Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Stinking Pile of Rot: William Mitchell College of Law


http://www.wmitchell.edu/admissions/deciding/tuition-financial-aid.asp

Tuition: For the 2010-2011 school year, a full-time law student at this wondrous program will be charged $33,800 in tuition.

Total Cost of Attendance: According to this same page, expenses over 9 months will add up to another $18,174, i.e. housing, utilities, food, transportation, personal, books/supplies, and loan fees. This would bring the total COA to a nice, reasonable figure of $51,974 per year! I mean, who the hell doesn’t have $52K to drop on one year of “legal education”, right?!?!

However, if we want to provide a more accurate picture, we will need to show the projected living expenses over 12 months – because an actual student will have living expenses throughout the entire year. (I guess the school left this out, for $ome rea$on.) Since the school estimates that living expenses will be $15,174 over nine months, we can determine that living expenses will amount to $20,232 over the course of twelve months, i.e. $15,174/9 = $1686 per month. And we still need to add the $3000 per year for books and loan fees. That would make the true total COA to $57,032 for the upcoming school year.

http://grad-schools.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-graduate-schools/top-law-schools/rankings/page+5

Ranking: This school is ranked, by US News & World Report, as the 98th greatest law school in the United States – in a five-way tie for most corroded second tier sewer. What a great accomplishment, huh?! (I would put that feat on about the same level as a person finishing a local 5K in 98th place.) Well, at least this ranking merely puts the school on the cusp of being a third tier toilet. I am sure the students, faculty and alumni of this dump are proud to be part of “a top 100 law school.”

http://www.wmitchell.edu/careers/services/employment-salary-reports.html

Employment Prospects: According to the Office of Career and Professional Development, “Within nine months of graduating, 96.98 percent (289 of 298) of the class of 2008 who were seeking employment were employed.” Yeah, sure you had 96.98% placement for the Class of 2008 – and Salma Hayek recently reported having multiple, exhilarating, mind-numbing, toe-curling uncontrollable orgasms 96.98 percent of the time she is around me.

Starting Salary Info: “Of the 213 graduates who reported their salary information, average private practice salary was $71,793 while the overall average salary was $63,761.”

Well, there seems to be a problem with these figures. You see, 147 graduates (allegedly) reported working in private practice. Of these, 71 report working in toiletlaw, i.e. firms of 2-10 lawyers. Plus, 12 more desperate souls decided to hang out their own shingles. In contrast, only 17 out of these 147 private attorneys are working in firms with more than 100 lawyers. UNLESS toiletlaw firms have suddenly become generous with respect to pay for new lawyers, these salary figures appear to be pure fiction.

Also, it looks like there were 318 graduates in 2008. Yet, only 213 responded to questions regarding their salary. This means that these figures are derived from 66.98% of the graduating class. Might the bottom 33.02 percent be too embarrassed to report their income to the Office of Career and Professional Development? “No problem! We’ll just report an average starting salary of $63,761, anyway.”

http://www.wmitchell.edu/careers/services/employers-list.html

For $ome rea$on, the William Mitchell Commode of Law forgot to mention these other employers that also hire their JDs: Target, Mall of America, Whole Foods Market, Magers & Quinn Booksellers, Borders, Doubletree Guest Suites, the Grand Hotel Minneapolis, Plan B Coffeehouse, Allstate, and of course, Minneapolis Public Schools.

Here are some “nuggets of foolishness” from William Mitchell’s dean:

http://www.dolanmedia.com/view.cfm?recID=587745

"[William Mitchell Commode of Law dean and president, Eric S.] Janus said all four Twin Cities schools are a “relative bargain” when compared to law schools on the east and west coasts, where tuition averages more than $40,000 a year.

Janus said it will give him pause when tuition hits $40,000 a year at William Mitchell."

It WILL give you pause?!?! Why doesn’t the fact that the total COA is hovering around $57K a year keep you up at night now? Oh, that’s right - $33,800 in tuition is a “relative bargain”. I almost forgot. Thanks for reminding me that this is a steal, Eric.

