Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The Crash

 John Devaney delivered what was clearly an extemporaneous rant about the state of the subprime market. "It was incredible," said Charlie. "Stream of consciousness. He went on about how the ratings agencies were whores. How the securities were worthless. How they all knew it. He gave words to what we were just suspecting. It was like he was talking out of school. When he finished there was complete silence. No one specifically attempted a defense. They just talked around him. It was like everyone pretended he hadn't said it."

-- Michael Lewis, The Big Short --

I've now heard  from people at three different law schools that total applications during this admissions cycle are likely to be down significantly relative to last year.  Let's put these numbers in perspective:

Total applicants, 2003-2004 cycle:  98,700

Total first year enrollment: 48,239

Percentage of ABA law school applicants who ended up enrolling in that cycle:  48.9%

Total applicants, 2011-2012 cycle:  68,000

Total first year enrollment:  44,505

Percentage of applicants who ended up enrolling last cycle:  65.4%

I'm not normally a big fan of predictions, but I'm going to make one: We're about to see the Crash.  This is the spring of 2007 for the subprime CDO market.  This is the moment when the anxiety that replaced denial is in turn replaced by panic.

The Crash will look something like this:

(1) Within the next three months or so, it will become evident to most if not all schools who worry about LSAT medians and the like that the only way not to cut class size again is to just give up on trying to hold class medians.  (Check out the stats for American's entering class for a sneak preview).  Even the T-14 won't be completely immune, but once you get below the GULC Line you're going to see widespread panic.

(2) A lot of law school budgets won't be able to absorb either another reduction in class size, or another reduction in real as opposed to nominal tuition (through attempts to buy matric numbers via "scholarships"), or, especially, any combination of these two strategies, which were so widely employed during the last cycle.  The problem with cutting class size two years in a row is that the effect is cumulative: Now you're not just getting less revenue from your 1L class, you'll be getting less from two-thirds of the school's entire enrollment.  Law schools spend all the money they plan to bring in: there's no rainy day fund.

2012 was the Year of Trying to Hold On.  2013 will be the Year of Real Cuts (to admissions standards, to law school budgets, or both).

(3) Meanwhile in the third tier, where most schools have already abandoned any pretense to any admissions "strategy" other than filling their classes by hook or by crook, somebody is going to go out of business.  Quite a few bad law schools happen to be sitting on very valuable pieces of real estate, that could be re-purposed quite profitably to other uses. Some of these schools aren't affiliated with a central university, which means there's no one to bail them out should their credit lines get cut.  Law schools have no real assets beyond their physical plants (which again can be converted easily to other uses) and their human capital, which at proprietary schools can, unlike Alex Rodriguez's contract, be dumped at any time. If a proprietary school can't meet its bills, can't get more credit, and can't restructure fast enough, it goes out of business then and there.

(4) When the first school goes under, several more will follow in fairly short order.  Then the hard questions will really start getting asked and answered, all over legal academia.


  1. What do you think will happen to students who are currently enrolled in schools that shut down? Will the ABA insist that other schools take them as transfer students? What if they had scholarships at their original school?

    1. They'll be fucked. If they transfer anywhere, it will be at the good graces of the receiving school. And they'll pay full price for the privilege.

    2. And as for the ABA's ordering other law schools to take the displaced students, I know that you meant that question seriously, but I just can't refrain from laughing. Do you really think that the ABA will tell a Harvard to make space for a student from a defunct Cooley?

    3. Is there really any insurmountable reason why a school can't do a "structured stand down" - simply shrink/close year by year until all the 1st years are gone?

      I would think the ABA could try and enforce *that*.

      Ditto the state bars.

    4. "Do you really think that the ABA will tell a Harvard to make space for a student from a defunct Cooley?"

      That's your interpretation of what the original comment suggested?

      I imagine the commenter meant that schools within the same general area of the rankings could step up, or any school that wanted to offer help could do so. I don't think the commenter was really suggesting that the ABA would force Harvard would take Cooley students.

      I imagine though it would be more realistic for the schools to refund tuition paid by all current students as part of the agreement to stop operating. I am sure that colleges closing is not something that has never been seen before, and mechanisms are in place to deal with this already.

    5. I exaggerated, of course. But I can't imagine that the ABA would insist that any other school to take people from the abandoned class.

      Mind you, there might well be plenty of law schools eager to take those students in.

      Refunding tuition? The money has already been spent. Perhaps the sale of any land or other assets could generate some funds that could be used to pay the students back. But I'd expect the students to get snubbed. The defunct law school's position would be that the students had never been promised three years of law school and didn't have a reasonable expectation of being allowed to finish the program.

      As to the comment above about phasing a school out, one problem is that students and professors would all notice that the school was closing down. Few professors would hang around until the lights were turned off.

    6. "Few professors would hang around until the lights were turned off."

      That's assuming they had anywhere else to go. I bet a lot of them would stick around to forestall unemployment for as long as possible.

    7. It's entirely reasonable to believe that Harvard, Yale, or Stanford would welcome displaced Thomas Jefferson School of Law students with open arms.

  2. Where can I find the stats for American's entering class? Turns out googling "American university law school admissions" or anything comparable will just get you endless advertising material for every law school in America, which itself is perhaps telling.

    1. This is the info for 2012 admissions:

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

    3. I believe this is correct for American, but I may be wrong. I'm not sure if part time students are included in 2013/2014. There are 90 part time students for 2015, which are not included in my numbers below. If I'm right, that's a BIG drop-off in number of enrolled students.

      Class of 2013: LSAT 158-164 (25%-75%), GPA 3.12-3.58 (25%-75%), 502 enrolled

      Class of 2014: LSAT 159-163 (25%-75%), GPA 3.22-3.59 (25%-75%), 475 enrolled

      Class of 2015: LSAT 156-162 (25%-75%), GPA 3.19-3.59 (25%-75%), 403 enrolled

    4. If you look from 2013 to 2015, the number enrolled drops by 20%, but the LSAT goes down (the GPA goes up a bit).

      It doesn't look like they're trimming off of the bottom.

    5. @8:24, those numbers include FT and PT. Their enrollment is actually up, though the LSAT median is down 3 points.

    6. American is just one school that abandoned any pretense that it had standards of admission. See this graph:

      Declining Standards of Admission: 2012 Entering Class Profile

  3. It couldn't happen a moment too soon.

  4. If schools are actually facing these dire consequences, wouldn't they start lowering their entering classes' LSAT medians? If it's take a hit in the LSAT numbers or go find a real job, I'm certain which one most law school administrators will choose. And it's not that dangerous of a proposition if most schools are feeling the same pressure.

    The only schools where this wouldn't be an option is where the schools can't go any lower on the LSAT scores to attract more students and schools that are risking losing accreditation due to low bar passage rates (these can be two different but overlapping groups of schools). For the schools worried about bar passage rates, perhaps it's not as much of a gamble if everyone else is doing it as well - schools just need to stay within 15 percentage points of the bar passage rates of other schools in their states to not get in trouble, if I recall correctly. And even then, schools have several years to get their bar passage rates back up, so the schools could gamble on getting better students 2 or 3 years down the road.

    Taking a hit to the LSAT median would delay a school's crash, or, in the mind of the school, give the school a chance to bring its numbers back up when that rosy legal market comes back around.

    1. That would make sense from the perspective of a lower level administrator, but not from the perspective of a higher level administrator. If you're the Dean of a law school, your job performance is partially based on USNWR rankings. So you do whatever it takes to maintain those rankings. You can't cut professor pay or benefits, because then your faculty rep score will go in the tank. You don't want LSAT/GPA to drop, because that's another 25% of the ranking.

