Monday, April 2, 2012

Second prize is a set of steak knives

Email exchange:


Dear Professor Campos,

Hello my name is [  ], a prospective admitted student to the University of Colorado Boulder Law School, and I am wondering if I could ask you a few questions pertaining to your take on CU law. I received your contact information from the Faculty Directory on the CU website, and noticed that you received your JD from the University of Michigan Law School. The two schools that I am seriously considering attending include CU and the University of Michigan. As a Michigan graduate and CU Professor, I am wondering if you could potentially provide any insights into your perspective and experiences with these two schools, and potential advantages/disadvantages that both offer?

Important factors that I am using to evaluate schools include faculty accessibility, collegial atmosphere, clinical/externship opportunities, educational quality, and career outlook upon graduation. I really appreciate your consideration of my questions. From communication with other CU Professors, students, and staff, I have found the University of Colorado community to be extremely accommodating and friendly. Thank you very much for any insights that you can offer and for taking the time to provide your opinion. I look forward to speaking with you soon. Have a great day.

Sincerely,

Some background:  The CU faculty has been strongly encouraged by the administration to reply to such messages for the purposes of recruitment.  In fact  we've been told that a bunch of students in the last couple of classes claim they chose CU over other schools because our faculty is such an awesomely responsive and collegial bunch, in that we were the only school where all the faculty who were contacted responded to prospective student inquiries. I'm not implying any nefarious intent on the part of the administrators who have asked us to engage in this sort of recruitment, as I'm quite certain it would never occur to these people that faculty responses to such messages would be anything but helpful in improving the school's "yield" on admitted applicants.

Moving right along . . .

Where are you from and what do you want to do when you graduate?  How much money have CU and UM offered you? Why specifically are you considering CU?

Dear Professor Campos,

Thanks for getting back to me so soon. I am from [large eastern city] having graduated from [pretty good liberal arts college] this past May. I cannot say for certain what I'd like to do after I graduate, but I am interested in clerkship opportunities or possibly something in the field of environmental, Indian, or maybe international law. I am really approaching law school with an open mind, and I am open to any type of law that interests me in school. I don't plan on pursuing a career in the larger DC, Chicago, or NYC markets.

Regarding money: CU has offered me a Dean's Scholar Scholarship, while Michigan has offered no money.

I am specifically considering CU because I am very interested in living and practicing in the Colorado region after graduation, and also because I have been very impressed by the level of support that I have received from members of the CU community thus far. In addition, the small class size of CU also appeals to me, having attended [    ]. The Dean's Scholar Scholarship is also a great opportunity along with the Dean's Fellowship that would be offered in my 1L summer. Please let me know if you need any further information. Thank you again for your help.

Best Regards,


How much money is the Dean’s Scholar Scholarship? What’s the Dean’s Fellowship?

Professor Campos,

The Dean's Scholar Scholarship is a full-ride offer for 3 years (first year covers out of state tuition, while the second two years cover in state tuition), while the Dean's Fellowship is a program being instituted this year in which CU will help Dean's Fellows in finding summer employment working for a faculty member, a law school Research Center, or a nonprofit or government agency in one of four areas: Environmental, Public Interest, Business/Entrepeneurship, or Technology/Intellectual Property Law. In addition, the fellowship includes a $3,000 1L summer stipend along with a mentoring opportunity with an assigned faculty mentor and/or a prominent lawyer to discuss work and career options.

Best,

A few things to keep in mind:

(1)    If you go to CU you are likely to end up needing to get a job in Colorado.  The difficulty with this is that you don’t appear to have any connections to the area, which puts you at something of a disadvantage in comparison to people who do.  CU law graduates are currently having quite a bit of difficulty getting real legal jobs, meaning full-time long-term employment that requires a law degree.  Not having connections to the area will be a problem for you, all other things being equal.
(2)    By contrast Michigan is a national school, meaning you would have more options in regard to potential employment.  However, this is counterbalanced by the fact that COA would be around $200K-$225K in comparison to being perhaps a quarter of that at CU.  Do you understand what $200K of non-dischargeable high-interest debt means? I’m not trying to be patronizing, but with that sort of debt load your only realistic employment options would be a large law firm job (assuming you could get one – 60% of the most recent Michigan class didn’t) or the sort of government or public interest job that would qualify for the school’s LRAP program (Loan Assistance Repayment].  Those jobs are extremely competitive – more so than many big firm positions.
(3)    Do you actually know anything about the practice of law?  Why do you want to go to law school exactly?  There is no such thing as “international” law, and it’s almost impossible to get a job in the Indian law field these days if you’re not an enrolled member of a tribe.

Going to law school is an enormous investment of time and money.   The lower-risk lower-return choice for you would be CU. The higher risk higher-return choice would be Michigan. Both under current conditions would be very significant career gambles.  I don’t know what your other options are so I don’t know whether one or both could be good choices for you, but in any event I would advise you to be cautious.
Dear Professor Campos,

Thank you for taking the time to respond to my questions. I have taken all of your advice into consideration, and I appreciate your insights. Take care.

Best Regards,
Obviously I don't know anything about this kid -- and s/he is obviously a kid -- so I don't have any strong opinion as to whether CU or UM or no law school at all would be a better choice for him/her under these circumstances.  What I do know is that kids like this are basically lambs to the slaughter in this system. They literally have no clue -- none -- regarding what they're getting themselves into.  They might as well be signing up for the Army on a whim.  They don't know the first thing about what being a lawyer might involve, they have no idea what debt or unemployment or debt-ridden unemployment mean, and they just want to be patted on the head and told they're Gifted and Talented and that we would love to have their money them join us. 

The most aggravating feature of this particular subspecies of Puer Ignoramus  is that this kid, if s/he attends CU, will have his/her utter cluelessness subsidized to the tune of $100K by the half of the student body who is paying full freight, some of whom might actually have good reasons for wanting to become lawyers at something like a reasonable price.

The second most aggravating feature is  . . . LMGTFY.


142 comments:

  1. LawProf,

    Great post. I would almost suggest to these kids that they would be better off joining the Army on a whim. At least the accidental enlistee will complete his term of service with a fully vested GI Bill after 3 years, veterans preference for government jobs, and the very generous VA home loan program.

    If you are ever asked again, "what else could I do besides law school" by prospective OLs, you should candidly tell them to consider an enlistment in the military. They'll be far better off financially than they would by going the K-JD route.

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  2. Campos is keeping it fucking real.

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  3. @ Campos,

    But corporate bagman Melvin L. Schweitzer of the New York Supreme Court (trial court) feels that all college graduates are "sophisticated, reasonable consumers" when it comes to choosing law schools.

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  4. Love your closing link! Far out!!

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  5. This person has no business going to Michigan at sticker. They should take the money and hope for the best in Colorado or not go. Possibly the best advice for this person is to take at least a year off and work, and maybe retake.

    I don't understand how people end up with such wide disparities in schools. I know people go to Colorado because it can be a great place to live, but not to just go to school. Possibly if this person can get a mentorship with a local attorney, they might make some connections. They should nail down who their mentor will be.

    The flip side of ties is connections. Theperson will have

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  6. From above- this person will have no connections in Colorado other than this mentor. They will have no friends to help them get jobs.

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    1. How exactly do you know this person will not or does not have any other connections in Colorado? You really know nothing about this person other than what you have read above, do you?

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  7. Good thing you added the google link at the bottom. The letter writer obviously had not bothered to google Paul campos before emailing you. This will save people the trouble of having to figure out they should google for more information.

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  8. The benefit of such mentor will be questionable. From what I see, for someone to hook you up with a job it has to be your friend, your family friend, or your significant other's friend or family friend.

    I don't buy this mentor bullshit, they are not going out of their way to get your hooked up.

    I go to t1 and I could not get a 2l internship if my life depended on it. The school did not help, my mentor did not help, but my girlfriend's uncle who had 2 years of experience and degree from for-profit TTTT, made one phone call and got me hooked up (unpaid, of course, but I could not even get that).

