Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Slaves of DC

“Your great-grandfather was a former governor of this state,” she said.
“Your grandfather was a prosperous land-owner. Your grandmother was a Godhigh.”
“Will you look around you,” he said tensely, “and see where you are now?” and he swept his arm jerkily out to indicate the neighborhood, which the growing darkness at least made less dingy.
“You remain what you are,” she said. “Your great-grandfather had a plantation and two hundred slaves.”
“There are no more slaves,” he said irritably.
                  --  Flannery O'Connor, Everything That Rises Must Converge --

I was talking to a journalist yesterday about the law school mess, and she mentioned interviewing a couple of people in front of American University's law school, which according to the school's virtual tour of its facilities is in one of DC's more desirable areas:

Located on tree-lined Massachusetts Avenue in the District, WCL is minutes from downtown D.C. yet close to parks, trails, neighborhood restaurants, shopping, and some of the nicest residential neighborhoods in the Washington, D.C. area.
I quoted her the school's graduating class of 2011's appalling employment statistics -- 300 of 467 graduates didn't have a legal job, loosely defined, nine months after graduation -- and described how the average member of that class had around $200,000 in educational debt (officially the class averaged $151,000 in law school debt, but with accrued interest this gets kicked to around $175K, plus undergraduate debt isn't counted in that total).

But of course even those grim numbers are probably fluffed by things like this, sent along to me yesterday by a helpful reader:



District of Columbia Court of Appeals
Senior Judicial Internship Description


                      Judge Blackburne-Rigsby sits on the District of Columbia Court of Appeals. 
Congress established the District of Columbia Court of Appeals as the highest court of the District of Columbia in 1970, and the court is the equivalent of a state supreme court.
            As the highest court for the District of Columbia, the Court of Appeals is authorized to review all final orders, judgments, and specified interlocutory orders of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia.  To learn more about the Court of Appeals, please visit:


            The Judicial internship provides an excellent opportunity to learn first-hand about the court, and hone your legal writing and research skills.  Judge Blackburne-Rigsby has two full-time Judicial Law Clerks, with whom the senior judicial intern will work closely.  The intern’s major responsibilities will be divided between substantive legal research and writing at the appellate level and record review.  Please note that this is a non-paid position.  The start date will be mid October 2012.


Qualifications:             Recent graduate with excellent legal research and writing skills as well as the ability to multi-task.

Time Commitment:     Must be available to work a minimum of 30 hours per week.

Interested graduates should send a cover letter, resume, transcript, writing sample and references to:

LaVerne Atiba
Judicial Administrative Assistant to
The Honorable Anna Blackburne-Rigsby
District of Columbia Court of Appeals
430 E Street, N.W., Suite 208
Washington, D.C. 20001
Phone: 202-879-2731
 
I would very much like to know how The Honorable Anna Blackburne-Rigsby, who is already provided by the District of Columbia with two full-time assistants who perform most if not all of the less pleasant tasks associated with her sinecure, believes it's honorable to take advantage of the desperation of new law school graduates in this fashion.

Does it occur to her Honor that this sort of thing just creates one more barrier to entry to the legal profession to everyone but the children of privilege?  Most people, after all, can't afford to work for free while plugging a resume gap with a phony "judicial clerkship" that is likely to swell the employment stats collected by some lucky law school's office of career services (what do you want to bet that this "internship" ends up getting counted as a full-time "long-term" position requiring bar admission?).

At least if a Georgetown or GW grad snaps it up, he or she will get kicked $15 per hour from the school. American, despite its enormous class and its $50,149 annual tuition, is apparently sufficiently penurious that it could only afford to pay for "part-time short-term" positions for 21 of the 27 of its 2011 graduates it was employing in February of this year.  Thus a 2012 graduate of the school is consequently less likely to provide Judge Blackburne-Rigsby with a year's worth of free labor than is an unemployed alum of one of the school's more prosperous legal academic neighbors.

163 comments:

  1. Just started month 4 of unemployment. First time near or at the top of the comment line.

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    1. Wow, I got First. Good for me for having the time on my hands?? Seeing AU's employment stats made me think that as a 2011 grad I'm actually happy that I took a full 'scholarship' at a T4 instead of paying full fare to a school in the 30-60 range. Even without tuition I added 40K to my debt load at the end of the day, but 80 without a job is better then 200+ without a job.

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    2. Sorry to hear about the unemployment. Not to (now) switch to harsh mode, but are you saying that you had a full tuition scholly but borrowed $40K during LS for expenses?

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    3. That's $13.3K per year for living expenses from enrollment to taking the bar. Doesn't exactly seem like an extravagant lifestyle.

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    4. Didn't intend to imply 14K a year was a terribly extravagant lifestyle. It's not all that much. In fact, it's about what a $10/hr job would cover, figuring not more than 20 hpw during school to stay in the ABA's good graces (if one cares to do so) and figuring full time during the breaks.

      So why go yet another $40K in debt?

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  2. I'm beginning to think that the only people who can succeed in law nowadays are the rich and connected.

    I'm sure those from YLS would beg to differ.

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    1. Same as it ever was.

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    2. Yale Law School itself is dominated by the scions of the rich and connected.

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    3. I go to Columbia Law, no connections, no wealth, no job, and a ton of debt. I feel like coming here may have been my stupidest idea ever.

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  3. Best Tama Janowitz reference of the day.

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  4. I live in the DC metro area. Most of my colleagues (entry level) start at 50-60K per year.

    Rent is the first paycheck of every month for those who live in the District or nearby. With roommates.

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  5. The slave labor of the post-graduation "internships" that last indefinitely have become common in all of the major cities. In 2013, NY will require slave labor after graduation as a condition of bar admission. The government loves this method of keeping budgets low -- I got denied a position after an interview in a written letter stating that the DA's budget did not allow for new hires in the 2012 fiscal year.

    Quick example: I went to a client's calendar call a few weeks ago in Manhattan, and one ADA supervised a couple of free interns, who read to the judge the status of the cases and performed other entry-level grunt work.

    Also, I know that the attorney general in the city has a number of free employees working 40-50 hour per week on substantive tasks. Many desperate new lawyers see this as a path to employment, but this rarely succeeds.

    Yes, only independently wealthy people with parents living in the city could afford to take these types of slave positions to boost a resume. If you do not have parents rich enough to live near the city courthouses, you would have to fork over hundreds a month in train/subway/gas/parking. Also, you would starve.

