Sunday, December 13, 2009

Eight Cents




As you can see from the image above, I donated $0.08 to my law school’s fund. That’s right - eight cents. What can I say? I was in a charitable mood. One nickel and three pennies – I figure this would send a message to the school’s administration. Of course, I donated this in the form of a Money Order. (I didn’t trust the school with my credit card or bank account info.) Even a co-worker noted that I should donate via money order. I sent this out on the morning of Friday, December 11th via U.S. mail.

I received a letter from the dean asking me to donate $125 to this campaign drive. I took this as a personal affront, as an insult. I was told by the school’s CDO personnel that they would do everything they could to help me find a job in the region of the country I was looking to live. They said this on May 15, the day of graduation. They said this just prior to the stupid ceremony. THEY DID NOT LIFT ONE FINGER TO HELP ME! Not one phone call. Not one email.

(When I was a student there, I got weekly emails from them, informing me of upcoming workshops on “writing resumes” or “how to highlight your personality in a cover letter.”)

I simply could not turn the other cheek, in this instance. I had to respond to Drake. And I did so by sending a money order, in the amount of eight cents. I also used the school’s envelope – since they will pay the postage. So it will actually cost the school money to receive it (and cash it). That’s what I call sending a message.

It did cost me fifty cents to purchase the money order. But it was worth every penny, to let the school know how much I care about them this holiday season. (Plus, I made the lady at the customer service booth laugh when I mentioned the amount; my co-workers also laughed with me when I brought up this idea.) After all, the school took three years of my life, caused extra stress in my marriage, and put me an extra $37K in debt. What is an additional fifty cents? Especially, since this amount did not go to Third Tier Drake.

I will track the order number, just to see if the school ever bothers to cash it.

I also sent the following letter with my generous donation:

December 10, 2009

Dean Allan Vestal
Office of Development
Drake University Law School
2507 University Avenue
Des Moines, IA 50311-4505

Dear Allan,

This is all I can afford after graduating from your fine institution of higher learning, and not being able to find work as an actual attorney. I gave up three years of income, and went into more student loan debt so that I could look for work outside the legal industry. Thank you for relieving me of this time, energy, and money. As a token of my appreciation, please accept this earnest donation to the Law School Annual Fund.

Sincerely,

[Nando]

35 comments:

  1. That's awesome. You should get your classmates to do the same. Fuckers. They don't deserve the 8 cents considering all the money you already gave them.

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  2. Seems a little generous. I would have cut the amount by 75%. Well done though.

    Just my $.02.

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  3. I wonder why you chose 8 cents? Does the number 8 have any particular meaning to you? Not to bum you out, but the number 8 is actually a lucky number in Chinese. It means fortune. i only know this because I'm actually of Asian descent and my family cares about numbers like that. (You might recall that the Beijing Olympics started on August 8th, 2008 specifically for this reason).

    I will also say this: schools don't get insulted by low donations. I mean, they'd rather you donate more, but they're ecstatic you donated in the first place. I was surprised by that from my undergrad. One of their main goals is to raise the stat of "percentage of alumni who donate to their school." It makes them look good, possibly even to the U.S. News rankings. Sorry for the news.

    In general, I think it was good to try to get your opinion off your chest.

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  4. Now it's an extra $37,000.58 in debt!

    I have a question for all of the law trained readers...

    I have seen posts where some claim that they have proof of falsification of employment numbers. If that is true, couldn't one of you (if you had such proof against YOUR law school) file suit against your school? I mean, if you can make the case that the numbers were false, that you would NOT have attended but for their falsified numbers (and whatever else they lied about), that you have been harmed as a result, etc. isn't that enough?

    It sure seems like enough to at least get past a summary judgment attempt, and imagine the MEDIA coverage each time a student did this? If law schools care that much about reputation, that would be well worth it.

    I would be happy to assist with contributions to any funds set up by graduates who plan on doing this.

    ToBeAJD

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  5. I think there might be a consumer protection argument, not on falsified employment, but on inflated tuition. There was a huge class action filed against the record industry several years ago that resulted in a large settlement. Basically, several recording companies artificially raised the price on CDs such that consumers were paying much more than they should have been (I actually received 13 bucks as part of the settlement).

    I think that the same argument could potentially be applied to law schools. In this case, you have a tuition floor which vastly outpaced inflation and attorney salaries and in many ways was not correlated with rising production costs (most schools have not added new seats, expanded facilities). If anything, the justification for increased tuition is to provide scholarship and financial aid (necessitated by out of control tuition).

    I think the big problem is that many attorneys would be reluctant to sue their schools, or at least to be named publicly. Our profession seems to hold suffering in silence as a mantra, and abhors "failures."

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  6. $0.08 would have gotten me tuition, books, room, and board in Thomas Jefferson's day.

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  7. Drake Mallard, thanks for the news. It is as I suspected. I figured sending 8 cents would be more constructive - and send a stronger message - than telling them to go to hell. There is nothing significant about the number eight to me. Plus, it will COST the school more money just to receive this "gift."

