Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Independence Day

One of my most vivid memories of the 4th of July is perhaps 30 years old.  I was jogging past the gates of the Kalamazoo Country Club, and noticed the club had posted a sign:

Independence Day Celebration
Members Only
As this blog approaches its one-year anniversary I'd like to use this post as a kind of open thread, in which commenters can express views about where they would like to see this project go, and/or comments regarding anything else related to the crisis of the American law school and legal profession.

Happy 4th everybody.


  1. Happy 4th to you too!

  2. Paul, you've got a great blog, and you've done an outstanding service to future and current law students. You've also done a valuable service to those of us in the academy who share your views, but have not yet been able to penetrate the walls of denial erected by our colleagues. I wonder, however, if you might not be ready to move on to a discussion of solutions.

    It seems obvious that, if we are to reduce both the number of law schools seats and the cost of each seat going forward, we've got to make huge cuts in the compensation paid to law school faculty (the most significant cost of running a law school). How do we do that? Should it involve across-the-board cuts? Should we cut bodies? If the latter, should tenure be dispositive, or should we look at value going forward? It seems to me that this conversation needs to begin very soon, or the decisions will be made for us by market forces.

    In fact, if seems to me as if you've assumed that the academy won't face up to the reality, and a market crash will provide the "corrective" forces. However, I am not entirely convinced this needs to be the case. In any event, I think it might be worthy of some discussion on this blog.

    Happy 4th.

  3. 6:31,

    Law schools have been pumping out at least two grads for every law job for a long time.

    Fifteen years ago, these grads assumed they were the problem if they were unemployed.

    The internet has changed things, though. They now know about the way schools intentionally try to hide or skew the employment statistics. And they are going to be screaming into their giant internet megaphones, broadcasting to any that will listen.

    More and more would-be applicants are listening.

    Cuts are going to have to come, whether it is salary cuts or personnel cuts.

    I do think law faculties can string it out if they are willing to pick up more work. You simply freeze hiring and when someone retires, you force the newest faculty to pick up the extra classes. Cut the indulgent animal law, international sports law and law and philosophy courses and you buy yourself even more time. Any complaining faculty member should be grateful for their jobs anyway--if they want to walk back to biglaw, pat them on the back and say "Good luck with that, but we still probably won't be hiring much five to eight years from now when you get pushed off the partner track."

    I don't think there is a quick and easy fix for this. Being proactive at the turn of the century and not accrediting 20 new law schools when there was no need would've probably bought you another decade or so, but that ship has sailed.

  4. Anonymous 6:31: I agree on every count, except that I wonder if this blog is the right place for that discussion. I think that particular financial strategies for law schools are less likely to be of general interest to the audience here, and might be a better fit for Henderson's Legal Whiteboard or even a new blog. (The focus here seems to be on preventing deceptive law schools pitches, educating 0Ls & the public about the situation, and examining the toll of the law school loan burden--all important things that are still needed).

    I also suspect that a much bigger crash is coming--specifically when Grad Plus loans are limited (or eliminated). My starting proposal for schools would be just to run the numbers and figure out how much of their budget comes from student loans, and what the financial picture would look like if student lending were limited to the average salary of graduates (which is a general rubric for whether the loans are likely to be repaid, and therefore a reasonable guess about what loan limits might look like). I suspect that this analysis would at least give a starting point for how deep the cuts would need to go. My recollection of the UC Hastings numbers is that they would lose about a third of their revenue if Grad Plus were cut--that would require deeper cuts than just a hiring freeze.

  5. Wouldn't you know it - my weekend off just crashed and burned with an early morning set of phone-calls. So:

    To 6:31 AM - you sound like a law professor who "gets it" but is not willing to put your head above the parapet - but it would be nice to get your guesstimate of how many other professors that you know "get it" and how that trend has moved from say 2008-today.

    Realistically I think there will be a crash in which quite a few law schools close - and this will drive the survivors to make the "make huge cuts in the compensation paid to law school faculty" as college and university presidents explain the facts of life to their law school faculty, and that faculty faces the options of either (a) unemployment and shingle hanging, (b) getting a still highish paycheck. But it is going to take the shock of seeing a bunch of schools close to communicate the situation.

    My law school death watch is not (at least I do not think it's not) a pointless exercise. Rather, if this blog starts to carry a list of the law schools that are very likely to die soon, well reasoned (and without disparaging Nando) without images of toilets, it will accelerate the necessary weeding out, as those names become publicly well known - the schools will start the Lehman/Bear Stearns process of market recognition that they are a very bad risk for lenders and students. I am pretty sure Professor Campos cannot do this, but posters here can, so long as they keep the analysis factual - my list before was a half-baked exercise done by spending thirty seconds skimming the facts about each school - and if anyone wants to revise that list, go right ahead. And if anyone wants to do a similar list (with paragraphs please for the other states (and edit the one for California) they should do so. Incidentally, my 30 second take is that both Colorado law schools may need to shrink, but likely won't close - it would be different in Colorado had 5 schools.

    On another occasion I made a different proposal - that each law school student, alum who feels up to it should take a look at their schools academic discipline policy - its "honor code" and ask three questions - does that honor code apply to the faculty and administration? do the students have standing to argue that they were beneficiaries of that honor code (fiduciary, contractual-warranty, whatever) or that it establishes a duty on the part of the school? and finally has the school in its reporting of employment and other data violated its own honor code? This could have huge implications in any of the pending lawsuits.

    Finally, those of us that are alumni and have any influence need to start pressurising our schools to try to repair some of the damage they have done. For example, I would like to see them put some meat on the bones of law is a flexible career choice by the schools giving unemployed graduates some skills - with free tuition - and some sort of certification - to help them in the workforce - push for business school courses - courses in any subject that would make the people in trouble at least able to be marketable. Push for law school credits to be transferable - and for fee waivers. Call it a post graduation scholarship/skills program - but help in some way - they are not going to get jobs as lawyers, help them get something else.

    And yes, I agree with JD Painter guy - we need to make student loans dischargeable in bankruptcy. We do not need to make them much more easily dischargeable - but we need to make it a realistically available option for the massively indebted who will never realistically be able to manage that debt and secured nothing of value from their JD.

  6. Paul,

    I think on the one year anniversary you should "retire" this blog and start a new one that is less of a "scam blog" and more of an "activist" blog.

    Less ranting and raving (there is more than enough of that on the other scam blogs), and back to a more professional, solutions oriented place.

    Keep up with the interviews, maybe you can help organize all of your readers to write letters to the editor to their local papers, which probably cover all major metro areas, etc.

    Also, maybe some activism at the law school campuses? It's time the commenters and readers pitch in and do their part out in the real world, I think.

    It couldn't hurt.

