Tuesday, September 19, 2017

One Quarter of ABA-Accredited Diploma Mills Plan to Use GRE Scores for Admissions, Per Kaplan Survey


TTT News: On September 18, 2017, Kathryn Rubino posted an ATL entry labeled “25 Percent Of Law Schools Say They Plan To Choose The GRE.” Read this opening:

“Being able to take the GRE in lieu of the LSAT and still get into law school is a relatively new concept. It wasn’t too long ago that Arizona made shockwaves in legal education by announcing the LSAT — seen as a rite of passage by many lawyers — was no longer required to go to their school, and students could take the GRE instead. Now that idea has germinated, and, well — it is getting more popular. 

In a survey done by Kaplan Test Prep of admissions officials from 128 law schools, a full 25 percent say accepting the GRE is an admission policy they plan on implementing. That’s a huge shift — in a similar survey last year, only 14 percent of law schools said they were thinking of accepting the GRE. The schools that say they are unsure remained constant year-to-year at 30 percent, and those that say they will not accept the GRE fell from 56 percent to 45 percent. That means the 11 percent increase in schools now onboard with the exam came from the group of schools that had said they were against the move last year.

So — why they big change? Well, to paraphrase South Park — Harvard did it.

That’s right, amid some controversy, earlier this year Harvard announced they would now accept the GRE. As one might imagine, when such a prominent school made the move, it opened the floodgates for others to follow. This summer, two other elite law schools, Northwestern and Georgetown, announced they were accepting the GRE. It’s officially open season on the LSAT.

According to Kaplan’s survey, the “me too!” logic is in full effect for those eyeing the move to the GRE, with respondents saying:

I’m thinking that it’s going to become the norm. It’s one of those situations where you’re going to be left behind.


We plan to do it in part because Harvard is doing it. When they do things, people tend to fall in line, thinking it’s right.

But that route is not without peril. The ABA’s current rule allows law schools to accept an alternative to the LSAT if said alternative is proven “valid and reliable.” Only catch? They still haven’t weighed in on the validity studies done for the GRE to meet their standard. That fact was weighing on the minds of admissions professionals Kaplan surveyed: 

Many people here don’t hold the same opinion about the validity of the GRE. We would also like to know the ABA’s disposition. Validity studies cost money and with law schools strapped for cash, that’s not easy.” [Emphasis mine]

Of course, the pigs are willing to accept the GRE as an alternate to the LSAT. It is offered more frequently, and it is typically taken by idiots seeking PhDs in Anthropology or a Master’s degree in French Literature. By the way, it is adorable that skeptics think that each ABA diploma factory will have to bear the costs of a validity study. If Harvard – or Georgetown – comes up with “confirmation” that the GRE is a valid and reliable entrance exam, then it will be accepted by the dolts at the American Bar Association. Just think of industry standards that are adopted in other areas of commerce.


Other Coverage: On September 18, 2017, the ABA Journal featured a Stephanie Francis Ward piece entitled “More law schools plan to accept GRE scores, but there’s still hesitation, survey finds.” Review the following portion:

“In its 2017 survey of law school admissions offices, Kaplan Test Prep found that there’s a sharp increase in those planning to accept Graduate Records Examination scores from applicants.

According to answers to a survey of 128 law schools released Monday, 25 percent indicated that they plan to implement the GRE in admissions. In 2016, only 14 percent of the schools surveyed planned to add the GRE as an admissions test option along with the Law School Admissions Test.

Several law schools, including the University of Arizona’s James E. Rogers College of Law, Harvard Law School, Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law and Georgetown Law School–the largest in the nation–currently accept or are planning to accept GRE scores in admissions. 

The standard regarding entrance tests for ABA-accredited law schools is under consideration by the council of the organization’s Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar. The proposed revision to Standard 503 calls for the council to establish a process that determines reliability and validity of other tests besides the LSAT. That’s a change from the current version, which directs law schools using alternate admissions tests to demonstrate that the exams are valid and reliable. The council is expected to discuss the issue in November, according to a memo from Barry Currier, the the ABA’s managing director of accreditation and legal education.” [Emphasis mine]

As you can see, a mere council of the ABA’s $ecTTTion of Legal EducaTTTion and Admi$$ion$ to the Bar – comprised of lazy academics – can revise Standard 503. This means that individual cesspools will not have to shell out funds to show that the GRE is a valid alternative to the LSAT.

Conclusion: In the final analysis, the ABA council will come up with a rationale “showing” that the GRE is a wonderful and amazing entrance exam. Hell, they’ll probably declare that it is superior to the LSAT. When this occurs, expect the Biglaw types and “legal scholars” at that racketeer influenced and corrupt organization to rubber stamp this TTT decision by proclamation/voice vote. Why not just require prospective law students to write a short essay, stating the reasons why they want to practice law?

Thursday, September 14, 2017

California “Law Professors” Want the State to Lower the Bar Exam Passage Scores


Social Justice Warrior/"Professor": On September 11, 2017, Stephen Diamond wrote a blog post labeled “Does the California State Bar have a race problem?” Take a look at this portion:

“A recent meeting of the State Bar’s Committee of Bar Examiners (CBE) suggests to me that the California Bar may have a problem with race. That is, its leaders do not understand or are not willing to accept that they are putting up a barrier to minorities who wish to practice law. The evidence of this potential problem is found in the tape of the hearing which you can view here as well as a report prepared by the Bar Association’s staff on the bar exam. 

The CBE chair, Karen Goodman, who readily admits (Min. 48:00) that she is from “Elk Grove” (a small town south of Sacramento that is, ironically, quite racially diverse) and so may not understand the data presented to her, questions whether lowering the “cut score” (the minimum number of points needed to pass) on the bar exam would help improve access to justice. 

Yet, the data presented to the CBE she chairs indicates clearly that lowering the cut score even a modest amount (and still at a level well above that of New York state) would significantly increase the number of minority lawyers in the state. And this would be true in a state bar that remains overwhelmingly white and male and older, despite significant demographic shifts in the state over the last few decades.

The Bar staff report concluded: “…applicants of color pass the [current] bar exam at rates that are disproportionate to those of their white counterparts.This impact, when combined with disproportionately lower numbers of people of color in the pipeline to higher education and law school, has resulted in a pool of licensed attorneys in California that does not reflect the population of the state.” [Emphasis mine]

Apparently, racking up $186,211.94 in non-dischargeable debt is not a large barrier for these minority graduates. Later on, Fake SJW Diamond wrote the following:

“Thus, while we do not know why the cut score is so much higher than needed to meet the primary mandate of the CBE (protection of the public), we do know that by setting it at 144 the Bar has put up a wall over which minority law school graduates have difficulty climbing with the inevitable outcome: a disparate impact on those hopeful new law school graduates. 

(This is likely why the Bar staff recommended three options: leaving the score the same, lowering it slightly to 141 or lowering it further to 139, a point which would still be 6 points higher than New York. Despite the troglodyte nature of the CBE deliberations, the Board of Trustees voted 6-5 to send all three staff options to the Supreme Court, which remains free to accept or reject those, as it has ultimate authority now over the cut score.) 

Goodman and others on the Committee also seem to be ignorant of the actual improving employment data for lawyers in California over the past several years.” [Emphasis mine]

Does anyone with a functioning brain actually believe that this “law professor” cares about the barriers to minorities, in obtaining a law license? Also, where is Diamond's proof that California lawyers are now facing better job prospects? The state has a palpable glut of attorneys - and the cost of living there is ridiculous. For $ome rea$on, Diamond didn’t list outrageous student debt on non-connected JDs as a disparate impact.


Prior Coverage: On August 1, 2017, the ABA Journal published a Stephanie Francis Ward piece entitled “Proposal to lower California bar exam cut score considered.” Read this opening:

“A proposal to set a new interim California bar exam cut score at 1414 from the current 1440 is being considered by the State Bar of California. The proposal is one possibility to come out of standard setting study (PDF) the state bar commissioned. 

The study also proposes making no change to the current cut score, according to a state bar press release.