    ToBeAJD, I have no idea why you want to pursue this stupid "career." I guess you figure that the academic venture will be worth it. Seeing that you have a family, I hope it works out for you.

    Anyway, to address your point: you can file suit on almost anything. Winning is much harder. Especially, when courtrooms are governed by law school graduates, i.e. those guys in the black dresses.

    Getting past MSJ might be an accomplishment, in some abstract sense. But it is nowhere near winning. (I also cannot see any law school willing to settle such a case. And they will pull out all the stops.) Also, some have tried to sue their law schools, on these bases before. One notable example was a former BLS student who sued and lost. If I remember correctly, he did not even get past MSJ.

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  8. If this is who I think this is, you need to stop this blog. It might hurt the school's ranking, further hampering your chances of finding employment. WHat do you have to gain by all this? You have been warned.

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  9. Nando, do you have any more info about the BLS lawsuit? It'd be interested to see how the complaint itself was framed. I think going the fraud/inducment route would probably be a no-go, but there might be something on artificially inflated tuition.

    Also, to anon at 9:31, bit my shiny metal ass

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  10. nvm I think I mgiht have found it. This was a graduate student in New York who sued the school for mispresentation because she could not find a job. Once again, I think that's a losing argument. However, there could be recovery for those who paid vastly inflated prices for their education.

    http://www.californiabusinesslitigation.com/2009/08/grad_student_sues_school_becau.html

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  11. Was 9:31 a.m. a death threat???? Relax, man. I knew Drake sucked years ago. I know a few grads that have suffered since graduation. Get over yourself. I think there's a medical school there that's alright.

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  12. Haha, 9:31 a.m., is the Drake dean planning on sending goons out to break Nando's knees? It wouldn't surprise me given that the law school industry is like a less honest version of the mafia.

    Btw, I think even Drake's Coffee Cakes have more prestiage than Drake law.

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  13. To Anonymous at 9:31:

    Listen up. Drake has been in the fourth tier before. In fact, that was fairly recently. It hasn’t seemed to stop the school from charging $30,750 a year. It also has not precluded Drake from being named a “Best Value Law School” by National Jurist magazine (and my friend, editor Jack Crittenden).

    http://www.law.drake.edu/newsEvents/details.aspx?eventID=bestValue2009

    I also don’t care about your threats. You didn’t even identify yourself. I doubt this person works for the school. It’s probably some upset Drake student working in the county attorney’s office or something. What’s wrong? You don’t get enough kicks out of prosecuting shoplifters? It is people/apologists like you who make this site more popular.

    Also, everything I have put on this blog has been based on the industry’s numbers. So, in response to your comment, I guess I will just have to feature Drake on this blog more often.

    I was not referring to the woman who sued her school, because she earned a Bachelor’s degree and was not happy with the office of career advancement. Law school is different from an undergraduate institution. You go there to get a decent job, i.e. no one in his right mind goes to law school solely for the academic exercise. That being said, I feel badly for ALL college grads who will be strapped with debt for life.

    http://www.nypost.com/f/print/news/regional/item_9TMBiPAMsx3mRLsAdUKxwK

    This story is all over the web – just Google “student sues Monroe College.” I am sure the law schools are following this case.

    I will keep searching for the article on the law school being sued. Someone at JDU posted on the case, a while back. I forget what the exact grounds were for his suit. But I am pretty sure he was suing BLS.

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  14. My point was not that anyone would actually win a suit, it was simply that if students started doing this it would get press.

    Local newspapers would interview the student who sued, and that person could get some of this out into the public eye rather than just preaching to the choir on these sites.

    What I am afraid of is that one of the commenters up there is right when he/she says that people don't say anything and just suffer in silence and feel shitty about themselves or that they don't want to hurt their school's "image" because in effect, that is making their JD worth even less (is that possible)?

    How much does it cost to initiate the proceedings? I will front the money if it isn't too substantial. For those people who have no desire to practice law now anyway, what's the harm?

    If the system is as bad as everyone is saying, then people need to take action rather than most just anonymously bitch-blogging.

    Wouldn't it be worth it to get that news article out there with the stats that show what's going on? Then you could pass that shit out on campus in front of the law school, post it on the bulletin boards, etc. I thought the goal was to "save the fools" (like me) who are planning on going to law school?

    I'll put my money where my mouth is until the time is right for me to file my own suit.

    ToBeAJD

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  15. Yeah, now I definitely know who this is. Actually, I graduated from the law school a while ago. I met you once, briefly. Let me just say that no one in this office thinks much of you. Go get a job and put down the keyboard.

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  16. He has a job. I don't think much of you for making threats and defaming him. It's not his fault that Drake is a woefully inadequate law school. He's not the only one that thinks so.

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  17. it's odd how none of this was obvious to you before going to law school...

    i mean there's what a bizillion law schools in the united states...you paid x amount of money for a 3rd teir and now you're complaining because nobody wants to hire you???

    that's like buying a lada for 100 grand and complaining when the clutch stops working

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  18. Even if we assume that it was entirely unreasonable for anybody to attend law school given the information out there -a claim I find unpersuasive - it still doesn't exonerate the deception in which the law schools engage.

