Monday, October 31, 2011
Law Schools are Not in Crisis
The National Law Journal is hosting a discussion of the state of law schools, with contributions from the current Chair of the ABA Section on Legal Education, John F. O'Brien, the President of AALS, Michael Olivas, Erwin Chemerinski of Irvine, Bill Henderson of Indiana, Lucille Jewel of John Marshall (Atlanta), and Kyle McEntee of Law School Transparency. Here is my initial post:
That's what makes the law school scam so disheartening. They've figured out the perfect crime. It's evil genius of a type that would make the worst Bond villain envious.
1. Publish very attractive "99% employed with median salary of $60k for those who chose government, and $120k for those who chose private practice" job placement numbers that an unemployed graduate would have to be crazy to turn down.
2. Immunize yourself from fraud claims by coopting the ABA committee in charge of determining the "proper" way to disclose job placement numbers.
3. Only admit very risk averse and non-combative types (others will be weeded out by the C&F process in admissions).
4. Beat them down during the three years, so that once they graduate unemployed the only thought in their head is "well, I wasn't top x% so I didn't deserve to be taught skills that the economy can use."
5. Get the government to guaranty the financing, so private sector prudence doesn't gum up your plan.
6. Vigorously fight anyone who poses a serious challenge to your scam (see e.g. Cooley/NYLS motions to dismiss).
I'm just waiting to see how the law schools stifle Senator Boxer, Coburn and Grassley's request for a DOE investigation. Something tells me they'll coopt the DOE too.
Another way in which the ABA (which has been co-opted by the schools) allows the schools to publish a fraudulent statistic:
They now require schools to report student loan default rates. However their definition of "default rate" is misleading and does not represent the true number of students who are not making their payments. Students who go on deferment or IBR will not count as defaulters under the ABA's definition, even though the graduate is not making his/her requirement payment.
The ABA - masters of statistical fraud.
I'm sorry, but I have a hard time feeling bad for law students who fail to make the big bucks after graduating. Maybe folks who go to law school as a business investment should assume some risk that their investment won't pay off. (FTR, I personally have almost 100K in law school debt, and I'm no longer practicing law.)
In my daily review of legal blogs/websites, this morning's (11/2/11) TaxProf posts "Symposium: The Future of Legal Education," 96 Iowa L.R. 1447-1717 (2011) with links to the various articles by law school deans and assistant deans. Law schools may not be in crisis, but there are apparently concerns that fill up over 250 pages.
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