Thursday, April 7, 2011

Law Review Article Explores Why the Vulgar Scam-Blogs Are So Effective

The technologically-challenged Minnesota Journal of Law, Science and Technology finally published its most current edition. “Executive administrator” Monica Wittstock said that this volume would be online in mid-January. When I talked to her, I was told that this would be available by mid-February. Oh well. What can one expect from a tertiary, fifth-rate legal journal? Thanks for eventually getting off your ass, Monica.

The lone gem is a piece written by associate professor Lucille Jewel, which is entitled, “You’re Doing It Wrong: How the Anti-Law School Scam Blogging Movement Can Shape the Legal Profession.” Check out this excerpt from page 243:

With regard to the Scam Blog movement, its shock-value approaches to rhetoric would certainly violate the legal profession’s cultural tradition of favoring formal, restrained, and process-oriented debates of legal issues. This Article argues that the good that comes to the profession from Internet culture outweighs the bad.” [Emphasis mine]

Who gives a damn if these sites “violate” the industry’s staid, sterile “cultural tradition”?! In the end, the pigs at the top simply want to control and shape the debate. If you can frame the language and content, then you control the discussion.

As JDU user “MataHairy” wrote, in this thread: “[R]ead your [O]rwell--if you control the language, you control thoughts, at least to some degree.”

The fact remains that the “legal profession” considers itself an upper class bastion. Since its inception, the ABA has been dominated by corporate lawyers. These pigs sought to “sanitize” the profession, by marginalizing those of “questionable moral character,” i.e. foreign-born and ethnic lawyers. See how long it took for the ABA to come around on civil rights.

Take a look at how the organization has always been in Biglaw's pocket. The industry has been highly stratified, largely because of this organization. For decades, Biglaw went out of its way to hold back black, female, Jewish, and other ethnic white lawyers. For an excellent, in-depth, historical account of this corrupt industry, check out Unequal Justice: Lawyers and Social Change in Modern America, by Jerold S. Auerbach.

From page 263 of Jewel's article:

“Regarding those toilets, the Scam Blog movement has whole-heartedly embraced several aspects of Internet culture, including a penchant for norm enforcement through griping, public shaming, and the use of crude and vulgar rhetoric. In the context of norm enforcement through public shaming, the norm the Scam Bloggers have in mind is that law graduates should be able to enjoy a dignified career and maintain a comfortable standard of living while paying off law school student loans. Thus, the Scam Bloggers seek to publicly shame both institutions (law schools) and certain individuals affiliated with those institutions who are perceived to have breached this norm. For instance, Nando from Third Tier Reality routinely publishes “profiles” of law schools with high tuition costs and a low U.S. News and World Report ranking. Full of scatological imagery of overflowing toilets, disgusting sewage drains, and fecal matter, this author does not mince words or images as he holds out these institutions for public shame.”

It is refreshing to see an academic refer to low-ranked law schools as toilets, especially in a law review article.

On page 273:

“While it is not possible to quantify with certainty the effect that the Scam Blogging community had in prompting the ABA to look into reform, based on the chronology of media coverage of the blogs, a strong inference can be drawn that the Scam Bloggers played a substantial role.” [Emphasis mine]

Here is another excerpt, this one from page 276:

“The ideas articulated by the Scam Bloggers have certainly been expressed before in more traditional formats, such as law review articles and papers, but because law professors are speaking to each other primarily in logo-centric and formal fashion, an academic idea often fails to resonate with many members of the profession or public. The Scam Bloggers’ rhetoric, with its in-your-face vulgarity and its narrative approach, is what gives the movement so much of its cultural power.” [Emphasis mine]

The author understands that these blogs have helped attract mainstream media attention to the problem of lawyer oversaturation. We received a large boost when Brian Tamanaha publicly supported our argument, if not our tone. The fact is these blogs gained coverage, largely due to our aggressive style and rhetoric. Having the facts on our side certainly helps, too.

In the final analysis, vulgar simply means “Of or relating to the common people.” What is wrong with that? Again, we are covering a filthy industry filled with reprobates, pigs, bums, cockroaches, liars, and financial goons. We are beating these rats over the head with their own statements and actions. Did you expect a sanitized depiction? That would be intellectually dishonest.

NOTHING on these blogs is as indecent, crass, vile or disgusting as this conduct and behavior, on the part of legal “educators”:

“When I was a candidate for this job,” said Phillip J. Closius, the dean of the University of Baltimore School of Law, “I said ‘I can talk for 10 minutes about the fallacies of the U.S. News rankings,’ but nobody wants to hear about fallacies. There are millions of dollars riding on students’ decisions about where to go to law school, and that creates real institutional pressures.” [Emphasis mine]

Fourth tier garbage pit Touro College Law Center set this lawyer loose on the unsuspecting public, in 2009. Joseph Rakofsky had never tried a case before - so he decided that trying a murder case would be a good way to get his feet wet and gain some legal experience. I know that “law professors” and judges will attempt to put the entire blame on Rakofsky. However, he was “trained” at an ABA-accredited law school by “law professors,” using the archaic Case Method. He was also somehow able to take a capital case, even though he had never conducted a trial.

Now ask yourself, which is worse: manipulating employment figures and committing education malpractice - or reporting these stories, using direct, descriptive language?!


  1. To quote Henry Drummond from Inherit the Wind,

    "I don't swear just for the hell of it. Language is a poor enough means of communication. I think we should all the words we've got. Besides, there are damn few words that anybody understands."

    I use vulgarity and obscenity to describe vulgar and obscene thoughts, actions and intentions.

  2. At some point, formalities and politeness give way to reality - and the reality is that many of us are unemployed (myself), underemployed, or not working in an area of law they like, or employed but not working in any area of law. The gloves are off.

    I'm sorry if you fucking pigs in academia don't like my foul language. You no longer get to shape the debate. So you can sit their in your comfy office, dreaming up new law review articles to make yourself look better before the tenure committee or you can get off your collective fat asses and do something to insure that the legal profession remains viable and stable, not just for the fucking elites at T14, but for everyone. That means stop admitting so many students. As to the ABA, stop accrediting every building that acts as if it's a law school. Stop foreign outsourcing to India et al., limit attorney production. No get to work you fucking douche bags!

