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June 20, 2014

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anon

Jeff

The comment to which you responded stated: "Alternatively, [faculty objecting to ongoing misrepresentative conduct]could become more involved in the ABA accreditation process and not leave it the present crowd who is interested in maintaining the status quo to keep the poorly ranked law schools in business."

What has your response to do with that cogent point?

On your "different point" dishonesty is claimed by whom, as a "causal factor" of what, exactly? What are you responding to? The comment to which you responded was addressed to the inaction by the vast majority those who claim to object to ongoing attempts to mislead. Your response is just nonsense.

Are you claiming that attempts by some to curtail ongoing misrepresentative conduct by law schools are irrelevant, and any complaints about such conduct sour grapes, because no one, at this point, has any right to believe anything that a law school says?

Has Wall Street changed its ways? Are those duped by current practices to blame for not recognizing that these practices are similar if not identical to practices that have led to the ruin of others in the past? This is the excuse of every con man who has ever lived: "The mark should have known better." Is every person who objects to bad behavior on Wall Street motivated by "sour grapes" and has every such person been "living under a rock for five years"?

Your comment not only displays a fundamental misunderstanding of basic tort law, it is also insensitive and poorly reasoned. Your attempt to blame anyone for believing current law school misrepresentations by claiming that that person must have been "living under a rock" is typical of a member of a naïve, pampered, callous, and over privileged group, and, as such, is quite telling. Your attempt to conflate those who are obliged to put a stop to misrepresentative conduct by law schools with those aggrieved by it is just wrong and muddled.

Just saying...

Jeff: It is so easy to say: "I would quit, but what would that accomplish," isn't it?

My point was that if the majority of law profs were truly upset over deceptive practices by their law schools and acted accordingly by resigning in mass protest -- that would get a lot of people's attention -- including the ABA and prospective students. The truth is, as someone who has worked in legal ed for over 20 years and seen the sausage being made, most law profs are fine with what their schools are doing, so long as the place stays in business until they are ready to retire. Most were more concerned about the ABA's consideration of doing away with tenure than with its failure to impose stricter standards that would lead to the closure of the bottom feeders.

Jeff Harrison

Anon. Sorry no comment. I assume all anons on this blog are from the Chicago blog sniper and to engage encourages.

Just saying: Appreciate the lack of insults and a point of view that I am mostly in agreement with as you will see if you go over to the classbias blog. I guess it is a toss up. If everyone who agreed with us walked, I think the 20% or so would be quickly replaced. On the other hand, internal constant pressure to embarrass and expose those who spin numbers, spend hundreds of thousands to preserve their jobs (law prof welfare), offer irrelevant courses, etc., seems like a better course to me. We just do not have the numbers to wage anything more than guerrilla warfare at the moment.

Paul Campos

Good post.

The 60% getting tenure track jobs figure in the MLA report may be significantly overstated, as it was generated by comparing current annual tenure track job listings to current annual PhD production. Not all job listings end up getting filled by permanent hires, or for that matter at all, and lots of entry-level jobs are filled by people who've been hanging on to the margin of academia for several years. (Of course these factors have their parallels in the job market for lawyers as well).

Barry

Matt Bodie: "Bernie: I understand the cynicism -- we've certainly earned it -- but there are genuinely non-law-practicing jobs in which one still uses one's legal education. "

I've seen this asserted many times; I've never seen even a decent attempt to support it.

Barry

Jeff: "If everyone who agreed with us walked, I think the 20% or so would be quickly replaced. "

That's so obvious that I file various 'Anon' demands for people to resign in the appropriate circular file.

anon

Jeff

you never cease to amaze. What is the "Chicago blog sniper" cabal to which you refer? Your remark is sort of loony.

After asserting, one supposes, that all "anonymous" commenters are part of a single cabal to which you won't respond, you then respond to an anonymous comment. Again, loony!

As for the comment that only 20% of so of legal academia objects to ONGOING attempts to " spin numbers [and] spend hundreds of thousands to preserve their jobs (law prof welfare)" you tip your hand all too shamelessly. You refuse to concede that quitting or fighting to "wage a ... guerrilla warfare" is an example of the fallacy of false alternatives of major proportions. Again, loony!

"Just saying" (to whom you responded, presumably because "just saying" is not anonymous) stated: "become more involved in the ABA accreditation process and [do]not leave it the present crowd who is interested in maintaining the status quo to keep the poorly ranked law schools in business."

Jeff Harrison

Anon Nothing in a blog is worth getting that worked up about. If you want, to we can discuss the issues privately and perhaps I can understand your point better.

Eric Rasmusen

To see if a law degree increases one's income, the obvious thing to do is look at people with law degrees and see if they have higher incomes than people who do not. It's not to see how many have jobs as lawyers. Indeed, I'd expect to find the wealthiest people with law degrees in non-law jobs--- they would move into real estate, corporate leadership, etc. and make more money than big-law partners. Maybe the same happens at a lower level too.

More fundamentally, it's a mistake to look at education just as a way to make money. Really, even the kids who are getting the big-law jobs could make more money on Wall Street, at least if they aren't scared of numbers. And I would consider someone who gets an English PhD over a 9 year period and then teaches high school English a success--- he has managed to spend his life immersed in great literature and actually getting paid to do it!

