Friday, August 24, 2012

JD not needed

Why are there so few jobs for new lawyers, when our country has so many laws? Legal educators seem perplexed by this.  Some of them periodically assert that the legal job market will recover, simply because it must:  With so many laws, how can businesses get by without lawyers to advise them?

It turns out that businesses are doing quite nicely without armies of lawyers. While law schools have been raising tuition and fighting for US News fame, the rest of the country has moved on. Businesses still need some lawyers, but they don't need nearly as many as law schools hope.

Companies have discovered that college-educated workers can read and apply legal regulations without first earning a law degree. With on-the-job training, supportive software, and a few lawyers at the helm, BAs can also interview people and draft legal documents. Those BA workers can even conduct legal research and advise their companies on relevant legal changes.

This isn't the unauthorized practice of law: The BAs aren't appearing in court, nor are they charging third parties for legal advice. These workers are helping their own employers understand and apply the law. That's perfectly legit, and it has created a rapidly expanding category of workers who perform legal tasks without a JD.

To see the scope of this trend, consider these recent job postings.  I pulled these yesterday from dozens of similar listings--all in response to a single google search:

1.  The Nestle Company is looking for a legal specialist. Responsibilities include analyzing, drafting, and coordinating the processing of agreements related to real estate transactions, including preparing and filing a variety of documents such as deeds, mortgages, and memoranda of leases; coordinating due diligence, preparing and coordinating the preparation of short term leases, estoppel certificates, and subordination agreements; analyzing, drafting and coordinating the completion of other commercial agreements, including marketing services agreements, distribution agreements and other agreements with retailers an suppliers; acting as initial contact with clients on matters; conducting legal and/or business research; and responding to legal inquiries.

Sounds like an amazing job for a new JD, doesn't it? Practical experience creating real estate documents and commercial contracts, contact with clients, legal research, and responding to inquiries about the law. Not to mention the possibility of free chocolate. 

Except Nestle is looking for a paralegal with 5-7 years experience in a corporate legal department or law firm. They prefer an undergraduate degree, and strongly prefer national accreditation as a Certified Paralegal Specialist, but make no mention of a law degree. Nor could a recent law graduate qualify for this job--unless he had spent most of college and law school working as a paralegal.

2.  How about a job as a Compliance Consultant for UnitedHealth group? The person holding this job is "responsible for monitoring changes with laws and regulations to ensure compliance with State and Federal guidelines." The consultant will conduct state-specific legal research; participate in the development of business strategy; establish standard policies, procedures and best practices across the company to promote compliance with applicable laws and contractual obligations; and then implement those policies and procedures. Surely all of that requires a JD.

UnitedHealth doesn't think so. They're requiring an undergraduate degree or "equivalent work experience." They also want five or more years experience working in government or healthcare with experience in compliance; two or more years experience with regulatory filings; and two or more years experience performing data analysis and Market Conduct Exams (bet you didn't learn about those in law school). Even more intriguing, this is a telecommuting job advertised as especially attractive for retirees.

3.  What about this one: BP needs a Coordinator of Intellectual Property at its Naperville, Illinois complex. The Coordinator will manage the IP portfolio, advise on all IP related issues, develop IP strategies, help negotiate consulting, confidentiality, services and collaboration agreements, coordinate IP training of staff, and so on.  

Once again, BP doesn't think a JD is necessary for this job. Instead, the company is particularly interested in hiring "project analysts or project managers." For educational background, BP wants only a "bachelor's degree in a technical or business discipline."

4. Finally, the Kiewit Company (a major construction and engineering firm) is looking for a District Compliance Manager. This job requires a “working knowledge of all applicable local, state and federal compliance regulations; to include, but not limited to, Antitrust/Competition, Foreign Corrupt Practices, Small Business/Disadvantaged Business Enterprises, Transportation, Contract Payments and Claims, Safety, Environmental, and all Employment regulations.”

Few JDs would claim a working of knowledge of that many specialized practice areas. That's fine with Kiewit, because they're not looking for a JD. Instead, they're seeking someone with "a baccalaureate degree in a construction-related field or equivalent experience and education and a minimum of 3-8 year’s experience in the compliance field.” You also have to be able to lift and carry heavy items weighing approximately 20 pounds.
*   *   *
Nestle, UnitedHealth, BP, and Kiewit still employ lawyers; so do other businesses. But these businesses do not need nearly as many lawyers as our heavily regulated economy suggests. I draw three lessons from job postings like the ones listed here.

First, law schools need to learn much more about the job market for legal services--including the many ways in which nonlawyers perform those services. Rather than dismiss declining job outcomes as a symptom of the recession or the low point in a cycle, law schools need to explore the profound changes sweeping our economy. Computers, off-shoring, out-sourcing, unbundling, and the assignment of legal tasks to nonlawyers: these are real forces, not figments of a few fertile imaginations.

