Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Fifth Tier, For-Profit Charlotte School of Law Closes Its Doors

The News: On August 15, 2017, the New York Times DealBook featured an Elizabeth Olson piece entitled “For-Profit Charlotte School of Law Closes.” Look at this opening:

“Charlotte School of Law, an embattled for-profit law school, has shut down, state officials confirmed — making it the nation’s second accredited law school to close its doors this year. 

Although Charlotte Law did not issue a formal closing notice, its license to operate in North Carolina expired, it had no approved plan to teach students and, as of Tuesday, it no longer had a website. 

The North Carolina attorney general’s office, which has been investigating the law school for several months, confirmed that the school had closed.

“I want to express my disappointment for the students and their families affected by Charlotte School of Law’s failure,” Josh Stein, the attorney general, said in a statement on Tuesday. 

The law school had been hanging on by a thread for months in the face of tumbling enrollment after the American Bar Association’s accreditors put it on probation in November. 

The attorney general’s office has been examining whether Charlotte Law’s students had the required information to enroll for the school’s law degree.

The attorney general’s office notified the federal Education Department that Charlotte Law was no longer licensed to operate in the state. Without a license, “Charlotte School of Law is now required to be closed,” Mr. Stein said in his statement. 

Earlier this year, trustees of Whittier College in California announced the closure of Whittier Law School, the first fully accredited law school to succumb to declines in student enrollments and tuition revenue.

Charlotte Law had struggled with those same problems and more. The A.B.A.’s accrediting body had placed the school on probation after finding its disclosures for students fell short of requirements. Not long after, the federal Education Department cited the school for “substantial misrepresentations” to students about its compliance with accreditation standards.” [Emphasis mine]

Paul Campos did more to bring the law school scam to light than anyone else. He deserves some recognition for his efforts. Frankly, I don’t rejoice in these closures. However, when the “education” costs a king’s ransom – and the job prospects are weak for the vast majority of graduates – it is indefensible. Also, at least this might provide the affected students with a chance to have their loans forgiven – if they are smart enough not to continue their TTTTT studies somewhere else. Plus, as the “professors” are so fond of saying, they can now go out into private practice and make a ton of money. Of course, they will also need to work more than 4-6 hours per week.

Other Coverage: On August 15, 2017, Inside Higher Ed published an Andrew Kreighbaum article headlined “Report: For-Profit Charlotte School of Law Will Close.” Here is the full text:

“The for-profit Charlotte School of Law will close effective immediately, according toan email from the president of the school’s alumni associated published by local media. 

The report comes days after Charlotte missed multiple deadlines set by state regulators to keep its license to operate in North Carolina. And Monday night, WBTV, which reported the school’s closure, cited multiple sources saying the American Bar Association rejected a teach-out plan from Charlotte.

The law school’s website as of Tuesday morning has also been taken down.

The ABA placed Charlotte on probation last year for failing to admit students likely to succeed in the program and pass the bar exam. The Obama administration in December, citing those failures and substantial misrepresentations to students, cut off the school’s access to Title IV aid, which includes federal student loans. And North Carolina’s attorney general, Josh Stein, has meanwhile pursued his own investigation of the school.

The developments over the last week occurred as Charlotte’s leaders negotiated with the Department of Education over conditions to restore the school’s access to Title IV. Among the conditions set out by the department in recent negotiations was a multimillion-dollar letter of credit. Without that letter, taxpayers would be on the hook for discharge of loans taken out by students to attend the school.” [Emphasis mine]

How hard did private equity firm Sterling Partners, and its shareholders, push to save this joke of law school? They didn’t try to pay off some education officials in that state?

You can also check out Old Guy’s account of this TTTTT closure, on his August 14, 2017 entry on Outside the Law School Scam, “Charlotte School of Law has quietly closed.” It appears that the administrators of the law school did not have the decency to contact the students about their decision. Then again, the pupils are mere student loan conduits. I’m sure they had plenty of time to spend with their lobbyist, when he was working to get the spigot back on for them.