Conclusion: This school may be a slightly smaller piece of trash than the festering cesspools/law schools known as the University of St. Thomas and Hamline University. However, is it worth going $177K in debt for a law degree from the 98th best law school in the U.S.? If you are a Minnesota resident and you cannot get into law school at the University of Minnesota, then you need to consider another career. Or, you could keep your job, make some money, pay your bills, avoid taking on more student loan debt, earn a promotion and make some ACTUAL connections that can pay off for you down the road.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Fourth Tier Waste Site: Hamline University School of Law



After steamrolling over UST and Thomas Mengler, the TTR Express is extending its stay in Minneapolis - and will now focus on the other commodes of law in the area. Today, we highlight the Hamline Sewer of Law.


Tuition: For a full-time student at this presTTTTigious institution of academic excellence, tuition will amount to $33,022 for the 2010-2011 school year. There is also $384 in required fees for Hamline students.


Ranking: Hamline is ranked in the phenomenal fourth tier of American law schools. Yay!


Employment and Starting Salary Prospects: According to the school’s SELF-REPORTED, un-audited figures, 95.4% of the Class of 2008 was employed – presumably within 9 months of graduation. And Hamline JDs can look forward to making an average salary of $69,567 – at least using the Class of 2008 as a barometer. The school also claims that the median salary for the Class of 2008 was $52,000.

Some questions to ask: How many people responded to the graduate survey sent out by the school? What percentage of respondents reported salary info to the school?” How many Hamline JDs are working as bouncers for The Annex, or as bartenders at 331 Club? How many are driving for the Minneapolis Taxi Cab Co, or for their competitor, Rainbow Taxi? How many Hamline-educated attorneys are proudly teaching salsa lessons/workshops at The Four Seasons Dance Studio? How many of these “legal professionals” are working the concession stand at Minnesota Twins home games?!

Basically, your job prospects are weaker than moist excrement – if you go to a TTTT. What’s that you say? You were research editor of the Journal of Law & Religion? Well, why didn’t you say that earlier? That changes everything! Now, you WILL be more marketable than a JD from U. of Minnesota or from schools such as Notre Dame, Michigan, and Northwestern. Actually, your resume and your (big ass) diploma will still say “Hamline University School of Law” on it. Damn.

So, what does Hamline TTTT have going for it?



Yes, nothing says “world class”, quite like a part-time weekend program, right?! Honestly, who doesn’t want to spend their Saturdays and Sundays in the classroom, learning about the Model Penal Code and “minimum contacts”?


Dean’s blog: “I apologize that it's been so long since I've visited with you on this blog page. It's been a very busy semester for me, in large part because I am also teaching. I'm happy to be back in the classroom and I hope that my White Collar Crime students feel the same way."

Yes, I’m sure teaching a class this semester has really put a lot of strain on you, Donald. Maybe your White Collar Crime students will get the opportunity to put your ass behind bars for fraud, i.e. intentionally distorted employment and starting salary figures. If they can find work that is! Who knows? Maybe some of them will have a spouse support them as they hang out their own shingle. Everyone, feel free to post comments on Donald’s blog entries. I will leave one, as well. I don’t imagine he will approve my comments though.

Conclusion: “Discover the Hamline Difference”?! The school is a pathetic joke. It charges too much in the way of tuition, and provides its graduates with garbage employment prospects. How does that differ from the other TTTs out there?

DO NOT ATTEND THIS DUMP, UNLESS THE FOLLOWING FOUR FACTORS APPLY TO YOUR SITUATION: (a) you receive a full-tuition scholarship that is NOT CONTINGENT on your class rank; (b) you are living at home with your parents or relatives and will only incur minimal living expenses; (c) you work a crap job and you have no prospects for earning more than $10-$12 an hour, any time in the foreseeable future; and (d) you have employment lined up with a friend, relative, or business/political connection BEFORE going to law school.

If ANY of these factors do not apply to you, then do not attend this school. For example, if you are offered a full scholarship but you currently make $55K a year, DO NOT TAKE THE BAIT. You will find it hard to get back into your prior industry, as you may suddenly find yourself “overqualified” for the job/task you previously performed well. (Isn’t this the richest of ironies, i.e. earning a TTTT law degree and being considered “overqualified”?) In sum, you do not need the extra credential this badly. You will not die, or leave this earth having lived a meaningless existence if you are not an attorney-at-law. If you do not get into a truly elite school, and you simply MUST be a lawyer, go to the cheapest school you can get into. Do yourself a favor and look up 11 U.S.C. § 523(a)(8).

