Posts Tagged ‘bad investment’

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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Quicklist PART II: Law School is a Bad Investment News Articles

Quicklist PART II: Law School is a Bad Investment News Articles
Too Many Law Schools and Law School: A Poor Investment:
2013 Mainstream News Articles List

These news articles are provided for quick reference as similar issues have been addressed in depth in prior posts:

07/24/2013: Tampa Bay Times, Blumner: Laying down the law school, Robyn E. Blumner
http://www.tampabay.com/opinion/columns/laying-down-the-law-school/2132968

07/22/2013:
Bloomberg News, When Law School is No Longer a Safe Bet
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-07-22/when-law-is-no-longer-a-safe-bet.html

07/19/2013:
The Nashville Ledger, The Case of the Shrinking Law Schools:
Enrollment slides as sotential students argue costs v. benefits
Friday, Vol. 37, No. 29
Jeannie Naujeck
http://www.nashvilleledger.com/editorial/ArticleEmail.aspx?id=67645

04/25/2013: Foreign Policy, Should You Go to Law School?
The good, the bad, and the ugly about getting a J.D., Rosa Brooks
http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2013/04/25/should_you_go_to_law_school

04/05/2013:  The Huffington Post, If Law School Affordability Doesn’t Improve, Enrollment Will Continue To Decline: Analysis,Tyler Kingkade
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/05/law-school-affordability-enrollment_n_3023091.html

03/21/2013: CNBC, Courtroom Drama: Too Many Lawyers, Too Few Jobs, Mark Koba
http://www.cnbc.com/id/100569350

03/14/2013
Washington Monthly, Why Law School Doesn’t Work Anymore, Daniel Luzer
http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/political-animal-a/2013_03/why_law_school_doesnt_work_any043593.php

Bloomberg’s News Article, Death of the Legal Industry and its Obituary

Law school No Longer a Safe Safe Bet
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-07-22/when-law-is-no-longer-a-safe-bet.html
Bloomberg News

Although the article seems to mourn associates and their high salaries which the author recognizes is only a small percentage of actual attorneys, it gives the reader a backlash if you are a law graduate. It references how white collar employees who demeaned or look down upon blue collar workers in the 1950s who chose to forego higher education. This portion is distasteful as many law graduates who graduated before the 2008 economic collapse but in the late 1990s or later had nothing to do with 1950s social stigma as they were not even born and just emphasizes what I pointed out in the last point that no one cares what happens to attorneys as society has nearly always relegated practitioners as underhanded, spoiled, backstabbers and overpaid. The author basically gives a “middle finger” to attorneys and reflects why there is lack of support of reform from the accrediting agencies to those on Capitol Hill. The article did however discussed the legal industry as dead (yet more confirmation from mainstream media) and even wrote its obituary. A portion of the news article is displayed below:
_______________________________________________________

When I was contemplating becoming an English major, lo these many years ago, one helpful counselor told me that despite the stereotypes, English majors had lots of job opportunities. Advertising, public relations, academia. “And there’s always law school!” she said chirpily.
I didn’t end up going to law school; instead, after graduating, I embarked on a peripatetic odyssey of jobs and graduate school that culminated in my becoming a journalist. But I can imagine an alternative universe in which I did go to law school. Law school has long been the backup plan for humanities majors who don’t quite dare to apply for food stamps.
That era appears to be ending. Noam Scheiber writes the obituary:
“‘Stable’ is not the way anyone would describe a legal career today. In the past decade, twelve major firms with more than 1,000 partners between them have collapsed entirely. The surviving lawyers live in fear of suffering a similar fate, driving them to ever-more humiliating lengths to edge out rivals for business. ‘They were cold-calling,’ says the lawyer whose firm once turned down no-name clients. And the competition isn’t just external. Partners routinely make pitches behind the backs of colleagues with ties to a client. They hoard work for themselves even when it requires the expertise of a fellow partner. They seize credit for business that younger colleagues bring in.
“And then there are the indignities inflicted on new lawyers, known as associates. The odds are increasingly long that a recent law-school grad will find a job. Five years ago, during a recession, American law schools produced 43,600 graduates and 75 percent had positions as lawyers within nine months. Last year, the numbers were 46,500 and 64 percent. In addition to the emotional toll unemployment exacts, it is often financially ruinous. The average law student graduates $100,000 in debt.
“Meanwhile, those lucky enough to have a job are constantly reminded of their expendability. ‘I knew people who had month-to-month leases who were making $200,000 a year,’ says an associate who joined a New York firm in 2010. They are barred from meetings and conference calls to hold down a client’s bill, even pulled off of cases entirely. They regularly face mass layoffs. Many of the tasks they performed until five or ten years ago—like reviewing hundreds of pages of documents—are outsourced to a reserve army of contract attorneys, who toil away at one-third the pay. ‘All these people kept on going into this empty office,’ recalls a former associate at a Washington firm. ‘No one introduced them. They were on the floor wearing business suits. … It was extremely creepy.’ Still, any associate tempted to resent these scabs should consider the following: Legal software is rapidly replacing them, too.”

