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(Salon)   This just in: Law schools are greedy, useless, and toxic, especially since the legal profession is in disarray   (salon.com) divider line 148
    More: Obvious, Chicago School, value proposition, neoliberals, efficient markets, law schools, rational choice theory, rule of law, torts  
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6096 clicks; posted to Main » on 24 Nov 2013 at 5:15 PM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-11-24 10:24:01 PM  

bunner: mama's_tasty_foods: He said that contract attorneys used to be bottom of the barrel

Any firm with billionaire business and corporate clients would vastly disagree with this assertion.


Heheh, point well taken, but I think what he meant was that, at least as he saw it, contract attorneys were people who graduated law school with lackluster credentials and had no other options because no firm would hire them. I take it he felt like the people he saw doing contract work these days, are people he could envision hiring as associates at his own firm, if he had the work. He sounded like he would've liked to keep a few of them on.
 
2013-11-24 10:26:18 PM  

Bandito King: corn-bread: I went back to law school at 30 after doing IT for 12+ years.  I did a night program and continued to work during the day.  Over time I gradually transitioned from IT to law full time.  As a result I suffered no decrease in income and am actually making more now than my last years in IT.

The law profession is changing.  Lawyers today have to be agile, they have to roll with the punches and always be hustling business.  The days of lawyer incubating in large firms until they can learn the profession are over.  These days you're expected to hit the ground running and start producing from day 1.  If you're able to do that, then you'll do fine in law.  If not, perhaps you can land a nice general counsel gig or work at a government agency.  Baring that, you're screwed.

Do you have to be able to break through the clutter and re-orient to new paradigms? I think that moving forward, robust synergy with organic growth is going to be the win-win strategy for spin-up to renewed sustainability.



If only lol.
Most of these dinosaurs still believe that theories of synergy and economic pressures don't apply to their industry.  "But but but.....the law is a public trust!"
 
2013-11-24 10:27:08 PM  
That's what I've been saying.
 
2013-11-24 10:27:18 PM  
mama's_tasty_foods: I  think what he meant was that, at least as he saw it, contract attorneys were people who graduated law school with lackluster credentials and had no other options because no firm would hire them

The late Richard T. Watson, once with Spieth, Bell, Newell and McCurdy had been in the Who's Who of law since they started publishing it, Harvard man. former CIA spook, widely regarded as the most brilliant contract attorney in the US for years.  Not exactly slipping by on C+.  :  )
 
2013-11-24 10:29:41 PM  

corn-bread: public trust!


2.bp.blogspot.com
 
2013-11-24 10:33:53 PM  

bunner: mama's_tasty_foods: I  think what he meant was that, at least as he saw it, contract attorneys were people who graduated law school with lackluster credentials and had no other options because no firm would hire them

The late Richard T. Watson, once with Spieth, Bell, Newell and McCurdy had been in the Who's Who of law since they started publishing it, Harvard man. former CIA spook, widely regarded as the most brilliant contract attorney in the US for years.  Not exactly slipping by on C+.  :  )


ahhh, wait- I think we are talking about two different things. I used the term "contract attorney" to mean a kind of temp employee. These are lawyers who don't have a regular employer, but are often hired to do document review or other pretty menial and tedious tasks, usually on big class-action cases. Their work could often be done by paralegals or law students, but the firms like to pay them an hourly rate with no benefits, then collect at "lawyer pay" from the client or opponent when the class action settles. And when the case is over, they are all gone without a second thought.

You are referring to a lawyer who negotiates deals, who is hired as an associate at a firm and can make partner, and big big bucks. Yes I agree, of course, those lawyers run the big firms and make sky high incomes.
 
2013-11-24 10:36:58 PM  
Ahhhh!  So, you meant "temp".  Gotcha.
 
2013-11-24 10:43:50 PM  

corn-bread: itcamefromschenectady: corn-bread: I went back to law school at 30 after doing IT for 12+ years.  I did a night program and continued to work during the day.  Over time I gradually transitioned from IT to law full time.  As a result I suffered no decrease in income and am actually making more now than my last years in IT.

The law profession is changing.  Lawyers today have to be agile, they have to roll with the punches and always be hustling business.  The days of lawyer incubating in large firms until they can learn the profession are over.  These days you're expected to hit the ground running and start producing from day 1.  If you're able to do that, then you'll do fine in law.  If not, perhaps you can land a nice general counsel gig or work at a government agency.  Baring that, you're screwed.

You know that the legal IT field has been booming, right? You don't have to have a law degree to work for an e-discovery company. My impression has been that if you have a law degree you might make more money but you'll have to work a lot harder than if you have technical skills.


E-discovery is just the tip of the iceberg.  The profession is so technologically behind the times.  Many Courts and clerk offices are paper-based operations.  Many judges (at least in Texas) are old-school people who want paper case files in front of them.  Many clerk officers still won't accept e-filing, and a large subset of them also will not accept any form of fax filing.  And that's a big thing too.....law firms and Courts are still *huge* users of fax machines because the Criminal and Civil Rules of Procedure have not been updated to allow defacto service of process via e-mail.

The Federal system, of course, is the opposite of all the above.  It is integrated, all digital, and state of the art (relatively speaking).

The Texas Supreme Court mandated that starting January 1, 2014 all counties must accept E-filing.  A law passed during this past legislature further mandated that all cri ...


And that's just the start.

Computer Forensics coupled with Forensic Accounting coupled with all the Law fixins - its practically printing money these days.
 
