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Law Schools Now Paying Their Graduates' Salaries To Improve Rankings

Tyler Durden's picture




 

Submitted by Michael Krieger of Liberty Blitzkrieg blog,

I knew that the legal market was in bad shape last summer when I came across the story that top law firm Weil, Gotshal & Manges announced its first mass layoffs in 82 years, but I had no idea it was this bad.

As most of you will be aware, U.S. News & World Report publishes a widely anticipated ranking of undergraduate as well as graduate schools. I recall how closely my peers scrutinized these rankings back when I was a high school senior and, apparently, a similar obsession continues to this day.

In fact, law schools are so consumed with performing well in these rankings that they are going to outrageous lengths to make it look like their students are performing better financially after graduation than they actually are. One of the most ridiculous ways they achieve this is by paying the salaries of their graduates upon graduation. This way, students can take on employment at non-profits and government agencies, positions they would never otherwise consider in light of their mountains of student debt. In return, their alma maters can pretend their graduates got real jobs. It is the academic equivalent of GM automobile channel stuffing.

This isn’t just a minor trend of one-offs being exaggerated by the media either. For example, George Washington University paid the starting salaries of 22% of its graduates in 2012, while the University of Virginia paid for 15%.

These programs even have a name that reminds me of a financial derivative packed full of worthless securities. These programs are being called “bridge to practice” schemes and according to The Economist “in a recent survey by the National Association for Law Placement (NALP), 45 of the 94 schools that responded now run such programs.”

Now more from The Economist:

EACH YEAR when U.S. News, an American publisher, releases its league table of law schools, potential students seize on it and the universities decry it for oversimplifying a personal and unquantifiable decision. But the schools can ill afford to ignore it, since not just applicants but donors and even credit-rating agencies pay close attention to the scores.

 

Among the ranking’s most important components is the share of graduates who find jobs. The 2014 table, announced on March 11th, shows that the University of Virginia (UVA) and George Washington University (GW) do especially well on this. Although UVA’s law students are only in ninth place for their scores in standard admission tests, 97.5% of the class of 2012 had a job on graduating—the best mark in the country. At GW the discrepancy was even more striking: its 85% graduate-employment rate ranked ninth, whereas its admission-test scores were 21st.

 

However, the two schools’ performance is not as stellar as it seems. A close look at the online employment database of the American Bar Association reveals that GW and UVA are among the leaders in a striking trend: law schools paying the salaries of their alumni when they go to work in legal firms, non-profits or the government. GW paid the starting salaries of a whopping 22% of its 2012 graduates; at 15%, UVA was not far behind.

 

With demand for newly minted lawyers down by around 30%, the schemes spare the alumni from having an awkward gap on their CV, and give them valuable work experience and contacts.

 

But so long as graduates put on these schemes are lumped in with those who found genuine paid work at law firms, the schools will in effect be buying themselves precious U.S. News ranking spots for a few million dollars a year. And applicants to law school who are considering taking on a six-figure debt will get a misleading picture of the job market.

Seems like law schools have learned a thing or two from the U.S. government and the Federal Reserve about smoke and mirrors.

The scam economy rolls forward.

Full article here.

 

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Mon, 03/17/2014 - 15:13 | 4560019 Honey Badger
Honey Badger's picture

Vendor financiing didn't end well for the dot coms either.

Mon, 03/17/2014 - 15:33 | 4560131 Larry Dallas
Larry Dallas's picture

You can get a decent US attorney to do just about any type of legal drafting you need on human cloud networks like Elance.com and Odesk.com for $15/hour.

Its that bad.

Mon, 03/17/2014 - 15:48 | 4560220 krispkritter
krispkritter's picture

I thought I needed one to draft a letter to the County to get them off my ass.  They wanted $2500 in advance and $265 per hour.  Fuck that.  I spent $25k on attorneys for a builder lawsuit a decade ago, fired both attorneys and settled because I never ever got a whiff of a courtroom.  Took it to mediation and got at least some of my money back but that was an expensive lesson.  Frankly we'd be better off with more Docs than dicks in suits...(no offense to any legal-types here).

