Tuesday, September 4, 2012

The MBA option?

Something this blog hasn't discussed very much is what options people who've graduated from law school in the last few years might have.  I got an email last week that posed this question in terms of an issue (possibly pursuing an MBA degree as a way of dealing with a post-JD disaster) that I don't know anything about.  So I'm posting it here in the hope that the writer and other similarly situated people might get some useful advice from those more qualified to address the issue than I am:

Dear Professor Campos,

I'm a semi-unemployed recent law graduate.  I graduated from [Top Five Law School] in 2010, where I [won an academic award for my third year grades] and had decent grades my first two.  My undergrad was at [Ivy League School], where I double majored in [Liberal Arts Majors].  I got no-offered by a [Vault 50 firm] in the summer of 2009.  After graduating from [law school], I was set up with a temporary law school sponsored job at a law firm...  Then I was on unemployment... Then I [ended up doing] litigation [for a small firm], as a per diem attorney.  Sometimes I'm busy, but generally, I'm lucky if I can bill them 15 hours a week, at $30 per hour.  I've applied to a million different jobs, and sometimes gotten interviews, but usually not.


Since graduating in 2010, I've lived with my parents.  I have about as much debt as you'd expect.  I really want to be able to move on with my life, live like a grown-up, not be broke, and be able to be proud of my career.  I'm just not sure how.

I recently ordered test prep books for the GMAT, so that I can apply to full-time MBA programs.  I'm great at standardized tests, so even though business school admission isn't as numbers-based as law school (I wish), I think I might have a good chance of getting into a top MBA program.  But even there, there's huge risk- I know some substantial portion of the graduating class at top business schools doesn't have a job at graduation, and the typical published salaries for MBA grads are lower than a first year big law firm associate makes.  Which would matter a lot to me, because I'd have well over a quarter million dollars in debt at graduation.

Aside from business school, I don't have many other good ideas.  I've thought about starting my own firm- probably mostly criminal defense, but I'd take whatever work I could get.  But the problems with that are: 1) I'm unsure whether I'm qualified, at least by my own standards; and 2) I know many small firms struggle to bring in enough business.  Since my biggest priorities are 1.) not be poor; 2.) move out of bedroom; and 3.) end unemployment deferment of loans, struggling to start a firm with the hope that if I'm successful I might clear $40k after a year doesn't seem like a very good option.

I'm not sure what other options I have.  Biglaw is impossible- I've tried so hard to get back in, and they just don't want me.  I feel like I'm too old and have too much debt to start any other type of graduate program, and except for premed to med school (which would take forever and leave me with an insane debt level) any other educational ideas I can think of seem riskier than business school.  So right now my plan is to keep applying for law jobs, and apply to MBA programs.  If I don't have a permanent, full-time job by summer 2013, go to business school, and if I do have such a job, I can choose between them then.

So I guess my question is: Is there something I'm missing?  Should I prepare for the GMAT and apply to MBA programs?  Or is there something else I can do with my career?

253 comments:

  1. Truck drivers make $100k+ a year in North Dakota. There are three requirements: have a driver's license, pass a drug test, and have no unpaid child support obligations. More technical services earn even more money. Of course, you don't get to work in a comfortable air-conditioned office in Manhattan and you won't earn a lot of Prestige Points to impress your casual acquaintances.

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    1. Just as the Emory dean's speech suggesting young lawyers move to Nebraska is not always feasible, moving to Noryh Dakota to be a truck driver is not always feasible. Sometimes, life logistics do not allow someone to just pick up and move to wherever.

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    2. And sometimes, an unemployed man-child in his late 20s living with his parents should suck it up and move to a place that has plenty of jobs available, even if that place is not San Francisco, Williamsburg, or Portland.

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    3. Wow, thank god you showed up. Hey everyone, lets all move to North Dakota! They need a hundred thousand truck drivers!!!

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    4. The boomtowns in the middle America oil fields have created hundreds of thousands of jobs. And if more labor can move there, more oil and gas can be more easily found and there would be even more jobs.

      And a solution does not have to be a panacea for a hundred thousand people for it to be a solution for at least some people.

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    5. Do us a favor - from now on when you want to lecture us all about easy solutions please do your homework. Since you're offering it up, please cite sources for unemployed attorneys versus (insert job here - truck driver, oil field worker, cop, whatever) openings.

      And the Foreign Legion is also a solution for "some" people. And? Don't offer up solutions as if they are a panacea for everyone. My friend's friend's uncle's cousin once spoke to someone who knew somebody that networked his way into a biglaw job by waiting on a table of a 3rd cousin of the secretary to Warren Buffet.

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    6. Actually, truck driving jobs in North Dakota (realistically) pay more like $40,000 to $52,000 a year. Don't get me wrong, I'd be happy to make that, it's just not an actual solution for a the thousands of under and unemployed lawyers. Also, that's assuming that a trucking company in North Dakota would even want to hire a person who wasn't from around there who had no experience and had to acquire a heavy duty truck driving license. Truck driving jobs, even in ND, are more likely to pay around $30 an hour, which is what this guy was making as a lawyer.

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    7. Do us a favor -- learn how to use the Internet so that you don't look like a patronizing fool.

      http://www.cnbc.com/id/44256111/page/2/
      "If you have a license and no criminal record, you can get a six-figure trucking job almost overnight. Real estate construction is almost as frenzied as the oil drilling, and there's even a huge business in housing the workers who don't have housing."

      Many other similar articles can be found using this tool called "Google."

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    8. Let's see what mr. BLS says about truck drivers... http://www.bls.gov/ooh/transportation-and-material-moving/heavy-and-tractor-trailer-truck-drivers.htm

      Oh look, median pay $37,770 per year. Not quite $100,000 is it? And that's ignoring the fact that the Google car will probably make all drivers obsolete in a few years.

      Now, there ARE some blue collar jobs in North Dakota that pay well, but they're not exactly easy to pick up. They're not going to hire any random drifter that comes in and give them $100,000.

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    9. http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-505263_162-57465653/n.d-oil-boom-highlights-price-of-prosperity/
      (July 3, 2012)

      "In North Dakota now, a job on an oil rig can pay $100,000 a year. Even truck drivers can earn six figures. And in northwest North Dakota, oil is the new gold.

      Author and Great Plains scholar Clay Jenkinson says this gold rush could be around for more than 20 years. "Someone driving a water truck now who's 19 years old can make $85,000, $100,000, $120,000 a year, plus get a vehicle and fuel," he says."

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    10. I read a recent article about the increase in crime due to the transient population in North Dakota.

      I have a job but the thought of driving a truck terrifies me. I would likely kill myself if not other people too

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    11. Yeah - according to this job posted on Monster http://jobview.monster.com/Tractor-Trailer-Truck-Driver-Job-Williston-ND-US-113755782.aspx a truck driver in ND makes $24 an hour. And Simply Hired says Bismark North Dakota truck drivers make around $25,000 annually. http://www.simplyhired.com/a/salary/search/q-truck+driver/l-bismarck,+nd
      I think if one really thinks about this situation logically, it seems extraordinarily far fetched to think there are $100,000 a year jobs just waiting for any unqualified person willing to move to a less-than-chic town. Sure, there may be some truck drivers who make more money than others, but if something sounds too good to be true, than it probably is.

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    12. The advertised rate for truck drivers is just the base salary. People get paid more for overtime, and even more when they take some entrepreneurial risk by being an owner-operator.

      The reason "there are $100,000 a year jobs just waiting for any unqualified person willing to move to a less-than-chic town" is because of the immense reluctance of the Average American to live in a less-than-chic town, as this thread and its huge number of excuses have amply shown.

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    13. But dude, he cited anecdotal evidence that some guy told a reporter....that so trumps your actual research into labor statistics.

      It looks like you don't exactly know how research works, 9:44. Not a surprise. And I don't need to do the research since I'm not the one offering up the (dopey) advice.

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    14. From that article you linked earlier: "Those individuals who are able to land consistent work with one of the oil companies and a place to stay are considered the lucky ones. Gregg Zart came from Seattle to Williston and spent his first six months in his van. Now he's upgraded to a trailer. "
      sounds great lol. Do you actually know anyone who has done this, or are you basing this all on one random article you read on the internet?

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    15. Oh hey, look, a lawyer turned truck driver in ... North Dakota. His base salary is $45k but he gets something called "overtime."

      http://abovethelaw.com/2012/02/career-alternatives-for-attorneys-truck-driver/

      Yes yes, he has a Commercial Driver's License that takes about four weeks of school to get. Of course that makes this anecdotal comparison completely irrelevant.

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    16. (he makes $60k to $100k with overtime)

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    17. Oh hey look - one guy at ATL trumps all the other evidence given here (you still haven't cited the number of openings vs. unemployed attorneys). So lets do this - why don't you move to ND, become a truck driver and then a year from now let us all know how easy and lucrative it is. You know, since you're telling us thats what we should do and everything.

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    18. Ah yes, how dare I tell someone who is asking what to do with his life an idea on what he should do with his life.

      The total number of unemployed attorneys is irrelevant. As long as there are several job openings in ND, and there are plenty since the state's unemployment rate is 3.0% and falling, this is what at least some unemployed attorneys should do. Once ND and the entire oil/gas industry have been exhausted as a source of jobs, we can move onto the next solutions.

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    19. There's nothing wrong with this kid or any other person going to North Dakota oil fields to try to get a job. Good luck to them all. It's just that these articles quote a lot of businesses, they quote a "scholar of the plains," and they don't really quote lots of people who have actually made the $100,000 year one, with no experience. You can still find plenty of articles that will tell you that getting a JD is a sure bet for success and definitely worth tuition - and plenty of those articles will quote professors and give you financial statistics. We all know that the real world is more complicated and a whole bunch trickier and riskier. A critical reader would look at these oil field numbers ($100,000 for a first year truck driver) with a healthy dose of skepticism. If this kid wants to try his luck on the oil field, good for him, it's probably a lot better bet than going into more educational debt. But it's fair to look at some numbers that sound a bit like something from the Yukon Gold Rush or a Get Rich Quick scheme and wonder if things are quite so easy once you scratch the surface.

