Wednesday, November 22, 2017

First Tier Brazenness: University of California, Berkeley, School of Law


https://www.law.berkeley.edu/admissions/jd/financial-aid/fees-cost-of-attendance/

Tuition: Full-time, in-state law students will be slammed with a tuition bill of $49,363.50 – for the 2017-2018 academic year. And I’m sure they didn’t make a great attempt to keep it under $50K per year. Apparently, that includes fees as well, so I suppose that makes it a great deal for the pupils. Non-residents attending this in$titution on a full-time basis will be throat punched, to the tune of $53,314.50, for the 2017-2018 school year. Who doesn’t have that cash laying around in their couch cushions?

Total Cost of Attendance: According to this same page, the school estimates that living expenses will amount to another $26,636. The “scholars” make a separate line item for health insurance fees, which they list as $4,462. Books and supplies will add $1,496 to the already gigantic bill. This brings the total Non-Resident Student Budget to $85,908.50 – whereas in-state law students will have an estimated COA of $81,957.50.

It might surprise the academic hacks at ABA-accredited mills to learn that actual law students have to pay bills for the full calendar year. So we will educate these Ivory Tower pigs by prorating the following items: rent and utilities, food, personal, and transportation costs. Of course, books and insurance costs will remain unchanged. Making these adjustments, we reach the following, more accurate total student budgets: $90,836.50 for California residents, and $94,787.50 for out-of-state students.

Again, this is for a single damn year of law school! If you are smart enough to get into this law school, then you are also capable of going to a different educational program for free. Maybe you can get into an area that is not over-saturated. After all, California has a legendarily GLUT of attorneys – and that has been the case for decades.

https://www.usnews.com/best-graduate-schools/top-law-schools/law-rankings

Ranking: You will see that the Univer$ity of California, Berkeley, $chool of Law is rated as the 12th greatest, most elite law school in the entire nation, by US “News” & World Report. In fact, it does not share this distinct honor with any other ABA institution. Furthermore, it is only 10 spots behind the best law school in northern California, i.e. Stanford! And since these campuses are nearly 50 miles apart from each other, that gap can’t be that significant when it comes to landing the best jobs, right?

https://www.law.berkeley.edu/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/EmploymentQuestionnaireSummary-04-12-2017.pdf

Employment Placement Statistics: Head to the school’s ABA Employment Summary for 2016 Graduates. You will notice that there were 330 members of this cohort. Of that amount, a total of 314 reported working in full-time, long-term positions – within 10 months of receiving their JD. That is an effective placement rate of 95.2%, which is pretty impressive.

However, take a closer look. Fully 23 of these grads were in posts that were funded by the university or law school. Without those jobs included, the effective employment placement rate would be 88.2 percent! Do you understand the implications of that, prospective law student? The 12th greatest, most phenomenal, and amazing law school in the United States had to artificially increase its placement rate by seven full percentage points. If you are looking at attending a TTT, then your job prospects will be much bleaker.

Scroll down to Employment Type. You will see that 189 members of the 2016 graduating class were employed in private law offices. Here is a further breakdown: nine landed work in law firms of 101-250 attorneys, 17 were in offices of 251-500 lawyers, and 138 reported being hired by law firms with more than 500 attorneys. One would think that the 12th best law school in the country – and one located in the San Francisco area – could do a better job of placing its graduates into such jobs. 

https://www.usnews.com/best-graduate-schools/top-law-schools/grad-debt-rankings/page+2

Average Law Student Indebtedness: USN&WR lists the average law student indebtedness - for those members of the Univer$ity of California, Berkeley, $chool of Law Class of 2016 who incurred debt for law school - as $145,260. Somehow, only 72% of this school’s 2016 graduating cohort took on such toxic debt. Keep in mind that this amount doesn’t include debt from undergrad, and it also does not take accrued interest into account, while you are enrolled in school. See how fast $145K becomes $160K, when you are not making any payments.

By the way, while UC Berkeley is ranked 12th best in terms of overall quality, it only has the 31st highest amount of average law student debt. That must make this a great bargain for the student, huh? And that is especially for the case for the 28 percent of the class that did not incur an additional penny in non-dischargeable debt for a law degree from a real school! Have fun competing for article III clerkships and Biglaw positions against these young men and women. They can sleep during class – or show up drunk – and their rich parents can still make a few phone calls, on their behalf.