Don’t stay mad at me – I just saved you about $150K in NON-DISCHARGEABLE debt (tuition plus living expenses). Plus, you can stay at your job where you will actually make some money and pay your bills.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Profiles in Hypocrisy: TTT Dean Thomas Mengler



The following email was sent to Thomas Mengler on Sunday, March 18, 2010 at 10:35 pm:

Hello Hypocrite!

Thomas Mengler
University of St. Thomas School of Law
MSL 411
1000 LaSalle Avenue
Minneapolis, MN 55403-2015
tmmengler@stthomas.edu

Thomas,

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P5UJIJ8VQP8

You are on tape telling Minnesota Lawyer that there may be too many lawyers in your state. Let’s go to the 4:00 mark, shall we?

“Not every lawyer in America, or not every lawyer in Minnesota, should be practicing law. And some of them are getting forced out. And they probably should be, for the same reason that the coffee shop down the street may not be - maybe there are too many coffee shops in that four-block area. And we don’t lose a lot of sleep over the concept that businesses come and go because the market economy plays it out as it should be.”

Why didn’t you put this in your school’s marketing materials to prospective students?! And I am thrilled to hear that you don’t lose sleep over this. Just get them in the doors, charge them up the nose in tuition, pump them out, and let the “market” sort out the mess, right?!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WbLiRlWh83I&feature=related

At the 1:04-1:41 portion of this interview, you show that you clearly do not care about your students’ level of indebtedness. Regarding those students who are borrowing heavily for a third tier legal education, you had this to say: “I still think that’s a pretty good deal. If you ask yourself ‘Are you prepared to invest $75,000 or $80,000 in a career that might extend for 40 or 50 years.’”

http://www.stthomas.edu/law/admissions/financing/default.html

Well, Thomas, it looks like this would be a very conservative estimate, on your part. After all, for the upcoming 2010-2011 academic year, tuition for a full-time student at the University of St. Thomas School of Law will amount to $36,022! And we shouldn’t forget the required fees – in the amount of $290.

Now, maybe my math is not that sharp, but $36,000+ a year in tuition would amount to more than $108K, correct? Let’s not forget living expenses. According to this same link – under Indirect Costs – the school estimates that books, supplies, housing, meals, transportation, insurance and other miscellaneous expenses, will be $17,795 for the upcoming school year. That would take the total cost of attendance for the 2010-2011 school year to $54,107.

Plus, how many lawyers practice for 40-50 years? It seems that MOST lawyers burn out after a few years. You have a few old dinosaurs who cling around for 30-50 years, but they are the exception. The reality of the situation is this: most lawyers find that they do not like the practice of law (such as your “professors”); that they cannot make a living at it; and the rest are essentially not hirable.

Your analogy of the coffee shop closing down because there are too many cafes in a four-block area would apply to your third tier law school – if the school had to compete in a truly free market. Lucky for you, federal tax dollars are propping up this third tier commode.

Lastly, how the hell can you justify charging Ivy League tuition when you are AWARE that many of these students will be dumped into an oversaturated legal market?

Up yours, Hypocrite!

Nando

P.S. Here are some videos for you to watch, in the hope that you may grow a conscience. The first three feature UST students who cannot find jobs.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g4fXTlFTQHY

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sBbgXhac-Rs&feature=related

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kvd6bJA639g&feature=related

http://minnlawyerblog.com/2009/07/28/the-09-minnesota-bar-exam-day-1-video/

Check out this site, Thomas. A total of 830 JDs lined up to take the Minnesota bar exam in July 2009. (How many more took the state bar exam in February?)

http://www.youtube.com/user/MinnesotaLawyer#p/u/20/QZGjpOI9Gwg

Check out this video of struggling, established solo practitioners in your state! At the 0:46 mark. Richard Hendrickson – a practicing lawyer for 29 years – states: “It’s tough, especially with all the new attorneys coming out.”

