Archives for the month of: November, 2012

In support of a recent New York Times Op-Ed.  🙂

I’m a law professor, and I’m proud of it.  Really.  We really need to stop this nonsense of you all thinking that only having a 50% shot at a job after graduation is a problem.  You all are really just wusses.

First of all, if you have a shoddy chance at getting a job, you’ll feel SO much more appreciative of having one.  If we just gave you one (and I don’t mean in our law library to boost our rankings), then you will just be resentful.  But if after a short period of homelessness and despair you get a job, you’ll be thankful!   See?  Law school is worth it!

What follows?  Well, if you are REALLY lucky, you’ll work for a major law firm!  They’ll make you work (and you’ll love working 120 hours a week for a law firm that will treat you like dirt).  But you’ll make money to cover your student loan debt, and that’s what counts.  Unless they merge and lay you off.

And, I’m tired of the LAME stream media, bloggers, and people named Campos talking about Law Schools as if we are for-profit schools.  Many of us have deficits now!  And we are not seducing students into our buildings.   Although some schools have really sexy new buildings.

All this LAME stream media talk of a bad lawyer job market has caused hysteria, particularly among deans of admission.  A lot of really smart people are no longer thinking about going to law school.  This is not to imply that if you’ve applied to law school recently that you aren’t smart.  But those other smart people aren’t going.  And that’s not smart!

Look, the job market is bad.  I hear this all the time from recent alums as I order my Chai Tea Latte from them.  If you look at some basic math, it will help.  See, I’m going to take two points in time.  There is this 1998 figure that shows that 55 percent of law graduates started in firms.  And in 2011, that number was 50 percent.  See?  Not so bad!  Of course, the fact that the rest of that pie chart shifted from federal government jobs to Starbucks and the fact that the starting salary for those in law firms has declined does not need to be mentioned because law students are notoriously bad at math!

And you shouldn’t even be thinking about first jobs!  Law careers last 40 to 50 years, from graduation to your first stress-filled heart attack about billables or your firm merging with another and laying you off.  The world turns, man, and you can’t just think about the first job which you don’t have yet!  Moreover, we law schools teach creative problem solving, such as how to pay $125,000 in student loan debt when you only make $40,000.  They will survive because we taught them well.  Don’t forget to thank us in your next alumni donation!

And if you don’t go to law school, you’ll be filled with regret.  Think you’ll be a doctor saving lives?  Or maybe become an investment banker and steal from the American people twice (once through a bailout)?  No.  If I wave my magical statistical wand, you’ll see that if I look at historical averages over a long period of time, things look way better.  Oooh.   It’s like I’m an economist now!  See the pretty picture?  Much better than looking at the ugly short term and forecasting forward in light of technological and structural changes in the lawyer job market.

Yes, tuition has increased.  If you compare it to med school, you’ll see that law school tuition only recently caught up to medical schools.  No, don’t ask me if there is any reason why med school might reasonably cost more.  I don’t know.   I have stats on my side, though!

Debt is a huge, problem too.  Law school grads have $125,000 in debt.  But the average lawyer’s salary (in my mind and ignoring trends) is way better than that.  You’d buy a house with that debt ratio.  And someday in the distant future after you graduate someone who made that investment in equity maybe will buy one for you!

Investment in tuition is for your life’s career.  (And the student loans are for life, too).  There are many ways to get a return on investment.  Such as a second job.

And don’t forget that the baby-boomers will retire someday.   As more senior lawyers retire, mergers of law firms will occur, and their jobs won’t be replaced.  Wait, I didn’t mean to say that.  Logically, it makes sense if one person leaves a position, someone will have to replace him, right?  It’s a circle of life kind of thing.   You could be the next Simba!  Doesn’t that sound much better?

Having wowed you with my statistics and mind-bending logic, let me tell a personal example with all the charm of a presidential candidate.  A student we accepted needed to only borrow $5,000 a year.  We gave her a generous package.   She thought it would be stupid to borrow the money. And her 4.0 GPA and her perfect LSAT score indicated that she’s not stupid.  Her short-sighted decision led her down another path, which I think is now the basis of the Broadway smash “Wicked.”