      At Hastings we saw how this played out. Sure, they bilked the students for as much as they could (a 15% tuition hike in one year) but they also laid off low level staffers.

    2. Many have already been lowering their LSAT medians. What's the one in Boston that has a vertical bar in its name?
      Something like University of New England | Boston. In its rush to fill seats, it has abandoned any pretense of standards. Perhaps it will soon look for non-human applicants.

    3. Isn't it ironic [but fitting] how fealty to USNWR and its rotten "rankings" is now driving this race?

      Not a concern about students or jobs.

    4. Taking a hit to the median LSAT would be a bit too honest for modern law schools. The ABA has been looking into abolishing the LSAT requirement, and I would guess it's being pushed by the poorly-ranked schools (representatives of which seem to dominate the legal education apparatus at the ABA) precisely so they don't take a further hit to their rankings.

      It's a lot easier to maintain GPA than LSAT, since you can just let in applicants from worse schools and easier majors.

    5. "Perhaps it will soon look for non-human applicants"

      Appropriate, since non-humans already run the law schools.

    6. I wonder how the touts at You Ass News would calculate the median LSAT score if the test were no longer required. Whichever approach they took, finding ways to manipulate it would be an easy task.


  6. Frankly, the status bubble burst on law school in 2007 or 2008. Why not drop your LSAT standards? Even the lemmings now realize that there are 3 four tiers of law schools: Harvard, Yale, and Stanford; the rest of the T-14; almost everyone else; and the bottom of the barrel diploma mills.

    If your school is in the "almost everyone else" column, does it make a damn's worth of difference if you fall from the low-30s to the high 50s? Or from the high 40s to the high 60s?

    The rankings are meaningless for that large gap below 14 and above 150.

    1. Students and law schools are the only ones who care about "rankings" because employers think law schools are a joke. If you're in a top-14 school, everyone knows it's a good school. Biglaw isn't hiring, and small and mid-law practitioners are too busy working to care.

      I have no idea if the University of Iowa is considered to be a better school than the University of Georgia. Likewise, I have no idea where Syracuse law stacks up against Villanova law or Tulane law. Nor does anyone else who is neither an alum of the institutions, a law professor, a prospective law student, or an employee of U.S. News and World Report.

      I do know that all 5 schools are better than Cooley, Nova Southeastern, and Ave Maria, but I can't tell you the relative rankings of these schools.

      Also, unlike other graduate rankings, with few exceptions the law school rankings reflect the quality of student applicants rather than the caliber of faculty. There's not a whole lot of value added by law schools. So, going to one versus another doesn't mean you'll miss out on the Nobel laureate in Chemistry or the prof with the wonderful placement track record that you might get at the other institution.

    2. [continued]

      The law school rankings should be akin to something equally arbitrary and frivolous. I propose the fashion house rankings. Apart from Chanel, Givenchy, Dior, YSL, and a few others, the rest can be thought of as arguing over whether it is more impressive to have a Member's Only jacket or Buster Brown shoes. Could you imagine anyone giving a damn other than the most insecure type-As? I couldn't. So, here we are.

      When people finally wake up to realize that rankings bear no relevance to getting a job, then they will stop caring so much about the rankings. And they will stop caring about law school. And the schools will begin to shutter.

    3. I draw the lines differently:

      Tier 1: Harvard, Yale, Stanford
      Tier 2: the rest of the top ten or so
      Tier 3: about the next fifteen
      Tier 4: all others

      The idea that "Top 50" (called by idiots "Tier 1") constitutes a salient category is a bit of foolish fiction aggressively promoted by Numbers 41–50 and their students—as well as by U.S. News, which couldn't possibly sell copies by saying that only two dozen schools matter.

    4. Don't give those Sun Devils any more motivation.

  7. So there were 68000 applicants last year, and expectations are lower for this year? I seem to recall a 12 pct drop in apps last year. Let's assume the same drop this year and say there are 60000 apps. over 80 percent of applicants get in?! Christ.

  8. I believe this is accurate. My father is a prof. at Widener University (not the law school) and he told me the law school is in full on panic mode and that stealth layoffs of law profs has begun.

  9. Off topic, but here's my Cohort Theory Of Increasing Law School Irrelevance.

    Twenty to thirty years ago, the facilties at most schools -- especially what were then known as "regional" schools -- were more mixed. You had a few YH grads, a few clerks, a few former students who made good in various ways, more than a few local practitioners.

    The teaching in the schools reflected this. The regional schools had retired state court judges teaching civ pro, the former Labor Commissioner teaching employment law, etc. It wasn't fancy, but it was a meat and potatoes legal education from people with real life experience (plus a smattering of egg heads for color).

    Over the last generation, the Yale and Harvards grads have taken over the faculty. I bet their numbers increased at most schools due to network effects. And, as more New Haven and Cambridge graduates ended up at third tier schools, they changed the curriculum -- shifting from practical courses taught by legal mechanics to more theoretical courses taught by themselves.

    Employment at T2 to T4 schools became a jobs program for Ivy grads who couldn't find political positions. This did not match the needs of the student, but who listens to those losers? The bottom tiers were run as -- and were -- a private investment club for the high-scoring faculty, while providing only lip service to the students.

  10. "We're about to see the Crash. "

    once again, time for a celebration:

  11. I'm heading out to Costco to stock up on popcorn.

  12. Also reading The Big Short. The vast majority of people can come off as indecent and callous. Income seems to have less and less correlation with intelligence, ethic, or anything a society should deem impressive. And yet, in this country, income matters more than just about anything else in regard to public admiration. Yes I'm whining. But it's hard not to be disgusted with the human race. I guess it's all about what you focus on.

  13. So 72% of applicants enrolled. Some of the other 28% were capable students who deferred or abandoned the study of law. Others, however, were so lousy that not even a Cooley would touch them.

    As the pool of applicants shrinks, some schools will be forced to accept everyone, irrespective of qualifications. There will be no other way to fill the class—except by reducing the class, which, as Prof. Campos mentioned, will entail a concomitant loss of income.

    I too expect to see law schools shut their doors. And that will be a very good thing.

  14. The story for attorneys is the same story as the entire service-sector economy:

    Increasing unemployment due to automation (computer software and technology), out-sourcing (contracting and off-shoring), and decreased demand (overall economic slowdown).

    Just as agriculture and manufacturing employ an ever-decreasing % of the population, so too will services streamline and become more efficient with less workers.

    Labor-for-income is a doomed economic model. We need a new socio-economic system to match our 21st Century, global, technological world.

  15. There is demand for approximately 20,000 new lawyers each year. The schools produce more than twice that number. They do so with the benefit of a public guarantee and subsidy. This makes no sense for the students or for the public and only benefits the law faculty and naive soon to be unemployeed aspirants.

    Since we won't let the market self-correct, we should implement a government funding cap. Top 20,000 applicants -- or 20,000 applicants chosen by lottery -- get Grad PLUS law loans. No one else.

    1. The market is self correcting itself right now. It would have corrected sooner if the law schools hadn't jury rigged employment info.

    2. Idiomatic Peeve Of The DayNovember 14, 2012 at 10:59 AM

      "...jury rigged".

      Thank you. One seldom sees this one used/spelled correctly anymore.

    3. I'm old school...

    4. The correct spelling is "jury-rigged".

      One of my professors held "jury-rigged" up as an "egregious malapropism" on the first day of class. I pointed out that it's a term of nautical origin and that it was correctly used in the passage that she had cited. Someone with a computer checked the Oxford English Dictionary and found that I was right.

      The professor was gracious about the error, though. We're good friends now.

    5. Idiomatic Peeve Of The DayNovember 14, 2012 at 5:49 PM

      to 2:45 and 3:26, that's exactly what I meant.

