NPR Exposes the Law School Scam

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observationalist
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Re: NPR Exposes the Law School Scam

Postby observationalist » Tue Jan 24, 2012 9:47 am

MTal wrote:
apropos wrote:Here's an idea that could solve a lot of the problems faced by the solutions suggested in this thread:

The ABA could just stop cooperating with USNWR. The only rankings available then would be specialized rankings and law schools would be much more free to make decisions based on--get ready for it--the actual improvement of the school, the students and the profession.

My understanding is that's what the dental schools do--among other smart things. Seems to work quite nicely over there.


The ONLY solution to the current catastrophe is to end federal student loan subsidization. Anything else is just putting a bandage on a corpse.


The problem is one of collection action. U.S. News gets their data directly from the law schools, not through the ABA. If a few dozen schools banded together and declared to boycott U.S. News (which has happened in the past), they'd see their rankings plummet that year while their competitor schools all get to leapfrog them for free. The consequences of such an event are, unfortunately for the people in charge of running the schools, often fairly severe. Deans lose their jobs when the school's rank drops; many deans are hired for the explicit purpose of improving a school's ranking, based on their track record of doing the same at other law schools. So in order to be one of the brave few schools to buck the trend and shun the rankings, you'd need to guarantee job stability for the administration... which would mean getting assurances from the board of trustees. They'd have to accept that, as a result of removing the school from the rankings, LSAT/gpa medians may drop, faculty who aren't on board with self-sacrifice will jump ship, and new faculty will be harder to recruit.

It's an absurd game indeed, but everyone plays it because the risk of sitting it out can be disastrous.

I'm tempted to agree with MTal on this one. Everything we've looked at keeps coming back to the fact that schools get to access essentially unlimited funding thanks to federal loans. Were the government to start looking at law schools the same way they view for-profit colleges (which now need to show grads are 'gainfully employed' in order for their students to access federal loans), we would likely see dramatic shifts in how schools deal with their cost structures. The problem is that many Americans believe people should have better access to education, ignoring any need for a distinction between education that leaves you economically hamstrung and education that actually provides you with a means of paying off all those loans. It's a huge debate and likely not one that's going to be solved anytime soon without a significant effort to insert greater consumer protections into how we view legal education (and higher ed in general).

Edit: I said 'people believe Americans should have access to education' before, not the other way around... I doubt whether the global population in general is all that concerned about whether Americans can pay for their expensive graduate degrees.

timbs4339
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Re: NPR Exposes the Law School Scam

Postby timbs4339 » Tue Jan 24, 2012 11:17 am

observationalist wrote:
timbs4339 wrote:
cinephile wrote:
Supremo Skelator wrote:But who will pay the salaries? $200,000 a professor has to come from somewhere!

And if the government shovels out the loans, we all win!


But if you only have one section, you can cut down on the number of professors. I suppose you'd have to cut down on elective courses and smaller seminars too, but it could work.


Any cut in tenured or tenure-track faculty would quickly tank a school's reputation among deans and academics. That reputation score accounts for a full 25% of a school's overall USNWR score. You could cut adjuncts I suppose, but you'd need to reduce course offerings as well which might also hurt reputation.

Maybe a letter writing or protest campaign to Bob Morse and USNWR could get the rankings changed to eliminate some of the cost drivers of legal education. The way rankings are calculated now, the peer assessment and faculty resources categories give law schools an incentive to spend to try to keep up with the Joneses. Replacing these with categories that might lower spending (such as average student debt load) or be neutral but still informative to students (employment with NLJ 250 firms, % in Article III clerkships) might lower the number of law students, or at least prevent the deans from arguing that they would be able to control costs and headcount if only for those damn USNews rankings. LSAT/GPA scores also do this to some extent, but prospective students are much more interested in these two numbers than school reputation or library size.

http://www.usnews.com/education/best-gr ... 012?page=2


This may sound crazy but Morse and his team are actually fairly receptive to requests to improve the rankings... they just tend to say 'no' a lot because the changes prove to be too difficult given their time constraints. That said, I think a coordinated letter-writing campaign run by prospective law students on how to make the rankings more consumer-oriented would actually bring about some result. Changes to the methodology are already in the works based on talks we've had with them, though we're not sure when the changes would be rolled out (this year or next). Law schools have spent so much time trying to blame Morse for everything that's wrong with legal education that he might really appreciate knowing that consumers think he can actually hold schools more accountable and utilize the rankings to influence how they behave. If you actually do this, one suggestion would be to try and create some sort of mock-up of the rankings so the U.S. News team can see exactly how the changes you're pushing for might actually look. They have to do a lot of tinkering before they'll accept a change to the methodology, and the process is slow given how many different products they roll out throughout the year.


