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Law Professor Supports Scambloggers, Calls for Colleagues to 'Wake Up to Casualties of Our Enterprise'

Tamanaha Over at the Balkinization blog, support for the growing legion of Scambloggers who want to keep you from going to law school has come from an unlikely source: St. Johns University School of Law Professor Brian Tamanaha (pictured). Tamanaha, the Chief Judge Benjamin N. Cardozo Professor of Law, as well as a former Interim dean of the School of Law in 1998-1999 and Professor of the Year in 2001, wrote yesterday that it was time for his fellow law professors to "wake up to the casualties of our enterprise."

Tamanaha asks law professors to take a hard look at blogs such as Third Tier Reality, Esq. Never, Exposing the Law School Scam, Jobless Juris Doctor, Temporary Attorney: The Sweatshop Edition, which he believes "make a strong case that something is deeply wrong with law schools." The present dismal employment situation "was not created by the current recession -- which merely spread the pain up the chain into the lower reaches of elite schools. This has been going on for years," he writes. Tamanaha seems to agree with the assertions repeated throughout the Scamblogosphere that

law schools pad their employment figures -- 96% employed -- by counting as "employed" any job at all, legal or non-legal, including part time jobs, including unemployed graduates hired by the school as research assistants (or by excluding unemployed graduates "not currently seeking" a job, or by excluding graduates who do not supply employment information). They know that the gaudy salary numbers advertised on the career services page -- average starting salary $125,000 private full time employment" -- are actually calculated based upon only about 25% of the graduating class (although you can’t easily figure this out from the information provided by the schools).

To his law professor colleagues who protest that they are themselves not "scammers" and are simply providing students with the opportunity to have a go at a legal career, Tamanaha says that while this rationale made sense when annual tuition was $10,000 to $15,000, it begins to ring hollow when annual tuition reaches $30,000 to $40,000, as it now is at many schools.

Tamanaha says it is now time for law schools to provide straightforward, candid information about the employment numbers of recent graduates; to shrink the number of graduates; and to hold the line on tuition increases. "The negative consequences for individuals and for society of the extraordinary price of entry to the legal profession will become more apparent over time," he says. "And it all happened under our watch."

Posted by Bruce Carton on June 14, 2010 at 10:43 AM | Permalink | Comments (8)


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