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A brief comment on comment policies


Updated below

Over at The Faculty Lounge, Steve Freedman, assistant dean of admissions at the University of Kansas Law School, announced a couple of days ago that he was going to offer a series of posts about why right now is a great time to go to law school. (The first two are here and here. TL;DR: Less law students means more jobs for law graduates.)

Freedman predictably got some push back regarding his thesis, with Brian Tamanaha providing the most trenchant criticism:

Please address the apparent contradiction in advice like this. Assuming no substantial change in the legal market (for better or worse), the job outlook for graduates stands to improve precisely because fewer students are enrolling in law school these days. But of course, if significant numbers of people take your advice and “enroll today” (thinking three years hence the oversupply of law grads will be eliminated by falling enrollment), then the job outlook will worsen as a consequence because the oversupply will not go down as much. So your prediction will bear out only if most people thinking about law school do not take your advice.

It’s notable that Freedman has already closed comments to his second post, even though none of the comments were inappropriate in tone or substance, unless of course harsh criticism of one’s arguments is considered inappropriate per se.

I’m not picking on Freedman in particular in this regard, as I’ve noticed there’s a strong tendency among legal academic bloggers to either not allow comments at all, or to cut them off for no apparent reason other than that they’re highly critical. This fact says something, I think, about the level of deference that legal academics become accustomed to from their usual audiences. Apparently failure to provide that deference can easily get interpreted as “lack of civility,” or “insolence,” or some other form of lese majeste.

This in turn probably helps explain why it took so comparatively long for the legal academy to notice the disaster that was overtaking so many of our graduates. Under the circumstances, developing something other than a flypaper-thin skin in regard to criticism might be in order (especially given that we’re supposed to be training future lawyers).

Update: In regard to Prof. Lisa McElroy’s comments in the closed thread, comments at JD Underground are most definitely not closed.

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  • BoredJD

    Lisa McElroy’s comment is particularly appalling. I was going to respond. Too bad.

    Maybe they don’t understand how these types of discussions tend to wander and turn into arguments between the commenters about tangential points? IMO that type of activity is very healthy for any online community, but I think the professors see it as uncouth and uncivil. They expect a reserved, genteel country club, other website owners prefer a rowdy dive bar. Either way, it tells you something about the speaker.

    • cpinva

      “Lisa McElroy’s comment is particularly appalling.”

      yes, it is. this causes me to suspect “ms. McElroy” is actually asst. dean freedman, in drag.

    • Barry

      “They expect a reserved, genteel country club…”

      Where they are in the ‘in’ group, and there are a very narrow range of views in debate.

      They’re also good dealing with students, who’d better toe the line.

      What they are not good at is dealing with real debate.

  • Peter Aduren

    Compos, again you fail to recognize that those of superior intellect and reknown have nothing to gain by providing a platform upon which the uneducated commentariat may peddle their nonsense and challenge their betters. Brilliant scholars like Brian Leiter need not share your masochistic pleasure in having the internet excreta flung toward their radience.

    • Mary Rosh

      I completely agree with Peter’s cogent points, and besides Leiter was the bestest prof EVAR.

    • Scott Lemieux

      Hold on — Peter Aduren? Mary Rosh? I detect…insolence! Back to your proper place, peasants.

      • Sprezzatura

        Sock puppet!

        • Definitely not Scott Lemieux

          But a darn good one, you must admit.

  • ichininosan

    Once the blame-the-students comment from Drexel Professor Lisa McElroy went up in the comments thread, it was pretty clear that this could not possibly end well for Steve et al.:

    “If these ‘young people’ cannot evaluate for themselves the information Steve offers and accept it without question, then they are ill-prepared for law school.”

    • BoredJD

      This is prime evidence from the extreme disconnect between someone who graduated from Harvard Law School and the students she purports to teach, many of whom, yes “cannot evaluate” the information because people raised in America tend to trust what they are told about higher education.

      • BoredJD

        To expand on this a little, the difference between students who go to Harvard and students who go to Drexel, in terms of how well they’ve thought out law school and can estimate their likelihood of a median or suboptimal outcome, is probably not that different. Just as many Harvard students want to go be constitutional space law sports lawyers as Drexel grads.

        The difference is that “regression to the mean” for a Harvard grad means a job at a middle-tier biglaw firm making 160K out of law school, while “regression to the mean” for a graduate of Drexel is life ruining debt and a crappy paying job.

