Monday, November 29, 2010

Kaplan: LSAT Prep is Not Enough...

Kaplan School of Law?  Really?  Kaplan is shopping for space in Southeast D.C. ... for a law school because Catholic, American, Georgetown, GW, GMU.... UDC... Howard are not equipped to pump more grads into the already saturated Nation's Capital.
Stop the madness!
Of course, there's nearly nothing in the article about whether there's actually room in the market for another law school.  It's mostly about real estate value and what a bunch of students spending loan money can do for the area.  There is this statement:
Kaplan's backers argue that it offers important opportunities for low-income students. Washington is already home to law schools run by American University, Catholic University, George Washington University, Georgetown University, Howard University and the University of the District of Columbia.
Unless they are charging a buck for law school--I find this to be a lie, a farce, a major misrepresentation.
There was a link in that blurb... "argue" which I hoped would direct me to the website where the costs for attending KSL would be spelled out.  NOPE.   Instead, it directs you to an article about how Obama is trying to tighten the supply of federal monies to schools opened by companies and their major lobbying efforts against this type of legislation.  Not helpful.  They need that money to line their pockets with the over inflated tuition, I'm sure.

Anybody who decides to attend this new school is an idiot.  There are plenty of options in that area and no reason in the world to sink so low--unless you want a one-stop shop.  I'm joking of course... there is no benefit to a one stop shop in the law.  I hope Kaplan goes under.

Please Vote for Us! Don't Make Me Beg!

Just got this in my email today...

Dear Blawgger, 

As an author of one of the more than 3,000 blawgs in the ABA Journal's online directory, we thought you'd want to know that our annual Blawg 100 list was published today. 

Now the real fun begins. We've invited our readers to vote for their favorite blogs from among the top 100 in each of 12 categories. Voting ends at close of business Dec. 30. Winners will be announced in January.

Each year, our favorites list sparks debate about the state of the blawgosphere, legal blogs that didn't make the list, and how lawyers can benefit from writing and reading news and analysis being produced online every day by their colleagues worldwide. 

So we invite you to point your readers to the Blawg 100 and continue contributing to that conversation.

Thank you for the news and analysis you provide the legal community on your blog.

Edward A. Adams
Editor and Publisher
ABA Journal 

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Class of '11: Things are Looking Up!

I put up a poll (to the right) recently.  I neglected to include a couple of categories.  Maybe I'll do it again and include an option for "Legal Employment-JD not required" and "Part-time" and "Government."  Sorry I left y'all out.  But feel free to comment here and tell me what you're doing.
So, with a little over a week left on the poll, I've noticed that most of my readers are unemployed--still looking for a job and hopeless.  That's a whopping 30%!  The next biggest category is Employed in a field unrelated to the law with 25%.  I can't believe that over 50% of my readers aren't currently employed as attorneys.

Well, I was forwarded this article.... entitled "Class of '11 will see slightly better jobs outlook."  Promising, right?  Well most of the article discusses undergrads.  For BIDER readers, there is no good news:
...Interest in graduates with associate, master's and professional degrees like medical, law or veterinary is expected to fall, with the exception of Ph.D.- and MBA-level students.
How can it fall any lower?  Well, with 45,000 new law grads on the market in May 2011, it's not really a surprise.
And I don't buy that things will get better for college grads either.  I have a good friend who has an undergraduate degree in.. I'm not sure.  She's nearly 40, so at this point her degree is meaningless.  But she has experience as an office manager of a law firm and a PR firm.  She's versatile, I suppose.  When she combs the Internet for admin level positions in New York and New Jersey--she finds plenty o'jobs.  Problem is that most of them pay $10/hour.  How is anyone to survive on that?  What about rent?   What about transportation.  This is New York Shitty!

Unfortunately, the fodder for this blog is never ending.  I don't see an end to this recession.  Do you?

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Apparently ANYBODY Can Teach a Class at Marquette School of Law: GO BUD!

In case you haven't heard of it, it's in Wisconsin.  Yah, I haven't either.  All besides the point.
What does it take to be a Law School Professor?  One might think... a law degree?  NOPE.  Bud Selig, the Commissioner of Baseball is now a distinguished professor of Sports Law at Marquette.  I have a feeling he may have had in house counsel to handle the sports law stuff, but.. I guess I could be wrong.

Major League Baseball Commissioner Allan H. (Bud) Selig has been named to the adjunct faculty at Marquette University Law School as distinguished lecturer in sports law and policy.
“Bud Selig is, without question, one of the most skilled and accomplished professionals in the sports industry today,” said Joseph D. Kearney, dean of Marquette Law School. “We are truly honored that he would commit his time to our students and grateful that he’s chosen our classrooms as a place to pass down his significant wisdom to the next generation of leaders.”

