Monday, February 25, 2013

The Only Winning Move is Not to Play

Even WOPR gets bored doing Document Review.

Props to the commenters at ILSS:

When I was applying to law schools in 1982 many people cautioned me that the market was glutted. Indeed, I only applied to schools that are now on the USNWR top 20 list, figuring the employment odds coming out of lesser schools were just too bad to justify the risk. After all, I graduated from law school with a whopping $10,500.00 in student loans that I had to pay off! Thirty years later you cannot tell me that anyone teaching or administering at ANY law school doesn't know what the score is.

And here's more. Last summer 16 graduates of UMass-Dartmouth Law School took the Connecticut bar exam and 14 of them failed it. Of the 16, 8 were taking it FOR THE THIRD TIME and only one of those 8 passed. The overall pass rate for first-time takers was 83% and for third time takers it was 33%.

UMass has to know this. How can they say with a straight face that they are not luring naive college students of limited abilities into a trap with visions of a glamorous career, knowing that 7 out of 8 might never pass a bar exam? What is their justification? That they are just ruining people's lives in the short term until they build up their reputation and attract better students?

I'm someone who graduated from law school in the 1970s, and I can say that law school faculty have always been somewhere between utterly indifferent and outright hostile to the fate of the vast majority of their students - only those at or near the top of the class (top 10% .... as they themselves had been) were considered worthy of attention and support.

But it didn't matter then the way it does now - law school was far far less expensive then, and student loans, to the limited extent they existed, were dischargable in bankruptcy.

Only a fraction of my class (25%?)went on to make long term careers as lawyers, but no one's life was wrecked as a result of spending 3 years in law school.


But law school faculty willfully ignore that fact. From their point of view, the large majority of their students who have never made careers as lawyers don't deserve too. As long as their law school produces a small % of winners, they're doing their job correctly. But the hundreds of thousands of lives wrecked that the current set-up has produced should and hopefully will come back to haunt them soon.

Law schools sell neither practical lawyering skills nor the ability to "think like a lawyer."

No, they sell hope. They sell hope to gullible 0Ls. They sell hope to the naive who believe that educators are altruistic. They sell hope to those who believe in the educational establishment. They sell hope to everyone who ever watched To Kill a Mockingbird or Judgment at Nuremberg or Law and Order and thought, "ain't lawyering a great way to make a living."

In the last few years, it's become clear that there is little hope for this profession. When the probability of a "good" outcome for a would be applicant falls from 1 in 2 or 1 in 3 students to 1 in 50 or 1 in 100 students, there ceases to be any meaningful distinction between selling hope and outright fraud.

Law schools, you're selling lottery tickets, very expensive lottery tickets knowing damn well that almost no one will win. And unlike the poor sons of bitches who buy scratch-offs for $1 to $5 each, your lottery ticket costs $100,000 to $200,000 each, and it's backed by the taxpayer.

You, law faculty, are horrible people. You are shameful parasites who sell lies to the naive.

There is not much to add here, except to sum up: ignore the increasingly desperate pleas of the law schools cartel and related industries (ABA, NALP, USN&WR), as the lies will only continue to compound as their self-interest continues to rise.  There will be no educational and financial reform coming in the near future, if at all.  Consequently, the only rational response for at least 90% of applicants is to not get yourself mired with an overly-expensive, under-performing law degree, just so university deans and professors can enjoy summer sabatticals, private schools and vacation homes while pumping out make-work.  Mutually-assured-distruction, long foretold, has finally come full-circle.

Heckuvajob, lol skool cartel!  Mission accomplished!


  1. When the odds are STACKED against you, as in parlor games and casino operations, it is best not to play. Walk away from the table. The same applies to law school. At least in the game of chess, the rules are clearly established and cannot be changed in the middle of a contest.

  2. Law schools will get what is coming to them, trust me. They're lined up like dominoes.

  3. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  4. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  5. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.