Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Update: Drake Law School Cashed My Eight Cent Donation



What better way for this blog to count down to the New Year than by featuring Drake Law School? This is how the blog started, after all.

I called MoneyGram two days ago to check the status on my money order. I called 800-542-3590. The Money Order No. is R 103088591815.

The recording states: "This money order was cashed on December 21, 2009 for eight cents."

(If you get bored, you can call MoneyGram to confirm what I said here.)

You read that right – the Drake University Insurance Defense and Court-Appointed List Preparation Academy cashed my generous contribution to the Annual Fund. I pondered on whether to send the donation or not. At first, I thought “Why the hell should I give them anything? They put me an extra $37K in debt, took three years of my life, caused added (unnecessary) stress, and I now have a job that does not require a J.D.”

Then I reconsidered, after hours of tossing and turning in my sleep. I wanted to keep a promise to myself, when I said that I would never give the school a dime. But I also sought to also extend my sincere thanks and deep appreciation to this dynamic third tier institution. Once I made this decision, I wanted my gift to accurately reflect my gratitude for my “legal education.”

In the solicitation letter that accompanied the Annual Fund request and return envelope, the school notes:

Being good stewards is also seen in how we communicate with you. For example, for years we have printed an elaborate listing of donors. While some perused it, our sense was that many copies were not read. It was a very expensive piece for the value you received. With modern technology, and especially during the current economic conditions, we have suspended printing the booklet and instead put the information in electronic form online. Simply go to http://www.law.drake.edu/ and click the link Dean’s Report and Honor Roll 2009 to access the same information. If you wish to have a printed copy, albeit in a less elaborate form, please contact Ms. Hannah Bretz at 515-271-1877, and she will arrange for one to be sent to you. The funds saved by putting this listing online will go directly to our highest priority expenditures, including scholarships and planning for the renovation of Cartwright Hall.

Read: “We will use the funds saved by putting the listing online to fatten the salaries of staff, professors and administration, i.e. our highest priority expenditures. WE CANNOT POSSIBLY REDUCE THE COST OF TUITION, as it currently stands at a mere $30,750 – and we are recognized as a “Best Value” by the illustrious, stupendous, neutral publication, National Jurist.

(Apparently, the school sees no problem with sending us printed solicitations 3-4 times per year – or with sending out voluminous, slick folders and glossy brochures to prospective law students. It also has no issue with sending out sales associates/representatives to law school fairs across the country. Why not put this information online, as a cost-cutting measure? Oh yeah, because then less people might apply to your school! So please spare us the obligatory “We are trying to save money” bullcrap.)

http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/cypress/nationaljurist0909/#/30

Yes, we can see for ourselves that Drake Law School is listed as the 57th Best Value, among all U.S. law schools. That is almost in the bottom of the first tier, in terms of value. After all, there are now about 200 ABA-approved law schools. (In 2008, the ABA listed 198 overall law schools.)

See how thrilled Drake is with this "honor":

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

They are happy to be listed as the sixth best value among private law schools in the nation. I suppose that is an achievement of sorts – kind of like being nominated the sixth Best-Looking of your high school Chess Club. Then again, there were 118 private law schools as of 2008.

http://www.abanet.org/legaled/statistics/charts/stats%20-%205.pdf (page 3)

I want to extend a special message to Drake Law students: In a little more than 4 months, many of you – from the Class of 2010 - will have a better understanding of third tier reality. I doubt it will mirror Drake’s assertion/claim of 96.8% employment within 9 months, based off of 100% reporting.

http://www.law.drake.edu/admissions/?pageID=employStats

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Dissecting the ABA's Numbers



INCREASE IN MEDIAN TUITION AND NUMBER OF LAW SCHOOLS


In 1985, the median in-state law school tuition (plus fees) was $1,792; in 2008, this figure was $15,621. That is one hell of an increase, in the span of 23 years, wouldn’t you agree? For non-residents at state schools, median tuition plus fees was $4,786 in 1985; by 2008, the median tuition figure was $26,436 for non-resident students. It gets worse. Feel free to grab a barf bag, before we go over the median tuition and fee amounts for private law schools. In 1985, this figure stood at $7,385; by 2008, the median amount towered at $33,985.