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  9. OK, the exchange was good and your advice was pretty good too, and nicely concise.

    But the last paragraph of this post, while it raises some good points, might be a bit harsh. It makes it seem like you don't like the kid.

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  10. I understand giving a scholarship to certain students. I think CU should offer to help all students get mentors and summer jobs.

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  11. This doesn't smell quite right to me. I would be inclined to suspect a hoax here, though I can't, offhand, think of a suitable sinister motive.

    Publius

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  12. Oh, how I wish someone like you had bothered to put me in my place a decade ago. I would be in a much better place than I am right now.

    "Do you understand what $200K of non-dischargeable high-interest debt means?
    ...
    Do you actually know anything about the practice of law?"

    Those two questions should be asked of every single student. Most have absolutely no idea what $200K of student debt means. And almost all applicants have absolutely no idea about the practice of law. International law? Indian law? Seriously?

    And the kid's final email: "Thank you for taking the time to respond to my questions. I have taken all of your advice into consideration, and I appreciate your insights. Take care." That was basically a "Fuck you, Campos and your lies. I know best, and I'll attend Michigan and pay full price."

    This kid is a moron and you were right to call him out. Someone must step up and tell people the truth about this stuff. No more sugarcoating. No more dancing around the truth and spinning the facts.

    I appreciate your work!

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  13. >>>>>This doesn't smell quite right to me. I would be inclined to suspect a hoax here, though I can't, offhand, think of a suitable sinister motive.<<<<<

    The sinister motive could be getting Campos to give different advice in private than he gives in public. Which he didn't. Which only backs up Campos as a reliable commentator. Which backfires on the hoaxer if that is what it was.

    I think it wasn't a hoax. That could have been me, sans the Indian Law stuff, way back when.

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  14. >>>>>Possibly if this person can get a mentorship with a local attorney, they might make some connections. They should nail down who their mentor will be.<<<<<

    As someone with lots of experience with attorney "mentors", you must remember that it is not in the mentor's best interest to train the student, as the student will then compete for the mentor's business. Directly. I have had a number of instances - in fact, the majority - where the mentors act as mentors on paper, but when it comes down to actually providing career advice and guidance, they disappear or no longer seem interested. The mentors have suddenly figured out that by telling the student how to solve a particular legal problem, or by giving the student a sample form for a particular document, or by even telling the student how the industry works and how to develop clients, or where a colleague has a job opening, that they are essentially working against their own career interests.

    In a tight market with limited supplies of clients, mentoring does not work.

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  15. @10:25: very true. It seems like now days people do not want to tell each other the truth because they do not want the truth to make others feel uncomfortable. But if nobody tells kids the truth, how can the fools learn? We have a generation of people who well educated but have minimal understanding of the world. And by the time K-JDs get that understanding, its too late, their life is likely ruined.

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  16. Today I was asked by a clueless 0L whether he should attend Seton Hall with half scholarship. I told him he would be better off joining the French Foreign Legion.

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  17. Did you really say there is no such things as International Law?

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  18. Campos is a man on a mission. I knew that post about slowing down was hogwash.

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  19. Side note: there is definitely such thing as international law (speaking as someone who has friends working for (or who have worked for) the European Court of Human Rights, the International Criminal Court, the International Criminal Tribunals for Yugoslavia/Rwanda, and the Special Tribunal for Lebanon.) However, Campos is more or less right, to the extent that a clueless 0L who thinks that something in "international law" might kinda sorta sound cool, without any specific idea what they might want to do ... and who is considering going to a regional US school like CU that is absolutely unknown in the international law scene ... is never, ever going to have an "international law" practice. Especially not while "living and practicing in the Colorado region" after graduation.

    International law practice is rare, but not non-existent. Most US lawyers who are going to do it, though, have extremely elite backgrounds, language skills, and a willingness to train and live overseas (or have already trained and/or moved overseas).

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  20. This reminds me of one very fundamental difference (among many others) between the application process for medical and law school.

    To get into medical school, you'll have to go for an all day interview and describe why you want to be a doctor. It's an expensive and time consuming process, both for the student and the school, but hopefully, you get a better fit.

    For law school all you need is an application and an LSAT and the school is happy to take your money. Maybe if the professors had to actually interview and meet some kids before the kids enrolled, things might be slightly different. But until then, its just a big cattle call for MONEY.

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  21. As far as a career path goes, yes, there is no such thing as international law.

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  22. So much for the theory that Lawprof is backing down to pressure from CU.

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  23. "The CU faculty has been strongly encouraged by the administration to reply to such messages for the purposes of recruitment."

    I see that policy changing. At the very least, with the caveat, "Except Campos; he can fuck off."

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  24. Third prize is you're fired.

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  25. Sounds like someone trolled LawProf.

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  26. Maybe the writer was really a CU administrator who wanted to see how Campos would answer.

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  27. Not a troll (I checked).

    "International law" means I think it would be cool to live in Barcelona.

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  28. For most law school grads, international law means one of two things.

    1) Immigration law (honorable but not glamorous).

    2) Fleeing the country to avoid student loans. Just spoke to someone who did just that. She (or he) is living it up. Bastard.

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  29. @11:50. Not true. It depends on what school you go to, which is not the same thing as saying that international law does not exist.

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  30. 12:35: Immigration law is not automatically international law - the former mostly involves INA (i.e. statutory) practice. There are elements of immigration law that are international - e.g. asylum and refugee law involves various international conventions. But much "bread and butter" immigration law is wholly domestic.

    12:49: I'm sure that Campos knows that international law exists. He likes to overstate his points for the sake of emphasis, and this is one case where his overstatement is particularly annoying and inaccurate. But as I said above, he's right vis-a-vis this oblivious 0L, at least.

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  31. 12:49 here, your point is well taken. However, a young person thought enough of Law Prof to ask him a question, and the hyperbolic, flat response seems contemptuous and odd coming from a person whose job it is to deal seriously with young people. It seems to fit the needs of the readers of this blog (many will see it as a funny quip) rather than the needs of the person seeking serious advice.

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  32. When 0Ls think of international law, they are not thinking about immigration work. They are thinking about high-level human rights work, govt policy work, or international commercial litigation or transactional work. Please everyone get off your high horse.

    -Templar

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  33. I know a kid who wanted to be an astronaut. He could not get into the Air Force or Naval academy. I think he is about to graduate from Tufts and wants to go to law school to study...wait for it...SPACE LAW! Yes, you too can enroll in law school and go where no lawyer has ever gone before. You can set up a virtual office beyond the statrosphere and stars. You can represent astronauts who are hurt in space (e.g. slip and fall on the rubber cheese surface of the moon). You too can settle orbital space disputes between the U.S. and Russia over which quadrant of the universe each country can place a satelite. This is not a joke. There are actual law schools that offer a specialization in Space law.

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  34. I thought the response was fair and accurate. If Campos's student is representative of the vast majority of law applicants, then it is clear that the only way to get through to these applicants is with some tough medicine.

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  35. Anecdote: I was surprised to find, at my Xmas party this last year, that there were 3 lawyers (including me) in my kitchen who'd been in Kabul in the last 12 months for legal engagements. And we laughed about another guest who had as well but couldn't come to my party (and is currently on a project in Vietnam). Not exactly what you think about when you think of Missoula Montana.

    We each have 20+ years in, and this isn't anything that starry eyed 0Ls (or 3Ls, for that matter) ought to be thinking about. Folks should be careful, though, with the 'all swans are white' arguments.

    CC

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  36. Actually, this topic of "what does international law mean to idiot 0Ls" really deserves some attention. Not only do you hear it from the 0Ls, but just the other day I was talking to a 60 year old immigration attorney who said she initially wanted to do silly things like international law.

    What exactly do these people mean when they say international law? Here's what I think:
    1. I want to wear fancy clothes and jetset across the world in first class, staying in top cities like Paris, Zurich and Moscow.
    2. I want to use my legal powers in a way that saves the world and makes me famous.

    I don't even know. Seriously what are these international law folks thinking?

