Paul L. Caron

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

University Of Arizona Is 'Preying On Low-Information Prospective Law Students'

Above the Law, Arizona Law School Preying On Low-Information Prospective Law Students:

Take a look at this ad that Arizona placed in the Prelaw Advisors National Conference Program held last week:


Notice that last little bullet point? 2.8% unemployment nine months post-graduation? The hell? Where’d that come from? ... If you’ve researched law school employment data ..., just a glance at the number should give you an inkling that something is amiss. But by targeting students that have only taken the GRE, Arizona is trying to get students who are not as well-versed in law school realities. It also perpetuates the unrealistic expectation that going to law school is your ticket to a secure career, which too many recent grads know is a lie. ... A J.D. isn’t some magical degree that will solve all your career worries — you may wind up with a pile full of debt and no $180,000 job waiting for you.

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Perhaps they are all going meshugge because they live with Sheriff Arpio and John Mc Cain. At least they can shop at Unpainted Arizona.

Posted by: Captain Hruska Carswell, Continuance King | Jun 21, 2016 6:39:35 PM

To the honest, hardworking law school faculty out there who've stayed on the sidelines of the "scam" debate, instead focusing on educating tomorrow's lawyers, I pose serious questions:
-How do you feel about this ad?
-Is it acceptable to simply state 2.8% unemployment without providing more info, knowing that it would likely lead readers to reasonably conclude that the remaining 97.2 percent are gainfully employed in paying jobs?
-Does the used car sales pitch-like heading "no LSAT no problem" aimed at undergraduates via their advisers feel slimy at all?
-Does the solicitation aspect of this, the need to sell law school like some cheap undesirable commodity on undergrad campuses, seem unbecoming of you?

Whether or not any rules have been violated, this is embarrassing for the noble, hard working law professors out there who likely have no idea things have spiraled this far into the gutter. Sad.

Posted by: Anon | Jun 21, 2016 3:12:34 PM

"The GRE ploy seems to be about putting butts in seats, not diversity, not social justice, but dollars;"

This is post-2008 law school in a nutshell. The priorities have really been laid bare.

Posted by: JM | Jun 21, 2016 10:37:24 AM

In reply to Mr. Osterlee: the pre-law advisors won't pass it on if they deem it not meritorious. The pre-law advisors are, presumably, well-informed, so the exact opposite of what is supposed in the mistaken headline by ATL. And there is nothing remotely suspect about any of this: the evidence that is out there is that the LSAT is a weak predictor of law school performance, and that the GRE does as well. So this is much ado about nothing, which is what the morons at ATL specialize in. The question is why Prof. Caron, who should know better, is reposting their nonsense.

Posted by: Brian | Jun 21, 2016 9:23:10 AM

@ Jojo: Arizona got this wonderful sounding number by employing 12 of their 144 graduates (8.3%) in school funded positions.

Posted by: Lonnie | Jun 21, 2016 9:07:26 AM

In Soviet Russia, "Brian" tells blogs what they can post!

Anyways, per the school's own ABA reports, 9 of 144 graduates from the Class of 2015 were unemployed (excluding one person with a deferred starting date) or status unknown. That's 6.2%, not 2.8%. And the employment reporting date is now TEN months after graduation, not NINE. Mistake #2. It's also relevant to the discussion that about 10% of the full-time, long-term jobs are at the University of Arizona itself. 11 of 116. See for yourself here:

And with respect to the GRE gambit, there are actually ABA regulations restricting their use. Cannot be more than 10% of an entering class, their alternate test scores (GRE) must be above the 85th percentile, AND they must have been in the top 10% of their undergrad class through at least six semesters or have a GPA above 3.5. See ABA Standard 503 and Interpretations 503-3.

Posted by: Unemployed Northeastern | Jun 21, 2016 8:53:04 AM

Only counting as "unemployed" those who are "unemployed and seeking" is consistent with widely used government definitions of unemployment.

There's nothing misleading about the 2.8 percent number, since it can be compared to overall unemployment. What is misleading is the 9% number, since that is really "not in labor force or unemployed" according to definitions used by everyone in the world except for NALP and the ABA.

Posted by: what unemployment means | Jun 21, 2016 8:44:30 AM

"why are you reporting on the drek that emanates from ATL?"

I read this post as reporting on Arizona's aggressive marketing tactics in the context of historical law school recruiting behavior bordering upon fraud. The fact that the news comes via ATL strikes me as irrelevant because the flier exists and says what it says, regardless of ATL's typical (and off putting) spin.

What does the flier reveal? Several points that are relevant noteworthy (for faculty, not just consumers):
1) Arizona is very desperate for bodies;
2) Arizona is in full on aggressive marketing mode with respect to its GRE ploy, and will present incomplete employment data (in a way that potentially violates ABA standards) with the aim of getting undergraduate advisers to advise folks who have not taken the LSAT, and likely not considering law school, to consider U of A Law;
3) The GRE ploy seems to be about putting butts in seats, not diversity, not social justice, but dollars;

I could go on and on, but this is certainly worthy of a blog post on this blog, and is much appreciated.

Posted by: Anon | Jun 21, 2016 7:35:10 AM

@Captain: Law schools should place magazine ads like the old "Draw Winky (the doe)," or "Draw Lucky (the duck), and win 1 of 5 art scholarships, or any one of 50 $10 cash prizes!!"

Posted by: John Novack | Jun 21, 2016 7:18:41 AM

A legal education should speak for itself. Advertising should not be necessary. It's not a subtle notice to say "here we are." It's text reminds me of a hyped magazine ad from a vintage 50-60s correspondence school.

Posted by: Captain Hruska Carswell, Continuance King | Jun 21, 2016 6:17:23 AM

@Brian: How is it somehow better that this ad is targeted toward prelaw advisors rather than to students themselves? Obviously the intent is for the advisors to share this information with those students and to recommend that they attend Arizona for law school. So what's the difference? And where is the ABA? Are law schools now completely unregulated and unmonitored? Because that is certainly what it looks like. Do people not see what this is doing to our profession? In terms of credibility and legitimacy, but also in terms of the awful attorneys we are now churning out.

Posted by: Carl Osterlee | Jun 21, 2016 5:23:05 AM

Another fine example of how stupid the bloggers are at ATL. Note that the ad is aimed at prelaw advisors, not undergraduates. So the entire premise of this idiotic hit piece--that Arizona is preying on low-information prospective students--is obviously mistaken. Once again, adults must ask: why are you reporting on the drek that emanates from ATL?

Posted by: Brian | Jun 21, 2016 4:48:35 AM

They should burn in 118 degree Phoenix without air conditioning for this!

Law School Transparency has Arizona at a 9.7 unemployment rate. Where does the 2.8 come from and how is this not outright fraud? The Feds should stick it to these grifters.

Posted by: Jojo | Jun 21, 2016 4:43:04 AM