  7. One thing we should be kept in mind. The law school scam is just one strain (albeit, a particullarly nasty one) of a larger problem. There is a fundamental lack of job opportunities for college graduates. There are many reasons for this, but at the heart of it is the overall decline of the United States (economic decline, political decline, social decline etc ...) I don't know what the answer is, maybe there is no answer. I went to a high school graduation a few weeks ago. There was lots of talk about bright futures and all that. But I kept thinking to myself, those kids are screwed.

  8. Hi LawProf!! Happy 4th to you! As an indentured student and member of the scamblog movement who reads your blog faithfully, I thank you. You have saved the financial independence of so many 0Ls.

    I would love you to do a blog on student loan interest. First, since the student loan interest tax deduction appears to be going away. It was one of the concessions in the fight over raising the student loan interest rate on federal loans. And, second, because the most crippling aspect of student loans is that the interest accrues daily. That's right, DAILY.

    As an example, I currently have $69,000 in private student loans. I have made nearly $10,000 in on time, monthly payments and my balance has only been reduced by $3,000 because most of my payment goes to paying that accrued interest. This is a fact that you learn after you start repayment and not sitting down with your school's financial advisor while signing on the dotted line as a 0L. I won't even mention the 6-figure federal loans. As an unemployed attorney, those loans are currently in forbearance.

    The cost of going to law school is much greater than people think. Potential students have a right to know the facts beforehand.


  9. I agree with MacK that, as a practical matter, things are going to have to get a good deal worse before they can start getting better. Several schools will have to close--not just Cooley and Florida Costal, but also some that many would think should be worth saving. You're simply not going to get enough buy-in from the tenured faculty until it becomes clear that there really aren't any alternatives to deeply disruptive reforms.

    Something like radically restricting student loans for law students would probably make this much easier--it would throw legal education into turmoil, but it would also make it possible for schools to blame the new environment rather than their own cupidity.

    The broad outlines of the near-term solution seem fairly clear. Fewer faculty teaching more courses with a more practical orientation.

    Here's what I would do (or at least try to do) if I were the dean of some otherwise doomed law school. I'd announce that all faculty members would henceforth teach six classes a year, and that exactly one of those six classes would be a seminar narrowly tailored to the professor's interest. The rest would be assigned according to the needs of the students. If it happened that I had eight professors who could teach contracts but only three who could teach torts, some of the contracts folks would have to team-teach with the torts folks so that they could teach torts next year by themselves.

    All faculty (including me, of course), would earn exactly the same salary: $100,000 a year. Not a princely amount, to be sure, but definitely a living wage. Full-time tuition would be $10,000 a year, with no scholarships other than those that really are supported by endowments. The class size would be limited to the comfortable carrying capacity of the school, whatever that was calculated to be.

    The third year would consist entirely of two semesters of paid internships--the student's would get a tuition waiver for the third year, and also be paid whatever I could afford to pay them. They would be placed with local firms and agencies, the principal requirement being that they both do useful work for the employer and that they be taught actual practice skills. Faculty who do not have practice skills would have two years to complete at least one one semester's internship themselves.

    OK, so I'm making this up as I go along--there are, no doubt, things about this that wouldn't work. But perhaps there are enough ideas here for others to do better.


  10. Keep going down the path you're on. You make great points and I believe that you are a major reason that law school applications are falling. You're speaking truth. Why stop?

    Another project might be a blog about how law degrees can be marketed for other areas. We all know its a myth that you can do anything with a law degree. but there are going to be so many underemployed but motivated people with law degrees who can't find jobs that its worth devoting some effort to brainstorming how we can turn the myth into a reality. All of these people will have to do something with those degrees and god knows the debt.

  11. Dear Prof. Campos,
    Pace 7:39, I think it is terribly necessary that you continue your work right here, with THIS blog. In this format. Look at what it's done so far!

    1. I agree. It is important to keep the pressure up next year too.

  12. @MacK - You may have something here:

    "each law school student, alum who feels up to it should take a look at their schools academic discipline policy - its "honor code" and ask three questions - does that honor code apply to the faculty and administration? do the students have standing to argue that they were beneficiaries of that honor code (fiduciary, contractual-warranty, whatever) or that it establishes a duty on the part of the school? and finally has the school in its reporting of employment and other data violated its own honor code? This could have huge implications in any of the pending lawsuits."

    Educational establishments are expected to present accurate information to their students, at least in as much as, say, they are expected to present accurate test-results and so-forth to them. The problem is most honour codes are fairly hand-wavy and vague in as much as they apply to faculty. Here's U.T Austin's:

    "The core values of the University of Texas at Austin are learning, discovery, freedom, leadership, individual opportunity, and responsibility. Each member of the University is expected to uphold these values through integrity, honesty, trust, fairness, and respect toward peers and community"

    This Michigan case may be worth a look, particularly if any details can be found as to why Cooley's honour code did not give rise to an enforcaeble contract:

    Here's an excerpt from Cooley's "honor code" that is rather more specific than the U.T Austin quote above:

    "A. Lying means knowingly misrepresenting or knowingly failing to disclose a material fact that a reasonable person would consider relevant under the circumstances.
    Examples of lying include, but are not limited to, misrepresenting or failing to disclose facts:

    (1) relevant to admission to the School;
    (2) relevant to class attendance;
    (3) relevant to compliance with course requirements;
    (4) relevant to financial aid, work study or scholarships;
    (5) relevant to the employment search process;
    (6) relevant to co-curricular activities for which credit is granted;
    (7) in a misconduct report;
    (8) in any Honor Code proceedings."

    Can anything be done with this?

  13. I think, if you're up for it, you could turn your attention to higher education more broadly. It's really an open question now, given costs and job opportunities, whether going to college makes sense for most people. That is, the scam is much larger than just legal education.

  14. 7:44,
    You do know that's how loans work right?

    1. How many other loans out there accrue interest and add that interest to your principal on a daily basis?

      Your car loan doesn't, your credit cards don't unless you use a cash advance option. The interest with those types of loans accrues after a 28 or 30 day period. It's not the same for student loans.

      For example, I accrue approximately, $13.00 in interest each day on one of my loans. Every day that interest is added to my principal and I pay interest on top of interest compounded on more interest.

  15. I'd like to second 7:43's and 8:14's comments and ask for a broader inquiry into higher ed financing including undergraduate tuition and costs.

    Also, I was intrigued by LawProf's post about cost of living expenses as determined by the schools. I couldn't find much more about this in my (admittedly cursory) search. Can anyone point me to the rule that allows the schools to make this determination, and tell me whether/how this applies for undergrads?

  16. 7:39: I'm curious about what posts on this site involve what you call ranting and raving. This isn't a rhetorical question: I'm sincerely puzzled.

  17. Your routine has become repetitive and tiresome. The New York Times, Senator Boxer, now Tamanaha's book have made a real difference. You've mostly just made enemies in the real world, including at your own school. And to what end? To win applause from anonymous blog commenters? Surely there are better things you could do with your time. Improve your teaching, focus more on skills courses, and so on.

