Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The votes are in

I put a survey up two weeks ago after reading Knut's post on First Tier Toilet! lamenting going to law school as the "stupidest thing I have ever done." Frankly, I didn't get enough responses to be statistically valid, but I'll note that five out of six TPLP readers agree.

All I can personally say is that I graduated going on two decades ago, from a school that had a decent regional reputation, and am still mad. The feeling subsided maybe five years out as I moved on with my life, but returned with a vengeance in recent years and grates on me every day. I hope every reader for whom law school didn't work out is eventually able to leave it behind with no ill effect.

To the four people who voted "No," what is worse than law school? Going on the sex offender list? The PhD in Korean pottery? Guessing wildly wrong on the world ending last month?

Also, there are no doubt people for whom law school was a roaring success, but they're too busy #Winning to be reading this blog.

Monday, June 27, 2011

10 gallons of lawyers in a 5-gallon haTTT

This is from the Economic Modeling Specialists Inc.. I know I'm preaching to the choir, but would be remiss if I didn't post it.

The short story is that a firm calculated the number of bar exam passers versus the estimated number of annual lawyer job openings. New York produces about 7,700 lawyers more per year than the state needs. Nationwide, the total is over 27,000, which includes non-ABA schools. To this, New Jersey and Massachusetts add the unhappy combination of low compensation and high COL.

The stats are actually wrong because Wisconsin doesn't require bar passage if you graduate from a Wisconsin school, and you can waive into DC. Nebraska is hopelessly insular, and in any event I sincerely doubt there's a lawyer shortage there.

So, lemmings, head for Brooklyn Law, Chapman, and Rutgers now! And, ABA, keep up the good work!

2010-15 Est. Annual Openings 2009 Bar Exam Passers 2009 Completers (IPEDS) Surplus/
Median Wages
New York 2,100 9,787 4,771 7,687 $56.57
California 3,307 6,258 5,042 2,951 $50.61
New Jersey 844 3,037 787 2,193 $43.84
Illinois 1,394 3,073 2,166 1,679 $51.54
Massachusetts 715 2,165 2,520 1,450 $43.89
Pennsylvania 869 1,943 1,697 1,074 $46.05
Texas 2,155 3,052 2,402 897 $41.55
Florida 2,027 2,782 2,781 755 $36.39
Maryland 560 1,277 548 717 $41.46
Missouri 362 943 908 581 $39.96
Connecticut 316 880 510 564 $43.69
North Carolina 503 1,032 279 529 $37.79
Minnesota 378 888 948 510 $43.69
Ohio 686 1,194 1,513 508 $34.69
Georgia 779 1,217 894 438 $46.11
Colorado 547 967 509 420 $40.83
Virginia 956 1,375 1,435 419 $49.34
Louisiana 357 731 810 374 $33.35
Tennessee 389 735 446 346 $37.34
Washington 619 935 678 316 $37.37
Oregon 291 594 519 303 $34.51
Indiana 339 602 825 263 $32.48
South Carolina 262 506 410 244 $33.03
Kentucky 261 478 389 217 $34.39
Nevada 219 392 143 173 $40.32
Arizona 440 607 378 167 $37.51
New Mexico 134 298 114 164 $29.78
Michigan 862 1,024 1,993 162 $35.22
Kansas 190 351 296 161 $31.16
Alabama 295 455 406 160 $37.98
Iowa 155 290 556 135 $32.16
Rhode Island 102 209 184 107 $39.65
Hawaii 76 179 88 103 $33.70
Mississippi 173 268 335 95 $28.86
Utah 308 401 283 93 $37.04
W. Virginia 100 191 152 91 $32.51
Montana 81 163 83 82 $24.96
Maine 75 153 91 78 $29.70
Arkansas 152 227 243 75 $30.83
Wyoming 40 113 80 73 $29.86
New Hampshire 92 154 146 62 $30.84
Oklahoma 326 387 489 61 $29.56
South Dakota 38 83 73 45 $29.19
North Dakota 33 63 80 30 $28.78
Idaho 128 157 97 29 $30.77
Alaska 41 66 0 25 $37.80
Delaware 116 141 235 25 $60.67
Vermont 51 55 191 4 $30.48
Nebraska 112 109 279 -3 $32.47
Wisconsin 262 248 691 -14 $36.43
D.C. 618 273 2,109 -345 $70.96
Nation 26,239 53,508 44,159 27,269 $44.22