  3. Nando,

    Not that you need my advice in advance of your "seminar" today, but one thing I would hammer on is that whatever the systemic problems - and they are manifest - the effect of the law school industry has been to destroy the futures of tens of thousands (more?) of young people that will never be able to start families, buy homes, or get out from under hundreds of thousands of dollars of non-dischargeable debt.

    Now, the deans will try to dismiss you as someone who never articulates a solution in order to sideline your message. No need to let them get away with that because there are two easy and obvious solutions:
    1. shutter the vast majority of law schools;
    2. make student loans dischargeable in bankruptcy, which will give these recent grads a shot at a future and will force down the cost of an education as the easy credit fueled demand will dry up.

    Good luck man.

  4. The gloves are off.

    This profession is such a piece of shit to begin with. I've heard of the Auerbach book but not read it. I know (now) the ABA was all about protecting Biglaw and WASP culture. They attacked night law schools (which were affordable, thus helping poor people and minorities). They also went after ethnic lawyers like Poles, Jews, Lithuanians. They didn't want those types of people dirtying up the profession. Which is a joke to begin with. What's honorable or decent about defending corporate cocksuckers that wreak more collective havoc on society than the mafia or street gangs?

    Now the ABA approves law schools left and right. Got some bookcases and a fax machine? Open up a law skool in your basement! Approving all these shitholes does is make sure tons of grads end up with huge debt and no jobs each year. Hey, law schools are shit-covered toilets. Sorry if the professors have difficulty accepting that fact.

  5. law school is a scam for the most part and this blog is great, but as a 20 year practitioner, I strongly disagree that student loans be allowed to be dichargeable in bankruptcy. In todays information age, if you cant get the info that tells you not to go law school, that is on you. If you make the decision to go, you pay back the loans like the rest of us struggled to do.

    As bad as the legal market is, just wait until you start allowing kids to discharge student loans. Every asshole with a dream and some money will be opening a law school and pretty soon anyone who wants to go will be able to go and if they fail, they discharge the debt. I know 4th tier is not all that prestigious now, but if you allow student loans to be discharged, there will be enough tiers of new schools to make the 4th tier seems prestigious.

    Educate yourself and try another profession or if you think you can be a lawyer, go for it and accept the responsibility of failure as much as you enjoy the fruits of success.

  6. ^^^^^^^^ = douche

    Interesting lifecycle model you've got there. Everybody gets, at most, one shot. If you fail, it's a permanent disability. Like I said, douche.

    "In todays information age, if you cant get the info that tells you not to go law school, that is on you."

    Was that true 2,4,6,10 years ago?

  7. This is directed at 9:44AM.

    8:50AM is not a douche. I come from a generation that espouses personal responsibility and owning up to your mistakes. Student loans are non-dischargeable and the banking lobby in Washington D.C. is too powerful to allow Congress to relax the bankruptcy code with respect to student loans. While scamblogging has taken off in the last 3 years, it was no secret that attending a third or fourth tier law school has always been a risky proposition, even 20 years ago. Do you really think 20 years ago people felt confident about securing a JD from Cooley? Cooley has always been a risky proposition.

    The problem in the last 10-12 years has been the escalating costs of "higher education." If you can't appreciate that getting into $150K of student loan debt just to come out into a shitlaw job earning $40K a year is a raw deal, you deserve to wear debt shackles for the rest of your life for being a moron.

    Don't call me a douche because I am not in favor of taxpayers paying for the mistakes of dumb dreamers who fail in life.

    NYC Hiring Partner

  8. Nando, you had my respect already, but putting that album cover up there; you just kicked it up a notch. Keep it comin'.

  9. You masturbated to that article, didn't you? Be honest.

  10. @10:03 - compelling, but I stand by my initial characterization. If you want to strip student loans of their government guarantees to so that the taxpayer isn't on the hook and to eliminate the froth in the demand for "higher education," sign me up.

    You and I are about the same age if you've been practicing for 20 years, and the 90's was an era of (mild) upward mobility. You got lucky, I did too, although probably to a lesser extent, but our generation most certainly did not "espouse[] personal responsibility and owning up to your mistakes." Owning up to your mistakes involves declaring bankruptcy and having your credit ruined. Permanent wage/pension/social security garnishment to keep the gravy train running through toilet town is the antithesis of "owning up to your mistakes." It's the institutional cruelty of a banana republic.

    And you're still a douche.

  11. 10:27AM

    You and I may be the same age but it is obvious that your mind is still in its infancy.

    You must have me mistaken for some pot smoking kid who wore flannel shirts and listened to grunge in the early '90s. I am not part of that slacker generation. I paid my student loans and made personal sacrifices when I came out of law school. Upon getting an offer, I did not run to the BMW dealership or buy an estate out on Long Island. I lived within my means until I could repay my debts first. That is personal responsibility. That is owning up to your liabilities. Today, kids borrow more than they can repay. Fuck them. Let them drown in debt. No one forced them to sign the student loan promissory notes. This is a hard profession to crack into. There are no guarantees. If you thought it was easy money or glamorous because you were fascinated by LA Law, The Firm, The Rainmaker, The Practice, Boston Legal or Lincoln Lawyer, then you know what, you are a fucking fool to invest six figures on a pipe dream.

    And you know what else? I could have filed bankruptcy in the late '80s to discharge my student loans (the law changed in 1998). However, I didn't. So don't confuse me with your ilk. In my generation, you broke it, you paid for it. Today, you broke it, and you expect someone else to pay for it. I am here to let you know that the powers that be will not pay for anyone else's mistakes. Get your mind out of the bailout and self-entitlement mentality.

    NYC Hiring Partner

  12. Nice try, but still a douche. You really pulled yourself up by your bootstraps foregoing a BMW and house on Long Island. Congrats, really sounds like you made it all on the strength of your own wits and work ethic.

    "Today, kids borrow more than they can repay. Fuck them. Let them drown in debt."

    And my mind is still in its infancy? Physician heal thyself.

  13. Law schools undoubtably need to be honest about their employment statistics. This is bordering on consumer fraud. What's most irritating is that I've heard so many professors, Deans, etc. talking about how unethical and predatory American banking institutions and mortgage lenders are, and how schools need to put an emphasis on public service.

    If anything I'm thankful that I go to a public law school, and I've known about the realities of the job market pretty much since I started. This is a good blog. I've read it the last few days. I hope some people in power start reading it.