Second, law schools need to rethink the type and cost of the education they offer. We have been producing the same product for at least thirty years. We've updated the look and improved a few features, but legal education in 2012 is not very different from legal education in 1982--except that it costs much, much more. The jobs described above tell us that many consumers are no longer interested in our product: They have found cheaper, better ways to obtain legal services. We can continue to ignore that part of our market, producing only the type of legal service providers we want to produce, but consumers are going to continue falling away.

Finally, these jobs cast doubt on the easy assertions many deans and faculty make about "alternative careers." I found these jobs because I was researching some of those careers. When companies advertise for compliance officers, contract managers, and IP managers, do they show any preference for JDs? I hope there are some who do, but I did not find evidence of that in the postings I read.  Instead, all of the postings I saw resembled the ones above: The employers wanted very specific workplace experience handling legal documents, rules, and issues of interest to them. I have no sense that any of the above employers would pick up a resume from a recent law graduate and say "What was I thinking? We need a real lawyer in here. This one doesn't have any practical experience but she's from a top tier school and competed in moot court. I'm sure she'll learn all the other stuff on the job."


  1. I think another reason why companies don't have as many lawyers as the volume of regulations would seem to demand, is that companies simply don't bother to comply with the regs until they either get sued, or some other disaster happens.

    Companies know that most of the regs are so obscure and inconsequential that no one's going to bother to take them to court over violations. If they do get sued, they will just say there were minor paperwork issues, or they will whine that the regs are way too complicated and they can't possibly hire enough people to understand them all. I've seen this happen a lot with banks and other financial institutions.

    It's why I always laugh when I hear people say, after any financial or other type of disaster, that more regulation is needed. We already have enough regs to occupy 3 times the number of lawyers in this country, if they were actually taken seriously.

  2. "When companies advertise for compliance officers, contract managers, and IP managers, do they show any preference for JDs? I hope there are some who do, but I did not find evidence of that in the postings I read. Instead, all of the postings I saw resembled the ones above: The employers wanted very specific workplace experience handling legal documents, rules, and issues of interest to them. I have no sense that any of the above employers would pick up a resume from a recent law graduate and say 'What was I thinking? We need a real lawyer in here. This one doesn't have any practical experience but she's from a top tier school and competed in moot court. I'm sure she'll learn all the other stuff on the job.' "

    DJM, (another) outstanding post. Thank you so much. This is exactly what unemployed JDs are facing in the job market right now. Sure, with some training, we could do these jobs--but the companies want -specific experience-, which we don't have. Also, of course, the people with the specific experience, usually non-JDs, don't have six figures of non-dischargable student loan debt.

    This post should be required reading for every single law school dean, professor and CSO employee in the entire country.


    "The jobs described above tell us that many consumers are no longer interested in our product."

    Keep up the great work, DJM.

  3. a bit too anecdotal

  4. The truth is most schools don't care how many of their law students find jobs. They only care a little about it, and that is because it has some small effect on their ranking. Schools are glad to lower admissions standards and raise tuition as long as it brings in the same amount of revenue.

  5. The jobs described above tell us that many consumers are no longer interested in our product[.]

    IMO the problem is that the consumers of legal education are still interested in your product. It's the consumers of your students' product who are no longer interested. That disconnect is what needs to be fixed.

  6. DJM,

    Just wanted to say that I am really starting to enjoy your posts. You write very precisely, clearly and sometimes, scathingly. You truly are on asset to legal educational reform.

  7. Good Post, DJM, but telling us doesn't do a whole lot of good.

    You and Paul, and as many colleagues and you can muster up, need to take this kind of info to those who can actually do something about it.

    We are, by and large, just a bunch of relatively unpowerful losers who can just sit here, read and nod our heads in agreement. That's where it ends for us.

  8. DJM,

    To give a simple proof for your point, ask any attorney how long it took them to do their first legal research memo. The answer will be only A FEW DOZEN HOURS OF TRAINING! Your first LRW memo was due within a few weeks of starting 1L, and if you look back on it, it was likely well researched and well written.

  9. Gosh, I sure hope someone pays attention to this post.

    Another thing to add to this is that even the legal jobs that want a JD/bar passage require 3-5 years of experience. So what's a new grad to do? Just sit on the road and die until he or she gets that experience? Oh wait, I forgot, he or she is supposed to do endless unpaid internships for years on end (while still making those $1500 a month loan payments) before he or she has the priviledge of working.

    A whole generation of grads will not be able to go on into the legal workforce simply because they lacked years of experience upon graduating.

    By the way, with regards to this quote:
    "Rather than dismiss declining job outcomes as a symptom of the recession or the low point in a cycle, law schools need to explore the profound changes sweeping our economy. Computers, off-shoring, out-sourcing, unbundling, and the assignment of legal tasks to nonlawyers: these are real forces, not figments of a few fertile imaginations."