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    20. High-paying jobs requiring little prior experience in resource-rich remote areas is not just an American phenomenon:

      http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204621904577016172350869312.html
      "the 25-year-old high-school dropout from Western Australia makes $200,000 a year running drills in underground mines to extract gold and other minerals. [He] started in the mines seven years ago earning $100,000"

      "The New Zealander, who drives a grader at Port Hedland in northern Australia, flies home once a month on a $1,200 ticket, paying for the fare himself out of his $120,000 annual income."

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    21. To the baby boomer all butthurt because his anecdotal get rich quick scheme is being mocked. Please stop wasting everyone's time. Its because of people like you and your simplistic outlook and advice that we are where we are and why nothing ever changes. Taking on more debt is just as dumb an idea as running to ND to get a 6 figure blue collar job based on an article or two somebody cited online. Actually, taking on more debt rather than just up and moving to a state thousands of miles away is a much more realistic scenario for a whole host of reasons. But I'm not wasting any further breath on you.

      Just admit when you're wrong and move on. But no, internet warriors like you can never do that.

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    22. LOL I'm not a baby boomer, I'm not wrong about how much people can make in ND ($24 an hour at 70 hours a week with 1.5x overtime is >$100k a year, and $24 is on the low side), and it's hilarious that you think a $500 five-hour plane ticket for the chance of a high paying job immediately is so much worse than $100k in non-dischargeable debt for a degree with the chance of a high paying job two years later. Also, several other commenters below have suggested blue-collar jobs in ND and elsewhere.

      Maybe my simple suggestion that unmarried young people simply MOVE to where the jobs are (and you don't even have to leave the US) has touched a nerve? Maybe it's hard to confront the reality that your own unemployment and failure in life are simply because of your own inertia/laziness and status-chasing striver mentality.

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    23. My uncle, who is 65 was an attorney in ND for many years and then grew so resentful of the job because "nobody is ever happy". He is now a truck driver and I think this whole conversation is pretty ironic because he did this after having a law career and no debt.

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    24. You are just somebody online talking out of your ass, insisting you're right based on....nothing but a few articles. And now you're citing other commenters? Oh yea, get me that ticket (because, you know, thats all thats involved...get a ticket and blue skies from here on out. Don't care thats its thousands of miles away from family and friends and personal connections.) Like I said, you do it first and then you can talk, time-wasting advice-giving big mouth. You must be fun at parties, the laughable clown that you are.

      Also, I'll take the BLS over your online anecdotes any day.

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    25. LOL plenty of people move thousands of miles away from family and friends, from the west coast to the east coast or vice versa. In this day and age of Internet, cell phones, and daily five-hour plane flights, you complain about "thousands of miles" of distance as if that is relevant? You know that ND is not like moving to Siberia or the Canadian Arctic, right? Are you also amazed that anybody would ever move to Alberta or Montana?

      Instead of whining that living in another place for a few years would make you too homesick, maybe you should stop being a mommy's boy, move out of your parents' basement, and learn how to make new friends at a new place where everyone else is new too.

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    26. I agree it's all about the prestige and status. Young white strivers are willing to spend 2 years to live in huts for the Peace Corps in Bumf!ck, Burkina Faso but would never spend 2 years to make $80-$100k in much closer Bismarck, North Dakota.

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    27. Tell them they got a two-year clerkship at the US District Court of North Dakota and see how many people turn it down because it's thousands of miles away from their family and friends and personal connections.

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    28. thats the point...that would make their 3 years of schooling pay off. Trucking, not so much. You idiots just don't get it. First, your salary numbers are complete BS, second you're acting as if moving across the country, alone, to do a blue collar job with no assurances is such a simple answer. Again, you go do it first and let us know how it works out. Otherwise you're just talking out of your ass, senor internet warrior.

      Its simplistic asinine solutions to major problems like this that has brought the situation to where it is today. Steeped in ignorance...surrounded by fools.

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    29. This is all kind of funny. The only thing I can add is that we cannot get people to work on a military base in ND because the going rate for labor in town is $15 to $20 an hour.

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    30. Cheap Militarofascists!September 4, 2012 at 4:25 PM

      @3:55 pm, so, what you mean is you can't find anyone to work at your GS-5 slots? Simple solution, do what I did back in the early 90's, get the slots REGRADED. Yeah, it took some pushing, but armed with local data I showed that the guys I needed were not available at 5-7 ratings.

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    31. Something like that, Militarofascist.

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    32. Few things:

      #1) I'm not in law school and never considered going to law school, I got hooked on this site after a friend got screwed by law school.

      #2) I have never heard about trucking in North Dakota before reading these articles.

      That said, the people saying how stupid this move to North Dakota is are making almost no sense.

      A) It does not need to be a solution for every unemployed lawyer.

      B) He's posted a reasonable amount of evidence that right now there is a large demand for truck drivers in that location. It logically makes sense that there would be a high demand.

      C) I can very easily believe this demand will remain for some time (enough time to get yourself established) because people are unwilling to move and do work they haven't planned on doing their whole life.

      A big "el oh el" at how much this guy got flamed for actually posting useful advice for people who are really looking for work (rather than just saying they are) to look into.

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  2. Terrible idea. This kid sounds like he is extremely bright but has poor foresight in not being born 20 years earlier.

    I have a JD / MBA and I can tell you that non-legal employers care just as much for the MBA as the JD. They don't.

    In my experience, the MBA is useful for two things, neither of which is learning. 1) signaling - you were bright enough to get into XYZ. 2) networking - you make friends with other smart people, which is useful 20 years from now.

    Here, the kid already has an Ivy League undergrad and prestigious LS on his resume. In other words, he has the signaling base covered. Second, unless he goes to Harvard / Stanford, the MBA program that he gets into will probably be filled with people just like him: kids without other options. Not your best bet for $ networking.

    In other words, I am guessing that if he gets the MBA, he will end up right where he is two years from now: uncertain about what to do and where to go and $100k lighter in the pocket.

    Bottom line is this: I don't know the solution, but I can 100% tell you that it wont be more school.

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    1. This was mentioned before, but apply to startups. Any work experience at all > more school.

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    2. http://insidethelawschoolscam.blogspot.com/2012/08/they-write-letters.html

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  3. There is an oil boom in North Dakota. Take the N.D. bar and move to the oil patch. Hustle for any work (both legal services and otherwise). You could make a living doing legal scut work for someone more established and try to have a side business supplying the oil patch or oil patch workers with various items or services (food, gasoline, entertainment, sheet rock, garbage collection, etc.).

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    1. Cite actual numbers before giving trite advice. How many jobs are available? The pay rate (enough to service major debt)? etc.

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  4. With a situation like this I would be very leery about taking on any additional debt.

    I can't offer anything from experience on the MBA but I do know about practicing law. One additional factor to consider re: starting a solo law practice is that to "take whatever work I can get" is to invite bar complaints and malpractice suits. It is difficult enough to develop and maintain expertise in one area of law. Some lawyers do so in two areas (usually criminal defense and personal injury--the crim. def. stuff is interesting and fun, and the PI is more likely to pay the bills). Try to do more than two and I just don't believe you can serve your clients appropriately. Dont forget about CLE's and bar association dues--these multiply when you practice more than one specialty.

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  5. And there you have it - this is why student loans need serious reform. A crappy economy, insane tuition thanks in large part to the student loan program...now this guy is stuck. What else can he really do but go back to school and roll the dice again with even more debt? A truck driver? Give me a break.

    Most people will be making this choice....don't fool yourselves with all the transparency slowly happening. There are more issues at play here. Just fucking reform the horrid, disgusting student loan fiasco already. But nobody will. The President and Arne Duncan only offer up IBR-type programs while slapping themselves on the back.

    What an ugly world.

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    1. What's wrong with a truck driver again? Is he in a wheelchair? Is he too stupid to learn how to drive a truck?

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    2. Nothing wrong at all. But combine the number of people who want to be a truck driver (days away from home, the "status") with the number of actual jobs, I'm juts being realistic. Do you really believe that truck driving will fill the gap of 20,000 new unemployed attorneys carrying serious debt loads every year? Again, be realistic. Tired of , "hey just be a truck driver or work for the government or this or that."

      The problem is much larger and more serious than these simple little lectures address. Maybe it makes you feel better about yourself but it doesn't really address much.

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    3. A solution does not have to apply to all 20,000 people each year, as long as it works for some people who are smarter about life choices than the rest.

      Your real complaint is the "status." And my response is that high "status" and Prestige Points can't pay your rent or your Sallie Mae student loans.

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    4. No, my real complaint is your pointless unrealistic advice that may work for a dozen people in total and that you post here over and over again. You do know that this blog is trying to address the issues for more than just "some people who are smarter about life choices than the rest." (and just up and moving to ND is now a smart choice in life? OK).

      At least cite actual numbers if you're going to get all sanctimonious about it.

      Final question, are you a baby boomer?

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    5. I graduated in the late 2000s and I have a job. But my parents have moved many times in my life. If a couple with three children can move across the country for a job in Indiana, an unmarried man can live in ND for a few years to save some money and pay off his loans. If you think the smarter choice in life is to wallow in unemployment in his parent's basement, or to take on more non-dischargeable debt with another "prestigious" degree, that's your opinion.

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    6. This guy lost a bad bet and now must pay up or endure his fate.

      Thank goodness the republicans will NEVER permit student loan reform.

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    7. I know! Why can't people bet with borrowed money in a way where they keep almost all of the upside but pay none of the downside.

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    8. " Why can't people bet with borrowed money in a way where they keep almost all of the upside but pay none of the downside. "

      Do you really think that the stigma and credit restrictions that come with a personal bankruptcy filing equate to "none of the downside"? *rolls eyes*

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    9. 11:06, quit being foolish. Which party is the one whose solutions for making college "more affordable" means giving out more and more non-dischargeable student loans? And thinks a 3.5% interest rate rather than 7% is going to help so much?