  14. To the Douche Advocating No Bankruptcy:

    (a) I doubt you are in business for yourself. People in business for themselves like I am understand this is not about ideological belief. Its about negotiation strategies. I understand why the owners of banks do not want consumers to have more leverage. I do not understand why the average person would unless they are so captured by Stockholm's Syndrome as to not be capable of understanding the basic concept of negotiation. This frankly reminds me of those who are irrationally against unions, even private sector ones, when the concept is no different than any other organization leveraging negotiation power.

    (b) So long as debt is non-dischargeable under the bankruptcy code, it encourages private lenders to not negotiate in good faith. They can, for example, tack on fees that circumvent state usury laws because they know there will be no additional consequence to them, when, and in some cases, if, they decide to ever seek judgment. If because judgment can put a cap on their ability to seek interest through fees above what state laws mandate.

    As I look at this country, I am reminded more and more we are living in crazy times. The most basic common sense as far as business goes is thrown out the window all because some nutjobs have taken over the political and more importantly business discourse.

  15. NYC Hiring Partner:

    Why continue as Anon?

    In fact, sign up with blogger. It's easy to do.

  16. rancid dog shit > united states of americaApril 7, 2011 at 7:20 PM

    This country is a pile of fucking putrid waste. Just walk down the street. The crumbling roads. Busted up infrastructure. Millions of people who couldn't get a job if they sucked off an HR person 5x a week.

    Say sayonara to this giant turd. It's sinking. It's a broken. Fuck this place. You guys are slamming the law schools and the country is finished. Done. Gone. Toes up.

  17. I agree with NYC Partner here. The government is NOT going to allow student loan debt to be discharged in bankruptcy. If everyone could just discharge their educational debt, everyone would do it. Ain't happening. Sorry you recent law grad d-bags racked up a shit load of debt. Unfortunately, you didn't have the life experience at the time to know what paying back $150,000 at 4-9% interest (pre-tax) actually "feels" like. Just like all those credit cards you signed up for as an undergrad when the credit card company basically gives you a t-shirt or a mug in exchange for filling out a credit application.

    My last year in law school was $20,000/year. At the time (early 2000s) I cringed when the tuition was jacked up from 16K, to 18K to 20K. I'm making good on my debt obligations. It is by no means easy, in fact I'm currently unemployed at the moment, but I'm determined to pay this bitch off, just like I was determined to get into law school. Now my school charges over $40,000 per year after not even a decade since my graduation. Knowing what I know now, particularly the instability of a law career, I would NOT go to law school unless it was T14 - T25. Even then there are no guarantees - just that your odds of success will be increased. The best bet for you recent d-bag law graduates is to pay the minimum on your debt and WAIT. Yes, I said wait - as in waiting for inflation to make your loan payments easier. It might take 10 years, before you start to feel some relief, but it will get easier PROVIDED that you do NOT screw yourself by deferring too long or go into default. Ask that painter guy about how collection fees can nearly double/triple your student loan debt just to make some collection fucker rich. So get some personal responsibility, man up, quit being a bunch of pussies and do what you got to do.

  18. I'm so proud of you anon who agrees with the NYC partner. Would you like a cookie? *patpat* You're such a good boy! Not like the rest of these unemployed risk-takers who don't happen to live in mommy's basement. By the way, I'm repaying my loans, too. Do I deserve a cookie? Oh, and I'm employed, too, so unlike you I guess I sucked the right cock.

  19. "Don't call me a douche because I am not in favor of taxpayers paying for the mistakes of dumb dreamers who fail in life."

    "So get some personal responsibility, man up, quit being a bunch of pussies and do what you got to do."

    These would be reasonable statements **if they were applied to everyone equally.**

    To you two, answer me this: why should student loan debt be treated any differently than unsecured debt in general?

    People run up unsecured debt with no care for personal responsibility all the time. Often, they do it because they are "dumb dreamers who fail in life." Go check out chapter 7 bankruptcy schedules. The courts are full of people with 10+ negative trades on their credit report who kept taking out low bal. credit card after credit card and wound up deep in debt with no way of paying it all back. And that's just unsecured debt. I imagine mortgage deficiencies and auto deficiencies - many gained in the pursuit of dumb dreams - are being discharged left and right and people relieved of debt.

    Why aren't you saying to them "get some personal responsibility, man up, quit being a bunch of pussies and do what you got to do?"

    Again, you can argue that debt should be non-dischargable, but I have yet to see one persuasive argument why education loans should be non-dischargable while other forms of unsecured credit are not.

    Bankruptcy is also an important "check" that ensures responsible lending; it's ultimately consumer protection. How can you honestly sit there and advocate that one group of consumers (credit card holders) can have this protection (and they will - Congress ain't repealing it) while a group of largely naive, inexperienced borrowers cannot? That doesn't make any sense.

  20. What sez the people if The Colonel started his own lil' law school? Ya see I see plenty a fuckers takin' 'vantage a students 'n shit. Makin' money hand over fist. I'd be offerin' dual degrees (kinda like dual citizinship). Ya could earn a degree in Chickinology and a JD. Hot damn. I's so proud of mahself fer comin' up wit' dis idea.

    ‘N if ya don’ ‘grees wit’ meh, ya can talk to da hand. I ain't pullin' yer drumstick either. I's damn sures I cans gets A.B.A. approval for dis shit. I gots me a couple a dem nice fax machines 'n printers in my corporate offices. Imagine the policy questions on da examinations 'n such. WHy is keepin' chickins in cages on corporate farms such good policy. Explain.

    Don't dis shit make a colonel wanna...jump?
    Don't dis shit make a colonel wanna...jump?

    Shake dat ass 'n break a leg. Show meh what ya workin' wit'.

  21. "J-Dog"

    Please look up Deuteronomy 15:1 in the Old Testament. Student loans are not the kind of debts to be forgiven. When people start businesses and run up credit to sustain the business, they usually lose it all when bankruptcy is filed. They want a fresh start. A student who files bankruptcy and is able to discharge their loans keeps their degrees. This is called a "head start," not a fresh start, which is what the bankruptcy code always intended for discharged debtors.