Conclusion: This closure surprised me, especially after the diploma mill was granted access to federal student loan money. I figured these “legal scholars” would come up with a line of credit, in order to stay in operation. Hell, plenty of students desperate for a minimal chance to practice law would have jumped at the chance to enroll in such a place. Don’t forget that this law school charged $44,284 in full-time tuition and fees, for the 2016-2017 academic year. I suppose that those funds came too late for this school and their problems were too numerous. Frankly, most of the students will seek to continue their educaTTTTTion somewhere else.

Friday, August 11, 2017

More ABA-Accredited Diploma Mills to Accept GRE as Alternative to LSAT

Let's Admit More People!: On August 10, 2017, the New York Times DealBook featured an Elizabeth Olson piece labeled “More Law Schools Begin Accepting GRE Test Results.” Look at this opening:

“Law schools, which have been plagued by a shortfall of students in recent years, are changing their admissions requirements.

Two top-ranked schools — Georgetown University Law Center and Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law — this week joined Harvard Law’s recent move to make it simpler to apply.

Applicants can submit the results of the more widely available Graduate Record Exam, the GRE, instead of those from the Law School Admissions Test, which long has been entrenched as the numeric gauge of law school success.

Many law schools are casting wider nets to attract students who would not otherwise set their sights on a legal education. The schools hope that by making it easier for the engineers, scientists and mathematicians who typically take only the GRE, more of them will enroll.

With the two this week, there are now four law schools, including the University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law, that admit students with GRE scores.

“We believe this change will make the admissions process more accessible to students who have great potential to make a mark here at Georgetown Law and in successful legal careers but who might find the LSAT to be a barrier for whatever reason,” said William M. Treanor, the school’s dean.

The changes come as the nation’s lawyers are gathering this week in New York for the annual meeting of the American Bar Association. While the issue of admissions tests is not on the formal agenda, there is likely to be debate in the corridors about whether law schools should be able to use whatever “valid and reliable admission test” they choose — in lieu of the LSAT, which has been administered since 1948.

Arizona was the first law school to defy the decades-old wisdom that the LSAT was the only reliable numerical predictor for how students would fare.

The Law School Admission Council, the nonprofit law school membership organization that is the LSAT’s administrator, reacted harshly at first but later backed away as dozens of deans supported Arizona’s action.

Arizona, Harvard, Georgetown and Northwestern each conducted individual studies that compared their students’ academic results with their entrance test scores. Georgetown said that it found “GRE scores were at least as strong a predictor of academic success at Georgetown Law as LSAT scores.” [Emphasis mine]

Georgetown Univer$ity Law Center consistently fields gigantic first year classes. It also tends to accept a fair amount of transfer students. Graduating cohorts are often contain close to 500 graduates. Plus, Washington D.C. has a predictable glut of attorneys. One wonders how extensive the school’s study was, given that they just accepted the GRE as an alternative to the LSAT.

Other Coverage: On August 8, 2017, Inside Higher Ed published a Scott Jaschik article entitled “Shaking Up Law School Admissions.” Read the following portion:

“Harvard Law School announced in March that it would start to accept the Graduate Record Examination for admissions, not just the traditionally required Law School Admission Test. At the time, only one other law school -- the University of Arizona's -- had such a policy. Many wondered if the move by Harvard, given its stature in legal education, would prompt others to follow.

That question may have been answered Monday, when the law schools of both Georgetown and Northwestern Universities announced that they too would now accept the GRE, a test from the Educational Testing Service. Both Georgetown and Northwestern are highly regarded law schools and have no shortage of applicants.

But even as the announcements give momentum to the test-choice movement, they come at a time when the American Bar Association may clamp down on such experimentation. Currently the ABA requires law schools to either use the LSAT or another test the law school has determined to have "validity" in predicting student success. Arizona, Georgetown, Harvard and Northwestern all say that they have done such studies, and so comply with ABA rules.