Mon, 03/17/2014 - 16:38 | 4560459 SafelyGraze
SafelyGraze's picture

this seems to be your problem, right here:

"Armies of Expensive Lawyers, Replaced by Cheaper Software"

Mon, 03/17/2014 - 17:40 | 4560721 Rafferty
Rafferty's picture

"...(no offense to any legal-types here)."

 

What?  You can't be too offensive to these parasites.

Mon, 03/17/2014 - 18:04 | 4560817 BlindMonkey
BlindMonkey's picture

Please feel free to heap the derision on the "profession" of the law while I'm around.  I have nothing but deep contempt for the so called "officers of the court".  

 

Esquire=parasitic cocksucker.  (And apologies in advance to any ladies of the evening that take offense and me putting lawyers on equal usefulness and value as anyone of your vocation.)

Mon, 03/17/2014 - 15:33 | 4560133 TideFighter
TideFighter's picture

Overpriced medical care is not the only cause of financial ruin. John Edwards destroyed many companies before greed took him down. The first thing they check before filing their case? Do you have liability insurance? 

Mon, 03/17/2014 - 15:46 | 4560203 centerline
centerline's picture

Litigation in most cases stops when the insurance money runs out.

Says alot about how the system works.

Mon, 03/17/2014 - 18:45 | 4560944 g speed
g speed's picture

so a beat the system ploy would be to cancel your liability insurance and be free from tort forever after---hmmmm--

Mon, 03/17/2014 - 15:13 | 4560020 Seize Mars
Seize Mars's picture

LOL.
Assholes.
Welcome to central planning. Enjoy.

Mon, 03/17/2014 - 15:14 | 4560022 McMolotov
McMolotov's picture

A bunch of lawyers behaving unethically? Truly a shocking turn of events.

Mon, 03/17/2014 - 15:15 | 4560028 LawsofPhysics
LawsofPhysics's picture

LMFAO!!

+1000, yeah, completely unexpected.


Mon, 03/17/2014 - 15:35 | 4560143 El Diablo Rojo
El Diablo Rojo's picture

Vending Machine Lawyers. 

I might run and ad on Craigs list, offering to higher qualifed applicants from GW for part time home improvement work. 

Mon, 03/17/2014 - 18:09 | 4560833 BlindMonkey
BlindMonkey's picture

Never hire an ex-lawyer for anything!   They will sue you blind for a papercut. 

 

Running them out of town tarred and feathered is the only sane option. 

Mon, 03/17/2014 - 15:14 | 4560023 LawsofPhysics
LawsofPhysics's picture

Looks to me like another ponzi became self-aware.

Lawyers and bankers, useless paper-pushing fucks..

Roll the motherfucking guillotines, nothing changes otherwise.

Mon, 03/17/2014 - 15:48 | 4560217 centerline
centerline's picture

Next up... MBA's and other assorted business school junk degrees.  Accounting probably spared.

What I would really like to see get kicked in the teeth is advertising/marketing.  

Mon, 03/17/2014 - 17:43 | 4560737 Rafferty
Rafferty's picture

"What I would really like to see get kicked in the teeth is advertising/marketing."

 

Amen brother.  The worst of the lot, apart maybe from university academics.

Mon, 03/17/2014 - 15:15 | 4560025 MsCreant
MsCreant's picture

Law school as Ponzi scam. Just like my University!

Mon, 03/17/2014 - 15:16 | 4560027 Ignatius
Ignatius's picture

A guy could spend a lifetime shaking out the lies.

Can one get a degree in that?

Mon, 03/17/2014 - 15:22 | 4560057 john39
john39's picture

from the school of hard knocks.

Mon, 03/17/2014 - 15:23 | 4560064 Ignatius
Ignatius's picture

I think my pa said something like that.

Mon, 03/17/2014 - 15:16 | 4560032 JustObserving
JustObserving's picture

GW paid the starting salaries of a whopping 22% of its 2012 graduates; at 15%, UVA was not far behind.