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    1. I've seen some lower-income people take unpaid internships. The difference is that they generally also work a couple other jobs. I'm not sure whether they end up sticking it out.

      Sadly, I've also noticed that many unpaid internships are non-substantive. It's almost like you now need a bad unpaid internship before you can move to a better unpaid internship.

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    2. Our fed govt office is ramping up the free intern program. We'll be rotating 25 interns part-time during fall term and another 25 during spring term from local law schools and yet another 25 full time during the summer. I always make a point of giving interns substantive assignments mixed with the unavoidable junk. I feel very sorry for these kids, especially the rising 3Ls in summer, since we NEVER hire interns and we used to pay them a decent wage [$800-1000/wk for full-time] back in 2007 or so. The quality of resumes we get for these unpaid positions is AMAZING. The ones we select are bright and hard-working but there are no slots available to hire any of them.

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    3. 3:12 - you oughtta send LP a private email; he may want to know more of your story. And as you've seen, he does protect his sources.

      Hopefully you're doing the same - that is, I hope all the numbers you're using are skewed to protect the innocent...

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  6. Hopefully the Learned Judge will assign the bench memo to the "senior legal intern" regarding the private sector employer with the audacity to pay an employee a sub-minimum wage in violation of DC's labor laws.


    That would really give the senior legal intern some valuable experience learning about how minimum wage laws work. My 30 second Google search revealing a current DC Minimum Wage Poster indicates that the minimum wage provision in DC does not apply to "persons employed in a bona fide executive, administrative, professional, computer or outside sales capacity."

    Sorry kid, as a legal professional, looks like you can't sue your judge to force her to pay you $8.25/hr. Better start applying to Starbucks and get that IBR application approved ASAP.

    Publius Lex



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  7. It makes you wonder whether the various half-jobs available to recent grads are helping on the whole.

    Unpaid clerkships, jobs with the law school, document review, $10/hour shitlaw gigs, all of these work to provide some experience/income and fill what would otherwise be a hole in the resume. This is supposed to keeps grads afloat and/or provide a stepping stone to a real job down the road. And I am sure in some, or even many cases, this happens. But certainly not in all cases. I wonder if people wouldn't be better off in these sorts of half-measures were not available. Faced with the reality that there is NO place for them in the legal profession, they will be forced to move on with their lives rather than waste a bunch of time before doing the same.

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  8. First rule of being a lawyer:

    (1) Don't live or work in D.C.

    Second rule of being a lawyer:

    (2) Don't live or work in NYC.

    I figured this out in law school *before* I knew about the actual state of the profession.

    And this was the late 1990's.

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    1. Tack an "unless you really have to" onto each of your rules, and that's good advice for just about anybody.

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    2. I also recommend 10 minute commutes and living where you can walk your kids to school, but these aren't really rules.

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    3. "10 minute commutes and living where you can walk your kids to school"

      So, where, Smallville, Kansas?

      Are they hiring lawyers?

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    4. No, near the beach in the South.

      I'm also 10 minutes from the ocean here in the sub-tropics.

      And yes, we just snagged a lawyer (a graduate of Appalachian School of Law) because one our lawyers just left to go somewhere else.

      The problem is that we get hurricanes from time to time.

      But no snow. That's a plus. That's what always annoyed me about living and working in Smallville, Pennsylvania.

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    5. Thanks JP. Not much prospects for ChE focused prep/pros that close to any oceans... but I did manage to escape the Mid-Western winters.

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    6. You mean my prep/pros or your prep/pros?

      If it's you, there's always GE Nuclear.

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    7. Yeah, me. Would GE-Hitachi want a ChE for prep/pros? Looked them up, though, they do have 2 in-house, but it's pretty much all EE work (which is what I tend to find in coastal regions).

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    8. What? Someone from Appalachian Law School finally became a lawyer?

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    9. I did a lot of prep/pros work for GE with a chemical engineering background, however the tech was primarily metallurgical-coatings in nature.

      They were in an outsourcing cycle rather than an in-sourcing cycle. At one point, they went back toward in-sourcing and I got recruited to do my own work (which I declined, having no interest in working in Ohio).

      I only ever touched one GENE patent application since they were using reverse bidding at the time. Most of the work I did was for GEAE, but the short answer to your question is, "ten years ago, yes".

      However, you had to be authorized to do the work, which means that you needed to figure out who is doing it and get in with them.

      So, you can try that approach. Just see which firms are showing up on the patents and you have your answer

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  9. So, the solution is that she not advertise at American. Why not write to her and ask about this?

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  10. The ABA doesn't care. The law schools don't care. Hell, the applicants themselves are probably grateful to have a few more minutes of grace wherein they need not admit to themselves or their loved ones that they made a terrible career decision by attending law school, because umm, Networking! (TM)

    So why shouldn't this judge exploit anybody willing to give her thirty hours of free work? Nothing says that you're a newly graduated professional like having no recourse under the Labor Relations Act to sue for minimum wage or unpaid overtime, right?

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    1. Pardon me, I meant the Fair Labor Standards Act. But hey, it's not like any of those laws meant to protect workers will ever help those poor bastards who were dumb enough to attend law school in the late '00s.

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  11. "Recent graduate with excellent legal research and writing skills as well as the ability to multi-task."

    I don't "multi-task" for free.

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  12. The Judge probably thinks she's doing graduates a favor.

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    1. She's providing Access To The Legal Profession to people who otherwise would be consigned to working for money.

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    2. The Judge -most certainly- thinks she's doing graduates a favor.

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    3. She is.

      Hate the game, not the player.

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    4. Hate the game? Game is the only way I get bangs.

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  13. Lawprof,

    I wouldn't fault Her Honor here, provided she's willing to go to bat for her unpaid intern later on.

    Judge Blackburne-Rigsby can probably can get someone a decent-paying job, or at least a few interviews. Give her the benefit of the doubt of doing her part to help the masses.

    The real scammers are the government agencies, for profit companies, and nonprofits who offer internships for experience and networking. Those almost never lead to full time jobs, and the mid-level bureaucrats have no pull and often no interest in helping an intern out. They are purely about free labor.

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  14. How is this legal? What about FLSA? I guess there is some type of exemption that would cover it--just another example of the gov't exempting itself from the laws everyone else has to follow.

