Friday, July 22, 2011

Finally, a State Representative and a Senator That Get It!

Totally hijacked this story from Crynn, but this is a case where more exposure is better.  He says, "Forgive Student Loans!"  No joke!  Call him and voice your support!  (202-225-2261)  I just left him a 5 to 10 minute rambling message about how I'll move to Michigan to show support... or something. I'm drunk.  So, who knows what it sounded like.  I think I was nice and appreciative.

Here is another video where he elaborates on his plan and insists that we cut up our credit cards.  Consumer debt is killing us.... I tend to agree.

Then, Senator Grassley, God Bless his Lovely Soul, put the ABA on the spot with a crazy long and detailed letter where he asked HARD questions about why they are totally fucked up (i.e. accredit law schools at the rate that bees germinate pansies).  LOVE HIM.    Here are the questions from the letter:

1. Does the American Bar Association compile data on the number of schools which offer scholarships to more students than can statistically retain those scholarships?
2. If so, how many schools, and how many total scholarships are affected?
3. Does the American Bar Association take these “bait and switch” allegations into account in the accreditation process?
4. If so, how?
5. If not, why not?
6. Does the American Bar Association maintain data on the dollar amount of merit based scholarships offered each year?
7. If not, does the American Bar Association plan to begin maintaining this information?
8. Does the American Bar Association maintain data on the dollar amount of merit based scholarships that are revoked after the offeree‟s first year of law school?
9. If not, does the American Bar Association plan to begin maintaining this information?
10. Does the American Bar Association publish data on the amount of first-year merit based scholarships in comparison to the amount of non-first-year merit based scholarships?
11. Does the American Bar Association plan to begin maintaining this information?
12. Has the American Bar Association raised concerns with law schools about the practice of awarding more first-year merit based scholarships than they plan to renew?
13. If so, how has the American Bar Association raised this concern?
14. Does the American Bar Association have any education programs that aid students in assessing whether or not they are borrowing more than they can reasonably expect to repay?
15. Does the American Bar Association have a program to ensure borrowers do not-default on their federally-backed student loans?
16. How many law schools has the American Bar Association provisionally accredited during the last 20 years?
17. Does the American Bar Association maintain this information in a publicly accessible database?
18. How many law schools has the American Bar Association fully accredited during the last 20 years?
19. Has the American Bar Association ever revoked provisional or full accreditation during the last 20 years?
20. If so, how many law schools lost their provisional or full accreditation?
21. From 1990 to the present, has the American Bar Association ever placed a law school on probation?
22. If so, which law schools were placed on probation? 23. Did any of these law schools regain full accreditation? 24. If so, within what time period?
25. When examining candidates for membership on the accreditation committee, what efforts does the American Bar Association make to ensure that membership is balanced between legal practitioners and academics?
26. Does the American Bar Association track the professional background of its committee membership?
27. If so, how does the professional background of committee membership break down in percentage format on committees related to the accreditation of law schools?
28. If not, why doesn‟t the American Bar Association track the professional background of committee membership?
29. Does the American Bar Association track the professional background of the officers that approve or revoke provisional or full law school accreditation?
30. If so, how does the professional background of officers that approve or revoke provisional or full law school accreditation break down in percentage format?
31. If not, why doesn‟t the American Bar Association track the professional background of officers that approve or revoke provisional or full law school accreditation
Whoa, I'd hate to be on the receiving end of that letter!  In other news, ABA Pres. Zach responded, blah blah blah--bullshit.  If you're really concerned with the extent of the lying, here's that shit response.  He didn't respond to a single question. NOT ONE.

Contact Senator Grassley and tell him how much you love him.

We have to thank these guys or they will forget that we matter. If you think you matter, and if your life could be made better with people like this looking out for you, then make it your business to CALL or EMAIL THEM TODAY!

Stop it with the apathy. It's very ugly on you!

Monday, July 18, 2011

NYLS: Slammed!