Conclusion: In the final analysis, this is another law school for rich kids. Look at the numbers again. Nearly 30% of the 2016 class did not take on any student debt for their law degree. If you do not come from a wealthy and connected family, then you do not belong in such a setting. Ostensibly, your goal is to obtain a position in Biglaw. Perhaps, you figure that representing corporate criminals will only involve transactional work, research, and memos. Maybe you feel that this is a good way to avoid a courtroom.

However, if you do not have great sales skills, then you can expect to be out on your ass within 3-5 years. If you cannot bring in significant new business to your firm, then you will not advance from associate to partner. It’s a business, and they are not going to spend tons of money to train you – so that you can finally become competent in six years. Remember, Biglaw firms do not make it their practice to hire those who failed at other corporate law offices.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Fourth Tier Wicked Stench: Widener University Delaware Law School


I highlighted Widener University School of Law back on August 19, 2010. At the time, the school operated two campuses as part of one law school. Since then, the school and the American Bar Association made the “brilliant” decision to make them two separate toilets, each with its own dean. That occurred on July 1, 2015. 

http://delawarelaw.widener.edu/prospective-students/jd-program/tuition-and-financial-aid/tuition-and-fees/

Tuition: First year law students at Widener Univer$iTTTTy Delaware will be charged $48,800 in tuition – for the 2017-2018 school year. The school states at the top of this page: “Pursuing a law degree is an investment in your future.” Apparently, these pigs have no conscience. Fees amount to $180. The good news is that part-time willing victims will “only” be face a tuition bill of $36,600, plus $180 in fees, for the 2017-2018 academic year.

http://delawarelaw.widener.edu/prospective-students/jd-program/tuition-and-financial-aid/cost-of-attendance/

Total Estimated Cost of Attendance: The toilet lists other costs as adding another $21,864 to the tab, for those in off-campus housing. Those living with their parents will have $13,854 in associated expenses. This brings the total estimated budget – for full-TTTTime law students – to $70,664 and $58,464, off-campus and those staying with parents, respectively.

Seeing that actual law students will require expenses over the course of the entire damn year – and not for the magical nine months that they are in school – we will prorate the following items: personal, transportation, and room & board. The respective costs for those living off campus are $3,546; $2,889; and $12,510. For those living at home, the first two costs are the same – but room and board are reduced to $4,500. Of course, academic fees, books, and loan fees will remain the same. Prorating living expenses, we reach the following, more accurate estimated COA figures: $76,979 for full-time, independent law students – and $66,299 for full-time students who live at home with their parents. Sadly, morons will continue to enroll at this school – and similarly situated, ABA-accredited sewage pits. 

https://www.usnews.com/best-graduate-schools/top-law-schools/law-rankings/page+8

Ranking: At this price, this school must have one hell of a reputation among the academic and legal community, right? Well…a certain defunct magazine known as US “News” & World Report lists Widener Univer$iTTTTy Delaware Law $chool as a fourth tier pile of rancid filth. In their parlance, the school falls into the following category: Rank Not Published. Still want to sign on the dotted line, cretin?

By the way, this school is well below the sister campus located in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Widener Univer$iTTTy Commonwealth Law $chool is listed as the co-148th greatest, most incredible, and amazing law school in the United States! In fact, it only shares that distinct honor with one other commode: Northern Illinois University. What a TTTTremendou$ accompli$hmenTTTT by the Delaware division, huh? 

http://delawarelaw.widener.edu/current-students/career-development-office/employment-statistics-and-trends/2016-2017/

Employment Placement Statistics: Heading to the ABA Employment Summary for 2016 Graduates, you will notice that there were 173 members of this cohort. Of this amount, only 115 reported landing full-time, long-term positions within 10 months of earning their TTTT diplomas. That is an effective “placement” rate of 66.5 percent! That is super-impressive! By the way, four others had full-time, short-term jobs – and 19 souls were employed in various part-time posts. If you want to be generous to the school, then that would amount to a 78.6% employment figure.

Scroll down to Employment Type, for a moment. You will see that only 59 graduates were employed by private law firms – and one was in a full-time, short-term positions, while eight others were in part-time jobs. A total of four JDs were in offices of 101-250 attorneys, while two were in firms with more than 500 lawyers. Hell, you have much better odds going to a riverboat casino and putting it all on black. 

https://www.usnews.com/best-graduate-schools/top-law-schools/grad-debt-rankings/page+2

Average Law Student Indebtedness: US “News” lists the average law student indebtedness - for those members of the Widener University Delaware TTTT JD Class of 2016 who incurred debt for law school - as $135,151. Fully 89% of this school’s 2016 graduating cohort took on such feculent debt. Don’t forget that this amount does not include debt from undergrad, and it does not take accrued interest into account, while you are enrolled in school.

