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Law School Closings and Changes to Student Loan Bankruptcy Laws May Be Ahead, Says Former Dean

Apr 26, 2012, 07:24 pm CDT

Comments

Well, I sure hope a few in Miami close. Doubt it. Too much money grabbing.

By Adam of Florida on 2012 04 26, 8:05 pm CDT

I believe that the answer lies in a change that allows for the restructuring of student loan debt in bankruptcy. It would be a happy medium to both help indebted graduates who sincerely cannot make ends meet while appeasing those who fear a mass-scale debt discharge.

By Esq. on 2012 04 26, 9:04 pm CDT

How about some good old mergers and acquisitions?

By Tony Smith on 2012 04 26, 10:46 pm CDT

Comment removed by moderator.

By reader on 2012 04 26, 11:04 pm CDT

Comment removed by moderator.

By B. McLeod on 2012 04 27, 12:02 am CDT

Get the lackey faculty out into the real world and make them earn an honest living like the rest of us.

By Steve Dunn on 2012 04 27, 2:16 pm CDT

Who created this "disconnect"? Those most culpable should be held accountable.

No More New Law Schools -- Not Even One!

By Lee on 2012 04 27, 2:59 pm CDT

Can you name a law school with five campuses? How could this have happened. Good job ABA your the best.

By Trivia on 2012 04 27, 3:27 pm CDT

What about the idea of a legal peace corps -- sending attorneys to third world country to help them Access their Courts -- in return for partial debt forgiveness?

By reader on 2012 04 27, 5:43 pm CDT

Congress has no problem giving banks loans at low federal interest rate or to buy bad debt off banks portfolios.

If only Congress would have allowed all students who graduated during this recession to consolidate and fix the rate of their student loans at today’s federal rate, as a recovery measure, then at least these students will have a fighting chance to repay their debt and the economy would benefit.

Nothing will stimulate more this gloomy economy than students having extra several hundreds of dollars in their pockets to spend on goods and services every month (or even to save).

By Solomon on 2012 04 27, 9:20 pm CDT

What gets me is that there is such a surplus of lawyers yet still they charge so much and so many people who could use legal help can't get a lawyer.

One idea I had (and I am not a lawyer) is that the government could pay a bonus for getting convicted people out of jail or off of probation by finding evidence that was over looked or significant procedural violations. It is really expensive to keep people in jail, the direct expenses and also the indirect ones of caring for their children, long term damage to their health etc.

I don't have a criminal record but I was imprisoned for months. I went in thinking that they would be guilty but many were either guilty of the same drug use that is done by many people in government jobs or they were not guilty of any crime at all.
I asked a guard if he thought there were innocent people in jail and he said definitely yes and blamed it on plea bargaining.

Many of the underemployed lawyers might think they don't know enough about law to help people but they still know more than most people plus there is an advantage of just having someone who is credible with the courts and not so close to the facts. Pro se litigants are just overwhelmed partially because they can't even get a hearing if they file a Rule 11 motion and opposing counsel takes advantage of them.

One idea I had is a big room where lawyers could sit and do paperwork next to a sign describing their interests and qualifications. The public would pick whoever looks good to them, slide a card, and buy legal services in 15 minute increments. I guess you could do the same thing on-line.

By reader on 2012 04 28, 2:14 am CDT

I thought they could solve two problems at once, by giving hard hats and wrecking bars to unemployed grads and hiring them to tear down the schools that have to close.

By B. McLeod on 2012 04 28, 3:38 am CDT

The legal profession has been over saturated for many years. No sympathy for jobless attorney's, they should have done their due diligence before spending $200K. They roll the dice and bet on the sick horse, why? Because everyone in this country likes to be a pencil pusher, paper swapper or pyramid schemer ( like only to distribute the pie). How about baking the pie via STEM professions?
I supposed these law students, were counting on the Chinese and Indians to fill the gap in the productive and necessary STEM professions!

By Titopa on 2012 04 28, 3:53 am CDT

Solomon

If attorneys don't pay back their student loans, other people will have to pay more in taxes to make up for the deficit.

By reader on 2012 04 28, 1:04 pm CDT

Comment removed by moderator.

By Kay Sieverding on 2012 04 28, 1:27 pm CDT

Well, the lawns are cut, so I have a little time to play in today's round of "Guess what the Moderator is Doing." I'm going to guess that the preceding question (whether pro se civil litigants getting themselves locked up for contempt may boost lawyer employment) was sufficiently topical, but that it was removed due to Kay actually posting in her full name after previously posting on the same thread as "reader" (thereby offending an unwritten, but at least pretty consistently applied, Moderator standard). Based on this premise, and the corollary that a response to the question raised might therefore not be removed, I would say one could certainly hope that a few such instances of civil litigants doing really badly on their own might convince other civil litigants that they would indeed be better off to retain some of our unemployed brethren and sistern to help them out.

By B. McLeod on 2012 04 28, 6:20 pm CDT

"She added that many of those graduates went to law school confident about job prospects that either weren’t true or no longer hold true."

So we should just wipe out the debts of those who were "confident" and wrong???

These were the definition of educated consumers. They invested in their education in the hope/desire/demand that they become 1%ers upon gradutation. When that did not happen, they suddenly want to disclaim responsibility.

If the dean thinks her students were unfairly burdened, she can refund their tuition.

But asking us to eat their tuition, that she happily accepted and shows no inclination to return, is simply ridiculous. Its an argument only a lawyer could make ....

