Posts Tagged ‘2010’

Law Review Roundup

Although the law school blogs have put forth great effort in warning the general public, mainstream news media outlets have begun to address the issue. For those who shrieked that scam bloggers were emotional, dramatic and weren’t basing their information on facts, we have over time, demonstrated the latter to be false. Of course one would be emotional when statististcs demonstrate that one was duped in a fraudulent scheme of the higher education industrial complex while the student loan business has produced generations of indentured servants reduced to menial labor and the contempt of the public who already have a disdain for lawyers. 

The following is a short list of primarily ACADEMIC refereed law journal articles addressing the law school scam, student loans and law school, law school scam blogs and the call for reform of the law school for-profit industry. This was not just a temporal problem nor the call for reform a fad by disgruntled attorneys/recent law graduates. This demonstrates a fundamental need for a paradigm shift in the way law schools fraudulently represent job statistics, benefits of attending and not attending law schools, and the basic requirement to address the next round of defaults: student loans. 

The reality is that the legal industry has greatly declined due to mass production business model characterized by LPOs and increased usage of temporary attorneys. 

Anyway, here is the list of law review articles:

Redeeming a Lost Generation: ‘The Year of Law School Litigation’ and the Future of the Law School Transparency Movement 88 Indiana Law Journal 773 (2013). http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2134009

You’re Doing It Wrong: How the Anti-Law School Scam Blogging Movement Can Shape the Legal Profession, Lucille A. Jewel. 12.1 Minnesota Journal of Law, Science & Technology 239 (2013).
http://mjlst.umn.edu/prod/groups/ahc/@pub/@ahc/@mjlst/documents/asset/ahc_asset_366141.pdf

What Ails the Law Schools, Paul Horowitz, 111 Michigan Law Review 955 (2013)
http://www.michiganlawreview.org/assets/pdfs/111/6/Horwitz.pdf

Perspectives on Legal Education Reform: The Crisis in Legal Education: Dabbling in Disaster Planning, K.P. McEntee, et al. 46 U. Mich. J.L. Reform 225 (2012).
http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2188668

Options for Student Loan Borrowers: A Derivatives-Based Proposal to Protect Students and Control Debt Fueled Inflation in the Higher Education Market, Michael C. Macchiarola; Arun Abraham. 20 Cornell Journal of Law & Public Policy 67 (2010).
http://www.lawschool.cornell.edu/research/JLPP/upload/CJP102-Macchiarola-Abraham-2.pdf

The National Law Journal, “Consensus Emerging that Law School Model Is ‘Is Not Sustainable’ ” (2010)

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More Law Schools See Surge in Law School Applications

On July 6, 2010 Life’s Mockery reported that UMass Law School had a surge in law school applications: https://lifesmockery.wordpress.com/2010/07/06/in-the-news-a-new-unaccredited-law-school-has-surge-in-applications-enrollment/ Well, the madness hasn’t ceased, the operative words are more and surge, sounds like legal-industry-gluttony at this point. Today the National Law Journal reports: (False) Hope drives rise in law school applications 

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Hope drives rise in law school applications: Despite grim job statistics in nearly every corner of the legal world, law school applications increased by 7% over last year.

 The grim job statistics in nearly every corner of the legal world are surely enough to make any aspiring lawyer think twice about diving into massive debt to attend law school. [emphasis mine]. Apparently not for many, hopefully for others. Even with this frank start to the article, people are so desparate as to believe that obligating themselves into more debt will resolve their personal financial woes in this turbulent economy. Does this make sense? No.

“How much do applicants know about the contraction of jobs in the legal industry? It’s hard to say,” said Brian Tamanaha, a professor at Washington University in St. Louis School of Law who has urged law schools to provide more accurate information about graduate employment. “People could be thinking, ‘Well, in a few years things will change.’ I think we’re seeing a structural change in the industry. Even if things do come back, it won’t be to the same degree we saw just a few years ago.” My word, we bloggers have been saying this for a while, but I guess it’s considered speculation unless a professor says it. The legal industry is forever changed, there are IVY leaguers who cannot even find decent paying jobs, work is outsourced overseas, student loan debt, $40,000-$50,000 average attorney pay, do not go to law school. O.k. I’m back.

