Monday, August 25, 2008


Last Sunday, I was enjoying a tranquil afternoon hike through Harriman Park of all places (Harriman is about an hour north of Manhattan), when I nearly stumbled over a giant pile of black bear dung lying in the middle of the trail. Sure enough, after overcoming a tiny ridge, we came upon a mother bear with her two baby cubs. Thankfully, the annoyed mother didn't try to rip us a new one. She merely sprinted off into the distance with her two cubs following in tow. Upon exiting, one of the baby cubs turned his head around and curiously tried to observe us.

Apparently, this exciting episode should not have come as a surprise. A park ranger informed us that a large number of black bears have been entering the park this season. In fact, in recent years, the entire New York/New Jersey area has been experiencing nothing short of a black bear explosion.

We lawyers share a lot in common with the black bear. The ABA is allowing law schools to open on practically every street corner. JD's are now desperately fighting each other over tiny scraps of food, and will salivate over the tiniest bit of overtime. The general population is also continuing to suffer the negative ramifications of a lawyer glut. Just today, I read that despite a decrease in the number of car accidents, car insurance companies in New York are going to raise their rates across the board. With all this going on, New York plans on using taxpayer money to help fund the creation of three additional law schools. For my own well being, I hope when all is said and done, public outlash doesn't end up with hunting season being reinstated against us lawyers:


Anonymous said...

The bear population is out of control because the stupid liberal animal rights activist have practically outlawed hunting in NJ.

One can only hope that a bear enters into one of these idiot's homes and wrecks havoc.

Anonymous said...

Another reason to hate NJ. On top of all the Valvoline Dean's TTT creations that flood into NYC, all of jersey's annoying bears are now lumbering into our state.

Trollop said...

People want to shoot lawyers--People hate lawyers--because they have traditionally been from aristocratic groups in America. With the democratization of American opportunity (educationally, access to student loans, etc.), now lawyers can come from all walks of life. The high pay was not a function of the work that was done (you guys complain about--formost--work). Instead, the high pay--historically--was a marker of nothing more than aristocracy.

That people of all walks of life can have access to a JD is something to be celebrated.

Does a lawyer shit in the woods?

Anonymous said...

Hi, this is the bear that encountered Tom the Temp in Harriman State Park. Tom, if you ever come near my cubs again I'll rip your head off. I'll Timothy Treadwell your ass. And to the schmuck who thinks that stricter hunting laws are to blame for the influx of bears in the area, I have only this to say: YOU'RE A FUCKING IDIOT. Overdevelopment in northern NJ and SE NY are to blame. Where once there was woodland, now all you have is ugly suburban sprawl. Where the fuck else are we supposed to go, fuckbag, except parkland?

There really are quite a few morons who read this blog, aren't there?

Well, that's all from me. Now you may all resume your bitching.


Mama Bear

Anonymous said...

mama bear sounds a lot like roach boy...

Anonymous said...

"That people of all walks of life can have access to a JD is something to be celebrated."

Oh, really? So, I guess we should applaud the fact that the uneducated masses are being deceived by plump higher education administrators into taking out loans they can't afford and being dumped into a saturated job market. Your definition of progress is truly warped.

Anonymous said...

What the hell were you doing away from work? Granted, it was Sunday, but people who refuse to click 7 days a week are pussies IMO.

Anonymous said...

More than 30 years of ineffective bear management have caused a very real and extremely dangerous black bear overpopulation crisis in New Jersey.

The horrible mauling death of 6-month-old Ester Schwimmer in the nearby Catskills in 2002, and the epidemic of dramatic New Jersey attacks and incidents over the last few years, are not isolated events - they're part of a growing trend of aggressive, unprovoked, predatory behavior by black bear. The trend has been documented by bear experts like Dr. Stephen Herrero of the University of Calgary.

But it doesn't take a PhD to recognize what's been happening. Bear incidents are now commonplace, and the number of home and vehicle break-ins has reached unacceptable levels. Bears have been sighted in every one of New Jersey's 21 counties.

Animal rights extremists who perpetuate the myth that bear are gentle beings - one group calls them "the dolphins of the wilderness" -- reveal a blind obsession with wildlife, and a willingness to tolerate human injury and death rather than harm a single bear.

The truth is that black bear are more like sharks than dolphins. They represent a public safety menace, and their numbers need to be controlled on an ongoing basis to protect the public.

Opponents of a bear hunt simply dismiss the recent attacks and claim that bear tagging, relocation and sterilization, and better trash management, will make the problem go away.

