Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Let's LRAP it up Already

Honestly, if I hear one more announcement about the LRAP townhall, I'm going to blow a fuse. Enough already. If one of the most important issues to be tackled by the school is not enough to bring us out, lame e-mails and even lamer class anouncements will certainly not do it.



Blogger Nicodemous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

2/07/2006 5:10 PM  
Blogger Jungle Cat said...

Being who I am, and this being what it is, I suppose that I’m required to weigh in on LRAP.

In some ways LRAP really jives with my philosophy. I like the idea of heavy taxation for instance. Heavy taxation means that our government makes decisions about how to spend our money. Now while my money is better served in my pocket, I don’t trust the vast majority of the unwashed masses to spend wisely. Thus, heavy taxation coupled with a few strategically placed loopholes that I could drive a Ferrari 360 through would be an ideal system.

LRAP though really nags at me. Others have suggested that LRAP interferes with the market. The idea being that some jobs are less highly valued, and so fewer students should be drawn to those jobs anyway. By creating a subsidy we create an inefficient legal market. While Adam Smith’s siren song is always tempting, I don’t think that I will be dashed against those rocks today. There are clearly market failures in the legal employment system leaving some highly valued positions way below the ideal level. The job of a U.S. attorney for instance is highly valued, but the compensation just isn’t up to par. (This may be a bad example, it may pay to much to qualify one for LRAP.)

Still, LRAP feels uncomfortable to me. In the end, I think that what doesn’t sit right is a dual problem. 1) that some of my tuition goes to fund some things that I find distasteful, and 2) that some of my tuition goes to fund some people who probably don’t deserve it.

I would like for Boalt to publish a list of all of the employers that would qualify for LRAP, and at the beginning of every year students should vote yea or nea on each one. If one employer received enough nea votes, say 10%, then a second round of voting would take place to determine if it should be dropped from the program pending further review. Even if such a vote only took place once per cohort, at least we would have some say in what our money was being used for. I don’t want to pay for some dipshit to sue McDonalds for its unhealthy food on behalf of the mindless eating machine association (MEMA).

Moreover, I just can’t help but think that some of the people receiving my money don’t deserve it. They are lazy, unintelligent, or unmotivated, and that is why their job is paying them less than 52k per year. Now for some people this is simply not true. These people worked hard, did well, and have a passion for something that just doesn’t pay all that well. To address this issue, I think that the LRAP program should have an additional dual cutoff. The first and more important prong of this cutoff should be a GPA cutoff. I’m not saying that only the top 10% should qualify, but I am saying that the bottom 10% should not. We could even allow those held out of LRAP to appeal and explain themselves, but they should not get automatic access to my wallet. The second limit is that anyone convicted of a breach of the honor code should be prevented from accessing the LRAP fund.

My restrictions my seem regressive to some, but I’m not saying to take less money from me, I’m just saying that we should have democratic control, and that some people are not deserving of the money. The money should go to who can do the most good with it.
Furthermore, if we restrict those least likely to do good with our money, than we can afford to give more money to others who will use it most wisely.

2/07/2006 5:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


This is a stunning collection of bad ideas! I agree with the first comment at one of your multiple cross-postings of this post:

2/07/2006 7:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jungle Cat,

Forgive me but it's "jibe" not "jive" in that usage.

2/07/2006 9:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rant, rant, rant. Whatever. But grades? Are you serious?

2/07/2006 9:31 PM  
Blogger Tom Fletcher said...

I like the idea of student body approval of what programs get loan assistance... consider mine a vote of support.

I would also add that many jobs in this world pay non-monetarily. Really, we can look at compensation as (financial) + (intangible). Financial includes your salary, health insurance, childcare, etc. Intangible includes feeling like you are doing good, enjoying the great outdoors (if you are a park ranger), relaxing (yoga instructor), etc. (just think about what some people like about their jobs). For some jobs, i.e., first-year associate doing document review, this term may be negative.

[at this point, I apologize if I lose any readers for delving into the negative numbers]

Focusing purely on the amount someone gets paid is short-sighted. Working for the public defender office, JAG corps, DA, etc. are the *best* ways to develop trial experience --> improved partnership and salary down the line. Part of the intangible on those jobs is massive experience with a definite payoff later.

You can argue pretty easily that those people will do just fine later in their careers with the skills they develop and don't need LRAP.

I have to teach during today's meeting (i.e., make some money to pay my rent to reduce the number of loans I take out), but I hope some people speak from a sensible financial position.

Just one person, maybe?

2/08/2006 10:06 AM  
Blogger La Mitotera said...

Had I thought of it earlier I would have turned the multiple LRAP meeting notifications into a drinking game. Another LRAP email? DRINK!

2/08/2006 8:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The 52K jobs are the ones that are hard to get. It's easy to get a firm job. The GPA idea is awful - people who are hard core public interest spend a lot of their time doing lawyering work while in school rather than going to class. If they learn enough to pass the bar, who cares what their GPA is? (Almost) Everyone at Boalt is smart and motivated. Otherwise they would not have gotten in.

2/08/2006 11:05 PM  

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