Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Duke Law: Full of Shit?

Facts and Statistics

Employment at Graduation & Nine Months Later

The quality of our students and of a Duke Law education makes our graduates highly desirable to employers seeking talented new attorneys.
Graduating Class200920082007200620052004
Employment at Graduation100%100%97.75%95.7%95.6%95.1%
Employment Nine Months Out100%100%100%98.18%100%100%
Does anyone else find it interesting [read: "a fucking lie"] that Duke Law has managed to have 100% employment at graduation during the Great Depression, and not during the boom years (2004 to 2006)?
This is such a ludicrous chart, that it should be disregarded and thrown out.  That's almost honest.  Try harder next time, Duke Law!
Here's more bogus and bullshit stats here.  Enjoy!

Monday, August 30, 2010

$848,028,384,295: Student Loan Debt Clock

Mark Kantrowitz of Fin.aid has set up a clock, much like the U.S. Debt Clock near Times Square in Manhattan, measuring the amount of private and public student loans piling on the back of young Americans.
This clever feature "takes into account both new loans being made and old loans being paid off, which decrease the total amount of debt outstanding. The reason the clock grows by a couple thousand dollars per second is simple: Current students are borrowing money much faster than former students are paying it back."
Scary, right?  I'm hoping that the digital nonsensical clock on the side of the former Virgin Megastore in Manhattan can be used to publicly display the Student Loan Clock.  Since Virgin closed, I'm sure it's available.
Look!  It's perfect!  And it has space for growth.  After all, "in 2010, Kantrowitz estimates that the government will make about $100 billion in federal loans -- and receive just $22 billion in principal payments, leading to a net increase of $78 billion per year. That doesn't even include private loans."
So, it will need to be a big clock, a really big clock.

Thanks for the tip, friend!

Honesty is Refreshing!

The Lost Generation--that's you, folks!  Crain's put out an article spelling out the cold, hard truth:

Young lawyers in New York are not supposed to have to wait tables or string together temp jobs until they get their big break—that kind of seat-of-your-pants lifestyle used to be reserved for aspiring actors.
Not these days. The traditional career path—which assured law students that if they studied diligently and racked up good grades, a decent legal position would await them at the end of law school—has been all but washed away by the financial crisis, which has caused the New York legal industry to contract by 10% over the past year.
Waiting tables.  Stripping.  Working as a barrista at the local Starbucks.  Finally, the truth.  Being a lawyer isn't all it's cracked up to be.  Namely, it's not even being a lawyer.
“We're being called the lost generation,” says Shorav Kaushik, a 2009 Brooklyn Law School grad. Despite interning with the New York Attorney General's office, finishing in the top half of his class and winning a fellowship at the New York City Environmental Control Board, Mr. Kaushik has been unable to land a full-time law job.
Boo hoo, Shorav.  How many of BIDER readers went to better schools and finished in the top quarter of their class, and still don't have a job?  What about those that GOT a job, and because of stylish deferments, still don't have a job.
Indeed, 22,000 law jobs disappeared during the year ending in May. The 88% employment rate for the class of 2009 was the lowest in nearly two decades, according to the National Association of Legal Professionals. 
I hate the NALP for citing this figure.  88%?  That's a statistic that certainly includes all of those in the private industry, such as those working at Banana Republic and Johnny Rocket's and those working as Independent Contractors for shitlaw firms.  It's no wonder that bloggers and our sympathizers are called "whiners" with bogus stats such as this. I wish it was 88%.

Ramit Singh doesn't need to be told. The 28-year-old finished in the top 25% of his class from New England Law and came to New York nearly two years ago to pursue entertainment law. He tried volunteering at entertainment law firms, with no luck. He has strung together freelance positions at a music-licensing company, a part-time stint at a social media company and a volunteer gig at the New York State Supreme Court. He also does freelance document review. “It's a lot of really small irons in a big raging fire,” he says.
While he doesn't regret becoming a lawyer, “I didn't think I'd be hustling like this,” he says. “I had three jobs last month.”
That's what it comes down to, hustling.  Hustling is certainly what I've been doing to get by. You hustle your ass off.  Some months, you make it.  Some months, you don't.  Your savings decrease. Your credit card balances increase.  You're exhausted and you don't have health insurance, so you just hope that something stable comes through.  I'm a hustler.  Chances are, so are you--or:
Some new lawyers have responded by doing the unthinkable—working for nothing.
After graduating from New York Law School last year, Alyssa Farruggia ended up volunteering nearly full-time for the Staten Island courts. “You have your sights on the job at a big firm, but when that doesn't happen, you've got to do something else,” explains the 25-year-old Staten Islander, who lives at home. “The most important thing was keeping my résumé going.”
Most of the city's law schools last year started working with the New York State Unified Court System, channeling grads into its Volunteer Attorney Programs, so local courts are now flooded with young lawyers looking for experience and something to do. 
Working in New York, I've actually run into bunches of these kids.  If I represent a creditor, they represent the debtor.  They lifelessly argue their *extremely* valid points in the halls of civil court.  Their  eyes are dead, their clothes are dirty and torn, they look broken. I feel for these young lawyers, but it's not bunches better for this older lawyer.

People think that the legal industry goes in cycles.  By all accounts, we've been hit by several "bad" markets: the eighties, the dot.com bubble burst, post 9/11 economy and now this.  The lemmings who just started law school last week, are convinced that hiring will miraculously pick up in 2013.  However, this isn't a slump--it's a sputter of a dying engine.  The legal industry is shot.  Only when people believe that, and refuse to mortgage their futures on the chance that things will get better in three years, will we have any chance of salvaging our crippled industry.

You're not being smart going to law school. It blows to start off at the bottom rung of any company because you "only" have a college diploma.  But you're better off than you will be if you do the responsible thing and go on to get an advanced degree.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Humor for Lawyer: Famous Last Words

Ran across this article and thought I should share with the BIDER readers.  Serial Killers live by the sword and go out with a bang.  Here are some notorious killer's last words before they went to see their Maker.  I found it funny in a dark way:

  1. Gary Gilmore: “Let’s do it!”—Here’s a nice bit of trivia for you. Did you know that Nike got the inspiration for its slogan “Just do it” from the last statement of convicted murderer Gary Gilmore? It’s absolutely true, and it’s kind of creepy. Gary Gilmore was put to death on January 17, 1977 by a volunteer firing squad. He was charged with killing a motel manager (convicted) and a gas station employee (not convicted).
  2. Aileen Wuornos: “”I’d just like to say I’m sailing with the rock, and I’ll be back like Independence Day, with Jesus June 6. Like the movie, big mother ship and all, I’ll be back.”—These were the final words of 6-time murderer Aileen Wuornos. Wuornos worked as a prostitute, and she robbed and killed men as a means of supporting herself. You may recall a movie was made about her called Monster starring Charlize Theron.
  3. John Wayne Gacy: “Kiss my ass.”—Remember how we said some people use their last statements to apologize or share their love for others? Gacy wasn’t one of those people. Gacy’s “kiss my ass” statement was probably to be expected from a man convicted of the rape and murder of 33 men in a 6-year span.
  4. George Appel: “Well, gentlemen, you are about to see a baked Appel.”—Appel is the only death row inmate on this list to use a pun as his final words. That creativity alone earned him a spot in our top 10 list.
  5. Jimmy Glass: “I’d rather be fishing.”—On June 12, 1987, Jimmy Glass was put to death in Louisiana for robbing and murdering an elderly couple after escaping a jail 5 years earlier. He was just one vote short of having the electric chair declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.
  6. John Avalos Alba: “Okay Warden, let’s do it. I love y’all. I can taste it already. I am starting to go.”—Alba was sentenced to death after fatally shooting his estranged wife while he was out on bail for a child molestation charge. His last statement consisted of a lengthy apology and the unsettling words quoted above.
  7. Erskine Childers: “Take one step forward lads. It’ll be easier that way.”—IRA combatant Ernest Childers encouraged the firing squad to come a little closer to make sure they didn’t miss when shooting at him.
  8. Tom Ketchum: “I’ll be in hell before you start breakfast, boys. Let her rip!”—“Black Jack” Tom Ketchum was the last man to hang in America after he attempted to rob a train. He was a famous outlaw who robbed and killed plenty during his day, and he was finally caught when attempting to rob a train on his own. Here’s an interesting fact: Ketchum’s hanging was actually botched, and the noose cut his head clean off his body.
One of the comments in the original article had a nice addition:

James French also punned his last words based on his name. On the electric chair he yelled to the reporters, ” Hey, fellas! How about this for a headline for tomorrow’s paper? ‘French Fries’! ” that’s always been one of my favorites.

There's been lots of discussion recently (and always) about why we (lawyers) are so hated.  Of course, part of it must be that we represent the scum of the earth, such as the killers listed above.  But everyone is entitled to representation and rights afforded to them by the law.

My only wish was that their victims' names were as well known as their killers.  Oh yah, I wish their victims were still with us. 

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The Schlong Contest.

This was a rough week for me, professionally.  I am a litigator.  99% of the time, I am extremely satisfied with the result and with my performance. I get my point across to the judge, even if I have to raise my voice and sometimes speak over the opposing counsel. I find, if I keep repeating my point, the judge will hear me and I can sway him/her my way.  My clients are satisfied with their representation. I have been called a bulldog more than once.  I try to keep my composure and I don't like to yell. I am honest and forthcoming. I don't play tricks.  I like the type of lawyer that I am.

But there are days when I hate being a lawyer and I just want to throw in the towel.  These days come up more often since I've become a court-running attorney.  Overall, I thoroughly enjoy the adversarial nature of it.  But sometimes, I can't handle the way other attorneys treat me.  I guess, on some infrequent occasions, I feel like I'm in a schlong contest with no schlong. In other words, if I had one, I feel like my point would be better made if I whipped it out of my pants and laid it on the table and measured it.. and it was bigger than opposing counsel's.

For example, I was sitting in court waiting for opposing counsel (who I have never met or spoken to) to arrive, so I can discuss the possibility of settlement.  I was in the jury box and I overheard an older gentleman check in with the clerk on my case.  I approached him with a rather blank look on my face and no preconceptions of what he was thinking or going to say.  I said, "Sir..." because I try to be respectful of older opposing counsel.

He says, "Are you going to speak to me like a human being or like an animal?!"

I was floored.  Where did this animosity come from?  Once again, I felt the urge to whip it out and compare and contract appendages with opposing counsel so we could settle our caveman contest.

We eventually spoke and he calmed down, but I cannot understand why he hit me so hard when I said nothing to him.

Like I said, it doesn't happen often.  But when it happens, it definitely burns me and bothers me the rest of the day.

Earlier this week, I conducted a deposition of a defendant.  I tried to lay the groundwork for the depo, i.e. are you on any meds today?  Do you understand your testimony here has the full force and effect of testimony in front of a judge/jury?  Please answer verbally, not by bobbing your head or with hand gestures.   You know, questions that a deponent may consider useful if they are not regularly involved in litigation. I'm not talking about airplane instructions on how to exit.  I consider these questions/instructions useful.

Once again, before I even finished my first prep question, the octogenarian opposing counsel jumped down my throat as if I was Linda Lovelace.


Geez, man.  I got to the point, and let the prep questions go.  Of course, his client (probably Hispanic in origin and definitely not fluent enough in English), was answering with uh-huhs and huh-huhs and not letting me finish the question before he jumped in with answers. In other words, all issues that could have been easily cured if he let me finish a fucking sentence before he screamed out "OBJECTION" and instructed his client not to answer.

It was a disaster of a deposition. He wouldn't let me ask a question unless I used precise legal terminology--when I speak in plain English--and his client inevitably had no clue what the hell the legal jargon meant.

Then it got bad, where the old man would jump in and change his client's testimony if he didn't think he answered appropriately.

I blew up.  I went off the record, turned beet red and I told him to shut up and stop interrupting me. I'm not as young as I look and I know exactly what I'm saying and how I'm saying it and I don't appreciate his brash behavior.

He shut up.

I felt the testosterone pumping through my veins, burning my ovaries barren. I hated the way it felt.

So, I know that this sort of thing happens to people all the time.  But I think this experience uniquely affects women.  It's very bizarre to feel emasculated as a woman, but that's how you feel when you inadvertently enter into a schlong contest with a domineering, loudmouth attorney.

Anyone have similar stories to share?

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Wall of FAME: Is Scott Summers a BIDER Reader?

Thanks for the tip, "guest"!

Scott Summers, an Northern Illinois University School of Law graduate, is running for Treasurer of Illinois.  What's the first item on his Green Party Agenda?  Shutting down two of the three public law schools in Illinois--including his alma mater.  It's not out of pure spite, either. He has Green Party motivations for this radical move--saving money:
We have three public law schools: University of Illinois (U of I), Southern Illinois University (SIU), and Northern Illinois University (NIU).  And we have a glut of unemployed lawyers.  Has the time finally come to slim down to just U of I for public law?  (Full disclosure: I’m an NIU law graduate. And I remain very grateful for the tip-top legal education I received there. Personally, I’d hate to see the place close. But I’m counting beans today, not wallowing in sentiment.) 
Ditto medical schools.  U of I has four campuses and additional satellites.  SIU has two campuses.  They do wonderful work.  They are cherished assets of their host communities. But — but — but — can we afford them all?  So how do we make these horribly difficult — and, I freely admit, politically dead-on-arrival (at least for the present) — public policy choices? We have to develop assessment and implementation mechanisms where we carefully evaluate our public needs — and then collectively/figuratively hold hands and jump.
Bravo, Scott!