2013-11-24 10:50:01 PM  

bunner: a sea of venom, greed and hypocrisy


whudat.de
 
2013-11-24 10:51:12 PM  
I do audio forensics, recovery and unmasking if anybody knows of any brazillianaire firms who need such services.  *cough*shill*coff*
 
2013-11-24 10:56:23 PM  

bunner: corn-bread: public trust!

[2.bp.blogspot.com image 320x240]



That was my reaction too, and I'm in that damn field lol.
There are those that hold the profession in way too high a regard IMHO.  Then again, ya gotta justify that $500 / an hour billing rate somehow.
 
2013-11-24 10:56:40 PM  
Law school is my biggest regret.  Had I known then what I know now, I never would have attended.
 
2013-11-24 11:01:40 PM  
So, I could replace "law school" with "Salon" and "legal profession" with "online content sites" and be equally valid.

Salon is the Ric Romero of online content, except it's got a slightly bigger vocabulary (just slightly) and takes itself far more seriously.

but go ahead and keep greenlighting those links.  there isn't a "rolleyes.gif" big enough.
 
2013-11-24 11:12:07 PM  
Greedy, useless, and toxic?

Who would have thought an institution run by lawyers, for the purpose of breeding more lawyers, would have any of those qualities. I'm shocked.
 
2013-11-24 11:19:23 PM  
I am not a lawyer.

This is why.

Years back, I decided to go and get my baccalaureate and enter law school, whereupon my father said "If you become a lawyer, I'll ever speak to you again."  And that was tempting, but I also realized I could never afford it.

And I dodged a freakin' artillery shell, in retrospect.
 
2013-11-24 11:29:17 PM  

bunner: I do audio forensics, recovery and unmasking if anybody knows of any brazillianaire firms who need such services.  *cough*shill*coff*


after all the nasty things you've said about lawyers good luck with that.
 
2013-11-24 11:30:06 PM  

corn-bread: HotWingAgenda: Last Man on Earth: valar_morghulis: Gyrfalcon: alexjoss: Rincewind53: No. shiat.

/3L

/22 years as criminal defense apologist

/Law school grad and bar applicant.

/LSAT student and recent atheist

/2L

/paralegal (under pressure from both attorneys AND clients to go to law school)

/Attorney 2 years out of law school, doing criminal defense, family law, and civil litigation.


/oil and gas attorney, 6 years out, working in-house. Strangely, wouldn't have this job if I had not taken a non-legal position right out of law school.
 
2013-11-24 11:31:32 PM  
Not happy to be forced to agree with Gyrfalcon, but as stated it is what you make of it.  Public service minded?  Attack or support the powers that be, be hero-lawyer with your law degree.  Work in politics or on legislation.  Need to get yours, Jacq?  Excel.  Even at the biggest or fastest paced urban firm, you can leverage the power of the firm to continue your fight for justice during pro bono hours, so long as you do the other work.

The article claims law students are competitive.  If trying to excel is being competitive, then some of them are.  What actually happens: the overtly competitive or cutthroat are outed and disapproved for that.  There are a few oddballs and eggheads but the prevailing culture is more like business school, all about making connections.   In 1L and the Paper Chase there are study groups that try to share outlines, with some friction.  We just 'liked' our classmates who published them on the intranet for the whole class.  Each time I put one up there it meant I had learned the material well enough to write it, and the whole thing did not seem enough of a zero sum game to resent if it helped others in the class.
 
2013-11-24 11:33:01 PM  

Bucky Katt: bunner: I do audio forensics, recovery and unmasking if anybody knows of any brazillianaire firms who need such services.  *cough*shill*coff*

after all the nasty things you've said about lawyers good luck with that.


No lawyer worth his shingle has a problem serving his interests over his self importance when the quality of the results make him more money  :  )
 
2013-11-24 11:44:06 PM  

4tehsnowflakes: the prevailing culture is more like business school


So...greedy, useless, and toxic.

Glad we cleared that up.
 
2013-11-25 12:12:42 AM  

Bumblefark: 4tehsnowflakes: the prevailing culture is more like business school

So...greedy, useless, and toxic.

Glad we cleared that up.


Well, you have that life coach thing to fall back on, anyway.

i1277.photobucket.com
 
2013-11-25 12:52:20 AM  
Tucker Max may be one of the world's biggest douchenozzles, but he wrote a good article:  Why You Should Not Go to Law School.

To his article, I would add a couple of points --

First, there is no law in American society anymore.  It's all politics, all the time.  It's just a bunch of people bickering about their prejudices and irrational biases, which is not an argument that can ever be resolved.

Second, law is a government-monopoly field.  As a result, judges are basically just upper-mid-level bureaucrat managers, with bureaucrat mindsets.  They care only about is themselves, just like all other bureaucrats -- it's the same attitude you get from the people who manage prisons, schools, tax authorities, regulators, etc. The courts are, of course, grossly inefficient, to the point of being absurd.  This is the sort of thing Kafka wrote about.
 

Third, the courts' absurd rules bleed out and infect the litigants -- the courts don't resolve disputes; they encourage pointless, counter-productive antagonism, by requiring the parties and the lawyers to engage in every point of conflict possible, strictly out of self-defense and self-preservation, which multiples the volume of busy-work. If you actually want to help people, you'll be thoroughly demoralized and discouraged by the end of your first week.

