Saturday, February 27, 2010

Growth of the Law School Industry v. Growth of U.S. Population

The issue before this Court today is whether the growth of the total U.S. population has kept up with the growth of the U.S. law school industry. If so, is there a valid justification for such growth in the industry?

U.S. Population in 1965: 194,302,963
Total Number of ABA-Approved Law Schools in 1965: 136
Total Law School Enrollment in 1965: 56,510

U.S. Population in 1991: 252,127,402
Total Number of ABA-Approved Law Schools in 1991: 176
Total Law School Enrollment in 1991: 129,580

U.S. Population in 2008: 304,059,724
Total Number of ABA-Approved Law Schools in 2008: 200
Total Law School Enrollment in 2008: 142,922


Anthony J. Sestric, In Defense of Law Schools, 53 J. Mo. B. 232, 233 (1997).

As you can see, yearly law school student enrollment more than doubled in the 26 years between 1965 and 1991; actually, the number of law students in 1991 was 2.29 times greater than that of 1965, i.e. 129,580/56,510. During this same time period, U.S. population grew by 29 percent. In other words, U.S. population was 1.29 times greater in 1991 than it was in 1965, i.e. 252,127,402/194,302,963.

Annual U.S. law student enrollment - in the span of 45 years - increased by nearly 153%, i.e. 142,922/56,510, whereas the total U.S. population had only increased by 56.5 percent in the same timeframe, i.e. 304,059,724/194,302,963.

Maybe, just maybe, the law schools are producing WAY TOO MANY GRADUATES!! Why else would you see Craig’s List ads seeking experienced lawyers and litigators, but only willing to pay $15 an hour?! How many unemployed JDs would be living in the streets or in shelters - if not for the kindness of their families?!

Conclusion: This Court of Common Sense finds that the growth of the law school industry has FAR exceeded that of the total population. Furthermore, the Court finds such growth unconscionable and unjustifiable, in light of the outsourcing of American legal work to foreign lawyers and non-lawyers. See ABA “Ethics” Opinion 08-451.

The industry has changed so much, in the last 5-10 years, let alone the last 45 years. Today, non-lawyers have greater access to legal forms, statutes, case law and court information that used to require the services of a lawyer. Also, many more people are now hiring lawyers on a piecemeal basis, from bankruptcy and divorces to real estate transactions. The ABA and its member schools have produced far too many annual graduates – for decades! Recent JDs are also graduating with MUCH larger student loan debt and higher interest rates – all while competing for a shrinking pool of available positions. On top of all this, many people have come to expect lawyers to donate their services for free.

The only “justification” for continuing to approve and accredit more law schools seems to be the fact that law schools are so profitable. This Court finds that this is not a sufficient justification for sending tens of thousands of young people – each year – into crippling, non-dischargeable debt.

In sum, current law students and recent graduates find themselves in a bind. Many are paying immense sums of money for a degree they will NEVER get to use – in terms of practicing law. The fact that the ABA continues to approve any fifth-rate diploma mill that applies for accreditation, shows conclusively that the ABA does not give a damn about current law students and recent graduates.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The Booming Tennessee TTT and TTTTT Law School Market

Notice how I didn’t mention the booming Tennessee lawyer market? You see, the ABA does not take a shrinking legal market into account when deciding whether to accredit MORE diploma factories. They only care about the demand for law schools, created by a combination of desperate students, weak job prospects, a low-wage economy, and blatant distortions and falsehoods perpetrated by the law schools - on their self-reported info.

As you can see, Third Tier University of Memphis exceeded its fundraising goal of $12 million by $547,000.
You can also see that this third tier institution of higher learning received serious backing from major corporate donors and large law firms. Good thing a former dean of the law school conceived of an aggressive naming-rights campaign:

I guess it remains to be seen if firms such as Baker Donelson and Glankler Brown PLLC will be as generous when it comes to hiring Memphis grads.

The school decided to relocate and purchased some real estate in downtown Memphis. This acquisition was made easier with serious state funds:

The State of Tennessee allocated an unprecedented $42 million toward the renovation of the historic custom house, federal courthouse and most recently post office.