http://www.startribune.com/local/90055572.html?page=1&c=y

And your bright idea is to allow minority undergrads at UST admission to the law school – without taking the LSAT?!?! Many of the people admitted under this program will not ever get a chance to practice law. You will simply be sentencing more people to a lifetime of disillusionment, low wages, and a mountain of non-dischargeable debt.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Money Down the Toilet: University of St. Thomas School of Law



http://www.startribune.com/local/90055572.html?page=1&c=y

Tip of the hat to my girl, JJD, for highlighting the fact that this school will now accept minority applicants who have not taken the LSAT. Given, the exam itself is a joke – as it does not measure anyone’s legal knowledge. But scrapping this requirement for some will not magically improve “legal education” nor help those it intends to aid.

http://www.stthomas.edu/law/admissions/financing/default.html

Tuition: For the 2010-2011 academic year, tuition for a full-time student at the University of St. Thomas School of Law will amount to $36,022! (Yes, that figure is in actual U.S. currency.) And don’t forget $290 in required fees!

Total Cost of Attendance: The school estimates that indirect costs, i.e. books, supplies, housing, meals, transportation, insurance and other miscellaneous expenses, will be $17,795 for this same school year. This means that the total COA for the 2010-2011 school year will be $54,107.

http://grad-schools.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-graduate-schools/top-law-schools/rankings/page+6

Ranking: Seeing that this school is pricey, surely it has a strong reputation and will be a good investment, right?!?! (Please reassure me that I'm right.) What’s that you say? US News & World Report has this school listed in the third tier of American law schools?! (Did you contact the magazine to make sure this is not an error?)

After all, the school notes on its home page that it: (a) accepts those of various faiths; (b) seeks to advance social justice; (c) values diversity; and (d) generates ideas/the search for truth. Yeah, the school says a lot of things to get asses in seats.

http://www.stthomas.edu/law/current/career/default.html

Employment Prospects: This page leaves much to be desired.

http://www.stthomas.edu/law/current/career/staff%20%26%20mission/staff%20and%20mission.html

From the pathetic Office of Career & Professional Development.

Our Mission Statement:

We will empower students and alumni as they explore and create careers inspired by passion and rooted in their faith and values. We will support them so that they aspire to greatness and flourish with confidence as servant leaders and ethical professionals.

I hope that your graduates will be passionate about selling insurance, stocking shelves, and driving taxis in the Minneapolis area. At least, their faith will carry them through these difficult times, right? How the hell can a supposed Christian school continue to pump out hundreds of law students who will never have a chance of practicing law?! I mean, where did Jesus say “Take advantage of the poor at every turn, and kick them to the side”?


This page pertains to Public Interest Careers. Of course! Who wouldn’t want to pursue a career in public interest law, after having spent $165K on a third tier, third-rate “legal education”?!?!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P5UJIJ8VQP8

Hypocrisy: Go to the 4:00 mark of this video. Dean Thomas Mengler states: “Not every lawyer in America, or not every lawyer in Minnesota, should be practicing law. And some of them are getting forced out. And they probably should be, for the same reason that the coffee shop down the street may not be - maybe there are too many coffee shops in that four-block area. And we don’t lose a lot of sleep over the concept that businesses come and go, because the market economy plays it out as it should be.”

Well, did you put that statement on your marketing materials to your incoming students, ass monkey? Did you?! And it is good to know that you don’t lose sleep over the fact that you make deep six figures by financially ruining hundreds of law students every year. It must be nice not to have a conscience, sociopath.

Listen to the 1:04-1:41 portion of this interview. You can see that Mengler clearly does not give a damn about his students’ indebtedness. Regarding those students who are borrowing heavily for a third tier legal education, the Dean of Hypocrisy had this to say: “I still think that’s a pretty good deal. If you ask yourself, ‘Are you prepared to invest $75,000 or $80,000 in a career that might extend for 40 or 50 years.’”

