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Editor: Paul L. Caron, Dean
Pepperdine University School of Law

Thursday, October 26, 2017

NY Times: John Grisham Prosecutes For-Profit Law Schools In ‘The Rooster Bar’

RoosterNew York Times, John Grisham Prosecutes For-Profit Law Schools in ‘The Rooster Bar’:

Earlier this year, John Grisham announced that his next legal thriller would be about the scams behind many for-profit law schools. But it’s a long leap from subject matter to story, and Grisham’s newly reanimated storytelling skills are what make “The Rooster Bar” such a treat. ...

He begins by describing the sleaziest for-profit law school he can imagine. Foggy Bottom Law School advertises the ease with which its happy graduates land high-paying jobs at prestigious firms, but this book’s three main characters — Mark, Todd and Zola — are not happy. Halfway through their final year at school, they have wised up to the only real attainment Foggy Bottom has earned them: A mountain of debt. ...

Always helpful to his readers, Grisham lays out the basics simply, including this list: “(1) FBLS was a subpar law school that (2) made too many promises, and (3) charged too much money, and (4) encouraged too much debt while (5) admitting a lot of mediocre students who really had no business in law school, and (6) were either not properly prepared for the bar exam or (7) too dumb to pass it.” ...

As in all of Grisham’s best books, the reader of “The Rooster Bar” gets good company, a vigorous runaround and — unlike those poor benighted suckers at Foggy Bottom — a bit of a legal education.

Legal Education | Permalink


Grisham drew inspiration from Paul Campos's (Colorado) piece in The Atlantic regarding the questionable marketing of low end for profit law schools in the not so distant past. Interesting to see that the for profit controversy became a popular fiction plotline in the span of two or three years.

Posted by: Anonprof | Oct 26, 2017 10:14:35 AM

This sounds like most third and fourth tier law schools.

Posted by: Justin | Oct 26, 2017 1:28:37 PM

This book is DEFINITELY on my reading list!

Posted by: Old Ruster | Oct 26, 2017 1:55:14 PM

Now this is an example of something that will grab the attention of prospective 1Ls, perhaps just as much has Grisham’s generation-old “The Firm” lit the fires of young strivers with dreams of $80k salaries and employer-supplied houses and Benzes. Incidentally, Grisham is explicitly name-dropping Paul Campos and his Atlantic piece a few years ago on Infilaw as the direct inspiration for the book.

One more thing:
- Charlotte School of Law: accredited in 2008
-Florida Coastal: accredited
- Arizona Summit: accredited 2010
- Charleston: accredited 2011
- Western State College of Law / Argosy: accredited 2005

The point being that certain wage premium studies, ending as they do with the Class of 2008 (for which I think they had 13 data points out of >45,000 graduates), doesn’t really begin to capture the outcomes of for-profit law schools.

Posted by: Unemployed Northeastern | Oct 26, 2017 2:52:46 PM