Wednesday, September 5, 2012

More bad news from the BLS

Updated Below

I posted earlier this week about the Bureau of Labor Statistics projections for attorney job openings. To recap briefly, the BLS projects only 218,800 openings between 2010 and 2020--or 21,880 openings per year. Accredited law schools are currently producing about 45,000 JDs per year, more than twice the number of available jobs. Even if schools cut enrollment by 20%, a relatively dramatic move, we will finish the decade with more than 200,000 JDs who can't find jobs as lawyers.

But that's just the beginning of the bad news. Those 218,800 projected jobs are not all full-time, secure jobs with good salaries and benefits. The BLS counts all positions--part-time, full-time, temporary, or permanent--as "jobs." (I confirmed that fact directly with a helpful BLS staff member.) Notably for the legal profession, the projected openings include individuals who will open solo practices.

Wait a minute: How can the BLS estimate how many desperate lawyers will hang out their own shingles? If new solos count as people who have filled "job openings," then won't the number of "openings" rise to match the number of law graduates?

No--and the answer demonstrates an important point about the BLS projections. Economists don't project job openings based on what people want to do in the workplace; that type of wishful thinking belongs to 0Ls. The BLS uses macroeconomic models, together with appropriate inputs, to project how many job openings the economy will support in each occupation.

Applying those models, the BLS projects that the economy will support about 218,800 lawyer job openings during this decade. That number includes the low-paid public defenders and public interest lawyers. It includes the contract and part-time attorneys. It includes the in-house lawyers. It includes the attorneys who work for small firms, earning much less than median salaries. It also includes all of the new solo practitioners who will earn enough to tough things out in practice. Those are the 218,800 who will have lawyer jobs.

The other 200,000 or so JDs will have to find something else to do. The economy won't support more lawyers simply because lots of people want to go to law school--or because there are professors eager to teach them. There is a limit to how much consumers, businesses, and government will spend on legal services. Lawyers can urge businesses to purchase more legal advice; law professors can advise individuals to get legal help. Those exhortations are natural expressions of our economic self interest: Every producer thinks that consumers would be better off with more of the producer's product.

But it's hard to talk back to the U.S. economy. Consumers, businesses, and government want lots of things other than legal services: health care, food, homes, cars, manufacturing equipment, schools, prisons, fire departments, airlines, national defense--the list is enormous. Lawyers play a valuable role in our economy, but we're not invaluable.

The BLS projections won't be exactly right. The economy may support somewhat more than 218,800 lawyers this decade. On the other hand, it may support less; BLS projections can err in either direction. The depth of the recent recession, the slow growth in overall employment, the accelerating impact of technology, and continued unrest in the world economy suggest to me that BLS's current projections may be overly optimistic.

There's another, even more worrisome, reason why the BLS projections may overestimate the number of lawyer openings this decade. The projections include both new jobs and openings due to workforce departures. In making the latter estimates, the BLS relies upon historical data. If baby boomers work more years than their parents and older siblings did, there won't be as many job openings as BLS estimates. Ditto if more parents decide that they need two incomes to support a family, rather than choosing to have one parent withdraw from the workforce for a few years. Both of those trends seem likely to me; if either occurs to any noticeable extent, the BLS estimates of lawyer job openings will be too high. There may be more openings for babysitters (to care for those two-career children) or drivers (to ferry those aging boomers to work), but there won't be as many lawyer jobs.

But even if we put those gloomy predictions aside and assume that the BLS has correctly targeted the number of lawyer jobs, law schools are producing far too many lawyers. It is sheer arrogance to suggest that we can force the economy to create more lawyer jobs simply because our graduates are bright and eager. And it is dangerously deceptive to keep encouraging large numbers of students to go to law school because "the economy will turn around" or "there will be more jobs when you graduate."  The BLS has already assumed that the economy will turn around:  A fully turned, full-employment economy will produce 218,800 openings for lawyers this decade--leaving more than 200,000 new lawyers holding JD-sized debts and BA-sized jobs.

Update: A few comments have asked how the BLS counts temporary jobs. E.g., if 50 document reviewers work for one month on Project A, then move on to Project B, does that count as 50 openings or 100? The answer is that it depends on what the document reviewers were doing before they started Project A. If the document reviewers were already doing lawyer work of some kind, then this hypothetical includes zero new openings.

I could have made this more clear in the original post, so let me explain a little further. When the BLS projects the number of "job openings" that will occur in an occupation over the next decade, it is estimating the number of new entrants that the occupation can absorb. It is not trying to predict how many new jobs will be advertised or how many lawyers will move from one law job to another; it is only looking at how many slots will be available for new people to take.

Suppose, for example, that Microsoft increases the size of its in-house department by adding a new lawyer to its team. Microsoft consults a headhunter and hires a senior associate from Big, Big & Law firm. Big, Big & Law replaces that associate with a third-year attorney from Small law firm. Small then hires a new graduate from State U Law. Three jobs were advertised here, and three people started new work, but this is only one "job opening" in BLS terms: only one new worker moved into the lawyer occupation category.