      Thanks for helping to FLESH OUT the idea and the discussion (another of my pet peeves - one so often sees people writing or hears them saying "flush out", which is of course nonsensical).

  16. And predictions on whether any of the public university law schools will close soon? That would be particularly telling.

  17. I don't think we'll see ANY skool closing. Not now.

    They have MANY tricks left to pull.

    They will fire janitors, they'll borrow money, they'll falsify information.

    You don't think fraud won't be endemic when times truly get tough?

    These guys were fraudsters when times were GOOD! What are they going to do when their back is against the wall?

    1. They will also heavily step up lobbying efforts in the hope of obtaining even more direct or indirect government subsidies, under the false pretenses of making higher ed more "accessible," and that more worthless graduate degrees makes our workforce more "competitive."

      A law school "bailout" is not out of the question, IMO. Gawd, I hope it doesn't happen!

    2. ^^^^
      Does the husband of Representative Maxine Waters sit on the boards of any law schools?

    3. Not Too Big To Flail!November 14, 2012 at 10:55 AM

      "A law school "bailout" is not out of the question, IMO. "

      Lawl Skoolz: To Big To Flail.

    4. Firing janitors isn't going to save much money. And they're essential to the operation, unlike grotesquely overpaid professors who spend their days scribbling a new conceptual framework for neo-Rawlsian hip-hop.

  18. Another good quote from John Devaney:

    "The consumer has to be an idiot to take one of those loans, but it has been one of our best-performing investments."

  19. LSAC projects a 13.4% drop this year in applicants, compared to the 10.7% last year. Marks a two-year drop of 22.6%.

    You can see our pretty charts here:

    The first shows the applicant drop. The second shows that law school is now easier to get into. The third shows the nosedive in the percentage of people accepting their acceptances.

    1. Thanks Kyle (etc.). The visual representation makes it interesting as you watch the curves converge over the years.

      I'm trying to figure out why your numbers and LP's above do not mesh.

      For example, he recites above for 2011-12 cycle 68K applicants with 48,697 1L enrollment. Whereas your charts for the same cycle show 78.5K and 55.8K respectively.

      Am I just looking at this wrong, or is there some disagreement on numbers? (Note the enroll-to-apply ratio works out to 71% either way.)

    2. We both got the data from the same page:

      My interpretation is that "Preliminary End-of-Year" is the projection LSAC uses based on week-by-week data, whereas "Final End-of-Year" uses the actual outcomes. For this reason, he used 98,700 in 2003-2004, whereas we used 100,600.

      My interpretation is based on this report from LSAC to the ABA from one year ago:

    3. I don't know why I put "For this reason," -- anyhow, my point is that we seem to have interpreted the LSAC chart differently.

    4. The main difference is that Kyle is talking about the class of 2014 and I'm talking about the class of 2015.

    5. Thanks Both (I'm anon-above).

      Question for Kyle - would it be appropriate to shift your topline (applicants) number to the left by a year?

      It seems to me (NOT a stats guru) that it might make more sense to have the (e.g.) 2003-04 apps directly over the 2004-05 admits because those are the numbers for which a correlation lies.

      Thanks again.

    6. Actually, I think we're talking about the same class, we just don't seem to agree on what the preliminary number means. 68k either reflects LSAC's projections for this current cycle or its count for the past cycle.

      The 13.4% projected drop I mentioned @10:23 was from the prospective class of 2014 to the prospective class of 2015. My reading of the LSAC page is that the "preliminary" numbers reflect LSAC's projections based on week-by-week data for the ongoing cycle (the class of 2015).

      On this interpretation, 78.5k people applied to ABA law schools for the class of 2014 (the 2011-12 cycle) and LSAC projects that 68k will apply for the class of 2015 (2012-13 cycle).

      The first chart on the LST Project page reflects this interpretation.

      Anon's question, I thought, was why this chart was different than Paul's data in the OP. For the 2003-04 cycle, he used 98.7k (the "preliminary" -- what I think is LSAC's projections); for 2011-12 cycle, he used 68k.

      To answer Anon's second question, no it wouldn't be appropriate to shift the topline number to the left by the year.

      For the Fall 2011-12 cycle (class of 2014), there were 78.5k applicants; 55.8k admittees; and an unknown number of enrollees in 2012. The fact that the number is unknown right now is reflected in the third chart, which only goes through the 2010-11 cycle.

      The reason is pretty simple. LSAC tracks applicants and whether those people get in or not. The ABA tracks whether those people actually enroll. The LSAC data by cycle work together -- the ABA data is the one that is a year off. The only chart using the ABA data is the third one.

      I'm 99% sure this is right, but if anybody thinks otherwise, please do say why.

    7. I really need to go ahead and make an account so I can edit. "For the Fall 2011-12 cycle (class of 2014)" should be class of 2015 not 2014.

  20. 9:52. I think you are correct. This doesn't mean that Campos' underlying premise is wrong - indeed, the law school market is heading for the Big Short, and it will be disastrous. But look who we are dealing with. Law schools and law school faculties and administrations incredibly dominated by liberal progressives. They have to be some of the most adept rent seekers on the planet. They exist to develop theories to transfer wealth from people who earn it to those who they argue are somehow entitled. They will delay the day of reckoning in the most cunning ways.

    This is why being short is so difficult. One can, like Campos, be absolutely correct about what will happen to the market. But the sunshine pumpers and rent seekers make it very difficult for short sellers to short at the right time. The crash will come, but invariably later than what commonsensical notions would inform.

    The flaw in my delay is inevitable theory may come from a private school President, who is used to the law school being a stupendous profit center and who might strongly overreact upon observing it will lose money, with no business strategy to correct the situation. And the fact that the law school invariably occupies choice real estate and with a faculty which earns far more per capita than the history department might further make for an emotional and quick decision. But don't count on it.

    1. Yes your strawman argument was soooo subtle. Did you "earn" your living? Like the many rupert murdoch media bootlickers "earn" theirs? You wouldnt know conservatism and liberty if it groped you at the airport.

    2. Lol...agreed.

      Always some knucklehead has to inject a thoughtless, automaton talking point from Fox/MSNBC etc.

  21. They will not be closing yet. They will lower admission standards until so few of their students pass the bar that the ABA revokes their accreditation. Then they might close. That will take a few years.

    1. Agreed.

      The next few years will be a boom time for an "inclusive" approach to law school admission - one that eliminates the LSAT (gotta cover their crooked tracks).

  22. "Law schools and law school faculties and administrations incredibly dominated by liberal progressives. They have to be some of the most adept rent seekers on the planet. "


    1. Actually, if you largely control the means of communication (pre-internet, pre-blog) or the sources of data (placement stats) you don't have to be all that "adept".

      Just utterly corrupt.

  23. as most law professors are strong obama supporters, i wouldnt be surprised to see some more vote buying by doing something to support/encourage more kids going to law school.

    IBR is actually doing a pretty good job of buying the votes of university professors and students.

    1. I really like the ideal application of a program like IBR, which was actually introduced near the end of the Reagan administration. The premise is that the few people for whom higher education doesn't pay off has a support system while they gain skills and inevitability increase their take home pay.

      Those assumptions, unfortunately, don't line up with reality.

    2. Especially when law schools are pitching IBR to all applicants from the outset with their marketing materials.

      We're talking utter scum here, congenitally committed to gaming the liberal system they sanctimoniously pimp.

  24. Yay!!! More proof that some people are getting the message about law school. Though when I see some of the posts on TLS by people who have no clue about how to apply, I know that we still have a long way to go!!

    But this is definited great news!

