Monday, November 5, 2012

Bad advice for prospective law students

Someone considering law school writes (email reprinted with permission):

I went to a U of Maryland Law School event in downtown San Francisco yesterday. Had a talk with some of the students, faculty, and admissions officers about the school. The denial about the job market from the staff was expected, but one faculty member was asked by a prospective about the curve. His response? You shouldn't worry about the curve because, as he puts it: 2/3 of the class is either lazy or lacks direction in law school so if you're not like that you'll be in the top 1/3. I was shocked that a faculty member would insult the bulk of the student body like that. Is what he says true at many law schools?

I followed up to make sure my correspondent was reporting first-hand information, i.e., he wasn't just passing on what another prospective student at the event said he or she had heard a faculty member say, and got this reply:

No, I heard him make these comments myself. We were at a table; two other prospectives and myself were talking to him, and one of the others asked him about the curve. I did follow up and ask what he was basing this on, and he said "12 years of observation". I was stunned at his comments. Every law student I've talked to - regardless of their respective school's tier/ranking - has told me that everyone in law school takes it seriously and works very hard. If I had more time I would have gone to ask the current students what they thought of his statements, but I had to leave early.
I also asked him about the fact that only 47% of the C/O 2011 for Maryland were able to obtain FT bar-required jobs. He was in complete denial and I had to show him the ABA Report on my phone for him to accept the statistic, to which he subsequently said again it's because many people go to the school not knowing what they want to do, and also a lot of students want to go into policy or consulting jobs in DC. 

Unfortunately the other two prospectives at the table were completely buying what he was selling.
Speaking of bad advice, the admissions dean for UIUC is trolling for applicants on TLS, and counseling people to think carefully before retaking the LSAT:

All, I know that many of you received your LSAT scores last night. And that some of you may be considering retaking the exam in December. There are two points to consider.

First, we review applications on a rolling basis. The order in which your application is reviewed is determined by the date that application is completed. If we see a pending LSAT score, your application is not complete and it will not be placed in the queue for review until we receive that LSAT score, assuming we have all other materials.

Second, most people do not change their LSAT score by a significant margin by retaking the exam unless there were extenuating circumstances before or during the first exam (e.g., getting mugged on the way to the exam --happened to a friend of mine).

With these two pieces of information, I would encourage those applicants considering retaking the exam in December to weigh the likelihood of increasing the score by 4 or 5 points against being later in the admissions cycle. Only you know how hard you prepared for the first exam and whether you're willing to put in MORE work to retake the exam.


 Later in the thread the dean reveals this interesting piece of information:

NR3C1 wrote:
How many applications have you gotten so far this year vs. the same week last year? If you do not have a number, can you give us an estimate if more or less vs. last year?

NR3C1: Applications are down again this year -- nationally, regionally, and at the College of Law.


Thirty seconds of intrepid googling by your faithful correspondent uncovers the following -- three-year-old -- description of LSAC data:  (The linked blog post apparently contained a now-dead link to actual LSAC numbers. I would also expect that re-taking has become much more common over the past three years, since LSAC stopped requiring schools to average scores of matriculants just six years ago):

Interestingly, the numbers are pretty consistent across the board.  When people do swallow their pride and take the LSAT again, they generally improve by about 2 to 3 points and roughly 70% of students are able to improve their score. 
Now, is a two or three point LSAT improvement "significant?"  (Of course if 70% of re-takers are improving and a typical improvement is two or three points, this means a whole lot of people will improve by more than three points).  Consider that, last year, the difference between the 25th and the 75th LSAT percentile of matriculants at Michigan and Cornell was three points, while at USC it was only two points.  Just three points on the LSAT, in other words, can easily make the difference between getting or not getting into a much higher ranked school than an applicant would otherwise, and, just as important, getting or not getting a significant break off the sticker price of admission.

Update: Here's some hard data from LSAC, which indicate that several-point improvements by re-takers are in fact very common. (h/t ajax at TLS).

Note that contrary to a set of assertions in the thread following Friday's post, law schools do not "average" multiple LSAT scores from applicants, since any school that would do so would be hurting its ability to admit high-scoring students (schools are only required to report a matriculant's highest LSAT score when reporting the entering class's all-important "numbers.").

Note further that UIUC was one of 28 of the top 50 ranked law schools which were more than happy to be accepting applications -- at least from applicants sporting high LSAT scores -- in the last week of July 2012, for admission to the fall 2012 class.  Given that law school applications are apparently still in free fall, the assertion that candidates would be better off not taking the December 2012 LSAT in the pursuit of a higher score, because this would supposedly "disadvantage" them in a rolling admissions process, is flatly absurd.  Like a lot of other schools, UIUC is going to be begging for anybody with a high LSAT score and not too many serious felony convictions to be applying to it this cycle, and for the admissions dean to suggest otherwise does no favors to the reputation of an institution which ought to be in no position to be misleading prospective applicants.


  1. Wow. Just wow.
    But Unfortunately none of this makes me optimistic. Yes the news is getting out there, but the lemmings (albeit fewer in #) keep coming.
    I'm plunking on "law as the new architecture" as the outcome . . .

