Wednesday, June 29, 2011

How About a Hook Up?

You'd think that the Dean of your law school or your favorite Professor could hook you up with a sweet student loan deal if he runs a student loan company.... No?  I'm being naive obviously.
We spend lots of time in law school discussing ethics and avoiding pitfalls in the practice of the law or the appearance of impropriety.  But what about moral pitfalls of charging students an arm, a leg and a first born child for law school--and then reaping the benefits of the same via paycheck from Access Group?  Seems like a moral dilemma to me.  Who are your loyalties to?

A tipster alerted me to the make-up of the Board of Directors of Access Group and it reads like a who's who of the law school scam artists:

Hannah R. Arterian
Dean and Professor of Law
Syracuse University School of Law

Janice C. Eberly
(Board Vice Chair)
John L. and Helen Kellogg
Distinguished Professor of Finance
Kellogg School of Management
Northwestern University

E. Lynn Hampton, CPA
President and Chief Executive Officer
Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority

Joseph D. Harbaugh
Professor and Former Dean
Shepard Broad Law Center
Nova Southeastern University

Rondy E. Jennings
Managing Director, Public Sector and Infrastructure
Goldman Sachs & Co.

W.H. Knight, Jr.
Professor of Law
Seattle University School of Law

Leo P. Martinez
Professor of Law
University of California
Hastings College of the Law

Richard A. Matasar
(Board Chair)
Dean and President
New York Law School

Pauline A. Schneider
Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe

Kent D. Syverud
Dean and Ethan A.H. Shepley University Professor
Washington University School of Law

Susan E. Woodward
Founder and President
Sand Hill Econometrics

I'm sorry, but what qualifies these bastards to serve on the Board of a financial institution???  Don't you have to know finance?  I can only think that they are serving on the Board because they can herd the  sheep towards Access Group.  I wonder who else is in on this?  At my school, the financial loan office were like drug dealers, pushing Access down our throats.  At the time, I was not aware there were other options.... Hmmmm. I don't see my old Dean on here, but he may have served on the Board back then.

Anyone have any insight on why this isn't considered a problem or a conflict of interest?

I know that we throw the word "scam" around a bit much.  But how else is one to view information such as this?  I knew about Dean Matasar of New York Law Shit, but I was not aware that the vast majority of the Board Members were Deans or Professors.  I don't think that it's right.  This is akin to the Director of Acorn serving on the Board of Country Wide Mortgage.  I can't that flying and I know Fox News would have eaten that up. Why is this any different?  UGH.  The  more you know, the less you wish you knew.  Ignorance is such bliss.  To be a lemming... life must be grand when you think the world is fair.

The tipster followed up by sending me pics of these fat cats.  If you see one crossing the street.... well.... do what you think is appropriate.

Joseph D. Harbaugh

Leo P. Martinez

Richard A. Matasar

Kent D. Syverud

W.H. Knight, Jr.

Hannah R. Arterian

Monday, June 20, 2011

First and Second Tier Reality: Esq. Never is back!

By Esq. Never

It was bound to happen.

Few people, regardless of their perspective on the law school scam, would deny that the law school employment figures are distorted. Heck, Villanova Law School, while not owning up to engineered employment stats, was forced to admit that they outright cooked the books when it came to admissions data. In fact, even the most ardent defenders of the law school cartel are forced to defend such deceptions with little more than hackneyed quips such as, "You should have done more research."

Well, now one law school has the opportunity to literally "tell it to the judge". As many of you know, at long last, one of the nation's premier toilets, the Thomas Jefferson School of Law, is being sued for the pitiful employment prospects it offers even some of its best students.

Others attorneys have mentioned the possibility of bringing additional low ranked schools to justice. If the lawsuit against TJL is successful, you can be sure that it won't take long for barristers across the country to start circling the wagons around the rest of diploma mills that used to comprise what US News once considered to be the third and fourth tiers of American law schools. There is, after all, no honor among thieves.

I, of course, welcome the potential destitution of these egregious funnels for federal student loan dollars. Charging tens of thousands a year in tuition alone for laughable degrees that are entirely worthless outside of one of the most saturated fields in the nation is untenable.

That said, are the third and fourth tier schools really the worst offenders of the law school scam? When I was applying to law school, my understanding was that almost nobody from these schools would ever get a big law job. It would be very difficult to move to another part of the country, and most students would simply have to be willing to work for small local firms or other jobs that didn't pay much.

In fact, one school I looked at in the third tier that offered me a scholarship listed its average starting salary at about $65,000. This is well more than most law school graduates can reasonably expect to make, but it's a heck of a lot more realistic that the $80,000 - $120,000 range most of better ranked school usually list.

In one sense, the lower ranked schools are more crooked in that they charge just as much as the better ranked schools but can't even pretend to offer starting salaries that justify their tuition. In another sense, however, there isn't any reasonable expectation that there will be jobs that justify the expense.

Now, I am not being hypocritical. I'm not saying that first and second tier graduates were deceived while third and fourth tier graduates should have known better.