It never occurred to me that someone other than a lawyer or a judge could teach the law.  I could understand if he taught in a business school, but are they serious about this?  In my humble opinion, this is a new low. Why doesn't Jay Z start teaching Entertainment Law at Brooklyn School of law?  What about Linda Tripp teaching a class about Privacy and the Law to AU students?  This type of appointment makes a law school education seem even more inadequate.  Most all of my professors were Harvard and Yale Law School Grads and I loathed and despised them for their inability to tell me about the actual practice of the law.  After all, most brilliant professors are failed practitioners.  This is one step below the inexperience of lawyers that are too brilliant to practice.  Are Marquette Law Students happy about this?  Drop a line if you have an opinion about this dude?  Is he truly brilliant?  I don't do baseball so I would love to hear a little bit about him.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Pro Bono Attorneys: Necessary and Problematic

Practicing law can be rewarding.  It's fascinating to use the law as an instrument to help your client.  Sometimes a client walks into your office that has a "golden" case.  For example, a caring a doting mother that is seeking sole legal custody of her daughter because her ex-husband is a violent, druggie psycho.  That's a case I'd jump on any day.  There are a million and one tools that will enable you to achieve the desired result.  The only thing that throws a wrench in it, is that the husband walks into court with a pro-bono attorney.  The other attorney is green and eager to learn.  The husband has all the time in the world because he's unemployed, and none of the costs associated with protracted litigation, and will torture your client until she yields.  She can't keep up with the costs.  So, in the end, despite your advice and because of your mounting legal fees--she is forced to settle.

This scenario plays out every day.  It's not fair to your client, but there's little that you can do other than stop the clock.  Legal fees are such a huge factor in what a client does, and it has nothing to do with the law and justice or what's right.  It breaks my heart, but if your client can't afford to keep fighting the good fight--you must settle.

In divorce cases, you're actually forced to exchange retainer agreements.  I imagine that this came into practice so the Court can make sure that the parties are fighting on even ground.  Unfortunately, this has become a formality and means nothing.  However, you can bet the spouse that is paying $100/hour will go farther than the spouse that is paying $400/hour.  And it has nothing to do with the merits of the case.

In debt collection court, there is an army of volunteer attorneys.  These volunteer attorneys won't put in an appearance, but they advise the debtors of their "rights," thereby strong arming the creditor's attorney into settling for pennies on the dollar.  I don't have much sympathy for creditors, of course, but I can see where the costs of collection is transferred to other debtors.  Kind of like the costs of stolen merchandise forces a store to increase the prices on all the merchandise to account for the loss.  If you owe it, you owe it.  Unless you declare bankruptcy, why should you be allowed to settle for pennies on the dollar?

This is obviously one of my pet peeves about the practice of the law.  Much of the motivation to cease moving forward comes from the amount that must be paid to the attorney to do so.  I wish I knew how to even the playing field.  My feeling is that attorneys and politicians should be eating from cans and working because of their passion.  However, with the cost of becoming an attorney today--it's become hard to take on a case for a reasonable rate because you "believe" in it.  Attorneys have fallen into two camps--those that charge an exorbitant rate to survive and those who charge nearly nothing for the experience and the hope that they will one day be able to charge an exorbitant rate.  Should we all be doing this for less?  Or are attorneys' fees the leverage that all parties need to settle?

Any thoughts?

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Law School Transparency: Discussions with Kyle

Earlier this week I pitched an idea to Kyle McEntee, the founder of Law School Transparency. For those of you that don't know, LST is a non-profit watchdog organization that was established with the hopes of getting the law schools to spill the truth on their employment statistics.  As Kimber covered in Shilling Me Softly, LST released the law schools' answers to their initial request for information.  Most of them, except for Ave Maria School of Law, declined citing reasons such as "compliance costs would be to great" or "privacy issues."  I admire what LST is doing, but I'm not surprised.  Even with the ABA's recent consideration of a proposal requiring that Law Schools provide accurate data to incoming students, the law schools are still resistant.
Well, back to my conversation with Kyle.  Here's was the idea that I pitched to him:

Why don't we go over the law schools' heads?  Why do we have to wait for them to comply with LST's requests?  With the scam bloggers' assistance, we can post a survey or a link to a survey on LST's website and ask the "people" what they are doing after grad school.  We can even open it up to graduates who, like me, are years out and now finding themselves living below the poverty level.  I realize that it would be nearly impossible to get 100% percent to report.  However, if we got 10 of 100 graduates from TTToilet school of law to answer the survey claiming that they are unemployed--that information would debunk the statistics of that same school which claim 95% employed 9 months after graduating.

Well, he had concerns.  One of the concerns he cited was verification.  For example, a spiteful law school grad could fill out the survey from several different ISPs claiming that he is unemployed to screw up the statistics for his school.  I, for one, would never lie on a survey like that.  I guess I feel like the truth is probably bad enough, why lie?  Plus, I really want to know the truth.  I'm curious.  But today, two comments on Hardknock's post earlier today made Kyle's concern very real to me:

EvrenSeven said...
It's a certainty that any student who participates in this program won't receive an employment survey from the school after 9 months, because they will already be considered "employed" and won't even have a chance to answer.
When I get mine, I'll be answering as "unemployed and searching" to make up for at least one person who hasn't responded to a survey in shame.
NOVEMBER 16, 2010 12:55 PM  
Anonymous said... 
Even though I was working, I made sure to put myself down as unemployed and searching when mine came.
NOVEMBER 16, 2010 2:41 PM  
Oops. I guess I don't understand the mindset of new grads.  His point came through loud and clear.

