It has been a while since we’ve had one of these cut-rate animation movies discouraging people from going to law school. There have been some great ones in the past: A Law School Carol springs to mind, as well as Don’t Go To Law School.
There was a time when I thought little video clips like the two above would actually help someone. I thought that if people won’t listen to the shrill voices of people like me, they might take advice from Lego-lookalikes speaking in a dull monotone.
But those were the heady days of 2009, when the craptastic state of the legal economy finally started to seep into the consciousness of prospective law students and lawyers. Now, thanks to the Great Recession, there’s less of a need to educate prospective law students about what they’re getting themselves into. Now, these little videos aren’t important teachable moments, they’re simply fun opportunities to make fun of people who fail to look out for themselves. They are opportunities for those who have been through the law school wringer to sit back and enjoy themselves — and exchange knowing glances among fellow colleagues.
The one we just came across today hits exactly the right note…
A third-year student at Boston College Law School made a very reasonable request of the law school’s interim dean, George D. Brown: Give me my money back.
I say it’s a reasonable request, because it is customary in this country to get a refund when you buy something that is defective in some fundamental way. And the people who won’t give you a refund are usually scam artists or a**holes.
I wanted to wait until I calmed down before I posted on it, but it doesn’t look like that is going to happen. So I broke into the Bronx Zoo this morning and stole some elephant tranquilizers. I’m going to shoot up and finish this post, now.
A year ago (almost to the day), we learned that Belmont University in Nashville was planning to start a new law school. At the time, I asked: “[H]ow colossally dumb are the people who sign up for a Belmont law degree next year?”
Well, there’s an article in the Tennessean today suggesting that the new dean of Belmont College of Law, Jeff Kinsler, is hoping his new students are so incapable of doing basic research than they’ll be easily distracted by anything that even smells of “math” or “statistics.”
And apparently his faith has been rewarded. With 1,200 inquiries from prospective students, it seems that Belmont is well on its way to handing out potentially useless degrees.
But what’s going on at Belmont is so ridiculous that it has even attracted the attention of the American Bar Association. You read that right. Even the ABA is saying “wait a minute” to students eager to sign up for whatever Belmont is offering….
An environment in which a person has run up $150,000 in student loans to pay for a law degree only to see jobs exported to India whose citizens are apparently very knowledgeable about the U.S. legal system.
Example: “The best job in the knowledge economy is plumbing because nobody with an advanced degree knows how to use Drano.”
Last month, we reported on the Best Value Law School Rankings produced by National Jurist. The initial list just mentioned the publication’s “honorees,” with a promise of numerical rankings later. That day has arrived, and the magazine is ready to tell us which is the very best value for law school in 2010.
We have good news on the student loan front. Really good news if you are a public defender or prosecutor. The Blog of the Legal Times reports that the Department of Justice is making $10 million available in loan forgiveness for PDs and prosecutors.
So if you want to live the Law & Order dream, it just got a little easier.
The money was actually authorized two years ago by George W. Bush, but the money has been held up in appropriations. Bush authorized up to $25 million for FY 2009, but Congress is only giving out $10 million for FY 2010.
Still, it’s great news for the lawyers eligible, and it could encourage law school graduates to give government criminal law jobs a second look…
Earlier this week, the legal blogosphere took a look at the “value” of an LL.M degree. I put “value” in scare quotes because the main point of the pieces in the National Law Journal and the WSJ Law Blog was that we don’t really know how valuable these degree programs are.
Now, in most markets, not knowing whether or not something has value would kind of be a big deal. But when it comes to legal education, the inability to determine the value of the degree isn’t a problem.
Faced with a lack of information about how much the LL.M credential is worth, law schools are quite happy to charge as much as possible for it anyway….
Yesterday President Obama held a town hall meeting with those affected by the terrible economy. But the New York Times reports that the televised meeting “turned into a therapy session for disillusioned Obama supporters.”
A lawyer was among the disillusioned. Thanks to his question, Obama is now on notice that student debt is crushing the hope and change out of many people in this country. Here’s the Washington Post’s summary:
Then a 30-year-old law school graduate said he’s no longer able to make the interest payments on his educational loans, much less able to have a mortgage or a family. He said he had been inspired by Obama’s campaign. But now, “that inspiration is dying away,” he said. “I really want to know: Is the American dream dead?
If Bill Clinton had been asked that question, he would have said “I feel your pain,” molested the questioner, and said “I will not, let, student debt continue to bang you in the ass.”
So what did President Obama say to the debt-laden lawyer?
In a couple of years, we might look back on today as the first point where the giant, unsustainable bubble that is the student loan market began to burst. Check out this press release:
The Student Loan Corporation (NYSE:STU – News), a subsidiary of Citibank, N.A., and a leading originator and servicer of student loans, announced that The Student Loan Corporation (“SLC”) and Discover Financial Services (“Discover”) have entered into a definitive agreement for Discover to acquire SLC, and thereby become the owner of its private student loan business as well as $4 billon of its private student loans. Separately and immediately prior to the transaction, (i) SLM Corporation (“Sallie Mae”) will acquire from SLC $28 billion of securitized federal student loans and related assets and (ii) Citi will acquire from SLC certain federal and private student loans and other assets totaling $8.7 billion. Upon the closing of the transactions described above, shareholders of SLC will receive $30 per share.
So Citi is getting out of the student loan origination business (although they’ll still have some existing loans on their books). I guess they don’t want to be the Lehman Brothers of this failing market…
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The holiday season is upon us, and yet again, you have no idea what to get for the fickle lawyer in your life. We’re here to help. Even if your bonus check hasn’t arrived yet, any one of the gifts we’ve highlighted here could be a worthy substitute until your employer decides to make it rain.
We’ve got an eclectic selection for you to choose from, so settle in by that stack of documents yet to be reviewed and dig in…
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