The BLS, in other words, answers precisely the question that troubles many readers of this blog (and that should be troubling law school faculties): How many new lawyers can the U.S. economy absorb over the next decade? The answer is about 218,800--not 450,000 or even 420,000.


127 comments:

  1. "And it is dangerously deceptive to keep encouraging large numbers of students to go to law school because "the economy will turn around" or "there will be more jobs when you graduate."

    The only way there can be more jobs, is if less people are qualified for those jobs. Do you think it is possible that some of these new 1Ls have began to take into account the personal benefit of the "law school scam movement"? Whenever I try to spread the "scam movement", people have made the comment, "oh well played, if less people go to law school all the better for you and your career". Many people are aware of the overabundance of lawyers, but believe that the market will correct itself. Possibly these 1L's think that if this law school scam movement gets big enough, enrollment will continue to drop and there might actually be jobs again. I am just trying to figure out how a 0L could read these posts, or many like them and still want to go get 200K in debt. It's just getting silly.

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  2. Those stats are pretty sobering, and I'm glad DJM delved into the numbers more.

    On first glance a person might see that there are projected to be 218K new law jobs in the next ten years and think, reasonably, that that means there will be almost a quarter million new "attorney" positions available.

    That's not the case. At all. Even if that was the case it would still mean that law schools are way overproducing graduates.

    Thank you for filling in that insight DJM.

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  3. Lemmings Gonna Lem, Law Prof.

    Seats are still full at the 200+ trash pits known as law schools.

    There's always another Starry-Eyed Special Snowflake who believes the $160K/85%-93% employed/$55k median salary BS pumped out by the law schools.

    Lemmings got burned once (college). May as well double-down on another bad bet with Law Skool.

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  4. The Horror! The Horror!

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  5. Bureau of Labor Statistics

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    Replies
    1. Good catch. I just skimmed and missed that.

      Delete
  6. 3 . .. 2. . . 1. . .cue for that one asshole to come in here and extoll the virtues (and exaggerate the salaries) of police and truckdrivers.

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    1. Don' git me startedSeptember 6, 2012 at 5:49 AM

      Hey, a Police Captain in NYC can easily make $180K a year with overtime, and then retire at age 24, and have a retirement lifetime pension worth an estimated $9,345,098,812.47.

      Plus, he gets all the bandaids he needs for his booboos for free, too, through the Retire Lifetime Medical First Aid Programme.

      So there.

      And them danged truckers, what with their fancy, gold-embossed mobile boudoirs making their 1-percenter income and all. Don't get me started.

      Delete
    2. Actually, that is what a police captain makes in NYC, but hey its not prestigious. Also, there is a small chance, if you look at the number of applicants versus the number of openinings, to get on the job.

      So, if you had to pick between trying to get a muni job, where the risk is losing a few k and a little time at the local community college and an examination fee, and accumulating 100k + in non-dischargeabl debt, 50k+ in lost opportunity, 3-4 years od your life, and the scarlett letter of overqualifiaction known as the JD, clearly law school is the best option...

      There are not enough decent jobs of any kind to go around for everyone. People need to try to get the most for the least risk. Ill take a 5% chance at a very lucrative, veey secure and protected muni job, where there are minimal consequences for failing over a 5% chance at trying to win the higher ed lottery, where the consequence of failing means your life is fucked.

      I guess that makes me an asshole...

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    3. @ 5:49

      Thanks for the laugh. I really needed that.

      Delete
  7. These are full-time JDRequired jobs, right?

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    1. Your reading comprehension sucks. For real.

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  8. Why would anyone actually believe these BLS estimates/projections? I suppose you believe the government when they provide unemployment data. It's all smoke and mirrors people.

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    1. The unemployment data, and all of the other data, is extremely accurate for what it is used for.

      There are numbers underneath the headline numbers that you have to look at if you want to get the real story.

      In fact, what DJM has done here is *precisely* what you need to do with economic date to separate the useful information from the noise. If you have any experience in analyzing economic data, you will recognize this issue.

      So, I have to say that this is an excellent blog post.

      Delete
  9. This in particular is extremely sobering:

    "Those 218,800 projected jobs are not all full-time, secure jobs with good salaries and benefits. The BLS counts all positions--part-time, full-time, temporary, or permanent--as "jobs." (I confirmed that fact directly with a helpful BLS staff member.) Notably for the legal profession, the projected openings include individuals who will open solo practices."

    When I've quoted the BLS numbers, I've just assumed they were counting real legal jobs, i.e., full-time, long-term positions. And I didn't consider what role solo practice played in these projections.

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    1. Thanks for confirming this. I have a job but these numbers make me want to throw up.
      That temporary jobs are included means that the number of permanent jobs is much smaller than even the 215,000 numbers. They are talking about ALL possible jobs for lawyers. I'm really feeling sick about this.

      Delete
    2. I missed that paragraph in my skim through early this morning. I think this went up around midnight.

      Delete
  10. Student Loans: Debt For Life

    Kantrowitz says SL debt is growing at a rate of three thousand dollars per second.


    http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2012-09-06/student-loans-debt-for-life

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  11. "If baby boomers work more years than their parents and older siblings did, there won't be as many job openings as BLS estimates."

