Friday, November 9, 2012

The disappeared

One subject this blog hasn't touched on is bar passage.  The news that only 55% of test takers passed the Michigan bar exam in July (the typical passage rate on the Michigan July exam is around 75%-80%), along with a very interesting document that landed in the ITLSS in-box yesterday, reminds me that there are quite a few people who graduate from law school but never become licensed to practice law.

Just how many is hard to say, but here are some stats:

(1) The national bar passage rate in 2011 was 69%.  79% of first-time takers passed the various state bars, while only 37% of repeat takers passed.

(2) Bar passage rates vary a great deal by state.  79 of the 84 people who took the South Dakota bar last year passed, while only 6,483 of 12,820 (51%) of California test takers passed.  This suggests that, according to the basic principles of law and economics, several thousand aspiring California lawyers would be well advised to move to South Dakota.

(3) Speaking of California, the bar passage rates for graduates of non-ABA accredited California law schools are atrocious: only 18% for graduates of "conventional," i.e., brick and mortar, non-ABA schools passed the California bar (Curiously, the passage rate for graduates of correspondence law schools -- you can get a law degree via strictly "distance learning" in California -- was actually higher, at 22%.  BTW professional lunatic and licensed California attorney Orly Taitz is a graduate of one of the latter institutions).

These statistics, it should be unnecessary to add, have nothing to do with the supposedly beneficial educational effects of the ABA's accreditation regime, but rather reflect the fact that low-ranked ABA law schools already have something close to an open admissions policy, so if you can't get into one of them . . .

Anyway, a very quick back of the envelope calculation suggests that somewhere in the neighborhood of 10% to 15% of ABA law school graduates never pass a bar exam.  This would mean ABA law schools produced something like 50,000 to 60,000 graduates in the last decade alone who never passed the bar.

In an intensely competitive and hierarchical profession, which tends to "disappear" people through stigmatization, this is the most stigmatized group of graduates.  (Indeed it's not a good sign that, in my initial discussion of the effects of stigmatization on law graduates, I failed to even notice the existence of this group).  What happens to them?

This question was much in mind when I went over a document sent to me by a concerned party, associated with a large lower-ranked east coast law school.  The document catalogs what happened, in regard to bar results, to 230 students who over a 15-year period were required to appear before a committee that had to decide whether or not to dismiss them for poor academic performance.

 (At this school, students who perform below a certain level are automatically dismissed, while students who achieve a somewhat higher but still unacceptable grade point have the option of appearing before a committee that can elect to allow them to continue. The document records academic and bar passage outcomes for the latter group. I have no idea how many students were kicked out automatically over this same time period).

Of these 230 students, 62 eventually graduated.  Of that group, 48 took the bar at least once in the state where the school is located.  29 of these 48 graduates passed the bar eventually.  These 48 graduates took the bar a combined total of 135 times.  The 29 graduates who passed took the bar a total of 58 times, while the 19 graduates who have not passed to this point took the bar 77 times (One graduate has taken the bar unsuccessfully 14 times, while another has taken it unsuccessfully nine times. A third graduate passed on the graduate's ninth attempt).

These statistics are to say the least sobering, and provide one window into a series of seriously under-investigated questions regarding the least visible casualties of the growing crisis in legal academia and the legal profession.


114 comments:

  1. I would imagine that after the third or fourth time failing the bar you would accept that law isn't exactly your calling in life...

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    Replies
    1. No. I would not say that. It took me five times. I just didn't understand what it took to pass on the first three times. I now have three bar admissions. It's been a long road, but the bar exam really isn't indicative of one's legal ability.

      Delete
    2. "It took me five times. I just didn't understand what it took to pass on the first three times. "

      So, what was your excuse for failing the 4th time? Natural disaster?

      Delete
  2. In calculating the estimate that 10-15% percent of ABA-school graduates never pass the bar exam, did you account for the fact that not all graduates ever attempt to pass the bar?

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  3. These people simply should never have been admitted to law school. I'm sorry for their plight but cannot say that they have any business being in or near the legal profession.

    The idea that everyone and her parakeet should become a lawyer both sets up false hopes and cheapens the legal profession. The standards should be much, much higher. At my élite school, I'd expel a third of the class; at a Cooley or a Touro, quite possibly I'd leave no one standing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. é-é-é-é-é-é-é-é-é-é-é-é-é-é-é-lite-éliteNovember 9, 2012 at 9:02 AM

      How d'ya pronuncimicate that, anyways?

      Delete
    2. Pretty sure you pronounce it "satire".

      Delete
  4. http://abovethelaw.com/2012/11/quote-of-the-day-way-to-broadcast-this-girls-lack-of-judgment-to-the-entire-world/

    These low-ranked, unaccreditated, and even 'yet to exist schools', still somehow manage to have a supply of these types of applicants - those who aren't concerned about job prospects. Yet we will still cut a 6-figure check to these schools on behalf of the U.S. taxpayer regardless of the applicant's ability (or even motivation) to get a job.

    This dean, Peter Alexander, of Indiana Tech School of Law said, "our message is reaching the very population we would like to have in our student body." This is the same dean that attempted to refute LawProf via email last month. I can't wait to see this school's bar passage results in 4 years - if it even gets accredited.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am not sure that the US government loans are available to non-accredited institutions - my recollection is that the regs require schools getting federal loans and guarantees to be accredited and that the US accrediting body is the ABA.

      Delete
  5. these people's dreams of becoming an attorney should have been crushed when they scored below a 170 or whatever on the lsat - not after many wasted years and wasted dollars.