Sure, we law schools can be better.  We are trying to figure out how to address problems.  The biggest one is that people aren’t applying to law school as much because they aren’t understanding my logical, statistically flawless arguments.

Seriously, stop whining.  Apply to law school.  Trust me.

Future Dean, and Titanic Deck Chair Rearranger,

Lawprofblawg.

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Now that I have all of my Festivus shopping finished, I thought I would take a moment away from the duties of my job (which I’m still in the process of defining) to discuss the worst holiday songs of all time.  Here is my top ten:

  1. Baby, It’s Cold Outside.   This song has all the makings of a sexual assault.  She wants to leave, but he refuses to let her.  Meanwhile, he’s drugging her.  “Hey, what’s in this drink?”  She’s completely captive “No cabs to be had out there!”  Finally, with all the drugging and lacking in any means of transportation, she gives up in the end.  Horrific song.
  2. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.  This is a song about collective bullying.  They only accept him back into the fold because they needed him.  They use him as a tool, after completely ostracizing him.  A horrible lesson for children.  Rather than build self-esteem, Rudolph seeks external validation by helping his North Pole oppressor and the thuggish reindeer who bully and shun him.
  3. Santa Claus is Coming To Town.  Online privacy has nothing on Santa Claus.  He sees you when you’re sleeping, he knows when you’re awake.  He’s worse than Facebook or the FBI.  It is also the worst in deterrence theory.  Don’t be good because you feel a moral obligation to be good, but because you will be penalized.  With Santa, the probability of being caught is 100%.  The penalty: No presents.  Really, Santa over-deters.
  4. Christmas Shoes.   A kid, whose mom is in the hospital, is wandering around the mall right before Christmas day.  No way that this doesn’t have CPS written all over it.  Instead of attempting to save the boy, the narrator just pays for the kids shoes (probably to speed up the transaction).  Nice way to pass the buck.  The kid needed new clothes, at the very least.  And clearly the boy was nowhere near any adult supervision.
  5. White Christmas and Let it Snow!  These songs about wishing for snowfall are prophetic in terms of climate change.
  6. Last Christmas.  Last Christmas, George Michael gave you his heart.  The very next day, you regifted it!   He promises that this year (to save him from tears) he’ll give it to someone special.  But he doesn’t.  EVERY single year, here he is, singing about his broken heart.  Just keep it this year, George.  Keep it.
  7. Do They Know It’s Christmas?  “There won’t be snow in Africa this Christmastime.”  You’re right.  You do know that some of Africa is below the equator and it is summertime there, right?  Also, while the majority of the population of the continent is Muslim, they aren’t stupid.  Yes, they know it is Christmastime.
  8. Frosty The Snowman.   Let’s face it.  There is a great property question in terms of the hat, but really the problem is that Frosty is a jolly happy soul.  How is he so happy?  He doesn’t have any material possessions except a hat.  He is either a zen Buddhist or there is some lesson in here about consumerism about which we should pay heed.  That’s the good part of Frosty.  The bad part is that these kids have no concept of “stranger danger.”
  9. 12 Days of Christmas.  This song is sick, sick, sick.  Look at the pattern:

Day 1:  A partridge in a pair tree.   Bird.  Day 2:  Two turtle doves.  More birds. Day 3:  Three French hens.  Okay really, this song is about unoriginal Christmas gifts, with a bird theme.  And let’s not forget the 4 calling birds, the 6 geese a laying and the 7 swans a swimming.  Jeez.

What about the other gifts?  There is the 8 maids a milking, with no mention about whether the true love gave the complement gift, the cows which are needed for milking.  Then the true love apparently purchases Riverdance for our narrator, with 9 ladies dancing, 10 lords a leaping, 11 pipers piping, and 12 drummers drumming.

The outlier?  You know this:  Five gold rings.

This song is about consumerism run amok.   The total cost of these gifts is well over $100,000, depending on the value of the rings and whether the cost of maintenance are included.