Traditionally, the cut score was set by the bar exam committee, but in July the California Supreme Court amended the rule, giving it the authority to set the passing score. In February, the court directed the state bar—an administrative arm of the judiciary—to do a series of comprehensive bar exam studies, including cut score review. 

At a committee meeting on Monday in Los Angeles, several law school deans, including Gilbert Holmes of the University of La Verne College of Law, spoke in favor of lowering the cut score.

“People love to say they passed the bar the first time in California. It’s meaningful because it’s graded so hard,” Holmes said in a Courthouse News Service report. “But is that really important?” 

Earlier this year, Holmes was among 20 California law school deans who wrote a letter (PDF) to the California high court, asking for a lower cut score, the Recorder reported at the time… 

Only 43 percent of the applicants who took the July 2016 California bar exam passed, according to the Associated Press. Also, only five of the state’s 21 ABA-accredited law schools had a pass rate of at least 75 percent, the Recorder reported at the time.” [Emphasis mine]

Yes, I’m sure that those deans wrote that letter out of the goodness of their hearts – and not out of blatant $elf-intere$t. These supposed “legal scholars” keep lowering their admissions criteria, and now they want the state to reduce their passing score.

Conclusion: In the final analysis, these “educators” simply want to foist more debt-strapped, marginally competent attorneys onto the general public. This the “honorable profession” in action. They know that many idiots will glady take on $160K in non-dischargeable loans, in exchange for a law license. I expect the politicians in black robes to lower the licensing score in the state. If that happens, then this would help keep several California ABA commodes in business longer.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Questions Regarding the Law School Return on Investment


A Wise Investment?: On August 21, 2017, the National Jurist published a guest post from Martin Pritikin, under the header “Return on Investment: The Core Challenge for Legal Education and the Legal Profession.” Take a look at this opening:

“The legal community is facing a myriad of serious challenges ― historically low law school enrollments and bar passage rates, exploding tuition costs and associated student debt and a stagnant job market ― that, if not addressed, will put it in peril.

One seemingly attractive solution would be for a quarter of law schools to just close their doors. This would reduce competition for existing law jobs and reduce pressure on remaining schools to enroll less-qualified students to keep the lights on. 

But this would only exacerbate the national crisis in access to justice. Tens of millions of Americans need lawyers but cannot afford the prevailing rates that lawyers charge, or live in areas where there are too few lawyers to adequately serve them. It is not enough to say the country needs fewer lawyers. It needs more of them ― if they can offer modest-means clients reasonable rates and still service their educational debt. 

This is not just bleeding-heart talk. If recent law graduates’ only option is to compete with more seasoned attorneys for the clients that can afford to pay $200+ per hour, they’re going to continue to struggle. By offering reduced rates and tapping into a market of people who would otherwise likely forego legal services altogether, recent graduates will not simply be fighting for a bigger slice of the pie; they’ll be expanding the pie.

The big problem is return on educational investment, as those who would most logically serve the middle market can ill afford to do so. Annual tuition is about $50,000 at top-tier private law schools, where many graduates land $180,000 starting salaries. But the tuition is roughly the same at so-called “fourth-tier” law schools, where those lucky enough to secure employment typically make between $60,000 and $80,000. There’s a name for this economic model: it’s called broken.

Consider this: of the 205 law schools accredited by the American Bar Association, 199 are exempt from Department of Education requirements to report graduates’ debt-to-earnings ratios. Why? Because they operate as not-for-profits. As reported by the ABA Journal on January 11, 2017, of the six for-profit schools that recently reported their data for the first time, two failed outright and three others were found to be in the “zone,” that is, at risk of failing. Yet, based on available data, if the not-for-profits were subject to the same debt-to-earnings test, it appears at least half of them ― 100 schools ― would have failed as well.” [Emphasis mine]

But these grossly overpaid and under-worked “legal scholars” are performing a “public service” for the students, right? Still want to sign on the dotted line, Lemming? By the way, Pritikin’s estimate of $60K-$80K in annual salary from fourth tier commodes is greatly exaggerated. Those grads who end up in small law are lucky to make $48K per year.


Prior Coverage: Back on August 18, 2016, CNBC featured a Kathleen Elkins piece that was entitled “Goldman Sachs CEO: ‘The most you get out of law school is the debt.’” Read the following portion:

“A traditional law degree can cost over $100,000 and three years of your life.

Is it worth it? 

Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein, who attended Harvard Law and practiced law for five years before getting into finance, seems to think not.

“Of course, you get a lot out of law school — you learn a lot — but the most you get out of law school is debt,” Blankfein recently told a group of Goldman interns.

There are numbers to back his claim. “Law school student debt has ballooned, rising from about $95,000 among borrowers at the average school in 2010 to about $112,000 in 2014,” Noam Schieber of the New York Times reported. Part of this trend is due to the increasing cost of tuition, which is now over $40,000 a year on average for private institutions.

Additionally, there are fewer jobs available for lawyers, meaning more grads may not even be able to put their expensive degree to use.

“While demand for other white-collar jobs has grown substantially since the start of the recession, law firms and corporations are finding they can make do with far fewer in-house lawyers than before, squeezing those just starting their careers,” Schieber explained.

Part of the reason law firms are facing smaller headcounts is because of “growing efficiencies created by technology and business systems and increased competition from nontraditional legal services providers,” James G. Leipold, the executive director of the National Association for Law Placement, told the Times.” [Emphasis mine]

In other words, now is a bad time to pursue a “legal education.” Ask yourself how many frshly-minted JDs from Pace, Loyola Los Angeles, and UC Irvine are making $80K per year. The answer is few to none. Then look up the average law school debt for students at those institutions.

Conclusion: Simply put, incurring an additional $145K+ in non-dischargeable debt, for a chance to enter a glutted “profession” is beyond stupid. If you do not attend a truly elite law school, then you are taking on a terrible financial risk. Try repaying back ridiculous sums of student loans on a paltry $43K annual salary. You do not need to ruin your life, in order to help “law professors” maintain their vacation homes and expensive car payments. Also, take into account opportunity costs associated with attending law school, i.e. you will be giving up three years of income. Even if you work at a dead-end job making $30K a year, that is a serious loss of money. For $ome rea$on, the "professors" forget to mention that part.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Valparaiso University Law School Raises Admissions Criteria, and Welcomes 28 First Year Students for Fall 2017


The News: On August 18, 2017, the Indiana Lawyer published a Marilyn Odendahl piece entitled “Valparaiso Law incoming class significantly smaller but posts higher LSATs and GPAs.” Take a look at this segment:

“As classes begin again, Valparaiso University Law School is standing apart from other Indiana law schools as it welcomes an incoming 1L class of just 28 students, 73 percent smaller than the class that entered last year.

Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law and Indiana University Maurer School of Law are also matriculating fewer 1L students but the declines are not as dramatic as at Valparaiso. IU McKinney’s Class of 2020 is 4 percent smaller at 244 and IU Maurer’s is 8 percent smaller at 164.

Only Notre Dame Law School has posted an increase. The Catholic institution is reporting an incoming 1L class of 199 students, 6 percent bigger than the class that started in the fall of 2016.

Although class sizes at Valparaiso have been declining, this year’s drop is by far the steepest. Going back to 2013, the northwest Indiana law school matriculated a 1L class of 208. In the subsequent years, the size fell from 174 in 2014 to 130 in 2015 to 103 last year, according to the American Bar Association’s Standard 509 Reports.

The smaller class at Valparaiso has come with some of the highest LSAT scores and grade point averages of any recent 1L group. Students just starting their legal studies this semester have a median LSAT of 151 and a median GPA of 3.23.

Classes that entered Valparaiso between 2013 and 2016 all had median LSAT scores in the 140s. The lowest median LSAT score of 143 came from the 1Ls of 2013 and the highest of 147 was brought by the 1Ls of 2016. GPAs also ranged from 2.93 posted by the 2015 incoming class to 3.10 from the 2014 incoming class.

