Law School Discussion

Law Students => Incoming 1Ls => Topic started by: legend on February 28, 2012, 06:52:38 PM

Title: When will schools be stopped from doing this?
Post by: legend on February 28, 2012, 06:52:38 PM
http://www.uchastings.edu/fiscal/docs/Estimated_JD_Tuition_Fee_Schedule_2012.pdf

I just saw this from Hastings and I am sure this is happening all over the country, but it is just wrong. In 2011 Hastings cost 32k per year. http://www.lsac.org/LSACResources/Publications/2011OG/aba4342.pdf

Then I saw this not to long ago and had to say WTF. http://www.uchastings.edu/fiscal/docs/Estimated_JD_Tuition_Fee_Schedule_2012.pdf. For the 2012-2013 school year tuition will be 46k per year. Any 1L's that decided to enroll expecting to pay 32k for three years your stuck now so F you basically. That is an increase of Nearly 30% increase in one year.

That is just almost criminal, because a law student can't do anything. What are they supposed to do two years into their legal education 80k in debt then their school decides to jack it up another 20k when the legal job market is far from stellar. I really wish the ABA or the Federal Government would step in to stop this kind of behavior.
Title: Re: When will schools be stopped from doing this?
Post by: Cher1300 on May 21, 2012, 01:52:09 PM
Add to that the fact that subsidized loans for graduate schools have been cut which makes us even more screwed.  I go to school parttime evening and was thinking about quitting my job - won't happen this year.  I honestly can't imagine how difficult it will be for students coming out of law school with undergrad debt on top of their graduate debt. 

Title: Re: When will schools be stopped from doing this?
Post by: Maintain FL 350 on May 21, 2012, 04:33:26 PM
Shameful, absolutely shameful. There is not one single affordable law school left in the entire state of California. Apart from Stanford, not one of them is worth 40k per year. (And Stanford is only worth it if you want to go into biglaw).

Scholarships over rankings, people! This is what I tell to any friend, family member or anonymous poster who says "I just got accepted to Random Non-Elite Law School #1 with a 50% scholarship, but I'm thinking about going to Random Non-Elite Law School #2 without a scholarship because it's ranked 87th instead of 94th". I really don't think most 22 year olds understand what 200k debt means.

I spoke to girl just a few days ago who told me that she began college a state school but transferred to an expensive private university because she thought it had a better rep and would help her get into law school. She didn't do very well on the LSAT and had to pay sticker price for law school (at a T3). Between undergrad and law school she has 300k of debt. If I had known her five years ago, I would've said stay at the cheap state school, take a year off to study for the LSAT, and crush it.
Title: Re: When will schools be stopped from doing this? http://www.lawschooldiscussion
Post by: legend on May 21, 2012, 06:36:58 PM


The true beauty of the letter is in the first and final statement. 

first statement, " The UC Hastings Board of Directors, at its December meeting, approved an increase in student fees for the upcoming academic year." Translation we feel like we deserve more money and as powerless students who can easily obtain federal loans we have decided to take it from you.

 the final statement, "Again, UC Hastings reserves the right to further increase student fees for 2012-13 should state support decreases or institutional needs and priorities require higher fee levels." Translation we are taking 6k more from you for more no apparent reason, but we might decide to charge  more without any justification, because we can.

I have thought about e-mailing the guy because he does say if you have any questions please contact him. My main question is how do the paying students stand to benefit by this massive increase? I am speculating it won't be spent on the students, but maybe it is nobody can say just seems like if someone is going to take a couple thousand dollars from you a statement of we don't have enough money is insufficient.

I wish that class-action lawsuit focused on schools behaving in this manner, instead of that job lawsuit. The reality is no law school guarantees you a job, but they should have to respect a students expectancy to pay a certain amount. A 1L in 2011-2012 would be 40k in debt and if they didn't have the grades to transfer is for all intensive purposes stuck charging whatever this school chooses to charge.