He had other concerns as well.  He doesn't want to discredit his organization by providing false statistics.  I guess the scam bloggers have been discredited.  I know that we're referred to as whiners, etc.  People want us to do something.  I think that my idea is the "something" that needs to be done.  I, unfortunately, have no idea how to go about doing it.
LST seems to have lots of faith in the ABA coming through with higher standards for law school.  Of course, I don't.  At the end of the day, I feel that the ABA (made up of Biglaw Partners) has an interest in keeping labor cheap.  I'm sure the organization would decrease tuition if it were in their power, so that the cheap labor wouldn't be so cash strapped.  If that is their real intent, then any proposal that would affect the number of law students that attend law school and slow down the flow of cheap labor as a result is not likely to be a priority of the ABA.  We differ on that point.
In any event, I'm fully behind LST in its efforts.  I hope that the ABA brings the hammer down on the law schools for defrauding students every year.  In the meantime, I feel the weight of 45,000 students on my shoulders every May and the pain that many of them must feel when their expectations are dashed.  I hope that I'm not considered a whiner.  My goal is to put the information out there for those that are open to it, and help steer some students correctly.  I know that everything we post is skewed by our opinions, but we're we aren't dishonest. We stand to gain nothing by telling people information we wish we knew before attending law school.  That is the God's honest truth.
So, what do you think of my idea?  Do you think its something I should approach LST with in the future (after the ABA doesn't deliver)?  If so, do you know how to do it?  Maybe we can talk.

University of Miami Law School Pays Unemployed Grads $2500 Each Month to Work at ShitLaw Firms

Several days ago, Angel wrote about Georgetown Law manipulating its employment statistics by providing $4,000 stipends to unemployed graduates to participate in law-related volunteer programs. TTT schools such as University of Miami are also getting into the act to boost its employment numbers. Firms and courts will get free labor in the form of unemployed UM grads who in return will receive a $2500 monthly stipend from UM.

Is UM Law doing this out of the goodness of their heart or is it another way of boosting employment stats to match Cooley Law's 100% employment rate? You decide. After all, a few hundred thousand dollars spent on temporary employment for doomed graduates is a small investment for fake employment statistics that will surely fool thousands more into taking the LSAT and borrowing $150k for a useless degree. The article also mentions fellow law school scam blog Shilling Me Softly and the now defunct Big Debt, Small Law written by Seton Hall graduate Scott Bullock:

A righteous anger has been seething from the most unlikely and urbane of American institutions. Inside ivy-shaded law schools from Columbia to Berkeley, students facing six-figure debts and zero job prospects are howling that JDs aren't much more than university-approved scams.

Dozens of blogs such as Shilling Me Softly have stirred the wrath, and last month a Boston College student earned headlines by begging his chancellor to give him back his tuition. "It's really just a Ponzi scheme," a Seton Hall law student and blogger named Scott Bullock told the New Jersey Star-Ledger this summer.

The latest sign of law grads' dire straits comes from Coral Gables, where the University of Miami is trying to bolster the grim market for the 350 new lawyers set to graduate next spring by offering their services — for free.

The program, called the Legal Corps, will place graduating students without job offers at public interest organizations or judicial chambers. The firms and courts will pay nada, while UM will pick up a $2,500 monthly stipend.

"It's great to know that we've got this as a fallback option," says Irma Khoja, a 26-year-old South Florida native who will graduate next spring.

UM's program has earned accolades for its realistic approach. In 2009, the school asked incoming students to consider deferring enrollment for a year and asked would-be lawyers to check their motivations before committing.

Now, UM is perhaps the first school in the nation to offer its new grads' talents for free to public service-minded firms. The pragmatic message might be tough to stomach, but most law students appreciate it, Khoja says.

"What's great about UM is they're very practical and realistic compared to other schools who see this as just an opportunity to get more applications and more revenue," she says.

Like the vast majority of her classmates, Khoja doesn't have any offers lined up. She won't apply to the Legal Corps unless nothing else materializes — but at least it's there, forestalling any urge to join the ranks of enraged law school bloggers.

"I'm just trying to stay as positive as I can," she says, "because it's the only way to get through the semester."

Isn't it sad to see this UM student believe her school is starting this program because they actually care about her job prospects after graduation, not because they want more applications and revenue? Our colleges and universities have become corporations that only care about making a profit at any and all costs. I hope more students begin to realize this so they can stop depending on their schools and career services to find them jobs.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Remember Hillsdale College?

I wrote about Hillsdale College back in July. To make a long story short, it's a school that prides itself in not accepting Federal Student Loans. They had an advertisement on 770 am (a conservative New York radio station) where they show off that they are a college that promotes "conservative financial values." I called them out on it because they didn't want to report the racial make-up of the school, so declined federal funding rather than coming clean. I actually found a pic of a bunch of Hillsdale cheerleaders--only one of whom was black. It has since been taken down.