What I'm saying is that there is a tendency to focus too much on the lower ranked schools while ignoring their brethren in the top 100. The schools that get the most abuse are Cooley, Thomas Jefferson, and Florida Coastal. All of these institutions are indeed dumps, but the deception in which they engage is different and a lot more overt than that of the more established law schools.

What do I mean? Well, let me first use a quote I recently found on JD Underground, "Good lord 120k in average debt is a nightmare. These poor souls will either join the mob, skip the country or killself."

The quote was in response to a posting about Roger Williams Law. I don't disagree, but why is it so much more of a nightmare for a Roger Williams grad to carry this debt than say an American or Pepperdine grad?
It isn't. Aunt Sallie doesn't tell a Richmond graduate not to worry about the monthly payments just because he had a higher LSAT score than the guy down the road at Regent.

Indeed, I would argue that the scam is even more deplorable as you move up the ranks (until hitting the truly elite schools). You see, in order to get into most second (and virtually all first) tier schools, you need at least a 160 LSAT score plus solid grades in college. Often times, it'll take even more than that. If my memory is correct, you need to be at least in the top 80% percentile of all test takers to get into these schools.

Do you think any of these people would really have forgone three years in the workforce and driven themselves into the red if they had known beforehand that they'd be making little more than college graduates while faxing over medical forms to verify $3,000 worth of medical fees from a third rate chiropractor in Southeast DC for a case that would otherwise be worth $100 for an emergency room visit?

Does a Cardoza graduate have a smug sense of superiority as he codes documents in a subterranean urban dungeon next to some NYLS kid who could only hit a 151 on the LSAT?
You do realize there's no room on the industrial boiler in the back of the basement on which to hang your "prestigious" degree?
That is, if you can find one of these positions to begin with. Try looking for entry level attorney positions. You're lucky if you can even find a toilet law role that pays $40,000 (sans benefits) for which to apply in the first place. Maybe having a degree from a better school will give you a leg up against the other 5,462 other candidates who applied for the job, but going to Boston University isn't going make jobs magically appear anymore than a Suffolk Law diploma will.

Plenty of people have heard about UVA grads who were threatening to protest because they didn't have jobs lined up. When I was running my blog, I heard from Georgetown students who were practically in tears because of how miserable their post law school lives had been. Having a GULC pedigree doesn't exactly take the sting out of being being a secretary or a waitress.

I'm not quite in this elite circle, but I went to a second tier school where it pretty much took a score in the 160's to get in, and it's the same story. LinkedIn profile after LinkedIn profile give vague descriptions of being lawyers but don't list any actual full time attorney work under experience. Plenty of people, like me, just left the profession and moved to other fields that don't even require a law degree.

You see, the only advantage of going to most better ranked schools is that there's a larger window for landing acceptable attorney positions. At a school like UVA, it may be as wide as the top 50% of the class. At GW, it may only be 20%. At most second tier schools, you're probably out of luck if you're out of the top 10%.

Once you fall outside of those ranges of class ranks, you might as well have gone to a third or fourth tier school. Toilet law is toilet law. Document review is document review. Thoughts of throwing yourself off a bridge are...well, you get the idea.
I believe the point of calling out the scam isn't to vindicate the victims. Plenty of us were naive, prideful, and even greedy. That doesn't matter. Just because we were good marks, doesn't entitle the law schools to use us as conduits for pillaging the federal government's generous loan system.
That said, I do believe that those who went to better schools are a bit more justified in their outrage at the scam. They weren't taken in by fly by night operations with names like "Florida Coastal", "LaVerne", and "Thomas Jefferson". They were duped by established, not-for-profit institutions of higher learning such as Georgetown, Villanova University, Boston University, American University, and Emory University (to name only a small number).
I am definitely pleased to hear about the serious attempts to see some of the most overt examples of the law school scam brought down. I will be even more pleased when the scams that hide behind the pedigrees of elite institutions also need to worry about hanging up the old "Going out Business" signs.

You can contact Esq. Never @ (

The Law School Bubble!

Law School Bubble
From: The Best Colleges

Great graphic, Tipster!  Not my own though.  So happy that that schizzle is becoming common knowlege.  If you don't know, now you know!

Education Does Not Equate Class a.k.a. Can't Buy Class

I'm of the school of thought that people are born into certain circles.  You can fight your hardest to get out of your circle, even with a modicum of success, but you cannot escape where you came from.  At the end of the day, you are "of" a certain class. 
If you are about to call me an elitist, you can refrain. I came from a lower middle class family and I doubt I will ever be in high society--it's just not me.

Upward mobility has always been a dream for the middle and lower classes.  Education has traditionally been one way to do it.

Not for one woman riding on the Metro North Train.
High five to the New York Metro North train employee who asked the loud, offensive cell phone user to tone it down. Thumbs down to the cell phone user who informed the train employee that she was "too well educated" to be asked to quiet down and stop using the F-bomb.
Several times, the woman refers to herself as a well-educated woman. She rudely asks if the train employee is aware of how many schools she's been to.
There's even a video available here.

