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December 04, 2015


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Whittier and schools in its class would not give the students they are now admitting the time of day when things were going great guns a few years ago. Now they are the Mother Theresa of Legal Education for giving these poor souls "opportunity."

What I want to know is this: Sheldon do you really believe this BS??


Opportunity is important, I think. But I think there's also a question of realism and tradeoffs. Realism in terms of the state of the legal market, and tradeoffs in terms of debt levels. And simply labeling as 'paternalism' any concern for the debt levels proved to be an unavailing argument.

If Prof Lyke really believes in empiric methods, he would not have written this post. There is a paucity of data out there, and no data set is perfect. But faulting any results that derive from an imperfect data set does not advance the conversation.

I wonder if it wouldn't be helpful to collectively brainstorm on what data would be useful to assemble to get an accurate picture of things.

Various methods have been employed, all of which are useful-ish attempts but inadequate in various ways.

- econometric modeling with limited and outdated data sets with no consideration of debt levels or repayment
- D Merritt tracking down one state's bar passers a few years out
- Looking at bar passage/starting salaries at the very beginning of a career
- Looking at a severe drop in incoming LSATs and beginning to see the corollary drop in bar passage

LST has said that "the available data confirm the validity of the risk categories as presented in the report. Again, LST invites any law schools with data tending to refute the validity of these categories to come forward and make that information publicly available. We want to be wrong."

I suggest that more data from the gov't about IBR/PAYE for law grads would be very useful to see.

Law schools probably have a decent amount of info for all grads of at least recent years that could make a good data set. I'm assuming LSAT, GPA of ugrad and law school, bar passage/attempts, debt level, whether or not they enrolled in IBR/PAYE (not positive law schools know this, but they might), type of job grads are in. Some of this info gets reported separately, but getting all of this info reported together would be informative. A uniform format.

Who/how to induce schools to share this info is another matter. And privacy is also a concern, but a manageable one. LST? The ABA? And how to get law schools to play ball in providing yet more data. And a range of schools in terms of quality.

Law schools have contact info for all recent alums, I'm sure. Some social science researcher should put together a study/survey and partner with schools to access their alum lists. Would need to be short and simple enough to get some reasonable response rate but also informative.

But what data would make an empiricist happy or would be the most meaningful?


Empiricism aside, no further data is needed to expose the author's attempt to stake out a moral high ground. The author claims - presumably with a straight face - that low tier law schools such as Whittier should be "celebrated" for accepting millions of taxpayer dollars each year in order to hand over law degrees to basically anyone who can fill out a federal loan application. That's may be a fantastic business model, but it's basically the opposite of altruism.

A few years ago, the founders of very low tier Charleston Law School withdrew $25 million in profits. Until a couple years ago, the dean of the low tier New England School of law took home $867,000 a year. And on and on. But those schools provided "opportunities" to many students with low LSAT scores, so apparently they should be celebrated.

California guy

We had an immigration attorney here in CA who would lie to clients, saying he had connections in high places. He would charge them several times what other practitioners asked for, explaining that he needs to the money to grease the right palms. These clients, coming from cultures where corruption is commonplaces, bought into his lies. This attorney maintained a collection of luxury cars in a large garage on his property. He would do nothing for these people, dozens of them, while lying to them the whole time that he instituted administrative and court proceedings to get them citizenship and/or stop their removal.

He represented himself at his State Bar Court trial. In his defense, he testified that it was unfair to disbar him because his clients were mostly poor minorities. He stated that disbarment would be prejudicial to these communities, because they were underserved by other lawyers.

He was disbarred anyway.

Sy Ablelman

Diversity in legal education and the profession is needed. However, even if law schools accepted students at the "margins" to pursue their "dreams," it does them no damn good if there are no JOBS! Governments are NOT hiring attorneys and prosecutors. I was in a traffic court today with at least 300 defendants on the call, many with serious matters such as DUI. There was exactly 1 prosecutor. Public service jobs and small firms jobs are just no there. Hanging a shingle is not an option unless you are connected, have an established referral network and clients. These new kids are competing with folks like my buddies and I, all unemployed and under employed lawyers out many years. It is not a celebration to graduate these kids into this market.



"1) Many students don't pay such tuition because they receive scholarships (or so I assume).

2) Most of the students pass the bar eventually--albeit the second time.

3) Many great students with low LSAT transfer after the first year.

4) Whittier, it seems, is one of the most diverse law schools in the nation. In California, where only 4.2 percent of Latinos are members of the bar--low tier law schools play an important role."

Re (1), I assume that you assume wrongly. How is speculation helpful here?

Re (2), others have cited evidence to the contrary. Are you assuming again?

Re (3), stats or it didn't happen.

Re (4), how does Whittier "seem" that way? Do you have numbers, or are you speculating? Since assuming things is fun, let's assume you're right that the student body at Whittier is impressively diverse. How many of the "diverse" students are passing the bar, entering the legal profession, or otherwise gaining anything apart from crushing debt from their experiences at Whittier?

Others have offered statistics to the effect that the outcomes for most Whittier students are dismally bad. Would you care to offer some assumptions to the contrary?

Ex Cardozo late 80s

Ditto Cardozo Law. I attended late 80s and the school stats were glowing how many grads were "employed" and they would market themselves by showing a "representative" sample of grads working in top law firms making the "going rate" which at the time was approx 95k or 110k for 1st years. What a great PR dept because ALL my friends and close classmates and that means a large majority of the class were employed post Cardozo in...DA Office bronx, bklyn, queens, or or Legal Aid, or went to work for PI solos or small law offices. Many could not find a job so they went to work for family law firms ... the small practice of a father or other relative. The return on tuition was very bad. Some could not find any law job as they were unconnected so they became involved with non legal jobs. But the Cardozo alumni mags kept showing off the very few who got in either by being on Law Review or Connectipns into a large rich well paying law firm. Over the years I have been in touch with several of my friends and they are either struggling badly and still hoping for thay big PI case or just barely making it.
I have no idea if it has improved although by inference the Cardozo grads that I have met over the last 10 years are all in the same boat - ie solos or working for the DA or small law offices. I am sure some have "made it" but the risk reward ratio is very bad.

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