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Pump and Dump


I don’t mean to intrude on Paul’s beat, but in case he’s too shell-shocked by yesterday’s Broncos game to comment immediately, I thought it was worth noting that the very richly compensated John O’Brien and the particularly egregious con he’s running law school he heads are getting some mainstream press attention:

New England Law, Boston has operated in the shadows of the ­region’s more prestigious law schools for decades, trailing so far behind in some measures of excellence that US News & World ­Report does not include the downtown campus in its widely read ranking of 145 better law schools in the nation.

Yet the school’s longtime dean, John F. O’Brien, may be the highest paid law school dean in America, pocketing more than $867,000 a year in salary and benefits, includ­ing a “forgivable loan” that he used to buy a Florida condominium.

“It’s a remarkable sum to pay a dean of a law school, never mind the dean of a bottom-ranked law school,” said Brian Z. Tamanaha, a law professor and the author of “Failing Law Schools,” a 2012 book critical of the nation’s legal education system.

O’Brien is paid about as much as the president of Harvard University and more than three times the median salary of law school deans nationally, says a study by the College and University ­Professional Association for Human Resources. Indeed, New England Law could not name a single law school dean in the country who makes more than O’Brien.

Update [PC]: I’ll have quite a bit more to say about the friends of John O’Brien soon.

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  • divadab

    Consider the career of Mr. Feld as CEO of Lehman Bros. His total comp during his tenure was in the range of $850 million. And at the end of his tenure, Lehman was bankrupt.

    Perhaps NEL is providing something other than a rich sinecure for its Dean. A safe home for latter-day remittance men, perhaps?

    Riding a sunsetting institution for maximum personal gain is a highly effective strategy, albeit of uncertain duration.

    • Jameson Quinn

      Would it be legally possible to make it so any top executive that richly-compensated is personally liable for the crimes under his watch? Even without beyond-a-reasonable-doubt proof that he knew about it?

      • Ken

        The whole point of corporate law is that the people who run a company are not responsible for what it does, nor will they suffer personally if the company goes bankrupt.

        This is how you can tell Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations was written before the development of modern corporations – his entire argument for how capitalism works, Invisible Hand and all, was based on the idea that the business manager’s fortunes were inseparable from those of the business.

        • salacious

          Actually, Adam Smith very much understood that point; the Wealth of Nations was strongly anti-corporation…. (Which, of course, meant something different at the time Smith was writing, but the point stands)

  • Craig Burley

    A CEO would normally be compensated according to the returns generated instead of product quality. It’s a scandal is that NEL continues to be accredited, true (and that O’Brien himself plays a role in accrediting organizations). But it’s business.

  • Vance Maverick

    Opening the front page of LGM this morning, I got an ad for beauty school. Following the link to this post, I got another for an online MA program in “new media journalism”. I fully expect that when I click “Submit Comment”, the page will reload with an ad for New England Law….

    • Vance Maverick

      Nope — a degree program in “Legal Studies”, from “American Public University”.

      • wjts

        I still can’t believe that American Public University beat my beloved Hollywood Upstairs Medical College in the d-CON Rat Poison Everybody Goes to a Bowl Bowl.

  • Bruce Vail

    University of Maryland may have NEL beat:


    The audit did not give a full accounting for benefits to Rothenberg.

  • DrDick

    Hey, it is hard work generating profits for a diploma mill!

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