  18. No 8:16, that is NOT how loans work. DAILY capitalization is unique to student loans, as well as some shitty credit cards.

    My mortgage does not capitalize DAILY, nor any car loan.

    The last credit card company to put loan balances in a "paid ahead" status got their asses handed to them in court. Student loan companies do this shit for DRILL. Look at Sallie Mae, AES, Express Loan Servicing. They all do it.

    Professor: What lawyers fail to realize is that the problems they are facing are part of a larger problem in all of higher ed. Too much debt, not enough jobs. Nobody cares about lawyers but they sure will care when this crap starts happening to STEM majors-which it is if you ask these people. Engineers owing 100K for a 30K a year part time job. Nurses are fucked too-at least those with no experience.

    Alan Collinge has put a call out to lawyers to look at higher ed as a whole, while not just looking at their own problems in a bubble. Law students are the canaries in the coal mine.

    I think if we (as a group) attacked the predatory nature of student loans, we would address many of these problems. In order to get the attention of any group (in our case law schools and/or all of higher ed) you have to attack the money source. In this case, easy credit.

    The answer is quite simple. Attack the loans and you force an accounting.

  19. Your blog has been almost pitch perfect so far, and has really advanced the ball. Three suggestions for the future:

    1) Focus like a laser beam on Cooley and try to start the ball rolling on a real effort to shut it down or at least prevent the USG from subsidizing it. It is the worst, it is the biggest, it is the most brazen, and it prays on the dumbest (most susceptible) victims. Is there any reason to treat it differently than inherently dangerous products (e.g. cigarettes)?

    2) Related to 1); perhaps start pounding the most obvious solution to the biggest part of the problem: get the USG to stop loaning money to students who attend bottom tier schools.

    3) Avoid changing your tone or your ability to avoid obfuscating the issue. Your blog does a lot of good simply by countering the grifers' spin, and you aren't going to counter a sales pitch with hemming and hawing and fussy equivocation.

  20. This blog is great. As a baby boomer from top schools who has been very adversely affected by the oversupply of lawyers and a basic inability to work after my early to mid-50s, I think you ought to press for the same data given at 9 months much farther out of law school. Only then will the brutal truth of how limited the opportunities are for a high percentage of even T5 or T3 grads. The crash will come much sooner if you get that employment data.

  21. Some people have said we need to "move on to solutions." That's usually what people say when they want us to become boring and ineffective. Solutions will come, for each school unto their own particular circumstances. This blog does better to stick with what works. A theme we all agree upon is that a "market force" has brought our problems to the fore. Well, let "market forces" guide the way forward for this blog: if an exposition of the latest law school chicanery gets more and more viewers, than keep it up. Some of this blogs best posts have been its most recent: the publication of Hastings plan to raise tuition over the next several years, GWs email to its school-funded employees, and the like. No better way forward is to start debating the minutia of law school bureaucracies and loose our traction. We have thrown the law schools to the mat. Now, it's time to put their necks under our boots. That is our role. We are not philosopher-kings. We are scambloggers. Those who want us to "move onto solutions" can do that on their own: it's probably their job anyway (not ours).

  22. 6:31 replying to 6:59; 7:03; 7:09; and 7:50;

    I don’t agree with 7:03 that this blog isn’t an appropriate place to talk about “solutions.” If the purpose of this blog is to discourage any prospective student from ever attending law school under any circumstance, then I might agree. However, I assume that its broader purpose is to inform prospective students so that they can make reasoned choices. It seems to me that a discussion of what an “ideal” law school going forward might look like would in fact provide valuable information in this respect.

    7:09, I don’t think many law profs “get it” yet, because the prospect of understanding our true circumstances is simply too terrifying. Many law professors would find it very difficult to earn anything like their current salaries outside of academia, and denial is a powerful protective device. Nevertheless, a few more are beginning to open their eyes as our new reality is increasingly difficult to ignore (especially if they are talking to anyone in admissions). A little over two years ago, I sat with Paul at a conference on FutureEd at New York Law School, as a small group of law school faculty talked about these issues. At the time, I believe I was the only one on my own faculty who was openly acknowledging the extent of the challenge we are facing today. That is no longer true, but we’ve still got a very, very long way to go.

    6:59 and 7:50, yes, a hiring freeze would be a great start, but is a poor longer term solution, because we desperately need the new ideas that come with “new blood.” However, as a very short term, good faith move by law schools, it would be a great start. And, yes, greater teaching loads—heavy on courses useful in earning a living as a lawyer—would be a great step. However, this won’t, by itself, cut per student costs without adding more students, which is of course contrary to reducing seats. At most, it would displace adjuncts, who are generally much cheaper and who often bring needed practical perspectives. It seems to me that the only workable solutions involve either: (1) cutting faculty positions; or (2) turning law faculty positions into essentially “part-time” positions, requiring similar teaching loads, but at significantly reduced compensation, while allowing faculty greater latitude to make up for the lost compensation with outside work. One other option would be to allow law faculty to generate income “inside” the law school by turning law schools into teaching law firms, akin to teaching hospitals. Generally, any mention to this idea leads to panicked concerns about the reaction from the bar. However, we need to start thinking way outside of the proverbial box, and this idea is one such example, in that it would generate non-tuition-based law school revenue, and might well improve the overall educational product.

    I don’t claim any more than anyone else to have all of the answers. However, I think it’s important that we start an honest conversation in hopes of finding them. To date, my impression is that most of the few law school faculty members who have glimpsed a view of the impending iceberg ahead of us are still talking about “rearranging the deck chairs,” when we really need to be talking about a serious change in course.

  23. Both of these things have already been suggested above, but I will echo them all the same.
    A. Exploring the decline of opportunity/advantage in going to college, possibly looking into alternatives to paying the full cost for it, law school as part of the whole etc. etc.
    B. Looking into alternatives (if there are any) for people who already have had their lives hurt by the scam. Early on in this blog there was a post asking that question, and most of the advice was either "You're screwed" or "Flee the country."
    Neither of these subjects have easy answers and would be quite difficult to write about - but they are just suggestions if you are looking into a new direction for this blog to branch out in. So far, you've done a bang up job on about 85-90% of the posts, so thank you so much for writing and helping people to realize that their problems aren't individual faults but systemic failure.

  24. I'd like to see more posts making fun of Brian Leiter.

  25. 8:53 is 100% correct.

    so is 9:22, actually

  26. Comments here illustrate that there are several subjects deserving of your attention. One tops my list: do what you can to STOP 85% of the kids who plan to attend law school.

    It may take years -- even decades -- for the reforms necessary to actually affect the law schools themselves. In the meantime, do everything possible to ensure that fewer kids have their lives ruined by the Law School Scam.