  2. Firster- thinking that being first is cool and not annoying.

    1. thinking you be late and annoying, not cool. STB, now he`s cool.November 5, 2012 at 5:37 PM


  3. Law Prof,

    I was worried you'd taken a job as a partner when you didn't post for so long :) Then I fortunately remembered how this blog has debunked that myth. Nice to see your posts again!

  4. At what point do we start being a little more active and start attending these fairs and events to get the truth out there?

    1. So, what are you going to do, hang out an heckle the respective Deans until you get tossed from the joint?

      Think they'll let you set up a booth or something?

    2. Nando did this a couple years back.

    3. "Nando did this"

      What, got tossed out on his arse?

    4. Nando did many things a couple of years back. Like getting a law degree for free, and then complaining how it was too expensive! Did he expect the law school to pay him to attend?

      And his blog is so repetitive now that it's beginning to sound like Painter used to.

  5. Re: is 2/3 of the class lazy.

    I actually agree with that professor that a large portion of classes are typically lazy, incompetent, have bad attitudes or are otherwise unsuited to the firm environment. The problem is that first year grades are not the best way of determining which people fall into that category, because during the first semester people are still figuring out how to take a law school exam, and exams don't reward traits like hard work and interpersonal skills.

    1. Yeah I was lazy and didn't take the shit seriously. Good thing the government was still hiring 12 years ago. Lazy punks these days are screwed (that is, unless they have money).

  6. While the professor sounds like a blivet - he/she did have a point about many people going to law school not really knowing what they want to do. I do get the definite impression that a lot, if not the majority, of those attending law school go "à défaut de mieux" and not because they really understood what being a lawyer meant, what a lawyer's work actually consists of, etc. In short I think a good few go because what they face on leaving college or a masters' program is a job market which does not look that great, with a slow grind to get promoted or higher pay, and see law school as a short cut to the professional/managerial class. Not surprisingly, when you look at their resumés in may cases their undergraduate work shows a similar tendency towards drifting into majors along the path of least resistance.

    On the other hand - when a law professor is ascribing half the class not getting decent jobs or 2/3 getting poor grades to this phenomenon it leads you to wonder - why is the law school letting these kids in the first place - why are they not being filtered out by admissions ... could it be their tuition is so attractive that the law school overlooks their thorough unsuitability for legal practice or legal studies ... nah, of course not, that would be so cynical and self serving.

    1. The kicker to this is that most professors have a hard time explaining why the exact difference is between an a, a- and b+.

      Blaming it on lazy students is crazy ...

      Aren't professors supposed to inspire they students to do well? lol I know, but still. It is part of their job .

    2. Well chicken-sexers have difficulty explaining what they're doing, but actually do a good job.

  7. NR3C1 wrote:
    How many applications have you gotten so far this year vs. the same week last year? If you do not have a number, can you give us an estimate if more or less vs. last year?

    NR3C1: Applications are down again this year -- nationally, regionally, and at the College of Law.



  8. The game is rigged. Half the class finishes in the bottom half every time. Such a basic thing. And yet, it doesn't occur to the fools until it is too late.

    1. Obviously Lake woebegone should start a law school, where all special snow-flakeness can emerge unscathed.

    2. I believe Yale already started that with people believing they are special, P/F grading, and everyone above the practice of law and all :)

    3. Although YLS has grades, I believe a wag once said, "Yale or Fail." Perhaps said wag was correct . . .

    4. I hold an undergraduate degree from Yale. Hasn't helped me much.

    5. Well, stop holding it and get out there and use it.

      Apply yourself.



      (in other words, the above is sarcasm directed at the typical "prof type" of answer and is not really directed at you)

  9. And when you are in the bottom half, you pay the same tuition as everyone else, but no employer will give you the time of day. You are finished.

    1. Actually, it's not unusual that those in the bottom half do not pay the same tuition as everyone else.

      They pay more.

  10. Am I alone in detecting a "Hurry Up and Buy Our Law School Before We're Sold Out" sales-pressure vibe behind the LSAT-retaking controversy?

    These Deans/used car salesmen,

    1) Don't want you thinking about your purchase too long, and

    2) Walking off the lot where you might get a better deal (with a higher LSAT score).

    Point #2 really shows where the soul of the Schools is at - they much rather have a locked-in, paying student *today* than a *possible* higher LSAT applicant tomorrow.

    Professed meritocracy is rapidly giving way to financial necessity.

    (Well, that is nothing new...but it is much more *blatant* now).

    (In other words, the Schools rather have the cash than the respectability - which is more or less shot-to-sh*t now anyway - thanks to those meddling blogs...)

  11. another top50 (LOL!) LS dean shilling.....

    1. Am I the only one who sees the hypocrisy of the new dean of a school where blatant falsification of score was found, trying to sell people on the idea that a few points on the LSAT don't matter?

      And, given the reduction in applications and the predicted slowdown in the processing of people who are not auto-admit, there is absolutely no reason to believe that early applications are necessary.

    2. "there is absolutely no reason to believe that early applications are necessary."

      Agreed - what is going on is basically high pressure sales tactics - straight off of the used car lot ("Better buy her now, before she is gone forever!").