    This is a key point. I'm in my mid-50's with a successful niche solo practice. I had hoped to retire or at least significantly scale back in my early- to mid-60's. The triple whammy of the Great Recession -- 25% of home equity wiped out, 20% of retirement account wiped out & 3 years of substantially reduced revenue from the practice -- there's no way that's happening. Right now, the plan is to work full time until at least 70. Now, it might turn out that I'd prefer to keep working but now I don't have a choice.

    And I'm not alone. Most of my similarly-aged peers are in the same boat. Pretty much every lawyer I know in his or her 50's or 60's -- mostly solos and members of small firms -- is planning on practicing full time into their late 60's or early 70's.

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    1. Hi! I am Fred ThompsonSeptember 6, 2012 at 5:59 AM

      Good Ol' Fred Thompson will still sell you a reverse mortgage.

      Delete
    2. I spit my coffee out laughing...solid comment.

      Delete
  12. So, the solution here is to hook up recruiters with JDs and get them into corporations where no JD is required for the position.

    Somehow, the JD has to be sold as an asset rather than a statement of overqualification.

    I see an opening for an entrepreneur here.

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  13. Iwould like to see a graphic with yearon the x-axis ad nu.ber of ABA accredited schools on the y. Are a bunch of them new? Does it look a lot like a bubble? Starting when in time were there too many?

    Again, a lot has to do with debt and cost these days, but I'd still like to see schools as a function of time.

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  14. "I would like to see a graphic with year on the x-axis ad number of ABA accredited schools on the y"

    Try graphing y = 1/15x^2. That'd be approximately representative.

    Sorry for all you lawyers who "don't do math".

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  15. @5:23AM

    That is a tough sale, and God knows enough bloggers and commenters have said that the JD repels non-legtal employers.

    I am reposting my long saga about what humiliating underemployment, after a higher ed experience, is like and how it feels and about how I was told on the evening of my third and final interview by a Manager of The Allstate Insurance Co. that with my JD on my resume (Bar exam or no bar exam btw) I was "overqualified" for a job as a commercial claims examiner in a brand new regional office at the time.

    That is how the story ends, and it really happened. I merely try to dramatize and expand on and weave the several threads of the whole experience into a tale.

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  16. "The BLS has already assumed that the economy will turn around."

    Indeed it has. The BLS estimate for lawyers, dire though it is, is based on a projected annual GDP growth of 3.0% from 2010-2020. That is nearly double the 1.6% average from 2000 to 2010 (and the 1.7% growth in 2011). I would like to know the basis of such an optimistic assumption; this is period of stagnation or worse, with no end in sight.

    Moreover, the ever-increasing glut of lawyers will surely include a growing contingent of experienced lawyers willing to work part-time or for entry-level wages. What percentage of the supposed 21,880 jobs per year will be snagged by lawyers who are not recent grads?

    dybbuk

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    1. On some level the BLS is trying to support planning for a 3% growth rate - that is to say it is saying that assuming arguendo 3% growth we will need x number of new "camel wankers." That growth rate is pretty well what most industrial economies need to have a stable middle class, etc.

      For 10+ years the US missed it and - well ....

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  17. I've got a comment about the previous posting about Michigan.

    I went to Michigan's website to look at the job stats posted by the Professor to see if the stats were as sobering as the Professor presented them. I think the stats are even more sobering.

    Michigan claimed 44 of its 2011 graduates were in "JD Advantage" positions. Not being an attorney, I'm wondering what the heck is a "JD Advantage" position? Then I see a reference which states:

    †"JD Advantage" includes includes management consulting, investment banking, real estate, legal jobs overseas, etc.

    Now I'm thinking this is totally bunk. There is no way in heck that 44 students got jobs in investment banking, consulting, etc. that usually go to (Harvard, Stanford and Wharton) MBA students. There is no way that these 44 students can service a debt load of $250,000 in a "JD Advantage" position.

    I'm guessing that all these 44 students would have preferred to have a big law firm job, but took whatever they could when biglaw didn't work out. These 44 students didn't suddenly then stumble onto $150,000+ jobs at Goldman Sachs or McKinsey that most frequently go to MBA students.

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  18. Excellent post. And I agree with those who advise looking on the BLS numbers as unduly optimistic.

    As a practicing attorney, I echo the sentiment that all the talk about a “huge unmet demand for legal services” is pure bunk. It’s very difficult to convince potential clients that there is substantial value added to legal services. They believe, usually correctly, that legal costs are at best about mitigating losses. But for the most part legal expenses are viewed as a pure cost. And businesses, and everybody else, are looking to cut costs. I don’t see this process reversing itself anytime soon; more likely it will accelerate and you will see more firms shuttering.

    Of course it’s always easy to find clients who only want to pay for “results.” I.e. they don’t want to pay you at all, even in the best of times. And they are inevitably the most unreasonable and demanding clients. I suspect this type of client makes up the bulk of that “unmet demand.” And they should be avoided, even now, in the worst of times.