      The answer is that both parties need to work on student loan reform. But once it is brought up, just wait for the self-righteous liberals to slam reform-minded individuals for being "elitist," "anti-intellectual," and "trying to restrict higher education for the wealthy" and most likely "racist."

      Remember when Bush 43rd wanted to take a look at Fanni/Freddie and the ridiculous amount of high-risk mortgages they were handing out like candy? How dare he! the libs thundered.

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    10. Antiro - you had me all the way up to Bush Jr and Fannie/Freddie. This has been analyzed over and over again...Fannie and Freddie had a smaller portion of the subprime mortgages. It was investment banks slicing and dicing them. It was poor regulation and oversight that caused the problem (allowing mortgages to be securitized and passed on and on and on) and the rating agencies going along with it all and not Fannie and Freddie. In fact, they were trying to keep up with the banks and the problem would have existed with or without Fannie/Freddie because they were investment vehicles. Its all online if you care to look (Fannie and Freddie had something like 20%-30% of subprime and most of them did OK because they had more stringent requirements for applicants).

      You're just spouting the right's attempt at obfuscation.

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    11. @12:20, first, you should note that Antiro is a dedicated rightist (check its websites). Second, that does not necessarily make it incorrect. You need to stop ingesting unquestionably what you read on Salon.com and do some investigation of competent authorities on your own.

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  6. That 100k loan would really be a 150k+ loan given how long it'll take to pay off with 260k to start. 1/2 million in student debt is not the kind of thing MBAs can usually service--except those who we went into them for very specific reasons.

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  7. Terrible idea to go to BSchool. More debt and far from a guarantee of employment.

    Keep up what you are doing. You just graduated a year ago and you have a job learning litigation. There are many not large firms that do litigation and if you keep looking you should be able to get a better position.

    You have not been in the legal profession nearly long enough to call it quits.

    Just because you are not in BigLaw today, does not mean that you will not be in BigLaw in 10 years from now.

    Your best bet is to get a litigation firm that is not BigLaw where you can stay long term.

    One thing you could do is specialize in one type of litigation and then network in that area.

    With your record, you are crazy to throw in the towel. You have a good chance of success with your record if you keep at the law gig. Remember, litigation is quite a versatile area. There will always be litigation.

    I have family members with top top undergrads and MBAs and those degrees did not help them in the long term. Do not do the MBA. You are just delaying what will be a difficult job search and climb to respectability in your law practice. If you just keep trying in law, you should get there, but it may take a few years.

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    1. I'm the original letter writer. Of what's been posted so far, this seems like the best argument. So I hear what you're saying. But I graduated in 2010, over two years ago. I've been looking for a permanent job since I was no-offered, three years ago. If I take the final plunge and begin an MBA program, it'll be nearly 4 years from my no-offer to my final commitment for first semester tuition. If I've been looking for a job for four years, should I just keep on looking?

      I don't want to give up. But as this blog, my experience, and many other websites have made clear, there just isn't enough demand in this profession to use the supply. Just being a smart, good lawyer isn't enough, because there isn't enough demand. I need an exit strategy in case I don't find a job sometime relatively soon.

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    2. If you get on IBR, and make peace with the fact that you'll have to keep living with your parents for a while, you might be able to make it work.

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    3. And you must be the resident professor (or CSO). Law will work out for you! Network!

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    4. The real problem is that in this market, it can take years to get settled. Of course, once you are settled, you can lose it all at the drop of a hat.

      Having said that, you have something going here - a practice area that not contracting and that you can build on. You just need to be more proactive in meeting people, looking for better paying work. Do bar assocation work and join litigation groups of lawyers that meet for lunch or after work.

      See if you really can make a go of it. It will take several years. Take comfort in the fact that your classmates who are in BigLaw will not be there forever. They will be in the same boat as you.

      What I have seen is that litigators who get into the right group of lawyers and can get clients have a good future. They can move to pretty big firms or actually work in respectable smaller firms.

      You should try harder - not applying to jobs, but meeting lawyers who can help your career.

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    5. "If I've been looking for a job for four years, should I just keep on looking?"

      I don't know if you've heard yet but you can always become a truck driver in ND.

      /s

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    6. 10:24 Unfair comment. The letter writer has a desk and he is getting good experience. He is not unemployed. He has only spent a couple of years in legal practice and not the whole time in this new job. Sounds to me like he may have opportunities going forward.

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    7. But if something/anything goes wrong - head off to ND, bro. You heard it from a stranger online.

      (and why is that not fair? This post was was only about this particular letter writer and thats what all the asinine adviced was aimed at.)

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    8. @1:35, guess you missed the "sarcasm off" sign.

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    9. Just to explain the landscape to the original author of this letter- There never was an established legal job market outside of BigLaw, and there never will be. The market has always been catch-as-catch-can. Even in good times, my average job search was 6 to 9 months coming out of BigLaw. Not working in BigLaw, you can expect a search to a comfy landing spot to take up to 4 to 5 years. If the economy improves, maybe it will take less time. In spite of all the doomsayers, the legal job market is highly cyclical, and it is much harder to get a legal job in bad times than good.

      The reason BigLaw has job openings is because they fire most people. People who are more than a few years out of law school generally cannot stay in BigLaw because BigLaw wants to churn associates and even partners today. What I am saying is that you probably have not lost that much being no-offered because the job was short-term anyway, and you would need to find a longer term landing spot anyway. A lot of BigLaw does not care if they place their associates or not, so you might have ended up in the same boat after a short time or a few years in BigLaw.

      It is hard for anyone to find a permanent landing spot after BigLaw. It is going to take a while. It is surely doable if you focus on what you want to do. For example, employment law or plaintiffs corporate and securities actions or tort law are areas you could select, and then try to get farther into those areas. It will not happen overnight. You will need to try and try again.

      Delete
  8. Fewer than 1,000 people a year even try to get student loans discharged in bankruptcy. Why aren't more law grads at least going for this? Nothing to lose if you're at bottom already, you can represent yourself, and again, the odds may be better than getting a job as an attorney. Looks like some student loan collection agencies also will suspend collections when you file for bankruptcy, until it can be determined whether the loans may be discharged.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/01/business/student-debt-collector-misled-borrowers-appeals-court-rules.html?_r=1&src=rechp

    ReplyDelete
  9. This is a serious suggestion for the young man:

    Move to NYC, LA, or Boston. Take all of the police and firefighter exams available. I am pretty sure these qualify for the public loan forgiveness program, but I am not 100% sure. In any event, with credentials like these, he will be able to become a Lieutenant or Captain, and those ranks enable someone to make 150k-200k a year. No one will ever be able to take away his benefits or salary, call him entitled for wanting to make a living, and he will build a life for himself. The day these organizations take a pay hit, is the day the country collapses, particularly the NYPD. These are rock solid public unions.

    I am 100% serious about this. With the kid’s debt load, more education is not the answer; moreover, any job he does get will not pay what these guys make, nor will have the kind of stability these jobs offer long term.

    There is a real risk he will not get the job because he is overqualified and/or the “psych” people will find a way to disqualify him (people with GEDs that make 100k plus courtesy of public sector unions and the taxpayer do not like it when educated and/or ambitious people move into their territory).

    Even if they do not let him on for whatever reason, what is he risking? The test costs 75 or 100 bucks. THERE IS NO WAY HE WILL NOT GET A PERFECT SCORE. Worst case scenario is he loses 100 bucks. Compare that with the MBA route…

    In fact, if he doesn’t get one of these jobs, then he can get an MBA.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh enough with the "go be a cop" routine. You do understand that cop positions are highly sought after, right? Perhaps more competitive than law jobs? And the requirements to become a cop are far more rigorous than you might expect - no criminal background (even a couple of recent traffic violations will have your resume put in the trash at competitive departments), degree (not a problem for us, but they don't particularly worship JDs either, nor do they swoon at the thought of a lofty JD stooping to their lowly department), solid work history, NO DRUGS EVER, etc. There is a ridiculous background check for every position, and unless you have wanted to be a cop since you were twelve years old, there's probably some screw up in your past that will prevent you from getting the job - a minor in possession charge, a couple of tokes on the weed during college, etc.

      Plus with the huge numbers of military vets looking for work, the chances of anyone with no vet preference getting ANY police job are slim to none, yes, even with that fancy JD.

      When PDs hire, they have hundreds, if not thousands of applications for every position. Among those applicants are many vets with combat experience, great physical shape, degrees, and perfect backgrounds. A "lost" JD who is probably weak, fat, never served, and with a clear attitude of superiority over mere blue collar employees doesn't stand a chance.

      The "go be a cop" myth is one of the stupider myths perpetuated in the comments section of this blog. It's time for it to stop.

      Delete
    2. Wow, thank god you showed up. Hey everyone, lets all apply! They need a hundred thousand new policemen and firefighters!!!

      Delete
    3. I know many cops that were total and absolute losers: no job, no education, and serious vices before joining the force. Not all, but many, many. The process is not selective, take a look at the test.

      People are going to have to accept that there arent enough white collar jobs to go around. Every blue collar alternative spouted on this site is shot down as impractical and improbable.

      Yet this is the reality: you know what happens if you try to become a cop and you fail? You are out 100 bucks. You know what happens if you try to be a truck driver and fail? About the same.

      you know what is improbable and impractical: going 200k in nondischargeable debt for a 15% chance to make a living, and the doubling down on an MBA on even worse odds.

      Even if I accep that its "selective" to be a cop, which I dont (look at the test), politicians just have to say thst to make people happy, its better to try at becoming a cop and failing than trying to win the MBA or JD lottery and failing.

      Delete
    4. "you know what happens if you try to become a cop and you fail? You are out 100 bucks."
      Well, except that you've also just moved to NYC, so now you're cost of living has doubled.

      Delete
    5. 9:37 - are you a baby boomer? Because you sure as hell talk and think like one...

