Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Professor David Barnhizer Delivers a Cleveland Steamer: Midwest Commodes Are in Trouble

Excellence Unfolds: On April 1, 2016, the Cleveland Plain Dealer published a Karen Farkas article entitled “Some Ohio law schools may 'wither away' says Cleveland State professor emeritus.” Look at this opening:

“Law schools in Ohio and around the Midwest face serious problems, and some may 'wither away,' says a Cleveland State University professor emeritus in a new paper. 

"The limited applicant base of the overall Great Lakes/Midwest area, coupled with a saturated employment and earnings market for lawyers compared to the costs of attending law school and career earnings expectations, means that many law schools in the region are in a 'survival of the fittest' mode," writes David Barnhizer, a professor emeritus at Cleveland-Marshall College of Law.

Barnhizer examined enrollment and employment data from 2012 to 2015 for law schools in the Great Lakes and Midwest, including the nine in Ohio. 

Most, including CSU and the University of Akron, are "local" and draw students from their regions, he wrote.” [Emphasis mine]

Yes, what a thriving job market! If there are relatively few jobs for working class men and women, where will the money for lawyers come from, lemming? Perhaps, it will fall out of the sky. Later on, the author continued: 

"Following are the major issues law schools face: 

1. The Great Lakes/Midwest region is economically depressed. While it may experience a partial recovery, it won't recreate the base of manufacturing activity that produced a strong, upwardly mobile middle class, need to sustain high-level educational activity. 

2. The region's populations are static, aging or declining, with the result that the applicant pool for law schools is falling.

3. The region's lawyer job markets are saturated to the point that there are not a significant number of new jobs being created and the replacement market that depends on the deaths or retirement of lawyers currently in practice is slow moving. 

4. Public budgets for local and state governments in the Great Lakes/Midwest region are under significant stress with the result that those institutions represent a largely static or declining employment market for lawyers. 

5. A significant number of the region's "top" law jobs will be "cherry-picked" by graduates of law schools such as Harvard, Yale, Michigan, Ohio State and a few others. 

"This clear trend means that many of the 'lesser' law schools in the Great Lakes/Midwest region are largely left 'out in the cold' in relation to being able to attract significant cohorts of well-qualified applicants and students," he wrote. "Several law schools are likely to simply wither away." [Emphasis mine]

Still want to attend law school in the region, and incur an additional $125K+ in NON-DISCHARGEABLE debt, dumbass?!?! Perhaps, you would like to shell out $20K for a 1989 Toyota Tercel.

Other Coverage: The Wall Street Journal Law Blog featured a March 30, 2016 Jacob Gershman entry that was labeled “The Rust Belt Law School Crisis.” Check out the following portion:

“The past year has been marked with some positive signs for law schools: the number of applicants appears to be creeping up after a years-long slide, and more young students are taking the LSAT. 

Casting a shadow over the glint of good news — at least in one region of the country —is a new paper by a law professor forecasting what may be in store for law schools in the Great Lakes and Midwest area. 

David Barnhizer, a professor emeritus at Cleveland-Marshall College of Law, explores the various factors that he thinks will hinder any rebound there.

If you’re trying to maintain a positive mental attitude about the future of legal education, Mr. Barnhizer’s article may be less than salubrious. “The picture is not pretty in the ‘Rust Belt’ region,” he writes.” [Emphasis mine]

Take a stroll or drive through the Midwest sometime. Do you think auto plants and manufacturing are going to somehow come back to the area? Notice the boarded up factories, small shops, and defunct businesses. They dot the landscape. Who the hell has the funds to hire a lawyer? Look at entire abandoned plants in Flint, Michigan.

Conclusion: In the final analysis, law schools in the Midwest will do what they can to survive. We may see more mergers or perhaps witness some established college$ and univer$itie$ purchase more ABA-accredited trash heaps. The fact remains that people now are less willing to drop down $130K+ for a “legal education.” They have noticed the weak-ass employment prospects, shady placement figures, and SKYROCKETING tuition. In sum, it simply doesn’t make sense to go into serious debt, given the projected outcome. The costs far outweigh the potential payoff.