But none of these approaches address the immediate threat facing us today. Tagging is merely an identification tool that doesn't reduce population. Relocation, which requires large undeveloped wilderness that we simply don't have, just moves the problem, and bears often return even over great distances. Sterilization, which is expensive, unproven, and unfunded, does nothing to address the existing population threatening us right now. And better garbage management will not change the habits of thousands of bears already conditioned to be aggressive around humans.

In contrast, controlled, limited bear hunting will have an immediate and lasting impact on the population, and immediately lower the risk of further attacks. The inescapable result is that human lives will be saved, and injury avoided. And between bears and people, people come first.

Anonymous said...

selling my jd said...

it definitely should be understood that any new law school is a terrible idea.... the truth must come out... how much longer can this farce go on ???

Anonymous said...

Trollop misunderstands the value of professional licensure and the general rules of economics and decency. It is equitable to have lawyers from every walk of life, but not 6 on every street corner .. you moron.

Anonymous said...

"JD's are now desperately fighting each other over tiny scraps of food"


Anonymous said...

From today's WSJ

Law School Rankings
Reviewed to Deter 'Gaming'
August 26, 2008; Page A1

The most widely watched ranking of U.S. law schools may move to stop an increasingly popular practice: schools gaming the system by channeling lower-scoring applicants into part-time programs that don't count in the rankings.

U.S. News & World Report is "seriously" considering reworking its ranking system to crack down on the practice, says Robert Morse, director of data research at the magazine, who is in charge of its influential list.

Such a move could affect the status of dozens of law schools. It would likely reverse gains recently made by a number of schools that have helped their revenue by increasing their rosters of part-time students with lower entrance-exam scores and grade-point averages, without having to pay a price in the rankings.

In some cases the part-timers' course load is barely less than that of full-timers, and they are able to transfer into the schools' full-time programs in their second year. Statistics about second-year students' pre-law school scores also aren't counted in the rankings.

Counting part-timers would roil the law-school rankings, which have a big impact on where students apply and from where law firms hire. A number of law-school administrators interviewed about the potential change contend it could have another effect: narrowing a traditional pathway to law school for minorities and working professionals. Those groups often perform worse on the important Law School Admission Test, or LSAT, and schools could feel pressure to raise their admission thresholds.

A change in criteria would "catch the outliers but punish part-time programs that have existed forever and aren't doing it to game the system," says Ellen Rutt, an associate law-school dean at the University of Connecticut. If U.S. News makes the move, many schools with part-time programs would have a tough choice: Leave their admission standards for part-timers unchanged, which could hurt their rank, or raise the standards, likely shrinking the programs and cutting revenue.

Mr. Morse of U.S. News says the magazine will run tests of how the change would play out in rankings, and then decide in January. How colleges adjust their programs in response isn't the magazine's responsibility, he said. The ranking is published in the spring.

Tom W. Bell, a law professor at Chapman University, Orange, Calif., who developed a rankings model that mimics the one used by U.S. News., says that if the change had already taken place this year, some schools could have fallen from the magazine's "first tier" of the top 50 schools to the second tier, and some from the second to the third. For example, Southern Methodist University and the University of Connecticut, tied at 46th, might have fallen out of the top 50, and Hofstra and Stetson universities might have sunk below 100. Representatives for the schools didn't dispute his analysis, done at the request of The Wall Street Journal.

Open Secret

It's become an open secret that many law-school deans strategize specifically to improve their rank in the magazine's annual publication, to try to reap more interest by employers in their students and energize alumni donors. Even movements of one point in median LSAT scores, or a few hundredths of a point in median undergraduate grade-point averages, can change a school's position on the list.

One of the top beneficiaries of the current U.S. News criteria is Phillip Closius, former dean of the University of Toledo's law school. He led the school's rise from the list's fourth tier to its second tier within a few years. After he took the helm of the University of Baltimore law school last year, that school also quickly climbed the rankings, to 125 this year from 170 last year, he says. (Schools in the third and fourth tiers aren't publicly ranked -- instead they are grouped together -- but deans can find out where they placed.)

Mr. Closius's winning strategy in both places: Cut the number of full-time students accepted into the program to boost the median LSAT scores and GPAs, which together account for more than 20% of a school's ranking. In their place, the schools add more part-time students, who can transfer to full-time the second year.

Mr. Closius says having some students complete fewer classes at first gives them a better chance of academic success. He says he also made other changes that improved the school's ranking, including keeping better track of graduates' employment status after graduation. The moves benefit students, he says: At Toledo, more large law firms began interviewing students after the school's ranking climbed, and at Baltimore, he recently got multimillion-dollar grants and donations for a new building.