      Delete
    6. OK, enough of this charade. About ten years ago, before law school, I got an EMT certification (one semester class at a community college) and applied for a fire department. Passed the physical test no problem and made it through the second round of interviews. There were something like 400 applicants. 200 of us made some list they keep for two years. I did not get a phone call in those two years. I heard they hired 1 or 2 guys in that period. At the end of the two years, I would have had to re-up my EMT cert (4 full-day classes at about $400 total cost, and vacation days off my current job to take the classes only offered on Wednesdays), and go through the entire process again just to get listed again. I let it go.

      TL;DR - this "fire fighter jobs are awesome" plan is bullshit.

      Delete
    7. The cop jobs are very political. NY used the 1 in 3 rule for years to get around me. I eventually got called, but left the academy to go to law school.

      Also, many police departments have aggressive affirmative action policies.

      It's not as easy as just taking the test.

      Delete
    8. I think the person posting these "go be a truck driver" and "go be a cop" posts misses one vitally important point:

      The jobs themselves might not be 'selective' in terms of raw academic qualifications - a cop test is not difficult to pass! - but in terms of actually translating that into an interview, then being hired, when competing with hundreds, if not thousands of other applicants, is the difficult part.

      It's not as if police departments, for example, just browse through the list of applicants and see who scored highest on the test.

      He forgets that meeting the minimum qualifications does not necessarily mean that the applicant is the most qualified.

      And he forgets that employers often look for intangibles, like "do I want to hire a fucking lawyer?" (no) or "is this a person I want to work with?" (again, probably no).

      This actually goes for all public service jobs right now. Law grads need to get off their insulting little pedestals where they look down upon every job that doesn't involve a graduate degree, and realize that in the real world, just as in the legal world, every job is competitive right now. And education doesn't equate to employability when it comes to most jobs either, as law grads know so well.

      So no, by his standards, a mere police job is not competitive because it doesn't require more than a BS degree in most cases, and in many shitty departments a GED will suffice. But by real world, "will this plan actually work?" standards, getting a police job in a department that is not in some bumblefuck rural county and pays more than $30K per year is significantly more difficult than finding work as a lawyer. (Yeah, not every cop gets that magical $100K salary, and most are earning about what a teacher makes.)

      Delete
  10. Getting an MBA only makes sense if you are currently employed and have plateaued in your advancement with your current employer, and your employer offers to pay for you get your MBA in a night program. An MBA with no work experience will not make you more employable, but will push you even further into the "overqualfied yet underqualfied" pigeonhole you are already in. And paying for one with debt financing one is just ludicrous. Don't do it.

    ReplyDelete
  11. I earned an MBA from a top school after working as a lawyer for several years. I would only recommend this path if you can get into a top 10 MBA program. Understand that if you attend a worthwhile MBA program, your peers will all have 2-8 years of >substantive< professional work experience. Recruiters are going to favor the MBA graduate who >already< worked at McKinsey, Goldman Sachs, KPMG, J&J, P&G etc. before they even started their MBA. So from a recruiter perspective, they see a law grad with no industry specific experience. What does the law degree add in terms of value?

    ReplyDelete
  12. I don’t have any advice for this person (although going to B-school sounds like a bad idea). However, anyone considering going to law school, or anyone who just started law school would do well to take a long hard look at this letter. If someone who gets good grades at a top 5 law school can’t make a go of it, what does that say about your chances? Not good my friends, not good.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Where are the deans, apologists and pieces of trash to tell us that this bright Ivy grad "didn't work hard enough"?!?!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. One responded up a few comments

      Delete
  14. Don't forget about trying to get a job on a political staff -- being the assistant deputy or press person for a city councilmember or state assemblyman, or congressional member. They like law degrees. Or go for the nonprofit sector, like being the executive director of a charity. While you may start as low as $55,000, you can network and work your way up to a $125,00 job, which is not that bad a number.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Really? Because I've been applying to lots of these kinds of jobs, and the employers seem deeply unimpressed by my JD (and decade of legal work experience and "transferable skills"). If someone JD holder out there reading this is having any actual luck getting these positions, I'd be very interested in hearing about it.

      Delete
    2. I have a JD and an LLM in tax. After being laid off from biglaw in 2009, it took 2 years to get into a position working for a member of congress. It's super hard work with lots of networking. Here in DC, it's all who you know, not what's on your resume. It takes time to make those connections. Once you do, though, It's worth it. You have to decide it's what you want, though--it's not just another "option."

      Delete
  15. Nando: This bright Ivy grad simply "didn't work hard enough"

    -Law Dean

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Don't forget that he didn't network enough as well.

      -Clueless Law Professor

      Delete
    2. Don't forget that he wasn't born with a silver spoon up his ass.

      —A similarly situated law student

      Delete
    3. Gosh, you have it rough and everyone else doesn't. You really are a victim.

      Delete
  16. MBA good for someone smart who needs an "Introduction to the business world" Will greatly assist in teaching to you to think like a CEO. Will an MBA get you a job; outside of HYS probably not. The most helpful courses are in applied statistics that will teach you how to think in terms of probabilities.

    ReplyDelete
  17. as a graduate from a less presitgous law school, i routinely flip through my law school year book to see who is in a position to send me coroporare type work to build my business without much luck. my school graduated few corporate attorneys who are in a position to send me work.

    but i would imagine a top school has many more people to send you work. find your specialty and network and ask for work. between your undergrad and law school, you have the opportunity to open far more doors then most people. keep in contact with all you know and ask for work and opportunities.

    its kind of like the book "never eat lunch alone" the guy went to presigtious schools and had highly successful classmates that opened up even more opportunities for him. for you, networking can really work.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "as a graduate from a less presitgous law school,"

      You don't say - I'd never have guessed.

      Delete
  18. Can your law school help you with connections to jobs at all?

    ReplyDelete
  19. Dear recent graduate, how unusual would you say your situation is at your law school?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. [Original letter writer]

      Probably very common. My guess is at least dozens.

      I don't know most of the class well enough to know what's happened to most of them. Occasionally I hear through the grapevine of something terrible happening to someone's career. I also see some other people on LinkedIn, and some of their careers turned out like mine. Of my three closest friends from law school, only one got a big firm job and we all wanted one. While I don't think 3/4 of the class got screwed, it's statistically highly unlikely that my friends and I happened to be a substantial portion of the unlucky.

      Delete
    2. classes of 09 to 11 definitely had it the worst (so far).

      have you thought about going to tax LLM route? since you're mulled over an MBA, you can always go for a tax LLM (you have the credentials). I would probably also say take some accounting courses at a community college and get your CPA as backup. when hiring tax LLMs, Big 4 accounting firms nowadays almost always want an undergraduate accounting major or CPA.

      Delete
    3. Thanks for responding Original Letter Writer

      Delete
  20. Given the debt load and (apparent) lack of Fortune 100 experience, I would recommend against the MBA. Even from a top-10 program, your competition will snag all the best (six-figure) jobs. Assuming you even land a job, the lower pay/prospects are likely going going to force you into an IBR scenario: 25 year repayment and a nasty tax bomb at the end. 250K + interest is a HUGE nut to pay down on 80K.

    At this point, you are highly unlikely to land a position with the salary to directly enable you to pay down your debt in 10 years, so this is the best path available. Best bet is to get target any job that qualifies for the 10-year repayment under public service. These positions are competitive, but your Ivy credentials may give you a better shot than most. As mentioned above, the ideal position would be unionized and have the usual 'public service' political defenses against cuts ('they hate children, cops, firefighters, grandma, etc').

    ReplyDelete
  21. I am tempted to call this letter a setup or joke.

    You went to undergrad, got a degree.

    You went to Lawschool, got a degree and passed the bar.

    With all this edukation, you are living in your parent's house. You make less than a waitress at a busy Waffle Hut.

    This "man child" is thinking about going to get an MBA and will have well over $250k in debt when he gets out.

    Is anyone REALLY this stupid?

    He didn't have a business undergrad. He has little practical experience in running a business. How does he think he is going to get a job with an MBA?

    Even if he does get a job, how is he going to service his debt? He could easily be paying $16k to $18k in INTEREST ALONE, maybe more....

    I have heard rumors that Nigerian scammers pay big money to get contact information of people who have fallen for scams. It turns out that if you've fallen for it once, there is a good chance you will fall for it twice, or thrice...

    This kid needs to toughen up and wisen up.

    Get a job delivering pizzas at night, wait tables on the weekend. Start an Ebay store.

    Get hustlin and get some money.

    Don't fall twice for the edukation skam!

    ReplyDelete
  22. MBA programs are somewhat useful, in today's market, for part-time evening students who already a job and whose tuition costs are being picked up by the firm they already work for. Otherwise, forget it. It is one of the most overblown degrees imaginable. Ever wonder why well-managed German firms are likely to have a PhD in Engineering as CEO? in the US we fixate on having Harvard MBAs who usually run the organization into the ditch. George Bush being exhibit A.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Good God, don't get an MBA unless it's from Harvard, Penn, or Stanford. You might find it hard to believe, but MBAs are possibly even worse degrees than JDs are. The knowledge you will gain is virtually the exact same stuff you'd learn with a decent undergrad business degree (also worthless) and they charge you more money for it. My recommendations are as follows:

    1) Find a good blue-collar job. Yes, in North Dakota. Sorry, status-chasers, but at a certain point you need to face reality, and the reality is that white-collar jobs are being decimated by automation, downsizing, and offshoring. If blue-collar work is a safe-haven from this, you should go there because having been out of the big leagues as long as you have, your chances of getting back in are small.
    2. If you want to go back to school, get a Master's in Accounting or similar instead, and go to the Big Four. The pay is not as high as BigLaw would have paid (starting pay of $50-$55k in Houston is the number I've heard a lot), but if you do it in a cheap city like Houston you can do quite well for yourself. This is a one-year degree and if your GMAT is good (which I'm guessing it will be based on your educational history) you can probably get pretty good scholarships. If you're worried about math (and most lawyers are, let's be fair), don't be. Accounting is not a math profession, but a rules and people profession, sort of like law is. The math is arithmetic and algebra. Top MAcc programs have virtually 100% placement rates (usually dragged down by foreigners with visa issues). If you go down this route, go tax track and your JD on top of a MAcc will probably be an asset to you. Also, quite a few good MAcc programs don't require you to have an accounting background, including UT and Illinois, two of the top three programs.