Couldn’t this money have been better spent - perhaps on actual job growth?! The State of Tennessee set aside $42 million for this scheme. And for what?!? To ensure that the legal market will remain over-saturated?!

There is more good news for the expanding law school industry in Tennessee. Lincoln-Memorial University in Knoxville opened the Duncan School of Law and enrolled its inaugural class in August 2009.

Fast forward to March 2009 and the fledgling program had already achieved Tennessee Board of Law Examiner’s approval to open and had begun accepting its inaugural class. By the end of that month, the LMU-John J. Duncan, Jr., School of Law, or LMU-Duncan School of Law (LMU-DSOL) for short, was building a name for itself by recruiting some of the brightest legal minds from all over the country to fill-out the faculty.

WOW! You were able to gain approval from the Tennessee Board of Law Examiner’s. Is that harder than getting approval from Jack in the Box’s board of directors? What a great accomplishment!! And yes, LMU-DSOL certainly is building a name for itself. That’s why no one outside of Knoxville has ever heard of this dump!!

Now let’s take a peek at provisionally-accredited BelmonTTTTT Law School:

The law school will have a cap of 350 students and be integrated into Belmont’s campus. [Belmont’s president] Fisher said the school has set aside the money for the first two years of operation and expects to break even by the third year. [Emphasis mine]

It cost Belmont University $25 million to launch this turd. And they EXPECT to break even by the third year of operation. Who says law schools aren’t lucrative?! The article itself notes that tuition and fees are expected to be about $31K-$33K a year.

In the final analysis, attending any of the newer schools would be financial suicide. You will be competing with Vanderbilt and University of Tennessee grads for legal positions. Even those grads are not guaranteed anything. VANDY LAW GRADS ARE WAITING TABLES!!!

Tennessee DOES NOT NEED another fourth or fifth-tier garbage heap, let alone two of them. The school administrators and the ABA know that many of these kids will end up with $100K in debt and no shot in hell of landing legal employment. This alone shows you that the ABA and the State Board of Law Examiner’s do not give a damn about future law students. They only care about their over-paid, under-worked law "professors" and administrators.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Second Tier Sewer: Villanova

Click on the link for the VLS Advantage Brochure PDF on the right-hand side of the screen. Apparently, Villanova has to convince local employers to send reps out to this prestigious second tier law school:

(By the way, look at how USN&WR treads lightly on the fragile egos of law school administrators. Villanova is ranked 61st by the rag – miraculously tied with three other schools- but is still listed as a Tier 1 school. Of course, once you get outside the top 100 law schools, you drop down into TTT land. Surely, law students and attorneys are not this bad at math!)

Are you in the mood for a good fiction story? Good, then head over to this web page, and look at Villanova’s Facts and Stats:

[Note: This should be listed as, Self-Reported Stats, Which Are Not Audited or Verified by a Independent Third Party. Also, by Facts, you mean to say Fabrications, correct?]

Tuition and Fees for the 2009-2010 school year amount to $34,860! (Take a DEEP breath and talk a walk around the block.) When you come back, we can look at living expenses. Oh, wait. The school does not list this on their Stats and Facts page. Perhaps living in Philadelphia is so cheap, the school does not want to give students the impression that it is in Appalachia.

Under Journals, you can see the distinguished Journal of Catholic Social Thought and the equally prominent Villanova Sports & Entertainment Law Journal. Yeah!! Employers are always seeking editors and staff of 5th rate legal journals! What’s that you say? Legal employers DO NOT CARE that you were an editor of the esteemed Villanova Sports & Entertainment Law Journal?! Oh, and the U.S. Supremes did not cite to it several times, in the last session?

But the school claims that a JD is a versatile degree that will open up many doors for its students. [Reality check: those doors will ONLY be opened to you, if you have the right family, business, or political connections BEFORE going to law school. Other than that, you MUST excel at school. Or work at Target.]

What about Legal Employment or Career Outcomes? What about Placement Rates or Starting Salary figures? I can only find Externships. (Unpaid, of course.) Actually, you - as a student – are paying for the privilege of doing grunt work in the DA’s Office or Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts – whatever the hell that is. And at Villanova, you are paying $34,850 a year for the “experience”.

