JD v. GED: The “Joke Degree” vs. the “Good Enuff” Diploma!

Posted in Uncategorized on July 15, 2010 by lawis4losers

You’ve really gotta love the craigslist ad posted here:

 http://cnj.craigslist.org/lgl/1842214993.html

 This law firm is advertising a position for a data-entry monkey to load/scan documents into Concordance (a doc review software platform) that the temp attorneys (aka doc reviewers/”coders”) will later review for litigation & e-discovery.

 What’s especially hilarious is that the posted job doesn’t even require a college degree (much less a JD), yet pays the same hourly rate that LICENSED ATTORNEYS commonly receive to actually perform a substantive review of this corporate, make-work garbage. Furthermore, the ad alludes to a RAISE in salary after a small trial period. Imagine a document review attorney ever getting a raise mid-project! The only “raise” a doc review JD ever gets is when they lift their right arm to ask permission to use the restroom!

 For the lawschool defenders, a question: Show me the ship’s captain who receives the same rate as the steerage coal stokers. Show me the MD who receives the same pay as the bedpan dumper. Show me the auto mechanic who makes the same salary as the gas pump jockey.  Show me the executive chef who makes the same sheckle as the dishwasher.

Think I’m kidding? Read this ad:

http://newjersey.craigslist.org/lgl/1797573583.html

Yes, you nitpicking pricks, the JD position above pays a WHOPPING $4 an hour more than the data-entry job. Now go ahead and subtract student loans, bar dues, CLE fees, madatory pro-bono assignments (compulsory for all NJ attorneys), and 7 years of lost earnings while you were being “educated” from the equation.

Enough said.

 Only in law kids, only in law.

 L4L

Lambs to the “Seton Hall Slaughter”

Posted in Uncategorized on June 28, 2010 by lawis4losers

 We’ve never turned any of our many comments here at Big Debt into a full-fledged blog post, but this morning we received a response that really warrants a proper rebuttal. Someone calling themselves “Seton Hall 2013” left the following comment in response to our “Seton Hall’s Seeds” post:

 As a proud member of the incoming 1L class at SHU Law, let me state that I heartily disagree with your post. I do not doubt the experiences you and other alumni have had finding positions after graduation. But, I do believe you are unfairly blaming the institution for something that is ultimately the responsibility of the student. May I ask if you went to SHU Law straight from undergrad? If the answer is “yes”, then you and others who have followed this path may have expected the paternalistic coddling that is given at undergraduate level. As someone who attended to grad school first, I have no illusions about the responsibilities and obligations of the school to me (after undergrad you are on your own). SHU is what you make it.

Theodore Roosevelt said “do what you can, with what you have, where you are”, whether SHU can “place” me anywhere is not a concern, because I am responsible for finding gainful employment. The schools’ main function is to educate me, as a former home-schooled student I also realize that my education is in my hands and I must do whatever I have to to understand the material.

It’s a misconception that law is a saturated field, this is true only in certain fields and markets. It is the students’ responsibility to choose their field carefully, and watch for trends in law where their skills will be in-demand. SHU Law is expensive and must improve its affordability. As for internship opportunities, Big Law has to be willing to be open to schools outside of the T-14. It’s not the fault of SHU that snobbery is rife in law, it is up to alumni (like you) to improve the status and influence of the school, so that its’ students are sought after. I believe this was the point of the forget me not analogy.

 Bear in mind that the Seton Hall 2013 thread at Top Law Schools has resulted in all anti-SH posters being banned, and the SH 2013 facebook page was quickly made private after several alums showed up and started posing the cold, hard truth about this toilet. (Gotta give a shout to Shilling me Softly for likewise addressing the pipedreams of the SH-bound fools).

 For starters (as we’ve amply noted countless times before), Cozen O’Connor is a huge 500+ lawyer firm located directly across the street from Seton Hall Law. The firm does not participate in Seton Hall’s On-Campus Interview program, or even bother sending a secretary across the street for resume collection. This more than anything speaks volumes about how poor Seton Hall’s reputation is among large law firms. How do you expect to land in NYC biglaw when even Newark-based firms won’t interview Seton Hall students?

The dean of Seton Hall cares so little about his student’s employment outcomes that he’s now spending most of his time trying to revive the moribund Pirates basketball program. For Hobbs to devote anything less than 100% of his attention to the law school in this gruesome bear market is beyond unconscionable. He’s paid a deep 6-figure salary that is financed directly by the money that Seton Hall Law students are borrowing and will likely spend a lifetime trying to pay back. To top it off, he publishes (or allows to be published) blatant, bald-faced lies about salary and employment outcomes.

And why, pray tell, is this kid a “proud” incoming 1 L? Since when is getting into Seton Hall something to be proud of? Their admission standards are essentially nonexistent. Seventy-one law schools are ranked higher, and little more than some drool on the LSAT and a scribble on the ole’ loan paperwork will earn one a seat at the ‘Hall. “Beggars can’t be choosers,” as the old saw goes, and with their lousy ranking and location in post-apocalyptic Newark, NJ, the ‘Hall is none too selective.

For the record, I did not go to Seton Hall directly from undergrad. I worked as a NJ Real Estate Broker and bartender/sous chef at a restaurant prior to enrolling at Seton Hall Law. I’ve done every goddamned shit-job there is out there, from cleaning grease traps/hoods to roofing and construction. My family is not rich and I financed 100% of my tuition via loans. When I attended Seton Hall, tuition was 24 K a year, and now less than a decade later that figure has nearly doubled to 43 K a year.

Worst of all is that Seton Hall (and law school in general) doesn’t teach you any marketable skills that are in demand. Instead, you waste 3 years learning ancient, irrelevant dogma like the Rule against Perpetuities and nonsense like UCC-2-207 and other esoteric, pointless drivel. Most of the professors have never practiced a day in their lives, and instead waste what little time they do actually “work” championing moonbat, left-wing crusades like closing down Gitmo.

 The job market is so bad that only 60 of 100 people begging to work for FREE at the NJ AG’s office were actually offered the position:

 http://blogs.findlaw.com/strategist/2009/12/will-litigate-for-food-nj-ag-takes-on-attorney-volunteers.html

 How are you going to pay back your loans on a salary of zero (0) dollars? And with kids from the Top 14 getting no-offered left and right, how do you expect to compete in this marketplace with a laughingstock, also-ran dump like Seton Hall on your resume? It’s not a “misconception” that law is a saturated field, pal. It’s a fact. Just wait until you get dinged at OCI and start sending bale upon bale of resumes to every craigslist, lawjobs, and other job-board posting and hearing nothing in return but dead silence. Wait until you show up in Career Services and the lady buries her head in her hands and tells you to “volunteer and network.”

Here’s another excellent article on a current 3 L at Seton Hall who bought into the “health law” lie peddled by the Valvoline Dean:

http://www.law.com/jsp/article.jsp?id=1202429987288

A choice excpert:

But a big question mark hovers above the class of 2009. Many, like Agarwal, have accepted positions at firms that have delayed associate start dates for six months or even a year. Others accepted offers only to have them rescinded. But many more third-year students, especially at non-elite schools, are uncertain about where they’ll go.

Moreover, they fear that those with more experience may snag the scant few jobs that are available now and the other slots that will open up once the economy brightens.

“Everything kind of sucks,” said William Leef, a third-year student at Seton Hall University School of Law.

