Friday, August 4, 2017

July 2017

Happy August. I didn't want to waste one keystroke on Today's Law Degree Takes on a Broader Meaning but I'm stewing.

At the heart of the shift is a term used by schools known as "JD Advantage," which refers to a job that doesn't require a law degree but where a J.D. is advantageous in the eyes of an employer. Such jobs include compliance officers, paralegals, consultants and journalists.

Organizations that monitor law school performance have measured an uptick in this area of employment: the proportion of law school graduates obtaining JD advantage jobs has steadily increased — from 8 to 14 percent — since 2007.

These people NEVER quit; they lie awake thinking of ways to scam. I thought JD Advantage™ would wither from derision, but instead it is becoming the new normal. As a stylistic matter, note how Bloomberg has the term in quotes before giving it a less conspicuous treatment in the next paragraph.

To any college student — Lordy, I hope there are some — reading this: if your employer thinks it is helpful for you to have a JD then let them pay for it.

Not seasonally adjustedJuly20161,131,500
Seasonally adjustedJuly20161,121,400
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Friday, July 7, 2017

June 2017

This was both a good month and a good year. Now, if only a few dozen more schools would close …

Not seasonally adjustedJune20161,129,000
Seasonally adjustedJune20161,120,800
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Sunday, June 25, 2017

May 2017

It's becoming unrealistic for me to keep this blog going. I'll see if I can manage once a month.

First, it makes no sense to continue baying into the ether. Smart students already avoid law school. To quote Paul Campos:

These percentages are even more stark when converted into raw numbers. In 2010, just under 36,000 people with LSAT scores of 160+ applied for fall admission. This year, that number is going to be 14,000. This is a 61% decline (law school applications as a whole are down 39% over that time).

The remainder mostly shouldn't be going to law school, yet the U.S. Government is willing to lend them unlimited funds and the academy is happy to take it. I've accepted there's nothing neither I nor anyone else can do about that. Sure, there will be some random school closures, but circa 2017 the scam is alive and well. If anything, things have gotten worse; back in the day a successful applicant had a good chance of passing the bar.

The problem in focusing on law school is losing sight of the big picture. Last November a hostile government helped — the other party did itself no favor — elect the most incompetent, self-serving, corrupt candidate in history. His party, which looks to him as a means to an end, is worse. Here's a good example: GOP rep says he's fine with more people dying under Trumpcare as long as it saves money. Your new government, ladies and gentlemen. Puts law school in perspective, doesn't it?

If you haven't bothered with Twitter then I urge you in the strongest possible terms to take a look. Think of it as 2009-era scamblogging, with writers trying to reach a disbelieving public while facing a well-organized disinformation effort. You don't need to sign up. The following should get you started.

Not seasonally adjustedMay20161,116,900
Seasonally adjustedMay20161,120,100
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Monday, May 8, 2017

April 2017

April was a good month. Not for legal employment, mind you, but for toilets and their administrators falling like dominoes.

Not seasonally adjustedApril20161,114,500
Seasonally adjustedApril20161,119,300
Change from Mar-17 to

Monday, April 10, 2017

The States finally step in

Loans 'Designed to Fail': States Say Navient Preyed on Students

From the outset, the lender knew that many borrowers would be unable to repay, government lawyers say, but it still made the loans, ensnaring students in debt traps that have dogged them for more than a decade.

While these risky loans were a bad deal for students, they were a boon for Sallie Mae. The private loans were — as Sallie Mae itself put it — a "baited hook" that the lender used to reel in more federally guaranteed loans, according to an internal strategy memo cited in the Illinois lawsuit.

Here's hoping the states have better luck than borrowers have to date.

Friday, April 7, 2017

March 2017


Not seasonally adjustedMarch20161,115,600
Seasonally adjustedMarch20161,119,600
Change from Feb-17 to

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Rise of the robolawyers

The Atlantic has an article this month on the consumerization of legal AI. The TL;DR is that garden variety civil legal issues are amenable to automation and "bots will become the main entry point into the legal system." The prediction is that by 2025, bots will handle the majority of divorces, contract disputes, and deportation proceedings.

Let me say this: both my work and encounters with vendors give me a good vantage point. I've argued since the early-2000s about technology displacing lawyers and other professionals. It was interesting having someone tell me I wasn't that smart after I posted an image of a production scanner, never mind that I had been to trade shows and met offshoring companies that would handle its output.

At this point I don't care whether you go to law school or not. The main thing you should be aware is that it is now commercially viable to replace lawyers with artificial intelligence, with the technology moving inexorably down the legal food chain. Absent protectionist measures — there won't be any — the writing is on the wall.