Archive for June, 2012

New Book Claims Law School is a Bad Deal for Most

New Book Claims Law School is a Bad Deal for Most, no it is not my title, it’s the actual title of the article from the Wall Street Journal.

“Failing Law Schools” by Brian Tamanaha, a professor at Washington University School of Law in St. Louis, makes the claim that the real culprits in legal education’s problems are high demand and the fact that law schools have for many years raised tuition beyond the rate of inflation, the National Law Journal reports.

Mr. Tamanaha claims that the mounting tuition has given way to bloated faculties, overpaid professors, the gaming of the law school ranking system and heaps of scholarship money. Elite schools like Harvard Law School, Yale Law School and Columbia Law School have been able to charge more and still fill their classes, while placing graduates in good jobs, but the same cannot be said for non-elite schools, which make up the majority.”

I’m not sure which time frame does he attribute the 0L to law graduates complicitness to the problem. I will say that at least for approximately the past 8 years many resources have become readily available warning potential law applicants of the dire state of the legal industry. More of the article can be found here: New Book Claims Law School is a Bad Deal for Most, Wall Street Journal Law Blog; 06/18/2012

Behind the curtain of student loans (Law graduate gets a student loan discharge but…)

Behind the curtain of student loans – Generation J.D. (06/14/2012, Maryland Daily Record)

I will sum up this article. You either have to be a parapalegic, suffer under a severely disabling disease or die for a bank/Sallie Mae to CONSIDER fully discharging your student loans.  I’m not sure why the U.S. Department of Education, the Federal Trade Commission (Truth in Lending Act) and other federal departments/agencies take a stand. Oh…Sallie Mae has the money for the lobbyists. That’s how they were able to get Congress to change the bankruptcy laws so discharging student loans is nearly impossible. Welcome to financial indentured servitude. The text of the article is below:

Behind the curtain of student loans By: Dorothy Hae Eun Min Last month, a former law student won a bid in bankruptcy court to discharge nearly $340,000 in education debt because her diagnosis of Asperger syndrome rendered her unable to repay the loans. The U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Maryland found that Carol Todd, who attended (the University of Baltimore School of Law, met the difficult burden of showing that she would suffer undue hardship if forced to repay her debt. (emphasis mine) Todd received her high school GED during the late ’80s, at age 39. She received an associate degree at Villa Julie College (now Stevenson University) and a bachelor’s degree at the College of Notre Dame of Maryland (now Notre Dame of Maryland University). She began attending law school in 1992 but did not complete the program. She went on to obtain a master’s degree from Towson University and a Ph.D. from an unaccredited online school in 2007. She filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in 2009. Todd pursued success in education “as a stepping stone toward a measure of liberation…to help her achieve something closer to a normal life.” Carol’s case is a rarity. The difficulty of proving undue hardship —the majority of claims are unsuccessful — and of discharging student loans has prompted the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys to call on Congress earlier this year to pass legislation that would allow graduates to discharge loans taken out from private lenders, including for-profit companies such as banks and student loan behemoth Sallie Mae. Similar legislation has been submitted over the past two years by Congressional Democrats without making much progress, but NACBA holds hope that this will change soon. While Todd’s story raises questions about undue hardships to borrowers due to a permanent mental disability, what does this mean for any changes to legislation when it comes to a borrower who suffers a permanent physical disability that ultimately prevents him or her from holding down a stable job to pay off student loans? Will Carol’s court decision cause lenders to increase scrutiny on prospective students with disabilities? What if the borrower is the victim of a tragic accident that leaves him in a coma? What happens when the borrower dies, but has a parent co-sign the loan? That’s Christopher Bryski’s story. Bryski was a college student at Rutgers University when he suffered a traumatic brain injury in 2004 in a fluke accident. He was in a coma for two years before passing away in 2006. To facilitate taking out private student loans for college, his father co-signed on the loans for him. Because his father co-signed on Christopher’s student loan from Key Bank, he was obligated to continue to make payments under the terms of the private loan agreement. He paid more than $20,000 of the $50,000 debt, which forced him to come out of retirement to make the monthly payments. Key Bank finally forgave the loan this past April, but not before the Bryski family struggled for six years after Christopher’s death to make payments and started a Change.org petition to seek help from the public to fight against the bank. What are your thoughts on these issues? In a volatile economy, many individuals seek further education to improve their prospective job opportunities. Should student loan companies provide more transparency to borrowers with regard to accidents and disabilities that could cause them to have trouble making payments?