David Segal of the New York Times sliced and diced law schools over the weekend, with particular attention to my fave local school to hate:  New York Law School.  His scathing indictment of law schools generally, and Dean Matasar's hypocrisy was as refreshing as a cold Mike's Hard Lemonade on a New York Shitty 95 degree summer day.  Honestly, if he had thrown in the words "commode," "toilets," "steaming pile of cow dung," etc. I would have to think that Nando of Third Tier Reality doubled as a reporter for the esteemed New York Time.  Please read what Mr. Segal, my new crush, had to say about Dean Matasar's schizophrenic attitude towards law school reform:
For a sense, take a look at the strange case of New York Law School and its dean, Richard A. Matasar. For more than a decade, Mr. Matasar has been one of the legal academy’s most dogged and scolding critics, and he has repeatedly urged professors and fellow deans to rethink the basics of the law school business model and put the interests of students first.
“What I’ve said to people in giving talks like this in the past is, we should be ashamed of ourselves,” Mr. Matasar said at a 2009 meeting of the Association of American Law Schools. He ended with a challenge: If a law school can’t help its students achieve their goals, “we should shut the damn place down.”
Given his scathing critiques, you might expect that during Mr. Matasar’s 11 years as dean, he has reshaped New York Law School to conform with his reformist agenda. But he hasn’t. Instead, the school seems to be benefiting from many of legal education’s assorted perversities.
N.Y.L.S. is ranked in the bottom third of all law schools in the country, but with tuition and fees now set at $47,800 a year, it charges more than Harvard. It increased the size of the class that arrived in the fall of 2009 by an astounding 30 percent, even as hiring in the legal profession imploded. It reported in the most recent US News & World Report rankings that the median starting salary of its graduates was the same as for those of the best schools in the nation — even though most of its graduates, in fact, find work at less than half that amount.
Pitter, patter--my heart.  Oh, be still.
Wouldn't you think this bit of common sense, no nonsense would come from a scamblogger?  Dare I say it, is our opinion becoming common place? 

Of course, the rest of the article is quite good as well.  It's what needs to be said.  Law school is a no-lose proposition for the capitalist pigs in higher education.

At this point, with mainstream media covering the law school scam in such a matter-of-fact manner, who is still considering law school?  Can you just imagine the rag-a-tag group of people that are piling into the halls of NYLS next month.
I am presuming that one must be able to read to go to most law schools.  I presume, in the age of the Internet, one should also be able to research.  So, who would still go to law school with the flood of information available on the web?  If you type "law school" into Google, and press "News"--this is what appears:
Add "law school" section to my Google News homepage

Search Results The Times 'Unearths' The Law School Scam, But Still Can't Explain It‎You +1'd this publicly. Undo
Above the Law - Elie Mystal - 1 hour ago

Over the weekend, you may have noticed that the New York Times suddenly figured out that law schools are cash cows despite offering dubious ...

Blog: Law school tuition, in graphic form‎ Minneapolis Star Tribune (blog)
New York Law School Law Dean Hits Legal Ed, But Hikes Class Size 30%‎ ABA Journal
all 3 news articles »

►Pistons' Wallace headed to law school?‎
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Yahoo! Sports - Mark J. Miller - 4 hours ago
For now, Wallace is at his home in Virginia researching law schools, the Detroit News reports. "The thought has been brewing for years, and he even spoke to ...

Highly Cited: Pistons' Ben Wallace has a future in, not on, court‎ The Detroit News

all 6 news articles »

Law School Economics: Ka-Ching!‎
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New York Times - David Segal - 1 day ago
Legal diplomas have such allure that law schools have been able to jack up tuition four times faster than the soaring cost of college. And many law schools ...
Law Schools Pump Up Classes and Tuition, Though Jobs Remain Scarce‎ Chronicle of Higher Education (subscription) (blog)

all 10 news articles »

Cooley Law School sues over online postings‎
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Lansing State Journal - Matthew Miller - 1 day ago
LANSING - The first post on a blog called The Thomas M. Cooley Law School Scam billed itself as a public service for anyone who might have thought about ...
Highly Cited: Thomas Cooley Law School Sues Kurzon Strauss Law Firm Over Job ...‎ Bloomberg
Blog: Law School Sues New York Law Firm For Defamation‎ Wall Street Journal (blog)
Cooley Lawsuit Update: One Of The 'Cooley Four' Responds To The ...‎ Above the Law
The National Law Journal - Inside Higher Ed