Quicklist: Law School is a Bad Investment News Articles

Law School: A Poor Investment:
2013 Mainstream News Articles List

These news articles are provided for quick reference as some have already been addressed in depth in prior posts:

04/19/2013, Volume 23, Issue 15
Is a legal education worth its costs?
http://library.cqpress.com/cqresearcher/document.php?id=cqresrre2013041900&PHPSESSID=p8dg0htm1e5n9ljtk3qj6u4s81#.Ud13_v15mc

03/19/2013: U.S. News & World Reports, ‘Make an Informed Decision When Considering Law School –Law prof Paul Campos advises a critical look at job statistics before students pursue J.D. degrees.’ Michael Morella 
http://www.usnews.com/education/best-graduate-schools/top-law-schools/articles/2013/03/19/make-an-informed-decision-when-considering-law-school

TIME Magazine 03/11/2013: Just How Bad Off Are Law School Graduates?
http://ideas.time.com/2013/03/11/just-how-bad-off-are-law-school-graduates/

Huffington Post
Legal Education Crisis: Schools Need to Cut the Fluff http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mark-nuckols/legal-education-crisis-sc_b_2863170.html
Mark Nuckols 03/12/2013

Huffington Post
Why You Should Not Go to Law School
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/tucker-max/law-school_b_2713943.html Tucker Max, 02/18/2013

02/15/2013: Hard lessons from record-low law school applications, Vera H-C Chan.
http://news.yahoo.com/hard-lessons-from-record-low-law-school-applications-200701891.html
02/10/2013:
One Law School Dean Tells Us The Real Reason No One Wants a JD Anymore
http://www.businessinsider.com/stephen-sheppard-paul-campos-brian-tamanaha-law-school-bubble-2013-2

01/30/2013: The New York Times, Law Schools’ Applications Fall as Costs Rise and Jobs Are Cut, Ethan Bronner. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/31/education/law-schools-applications-fall-as-costs-rise-and-jobs-are-cut.html

Too Little Too Late: Four Ways to Fix Law Schools (U.S. News & World Reports)

It has been a long time since I posted here, primarily due to focusing on my survival in such a grave economy and Sallie Mae venomously nipping at my heels. Anyway, I came across this “article” Four Ways to Fix Law Schools (click link). I find this as too little too late. Sometimes it is better to let something that is on death bed to pass away peacefully. For decades proponents of the law school industry have known that they were creating a bubble that would burst. Those law schools already in existence continued to pump out exorbitant number of law graduates by either increasing class sizes or adding programs to its over-saturated law school population. The ABA who loves to perpetuate the fun continued to accredit law schools though statistically it was quite aware of the economic burden v. benefits were not adding up. The main excuse the ABA used was that it would violate antitrust laws should it limit the accreditation of any additional law schools. This is counterintuitive. Antitrust laws exist to keep a market competitive for available sources, it is not to create a general market with barely any regulation so in reality there is no competition because there aren’t many jobs to compete for. Increasing law school admissions does not expand the job market it only makes the legal industry worse.