Finally, the people are awful.  The legal field only wants, needs and promotes three kinds of people -- pedants, bullies and frauds.  If you are a natural-born nitpicking Poindexter with a grudge against every cool kid who ever shoved you into a locker, law school may be for you.  If you are a sociopath, law school may be for you.  If you are a smooth, slick salesman, with no substance, no functioning sense of shame or humanity, no ethics, and no end to your desire and ability as a bullsh*t artist, then law school is definitely for you.

Don't do it.  Save yourselves.
 
2013-11-25 12:58:56 AM  

HotWingAgenda: /paralegal (under pressure from both attorneys AND clients to go to law school)


I believe you're non-IP. Don't do it. I know many paralegals who went to law school and, despite what attorneys and clients said, made themselves effectively unemployable while racking up huge debt. Stick with the moderately lucrative and safe career.
 
2013-11-25 01:03:11 AM  

corn-bread: The days of lawyer incubating in large firms until they can learn the profession are over.  These days you're expected to hit the ground running and start producing from day 1.


Tell that to the recruiting department at my firm. Please.

/"But this guy graduated from  Harvard!"
//"Yes, but he's a kid who has never earned a paycheck a day in his life, and he writes like shiat. Can I have the one who worked continuously while in school and has five years of professional experience in the relevant industry before going to law school?"
///"But, but, but Haaaaaaarvard!"
 
2013-11-25 01:17:03 AM  

4tehsnowflakes: Bumblefark: 4tehsnowflakes: the prevailing culture is more like business school

So...greedy, useless, and toxic.

Glad we cleared that up.

Well, you have that life coach thing to fall back on, anyway.

[i1277.photobucket.com image 610x404]


...or, superhero.

ct.fra.bz

/but, seriously, they're both just awful...
 
2013-11-25 01:23:00 AM  

Theaetetus: HotWingAgenda: /paralegal (under pressure from both attorneys AND clients to go to law school)

I believe you're non-IP. Don't do it. I know many paralegals who went to law school and, despite what attorneys and clients said, made themselves effectively unemployable while racking up huge debt. Stick with the moderately lucrative and safe career.


Thanks for the advice. I actually do a mix of contracts and trade secrets/copyright cases, and I'm database guru for my firm. But the only way I would ever willingly become an attorney is if I knew for a fact that I could spend my entire career doing nothing but trade secret cases, especially dealing with computer fraud and abuse. Regardless of the money, I would just go insane dealing with any other areas of law.
 
2013-11-25 01:26:18 AM  
I'm glad some folks here have explained what the article said.

And I mean that, because I wanted to read it, but every time I click on a Salon article, it appears on screen for a few seconds, then it all goes blank and the page stalls (computer is fine), like an ad is trying to appear...

So I don't read Salon articles.
 
2013-11-25 01:35:05 AM  
Must have had just the right mix of sociopath, pedant, and bullshiat artist because got a kick out of most of the classes and would not give back the law degree for a triple refund of the tuition.  Unless I could do those three years over using a time machine, because time machines are good.

TFA sounds like whining you see every year about too many law grads.  Meanwhile the top schools are racing each other to add more and more clinical and practical programs to the curriculum, trying to avoid turning out people who come in to the firm with some abstract knowledge but little or no practical skills.  This trend is replacing the old way of expecting law students to get any practical skills from law-related summer jobs.
 
2013-11-25 01:52:30 AM  

Theaetetus: corn-bread: The days of lawyer incubating in large firms until they can learn the profession are over.  These days you're expected to hit the ground running and start producing from day 1.

Tell that to the recruiting department at my firm. Please.

/"But this guy graduated from  Harvard!"
//"Yes, but he's a kid who has never earned a paycheck a day in his life, and he writes like shiat. Can I have the one who worked continuously while in school and has five years of professional experience in the relevant industry before going to law school?"
///"But, but, but Haaaaaaarvard!"


The Harvard grads drive up the firm's rankings.
 
2013-11-25 02:20:08 AM  

bunner: Attention.

The justice system is an industry.

Cops, criminals, thugs, lawyers, judges, bureaucrats - sometimes interchangeable - all make coffee, put on their respective uniforms and go and clock in at the same factory.

Avoid interacting with any of these motherf*ckers as if your life depended on it.  You're welcome.


Truth. Luckily I have no direct experience with the system, But my idiot step-son got caught after a string of burglaries from a known department store. Gave a full confession the night he was arrested, and it only took 12 months and 10 trips to the courtroom for him to get sentenced. No complications, just took that much to get in front of the judge and be sentenced.
/yay Austin, Texas.
 
2013-11-25 02:53:42 AM  

BetterMetalSnake: He's not wrong, but he sounds like an asshole. Law schools recruit because they want to exsist. Who want to volunteer to close down because the industry as a whole produces too many graduates? Would we expect McDonalds to close up shop because people are fat?

And I am getting pretty sick of the generalization that universities are expensive because of administration. They are expensive because students and parents demand more and more every year. If we don't give the client what they want, they will get it elsewhere, even if it costs more.

Ultimately, we should only teach networking and enguneering at any schools because that is the only thing worth pursuing as a career.


Jesus I don't think you could of be more wrong in your analysis. Schools in general are more expensive because of the torrent of paper money printed in washington funneled to the idiot hands of the young who having nearly zero experience in financials happily sign away. These starry eyed idiots feel it is a wonderful idea to blow 200k on a 17th century art degree, gets vomited out into the real world, then discover they have no prospect of every paying it back until they are 60 and they are now indentured servants.

Schools are expensive because the EASIER money (education loans) is to get the more schools notice that they can just keep jacking prices up.