    1. Stumbled on (recommended by someone on Amazon reviewing LP's "DGTLS(U)" book).

      Not a lot of traffic, but if the recent posters are any measure "non-traditional" students are just as clueless as K-JD kids.

      One guy is going to get into a good school despite his lousy UG grades because he's "planning to do well on the LSAT".


  25. The upcoming release of the LSATs administered for the October test should be a huge tell for this cycle and even next year (I'm guessing Friday). Usually it correlates pretty well with overall decline or increase in test takers.

    I'm betting there will be a decline but I'm curious to see how drastic. Summer test was only a few percent over last year's huge decline.

    1. I think that it will be Friday.

    2. October LSAT scores actually came out last week, but LSAC didn't release the October test taker volume until today. The year over year decline was 16.4%, with an 18% drop in first time takers.

  26. Oh my goodness!

    All this talk about cohorts and potatos (Dan Quail spelling) and meat!

    And about Costco, Popcorn! Liberal Progressives, the "bilking" of students, bootlickers and groping at the port for aeroplanes?

    And furthermore there is talk of meshing mumbers and idiot consumers, and great big words like: "concomitttanttt"

    Then: callous people and ethical people, and general disgust with a whole race of questionable and very suspicious humanoids devoid of chumminess and fellow feeling for thieir fellow man?

    Oh dear me and oh my!

    All I can say is that all of this is likely to inspire pins and needles, and needles and pins......

    and a happy fellow is a man that grins :)


    2. A story about a character a lot like JD Painter.

      "My name is Matt Foley, I am a motivational speaker, and I live in a van down by the river."

  27. Hello Painter, now go away

  28. I am constantly getting pop up ads from Cooley. Ugh.

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  30. Are these sources from admissions offices?

  31. One of my colleagues was saying when he graduated from Kent in Chicago he owed around $15k in 1985 or so. Paid it odd, not a big deal.

    I graduated depaul in early 2000s and still owe over $150k and work my ass off

  32. "I draw the lines differently:

    Tier 1: Harvard, Yale, Stanford
    Tier 2: the rest of the top ten or so
    Tier 3: about the next fifteen
    Tier 4: all others

    The idea that "Top 50" (called by idiots "Tier 1") constitutes a salient category is a bit of foolish fiction aggressively promoted by Numbers 41–50 and their students—as well as by U.S. News, which couldn't possibly sell copies by saying that only two dozen schools matter."

    Pretty accurate, actually. When I graduated (late '90s), first tier was actually meaningful and even top 100 would get you a decent job if you were at the top of the class. But in today's market, the real 4 tiers look something like:

    1. Top 14
    2. The rest of the "First" Tier (with probably a Varsity and JV division)
    3. The (massive) Third Tier (from 40 or 50 to probably down into the early 100s)
    4. Diplomas that are essentially very expensive toilet paper

    1. I carved it up as I did because there's a big difference between a Yale and a Duke, between a Duke and a Minnesota, between a Minnesota and anything below #30 or so.

      So even "Top 14" glosses over some important differences.

      I'm willing to create a Tier 5, however, for everything from 100 or so to the end. Under that scheme, Tier 4 would run approximately from 30 to 100.

    2. You draw some silly lines. That's not how I see it.

    3. You must be a law professor trying to inflict your ideas of what the ranks should be. Instead of adding confusion into the discussion, why not work within the existing system.

    4. Because the existing system is stupid. Law schools #1 and #50 do not bound a meaningful category.

  33. The airhead Tampa socialite involved in the Petraeus investigation has serious money problems; she and her husband are facing eviction from the manse where they entertained the generals. Her twin sister is equally financially challenged and has filed for bankruptcy. The sis is a graduate of................Georgetown Law.

  34. Two points:

    1. If schools are willing to abandon all admissions standards, there are still plenty of warm bodies out there eager to sign over their loan checks. The drop in applications has caused the percent-accepted rate to increase from around 50% up to around 70%. We are a few more years away from actually having too few applicants to fill the seats.

    2. Schools are absolutely willing to abandon all admissions standards. As others have pointed out, rankings still matter at the top -- there is a clear advantage to a top 10 degree over a top 30, which in turn has a (smaller) advantage over a top 50 -- but when you get down to, for example, Northeastern vs. Santa Clara, does anyone actually know or care? Of course not. The kids that go to Northeastern do so because they want to live in Boston, and the kids that go to Santa Clara do so because they want to live in California.

    So when given the choice between reducing the number of new students, with its concomitant drastic cut in incoming funds, to maintain a prestigious 76 ranking (Northeastern) by USNWR, or dropping a few spots by letting in anyone that can fog a mirror, I think the choice is obvious.

    1. "So when given the choice between reducing the number of new students, with its concomitant drastic cut in incoming funds, to maintain a prestigious 76 ranking (Northeastern) by USNWR, or dropping a few spots by letting in anyone that can fog a mirror, I think the choice is obvious."

      And if everybody below #30 or so is doing this to a greater or lesser degree, one might not change much in relative rankings, precisely because they're relative.

  35. the fact is that college loans are really a form of welfare at this point. But the student is too young to realize the true weight of future debt. Or too desperate to care....

    1. How are college loans welfare? You don't have to repay welfare money if you've obtained it honestly out of need.

      These loans are more like taking money from a loan shark who will charge you interest and harass you mercilessly for your entire life until they get paid.

    2. I see no crash. What I see are applicant pools gradually dropping until schools start to feel the pinch, then schools will perhaps drop their tuition a nominal amount, not enough to lay off staff but enough to perhaps curb sabbaticals and other frivolous waste like that. Furthermore, they will also drop their admissions standards slightly, which will increase the pool of potential applicants, and they will be able to continue to fill their classes for many years to come.

      The cost of a law degree does not need to come down, because there are a continuous supply of dupes and fools in the country who will pay for it. Admissions standards will drop, the reputation of legal education will continue to drop, but for as long as primetime television has a couple of law-related shows that glamorize the profession, I bet that not one law school in the entire country will ever have to worry about shutting its doors.

      We forget sometimes that we're actually some of the smarter, better-educated, and analytical people in this country. Beneath us lies a vast, untapped ocean of idiots, and law schools know it.

    3. Check her blog - she's completely certifiable.

      I mean, "wow", is all I can say.

  36. ABA has formed a Subcommittee on Costs and Economics of Legal Education. Details here:

    They are soliciting public comment.

    1. This should be good. I have a number of comments to make. Just wonder if they will listen? It is a start anyway.

    2. The Dean at my tier 4 school is a "reporter" for said subcommittee. When I asked him about the legal job market last year for a story in the law school newspaper he told me he "didn't know" and that it "depended on the region."

      I wouldn't get my hopes up. It's akin to asking the foxes what needs to be done to protect the henhouse.

  37. This is encouraging news. When acceptance rates approach 100 percent, it's game over for law schools.

    I have an acquaintance who does PR / recruiting for a small private college. He is applying to work at a larger school. He said he is so excited for the opportunity to go to the bigger school and recruit the best students instead of "just filling the class." I never really thought about the mission of small private colleges as "just filling the class," but it is.

    This is already going on in law schools and I expect we will see more of it. Like law practice, the best marketers will win regardless of the quality of the service they provide. We may see some "Top" 100 schools close before the TTTT's.

  38. Inside the Law School Scam II

    Coming soon

    ~Mr. Infinity

  39. It's not only the lower tier and stand-alone school that are at risk. At universities, the central administration will have to decide whether it wants to subsidize the law school for several years. I believe some will say no.

    1. KenHirshNovember 15, 2012 5:33 AM

      "It's not only the lower tier and stand-alone school that are at risk. At universities, the central administration will have to decide whether it wants to subsidize the law school for several years. I believe some will say no."