    I too would bet this gets counted as a permanent full time job. If it lasts exactly a year then it would count as "permanent" according to NALP, since their definition of "temporary" is anything LESS than a year.

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    1. There's no government exemption to these laws, and in fact there is a separate law that specifically prohibits the federal government from accepting unpaid labor. But if the internship is "for the primary benefit of the intern," none of that applies. That's how they get out of it.

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    2. Check yer sources, neighborOctober 2, 2012 at 5:12 PM

      4;52 "There's no government exemption to these laws"

      Might want to check your sources as your statement above is not just wrong, it's incredibly wrong. Lawyers as professionals are exempted from minimum wage and/or overtime laws. As are MANY OTHERS. Here:

      The following are examples of employees exempt from both the minimum wage and overtime pay requirements:

      Executive, administrative, and professional employees (including teachers and academic administrative personnel in elementary and secondary schools), outside sales employees, and certain skilled computer professionals (as defined in the Department of Labor's regulations) 1
      Employees of certain seasonal amusement or recreational establishments
      Employees of certain small newspapers and switchboard operators of small telephone companies
      Seamen employed on foreign vessels
      Employees engaged in fishing operations
      Employees engaged in newspaper delivery
      Farm workers employed on small farms (i.e., those that used less than 500 "man‑days" of farm labor in any calendar quarter of the preceding calendar year)
      Casual babysitters and persons employed as companions to the elderly or infirm
      The following are examples of employees exempt from the overtime pay requirements only:

      Certain commissioned employees of retail or service establishments
      Auto, truck, trailer, farm implement, boat, or aircraft salespersons employed by non‑manufacturing establishments primarily engaged in selling these items to ultimate purchasers
      Auto, truck, or farm implement parts‑clerks and mechanics employed by non-manufacturing establishments primarily engaged in selling these items to ultimate purchasers
      Railroad and air carrier employees, taxi drivers, certain employees of motor carriers, seamen on American vessels, and local delivery employees paid on approved trip rate plans
      Announcers, news editors, and chief engineers of certain non‑metropolitan broadcasting stations
      Domestic service workers who reside in their employers' residences
      Employees of motion picture theaters
      Farmworkers
      Certain employees may be partially exempt from the overtime pay requirements. These include:

      Employees engaged in certain operations on agricultural commodities and employees of certain bulk petroleum distributors
      Employees of hospitals and residential care establishments that have agreements with the employees that they will work 14‑day periods in lieu of 7‑day workweeks (if the employees are paid overtime premium pay within the requirements of the Act for all hours worked over eight in a day or 80 in the 14‑day work period, whichever is the greater number of overtime hours)
      Employees who lack a high school diploma, or who have not completed the eighth grade, who spend part of their workweeks in remedial reading or training in other basic skills that are not job specific. Employers may require such employees to engage in these activities up to 10 hours in a workweek. Employers must pay normal wages for the hours spent in such training but need not pay overtime premium pay for training hours

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    3. Yes, sort of. But BamBam was talking about the rules governing unpaid internships, not the FLSA overtime rules. Two different things. And also, there is no exemption to the FLSA for government employees. There just isn't. Many government employees receive overtime.

      It's also not as simple as "all lawyers are exempt from FLSA." Courts apply an independent judgment test to determine whether a given position is "professional or managerial" and therefore exempt from overtime requirements. In practice, yes, very many categories of jobs have been considered to be FLSA-exempt. But why am I arguing with a supposed lawyer who just copied and pasted some gobbledegook he found on the internet? Maybe use some of your unemployment time to do some actual legal research and get back to me. Haha, just kidding, I know you won't do that.

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  15. This is sick...

    I'm a 2L now and over the summer I had an unpaid internship with a secretary-level Executive agency in DC. There were 4 of us, and the others were going into their 3L year...

    I assumed that I wouldn't get paid my 1L summer but I felt so bad for 3L's working for NOTHING after TWO YEARS OF LAW SCHOOL!!!

    There's something horribly horribly wrong here...

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    1. I'm not trying to be flip, but given that situation, why have you not dropped out? When I was in school, everyone got a paid job during first year summer (they were a lot of research assistantship and other non-prestige jobs, but they all paid). Everyone got real summer jobs their second year summers. And real permanent jobs after graduation. If the situation had been what you describe, I defintely would have dropped out and gone to do something else!

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    2. (1) The vast majority of 1L's do NOT get paid summer positions especially if you want experience with a large federal agency (I think this is ridiculous but it's a reality).

      (2) I have already accepted an OFFER for a paid summer honors program with a Major Congressional Agency in DC, which, given their streamlined hiring practices, will most likely be a full-time job upon graduation (given fact that they ONLY take on the number they plan to hire post-graduation; although I understand that most agencies don't take this into account when they bring on associates).

      So, I have been lucky. Others have not.

      The legal profession is flawed on so many different levels, and I truly believe that it is my duty to look out for all those SCREWED by this system, especially given my own success (LUCK).

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    3. Except that federal agencies all used to pay their interns. I had an offer with a "large federal agency" for a 1L summer position 10 years ago, and it was pretty well paid. I ended up taking a research assistantship offer that was more in line with the type of work I wanted to do, and also paid. I work for a very large federal agency, and they paid interns up until about 3-4 years ago. This unpaid BS is a very recent thing.

      That's great that you have a maybe-job, although I'm not sure what "a Major Congressional Agency" is, as Congress doesn't have agencies, major or minor. But in the long term context, what you describe is an unbelievably bad job outlook for law students. Everyone I knew in law school (admittedly not a huge sample size) had a PAID job after first year. Maybe it was different at the bottom tier schools even then, I don't know. But what you describe, compared to what the market was like just 10 years ago, is a huge, negative change.

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  16. A couple of random points on the legal marketplace and the structure of the economy.

    Further proof of how bad low the market has sunk is that, even though I am a lowly NYC solo, I have received several unsolicited inquiries from 2L's + 3L's for UNpaid internships. Sad, truly sad.

    On the economy, it's important to realize that, while the law school scam has its own peculiar attributes, it's really part of a larger structural problem. According to the BLS, only 7 of the the 30 jobs with the highest growth over the next ten years even require a BA and only 2 of them require a graduate degree. http://www.bls.gov/news.release/ecopro.t06.htm . Needless to say, lawyers are not on the list.

