Law School Transparency

Let a thousand law schools bloom?

Critics of the current legal-education model, including my colleague Elie Mystal, have accused the American Bar Association of failing to uphold sufficiently stringent accreditation standards. ABA-accredited law schools proliferate, even though thousands of law school graduates find themselves unemployed or underemployed.

The ABA was recently chided by the National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity for various alleged deficiencies in the ABA’s exercise of its accreditation power (for example, failure to consider student-loan default rates in assessing programs). Politicians such as Senators Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Charles Grassley (R-IA), and Tom Coburn (R-OK) have also raised questions about whether there are too many law schools and law school graduates, especially in light of the still-challenging legal job market.

In light of this debate, I was eager to attend a panel at the Federalist Society’s National Lawyers Convention on the subject of law school accreditation….

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Herman Cain: victim of a high-tech lynching?

* Here is Bess Levin’s take on the Groomzilla lawsuit brought by Todd J. Remis, son of a Goodwin Procter partner. [Dealbreaker]

* What advice would crisis management guru Lanny Davis give to Herman Cain about Cain’s sexual harassment scandal? Here’s an imagined conversation. [The Hill]

* And here is a real conversation — between Herman Cain and Ginni Thomas, also about the sexual harassment allegations. [Daily Caller]

* Current law students, at Brooklyn Law and Cardozo, call upon the ABA to get its act together. [BLS Advocate; Cardozo Jurist]

Judge J. Paul Oetken (S.D.N.Y.)

* The legal career of NBA star Ben Wallace is off to a great start. [Yahoo! Sports]

* Antonin Pribetic asks: “Are GCs Shifting The Balance of BigLaw Power?” [The Trial Warrior]

* Congratulations to Judge Paul Oetken on joining the distinguished S.D.N.Y. bench! (I was lucky enough to attend his ceremonial induction last week, which was fabulous.) [Poliglot / Metro Weekly]

* And congratulations to the Dave Nee Foundation, a non-profit committed to fighting depression and preventing suicide, on its record number of law firm supporters for this year’s masquerade ball (taking place tomorrow night). [Dave Nee Foundation (press release)]

Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK), come on down! Okay, I’m sure Senator Coburn wouldn’t put it this way, but you can count him as the latest Senate member who has joined the fight for something that the Occupy Wall Street people should really care about. He wants there to be more transparency when it comes to American law schools.

First, Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) led the charge to try to get law schools to engage in some basic honesty when telling prospective students about the value of a law degree. Then Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA) added his voice. That was important, as Grassley is the Republican leader on the Senate Judiciary Committee.

And now Coburn, another Republican on the Judiciary Committee, is joining in.

Democrats, Republicans, men, women, when will the ABA figure out that there will be broad support for law schools that are required to tell the truth about their graduate outcomes?

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Kyle McEntee

The ABA Section of Legal Education and Admission to the Bar has done a huge disservice to prospective law students, law schools and the legal profession.

The legal employment rate is a basic yet crucial part of informing prospective law students. The failure to require law schools to disclose this rate legitimizes questions about whether the section is a body captured by special interests.

Kyle McEntee, Executive Director of Law School Transparency, commenting on the Section’s removal of queries from its Annual Questionnaire regarding the percentage of 2010 law school graduates employed in jobs requiring bar passage.

Back in June, when we spoke about the latest job data from NALP, it became clear that the class of 2010 — my graduating class — had some of the worst employment outcomes of the last 20 years. We knew this because of the way NALP categorized its data, differentiating between jobs that require and don’t require bar passage, and between full-time and part-time jobs.

But apparently the American Bar Association isn’t interested in helping people understand these outcomes on a school-by-school basis. The ABA doesn’t want you to know how schools fared in finding full-time legal employment for graduates of the class of 2010.

That’s right, the same folks who claimed just two short months ago that “no one could be more focused on the future of our next generation of lawyers than the ABA,” will now be removing those helpful job characteristics from the 2011 Annual Questionnaire….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “The ABA Focuses on Losing the ‘Lost Generation,’ One Statistic at a Time”

Two petitions of possible interest showed up in our inbox today:

1. In favor of student loan forgiveness: This petition, reminiscent of Elie Mystal’s call for a student loan bailout, “strongly encourage[s] Congress and the President to support H. Res. 365, introduced by Rep. Hansen Clarke (D-MI), seeking student loan forgiveness as a means of economic stimulus.” (We mentioned H.R. 365 in Morning Docket.)

