Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Law School Fraud - Contact Attorney General Cuomo

Yesterday's WSJ article provided compelling evidence and raised serious questions as to whether law schools are deliberately fudging their post-graduate career statistics.

I urge you to e-mail Attorney General Cuomo (or your own State Attorney General), and ask him/her to extend their probe of the student loan industry to include an examination of the marketing and recruitment practices of institutions of higher education.



Anonymous said...

I've been a lawyer for thirty years, law schools have been seriously overselling their programs for thirty years, and young lawyers have been griping about it for thirty years. (Probably for longer than that, I just wasn't around to hear it). Law is like football, the stars make tons of money and everyone else gets by - warming the bench or coaching high school or something. As the economy goes up and down, the problems for young lawyers get better or worse. It seems to be somewhat cyclical. We just happen to be in a downturn now.
About ten years ago, during the last downturn, one of the more reputable regional law schools (Loyola New Orleans) made entering freshman sign a document stating that they were aware that 50% of the most recent graduating class did not have a job on the date of graduation. Loyola even offered to refund the prepaid tuition of any student who decided to withdraw after reading the waiver. This received considerable publicity at the time.

The only new thing is, your generation is drowning in debt whereas my generation was able to pay lower tuition and borrow less money, so it didn't hurt as bad. Also, in those days, student loans could be discharged in bankruptcy if the worse came to the worst.

No one is going to do anything about law school puffing for three reasons:
(1) Law schools have VERY HEAVY political connections. These people don't just know how to play the system, they are the system.
(2) The people who are unhappy are law students and young lawyers - and this is not a group that ordinary people do NOT sympathise with.
(3) Lots of people will reason that law students should have investigated better before going to law school. For example, anyone who spent a couple of days in the library reading about law schools would have heard about the Loyola waiver.
I might add that, during the first ten years I was in private practice, I used the local law school's library for research because I was economizing on overhead and didn't want to pay for law books. I often spoke to law students and asked them what was going on at law school. No law student ever asked me for career advice. When I told them I was a sole practitioner working at the law library to cut down on overhead, that was all they needed to know. I think they perceived me as a failure and, therefore, not someone they would want to know better or get advice from ... Law students want to buy into the dream of easy money and they don't want to talk to people who might shatter the dream.
The resemblance between law students and people who bought houses with impossible subprime ARM's that they are currently unable to pay is NOT purely coincidental. Everyone is looking for the dream to come true and no one reads the fine print. It's human nature.

Anonymous said...

If people don't go to law school, what will they do instead? The reality is that our society actively encourages everyone to pursue higher education, despite the fact that our economy is not generating a sufficient number of jobs that either actually require the level of education that increasing numbers of people have achieved, or that pay sufficent incomes that would justify the monetary investment that is required to pursue yet another degree.

However, what politician has the courage to admit that the American dream is dead, and to simply shut down not only the law schools, but the other graduate schools, and undergraduate schools, and community colleges, all of which are really just debt factories to "cool people off" so that they don't realize that upward mobility is over? Who will tell people that their children's future is at Taco Bell, not Wachtell?

Anonymous said...

While I do not completly agree with you on everything, I actually did read the fine print, I just did not realize that it was bogus, you are right about the heavy political connection. Hillary Clinton went to law school with Joan Wexler, Dean of Brooklyn Law School. I don't hold out much hope that things will get better in this area in Hillary becomes Pres.

Anonymous said...

if* not in sorry

Anonymous said...

Deans of the state’s law schools have joined Chief Judge Judith Kaye’s call for judicial pay raises, just now faxing letters to Eliot Spitzer (see below) as well as Joe Bruno and Shelly Silver.

Here’s what they have to say:

June 14, 2007

The Honorable Eliot Spitzer
Governor, New York State
State Capital
Albany, NY 12224

Dear Governor Spitzer,

We, the Deans of New York’s Law Schools, are compelled to speak out on the crisis in our
state’s Judiciary caused by the continuing failure, now in its ninth year, to provide adequate
compensation for judges.

The merits are not at issue. The need for a significant salary adjustment for judges in New York has been fully acknowledged by the executive and legislative branches. Across the state, editorial boards, business leaders and good government groups have voiced their support for increased judicial salaries. Yet nothing is done and judicial compensation remains frozen.

We are deeply concerned that inadequate judicial salaries will have a lasting impact on both the independence and the quality of New York’s bench. As legal educators, we seek to imbue our students with deep respect for the legal system; we want young lawyers to strive to become judges. Yet the harsh reality is that few will be able to afford the luxury of what should be the pinnacle of public service.

As citizens, we are also aware that a system of judicial compensation that allows for just two increases in 19 years threatens the core of our democracy–the independence of the Judiciary.
Alexander Hamilton’s warning of the fragility of judicial independence cannot be ignored: “The independence of the judges once destroyed, the constitution is gone, it is a dead letter.”

We urgently call for an adjustment to judicial salaries to reflect the current cost of living and the establishment of an ongoing commission, so that the issue of salaries is taken out of the political arena.

Sincerely Yours,

Thomas F. Guernsey, Dean, Albany Law School
Joan G. Wexler, Dean, Brooklyn Law School

R. Nils Olsen, Jr., Dean, State University of New York at Buffalo School of Law
Michelle J. Anderson, Dean, City University of New York School of Law at Queens College
David M. Schizer, Dean, Columbia University School of Law
Stewart J. Schwab, Dean, Cornell Law School
William Michael Treanor, Dean, Fordham Law School
Nora V. Demleitner, Interim Dean, Hofstra University School of Law
Richard A. Matasar, Dean, New York Law School
Richard L. Revesz, Dean, New York University School of Law
Michelle S. Simon, Dean, Pace Law School
Mary C. Daly, Dean, St. John’s University School of Law
Hannah R. Arterian, Dean, Syracuse University College of Law
Lawrence Raful, Dean, Touro College Jacob D. Fuchsberg Law Center
David Rudenstine, Dean, Yeshiva University Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law
Schools are listed only to identify affiliation, not to reflect the school’s official position.

Bruce Godfrey said...

Some amazing comments. I don't know that I agree that community college is a bad investment per dollar - it's well-subsidized here but aims towards employer-demanded skills - but certainly law school is.

Frankly, the idea of organizing a consumer protection action against the law schools for fraud occurred to me about 10 years ago when I came to realize that no one, not even the grads with a lot higher grades than my middle-top-half grades were making "Career Center" money.

They should outright shut down the career center offices and make the students reach out to the local bar associations; that would save money for the schools, strengthen the bar associations but most of all prevent this repetitive fraud. (I graduated before the Loyola New Orleans event.) The point about law schools being politically connected beyond all recognition is clear; would my Senator lead an aggressive investigation of his alma mater when they named the whole damn clinical law program after him?

Anonymous said...



BasiaBernstein said...

What do you think about an online law degree as opposed to actually attending a school of law, part time though? I'm not sure if I'll miss out on anything if just do the course online as opposed to attending the college.

Mark K. Delagarza said...

Complaints are coming in millions on these kind of fraud law schools who are issuing fake certificates without proper studies. This has to be controlled with the help of www.hershberglaw.ca site people as soon as possible. Or else there will be too much trouble in the near future.