      If I were working for a lesser law school which was facing inability to send money to central campus, I'd be worried, because central campus isn't running the law school out of love of education.

  40. They've been belt-tightening a bit at my law school. But it's arguably unjustified since BIGLAW salaries are doing just fine. The reality is that if elite law schools (i.e. top 50) need to pay faculty reasonably well in order to attract the most qualified people.

    Fortunately there are some efforts being made to enhance government loans and IBR. Needless to say this will help students and law schools both as the economy bounces back.

    1. This is sarcasm, right?

      Just where are the law profs of the "elite" schools going to go if their salaries are reduced to that of an ordinary non-law prof at their school?

    2. No just trying to inject some sense into this little cult.

    3. "But it's arguably unjustified since BIGLAW salaries are doing just fine."

      Wasn't there an article in this very blog a while ago saying that BigLaw mean starting salaries had declined from $160K to $145?

    4. "I'm tightening my belt another notch to deal with hunger pains!"

    5. You should take this arguably unnecessary belt-tightening as a sign to move on. Quit and take a month in Barbados, and when you get back, send out a resume or two just to the places you would love to work. They should snap you up in a minute, because law professor talent is scarce and BigLaw salaries are doing just fine.

    6. So the few thousand law students who manage to get Biglaw are fine? Not a great assumption as they are mostly coming in with 6 figures of debt. So they have to live very cheaply to get their loans paid off. Then who knows how long they will last at that job?

      The idea that because some students do well, there is not a problem, has long ago been discredited. You are very late to this party.

      And, the vast majority of professors couldn't earn a living practicing law if they lost their cushy jobs in academia. Though it cracks me up to think of Leiter trying to get someone to higher him as a real lawyer instead of a theoretical one.

  41. "The reality is that if elite law schools (i.e. top 50)" - sorry NYC, but I stopped reading right there. Why do I get the feeling you are attending #49 or 50?

    1. Yes, any day now T-50 law schools will start shuttering their doors left and right.

      Dream on. You guys remind me of survivalists who are hoping for an asteroid strike so you will be proven right.

    2. >>Dream on. You guys remind me of survivalists who are hoping for an asteroid strike so you will be proven right.<<

      Don't waste your time dude. I know you're right, you know you're right, but I've give up trying to point out anything reasonable on this blog. The comments section is rather single-minded. Common sense and facts tend to be ignored, and people start to shriek "Leiter! Leiter!" at you if you dare even whisper that it's not all doom and gloom.

      And I like the survivalist image! It actually fits rather well. Everyone here is praying every day for the system to fall to pieces and law schools to crumble and professors to be taken outside and shot.

      But what happens after that? Will it bring them relief? Will it take back their three years of education? Will it pay their student loan bills?

      No. It will bring nothing of the sort. They will still be bitter, angry little boys and girls.

      If you think law school is a scam and that you have been harmed, then the damage is already done and nothing on this blog and no closing of law schools will change the past. What's done is done. This blog is primarily a way for Campos to boost his own career and profile, not as a means to help struggling law grads. He will not deliver jobs, loan reform, or a time machine.

      Sorry. This is one scam that we've been "had" by. The scammer has come and gone as far as we are concerned. It is very noble of us all to want to warn future victims, but I get the distinct impression that such noble goals are not why 99% of the commenters are actually here. They are here because they can tell everyone how bitter they are and how shitty life is.

      It's like a therapy group for bitter law grads where they can air their feelings in a "safe" environment, away from the rest of the world that tells them to grow up, get over it, and move on with their precious little snowflake lives.

    3. @8:52: are you, perhaps, Emory law professor Sara Stadler? She had a similar message for the vast majority of the graduating Class of 2011 who left that fine institution with no job and no hope of repaying their law school debts: "Get over it. The one thing standing in the way of your happiness is a sense of entitlement.”

    4. 8:52 thinks there are no problems with 1) the financing of higher education in America; 2) the quality of service delivered by institutions; or 3) job prospects for recent grads vis-a-vis the contracting economy

    5. I'm not bitter. My mom went to law school and do did I. I have no debt. But I hate what has happened to this profession and how long schools have gotten away with lies.

      Maybe I am wrong. I'm bitter that law schools who make people disclose every parking ticket will at the same time be lpublushing manifestly false information.

      We just saw a similar example regarding retaking the LSAT. On their websites schoolsight claim to average scores or to take all scores into account. But this is not true. There is no indication that retaking will hurt anyone's admission chances. It is all just more marketing propaganda to make it appear that all their students scored above 170 on their first test.

      So, my bitterness is focused on the lying liars who lie to get money from students and then toss those students out the door.

      If you don't think people from even T6 schools are struggling, you obviously dont attend one and you need to read some of the posts on TLS.

    6. What a crock of shit, Prof. X. Take a look at this comment thread, or any comment thread on this site for that matter. The vast majority of posts are not posts by angry law grads "tell[ing] everyone how bitter they are and how shitty life is."

      I know you want everyone to shut up so you can go back to making hundreds of thousands of dollars per year to "philosophize" and author a blog that no one reads and which doesn't even allow comments, but that's simply not going to happen.

  42. NYC is a pretty little snow flake sitting inside his protected little bubble.

  43. I have in the past proposed a "law school death watch" list. Has someone time to revive this.

  44. To help here is my old quick and dirty list:

    Partial Law School Death Watch List (with factors) - ranking the schools in the order in each state that I think they will close. The criteria in general are:

    To list a few criteria:

    - "turkey's voting for thanksgiving/christmas" - stand alone law schools will usually close later unless they are "for profit" because the Dean and faculty would be voting for unemployment. Schools that are part of bigger schools are more vulnerable because the host institution can usually make the decision.

    - value in closing - can a parent school realise value by repurposing or selling facilities.
    - size own endowment - the school will blow through its endowment before closing.
    - large 2012 tuition hikes - a sign of financial desperation.
    - low reputation and low ranking
    - lower ranking than parent school (does it lower the schools prestige)
    - for profit school
    - controversy (see e.g., Tuoro)
    - recency - it has not been around long enough to build up wealth alumni and powerful friends
    - low ranking private - especially with higher ranking schools in same metro
    - public in state with multiple public law schools and low ranking.

    1. Miles School of law (unaccredited, has the lowest bar pass rate conceivable (sometimes 0%)
    2. Birmingham School of Law (unaccredited, low bar passage rate
    3. Cumberland School of Law (low ranking, poor employment performance, parent college decision)

    Pheonix School of Law (commercial operation, will close when it loses money, new Obama administration policies on use of revenue large factor, huge student debt, poor reputation)

    Washington DC
    1. UDC (poor reputation, bad law passage rate), possible it will consolidate with Howard.
    2. American University (a steadily declining reputation and high cost and student debt puts it ahead of Catholic U – decision lies with a parent college);
    3. Catholic University, Columbus law school (despite a good local reputation for its graduates, better than American in fact, it will struggle if GW and Georgetown start making big offers to secure students, but it has wealthy donors)
    4. Howard – as a historically black college it has struggled as segregation has vanished in DC law schools.

    1. Florida Coastal (commercial, investors will kill it when it loses money, new Obama admin regs on student loan expenditures will hurt)
    2. Ave Maria (what is there to say, small, terrible bar passage rate, broke, expensive)
    3. NOVA Southeastern - Shepard Broad (you went where? Low rank, no reputation for good or ill, larger school makes the decision)
    4. Florida International College of Law (parent calls the shot, no reputation, low rank, money losing or soon will be)
    5. Barry School of Law (oh dear, what good things can you say)
    6. Stetson (poor reputation, low rank, parent college decision)
    7. Florida A&M (it is a state school, but weakly performing, new and in a state with two other state law schools.

