The Law School 'Game': Win One, Lose One
Tuesday, September 04, 2012
LawBiz(r) TIPS weekly newsletter
LawBiz® TIPS – Week of September 4, 2012
The ABA Journal has opened the nomination process for its annual Blawg 100, a list of the 100 best law-focused blogs on the Web.
The publication is requesting short submissions from people who have found that my blog, LawBiz Blog (www.lawbizblog.com) has provided valuable and timely information in my area, law practice management.
If you have enjoyed my blog postings over the past year (and prior years), I hope you will act as one of my "friends of court." The process is quick and easy, and should take no more than 5 minutes of your time. Simply click on this link and fill out the short form. (submission deadline: 7 p.m. ET on Friday, Sept 7)
Thanks in advance for taking part!
The Law School "Game": Win One, Lose One
The "Games" Used to Enroll Students
The 200-plus accredited U.S. law schools have faced plenty of criticism concerning the process as well as the statistics they use to "game" the process of enticing students to enroll. Basically the game is to tout how high the schools rank in ratings compiled by publications like US News & World Report, and how many graduates use their JDs to enter a prosperous career after they graduate. Of two recent stories about this gaming, carried in the ABA Journal online, one gave the schools a victory of sorts on one count - but neither constituted a ringing endorsement of law school ethics.
Buyer Beware Decision
In the victory, a Michigan federal judge dismissed a suit by 12 Cooley Law School graduates claiming they were misled about their job prospects. The judge held that statistics about percent of graduates employed and their average starting salaries reported by the school were "literally true" even though they represented incomplete survey responses. But the judge also stated that the statistics, supplied in an ABA-required format, were "... so vague and incomplete as to be meaningless and could not reasonably be relied upon." Bottom line, the judge told the Cooley grads, "An ordinary prudent person would not have relied on the statistics to decide to spend $100,000 or more" on a J.D. degree - lumping law schools in the same "buyer beware" category as used car salesmen.
Law School is Publicly Censured
On the admissions side of the statistical game, the University of Illinois, College of Law was publicly censured and fined $250,000 by the Council of the ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar for intentionally reporting and publishing false admissions data in six out of the last 10 years. The action follows the revelation that the law school reported and/or published inaccurate LSAT scores and incoming student grade-point-average data for several entering classes, all as part of a scheme that was designed primarily to improve the standings of the law school's in U.S. News & World Report's annual law school rankings. The school accepted the sanctions but questioned the fine as excessive. However, the ABA asserted, in unusually clear language: "No matter what the competitive pressures, law schools must not cheat. The College of Law cheated." Or, as a cynic might say, the College of Law got caught...
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