 

Title: Re: When will schools be stopped from doing this?
Post by: Duncanjp on May 27, 2012, 02:58:46 PM
There is not one single affordable law school left in the entire state of California. Apart from Stanford, not one of them is worth 40k per year. (And Stanford is only worth it if you want to go into biglaw).

Your advice in that post was pretty sound (I'm not quoting all of it here). But a little clarification is in order as to your first point. It's true that there is not a single affordable ABA law school in California. You're SOL if you want an affordable ABA education in this state. However, it's not true that there are no affordable law schools in the state. What ABA students with $100,000 - $200,000 of debt after law school do not want to hear is that a large number of law students are attending state-accredited schools in the evening and are getting their law degrees, passing the bar, and becoming gainfully-employed attorneys in California for a fraction of the cost of an ABA degree. I say this conceding immediately and without equivocation all of the disadvantages of getting a J.D. from a state school versus any ABA school. The prestige and superiority of an ABA degree cannot be denied. But the fact is, when you survey the room in a state school, most of the students are slightly older, extremely driven, and they're often well-entrenched already in career positions, either in the legal field or a closely-related one. Getting the license is their only objective, not biglaw. If I were 25 with no meaningful experience in the real world to place on my resume, then I would not settle for anything less than the best ABA school that would accept me. But if a person has established credentials and contacts by working in a given field for a respectable amount of time, I honestly do not see the point of spending the kind of money that the ABA requires for a law degree unless your only goal is to leave your current field to obtain biglaw employment. A lot of my classmates are getting great experience working full-time in law firms and business while paying their way through law school at night. Most of my classmates and I will graduate with little or no student debt and will probably continue working happily in small to medium law firms or in government or finance after passing the bar. Having an ABA degree may not matter that much one way or the other once we've gotten the license. That said, the principal disadvantage to getting a J.D. from a state school is that the holder has a greater burden of showing credentials beyond the mere prestige of the law school he attended when competing against ABA grads. And of course, biglaw is out of the question. But from what I hear, biglaw often chews young people up and spits them out like peanut shells. No, thanks. I have no problem working late and on weekends when duty calls, but I'm not going to squander my life ignoring my wife and family. I need balance.

It boils down to this: California-accredited schools are an affordable option to ABA schools. For the right people, they're an excellent option. Regardless of where you attend law school, you must make of it whatever you can after graduating. You can bet big: big risk, big reward. Or you can bet small: less risk, smaller reward. State schools have plenty of success stories: judges, district attorneys, partners, and so forth. And there are miserable failures as well the 2.0 students who can't pass the bar. Juxtaposed against the biglaw success stories of ABA grads and their unemployed classmates burdened with crippling debt, opting for an affordable and accredited, but non-ABA legal education can be a reasonable choice. It just depends upon the person and his or her goals.
Title: Re: When will schools be stopped from doing this?
Post by: Maintain FL 350 on May 28, 2012, 09:56:55 AM
I agree. For the right student in the right circumstances the CBE schools are an excellent option. A huge percentage of the small/solo firm and government attorneys here in CA are CBE grads. For someone making a career change, or who already has a job lined up, they can be a great alternative to the ABA scheme. My wife is an attorney at a large government law office in LA, and I'd say at least half of the attorneys are CBE grads. I've met plenty of CBE grads, and found them to be smart and competent. (Incidentally, I've met a few top T1 grads who complete assclowns.) 

I get the impression that these schools work best for people who are highly motivated self starters, and who are adept at getting out there and marketing themselves. I've been told that the CBE schools (generally) don't offer much in the way of career services. I'm not sure tha the average CBE student has the same internship opportunities as their ABA counterparts, for example. However, most ABA grads need to be motivated self starters, too, if they're going to get a job in this economy.