      In retrospect, the whole law school application process is a vast system of skull-f*cking - the illusion of tremendous "scarcity" (in terms of student acceptance/seats) is created in order to psychologically debilitate applicants into accepting a fair degree of financial abuse (from over-inflated tuition, to mandatory $100+ texts, to the existential idiocy of needing Bar review courses).

      By alternately denying/caressing prior high achievers, the schools psychologically manipulate their applicants/students into not examining the whole process (especially the tuition) too closely.

      "You are lucky just to be here!" is basically the carefully cultivated message put out - from Harvard to Third Tier Hell.

      The *reality* is that the incremental cost of educating another student is essentially zero - the "scarcity" (surfeited as it is on the back end) is an artificial creation used to justify high tuitions and manipulate applicants into accepting them.

  12. Thanks lawprof! I knew you understood the importance of retaking. I've even seen threads where you advised it.

    But there are other ways the LSAT plays into the overall scam:

    The test itself is accurate to within 3 points. ( I'm relying on others comments for that) yet a 170 is much better than a 169. A172 better than a 170. But they are all within the error range of the test.

    Schools only care about the hard actual score. The 3 point error rate is ignored. So if you retake and only improve within the margin of error you will have better results.

    Despite the fluff on their websites, there are no indications that schools view admissions holistically. In fact, a former admissions professional who posts now on TLS says that the scores are without a doubt the most important thing. The only way to imorove USnews rankings is to improve the medians.

    This fluff is just marketing. But I'm sure it helps a schools yield to claim that they look at more than scores. The naive and trusting will apply, get denied and boost yields.

    1. "Holistic" admissions is just pretty cover for favoring the scions of the rich. There's a description of this practice in book about Ivy League undergraduate institutions (the focus being on Harvard, Yale, and Princeton). It quotes some materials from Harvard or Yale that were used to train admissions officers in the 1960s or 1970s. One example pits the diligent farm boy against the half-ass urbanite from the New England boarding school. Which one do you admit? Tough decision! But of course it has to come down on the side of the rich kid, because he'll have the natural polish and refinement that will be lacking in the hayseed, admirable though he is in his own yokelish way.

    2. At this point, it doesn't have to be "scions of the rich" - the Schools are desperate for any semi-passable source of revenue (soon to be merely *any* source of revenue) - and with politically corrupt tools like IBR eliminating any constraint on tuition inflation, the Schools can fully prey upon the tax revenue of the nation as a whole.

    3. You are all completely retarded. The "holistic" approach was designed to admit wealthy scions, you say? LOL.

      It was actually designed to jam-pack as many African- and Mexican-Americans into elite schools as possible ("critical mass"). In this day and age, if someone designed a system that was so blatantly and singlemindedly tailored to the interests of WHITES, said architect would surely be murdered in the streets.

      As for retaking the test, LOL. You morons all seem to think that every law school out there is just as desperate as its 3L students. Yale isn't on the brink of collapse, folks. Not even Cornell is. I would LOVE to see the hard data that backs up that claim about "70 percent" of people improving their scores.

    4. Someone wash out 10:35's mouth with soap.

    5. Speaking of completely retarded, check out the link in the update which demonstrates that you were talking out of your ass. At least you're fully qualified to be a law "professor."

  13. Speaking of Illinois, anyone know what Paul D. Pless, JD and former Admissions Dean for UIUC COL, is doing these days?

    Did he get disbarred?

    1. The little bastard should have been dismembered.

    2. Nice observation and good question.

    3. Dismembered?

      Bit extreme, wot?

      I'd think disbarment should be sufficient.

      But unlike many bar org websites, it does not appear that the Illinois bar permits non-members to search for members.

      By the way, it looks he's working as a real estate agent selling dirt cheap houses in the B-N, Illinois area. He does list himself as Pless, JD and tries to say his background will help in negotiations.

      (" of the few local Realtors with a legal education" "uniquely equipped" "expert negotiator" "and critical thinker.")

      Remember, the legal education helps you "think like a lawyer".

      Not sure where he got to be an "expert" negotiator given he went from law student to administrator at UIUC. Maybe he had that expertise from before.

    4. Illinois ARDC has a public search function. I did a quick check and there is no Paul Pless admitted to the bar.
      The site can be wonky and I'm on my phone so I would doublecheck. Was he ever admitted to the bar? I checked for lawyers whose status changed in the 2012 and hisname didn,t come up.

    5. 6:52, thanks. I didn't know about the ARDC and instead was looking at the regular bar ass'n site.

      You're right - no Pless is registered. I'm guessing since he went straight from LS Grad at UIUC into the job in their admissions office, he never bothered to sit for the bar (or sat/failed, quit trying).

    6. (To finish my thought above - if he was never licensed, he's not subject to discipline. So no dismemberment... er... disbarment.)

    7. "Not sure where he got to be an "expert" negotiator given he went from law student to administrator at UIUC. Maybe he had that expertise from before."

      Isn't it obvious he's just making shit up again?