"Up until 35 years ago, he pointed out, the state had a single public law school at the University of Illinois. We got by just fine with that," he said.

And how does SIU feel about Mr. Summers' plans?  
 Its spokesman said that eliminating a law school would result in "a lot of other students applying to the U of I," which could be problematic. 
Problematic, why?  Because U of I will only admit highly qualified and motivated students to become future Illinois lawyers?  Oh, and as a result, there will be fewer attorneys?  And because there are fewer attorneys, they might stand a chance of finding employment in their home state?   Darn.  That blows, SIU.  Blows for you.

I am not sure how many Illinois BIDER readers there are out there, but for what it's worth, I fully endorse Mr. Summers' candidacy for treasurer.  I don't even care what other items he has on his agenda, I can tell he has his head on straight.


I'm actually not a card carrying member, but may consider it now.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Ethan Haines Reveals HER Identity!

USA Today just came out with a story on scamblogs and Zenovia Evans (a/k/a Ethan Haines) of Denver.  Zenovia, welcome!  I'm kinda tickled pink that she's a chick and I understand her reluctance to post pics initially.  Well, the cat's out of the bag and the national media is on it!

One recent grad even went on a hunger strike on Aug. 5. "We have a new crop starting and no one's telling them anything about this," says Zenovia Evans, 28, of Denver, who uses the name "Ethan Haines" on her blog, UnemployedJD.com.
The first in her family to finish college, she says that "no one wants to say, 'Hey, career office, you failed me,' " but "I couldn't take this lying down." She says she owes more than $150,000 in loans.
Zenovia, you are not alone!  Many BIDER readers owe $150K+.  I admire your zeal and I hope that it's recognized.

Of course, because USA Today (bloody rag that it is) isn't interested in the real story, they use the statistics provided by the ABA and the NALP to write this story:

The American Bar  Association, which accredits law schools, acknowledges such concerns. A report in November, noting the average student borrowed $59,324 for a public law school and $91,506 for a private one in 2007-08, cautioned prospective students to "have a clear picture of the debt they will incur and the expected earning power."
Among 2009 graduates, 88% are employed, down from 92% in 2007; they were more likely than in previous years to hold part-time or temp jobs or those not requiring a law degree, says the non-profit National Association for Law Placement. Summer job openings for second-year students, often the first step to getting hired full time, "shrank dramatically" this year, it says.
I can't wait until these organizations are forced to lay out the statistics accurately.  Instead of saying that students owe $91K for private law schools, they should say:  10% owe $20K or less (because they attended law school on scholarship) and 90% owe $125K+.  Oh yah, and 25% of those who reported being employed are part-time or temporary workers.  I have no basis for coming up with these figures except my conversations with young graduates today.  However, I would venture to guess that the figures I came up with off the top of my head are more accurate than those that the NALP pulls out of its ass.

Of course, USA today has to mention "personal" responsibility:
Kelsey May, a 2010 University of Tulsa law school grad and co-author of What the L? 25 Things We Wish We'd Known Before Going to Law School, agrees law school can be tricky to navigate but says the anger is "misplaced. ... There should be some level of (personal) responsibility."
It makes me think of the rape shield laws.  When I was 11, I went to court with my mother on a traffic ticket.  After she was found guilty, we went to the juicy court rooms and watched a few major criminal trials for the rest of the day.  This is how my interest in the law began. I remember sitting in on a rape trial and the questions were as follows:

1.  What were you wearing to the party?
2.  Were you wearing panties?  What kind?
3.  Have you flirted with the defendant before?
That was before the legal system acknowledged the error in trying the victim.
Today, we put young people on trial for buying into the fraud perpetrated by law schools in their glossy brochures.  Somehow, law students are responsible for buying the employment statistics at face value.  Law students are victims as well.  When will the Legal Industrial Complex be found liable for misleading lemmings to slaughter?  It's robbery.

On a side note, my mom is a little nutty for taking me--I realize.

In short, thanks for coming out Ethan Haines a/k/a Zenovia Evans. I hope that a real reporter digs a bit deeper into your, and our, story.  I also hope that your health is not compromised as a result of taking a stand against the for-profit industry--which profits off the backs of our helpless and misinformed youth!
Zenovia Evans has totally duped me and all the other scam bloggers. This is the real story: she is a pro-industry shill, who probably orchestrated this whole stunt to push her book.  I'm not even going to post a link to her book, nor the name, because I don't want to contribute to any of her book sales.    Let me just post this bit about her book and services so that you understand why I'm so ticked right now:
Evans desire is to “guide students through common law school scenarios and pitfalls while providing strategies for successfully exploiting the experience.” She is committed to her mission of “modernizing and diversifying the legal industry through the dissemination of information.” To further this mission, she offers custom ... packages to schools and professional entities via a sponsorship program that includes author appearances, webinars, and the creation of a custom companion guide.
I feel like such a fool.  She used BIDER and the other scam blogs to sell her books.  I'm taking her off my blog roll, unless and until she sends me an explanation.  I suspect she hasn't lost one pound in protest against the law school scam.  Please, Zenovia, tell me it ain't so: angelthelawyer@gmail.com

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Student Loan Company Gives Preferential Treatment to Former Albany Prosecutor

Believe it or not, companies that service student loans have a heart and make exceptions.  No, not for you--but for those who probably don't need the help.  While surfing the Internet, I happened upon this story: Higher Education Services Corp. (HESC) suspended six workers after discovering favoritism afforded to a former Albany New York Prosecutor turned "of counsel attorney" to O'Connell & Aronowitz--Michael P. McDermott.  What sort of favoritism you ask?  Well, the type that you beg for when you're behind on your loan payments and they are about to kick it to collections and ruin your life.  Apparently, and as BIDER readers know, Mr. McDermott was going to have to pay big for moving from public interest law to private practice.  So, HESC Vice President of Collection and Default Management, Joseph Catalano, hooked a brother up "by reducing his student loan payments 60 percent, purging his collection debts and blocking the garnishment of his wages, at a cost of more than $24,670 to state and federal taxpayers."

The bastard graduated in 1989 from Albany Law.  How much help did he really need?  Well, this was quite a tangled web.  This isn't the type of "favor" that's granted to you because you ask for it.  As it happened:
Catalano told investigators that he met McDermott after being called as a witness in the 2006 high-profile murder trial of Christopher Porco, who was convicted of murdering his father and attempting to murder his mother in their Delmar home. Catalano, Christopher Porco's former youth minister, testified that he went to the hospital the week of the 2004 attack and spoke to Porco for about three hours.
On the witness stand Catalano testified about Porco's behavior at the hospital, where his mother was undergoing multiple surgeries, and about conversations they had regarding the couple's home-alarm system and Porco's treatment by Bethlehem police."
So, I guess throwing bad guys in jail bonded these two for life.  Catalano professes ignorance as to why his subordinates "took steps to insure that McDermott's wages would not be garnished after failed payments. The inspector general said his delinquent loans date to 1991 and the current balance is nearly $60,000, including more than $8,000 in accrued interest."

