No Refund For You!

A reader wrote in:

Dear JJD:

I am an alum of NYLS and wrote in and asked Matasar for a refund. After first year, I told the school I thought I should drop out because my grades weren’t that great. They convinced me to stick it out and said if I did I would get a job. I graduated, and of course couldn’t find a job. When I went to the school for help with the job search, they suggested I get an LL.M to make myself more marketable. So I did take additional courses until a headhunter and one of the professors told me it was a waste of time and most of the students don’t get jobs. I sent the dean an email asking for a refund because it’s been two years since graduation and I haven’t even gotten one interview, let alone a job. I had to write to him three times, but he finally responded. This is his response:

Sorry I have not gotten back to you sooner, but I have been on the road a great deal this summer and am only now just catching up on my correspondence. I regret that you, like other recent law school graduates, have found the job market particularly difficult during this unprecedented economic downturn. However, I disagree with your sense that NYLS is somehow responsible for your predicament. You received a first-rate education. Hence the frustration you currently feel must be measured against the life-long skills and professional education you have received. I see no justification for your demand.
I wish you the best.
Rick

I just wanted to share this with you, and see if you had any advice for me. Feel free to put it up on your blog if you want.
Regards,
In Debt and Unemployed

Well, In Debt, you are in the same boat as most of the folks who read this. I think his response was to be expected.That doesn’t make it right, of course.

What bothers me most about this is his claim that NYLS is not responsible. Couldn’t disagree more with the dean. If a school puts out false employment statistics to lure students in, and then convinces them to stay even when they are not doing well and know their odds for employment are slim, and then sells them an additional degree, well, I think NYLS is responsible.

My advice is to wait and see what happens with the current class action, and then consider suing them. Your claims are slightly different than the plaintiffs in the class action – they have jobs, you don’t, and NYLS kept egging you on to stay enrolled knowing that only they would gain from your being there. Keep me posted.

Matasar Deserves Prison

I broke the story in ’09 that NYLS had admitted an additional 250 students to pay for a new building and various other projects. Something else was recently brought to my attention again.

A former NYLS student informed me that up until a couple of years ago, NYLS students were automatically signed up for their federal loans through Access. That’s right, NYLS automatically hooked up students with Access for their federal loans.

Let’s recap. Matasar knowingly put out false employment statistics to get students to enroll in his school. Then he has the loans (up until about 3 years ago) funneled through a company that he is on the board of directors. Anyone else see what’s wrong with this?

Shouldn’t Matasar be investigated by the New York Attorney General for the employment statistics fraud and for his connection to Access loan?

The NYT plagiarizer reporter missed this. Woodward and Bernstein he is not. But now that this has been handed to him on a silver platter, maybe he’ll “investigate” and get it in the paper. I won’t hold my breath for a thank you or credit.

Matasar Speaks. Please Shut Up.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it today: Dean Tricky Dicky Matasar needs to learn how to shut up. He spoke to the New York Law Journal about the recent New York Times article taken from my blog (see below) and whined that he was an easy target and “poster child.”

Dickster, I will agree you’re an easy target, but it’s because you’re a hypocrite. When you do things like sit on the board of Access screwing over providing loans to the students and charge over $46,000 for your toilet and then go out and give speeches about how law school is too expensive, you should expect that some will criticize. Some will rip you a new one.

This reporter did a great job. By far the best question from the reporter:

It seems a little too easy to place all the blame on the ABA. The ABA didn’t require New York Law School to build a new building, and it doesn’t dictate what you pay your faculty. A recent IRS filing indicates that a few faculty members earn more than $300,000. Don’t you have a responsibility to keep costs low for your students outside the ABA requirements?

This question proved too difficult for him, and he gave a non-answer. The man has his head far, far up his ass so it was difficult to chose which lies comments to highlight, but here are my favorites:

I wasn’t surprised to be set up as a poster child, but I think it was unfair.I think it was unfair to focus on costs without focusing on value.