In the many months since I posted, comments have popped up here and there. Many in support of the school, saying that it was a wonderful institution:

Since Hillsdale took it's bold stand, the government's demands have increased far beyond mere data reporting. As a public school student I cannot tell you how much vapid nonsense I am forced, by the requirement or "incentive" of the federal government, to endure on a daily basis. While Hillsdale College isn't perfect and apparently not your particular idea of what a college should be, the students and faculty who teach there are *free*. Free to teach and learn as they please, regardless of what anyone else (including someone like yourself) wants to impose on them. And that, my supposed libertarian friend, is what liberty is all about.
(Someone who actually knows something about Hillsdale College)
P.S.: Before the invective comes, a short biographical note: I applied and was accepted to Hillsdale a couple years ago, but personal circumstances at home prevented me from attending. Nonetheless I maintain friendship with the students whom I've met there, who are a fine set of folks. I wrote this to set the record straight for those unfortunate enough to stumble upon this page in a Google search, as I had.
Maybe you should visit the college and see what it is actually about, rather than making hasty judgments based on a website and an outdated picture of cheerleaders. In fact, when is that picture from? Hillsdale actually just brought back the cheerleading program this fall, so I'm pretty sure it's not recent. If Hillsdale is so racist, I'm wondering why Federick Douglass was a supporter....
I attended Hillsdale College, and graduated in '02. It is a great private school. Having studied at a variety of public and private schools and in England, Hillsdale remains the great educational experience of my life. Small class sizes, an outstanding classical curriculum, an impressive lecture series (I remember listening to Benazir Bhutto talk there, before her assasination), and incredibly engaged Professors (I remember many weekend parties at professors' houses, and parties to which profs were invited, where we started drinking wine and ended up debating Nietzsche or Cicero or Plato all night. Try that at your average public school). It is true that the student body is largely white, but the great diversity of thought encouraged in the classroom, and the emphasis on fundamental liberties would make anyone feel comfortable there. Hillsdale was one of the first schools in the country to ban in its charter discrimination. I actually did have an openly gay friend at the "Dale, by the way....not a common thing there, but definitely possible. He was a fairly popular student. Thanks for the forum....
Then today... vindication! Thanks for the comment, anon930!

Okay, maybe (and I'm not sure) I was wrong about the race thing. But Hillsdale has come out against Homosexuality on Campus. Once again, I think to myself, "Conservative financial values, my ass."

I wish that a school would open that would adhere to the federal guidelines for race and equality and non-discrimination, but decline the federal funding because of conservative financial values. Hillsdale is obviously not that school. As a libertarian, I resent that conservative financial values and bigotry have joined hands at this institute of higher education or as a party platform at all (i.e. some of the teabaggers). I'm sure the Hillsdale cheerleaders will defend this school again, as they did before. What do you guys have to say about your alma mater?
The picture of racial diversity, right? How many of these pics do I need to find to prove my point?

Millionaire College Presidents Grow Along With the Soup Line for Their Graduates. When Will American Students Take a Stand?

Something you won't see in America anytime soon. Students in London protesting a tuition hike from - don't laugh - $9,600 to $14,400 in tuition a year. Photo: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

Things aren't going too well for the young people in the UK. Many of them are just like you and me; highly educated, overqualified, and underemployed. One unemployed masters degree student in the UK has resorted to standing on the street like a hobo asking for any type of work.

So I was very proud when I read that our British counterparts weren't just going to sit on their asses and do nothing about skyrocketing tuition rates whilst their nation goes to hell in a handbasket. Why isn't a tuition protest on a scale such as the one in London last week happening in America, land of the free and the home of the brave? Why aren't parents, students, and unemployed graduates storming the universities with pitch forks for raising tuition to pay its presidents more than $1 million each year?

Thousands of students in London are willing to be arrested and scuffle with armed policemen to stop the conservative party there from increasing tuition by a mere $5,264. That is chump change for American students nowadays. Isn't that how much American students spend to eat in the damn cafeteria?

I think we are pass the point of trying to be nice with these people. For those of you who attended one of the 30 colleges who pay their president close or more than $1 million per annum: ask yourself how much of your non-dischargeable student loan debt went to paying these scumbags along with their country club membership. Are you angry yet? You should be:

Thirty presidents received more than $1 million in pay and benefits in 2008, according to an analysis of federal tax forms by The Chronicle of Higher Education. More than 1 in 5 chief executives at the 448 institutions surveyed topped $600,000.

Most of the pay packages were negotiated before the full force of the recession. But even if the numbers dip slightly in next year's survey, executive pay is expected to keep climbing over the long term as colleges compete for top talent. And schools are rewarding executives while raising tuition, exposing themselves to criticism.

At large research universities, the median pay was $760,774; it was $387,923 at liberal arts colleges and $352,257 at undergraduate and graduate colleges and universities.

The highest paid executive in the Chronicle survey was Bernard Lander, an Orthodox Jewish rabbi and sociologist who founded Touro College in New York in 1970. He died in February at 94.

Lander received a compensation package of nearly $4.8 million. In a statement, the college said $4.2 million of that was retroactive pay and benefits awarded after an outside consultant determined Lander had been "severely underpaid."

Several deals reported the Chronicle survey, which covers the most recent available data, included deferred compensation or other unusual circumstances. Comparisons to past years aren't possible because of changes in how data is reported to the Internal Revenue Service. Colleges were asked to report salaries by calendar year instead of fiscal year as in the past, so most dollar amounts overlap with what was reported the previous year.

Another change: Perks including first-class air travel, country club dues and housing are now included in reported pay.

In 2007-2008, 23 presidents received more than $1 million. As recently as 2004, no college president had broken the seven-figure threshold.

While some presidents on the latest list lead ultra-selective schools such as Columbia, Yale and Penn, executives from schools such as the University of Tulsa and Chapman University in Orange, Calif., are on it, too.

