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Messages - loki13

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General Off-Topic Board / Re: Who Should Pay Attention to Rankings?
« on: June 16, 2015, 08:47:13 AM »
"The U.S. News Rankings has as much authority as the Cooley rankings do they are both magazines."

Bull. Look, I'm as critical as USNWR Rankings as anyone, but this backlash deserves a backlash. First, a little history. The internet was not always around or easily available - remember? So USNWR Rankings, while imperfect (which I will get to) provided a great benefit to the clueless 0Ls out there in general- a benefit they still provide. Some information is better than no information.

Second, it is certainly true that there is little difference between #50 and #70. Period. But, in total, the ranking are pretty accurate. There is a great deal of difference between schools ranked at the top and schools ranked at the bottom (or, as I believe they are now, unranked). Why? Because things like school reputation and how competitive the admissions process does matter; and, yes, to bring up the constant examples, Harvard and Yale are better schools than Golden Gate and Cooley. The professors are better. The overall quality of the student body is better. The employment outcomes are better. This is so obvious I didn't think it bears repeating, but apparently it does.

Third, so long as there is further understanding that the USNWR Ranking are kind of a neat starting point, they're fine. They are an aggregate that allows 0Ls to quickly ascertain information like the rough chances that they will get admission to a place, and the "quality" of a place (in terms of employment outcomes, reputation of the schools, academic quality as determined by quality of student body and/or ability to attract and retain great scholar... who may or may not be great professors).

Fourth, I agree with many of the criticisms of the USNWR. Numbers can be, and were, cooked by some of the schools to try and influence rankings. And that's a terrible thing. 0Ls placed too much importance on the rankings in isolation, instead of considering them as a starting point. The rankings can be, and have been, self-reinforcing- after all, since reputation matters so much, once a school is a good school, it will tend to stay there since everyone knows it's a good school, since it's ranked high. Saying something could be better, though, is not the same as saying it is completely useless. For example, USNWR is a good proxy for general admissions chances at a quick glance- lawschoolnumbers is better.

Now, remember the context of the Cooley Rankings. There was a time when so many people were making the (bad) decision to go to law school that Cooley could literally print money off of these poor saps. Only problem was some of them bothered to do a little bit of research. So they decided to engage in a multi-front PR war, including their own rankings. Sure, some of us knew what a joke they were- but I remember how many times, back in the day, some poor 0L would ask about those rankings. Those completely bogus rankings worked for them.

TLDR- We've had the backlash to the rankings; maybe it's time for the backlash to the backlash.

General Off-Topic Board / Re: Who Should Pay Attention to Rankings?
« on: June 14, 2015, 08:24:49 AM »
I think that article is excellent, but also, in a sense, unhelpful. It replaces the FUD (fear, uncertainty, and doubt) that 0Ls face with a different type of FUD. In addition, it highlights a running debate I've had with Citylaw. Allow me to expand.

Most 0Ls know nothing, not even what they don't know. They are faced with a dificult decision, and they want the one right answer. Many have little life experience. Many have little idea what actual law practice is like. So, for them, the idea that they can look at some "objective" rankings and determine that X school is better than Y school because X school is ranked 50 and Y school is ranked 75 is comforting. But it's also a lie.

That said, I take strong exception to Citylaw's advice. While well-intended, the whole "whatever works for you, the worst school is just as good as the best school, because you can get a JD and then you're an attorney!"* is *not* good advice. I know that he explains it a little more- consider costs and locality (which is my advice as well), but this is the exact same type of advice that got so many people in trouble in the last ten years, and continues to get them in trouble.

There are different "tiers" of schools, and they matter. Different types, if you will. There are the national schools (the shorthand for them is the "T14"). If you graduate from one of these schools, you will be able to place nationally. The alum base is national. Citylaw has made a point of saying that random Harvard grad would not get a position in California- I can assure that is not true. If the Harvard grad wants it, they will get it. I worked in Los Angeles at BigLaw(tm), and my firm was chock full of Harvard grads. And one of them, deciding they didn't like BigLaw during their first year, went to work at the City Attorney's office. How hard was it for them? Not at all. The name matters. After a while, it matters less, but there's a reason these schools are national.

After that, the ranking don't matter as much, but they do, in a certain way, matter. Look- one of the inputs for US News is reputation. And I will be the first to admit that the difference between #24 and #74 isn't going to be that great. But the difference between the schools in the Top 50 (say) and the schools that are unranked, reputation-wise, can matter. They can be the difference between a regional school, and a local school. Between a BU/BC and a Suffolk. Suffolk is a great school with great Boston connections, but that's about it.

