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Sunday, April 26, 2015

Ohio is Not New York. Or Even Texas.

The Times today has a write-up of the recent Deborah Jones Merritt study of employment outcomes for the JD Class of '10 in Ohio.  As I described in more detail at the law & econ prof blog a few weeks ago, Prof. Merritt's study has, ahem, merits.  It's a great snapshot of struggling graduates in Ohio, people who deserve our attention and support.  The trouble is that the Times story reports these findings as though they told us something about the national law job market.  Merritt's new data are all in Ohio, which may be a systematically different legal market than many others.  Nonetheless, the Times story reports Merritt's findings as though they were representative of the whole country (and also describes the study as "published," when in fact it's an ssrn working paper).  Most troublingly, the Times reports Prof. Merritt's conclusion that "the 2010 class had not recovered in the ensuing years" without any caveats.  

Yet there are several serious caveats that ought to have been offered.  For example, as I read the paper, Merritt 's claim depends entirely on a trend line she draws between 2010 national NALP data (which are based on self-reported survey results but supplemented with some web follow-up) and 2014 Ohio data (which Merritt hand-collected on the web).   That is not likely to be a persuasive method of measuring employment trends for anyone, whether in Ohio or anywhere else.  It's like comparing 2014 scoring in the NBA against 2010 scoring in college basketball.  Unless you can show a really convincing case for why these groups are actually very similar to each other, the trend line is likely to be just random noise.  

Deborah and I had an exchange about these issues on my blog.  She convinced me that the method NALP used for supplementing some of the 2010 data was similar to her method (although that leaves the question whether it makes any sense to compare her results to the bulk of the NALP numbers, which used a quite different method).  But she did not address the issue that the 2010 NALP data were for the whole country, not Ohio, and there is no a priori reason to think that Ohio was similar to the U.S. in 2010 or that its trend since has been similar.  I left our exchange believing she would return to her project and revise it to reflect its serious limitations as a window into national trends.  If that has happened, it is not reflected in the Times story.  

Posted by BDG on April 26, 2015 at 06:41 PM in Current Affairs | Permalink


I thought Merritt made a compelling case for why Ohio was representative of the nation. It's not like New Hampshire or Wyoming. It's a big, diverse state with urban and rural populations.

Posted by: Jojo | Apr 26, 2015 11:59:32 PM

No. State employment rates are heterogeneous, to a degree that probably would surprise people who have never looked at the data. Having similar demographics tells us a little, but not much, about likely employment trends. And, population aside, the U.S. law market is concentrated in a few states, and Ohio isn't one of them. Ohio has, give or take a few, one national firm. New York has hundreds. Put it this way. Suppose I told you that, by studying Ohio in 2014, I could show you something important about the future of the tech industry. Would you believe me?

A more compelling case would have been summary statistical data that showed us that legal employment rates (or employment rates in closely related fields) and salary distributions in Ohio were similar to the U.S. as a whole, AND that both markets have features that would cause them to respond similarly to stress. That the paper shows neither of those is not Prof Merritt's fault; the data don't exist for Ohio in 2010 to make that comparison. But readers should be aware that the paper cannot support the claim that the 2010--> 2014 trend is a meaningful one.

Posted by: BDG | Apr 27, 2015 9:46:48 AM

The New York Times article is part of a larger narrative that has unfolded over several years in the paper. Is your contention that a significant percentage (at least 25% overall) of law graduates since 2010 are not undergoing financial hardship because of their decision to attend law school?

Posted by: twbb | Apr 27, 2015 11:09:16 AM

BDG, you are getting dangerously close to the scamblog argument that if you don't have a realistic shot at biglaw, you shouldn't go to (or debt finance) law school.

Posted by: Lonnie | Apr 27, 2015 11:41:17 AM

It appears the Merritt paper has been accepted by the Michigan State Law Journal as I noted in my post about this piece this AM at LUN.

Which is ironic as Michigan State is surely one of those schools the scam crowd would like to see shut down and certainly falls into the newly invented "mass market" category that Professor Tamanaha contends should not be pursuing academic activity like, well, "studies" of employment in the legal sector?

Posted by: Steve Diamond | Apr 27, 2015 1:51:28 PM

To clarify on twbb's question, I am certain that some 2010 graduates (and graduates of other years) are experiencing financial hardship. That upsets me, worries me, makes me angry. What I don't know is how severe that hardship is relative to other graduates, and what the trends are -- i.e., whether there has been a "structural shift" in law employment outcomes, whether the effects of the recession have been especially persistent, or whether instead hardship is diminishing (for some) as it has in other recoveries. Which of these it is may make a difference to our policy prescriptions. For example, Prof. Merritt's paper, in the version I read, called for radical reforms to law school in order to respond to what she describes as a structural shift in law employment outcome. In my view the paper does not establish that there has been a structural shift.