    According to Pres Don LeDuc of Cooley fame, who was recently quoted in a recent article stating pretty much that a law school had not much of an obligation to its grads beyond providing them with an education, all the above is not the law school's job, which is probably why Cooley applications are dropping at an alarming rate (for Cooley.)

  10. "Your first LRW memo was due within a few weeks of starting 1L, and if you look back on it, it was likely well researched and well written."

    Judging from the writing samples I see as an interviewer (and these are good students from T50 schools), most LRW memos are badly written and badly researched (assuming the assignment required any research at all). But I agree with your underlying point. Law schools could teach most students to write and research capably before the end of their first year if the schools placed any real weight on that.

  11. During the era, which dates me I know, I had a job that had the title: Compliance Manager, Legal Dept.

    It was my job to register the company with all of the state Insurance Dept's that the Company did business in, part of said registration required getting a surety bond worth 100K.

    I also handled consumer complaints, and read many a 4,5, or 6 page single spaced type- written letter from a consumer that had an auto repair claim denied and who were furious.

    The company sold and administered motor vehicle extended warranties.

    I was in frequent contact with the older Chairman of the Co. who had a Yale Law Degree, and I liked to think that I was able to make him laugh once in a while.

    At the time there was a "Model Act" by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) that the states were adopting one by one so as to regulate the motor vehicle extended warranty business which had a history, since the 1970's or so, of pulling up stakes and vanishing overnight and leaving the purchasers of the extended warranty with no recourse.

    The oft repeated line was: "We are not selling insurance, we sell service contracts."

    Most lawyers that I dealt with were baffled by the industry, which worked in conjunction with the used car business mostly.

    One Attorney that contacted me on behalf of a consumer and personal friend of his from Missouri that had a denied claim was a partner in Rush Limbaugh's father's old firm.

    The attorney was older, and told me in so many words and in a smooth southern accent:

    "Now we are just gonna take care of this thing here now aren't we?"

    And knowing of his law firm I replied:

    "Yes Sir!"

    And I did. I settled the claim.

  12. DJM,

    This was an outstanding post, and in my opinion, the most important post that you have ever written.

    Of all the numerous reasons that I convey to non-lawyers about why the opportunity to make a living as an attorney is decreasing, I overlooked the important examples stated in your post as another reason why lawyers are having a difficult time to make a living or find a job that requires use of their JD, law license and skills and experience as an attorney.

    The job postings that you site are absolutely taking work from attorneys. What is the point of going to law school and passing the bar exam if non-attorneys can do legal work on behalf of their employers (in their capacity as employees of businesses)?

    Although the posts by you and Law Prof in this blog are very important (and I urge both of you to continue to post important entries related to the plight of law graduates and experienced attorneys who are struggling in our changing legal marketplace), it is important to note, that both of you, for the most part, are preaching to the converted (i.e., the readers of this blog who believe the truth of what both of you write about).

    I agree with the comment in the second paragraph in the entry by 1:30 PM, that you and Law Prof should communicate the important information that both of you write about to those who can do something about it. I don't know how that can be done, but the impact of your post today was very powerful.

    The deans of every law school, the presidents of every university that has a law school and the presidents of every national, state and local bar association (that are concerned about the plight of their respective members and the future of the legal profession) should read your latest entry. Perhaps, then, something can start to be done about the plight of attorneys in this country.

  13. Re: Student Loan Debt and how it is a deterrent to marriage:

  14. Here is another good one about Student Loan Debt:

    1. I don't see anything on there about private student loans there, so fuck him.

    2. This is just a big campaign promo about Income Based Repayment. Generates the numbers [how much you'd owe if you qualified for the program, based on your income & debt level] but little more than cheering for how great this is.

      There's no "expose" -- or even analysis -- on student loan debt.

      Oh, and the Kansas City article is just shallow fluff.

  15. My story is instructive. I am a licensed attorney but for over four years I have worked as a human resources specialist for the federal government in employee relations. This field is perfect for someone with a law degree since it largely involves drafting disciplinary charges by applying law to facts.

    The kicker is that I got into this field after receiving a master's degree in Organizational Development and applying for the Federal Career Intern Program which has since been disbanded.

    Employee Relations is listed as mission critical by OPM since there is a huge amount of retirements throughout the federal government. I would look into this seriously.

  16. Heartbreaking as it is, Lance Armstrong has been stripped of his seven Tour De France Titles:,0,732407.story

    We are living in an age of scammers, and, in time, all scams and no matter how elaborate or how trusted the institutions promulgating the scams, such as the law school institutional scam, will be shown for what they are.

    I wish it were not so and I still want to believe that most law school academics will stand up to their equivalent of the Hippocratic Oath and do the right thing and at the very least speak up against the current day horrors of the American Student Lending System.