“I feel very optimistic,” Dean Andrea Lyon said. “I feel like our programming is working and we’re starting to have national rankings. I feel optimistic about the school.”

The incoming class is a bright spot for the northwest Indiana law school which has weathered some turbulent time recently. In 2016, Valparaiso downsized its faculty and was censured by the American Bar Association.

Valparaiso’s Class of 2020 is also diverse. Of the students, 39 percent are female and 25 percent are underrepresented minorities. In addition, 61 percent are first-generation college students and 21 percent are non-traditional students.” [Emphasis mine]

Yes, I’m sure that these “educators” are thrilled about their tiny class of new lemmings. How many first year sections will Valparai$o Law feature this Fall? The fact remains that a median LSAT score of 151 does not come close to being impressive. That such an increase can be celebrated by an ABA-accredited diploma factory is further proof that the admi$$ion $tandard$ are pathetically low.

Diversity will not help these students land decent legal jobs. The same goes for non-traditional pupils. Age discrimination is rampant in this field. Law firms want to hire young people, i.e. those around age 25. In this field, a 30 year old applicant is considered damaged goods.


Other Coverage: On August 25, 2017, Staci Zaretsky posted an ATL entry labeled “Law Schools Welcomes Its Tiniest Class Ever.” Here is the full text of that article:

“Many law schools have “voluntarily” reduced their class sizes since prospective law students discovered that they didn’t want to be in debt and unable to find a job that could service their loans, but one school recently decided to reduce its class size in the hopes of welcoming brighter students — perhaps in an effort to increase the number of graduates who are able the pass the bar exam.

Which school was it, and by how much has its class size been reduced? Here’s our stat of the week, courtesy of the Indiana Lawyer:

As classes begin again, Valparaiso University Law School is standing apart from other Indiana law school as it welcomes an incoming 1L class of just 28 students, 73 percent smaller than the class that entered last year. … 

The smaller class at Valparaiso has come with some of the highest LSAT scores and grade point averages of any recent 1L group. Students just starting their legal studies this semester have a median LSAT of 151 and a median GPA of 3.23.

Classes that entered Valparaiso between 2013 and 2016 all had median LSAT scores in the 140s. The lowest median LSAT score of 143 came from the 1Ls of 2013 and the highest of 147 was brought by the 1Ls of 2016. GPAs also ranged from 2.93 posted by the 2015 incoming class to 3.10 from the 2014 incoming class.

Congratulations to Valpo Law on raising its expectations.” [Emphasis mine]

Usually, Zaretsky does a decent job of reporting on law school updates. Yet, she failed to mention that this commode was censured by the American Bar Association, in 2016. That might be relevant as to why this school “voluntarily” reduced its first year class size.

Conclusion: As you can see, Valparai$o Univer$iTTTTy Law $chool is listed in the FOURTH TIER of ratings, courtesy of US “News” & World Report. In their parlance, they are included in the section labeled “Rank Not Published.” Yet, full-time tuition and fees at this cesspit amount to $41,522 – for the 2017-2018 academic year. That is one hell of a cost for weak employment prospects. The school raised admi$$ion$ criteria – and the best they could do was get 28 first year students this Fall. Once the ABA censure blows over, you can count on Valpo returning to admitting more marks with 143 LSAT scores.

Friday, September 1, 2017

Former Charlotte School of Law Professor Accuses the School of Ripping Off Taxpayers


Accusations From Former Professor: On August 28, 2017, the Charlotte Observer published a Michael Gordon piece entitled “Charlotte School of Law bilked $285 million from taxpayers, former faculty member says.” Read the following portion:

“A lawsuit filed by a former professor of Charlotte School of Law accuses the failed school and its corporate owner of defrauding taxpayers out of $285 million by admitting hundreds of unqualified students, then manipulating records to keep them enrolled so the school could collect their government-backed tuition.

Barbara Bernier says the for-profit school, which closed last week, conspired with its owner, the InfiLaw System, to inflate enrollment and maximize profits. She says Charlotte Law lowered admissions and retention standards while misrepresenting both the state bar exam scores of their graduates and their success in finding jobs, according to a 2016 complaint that became public for the first time this month.

“The goal of the school has never been focused on education,” said Coleman Watson, Bernier’s Orlando, Fla.-based attorney. “The shareholder tended to be more important than the student body, and that’s why she came forward.”

Contacted by the Observer, Charlotte Law spokeswoman Victoria Taylor issued a statement that the school “will defend itself vigorously against the allegations in the complaint. Beyond that, we do not intend to comment on pending litigation.” [Emphasis mine]

What a stellar “institution of higher learning,” huh? Makes you wonder why they never coined themselves “the Harvard of North Carolina.” The school had weak admi$$ion$ criteria. Seems the main ones were gullibility and a pulse.

For $ome rea$on, the American Bar Association never investigated this member school. I suppose as long as the accreditation fees are collected, they don’t give a damn. After all, there are literally dozens of ABA schools in operation that are an embarrassment to the concept of higher education, let alone professional school. Yet, they remain in business – on the public’s dime, of course. 


Other Coverage: On August 29, 2017, Charlotte TV station WSOC, channel 9, ran a Paul Boyd story headlined “Former Charlotte School of Law student recalls predatory admissions process.” Here is the opening:

“The troubles surrounding the now-closed Charlotte School of Law are mounting, including allegations about the school's predatory admissions process.

Former student Talece Hunter has a college degree and a master's degree. She applied to Charlotte School of Law in 2015 and thought it was unusual there was no application process.

Hunter said she experienced aggressive predatory sales tactics after expressing interest in the law school.

"If you didn't call them or did not email them, they were leaving you voicemails two and three times a day," Hunter said.

She also said some her classmates were also less than qualified to be there, which is an allegation made in newly unsealed lawsuit that alleges the law school defrauded taxpayers of at least $285 million.

The lawsuit was filed by former Charlotte School of Law professor Barbara Bernier under whistleblower laws.

Bernier claims she has inside knowledge that hundreds of unqualified students were admitted to the school. She also alleges that student records were manipulated and that enrollment was inflated in an effort to increase profits through government-backed tuitions.

"Many candidates for admission (were) academically unqualified, and would be improbable candidates for admission in most other law schools," the lawsuit read.”

The suit that was filed in Florida District Court alleges Charlotte School of Law "repeatedly identified minority students from Historically Black Colleges and Universities as a major source of students and a revenue stream."

It also claims there was a period of time when an acceptable grade point average was "1.50." The lawsuit was originally filed in 2016 but remained sealed while federal investigators looked into the case.” [Emphasis mine]

That 1.50 GPA seems incredibly low, even by TTTTT standards. I understand that ABA-accredited dung heaps aggressively recruit students, but they also don’t force you to apply, pay fees, take the LSAT, enroll, sit in class, and stay in school. However, the school knows that this country is littered with dim bulbs who will jump at the chance for a “legal education.” And they know that the federal government will still issue student loans to those idiots.

Conclusion: CharloTTTTTe $chool of Law is no longer in operation, but it did reap a financial windfall for over a decade. More accurately, the shareholders of Sterling Partners took in the loot – with the “educators” and administrators doing real well for themselves too, in the process. The students were a mere mean$ to an end, i.e. big-ass bags of federal cash in the form of educational loans. Who cares if the debt is non-dischargeable for the pupils? They are just props anyway, so the schools can have a reason to exist. Amazingly, college graduates continue to apply to, and enroll in, such weak law schools. By the way, this diploma mill is under federal investigation. When will someone open the P.T. Barnum College of Law?

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Charlotte School of Law Gets Around to Notifying Its Students of Closure


CharloTTTTTe SOL Will Officially Close: On August 23, 2017, the Charlotte Business Journal published a piece from staff write Jennifer Thomas, under the headline “CONFIRMED: Charlotte Law winding down operations, uptown campus to close.” Check out this opening:

“Charlotte School of Law’s days are numbered in uptown.

The embattled for-profit law school is in the process of notifying students, faculty and staff that it is winding down operations.