The ABA is, however, considering a rules change that would permit law schools to use alternatives to the LSAT only if the ABA has determined the validity of the alternative test -- something the ABA has yet to do with any test besides the LSAT. And many law deans -- including some who have not moved beyond the LSAT -- are angry that the ABA (with backing from the Law School Admission Council, which runs the LSAT) may limit their options going forward.” [Emphasis mine]

If these “educators” are primarily concerned with their students’ futures, then why would they be upset that the ABA may limit alternatives to the LSAT – as a valid admissions entrance exam? Then again, this appears to be a smokescreen. After all, with solid to elite law schools now accepting the GRE, what the hell is to stop low-ranked diploma factories from doing the same thing?

Conclusion: Since the American Bar Association is dominated by Biglaw types and academics, who thinks that the organization will choose to overrule the law schools at Harvard, Northwestern, and Georgetown? Plus, seeing that these particular institutions have no problems enrolling applicants with impressive LSAT scores, how can the ABA decide that the GRE should not be an alternative at places that are struggling to attract applicants? When will these “legal scholars” start admitting those who graduate from college – with a mere one page essay stating why that person wants to be a lawyer?

Sunday, August 6, 2017

ABA Council Approves Proposal to Rescind Transparency Regarding Law School-Funded Positions

TTT News: On August 3, 2017, the TaxProf blog featured an article from Jerry Organ, under the header “Without Any Transparency In The Process, ABA Legal Ed Council Approves Changes To Employment Report And Classification Of Law-School-Funded Positions That Erode Transparency.” Look at this opening:

“At its June 1-2 meeting, the ABA Council for the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar approved a proposal to completely eviscerate the steps it approved in 2015 to assure greater transparency in reporting law-school-funded positions. Indeed, the Council went even further, changing the rules to make it impossible for anyone to discover what number/percentage of a law school’s graduates are in law-school-funded positions, so long as those positions pay $40,000.

The Council did this with no notice, no chance for comment, and no presentation of possible concerns associated with this change. Rather, it simply approved a proposal purporting to simplify reporting of employment outcomes that was submitted by one Council member, Paul Mahoney, whose law school was among several that would benefit from the reclassification of law-school-funded positions.

More significantly, in approving the proposal, the Council also approved several other changes in reporting of employment outcomes that merit much more discussion. These changes, discussed below, were not meaningfully discussed in the proposal, nor do they appear to have been meaningfully discussed by the Council in approving the proposal. Once again, there was no notice of these changes, no chance for comment, and no presentation of possible concerns associated with these changes.

It pains me to write this, as I hold the members of the Council in high regard and believe the Council has done a very good job over the last several years navigating legal education through uncharted waters, particularly with its emphasis on increased transparency regarding conditional scholarships and employment outcomes.

In this instance, however, the Council’s laudable desire to support simplification in reporting of employment outcomes meant that a number of other policy considerations that merit much more attention and thoughtful deliberation did not get due consideration prior to the Council taking action that effectively erodes transparency. 

The Council should rescind its action, and send out the proposed changes for notice and comment and for consideration by the Standard’s Review Committee, which can give due consideration to intended and unintended consequences in recommending an appropriate set of changes regarding the reporting of employment outcomes.” [Emphasis mine]

Do you think they made this decision for the benefit of the applicants, or for the in$titution$ of “higher learning”? If you need to contemplate that for more than a microsecond, then you are not capable of representing others in legal matters.

Other Coverage: Also on August 3, 2017, Kyle McEntee posted an excellent ATL piece labeled “ABA Takes Giant Step Backwards On Transparency.” Read the following portion:

“Without public input, the Council for the ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar has rolled back measures that make law schools more transparent. The ABA has eliminated from the current consumer information report, available for every ABA-approved law school, several pertinent job categories. It has also obfuscated whether jobs are funded by the law school or earned on the open market. The result: students will be misled after years of progress. 

Both the process and substance have already stirred the ire of those in and around legal education.