Of note, while it is a fourth tier cesspit in terms of overall quality, it has the 49th highest amount of average law student debt. It rates higher than 4th ranked University of Chicago – by a mere $1,003 – and only 62 percent of that school’s 2016 law grads took on debt for law school. That is another slap in the face, when you consider that a significant portion of University of Chicago graduating classes land Biglaw positions. Widener-Delaware JDs will be lucky to be hired by State Farm Insurance, within 10 months of receiving their TTTT degrees.

Conclusion: Widener Univer$iTTTTy Delaware Law Sewer is a fourth tier pile of fecal matter. Avoid this place at all costs. Attending this dung heap on a full tuition scholarship – and a small stipend – would be a foolish decision on your part. Decent law firms don’t want to hire these grads. And non-law employers will ask you if this is an online law school. They may inquire if it is state-accredited. Plus, I’m pretty sure that telling them it is ABA-approved will not impress them. If anything, they may just view you as dishonest. At best, they will accurately perceive you as having attended a garbage “institution of higher education.” Do you think – for one single, solitary second – that this will make them want to hire you?

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

First Tier Holdup: Columbia Law School


http://www.law.columbia.edu/admissions/graduate-legal-studies/tuition-fees-and-financial-aid

Tuition and Fees: As you can see, full-time law students at Columbia Univer$ity will be slammed with a tuition bill of $65,252 – for the 2017-2018 academic year. This is the equivalent of posting a sign that reads “Poor people: Keep out!” I’m sure that is part of the charm for rich students – and their parents. It’s exclusive, just as those expensive prep schools were, when they were little.

Don’t forget the following mandatory fees: Student Activity in the amount of $270; University Facilities to the tune of $960; and Health Services reaching $1,082. This takes the total cost of admission to $67,564. Again, this is for a single year of “legal education.” Apparently, law schools have ridiculous overhead, equipment, and laboratory costs. Actually, that is medical school.

Total Estimated Cost of Attendance: Based on this same page, the school includes Student Health Insurance costs of $2,991 and a Document Fee for first year law students of $105. That brings the tab to $70,660. We haven’t even reached living expenses yet. Who doesn’t cringe when seeing those numbers? Plus, books and supplies add another $1,575 to that immense amount.

Now, we can address living costs. Columbia Law $chool lists room as $12,405, board as $5,200, and personal expenses at $3,900. Transportation is not listed but that is fair since most denizens of New York City get by on public transit. At any rate, this brings the estimated Total Academic Year Budget to $93,740. 

Since actual, breathing law students will accumulate expenses over the entire damn year, and not just for nine months, we will prorate the following items: room, board, and personal costs. Doing so, we reach the following, more accurate total COA of $100,908. If that figure doesn’t make you lightheaded, then you must be from an incredibly wealthy family. Congratulations for coming out of the right birth canal. For the rest of you, i.e. the vast majority of the populace, proceed cautiously. 

https://www.usnews.com/best-graduate-schools/top-law-schools/law-rankings

Ranking: Columbia Law $chool is rated as the 5th greatest and most astonishing law school in the entire nation, by US “News” & World Report. It doesn’t even share this distinct honor with any other in$titution of “higher learning.” Then again, they charge a king’s ransom in tuition. Hell, at those prices, they should guarantee that you will land a Biglaw position or federal clerkship. 

http://www.law.columbia.edu/sites/default/files/microsites/career-services/files/employmentquestionnairesummary_2017_final.pdf

Employment Placement Statistics: Look at the ABA Employment Summary for 2016 Graduates, for this school. There were 389 members of this cohort. Of this amount, a total of 377 reported landing full-time, long-term employment within 10 months of receiving their degrees. That is an effective placement rate of 96.9 percent. Then again, 12 grads were in posts funded by the univer$ity of law school. Without those dozen jobs included, the rate drops down to 93.9% of the class. Regarding outcomes, most landed Biglaw positions. 

http://abovethelaw.com/2009/09/disturbing-message-about-the-legal-job-market-from-columbia-law-school/

Back on September 23, 2009, Elie Mystal informed ATL readers that Columbia Law School recommended that its students attend the undergrad job fair. That piece was labeled “Disturbing Message About the Legal Job Market From Columbia Law School.” Check out this opening:

“We all know about the difficult legal job market facing current law students. But is it so bad that J.D. candidates would have been better off never going to law school in the first place? At Columbia Law School — the fourth best law school in the country according to U.S. News — is suggesting that job seekers crash the undergraduate job fair. A tipster puts it this way:

Recruiting is bad this year, as you know, but CLS is just highlighting it by recommending we attend an UNDERGRADUATE career fair. It says it is open to all, and that is true, but when you look at the actual companies and organizations coming to the career fair the vast majority require only a bachelors, and none want a law degree specifically. Great to know that $200k+ and 3 years of lost opportunity cost can leave you in the same position as if you never went in the first place.” [Emphasis mine] 

https://www.usnews.com/best-graduate-schools/top-law-schools/grad-debt-rankings

Average Law Student Indebtedness: USN&WR lists the average law student indebtedness - for those members of the New York Univer$ity JD Class of 2016 who incurred debt for law school - as $159,769. By the way, a mere 63% of this school’s 2016 graduating cohort took on such toxic debt. Remember, this amount does not include debt from undergrad. It also doesn’t take accrued interest into account, while you are enrolled in school. Of note, while it is ranked 5th best in terms of overall reputation, it only has the 8th highest amount of average law student debt. That must make it a ridiculous bargain for the students, right? 

Even with outrageous costs of attending this school, 37 percent of the 2016 graduating class did not incur a single dime of student debt for law school. Have fun breaking your ass so you can make law review, while those young men and women can put forth minimal effort and still land the best positions available. When you are basically living in the law library that first year of school, just keep in mind that those students can rely on their wealthy parents – or connected uncle – to make a few phone calls, in order to secure stellar employment.

Conclusion: In the final analysis, if you are not from a financially loaded and politically connected family, then you will be out of place here. Even if you land a coveted Biglaw position, you will need to stand out and bring in major new business in a relative short time span. If you do not make partner within 3-5 years, the firm’s partners will find that you are expendable. And other white shoe law offices do not make it their practice to hire those who failed in Biglaw.

Friday, November 10, 2017

First Tier Gouging: New York University School of Law


http://www.law.nyu.edu/financialaid/budgetandbudgeting/studentexpensebudget

Tuition: Full-time law students at New York Univer$ity will be charged $61,644 in tuition – for the 2017-2018 academic year. That is outrageous, for a single damn year of “legal education.” At that price, you may as well post “Non-Rich Need Not Apply.” They make it pretty clear that they don’t want those of modest means to enroll.

Don’t forget that fees – for health, regi$tration, $ervice, and technology – add another $2,342 to the cost. That brings the price tag of admi$$ion to $63,986. I guess they figure that they might as well screw you a little harder. After all, the wealthy kids’ parents will gladly pay full freight for the credential – while those of middle and working class backgrounds will take on some student debt for the degree.

Total Estimated Cost of Attendance: Based on the same page, the school lists non-direct expenses as $28,920. Of this amount, only $1,400 is for books and supplies. Another $220 is for loan fees. Transportation does not have a line item and that is fair, since millions of New Yorkers do not own cars – and they can rely on dependable, safe, and clean public transit systems to take them to their destinations. 

That brings the total, estimated COA to $93,906. Again, this is for two semesters of a three year program of $tudy. Of course, many will not flinch upon seeing this massive number. They are called rich people, and if you aren’t one of them, then you are taking some risk by attending this particular law school. 

Law students will accumulate expenses over the entire 12 months – and not just for the school calendar. We will therefore prorate the following items: room and board, as well as health and dental insurance. Books and supplies and loan fees will remain the same. Doing so, we reach the following more accurate, estimated COA of $98,406.

In the end, there is a dividing line. It is bright and palpable. The wealthy and connected can write a check for $100K, without flinching. Whereas, the vast majority of people in this country would have a stroke if they had to repay this amount. In fact, the cost is much lower for the rich students or their parents – as they don’t have to pay principle plus interest. But these “non-profit, educational institutions” are looking out for the students, right? 

https://www.usnews.com/best-graduate-schools/top-law-schools/law-rankings

Ranking: As you can see, the NYU Law $chool is rated as the 6th greatest and most amazing law school in the country, by US “News” & World Report. In fact, the school is so prestigious, it does not share this honor with any other in$titution of “higher education.” That alone tells you that this school is clearly in a class of its own.

http://www.law.nyu.edu/sites/default/files/upload_documents/ABA%20Employment%20Summary-Class%20of%202016.pdf

Published Employment Placement Statistics: Let’s take a look at the school’s ABA Employment Summary for 2016 Graduates. You will notice that there were 485 members of this cohort. Hell, that is a small army. Of that gigantic-ass number, 476 reported being employed in long-term, full-time positions. That is impressive…until you consider that fully 30 of these were in jobs funded by the university or law school. 