“In a climate like this one, we’re seeing applicants who are conscientious shoppers looking to get the greatest value for their dollar,” said Aaron Latham, the interim director of law advancement at Alabama, which won the NCAA Bowl Championship Series football title last year.  Apparently they’re conscious in a parallel world to take on this type of debt in this contracting field, or they would not have decided to go to law school in the first place.

The idea of law school as “the great default” is hardly new. Law school has long been more attractive than business school or medical school to college graduates with vague career ambitions, Leipold said. He attributed that in part to the versatility of a law degree, which can translate into the corporate world, public policy or any number of other fields.  Of course not, but who continues to propagate that “you can do anything with a law degree” and prestige with it’ll work itself out. I will say that at this point it’s not all the legal industry faults, sure deans, professors, lawyers who graduated in prior generations are culpable but we have unwitting lay people who have this imagery no doubt fueled by the media and the entertainment industry of law being a fast-paced glamorous life with a fast track to financial success. One can see how bad it is when the article states that most 0Ls do not know the reality of the legal industry and therefore have no idea what they are getting themselves into.

However, the idea that law school is always a solid choice should be retired in light of the growing price of a legal education and the dimming jobs prospects, several critics said. He’s saying that idea does not hold true, step into the real world and there are no jobs. Drop out of law school while you can! Do you want to subject yourself to over $100,000 debt, putting off having a family, no available jobs, depression, psycho attorneys on projects who are mentally ill or became that way because of the mental-institution like environment encouraged by staff attorneys? (that’s if you get a contractual job). Or perhaps you will enjoy having a J.D. on your resume and being practially locked out of nearly every other field as being overqualified or your degree being to specialized or not considered a true doctorate where you won’t qualify for fellowships in the future unless, you guessed it you plan to go BACK to another graduate school after law school.

“People who haven’t done any investigation into what lawyers do are foolhardy to pursue law school,” said Zearfoss, the Michigan admissions dean. “Anyone using law school as a default should rethink that.” Oh my, I may have to take some of my previous words back, believe me this law school dean just called you a fool for attending law school at this point. The image of the bully Nelson pointing at you saying “ha-ha” popped in my head. No matter how raw the honesty, he doesn’t reflect the majority of law school academia, at least so far.

“In 15 years of teaching, I’ve known a lot of students who came here because they didn’t know what they wanted to do,” Tamanaha said. “A lot of this is about cyclical irrational decision-making. It’s based on a very human trait, which is overoptimism. For the people who have always wanted to be a lawyer, they should go to law school. For anyone else, it’s not a good decision.”

O.k., so you have been called a fool and irrational for attending law school, do not let your ego allow you to make likely one of the worst decisions in your life. 

“Just because you wish for something, doesn’t make it true.”  ●Disney’s The Princess and the Frog

Have You Heard?: Feds Investigate For-Profit Universities Amidst Growing Default

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ahhh, it’s like music to our ears? On June 21, 2010 a U.S. Senate Committee announced a hearing entitled “Emerging Risk? An Overview of the Federal Investment in For-Profit Education”:  US Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, & Pensions: Newsroom – Press Releases

With the current economy and an increase of debt and student loan defaults, the federal government finally became satiated and wants answers. I really don’t understand how such a big portion of the U.S. economy both mortgages and student loans could remain unregulated for two decades and after the emerging economic collapse the question is asked “what happened?” o.k…let’s see if a little common sense will clarify: when you don’t supervise a sector and allow them to run amuck they will do anything they can, find any loophole, use any possible agent, step on the average American to get that almighty dollar. But as long as it APPEARED that the economy is ok and the private sector seemed to know what it was doing a blind eye was turned. Now, evidence of the economic consequence is so great, the country has to address it, though it appears it’s too late. Then again, it’s not like the exact same people have been in control or even members of Congress for the past two decades–wait the majority has. Yet, we have to give credit to the federal government for taking a major step to address these issues. Anyway… 

“More than two decades have passed since Congress last examined the for-profit education sector and in that time, we have seen an explosion in growth in for-profit colleges, and in the federal taxpayer dollars they receive,” said Harkin.  With students, families and taxpayers investing so heavily in for-profit institutions through large loan debt and billions of dollars in federal student aid, we must ensure that student are actually getting the knowledge and skills they need to pay off the debt. Congress has notice the massive debt that university students incur, without the ability find jobs in this horrible economy or actually demonstrate practical skills in the job market, thus making the university student “unmarketable” because as you know, you are considered as a commodity. You are a social security number, a statistic, owned by the private industry, that’s why your debt can be traded to whoever buys it and you have no say in the matter. 