  17. DJM: Are you familiar with the robosigning and foreclosure fraud scandals now devastating your state (and many others)? In many situations, the banks involved did exactly what's going on in the job listings described above--they gave what actually is an intellectually complex and difficult task to someone who lacked the legal acumen to properly complete it.

    The result, beyond the $25 billion foereclosure fraud settlement, is a broken system of property recordation and securitization. (Google "eminent domain for foreclosures" to see more details on possible, but improbable, solutions.)

    Your rhetoric above presumes anonymous market forces are just sweeping lawyers out of these firms. That's not right. It's very wealthy executives grabbing quick gains as cheaply as possible, because they know they won't be held accountable. At my law school, we train people to do compliance jobs well and to take on the professional responsibility to realize, and report, when they're being done poorly.

    1. That's because the entire housing bubble was essentially based on fraud.

      They didn't actually care about the law.

      See "liar loans" for details.

    2. I love this comment because it so accurately demonstrates one way in which there are actual individuals - actual human beings with names - to blame.

      The fact is that the dynamic in America at the moment is that the almost Christian-like virtue in personal, capitalist greed and in the belief that there is personal morality in paying your lenders (however abusive they are and however deceitful they were to begin with) is much stronger than the prevailing interest in actually finding out what the problem so that workable solutions can be decided.

      Maybe it's the fact that we don't want to look at the problems because they're so systemic and so awful that it will destroy the myth we've built for ourselves about this country for well-on 60 years now. We'd much prefer to wave some kind religious morality at the problem, be it mortgages, how many of our neighbors die every year because they can't afford to see a doctor, global warming, etc. The list goes on and on.

      In this case, it's much easier for the lenders to say, as they did in an article a couple of days ago, that "We made a contract with our borrowers. That's how banking works. Bankruptcy protection should not be restored for student loans." Never you mind the fact that some people made a deal with private lenders before 2005 and then the contract got re-written by Congress. That wasn't "just how banking works" then.

      On a grand scale, this is not about American exceptionalism. It's about American denialism. It doesn't matter what the issue is. In our case, people outright lied and legislators were corrupt in acting on behalf of lobby interests. We don't want to know how corrupt the law school structure is, and we don't want to know how thoroughly captured our government is, so we just make the rules up as we go along, even if it flies in the face of what used actually to be a fact. Now the sky is purple, Jesus was American and he was a banker.

    3. "In this case, it's much easier for the lenders to say, as they did in an article a couple of days ago, that "We made a contract with our borrowers. That's how banking works. Bankruptcy protection should not be restored for student loans." Never you mind the fact that some people made a deal with private lenders before 2005 and then the contract got re-written by Congress."

      There are distinct rules with respect to credit origination.

      When you create massive amounts of credit that shouldn't exist, then you run into problems, such as the problems you are running into in both the mortgage markets and the student loan markets.

      The bankers broke these rules when they should have known better. The bankers *continue* to break these rules when they issue student loans.

      The *problem* is that we've so completely debased and deformed the credit system that we're all asking for a world of hurt.

      This is obvious.

      It's always obvious.

      Their "we made a contract argument" is bogus because the credit was originated from thin air and has no business existing.

      The entire student loan fiasco is tied into the fact that we have baked so many distortions into the cake that the most likely outcome at this point is mass inflation, which is going to be a chaotic wreck.

      Because we, collectively, are idiots.

    4. Unfortunately, the robo-signing scandal involved plenty of lawyers. But I definitely agree that executive greed fed the abuses.

    5. Not to mention the fact that restoring consumer and bankruptcy protection for private student loans would be no more a violation of the terms of some kind of moral "contract" than the removal of such protections in 2005 for pre-2005 originations.

      Point being: It doesn't matter how wrong a point of view is on the facts anymore. Obviously, Congress could choose to re-re-write pre-2005 originations (and re-write 2005 originations) by restoring bankruptcy protection no matter how solemn and sacred anyone's vow with a lender. But despite how right that position is, it's never going to win the day as long as this quasi-religious belief in "honoring" one's debts is so much more appealing for whatever socio-religious/political reason.

  18. Oh, and by the way, here is a direct example of the "no JD required" exacerbating foreclosure fraud:

  19. What this evidences is the truth we all learn 1L year in the abstract: A good lawyer applies the rule to the facts. Unfortunately, the "facts" are very difficult to learn, and the rules are very easy to learn (despite the fact that law school professors seem to think the opposite). Regulations are written by industry veterans and commented on by industry veterans to solve problems specific to certain industries. Is it any wonder these firms are interested in people who already know the facts of the industries? These businesses all know you can teach someone the rules in a few days. But it takes years to learn what the hell it is you're applying the rules *to*! At my big law firm, where I bascially did administrative assistant tasks for the first two years, they called it "learning process". Which basially meant i was supposed to learn how transactions are done and what the underlying business reasons behind the business transactions were. Only then would the rules even make sense! I suppose I technically learned a lot of securities law in law school, but without knowing precisely how transactions are carried out and why, it was useless and impossible to remember the details anyway. This is why an apprentice model of learning the law should be the norm. We're doing it totally backwards.