    To analogize: if you were on the shore of a lake with a bunch of kiddie campers, and the kids wanted to take a rowboat across the lake -- a rowboat you knew had serious leaks and had indeed been the source of several kids' deaths at prior camp sessions -- you would do everything you could to prevent kids from taking that boat. Everything -- from sinking the boat to providing examples of what happens when that boat embarks across the lake with a "cargo" [fake, of course], to calling in the families of those who died in "boat accidents."

    There are real people who will continue to be hurt by this scam. Let's prevent more casualties, while doing what's necessary to provide relief to those who've been damaged.

  27. It will be impossible to come up with a solution to the problems with law school on a blog. Suggestions can be aired, of course, and that can be a good thing. The suggestions that Tamanaha and others have offered-- realizing that not all law schools are the same and should have different structures-- is one of the most important insights offered so far. There should be no one size fits all legal education. Talk about what "law professors ought to be doing" does not address that point. Nor does it do anything about the disappearance of jobs.

  28. The other thing that is very important for prospective law students and those in the profession to know is that legal jobs are like walking on a tightrope. They are so easy to lose for any reason or no reason. It does not matter how good your work is or how hard you try. It is a matter of fitting in. Older people have a very hard time fitting in, as do many minorities. You should go over the concept of employment at whim, because that is what most people who enter the legal profession will face for their entire legal careers. Good luck trying to work as long as you want. Most lawyers will be fired long before that and fall into the unemployment/ underemployment category for years. Lawyers are fungible commodities to employers because they are a dime a dozen. Even good lawyers are a dime a dozen, given the limited demand for legal services.

  29. Re: 9:31, I agree, but I also think that it would be good to have a place specifically to discuss "what law professors ought to be doing." I also agree that this blog probably isn't the right place for that (I mean, of course there is some discussion of solutions here--but I am envisioning something even more targeted, with greater participation from law professors). After all, (1) many academics (though not enough) have been convinced by Campos, Tamanaha, Henderson et al. that the status quo is not working; and (2) faculty governance means that there is at least some hope of influencing schools' future directions. Given this, I think that having a more narrowly targeted discussion about specific steps to take is a good one. Maybe at Henderson's blog? Also, the Legal Ethics Forum had on online symposium on these issues last year--maybe that would be a good place to host such a discussion? I think it's time for a spin-off discussion somewhere.

  30. It seems to me that the law school world and the world of the practicing lawyer are two circles that do not intersect. Law school administrators and academics must swallow their pride and accept that they exist only to train students for a very rough profession, and must serve the needs of the profession. So...

    1. Above all, do not graduate 44,000 lawyers per year when the profession has only about 20,000 jobs per year to provide.

    2. The profession expects law schools to provide some practical training--so graduating students should know how to try a case, write an appeal, and be deeply familiar with pleadings, motions, and depositions.

    3. Don't stretch out core doctrinal instruction using the Socratic "hide-the-ball" technique. It doesn't train students' minds--it wastes their time.

    4. An increasing proportion of the few legal jobs out there seem to be in small (aka shit) law. These jobs often offer starting salaries in the 30Ks. Therefore, do not graduate students with Himalayan debt loads.

    5. We know that professors have high IQs and all--but law school is not a platform for academic theoretical philosophers, like Brian Leiter, to earn $350,000 per year writing non-peer reviewed articles about Neitszche and postmodernity. Likewise, it is not a platform for scammers like Michael Sevel--who has not spent a single minute as a practicing lawyer-- to parlay his philosophy Ph.d. into a law school professorship. The money that supports these guys in their high-status lives of contemplation and ease is paid for by the very real suffering of bright but naive kids who trusted them.


  31. Again, different law schools can do different things. If people want to attend schools that employ traditional methods of teaching, along with some innovations-- fine. The market is tough, but what and how they are teaching at the U of C is not going to change that. If the U of C wants its law school to be a "platform for theoretical philosophers", let them. It's not a public school. If people don't want that, go somewhere else.

  32. Discuss philosophy, rank schools, and talk about which professors are moving schools.

  33. The federal loan program needs to be unwound.

    New technology can account for more variables in the underwriting process before approving or denying a loan, but the Gov't does not apply them. There IS NO underwriting in the Gov't loan program.

    A credit based loan has the power to say no. A federal Stafford loan must always approve.

    Let's just remove the bankruptcy protections, allow supply and demand with credit risk analysis to dictate interest rates on student loans. And stop the Gov't from giving out student loans like candy.

    When students can be denied loans, schools will have to adjust their operations to account for a much less predictable revenue stream than what is available in a guaranteed loan program. Schools may have to actually run a credit check on potential admits. This will enrage some social groups/poor/minorities, but they are already the victims under the current system.

    However, because the amount of people that went to college but received no benefits outweighs the number of people that deserve college access but cannot have it, the system must be revised for the benefit of the majority, including the tax payer.

    Unwinding, decoupling is never an easy process, some eggs are going to get broken, but if politics as usual blind our senses, we will never grow out of this problem we all share; a problem with resource allocation for human capital development.

  34. There is no "crisis of the American law school and legal profession". As opportunities diminish for law school grads fewer people will pursue law degrees. As current law students continue to lose the bet they've made with borrowed money, many who follow will learn from their idiocy. The smartest will learn earliest and avoid doom sooner while the dumbest may never learn and will continued to be ruined. Such is life. Trying to save people from themselves is an especially fruitless endeavor.

  35. @11:17AM

    This is for you:

  36. I agree with 8:52 a.m. It would be great to have a discussion about the real employment outcomes not just at 9 months (a snapshot in time that the law schools have so easily gamed), but 5 years, 10 years, 20 years, and so on. My most depressing anecdote on this subject relates to my clerkship class -- I am approximately 15 years out and clerked for a 9th Circuit judge after law school. Of the four clerks that my judge hired that year, only 1 of us had a career that lasted more than ten years. I'd love to see real data.

  37. What do you think of these proposed changes (not from your favorite person, I know, but still some good ideas):

  38. I've followed this blog daily for a couple of weeks now.

    Here's my honest of the blog:

    It reeks of a man who is trying to assuage his own guilt by denouncing the corrupt system upon which he has benefited--and continues to benefit.

    This is tantamount to a Nazi soldier who manned an Auschwitz gas chamber whereby he sent hundreds of innocent men and women to their death on a daily basis, collected pay for his service, and then penned letters to friends and family members each night wherein he railed about how cruel and unjust the system. Would you applause this man as if he was some crusader for justice? I think not.

    The above example is extreme. But I think it gets my point across.

  39. A truly idiotic analogy.

  40. 8:52-- Does everyone who goes to law school have to practice forever? That has never been the case. It never will be. I did not go to law school thinking I would practice forever. I know people who are attending now who do not expect to be practicing forever. Most people do have that expectation, and they should have information about the profession. But looking at the numbers of people who are not practicing 20 years out does not, by itself, answer the question whether a given person should enter the profession. It is interesting information.

  41. 11:28

    Proving Godwin's law usually defines the active party as a fool and an idiot.