My left ass cheek owes more money this McDermott fellow does.  Ha.  That's totally a joke.  I owe about that much.  But most of our readers owe double that amount.

McDermott claims that he didn't ask for any preferential treatment.  His story goes like this:
McDermott said he knew Catalano worked for HESC and only called him because he wanted to speak to someone after his account manager died.
"I needed to be assigned to a new account manager," McDermott said. "I never discussed the specifics of my account with Mr. Catalano. ... My student loan debt was not reduced by one penny due to any actions taken at HESC. I was, and continue to be, legally obligated for the entire amount of my student loan, plus fees and interest. The agreed upon payment schedule only extended the time it would take to repay this debt."  
Really?  Is this normal behavior?  If my "account manager" were to die, wouldn't that mean the harassing calls and letters would cease until the account was reassigned?  Wouldn't that be a good thing?  I can't imagine anyone would call to ask and ask for a new nemesis to be assigned,
 "Excuse me, but I haven't heard from you regarding my defaulted student loan.  I fear my account manager may have passed.  Can you please see to it that someone else is assigned ASAP?  Thank you."

Furthermore, this doesn't explain why his monthly payments didn't increase when he went to private practice and started earning significantly more than he did as a public servant.  Nor does it explain the following:
The inspector general's office said its probe showed that "from 2007 to the present, HESC reduced McDermott's monthly payments from $1,030 to $400, in direct violation of federal requirements. Later, when McDermott repeatedly failed to pay the $400, HESC cancelled his $2,111 in collection fees and continually protected him from having his wages garnished."
I have to say, I'm green with envy that this bastard could get help with is loans when there are so many others who are so much worse off that are sent down the river to die.  Most people who are in default owe far more than Mr. McDermott do and/or are unemployed.  I don't know why this guy deserved anyone's sympathy.  This is just another case of "it's not what you know, it's who you know."

Criminal charges may be forthcoming.

Does anyone here work for KHELC or The Student Loan People?  I could use a favor.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Revenge is Sweet!

I hate to use this quote, because so many before me have, but it's so appropriate:
First they came for the law students and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a law student;
Then they came for the contract attorneys and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a contract attorney;
Then they came for the solo attorneys and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a solo.

Then they came for me, THE TENURED PROFESSOR, and by that time there was no one left to speak up.
(in the fashion of Pastor Martin Niemöller)

Ha!  So, the ABA has its way with us regularly, all for the benefit of Biglaw and the For-Profit Law School Industrial Complex.  It was only a matter of time before they started to search for new victims.  And those victims are ironically the very professors that so inadequately prepare us for lawyerdom and the bar exam.
Brace yourself.
A special committee of the ABA last week released the latest version of proposed guidelines on academic freedom — just days before an ABA committee met Saturday to discuss (but not alter) the draft language. In the weeks before the draft was released, many faculty leaders had urged the ABA panel not to do the two key things its draft does:
• Remove language from the ABA standards that has been interpreted by faculty members as requiring law schools to have a tenure system. (The ABA panel that wrote the revisions now says that tenure was never a requirement and that it is removing references to tenure for reasons of clarity — although that interpretation of current policy is being met with skepticism.)
• Remove specific language requiring law schools with clinical professors and legal writing professors to offer them specific forms of job security short of tenure.
Hmmm.  It seems, however murky the language was, it was a perceived requirement that law schools maintain systems of tenure.  I cannot be certain of the ABA's motivations, but I suspect it has to do with lining the pockets of the Deans the law schools, and perhaps their Board of Trustees--many of whom are in BigLaw. It is a paid position, is it not?

Or maybe this is a way to punish Law Professors for the recent backlash against them for not doing a good job educating the next generation of lawyers:
Law professors seem to have it pretty good. They teach a few hours a week, host office hours for an hour a week, and spend the rest doing whatever else they do out of students’ sight — write law review articles and blogs, attend conferences, interview potential colleagues and, well, frankly, we’re not entirely sure.
But lazy? Is it fair to call them lazy just because they don’t sweat and toil in an office or cubicle like the rest of us nine-to-fivers?
So, Professors have joined the other victims of the ABA's plan to separate the rich from the poor, and eliminate the middle class.
They are pissed as hell and not taking it sitting down.  Professors like Mr. Gorman are writing letters galore in protest:
Robert A. Gorman, an emeritus law professor at the University of Pennsylvania, wrote to the committee that tenure was particularly needed for law schools.
"The research, scholarship and teaching of the law professoriate commonly deal with matters of public moment and controversy, more so than is the case in most other parts of the university; and the style of teaching is typically more challenging, argumentative and indeed on occasion confrontational," Gorman wrote. "Reliance on tenure as a buttress for academic freedom is thus particularly justified for law faculty."
That may be true of a handful of law professors.  Most are not that exciting.

The ABA claims that there is nothing in this change that will compel law schools to drop tenure, but they are simply not requiring it of Law Schools--in order for them to obtain/maintain accreditation:
The push started several years ago, and was led by David Van Zandt, the dean of Northwestern University's law school. Van Zandt said at the time that characterizing the changes as an assault on tenure was unfair. He said that it was wrong for the ABA as an accrediting group to require a tenure policy — and that institutions should decide such matters. "Sometimes some people portray this as an attack on tenure," he said in 2007. "The real issue is whether or not you're required to have tenure by an outside body such as the ABA. Not that we don't want to have that institution."
Well, that's not surprising.  Currently, the requirements for accreditation are heat, water, a fax machine,  bluebook and four walls.  Why would they require anything more?

The tenured professors are rightfully scared.  Why would law schools offer tenure if they didn't have to? Any big business would rather have employees that are "at-will."  You know, so they can treat them like shit and owe them nothing.

This will also have an adverse affect on professors who teach clinics, who are offered limited protections short of tenure.  Because they take on big and powerful industries, (i.e. Maryland Law v. Poultry Industry), they are likely to bring heat to the law school and get axed as a result.  By eliminating this "limited protection," it will have a silencing affect on clinical professors.  They aren't afforded tenure, as it is--but a little bit of protection.