Posted by: BDG | Apr 27, 2015 3:05:37 PM

I've put up a post on my blog, Law School Cafe, discussing some of the reasons why I think Ohio results are a useful starting place in exploring employment outcomes for recent law graduates. I won't put a link here, because that might offend the spam filter, but it should be easy to find. I welcome further comments there, as well as here.

I'm not sure the proposals at the end of my paper are all that radical. I make several predictions: (1) that, in absolute terms, demand for new lawyers will remain relatively flat; (2) that a majority of legal jobs will continue to fall on the modest side of the salaries reported by lawyers; (3) that prospective students will be wary of schools that do not report high rates of bar-passage-required jobs; (4) that, as a result of these trends, law school enrollment will stay close to current (lower) levels; and (5) tuition increases at most law schools (those outside the top 20) will be modest at best.

I think a lot of people see one or more of these trends, whether the cause is changes in the legal profession or broader economic shifts. My radical proposal, I suppose, is that law schools should offer the 1L curriculum as an undergraduate major that would both precede a 2-year JD program (for grads wanting to be lawyers) and educate a much broader audience of students (including many who will take "JD Advantage" jobs). That may be a radical proposal from the perspective of legal education but, frankly, *someone* is going to do it. If law schools don't create this major, then I predict that an increasing number of colleges will do so. The majors will look more and more like "real" law school classes and will satisfy demands for "law educated" workers who don't need a law license. I think we should get ahead of that competition!

Posted by: Deborah Merritt | Apr 27, 2015 5:11:15 PM


The BLS reports that the number of people working as lawyers has increased every year, but one (2008), since 1997 (oldest date of online data). They also report income for lawyers is up every year over the same time period. (Details at LUN.)

How is this consistent with your conclusion that demand for lawyers "will remain flat"? It has never been flat and barring some catastrophe that changes this nearly two decade trend it will not be flat.

Of course, demand for law schools may fluctuate in a manner that is not tightly correlated to actual demand. In fact, it appears that for whatever reason demand for law school (as measured by number of applicants) has cycled up and down (reaching 100,000 and then back down to at or (now) below 60,000) several times in the past several decades.

Posted by: Steve Diamond | Apr 27, 2015 5:48:56 PM

Steve, when I say "demand for new lawyers" I mean the number of new lawyers getting jobs each year. As each group joins the profession, they increase the overall number (as long as more join than depart), but the number of new lawyers absorbed each year has been relatively stable. I explain this in the paper. I calculate that for both the Class of 2000 and Class of 2010, about 26,000 graduates held lawyering jobs (those requiring a bar license) 9 months after graduation, and that about 29,000 held those positions 3-5 years after graduation.

Those are rough numbers, but I think it is unlikely that the *number* of law graduates in each graduating class who obtain lawyering jobs during their early years will increase in the foreseeable future. The ABA data for the Class of 2014 (as downloaded by Matt Leichter last week) show yet another year following this trend: just 25,292 FT jobs requiring bar admission. Here I'm relying upon Leichter; I'm not sure how he sliced some of the data. But this appears, once again, to be in the 26,000 ballpark--likely to increase to 29,000 over the next few years, but not much more than that.

The good news for law schools is that, if we can maintain our scaled-down enrollments, this number of bar-required jobs may satisfy law grads. They don't all want those jobs, but I estimate about 85% do and we're getting closer to that mark.

For schools that can't (or won't) maintain lower JD enrollment, The big question is: will students invest in a JD program for jobs that do not require bar admission? My prediction is that they won't, because there are an increasing number of other attractive graduate programs and there will soon be undergrad programs tailored to "JD Advantage" jobs. Some law schools are trying to capture the latter market by creating 1-year LLM programs but I think we would serve ourselves, students, and clients better with a 4-2 program (i.e., a 2-yr JD that builds on a BA in law).

Posted by: Deborah Merritt | Apr 27, 2015 6:12:20 PM

I guess I look at it slightly differently.

Demand for lawyers is the number of lawyers society asks to do lawyer work, let's say, every year. It appears to me that demand has increased every year since 1997 (except in 2008). That is, society has asked for (whether they really wanted to or not is another question) - and has therefore been willing to employ, i.e., pay - more lawyers than the year before over the last few decades.

The number of people employed as lawyers increased by 39% from 1997 to 2013 (BLS).

Over that same period, approximately, the number of law school graduates each year has increased by less than 20%.

That actually suggests we have in fact produced too few lawyers. In fact, a "shortage" may explain why average (mean) lawyer incomes have increased in the same time period by about 80%. With fewer lawyers than demanded, those who do practice can capture more income. Mean lawyer income in 2013 was $132,000 (it is $194,000 in my county, Santa Clara, CA).

What seems to be out of whack is not demand for lawyers nor the actual supply of lawyers (it has always been lower than demand) but the desire of recent college graduates for law school. That desire seems to rise and fall at a rate far in excess of demand, perhaps because of all sorts of subjective influences or biases although there is apparently some correlation between that desire and the earnings premium for JDs relative to BAs. These may combine together - as it becomes evident that the JD premium over the BA has widened, BAs flood into law school. Perhaps that is the LA Law effect - Hollywood picks up on the fact that JDs are doing well and there is a wider effect. That certainly impacts employment patterns here in Silicon Valley. This is what likely feeds bubbles, that inevitably burst.

