Unaccredited Law Schools

Two years ago, the LSAT was given to more than 104,000 people. Last year it was given to 52,000 nationwide, a 50 percent drop. Law is no longer seen as the golden calf. This is very hard work. It’s not Boston Legal.

You don’t walk into the office and pop open a scotch and sit around chatting with your partners about the ball game. It’s emotionally draining. You’re only as good as your last trial, your last settlement. You are constantly looking for more clients. Going to law school is not the automatic $120,000-a-year job.

Terry Robertson — the dean of Empire College School of Law, a school accredited only by the California Bar, without any employment statistics to speak of found online — commenting on the state of the legal profession.

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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No, RBG, that’s not the internet.

* According to Justice Elena Kagan, the rest of her colleagues are Supreme technophobes. Because “[t]he court hasn’t really ‘gotten to’ email,” they still pass handwritten memos to each other. [Associated Press]

* “[I]f we don’t get some relief we might as well close our doors.” Thanks to sequestration, budget cuts to the federal judiciary have resulted in layoffs in the Southern District of New York. Sad. [New York Law Journal]

* Kodak’s Chapter 11 reorganization was approved by Judge Allan Gropper, who called the affair “a tragedy of American economic life.” He must’ve had fond memories of getting other people’s pictures. [Bloomberg]

* Bankruptcy lawyers for corporate debtors are going to have to crack down on churning their bills. Starting in November, they will be subject to additional rules, and even (gasp!) fee examiners. [WSJ Law Blog]

* Guardian reporter Glenn Greenwald’s partner, David Miranda (because of course his surname is Miranda), has lawyered up after his unusual nine-hour detainment at Heathrow airport this weekend. [Am Law Daily]

* So long, Nuts and Boalts: Christopher Edley, dean of Boalt Hall, is taking a medical leave and cutting short his term as the school’s leader at the end of the year. [Bottom Line / San Francisco Chronicle]

* “We’ll take him.” Indiana Tech Law School opens today, and its founding dean is very excited to add a 33rd student — one who was admitted yesterday — to the school’s inaugural class. [National Law Journal]

* Eugene Crew, co-founder of the firm once known as Townsend and Townsend and Crew, RIP. [Recorder]

Some law schools want the bar to be so low they can crawl over it.

Whenever we ask the American Bar Association to make regulations with teeth that would actually improve the quality of legal education, the organization claims that law schools will sue them if they try.

The ABA has no stomach to seriously regulate its member institutions, but individual state bars also have authority to regulate the law schools in their jurisdictions. A new rule in California holds schools to a higher standard than the ABA is willing to impose.

So, of course, a California law school is suing 22 members of the State Committee of Bar Examiners over the new rule. They want to keep their rubber stamp of accreditation from the CBE, since they don’t yet have accreditation with the ABA.

If you think people running accredited law schools are willing to make spurious arguments to justify the value of legal education, wait till you see the stuff they try to pull at unaccredited law schools…

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* Change may be coming soon in light of the Newtown shooting, but any talk about new federal restrictions on guns will hinge on the Supreme Court’s interpretation of the Second Amendment through the lens of the Heller case. [National Law Journal]

* Joel Sanders and the Steves are facing yet another “frivolous” lawsuit over their alleged misconduct while at the helm of the sinking S.S. Dewey, but this time in a multi-million dollar case filed by Aviva Life and Annuity over a 2010 bond offering. [Am Law Daily]

* Always a bridesmaid, never a bride: Pillsbury has had the urge to merge since February, and now the firm may finally get a chance to walk down the aisle with Dickstein Shapiro. [Thomson Reuters News & Insight]

* Income-based repayment is a bastion of hope for law school graduates drowning in student loan debt, but when the tax man commeth, and he will, you’ll quickly find out that the IRS doesn’t have IBR. [New York Times]

* Is the premise of graduating with “zero debt” from a law school that hasn’t been accredited by the ABA something that you should actually consider? Sure, if you don’t mind zero jobs. [U.S. News and World Report]

* Daniel Inouye, Hawaii’s Senate representative for five decades and a GW Law School graduate, RIP. [CNN]

Accreditation Appeal²

* How many of Above the Law’s Scalia groupies tuned in to watch the opinionated Supreme Court justice on Piers Morgan last night? Now we all know what Justice Scalia’s favorite pasta dish is! [CNN]

* In other news, the Supreme Court’s approval rating has dropped even lower in the wake of the Affordable Care Act decision — just 41% of Americans are satisfied with SCOTUS. [New York Times]