    0Ls: find something else to do to with your lives. Something that doesn’t require $150K-plus in non-dischargeable startup costs. Use your imaginations.

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    1. Well said. From what I can tell, based only my one year in the trenches and from observing the experience of my wife and her peers nearly a decade out from law school, there is a disconnect in the “huge unmet demand for legal services” sentiment in terms of supply and demand. The problem is that those who need, or at least could benefit from, legal services are generally unwilling or simply unable to pay for those services.

      I thought for awhile, that if law school was less expensive, an attorney could provide these services at the reduced rate demanded and still obtain a adequate return on their investment in legal education. I now think that I was foolish in that belief.

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    2. Funnily enough I run into this supply and demand problem in various countries - for example England, when it comes to property prices. I have a standard answer - Bangladesh has the highest population density in the world - the greatest number of people looking for a roof per hectare, so why are Dhaka's property prices lower than New York and London?

      Is it because demand is about incomes chasing housing rather than merely people? There is unmet legal need out there, from people who cannot afford to chose to fill that need over putting food on the table or paying their rent or mortgage. Fixing that is not going to happen soon

      Delete
    3. Exactly, MacK. The "massive unmet demand for legal services" is almost one hundred percent child custody issues for people for whom a $500 retainer might as well be $1 billion. That's not to say that these issues don't deserve the careful attention of a good lawyer - a well-pursued case can save a child from a youth full of uncertainty and misery or a family from years of ugly fumbling litigation with forms they got off some horrible "do this instead of stabbing your bitch ex-wife" website. But there is no money in it, your clients will be emotional and volatile and petty, and you will constantly go to court about minor stuff that to you seems like bullshit but which to your client is the centerpiece of a shattered life. There aren't a lot of lawyers who would sign up for that in the long term even if the government paid them in bars of gold. Even fewer 0Ls would have it as their ambition.

      The unmet "legal" needs of the poor are staggering - the whole mechanism of the American state exists primarily to try to kill them with a million papercuts. But they're poor. They are not going to pay off anyone's student debt. The needs of the poor do not form economic demand - they have no money with which to leverage their need. There will not be any jobs out there helping them.

      Delete
  19. HueyLewis,

    I agree. There is a huge unmet need for laundry services, meal preparation services, lawn mowing services, house cleaning services, etc. If the price were low enough, people would love to outsource their chores. Some people (mostly those with lots of money or little time) currently do so.

    The reason that current demand for these necessary services is not being met is the market price point. At current prices, those willing or able to have someone else wash their shirts and make their sandwiches, means that many people will opt to DIY.

    I'd feel a lot more comfortable incorporating or doing a will or a power of attorney with a practicing lawyer with many years of experience. Legal Zoom makes money though because it can cut costs.

    It is pure pull to suggest that some restrictive market failure in the legal services sector means that (1) there's plenty of paying work out there; (2) that newbies can get it; and (3) that newbies can make a good living if they do get this unmet demand.

    All 3 are false.

    Mr. Philosophy major and Ms. English major with poli sci minor: the middle management jobs held by your parents will not be there for you. I know you were raised in nice suburban neighborhoods and had new clothes and luxuries. The world is now quite different from what it was even 10 years ago. Going to law school will not provide for you the same way that it did for the old guy down the street with the BMW who had a condo in Florida.

    I don't know what the answer is, or I'd do it. I can't tell you where to dig, but I can tell you from experience that there's no paydirt in law anymore.

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  20. Question about the ~200,000 "legal jobs"--if, as is said, this total counts projected temporary jobs, how do projected doc review project actually get tabulated?

    Does it mean that if, for example, doc review outfits are expected to acquire the contract for two thousand two-month projects over a decade and employ fifty people on each has not created fifty jobs but *a hundred thousand*?

    Or does it mean, more meaningfully, that 50,000 or 150,000 or however many can expect to be employed at any given time over the next decade in a contract attorney position (with 50,000 or 150,000 or however many in associate, staff atty etc. positions)?

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  21. I think my math as a little messed up above but one gets the idea, I expect.

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  22. "Those 218,800 projected jobs are not all full-time, secure jobs with good salaries and benefits". The big question is...How many are?

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  23. I would also like to know how document review plays into this. After 2 months of not working, I got a call to show up to for a 2 day document review project promising heavy hours. 2 hours after showing up however, all of us were sent home. I actually lost money taking this "job" as I had to outlay car, gas, and toll money. Are these "jobs" where you actually lose money counted?

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  24. Anon at 5:23 asked an interesting question. What would a graph look like showing law school grads versus law jobs (as currently defined in the BLS stats) over time? I don't have the data, but I'd be willing to bet that it's reasonably consistent, and law schools have always put out a significant oversupply of grads. The difference today is the cost--especially the lack of meaningful "public" legal education today. I'd be happy to be proven wrong, but I think the problem with the economics of law school today (as opposed to, say, 20 years ago) is far more about cost than the number of graduates.

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  25. The graph would look like output at Soviet factories. It would spike when government demand (in the form of subsidized law loans) increased. It would wane when government funds fell. And it would bear little to no relation to a graph of market demand for the product (young lawyers).