    Thus, at the same time that we are cranking out more BA's, MA.'s, JD's, whatever with huge, non-dischargeable debt, we have an economy that is increasingly unable to absorb them. It's not just a debt bubble; it's a massive underemployment problem, too, that shows no signs of improving. And it's not just lawyers.

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    1. Definitely some outrageously priced undergrads but plenty of them are affordable.

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    2. I agree completely. Underemployment and unemployment among recent college graduates is a huge national problem. Part of the solution has got to be making post-graduation unpaid internships illegal for both the private and public sectors.

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    3. agree. abolish slavery!

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    4. Nobody is forced to take an unpaid internship.

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    5. Agreed. If you can't find a legal job that pays, I'm not saying it's your fault (it's the economy's fault) but why not try something else? I know everyone has debt, which is why an entry level 30k a year job doing WHATEVER is better than an unpaid internship that is just going to land you deeper in the hole financially and probably not lead to a real job. What am I missing?

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    6. The thinking is that the unpaid internship could in principle lead to legal work, whereas the entry-level job in another field is the kiss of death to a legal career.

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    7. Making unpaid internships illegal will do nothing but make struggling students/grads completely devoid of anything to build their resume.

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    8. I get that that's the thinking. I just think it's kind of magical thinking at this point. If you have a chance to save yourself from a lifetime of clutching at straws trying to build a "legal career" that is never going to pay decently or be rewarding, why not get out now and get on another path? The lawyer glut is not going to go away just because you eventually land a paying legal job. What about when you're looking for that second, third, or fourth job? The jobs are still not there.

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  17. There is a hot Greek American LS grad working the Detroit doc review circuit. She must be so screwed.

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  18. I'll try to provide some hope. Last summer, our office DHS/Coast Guard hired seven paid interns and they were not HYS. None of these positions are on USA/JOBS; you must call each legal office or Headquarters for more information. Each intern, almost on a daily if not hourly basis, expressed so much gratitude you'd think they won the powerball lottery. Coastie lawyer.

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  19. "At least if a Georgetown or GW grad snaps it up, he or she will get kicked $15 per hour from the school."
    Law Prof loving and hating the pathways program in a weeks time.

    So it is bad because it inflates employment numbers, but better then just plan old interning with out pay.

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  20. To the "don't live or work in DC or NYC" guy, this is a recent phenomenon. I graduated in 2001 and have lived and worked in DC and NYC exclusively since then. There are plenty of lawyer jobs in both places, they are just all currently occupied by people who are never going to leave until the economy goes up and there are actual other jobs to go to. Before 2008 there were a plethora of job options in both places. I mean, new grads are screwed probably, but assuming a normal economy (if that ever comes back), both DC and NYC are big lawyer-centers. Yeah, they're expensive but you are also going to make more than you would in Tulsa.

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    1. Agreed, the backlog of retirment-eligible senior attorneys in my fed govt office is approaching 30% [about 20 lawyers] and they all seem to be waiting for the economy to turn around. Nobody wants to give these jobs up because they have become remarkably hard to get, esp since 2008. Plus, we're not on the GS scale so the top of the range journeyman attorney is making $165K/yr with a top notch benefit package [5.5 weeks vacation, 13 sick days, flexible work hours, commuting reimbursement, etc.] I mean it's no where near what BigLaw pays but once you've got seniority it's comparatively secure.

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    2. And factor in the fact that everyone's retirement account tanked at the same time the economy did, and a lot of people who are retirement-eligible aren't going to be retiring for quite some time. Not entirely by choice. My fed. gov. office is on the GS scale, and kind of a monotonous sweatshop, yet people are clamoring at the doors to get in here. All the really good legal jobs went away, and now this looks really good compared to the alternatives. Sad.

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  21. If the going rate for a newly minted lawyer is an unpaid position, why should the government pay more than zero? This just confirms that law school graduates are a waste of tax dollars. It's time to look for oil and gas jobs in North Dakota.

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    1. "Bailey...you're worth more dead than alive!"

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  22. its a terrible sitaution for lawyers for sure. but dont thinks its just limited to lawyers. my brother does biological research for a fairly well respected research school. every semester some med school want to be or med school graduate or med school student is working in his department for basically free becuase they want to have that on their resume so they can get their drean job. he spends several months training them and poof they are gone. free/dirt cheap labor is all alround us

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  23. I stopped hiring legal interns after one of them threatened to report me to the worker's compensation board because he sustained a papercut on his index finger. The lout actually wanted me to pay for a doctor's visit and be given paid time off. Eventually, I let him go and told him that if he insisted on reporting me to the worker's compensation board, I would report him to the character and fitness committee since he was attempting to extort me.

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    1. Check the labor code next time before you threaten. Volunteers are typically not covered by workers' comp laws.

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    2. Yeah, I don't really care about this.

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  24. Why did it take me so long to figure out all I wanted to do was work a nice 9-5 job. My time is school was such a waste. FML

    3L

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    1. Imagine teaching with summers off the rest of your life...

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  25. Probably Not PosnerOctober 2, 2012 at 10:39 AM

    To be clear, I think most schools should not be hiring law profs now. But I'v noticed many of the same class issues that are raised by the new unpaid internship norm in legal academia. Who can afford to do a jd, phd, clerkship, fellowship and all the other requirements now sought in faculty--rich people and those who have the luxury of moving all around the country. Credentialing is a massive barrier to entry.

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    1. This is a good point, and it has repercussions that go beyond narrow questions of faculty hiring per se. If your faculty is loaded up with rich kids this produces a certain tendency to fail to understand the career options actually available to most law students, or the actual consequences of not having enough money to pay your bills.

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    2. I'll give you an example of that. In my first year, I went to the career center for help with finding a job. The director's response: "You don't need a summer job! Spend your summer traveling around France!"

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    3. gotta love them clueless administrators...October 2, 2012 at 9:00 PM

      ^^^ This. Hilarious.

      So after the summer, did you come back and report to said director that you'd spent the summer in Paris (Texas, Illinois, or Kentucky or Tennessee)?

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    4. Said director didn't come back after the summer herself. She found another job, having read the handwriting on the wall when the students launched a campaign to have her ass fired.

      I didn't find a job in the legal field. Or spend several months enjoying the wines of Burgundy and the scenery of Provence. But plenty of classmates did the latter, or something close to it.

