Sunday, November 15, 2015

Am Law Daily Asks Whether Washington is Tired of Feeding the Law School Pigs

More Bacon Served: On November 12, 2015, the American Lawyer published a Matt Leichter article that was entitled “Is Washington Finally Tired of Welfare for Law Schools?” He comes out swinging!

“Just as the academic year geared up this fall, both The Washington Post and The New York Times ran editorials sharply attacking the generous federal lending programs that law students depend on. The pieces came just months after an ABA task force charged with finding solutions to excessive law school debt issued its final report and recommendations. The report was a huge disappointment: Instead of calling for lending reforms, the task force trivialized the problem, pointing to income-based repayment plans and claiming that underemployed, indebted law school debtors would find highly paid work at an unspecified future date. 

The Post and the Times weren't impressed either. 

The Post's Charles Lane appropriately characterized the Grad PLUS Loan Program, which provides essentially unrestricted lending to graduate and professional students, as a "de facto bailout" for law schools. The schools capture the increased lending to law students and then perversely pass it back to them as higher tuition charges. Consequently, efforts to make legal education cheaper backfire, turning the federal loan program on its head. Eventually the government will write down the loans for what it intended to be a deficit reduction program.

The Times' editorial board struck with even more venom, calling the six for-profit law schools "scams" and accusing nonprofit and public schools of similar behavior. The culprits: warped incentives and unchecked Grad PLUS loans. The Times' solutions were to either extend to all law schools the gainful employment rule—which limits student loans based on graduate employment rates—or to cap the funding to graduate students. At the same time, the paper argued for diverting the money flowing to law schools to legal aid for the poor.

The drumbeat of editorials criticizing law schools and the ABA is not new, but the response from lawmakers, especially to the Times article, may signal a future shift in how the government lends to law students. Notably, senators from both parties are raising concerns. In a statement, Dick Durbin (D-Illinois) related conversations that he had with university presidents, who told him that they charge so much for law school because they can. They allegedly told him, "The students are applying, and they'll pay whatever we tell them." In a separate statement, Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) remarked that federal lending puts law graduates in a position in which they might default on their loans, causing losses for taxpayers.” [Emphasis mine]

The law school cockroaches DO NOT GIVE ONE DAMN about their students or recent graduates. They care even less about the taxpayers. After all, they need those dupes to finance their overpaid, underworked carcasses. Scroll down two paragraphs to find this gem:

“In fact, most law graduates do not earn enough to cover their interest payments. With the advent of generous repayment terms, the default rate no longer matters, especially for law students. All law schools need to do is ensure that their graduates sign on to such plans, and effective defaults disappear. 

Secondly, defenders of the current system misunderstand the income dilemma facing student borrowers. What is important is not people's incomes at a given amount of debt; rather it is people's debts at a given income. In other words, someone who only earns $20,000 per year will struggle to pay down her debt, whether it is $50,000 or $150,000. Indeed, the Government Accountability Office discovered that 70 percent of 1.46 million borrowers on the original income-based repayment plan make $20,000 or less. Only 2 percent make $80,000 or more. According to available information on law-graduate employment outcomes, higher debts do not correspond to higher incomes.” [Emphasis mine]

There are PLENTY of mental midgets and waterheads in this country who individually owe in excess of $200K, for a garbage law degree. If you think that paying $40K each year to attend a TTTT is a smart investment, then you do not have the intelligence required to operate a washing machine.

Other Coverage: Back on August 26, 2015, Charles Lane wrote an op-ed piece in the Washington Post, under the headline “How student loans help keep expensive schools in business.” Read the following portion:
“Nowhere has Grad PLUS had a greater impact than in the nation’s law schools. Law-student indebtedness grew from an average of $66,000 for public institutions in the 2005 academic year to $88,000 in 2012, according to a recent American Bar Association (ABA) task force report. The figures for private law schools were $102,000 in 2005 and $127,000 in 2012. More than half of law students use Grad PLUS. 

These resources are flowing to institutions whose business model is geared to a bygone era. For the past quarter-century or so, law schools added expensive buildings and faculty to enhance their rankings — believing, correctly, that students would pay ever-increasing tuition for top-rated schools because a JD was the ticket to a high-paying career. 

Then demand for lawyers collapsed, because of the “Great Recession” and structural changes in big-firm practice. Only about 60 percent of the Class of 2013’s law degrees landed immediate employment. The value of a law degree has plunged, and with it, law school enrollment. 

The logical response would be a full-scale restructuring of legal academia, including pay trims or layoffs for the lawyers who teach and administer law schools, and whose salaries, generally well above the median national income, account for about a third of law-school overhead, according to the ABA. 

Instead, the flow of easy taxpayer-backed loan money through Grad PLUS operated as a de facto bailout, enabling many law schools to maintain capacity and delay reforms, or settle for modest ones, while continuing to charge more or less the same high tuition. 

