Monday, September 14, 2015

First Tier Cesspit: Arizona State University Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law

Tuition: Arizona residents attending this school on a full-time basis will be charged $27,074 in tuition, for the current academic year. Full-time, out of state law students will face a tuition bill of $42,794 – for the same school year. The school makes the following statement regarding its rates:

“The overall cost of attending ASU Law is among the lowest of all American Bar Association accredited law schools. The tuition and fee estimates below assume full-time enrollment (12+ semester hours per semester) for the entire academic year.”

Total Cost of Attendance: Based on the same page, the total, annual COA figures stand at $48,462 and $64,182, respectively for in-state and non-resident, full-time law students. Yes, that is one hell of a bargain, huh?!?! Books and supplies account for $1,888 of that amount. Loans fees add another $102 to the tab. 

Keep in mind that ABA diploma mills base their living cost estimates on a nine month school year. Since actual students will incur these expenses over the entire calendar year, we will prorate the following items: room, board, personal costs, and transportation. Doing so, we reach a more accurate, total COA of $54,928 for Arizona residents and $70,648 for non-residents – for the 2015-2016 school year. Who wouldn’t want to shell out such large sums of money, in order to attend this place?!?!

Ranking: According to US “News” & World Report, Arizona State University Sandra Day O’Connor Commode of Law is rated as the 26th greatest, most remarkable and amazing law school in the entire nation. Miraculously, it only shares this distinction with one other institution, Boston University.

Employment Placement Statistics: Let’s take a look at the toilet’s Employment Summary for 2014 Graduates. This school does feature a strong employment “placement” rate of 96.4 percent, i.e. 190/197. Then again, students outside the top decile at most schools typically hustle to land interviews and jobs. Of course, the school also hired a total of eight graduates in law school or university funded positions. Otherwise, the employment rate would have been 92.4%, i.e. 182/197.

Under Employment Type, you will notice that 88 members of the 26th best law school in the country reported being hired by private law firms. This figure includes five desperate solo practitioners and 37 working in offices of 2-10 lawyers. In fact, only 17 graduates – from the Class of 2014 – landed employment in law firms of more than 250 attorneys. In sum, a member of this ASU cohort had a roughly 8.6 percent chance to be hired by Biglaw, i.e. 17/198. Now, imagine the odds facing TTT grads.

Average Law Student Indebtedness: US “News” lists the average law student indebtedness - for those members of the Arizona $tate Univer$ity JD Class of 2014 who incurred debt for law school - as $97,431. Interestingly, only 69% of this school’s 2014 cohort took on such toxic debt. Don’t forget that this amount does not even include undergraduate debt – and also does not take accrued interest into account, while the student is enrolled.

ASU COL Welcomes Its Largest First Year Class Ever: On September 10, 2015, the univer$ity issued a press release labeled “ASU law school welcomes largest class in school history.” Read the following portion:

“Douglas Sylvester, dean of Arizona State University's Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law, welcomed 316 new students at the school's orientation this semester: 217 first-year juris doctorates, 8 advanced standing juris doctorates, 11 master of law students, 26 master of sports law and business students, and 54 master of legal studies students with a focus on patent practice, international law and sustainability law, to name just a few. 

The class size reflects a substantial growth in master’s level degrees, particularly in sports law and business, and a large entering juris doctorate class. ASU Law experienced growth in juris doctorate applications in 2015, and the yield rate on all offers of admission nearly doubled over prior years.” [Emphasis mine]

Who in their right mind decides to earn a Master of Sports Law or a Master of Legal Studies with a focus in something called Sustainability Law?! Do these applicants believe that they are a degree away from becoming big-time sports agents and landing lucrative NBA and NFL clients? Furthermore, will these future masters of the universe also be environmentally aware? Anyway, the pigs are happy to offer such garbage and to accept student loans for these courses.

Conclusion: In the final analysis, Arizona $tate Univer$ity $andra Day O’Connor College of Law is ranked as the 26th best law school in the U.S., and the job prospects for Biglaw appear tepid. The average law student from the 2014 cohort took on an additional $97,431 in NON-DISCHARGEABLE debt for their JD. Many of them will struggle mightily to pay back their student loans. This is from a school with a good reputation! As many have noted over the years, if you do not gain admission to a truly elite law school, then you are rolling the dice with your future.


  1. O'Connor received a huge grant from a local litigation attorney and then threw it all away. Instead of offering more scholarships or lowering tuition, they built a new building in downtown Phoenix and started a practice law firm for students.

