Constitutional Daily

Founding Principles

The Tenure Paradox - Robot pimp

Slap on the Wrist for "Non-Consensual Sex" - Lampshade, Esq.

Intelligence: The Gathering - Graphic and Gratuitous

Grads are the New Illegals - Robot Pimp

Meet Entitlement Eric - Robot Pimp

Wherein I Solve World Peace - Lampshade, Esq.

A Necessary Delusion - Shadow Hand

Do you even need to shave overhead? - Lawyerlite

LSAT Jenga - Publius Picasso

http://www.constitutionaldaily.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1573:legal-reasoning-redux-5&catid=38:there-and-never-back-again&Itemid=65

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Constitutional Daily

Boone County Adopts Long Claw Rule

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At the end of last week, the ABA picked up a story about an Indiana courthouse using cats to control their pigeon problem.

Boone County, Indiana is about a half hour northwest of Indianapolis. The Boone County Courthouse (photo here) is in Lebanon, population just under 16,000. And evidently has a problem with pigeons. Since at least 2010, local news has reported on the issue and county officials have attempted several pigeon deterrents, including a plastic owl, to little avail. They’ve used a cat at least once before, which was apparently successful enough to merit a second attempt.

While the birds aren’t actually in the courthouse, the cats are. The cats, Boone, a male, and Panda, a female, have a litter box in the dome of the courthouse and a kitty door allowing them to leave whenever they wish. Guess no one is worried about them having a kitty house party, Tidy Cats litter commercial style. Or about this door letting in other animals. Like pigeons.

Cat owners might be wondering how this deterrent effect works, since cats are more or less the only creatures lazier than law students on winter break, and not much bigger than your typical well-fed courthouse pigeon. The deterrent plan plays to that strength: the cats essentially function as scarecrows, or, TRIGGER WARNING – bad pun ahead, “scaredycats”. They don’t chase or hunt or eat pigeons; they merely sit in the windows of the courthouse, and that’s frightening enough to keep the pigeons away. Guess there’s a reason it’s called “bird brained.” (Okay, we’ll stop with the puns.)

According to the courthouse maintenance staff, the cats have scared the pigeons away from the courthouse and most of downtown Lebanon. The city must’ve been a popular avian destination, as the courthouse maintenance director claims the cats have saved the county thousands of dollars in cleanup costs and man hours, spent mostly cleaning up bird crap.

Maintenance says cleaning out a litter box is highly preferable to cleaning up the pigeon droppings that fell in front of the entrance door on a daily basis, and no we are not making any of this up.

No word on whether there are any issues with litigants or litigators with cat allergies; or what, if anything the cats are sharpening their claws on; or what Boone County will do if the pigeons return (add more cats?). We do know, however, that Panda is spayed, so she and Boone won’t be having any pigeon-repelling kittens, at least not together. The article doesn’t say anything about Boone’s reproductive status, but we do know that this is just another instance of the judicial system trampling all over a woman’s right to choose. KIDDING.

We wish the best of luck to Boone County in keeping the shit off their courthouse, but we want to warn anyone who might try to play with the kitties. They’re not de-clawed, and unlike most government workers, it doesn’t take much to get them to go on strike.

A JD PreVuvuzela Would Produce Less Useless Noise

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If you’re wondering if law school is right for you and have $4,500 to spend and 2 weeks to spare, Vanderbilt Law wants you! Vanderbilt Law is pleased to announce its “JD PreVU” program, aimed at undergraduates or recent graduates who aren’t sure if law school is right for them. In this two week full time course, Vanderbilt Law faculty, staff, alumni, and students will have candid conversations with you about the legal market and the law school admissions process. If you’re interested, stop reading and apply now – space is limited.

For those of you who are interested in attending but also cost conscious, you can save $500 by not “lodging” with Vanderbilt for the duration of the course, but you’re still stuck with a bill for $400 a day. If you’re an undergrad in Tennessee working part time (20 hours per week) at minimum wage ($7.25, or $6.70 after payroll taxes), then you only need to work for *click*click*click* …3 weeks to afford 1 day of JD PreVU. The whole program will only take you 30 weeks, a period of time better known as: an entire academic year.