This is significant, since if you count all jobs, the full-time placement rate was 98.1% - as opposed to 92 percent when those 30 positions are not included. But the school couldn’t possibly have created these posts in order to artificially increase its employment figures! After all, that would be so crass and cynical of the jackals. We are talking about “institutions of higher learning,” people.

One poor soul reported working in a part-time, long-term job within 10 months of receiving hid NYU law degree. Another member of this class listing their status as being in a short-term, full-time gig. You can bet your ass that these two are not members of the wealthy, connected, or preferred classes. Their parents would not allow that to happen to their offspring – even if their grades were weak. Failure is okay for working class people to accept, not the kids of the elite.

https://www.usnews.com/best-graduate-schools/top-law-schools/grad-debt-rankings

Average Law Student Indebtedness: US “News” lists the average law student indebtedness - for those members of the New York Univer$ity JD Class of 2016 who incurred debt for law school - as $167,646. $omehow, only 64% of this school’s 2016 graduating cohort took on such debt. Keep in mind that this amount does not include debt from undergrad. It also does not take accrued interest into account, while the student is enrolled. By the way, while it is ranked 6th best, it features the 4th highest amount of average law student debt. Then again, 13 schools did not provide their numbers to this defunct magazine.

Despite the outrageous costs of attending this school, 36 percent of the 2016 graduating class did not incur any student debt for law school. Have fun competing against those young men and women for the best positions. Their father or uncle can make a few phone calls and get them into the juiciest jobs. Don’t be surprised if those same rich family members got them into NYU, even with perhaps less stellar LSAT scores.

Conclusion: This is one hell of an expensive institution to attend, and it is located in the priciest city in the United States. Yet, almost four out of ten graduates from the JD Class of 2016 did not take on a single dime in student loans for their “legal education.” If you are not from an immensely wealthy or politically connected family, then you do not belong here. You will stick out from these people – and they don’t really want you to join their club. Especially, if your success comes from high skills and hard work. In fact, that might upset them – seeing someone who busted his neck to gain entry. Also remember that Biglaw associates are often given the boot within 3-5 years on the job. And white shoe firms do not hire “failures” from other large corporate law offices.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Second Tier Puke Stain: Penn State Law at University Park


https://pennstatelaw.psu.edu/admissions/tuition-and-related-expenses

Tuition and Fees: Those attending this ABA-accredited diploma mill on a full-time basis will be charged an even $48,000 in tuition – for the 2017-2018 school year. Don’t forget to include fees of $1,020 to the total. Then again, who doesn’t have $49,020 for a single year of second tier “legal education”? Remember, plenty of rich kids manage to obtain law degrees without taking on any student loans.

Total Cost of Attendance: Based on the same page, this in$TTiTTuTTion of “higher learning” lists additional expenses as $23,056. That brings the commode’s total estimated COA to $72,076. Keep in mind that ABA law schools base living costs off of a nine month academic calendar.

Seeing that actual, breathing law students will accumulate expenses over the full 12 months, we will prorate the following items: housing, food, utilities, miscellaneous costs, and transportation. Books and supplies – listed as $1,932 – will remain unchanged. For $ome rea$on, ABA schools find it extremely difficult to even put in a disclaimer to the effect of “These costs are for nine months.”

After making these adjustments, we reach the following, more accurate estimated Cost of Attendance figure of $79,177. Again, this is for a single damn year of a three year program of study. Furthermore, the school’s reputation is not much higher than that of your local community college. Do you feel that you will have even a remote chance to land a decent attorney position coming out of this place? If so, then what is the basis for your irrational belief – other than coming from money? 

https://www.usnews.com/best-graduate-schools/top-law-schools/law-rankings/page+4

Ranking: Based on these prices, one would expect this school to have a sterling reputation among legal and academic circles, correct? Well, according to US “News” & World Report, Penn $TTaTTe Law aTT Univer$iTTy Park is rated as the 82nd greatest, most remarkable and amazing law school in the nation!

