Thursday, January 27, 2011

Legal Practitioners and Law Professors Call Out the Law School Money Changers

From Will Meyerhofer, former Biglaw associate and current psychotherapist:

“If it was true supply and demand, #1 ranked Harvard and #100 ranked Hofstra wouldn't have the same tuition. But they do, the same as stupid Washington University, which is so stupid it's in Missouri. "It's underrated." Bite me. Are we saying that Hofstra's worth the same money as Harvard? That people would pay anything to go to Hofstra? No, they don't have to pay anything to go to Hofstra. That's the point.

You cannot, on the one hand, say you want to lower the number of students while on the other hand incentivizing them to go. But you're not incentivizing the students, are you? It's a wealth transfer to universities. That's why you want to directly limit the number of schools while keeping the payments to the rest of them intact. More for you. And if you have to throw Mr. Wallerstein under the bus to hide this truth, well, sacrifices have to be made.”

Steven J. Harper, adjunct professor at Northwestern University School of Law, also came out in support of David Segal’s article.

“Last Sunday, The New York Times asked: Are law schools deceiving prospective students into incurring huge debt for degrees that aren't worth it?

Of course they are. U.S. News & World Report is an aider and abettor. As the market for new lawyers shrinks, a key statistic in the magazine's infamous rankings is "graduates known to be employed nine months after graduation."

Any job qualifies--from joining Cravath to waiting tables. According to The New York Times, the most recent average for all law schools is 93 percent. If gaming the system to produce that number doesn't cause students to ignore the U.S. News' rankings altogether, nothing will.” [Emphasis mine]

He goes on to state:

“The glut of law school applicants, as well as graduates seeking big-firm jobs to repay their loans, leaves law school administrators and firm managers with no economic incentive to change their ways. The profession needs visionaries who are willing to resist perpetuating the world in which debt-laden graduates are becoming the twenty-first century equivalent of indentured servants.[Emphasis mine]

Again, this came from a member of a law school faculty - not from a bitter scam-blogger.

Check out this article from John M. Dolin, adjunct professor at Capital University Law School. The piece is entitled, “Opportunity Lost: How Law School Disappoints Law Students, the Public, and the Legal Profession.” His conclusion:

“But it is now time, long past due, to face the truth about legal education and, more importantly, to do something about it. The truth is that we are not building competent lawyers. The truth is that the current system is out of date and only held in place by a self-perpetuating, entrenched professorate. The truth is that we have the knowledge and the means to build a better, more competent lawyer. The truth is that we can do a much better job. We know the truth about legal education. The important question for the future of legal education and our profession is, do we have the will?” [Emphasis mine]

Jerome Kowalski, law firm management consultant, published the following, back in September 2010:

"And, indeed, if you have reached this point in this note, in the unlikely event you haven’t already come to other obvious conclusions, here they are: (a) law schools must stop behaving like the beauty schools of 1990 and (b) law schools should make full, fair and candid disclosure to every law school applicant (before they even remit the application fee) and have each applicant sign a document that he or she has read the disclosures and understands them.”

Brian Tamahana, professor at Washington University in St. Louis School of Law, put himself on the line back on June 13, 2010 – by supporting these scam-blogs.

“The law graduates posting on these sites know the score. They know that law schools pad their employment figures—96% employed—by counting as “employed” any job at all, legal or non-legal, including part time jobs, including unemployed graduates hired by the school as research assistants (or by excluding unemployed graduates “not currently seeking” a job, or by excluding graduates who do not supply employment information). They know that the gaudy salary numbers advertised on the career services page—“average starting salary $125,000 private full time employment”—are actually calculated based upon only about 25% of the graduating class (although you can’t easily figure this out from the information provided by the schools).”

Back on September 2, 2009, Dan Slater, former litigator, wrote that there are too many schools producing far too many lawyers.

“If it means shrinking classes, don’t count on it. Limiting education is un-American, not to mention anticapitalist, even if many law schools appear to profit from what may charitably be called an inefficient distribution of market information.

Take, for instance, the employment statistics posted on the Web sites of three low-ranked law schools in New York City, the country’s biggest market for legal employment. All three advertise that 45 to 60 percent of their 2008 graduates who reported salary information are making a median salary of $150,000 to $160,000.”