    8. Is it that obvious?

    9. Well, consider this statement: "Having lived in Central Illinois for the last twenty years, I bring a wealth of knowledge and expertise about buying and selling real estate in the Bloomington-Normal area."

      He got that being a college student-law student-admissions dean?

  14. That professor is right about one thing: a good 2/3 or more of the class is lazy, stupid, or otherwise unsuited for law school, despite the widespread belief that mere admission to law school (even a "good" law school) is a seal of intellectual quality.

    But some of those do somehow end up in the top third, and some smart and diligent students do not.

    Also, very few people go into law school thinking that they're in the bottom 2/3. So the blithe assurance that Prof. Campos's interlocutor will be in the top third is unwarranted, to say the least.

  15. 5:46 writes, "The naive and trusting will apply, get denied and boost yields."

    As I read the TLS thread with Asst.Dean Ray, particularly her assertion that retaking wasn't of much use for most people, this is what came to mind.

    "Send me a bunch of low LSAT's that I can turn down. C'mon, kiddies (or in the words of her predecessor Pless, "you little bastards"), don't retake, just send in them low LSAT apps NOW. I'm even making it FREE for you - no app fees. Operators are standing - BYE!"

  16. From the WaPo online today: "Young workers' retirement hopes grow bleaker amid economic downturn":

    A 28 year old worker who runs promotions at Potomac Pizza lives paycheck to paycheck.

    "Recently, she decided that she will try to go to law school to bolster her credentials, in hopes of finding the kind of fulfilling career that will keep her financially secure through her working years and beyond".

    The dream lives on; the ending will be ugly.

    1. "A 28 year old worker who runs promotions at Potomac Pizza lives paycheck to paycheck. "

      The reason she can't get ahead as promo manager is the name of the business.

      Potomac Pizza sounds too much like "Ptomaine Pizza".

      Fix the name, fix the business.

      (Props to the late, great Professor Isaac Asimov's short story, "Spell My Name With An S")

    2. That article is very enlightening. It gives you a good idea why so many suckers keep signing up for the law school dream.

      "“My idea of the American dream was to be above average,” she said. “I didn’t want to be just average.”"
      That speaks for itself.

      "She relies on her parents to help her pay down her $47,000 in college debt."
      Is that 47k in just undergrad debt? If even a bachelors degree costs that much and you wind up working at a pizza place, its time to start questioning the value of even a BA.

      "And it’s not just her. “I’ve got friends with double majors and master’s degrees who are working as bartenders,” she said. “When I think of that, I count myself as lucky.”"
      She sees what happened to her friends, yet she doesn't realize that the exact same thing will happen to her if she goes to law school? What is wrong with her? And do you think the pizza place will take her back after she gets her law degree?

  17. Not to mention the large numbers of unemployed more experienced grads showing up at the placement offices of law schools for help in finding jobs. As AbovetheLaw says, this is a pump and dump scheme, and the unemployed grads more than 9 months out of law school are someone else's problem.

    This is a profession of the worst ocnflict of interest. Unlike medical or dental schools, the interest of law schools are adverse to those of their students. Problem is that we are ruining people's lives with this pump and dump schools known as law school.

  18. The Dean has a good point. There is no point in retaking the LSAT. Illinois just makes up the test sores they report for their school anyways.

    1. I love me a good Freudian Slip, I doNovember 5, 2012 at 9:00 PM

      "...the test sores ...."

    2. Lol. I hadn't thought of that. If the school just makes them up, then no need to worry about your score.

      I think LSAC is now monitoring schools reporting, at least that was discussed.

      As for the LSAT- it is very learnable. The problem is that most people dont understand how to study for it

  19. Disclaimer up front: I am not a professor, nor am I a troll. Just an interested observer.

    We are now down to two - yes, two - scambloggers.

    And one accidentally admitted yesterday to being a liar and a fraud, having obtained a law degree on a three year full scholarship - yes, one of those "disappearing" scholarships that never actually disappeared, and paying a grand total of $0 in tuition for his degree. After graduation, he also said that he found a job - yes, one of those "non-existent" jobs that are evidently still out there. And now he's been quietly starting a family and has bought a house - yes, one of those "I'll never have a family" families, and one of those "I'll never buy a house" houses. His total law school debt - including living expenses - was $37K. Clearly the victim of an intense scam that ruined his life! So thanks for deceiving us, Nando. You now have as much credibility as a sleazy, fat, gold-clad, Cadillac-driving preacher who tells his congregation to give deeply and live frugally, but who spends most of the collection on the church (aka himself).

    Nando has been very quiet about his recent and inadvertent disclosures too. Not even an insult. I guess he is hoping that this disappears in the mists of the internet - kind of like the scamblog movement has over the past year.

    Nando will keep going as he's got some mental issues that rival Painter's, especially in light of how incredibly well law school treated him. Think about it - who on earth would attach his name permanently to the trash on that blog? . Campos will continue because after being outed, the damage to his career was done and there was no going back. (Actually, the damage is done to Nando too - he might as well continue, because his name is now forever linked to his unsavory activities on the internet.)

    But I caution readers to avoid thinking that these two scambloggers are the shining beacon of truth when everyone else out there is either a scammer or too stupid to realize they are being scammed.