So, my prediction is that law school professors will become more like college professors. We will see more adjuncts and less tenured professors.  Frankly, there are many BIDER readers that would prefer adjuncts with real life experience to the painfully intellectual and reality detached professors of yesteryear.  But I'm certain that the profits margins for those in charge will increase drastically.  I guess we'll have to wait and see.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Don't Wear a Wedding Ring and Other Ludicrous (but Necessary) Advice

Saw this comment on Shilling Me Softly and it reminded me of my own law school's career counselors and the advice they had for future grads:
I was in my later 20s when I started law school - not really non-traditional, I guess, though I had been out of college a few years and had a career as a paralegal. After doing really well in my job and being told I'd "make a great lawyer," I tried the LSAT, did great and got into a T14 and also some other schools with scholarships. I was married with a 1.5 year old child at the time. Long story short, I was like D.H. in that the acceptance letter from my 1st tier toilet said that I was a shoo-in for an awesome career, blah blah...I only later learned that a married mother with kids is not getting a job in law. I've been on interviews where they asked all about my husband and child, how I could work long hours and care for her, what my husband did for a living (I guess to see if he could be a stay at home daddy), etc. In short, things that were none of these peoples' f-ing business. I decided to shit-can the "dream" after that. I was lied to by my law school who only later (like D.H., again) told me that getting a job as a mother would be a "problem" and I should not wear my wedding ring to interviews. SCREW THEM, law, lawyers, the law school industrial complex AND the horse it rode in on! I am angry but not bitter, and have managed to find something to do that I really love and that in no way involves law. My heart breaks for single moms and dads trying to make lives better for their kids who succumb to the law school scam. Let's get the word out so hopefully it will happen less! I'm doing my part!
P.S. I guess what made me the sickest about this whole slimy experience was my career services dept. telling me to remove my wedding ring for interviews. Was that so as not to raise "red flags" that I may not be able to work 80 hour weeks for the measly $35K the shit firm wanted to pay me, or was it so the sad sack middle-aged shitlawyer could think he had a shot at younger meat? Who knows? I never found out 'cause I told the woman to go screw herself. That is when I started becoming liberated from this shitty profession, and I make sure to tell everyone I meet who even mentions the words "law school" what a raw deal it is all the way around.
One of the themes of law firms that I have harped on its their amazing ability to circumvent the law.  Law Firms and Lawyers sworn to uphold the law (kinda) regularly discriminate, fail to pay benefits and/or taxes when legally bound to.  Law Schools have grown wise to Law Firms' illegal tendencies and have addressed the issues with law students.  Here's a non-conclusive list of suggestions that I have heard of to land a legal job and circumvent their discrimination and other bizarre preconceptions:

  1. If female, don't wear a wedding ring.  Married women will get pregnant soon after becoming associates and won't be able to meet the billing requirements of  a large firm.
  2. If male, do wear a wedding ring. It makes law firms think you're responsible and willing to meet billable hour requirements to support a family.
  3. If you have curly hair, straighten it and wear it in a law pony tail or bun. I guess this is so you can minimize your ethnicity.  All women should wear their hair in a low ponytail, a bun or a straight bob.
  4. If female, wear a skirt suit and never a pants suit.
  5. Always wear hose, only nude.
  6. For both sexes, only wear suits that are grey, black or dark blue.
  7. If female, don't wear a shell, wear a button down shirt under your suit.
  8. If male, a dark red tie is a power tie.  Wear a dark red tie.
  9. If female, wear pearls.  Don't wear any jewelry than a pearl necklace and earrings.
  10. Never discuss your personal life with interviewers.  Don't mention a significant other, especially if female.  Significant other means pregnancy in the imminent future.
I actually listened to my career services and think it was helpful to follow these guidelines--except the skirt suit one. I hate wearing skirt suits.  However, listing them all out, it is apparent that unattached, Anglo females have an edge, as do males.  And these guidelines are designed to overcome discriminatory hiring that all law firms engage in, from Shitlaw to Biglaw.

Does anyone have any "guidelines" to add?

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

"Young Associates Aren't Worthless," Says Duke Dean

Thanks for that. But rather than write an op-ed in the National Law Journal, why not reform the curriculum at Duke to make better associates?

I went into this issue at length earlier this week. Yes, it's true. As a young and bright person, law school grads bring little to the table as an associate. It's not their fault. Law school does a horrid job of "preparing" law students to become practicing lawyers. But Dean Levi of Duke Law thinks this untrue:

For 17 years as a U.S. district judge, I hired first-year lawyers as clerks, and they were wonderfully productive, insightful, careful, skillful and hardworking. I gained a huge amount of very valuable assistance in preparing opinions and researching complex legal issues. Although it was somewhat of a burden to train a new crop of clerks each year, it was also a joy and undoubtedly made me a better judge.
I am certain that the same is true of new lawyers at firms, at government offices and at nonprofits. Indeed, I often have heard distinguished lawyers in all kinds of practice say that one of the aspects of being a lawyer they value the most is their interaction with, and instruction of, new and young lawyers. They say this not because young lawyers are worthless, but because they have so much to offer when properly guided.
Well, the problem with Dean Levi's logic, is that these students were likely productive, insightful, careful and hardworking before they went to law school. Don't get me started on researching "complex" legal issues either. Since Google has taken the place of Lexis and Westlaw, anyone can excel at researching complex legal issues. Frankly, very few legal issues are that complex. I know this because I explain the law to all of my clients and they all have a great understanding of their legal rights with a simple explanation. Some clients have approached me with what strategies that they came up after a few late nights on Google. So, what's the difference between a college graduate and a law school graduate? Not much. That's why complaints are mounting. Law Firms, selfish corporations that they are, are not willing to train attorneys on procedure--which can be truly complex and is NOT taught in law school. Instead, they fire young associates, or hold off on hiring and place the blame on law schools:

The criticism comes from law firm managers, in-house counsel and former lawyers who now comment on the legal profession. They most likely represent a minority view, but they are vocal. They say that clients are no longer willing to pay for the work of young associates because their work is "worthless." We might expect clients to make any argument that could lead to a lower bill, particularly during an economic downturn. But it is wrong and surprising for experienced lawyers inside and outside of firms to acquiesce in, even reinforce, this line of argument.
Clearly, the market dictates that there is no demand for an associate who bills at $350/hour. Why would there be? An inexperienced associate will take 10 hours to do what a mid-level associate can do in 2 hours. So, the clients are asking for discounts in their legal fees, and the law firms are turning around and slashing the overpriced associates. I don't blame law firms. I blame law schools. Dean Levi defends law schools as follows:
As a law school dean for the past three years, I know that law school graduates are ready and able to practice in firms, government agencies and public interest positions. Whatever room there may be for continued improvement to the law school curriculum, there is little doubt that the young lawyers whom we graduate today are equally well and better prepared for practice than at any other time in our history. Our graduates have had the benefit of superb clinical and experiential educational opportunities. Many of them already will have appeared in court, written appellate briefs and participated in simulated deals and transactions. They have had the discipline of thinking about difficult legal issues and applying that theoretical knowledge in the search for solutions to real-world problems. Many will graduate with joint degrees in business, economics, public policy, international law and the sciences. All of them have had substantial legal writing experience. Most of them are "tech savvy" in ways that both amaze and enormously benefit their less proficient elders.
It's not enough, Dean Levi. Listen to the Legal Industry. They aren't going to change their opinions because you told them to. Make Duke Grads more employable. That's what you're paid to do.
Even as conditions seem to improve, let's not permit the junior members of the profession to bear a disproportionate share of the burdens caused by the downturn on the ground they are only getting what they deserve.
What they deserve is the opportunity to show what they can do.
Why don't you do your part to lessen the burden on our young graduates? Why don't you decrease the tuition so they are able to find employment in smaller firms and eat and pay back Sallie Mae, simultaneously. You, Mr. Levi, and every other Dean of law schools are robbing our students blind. You have a duty to your students. Skaaden Arps doesn't. Jones Day doesn't. Neither does Mayer Brown. You have publicly acknowledged the problem, unlike most Deans. I will give you credit for that. Now create a solution.