      • Former Editor

        I’d add to this that when the numbers reported by law schools are consistently gamed (if not outright misrepresented) to provide a more rosy picture than is reality it is more than a little disingenuous for law school faculty to then claim that students should have done a better job of “evaulat[ing] the information” offered.

        • Barry

          I would use a term like ‘stinkingly dishonest’. I would use ‘fraudulent’, but it’s clear that the courts have place law school fraud in the same category as US government torture – something to which the law will not be allowed to apply, since it would implicate too many powerful people.

      • Whose Paranoid Fantasy?

        McElroy’s apt term for it is “rarified”:

        Generations of Americans have been fascinated by law school – for my parents, it was The Paper Chase; for me and my law school classmates, One L; for my law students, Legally Blonde. There’s something inherently captivating about watching the kind of rarified establishment that most Americans believe law school to be, even though, of course, all of these epic accounts were situated at Harvard Law School, an institution that’s quite unlike any of the schools where I’ve taught and most other American law schools, for that matter.

        [Emphasis mine].


    • Guggenheim Swirly

      then they are ill-prepared for law school.

      Which won’t keep Drexel from accepting them, of course.

      • Hogan

        But that’s not Drexel’s fault.

        • Yargh!

          Pepper thy Angus, Drexelophilae!

    • Former Editor

      Of course, if these students are so ill prepared for law school as to be unemployable afterwards, shouldn’t we also be wondering why a law school would keep them for three years and let them graduate, rather than failing them out?

      • Why should we be wondering, when the answer (money money money) is so obvious?

        • Former Editor

          I was being, like, rhetorical and stuff.

  • i think that the arrogance of power is uncivil, but i’m not a law prof, so possibly standards are different where freedman teaches.

    (and given that he teaches in kansas, maybe they are!)

  • cpinva

    in my business, we have lawyers like freedman and McElroy for light snacks, before we get to the main course of actual, practicing attorneys.

  • Ronan

    A briefer comment on your brief comment on comment policies.

    Nicely said.

    • Autonomous Coward

      A brief comment on your brief comment on his brief comment on comment policies.


      • Ronan

        The briefest comment possible on your brief comment to my briefer comment to his brief comment on comments policy:

        ; )

        • Autonomous Coward

          • Ronan

            I think we’re stretching the boundaries of what a ‘comment’ is here ; )

            • JoyfulA


              • Jon


        • Warren Terra

          If I were to comment with just a period, might that mean that the writer’s point had been made? And might I therefore win, as no fewer pixels could be used in a subsequent comment?

          • Ronan

            I’m not sure there are going to be any winners on this subthread, Warren.
            But I think that would be sufficient to get out with your dignity intact.

          • Ronan


          • Ronan

            I WIN

            • Jon

              I should read the whole thread before I try to get cute.

        • cpinva

          could y’all please be briefer?

          • No. I’m a boxer-brief man.

  • MacK

    One of the things at the Faculty Lounge is that Dan Filler systematically deletes comments – often those that respond to personal attacks by say Steve Diamond – while leaving Diamonds up. Indeed he often changes the meaning of whole threads.

    McElroy is actually an assistant prof at Drexel – the most endangered school in PA – along with Filler. Dan Filler is acutely sensitive to anyone saying negative things about Drexel and especially anyone mentioning his dealings with Leiter and Diamond – he gets very very upset. Must be looking for another job….

    • Johann

      And, it seems, Steven Freedman himself worked in admissions at Drexel for 5 years. Drexel really seems to be a nexus of this stuff.

      • fledermaus

        Geez the pimp Drexel from “True Romance” had better moral foundation than that sorry group.

    • Former Editor

      There does seem to be some content-editing going on. I had a comment adding the LST evaluation of the ABA data deleted on the main ABA released info thread.

  • Drug policy blogs have the same problem. Technocrats don’t like ideologues very much, because they don’t think people who take a consistent position for ideological reasons are very smart. (This is also a dynamic in the relationship between liberal hawks and the anti-war left.)

    • Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitude

      • Toberdog

        Just one multitude?

        • Autonomous Coward

          Woah, mang. What if, like, we’re all made up by a bunch of multitudes, like each atom or whatever is another multitude?

        • Are we using BMI or what?