Hey, we found something – on the bottom of the page. For the Class of 2008, Villanova claims:

95% of students were either employed or pursuing an advanced degree or other goals within 9 months of graduation.

Yeah, sure they were. And 95 percent of the women I have dated had not fully grieved over the end of the relationship within 9 months. Why not claim 100 percent placement? It’s not like the gutless ABA or NALP will verify the info.

Under Career Paths, the school asserts that 56% were in private practice. Does “private practice” include retail; insurance sales; bartender; waitress; fast food drive through operator; etc.? Do your grads get hired on in the following “big firms”: Starbucks, Target, Wal-Mart, AutoZone, Home Depot, and Petsmart? What about the smaller firms, i.e. Devil’s Alley Bar & Grill, McGillin’s Olde Ale House, Club 27, Fluid Nightclub, etc.?

Question: how can the 61st most phenomenal, amazing, dynamic law school in the land NOT provide a better breakdown of career outcomes?!? An oversight, I am sure. It couldn’t possibly be deliberate. I mean, the 61st most prestigious law school in the United States (with three others) MUST have placed several recent graduates in Biglaw, academia, or high-ranking government posts, right?!?!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Turn the Handle: BalTTTTimore

Tuition and Fees: Full-time in-state students at the University of Baltimore will pay $23,992 for a “legal education” for the 2009-2010 academic year, i.e. $11,996 * 2.

For full-time non-resident students, the cost will be $35,988 for the 2009-2010 school year, i.e. $17,994 * 2.

Estimated Total Cost of Attendance: Look at the far-right column. There you will see that the school estimates the total COA for the 2009-2010 – for Maryland residents – will be $44,922! It gets uglier: for out-of-state students, the total COA, for the 2009-2010 school year, is estimated to be $56,918!

Ranking: Well, surely the law school has a strong academic reputation to justify these amounts. Plus, the school probably isn’t located in an over-saturated legal market. And certainly a law degree from such a prestigious law school WILL open many doors to its graduates, right?!?! Well, according to US News & World Report, the University of Baltimore is located in the fourth tier of American law schools!!

Career Outcomes: This is a pathetic Career Services page.

Under Diversity Recruitment, you will see that this school touts itself as being a melting pot:

African American, Asian, Latino, Native American and international students make up 15% of the law school enrollment. Sixteen percent of UB's faculty are from diverse ethnic groups and a little over half of our students are women. The School of Law, along with the Office of Disability Services, supports the needs of students with disabilities.

A diverse law school community enriches the academic program and better prepares students to practice law in a multi-cultural, multi-ethnic society.

What the school fails to note, is that the legal industry does not really care about diversity – other than to be able to pat itself on the back and say, “Look, we hire minorities.” How many of those minorities become senior partners? How many of them are working in the basements, doing doc review? How many are fired or let go within a couple of years? How many simply get burned out, when they realize they are working for a soul-less, greedy corporation or government entity? How many are unemployed?! How many are working as waiters, bartenders, cops, taxi drivers, insurance adjusters, etc.?

Conclusion: Do not attend this law school UNLESS: (a) you get a full-tuition scholarship – and preferably you are also not paying for living expenses; (b) you have some strong family, political or business connections, which WILL result in you getting a nice job upon graduation; or (c) you are one of those people who just HAVE to be an attorney, i.e. your self-image depends on outside validation and the accumulation of educational degrees.

If you do not fit into any of the above three categories, you are in a position where you MUST make law review, make connections while in law school, and graduate at the top of your class. Otherwise, you will be saddled with NON-DISCHARGEABLE, massive student loan debt and little job prospects. Remember also, that there are currently 16 law schools in the Maryland, DC, and Virginia market.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Next Stop on the Fourth Tier Express: Regent University School of Law

Regent’s Motto: “Law is More Than a Profession. It’s a Calling.”

With the shape this industry is in, what is it calling – Domino’s? Life support?

Cost of Attendance: for the 2009-2010 academic year, tuition and fees at Regent School of Law add up to $29,852.

