July 17, 2017

"As one of my lawprofs at Yale said, students aren’t the consumers of legal education, they’re its product..."

"... and nobody asks a Buick on the assembly line whether it wants to have AC installed."

But it was Yale, so they knew they weren't Buicks, and they could take it. They could relax and laugh and know they were more of a Mercedes Benz. At least.

46 comments:

rhhardin said...

The one paying is the consumer.

Nonapod said...

At present, faculty answers to no one within the law school community, whether on procedural or academic matters. Therefore, Harvard Law School, like any sizable institution, has room for improvement, but only if the institution and its gatekeepers are open to progress. If the law school is serious about making positive change, faculty must genuinely listen to the ideas, suggestions, questions, and concerns of the entire community. Harvard Law School is nothing more than a partnership between its faculty, staff, students, and alumni. Only through true and meaningful engagement with all of these essential stakeholde

And here we get to the heart of the matter, students want power. If history is any guide, that can lead to big problems. You could end up with a Lord of the Flies situation ala Evergreen State College.

Achilles said...

Yale and Harvard are training these people to go out and destabilize institutions as activists. This is what they want

Michael K said...

You can teach a Harvard law student but you can't teach him/her much.

Comanche Voter said...

You fill their heads with modern legal theory mush, and what do you get? A diesel Mercedes that cheated on its emissions test.

Matthew Sablan said...

The Buick isn't paying for the luxury of having an AC installed.

Matthew Sablan said...

Also, if they're the product, we hold Buick factories responsible if their product is defective. Do the law profs want to be held accountable if their students are defective? Could a client of a lawyer sue their law prof for a defective product?

Dave from Minnesota said...

Which college was it....just recently...where the students protesting said "we are the customers. You answer to us"? It wasn't Evergreen, but a slightly more mainstream school. St Olaf maybe.

Chris N said...

A hybrid Mercedes Benz to be sold by dealers in the wealthiest neighborhoods.

Parts and labor $$$

Gusty Winds said...

The only three main professions that do not consider their customers as "customers" are Doctors (patients), Lawyers (clients), and Professors (students).

It's what makes dealing with all three very frustrating.

Dave from Minnesota said...

To complete what I said above......the students thought that since they were paying the bucks to attend, the administration had to do what the loudest students demanded.

Hagar said...

The American law profession is also sometimes referred to as "the American disease."

Michael K said...

"The only three main professions that do not consider their customers as "customers" are Doctors "

We did when we were mostly small businessmen.

My office staff had to be on their toes. When I called my own office, I did not use "the back line." I called the same number patients called and the staff knew it.

Now the vast majority of doctors, thanks to Obamacare, are on salary.

DMV, here we come.

Jess said...

It's an eloquent request by the inmates to run the asylum.

tcrosse said...

The only three main professions that do not consider their customers as "customers" are Doctors (patients), Lawyers (clients), and Professors (students).

In the IT racket we had Users.

Dave from Minnesota said...

Lawyer related...I've been listening to a radio station from Greenville Mississippi on the internet. They play a commercial for a lawyer. He brags about getting HUGE bucks in the Pigford case.

Now, he may be the original lawyer in the case, which is fine. But after the initial ruling this became one of the largest scams ever. Possibly $4 Billion in fake claims.

Michael K said...

Two of my kids are lawyers. One day we were at LA Harbor and one of those giant car carrier ships had just docked. My younger daughter asked what it was, they look so odd. I told her they bring a thousand cars from Japan and unload them and then we load them up with a thousand lawyers and ship them to Japan. My old (lawyer) daughter was in the car and she did not think it was funny.

tcrosse said...

In the IT racket we had Users.

Now that I think of it, so do Drug Dealers.

Earnest Prole said...

What the hell is a Buick? It sounds archaic, sort of like America's legal education system.

Lyssa said...

I once had a professor say that he could only think of two industries in which the customer was also the product - higher education, and mortuaries.

johns said...

I think the right way to frame the consumer/producer argument here is that law schools are selling a product, but it is one that the faculty of the law school has designed to operate properly. The student is the consumer but isn't allowed to self-design the product that he or she is buying because in the view of the faculty it could possibly be a defective product, which would not reflect well on the reputation of the product's producer and could even result in damages actions against the producer.

n.n said...