    1. Yes. Which is why I'm satisfied that I didn't actually miss anything by not attending most of my law school classes.

      I wasn't there for the education.

      I was there for my T14 ticket to a high-paying job.

      Everything that I've needed to know, I learned on the job.

      With the exception of chemistry and chemical engineering classes in undergrad. Those classes helped me to be a better patent attorney.

    2. Remember when you first read a commercial outline, or a horn book, or something other than the assigned text, and saw, clearly, the law of Torts, Contracts, etc? The effort my law professors (most, if not all) put forth to hide the ball and to avoid clarity at all costs was simply amazing. Another experience I'm sure underscored this issue was the ease in which companies like BarBri put it all together in a serious of 4 hour lectures and 18 page, double spaced, 12 pt. New Times Roman font skeletal outlines.

      I am only a year and some months out from graduating law school, so this remains fresh in my mind. For others, it may be more distant. But, I trust the memory remains vivid.

      There was (and still is) so much more of real education value that could have be addressed in the three years I spent in law school. Because recently degree'd paired with bar membership doesn't seem to mean much when your level of practical experience resides in the neighborhood of zero.

    3. I think this comment makes an excellent point. When I got to a firm as a summer, it became clear to me that what I did not understand were business transactions, financing choices and industries. As a result, I picked courses 3L year that would teach me about topics like accounting and finance, because these were the topics I knew I could not teach myself.

  20. So much for Mr. Infinity's vendetta against Professor Campos and the scamblogs. It appears that the shill deleted his blog after posting for less than a month.

    1. Damn. I enjoyed his amateur video description of Prof Campos, his fictional character DJM, Nando, Cryn, and JD Painter Guy. I looked forward to him defeating the scamblog movement within six months. Perhaps he already won, thus there is no more need for his blog?

    2. He decided to simply declare victory and leave the field.

    3. I choose to believe he snatched defeat from the jaws of victory...

  21. DJM: Are you familiar with the robosigning and foreclosure fraud scandals now devastating your state (and many others)? In many situations, the banks involved did exactly what's going on in the job listings described above--they gave what actually is an intellectually complex and difficult task to someone who lacked the legal acumen to properly complete it.

    Assuming you're right, how is handing out more JDs than there are jobs for JDs supposed to solve this problem?

  22. In the land of war stories - I find myself regularly dealing with the messes the non-lawyers in legal roles leave behind - and very lucrative that is too.

    I find junior accountants negotiating license agreements where royalty payments will be over the course of the agreement tens to hundreds of millions of dollars, "property managers" negotiating huge leases, "procurement specialists" buying high tech products with no indemnities, disputes over contracts which no one on either side understands, HR specialists applying UK law to employees in Japan (you are not employed in the UK, UK law says you have no rights (I got her fired after they paid out to my client)). Admittedly I have seen lawyers also do remarkably dumb things - usually due to lack of experience.

    I am not disputing DJM's thesis that companies are deciding that they don't need lawyers for some roles, but the results have generally not been good - the money saved is typically wiped out by the train-wrecks.

    Of course to understand this trend you really need to understand GAAP and accounting. Employees are treated as expenses - and companies seek to minimise expenses - many of the costs that result from these decisions end up either deferred or can be treated as CapEx which looks good.

    There is an example (non-legal) I like to use to explain the inanity accounting treatments can create.

    40 years ago all the major UK department store chains sold "white goods" (major appliances) and lots of furniture. Today only one sells much - John Lewis - and it had a huge share of the white goods market. Why is this?

    It turns out that if you say order a new refrigerator from John Lewis, or a giant sofa - they will set a delivery time with you, within a 2 hour window on a given day and when that time occurs a van will pull up, with one or two helpers - and armed with all necessary tools they will bring in the item, carefully dismantling everything in the way and restoring it perfectly (including apparently a friend told me a spiral staircase), cleaning up behind them and leaving with the old appliance. If you have a job and stayed home that morning to meet them this is a godsend - while their lowest price guarantee is useful - but most market surveys say it is their delivery service that it the deciding factor in their sales. The delivery service - all John Lewis employees (called partners.) What about the other department stores - the accountants and consultants outsourced their delivery services in the 80s and 90s, and their sales of white goods and other things faded away as people found the outsourced deliveries hopelessly unreliable. Why did John Lewis not do this - because the chain is owned by its employees - it is a partnership (seriously), and was able to ignore the stock market driven accounting games of the others. I use this example when someone suggests outsourcing customer facing functions (by the way the term of art used for reversing a dumb outsourcing is "repatriation.")