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  26. If not being paid is bad enough, many of these uncompensated government positions do not allow you to work elsewhere in paid legal positions.

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  27. I dunno. I have a law school in my town, and while it's true that my country club has occassionaly been headed bya law prof, I would say that most that I've met have been, well, frankly unclubbable.

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    1. Well, you know what they say about any club that would have you as a member :)

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  28. As if AU law school graduates don’t have enough to worry about (only about one-third find real legal jobs), they now have the added stigma of knowing that their alma mater let this year’s admissions medians plummet in order to maintain enrollment. Just wait until the number crunchers at US News crank in the school’s dramatically lower median LSATs and GPAs. Good bye Tier One. That’s the consequence of being a law school at a university with a very small endowment and, importantly, one where the university views the law school as a cash cow. The message: just keep pumping out the JDs regardless of the impact on admissions standards or rankings – at least as long as you want to get paid.

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  29. CUNY Skewl of Law is advertising for a FT assistant, associate or full professor position. I found it ironic that they're looking for someone with experience with "small firm practice" better known as shitlaw. I think people should apply to this job and let the good folks at CUNY know what great candidates many of you are who have spent years in boiler rooms doing document review. Let the HR department know how invaluable your experiences will be in edumacating their poor students as to the real nature of law practice in 2012. Here's the link:

    https://home.cunyfirst.cuny.edu/psp/cnyepprd/GUEST/HRMS/c/HRS_HRAM.HRS_CE.GBL?Page=HRS_CE_JOB_DTL&Action=A&JobOpeningId=6468&SiteId=1&PostingSeq=1

    ReplyDelete
  30. @11:30 AM--not only do they not pay people, and forbid them from working another job that actually pays, some agencies specifically state that unpaid workers are not eligible to be hired for a regular position (you know, one that actually pays) with the same agency for a certain period of time.

    What a deal!

    I guess you have to have a trust fund, or a high earning and indulgent spouse to make this work.

    I remember reading about a few US attorney's offices seeking licensed attorneys to work for free. They would not be eligible for a real job with the agency for, I recall, two years (!!). The positions were "SAUSA"--Special Assistant US Attorney. You are so SPECIAL that they don't pay you.

    ReplyDelete
  31. I wonder when we'll see listing for NEGATIVE salary for these positions. Something that would say the following:

    Please note that this unpaid position requires a payment of $5000 as tuition. The start date will be mid October 2012.

    I'm sure at some point these "employers" will see all hundreds of people applying for $0 salary and think, I am OVERPAYING them, I need to be charging "negative" salary!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This is already true of orthodontics residencies at DO schools!

      Delete
    2. I'm going to list a negative-salary internship with my firm as a goof on craigslist-will let you know if I get applications!

      Delete
    3. Probably Not PosnerOctober 2, 2012 at 1:02 PM

      That's hilarious, in a depressing way.

      Ortho residencies would probably claim to be "school," even though they involve residents providing services. This line between training and work, which we use to justify whether one is paid or pays even if the division is not clear, is quite interesting. Employers and schools both have an incentive to make people pay for training as long as possible. If lawyers pay you to work, is that basically return of the apprenticeship model?

      Delete
    4. Seriously, there is some sense in having the people who supply training also be the people who have jobs to offer. Prevents mismatch of supply and demand that arises under current system where law schools train people for non-existant jobs.

      Delete
    5. "orthodontics residencies at DO schools"

      Something about this doesn't make sense.

      DO is osteopath, right?

      Did you mean orthopedics residencies at DO schools?

      Delete
    6. If you do your ortho residency at columbia, you get paid.
      If you do it at ATSU, you pay $56,000/year.

      Looks like law school scam *can* get worse!

      Delete
    7. No, dude, this IS the scam. Osteopatic schools have expanded into orthodontics! LOLZLLOLZOLZL.
      See, e.g. atsu.edu

      Delete
    8. Mayo clinic pays ortho residents $50K/year. Astu charges them $55K. Clearly there is more slack in the system! YHS law tuition to $100K/year!!!

      Delete
    9. STB - "expanded into orthodontics! ".

      I'll take that as a yes.

      Thanks.

      Delete
    10. My SIL has a pediatric dental residency right now.

      The salary is effectively $0.

      Dentistry works on the no-pay system that way.

      Delete
    11. depends on school quality. at low end, you pay (atsu.edu), at high end you get paid (mayo). your SIL is somewhere in between.

      Delete
    12. I recently mentioned internships that are sold at auction for five-figure sums. Count that as a negative salary.

      Delete
  32. Factor in wardrobe and commuter costs, and it already is a negative-salary internship.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Only for the unattractive interns.

      The lookers we tell to wear only what they can afford on the salary we pay them.

      Delete
  33. OMG!

    This video scared the crap out of me!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C_aEoJtzcNQ&feature=related

    I learned all about witchcraft and how it relates to Thomas Hobbs,and Thomas Aquinas in a Jurisprudence class when I was in law school, and when the monkey in this video vacuumed up the dress of the witch? Well I laffed and a lot. Awful goofy laffin'

    But when Gumby's sister, Minga, was trying to be that scary monster as a joke? Well that was like freaky and it kind of freaked me out.







    ReplyDelete
  34. Hmph!

    You know what, here is a copy of JD Painterguy's post. And I don't care if he hasn't had any health insurance for all of 2012 so far.


    OMG!

    This video scared the crap out of me!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C_aEoJtzcNQ&feature=related

    I learned all about witchcraft and how it relates to Thomas Hobbs,and Thomas Aquinas in a Jurisprudence class when I was in law school, and when the monkey in this video vacuumed up the dress of the witch? Well I laffed and a lot. Awful goofy laffin'

    But when Gumby's sister, Minga, was trying to be that scary monster as a joke? Well that was like freaky and it kind of freaked me out.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. As someone suggested last night, why don't you pick a distinctive name for use with these comments where you're just pasting in JDP's rants?

      Some Suggestions from Suggestions R Us:

      - JDPoseurguy

      - JDPainterPeater

      - JDPainterguyJDPainterguyJDPainterguy

      - JayDeePeeArchiveDisServices, LLC

      Delete
  35. College Tuition vs. Real Disposable Income
    Inflation adjusted
    1977 - present

    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2012-10-01/chart-day-college-tuition-vs-real-disposable-income

    Guess which one is increasing over the other...

