Thursday, November 29, 2012

Reverse "Entitlement" and why Law School is Allegedly Worth It

Well, the pressure is clearly on, which can only be a good thing.  Yet another resounding defense of the legal education industry, and boy, does the lady doth protest too much, lemme tell ya:

Counterarguments to these assertions abound within the scam-blog community, and they have been discussed here and in many other places.  One of my long-standing favorite half-truths is the assertion that average salaries for law grads are $125k.  While that can be technically true, the average tells you nothing about the standard deviation or distrubution of salaries.  What confidence interval are we talking about?  One sigma?  One-quarter sigma?  We all know about the bi-modal distrubution of legal salaries (see, for example, here).  Looking at that chart, the average could indeed be around $125k, but damn few people actually make that (2% according to NALP in 2008, and boy, oh boy, did the economy only improve from there).  Oh looky, 50% of grads make under $72k (the median), and a select chunk of well-connected people make $170k.  That's about an average of $125k!  See?!?

Who said lawyers were bad at math?  All technically true, precise...and heavily misleading.  Thanks, you bastions (bastards?) of ethics.  $50k salaries could be ok, but for the total cost of law school.  To turn a phrase, the tuition is too damn high, let alone the additional incidental costs to attend.  It's pretty easy to run up a $150k bill after three years.

Anyway, the defenders of the law school cartel always like to go on about how entitled grads are, how they have to think long-term, that education is an investment, that grads should be pursuing justice and liberty as opposed to filthy lucre, etc. etc. etc. One thing I've never seen a clear answer to:  why are (Boomer) Deans, Law Professors, and other Administrators "entitled" to handsome six-figure salaries?  Why are lol skools "entitled" to be revenue-drivers for the rest of the University?  They all acknowledge that student debt is a problem, and student tuition is directly proportional to salaries and "special projects".  But funny, ever-increasing tuition at rates several times that of inflation is as sacrosanct as Norquist's no-tax-increase pledge.  It is a given, and is never to be questioned.

The real question is: "Law School is Worth It" - but for whom, exactly?

One thing is clear.  Fish gotta swim.  Birds gotta fly.  Shills gotta shill.



  1. Lawrence Mitchell graduated from Columbia Law, but he has the debate skills of a two year old. Anyone even roughly familiar with this job market knows that the facts counter all of Mitchell's arguments. Plus, who knows how much time this bastard devoted to his opinion piece. And that is the best he could produce?!?!

  2. Listen, Dupednontraditional; they know the ship is sinking.

    The people who teach the lawl and run the lawl skools know that they are going down but they don't care because the money is still there for the taking - it might not be as much as before, but it's there and they are pocketing it.

    Remember Mohammad Saeed Al-Shahaf, the Iraqi Information Minister, back in 2003. The situation was obviously falling hard against the Iraqi Ba'athist regime, but even facing absolute defeat Al-Shahaf would say things like "We are winning!" and "We feed them death and hell" while denying that US tanks had made it to Baghdad. This is why the press called him "Baghdad Bob" and "Comical Ali" (a reference to Saddam's cousin "Chemical Ali", the gasser of Kurdish villages in the 1980s.)

    So that is the situation; the lawl skools are facing decline and they know it, but they can't admit to it, so get used to them writing BS Op-Eds until the schools collapse.