        • cpinva

          “Just one multitude?”

          yes, but it’s a very large one.

    • NonyNony

      Technocrats don’t like ideologues very much, because they don’t think people who take a consistent position for ideological reasons are very smart.

      I don’t think it’s just technocrats who think like that, Dilan. You’re speaking from a position of pretty fucking deep privilege if you can “take a consistent position” on everything for “ideological reasons”. Almost nobody can do this.

      • Two people on this blog appear to me to have managed it. Of course one is Dave Nieporent and the other is Lev, so “not very smart” is pretty accurate.

    • Anna in PDX

      Wait, everyone who sticks to any principle at all is an “ideologue”? This seems to be a strange use of the term. I am all for pragmatism, but “ideologue” is a sort of negative word for people who have convictions. Like most people, I have strong convictions about some issues and am more of a pragmatist on others, and I bet those who discuss law school admissions would say the same. Furthermore, I suspect those who are upset about law schools’ negative cost/benefit ratios would not consider themselves “ideologues” on the issue at all – just realists. If law schools were more affordable and there were more decent-paying jobs for new grads, they would modify their position on the issue.

    • Warren Terra

      Mark Kleiman’s blog was if not quite destroyed substantially crippled because of unhinged fans of drug use, people who saw in the moderation of Kleiman and his cobloggers an infuriating refusal to profess the one true faith that unregulated and unrestricted pot use will usher in a golden age of utopia.

      • BarrY

        OTOH, Mark is the sort of technocrat who is outraged about abuse of statistics by legalization advocates, but not by any BS by prohibitionists.

      • navarro

        although i agree that leagalization totalitarians were a real pain in the comments, the difficulties they caused did not warrant the destruction of the commenting ecosystem that kleiman, humphreys, et al. have perpetrated by going through multiple changes in commenting systems and the elimination of the comment archive. i know they said some months ago that they would be working to get those back but it hasn’t happened. what once was an interesting and valuable blog with many knowledgable commenters expressing a wide variety of points of view has become a wasteland. it is a pity.

  • MacK

    I would add vis-à-vis Ms. McElroy that as a graduate of Choate (possibly the most expensive private boarding school in New England), current tuition $52k p.a.), Dartmouth and Harvard – it would seem that she came from private means sufficient to not have to borrow to go to law school – something that makes the arrogance of her posting even worse.

    • Anonymous

      God she appears more of a cliche with every new piece of background information.

      • MacK

        She boasts of going to Choate – it appears that the former Ms. Tucker comes from a background, and lives in a milieu where her expensive waspy prep-school matters maybe 2-3 decades later…Obviously someone who went to Choate would know better than going to Drexel law, no matter what BS they peddled

        • guthrie

          It’s not that they know better, but that the name has no cachet so doesn’t appear on the radar. It’s about the name not the actual end results, although the rich are generally rich enough that the end results are good no matter what.

  • Gwen

    Hrm. Reminds me of my experience with the Toyota dealership earlier this week.

    I had a check engine light with three engine codes, and a master warning light. I checked the codes. One was covered by a Toyota recall, one is about a part that is known to be faulty in the Prius (but isn’t covered by a recall), and the other is the catalytic converter (specifically lean O2/fuel ratio).

    Service told me I had some work to do. In inquired about getting a new car instead. The sales guy tried to get me into a $400/month lease on a new Prius, because he said my trade-in would only be worth $500.

    (BTW, I am pretty sure I can keep the car running fine for another couple years with some minor repairs, up to and possibly including an after-market catalytic converter).

    In short — why am I going to pay $400 a month to drive a Prius I won’t own, when the Prius I do own is falling apart at 92,000 miles? At this point, shouldn’t I be talking to someone at a Ford dealership?

    If law school is a “great deal” because nobody is going anymore… isn’t that a sign you should be trying to go to business school? At the very least, law schools should slash their tuition prices if they really want to make a deal.

    • Gwen

      But anyway, legal academics are often just car salesmen with tenure and without humility.

      • I have a Toyota that I bought in 2001. The dealership has made a lot more money servicing my car then they would’ve by having me trade it in for a new model by now.

        • That was me, btw.

        • sparks

          I have a Toyota I bought in 2007. The dealership has made less than the equivalent of two car payments doing repairs and maintenance. I don’t do maintenance at the dealership since they tried to upsell me for a repair job it didn’t need.