Leef worked in the Hackensack, N.J., office of an 80-attorney law firm after his first year of law school. He went back to the firm after his second year and had anticipated a full-time job following graduation. The firm notified him in December that he would not get an offer.

He already has accepted that he likely won’t get a job until after he takes the bar exam this summer, and he’s wary about the competition he’ll face from licensed attorneys who already have experience as associates but have been laid off.

Leef said that the best argument he could make to a potential employer for hiring a recent graduate rather than an associate with experience is that those fresh from law school have a clean slate.

“I guess you could say that they can mold you into their style of work,” he said.

Leef had envisioned working in a health care practice at a private law firm, which was what prompted him to attend Seton Hall, which has a strong health law program, he said. But now? “I’m looking for anything and everything,” he said.

Although experienced associates have the upper hand from the perspective of graduating students, those who are already in the trenches have their own share of anxiety.

Love the line about looking for “anything and everything.” With a Seton Hall JD, that might include roofing, washing dishes, or returning cans and bottles for the deposit money.  How “strong” is that health law program looking now, bucko? This kid’s life is essentially already over. At best he’ll get a 30 K a year gig at some traffic-ticket boiler room or end up in the Barasso doc review gulag for $25 an hour and no benefits. But at least Hobbs is hard at work on the Pirates b’ball program, so maybe this kid has a future washing towels and cleaning the Gatorade buckets. Seriously though, one would think that stories like this would at least compel one to question attending a very poor law school in this moribund economy. 

 I myself did the Honors Internship Program at the Essex County Counsel my 2nd year of Seton Hall. Despite pumping all these contacts both during school and after graduation, not a single one was able to help me find a position. My father has worked in the NJ Insurance industry for 40+ years and he likewise beat the bushes trying to find me a shitlaw entry-level gig, which likewise was all for naught. After months of scrounging temporary document review projects, I was FINALLY able to land a personal-injury job for a whopping 45 K a year.

 My experience was typical. Within months, at an informal Hoboken happy hour, a bunch of my former classmates all met up and expressed deep, chagrined regret at the mistake of attending Seton Hall. Everyone was either on temporary doc review or working boiler-room “firms” for gutter wages and massive stress. The student loans are simply backbreaking.

 You seem to think that the JDUnderground and scamblogger crowd all wanted to end up unemployed and miserable. You’re absolutely certain that for “you,” the law school experience will be radically different. Every single one of you are going to make the top 1%. Every man jack is going to “network” and volunteer and immerse themselves in law like a chrysalis inside a cocoon, emerging in 3 years as beautiful, Biglaw-bound butterflies.

As we scambloggers well know, the reality is that you’ll be flailing around like moths stuck on flypaper. There’s no getting away from Aunt Sallie Mae and the Access Group goons. Eventually, you’ll tire of the struggle and simply whither away and die. So go ahead and make your Facebook page private and ban everyone negative from Top Law Schools. Sign those loan papers and add a few more zeroes to Pat Hobbs’s already bloated bank account. Piss away hundreds of dollars more on casebooks, hornbooks, study aids, exam-taking seminars, flashcards, flow-charts, and whatever other garbage the law school cartel so shamelessly peddles. Sink hour upon hour into memorizing Rule against Perpetuities puzzles until your eyes weep blood. Fork over 4 K more to the BarBri shakedown artists and waste ¾ of a summer cramming the useless drivel and minutiae of bar’zam law into your head.

 Yes kids, do all of the above so you can end up unemployed or at best earn far south of what a garbageman, bricklayer, or janitor brings home for twice the hours and stress. Enjoy yourselves, and we’ll see you in 3 years on JDUnderground wondering how it all went wrong.

The “Valvoline Dean” Scatters Seton Hall’s Seeds

Posted in Uncategorized on June 22, 2010 by lawis4losers

We’d really begun to worry here at Big Debt after seeing the Gulf oil disaster unfold across our TV screens. Not so much for the oil-splattered waterfowl and grease-caked turtles, but more for the health of one Patrick E. Hobbs, the infamous “Valvoline Dean” of Seton Hall Law. Our assumption was that the “Deepwater” blowout excuse was but a mere cover story, concocted to cover up a possible attack on Hobbs by sharks while on one of his many Stafford-subsidized Florida vacation junkets. Surely he (and he alone) had to be the source for a slick that enormous. His very saliva is; after all, where the WD-40 folks found their top-secret recipe. This guy could lubricate a squeaky door hinge just by breathing on it.

 For those new to Big Debt, an explanation: Hobbs was long ago nicknamed the “Valvoline Dean’ by none other than yours truly. Of course, all law school deans are shysters and born liars (see Rothenberg, Karen), but Hobbs has elevated pseudo-sincere “slicksterism” to a form of high art, an oleaginous tour de force of toilet law puffery. His persona is a cross between a used-car salesman and a Tammany Hall politician, with a touch of creepy Catholic-priest piety thrown in for good measure.

 We’d been rifling thru the mail here at Big Debt awaiting our weekly deck of food stamps when a bizarre, maraca-like sound was heard rattling from the sheaves of junk mail. Lo and behold, the old Valvoline Dean was alive and- we take it-quite well. Inside we found a letter that really bears transcribing in full:

 Dear Almuni,

 The value of a Seton Hall Law degree continues to grow as a result of the success and support of alumni like you.

 Our current first year class includes students from 32 states and 155 colleges and universities, making this the largest and most diverse class yet. This trend continues with our current applicant pool, which recently topped 4,000, a record for us. We have regional roots, but we have clearly gained national prominence.

 Among our many achievements, the Law School has recently:

 ● Launched an Online Graduate Degree Certificate Program in Health and Hospital Law;

 ●Convened an esteemed panel of community leaders, lawyers, and stakeholders to discuss the state of autism services in urban school districts,

 ●  Hosted the 11th Annual Representation in Mediation Competition, sponsored by the ABA Section on Dispute Resolution,

 ● Distinguished itself in recent Mock Trial competitions. In both the 2010 and 2009 National Trial Competition, (NTC), three Seton Hall students advanced to the semi-finals, and one Seton Hall Law student was awarded the Best Oral Advocate Award.

 Through the generous support of alumni and friends, we have also raised $23.8 million of our $25 million campaign goal with 12 months still to go.

 None of this would be possible without your strong support. Along with helping Seton Hall Law to gain national distinction, annual giving to the Fund for Seton Hall Law helps to sustain vitally important programming such as: alumni networking events, student scholarships, clinical education serving the most needy members of our community, student organizations, public lectures and so much more.

 As a seed can only grow through careful and thoughtful attention, gifts of all sizes are essential for nurturing Seton Hall’s ongoing development. A gift to the Fund for Seton Hall Law is especially important in part because it sends the message that you value your legal education. Through your giving, you share with others that you are proud to be part of the Seton Hall Law community.

 I trust that the seeds we have included with this letter will remind you of the strong roots you help set by supporting the Fund for Seton Hall Law. Please consider making a gift today. I cannot thank you enough for being part of Seton Hall Law through your continued support.

 Sincerely,

Patrick  Hobbs, aka the “Valvoline Dean”

 Talk about light, sweet crude! This saccharine, slightly oleaginous beg-a-thon letter is like a sack of Jolly Ranchers dipped in maple syrup and then rolled in Crisco. Funniest of all was the starter pack of Forget-me-Not flower seeds included in the envelope (and reproduced above for your viewing pleasure).