Expect to see Midwest toilets lower their admi$$ion$ “standards” further – in order to keep up enrollment. Law school pigs have to eat fine meals, live in nice neighborhoods, drive fancy cars, and have summer homes. Do you expect these cockroaches to “work” more than 4-6 hours, for such lifestyles? The best part is that these academic thieves DO NOT GIVE ONE GODDAMN ABOUT YOU, your family, or your financial situation. You, the student or recent graduate, were a mere mean$ to an end.


  1. I'm over 60. I have few middle class clients anymore. All are middle or upper level corporate management, successful businessmen, or poor. Every family I know, both parents work. When I was a child, all the moms stayed home and raised the kids. Many of the 2 parent working families have no pensions. Many inheritances the parents hoped to pass to children are being consumed by nursing home fees. And these folks don't start adult life with a $100,000 law school tuition burden.

  2. A law degree is a law degree. It really shouldn't matter what school you go to especially if you have connections. (Don't let standardized test, and passing exams fool you, the real world operates different from academia).

    Think about it. Over 150 law schools in the USA. They all (with exception of LA - they teach civil law) teach common law (Hope you understand the difference).

    Therefore all law school teach the same standard subjects, otherwise it would not be a law degree. Maybe variation when it comes to electives beyond the core subjects, etc... contracts,torts, blah blah blah .

    It's sad that as human's placing / pushing perception that they actually think there is a real difference between ALL of the law schools. Thanks US news for the misleading ranking system!

    Truthfully speaking, some of those law schools cheated by reporting misleading data to qualify for their ranked spots... which further supports the fact that the ranking system is absurd.

    This misplaced perception allows some schools to higher recruitment from firms than others and this is all human nature... One person thinks school ranked 25 is better than a tier 4 school, but in reality, they were:

    - trained the same
    - have the same knowledge
    - can do the same job

    it's sad they and you think the two above are not equally qualified. Jobs come down to two things.

    - Task - with legal training both should be fine here and some OJT (be creative to get this)

    - Results - not determined by school you attend but other qualities

    ***In conclusion, I think instead of being closed minded you should stand behind team AAMPLE and provide support.

    True story had a friend who graduated law school from number 18 ranked back in 2003, he had to move back home with his mom afterwards. Due to bad decisions he eventually was disbarred.

    Law school debt will sometimes push you to make questionable decisions. But also met another Tier 4 grad, who graduated from the same time and he is still trucking.

    Team AAMPLE, Old Guy - Do you concur ????

    1. A law degree is not just a law degree. It is very evident, that you can not write. Your written thoughts are somewhat disjointed and incoherent. You can't write. I have to strenuously disagree where you minimized disbarment. Frankly, being disbarred did not result from an "oops" or simple bad decision. It generally reflects an intentional bad act like theft, gross incompetence and neglect of multiple matters. You are an AAMPLE grad and your post shows it. Like picking the depressed kid out of the playground.

    2. Anecdotes are all too easy to come by. As a recovering sh!tlawyer, I can easily show you your one-offs, the kid who ends up in his uncle's law practice, or the hot chick (well, law hot at least) who is, uh, mentored by some horny Boomer. And for every one of your anecdotes, I'll show you a hundred kids who could have done better NOT going to their lower-tiered law school.

      Out of curiousity, what was your practice area again?

    3. Steaming pile of utter nonsense. Nothing matters more in law than where you go to school. Take a good luck at the upper reaches at Justice, the USSC, the U.S. District Courts, take a good look and get back to me on how many terleteers you find there. Are there successes who come from these dumpster schools, yes, of course there are. There are also those who survive jumping off the garage roof, yet that remains unadvisable as well.

    4. Mr. AAMPLE:no reference to FAMU this time-shows you're learnin'.

      And Old Guy hasn't been here in weeks; no doubt your inanity drove him out.
      But great use of euphemisms-"bad decisions" getting someone disbarred. Yes, it usually takes repeated gross negligence or outright criminal conduct to get disbarred, so those would qualify as "bad decisions". I'd guess the prime bad decision was attending law school in the first place.

    5. In case anyhone has any doubts that WHERE you go to LS is what it's all about...

    6. "But also met another Tier 4 grad, who graduated from the same time and he is still trucking."

      Still trucking as in he drives a truck now?