In fact, it only shares this distinct “honor” with the following ABA cesspools: Loyola-Chicago, University of Pittsburgh, and the University of Tulsa. By the way, somehow this school is ranked a full 17 spots below the sister campus, Dickinson Law, located in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. What a great accomplishment! This is even more incredible, when you consider that Penn State and Dickinson merged from 2000 to 2014, and then were deemed to be two separate law schools.

https://pennstatelaw.psu.edu/sites/default/files/documents/pdfs/Career-Services/Employment-Summary-Class-of-2016.pdf

Employment Placement Statistics: We will review the school’s ABA Employment Summary for 2016 Graduates. There were only 95 members of this cohort. Of that amount, only 72 were employed in full-time, long-term positions – within 10 months of receiving their TT law degree. One JD reported being in a full-time, short-term job – and two poor suckers landed part-time gigs. That is a generous “placement” rate of 78.9 percent! After all, many sure high school students and college undergrads can find part-time work. 

Head down to Employment Type. You will notice that only 36 graduates from the 2016 Class went into private practice as full-timers; two others found part-time work in such settings. Here is a further breakdown: three JDs reported working in firms of 51-100 attorneys, two in offices of 101-250 lawyers, one soul landed a job in a firm that had 251-500 lawyers, and five were employed in offices with more than 500 attorneys.

Who wants to take a guess how much educational debt those students incurred, on average, for law school? Those from wealthy families can get into a low-ranked law school, and still land pretty well. It also helps if they have a parent or uncle who is a federal magistrate. That is not an option for the typical pupil enrolled in a TT diploma factory. 

https://www.usnews.com/best-graduate-schools/top-law-schools/grad-debt-rankings/page+4

Average Law Student Indebtedness: US “News” lists the average law student indebtedness - for those members of the Penn $TTaTTe Law at Univer$iTTy Park JD Class of 2016 who incurred debt for law school - as $117,692. Furthermore, 76% of this school’s 2016 graduating cohort took on such debt. This figure does not include debt from undergrad. It also does not take accrued interest into account, while the student is enrolled and falling asleep in boring classes.

Nearly one quarter of the 2016 did not take on a single dime of debt for law school. At least, when those young men and women can’t land legal jobs, they won’t owe a king’s ransom in non-dischargeable debt. Of note, the school was rated as 82nd “best” in terms of overall quality, by the defunct magazine – and in terms of average law student debt, they rank 80th. That must make it a fair price for the producTTT, huh? 

Conclusion: In the last analysis, avoid Penn $TTaTTe Law aTT Univer$iTTy Park at all costs. It would be irresponsible for me – or anyone – to advise otherwise. Notice that the ones strongly urging you to go are the over-paid, underworked “law professors” whose largesse depends on duping idealistic college grads and the taxpayer. I don’t care if they throw in a full scholarship and free DirecTV. If this is your only choice, and you have your heart set on law school, wait until next year. Do whatever you can to drastically improve your test scores, until you can get into a real law school.

Frankly, if your LSAT score and undergraduate GPA put you in the position of attending the 82nd or 61st or 93rd “most prestigious” law school in the country, then you need to reconsider law school. You would be much better served by remaining in your current job, and kicking ass at it, so that you can possibly move into management. At least then, you would be making money and paying bills. That certainly beats trying to repay $150K+ in non-dischargeable debt, while making $41K a year at a job that doesn’t require a law degree.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

First Tier Prohibitive Cost: University of Pennsylvania Law School


https://www.law.upenn.edu/admissions/financing/applicants/

Tuition and Fees: Full-time law students at the Univer$ity of Penn$ylvania will be charged $59,382, for the 2017-2018 academic year. But that’s not all, folks. They will also face a General Fee of $2,984, in addition to a Technical Fee of $998. That brings the total to $63,364. Again, that is for a single year of “legal education.” By the way, who doesn’t have that amount of cash laying in their couch cushions?

Total Cost of Attendance: According to this same document, room will amount to $9,900, board to $5,515, and miscellaneous costs will run an additional $3,511. With books, health insurance, and clinical fees tossed in, the total estimated COA is listed as $87,984. What a grand bargain for the student, huh? 

Seeing that actual students will require living expenses for the entire damn year – and not a mere nine months – we will prorate the following items: room, board, and miscellaneous costs. Books, health coverage, and clinical fees will remain the same. Doing so, we reach the more accurate, total estimated COA of $94,292.