Potemkin law schools - can our economy get more fake? 

Mon, 03/17/2014 - 15:39 | 4560162 Skateboarder
Skateboarder's picture

Wait till the underwater basket weaving and alien invasion studies departments start paying for the salaries of the next generation of the unemployed and skill-less.

Mon, 03/17/2014 - 15:47 | 4560209 Pure Evil
Pure Evil's picture

Ah, stop picking on the poor souls with degrees in Women's Studies or Queer Theory.

Without these degreed programs from institutions of higher learning we wouldn't have such luminaries as Hillary, Pelosi, Feinstein, Boxer, Shelia Jackson Lee, Maxine Waters, and BHO.

Mon, 03/17/2014 - 15:16 | 4560034 Dr. Venkman
Dr. Venkman's picture

Meh - the schools have been working the rankings since the rankings came about. The formula behind the rankings is laughable. Endowment size and race-based admissions also play a major role as well. WTF that has to do with the practice of law, I do not know. Junk away, top-tierers.

Mon, 03/17/2014 - 15:21 | 4560049 Confused
Confused's picture

All the nonsense about rankings aside (who cares, except those looking for schools, me thinks few here), I'm guessing the graduates are paid via endowments? There must be some fund earmarked for this, right? Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but there are rules governing how/when/what the money can be used for. It is certainly interesting. I wonder, as time passes and this scheme continues (ie more grads being paid), how will this affect the schools balance sheet. 

Mon, 03/17/2014 - 15:25 | 4560072 A Lunatic
A Lunatic's picture

Bubbles pop and shit gets swept under the rug all the time.........

Mon, 03/17/2014 - 15:28 | 4560098 LawsofPhysics
LawsofPhysics's picture

"there are rules governing how/when/what the money can be used for."- LMFAO!!!

Is that you John Corzine or Hank "tanks in the streets" Paulson?

Mon, 03/17/2014 - 15:42 | 4560176 Dr. Venkman
Dr. Venkman's picture

Judging by the volumes of money-begging shit I get in the mail. . .the schools just have a fund established for this very purpose. Of course, it is cloaked in do-gooder language about enabling the school to give back to the community by encouraging and stipending non-profit work. To your point about the scheme going on ad infinitum - - the schools only care about being able to say that graduates were placed at a job x-days after graduation. They do not need perpetual employment to fudge these numbers.

Mon, 03/17/2014 - 16:06 | 4560308 centerline
centerline's picture

They will just raise tuition.  Plenty of room there for some adjustment.  lolololololololololol.

Mon, 03/17/2014 - 15:18 | 4560038 Eastwood
Eastwood's picture

"the schemes spare the alumni from having an awkward gap on their CV". CV?!?!? Who gives a #$%^ about a gap on a worthless piece of paper that no hiring manager looks at anyway. How about the huge gap in a graduate's bank account or more likely lifetime gap in their net worth??? All that matters is who their daddy knows. If no one "important", then #$%^&*! Long live Plutocracy!

Mon, 03/17/2014 - 15:21 | 4560050 Billy Sol Estes
Billy Sol Estes's picture

Oh like an internship?

That is cool, no one ever gets the Law right on their first job anyways.

But if you stick with it someday you can move up the ranks and become a well heeled politician.

Mon, 03/17/2014 - 15:21 | 4560055 Seasmoke
Seasmoke's picture

WOW.  How many spinning plates are now spinning in the air !!!!!! Everything is an illusion. A big fucking lie. 

Mon, 03/17/2014 - 15:23 | 4560066 IridiumRebel
IridiumRebel's picture

It's bad. I was going to law school then saw job prospects. Dr IridiumRebel in 3 years by God's grace.

Mon, 03/17/2014 - 15:24 | 4560068 QQQBall
QQQBall's picture

I'm in  a long, drawnout lawsuit. We were billed over $60k one month for phone calls and emails; almost 1/2 million fighting over jurisdiction. Two lawyers discussing your case = $800 charge over lunch. 