    ReplyDelete
  6. "I would imagine that after the third or fourth time failing the bar you would accept that law isn't exactly your calling in life..." I disagree with this statement strongly. Passing a bar exam has nothing to do with actually practing law, and for many the later is so much easier. So sad so many of these folks end up relegated when finding a law related job to doing 60 to 90% of the legal work, but don't get the attorney on record credit for their labor.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Perhaps at some shitlaw personal injury mill the "practice" of law is easier than the bar, but if you are doing it right practicing law is much harder than passing the bar exam.

      I think state bars should prohibit people from taking the exam more than three times, at least not without seeking special permission each and every time. If you are trying for the fourth or fifth or ninth time, you should have to explain to a committee why you think you will succeed this time when you have failed so many times before.

      Delete
    2. Passing a bar exam does have something to do with practicing law: in particular, one cannot do the latter without first doing the former.

      Delete
    3. Texas allows you to take the bar a maximum of 5 times. Although I still think that is too high. 3 would be ideal. I worked with an attorney once who failed it 4 times and eventually passed on the 5th try. He said if he failed it again he was going to take another state's bar.

      Delete
  7. In an ideal world we would phase out the LSAT and instead have applicants take the multistate with a minimum score (lower then bar passage) required to gain entry. In an era where everyone crams for the LSAT, it would be more humane for them to study for the multi state so they can see how they would potentially do three years later.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Here is what the professor missed about the recent Michigan bar exam...

    Cooley accounts for HALF of reapps taking it.

    Their passage rate? In the teens.

    University of Detroit Mercy had 20 reapps taking it.

    UofD's reapp passage rate? ZERO PERCENT!!!!

    So if you fail the Michigan bar the first time, there is a very substantial chance THAT YOU WILL NEVER PASS!

    So what does happen to all these people? Are they counted as gainfully employed? How in the world do the skools have the temerity to claim that 95% of their grads are employed?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. U want fries wid dat?November 9, 2012 at 9:07 AM

      Hey, somebody's gotta flip them burgers.

      Delete
    2. Some paint houses.

      Delete
  9. Breaking News - not everyone who takes the bar exam passes it!

    ReplyDelete
  10. America's having trouble educating its youngest students as well as its oldest.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Recently, a potential client told me he was going to retain my competitor who charged less than I did to handle a divorce matter. When I asked the PC who he was retaining, he told me who my competitor was. I knew who this person was because he went to a lowly ranked school (I believe it was Cooley-his website does not disclose his alma mater and I am too lazy to look it up). However, this other attorney is known by many as someone who passed the bar after 7 tries. I told the PC to ask my competitor whether he passed the bar on his first try. Within a week, the PC retained me. Seriously, would you retain a lawyer who failed the bar exam 1x or 5x to handle a sensitive matter?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Indeed, that's good advice. Failing it once? Maybe. Failing it six times? Hell, no.

      Delete
    2. "Seriously, would you retain a lawyer who failed the bar exam 1x or 5x to handle a sensitive matter?"

      Question for the peanut gallery:
      Although a divorce is most likely a sensitive situation, does it really qualify as a sensitive legal matter?

      Just curious what people think.

      Delete
    3. Pretty much anything for which you might hire a lawyer is "sensitive" enough that you don't want to hire a 5-time failure of a test that 70% of takers pass on the first try.
      Bar exams are imperfect but they do tend to weed out some people who struggle with basic legal concepts and/or lack the discipline to prepare for important, predictable events like taking a bar exam, or attending a court hearing.

      Delete
    4. Why would anyone knowingly hire someone who had managed to fail the bar exam five times?

      Delete
  12. @ 8:02 . . . But wouldn't that kind of be a tacit admission that people could easily learn and be competent with the law without ever going to law school? The people that already "passed" the multistate would wonder even more what the hell they are doing paying three years of astronomical tuition to a system that hasn't a single pedagogical clue as to what they're doing.

    ReplyDelete
  13. I have trouble just dismissing these people who don't pass the bar as "too bad, so sad." I certainly don't think everyone who takes the LSAT or enters law school is fit to practice law. But that doesn't mean it's not a tragedy that these people are saddled with crippling debt by horrible institutions like Cooley or the other 50-or-so TTTTs that should be immediately closed. The bottom line is that these people do not know any better, and I still place the blame on the law school administrators that are generating tuition dollars from groups of people -- an astounding percentage of which they KNOW will never, ever be able to become a lawyer.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There's plenty of blame to go around. The many toilets—and I'd place the number over a hundred—are certainly culpable, but so are the many lousy students with an exaggerated opinion of themselves, not to mention the ABA and the bar associations.

      Delete
  14. State bar associations will likely make the exams harder to pass. However, this is a rotten situation. Real professions limit the number of practitioners early on in the process, i.e. well before the student is saddled down with monstrous, non-dischargeable debt. My brother in law was ranked in roughly the 60th percentile the first time he took the DAT. He did not gain admission to any dental schools. The following year, he scored in the 94th percentile. Even then, I recall that he was only accepted by two dental schools - and he applied to at least half a dozen. In contrast, someone who scores a 151 on the LSAT can almost certainly gain entry into DOZENS of ABA-accredited trash pits.

    Imagine if dental, medical and veterinary schools collectively - and knowingly - admitted and pumped out too many grads for the prevailing job market. The average redneck wouldn't belch "Well, they shouda known better." Furthermore, if those professional schools published false and misleading data, members of Congre$$ and well-heeled citizens would raise hell. The fact that the average person despises lawyers hurts the cause of underemployed JDs.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And someone here said that a toilet in North Carolina was prepared to admit him if he got at least 130 on the LSAT. That's the second percentile.

      Delete
    2. Fernando -

      I certainly hope your B-I-L has cleared you sharing information relating to his initial ignominy.

      It's not like you're anonymous, you know.

      And now, by extension, neither is he.

