Monday, November 30, 2009

A Look at preLaw Magazine's Ads and Propaganda




Here is the Fall 2009 edition of preLaw magazine, a National Jurist publication. You can click on the link and follow along by flipping the pages with your arrow keys (just to make sure I am not making this up).

This is a list of law schools that purchased ads in this current issue: Chicago-Kent, Michigan State, Ave Maria, DePaul, Thomas Jefferson, Mississippi College, Massachusetts School of Law, Seattle University, U. of Memphis , Wayne State, Phoenix School of Law, John F. Kennedy University, U. of Washington, Hamline, Stetson, University of St. Thomas, UNC, Quinnipiac, Hofstra, Touro, Florida Coastal, Regent, University of La Verne, New England.

The following schools appeared in ads masquerading as actual articles: South Texas, University of Dayton, Charlotte School of Law, Minnesota, Drake, and Florida State.

[DISCLAIMER: I may have missed a few of the ads, but you get the point. I also did not address the ads from vendors such as Princeton Review or Access Group. This entry is already lengthy.]

Now among these two lists, I can only see a few “top tier” law schools (based on the 2009 edition of USN&WR’s graduate school rankings): Minnesota (number 20), Washington and UNC (both ranked at 30). To the second tier: FSU is 52; Chicago-Kent and Seattle University are both ranked at 77 (with six other schools!); DePaul is 87; and Hofstra sneaks in at 100 (what a magnificent accomplishment!). The following vendors are in the third tier: Drake, Michigan State, Quinnipiac, Stetson, Memphis, University of St. Thomas, and Wayne State.

We now look at those in the fourth tier: Ave Maria, Florida Coastal, Hamline, Mississippi College, New England School of Law, Regent, South Texas, Thomas Jefferson, Touro, Dayton.

Charlotte, Phoenix and La Verne are not even in the “top four tiers” of law schools!?!

But to their credit, Charlotte does have the decency, humanity, and common courtesy to charge its students $31,754 in tuition for the 2009-2010 academic year. What a great deal – a steal really.

Well, at least Phoenix ONLY charges $32,296 in tuition per year for its FT students (this is only tuition; there are also SBA Dues of $35, a “New Student Fee” of $75, and General Fees of $737 - just for good measure).

http://www.phoenixlaw.edu/admissions/default.asp?PageID=16

And, thank goodness, Fourth Tier La Verne charges its students a reasonable, minimal amount in tuition: $37,630 for full-time law students. I am glad to see that the school is honest enough to list this figure under Basic Consumer Info; students are customers/consumers of services, after all.

Finally, I simply could not find John F. Kennedy University or the Massachusetts School of Law. They could not make it into the illustrious top five tiers of law schools. However, Massachusetts MUST be a great law school, as National Jurist sees fit to hire one of the school’s law professors as an editor. This “legal scholar” recently referred to those exposing the law school fraud as conspiracy theorists:


But there is one nagging detail about this particular school – it has apparently failed to gain ABA accreditation, even though it has been operating since 1988. But let’s not get stuck on details like this – after all, the school is accredited by New England Association of Schools and Colleges.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Massachusetts_School_of_Law#Accreditation

John F. Kennedy University School of Law also does not currently have ABA accreditation. However, it is approved by the Committee of Bar Examiners of the State Bar of California. And that is all that really matters anyway, right?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_F._Kennedy_University#School_of_Law

And here you thought law schools were mere cash cows. Can’t you see what a great public service these schools are performing? They are – according to the industry itself – providing affordable, practical curriculums and producing future leaders in law, business, and academia.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Response from S.J. Quinney College of Law


Yesterday, I received a response from the University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law. Here it is, in its entirety. This was sent out on Tuesday, November 24, 2009 at 11:02 am.

RE: Employment statistics

Dear [Nando],

This is a response to your message emailed to us on November 18. We have been unable to reply due to one or both of us being away from the law school on business until Friday the 20th. Thank you for bringing to our attention the employment data contained on the Facts-at-a-Glance information sheet we have been distributing at law fairs earlier this fall. Your close reading of the material did identify an error we had missed in the production of the sheet. The salary statistics refer to employment data for 2008 graduates working in private law firms. The data we intended to place in that section of the fact sheet was data for all employed graduates of the Class of 2008 working in all sectors of employment that are reported to National Association for Law Placement. This was an inadvertent error on our part and we regret any inaccurate impressions it may have created. We will be posting a message on our website and sending email messages to candidates who visited our tables at law fairs acknowledging our mistake and correcting the information. The overall median salary for the Class of 2008 that should have been listed was $62,400 and the overall range was $25,000-215,000. [Emphasis mine]