Just to put that cost into perspective, you could take a 6 day mediation CLE for $225 a day. Or if you count each 4-hour day of BarBri’s 6 week program as a half day, they only charge $200 a day.

Vanderbilt should be able to provide a cheaper program than BarBri or a CLE. They don’t need to rent space since they already own the school and they don’t need to pay most of their presenters because they’re already on salary (maybe tack this on as a requirement for getting a summer research stipend?). Odds are the lights are going to be on anyways, the AC will be running, and someone will already be paid to mop up the floors, so the only real expense for this program ought to be some snacks and a few glossy pamphlets. That leaves a lot of room for profit margin, but when you only charge just a little more than $46,000 a year in tuition, you needs the money.

We don’t know what they’re going to teach you at this thing, but we do know one thing: JD PreVU is the probably the best introduction to the law school racket money can buy. And if you put it on your credit card, law schools won’t even have to report it as additional debt incurred as a law student.

Or if you’ve got $4,500 to burn and 2 weeks to spend on deciding whether or not law school is right for you, skip JD PreVU, and instead, contact our staff. In about 2 hours we can tell you everything you need to know, and you can spend the remaining 13.75 days exploring our nation’s capital. Your $4,500 gets you lodging (you can have BL1Y’s bed; he’ll sleep on the couch in the living room), airfare to DC, metro card costs, 3 meals a day, and a happy hour each day, and a fourth meal each day. And a bottle of Johnnie Blue every …what? four days sound good?

Let’s say $6 per breakfast, $15 per lunch, $25 per dinner, $25 per happy hour, and another $6 for a fourth meal, and that’s $77 for food each day, doubled because BL1Y is chowing down also, and that’s $2,156. Plus another $1000 for five bottles of Johnnie Blue, let’s say $500 for airfare and travel (tossing in a few cab rides), and we’ve still got $800 to burn.

We’ll pay you minimum wage, 7 hours a day to work as a consultant, in return for which you’ll be in charge of figuring out where to eat and drink each day. That leaves BL1Y with a little under $100 as profits, and at the end of the two weeks, BL1Y will advise you on whether law school is right for you.

And no, he’s not just going to give a jaded “don’t go” answer no matter what your situation or career goals are. Instead, he’ll spend the two weeks studying you, and create a refined, personalized piece of advice based on what he thinks you want to hear, because screw it, you’ve probably already made up your mind anyways, and nothing BL1Y or Vandy Law has to say is going to change anything, so let’s just gorge on food and booze.

Does Anyone Put the Man in Manti Te'o?

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After Manti Te'o's fake girlfriend fiasco/unceremonious smackdown in the BCS title game, Katie Couric asked him point blank if he was gay:

Te'o: No, far from it, far from it.

Couric: You are not, yourself, a homosexual?

Te'o: I said no. I ain't no fairy. I've had some experiences ...but I'm out of it now.

Couric: Out of it?

Te'o: Yes, ma'am.

Couric: Would you explain to the viewers at home what you mean by that?

Te'o: It's wrong. The Bible says so.

Couric: The Bible also says it's wrong to lie. How long have you been out of it?

Te'o: Almost 2 weeks.

Couric: Good for you, Manti. Good for you.

 

So... maybe part of that interview came from Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil... Anyways, now NFL teams are allegedly interested in Te'o's sexual orientation, though there are not yet any reports that a team has directly asked him the question. And they're not likely to ask him the question because we have laws in this country protecting homosexuals from employment discrimination, not to mention there would be all sorts of PR fallout for that team. Despite the people directly involved in the sport not being particularly progressive, the sport is still beholden to the mainstream political correctness machine. Just look at all that pink they have to wear for an entire month.

Te'o's situation presents an interesting legal conundrum though. While it's illegal to discriminate against someone on the basis of his sexuality, would it be illegal to discriminate against someone for being the first openly gay man in the NFL? Probably. Almost certainly, yes.