Not all the most elite schools are represented, either. The presidents of Harvard, Princeton and Johns Hopkins all were paid in the $800,000s.

"Value is in the eyes of the beholder," said Jeffrey Selingo, editor of the Chronicle. "Some boards think these presidents, even at small institutions, are worth it. On the flip side, the prestige of serving at other institutions is enough of a paycheck for some."

Still, numbers in the tax forms don't always tell the whole story.

Chapman University President James Doti's $1.25 million compensation includes two "golden handcuff" deferred compensation deals worth almost $665,000, spokeswoman Mary Platt said. She said the board did not want to lose Doti, who since taking the job in 1991 has raised the school's profile and overseen expansive building projects.

He and other college presidents have donated a portion of the earnings back to the college. Doti gave a $1 million gift for an endowed chair in economics.

I knew America was headed downhill the moment the education system became a for-profit business as with our health care system and everything else that most developed nations cover for their citizens rather than having it privatized to greedy CEOs.

The real revolution against the corporate machine is now in Europe and I hope for the sake of humankind that people in other parts of the world will not allow what is happening in the United States to happen in their country. If this is the way to prevent the education scam from starting in the UK, then by all means these students should do whatever is necessary to stop it from happening. American students and recent unemployed graduates, this is how you get these leeches and swine to listen to your concerns.

Credit: Dominic Lipinski/Press Association, via Associated Press

$70 CSN Giveaway Just In Time for the Holidays (CLOSED)

Congratulations to Meaghan F. and happy holidays to everyone!

At the beginning of the fall season, I mentioned a partnership with CSN stores, and now I'm finally getting around to hosting the giveaway you all have been waiting for just in time for holiday shopping. Maybe some of you need a new dining set or barstools for your new apartment or dorm room. Others are probably trying to figure out what to buy for the holidays with money being so tight in this economy. CSN stores is a good place to start because it literally has every home and office item you are probably looking for whether as a gift for yourself or for someone else. You will never have to step foot in a department store now that all of your holiday shopping is just one mouse click away.

I decided to get a desk chair from CSN because mine was standing on its last two legs. CSN has over 1,400 desk chairs to choose from, many of them high quality and for a very reasonable price. All I needed was a comfortable yet inexpensive desk chair for my home office. I ended up with choosing the Regency Geo Bonded Leather Chair. I received it less than a week after ordering it online in brand new condition. This chair was such a great bargain and has held up very well so far. It looks great, feels comfortable, and adds a professional touch to my home office.

A lucky BIDER reader will receive a $70 CSN electronic gift card to use at any one of CSN's 200+ online stores. Hopefully this will go to one of our dedicated readers who really needs the money this holiday season. We know a lot of you who are in this position and BIDER is glad to help out in our own small way.

All you need to do is tell me in the comments section what item from CSN you would like to buy with your gift card. You get a bonus entry for following BIDER and mentioning you do so in the comments. Remember to include your contact information in the comment or email it to me or otherwise I'll have to pick another winner.

Giveaway ends December 1, 2010 at 12 noon. Good luck!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Georgetown University: Help or Employment Manipulation

Found this article and thought I'd share:
With many graduates struggling to find jobs, the Law Center has announced that it is extending its program, giving stipends to graduates participating in internships for public interest organizations.
The program provides students with $4,000 so that they can participate in law-related volunteer programs, according to Barbara Moulton, assistant dean of the Office of Public Interest and Community Service at the Law Center. Started this summer, the program has now been extended for three more months in order to aid graduates still unable to find jobs.
The program is not advertised on the Law Center’s website, but has been announced to Law School students via an email. Currently it is only available to members of the Class of 2010 who are unemployed.
OPICS will only distribute the stipends to students whose internships with the volunteer organizations last for at least three months. The graduate must also continue to look for permanent employment in order to receive the stipend.
The program comes at a bleak time for law school graduates: While 88 percent of law school graduates of the Class of 2009 were employed by May 2010, 25 percent of the jobs reported are temporary, according to The National Association for Legal Career Professions, a higher percentage than earlier years. Another 10 percent of the jobs reported are half-time. 
Wow. Those employment stats are dire for such a reputable law school.  I would like to think that Georgetown is giving these stipends out of the kindness of their hearts, but I know better.  I'm sure that the stats are coming due for the Class of 2010 and the numbers aren't looking good.  This stipend, a drop in the bucket, is enough of a carrot to make the little Hoyas jump at the "opportunity" and count themselves as employed.

This plan is reminiscent of Duke's little ploy.   If any Georgetown Administrators come to this site, let me be clear.... STOP ACCEPTING STUDENTS.  The only way you can ensure your employment stats improve is to limit your class size and cut your budget.  Unless you want to walk over homeless Georgetown Law Grads on M Street, quit pumping them out.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

