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January 26, 2016

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Captain Hruska Carswell, Continuance King

Getting a decent legal gig or having a lucrative solo/micro firm practice is about network, connections, a legal work feeder and family. Even if you graduated from a Top Tier selective school with decent grades, you will not be successful unless you have those connections. I know first hand. My solo law buddies and I are living through it. It is a financial struggle everyday. This is how it works. Suppose you graduated from Central Baptist Torah Tech with a 2.67 in Exercise Physiology and were admitted to Cooley. You finally graduate from Cooley after five years near the bottom of your class (thank god for Adderall). You then go solo. Your father who is an Assistant General Counsel for Snake Charm Insurance throws you Subro work. Or your next door neighbor gets you on at the PD's office.... Your credentials are irrelevant in this oversaturated legal market. Talk to any five practicing attorneys.....

twbb

He's not talking about credentials though, he's talking about ability. It does not matter how connected you are, you will not get a job as a lawyer if you do not pass the bar.

Leo

I no longer blame the law schools, I now blame the ABA. Clearly, if these schools even thought for a moment that their accreditation was at risk,they might not do things like open admissions.

Cooley and all the others know that the ABA process is very slow, that, at worst, they might get cited for Standards violations and then given a year or more to correct the situation, and even if they don't,they would get provisional accreditation and more time to remedy the situation. They are not going to lose their accreditation and be out of business....

Captain Hruska Carswell, Continuance King

TWBB:

Agree. Your last statement in on all fours. What is the next logical step for Cooley and their ilk to continue to sell their product? What will Cooley do to fix its "defective" product that can't pass the Bar?

twbb

There's not much they can do at this point I think because they've destroyed their never-very-high reputation over the years. Even if they pulled off a hail Mary pass and managed to convince the Michigan bar to offer a non-bar-exam-required path to practice as some schools have been pushing in recent years, once they lose ABA accreditation they can't get federal loans anymore. My guess is they'll slim down as much as possible while still maintaining Don LeDuc's salary and those of his confederates in administration, and try to make their relationship with Western Michigan even closer (maybe even drop the Cooley name).

Jojo

The ABA should be ashamed. It used to represent the American bar. It now is no different from AALS.

Captain Hruska Carswell, Continuance King

I am no fan of President GW Bush. In hindsight, his Executive Order revoking the ABA's input into Supreme Court nominees is now looking like a brilliant decision. The ABA is simply a trade association no different than the National Retail Federation, American Truckers Association or the dozens and dozens of other groups.

dupednontraditional

The worst part about it is the non-dischargeable debt. Even if a law degree from Cooley were not to...ah, er..."work out," one could still try to parley it into something else without being completely financially stranded.

Fast forward 20 years or so, and now tuition is a 25-30 year albatross, "million dollar degree" or not. And, with shockingly rare exception on the administrative/academy side, No One Cares. If anything, they try to argue how it's not bad at all.

Captain Hruska Carswell, Continuance King

Why isn't the comment section open for Indiana Tech Law School open? This is too rich for my blood. Oh, the irony. This post and now Indiana Tech.

Matt Bodie

http://www.americanbar.org/content/dam/aba/administrative/legal_education_and_admissions_to_the_bar/council_reports_and_resolutions/2016_call_for_council_nominations.authcheckdam.pdf

Captain Hruska Carswell, Continuance King

Well, Well, Well. Indiana Tech School of Law removed its posting from this blog advertising open administrative and faculty positions. It was running this afternoon. My guess is that they received hundreds and hundreds of applicants for each positon from hoards of Underemployed, Unemployed and desperate attorneys. I guess the positions are now filled. Thank you for your interest, your resume will be kept on file.....

here it is

The Indiana Tech post is cached here, if the link makes it through spam filters.

http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:EuxPAHNPEkMJ:www.thefacultylounge.org/2016/01/faculty-hiring-indiana-tech.html+&cd=6&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us

bad situation

Many schools are a joke. I graduated Carbozo (pun intended) with very high quals but since I was not connected I did not get into the choice law firms some of my connected classmates got into. Yep those with low grades would get into the big firms because their relatives either worked there or were clients. Meanwhile those of us better qualified were screwed.