    I have been a GC and I have faced the pressure to cut costs - and I did cut some - but I was also able to focus the board's attention on liability issues and how they could sink the company(s). My clients today are mostly GCs and we regularly discuss the problem of getting finance departments to recognise liability exposure as a real cost and that for example IP royalties avoided by tough negotiation or a strong counter position go straight to the bottom line. But there is no escaping the fact that CFOs and finance departments are usually to use an English cliché, "penny wise and pound foolish."

    The Robosigning scandals and others yet to come are a good example of how stupid much of the cost cutting can be - by now many of the banks are probably at the point that it would have been better to employ lawyers to do this job.

    1. In the land of war stories - I find myself regularly dealing with the messes the non-lawyers in legal roles leave behind - and very lucrative that is too.

      Yes, especially accountants. I'm sure they think they're doing their clients a favor, but they wind up costing their clients more when their mistakes finally come to light and we (lawyers) have to figure out how to clean up things that easily could've been done right the first time around, if a lawyer had been consulted.

    2. "But there is no escaping the fact that CFOs and finance departments are usually to use an English cliché, "penny wise and pound foolish.""

      The way that I put it are that some costs are 'hard'; you can point to the actual dollars. Some costs are soft; you can't point to them. Until they hit you.

  23. What do all these positions have in common? Experience(including the BP position). This is the problem for new attorneys and even veteran attorneys who do not have specific experience that employers want. You can't get the position because you have little, unrelated or no experience and you can't get experience because you can't get hired without it. This reminds me of the movie, Magnum Force, where Harry Callahan wanted a couple of rookies to assist in executing an arrest warrant and the lieutenant told him they don't have enough experience for which Dirty Harry responded how are they supposed to get experience?

    This is a particular problem for K-JDs to overcome when they will lack experience and the law schools are not teaching anything of value that employers want. For example, if an employer wanted an automobile mechanic but the applicant was only taught to learn matters like the impact of Henry Ford's assembly line, the first car to have air conditioning, why the Studebaker brothers initially chose electric over gasoline, etc. then that applicant will inevitably have problems as a mechanic(but perhaps not as an automobile historian which is in far less demand). This can be analogized with law school and the difficulty in obtaining legally-related employment thereafter...and this is why law schools enrollment is decreasing.

  24. The Mr. Infinity video is still up though, and has had over 100 views:

    He says at the end that he is going to clean the internet up of the scamblog: "filth"

    Crazy stalker stuff.

    From what I have read, Mr. Infinity claims to have a JD.

  25. President Obama's new (As of Aug. 21st) website Re: student loans

  26. The only non-JD jobs that I have applied for exist in policy and compliance, usually for the city courts. These jobs advertise as JD-preferred because they deal with statutory interpretation and implementation. Unfortunately, they only open up once in a blue moon.

    I have not heard of any new graduates finding work outside of the legal field after spending three years gaining no experience other than legal internships.

    Many employers make no secret about why they do not hire a lawyer when they could simply hire a non-lawyer. Unless a job pays very well, most lawyers will leave as soon as they find other work that pays more or that allows them to practice law. Student loans drive most of this, but so does the desire to actually work in the field one spent three years studying! In the past, many lawyers started working in an area of the law that may not have been their first choice, but they were still practicing. Now, it seems that the best that many new graduates can find is a job that they are overqualified for. Then, the graduate must try to convince the interviewing panel that this is your dream job and that you just went to law school and studied for the bar exam for shits and giggles.

  27. JD's sometimes are hired for these positions typically as new college grads (recent law school hires) or those who have the experience since these are the jobs they did upon not passing the bar. At my company the legal department is still over the training of folks in such different roles and is still engaged in some of the work these folks do (with the Legal Dept. giving the okay on work that doesn't require attorney involvement). Yes the former GC does have it right it does come down to cost, the non-JD's for the most part are cheaper. Its harder for experienced attorneys without specific experience to get these jobs because such persons are looked down upon in my legal department & in addition to whether such person will leave for a better legal job there is the personality issue. The positions you mention are subservient in nature so an attorney applying for such position is not always the ideal candidate.

  28. Another good post, rigorously written.

  29. LOLOLOL Mr. Infinity is putting up youtubes? I love that guy. Go Mr. Infinity go!

  30. Mr. Infinity is the funniest thing I have seen in a long long time. I'm dyign from the youtube!!!!



  33. I feel alive after watching that hilarious youtube. Thank you Mr. Infinity and please keep up the good work.

  34. I think the better point is not that companies are getting along just fine without JD's, it's that they think they are.

    Careless drafting, incorrect interpretation of laws, and improper administration of internal regulations are commonplace, especially where lawyers are not active in the process. But it may be the exception that anyone who matters cares about that. Except in core areas companies don't seem too troubled by it. I've been stunned by "legal" conversations I've had with non-lawyers charged with, essentially, applying legal rules.