    Godwin's Law: "As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches 1."

    The broadly accepted principle is that any person who reverts to such an analogy or argument has lost the argument and can no longer be taken seriously in a thread.

  42. It is a lunatic analogy indeed. But, to indulge it, what if the soldier had published daily open letters to Hitler under his own name exposing and denouncing the system?

  43. @ 11:28.

    Is it now?

    LawProf is complicit in a nationwide scam that is sending thousands of law students to their financial death each year. And he continues to collect payment for his role.

    If he was really as appalled with the system as he makes out, he would walk away from it. This simple act of conscience would speak volumes as well.

    Imagine the credibility that could be garnered by law professor who was so moved by the inherent injustice and betrayal of a corrupt law school system that he sacrificed his own livelihood in favor of decency and intellectual honesty. Such an act would have a more profound affect upon the national discourse than this blog could ever hope to.

  44. BS detector at 11:28 is a complete idiot.

  45. I appreciate the suggestions so far, many of which I will try to pursue.

    As to the comments about getting data regarding what graduates are doing five and ten years out, I'm currently gathering such information and hope to publish it within a few months.

  46. To those of you who would simply push for the failure of the lowest ranked law schools (Cooley being the example most used above) and push for limits on the availability of student loans (the lifeblood of most law schools--not just the lower ranked schools), imagine what the legal profession will look like in just a few short years. And, in doing so, you should also assume that the US Supreme Court will likely strike down affirmative action next year.

    So do we really want to return to a system in which only rich, privileged (and largely white) kids become lawyers? Because that's what you are going to get if the market kills off the bottom half of the law schools, the government cuts back on student loan availability, and the Court kills affirmative action.

  47. Perhaps a bit of organization in the form of a simple list of grievances or 10 or 12 or maybe even as many as 20 complaints, and in order of priority.

    Each item can then be sub-divided.

    I say that because in the general LS scamblog universe it all gets to be confusing: one day it is about cross subsidizing scholarships, and another day about the recruitment efforts of a school, and then a special snowflake feature and so on.

    On a macro level the entire student lending system is of course the Trojan horse driving the scam cart.

    Anyway, happy 4th to everyone, and have a look at the back of your one dollar bill and maybe think about the symbolism.

    We are heirs to a nation and not nation creators, and we will simply have to work with and realize (unlike the awful boomers who thought only they had all the answers) that we are not the first generation of people to have ever lived and that we are products of many years of civilization.

    If we fail, some other country will take up (if they have not done so already) the torch of Education and Civilization, and maybe even show a bit of appreciation for the brightest of the young.

    No grudges or any hard feelings for anyone, and on we go into the future :)

  48. I know this isn't necessarily within your control, but I'd really like to see more professors post here. I enjoyed DJM's posts, even if I didn't agree with some of them. I'd especially love it if you could get a prof here to discuss why legal reform is unnecessary.

    As far as specific posts go, I still think a post on the lower ranked schools marketing themselves on why they're the best school for "X law," would be a valuable resource for any 0L's considering law schools based on those programs.

  49. "So do we really want to return to a system in which only rich, privileged (and largely white) kids become lawyers?"

    That's pretty much the way it already is. Looking at the numbers from schools like Cooley, we see that most of the kids never actually practice law, so they never really become lawyers.

  50. MacK,

    I believe you clearly overstated the proposition for which Godwin's law stands when you claim that it "usually defines the active party as a fool and an idiot." It does no such thing.

    Godwin's law merely asserts that, and rightly so, debates generally stand to gain very little persuasive thrust from the inclusion of references to Nazism or Hitler. But Godwin's law makes no claim as to whether such references might be appropriate for immediate discussion.

    I'll confess the analogy was extreme and probably doesn't fit exactly here with the facts, but I was too lazy to think of another.

    I do love, however, how quickly folks resorted to ad hominem attacks. Great debate. Thanks.

  51. Yes, you concede that your analogy was lazy and inapt and then castigate those who attacked it for not engaging in a more skillful debate.

    Good grief.

  52. Look, BS Detector, you may be a lazy thinker but you are also a raging anti-semite. There is simply no place on this blog for nazi references. Laziness is no excuse. As a Jew i find them wholly inappropriate and I would ask LawProf to delete them just as he has other slurs.


  53. There are many corollaries to Godwin's law, some considered more canonical (by being adopted by Godwin himself)[3] than others.[1] For example, there is a tradition in many newsgroups and other Internet discussion forums that once such a comparison is made, the thread is finished and whoever mentioned the Nazis has automatically lost whatever debate was in progress; the coupling of this corollary with the initial statement of the law proves every threaded discussion to be finite in length.[8] This principle is itself frequently referred to as Godwin's law. It is considered poor form to raise such a comparison arbitrarily with the motive of ending the thread. There is a widely recognized corollary that any such ulterior-motive invocation of Godwin's law will be unsuccessful.[9]

  54. Law Prof,

    I have read your blog for almost the entire year that you have been blogging but this is my first comment.

    Thank you for writing an outstanding and very important blog. If a Pulitzer Prize existed for courage and truthfulness in legal blogs then in all seriousness you should be awarded the Prize.

    I strongly believe that your blog along with the New York Times articles last year, the articles in the WSJ and other publications, and the other scam blogs has positively contributed to the decrease in law school applications in the last couple of years. You need to keep up the good work and continue to inform OLs (and their parents) that law school is a serious financial risk that is the equivalent of taking out a mortgage for $200,000 but not buying a house.

    With all of the substantive information available on the internet today about the outrageous cost of law school and the lack of law license required law jobs in the marketplace, it is mind boggling that any sane person would go to law school.

    In view of all of the substantive information available today that clearly states informed reasons why people should not go to law school (including the sometimes overlooked but important fact that a lot of lawyers hate practicing law) I believe that anyone who goes to law school today should get a lobotomy because they are not using their brain.

    I am also a baby boomer who has been negatively impacted by the severe oversupply of attorneys in this country.

    The lack of legal jobs in this country has been a percolating since the 1980's but has gotten exponentially worse in the last ten years. Every lawyer that I know acknowledges that our country has too many attorneys and has had way too many attorneys for many, many years. Even if the general economy were to significantly improve, the economic plight and lack of job opportunities of many attorneys would still be poor.

    Your blog today states that you are asking for views from commentators about the crisis of American law schools and the legal profession. Obviously, the legal profession includes experienced attorneys.

    I would like to see substantive blogs about the plight of experienced attorneys. I.e., what is the income of the average experienced attorney 10, 20, 30 years, etc. out of law school? Are these attorneys practicing law (and what kind of jobs are they working as attorneys or are they working as solo practitioners, and if they are working as solo practitioners, what percentage are doing so)? Did they leave the practice of law voluntarily (because they did not like the practice of law, obtained a better employment opportunity in another line of work, etc.) or involuntarily (because they could no longer make a living as an attorney, etc.)?