On November 13, 2009, the Wall Street Journal wrote this article on the economic research paper by Herwig Schlunk, law professor at Vanderbilt University Law School:

“This essay treats a legal education as an investment, and asks the question of whether, based on known costs and expected benefits, such investment should be undertaken. The inquiry will necessarily differ from one potential law student to another. But for three posited “typical students,” the investment is shown to be a bad one.”

The job market is so bad that even the former editor-in-chief of the Chicago-Kent Law Review cannot find employment. But we need more law schools, right?!?!


  1. That Jesus looks like the father from Family Ties.

    Great summation, Nando. And you didn't even have to use a Henderson quote. It's pretty clear there's a growing consensus among the conscious non-Administrators.

  2. Thanks for this blog. You have helped bring this situation to the attention of many. The schools, professors and lawyers know about this situation. It is nice to see that some have what it takes to speak truth to power. God bless these men.

  3. What? You couldn't find a painting of Jesus swinging a plunger?


    The guy's a political analyst but he knows law schools are a fucking joke.

  5. Nando:

    This Post is very dense, and will take some time to fully read up on. But I LOVE the Artwork! Cool!

    But for now I just want to again say that the entire profession of Psychotherapy, at all levels, does not have an answer for the Fucked-Up state of mind of the lifetime student debtor.

    It is a situation that is pretty much enigmatic, historically speaking, with few examples and data for purposes of comparison.

    But anyway, I'm sure any MD Psychiatrist will agree that the matter is out of their hands, and that nothing short of a political or legislative solution will cure the wild despair of the lifetime student loan debtor.

    No 12 step program can close down a t3 or t4 toilet.

    No Tony Robbins seminar can stand up to the steamroller of the Law School Industrial Complex.

    Fix the problem, then work on the Mind.

  6. keep serving upp the info. I enjoy reading.

  7. Bust a move wit’ The Fuckin’ Colonel, bitchez! (inspired by that African american gentleman named Afroman. Oh, and Aunt Mildred‘s pussy too.)

    Ooh, ooh ooh, La da da da da da
    La, da daaaa
    La da da da, La da da da
    La da da daaaa

    I was gonna clean the greasetraps until I ate Auntie Mildred’s cherry pie
    I gonna get up and find the hose but then I ate her warm hair pie
    the traps is still clogged up and I know why
    - cause I ate Aunt Millie’s pie [x3]

    I was gonna go to law school befo’ I ate Auntie Mildred’s pie
    I coulda cheated and I coulda passed the bar but I wolfed down her pie
    I had’sta get a fucking law degree by correspondence and I know why
    - cause I consumed that moist pie [x3]

    I was gonna go be a lawyer but then I had’sta abort
    I beat my client’s ass in an Arkansas justice of the peace court
    now I'm selling herbs ’n spices and I know why
    - cause I got’s down on mah knees and ate Mildred’s pie [x3]

    I was gonna go to court before I got disbarred
    I was gonna appeal but then I saw Aunt Millie’s bush and my dick gots hard
    they took mah law license and I know why
    - cause I smoked Aunt Mildred’s pie [x3]

    I wasn’t gonnas strangle mah client but I was high on Aunt Millie’s wet pie
    I was gonna pull right over but I couldn’t stop smellin’ her hair pie
    Now mah tongue is dry - because of her sweet pie [x3]

    I was gonna re-take the bar until I relapsed and ate some mo’ pie
    I was gonna gamble on the railroads but then I swallowed some pie
    now Auntie Mildred be pullin’ her tender white thighs away and I know why
    - because mah’s ass be addictited to her pie [x3]

    I was gonna make love to you but then I can’t stop eatin’ you’ pie
    I was gonna eat yo pussy too - wait I never stopped blowin’ Auntie’s pie
    now I'm jacking off and I know why
    - cause I got me summa Auntie Millie’s pie [x3]

    I messed up my entire life because’a Aunt Millie;s pie
    I lost my kids and wife because I ate a 56 year old’s hairy pie
    now mah’s ass be sleepin’ on the sidewalk and I know why
    - cause I scarfed down that pie [x3]

