Posts Tagged ‘competition’

Cornell Journal of Law & Public Policy: Predatory Student Loan Lenders, Middle Class Hope for Upward Mobility, the Legal Industry and the Inevitable Bubble

As some potential law students continue to await LSAT scores, law school admissions or are wondering whether or not going to law school will give them that one chance at a better life, it would benefit you to read the following:

Being led to the slaughter

A law journal article: 20 Cornell Journal of Law & Public Policy 67 (2010)
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

O.k. so this article is 72 pages, obviously I won’t delve into the entire piece but I am placing some introductory quotes in which the author is direct with failing legal industry and how the student loan industry are basically predators. He specifically discusses law schools and new lawyers are a bad investment. the author is a ‘distinguished lecturer.’ The author is a law professor and is honest enough to basically state that going to law school isn’t worth it. Do you 0Ls get it? one of your potential professors is telling you that LAW SCHOOL IS A BAD INVESTMENT!

Here are the Table of Contents for a very brief overview:
INTRODUCTION                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I. THE RUNAWAY COSTS OF AMERICAN LEGAL EDUCATION
By the Numbers
The Causes: A Combustible Mix of Accreditation,Rankings, Peculiar Incentives and Federal Encouragement
A Brief History of the Law School and Its Accreditation
The Rankings Game
The Peculiar Incentives of the Law School Faculty
The Federal Government and the Student Loan Market
The Scope of Government Involvement
Crisis in the Market and the Emergence of SAFRA
Income-Based Repayment and More of the Same
“For-Profit” Schools and a Way Forward

THE DISAPPOINTING REVENUE PICTURE FOR LAW SCHOOL GRADUATES
INFORMATION ASYMMETRIES AND ENTERPRISE LIABILITY
Informational Asymmetries Abound
Applying Lessons from Enterprise Liability Theory

Now for some introductory quotes:
Runaway tuitions and the burdensome student debt required for most Americans to obtain a post-secondary degree are under scrutiny like never before.4 Evidence is beginning to mount that, for too many students, debt-financed education represents a stifling encumbrance instead of the great investment that society’s collective commonsense has long advanced.5 Such a finding is unsurprising in light of the fact that, for too long, the value of education has been reflexively embraced without adequate examination of its cost. (p. 69-70)

As most bloggers have been stating, the cost is not worth the proposed benefit with all of the practical variables: economy, shrinking industry, inflation, lower salaries, loan payments and their capitalized interest as well as the time and psychological warfare this field demands.

The cost of attending law school, for example, has increased at two to three times the rate of inflation over the last three decades.11 The promise of accessible loans has made loan eligible middle- and lower-income students an easy mark for unabashed, aggressive student-loan marketing.12 “The end result,” in fact, “has been an unprecedented, debt-fueled wealth transfer from students of modest means to the increasingly prosperous higher education industry and opportunistic student loan lenders.” (p. 71-72)

Now deemed “McLaw” this along with LPOs and general outsourcing has set the middle class population in a cycle of perpetual financial slavery. Upward mobility is not founded in usurious personal debt. Do not think of the titles. Do not think of prestige. Think of your life and happiness and with any common sense you will decide not to attend law school.

Just Can’t Help It: The Rejection Letters Just Keep Flowing In

These rejecteion letters are apparently mechanically generated. Most of them are emailed, yes emailed. Nowadays a potential employer doesn’t see fit to ‘waste’ a .44 stamp to reject you:
____
Thank you for your interest in employment with the [Federal Agency]. You were highly qualified; however, you were not selected for this position.
Audit Code
NN
Code Definition
Not Selected – Not Contacted
Code Explanation
The selecting office has indicated that you were not selected or contacted for this position.