Indoctrination mills. Another reason to go in to a hard subject, but beware scientists who conflate logical domains and practice science through consensus (e.g. political, social).

Hagar said...

Off topic?
I once had a discussion about law with a friend, who stopped me cold by asking: "Who writes your laws [in Norway]?"
I had never thought of laws as being written before. The Law is the Law as set forth and written down by Magnus Lagabøter ("Law-mender") in the late 13th century* and any statutes or decrees issued later must not be in violation of King Magnus' "Law of the Land."
It is a very different view of "the Law" from the American practice.

*King Magnus sent scribes to the regional things to query the lawspeakers about the customary laws in their domains, and then studied the reports brought back to him and synthesized them into one code or "Law of the Land" for the whole country. However, he did not interfere with the thinglaws as they were in the regions at the time, except in a few cases where a regional law was in direct conflict with the majority consensus.
King Magnus' Law is still the fundamental "Law of the Land" and quoted in the courts.
We do have a written constitution (supposedly based on the American Constitution of 1787 plus the Bill of Rights, but adapted for a parliamentary system under a constitutional monarchy (Talk about squaring a ciecle!). I am sure it is a very nice constitution, but I have never seen a copy of it nor heard of anybody who did - or cared.

Gusty Winds said...

I do not mean to insult Doctors, Lawyers, and Professors. Many industries (restaurants, manufacturing, retail etc..) have to implement some type of cost control and customer service measures to stay ahead of their competition.

In the three I've mentioned there is not such thing as cost control. Maybe that's not the fault of the Doctors or the Professors, but the administrators.

I once had a cyst removed on my wrist. The surgeon billed Blue Cross for $25,000 and they settle up at $2500. Nobody has any idea regarding the real value or cost of the service. Who can do that with a customer. Higher education clipping at double the rate of inflation for 20 plus years is appalling, and there is no continuous improvement.

I once got an invoice from a Lawyer that had a line item stating:

"Ignored email from plaintiff - $0.00"

Michael K said...

"The surgeon billed Blue Cross for $25,000 and they settle up at $2500."

Jesus !

I picked the wrong specialty. That was the fee for open heart surgery including all the team and postop care,

chuckR said...

"I told her they bring a thousand cars from Japan and unload them and then we load them up with a thousand lawyers and ship them to Japan."

So, like Pearl Harbor in reverse?

Lawyers as Mercedes? Overpriced, cranky and prone to breakdowns? Also, I'll bet the Opel derived Buicks are at least as good as a C class Mercedes.

Earnest Prole said...

I told her they bring a thousand cars from Japan and unload them and then we load them up with a thousand lawyers and ship them to Japan.

Mack the Finger said to Louie the King
"I got forty red-white-and-blue shoestrings
And a thousand telephones that don't ring
Do you know where I can get rid of these things?"

Francisco D said...

Last year, I had lithotripsy, a simple, non-invasive outpatient procedure. The Urology group billed Blue Cross over $40k, but I noticed one little item on my EOB. "Misc. Office Expenses: $10,000."

Blue Cross discounted $9k because the group was in network and left me to pay about $400 for that item. Overall, I shelled out a lot more money because my employer kept premiums down during the Obama era by increasing deductibles. I just never noticed. I currently have an employee health plan, the top one they offer, that has a higher deductible than the catastrophic policy I had when self-employed.

We need a system that allows consumers a say. Maybe we should abolish state controls to create a larger risk pool and a wider array of policies. Then either get rid of the employer tax deduction or give the deduction to individuals.

Michael K said...

"So, like Pearl Harbor in reverse?"

Oh, no. I just heard that Japan is very short of lawyers.

"there are only 287 attorneys per one million people in Japan, compared with 3,769 in the U.S."

Gotta do something about that.

Michael K said...

"give the deduction to individuals."

That was in McCain's plan in 2008 but he never read it, of course.

Gabriel said...

@rhhardin:The one paying is the consumer.

Yes. The Federal Government. The vast majority of tuition is funded through grants and loans made by the Federal government.

State governments also fund higher education.

There are a small number of people who mostly pay for most of their own education, but it's not the majority of the funding.

Gabriel said...

Higher education is best thought of as a jobs program. Then things start to make sense.