      Delete
  15. I believe the reason why law is a profession in decline is because people have begun to wise up to the fact that there is no special prestige associated with being a lawyer. The bar exam is an excellent example of what is wrong with the legal "profession."

    At the end of three years of "training" you take an exam that passes judgment on your writing style. If a panel of anonymous graders does not like your writing style, you fail. You have no recourse to challenge their conclusions. You are not even afforded an explanation of why your exam was deficient. No accountability whatsoever on the part of the state bar association.

    Lawyers obtain money from their clients in a similar way. The peddle a dream, play on a client's insecurities, and manipulate their intellectual blind spots to part them from their money.

    Am I a case of Sour Grapes? You bet. But I'm not letting this go. Not as long as my student loans are paying to have this corrupt system continue.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "Lawyers obtain money from their clients in a similar way. The peddle a dream, play on a client's insecurities, and manipulate their intellectual blind spots to part them from their money"

      Where do you come up with claptrap like this?

      I know a lot of lawyers. I don't know any who fit your description.

      Delete
    2. Actually, more than a few do - many with business clients spending the *corporation's* (or the government's) money...

      Delete
  16. 9:53 here

    add "and law schools" after "Lawyers" in paragraph 3

    ReplyDelete
  17. My favorite solution is to steeply discount 1L tuition. This gives people a little taste of what law is like, and allows them to drop out without incuring such a huge sunk cost if either they are academically or motivationally incompetent, or if they simply decide they hate law. These people are better off pursuing other avenues anyhow...yet the current system strings them along so it can extract six figures of tuition money anyways.

    1L is cheaper to administer as well, as your classes are large lectures and you only need a few professors to teach a group of hundreds of students. More expensive and smaller classes, such as seminars, clinics, etc. aren't taken until the later years.

    This allows people to opt out at a low debt level instead of feeling compelled to finish their JD and get a legal job simply to pay off such debt, even if they hate law. And this will solve the glut of attorneys problem. Put a cap on first year tuition from ABA schools such as $10K, and people will drop out of they don't like it or can't hack it and not feel like they have to keep going because of such a high sunk cost.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Why not? As you mention, it would certainly help with the sunk cost fallacy.

      Say, 1/12 of the total COA for 1L, 5/12 2L and 6/12 3L year.

      Delete
  18. It seems there are two viable solutions to the problem, although both would likely benefit from the bursting of the student loan bubble.

    Solution #1: follow the medical/dental/veterinary school model, where the ABA would still act as a cartel, but would be a much stricter one than it is now. This has some definite advantages: it'd be really easy to use top-down central planning to make sure the number of lawyers matches the number of jobs. Most of the third-tier and fourth-tier schools would necessarily cease to exist, and many of today's 'trap schools' would fill the rank-and-file attorney jobs that people here often refer to as 'shitlaw.' (I happen to think it's the BigLaw jobs that are 'shit' with respect to quality of life, but I was always the oddball in my law school class.) The big disadvantage here is that it'd be hard to ensure access to historically disadvantaged populations, which is the argument a lot of fourth-tier schools currently use in favor of their own existence. Also, consider that a system that combines some of the worst aspects of liberal governance (top-down central planning) with some of the worst aspects of conservative governance (helping keep the bar rich and white) isn't likely to get much political traction.

    I think there should be more consideration to the second possible solution: ending the cartel altogether. Under this system, government-backed student loans would be strictly restricted to those schools that achieved certain outcomes and would be further limited in their amounts. Everything else would be through the private market.

    Meanwhile, state bars would stop looking to the ABA to tell them who was qualified to sit for the bar. Let people go to school wherever they want, and sit for whatever bar they want.

    I would expect the end result of such a system to be as follows: most of the trap schools would vanish. There would be elite schools feeding into BigLaw, a limited number of mid-level schools filling rank-and-file positions like DA/PD jobs, small to medium sized firms, etc., and lots of schools that are essentially glorified bar prep. Those schools might be similar to Cooley in quality, but they'd probably be priced at a level not much higher than what Bar/Bri charges. They wouldn't be all that helpful for most people, but at the price it wouldn't make much difference. And it would be an avenue in to the profession for poorer people who have the hustle and business sense to make it as a solo.

    I suppose the glut of attorneys could reduce salaries at the low end too, but again, if you're paying $20K or less instead of $150K I don't see that as such a problem.

    More and more, I'm thinking that's the ultimate solution. And I say that as a proud liberal who doesn't worship at the altar of the free market.

    I'm sure there's something I'm not thinking of here, so feel free to tell me why I'm wrong.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't want to see any lawyers—solos or otherwise—whose preparation is "essentially glorified bar prep". There are already too many of those.

      Delete
    2. (10:33 again)

      Yeah, I get it, there are lots of not-so-skilled lawyers out there. I don't disagree.

      But I think a glib dismissal of the 'end the cartel' idea misses the larger point: bottom-tier law schools don't teach anything in their three years beyond what a good bar prep course would teach you. Believe me - with what I do for a living I am in a position to know.

      So at worst, the 'bottom feeder' lawyers aren't likely to be any worse off than they are now. Also, there is a potential benefit. With very low entry barriers to the profession, more people could give it a try without facing financial catastrophe, and there just might be a Darwinian process where some people find a hidden talent for the profession.

      Delete
  19. Lawprof,

    Let's look at the most all-encompassing data I am aware of -

    The ABA (in an all-too-rare fit of useful work) says there are approximately 1.25 million licensed lawyers in the US -

    http://www.americanbar.org/content/dam/aba/migrated/marketresearch/PublicDocuments/lawyer_demographics_2012_revised.authcheckdam.pdf

    The ABA also says that in the last 40 years (standard work life from 25 to 65), ABA accredited law schools have graduated approximately 1.5 million JDs -

    http://www.americanbar.org/content/dam/aba/administrative/legal_education_and_admissions_to_the_bar/statistics/enrollment_degrees_awarded.authcheckdam.pdf

    Looking at the big picture -

    1.5 million JD grads minus 1.25 million licensed equals *250,000* of the "disappeared".