Thank you for your interest in Federal employment. You are encouraged to visit http://www.usajobs.gov to view additional Federal employment opportunities and information. PLEASE DO NOT RESPOND TO THIS MESSAGE. IT WAS GENERATED AUTOMATICALLY.
____
EL You are eligible for this specialty and grade.
Special Messages
The information shown on this Notice supersedes all information you received in earlier Notices from this examining
office for this occupation. PLEASE DO NOT RESPOND TO THIS EMAIL MESSAGE. IT IS AUTOMATICALLY GENERATED.
____
We have reviewed your application and found you qualified for the position listed above. However, you were not among the most highly qualified candidates. Therefore, your name will not be referred to the hiring officals at this time.

Thank you for your interest in employment at the [Federal Agency Headquarters]. PLEASE DO NOT RESPOND TO THIS MESSAGE. IT WAS GENERATED AUTOMATICALLY.
_____
The selecting office has indicated that you were not selected for the position. Thank you for your interest in [Federal Agency] employment. PLEASE DO NOT RESPOND TO THIS MESSAGE. IT WAS GENERATED AUTOMATICALLY.
_____
We have reviewed your application and found you qualified for the position listed above. Your name has been referred to the employing agency for consideration.

Any questions concerning interviews, physical examinations or other matters should be referred directly to the agency.
Thank you for your interest in Federal employment. You are encouraged to visit http://www.usajobs.gov to view additional Federal employment opportunities and information.

PLEASE DO NOT RESPOND TO THIS MESSAGE. IT WAS GENERATED AUTOMATICALLY.

US News & World Reports: (Law School) Know What You’re Getting Into

US News & World Reports
Ann Levine
November 22, 2010

I am proud to be a lawyer and I am proud to help other people reach their dream of becoming a lawyer. [sounds desparate to sell the profession]. However, there have been numerous stories recently that may discourage you from applying to law school. There are negative and disgruntled law students and attorneys warning you about the evils of law schools, of the profession, and of anyone remotely related to it. My goal is to make sure you don’t join that disgruntled bunch. [Which can simply be prevented by not attending law school]

So, if you decide to go to law school, you need to feel that the benefits outweigh the sacrifices and potential drawbacks that many of the naysayers routinely harp on. Go into it with your eyes wide open, ready to work hard, ready to make your way and create your own career. [Sounds like a tort in the beginning you are proceeding into a known danger and that it’s forseeable that you will have damages]. You won’t expect anyone to hand you a six figure job at graduation.

[This is such a misleading characterization, that most attorneys EXPECT six figures. No most attorneys expect after committing and investing time, money, effort and basically their life into achieving admittance into a noble profession that one can obtain a job in which one can have DECENT housing, food and transportation. The only graduates who really expect six figures upon graduation are those set for the patent bar, trust fund babies, IVY League graduates with connections.]

You will go into this with an understanding of the realities of the profession. You will know that success does not happen overnight, that your dream job isn’t the first job out of law school, but the one you hold ten years down the road. [false misrepresentation, how in the world can such a writer state this with a ‘straight face’ without submitting statistics or even state based on people he or she knows. It appears the author writes in theory or the same rhetoric that continues to be told to unsuspecting 0Ls.]
There is no fast track to success in law school or in anything else in life. The key is to make the best decisions you can about your future with the information you currently have at your disposal.

I want you to really consider whether to go to law school, and I want to share the questions you should be asking before you go. Plus, I want to make sure you are equipped to make good decisions about where to attend.

Let’s start here: Reasons NOT to Go to Law School:

1. Money (How much does law school cost and how can I pay for it?)

2. Time (three years full-time, 4 years part-time)

3. Bad career outlook in current economic environment

4. It’s difficult

5. It’s competitive

6. There are too many lawyers

It appears that 1, 3, 5, 6 are all related to NOT being able to get a job or make decent money with a law degree. Decent refers to enough money to sustain you and your family (whatever that may be) with food, gas, heat, electricity, housing and transportation. Four out of the six reality checks are stating that you cannot live a normal life with a law degree. So those of you who are already making $50,000-$75,000 without a law degree; you are in a much better position than most licensed American attorneys. So, does it make ANY sense to encumber your life with unnecessary debt to be in a profession with superficial professionalism, mentally disabled persons who many have broken down after realizing the reality of what going to law school has done to them, all while struggling to meet your monthly financial obligations and reaching for straws to keep a facade of upward mobility. Reason with yourself and don’t ignore the signs.