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Stay tuned for more information on CSN and that great giveaway to win a CSN $70 gift certificate!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

L4L's Reasons for Shutting Down Big Debt, Small Law

Many of you wanted to know why Big Debt, Small Law was permanently deleted the same day the New Jersey Star-Ledger article on the law school scam featuring Scott/L4L was published. I received the following from L4L last night with his permission to publish the letter explaining his reasons for shutting down his popular blog. We are working with L4L to get all of his posts from Big Debt, Small Law archived and accessible to readers for future reference. Thank you to L4L for his contributions to the law scam movement and good luck to him in all his future endeavors.
First off, it's been a pleasure meeting all of you on this scamblogger group, and I've enjoyed "fighting the good fight" as much as anyone. BDSL was both a passion and a pleasure to write, and I've appreciated and enjoyed all of your support, encouragement and comments over the past 12 months.

However, on the eve of the Sunday article in the Star-Ledger, I voluntarily chose to take down BDSL for good. As the article states, I do have a side-practice with a partner, and it wasn't really fair to force her to "answer" (so to speak) for the often-inflammatory contents of the blog. My editorial style often made it appear that BDSL was a "group" effort (which it was not, I wrote every single word ever published there aside from quoted, italicized text from other articles). I blogged in this style merely to avoid the repetitive boredom of constantly saying "I think" and "I believe" and so on. C'mon, would you rather read "I noticed" as opposed to "It came to our attention here at Big Debt headquarters," etc. I personally think the style suited the message quite well.

At any rate, it was impossible to maintain the quality level that BDSL had in the early days, so posts had of late become fewer and farther between. I'm working on a novel right now (as well as some stand-up comedy), and prefer to spend the precious spare time I have available on those side project(s) as opposed to scamblogging.

Make no mistake: "outing" yourself like I did back in the Sept. 2007 WSJ article will curse any chance you'll ever have of working at a law firm. Period. Employers (esp. legal employers) are not looking for "boat rockers" and "malcontents." I'm not saying you shouldn't do it, only that you should always be well aware of the consequences. You'll have to answer for this shit for the rest of your natural life, thanks to the Internet. Not that you'll be missing out on anything.

At the time I "came out" I'd already logged 2+ years in the most miserable, dead-end, dysfunctional boiler room you could ever imagine ( a notorious NYC pi firm called Mirman, Markovits & Landau) and simply lost all ability to even give a fuck at that point. I pray that none of you will ever endure an experience as miserable, degrading, and suicide-inducing as the one I had at MM&L. If given the choice between spending eternity in Hell or returning to that gulag, I wouldn't hesitate to prefer the former. Take the worst job you've ever had and multiply it by a factor of 10,000, and you'll have a vague idea of the type of workplace this gutter truly was, and still is.

Now I've "done it again," bashing my alma mater in it's own hometown paper (the Star-Ledger offices are in Newark NJ right down the street from SH). I feel like I landed some real "haymakers" right in the Valvoline Dean's jaw, and am eternally grateful to my business partner (and fellow SH alum Justine) for having the cojones to do this interview with me. We both took supreme pleasure in shoving some of the Valvoline Dean's bullshit back up his ass (and; tellingly, the coward didn't have the balls to respond). Another profile in courage from the ABA lawschool scam machine.

But at this point I've simply had enough. I was trying to pen a special "Big Debt" post to coincide with the Star-Ledger article, and halfway thru just decided to throw in the towel. My heart just ain't in it anymore. I feel kind of like Marty McFly from Back to the Future: we all know damn well what awaits these lemmings, but none of them will believe it. Like a sci-fi time travel flick, the kids will just have to find out what the future holds on their own. Their incredulity will be their downfall.

I've seen some comments that implied we '"feared" a lawsuit from SH and that's why the blog disappeared. Nothing could be further from the truth. Unlike the thugs at SH, Justine and myself have both actually conducted civil jury trials on our own (she's also paid her dues in small-firm hell), and neither of us give two shits about the noise and smoke SH might throw our way. Bottom line is that we hold all the cards anyway. A case like that would be David vs. Goliath, and the bad PR and media attention a law school vs. alum case would entail makes it simple common sense that no school would risk the hit.

I made the decision that the blog had run it's course and what's done is done. I'm moving on and trying desperately to recoup some of my lawschool "investment," and BDSL (if seen by clients) would materially hurt those goals. Hence it's demise.

I still have all the old blog posts saved in MS Word, and if anyone is interested in running a "Big Debt" archive I'd be happy to fwd. them to you to run again (kind of like "syndication" for an old TV show.) Let me know if you're interested.

I wish those of you who keep blogging the best of luck, and feel free to call me anytime to BS or if you have any questions about starting a side practice (there is some easy money in law if you know how to find it). It's been fun & I wish you all the best,

Scott Bullock aka L4L

Crazydog T-shirts Giveaway (CLOSED)

Congratulations to ellie for winning a tshirt from Crazydog T-Shirts!
We have a pretty good sense of humor here at BIDER. Angel and I will poke fun at ourselves both here and in real life. It makes life more bearable to laugh rather than cry about our current misfortunes and pitfalls after doing everything right. So we had a great time working with Crazydogtshirts, Nachomamatees.com, and costumesquad.com. I chose a tshirt from Crazydogtshirts and Angel chose tshirts from Nachomamatees.com and costumesquad.com.

This is my review so I will let Angel share her full experience wearing their hilarious tshirts in a few weeks. We had a good laugh picking out our tshirts and wearing them around town. If you like to offend random people walking down the street or have people laugh with you (or at you), then you will love this tshirt company. These tshirts are laugh out loud funny. I can't wait to see what designs they will come up with next.

I chose a retro tshirt because I'm an 80s baby and loved watching the Golden Girls, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and the Gremlins movies growing up. They have tshirts for all of those 80s television shows and movies and more. If you buy one of their retro shirts, it is definitely a conversation starter at parties. Everyone will point out your MacGyver or Golden Girls shirt then share their favorite 80s moment without you even asking them.