    It might be wise to spend less time second-guessing the motives of everyone involved in higher education, and more time second-guessing the motives of Nando and Paul. Because as Paul has demonstrated, once you get sucked into believing that this is all some huge New World Order scam that only you and a few others can see, the damage to yourselves is already done.

    1. Wow! What a stupid post.

    2. You need to add a disclaimer or something. You sound like a troll, or worse, a professor.

    3. Nando has already stated as far back as Nov 2010 (when i started reading his blog) that he went on a nearly full scholarship with his wife supporting him. Your disinformation is not working.

  20. Enlighten us, Anon 9:01 --

    How is law school not a scam?

    How is Prof. Campos scamming us by exposing the non-scam of $40k/year law schools that have 20% placement rates?

  21. I am glad I am an engineer earning $95,000 a year with the government. When I turn 62 I can retire with a 100% pension, too.

    1. Thank you for coming here to gloat.

    2. And then....DEATH.

      When we're 140, we will be in the exact same situation.

      So, I don't know. I think I'll just relax about this whole thing.

    3. 10:41, Are you glad that you are also a tool?

    4. No, he's just a flame. 100% pension? Riiiiightttt.....

    5. 100% pension?

      Depends on when he started. At one time, the tolling was 2.5% per year served in federal service.

      AFAIK, when it was reduced (maybe late `80s??), they reduced it "going forward" but did not change the deal for those already employed.

  22. Meow Meow responds: The real damage to yourself is already done AFTER you get sucked into a scam...anytime prior to that consider any damage repairable.

  23. Now you don't talk so loud. Now you don't seem so proud about having to be scrounging your next meal. How does it feel?! How does feel?! To be without a home, like a complete unknown, like a rolling stone.

    Love and Kisses from the Betrayed Generation.

  24. The fact that there are still so many undergrads deciding to go to law school is really disturbing, as is the number of them who haven't even heard of the info on sites like this, We have to do better at getting the message to undergrads rather than just preaching to the choir every day. For my part I go on yahoo Q&A every few weeks and search for questions by undergrads about law school and post a message warning them and directing them to sites like this and to the facebook page Don't Go to Law School

  25. The real bad advice for prospective students is using this blog as a "more reliable" source of informtion that others.

    This scamblog movement has some disturbiung parallels with extreme religion:

    1 - It offers a simple and universal answer to everything wrong with the world (in this case, that everything is caused by some mythical "scam" that affects everything everywhere.)

    2 - It violently and personally attacks anything that dares suggest simpler or alternative explanations (in this case, with cries of "professor" or "troll" or "shill
    " or "you must be part of the scam!), while ignoring the evidence.

    3 - Most disturbingly, and this is where it gets cultish and dangerous - is that it appeals to people at the lowest points in their lives and purports to offer solutions (in this case, many readers are struggling in this economy, and are easily convinced to join the movement).

    I am not saying that this blog is not a good source of information, but it should not be used as the ONLY source of information, nor treated as being the SOLE source of truth. It is opinion, it is just one interpretation of the "scam", and it is an echo chamber of a handful of disillusioned grads. (I suspect that the comments section on this blog, like many other cults, is made up of a handful of dedicated individuals posting repeatedly throughout the day, rather than a broad and diverse audience).

    The worst advice in the world is to claim that this blog should be the only thing that prospective law students listen to.

    I'm sure that Professor Campos would happily stop this blog if he could, but it's turned into something like the Salem Witch Trials - a localized, destructive, misguided, idiotic frenzy that he can't now back out of because that will "prove" that he is also a "witch".

    CUE THE PROOF! Bring on the calls of "shill!" and "Leiter!"


    1. Obvious troll is obvious.

    2. I rest my case.

    3. The fallacy of extension is also a rhetorical device commonly employed by purveyors of "extreme religion" (sic). This blog has never advertised itself as "the SOLE source of truth."

      Giving you the benefit of the doubt, you may not be a shill or a troll, but you are clearly not very bright. If I were to employ the fallacy of extension myself, your post could be taken as more evidence that the intellectual quality of aspiring JDs is indeed declining rapidly.

    4. It is an open comments section, so please provide some alternative information that this blog has overlooked.

      And, if you want some cultish articles of faith, and expressions of intolerance for alternative positions, sample the following quotes from law school professors:

      1. "Students benefit from the scholar's ability to turn chaos into order and communicate both the chaos and the order to someone who hasn't done the same work. The students have to start with order and see how it is constructed from chaos and how to explain that before they can learn to do the same thing, which really, is what lawyers do for their clients." --Professor Marcia McCormick, St. Louis U. Law

      2. “We are not producing plumbers and bookkeepers, we are producing the leaders of our Society whose primary ability is the strength of their intellects. Law teachers hone the mind in a variety of ways through a variety of methods.” --Professor Peter Bayer, UNLV Law

      * “I am just about ready to shoot any student who walks into law school with the Chemerinsky con law treatise and without the assigned con law casebook (and yes, it has happened [the business with the books, not the shooting]).” Prof. Paul Horwitz, Univ. of Alabama Law.