Further, the CBE schools are not fly-by-night operations that can be run out of a P.O. box. They are brick and mortar schools that offer a solid, basic legal education. The California bar does not simply confer accreditation on anybody who shows up. To paraphrase the NY Times, the CBE schools offer the legal equivalent of a Honda: economical, efficient, reliable. The ABA, however, requires that you only build Cadillacs. This may come as a surprise to those who live outside of CA, but so many of the attorneys in CA are CBE grads, and so many have successful careers, that some of the "stigma" of attending a non-ABA school has been removed. Of course a degree from UCLA is always going to open more doors than a degree from the local CBE law school, but I'm not necessarily convinced that a degree from say, Western State or Whittier, is more useful than a CBE degree. If the student wishes to leave CA, that's another story.

If you are a young student, I would say always go to an ABA school. It will give you greater immediate mobility. But for others, the CBE schools are a great opportunity. I have noticed, however, that the cost of the CBE schools has increased quite a bit. The average total cost now seems to be about 50-60k. Although that's half the price of an ABA school, a student with s decent LSAT score could probably obtain enough in scholarships to a T4 ABA school to make the cost competitive. 
Title: Re: When will schools be stopped from doing this?
Post by: fortook on May 28, 2012, 10:20:06 AM
A problem that few even consider because its a macro point of view IS scholarships.  How many schools charge 40k to half the class and nothing to the other half in an attempt to up the school's numbers? When schools offer you $ its not theirs, its other student's $, of course.

God forbid everyone pays 20k.  Versus one performance on a Sat morning test forcing the other half of the class to shoulder your tuition - so f.ing stupid and unnecessarily abusive it make my ears bleed.

Reminds me of who gets free shi.t (cloths, cars, hotels, even food) in our society- rich people of course. Makes perfect sense.  Everyone should pay, except the aristocrats, of course. 

Ahhhh- nice vent :)
Title: Re: When will schools be stopped from doing this?
Post by: Duncanjp on May 28, 2012, 12:55:09 PM
I've met plenty of CBE grads, and found them to be smart and competent. (Incidentally, I've met a few top T1 grads who complete assclowns.) 
I have noticed, however, that the cost of the CBE schools has increased quite a bit. The average total cost now seems to be about 50-60k. Although that's half the price of an ABA school, a student with s decent LSAT score could probably obtain enough in scholarships to a T4 ABA school to make the cost competitive.

You hit the nail on the head about career services, Roald. I don't know about other CBE schools, but mine in Sacramento offers very little other than the occasional email announcing an opening. Not that I need it. But if I ever find myself looking for work, I'll be mostly on my own. The more important thing for me is knowing that they're providing me with a solid legal education. You're right that the options for electives are limited. You take what they offer, when they offer them. Regarding tuition, mine's gone up slightly, like everything, but it's still less than $40k over four years. When you factor in the cost of casebooks, transportation, and the litany of ways that a legal education nickels and dimes you to death, it's probably over the $40k mark, but not by much. The last I heard, the most expensive CBE school in the state was down in SoCal, and it was somewhere in the $50-$55k range. I don't recall the name offhand.

The nut that state schools will never be able to crack, and why a CBE degree will always be less prestigious than an ABA degree, is that the academic credentials of the average student who enrolls in a CBE school is lower than the average T2-T3 student. I'm not convinced this necessarily holds true for all T4 schools, especially after the first-year CBE students have been separated into pass-fail categories. But CBE schools admit certain students who would never be accepted at even the lowest of ABA schools, if only to say, "Here's your chance: sink or swim." The people who do well in a CBE school would do fine at an ABA school (the course material isn't any different). But a substantial percentage of people who enroll in CBE schools either drop out or flunk out after the first year. Fortuitously, this elevates the average caliber of the student body that advances and increases the level of competition.