    Again, no one forced you to go to law school and incur unreasonable sums of debt. The problem is that kids today feel they will beat the odds. They don't appreciate the pernicious effects of debt. They just assume they will get a $160K a year job and pay off the loans in the future. If you want to win the lottery, may I suggest purchasing a $1 lotto ticket instead? The world doesn't need more lawyers. The profession is changing, and the amount of lawyers needed to sustain the model is contracting. In light of overwhelming evidence of this, kids continue to enroll in toilet law schools hoping and living on a prayer. And you expect Congress to give these foolish dreamers a pass? Keep dreaming.

    NYC Hiring Partner

  22. There is some responsibility on the part of the ABA and the schools. They know, or should know, that there are no jobs out there for all of the J.D.s the schools are pumping out. They should do their part to stop the scam, be it through the accreditation process or dramatically cutting classes.

    Those kids who went to law school to 'right the wrongs" and "save the world" are definitely part of the problem. We certainly do not need more of those types to further screw up society.

  23. 850am anonymous here...just wanted to give a big thanks to nyc hiring partner. He is probably a couple years older then me but he gets it. I went to 4th tier crapper 20 years ago and paid my loans back over time while my friends drove nice cars and took management type jobs blah blah. I made the choices to take out loans and go to school. I was very angry when I got out and once I found a job it was for less then the bartending job I had at the time. I now run my own business as a solo practitioner almost 20 years later. I wont bore you with the bs and the ups and downs or working for a firm, being a solo etc. Working as a lawyer was no different then as it is now in terms of what you do. I know its harder in many ways now but that should be reason to do even more research before going.

    Have I gotten rich? No. Do I practice shit law. Yes. Would I do it all over again at todays prices. Probably not, but its to easy to say what if. You go forward. We all make choice and you 20 somethings who take out this big debt to go to school knowing the job market only have yourselves to blame. 15-20 years ago, getting out we faced the same crap. No jobs, pay sucked, and the loans seemed outreageous. We all knew the deal back then but we all thought we could make real money versus being a manager at some retail store or selling insurance with our worthless liberal arts degree. Some kids made it, others drowned in their debt with minimal internet to bitch about it. I know how lucky I am in many ways. I wish I had the info available today that was not so easily available in the early 90s. I just went because my parents, blue collar people, preached education. You pay your debt.

    Before you invest 100-150k in an education, especially at a crap school, if you dont do the research about what you are buying, and then want bankruptcy to bail you out, if that makes me a douche and you not, then Ill take the label. Ill come up with another name for you-pussy.

    I have disagreed with some of NYC hiring partners posts on other threads, but he has it correct here and it is good to see that there is still a belief in personal responsibility even if those beliefs havent fully filtered down to todays youth in so many ways.

  24. They should allow student loans to be discharged in bankruptcy. Why are students the only members of society that are singled out for not being able to get a fresh start? As for the personal responsibility argument, it is debatable. Law schools have turned into Ponzi schemes.
    I might even go so far to call people that took out large loans as victims. I think the government should get out of the student loan business and allow bankruptcy after five years from graduation if things don't work out. That way getting credit to go to school would be valued more and would not given out so easily. An even better system would force the schools to lend money to students or a certain percentage like 20-30%. It would truly give the schools a vested interest in their graduates succeeding. It would change things a lot.

    Right now credit is too easy, just like sub-prime mortgages were. The money for the schools is just too damn good. The schools are not risking their own money. There are no underwriting standards for the loans. It is the fog the mirror lending style, if you can fog a mirror with your breath you get the loan.

    It is a stupid belief that home ownership is always good,the same as with education. No. Some people should never own a home. Home ownership can be a horrible thing when you cannot afford the home, you have no money for a down payment, you get charged huge fees by the mortgage lender, you are in an adjustable rate mortgage, and so on. Then home ownership is a nightmare that trashes lives. At least those people can file bankruptcy.

    Education can be a nightmare too. You bury yourself in debt you cannot declare bankruptcy on. Schools take advantage of the easy credit so they jack up their tuition at what should be criminal rate increases. You are implicitly promised a good life if you attend this school. I blame the schools mostly. I know what is going on, but that is after I paid to see it first hand. The schools see this happening year after year, they know the deal. How some of the faculty can sleep at night is beyond me.

  25. @NYC hiring partner:

    Re: the "lose everything" point -

    (1) why not prohibit students who discharge their loans from using the credential (i.e., on their resume)? And why not force the school to rescind the student's degree accordingly? I'd be fine with that. Nothing prevents that kind of "fresh start" except a lack of imagination (or undue protectionism of the banking cartel).

    (2) many debts discharged in Ch. 7 are not "lost." One example would be vacations - if you take a 10k loan to go to Europe and have a blast, the government does not zap your mind clean of the fond memories. And if you use a credit card to eat, the government does not force you to starve yourself to account for it. You can also use credit cards to buy consumer goods (e.g. clothes, furniture, electronics) that many people wind up keeping after bankruptcy.

    I did not go to law school to "win the lottery," nor did I ever expect (or want) a $160k biglaw job. I have no intention of ever declaring bankruptcy and I plan on paying back my modest loans in full.

    But in the event things don't work out as I plan, I fail to see why others who take far more riskier gambles than me are given protection by the federal government and I'm not. Got any other reasons?

  26. As I noted in a JDU thread, making student loans dischargeable would be a HUGE step forward. However, I live in reality. I do not see that happening, any time soon, if at all. Don't have a heart attack or stroke, "NYC Partner."

    By the way, it is sick and deplorable that those who piss away $30K on the poker tables can have their debt wiped away, while those who sought to improve their situation through “higher education” are told to get lost. Maybe, you can muster up some anger over that reality. Those who make $40K but purchase a $295K house are irresponsible. The same goes for the greedy lenders who approved the loan.

    The biggest obstacle will be the fact that some people owe $300K in student debt. You can bet your ass the college industry and the banks will make this all about those people.

    The argument will go as follows: "Do you, the American taxpayer, want to bail out people who IRRESPONSIBLY took out $300K for a law degree? If you re-store bankruptcy protections for student lenders, these CARELESS, FRIVOLOUS men and women will be the first to declare bankruptcy."

    Never mind that the banksters and university pigs are getting fat off the federal teat - and have been doing so for decades. They will point to people such as Kimber Russell, who informed me that she owes $300K in combined student debt. (If you look at her initial entry, you can see that she admits that she must make $2,000 monthly payments to Sallie Mae.)