The court in the first story may have granted the discharge with additional consideration that with all these degrees, one unaccredited and another (law degree) from a TTTT law school, there was no way she would be hired to pay off the debt. Interesting.

Some law schools may be reducing admissions but…

That’s not stopping new law schools from forming? What, say it isn’t so. As long as you 0L keep falling for it, they’ll keep building. “If you make it they will come.” We see how much the ABA is looking out for the legal indu$try…

Here’s the article UMass Law School Gets Provisional Accreditation from ABA:The Wall Street Journal, 06/13/2012

Some law schools are endeavoring to produce fewer graduates or to “reboot” legal education, but for others, the accreditation process keeps moving along.

Massachusetts’ first public law school, the University of Massachusetts School of Law in Dartmouth, has received provisional accreditation from the American Bar Association, the Boston Globe reported.

Two words to describe this industry “cha-ching.”

The school will get full accreditation after meeting ABA standards for the next three years. Meanwhile, its students will be able to take the bar exam in any state. Previously, they could only do so in Massachusetts or Connecticut.

The provisional accreditation is expected to bring increased applications to the school, which now has 325 students, the Globe noted.

“ABA accreditation is the gold seal of approval for law schools,” retiring UMass Dartmouth Chancellor Jean MacCormack said, the Herald News reported.

The school was created in 2010 at the location of the former Southern New England School of Law.

As WSJ reported, the ABA accredited 10 new law schools since 2006, and the number of law graduates increased to 44,495 this year from 42,673 in that time. The number of applicants to law school has been falling recently — 14% this year from last.

Law Blog noted recently that the ABA granted a five-year extension to Tennessee’s Lincoln Memorial University to get accreditation, after denying preliminary approval last year. The extension allows students to sit for the bar exam in Tennessee.

10 Things Law Schools Won’t Tell You: We reveal why the Juris Doctor isn’t what it used to be.

An article by SmartMoney magazine.  If you believe the following, in particular in reference to a law degree, you’re highly misguided and simply not listening to the CLEAR warnings being issued by the law school scam blogs and now the mainstream media:

“I thought if I got a higher degree, I’d have a better chance to get a job, but that’s not what happened.”

Ha. My favorite part is the caveat emptor, nonchalant ‘you’re stupid enough to believe what we say attitude from one administrator of the Thomas Cooley School of Law. Leave it to an attorney to justify its clients’ deceptive practices and possible violations of civil law. Yes, this is what you deal with in the real world, your supposed bosses, colleagues and mentors will eat you alive as long as they get paid to do it. “…. James Thelen, general counsel at Thomas M. Cooley Law School, says the institution follows the American Bar Association and NALP’s rules when reporting job placement rates, and its web site lists the sectors its graduates have been hired to work in. Separately, he says, colleges can’t predict how an economic downturn will impact job openings. “No reasonable person could look at the accurate data we report about graduate employment today and believe that it is a guarantee that the very same percentage of job opportunities will be available when he or she graduates,” says Thelen.” You hear that? you are being referred to as irrational, lacking sense or the ability to deduce that you will be gainfully employed or employed at all by believing what law school’s official represent in their statistics. Classic.

From the Wall Street Journal to the New York Times and now SmartMoney (this media outlet is designed to inform consumers about financial planning and investments–hint, hint) So if you haven’t received the hint that you should not go to law school, then go ahead, don’t say we didn’t warn you. This is self-explanatory, the rest of the story is here:  10 Things Law Schools Won’t Tell You ; SmartMoney, June 6, 2012.

Why I don’t like Sallie Mae

Well, for the obvious reasons. They are oppressive and there seems to be no end in sight for their billing tactics. We all know that recently a lawsuit was filed against Sallie Mae, SLM and subsidiaries for violating federal law. One of the options for damages is to have your student loan balance reduced instead of receiving an actual monetary award. Let’s see all of the billions of dollars in student debt, billions of consumers/students’ whose privacy rights were violated, attorney fees, court costs. I think each student will have a calculable $100 (that’s being generous) deduction.

