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December 15, 2017

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Matt

I sigh a bit about Concordia - not because I have any sympathy for the school itself - it clearly shouldn't be there, but because the law school in Idaho should be in Boise, and so at Boise State University (for reasons not that far from those mentioned about South Dakota later in the post, though the situation isn't a dire.) The majority of law jobs, both in private industry and government, in Idaho are in Boise. In a sane world, the law school would be at Boise State. The University of Idaho had tried to address this by having satellite program in Boise, but this is just a waste of resources. This situation will likely never change, not only because (for obvious reasons) U of I doesn't want to give up its law school, but also because of the bad reasoning by the state legislature, which has an unreasonable bias against Boise and BSU. It's bad for law students in Idaho (which really only needs one law school, not 2.5 as it has now) and for the state in general.

Deep State Special Legal Counsel

If at the end of the day, one student from anyone of these schools passes the Bar, they are a success. It's called opportunity, not a guarantee. I know guys from top tier schools who are current attorneys struggling in the practice of law, economically. The Law as a profession has not rebounded since the Great Recession. Frankly, it has not recovered since the Bush I Recession. I recall during 1990-91, lawyers were laid off and placement rates were terrible. Law schools need to honestly disclose that the practice of law is no longer a realistic opportunity for a middle class lifestyle.

Anon

Note that some of these schools appear to be serving as "farm teams" for nearby higher ranked schools who play the transfer game to appear more selective in their first year admissions. Arizona State is chief among them, taking inordinate amounts of transfers from AZ Summit. One wonders how AZ State would survive if AZ summit goes down. One also wonders if there is any back door deal between AZ State and AZ Summit.

I wouldn't be surprised if there is some shady kick back agreement between these schools regarding transfers. When it comes to law schools, nothing surprises me any more. They would make Enron's board members blush.

anon

This is sort of a misleading exercise.

A one point increase in the "bottom 25% LSAT" can't possibly tell you if a law school is no longer "one of the worst." GPA scores are even more unreliable in this respect.

We need to know attrition, bar pass and employment stats.

If a school is NOT included above, but flunks out a third of its first year class, only 25% of those remaining pass the bar, and only 20% of those who pass the bar obtain FT/LT/JD required employment, will it matter if the incoming class was at 146 or 145 at the 25%?

Sorry, but this list is premature and, IMHO, not very useful or meaningful in any respect.

ONe possible use for this list: It would be interesting to compare and correlate actual performance with these input stats, to determine law schools that consistently over perform and those that consistently under perform.

Then, perhaps we can begin a discussion that is long overdue: faculty effectiveness.

Deep State Special Legal Counsel

Anon^^^

The faculty can be all "Professor Kingsfields" and Harvard trained and it won't make a difference. Almost 2,000 new attorneys were admitted to the Bar in November. Where are there even 200 jobs?

I am exhausted chasing "three bill retail thefts" and driving thousands of miles each year to courthouses to represent those clients. I used to get $1200 for a misdemeanor or DUI. The market is grotesquely oversaturated with lawyers. It's a cage fight for even the smallest of fees. Nobody wants to sit in the office and stare at the ceiling.

anymouse

Matt - they now have all 3 years in the University of Idaho College of Law Boise campus. It where the action is and it will effectively happen in the Boise campus rather than the Moscow campus.

Jim

From a Floridian's perspective, I weep not for Florida Coastal, whose problems have been amply documented elsewhere, nor for Ave Maria aka the Domino's Pizza Ultra-Conservative Catholic School of Law, which frankly shouldn't even exist. But FAMU is not only a public law school-- worthy on that score alone--but also one set up to serve "historically underrepresented communities," as its founding legislation puts it. Whatever is dragging it down, even if it is only class size, I hope its administration addresses the matter because (leaving aside perhaps FIU in Miami) it's the only relatively new law school the state actually needed.

anon

Looking at one school in particular, one might find that the gross attrition rate (30%?) is disproportionately among "minority" students.

IN other words, take their money for the first year and flunk them out, all the while promising "opportunity" as a come on.

If that is not disgusting beyond belief, add to that the pompous, self-congratulatory puffing and prideful boasting about promoting social justice, among unbelievably rapacious, self interested and often exceedingly and exceptionally lazy professors, who are themselves disproportionately the privileged, pampered white children of the upper middle class.

Until and unless someone addresses faculty effectiveness, enforcement of output metrics (attrition, bar pass, and employment) will have to do. But SOMEBODY has to put a stop to the "opportunity" argument, because it is bogus from tip to tail.

Meehoff Jack

Disappointed that I wasted five minutes of leisure reading time on yet another pointless “artulcle” by ATL. Thanks for letting the world know what’s already obvious.

Meehoff Jack

Oops, I meant “article”. Kid can’t even read over here.

Bill

There are definitely too many lawyers and with the Internet & Robotic researchers the demand will go down. We, unlike the English System, have way too many frivolous law cases jamming our court system.

anon

LSAT/GPA really mean nothing to the individual who is willing to put in the work to do marginally well in law school and pass the bar. The best lawyer in my area (criminal defense) got a 2.0 in college and 2.0 in law school.

Gary Minor

I don't believe that a lsac score decides who the best attorneys are. I don't have a law degree and have faced off with 5 star super lawyers in the cout room and haven't lost yet. I am a paralegal who typing speed is less than 30 wpm and have a 2.9 gpa. These so called super lawyers are the losing in the court rooms to people like me who respect the profession. We have drive and determination not high lsac scores and gpa's.