  2. You are generally right, as a practitioner in the area I will say that ASU admitting this many students is, on the surface, a bad thing. But it should be noted that they also take 40+ transfers a year from AZ Summit (TTTT). I'm almost certain that school is 1-3 years away from closing, and they graduated 330 grads last year.

    \What makes ASU, in a way, not as bad as others is the fact that Phoenix really only has 1 law school. AZ really only has 2 but UofA takes 95-100/year and places heavily in its own market (Tucson). So you have the 6th largest city and 12th largest metro in one of the least saturated major areas in the U.S. for attorneys. And you will also lose a school pumping 330 graduates into the market.

    If this is a cyclical point in legal employment, and therefore applications, and ASU has decided to invest in a down market (New Building, new staff etc.), then ASU comes out in high marks for being able to attract talent and jumps their ranking even further. If this is a permanent adjustment and the legal market remains in this tepid condition long-term, then ASU looks like a fool investing in an expensive building and spending so much money on applicants and makes UofAs approach of limiting costs, cutting tuition and reducing class sizes to more match the market look more appropriate. Kind of a tough spot to be in.

    Purportedly this class will have the highest medians as well. How are they able to both attract a higher level of candidate than ever before and then attract 70 more than they have previously? I'm guessing they are throwing a LOT of money at both applicants and their new facilities. They better hope this all works out or it could be an expensive disaster for ASU.

  3. All that student loan money is very tasty for the law faculty. I went to a top twenty law school and I was shocked at the number of law grads working at such illustrious jobs as waiters, and shoe salesman(Al Bundy), after graduation. Law school is such a fucking bullshit prestige driven scam. It is easy for law faculty to focus on US News metrics. The law school system is stupid but until lately it worked well for law faculty. The Bar Examiners are a bunch of assholes too.

    Why do we need to go through so much crap to transfer to another state, maybe even have to take another Bar Exam? Bar Examiners have their own little guild too.

    It is all a bunch of shit. Law schools are unethical but the ABA, law schools, and Bar Examiners do not care. This is a shitty profession run by idiots.

  4. 26th out of 200 ABA accredited schools is nearly the top 10%. One really can't get an entry level attorney position having graduated from a near top 10% school? I can't believe that law training is much different between Harvard and any other ABA accredited school.

    1. It isn't different. The curriculum is mostly standard at all ABA-accredited schools. What is different is the perceived prestige of the schools; prestige is the only thing that matters in the job hunt, it is used as a proxy for intelligence, work ethic, personal willpower, breeding, connections, ability, and value as a human being. Therefore, the T14 schools put their grads in real jobs, and the rest go into Trashlaw or into retail.

    2. Read this:

      I actually agree with you that the quality of legal training doesn't differ much between a Harvard and a Cooley. But the quality of students does. So do the prospects of finding decent revelant employment.

  5. Perhaps only me and Old Guy remember this story from January 1985:

    "Redskins star John Riggins put on a raucous display at a formal Washington banquet Wednesday night, at one point urging Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor to ”loosen up, Sandy baby,” then passing out on the ballroom floor and snoring through a speech by George Bush.

    "Riggins, most valuable player when the Redskins won the Super Bowl two years ago and a larger-than-life legend in this football-crazy town, was a guest of People Magazine at the Washington Press Club’s annual black tie ”Salute to Congress” dinner.

    "Also at Riggins’ table were Justice O’Connor and her husband, John J. O’Connor III. A guest said Riggins repeatedly spoke loudly to Mrs. O’Connor, several times saying:

    ”'Come on, Sandy baby, loosen up. You’re too tight.'"

    If you are thinking about attending or are attending this dump, you, too, are too tight and need to loosen up by not attending or withdrawing immediately and getting on with your life.

    1. That's less of an indignity than having a toilet like Arizona State named after oneself.

    2. Excellent point, Old Guy.

      On the other hand, by that standard Justice O'Connor has retained far more dignity than Justice Cardozo.

    3. And Cardozo has retained far more dignity than Thomas Jefferson.

  6. There are only three law schools in the first tier. And while ASU might have a good program, it's not going to place a whole lot of grads in federal clerkships or biglaw firms.

    Probably a good deal if someone could get a full scholly and a state gig upon graduation. But going $100K in debt to attend doesn't seem like it would be worth it.