          Oh, and the car has <30,000 miles on the odometer. :)

          • I live about 30 miles from the dealership, and they know that I can find plenty of places here in Hickstown, CA to do the work for less than they charge if they try to screw me over. The only time I’ve had work done here is if it would either entail towing the car out there or stuff that was so trivial the drive wouldn’t have been worth it.

    • Marek

      Trade you my Stratus for your Prius.

  • Hogan

    “Oh, nobody goes there any more. It’s too crowded. Which is why now is a great time to go!”

    • N__B

      It’s like the grandfather paradox, only with discos instead of time travel.

  • ichininosan

    Drexel, the lowest school on the totem pole of the flooded Philadelphia law school market. Consider the median LSAT scores (and percentiles) over the past 3 years:

    2011: 159 (77.6%)
    2012: 157 (70.9%)
    2013: 155 (63.9%)

    Not surprisingly, the admissions rate climbed from 35% to 45% over this period.

    In this context, blaming your increasingly less-intelligent students for not being smart enough for law school if they fall for an admissions dean’s misleading sales pitch is worse than arrogant.

  • The emperor is nekkid as a jaybird – Aaah!

    [Sounds of small child being pummeled by imperial soldiers]

    ~6 months later~

    The new emperor declares a year of mourning after his father dies of hypothermia.

    • Barry

      “The new emperor declares a year of mourning after his father dies of a freezing curse placed on him by a witch, paid for by his enemies. The mass burning will be on Saturday, starting at 9 AM.

  • Nobdy

    This is part of the deep corruption of the legal academy, not just in terms of promoting a product that ruins lives, but in their academic work as well. As a group they simply do not brook criticism or argument againt their “genius” and so, of course, their untested arguments are often deeply flawed and “not ready for primte time” when they are published in journals that lack peer review and are run by frequently sycophantic desperate for approval students.

    Not wanting to be criticized, argued with, or even insulted is a very bad thing when one is pursuing “the truth.” The soundness of an argument is often revealed when tested against other arguments.

    • Former Editor

      I’m not sure it’s entirely fair to call the student-editors frequently sycophantic and desperate for approval. A frequently ignored dynamic at law reviews is that faculty publishing in a journal coming out of there school may have direct power over the grades of the student editors. It’s hard to blame students for giving minimal push-back when they fear retaliation, of a kind that may have long-term career impacts, from the author.

      • Former Editor

        Obviously, I should have edited that post a bit before clicking submit. Apologies for the typos.

      • Nobdy

        I mean, they may not be sycophantic and desperate for approval in all aspects of their lives, but the situation you describe does tend to breed sycophancy and approval-seeking. I don’t really blame the editors, there’s an insurmountable collective action problem when it comes to offering real pushback (especially since there are so many more journals than worthwhile articles) and it wasn’t really my intent to attack them so much as to point out that the law journal system is very poorly designed if the goal is to produce good scholarship.

        One could imagine a system with strong principled passionate student editors forcing law professors to hone their arguments to a razor’s edge, but it’s not the one we’ve got.

        • Former Editor

          I can’t argue with that. Unless you have particularly principled student-editors or a very active faculty advisor, the current system will lead to little quality control past initial article selection (if then).

          Frankly, I’ve come to believe that most student-edited journals do little more than cut and paste a supplied article into their publication format and send it off to the printer. I recall one instance from when I was a student editor where we rejected an article after our first wave of editing because we discovered extensive and pervasive plagiarism only to see it appear in a secondary journal from another school in exactly the same form a few months later.

          • Nobdy

            Don’t forget fixing the horrible grammatical and bluebooking condition most articles arrive in. Law reviews do do a lot of copy-editing, which ends up ammounting to so much unpaid student labor, even though law profs also have stipends for RAs who should be fixing some of this stuff.

            • Former Editor

              At the lower ranked journals, especially the specialty ones, I don’t think there’s even much competent copy-editing or cite checking going on. For one article I recently had published the editorial staff actually introduced mistakes that I had to remove in the proof.

      • cpinva

        perhaps this just publicly displays my academic naiveté, but the conflict of interest just jumps right out at me. student run publications, it seems to me, should strictly be publishing student written articles. if a professor wants his/her article published, submit it to an independent professional journal.

