The dean of the New York Law School says the nation’s law schools are exploiting many students who aren’t successful and says the legal educational establishment “should be ashamed of itself” in doing so, according to a report in The ABA Journal.
Richard Matasar said schools need to take responsibility for the failures of their students, according to remarks he made at a program on law school rankings last month. The remarks were highlighted by TaxProf Blog, which were the basis for The ABA Journal story.
Matasar said a law school education can cost as much as $120,000 for a students who are taking a “lottery shot” at being in the top 10 percent of their class so they can get high-paying jobs.
He spoke during a program sponsored by the Association of American Law Schools.
“We own our students’ outcomes,” Matasar said at the AALS program. “We took them. We took their money. We live on their money. … And if they don’t have a good outcome in life, we’re exploiting them. It’s our responsibility to own the outcomes of our institutions. If they’re not doing well … it’s gotta be fixed. Or we should shut the damn place down. And that’s a moral responsibility that we bear in the academy.”
At 50 law schools, 20 percent of the students either flunked out, can’t find jobs or have unknown outcomes, according to another speaker at the program, Indiana University law professor William Henderson, The ABA Journal reported.
Perhaps if more students entered law school because they were motivated by the actual practice of law and by helping others, rather than simply the dream of making a lot of money, we’d have fewer law school applicants who don’t end up with ”good outcomes” in life.
And the rest of society would probably have a slightly better opinion of the legal industry as a whole, as well.
Like most other banks, SCBT Financial hasn’t been immune to plummeting share prices.
SCBT, the parent of Columbia-based South Carolina Bank & Trust, hit a new 52-week low early Thursday, falling to $24.06. That’s a 47 percent drop from its 52-week high of $45.24. (Update: by mid-afternoon, SCBT had fallen to $23.39 a share.)
For 2008, net income was $15.8 million, down from $21.6 million the previous year. Earnings per share for 2008 were $1.52, compared with $2.32 in 2007.
As with nearly every financial services company in the country, SCBT has been hurt by the slumping economy. In January, SCBT received nearly $65 million from the US Treasury Department’s bailout program.
But despite the difficulties, SCBT appears to be in a decent position to weather the current economic storm.
Its stock price is well ahead of larger competitors such as Bank of America (currently trading at around $5.65 a share), Regions Financial ($3.50) and South Financial Group ($1.60), and it doesn’t appear to have the heavy exposure in some of the more troubled real estate markets that the bigger institutions have.
This is because SCBT has long prided itself on being more conservative in its lending practices than many of its larger competitors. As the figures above show, that strategy is paying off.
Tyler Watts, an economics student at George Mason University, has an interesting article on the Ludwig von Mises Institute’s website called ”The Importance of Failure” that looks at what occurs when we prevent failure from happening, as we’re doing by bailing out collapsing companies.
“Profit and loss go together — like up and down, left and right, good and bad. If we try to do away with losses, we’ll wind up diluting the meaning of profits. After all, why strive for profits if Uncle Sam will cover your losses with a bailout? Why bust your butt to compete and succeed if you can just clamor for a handout instead? Bailouts destroy the profit motive — and all the benefits of a competitive economy.”
As Watts correctly points out, capitalism depends on three highly complementary, yet distinct, institutions: prices, property, and “profit and loss.”
“These fundamental institutions of the market economy are like legs of a stool,” he writes. “If we gradually weaken one leg, we will eventually bring the stool toppling down — economic collapse.”
As was shown all too clearly during the Great Depression, government intervention only exacerbates economic crises. Unfortunately, though, we don’t seem to learn from the past, particularly when it comes to economic matters.
Of all the major trucking lines in the nation, it’s believed just one has avoided laying off workers during the ongoing economic slowdown – Southeastern Freight Lines of Lexington, SC.
It’s not because Southeastern hasn’t been impacted, but rather because the Cassels family, which has owned the company since its inception more than 50 years ago, is committed to doing right by its employees.
Tobin Cassels, Southeastern’s president, recently identified the secret of his company’s success: “Take care of our people who take care of our customers who take care of our future.”
But you’re not likely to read or hear about Southeastern’s willingness to hold onto to each and every one of its 6,800 associates during the current hard times because the company has long been reluctant to promote itself.
However, those within in the company say it’s always been the Cassels’ way to take care of their people, and they’ll do whatever it takes, even if it means digging deep into their own pockets, to make sure their corporate family remains intact.
It’s not like the past few years have been easy ones, either. Skyrocketing fuel costs have hurt the trucking industry. At least 100 trucking companies in South Carolina, albeit mostly small ones, have shut down since the middle of the decade because of fuel costs, according to a 2006 report in The State newspaper.
Despite the hard times, Southeastern remains one of the largest trucking companies in the country, running more than 2,500 company-owned trucks.
Just last year, Southeastern expanded into Mexico, and to assist with the expanded operations, opened a new service center in Laredo, Texas.
Southeastern, founded in 1950, specializes in next-day service in the Southeast and Southwest, and operates 76 service centers in 12 states and Puerto Rico. The company has a network of service partners to ensure transportation services in the remaining 38 states, Canada, the Virgin Islands and Mexico.
It’s refreshing to see that in an era when so many corporate executives appear more interested in lining their own pockets rather than doing right by their employees and customers, Southeastern still understands that the key to success rests with satisfied, loyal employees.