  35. "Careless drafting, incorrect interpretation of laws, and improper administration of internal regulations are commonplace"

    This isn't true, and in fact it occurs most often because incompetent lawyers are in the process. See e.g. the robosigning scandals where attorneys gave incorrect advice.

    In addition, JDs have difficulty taking the low level clerical jobs at these companies, because law schools overcharged them and tricked them into taking out loans that they now need to repay.

    Finally, corporate culture does not like lawyers because lawyers spend too much time issue spotting, even when there is no issue, thus they waste time and obstruct.

  36. I really do not want to repost the horrible stalker comments and threats that Mr. Infinity has made against me and my family on his now removed blog.

    I have a hard copy.

    The next step is to call the police about Mr. Infinity.

    Mr. Infinity's video contains veiled threats against a number of people and is cause for alarm.

  37. I work in a Fortune 10 company as a contract manager. What DJM says is true; many non-lawyers are hired for legal positions. What is also true is that my colleagues without law degrees have no idea what they're talking about. Try raising the "parol evidence rule" with a non lawyer contract manager. the look you get will be priceless.

    The funny thing is, that we could get lawyers with at least a year or two experience from good schools for what we pay the non lawyer contract managers we have. what gives? i really think the whole law degree was worthless unless the bar is going to be very aggressive about unauthorized practice.

    I disagree with DJM that these people aren't engaged in unauthorized practice. they receive a salary b/c they provide advice on legal issues. they absolutely are charging for legal advice. but until the bar takes a much more aggressive stance against this, it will continue and more lawyers will have worthless degrees that can't be used for anything.

  38. "Try raising the "parol evidence rule" with a non lawyer contract manager. the look you get will be priceless."

    The problem is that you learn many doctrines in law school which do not have cost-effective value when analyzing the law as a mathematical cost benefit analysis. A law graduate will raise and issue that has zero or negligible impact on the bottom line, and while legally meritorious, you are wasting your time by even discussing it.

    Business only cares about laws that matter. Law gradautes care about all laws, because they have been taught to issue spot the most meaningless trifling bullshit. That's why business does not like law grads, not even for jobs involving compliance!

    1. So, you think this is a bullshit rule that has no impact on the bottom line:

      The parol evidence rule is a substantive common law rule in contract cases that prevents a party to a written contract from presenting extrinsic evidence that contradicts or adds to the written terms of the contract that appears to be whole. The supporting rationale is that since the contracting parties have reduced their agreement to a single and final writing, the extrinsic evidence of past agreements or terms should not be considered when interpreting that writing, as the parties had decided to ultimately leave them out of the contract. A common misconception is that it is a rule of evidence (like the Federal Rules of Evidence), but that is not the case. Basically, you cannot use oral testimony to contradict the terms of a signed contract.

      This is fairly important to understanding contract diputes and what your vulnerabilities might be. Seems fairly important to me.

  39. There are many more examples:

    Title Insurance: Years ago, attorneys prepared abstracts and gave opinions on legal title. That business is almost all gone.

    Oil and Gas: A lot of oil and gas work is done by landsmen who research legal titles and negotiate long term leases. Most of these landsmen are not working for the oil companies, but are independent contractors.

    Bankruptcy and Divorce: There are a number of shops which are set up to provide scrivener services. For a fee, they will prepare bankruptcy and divorce paperwork. They are not supposed to give legal advice but they do.

    Contracting specialists. I have a friend, who years ago went to work as a contract specialist for the U.S. Airforce. He negotiates contracts for a military installation. While he does have a law degree, he never passed the bar. The law degree was entirely unnecessary for his work.

    Claims paralegal. Many of the big personal injury law firms do not hire attorneys. Instead they hire former insurance adjusters. These employees evaluate cases and negotiate settlements, but are minimally supervised by attorneys.

    Corporate paralegals: A lawyer friend had a girlfriend who was corporate paralegal. Yes, she made more money as a paralegal than he did as an attorney.


    Part of the problem here is that law school really does not teach any valuable skills. They don't teach people how to practice law. They don't teach people how to pass the bar. They really don't teach much of anything.

    I learned more about the law from my BAR-BRI course than I did in three years of law school. I leaned more about the practice of law working for a law firm as a law clerk from the time of my graduation until I was admitted to the bar than I did in law school.

    Over the years, I did public utilites, bankruptcy, county law, child protection and commercial litigation. I studied none of these things in law school For me, law school was a complete waste of time and money.

    High Plains Lawyer

  40. Law school was designed to be a 3 year barrier to the bar. With the unlimited amount of student loan funding available to these hustlers posing as law school deans and professors, it is a nothing more than a vehicle of enrichment for these craven knaves. Law school doesn't teach you anything and with entry level opportunities shrinking for newly minted lawyers, I am afraid most will find it to be an obscenely expensive ticket to nowhere but hey, I guess some people find putting "Esq." behind their name as some sort of redeeming status symbol (I can assure you it's not). The only people getting a benefit from law school are the deans, professors, administrators and the student loan companies (especially the collection agencies). Academia is a joke these days. Schools put money above the students' interests. Look at what happened at Penn State in allowing a pedophile to sexually assault minors as long as the boosters were happy and the Lions were winning bowl games. And look at NYU. That school owns as much real estate in NYC as the Catholic church and has billions of dollars in endowment yet kids get suckered into going to this school, often paying sticker and for what? So you can say you lived in the Village? Fuck that. This is a racket of epic proportions. Organized crime wished it could run this scam.