To see why, it’s worth recounting the recent history of transparency at U.S. law schools. In 2010, my organization made national hay about deceptive employment statistics used by law schools and blessed by the ABA. In their marketing materials, law schools used a “basic employment rate,” typically ranging from 85% – 95% because the rate did not, among numerous flaws, distinguish between jobs at Starbucks, in the law library, and with major law firms. Schools would also advertise six-figure salaries without reporting response rates, which were sometimes as low as 10%. As a result, the ABA and law schools took a beating in the national press, which undoubtedly contributed to demand for law school decreasing dramatically.

Fast forward a few years, beginning with job statistics for the class of 2011, and the ABA began to require law schools to publish far more transparent data. This was accomplished through a very public, deliberative process. In subsequent years, the ABA made additional changes to data collection, reporting, and publishing. Sometimes the changes were positive, other times they were not, but the process was collaborative and transparent. 

This June, the Council did a complete about-face when it implemented revised disclosures and ordered a change to the data collection/reporting process. There was no public notice and comment. Neither Law School Transparency nor the National Association for Law Placement, a key player in law school jobs data reporting since the 1970s, were even privately consulted. Jim Leipold, NALP’s executive director, told me that “NALP was not involved in the decision. Technically, no one was. They did this behind closed doors without any period of notice and comment.” [Emphasis mine]

I’m not surprised that the ABA didn’t talk to LST. However, the fact that they did not consult NALP shows that they don’t respect the process.

Conclusion: In the final analysis, morons will continue to enroll in low-ranked law schools that offer pathetic employment prospects – even with transparent figures regarding outcomes. ABA-accredited diploma mills don’t want to risk losing out on some of the relative few marginal college grads who will reconsider attending a place that has a weak outlook. You, the student, are a mere mean$ to an end, i.e. large bags of federal loan money.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Fifth Tier Charlotte School of Law Will Start Receiving Federal Loans for Fall Semester

TTTT News: On July 31, 2017, the Charlotte Observer published a Michael Gordon piece entitled “Federal loans set to return to struggling Charlotte School of Law.” Look at this portion:

“Charlotte School of Law’s high-stakes gamble on the Trump administration appears to have paid off, with the school announcing it is close to an agreement with the government that would restore vital student-loan money to the beleaguered school. 

The resumption of the federal loans, the school says, would be effective with the fall semester, scheduled to begin Aug. 28. 

If true, the loans will restore millions of dollars students can use for tuition and expenses that were cut off for most of the past academic year. The Department of Education cited the for-profit law school’s chronic failings with test scores, curriculum and admission standards when it made Charlotte Law the first accredited law school ever to be cut off from the student-loan program. 

The loss of the money last year set off faculty layoffs and hundreds of student transfers. Many of the students who stayed had no way to pay for school and rent, leading faculty members to set up an emergency food bank. 

Law school President Chidi Ogene accused the Department of Education of making a political decision that gave the school and its students very little time to respond. He said at the time that Charlotte Law hoped to get a more favorable hearing when the Trump administration took office. That speculation only grew when President Donald Trump picked Betsy DeVos, a vocal supporter of for-profit schools, as secretary of education.

According to the blog Above the Law, Charlotte Law also paid $50,000 to the Podesta Group to lobby government officials on the school’s behalf.

The decision to appeal now appears to have been a sound one. Charlotte Law’s recent press release said it “has been notified by the U.S. Department of Education that it is prepared to reinstate the school’s ability to award (student loans).” 

The money will be made available under certain conditions being ironed out between the school and the federal government, conditions the school says it is willing to abide by but which it would not detail when asked by the Observer.” [Emphasis mine]

This school is operated by Chicago-based equity firm Sterling Capital Partners. It is rated as a fifth tier in$TTTTTiTTTTTuTTTTTion of “higher learning.” In the parlance of US “News” & World Report, it is listed as “Unranked.” Full-time tuition and fees amounted to $44,284, for the 2016-2017 academic year. What a great bargain, huh?! That is the equivalent of paying $28K for a 1986 Buick LeSabre with 317,000 miles on the odometer.