Yet, if what the team is only concerned with is the media hype surrounding Te'o's sexuality and how that might disrupt the team, and that concern is not a pretext being used as a cover for actual homophobia, and if we put evidence issues aside, would it really be wrong for a team to say that didn't want to deal with that?

Someone more familiar with discrimination law could probably clear this up (and we know about 95% of you went to law school wanting to do this kind of thing, and only like 2 people in the world actually do it, so here's your chance). Is it legal to discriminate against someone not for their sexual orientation, but because of the way other people respond to their sexual orientation?

In other words, would it be legal for a team to fire Wilt Chamberlain because his media presence was a detriment to the team?

Do you live near a meth lab?

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One time I watched 4 seasons of Breaking Bad in 4 days. That time was about 2 weeks ago. I guess CNN wanted to keep meth on my mind, because they came out with this handy interactive map asking, “Do you live near a meth lab?” Turns out I don’t. But thanks for the inquiry.

The map shows the total number of meth labs found in every county in every state, from 2004-2012. When they say “found,” they mean, “discovered in some capacity by local law enforcement and then reported to the DEA.” So, while Jesse’s mom found the lab in the basement of his aunt’s house, the police never did, so it wouldn’t be included on this map. And technically, CNN should be asking "Did you used to live near a meth lab?" It's not like they're listing operational facilities.

CNN’s map also has a complementary DEA map titled “National Clandestine Laboratory Register” that lists the address for every single one of those labs since 2004. You have to pick your state first, and the results are sorted by county, but you can see the exact address and date of bust for each lab ever found.

“Clandestine” seems sort of redundant at first. Who wants their meth lab discovered by law enforcement? But, Desoxyn is the prescription form of meth, used to treat ADHD and obesity, although rarely.  So, because some pharmaceutical company somewhere can legally make meth, everyone else has to call their lab clandestine. “Illegal” would be too harsh. After all, these are just drug manufacturers, not immigrants.

“Clandestine laboratories” are not to be confused with “laboratory incidents.” There are other DEA maps, this time broken down by year, providing the total number of meth lab incidents for each state. “Incidents” include labs, "dumpsites" or "chemical and glassware" seizure. The other two maps only include labs. Who knew the DEA had such an active graphics department?

Looking at the lab incidents for the last year, it appears that D.C. and Hawaii had 0; Alaska, Maryland, and Rhode Island each had only one; Utah, New Jersey, and Connecticut only had 2; and Idaho, Wyoming, Nevada, Massachusetts only had 3. Either these states have virtually no meth labs or meth users, or their labs aren’t getting busted by law enforcement.

I’m inclined to believe the latter. The states with the highest population density are, in this order: D.C., New Jersey, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Maryland.  So, 0, 2, 1, 3, 1. Given the national prevalence of methamphetamine, it seems a little unlikely that there are so few people invested in it in such a high population.

So what explains the states with a very high population and a very low meth lab incident record? Do they have smarter meth makers? More discreet meth makers? Are they importing meth from other places? Is there less meth demand? Less reporting? Maybe urban police feel like they have bigger issues to worry about. Certainly there’s more access to “better” and less visually-scarring drugs. Although it seems unlikely that the answer is that they simply don’t have any meth labs. No matter how many cocaine snorting businessmen you cram into a city, there’s still going to be a sizable number of meth smoking hicks, and meth snorting hicks, and meth booty bumping hicks.

Seriously, if you’re on meth, you’re a hick, and the lab map seems to support that. Discovered labs seem to be primarily located in the Midwest, with a sliver of the West Coast and the Gulf trying to catch up.

For the most part, large numbers of meth labs don’t seem to be concentrated around big cities, with St. Louis and Tulsa being the notable exceptions. This coincides with the primarily Midwest thing and the rural white trash thing. Additionally, making meth is a smelly process, something that probably gets noticed more in high density populations with more people with olfactory senses (doesn’t explain the lack in NYC though, where people smoke just to kill their sense of smell).