    Keep up the important work and Happy July 4th!

  55. 1:12

    The mere mention of 'Nazi' is anti-semitic now? Maybe you should contact the History Channel and alert them to the fact that they're participating in anti-semitic propoganda.

    The analogy may have been inappropriate, but to call me anti-semetic because of it is absurd.


    Yes, I can read Wikipedia too. I just won't "cut and paste" whole paragraphs then pass try to it off as my own thoughts.


    No, I castigate those who resort to ad hominem attacks, which is a logical fallacy itself. Using one logical fallacy to dispense with another is ridiculous.

  56. I suggest tagging 12:43's IP address so that every time he trolls with his usual, repetitive comments, they're flagged as "A MESSAGE FROM BRIAN LEITER."

  57. This thread is a perfect example of why the law school scam will never garner sympathy from the larger society.

    John Q. Public could care less about the plight of law students and lawyers because to him you will always be a ravenous lot ready to pick the bones clean of the nearest carcass.

  58. 1:28' No, you are ridiculous.

  59. That's some serious Jackmarshallization.

    At least you're now conceding that law school is a scam. Though I'm not sure that taxpayers are never going to care about being robbed of billions of dollars, just because Campos hurt your feelings.

  60. BS Detector - you lost the moment you made the Nazi analogy - recognise that at least under this handle the nicest thing anyone will think of you is "that numbnuts"

    The smartest thing you could do now is to stop parsing Godwin's law for an "out" and recognise that the argument you made was cretinous at best. Meanwhile, I may not agree that you are an antisemite - but who knows? I will agree with the view that you are a jackass for making the Nazi analogy. Now go find another thread, your cause is lost here.

  61. BS Detector WINS!


  62. "He also has apparently taken to searching for bathroom, racist, and anti-semitic language in thread titles. It's a veritable rainbow of colorful language!

    cunt: 4 times
    fuck: 1 time
    blowjob: 2 times
    bitch: 5 times
    whore: 1 time
    fag: 5 times
    fags: 1 time
    nigger: 14 times
    blacks: 2 times
    jews: 14 times
    jew: 9 times
    kike: 1 time"

  63. dybbuk,

    Thanks for continuing to bring attention to the employment/hiring saga of Michael Sevel, Brian Leiter's protege.

    To me, Sevel symbolizes everything that is wrong with the hiring preferences of the legal academy.

    He has zero legal experience and it would be a travesty if he lands a tenure track position as a LAW professor.

    More attention must be drawn to Sevel and those like him.


    Keep up the great work. Happy fourth.

  64. Taking a break:

    6:31 replying at 8:57 -

    On a certain level I think a lot more professors recognise that the situation is a disaster - what else could explain 7:39, 8:33, 11:28 (the attack on you/DJM of hypocrisy seems to be a standard law professors’ trope on this site) and the numerous other postings by faulty members.

    However, on Prafwblog Horwitz recently put up an asinine discussion of the crisis of legal education whose main point was that professors should not take pay cuts –

    “I have heard various views on this matter--including the idea that, given the cascade effect on salaries caused by the rankings race, the professors at those schools could start by accepting a cut in their very generous salaries.

    “For another, I don't really care all that much what the salaries of professors at top law schools are. Those things make for good headline fodder or outraged blog comments, but while I'm sure a reduction in these salaries help drive salaries lower down, I think the market is sufficiently stratified that the competition would continue for some time among those schools that are really competing with each other, not with the top ten. Moreover, to the extent that the very top schools are closer to providing good job outcomes and relying less on false promises or unjustifiable student debt, the salary market there is closer to rational.

    What would I really like the top law schools to do? They can skip the sackcloth and ashes, as far as I am concerned.”

    But Horwitz “buried the lede” in a not very subtle plea for more “well-funded institutes, centers, directors, fellows, and other ancillary individuals and institutions operating out of the law school.”

    Seems like Horwitz sees his future outside the University of Alabama Law and in such a well funded top ten institute or center.

    One thing that is shortly going to happen – only rock star professors, e.g., retired supreme court justices will be able to move from school to school – because there will be hiring freezes and net loss programs, which make a tenured professor getting to move with tenure form school to school pretty unlikely.

    Paul – you are going to have to stay in ‘bamer

  65. Sometimes my typos "faulty members" are just not worth correcting.

  66. The focus on what is going on at top law schools, HYS, whose graduates are getting jobs, has always struck me as odd. They are feeling the pinch, too. The transformation of the system is affecting everyone. But that is not where the real serious problems are. I saw Horwitz's post, too. I think you are misrepresenting what he said. First, he did not say that professors should not take pay cuts. He was talking about professors at HYS. He wasn't pleading for more centers and stuff for Alabama. He stated flatly that his school and others like it do not have the resources to do the things HYS can do. He was saying that HYS, in this case H, should spend money to help deal with the current crisis. His suggestion was that the school undertake the task of gathering information about the employment prospects for students that could then be disseminated to give prospective students information. Doing something like that is a development issue, not a cutting a salary to do it issue. HYS funds things like that by asking their alums for money. And they do give it. There are lots of reasons to be critical of his proposal. But, you should give an accurate rendering of what he said, with each point in context.

  67. dybbuk and others seem to be confused about how elite law schools do hiring. Having practiced law is not a requirement. For example:

    And even having a JD is not a requirement. For example:

  68. Law Prof,

    Keep up the excellent work. I agree that an expanded focus on the fate of the legal profession in general (i.e., the fate of experienced lawyers) would be highly worthwhile.

    One further suggestion: Start deleting posts that contain ad hominem attacks on other posters. These intra-thread food fights pollute cyberspace, waste everyone's time, and degrade the otherwise important discussion and debate that takes place here.

  69. 2:56 - I could reproduce the entire posting. But at the heart of it was th view that top professors in top law schools (of which Horwitz regards himself, albeit at Alabama) should feel no guilt and no pressure to take less money - that like the add says "because we're worth it." It also gushes like a teenager over the plethora of institutes, etc. decorating "top law schools."

    At the heart of his idea was that law professors should be paid to gather the date to find out what is happening in the legal profession - and it takes little reading of Horwitz to see what he means is - pay me, give me a think-tank. He may not have literally said this, but I think you need to read the entire posting to see the smug theme.

  70. MacK, I read the post. He says nothing about law professors doing this. What he's talking about could be accomplished with several HLS students with fellowships funded by alums, or the "other ancillary individuals" he references. There are other configurations that would not require hiring him, or any other professsor, to perform the tasks he's suggesting. You are reading stuff into this.

  71. 3:04, I use to gaze longingly at profiles like those, wondering if some day I might have what it takes to enter legal academia. But that was before I had to actually work to get by on a day-to-day basis. Law professors now do nothing and contribute nothing. They are elitist leaches whose livelihood is funded by a scam on "John Q. Public."