Prior Coverage: On July 5, 2017, the Charlotte Agenda featured an article from Jane Little, under the headline “Charlotte School of Law intends to stay open in the fall, but deadlines loom.” Take a look at this opening:

“Six months after a damning report from the American Bar Association, Charlotte’s only law school has become a shell of its former self. 

The for-profit Charlotte School of Law has been forced to stop accepting new students, and the faculty count has been reduced by about 70 percent. Only about 100 students remain enrolled, down from about 750.

But it’s still limping along. Summer school is currently underway, and fall classes are scheduled to start on Aug. 28.

Still, there are a slew of upcoming deadlines and requirements the school must meet before its fate is determined.

“It’s heartbreaking what’s happening because there’s a lot of people who put a lot into this law school and a lot of people who are displaced and had their lives turned around,” said Daniel Herrera, who recently took a leave of absence from the school. 

What’s next for Charlotte School of Law?

All indications are that Charlotte School of Law is fighting to be able to graduate the students currently enrolled. But there are several regulatory hurdles it faces to even be able to do that. 

On June 21, the UNC Board of Governors gave Charlotte School of Law a deadline: The school has until August 1 to prove that it’s financially stable or it could lose its license to operate in North Carolina. The board also ruled that the school must come up with an ABA approved “teach-out” plan by Aug. 10 to graduate its remaining students. A teach-out plan is a contingency that helps students complete their program at other campuses if theirs closes.” [Emphasis mine]

$omehow, this agreement came just in time for it to show that it is financially stable. Does anyone think that these “legal scholars” will have trouble putting together a contingency teach-out plan, in the next week or so?

Conclusion: In the final analysis, this fifth tier cesspool has some other obstacles to overcome. However, the school has achieved its biggest objective. After all, the spigot of student loan money is the lifeblood of the “higher education” industry. How many pupils have more than $40K laying around in their couch? Plus, that is only for one year of tuition. Sadly, more lemmings will continue to enroll in this place – so long as the school can show that it is solvent. Now juxtapose that with the typical CharloTTTTTe $chool of Law graduate, who simply hopes to find a legal job making $50K – while being saddled down with $160K in non-dischargeable debt.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Don’t Forget About High Rates of Depression and Substance Abuse Among Lawyers

Rampant Drug Use: On July 15, 2017, the New York Times pubished an Eilene Zimmerman article that was entitled “The Lawyer, the Addict.” After retelling how she found out that her ex-husband died of an overdose, and stumbled onto his body, the writer provides the following information:

“The further I probed, the more apparent it became that drug abuse among America’s lawyers is on the rise and deeply hidden. 

One of the first things I learned is that there is little research on lawyers and drug abuse. Nor is there much data on drug use among lawyers compared with the general population or white-collar workers specifically. 

One of the most comprehensive studies of lawyers and substance abuse was released just seven months after Peter died. That 2016 report, from the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation and the American Bar Association, analyzed the responses of 12,825 licensed, practicing attorneys across 19 states. 

Overall, the results showed that about 21 percent of lawyers qualify as problem drinkers, while 28 percent struggle with mild or more serious depression and 19 percent struggle with anxiety. 

Only 3,419 lawyers answered questions about drug use, and that itself is telling, said Patrick Krill, the study’s lead author and also a lawyer. “It’s left to speculation what motivated 75 percent of attorneys to skip over the section on drug use as if it wasn’t there.” 

In Mr. Krill’s opinion, they were afraid to answer. 

Of the lawyers that did answer those questions, 5.6 percent used cocaine, crack and stimulants; 5.6 percent used opioids; 10.2 percent used marijuana and hash; and nearly 16 percent used sedatives. Eighty-five percent of all the lawyers surveyed had used alcohol in the previous year. (For comparison sake, about 65 percent of the general population drinks alcohol.)” [Emphasis mine]

Does that seem to be a sound “profession” to join, prospective law student? Do you somehow think that you are smarter or better than these men and women, including those who attended much stronger law schools than the ones you are considering?!

