Letter to the ABA

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bjsesq
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Re: Letter to the ABA

Postby bjsesq » Thu Jul 21, 2011 1:26 pm

CanadianWolf wrote:This letter needs to be rewritten, in my opinion. It is a touch abrasive & fails to support claims made.


I agree with this. Just don't go overboard and produce a voluminous argument. But yeah, support the claims with some data or something.

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Re: Letter to the ABA

Postby gwuorbust » Thu Jul 21, 2011 1:38 pm

very quick read while at work, but I would hope that you would also spend some time on the overproduction of lawyers. Two facts: 30,000 new legal jobs created, 45,000 new lawyers created each year. Those numbers don't work out. For 15,000 students, no matter the cost of their legal education, it probably wasn't worth it. They would have been better served doing something else with their time.

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Re: Letter to the ABA

Postby CanadianWolf » Thu Jul 21, 2011 1:57 pm

An approach that might be more effective:

We are writing to express our concern over the exhorbitant cost of a legal education at most ABA accredited law schools. Soaring law school tuitions are being fueled in large part by two primary factors:

1) Misleading employment statistics and salary figures furnished by ABA accredited law schools;

2) Foolish lending practices which enable law students to borrow sums approaching $250,000 over the course of three (3) years to finance their legal education.

The above two causes should be viewed in tandem as one influences the other.

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Re: Letter to the ABA

Postby CanadianWolf » Thu Jul 21, 2011 1:58 pm

This is a simple & clear manner in which to begin your letter. After this beginning, reference to supporting facts & considerations should be made. If your intended audience is readers of the New York Times in order to raise public awareness & to appropriately apply pressure to the ABA, then issues & supporting arguments need to be stated in a clear & concise fashion.

Remember that you are likely to stir public outrage at the ABA with the contents of this letter. Laypersons may be angered that law schools are engaging in dishonest, and possibly fraudulent, behaviour. The typical reader may become incensed at the fact the their taxpayer dollars are subsidizing loans to further populate an already overcrowded profession.
Last edited by CanadianWolf on Thu Jul 21, 2011 2:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Letter to the ABA

Postby robotclubmember » Thu Jul 21, 2011 2:03 pm

CanadianWolf wrote:An approach that might be more effective:

We are writing to express our concern over the exhorbitant cost of a legal education at most ABA accredited law schools. Soaring law school tuitions are being fueled in large part by two primary factors:

1) Misleading employment statistics and salary figures furnished by ABA accredited law schools;

2) Foolish lending practices which enable law students to borrow sums approaching $250,000 over the course of three (3) years to finance their legal education.

The above two causes should be viewed in tandem as one influences the other.


The ABA has no control over the lending practices, or the cost. That's a letter that should go to your congressman. My concern with scope creep is that it makes it easy to dodge an entire letter if you find one piece of it you can dodge. I think there is a lot of outrage to be placed on various parts of the system but the scope of the letter should be confined to what the ABA actually has control over.

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Re: Letter to the ABA

Postby bjsesq » Thu Jul 21, 2011 2:04 pm

robotclubmember wrote:
CanadianWolf wrote:An approach that might be more effective:

We are writing to express our concern over the exhorbitant cost of a legal education at most ABA accredited law schools. Soaring law school tuitions are being fueled in large part by two primary factors:

1) Misleading employment statistics and salary figures furnished by ABA accredited law schools;

2) Foolish lending practices which enable law students to borrow sums approaching $250,000 over the course of three (3) years to finance their legal education.

The above two causes should be viewed in tandem as one influences the other.


The ABA has no control over the lending practices, or the cost. That's a letter that should go to your congressman. My concern with scope creep is that it makes it easy to dodge an entire letter if you find one piece of it you can dodge. I think there is a lot of outrage to be placed on various parts of the system but the scope of the letter should be confined to what the ABA actually has control over.


This contextualizes the suffering of prospectives who have been misled. There has to be something there that the court can hang its hat on.

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Re: Letter to the ABA

Postby GMVarun » Thu Jul 21, 2011 2:05 pm

I think this is a good idea, but I agree that this letter needs work. I think, as others have said, this should be more factual heavy and I think should actual cite legitimate sources (by footnotes). I think you should also approach it from an angle of what the ABA has already done and say that more needs to be done in x,y,z areas (see e.g., --LinkRemoved-- ). Also on this point, the LST project should probably be referenced. I also think you should reference the various law suits against law schools (Cooley and Thomas Jefferson I think) and say that this looks bad for the ABA and could potentially open ABA to legal ramifications. You need to convey that the ABA has a vested interest in these reforms - after the all the idea is not to insult the ABA but to get the ABA to change.