That "out of whack" problem is captured by the large swings up and down in the number of law school applicants - reaching 100,000 per year twice (in the early 2000s and in the late 80s) and hitting 60,000 in the mid 80s and now our new lows.

This suggests there should be more resources put into communicating more information to undergraduates about the legal market but it does not suggest that there is some hitherto undiscovered problem with legal education itself. Society as a whole seems willing over many years to pay more lawyers and to pay lawyers more. That suggests law schools are doing something right (although I advocate for all sorts of changes at my school all the time, usually not successfully, but changes do indeed happen).

Data at LUN.

Posted by: Steve Diamond | Apr 27, 2015 7:58:13 PM

Mr. Diamond and BDG,

I see. We have too few lawyers, and there is no problem with law school. Ohio is not representative and is an odd disappointing outlier. Amirite?

Posted by: Jojo | Apr 27, 2015 9:26:54 PM

Simple question: If the demand for lawyers is higher than the supply, as Professor Diamond claims, then why are so many law graduates unable to obtain full time long term lawyer jobs? Only 58.7% of the class of 2014 obtained these positions 10 months after graduation.

Graduates from top 10 law schools land in full time long term JD required jobs at levels from 85% to 95% of the class. What this suggests is that 9 out of 10 law graduates happily take lawyer jobs when they can get them. This percentage decreases steadily with ranking, with a few exceptions, and is much lower at mid-tier and low ranked law school. For the class of 2014 at my law school, for example, 72.9% of graduates landed these jobs 10 months after graduation. At Professor Diamond's law school, Santa Clara, 35.6% of grads landed these jobs. If Professor Diamond is correct that demand for lawyers exceeds supply, one would think that law graduates of Wash U and SCU would secure full time JD positions in the 85% to 95% range. But that is not the case.

Posted by: Brian Tamanaha | Apr 27, 2015 10:15:29 PM

There is no necessary contradiction. While overall longterm growth of law school output (JDs) is well below the growth rate of employed lawyers, there could easily be oversupply from year to year.

There was a huge growth in applicants in the wake of first the dotcom/telecom crash and then the burst credit bubble (as student hid out in law school as the market for BA only job applicants also disappeared) and it is taking more time anyone wanted for it to resolve.

In retrospect I suppose some might argue it would have been better to counsel students in the fall of 2006 (those profiled in the Times story) that a financial tsunami not seen since the 30s was on its way. As far as I know only a handful of "shorts" (profiled by Michael Lewis) were willing to make that kind of bet.

(Of course as Simkovic and McIntyre show timing law school is not a good idea.)

While we are not likely to see this magnitude of a problem in the near future again (except the possibility of a more significant lawyer shortage occurring in the next few years) it would make sense to insure that undergraduates understand the actual market for lawyers and the effect of trying to time the market.

Posted by: Steve Diamond | Apr 27, 2015 11:15:11 PM

Steve, whatever you think of Simkovic and McIntyre's argument -- and I note that despite Simkovic's blog defenses, there are many criticisms that he has not seriously refuted -- I don't think it's appropriate to use language like "show" when you're talking about one researcher's (or team of researcher's) arguments, particularly when that study was limited in scope and is contradicted by other researchers.

Posted by: twbb | Apr 28, 2015 9:16:38 AM

Steve, I'm not familiar with "LUN" so I couldn't check there for your data. Based on the BLS figures, though, I don't think your calculation works. For simplicity, look first at the most recent year. There were 630,750 lawyers, judges, and judicial clerks in May 2013, and 643,060 in May 2014. That's an increase of 12,310 jobs for lawyers. But accredited law schools graduated 46,766 JDs that year (ABA statistics).

Some of the existing lawyers (those included in the 2013 pool of 630,750) would have become partners or solo practitioners (not counted in BLS stats), moved to another field, retired, or died. It's hard to believe, however, that 34,456 of them did so. Even if they did, some people from those other fields would have moved back into the "employed lawyer" category. A partner who becomes in-house counsel, for example, becomes a newly employed lawyer for the purpose of these BLS statistics. So does one who leaves solo practice to become a law firm associate.

The same graduate surplus occurs every year, and it accumulates. In 1997 (the earliest year for which BLS has figures), there were 492,010 lawyers, judges, and judicial clerks. That number grew, as mentioned above, to 643,060 by 2014. That's an increase of 151,050 new jobs or 30.7%. That sounds like a lot until we realize that more than 700,000 students graduated from accredited law schools during the same period. To accommodate that many new lawyers, everyone who was a lawyer/judge/clerk in 1997 would have had to leave the category and many of the new grads would have had to enter and depart.