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    Replies
    1. "In Soviet America, legal profession work in you!"

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    2. That's just weak. Seriously.

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  26. Excellent post, DJM. The only correction I would make is in the last sentence. Instead of BA jobs, I would change that to retail jobs. I would say about 70% of my graduation class from law school would have been thrilled w/ a BA job instead of the retail job they got stuck w/ it. We stopped long ago hoping for a legal job. Many of us just dream of a professional job.

    A question: what is the reaction, DJM and LawProf that some of your colleagues are having about the points you both are making? I know you have occasionally written about anecdotes about a conversation you have had w/ one. But I am wondering what the normal reaction is. I can't imagine reading what DJM has just written today and thinking I could still stick my head in the sand. But, I am not the average legal education individual. Are people in the legal education profession starting to realize that they can't keep sticking their head in the sand and that this is a pretty big problem? Or, do they still have wonderful ways to rationalize it? Have either of you seen a shift in thinking recently? I am going to cross my fingers and hope the answer is yes...

    Just wondering...

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    1. How sad, but true, about the retail jobs. In terms of response, I think more faculty are gaining awareness but there is still a huge amount of denial. Some of the denial comes from a "not at my school" syndrome. Faculty teaching at Tier I and II schools may think "schools may be producing twice as many grads as there are jobs, but that's ok because we're in the top half so our grads can still get jobs if they hustle. It's the other 100 schools that need to close."

      At other schools, the rationale may be "we're a regional school and our grads still get jobs here" or "we're in a huge metropolitan area where there are plenty of jobs." LawProf has talked about this before, and I'm hoping to post soon on N.A.M.S. syndrome in all its manifestations.

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  27. These are projections and the numbers could still be high.

    The "teacher shortage" and "nursing shortage" have been based on these type of projections.

    I doubt BLS can predict what type of technology could be used to replace the lawyers of the future.

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    1. Although these numbers can be way and are only predictions. The BLS numbers are considered scientifically sound and in the end the best numbers we got.

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    2. *way off that is.

      Delete
    3. Statistical information is a form of art. Statistics are based on observations and any finding from them, should be taken with a huge grain a salt.

      Most people use seem to use statistical information as being based on scientific law, when it is not.

      Delete
    4. So what is your point about statistics being art? How do you interprete this data?

      Delete
  28. Several states' governments are reforming pension programs in ways that will result in government lawyers staying in their jobs longer. This change translates directly into fewer government jobs than a historical model might predict.

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    Replies
    1. I'm a fed govt attorney (SEC) and the retirement-eligible in my office are postponing as long as they can...

      Delete
    2. SEC dude, appreciate the extra data point. Thanks for sharing.

      Delete
  29. "But actually, he thought as he readjusted the Ministry of Plenty's figures, it was not even forgery. It was merely the substitution of one piece of nonsense for another. Most of the material that you were dealing with had no connection with anything in the real world, not even the kind of connection that is contained in a direct lie. Statistics were just as much a fantasy in their original version as in their rectified version. A great deal of time you were expected to make them up out of your head."

    --george orwell, 1984

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  30. http://gothamist.com/2012/09/06/photos_crash_destroys_200k_bentley.php#photo-1

    "The driver of the Bentley, 48-year-old Joel Antoine, was also charged with DWI, and told police that he received the $200,000 Bentley from his parents as a law school graduation gift."

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  31. The lemmings attending law school today can thank their parents for supporting people like Al Gore, who was an ardent proponent of NAFTA and GATT. The globalization of jobs has caused a contraction in almost every industry in America (except truck driving, HVAC technician and plumbing). Lemmings will continue to run off the cliff (law school) and chase "champaigne wishes and caviar dreams," not knowing that they are enriching their "educators" by mortgaging their futures for a useless piece of paper that says "Juris Doctor."

    Many young kids have argued that people who advise against law school are "haters" or people who want to curb the competition. I am neither. I have seen enough senseless suffering (Classes of 2008-present) when my office is flooded with resumes from attorneys when I advertise for a legal secretary position. Note to law students: there is a difference between law secretary and legal secretary. Know which position you are applying to.

    My office has actually fired 3 attorneys and we did not replace them with attorneys. We replaced them with 2 highly trained paralegals who can churn out better work product than a recent grad or a Biglaw casualty.

    Going to law school at today's tuition rates is utterly insane. I suppose the flouride in the water has finally caused generational brain damage.

    I think going forward, law schools should play "TAPS" as the background music.

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    Replies
    1. I wonder if the ROI on a law degree is now negative.

      That would make a good study wouldn't it? Paper reveals that the expect return on your investment from law school is now an annual loss of $5,000 per year for 20 years.



      If you are good enough to get into T-14 law, for the love of Pete don't go. Instead, please add this to your resume: "Accepted by [multiple] top law schools, including [Michigan, Harvard, Duke, Virginia, etc.]."

      Then explain in your resume that your objective is to obtain a paying job and that you had the good sense not to go to law school.