I've been thinking about this for awhile. Obviously the new rankings would have to somewhat track the old ones. USNWR is a business (one that is increasingly dependent on it's college and grad school rankings to remain relevant) and any ranking that has HYS dropping 20 spots because they have great peer reputation and high per student spending and those categories are not weighted as much is going to lose legitimacy among consumers. But I've no doubt the rankings could be tweaked to favor more output and consumer-oriented factors (such as avg/median student debt, placement in A3 clerkships, placement at NLJ 250 firms off the top of my head) but still generally track the current ranking. If anything, cheaper state alternatives would stand to benefit from criteria change over expensive lower-tier privates with similar job prospects and much higher debt.

That would mean enough schools would either favor or not oppose the criteria change, so that sitting out or trying to publish an alternative ranking would be disastrous for those schools (expensive, poor job prospects, high debt) that stand to lose.

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Re: NPR Exposes the Law School Scam

Postby lawhaus » Tue Jan 24, 2012 12:59 pm

I'm appalled by the fact that aid has no standing on the rankings.

071816
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Re: NPR Exposes the Law School Scam

Postby 071816 » Tue Jan 24, 2012 5:20 pm

lawhaus wrote:I'm appalled by the fact that aid has no standing on the rankings.


Why would AIDS influence the rankings?

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romothesavior
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Re: NPR Exposes the Law School Scam

Postby romothesavior » Tue Jan 24, 2012 7:05 pm

chimp wrote:
lawhaus wrote:I'm appalled by the fact that aid has no standing on the rankings.


Why would AIDS influence the rankings?

Awful joke.

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Onthebrink
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Re: NPR Exposes the Law School Scam

Postby Onthebrink » Tue Jan 24, 2012 7:16 pm

romothesavior wrote:
chimp wrote:
lawhaus wrote:I'm appalled by the fact that aid has no standing on the rankings.


Why would AIDS influence the rankings?

Awful joke.


How Insulting, Very poor taste indeed.

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romothesavior
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Re: NPR Exposes the Law School Scam

Postby romothesavior » Tue Jan 24, 2012 7:18 pm

Onthebrink wrote:
romothesavior wrote:
chimp wrote:
lawhaus wrote:I'm appalled by the fact that aid has no standing on the rankings.


Why would AIDS influence the rankings?

Awful joke.


How Insulting, Very poor taste indeed.

I didn't find it insulting. I found it retarded.

Chimp is cool in my book though so I will let it slide.

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IAFG
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Re: NPR Exposes the Law School Scam

Postby IAFG » Tue Jan 24, 2012 7:35 pm

lawhaus wrote:I'm appalled by the fact that aid has no standing on the rankings.

It absolutely shouldn't. Maybe LRAP should though.

apropos
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Re: NPR Exposes the Law School Scam

Postby apropos » Tue Jan 24, 2012 8:34 pm

observationalist wrote:
MTal wrote:
apropos wrote:Here's an idea that could solve a lot of the problems faced by the solutions suggested in this thread:

The ABA could just stop cooperating with USNWR. The only rankings available then would be specialized rankings and law schools would be much more free to make decisions based on--get ready for it--the actual improvement of the school, the students and the profession.

My understanding is that's what the dental schools do--among other smart things. Seems to work quite nicely over there.


The ONLY solution to the current catastrophe is to end federal student loan subsidization. Anything else is just putting a bandage on a corpse.


