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December 14, 2018


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Richard Hunt

The quality of a law school is measured by the quality of its graduates, not the quality of those it admits. The only way to determine whether someone has what it takes to succeed as a lawyer is to give that person a chance to succeed or fail. Cooley and other similar law schools do exactly that. With respect to deceiving incoming students it must be remembered that while law students are usually young they are not children. They are typically old enough to vote, old enough to serve in the armed forces, and old enough to marry without the consent of any other adult. Nor are they likely to suffer any significant metal deficit - they will always have graduated with at least a Bachelors degree from a four year college or university. These incoming law students are old enough and smart enough to make their own decisions about what risks they choose to take. There is nothing wrong with offering an opportunity as long as no deception is involved, and making the offer is not deceptive in any way.

Finally, if one wants to measure whether a law school succeeds in graduating competent lawyers the real test is bar passage rates, which are just as artificial as LSAT scores but at least measure the product of a legal education. The schools whose students cannot pass the bar are those that need to be examined by the ABA because they are demonstrated rather than theoretical failures.



IMHO, you are totally correct: inputs are irrelevant. Attrition, bar pass rates, and employment rates, are the right measures of law school effectiveness.

Attrition is relevant because crass bottom feeders admit a portion of the first year year class that they know will be doomed to be ousted (literally, as a result of the curve and factors that Frakt notes). These schools do this simply to reap the extra revenue, under the guise of "opportunity" - when experience, year after year, as Frakt notes, tells them with some certainty which students will be ousted. The harvesting of the federal loan money borrowed by these persons is one of the most pernicious and dishonest practices tolerated by the ABA, DOE, etc.

The reason this isn't a fully "comparative fault" instance is that one party is acting intentionally, and with superior skill and knowledge and malign intent, and the other person is acting negligently.

Yes, a student can discover that a law school has been cited by the ABA in the past for non compliance and is now being cited for the same non compliance with the same rules for the same reasons, but not, for example, as a result of reading Frakt. He rarely focuses on repeat offenders, and, insofar as I have read is work on this blog, rarely draws appropriate attention to the significance of a law school that, for example, was on probation about ten years ago, and then, after a brief period of putative compliance, falls right back into the same hole: as a result, perhaps, of faculty incompetence, another subject Frakt and most other "experts" won't address.

Yes, a prospective student could study the bar pass and employment rates (thanks to the "law school scam movement" (which Frakt joined mostly after the present round of gains were won), but this information needs to balanced with the way law schools present information to a prospective applicant.

Go to a bottom feeder's website. You will see enough bragging and boasting and bogus awards to convince you that that school is Yale Law School. Somewhere, buried in the links, is a pdf that, once deciphered (and fully compared with other schools, which the ABA doesn't seem to require) might suggest something is amiss.

Yes, USNWR is available. But, in an inexplicable move, it now lumps together a huge number of schools as "unrated" making it impossible to identify the worst offenders.

If, year after year, a law school produces a graduate class that, in the main, can't pass the bar and then obtain within a reasonable period of time full time jd required employment (because the reputation of the law school is so poor) then federal student loans should no longer be approved for that school. It is a rip off to take the money of students knowing that the prospects are so dim, and the hopes and expectations of the students, while perhaps negligent, are no excuse.

Every con man blames the mark.

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