There's further considerations. Thinking about maybe being a little politically active, or, at least, becoming a judge or getting more involved with a particular state? Consider the state school. Sure, Harvard might be great to become a Federal Judge one day. But two out of six justices on the Maine Supreme Court went to U. Maine law school (not one of US News favorites).

Wat it comes down to is this- going to law school must be viewed pragmatically. Unfortunately, law schools, for the most part, do not give you the skills to go out and become solo practitioners immediately - that's a malpractice suit waiting to happen - nor do most people have the particular business skills coming out of law school to set up their own practice. That means that you have to view it as an investment in your future. So it should come down to the cost and location (outside of national programs). But if you're paying full freight (at a non-state school, or a non-T-14), you may want to seriously reconsider your decision-making process to go to law school. I'm not definitively saying don't do it. But I'm strongly recommending studyin your options carefully. And, most importantly, please study the *real* employment outcomes of the schools you are looking at.

*I am not quoting Citylaw- I am putting words in his mouth. Just making that clear. :)

Anyone who is seriously suggesting Cooley-Tampa Bay, is, well not serious.

Cooley is the worst school. Well, is it the worst? Eh... let's say one of the very very worst.

The Tampa Bay campus is too new to have employment stats. But it is bottom of the barrel for the state of Florida. You'd have better connections coming out of Florida Coastal. Which also sucks. And the tuition is almost 50k a year.

Tampa already has a "local" school (Stetson- decent litigation, not much else, and yes, I know it's Gulfport- same damn thing). It also has UF and FSU* and, to a lesser extent, all the other schools in Florida feeding into that market.

Anyone who recommends Cooley has no idea what the Florida market is like.

*These two state schools do not have much of a natural legal market, so their grads go to the "major" markets- Tampa, Orlando, Jax, Miami.

I'll see what I can do with that fact patter, functional drunk.

First, I think I know which school you're attending. I don't know if you want me to name it (since you didn't), but AFAIK, there is exactly one law school in Florida that has the 1L class requirements and semester timing that you just recited. I knew that the 69 was a requirement to graduate, but I didn't know that they'd yank you after one year!

Second, since I'm pretty sure it is the school I think it is, don't transfer. Really. There are two schools (I believe?) that have in-state tuition for Florida- I think you're at one of them. The Tier III schools are wicked expensive, and you'll never get a scholarship now. In addition, and I don't mean to be harsh, but it doesn't sound like you're going to be a superstar at one of the lower ranked schools (IME, a superstar at a Tier III school would often have been a superstar at a higher ranked school). That means you'll finish, at best, middle of the pack. The market isn't good enough for that, with the debt.

So I'd recommend an appeal. It's hard to get a read on your situation, but it sounds like all you need to do is successfully appeal a single grade upwards and you'll be okay. Yes, this is exceptionally rare. But it can be done. Look through the procedures, and get with your professors immediately (from the Spring, first). If you're that close, a very minor change could make a huge deal. Did you look over your old exams? Right now, you should have a single priority- figuring out the process, and understanding how to get back in. You seem to have made great contacts in the community- use them. Seriously. That's what they are there for.

Once you do that, resolve your other issues. You made a poor choice taking employment your 1L year with your grades so low. But you can't go back in time on that one.

"Well, that's not really the point. The question is whether the Calbar in it's current iteration is the only exam which can sufficiently meet our requirements."

You are conflating two separate issues. One is admission to a bar in general (regulated by the state bar), and the other is the bar exam (which is one component of the bar admission process).

Let me break this down- imagine that, next year, the CalBar adopts the UBE for part of the Bar. Yes, you say. Won't that be awesome! But it won't change anything except the passing scores. Because everyone still has to get admitted to individual bars! Which is a function of each bar's rules. And unless and until California relaxes their rules, other states won't relax their own rules (reciprocity). Which is what matters. Not to mention many states that allow for UBE scores still require their own procedural requirements.

Then, of course, there is the question as to what the cutoff score for the UBE would be. California could, at their discretion, set it high enough that it wouldn't "solve" the problem Chemerinsky wants to solve.

Also? It is my understanding that Hawaii is not one of the few states that allows for the transfer of MBE scores.

"Would the multi-state practice benefit outweigh the probable reduction in local fees? I don't know. I worked in an industry with no such regulation and tons of national competition before going into law, and everyone still made a very nice living. I guess I'm not as freaked out by competition as most lawyers."


I'm partly being harsh because it's fun. But I think you aren't understanding your own points. Think through your own argument-
1. Continue to have a barrier to entry (you state you are in favor of bar exams, C&F, licensing requirements).
2. But allow increased portability of licensing. (Query on this- have you looked into reciprocity recently? While some states are terrible, such as Florida and California, others are in giant, multi-state compacts...).
3. ??????
4. Profit!!!!