The problem is one of collection action. U.S. News gets their data directly from the law schools, not through the ABA. If a few dozen schools banded together and declared to boycott U.S. News (which has happened in the past), they'd see their rankings plummet that year while their competitor schools all get to leapfrog them for free. The consequences of such an event are, unfortunately for the people in charge of running the schools, often fairly severe. Deans lose their jobs when the school's rank drops; many deans are hired for the explicit purpose of improving a school's ranking, based on their track record of doing the same at other law schools. So in order to be one of the brave few schools to buck the trend and shun the rankings, you'd need to guarantee job stability for the administration... which would mean getting assurances from the board of trustees. They'd have to accept that, as a result of removing the school from the rankings, LSAT/gpa medians may drop, faculty who aren't on board with self-sacrifice will jump ship, and new faculty will be harder to recruit.

It's an absurd game indeed, but everyone plays it because the risk of sitting it out can be disastrous.

I'm tempted to agree with MTal on this one. Everything we've looked at keeps coming back to the fact that schools get to access essentially unlimited funding thanks to federal loans. Were the government to start looking at law schools the same way they view for-profit colleges (which now need to show grads are 'gainfully employed' in order for their students to access federal loans), we would likely see dramatic shifts in how schools deal with their cost structures. The problem is that many Americans believe people should have better access to education, ignoring any need for a distinction between education that leaves you economically hamstrung and education that actually provides you with a means of paying off all those loans. It's a huge debate and likely not one that's going to be solved anytime soon without a significant effort to insert greater consumer protections into how we view legal education (and higher ed in general).

Edit: I said 'people believe Americans should have access to education' before, not the other way around... I doubt whether the global population in general is all that concerned about whether Americans can pay for their expensive graduate degrees.



Two points:

1. I don't think you're right that USNWR gets all their data directly from law schools. I think some of it comes from ABA's data collection, and then it's supplemented. I could be wrong, but this was my impression.

2. Nonetheless, the benefit of the ABA and similar organizations is that they can alleviate the problem of collective action by organizing coordination. The ABA has relationships with the law schools and has sway. If they were to say, "Starting in 2013 we will stop cooperating with UWNWR; we will do everything in our power to enforce accredited laws schools to do the same; and we urge all law schools to voluntarily comply," the problem you describe would be alleviated, if not disappear. I'd predict in one year the rankings would fall. But, even being more pessimistic, at the very least we would see a substantial number of schools stop cooperating, which would hurt USNWR's credibility, which would lead to more schools complying, until they're gone."


I do not agree at all with the claim that funding is the problem. The ability for people to finance their education is not the problem. As we know, money is not the currency in education--nor should it be. The problem is the ability for people to get admitted to law school.

So the ABA needs to coordinate action to reduce the number of law school spots available to near the number of legal jobs available. The first thing to do is get rid of artificial incentives for schools to maximize enrollment--the rankings being one of these. Then schools, the legal community, and the ABA will have a much easier time implementing better, fairer policies. Some of these might be financial, sure, but not to the point that law school is accessible mainly to those who can afford it out of pocket.

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Re: NPR Exposes the Law School Scam

Postby Perdevise » Wed Jan 25, 2012 11:54 am

IAFG wrote:
lawhaus wrote:I'm appalled by the fact that aid has no standing on the rankings.

It absolutely shouldn't. Maybe LRAP should though.


I thought aid does count, in the form of spending per student. I was under the impression that schools charge higher tuition and just recycle some it back to students in the form of aid.

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Re: NPR Exposes the Law School Scam

Postby jenesaislaw » Wed Jan 25, 2012 5:26 pm

Perdevise wrote:
IAFG wrote:
lawhaus wrote:I'm appalled by the fact that aid has no standing on the rankings.

It absolutely shouldn't. Maybe LRAP should though.


I thought aid does count, in the form of spending per student. I was under the impression that schools charge higher tuition and just recycle some it back to students in the form of aid.


This is correct.

09042014
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Re: NPR Exposes the Law School Scam

Postby 09042014 » Wed Jan 25, 2012 6:09 pm

IAFG wrote:
lawhaus wrote:I'm appalled by the fact that aid has no standing on the rankings.

It absolutely shouldn't. Maybe LRAP should though.


PI LRAP should count against. Raise everyone else's tuition to pay some fart smelling douche to "help people." Or worse, paying the loans of Fed Gov workers. BigFed >> Biglaw as it is.