Conclusion: This school is a waste of space and taxpayer money. It is also a disgrace to Christianity and to Biblical teachings. DO NOT ATTEND this rathole – under any circumstances! The Minnesota lawyer market is oversaturated and many St. Thomas grads will NEVER find paid employment as attorneys – this despite having shelled out close to $165K in expenses. Then again, Jack Crittenden feels that we should not expect a positive return on our “investment.” Apparently, he has not met these UNEMPLOYED St. Thomas third year law students:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g4fXTlFTQHY&feature=related

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Call the Plumber: Seton Hall University School of Law



Due to popular demand, TTR shines the bathroom light on the Seton Hall Sewer of Law and its Valvoline Dean/Athletic Director/butt pirate, Pat Hobbs. (We’ll see how fast the cockroaches scurry off into the corner.) Skadden Farts, a.k.a. L4L, has done a number on this school over the years. So I hope he doesn’t take issue with me shoving another plunger into this filthy commode. (By the way, feel free to beat up on Third Tier Drake any time you want.)

http://law.shu.edu/Students/Bursar/Tuition-and-Fees.cfm

Tuition: For a full-time student entering this commode in Fall 2009, tuition was $21,000 per semester! Surely a stellar “legal education” from this prominent school is well worth $42K in tuition per year, right?! For part-time students, tuition is a mere $15,825 per semester. For $ome rea$on, the school does not provide an estimated cost on housing and living expenses. A mere oversight, I'm sure.

http://grad-schools.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-graduate-schools/top-law-schools/rankings/page+4

Ranking: The school is currently ranked - by US News & World Report - as the 77th most prestigious, amazing, phenomenal, and wonderful law school in the United States. It happens to share this sacred honor with 7 other toilets of law.

http://law.shu.edu/publications/upload/fall-2009-career-services.pdf

Employment Prospects: According to this supposed Career Services “Fact Sheet,” 94.74 percent of the Class of 2008 was (allegedly) employed within 9 months of graduation. Oh, and this was based off of a 100 percent response rate. (Yeah, sure 100 percent of the graduating class reported employment info to your office. And Halle Berry recently reported 100% satisfaction with yours truly.)

Starting Salary Statistics: The school notes that only 66.45% of these graduates reported salary info to the school. Based off of this (limited) info, the school alleges that those in private practice had a median starting salary of $125K; those who went into the business world earned a median salary of $112,500 – does this count SeTTon Hall JDs who are tending bar at Mompou Tapas Bar & Lounge or those JDs working as bouncers at Club Eclipse?; those in public service had a median salary of $54K; and those in judicial clerkships earned a median salary of $39,179.

Judicial clerkships accounted for 39.51% of employed SHU grads in 2008! One wonders how many are clerking for Small Claims Court or at the Essex County General Equity Court – or at the Child Support Enforcement Division? With regards to government, the school is apparently counting SHU alums who are working as garbagemen for the City of Newark - to reach this figure. And perhaps, SHU grads who are unloading shipping containers in Newark Bay are also included in this statistic.

http://law.shu.edu/CareersInLaw/index.cfm

Look, the best this staff of nine men and women in the Career Services Office can do is land 39.51 percent of their recent graduating class into judicial clerkship toilets! What a great investment for the students, right?!

Okay, so the job prospects are not the best – unless you have a real passion and zeal for traffic court. But where else can you see a law school dean step up to the bowl and take over a struggling third tier college athletics program?

http://www.nj.com/setonhall/index.ssf/2010/03/seton_hall_needed_a_leader_and.html

Yes, this paid advertisement/hagiography parading as a news article shows that Pat Hobbs is also “serving” as Athletic Director of SeTTon Hall. What devotion to the school, huh!?!

Usually, a school hires a president, who hires the AD, who hires the coach. Seton Hall is doing it backward, and it will take a leap of faith (or a lot of money) for a top coach to sign on.

Edwin Leahy, the St. Benedict’s Prep headmaster who has worked on several Newark committees with Hobbs, put it this way: “When the law school dean has to head up the athletic department, something’s wrong.”

Something was wrong. The athletic department was lacking leadership and direction and, maybe most of all, had somehow lost sight of its moral compass.

Yes, charging poor people $42K in annual law school tuition is moral, right, Steve Politi?!?! I seriously wonder just how much money switched hands between SeTTon Hall and The Star-Ledger (or the reporter).

Conclusion: Do not attend this school. Just perform a Google search on this fesTTering TToileTT – see what comes up. The school charges too much in tuition and its graduates will be competing – in a RIDICULOUSLY over-saturated legal market - against JDs from MUCH better schools. Top law schools in the region include: Yale, Harvard, Columbia, NYU, Penn and Cornell. Going to Seton Hall and expecting to compete for Biglaw is analogous to someone weighing 230 pounds and expecting to win the Miss America Pageant.