“Unfortunately, we have to. I don’t think we can avoid that at this point. This is not because we want to, it’s because we have to,”Dean Paul Meggett told the Charlotte Business Journal exclusively.

An exact time table for that to occur has not been finalized, but the fall semester won’t start Monday as scheduled, he adds.

“We’ve got to get our arms around a lot of different things, and we’re really just getting started.”

Charlotte Law’s focus remains on helping the roughly 100 students still enrolled at the law school find a path forward — many of whom still want to continue their education in Charlotte, Meggett says.

He has been dean for two months now, after spending a number of years on the faculty.

Meggett says he continues to field phone calls and emails from law deans across the country who are sympathetic to the school and the students' plight. Efforts are ongoing to match students with those opportunities.

“It’s just without a license we have to tread very lightly. We’re absolutely going to comply with N.C. law, but we want to make sure we are still able to help our students as best we can in this,” he says.

Roughly 20 faculty and staff will be displaced when the school officially closes.

That news comes less than a year after the American Bar Association placed Charlotte Law on probation — though its accreditation still remains in place through Feb. 3, 2018.” [Emphasis mine]

Sadly, many of the existing students at this fifth tier diploma mill will continue their “legal studies” at other in$titution$ happy to take their borrowed money. Then again, what do you expect from those who earned a 145 on the LSAT?


Other Coverage: On August 23, 2017, Staci Zaretsky posted an ATL entry labeled “Charlotte Law Finally Gets Around To Telling Students The School Is Closing.” Read this portion:

“A little more than one week ago, word began to spread that the Charlotte School of Law would be closing its doors, “effective immediately.” This disappointing news came not from the law school itself, but from the president of its alumni association. Since that time, there has been no official announcement from the school about its closure — until today.

This morning, Interim Dean Paul Meggett notified students and alumni via email that the school “no longer has a path forward,” and would officially begin winding down its operations. Take a look at what the dean’s parting words were:


Paul Meggett

Today, 10:00 AM

Dear CharlotteLaw Community:

We regret to announce that after months of extraordinary effort, Charlotte School of Law no longer has a path forward. On August 11, 2017, the school’s license to offer programs of study in North Carolina expired. Despite negative, often misleading headlines, we vigorously pursued ways to keep the school open and protect the interests of our students, faculty, staff, and alumni. We are heartbroken that we were unable to achieve the desired outcome. This closure has disrupted the lives of everyone in the CharlotteLaw community, particularly impacting our students’ dreams of achieving their educational and career goals. We are continuing to work diligently to help our remaining students to complete their legal education…

We are proud to have been Charlotte’s law school.


The Leadership Team of Charlotte School of Law” [Emphasis mine]

Cool approach there. Good luck on the Bad Timing Awards. This email only came eight days after everyone was aware that your for-profit diploma factory was going to close up shop.

Conclusion: In the end, Paul Meggett is not to blame for this late notice. I’m sure that the "leadership team" at InfiLaw and Sterling Partners LLC prohibited the school’s administrators from contacting the students about this TTTTT closure. Hopefully, the affected students will be able to have their loans discharged. However, I expect that most of them will complete their degrees at another ABA-accredited toilet. After all, what’s $170K+ in non-dischargeable debt – for a “dream” of becoming a lawyer?

Monday, August 21, 2017

Open Letter to the Incoming JD Class of 2020

Doubtless, you are proud of your supposed achievement of gaining entry into an ABA-accredited law school. Look at the information below, and you will see that beating a senile, old man in a game of poker is a bigger accomplishment. I’m sure that you feel that a small chance of landing Biglaw, i.e. a job that pays enough for you to pay off your students loans, is worth the immense cost of admission.


Easy Admissions: On August 10, 2017, LawSchooli published a Joshua Craven piece labeled “Law School Acceptance Rates: The Hardest & Easiest Law Schools to Get Into.” He listed all 204 in$titution$. Here is his opening:

“Law school acceptance rates are an important admissions statistic to consider when you’re applying to law school. In this post, we take a look at the admission rates for every ABA-accredited law school in the US. The table below ranks all 204 law schools from the most selective to the least selective.

The range is broad from the extremely selective—Yale admits only about 9% of applicants—to the unscrupulously open, with schools towards the bottom of the pack accepting a whopping 80% or more of prospective students.

Acceptance rates are a fairly good proxy for how a school ranks in the minds of potential law students. The more desirable a school is, the more people apply and the more the picky the school can be when deciding who they’ll admit. For this reason, the acceptance rate is one of the factors measured in the US News and World Report’s influential rankings of the best law schools.” [Emphasis mine]

According to that chart, here are the 15 easiest diploma factories to gain entry into, in the country. The figures below represent acceptance rate, number of applicants, and number of acceptances, respectively:

190. Depaul University; 69.47%; 1,798; 1,249
191. California Western School of Law; 69.53%; 1,503; 1,045
192. Santa Clara University; 69.54%; 2,157; 1,500
193. Southern Illinois University – Carbondale; 70.04%; 474; 332
194. St. Thomas, University of (Minnesota); 71.13%; 478; 340
195. Charleston School of Law; 72.50%; 1,258; 912
196. Mitchell Hamline; 72.60%; 1,033; 750
197. Creighton University; 72.88%; 944; 688
198. Willamette University; 74.16%; 507; 376
199. Northern Kentucky University; 76.71%; 498; 382
200. Capital University; 79.17%; 528; 418
201. Vermont Law School; 80.96%; 646; 523 
202. Thomas Jefferson School of Law; 82.66%; 1,107; 915 
203. Loyola University – New Orleans; 84.77%; 709; 601 
204. Thomas M. Cooley Law School; 85.75%; 1,067; 915

Look at the entire graph. You will notice that only the top 30 law schools feature an acceptance rate below 32 percent. In 113 of the 204 diploma factories, more than half of all applicants gained admi$$ion. Hopefully you didn’t leave a good job to attend any of those in$titution$. Apparently, dozens of ABA-accredited schools are happy to admit anyone with a pulse. Keep in mind that a 144 on the LSAT is good enough to get you into several places now. 


Weak Employment Outlook: According to the NALP Class of 2016 National Summary Report, there were 37,124 graduates in that cohort – competing for a total of 24,243 jobs requiring bar passage. That translates to 65.3% of the class. Roughly 1/3 of grads ended up in positions that do not require a damn law degree. What a great “investment,” huh?!?!

Furthermore, 16,601 positions were in private practice. However, only 15,232 of those required bar passage. There were 3,300 clerkships for that group. Of that number, a mere 1,195 were in federal courts. You can be sure that the bulk of those posts went to graduates of top 10 schools. These grads are on the inside track to become “law professors.” Yet, third and fourth tier schools will still charge you $40K+ in annual tuition – when essentially all of their students are out of the running.

Also, of the 16,601 private practice jobs, only 1,007 were for offices with 251-500 lawyers. And 4,238 graduates ended up in firms of more than 500 attorneys. Another 948 landed positions in offices of 101-250 lawyers. That is a total of 6,193 such posts – out of 37,126 total grads. That is 16.7% of the entire cohort, which is roughly one out of six JDs. Plus, the vast majority of those jobs went to those who earned their degree from a top 10 law school – with some of the rest going to the rich and connected who ended up at middling in$titution$.

Scroll down to the bottom of the second page. Under the Source of Job section, the number reported was only 23,614. Of that amount, a total of 4,299 were the result of Fall OCI and 364 from Spring OCI. Fully 1,292 returned to their prior job, and another 674 decided to start their own practice. That means that most JDs had to hustle to land employment. The degree itself didn’t do much for them. In the Job Characteristics portion, you will see that 30.7% of academic positions were short-term, and 29.7% were part-time.

Conclusion: In the final analysis, if you have chosen to ignore the reams of data showing that law school is an incredibly expensive gamble, then how do figure that you will be able to effectively represent others in legal disputes? In any economic decision, failing to review pertinent information and facts is not a virtue. However, in a legal setting such negligence constitutes incompetence. 