Points 2 and 4 are related to losing valuable years of your life to spend hours, days, weeks studying to impress law professors who already made their decisions of who each student is, where they will fall in the mandatory curve within the first week of classes, all the while subjecting students to the Socratic method with the intent of satisfying a power-trip. Now all professors are like this but most are. Your first year you do not select your law professors and many have tenure, so good luck in being treated fairly while learning about the law–ironic isn’t it?

Now, the Reasons TO Attend Law School:

1. Learning how to think

2. Profession you can always rely upon/Job security

3. Helping others/contributing to the community

4. Being important and respected

5. Financial security, prosperity

Points 2 and 5 do not make any sense in light of the previous set of points. Although most professions and both the private and public sector is suffering due to the current economy, the legal profession has forever changed. There is no such thing as financial security in general when there is a permanent oversaturation of law graduates and attorneys. Due to this saturation how can point 4 be valid? Value is based on quality and rarity. Many media outlets have exposed how unprepared most law graduates are and have been over the past few decades. When lawyers are a dime a dozen, how are you important? Though theoretically an attorney is to advocate, be a defender of the Constitution, etc, most attorneys are either focused on keeping their financial security which inevitably compromises the value of the services and as a result the profession. Additionally, when there is not a demand for a product or service, the price steadily decreases (oversaturation).

You need to do your research about each one of these pros and cons. How much can you expect to make in the area of law you plan on pursuing? What would your student loan payment be? Your rent? Your car payment? Etc.

So, how can you research this? Talk to lawyers in big firms, lawyers who work for the public defender, lawyers who work in a firm with only two or three attorneys, or insurance defense attorneys. Ask them how much they made in their first five years of practice and how much they made after ten years. Ask them what they really do all day. Ask them to describe a typical case they are working on. [A simple approach is to read these blogs. The following two questions are good suggestions though:]

Ask them what time they get to the office everyday and what time they leave. Ask them if they like their jobs.
Ask them where they went to law school. Did they take a scholarship to a lower ranked school? Why or why not?

Do top law schools open some doors? Do you want to clerk for the Supreme Court? Be a law professor? I suggest you look up people who have jobs you would like to have one day and see where they went to law school.

It’s essential you have a firm grasp on what the profession entails before you commit. Comparing and contrasting the answers to these questions with your expectations is key to helping you make your decision.

If you’ve gone through this thought process and you still decide to attend law school, you will know what you are getting yourself into. You will be in a position to make good decisions about your future. And then you’ll be ready to hear this podcast: How to Get Hired as a Rookie Attorney.

In other words you will definitely be “proceeding into a known danger.”

In the News: A New Unaccredited Law School Has Surge in Applications & Enrollment

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Strong start for UMass Law – The Boston Globe, July 6, 2010

Lower costs help to double size of first-year class

Yes, lower costs for an unaccredited law school lures unwitting 0Ls to mortgage their futures. Do they not know how slim the chances are for most lawyers who attend an accredited university to obtain jobs in this economy, let alone non-tier 1 law graduates from accredited law schools? The legal profession has become nothing more than a corporate veil.

NORTH DARTMOUTH — Applications and enrollment at the state’s first public law school have surged since the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth acquired the struggling Southern New England School of Law, an early sign that the controversial merger is off to an auspicious start. Sounds like a typical corporate merger and acquisition deal, you know business as usual. Let’s see when one company considers purchasing another it is likely for two reasons 1) company no. 2 is struggling and seeks to get rid of its product, in turn company no. 1 will probably get a tax write off and sell what assets it can to turn a profit OR 2) company no. 1 knows that somehow it can bilk what’s left of company no. 2 and put a spin on the merger to make it appear it’s a valuable asset again and secure new consumers to purchase its product with the prediction that in a few years it will return a profit. This is regardless of whether the product itself had any long-term value, which is why oft-times more money is spent in advertising and marketing (shiny admission brochures and course catalogs) than actually improving the product. This is also done regardless of whether a market is saturated. In general business, people throw ideas around, had it already been produced by another company it’s tossed out as “been there, done that.” Not with law schools.