  26. "The worst advice in the world is to claim that this blog should be the only thing that prospective law students listen to."

    And who, ever, suggested that?

    1. Indeed, it is the "the Schools* who have used their utterly undeserved reputation for integrity and their vastly superior advertising resources to engage in multi-decade deception at the least, and outright fraud at the worst.

      To their vast personal profit and the calculated ruin of others.

      If there is a "cult", it is founded upon the utterly misplaced faith in the integrity of legal academia - who richly reap the rewards of the folly they cynically cultivate.

      Self-love aside, legal academia is much like Amway or Scientology.

    2. It's cute how nervous the scamsters are getting. Their strawmen are getting more obvious all the time.

    3. It's funny to see the responses that actually back up what 5:17AM is saying.

    4. No what 5:17 is saying is idiotic. Nobody has ever suggested this blog should be the only source of information an 0L consults. But it's a much better source of information than anything you'd ever get from a law school.

    5. Save the Straw Man! Save Him!November 6, 2012 at 7:29 AM

      "And who, ever, suggested that?"

      Straw men are so easily knocked down and burned to the ground.

      Some one should protect these guys.

      They'd be an endangered species, so easily are they disposed of, were it not for....

      ...the fact that they can always be constructed again immediately fresh from the imagination of one's interlocutors.

      Still, I feel pity for the Poor Straw Man.

  27. Staying on point, the "advice" described in the original post is telling of the law school dynamic. Law school has always been about catering to the top third, and guess what? Two out of three law students WON'T be in the top third of their class.

    To a OL, this has about as much meaning as the teacher in a Charlie Brown cartoon-- "Wah wah wah wah."

    However, unlike undergrad, the law school curriculum is not one that simply checks to see if you are paying attention. You have one test to determine your grade in each class. That's it.

    While some people excel at this, two out of three don't. These are not good odds to bet $100k+ in non-dischargeable debt.

    1. Well, the US is rigged so that the top 1% succeeds at the expense of everyone else, so having a 1 in 3 chance of success coming out of law school is pretty good! Beats the 1 in 100 chance that the rest of your life will give you.

      Obama 2012!

      (And a big "F you, loser!" to Romney in advance!)

    2. 7:21?

      Do you know anyone in the top 1%? Top 2%? Top 5%?

      Do you know their personal story of how they got to where they are?

      For every Mittens, riding on the coattails of a politician daddy, any idea how many others got where they are by working hard to take advantage of the crazy opportunities this great country offers?

      Poor you.

    3. I went to a decent second tier regional school (probably comparable to Maryland), graduated in the top 1/3 of my class, and am apparently one of the "winners" because I work as an attorney and make $40k/year. However, I really don't see this as a good outcome, but this is about as good as it gets for 75% or so of law graduates. Ugh.

  28. For 9:01 PM / 5:17 AM - no personal attacks, just a question.

    The BLS indicates on average nearly 20,000 new lawyer jobs each year through at least 2018.

    Each new year, ABA-accredited law schools in the US churn out over 40,000 new lawyers.

    What would you call 200+ professional teaching organizations that, until this year, all claimed that >95% of their students obtained jobs?

    Without explaining (carefully or even at all, until recently) that a very large percentage of those "employed" graduates were:
    - employed in part-time or short-term jobs that the schools nonethless lumped into "95+% employment rate!"
    - employed in low-wage jobs having nothing to do with the degree obtained by their students;
    - employed in temporary slots funded by the school itself, which jobs evaporate soon after the deadline by which the school needs to report its student employment numbers?

    1. A sensible question?

      That deserves a sensible answer.

      I call the 20K jobs to 40K new law grads a gross imbalance. I would like to see law schools cut down to size; the lower end closed completely (or retooled into regular departments offering law courses to undergrads), and I would like to see all schools cut their class sizes. But I do not advocate rationing or restricting legal education. Costs need to come down too, by restricting the free-flowing student loans.

      And I call the law school employment stats deceptive. Fraud is a stretch, particularly when even the laziest observer could see that something was amiss.

      I do not dispute that there is a problem with the system. A huge problem. I disagree with the silliness of pretending that it is a hidden, widespread, organized scam to cheat everyone out of their futures to enrich a handful of professors.

      The professors I know are passive, unworldly, and couldn't organize their way out of a wet paper bag, let alone organize what some commenters on this blog have been brainwashed into thinking.

      I disagree with the outlandish direction this movement has taken, because it is unrealistic, hyperbolic, and cannot be taken seriously by those with the power to make changes.

      If we want real change, rather than just wanting a place to fuck around on the internet during lunch, we need to get a grip, drop the ridiculous myths about this scam, and focus on what is important: highlighting the out-of-control higher education system made possible by easy student loans, and highlighting the fact that law schools really haven't adapted to changes in the legal profession.

      As long as we are associated with a madman who has posted toilets online for three years, nobody takes us seriously. And this blog is good - it should be better! But only by regrouping, cutting the silly extremists who truly believe that law school is a "scam", and focusing on bringing rational, sensible reform to the system through common-sense discussion.

      So to answer your question in short - it's a problem, but not a scam, and calling it a scam makes us ignorable.