  3. Education is about keeping kids busy and providing easy paychecks to useless old farts.

  4. There are a shocking 9 law schools in Ohio, a state of 11.5 million people - that is, one law school per 1.3 million people. Ohio's doesn't have an advanced economic powerhouse or tech center like CA or NY that employs a disproportionate number of lawyers, either.

    Most of those 9 schools do not serve the public; they've just grown fat leaching no strings attached money from Washington and turning out legions of grads into a terrible economy. Only two of the nine schools, Ohio State and the U of Cincinnati, placed more than 55% of their grads in long term, bar passage required jobs within ten months of graduation.

    To prospective 0Ls: Stay away, far away, from any Ohio law school not named Ohio State.

    1. Actually, stay away from any law in Ohio and the adjacent states that is not named the University of Michigan or the University of Pennsylvania.

  5. Captain Hruska Carswell, Continuance KingApril 6, 2016 at 10:22 AM

    To cater to the children of recent immigrants who took the post War factory jobs (Zenith, Western Electric, International Harvester), these law schools like Cooley, Chicago Marshall, NIU, Valpo made sense. One practiced in gub'mint, small firms and as solos and all earned a sustainable, respectable middle class income. Like Oldsmobile, Plymouth, Pontiac, Mercury, Saturn, that day has come and gone. The ABA needs to cut capacity, cut production and close these law factories. Even GM figured it out...

  6. I wish I had kept better references for all those articles over the last several years from years ago, about how the scambloggers were just malcontents and didn't know what they were talking about...although names like Leiter, Diamond, Freeman, Seto, and many others come to mind.

    Looks like the professoriate, in general, has since discovered the decline of the american law school. Who knew?

  7. "The costs far outweigh the potential payoff" sums it up. The picture that is posted is a common scene like post WWII Germany. Old dilapidated buildings condemned as a safety hazard, empty lots where such buildings once stood and rows of houses vacant for years with faded "For Sale" signs. Trying to earn a living, not just in law, is like trying to find water in a desert. Anyone investing in law school should consider a more stable investment like gambling where you would have a better chance of winning.

  8. That pic is perfect. It could be a pic of the profession (so called) as a whole.

  9. It's telling that he's not trotting out the JD-Advantage™ drivel to justify a JD when there aren't sufficient lawyer jobs.


    On March 31, the ABA Journal published a Debra Cassens Weiss piece that was entitled “Law schools in Rust Belt are in a ‘survival of the fittest mode,’ law prof assers.” Here is the full text of that article:

    “Law schools in Rust Belt states are battling for students amid a declining applicant base and losses in traditional legal employment opportunities, according to a paper released this month by a law professor.

    In a paper at SSRN, Cleveland-Marshall emeritus law professor David Barnhizer concludes that law schools in the Great Lakes and Midwest region are in a “survival of the fittest” mode. Less highly regarded law schools won’t be able to attract significant numbers of well-qualified students, and several “are likely to simply wither away,” he says. The Wall Street Journal Law Blogsummarizes Barnhizer’s conclusions.

    Many law schools in the region are trying to survive by admitting larger numbers of lesser qualified applicants, theorizing they need to hold on until conditions return to normal. But the new normal consists of “shrinkage, adaptation and inter-law school competition that is likely to become even more challenging over the next five to 10 years,” Barnhizer writes.

    Barnhizer cites six “critical factors” affecting law schools. They are:

    1) The Great Lakes and Midwest region is economically depressed. Any partial recovery “will fall short of recreating the base of manufacturing activity that produced a strong upwardly mobile middle class of the kind that sustains high-level educational activity.”

    2) Populations in the region are static, aging or declining, which creates a smaller applicant pool. Ohio, for example, has a rapidly aging population and a decline in its younger population. Michigan has also seen a decline in its younger population.

    3) The job market for lawyers in the region is saturated.

    4) Government jobs for lawyers are affected by financially stressed local and state governments.

    5) Top law jobs in the region will go to graduates of top law schools.

    6) Law schools will offer increased financial aid to lure students, creating a financial “death spiral.”