There is significant movement into and out of these "salaried lawyer" categories but it's not nearly enough to account for this many graduates. The employment statistics further back that up: Even back in 1997, we didn't see all law grads getting full-time lawyering jobs within 9 months of graduation: according to NALP, the percentage was 73.6%.

The numbers, I think, pretty clearly show more law graduates than lawyering jobs--both year by year and over the span BLS measures.

What we do about that is a different question. Some argue that law school provides financial and other benefits to students even if they don't practice law. I think there's significant truth to that statement; I'm a strong supporter of any type of education and think that learning is always a good thing. But law school has become pretty expensive and there are lots of other graduate programs (as well as some undergrad ones) that lead to interesting and remunerative careers. It's also somewhat inefficient for law schools to administer two types of education, one for future lawyers and another for general analytic skill. There was a time when those two overlapped significantly, but we are seeing demands for advanced coursework for both goals that may be hard to fill simultaneously.

So the question for law schools is: What do we want to be? What type of students do we serve and what do we teach them? I've advocated preserving both of our strengths by creating an undergrad major out of the first year, then complementing that with a 2-yr JD for those who will practice. That seems like a practical, efficient way to achieve both of the goals that law schools have served--as well as to attract students at a more reasonable price.

Posted by: Deborah Merritt | Apr 28, 2015 1:04:46 PM

Just out of curiosity Professor Diamond, who is Wikedtor, Michael Simovic, Brian Leiter or you?

Posted by: Lurker | Apr 28, 2015 2:12:06 PM

I prepared a reply to this string on my blog (LUN - "Link Under Name"). Enjoy.

Posted by: Steve Diamond | Apr 28, 2015 6:15:10 PM

Steve, please post your reply where readers can engage with the substance of your post. Your blog does not permit comments.

Posted by: Stan | Apr 28, 2015 6:31:55 PM

Over at his own blog, Stephen Diamond writes: "While there are many changes that law schools can and should and in fact are making in the way they deliver legal education, it is a mistake to be overly concerned – some might even say fanatically obsessed – with the daily lives of law professors and deans. "

Stephen, if you'll answer questions, I don't understand from the context of your post what it means to be "overly concerned . . . with the daily lives of law professors." Does you mean concerned about whether the salaries of law professors are justifiable based on the employment outcomes of their graduates? Or does that mean something else?

Posted by: Orin Kerr | Apr 28, 2015 11:55:54 PM

Nothing that specific, Orin. Just my view that so many of the critics seem to view it as a moral crusade to follow law professors all around the web in order to attack them.

Posted by: Steve Diamond | Apr 29, 2015 1:22:59 AM

"[S]o many of the critics seem to view it as a moral crusade to follow law professors all around the web in order to attack them."

Like Wikedtor, though he/she seems to obsessively praise two or three. One tends to assume that the obsessively praised are perhaps Wikedtor, which may explain the persons they choose to obsessively attack.

Posted by: Lurker | Apr 29, 2015 6:59:57 AM

Stephen, I too found the comment odd--especially in a post that continued a discussion with me. I can assure you that I have no interest in the daily lives of law professors or deans; I'm happy for them to leave those details at home! And I'm a pretty unlikely crusader to follow law professors all around the web since I didn't even know what "LUN" was until you explained it.

I'm also much slower than others at composing comments and posts. I have some further thoughts about your numbers, but it may take me a few days to compose them as I work on other things at the same time. Until then, I promise not to think about anyone's daily life!

Posted by: Deborah Merritt | Apr 29, 2015 8:45:31 AM

Steve - If I'm not mistaken you've gone so far as to sleuth the identities of anonymous commenters and post about their families.

Frankly, I haveno idea who your father is nor have I ever been tempted to use the internet to try and discover such information. The sort of comment coming from you is astounding.

Posted by: daily lives | Apr 29, 2015 11:06:49 AM


You said, "so many of the critics seem to view it as a moral crusade to follow law professors all around the web in order to attack them."

Can you specify (1) who some of these critics are, (2) which professors they follow, and (3) where they are being followed to and attacked at?

I'm sure those of us who only frequent the more popular and mainstream fora would find this enlightening. (Also, if any of these people earn their living attacking law schools, go ahead and specify that as well.)

Posted by: Derek Tokaz | Apr 29, 2015 12:18:52 PM

Given his law school's incredible shrinking incoming class (2010 - 314; 2014 - 152), and transparent mediocre employment outcomes, Steve and Co. are in the Baghdad Bob phase of law school denial-ism.

SC's 44K/year in tution for a 50/50 chance at a full time legal job of any kind doesn't seem worth it.

Are you going to doxx me and libel my father too, Steve?

Posted by: terry malloy | Apr 29, 2015 12:29:21 PM

See what I mean now, Orin?

Posted by: Steve Diamond | Apr 29, 2015 2:10:56 PM

Steve - I don't think people are following you around the internet attacking you. People are following you around the internet attacking your poor reasoning behind believing that people should be going to law school at current prices and debt levels and that there are no problems with it. People may also question things you say. It's called having a debate. That's not the same as attacking you.