 What, pray tell, was this man thinking? Seton Hall grads need nourishing seeds like turnips, maize, and other pantry staples to plant in their “kitchen gardens” to supplement their meager food stamp allowance, not a bouquet of fucking purple flowers. This “gift” is akin to plating daisy fields in Ethiopia. It perfectly illustrates how hopelessly out of touch the law school cartel is with the hard facts on the ground. I doubt even Kim-Jung il would pull a stunt like this on the brainwashed gaggle of serfs he calls a “country,” lest he risk a coup.

 Funniest of all is the dreck about “a seed only growing through careful nurturing and attention.” Here’s a newsflash: Schools like Seton Hall are noxious, loathsome weeds that can sprout from a sidewalk crack, pothole, or roadside ditch. All they need to “grow” is an empty building, some dusty books for the “library,” and a few lazy, obnoxious louts called “professors’ and poof!: the ABA instantly accredits and the Stafford bucks start rolling in. One only need to “just add suckers,” to paraphrase the old Chia-Pet ads.

(As an aside, one wonders how much of that $23.8 million actually came from Seton Hall Law alums, since most live well south of the Federal Poverty Guidelines. Wonder if any of that cash came from bare-knuckle shakedowns like Chris Christie’s infamous Bristol Myers deferred prosecution agreement, which even the Wall St. Journal found morally repulsive. )

 Sadly, this bumper crop of law schools reaps a bitter harvest of shame. Today’s NY Times featured a story here about a gutter Texas law school that is actually paying private firms up to $3500 a summer just to give their loser students “internships.” Perhaps the time has come to question why Ma & Pa Taxpayer are being asked to subsidize worthless disciplines like law that are saturated to the point that schools are literally bribing private employers to provide makework. Imagine an auto body class that smashed cars on purpose, or a fireman-training academy that engaged in arson. It would, of course, be absurd. Perhaps even criminal. Yet the ABA and the soulless, money-grubbing shysters who operate these diploma mills see no problem with this type of behavior, just so long as they’re the ones profiting from it.

 Seton Hall’s placement, as we’ve amply noted here at Big Debt, is almost comically poor. Only 2.5% of their grads made it to the Vault 100 back in the heady boom-days of 2006:

 http://lawfirmaddict.blogspot.com/2006/09/vault-100-placement.html

 That number is no doubt significantly lower in the current economy, likely well south of 1%. We love pointing out as often as possible that Cozen O’Connor, a 500+ biglaw shop located directly across the street from Seton Hall Law, does not participate in OCI at the school or even bother sending a secretary across the street to collect resumes. This speaks volumes about Seton Hall’s utterly abysmal reputation among large law firms (who are, of course, the only employers paying wages sufficient to service a Seton Hall debt load).

 Would you attend a culinary school if a 5-star gourmet restaurant across the street didn’t so much as interview a single chef who’d graduated from said school? Not even for a dishwasher position (which is the equivalent of a staff attorney gulag-gig in law)?

 We didn’t think so. I’d be willing to wager that a culinary school with such an embarrassing dilemma on their hands would soon find themselves out of business. Even funnier: what if said cooking school couldn’t even place grads at the E Coli Café or the Botulism Bistro? You know, those eateries akin to the “greasy spoon” shitlaw firms that chase ambulances and push landlord-tenant sewage thru the municipal-court cesspools? Such is clearly the situation at Seton Hall, where even McDonald’s level-NJ firms are shunning newbie grads for older suckers with a few years of gutter cut n’ paste ”practice experience” under their belts.

 Yet in spite of all this, prospective law students couple extreme arrogance with ostrich-like denial. Some fool on Top Law Schools was actually delusional enough to say “Maybe lots of Seton Hall grads have quit Cozen because the firm isn’t that great.”  

 Suuure they did, pal. And lots of former McDonald’s fry cooks quit their head chef jobs at the Waldorf and returned to man the grease pits for the sheer love of fries. A ‘Hall grad quitting Cozen would be like Derek Jeter forgoing the Yankees to play for the Camden Riversharks! It just ain’t happenin.’

 You can’t totally blame these kids for their rose-colored naivety, however. Apparently, times are so good at Seton Hall Law that the Valvoline Dean has time to multitask. The human oilcan is now not only presiding over a train wreck of a law school, but has simultaneously taken on the “revival’ of the Pirates moribund, also-ran basketball program. Talk about falling upwards!

 Seriously, with the current legal market the worst since the 1930s, don’t the hapless suckers at SH Law at least deserve a dean whose full attention is focused on wooing employers and at least trying to find his students legal jobs? Lest we forget, these kids are paying 43 K a year tuition to attend this toilet. How in good conscience can this clown devote less than 100% of his attention to the painful disaster of waning legal employment? Instead of ninnying about a near-defunct undergrad b’ball program, how about walking across the stret to Cozen and seeing if anyone (even the janitor) could possibly spare 10 minutes to peruse some Seton Hall resumes? Oh wait- maybe the ‘Hall kids can volunteer at the NJ AG’s office like the saps in this article. I’ve heard they’ve lately taken to wearing T-shirts that say “Ooops, where’s my salary?” on dress-down Fridays. Betcha they all count as “employed” for US News purposes too. 

 Really though, can you blame Hobbs for wanting some time away from the depressing, downright pathetic situation unfolding at the law school? Leaving the court of law for the basketball court must be a welcome breath of fresh air, since at least the NBA is still paying crackerjack wages to top prospects. Perhaps it’s even therapeutic, like Patrick Swayze’s doctor delivering a few babies to wash the stench of death off his hands. Uplifting, if you will.

 Today’s lawland reminds us of those grim 1930s Dust Bowl photographs from our high-school history books. Remember those poor overall-clad Okies, brandishing corncobs gnawed clean by locusts and barefoot children waddling in filth?  Old, decrepit jalopies making their way West to the “promise land?” Those tarpaper shacks would today be a “step-up” for most loser insurance defense and doc review attorneys. Deduct loans from salary and most of these folks are worth literally less than nothing.  Under our current laws, these hapless suckers have literally educated themselves into bankruptcy. No discharge for you! A J.D. “credential” grows more worthless by the day as Biglaw continues to hemorrhage work and shitlaw tests new floors for entry-level pay.

 We leave you, as we so often do, with a song.  As Woody Guthrie so famously sang in The Ballad of Pretty Boy Floyd:

 As through this life you ramble,

You’ll meet lots of funny men.

Some who rob you with a six-gun,

And some with a fountain pen.

  

L4L

Law Practice Undergoing “Evolution,” Says Shill

Posted in 1 on March 31, 2010 by lawis4losers

We found this recent article from the ABA Journal rather amusing. Ari Kaplan, a transparent shill paid by notorious doc review gulag operators DiscoverReady, has conducted a “study” of the changing legal industry.

 For those who haven’t had the pleasure, DiscoverReady is a notorious e-discovery sweatshop with offices in NYC. As the ABA article states, corporate clients are no longer paying little “Baxter Davenport the III” from Harvard to scan bales of Broker-Dealer Sub-Agreements at 160 K a year. No indeed.

