Posts Tagged ‘accountability’

$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)

Congress investigates law schools

All Rights Reserved

According to the Tennesseean’s article Corporations add transparency; so can universities (02/15/2012). This makes sense. Law schools and other universities conduct themselves as for profit they should have all the regulations and accountability that goes with it. Employment statistics, true rankings, endowments, donations, investments and distribution of funding. The first paragraph of this article makes you mentally say an exclamatory *yes*:

The U.S. Senate is investigating law schools’ student data for accuracy, as evidence grows that public information released misrepresents the truth.

Hopefully, Congress will not address the legal industry like the housing market–lawsuits and settlements and restructure only for those affected since 2008 til present. These institutions of higher education have been gaming the system for decades.

National Law Journal: Accountability and Transparency: Law schools are adapting to the shifting job market

Buyer Beware

This news article Law schools are adapting to the shifting job market (01/24/2012) posted by the National Law Journal discusses the reality of  lawgraduates unemployment, the change in the legal industry and wow, accountability and transparency. The horns and sirens have sounded long enough where the ABA and US News and World Report actually have to tell the truth. The remaining issue, whether federal oversight-the Department of Education will regulate it providing substantive accountability rather than a new way for these accrediting and ranking entities to formulate a new form of ‘smoke and mirrors.’ You may enjoy this part of the article:

The ABA, NALP and U.S. News — under much criticism themselves — have been working to increase, clarify and standardize the employment information they collect from law schools. Within a few short months, the ABA’s most recent changes will be fully in place.

One of the benefits of the new standards is that “employed” graduates will be further classified within subcategories. The ABA and U.S. News no longer will consider both the grad working at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom and the grad working at Starbucks as merely “employed.” Additional breakdowns will funnel them into categories that indicate how many are employed in full-time vs. part-time, professional vs. non-professional, long-term vs. short-term and school-funded positions, and in jobs for which the J.D. provides an advantage.

Lol, let’s see how they would justify tuition once and if these changes are implemented. Buyer beware.

Center for American Progress Report Entitled: What Can We Learn From Law School?

All Rights Reserved

For those considering law school, this is a good read, a summary report entitled: What Can We Learn From Law School (click title for pdf) December 2011 by the Center for American Progress. I highlighted some quotes:“This report explores the field of legal education with the hope that putting a magnifying glass to this small part of higher education will help us better understand the problems that face all colleges. (see sidebar) It details the steady rise in law school enrollment, despite high tuition rates and a heavy reliance on student loan debt. And it describes the unpleasant surprise that awaits law students upon graduation: Though a few lucky grads will make more than $130,000 per year, most new lawyers can expect annual salaries of around $63,000. With monthly loan payments near $1,000, graduates are finding that membership in the legal profession is not the golden ticket they thought it would be.”

 p. 7: The high demand for legal education is somewhat surprising given its hefty price tag.  It’s difficult to locate the cause of this steep rise in tuition. Though some have claimed that stringent accreditation requirements drive price, a 2009 GAO study showed that this assumption is incorrect.

So not only student enrollment screening has become more lax, so has ABA accreditation.

p. 9 On the whole, this low default rate does not seem like a big deal. But for the individuals who fall into the default category, it can have devastating effects. Federal student loans are not dischargeable through bankruptcy.

That University of Maryland student that filed for bankruptcy should have had access to this report before going to federal court.

p.13: Though the return on investment in law school has been in question for young graduates since at least 2008 and possibly even earlier, this news was not widely reported until recently. This may be due, in part, to the fact that statistics about the legal profession as a whole mask the circumstances that young lawyers face. Bureau of Labor Statistics data on the legal profession show that the growth in law jobs slowed over the past several years. In other words, law schools are able to admit large classes, maintain the same educational model, and continue to push tuition higher because students still turn out in droves for a chance to be in their entering classes.

Basically, as long as the 0L public continues to buy into it, the law schools will continue to rope you in. You have the power to stop this madness, stop buying into the law school degree can open so many doors and you can do anything with a JD. It is obviously not true. These people are laughing in your faces at this point. You are now willingly and openly proceeding towards a known danger.

To ensure students, colleges, and policymakers react to the forces that are changing the value of college degrees, the following policy changes should be implemented:

• The Bureau of Labor Statistics, or BLS, should collect and publish average employment and salary data for recent entrants into an occupation. Would provide 0Ls reality of the legal market and what they’re getting into.

• The BLS should work in conjunction with the Department of Education to make this information available to prospective students. So 0Ls/general public are not duped by misleading and in some cases blatantly false statistics provided directly on the law schools’ websites who have obvious financial interest to skew data and currently no repurcussions to ensure accurate information.

• Accreditors in all sectors of higher education should create standard definitions for employment and salary statistics, and require member schools to make such information readily available to students. Accreditors should audit member schools’ adherence with these standards from time to time. Audit, compliance then the federal government can fine them, and they would lose money they hold so dear.

 The beginning of the report appeared to be slanted by providing the reader with the impression that although the legal industry is shrinking/worsening and the value of the JD degree is decreasing the legal education sector only accounts for a small amount of those enrolled in graduate degree programs. However, this report doesn’t provide any statistics to support that.  It is a good read for general summary which hints to the reader that law school, especially at this point of America’s development and economy is not a good investment, no matter how you play with the numbers.

Note from a Harvard Legal Journal: ‘Rethinking Legal Education’

To quote Esq. Never: http://esqnever.blogspot.com/2010/02/hands-off-education.html “target=”_blank” “Nonetheless, I don’t think I’m too far off the mark. Driving schools teach people how to drive. Typing schools teach people how to type. Clown colleges even teach people how to be clowns. Why on earth don’t law school actually teach people to be lawyers?”

Someone is hearing the call for reform.

As you state the sentiment of others, I came across this brief note in the Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review. The note is entitled: ‘Rethinking Legal Education’: http://www.law.harvard.edu/students/orgs/crcl/vol43_2/595-598_Chemerinsky.pdf

The line that yelled from the pages for me is: “But the reality is that few law students graduate from law school ready to practice law.” Honestly it was my understanding that most people received practical experience from clerkships at private firms, government agencies including the judiciary. These experiences do take place outside of law school but oft-times simultaenously on a part-time basis while a law student is matriculating.

It isn’t until the very end that you realize that although the note makes a good point, it’s a plug written by a dean for a new law school (the three horns music from the end of ‘A Law School Carol” comes to mind immediately).  Is it really necessary to open an entirely new law school, especially in California to implement these types of programs? One could’ve taken these ideas to law schools that are already in existence and struggling and raise their ranks and benefit the students that are already enrolled. Oh I forgot, actually investing in an American education isn’t worth much. Opening a new law school (August 2009)–priceless: $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$. Although some are hearing the desparate pleas, no one is LISTENING. There’s always a caveat. Always.

NOTE:  Do you know how difficult it is to have a legal article read, accepted, edited and published in an IVY law school journal. Although this was only a note, I find it peculiar how a four-page advertisement is easily accepted by a Harvard Journal.