people who rail against this blog and similar efforts: (i) the academics (hi Brian, if you're out there) who want to make excuses for the system as they continue to profit from it; and (ii) people who think this blog accomplishes nothing--for the latter group, see recent law school application rates. We are making a difference, and it's only just beginning.

  97. @6:13 pm beat me to it. You can't simply waltz into a MSEE program with any undergrad degree. You have to have a BS in EE first, and that's no treat to get through.

  98. ^^^ Right, except you can also start an MSEE program (usually) with a BSME, assuming you had at least some ECE classes. Possible also with a BSChE, although that person likely has to take ~ 9 hours of "catchup" classes along with the MSEE coursework.


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