Anyway, I was behind on the private student loans of which I have two (2). Scrimping and sacrificing to make my account current. For some reason most of the customer service representatives are vindictive women who hate their lives and take joy in making you deal with them. The other day I set up an auto payment and made a sigh of relief. This rude and cantankerous woman chuckled, literally in my ear and said even with these payments you are [this amount of time] behind. She actually had joy that I was still a little late on the most current payment. These people are sick and I’m sure they train their staff to the lowest customer service representative to the CEO that student borrowers are commodities which can be bundled (consolidated), traded (sold) and mocked. I say do whatever you can to pay off any private loans you have and let them see a grand reduction in student loan debt. Let these customer service representatives lose their jobs and see how it feels to struggle with barely anything to try to do the right thing while this corporate monstrosity makes a mockery of your effort. That my dear, will be karma.

#@&% No!: More lawyers of color a law school priority (Updated)

You see this? More lawyers of color a law school priority (Daily Planet, 05/24/2012)When an industry is failing that’s when they desire more people of color–so they can take them down with them. A year ago I posted an article regarding this issue and apparently it is being revisited. Listen wisely people of color, especially Blacks. Do not allow propaganda, rhetoric and false promises deceive you into attending law school. Let’s look at the facts:

*Law school tuition increases, while unemployment in the legal industry steadily decreases.

*Since the 2008 recession, the U.S. national unemployment rate hovered I think around 9+%. For Black Americans specifically it was a consistent 15%. When things are bad, they are really bad for Blacks.

*Unemployment as of last week continued to worsen in the public sector (federal and state government), because as one news article reported the bulk of Black unemployment is in this sector. Translation: whites in the mid to BigLaw firms have always been hesitant if not blatantly refuse to hire you. For those wise enough to apply to Yale or Harvard, a white male from the same alma mater will still win over you.

*The average law student must take out student loans: No ifs, ands, or buts. So an average person of color from working class or middle class will never have ALL of their tuition/fees paid by non-dischargrable Sallie Mae debt. Should you be able to find a job upon graduation, know that you will not make $150,000+ starting nor ever. Since state and federal government have continued to shrink its workforce, by the time new 0Ls apply there will be even less jobs in that sector.

This industry wants to get as many people of color mired in debt. Use your critical thinking skills and common sense. As mentioned before, you are wise to this game they’re attempting to play. Remember when the 4th tier UB Law attempted to open a branch law school in Prince George’s County-a county that has always been historically Black? It didn’t go through (See my post: Does Prince George’s Need a Law School?: An Article in The Washington Post (February 11, 2010) It does not matter if it’s Maryland or Minnesota or Massachussetts, it is a horrible scheme across the board.

Now there’s another scheme in the works in the guise of getting people of color represented in the legal industry. How about getting people of color represented in a legitimate workforce that actually helps them achieve a standard of living and have dignity? No, just more debt. Nothing but legal education sharecropping. You will be calling Sallie Mae “master.”

**Please also see: Minorities Decrease Enrollment in Law Schools: They Figured Out the Game (07/16/2010; Life’s Mockery)

“American law schools in crisis” Title of a Recent News Article

Yes, the mainstream media continues to take the baton in this law school-scam-busting relay. Likely the primary reason for these news outlets to focus on law schools because graduate level students take more debt than undergraduates (usually) and the student loan bubble has been stewing in a pot of Congress’ let’s turn away and not deal with it kitchen until it’s too late.  I laughed when I saw the first paragraph thinking “we told you so.” It’s like applying pharmacy ointment on a 4th degree burn. The article was written by a former dean at the University of Baltimore School of Law. Interesting, maybe he’s trying to mitigate potential lawsuits against him, other deans and law schools, though I found another article about this guy planning to resign months ago because he disagreed with how the LAW SCHOOL WAS SPENDING MONEY (Closius resigns as UB Law dean, Maryland Daily Record, 07/2011).

Anyway, here’s an excerpt of “American Law Schools in Crisis”:

The Golden Age of American legal education is dead.