      Law school is good for obtaining praise from Aunt Trudy, and for feeling like you have some direction in life. If you're smart enough to get into T14, please be smart enough to avoid going. Put "Admitted to Harvard Law" on your resume to get a good first job. Then work like hell and keep eyes open for better opportunities or entrepreneurial ideas.

      Delete
  32. I've said it before, and since I'm here I'll say it again:

    DJM and Paul, you are preaching to the choir here...interesting and all that, but get in touch with someone with some power to do something about this or with a bigger megaphone who can get it out to more people.

    You DO REALIZE that your audience here has about the combined power and clout of a cockroach third in line for a taste Nando's underarm cheese, right?

    Well, except for Mack, who could probably make one quick phone call and have the whole thing solved. But he's usually too busy and phone reception is poor on those constant international flights with the naked model flight attendants, champagne, and caviar.

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    1. IOW, DJM and LP should stop blogging..

      Delete
    2. "your audience here has about the combined power and clout of a cockroach "

      What clue have you about our clout?

      Serious question, neighbor.

      Delete
    3. phone reception is poor on those constant international flights with the naked model flight attendants, champagne, and caviar

      Please tell me the name of that airline - yesterday I was on a clapped out 767 looking at a sad sub-roll called "coronation chicken with spinach" and a warm beer (lager)...and stewardesses that made me look svelte and young, in a 1970s seat that did not recline much. Today's were better looking but dressed...

      Delete
    4. BA? Worst airline by price in my opinion - totally over-hyped. LOT scores worst overall though, closely followed by every single Mainland Chinese airline.

      Delete
  33. DJM and LawProf are not wasting their time one bit. If applications keep falling at a steady clip, the problem will take care of itself. Keep getting the word out to the 0Ls!

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  34. I imagine that every law student has at least heard of this blog by now. I think the microphone is plenty big, but that doesn't mean people will listen.

    ReplyDelete
  35. Read yesterday's post describing the YOY decline in applications to Michigan for the last two years. Or do you have some other numbers to offer?

    ReplyDelete
  36. Seeing the LS train falling off its tracks is almost surreal. The best part is LP hasn't even made the post on the declining LSAT medians yet.

    ReplyDelete
  37. LawProf:

    While you have posted on the number of available positions (and those projected) and the overall cost, and you've debunked the statistics on currently-placed lawyers, have you looked at all at the student loan default numbers?

    My understanding was that before a recent change, the percentage of borrowers who were in default was calculated using a two-year cohort default rate, which meant that for government reporting purposes, the percentage of borrowers who were in default was determined by taking a snapshot of all borrowers technically in default two years from the beginning of repayment. Obviously, with various deferment, forbearance and modified payment options which could extend some form of non-defaulting non-payment longer than two years, the number of borrowers in peril of defaulting was much higher than reported. I believe the government now uses a three-year cohort default, which is really not much better.

    Much like the jobs numbers (85.5% employment doesn't sound all that bad, if the number can be believed, which it can't), depending on how you calculate default rates, you can paint the picture you want. IBR has largely thrown a cover over much of the actual non-payment percentage among borrowers because it's like an indefinite forbearance or modified payment program which can keep technical defaults down. It's not as if post-graduation employment statistics are the only relevant part of a prospective student's decision to go to an undergraduate program or law school. The likelihood that they will be able to repay, even if "employed", is obviously important. If you wipe away both the industry definition of "default" which doesn't really take place until there have been about 6 to 9 months of repayment and then do away with the monkey business relating to forbearance, deferment and the like, and if you just look at employment figures and then whether students are actually financially solvent, I wonder whether an even worse picture will be painted. Perhaps among even the percentage employed, people are not really doing very well?

    ReplyDelete
  38. Yeah, every prospective and current law student has heard of this blog...

    And yeah, it is because of this blog that the apps are falling!

    It's not the market forces. No No No!

    It's this blog!

    Keep it up DJM and Paul! YOU are the reason. YOU and YOU ALONE!

    Dreamland.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dude, the windmill is over there.

      Delete
    2. What do you think "market forces" are dumbass? Here's a clue: they include things like "real numbers instead of fake ones," which this blog has helped provide.

      Delete
  39. I guess you're right. Paul and DJM are going all out with this big microphone.

    This big, free, blogspot microphone.

    How about taking a few crumbs of your combined half-million annual incomes and actually registering a site, taking out some radio-time, sending out some correspondence, printing out some shiny brochures that you can have your lackeys pin up on all of the law school campuses...

    Oh yeah, that's right, it's much more economical (for you) to just type on a free blog site.

    Sweet gig.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You sound like a clueless boomer. Nobody trusts the internet! People should pool their money and make some flyers and try to get on the evening news!

      It's been entertaining watching your criticisms of this blog change over this past year.

      Delete
  40. What's really got me irritated about the comment section in this blog finally hit me. The same people who are now throwing a goddamned pity party for themselves when they were suckered into signing onto six-figure debt are also the same kind of people who, were it not for the economy, would be over on ATL talking about TTT and their BigLaw jobs etc. They are privileged assholes who, when not whining about what a predicament they've found themselves, would otherwise be shoving it down your throat that they've got a six-figure job.