    Personally, I recommend the former for you. I'm going down the latter route, but then I'm not walking around with any student loan debt so my decision is easier. I can afford to make less money for a while and work my way up to a solid six-figure salary over 5-7 years. You'll have a much tougher time of it.

    Whichever you do, shed your notions of status. Coming from an Ivy League background, I'm sure you've been surrounded by status-obsessed people for years. Don't let yourself be caught in a terrible situation because you feel that getting into a better situation is somehow beneath you. A trucker making $80k+ while working 50 hours a week and without debt has a better life than a Harvard Law grad who is drowning in debt and works 80+ hour weeks at what is effectively a dead-end job in the most expensive city in the country, no matter how much the latter idiot might appeal to his nice suits and his intellectual crowd. Adjust for cost of living and tax differentiation and that's even more obvious.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The latter option is a good choice if all the following apply:
      1. the MAcc program allows him to graduate in one year w/o prior accounting coursework (most schools require an accounting undergrad for their 1 year program or you'll end up doing 2 years for the MAcc.)
      2. depending on whether he is in a one year or 2 year MAcc, he will be interviewing in his first or 3rd semester (via OCI) and he will need to be ready for it.

      If he can get into big4 via his MAcc, he can get big4 to pay for his tax LLM also, although it is most likely going to be a partial reimbursement. If he goes this route, he can FINALLY capitalize on his JD.

      Delete
    2. The OP doesn't necessarily have to go to the Big 4. Many respectable regional accounting firms are hiring as well, though the starting pay may be 5-8% lower.
      Just do reasonably good in the coursework, which for accounting is predictable. The more you study the better grade you get.
      If you do go to the Big 4, work a few years in audit or tax, and your law experience might be useful in some of the Big 4 advisory lines of work (i.e. compliance, forensic accounting, etc).
      Also, you'll probably be the only person in your office from the Ivy league. I work at Big 4 audit in a large metropolitan area, and I don't know anyone in my office from the Ivy league.

      Delete
    3. @11:58 AM,

      good point. regionals usually are a backup options for those not able to get big4 or prefer a better work-life balance.

      i dont know anyone with a JD doing audit, nor heard of such a situation. I don't think the work/credentials is complementary.

      Delete
  24. MOre options:

    The copy guy is an idiot. But here are some more plausible, if long-shot, alternatives:

    1) take the Foreign Service exam to be a diplomat. It's a longshot that you'll get in, but you're education gives you a leg-up on other people;

    2) FBI speical agent: take that exam;

    3) CIA: ditto;

    4) State Department Bureau of Diplomatic Security special agent exam;

    5) Secret Service agent;

    6) U.S. Customs;

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There's an exam for the FBI? That's news to me.

      Delete
    2. Yes, there are exams for FBI. Two, in fact.

      Note that with anything federal these days, vets are preferred. And by "preferred", I mean "no non-vets need apply."

      So much so that the recent US Marshals announcement excluded everyone but veterans - everyone. The recent ATF agent announcement excluded veterans. The recent DSS SA announcement allowed non-veterans, but none will get through the first stage because there are so many veterans. Same for USSS - too many veterans! Not to mention that most of the agencies mentioned have no intention of hiring anyone until FY2013 at the earliest, probably FY2014. And that is on solid insider information (brother is a USSS agent, and was in the process for FBI, DSS, USMS, ATF, FAMS, USSS UD, ICE or HSI or whatever it's called these days etc.)

      The list goes on and on and on. The federal government is locked up by veterans right now. A JD doesn't trump vet status, even for jobs for which a JD would be far more appropriate than time in the Middle East.

      Move on, nothing to see in the federal government...

      Delete
  25. @10:31

    You get it, you really do.

    @10:32,

    Please explain to me why I am an idiot. What is wrong with trying to get a civil service job that pays six figures and has crazy job security? Not everyone can work at a big law firm, and not everyone can get a prestigious job. Being an NYPD cop or North Dakota trucker is better than being a lawyer with 250k in loans practicing shit law. END OF STORY.

    From a percentage point of view, is getting a civil service job likely? No.

    However, the numbers don’t give you the whole story. The entrance exams are extraordinarily easy. They are made for people that have a tough time graduating high school, forget about college. I am not trying to be mean, have a look at the exam, and please tell me that you don’t think someone with an Ivy league education will be among the 15% or so that score a perfect score.

    I do not think the alternatives you suggested are bad, but, they are much, much harder to get than the jobs I mentioned. The jobs you outlined have real competition, i.e. people with serious credentials are competing for those jobs. That doesn’t mean the kid shouldn’t try to get those jobs, as the risk is also smaller than getting an MBA, but he should hedge his bets with high-paying municipal jobs.

    Again, not everyone can get a prestigious big law or federal government job. There aren’t enough of them.

    ReplyDelete
  26. I think this man's "plan" just shows how deeply entrenched the "education is the key to your success" myth is to recent grads. We got scammed by law schools. Business school is the twin of the law school scam. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. As class of 2009-2011, we are sort of "off the hook" (at knowingly being scammed) because the scam had not been revealed yet, as the true evil that it is. If you go to business school now, you are like a Class of 2015 kid. All the information was available to you, and yet you chose the scam anyway. It is going to be hard for those kids to get any sympathy from the rest of us. You will be like them if you chose an MBA, with one difference, you had actual personal experience of being scammed. And yet you signed up again, for essentially the same thing. Just admit that you got scammed. It's ok, you are in great company. But then commit to not get scammed again.

    Your goals are to have a grown up job, not live at your parents house and not to be poor. Getting an MBA might take the edge off for 2-3 years because you will be in school and get to defer your loans, but then they come back twice as big after that period. Why not start getting scrappy and creative with making money. Get the CDL, drive the truck, sell items on EBAY, substitute teach, sell the plasma, bartend/serve at night, in addition to finding one legal niche and building that up. Also keep doing your 15 billable hours at 30 dollars/an hour gig. Just think of yourself as a renaissance man and be as creative as possible to make a living. Also totally commit to not take out any more debt until all your debt is paid off. Then go get that MBA, but I doubt you would still want it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. C/O 2009-2011 definitely had it the worst. I've always believed in merit, hard work and connections as the dispositive success factors, but the timing aspect of luck played such a significant role in this downturn.

      Delete
    2. I love the "Renaissance Man" aspect of this explanation. Stop being a student and start being a master of your life!

      Delete
  27. @10:14AM said:

    "Get hustlin and get some money."

    Last night I couldn't sleep and watched a great old film noir movie: "Night In The City" (1950) directed by Jules Dassin, and starring Richard Widmark and Gene Tierney.

    Widmark played a character called Harry Fabian that was a real hustler who was trying to start a wrestling promotion business. Fabian raised the money by begging, borrowing and stealing, and he scammed just about everyone in the process.

    Anyway, in the end Harry Fabian gets strangled by an angry Pro Wrestler called "The Strangler" near an abutment of the London Bridge while a syndicate boss looked on.

    The movie was later remade with Robert Deniro and Jessica lange, but I think the 1950 version, was better.



    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I liked the 1991 remake with Robert DeNiro better because the Harry Fabian character is a sleazy NYC personal injury shitlawyer who becomes a boxing manager and runs afoul of the mob.

      Delete
    2. Ummmm....why couldn't you sleep JD Painter? I mean if you have any sort of problems, you really should feel free to share them with everyone.

      Delete
    3. JDPainter, if we wanted to read about you and your midnight movie choices, we'd go to your blog. God knows you advertise it enough here.

      Please, please, leave us alone!!!

      Delete
    4. I second that. All of his posts hereunder, and for the past few days, have been self-promoting irrelevance. And his blog, what, is it the third or forth iteration of the same old shit he copies and pastes?

      Just look at his list of links on his site: ME in an interview with Cryn, ME in a shitty local news segment, MY story in the ABA Journal, etc. It's masturbation!

      Nando is keeping Painter's blog on life support by commenting on every shitty re-re-re-re-repost he makes. And if Nando had any sense, he would pull the fucking plug! JD Painter is ONE HUGE REASON why people in general think that every law grad who can't get a job is retarded, lazy, and deserving of their plight.

      And Jesus Christ, I know that this post telling you to fuck the hell off Painter will sound like "Painter, you're the best!" when you read it! I don't know why I bother.

      In fact, Painter, fuck it. You have just driven off one regular commentator on this site. See ya. I'd rather go through my student loan issues alone than be indirectly associated with you.

      Delete
    5. Leave_Brittany_ALONE!!September 4, 2012 at 4:35 PM

      HeySeuss, you a$$wipes yelling at JDP - of COURSE his blog says "me, I did, ME, I did". It's his blog. What else do you expect?

      Lay off, I say. Crap, man, when the guy posts here he just tends to provide some conversational drivel. So what? Is it any less banal than what I, or you post?

      (Hey, we can't all be MacK's, International Heroes Of The Sublime BullStuffidness!).

      Anyway, to 3:32, if JDP's drivel has "driven you off" then oh well, sucks to be you.

      Grow up, folks.

      Delete
  28. To the original letter writer, who is reading these responses:

    First, I think getting an MBA is a bad idea. You will run into the same problem you had w/ the JD: you will spend a boatload of money trying to get a job. As everyone knows now, education has no value in American society. The sooner we accept that, the sooner we can begin to adjust to the new economy and hopefully one day succeeed in it. The rules we were taught have changed drastically and no longer exist. Currently, there is a backlash against education (along with public workers and the government) and all employers want is experience. So please, don't spend your hard-earned money trying to buy another job. You can't.

    Continuing the legal route won't get you far as well. The legal field doesn't want new graduates, hates them, and doesn't need them. They wish we would all tie a noose around our neck and die. Since we won't, they want to make our lives as miserable as possible, which means paying us substandard wages, abusing us, and forcing us to work for free for ages.