Maybe rural police, comparatively, are more zealous in the pursuit of meth lab discovery (see: police mistakenly bust homemade maple syrup operation thinking it’s a meth lab). Maybe rural police just have fuckall else to do. Maybe rural police are smoking their evidence. Or maybe, just maybe, rural police have figured out the ultimate way to track down meth cooks: looking out for an inexplicable fondness for green beans with slivered almonds:

It's not just pot that can give you the munchies.

Should employers get to harsh your mellow?

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As you likely recall, in November, citizens of Colorado voted to pass Amendment 64, allowing personal use and regulation of marijuana for adults 21 and over.  As the Amendment 64 task force deals with the bureaucratic jungle of the enforcement regulations and guidelines, people want to know if employers can regulate employee marijuana use off the clock. And according to the text of the amendment, they can. Some argue that employer policies could essentially nullify the effect of the amendment for everyone who’s employed. So what?

The statutory language is pretty clear and pretty broad, saying, “Nothing in this section is intended to require an employer to permit or accommodate the use, consumption, possession ... of marijuana in the workplace or to affect the ability of employers to have policies restricting the use of marijuana by employees."

So, employers get to determine if they feel like accepting marijuana use from their employees. Sounds like the type of decision typically left to the employer. Just because the state law allows something doesn’t mean an employer has to. There isn’t a Colorado law requiring that everyone wear pants in public, but most employers probably have some kind of dress code. Apples and oranges, you say? Maybe.

Throughout the legalization of marijuana debate, proponents of legalization have argued that marijuana should be treated like alcohol: regulated, taxed, and available only to those over a certain age. So, to compare fruits, what employer tells employees they can’t drink on or off the clock?

We aren’t saying it can’t happen. Just that it typically doesn’t. Employers generally don’t deal with the details of that kind of thing. As the above editorial suggests, many employers simply don’t have the time or interest to be lifestyle police. This doesn’t mean they can’t or won’t. It just means it’s rare.

What the amendment doesn’t say is that employer policies have to make sense. Sure, we’d like to think employers would create policies that are prudent and reasonable and logical, but do they have to? Aren’t they allowed to create draconian policies? After all, it’s their place of business. Their house, their rules. You just work there.

If you go out in public and make an ass of yourself in some capacity, and you can be linked back to the company, you’re probably going to face some repercussions at work. The law doesn’t require that your company has to have a policy saying “hey don’t go out in public and make an ass of yourself” for this to happen. That guy that got fired for yelling at a Chick Fil A employee probably didn’t have a clause in the employee handbook saying it was against company policy to yell at Chick Fil A employees.

And yet, most of us can agree that in some respects, that guy getting fired makes sense. So what’s the difference in that and marijuana (or alcohol) prohibition policies? Having company executives clearly and publicly display their idiocy is bad for a company’s reputation. Namby Pamby and BL1Y drinking at home and recording Blind Drunk Justice hardly merit the same concern.

So, yeah, Colorado employers can create policies that prohibit employees from using marijuana off the clock. And yeah, we’d like if they made sense. But they probably don’t have to. After all, who’s going to protest? If you don’t want to comply, they can find someone who will.

Besides, if an employer tries to take things too far, the ACLU or a pro-pot group will likely step up and challenge the policy anyway. So relax. Let the employer go nuts.

Overheard at the SOTU

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So this year out State of the Union drinking game was a bit off, though you'd still get pretty smashed just from the deficit and our children. Next year we're probably just going to do shots every time the president says "And that is why I am proposing a new..." Do a second shot if he offers no explanation as to what that thing he just proposed is.

But now the speech is over, and so it's time to analyze the dumbest thing said, but first we'll take a look at a doozy from Marco Rubio's response:

Every dollar our government borrows is money that isn't being invested to create jobs. And the uncertainty created by the debt is one reason why many businesses aren't hiring.