    Yes. Law Professors are assholes. And so are deans. And so is Bush, and so is Obama, and so is the whole motherf*cking system that got you where you are. Take that lesson from it, at least.

    But ultimately, maybe you do have to drive that damn truck in North Dakota, or take that job as a damn glorified secretary. No one is going to help you out of this mess, certainly not the Republicrats.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. lol, why you mad though?

      Delete
    2. I make a good living and I'm not over on ATL bragging about it. It's much more fun over here, watching you law professors self destruct.

      Delete
    3. My cousin decided that he would rather drive a truck than go to law school or medical schools like his brothers.

      I think he enjoyed his life just fine. The doctor and the lawyer both despise their jobs.

      Delete
    4. Very true, Anon. It's very sad for current JD's, but you can't help but wonder if they hadn't had the misfortune of being born late to the party, just how much raping and pillaging would these now bitter kids done along side the current generation of scammers and thieves.

      Delete
    5. How is this relevant to anything that is actually happening to current law students and recent law grads?

      Delete
  41. @2:52PM

    Woooow man! You are such a cool cat, and got it all figured out, and we are in such awe in that you are so disillusioned with it all and so impressive, like Lorenzo St. DuBois.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BkYBJId7WZs

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. How many years has it been since JD Painter (who gave up trying to pass the bar exam over 15 years ago) offered a coherent comment?

      Delete
    2. Well, it would appear that the one above your post at 5:18 is coherent. I understood it.

      Perhaps you should get out more...

      Delete
  42. A lot of law students/grads are in this position because they were, in essence, lied to by the entire educational establishment as far back as their junior year in high school and lied to nonstop since. How hard would it be for the hs and college undergraduate student services to say:"These a,b,c majors are the ones that generally lead to gainful employment, right now, as best as we can tell, with salaries generally of x,y, and z dollars. If you want to major in psychology, anthropology, art history, fine, but you will likely not get a job in the field that pays anything and you will still be obligated to pay a monthly loan off of q dollars a month with no, or extremely low, income coming in.
    As for going to law school, or getting an MBA with no business experience, or an advanced architectural degree, forget it".

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You mean like engineering? Between having to work in chemical plants and possibly die and to become obsolete in middle age, I figured law was better.

      So far, so good. Can say that I have any interest in law, but it pays the bills.

      I pulled this comment off of a random math blog:

      "Folks considering a STEM career might also want to consider the longstanding trajectory for middle aged technicians whose skills are no longer fresh. 10% become managers, 10% go into sales, 10% become entreprenuers, 10% become teachers and 10% find a way to burrow into permanent positions like Wally from Dilbert. The other 50% get riffed sooner or later."

      There is no happy, magic land of long-term gainful employment for everybody.

      Law just happens to be on the firing line right now.

      Delete
  43. The free blog doesn't matter. Facebook is free and every law student has seen that too. Things on the Internet have a way of spreading and spreading quickly. I'm sure law students know about this blog, many just choose to ignore it for one reason or another.

    ReplyDelete
  44. The Laughing/Thigh MasterSeptember 6, 2012 at 4:56 PM

    7:49 a.m. and 7:52 a.m., you are each and severally welcome for your laughs. I was the proponent in each case.

    ReplyDelete
  45. BTW, JP seems to be a very worried and dangerous slug and shill for the Financial Industry, crawled out from under a miserable rock for some reason.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, we will brook no disagreement on this blog.

      Delete
    2. DUBYA TEE EFF IS you talking about, 4:59??

      Delete
    3. He's talking about me.

      I graduated from a T14 back during the dot-com boom when they were giving out jobs like candy, hence the reason I was able to obtain steady legal work.

      You need to look at my comments from that point of view.

      I also don't make six figures, so I'm really talking about a basic legal position that's relatively secure.

      Delete
  46. Why would you have to be a Chemical Engineer? I was an Aero Engineer and enjoyed every minute of it. Traveled the world. Or you could work as an Ocean Engineer on oil platforms or be a Naval Architect; both fields are in high demand right now and I think both would be very interesting. You have to enjoy your work, can't imagine being locked in a cubicle all day.

    P.S. I paid all my student loans off in full.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Because ChE's know everything. Every other engineering discipline is inferior, by definition.

      ChE's make y'all other abject worms of engineers look... ...wormlike.

      That's just how it is, man.

      Delete
    2. I didn't have an interest in working on an oil platform, either.

      I did aircraft engine patent work for a few years.

      Delete
  47. What I don't understand is why the federal government allows this to continue. It is one thing to have say 10% over the number of openings each year as the graduating law school population. That is because not everyone in a law school class will practice law. It is a horse of a different color to graduate double the number of lawyers the economy needs each year.

    The question should be how many of these jobs are not really jobs but solo positions or at tiny law firms where lawyers make less than the average BA earns. I wonder how they count temporary work. For example if A works for three months on a temp job and B works for 4 months on a document review, this counts as 7/12 of a job? The problem here is that A and B may be unemployed the rest of the year. I wonder how that is reflected.