 The Fortune 500 crew have awoken to the fact that 90% of what law firms do is time-wasting, pedantic drivel, like using tweezers to build a sandcastle. The Wall St “boyz” wised up and realized that legions of unemployed also-rans with JD’s from gutters like Seton Hall, Brooklyn Law, St Johns et al could churn this pointless makework for 1/10 the rate of a 1st year associate. All that was needed was a ruthless “straw boss” to oversee these losers and keep their eyes glued to those screens 12 hours a day. So entered DiscoverReady!

 Countless horror stories about the Orwellian work environment and Big-Brotheresque tactics used by Discover Ready are available at Tom the Temp’s site. DiscoverReady harkens a sort of “reverse evolution”, where human beings are reduced to the status of the higher primates. Upon entering the work site, one’s cell phone must be surrendered and stowed in a cubby in the suite’s lobby. This is to prevent the doc coders from entertaining phone calls about better jobs, and keeping them in the dark about possible family emergencies that could cut into doc review time.

 The worksite is a series of fishtank-like glass enclosures, with strategically positioned “straw bosses” that can view everyone’s screens at all times. Of course, the Internet browsers are disabled anyway, so there’s little chance of anyone checking out Big Debt or other anti-establishment websites while on the clock.

 The saccharine, puff-piece article closes with a hilarious quote from Harvard prof David Wilkin, who “noted a study by the American Bar Foundation and NALP Foundation for Law Career Research and Education that reported more than 70 percent of lawyers were moderately or very satisfied with their career decision.”

“Satisfaction is a blunt instrument,” Wilkins said, “but the portrait of widespread misery is wildly exaggerated.”

We’ll let our readers be the judge of that.

L4L

NY Lawyers: Say “buh-bye” to 18-B work

Posted in 1 on March 23, 2010 by lawis4losers

This article from today’s NY Post reveals that lowly court-appointed criminal defense work-long the province of struggling solos- is now going “up for bids” to legal-aid lowballers.

 This is certainly no surprise to us at Big Debt. Now that legions of deferred Biglaw children are lounging around Legal Aid and other “public interest” enclaves, there’s no economic reason to piss away $75 an hour ($60 for misdemeanors) of NYC tax dollars on some sorry solo schmuck with a broom-closet office on Gerard Avenue. Hell, these Ivy-bedecked Legal Aid  kids are essentially “free” since Biglaw is giving many of them ½ salary stipends, so why not use ‘em? Who the hell cares if some CUNY grad’s lifelong dream of defending child rapists and bodega-bandits is dashed because a Biglaw shop didn’t need little “Baxter Davenport the Third’s” paper-churning billables for another year? We suppose it’s kind of like summer camp for this crew, trekking through the mud of the state-court sewers before donning their monogrammed neckties and spiffy SullCrom attaches down at Ulysses’s pub.

 Of course, the politically correct term for this is “funneling 18b work to institutional providers.” Let’s call it what it really is: another screw-job for the powerless, struggling schmucks who compose 98% of this abysmal “profession.”

 Don’t be fooled by the “outliers” in the article who make 6-digits a year off this court-appointed stuff. In true tabloid fashion, the NY Post has focused on a few shocking anomalies rather than the norm. Fact is, the 18-b crew are a “who you know, not what you know” club, and new members will likely be as disappointed as an ugly teenager waiting for the prom queen to call. Friends of this blog who’ve endured the onerous admission requirements report that they’re getting only a case or two a month at most, and some not even that.

 We find the entire situation hilarious, especially since the Solo Practice Cheerleader crew are always harping about what a great “experience-building opportunity” these court-appointed gigs are. Fact is, for most they do little than prolong the solo practice pipedream. Like Titanic victims who clung to bits of flotsam rather than simply drown outright, the court appointed gigs appear to offer hope, a way to keep one’s head above water for a while. Don’t be fooled. You need to be a full-time solo to join the program, and without supplemental income from Biglaw’s dwindling doc-review gulags you’re unlikely to survive very long.

On the subject of doc review, we eagerly await the hordes of fomer 18B’ers swallowing their pride and taking to the SullCrom coding cellar. They’ll be waxing nostalgic about the crackheads and pimps after a few weeks in this eternal dungeon of hopelessness.  Maybe they’ll at least convince a few starry-eyed coders to pack up the Vista-Print business cards and throw in the towel on the solo-practice pipedream.  Coding ain’t much, but it is at least a paycheck.

 The gang over at Simple Justice are laboring under the delusion that the pathetic 100 K of “lobbying” bucks they’ve committed will actually influence the race to the bottom. He even calls it their “war chest!” It ain’t much of an arsenal, boys. You’re slinging bows and arrows in an age of hydrogen bombs. You’ll lose this battle, and lose it decisively. Hell, the general public already think $75 an hour is beyond outrageous, and have so little respect for your work that they spam craigslist looking for free representation! How many craigslisters troll for free plumbers, free auto mechanics, or free HVAC repairmen? All charge significantly more per hour than most solo-schmuck lawyers, yet the public doesn’t expect them to work for free, now do they? Nor do their trade associations sing the praises of giving away their services from every soapbox big enough to stand on.

 In conclusion, we at Big Debt propose the following changes to the obligatory Miranda warning:

 “You have the right to an attorney.  Since the ABA has approved 200+ law schools, you’re probably an attorney yourself.  

 If not, and if you so desire and cannot afford an attorney, we suggest you try craigslist. Many attorneys there will work for as little as $9 an hour. Surely you can afford that, can’t you? “

L4L

Legal Secretaries Showing some Pride

Posted in 1 on March 18, 2010 by lawis4losers

By now most Big Debt readers have heard about the infamous $10 an hour associate attorney position recently advertised by this Chicago law firm.

 Fans of this blog and Tom the Temp are more than familiar with the recent plunge in NYC doc review rates. The “Swine Group” just staffed a 125+ lawyer gig in Midtown for $25 an hour flat, and a recent project for Bloomberg was paying admitted attorneys $19 per hour.

 That said, we found it amusing that a legal secretary posted this colorful rant on this morning’s central NJ craigslist. How correct she is that high school students (and, we should add, high school dropouts) routinely earn far more money than attorneys and their so-called “support staffs.”

 I wonder how this gal (or guy?) would feel if they’d invested 7 years and over $150,000 to compete with hundreds of recent grads for $10 an hour jobs, or worse yet work for FREE like the pathetic lemmings at the NJ Attorney General’s office?

 By the way, here’s the initial craigslist post that the secretary is complaining about:

 http://cnj.craigslist.org/lgl/1637814302.html

Why Coffee Trashed Harry

Posted in 1 on March 12, 2010 by lawis4losers

    

We diverge a bit from our usual fodder here at Big Debt this week, and instead give a quick shout to American hero Harry Markopolos, the dogged whistleblower who for over a decade struggled to bring Madoff’s billion-dollar Ponzi scheme to the SEC’s attention.    

Mr. Markopolos is not an attorney, and (not surprisingly) takes a view of the bar that could’ve come straight from the pages of Big Debt. Below are some choice snippets of an interview Mr. Markopolos gave the NY Times on March 1, 2010:    

 Are you saying the S.E.C. under Schapiro is about to catch fraud on Wall Street?
She has the wrong staff. They’re a bunch of idiots there.
    

What do you mean?
The five commissioners of the S.E.C. are securities lawyers. Securities lawyers never understand finance. They don’t have the math background. If you can’t do math and if you can’t take apart the investment products of the 21st century backward and forward and put them together in your sleep, you’ll never find the frauds on Wall Street.
    