Do you see the tension in your points? You aren't increasing the *national* supply of attorneys (see 1). You aren't increasing consumer protection. While you might be amerliorating local shortages, that isn't usually a problem- places that are unattractive to practice (for example, rural places in flyover states) won't suddenly become attractive practice areas, while California and Florida already have, well, a fair number of attorneys (they are both top 20 per capita in number of attorneys and number of working attorneys, despite having the most "restrictive" rules for the bar).

Either argue for real competition, or argue for real licensing and policing of the profession. But, again, this is just Chemerinsky special pleading.

And if you can't pass the CalBar, btw, you have absolutely no business practicing.

Loki, are you saying that in order to be intellectually consistent I must either be against any restrictions, or in favor of all restrictions?

Nope. Look back to your original statement, re: competition and supply and demand. Simply put, you're trying to have your cake and eat it too. You want to keep in all the wonderful anti-competitive aspects of a licensed profession, but allow a little more labor mobility, which really only affects people currently licensed (aka, people who are already benefiting, such as us!) without really benefiting the consumers. *Because you acknowledge that you want to keep in the barriers to entry, just modify them a wee bit to allow Chemerinsky to look a little better!*

Your other argument (it's about protecting the consumer) doesn't hold water. Because you stated, at the beginning, that protectionism was a key function of the bar- if it was really about protecting the consumer, then the ongoing policing functions of the bar would be given a higher priority. Want a laugh- read a disciplinary case of someone who already has their license.

What I don't find enjoyable is the rank hypocrisy of those like Chemerinsky. The special pleading. The bar examination is certainly not too hard as it is. Perhaps, instead, we should either acknowledge that any barrier to entry is bad (solution 1), or we should take licensing requirements seriously (solution 2). Instead, we get the stupidest of all worlds, with people taking pathetically easy licensing requirements and complaining that they're too hard.

Nonsense, it's a straw man argument. ...

Has anyone here actually read the article? The UBE is still a bar exam, and still allows for state-specific questions. It would simply make your degree more portable. Why would any of us be opposed to that?

Not a straw man argument, for the reasons I wrote. Your argument is confused- you can't appeal to both efficient markets and protectionism. You just don't like me pointing out that my critique of your argument exposes how confused it is. :)

I did read the article. Let me make it more simple for you: "I, Dean Chemerinsky, would very much like it if my students could take an easier Bar Examination. Thank you!"

Look- you like protectionism? Awesome! You like efficient markets? Then let your freak flag fly! But complaining that a few unique and precious snowflakes aren't passing the California Bar, and, therefore, should be allowed to take the MBE? That's not an efficient market- that's special pleading.

I had someone ask me this question recently and didn't have a good answer for them. We all know that passing the bar alone doesn't make you a lawyer, but during a group swear in recently a friend of mine told me that the Judge told them "You are now officially lawyers, you can now represent clients" (but his bar card won't show up for week or two)  I thought you had to have that to legally take clients.

Does that Judge just not know what he is talking about??? I sure would hate to think the old SOB was committing malpractice and giving bad advice to greenhorns that way. Strikes me as a potential domino effect of character and fitness violations!  :o


When you pass the bar exam, and pass the state bar's moral character and fitness provisions, and pass any other provisions that may be applicable, then you are allowed to be part of the state bar- you are sworn in. Whether you chose to do so by a public ceremony or executing a notarized affidavit is up to you.

At that point, you are an attorney.

There are occasions when a Bar Number is helpful. Like signing certain pleadings.

But the bar card is just a piece of plastic.


No offense, but.... (I love that opening!)....

Your argument is completely, totally, 100% muddled. If you're against protectionism, and you are for consumer choice, then you should be fine with doing away with the Bar Exam completely and, for that matter, getting rid of UPL. After all, in libertopia, bad advocates will eventually be weeded out, maybe by Yelp and/or tort suits, so we don't need any barriers to entry. Let real competition flow- why restrict it to fancy book-learnin' types who went to law school and passed a test (and/or moral character and fitness)?

On the other hand, you appear to be advocating for barriers to entry- just, you know, easier ones. Ones that aren't too taxing on would-be attorneys, and (bonus!) would allow attorneys to practice in multiple states regardless of their knowledge of the local state's laws.

Either have the courage of your convictions, or don't. What do you want- real competition, or an actual barrier to entry? And, by the way, I don't believe the current barriers to entry amount to much, because, as we are all aware, even with the requirements, there were far too many licensed practitioners and far too few jobs.

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