I don’t expect anyone to quit during the first two weeks of law school, but you still have an out soon after. If you are at a non-elite school and your grades do not place you in the top 10% of the class after your first semester, then drop out immediately. You can explain a 5-6 month gap in employment to companies much easier than you can repay $160K+ in non-dischargeable debt, on a paltry $43K annual salary. Best of luck to you all.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Fifth Tier, For-Profit Charlotte School of Law Closes Its Doors


The News: On August 15, 2017, the New York Times DealBook featured an Elizabeth Olson piece entitled “For-Profit Charlotte School of Law Closes.” Look at this opening:

“Charlotte School of Law, an embattled for-profit law school, has shut down, state officials confirmed — making it the nation’s second accredited law school to close its doors this year. 

Although Charlotte Law did not issue a formal closing notice, its license to operate in North Carolina expired, it had no approved plan to teach students and, as of Tuesday, it no longer had a website. 

The North Carolina attorney general’s office, which has been investigating the law school for several months, confirmed that the school had closed.

“I want to express my disappointment for the students and their families affected by Charlotte School of Law’s failure,” Josh Stein, the attorney general, said in a statement on Tuesday. 

The law school had been hanging on by a thread for months in the face of tumbling enrollment after the American Bar Association’s accreditors put it on probation in November. 

The attorney general’s office has been examining whether Charlotte Law’s students had the required information to enroll for the school’s law degree.

The attorney general’s office notified the federal Education Department that Charlotte Law was no longer licensed to operate in the state. Without a license, “Charlotte School of Law is now required to be closed,” Mr. Stein said in his statement. 

Earlier this year, trustees of Whittier College in California announced the closure of Whittier Law School, the first fully accredited law school to succumb to declines in student enrollments and tuition revenue.

Charlotte Law had struggled with those same problems and more. The A.B.A.’s accrediting body had placed the school on probation after finding its disclosures for students fell short of requirements. Not long after, the federal Education Department cited the school for “substantial misrepresentations” to students about its compliance with accreditation standards.” [Emphasis mine]

Paul Campos did more to bring the law school scam to light than anyone else. He deserves some recognition for his efforts. Frankly, I don’t rejoice in these closures. However, when the “education” costs a king’s ransom – and the job prospects are weak for the vast majority of graduates – it is indefensible. Also, at least this might provide the affected students with a chance to have their loans forgiven – if they are smart enough not to continue their TTTTT studies somewhere else. Plus, as the “professors” are so fond of saying, they can now go out into private practice and make a ton of money. Of course, they will also need to work more than 4-6 hours per week.


Other Coverage: On August 15, 2017, Inside Higher Ed published an Andrew Kreighbaum article headlined “Report: For-Profit Charlotte School of Law Will Close.” Here is the full text:

“The for-profit Charlotte School of Law will close effective immediately, according toan email from the president of the school’s alumni associated published by local media. 

The report comes days after Charlotte missed multiple deadlines set by state regulators to keep its license to operate in North Carolina. And Monday night, WBTV, which reported the school’s closure, cited multiple sources saying the American Bar Association rejected a teach-out plan from Charlotte.

The law school’s website as of Tuesday morning has also been taken down.

The ABA placed Charlotte on probation last year for failing to admit students likely to succeed in the program and pass the bar exam. The Obama administration in December, citing those failures and substantial misrepresentations to students, cut off the school’s access to Title IV aid, which includes federal student loans. And North Carolina’s attorney general, Josh Stein, has meanwhile pursued his own investigation of the school.

The developments over the last week occurred as Charlotte’s leaders negotiated with the Department of Education over conditions to restore the school’s access to Title IV. Among the conditions set out by the department in recent negotiations was a multimillion-dollar letter of credit. Without that letter, taxpayers would be on the hook for discharge of loans taken out by students to attend the school.” [Emphasis mine]

How hard did private equity firm Sterling Partners, and its shareholders, push to save this joke of law school? They didn’t try to pay off some education officials in that state? 


You can also check out Old Guy’s account of this TTTTT closure, on his August 14, 2017 entry on Outside the Law School Scam, “Charlotte School of Law has quietly closed.” It appears that the administrators of the law school did not have the decency to contact the students about their decision. Then again, the pupils are mere student loan conduits. I’m sure they had plenty of time to spend with their lobbyist, when he was working to get the spigot back on for them.

Conclusion: This closure surprised me, especially after the diploma mill was granted access to federal student loan money. I figured these “legal scholars” would come up with a line of credit, in order to stay in operation. Hell, plenty of students desperate for a minimal chance to practice law would have jumped at the chance to enroll in such a place. Don’t forget that this law school charged $44,284 in full-time tuition and fees, for the 2016-2017 academic year. I suppose that those funds came too late for this school and their problems were too numerous. Frankly, most of the students will seek to continue their educaTTTTTion somewhere else.

Friday, August 11, 2017

More ABA-Accredited Diploma Mills to Accept GRE as Alternative to LSAT


Let's Admit More People!: On August 10, 2017, the New York Times DealBook featured an Elizabeth Olson piece labeled “More Law Schools Begin Accepting GRE Test Results.” Look at this opening:

“Law schools, which have been plagued by a shortfall of students in recent years, are changing their admissions requirements.

Two top-ranked schools — Georgetown University Law Center and Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law — this week joined Harvard Law’s recent move to make it simpler to apply.

Applicants can submit the results of the more widely available Graduate Record Exam, the GRE, instead of those from the Law School Admissions Test, which long has been entrenched as the numeric gauge of law school success.

Many law schools are casting wider nets to attract students who would not otherwise set their sights on a legal education. The schools hope that by making it easier for the engineers, scientists and mathematicians who typically take only the GRE, more of them will enroll.

With the two this week, there are now four law schools, including the University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law, that admit students with GRE scores.

“We believe this change will make the admissions process more accessible to students who have great potential to make a mark here at Georgetown Law and in successful legal careers but who might find the LSAT to be a barrier for whatever reason,” said William M. Treanor, the school’s dean.

The changes come as the nation’s lawyers are gathering this week in New York for the annual meeting of the American Bar Association. While the issue of admissions tests is not on the formal agenda, there is likely to be debate in the corridors about whether law schools should be able to use whatever “valid and reliable admission test” they choose — in lieu of the LSAT, which has been administered since 1948.

Arizona was the first law school to defy the decades-old wisdom that the LSAT was the only reliable numerical predictor for how students would fare.

The Law School Admission Council, the nonprofit law school membership organization that is the LSAT’s administrator, reacted harshly at first but later backed away as dozens of deans supported Arizona’s action.

Arizona, Harvard, Georgetown and Northwestern each conducted individual studies that compared their students’ academic results with their entrance test scores. Georgetown said that it found “GRE scores were at least as strong a predictor of academic success at Georgetown Law as LSAT scores.” [Emphasis mine]

Georgetown Univer$ity Law Center consistently fields gigantic first year classes. It also tends to accept a fair amount of transfer students. Graduating cohorts are often contain close to 500 graduates. Plus, Washington D.C. has a predictable glut of attorneys. One wonders how extensive the school’s study was, given that they just accepted the GRE as an alternative to the LSAT.


Other Coverage: On August 8, 2017, Inside Higher Ed published a Scott Jaschik article entitled “Shaking Up Law School Admissions.” Read the following portion:

“Harvard Law School announced in March that it would start to accept the Graduate Record Examination for admissions, not just the traditionally required Law School Admission Test. At the time, only one other law school -- the University of Arizona's -- had such a policy. Many wondered if the move by Harvard, given its stature in legal education, would prompt others to follow.

That question may have been answered Monday, when the law schools of both Georgetown and Northwestern Universities announced that they too would now accept the GRE, a test from the Educational Testing Service. Both Georgetown and Northwestern are highly regarded law schools and have no shortage of applicants.

But even as the announcements give momentum to the test-choice movement, they come at a time when the American Bar Association may clamp down on such experimentation. Currently the ABA requires law schools to either use the LSAT or another test the law school has determined to have "validity" in predicting student success. Arizona, Georgetown, Harvard and Northwestern all say that they have done such studies, and so comply with ABA rules.