While getting into such a school does show aptitude and knowledge, these outrageous costs help keep out the riffraff from modest/working class backgrounds. After all, if you do not have stellar family and political connections, i.e. the right name, then you will be out of place at such a school. Have fun fitting in, with your new “friends” and associates. At best, you will be seeking to artificially “network” with these people. 

https://www.usnews.com/best-graduate-schools/top-law-schools/law-rankings

Ranking: As you can see, the Univer$ity of Penn$ylvania Law $chool is rated as the 7th best law school in the United States, by the defunct magazine known as US “News” & World Report. In fact, it has sole possession of 7th place. That places it above 198 other ABA-accredited diploma mills. Since this is one of the relative few schools that produces future, tenured “law professors,” perhaps it should be even higher on the list.

https://www.law.upenn.edu/live/files/6443-penn-law-class-of-2016-aba-employment-data

Employment Placement Statistics: Let’s go over the school’s ABA Employment Summary for 2016 Graduates. You will notice that there were 258 members of this cohort. Of that amount, a total of 251 were in full-time, long term positions – within 10 months of earning their law degrees. Of course, four were employed in jobs funded by the university or law school. Even with those included, the effective placement rate was 97.3 percent.

Of note, another two grads reported landing part-time employment. Who knows whether these are rich kids who can afford to take on such positions? If that is the case, then I’m sure their parents are happy to supplement their income. And to be fair, these are probably not permanent situations.

Scroll down to Employment Type. A total of 25 graduates from the Class of 2016 were employed in law firms of 251-500 attorneys. An additional 138 reported landing positions in firms that employed more than 500 lawyers. In fact, 16 others were also in private law firms withing 10 months of receiving their JDs.

You will see that 29 members of the Univer$ity of Penn$ylvania Law $chool landed federal court clerkships. In short, a significant portion of recent grads do exceptionally well with regard to getting the best jobs available to freshly-minted lawyers. It is still a financial risk, if you don’t come from established wealth. However, this is the type of school that most would be thrilled to attend, even if they have to incur serious student debt in the process. In sum, it is not a ridiculous gamble.

https://www.usnews.com/best-graduate-schools/top-law-schools/grad-debt-rankings

Average Law Student Indebtedness: USN&WR lists the average law student indebtedness - for those members of the University of Pennsylvania Law Class of 2016 who incurred debt for law school - as $156,725. By the way, only 71% of this school’s 2016 graduating cohort took on such toxic debt. Remember, this amount does not even include undergraduate debt – and it also does not take accrued interest into account, while the student is enrolled.

Then again, the law school is ranked 7th best in terms of overall reputation, the school’s 2016 graduating class was only the 13th most burdened by additional law school debt. I suppose that does make it a tremendous deal, for the student. It’s an even better bargain for the 29 percent of this class that did not take on any student loans for law school. That is nearly three out of 10 members of the 2016 graduating class. Good luck fun competing against those rich young men and women for the finest law jobs.

Conclusion: If you are smart enough to gain admission to this top law school, and you are not from a wealthy family, then you better hope that you can repay your student loans quickly. Keep in mind that Biglaw firms tend to burn through tons of associates. If you don’t manage to become a partner within 3-5 years, be prepared to get tossed out on your ass. And law is a “profession” that is so geared toward “prestige,” other Biglaw firms will not even consider a failed white shoe firm associate.

As always, if you are rich, feel free to attend. By the way, that is probably what it will cost you to enroll and graduate from this elite law school. In other words, you have nothing to lose. Enjoy taking a three year vacation, and then entering your family business upon graduation. I’m sure that a law degree from an Ivy League in$titution serves as a nice conversation piece when you are with your other rich friends in their furnished cabins – or comparing luxury cars.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

First Tier Hubris: University of Michigan Law School


https://www.law.umich.edu/financialaid/Pages/tuitionrates.aspx

Tuition: Michigan residents attending this school on a full-time basis will be charged $56,844 in tuition – for the 2017-2018 academic year. Out-of-state, full-time law students will get slammed with a bill of $60,090. For $ome rea$on, this in$titution lists these costs on a per semester basis. Apparently, the going rate for a “top-rate legal education” in the U.S. is now $60K per year. What a great bargain for the student, right?

By the way, law students here will also face the following fees, listed per term: $80 in registration; $9.19 for central student government; $1.50 in student & college government; $8.50 for student legal services; and $65 for a university unions & recreational sports facility improvement fee. And since law students are so special, they will also be charged a $25 student activities fee. Of note, “The first year there is an additional $20 fee per semester.”