Unfair. Wow.If they had focused on value, it would just make you look worse. There is no value in a TTT degree. How “fair” is it that you scammed students for 12 years?

We also tell them that the chance of landing a six-figure job immediately on graduation are not that great, certainly outside the top 10 or 15 law schools, but the long-term return on an investment in legal education has been, and continues to be, pretty good.

Huh. I’ve talked to a lot of your students, . They write in, a lot of them are desperate, angry, and generally, in a great deal of pain. They have never mentioned this conversation. I’m guessing the only part of this you really tell them is that last line about the “long term investment.”

There are ways that we’ve managed costs — though we are an expensive law school — that are quite different from other law schools.

Did you get the cheaper marble when you built the fancy new building? Not go with the gold leaf trim?

We were an expensive law school 12 years ago and we are expensive law school now.
No .

I give a talk to every first year student here that says coming to law school is like buying a brand new Mercedes-Benz every year on credit and pushing it off a cliff. But that metaphor isn’t true. Unlike each Mercedes-Benz you buy, a year of law school takes you toward a lifelong career and the ability to practice law.

If it isn’t true, why say it? It seems to me he needs a shrink. It’s like he’s 98% evil, and once or twice a year his conscience pops out of his ass and makes an appearance, warns the students, and climbs back into that deep dark hole.

The claims that, “I was so surprised to find out not every student gets a job at $160,000 a year,” might have been significantly more credible three or four years ago. We are very forthright with our students about the job expectations they have….Students are not and they’re not naive. The testimonials we hear from students are very different from the stories that show up in the blogs, which is from a very dissatisfied group of students.

That’s a very large dissatisfied group, . So what you’re saying here is that a student
who was at your school 3 or 4 years ago was misled? But now because of the blogs, they should know better?

When asked what percentage of his students have jobs, the Dickster replied:
I can’t tell you the exact number, but it’s not as high as we’d like it to be.

If you can’t tell the exact number, you need to stop putting out that 85% are employed 9 months after graduation. Looks like you’ve been busted, Poster Boy.

For people who have been at this for a long time who are toward the tail ends of their careers, there’s very little incentive to want to change. People can ride out the current world all the way to the end. They are secure and safe.

Yes, you are at the tail end of your career and you are secure and safe. It’s all about you, Poster Boy. Now refund your unemployed students tuition and shut up.

New Direction

As you all know, I had wanted to stop writing this blog in part because I had wanted to start a new blog because I felt that now that everyone knows that law school is a scam, my work was done.

However this comment got me thinking that all I really need to do is take this blog in a new direction:

There are a lot of new J.D.s out here with no practical experience, that cannot get legal jobs, and have no clue what to do, or what non-legal jobs might be out there for them. Thanks.

So I thought, why not devote more time to finding a solution to the mess we are all in. I’ll still post on the scam when a dean or law school does something really stupid (see below). But now I’m going to try to find some creative solutions to our unemployment and debt woes, and how to deal with having a lot of blank spaces on our résumés.

Additionally, if you have been discriminated against or treated like crap by a company (especially a law firm) in your job search let me know.

Protests Paid Off

Earlier this month University of Virginia 3Ls wore tee shirts around school protesting their lack of job prospects. They also hung out in front of the school telling 1Ls and anyone who would listen that they were unemployed. One 3L made a beautiful model of the school with his rejection letters from employers.

The school listened, and is paying for bar course and other bar expenses for their unemployed 3Ls. I was impressed until I read the fine print, they are really only picking up about half of the expenses. Bar review courses cost around $3500, not $1500:

Unemployed students were notified of the program Monday morning via a letter deposited in their Law School mailboxes from Dean Paul Mahoney. The letter informs students that they will be eligible to receive up to $500 to cover bar application fees and up to $1500 to cover bar review study courses.

But it’s a step and the right direction, and more schools should follow University of Virginia’s lead. And I will say this until I draw my last breath: any law grad who is still unemployed in the legal profession 18 months after graduation deserves a full refund.

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