Posts Tagged ‘prestige’

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

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$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.

Kansas City Star: Would-be Lawyers Find it Harder to Break Into Profession: 02/06/2012

No Job After Graduating Law School

Excerpts from this article: Would-be lawyers find it harder to break into profession (02/06/2012) This news piece focuses only on law graduates from 2008-2011 and does not even mention the hordes of struggling and unemployed attorneys with experience from years prior. While the larger, established Kansas City firms have prospered or at least held steady through the recent recession and weak recovery, they have cut back on hiring associates.

 So the big firms who are very selective already are cutting back on hiring permanent attorneys from top rated law schools. The masses of attorneys do not have a chance at a decent income. The big firms are: “Many are outsourcing more work to contract employees.” —hiring contract attorneys or sending the work to India.

 “I’m not sure if we’re going back to the status quo, but the legal profession as a whole is doing well,” said Nancy Kenner, the board president of the Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association. “For new lawyers, it’s very difficult to find jobs right now.

Right after is the subtitle: A Tighter Market; who does she think she’s fooling? The journalist tries to downplay it, it’s not dozens, it’s thousands nationwide. This is your future for the majority of you who insist on attending law school:

 Take David Winter, who graduated last spring from the University of Missouri Law School. Now back home with his parents in the St. Louissuburb of Maryville, Ill., he owes $90,000 for law school and is taking temp jobs reviewing legal documents for $20 an hour while he searches for a full-time position. It is not encouraging that he works alongside dozens of unemployed lawyers doing the same part-time work.

 Don’t be this law student: “We’re all cautious,” she said. “Some people have regrets — ‘If I’d known the market would be that way, I wouldn’t have gone to law school’ — but I don’t think that’s the prevailing view. In other words, many law graduates have deluded themselves into believing they will get that big firm job, make six figures and pay off those student loans in short period of time. They are suffering from a psychosis, built and reinforced by false hopes, rhetoric and advertising and the elusive American Dream that has dwindled to a nightmare of poverty and scavenging to survive.

So that you won’t regret your decision, make the wise one—just say no.

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.

USNWR: As Law School Tuitions Climb, So Does Demand

The Price Is Right: All Rights Reserved

On June 22, 2010, Life’s Mockery published a post concernining law school tuition increase:Law School Tuition Hikes, Economy Downturn, why are you still going? « Life’s Mockery.  U.S. News and World Reports have finally taken the time to discuss it, only to present it as only beneficial to the legal industry:  July 14, 2010-As Law School Tuitions Climb, So Does Demand – US News and World Report. The title alone suggests that because so many law students continue to apply, the law schools just have to increase tuition. 0Ls are causing the tuition to climb, not the agents of profit making and student debt–well that just clears it up. Some law schools have opened more seats and increased tuition. I will not fathom how this increases value, it only diminishes it. Overflooding a saturated legal market drives down salaries and demand. Increasing debts of individuals, though they made their own decisions to incur it, decreases an individual’s ‘net worth’ making it even more difficult to obtain credit, equity lines, mortgages (I know more debt) to purchase property as well as overall affecting one’s credit score to rent. This is inclusive of all forms of shelter, a basic necessity. This only increases the perceived value of debt and not the actual law degree itself. The law degree is just the agent by which the debt exists, increasing tuition does not correlate with increasing the value of the law degree.

Tuition has risen for the 2010-2011 school year at law schools across the country, even as industry jobs disappear by the month. The most recent Bureau of Labor Statistics report shows 3,900 jobs were cut from the legal sector in June alone, capping off a year of 22,200 job losses. I continue to try to make sense of this behavior. Even when some of these news article have smatterings of truth about the current state of affairs for the legal industry, 0Ls have been desparately convinced of going to law school. I think part of it is that one doesn’t comprehend the psychological and financial toll unless you’ve undergone it. It’s like when your mom told you not to touch the stove or you’ll get burnt. You see steam, fire or smoke and out of an insatiable curiosity you just have to try to touch it. This is understandable when you’re a child, but as we age, I would think that this old saying would emerge: to learn from the mistakes of others and profit from my own. Not to learn by making the exact same mistakes that droves of people continued to warn me of.

Throughout the article you’ll see the author insert suggestions on how to take the LSATS and which are the best law schools despite already admitting that the industry has shriveled.

Henderson noted that in this economic climate, even a degree from a top school does not guarantee a legal job. But California-based law school admissions consultant Ann Levine says that dimming job prospects and increasingly high tuition have yet to deter her nationwide client pool from seeking elite placements. 

“I had thought people would be more concerned about scholarships and willing to let go of ranking a little bit; I was wrong,” says Levine. “Still, people want to generally go to the best law school they can get into, regardless of costs.” At this point it seems like I’m a mocking bird, it is but so many times one can repeat the same issues: 1) law school is a default for those who don’t know what to do with themselves 2) law school has a false image of fast-track to big salary and prestige 3) false image that you can do anything with a law degree. In a prior post Life’s Mockery quoted members of the law school administration/academia referring to 0Ls as irrational and foolish for applying and attending law school at this point in the legal industry and economy. Here, this agent of a California law school EXPECTED for an increase of people to dive right into the 4th Tier pool with no water and not even think about rankings. Let’s face it, most law students, regardless of tier will not have a scholarship or fellowship to attend law school because they simply do not exist for most attendees in this profession.  How about that, not ony did she literally  bank on 0Ls to continue to apply to law schools but that you’ll be desparate enough (now that more knowledge and technology is out there) that you would ignore the perils of attending a 3rd or 4th tier law school, because their financial aid officer dangled some money in front of you. However, let’s be realistic on many schools offer scholarships, how many scholarships are offered and how many law students actual keep their scholarships after the first semester. Those would be some interesting statistics, in the end the potential law student will likely compromise his or her financial future and be miserable. In other words, she expected more 0Ls to be stupid in their decision on not only attending law school but to direct themselves right to the basement level.. However, should you know for sure that you’ll get full tuition and be able to keep it for the entire 3 years and not need money for food, gas and your other current bills, maybe you can. Nothing’s guaranteed, oft-times it’s just an enticement.