    17% of this degenerating "profession".

    ReplyDelete
  20. As a JD ('08) who has never taken the bar, I can tell you what happened to me. I work as a government contract administrator. I have met quite a number of lawyers and non-lawyer JDs at various training events doing the same thing. It's not bad. Target grades are GS-12 (low $70K to start in most cases). Better than average lawyer salaries in a lot of places, and you can get there in a couple years.

    I could have had this job 3 years and $140K earlier if I'd known it existed. But it's where I landed.

    ReplyDelete
  21. this is a really compelling discussion - imagine having six figure debt and then not even getting the baseline credential to work in the profession and try to repay those loans - I have wondered what happens to these people - do they become paralegals, work for the fed or state gov't in law-related jobs? or do they work in the ever-popular "compliance" - I would love to hear from these folks, even on an anecdotal basis

    ReplyDelete
  22. 10:49 again: I should add, I was in the third quartile at a T-1 school, striking out left and right in interviews. No prospects. A family friend mentioned federal contracting jobs and I had an interview and an offer within a month of applying. When it came time for BARBRI deposits and exam fees, I decided to forgo it all. That was the first financially responsible decision I'd made in three years.

    I occasionally regret not going through with it. I even paid to retake the MPRE exam last year (which I passed with room to spare in law school but has expired). In the end I decided not to waste my Saturday. I have no idea what I'd get out of becoming a lawyer at this point.

    ReplyDelete
  23. COCKSUCKING ILLEGAL PRICE-FIXING CARTEL.

    MAKE THE LAW PROFESSORS PAY.

    PICKET IN FRONT OF THEIR FUCKING HOUSES.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. concern troll is concernedNovember 10, 2012 at 6:04 PM

      Please moderate above.

      Delete
  24. Bar Exam numbers aren't so out of whack with Professional Engineer numbers other than the retake rate is slightly higher, if still terrible.

    However, real jobs do exist for those who don't get their PE - working under the shadow of another PE usually.

    Plus depending on the state (like NY), you don't even need college to sit for the exam. Even better you have to have real work experience before you can sit for it, not just a degree.

    As a bonus, that degree is only and undergraduate or at most a master's degree, at far less tuition cost.

    For those who care (FE is typically taken right after a 4-year degree - which confers no real bonuses, and is a pre-req for the PE taken 4-6 years later):

    http://ppi2pass.com/faqs/FE_Exam_Pass_Rates

    http://ppi2pass.com/faqs/PE_Exam_Pass_Rates

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Unbelievable that the FE exam rates for ChE's are historically higher than anyone else's.

      The exam is almost entirely ME, EE and CivE focused.

      Why would ChE's out-perform the others? More of a "jack of all trades" degree?

      Delete
    2. It's not that Chemical engineers are jacks of all trades. It's just that they're much, much smarter than the EEs and MEs, and much, much, much, much smarter than the CivEs.

      Delete
  25. I'm a 2L at a fourth-tier school. This particular school had a dismal bar passage rate last year - even by its standards. So what did the administrators decide to do? Raise admission standards? Not a chance. No, they chose to change the forced curve and forced distribution for 1L courses so that more first year students would fail out. This move would ostensibly decrease the possibility that unsuited students would graduate then take and fail the bar, only to further diminish the school's already tainted reputation. But not before the school bilks each of these students out of $40,000 in first-year tuition. Win-win!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. sounds like the school decided to save you two years of tuition and time. They did you a big favor. You should be grateful.

      Delete
    2. Indeed, that's a good decision. Closing the toilet down would be better, but forcing large numbers of hopeless people out is good for everyone.

      Delete
    3. @ 8:10

      You should learn to read.

      I didn't say I failed out. In fact, I've done quite well for myself - top grades, law review, moot court, great internships, etc. I was merely pointing out what the school decided to do, not that it affected me in the slightest. But just because it doesn't affect me personally, doesn't mean that it's not shady.

      Delete
    4. There is still no shadiness? The vast majority of these kids won't get jobs--better to cut them out early.

      Delete
  26. Stop whining and complaining, lemmings! There are plenty of great jobs available. You are all just lazy and ail to network. I have networked with hundreds of ambitious young go-getters in my minneapolis-st. Paul airport toilet stall. All have gone on to positipns of prominence in federal and local government.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. REALLY? In what year?????

      Delete
  27. The cries of law school scam fall on my deaf ears. Law school has always been a scam. The only difference now is the scam costs 4x more than it did 20 years ago and the job prospects are 100x worse. With this knowledge, kids continue to take the gamble. Fuck them for being stupid. And fuck the law school deans and professors too for accelerating the greed via these astronomical tuition increases of recent years.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. http://www.journalgazette.com/article/20121107/LOCAL04/311079956/1002/LOCAL

      "Fort Wayne native and Purdue University senior Megan Marks, 21, took advantage of the law school’s early admissions process and sent her application to Indiana Tech. Marks said she wants to settle in Fort Wayne and jumped at the opportunity to study law in the same place.

      “(Fort Wayne) is where I grew up,” she said. “I knew a lot of people in high school who wanted to get out of Fort Wayne, so I decided I would be one of the few to come back. It’s a community I want to live and work in.”

      Marks is a graduate of Homestead High School and is on track to graduate with a bachelor’s in psychology from Purdue. She said she decided to attend law school during her junior year of college because it was compatible with her major."

