Brian Tamanaha's New York Times editorial

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DaftAndDirect
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Re: Brian Tamanaha's New York Times editorial

Postby DaftAndDirect » Tue Jun 12, 2012 12:42 pm

CanadianWolf wrote:Discharge in bankruptcy is needed, in my opinion. There needs to be a method for one to get a fresh start financially. Even those with stellar credit can experience hardship that affects more than just the individual borrower.


I agree with this. I just disagree with a solution that relies on allowing dischargeability of student loans as some sort of motivator for the US government to get its ass in gear. I think private lenders should be able to decide for themselves what covenants they want to include in their student loans.

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DaftAndDirect
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Re: Brian Tamanaha's New York Times editorial

Postby DaftAndDirect » Tue Jun 12, 2012 12:45 pm

flem wrote:
DaftAndDirect wrote:You're right, it is a cash cow for them. The same was true of mortgages in the years before the 2008 financial crisis. Back then, government guaranteed mortgages caused prices in the housing market rise above their true market value. The market eventually corrected itself and sent home values crashing within the span of a few months.

Government guaranteed student loans are threatening to cause similar economic woes. Instead of underwater mortgages, young people will be the owners of underwater degrees. The government's incentive should be to avoid this.


Except - get this dude - you can walk away from a house and declare bankruptcy.


What's your point?

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flem
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Re: Brian Tamanaha's New York Times editorial

Postby flem » Tue Jun 12, 2012 12:46 pm

DaftAndDirect wrote:What's your point?


That the two situations are not analogous.

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DaftAndDirect
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Re: Brian Tamanaha's New York Times editorial

Postby DaftAndDirect » Tue Jun 12, 2012 1:06 pm

flem wrote:
DaftAndDirect wrote:What's your point?


That the two situations are not analogous.


The dischargeability of a mortgage is less of a risk to the government because - in the event of a default - the government can still repo a house, sell it, and at least partially recover on the default.

The government can't repo your law degree, which is why the government had to make student loans non-dischargeable in order to make the credit risk more acceptable.

That difference between the two situations does not break the analogy. Taxpayers are still on the hook for any losses that occur on government guaranteed loans - whether those loans are for houses or degrees.

What's your larger point? I was under the impression, based on your previous posts, that you agreed with the gist of this argument.

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HarlandBassett
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Re: Brian Tamanaha's New York Times editorial

Postby HarlandBassett » Tue Jun 26, 2012 10:48 pm

jas1503 wrote: why not just make it more likely that people will 'wash out' of law school at a much higher rate?

more frightening is the fact that it is already going on: http://cruxoflaw.blogspot.com/2011/08/curve.html

(not my blog. ran across it from a commentator's response on Campos' blog)


The curve

Rarely has anything so rigid and unsparing been inflicted upon so many hapless and unaware human beings as the law school grade curve. It is a zero-sum game.

It reminds me of what it must have been to live during the ravages of the plague. Great horror was inflicted upon my contemporaries in a seemingly random manner. Some won, most lost, and none seemed to enjoy it very much.

That’s not entirely correct, now that I think about it. There were a few that rounded out the top five at the end of 1L year that really seemed to relish their new-found status as supreme, all-knowing beings. Enlightenment has its upsides, I suppose.

My attending a school which curves on a C was a huge mistake. I hadn’t realized they even did so until it was too late to do anything about it. I was fully committed, having sold one house, bought another, and moved the entire family to a new town. It was during the mandatory "new student orientation" that I first heard of it. Yeah, I know, caveat emptor. I should have read the f’n literature. If it's even disclosed.

As an aside, the orientation was sold as mandatory. Although, honestly, I have no idea how anyone would know if a student bothered to attend it. It was, of course, a complete waste of time. File attending that under stupid.

The distribution was as follows: 15% of the class got an A, 25% got a B, 45% got a C, and the remaining 15% got a C- and below. Every class, every semester. I was once in a class comprised of a grand total of nine (9) students and it was curved. Nine. File that one under stupid as well.