    If you are set on making the legal route work for you, then accept that you will never make an income from it and that it is something you will just have to do for free while you work a retail or fastfood job (something with flexible hours.) Also accept that you will probably have to live w/ your parents while you do this. I am not being facetious - if it means that much to you, realize that these are the sacrifices you will have to make and decide whether you wish to make them.

    If you decide that it is not worth it to you, then feel free to move into another field. It is a liberating thought: no more having to work for free or put up w/ abusive bosses or abusive, less-than-minimim wage wages! Once you get it out of your head that you don't have to be an attorney because you have set your mind to it for so long and invested over $200K for it, you will be amazed at all the opportunities that await you that will not require so much financial sacrifice and debt.

    You mentioned taking on debt to get an MBA. If you are prepared to take on debt for that, why not make a more sound investment? Pick a non-legal field that is related to what you would have liked to have done in law and pick a few places near you that do that work. Send them your resume and a cover letter today, offering to do an unpaid internship because you are that interested in working there. Perhaps you could make a phone call as well. I am not in favor of neverending unpaid internships, but one thing I have learned is that it is only the legal field that expects you to work for years on end unpaid (because they are taking advantage of the fact that you have already invested years of your life and finances for this field and therefore won't want to throw in the towl at this point.) However, other fields recognize that people will not work for free forever and actually offer paid positions for those that work hard in the end.

    You can also try to get paid jobs in the field you are looking for as well. The key is, you don't have to be tied to the legal field and substandard or no wages. There are other fields out there that will appreciate your qualifications and will actually pay you for them. You will just have to start digging around for them.

    I wish you good luck.

    ReplyDelete
  29. Out of curiosity, anyone who is reading this, graduated from a top 20 school, and is in a similar situation, please reply to this comment with whatever information you are willing to share (even if it is a simple "+1"). Thanks in advance.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Apparently NOT.

      Delete
    2. Similar situation. Ivy League undergraduate, top of class at top law school, scarcely an interview, no job.

      Delete
    3. -2. Guess you're back to even.

      Delete
  30. start marketing. people looking for legal expenses would rather pay a top law school grad than a third/fourth tier grad.

    let all the potential clients know you are a grad from a top school and you should be able to get a lot of work from other schmocks - at least to start supporting yourself and eventually hire other to work for you.

    you paid for the degree, start using it to your advantage.

    ReplyDelete
  31. Go into the government contracting world. I graduated from law school a few years ago and passed the bar. However, no luck with the law firm jobs. I did get a couple of lowball offers that I turned down. My student loans are up in the six figures so I just needed to make money and move out of my mom's house. In 2005, I applied to a very large government contractor for Contract Administration work. I started out at $70K. Now, I am at $96K. I am not going to lie and tell you this is fun stuff. I do like making decent pay and love the people I work around. The salaries for people with JDs and multiple years of experience in government contracting go up to $150K. I would avoid the MBA. Time for you to consider an alternative career.

    ReplyDelete
  32. on a totally unrelated facetious note...

    http://sfist.com/2012/09/04/how_to_live_like_a_voluntarily_home.php

    ReplyDelete
  33. "As class of 2009-2011, we are sort of "off the hook" (at knowingly being scammed) because the scam had not been revealed yet, as the true evil that it is."

    Excuse me? Perhaps you didn't read the front page WSJ article that was published in 2007. Perhaps you weren't familar with JDUnderground, BiglawSmallDebt, Tom the Temp's blog, or the dozens of other blogs that were ringing the warning bells as early as 2005.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That is unfair. Those blogs were not as well known as it is now.

      Delete
    2. At the best law schools, there were plenty of jobs for everyone pre-Lehman. It wasn't a scam then for those students.

      Delete
    3. Ok, we don't get 100 percent sympathy. I did use the words, "sort of". Things have changed since then, big time. Just like the class of 2012 is more sympathetic than the class of 2015. I started in Aug. 2008, the economy had tanked, but waiting it out for three years in law school was preached as a good idea. Maybe it wasn't the best, maybe we could have really done more research, but why. The scam was barely on the radar. It wasn't like it is now. I preach the scam to everyone I meet (on planes, on dates, to people at church) and they all have some idea of how bad it is, WE didn't.

      Delete
    4. Very well then, you are officially a victim.

      Happy now?

      Delete
  34. Anybody who says "[with minimal qualifications] you can get a six-figure [any] job almost overnight. " is full of it.

    Part of really using Google is knowing what's BS.

    ReplyDelete
  35. save me save me from tomorrow dont want to sail with in a ship of fools" I want to run and hide right now" from ship of fools world party. cheer up jd painter

    ReplyDelete
  36. I would go to Texas and get a job in the oil industry on the Gulf as a ordinary worker if necessary, establish residency, and save some money. Then with some money in the bank go to UT Austin or Texas A&M as an in-state student and get a Petroleum engineering or related degree. They start at $80 thousand currently and average $140,000 and have benefits such as 401k, medical, AND pensions (remember those?). You can have your company pick up the costs for your Master's later on, and eventually get a doctorate if you're so inclined. $80 thousand in Houston easily matches the mythical and long-gone $160 big law starting salary in NYC.

    ReplyDelete
  37. BTW, the original ATL article's numbers don't add up.

    Second, when my brother was a truck driver back in in the 90's, the pay stank. Since then, the national economy has tanked, and ND oil field jobs are a very, very small percentage of the national job market.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Nobody wants to work in ND. Supply and demand.

      Delete
  38. Doc review. It won't waste your time any more than whatever you're doing now plus you'll make enough money to live on your own. And, you'll meet a lot of people who could potentially help you. I did doc review for 4 years before a fellow coder tipped me off to the opportunity that became my current job.

    ReplyDelete
  39. @11:50AM

    Yes, the first version I saw was the 1992 remake with Robert Deniro, and you are right in that he did confess to being of a weak character in that he settled cases as a lawyer, and for a fast buck on behalf of police brutality plaintiffs he represented etc.

    But later, when I realized that the 1992 movie was a remake of the 1950 movie (which surely has to be based on a novel or play, unknown to me yet) I eagerly watched the 1950 movie version and had to admit the 1950 version is better.

    Mostly because of other issues or topics, like the wrestling scene, wherein the more intelligent and older, classic Greco-Roman wrestler of Greek heritage defeats the cheap and less intelligent Hulk Hogan type of wrestler, I guess, is what gives the older movie the nod.

    And I think very often of that old scene now when watching how American Civilization is in decline with the rise of nothing les than street brawl ultimate fighting, and the complete abdignation of the spirit of Marcus of Queensbury rules etc. and all other referee regulations under which even the brutal Thrilla in Manilla fight was fought.

    And I view with much dismay a whole spate of new and popular American television shows wherein the backdrop and theme is DEBT, and tattooed covered pawn brokers and debt collectors and car repossessors bully and even beat up people that cannot pay their debts. (Say, in Repo Games and Storage Wars)

    Is not all of this the law school scam in the same ideological spirit?

    And is not the moral of the whole story to warn people against borrowing money from anyone or any entity in today's America, and for anything, including Higher Education?

    The lenders and banks, it seems, can call all of the shots.

    And that ain't right.








    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Painter, why are you here?

      Really, can you please explain why you are here, and what benefit you think you're bringing to the scamblog movement?

      Do you think you are helping?

      And can you answer these simple questions directly and honestly?

      (And no, to respond to what I expect your reply will be, I am not Mr. Infinity.)

      Delete
    2. He is just after attention. He is not really doing anything about his debt load.

      Delete
    3. JDP is the quintessential "attention freak". A 47 year old child.

      Delete
  40. JP Painterguy needs to get on the midnight bus to North Dakota. At $100k/year driving trucks, he'll be able to retire his student loan in no time.

    ReplyDelete
  41. Agree with 12:10. Go into Federal Government Contract work. DHS is hiring but do not, repeat, do not rely on USAJOBS. Agencies do not have to announce jobs on that website. I am lawyer with the Coast Guard and we have several attorneys who work in contracting. Would be glad to help off line through Law Prof. Fed work is great. Pension, days off, and most importantly job security. Have done 31 years and hope to work another 15. Good luck.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are right on the mark about USAJOBS. I work in a fed agency office in Atlanta and less than half of the vacancies we've filled in the last 5 years were posted on USAJOBS.

      Delete
    2. So how does one get this insider information about vacancies? Do I need to know someone on the inside, or do I send a resume to the HR department with a cover letter and hope for the best?

      Serious question. How does anybody get these insider positions?

      (I'm a current federal employee and even I don't know how to do this, but I would love to jump agencies.)

      Delete
  42. Dear Original Letter Writer,

    Apply to every Article III clerkship opportunity possible. You no longer have to be fresh out of law school to be considered for these clerkships, and your academic prize might really help in this sort of competition. Be prepared to go anywhere in the country if you get offered a position. Another possibility is to apply for jobs on Capitol HIl--not easy to get, but by no means impossible with your background. But I agree with other posters that getting an MBA degree would be a big mistake. Good luck, and please let us know what happens!

    ReplyDelete
  43. What about an executive assistant position (with practically any company)? I work for a large manufacturing company, and our EA's (esp. the CFO's) are exposed to every facet of the business. High likelihood of promotion/transfer to another (read prestigious) gig within the company after a year or so.

    If you're still interested in the MBA afterwards, then you've got a hell of a recommendation.

    For those interested in MBA employment stats, try this: http://gmatclub.com/forum/all-2012-mba-rankings-99812.html?fl=menu. Also, Bloomberg provides some pretty good stuff. B-schools have a history of transparency far more impressive than law schools.

    ReplyDelete
  44. JD Painter guy" Born and raised in south Detroit. He took the third tier law school train to anyhwhere" steve perry journey. He but for the grace of God,,,

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. touro is not a third tier law school.