We would like to provide some context to how the data found its way on to the Facts-at-a-Glance you reviewed. The professional design and production of our recruitment materials were delayed this year. In order to have the most commonly requested information available for events, we had to create an information piece in-house. The fact sheet you picked up was that document. We were limited in space we had available for data in the in-house fact sheet. To accommodate for this limitation in the employment section we elected to simply give the overall median salary, full salary range and employment rate for the class of 2008. Normally, with professionally designed materials and on our website, we are able to list salary ranges and employment distributions for all the categories from the National Association for Law Placement survey. Obviously, the proofing of the in-house document did not catch the employment section error. Associate Dean Aguilar accepts full responsibility for this error. The links to the pages on our website that provide the accurate employment information are:


In your message you also asked if we would be willing to submit our figures to an outside, independent audit. If you are requesting to view the individual survey response information submitted by members of our Class of 2008, that request must be denied because of the sensitive nature of the salary information provided and the assurance of confidentially assured to our students. If you have any additional questions about our students’ employment, please feel free to contact our Director of Professional Development, Anneliese Booher. She has been cc’d to this message.

Thank you for your interest in our program and bringing to our attention the error on our Facts-at-a Glance.

Reyes Aguilar Hiram Chodosh
Associate Dean Dean
University of Utah University of Utah
SJ Quinney College of Law SJ Quinney College of Law


I give the school credit for responding to my letter, and doing so in an honest and forthright manner. This is refreshing. However, it is unnerving that this had to be brought to the school’s attention by a disgruntled JD. (Who knows? Maybe the law school knew about this and intended to keep it under wraps until it was brought to their attention.)

I love how the response is structured. In the first paragraph, the school thanks me for pointing out an "error." By doing so, it denies any attempt at fraud or deception. It then lists the "proactive course of action" the school will undertake to correct this mistake. Paragraph two offers excuses and explanations for the numbers - apparently, it is not entirely their fault. In the last substantive paragraph, the school hides behind "privacy concerns" as the reason why it cannot (read: will not) submit its employment figures to an independent audit. Also note that the associate dean for admissions and financial aid is the one who falls on his sword for the school.

The overall median for the Class of 2008 at Quinney was $62,400. Not exactly a great figure. Also, the salary range of $25,000-215,000 seems more accurate. So, this simply shows that you can indeed graduate from a “first tier law school” and still end up making $25K a year. What a great investment, huh?!?!

Fact: the S.J. Quinney College of Law is ranked significantly higher than Seton Hall’s law school. Yet, Seton Hall purports that - among its last graduating class - those in private practice earned a median starting salary of $125,000. This is brazen fraud. This raises the question: How many other law schools blatantly fudge their numbers?!

I want to thank all of you who have commented on this blog - even those of you who act as industry apologists. You have helped make this a better, more informative site. Those of you who commented on my last entry stating that the purported average starting salary of $89,021 was wrong have been vindicated by the school’s response. The school has acknowledged that this figure was incorrect and based on an error.

Lastly, as much as I would rather not spend Thanksgiving further informing my in-laws of the law school scam, it is better than eating crow!! (However, my existing student debt load will make it hard for me to digest the JD from my third tier turkey law school.)

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Open Letter to University of Utah Law Deans



OPEN LETTER TO DEAN HIRAM CHODOSH AND DEAN REYES AGUILAR

I sent the following email to the “associate dean for admissions and financial aid,” Reyes Aguilar, and Dean Hiram Chodosh of the University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law. The email was sent on Wednesday, November 18, 2009 at 12:46 pm. No changes have been made to this letter (other than redacting my name for purposes of this blog and including “a” in front of “100% response rate”). If anyone wants to see the original email sent out to these two men, you can email me and I will forward you a copy.


Employment statistics
Wednesday, November 18, 2009 12:46 PM
From:
"[Nando]"
Add sender to Contacts
To:
reyes.aguilar@law.utah.edu, hiram.chodosh@law.utah.edu
Message contains attachments
1 File (277KB)
Utah.pdf


Dean Hiram Chodosh
Dean Reyes Aguilar
S.J. Quinney College of Law
University of Utah
332 S. 1400 E., Room 101
Salt Lake City , UT 84112

Dear Reyes and Hiram,

Gentlemen, on your school’s materials, it states that 98% of graduates from the Class of 2008 were employed within 9 months of graduation. And, according to the representatives from your school, this is based off of [a] 100% response rate to the graduate survey.