    • JoyfulA

      I guess there aren’t any trial lawyers in the bunch.

  • Not only legal academia. I’ve commented a few times on a group blog by academics in another field, one time in particular where someone was peddling nonsense about polling about abortion. The person who wrote the post pushed back, I firmly told him that no, it wasn’t an opinion I was sharing, that instead he had absolutely no idea what he was talking about and that polling showed the exact opposite of what he was asserting. He responded by removing my comments and sent me an email complaining that that blog was for civil discussion.

    No surprise, btw, when a few months later my wife pointed out he’s become a semi-regular contributor to a bad blog/column in one of the major national newspapers.

    • Srsly Dad Y

      Ever tried posting anything other than a hosannah comment at Brad Delong’s place? Permanent ban. He considers it a “drive-by.” Unless you’re in his social circle, I guess.

      • Huh. He followed me for a short while on Twitter. I don’t remember the details, but he posted something about some GOP campaign decision and said it was stupid. I made the argument that there was plenty to ridicule the GOP about, but the thing he was talking about–wish I could remember what it was–that it was actually probably a smart move by them, or at least something that was the best of the poor choices available to them. I think some time within the next few days he unfollowed me. Maybe because he thought there wasn’t anything for him to get from my tweets. But it did make me wonder.

        • Srsly Dad Y

          Obviously it’s his blog (which I follow) and his attention space to do what he wants with, and I don’t flatter myself that I have much to teach him, but he definitely manicures his exchanges in the academic style.

  • ChrisTS

    If prospective students are smart enough to figure it out for themselves, the original article was unnecessary, yes?

    • N__B

      Isn’t this pretty much the definition of begging the morons question?

    • Twopoint Five

      That’s actually kind of funny

  • Gwen

    I read the debate over the McElroy comments over at JD Underground.

    I’m not sure McElroy is a bad person, but I think is a typical, self-obsessed, clueless member of her generation. My parents and their peers just can’t seem to understand why kids graduating from law school aren’t rich.

    Basically, it’s the Old Economy Steve effect.


    • I half agree. She is not a bad person for getting a great education and using that education to take a job offering the best balance of $ / work that she could find.

      What does make her a bad person is the active defense of misleading statistics in an effort to increase the number of students who actively ruin their life by accumulating hundreds of thousands of dollars of non-dischargeable debt and no job prospects.

      Self indulgent navel gazing and ridiculous writing is really just a bonus in my humble opinion.

      • MM

        She is a bad person for defending a fraudulent system that encourages young people to encumber themselves with hundreds of thousands of dollars of debt due to dishonest employment statistics.

  • RPL

    Anyone employed at Drexel Law who is not looking for a new job is, in the words of a great philosopher, “Foolish and Deluded.”
    Five years ago Drexel, with great fanfare, named the school after a big donor named Earle Mack. Last December, when no one was watching, Drexel took down Mack’s name, with the consent of the Earle Mack Foundation. The school quietly announce that it was suffering from declining enrollment and the global financial crisis and the Mack Foundation and Drexel “jointly concluded that this will require an economic foundation beyond what established by his gift and the university’s matching funds.” Naming rights to the school are now available again. You don’t have to read very far between the lines or know much about the local situation to conclude that the school is in big economic trouble and must close unless it can raise additional tuition revenue or find a sugar daddy to endow it. Raising additional tuition revenue is unlikely (understatement alert). Three of the five other law schools in the Philly area are also in serious distress, as is Penn State, which is not in the Philly market but would like to be. Ergo, finding a big donor is the only hope short of Devine intervention (to which Villanova has a better claim). The school obviously hoped the Earle Mack Foundation would play this role but it declined. Its decision to take its founder’s name off the door represents a desire not to be associate with the school when the bailiff’s men arrive. Perhaps a sucker — sorry, philanthropist — will appear but its hard to see why anyone would want to be associated with a law school that is a laughingstock.

    In addition, Drexel meets two of McK’s criteria for a law school that will close: (1) it has a reputation far lower that its parent university and (2) it occupies prime campus real estate on a landlocked urban campus where space is at a premium.

    Say goodnight, Dick.

    • Johnny

      Maybe that’s when McElroy is ‘visiting’ at Denver this year?

      • Funkhauser

        Reminds me. You know who else is visiting a California school _from_ Denver this year?