      Delete
  45. Follow up: those salaries are inflated by high earners going back to their original jobs after graduation (think i-bankers). And the original letter writer probably couldn't get into a top 10 program (barring 750+ GMAT..even then...) without a bit of industry experience.

    That said, you would have a solid "fell flat on my face, picked myself up by my bootstraps" story after a few years of work.

    ReplyDelete
  46. To the original letter writer. Skip the MBA. The answer is plastics. There's a great future in plastics.

    ReplyDelete
  47. The lifeblood of many small towns across the USA, and even as we all sleep, depends on the USA nation of trucking, which never sleeps, even more importantly than the sleeplessness of any individual great city.

    I once took a long trip in a Ford Econoline cargo van of mine and on the main us highway, and went up and down the mountains where I passed all kinds if 18 wheeler trucks and was passed by them as they came screaming down the other side, and then I passed them going up the next mountain, and they passed me going down and so on.

    I was so tired at times I had to pull over and sleep at a couple of truck stops.

    I managed to catch 20 or 30 minutes of sleep in the parking lots, and a couple of times, while there, a young and attractive woman would knock on the window with an inquiring look.

    I never took the offer.

    But get real, truck drivers all end up with bad backs and bad attitudes. At least I would if I were a truck driver.

    But when I pulled off the highway and exhausted, I did manage to sleep.

    But if one pulls over for sleep at any truck stop in the USA the rumbling of diesel engines will never stop and will put you to sleep and wake you up sooner or later, because big trucks can't shut their diesel engines off unless they want a big hassle when starting them up again.

    Country and Western Music is for truckers, but it ain't for a Long Island boy, and that is why I am so confused when Sean Hannity champions Aaron Tippon and Ted Nugent, and their type of music, when Hannity is just as much a Long Island a boy as Billy Joel.

    The lifeblood of the USA is highway trucking and its culture, but trucking slows way down at the Cross Bronx, and thins way out on the Throgs Neck Bridge and going to the LIE.

    Maybe, and in a sense, the Long Island People are sheltered in that they do not have to deal with 75 plus MPH trucks as the New Jersey people do on the Jersey Turnpike and westward and onto the great, rolling fields of the Republic that Fitzgerald spoke about.








    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sounds like you need to take the midnight bus to North Dakota to work in the oil industry. With a 100K+ job you could pay off those student loans in a few years. And you wouldn't be here always complaining about your debt and never doing anything about it.

      Delete
    2. I realize this comes as news to no one but JDP is deeply disturbed. (My apologies to the deeply disturbed everywhere.) What a nitwit.

      Delete
    3. You should have taken the offer.

      Delete
  48. @1:30 - agreed. DO NOT RELY on USAJOBS. Also, don't just look at the Federal Government but its Contractors (Bechtel, Shaw Group, URS, Boeing, CH2M, etc). Someone else said go into the Oil/Gas industry in Houston. That is also a good idea. In fact, there are several Contract Administrator jobs in Houston for Shell, BP, Chevron, and so on. Oil/Gas Contract Administrator + JD = $80-$120K.

    ReplyDelete
  49. J.D. Painter:

    From the NY Times article linked above: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/01/business/student-debt-collector-misled-borrowers-appeals-court-rules.html?_r=1&src=rechp.

    "Debtors must demonstrate that repaying the loan “would impose an undue hardship on the debtor,” showing that they cannot maintain a minimal living standard, that their dismal state of affairs is likely to continue and that they have made a good-faith effort to repay."

    Have there been cases where the compounded principal and interest rate and penalties are as high as yours? You've got the highest debt of anyone I know. At some point, you would think that the impossibility of ever paying off such an enormous sum of money would be grounds for a discharge in bankruptcy.

    Give yourself some hope. Call someone.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This is good advice. He should go for the discharge. He will never pay it back and a smart judge will see that. He should put down this burden.

      Delete
  50. One option would be to look into PhD programs in business. The business school pays you a stipend as well as your tuition. Your Ivy League background would make you an attractive candidate. Check out the Phdproject website for more information,

    ReplyDelete
  51. There is an assumption in the question: "I need to go to school to thrive in the economy."
    Or "I will do ANY mundane academic hoop jumping just to be an employee who is told what to do."

    What do you think you'll learn in these programs?
    And why do you think they will help you?
    Business school, just like law school, doesn't simulate the real world. The business school case studies happen very rarely. Most people with MBA's are doing the work that non-mba's did 20 years ago.
    Since you're so willing to pay another $120K on information, just so you can be offered employment, you should consider opening a franchise business, like Subway, or Hewitt-Jackson legal services.
    I'm a manager at a very large health care company, and i dropped out of my MBA 8 years ago. About 1 month ago, i was meeting with my boss, and said "I just completed my certifications in Information Security & Project Management. Maybe i should go finish my MBA." My boss, who has an MBA, said "No, that won't help much."

    Globalization has decimated regular employer-employee relationships. You should keep your money, and put it towards starting your own business. An MBA is very little help nowdays. More schooling is very little help nowdays, especially for someone with multiple degrees.

    (Do they teach any critical thinking in law school?)

    ReplyDelete
  52. I graduated from a top ten law school this year. Over the past week, I've had a chance to reconnect with friends who graduated in previous years. One did a federal clerkship and is now unemployed and looking for work. Another ended up as a secretary for a year before working as a clerk for a state court. He has defaulted twice on his student loans. Another clerked for a federal clerk and just recently found work in a six-person firm.

    Law schools report the 9-month employment numbers. But what happens in the long-run to the large number of people with only temporary jobs in the first year? My encounters this week suggest that their outcomes are not good and that law schools should pay attention to this un- or under-employed class of graduates. Yet it is all too easy to ignore them once they are out of sight. Are current students competing against these former students? Or are the former students marginalized in the market?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wel, did you really think the JoePa scandal wouldn't affect outcomes at U. Penn. States highly-ranked Philly campus?

      Delete
    2. LOL. Yeah, it's hard for Penn State-Philadelphia to compete with Yale-New Haven, even though it does have a pretty solid international law program.

      Delete
    3. You hit the nail on the head. Current students are competing with more experiences grads.

      Delete
  53. Instead of just leaping before you look, read some authors who went to MBA school and found the reward just as frustrating as you're finding your JD.
    "Monkey Business:Swinging through the wall street jungle""
    "The Management Myth"
    "Ahead of the Curve"
    -
    My buddy hated his software engineer job, and finished his MBA program 5 years ago. Due to a need for income to support his wife & 2 boys, he took the highest paying job he could find: the one he had before he got his MBA.

    ReplyDelete
  54. Ad Revs for LS Debtor Charities!September 4, 2012 at 4:19 PM

    PC should really start advertising on this `site. Now that he's into the hundreds of comments daily, with some of us addicts refreshing pages every 3 or 4 minutes, he could start to make some bank that could be applied toward a "scholly" (loosely defined) for the LS debtor with the saddest story.

    ReplyDelete
  55. Make that, "clerked for a federal judge!" With typos at this rate, I'll be unemployed too :)

    ReplyDelete
  56. Dear "Should I get an MBA:"

    Unless you obtained an MBA in a joint degree program with a JD, no employer will respect you, regardless of your past academic laurels. In addition to incurring an additional year of wasted tuition and life, employers will see you as someone who could not hack the legal profession. So they will see your transparent treatment of an MBA as "Plan B." You are better off applying for a job as a security screener with the TSA or operating an oil rig in the midwest. Don't even bother going to Austrailia (look up their xenophobe policies against immigrant workers), Europe (where the economy is imploding and unemployment rate is 30% in the 21-30 age range) or Asia (where the markets are already saturated with English speaking people). The fact is you were born 20 years late and you fell for the higher education scam.

    Ivy league degrees are not as prestigious as they once were. 30 years ago, the Harvard Club and the third tier Cornell Club in NYC was very exclusive. Nowadays, it is packed with plebes. Ivy league grads are a dime a dozen in NYC. You should sue your parents for wrongful birth.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. True about the proles taking over the Ivies. Small N.E. colleges like Benington are where you will find the uppers these days.

      Delete
  57. Nix the MBA. Start networking. Find somebody who has a good start up with no money. Offer to work for free for a percentage of the business. Work your butt off. Keep doing it until one hits.

    More education isn't the solution. It's more problem.

    ReplyDelete
  58. Second Thing. Go to a ton of craft shows and festivals. Find a cool idea. Duplicate it. Cash money.

    ReplyDelete
  59. The best idea is to say f**k it. Live with your parents until they die. Complain on blog sites with other losers.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I represent that remark!

      Delete
    2. No, no, no. There is a law job for everyone that really wants one!!

      Delete
    3. Milk_O_Land_O_Honey_,_In_FactusSeptember 4, 2012 at 5:41 PM

      Yup

      Delete
  60. 4:20, "Don't even bother going to Austrailia (look up their xenophobe policies against immigrant workers)"

    Yuh. Keep wuppin' their "barristers" butts in nego's and suits despite playin' by their rules and they can't figure out is what they need them, is some serious new blood.

    Yet they keep sayin' they "don't want any of us effin' Cowboys" (Yanks) in their midst.

    ReplyDelete
  61. Why not look into a healthcare field other than medical school. for instance, what about nursing, physical therapy, occupational therapy etc? They don't pay like the MD does, but they pay fairly well and better than you'll do for years as a struggling small firm lawyer. Plus, the education time is much less than the MD degree.

    And most importantly, there are jobs in this area. MBA, who knows. Its another general degree where the skills are soft. I wouldn't double down on this. I'd want hard skills that I can use immediately.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Physical therapy has pushed itself (i.e., their professional organization, the APTA) to a 3-year post UG doctorate programme. Not to say it's not do-able, but it's another $90K in debt. For the exact same job that anyone 10 years ago could have done with a BS-PT. (The whole deal is, "if we all have doctorates, we can lobby the state legislatures to permit us to diagnose and prescribe" PT treatments, which most places a regular PT can not do - they must currently rely on (e.g.) an orthopedist to refer).