So why doesn’t the S.E.C. hire finance people? Why don’t they hire you?
They’re overlawyered. They’re poisoned by lawyers.
    

Light this man a cigar! Bravo to Harry for correctly pointing out the major problem with most attorneys: they simply aren’t very bright.    

Law, after all, is a degree of last resort: a dumping ground for obnoxious, insecure also-rans who lacked the creativity for art and the brainpower for higher mathematics and science. Long an academic “lifeboat” for drowning liberal-arts losers, it’s one today peppered with holes and sinking by the head. Harry’s spot-on about the bar’s total lack of math ability: most lawyers remove their underpants when required to count higher than twenty. Law was always a “short bus” industry, but now the Cooleys of the world are quickly reducing it to straitjacket status.    

Any mouth-breather can drool on the LSAT, sleep through 3 years of Socratic time-wasting bullshit, and scribble some passable gibberish on the ole’ barzam. It’s essentially a standardless “profession.” As the old saw goes, the MCAT determines if one goes to med school, while the LSAT merely determines where one goes to law school. Just being a lawyer has of late become a joke in itself, now that the “Top 14” are getting a Taste of the Toilet.    

With the above in mind, it was beyond arrogant for John Coffee, a Columbia Law securities “professor,” to condescendingly denigrate Mr. Markopolos’s qualifications to be the SEC’s next chairman in today’s Wall Street Journal:    

     

“He is what the commission needs only if the commission needs an emotionally unstable idiot savant,” said John Coffee, securities law professor at Columbia Law School. “You cannot be serious. He was right but that does not mean he will be right again.”
 
 
 
 

We’re rendered speechless. For an arrogant, do-nothing slob law professor suckling the Stafford loan teat to criticize an independent, mathematical genius like Markopolos simply transcends hilarity. The bigger question is why anyone at the Wall Street Journal asked this blowhard’s opinion in the first place? What the hell has John Coffee ever done to earn a shred of respect, renown, or credibility? Making 200 K+ to bully a gaggle of second-year lemmings a few hours a week in some coma-inducing securities law class?  Publishing obscure law review articles on Footnote 12 to Subchapter 9145(b)V19ii of the Omnibus Corporate Paper-Churning Act? You might as well ask Forrest Gump’s opinion on cold fusion as query an Ivy-league law professor about a topic that involves independent reasoning and complex mathematics (to say nothing of common sense). 

Imagine being a “fly on the wall” in Coffee’s securities law class when the Madoff scam went down. Poor Coffee, facing all those raised hands asking why this securities law ”genuis” missed the 900 lb gorilla in the room? Adding insult to injury, ole’ Harry was a mere “layperson.” Oh the horror! For those Columbia kids it must’ve been like finding out your woodshop teacher doesn’t know which end of the hammer to grab.  

 If unraveling Madoff’s scheme was such a lark, why couldn’t John Coffee and his Columbia colleagues have figured it out years ago? After all, most law professors enjoy more leisure time than the Maytag repairman, and have a slave-labor pool of sycophant research chimps on call in the lab 24/7. Their Bluebooks are sticky as a teenager’s porn, and nothing would arouse these nerds like a delve into high-level securities paperwork. Coffee and this Ivy-league crew should’ve cracked the Madoff file long before Harry.     

 Mr. Markolpolos’s expertise and eloquence speaks for itself. We at Big Debt won’t sit by idly while the pompous, overpaid assclowns of legal “academia” heckle this hero. It’s an envy endemic to law. Everyone knows the Biglaw partners seethe with jealousy at their hedge-fund clients, who earn more in an hour than most attorneys will in 4 lifetimes. Just look at jokes like “hourly billing,” whoring oneself out in 6-minute increments like a Tuesday-afternoon stripper giving a lap dance. Pathetic.   

 And it’s no secret that Mr. Markopolos’s opinion of the bar is echoed by many Wall Street boyz who simply lack the balls to say so in public. Harry really touched a raw nerve by correctly pointing out that law is essentially a joke of an industry, the perennial laughingstock of the corporate world. Or, as Harry so succinctly put it, “a bunch of idiots.”   

  

L4L

Good Times!

Posted in 1 on March 9, 2010 by lawis4losers

Our pals at the National Jurist published a recent article entitled “The Good That Could Come from this Recession.” Editor-in-Chief Jack Crittenden ruefully notes that; for the past several years, “law schools became filled with many…….who were more focused on a good return on their investment.”  

How right you are, Jack! Just look at Karen Rothenberg (former UMD dean), who couldn’t scrape by on a mere $410,000 a year salary. Not even close! Ole’ Karen just had to squeeze another 350 K in phantom sabbatical cash from U of Maryland’s lush udders.  Talk about “returns.”  She was literally paid to do nothing! Compounding the hilarity is this letter penned in her defense by “Professor” Larry Gibson, who helpfully noted that he’d urged Dean Rothenberg to “use professional representation in any negotiations she had with the university.”

Gee whiz, Larry, since when do “educators” need agents? I thought education (and legal education especially) was a calling, not a mere job? Did Socrates need a “Scott Boras” to force those ungrateful Sophists to pay up? We always understood that the man taught for free. How funny that the law school cartel scream pro bono’s praises until their larynxes bleed, but behave like A-Rod shaking down Steinbrenner when it comes to their own plush paydays. Oh for the love of pedagogy!

While we’re rolling out sports analogies, let’s gallop westward to our favorite punchline: the Thomas M. Cooley Law School.  Lest we forget, Cooley received ABA accreditation for having more “O’s” in their name than any existing law school. Rich in vowels but poor in job placement, our pals at Cooley recently purchased the naming rights to a minor-league baseball stadium. We’ve been pondering for weeks just how this deal was hatched. Did a phantom spirit command Cooley’s dean, like the voices in Ray Kinsella’s cornfield?:

“If you build it, they will come.”

Rather than a Field of Dreams, Cooley’s “education” is more like a barren sandlot of nightmares. Perhaps future Cooley grads can launder uniforms and mop up tobacco expectorant down in the new dig’s dugouts? Hell, they’d count as “employed” for US News purposes, so why not? Once these kids “go the distance,” someone’s gonna have to “ease their pain.” Talk about swinging at nothing. This toilet temps you with a fat pitch, then rears back to throw a slider in the dirt. Did I mention the umps are bribed? It’s like a Black Sox version of baseball’s Special Olympics, featuring ”Shoeless Tom” Cooley!

Between innings, you might catch a radio ad for the esteemed Touro Law Center, located just a stone’s throw from Biglaw’s swanky digs in the Big Apple. This toilet took to the airwaves to hawk its unemployable grads, buying 30 second spots on WCBS 880 in NYC.  Talk about guerilla marketing! Why not go balls-deep and have some local graffiti artists “tag” area buildings with Touro’s logo? It might work. Just imagine: Da Crips, Da Bloods, and Da Touro! Maybe pipe the radio ad thru some phat bass tubes and cruise the ghetto looking for new recruits. Respeckt, motherfuckas!

Given the above, it transcends hilarity to expect “ethics reform” (as called for in the National Jurist article) with pigs like the aforementioned running the show. It’s like putting a pedophile in charge of a preschool. These porcine, money-grubbing scoundrels have no interest in “improving” anything other than their obscenely fat paychecks.