    1. John Marshall School of Law (private, for profit, will close when it is a long run money pit)
    2. Mercer (Walter F. George) (low rank, decision lies with a larger institution Mercer University, and if Georgia needs to close schools Mercer is the most vulnerable)

    Valparaiso (bottom of the rankings, in a recent sign of desperation it has decided that “sports law” is the wave of the future)

    Drake (low rank, private, where?)

    1. Valparaiso has embraced "sports law"? That is indeed a sign of desperation. The idea, presumably, is to imply that the graduates of that stinking toilet will be rubbing elbows with celebrities. Pfffffft.

  45. So when I searched for this blog- the google ad for Widener Law School comes up.

  46. And closing law schools will help the idiots who took out massive debt they knew they could not ever re-pay how? The scam will continue - only with fewer law schools. The $$$ will still flow and with fewer seats the remaining schools can justify even higher tuition.

    1. It won't help them. But it will ensure that fewer idiots make the same mistake in the future. It will also ensure that many of the idiots "teaching" in law schools (getting paid $200K/year to do nothing) will be begging for doc review work.

      I'm employed and very happy with my career, but the thought of law schools closing and law professors being out of work, puts a huge smile on my face.

  47. "the hard questions will really start getting asked and answered, all over legal academia."


    "Why isn't Skadden interested in hiring me back at Partner level?"

    "How can I fool people into thinking that my 70k low-level in-house gig is better than my 200k professor gig?"

    "You expect me to work past 5:30?"

    "Why aren't I getting any good clients?"

    "Why aren't my crappy clients paying me?"

    "How do you actually FILE something?"

    1. "You expect me to work past 5:30?"

      You expect me to work more than 6 hours a week?

      What are you, fascists?

  48. I think the chances of the typical lawprof getting hired in-house is even less likely than being picked up by a firm.

    The only exception I can see is if the prof was a recognized area in an area that a big company could leverage to turn him into one of their "government affairs staff attorneys" (i.e., a lobbyist in DC).

    For example, a pharma company might pick up a lawprof who had written extensively in favor of making some regulatory change that the pharma company saw as profitable for them.

    Now, I do recognize that the chances of a given lawprof writing for regulation changes that HELP corporate America are small indeed.

    1. "...the prof was a recognized *expert* in an area that a big company could leverage "

      The Office of Typographical Errors Corrections sincerely regrets this error.

    2. How many openings are there for cashiered professors who spend their days postulating neo-Rawlsian theories?

    3. Not many. But like I said, a lawprof with some measure of "cred" in a substantive area can always be squeezed dry for perceived lobbying value (this is of course true for either in-house or outhouse positions).

  49. NYC,

    I am 5:49. In all seriousness where are the law professors going to go if their "elite" schools reduce their salaries to those of a normal non-law professor?

  50. MacK - I will take on Pennsylvania. In no particular order:

    Drexel - What the hell where they thinking of when they opened this place.

    Widner - Worst law school in the state.

    Villanova - Once a decent school, but its been a long fall after a series of scandals.

    Duquesne - The second best law school in a city (Pittsburgh) that doesn't need two law schools.

    1. u forgot Temple.

    2. I would generally agree. I think MacK's two most important criteria are "newness" and how the physical plant is viewed by the parent institution.

      In light of that, I think Drexel is almost certain to disappear within three years. The school built a great building, but I think the school was largely a result of the late President's (Papadakkis?) desire to make Drexel "world class". I think it is already an awesome engineering universisty, and they will see that the Law School plan is over-reaching.

      Widener will definitely have to shutter Harrisburg, and I wouldn't be surprised if the main campus law school goes as well.

      I think DU and VU are in interesting predicaments. Full disclosure, I'm a VLS alum. However, VLS has a brand new building that the rest of the University is probably eying with great envy. Even though there have been scandals, I still think there is a strong enough alumni base to keep it open. Plus, if Widener and Drexel close (presumably along with Rutgers Camden), all of a sudden we return to a law market of 30 years ago, with just Penn, Temple, and Nova serving Philadelphia.

  51. Here in Colorado - keep CU and close DU (private, expensive and poor bar passage rate). The state only needs one law school.

    1. DU beat CU's bar pass rate this July (91% to 89%):

  52. What about Ohio? Maybe DJM can give her opinion.

  53. Ohio? Keep Ohio State, Case Western, and University of Cincinnati. Drop the hammer on the other seven schools (that's right, Ohio has 10 law schools).

    1. Good list - though case wester could close too.

      What about new York? City and state please!

    2. Ohio has nine law schools. But still.

  54. I wouldn't put it past LSAC to secretly dumb down the LSAT, thus artificially extending the illusion that the quality of applicants is not going down.

    Also, any law school with disproportionate minority enrollment will be spared, as no one wants to be on the receiving end of "RACIST!"

    1. This makes no sense to me. The scores are scaled based on past experimental
      Sections. Do you think no one will notice if suddenly a higher number of people are getting over 170?

      Now they could completely revamp the test do it couldn't be easily compared to past scores.

    2. LSAC, as part of the Law School Industrial Complex, loses money if the scam starts coming down. I think it's safe to say the scumbags who charge >$100 to take a PAPER AND PENCIL TEST IN 2012 will do whatever they can--no matter how nefarious--to keep the gravy train rolling.

      I've seen their HQ. It's a brand new building in an affluent Northeastern suburb. They like their dough.

    3. Well, there headquarters faired poorly during sandy. Of course they like money and they are losing money as test takers drop. But I don't think they can do much to make people take the test. Even if more people get higher scores, there will still be fewer test takers.

    4. ell, oh, ell...

  55. NJ can lose either Rutgers-Camden or Seton Hall. Neither of the state's three law schools are particularly exemplary, but(apart from being in complete institutional denial over the type of law school it actually is), Rutgers-Newark has managed to hold itself relatively harmless during the Great Contraction.

    Newark does not need two law schools; R-N is the state institution and is much older than Seton Hall. That being said, it probably offends the conscience on a certain level that geography alone should spare a glorified racket like Rutgers-Camden from certain extinction.

    1. Be careful. Speaking ill of the seton hall law toilet may cause the Valvoline Dean and his henchmen to try to blackball you.

  56. How about this one - People's College of Law in LA

    "We only admit those students who, regardless of their quite varied political, spiritual, cultural or social backgrounds, have demonstrated a commitment to progressive social change, have an awareness of working class issues and will employ the skills gained at the school to further these goals in their own way. Thus, if you want to be a prosecutor or a corporate attorney, don't waste our time applying; there are plenty of other schools out there for you!"

    1. (From the People's College of Law website)

      "To date, students have been unable to get government sponsored financial aid. However, we encourage you to investigate the world of scholarships."


      "Is the LSAT exam required of applicants to PCL? No. PCL recognizes the cultural and sociological limitations of tests such as the LSAT, and does not consider it helpful or necessary in screening viable candidates for the PCL juris doctor program."

      BUT you can take the Cali bar exam. According to wikipedia, in the years 1997 - 2010, exactly THREE PCL grads passed it on the first go. (But to be fair, that's out of only 29 first-time takers. So their pass rate is a whoppin' 10%).

    2. But Wait, There`s More!November 15, 2012 at 2:40 PM

      July 2010 and July 2011 combined stats (2012 not avail) for PCL:

      A total of 15 PCL grads took the CaliBar (2 noobs and 13 repeaters).

      None passed.

    3. Reportedly this place requires its students to do administrative tasks—answering telephones, mopping floors—as part of their studies.

    4. @ 5:11 - hey, dude, whatcha got against lawl skule students gettin' them some practical experience???