A standard no longer applicable to most law students.
 all 26 news articles »

Hmmm. Issue spotting anyone?  The emphasis is all mine.  To an average schmo--shouldn't the first few articles that come up on Google cause a tiny bit of concern?  Law schools are suing for defamation?  Tuitions have increased 4 times faster than college tuitions? Class sizes increase by 30%??? Dubious and Law School in the same thought???! 

So, are we left to think that these students that the class of 2014 are idiots?  Or illiterate or neophytes? 

Well, I have the special privilege of passing by New York Law School at least once a week on my way to Court.  I always take note of who is grabbing a ciggy outside of their newly built, state-of-the-art building and who is loitering in the lobby.  Actually, last week, when I walked in front of it--some construction workers were out front with a banner that read "New York Law School is Bad for New York City."  I flashed them a thumbs up for an entirely different reason than they stood for--but the premise is the same.  So, what's my impression of the students that I see there?  I guess... I would have to say they look like rich kids.  I'm certain they aren't actually rich though--but they are just arrogant enough to think they will be rich one day and spend accordingly.  I pass by their school with the same Kenneth Cole canvas brief case I've carried since 2002 and the girls at NYLS role up to Civ Pro with a Louis Vuitton tote.  Some of the boys appear to be hipster types. Not really sure how that goes down in the courtroom.  In any event, arrogance abounds when I pass this school and make eyes with a few of the students. 

I think they look down their noses at me as a lawyer who is running to Court--rather than cabbing it.  Sometimes I stop and bum a ciggy from one of them.  In any event, it must take a really arrogant bastard to see all the news regarding the future of lawyers in this Country and somehow think that it won't apply to you--because you're special and you'll be the one to make it.  You're better than everyone else.
Well, there's one thing the scambloggers cannot do.  We can't change stupid. 

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Tom Cooley Sues..... Me?

Below is an email that Pres. LeDuc of Tom Cooley sent to students. Is he gonna sue me?  I'm a little scared.  But I won't let his threats affect my speech.  Doesn't Tom Cooley fall into some sort of "public figure" exception?  Ha. If I wrote bad things about Walmart, could they sue me too?  
Sounds like a load of horse shit, i.e. Motion to Dismiss GRANTED.  Good to know they are educating lawyers over there.  And they should solicit students to join the lawsuit on the side of Cooley.  I imagine it will strengthen their case as every Tom Cooley grad claims to have suffered from T. Cooley's insufferable reputation.  I imagine the students would join too, so long as they are promised immunity from prosecution when they graduate and "defame" Tom Cooley on their scamblogs.

Life is stranger than fiction.

Update:  They're not suing me!  Happy Day.  Check out the complaint right here.

To: Students 
From: President LeDuc 
Re: Litigation 
Date: July 14, 2011 
 Cooley filed two lawsuits in Ingham County today.   

The first lawsuit is against a small New York law firm.  Our suit contends that the 
firm has defamed us and tortiously interfered with our student relationships, and that the 
firm and two of its lawyers have been unethically soliciting former and present Cooley 
students to join in a class action lawsuit against us.  At our insistence, the firm previously 
retracted blatantly false online statements about Cooley, but only days later the firm 
moved their focus to Craigslist and Facebook, where they began circulating a draft 

complaint filled with more false and damaging statements about Cooley.  

The second lawsuit is against four John Doe defendants.  As with the law firm 
defendants, we contend the Doe defendants are defaming Cooley online and tortiously 
interfering with our student relationships through a series of false, damaging, and often 
vulgar statements in Internet blogs and comments to those blogs and other sites. 
Two main falsities run through the defendants' online statements.  