    One commenter compared the situation to a smoker complaining about the tobacco companies. Personally, I see the law schools more as drug dealers. Sure, it's stupid to use drugs. Everybody should know this, but this doesn't mean that the dealers are stand up guys who should get away with their evil deeds.

    Nando (et. al.) don't want sympathy. He wants people to stay away from law school and for the schools to clean up their acts.

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  19. non-profit organizations get mail priced at a little under 12 cents for standard (3rd class) mail. You took them for a whopping 4 cents.

    next time, i would consider mailing in an empty envelope. (though, I do not know if this constitutes mail fraud).

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  20. For those of you still interested, the case name is Todd Bank v. Brooklyn Law School.

    I had to look this up using my LEXIS account. I simply could not find it on JDU. Mr. Bank sued the school under the RICO statute. The plaintiff also alleged that the school's starting salary figures were false or misleading. His lawsuit DID NOT survive the school's motion to dismiss.

    97-CV-7470 (JG)

    UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK

    2000 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 16180

    OVERVIEW: Plaintiff read in U.S. News & World Report that the class of 1992 graduates of defendant law school working in the private sector earned an average of $ 60,328. Based in part on that information, plaintiff attended defendant school. Plaintiff claimed that the $ 60,328 figure was false and misleading. Plaintiff filed a complaint that charged, inter alia, that defendant violated the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), 18 U.S.C.S. § 1961 et seq., in association with other entities and individuals. The RICO claims were dismissed for failure to adequately plead a RICO enterprise. Plaintiff failed to plead participation in the operation or management of the enterprises claim. The claim was also dismissed because it was not sufficiently pleaded. Plaintiff's conclusory allegations failed to establish any conscious behavior giving rise to an inference of fraudulent intent. Further, the allegations failed to show that a conspiracy existed. Nor was there any basis to retain jurisdiction over the other state law claims.

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  21. Apparently, grads have been thinking about going after the schools for a while.

    We need a disgruntled grad with some litigation skills.

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  22. an absolutely great idea...8 cents. I wish I had thought of this myself. See, I'm still stuck in a 3rd Tier, so I can't see the big picture yet. Here I was thinking of shitting in the "Donate Here" envelope and sending it back to the school. Your approach was way more high class, I applaud you...

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  24. Giving 8 cents is freakin hilarious! But I fear you might have played into Drake's hand. Now they can report a higher percentage of alumni giving than if you had ignored the letter.

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  25. Hmm. I'd be interested in taking a look at that pleading. It sounds more like his suit was based on the reported salary figures and exaggeration of the legal job market as opposed to massively inflated tuition. I'd also be interested in knowing whether this mgiht have caused schools to point out (in microtype of course) that their statistics are based on x% of respondents.

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  26. Well, at least in regards to NY schools, someone could try a suit under GBL 349.

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  27. What do we have here -- the Drake Law Student Alumni Association making threats at Nando? Third Tier Reality will do more good for society than any of you pompous goons ever will.

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  28. Talk about ingrateful. They should be happy I sent them eight pennies.

    As far as being on their donor list, I don't care. What is to stop any of the schools from claiming "Thirty percent of our recent graduating class contributed to the law school fund"?

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  29. The same thing that prevents them from claiming "nearly 100% of our graduates find a job"

    My former school can look forward to recieving a single, dingy penny in the mail at some point in the near future, and the signature "penniless (now)."

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  30. "Let me just say that no one in this office thinks much of you."

    Truth is, you guys don't think much of any recent grads. Your sole priority is getting those Sallie Mae checks.

    Instead of spending your time making threats, maybe you should edit your employment stats to reflect reality.

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  31. I told my school to f-off and take me off their calling and mailing lists.

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  32. Don't get me wrong, these sewers are most assuredly violating both the letter and the spirit of consumer protection laws. They should all be de-accredited and shuttered.

    But you and your ilk have nobody but yourselves to blame for the opportunity costs, the debt, the stress, etc. ad nauseam about which you whine incessently. You went to a shoddy undergrad, did poorly in undergrad, and (maybe 'or,' but probably 'and') couldn't score much above room temperature IQ on the LSAT. Yet you were sure you should be a lawyer.

    Ha.

    -T14, V5, debt-free

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  33. To the cockroach above:

    Gerry Spence noted that he took a practice LSAT once, after many years of successful practice. According to his account, he got so frustrated that he ended up crumpling up the exam and tossing it in the trash. Do you think YOU are better lawyer than he?

    I feel sad for people like you, who live their life and base their self-worth on standardized tests and numerical scores. You are pathetic.

    As an aside, you should put "T14, V5, debt-free" on your tombstone. We'll see how many people are impressed by that - or even care.

    Also, all of your assumptions about me and the other "whiners" were wrong. Now, get back in the office and bill out 200 hours per month - or face unemployment!

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