2. In favor of law school transparency: This petition, posted by Professor Paul Campos over at his formerly anonymous blog, calls for “the American Bar Association to require all schools it has accredited to release clear, accurate, and reasonably comprehensive information regarding graduate employment, by for example implementing the proposals outlined in Part III of the Law School Transparency Project’s white paper, A Way Forward: Transparency at U.S. Law Schools.”

We might have more to say about these petitions later. For now, we’ll just pass along the links (and you can argue the merits of these petitions in the comments).

Want a Real Economic Stimulus and Jobs Plan? Forgive Student Loan Debt! [SignOn.org]
Law School Petition [Inside the Law School Scam]

Earlier: Student Loan Bailout. Just Do It.
The Tenured Law Prof Turned ‘Scamblogger’ Reveals Himself

You've got to be kidding me with this...

In mid-July, we wrote about Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and his quest to get answers from the American Bar Association about the future of legal education in this country. Grassley’s inquiry came on the heels of a similar request from Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA).

Steven Zack of the ABA responded quickly, making sure to pass a great deal of the blame off on the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar.

Grassley was apparently unimpressed with the response he received from the ABA, so last week he fired back with a shorter (and snarkier) list of questions.

Recall that Zack’s last response to Grassley touted that “no one could be more focused on the future of our next generation of lawyers than the ABA.” Will those be Zack’s famous last words in this debate?

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Gay or European? Or just puppets?

* Should the police be able to use mobile-phone location data in order to locate a charged defendant? Kash reports on a recent decision. [Not-So Private Parts / Forbes]

* More importantly, should Bert and Ernie of Sesame Street get “gay married”? [Althouse]

* The ABA takes a lot of blame for the inadequacy of graduate employment reporting by law schools, but at least they’re taking “a step in the right direction,” according to Professor Gary Rosin. [The Faculty Lounge]

* Professor Ilya Somin: “The Decline of Men or Just the Rise of Women?” [Volokh Conspiracy]

Raj Rajaratnam

* Leave it to a whiny law student to complain about getting a package delivered before its estimated arrival time. [White Whine]

* “The Revenge of the Rating Agencies”: no, it’s not a horror film, but an interesting NYT op-ed by Professor Jeffrey Manns. [New York Times]

* Lawyers for Raj Rajaratnam argue that their client deserves a lower prison sentence due to a “unique constellation of ailments ravaging his body.” There’s a whole lot to ravage. [Dealbreaker]

* If you’d like to lose your appetite, read this Texas lawyer’s profane blog chronicling his effort to eat cheaply for a month (under $12.50 for every meal). [30 Days @ $12.50]

* No need to email us that Kentucky judge’s (very funny) “tick on a fat dog,” “one legged cat in a sand box” order, regarding a case that settled, obviating the need for a trial — we covered it last month. Thanks. [Above the Law]

July shaped up to be a pretty good month for going after lower-ranked law schools. It isn’t even mid-August, but this month might end up even better.

Early in July, we reported that Kurzon Strauss, a small law firm based in New York, was trolling Craigslist for plaintiffs to sue Thomas M. Cooley Law School over its employment reporting practices. Cooley Law decided to strike first, suing the firm for defamation. And at about the same time, New York Law School and its dean, Richard Matasar, got ripped a new one in the New York Times.

And now, both law schools are getting sued for fraud, negligent misrepresentation, and deceptive business practices — à la Alaburda v. TJSL, the lawsuit filed back in May against Thomas Jefferson School of Law by an unhappy alumna.

Karmic revenge sure is sweet….

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Is this guy loving Citizens United or what?

* Is a Ropes & Gray attorney behind a shell company that gave $1 million to the Romney campaign? [The Docket / Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly]

* Working on the matter pro bono, Skadden wants greater cooperation from the NYPD in the case of a missing eight-year-old boy. [WSJ Law Blog]

* Breaking down the Alex Rodriguez poker scandal. [Legal Blitz]

* Can’t the ABA and NALP just get along? [Law School Transparency]

* How is that we have more lawyers than we can shake a stick at, but not nearly enough judges? Ian Millhiser looks at the numbers. [Think Progress]

Know who this guy is? Click on the picture to find out.

* Can’t all the people in same-sex marriages facing deportation just move to New York? [Stop the Deportations]

* Who is “the most important American you’ve never heard of”? Read a well-reviewed new book, Michael Toth’s Founding Federalist (affiliate link), to find out. [Ricochet]

* Great job Tea Party, no really. You guys sure you won’t want any social spending when you are living in the wonderful economy you’ve wrought for us? [Huffington Post]

* Don’t forget to sign up for our chess set giveaway. Or join us on Linked In. [Above the Law]

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