A student at this dump could easily land $165K in the hole. This means, you will likely need to take out private loans to pay for your “legal education.” If this is the best school you can get into - and you simply MUST be an attorney – I suggest you re-take the LSAT and apply to local, public schools.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Public Interest Toilet: Mercer University Walter F. George School of Law





A tip of the hat to Angel and HardKnocks for highlighting the Facebook fight between Mercer law students and faculty.


http://law.mercer.edu/admissions/costs.cfm

Tuition: For the 2009-2010 school year, tuition and fees - for a full-time Mercer law student - amount to a very reasonable $34,330. After all, who can’t afford to spend about $105K for a world-class “legal education”? (It is world class, isn’t it?)

Total Cost of Attendance: A full-time student at this prestigious, southern law school will incur another $16,000 in living expenses for the 2009-2010 academic year. Since the school lists monthly living expenses for the academic year, we will be nice and multiply the school’s figures for rent, food, utilities, transportation and personal expenses by a factor of nine. We will also add $2230 - the school’s estimate for books, health insurance and Stafford Loan fees. Doing so, we reach a total estimated COA of $50,330 per year for a full-time Mercer law student.

If we want the student’s living expenses to reflect reality, this figure would amount to $54,920. This also seems more accurate, seeing that an actual law student will have living expenses for 12 months out of the year.

http://grad-schools.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-graduate-schools/top-law-schools/rankings/page+5

Ranking: After such immense costs to the student, surely the school has a sterling reputation. I mean, the school needs to justify these costs, correct?! Well…according to a little publication called US News & World Report, Mercer Law School is in the third tier of American law diploma mills, i.e. it is a third tier toilet.

http://law.mercer.edu/Career/pdfs/2008_employment_stats.pdf

Employment Prospects: Okay, Mercer is a TTT. Let’s accept that and move on. Look, 86.8% of Mercer’s Class of 2008 was employed (or seeking an advanced degree) within nine months of graduation. And only 7.59 percent of this class was unemployed and seeking work. (But, don’t mind those people. They probably aren’t trying hard enough or “networking”. You, with your 3.4 GPA in Women’s Studies, will be different, right?!)

Go to page 3 of this PDF. Only 79.37% of survey respondents reported their salaries to the Career Development Office. Based on this sampling, the school alleges that the average salary for all graduates – from the Class of 2008 - was $71,906. I wonder what these figures would look like if the remaining 20.63 percent had supplied their info. It seems plausible that those who make a pittance might be too embarrassed to report their salary info to this magnanimous institution of higher education.

Let’s see what the school has working for it.

http://www.law.mercer.edu/about/trophy.cfm

Ooh! Behold the law school’s Trophy Case – to display its prowess in moot court, i.e. fake court, competitions. Wow! The program was a finalist in the 2008-2009 Weschler Buffalo Moot Court Competition. Are you kidding me?!? This program is amazing, as it has sustained success in the Gabrielli National Family Law Competition. (Of course, the guy swiping your Food Stamp card might not be so thrilled with your moot court success. Who knows? He might be a Mercer JD, as well.)

http://www.law.mercer.edu/academics/jslh/index.cfm

Unfortunately, for the purposes of finding gainful employment, nobody with an IQ above 65 cares that you wrote onto the Journal of Southern Legal History.

http://law.mercer.edu/administrative/technology/laptop.cfm

But, at least you get to take part in the school’s laptop program! Is Harvard willing to give their incoming first year students a laptop? Ask yourself that. (Mercer’s laptop even comes with a Nylon Carrying Case!)

http://www2.mercer.edu/News/Articles/2008/081028law.htm

Look, the school was ranked sixth among public interest law schools, by PreLaw magazine, a pro-industry rag – in its Fall 2008 issue. At least, PreLaw magazine comes in handy when you run out of toilet paper.