According to left side of this same chart, there were 101 ABA-approved private law schools in 1985. In 2008, there were 118 private law schools in the U.S. Likewise, there were 74 ABA-approved public law schools in 1985. By 2008, there were 80 such law schools. Over the course of 23 years, an additional 23 American law schools were accredited, built, opened their doors, and pumped out more JDs. Apparently, for $ome rea$on, the ABA felt that we needed more law schools and more unemployed JDs.

AVERAGE AMOUNT BORROWED


This PDF purports to show the AVERAGE AMOUNT BORROWED by law students, from 2002-02 through 2007-08. In the 2001-02 school year, the average student debt from a public school was $46,499; for private law school grads, the average amount borrowed was $70,147. For the 2007-08 academic year, law students from public schools borrowed – on average - $59,234; for private law school graduates, the average amount of student loans taken out was $91,506.

What is not taken into account by this chart is the fact that the market for lawyers is smaller now than it was 8 years ago. Also not allowed for is the reality that interest rates on student loans have generally gone up since 2001. I would hardly consider an 8.5% interest rate to be an accurate reflection of the “risks” taken on by the banks, i.e. these loans are federally-backed. As a result of higher interest rates, it will cost student borrowers MORE to pay these loans back. More students are also taking on private loans to pay for their education – with accompanying higher interest rates.

TOTAL JD ENROLLMENT AND NUMBER OF LAW GRADS

Here is an eye-opener: in 2008-09, the total J.D. enrollment in U.S. law schools was 142,922 students. Just look on the right-hand side of the top line.

On a related note, the ABA reports that there were 43,588 JDs produced in 2007-08.


This confirms the figure put out by NALP for the Class of 2008 – NALP reports 43,587 law graduates for 2008.


Can you say UNSUSTAINABLE?!?!

CONCLUSION: In the last analysis, job prospects for current law students - and recent law graduates - are very bleak. Overall, (1) the job market for law graduates has shrunk; and (2) it is now MUCH more expensive to get a law degree. The number of law schools has increased (which has DIRECTLY contributed to the huge oversupply of lawyers in this country). The ABA is AWARE of this situation, and yet it continues to accredit more law schools. There are NOWHERE near 43,587 available lawyer (or law-related) jobs in a given year - in the U.S.

There is a HUGE oversupply of lawyers in the U.S. due to the following reasons: (1) an increase in the number of applicants (the low-wage, service based economy - combined with fraudulent employment and salary figures from law schools - provides an impetus for this development); (2) increase in the number of law schools; (3) more schools willing to take in sub-par applicants; (4) the resultant, excessive total JD enrollment; and (5) law schools pumping out close to 45,000 freshly-minted JDs each year.

Despite what law professors from third and fourth tier commodes state, law school is a terrible investment and a foolish career choice. THIS IS NOT DUE PRIMARILY TO THE CURRENT STATE OF THE ECONOMY. This situation is the result of greedy law schools and the gluttonous ABA producing FAR TOO MANY law graduates - each year - over the course of several decades.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Lemming Comment of the Year



In an earlier post featuring Third Tier Albany Law School, I received the following comment on December 16, 2009 at 9:19 am. I simply could not let this lunacy pass, without a response.

Anonymous said...
Oh my god! A recent graduate without a job in one of the worst economies America has ever faced with 10% unemployment! I can't believe it! Especially since all these law schools guarantee you a job and say they have 100% placemenet. Wait, that doesn't sound right. Also, the current Attorney General of New York State, Andrew Cuomo, went to Albany Law and it is on their website. An odd omission from such a seemingly balanced website.