    I think this recent article on the self-serving elite that runs the monopolized, legal "profession" is worth a read:

    In other news, Brian Leiter spends the Fourth of July trolling this blog because Campos embarrassed him, almost a year ago.

    Keep it up, Campos. And happy Independence Day to all (including Leiter)!

  72. I would like to see an expansion of this blog into a focus on the exploitation that goes on currently with legal hiring and employment in the legal market. You touched briefly on it once (or maybe a few more times)about the prolifigancy of unpaid internships, etc. I would like to see more focus on exploitative employers so that prospective law students can continue to be warned that it's not only law schools that are exploitative and can further understand what awaits them in legal employment. And maybe a few particularly exploitative employers can be shamed.

    There are so many companies and organizations that do not offer paid positions and continually ask for unpaid labor. Why should they get free labor? We wouldn't stand for it if Wal-Mart was trying to get away with not paying its employees. I think I have looked at employment posts on the ABA's Rule of Law program. I don't think in the year that I have reviewed the posts that I have found a paid employment position for a lawyer with less than 10 years experience. The jobs advertised there that are paid typcially are receptionist/secretary positions and staff/advisory positions for lawyers with more than 10 years experience. Any other 'lawyer' positions that don't require 10 years of work experience tend to be unpaid, so only young attorneys who are very wealthy can promote American policy overseas. Potential students need to know that the exploitation doesn't end with law school!

    Then there are the organizations that pay almost nothing and are proud of it. The ABA recently did an article about a firm that was advertising an associate position for $10,000 a year. Solicit stories from readers about the wages and working conditions of those who are currently working in a legal position, including those that do dock review. What's that really like? Let those potentials know...I know one individual who was hired for an associate position for $500 a month and was told he should be grateful for that salary as they were paying him to learn. He quit when he found out they were billing him out (to learn, right?) for $250.00 an hour. And he was making less than $2.50 an hour. Another individual made $400 a month.

    One other suggestion: I second the request of 3:15pm. The silly, immature, ad hominem attacks on other posters cheapens the blog and gives scam bloggers a bad name and bad image. It seems you can't even say 'the sky is blue' without getting attacked on this blog and called names to provoke a reaction. It really is unnecessary and, as 3:15 says degrades an otherwise important discussion.

  73. If you don't like the offer, don't accept the offer.

  74. It seems like just yesterday it was generally believed that getting the word out by itself wasn't enough. Now, it seems like many law schools are getting hit by a giant wrecking ball. Props to all the scam bloggers out there, keep on fighting -- you are making a difference.

  75. you can branch out into the business models of shitlaw and biglaw. bring on some other insiders in those areas.

  76. Yes, I am reading stuff into the Horwitz post - that I do not deny - but I do recommend reading it - particularly its views about professorial pay.

  77. @MacK --Why does what he says about pay at those schools matter?

  78. Professor,

    Keep it up. You don't need to make any drastic changes.

    There are still hordes of naive youngsters who are seriously considering law school. Frequently, these applicants brush off warnings from current law students and graduates as complainers and think they will do better. As far as I can tell, you are the only professor sharing these warnings.

    I would be careful of diluting the message by expanding into other areas.

  79. Keep up the pressure, full speed ahead. No changes; stay true to the mission.

  80. Well, nothing stays exactly the same without stagnating.

  81. In recent months there have been fewer news articles about the crisis as it becomes old news...we have to make sure this information is delivered to undergraduate students. I personally am going to paper the political science department at the flagship university of the state in which I live, and I have also made a facebook page called Don't Go to Law School that is directed towards undergraduate students. There were approximately 125,000 lsat takers for the 2011-2012 year and that is still too many, I'm not going to stop working until that number is down to 40,000

  82. I would look into search engine optimization so that when someone types "law school" into Google this blog comes up near the top of the list

  83. Firstly you provide an excellent service.

    Secondly, in addition to the great arithmetic you provide on current issues, please continue to offer insight into long-term trends. A lot of lemmings think 'it's the economy', when in reality the entire profession has systemic issues independent of the atrocious economic environment.

  84. @8:53, 9:36, 11:28, 1:21 and 3:15
    Yes, it is most important to demonstrate with data what has happened to lawyers 2, 5, 10, 20, 30 years after graduation. That data will include those who were successful and were working at biglaw or prestigious clerkships at the 9 month post graduation time point. The data I know without a doubt will demonstrate that an ever decreasing percentage are doing well in each succeeding year. I know some of these people. I have worked with them. I have followed them for 20 years. The employment situation of my colleagues has further deteriorated significantly over the last 2 years, even over the last year. We finally must demonstrate with facts that law is an unstable business, each law job is most unstable, and keeping any law job, even managing partner, is like walking a tightrope. No one in their right mind would go to law school knowing the truths about long term employment prospects that so many of us know now...and have unfortunately learned the hard way.

  85. Keep up what you're doing.

    Support the class actions, which have a realistic chance of shutting the lying diploma mills ripping off their students and the government.

  86. The older you get in this profession, the more the deck is stacked against you. Old today is much like being a minority was in the past. You can look young, be physically fit, come from top schools, work like a dog. But if you are old, your chances of holding a good legal job are quite simply very poor.

  87. If you think your law school lied to you about employment, write down your experience in great detail, find classmates who will support your story, and take it to your nearest class action law firm.

    Being printouts of recruitment emails and go to and print out the placement stats on the archived versions of the school's website as it appeared when you were a 0L.

  88. 7:52 here again.
    It is most important to demonstrate that the statistics that cite a 1.9% unemployment rate for attorneys and a median income of c. 120K are false...largely based upon self reporting. Both statistics are so far from the truth as to be more true than law school reported employment statistics have historically been.

  89. How do you know this?

  90. Push back at the Cooley race card play. Saddling 200+ college educated blacks with a six figure education debt when 10 or less will actually find stable jobs as attorneys. Other schools that teach no marketable job skills but reduce minorities to debt peonage play this same "we are vital to educating minorities" card too, including the scam for-profit trade schools.

  91. @8:19
    I know this because I have been in this business for 20 years, and I know what has happened to my colleagues, all former or current biglaw, NLJ250, lawyers. I know this because I know people, and I talk to people. I know that law is a very insecure and unstable business. I also know the BLS data that demonstrates only 60% of JD holders are working in any capacity as lawyers. I also know that the two law review editors that I interacted with in law school are no longer working as lawyers. I also know that no one in their right mind would spend 3 years and tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars to buy a degree that they voluntarily wouldn't use after a few years. I know that there are too many, way too many, lawyers and people cannot get and keep jobs as lawyers. I know scores, T14 graduates included, who cannot find a job as a lawyer currently.