Now where the @#$% have we seen this before? OH yes mortgages! Easy money coupled with liberal pressure to give loans to people who are bad bad risks results in a torrent of cash, home owners/developers respond to the market pressure of that cash and raise prices, which go up and up and up then as we all know crashes to the ground.

So no you are wrong, students and parents are not demanding more each year, the easy availability of cash that GIVE THEM THE OPTION TO ATTEND COLLEGE is the problem. A large chunk of college enrolls are people who have zero business going to college, it's just a extenuation of childhood financed by the government party time money.

Meanwhile the guy you made fun of in school who started plumbing reached 60-100k a year halfway through the college idiots 3rd year, has no education loan, and will be ordering his Mcdonalds from the graduate in another year.
 
2013-11-25 04:07:10 AM  

mama's_tasty_foods: I feel very bad for anyone in law school today.


A friend of mine recently completed law school; I found out that he was in about two years ago, after I'd already seen some Fark threads about how much of a scam it can be. However, if I had tried to warn him, he never would have listened, because he really IS a lawyer at heart. He's also living with his parents again.

Lawyerism is also the reason why I stopped running D&D for him, incidentally.
 
2013-11-25 04:29:22 AM  

BetterMetalSnake: He's not wrong, but he sounds like an asshole. Law schools recruit because they want to exsist. Who want to volunteer to close down because the industry as a whole produces too many graduates? Would we expect McDonalds to close up shop because people are fat?

And I am getting pretty sick of the generalization that universities are expensive because of administration. They are expensive because students and parents demand more and more every year. If we don't give the client what they want, they will get it elsewhere, even if it costs more.

Ultimately, we should only teach networking and enguneering at any schools because that is the only thing worth pursuing as a career.


The computer networking education I received at engineering school in no way helped me, at all, ever. First off, good luck finding a professor who is a) knowledgeable about the subject and b) was actually paid for their opinion prior to becoming a professor. When I was going through school (in the 1990s), all they were trying to mint were cogs in the video on demand machine. They stressed bandwidth, and latency, and there was no training on the 1,000,000 and 1 other complexities that go into a network ecosystem.

Most of those complexities being due to the fact that your bandwidth and network latencies on a real network are about as predictable as traffic in Boston.
 
2013-11-25 04:39:48 AM  

Theaetetus: HotWingAgenda: /paralegal (under pressure from both attorneys AND clients to go to law school)

I believe you're non-IP. Don't do it. I know many paralegals who went to law school and, despite what attorneys and clients said, made themselves effectively unemployable while racking up huge debt. Stick with the moderately lucrative and safe career.


I'm a software engineer with 5 years of engineering school, but no degree. My employers are on me on occasion to go back to school. It's a negative value proposition for me. At this point, I'm 15 years out. 5 years ago, I got a bug in my butt to go back to school. I rang up my alma mater, and inquired what it would take to finish up my degree. Well, it turns out that the education I received 10 years prior was horribly out of date, and they would only accept their own credits on a case by case basis.

And they'd figure out what cases after I cut them a check and started the enrollment process.

At this point, when the kids are out of nest and I'm horribly bored, I might, *might* go back to school out of sheer vanity. Or I might just accept that I'm throwing money into a burn pile and buy a Porsche. Actually, the Porsche would be a) cheaper, and b) contribute more to my business image.
 
2013-11-25 06:10:37 AM  

BetterMetalSnake: He's not wrong, but he sounds like an asshole. Law schools recruit because they want to exsist. Who want to volunteer to close down because the industry as a whole produces too many graduates? Would we expect McDonalds to close up shop because people are fat?

And I am getting pretty sick of the generalization that universities are expensive because of administration. They are expensive because students and parents demand more and more every year. If we don't give the client what they want, they will get it elsewhere, even if it costs more.

Ultimately, we should only teach networking and enguneering at any schools because that is the only thing worth pursuing as a career.


Which part of the library, janitor, room and single professor requires dozens of student to shell out a shiatload of money per credit hour?

Why is it the same shiatload of money as the university's chemistry department or anything else with a lab?

Its the administration. My university president doubled his salary and after I left resigned after some serious allegations of mishandling the money and nepotism.

My professors at the time were seeing cuts.

But it certainly all because of my parents right?
 
2013-11-25 09:45:52 AM  

4tehsnowflakes: Must have had just the right mix of sociopath, pedant, and bullshiat artist because got a kick out of most of the classes and would not give back the law degree for a triple refund of the tuition.  Unless I could do those three years over using a time machine, because time machines are good.

TFA sounds like whining you see every year about too many law grads.  Meanwhile the top schools are racing each other to add more and more clinical and practical programs to the curriculum, trying to avoid turning out people who come in to the firm with some abstract knowledge but little or no practical skills.  This trend is replacing the old way of expecting law students to get any practical skills from law-related summer jobs.


Law SCHOOL is great. I had a blast. It was intellectually stimulating (some of the time -- administrative law, business org and family law were particularly insomnia-inducing). I even had a more active social life than college (which was unexpected). I interned for both a federal judge and the DA's office, and loved both experiences.

The problem is that this bubble of school-world is nothing like daily lawyering, especially civil litigation, which is bullsh*t piled on top of more bullsh*t.

And I count myself as lucky. I worked at mid-sized boutique litigation firms with loads of money and no corporate board to answer to. I had it about as comfortable as it gets, and it was still just paper-pushing, dog-and-pony shows, and doing everything in the most complicated, pointlessly-inefficient way, either to make money, appear tough for a client, or to appease a judge who's either stupid, biased or corrupt.