Total Cost of Attendance: the estimated total COA at Regent for the 2009-2010 school year is $49,972! Expensive, but I’m sure the school’s reputation will make up for this by opening up many doors to its students and graduates, right?!

School Rank: According to US News & World Report, Regent is ranked in the fantastic fourth tier of U.S. law schools! No wonder they can get away with charging so much in tuition! Employers are climbing over each other to hire Regent grads.

Job Outcomes: Under Facts & Stats, RegenTTTT claims that, among its Class of 2008:

90.9% were employed or in a graduate program within nine months of graduation.
11.4% were employed in judicial clerkships.
72% were employed before graduation.

Then again, Angel the Lawyer could claim to bench-press 325 pounds. The school simply cannot back up its supposed “facts & stats” – in any scientific way. The burden is on them to prove their claim.

So the question remains: would Jesus charge poor and middle-class people $29,852 per year for a legal education from a lower-tier law school? Would he manipulate “facts” in order to fleece more young people out of their (borrowed) money? I mean, this is the man who kicked the moneychangers out of the temple, right?

Then again, Regent University was the “brainchild” of Marion Gordon “Pat” Robertson. Not exactly Jesus. Perhaps the school could land in the third tier if the school reverted back to its original name: Christian Broadcasting Network University.

Reality check: the school is in a crowded market, as Virginia has SEVEN other law schools. Here is how RegenTTTT Law stacks up against its in-state competition – rankings are from the 2010 graduate school rankings by USN&WR:

University of Virginia at number 10; William & Mary at 28; Washington and Lee at 30; George Mason at 41; University of Richmond at 77; Appalachian School of Law occupying the fourth tier; and provisionally-accredited Liberty rounding things out. And don’t forget all of the regional powerhouses, such as Duke, UNC, Vanderbilt and Emory. And the law schools in the Washington D.C. area (which George Mason would be considered a part of).

Good luck, Regent grads. You will certainly need it. For prospective law students, do not go here, unless you get a full-tuition scholarship and are not paying major living expenses, such as rent or a car payment. Seriously, DO NOT base your decision on faith or trying to make your parents proud. Go with the cold, hard facts and decide accordingly.
Remember, you will be the one with massive, non-dischargeable student debt to pay off for the next 30 years, NOT your parents or your girlfriend!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Third Tier Quinnipiac to Open a Medical School

At the suggestion of medicinesux, I am proud to present my analysis of Quinnipiac University’s plans to open up a medical school:

Adding a medical school to its existing schools of law, communications, business, education, health sciences and College of Arts and Sciences will continue Quinnipiac's transformation into a major national university. There are only 200 American Bar Association approved law schools, 135 approved U.S. medical schools, and only 89 universities in America (out of 3,600) that have both law and medical schools.

Yeah, sure Quinnipiac is on the verge of becoming a “major national university.” And I am on the verge of making $140K a year. Just because there are ONLY 89 universities with both a medical school and a law school, does not mean that a fourth-rate institution of higher learning needs to be the ninetieth one!!

Quinnipiac President John L. Lahey said Thursday the university would begin the complex process of opening the medical school, enrolling the first class in 2013 or 2014 on its new campus in North Haven. The initial class will have about 50 students and the school will eventually have 500.

It is not clear whether the school’s total enrollment will reach 500 or whether this will be the targeted class size. However, we need to look at the total amount of MDs produced annually by American medical schools. This info is from the American Association of Medical Colleges:

According to page 3 of this PDF, there were 16,468 MDs awarded from all U.S. medical schools, for the Class of 2009. Now, imagine if Quinnipiac were to produce close to 500 annual MDs. That would represent close to 3 percent of all MDs produced in a year!! Viewing this chart, you can see that there are currently 127 MD-granting institutions in this country.

Let’s take a look at the school’s law program:

That has to be an error. US News lists this in the third tier of American law schools. Surely, such a national university cannot be housing a third-tier, third-rate law school.

Tuition and Fees: For a full-time student attending Third Tier Quinnipiac for the 2009-2010 academic year, tuition and fees amount to $40,780.