      Delete
    2. "bachelor’s in psychology"

      All you need to know - the undergraduate employment placement scam directly feeds into and engorges the law school scam.

      Without psych, history, English, and poli sci majors, what would law school be?

      A helluva lot emptier.

      Delete
    3. It's always possible to dig up someone willing to talk cheerfully about her idiotic decision to apply to an Indiana Tech. This stupid anecdote proves nothing about the would-be toilet.

      Delete
  28. Law School Is STILL A GOOD DEALNovember 9, 2012 at 12:34 PM

    See, it says so here in this "Business Insider" article called "Five Reasons Why Law School Might Still Be A Good Idea".

    They really must know, after all, they are Business Insiders. Surely The Business Insider would have checked out their facts.

    And as if FIVE (count `em, FIVE) reasons weren't enough for you, we have a commenter who added her own very special SIXTH GOOD REASON, nay, not just good, but a "terrifically important sixth reason" why law school is still a good idea, to wit:

    "Lisa Lerman on Nov 7, 12:11 PM said:
    Yes but there's a terrifically important sixth reason. Under the federal loan repayment program, Pay as You Earn, approved 11/1/12, the vast majority of law students can make very manageable payments (under 10% of income) and get very substantial loan forgiveness (after 10 years for public sector and 20 years for private sector lawyers). Also, you don't have to go to a top school to forge a brilliant career with a legal education--even during a recession.
    "

    http://www.businessinsider.com/the-case-for-law-school-2012-11

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "law students can make very manageable payments "

      You know, she sounds just like a car sales person.

      "Hey, don't worry your pretty little head about the total cost of the car, with our 7-year payment program you'll have nice, low, 'manageable' payments."

      Delete
    2. Agreed, the most recent disgusting action of the law schools is the casual gaming of the taxpayer in order to sustain the professors' absurd six-hours-a-week in the classroom lifestyle.

      *Further* grotesque, unjustifiable tuition inflation upon the backs of students, taxpayers, and future indebted generations (liable on the national debt).

      Is there anyone the law schools aren't f*cking over?

      Law school administrators and professors are treating IBR as their personal piggybank and *due* - they are "LEGAL SCHOLARS" after all.

      Pretty rancid stuff.

      Delete
    3. "substantial loan reduction"

      In other words dump it on the taxpayers. So what if many families are working three or more jobs to provide for themselves and their kids? We don't care!

      Delete
    4. That commenter "Lisa Lerman" is a law professor.

      Of COURSE she's selling IBR to it's disgusting hilt.

      She's got a vested interest in "the marks" thinking IBR is their saviour, so they'll keep on signing up for her wretched law school - Catholic U has an employment rate for full time JD required significantly UNDER 50 percent.

      Delete
    5. Lisa Lerman - Law Prof at Catholic UNovember 11, 2012 at 6:27 PM

      Yeah - if you check the comments under the article, it looks like a number of commenters figured out DearProfessorLerman's angle and castigated her for it.

      Anyone think she can really be so clueless? Or is she shillin'?

      Delete
  29. @11:53 MkI

    If you were going to go down in flames and somebody else saw it happening, would you rather be taken for $40k and 1 year or $200k and 3?

    ReplyDelete
  30. No way! My cousin Vinny took tha Bar Exam 6 times and he was still a brilliant lawyer!

    I have heard stories of practicing judges that have taken it 4X. Are they any less for that?

    Everyone laughed at Louis Paster, but did that stop him from inventing milk? No way!

    They all laughed at Eli Whitney's steam engine, but it revolutionized the modern way, and they sure gave old Whitney an engraved apology on a silver platter after that!

    Roy Hobbes was the greatest hitter in baseball, and he proved it! Even after he broke Wonderboy!

    Bar Exam Shmar Exam!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Everyone laughed at Louis Paster, but did that stop himNovember 9, 2012 at 1:09 PM

      Over? Did you say, "Over"??

      Was it "over" when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor?

      Delete
    2. Is 1:05 PM either:
      (a) JDP; or
      (b) Someone channeling JDP?

      Delete
  31. This is nothing new, the law student who couldn't pass the bar is as old as law school itself. Usually, they just drift into other careers and forget about their lawyer dreams.

    What has changed (of course) is the huge stinking pile of non-dischargeable debt which will follow them around for the rest of their lives. But at least pot is legal in Colorado if they get depressed.

    ReplyDelete
  32. Speaking of huge stinking piles of debtNovember 9, 2012 at 1:23 PM

    http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/cypress/nationaljurist1112/#/10

    Above link leads to a 3-page excerpt from Campos' book (DGTLS(U)).

    This chapter excerpt is the one that discusses debt, IBR/PSLF and their impacts.

    May be old hat to readers of this blog, but nice to read it all together in one place.

    ReplyDelete
  33. Well, while learning about witchcraft and about how it somehow related to the great legal minds of the ancient past, I also had a Con Law Professor at Touro Law School named Gary Shaw that seemed to absolutely hate the filthy guts of Justice Rehnquist.

    And for two semesters I had to listen in a perfect captive audience to Shaw's corruption of Rehnquists' name.

    So yes, if a Con Law Professor can call a US Supreme Court Judge a wrong and nonfactual name and in a very mean spirit, then I can get history wrong.

    What is the difference in the end?

    No one from the peanut gallery cares about the facts or real issues or straight argument anyway.

    No one cares about lives absolutely devastated by student loan debt.

    No one cares about about reform.

    No one cares.

    And if Campos accepts a Dean position somewhere, then you can bet this blog will be shut down PDQ, leaving a huge vacum in the scam blog movement.




    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. LOL, No one cares about getting a public-sector job and having his mountain of debt discharged in 10 years.