The suggestions listed in the article are simply too little too late. Even where it states to train U.S. attorneys to work abroad, in previous posts I have discussed that Spain, England and some Asian countries have a surplus of attorneys, and most of them do not think highly of the U.S. It is unreasonable to think that other countries, some part of the European Union which has their own economic crises to deal with, will welcome an influx of American attorneys with open arms.

Though it is common sense that in any industry, the learner must have “hands-on” experience and some level of intellectual pursuit. Law schools churned out too many “what if” asking professionals instead of those who can actually practice law. Those who can likely went to law schools that catered to local hiring and thus do not fall within the IVY League core, in essence the former has little to no change of upward mobility in experience or expanding their practicing fields. This article also focuses on the ‘future’ and has no solution or even reference to recent law graduates or attorneys who were not trained under apprenticeships though required to CLEs.  Thousands upon thousands of American attorneys who have already been thrown to the wayside, yet we are to believe that all of a sudden a 3-point article offers best solutions for potential law graduates.. Should of any of the law schools and ABA would like to take this article seriously it would have to take an economic loss by choosing a moratorium on any further law schools to be accredited and recommended lower admissions until either the legal industry re-invents itself or the lawyer to job creation numbers reaches a reasonable number. Until then this is simply baiting those who are still in their desperate state of minds consider law school as a viable option for a career and those who have a financial stake in the business aspect of the law school industry. This is just more fluff to keep the facade that the legal industry can recover. Times change, both economically and practically and they appear to change for the worse. The recommendation stays the same, the nearly insurmountable debt and poor quality of life is not worth it. Do not go to law school.

Woa Tells Us How You Really Feel: Forbes-Why Attending Law School Is The Worst Career Decision You’ll Ever Make

Why Attending Law School Is The Worst Career Decision You’ll Ever Make; Forbes Magazine, 06/26/2012

Not my words, words of Forbes magazine contributor. Wow, the magazine that is all about investing, making money, describing the wealthiest people around the world telling you law school is a bad investment. May we say told you so? This is major. We already witnessed The New York Times and the Wall Street Journal joining in the protest of ‘say no to law school,’ but Forbes. I must say this is great!

The news for would-be attorneys keeps getting worse. According to analysis from the Wall Street Journal released yesterday, only 55% of class of 2011 law school grads were employed full-time as lawyers nine months after graduation. The other 45% may be unemployed, working at Starbucks or starting their own law school hate blogs. LOVE IT.

The message that law school is no longer a sure bet when it comes to employment security and financial prosperity finally seems to be sinking in for potential students. In the last two years, the number of law school applicants has dropped by almost a quarter and the number of LSAT tests administered by the Law School Admissions Council has declined by 16%. How long we’ve been writing about this? False assurance of upward mobility, excessive debt, financial indentured servant status…This is so redundant, yet so true

Did I Read This Correctly?: ABA Telling College Students NOT To Go To Law School…

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       ABA Telling Law Students Not to Go To Law School (01/2012)according to Outside the Beltway the ABA issued this Statement last month. Interesting points:   

*According to the association, over the past 25 years law school tuition has consistently risen two times faster than inflation. Keep going…

All Rights Reserved

*The ABA is also warning of endowment losses, declining state support, and difficulties in fundraising that have hit law schools hard. It expects most public schools to raise tuition this year by 10 to 25 percent. Oh you were doing so well. I hardly believe law schools are “hard-up” despite law school scam warnings some law schools actually saw an increase in enrollment between 2008-2009. Or with tighter scrutiny law schools are being accountable for quality of accepted students and class size. I seriously doubt it’s for the reason the ABA claims.

To conclude: “Tens of thousands of dollars in debt — and a shiny degree: But, at the end of the day, getting a job in law could be a cold case in 2011.” Translation: Having a law degree is a dead end for your career. Enjoy.

New York Law School: Bad GPA? How about Another Semester on the House.