How many people are running around 'attacking' Orin Kerr that you've noticed of late? There's a reason for that.

Posted by: try again | Apr 29, 2015 2:50:11 PM

Steve, in the last 6 months you have posted numerous blogs critical of some of your peers such as DJM and Brian T. Paul Campos has also had the fine distinction of being featured in the title of two such blogs. You have also been critical of LST, alluding improper motives and a lack of transparency on their part. For the record, I am totally OK with this. But it does seem to be highly hypocritical to then complain when those same people - and their supporters - take an interest in idiotic things* you've said here, and elsewhere, not to mention the more substantive issue of how SCU grads are actually faring in the marketplace.

Perhaps you should take your own advice, and worry less about others and more about what is happening to your graduates. According to the SCU's own statistics, it is a worrisome time to be a graduate of your institution.

My two favorites include:
*Businesses should greenlight all NPV projects
* SCU and Stanford graduates have the same opportunities

Posted by: Stan | Apr 29, 2015 2:54:59 PM

try again,

I don't think anyone is "following" him anywhere. Prawfsblawg is a pretty central site, as far as legal ed issues are concerned. He even links to it on his own blog.


While I think there's plenty of room to be critical of folks on either side of the aisle (myself and LST included), I wouldn't go so far as to say I'm "totally OK" with it. I think questioning motives and biases is fine (after all, we question the incentives law school professors and administrators have), but Steve goes a step further, asserting specific improper motives, and failing to provide any sort of reasoning or evidence to support those assertions.

If someone where to say "Steven Diamond may be biased because he works at a school many might be dissuaded from attending," that's one thing. If that person were instead to say "Steve Diamond receives a $100 kickback every time a student agrees to pay full sticker price at SCU," that would be an accusation of a very different nature, and I think would require some sort of substance behind it.

Posted by: Derek Tokaz | Apr 29, 2015 3:40:32 PM

The ABA's employment report, released today, shows that the demand for new lawyers is, well, flat. Among the Class of 2013, nine months after graduation 26,653 people reported LT, FT positions requiring bar admission. For the Class of 2014, with data gathered 10 months after graduation, the figure is 26,248.

Similar comparison if you look at all jobs requiring bar admission (i.e., including PT and/or ST jobs): 29,109 in 2013 and 28,113 in 2014.

All of those figures reflect intensive efforts by career services offices, as well as jobs funded by law schools.

Posted by: Deborah Merritt | Apr 29, 2015 5:43:21 PM

Steve, thanks for the response.

But actually, no; I don't see evidence of people "follow[ing] law professors all around the web in order to attack them" or being "overly concerned with the daily lives" of law professors. Granted, I see a debate involving some law professors on both sides, in which there is a lot of mud thrown and nastiness. But most of the law professors involved give as good as they get -- yourself included, from your blog posts and comments I have read -- so there's nothing one-sided about that aspect of things. It's also true that some are criticizing law professors as a group. But I don't see a problem with that. If there's any group that should be able to take criticism, it's tenured law professors. My 2 cents, at least.

Posted by: Orin Kerr | Apr 30, 2015 1:38:42 AM

A very diplomatic answer from Orin Kerrwhen he says "most of the law professors involved give as good as they get -- yourself included, from your blog posts and comments I have read -- so there's nothing one-sided about that aspect of things." Steve, you may want to wonder what that neutrality says.

And of course Orin Kerr was an observer during the event(s) "terry malloy' and "daily lives" are referring to it. It also seems unlikely that Wikedtor is one of the"people" Diamond is referring to since his obsessive attacks are directed at the same people that Diamond attacks, his promotion and praise towards those Diamond promotes and praises.

Posted by: Lurker | Apr 30, 2015 4:22:29 AM

I am, of course, hardly the most impacted object of their wrath (just the target of a boycott effort aimed at my dismissal by Derek Tokaz, Merritt's partner in crime as well as specious claims like those made by Terry Malloy (an apt name - a notorious snitch in a movie directed by an even more notorious snitch)) and now Stan who invents things I never said or wrote anywhere).

One of the most obvious and completely unjustified targets of the critics has been Mike Simkovic, who is not yet tenured. And the biggest attack on him came from a tenured professor who was upset at the fact that Mike's solid and widely recognized empirical research laid waste to that tenured professor's own work. Nice.

Details for those whose memories are short at LUN.

Oh, and need I recall for the memory impaired tenured faculty the infamous bullying of another untenured but also rising young star professor from Colorado by an anonymous but widely known scamblogger?

I could go on, but what's the point.

Posted by: Steve Diamond | Apr 30, 2015 11:55:15 AM

Is Simkovic and others' lack of tenure somehow relevant?

Posted by: Derek Tokaz | Apr 30, 2015 12:05:15 PM

That is an impressive recollection of past events, Steven. Still, you have moved me. I am sorry I hurt your feelings and made you sad.