The ABA is, however, considering a rules change that would permit law schools to use alternatives to the LSAT only if the ABA has determined the validity of the alternative test -- something the ABA has yet to do with any test besides the LSAT. And many law deans -- including some who have not moved beyond the LSAT -- are angry that the ABA (with backing from the Law School Admission Council, which runs the LSAT) may limit their options going forward.” [Emphasis mine]

If these “educators” are primarily concerned with their students’ futures, then why would they be upset that the ABA may limit alternatives to the LSAT – as a valid admissions entrance exam? Then again, this appears to be a smokescreen. After all, with solid to elite law schools now accepting the GRE, what the hell is to stop low-ranked diploma factories from doing the same thing?

Conclusion: Since the American Bar Association is dominated by Biglaw types and academics, who thinks that the organization will choose to overrule the law schools at Harvard, Northwestern, and Georgetown? Plus, seeing that these particular institutions have no problems enrolling applicants with impressive LSAT scores, how can the ABA decide that the GRE should not be an alternative at places that are struggling to attract applicants? When will these “legal scholars” start admitting those who graduate from college – with a mere one page essay stating why that person wants to be a lawyer?

Sunday, August 6, 2017

ABA Council Approves Proposal to Rescind Transparency Regarding Law School-Funded Positions


TTT News: On August 3, 2017, the TaxProf blog featured an article from Jerry Organ, under the header “Without Any Transparency In The Process, ABA Legal Ed Council Approves Changes To Employment Report And Classification Of Law-School-Funded Positions That Erode Transparency.” Look at this opening:

“At its June 1-2 meeting, the ABA Council for the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar approved a proposal to completely eviscerate the steps it approved in 2015 to assure greater transparency in reporting law-school-funded positions. Indeed, the Council went even further, changing the rules to make it impossible for anyone to discover what number/percentage of a law school’s graduates are in law-school-funded positions, so long as those positions pay $40,000.

The Council did this with no notice, no chance for comment, and no presentation of possible concerns associated with this change. Rather, it simply approved a proposal purporting to simplify reporting of employment outcomes that was submitted by one Council member, Paul Mahoney, whose law school was among several that would benefit from the reclassification of law-school-funded positions.

More significantly, in approving the proposal, the Council also approved several other changes in reporting of employment outcomes that merit much more discussion. These changes, discussed below, were not meaningfully discussed in the proposal, nor do they appear to have been meaningfully discussed by the Council in approving the proposal. Once again, there was no notice of these changes, no chance for comment, and no presentation of possible concerns associated with these changes.

It pains me to write this, as I hold the members of the Council in high regard and believe the Council has done a very good job over the last several years navigating legal education through uncharted waters, particularly with its emphasis on increased transparency regarding conditional scholarships and employment outcomes.

In this instance, however, the Council’s laudable desire to support simplification in reporting of employment outcomes meant that a number of other policy considerations that merit much more attention and thoughtful deliberation did not get due consideration prior to the Council taking action that effectively erodes transparency. 

The Council should rescind its action, and send out the proposed changes for notice and comment and for consideration by the Standard’s Review Committee, which can give due consideration to intended and unintended consequences in recommending an appropriate set of changes regarding the reporting of employment outcomes.” [Emphasis mine]

Do you think they made this decision for the benefit of the applicants, or for the in$titution$ of “higher learning”? If you need to contemplate that for more than a microsecond, then you are not capable of representing others in legal matters.


Other Coverage: Also on August 3, 2017, Kyle McEntee posted an excellent ATL piece labeled “ABA Takes Giant Step Backwards On Transparency.” Read the following portion:

“Without public input, the Council for the ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar has rolled back measures that make law schools more transparent. The ABA has eliminated from the current consumer information report, available for every ABA-approved law school, several pertinent job categories. It has also obfuscated whether jobs are funded by the law school or earned on the open market. The result: students will be misled after years of progress. 

Both the process and substance have already stirred the ire of those in and around legal education.

To see why, it’s worth recounting the recent history of transparency at U.S. law schools. In 2010, my organization made national hay about deceptive employment statistics used by law schools and blessed by the ABA. In their marketing materials, law schools used a “basic employment rate,” typically ranging from 85% – 95% because the rate did not, among numerous flaws, distinguish between jobs at Starbucks, in the law library, and with major law firms. Schools would also advertise six-figure salaries without reporting response rates, which were sometimes as low as 10%. As a result, the ABA and law schools took a beating in the national press, which undoubtedly contributed to demand for law school decreasing dramatically.

Fast forward a few years, beginning with job statistics for the class of 2011, and the ABA began to require law schools to publish far more transparent data. This was accomplished through a very public, deliberative process. In subsequent years, the ABA made additional changes to data collection, reporting, and publishing. Sometimes the changes were positive, other times they were not, but the process was collaborative and transparent. 

This June, the Council did a complete about-face when it implemented revised disclosures and ordered a change to the data collection/reporting process. There was no public notice and comment. Neither Law School Transparency nor the National Association for Law Placement, a key player in law school jobs data reporting since the 1970s, were even privately consulted. Jim Leipold, NALP’s executive director, told me that “NALP was not involved in the decision. Technically, no one was. They did this behind closed doors without any period of notice and comment.” [Emphasis mine]

I’m not surprised that the ABA didn’t talk to LST. However, the fact that they did not consult NALP shows that they don’t respect the process.

Conclusion: In the final analysis, morons will continue to enroll in low-ranked law schools that offer pathetic employment prospects – even with transparent figures regarding outcomes. ABA-accredited diploma mills don’t want to risk losing out on some of the relative few marginal college grads who will reconsider attending a place that has a weak outlook. You, the student, are a mere mean$ to an end, i.e. large bags of federal loan money.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Fifth Tier Charlotte School of Law Will Start Receiving Federal Loans for Fall Semester


TTTT News: On July 31, 2017, the Charlotte Observer published a Michael Gordon piece entitled “Federal loans set to return to struggling Charlotte School of Law.” Look at this portion:

“Charlotte School of Law’s high-stakes gamble on the Trump administration appears to have paid off, with the school announcing it is close to an agreement with the government that would restore vital student-loan money to the beleaguered school. 

The resumption of the federal loans, the school says, would be effective with the fall semester, scheduled to begin Aug. 28. 

If true, the loans will restore millions of dollars students can use for tuition and expenses that were cut off for most of the past academic year. The Department of Education cited the for-profit law school’s chronic failings with test scores, curriculum and admission standards when it made Charlotte Law the first accredited law school ever to be cut off from the student-loan program. 

The loss of the money last year set off faculty layoffs and hundreds of student transfers. Many of the students who stayed had no way to pay for school and rent, leading faculty members to set up an emergency food bank. 

Law school President Chidi Ogene accused the Department of Education of making a political decision that gave the school and its students very little time to respond. He said at the time that Charlotte Law hoped to get a more favorable hearing when the Trump administration took office. That speculation only grew when President Donald Trump picked Betsy DeVos, a vocal supporter of for-profit schools, as secretary of education.

According to the blog Above the Law, Charlotte Law also paid $50,000 to the Podesta Group to lobby government officials on the school’s behalf.

The decision to appeal now appears to have been a sound one. Charlotte Law’s recent press release said it “has been notified by the U.S. Department of Education that it is prepared to reinstate the school’s ability to award (student loans).” 

The money will be made available under certain conditions being ironed out between the school and the federal government, conditions the school says it is willing to abide by but which it would not detail when asked by the Observer.” [Emphasis mine]

This school is operated by Chicago-based equity firm Sterling Capital Partners. It is rated as a fifth tier in$TTTTTiTTTTTuTTTTTion of “higher learning.” In the parlance of US “News” & World Report, it is listed as “Unranked.” Full-time tuition and fees amounted to $44,284, for the 2016-2017 academic year. What a great bargain, huh?! That is the equivalent of paying $28K for a 1986 Buick LeSabre with 317,000 miles on the odometer.