Following years of pitched political battles to block its formation, the new University of Massachusetts School of Law received 462 applicants for this fall’s incoming class. That is more than twice the number who applied last year, when the school was a little-known private institution.  Even with staunch opposition, the failing law school was allowed to be recusitated though letting it die would’ve saved hundreds if not thousands of potential law students from a disheartening fate. One should wonder, is anyone listening, yes to the cash register.

The size of the first-year class is also doubling to 155. And students’ credentials, as measured by undergraduate grade point averages and LSAT scores, have risen, a feat for a school that has yet to be accredited by the American Bar Association, say university administrators. More than half of those accepted have decided to enroll. Should this statement be proven true, it either means the quality of higher education has reached a level of unimprovement or standards for admissions continued to be lowered. What is interesting is that many of the enrollees have competitive undergraduate records, yet CHOSE to attend an UNACCREDITED professional school. This makes no sense.

“Students are voting their confidence in the fact that we can probably get the accreditation,’’ Jean MacCormack, chancellor of UMass Dartmouth, who plans to seek the designation in 2012. Students are relying on their hopes that the school they attend will get accredited. They are taking a gamble where the stakes are highest on their future, not the schools. The law school will have recouped its investment via student loans, while law graduates (if they make it that far) will graduate with a substantial amount of debt, little job prospects and attendance to an unaccredited university on their resume. Someone push the ‘logic’ button please.

The new students are a nontraditional group, ranging from 21 to 59 years old. More than a fifth will pursue law degrees part time while continuing to work. Half are Massachusetts residents. Nearly a third are black, Latino, Asian, or Native American, the highest minority enrollment among Mass. law schools. The author attempts to make it appear that a third of incoming class is alot. It isn’t. Minorities have caught onto the game. Hopefully the spin on this article doesn’t attempt more students, especially minorities to take the bait to attend law school, especially this one! [see Law School Admissions Lag Among Minorities January 6, 2010 « Life’s Mockery]

And 39 percent will receive financial aid, including 25 students awarded a fellowship that covers half of the $23,565 tuition for committing to four years of practicing public service law upon graduation. 39% on student loans and only 25 OUT OF 462 students have a partial scholarship in which they have to work in a non-existent, low pay state/local level government job which won’t even cover their basic necessities after their initial deferment payment. Oh from an unaccredited law school, great investment right?

“The fellowship is a huge relief for someone in my position,’’ said Brandon Ferris, the 25-year-old victim-witness advocate. “As soon as this school became UMass, there was no question where I was going to go.’’ [emphasis mine] He’ll need a victim-witness advocate when he’s testifying about the student loan industry before Congress on Captiol Hill.

The public law school, whose tuition is about 40 percent less than what private law schools charge, formally assumed its new identity July 1. The school was decades in the making. Attempts to create it repeatedly faltered amid challenges from private law schools that said the state had enough law schools, questioned its financial feasibility, and were threatened by the more affordable competition. Yet, no one listened. Although I’m confident these law schools opposed this one for monetary reasons, like wanting to hoard potential law students for their own profit, at least they were right in asserting that the state had too many law schools.

Its existence, though, has not appeared to affect UMass Law’s primary rivals, including Suffolk, New England, and Western New England law schools. Suffolk saw a 2.5 percent increase in its applications for next year, with first-year enrollment holding steady at 530 students. These sound like unprecedented enrollment numbers, how can this be allowed?

Twenty first-year students are already on campus, getting a jump on law school with a criminal justice course taught by law school dean Robert Ward. In nine weeks over the summer, they will cover a range of topics from Fourth Amendment searches and seizures, to conspiracy and inchoate crimes.