“While for-profit colleges have a responsibility to their shareholders, they also have a responsibility to provide educational value to their students, and an obligation to ensure that the federal dollars they receive are well spent, particularly now that Congress has made an historic investment in student aid.” Historic? This word should cause us all concern, this sounds like a venture that is unprecedented which will require a different type of solution. The past two decades the federal government increasingly spent taxpayer dollars on colleges and universities without seeing a return. Maybe now the federal government understands what the average law graduate deals with everyday of his/her life.  College students graduating to become working citizens and meaningful participants in the growth of the economy (no, buying branded lattes does not count). But, let’s face facts, the government is seeing a constant money loss and want their money back, which is its right, however my skepticism dictates that it hardly cares whether or not students received a valuable education, just that, because the latter is lacking so is the student loans’ repayment rate. 

Witnesses will include:
Panel I
Kathleen Tighe, Inspector General, Office of the Inspector General, U.S. Department of Education, Washington, DC
Panel II
Steven Eisman, Portfolio Manager, FrontPoint Financial Services Fund, LP, New York, NY
Yasmine Issa, former Sanford Brown Institute student, Yonkers, NY
Sharon Thomas Parrott, Senior Vice President, Government and Regulatory Affairs and Chief Compliance Officer, DeVry, Inc., Chicago, IL
Margaret Reiter, former Supervising Deputy Attorney General, Office of the Attorney General, California Department of Justice, San Francisco, CA
  
Notice that not one dean of student affairs, university president, graduate student, or parent with a PLUS loan aren’t participating in this hearing session. At least there is one undergraduate student, though she only has $20,000 of debt; compared to any graduate or professional school graduate we scoff at that, but suffering is suffering. Looking at numbers, filings and memoranda will not give the full picture of this epic problem. Sometimes putting the faces with the numbers, stories of devastated lives injects the creative adrenaline needed to garner a communicable solution.

In the first panel: Kathleen Tighe , Inspector General, Office of the Inspector General, U.S. Department of Education, Washington, DC, her testimony does not get too relevant until P. 12:   

“Considering the economic downturn over the last several years, combined with escalating student loan debts, a significant concern is the potential for increased loan defaults as we have seen the national cohort default rate increase recently.” I agree we all should be worried, but I wouldn’t characterize this particular concern as ‘potential’ I think it’s more accurate to say ‘inevitable.’ I had to find the definition of ‘cohort’ default rate which refers to borrowers entering into their repayment period. Those in deferment or forbearance mask what will be the default boom of student loans. 

Not addressed by this change were two issues noted in our earlier report. In that report, we identified that cohort default rates were not a true representation, as they were reduced by: (1) a statutory change to the HEA’s definition of default from 180 days of delinquency to 270 days of delinquency; this 90-day delay excludes a significant number of defaulters from the cohort default rate calculation; and (2) an increase in the use of deferments and forbearances. As well as providing an increased period of time for universities to seek more funding with a buffer period hiding the true default, thus making the institutions appear more qualified for additional federal funding, at least that’s my theory. 

 We found that deferments and forbearances had more than doubled in the period we examined.  Borrowers in deferment or forbearance do not make payments on their loans, so they are not counted as defaulters, but they continue to be counted with other students in the cohort, thus reducing the cohort rate. May she meant “reducing the ‘cohort default rate.”  I guess I did have the right line of thinking. 

 While we recognize that the Congress has provided additional repayment flexibilities, when borrowers reach the limits on deferments and begin repayment they may still lack the income and eventually default and are not accounted for in the cohort default rate. The rest of her testimony can be read here: [http://help.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/Tighe.pdf

I wanted to highlight one of the other testifiers Yasmine Issa, as she starts you feel as if she took a portion of your life transcript:  

Thank you for inviting me to speak today. My name is Yasmine Issa. I thought that going to school to learn a marketable skill would allow me to provide for my family. Instead it has left me more than $20,000 in debt, and unable to be hired in the field I trained for. The resounding imagery of your life has now flashed before your eyes. As you can see, she assumed that what she learn was actually a marketable skill, and as with many lawyers and law graduates was left unemployed. Oh and multiply that $20,000 by 5 and you have the average student loan debt for law graduates. The rest of her story diverges as her training was not from a certified school while law schools have no problem with accredidation [http://help.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/Issa.pdf]. I may have to do a Part II, but am unsure I can stomach it.