    I'm gonna stop singing this song because I'ma getting’ ready fer some more pie
    I'm singing this whole thing wrong because I'm inhaling Aunt Millies pink pussy pie
    and if I dont sell one bucket o’ chicken I know why
    - cause I'm tongue bathin’ Aunt Mildred’s pie [x3]

    La da da da da da, La da da da,
    Shoop shoop shooby do wop, be-yotch.
    Git jiggy wit it, skibbidy skid marks
    Bee bop diddy wit’ mah willy, do wahhh

    Yay-yah-ha ha-mothafucka! Do wahhhh. Da da da da, woo-ha ha…

  8. cannot wait until you profile university of oregon tttttt

  9. What a great post Nando. All of those profs (adjunct and tenured) should be commended for being brave enough to speak out.

  10. Colonel:

    I'm going to put you on my blog list!

  11. Re: Psychology and to add to what I said yesterday:

    Nutty leadership will produce a Nation of Nuts.
    Just ask the Germans about that! (No offense, and I'm part German myself)


    Mark Greenbaum’s stinging op-ed piece in the January 8, 2010 edition of the LA Times:

    “From 2004 through 2008, the field grew less than 1% per year on average, going from 735,000 people making a living as attorneys to just 760,000, with the Bureau of Labor Statistics postulating that the field will grow at the same rate through 2016. Taking into account retirements, deaths and that the bureau's data is pre-recession, the number of new positions is likely to be fewer than 30,000 per year. That is far fewer than what's needed to accommodate the 45,000 juris doctors graduating from U.S. law schools each year.

    This jobs gap is even more problematic given the rising cost of tuition. In 2008, the median tuition at state schools for nonresidents was $26,000 a year, and $34,000 for private schools -- and much higher in some states, such as California. Students racked up an average loan debt in 2007-08 of $59,000 for students from public law schools and $92,000 for those from private schools, according to the ABA, and a recent Law School Survey of Student Engagement found that nearly one-third of respondents said they would owe about $120,000.”

    This Duke Law grad has some strong words for the law school cartel.

    “Students are lured into law school in much the same way they’re lured into college — easy government money to pay for education that is supposed to lead to great careers. But just as there aren’t nearly as many high-skill, high-pay jobs for BA holders as we are led to believe, there are not nearly enough legal jobs for all the people who are getting J.D.s. To keep the good times rolling, some schools utilize deceptive tactics to make it seem as though graduates are very likely to find lucrative legal jobs. Many won’t.

    The root of this problem is state regulation mandating that prospective lawyers must go through an approved (i.e., long and costly) educational experience known as law school. There is no reason for that mandate. Legal education ought to be opened up to free-market competition and discovery.”

    “Fabian Ronisky thought he was on track last summer to become a high-powered corporate lawyer. He was an intern at a leading firm in Los Angeles, earning about $3,000 weekly. But the firm didn't offer him a permanent job.

    So Mr. Ronisky, a 25-year-old student at Chicago's Northwestern University School of Law, spent the fall sending 50 resumes to law firms and government agencies, to no avail. Now, just days shy of graduation and with $150,000 of student loans, he plans to move back to his parents' home in San Diego and sell music and movies online.”

    Wow! You mean to say that this glutted lawyer job market is not only affecting grads from low-ranked diploma mills?!?!

  13. I dedicate this law school recruitment video to you and your blog. Keep preaching the truth!

  14. Where'd you get that Will Meyerhofer is the guy behind The Last Psychiatrist?

  15. Cute youtube video. But that student is too smart to be a typical 0L. A lemming would've signed on the dotted line and taken out $100K in loans. And then gone into a shit job.

  16. the valvoline dean lied. settton hall law grads' careers died

  17. I used to wonder who the Valvoline dean was and on JD Underground someone posted a link to Seton Hall Law School's wikipedia page and there it was. The Valvoline dean was in quotation marks next to the current dean's name. I really wonder how in this economy someone who has failed as both a law school dean and an athletics director (the Pirates re having an abysmal season with embarassing losses against Dayton and Rutgers) can still hold two jobs? Can anyone answer me that question? It's not like Seton Hall is sending anyone to Biglaw or the NBA, yet it's tuition rivals Ivy league rates.

  18. But, but,'re forgetting Terry Dehere. And Anthony Avent. And Adrian Griffin. Does not that make up for the deficit in prestige and academic achievementbetween Seton Hall and Harvard?