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  37. As it happens I seem to be described as an "international lawyer" and I occasionally practice before transnational organisations (e.g., the European Commission.) That said, with some small exceptions, international law is usually domestic lawS practiced in an international contexts.

    Now if you want to see a very embarrassed policeman engaged in Equine law .... look at this

    http://www.broadsheet.ie/2012/04/02/meanwhile-at-the-smithfield-horse-fair/#comment-150704

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  38. I don't think the statement can be considered tough medicine since it is more likely to confuse the student if she/he has any sense. A smart person would know that international law does, in fact, exist and would wonder why Law Prof would say it did not. A more helpful response would be to talk about what kinds of firms have international practices and who most often gets to work in those firms. Then talk about public international law, and who gets to be involved in that. Can you get to either of those places from UC Boulder? Is it impossible? Is it improbable? In other words, a real answer that addresses the student as a person, not as the butt of a joke you intend to share with others. It is right to be concerned about whether the student knows enough to make a realistic assessment of things. But law profs exist, in part, to be open sources of information to those who seek it.

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  39. The last paragraph of the blog post was harsh. I believe that most law school applicants have unrealistic or vague ideas about what lawyering actually involves. And how many "good reasons for wanting to become lawyers" really exist these days beyond "I can join my father's successful firm"?

    The job market is so bad that even something like: "I want to become a public defender or a legal aid attorney"--a totally realistic plan 20 years ago--is now a riverboat gamble.

    That said, Prof. Campos's responses to the kid's naive and open-ended questions were totally on-point.

    dybbuk

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  40. Public international is mostly the reserve of government employees. So in the US the Commerce Department (WTO) and the State Department, some Defence Department and their analogous agencies worldwide - i.e., foreign ministries, commerce. Diplomats do treaties. Not all involved are lawyers though. My background means that I know a lot of public international law practitioners. Was offered a job once in that space - turned it down for various reasons - the guy who took it ended up part of a hillside in Bosnia. Nice guy too, a real waste and very sad.

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  41. 2:07, it's 1:53 here. I definitely agree that Campos can and should have provided a more thorough response, rather than hyperbolic condescension -- and actually don't blame the law student for concluding the exchange with a very polite "f*ck you" response. I also think Campos was out-of-line in putting the email up on his blog to be mocked, unless he asked the student's permission to reproduce the exchange.

    I'm torn between being irritated with the 0L for being so oblivious and uneducated about what he or she wants to do career-wise and irritated with Campos for being condescending in a way that means he's not likely to get through to the 0L. For the law student's part, em (will use gender-neutral pronoun rather than continuing with he or she) seems not to understand that virtually all clerkships are term or temporary, such that "interested in clerkship opportunities" is not a serious answer to "what I'd like to do after I graduate." (I'm a former law clerk myself. It's a great gig. It's just not an end-point.) Environmental, Indian, and international law are such different fields (unless you want to practice in the niche of international environmental law :)) that, without more explanation why em is drawn to those particular fields, it sounds like em is just naming random fields. Approaching law school with an "open mind" and being open to "any type of law that interests" em is really ridiculous, in this economy where one has to specialize and network in one's chosen area from the get-go to have a decent shot at a job. And then there's the naivete of getting excited about a measley 3K worth of summer funding. The elite schools offer that money or more to students doing public interest, and/or typically set up law students much better than CU can to get paid employment in non-public interest fields.

    But Campos is the grownup here. While I sympathize with his frustration at the obliviousness of the 0L, he had an opportunity to give more thoughtful, dispassionate advice that would have been more likely to set the kid on the right path. Even sending a one-sentence email back asking the kid to describe em's precise interest in each of the three areas of law em named (international, environmental, and Indian) and to look up and respond with names of specific legal employers in those fields that em thinks it would be cool to work for ... would probably have forced the kid to be slightly less oblivious than at the start of the exchange. As it is, the kid probably just thinks, "Jeez, I had an email exchange with a condescending asshole." (I'm not saying that's what Campos is - I'm saying that that's how he comes off in that email exchange if that's all you've read from him.)

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  42. I can't believe that a bunch of lawyers are arguing whether an area of the law actually exists.

    In any case, those of you who claim that there is international law, please give examples. There is no such thing international law. You could be an international lawyer: high stakes player handling cases around the world before different bodies but that's not international law.

    Bottom line: the kid deserved what Campos said to him. He or she is a fool for even mentioning international law or Indian law as his desired practice area.

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  43. Part of me thought it was harsh.

    The other part of me has come to the realization that this is the position that Campos and other honest brokers have been placed in by the ABA and by the law schools themselves.

    Sadly, had the ABA done its job, young folks with talent like this might be able to "find themselves" in law school and still find legal employment afterwards.

    But the ABA thought it was more important to open up a couple dozen extra law schools to help continue the market-flooding with hundreds of folks scoring 147 on their LSATs.

    So unfortunately, it now becomes more important when you were born than how much talent you might bring the legal field.

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  44. 3:31: A fair point. I could have been more constructive. Patience has its limits, which is an explanation rather than excuse.

    This kid seems to have done essentially zero substantive research, and is instead asking ridiculous questions like how collegial is the atmosphere, and how accessible are the faculty, which is like asking whether this restaurant has a genuinely Tuscan ambiance when one should be asking exactly how much the Monday fish special costs and how likely is it to give me food poisoning.

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    1. Why didn't you say that to him/ her in just those terms?

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  45. @3:37

    Examples of true "international law" - (a) diplomatic law; (b) WTO rules and the WTO court; (c) ECHR; (d) World Court; (e) law of international organisations (e.g., UN, IMF, World Bank); (f) treaty law; (g) international relations law; (h) some admiralty law and law of the sea. You cannot really argue that EU and EEA law is "international law" but it looks like it.

    Note that almost all are limited areas of law practiced by foreign ministries, commerce departments, fisheries and defence departments and treasuries. There is typically an overlap with domestic laws

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  46. @3:54: why are you bugging the man, he did what he thought was appropriate. if you got better advise go find your own lemmings.

    @MacK: point taken although I am not buying it. Most bodies you listed are NGOs, they do not pass laws in traditional sense, rules at best, and membership is voluntary.

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  47. @4:09 I already gave the better version of advice.

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  48. I always assumed that "international law" meant that you were such a famous and high-profile lawyer that people all around the world wanted your services. So basically it means you would have to make partner at a prestigious law firm.

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  49. (I prefer to use the word transnational to describe that part of my practice: contract between UK corp and Swiss LLC to operate a hotel in the Carib specifies arbitration in the US govered by the laws of the Carib country. International? There's the New York Convention, but mostly this is just a case like any other.

    I think this is mostly what law students are talking about, rather than that they will be working for the US mission to the UN, arguing about whether the DRC is in violation of some treaty or whether Iran has violated some norm of customary international law.

    Or maybe they want to prosecute such 'Offenses against the Law of Nations' as Congress has proscribed.)

    CC

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  50. I think that the motivation behind the writer's "fuck you" attitude is the desperation of college educated students that came out in the last blog entry. No one wants to be told that there will be no jobs or that they are making the wrong choice, especially when they already worked so hard to get into good law schools. I can really relate - I thought that admittance into a t10 was a meal ticket for life. Now I am not so sure. I personally am starting to get so depressed and anxious about the situation that it is making it difficult for me to finish law school. I realize that it is not my fault, the middle class is bleeding out in this country, but it makes it hard for any individual person to decide what they should do. What is the point in working so hard if it will leave you with nothing?
    We must come up with an alternative.

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  51. "meal ticket for life" ?

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  52. "meal ticket for life" ?

    kinda like food stamp except it looks something like this: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/4/4d/Usdollar100front.jpg

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  53. Indian law? That is rich. I actually know a lawyer who practices Indian law. Since tribes are for the most part sovereign, Indian law is really a euphemism for casino/gambling law. Is this student a descendant of the Navajo or Sioux tribe? I don't think so. God, these college students are incredibly dumb.