In other words, much of the subsidy represented by Grad PLUS loans is getting captured by those who operate the schools, not those who attend them.” [Emphasis mine]

Frankly, “higher education” has been run for the benefit of administrators and faculty, for decades. It is more pronounced in law school. However, greed and graft permeate all of academia.

Conclusion: In the final analysis, the law school swine will not sit back and watch GRAD Plus or IBR be scaled back, even though that is the just course of action. The rodents care only about themselves. They don’t want students relying on private lenders, since this might cause even more lemmings to reconsider obtaining a “legal education.” The bitches and hags will do and say anything in order to keep the gravy train rolling along.


  1. Something something MULTIPLIER. Something something INVEST IN AMERICA'S FUTURE. Something something ANTI-EDUCATION, ANTI-INTELLECTUAL TEAHADISTS.

  2. Call both Senator Durbin and Grassley and in a lawyer-like manner tell them that you are under employed even after being out 20 plus years and that the marked is super saturated. The raw data speaks volumes. 92K registered lawyers in Illinois alone. Tell them that most law school deans have not seen the inside of a court house as of late. They have no idea that Pro Se litigants who make appearance and filings are defiant types who want a FREE lawyer. Us Solos and small law firms do represent the underserved. Many of us will schlepp to court for a $150 per appearance and accept payments. There is NOT a hoard of underserved waiting for a lawyer. They want it free. The only "free" lawyers are with legal services and the gub'mint. And both, due to sequestration and the like are not hiring.

  3. My GradPlus loans are paid. Only Stafford Loans remain. Those are declining in balance nicely, as I pay about 3X what the payment actually is. This can be chalked up to living in the old farmhouse rent-free, as I work my high school diploma-level job, the only one I could get with a JD and career failure on my resume. Law schools can choke on their own putrid excrement.

    1. I hear you bro. The construction contractors, rail road guys, coppers, fire and farmers drive nice, brand new trucks while the lawyers like me in town drive '05 LeSabres and Accords with squeaking timing belts. So much for prestige and the law being a public trust. It doesn't feel that way.

    2. "Law schools can choke on their own putrid excrement"... meaning their lazy and overpaid professors?

    3. I hear you too. Had to settle for a residential property management job after graduating from a second tier toilet 25 years ago. Others in that position were high school grads. Law degree stigmatized my resume.

  4. I went to a shitty NY law school and now I deliver pizzas.

  5. The only way the scam will end is if the loans end, and the only way the loans end is if politicians take action. While the above post by Nando offers a glimmer of hope, it should be noted that no one in the current Administration has spoken. This regrettably speaks volumes, as direct action from the Executive Branch-even in the form of simple public criticism of the scam-would push several of the tottering scam schools into the abyss. Absent Congressional hearings, absent Executive Branch action...well, the scam lives.

    1. After 9/11, GW tried to talk about lawyers "bankrupting" the country and airlines with law suits. He thought attorneys were a destabilizing force on the economy. The problem is that he was not terribly articulate and painted with a wide brush. What he really should have said, is that the Bad drug and mass tort shysters are the bad guys.....he just kept parroting the State Farm "Trial lawyers" mantra at every State of the Union Address... People don't want their rights restricted.... Politicians have to be careful with their language.

    2. They don't want to do that because then the question becomes "where are the jobs for Americans?"

      As long as they have education in their back pocket, they can always claim "the jobs are there, you just didn't get an education." And when that doesn't work "the jobs are there, you just didn't get an education in the right subject." And when that doesn't work they can always say "the jobs are there, but you didn't get the right grades and do the right extracurriculars in the right subject."

      Basically it's about kicking the can down the road, obfuscating, denying, and profiting for themselves.

      By the time someone is smart enough and experienced enough to catch onto the bullshit, they're probably old and broken enough to have also just given up. Anybody that isn't smart enough will either just lie about their successes, not care, or gets paid off with a government job or some such.

      One of the fundamental issues is that it's not a young person's duty to figure out how to contribute to society, it is society's burden to figure out how to utilize and prepare young people. Any society that flips that around and demands the young be cannibalized for the benefit of the old usually destroys itself in short order. But try getting people to understand that idea now, you won't be able to. They're going to rail about how lazy and stupid young people are instead, and talk about bootstraps and something about walking in the snow uphill in boots.

    3. 11-15-15 @ 7:54 PM:

      You nailed it. I have 3 advanced degrees and am unemployed. Even when I was employed, I was underemployed. I spent about 1/3rd of my life - the best early years - getting those degrees because society misled me into thinking it would pay off.

      It did. For the Educators and those who profit from moving bodies through the Education System. My grades were fine. My undergrad wasn't fluff, etc.

      None of that mattered. When I reached the Real World, I found out the people who landed good jobs were all connected. And they did much worse than I did academically.