While CBE schools may offer otherwise unremarkable students a chance to see whether they have what it takes to become an attorney, they don't fiddle around with people whose first-year grades don't meet the minimum requirements. I was astonished last year by how mercilessly my school weeded people out. We lost about 35-40 percent of our 1E class entering the second year. But I get it: their accreditation is on the line. I'm told that the number of students who drop out after passing the first year drops precipitously over the second to fourth years, but the fact remains, a large number who were admitted should not have been there in the first place. They often left me scratching my head. Their English communication skills left too much to be desired. (At the same time, many of the writers who frequent TLS and LSD write with an unimpressive grasp of basic grammar and punctuation themselves, but that's another matter.)

In the end, you get what you pay for. I have a question: how many 1Ls at ABA schools do not make it to 2L - for whatever reason? I suspect the percentage would be much lower than at a CBE school, and that the higher the school is ranked, but lower the number would be. But just curious to hear about it.
Title: Re: When will schools be stopped from doing this?
Post by: Maintain FL 350 on May 28, 2012, 01:53:52 PM
Academic attrition at ABA schools varies greatly. You're right that schools at the top end have much lower attrition (generally) than T3-T4s. Not surprising considering that they tend to admit highly qualified academic superstars. Attrition at most T1s is as low as 2-4%. At the lower end, schools like Cooley and Whittier have high attrition. I believe it approaches 50%, but may include those who leave voluntarily or transfer out. I think Western State, Thomas Jefferson, and Cal Western have around 25-30% attrition (I could be wrong).

However, even within the fourth tier there is variation. Some regionally/locally respected schools like Drake or South dakota have very low attrition. La Verne has 4-6% average, which is pretty low.
Title: Re: When will schools be stopped from doing this?
Post by: fortook on May 28, 2012, 01:56:38 PM
You gots a good point. ;)

Attrition is bad, however. Very bad. Kicking out significantly more that 35-40% of those who enroll? Dude!!! Over a 50% chance of being kicked out. What kind of person risks those odds on this level- A fool or ignoramus perhaps? I'm calling you neither, but there are other less appealing explanations for high attrition, than simply weeding out the stupid.

Another is abusive tuition policies.  Using an ABA example, it is possible for the same person to, in different dimensions, fail out of Cooley via the harsh curve or graduate from Harvard via a better curve.  The only thing that is different is a single LSAT score.  Policies kill people, while different policies raise the same individual.

Nothing, absolutely nothing, is a red flag of a "bad" school over high attrition. 

Title: Re: When will schools be stopped from doing this?
Post by: Duncanjp on May 28, 2012, 04:32:38 PM
I would agree with you that a high attrition rate is not a feather in any school's cap, Fortook. But there are some differences in the circumstances between students who attend ABA schools versus those who attend CBE schools, such that it may not be completely fair to view a 40 percent attrition rate from a CBE school the same way one would (or should) view the same attrition rate from an ABA school. For one thing, poor grades are likely to account for a smaller percentage of those who fail to advance at a CBE school than with an ABA school (although I have no doubt that it's a leading cause in each). I don't know the true statistics, but I recall that a substantial number of people just couldn't handle the grind of working all day, five days a week, and spending three of those nights in class, then spending all of the rest of their time studying. It's a serious dose of bottle shock when you first enroll, and nobody really knows whether he or she can handle it until he tries. Maybe I'm wrong, but I tend to think that coping with the grind of attending a full-time ABA law school is not as significant a contributing factor to ABA attrition rates as it is to CBE schools.

At an evening CBE school, the grind may be the reason why a third or more of the 30-40 percent who leave do so during or after the first year. Maybe it's as many as half. (I honestly don't know. I'm speculating, based on anecdotal knowledge.) But it's a rigorous and unrelenting lifestyle. As an example, three nights a week, M, T, Th, I leave my house for work at 7 a.m., and I don't get home after class until 10 p.m. I'm on the go the entire day. Usually I have to eat my lunch at my desk while working to keep my bases covered because I can't stay more than an hour late at the most without being late for class. When I'm not at work or in class, I'm studying. I've had to sacrifice most of my social life to keep from falling behind. For many, including myself, this is doable. But a good number of people find that they can't take it and end up dropping after the first month or two before their tuition becomes non-refundable. Their numbers inflate the attrition rate of CBE schools beyond what I would expect from an ABA school.