      No one cares about moving out of his parents' house.

      No one cares about honoring his obligations.

      Oh, there's a bitchin' movie on TCM tonight?!

      Someone cares.

      Delete
  34. Oh dear - this post could be inviting a legitimate visit from JD Painter Guy because well, the school sounds a lot like Tuoro....and the bar failers a lot like him.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. MacK - you must be oblivious. The comment directly above yours IS JDP.

      Delete
  35. The California Bar Exam and its examinees is a sources of constant wonder. Former Governor and Senator Pete Wilson, fresh out of Yale and Boalt Hall took four tries to pass it. Jerry Brown, from Berkeley and Yale Law School needed two tries to pass. Kathleen Sullivan, a constitutional scholar who appeared often before the Supreme Court, and was being mentioned as a possible Solicitor general or Supreme Court nominee flunked it while she was the dean at Stanford law. JFK Jr. flunked the New York bar a couple of times. Hilary Clinton flunked it only once and decided to get married and try The Arkansas bar instead.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hillary Clinton failed the DC bar, but point taken.

      Delete
  36. With law practice becoming more interconnected on a multi-state level, passing a bar exam in a certain state is becoming less relevant. For example, one can practice federal law in California even though he only has a license in South Dakota.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. One can practice "federal law" in any federal district court where one becomes a member.

      That said, few issues are solely federal questions without mixed questions of state law. So who would hire a lawyer so handicapped?

      Delete
  37. Maybe a tad OT here but just an FYI, the law school lawsuit against JMLS-Chicago were dismissed today with prejudice and according to the Chicago Tribune, the judge decided that forking over six figures of tuition money does not ensure employment, therefore....caveat emptor, regardless if the employment stats in those glossy brochures are possibly demonstrably false.

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/breaking/chi-judge-tosses-jobplacement-suit-against-john-marshall-20121109,0,776311.story

    So basically, even though these lawsuits attempted to allege that the schools were lying and fudging their employment stats to induce people to enroll in their programs, that doesn't matter because no one is guaranteed a job, so the schools can just lie their asses off and whoever enrolls is just at the mercy of nature. Can anyone pick up the bench's failed logic in this one?

    Apparently, the plaintiff's attorney withdrew from the case early on according to the circuit court's electronic docket. Maybe something nutty was going on.

    Law is a dirty twisted game.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's true that paying tuition in whatever amount does not ensure employment, never mind employment at a salary that one might deem acceptable. We don't know enough about the claim to determine whether the decision was correct or not.

      Delete
  38. Mitt Romney did not pas the bar and he has long been out of gainful employment

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Liar, liar, pants (y'know....)November 10, 2012 at 6:18 PM

      "Mitt Romney did not pas [sic]the bar..."



      That is not true.

      Delete
  39. For some, the Bar exam is friggin impossible to pass. I once met a woman who told me that she knew of someone who was an ex classmate and who took the NY bar nine times and still couldn't pass.

    She was a NY Columbia grad and worked with a big Corporate law firm in the Chrysler building in Manhattan.

    Prime real estate.

    The bottom line is the debt. The student loans and the debt.

    Without some kind of legislative relief, a six figure student loan debtor will become clinically insane before 10 or 15 years out of law school.

    Punishing the debtor with more debt and with no bankruppcy rights is a sure way to fuck up a society.

    Especially after the debtor has promised not to work full time while in law school as per the law school guidelines and while borrowing the money.

    A student loan debtor in America is like someone looking at life and humanity through the wrong end of binoculars or a telescope.

    The hope and images are very, very small. Oh dear God how I wish I never went to a fourth tier piece of shit diploma mill law school.

    Dear God help me I see no hope. No bankruptcy protections and no way out. No way out. No way out.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Johnny, go `way please.

      Delete
    2. Aahahahaa! Maybe you should stop waiting for God and start helping yourself. Get a public service job, avoid getting shit-canned for ten years, and have your entire debt discharged by 2022.

      What are you, too good to work at the post office, or something? YOU LIVE WITH YOUR PARENTS.

      I had been hoping that hurricane would concentrate every ounce of its might on destroying that law school diploma of yours.

      Delete
    3. A Columbia grad who failed the bar NINE TIMES?

      *AND* secured employment with a big corporation?

      Anyone else smell affirmative action?

      Delete
  40. Everyone wants to know what happens to those who never managed to pass the bar. I'll tell you what happens: the same thing that happens today to those who DO manage to pass the bar: you work in a non-legal job that doesn't require bar passage.

    Disclosure: I passed the bar on the first time. My bar certification is currently hanging on my bedroom wall, where it has never been used (and neither have my legal skills!) Since I couldn't get a legal job, I went back to retail where I worked before college. I am not unique. A friend of mine did not pass the bar and she makes more money than I do teaching yoga.

    Since there are no legal jobs, bar passage is entirely irrelevant. I assure you, it made no difference in my life, other than I had to work for about 2 years to come up w/ the money to be able to take it. Given that so few individuals work in the legal field and therefore don't need a bar license, this question is entirely irrelevant.

    If you want to know what happened to those who didn't pass the bar, look at the majority of individuals who did pass the bar today. You'll find that they all possess the same jobs because if there are no legal jobs, then bar passage really doesn't make much of a difference, does it?

    ReplyDelete
  41. Addendum to above:

    To all those who did NOT pass the bar: don't worry and stop beating yourself up. Failing the bar did not make any difference in your career. Trust me. As someone who has a bar license and has returned to retail because money and earning an income is what counts (and not some stupid, superfluous license that you can't use to pay the bills) passing the bar didn't make any difference in mine.