    Many schools will use the following survival strategy: continue to lower admissions standards further, until a 139 LSAT and 2.6 UGPA are good enough to get into your ABA-accredited toilet. While this will push their repuTTTTaTTTTion even lower, at least morons will continue to enroll – and rack up huge sums of NON-DISCHARGEABLE debt. This will allow the law school pigs to at least keep the scam going for several more years. The older swine will then be able to ride things out until they can retire.

  11. solo lawyer, 21 years outApril 8, 2016 at 3:49 PM

    7:01 is a fucking idiot.

    In law, it's all about the name brand of your degree. In dentistry, no one gives a shit where you went. In medicine, no one gives a shit where you went. In law, you are shut out of even entering the fucking field specifically because of where you went. You don't see that shit in medicine. Now fuck off.

    1. Seconded 100%.

      Yes, the texts for 1L law are likely the same at Cornell and New York Law School. Hell, the tuition at NYLS is probably higher than Cornell's..

      Unfortunately, law isn't about knowledge or skills to the degree that it's about being Preferred, Protected, and Connected. Law is all about pedigree. Put law school pedigree under the "Preferred" area.

      When you have a supremely glutted field where graduates of T-14's - with excellent credentials btw - cannot find suitable work, there will never be a reason, short of someone making up for not being "Preferred" by instead being "Connected", to hire said person with their non-T14 law degree.

      The KSA's may be the same but the non-Top 14 grad will never - never - get a chance to use them to any meaningful (MONEY/SALARY) degree.

      The argument Doofus is trying to make is that merit has some role to play in law and that all law degrees are created equal-NEITHER of which is true.

      There's a certain law professor with his $1 million law degree nonsense that feels the same way for $$$ome rea$$$on..

  12. Economic consequences! The factory closes, so the coffee shop across the street whose business was based on the factory's workers will soon close too.

    If the Midwest's economy contracts because the manufacturing jobs have all been offshored to China, then yes, the area will have fewer middle-class people to sell legal services to. Lawyers who serve reg'lar workin' folk will be put out of business, just like that coffee shop.

    Eventually, the downturn in the area's legal market will hurt the local law schools too. But not as fast as it should, because the Federal government continues to pump in boatloads of loan money . . .


    Check out this damning article from Harrison Barnes, on LawCrossing. It is entitled “Thomas Cooley Law School Exposed (And Why Much Of The Legal Profession Is A Scam).” The full article is lengthy, but read the following excerpt now:

    “Let me tell you a little bit about what is going on with this law school…

    • Most of Thomas Cooley's students come from Michigan and the surrounding area. I'm from Michigan! I respect this.

    • They generally come out of middle, to lower-middle class backgrounds.Their parents did things like sell cars, work in factories and work as contractors. The students generally do not have anyone to advise them about attending law school. The students will be able to identify and sympathize with a wide variety of people when they get out of law school and start providing legal services to the general public. I respect this.

    • The students generally do not have anyone to counsel them about the ways of the world. Because of their families' backgrounds, many of the students feel that becoming an attorney is a social step-up. It is better than doing something like selling cars because it is more "respectable." However, most do not realize they probably would make more money selling cars than being an attorney. If you grow up on a working class street with $85,000 homes in Michigan (which many students do), and tell your neighbors you are going to law school to become an attorney, they are "blown away" and think you must be as smart as Einstein. If your dad works on an assembly line building Jeeps in Hamtramck (making $110,000 a year), he is going to be very proud that you are going to law school. I respect this.

    • The students are all motivated, however, and want more out of life than their parents had. Many of the students I have met from there came out of single-parent households (I came out of a single-parent household too!). If your mother was a single hairdresser who struggled to raise you and your siblings, never remarrying because she was too busy taking care of you brats, you are going to want a better life with money, a spouse, and stability. Thomas Cooley will offer you everything you imagine and the promise of a great future. Most students do not have anyone, or anything, to fall back on. I respect this.

    • Most of the students borrow large amounts of money to attend law school. They trust that the "system" that gives them hundreds of thousands of dollars in loans for their education will be worth it. They will have a life of prosperity. Many "brag" about how they are going to get multi-million dollar settlements when they become attorneys, buy big boats, and cruise around the Great Lakes. I find this sad, but … I respect this.