By The Voice of Reason on 2012 04 30, 2:32 pm CDT

Reader @ 11:

"What gets me is that there is such a surplus of lawyers yet still they charge so much and so many people who could use legal help can’t get a lawyer. "

What gets me is that my gynecologist spent 4 years in college, 4 years in medical school, and at least 3 years perfecting his medical specialty, and my plumber, who probably has a G.E.D., charges more per visit of the same duration to fix a toilet. When you hire an attorney, you are paying for his education--which if you have read these boards recently has been increasing exponentially over the last decade--as well as his/her skill. As with other trades, billing is by the hour, plus expenses. If you've never needed an attorney, you might argue that plumbers perform a more useful function: After all, it would be an utter catastrophe if your toilet overflowed and got poop and whatnot on the bathroom floor. But the average person can learn to re-plumb a toilet from a fix-it book purchased at Home Depot, and poop cleans up with a little Clorox. Try obtaining similar results with a do-it-yourself criminal appeal.

"One idea I had (and I am not a lawyer) is that the government could pay a bonus for getting convicted people out of jail or off of probation . . . etc. "

The county already pays for criminal defense attorneys and alternate public defenders in most major metro areas. In outlying areas, they award contracts to private attorneys for similar work.

"Many of the underemployed lawyers might think they don’t know enough about law to help people but they still know more than most people plus there is an advantage of just having someone who is credible with the courts and not so close to the facts. Pro se litigants are just overwhelmed partially because they can’t even get a hearing if they file a Rule 11 motion and opposing counsel takes advantage of them."

An inexperienced attorney has no credibility with the courts. That has to be earned. On the other hand, in most jurisdictions, the courts give pro se parties every consideration.

"One idea I had is a big room where lawyers could sit and do paperwork next to a sign describing their interests and qualifications. The public would pick whoever looks good to them, slide a card, and buy legal services in 15 minute increments. I guess you could do the same thing on-line."

AAAAAACK! Does it really matter if the attorney charges you $200 per hour or $50 every 15 minutes? Do you really want to purchase legal services online where you have no clue who the attorney is or even if he's licensed to practice law in your state?

@ 14:

"If attorneys don’t pay back their student loans, other people will have to pay more in taxes to make up for the deficit. "

If attorneys default on their student loans, other people will have to make up the difference--either by paying more in taxes, or having more of the "pot" for student loans going to cure default instead of educating students. Also, many of these loans are carried by private lenders, and are insured. If the banks and insurers can't read the economic writing on the wall after 2008, they're "too stupid to succeed."

By BMF on 2012 04 30, 3:33 pm CDT

To make it clear to readers. Economics 101, states that if there is an oversuply of lawyers, their fees have to go down. Then why atty's charge so much? The answer is simple, it is called the hourly rate, which in my opinion is a form of pyramid scheme.
Why? Beacuse you are not charching for services or an outcome, you are selling merely time.
For instance, you only have $2,500.00 to pay a family law atty. The latter will not tell you, I am sorry prospective client $2,500.00 at $300 per hour will not get you anywhere, thus, I must respectfully decline you case. Because of the oversaturation of lawyers, the lawyer will typically get your $2,500.00, will review your docs, and send you a welcome letter. Then the Atty will call you and tell you sorry we need more $, as the retainer has now been depleted. The client will say, OMG I no longer have $. The Atty will say, to bad I am going to file a motion to withdraw, and by the way you still have to pay an additional $750.00 for me to attend the MTW hearing. Because the atty never conlcuded the job, he can not be held accountable for a bad result.
Eventually, the hourly system is going to perish and US attys will have to pay a flat fee like most of the rest of the world.

By Titopa on 2012 04 30, 5:28 pm CDT

@titopa
There is no oversupply of lawyers. There is an oversupply of unqualified and/or incompetant lawyers.

A large part of that is due to the fact that people don't want to train their competition. The other part is due to the lack of math required to become a lawyer. Any idiot can become one!!!

By Mrmath on 2012 04 30, 8:29 pm CDT

Mr math, I agree w u go to my 1st posting, nobody in this country wants or is unable ( bc lack of math) to go into STEM professions, thus , they become lawyers.

By Titopa on 2012 05 01, 12:40 am CDT

I'll get out of law school next year with over $140,000 in student debt---hopefully, they change the bankruptcy laws soon, since there are no good jobs available.

By Discharge on 2012 05 01, 3:22 am CDT

I note that several comments have been removed, presumably as inappropriate, by the ABA moderator, but not the ones that call on the ABA to engage even more openly in cartel behavior by excluding new schools from the market. Interesting.

By Anon on 2012 05 01, 5:25 am CDT

I'm not an antitrust attorney but this cartel like behavior you mentioned is exempt from Sherman because it is state regulated.

The public benefits because ABA restrictions increase the quality of attorneys.

Imagine how much worse we'd be if there were even less restrictions!!

By Mrmath on 2012 05 01, 6:06 am CDT

Actually, Anon, the Moderators remove posts for a variety of reasons, sometimes explicable, often not. I like to try to guess the reasons for removal of particular posts where it is not obvious. It adds to the entertainment value of the site.

By B. McLeod on 2012 05 01, 12:26 pm CDT

B. McLeod - Interesting. My life is a bit too full right now to really throw myself into that game, but I get the appeal.
Mrmath - You got that right - with the 'that' being the 'not an antitrust attorney' part. The ABA is absolutely subject to the antitrust laws, including the Sherman Act. In 1995 they were sued by the Justice Department for anticompetitive behavior in regard to law school accreditation, settled instantly, and agreed to go forth and sin no more. http://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/Pre_96/June95/363.txt.html I could toss more citations at you, but why bother. It's a good thing we have the ABA propping up lawyer incomes by excluding competition, otherwise generalist lawyers who don't know jack would have a harder time roping in dupes to whom they can give comically incorrect advice.

By Anon on 2012 05 01, 12:43 pm CDT

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