    2. &;17 a.m. here.

      Sooo.... the schools practice deception but are they are not a scam?

      I have a hard time swallowing that. Particularly when you add in the other aspect I failed to mention above, which is the hide-the-ball games which have been (and continue to be) played with the salary stats as well as the employment numbers.

      All that said, whether it is a "scam" or just a deception and a cryin' shame, I don't necessarily disagree that this blog could be more effective if it changed its name.

      Many regular commenters here have said the same thing. A number of alternates have been suggested.

      For you, how about "InsideTheLawSchoolDeception"? It suffers by lacking the alliterativeness of ending with "schoolscam", but still gets the point across in a fashion less likely to call to mind Fernando's Fetidity.

      I still like "NonCamposMentis" (if only because it's the product of my own fevered imagination).

      But no one "bit" on that suggestion.

    3. "'s a problem, but not a scam, and calling it a scam makes us ignorable."

      Right, because in the realm of politics and public policy, nothing gets you put in the "ignorable" category faster than hyperbole, vitriol and strident tone.

    4. 7:34 here again.

      Not everything that is deceptive is a scam. Gilette being the "Best A Man Can Get?" That's not 100% true, probably not even 50% true in the world of razors, but it's hardly a scam. And most people recognize that. "Gets 35mpg"? Again, most people know that figures like that are bullshit and represent an extremely unlikely best case scenario. The list goes on and on.

      The problem is that most people don't expect it from law schools. And at least law schools deliver on their main promise - a JD in return for three years of study. Law school employment and salary stats are clearly bullshit, but whether we categorize that as a scam or merely a gross deception (or even an inconsequential piece of sales talk) is up to discussion.

      So let's not get distracted by what is a scam and what isn't. It's semantics.

      But that, ironically, is where the problem is.


      Calling law schools a "scam" distances this movement from the mainstream, and makes it easy to brush aside as nothing more than a few disgruntled law grads fussing on the internet. It makes politicians ignore us. It makes our greatest allies - the deans and professors, people who should be worried for their jobs and concerned about their students - ignore us.

      I don't believe that they all don't care. I believe that don't care because we don't come across as very sympathetic. On the one hand, we're calling them scammers, and on the other hand we want reform (which necessarily includes them, and would be far faster with them as allies)? We can't expect to insult people with one hand and hold the other out for assistance. It doesn't work that way.

      I believe that there is room for widespread reform, but only for those who ask for it respectfully and present their ideas maturely. Nando damages this movement immensely, and this blog should remove the word "scam" from its title - it links it to Nando, it puts Campos and Nando in the same category, and it drags Campos down to Nando's level.

      This blog needs to take a step back, reevaluate its purposes, retool, and move forward. There is no reason this has to be an albatross around the career of Campos. Change the name (and I love NonCamposMentis, by the way). Stop the extreme comments with a little moderation (note to Campos - lots of comments that are shit are not better than a few comments that are high quality).

      Move towards the center. This isn't the Republican party, where the most extreme voice wins. We'll see today that extreme is not what the people want. They want mainstream, not the screeching fools calling rape babies gifts from god (and Nando and the whole "scam" take on law school are the equivalent of that in terms of extreme views.)

      I think that we all agree that law school needs reform, and needs it now. You call it a scam. I call it a deep problem. Your word drives powerful, helpful people away, leaving an echo chamber of internet trolls. Mine brings the powerful people safely to the table and might get more changes made than moving in a "scam" direction.

      Look at LST for a good example. Mainstream, mature, reasonable, and inclusive, willing to work with anyone (including schools and professors), and getting results. And look at Nando and Painter as the other end of the spectrum; shrill, extreme, polarizing, and getting nothing done except making us all look like the kinds of idiots who spend their days fighting battles on the internet by posting pictures of defiled toilets.

      I think it's time that this blog made a change in tone. Not in position, just in tone. Dump the extremes, bring more to the table, and make change. Don't continue going down the road of Nando's moribund blog.

    5. You know, blogger and wordpress are free, so you could start your own blog writing whatever you want to about the "deep problems" of law school. And using your preferred centrist tone you surely would "bring the powerful people safely to the table." But of course you won't actually do that because that's too much work and you're too busy concern trolling Campos' blog.

    6. Not to mention that the "powerful people" he so esteems have zero interest in reforming their highly lucrative "cosa nostra."

    7. @8:26 I appreciate the kind words. Shoot me an email at if you're interested in getting involved with us.


  29. "If we want real change, rather than just wanting a place to fuck around on the internet during lunch, we need to get a grip, drop the ridiculous myths about this scam, and focus on what is important: highlighting the out-of-control higher education system made possible by easy student loans, and highlighting the fact that law schools really haven't adapted to changes in the legal profession."

    Yeah, because this blog hasn't been doing any of that....


    1. No, it hasn't. What changes have been made as a result of this blog?


      There is no reason this blog could not be a leader in legal education commentary and reform. But it never will while it maintains its semantic position that law school is a "scam", and continues to allow comments about professors organizing a worldwide crime syndicate that rivals SPECTRE or QUANTUM or whatever other crazy bullshit people dream up as the bad guys in Bond movies.