These petty fees add $189.19 to the tab, each semester – for second and third year law students. It is an additional $209.19 for those in their first year. Then again, when you are slapped across the nose with a roughly $60K tuition bill, what is an extra $378.38 or $418.38 in fees? If you need to lay down after reading this section, that is understandable.

https://www.law.umich.edu/financialaid/Documents/budget.pdf

Total Cost of Attendance: The school was nice enough to include a different document labeled “Student Budget Fall-Winter 2017-2018.” They also list tuition and fees on that page as $$57,262 for in-state students and as $60,508 for non-residents. This augu$t in$titution of “higher education” estimates that living expenses will amount to another $19,510. There is one item missing, but it is addressed by the school:

“*Insurance - We feel strongly that all students should have excellent health insurance. Because we know that the majority of our students remain on their parent’s health insurance, we do not automatically build that cost into our budget, but are happy to increase your budget for the academic year with documented insurance costs. We also encourage all students to take out renters insurance.” [Emphasis mine]

What about those students who didn’t attend Andover Academy or summer in the south of France? At any rate, the rodents did not provide this line item. Even without this typically pricey commodity, the Estimated Total Cost of Attendance is listed as $76,772 for Michigan residents and $80,818 for out-of-state law students. By the way, the last law school profiled – the University of Chicago – listed health coverage at $3,972. This seems to be a fair cost, and it is in the same geographic region.

Seeing that real life law students will accumulate expenses for the entire year – and not just during the special time when they are enrolled in class – we will prorate the following areas: rent/utilities/food, as well as personal costs. The school lists them as $14,650 and $3,540, respectively. Books and supplies at $1,100 and loan origination fees of $220 will remain unchanged. After making adjustments for the full 12 months, and adding in insurance, we reach the following, more accurate COA figures: $86,807 for Michigan residents and $90,053 for out-of-state students. Remember, this is for one year of law school.

https://www.usnews.com/best-graduate-schools/top-law-schools/law-rankings

Ranking: As you can see, the Univer$ity of Michigan Law $chool is rated as the 8th greatest and most amazing law school in the country, by US “News” & World Report. In fact, it only shares this distinct honor with one other in$titution, the University of Virginia School of Law. Truly, this is a tremendous accomplishment - as it is better than nearly 200 other ABA schools. 

https://www.law.umich.edu/careers/classstats/Documents/ABASummaryClassof2016.pdf

Employment Placement Statistics: Here is the school’s Employment Summary for 2016 Graduates. There were 327 members of this class. Fully 317 of them landed full-time positions, within ten months of receiving their law degrees. Of course, five of them were in short-term jobs – and 11 were employed in posts funded by the law school or university. That is still a 97% placement rate.

Under Employment Type, you will see that 31 grads from this cohort landed jobs in firms of 251-500 lawyers – and 126 were in offices with more than 500 attorneys. Another 42 reported being in federal court clerkships. This means that 60.9 percent of the 2016 class – from the co-8th best law school in the entire nation – received the best jobs. Imagine your odds if you attend the 61st or 83rd “greatest” ABA-accredited diploma mill.

https://www.usnews.com/best-graduate-schools/top-law-schools/grad-debt-rankings/page+2

Average Law Student Indebtedness: US “News” lists the average law student indebtedness - for those members of the Univer$ity of Michigan Law Class of 2016 who incurred debt for law school - as $146,309. Furthermore, 73% of this school’s 2016 graduating cohort took on such debt. Keep in mind that this amount does not debt from undergrad. It also does not take accrued interest into account, while the student is enrolled. Then again, perhaps it is a bargain. After all, it is co-ranked 8th best law school – and it is rated 30th highest, as it pertains to law student debt.

Despite the prohibitive costs of attending this school, more than 1/4 of the 2016 graduating class did not incur any student debt for law school. Good luck competing against them for the best positions. Their father or uncle can make a few phone calls and get them into the choicest jobs. My guess is that these are the same people who are still on their parent’s Cadillac insurance plan. Worrying about such expenses is for working class men and women.

Conclusion: In a way, reviewing these supposed elite law schools is more illuminating than going over the typical second tier diploma factory. For instance, who in their right mind wouldn’t blink upon seeing these outrageous tuition amounts? We are also noticing a trend, i.e. large segments of these schools’ recent graduating classes are not taking out a single dime in student loans for law school. Guess who has the inside track on the best jobs, even though they don’t really need those positions?
 
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