    So if you haven't yet gone to law school, save your money and don't waste it. Just keep trudging along in that retail job where you are currently working (wish I had.) Work hard and eventually make manager, because that is how you get ahead in this country and not with some stupid wasteful license in your hand that doesn't signify that you know anything about practicing law (I sure don't! - the license just signifies I know how to fill in bubbles on a multiple choice test and can write fast on essays.) Follow my advice and four years from now, you will be ahead, possibly in that retail manager position or at least with 4 years of working experience to make you an attractive candidate for such a position.

    Sink your money into law school and a bar exam instead? Then 4 years from now, you will be in debt by about $100,000 and you will be looked at as a loser who has been out of the job market for 4 years because you didn't know what to do with your life. And you will be going back to that retail job that you so desperately tried to escape, without any chance of ever making a manager...

    ReplyDelete
  42. To the person above and anyone else on the blog. Would it be crazy to drop out at the end of my 2L year? I'd drop out now, but I need the loans to live off until I find a job.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "I'd drop out now, but I need the loans to live off until I find a job."

      Do you have any effin' clue how stupid that sounds?

      You'll pile on more debt for COL instead of getting a friggin' 10/hr job in retail?

      You're frankly too stupid to be helped.

      Delete
    2. I would try to find a job in a city that offers a night law school and finish up that way in my own good time.

      Delete
    3. @6:28. You should educate yourself before calling other people stupid. If a person is borrowing money to go to law school and does not complete the semester or falls below fulltime student status, the school has to return the federal funds and the student has to repay the school usually within the year rather than a 10 year repayment plan to the government. People can't drop out of school willy-nilly, there is a huge financial penalty for doing so.

      Delete
    4. I was in the same situation, and am glad I stayed in law school. If you think negative, negative things will happen to you. If you are a positive person, you will succeed. Why do you think all these negative thinking people are all failing left and right on these blogs?

      Delete
    5. What? I have tons of friends from college working retail. They don't really mind it because they're positive people and think discounted clothes and flexible schedules are great. But it's still a bad outcome considering how much their parents paid for the BA.

      Positive thinking doesn't get you a better outcome, it just makes you think whatever outcome you get is good.

      Delete
    6. @2:05, lol.
      @10:52, grow up, little girl. Learn to join the adult world, where we pay our own bills instead of having free money (which ain't free) rainin' down on us from Unca Sugah. Grow TF up, will ya?

      Delete
    7. @6:32. Thanks, you've just inspired me to go to law school, take out a ton of debt, and default on your ass.

      Delete
  43. @1:55PM

    No disrespect, but I want to cry, and from my own desperately USA student loan indebted, living and horrible hell, and when reading your comments because you sound like Happy Loman from the old Arthur Miller play.

    ReplyDelete
  44. 1:55 & 1:44 here (aka Happy Loman)

    @2:47,
    If you want to cry, go ahead. Trust me, I've done so much of it over the last few years, that there's no crying left. You see, I didn't always have that attitude about my education. It was beat into me by what the market told me was important. I actually went to law school to be a public interest attorney. I was so dedicated to that goal, that I worked for free for several years after graduation from law school in unpaid internships, hoping they would lead to a low-paying but satisfying public interest job. After working for free in unpaid internships at public interest places for a couple of years and living off of credit cards and a salary from being a waitress in my spare time, I noticed that those type jobs only went to people who had been in the field for years and had done at least 7 or 8 illustrious internships. I couldn't afford that and after a few years, left my dreams of being a public interest lawyer on the table, due to lack of finances.

    I thought I could still be a lawyer, but all the jobs I looked at wanted several years courtroom experience in the specific area of law the job was advertising. Didn't have that (I got internships where I could and they weren't always in the same area of law) and couldn't afford to work for several years unpaid again, so I had to leave the dream of just being a paid attorney on the table as well.

    I still had hope for a professional job - any professional job, although I still hoped to get into the non-profit world - but because all my recent experience was in the legal field and was unpaid, I was told I lacked the necessary experience for any position other than something legal. The irony of that statement! So I had to leave my hope for a professional job on the table as well.

    My last and only requirement, then, was that I found a job that paid minimum wage and hopefully had benefits such as paid holidays. Ta da! I was fortunate enough to find that through retail. Say what you want about retail - at least they pay minimum wage, don't try to screw you out of a salary and don't expect you to work all night and day for no wage - all things that I experienced while interning in the illustrious legal world.

    My point is, after $100,000 for law school and several thousand dollars to pass the bar, plus a couple of years working for free in unpaid internships, all the while losing MANY years that I could have been out earning a salary, I am exactly right back where I started before law school, in retail, although I am much worse for the wear financially and now have debt - something I didn't have before law school.

    So, to 2:29 and anyone else still in law school or thinking about it, think long and hard about where you will end up after law school. Start talking to current graduates from your law school to see what kind of job options they have and from that, realistically assess what your job options will be. If you come from a financially secure background and can afford to work for free for several years to get the necessary experience needed to get a paying job today, it may be worth it to stick it out, if you really want that piece of paper.

    If you don't come from a financially secure background that would allow you to work for free for years after graduating, I wouldn't recommend staying, because finances REALLY matter in this field. As much as law schools like to argue about access and diversity, the reality is that it doesn't matter what the law schools think - it's what the market thinks and they don't place too much emphasis on those values in general. Since you will be the one who has to pay the price for staying in this market until you can find a paying job, don't do it if it will strain your finances too much. It simply isn't worth it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Happy Loman:

      I have sympathy for you and your terrible situation...BUT I have 2 questions.

      Q: Didn't you realize something was terribly amiss before you had to stop lawyering due to lack of funds? How could you work for YEARS as an unpaid attorney? Did you not realize they were just taking advantage of you?