Education Loan Payments Once You Graduate

 Since law school administrators know that their current form of providing a legal education is inadequate to prepare graduating law students for the real world of law practice and to pass the bar exam, they found a new way to fudge their numbers. Since more mainstream media and law school scam blogs have brought attention for reform with law school employment statistics and student debt, one law school is offering some students one more semester to not deal with the hovering reality that will crash upon them once they graduate. The article mentions it focused on those “at risk” upon graduation, would one dare say you knew they were “at risk” when you offered them admission/enrolled them into your law program. Overexpanding your annual enrollment class to keep whatever financial aid from the federal government into you ‘institution of higher education?’ Read the following article of what New York Law School is now planning to do in order to skew the numbers:

Bad GPA? How about Another Semester on the House (02/06/2012)

One free semester after a full 3-year matriculation will likely change nothing. Whatever it takes to keep the numbers right, future student loan debt rolling into the schools and crashing on the law graduate.

Law School Tuition Hikes, Economy Downturn, why are you still going?

 

On June 18, 2010, The Triangle Business Journal published: 

Even as salaries go flat, Triangle law schools continue hiking tuition – Triangle Business Journal

The authors smacks you in the face with facts in the first paragraph: “DURHAM – Despite the battering the legal industry has endured over the past couple of years – which included salary and job cuts at many firms around the country – local law students will face rising tuition costs yet again this fall.” Interesting, you failed to mentioned the number of lawyers who are UNEMPLOYED but seem to emphasize the big and mid size law firms reduced salaries. Maybe you aren’t so forthright.

The law schools at UNC-Chapel Hill, Duke University, Campbell University and N.C. Central University all plan to increase tuition rates, and the total cost of earning a law degree now approaches or exceeds six figures for many students.” Riiiigghhhtt, now it approaches six figures, well most law students unless on scholarship, trust fund or help from some anonymous source are already burdened with this amount of student loans. Notice that despite the fact most law graduates aren’t finding jobs, saddled with tremendous non-dischargable debt, these law schools are still raising tuition. How can you justify it? Let’s put some theories out: 1) to deter the poorer Americans to not go to law school, based on the statistics of the current economy I think it’s reasonable to say that those will primarily be minorities. 2) these schools may have been poorly operated or lost endowments, funds in these Madoff & co. ponzi schemes like Harvard did 3) They know that there are still plenty of delusional 0Ls who think they will beat these odds and somehow by obtaining a Juris Doctor their lives will be complete, they just need to work hard to get on the other side. There is a saying: “Work harder, not smarter.” Allowing oneself to be under the tutelage of adults who are disgruntled with their lives and can have a major impact on your future life (standard of living, income, sanity) with just the stroke of the red pen versus taking heed to all of these warnings that law school is not worth the investment. With the changes in the economy, business models within the legal industry it is likely never to return to its once ‘glorious’ state.

“Students are faced with a very tough question,” says Boger, the dean of UNC-Chapel Hill’s law school. “I think there’s a whole lot of recalculation going on.”

“The old math was pretty simple: Law school was expensive, but debt incurred could be paid off in a reasonable amount of time because starting salaries at big-time law firms paid so handsomely. Then came the economic downturn, which belted law firms’ customers and, in turn, the firms themselves. That caused many big law firms to hire fewer new lawyers and pay the ones they did hire less than before.”

You see members of the legal industry who would benefit from you attending law school are even telling prospective students that you better reconsider your decision to go to law school. While others still attempt to justify the costs of such a prestigious profession:

“Bill Hoye, the university’s associate dean of admissions and student affairs, says Duke’s tuition is comparable to the top law schools in the country. He adds that law school is an investment that can pay off over a 40-plus-year career – and there is still a large earnings potential at big firms. Many of the area’s largest law firms still pay starting salaries well in excess of $100,000.”

Let’s see, the average lawyer likely not to continue practicing law after 6-10 years from what I have witnessed or is working to transition into another career. The fact that this dean “guesses” that it is possible for the ‘investment’ to pay in 40 years =nothing but a gamble to assume that the legal industry will recover from these fundamental changes that have already happened, that what you earn as a starting salary will be that of a BigLaw associate–which is reserved for the few–at least it used to be as now Harvard and Yale law graduates are unable to secure employment; even should one be able to earn a particular salary, it doesn’t last forever: mergers, layoffs, downsizing, changes in business models in the past only 10 years have devastated so many lawyers. One can only image what will happen in another 40 years!