Listen, kid. Andrew Cuomo is definitely WELL-CONNECTED. His father is former New York Governor Mario Cuomo. (Maybe you’ve heard of him?) Andrew also married into another politically-connected family, i.e. the Kennedys. He is the personification - the definition - of well-connected. He could have gone to Pace and still ended up as the State AG!

On a related note, Mario Cuomo went to St. John’s for law school. Does this make St. John’s a wonderful law school? I can see it now: “You too can become a compassionate, eloquent, brilliant advocate like Mario. Come to St. John’s.”

The fact that I left out Mario Cuomo’s son from the list does not take anything away from my central point about Albany Law School, i.e. that the school lists NOTABLE EXCEPTIONS to show prospective students that an Albany law degree is a great investment. I provided the link, so that readers could see the entire list for themselves. Hence, there is no reason to include the school’s entire list on my blog, Lemming.

In a similar vein, does the fact that Vice President Joseph Biden graduated from Syracuse Law School change the school’s ranking? It is currently in the third tier. “At Syracuse Law, we produce future vice presidents and chairmen of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.”

Albany – if it cared about reality – could list the current positions (and not the names) of its recent graduates, i.e. doc review specialist, Biglaw associate, garbage man, insurance claims adjuster, broke solo practitioner/ambulance chaser, grade school teacher, federal court clerk, recovering alcoholic, unemployed, aide to the State Senate, night club bouncer, taxi driver, etc. The vast majority of graduates would NOT be successful, financially-secure attorneys. Get the point?!

Regarding Iowa’s law school, the heart of the matter is this: the poster above your comment relayed the story of a student who is supposedly ranked second in his class at a top tier law school. Iowa is currently ranked 26th by US News & World Report. They consistently hover around the top 25. This school certainly has some prestige. The guy is second in his class and on law review, and HE CANNOT FIND LEGAL EMPLOYMENT! This definitely presents a problem for your average law student who ends up at a lower-tiered school.

Do you understand that?!?! I suppose you are a pre-law troll from TLS, Law School Discussion, or lifeat160. If so, you are excused for your blatant ignorance. Your writing style reflects that you have not yet been admitted to law school. You also come across as immature. Furthermore, you seem to be wedded to the idea of going to law school – REGARDLESS of the facts.

Lastly, NO ONE mentioned that law schools guarantee their students a job. The fact that you feel the need to make things up FURTHER UNDERMINES your argument and your credibility. What you fail to point out is that most law schools do purport to have 93%-99% placement rates. (This is the case, even though NALP states that about 89.9% of Class of 2008 law graduates, "for whom empoyment status was known," were employed within 9 months of graduation.) That gives prospective law students the idea that they are, in fact, making a smart financial decision and a sound investment in their future.

The NALP figures are based on information collected by the individual law schools. So how can TTTTs continue to claim 94%-97.4% placement rates? Because there is no audit performed. It is based on the “honor system.” But then again, there is NO honor among thieves. Have you not seen the numerous comments on this and other sites, where grads claim their employment status and salary info were deliberately omitted by their law school, so that the school could report better numbers? How can YOU defend such practices?!?

I hope I answered your concerns sufficiently. How’s that for a stocking stuffer?

Saturday, December 19, 2009

On the Rack: Domino's Pizza School of Law



Look at how much the dean at the Domino’s Pizza School of Law was making in 2007.


According to the deposition testimony of Paul Roney, the CFO for all things Ave Maria, Law School Dean Bernard Dobranki is paid approximately $300,000 annually by the school and not the Foundation. The latest available IRS-990 statement filed by AMSL (2007) shows Dobranski receiving $365,699 in total compensation from the school. The 2007 990 from the Ave Maria Foundation does not list Dobranski as a donation recipient or an officer-employee. [Emphasis mine]

Bernard Dobranski was making $365,699 in total compensation from the school!! And why not? After all, he was serving as the CEO/educator of a privately-held corporation. A private company that receives an annual deluge of federal funds and taxpayer money in the form of government-backed student loans, that is!