Technically speaking, this is true. When we borrow a dollar, that's a dollar that China can't use to invest and create jobs. Although, borrowing by definition means someone else is investing... but never mind that. When our government gets more money, that's more it can spend on initiatives that will help create jobs. What he probably meant was that when we raise revenue by taxes (not borrowing) that our people have less to invest and spend in the economy. We're quite confident that's what the message was intended to be, since it's the message Romney ran on, and the Republic response to the SOTU was little more than trying to rerun the last election. Spoiler GOP: You lost, time to maybe get a new message.

Even correcting Rubio's statement, that every dollar our government raises in taxes is money that isn't being invested to create jobs is also not true. Wealthy people, the ones Obama wants to raise taxes on, do spend a lot of money investing, but they also horde money. Dollars sitting in some rich person's bank account are not being spent on investments.

Rich corporations aren't any better. In fact, they're worse. They have to deal with quarterly earnings reports which forces them to focus on short term gains rather than long term investments which might drive them into the red for a few years before the investments pay off. This is why Dell recently was taken private, to free the company up for doing long term projects without pressure from stockholders for a quick turnaround.

The federal government does waste a whole lot of money, but it's simply not true that every dollar it taxes and spends is a dollar that would have been invested in the market. Tax from the right people and spend on the right projects, and the government can strengthen the economy. We're just left with the question of whether it will actually do that, and whether Rubio's speech writer understands the difference between taxes and loans.

 

Moving on to the President's silliest line:

Together, we have cleared away the rubble of crisis, and can say with renewed confidence that the state of our union is stronger.

How much stronger exactly?

We know our economy is stronger when we reward an honest day’s work with honest wages.  But today, a full-time worker making the minimum wage earns $14,500 a year.  Even with the tax relief we’ve put in place, a family with two kids that earns the minimum wage still lives below the poverty line. [...]

Tonight, let’s also recognize that there are communities in this country where no matter how hard you work, it’s virtually impossible to get ahead.  Factory towns decimated from years of plants packing up.  Inescapable pockets of poverty, urban and rural, where young adults are still fighting for their first job.

Minimum wage is $7.25, and if you're working 2000 hours, that comes out to $14,500. The minimum wage in 2009, before Obama's rubble clearing began, was also $7.25. (The bill bringing it up from $6.55 was passed in 2007, under Bush, but didn't take effect until July 2009.) Had minimum wage kept pace with inflation, a person earning min wage would be making an extra $1000 a year, and when you're earning $14,500, that's a whole lot of extra money.

For those people at the bottom, the state of our union isn't stronger. Maybe they could have used that extra thousand bucks to pack up and move out of their inescapable pocket of poverty.

Forget the pay gap, what about the personality gap?

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Yesterday NPR briefly discussed jobs with the smallest and largest gender pay gaps. Using data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, they showed numbers for 11 jobs in each category.

Just in case you need the reminder, the wage gender gap is the difference in what men and women in the same position earn as a wage. Self selection blah blah maternity leave blah blah blah, the gap can be exaggerated, but even the most conservative analysis still shows there is a wage gap.

The biggest gap is with insurance sales agents, with women earning 62.5% of what men earn; the smallest is for pharmacists, earning 99.6% of what men earn. Beyond that, the gap opens in the other direction, with women earning 2.6% more than men as counselors, and 3.7% more as health care technicians. The national average across all positions is 80.9%.

For paralegals and legal assistants in 2012, women earned 94.1% of what men do, putting them in a pretty good position, comparatively speaking. Female lawyers do slightly worse, at 91.9%, but still cut the national gap in half. So, pat yourselves on the backs, law firms. You’ve still got a ways to go, but you’re considerably less discriminatory than the rest of the nation.

And now for the bad news.

Looking at the trend in gaps across different fields may reveal something lawyers don’t want to hear. Generally speaking, jobs with the highest gaps were related to sales, marketing, and education, jobs where the personality of the employee is key to success. On the other end, jobs with the smallest gaps were more mechanical. Not machinist, but jobs where employees are fungible, such as data entry, pharmacy, cafeteria workers, and warehouse clerks.