    • The students are also interested in trying hard. These are not kids who are partying all the time. They generally take their education and law school experience quite seriously. It is all they have. They are making the most of their opportunity. I respect this.
    • The students view being an attorney as an important job. They do not understand the rigorous and also unreasonable expectations employers have for attorneys. It almost brings tears to my eyes because of how much these students respect the legal profession. I respect this.

    • The students are generally hopeful (at first). When students enter this law school, they are under the impression that if they work hard and continue following the rules of society they will succeed. I love hope. I respect this.

  14. Barnes continued flushing this sickening, foul, putrid pile of excrement:

    "• The students are generally not the highest-testing students. This is a mean thing to say, and I do not mean they are dumb. They just generally are not the most intelligent law students out there. They want an education and have not thought through how crappy Thomas Cooley is. Many may actually be very smart but are have just not prepared for school with rigorous study and test-taking habits. Many may have gone to community colleges while working and have done the best they can. Their grades may be poor due to this. They also may not have been able to spend thousands of dollars on courses preparing for the LSAT, and this could explain their lackluster performance. I respect this.”

    While there are a lot of ways one could discuss Thomas Cooley Law School, on a macroeconomic level here is what is going on.

    First, the school is easy to get into. You can graduate from a crappy college, do horribly on your LSATs and still get admitted. Thomas Cooley Law School gives people a second chance. If you went to Michigan State and got your undergraduate degree in six years while living in a fraternity house and smoking dope every day, there is hope! You can go to Thomas Cooley Law School and be an attorney! Now you can be a respectable and productive member of society. Who cares if you are a screw up? It does not matter.

    Second, the school initially grew by taking advantage of the naiveté of (mainly) people around the Midwest, like me, who saw their parents' and others' lives devastated by the decline of the manufacturing industry. All around Michigan and the Midwest, there are towns where the property values have drastically declined, and people have been doing their best to hold on to jobs for decades.

    While there certainly are still pockets of prosperity, most people do not understand what a great power the manufacturing industry in Michigan was for decades. In fact, just a generation ago–40 years ago–Michigan and Detroit were much like Silicon Valley is today. There were tons and tons of jobs. There was incredible innovation, and the products coming out of this region were driving the economy of the United States.

    Unfortunately, when the manufacturing industry started going away, in the early 1980s, the people remained. They still needed jobs to survive. The children of the former factory workers, automotive company clerks and blue collar workers could no longer follow in their parents' footsteps. The best thing to do: Become a lawyer! And what better law school for these people to attend than Thomas Cooley? If you are working class and do not know the difference in the value of law schools, then this is how it works. A lawyer is a lawyer, right?”

    This notorious FOURTH TIER TRASH PIT, located in the economic dead zone of Michigan, has been well-documented over the years. Take a drive through Flint or Detroit sometime. I don't suggest a stroll, since you might get robbed or beaten senseless. You will immediately notice the ghost town factories, boarded up small businesses, dilapidated homes, etc. Do you think that these broke bastards have money to hire a lawyer?!?! Is it your goal to become a contingency fee attorney, who takes on "evil corporations" such a Big Oil, insurance pigs, and banksters? Yeah, good luck trying to scrape out a living with that "plan," Dumbass.

    1. It was during my meeting with the financial aid person that everything started coming to light, and I understood how things were working.

      When the career services office person came in, we had a discussion that astonished me. She told me that basically, beyond the salaries of the few people in the career services office, there was no money in the school's budget for any other fees for career services. There was some construction going on around the school, so I wondered where the money for this was going to come from.

      Going into the meeting, it was also suggested to me that it would be a good thing if I could give away various services to the career services office. While I would have done this regardless of whether student loans were involved (and still do-for example, LawCrossing is free for law schools), I was told by the director of career services in no uncertain terms that she did not want any of my services.

      "But I can get your students jobs!" I told her." I've been helping a decent percentage of your class get jobs each year. Let me help them! I have over 300 employees researching the market and legal jobs. We spend tens of millions finding ways to help them get jobs quickly. We can help your students."

      The career services woman seemed to think I was on her team. I am pretty confident she was already aware that there were kickbacks happening between the student loan people and others in the financial aid office. I think some of them were her friends.