Friday, June 24, 2011

Still here

Have had overwhelming work and personal obligations of late. Matter of fact, I'm typing this from work. 9:09 p.m. Friday evening. Life is good.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Wall Street Journal article on lawyer TTTemp jobs

The WSJ just did an article on the rise of Contract/Temp attorneys (I initially put attorney in quotes and then removed them). It's behind a paywall but accessible if you come in through Google News. Interestingly, the WSJ put contract in quotes. Whatever.

There's nothing new here to anyone who reads scamblogs, particularly Tom the Temp. In fact, the WSJ was itself probably the first mainstream publication to call attention to the scam, with its landmark Hard Case: Job Market Wanes for U.S. Lawyers in September 2007. That article immortalized Scott Bullock of Big Debt, Small Law and should have been sufficient to knock sense into anyone considering law school. Should have been.

The piece features a 37-year-old American U grad and describes his life as a coder. Dickensian working conditions, $50K annual compensation, lengthy unemployment, and assignments that end abruptly. The WSJ quotes NALP in saying that 10% of private practice jobs graduates accepted last year were temporary. Paul Campos, who I commented on here, would beg to differ on the 10%. Further, he notes that NALP itself collects data on but does not publish distinctions between permanent and temporary work.

The change to temporary attorneys is driven by cost-conscious clients of marquee law firms who probably resented paying for green associates in the first place. The Journal is a bit behind the times in not mentioning offshoring, onshoring to U.S. backwaters, or technology that will dispense with law grads altogether, but on the whole it's a respectable effort that accurately portrays a segment of the presTTTigious legal "profession" circa 2011.

Speaking of Bullock, I'm about 99% certain that he is the poster areyouinsane in the TLS thread no doubt inspired by the WSJ article. Writing style and anecdotes are identical; not many people begin their sentences with "You see,". He's apparently moving to Turkey. Naturally, the TLS rocket scientists suspect he's a flame, even as they content themselves in the knowledge that this temporary attorney nastiness only happens to "other" people.

Monday, June 13, 2011

La Verne denied. Shirley inconsolable

Hat tip to Nando of Third Tier Reality for the news that the ABA denied this toilet's full accreditation and withdrew provisional accreditation. J-Dog of Restoring Dignity to the Law has also written about the school several times.

My understanding is this used to be a serviceable CBA-approved school that sought ABA approval and the massive tuition that comes with it.

Media Advisory

Jun 13, 2011
Deniene Husted
(714) 423-9753

ABA Denies La Verne Law Application for Full Approval

Law school remains committed to ensuring the best opportunities for its students.

ONTARIO, Calif., June 13, 2011 – The American Bar Association has denied the University of La Verne College of Law’s application for full approval and withdrawn its provisional status, officials announced on Monday.

The announcement came shortly after law school officials received the news in a telephone call from the ABA. While detailed findings are not yet available, the ABA Council’s overall opinion was that the law school’s first-time bar pass rate, which jumped from 34 percent in 2009 to 53 percent in 2010, had not sufficiently improved.

“We are deeply disappointed, but not defeated,” said La Verne Law Dean Allen Easley. “Once we receive the council’s formal announcement, we will review the findings and take action accordingly. It remains our ultimate mission to provide the very best law school education and experience possible to our students.”

Law school officials plan this week to seek an expedited timeline to regain provisional approval from the ABA, and will proceed immediately with the steps necessary to gain California Bar approval.

La Verne Law was the only ABA-approved law school (provisional or otherwise) in inland Southern California, having received provisional approval from the association in February, 2006. The law school remains accredited through the Western Association of Schools and Colleges under the University of La Verne.

“The University will continue in its commitment to achieve ABA approval for the College of Law,” said University of La Verne President Steve Morgan, who retires this month. “It is our belief that our region needs an ABA-accredited school to best serve the long-term needs of the Inland Valley region. It is our desire that the University of La Verne College of Law will be that school. Our resolve is as strong as ever and we will focus on the ABA concerns and move forward with our quest. President-Select Devorah Lieberman shares that commitment and I know she will carry forth these efforts with the same level of passion and determination.”