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  54. "God, these college students are incredibly dumb."

    I would not go that far. It's not his/her fault that good liberal arts college does not teach you jack shit. Just goes to show that higher ed is deteriorating. Students do not do any work, get away with it, and are told how fucking smart they are while Profs are getting paid.

    Nobody even pretends that college is serious with some exceptions. I mean liberal arts is a joke but most business majors take MC tests and do "group projects" for 4 years. But all of them think they are so fucking smart.

    The whole higher ed system is joke. Maybe things were always like this but now it's an issue because people take out fed loans to do it.

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  55. I'm not sure what motivated the kids attitude. He really did no research at all into his future. To not even google Paul Campos before he emailed him is the epitome of laziness. He could have answered "why do you want to go to law school exactly?"


    I think the writer might have expected Campos to answer in a fawning manor explaining why Colorado was a great fit for him. The writer is being wooed by a major scholarship from CU so he probably anticipated a different response.

    Instead, the letter writer showed that he had no idea what he was doing or even a concrete reason as to why he wanted to go to law school.
    ------------------------------------------------------

    On another note, the scholarship and financial aid information from Northwestern is out. I know that people here understand what these numbers are, but they are still shocking to see in print:

    Tuition $53,168.00
    Room and Board $14,040.00
    Books and Supplies $1,418.00
    Personal Expenses $2,610.00
    Transportation $1,584.00
    Student Health Insurance** $2,584.00
    Computer $2,000.00
    Loan fees $1,966.00
    Total Expenses $79,370.00

    But, not to worry, you can finance the whole ride!

    Unsubsidized Federal Stafford Loan $20,500.00
    Graduate PLUS Federal Loan $58,870.00

    TOTAL FINANCIAL AID $79,370.00

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  56. I know a lawyer who practices admiralty/maritime law. Basically he is a shitlawyer who instead of chasing ambulances, chases clients who are injured on cruise ships. Apparently, there is a different forum to prosecute slip and fall accidents occuring on the high seas. And to top it off, he considers himself an "international law" maven.

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  57. who collects the 2 grand in loan fees?

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  58. I am simply astonished to see what Northwestern charges to attend its law school. My ex graduated from Northwestern Law School about 15 years ago when it was affordable and she is still paying off those student loans. I cannot fathom how long it would take to crack that student loan nut if you are coming out of Northwestern law owing $200K. International lawyer? Try being an international mercenary for hire if you want to have a real chance of ever paying off that kind of debt at criminal interest rates.

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    1. There was a post on TLS the other day. Someone claimed you can pay off 50,000 a year on loans from a biglaw salary. That gives you like 70,000 to live on after taxes.

      I don't think that calculation is correct. I have often wondered what budget the biglaw kids have to live on to pay their loans.

      Delete
  59. I know that we talk about the numbers here a lot, but seeing them in print stupified me. I didn't want to derail the thread, but I needed to share. I wonder if these Northwestern numbers are close to the numbers that the letter writer is facing from Chicago.

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  60. http://californiagbx0707.blogspot.com/

    What do you think of this man who has been sitting the Bar Exam for years!

    When he started sitting for the Bar years ago there were jobs to be had...I wonder what keeps him going.?

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  61. Oh, that guy. For years I've been torn between admiring his persistence and feeling increasingly convinced that he should never, ever be admitted to practice law. The California bar exam, while difficult as bar exams go, is a test of minimum competence. Sometimes things go wrong on a first attempt - a botched essay, turmoil in one's personal life, etc. - but by-and-large, virtually all remotely competent attorneys pass by the second attempt. Any stragglers should get picked up on attempt three. If you need more attempts than that, your legal reasoning and writing skills are necessarily so atrocious that you are likely to harm your future clients.

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  62. @ 6:04PM

    That guy is a publicity hog. How many years has he been trying to pass the Bar exam? Eventually he will pass it and try to sell his story as some kind of emotional tug of war theme and the ability to surmount one's challenges. I remember back in the '90s, there was a black man who went to law school in the '70s who passed the bar exam after nearly 30 years of trying. After passing the bar, he went to work for his son who had gone through grade, middle, high school, college and law school while his dad was trying to pass the bar exam. I think nowadays if you don't pass the bar after your second or third try, you probably will never practice law. There should be a 3 strikes and you are out rule.

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  63. At least he didn't borrow $80,000 a year to go to law school. He can keep taking the exam as long as he wants. He will still be in much better shape than (at least) 60% of law students.

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  64. @4:09 none of the organisations are NGOs - they are IGOs - intra government organisations - there is a difference. Also membership is by treaty or convention - so not exactly voluntary. It is however a small field - maybe a few hundred to a couple of thousand involved worldwide - almost all civil servants.

    MacK

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  65. As for the letter writer, Michigan shows:

    Budget (tuition and living expenses) for the 8-month 2011-12 academic year

    In-State $64,960

    Out-of-State $67,870

    2011-12 Tuition and Fees

    In-State Out-of-State

    Tuition and Fees $46,830 $49,740



    Suggested Approximate Living Costs for Eight Months


    Rent/Utilities/Food
    $11,750


    Books and Supplies
    1,050

    Medical
    (please see note below)

    2,080

    Personal Expenses
    (clothing/laundry,
    recreation/entertainment,
    transportation, misc.)

    3,148

    Loan Origination Fees
    102

    TOTAL
    $18,130

    http://www.law.umich.edu/currentstudents/financialaid/Pages/default.aspx

    Note the loan origination fee is a hundred dollars.

    Anyway, the letter writer would be looking at paying about $68,000 if he had gone to school this year at Michigan.

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  66. 6:14.. I believe he went to Law School...When tuition was a bit lower.

    ReplyDelete
  67. With everyone ragging on international law as a goal for 0L's, I'm a little surprised that no one has mentioned Sports Law. When I was in school that was the big thing that all the not-very-bright tools wanted to do. I wonder if any of them achieved it... But yes, international law does exist, and LawProf should have said "it exists, but you're not likely to get to do it coming out of this school."

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  68. At least "international law" (such as it is, or is not) involves some sublimation of the fundamental motivation (make money, get laid, be interested in your work, and interesting to others) into something reasonably noble (fighting Hitler).

    But if you ever say you want to be a "sports lawyer," you should probably just be banned from going to law school, and perhaps existing.

    Anyway, I can't say too much about the kid. I wanted to be a P.D., but I did about the same amount of research as THEY* did.

    *The most widely accepted and only non-horrible-sounding genderless pronoun, I'm afraid to say. "Em"? Really?

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  69. @6:04:

    I strongly suspect that the Grand Poobah is making more money using his website as a conduit to promote bar prep materials than most people who passed the CBX on the first attempt. I think he is also doing OK with his judgment collection business. It has gotten to a point where he has incentives to continue to fail.

    Still, hats off for going public. Maybe he deserves it.

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  70. That was my point, which started the whole discussion. It does exist, but the question is could UC Boulder deliver him/her into that world. That would have required a Colorado-specific answer. He would have had to say flatly, "No, our school cannot deliver that.", instead of international law does not exist.

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  71. Cut Prof. Campos some slack. International law exists as much as a woman who squirts during orgasms. They (i.e., true international law positions) exist but are very rare to find.

    I have had many discussions with college students who want to go to law school. The first question I ask is why? The typical answer is I want to make my parents proud, I want to make money, I want to set the world on fire. These are inadequate excuses. The truth is, this profession has become a fucking rat race to the bottom. With more lawyers joining this overcrowded orgy each year, it is harder for anyone to make a living out here.

    Speaking of international law, I suppose there are many ways to say you practice international law i.e., defending a sham marriage before ICE, getting a Dominican divorce for a client that doesn't want to deal with service of process in the U.S., or filing a Chapter 15 case for a foreigner that sells transistor radios out of his car trunk. Yes, this is such a glamorous profession. $200K is a drop in the bucket for the opportunity to live the lifestyle I described. I am surprised law school applications are down this year.