Make no mistake- these charlatans’ hypocrisy is nothing short of sociopathic. It takes a special breed of swindler to face an auditorium full of 300+ kids and know that 95% of them face nothing but misery, unemployment, and debt-induced poverty three years hence. To know that your paycheck is deducted from their future- that you’re selling a rusted pipedream at platinum prices- is beyond shameful.

The acrid bitterness of recent grads (and their blogs) merely give “credit” where due, and with compound interest. I wish to God that every law school dean in America could spend a week amid the filth, soot and cockroaches of Paul Weiss’s NYC basement gulag, staring 14 hours a day into a burned-out tube monitor for $21 an hour (that’s what these scum pay admitted NY attorneys on their doc review gigs). Make the deans defecate in the festering, Porta-Potty sized Paul Weiss bathroom that us temps had to share with homeless street urchins under Rockefeller Center. Let them wallow in the mess they’ve made; reap the hopelessness, debt and suffering they’ve sown.

The only real “reform” necessary is returning law to its rightful place as an undergraduate degree (or even an apprenticeship system). A simple and obvious policy follows, to wit: State bars should immediately eliminate graduation from an ABA law school as a licensing prerequisite.

There’s absolutely no reason why America’s countless community colleges should be foreclosed from minting new lawyers. In an era of Google Books and Lexis-Nexis, the need for dust-choked law libraries has long passed. Imagine small classes taught by local in-the-trenches attorneys, people who have actually “practiced what they preach.” We’ll wager that many of these folks would teach a night or two a week for as little as $4000 a semester,  and do a much better job than the tenured Ivy-League pricks who recycle the same irrelevant drivel year in and year out.

Most importantly, these graduates could actually afford to “give something back” and perform meaningful pro-bono work while in school. Furthermore, they might actually be competent at it. Under our new law school model, kids would fill out HUD-1 forms, draft complaints, and maybe tag along in court or attend depositions with their professors. They’d get a real look at practice, taste the water instead of the mirage. Surely this would prove more useful than memorizing Rule Against Perpetuities puzzles and the other pseudo-intellectual drivel that passes for an ABA law school education.

The savings in eliminating the bloated deans and adminstrator’s salaries is beyond colossal. Why should someone who doesn’t even teach earn 400 K+ a year? More hilarious is the metric by which success as a dean is defined: the “Holy Grail” of the US News rankings. Who, aside from naïve pre-law message board geeks, cares whether Seton Hall or Car’Bozo is ranked 79th or 56th or whatever? Both schools are perennial losers that charge Yankees field-box prices for bleacher seats at a little-league game. Cellar dwellers in the TTT League’s Eastern division, nothing more. Would a community-college law degree be any more embarrassing than one from these dumps and their ilk? We think not.  (Our own Seton Hall degree went into the dumpster many moons ago. It now rots in a landfill like the rest of our once-ambitious dreams).

After all, law was long ago stripped of even a vestige of “prestige.” Just watch a few hours of daytime TV and count the hoards of ambulance chasers groveling for your bullshit injury case. Sadly, the insurance lobby has tightened payouts on all but the “Humpty-Dumpty” type injuries, where one literally has to carry his own fractured skull into court in a shoebox to get 10 K out of Allstate (and that’s on a good day). You’re in “good hands” all right- until you file a claim. Then they whip out the iron fists.

Our legal system is the laughingstock of the entire Western world, and rightly so. We lock up potheads and free pedophiles, churn 984,945 pages of paperwork for a trailer-park closing on a doublewide but miss Madoff’s billion-dollar heist, and so on. No wonder the general public, per Gallup’s poll, equates the “profession” with used-car salesman and ad execs on the honesty scale:

http://www.gallup.com/poll/9823/public-rates-nursing-most-honest-ethical-profession.aspx

The ABA has naturally abdicated any responsibility for the systemic, widespread disaster they’ve sown by accrediting the Touros, Cooleys, and Seton Halls of the world. Demand for new lawyers outside the few dwindling Biglaw slots is essentially zero, and now outsourced Indian boiler-rooms and websites like Legalzoom are stripping away the few scraps upon which most TTT grads once fed. If we’re going to allow anyone to become a lawyer, let’s at least make it affordable. Or, as we’ve previously argued, pass a Motor-Lawyer law akin to the Motor-Voter act, where one is admitted to the bar at the same time they receive their driver’s license. Just hurry while you’re inside the DMV, as a Touro grad might steal your hubcaps.

L4L

Shipping out ShitLaw

Posted in 1 on March 3, 2010 by lawis4losers

It was only a matter of time.

Yes, Big Debt fans, the inevitable outsourcing of ShitLaw is now underway. These recent comments from a NY no-fault attorney’s blog reveal that lowly insurance defense work- long the province of TTT grads- is now being churned in Bangalore instead of the Bowery. So long, ShitLaw, and bon voyage! Here’s a link to an Indian LPO (Legal Process Outsourcer) who boasts of handling no-fault insurance pleadings for several NYC firms (left side of page).

As we’ve long predicted, it was only a matter of time before the insurance defense boiler-rooms sniffed the savings in shipping their legal effluent offshore. Like a welfare recipient buying “Coach” on Canal Street,  the rinky-dink firms just couldn’t resist following their Biglaw brethren down outsourcing’s parade route. Monkey-see, monkey-do.

Do you blame them? After all, if the AmLaw 250 crew trusts these Third World “lawyers” with billion-dollar M&A deals, patent litigation review and other high-ticket items (all with the ABA’s nascent blessing, of course), why wouldn’t Crash Jackson Esq. let them cut n’ paste bales of whiplash motions together for his $1200 fender-bender files?

If anything, the insurance defense sweatshops were latecomers to outsourcing’s bandwagon. We speak from experience here, having launched our legal “career” from a  $40 K a year downtown no-fault mill (no kids, that number’s not missing a digit) back in 2006. Sweet Jesus, the memories.  King’s Civil Court, 141 Livingston Street, Brooklyn. The infamous 9th floor “no-fault” part.  

How fondly we recall the motions being wheeled into chambers via a  rusted Pathmark shopping cart,  its wheels buckling under the weight of so much legal toilet paper. John, the grouchy but loveable court clerk, had Stage IV throat cancer and would hack blood while rasping at us losers to “shut the Fuck up and listen for your case” during calendar call.

He wasn’t kidding. John kept a .38 special, sans holster, tucked in the waistband of his trousers. Sometimes he’d hammer a stapler inside a steel wastebasket to get the attention of us barristers when the din of no-fault bickering crossed a certain decibel level. Hell, even a chainsaw operator would cringe at how loud that place could get. We still awake at night with ears ringing, recalling the nightmare of $347 neck-brace negotiations. Those old “dollar collars.”

That said, John was one of the few good guys you’ll meet in the miserable sewer of  ShitLaw practice. He realized full well what a pathetic waste of time the entire charade was, and how poorly paid we were paid to boot. Your humble narrator’s constant complaining once led him to announce: “if you monkeys ever form a union, you’ve found your shop steward.” They just don’t make ‘em like John anymore. Blue-collar Brooklyn all the way. A Mets fan. God bless the old bastard. Cancer long since carried him away to that big courtroom in the sky.