Lieberman, who assumes the leadership role of the University of La Verne on July 1, shared Morgan’s resolve.

“The College of Law’s mandate to provide our students with the highest quality legal education aligned with the mission of the University of La Verne is laudable, and we will continue in that pursuit,” Lieberman said. “I look forward to maintaining our strong commitment to these goals and helping to design strategic initiatives that result in full American Bar Association approval.”

The ABA announcement comes at a time when the region remains significantly underrepresented by legal professionals compared to neighboring metropolitan areas. Currently, inland Southern California’s attorney-to-resident ratio is one for every 840 people, compared to Los Angeles County at one to every 217; Orange County at one to every 223; and San Diego County at one to every 232. San Bernardino and Riverside county courts continue to report a severe shortage of judicial officers to serve the region’s growing population.

# #

About the University of La Verne College of Law

The University of La Verne College of Law serves a region of more than 3.8 million people in inland Southern California. It is part of the University of La Verne, which is fully accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. Established in 1970, La Verne Law has produced generations of law professionals educated on standards of ethics and service to the community. For more information, visit

About the University of La Verne: The University of La Verne, a regionally accredited, non-profit institution, holds the distinction of being annually rated as One of America’s Best Colleges by U.S. News & World Report and Forbes Magazine. U.S. News also recently named La Verne as one of the most popular Tier 1 universities in the nation, measured by percentage of accepted versus enrolled students. Further, In April 2011, La Verne ranked No. 1 among all national universities in achieving the highest actual versus predicted graduation rate (Postsecondary Education Opportunity).

# # #

A thing of beauty

Friday, June 10, 2011

Even Uncle Sam thinks the ABA sucks

I cribbed the following from TaxProf.

The ABA drew intense scrutiny on Thursday from a federal panel that reviews accrediting agencies. The National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity, which advises the U.S. education secretary on accreditation issues, used a meeting here to review the applications of 10 accrediting agencies to be recognized by the federal government. ...

Of the 10 agencies being reviewed on Wednesday and Thursday, all were recommended for continued recognition. ... But several members of the committee expressed reservations about approving that status for the ABA, which was found to be out of compliance with 17 regulations, including the need to consider student-loan default rates in assessing programs; to solicit and consider public comments; and to set a standard for job placement by its member institutions.

Arthur E. Keiser, chancellor of the Keiser Collegiate System, said that an accrediting agency would not accredit an institution with 17 outstanding issues. "There is a real concern that this agency doesn't get it," he said. Anne D. Neal, president of the American Council of Trustees and Alumni, was one of three committee members who opposed the motion to continue the bar association's recognition, saying that she had no confidence it would be in compliance within a year.

Representatives of the association assured the committee that the changes recommended by the department were already in the process of being carried out and would be completed in time.

The bar association also got a negative review from a group of legal faculty members, the Clinical Legal Education Association, which accused the ABA of considering changes in its standards that would "strip important protections of academic freedom and faculty-governance rights ... by eliminating tenure and security of position for deans and faculty members," according to written comments submitted by the faculty group.

Faculty members at 65 law schools as well as a half-dozen faculty associations have voiced opposition to the proposed changes, said Jennifer M. Roberts, an associate professor of law at American University and a board member of the legal-education association. ...

In the end, a majority on the federal advisory committee voted to continue the bar association's recognition, but expressed frustration that they could not take stronger actions or at least state their concerns with stronger language.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Dear Bloggers, Blawgers, and Scambloggers

Within the last month, the authors of both The Jobless Juris Doctor and Shilling Me Softly ended their blogs. SMS removed the blog altogether; it no longer resolves. JJD deleted all but a farewell post.

Do me everyone a favor: If you put it out there, leave it out there. It costs you nothing while benefiting legions now and in the future. I was a long-time reader of the blogs mentioned and thought enough of them to have them in my blog roll. I also now have posts with broken links to those blogs' posts.