* Dewey know if D&L is going to be able to pay out bonuses and retention fees? Not if the U.S. Trustee can help it. They’re not “cost effective or economically feasible” — go figure. [Bloomberg]

* City records for Boaz Weinstein’s and Tali Farhadian Weinstein’s $25.5M lawyerly lair have officially hit the books. Not too shabby for a federal prosecutor. [New York Observer]

* “I am not a racist. I am not a murderer.” George Zimmerman sat down for an interview with Sean Hannity to tell his side of the story. Prosecutors must be thanking Zimmerman’s attorney for this gift. [Orlando Sentinel]

* Duncan Law is appealing its accreditation appeal before the American Bar Association’s Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar. This must be the three strikes approach to accreditation. [ABA Journal]

* Give this undocumented immigrant one of the documents he’s earned. Immigration law professors are lining up to support Sergio Garcia’s attempt to win admission to the California bar. [National Law Journal]

* California’s foie gras ban will remain in effect due to the lack of a “satisfactory explanation” as to why a TRO should be granted. Sorry, but wanting to eat classy French food isn’t a good enough reason. [Businessweek]

* Bankruptcy blues: “No one is getting a free pass.” Howrey going to start clawing back all of that money from our former partners and their new firms? Dewey even want to get started with this failed firm’s D&L defectors? [Am Law Daily (sub. req.)]

* Way to show that you’ve got some Seoul: Ropes & Gray, Sheppard Mullin, and Clifford Chance were the first Biglaw firms to receive approval from the Korean Ministry of Justice to open the first foreign firm offices in South Korea. [Legal Week]

* This is supposed to represent an improvement? Pretty disappointing. The percentage of women holding state court judgeships increased by a whopping 0.7 percent over last year’s numbers. [National Law Journal]

* Throw your birth control pills in the air like confetti, because a judge tossed a lawsuit filed by seven states that tried to block the Affordable Care Act’s mandatory contraception coverage provision. [Lincoln Journal Star]

* “[S]omewhere along the way the guy forgot to tell the seller that he was working with the buyer.” Duane Morris was sued for negligence and breach of fiduciary duty for more than $192M. [Thomson Reuters News & Insight]

* Please don’t Google me, bitches. Brandon Hamilton, Louisville Law’s ex-assistant dean for admissions, resigned Monday after overpromising $2.4M in scholarship money to incoming law students. [Courier-Journal]

* A New Hampshire college is offering free tuition to students in their junior year if they combine their senior year with their first year at the Massachusetts School of Law. The catch? Mass Law is unaccredited. [NHPR]

Time and time again, we’ve warned prospective law students about the dangers of applying to law school without first arming themselves with the knowledge that a career in law might not be the golden ticket that it once was. And yet time and time again, those prospective law students have ignored all of the evidence that was presented to them on a silver platter, and continued on their merry way to law school.

These 0Ls don’t care about whether they’ll be employed; hell, they don’t even care how many law schools are sued for their allegedly fraudulent employment statistics. All these “sophisticated consumers” really care about are the U.S. News law school rankings.

But what would happen if a law school were to inform applicants that they may never be employed at all? Perhaps a message like that would stem the tide of willfully ignorant prospective law students….

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We’ve previously written about all of the problems that have befallen Duncan School of Law’s hopes for provisional accreditation by the American Bar Association. With motions pending in Duncan Law’s antitrust lawsuit against the ABA, perhaps the school thought that it could enjoy a momentary respite from all of the negative media attention it’s been receiving.

No such luck. As we mentioned in Morning Docket, a law student has now sued the school — but not because she couldn’t get a job, like the plaintiffs in the other law school lawsuits we’ve seen this year. Instead, this law student is suing the school because she claims that Duncan Law “negligently allowed her to enroll.”

Who is suing the law school, and what are her allegations?

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Hey, little boy, do you want to go to law school?

I got home from New York last night, exhausted and ready to sleep in my own bed instead of a different couch every night. I noticed a couple things as soon as I set foot into the San Francisco airport. Everyone here wears jeans. Us Californians love our casual clothes. Also, fried food and all meat products and candy are outlawed here, so we are all in excellent shape. We have and enjoy trees, and we live in apartments large enough to have closets.

For better or worse, there are a lot of things about California that make us different and drive Newt Gingrich to say he wants to shut down our region’s federal appeals court.

One of our specialties is our penchant for unaccredited law schools. Say what you will about them — there are advantages and disadvantages — but what about an online only, unaccredited law school that spams law school students who have already enrolled at other, more prestigious institutions?

Shady? Or brilliant marketing strategy? Decide for yourself, courtesy of a generous tipster….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “What’s the Difference Between Law School Admission and Spam? Good Question”