      Delete
    2. I should add - I'm 5:34 directly above - that I myself am strongly considering doing the PTDr in any event. That doesn't mean I'm not aggrieved by the machinations of that professional association.

      Delete
    3. This is as insane as the pharmacist at CVS needing a "Pharm.D" to fill prescriptions. What the hell is wrong w America and this stupid credential-inlation? Law is far from the biggest offender.

      Delete
    4. Probably not PosnerSeptember 4, 2012 at 7:36 PM

      A comment on credentialing:

      Over the past year, we've heard a lot (esp. outside the legal profession) about how there are employers looking to hire but can't find people qualified for the job. Inside the legal profession, we've heard a lot about how clients aren't willing to pay high salaries for new associates. What these employers and clients in fact seem to be saying is that they are not willing to bear the costs of training.

      In turn, we've heard politicians and others respond with proposals for new educational programs, to be footed presumably by a combination of taxpayers and the students themselves. This situation seems quite advantageous to employers--have someone else bear as much of the training cost as possible.

      But before we as taxpayers are asked to pay for these training programs, it's probably worth considering what kind of skills we think should be taught in a class and what kind should be taught on the job. While a theoretical baseline can be taught in a classroom, the more tailored a skill is to a particular job and the more non-transferable, the more it should probably be on the job training.

      Whether it is worthwhile to an employer to train is another question. Whether it makes sense for law schools to give vocational training probably depends on whether an individual school can expect its graduates to receive that training on the job. The point of this comment: we should think more about how we allocate the training burden between schools and employers, and think very carefully before creating or expanding degree programs.

      Delete
    5. Probably not PosnerSeptember 4, 2012 at 7:50 PM

      Additional comment:

      Unfortunately, however, both educational institutes and employers can benefit from shoving training onto schools. It's a mutually beneficial relationship from their point of view; meanwhile students lose.

      Delete
    6. Right. Given the complexities of legal practice much detail will inevitably need to be learned on the job. My small-town practice involves trust issues that it is unrealistic to expect to be covered in a basic T&E class. Probably making law school 2 years is the most. obvious reform, but expect the bloody bastards to fight it tooth and nail.

      Delete
  62. Getting a PhD in business is really not a very good idea, in my opinion. A PhD is as tainted as a law degree in the mind of employers. They figure you will leave to teach at the University level at the first opportunity. The other fly in the ointment is that our young unemployed lawyer has zippo business experience and thus no credibility. It would be like having an MBA on steroids. Utterly useless.

    ReplyDelete
  63. Ain't hurtin' - yetSeptember 4, 2012 at 5:29 PM

    @5:05, "The best idea is to say f**k it. Live with your parents until they die. Complain on blog sites with other losers."

    From this post o' yourn I'd gather you're doin' pretty well fer yerself.

    Jest you remember - some of us who post on here are doin' okeh, too.

    But we are aware enough of our surroundings (as you appear not to be) to understand that tomorrow we may well not be doing so well.

    And even if that tomorrow never comes, some of us who are doing fine at the moment are self-aware enough (as you appear not to be) to realize that a lot of our current good fortune is just that.

    EndTrans.

    ReplyDelete
  64. 10:50:

    You're an idiot because no one goes to Ivy league undergrad and top 5 law school to chase shoplifters and stake out redlights.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. zzt....zzzzzztttt.... I think I hear a mosquito a-buzzin.... zzzzttt.

      Delete
    2. I'm willing to do those things (although, no, they weren't what I had in mind). I just don't believe that I could be hired to do them.

      Delete
  65. 10;50:

    Or haul a load of pigshit from Minot to Fargo.

    ReplyDelete
  66. With GradPLus Loans with no limit does this means we can just keep going to school and never have to get a real job? I'm serious.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey, if I wasn't gainfully employed, I'd give it a whirl...

      Delete
  67. I'm going for my JD/PHD/LLM/MD/MSL/JSD/MD/MBA

    ReplyDelete
  68. Yeah, just go and get a CDL. First, it will cost thousands (anywhere from $4-5k) for training and you just might fail. Second, upon graduation you will be a trainee wherever you work. Third, the majority of the jobs are OTR (Over The Road) which is long haul where you will be out for two weeks and then have two days off then out for two weeks. Fourth, you will have to drive long hours (maximum 11 hours per day), in bad weather, when you're tired, deal with bad drivers, sleep in the truck, etc. Fifth, there are federal regulations involving log books, weight of load, different traffic laws of states, etc. where YOU, not the trucking company, are responsible. Sixth, trucking is not a job so much as it is a lifestyle. I can go on and on but I'll end with lucky number 7-Seventh, if you can get a regional route, hopefully as a union member, and can be home every night then it can be pretty good...but everybody wants these gigs and it's going to be experienced drivers who get them.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And you forgot about having to load and unload a lot of heavy shit for a few dollars an hour.

      I (one of those Ivy League undergraduates) looked into it when a trucking company advertised free training. That turned out to be a lie: training was only free on Ash Wednesday for people who had driven a truck in the army.

      Delete
  69. Yes truck driving is Federally Regulated! Overtime? You are limited on how long you can drive per day. And that is another 5k in loans that he would have to take. 100k a year? More like 45k the first year and about 60k after that. Maybe a 100k if you're a married couple driving. I don't have the statistics but they sound similar to the law school job placement.

    MBA? The only reason to get an MBA is if you want to be a finicial advisor in some type of bank setting. Don't go in debt for that.

    Starting a law firm? It's hard and depressing. You wait for the phone to ring and spend the money that you have on advertising. It takes around 3 years to develop a good practice. That does not happen overnight. Plus you are going to be competing against other firms.

    You could always join the FBI over being a truck driver. One of the requirements is to be an attorney for some of the agents (but this is probably saturated too),

    My free advice don't go get an MBA one professional degree is enough

    ReplyDelete
  70. I don't know what specific advice to give you. Just some general thoughts from the school of been there, done that:

    1. Your law degree is worthless. In fact, it is worse than worthless. It will actually prevent you from getting jobs. The only thing law school teaches you is how to be a worthless prick no one wants to be around.

    2. As worthless as that law degree is, you are stuck with with it. It is a sunk cost, and you are not going to get your time and money back.

    3. Big law is done with you. The only way your are going to get a big law job is if you have a book of blue chip clients. Ain't gonna happen.

    4. The best thing you probably can do is try to unlearn everything they taught you in law school, that is, stop being a worthless prick.

    5. You need to find where the jobs are at. The jobs are not in the legal field. There are jobs in other fields, like medicine.

    6. You really need to lower your expectations about what you are worth. If you walk into a job interview hoping to be offered a job which pays six figures, you won't get the job. I have been on hiring committees; anyone who announces high salary expectations is immediately axed. Find out what the job pays, and stay in that range.

    7. Let's be honest here: If you are only a few years out of law school, you are not worth $100,000 per year. You probably are not even worth $50,000 a year. Try $30,000 per year.

    8. A big law salary is a mirage used to justify a higher hourly rate at the firm. Yes, this is tough to hear. To get and keep a job, you have to justify your existence.

    9. There are many government jobs, but most of them are at the state and local level. Of those, most are at the city and county level. Most of them do not require any specialized training or degrees. Most of them do not pay big bucks. Most of them are not unionized or civil service -- it's employment at will. Many of them are in small communities.

    10. Right now, governments are not hiring. They are firing.

    11. You really have to keep your mind and options open. Don't get tunnel vision, and keep your expectations in check.

    High Plains Lawyer

    ReplyDelete
  71. I don't claim any special expertise on this, but I agree that the MBA is a bad bet. I think you would be better off looking for an entry-level business or government job over the next year, and continuing your part-time practice while you look. If your practice takes off, great; if not, you can take the other job and gain some hands-on experience.

    As everyone acknowledges, those entry-level jobs aren't easy to get--hundreds of thousands of BAs are out looking for them. That's why I suggest you look while continuing your part-time practice; it may take as long to find a suitable entry-level job as it would to get admitted to an MBA program.

    If you hope to use your JD, you could look in the "JD advantage" areas. I would *never* recommend going to law school for a job in that category, but they're an option for a graduate in your position to consider. Contracting, compliance, human resources, and logistics are some of the most common jobs in this category. (Logistics, I've discovered, is a position in which someone plans and coordinates all of the purchasing, distribution, etc. for a company. It combines contracting with organization.) Entry-level management and administration are another option. These may not use the JD in any way to start, but if you advance in the organization, you might work your way into a position that uses some of your lawyer skills.

    Taking a job in one of those fields might yield only $30,000-40,000 per year to start; that's far below what you would have expected with a JD. But starting to gain experience may be the best way to build toward a better salary and more options in the future. I hope things work out for you.

    ReplyDelete
  72. Why not consider the new Yale PhD in law?

    http://www.law.yale.edu/graduate/PHD_program.htm

    No experience necessary.
    Can be followed up with years of fellowships.
    Will surely whitewash not having a JD from Yale.
    Creates more job-protecting barriers to entry once it becomes the required credential for law profs.

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    1. LOL-assume this is satire?

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    2. Probably not PosnerSeptember 4, 2012 at 8:27 PM

      There seems to be an assumption that the Yale PHD is intended for candidates who don't have a JD from a traditional professor-producing school. But, the program clearly fails if it cannot place its graduates in academic jobs. So if we assume that a law school hiring committee could see through attempts to "whitewash" a bad JD, doesn't the Yale PHD really need to get people with H/Y/S JDs to enroll in order to make the program succeed?

      But why would people with HYS JDs enroll? This program is probably not destined to stay the alternative to a fellowship that it claims to be--given the tendency of academia to grow to serve its own interests (let's create more students we need to teach and make it harder for students to catch up to us!), it probably grows to become a step required before a fellowship if the program succeeds.

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    3. Disagree. Yale Ph.D seems preferable (well, aside from living in New Haven rather than Boston) to a Climenko fellowship at Harvard, which requires (ick) teaching legal writing. So, not so crazy of a move on Yale's part given the proliferation of serf-like fellowships. But what fo I know, I'm just small-law dude.

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