Posted by: Stan | Apr 30, 2015 12:20:14 PM


What people are pointing out, applyimng the motto of this website:

"Where Intellectual Honesty Has (Almost Always) Trumped Partisanship -- Albeit in a Kind of Boring Way Until Recently -- Since 2005"

is that your complaint that:

"so many of the critics seem to view it as a moral crusade to follow law professors all around the web in order to attack them"

is pretty ludicrous given that you carried out perhaps the most grotesque of all the attacks when you Doxxed someone and then demanded of them whether that person's recently deceased father would be ashamed of them - as well as saying things about the deceased that were perceived to be slanderous. In short, you are not in a very good position to be complaining, something that Orin Kerr tried, gently and dimplomatically to suggest to you.

Similarly, there is the question of who is Wikedtor, who has been filling thge pages of Wikipedia with praise for Simkovic's work and for Leiter more directly while making very nasty attacks on Campos and Tamahana. To be clear, most people think that Wiedtor is one of three people - Simkovic, Leiter or you. The tone is yours, the IP address hsitory of unnamed editors trackts to the institutions where Leiter and Simkovic are found - and this has been going on for years (getting a name on Wikipedia hides IP addresses for editors, unamed editors names are visible.) At least a good few of Wikedtor's edits could have been cut and pasted directly from your blog.

So the problem is that you have mounted some pretty poisonous attacks on many people. You have all but accused Law School Transparency of corruption and manipulating data on many occasions. Yet you complain bitterly of persecution. To translate Orin Kerr's very diplomatic comment, you earned much of what you are receiving.

Posted by: Lurker | Apr 30, 2015 12:29:10 PM

Steve, you also said some really dumb things too, remember? But again, Im sorry that bringing those up hurts your feelings and makes you feel sad inside.

Posted by: Stan | Apr 30, 2015 12:34:50 PM

I had thought not to respond to the part about DJM. By now, most regular readers will have noticed Steve Diamond's pattern of making a wild accusation, and when asked to back it up, responding with another wild accusation. But, newcomers to the forum might not be as aware, so I changed my mind.

DJM and I are in no ways "partners" in crime or anything else. Neither of us exerts any sort of control over what the other does, nor do we coordinate or plan our activities. I don't contribute to her blog, and she doesn't contribute to mine. The closest we come to being "partners" is that we're often on the same side of the education reform debate.

As for the "boycott effort," Steve is more or less correct there. In response to his claim "The SCU faculty did vote to block a proposed tuition increase recently," (which appears false in light of SCU's actual tuition increases every year since 2007) and "My guess is that LST is really interested in making money not in any serious change, hence its interest in brand recognition. No doubt it will be offering law school applicants some kind of software package that will only add to the cost of going to law school," (which of course, is false, though he still like to claim LST is a money-making racket), I did write that if I were the SCU student body, I'd under-enroll his classes until he was forced out (which I believe is in the students' rights to do).

The only part of that I'd really object to is his characterization of it as an "effort." I didn't contact SCU students or anything like that.

Posted by: Derek Tokaz | Apr 30, 2015 12:36:26 PM

"notorious snitch"

At least we know which side Steve is on. Johnny Friendly (the gangster killing and abusing stevedores) is the good guy, that snitch should have stayed deaf and dumb, the same way I like my law students.

Posted by: terry malloy | Apr 30, 2015 12:49:46 PM

"Terry" The lesson of On the Waterfront is that the working class is too weak to take care of its own, that it needs to rely on priests and cops. That is a lesson that only a real stooge like Kazan could believe in.

Derek, LST did try to extort payment from law schools for its services and your ceaseless calls for more useless data would only add to the cost of going to law school without adding much value. (See my Profits of Doom post at LUN for details)

And as I explained at the time faculty can vote against a tuition increase and yet tuition can go up ... how? because faculty only "share" in the governance of universities they do not own them or make many final decisions including on tuition. I do think our vote slowed the rate of increase and I was happy to make that effort.

Stan, are you a retired lawyer or an amateur shrink?

Posted by: Steve Diamond | Apr 30, 2015 1:04:47 PM

No problem at all, Steve. Apology accepted.

Posted by: Stan | Apr 30, 2015 1:07:05 PM


Thank you for clarifying what the faculty tuition vote meant. I'm glad to see the faculty have managed (through whatever limited power they have) to hold SCU to only an 8.2% tuition hike over the last two years (11.5% over the last 3). You should be commended for that.

As for LST's efforts to "extort" payment, I haven't a clue what you're talking about.

We do generally call for more information though. Which specific information do you consider to not add much value, and what are the costs associated with those data? (I'll note that what LST is most well known for is calling for NALP reports to be published, which would come with no added cost, since that data has already been collected.)

Posted by: Derek Tokaz | Apr 30, 2015 1:25:27 PM

Steve, thanks again for the response. Two thoughts:

1) I don't think the "law professors are being victimized" narrative works here. The law professors involved are giving as good as they get. Consider the case you bring up from Colorado. In that case, the professor actually filed a bar complaint against a critic of her scholarship. The bar complaint was legally quite weak on the merits, I thought, and I wasn't at all surprised it didn't go anywhere. But I don't think you can accurately frame this as a one-sided fight.