    2. Where in the quoted passage does it say "changes have been made as a result of this blog"? You operate under the delusion that law schools will voluntarily reform themselves. Not gonna happen. If you had bothered to read the blog with some regularity before vomiting all over the discussion board, you would know that.

      Given your poor reading comprehension and feeble debating skills, I really hope you are not taking on 6 figures of toxic debt to go to law school...

  30. This is for 10:35, who says (or "sneers" may be more apt):

    "You morons all seem to think that every law school out there is just as desperate as its 3L students. ... I would LOVE to see the hard data that backs up that claim about "70 percent" of people improving their scores."

    See this chart:

    It really depends on where they started. As you can see from the chart:
    - those at the very low end of the scale have very high percentages of improvement (well over 80% for the doofi* who originally scored 120-130);
    - those repeaters at the very high end of the scale (170 and up originally) only improved scores in about 40% of cases;
    - those repeaters in the middle of the extremes (i.e. those originally scoring over 130 but less than 170) improved in about 70% of the cases (67%).

    So overall, if you add up all takers and all takers who improved, you get 67% again (what you'd expect, because the high % at the low extreme and low % at the high extreme both have little impact and tend to cancel, given many more takers at the low extreme).

    So it's pretty safe to say that "about 70%" improve.

    You are very welcome. Please stop by again.

    *This may be (or may not be) plural for "doofus".

    1. Addendum - forgot to mention. Speaking of a doofus, why in the world did that one guy/gal scoring 180 repeat? To try to prove it could be done twice in a row? (If so, the effort failed - got a 175 second time.)

  31. I laugh at the criticism of Nando. So many today are unschooled in basic economics, having been indoctrinated in an educational system which preaches the evils of the various "isms", e.g. racism, sexism, classism, and so on, without picking up practical economic concepts. Nando is criticized because the "only" has 37k of debt from living expenses and received a full tuition scholarship. Ergo, he has no right to complain because he has not reached sufficient victim status. He doesn't owe 200k. He is not enough of a sucker, I guess, to complain. Only a mindset schooled in what passes for today's progressive thinking could obtain this result.

    The fact that Nando has (relatively speaking) a modest amount of debt and went to a third tier school tuition free makes his arguments stronger. It is irrelevant as to how much people should envy him. Given the opportunity costs, the costs to live, and so on, Drake is a lousy value proposition even with a full tuition scholarship. That is the point! Its all about value, and in general, law school in most cases has long since ceased to be any kind of reasonable value. Ping on Nando for his coarse content, ping on him for his decision to attend a third tier school, all fine, but really, does anyone ever really rebut the key point of his blog - that most law schools are a terrifically poor value?

    I went to a T10 law school in the 80's - finished with zero debt, paid for by me. Top of the class, Order of the Coif, Law Review editor, and so on. This helped greatly with employment, obviously. This stunt could not be done today - no combination of law related summer and part-time jobs exist today to service the hugely escalated tuition payments. It just can't be done. And yet, I remember in the 80's my father informing me that the T10 law school I attended was a relatively poor value, and questioned why I was doing it (I rationalized it in a special snowflake way as 23 year olds are inclined to do - I thought he was telling me this because he felt guilty because he refused to help me financially). He knew I had skills outside the law - high grades, excellent undergrad school - Division 1 scholarship athlete, and so on, and did not think I was rightfully assessing the opportunity costs and an entry into a somewhat rigid, and often lockstep, profession, where, to his horror, you were stuck making money off of your time (he makes his compensation on value add). The point is that law school at 80's prices was at best a so-so value for people with talent and skills. Now it is for almost all a really bad value. No, Nando should not be the only source of law school information. But heck, his statements on the value proposition of law school today are hard to rebut. And his being only in 37k of debt is irrelevant.

  32. Really would be worthwhile to come up with aptly worded Open Records requests for public law school admission/dean/career offices. I think the professors are just coddled assholes. The fraud goes on in the administration.

  33. discuss

    1. Okay, I'll start:

      "Law school is your only option if you want to be a lawyer. Period."

      Right, but this merely begs the question of whether attempting to enter the legal profession is a smart move for most people.

      "While law firms aren't hiring as much as they used to, corporations will always need in-house attorneys and the DOJ will always need lawyers too."

      Yeah, corporations and the federal government will always need lawyers, but what are the odds you'll land one of these gigs, especially if you are a recent grad?

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

    3. That article was nothing but very poorly researched claptrap.

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  35. As a 2011 graduate of University of Maryland Law, I would truly love to know the identity of the professor. I worked hard, made law review, and it still took me over six months to find a job. My job doesn't require a JD, but I am thankful because it's in the legal sector and I know how much worse things could have been. It's funny b/c these lazy law students were good enough to be asked for donations to the law school when they approached graduation, even though they faced horrible job prospects. My personal experience with law school deans taught me that they care very little about law students' financial circumstances, but it is still sad for me to see that the professors also share this dim view of their students.

    And as pointed out on this blog before, the 47% number is shamefully inflated. I know at least 30 students that were receiving stipends from the school nine months after graduation; not to mention the students that the school hired.

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