Three weeks ago, Ward said, he worried whether some of his students belonged in law school. But he said he has found that the students have fewer academic challenges and possess better writing and analytic skills than students in previous years’ classes.  [emphasis mine]This professor even admits that the school admitted students who should not be attending law schools, but “at least they’re better than the prior class.” That doesn’t mean much except that many students in that prior class shouldn’t have been admitted either. I wonder whether more professor will have the courage to form a committee to make recommendations on limiting law school enrollment and types of students enrolled. Probably not, that will interfere with their sabbaticals and pensions.

Other supporters have stepped up as well to help build the law school’s future, which MacCormack has vowed would not cost taxpayers a cent. Charles Hoff, a venture capitalist, former UMass trustee, and UMass Lowell graduate, has pledged $210,000 in scholarships for needy graduates of any UMass campus to attend the law school. Key words: venture capitalist, thus a money making venture, investors are banking on the false hopes of newly enrolled students.

The new students said having a state law school makes a legal education more accessible. With the lower tuition, and fellowships for public service and high LSAT scores, some students believe they will graduate with little to no debt. Look how subtle this line is. The author implies, that’s what they believe but is not reality. Even with partial fellowships for those whopping 25 enrollees, interest and fees will mount and continue to increase as the student loan industry tries to recoup money it will lose due to the new federal regulations concerning subsidized loans. Law graduates will likely rely on parents, credit cards, forebearances and deferments for survival. That’s why the author states “some students believe they will graduate with little or no debt.” Belief is not reality.

More on Law School Grade Inflation: A New York Times Article

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 Law Schools Visit Lake Wobegon – Economix Blog – NYTimes.com, June 22, 2010

I’m seeing more articles about the legal industry with some refreshingly honest one-liners: “To paraphrase the late, great  Henny Youngman: Take our graduates — please!”

That is the message blasting from the nation’s law schools, those cash cows of higher education that could once promise lucrative employment to the nation’s risk-averse young adults. Now the legal job market has turned chilly, though, and schools are trying everything from literally paying employers to hire their students to retroactively inflating their alumni’s grades. [emphasis mine]. I appreciate the raw characterization of these institutions of higher learning. But where was this integrity 15 years ago; it only surfaces when those who were in line for the next round of promised BigLaw employment are affected that more media outlets bring attention to it…or that the lid was on top of the boiling legal industry ready to spill over, but adding ingredients of false imagery, justification, cajoling and misrepresented statistics finally spilled over, a likely combination of both.

The schools making the changes range from all over the spectrum, from the tippy-top-ranked schools like Harvard and Stanford (which no longer use traditional grades) to other top-20 schools like New York University, Duke, Georgetown and Washington University in St. Louis as well as schools further down in the rankings like Tulane, the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and Loyola Law School of Los Angeles. In a sense, the economy became a great leveler of talent that was disbursed throughout the different law schools, but these recent changes in grading policies across the spectrum has led to a new characterization of IVY League and top fourteen law schools: ‘First Tier Toilets.’ Ouch.

I talked with a lot of law school deans and others involved in the “grade reform” process, and pretty much everyone argued that their school wasn’t trying to “leapfrog” anyone, just to keep an “equal playing field” with their “peer schools,” which already had higher grades. And likewise students whose schools have not yet inflated their grading systems are complaining that they are currently at a disadvantage in the job market.  Do people really think this will make a difference?

Higher grades (or no grades at all) are probably good for stressed-out students’ morale. But it is hard to say whether a stricter or a more lenient grading curve makes much difference to students’ job prospects, especially since many law firms try to keep up with what the schools are doing. (Above the Law, a legal news and gossip blog, has been publicizing such changes to schools’ grading systems, for example.)