        It’s like the musical chairs of profs who make bad arguments.

    • Hogan

      the only hope short of Devine intervention

      What does the driver in Stagecoach have to do with this?

      • catclub

        Beat me to it.

  • Jojo

    As I was not permitted to reply to Ms. McElroy on The Faculty Lounge, allow me to trounce her here.

    Ms. McElroy, maybe if you spent less time vacationing and boasting of all the fine places that your job as a law professor has afforded you the opportunity to visit, and more time reading, you would be competent to do something other than vacation and boast. (You know, like to practice law or to argue like an adult).

    First question, “How is Steve hurting young people? How is he making things worse? How did he hurt anyone back in 2008?”

    First Answer: (quote directly from Steve’s post)
    “In 2008, we said ‘Don’t worry law applicants, by the time you graduate in 2011, everything will have recovered and your employment prospects will be boffo.’ The next year in 2009, we said ‘Don’t worry, in 2012 the economy will be booming and law firms will be beating down your door to hire you.’ In retrospect, our advice was lousy as 2011 and 2012 were two of the worst years ever to graduate from law school.”


    Second Question: “Is your claim that every member of a JD class should get a job, no matter how poorly she did in school, no matter how unprofessional her conduct is, no matter how ill-suited she is for the profession (something potential employers can glean through interviews and recommendations)?”

    Answer: No, that is not my claim. That is a straw man argument addressing a claim that I did not make.

    Revised Second Straw Man Answer: Well, Professor McElroy, your claim is that law school is worth it at any price regardless of how bad the employment market is and regardless of the alternatives, and I fully disagree with it.

    Answer with refutation of Straw Man Question: Currently 1/2 of the students don’t have FT, LT jobs. Saying that in 4 years 1/4 of the students won’t have such jobs is marginally better, but not good. There surely are a few students who are unemployable in law through no fault of the law schools, but that is an exceedingly small percentage. Don’t forget, the universe of people we’re talking about here are law school graduates — people who graduated from college and did not flunk out of law school.

    If Steve were projecting a job shortfall (using his numbers) of 710 students rather than 7,100 (2.5% rather than 25 percent), I’d be with him. But he is not saying that, now is he?! Rather, he’s saying that the milk and honey days four years hence still will mean that one in four law school graduates does not have a full time, long term job in law. That’s a terrible outcome, not a good one. Get that number into the single digits and then we’ll talk about going to law school.

    Question 3: “When I read about that ‘Harvard educated’ lawyer, I thought a couple of things. I thought that lawyer probably had no ability whatsoever to work with others, or had screwed up some major case, or had been disciplined by the bar. He’s not going to put that stuff in a Craigslist ad. But sometimes, just maybe, people are unemployed because they didn’t work hard in law school or in a previous job. In other words, it’s not the law schools’ fault.”

    Answer: Wow, this is revealing. It is so threatening to your worldview that someone with your credentials could be soliciting doc review jobs on craigslist that you assume this person has ethical problems, or else is lazy or inept or both. I believe the phrase we use in polite society is “blaming the victim.” It really is that bad out there for many lawyers. The fact that this guy is out there hustling for business tells me he or she is not lazy.

    It is bad out there for even good lawyers. Like breadlines bad. That’s why the critics are so vocal and angry. That you’re oblivious to this is a comment on you and the ivory academic tower, not on them.

    That is all.

    • BoredJD

      I’m paraphrasing Prof. Campos but it is extremely hard for some members of the American meritocracy to accept that sometimes in this country people don’t get jobs for the simple, obvious reason that there are more people looking for jobs than there are jobs to get.

      It’s also interesting because this idea that you can explain away the unemployed and underemployed as lazy/stupid/bad networkers/smelly/socially inept is a line of thinking that law school applicants instinctively jump to when presented with employment statistics.

      • Anonymous

        It’s been said before but it bears repeating, “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it.”

    • Col Bat Guano

      I love how she assumes 25% of law school graduates may be too stupid and/or unqualified to get a job. Heck of a talent pool you’re working with there.

      • Barry

        Heck of a talent pool she *recruits* and feels comfortable charging close to $200K for training.

        • Jake

          Yeah, it’s kind of reminiscent of the time that only 30% of Thomas Jefferson School of Law was able to pass the bar one year, and the school explained it away by noting that the class was unusually dense.