On the subject of grades, CBE schools don't pull any punches when it comes to grading exams. At the beginning of the the first year, or 1E, a percentage of the people admitted had received relatively low scores on the LSAT: not because they're stupid, but because their brains just aren't wired to think logically and analytically. Maybe they don't possess the critical reasoning skills to IRAC a problem from both sides at the level that it takes to succeed. It would be easy to say that they should not be allowed to enroll at all, and thus save themselves time and money. But the fact is that the LSAT is not conclusive evidence of how a person will perform, even if it can be an indicator. I think it's good that there is an accredited option out there for unspectacular students to take a stab at becoming an attorney, if that's their dream. Some of them are going to be weeded out, maybe a lot of them, but at least they had a chance to try. Meanwhile, the A/B students frequently go on to successful careers. The people I would be most concerned for at a CBE school are the C students. My crim law professor told us during the first week or two of school that students at state-accredited schools who pass with only marginal grades statistically have a very difficult time passing the California bar. So help me, I will not allow myself to fall into that category.
Title: Re: When will schools be stopped from doing this?
Post by: Anti09 on May 29, 2012, 09:19:47 AM
lolol @ people ITT who think they can get a job from a CBE school in probably the most over saturated and competitive market in the country
Title: Re: When will schools be stopped from doing this?
Post by: fortook on May 29, 2012, 04:39:06 PM
Villaraigosa went to People's?  That's awesome.  I noticed he never passed the bar :(. Raises a question: has anyone from People's passed the bar and is practicing?

Do CBE students seem more long winded and formal than ABA students?

I'm not knocking non-ABA schools, btw. I have met successful non-ABA grads. Depends on the school and the region, just like with ABA  schools.

The topic was pretty generalized to begin with, have we really strayed that far?
Title: Re: When will schools be stopped from doing this?
Post by: Maintain FL 350 on May 29, 2012, 04:43:25 PM
 
lolol @ people ITT who think they can get a job from a CBE school in probably the most over saturated and competitive market in the country

I don't think anyone disputes that it's generally much harder for a CBE grad to get a job straight out of law school. Further, I don't think anyone disputes that biglaw is out of the question for CBE grads. But a statement such as the above demonstrates an obvious lack of experience. If you practice in CA you will come into contact with successful CBE grads on a daily basis. The DA's, PD's, and small firms in CA are full of CBE grads. I've met CBE grads who started successful small firms which in time became successful mid-sized firms, and who could buy and sell the average biglaw partner without even worrying.

Incidentally, I didn't attend a CBE school. I graduated from an ABA school. I've met enough good attorneys from CBE schools (and lower tiered ABA schools), however, that it's caused me to rethink some of my earlier presumptions. 
Title: Re: When will schools be stopped from doing this?
Post by: legend on May 29, 2012, 05:32:15 PM
Good response. I can name four pretty successful people that attended non-aba schools.

The Mayor of L.A. (People's College of Law)

The District Attorney of San Francisco (Western State) not ABA approved when the guy graduated.

The District Attorney of San Diego (Western State) not approved when the woman graduated.

The District Attorney of Fresno (San Joaquin College of Law)
Title: Re: When will schools be stopped from doing this?
Post by: Maintain FL 350 on May 29, 2012, 07:50:59 PM
25% of the judges and DAs in Orange County are Western State grads, and I have to think that the vast majority graduated before WSU had ABA approval.
Title: Re: When will schools be stopped from doing this?
Post by: fortook on May 29, 2012, 09:40:38 PM
lol legend. I admit, I am picking on you a little bit, but could you expand a little more please ;).

 
Title: Re: When will schools be stopped from doing this?
Post by: Duncanjp on May 29, 2012, 11:39:29 PM
For what it's worth, the DA of Sacramento is another who went to a CBE school, and she's been the DA for a fairly long time now. Approaching 20 years, perhaps.