Har har har har yuk yuk yuk

"To see if a law degree increases one's income, the obvious thing to do is look at people with law degrees and see if they have higher incomes than people who do not."

Somebody skipped day 1 of stats 101 in college.

Doofus

To see if being in a hospital makes people sick, the obvious thing to do is to is look at people in hospitals and see if they are sicker than people who are not.

Michael W. Perry

What you've said it certainly true, but we should keep in mind that it's possible to use an advanced degree in creative ways that take full advantage of that training even though no academic positions are open.

That PhD in English doesn't have to mean teaching English in high school, although schools could benefit from that. It might mean running an Internet-based tutoring service for bright home-schooled students and students whose local high school doesn't match their talents. It might not be in a college, but the students being taught would be brighter than and able to grasp far more than the typical college student. That PhD would be used. And that fortunate tutor would be able to live almost anywhere and be spared the miseries of academic politics.

A parallel would be the tutor that helped prepare the Oxford scholar C. S. Lewis for Oxford after a disastrous series of boarding schools that Lewis in Surprised by Joy compared to concentration camps. Lewis went to live with him, but in today's world both the student and professor could live almost anywhere.

Here's a short description of Lewis' experience:

http://muse.jhu.edu/login?auth=0&type=summary&url=/journals/lion_and_the_unicorn/v016/16.1.nix.html

--Michael W. Perry, co-author of Lily's Ride: Rescuing her Father from the Ku Klux Klan

Jonathan Silber

Speaking of the illogic of the so-called "best-educated and most thoughtful," how
logical is it to pursue a PhD in English literature for the sheer love of the subject,
with all the attendant expense and time and trouble, instead of simply reading English literature on one's own.

Millions do so, to their pleasure and often to the improvement of their understanding.

Hither and anon

"To see if being in a hospital makes people sick, the obvious thing to do is to is look at people in hospitals and see if they are sicker than people who are not." Sure, fine, cool, correlation is not causation. Of course, that applies equally well to the correlation or lack thereof between law school and practicing law jobs. So, great, you've got a catchy little aphorism going there, but Eric's underlying point that law school would still be valuable if going to law school increases medium to long term salary outcomes remains valid. If only some qualified statisticians had done a rigorous study to determine whether that was true or not... http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/07/18/ignore-the-haters-law-school-is-totally-worth-the-cash/

BoredJD

"Really, even the kids who are getting the big-law jobs could make more money on Wall Street, at least if they aren't scared of numbers."

I doubt that. Entry-level hiring at Wall Street firms is even more stratified by school than biglaw. While many people at the elite law schools are from the same elite UG programs that the major investment banks hire out of, a good portion are not. Their resumes would not make it past the screening software.

If you're talking about transitioning into finance from biglaw, well, as one financial industry vet put it to me "the line of corporate lawyers trying to get into finance stretches a couple of times around the block."

D. Cohen

A simple solution: Writing and Defending a Ph.D. thesis (plus the other more or less standard departmental requirements now in place) nowadays gives you an automatic Ph.D. degree. Suppose it just gave the hopeful, would-be Ph.D. seeker the privilege of searching for a Ph.D.-level academic job. If the student gets one, then and only then award that person a Ph.D. If the student does not, then send that student out into the world with a lots of letters of recommendation and nothing else. Thestudent can, of course, keep trying for an academic position and the associated Ph.D. indefinitely, hoping against hope to compete successfully against the younger candidates coming up behind them...

D

Mat Bodie:
Your comment about JD's in HR.
One of many problems facing our country is the "out of control" growth of HR departments, driven largely by legal compliance issues. Diverting more JD's to HR may be good for the JD in question, but is certainly bad for the company, our economy and the country as a whole. The company and the country waste scare resources on a 'parasite' that spends but does not produce, and the country as a whole loses more revenue. I'm tired of this.
Tell prospective JD students that the whole career path is over crowded, and if they don't have a burning desire to practice Law they'd be better off learning a skill and producing something beside "billable hours"

Alan

wjr

Folks, we have way too many lawyers as it is. If we shut down law schools for a generation we would still have plenty, for goodness sake. Besides, have you considered the moral hazard of a JD mentality outside of the legal profession? It's bad enough with the product liability and patent trolls.

On the other hand, these poor Ph.D.'s in humanities have a self inflicted wound. The degree is a form of educated frustration.

wjr

D. Cohen, you must be tenured. I remember in the 1960's when the academic community -- at least in Boston -- reacted to the complaints that the old folks would not retire fast enough to give the newly minted Ph.D.'s jobs. The faculty rationale was that the kids had their stereos and other things to idle away their time so they could just wait.

A degree is the result of an implied contract: if the student does what is required then a degree is awarded. Whether the student chooses to accept the degree or accept the ABD and move on is their choice once the requirements are met.

If you want to thin the ranks then either retire or restrict the number of graduate students that you accept and do your own work rather than fobbing it off on some poor dope.

WG

Have you seen the 100 reasons NOT to go to grad school?
100rsns.blogspot.com

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