For prospective students who want to know how much a school's law degree might be worth to high-paying employers, there are alternatives to the U.S. News and World Report law-school rankings.
One of the best efforts: a series of charts published by the National Law Journal that ranks schools based on what percentage of their graduating class got jobs at the 250 largest U.S. law firms, known as the NLJ 250. It also includes data on judicial clerkships, some of which lead to plum law-firm jobs, and other post-graduate positions.
The results for the 2005 graduating class show that a higher U.S. News rank doesn't always translate into better "BigLaw" job prospects. See the top 100 schools.

Read other coverage of law schools here:
• Career Journal: How to Cut Debt, Boost Job Prospects From Law School
• Hard Case: Job Market Wanes for U.S. Lawyers
• Career Journal: Law Schools Also Ranked By Blogs Now
6/26/07"U.S. News is not a moral code, it's a set of seriously flawed rules of a magazine, and I follow the rules...without hiding anything," he says.

A number of other law schools across the country have similar approaches. At Seton Hall University, for example, Wyckoff, N.J., native Al Manzo is entering the part-time day program after graduating from college this past spring. He's taking one less class this semester than the full-timers, but will make it up next summer and join the full-time program. Seton Hall, ranked 66th, declined to say how many students were in its part-time day program. Loyola University Chicago and St. John's University, among others, include some similar students in their part-time day programs.

"If it wasn't for the part-time program, I wouldn't be going to the school," Mr. Manzo says. He adds, "The LSAT and GPA score isn't the most effective way to determine success in law school."

Voracious Readers

Prospective students are voracious readers of the annual U.S. News rankings, as are some prospective employers and alumni donors. Generally, the lower a school's ranking, the smaller the percentage of its graduating class will land high-paying jobs at bigger firms or prestigious judicial clerkships -- though a recent study by the National Law Journal of the 2005 graduating classes across the country shows that a higher rank doesn't always translate into better job prospects at the biggest U.S. law firms.

Even a slight drop in the rankings can put a law-school dean's job in jeopardy, especially during a tough job market for graduating lawyers. During the current economic downturn, hundreds of lawyers have been laid off. Meanwhile, longer-term economic trends in the legal profession have pushed down starting salaries for most young lawyers, leaving many recent graduates from lower-tier schools with dismal prospects.

Initially, "the effect of a drop in the rankings is psychological, but it can have real institutional consequences," says Bill Henderson, a law professor at Indiana University-Bloomington who tracks the legal job market. For some schools that fail to effectively manage their U.S. News ranking, the drop could cause a snowball effect over several years in which there is a "falloff in good applicants and eventually a tapering off of employers," he says.

The rankings played a role in the 2006 resignation of Nancy Rapoport, who was dean of the University of Houston Law Center, which had fallen to 70th from 50th in the span of a few years. (It's now tied for 55th.) Ms. Rapoport, who is now a law professor at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, says managing the rankings as a dean is "like trying to meet analysts' quarterly expectations by massaging the numbers."

A change could upend some students' expectations. When John Powell was deciding where to attend law school earlier this year, he skipped over a Bay Area school because it fell out of the top 100 this year. "If I'm coming out of a school that's falling in the rankings, it's not going to look good for me" in terms of job prospects, Mr. Powell says. So the 22-year-old opted for the University of the Pacific, tied for 95th, in his hometown of Sacramento, Calif.

If U.S. News had made the change for this year's rankings, Pacific could have dropped to 100th, or even to the third tier, though Pacific says the median LSAT score and GPA of this year's incoming part-time students are stronger than last year's. Still, Mr. Powell says he made the right choice because area law firms are familiar with the school -- and he'd be happy with a local job.

Write to Amir Efrati at

Anonymous said...

The schools will just come up with another way to games the system. All they essentially care about is making money. Law schools are cheap to operate and generate a ton of revenue.

Anonymous said...

The TTT lawyer population is getting out of control. I was heading out to my car this morning and I saw a TTT lawyer trying to break into my garbage can.

Anonymous said...

So when are we striking? Should we have a rally in Harriman Park?

That'll show those firms for not hiring us, right??? Temps do ALL the hard work!!

Anonymous said...

Many of the temps that Update hires couldn't make it into Harriman Park. They are too fat and wouldn't be able to climb up many of the steep inclines.

Anonymous said...

You are SO right! They should only hire thin people. Like, totally.

Anonymous said...

Fat temps are a no no especially with S & C Alex G He likes ugly skinny trampy loser temps hehehehhehehhehhehehhe

Anonymous said...

What ended up happening to Alex G? Still cheating on his wife with Tina? Someone else? When did that start? Did his wife find out yet? Divorced? Fired?