First, the bloggers state that Cooley is engaged in student loan fraud and stealing 
tuition money.  They say we are secretly employed as bankers, not professors, who are 
engaged in the fraudulent sale of student loans.  We are called criminals and said to be 
under investigation by two federal agencies. 
Second, the law firm defendants falsely state that we are fraudulently hiding a 
preposterous 41% student loan default rate and fraudulently reporting and 
misrepresenting our post-graduation employment and salary numbers, misleading 
students into attending law school. 
 The actual facts are as follows.  
Default rates—Student loan default rates are calculated by the U.S. Department 

of Education’s Default Prevention and Management Office. We are not involved in their  
calculation.  Cooley’s most recent default rate was 2.2%.  While the rate is slightly higher 
than in the previous four years, it is the same as it was in 2001, and is lower than our 
default rate in the mid-to-late 1990s, during the last recession. The most recent national 
average default rate was 7.0%. 
The past five years Cooley had overall default rates of 1.5%, 0.8%, 0.8%, 0.7%,  
and 2.2%.  The rates for Cooley graduates during the same years were 0.6%, 0.1%, 0.1%, 
0.1%, and 0.6%.  As you can see from above, even at the most recent 2.2%, Cooley’s 
default rate is very low compared to the national default rate. 

The defaulters are predominantly students who did not graduate.  

In the past five yea
rs, only 16 graduates entered into default.  The other 55 defaulters in that time did not 
graduate, and are likely to have lower student loan debt totals in default.  Not all of our 
students have loans, but of the current graduates who do, the average indebtedness is 
approximately $105,000. 
The defendants' statements about manipulation of students to obtain loans, selling 

loans, or having employees who are really bankers are just bizarre.  We have never been 
investigated regarding irregularities in our loan program by any governmental agency.   

Employment data—We have reported our employment data exactly as required 
by the American Bar Association and the National Association for Law Placement.   
The reported figure we use publicly is the number that the ABA publishes in its 
Official Guide to ABA-Approved Law Schools. We are required to submit this 
information in a specific format that includes the number and percentage of graduates 
employed among those whose status is known.  In the 2011 Official Guide, Cooley’s 
reported employment rate was 78.8%. 
We have never manipulated the data or attempted to mislead anyone.  No school I 
know of, Cooley included, makes any promise or commitment about jobs for graduates, 
other than to say it provides placement counseling and assistance to graduates seeking to 
get jobs.  And, of course, all who pass the bar are equipped with the necessary skills to 

begin a solo practice, in which they may work as lawyers if they are willing to make the 
effort required to be successful.  In that sense, law students graduate with the means to 
begin working for themselves almost immediately -- something that cannot be said for 
most other professions. 
The entire conversation about employment in the law and legal occupations is 

almost entirely wrong: 
 1. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the unemployment rate 

among lawyers in 2010 was 1.5%, for those in all legal occupations it was 2.7%, and for 
all occupations it was 9.6%, which drops to 8.9% when those who have never been in the 
labor market or are returning from military service are excluded. 
 2. The 2.7% unemployment rate for legal occupations, including lawyers, was 

better than the rate for all other occupations in the BLS category of management, 
professional, and related occupations except for health care practitioners and technician 
occupations (2.5%). This data shows that becoming a lawyer is a better choice for those 
considering a career, not a worse choice.   
 3. According to the National Association of Law Placement (NALP), the 

preliminary unemployment rate for the 2010 graduates of the 192 ABA-approved law 
schools that reported data to NALP was 6.2%, about the same as it was in 2002. 
 4. Cooley’s unemployment rate for 2010 was 17.05%, slightly higher than it was 

in 2002.  Like the national rate, Cooley’s rate fell during the decade until the recession, 
when it bumped up.  This reflects unemployment among the graduating class in 2010 and 
includes those who did not pass the bar on the first try and those who did not attempt a 
bar examination.  