    ReplyDelete
  36. The ortho ex. makes me see things in a new light. Why should some dude get rich just bc he gets into the mayo clinic's ortho program? 20 years later, he'll have a vacation house boat, trophy wife, etc. All bc of mayo clinic. They may as well take a nice slice of the surplus.
    T14 tuition to $100K!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know this is a joke, but law schools would have a hard time charging as much as ortho programs. Even lower-paid orthodontists still do pretty well. Law school, on the other hand, is becoming a big ex-ante gamble with the salary outcomes ranging from $0-$160K at the start. So students will probably eventually discount the amount they are willing to pay by the chance of unemployment, especially when the ones paying sticker are more likely to end up unemployed.

      Delete
    2. Depends on the school.
      YHS to $100K/year!

      Delete
    3. Yes, I agree HYS undercharge. They should be able to raise price until the point that their reputation suffers bevause they lose talented students. Clearly, they are not there yet. So my point is about schools Columbia and down.

      Delete
    4. Have any schools experimented with outcome-based tuition payment, ie, you owe 10% of lifetime earnings. I assume this doesn't work because of selection bias (people less likely to work would prefer plan) and because many schools sre staying afloat on backs of students they know can't get jobs? Still, I'd be curious if there have been efforts to align tuition more with what the degree is worth to the student. Instead, we seem to have the opposite--we pay big scholarships to students mot likely to get jobs. Pardon typos--this site doesn't interface well with tablets.

      Delete
    5. You mean have any schools experimented with lifetime indentured servitude as opposed to the standard American colonial 7 year indenture?

      Delete
    6. yale college tried this back in the 70's; it failed. Was an article on it in WSJ a few years back.
      Not to say a better-designed system couldn't work. The UK is experimenting with something like this now.
      The issue is analogous to debt v. equity financing, I think.

      Delete
    7. The problem is that you are buying a brand name.

      The actual education at the college is irrelevant since you learn everything on the job.

      I'm not sure I got *anything* out of college or law school, educationally speaking.

      Delete
  37. @1:39PM

    Oh, you are too clever and onto me.

    I prefer Painter Peater, because it reminds me of this:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X9H_cI_WCnE

    But actually I'm just having fun with the whole thing, and if someone repeats my rants as Anon by now, it might well be me :)

    I'm sure Lawprof has all the necessary tracking spyware and can vouch for that :)

    In fact, I might post some really illogical stuff and test and see if the eponymous Anon repeater is still on the job.

    Of course, if Anon just wants to come clean and honestly say who he or she is, and what the MO is, it would be a whole different ballgame, and of course I would proceed with respect if I knew that I was addressing a real person with a real name and identity.

    As for my blog, I have a few things up.

    As for trophy wives, there are none. Only young people think that way.

    Old age gets us all.

    As for boats, a boat is a hole in the water that one pours money into, and a liability.

    And buying a boat is far easier than trying to sell a boat, which is almost impossible without a huge loss. And the best boat in the world is your friend's boat, or a rented boat, or a canoe or kayak.

    Remember kids, the possessions that you seek may well become your burdens in later years.


    ReplyDelete
  38. Mathbabe - Student Loans are a Regressive Tax

    http://mathbabe.org/2012/10/02/student-loans-are-a-regressive-tax/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Can't agree with her basic premise. Nothing wrong with the steps following, but a its base a tax is not a fee-for-goods or a fee-for-elective-service.

      Even if the service is something as worthless as JDP's JD, it's still something the individual sought out and agreed (at the time) the price was right for.

      Delete
    2. Thank God for small favors.

      Delete
  39. @anon 2:28
    you're being too dichotomous-many taxes are best understood as similar to fee-for-servicea--e.g. property taxes for police and fire services, even income taxes for public goods.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I can't agree with the examples. Police (e.g.) aren't fee for service, because those who pay no property taxes still benefit. Similarly for those on the public dole - pay zip but collect the public goods. Conversely, take public schools. Those who themselves get no benefit (no breeders) who own property still pay the taxes.

      Delete
    2. no, bc there is sorting between jurisdictions. tiebout hypothesis. also, rich get more bebfit from public goods. homeless guy not much worse off under canadian rule, etc.
      again, the anaolgies aren't perfect but saying "not a tax" is too dichotomous. my last word on the topic.

      Delete
    3. "my last word on the topic"

      Allahu akbar. You're starting to write like JDP.

      Sorting between jurisdictions is a meaningless distinction when the disparity still (and always will) exist within any given jurisdiction.

      Love the good ol' "rich get more from public resources" canard, by the way.

      Delete
    4. Canard? Who benefits more (in dollar terms) from the military? Homeless-guy or business-owner? You are just being tendentious if you do not concede it's the latter. And I say this as a "main st. republican" who will be voting for Mitt.

      Delete
    5. Well, I don't give a twit about Mitt.

      But let's say what we're talking about here. The average poor person vs. the average rich guy?

      Or are we talking aggregates?

      Even so, where does the average rich guy take his benefit from the military? When was the last time the British invaded us and sacked Washington? It's all smoke and mirrors. Now, to the extent you posit the average rich guy is more likely to have investments in Lockheed Martin, and thus benefit from military spending, sure.

      You also bring up Charlie Tiebout, but I'm an engineer and one of the first things we learned is that while the concept of the frictionless pulley is extremely useful for theoretical modeling, it doesn't exist in the real world. And any assumptions based on the frictionless pulley will eventually fail in the real world. Thus also with the imaginary concept of the no-cost mobile society. It's an interesting concept that bears no relation to the real world lives of real world people.

      But Allahu akbar, again, glad I've had your last word on this two posts ago.

      Delete
    6. I don't know why you're saying allahu akbar to me. I will note engineers are noted for their rigid thinking (see my "too dichotomous") above and are vastly overrepresented amongst terrorists.

      Delete
    7. Rich guy benefits more from military because he loses more if we're invaded. Sheesh.

      Delete
    8. "Rich guy benefits more from military because he loses more if we're invaded."


      Riiight. So it's a perfectly frictionless wheel problem or the completely freely mobile populace ficton.

      But in any event, the military budget is approximately 1/6 of federal spending.

      What about the other 5/6? All goes to "the rich", too?

      BTW I'm saying Allahu akbar as this week's flippancy. Last week it was "praise Buddah's beautiful bouncy belly", but JDP complained that was altogether awfully alliterative, so I had to give it up.