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Re: NPR Exposes the Law School Scam

Postby observationalist » Wed Jan 25, 2012 6:35 pm

apropos wrote:
Two points:

1. I don't think you're right that USNWR gets all their data directly from law schools. I think some of it comes from ABA's data collection, and then it's supplemented. I could be wrong, but this was my impression.

2. Nonetheless, the benefit of the ABA and similar organizations is that they can alleviate the problem of collective action by organizing coordination. The ABA has relationships with the law schools and has sway. If they were to say, "Starting in 2013 we will stop cooperating with UWNWR; we will do everything in our power to enforce accredited laws schools to do the same; and we urge all law schools to voluntarily comply," the problem you describe would be alleviated, if not disappear. I'd predict in one year the rankings would fall. But, even being more pessimistic, at the very least we would see a substantial number of schools stop cooperating, which would hurt USNWR's credibility, which would lead to more schools complying, until they're gone."


I do not agree at all with the claim that funding is the problem. The ability for people to finance their education is not the problem. As we know, money is not the currency in education--nor should it be. The problem is the ability for people to get admitted to law school.

So the ABA needs to coordinate action to reduce the number of law school spots available to near the number of legal jobs available. The first thing to do is get rid of artificial incentives for schools to maximize enrollment--the rankings being one of these. Then schools, the legal community, and the ABA will have a much easier time implementing better, fairer policies. Some of these might be financial, sure, but not to the point that law school is accessible mainly to those who can afford it out of pocket.


Your first point is wrong. While the U.S. news survey does use most of the same questions used in the ABA Questionnaire, law schools traditionally submitted three sets of answers to the ABA, NALP, and U.S. News. This was arguably a waste of time. Beginning this year the ABA will begin collecting data NALP usually asks for (and NALP is going to help make sense of it), at which point we'll be down to two surveys. But the ABA has no such relationship with U.S. News. I think the ABA would get in trouble if they were to try and mandate that law schools can't report to the magazine. They have enough problems dealing with accusations that they do a shoddy job ensuring quality to try and actively limit disclosure of information.

On the funding issue: a law school that's ABA-accredited can set cost of attendance at whatever the market will bear, knowing that no matter how bad of a financial decision it turns out to be to attend that school, the government is not going to limit access to loans for students who want to attend. If a law school tells the government that its tuition plus cost of living for next year will be $75,000, the government will respond by allowing people to take out loans up to that amount. The faulty presumption they're making is that these schools are already ABA-approved, and that such approval somehow ensures a quality education. Without any requirements on the programs that can access federal student loans, we're likely going to continue seeing plenty of young college graduates going to law school who lack an understanding about the financial consequences of their decision.

We may be disagreeing over how we define 'quality'. For the vast majority of people who attend law school, quality depends on whether students receive the training necessary to enter the legal profession and have access to that profession. A great education but no chance of entering the legal profession is hardly worth earning no income for three years, let alone taking on six figures of nondischargeable debt. Setting requirements on the schools beyond simply having ABA-approval would force change almost as quickly as if U.S. News starting rewarding good changes and penalizing bad ones.

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Re: NPR Exposes the Law School Scam

Postby MTal » Wed Jan 25, 2012 6:48 pm

Get ready for civil disobedience. It is coming and cannot be stopped. The youth of this nation will not passively sit by while they are being passively drained of their finances to finance the lifestyles of those who came before them.

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Re: NPR Exposes the Law School Scam

Postby Guchster » Wed Jan 25, 2012 6:50 pm

MTal wrote:Get ready for civil disobedience. It is coming and cannot be stopped. The youth of this nation will not passively sit by while they are being passively drained of their finances to finance the lifestyles of those who came before them.


o.O

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Re: NPR Exposes the Law School Scam

Postby hoos89 » Wed Jan 25, 2012 6:58 pm

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Last edited by hoos89 on Fri Jul 04, 2014 11:52 am, edited 1 time in total.

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MTal
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Re: NPR Exposes the Law School Scam

Postby MTal » Wed Jan 25, 2012 7:06 pm

hoos89 wrote:
MTal wrote:Get ready for civil disobedience. It is coming and cannot be stopped. The youth of this nation will not passively sit by while they are being passively drained of their finances to finance the lifestyles of those who came before them.


you're basing this on...what, exactly?