While it would not be appropriate for me to publicly discuss our entire legal 

strategy, rest assured that we have given much consideration to these actions, and our 
Board has agreed that legal action is necessary to protect and defend the school's 
reputation and the value of your degree.  We could have done nothing, but then we risk 
being sued by the defendant law firm, and the media would then report only the false and 
defamatory hyperbole stated in the draft complaint that the firm has been circulating on 
Facebook and advertising on Craigslist. 
We are not suing anyone for expressing a negative opinion about Cooley online, 

and we are not attempting to police the Internet.  We believe these particular defendants 
have crossed the line both legally and ethically, calling us criminals who deceive our 
students and steal their tuition money, and ascribing to us fraudulent student loan 
activities and default rates that, if true, would cause either the Department of Education 
or Department of Justice to shut us down immediately. 

In short, we've determined that we need to protect Cooley's reputation and stand 

up for our students and more than 15,000 graduates.  And we continue to look at ways to 
counter the negative comments with positive comments about us, including online. 
From time to time, we will post updates about the litigation on the Portal. 
Thanks for your support

Thursday, July 7, 2011

WSJ FAIL: Salaries Falling for Recent Grads!

What about the rest of us?  I'm sure you've heard that the Wall Street Journal has decided to write an incomplete and half-ass story about salaries falling for recent grads.  By writing a story such as this, you're feeding the lemmings with hope that this condition will somehow change once you're not a recent grad.  Read on:
Even for the lucky members of the law school class of 2010 who found jobs, their average salaries were 10 percent lower than those of their predecessors, a new report reveals.
The numbers, to be released later today as part of the National Association for Law Placement’s report on legal employment and salaries, indicate that more graduates found jobs at smaller law firms with typically lower starting salaries than large ones. In fact, the median starting salaries for those working in private practice declined 20 percent, given that more than half of the jobs taken up by last year’s law school class were at firms with at most 50 attorneys.
Even so, the national median salary for newbie lawyers – at least for those with full-time work – still stands at $63,000, according to the report. That doesn’t sound so bad, except for the fact that only about 64% of law school graduates found full-time employment in a job requiring bar passage. The rest found non-legal or part-time work, and more than a quarter reported biding their time in temporary jobs.
Is it any wonder why the public hates us?  Oh, pansy lawyers are complaining that their salaries have gone down by 10%.  Poor them.  At least 100% of lawyers are employed--even if it's non-legal or part-time work!  Right?
Wrong, WSJ!

Here's some comments to illustrate my point:
Adolf Cheney wrote:
Undergrad degree $100,000. Law school degree 200,000. total cost about 300k. Return on investment will be 300k/60 after about 5 years. Considering most people work for 30 years, law school will be profitable after the 5th year of working. 60k still is alot higher than what these people would earn without a law degree working at a restaurant or taxi driver. (My PV calculation is utter garbage)
Okay, that was slightly tongue in cheek.  But still, I imagine many others read this article and believe that this is true.

The real story is that many of these newbie lawyers are waiting tables, stripping and working at coffee shops.  The REAL story is that lawyers who are 10 years out are doing the same.  Way to go, WSJ!  Why do they even bother with this weak ass stories that deal with the tip of the iceberg.  It's like writing a story about the people that died on the plane in 9/11--but not mentioning the people who died in the WTC.  There's so much more to this.  Here's another comment to illustrate my point:
Do not go to law school. wrote:
I have been a practicing attorney for 21 years and currently underemployed/unemployed. I have networked and sent out hundreds of resumes. My US Senator told me that for each federal attorney job, they receive over 4,000 applications. i was told that on average, that local open attorney positions receive between 400-1200 applicants for each local position. Even when you do network, guys refuse to help because they don’t want the competition. I know guys who a much more skilled and attended top ten schools will barely make $40K this year.
Don't get me wrong. I'm very happy for any attention whatsoever.  But stories like this wreak of hope and optimism.  I find it offensive.  I wouldn't be surprised to find out that the media is paid off to NOT tell the real story.  The truth must be bad for business.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Are We Unprofessional? Do You Give a Shit?