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  72. I think we're being a bit hard on this young person. He (presuming it's a he) is only doing what has always gotten him a pat on the back in the past. He probably is doing his research (as defined by his liberal arts college career/grad school counseling office) by emailing various professors. I doubt he pulled those "international law" and "Indian law" ideas completely out of his ass. Somebody along the way told him they were actual possibilities for him. Somebody told him Colorado is a nice place to live, and he thought he could find a job there without previous connections. Somebody told him small class sizes are important, and he thought that was true. Somebody told him he would be a good lawyer, and he thought why not? How much can we really expect a 22 year old kid to know? We can't expect him to know as much as a law school graduate. If law schools admit him without work experience in law, why would we assume he would go get that legal work experience? Why would he listen to some bloggers when the law school itself and the career counselors tell him not to bother?
    This kid isn't an idiot - he's just following the advice of EVERYBODY, his parents, his professors, his high school teachers, his parents' friends, his career counselors, etc.
    The problem is that, due to the student loan situation, he now has the capacity (in a moment of completely understandable youthful naïveté) to completely ruin his financial future FOREVER. There, but for grace/luck/whatever, could have gone anyone at the age of 22.
    The resumes I see from 22 year olds, even from those who attended very elite colleges, are ridiculous. They often say, I am an excellent writer! Great - ok - maybe for a college kid. I know that's what your professors have told you. But you're 22, and there is just no way (unless you are Keats, but you are not) that you are an excellent writer in real world standards at the age of 22. I've seen SAT scores on resumes. I've seen kids who think they can do jobs that require highly specialized degrees just because they have intelligence and moxie. Smart kids, well educated kids, just doing what everybody has told them to do, just doing what worked in the past. There's just too big of a disconnect between college and the working world. It's not entirely their fault, and they have the power to destroy their financial lives FOREVER.

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    Replies
    1. I strongly disagree. Every college student knows how to do Internet research. There is no excuse for this kid to not have done any research. He is expecting the grownup to tell him the answers he needs. Or he may have just been looking to get his ego massaged.

      Don't forget that this kid is considered a sophisticated consumer by a judge. There is no reason to lessen the standard for a well educated student from a well- known college. The information is out there and the kid could have found it in less than a half hour of googling.

      Delete
  73. LOL "SAT scores on resumes" - now in the UK firms are asking for GCSE scores (an exam you sit at 16). Messed up and got a C on GCSE maths 10 years ago because you spent that summer discovering girls/drugs/booze? Tough luck kid.

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  74. It's best to cut both Law Prof and the student some slack here (in terms of writing style). If I were the student, I probably would have ended the e-mail exchange in the same way, because I would have worried that any other approach might upset or antagonize a potential future professor. Similarly, Law Prof gave some valuable push-back to the student, who probably only hears about how great law school is. The last paragraph in particular does a good job of summarizing the basic points for the student to consider about the choices the student faces.

    I do think that the statement "There is no such thing as “international” law" is a good example of Law Prof's hyperbolic style somewhat undermining his broader point. There is an interesting debate about whether there is such a thing as "international law," but at a minimum, there are legal practices that some would describe as "international law" practices in good faith. It probably would have been more effective to say something like: the field of international law is very small, and it is very unlikely that one could get a job practicing it. Law Prof's rhetorical style of making broad, sweeping, and thus somewhat inaccurate statements makes for more engaging reading. It also raises hackles and undermines the point to the extent that it is inaccurate.

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  75. Yes, there is more than enough information out there about law schools and the current situation. The Internet has made information available to anyone who is really serious about the process.

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  76. 6:25: There are well documented psychological processes that make people behave irrationally even in the face of even overwhelmingly contradictory information. Optimism bias, confirmation bias, attribution bias. You should take your own advice and do some research on cognitive biases. The "sophisticated consumer" has always been a bullshit cover-story designed by people in power to continue exploiting those without power.

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  77. On international law, most of the genuine practitioners I have met of international law arrived there very much by chance - a former associate that reported to me ended up arguing cases for the US at the WTO for example. Others deal with issues relating to tax treaties and diplomatic missions - which is mostly about not being double taxed. Civil rights lawyers like my aunt ended up arguing cases before the ECHR as a result of representing women in shelters.

    But arguing WTO and GATT rules cases is not what I suspect a starry eyed internationalist sees as international law. Most "international lawyers" are engaged in transnational or multinational commercial and corporate law, intellectual property - petrochemical projects, big loans, ICSID and ICC arbitration - and few of these are "international law" but rather are cases where the issues to be resolved cross borders - but almost all are domestic laws in an international context.

    I suspect that a very large proportion of law students went to law school with a vision of the law formed by LA Law, Ally McBeal, Law & Order, the Practice, etc., in which junior and inexperienced lawyers get laid a lot, dress really well and don't do vast amounts of legal research, pleadings, etc. It is all one big moment in the courtroom and a lot of Armani. I am not going to say that legal practice is drudgery, but most of the work is about marshalling facts and writing a lot. Legal drama's give an entirely different impression - one in which even a tough day is portrayed as one "all-nighter" not perhaps a week in the office with little sleep drafting pleadings for a §337 or some other motion due thursday. Nor do law students have any idea of the role that "collections" play in legal practice - or for that matter many junior associates (I can tell this whenever anyone of them write a posting denouncing the assumed profits their form makes form billing their time.)

    I really do think that, especially for aspiring law students who are not from legal families, a minimum of 6 months in a law firm scut-work job should be a prerequisite to being admitted to law school. It would stop kids saying stuff like:

    "I cannot say for certain what I'd like to do after I graduate, but I am interested in clerkship opportunities or possibly something in the field of environmental, Indian, or maybe international law [sports law, etc.] I am really approaching law school with an open mind, and I am open to any type of law that interests me in school."

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  78. Does one really expect a 21 or 22 year old kid to believe internet bloggers over his or her parents, professors, teachers, grandparents, and everybody else he has been told to trust his whole life?
    Thirty minutes of googling is really supposed to undo 20+ years of being told to trust print sources, respected older professional people, and venerable institutions?
    That's like expecting somebody who was raised as a Catholic, sent to Catholic school, who willingly decided to go to a Catholic University and go to church every Sunday to just up and one day decide to become a Buddhist based on 30 minutes of google searching. It's that level of cognitive dissonance.
    Unfortunately for these students, in the case of the law school scam, the internet bloggers are telling the truth.

    ReplyDelete
  79. Ivy: You're right, as is Bored3L about cognitive bias. The there is no such thing as international law comment was unnecessarily snarky and therefore unhelpful, although I think the rest of the message was at an appropriate level of pushback, given the context.

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  80. No, but I expect the kid to bother to do some research. This kid knows absolutely nothing about law, the practice of law, or what he wants to do with his life except "go to law school." This doesn't cut it anymore, if it ever did.

    There is no excuse for a kid to not realize that the law market is bad or that paying back $100,000 or more in loans is going to be a struggle. This isn't rocket science. In this economy, almost everyone is having a hard time. You think the kid might wonder, gee, how do people repay their loans? What kinds of jobs are really out there?

    I don't expect him to listen to Nando or scammers, but he should have found a couple of New York Times or Wall Street Journal articles. Even more glaring, he should have found lawprof's blog. If he had, he would have written an entirely different email.

    These kids are not going to get a break from anyone. They can no longer claim that no one knew how badly schools lied; they can no longer claim that jobs are easy to find.

    I don't think it is too much to expect even a semi-educated consumer to do research. Most people do a reasonable amount of research before they do things like buy a house or a car. This kid didn't even try to find out about the professor he was emailing. Nor did it seem that he found a site like TLS, which would have given him the same bottom line that LawProf did.

    I repeat, no one is going to cut these students slack anymore. They aren't going to get sympathy from the public when they can't find jobs or repay their loans. Even the people who can legitimately claim to be defrauded don't get much sympathy, these kids are on their own.