    Clearly the BLS should break out full time permanent jobs from those that are temporary or part time. In the case of temporary and part time, if the BLS is only counting fractions of a year, does the rest of the year when these people are not working count in the 2% unemployment number, or are both A and B treated as employed even if they worked only part of the year?

    ReplyDelete
  48. Probably not PosnerSeptember 6, 2012 at 5:54 PM

    Law Prof, DJM:

    At non-HYS t10 schools, law still seems to make financial sense for some percentage of the students, namely, those who get scholarships and those who end up with BigLaw jobs (and preferably both). For everyone else, it's a losing proposition. The question: can we predict on which side any given 0L is likely to fall?

    Do certain attributes (undergrad school, class rank, regional ties, socio-econ background, etc.) currently correlate with ending up employed? Or is it more random? Any data you could find would be interesting to help us understand what is going on.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have had UVA interns at my small practice. Obviously class rank helps placement. Undergrad school-my guess is a Princeton helps, a UVA or UNC is neutral, an obscure place hurts, but only really for big-law, not in my league. Socio-econ background? Not sure.

      Delete
  49. How is it a "losing proposition"? People piss away $200K routinely on crap like vacation homes and home improvements. Give me a freaking break!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes. A t10 law degree "not making sense" shows this blog has jumped the shark. Mock "versatilty" all you like, but someone with that degree can at least become school superintendant, university administrator, etc., etc. Guys, we do live in. the USA not Mexico.

      Delete
    2. Yeah, one could also do all those things without spending 200K on a law degree.

      Delete
    3. But, what if they want to?

      Delete
    4. So then a law degree is a luxury good for those who have 200K to waste.

      For those who don't and end up unemployed, it's a bad investment.

      Delete
    5. I was responding to the exchange between 6:29 and 6:41 about people who have jobs. Whether it is a good investment or not is subjective.

      Delete
    6. Unlike investments in vacation homes or home improvements, an investment in a worthless law degree has no resale value.

      Delete
    7. 7:21 - yes, the "exchange."

      Delete
    8. Exactly, the "exchange".

      Delete
    9. A JD is not enough for a position as school superintendent. Most likely one would need an "EdD" or similar—a Mickey Mouse degree, to be sure, but still required. Likewise, openings for university administrator probably require something else—unless they're positions in the admissions office of the law school.

      Delete
    10. My father was a school superintendent. He needed the Ed.D. to get the job.

      Delete
    11. You actually need certifications and field practice to be a school superintendent as well as the applied doctorate. Most upper level higher education administrators are PhDs more and more.

      Delete
  50. My snarky response is the strongest correlation with full employment after law school is pretty much based on one single attribute; those with a job waiting for them. I'm joking, a little. I went to school with a few of these folks. They did not have to bother with journals, law reviews, moot court, class participation or grades. It did not matter to them in the slightest. All they needed was the degree.

    To be clear - I am not jealous of these people. I'm way beyond jealousy.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I fully agree. Their lot in life was arranged at conception.

      Journals, law reviews, moot court, class participation, grades—I have all of that and a lot more. Aught it avails me.

      Delete
  51. Remember, this blog kept my two kids out of law school. They realized that making 30k with benefits and pay raises in the future is better than 150k debt and no job! Plus in the 3 years they'd be in law school they'll earn $90k which is a good down on a home!

    So this blog is a big success to my family!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. home-ownership is for drone losers. classy people rent, so they move easily as their careers progress.

      Delete
    2. WTF? Oddest comment ever on this blog!

      Delete
    3. Not really. You are just revealing your lower-class roots and why law s chool was a bad bet for you.

      Delete
    4. No wonder this "profession" is in rapid decline. It's a government-supported aristocracy.

      Delete
  52. There is tremendous unserved demand for legal services from those in the middle class who prefer not to pay for BIGLAW.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I can't tell you how many people I encounter every day that beg me to provide them legal services. Problem is, they can only afford to pay me $100/hour. So naturally I turn them down and go back to work at my retail job for $9/hour.

      Delete
  53. 407 AM--"There is a tremendous unserved demand for legal services from those in the middle class"

    LOL that's funny! Dont forget that you can do anything with a law degree, and lots of lawyers will be retiring in a few years so there will be a surplus of jobs, and a JD is a good investment if you look at earnings over 30 or 40 years, and by the way the lawyer jobs are there, you just need to move to Nebraska.

    Did I forget anything?

    ReplyDelete
  54. There is tremendous unserved demand for legal services from those in the middle class who prefer not to pay.

    ReplyDelete

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    ReplyDelete
  57. JD 2001 Cardozo. 11 years later, no job; No job ever. Center for Professional Development, or whatever CArdozo calls it now, told me that they best help those who need no help (i.e., law review), and that I should stop bothering them and take a hike (in somehwat more florid words). Three years of my life and some $130K in debt later, I can say it was not worth it. Ha.

    ReplyDelete
  58. I think the takeaway is this: "Go to law school" is no longer a path for people who want to be "set for life." Rather, it is a path like deciding to become a professional actor - for the very passionate only ... a lucky few will succeed, most won't. (If anything, it's a more precarious choice than acting due to the debt involved.)

    ReplyDelete
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