For those unfamiliar with no-fault practice, a brief primer: It’s the legal equivalent of stamping license plates in a prison metalshop, only at lower wages and more authoritarian working conditions. In NY State, a driver’s own insurance company pays medical expenses and lost wages regardless of accident fault. This moronic idea, hatched by “policy” wonks in the NY legislature, naturally resulted in systemic and wholesale disaster. To wit:

Mobsters get two junkyard cars, register & insure them, and then recruit homeless dudes and illegal immigrants to stage minor accidents. The police are summoned, an accident report prepared, and the scammers then begin “treating” at bogus outer-borough medical mills operated by the crime syndicate. The insurance carrier is then billed for the phony “treatments” plus a truckload of phantom medical supplies like canes, neck braces, massage units, and so on. NY even allows billing for quack “medicine” like aromatherapy, acupuncture and other witch-doctor nonsense.   

Like the Lilliputians in Gulliver’s Travels, these parasites teamed up to hamstring the insurance carriers. Remember kids: a cloud of mosquitoes tops a tiger’s death toll any day. The rules & caselaw all favor this infectious swamp of scammers, and billions have been stolen from NY drivers as a result of this ongoing heist. Shady collections law firms “buy” collections files from the clinics at 50 cents on the dollar, file Summary Judgment motions, and then just wait for the case to come up on calendar. For every victory, the medical mill gets an additional cash kickback. The byzantine rules and massive deluge of cases (150+ a day in Brooklyn alone) make it death by a thousand cuts for the carriers, who simply raise rates rather than pay a living wage for the cases to be properly litigated.

That doesn’t stop the occasional IDH (Insurance Defense Hero) from slipping thru now and then. All veterans of ShitLaw know the type. These barristers make up for their abysmal salaries in bare-knuckle belligerence and “fighting the good fight.” Unlike the usual hung-over, half-asleep J.C. Penney clad schlubs of ShitLaw, the IDH struts into court like Clint Eastwood entering a saloon. For their 40 K a year they’d take a bullet for Geico or Allstate, and take it with pride. Every case is like “High Noon.” One almost expects an IDH to come flying into depositions wearing tights and a Superman cape. We’ve often thought of pitching this character as an action-hero cartoon. Just imagine:

“Slower on the LSAT than a lobotomy victim, more powerless than a day-old fart, able to cut n’ paste huge motions with a single click- what’s that flying into court?

It’s a BIRD-it’s a PLANE- no, it’s the INSURANCE DEFENDER !”

Hell, we’d watch it. So would you. 

Today it’s not uncommon for no-fault associates (or what’s left of them) to earn as little as 25 K a year, with turnover measured in hours opposed to months. After just 6 weeks at my first no-fault gig, I’d already risen 7 seniority notches on the letterhead. But wait: this “firm” gets even funnier:

Too stingy to buy motion-exhibit tabs, they’d instead have us cannibalize incoming papers for their office-supply content. 

“Just pry apart the Velotex binding and yank the fuckers out”, said the partner. He even had a custom-bent screwdriver designed just for that purpose. We associates swapped these exhibit tabs like inmates trade smokes. An “Exhibit A” and other high-alphabet letters were always in short supply, whereas a “Q” was common as cabbage. Whenever someone quit we’d quickly plunder his desk to “stock up” on these much-needed supplies. One nasty, rodent-like guy who’d lasted 10 months had a real motherlode: eight “A’s” and eleven “B’s” stashed in his drawer. Or should I say “under his drawer.” Well hidden-the prick. For what motion he was saving them I have no idea. We called him “the squirrel.”

This dump also printed us our own cheesy business cards on that perforated cardstock you can buy at Staples. For laughs I’d bring the whole sheet into court and just rip them off as needed, like a dispenser. Once I gave this hot Wilson Elser chick a whole uncut page of them, but she never called me.     

Sadly, my once-rising star was an elevator to nowhere. Insurance defense work is so boilerplate and mindless that many firms “dump” experienced associates once a certain salary threshold is reached (roughly 60-65 K). Five year’s experience isn’t worth much more than five minutes, and it’s simply more cost effective to “keep the line moving” with freshly minted suckers from  Car’Bozo, Brooklyn, NYLS and other gutter schools than pay experienced associates a living wage. Now that Bangalore & Co. are handling all the paper-churning, these insurance “firms” can simply troll craigslist for per-diem clowns to show up in court and bicker over the cases for as little as $25 a file. Like the Joads in The Grapes of Wrath, these migrant barristers wander the court system like fruit pickers.

The work was beyond mindless. Like the A-Team, if you’ve seen one episode, you’ve seen ‘em all. The characters changed while the script stayed the same. Day after day, year after year, squads of TTT grads trekked off to court, got yelled at/berated by court personnel, and limped back to the office to cut n’ paste the next day’s sad mountain of paperwork together. “Lateral” options from this practice area included can & bottle scrounging, panhandling on the 7 train, or becoming assistant fry cook at Burger King. 

Note that the above is written in past tense, akin to a eulogy. Miserable yes, but these insurance-mill jobs (along with serfdom in Biglaw’s doc review gulags) were essentially the only option then available to scores of non-elite grads. Now it’s all over but the singing. With tuition at laughable NYC law schools now creeping toward 50 K a year, we sincerely wonder when the TTT’s Ponzi scheme will finally & fully collapse. How many student loans need go underwater before the suicidal insanity of this “education” sinks in? How many more schools will the ABA accredit, how many stadiums will bear Thomas Cooley’s name? How many more overpriced sabbaticals will Karen Rothenberg “not” take (oops, wrong post.)

What’s left of NYC doc review (which is very, very little) now pays rates as low as $25 an hour, sans overtime. Just read Tom the Temp’s blog. And even these crap-jobs now demand 2+ years of electronic discovery experience. With many Top 14’ers getting gut-punched by Biglaw, the situation will grow exponentially worse from Fordham’s underbelly on down thru the lower intestines of  Brooklyn, ‘Bozo, and NYLS. Look for a logjam of these grads to start piling up as outsourcing clogs the sewers they once travelled.

Along these lines, we leave you with an old NJ joke (we’re Seton Hall grads, after all):

  “Trenton, flush your toilets- Philly needs the water.”

  

 

 

 

Lawis4Losers aka L4L

“Dean” Karen H. Rothenberg, Come on Down!

Posted in 1 on February 22, 2010 by lawis4losers

 

Dean Karen Rothenberg, “come on down!” You’re the next contestant on this week’s exciting episode of Big Debt!  Step right up to Contestant’s Row and compete for millions in Stafford loan loot, alumni shakedowns, and lush government subsidies. All yours for the taking Karen, here behind the big doors on The Price is Right!  

For those not in our studio audience, this bulletin: News broke over the weekend that former dean of laughable TTT toilet U. Maryland Law, Karen Rothenberg, received $350,000 in compensation for several sabbaticals she apparently never took. Like most pseudo-academic lowlifes who suckle at the Stafford Loan teat, Karen’s apparently corrupt as well as lazy. The incident reeks of backroom dealing and criminal shadiness, all par for the course in the cesspool of today’s education racket. Read about it here:

http://articles.baltimoresun.com/2010-02-20/news/bal-md.audit20feb20_1_audit-target-ex-dean-payments

This booty was, of course, on top of her $371,000 a year “base” salary. Now we know where all those juicy tuition bucks (and alumni contributions) have been going. One hopes that all U Maryland alumni immediately destroy any future donation solicitations and never fork over another dime in light of this scandal. With scores of recent U of M grads unemployed or begging for Beltway area doc review drudgery at $19 an hour, I’ll bet Maryland’s taxpayers are thrilled that they’ve fattened this oinking pig’s already bulging pocketbook.