      A lot of non-engineers have the misapprehension that engineers are rigid, so please don't feel bad that you've been suckered, too.

      My first week of LS, I found a nice little slip of paper inviting me (as a rigid engineer likely to have trouble with the "no one "right" answer" LS model) to "extra help" sessions. When folded, a corner of this little slip of paper made a nice tooth pick; otherwise I ignored it.

      Delete
    9. You've shifted from arguing one can't profitably analogize education expenses to a tax to arguing that transaction costs are non-zero. Straw-man fail.

      Delete
    10. I have not shifted anything. I'm following your conversation. Your response is just a big cop-out. What's next in your repertoire, you bring up "Nazis" or "Hitler"?

      Here's the progression.

      I said paying for education was not well analogized to taxation.

      You then argued that most taxes could be best understood as fee for service.

      You also brought up Charlie Tiebout. I pointed out why his fantasy, while an interesting and useful exercise (like the frictionless wheel) has at is base a gaping discontinuity.

      You argue that "the rich" get more benefits from taxes, and specifically point to protections by the military.

      I pointed out that the military is 1/6 of the federal budget and asked about how the rich guy also gets the lion's share of the other 5/6. You cast aspersions and run away.

      Along the way we also explored Buddah's beautiful bouncy belly and had other fun.

      I learned that you're a humourless hypocrite.

      That part, at least, will stick.

      Have a Nice Day.

      Delete
    11. whaeves dude, i don't want to clog up law prof's blog with our disagreement. you have a nice day too.

      Delete
    12. Damn, just can't resist. Tax expenditures on public health also reduce the likelihood of disease for the rich, and being sick costs the rich more than the poor, in dollar terms. cf. tuberculosis in China or India.
      Tax subsidies to Harvard favour rich over poor, on average.
      Bailouts.

      Delete
    13. STFU both of you. Go jack each off in a corner somewhere.

      Delete
  40. Lady Bracknell said it all anyway, on education, on owning property, and heritage etc.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ip6rt3JiA-A

    There is nothing new under the sun, although in America these issues are revisited in a progresively much cruder, cultural way.

    ReplyDelete
  41. Maybe we should all get back to the heart of the situation:


    STUDENT LOAN DEBT IS FOR ALL OF MORTAL, POST ADOLESCENT HUMAN BEING LIFE, AND THERE ARE BANKRUPTCY RIGHTS FOR CASINO GAMBLERS, BUT NO CONSUMER BANKRUPTCY PROTECTIONS FOR AMERICAN STUDENT LOAN DEBT!

    THERE WILL NEVER BE A SECOND CHANCE FOR YOU AS A STUDENT LOAN DEBTOR THROUGH BANKRUPTCY COURT.

    YOU WILL LITERALY SIGN YOUR ENTIRE LIFE AWAY WHEN YOU BORROW MONEY FOR HIGHER EDUCATION.

    YOU WILL CARRY YOUR STUDENT LOAN DEBT INTO YOUR BITTER OLD AGE, AND DEATH, AND WILL WATCH YOUR LIFE SLOWLY CRUMBLE, AND WILL HAVE YOUR LIFE TURNED INTO A LIFE OF SECOND CLASS CITIZENSHIP.

    ALL BECAUSE YOU WANTED TO BETER YOURSELF BY GOING TO A LAW SCHOOL.

    HOW MUCH PLAINER CAN THAT BE?

    AND ANYONE ELSE ON THIS BLOG THAT SAYS OTHERWISE IS JUST TRYING TO PROTECT THE INHUMANE STATE OF AFFAIRS THAT PLAGUES AMERICAN HIGHER EDUCATION IN GENERAL.

    FOR THEY GROW RICH BY IT, AND ON THE TAXPAYER TEAT.



    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. In other words, you were a Special Snowflake in a past life. Now you are a pile of yellow snow that Weird Al won't touch with a 10 foot pole.

      Delete
    2. Anyone else notice the unmistakable whiff of a JD Painter comment?

      What a noxious pest.

      Delete
    3. 4:20 here (literally, not figuratively). Not JDP, just a fun loving troll that enjoys other people's pain.

      That said, I have a lot more respect for JDP than most of the shits on this website.

      Delete
    4. Because you're retarded. Or, as suggested earlier, you are JDP posting anonymously. Although, if you're JDP, you're also retarded.

      Delete
    5. Painter posting anonymously:

      AnonymousOctober 2, 2012 3:59 PM

      Maybe we should all get back to the heart of the situation:


      STUDENT LOAN DEBT IS FOR ALL OF MORTAL, POST ADOLESCENT HUMAN BEING LIFE, AND THERE ARE BANKRUPTCY RIGHTS FOR CASINO GAMBLERS, BUT NO CONSUMER BANKRUPTCY PROTECTIONS FOR AMERICAN STUDENT LOAN DEBT!

      THERE WILL NEVER BE A SECOND CHANCE FOR YOU AS A STUDENT LOAN DEBTOR THROUGH BANKRUPTCY COURT.

      YOU WILL LITERALY SIGN YOUR ENTIRE LIFE AWAY WHEN YOU BORROW MONEY FOR HIGHER EDUCATION.

      YOU WILL CARRY YOUR STUDENT LOAN DEBT INTO YOUR BITTER OLD AGE, AND DEATH, AND WILL WATCH YOUR LIFE SLOWLY CRUMBLE, AND WILL HAVE YOUR LIFE TURNED INTO A LIFE OF SECOND CLASS CITIZENSHIP.

      ALL BECAUSE YOU WANTED TO BETER YOURSELF BY GOING TO A LAW SCHOOL.

      HOW MUCH PLAINER CAN THAT BE?

      AND ANYONE ELSE ON THIS BLOG THAT SAYS OTHERWISE IS JUST TRYING TO PROTECT THE INHUMANE STATE OF AFFAIRS THAT PLAGUES AMERICAN HIGHER EDUCATION IN GENERAL.

      FOR THEY GROW RICH BY IT, AND ON THE TAXPAYER TEAT.




      And then Painter posting to defend himself:

      AnonymousOctober 2, 2012 8:17 PM

      4:20 here (literally, not figuratively). Not JDP, just a fun loving troll that enjoys other people's pain.

      That said, I have a lot more respect for JDP than most of the shits on this website.