      Surprise.. The System is there to make you a Debt Slave, nothing more, while those who were already beating it beat it yet again and the Cycle continues.

      You are dead-on in your views on the young being cannibalized for profit. Education has been beaten into the public's mind as the Holy Grail and then, when most fail, the excuses begin when it was always about profiting off the young.

      Nailed that post. Nailed it. The young people are just being used for cattle and debt so that banks and the old, who depend on them to keep the Gravy Train rolling until they die, can cash out. What happens after that, no one cares. Everything today is about the present and money now. The future doesn't matter.

      I hope some young person can take a cue from this, get to a trade school during high school, and then drop out and work debt-free. At least then, he'll have a chance. Not much of one, but at least a chance, since the entire System is rigged and predatory.

      At least he won't be saddled with debt.

    4. I am an attorney and a Hearing Officer. My dad in 1983 made more money, no inflation adjusted money, than I did during the last two years of practice combined. My dad had an ordinary college degree from a local school. Nothing special.....I hear you.

  6. Student loans are the lifeblood of the law school scam.

  7. I graduated law school in 2007. Did doc review for 3 years and realized that I was scammed by law school. Doing doc review for more than 6 months gives you the scarlet letter that will bar you from being hired by a real law firm. I eventually became a fireman and realize how much time and money I wasted in going to law school. I realize I have duty as a fireman but if my law school were on fire, I would call in sick and go to the ER as I would not want to waste my effort to put that fire out.

    1. That's interesting because I think there's about a 99% chance I'd feel the same way. Like, "Yeah.. I'll be riiiight there.. tick.. tick... tick.." and just move as slloooooollly as possible.

      Looking back, I have absolutely no positive feelings about my law school experience. Maybe that's atypical, but it doesn't seem like it would be.

    2. Fruk my law school. I hate it so much that 15 years ago I wrote it and demanded that the toilet remove me from all mailing lists. I'll donate to my undergraduate university, but I wouldn't send used toilet paper to my law school. Burn, baby, burn indeed!

  8. Here is the conclusion to Leichter’s November 12, 2015 piece for the American Lawyer:

    "Legal academics do have one potentially valid counterargument to ending unbounded federal lending to law students: Private lenders will swoop in and offer students loans that are both ineligible for income-based repayment plans and nearly impossible to discharge in bankruptcy. Although some legislators in Congress are trying to reverse a change to the bankruptcy code that requires a showing of "undue hardship" to discharge student debt, they have not found success. Still, it is not clear how enthusiastically private lenders would approach law students. For one thing, it's hard to believe that they would lend freely to students at law schools with high postgraduate unemployment rates, such as the for-profits the Times demonized.

    While the academics are clarifying their positions on the federal loan program, legislators are already making their moves. The Post's editorial cites with approval a law reintroduced by Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tennessee), dubbed the Financial Aid Simplification and Transparency (FAST) Act, which would drastically rein in federal lending to college and graduate students. The law would fix annual lending to undergraduates to $8,000 per year with a $37,500 aggregate limit, but graduate and professional students would only receive $30,000 per year in total, with a lifetime cap of $150,000. As of now, graduate students can borrow as much as their schools charge them, on top of $20,500 per year in unsubsidized Stafford loans.

    The FAST Act also has bipartisan support in the Senate, but higher educators and their lobbyists are taking a hard line against it. The law, they argue, locks low-income students out of expensive courses of study that might lead to high-paying jobs—especially programs with high fixed costs, such as medical schools. Such programs would be able to appeal to the U.S. Department of Education for an extra $15,000 per year per student. Hopefully law schools would not successfully convince the department to lend their students more money to pay for zero-sum merit scholarships and unneeded faculty.

    Reform might not come in the form of the FAST Act, but a congressional showdown over student lending is looking inevitable. Thanks to the refusal of law schools to hold their enterprises accountable, it’s a fight they're likely to lose."

    Again, the law school pigs don’t care about their recent graduates. After all, they’ve already sucked them dry. It’s time to move on to the next group of victims. Remember, “legal educators” will do and say whatever it takes to avoid actual work.

    These cockroaches were happy to cash tuition checks from private lenders in the past, in exchange for a garbage law degree. They are happier with the new arrangement, with direct loans from the government – and not because it results in lower interest payment for the students and graduates. The jackals recognize that if applicants and pupils must rely on private funds, then many of them will reconsider their decision to attend law school.

  9. Just admit it. The scam will keep on rolling until the whole student loan system collapses like Fannie Mae did in 2008. Lenders are only going to be able to float people on IBR/PAYE/Forbearance for so long, so don't expect the system to stay stable for too much longer. As Leichter pointed out, a lot of solo and small firm attorneys aren't earning enough to pay the interest on their loans, and will NEVER earn enough to knock down the principal. It's one giant recipe for disaster.