Mon, 03/17/2014 - 15:42 | 4560177 Ariadne
Ariadne's picture

Lawyers picked clean the dotcom boom. Its a great racket.

Mon, 03/17/2014 - 15:56 | 4560262 krispkritter
krispkritter's picture

Lawyer was charging me $200 an hour for driving to/from depositions but I could never get him on the phone during these drives.  I said I wanted a copy of his cell phone bill showing date/times of calls and they got all pissy but I stopped payments.  I finally got credited for the hours and they billed me a flat fee after that.  Double-billing shills.

Mon, 03/17/2014 - 17:50 | 4560763 Rafferty
Rafferty's picture

When I sold my tech company the fuckers literally got 20% of the proceeds. And there was nothing unduly complicated.

Mon, 03/17/2014 - 15:26 | 4560086 I am Jobe
I am Jobe's picture

How A 29-Year-Old Wunderkind Got Indicted With The Leaders Of An Imploded Law Firm

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/how-did-zachary-warren-get-indicted-2014-3#ixzz2wFYEyK4B


Mon, 03/17/2014 - 15:29 | 4560101 Carl Popper
Carl Popper's picture

The only problem with not having enough ambulance chasing jobs is that more of them will decide to go into politics. 

Mon, 03/17/2014 - 15:31 | 4560116 I am Jobe
I am Jobe's picture

LaW School Grads should do a year or two in Somalia or Gaza Strip as hookers 

Mon, 03/17/2014 - 15:48 | 4560216 SgtShaftoe
SgtShaftoe's picture

They already are, but their supply is so great they go unpaid!  I was listening to a group of girls having lunch a month ago in a restaraunt.  One girl was going on about going to work for some CIA front NGO unpaid.  Then she broke into tears because she couldn't afford to buy food.  It's a complete fucking mess.

Mon, 03/17/2014 - 17:01 | 4560547 Raging Debate
Raging Debate's picture

I wasg oing to say that Sgt. Shaftoe, about oversupply. In general, the country is heavily over regulated to the point it cannot function. Everybody is a lawbreaker prone to fines or lawsuits which are very steep. On the opposite side of the spectrum is the financial system which was completely deregulated and as we know, the biggest heist in human history took place.

Mon, 03/17/2014 - 17:01 | 4560548 Raging Debate
Raging Debate's picture

I wasg oing to say that Sgt. Shaftoe, about oversupply. In general, the country is heavily over regulated to the point it cannot function. Everybody is a lawbreaker prone to fines or lawsuits which are very steep. On the opposite side of the spectrum is the financial system which was completely deregulated and as we know, the biggest heist in human history took place.

Mon, 03/17/2014 - 15:31 | 4560119 kchrisc
kchrisc's picture

"A lawyer means that there's someone or something's dead or dying."

What does a subsidized lawyer mean?!

 

"My guillotine enjoys a good meal of lawyer."

Mon, 03/17/2014 - 15:40 | 4560166 TideFighter
TideFighter's picture

Joke.

Adolph Hitler, Joseph Stalin, and a lawyer are sitting in a room together.

You have a gun, but only two bullets. Who do you shoot?

Answer: The Lawyer, TWICE. 

Mon, 03/17/2014 - 15:42 | 4560174 the not so migh...
the not so mighty maximiza's picture

sounds like a felony

Mon, 03/17/2014 - 15:42 | 4560178 rlouis
rlouis's picture

Some smart recent grad might sue them for fraudulent misrepresentation - or even better; a class action lawsuit.

Mon, 03/17/2014 - 15:44 | 4560189 rlouis
rlouis's picture

a class project

Mon, 03/17/2014 - 15:42 | 4560179 SgtShaftoe
SgtShaftoe's picture

How do you help an attorney buried to his/her neck in sand?

Get more sand!

Mon, 03/17/2014 - 15:45 | 4560195 bpj
bpj's picture

As a recovering attorney I can tell you that the cynicism runs deep. The oft heard mantra at the bar association meetings was "Innocent until proven broke". Not to mention that they all bragged about committing federal felonies at a regular clip (not reporting cash). They even talked openly on how to hide the money, there were only two surefire ways to spend the cash, restaurants and home remodeling. 

