That Which We Call a Law School

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  1. I think an addendum to their resume would suffice. (Ie- "Cary School Of Law (Formally Penn Law)


  2. One of the things which isn’t discussed when looking at why Universities are so expensive is the effect of the end of the cold war and the focus away from nuclear weapons. There isn’t much written about it, because much of it is classified, but this article presents part of the story.

    The point is, post WWII and during the cold war, the government needed to fund research into weapons systems. Universities were major beneficiaries of this, but for many reasons, the universities didn’t disclose the source of their funding, nor did they disclose to many of the students working on that research. This research gave universities a great deal of funding that they had freedom to use. However, with the cold war ending, that funding spigot ended. So, funding from other sources had to be found.

    The world is a complicated place and many people benefited in ways they never imagined. You are helping me wake up to some of these facts. Thanks.

  3. “But here’s the thing: The university caved. Following community complaints, they changed the short name used on all materials back to Penn Law – at least for now.”

    So, does the University have to give the $125 million back?

  4. Avatar for Schase Schase says:

    Government funding of this academic madness is a case of negative network effects. Ask any ethics professor in the law school and she will tell you this: what’s moral is what’s legal. Reply by asking what happens when what’s legal is for sale? A similar dynamic is at work with housing, food and healthcare.

  5. “In short, elite American universities and their associated professional schools are no longer selling an education. They are – like medieval guilds – institutions who operate in the interest of the members of the guild. Their priority is to protect and increase the value, prestige and perceived selectiveness of the license they confer – and to sell that increasingly scarce commodity at rapidly accelerating market rates…”

    Presented without comment - a “promoted” Tweet in my Twitter feed today:

    Harvard Business Analytics Program
    This rigorous cross-disciplinary online program prepares leaders with the analytics, leadership, and strategy skills to drive better business outcomes. Complete in as few as 9 months.

    (Could not find a way to import a pic, but wanted to as the below is much more “impressive” emblazoned in Harvard Red as it was in the Tweet)

    Harvard Business Analytics Program: Complete an Analytics Certificate in Nine Months

    (end Tweet)

    Okay, I lied, one comment: notice how they got “leaders/leadership” in there twice.

  6. Avatar for rguinn rguinn says:

    I think it was a (temporary) resolution that had to be negotiated with the donor.

  7. Avatar for rguinn rguinn says:

    There’s a lot to this, I think.

    That is part of the problem with establishing big institutions as quasi-government program instead of the businesses that they are - no one actually thinks about shedding assets or slowing growth when a business line becomes less profitable, because they don’t have to. The idea that they didn’t HAVE to maintain and train such a large group of researchers and PhDs just never occurred to most schools.

  8. Avatar for rguinn rguinn says:

    Thanks for sending this, Mark! I’ll bring this up to Ben, who has an extremely relevant story worth sharing on our next ET Live event.

  9. Avatar for rguinn rguinn says:

    Couldn’t get the link to work, but yes, all sorts of features of our Fiat World, the Long Now and the transition toward competition games we write about are equilibrial states caused by what you could call negative externalities.

  10. A guild…

    Anyone learning the full details of my side “hobby” over the past five years, would likely understand my obsession with researching the legal profession. Financial hucksters motives are so easy to understand and most of us can readily decipher the means with true or even mostly true financial records. When a lawyer falsifies documents, misleads in court, conspires with a judge, the motives and the full details just aren’t so clear.

    Until the loan “losses are socialized,” a career in litigation can become more akin to indentured servitude including unfair negotiating. Law students tend not be experts in financial projecting. Attending a respected law school will likely start you with at least $100k in debt at graduation. And you are expected to take clerk jobs at lower pay. When a firm offers you $200,000, you might be glad to accept the long hours and moral degradation.

    But again, injustice.

    So you become a public defender at < $50,000 a year. Many criminal court judges are former prosecutors, and carry over their Tough on Crime, Yay! So what’s your job as a public defender? What if you don’t play along with the judge? Judicial sanctions (formal or informal). Imagine you respond with a formal complaint against the judge–professional suicide and you still have loans.

    What high comp, white collar job is available for disbarred attorneys that will cover their loans?

    A true debtor’s prison.

    So yeah, these ‘professionals’ are in a key position of wealth inequality compromise daily, as Yay, Capitalism! Sure accountants and bankers keep track of the flow of funds. But we know the attorneys set up offshore entities.

    Maybe Penn Law grads realize the selling Yay, Justice! and Yay, Rule of Law! is harder when you graduate from “Mr. Capitalist Law School.”

  11. I was at the school when they were announcing the roll out of these online programs and renaming them from HBX to HBS online. The reaction of my fellow classmates was similar albeit not as dramatic as that of Penn Law. The main complaint was about the brand equity and how someone’s 200k HBS MBA was now carrying the same name as the online program where they pretty much admit everyone and costs only a fraction. Rusty couldn’t be more on point about the general sentiment of graduates at these “elite” institutions.

  12. Good story. I could not agree more. Heck, I went to a State University and am suspicious of the true educational value of an Ivy/elite degree, but it definitely caught my attention when I saw an Ivy/elite name on a resume. I have to admit, I assumed this person had - at least at one point in his/her life - something good going on. They are good brands, as Rusty avers.

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