In arguing a point, when statistics and logic are not on your side, what do you resort to?  An ad hominem attack.   Many people may disagree with my points, and the points that are made by other scam bloggers.  But very few, if any, have resorted to attacking the scam bloggers as people.  Not if they have any sense.  After all, none of our readers have a clue as to how we compose ourselves in our personal and professional lives.  Most realize that this is our outlet, but we don't appear rabid in person.  I'm telling you right now, I'm not frothing at the mouth.  Now, one little lemming, has resorted to the lowly last resort in arguing that we, the scambloggers, should shut the hell up.  He states:

The main problem I have with scam blogging lies in their decorum.  These scam bloggers are future lawyers.  When the economy picks up, they will be drafting wills and contracts and complaints, arguing about truth and justice to judges and juries, and advising individuals and businesses on how to comply with a multi-faceted legal system.  It reflects poorly on future lawyers—members of a profession that prides itself for critical thinking and searching below the surface for the truth—that they would so quickly say that even they, the next generation or lawyers, would be so easily fooled by employment statistics.  And when many of the legal profession’s future caretakers can be seen in public on the Internet throwing tantrums about their job prospects and debt, however valid those concerns are in their own right, what does that say about the future of the legal profession as a whole?  What of the legal community’s sense of exceptionalism?  Of being special?  Of being held to a higher standard?
Of being professionals?
Let me get this straight, by calling attention to the fact that so many lawyers are idiots (in the financial, cost-benefit analysis sense, of course) we are making lawyers look like idiots?  Oh, so we have to make sure to maintain the pristine image of lawyers among laypeople by not pointing out the scam.  Gimme a break!  The "sense of exceptionalism,"  i.e. elitism, went out the window when 200+ law schools opened up and started churning out attorneys like widgets.  There is no exceptionalism, or "being special" in the law.  I will not stop blogging until people are flatly unimpressed with my profession.  It's not impressive.  Frankly, it was easy to become a lawyer.  The hard part starts when you begin paying for it.  As for our sense of decorum, we would not have been as successful as we have been in drawing attention to the white elephant sitting in the middle of the room without blogs like Nando's Third Tier Reality.  How many people would take the time to read his shocking facts and stats if not for the picture of steaming shit in toilets?  His writing style, more so than my own, is of the "shock jock" type--which has been widely successful in drawing the victims in--as well as significant media attention.  This is what Andrew Spillane, i.e. Marquette Lemming, has to say about the content of the scam blogs:
These blogs are dripping with anger and vitriol.  Some are littered with curse words.  One website even refers to law schools not as schools but with various names for toilets, restrooms, and garbage cans and will even post piles of fecal matter and vomit to begin a rage-fueled rant about a particular legal academic institution.  And what of professionalism? Not for us, says one scam blogger, for that is a concept imposed by the elites in the legal profession upon the rest of the bar.
The "anger and vitriol" may be penned by Nando, myself and other scambloggers--but we are just reflecting the general consensus of our readers.  If you read the comments on many of the scamblog posts, they can be more dirty and "low" than the original post.  More than once, I've taken a comment and made it a post--because it was just that good (or bad, according to Spillane).  We are bringing the feelings of the community to the forefront.  Why should attorneys, victims of a Ponzi scheme, feel alone in their victimization?

Let's go back to the day that I started blogging.  I want you to know how I felt.  I lost my big law job.  I felt like a loser.  I did everything that one is supposed to do to succeed in life and as an attorney (I know some of you disagree, but no one would have pictured me so down and out).  I was a failure and I felt like a bigger loser because I didn't know anyone else who felt scammed by my profession.  I started the blog in the hopes that someone would reassure me that I wasn't alone.  I may have been an idiot for going to a Tier 1 law school on a partial scholarship, but I wasn't alone in that my efforts didn't lead to the intended result.  As it turns out, there are thousands of others who regret their decision as much as I.  So, whether I was unprofessional in whining about it, or calling attention to the scam, or reaching out to others who are similarly situated--I don't care.  My alleged unprofessionalism does not extend to my courtroom behavior or to my decorum with clients.  I am still an excellent lawyer--but this is not an excellent or exceptional career.

We are trying to clean house from the basement up.  Maybe being a lawyer will be exceptional one day--but not until being a lawyer is an exception to the rule--and not the natural fall back option for all of the college grads in the country.

Here's a pic of vomit for shits and giggles.
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