By Paul Goldman
I have known Dick Cranwell for a long time, starting with the 1985 Democratic Party nomination fight for Lt. Governor, and over the years, I have found him to be one of the smartest lawyers in Virginia. He is not a guy you want on the other side of the case, political or legal. I never could figure out why he didn’t run for Governor himself, or at least statewide, I think he could have won.
But with all due respect, it seems to me that Dickie missed picking a lawyer with the right qualifications for the case of Brian Moran for this reason:
His choice for lawyer never attended a for-profit college, much less got his law degree from an online for-profit college. Dickie’s guy went to traditional non-profit schools. Come on Dick, get hip guy: The for-profit college sector is booming, $2.7 billion in profits last year, it is keeping the Washington Post from having to stop publishing! “Asses in classes” is the motto man: the equivalent to the old “pump and dump” of those legendary penny stock brokers, or the sub prime mortgage guys. The big schools get nearly 80-90% of their revenue from Uncle Sugar, they spend 700% more money than McDonalds’ on advertising using comparative revenue data.
Dickie, your choice went to the State University of New York and I think Georgetown: he just isn’t with it man, as Brian can tell you. For-profit higher education is where it’s at: Dickie, your guy is just, well…too retro.
Look, if Brian wasn’t lobbying for these “debt without a diploma” mills, and wasn’t trying to undercut the President of the United State’s in his effort to stop these schools from using deceptive practices to ruin the lives of minority students – they account for roughly 10% of the higher ed students but nearly 50% of the defaulted student loans according Senator Dick Durbin – then no lawyer would be necessary, nor would DPVA have to be preparing an apology to the White House for kicking the President when he is down.
Surely, Brian would have to agree: in this particular case, the only person who can possibly have the right mind set is someone who has graduated from one of his clients’ schools, having received a job and then paid off those big student loans, etc.
In that regard, I do feel for Dickie: Trying to find someone like that who is also a lawyer licensed in the state may have proven even too much for Mr. Cranwell, the legendary General Assembly deal maker. Dickie was a magician, but even Houdini might not be able to find the person to fit this situation. Of course, Brian could recommend someone, I would be okay with that.
Now I know what you are going to say: “Goldy, why would you think such a person would not be biased, wouldn’t he or she identify with Brian’s situation?”
My response: I believe such a person would be very fair, and I have would have no reason to doubt their legal scholarship.
But I concede again, such a person may be hard to find: 57% of all for-profit students drop out long before they even come close to completing two years of course work. It takes 7 years – four years undergrad and then 3 more in law school although I understand the online legal/PHD and other degrees can be completed a lot faster, although you have to pay up as they say in the Pay Day Loan division of Higher Education. So the odds of a whole lot of folks going the whole for-profit route and getting to the end with less than $100K of loans and the qualification to rule on Brian’s situation is slim I agree.
Okay, I give up: You would have better luck finding Big Foot or D. B. Cooper than someone who could meet these criteria.
However, I am not like the Greek Gods who made Sissysomething or other – can’t think of his name right now – push a rock up a hill only to make it fall back down to the bottom every time the guy got it to the top.
SO: If Dickie would just say that he gave it the old college try, or the new for-profit college try, then I would take his word on it. .
What about this: Finding someone who wanted to go to law school, but got so loaded down with student loan debt from one these for-profit places that he or she had to settle for bankruptcy law instead: representing herself at one many thousands of cases involving student loans from these schools.
Legally, as Dickie knows, you can represent yourself in such matters.
There, I just solved the dilemma: Let’s find someone who had to represent him or herself in one of these bankruptcy proceedings due to having gone to one of these “debt without a diploma” mills.
It seems to me that is more than enough legal experience to make the right ruling in the Moran case.