Every law dean knows it, but only some of them will feel it. Elite schools (the top 25 in U.S. News & World Report’s rankings) and the 43 non-elite state “flagship” law schools are almost immune to market pressures. Those at risk will come from the other 132 law schools — the ones that produce the majority of law graduates…

Jobs and tuition, then, become an issue of quality admits. The fall 2010 entering class actually increased to a new high of 49,700, even as the job market was falling. Schools must now choose between admitting smaller entering classes (and sacrificing revenue) or dealing with a decline in the quality of their students — or both.

You hear that 0L? Stop the delusion, the madness, and unfortunately for people of color who thought going to law school was the one lift they needed for upward mobility it has not been this way for 20 years. I suggest engineering, chemistry/scientist. I would say medical doctor but that industry is corrupt in and of itself. For those of you who attended law school and continued to do so after seeing these blogs, the only thing I can suggest is despite the “competition” naturally inherit in American adulthood, do something for your fellow man/woman. Warn them about the perils of attending law school. The full article can be found at the Baltimore Sun website here: American law schools in crisis 06/04/2012

$10,000 First Year Associate Salary-Boston

No,this is not a joke. The article begins with:

Say No to Law School
Protect Your Sanity and Your
Financial Future

By now, most people know a law degree hardly guarantees law school graduates will snag a good job, let alone a high-paying BigLaw position.

But it may be even tougher than you think to get a high-paying legal job just out of law school. Hiring law firms, if you thought you were low-balling new grads, think again. (Boston Business Journal 06/01/2012): Legal job market hits new low: BC Law lists job below minimum wage 

Yahoo’s version: (06/01/2012)  Attention Lawyers: Get Your … $10,000 a Year Salary: 

The beginning of the article states: Attention college students applying to law school: put down the LSAT prep book. You might want to consider another line of work.

How can this be legal, it reminds me of how waitresses are paid poorly on an hourly basis then make most of their money on commission, maybe this is the same scheme. For shame, BELOW MINIMUM WAGE. Sallie Mae, SLM, Access, Nelnet does not care: All they say is _________ , you better have my money with a financial, back-handed slap known as late charges, additional finance charges, interests and other ‘costs.’

This has been going on for decades. Mainstream media is just late to the party; I would dare say ‘fashionably late.’ The kind of oh I was going to get there, so when I (mainstream media) arrive I appear to expose this dying legal market.

The Mainstream Media Harks the Trumpet: Overburden Law Graduates with Usurious Student Loans (NYT)

The New York Times

So, at this point the mainstream media gets it? Why you may ask. Because the Housing bubble put the nation and the world economy on notice that the old way of financially devastating working/middle class persons who took a chance on higher education will not only destroy their way of living but burden the world economies. Interestingly, the author suggest more accountability in accredidation (not likely to happen, if Sallie Mae lobbied Congress to privatized and obliterate “fresh start” by discharging student loans through bankruptcy; I’m sure these for profit institutions will lobby (pay) Congress to keep out of ABA’s ‘free market enterprise’ of exploitation–ironically in the legal field.

He also suggests stripping away tenure track positions. Hmmm maybe professors will be forced to teach with integrity and on merit not based on race, personality conflict or whether the student is the child of a local judge. Doubt the latter, but support the author’s recommendation. Here’s an excerpt:

Two factors have combined to produce this situation: the federal loan system and the American Bar Association-imposed accreditation standards for law schools. Both need to be reformed.

First, consider the loan system. For more than three decades, law schools have steadily increased tuition because large numbers of students have been willing and able to pay whatever price the schools demanded. Annual tuition at many law schools in just over a decade surpassed $30,000, then $40,000 and is now more than $50,000 at a few. The reason that students have been able to pay such astronomical sums is that the federal government guaranteed student loans from private lenders, and now it supplies the loans itself with virtually no limits.

To restore some economic rationality, the federal loan system needs to demand greater accountability from law schools: those with a high proportion of recent graduates in financial trouble should lose their eligibility to receive money from federal loans. (A similar requirement is currently applied to for-profit colleges.)

The full article can be found at:

How to Make Law School Affordable – NYTimes.com (05/31/2012)