Prior Coverage: On July 5, 2017, the Charlotte Agenda featured an article from Jane Little, under the headline “Charlotte School of Law intends to stay open in the fall, but deadlines loom.” Take a look at this opening:

“Six months after a damning report from the American Bar Association, Charlotte’s only law school has become a shell of its former self. 

The for-profit Charlotte School of Law has been forced to stop accepting new students, and the faculty count has been reduced by about 70 percent. Only about 100 students remain enrolled, down from about 750.

But it’s still limping along. Summer school is currently underway, and fall classes are scheduled to start on Aug. 28.

Still, there are a slew of upcoming deadlines and requirements the school must meet before its fate is determined.

“It’s heartbreaking what’s happening because there’s a lot of people who put a lot into this law school and a lot of people who are displaced and had their lives turned around,” said Daniel Herrera, who recently took a leave of absence from the school. 

What’s next for Charlotte School of Law?

All indications are that Charlotte School of Law is fighting to be able to graduate the students currently enrolled. But there are several regulatory hurdles it faces to even be able to do that. 

On June 21, the UNC Board of Governors gave Charlotte School of Law a deadline: The school has until August 1 to prove that it’s financially stable or it could lose its license to operate in North Carolina. The board also ruled that the school must come up with an ABA approved “teach-out” plan by Aug. 10 to graduate its remaining students. A teach-out plan is a contingency that helps students complete their program at other campuses if theirs closes.” [Emphasis mine]

$omehow, this agreement came just in time for it to show that it is financially stable. Does anyone think that these “legal scholars” will have trouble putting together a contingency teach-out plan, in the next week or so?

Conclusion: In the final analysis, this fifth tier cesspool has some other obstacles to overcome. However, the school has achieved its biggest objective. After all, the spigot of student loan money is the lifeblood of the “higher education” industry. How many pupils have more than $40K laying around in their couch? Plus, that is only for one year of tuition. Sadly, more lemmings will continue to enroll in this place – so long as the school can show that it is solvent. Now juxtapose that with the typical CharloTTTTTe $chool of Law graduate, who simply hopes to find a legal job making $50K – while being saddled down with $160K in non-dischargeable debt.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Don’t Forget About High Rates of Depression and Substance Abuse Among Lawyers


Rampant Drug Use: On July 15, 2017, the New York Times pubished an Eilene Zimmerman article that was entitled “The Lawyer, the Addict.” After retelling how she found out that her ex-husband died of an overdose, and stumbled onto his body, the writer provides the following information:

“The further I probed, the more apparent it became that drug abuse among America’s lawyers is on the rise and deeply hidden. 

One of the first things I learned is that there is little research on lawyers and drug abuse. Nor is there much data on drug use among lawyers compared with the general population or white-collar workers specifically. 

One of the most comprehensive studies of lawyers and substance abuse was released just seven months after Peter died. That 2016 report, from the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation and the American Bar Association, analyzed the responses of 12,825 licensed, practicing attorneys across 19 states. 

Overall, the results showed that about 21 percent of lawyers qualify as problem drinkers, while 28 percent struggle with mild or more serious depression and 19 percent struggle with anxiety. 

Only 3,419 lawyers answered questions about drug use, and that itself is telling, said Patrick Krill, the study’s lead author and also a lawyer. “It’s left to speculation what motivated 75 percent of attorneys to skip over the section on drug use as if it wasn’t there.” 

In Mr. Krill’s opinion, they were afraid to answer. 

Of the lawyers that did answer those questions, 5.6 percent used cocaine, crack and stimulants; 5.6 percent used opioids; 10.2 percent used marijuana and hash; and nearly 16 percent used sedatives. Eighty-five percent of all the lawyers surveyed had used alcohol in the previous year. (For comparison sake, about 65 percent of the general population drinks alcohol.)” [Emphasis mine]

Does that seem to be a sound “profession” to join, prospective law student? Do you somehow think that you are smarter or better than these men and women, including those who attended much stronger law schools than the ones you are considering?!


Prior Coverage: Back on April 1, 2017, the American Lawyer featured a Ray Strom piece labeled “Ex-Reed Smith Partner’s Suicide Trial Highlights Anxiety in Big Law Mergers.” Take a look at this opening:

“Just weeks before Stewart Dolin committed suicide in 2010, he told his therapist he still felt anxious about his position at Reed Smith, the global firm he had joined as a result of its 2007 merger with his former home, 140-lawyer Chicago firm Sachnoff & Weaver. 

To the outside world, Dolin’s position may have seemed secure. A former management committee member at Sachnoff & Weaver, the 57-year-old had been chosen to lead Reed Smith’s corporate and securities practice. But his therapist testified this week in a Chicago trial over Dolin’s suicide that the 2007 merger left him for years racked with anxiety and self-doubt… 

In a rare view in the human toll that some therapists believe Big Law mergers can have, Dolin’s therapist, Sydney Reed, testified this week that her former client was worried his Loyola University Chicago School of Law degree was inadequate at a firm now full of graduates from Ivy Leagye schools like Harvard and Yale.” [Emphasis mine]

The man was successful by pretty much every American standard, and yet he was concerned that his TTT law degree was not up to par to those of his colleagues. You don’t see dentists and doctors lamenting the fact that they went to lower tier schools. Later on, the author continued:

“Dolin’s therapist testified that she often attempted to reassure him of his place at Reed Smith. When Dolin said his regional practice would be tossed aside by an international firm, Reed told him there must be a reason why a global firm like Reed Smith wanted to merge with his Midwestern firm. 

When he expressed fears of losing his ability to provide for his family and becoming a “bag lady,” Reed said she reminded Dolin that he billed $4 million in work the previous year. And she doubted his concern that he was the lone partner to feel anxious about the merger. 

“The facts in terms of his professional performance had to be pulled out of him when he felt he wouldn’t make it at this international law firm,” said Reed, who described Dolin’s negative thinking as out of touch with the reality he faced at Reed Smith. “The other part would be I’d ask him, ‘Do you think there’s anxiety in other partners?’ He’d be surprised by that question.” 

As a group, 28 percent of lawyers struggle with some level of depression, said a study last year co-founded by the American Bar Association. That’s compared with less than 8 percent for the general population, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Meanwhile, the CDC said in a 2012 analysis that the legal industry had the 11th-highest incidence of suicide among occupations, with 18.8 people out of 100,000 taking their lives, compared to 16.1 nationally.” [Emphasis mine]

Yes, that is uplifting, right? Now imagine how this condition is compounded by ridiculous amounts of non-dischargeable debt – and weak employment prospects.

Conclusion: These men were the winners in the law school game, at least in terms of their employment outcomes. Look at those staggering numbers again, in case you were too busy beaming with pride over your TTTT acceptance letter. In the end, if you are in a good-paying job with a mere Bachelor’s degree – and you have real chances to move up or you are happy in your current position – then you are much better off by remaining in that post. Accumulating another $135K+ in student debt – for a chance to enter a glutted “profession” – will typically not improve your health or your quality of life.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Glass Ceilings in the Legal Field: Asians Avoiding Law School Despite Strong Entrance Credentials


Losing Interest in Law School: On July 20, 2017, the ABA Journal posted a Debra Cassens Weiss article, under the header “Asian-Americans are apparently losing interest in law school; report shows outsize enrollment drop.” Check out this opening:

“Asian-American enrollment in law school has declined more steeply than that of other racial and ethnic groups, according to a report documenting a glass ceiling for this group in the law.

From 2009 to 2016, Asian-Americans’ first-year enrollment in law school dropped by 43 percent, compared to a 28 percent drop for all students, a 34 percent drop among whites and a 14 percent drop among African-Americans. Hispanic enrollment, meanwhile, increased by 29 percent.

In 2016, the Asian-American share of first-year enrollment was 6.1 percent, the lowest since 1997. Overall, Asian-Americans make up nearly 7 percent of law school enrollment, while they make up 5.6 percent of the U.S. population.