The following are excerpts from the July 2008 deposition testimony of Paul Roney, the CFO for all things Ave Maria (Paul Roney):

Q. Bernie Dobranski is paid by the foundation?

PR. No.

Q. Who is he paid by?

PR. The law school.

Q. And the money is put into the law school by the foundation for his pay?

PR. No, not specifically.

Q. Okay. And he has a contract whereby he will be paid whether he’s employed as a dean of the law school or not; correct?

PR. For a period of time, I believe that’s correct.

It must be nice to be paid $365K regardless of whether one works or not.

For those of you not aware, Tom Monaghan is a wildly successful businessman who has owned Domino’s Pizza and the Detroit Tigers baseball club, among other investments. After selling Domino's, he decided to open up his own law school, providing an education under the Roman Catholic tradition. The school was originally located in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The school opened its doors in 2000.

Anyway, pizza boy decided to move his school to Naples, Florida and the delivery was made earlier this year. I suppose Florida needed one more law school. Prior to Ave Maria’s move, Florida ONLY had eight law schools.


Tuition for those entering the law school in 2009-10 is $34,900. Expenses are estimated to be $20,879 for the same academic year.


Here is the school’s video regarding Career Opportunities and the Florida Legal Market:


Lastly, this fifth-rate law school is ranked in the Fourth Tier by US News & World Report.


Taking all these things into account, who in their right mind would pay to go to school here? You would be better off going to culinary school or managing a fast food restaurant. At least, you wouldn’t be strapped with massive student loan debt. You can access the school’s web site for further info, but you may get indigestion.

The school is also taking applications for the position of dean and president:


Just make sure to specify what toppings you want, and whether this is carry-out or delivery.

In all seriousness, Tom Monaghan is a businessman first and foremost - above all else. He sees this as a wise investment. (And you trolls/apologists out there thought law schools were not lucrative investments. Why else would we see so many private law schools popping up all over the place?)

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

American Student Assistance – Student Loan Guarantor and "Public Servant"



Student Debt Statistics

http://amsa.com/policy/resources/stats.cfm

Go to the bottom of page 1 and onto page two of this link. This table shows the percentage of graduate students borrowing, by degree program.

As you can see, more law students – as a percentage – go into student debt than any other graduate degree program. Even a higher percentage than medical students! This is sobering. (Perhaps, there is a higher percentage of rich kids who go to medical school, and can simply rely on parents or a wealthy spouse to pay for their education.)

The chart shows that 88.60% of law students borrow money for their graduate level program. You read that right - EIGHTY-EIGHT POINT SIX PERCENT!! This same table shows the average law student debt load was $80,081. This is based off info from 2007-08.

About AMSA

http://amsa.com/about/

American Student Assistance® (ASA) is a non-profit, federally funded student loan guarantor that was founded in 1956. Guarantors traditionally assist the U.S. Department of Education (ED) to insure private lenders against the risk of default on college loans. But ASA champions a new role for the nation’s guarantors, one that better meets the needs of today’s students and families. [Emphasis mine]

From the bottom of this page, you can access their Corporate Brochure. (Coincidentally, if you print this eight-page document off, you will have an emergency reserve of toilet paper.) You can see on page 2 where their CEO talks about “focusing on delinquency and default prevention.”

On page 4, you can see where these vultures refer to themselves as “counselor to borrowers, service provider to the U.S. Education Department, consultant to financial aid professional, partner to lenders and public servant to society.”

One question: how in the hell can you refer to yourselves as public servants to society?!? You partner with the most egregious, insidious snake-oil salesmen – the upper echelons of the higher education industrial complex – and you are performing a public service?!?!? I guess strapping generations of motivated young people with massive student loan debt is a service – of some sort.

Page 5 notes that they help students make “the first step toward building good credit…” Read: “We help students by helping them bury themselves in student debt.” Yeah, that’s a GREAT way to help people! It’s also a tremendous way to start off one’s working life. Buying a home, getting married, and having kids can wait. You have an investment to pay off!!