One of Levine’s clients, Oriana Pietrangelo, turned down several full rides for a partial scholarship this fall to Notre Dame Law School, a top tier school whose “name goes fairly far,” she says. 

“It would have been nice to not have any debt,” Pietrangelo says. “But I feel like I’m more likely to have a better job and higher paying salary going to Notre Dame as opposed to somewhere else.” But Pietrangelo is not yet devoted to Notre Dame Law School. She is on the waitlist at Northwestern University School of Law and, if accepted, she plans to attend and pay full tuition, she says, because it is ranked higher than Notre Dame. Wow, this person thinks going a few schools higher in rank and getting themselves into full law school debt will help their potential career. Slightly understandable, but the rationale is clearly flawed as Harvard and Yale law graduates are unable to find attorney positions in this economy.

While “everyone talks about the cost of tuition,” Levine says, “it’s actually not going to impact demand greatly because I think people see it as somewhat inevitable and beyond their control.”  As long as you allow them to charge you these exhorbitant tuition rates, they will continue to do so, because they know so many 0Ls are in love with the ‘prestige’ of the legal profession. She acknowledges that the legal industry will continue to do as it pleases and the 0Ls are enablers. There’s just an abundance of information on the web that there’s less of an excuse to put yourself through this than what many of us knew years ago.

Fiscally tough times especially hurt public law schools. Funding for higher education has been slashed in at least 41 financially strapped states, according to a report from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a nonprofit research organization. Higher education funding in Texas, for example, was reduced by $73 million, and public universities in Indiana saw a $150 million decrease this year.  No worries, Sallie Mae will help the schools out, since no one from an average financial background can reasonably afford the rates, student loans are inevitable. Attending law school isn’t though, you still have a chance 0L to make a wise decision earlier in your life.

“Certainly for the professions that tend to have a significant financial reward on the back end, we believe that students can pay a higher rate—whatever the market will allow for professional and graduate school,” Calderón said. “Then, if they have debt, they can retire that.” The problem is that for most law graduates there is not a significant financial reward, many are saddled with insurmountable debt. The market is not some extraneous variable. In a way it is supply and demand, but no one other than scam bloggers are truly addressing what is fueling the demand: misinformation from employment statistics to characterization of the legal industry.

Employment statistics are not taken into serious consideration, Calderón adds, because his board is not supplied with raw data.

“Perhaps we should,” he says. “But the question is, where do we get it and can we trust who’s giving it to us?” Maybe you can hire Fluster Cucked – RSS or Nando at THIRD TIER REALITY – Atom, I’m sure they’d be happy to assist.

Escalating tuition prices in a troubled market, spurred onward by generous student loans and students who are not fully committed to the profession, is a dangerous bubble that may well burst, Indiana University—Bloomington’s Henderson says.

“I’m trying to separate the value of the legal education from the signaling value that’s driving the bubble,” Henderson said. “The trends are clearly unsustainable.” You hear that, we are on the verge of Doomsday for the legal industry and 0Ls who continue to attend law school are just pumping that helium into the bubble until it bursts. You WILL NOT be able to say no one warned you, because many did, but your ego overcame you and it will be your worst enemy.

Wow, Grade Inflation: Article in the New York Times

All Rights Reserved

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.

A Short Article: ‘Thinking about law school?’

subject to copyrighthttp://www.unews.com/thinking-about-law-school-1.1259408

Thinking about law school? By Evan Helmuth Published: Monday, March 8, 2010

The author of this short piece is basically warning 0Ls to not go to law school in particular and to think twice about any other graduate school program. Everyone in my generation, and I suspect others, has been socialized to think of an M.B.A., a J.D. or any number of different graduate degrees as being both prestigious and valuable.

Reality sometimes has a rude way of intruding on our notions that conflict with it.

The financial melt-down of 2008 changed a lot about the legal industry, along with a lot of other industries…

So so true. Attorneys’ families are still unable to understand how an attorney isn’t working, on the verge of homelessness or otherwise not living the ‘high life.’ Generations X, Y and whoever else inherited the debt of the earlier generations. The earlier generations lost their retirement, IRA funds and social security due to corruption and the economy. One cannot reasonably convince themselves in the midst of all this evidence that getting into excessive educational debt will benefit you long term. Maybe the U.S. job market will just turn all the department, convenient stores and restaurants into one huge educational campus. Many intelligent youth have been told by their parents how special they are, that they will make it big, and make “us proud,” that the smack of reality is probably causing nervous breakdowns across the country. Some of the educated stated “I did everything right.” Well, I also noticed a woman on one of these talk shows last year say the same thing. She stated that she waited to get married to have children, her and her husband obtained “good jobs” and they waited until the time was right to get a house. Guess what? Unfortunately, they lost everything. I don’t want to say that it doesn’t matter whether one “does things right.” I will say just know that the system doesn’t care too much and as you have witnessed or experienced, the rug will be pulled right from under you.My favorite quote in the column:

“It makes little sense to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on an M.B.A. or J.D. if there are no transactions being done for attorneys to write and no businesses for M.B.A.’s to consult or manage.”

Touché.  Learn a foreign language, relocate abroad (somehow), pay off your consumer debt (though I have no solutions concerning those wretched student loans). It’s done. The younger generations should consider themselves graced they even get the warning, the children born during the later 1970’s didn’t.