A federal court has tossed out a lawsuit against one of the Infilaw scam factories, on the basis of the ever-popular rationale that it’s the marks’ own fault if they buy the grifter’s pitch:
Last week, a U.S. district court judge in Florida, quoting an earlier decision tossing a suit against New York Law School, said prospective students at Florida Coastal School of Law are “‘a sophisticated subset of education consumers, capable of sifting through data and weighing alternatives.’”
In dismissing the case, the Florida judge said the plaintiffs knew Florida Coastal had some of the lowest admissions standards in the country, and because of that, a rosy employment statistic “would have been a red flag to a reasonable consumer.” The plaintiffs alleged Florida Coastal masked how many graduates held jobs actually requiring a law degree.
LGM readers may remember that last year Drexel law professor Lisa McElroy made a similar argument, although she glossed over the whole awkward “fake employment stats” thing:
I don’t understand why it is deplorable. The students enrolling in law schools have the information about job placement, bar passage, etc. Presumably, they have decided that they will fall on the positive side of the statistics. They make the choice to accept the offer of admission. The law school makes a commitment to educate them to the best of its ability. 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.
McElroy has just published a novel about a spunky 112-pound (weight given in text) 1L and her noble law prof mentor at Warren Law School, which bears more than a passing resemblance to Harvard Law School, from which McElroy graduated. She is also an alumna of Dartmouth, and Choate Rosemary Hall. Current costs of attendance for these institutions:
All this must make Drexel ($196,000) seem like a relative bargain, especially given the serious shortage of law schools in the Philadelphia area.
I’ve only read the free preview of Called On on Amazon. I was considering a Go Fund Me campaign to raise the necessary capital to purchase the electronic version, but the ever-intrepid Dybbuk has demonstrated what can under the circumstances be considered the last full measure of devotion to the Anti-Scam Cause by actually reading the whole thing. His review can be found here.
This passage seems particularly germane to McElroy’s attraction to the doctrine of caveat emptor in its most vigorous form:
“Connie [the law prof] sat and watched. For all the crap law school had been taking in the media lately, this was the kind of class discussion that proved all the “law school is a scam” bloggers wrong. She didn’t have to do anything but get the students started with a provocative question. Then they took over.”
The theory here seems to be that since all it takes to get an educationally valuable experience rolling in a
Harvard Warren Law School classroom is one provocative question, it therefore makes sense to spend nearly $200,000 to get a JD from, say, Drexel.
One of the prime symptoms of the new gilded age is that people like McElroy, who enjoy high-paying phony baloney jobs at the expense of people who didn’t go to Choate, Dartmouth, etc., often fail to appreciate that a sense of delicacy and circumspection might be warranted when the temptation arises to flaunt one’s privilege.
Why I love to travel: I’ve gotten to attend a Samburu wedding in Kenya, hang out on the ocean floor with sea turtles in Belize, sail through the sky on a parasail with my younger daughter on Block Island, speak to Italian law students about how common law systems work in Genova. What’s not to love?
My most memorable trip: For my birthday a couple of years ago, my husband and I took a luxury white water rafting trip down the Futaleufu River in Patagonia, Chile. As if the Class V rapids weren’t adventure enough, we got stuck in the biggest earthquake in fifty years. We were fine, but getting home was quite a challenge.
My favorite trip with my kids: For another birthday (OK, I’ll admit it, my 40th), the whole family hit Puerto Vallarta for a week. The kids loved the pools and the beach; my husband and I appreciated the great small restaurants and the art culture.
Can’t wait to get to: The Great Barrier Reef. After recent trips to Palau and Belize, I’m now a certified scuba diver and can’t wait to dive down under!
What I love about family travel: The whole family unwinds and hangs out together. There’s usually no cell phone service. We eat a lot of crazy stuff (ice cream for breakfast, squid for dinner, anyone?). No one blow dries her hair. We explore together to find folk art to bring home – all the better to remember our trip.
What I least like about family travel: Our dogs usually have to stay home.
And (in the Paper of Record no less):
Which is to say, I was gone. Two thousand miles away. To a couple of luxury resorts in warm, sunny Arizona. All by myself. While I left my husband and kids back home in cold, gray Philadelphia. On their own.
No, I didn’t have to go. Arizona was not home to a legal conference, or a trial, or a library where I needed to do research. No one in my extended family had died; as far as I know, no one was even sick. There wasn’t even a food festival, or a special art exhibition, or a one-week-only never-to-be-repeated production of some Shakespearean play.
Nope, this here law professor took a vacation. For no good reason at all except that I was on spring break, and they weren’t, and I really, really needed to get away from it all, soak up some sun, and, as it turns out, eat quite an indulgent number of red velvet cupcakes.
Some would say that only a really irresponsible mother would go hot-air ballooning 2,500 feet above the Arizona desert while her kids were in the trenches of state-mandated standardized testing.
Some might question a mother’s midday naps on canopied beach beds when her husband slept fitfully at night, listening for any sound of a tween having a nightmare or sneaking downstairs for a midnight ice cream snack.
And (speaking of snacks), some might wonder whether it was right and just (two concepts important to lawyers like me) to chow down on diver scallops, pork belly, lobster ravioli, and homemade tamales (oh, and the aforementioned red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting) while the family back home sustained themselves on hot dogs, boxed mac and cheese, and the mainstay of working parents everywhere: breakfast for dinner. . .
Sure, I thought a lot about the possible downsides. What if my younger daughter didn’t finish her props for her weekend problem-solving competition? What if the older one got into a middle-school drama and I wasn’t there to listen from the minivan’s driver’s seat while she vented about it from the back? What if my husband didn’t fix them a protein-filled breakfast before their standardized tests?
What if? Would my carefully constructed suburban world collapse? Would they fail the tests? Would the competition be a bust? Would the middle school social scene be turned on its end?
But then I juxtaposed those possibilities against my exhaustion [!] from teaching dozens of law students about copyright protection and the Supreme Court. And against the giant earthquake that struck Japan and my realization of how I’d feel if I died before I crossed “hot air ballooning” off my bucket list. And the fact that I’d been down in the dumps for weeks over the day in, day out routine of kids, snow, dachshunds, meetings, and students. Not I’m saying that I deserved to be down in the dumps (hey, I wasn’t in Japan), but down I was.
I suspect McElroy wasn’t as “down” as the 37% of Drexel’s 2014 graduating class that didn’t have any sort of legal job ten months after graduation (a third of these graduates were completely unemployed) but we all have crosses to bear, novels to write, lagoons to jet ski, etc.