Also, look at the bottom of page 5 – Delivering on public purpose:

As a nonprofit organization, helping students complete a successful program of college financing and repayment offers a variety of compelling public benefits, including a well-educated and fiscally responsible workforce.

Don’t forget to add well-educated, low-paid, financially insecure workforce.

If you have the stomach to peruse these materials further, you can see that the company purports to be concerned with saving tax monies.

These numbers only begin to convey our results: averting thousands of borrowers from student loan default problems…improving the performance of our partners’ portfolios…and saving our taxpayers millions – proving it pays to Think About Tomorrow. [Emphasis mine]

Yes, because you certainly care about taxpayers.

In the final analysis, the ASA is looking out for the interests of corporate executives and banksters. Just look at how they liberally employ corporate doublespeak, i.e. “counseling,” “wellness programs” and “compassion.” These vultures don’t give a damn about the student borrower. They simply want to make CERTAIN you pay back your loans.

Their primary purpose is to insure the private banking cartel against the risk of default on college loans. Just because they use “compassionate language” to describe their role DOES NOT make them different or unique from the other “non-profit, federally-funded student loan guarantors.”

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]

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Three Law Schools Owned by One Company



Thank you to commenter Qazu, for this information. Phoenix Law School, Charlotte Law School, and Florida Coastal College of Law are owned by the same damn company!!


The InfiLaw System is a consortium of independent, community based law schools that is establishing itself as a leader in making legal education more responsive to the realities of new career dynamics.

The InfiLaw System includes Florida Coastal School of Law in Jacksonville, FL, Phoenix School of Law in Phoenix, AZ and its newest school, Charlotte School of Law in Charlotte, NC which opened in 2006.

Its mission is to establish student-centered, ABA accredited law schools in underserved markets that graduate students with the skills of a second-year associate and achieve true diversity programs aimed at student academic and career success.

In addition, InfiLaw provides an ongoing commitment to encouraging innovation, facilitating law school quality, fostering a humility-based culture, continuously improving the academic profile and outcomes of each school and securing funding for new campuses.

The fact that the ABA allows such a “consortium” to teach law shows that the ABA does not give a damn about prospective law students. You can also see that the consortium is planning to build new campuses.

Well, the "consortium" is actually a corporation, which is supposedly based out of Naples, Florida. It looks like Sterling Partners has invested in Infilaw Corp. Through Sterling’s website, you can also check out the bio of Infilaw CEO, Rick Inatome.

http://www.sterlingpartners.us/portfolio/index.asp?d_Company_ID=315


Look at the amounts charged by these respective schools.

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

Tuition $32,296 per year.

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

Tuition and fees for FT student $33,242

http://www.fcsl.edu/finance/tuition-and-fee-schedule-20092010-academic-year

Tuition and fees per year for FT student - $32,662

Now, let’s take a look at the supposed job prospects for these students and graduates.

http://www.phoenixlaw.edu/about/default.asp?PageID=75

The position of dean is currently open. The school is taking applications for this illustrious position. The school does not currently mention employment figures for its graduates, on its web site.

http://www.charlottelaw.edu/careerservices/

As our career services takes form we will:

· Offer comprehensive resources to both students and employers that will serve as a platform for connecting with one another.
· Counsel students on new and exciting ways to use a law degree in our evolving culture with non-practice based opportunities.
· Continue to deepen and strengthen our already strong ties within the local and national legal communities to best assist our students with nurturing their own professional relationships.

Wow! I am sure this is a real comfort to current students. Let me guess. They also have 24-7 access to Simplicity too, right?! At least they don’t claim “99 percent employed within 9 months of graduation.”

http://www.fcsl.edu/aboutus

Florida Coastal claims a “Graduate employment rate after nine months was 96.6 percent in February 2008.”

Yeah, sure, and I can strike Derek Jeter out on three pitches. Do you have some actual proof to back up this claim? (I just want to make sure this is not some “error” or oversight on the part of the school.)