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Re: Letter to the ABA

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jul 21, 2011 2:06 pm

thanks for the feedback, i will adjust the tone. however, the judge's position is that the ABA is in fact responsible for the increasing cost of tuition due to their requirements for certain student-faculty ratios, etc, which then leads to the law schools offering less than practical courses so that all the extra profs have something to teach. but i will try to articulate that more directly, instead of attacking the ABA for everything that is currently wrong in the legal world.

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Re: Letter to the ABA

Postby CanadianWolf » Thu Jul 21, 2011 2:08 pm

The idea may, in part, be to affect the practices of the ABA, but it is also to arouse public sentiment. A more reasonable goal is to seek publication of this letter to the ABA in a major newspaper such as the New York Times or Wall St. Journal.

P.S. Try to use a very simple & direct framework in your letter. The first sentence & the first paragraph or two should be clearly understood by those within & those outside of the profession. The introductory paragraphs which I outlined above allow you to delve into supporting facts, arguments & concerns in a comprehensive manner while first alerting readers to the primary issues.
Last edited by CanadianWolf on Thu Jul 21, 2011 2:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Letter to the ABA

Postby robotclubmember » Thu Jul 21, 2011 2:11 pm

GMVarun wrote:I think this is a good idea, but I agree that this letter needs work. I think, as others have said, this should be more factual heavy and I think should actual cite legitimate sources (by footnotes). I think you should also approach it from an angle of what the ABA has already done and say that more needs to be done in x,y,z areas (see e.g., --LinkRemoved-- ). Also on this point, the LST project should probably be referenced. I also think you should reference the various law suits against law schools (Cooley and Thomas Jefferson I think) and say that this looks bad for the ABA and could potentially open ABA to legal ramifications. You need to convey that the ABA has a vested interest in these reforms - after the all the idea is not to insult the ABA but to get the ABA to change.


that was a very good link and i did not know about that.

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Re: Letter to the ABA

Postby CanadianWolf » Thu Jul 21, 2011 2:19 pm

You cannot effectively address the issues of law school excesses without discussing the easy money lending practices fueling the excesses. Whether or not the ABA can or cannot directly or indirectly influence lending practices, bankruptcy rules & tuitions is not the issue; the over-riding issue is the integrity of law school practices & the factors which fuel unethical reporting & excessive tuitions.

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Re: Letter to the ABA

Postby Master Tofu » Thu Jul 21, 2011 2:22 pm

OP, fyi:

Regarding dischargeability of student loans:

http://durbin.senate.gov/public/index.c ... 61b0f0de8a

Regarding ABA's response:

http://abovethelaw.com/2011/07/aba-clai ... er-anyway/

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Re: Letter to the ABA

Postby CanadianWolf » Thu Jul 21, 2011 2:41 pm

The letter by the Senators regarding dischargeability of private student loans is worth reading. The singling out of "for-profit" law schools, however, suggests that the Senators do not fully appreciate the excessive revenues generated by "non-profit" law schools---or, perhaps, the Senators have another agenda in mind (such as funding state supported non-profit educational institutions). Regardless, a recent New York Times article addresses the high profitability of "non-profit" law schools in which the profits, rather than benefitting investors & owners of a particular law school as with "for profit" law schools, are dispersed to other university functions in the "non-profit" setting.

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Re: Letter to the ABA

Postby CanadianWolf » Thu Jul 21, 2011 2:56 pm

OP: My understanding is that your letter will propose three main solutions :

1) Dischargeability of student loans (primarily private student loans with reaffirmation of publicly subsidized loans available in order to avoid disqualification from federal jobs)

2) Streamlining law school to 2 years instead of 3 with an apprenticeship requiring little or no tuition &

3) A focus on the most necessary law school courses--such as those tested on state bar exams & basic tax law courses--while eliminating "liberal arts" distribution type law courses that are better suited for specialization offered by legal continuing education courses.

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Re: Letter to the ABA

Postby CanadianWolf » Thu Jul 21, 2011 3:13 pm

OP: At least one responding poster views this letter in a different manner . Some may view this letter as a direct means to stir the ABA to take action. That is not how I view this letter & not likely to yield those type of direct results. The letter should be seen, in my opinion, as a means to indirectly force the ABA to action, or, if that organization fails to do so, then to prompt the public to demand legislative response. In order to be effective, therefore, the letter needs to be published in the NYT or WSJ or Huffington Post or, possibly, USA Today. In order to be published outside of the legal community, the letter needs to be clear both in outlining the judges concerns & remedies. Clarity & simplicity are key to editorialize these issues.