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  81. This applicant needs ties to northern Colorado? I'm sure they would be nice, but are they necessary? Most people in this area are transplants-- around half to the undergrad population and the majority of the law school is "out-of-state." Additionally, the whole point of law school is to make those "ties," not to learn to think like a lawyer. I have only been here for a year and have built lots of ties to the legal community. I made friends in law school who happened to have better legal ties than I did, I was quick to tell local firms that I would work for free, I collected business cards from people I met in coffee shops as well as during the networking events that CU Law organizes.

    The problem is not the degree-- the majority of practicing attorneys around this area went to CU Law. The problem is the student. If you should have never gone to law school in the first place and upon arriving at law school you realized that you didn't like the law and or didn't want to practice law, then no one is going to hire you. I sympathize with those people who have little opportunity from their B.A. in Political Science, but unless these people can develop a winning attitude and work ethic about law and the future practice of law, they shouldn't go to law school. This will only make their problems much worse.

    I'm not sure whether the letter writer should or should not go to law school, but I do believe that they should take the full-ride over Michigan and I do believe that "ties" to the area will not hold them back.

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    Replies
    1. Have you looked for jobs in Colorado? How many firms are hiring? How many SAsare there? How many of those are taken by top14 kids?

      These are genuine questions. Not trying to be a smartass.

      Delete
  82. Hahahahahahaha $80,000 a year for Northwestern. That is incredible. Made my day.

    ReplyDelete
  83. @ Ivy Wilson... uh, yes, I do. Where is the evidence that young adults only listen to their parents about things? And why assume that parents don't have access to the Internet or read the newspapers themselves? There is now more than enough information on the Internet, and in other media, about law schools to balance the story told on school websites and in brochures.

    Young people are all over the Net, finding obscure videos to send around, on Facebook-- doing all manner of things. To say that a person interested in law school in the past three year would not come upon a plethora of sources of complaint-- and not just on blogs-- about law schools is just not right. The narrative of the innocent bombarded by one singular coordinated message from law schools, parents, and grandparents may have been true in the past (though that notion is just conjecture or anecdote) it has not held true for, at least, four years now. Certainly the last three years have removed any credible claim of lack of opportunity to know about the problems with law school debt and the constriction of the job market. That will be even more true from this point on.

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  84. @ 8:24:

    "The problem is not the degree-- the majority of practicing attorneys around this area went to CU Law. The problem is the student. If you should have never gone to law school in the first place and upon arriving at law school you realized that you didn't like the law and or didn't want to practice law, then no one is going to hire you."

    No, the problem isn't the students. The problem is that there aren't any jobs. HTFH.

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  85. While we are on the topic of the young getting hosed by the system, here's a pretty epic article blaming Boomers for everything under the sun.

    I read it twice.

    http://www.esquire.com/features/young-people-in-the-recession-0412

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  86. "Where is the evidence that young adults only listen to their parents about things?"


    As a group, Generation Y are said to be much closer to their parents than their parents' generation, the Baby Boomers were. While 40% of Baby Boomers in 1974 claimed they would be "better off without their parents" according to one study, 90% of Generation Y'ers claimed to be "extremely close" to their parents in another study. Most also claim that the older generations had better morals.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Generation_Y

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  87. Yes, of course, that seals it. Parents want their kids binge drinking until they pass out, hooking up with folks they just met, and doing less work in college than any generation before them. That is all at their parents' direction.

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  88. This kid wasn't ignoring information. He didn't bother to try to find the information. The argument that a college kid can't google and shouldn't be expected to google is not going to gain any traction or sympathy.

    Choosing to ignore advice or warnings is a different matter.

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  89. I can't believe the number of comments centered on "International Law Gate." Prof. Campos was well within the bounds of civility on that one. The percentage of lawyers that make their living based on something vaguely described as "international law" must be infinitesimal. It's a ridiculously naive idea (even if the kid has a good faith belief such a thing exists) that (s)he could make a living off of it.

    The truth is hard to hear sometimes. But better this kid is disabused of this ridiculously romanticized idea of the law (international law, Indian law, etc.) before (s)he learns the hard way by effectively setting $200k on fire.

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  90. Keep up the posting Prof. Campos. Please.

    Hannibal Lecter: And what did you see, Clarice? What did you see?

    Clarice Starling: Lambs. The lambs were screaming.

    Hannibal Lecter: They were slaughtering the spring lambs?

    Clarice Starling: And they were screaming.

    Hannibal Lecter: And you ran away?

    Clarice Starling: No. First I tried to free them. I... I opened the gate to their pen, but they wouldn't run. They just stood there, confused. They wouldn't run.

    Hannibal Lecter: But you could and you did, didn't you?

    Clarice Starling: Yes. I took one lamb, and I ran away as fast as I could.

    Hannibal Lecter: Where were you going, Clarice?

    Clarice Starling: I don't know. I didn't have any food, any water and it was very cold, very cold. I thought, I thought if I could save just one, but... he was so heavy. So heavy. I didn't get more than a few miles when the sheriff's car picked me up. The rancher was so angry he sent me to live at the Lutheran orphanage in Bozeman. I never saw the ranch again.

    Hannibal Lecter: What became of your lamb, Clarice?

    Clarice Starling: They killed him.

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  91. So hang on a second. I'm a licensed attorney in the state of Georgia. Therefore, am I too a "sophisticated consumer"? One would think that I am more sophisticated than just an average college graduate, right? Right?

    So, if I purchase an Audi R8, and it turns out to be a lemon, and the dealer made statements that were intentionally misleading, am I not allowed to recover?

    Are car dealerships allowed to commit fraud against "sophisticated consumers"?

    I did my research on this vehicle and it is fucking awesome. But what if this specific vehicle is just a lemon? What if one of the parts is defective and Audi/Dealership says that the part is great 85% of the time*

    (Only those consumers who rated their vehicle buy an A+ are counted in the above survey)

    Does anyone find the Judge's decision troubling?

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    Replies
    1. Yes I find it troubling. I think that students should be prepared for a lack of sympathy, as incorrect as that might seem.

      But how many years of activism did it take to create those lemon laws? They didn't happen overnight.

      Also I don't think individuals can be assumed to know about the mechanics of a car. But the problems with law school only require an ability to read and think.

      Delete
  92. 8:43, you are wrong and Ivy Wilson is right about the extent to which college students are propagandized about the virtues of law school. I know it's hard to understand if you are older and/or removed from the emailer's situation, but many, many college students today are graduating into the reality that there ARE NO JOBS for bachelor's degree holders. The reality that there are no jobs for lawyers either is far less immediate to them than the panic of working retail or fast food, if they can get a job at all.

    I know because this is exactly what happened to me two years ago. I graduated summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa, and there STILL would have been nothing for me to do with my poli sci degree. Everyone, and I mean EVERYONE, told me that law school was a great idea and was super proud of me. I was told to go to the best possible school and not to worry about the price tag. You have to understand that the bad advice is absolutely ubiquitous - kids are being bombarded from college counselors, parents, friends. It is easy to harmonize the bad general job stats with the good job stats touted by the top law schools - obviously, the students think that it is only the bottom half of schools that are doing badly, even though this is not true. The law schools purposefully deceive people so that they think this, and it works. This is exactly what I thought coming into law school. Now I know better and it is too late.

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  93. I applaud LawProf's advice but also question how effective it will be to someone that has done almost no research on how bad the market for new, unconnected, law grads are, especially from lower ranked schools.

    In order to appreciate the advice, you have to first be "somewhat" open to it in the first place.

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  94. @12:00-- I acknowledged that people in the lives of students and law schools themselves tell students to go to law school. I just questioned the assumption that students always do what their parents tell them to do. They do not, unless for whatever reason they want to. There are plenty of things they don't listen to their parents about.
    What is different about today--and the past four years-- is that there has been, on the medium that students are on for hours at a time every day, an alternative message about law school. Students before this, just even 5 years ago, did not have access to these arguments and views. But even were I to grant you that lots of students just missed all of this talk, going forward there will be no excuse for not knowing that deciding to attend law school at today's prices is no light matter. In fact, the numbers suggest that many people are getting the message. In this recession, they did not flock to law school solely as a refuge to ride out the bad economy, which was never a reason to go to law school even when it was cheaper.