2.27 GPA and 151 LSAT

Ran across that subject line in a discussion on Top Law Schools.  The doomed 0L elaborated by saying:
Is there a law school in the US that will take me? Having trouble finding low end law schools. Thanks for the help!
joemoviebuff, would you mind elaborating a bit? are you insinuating that the quality of education would not be worth the investment? or that it would be tougher to get hired and find a job once out of school? or both? 
for what it's worth, i never studied or practiced for the lsat. are you currently attending law school? i suppose i'm just trying to figure out if law school is something i actually want to do. i have no doubt i would succeed in law school if i put in the effort...something i obviously did not do in undergrad   is there any way to make up a poor GPA, say with graduate school or maybe an associate's degree? or am i just SOL? 
thanks for all and any input! 
Ugh. For the record, Hardknocks and I are NOT writing for this guy.  He is basically suicidal and retarded.  It isn't because his GPA or LSAT are low.  The other 0Ls chimed in with advice:
Bypassing the question of whether you should go to these, here are some good suggestions:
John Marshall Law school in both Atlanta and Chicago, Thomas Cooley Law school in Michigan ( four locations), Ohio Northern Law School , Western New England Law School, Suffolk Law School, Florida Coastal Law School, Barry and Nova Law School, University of Baltimore might take you, Ava Maria Law school, and University of Dayton among many others.
As for whether you should go to these, some of them are actually quite good and well- respected in their areas. A lot depends on your goals. If your main goal is big law, it will be tough to get a job attending any of these schools unless you are in the top 5% of the school and preferably in the top 5-10 people. If you have lower aspirations, any of these can do the job. If you just want a legal background but don't want to practice law per se, any of these will do the trick.
The only appropriate answer for this monkeybrain is not to go.  You're asking for it, buddy.  By "it," I mean a lifetime of anguish, heartache and debt.  Also, for the record, there is a law school for everyone. But those law schools that are for you should be shut down and boarded up.  They shouldn't be part of your lifetime plan.  I would be wary if they accepted someone with your credentials.
Why do I bother reading Top Law Schools?  It really makes me sick to my stomach.

Monday, November 8, 2010

India a/k/a the Future

Just today our beloved President Obama visited the new world superpower, India.  President Obama and that Indian dude released a joint statement stating:

The two leaders welcomed the deepening relationship between the world's two largest democracies. They commended the growing cooperation between their governments, citizens, businesses, universities and scientific institutions, which have thrived on a shared culture of pluralism, education, enterprise, and innovation, and have benefited the people of both countries.
I argue that this unique relationship has benefited the people of India and the corporations of America.  As BIDER readers know, the lawyers today are the factory workers and computer programmers of yesteryear.  How so?  Because all of us have suffered the effects of outsourcing.  Law Firms have successfully overvalued and undervalued lawyers, all within a decade, and now see the Indian legal workforce as the wave of the future.

The growth of legal services outsourcing has been strong and is likely to remain so, particularly in India, the survey found. Legal services outsourcing is growing at a rate of 40 percent annually in India, with about 110 legal services providers in the country. The Philippines and Sri Lanka provide 20 percent of legal outsourcing.
Law Schools are not about to stand back and let that happen--not without getting in on it first.  University of Michigan Law School (ranked #7 in the nation) has joined forces with Jindal Law School (no relation to Bobby--I think) to form a Joint Centre for Global Corporate and Financial Law and Policy.  What the hell is that? I'm not sure.  Yes, for those of you that need it to be spelled out, JLS is in India.  I have no idea what the effects of this "Centre" will be, but I can't imagine it's good for you and I.  I guess they foresee a day when American law school grads won't be "good for the money" and they are trying to appeal to the affluent Indian attorneys.  Apparently it costs Rs 1, 300, 000 to attend Jindal, which is $29,000.00 a year.  I can't be sure of that figure, however, because they place commas in totally illogical places.  In any event, that's a pretty penny (even though some of those costs are one-time only fees).  So, definitely worth it for a school like Michigan.
The best part is, if you look at the Jindal Law School website--it's peppered with pics of white and black people (clearly Americans).  So, Michigan has postured itself to keep making money once the cash cow, formerly known as the dumb-as-bricks-American-grad-students, have stopped producing milk.  Here's to forward thinking.  Happy Monday!

Next it will be a show on Indian Attorneys doing Doc Review and Patents and Trademarks.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Clothing Drive for Law Students

I try not to cover the same topics as Above the Law.  Even though I used to read it religiously while employed with Big Law, I don't anymore and I'd like to think that we have different readers.  However, I think this little story deserves coverage.
Duquesne is having a clothing drive for 1Ls, because the can't afford to dress professionally--which is probably Step 1 in nailing the interview.

The Duquesne University School of Law is holding a Professional Clothing Drive for Law Students.
We are accepting gently worn professional clothing* for 1st Year Law Students preparing for the Oral Argument Program in the spring and all Law Students preparing for job and internship interviews.
Clothing can be dropped off at the Main Office of the Law School between the hours of 8:30 am and 8:00 pm (Monday through Friday) and
9:00 am to 12:00 pm (On select Saturdays please call for dates). A receipt will be provided for your tax-deductible donation.
* We are accepting business suits for women and men as well as shoes, ties, belts and accessories.