It's like being an actor, in some kind of weird soap opera, only it's your life and you can't ever drop character.

My classmates who went to mega-sized corporate firms for 10% more money and convenient in-office dry cleaning service had that sort of "kill me now" look on their faces. The women all quit after a few years. The people who stayed are divorced in their mid-40s. There is only one guy I knew who thrived in that field, and he never had kids and works as an entertainment lawyer in LA. All the rest burned out, from a sample of over 150 people.
 
2013-11-25 12:04:05 PM  

Smackledorfer: BetterMetalSnake: He's not wrong, but he sounds like an asshole. Law schools recruit because they want to exsist. Who want to volunteer to close down because the industry as a whole produces too many graduates? Would we expect McDonalds to close up shop because people are fat?

And I am getting pretty sick of the generalization that universities are expensive because of administration. They are expensive because students and parents demand more and more every year. If we don't give the client what they want, they will get it elsewhere, even if it costs more.

Ultimately, we should only teach networking and enguneering at any schools because that is the only thing worth pursuing as a career.

Which part of the library, janitor, room and single professor requires dozens of student to shell out a shiatload of money per credit hour?

Why is it the same shiatload of money as the university's chemistry department or anything else with a lab?

Its the administration. My university president doubled his salary and after I left resigned after some serious allegations of mishandling the money and nepotism.

My professors at the time were seeing cuts.

But it certainly all because of my parents right?


I can't claim some schools have crappy administration. What you describe absolutely qualifies. Sadly, executives boosting their compensation while cutting that of the people actually doing the work is not only new, but not exclusive to higher education.

I won't say that the example you give is not representative. I simply don't know. I do know that it is not like that at every school, certainly not mine. Here, everyone had to take a pay cut while increasing tuition. Nobody has seen a raise since the recession hit, except for faculty and that only a fraction of what they lost initially. When cuts have to happen they happen at the top first and to faculty last. This is how all organizations should be run.

Given the wage stagnation at my school, I find it hard to attribute the tuition increases over the last 3 years to top-heavy administration. I do know that every year some government or the other is asking for more reports and more accountability while clawing back how much they contribute. And don't think we can pay a graduate student to teach a course, as that is the worst thing ever apparently. Anyone with any teaching duties must have a PhD (not cheap) and anyone else not working with a broom needs a Masters to walk in the door. We need to spend tons of money on security and still face getting sued every time a snowflake passes gas.

I don't know man. It's a tough business unless you are in the largest universities in the region. They pull away from price pressures since people will form up, no matter the price. The rest of us have to compete for every student and every dollar.
 
2013-11-25 12:05:51 PM  

Evil Twin Skippy: BetterMetalSnake: He's not wrong, but he sounds like an asshole. Law schools recruit because they want to exsist. Who want to volunteer to close down because the industry as a whole produces too many graduates? Would we expect McDonalds to close up shop because people are fat?

And I am getting pretty sick of the generalization that universities are expensive because of administration. They are expensive because students and parents demand more and more every year. If we don't give the client what they want, they will get it elsewhere, even if it costs more.

Ultimately, we should only teach networking and enguneering at any schools because that is the only thing worth pursuing as a career.

The computer networking education I received at engineering school in no way helped me, at all, ever. First off, good luck finding a professor who is a) knowledgeable about the subject and b) was actually paid for their opinion prior to becoming a professor. When I was going through school (in the 1990s), all they were trying to mint were cogs in the video on demand machine. They stressed bandwidth, and latency, and there was no training on the 1,000,000 and 1 other complexities that go into a network ecosystem.

Most of those complexities being due to the fact that your bandwidth and network latencies on a real network are about as predictable as traffic in Boston.


I have heard that from my buddies in CS programs when I was in college. I was being facetious about the worth of education vs. job training.
 
2013-11-25 01:26:17 PM  

BetterMetalSnake: And don't think we can pay a graduate student to teach a course, as that is the worst thing ever apparently


Would that even make a difference?

Assuming the University is still charging as much as it can get away with for its product, only competition could make them lower the credit hour selling cost when they make it cheaper on their end to provide.

I had classes that were taught by professors, and classes which weren't.  They cost the same amount of money.

U of M estimates an out of state freshman taking an 8-week spring course is spending 10,000 dollars. 40,000 for the four month fall/winter semester, based on a 12-18 "full time load".  We are looking at roughly 10,000 dollars per class. If a professor teaches 20 students, that is 200,000 dollars he brings in with one class.  A full professor earns, on average, 150k per year there for fall/winter. 200k if they work all 12 months.   Associate professors average just under 100k.

So let us say he teaches only two courses per semester and two semesters.  The professor is now bringing in, with his work, 800,000 dollars.  He is paid for that work 150,000.  The other 650,000 dollars going into the school are going where?
Subsidizing other departments?
Subsidizing scholarships if the school directly offers any?

They cannot need the money to cover sports - that is profitable. They cannot need it cover the costs of the law professor's equipment: what, a projection tv, some dry erase markers? He gets an office, and his room to teach from have to exist. Of course the latter probably gets shared by a half dozen classes in any given semester.

Specific to Law (but I lack the pay info for law professors only):  http://www.ro.umich.edu/tuition/tuition-fees.php 10+ credit hours averages to 25k per semester.

I would hardly think what the students paying 25,000 dollars per semester need in return for that money is less experienced instructors. Supposedly there is a 13:1 student to faculty ratio. I cannot find average class size, but I am guessing over 20.