Prior Coverage: Back on April 1, 2017, the American Lawyer featured a Ray Strom piece labeled “Ex-Reed Smith Partner’s Suicide Trial Highlights Anxiety in Big Law Mergers.” Take a look at this opening:

“Just weeks before Stewart Dolin committed suicide in 2010, he told his therapist he still felt anxious about his position at Reed Smith, the global firm he had joined as a result of its 2007 merger with his former home, 140-lawyer Chicago firm Sachnoff & Weaver. 

To the outside world, Dolin’s position may have seemed secure. A former management committee member at Sachnoff & Weaver, the 57-year-old had been chosen to lead Reed Smith’s corporate and securities practice. But his therapist testified this week in a Chicago trial over Dolin’s suicide that the 2007 merger left him for years racked with anxiety and self-doubt… 

In a rare view in the human toll that some therapists believe Big Law mergers can have, Dolin’s therapist, Sydney Reed, testified this week that her former client was worried his Loyola University Chicago School of Law degree was inadequate at a firm now full of graduates from Ivy Leagye schools like Harvard and Yale.” [Emphasis mine]

The man was successful by pretty much every American standard, and yet he was concerned that his TTT law degree was not up to par to those of his colleagues. You don’t see dentists and doctors lamenting the fact that they went to lower tier schools. Later on, the author continued:

“Dolin’s therapist testified that she often attempted to reassure him of his place at Reed Smith. When Dolin said his regional practice would be tossed aside by an international firm, Reed told him there must be a reason why a global firm like Reed Smith wanted to merge with his Midwestern firm. 

When he expressed fears of losing his ability to provide for his family and becoming a “bag lady,” Reed said she reminded Dolin that he billed $4 million in work the previous year. And she doubted his concern that he was the lone partner to feel anxious about the merger. 

“The facts in terms of his professional performance had to be pulled out of him when he felt he wouldn’t make it at this international law firm,” said Reed, who described Dolin’s negative thinking as out of touch with the reality he faced at Reed Smith. “The other part would be I’d ask him, ‘Do you think there’s anxiety in other partners?’ He’d be surprised by that question.” 

As a group, 28 percent of lawyers struggle with some level of depression, said a study last year co-founded by the American Bar Association. That’s compared with less than 8 percent for the general population, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Meanwhile, the CDC said in a 2012 analysis that the legal industry had the 11th-highest incidence of suicide among occupations, with 18.8 people out of 100,000 taking their lives, compared to 16.1 nationally.” [Emphasis mine]

Yes, that is uplifting, right? Now imagine how this condition is compounded by ridiculous amounts of non-dischargeable debt – and weak employment prospects.

Conclusion: These men were the winners in the law school game, at least in terms of their employment outcomes. Look at those staggering numbers again, in case you were too busy beaming with pride over your TTTT acceptance letter. In the end, if you are in a good-paying job with a mere Bachelor’s degree – and you have real chances to move up or you are happy in your current position – then you are much better off by remaining in that post. Accumulating another $135K+ in student debt – for a chance to enter a glutted “profession” – will typically not improve your health or your quality of life.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Glass Ceilings in the Legal Field: Asians Avoiding Law School Despite Strong Entrance Credentials

Losing Interest in Law School: On July 20, 2017, the ABA Journal posted a Debra Cassens Weiss article, under the header “Asian-Americans are apparently losing interest in law school; report shows outsize enrollment drop.” Check out this opening:

“Asian-American enrollment in law school has declined more steeply than that of other racial and ethnic groups, according to a report documenting a glass ceiling for this group in the law.

From 2009 to 2016, Asian-Americans’ first-year enrollment in law school dropped by 43 percent, compared to a 28 percent drop for all students, a 34 percent drop among whites and a 14 percent drop among African-Americans. Hispanic enrollment, meanwhile, increased by 29 percent.

In 2016, the Asian-American share of first-year enrollment was 6.1 percent, the lowest since 1997. Overall, Asian-Americans make up nearly 7 percent of law school enrollment, while they make up 5.6 percent of the U.S. population.