  19. Check out the Wikipedia entry on the Valvoline Dean:

    My favorite excerpt: No discussion of Seton Hall is complete without mentioning uber-shyster Patrick E. Hobbs, known on message boards as the "Valvoline Dean" for his oleaginous, used-car salesman persona, insincere posturing, and shameless manipulation of salary and employment data. The man takes more liberty with salary statistics than Michael Jackson did with 4 year olds at a Chuck-E-Cheese playpen.


  20. @ 3:18 Stephen:

    That was cool how you vandalized the Wikipedia article for Seton Hall Law! Really funny!

    As of the time of this posting, it is still up.

  21. @ 7:19

    I can't take credit for the Seton Hall entry. The honor goes to a Wikipedian called "Skaddenfarts". Regrettably, the entry is an old version. The Valvoline Dean must have deployed a PR team to perform janitorial services on Skaddenfart's entry. The Valvoline Dean is banking that 0Ls don't get a whiff of the Seton Sewer -



    "Law schools have long juiced the numbers for the job rates of their graduates, but in the midst of this recession, they still are reporting graduates' job rates as high as 90 percent. What they fail to mention is that they're counting any waitressing graduate as having a job and not bothering to track down those who don't respond to the survey."

    After incorrectly positing that doc reviewers can make $60K per year, the author continues:

    "It's fascinating how similar this situation is to all the other B.S. instruments of wealth sold to the American public in the lead-up to the financial crisis. Much like a sub-prime mortgage, law school was (and still is) sold as an easy path to money and respect. For undergrads with deficient math skills, a J.D. often seems like a good way to a plush salary. Also like sub-primes, law schools rake in money for their institutions."

    Law schools are selling a bill of goods. In fact, I have more respect for hucksters peddling their wares on late-night infomercials. While they may be full of crap, at least they are not giving the appearance of being a legitimate industry. And they sure as hell are not hiding behind the title of “professor” or “educator.” Also, if someone buys an abdominal workout machine, or wrinkle cream, that doesn’t produce results, they are not out three years of their life and $100K.

    Back on October 22, 2009, the Wall Street Journal reported these comments from Rick Bales, “law professor” at the University of Northern Kentucky:

    “Ask any law firm hiring partner whether law schools are doing a good job of educating lawyers and you are likely to get an earful. Neither law firm clients nor cash-strapped government employers are willing or able to subsidize lawyer training the way they were in the past. Legal employers want to hire graduates who can take a deposition or draft a merger agreement now. But law schools are not delivering. The law schools that figure out how to do so – while still teaching the doctrine necessary for bar passage and the critical-thinking skills necessary for solving complex legal problems – will find themselves at a substantial competitive advantage over other law schools.”

    Bales had the balls to note that law schools do a terrible job at preparing students for the practice of law. (The fact that speaking the truth about this TTT industry means one has a pair is very telling.) In fact, he told the WSJ that law schools have been “absolutely wretched” at responding to the shifting marketplace.

  23. Nando:

    Great blog. I could teach an intelligent high schools student how to do most of what I do in about a year of solid study.

    How the hell is it that law schools cannot?

    It's embarrassing when an impostor with no legal training starts a semi-successful law practice but law school graduates cannot:

    “No one suspected anything for years because he did everything right -- except obtain a law degree,” Sheriff Tom Dart said.

  24. If you thought law school was bad....wait until all the fun surprises waiting you upon graduation! Unbelievable.

  25. Tahir Malik probably did better work than most of the grads from Chicago TTTs. That may be why they grew suspicious of him in the first place.

    He is facing felony counts for falsely impersonating a lawyer. But charging people $120K for a worthless piece of shit law degree is okay. The law schools are bigger con men and criminals than this ever tried to be.

  26. Law school is a waste of time. On top of the money. The info is out there now. If pre-law students go on, they have themselves to blame.

  27. Sure, the info is out there now, but let's be real here... the info was out there when many of you decided to go as well. Not as much, but it was out there.

  28. A law degree is an expensive commodity to come by, well it was anyway - instead of studying law i'm just going to purchase this trinket off of eBay and legally change my name to match.

    best law professors


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