P.S. Try to limit the letter to one (1) page & no more than two issues. (Most editorials focus on just one (1) issue.) The shorter the length & the fewer issues discussed, the more likely that the letter will be carried in a major publication. Bluntly stated, if you confuse, you lose.

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Re: Letter to the ABA

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jul 21, 2011 6:55 pm

OP here - thanks for the replies everyone. I will work on this tomorrow and post a second draft. rewriting = writing.


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Re: Letter to the ABA

Postby CanadianWolf » Fri Jul 22, 2011 12:42 pm

A letter calling for law school reforms signed by multiple active trial court judges should add both credibility & urgency to the ongoing debate.

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Re: Letter to the ABA

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jul 22, 2011 1:37 pm

thank you to everyone for the help. second draft:
Dear President Zach:

I write you to express my concern about the American Bar Association’s failure to adequately regulate the legal education system, and the join the dialogue about the current state of law schools, their employment statistics, and lending practices brought to light by the New York Times and Senator Grassley of Iowa.

The ABA has an ethical responsibility to encourage a healthy legal education system in the United States, but has failed to do so in two ways. First, the ABA fails to ensure that law schools accurately disclose the employment statistics of recent graduates, thereby preventing prospective law school students from making informed decisions about the financial risk of attending law school. Second, the ABA, while not directly responsible, nonetheless contributes to the foolish lending practices that enable and in some cases require students to borrow excessive sums of money to attend law school.

By any measure, there are far more graduating law school students then there are legal jobs. The market is without a doubt over-saturated with some of our nation’s best and brightest young people who risk their professional and financial futures thanks, in part, to the practices of the ABA. Potential students – as consumers – have the right to accurate information. Law schools report employment data with little or no independent oversight or auditing. Just as we have increased lending standards in the financial services and home mortgage industry, we must also have higher standards in the legal services industry.

The ABA should err on the side of full and absolute disclosure: there is no legitimate counter-argument to greater transparency in the legal education market. The ABA is, in part, responsible for the misleading employment and salary figures by ABA-accredited law schools. Furthermore, lawsuits against ABA-accredited Cooley Law School and Thomas Jefferson Law School are black-eyes on the entire legal industry.

Please move quickly to mandate greater transparency in the legal education system that will benefit everyone in the legal industry in the long run – law schools, law students, practicing attorneys, and the venerable United States legal system as a whole.

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Re: Letter to the ABA

Postby CanadianWolf » Fri Jul 22, 2011 1:44 pm

The opening sentence would be powerful if there was a period after "education system". I would delete the rest of the opening paragraph as it dilutes the impact & importance of the writer's message by referencing other discussions.

Consider: Attaching the opening sentence (ending with "education system") to the second paragraph.

The reference to the NYT & Senator Grassley can be worked into another paragraph, if you prefer.
Last edited by CanadianWolf on Fri Jul 22, 2011 2:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Letter to the ABA

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jul 22, 2011 1:49 pm

CanadianWolf wrote:The opening sentence would be powerful if there was a period after "education system". I would delete the rest of the opening paragraph as it dilutes the impact & importance of the writer's message by referencing other discussions.

Consider: Attaching the opening sentence (ending with "education system") to the second paragraph.


I totally agree with you about the punctuation, but I was hoping to contextualize this letter as part of a growing dialogue that is hopefully snow-balling with respect to the NYT and Grassley.

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Re: Letter to the ABA

Postby CanadianWolf » Fri Jul 22, 2011 1:51 pm

Then do that later on. If this is simply a letter of support, then it is almost insignificant. In order to be noteworthy, your judge needs to have his own message. If your judge was sitting on the US Supreme Court, then a letter of support of earlier writings would be significant.

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Re: Letter to the ABA

Postby CanadianWolf » Fri Jul 22, 2011 1:56 pm

DELETE: The names of the two law schools. This letter is a position statement against the failure of the ABA to protect consumers against certain practices of law schools & lenders--not a criticism of these two particular law schools.
The references to the NYT & Senator Grassley should be in this paragraph (next to last paragraph).
Last edited by CanadianWolf on Fri Jul 22, 2011 2:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Letter to the ABA

Postby CanadianWolf » Fri Jul 22, 2011 2:07 pm

Also, if multiple judges sign the letter, then change "I" to "we" & "my" to "our".

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Re: Letter to the ABA

Postby 071816 » Fri Jul 22, 2011 2:22 pm

This is relevant to your letter.

So is this.




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