Mon, 03/17/2014 - 15:52 | 4560246 Pure Evil
Pure Evil's picture

What happened to the other two surefire ways?

Hookers and blow?

Mon, 03/17/2014 - 15:56 | 4560261 q99x2
q99x2's picture

California used to do something similar with their welfare recipients until they realised it made the unemployment figures look worse.

Mon, 03/17/2014 - 16:01 | 4560284 TideFighter
TideFighter's picture

The show starts when two attorneys divorce each other. 

Mon, 03/17/2014 - 16:11 | 4560332 Cacete de Ouro
Cacete de Ouro's picture

US law schools' favorite movie line quote:

"You can't hand the truth!"

Mon, 03/17/2014 - 17:25 | 4560648 NoTTD
NoTTD's picture

Why hadn't they come up with this 30 years ago, when I graduated?  Sure, I had a real job - but it burns my ass that I didn't have the opportunity to sponge for a year.  

Mon, 03/17/2014 - 17:27 | 4560659 epwpixieq-1
epwpixieq-1's picture

Wait till a software system wins its first case against a "human" attorney, and this is not too far in the future.

Then we will be in a truly brave new world, of software development, of course :)

Mon, 03/17/2014 - 17:36 | 4560703 Watts_D_Matter
Watts_D_Matter's picture

Can the computer attorney lie, cheat, and take a bribe?  Until that happens human lawyers are safe...

Mon, 03/17/2014 - 17:51 | 4560766 orangegeek
orangegeek's picture

Hi, my name is Lance and I have law degree.

 

Would you like fries with your order?

Mon, 03/17/2014 - 18:37 | 4560911 billybobtx
Mon, 03/17/2014 - 21:01 | 4561411 Savyindallas
Savyindallas's picture

I've been a lawyer for 28 years. Do a lot of employment contingent cases, represent small businsses for a reasonable hourly rate. I cut hours, go the extra mile on every case, live in a small house with 4 kids-3 grown. A lot of my clients are stupid, lazy and greedy. The more you give them, the less grateful they are and always want more. My wife says I should act like a Jewish lawyer and double my rates and I would get more respect. Most of my clients like and respect me as I usually get a good and fair result, have never unfairly gouged anyone and cut my fees to get a fair settlement so the client is happy. I am amazed at how stupid companies will pay hundreds of thousands of dollars to defense lawyers in large firms when they could do the right thing early and settle a dipsuted case for what it's worth  -often a mere fraction of what they spend to defend it. I know a lot of small companies who have been victimized by unethical lawyers because the company does not know any better. There are a lot of sleazy family and criminal lawyers also. They get huge fees for doing nothing. That being said, I don't think lawyers are any more dishonest than others. I get mechanics, health care providers, plumbers, etc. who will gouge you for whatever they can get from you. A lot of dishonesty out there. I was a very good white collar fraud prosecutor for 6 years  -one of the best  -the type who investigated and prosecuted real criminals. I found that the average prosecuting attorney, cop and even criminal judges were just as lazy and corrupt as the average person.  I've spent years in politics  -as we all know, most politicians are lazy, incompetent and corrupt. Can't say much for the average clergyman either. The bottom line is we live in a corrupt, decadent society that is going down fast. Something bad will happen to this country or the entire planet. Whether it's God or nature purging itself of an out of control species   -I don't know. But something will happen. Hopefully not in my lifetime, but everytime I see these neocrazy politicians and banksters flirting with WW3 for their own evil purposes, I wonder just how much time we have left.  

Tue, 03/18/2014 - 07:26 | 4562261 Pumpkin
Pumpkin's picture

I think people are starting to realize, that when they have legal issues and a lawyer, they actually have two problems.  I frequent a law site, for non-lawyers.  The actual lawyers show up daily to argue.  They actually bought and dismantled the old site. I know people who have paid lawyers 80k, only to be completely defeated in court in every aspect.  What a racket!

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!