For $ome rea$on, the ABA feels that we need more law schools. Hmmm…I wonder why this would be the case. Never mind that the NALP reports that 198 ABA-approved law schools approve FAR MORE graduates than there are available attorney or (law-related) jobs. Apparently, we need more law schools! I suppose there are not enough JDs and “licensed attorneys” stocking shelves, selling insurance, teaching middle school, or waiting tables. The ABA feels that we need more of these types of graduates.

These three schools are regular advertisers on law school industry publications and mainstream newspapers. Each school has its own dean, and regional board of advisors. So, to the common eye everything appears fine. This company is blatantly out to make a serious buck. I am sure the ABA was aware of this, when it provisionally approved the schools. And Florida Coastal has already attained full accreditation from the ABA.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Open Letter to Iowa’s Law Dean and Her Responses



University of Iowa Lists Class of 2008 High Salary as $750,000

I got this info from a poster on JDU:

http://jdunderground.com/thread.php?threadId=8281

Here is the actual link to the PDF, entitled “The University of Iowa College of Law Career Services Statistics - Class of 2008.”

http://www.law.uiowa.edu/documents/cso_stats_2008.pdf

In response to this misleading material, I wrote the following email to Dean Carolyn Jones. It was sent out on Friday, December 4, 2009 at 3:56 pm.

To: carolyn-jones@uiowa.edu, karen-klouda@uiowa.edu

Dean Carolyn Jones
Director of Career Services Karen Klouda
College of Law
The University of Iowa
290 Boyd Law Building
Iowa City, IA 52242-1113

Dear Carolyn and Karen,

I recently came across a report from the law school, regarding Career Services Statistics for the Class of 2008. I have provided the link to that report, at the bottom of this letter. In that PDF, I see where the high salary for 2008 graduates is listed at $750,000.

While this may be the case, isn’t this a misrepresentation to prospective law students? For example, NFL Hall of Fame quarterback Steve Young obtained his law degree in 1994, from the J. Reuben Clark Law School at Brigham Young University. At that point in time, Young was on his way to leading his team to a Super Bowl victory while earning the MVP of the National Football League. I won’t pretend to know what he was earning at that point in his career. But it is very likely that he was making about $4 million in annual salary. (This is probably a conservative estimate.)

Now, would it have been fair or accurate for BYU to say that the top salary for its law Class of 1994 was $4 million? Especially, when this particular graduate has never practiced law? Surely, another school would object to this, and argue that this is misleading and gives the false impression to potential law students that they can shoot for the top of the class and command such a HUGE starting salary, right out of law school.

If the University of Iowa is going to tout this figure on its recruiting materials, it should at least put out a disclaimer, such as: “This is not representative of a law firm salary for new associates.” Or “This person is not practicing law.”

Thank you for reading this letter.

[Nando]

(PDF link enclosed]

SCHOOL RESPONDS

Here are the responses, in full, from Dean Carolyn C. Jones. The first was sent out on Saturday, December 5, at 8:51 am. The second was sent out five minutes later.

Dear [Nando],

Thank you for your note regarding salaries for our law school graduates. The very high salary you note is quite high, but it is what was reported to us. In our reporting we do not limit our graduates' salaries (which is what we are asked) to those practicing law. Indeed, a number of our graduates do not end up practicing law, but may find existing careers enhanced or new opportunities open as a result of attaining a law degree. This particularly true for our graduates who enter the business arena. The College has reported the information we have in the format asked. We believe that law students are intelligent enough to know that these are not first year associate salaries even at the largest law firms. If students want to know about salary structures at law firms across the country, our Career Services office is certainly able to provide that information in counseling sessions with our students and alumni.

Thank you for your inquiry.

My best,

Dean Carolyn Jones

Response 2

Dear [Nando]-- I do think that a clarification might be useful for our stats. We will be adding that soon.

My best,

Dean Carolyn Jones

Some observations:
Notice how the dean states, “We believe that law students are intelligent enough to know that these are not first year associate salaries even at the largest law firms.” Okay, so the onus is on the prospective student to already know this.