      "Listen, I am going to level with you since I know what is going on here. No administrator is going to use any service that is going to threaten their job. As long as the students rely on me and the people in my office to get jobs, I have a job. If something threatens that stability (like LawCrossing and Legal Authority), I could lose my job."

      "But then fewer students will come to you, and you will have less work," I told her.

      "No, then students will all tell the dean they got a job through one of your services and not me. That will hurt me and the people in my office."

      Really, what more needs to be said?

    2. This is what it's all about.

      Their jobs. I figured out pretty quickly after 1L that the CSO didn't really care who got jobs because, after all, you've already paid into the System and as an admitted student were still paying in.

      The End Goal was not about jobs. Some got them, some didn't, etc. The End Goal was students paying in - and keeping them paying in. To that end, many schools set a low 1L curve to prevent handing out high GPA's after 1L and increasing the possibility of students transferring out.

      This only benefits the school. Actually it has a few positive effects for them. The top 10% or so of students don't want to transfer and it's likely that afterwards the school can point to them because it's in their best interest to be able to show some successes. The low GPA, while not affecting class rank, does keep 1L's in that particular school's system meaning more future student loans == PROFIT.

      Jobs? They couldn't care less.. Most lose, some win. The school ignores the losers and happily points to the few winners year after year as representative of the majority when, in fact, it's quite the opposite. Out of a class of hundreds, maybe 10-15 over 20 years make out. Maybe..

      The rest just get crucified.

      I've spend the better part of 20+ years happily reminding my school of this whenever they came calling - i.e. Fuck Off, Eat Shit and DIE.

      Did it with no qualms because that's what they deserved and they don't care about their students. They never did. The students are simply conduits to student loan money. After they're no good as a customer anymore in 3 years, nobody - and I mean nobody - cares.

    3. Lol! @ "Evil Corporations".

      Many of the "successes" from my TT trash pit sold out to the System a long time ago..

      The majority of stable "successful" attorney jobs are in gov't now and that's where these sell-outs went at various levels, etc.

      Instead of a low-paying gig at Greenpeace, they'd rather behave like those at law school CSO and Financial Aid offices and sell out for a few more shekels.. Easier to be a make-work Socialist and have no morals than be a broke Social Justice Warrior.

      Ah, but I keep forgetting: Law is such a "noble profession".

      By and large, anyone who has made in law sold out to the System to do it. All of them are socialists and all of them are corrupt.

      Like the Financial Aid Officer mentioned in the article, it's all about their job - and nothing else.

    4. The fact that anyone would plug LawCrossing and LegalAuthority as legitimate fucking job sites shows undeniable imbecility. Fuckwad.

    5. "Take a drive through Flint or Detroit sometime. I don't suggest a stroll, since you might get robbed or beaten senseless."

      Actually you can do the same with street view in Google maps. The time feature shows you how quickly things have changed over a few years.

  15. I wrote this a while back.

    I went to Ohio State for law school more than a dozen years ago. I left my job with the local Catholic diocese. It was the best job I ever had. They provided me with a house and car. I lived in the best section of town.

    I was a non-trad. And my goal was to be a public defender. My wife and some friends thought I was crazy. But she supported my dreams. So off I went to a good law school.

    Fast forward. I worked hard. But didn't make law review. Joined a few stupid clubs. Graduated in the top 1/3 of my class. When I went there, I think it was top 25. Or maybe top 30. Anyway I now make half of what I made before. I practiced law for 4 years and got burned out with the awful clients and even worse judges and adversarial lawyers. Oh and my wife left me. I guess she's like most women and likes money. So I still have 3 years left of child support for my twin daughters. That's been real fun. And now I have a bunch of student debt. I've been paying on my student loans for 12 years. I originally owed $85,000. After paying off $60,000, I now owe $59,000. Do the math. This career path doesn't add up.

    1. It is especially risky out there for the non-trads. Yours unfortunately is not the first such tale, and I am afraid it won't be the last.

      What many of the kids out there don't foresee is how badly punished you get if law doesn't "work out". Non-law employers typically won't have you; I escaped from the throes of sh!tlaw into non-law, but was fortunate enough to go civil service. It was my only escape.


Web Analytics