Student Loans

Justice Sonia Sotomayor and Hillary Clinton

* Justice Sonia Sotomayor insists that her meeting with Hillary Clinton at Costco wasn’t planned. She just wanted to say hello to the “other lady,” as referenced by the woman at the store’s pharmacy counter. [Washington Post]

* Six U.K. firm leaders got together to talk about how to run their practices during challenging economic times. It turns out they’d prefer not to run their firms into the ground. [The Lawyer]

* Look out everyone, because Taylor Wessing, an international law firm that’s known for its IP, media, and telecommunications work, is storming both coasts of the United States in its very own dual office launch Biglaw blitzkrieg. [Am Law Daily]

* “It is a shameful canard that student loans and indebtedness are the cause of high tuition. They are not; they are the symptom,” says a law dean standing up for his students. [Chronicle of Higher Education]

* If you want to go to law school and you’ve got an undergrad degree in a technical area like engineering, then congrats. You might stand to get a job after graduation. [Law Admissions Lowdown / U.S. News]

We know how much our readers love rankings, so this is probably a good time to let you know that the National Jurist has released its eighth annual list of the law schools thought to offer the “Best Value” to law students — usually a list dominated by public schools with a smattering of private schools. The magazine also released its second annual list of the “best value” private law schools at the same time.

The Best Value ranking system typically takes into account a law school’s tuition (weighted 25 percent), students’ cost of living expenses (10 percent), students’ average indebtedness upon graduation (15 percent), the percentage of graduates who got a job after graduation (35 percent), and bar passage rates (15 percent).

What’s so exciting about this year’s list? For starters, the list of the overall “Best Value” list includes the most private law schools to date, in part due to the fact that average indebtedness is down since law schools started tossing out scholarships like Mardi Gras beads just to convince students to enroll.

Let’s take a look at the 2014 “Best Value” rankings…

Please note the UPDATE on the second page of this post.

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I shouldn’t laugh at this. A recent law school graduate got completely screwed by her own father and I shouldn’t find it so funny.

But I do. I find it goddamn hilarious. The student actually got a clue halfway through law school and decided to drop out. But her father convinced her to stick it out by promising to pay her tuition. She finished, she graduated, and when it came time to pay the bills, Daddy said, “Sorry, I lied.”

Ha. Hahahahaha. When will law students learn that EVERYBODY IS LYING. You know, except me. EVERYBODY ELSE IS LYING…

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Between 2008 and 2012, the median debt burden for newly minted JDs increased by 54 percent, from $83,000 to $128,000. (That compares with a 22 percent increase in medical student debt.) It is the responsibility of every aspiring law student to understand the implications of taking on such a financial commitment. For law grads who have already accumulated the debt, there may be options for you to better manage repayment. Thanks to our friends at DRB, today’s infographic takes a look at law student debt, including the possible benefits of refinance or consolidation. Click here for more details.

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This should be a no-brainer.

– President Barack Obama, who once profited from ridiculous tuition rates, after signing a memorandum expanding a program to cap student loan repayments at no more than 10 percent of what borrowers actually earn in the workplace. The President’s comment was directed at a related bill in Congress to allow student borrowers to refinance their loans at lower rates.

* Beastie Boys prevail in another intellectual property fight. This time winning $1.7 million from Monster Energy — the drink that guarantees you’ll get no sleep until Brooklyn. [Grantland]

* Law school hands out the wrong exam. To the whole class. [Legal Cheek]

* Best politico defense of taking a bribe: I was too drunk to realize I was being bribed! [New York Post]

* Lawyer wrote “go ahead and disbar me” to Departmental Disciplinary Committee. Sometimes there’s no just bluff to call. [Legal Profession Blog]

* One more problem with high student debt: debt alone can nix your character and fitness approval. [Arizona Law Review]

* A celebration of courtroom illustrators in light of the release of The Illustrated Courtroom: 50 Years of Court Art (affiliate link) [Illustrated Courtroom]

* Vice Media is doing tremendous work exposing injustices. Perhaps they need to look into their own office. (UPDATE: Vice has changed its ways and now pays its interns.) [Capital New York]

* In a comical bout of karma, a landlord sued its blogger resident for alleged defamation. Next thing you know, HUD inspection records come to light. Let’s just say the landlord should be very unhappy that truth is a defense. [Columbus Dispatch]

* Check out the conclusion of ReplyAll’s conversation with John Grisham. [Above the Law]

* Do you think someone is not happy with Jones Foster’s billing practices?