The largest government employer in every state is its higher education system. Professors and other faculty are just a small percentage of those whose jobs depend on student butts in seats. Not even administrators, there's all kinds of clerical and maintenance sorts of positions with the full panoply of civil service protections and benefits.

Which is why lowering standards to improve retention rates has been the trend. There are a few prestigious universities with their own endowments who can be more pure, if they choose. But very few people go to Harvard, most are going to the nearest State U or the nearest state junior college. And the tuition money must keep coming in.

Michael K said...

There are a small number of people who mostly pay for most of their own education,

Then there are those of us who pay for five children's education. I'm still paying off the last loan.

Michael K said...

" there's all kinds of clerical and maintenance sorts of positions with the full panoply of civil service protections and benefits."

Maybe some of them will smarten up at places like Missouri with 35% decline in enrollment and kick some BLM asses.

Gabriel said...

@Michael K:Then there are those of us who pay for five children's education. I'm still paying off the last loan.

That last loan, from whom did you borrow the money? If it wasn't the Feddle Guvmnt you are a tiny minority.

Butts in seats is the overwhelming priority of the Higher education jobs program. And what you say about Mizzou is spot on. Anything that affects butts in seats. When stuff like BLM starts to affect butts in seats, it will no longer be tolerated.

Michael K said...

The last loan was a "Parent Plus" and probably the feds.

U of Arizona raised their tuition by 30% while she was there,

Gabriel said...

@Michael K:The last loan was a "Parent Plus" and probably the feds.

Erm.. you don't know?

That's how badly the Federal Government has distorted the credit market through guaranteeing student loans. You don't have to know who you borrowed the money from.

U of Arizona raised their tuition by 30% while she was there,

Of course they did. More people chasing spots at universities. All with a check from Uncle Sugar to make up the minimum price. OF COURSE the price would go up. It HAS to. Econ 101. The supply curve shifts up so that the lowest supplier prices is the minimum that people have to spend.

And U of Arizona is of course the government. So they could have chosen not to respond to market pressure, but they wanted some of that fat money cake. And now having the money, they have to spend it on something, so more amenities, administrators, and athletics.

Michael K said...

Obama cleaned out all the private loans by federalizing student loans. There were a few around when she was starting but I paid that tuition myself. I did not take out a loan until her last year. By that time, I'm not sure nonfederal loans were even available.

The older kids I paid out of cash flow and the real tuition inflation didn't get going until the last kid was ready for college.

Gabriel said...

@Michael K:The older kids I paid out of cash flow and the real tuition inflation didn't get going until the last kid was ready

As I repeat, this makes you a tiny minority. The Federal Government is driving costs up by giving people money to go to college. You've now revealed how long ago it was that you took out the loan... and I'm telling you how things are now and how they got that way--and you acknowledge now that you saw it playing out that way as it happened.

TomHynes said...

First year law school is pretty much fixed, and the same for most schools - property, torts, contracts, civil procedure for year, plus a semester of con law and criminal law. Second and third are up to the students - professors offer courses, and students take what they want. I never felt 'I wish UVA offered a course in XYZ". I think the Buick does get to decide.

Hagar said...

Sadly, I think many, if not most, of the students do not believe they have to pay off those loans and have no intention of doing so.

Hagar said...

and, if possessed only of a degree in XYZ "studies," they may never earn enough to have any possibility of doing so, anyway

Hagar said...

In a word - Federal student loans are "sub-prime."

Kirk Parker said...

"The largest government employer in every state is its higher education system. "

The state's higher ed systems can't possibly have more employees than their K-12 systems.

Unknown said...

Good grief, if the students were competent to exercise the power they think they should have they wouldn't be students. Flannery O'Connor said something to the effect that the students' opinions weren't being consulted, they were being formed. That's the best answer to this student-as-consumer mentality. Eliminating the inane practice of students evaluating their instructors would help correct this.

Michael K said...

"As I repeat, this makes you a tiny minority. "

Oh, I know. I also put my kids through private school. That has also gone insane in tuition.

The school that I put three through now charges $30,000 a year tuition. It was about 300 a month when my kids went through in the 80s.

My two younger daughters went to a high school that was about $250 a month then (and the youngest was only ten years ago) and that school is now $16,000 a year.

I know what caused the inflation but it was also making colleges look like Disneyland. Of course, they had to have parents or students who could pay,

The nicest home is owned by the one who did NOT graduate from college.