The same material also claims that the median starting salary is $89,021 for the Class of 2008. Is this counting private and public employers? Is this also counting those graduates who are working in non-law positions? Does this median figure include those working as retail and insurance salespeople, school teachers, clerks, and research assistants?

Lastly, the school lists a starting salary range of $42,000-$215,000. So, does this mean that not one single graduate from 2008 found a job making less than $42,000? I find this incredibly hard to believe – isn’t there a large oversupply of lawyers and JDs in the U.S.? Since your school publishes and presents these figures to attract more applicants, would you be willing to submit these figures to an outside, independent audit?

Thank you.


[Nando]

(I have attached a copy of the S.J. Quinney College of Law “Facts at a Glance” handout that was supplied at the recent law school fair.)

Evidently, these men are NOT WILLING to submit their purported employment and starting salary statistics to an independent audit. They couldn't even send a reply to my letter.

I suggest you write a similar letter to your local law school representatives, or to the law school of your choice. (Make sure you do not attack them personally or slander them in any way - you simply want information from them.) ASK THEM TO PRODUCE PROOF of their placement success. Then send the your letter to law blogs or to local or national newspapers. The schools can easily redact any identifying info, such as name of firm, graduate, etc. Isn’t this what lawyers and law students are trained to do, i.e. ask questions, uncover information, and ask for proof?!?!?

Hold their feet to the fire. Offer to debate them in a public forum. Contact the newspapers or local radio station. I am sure there will be some interest. This is more likely to get results (or news coverage) than asking your respective State AG Office or DoJ to investigate the law school cartel.

Monday, November 16, 2009

$u$piciou$ Law $chool Employment $tati$tic$


Here are some supposed employment figures gleaned from my recent trek to the law school fair at the Grand Ballroom at the University of Utah. Take a look at the following schools and their purported, respective numbers – these figures are based off of the glossy brochures and “fact sheets” handed out by the law schools at this particular fair.

If anyone disputes these figures – including representatives from the schools - you can e-mail me at nando9936@yahoo.com and I will be more than happy to furnish you with a photocopy of the figures you want.

University of New Mexico – 93% placement rate for Class of ‘08

Villanova – 95% employed or seeking another advanced degree, within 9 months of graduation

Seton Hall University – 94.7% employed (with 100% reporting); private practice annual median salary was listed as $125,000.

Albany – 94 percent employment rate

Cardozo – 94.3% hired within 9 months of graduation (with a supposed 97.8% report rate)

Utah – 98% employed (100% reported, according to the sales agents at the S.J. Quinney booth); average salary is listed as $89,021, with a salary range of $42,000-$215,000

Pace – 94.3% employed or pursuing another advanced degree for Class of ‘08

St. John’s – 96 percent employed for the Class of 2008

Whittier – 91.0% employed or in degree programs for Class of ’07 (according to the “At a Glance” handout); If we go off the “Whittier Law School Class of 2007 Employment Report,” 91.4% of survey respondents were employed, 3.9% are pursuing a degree full-time, 3.0% are unemployed but not seeking work, and 1.7% are unemployed and seeking work. The purported response rate was 96.68 percent.

UCLA – “UCLA Law At a Glance” states that the employment rate is 99.1% for the Class of ’08; Median starting salary is allegedly $160,000.

[I apparently misplaced the information from these schools: Kansas University, Roger Williams, and Touro College. The materials for the following schools did not provide “concrete” figures for employment or starting salary info: Columbia, Indiana-Bloomington, and Pitt.]

TTR analysis:

Apparently NO ONE who graduated from the University of Utah’s college of law in 2008 FOUND A JOB MAKING LESS THAN $42,000! Sorry - Utah is known as a low wage, non-union state where employers (including the government) do not pay much. Nice try, though.

Whittier and Pace are both fourth tier, fourth-rate law schools, but yet both claim that more than 94 percent of their 2008 graduates were employed or seeking a degree. Well, I want to see the breakdown of those figures by job type, industry, wage, median salary, full-time vs. part-time, etc. I also want to see how many of these schools’ grads are working as baristas, bartenders, nightclub bouncers, aerobics instructors, masseuses, parking enforcement, vacuum salesmen, doc review specialists, paid attorneys, unpaid legal assistants, paralegals, hotel managers, telemarketers, clerks, security, and law enforcement. And I want to see an independent audit by a renowned, reputable outside firm with no connections to the law school, university, or the ABA and state bar.