      Delete
  42. Meanwhile, on the planet Higher Ed, where current and past graduates of the University of Denver Law School can't make these wages, the Institution will pay an Executive Assistant to follow the leader of the Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System between $24 and $28/hour plus all those great benefits.

    FML. Why didn't I just become a fantastic Executive Assistant? Either way you're kissing the ass of people you grow to hate.

    https://performancemanager4.successfactors.com/career?career%5fns=job%5flisting&company=DU&navBarLevel=JOB%5fSEARCH&rcm%5fsite%5flocale=en%5fUS&career_job_req_id=3421&selected_lang=en_US&jobAlertController_jobAlertId=&jobAlertController_jobAlertName=&_s.crb=Zq9lAzOZLVrU9AMH%2fOFsGIPFZac%3d

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And why can't you apply for that position?

      Delete
    2. Uh, because I wasn't financially astute enough to realize I shouldn't listen to the car salesmen law school personnel who reinforced my ignorant assumption that I would be better off getting a JD than accumulating experience assisting an executive? So that now I would be continuing ignorant behavior by applying for jobs I have no shot at?

      Or am I getting pessimism confused with reality?

      Delete
    3. I mean, why not start going in for those jobs and getting that experience? I feel like a lot of commenters here are keeping themselves stuck because they are convinced that they have to be lawyers. Having a JD does not force you to take unpaid or sh*t work as a lawyer. Do something else! Seriously, letting the "dream" of legal practice go is the best thing a lot of new grads can do at this point.

      Delete
    4. I am not 5:01, but I think I can provide somewhat of an answer. Specifically as to the job listed above, no way would someone hire JD for that.

      Ditto any paralegal type positions. No one nowadays will hire a JD for a paralegal or legal assistant position because they know (or strongly suspect) the JD is just there biding time, unhappily hoping something better comes along.

      As for other, completely unrelated fields, the JD can also be a tough sell. The HR reps in most corps do not (repeat) do not like legal. There's a real shoulder chip there because of mild overlap as to legal matters and duties and in a disagreement between HR and Legal, Legal wins.

      Delete
    5. But what's your solution? Do you think that if you keep holding out for that non-existent lawyer job, you're eventually going to get it, and go on to an illustrious legal career? Because if you've been out of school for more than a year with no legal experience you're not. Maybe leave the JD off your resume or something.

      Delete
  43. A really good executive assistant can easily make 150% or more of what is posted.

    And no, they don't have to stick working for someone they hate. The good ones become known by the other bosses and, frankly, are poached. They end up taking their pick.

    The less good ones get shuffled off on lower level guys. Trust me, I know this from experience.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yup. I'm not entirely sure what an executive assistant is, but I pay my office manager (BA only) more than my associates. It's a question of how much I can trust delegating important tasks to them.

      Delete
    2. Thanks everybody. I now understand why DU does what it does.

      Delete
    3. 5:01, I can't say I pay my assistants more than my associates (not by half), but I do pay them a lot more than what DU is advertising.

      Delete
  44. Why, of course American has to charge more than $50k per year! How else could it afford to maintain its facilities on tree-lined Massachusetts Avenue in one of the ritziest parts of Washington?

    And next year it will raise tuition even more in order to pay for a Botticelli for the dean's office.

    ReplyDelete
  45. Prof. Caron kicks ass:

    http://taxprof.typepad.com/taxprof_blog/2012/10/caron-the-law-school.html

    ReplyDelete
  46. How do these unpaid internships not violate wage and hour laws? During law school, judges can use the facade of school credit to circumvent the law. But once a person has graduated, he can no longer earn school credit (and no longer needs it for that matter). This is hiring someone to do work and not paying him. I do not see how it is legal.

    ReplyDelete
  47. to 5:39am

    how is it yours or anyone else's business how two consenting adults decide to structure their business relations?

    would i do it? probably not. but that doesnt mean i want a law to prevent someone else from doing it if they think it will help them out in the future.

    ReplyDelete
  48. @ 6:06 am

    Your argument goes to the core of whether wage and hour laws should exist. I understand the libertarian viewpoint that the government has no place telling people how to run a business.

    However, whether wage and hour laws should exist is a separate argument. The point is that wage and hour laws do exist, whether you favor them or not. Failing to pay someone for performing work for you would, it seems, violate the law.

    ReplyDelete
  49. 633. you need to brush up on the law. professionals are exempt from such laws.

    ReplyDelete
  50. how is it yours or anyone else's business how two consenting adults decide to structure their business relations?

    I agree, consenting adults should be allowed to produce unsafe consumables in unsanitary conditions that regularly kill and maim workers.

    The law: justice for people who can buy congressional influence.

    (sarcasm off: the libertarian principals are great, they just don't work in the real world. Primates don't work that way. )

    ReplyDelete
  51. primates also eat their young and kill of the weak and old. in the primate world all the unproductive unemployed law schools grads would be killed or chased off.

    be glad some of us have evolved.

    ReplyDelete
  52. to terry

    and to compare wage laws with poor working conditions is a bit of a stretch. if wage laws worked the way some of you wanted, then the poor law grad would never have an opportunity to work for a judge that may or may not lead to a good position later.

    ReplyDelete
  53. There does seem to be a lack of FLSA knowledge on this comment board; public institutions are exempt from unpaid labor restrictions.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No, they are not. Please do your research.

      Delete
    2. "Under the FLSA, employees may not volunteer services to for-profit private sector employers. On the other hand, in the vast majority of circumstances, individuals can volunteer services to public sector employers. When Congress amended the FLSA in 1985, it made clear that people are allowed to volunteer their services to public agencies and their community with but one exception - public sector employers may not allow their employees to volunteer, without compensation, additional time to do the same work for which they are employed. There is no prohibition on anyone employed in the private sector from volunteering in any capacity or line of work in the public sector."

      http://www.dol.gov/elaws/esa/flsa/docs/volunteers.asp

      Suck it.

      Delete
    3. With that amount of grace and style, (not to mention copy/paste skills) I simply can't imagine why you can't find a legal job.

      Delete
    4. Yes, because as has been said time and again, grace and style is what you need to work in the legal field.

      Not copy and pasted information that is substantively correct.

      Suck it hard.

      Delete
  54. Replies
    1. My apologies. The confidence displayed with such inaccurate information got me flustered.

      Delete

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