About once or twice a year, usually on a long weekend between semesters, I get a buzz out of writing about attending law school. It can be fun to argue the benefits of attending a CBE school because the difficulty of making the case presents an entertaining challenge. But the rest of the time, I'm too busy with my career and my studies to waste a lot of time posting on law threads. Besides, law forums, especially that other one, are absolutely riddled with posters of invincible rudeness. I don't have the patience for it.

But once in awhile somebody like Roald comes along, a person of class and respectful disposition, who writes intelligent, thought-provoking posts, and does so eloquently and with perfect English.

Nice chatting with you, Roald.
Title: Re: When will schools be stopped from doing this?
Post by: Maintain FL 350 on May 30, 2012, 07:34:17 AM
Thank you, Duncan, that's very nice. The fact is, most law students have little (if any) experience outside of the law school world. They fail to understand that biglaw, for example, represents a small percentage of the legal market, and that the rest of the world is not quite so obsessed with rankings. They also fail to understand that law is a results driven industry, and that if you don't produce results nobody gives a s*&$ where you went to law school. You can only rest on those laurels for so long.
Title: Re: When will schools be stopped from doing this?
Post by: fortook on May 30, 2012, 07:40:49 AM
Maybe you guys should kiss just to break the tension.

Oh I noticed that about you Duncan.  Its kool.  You will have to get used to defending CBEs. The law attracts too many insecure d.bags that think they can make themselves feel better by putting others down, I've noticed as well.

My observation about you and legend was meant to be along the same lines- just in terms of a trend.  But not to be insulting.
Title: Re: When will schools be stopped from doing this?
Post by: Maintain FL 350 on May 30, 2012, 09:48:54 AM
You can't pimp me out like that, Fortook. I'm old fashioned, and as chaste as a Romney. I'm like a Thomas Kinkade painting with legal training, and you sir have given me the vapors.
Title: Re: When will schools be stopped from doing this?
Post by: Anti09 on May 30, 2012, 12:26:29 PM
Oh I noticed that about you Duncan.  Its kool.  You will have to get used to defending CBEs. The law attracts too many insecure d.bags that think they can make themselves feel better by putting others down, I've noticed as well.

Bruh I'm long past the point where I get off from putting other people down (and anonymously on the internet, no less).  I get off by preventing people from making terrible life choices.  I had a lot of help in deciding where to go to LS and I'd like to pay the favor forward.  That entails yes, shitting on TTTToilets so people don't drop a quarter million dollars (!) on a degree that, in many cases, are more likely than not to be worthless.  And don't think I'm just a prestige whore - I fully recognize that there is a place and time to attend a lower ranked school, just not when you have to bury yourself in six digits of debt for a job that will almost certainly make you $50,000 / year or less.

Look, if I was really just trolling, why would I go to the trouble of providing statistics to back it up?
Title: Re: When will schools be stopped from doing this?
Post by: Duncanjp on May 30, 2012, 10:11:20 PM
They also fail to understand that law is a results driven industry, and that if you don't produce results nobody gives a s*&$ where you went to law school. You can only rest on those laurels for so long.

Yes, results are the true goal. But I must add that the attorneys who run my company's legal department(s) are all ABA grads. There are plenty of CBE-educated attorneys in the company, and some of them have risen fairly high up the corporate ladder. But to rise to the absolute top of the legal department of a national insurance company, results + pedigree is critical. For me, just becoming an attorney at all is the goal, even if it's the blue collar, unspectacular sort. Getting a J.D. and passing the bar will vault me far above my current colleagues and open many doors, but I have no delusions of grandeur: my bosses will always be ABA grads. And that's fine by me. They're my heroes anyway.
Title: Re: When will schools be stopped from doing this?
Post by: fortook on May 31, 2012, 08:40:29 AM
lol great. My hoes are chaste as a Romney.  Is that why they never bring me any money?  Are they just making jobs for other hoes?