The impending closure of a low-ranked California law school featuring cratering bar passage numbers, soaring graduate debt, and terrible employment outcomes seems to have driven friend of the blog Steve Diamond (a law professor at another low-ranked California law school featuring pretty much exactly the same things in a slightly less spectacular form) right over the edge.
Ever since Whittier’s central administration decided to pull the plug on their increasingly embarrassing law school, Diamond has been letting loose frankly unhinged-sounding tirades against anyone who dares to suggest that this just possibly might have been a justifiable decision, as opposed to a neoliberal Cato-funded crypto-racist conspiracy to . . . OK read it for yourselves, if you’re in the mood to get out of the boat:
Here, Dean of Northwestern Law School Dan Rodriguez makes the radical suggestion that people either criticizing or defending Whittier’s decision to close its law school might not yet have all the relevant information. It turns out he’s a closet racist who hates Hispanic people like Dan Rodriguez, and is also engaged in a conspiracy to improve California’s bar passage rates, or something (I confess I’m not paying super close attention, so maybe one or more of the stalwart LGM crew can explain the theory at work here. Be sure not to miss the comments!).
A couple or three data points, since we all love the data:
The average educational debt of 2016 Whittier law grads who had such debt (about 90%) was probably around $250,000. (This figure is derived as follows: the average Whittier grad who took out law school loans took out $179,056 in such loans. After accrued interest and fees this would equal about $210,000 when the first bill came due in November. Average undergraduate debt these days at graduation is around $35,000, and interest also accrues on that when people are in law school.)
A grand total of 29 of Whittier’s 141 2015 graduates were known to be making $52,500 or more ten months after graduation. 38 of 141 had jobs as lawyers.
Given that only 22% of Whittier’s first-time takers of the California bar passed it in July, those numbers seem unlikely to improve for the latest graduating class.
Diamond’s statistics on lawyer salaries in Orange County are about as relevant to the question of whether it’s a good idea to go to Whittier as statistics regarding the salaries of tenured professors at UC-Irvine are to the question of whether it’s a good idea to enroll in a fifth-rate graduate program.