10.  Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer.  I have two interpretations of this song.  The first is that this was a hit.  I imagine that the ability to go in and out of places undetected makes Santa a pretty good mafia hitman.   But then the lyrics suggest Santa isn’t a good hitman, as he left incriminating evidence.  If this wasn’t a planned hit, I blame the children and grandchildren.  You are letting grandma go home without an escort?  The remaining lyrics clearly demonstrate their callous indifference to grandma.  I’m thinking this was a murder set up to make Santa the fall guy.  Hardly a holiday-appropriate song.

One of my fans sent me an op-ed he wrote called “The Vampires Always Bite.”  I liked the premise of the piece, but, sorry dude, not the way it was written.  With his permission, I’ve rewritten the piece, hopefully consistent with his original premise.  I know, I know.  That is SO interdisciplinary of me.

“Why did you run away from me, Edward?  Why are you avoiding me?  Do you hate me?” Bella asked after yet another teenage fitful fleeing by Edward out of high school chemistry class.

“No, I don’t hate you….I….have to resist you.  Your scent is powerful. And you wear flannel.  That’s hot.  Or at least it was when Kurt Cobain ruled the airwaves.”

“What scent?”  Bella asks Edward.

“Money.  I love the smell of your money.  I want to bite you.”  Edward shutters.

“Bite me?  Why?”  asks Bella.

“You’re a consumer.  You have money.  I am a business vampire.  I want as much money as possible.  I mean, I’m out for blood.  But I’m an ethical vampire.  I am trying very hard not to bite you.” Edward confesses.

“You’re the vampire that doesn’t suck.” Bella nods.

“Yes.  We just take what we need to live, and try not prey upon you.  It would be easy too.  See how sparkly I am when you look at me?”

“Yes.  You do look very sparkly.  Like an iPhone 5 or an iPad with a 7.9” screen.  Shiny and new.”

“Exactly.  It is our way of captivating you before we bite you.”

“You are mysterious and pasty white.  And I am the paragon of a mopey teenager.  I think I love you.” Bella says.  “Hey, does vampire anatomy, um, work?”

“Well, we don’t have any blood flowing in us so it is highly unlike we could reproduce sexually, but this is a romance novel so don’t ask any questions.”

(The next morning after Bella reads a headline about deaths in the area, she asks Edward about it).

“It’s some other vampires.” Edward nods.

“I thought you said you don’t bite!” Bella says.

“Sometimes we do.   We try to take care of it ourselves, through the Laissez-Faire Volturi.”

“What is that?”

“The free market.  If vampires bite customers in an area too often the customers will just flee from them.”

“Does that work?”

“No.  Sometimes nothing happens really.  Sometimes customers don’t have a choice but to stay—that’s monopoly power.  Sometimes they just feel they don’t have a choice, and will cling to even an incredibly inferior product.”

“iPhone.” Bella nods in understanding.  “What are customers to do if business vampires are always biting them?”

“That’s when the werewolves come in.”

“Werewolves?”

“Regulators.  They assure that we don’t bite customers.  If we do, they are programmed to bite our heads off thoroughly.”

“Who is that shirtless, ripped hunk over there, looking not entirely unlike lawprofblawg?” Asks Bella.

“He is Jacob.  He’s a werewolf/regulator.   If we bite anyone, he makes sure we get our heads bitten off.” Edward says.  “Or at least that is what they are supposed to do.” Edward says.

“You mean they don’t sometimes?”  Bella asks.

“No.  A lot of times they are asleep.  And often times vampires become werewolves and then head back to become vampires.  They learn the secrets of the regulators, such as how to cut down on wind resistance when you are that hairy, and how to detect vampires.  Sometimes when they are regulators, they can’t find it in their hearts to bite the heads off their former vampire friends.  That’s called regulatory capture.” Edward says.

“Oh, I’ve heard of this.  The mean, vicious werewolves who destroy the innocent vampires for no reason whatsoever!  And the mean werewolves are all spawns of Elizabeth Warren…..” Bella starts.

“Please stop watching campaign ads in Massachusetts.  You really can only believe 47% of what you see in those anyway.” Edward says.

“Why do you need regulation if you, living in the free market, self-regulate?” Bella asks.

“Because some vampires always bite.” Edward says.