For all the talk about “creative problem solving” and being “a good fit” and “personal brands” (gag), based on pay disparities it looks like legal practice is pretty rote, and all that really matters is your ability to churn out form documents and fill up your time sheets. The reason gender makes less of a difference in law is not because lawyers are so educated, or so progressive. Your gender makes less of a difference because you make less of a difference.

So, congratulations women. You’re making headway in a profession that will soon be dominated by robots (as if you don’t already think that about your coworkers). But look on the bright side, at least the fembots will get fair compensation.

Why we can't have nice law schools

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Back in the 1990s, the ABA got slapped across the mouth by the Justice Department for engaging in all sorts of anti-competitive practices, like mandating that every professor work no more than 3 hours a day, get summers and alternating semesters off, and have access to no fewer than three adorable puppies twice a week. The DoJ filed suit, and the ABA folded and entered into a consent decree that would govern their actions for the next ten years.

Among the new regulations were rules that the Council of the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar, the Accreditation Committee, and the Standards Review Committee would be composed of no more than 50% deans and professors. It's a pretty good rule. You do need deans and profs on these committees, because they bring important insight and expertise to the whole legal education thing, but the consent decree wanted to make sure that there wasn't regulatory capture.

So, years after the consent decree stopped being in force, what happened to the composition of these three bodies?

 

Section of Legal Education

Kent Syverud - Dean, Washington University School of Law

Solomon Oliver, Jr. - Chief Judge, U.S. District Court, Northern District of Ohio [Also professor from 1982-1994 at Cleveland Marshall College of Law, and associate dean there from 1991-1994]

Joan Howland - Associate Dean and Professor, University of Minnesota Law School

Raymond C. Pierce - Partner, Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP [Also dean of NCCU from 2005-2012]

John F. O'Brien - Dean, New England Law|Boston

Jane H. Aiken - Professor and Director of the Community Justice Project, Georgetown University Law Center

Rebecca White Berch - Chief Justice, Arizona Supreme Court [Also Director of the Legal Writing Program at Arizona State from 1986-1991 and 1994-1995]

Leo A. Brooks - Retired Army General, and formerly assistant professor of military science at Central State University in Wilberforce, Ohio

Paulette Brown - Partner and Chief Diversity Officer, Edwards Wildman Palmer LLP

Edwin J. Butterfoss - Associate Dean and Professor, Hamline University Law School

Michael J. Davis - Professor, University of Kansas School of Law

Antonio García-Padilla - Dean Emeritus and Professor, University of Puerto Rico School of Law

Tracy Allen Giles, Esq. - Partner, Giles & Lambert, P.C.

James M. Klein - Distinguished Visiting Professor, Charleston School of Law

Cynthia Nance - Dean Emeritus & Nathan G. Gordon Professor of Law, University of Arkansas School of Law (Fayetteville),

Jequita H. Napoli - Special Judge, Cleveland County District Court, Norman, Oklahoma

Gregory G. Murphy - Attorney, Billings, Montana

Maureen A. O’Rourke - Dean, Boston University School of Law

Erika Robinson - Law Student Division Member, University of South Carolina School of Law, J.D. Candidate, 2013

Morgan T. Sammons - Dean, California School of Professional Psychology, Alliant International University

Edward N. Tucker - CPA/ABV, Ellin & Tucker

Total

Current law profs/deans: 11

Former law profs/deans: 3

Non-law profs: 2

Other: 6

Being generous to the ABA, the Section is 50% law profs and deans. But, counting current and former law profs we get 64%.

 

The Accreditation Committee is 9 current law profs and deans, 2 former, 3 non-law professors, and 5 others. So, 47% current, and 58% current and former.

For the Standards Review Committee, things are even worse. 8 current law profs and deans, 1 former, 1 non-law professor, and 4 others. 57% current profs, and 64% current and former. And two of those non-professors hold executive offices at universities that have a law school. So if you want to count current profs, former profs, and others with a direct interest in law schools, we're up to 79%.