    "How do students afford the cost of an additional course on top of law school tuition and living expenses, you ask? Well, some of us get by giving $20 handjobs at the bus station, while some of us whore ourselves out to the companies that sell the bar courses. That's my story.

    And before you call me a hypocrite, let me just assure you that the irony of the situation is most definitely not lost on me. Neither is the $2000/month I owe to Sallie Mae. (Hey, as Daffy Duck would say, "It's a living.")"

    It is comical that people still take Kimber seriously. She owes about $300K in student loan debt AND she sells bar prep materials. This is akin to a former drug addict and user - who is now selling meth to others - turning around telling people that “Drugs are awful. Avoid using them.” How much credibility would this person have?!

  27. The industry will also point to Michael Wallerstein, who went to Thomas Jefferson Sewer of Law in San Diego. He comes across as an irresponsible, smug turd. He has no plans of re-paying his loans.

    “MR. WALLERSTEIN, for his part, is not complaining. Once you throw in the intangibles of having a J.D., he says, he is one of law schools’ satisfied customers.

    “It’s a prestige thing,” he says. “I’m an attorney. All of my friends see me as a person they look up to. They understand I’m in a lot of debt, but I’ve done something they feel they could never do and the respect and admiration is important.”

    Do you think the taxpayers want to bail out these types of people? Michael Wallerstein is a pretentious douche-bag and moron.

    By the way, my total student loan debt is $74K. I have EVERY INTENTION of re-paying these loans. In fact, I make double payments when I can. On one loan, my next payment isn’t due until October. My wife owes less than $30K, and she is making quadruple payments at this time.

    In the end, the best way to force some commodes to close down is by shutting off that federally-backed student loan faucet. It is the life blood of this mess. If students can continue to take out these loans, schools will be happy to cash those checks. And they do not need to worry about providing them with decent job prospects.

    Otherwise, we will see an occasional administrator or "professor" talking about the need for reform – while NOTHING is done to change the system. For instance, William Henderson of Indiana University-Bloomington has written about the tough job market facing recent law grads, at length. He has been cited and interviewed on this topic, numerous times. However, on yesterday’s panel, Henderson showed CLEARLY that he has no intention of changing things. He merely wants to talk about reform. In sum, he has a mere academic interest, in this issue. That is beyond pathetic.

    He is so aloof, he actually belongs in academia. He wouldn’t make it in the private business sector, where you need to perform tasks, complete goals and accomplish something. Henderson would prefer to sit back, and analyze things from an academic perspective.

  28. "J-Dog"

    You make some compelling arguments. Unfortunately, you are probably a lot younger than me and lack the experience I have in life. Would I support a bill that allows student loans to be dischargeable in bankruptcy going forward (no retroactive effect)? Yes, absolutely. This would force lending caps, secondary and tertiary underwriting reviews which decrease student loan lending. The government would be less inclined to guarantee student loans if they were dischargeable. In turn, this would force schools to close down. However, you and I know this will never happen. The liberals will argue that this denies the poor and minorities access to higher education, etc..

    Your proposal that people "give back" their degrees in exchange for a discharge is unreasonable and impractical. Once you receive an education, you don't lose it. You can go to China or India with your JD and teach law overseas. Would it be fair to discharge law school loans and allow someone to go overseas and unjustly use their advanced degrees to get ahead? No.

    Generally when people file for bankruptcy they lose things. They don't get to keep the financed house and car after filing for Chapter 7. As for items, creditors are now shrewd. They have purchase money security interest over TVs and other equipment purchased at retailers such as BestBuy. This means that after the bankruptcy, the creditor can come in and retrieve their merchandise. Jewelers now do this too.

    As for the strawman gambler, leave the poor gambler alone. Many people who gamble have mental infirmities, in other words, they are sick. I read about a lawyer in NY who was disbarred because she blew away $1M in Atlantic City and some of the money came from client trust accounts. Do you really think she intentionally stole the money? She was probably sick in the head and had to get treatment. In the end, the gambler is left with nothing after a bust out. At least you will always have your JD diploma. Remember, no one can take that away from you.

    NYC Hiring Partner

  29. nando, could you find out if this hiring partner guy is even posting from nyc? He thinks gamblers deserve BK protections because "they're probably sick." What a stupid argument.

    No doubt lots of people are sick. But lots of people that aren't sick rack up consumer debt, cc, mortgage and gambling.

    They weren't trying to improve themselves either. They just wanted a bigger fucking house or a 2011 Toyota 4 Runner with heated seats and a DVD player. Even if they were making a pissant salary. Fuck those people. I got no sympathy for those assholes.

    - Paul

  30. The best way is NOT to discharge student loans going forward, but to remove the federal funding guarantees behind the loans. The law schools or higher education institutions would then have incentive to lower their tuition (based on a cost benefit / value notion), the lenders would actually look at the repayment potential and credit risk of its student borrowers and the market would correct itself eventually.

    That being said, "a sucker is born every minute." Like Nando, I live in the real world, and I know if these types of students arent swindled by the higher education scam, it'd be through another channel such as subprime mortgages, MLMs, etc. Most, if not all, of these 0Ls dont understand financial concepts such as TVM, interest rates, tax deductibility, etc.

  31. Amen 1:27. Hey, nando. How can you be sure Kimber owes $300K? maybe she was joking about paying $2000 a month to Sallie.

    If its true then I would put her in the catefory of stupidfuckingbitch who doesn't deserve BK protections.

    The negativity is wearisome at times. Still nando has grounds for his skepticism. These idiots taking out so much in the way of student loans would end up getting fucked some other way. You can count on it. It'd be a second home. ARM mortgage. Time shares. Sending it to some televangelist scumbag.

  32. Why do student debtors think their loan payments would be chipped away by inflation? Did anyone look at the CPI? More likely than not, the interest rate and late penalties would not justify the pipe dream of inflating away debt.

  33. Hey Fuckers - I'm the "Douche Bag" that agreed with NYC Partner re: dischargeability of education debt. Now what would happen if by some reason Congress said tomorrow that all current and future educational debt is hereby dischargeable in bankruptcy? It sounds good in theory, but the reality is that it would cause absolute chaos in a practical sense for the economy, the banking industry etc. (not that I really give a shit about the banking industry...). If Congress said you can discharge all your educational debt if you are not able to find a job in your field after 3 years, what do you think would happen? That's right - I'll keep sending my resume to those elitist fucks at Cravath so that after 3 years I can walk off into the sunset with no debt.