Crazydogtshirts also make great and affordable gag gifts and presents for friends and family. Why is it that every guy I know loves Chuck Norris and the Chuck Norris jokes? I don't get it. Anyway, Crazydogtshirts has a variety of Chuck Norris tshirts to choose from for that special idiot person in your life. There are tshirts for men, women, and children and the tshirts are available in most sizes.

One suggestion I have is that Crazydog should make law school tshirts. "Seton Hell School of Law" tshirts would be a good start. A BIDER reader has the chance to win their own tshirt from Crazydogtshirts!

Mandatory Entry: Become a Crazydog fan on Facebook.

Extra entries:
- Post a comment on the Facebook page telling us what their favorite tee is or asking us a question about the shirts. Let me know in the comments. (1 extra entry)
- Post a comment on, or "Mark as Favorite" one of Crazydogtshirts' Flickr photos. (1 extra entry)
- "Like" or "Share" one of the products on Crazydogtshirts' website. The buttons for these are on all product detail pages, above the main image. (1 extra entry)

The winner can choose between receiving a free mystery tee or a free $15 gift card to use at Crazydogtshirts.

Winners cannot have won a shirt from us or have been sent a shirt for promotional purposes in the last 90 days. U.S. residents only. The contest ends on Tuesday, September 7th at 5pm EST. Good luck.

Thank you to Crazydogtshirts and their affiliates for providing me and Angel with their tshirts to review.

Never Too Educated to Be Sexually Harassed!

I curse like a sailor. This is a bad habit that I picked up in college.  At the end of college, I said, I will not curse in Law School, because I want to be more professional.  But, in Law School, people cursed like sailors as well--even the professors.  So, upon graduation, I decided I would not curse during my clerkship.     But Judge Bitch cursed in chambers all of the time.  So, I slid back into my old ways.  However, I promised myself that I would stop when I began the practice of the law. You guessed it--the most unprofessional environment ever was the first small firm that I worked for in New York City.  So, I stopped trying.
But it wasn't the cursing that got under my skin--it was the overall lack of professionalism and, mostly, the sexual harassment.  Well, that's an overstatement.  I was an adult and I could handle it, but I was astounded at the things that came out of my bosses' mouth.

"Wear a low cut shirt to court tomorrow."
"Sleep with the judge if you have to."
"Did anyone see my dental floss?  Oh, it's between Molly's butt cheeks today--nice thong, Molly!"
"You don't have to sleep with him, but he should think it might happen."
"Yah, the folder is in that drawer... don't squat, bend over."

It was a sexually charged environment. There was even talk of not allowing flats as part of the dress code.  It was obvious to everyone that the "girls" in the office were hired based on looks and the boss would inevitably make a pass at every girl in the office.  Whether or not they were welcome advances is another story.  Couple the sexual harassment with the racism and homophobia and it was a bit uncomfortable to work there.

So, Slate published this "Dear Prudence" letter about a similar office experience:
Dear Prudence,
I am a female law student who is employed for the summer (and potentially for the school year) at a small firm that I'm really enjoying. The law office shares a floor of an office building with a bigger law firm, and my cubicle is "on the border." All of the attorneys at both firms are male, but at the other firm, the men are far from politically correct. I have two issues: First, one of the attorneys, "Jerry," often makes comments to me about my appearance. These range from annoying but harmless ("Nice tan") to creepy ("I like that skirt," in a lecherous tone). I have tried to ignore him or subtly indicate his comments aren't welcome, but neither approach has worked. I'm tempted to speak to one of my firm's partners, but I fear it would make me look like a little girl running to a man to fight my battles. I'm also considering documenting all his comments until I have enough for a sexual harassment suit so I can make his firm pay for the legal education I used to nail it. Second, I overhear a lot of conversations I find highly offensive. The men are fond of using homosexuality-based insults, calling one another or opponents "fag" and "homo." The work environment is becoming so unpleasant that I wonder how long I can stand it. What should I do?
—Livid but Lost Law Student
Dear Livid,
I hope you don't view your law degree as a carte blanche to take to court everyone who makes you uncomfortable. If you tell a judge that getting the compliment "I like that skirt" made you unable to discharge your own legal duties, the conclusion may be that you need to find another line of work, not that the firm of Blowhard, Homophobe & Creep owes you a tuition check. The law firm you're working for likely won't be impressed with your enterprising spirit if they find out you've filed suit against the guys next door. Let's deal with Jerry. As you've discovered, being subtle isn't working. I assume your legal education is teaching you to state your position plainly, so do so. Next time Jerry comes over, tell him, "Jerry, I'd appreciate it if you would cease remarking on my appearance. I find your comments disruptive and your tone hostile. I hope you understand what I'm saying and that I won't have to say it again. Thanks." Only if he escalates should you take it to one of your partners, explaining that you've tried to deal with him yourself. As for the frat boys next door—get a sound-blocking headset if you must. Yes, their comments are repugnant, but you don't want to be the Carrie Nation of your floor. Let's hope this is resolved one day when a client of the firm who doesn't share their sensibilities overhears the office banter.
Wow.  I was a little shocked at her advice.  She was less than understanding.  But Above the Law was also heartless about this poor girl's plight:
This discussion raises a larger question: Do female lawyers and law students need to get thicker skins?
If workplace complaints from women lawyers focus these days on uncouth remarks by men, perhaps it’s because the worst of sexism is in the past. The days when Sandra Day O’Connor couldn’t find a job as a lawyer but only as a legal secretary, despite graduating near the top of her class at Stanford Law School, are ancient history. Now women with credentials like O’Connor’s are eagerly courted by the nation’s top law firms. Women make partner with regularity in Biglaw, and many have risen to become managing partner.
...  Let’s face it: sex is funny. And if you’re going to take human sexuality off the table entirely as a topic of conversation, offices are going to become a lot less fun.
So, because Elena Kagan was appointed to SCOTUS, a young woman cannot be sexually harassed?  When I was young, in college, I felt that men behaiving badly was justified in their mind because I was an undereducated underling.  But, as a woman, I suppose we have to deal with this, even as we crack the ceiling and become CEOs and Supreme Court Justices?  Epic FAIL, ATL and Prudie.  When will women be treated humanely?  Forget about being equal.  Would you want someone to speak to your daughter, mother or wife this way?

Monday, August 16, 2010

We Need More Christian Lawyers, Right?

Nothing against Christianity and religious people, but is it really necessary for Louisiana to open up ANOTHER law school with a focus on the Christian faith?  I'm really misleading BIDER readers here, because I don't care if Louisiana opened up a law school with a focus on Spanish Language, a law school with a focus on freeing the innocent and wrongly convicted, or a law school focused on sharia law.  We don't need another law school.  But, Louisiana has opened a law school in Shreveport and they are giddy about it.  I find it ironic that this announcement is made on the heels of the news from the Newark Star Ledger about dismal job prospects for New Jersey Lawyers.
Eager Lemming and Future Judge Paul Pressler School of Law Grad thinks, "But Louisiana is different than New Jersey. There's tons of opportunity here.  Especially for those with Christian values."