David Frakt

Anon says: "LSAT/GPA really mean nothing to the individual who is willing to put in the work to do marginally well in law school and pass the bar." There are always a few individuals with low LSAT scores or low grades who manage to pass the bar. But there are far more that fail. First year law school GPA is an even better predictor of bar passage than LSAT scores. Someone with a 2.0, barely in good academic standing would have a very high likelihood of failure. I do not mean to suggest that someone with a low LSAT score who actually graduates and passes the bar will not be a good lawyer. The point of this article is that law schools are admitting students with no apparent aptitude for the study of law and then misleading them about their chances for completing law school and passing the bar. At some schools, students in the bottom quartile have worse than a 1 in 5 chance of graduating on time and passing the bar the first time. A few more may pass on subsequent tries, but still far more will fail than succeed.

Deep State Special Legal Counsel

Bill at 10:05 pm:

"Frivolous Lawsuit" is a term coined by State Farm because they refuse to pay out claims. It is a term that corporate America came up with to deny ordinary citizens their right of access to civil courts and damages. If it weren't for lawyers, we would all still be driving Ford Pintos.

Joe S

Professor Frakt, Both Dakota law schools face a problem in that they have reciprocity with the University of Minnesota Law School (and maybe Iowa and Wisconsin as well). The best prospects from the Dakotas almost all go to Minnesota. A move really isn't going to help SDSU. SIU is in the same bind with U of I and Washington University nearby. SIU has another problem in that Southern Illinois is economically stagnant and losing population (with the exception of "Metro East" which is connected to the St. Louis legal market). SIU used to serve Southern Illinois, but, for the most part, Southern Illinois' legal market is drying up with the population for the area.

Matt

Thanks for the information about U. of Idaho, Anymouse above. That's probably better than before, though less ideal than just having the law school be part of BSU, I'd think. (In theory, I like the idea of a smaller law school at U. of Idaho, in the North, and a slightly larger one at BSU in the South, but it won't happen and might not be viable anyway.)

anon

The conversation is drifting into how individuals would design the law school market: "I would put one here, oh, no, I would put one there ..."

IMHO, the opinions of others about where law schools should be located are sort of irrelevant. If a law school is producing graduates who pass the bar in acceptable numbers who, again in acceptable numbers, find employment in FT/LT/JD required positions thereafter, then that law school is performing. Period.

If a law school isn't meeting these tests, then federal support for loans to law students who are being misled and duped (and this is by non profits as well) should be immediately withdrawn.

familyman

anon, you hit the nail on the head! LSAT scores and UGPA's are simply metrics intended to HELP determine how successful one will be in law school and in a legal profession. They are not intended to be the absolute determination. But there are several other factors that can be reliable indicators as well. Letters of recommendation, work and life experience, and the person's personal circumstances for example. All of these things could be more accurate than either the LAST score or the UGPA for determining how successful someone will be in law school. I know this because these alternative metrics apply to me. My LSAT score was NOT stellar. I am also a non-traditional student who based on my LSAT score and life's circumstances most people would think I would not succeed in law school. But through my past work and life experiences I have learned to work hard and be accountable for myself. Therefore, I am determined to put in the time and effort, make sacrifices, and settle for nothing less than success in law school.

I am currently a 1L at Concordia and am thriving in law school (based on the feedback I have received so far from my professors). For the July 2017 bar exam, Concordia had a 90% first time bar passage rate. Being a student at Concordia I can see why our first time bar passage rate is so high. The professors are phenomenal and are actually teaching us how to be practicing attorneys. It makes practical sense that the first time bar passage rate would be a more accurate indicator of how good a law school is than the LSAT scores or UGPAs of the admitted students. Sure, seeing Concordia produce 90% first time bar passing graduates goes against the grain of tradition and convention in the legal world. But it proves that it is not necessary for the LSAT score and UGPA to carry so much weight in how a law school is rated. Concordia has a system that works! They're not just trying to sound clever when they talk about "a new breed of lawyer." There is ABSOLUTE substance behind that phrase! Putting Concordia on the 10 worst law school list is a gross misrepresentation of the kind of legal education someone will receive at Concordia. They don't just teach legal theory, they teach their students how to be practicing attorneys. The legal community in the Treasure Valley (the greater Boise area) loves Concordia because they produce high quality graduates who know how to do their job. This is something many law schools have struggled to accomplish. I like the ole saying, "the proof is in the pudding." Just food for thought (pun intended).

David Frakt

familyman - This is a list of the schools with the least selective admissions policies. It is not intended to be a commentary on the quality of instruction at the school. It may be that Concordia has wonderful, highly dedicated and skilled instructors. No doubt, with such a small class, Concordia's professors are able to devote considerable personal attention to each student. But Concordia will not be able to sustain such a high bar pass rate by admitting students with weaker and weaker credentials each year. If they do, they will be the first law school ever to do so. And, like it or not, the reputation of any law school is significantly impacted by the perceived selectivity of the school. So the initial positive impression that Concordia may have made with the Boise bar is not likely to last as the bar pass rate inevitably drops. You are correct that an individual's LSAT score is not destiny. Some students are able to overcome modest indicators through hard work and determination and succeed in law school and in the legal profession. I hope that you will be prove to be one of them. Best of luck to you.

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