This actually goes for all of the schools listed above. The fact that the ABA does not require an independent outside audit of these employment and starting salary statistics SHOWS CONCLUSIVELY that the ABA does not care about the average law student. The students are a means to an end – nothing more.

The ABA accredits these schools. It could require the schools to submit to an annual independent audit of their supposed figures, in order for the respective schools to retain their accreditation. Law school is big business in this country. The banking cartel and the law schools (and the larger universities) make out like bandits. You – the lowly student – are the one left holding large sums of non-dischargeable debt. After being indoctrinated from the time you were in pre-school that "Education is the key," I guess it is just easier to punish you than it is to go after the perpetrators of this ugly lie. What a great system, huh?!?!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Drake Law School's Mission Statement




Mission Statement

Drake Law School prepares outstanding lawyers who will promote justice, serve as leaders in their communities and the legal profession, and respond to the call of public service. We are a welcoming and inclusive community distinguished by an accessible faculty and staff and a collegial student body. We provide an exceptional learning environment that integrates legal theory and the development of professional skills; promotes critical thinking and effective problem solving; examines international perspectives; and instills the ideals of ethics and professionalism.

The rank: Tier 3 – according to the 2009 edition of USN&WR’s grad school rankings

Tuition: $30,750 in tuition for 2009-2010

Total Estimated Cost: $48,760 for the 2009-2010 academic year


Now, re-read the school’s mission statement. We will now juxtapose this with an honest description. Here is how a truthful and honest mission statement from Drake should read:

Drake Law School prepares graduates to work in various and exciting capacities, such as tending bar; waiting tables; adjusting insurance claims; reviewing documents for mortgage companies and liability carriers; and teaching middle school. The vast majority of those Drake Law graduates fortunate to find work as attorneys will toil away in small boutique law firms, solo practice (fighting for small PI and fender-bender cases, against competent, experienced attorneys), county attorneys’ offices throughout the State of Iowa, and insurance defense. We provide an adequate learning environment whereby former burned-out lawyers instill legal theory into the minds of (hopefully) the next generation of practitioners. (After all, we are a third-tier school, located in the freezing, humid Midwest; we are in the top three tiers of American law schools – a notable achievement.) Our legal clinics are very good and impart practical skills, but we don’t want to upset the courts or the vigorous and petty prosecutors so don’t be troubled that we STRONGLY ENCOURAGE you to take whatever deal the prosecutor initially offers; we simply don’t want to hurt our relationship with the courts. Drake also realizes that no employer hires people for their critical thinking skills, but we tout this virtue anyway. (It’s what law schools do.) At Drake, we also attempt to indoctrinate our students with the twin myths of “ethics” and “professionalism.”

However, if Drake or any of the other ABA-approved law schools were to be anywhere near this honest - even in their little-perused mission statements - then the number of applicants and aspirants might be reduced. And law school is all about maintaining job security for overpaid law “professors” (burned-out lawyers), admissions officers (used car salesmen), Career Services and other staff (parasitic appendages), and – of course - deans and university presidents (figureheads/fundraisers).

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Next Up: Third Tier Commode Albany Law School


It is now time to examine a third-tier specimen. I dropped by the Albany Law School sales booth at the recent law school fair. So, naturally I will turn my attention to this school. It was the only TTT that I bothered to look at. As such, it is only fair that Albany receives its own entry on TTR.

Look at the “Cost of Attendance” at this tier 3 school; tuition is $38,900 per year! Well, let’s see what this gets you. At issue is whether this school is a wise investment.


Albany’s vague employment graph.


THE SCHOOL DOES NOT EVEN LISTING STARTING SALARY INFO. This must mean the school is tremendous, right?!?! And don’t forget that the current U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack, is a graduate of Albany Law School. Vilsack was also an adjunct professor of law at my beloved Drake University (for about five minutes). Wow, this must have set him apart from the other candidates!! (Or perhaps, it was his willingness to gleefully do whatever the corporate farmers wanted that distinguished him.)