    I've said this before, and I'll say it again, the government money needs to STOP. It is the fuel that allows the fire to grow bigger and bigger. Just like the mortgage fiasco - every one can go to college/law school. Why fuck, we live in 'Merica, goddamn - you can do anything your little 18 year old ass desires - you can even be an astronaut - cuz in 'Merica - every thing is possible.


    But they won't because there are too many fucks making money off this whole game. In any event, the argument would go like this: Govt: We will provide student loans to your current and prospective students on the condition that you do not raise you tuition more than 3% per year. If you raise your tuition by 4%, none of your students get any federally-backed funds.

    Now take that you D-Bags!

  34. "...on the condition that you do not raise you tuition more than 3% per year."

    Check you tuition!

  35. This guy/gal @1:27 has the right idea:

    "The best way is NOT to discharge student loans going forward, but to remove the federal funding guarantees behind the loans."

    I also like how he/she says that risk should be incorporated into the equation as to how much you can borrow. Think about that stupid NYU grad in the papers recently that racked up over $100,000 studying women's studies or some such shit. Last I heard, she was making low$ working for a photographer. Sucks to be you, but then again 18 years olds don't have enough life experience to understand/evaluate risk. Can you imagine trying to fully convey to an 18 year old what 7-10% interest on $150,000 "feels" like on a day-to-day, month-to-month basis when they have never had a job before? Yet, we're asking these people to make one of the biggest financial investments in their life without any basis to make a proper decision other than a hope and a prayer. It only gets worse when you factor in greedy baby boomer parents that tell their little Johnny they can be anything in the whole world. Sorry, but I can't stand baby boomers.

  36. "...on the condition that you do not raise you tuition more than 3% per year."

    Check you tuition!

    I don't understand your question...

  37. "Why do student debtors think their loan payments would be chipped away by inflation? Did anyone look at the CPI? More likely than not, the interest rate and late penalties would not justify the pipe dream of inflating away debt."


  38. Yes, because a fixed interest rate magically makes everything better.

  39. So, say someone was severely depressed when they decided to take out loans and go to law school. Technically they're as sick as the gambler who is addicted to the slots--both are covered under the ADA. And those with severe depression suffer from an inability to make good decisions. Based on NYC partner's logic, the hypothetical severely depressed person should be able to discharge his debt based on mental illness. He is just as incapable of making sane choices as the addicted gambler.

  40. "Yes, because a fixed interest rate magically makes everything better."

    OK A-hole, you obviously know a lot about economics. So why don't you tell me why a fixed interest rate isn't a good thing when inflation (and hopefully wages) are hitting 10% a year...

    I guess you would rather have a variable interest rate with no upper limit. I wonder how you're going to feel in a few years when we get hyperinflation. I'm going to be sleeping quite well at my fixed rate (even though it is higher than I would like) whereas you might be then paying 25% or more. So please tell me why I'm incorrect you economic genius.

  41. 1:59,

    Kimber stated that she must pay $2,000 a month to Sallie Mae. Do the math. If repayment is spread out over 360 months, then the total amount she will pay to those pigs is $720K. Seeing that these are private loans, she is at a higher interest rate than those who took out Stafford loans.

    She also told me that she owes $300K in total student loan debt. She attended culinary school, prior to going to law school. Plus, why the hell would someone - even an attention whore such as Kimber - lie about owing such an obscene amount?!

    "Kimber A. Russell said...

    I actually attended the Cooking and Hospitality Institute of Chicago in 1997 to obtain my "Professional Cooking Certificate".

    At the time, cooking school was not such a bad deal because it only cost me $8,000 and I did learn what I needed to obtain a job upon graduation at the Sheraton Chicago as a Garde Manger chef. This was a union gig, so I had health care and would make time and a half for any hours worked above 8 in one day. Not too bad.

    However, nowadays, these schools cost the same as a year of law school, and the jobs pay the same as they did when I was in culinary school--minimum wage to maybe $8-9/hour in the city. You'll never pay off your loans at that rate.

    January 14, 2011 6:33 PM"

    "I am one of the overeducated masses. I received my BS in Speech from Northwestern University in 1995, where I was a film major. I worked in commercial post production for some time before embarking on a new career in the culinary industry. I attended the Cooking and Hospitality Institute of Chicago in 1997, and worked as a chef until 1998.

    Looking for more adventure, I applied and was accepted into the Japan Exchange and Teaching Programme. I taught English to high school and junior high school students for two years, as well as getting married to my husband of twelve years. We moved to New York in 2000 so that I could pursue an MA in Cinema Studies at NYU. We lived through 9/11. We lost friends and colleagues, but we survived.

    Upon completing my studies at NYU, we decided to return to Chicago so that I could get back into the film industry. This was the first time that I began to understand what it meant to be overeducated. I interviewed all over the city, but time and time again the interviewers expressed doubts about my actual willingness to take such a small salary considering my credentials. Sound familiar, anyone?"

    Northwestern BS, MA from NYU, culinary school, and a JD from DePaul Univer$iTTy. In sum, she is a professional student.

  42. @April 8, 2011 7:31 PM

    YOU'RE A DUMBASS. If your fixed interest rate is 10% and the inflation rate is 2.1, how will you chip away at the other 7.9%? If you think that hyperinflation will save you, you were a shoe-in for your TTT. Do you even know the difference between inflation, stagflation and deflation? Which one is most dangerous? Why? What is quantitative easing? What is cross currency arbitrage or a carry trade? Yea, I doubt you know more than I do in economics, dumbass.

  43. The Seton Hall Law Toilet accepted a 'deferred prosecution' shakedown from Bristol Myers. This money was then used to teach some nonsensical 'corporate governance' program. How do these hypocritical pigs look in the mirror each morning.

  44. The old fashioned shakedown. Bristol Myers Squibb is a shithole. So is Seton Hall.

  45. @12:05 - fuck off. It assumes that the fixed interest rate is LOWER than the rate of inflation, particularly in the event of hyperinflation. This also assumes that wages parallel the inflation (but this is not always the case). In any event, maybe you should go to the London School of Jerk Off Economics instead of pretending to be a lawyer. The only economic background you probably have is doing document review for some shareholder securities action.