The report (PDF), “A Portrait of Asian Americans in the Law,” suggests the decline could be because of instability in the market for legal employment, the relative attractiveness of other professions, and recruiting efforts by law schools seeking African-American and Hispanic students.

The report’s major conclusion—that Asian-Americans are underrepresented among the top ranks of the legal profession—was released in January. Findings include: Asian-Americans are the largest minority group at major law firms, but they have the highest attrition rates and the lowest ratio of partners to associates. Asian-Americans make up only 3 percent of the federal judiciary and only 2 percent of state court judges.

Before the drop in law school enrollment, Asian-American enrollment in law schools was increasing, rising from 1,962 students in 1983 to a peak of a peak of 11,327 in 2009. Even after the drop, Asian-Americans were disproportionately enrolled in higher-ranked schools. In 2015, 34 percent of Asian-American law students were enrolled in the nation’s 30 top ranked law schools.” [Emphasis mine]

This is not surprising, as Asians often work hard, go to top schools, and then end up hitting a glass ceiling. A while back, I ran across this hard-hitting piece from Wesley Yang. It appeared in New York Magazine on May 8, 2011, under the headline “Paper Tigers.” Once the grades are earned and the degrees are handed out, political and social connections play a much bigger role.

Other Coverage: On July 18, 2017, the Washington Post published a Tracy Jan piece that was entitled “Law schools are filled with Asian Americans. So why aren’t there more Asian judges?” Take a look at this portion:

“While Asian Americans are the fastest growing minority group in law, and are overrepresented in the country’s top law schools as well as at major law firms, they lag behind all other racial groups when it comes to attaining leadership roles in the legal profession, according to a study released Tuesday by Yale Law School and the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association.

“Asian American growth in the legal profession has been impressive but penetration into leadership ranks has been slow,” said Liu, who co-authored the study with a group of students at Yale Law School, his alma mater.

Asian Americans comprise 10 percent of graduates at the country’s top law schools although they make up just 6 percent of the U.S. population. But only 3 percent of the federal judiciary and 2 percent of state judges are Asian American, the study found.

Of the 94 U.S. attorneys, only three are Asian American. And only four of the 2,437 elected prosecutors are Asian American.

In the private sector, Asian Americans have been the largest minority group in major law firms for nearly two decades, making up 7 percent of attorneys. But they have the highest attrition rates and the lowest ratio of partners to associates of any racial group.

And in academia, Asian made up only 3 out of 202 law school deans in the country in 2013, and 18 out of 709 associate or vice deans.

“Asian Americans do well when it comes to competition and selection with objective metrics” such as LSAT scores and grades, Liu said. “But when the selection begins to involve things that are intangible for promotions, they kind of flip off the radar.”

The disparities become evident straight out of law school. Asian Americans make up just 6.5 percent of federal judicial law clerks and 4.6 percent of state law clerks, despite their heavy presence at the top 30 law schools.

In contrast, while whites make up 58.2 percent of students at top law schools, they landed 82.4 percent of all federal clerkships and 80.2 percent of state clerkships.” [Emphasis mine]

If Asian students perform better overall on the LSAT and typically go to premier law schools, then it also stands to reason that they all do well on bar exams. Yet, their job outlook is limited – even when they do end up in large law firms. You don’t see that in the medical field!

Conclusion: In the final analysis, Asians have figured out that taking on huge amounts of student debt, for a “career” that may last 3-5 years, is idiotic. They see that their hard work – and degrees from top law schools – will not typically be rewarded with a Biglaw partnership or a judge position. Furthermore, even the supposed liberals in legal academia are not too keen on placing Asian professors in leadership positions. Remember, this “profession” is based on social capital and connections. It is better to be a drunk kid from a wealthy family than it is to be an unconnected hardass, when looking for legal jobs. But go ahead and take out $178,512.56 in loans, for your TTT law degree, Lemming.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Average Ohio Law Student Debt Approached $100K for the JD Class of 2015

The Numbers: On July 17, 2017, the Plain Dealer published a Karen Farkas piece, under the headline “Ohio law school grads face debt of nearly $100,000 and few job prospects, report says.” Take a look at this opening:

“Many Ohio law school graduates are facing high debt and few job prospects, according to a study by the Ohio State Bar Association. 

