Paul L. Caron

Friday, April 12, 2013

Deans' Leadership in Legal Education Symposium

Toledo Logo The University of Toledo Law Review has published the twelfth annual issue in its wonderful Deans' Leadership in Legal Education Series. Each issue contains essays written by Deans of various law schools on a wide array of legal education topics. The current issue contains seven essays written by these deans:

For those who followed the fiasco at St. Louis University School of Law, Annette Clark's piece on her one year as dean is riveting. For prior TaxProf Blog coverage, see:

(Hat Tip: Al Brophy.)

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Ladies and gentlemen,

Every once in a while, one runs across a truly self-serving pile of half-truths, misleading statistics, and crocodile tears. I point your attention towards 43 U. Tol. L. Rev. 365. Wow. Keep in mind, her law school costs $250,000 (including principalizing interest) and not even 50% of grads find full-time, long-term jobs in the profession at any salary. Fact.

Let's see:

Negative amortization is not an issue on IBR? Wrong. If you talked to any one of your hundreds of un/underemployed graduates, you would know better.

Co-op provides a year's worth of "real work"? That's certainly news to me. Most of mine consisted of non-legal busywork.

The school maintains continuing relations with more than 1000 co-op employers? Weird - I kept seeing "active co-op employers" in the co-op book who hadn't taken a student in four or five years, which is 16 to 20 co-op cycles. Makes one wonder how the school parses the phrase "continuing relations."

There are 1.2 million lawyers? How many of them actually work as lawyers, I wonder? Right, only about 700,000.

Only the bottom 10% of lawyers earn less than $54k? Where's Northeastern's salary data, I wonder? It hasn't been seen in some years now. I wonder if that's because Northeastern sent even fewer graduates to large law firms last year than fourth-tier Suffolk? From what I've seen of the 2012 ABA disclosures, I'd frankly be surprised if 10% of NUSL 2012 made MORE than $54k, which is about 1/5 of the cost of attendance. This is probably the place to note that Northeastern is so insanely expensive that, like two dozen or so other law schools, even the BigLaw-bound graduates will be eligible for IBR/PAYE.

"At Northeastern, we consider practice experience to be a plus in almost all cases [for law prof hiring]." That's funny, since the number of classes I took from tenured law profs who had practiced law at any point in their lives can almost be counted on my thumbs.

"At Northeastern, we have embarked on a major research effort, the Outcomes Assessment
Project, which will evaluate our program through empirical research, reaching out to graduates and employers of our students and graduates." Huh. Neither I nor any of my un/underemployed classmates have ever been asked to participate in this project. I guess all of our invitations were lost in the mail, right?

"If you look at justice task forces and commissions around the country... Law schools are not automatically seen as key partners." Yes, that's because practicing attorneys know that law schools ARE THE PROBLEM, NOT THE SOLUTION. 2:1 nationwide ratio of law school grads to legal jobs, and nearly a 4:1 ratio in Massachusetts (2500 bar passers for 700 jobs, according to the Mass Bar Association). The solution is to shutter a lot of schools, Northeastern included. It already shut down once; it can do it again. As for expanding free legal services to the poor, well, good luck with that in this political climate.


Just Another Northeastern Success Story

Posted by: Unemployed Northeastern | Apr 12, 2013 9:01:51 AM