Well so much for that, then. Brian Tamanaha has conceded that indeed Simkovic and McIntyre are right about the positive net present value of the lifetime earnings premium secured by holders of a JD.
He reached this conclusion only a few days after publicly proclaiming
their work to be “faulty,” “misleading,” “not true,” having only “the
external trappings of precision and rigor,” a “puffed up exaggeration,” a
“brazen bluff,” “sloppy,” “slanted,” “ad hoc,” “compromised,”
“chest-pounding,” “full of holes,” “dubious,” “hell bent on proving a
law degree pays off,” “flawed,” “fudged,” “distorted,” with results that
are “substantially overstated.”
But he has now suddenly proclaimed:
"Their study has convinced me that I was wrong to exclusively focus
on the short term–the long term return at the 25th percentile is better
than I would have guessed (assuming the validity of their numbers).”
And, “ignoring the long term was my error.”
Well, as Emily Litella would have put it, “Never mind.”
While Tamanaha seems to feel some regret at his unjustified and
unprofessional remarks, he actually repeated the claim that the Simkovic
and McIntyre paper was “sloppy” in the course of apologizing for it in
comments at TaxProf. ...
Having held up a white flag, Tamanaha attempts to suggest now he
really didn’t mean to call into question every law school and every law
student only those at the “very bottom” who attend “risky law schools.”
Well, no one in this debate has ever said the JD had positive NPV for
every graduate of every law school no matter where they ended up in the
class. So for Tamanaha to now say that he is in fact only concerned
about a narrow “band” of law schools is more than a little disingenuous.
He boldly proclaimed in his book’s very first pages that “law schools
are failing abjectly in multiple ways….The economic model of law schools
is broken.” His book was called “Failing Law Schools” not “Risky Law
Schools” or “Very Bottom Law Schools.”
As I explained in an earlier post
about the significance of the Simkovic and McIntyre paper, an
institution that can produce graduates who achieve the kind of results
they demonstrate is not, by any measure, a failing institution.