Paul Campos

David,

It's clear from Cooley's own internal data that the school chose to hold the line at a minimum LSAT of around 144 for the vast majority of its matrics, even in the days when it was expanding rapidly, because applicants with LSAT scores below that were likely to flunk out of the school (let alone eventually fail the bar). Here's part of a post I wrote about this last month at Lawyers Guns and Money:

Back in the day, before meanie bloggers starting harassing it, Cooley actually revealed some inside information about the precise relationship between the LSAT scores of its matriculants and their subsequent academic success. In this context, “academic success” merely meant not flunking out of Cooley, as opposed to passing the bar or getting a job:

Academic Success Rates at Cooley Law School, January 1996-January 2003

LSAT Academic Success

171-180 100%
166-170 100%
161-165 100%
156-160 95%
151-155 90%
146-150 81%
145 79%
144 78%

These numbers reveal several things:

(1) Cooley was well aware that its historical target market — applicants with LSAT scores in the mid to high 140s, i.e., applicants who until about four years ago were unlikely to be admitted to any other ABA school — were people whose scores indicated they were hovering very near a border, beyond which it would become likely that an applicant would be unable to do what even at Cooley would qualify as passing work, let alone subsequently pass a bar exam.

(2) As a consequence, Cooley, which was otherwise willing to do just about anything to become by far the largest law school in the country, maintained a policy of rarely dipping below 144 in the applicant pool, even though every year tens of thousands of LSAT takers receive scores below that mark.

(3) By more or less holding the line at a 144 LSAT, flunking out about 15% of its students, turning law school into a three-year bar review course, and taking advantage of the ABA’s very lax bar passage accreditation requirements, Cooley managed to boldly go where no law school had gone before in regard to harvesting the shallow end of the applicant pool.

In other words, Cooley itself has been well aware for decades that LSAT scores are good predictors of law school performance, which in turn is an excellent predictor of risk of bar passage failure. Even back when it was expanding at warp speed, Cooley wasn’t willing to go below the mid-140s in regard to applicant qualifications, because it knew from decades of experience that this standard, such as it was, demarcated the border between moderate risk of academic failure or subsequent bar failure, and unacceptably high risk, despite the lassitude of an ABA regulatory process largely captured by low-ranked law schools.

But now, with many other law schools rocketing downward far below the 150 LSAT range in their desperation to keep the tuition dollars flowing, Cooley has thrown in the towel. This year’s entering class had a median LSAT score of 141, meaning that a large majority of the class is made up of people Cooley wouldn’t have been willing to admit even four years ago, because of the school’s well-founded belief that at some point it becomes too difficult to flog potential matriculants past academic and regulatory finish lines.

The three to four year lag time between law school admission pools and eventual bar passage rates means that we’ve only begun to see the carnage from this development, but even so, bar passage rates are already falling almost everywhere. And it’s going to get a lot worse, unless the ABA regulatory apparatus can be convinced that it’s simply “unfair” not to give people who can’t score above the 20th percentile on the LSAT a chance to practice law on an unsuspecting public. Given past history, I wouldn’t be surprised if that argument eventually wins the day.

confused by your post

Yet the ABA will do nothing.

Captain Hruska Carswell, Continuance King

I will digest what Professor Campos data and post is noting. Back in the day, Marshall and Cooley were alternative schools geared toward moonlighting older professional adults, coppers, divorced women, real estate brokers and motivated younger people with lousy test taking skills but strong backgrounds. Yes, you were accepted to a LAW SCHOOL, but you had to bust your ass and PROVE you were lawyer material. If not, they flunked you out. We used to call them FLUNK OUT schools. Even then there were standards...It was still a selective process to become a lawyer...

Matthew Bruckner

David, I think that your series has been very interesting and engaging. Thank you


Barry

Captain Hruska: "Agree. Your last statement in on all fours. What is the next logical step for Cooley and their ilk to continue to sell their product? What will Cooley do to fix its "defective" product that can't pass the Bar?"

We've already seen the opening shots fired in the next battle. The bottom feeders are trying to discredit the bar exam itself. All that they need is some of waiver process, and that's only needed if the ABA somehow goes against a very strong history of corruption.

[M][a][c][K]

What's most interesting in this thread is the absence of the usual crop of inveterate defenders of the law school status quo .. those who woukd normally have something to say have been absolutely silent here. You could hear the crickets chirping from their corner......

Leo

What I would like to see is some consumer protection group, and I am not sure what group that would be, speak up on behalf of the forgotten public, who will retain these lawyers, even if they pass the bar, or heaven forbid, more states take the Wisconsin route.

It seems to me that the public is forgotten in this discussion. If the rationale is that the public is protected because many of these people will never pass a bar exam, it comes back full circle, why admit them then?

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