Interestingly, the estimated cost to be a fulltime student in dentistry, where surely you need malpractice fees covering hands on training that requires more oversight as well as equipment and specialized rooms at some point, comes in at a mere 12/18k for resident/nonresidents of michigan.

So I dunno, when around 8% of the costs go to actual instructors, I have to question claims that it isn't an increasingly growing administration pushing costs up.
 
2013-11-25 02:05:10 PM  

Smackledorfer: BetterMetalSnake: And don't think we can pay a graduate student to teach a course, as that is the worst thing ever apparently

Would that even make a difference?

Assuming the University is still charging as much as it can get away with for its product, only competition could make them lower the credit hour selling cost when they make it cheaper on their end to provide.

I had classes that were taught by professors, and classes which weren't.  They cost the same amount of money.

U of M estimates an out of state freshman taking an 8-week spring course is spending 10,000 dollars. 40,000 for the four month fall/winter semester, based on a 12-18 "full time load".  We are looking at roughly 10,000 dollars per class. If a professor teaches 20 students, that is 200,000 dollars he brings in with one class.  A full professor earns, on average, 150k per year there for fall/winter. 200k if they work all 12 months.   Associate professors average just under 100k.

So let us say he teaches only two courses per semester and two semesters.  The professor is now bringing in, with his work, 800,000 dollars.  He is paid for that work 150,000.  The other 650,000 dollars going into the school are going where?
Subsidizing other departments?
Subsidizing scholarships if the school directly offers any?

They cannot need the money to cover sports - that is profitable. They cannot need it cover the costs of the law professor's equipment: what, a projection tv, some dry erase markers? He gets an office, and his room to teach from have to exist. Of course the latter probably gets shared by a half dozen classes in any given semester.

Specific to Law (but I lack the pay info for law professors only):  http://www.ro.umich.edu/tuition/tuition-fees.php 10+ credit hours averages to 25k per semester.

I would hardly think what the students paying 25,000 dollars per semester need in return for that money is less experienced instructors. Supposedly there is a 13:1 student to faculty ratio. I cannot fi ...


Sports generally aren't profitable. They may be so for a select few schools, but for the most part athletics are funded through some sort of student fee (not tuition). This outlay usually far exceeds what proceeds they bring in from ticket sales, concessions and merchandising. There are some notable exceptions, but do not describe more than 5% of all schools with teams (I am guessing on that one). This comes from student affairs professionals and not my own analysis.

Speaking of my own analyses, I am planning to do one on just the question you and many others are asking. Is it really administration costs? If not, then why is tuition increasing the way it has been these past few decades? Aside from the cuts in state funding, of course. And I would do it too, if only the state would stop demanding all these reports they will never read.
 
2013-11-25 02:34:44 PM  

BetterMetalSnake: Sports generally aren't profitable. They may be so for a select few schools, but for the most part athletics are funded through some sort of student fee (not tuition). This outlay usually far exceeds what proceeds they bring in from ticket sales, concessions and merchandising. There are some notable exceptions, but do not describe more than 5% of all schools with teams (I am guessing on that one). This comes from student affairs professionals and not my own analysis.


http://www.theamericanconservative.com/the-myth-of-profitable-colleg e- athletics/

25% are directly profitable, and two thirds of those  profitable departments are still receiving academic subsidies.


Indirectly, there is no accurate way to measure whether or not Alumni donations and free press from a school's athletic program make up for any shortfalls in the money they bring in directly.


I am surprised you chose to only respond to my passing mention of the possibility that tuition is where it is to subsidize sports programs. Even if the programs NEEDED subsidizing in that manner, I highly doubt the bulk of students would approve of what is essentially them directly paying more tuition to support the jocks at their school. It would still be an unnecessary portion of tuition and an unnecessary item to tack onto the cost of an education - having a football team adds absolutely nothing to the quality of education a lawyer receives.

BetterMetalSnake: (I am guessing on that one)


I would appreciate if you wouldn't ignore any of the numbers I'm bringing to the table, and bring something other than random guesses to support your own conclusions.  I mean, it is just an internet conversation so you are welcome to do whatever you want, but why would you want to keep your preconceived conclusion locked in place when you have to ignore numbers to do so?  In many situations I understand why someone would keep their head in the sand, but do you really have the emotional attachment to college tuition costs that you break out the cognitive dissonance?
 
2013-11-25 03:56:55 PM  

Smackledorfer: BetterMetalSnake: Sports generally aren't profitable. They may be so for a select few schools, but for the most part athletics are funded through some sort of student fee (not tuition). This outlay usually far exceeds what proceeds they bring in from ticket sales, concessions and merchandising. There are some notable exceptions, but do not describe more than 5% of all schools with teams (I am guessing on that one). This comes from student affairs professionals and not my own analysis.

http://www.theamericanconservative.com/the-myth-of-profitable-colleg e- athletics/

25% are directly profitable, and two thirds of those  profitable departments are still receiving academic subsidies.


Indirectly, there is no accurate way to measure whether or not Alumni donations and free press from a school's athletic program make up for any shortfalls in the money they bring in directly.


I am surprised you chose to only respond to my passing mention of the possibility that tuition is where it is to subsidize sports programs. Even if the programs NEEDED subsidizing in that manner, I highly doubt the bulk of students would approve of what is essentially them directly paying more tuition to support the jocks at their school. It would still be an unnecessary portion of tuition and an unnecessary item to tack onto the cost of an education - having a football team adds absolutely nothing to the quality of education a lawyer receives.