  57. @Mack -- that's quite a list of crap you have put together, I can honestly say I had only heard of a handful of the schools on that list.

    I wasn't aware that Alabama did the unaccredited school thing, I thought that was just something they had in Cali.

    There has to be a way to cut the federal money from going to these schools that can't even get ABA approval, I would think.

  58. @2:02
    California has probably a dozen or more schools like the Peoples College of Law. I remember going to a used bookstore in Sacramento back when I was in school and I noticed a class time schedule posted on a door in the back of the store. The school didn't even have a building, they just rented space in the back of a used bookstore. That's innovative cost-cutting right there.

  59. Ill take California:

    (well they are in many ways two states, someone else can take SoCal)

    Northern California: (no particular order)

    UC Hastings; as the oldest public law school will likely survive if only for its alumni base.

    UC Berkeley (known to most in CA simply as "Boalt") The state's flagship law school isn't going anywhere, even if it's grads don't know anything practical.

    Golden Gate; Bay Area's oldest law school with a part time program will likely survive only because (a) it has a part-time program, and (b) people want to go to school in San Francisco. However, As SF doesn't need three law schools' this would be the first to go.

    University of San Francisco; should close, but likely will survive as the school is well-represented among San Francisco's elite (especially the families who actually are from there.)

    McGeorge (UOP - nobody calls it "Pacific") would probably close but for (i) it's attractive to state bureaucrats for career advancement, and (ii) its association with Justice Kennedy.

    UC Davis - Should close, does not have a strong alumni base, and like UC Irvine, I've never understood its reason for existing. (especially now that it and all other UC schools are more expensive than any CA private school.)

    Santa Clara - other than it's IP program, I don't understand why this school still exists.

    Stanford - "the hardest thing about Stanford Law School is getting into Stanford Law School" Have fun with your degrees that are worth something.

  60. OT: "The task force the American Bar Association formed in August to examine the challenges facing law schools is asking for public input on questions ranging from how the cost of legal education hurts students and the legal profession, to what law schools should seek to achieve during the next 25 years."

    I nominate LawProf & DJM


    Given the flood of Emory grads coming to the Cornhusker state, we really don't need two law schools. Keep UNL because it's affordable and it's SPACE LAW program is CRUCIAL. DUMP Third Tier Creighton.

    1. "Given the flood of Emory grads"

      Classic, (wo)man; just classic.

  62. Here's my take on the potential of New York law schools closing (I'm an NYC resident):

    NYU and Columbia: elite, will obviously stay open.

    Cardozo: only places about 10% of its grads in Biglaw since 2008 and wildly overpriced, but a lot of its students come from affluent backgrounds and thus have family help in paying for law school and finding jobs. Also, its grads seem to have a decent reputation among practicing attorneys. Will survive, but will have to dramatically cut tuition and become a practice-focused school instead of pretending to be HYS.

    Brooklyn: very old, huge alumni base, so it'll survive, but will need to make the same changes as Cardozo.

    Fordham: will also survive because of its age and huge alumni base, but Biglaw placement rates have collapsed into the 20-25% range, probably needs to cut tuition and become more practice-oriented.

    Hofstra: supposedly has terrible real placement stats and awful reputation, old but always low-ranked and doesn't appear to have many powerful, well-connected alums. Will shut down.

    New York Law: one of the biggest scams in the country, higher tuition than Harvard Law despite being unranked, greatly increased the size of their entering class after getting funding for a new building, horrible placement stats, independent (not connected to a central university) but old and with a strong, well-connected alumni base. Will probably close - such an obvious scam that I don't think the alumni base can save it.

    St. John's: old school, huge, well-connected, powerful alumni base, decent reputation among practicing attorneys, can survive as a cheap, practice-oriented school that makes it very clear to incoming students that they'll be getting jobs in the non-sexy practice areas (personal injury, insurance defense, collections, etc.).

    CUNY Law: very cheap, public interest focus, has a ton of minority students, will definitely survive.

    Albany Law: placed very well in state government jobs when such jobs were plentiful, good reputation in Albany area, will survive, but will probably have to lower tuition.

    Cornell: elite, will definitely survive.

    Pace: abysmal placement stats, in a suburb, not NYC itself, insanely expensive, affiliated with a central university, will definitely close.

    Syracuse: low-ranked, probably poor placement stats, located in the economically depressed part of the state, will likely close.

    Touro: another of the worst scams in the country, abysmal placement stats, also in an NYC suburb, affiliated with a central university whose other programs actually have very good reputations, will definitely close.

    Buffalo: NY's lone state school, relatively cheap tuition, will stay open.

    1. I'm not plugged in to NYC/NY State enough to argue any of your points, but I do wonder whether the prior posters didn't give perhaps too much weight to the alumni base. That question really hit home as I read through your (excellent) analysis.

      Other than that, thanks much for taking the time and effort here. Very interesting.

  63. InTrade should start a market related to closing of law schools

    1. InTrade should start a market related to the assassination of law school deans.

      On one side, the massing of anger and righteous rage is there.

      On the other, the entrenched arrogance of decades and the insolent disregard for truth.

      Sooner or later, somebody is going to get two to the head in the Administrators' parking lot.

      Respect for the "law" doesn't mean anything to those systematically defrauded by the "legal system".

    2. Moderation In Everything, they say, and...November 15, 2012 at 5:49 PM

      and 4:59 needs to be "moderated", please.

  64. The Man on the Bridge Part 1

    For Kimber

    (Thank You MW)

    It was late in the day and getting dark, and time for the Seagulls to find a spot to perch for the night. The best places were atop the light posts that were interspersed every 200 feet along both lanes of the long cable suspension bridge.
    There was only room for one seagull on each globe, and, as usual, all the seagulls in the Flock that called the Throgs Neck Bridge and it's vicinity their home would jockey for a light post, often hovering and wrestling with their mates, and, once settled, would stay there. It is very similar to the way Humans try for a seat on the subway, or a bus. It isn't necessarily a hostile battle, but there are selfish motives all the same, even though the Seagulls were, overall, a friendly and respectful community.
    On this evening there was one tired old seagull named Caleb, who was having a hard time finding a lampost to perch upon. Caleb was not as nimble or quick as he used to be. He could not outpace or outrace the younger seagulls, who, with every passing year, seemed to be getting faster and faster.
    Caleb tried for the nearest lampost, but arrived too late as a younger, immature, mottled and brownish seagull beat him there with plenty of time to spare.
    “Sorry old Dude” said the mottled seagull. (Most Immature seagulls don't learn real manners until their feathers molt after a couple of years, and they take on their true adult colors of driftwood grey on their wings, and stunning snow white on their head and breasts and undersides.
    Caled sighed and flew off in search of another lightpost, but this evening he wasn't having much luck. He flew higher for a better view, and saw that all along the north and southbound lanes on the bridge, every lightpost had a seagull already perched on top.

    ‘This is bad’, thought Caleb. 'If I don’t find a spot, I’ll have to perch higher up on the bridge where the winds are stronger, and it is far colder. I don’t know how many more nights like that I can stand, and especially now that the fall is over and the cold winter winds are setting in.'

    For you see, as I say, Caleb was an older seagull. He had lived a long life-longer than most seagulls could ever hope to live, and he now felt tired most of the time. His once snow white breast was dull, and the downy feathers covering it were thinner. The grey on top of his wings, stiff and weakened by age, was somewhat dingy. And Caleb oftentimes felt dispirited and cynical, for all of the seagulls that he had grown up with in his youth were gone now, and Caleb was the last one left. The younger seagulls, although they were fine companions, did not seem to really know and love him in the true sense-the way his parents and mate (who had died while on the nest, along with the eggs of his two children) did--and Caleb missed the playmates of his youth.
    Caleb hovered in the stiff winter breeze for a while, and looked all about.