2) If I can comment about the debate as a whole, rather than any one contributor, I worry that most of the people participating in this debate are hurting their reputations. A lot of people are digging in their heels and declining to recognize any subtlety or nuance in any position. There can't be any ambiguity or uncertainty, it seems. Instead, the other side has to be demonized as corrupt, craven, and desperate, and all arguments made by the other side must be deemed to have been "crushed" and "destroyed." I don't think the merits of the issues justify that kind of over-the-top rhetoric, which isn't helping those writing in that style -- on either side.

Again, just my two cents.

Posted by: Orin Kerr | Apr 30, 2015 3:23:44 PM

*29.5%* of Santa Clara's class of 2013 were unemployed and seeking employment at 9 months.

Your law school took their money. Likely the most money, as those least likely to succeed are most likely to pay full freight.

I suppose the Silicon Valley IPO law firms start hiring at 10 months.

Posted by: terry malloy | Apr 30, 2015 3:57:25 PM


Regarding the second of your two cents, I gave a talk on a rather similar subject a few weeks ago. Inserting value judgments does tend to make your writing weaker, rather than stronger.

The example I like to use is from the intro to one of the earlier seasons of Shark Tank, where Barbara Corcoran is described as "fiery." A lot of us have a natural instinct to think in response to a claim like that, "Oh yeah? I bet she's not." Then we view the show looking to disprove the claim. It's far more convincing to show her being fiery, and leave it up to the viewer to reach the conclusion you want. It's the ol' "show, don't tell" idea. Telling creates skeptics, while showing creates believers.

I'm going to steal (and I'm sure do great damage to) a metaphor I heard Andrew O'Hagan use. You can tell your audience "Two plus two equals four," but that's not nearly as powerful as giving them two and two, and letting them figure 'four' out. The language you're finding unhelpful would then be like someone just asserting 'four,' without even giving the audience the two and two.

Posted by: Derek Tokaz | Apr 30, 2015 4:06:59 PM

Derek, there's something to that, although I have in mind something perhaps slightly different -- or at least I would put it slightly differently. We all know this aphorism: "If you have the facts on your side, pound the facts. If you have the law on your side, pound the law. If you have neither on your side, pound the table." A corollary is that if you spend a lot of time pounding the table, everyone assumes you have neither the facts nor the law on your side.

Posted by: Orin Kerr | Apr 30, 2015 4:23:16 PM


That's certainly a much more vivid way of putting it, and perhaps more directly to the point. I think it goes hand-in-hand quite nicely with the "show, don't tell" lesson. If you show the facts, you're pounding the facts. If you say you have the facts, but don't show them, you're pounding the table.

Posted by: Derek Tokaz | Apr 30, 2015 4:47:53 PM

I can't say how much I aree with what Orin is saying.

To be less diplomatic - Steve, you've made yourself into the rabid attack dog of the pro law school crowd. Most of what you write makes me feel sick due to your tone and your tactics. Many of them also seem silly. Mentioning at every opportunity that Campos and Tamanaha once spoke at Cato and holding that out as a bogeyman and connecting law school critics to a vast right wing conspiracy is nuts. The politics of the father of a law school critic have nothing to do with anything. Mentioning the fact the DJM's new paper is being put out in the journal of a law school some might be criticl of doesn't seem like something that scores you any 'points'. Perpetuating the clam that LST is trying to shake down law schools is irresponsible. Your story about everything having been ok before the bubble and current issues are simply the result of unforseeable events and it's lamentable that some grads are struggling simply doesn't hold water. I could go on and on (really), but I'm not on a device that allows me to find and cite specifics right now. . In short, your over the top rhetoric is often ridiculous. Your propensity to decide that critics 'are not worth engaging with' and taking all your toys home when people confront you with uncomfortable facts speaks volumes. Lately, with some of the things you're writing I feel like you're entering bizarro world where up is down and day is night.

Personally, I'd appreciate a little less 'rabid attack dog'.

Posted by: less diplomatic than Orin | Apr 30, 2015 5:24:26 PM


It's a "fact" that this crowd is out to destroy the American law school and higher education itself as an institution. That is the clear goal of the Koch Brothers backed Cato Institute. Anyone who tries to deny that is either collaborating in that effort or naive beyond belief. I have made this crystal clear from the earliest days in which I joined this debate. See LUN.

In the longer run I believe the intent is to undermine the rule of law itself. As law faculty we have a responsibility to defend the rule of law and I have argued that means defending the American law school as an autonomous institution.

The slanderous treatment of (least of all) me but much more against many others by this crowd is aimed precisely at shutting us out of the debate and that of course is critical to the longer term strategy of destroying law schools themselves. Instead of worrying about my reputation - as much as I appreciate your concern (in all seriousness) - perhaps you should consider the agenda these people are attempting to carry out.