Of course, you probably know where I'm going with this.  This needs to be extended to lawyers.  I go to the Courthouse nearly every day and attorneys dress like... well, like poor people.  Yes, there are those that foolishly spend their money on designer suits.  However, there are many more that throw an old sports jacket over a pair of slacks and call it a suit.  Their shoes are old and cracked and falling apart.  If they even bother to have dress shoes  Many more don sneakers or flip flops--well, the women certainly do.  Don't let me get started on the women.  There is no suit requirement for the women--it seems.  In the summer, female attorneys would go to court in sundresses and a cardigan.  Sometimes sans cardigan and bra.  Some looked like they are going to the park to sun themselves after court after the status conference.  I dress like an idiot in court because my clothes, knowing that I have no means to replace them, now have holes all over them.  It's ridiculous. I spent good money on these clothes when I was employed--why are they falling apart now?
So, anyone on board?  Let's ask the financial industry with their generous bonuses (due to our fucking TARP money) to donate their Hugo Boss suits to the impoverished legal industry. I would get in line for a couple of suits.  Would you?

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Industry Shill Provides Nuggets of Info Among Useless Advice! The Tide is Turning...

Ran across this shill article by Ari Kaplan.  Yes, the majority of the article is utter bullshit.  However, there were some useful reflections on providing a warning to future law students about the debt load and dearth of high paying jobs these days.   He discusses why lemmings are so stupid:
...Most prospective law students sincerely believe they will graduate in the top 10% of the class. "You sign the loan papers with the idea that it will all pay off and it is the idealized big firm life that allows people to take debt," notes Indiana University Maurer School of Law Professor William Henderson. He recommends that the ABA Section on Legal Education and Admission to the Bar direct schools to walk students through the application process more carefully to conduct an intelligent analysis of their career prospects. 
True.  What they don't believe is that they will be among the other 90% of graduates that don't do so well.  Obviously, mathematics is not the lemming's strong point.
Law school applicants are generally naive consumers of debt. "As soon as tuition rose to a level where people had to borrow significant sums in order to go to law school, you had students with no experience taking out loans, repaying them or understanding what it means to have debt," says University of Miami School of Law Dean, Patricia White. "It was a little bit like the foreclosure crisis and the mortgage debacle," she adds. 
Wow.  Dean White might be the ONLY Dean that I admire.  Do you know that she tried to dissuade accepted applicants from attending her esteemed establishment.  I think I'll even ask Nando from Third Tier Reality to refrain from giving UMiami his toilet treatment. Do you know what she did????
To address this disparity, last fall, in her first year as dean, White sent accepted applicants who had already paid their full non-refundable deposit a unique letter that generated national attention. In it, she asked, them to reconsider their choice of attending law school. The dean offered them the option to defer their admission for one year to further reflect on their chosen path. Of the 32 students who accepted her offer, only eight enrolled this year. [emphasis is mine]
and then she goes on to call out the JD degree in BIDER fashion:
"Part of the problem is that students enroll in law school without really knowing what they will do," says White. She describes law school as "the great generalists graduate school" because the typical undergraduate has no real sense of what law is. "It is more common for undergraduates to have a popular culture sense about what the law is," she adds. [emphasis is mine]
Amazing.  Brilliant.  RESPONSIBLE!  Bravo, Dean White. You're my new hero, anti-hero. You're the new Darth Vader because I love you and hate you at the same time.  You're Dexter.  You're a killer with good intentions.  You did the right thing and those 8 idiots that enrolled at University of Miami have been fairly warned--so you can sleep at night when they are working at the local Walmart.  You did your part.

Then Kaplan goes on with his list of ludicrous hints to make the most out of law school.  He suggests you become a "Creative Hustler." I've called myself a hustler on more than one occasion, but it's because I'm hustling to pay my mortgage, student loan fees and eat.  That's the hustle that many law grads are accustomed to you.

 So you can have a good a good laugh, here's a few more of his suggestions:
You must be motivated. "You cannot succeed without a tremendous amount of drive; you need to put yourself on the line and risk failure," says Fulbright & Jaworski Partner Robert Owen. "If you don't have that kind of internal drive, it is not a good profession for you," he adds.
Develop targeted knowledge. "Learn something about something other than law," says University of Southern California Law School Professor Gillian Hadfield. 
"Understand your client's business; it is not enough to understand the legal problem," advises Richard Fields, CEO of Juridica Capital Management (US) Inc. "When you understand your client's business, you can find solutions quicker, faster and cheaper," he adds. 
Ultimately, confidence is the key to success in the law, notes Shepherd. 
Let me summarize: if you go to law school, be a lawyer.  Lawyers must be confident, understand their client's business and know things other than the law.  A lawyer, by definition, is a jack of all trades and the master of none.  Especially the type of lawyers that don't get jobs after law school--those that end up being sole practitioners.  If you do not heed my advice, you too will be a sole practitioner--because you will have no other options.

Thanks for nothing, Kaplan.  I realize that encouraging people to take the plunge of a lifetime is probably part of your contract, but try and keep the bullshit to a minimum next time.  This article was almost good.