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  95. Alright, so h ere is my deal.

    I am currently an 0L. I graduated from an unimpressive undergraduate institution in PA with a degree in history. I tried to get a job for the last year (admittedly, not nearly as hard as I should have) and was unsuccessful. I am planning to take a full ride scholarship to St. john's in Queens, NY. What do you all think of this? I am very interested in working in the public sector for a nonprofit or something similar. I had a very difficult time finding any sort of employment last year with just my BA. Do you think that law school is a bad decision for me, even with the full ride? Do any of you have any opinions about this law school?

    Thanks, and you can all call me a lemming; I know that that is what I am.

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  96. I know earlier commentators have brought up the role of parents in the decision-making process frequently in this discussion ( as well as other sources of advice).

    I am an individual who got into a T14 and chose not to attend. That said, my parents, even after I have inundated them with huge amounts of information highlighting the risks of law school (pointing them to numerous blogs, and presenting them with excel spreadsheets regarding cost projections, future ability to pay off debt, lack of jobs, and cost-benefit analyses of law school) still want me to go to law school (or wish I had as it stands at this point). Both are working professionals (though neither are lawyers) and one is an Ivy league grad. I'm not sure what other credentials you might need to be a more "sophisticated consumer" than they are, yet still the powerful image of the legal profession and the "prestige" associated with it, seems to continue to cloud their ability to rationally interpret all the data which I've presented to them.

    That said, they respect my decision, treat me as an adult, and don't really pester me about it. I can't imagine how much pressure some students are under from parents who are overly engaged (though perhaps in all the wrong ways) in that student's young-adult life. I know a lot of young adults are under tremendous pressure from parents to meet expectations; furthermore, by their early 20s, these expectations have become engrained elements of an individual's own social identities and sense of self-worth. It is very difficult for young people to step away from that mentality. In many ways, it requires making a critical acknowledgement that authority figures, mentors, and people who love and care about you might have been giving you the wrong advice (not necessarily intentionally) all along.

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  97. So you went to law school because you couldn't find any other job? I'm curious, how much independent research did you do? Did you have any idea what the practice of law was about?

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    Replies
    1. Ack! I meant this to reply to theperson who went to law school two years ago. A couple of post above this one.

      Delete
  98. Some people are, and will always remain impervious to evidence and information. There is nothing that we will ever be able to do about that. The most that can be done is to make sure the information is available.
    As to the information schools provide, however, over on Balkinization Brian Tamanaha is saying that transparency will inevitably fail. The better answer is to require schools to report just one thing: the percentage of students who have JD required jobs. All other reported statistics, he says, will lead to gaming on the part of law schools and mislead students.

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  99. Joining the Army on a whim would actually be a much less destructive life decision for most young people than going to law school. The odds of getting killed in the modern Army are only trivially higher than in civilian life for the same age/demographic. You'll get 3 squares a day, free room and board, pay, and at the end of 3-4 years the gov't will pay you to go to college or grad school. Then, when you finish you're schooling, you'll have Veteran's preference when you apply for all those socially significant gov't jobs you've always dreamed of. I'd tell a kid to take that oveer law school any day.

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  100. how about just going back to undergrad and reacquiring professional training in a more practical field? It is a realistic alternative for almost any former graduate of an accredited school, will cost far less than law school, depending on the area of study can take as little as 2 years, and will often lead to far better employment prospects than a legal education.

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  101. @12:43 - The most important question for you is still about debt. Even with the free ride, will you need to take out loans to cover your cost of living for 3 years? That could still be a big chunk of money. Also, is the scholarship contingent on you keeping a certain GPA? It can be very difficult (psychologically) to drop out after you've lost a scholarship.

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  102. If you are lucky, the closest you will get to practicing "international" law is when you file a Dept. of Labor complaint on behalf of an illegal Mexican day laborer who also complains of OSHA violations when his boss "forces" him to work with chemicals and pesticides without the proper protective gear. These fantasies about putting away Idi Amin type dictators away before the Hague are nothing but mindfucking descriptions of international law that law school deans drum up during orientation. And I don't care what other commmenters say, yes you have to be a fucking idiot to fall for this shit.

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  103. I have to stay I'm still laughing at the "there's no such thing as 'International Law' " comment. Nice one, LawProf! Here's why I think that's so funny, and so true:

    Back when I was at LawProf's school, CU (more than a decade ago), a good friend of mine throughout law school was interested in "International Law." He spoke a foreign language fairly well; actually had a significant contact, by which I mean a high-level official in a foreign country was a family friend; and worked in this foreign country doing law-related work.

    Fast forward to now: he's doing the same boring attorney asswork that the rest of us are doing, and it has absolutely jack shit to do with "International Law." If he could have "broken into" "International Law," he would have.

    Oh, law school. What Kool-Aid drinkers we all were. . .

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  104. @12:43 --

    I'm finishing law school in about a month, also at a Tier 2 school in the NYC metro area, also on a full ride. I would absolutely do it again. While this last year has sucked, on the whole it's been interesting, challenging, and even occasionally fun.

    ***BUT***

    My full ride only required a 3.0 GPA, which was trivially easy at my school. THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT THING. Make sure you not only have have, but will be able to KEEP your scholarship. Stories abound where kids had to either take out loans or drop out when their scholarship was yanked.

    I also had no problem breaking the rules about limits on working, and was able to comfortably support both myself and my girlfriend (while she was out of work) by doing my job for 25-35 hrs/wk. Mind you, this was a job I had before I started law school and that paid $50-100/hr. You've got to seriously consider whether you'll be willing to work at least 10-15ish hrs/wk (wait tables, tend bar, anything) to help mitigate the need for loans.

    All in all, if you're able to spend three years there and keep your loans under 20k or so, then I'd say absolutely go for it. It's challenging, it can be interesting, and even if you never even sit for the bar, you'll make a lot of friends who become lawyers so you'll know who to call when you get in trouble.

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  105. If you were making $50 - $100 an hour pre-LS, why in God's name would you bother going in the first place?

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  106. ⇈⇈⇈⇈⇈⇈

    Agreed.

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  107. He already explained it. It's not consistent throughout the year.

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  108. Lawprof,
    When these prospective students contact you, are they even aware of your blog or your place in exposing this scam?

    Also, how are you perceived among students at CU Law?

    You are a hero to most of us out on the real world. But I wonder how your message plays at CU with the current students and faculty.

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  109. I attended a lecture this year at CU Law where there was a slight joke about Lawprof's efforts. I was the only one in the room of dozens not to laugh.

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  110. What was the joke?

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  111. I know on TLS some posters claiming to be CU students have said negative things. One person claimed campos was only doing this for attention. Stuff like that.

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  112. One person claimed campos was only doing this for attention. Stuff like that.

    Implicitly putting him in the same category as, say, Jenny McCarthy attention-whoring the anti-vaccination movement.

    Shameful.

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    Replies
    1. Shameful? Jenny McCarthy's young son has Autism, which has been positively like with vaccination use in early childhood. She is merely a concerned parent using her popularity to advocate for a meaningful cause. Get your priorities straight and educate yourself, please.

      Delete
  113. Campos is a good egg.

    He is only one man, and put himself out there.

    I wonder if any woman law school professors would dare to do the same.

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  114. I'm the person who went to law school 2 years ago. I wasn't sure I wanted to be a lawyer necessarily, but I had never heard of "scam blogs" and was told the old canard that a JD is versatile. I go to a T14 and I think after all the work you do to get in there and how competitive it is, it gives the illusion that you are competing for something worthwhile. Otherwise, why would everyone be doing it? I was one of the most successful graduates of my undergrad class (literally, the school bragged about me on its website) and I know that everyone just thought it was the most wonderful thing that I was going to such a good law school.