One question: Then why put this on recruiting materials? After all, these figures are not meant primarily for the benefit of graduates. I’m sure not including such a disclaimer was just another one of those “errors” or oversights that law schools seem to be afflicted with.

Lastly, if you look closely at the PDF, you can see that the school claims that not a single solitary graduate was unemployed and seeking employment!! Add up the numbers, so you can verify (or disprove) what I just said. I guess they count ANYTHING as employment, i.e. stocking shelves at a warehouse, nightclub bouncer, PT sales clerk at a record store, bartender, yoga instructor, plumber’s assistant, etc.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

A Penetrating Look at NALP's Numbers



The figures in this entry are furnished by the National Association for Law Placement. Specifically, these numbers are from NALP’s Class of 2008 Selected Findings.


According to page two of this PDF, “Scope of Employment Data,” the nation’s 198 ABA-accredited law schools produced 43,587 graduates in 2008. (Not mentioned is how many JDs the non-ABA accredited law schools pumped out.)

Now look at the number of jobs where bar passage was required: 30,334.

Going by these numbers alone, 13,253 JDs from the Class of 2008 COULD NOT HAVE BEEN HIRED AS ATTORNEYS, even if they had wanted to, i.e. 43,587 – 30,334. Also, using these figures, we can see that of the 43,587 JDs, about 69.6% of them were employed as lawyers within 9 months of graduation, i.e. 30,334/43,587.

(Surely, there were quite a few who passed a bar exam and can now call themselves “attorneys at law.” However, if that does not help you pay the bills, what is the point of having the license? So you can continue to pay fees to an organization that probably does not know you exist?)

Here is something else to consider: how many of the fortunate 30,334 are (or were) working as solos or in family-run firms?

From the last column on page 1:

Of those graduates for whom employment status was known, 74.7% obtained a job for which bar passage is required.

So, the NALP essentially concedes that ABA-approved law schools PRODUCE FULLY 25 PERCENT TOO MANY JDs. I understand that not everyone goes to law school for the express purpose of someday becoming a lawyer, but this is ridiculous. Surely, more than 75 percent of those in law school wanted to be lawyers at some point.

Look at page 1 – opening paragraph, first sentence. If NALP claims 89.9% employed within 9 months (for those whom employment status was known), how the hell can TTTs and TTTTs claim 95% or 99% employment rates? This simply doesn’t add up.

I also like how NALP notes that employment rates for law graduates are “considerably higher” than those from much of the 1990s. Yes, before the dot-com bubble. And when there were less law schools and less competition for legal jobs. It seems that law grads would have had it better in those economic times. Perhaps the employment rates are significantly better now because the schools simply got more creative in formulating their placement rates? I doubt it has anything to do with CDOs employing better methods to help law students out.

(For instance, my CDO told me to include my hobbies in my resume - in a different subheading. Yeah, because employers really give a crap that I enjoy reading, photography, and playing chess. I’m sure these things would have set me apart from other applicants.)

Let’s look at another revealing statistic: 977 JDs were enrolled in an advanced degree program. In what other professional degree program do you see in excess of 2% of graduates pursue another advanced degree? And these are the grads we know of! Do dental or medical school grads pursue another advanced degree within 9 months of graduating, instead of taking their licensing board exams?

Conclusion
In the final analysis, law schools produce FAR MORE graduates than there are available attorney (or law-related) positions. This NALP “Selected Findings” study confirms this. You industry apologists out there can try to spin this, BUT REALITY IS STARING YOU SQUARELY IN THE FACE.

I realize this is only a snippet of information. If you want, you can purchase NALP’s “comprehensive” Jobs & JDs: Employment and Salaries of New Law Graduates - Class of 2008. The price is $65 plus $8 standard ground delivery, for NALP members; the cost is $90 for non-members. As for myself, I would rather spend $90 on important things, like food, heat, bills, etc.
 
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