Scott Bullock set an unfortunate example with his untimely, unnecessary, dramatic demise of Big Debt, Small Law. If your blog is worth reading and has been around long enough, people have it cached somewhere. You'll never get rid of it. Meanwhile, you'll deny a dose of reality to newbies sorely in need of one.

Every time a blogger publicly calls it quits, the Valvoline Dean and his counterparts exchange metaphorical high fives. Unless you need to take your blog down for financial reasons — all babies must eat — leave it up and just walk away.

Monday, June 6, 2011

All those lemmings have to be going somewhere

BLS just released employment statistics. The legal services industry shrank by 2,700 jobs between May 2010 and 2011. Meanwhile, another 44,000 lemmings graduated.

AmLaw Daily speculates some will find jobs ... with onshoring firms. I'm posting about two recent NY Times articles one of these days, but the gist is that most openings require experience.

You 0Ls and 1Ls ought to cut your losses and bail. As for upperclassmen, you're going to have a latte competition. Enjoy IBR.

P.S.: The BLS has previously revised law employment downward after reviewing figures, and there's no guarantee May 2011 won't end up even worse than reported.

Not seasonally adjusted May 2010 1,109,500
Mar 2011 1,108,000
Apr 2011 1,106,700
May 2011 1,106,600 -2,900
Seasonally adjusted May 2010 1,113,100
Mar 2011 1,112,100
Apr 2011 1,111,400
May 2011 1,110,400 -2,700
Change from: Apr 2011-May 2011 -1,000

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Be Handsome. Be Attractive II

Thanks, Anna Alaburda! All I did was stick a cropped law school photo on the blog and traffic went through the roof. Half the surfeit originates from a comment on ATL about her appearance and the balance from people Googling some variant of "Anna Alaburda pic." I'm resisting the urge to salt this post with salacious keywords so I can retire early ... my resolve is failing.

Let me be frank: I find Ms. Alaburda attractive. One of my first thoughts was back to Allison Cantor and how she effortlessly got biglaw while Alaburda is doing doc review. I conceived a hypothetical conversation between Alaburda and Cantor but decided that the contrasts in background, alma maters, and geography rendered the different outcomes inevitable despite the superficial personal similarities.

Basically, the premium for being attractive in sunny San Diego is either small or nil, and not enough to offset a degree from a toilet in a small market. I suspect the penalty for being unaTTTractive is high. The converse is likely true in the Nutmeg State.

Cantor obviously had a good rapport with a Day Pitney partner. I don't know how Alaburda comes across, but a partner in a mid-size firm is betting she will make a good plaintiff; i.e., someone who should have succeeded but for her school.

There's no such thing as bad publicity. Alaburda will do fine. If she wins, she'll do better than fine, and become a hero to toileteers, everywhere.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Yale or Fail II

A while back I told readers that they needed to go to an elite school. This point gets hammered in everywhere, every day.

Today's example is from the NY Times. Briefly, the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division is hiring lawyers with civil rights backgrounds instead of conservative lawyers with different experience. The paper made it a point to note the new hires come from better higher-ranked schools.
The documents showed that the Obama-era hires were more likely to have had experience in civil rights, and they graduated from more selective law schools, than those hired over the final six years of the Bush administration. ...

Moreover, the Obama-era hires graduated from law schools that had an average ranking of 28, according to U.S. News & World Report. The Bush group had a lower average ranking, 42.
Granted, a favorite Bush recruiting stop was Regent, but the Times is putting its imprimatur on the notion that graduates of #28 are notably better lawyers than graduates of #42.

This is the sort of argument I'd expect to read over at TLS. Essentially, the paper is saying that given two lawyers with the same background, the one from the higher-ranked school has more credibility. Note that civil rights lawyers hired by definition are experienced; their school should matter less as their career developed.

For my part, I'm surprised that the Justice Department goes slumming outside T14, let alone #28.

Do yourself a favor and don't go to law school at all. If you do go, make sure it's to an elite school. Again, no one gives a shit about moot court or the top-ranked inTTTernational law program. The main thing that counts is the USNWR rank. The other thing, if you have a specialty in mind, is to gain street cred by working in that specialty, even if you have to volunteer.