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If you’re a frequent reader of this website, you know that we continuously talk about the effects of law school debt and the need for tuition decreases so young lawyers can go on to lead normal lives after graduation instead of wearing their debt around their necks like slowly tightening nooses.

As time goes by, more and more law schools are starting to listen and reform — though in some cases, we imagine it’s only because they’re now feeling the pain of a decrease in tuition dollars due to low enrollment and smaller classes.

Until all law schools get in gear with the way things work now, we’ve got a list of law schools where life could be good after graduation. At these law schools, the average graduate has a starting salary that outweighs his average debt load…

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* Dan Marino was suing the NFL over concussions, becoming the highest profile former player to level a suit against the league. Among his allegations, he claims concussions led him to hold that ball laces in for Ray Finkle. Why do I say “was,” you ask? Because he claims he filed suit accidentally. No greater proof of the dangers of concussions necessary. [Awful Announcing]

* The Supreme Court used to gather in the basement and watch porn together according to Larry Tribe (affiliate link). Best anecdote is Justice Marshall narrating porn to the nearly blind Justice Harlan. You can spoil the ending for Justice Harlan here. [Washington Post]

* It turns out the Brits have their own obsession with law school rankings. Here’s their “league table” for a legal education. [The Guardian]

* You know not to wear a bikini to the firm pool party, but what should you wear to the other summer events? [Corporette]

* An article ponders when firms are going to figure out that recent law school grads are perfect paralegals. Thanks for that kick in the gut. [New Geography]

* Following up on an older story, the Fifth Circuit has withdrawn a ruling made in 2007 upon revelations that one of the judges involved had a financial interest in one of the parties. [Center for Public Integrity]

* Do we need more reasons why Bitcoin is stupid? Ah, it’s used in messy divorces to hide assets. Perfect. [Digital Journal]

* Debt collectors are increasingly giving up on calling you all the time and just seeking default judgments. [Huffington Post]

* From the SUNY Buffalo commencement, Judge Thomas Franczyk and graduate Joey Nicastro took the stage to perform a song for the occasion. Francis Malofiy is already planning to sue them. Video below….

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One thing I’ve learned as I get older is that most people are incapable of learning from other people’s mistakes. It’s just not something humans are good at, I guess. If you see somebody jump off his roof and impale himself on a fence post, the human reaction seems to be “Wow, what a stupid place to put a fence post,” not, “I’M NEVER GOING TO JUMP OFF A ROOF.”

Everybody thinks that they can do it better. That impulse probably helped us go from stone tools to weapons of mass destruction, but it’s also what helps unaccredited law schools stay in business. Whatever, it all ends in radiation poisoning.

Which brings me to the story of a former student loan debt collector who heard countless stories from people drowning in debt with degrees that turned out to be useless. Armed with that information, she turned around and took out $40K to go to an unaccredited, online law school in California. I feel like I’m taking crazy pills…

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‘We traced Sallie Mae’s call. It’s coming from inside the house.’

What happens when you go to law school and your classmates are all d-bags? What happens when all of the partners at your firm are a-holes? Or worse yet, what happens when you graduate from law school in a down economy? What happens when you aren’t able to get a job as a lawyer, yet you’re haunted day and night by student loans? Sometimes the answers to these questions are truly frightening.

We were inspired to curate responses for this post after reading some short scary stories:

If you think that only a good horror book or movie can be scary you are probably wrong. The following two-sentence [messages] prove that even the shortest stories can give you goosebumps.

Keep reading, if you dare…

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