  92. I don't dispute what you know. But what you know is anecdotal. You may be right, but your experiences are not enough to prove that the figures offered are wrong. I know lots of people employed as lawyers, former lawyers who are employed in jobs they got because of their time in law, former lawyer in jobs they got probably in spite of their time in law. I also know people who are struggling, as I know architects and folks in other professions who are struggling. The brutal fact is that the older anyone gets, the harder it is to compete, unless one has a unique skill or talent-- and is lucky.
    Yes, law is an unstable profession. It has also always been a profession that people leave. Some percentage of those 40 percent who aren't working as lawyers bailed because they wanted out.
    I did not go to law school to practice law forever. I expected to do it a few years, certainly more than two or three. But I do understand what you are saying. Most people who go to law school want to practice, or want to make money practicing. Probably more who want to make money practicing because they do not really know what lawyers do.

  93. Please, please, please educate your readings in a little more detail as to what is happening in the marketplace for a law degree. I.e. let's talk about collusion between these entities and the government. Nothing, absolutely nothing, will really change unless we can expose what is going on and make it common knowledge. All the bogus partisan favored labels that do not reflect reality much less moral culpability will stand unless we can really talk about why there is no price competition.

  94. I also know lots of people employed as lawyers. I am one of those. I also know former lawyers who are employed in jobs that perhaps they got because of their time in law. I also know people who are struggling in other professions. It is true that the brutal fact is that the older anyone gets, the harder it is to compete, unless one has a unique skill or talent-- and is lucky. Yes, I am glad that you know that law is an unstable profession. It has also always been a profession that people leave...voluntarily and involuntarily...mostly involuntarily. However, I cannot think of another profession where one invests so much for so long for such long odds and such unstable, uncertain, and short job prospects. If someone insists on such an investment, then go ahead. My point is, the truth needs to be demonstrated with data. I know that I would not have bought a lawyering degree on credit had I known the truth that the data, once assimilated, will reveal.

  95. Yes, it will be important to have data. That's my only point. And then when people make the decision they will be informed. One of the best parts of what has happened over the past couple of years is that people are in the position to think hard about whether they want to go to law school. That should have been happening all along. But the information is there now. I have talked to a number of undergraduates about this, and they are well aware of the problems. I suspect that even after all the information is assimilated and presented, many people will still want to go to law school. That is not going to stop.

  96. So do we really want to return to a system in which only rich, privileged (and largely white) kids become lawyers? Because that's what you are going to get if the market kills off the bottom half of the law schools, the government cuts back on student loan availability, and the Court kills affirmative action.

    As another poster said, it's already this way.
    Excluding African-Americans, other racial minorities are not wanted by law firms or in house at corporations. They are treated as subservient, second-class citizens and usually given administrative, document review type work.

    ALL prospective students (no matter what color they are) need to be warned about the ROI on a law degree, as well as it's who you know that matters when it comes to finding a job, not what you know. Stop giving poor and middle-class kids hope when there is none. The legal system will always favor the privileged and connected, and the elite rarely let anyone else into their inside circle.

  97. People leave the legal system because they are fired for the most part. Very few leave voluntarily. The odds of working long term as a lawyer even from CNN are terrible. Look at the alumni directories. If a lawyer is a solo or counsel to a firm you have never heard of, odds are that laywer is highly underemployed. The private sector is brutal to older women lawyers. Women lose value in the profession for each year they age. By age 60, the vast majority of women will not be able to get and hold a legal job. For private sector employers, older women are the lowest form of life. They are not hired, are treated like garbage and have no legal rights but to face unemployment in the legal sector. If you are female and want to face an 85% chance of unemployment by age 60 if you did not sign up for government work, go to CNN.

  98. It should be revealed that enrolling in law school is like moving to Hollywood trying to become a movie star. Huge odds against you know matter how good looking and talented you are. A dime a dozen.

    As to diminishing odds: my former boss was a capital partner at a large old firm making 100k in 1984. But most years from 2000 on he seemes lucky to make more than $50k. Top schools, too. What does that tell us? Its time for real academic and governmental research into what the REAL long term outcomes have been so a re-pricing of the law school enrollment market can be.

  99. I wouldn't mind a piece on how student loan terms have steadily gotten worse for students over the last 20 years. I don't know the exact timeline, but as I understand it:
    1. All loans (federal, private, etc.) were dischargable in bk after 7 years of repayment.
    2. Then, only private loans were dischargable in bk.
    3. BAPCPA makes all student loans non-dischargable in bk.
    4. Also, as I understand it, Dept of Ed. used to offer consolidation loans at a low, fixed rate, regardless of the current interest rate. At some point in the last 5 years (2007 or 2008?) that was changed to offer considation loans with rates based off of the weighted average of the loans.

    I am sure there are others, but when loans 20 years ago are compared with the loans today, not only are the amounts today drastically greater but the terms drastically more unfavorable.

  100. At first glance, reducing law faculty salaries and increasing workloads sounds extreme, but in reality it's just saying law faculty should be compensated like our peers in other disciplines across campus and also to have similar workloads. That's not really asking much.

    I do think more attention needs to be paid to size and bloated compensation of administration, not only in law schools, but across campus. I know for a fact at one point, our Dean made more than the university president. That's just plain nuts!

    Keep up the good work.

  101. When I graduated from law school in 2002 I had about 25K in student loans. Consolidated and I locked in an interest rate just over 2%. These 7-8% interest rates on student loans make no sense whatsoever. The borrower cannot bankrupt and the government can just go to the taxpayers in the event of default. Where is the risk that justifies these rates??

  102. Invite Jack Marshall of ethicsalarms to guest blog.

  103. I think that it would be very helpful to have a "Best Of" section for the site, with a list of the most important three or four posts that LawProf has written. The "There are no jobs" one comes to mind for example.

    Otherwise, bravo. This site is great.

  104. I honestly don't think you need to change much of anything - please just keep going with your gut instincts as you appear to be doing. I think the benefits that come from your approach are in fact very solution-focused: that's because your writing produces healthy rage, which I think is absolutely essential at this point.

  105. "Women lose value in the profession for each year they age. By age 60, the vast majority of women will not be able to get and hold a legal job."

    This. In-house, older women can survive. In private practice if they're not shoved out when they start a family, they get cut once their looks start to fade. People don't require that their accountants, HR consultants etc. be attractive, but at least some have weird expectations when it comes to legal advice.

  106. "In particular, judicial decisions abotu rights tend to be conceived as all-or-nothing matters. the very concept of a right seems to call for integral satisfaction, if it's a right at all; and if not, then nothing... The penchant to settle things judicially, further polarized by rival special-interest campaigns, effectively cuts down the possibilities of compromise. We might also argue that it makes certain issues harder to address, those that require a wide democratic consensus around measures that will also involve some sacrifice and difficulty. Perhaps this is part of the continuing American problem of coming to terms with their declining economic situation through some sort of intelligent industrial policy."

  107. I tried in vain for 2 days to convince a recent college grad not to attend law school, despite all the data I showed her on sites like this and the NY times articles and the facebook page Don't Go to Law School, she is still going...

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