  41. Will people stop griping about non-lawyers working in-house conducting the "unauthorized practice of law"? I can't speak for all 50 states but I know in NJ it involves establishing attorney/client relationships with members of the public for a fee. It is about the relationship, NOT about the substantive work. Of course you cannot enter an appearance in court or file a document on behalf of a client.

  42. One of the reasons on this trend is the fact that some companies are into cost-cutting. Getting a certified lawyer can spell bigger income than an undergraduate or an experienced paralegal. Aside from that, a lot of companies are looking into jacks of all trade employees nowadays. They utilize their existing employees with regards to making simple agreements or procedures that tackle on laws and regulations. Nevertheless, it still pays to have a lawyer in the company in case grievances, complex legal instances and the likes arise.

  43. How can anyone here argue that experience matters less than formal education when dealing in law? Most areas of the law are so specialized, that three years studying civil procedure and con law followed by a few weeks cramming for the state bar is utterly meaningless experience.

    The fallacious reasoning in this thread is that JD=smarter than experienced BA, which can be true but is not necessarily true. This is why most countries do not require a three year degree above and beyond the BA (law is just a bachelor's degree in practically every westernized country outside of the US) and it was this way in the US before the ABA raised the JD as an artificial bar to keep out the "unwashed masses".

    Second, most attorney's do not want to address the fact that law school is self-selecting for pompous jerks. Remember that undergraduate polisci major who you couldn't stand to spend five minutes around when you were in college? Yup, he's an attorney now. So are the other people you couldn't stand back in college (and if you don't recognize this reality, you were likely one of those people that others couldn't stand - trust me on this). Law school promises high rewards to otherwise mediocre people who have not really accomplished anything yet in their lives, and this promise appeals to a certain type of person that regular people just don't like. The young people I talk to who want to go to law school almost never have a reason other than "I have a useless degree and I want to sound impressive at cocktail parties", which is precisely the type of person that us regular people do not want to have to work with. As such, law school is a damn near perfect filter for assuring that you keep these kind of people out of the workplace.

    Third, attorneys are professionally-trained pessimists: years of high-stakes "issue spotting" have turned them into chronic naysayers. You turn to an attorney for advice on how to accomplish X and they will give you 50 "issues" to consider why you cannot/should not do X. Nevermind that all 50 potential "issues" are only likely to develop into an actual problem in 1/5000 transactions, the attorney can never actually tell you that - in the back of their minds, they are always saying "if the client takes no action because I spotted this potential issue, my personal risk is zero, whereas I will be risking my license and opening myself up to liability if I say it is an issue of negligible concern and then it develops into something, even if the risk is very close to zero". This is the cardinal rule when dealing with attorneys: they always represent their own self-interest first. Partners with years of experience appear to have the confidence or experience to avoid this trap (and they are partners because they know how to actually get things done in the first place) and can give worthwhile legal advice (which is why Y Company will spend $800/hr to talk with them) but a graduate right out of law school is, sadly, not useful.

    Finally, there simply is no substitute for experience, and companies know this. The summer spent clerking for a law professor or making photocopies in Z Law Firm is totally meaningless experience. Doubly so for something like moot court or law review.

    If you are BP, looking for an IP manager, why would you hire a fresh law school grad who has taken one or two IP courses, read a few patents, drafted none, never drafted or interpreted the scope of claims, never read a prosecution file history, etc.? Compare this to the non-JD competing for the job: the patent agent with 5 years experience in a law firm, who already knows the nuts and bolts of actual practice or the paralegal that has spent 5 years working in X area of regulatory compliance. Both of these people can jump into the job on day one and get it done. Why would you hire someone else simply because they have more formal education?

  44. The Great Lawland Prophet and Truthsayer John J. Bungsolaphagus The Only invaded Mr. Infinity's site and literally ran him off the blogoshere by calling him Mr. Infinifool and calling his card on the likely fact that he is a 1 or 2L at a TT or worse who just recently discovered the truth about his likely lawland future on the scam blogs and is in denial and seeks to vent his paniced anger at the scam bloggers.

  45. I was dumped by a 2L at NUSL. I felt really down in the dumps, then I realized that while she's living in a swanky downtown apt and accruing huge sums of debt that she'll never be able to pay off I've got a net worth of almost $100K already at, something this blog leads me to believe she may hope for by the time she's 50...if she's lucky.

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