United Nations: People are calling the international community to the plight of Black Unemployment

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All I have to say is wow, it’s that bad:Group Wants UN Scrutiny Of U.S. Black Unemployment, April 26, 2010  http://www.citylimits.org/news/articles/3956/group-wants-un-scrutiny-of-u-s-black-unemployment

 As national attention is drawn to the bp oil spill, the President’s current Supreme Court nomination and home foreclosures, it seems that unemployment remains wisping in the wind. As I read one Associated Press article concerning white flight into the cities and basically because they’re there, now the cities are worthy of federal assistance, I cannot help but think that’s what happened with the housing crisis. When it affects a growing number of certain people, that’s when bailouts are necessary? Anyway, back to unemployment. It is 2010, though I will say living in the DC metro area I see on nearly a daily basis ignorant (behavior wise) blacks, they are those who are not just educated but actually attempt to conduct themselves professionally and remain delusionally hopeful that they will derive some benefit from the legal job market.

One news article just posted TODAY stated: “But the ugly truth is that the road to success that the degree they’ve earned was supposed to open up is littered with potholes that their education cannot overcome. This year, blacks who have earned a bachelor’s degree and higher have a higher unemployment rate than whites who have only obtained a two-year college degree. And blacks with college degrees earn substantially less than white college graduates.” [ Black college graduates face road full of potholes, May 11, 2010, http://www.statesmanjournal.com/article/20100511/OPINION/5110318/1049/OPINION ]. So just imagine black unemployed law graduates with additional student loan debt.

It is 2010-black unemployment is highest across the board throughout the nation. Apparently since the government and private sector does not care to risk employing the majority of black Americans, help from the international community is sought. The international community is powerless to do any thing.  Here are some viable options: 1) educated black women stop being single moms, no I’m not referring to those who are divorced, widowed or have an annulment, I ‘m referring to the superwoman mentality in which black women just want to be a mom and feel that a traditional family structure is out of there reach. I read statistically that women in urban areas who are single moms are likely to birth children who will live below the poverty level. Instead, marry a good guy from another country who is educated and not looking for a visa to remain in the country. That way you can get dual citizenship and maybe employed elsewhere while expanding your horizons. 2) Americans can start facing the reality that education is not the cure for society’s ills whether financial or social. The more debt people have, the worse their outlook of the world, the worst their social interactions, the more deranged members of so-called civilized society. The economic devastation is all too self-explanatory regarding: plummeting credit scores, high interest rates, living paycheck to paycheck, inability to do more things one enjoys, feeling trapped, and I truly believe that this contributes to most attorneys having low self esteem masked in a surreal ego for survivial. Other than those with mental and physical disabilities, and maybe those who are just inclined to be hateful, this would give some sort of perspective as to why contract attorneys are so deranged on assigned cases.

The international community in reality cannot force the federal government to fairly employ qualified citizens within their borders. Due to mutual respect of nations and international custom the only thing the international community can really do is put pressure on the United States which I doubt it will do,  through such mechanisms as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.  Since most UN mechanisms have a two prong methodology: one can be a signatory of an instrument to say you agree with the contents but unless a particular nation ratifies it, the international community cannot bring it under it’s jurisdiction in a particular global forum.

With the overemphasis of free market and free trade…the fact that most black Americans aren’t considered worthy of respect,  the international community is not going to risk their financial and political stability by fighting on behalf of what many consider “the permanent underclass.” Should anyone know anything about Russia, Poland and Germany ummm African immigrants are not a priority and likely swept aside as a non-issue, just as the more indigenous Black Americans are in the U.S.

This post is bleak, I don’t have a solution. Most federal laws are more easily enforceable when the employer is an actual government entity versus a member of the private sector. The private sector runs the country, “big business”, lobbyists, loan generators, insurance companies and the Federal Reserve. These entities could care less about equal employment opportunities and fairness.

It’s time for a Civil Rights Movement revival, apparently this country has regressed to the era of the old guard.