    Now, I may end up just fine. My school has LRAP and I don't have nearly such large loans as a lot of people, and I also don't have that high of expectations - just something that will pay the bills. As 12:49 said though, I think it cannot be overestimated how ingrained the idea of a "professional future" is in our young people, from the time we are little kids. It is hard for our parents to understand how fast the economy is changing and that we won't be as well off as they are.

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  115. Thanks for explaining your thought process. (and thanks to 12:49 too.) From my perspective it seems that a pre-law student would google everything they could about law school. I hope the publicity gets out to students and their parents.

    Someone else told me that they knew how bad the job market was but they didn't really appreciate it until 2L OCI. During that time period, they finally understood that they were one interview away from being completely unemployed and drowning in debt.

    HE said the same thing - the hard work and process to get into schools made it seem that just getting in and attending was a huge accomplishment. He didn't look beyond the point of being accepted.

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  116. Yeah, you're exactly right 6:11. It's not until we actually have to get a job that it suddenly hits how difficult it is. And most of us have truly spent our lives in a bubble, where we were told that as long as we were academically successful, we would be fine. This might have been true at one time but it's not true anymore. The challenge for my generation is overcoming the infighting for the scraps of "creative destructionism" in order to collectively fight for the right to make a living.

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  117. You're alol gay

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  118. 12:43: What are the stipulations on your full scholarship to St. Johns? They will probably be something like top 1/3. Then you need to do a lot of digging and find out whether they "section-stack." This odious practice involves secretly sticking all the scholarship kids into a single section so some are curved out lose their scholarships. I would not attend any school that pulls such an underhanded move.

    Even if you want to go, be prepared to drop out after 1L year if you do not maintain the scholarship. Consider it even if you do retain. You will need significantly higher grades than just top 1/3 to get a good paying job. If you drop out after 1L you have a plausible story for employers and the JD is less of a drag on your resume.

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  119. LawProf,

    Posting this students correspondence regardless of the redactions is a violation of trust. The student had every right to expect that you would treat this in a professional manner. They were clear that they obtained your contact information from the schools website and that they were writing to you in your capacity as a representative of the school. The fact that you decided to use it for your self-serving diatribe is a tribute to your character not theirs.

    I read every comment. The musings of a group consisting mostly of lawyers and law students who despise the practice of law, led by a law professor. You can’t make this stuff up. It seems that your followers believe it would have been better if this student had simply googled the questions as opposed to asking you, an experienced law professor. This may be the one thing I agree with them on.

    After reading the email exchanges I was left wondering a few things.

    Does this person have ties in the area?

    Does every law student know what kind of law they will practice and where before entering school. Did you?

    Is this person registered with a tribal nation?

    Have they worked in or been exposed to the legal field?

    Is contacting you just one piece of a vast amount of research that they are conducting before making an informed decision?

    Would 200K in loans be a burden for them? There was no mention of their financial status since their scholarship is merit based.

    Because of the condescending tone of your email these are questions that were never answered. You may believe this person to be an idiot but it is clear that they were clever enough to recognize a manipulative zealot and to dismiss them accordingly. They did this with a degree of professionalism not deserved.

    I am certain you believe that your intentions are pure, that your means are justified by the end,and that you are saving these young students from the lies being perpetrated by these institutions. It seems that calling someone an ignoramus for not doing substantive research and then demoralizing them without even a basic understanding of the facts seems a bit self serving to me.

    I am left to wonder why you are a teacher. It may be time to ask yourself the same question.

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  120. @10.15 - Get a grip. Lawprof gave him/her the straight goods, and the redactions make this privacy-safe.

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  121. You may have read the comments but you didn't understand them. This kid had done no research. And, no, I don't think that he should assume he can just waste lawprof's time without doing research on his own.

    And, you are missing the whole point that the kid didn't bother to answer lawprof's questions. I guarantee you this kid doesn't have a tribal affiliation. I guarantee you this kid has no idea about the practice of law. But worse, I guarantee you that this kid has no clue about the difficulty of the job market and the likelihood of reaching any of his goals.

    Maybe lawprof's answers will convince him to do more research.

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  122. btw - the correlation of autism with vaccination has not been proven.

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  123. @10:15

    Why do you assume that all commentators despise the practice of law? Law has been wonderful to me but i graduated in 1983. I borrowed a total of $24,000. My loan payments were a few hundred dollars a month - $233.05. Even on a 1983 salary in a firm in New York, that was easy to pay. Law has allowed me to go from a small rural town in Ohio to Manhattan, send my kids to private school and own a weekend house upstate.

    I don't think that today's law students will benefit from law the way that I have. I don't think that it is reasonable to go six figures in debt for law school. I don't think that schools should lie about employment numbers.

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  124. @Kevin

    Another point is that no one is going to give these students the benefit of the doubt when they start complaining about not being able to find jobs or repay their loans. It may not seem fair because they've been living in some bubble, but that is a problem they are facing.

    Moreover they can't complain that they didn't know the job market was terrible. The poster above says he went to law school because he couldn't find any other job. Do you think that might have been a clue to give law hiring a closer look? The job market for everyone is difficult, why would law be any different?

    How much independent research did you do before you made a big purchase like buying a car? Most people don't just rely on what their friends and parents say they should do, they do some of their own research.

    College students need to wake up. That is a purpose of this blog, to help give that wake up call.

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  125. @Kevin-- We do not know that Law Prof did not get the person's permission. I agree it would be a problem if he did not. But we do not know.

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  126. @Kevin April 3, 2012 10:15 PM:

    I could not have said it better myself. This was an embarrassment of a post. LawProf, you should have "Retired" like you claimed you were going to and only popped your head back out if there was something thoughtful to say. You (LawProf) have truly let the "ScamBlog" mentality drag you right down into the gutter along with the rest of the loudmouth abusers.

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  127. I graduated in 2000 and am extremly grateful to Prof Campos for doing this blog. My career has been a "bell curve" after graduating from a top 100 school, major market. Started at $36k at insurance defense firm (desperate for a job 9 months out) at 2000 billables, 4 years later rose to $100k and at least had "some" of what I had hoped for, and greatly fell to almost nothing 2009-2010.

    I have shared this blog with my non-lawyer family even though they are still proud of me- because of the humiliation I feel from financially failing with the economy.

    You detractors are uncouth. And worthless. I learned from my former boss- who graduated from U of M and was capital partner for years at major market biglaw firm, that the bilities I have are true. I was lucky then (at 100k(. But I see, again 12 years later, that the "value" of my degree in the marketplace is NOTHING when I again looked for a job recently. I have proven I have excellent legal and client skills. But because my law school is not top 15 or 25 or whatever no established large firm will even interview me. Blogs like this make me realize it really isn't my fault.

    I share this blog with all prospective law students I meet.

    Thank you Prof.

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  128. I can only assume Campos did not get this persons permission to use this email. Why would anyone want to be subjected to this bullying?

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  129. Why is it a problem if he didn't? There is no expectation of privacy in an email. He redacted the information. No one is trying to find out who this person was, the important thing is his attitude and lack of information.

    I have found the discussion to be valuable. I did not realize the bubble of disinformation that still exists in colleges regarding law. The truth is getting out as the numbers of applicants dropped drastically, but not everyone is getting the message.

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  130. So, should no one go to law school, any other graduate school, or better yet no college at all? What I get out of this is don't waste your money and go to college because you won't get a job after. Is this what we should be telling kids in high school? Better yet, why even go to high school, since an education is not going to get you anywhere, according to some people. Isnt this the exact opposite we are trying to teach our kids? I thought education was number one.

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  131. That last comment is correct...the only reason to attend college is to get a piece of paper. You don't actually learn anything for your job, its just one of many unnecessary things that applicants need to have on their resumes nowadays.
    In today's world, it doesn't matter what kind of person/employee you are, all that matters is that you had a 4.0, have 9000 bs things on your resume that you probably didn't even do, or simply know the owner of the company. There is no accountability in the world today, and for all the claims that this country is a meritocracy...it most certainly is not. This has led to the hiring of people without any talent and with no real eye for talent in positions of power thus creating a self-fulfilling cycle of unqualified people hiring unqualified people.

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