BetterMetalSnake: (I am guessing on that one)

I would appreciate if you wouldn't ignore any of the numbers I'm bringing to the table, and bring something other than random guesses to support your own conclusions.  I mean, it is just an internet conversation so you are welcome to do whatever you want, but why would you want to keep your preconceived conclusion locked in place when you have to ignore numbers to do so?  In many situations I understand why someone would keep their head in the sand, but do you really have the emotional attachment to college ...


I didn't respond comprehensively, as I seldom do on web forums. It's not you it's me. =)  I find I normally skip longer posts, so I try not to subject others to the same. Please don't take my brevity as a sign that I am disparaging or disregarding your points; unless I do the research myself, numbers published in media are always suspect, so I comment on things I have experience with. In this case, I have been involved with funding decisions at several universities for several years, though most of those are not recent.

So, please take my commentary as anecdotal (n = 1 and all that). In my experience, athletic programs are not self-funded, but rely on funding from some other student fee. And you are right that most students dislike that idea. Administrators have taken the position that intercollegiate sports are important for the overall undergraduate experience and have basically told students that these fees are not optional.

As for my ignoring your numbers, I didn't address them as they are overly simple. But since I didn't want to take the time to counter with more accurate numbers and other budgeting factors, I didn't say so. So , I guess I will do my best to do so briefly: The article you linked agrees with me in spirit, if not in degree. The article mentions that 3/4 ths of athletic programs aren't self-sustaining and I believed that figure to be higher. The other numbers, well, budgeting simply doesn't work that way. Perhaps it should, but it is not as granular as the scenario you presented. The university (depending on the state funding model) basically retains tuition and fees and in addition gets a state allocation (sometimes federal and local). Departments aren't rewarded for reducing teaching costs by substituting grad assistants. Hell, they can't even normally react to swings in enrollments; when these shift, we are always caught with our pants down- either too many faculty or not enough because hiring faculty has to be approved by board of regents, not administrators.

I could go on, but my point is that basic, rational math like you provided don't reflect the reality. Like it or not (personally, not), our universities are run by state and local politicians that just happen to know the newest governor.
 
2013-11-25 04:23:59 PM  

BetterMetalSnake: I didn't respond comprehensively, as I seldom do on web forums. It's not you it's me. =)


No worries.

BetterMetalSnake: I didn't address them as they are overly simple


They are simplistic.  That does not make them worthless to the discussion, and certainly should not be judged so by someone who uses numbers they pulled off the top of their head and poorly generalized from anecdotal evidence. So maybe I take back that no-worries.

BetterMetalSnake: I could go on, but my point is that basic, rational math like you provided don't reflect the reality.


Well, it does and it doesn't.

Does budgeting on the whole work the way I ran the numbers? Of course not.  But the numbers (had I actual class size and specific salary of professors for any given class) do work exactly the way I used them.  They show exactly how much extra money is floating around between paid tuition and class services. The remainder can spread throughout any number of valid areas (building costs, subsidizing some other areas, even sports programs, and yes I do acknowledge there should be significant administrative costs even if they were as limited as possible).

So the question is, then, why is the salary of the most valuable portion of the entire process, the professor, only accounting for a mere 8% of the admittedly rough estimate, and why can I not question whether there is really enough other services provided by a university to justify the tuition they have?

If you read my post and concluded I thought the entire budget was designed around a single semester's costs with magically accurate projections for everything else going on, then I'm sorry I gave you that impression.  But I don't have interest in any more appeal to authorities combined with condescending dismissal.  You might as well have called me a poopyhead after my Weeners to you in this thread and been done with it :)
 
2013-11-25 04:50:09 PM  

Smackledorfer: BetterMetalSnake: I didn't respond comprehensively, as I seldom do on web forums. It's not you it's me. =)

No worries.

BetterMetalSnake: I didn't address them as they are overly simple

They are simplistic.  That does not make them worthless to the discussion, and certainly should not be judged so by someone who uses numbers they pulled off the top of their head and poorly generalized from anecdotal evidence. So maybe I take back that no-worries.

BetterMetalSnake: I could go on, but my point is that basic, rational math like you provided don't reflect the reality.

Well, it does and it doesn't.

Does budgeting on the whole work the way I ran the numbers? Of course not.  But the numbers (had I actual class size and specific salary of professors for any given class) do work exactly the way I used them.  They show exactly how much extra money is floating around between paid tuition and class services. The remainder can spread throughout any number of valid areas (building costs, subsidizing some other areas, even sports programs, and yes I do acknowledge there should be significant administrative costs even if they were as limited as possible).

So the question is, then, why is the salary of the most valuable portion of the entire process, the professor, only accounting for a mere 8% of the admittedly rough estimate, and why can I not question whether there is really enough other services provided by a university to justify the tuition they have?

If you read my post and concluded I thought the entire budget was designed around a single semester's costs with magically accurate projections for everything else going on, then I'm sorry I gave you that impression.  But I don't have interest in any more appeal to authorities combined with condescending dismissal.  You might as well have called me a poopyhead after my Weeners to you in this thread and been done with it :)


Smackledorfer: BetterMetalSnake: I didn't respond comprehensively, as I seldom do on web forums. It's not you it's me. =)

No worries.

BetterMetalSnake: I didn't address them as they are overly simple

They are simplistic.  That does not make them worthless to the discussion, and certainly should not be judged so by someone who uses numbers they pulled off the top of their head and poorly generalized from anecdotal evidence. So maybe I take back that no-worries.