    The good news is that people in power are now aware that law schools have been abusing the student loan system. More importantly is that people in power are simultaneously starting to realize that the ABA has done, and continues to do, nothing to regulate or curb said abuses. So when the shit eventually hits the fan, there are going to be a lot of people with a lot of explaining to do. Hopefully, a number of ABA approved diploma mills (especially the vermin who hide behind the non-profit veil) will be shamed and disgraced out of business as a result. It would even be nicer to see Congress and state bars actually sanction law deans for various misrepresentations made over the years. Maybe, just maybe, we'll even see some real change and reform coming to this soul-sucking, corrupt-ass, gladhanding business that passes itself off to the public as some sort of profession.

    It certainly won't make life any easier for the hundreds of thousands of education scam victims, who will still struggle to pay off mortgage sized education debt--probably until the day they die. And it certainly won't help the overall economy as people will not be able to afford to start a family or buy a new home. But it might just help a few people sleep a little better at night knowing that the great law school swindle finally came to an end.

    1. Yeah, but that can take a long while.

      There's probably a better chance of global war flaring up (what with recent tensions and all). The student loan scam will quietly die away, I don't think this is one of those SHTF scenarios. It's too entrenched and clearly too easy to just kick the can down the road, pretty much for all finance related schemes really.

      Even the 2008 really didn't do anything. Wall St. got bailed, some people went from one bank to working on another, the borrowers all still have to pay their mortgages and the US government is busy backstopping Wall St. to this day. It's not like bad mortgages and overpriced real estate doesn't exist today, nothing really changed.

  10. Washington is basically selling them the rope to hang themselves.


    On October 24, 2015, the New York Times Editorial Board wrote a scathing indictment of the law school pigs. The piece was simply entitled “The Law School Debt Crisis.” Check out this spot on analysis of the situation:

    “In 2013, the median LSAT score of students admitted to Florida Coastal School of Law was in the bottom quarter of all test-takers nationwide. According to the test’s administrators, students with scores this low are unlikely to ever pass the bar exam.

    Despite this bleak outlook, Florida Coastal charges nearly $45,000 a year in tuition, which, with living expenses, can lead to crushing amounts of debt for its students. Ninety-three percent of the school’s 2014 graduating class of 484 had debts and the average wasalmost $163,000 — a higher average than all but three law schools in the country. In short, most of Florida Coastal’s students are leaving law school with a degree they can’t use, bought with a debt they can’t repay.

    If this sounds like a scam, that’s because it is. Florida Coastal, in Jacksonville, is one of six for-profit law schools in the country that have been vacuuming up hordes of young people, charging them outrageously high tuition and, after many of the students fail to become lawyers, sticking taxpayers with the tab for their loan defaults.

    Yet for-profit schools are not the only offenders. A majority of American law schools, which have nonprofit status, are increasingly engaging in such behavior, and in the process threatening the future of legal education.

    Why? The most significant explanation is also the simplest — free money.

    In 2006, Congress extended the federal Direct PLUS Loan program to allow a graduate or professional student to borrow the full amount of tuition, no matter how high, and living expenses. The idea was to give more people access to higher education and thus, in theory, higher lifetime earnings. But broader access doesn’t mean much if degrees lead not to well-paying jobs but to heavy debt burdens. That is all too often the result with PLUS loans.

    The consequences of this free flow of federal loans have been entirely predictable: Law schools jacked up tuition and accepted more students, even after the legal job market stalled and shrank in the wake of the recession. For years, law schools were able to obscure the poor market by refusing to publish meaningful employment information about their graduates. But in response to pressure from skeptical lawmakers and unhappy graduates, the schools began sharing the data — and it wasn’t a pretty picture. Forty-three percent of all 2013 law school graduates did not have long-term full-time legal jobs nine months after graduation, and the numbers are only getting worse. In 2012, the average law graduate’s debt was $140,000, 59 percent higher than eight years earlier.”

    The swine are now admitting a higher percentage of applicants – from a shrinking pool of poor fools. MANY of these men and women have little chance of passing a bar exam. Furthermore, even those who earn a TT law degree and get licensed will have one hell of a time making a living as a lawyer. The U.S. attorney job market is GLUTTED.

  12. I've noticed something lately.

    A lot of the young lawyers (or JDs) I know are doing little side jobs. Two women from my class are fitness coaches. Another one teaches Zumba at the YMCA. Another is a life coach. One guy in my class does multilevel marketing bullshit. My younger brother's a lawyer and he said he sees a lot of the same shit with people from his school. It shows these people can't make enough money as lawyers so they have to do other shit.

  13. Another is a life coach.

    "Whatever you do in life, just remember, DON'T ACT LIKE ME."

  14. The Hennepin County Bar Assn seems to get the issue. Sort of.... a little "clueless boomer" style, but they know there's a problem.


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