Posted by: Steve Diamond | Apr 30, 2015 6:16:48 PM


who else are members of the conspiracy? Do we have secret handshakes? Do Campos, Merritt and Tamahana have secret meetings with Derek Tokaz and those you keep attacking? Are they also members of the Trilateral Commission? Is Campos' left wing politics all a charade - his criticism of modern capitalism in the US? Why have they never been invited to the Bilderberg conference? Maybe they are all members of the Illuminatii? Are they conspiring with or against L. Ron Hubbard?

Please, we need to know more details. The future of democracy depends on ripping the veil away from these evil people - please, we need to know. Save us.

Posted by: Lurker | Apr 30, 2015 6:36:21 PM

"It's a "fact" that this crowd is out to destroy the American law school and higher education itself as an institution. That is the clear goal of the Koch Brothers backed Cato Institute."

"In the longer run I believe the intent is to undermine the rule of law itself."

Wow. Just wow.

Who knew that Campos, Merritt and Tamahana were trying to destroy the rule of law itself by arguing that the United States is cranking out more lawyers than are actually needed?

I guess they are part of "a conspiracy so immense and an infamy so black as to dwarf any previous venture in the history of man", right?

Fortunately, we have a few brave professors willing to stand up to the vast right-wing conspiracy of "Law School truthers".

Posted by: observer | Apr 30, 2015 6:53:53 PM

Steve, when you feel slandered by objective facts (e.g., SC 30% unemployed and seeking for class of 2013 reported to the ABA), you might be wrong.

Posted by: terry malloy | Apr 30, 2015 6:56:08 PM

Alright, come on now guys, I think it's time to lay off. It was funny before, but now it's bordering on cruelty.

Posted by: Derek Tokaz | Apr 30, 2015 7:13:28 PM

Awe Derek - please, come on, just a little more...

By the way, the meeting is at location beta-sigma. DJM's bringing the Krystal and Tamahana the bandaids for after the blood oaths.

Posted by: Lurker | Apr 30, 2015 7:19:57 PM

The implication that I came up with this insight into the scam bloggers' agenda is not accurate. And it would not be responsible of me to claim an idea as original. So please see LUN (link under name for the uninitiated) to see the reaction when the Cato event was announced.

Posted by: Steve Diamond | Apr 30, 2015 8:08:14 PM

Derek, Merritt - why have you not being sharing some of that Koch money?

Posted by: Lurker | Apr 30, 2015 8:24:46 PM

BTW, Steve, I'm still waiting for any honest explanation of the drop in 'unemployed but not seeking' grads your school displayed when classifying people as that was no longer advantageous to your school.

Posted by: Barry | Apr 30, 2015 9:04:11 PM

The Koch Brothers care about Santa Clara law school?

No one -- and I mean no one -- is advocating the complete closing of all law schools. Critics fault misleading employment data and other come ons from touts who then saddle 0Ls with six figures of debt, and then graduate far too many students into a saturated legal market.

That's the conduct that threatens rule of law. When lawyers can't make a living practicing law, who will stand up for justice?

Posted by: Jojo | Apr 30, 2015 9:40:56 PM


I'm perplexed by the suggestion that the law school scam movement is being directed by the Cato Institute, or the related notion that the Cato Institute has significant influence over legal education. As I understand the claim, it is based on the fact that the Cato Institute once had an event about Brian Tamanaha's book. The speakers at the event included Tamanaha and Paul Campos. From this event, you seem to conclude that there is some sort of secretive ongoing association: Having spoken at the Cato Institute, the argument appears to go, Tamanaha and Campos are basically now ongoing agents of the Cato Institute.

If that's your view -- and if I have misrepresented it, I hope you'll correct me -- it strikes me as baseless. A lot of people speak at the Cato Institute. They host a lot of events on a wide range of topics featuring a wide range of perspectives. Legal education isn't even a significant focus at Cato. It's something Walter Olson is interested in, but it's not on Cato's radar screen more widely. And the Cato institute doesn't have some kind of "anti rule of law" perspective. Their view is consistently libertarian, but I don't see how that is more or less "rule of law"-oriented than other views. (Take surveillance law, where Cato's libertarian perspective leads them to oppose government surveillance. Maybe they're right and maybe they're wrong, but how is that against the rule of law?) Given all of this, the idea that the Cato Institute is some sort of nefarious force driving the scam blog movement strikes me as, well, bizarre.

But I should add a caveat. I myself have spoken at the Cato Institute several times. And my own politics tend to be on the libertarian side. So that may make me a "collaborator" with the Cato Institute who is just hiding their influence o help them destroy the law schools. I don't think that's the case. But one never knows for sure.

Posted by: Orin Kerr | Apr 30, 2015 10:02:05 PM

Orin Kerr - Cato Institute Lacky and tri-lateral commission member. Possibly a bilderberg operative. Not to be trusted. *snugs tin-foil derby down*


Posted by: terry malloy | Apr 30, 2015 10:16:17 PM

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