I will now start my ramblings: Maybe in the schools’ rankings, the schools’ qualification for federal funding, the schools’ justification to continue tuition increases. However, for the law graduate it’s an odd benefit. Since a certain number of grades each semester had to be disbursed throughout the class, those who were intelligent may have been given the luck of the draw lower grade. So those who are above the curve, whether more talented or not continued to gain advantages over the former. Now, we can also theorize that the change in the grading process could give those who should’ve been above the curve the grade they deserved in the first place. With all of this convolution, it appears that the law school grading system was flawed in the first place and the likely privileged are now complaining because they were accustomed to the golden path to BigLaw. Yet, this argument against grade inflation will always exist: The flattened grading curve can make it harder for standout students to continue to, well, stand out. Grade inflation may particularly hurt top students at mediocre law schools, who want to show they can compete with job applicants from more elite institutions.

The bottom line is that the legal industry is unable to create new jobs in this failing economy. Increasing grades will not truly increase competition. The real issue is the number of new law schools that continue to become accredited and the increased number of law graduates that are continuously pumped into the market.

Another Field Looking to Exploit Desperate, New Law Graduates

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An interesting article, amidst the shrinking legal market, financial firms believe their business will increase by offering similar services to law firms: Look to law grads for recruits, June 24, 2010 

IFAs should look to law graduates as a source of new recruits, according to Sifa. Speaking on board PIMS last week, Sifa development director David Seager said there are few jobs at present for law graduates and financial services firms should look at recruiting them into the IFA profession. Wait, you want to get businesses to hire law graduates who took upon themselves $100,000+ in non-dischargeable debt to fill positions of financial advisors

He said: “There are a lot of people studying law but there are very few jobs. We always have this debate in financial services about where the new blood will come from. Firms should start looking at law graduates.” [emphasis mine] O.k., let’s clarify, yes many students study law, common law, theories, unrealistic hypotheticals which garner no practical legal skills. Unless that law graduate has an MBA or you’re willing to train them on finance, you may be making an investment in these law graduates with the same risk the law graduates made with attending law school. That one business law class will not help them “hit the ground running” at your company. 

Seager said it is estimated that 3,000 out of 8,900 law firms in England and Wales will go out of business by 2012 due to the rise of transactional legal services offerings from big companies such as Tesco. Wow, I can only imagine the number of solo practicioners and mid-size firms that the economy will devour in the United States, especially with top firms laying off staff and associates. 

He said the introduction of Tesco legal services will appeal to a number of consumers because they already have a client relationship with Tesco. He said that clients will be able to get the same transaction from Tesco for half the price offered by some law firms, so solicitors need to focus on building their client relationships to survive. I see, Tesco and other similar business firms would like to absorb the unemployed attorneys, increase their business production, increase their competition with law firms with the hopes of obliterating the legal industry. Makes sense. 

Seager said that IFAs can help solicitor firms to do this by moving away from a purely transactional business model. He said: “There is going to be huge consolidation in the legal sector and IFAs should be looking to make the most of that. I wouldn’t say consolidation, moreso an industry takeover. 

“IFAs are in a good position to partner up with solicitors and offer consultancy on how to change their business model so they retain more clients.”   Seager said that solicitors have 20 per cent client retention on average. 

People are either waiting for or trying to take advantage of the collapsing legal industry, but that’s the point—it is collapsing. Save yourself.

Wow, Grade Inflation: Article in the New York Times

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Today the New York Times posted: In Law Schools, Grades Go Up, Just Like That – NYTimes.com .Most of us already concluded that oversaturation of the legal market and lack of practical skills caused most lawyers to talk the plank into the sea of unemployment.

“In the last two years, at least 10 law schools have deliberately changed their grading systems to make them more lenient. These include law schools like New York University and Georgetown, as well as Golden Gate University and Tulane University, which just announced the change this month. Some recruiters at law firms keep track of these changes and consider them when interviewing, and some do not.”

This article focuses on grade inflation, with the implication that such practices will increase the chance for attorneys to get jobs. What the author fails to realize is that there aren’t any legal jobs to get moreso nowadays.