On a totally unrelated note, I hate Phaedra Parks from Housewives of Atlanta. "Be a Lawyer, honey. Get your money!"  UGH.
That's why she's married to an ex-con--probably the only bastard that deals with her work schedule and she's airing her life story for profit on Bravo.  SURE.  I hate the glorification of the legal industry by Hollywood--or Atlanta in this case.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Wall of Shame: Getting Paid to Herd Lemmings Into Law Schools

There are a few things I would never do: (1) accept money for sex, (2) kick a dog and (3) join the legal industrial complex. Ann Levine feels differently.  She has made a career of grooming pre-law lemmings students for admissions to law school.  Here's a video post from her blog:

How can she sleep at night?  
Well, I kind of lied.  Before the shit hit the fan, I taught the LSATs to lemmings.  This was in the early 2000s.  Even then, I felt dirty and filled with shame.  Most of my students weren't "law school" material and were leaving decent jobs upon their admission to law school.  I guess I felt like a prostitute.  But, I taught them as best I could--but insisted that they should go to a Tier 1 school (1 to 50 back then) or give up on the dream.  Lemmings have tunnel vision, so most of them went to law school.  Law school is like love, there's someone for everyone.  
I'm happy I didn't keep in touch. I wonder how many of them are unemployed now.  How many of them lost their spouses because of the stress and the debt?  I only taught for a year and I feel bad for having done it.  
I combed Ann's site, looking for some sort of guarantee of admissions into a T14 or something that would justify this sort of service.  Instead I found this:
Direction for answering application questions about writing experience, why you want to attend a certain school, and how to explain away issues including a leave of absence, a prior poor LSAT performance, low GPA, and character questions.
That is just one of the "services" offered as part of a package called "The Works"--which costs a mere $3,495.00.
I've said it before and I'll say it again--if you have a poor LSAT performance or a low GPA--you probably have no business going to law school.  You will not be the next Matlock or a dude from The Practice.  Ms. Levine may be able to get you in the door, she boasts of assisting 1500+ law students through the process, but she can't insure that you'll be successful at the end of the day.  There must be better things to do with $3,495.00, right?
It's hard to keep up this blog with so much evidence that the lemmings don't get it.  There have been several stories in the last few days about the oversupply of attorneys, yet law students are hiding out from the Recession in law school.  They know full well the debt load and the lack of prospects for lawyers post graduation.  
Still, the harsh realities of being a young lawyer have not stopped thousands from enrolling in law school during the recession. Veritas Prep, a graduate school admissions consulting firm, found in a recent survey that four in five prospective applicants still plan to apply to law school even if "a significant number of law school graduates were unable to find jobs in their desired fields." Only 4 percent were dissuaded.
No wonder lawyers are an unsympathetic bunch.

If the infamous slimy Dean of NYLS had this to say:
Students simply "cannot earn enough income after graduation to support the debt they incur," wrote Richard Matasar, the dean of New York Law School, in 2005. "Even those making the highest salaries find that the debt that they have accumulated while in school may tax them for years."
What business does anyone have going to law school?
However, we are going to keep reaching out to potential law students to dissuade them.  It's a sad fact that some of the BIDER readers will click on the link for Ann Levine's services and hire her.  However, I am sure that the brighter ones heed our advice and not pursue the dream of becoming an attorney any further.  
It's going to take a life time to take down the legal industry's good reputation.  I won't quit until people hang their heads in pity when I tell them I'm an attorney.  It hasn't happened yet.  I still dissuade 3 people on average a week--in person.  Just this week, it was a paralegal at my law firm, a classmate from middle school, a hood rat single mother at Family Court in Manhattan and a client.  
I guess we're in it for the long haul.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Debt Collection Company Uses Fake Courtroom to Frighten Consumers Into Making Payments

File this under "why should anyone be surprised that debt collectors use illegal tactics to threaten consumers into making payments"?

From the Pennsylvania Attorney General's office:

Attorney General Tom Corbett today announced that a consumer protection lawsuit has been filed against an Erie debt collection company accused of using deceptive tactics to mislead, confuse or coerce consumers - including the use of bogus "hearings" allegedly held in a company office that was decorated to look like a courtroom.

Corbett said the civil lawsuit was filed by the Attorney General's Bureau of Consumer Protection against Unicredit America Inc., with corporate and business offices located at 1537 West 39th St., Erie, also identified as the "Unicredit Debt Resolution Center."

"This is an unconscionable attempt to use fake court proceedings to deceive, mislead or frighten consumers into making payments or surrendering valuables to Unicredit without following lawful procedures for debt collection," Corbett said. "Consumers also allegedly received dubious 'hearing notices' and letters - often hand-delivered by individuals who appear to be Sheriff Deputies - which implied they would be taken into custody by the Sheriff if they failed to appear at the phony court for 'hearings' or 'depositions'."

These fake courtrooms were used to intimidate victims into giving Unicredit access to their bank accounts and even surrendering vehicle titles and assets. Unicredit must have hired a few unemployed theatre graduates to do the set design because the description of this fake courtroom sounds like they covered all the details to make this look real enough to fool a lot of people. I would love to see photographs of this mess:

The fake courtroom allegedly contained furniture and decorations similar to those used in actual court offices, including a raised "bench" area where a judge would be seated; two tables and chairs in front of the "bench" for attorneys and defendants; a simulated witness stand; seating for spectators; and legal books on bookshelves. During some proceedings, an individual dressed in black was seated where observers would expect to see a judge.

I reported in June about a bill collector who threatened to blow up a man's house for not paying his $308.09 Verizon cell phone bill. I knew then that this was just the beginning because $308.09 is chump change to the $300,000 some graduates owe for their college and graduate school education. If someone's life could be threatened for that small amount, these debt collectors are capable of anything to get their money.

If any of you have been scammed by Unicredit, you can call the Attorney General's Consumer Protection Hotline at 1-800-441-2555 or file an online consumer complaint.

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