The average 2015 Ohio law school graduate has approximately $98,475 in law school debt, according to a draft report released this month by the Futures Commission. "Only approximately 58 percent of 2015 Ohio law school graduates are employed in jobs requiring bar passage." 

The commission was established by the association more than a year ago to study "a number of challenges surrounding the delivery of legal services in Ohio amid a time of great social, economic, and cultural change, and to offer recommendations for how best to meet those challenges." 

The 29-member commission considered the "unprecedented burdens faced by new lawyers; the need for acquisition of knowledge and the skills necessary to develop and carry on a successful practice; the lack of regulation for new legal service delivery options; and the widening access to justice gap." 

The report provides information on the four topics and provided recommendations. has recently issued Ohio law school information that includes an estimated average debt of about $132,000 to $271,000 when students who enter law school this fall graduate three years later.

The American Bar Association has posted employment information for 2016 graduates as reported by each law school.

A national study shows median law firm starting salaries have dropped more than 40 percent from 2009 to 2013.” [Emphasis mine]

A large portion, i.e. over 2/5 of that cohort, did not enter the “profession” after having accumlated huge amounts of student debt. Off the top of your head, name several non-legal jobs that would pay a recent law school grad about $98K per year. Remember, “requiring bar passage” does not necessarily mean an attorney position. Think of doc review. Furthermore, if you are not using your JD to practice law, then you will be viewed with more scrutiny.

Previous Ohio Ruling on Student Loans: Back on January 13, 2011, the ABA Journal featured a Debra Cassens Weiss article that was entitled “Law Grad with No Plan to Repay Debt Fails Character and Fitness Mandate, Ohio Top Court Says.” Here is the full text below:

“Ohio State University law grad Hassan Jonathan Griffin of Columbus, Ohio, has a part-time job in the public defender’s office and no feasible plan to repay his law-school and credit-card debt.

That combination means Griffin has so far failed to satisfy the character and fitness qualification to get a law license, the Ohio Supreme Court has ruled. The opinion (PDF) upholds a recommendation by the Supreme Court’s Board of Commissioners on Character and Fitness. 

Griffin had $170,000 in student-loan debt and $16,500 in credit-card debt. He earns $12 an hour at his part-time job with the PD. 

“We accept the board’s findings of fact and conclude that the applicant has neglected his personal financial obligations by electing to maintain his part-time employment with the Public Defender’s Office in the hope that it will lead to a full-time position upon passage of the bar exam, rather than seeking full-time employment,” the opinion says.

Griffin will be able to reapply, however, for another bar exam, in February 2011 or later, and he may submit a new character-and-fitness application, the opinion says.

Above the Law is outraged by the decision. “What the hell kind of legal education system are we running where we charge people more than they can afford to get a legal education, and then prevent them from being lawyers because they can’t pay off their debts?” the blog asks. “If Griffin can’t pass C&F, Ohio might as well say that half of the recent graduates in the state don’t have the ‘character and fitness’ to be a lawyer.” [Emphasis mine]

I suppose that the moral of the story is to not take out too many loans to pay for the ridiculously expensive and risky venture of law school – even if you are working in the field. Hell, Mr. Griffin graduated from the best program in the state and he was in a paid position at a public defender’s office. Even though the job was part-time, that is a better outcome than many JDs who attend TTTs and end up never entering this glutted “profession.”

Conclusion: As it becomes more common for recent law grads to walk away with $160K in student loan debt, expect more of these men and women to become professional students. If nothing else, they can at least put off their loan payments for several years. Interest will continue to accrue and the principle will balloon, of course. Perhaps, some of these fools hope that Congress will wipe out their debt by the time they earn another degree. However, students are not a vital voting bloc and they are not individually or collectively wealthy. Plus, bailouts are for large industries that hire thousands of people – not singular broke-asses with useless academic “credentials.”
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