“Law schools seem to view higher grades as one way to rescue their students from the tough economic climate — and perhaps more to the point, to protect their own reputations and rankings. Once able to practically guarantee gainful employment to thousands of students every year, the schools are now fielding complaints from more and more unemployed graduates, frequently drowning in student debt.”

One could easily argue that students are getting grades they do not deserve, yet students who are forced into the bottom portion of the curve because of mandatory grading may benefit.

“Unlike undergraduate grading, which has drifted northward over the years because most undergraduate campuses do not strictly regulate the schoolwide distribution of As and Bs, law schools have long employed clean, crisp, bell-shaped grading curves. Many law schools even use computers to mathematically determine cutoffs between a B+ and a B, based on exam points.” I doubt somewhat the characterization the author makes of most undergraduate schools, like during this entire time the law school’s manner of operating has a clear history of legitimacy.

I do remember reading a year ago a high school or elementary schoolteacher who left primary education altogether because he was distraught that by school policy he HAD TO distribute a certain number of grades ranging from A’s to D’s for each school year. He stated there were some were good in certain areas like testing and others who were good in other areas, solving problems but not under pressure (I guess like schoolwork or homework) but I’m sure you can assume who received what grades. This teacher had a soul. Based on what I witnessed in law school, especially your first year, where you’re assigned tenured professors who have lost their minds, that many of them enjoy taking their life’s disappointments on unsuspecting students (pretty much all 1Ls). I’ve even met a Ph.D. professor who stated she enjoyed final exam and final grading because she could give whoever she didn’t like in her class whatever grade she wanted.

“All of the moves can create a vicious cycle like that seen in chief executive pay: if every school in the bottom half of the distribution raises its marks to enter the top half of the distribution, or even just to become average, the average creeps up. This puts pressure on schools to keep raising their grades further.” Wonder if it does any thing for their rankings too…”Employers say they also press law schools for rankings, or some indication of G.P.A.’s for the top echelon of the class. And if the school will not release that information — many do not — other accolades like honors and law journal participation provide clues to a student’s relative rank.” Interesting…

Anyone remember the scene from the Titanic when the ship was actually sinking and the violins kept playing either to comfort those on board or for those who wanted to enjoy themselves until the vary end? These schools are doing everything BUT closing down to keep the cycle going. These factors contribute greatly to the future generations, standard of living, mental and social health, but grading systems themselves do not appear to be regulated at all.

Next, the article reads: “Others, like Duke and the University of Texas at Austin, offer stipends for students to take unpaid public interest internships. Southern Methodist University’s Dedman School of Law even recently began paying profit-making law firms to hire its students.” Just as many 0Ls are desparately seeking ways to attend law schools, these law schools are getting so desparate to have their prior students get some work. This is such a bad cycle. It’s like no one is dealing with reality. Cycle of law school addiction?

“But the tactic getting the most attention — and the most controversy — is the sudden, deliberate and dubiously effective grade inflation, which had begun even before the legal job market softened.”

“If somebody’s paying $150,000 for a law school degree, you don’t want to call them a loser at the end,” says Stuart Rojstaczer, a former geophysics professor at Duke who now studies grade inflation. “So you artificially call every student a success.”

But wait, IVY League law schools are doing it too:Harvard and Stanford, two of the top-ranked law schools, recently eliminated traditional grading altogether. Like Yale and the University of California, Berkeley, they now use a modified pass/fail system, reducing the pressure that law schools are notorious for. This new grading system also makes it harder for employers to distinguish the wheat from the chaff, which means more students can get a shot at a competitive interview.”