  46. "Once you receive an education, you don't lose it. You can go to China or India with your JD and teach law overseas. Would it be fair to discharge law school loans and allow someone to go overseas and unjustly use their advanced degrees to get ahead? No."

    Whether something can be discharged or not has no effect on that, does it? You can't collect a debt from someone living in Korea or China, anyway. If debt is non-dischargable, it's going to promote indebted students heading overseas, so I'm not seeing your point. Even if dischargability somehow promoted going overseas (it's the opposite), what market is there for American legal studies in China? Or for someone to use a sociology degree?

    Considering that we allow people to do that under non-dischargability, I'm not sure what the change would be.

    "As for items, creditors are now shrewd. They have purchase money security interest over TVs and other equipment purchased at retailers such as BestBuy. This means that after the bankruptcy, the creditor can come in and retrieve their merchandise. Jewelers now do this too."

    PMSIs have been around for years, and they have nothing to do with what we're talking about. PMSIs are *secured* credit. I'm talking about unsecured credit. Do you know the difference? For example, if someone uses a credit card or other unsecured loan, then Capital One, Chase, etc. are not taking any security interest and the debtor can discharge the debt AND keep the goods.

    Again, what students pay for with a college education is ultimately a credential (or progress towards a credential). I'm fine with them losing the right to use that in America (since when do we try to regulate what happens in China?) and I think that would be adequate "loss" since that's what students pay for.

    For all your "experience," you have yet to address my central point, which is why the discrimination exists. If a guy takes a 5k bank loan and spends it on escorts, it's dischargable; no one's concerned about him having the memories, stories, knowledge gained, etc. But if he spends it taking courses at the local college, it's nondischarable, even if he never gets a degree, because he should have to pay for his memories, stories, and knowledge, right?

    You seem to be going around in circles to justify statutory stupidity.

  47. "For all your "experience," you have yet to address my central point, which is why the discrimination exists. If a guy takes a 5k bank loan and spends it on escorts, it's dischargable; no one's concerned about him having the memories, stories, knowledge gained, etc. But if he spends it taking courses at the local college, it's nondischarable . . ."

    Even though I'm not the intended recipient of your message, I'll take a stab at it. In my opinion, there is no theoretical difference between the guy discharging in bankruptcy his escapades with hookers and the guy who tries to better himself by going to college to get an education (nondischargeable).

    The only difference I can see from a practical standpoint is that there are millions of people who fall into the latter camp and probably a few thousand falling into the former. So I agree with you that there is no theoretical difference, but only that everyone would discharge their educational debt if they could, which would result in economic chaos. Add in a few thousand lobbyists on behalf of higher education and banks, and you have an opposing force to keep the status quo. As I said above, the likelihood of dischargeability of educational debt in bankruptcy is very low. The powers that be will not allow this to happen. Going forward, I believe there will be additional restrictions on obtaining federal student loan funding.

  48. "Northwestern BS, MA from NYU, culinary school, and a JD from DePaul Univer$iTTy. In sum, she is a professional student."

    Agreed. I don't have an ax to grind with Kimber, but she sure doesn't seem to have much direction.

  49. @ NYC hiring partner

    Your statement about BK is wrong. You said:

    "And you know what else? I could have filed bankruptcy in the late '80s to discharge my student loans (the law changed in 1998). However, I didn't. So don't confuse me with your ilk. In my generation, you broke it, you paid for it."

    I don't know what kind of lawyer you claim to be, but (even Nando has said it) Gov't backed student loans have been non-dischargable in ch 7 since 1978 BK Reform Act, unless you met the hardship requirements. The only amendments worth discussing since then were Marathon in '85 and BAPCPA '05. Nothing noteworthy happened in 1998 or the 1980s that would have allowed you to file a Ch 7 and discharge your gov't backed loans.

    In your generation, people believed smoking was good for you. The point is this is not a octogenarian v. youth fight. Your generation were also draft dodgers and LSD popping hippies. No one wants to hear your hypocrisy old man.

    Anyways, based on your commentary I can assume you don't have any children. Do you really believe 20 year old know-nothing should be doomed to "drown" in debt. A kid (and yes I say "kid") that young has been told since they could walk that higher education at any cost is a sustainable path to the best future. Imagine when you find out that simply isn't the case? You go though 3+ years of toil at LS and suddenly you have NOTHING to show for it? Imagine the disappointment of your family/spouse? The embarrassment of going from contract job to contract job while interviewing over and over with no avail?

    So much of job hunting is luck. I was lucky and I fell into what I am doing at the right time. I don't have any illusions that it was my brilliance or amazing lawyering skills that made it happen. Yes, I did the best I could to make sure I had a good resume, good references, and did all the right internships/clerkships I could. But me and 40k other students across the country right?

    Age and experience have made me MORE sympathetic to the plight of new lawyers. Not less. That is why I watch these blogs and cheer on the efforts of Nando and his buddies. If you actually did the math, Mr. Hiring partner, it would become apparent to you that unless you are independently wealthy loans are the ONLY way for the vast majority of students to go to school.

    It is for those reasons that I don't believe you are really a lawyer. What I think is that you are a student of some kind. That's okay. But I would caution you if you are still in school. All of this debt and misery could very quickly become your personal 3rd tier reality.

  50. What good is nondischargeability to the taxpayer, who is the ultimate creditor here, when the law grad cannot or will not pay the loan back?

    You can say fuck the law grad for his stupidity all you want. But keeping huge swath of educated people permenately mired in penury with nondischargeable debt is not good for our economy. These debtors will be unable to generate wealth for society, pay fewer taxes, and be eligible for more state and federal welfare programs.

    And the idiot who thinks we shouldn't allow discharge in bankruptcy because everybody would do it doesn't understand basic economics or bankruptcy proceedings. I can't declare bankruptcy and get a discharge simply becuase I don't want to pay my cable bill. Also, there are A LOT more compulsive gamblers that declare bankruptcy than aspiring navie law students. Get your facts straight.

    Again, there is no point keeping students from discharging their loans when they simply cannot every repay them. We both lose in this situation. There are no winners. But if we don't give these people the chance to start over we lose even more.

    I don't know what kind of oppurtunities an unemployed law grad will have in another country. A legal education is not a very marketable degree. However, going to another country could give that person something they may not get in America: a new start.

