Thursday, July 8, 2010

UMASS Dartmouth School of Law: The School I Love to Hate

Last I checked, BIDER has plenty of readers in Massachusetts.  I can only assume that the readers are keeping the message to themselves.  I dissuade, or attempt to dissuade, at least one 0L a week.  Really.  That's in person too.  I think it's my duty. I will take time out of my day to speak to a person at length about the misery that my career choice has brought me. I even did so when I worked in Big Law because I knew that I was one of the lucky few.  BIDER readers in Massachusetts must just read the blog and keep the news to themselves so they can see what will happen when the lemmings graduate and join the ranks of the unemployed.  Honestly, it's like failing to tell someone that their aspirin is laced with cyanide when you know it is.  What is wrong with you guys?
I ran into this story on-line and I am truly upset.  I have covered the opening of UMass Dartmouth a few times and I have always maintained that the state's decision to jump on the capitalist bandwagon, to the detriment of its students, is tragic.
Now, they are getting free press from the Wall Street Journal:
Take, for instance, the situation at the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth. According to this Boston Globe article, applications and enrollment at the state’s first public law school have “surged” since the merger of UMass Dartmouth and the Southern New England School of Law. According to the Globe, the bump in interest serves as “an early sign that the controversial merger is off to an auspicious start.”
According to the story, the new school, now known as the University of Massachusetts School of Law, received 462 applicants for this fall’s incoming class. It’s more than twice the number who applied last year, when the school was a private institution. The size of the first-year class is also doubling to 155, and the caliber of the applicants, at least as measured by undergraduate grade point averages and LSAT scores, have risen — all despite the fact that the school has yet to be accredited by the American Bar Association.
Here's the kicker folks... the school is not yet accredited.  WTF???
“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.
So, I can look into my crystal ball and see that these 155 students will graduate in three years with $80K+ of debt and no job.  Mark my words.  I think that law school is a risk if you go to anything outside of the T14 T8.  With no accreditation to date, this sewer is bound to be a TTTTrash bin in 2012. And to make it worse, it doesn't see like it's all naive 22 year olds that are going to this school:
The Globe calls the new students “a nontraditional group,” ranging in age from 21 to 59 years old. More than a fifth will pursue law degrees part time while continuing to work. And perhaps taking a page from the folks out at UC Irvine, nearly 40 percent will receive financial aid, including 25 students awarded a fellowship that covers half of the tuition for committing to four years of practicing public service law upon graduation.
25 of 155, is not a majority.  It's not even close.  And, I would venture to guess that these fellowships are in the form of bait and switch financial aid--the kind you lose after you didn't maintain you GPA first year.

Massachusetts should be ashamed of itself.  There is no need for a TTTToilet bowl law school in SE Mass. The market is amply serviced by BU, BC, Harvard, etc. etc.  Enough already.  Soon, everyone will have their own personal lawyer.  Much like a cleaning lady, they will be underpaid and undervalued.  $75 to clean an apartment?  I'll review your mortgage application for you for $60.  What's the difference?


  1. Law school deans, adminsitrators and the ABA are showing how morally dispicable they are as a group. Opening more law schools will allow these same law school deans, administrators and faculty to line their pockets at the expense of students that are desperate to escape the harsh realities of the current recession. Many people are either unemployed or underemployed and law schools continue, with impunity, to prey on the desperation and anxiety of said people with trumped up employment and salary stats. Mark my words, we will be the first over-educated third world country. But at least the law school deans, professors at co-conspirators will be living life high on the hog. You have to love capitalism.

  2. Now that I have a project coming to an end, it might be fun to drop by the local law schools during orientation week and hand out some pamphlets with excerpts and links to the scamblogs. Consider it mission work for fiscal salvation.

    "God loves you, and has a plan for your life, and it is not law school."

  3. Anonymous, while I share in your sentiment concerning the educational industrial complex, your blame on capitalism may be misplaced.

    Under a free market system -- i.e., without federally-backed loan guarantees and the flooding of the market with cheap money in the form of student loans -- banks would only make loans to students for academic programs that would actually enable the students to pay the loan back. Otherwise, banks would risk not getting their money back.

    Further, and perhaps more significantly, under a free market system, schools would be subject to market forces. That is, schools would no longer be able to hike up tuitions as they have done in recent decades. Instead, schools would be forced to slash prices or go out of business.

    In short, what we have in the student lending industry is not a free market, but a managed economy -- much like the housing industry and the healthcare industry in this country. The solution is less government involvement in the student lending industry, not more.

  4. I agree with 4:30. If banks didn't lend money to students for fruitless majors/professional schools... they wouldn't go. They are on the hook for life and can't discharge the debt in bankruptcy, hence eliminating risk and encouraging irresponsible lending and borrowing.

  5. a friend of mine from undergrad went there with it was Southern New England. He didn't know the school was unaccredited until after he started. He got dismmissed because of grades and now has to sit out two years before he can apply again to an ABA accredited school and start completely over as a 1L (he was finishing his second yr there) We haven't kept in contact much lately so I don't know if anything new has developed with him. When the "takeover" happened he got an offer to come back but would have had to restart as an 1L also (def to get more money out of him) Just goes to show how much you really need to research a school before deciding to attend.

  6. You are a cynical bunch of people.

  7. Provisional Accreditation Recommended by ABA Committee
    The American Bar Association Accreditation Committee has recommended to the Council on Legal Education that UMass Law be granted provisional ABA approval.

    The Committee concluded the following:

    “In accordance with Standard 102, the Committee concludes that the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth School of Law has established that it is in substantial compliance with each of the ABA Standards for Approval of Law Schools, and has presented a reliable plan for bringing itself into full compliance with the Standards within three years after receiving provisional approval. Therefore, the Committee recommends to the Council of the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar that it grant provisional ABA approval to the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth School of Law.”



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