          There’s at least a glimmer of truth in that argument, but, still, maybe not the argument you want to be making if you’re in her position.

  • Manju

    So you’re opposed to closing debate, Campos? And you want us to believe you’re not bringing Jim Crow back?

    • Hogan

      BAM. Tip o’ the hat.

    • Jake


  • Barry

    ” It is so threatening to your worldview that someone with your credentials could be soliciting doc review jobs on craigslist that you assume this person has ethical problems, or else is lazy or inept or both.”

    Better: ‘Feeling a draft, eh? With a degree from the most elite law school on the planet, you are teaching at a miserable fourth-tier excuse for a law school. Drexel is high on people’s lists of law schools whose life expectancy is low, and whose demise will be a good thing. And at that point we’ll see what sort of job you end up with.

  • SD Atty

    There is a Siege Mentality apparent in both the original posts’ and the professors comments.

    I really think that law professors need to back off this subject. Their inability to maintain objectivity is clear.

    They should be striving for greater transparency and openness to win back respect. Not peddling a false bill of goods.

    • Former Editor

      I honestly think that many faculty members don’t believe that they are “peddling a false bill of goods.” It is simply that the disconnect between much of the legal academy and students/attorneys is so severe and the academy itself is such an echo chamber that faculty can’t even comprehend that their view of the state of legal education is discredited.

      • Anonymous

        For them to be honest, they’d have had to ignore a lot of data. And notice that both the dean and the professor are making profoundly dishonest arguments.

        • Jake

          I think they really do think that they can use their intellect to solve the problem. As if they were tracking down an elusive case back in their brief time in a white shoe firm, and then perfecting their brief.

          It’s rare to find one like Campos who is open to data that shows the true nature of the problem.

          Hint: It’s not “The Economy.”

  • Scott Lemieux

    McElroy’s last follow-up comment might be even worse. I hope Paul will get to that eventually…

    • Former Editor

      Very true.

      “If the law school is so terrible and lacks judgment in admitting students, why would a student then choose to go there? It’s all in the student’s control.”

      Basically, her argument is: A law school shouldn’t be blamed for admitting students that lack judgment because those students should have possessed the judgment to realize that he school made a mistake by admitting them.

    • Learner

      This is basically just the “caveat emptor” defense of scammers. No one put a gun to your head to take part in something that scammed you. So it is all your fault and scammers are blameless because you could have just walked away.

      Too bad that argument didn’t seem to work with Bernie Madoff.

      • BoredJD

        Bernie scammed the wrong folk. People stricken with affluenza are simply unable to appreciate the idea that anything bad could happen to them!

      • cpinva

        “Too bad that argument didn’t seem to work with Bernie Madoff.”

        it might have, had Ms. McElroy been his attorney. ok, probably not, but you can be sure she’d have gotten her fee up front, in cash.

  • terry malloy

    Choate. . . Ha.

    Marquis St. Evrémonde is alive and well.

    • Let them Eat IBR

      I was thinking more in terms of Marie Antoinette and cake…

  • Drexel’s Million Dollar Degrees

    Lisa McElroy was a contestant on “Who Wants to be a Millionaire?”


    • maxx785

      From the JD Underground thread:

      “She’s also been on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire and the dummy screwed up the $12,500 question: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RnqDBAIELXs

      Nightclub comedian Norm Macdonald got to the million-dollar round and McElroy flubs the $12,500 question!

      Didn’t you work hard enough Lisa? Maybe, just maybe, you’re not smart enough to win a television game show prize.”

      fmllawyer (Apr 11, 2014 – 10:23 am)

      • Ahuitzotl

        lots of freude in that little schade

  • maxx785

    From the JD Underground thread, and worth repeating:

    “The high cost of legal education coupled with the crushing effect of non-dischargeable student loans are the problem. And the law schools aren’t addressing this. Instead, they’re trying to hide this fact from prospective students.

    If law school debt was dischargeable in bankruptcy, the JDs who couldn’t get jobs would not be destroyed. Prospective students deserve to know that this is the risk they are taking, especially when going to a school like Drexel.”

    municipald1 (Apr 11, 2014 – 12:35 pm)

  • Alexander

    “If these ‘young people’ cannot evaluate for themselves the information Steve offers and accept it without question, then they are ill-prepared for law school.”