  7. "Juris doctorate" is simply wrong. The correct form is "Juris Doctor". People who say "juris doctorate" only show themselves to be ignorant rubes.

    I find it astounding that 26 people at this one toilet alone are pursuing a master's degree in "sports law". What the hell do they plan to do with their degree? In the entire goddamn world there aren't 26 jobs in "sports law", and not one of them requires a master's degree.

    I'm still waiting to see a master's degree in alimony or traffic tickets or some other unsexy part of everyday legal practice.

    1. It's actually the recipient who would be most accurately called a juris doctor. I'd say the degree could be described as a juris doctorate.

  8. The pathetic big law placement rate is a disgrace. My 2nd tier dung heap, 25 years ago, had a far better big law placement rate. Wonder if any more than the top 20% of the class at so called verging on elite trap schools like Georgetown do any better? Now that big ass corporate clients are no longer willing to subsidize associate training, how are grads supposed to learn how to really practice law? The law school industrial complex is a shrinking joke.

  9. Calico Cat would be proud.


    Back on May 31, 2013, “dybbuk123” posted an excellent anayslis on OTLSS. It was entitled “Which law schools are the most overrated by US News and World Report?: A ranking of schools by mismatch between US News rank and placement success.” Read the following portion:

    “Imagine two recent law grads, A and B, both equally indebted to the tune of 100,000 interest-accruing and nondischargeable dollars. They are standing beside each other at a jobs fair. Or maybe they are fellow employees of Radio Shack or Starbucks, chatting during a smoking break. Or maybe they are sitting side-by-side on a document-sorting temp project. Or maybe they are coworkers in a government or public interest law office, working for free in the desperate hope that they might impress or network their way into a paying law job. And A and B hold the following conversation:

    A: (proudly): I graduated from the 26th best law school in the country.

    B: (sad and embarrassed): You must be really smart, much smarter than me. I graduated from a lowly 3rd tier school.

    If prospective law students feel that they might enjoy being similarly situated to "A" in status and prestige, then they ought to carefully study US News and World Report's law school ranking and use it to guide their choice of law schools. If not, I offer the following caution: While consumers of the annual "Best Law Schools" edition of US News may assume that there is a very close correlation between a law school’s US News rank and its placement outcomes, that is not the case. Placement success comprises only 18% of a school’s US News rank, and US News even gets that wrong by giving schools full-credit for phony-baloney "JD Advantage" jobs in calculating placement rates. Similarly, US News gives full credit for law school funded jobs-- which typically involve a law school throwing a few bucks at unemployed recent grads and telling them to volunteer full-time in some public interest law office, an arrangement the schools refer to as "public service fellowships" or "Bridge to Practice" programs.

    In the table below, I have ranked schools by mismatch between their most recent US News rank and their Class of 2012 placement success rank. As to placement success, the rank is based on each law school’s percentage of graduates who obtained bar-required, full-time (FT), long-term (LT) (which includes one year long judicial clerkships), nonsolo non-school-funded jobs within nine months of graduation. I obtained the employment rank by going to this excellent calculator and by clicking "choose your own formula," and then by clicking "bar passage required," "long-term," "full-time" and "exclude from numerator: school funded and solo practitioner." This generates a calculation of each school’s employment rate, within the formula chosen, in rank order.”

    You will notice that Arizona $tate Univer$ity $andra Day O’Connor Commode of Law is on the list. The percentage of grads from the Class of 2012 who landed full-time, long term law jobs within nine months of earning their law degree stood at 60.4 percent. In the comments, dybbuk mentions that his chart does not include desperate-ass solos. The placement rank was 60th best. Yet, US “News” & World Report rated it then at the 29th greatest law school, in the nation. This translates to a discrepancy of 31 spots. In the end, the “prestige” game is all about name recognition. As you can see, it does not help much in the job search - unless you attended a truly elite brand.

    1. Only about fifteen law schools matter. The rest are fourth-tier institutions.

    2. Old Guy, you are dead right. Even assuming you graduate top 10 % at a strong 2nd tier regional school and get hired by big law, chances are over 80% that you will be flushed out within 5 years. Corporate clients want to deal with partners that have a T-12 (or better) pedigree. In my experience, T-2 grads who do make partner are related to another partner, are related to a large client, or maybe have a solid STEM undergraduate degree.