Anyone who's ever studied corporate governance will know that it doesn't even take 50% of the votes to have control. 50% means that the rest of the people in the room need to be a united front against you, which is rare, and you can effectively exercise control with a pretty small voting block. Not that professors are necessarily a united front, but when proposals are on the table that will slash their pay and result in massive layoffs (such as reducing law school to a 2 year program) you can bet that the Department of Justice was right not trust professors to govern themselves.

2013 State of the Union Drinking Game

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Small Drink

Fair deal / Fair shake / Fair play (drink for any)

Assault weapon

Newtown

Our children

Brothers and sisters

Deficit

An impediment to voting not explicitly attributed to willful voter suppression

Israel

God

 

Big Drink

Magazine capacity

Newtown (pronounced "Newton")

Republican party

His children

Stonewall

Deficit (as less than 1 trillion)

Detroit

Syria

Any reference to voter intimidation/suppression

Reference to non-Christian Americans

 

Shot

Fair deal / Fair shake / Fair play (all three within 1 minute)

AR-15

Machine gun ban

Imminent threat

Reference to atheist or agnostic Americans

"The state of our/the Union is strong."

 

Drink until you pass out and wake up back in reality

Extrajudicial targeted killing of American citizens without due process

Flying Spaghetti Monster / Bertrand Russel's tea cup / Acknowledging that the invisible sky dictator is fake and a ridiculous basis for forming national policy

Sputnik moment

Experiential education: The next big rip-off?

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Last week, the ABA held its mid-year meeting in Dallas, and one of the big events was the meeting of the Task Force on the Future of Legal Education. During the period when about 15 speakers testified, two themes continued to come up (in addition to the overall theme that the cost of tuition is too damn high): the third year is useless and experiential education is awesome.

That the third year is useless should be a no-brainer. Of course professors defend it, but there's the no brain element...

The third year is plainly useless because there are absolutely no guidelines for what it must contain. Aside from professional responsibility and con law, there's really nothing mandated for students outside of the 1L curriculum. You can spend your third year doing clinics, taking black letter law classes, or you can fill it with nothing but Law and Literature, Law and Film, Feminist Jurisprudence, Animal Rights, and What the Jews are Supposed to do About the Gentiles.

The question facing the ABA now is whether to allow schools to ditch the third year, but the professors who want to protect their incomes and who have a great deal of influence over the ABA are likely to not let it happen. So now the question is passed to the schools: how to make the third year valuable.

The answer that keeps coming up is experiential learning, and specifically externships. And here comes the new ripoff.

Are externships (and don't ask us how they differ from internships) valuable to students? We're willing to give that an unqualified Yes. It's probably the most valuable thing you can do in law school. The problem is the cost model.

Externships are cheap, but they're not free. There are some administrative overhead costs, such as having a staff to help students get placed into programs. It's cheaper than a full-time tenured professor though. The problem is that schools are likely to keep both. They'll offer externships and still keep all their other classes, despite those other classes having much lower demand because students are spending their time elsewhere. So, we get this great new low-cost model for filling out the third year, and it ends up increasing the cost of operating a law school.

And just to make matters worse, students still pay the same amount of tuition.

Many undergraduate programs have already figured out this scam. They require 6+ hours of internship credits, place the entire responsibility for finding an internship on the students, and then charge them the full rate of tuition for a class that costs the school nothing. Watch for this coming to a law school near you. Half the third year will be externships, students will still pay the full price, and professors will find their class sizes cut in half, leaving them with a more enjoyable work environment and many fewer papers and exams to grade.

As far as the schools are concerned, it's win-win. As for the students? Whatever, they can just go on government welfare to pay off their loans.

Page 8 of 136

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You're Not a Failure, You're a Narcissist


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Sometimes cartoons are the highest form of communication. Those times are known as "most of the time."


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Intelligence: The Gathering


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Defunct Big Law attorney BL1Y shares his misadventures as a writer who accidentally went to law school.

 


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JD vs MFA


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Lampshade, Esquire

We're dealing with some technical difficulties here. Hold up a minute.


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