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Author Topic: This Should be Required Pre-Law School Reading  (Read 1097 times)

Hamilton

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bigs5068

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Re: This Should be Required Pre-Law School Reading
« Reply #1 on: January 10, 2011, 12:21:26 PM »
I really think a lot of it is U.S New's and World reports fault. Schools are so obsessed with their ranking they don't even seem to care about getting student's a proper education or job prospects. Instead they focus on getting student's with manipulated undergrad GPA's people with 4.0's in Frisbee golf get admitted over molecular biology majors with 2.9's. Then as was cited in the article schools just want to have those employment numbers high. They do not care if the employment is at apple bee's or home depot since any of those will do in boosting the schools ranking.

It is truly sad how much time schools spend on impressing a private unregulated for profit magazine that has not even bothered to come up with a formula that makes sense. I guess the rankings have been around since 1985 and I imagine the legal profession has declined ever since. Schools except the one's that do not have to worry about rankings Harvard, Yale etc have become obsessed with impressing this ridiculous magazine. All their graduates could have failed the bar and be working at apple bees, but since bar passage counts for a whopping 2% of a school's ranking and they would have 100% employment at applebess the school woudl rise from tier 4 to tier 2 and the school could have a big celebration. We made it and are the 82nd best school thank you to all you gave us 100k and helped our stats!. You can now go tell employers you went to the 82nd best school instead of the 104th and be guaranteed a job, because we all know 82nd best is IMPRESSIVE ::). Unforunately, they will only stay at 82nd for a year, because the formula makes no sense and the school can drop 40 spots over absolutely nothing. See University of San Francisco's ranking over the past 5 years. Just one example of nothing whatsoever changing at a school, but it goes from 70 to 98 to 112 to 95 to whatever it is now. Nothing changed there not one freaking thing, but somehow this magazine decided to change everything and the school instead of focusing on the success of their students focuses on this unregulated private magazine. It is just sick and makes no sense. There are a few top law schools we all knew them when we were 5 years old. There is no difference between FIU and Gonzaga or GGU and Southwestern etc etc. They are law schools nobody will say oh my goodness a Gonzaga Grad step right up here is a 100k a year job. Outside of the elite schools there is no real difference. However, U.S. News has a cash cow coming in and why shouldn't they keep doing it. Schools are stupid enough to go along with this bogus system and naive 0L's like myself think it means everything to go to the 82nd best school instead of the 104th. I thank god everyday that real lawyers with common sense got to me before I moved to Michigan to go to the 98th best school and f**ked my whole life up.

Hamilton

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Re: This Should be Required Pre-Law School Reading
« Reply #2 on: January 10, 2011, 01:06:52 PM »
The ranking is an issue, but it's our nature to rank things, measure, compare and compete... whether it's NCAA football teams or law schools.  So, like the NCAA, the metrics used for ranking will always be fodder for debate over drinks.

My rub goes back to the obscene cost of these schools and the seeming blindness of students going in with no consideration of (1) what their debt load will be upon graduation, and (2) whether they will realistically be able to pay it back.  Regardless of desire, some of these folks simply need to realize, or be told, that they simply cannot afford to get their JD -- unfortunately our society/government seems to have lost the ability to say that: "I'm sorry, but we can't afford it."  I think the proliferation of gauranteed loans has only added fuel to the fire - now folks dont think twice about wracking up all kinds of debt without really thinking through the consequences.

CharisP

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Re: This Should be Required Pre-Law School Reading
« Reply #3 on: January 10, 2011, 02:36:56 PM »
This is old news.  The law students I've spoken with are all perfectly aware that employment statistics published by law schools are inaccurate, skewed and unreliable yet their debt repayment plan basically hinged on being on of the few graduates to get a coveted position after graduation that pays enough to service their debt and pay their living expenses.  They have no backup plan for the possibility that they might end up in the bottom half of their class and be lucky to land a job that pays 30-40k.  The ease with which they can obtain loans is definitely part of the problem.  How fast do you think that would change if the federal government revised the bankruptcy laws so that they covered student educational loan debt?

bigs5068

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Re: This Should be Required Pre-Law School Reading
« Reply #4 on: January 10, 2011, 02:58:05 PM »
Even better Congress could do an investigation and require schools to explain their expenditures. I honestly do like my school, but tuition is 34k a year thankfully I am only paying 9k a year because of scholarships, which seems like a fair deal. However, there is no way my school or any of the others I have seen can justify obtaining 30K a year from each student. My undergrad was 3k a year and had far more resources etc. So much federal funding is going into these and other graduate schools and it does not appear the schools are accountable for the expenditures. The tuition also increases every year for some reason, but the facilities do not improve. I would love to see a breakdown of where a school's money goes.

Another thing I realized is that did not occur to me until this year. Is that the schools keep all of your loan and give you two disbursements. They keep cash and collect interest on the half of your disbursement for a semester. Keeping 300 students times 30k in loans can add up to a lot of interest in savings account or whatever they do with the money. While the students get stuck paying the interest on what the school has. They just nickel and dime you on top of charging an outrageous amount of money in the first place.

The rankings are just one of the problems, but the cost is a bigger one. There is just simply no way to justify it from anything I have seen at any Bay Area School. Stanford had a nice campus, but Hastings, Santa Clara, GGU there is just no way you can justify the cost. It is true education is a risk and you should go to law school if you want to be a lawyer, but something needs to be done about these outrageous costs.