Total Cost of Attendance: $60,536 for those full-time students living on their own. For those FT students living at home, the total COA is only $54,504.

Cost for a Health Law LLM: Tuition for full-time students for the 2009-2010 school year is $33,600, and 16,800 for part-time students. And an LLM from this prestigious, national program will surely set one apart in the legal market, right?!?!

Sadly, there is a demand for such a shoddy “legal education.” According to the law school’s website there were more than 2,800 applicants for 160 seats, in the Fall 2009 first-year class.

Look at this pathetic Career Services page:

Your law degree from Quinnipiac University prepares you for a broad range of legal careers. More than 90 percent of Quinnipiac University School of Law graduates secure employment within nine months of graduation. The role of career services is to guide you to employment that will lead to a satisfying and productive professional career. Are you an employer?

Yeah, your Quinnipiac University J.D. prepares you for all sorts of interesting legal and non-legal “careers” – such as rodeo clown, latte server, janitor, bill collector, bus driver, unemployed artist, insurance claims adjuster, bartender, etc.

Now, does anyone think that Quinnipiac’s medical school will fare any better?! More than likely, they will contribute to producing too many physicians and health care workers in this country. I know plenty of doctors who are drowning in debt, and have no shot in hell of even hoping to pay it all off.

We need another fourth-rate medical school, like we need another Hurricane Katrina to hit our shores.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Gluttony Incarnate: New York Law School

I sometimes get industry apologists who tell me that the “free market” demands that law schools set their tuition and fees at any rate they choose. By this logic, shouldn’t lower-ranked schools charge lower tuition because of less demand and meager employment prospects?

Case in point: New York Law School. The school is ranked in the third tier of law schools, by US News & World Report for 2010.

Tuition and Fees: For a full-time law student at NYLS, tuition and fees amount to $44,850 for the 2009-2010 academic year.

Total Cost of Attendance: For FT students living on their own, the total COA is estimated at $67,615 per year! For those fortunate enough to live with family, the total COA is a manageable, paltry $54,955. (I mean, who can’t come up with $54,955 in total costs per year while attending law school full-time, right?!)

Financial Aid Resources:

The school gladly refers its current victims and prospective students to private lenders.

Alternative Loan Programs

Often, the financial aid available from federal, state and institutional sources is not enough to meet the total cost of attendance. Alternative loan programs provide opportunities to borrow to meet these costs. The annual maximum loan limits for most alternative loans is the difference between the cost of attendance and any other financial aid received for the academic year. Unlike the federal loan programs, alternative loan programs are consumer loans for students and therefore require borrowers to demonstrate good credit histories as part of the eligibility requirements. The Office of Financial Aid strongly suggests that you get a copy of your credit report from each of the three credit reporting agencies prior to applying for an alternative loan. [Emphasis mine]

[Read: We realize that tuition and living expenses to attend our dump are exorbitant. Therefore, we recommend you rely on “alternate loan programs” to meet tuition and total cost of attendance.]

Did I mention that the dean and president of NYLS, Richard A. Matasar, is also the Chair of the Board of Directors of Access Group, supposedly a “non-profit loan service provider” - based out of ominous Wilmington, Delaware?!

Going back to the economic argument: Why should a third tier trash can like New York Law School charge $44,850 in tuition and fees for the 2009-2010 school year? Just look at the size of the school’s endowment:

For the 2005 tax year, you can see that NYLS’s endowment was $208,128,543. That’s right – TWO HUNDRED AND EIGHT MILLION, ONE HUNDRED TWENTY-EIGHT THOUSAND, AND FIVE HUNDRED FORTY-THREE DOLLARS!! Go down to line 21 on this IRS Form 990. This amount is greater than most university endowments! Of course, the apologists conveniently overlook this fact and assert that a law school with a $208 million endowment MUST charge $45K per year in tuition in fees. Otherwise, such a toilet could not afford to rent classroom space or pay their “professors.”

Apparently, law school industry apologists believe that the supposed “free market” demands that law school tuition continue to skyrocket – regardless of the job market for lawyers.
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