Lest you think I am being completely facetious, under the Prospective Students tab, the school features “Distinguished Alumni.” Such notables include William McKinley, from the Class of 1867; Robert Jackson from the Class of 1912; the afore-mentioned Vilsack (LW ’75); and David Josiah Brewer, from the Class of 1858. Surely, these people are NOT indicative of a present Albany Law student’s future prospects. But, for $ome rea$on, the school presents this list on the tab designed to attract more applicants.

Regarding Career Services for Albany Law students, check out this video:


This second-year student is put in the position of puffing up his summer internship in the Governor’s Office. The “Career Center” is doubtless busy finding work for the top ten percent of its graduating class. The others are left to scrounge for unpaid internships, looking for work on Craig’s List, etc. The fact that the “Career Center” touts 24/7 access to Simplicity is laughable!! This also indicates the low caliber of the school.

Lastly, we will look at the Albany area. The city has an estimated population of 94,172.


Albany’s current first-year class is 255 strong. Does an area this size really need more than 200 new JDs every year? Can such a small city support this amount of lawyers? I understand that not everyone will stay in the area (or even the State). But, it is plausible that the majority of Albany law grads will seek to stay in the area.

Even with the surrounding metropolitan area (including Troy and Schenectady), the population is about 857,000 people. It is highly doubtful that this much larger population base can support close to 250 additional JDs every year.

http://www.census.gov/acs/www/Products/Profiles/Single/2003/ACS/Narrative/380/NP38000US0160.htm

In the final analysis, this school is making millions of dollars off of na├»ve, young people who have been ingrained with the idea that a law degree will open up many doors to them. Those youthful dreams of “fighting for justice” will soon give way to tears, depression, bitterness, large monthly student loan payments, reality, and uncontrollable anger. If you are currently considering law school, remember that it is MUCH MORE LIKELY that you will end up in this situation than it is that you will make big bucks and be a successful, financially secure, and happy lawyer.

DO NOT FLUSH YOUR FUTURE AWAY ON THIS TOILET LAW SCHOOL. I don't care what the nice salesman on the admissions committee told you about the school. A Juris Doctorate from Albany Law School is designed for wiping your ass with – nothing more.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Tier Four Law Schools Under the Microscope



I will highlight the fraudulent employment and salary stats of some of the school booths that I visited on October 20th. Today, we will look at the four Tier 4 schools (according to the 2009 law school rankings put out by USN&WR) that I looked at during the law school fair. We will examine tuition and employment/salary info for these schools.

Starting in reverse alphabetical order: Whittier Law School of Costa Mesa– tuition at this school is $37,060 for full-time students.

Whittier features “Employment on Campus.”

The materials and the sales rep state that the employment rate within nine months is 91.0% for the class of 2008 (with a response rate of 96.68%). But, for some reason, the school’s website does not list employment and starting salary figures. Why would the school’s site not tout this impressive employment rate?!?!

Next, we will look at Touro College Jacob D. Fuchsberg Law Center, in Central Islip, NY. For the 2009-2010 school year, a FT law student will pay $39,000 in annual tuition from this toilet school. What a tremendous investment, huh?!?

As far as employment goes, this is the best info you will get from this TTTT – there is nothing specific, i.e. Class of 2007 employment statistics. Cool, you pay $39K a year for a JD from this dump, and this is the best employment info they can provide:


Roger Williams University School of Law, located in Bristol, RI, is up. The school lists tuition by credit hour – this is a nice way of trying to conceal the total cost from prospective students. However, based on the cost of $1165 per credit, we can figure that a FT student will pay $34,950 in tuition (i.e. 30 credit hours * $1165).


Here is a PDF, listing the employment breakdown for this school’s Class of 2008:


The school also features a page titled Impact of Credit History – I guess the school realizes many of its students will need to take out private loans to meet tuition.


Lastly, we will examine Pace Law School, of White Plains, NY. Tuition is currently $31,860 for a full-time JD candidate.


Look at this pathetic offering from the school – a video on Job Searching in the Current Economy:


Plus, Pace University “Employment Search Policy”:


There are also pages with regard to on-campus and student employment. In the final analysis, these schools are diploma mills. They are simply trying to squeeze as much money out of their students as they possibly can. These four schools KNOW that there is a gross over-supply of lawyers in this country. They are also AWARE that there is NOT a big demand among law firms, government or private industry to hire TTTT grads from Pace, Roger Williams, Touro, or Whittier.

The University of Colorado-Boulder (a tier 1 school) has admitted that only 35% of its recent graduating law class was employed at the time of graduation. Now imagine what this figure is for recent grads from these four toilet schools.
 
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