    “The West Wind will have no mercy tonight” he thought. His cheeks will fill and blow hard.”

  65. Caleb noticed that his old his friend, Selwyn, was perched atop one of the more envable light-posts near the toll booths.Although the toll booth section tended to by noisy with car and truck traffic, it was much lower and warmer, and besides, there was less traffic and noise at night.

    Caleb adjusted his wings, and dipped into a gradual and graceful dive (Though very old, Caleb could still fly gracefully if he wanted to) and circled once, and then hovered around old Selwyn.
    Selwyn was not as old as Caleb, but he could still remember a time when Caleb could out jockey and perch better than him and every other seagull in the Flock.

    "Ho there old timer!” Selwyn said. “No Luck tonight?”

    Caleb chuckled. “It’s Good to see you” he said. I thought you might have become lost at the City Dump."

    Selwyn laughed at Caleb’s remark. With each passing year , they both frequented the City Dump more and more often for the easy meals and scraps that they would find among the mounds of fresh garbage. It was easy to tear open a plastic trash bag and rummage around inside for a piece of chicken, or even fish if they were lucky, or at least, and more commonly, bread. For at this point in their lives they both noticed that trying to hover along the shoreline, as the younger seagulls did, in search of conch shells or rock or spider crabs, was much a much more difficult way to get a meal. What was especially difficult was trying to break a conch shell open by flying high into the air over the pavement and dropping it-over and over if necessary- until it cracked- and they could access the meat inside with their barrow bills.

    "I found a nice buffalo wing today” Selwyn said. "You know, I am amazed at how much Humans can waste and throw in the garbage. The wing was fresh-probably from a restaurant I think, because it had a little too much seasoning, and one side had hot sauce, which made me very thirsty.”

    “All I found was some bread” Caleb replied. “But it filled me up allright."

    Selwyn looked at Caleb with concern and said:

    "Old Friend, would you like to have my perch tonight? You look very tired. It is really no problem for me to sleep higher up on the bridge.”
    But Caleb wouldn't hear of taking Selwyn up on his generous offer.
    “No my friend” Caleb said. “That is very kind of you, But you have only one leg, and that has weakened you enough. Stay here and rest yourself. It will be a hard day tomorrow for you at the City Dump.”

    Selwyn grunted and was silent. The wind had shifted slightly, so Caleb tilted his wings and circled around, and then came back to hover once more over Selwyn.

    Caleb said: "I noticed a young Human a few minutes ago climbing the main suspension cable over the north- bound lane. He’s almost to the top of the Main Tower."

    “Another one?” said Selwyn. “That must be the fourth one this year”

    “Yes” replied Caleb. He went to a lower tier Law School. And he looks very determined. I think he is going to do it."

    Selwyn let out a long sigh.

    To Be Continued

  66. "UC Hastings; as the oldest public law school will likely survive if only for its alumni base."

    I actually think Hastings is good sleeper pick for first-tier school most likely to go under. A couple of reasons:
    1. It's been on a slow, but steady, downward spiral for decades. It once would have been considered a solidly top 20 or higher, but now is barely hanging on to being a top 50.
    2. There has been talk of cutting the school loose and making it private for years. It's an odd entity -- a public, but free-standing, law school. If it did go private, I can't see it surviving alone.
    3. Most importantly, it is the fourth (and probably soon to be the fifth when UCI gets ranked) ranked public school in an already crowded market.

    When the UC's were still cheap, Hastings served some purpose. Now that they are as or more expensive than the private schools, I just can't see any reason why it should continue to exist. If it drops out of the first tier on USNWR, I predict it's game over.

    1. you're making an unwise assumption that irvine will be ranked ahead of Hastings. It's not for sure.

    2. Zman, don't discount the pull Erwin has.

  67. once again this is a GOVERMENT problem.. They guarantee the loan, the banks would NOT lend without a quarantee(if they did, they would go bankrupt). take the goverment loan out and tution TANKS and diplomam ills like Cooley will not exist.

    1. Typo, Freudian Slip, or Intentional?November 15, 2012 at 5:55 PM

      "and diplomam ills like Cooley"

      Enquiring minds wanna know.

  68. "you're making an unwise assumption that irvine will be ranked ahead of Hastings. It's not for sure."

    If UCI comes in ranked outside the top 50, then it's going to be DOA. I'll be the first one celebrating if that happens, but I unfortunately don't think that it's going to. Most likely scenario for them -- looking at things like rep of the school generally, rep of the faculty, and LSAT/GPA of students -- seems to be a ranking somewhere in the bottom half of the first tier (I would guess in the thirties).

    So I hope your right, and if you are then I would change my prediction -- whether its UCI or Hastings, whichever school ends up being the fifth ranked public law school in California will likely be closed.

    Does anyone know when UCI will be ranked?

  69. So Cal:

    Top Schools -- UCLA and USC

    Both top 20, obviously not going anywhere

    Regional Schools -- Pepperdine, U San Diego, Loyola

    I think USD is probably in the best position because they are at least the best game in town down in San Diego instead of being a second-class citizen up in LA. But Pepperdine is rich, rich, rich so it's not going anywhere either. Loyola will probably struggle the most but still survive. The school is big enough and old enough that it has a strong alumni network locally.

    Toilets: Cal Western, Chapman, Southwestern, Thomas Jefferson, La Verne, Western State

    If you aren't from California you probably didn't even know any of these schools existed. They should all be closed, but unfortunately that's not likely, so here is my prediction of who might and why:

    1. Thomas Jefferson - the lawsuit has really trashed their rep, and they have the worst placement stats of the toilets (24% employed in JD/full-time jobs, 0.8% in firms over 100 -- any chance that't not a doc review job?). This one is gone in 5.

    2. Western State - a free-standing, for-profit school run by the Education Management Corporation, enough said. Also gone in 5.

    3. University of La Verne - not much to say because I had honestly never heard of this school until now, but that can't say much for their reputation. More likely than not to dissapear.

    4. Southwestern - another free-standing school, but they are pretty big (full and part-time programs, plus LLM) and will probably just limp along like the piece of crap they have always been. 50/50 odds.

    5. Cal Western - probably benefits a little bit from being in San Diego and from having built up a decent alumni network there. Survives.

    6. Chapman - not going anywhere, they are like a (even) worse version of Pepperdine -- a nice place for the rich, but slightly dim, to blow a few years and a few hundred k.

    Walking Dead: Whittier

    Seriously, I can't believe this place still exists. Their decision to move the school to Orange County never did much for the school like they had hoped -- school is unranked by USNWR and most recent placement stats are 17% employed JD/full-time. School also almost lost accreditation recently.

    The law school seems like it is nothing but an embarassment and drag on the rep of the parent institution, and, is located on what I imagine is some very valuable land in Costa Mesa. I would think it very tempting for the school to close this shithole down and cash out the property.

  70. Lot of wishful thinking and supposition on this page. Don't hold your breath waiting, people.

    What Campos doesn't seem to realize is that if every law school in America's LSAT median dropped by 20 points tonight, the USNWR rankings would be ... exactly the same as it is now.

    Some schools' medians will go down faster than others, you say? Schools move up and down in the rankings every year. The bottom of the barrel schools haven't run out of applicants yet. Why would that happen this year?

  71. Sad but true -- apps are down significantly, but until we actually reach a point where there are fewer apps than spots, we will just see a general and across the board decline in admissions standards (with a few relative winners and relative losers on the way down).

    That said, going from around 50% to around 70% acceptance is pretty huge. A few more years and we might actually be at or very near 100%. Then we will finally see some of these TTT's start to close.

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