There is a rather grim justification for the curve. Here in the land of FTT, they fail out people to preserve the school's bar passage rate. That’s how they roll.

And it’s baloney.

The first semester of law school always has a degree of attrition. It's the same story in every law school in the country - some folks don't come back after Christmas. The difference here is that people simply disappear from at TTT and FTT at the end of the second, third, and fourth semesters as well.

You want my advice? Properly prepare for the LSAT and get into a highly ranked school. Go to a school that curves on a B. Go to a school that has a recognized name, alumni support, and the promise of employment upon graduation.

If you can't get into a highly ranked school, don't go to law school.

Life is substantially easier at the higher ranked schools. The purpose of giving everyone A's and B's, as I understand it, is to make the students less competitive with each other and to create a more pleasant environment for all involved. If so, wow. That would just about be the exact opposite of what I recently went through. The concept could not be more alien. Where I was the last three years, people carved each other into pieces.

There is a list on Wiki to illustrate the wide discrepancy between schools: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_la ... GPA_curves.

How nice would it have been to cruise through law school with a grading system like this one over at Georgetown (assuming it’s still current): http://www.georgetownsba.com/2009/12/ne ... curve.html.

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HarlandBassett
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Re: Brian Tamanaha's New York Times editorial

Postby HarlandBassett » Tue Jun 26, 2012 11:11 pm

jas1503 wrote: why not just make it more likely that people will 'wash out' of law school at a much higher rate?

also wanted to post this excerpt...



http://cruxoflaw.blogspot.com/search?up ... -results=1
I matriculated in 2008 with 174 other students. Three years later, I walked with the 89 who actually completed the program and graduated. That means 85 students were lost along the way to failure, drop-out, or transfer. That is a total loss of 48.8%. (I should say now, I am no whiz in math. I may make a mistake or two in my back-of-the-envelope calculations here today.)

My cohorts lost some 70 students from 1L to 2L year. That number comes from the class rank I was given in May at the end of the first year. There were 174 students on the list. Any that suddenly just disappeared in the middle of that fist fall semester remained on the ranking roles for some reason.

And the end of the second year, again in the month of May, the 2L ranking were released. There was a 40% reduction in student body. The new number was 104.

I find that number alarming. As I understand it, from my wife's experience in school and that of others I have read about, a loss of about 10% to what is commonly termed "attrition" can be expected in the first year of law school. A lot of that loss will occur in the first semester. Be it grades, work-load, discovering it was not what you expected, some people just leave.

But to have forty percent of the folks who began the program vacated their seats is unheard up. Unheard of until you start reading about the Law School Scam. Some of these folks figured law wasn't for them, some transferred to a different school. But the majority of them failed out.

Someone told me once, as I described the number of people who failed out, "Why would they admit people who can't handle the work?"

Well, the short answer is they admit them to take their money. The mass of under-performers is what pays for the discounted and free tuition offered to the high LSAT / GPA folks. That keeps the all-important USNWR rankings humming along, lives destroyed through non-dischargeable debt be damned.

The curve forced curve utilized at instutions such as my (proud) alma mater lead to the inevitable deficiency in grade point average that the American Bar Assiocaions has deemed unworthy for graduation. In short, if you give 15% of every class a grade of less than a C, you are going to fail out that same number of people.

There as a loss of an additional 15 students from 2L to 3L year = 14% reduction in student body.

Who the hell fails out after the second year? Just over a dozen people, apparently. Well, they did at my school. And, here is where it gets really ugly: All those kids have credits for courses they cannot transfer or use toward any other program of study, employment or career. The debt they incurred for either one third or two thirds of a J.D. can't be discharged in bankruptcy. It will never go way. And, it will be compounded at around 7% interest for a lot of these folks. They will be paying off those loans for years. I feel bad for those people. Some of them were my friends. One of them I still talk to.

They got screwed.




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