BetterMetalSnake: I could go on, but my point is that basic, rational math like you provided don't reflect the reality.

Well, it does and it doesn't.

Does budgeting on the whole work the way I ran the numbers? Of course not.  But the numbers (had I actual class size and specific salary of professors for any given class) do work exactly the way I used them.  They show exactly how much extra money is floating around between paid tuition and class services. The remainder can spread throughout any number of valid areas (building costs, subsidizing some other areas, even sports programs, and yes I do acknowledge there should be significant administrative costs even if they were as limited as possible).

So the question is, then, why is the salary of the most valuable portion of the entire process, the professor, only accounting for a mere 8% of the admittedly rough estimate, and why can I not question whether there is really enough other services provided by a university to justify the tuition they have?

If you read my post and concluded I thought the entire budget was designed around a single semester's costs with magically accurate projections for everything else going on, then I'm sorry I gave you that impression.  But I don't have interest in any more appeal to authorities combined with condescending dismissal.  You might as well have called me a poopyhead after my Weeners to you in this thread and been done with it :)


I generally don't call people poopieheads unless I am in the politics tab (seldom).

Of course you have the right to question where the money goes. I often wonder this myself. Even though I have access to plenty of data from my own institution, I don't have as much from others. If you visit IPEDS you will begin to get a sense for the tremendous amounts of data available on student enrollments and graduation rates. What I find lacking are variable to conduct precisely the analyses you are talking about. So far as I can tell, there is no easy way of comparing administrative costs over time and across institutions. We can get approximations if we make a number of assumptions and if you get a terminal case of insomnia, you are welcome to tackle the analyses.

So here is where we agree: The correlation between faculty salaries and total institutional expenditures is likely moderate. I suspect (but do not know) that the same can be said for the relationship between administration salaries and institutional expenditure, but it is likely less stable as a result of greater variance in salaries across employment levels. But in my experience, I wouldn't characterize either as the driver of tuition costs. If any variable could be considered a driver, I would nominate cuts in state allocation. Also, in my state we have experienced a drop in enrollments as a function of population characteristics (fewer high school level students). The reduction in tuition income could not be adjusted by cutting academic units or student services (these are all fixed costs and are generally only cut under catastrophic circumstances). We experienced a reduction in our economies of scale, so we had to increase tuition.

Next time I will avoid an appeal to authority, honest. I will copy a pic of a scantily clad lady and hope to persuade you through other peripheral means.
 
2013-11-25 05:54:32 PM  

BetterMetalSnake: I will copy a pic of a scantily clad lady and hope to persuade you through other peripheral means.


See that you do, sir.

I'll have to take your word for your experience, as while I don't try to put too much emphasis on anecdotal evidence, neither do I discount it out of hand.


Honestly I am looking at furthering my education. I have a BA, earn 6 figures, and want to go back for something. I really enjoy law, and I am unsure about whether I would use the degree (i make great money in my position for the government now, but you never know what the future holds).   And I feel like there should be a building I can go to, where I can pay a reasonable amount to a handful of someones who know there shiat, and get taught most of what I need to know.  

Yes, I could just buy books and study them, and I could probably even talk professors into letting me sit in for free.  But then society tells me my education is worth nothing and I couldn't even take the bar - or get a job interview in any field.

There is something wrong with how much that would cost me.  Whether the blame should lie on sports, over-subsidization hiding the real costs to students, lack of competition (which should NOT be an issue - especially in law or other arts areas where we have so many educated degree holders capable of teaching), or administrative over-run (which as a government employee believe me I know how quickly gets out of hand).

And don't get me wrong, I'm one of the farkers who defends even the BAs out there, because on average they DO increase salary enough to justify the costs.  So by that measure they are still within a justifiable level for things that aren't underwater basket-weaving.  But they shouldn't be as high as they are.  Buildings aren't that expensive, and knowledgeable people are not in such short supply.
 
2013-11-25 08:55:41 PM  
If you are making 6 figures with a degree, you are in a good spot, Smack. It's where I thought I would be at my age, but even with a Master's (almost PhD), I have had a very rough start. Don't get me wrong, I am finally on the right path and doing something I enjoy, but 6 figures is tough to beat out there.

If you like what you are doing, then don't worry about another piece of paper. If you don't then think about what you would like to do and see how your current work experience can get you where you want to be. Additional degrees don't open doors, so much as prevent them from closing on you. Of course, this is just my personal experience (I'm full of anecdotes today, apparently). YMMV.

/Not bitter
//maybe a little
 
2013-11-25 08:56:48 PM  

BetterMetalSnake: If you are making 6 figures with a degree, you are in a good spot, Smack. It's where I thought I would be at my age, but even with a Master's (almost PhD), I have had a very rough start. Don't get me wrong, I am finally on the right path and doing something I enjoy, but 6 figures is tough to beat out there.

If you like what you are doing, then don't worry about another piece of paper. If you don't then think about what you would like to do and see how your current work experience can get you where you want to be. Additional degrees don't open doors, so much as prevent them from closing on you. Of course, this is just my personal experience (I'm full of anecdotes today, apparently). YMMV.

/Not bitter
//maybe a little


Yeah, I was supposed to reply to  Smackledorferon that one. I bet if I had a PhD I would have used the preview function.
 
2013-11-25 09:30:05 PM  
I don't like what I am doing. :)

Like the song says, " I can't complain but sometimes I still do."
 
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