The thousands upon thousands of 200k debt perennially unemployed losers with no job prospects being churned out by law schools every year?

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hoos89
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Re: NPR Exposes the Law School Scam

Postby hoos89 » Wed Jan 25, 2012 7:09 pm

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Last edited by hoos89 on Fri Jul 04, 2014 11:52 am, edited 1 time in total.

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MTal
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Re: NPR Exposes the Law School Scam

Postby MTal » Wed Jan 25, 2012 7:17 pm

hoos89 wrote:
MTal wrote:
hoos89 wrote:
MTal wrote:Get ready for civil disobedience. It is coming and cannot be stopped. The youth of this nation will not passively sit by while they are being passively drained of their finances to finance the lifestyles of those who came before them.


you're basing this on...what, exactly?


The thousands upon thousands of 200k debt perennially unemployed losers with no job prospects being churned out by law schools every year?


key phrase "perennially unemployed losers." i really don't know what you expect them to do that will have any effect on anything. because occupy wall street changed everything, right?


Occupy was a bunch of worthless degenerates making noise. Law students actually have a case to make because of deceptive employment stats used by the law schools to lure them in - that is the basis of the lawsuits currently underway against 15 schools. Civil disobedience will begin by occupying the grounds/offices of the shithole TTT's by current and former students, demanding their concerns be addressed.

STLMizzou
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Re: NPR Exposes the Law School Scam

Postby STLMizzou » Wed Jan 25, 2012 8:08 pm

MTal wrote:Occupy was a bunch of worthless degenerates making noise. Law students actually have a case to make because of deceptive employment stats used by the law schools to lure them in - that is the basis of the lawsuits currently underway against 15 schools. Civil disobedience will begin by occupying the grounds/offices of the shithole TTT's by current and former students, demanding their concerns be addressed.


Ha, mtal, i love you. 400 person riot! AH! So intimidating!! SoOoO many entitled white kids not getting the law jerbs they were promised! Strongly worded letters will rule the day!

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bk1
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Re: NPR Exposes the Law School Scam

Postby bk1 » Wed Jan 25, 2012 8:09 pm

MTal wrote:Occupy was a bunch of worthless degenerates making noise. Law students actually have a case to make because of deceptive employment stats used by the law schools to lure them in - that is the basis of the lawsuits currently underway against 15 schools. Civil disobedience will begin by occupying the grounds/offices of the shithole TTT's by current and former students, demanding their concerns be addressed.


So, uhhh, #firstworldproblems?

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3|ink
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Re: NPR Exposes the Law School Scam

Postby 3|ink » Thu Jan 26, 2012 12:04 pm

STLMizzou wrote:What school did Mtal fail out of? I am too lazy to search and find out

I think I saw someone write Cardozo once, but they may have been joking.

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observationalist
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Re: NPR Exposes the Law School Scam

Postby observationalist » Mon Jan 30, 2012 11:06 am

bk1 wrote:
MTal wrote:Occupy was a bunch of worthless degenerates making noise. Law students actually have a case to make because of deceptive employment stats used by the law schools to lure them in - that is the basis of the lawsuits currently underway against 15 schools. Civil disobedience will begin by occupying the grounds/offices of the shithole TTT's by current and former students, demanding their concerns be addressed.


So, uhhh, #firstworldproblems?


MTall, just to clarify, there are currently only three lawsuits underway. Another 12 schools are, according to the attorneys handling two of the current lawsuits, about to be hit with complaints. A third wave should be coming later this year but as yet there's been no official announcement about those.

I posted an update on the first of the three current lawsuits last week: --LinkRemoved--

071816
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Re: NPR Exposes the Law School Scam

Postby 071816 » Mon Jan 30, 2012 8:01 pm

romothesavior wrote:
chimp wrote:
lawhaus wrote:I'm appalled by the fact that aid has no standing on the rankings.


Why would AIDS influence the rankings?

Awful joke.


Yea my bad.

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HarlandBassett
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Re: NPR Exposes the Law School Scam

Postby HarlandBassett » Mon Jan 30, 2012 8:59 pm

what we need is self-immolation. that'll induce an American Spring/Summer/Autumn/Winter.




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