    If I'm going to be stuck making minium wage in America for the rest of my life because of my past educational pursuits and follies and pay down a debt that will never get smalller, then I'd rather go to a foreign country and make an even shittier wage, but have the chance to start over.

    Don't shoot yourself in the foot with your holier than thou principles NYC Hiring Douche.

  51. @April 9, 2011 7:14 PM

    No where did I state I was a lawyer or a law student. Good luck banking on hyperinflation.

  52. I don't need to "bank" on hyperinflation, but you probably do. I've been out of law school for a number of years now and paying back my loans without incident. Now get back to your undergraduate studies idiot.

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  55. Hey Nando,

    Re: your piece on the US News rankings and Bob Morse --

    Go ahead and be righteously indignant on all our behalfs, but don't be a fucking pig in all of your metaphors. Calling Bob Morse a weak, manipulative asshole by saying he has labia and menstruates is much more offensive to the female readers of your blog than to Bob Morse. Just an fyi, pretty sure he doesn't read your blog; but almost half of law students, your main clientele, are women. I'll give you the benefit of the doubt -- maybe women don't post as much as men do because women don't get as much of a kick out of wanking. So maybe you didn't know women read your blog. They do. So have some of the decency you criticize others for lacking and find some original ways to belittle your targets.

  56. To SBC, the oversensitive vagina:

    Perhaps you shaved your bush too closely, and are suffering from a rash. Listen, dicknose: female readers have actually emailed me and informed me that they are not offended by my metaphors.

    I am fully aware of the fact that women comprise about half of total law school enrollment, Sherlock. (By the way, they are potential readers, NOT clients. Hence, I have no clientele. Do you see me charging people to view this site, dumbass?! Also, behalf does not have an ‘s’ behind it.) This blog is unflinching and brutal, in its analysis. Reality does not care about gender, or YOUR soft sensibilities. We are discussing the "higher education" scam, and I target the perpetrators. The piece of trash known to the world as Bob Morse is one of those profiting off of this game.

    Maybe you can muster up some anger over the fact that students are graduating with $120K in NON-DISCHARGABLE debt - with anemic job prospects. The "professors" and administrators are making a killing off of this sick system. They are KNOWINGLY and WILLINGLY consigning MANY of their students and graduates into a lifetime of debt servitude.

    Think about this, for a second, mental deficient. (I recognize that thinking does not play to your strengths, but try it out.) Stating that a "man" has labia and menstrual cycles is an the subject in question. Do you understand that?!

    By the way, you cannot make everyone happy, bitch. Which is why I don't try to do so. In sum, YOU need to take a warm bath and listen to some Michael Bolton or Kenny G drivel. Maybe, you can give yourself a pedicure and watch some chick flicks afterward. This site is not for you.

    How is that for originality, you piece of garbage?!?!

  57. Implementation of the rules publicly humiliating circumstances, fraud is a blog to keep in mind the level of both law graduates should be able to have a decent start and maintain a comfortable standard of living while in law school student loans.

  58. It seems like government loans seem fair, because the government does actually work with you and there are a ton of repayment plans. Also when people go to school, they can choose public universities. Private loans are another matter by the way. I hate the 2005 bankruptcy law which made private loans non-dischargeable. I fail to see the policy basis behind this. That's another matter.

    During my undergraduate studies, I went to a community college, which was 1600 / year and I lived at home. During my 3rd and 4th year, I then transferred to a public university, which was maybe 4 or 5 thousand at the time. I could have gone to a private school at that time which was more prestigious my 3rd and 4th year because my grades were good but I chose not to because of the 20k + price tag.

    I am now at a decent law school (within top 100), and I am having most of it paid for...This is only after going active duty in the military. (I will admit this was not my first choice but you do what you have to do) I will have debt after this endeavor but I will be better off than most.

    If you take out a 100 k in loans and get some worthless degree, that was your choice, Tough shit!!!! Perhaps you should live with the consequences of your decision.

  59. Most young people in this country are woefully ignorant of economics and finance. Hence, many do not truly understand the impact of debt on their future earnings, or other consequences. Such as not being able to afford a home or having children. What does it say about the American "education" system, K-12 and above, that a person can earn a Master's degree or PhD - without taking an economics course?! Does the average college student even know how to budget?

    The situation is sickening and disgusting, and the financial thugs and pigs are more than happy to take advantage of the ignorant consumers.

    As I have pointed out, in other entries, I graduated from a good state school, for undergrad. I then attended Third Tier Drake - on a full-tuition scholarship. Before going to law school, I managed to save about $6,500, for moving expenses.

    My wife - armed with a Master's degree and years of experience, in her field - was unable to earn more than $32K per year, while we lived in Des Moines. During law school, we owned two older cars that had decent gas mileage, did not require a ton of maintenance, and that had been paid off years ago. (We still own those automobiles. Actually, some older, Asian female driver bitch plowed into my Pontiac during my second year at Drake, and totaled my car. After fighting with the insurance company, they issued a check for the total amount of the car's worth. We used that money to buy a similar model and year. In short, we avoided shelling out any additional money.)

    In total, I incurred an additional $37K in student loans, for living expenses. I worked during the summers, as well. We kept our living expenses down. My wife and I bought groceries in bulk, we took part in a food cooperative, did not spend much money on restaurants or entertainment, and we did not make any gaudy purchases or travel to France. (I know some medical students at Des Moines University who did foolish things with their loan money, such as buying a home or having kids.)

    Before YOU pat yourself on the back for joining the military, and denigrate others for taking out $100K for a worthless degree, understand this: a law degree from a second tier sewer is equally worthless. In fact, some students foolishly turn down scholarship money from a TTT, in order to attend a piece of trash that is ranked 72nd best law school in the country – under the delusion that this will provide them with better employment opportunities.

    As you head down this list, you will soon notice that many public law schools are consigning their students and recent graduates to a lifetime of debt servitude.

    This article is entitled, “Options for Student Borrowers: A Derivatives-Based Proposal to Protect Students and Control Debt-Fueled Inflation in the Higher Education Market.” It appeared in the 20th volume of the Cornell Journal of Law and Public Policy. The authors actually cited to this blog, in footnote 260.TThe basic premise is that banks and schools are veterans of the student loan game, and they prey on the ignorant one-time consumer, i.e. the student, who bears ALL OF THE RISK. Keep that in mind when you are casting judgment on students.


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