Hoye thinks that what Duke offers students in terms of top-notch faculty and programs is worth the cost. “The quality of education is just outstanding,” says Hoye, who adds that financial aid at Duke’s law school also will rise by at least 5.5 percent this year. I’M SURE HE DOES.

“Duke projects it will have 744 full-time law students next year, while UNC will have about 800. Campbell plans to have about 450 total law students.” I’m not sure if they are referring to a new set of incoming class or whether if they include next year’s incoming class that will be their total number of students matriculating at the time. Either way it’s sad.

Repeat After Me: ‘Too Often a Law Degree Today is a Bad Investment’

This is a great new mantra to have:’Too Often a Law Degree Today is a Bad Investment.’  Maybe the author of this article will feel enough sorrow for me to pay off my student loans. Anyway, I think the article speaks for itself and continues to echo the reality and dissent of law graduates (I only show a portion of the article):

http://www.keytlaw.com/blog/2010/03/law-school-bad-investment/

Too Often a Law Degree Today is a Bad Investment

By Richard Keyt, on March 14th, 2010

Last week I read a blog post entitled “University of Alabama School of Law Accepting Applications for LL.M in Taxation Program” on a law professor’s blog.  The ivory tower prof who wrote the post proudly announced not only the beginning of the new law school program, he also linked to a brochure about the new program, linked to a video about the new program, gave the class schedule and an email address at the University of Alabama where people could send messages for more information.  Makes me wonder why the prof is shilling so hard for the new program.  I suspect he thinks it is wonderful that more young lawyers will be able to  go deeper into debt to get a masters degree in tax law.  I’ve got news for him, the view from the ivory tower is much different than the view from the trenches where young lawyers must seek employment…

I found the following tidbits of information in the University of Alabama’s brochure about the new online LL.M. program: 

  • “The LL.M. in Tax Program has rightfully earned a reputation for being one of the best educational values available.”  The brochure does not offer any support for this bold statement of fact.
  • “we have assembled a “dream team” tax faculty”
  • Tuition will be between $25,200 and $26,490 for 24 semester credit hours.

I could not find anything on the law school’s website or in its sale brochure that discussed if having a master’s degree in tax law would help an unemployed lawyer get a job or an employed lawyer get a better job or make more money.  I am sure that the new program will make a lot of money for the law school. 

There is something terribly wrong with the higher educational system in general and the law school education system in particular.  What is wrong is that these education systems are misleading young people into incurring massive debts to pay for degrees that many times do not justify the investment.  See “Mamas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be…Lawyers.”  Law schools are at the top of the student abuse chain because of the staggering cost for a year of school.  One hundred and sixty-five law schools charge more than $20,000 a year for tuition.  One hundred and one laws schools charge more than $30,000 a year for tuition.  See the table comparing law school tuition.  If a student can get by with room, board, books and incidentals of $15,000 a year, the cost for three years of law school is: 

$20,000/year tuition = $35,000/year = $105,000 total
$30,000/year tuition = $45,000/year = $135,000 total
$40,000/year tuition = $55,000/year = $165,000 total 

Here are the monthly payments at six percent simple interest paid over 10 and 20 years for the above-three debt amounts: 

$105,000 debt = $1,160 and $749
$135,000 debt = $1,491 and $962
$165,000 debt = $1,823 and $1,176 

I feel very sorry for young people graduating from law school in these difficult economic times.  More often than not they have been mislead by their law schools into believing that a law degree is a ticket to a great paying job.  Why aren’t the law schools required to give exact graduate job hiring and salary statistics?  Even though ivory tower guy and the intellectual elites that teach and run the nation’s law schools are putting their collective heads in the sand because it all boils down to big money in the pockets of the law schools and their faculties, the media and other people are starting to notice the problems with legal education in the United States.

I see a bit of  Nando/Third Tier Reality and Esq. Never in this article-with your breakdowns and estimated financial calculations. Anyway, this article is pretty much self-explanatory, should enough people keep saying it potential law students will finally accept it. It works when you are lied to, so maybe it’ll work when they realize bloggers are telling the truth.