    3. Even many people from Harvard and Yale get the boot from big law firms within a few years.

  11. Dybbuk then continued:

    “The table includes every school with a US News rank at least 25 places higher than its placement rank. Georgetown doesn’t quite make the cut, but it deserves special mention-- its placement rank of 32nd was (by far) the worst among the "T-14," i.e. the 14 schools that have been recognized, more or less accurately, as genuinely elite. And Georgetown's Class of 2012 stats were no fluke--its placement rank for the Class of 2011 was 50th, also (by far) the worst among the T-14. In light of Georgetown’s numbers, perhaps it would be better to refer to the "T-13."

    First tier schools are in italics. These are schools that, by virtue of their US News rank alone, may (in the words of Paul Campos), "attract[ ] the kind of highly-qualified, reasonably prudent 0Ls who would never consider attending the vast majority of law schools at anything like sticker price, and yet still end[ ] up generating a very high risk of financial and personal disaster for its students." Thus, even more than lower-tiered schools, they may function as life-ruining "traps" for some really bright and promising kids who deserve better from society.”

    The author was referring to the February 13, 2012 entry from Paul Campos, which was labeled “Trap schools.” It remains one of the finest pieces, among many, that he wrote on that blog. Here is the link:

    His conclusion:

    “There are literally a hundred law schools that are not much if at all cheaper, yet have vastly worse employment outcomes than what I'm calling trap schools.

    And this, fundamentally, is the problem. Legal education now has a cost structure that only makes sense, on average, for graduates who get jobs that pay six-figure starting salaries. But at the vast majority of law schools less than 10% of graduates get such jobs. Trap schools fall into the gap between the tiny group of schools at which enough graduates are currently getting such jobs that spending $200K+ isn't an extraordinarily risky gamble, and the huge number of schools at which, even under our current far less than transparent conditions, spending that kind of money is obviously reckless behavior for graduates who aren't either independently wealthy or children of hiring partners at successful law firms that don't have anti-nepotism policies.”

    1. And most people who do get those high-paying jobs lose them within a few years.

  12. It's such a scam. Even professors don't care about the jobs students get after graduation -- and even never have been lawyers. It's like tuition dollars are going to fund their salaries and research, and nothing much more.


    As a law student at ASU, you can earn the following "credential":

    "Indian Law Certificate

    The Indian Law Certificate Program is designed for JD students with an interest in Indian law. Students are required to take at least 21 hours of classes that are relevant to the practice of Indian law, write a substantial paper on an Indian law topic, and complete practical work experience in the award-winning Indian Legal Clinic. The Indian Law Certificate shows a higher level of understanding in the subject matter. Graduates stand out to employers, especially if seeking a job in representing state, federal or tribal governments, or represent companies that do business with tribes. This upper-division law program can be completed within the final two years of the JD program."

    Does anyone really think that these certificates will actually increase one's job prospects? Do employers place any value on these designations?

    Under Focused Programs:

    "Indian Law

    Situated in the heart of the Southwest, Arizona is home to roughly one-third of the Native population in the United States and where many of the largest Indian nations in the country reside making it a dynamic place to study the exploding field of Indian law. ASU sits on land that was within the traditional use and control of the Native communities that now border Tempe, including the Gila River Indian Community, the Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation, the Salt River Pima Maricopa Indian Community, and the Ak-Chin Indian Community. Native student enrollment at ASU reflects the strong ties that the University has to Indian nations throughout the Southwest.

    Program Overview

    ASU's Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law is home to one of the highest concentrations of Native American students and Indian law students in the nation. The faculty members are leading scholars in their fields and produce scholarly research and publications, as well as provide outreach and public service. The alumni are making a difference in Indian country where many of our graduates are working for tribes, in public service, private practice, and non-profit organizations."

    Again, there is not much money in this type of work. Perhaps, it is honorable and fulfilling to engage in such a career. However, how many of these jobs exist and how in the hell is one supposed to pay back $140K+ in total NON-DISCHARGEABLE debt on this low salary?!

    1. To Arizona State, Indigenous people are nothing but an exploitable market sector.

    2. Actually, the Indian Law program is incredibly valuable for people like me who plan to practice Indian law. Unlike our idiotic sports law classes, Indian law classes can actually provide a career path. Native American tribes have plenty of employment opportunities for people with the Indian law certificate.

    3. You can make hundreds of thousands of dollars a year working for Indian Tribes...... I know because it is what I do for a living. And I get work because of my certification from ASU INDIAN LEGAL PROGRAM


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