Is it more shocking that someone like this can become well-educated, or that being so "well-educated" can have nearly no bearing on someone's behavior?

"Money can't buy you classsss... elegance is loveeee, my friend"

Thursday, June 9, 2011

A Really Bad Interview....

Very cool video.  Actually, the whole series is pretty cool.  From what I read on the writer, Rick Eid, he is a former Skadden associate, turned writer for Law & Order.  Kudos, Rick!  Congrats for the successful leap to a fulfilling profession.  Thanks for the tip!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Florida Coastal School of Law: Beware and Be Scared--Guest Post from Tip Ster!

Dear Angel and Hardknocks,

I want to pass along a message I received from Florida Coastal School of Law (FCSL).  Please feel free to post this analysis on BIDER as an example of how ludicrous this school is for charging students a fortune for a clearly substandard product.  It would be good to save prospective FCSL students from financial disaster and heartache.

Text from the e-mail:

"Coastal Law provides a joint degree program with the Davis College of Business at Jacksonville University (JU), the only AACSB accredited private business school in all of North Florida and South Georgia. This program allows students to enroll in the Coastal Law J.D. and the Davis MBA courses simultaneously and they often earn both degrees one year earlier than if pursued separately.
Learn more about our JD/MBA joint program here:
I would like to tell you more about Florida Coastal- please reply to this email or call me on my direct line at (904) [xxx-xxxx]"


FCSL is a bottom-tier school in a state that has at least 10 law schools.  I know that US News and World Report school rankings have flaws, but a school probably isn't that great if it lands in the bottom tier.

High Costs

0Ls should be wary of scholarship offers from this school.  An online search of the school's name and the word "scholarship" indicates that many students lose their scholarships after 1L.  A recent NY Times article covered this type of phenomenon, but at some other schools.  According to US News, 91 percent of the class of 2010 took on debt for FCSL, and the average amount for those debtors was $120,410 (  

Few Benefits

Meanwhile, the class of 2010's average starting salary was only $48,615, with less than one third of graduates reporting.  The low response rate means that it is possible that the true average is even lower, assuming that graduates with lower salaries may be less likely to report their salaries than graduates with higher salaries.  More information can be found at

The MBA joint degree offering does not change the conclusion that the FCSL JD is not worth getting.  In the MBA world, in general, there is a significant weakening of employment outcomes as one moves from a top business school to a middle-of-the-pack school to a lowly-ranked school.

In summary, it doesn't take an MBA to do a business analysis and conclude that Florida Coastal School of Law is a bad investment of time, money, and energy.

I, for one, haven't heard of this shit hole.  If I haven't heard of it, don't go.  Also, if it has a buzz word in it--like "coastal"--it's obviously a trick.  They are trying to attract the beach bum/swimming/fishing types.  All of the best school are in shitty, cold, locations.  Or they're in the middle of nowhere.

Also, if I haven't said my rule of thumb in the past, I'll say it here.  The total amount of your debt should be equal to your salary the first year that you graduate.  At FC, you debt load could be $120,000.  However, your starting salary will be (if you're lucky) $48,000.  That's bad economics.  You will be broker than you were when you sold lemonade in your front yard for $1.50 a pop.  You actually can't even conceive of the poverty you will suffer.  You will look at homeless people with envy because they don' have bills.  Trust me on this one.

Class Action Law Suit!

I know I'm late to the party, but I need to get this out there.  For those of you that have wondered where I am, here it is.  As you all know, I have three jobs (one is my own practice).  I work every Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. (or until I fall asleep).  Saturday, I'm off the grid.  Sunday, I work from 6:00 p.m. to 12 midnight. It's a lovely life.  And I'm making a fraction of what I was making a couple of years ago.  So, I would love to update more often--but I'm not really able to because I would be neglecting my duties.  If anyone would like to guest post, I would love to have you.  I'm actually going to post one that was sent to me anonymously shortly.
Back to business!
Please contact this attorney:

David Anziska
Kurzon Strauss LLP
305 Broadway, 9th Floor
New York, NY 10007

He is hoping to file a class action on behalf of recent graduates that attended the following schools:

Albany School of Law
New York Law School
Pace Law School
Touro Law School
Hofstra Law School
California Western School of Law
Chapman University School of Law
Golden Gate Law School
McGeorge Law School/University of Pacific (#100)
Southwestern University School of Law
Thomas Jefferson School of Law
Western State University
Witter College of Law

The basis?  Fraud and Misrepresentation.  He is hoping to open it up to more schools in New York and California.

I can't wait to see how this pans out.

Don't be afraid for your reputation.  At this point, it's safe to say that most lawyers (excluding big firm partners) are fully aware of the scam perpetrated on students--but they are using it to their advantage when it comes to hiring them.  So, they know they have you by the balls.  If anything, becoming part of a lawsuit such as this one will show them that you're not as big of a moron as all of the other recent grads.  At least you're well aware you've "been had."

Good luck and let me know how the lawsuit goes.

Blog Template by - Header Image by Arpi