The report (PDF), “A Portrait of Asian Americans in the Law,” suggests the decline could be because of instability in the market for legal employment, the relative attractiveness of other professions, and recruiting efforts by law schools seeking African-American and Hispanic students.

The report’s major conclusion—that Asian-Americans are underrepresented among the top ranks of the legal profession—was released in January. Findings include: Asian-Americans are the largest minority group at major law firms, but they have the highest attrition rates and the lowest ratio of partners to associates. Asian-Americans make up only 3 percent of the federal judiciary and only 2 percent of state court judges.

Before the drop in law school enrollment, Asian-American enrollment in law schools was increasing, rising from 1,962 students in 1983 to a peak of a peak of 11,327 in 2009. Even after the drop, Asian-Americans were disproportionately enrolled in higher-ranked schools. In 2015, 34 percent of Asian-American law students were enrolled in the nation’s 30 top ranked law schools.” [Emphasis mine]

This is not surprising, as Asians often work hard, go to top schools, and then end up hitting a glass ceiling. A while back, I ran across this hard-hitting piece from Wesley Yang. It appeared in New York Magazine on May 8, 2011, under the headline “Paper Tigers.” Once the grades are earned and the degrees are handed out, political and social connections play a much bigger role.


Other Coverage: On July 18, 2017, the Washington Post published a Tracy Jan piece that was entitled “Law schools are filled with Asian Americans. So why aren’t there more Asian judges?” Take a look at this portion:

“While Asian Americans are the fastest growing minority group in law, and are overrepresented in the country’s top law schools as well as at major law firms, they lag behind all other racial groups when it comes to attaining leadership roles in the legal profession, according to a study released Tuesday by Yale Law School and the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association.

“Asian American growth in the legal profession has been impressive but penetration into leadership ranks has been slow,” said Liu, who co-authored the study with a group of students at Yale Law School, his alma mater.

Asian Americans comprise 10 percent of graduates at the country’s top law schools although they make up just 6 percent of the U.S. population. But only 3 percent of the federal judiciary and 2 percent of state judges are Asian American, the study found.

Of the 94 U.S. attorneys, only three are Asian American. And only four of the 2,437 elected prosecutors are Asian American.

In the private sector, Asian Americans have been the largest minority group in major law firms for nearly two decades, making up 7 percent of attorneys. But they have the highest attrition rates and the lowest ratio of partners to associates of any racial group.

And in academia, Asian made up only 3 out of 202 law school deans in the country in 2013, and 18 out of 709 associate or vice deans.

“Asian Americans do well when it comes to competition and selection with objective metrics” such as LSAT scores and grades, Liu said. “But when the selection begins to involve things that are intangible for promotions, they kind of flip off the radar.”

The disparities become evident straight out of law school. Asian Americans make up just 6.5 percent of federal judicial law clerks and 4.6 percent of state law clerks, despite their heavy presence at the top 30 law schools.

In contrast, while whites make up 58.2 percent of students at top law schools, they landed 82.4 percent of all federal clerkships and 80.2 percent of state clerkships.” [Emphasis mine]

If Asian students perform better overall on the LSAT and typically go to premier law schools, then it also stands to reason that they all do well on bar exams. Yet, their job outlook is limited – even when they do end up in large law firms. You don’t see that in the medical field!

Conclusion: In the final analysis, Asians have figured out that taking on huge amounts of student debt, for a “career” that may last 3-5 years, is idiotic. They see that their hard work – and degrees from top law schools – will not typically be rewarded with a Biglaw partnership or a judge position. Furthermore, even the supposed liberals in legal academia are not too keen on placing Asian professors in leadership positions. Remember, this “profession” is based on social capital and connections. It is better to be a drunk kid from a wealthy family than it is to be an unconnected hardass, when looking for legal jobs. But go ahead and take out $178,512.56 in loans, for your TTT law degree, Lemming.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Average Ohio Law Student Debt Approached $100K for the JD Class of 2015


The Numbers: On July 17, 2017, the Plain Dealer published a Karen Farkas piece, under the headline “Ohio law school grads face debt of nearly $100,000 and few job prospects, report says.” Take a look at this opening:

“Many Ohio law school graduates are facing high debt and few job prospects, according to a study by the Ohio State Bar Association. 

The average 2015 Ohio law school graduate has approximately $98,475 in law school debt, according to a draft report released this month by the Futures Commission. "Only approximately 58 percent of 2015 Ohio law school graduates are employed in jobs requiring bar passage." 

The commission was established by the association more than a year ago to study "a number of challenges surrounding the delivery of legal services in Ohio amid a time of great social, economic, and cultural change, and to offer recommendations for how best to meet those challenges." 

The 29-member commission considered the "unprecedented burdens faced by new lawyers; the need for acquisition of knowledge and the skills necessary to develop and carry on a successful practice; the lack of regulation for new legal service delivery options; and the widening access to justice gap." 

The report provides information on the four topics and provided recommendations. 

Lawschooltransparency.com has recently issued Ohio law school information that includes an estimated average debt of about $132,000 to $271,000 when students who enter law school this fall graduate three years later.

The American Bar Association has posted employment information for 2016 graduates as reported by each law school.

A national study shows median law firm starting salaries have dropped more than 40 percent from 2009 to 2013.” [Emphasis mine]

A large portion, i.e. over 2/5 of that cohort, did not enter the “profession” after having accumlated huge amounts of student debt. Off the top of your head, name several non-legal jobs that would pay a recent law school grad about $98K per year. Remember, “requiring bar passage” does not necessarily mean an attorney position. Think of doc review. Furthermore, if you are not using your JD to practice law, then you will be viewed with more scrutiny. 


Previous Ohio Ruling on Student Loans: Back on January 13, 2011, the ABA Journal featured a Debra Cassens Weiss article that was entitled “Law Grad with No Plan to Repay Debt Fails Character and Fitness Mandate, Ohio Top Court Says.” Here is the full text below:

“Ohio State University law grad Hassan Jonathan Griffin of Columbus, Ohio, has a part-time job in the public defender’s office and no feasible plan to repay his law-school and credit-card debt.

That combination means Griffin has so far failed to satisfy the character and fitness qualification to get a law license, the Ohio Supreme Court has ruled. The opinion (PDF) upholds a recommendation by the Supreme Court’s Board of Commissioners on Character and Fitness. 

Griffin had $170,000 in student-loan debt and $16,500 in credit-card debt. He earns $12 an hour at his part-time job with the PD. 

“We accept the board’s findings of fact and conclude that the applicant has neglected his personal financial obligations by electing to maintain his part-time employment with the Public Defender’s Office in the hope that it will lead to a full-time position upon passage of the bar exam, rather than seeking full-time employment,” the opinion says.

Griffin will be able to reapply, however, for another bar exam, in February 2011 or later, and he may submit a new character-and-fitness application, the opinion says.

Above the Law is outraged by the decision. “What the hell kind of legal education system are we running where we charge people more than they can afford to get a legal education, and then prevent them from being lawyers because they can’t pay off their debts?” the blog asks. “If Griffin can’t pass C&F, Ohio might as well say that half of the recent graduates in the state don’t have the ‘character and fitness’ to be a lawyer.” [Emphasis mine]

I suppose that the moral of the story is to not take out too many loans to pay for the ridiculously expensive and risky venture of law school – even if you are working in the field. Hell, Mr. Griffin graduated from the best program in the state and he was in a paid position at a public defender’s office. Even though the job was part-time, that is a better outcome than many JDs who attend TTTs and end up never entering this glutted “profession.”

Conclusion: As it becomes more common for recent law grads to walk away with $160K in student loan debt, expect more of these men and women to become professional students. If nothing else, they can at least put off their loan payments for several years. Interest will continue to accrue and the principle will balloon, of course. Perhaps, some of these fools hope that Congress will wipe out their debt by the time they earn another degree. However, students are not a vital voting bloc and they are not individually or collectively wealthy. Plus, bailouts are for large industries that hire thousands of people – not singular broke-asses with useless academic “credentials.”
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