    How the hell are you supposed to evaluate something and then go on to accept it ‘without question’?

    • Ken

      I think the intended parsing is “If they can’t evaluate the information, and instead just accept it without questioning, etc.”

      Though as has been pointed out by others, there’s not much daylight between that and “If they’re stupid enough to believe what we tell them…”

  • Bullyfear

    Classy move Paul, pretending to provide objective “commentary” about a phenomenon in the blog-o-sphere but, in reality, simply sicking your rabid band of pet bullies on someone. It’s kind of a theme that runs through your blog posts. I’m sure you’re feeling mighty self-satisfied that you can heap such ugliness on someone else.

    • Mary Rosh

      Sock it to ‘im, Bullyfear!

      • Lee Rudolph

        Any relation to Seemoan Bullyfear, the Great Liberator?

    • Sincere

      You must be new here, Bullyfear. This is Paul Campos’ modus operandi. He picks a target and unleashes his army of anonymous losers at them. I suppose even a failure of an academic has to get his kicks somehow.

      • Modus Operandi

        Hey! I ain’t nobody’s nuthin’!

        And just whose what are you, anyway?

        • blighter

          Professor Brian Bullyfear Aduren Pushkin Philostudent Leiter is a one man army of anonymous losers.

    • Anonymous

      Bully Fear and Sincere,

      Let’s discuss the issue (assuming your can expand your intellect beyond your ad hominems). Begin by stating something substantive and relevant (anything really), and let’s see how things go from there.
      I mean, say anything. Say something.

      • Brain Lighter

        Insolent wretches! You shall all pay for your impertinence!

    • Hogan

      It puts one in mind of the worst excesses of the French Revolution, it does.

  • Jenny

    Do people really not know that Paul Campos only got into the scam blog game because he was forced to take on some of his ex (a former student’s) debt? Any claims that he’s some kind of hero or ideological crusader are bogus. This is a purely self-interested individual, which makes it all the more ironic that he’s willing to heap ad hominem abuse on others.

    • What in those circumstances suggests something bad as opposed to something good?

      heap ad hominem abuse

      Whoops, taken in by parody again.

    • Snarki, child of Loki

      That bile would taste much better with PANCAKES

    • Sincere

      I believe the point is that Paul Campos doesn’t actually give a shit about the students who get screwed over by the law school scam. He gives a shit about his pocketbook.

      • Was that point made? Not yet seeing it. I mean, if my friend has X problem, and I need money to solve it, and I can do it by helping others avoid the same problem, and then I make money on it… What exactly is the problem there?

      • maxx785

        It’s not a point, it’s an allegation of the sort that Bullyfear/Sincere pretend to be decrying.

    • Anonymous

      No, we don’t, Jenny. But please present everyone with facts to back up your claims! [bated breath]

  • Pingback: "Did You See How They Were Living? How Can You Delude Yourself?" - Lawyers, Guns & Money : Lawyers, Guns & Money()

  • An admissions dean and out of touch Drexel prof make up and defend statistics in an effort to drum up more enrollees in an obviously failing endeavor and Campos is the bad guy. I love it.

    Campos, Brian T, DJM, Bill Henderson, etc are probably the only law professors in this entire thing of ours that are deserving of the label “integrity.” I hope that they know it. I suspect that, deep down, their critics do.

    • maxx785

      My version –

      “an obviously failing (and life-destroying) endeavor”

      Never ever forget the toxic effects of non-dischargable debt.

  • Whose Paranoid Fantasy?

    Here’s something from a blog post McElroy published a year ago regarding NYT’s (and, in particular, David Segal’s) “war on law school”:

    People trusted the Times, and they supported the Bush administration’s war on terror. But the WMD turned out to be (put generously) a paranoid fantasy or (more critically) an outright lie. Is the war on law school based on a similarly flawed premise? And, if so, will the Times one day eat – or at least, temper – its own words?

    To be honest, the post is a hoot and I howled while reading from start to finish http://lisatuckermcelroy.wordpress.com/2013/04/10/the-new-york-times-continuing-coverage-of-law-school-deficiencies-wheres-the-beef/

    • Whose Paranoid Fantasy?

      Whoops, just noticed that the post actually was first published in December 2011 and subsequently published on McElroy’s personal blog last year.

      Does IBR/PAYE constitute a WMD considering the eventual massive IRS bill?

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