Conclusion: This school simply charges too much to justify its 86.8 percent placement rate. You will also be competing against students from stronger law schools in the area, i.e. Emory, U. of Georgia, Georgia State. And don’t forget regional powerhouses such as Duke, UNC, U. of Tennessee, Vanderbilt, etc. Many of these schools are also much cheaper to attend. In sum, attending this school is a poor decision. On top of this, the school also shoves “public interest” onto its students. If you want to “save the world,” you can do so without going $110K-$160K in non-dischargeable debt.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

ABA Pigs at the Trough: Law School is a Bad Investment for Students – But the Law Schools Need More Money!



http://www.abanet.org/lsd/legaled/value.pdf

In this four-page document, the ABA squeals:

In reality, however, attending law school can become a financial burden for law students who fail to consider carefully the financial implications of their decision.

Yes, and this has NOTHING to do with law school marketing materials that claim 96.4% placement rates within 9 months of graduation, does it?! The law schools are also NOT to blame for putting out (self-reported) starting salary statistics that purportedly show median salaries of $85K, isn’t that correct?! And of course, the ABA, as the accrediting body, is blameless for NOT requiring its member schools to submit their figures to an independent, outside audit - as part of the schools’ accreditation.

Furthermore, the NALP plays NO role in raising law students’ expectations; they simply publish and disseminate the law schools’ self-reported (incomplete and misleading) figures as if they were gospel. These actions are NOT designed to entice more students to take the leap. Oh, heavens no! (Just like pay-day, predatory lenders are actually helping people get back on their feet, right?!)

Later on, in the same document, the ABA snorts:

The combination of the rising cost of a legal education and the realities of the legal job market mean that going to law school may not pay off for a large number of law students. Dean David Van Zandt of Northwestern Law School estimates that to make a positive return on the investment of going to law school, given the current costs, the average law student must earn an average annual salary of at least $65,315. As the data above show, however, over 40% of law school graduates have starting salaries below this threshold. Thus, many students start out in a position from which it may be difficult to recoup their investment in legal education. Even students who do ultimately prosper over the course of a career face difficulties from high debt loads during the beginning of their career. High debt can limit career choices, prevent employment in the public service sector, or delay home ownership or marriage. In short, going to law school can bring more financial difficulty than many law students expect. [Emphasis added]

How many third tier commodes list the average or median starting salaries of their recent graduates at a figure higher than $65,315? Plus, Van Zandt’s figure is not the number you need to look at. Online student loan calculators tell you that your total student loan debt SHOULD be less than your expected starting salary.

http://www.finaid.org/calculators/scripts/loanpayments.cgi

If you are making $65K but owe $130K, you will have a very difficult time paying back your student loans – as your debt is twice as high as your salary. But law schools don’t tell you these things. In fact, these pigs think MORE student loan debt is the answer.

For proof of this, let’s look at this letter-writing campaign on the part of the ABA:

http://www.abanet.org/lsd/legislation/09-10/letter.doc

Here is how the template starts:

Senator Full Name
U.S. Senate
Washington, DC 20510

Dear Senator Last Name:

I am a first/second... year law student attending Your Law School. As your constituent and a member of the American Bar Association Law Student Division, I request your support for law students and recent graduates struggling to meet their student loan obligations during this economic downturn.

Specifically, I request your support of two important issues: (1) raising the Stafford Loan limits to at least $30,000 per year, and (2) incorporating bar exam study loans under the definition of an education loan.

Eighty percent of students finance higher education with student loans. On average, law students graduate with $85,000 in law school debt in addition to $20,000 in undergraduate school debt. Many law students must supplement their federal loans with more expensive and less flexible private loans. Recent graduates in the legal profession are having difficulty finding jobs in the current economy and consequently struggling to meet their debt obligations.

Yes, because we need more federal loan money in order to feed our destitute “law professors.” [Third Tier Reality Check: increasing the amount of student loans will not make law school more “affordable” – it will simply put the student in more (non-dischargeable) debt. Law schools will simply continue to significantly increase their tuition, and the bar prep vendors will raise their rates.] In the final analysis, the ABA does not give a damn about recent JDs, current students or prospective law students – other than finding ways to squeeze more money out of them.

If you think otherwise, ask yourself the following questions: (1) if the job market for lawyers is over-saturated, why does the ABA want to make sure more people can “afford” a legal education?; and (2) if students are graduating with more non-dischargeable educational debt, the solution is to RAISE the Stafford Loan limits?! (Remember, both private student loans and those backed/subsidized by the federal government, are non-dischargeable in bankruptcy proceedings.)
 
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