I was even thinking a potential law school hypotheical, but somewhat serious thought. Anyways, you might be able to have a Sherman act claim against the ABA. You have to pass the bar to be a lawyer and for all intensive purposes you have to go to an ABA school. These 195 or so schools just set whatever price they want and once you are in a school you can't leave. You can't transfer after the 1st year and certainly not a year and a half in. You are stuck even if they jack up tuition 300% you have no option.

I do like law school and think there are worse investments out there, but it does seem to be getting progressively worse.

bigs5068

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Re: This Should be Required Pre-Law School Reading
« Reply #5 on: January 10, 2011, 09:11:47 PM »
After reading this article again I started rethinking this. The guy is 250k in debt no law school is that expensive. The guy must have taken out private loans and gone far above what any school recommended. I think Harvard has the highest tuition at 45k a year so 135 k in tuition. The max I can take out for cost of living is 24k in grad plus and I am in SF one of the most expensive places. So even if he went to the most expensive place and took out every single dime he could for living expenses and blew through all of that somehow he would be at 200K. I image he did not attend Harvard and probably went 75k over what he should have borrowed. The article is blocked now, but I recall it saying he was again sitting in a New York restaurant not answering phone calls etc. There might be creditors at his door, but answer the phone and work out a deal. Do not run away from your problems and it sounds like he borrowed way to much in the first place. Many law students just go in thinking I am going to law school I will borrow as much as possible and not suffer any consequence. First off if you want to be a lawyer you should have a bit of common sense. 150k etc does not just get handed out. No education guarantees any job and I think students just assume a J.D. and you are set. People need to take some accountability and it sounds like this guy just borrowed way more money than the ABA would ever allow. Now he sits in a fancy New York restaurants avoiding his responsibilities sounds like the makings of a great attorney.  ::)

Law school is to expensive, but students can take some type of accountability for themselves. Have some financial sense you are going to be a lawyer after all you are college educated and if you want to be a lawyer you need to have some shred of common sense. So I feel bad that schools are to much, but this guy needs to take some kind of accountability.

bigs5068

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Re: This Should be Required Pre-Law School Reading
« Reply #6 on: January 10, 2011, 10:21:13 PM »
I completely agree there are a lot of valid points and law school costs simply cannot be justified. U.S. News idiotic rating system makes schools focus on the wrong things, but at the end of the day the students have to have some type of accountability. 

All that studying in Praque renting a spacious apartment does not really entitle him to much sympathy. I did not see anything indicating he ever held a job during three years of law school. If he did not work one day while in school and put no effort into finding a job during three years, but found himself in need of a spacious apartment and studying abroad on borrowed money it is hard to sympathize with him.  Did he ever pass the bar btw?

Thane Messinger

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Re: This Should be Required Pre-Law School Reading
« Reply #7 on: January 10, 2011, 10:52:03 PM »
Quote
After reading this article again I started rethinking this. The guy is 250k in debt no law school is that expensive. The guy must have taken out private loans and gone far above what any school recommended.

The article states that he attended Thomas Jefferson and since the economy was good when he first started he borrowed a lot of money and nearly bought a home.  Fortunately, he backed out of the deal, but then the article states "Instead, Mr. Wallerstein rented a spacious apartment. He also spent a month studying in the South of France and a month in Prague all on borrowed money. There were cost-of-living loans, and tuition of about $33,000 a year. Later came a $15,000 loan to cover months of studying for the bar."

So there you go.  This article has a lot of interesting things to say about the obscene costs of law school, deceptive statistics used for ranking, poor job prospects and the decided ignorance of many prospective students, but Mr. Wallerstein was a poor choice of focus.  Clearly, he made a lot of mistakes, a lot more mistakes than can be blamed on law schools or the ABA.  Sadly, that kind of poor judgment is not going to make anyone sympathetic to the plight of law students in over their heads and is going to muddy the waters for those who might have actually learned something from the article.


Indeed not.  There's another quote in there that's an eye-opener, and important for all law students:

Im not really good at keeping records.

If so, he will be a lousy attorney, and a miserable one (if, indeed, he ever keeps a law job). 

One of the truths of the law that is not sufficiently well told, or heard, is that the law is intensely detail-oriented.  The law is all about keeping records.  Not in the same way that an accountant does, but paperwork, paperwork nonetheless.

To all, if you're not already a fan of keeping records, documentation, paperwork, and all their friends . . . now is the time to get extremely efficient about this.  It will help, and it will help your sanity.

Thane.

bigs5068

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Re: This Should be Required Pre-Law School Reading
« Reply #8 on: January 10, 2011, 11:28:08 PM »
Thane, are you implying that you have to do work and take accountability for yourself to be a successful attorney? Keeping records and being organized might really keep me away from blogging on the internet or checking my face book.

Hamilton

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Re: This Should be Required Pre-Law School Reading
« Reply #9 on: January 11, 2011, 08:25:47 AM »
Completely agree, he is an unsympathetic example on the one hand - but it still raises the question about the accountability of lenders and easy access to such horrendous debt.  At what point do these loans stop?  Lenders accountable for being stupid enough to grant these loans, this guy accountable for taking out the loans.  If so much money is readily available, what motivation is there for schools to "right-price" their product?  The tuition/loan system is feeding itself: raise tuition, increase loan amounts... and so on. 

I completely agree there are a lot of valid points and law school costs simply cannot be justified. U.S. News idiotic rating system makes schools focus on the wrong things, but at the end of the day the students have to have some type of accountability. 

All that studying in Praque renting a spacious apartment does not really entitle him to much sympathy. I did not see anything indicating he ever held a job during three years of law school. If he did not work one day while in school and put no effort into finding a job during three years, but found himself in need of a spacious apartment and studying abroad on borrowed money it is hard to sympathize with him.  Did he ever pass the bar btw?