Let’s also note the patent absurdity of a “sabbatical” for a mindless, cut n’ paste slop job field like law. According to the article, “sabbaticals are designed to give professors time away from teaching and administrative responsibilities to conduct research that will benefit the university and enhance their academic standing.

Hilarious! Hell, the curriculum hasn’t changed since the horse-and-buggy days. Was she going to pay the U.K. a visit to brush up on the history of arson v. houseburning, or spend hours digging into the subtle nuances of International Shoe? We hear the Rule in Shelley’s Case is long overdue for a scholarly dust-off.

If that was the idea, we hardly blame her for skipping out. Kids, remember: “by their deeds ye shall know them.” Law is such a boring, dreary, and utterly mind-numbing discipline that even so-called “scholars” avoid it like herpes given half a chance. Remember how “Rain Man” would mindlessly memorize telephone directories?  He’s exactly the sort of fellow who’d excel at what passes for legal scholarship. It’s true that these folks need an “institution” to flourish, but it sure ain’t a law school. From what we’ve seen, legal research consists mostly of cutting and pasting long-winded passages of the dullest drivel on Earth (most of which wasn’t worth reading the first time) into progressively longer strings of painfully verbose excrement. It’s kind of a reverse alchemy, where one turns lead into shit.

And “give them time away from administrative responsibilities?” What, pray tell, are these? Fabricating a bunch of self-serving lies to publish in the glossy admissions brochures? Tracking down the one student who scored a gig at Skadden while ignoring the shrieking breadlines full of also-rans? Generating bullshit temporary ”research” positions for recent grads so they count as employed for your pals at US News?  Most laughable is the line about “enhancing academic standing.” C’mon now. Everyone knows that there’s the Top 14, and outside that a gaggle of pathetic diploma mills that jockey for #47 or #61 or whatever in US News each year. If these clowns had any pride in themselves, they’d simply cease participating in this farce much as the dental schools rightly did years ago.  Or maybe pull a Thomas Cooley and invent their own rankings (sadly, Cooley showed their short-bus colors by not ranking themselves #1 in their own comical publication).

Let’s be honest, folks: Sabbaticals were designed for disciplines which require intellectual innovation, independent thinking, and the discovery of cutting-edge information. Archeology, chemistry, medicine, botany- these are the areas that spring to mind. Areas rich with new scholarship and genuine academic discourse. Folks who love learning simply for learning’s sake, in other words. Law does not qualify. It never did.

For most of American history it was simply a trade akin to blacksmithing, carpentry, and plumbing. Young barristers served an apprenticeship, learned the basics, and then commenced practice. Of course, where does that system leave Karen and her ilk in academia? Isn’t it far better to pretend law is some “majestic” intellectual cipher that one can only decode by investing 3 years and  thousands of dollars in tuition, fees, study guides and so on? How did Lincoln, Darrow and Webster scrape by without paying the Karen Rothenbergs of the world $371,000 a year to give annual pep talks about “pro-bono” and “giving something back?” It’s a question that far too few ask.

I hope that any potential law students reading this blog appreciate this rare “peek under the hood” at the engines of this so-called profession. Make no mistake: these people are scum. They are liars, cheats, and swindlers more viscerally corrupt and morally bankrupt than the boiler-room con-men who swindle old-timers out of their Social Security checks. At least those geezers have one foot in the grave already. The law school shysters prey on our youth, saddling them with non-dischargeable debt based on outright lies about salary, employment, and the practice of law itself. Every last God-damned one of them should be doing the perp-walk. At least Madoff’s “investors” didn’t have to spend time with the SOB. In law, you face your fleecers every day while enduring their pedantic ego-trips and phony concern for your future.  The legal education con makes Bernie seem a mere piker.

One hopes the Maryland legislature turns this episode into a “teachable moment.” Here’s Lesson #1: Strict administrator salary caps for any school which participates in the Stafford Loan program. Sabbatical scandal aside, it shocks the conscience that a law school dean is worth $371,000 a year while recent grads struggle for sporadic doc review gigs at $19 an hour and no health benefits. For what are these kids paying? Her “intellectal firepower?” A toddler pissing in his squirt gun boasts a better arsenal than most lawyers, including our vanuted Supreme Court. Law really is for losers.

Remember, the “product” these schools produce is essentially worthless. Mark Greenbaum’s excellent LA Times op-ed (reprinted in full on this blog) notes that law schools produce exponentially more grads than the industry can absorb, and in areas like the Beltway this is doubly so. They could padlock this toilet along with American and George Washington and still the DC market would struggle to absorb just the Georgetown kids (many of whom labor in doc review despite their spiffy Top 14 status).

Let’s hope Karen leaves The Price is Right studio with some lovely parting gifts, like a criminal indictment and long stretch in the slammer.

This is your host Law is 4 Losers reminding you all to help control the legal population- have all deans spayed or neutered. So long everybody!

UPDATE Tues. 2/23:  A Google search reveals this hilarious discussion of the Dean on a sports blog: http://www.insidemdsports.com/forums/showthread.php?t=29373

Apparently, some students sent around a private email comparing a photo of a homely professor with a member of the band Run DMC. A stoool pigeon who’d hacked into someone else’s email tattled to the dean, and she called in all parties for a lecture on “ethics” and “racism,” etc. Here’s an excerpt from the thread:

Yes, and it only came to light, and MattW had to have a meeting with Dean Rothenberg to have his “ethics” questioned because ”MattW” sent a private e-mail to the Editor-in-Chief of our Journal with this pictorial comparison for a cheap and juvenile laugh. No big deal.
 The sycophantic teaching assistant to the Journal sponsor who was on the journal (who was in your Class of ’05 and had been turned down for Editor-in-Chief because he was also somewhat psychotic) had, unbeknownst to everyone, been regularly hacking into the Editor-in-Chief’s e-mail and monitoring said e-mail.
 Said sycophantic teaching assistant runs to the Deans and the journal sponsor with the e-mail containing the pictorial comparison.
Administration doesn’t say a word to sycophantic teaching assistant about the fact that he violated Maryland law by his electronic hacking, nor is he penalized in any way, but all hell breaks loose for MattW for having the audacity to send a private e-mail to another student that is considered to have racist undertones.”

Too funny. As we’ve argued before on Big Debt, the fact that these deans get to sit in judgment of others is beyond laughable. They themselves are as corrupt as it gets, with their fake employment stats, bogus salary numbers, and (in Rothenberg’s case) unearned sabbitical cash funneled through a backroom deal. I hope the investigation comes down hard on this miserable, hypocritical, money-grubbing old hag. 371 K a year is an astronomical salary for a pointless, do-nothing cupcake job like running a toilet law school. The message board continues:

Yes, my friends… this is Maryland Law. And they wonder why I pretty much laugh in their face when they call asking for money now.
 
Good for you. I always tell my law school that I’d donate to Al Queda and the Man-Boy Love Association before I’d give them a cent. Time to padlock these toilet schools once and for all. There aren’t enough jobs for 1/10 the number of grads these diploma mills crank out. Shut ‘em down.