This is unfortunate because as more of the lower tier law schools opened, more students will attend for some strange reason. Older generations (I mean people who grew up in the 80’s) did not have access to law school rankings and U.S. News and the internet. Career centers or counselors steered them towards state institutions regardless of rankings. Those that could’ve made it into Top Tier then would’ve had better chances of carving a real career in the legal industry before this devastating shift of “it will never be the same” occurred. Now, those who were intelligent enough and those who weren’t but attended the same TTT law school will be forever lumped in the mediocrity with rice paper thin prestige. Those who knew some of the game and went to top tier but not that much better will be given the written stamp of approval, you may pass “Go” but still on the other side of the door are the blank faces whose stares read “Yeah, they got me too.” So welcome one and all, at this point it does not make a difference which law school you attended, only in the heads of those promoting this practice and the all too eager law graduate who continues to delude him or herself into thinking that attending law school was a wise decision.

Third Recent News Article: Law graduates, economy and job market

This is related to the previous post on Life’s Mockery: Another News Article: “Law Degree Can’t Guarantee Law Firm Offer” . Just a couple of days ago Crain Business Journal posted:

Law grads’ job prospects ebb with economy – Crain’s Cleveland Business . “As 2010 law school graduates are framing their diplomas and are preparing to enter the working world, the profession is reporting that employment rates for the class of 2009 were the lowest in more than a decade.” The low employment rate didn’t happen over night, other factors contributed to the steady decline of the legal industry. Those in certain positions knew this but not only continued enrolling law students, but increased the number of law students matriculating at their institution. You knew, 0Ls likely didn’t but agents of the industry did.

“The employment rate last year was the lowest since 1996. In addition, the employment numbers include an increase in the number of graduates engaged in part-time and short-term work, as well as more grads taking jobs at the schools they had attended.” And you still are posting on various boards and blogs which law school you’re considering attending. A wise man or woman learn from the mistakes of others.

“Jennifer Blaga, director of career planning at Cleveland-Marshall College of Law at Cleveland State University, said the employment rate for her class of 201 students in 2009 was 84.8%, though she cautioned that not all students report whether they have found jobs.” I’ll repeat what I wrote in that other post: If I went around and asked 10 people I knew were employed and they all said yes I can easily offer that out of the people I surveyed, 100% were employed, which by no means reflect the actual legal industry and broader economy.”

“Ms. Blaga said Cleveland State law graduates are better off than some because they often are looking for jobs at smaller firms, many of which did not face the same challenges that large law firms have over the past three years, when new hires often were deferred for several months and attorneys were laid off.” Smaller firms which also start off at a lower salary for attorney positions not likely to increase earning potential nor maintain a decent standard of living.

“While the 2009 NALP Employment Report and Salary Survey noted that an increasing number of law schools were boosting their employment figures by offering graduates positions at their alma maters, Ms. Blaga — herself a Cleveland-Marshall graduate, albeit in 1994 — said that is not the case at Cleveland State. In 2009, 1.2% of graduates had jobs in academia; 55.6% entered private practice, with slightly more than half of those graduates working in firms with two to 10 attorneys.” They’re on the defensive thanks to Nando at Third Tier Reality and see  Exposing The Law School Scam: A closer look at the employment stats for the 2009 law school class They know people are dissecting the statistics they proffer.

“At the 192 law schools that responded to the NALP survey, academic employment rose to 3.5% in 2009 from 2.3% in 2008. Talking about plumping a turkey so the masses can devour. These temporary, revolving positions helped law schools report exaggerated employment statistics for the new hapless crop to be harvested in next three years, but look:
“James Leipold, NALP’s executive director, said the academic hires were one piece of the “underlying weakness” the employment figures hid. More than 40% of the law schools reported that they provided jobs for graduates on campus and, including judicial clerkships, nearly 25% of all jobs for graduates were temporary.” Now that’s some honesty.

“Added Ms. Weinzierl: “Employers are realizing lawyers have a lot of skills others may not have. They’re more open to considering those who have a legal background.” You’re kidding me right? Please explain why most lawyers have noted that having a J.D. is a detriment to finding working outside the legal field and with professors and seasoned practicioners admitting that law graduates are entering the legal workforce with little to no practical skills, thus unprepared to meet the needs of firms and clients. Oh, do explain.