Hmmm.  I don't know.

I've never been to Shreveport, only New Orleans--which was a small, provincial and charming town.  Is Shreveport bigger?  How often do you Christian Values come into play when practicing the law?  Okay, these are the issues that may offend one's sense of morality as a solo, and these kids will be solos:
1.  Should I, or should I not, represent those seeking divorce when I don't believe in divorce?
2.  Should take on a bankruptcy client when it's immoral to avoid paying one's debt.
3.  Should I represent a women who was sexually harassed at work when she dresses too provocatively?

Actually, while I was drafting this list, I thought--people that have such a strong sense of morality that they seek to influence others, probably have no business being an attorney.  I represent many people I know and respect and many others that I think are slime, but justified legally.  I don't think there is room in the practice of law for morality.  What's legal is not always right--morally speaking.  According to the Shreveport Times, the school will provide a "biblical worldview" with the goal of training future lawyers "to defend conservative Christian values in courtrooms and politics."

Well, maybe there's a void?  Maybe there is no law school addressing this pressing need?  Nope.  Welcome to Regent School of Law: What makes Regent unique among law schools approved by the American Bar Association is that we thoroughly integrate a Christian perspective in the classroom. We are committed to the proposition that there are truths--eternal principles of justice--about the way we should practice law and about the law itself. We believe character matters. We talk openly about how an attorney can have integrity and humility in a profession that challenges both. And we discuss not only what the law is, but also its origin and what it ought to be.

You're not unique anymore, Regent.

Actually, on a side note, I chose my pen name "Angel" because I felt that it was divinely ironic that I am doing the devil's work and I'm a very moral person.  I wonder what these kids will think of the practice of law.

So, one more law school--another 100 or so students unemployed in the near future.  Welcome, kids!  It's been a hell of a ride and I'm happy you can join!

The Suggestion You've Been Waiting For: A Fourth Year of Law School

A tipster sent me this law review article, wherein the obvious is stated: Law School Grads are unprepared to practice law upon graduation. It proposes this novel solution: adding a fourth year to the Law School curriculum.  What?  Yah, you heard right.  Adam J. T.W. White thinks that this fourth year of Law School, and presumably the tuition costs associated therewith, would better prepare grads to do what the economy is forcing them to do: hang out a shingle.  Well, he's right.  It would.  But not if it became part  of the curriculum, i.e. something that you have to pay for.  When will the madness end?

I say, let's whittle down law school to one year and have one more year of practical training.  Isn't that a better idea?

Mr. J.T.W. (gee, how many middle names does a person need) White, makes some good points.  Only law graduates realize how ill suited they are to perform actual lawyering when they receive their beloved J.D.  I don't have to tell you about the sick feeling in your stomach when your second cousin Phil asks you to prepare a will for him, or your Uncle Jethro shows you a complaint for foreclosure after your graduation dinner... and you have to say, "I have no idea how I can help you."  
Mr. White writes:
...while law professors emphasized the theoretical approach to legal education and this approach thrived, the importance of practical training has received much less scrutiny and has been largely cast to the way- side. This leaves a gap between the legal education received by law students and the education students need to become competent practitioners—and this gap is widening.
Most law professors have no idea how to practice the law.  Did you ever hear that saying?  I forget how it goes, but something like this "Those who get "As" in law school teach, those who get "Bs" become judges and those who get "Cs" practice."  Well, most professors haven't practiced or only practiced for a year before their social ineptitude became so apparent that they are forced to scurry to the nearing Law School Mill and become part of the machine.  These professors are more comfortable with theory, and consequently teach theory.  The origins of mens rea doesn't teach you how to negotiate a guilty plea for a criminal client.  So, what about the ABA?  Shouldn't they see to it that Law School Mills create Lawyers, not just thinkers?
One of the American Bar Association’s (ABA) objectives for the program of legal education is that “[a] law school shall maintain an educational program that prepares its students for admission to the bar, and effective and responsible participation in the legal profession." However, it appears the ABA standards are much more tailored to bar passage rates than actually training students to be successful members of the legal community.
Once again, the ABA fails us.  Bar passage means understanding theory or regurgitation of law, but not effective representation of real live clients.  Law firms have and continue to complain about the lack of practical skills in the law school curriculum:
It is apparent that “the model in which senior partners line-edited their associates’ memos and the associates accompanied their partners to court for years before being given a case of their own to handle has become but a dim memory.” Schools have recognized that, especially in the increasingly competitive legal market created by the slumping economy, their graduates need to be prepared with practical skills, not just knowledge of legal theory.  This is because legal employers are not willing to pay large salaries to individuals who lack practical training.  The recent economic crisis has caused law schools to take notice of the gap in legal education and preparation for the legal profession, resulting in schools “revamp[ing] their curricula to prepare students for the realities of the legal profession. 
One pathetic attempt at "revamping" is offered by University of California at Los Angeles, that recently  started an LLM program that gives graduates the skills they would otherwise develop as new firm associates. FAIL.  Another degree, other than the J.D., just to learn what they failed to teach you in law school?  You must be kidding!

Mr. White draws comparisons between the Medical Profession and the rotations offered to medical students and the practical training offered by Northeastern, which offers three semesters of real life experience in the law.  Kudos to Northeastern, but that's only one school.

He also draws comparisons between the legal education systems of England and Canada, which incorporate training into becoming an attorney.  That would be great, except that we dilly dally with four years of undergrad first--a problem that amounts to large amounts of money owed before you can even support yourself in your profession.  As it stands, we are 25 when we graduate from school.  In England the "continuing legal education" stage of training takes 3 years before you become a full-fledged attorney.  That means that we'd all be pushing 30 once we'd be able to practice.  Is that acceptable?

Here's Mr. White's solution to becoming competent lawyer, rather than a J.D.:
The first, second, and third years of law school will remain unchanged.  The only major change to the educational system currently in place will be the addition of practice-based elements to the existing requirements.  The fourth year will consist entirely of real-world experience and will not contain a classroom component. This fourth year will be similar to the United States medical model and the English and Canadian legal models.  This new four-year model of instruction will expose students to the actual practice of law with direct oversight from an active member of the bar.  This new model will mandate that every student attending an ABA-accredited law school during their fourth year participate in either an in-house live client clinic or work for an LSC-funded program. 
Well, like I said.  Law School is too long as it is. We don't need the third year, and arguably half of the second. If this fourth year costs an additional year of tuition, I am adamantly opposed to it.  If this is included in the three years of tuition, I will entertain the idea.  However, as I said... it begs the question:  Why doesn't law school prepare you to be a lawyer?

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