      Q: How are you paying your student loans? Are you on IBR?

      Good luck to you, I hope your situation improves.

      Delete
  45. PS: @2:29,

    I know a few individuals who dropped out of law school. While the initial decision was difficult for them and brought about a few difficult months of soul-searching (I won't lie about that), I met them about 2-3 years after they had dropped out.

    They ALL went on to extremely successful careers and ultimately ended up happy in their decisions - something that I can't say about myself and the majority of my lawyer friends who ended up staying with law school. One young lady who left law school after the first year went on to be a social worker who just 3 years after dropping out of law school, headed up a very relavant organization that assisted abused children. She was the best damn social worker I ever met.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for the response!
      I was just thinking if I finish 2 years, is it worth it to finish 3L too just to get the credential? If this was my 1L year the decision would be easier.

      Or are you basically saying the credential won't get me a legal job and it's completely useless for anything else.

      Delete
    2. Why can't you do something like that? Seriously? Is the JD really stopping you, or is your own negativity stopping you instead?

      Delete
  46. @5:13

    3:51 here. It's hard to say what you should do as it depends on your financial situation and what you want to do and why you went to law school. I would first talk to as many graduates from your school as you can - preferably those that are 2-3 years out. If you can find some who are currently residing in the state you would like to practice in, that would be ideal. Get a feel from them about the employment situations they see out in the field. You can better guage from them what you can hope to expect.

    Second, ask yourself what you hope to do after graduating. Don't answer in the specific but rather in the general. I say that because many that attend law school hope to help people without realizing that you can help people without plunking down $100,000 and being a lawyer. In the state where I currently live, in the state jobbank, there are 76 social worker positions and 3 lawyer positions, with the lawyer positions requiring 7 years courtroom experience in a particular area of the law. Obviously, if you wanted to help people it would probably be a better investment of one's time to get a social worker's degree. It would save a great deal of money and one would have a much better chance of getting a job helping people than one would if he or she got a law degree. So ask yourself in general what you want to do and whether a law degree is ABSOLUTELY necessary and worth the cost to accomplish it.

    Having said all that, you already have 2 years invested. It may be worth it to finish that last year so that you will have completed something. Should you decide to go that route, I would STRONGLY suggest that you immerse yourself in as many internships as you can RIGHT NOW, so that you will have a better chance of getting a job after graduating. Also, put as much money aside this last year from your loans as you can - I cannot stress this enough! - so that when you graduate, you will have some money to help ease the transition until you get paid work, which may or may not be quite some time after graduating. When you do begin to look for work, be flexible in what you look for and don't just limit your search to legal jobs. You may not get those. But you may be surprised at what you find out there that is not what you expect but still good.

    Lastly, if you do decide to finish up and graduate, that doesn't necessarily mean you have to sink in another couple thousand to take the bar. As I indicated, I took the bar and passed as have many of my lawyer friends and it didn't make much of a difference (in my case, none whatsoever) career-wise. Finishing school is one thing. It doesn't mean you MUST take the bar. I would only suggest taking the bar if you have a legal job lined up that requires it. If you keep your legal search expansive, you may find a job that doesn't require you to take the bar, saving you an additional several thousand dollars and more time spent away from the workforce.

    Best of luck in your decision and in your career. I sincerely hope the career path you choose to take turns out to be a kinder path than the one I have taken. Good luck!

    ReplyDelete
  47. @5:13pm

    If you apply for non-legal jobs you'd better leave the JD off your resume because you'll NEVER get hired otherwise.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Your negativity was your only undoing, not the JD.

      Delete
  48. @9:18am

    Happy Loman here. I have to respond down here because my computer does not allow me to hit the 'reply' button to reply.

    With regards to your questions:

    I realized that things were hard but was convinced that I was simply not working hard enough to get a job and that it was something I was doing on my end - that if I just got more and more experience, eventually that was the thing that would get me hired. I was reinforced in this belief by the fact that all the paid legal jobs I looked at required several years of experience, so it seemed that was the only way I could get a legal job. I didn't look at it that I was being taken advantage of because quite frankly, it was something almost ALL of my fellow graduates were and still are doing. I was told by numerous individuals (law professors, the career center at school, several individuals in the profession, the state bar, etc.) that doing internships was what you had to do because no one would be hired without experience. My experience is not uncommon. At one place where I interned, I querried everyone and discovered that the average recent grad had already done about 5 unpaid internships. It's just a sign of the times - so few organizations have money to hire that some are only surviving due to the free help they get. Unfortunately, no one gives much thought to the impact of the arrangement on those providing the free labor, however.

    It probably didn't help that my father also kept emphasizing that in order to get a legal job I needed to do what I needed to do and that no job - unpaid or not - was beneath me. To this day, my family is still disappointed that I chose to give up the unpaid work in favor of a retail job. They believe you stop at nothing to get a legal job and that I gave up. I look at it as finally making a wise financial decision.

    Keep in mind, also, that I had already invested over $100,000 in my legal education plus another couple thousand for the bar and years of losing a salary, so I was reluctant to throw it all away and return to retail. It took me awhile to realize that by working for free, I was doing just that - throwing my education all away. It took me quite some time to realize that I wasn't benefitting from this arrangement at all because I believed that if I just kept working hard, it would eventually lead to a job that would justify the enormous investment I made.

    As for how I pay back my loans, I am on IBR, as you really don't have enough money to pay loans on the salary I make. (About $12,000 a year.) But IBR isn't a solution as well. The interest on my loans continue to accumulate and my loans have increased by $20,000 since I graduated, since I am unable to make any payments on them. With a retail career and an continual increase in interest, I realize it is unlikely I will ever pay them off and that makes me sad. But I did the best that I could with the information I had at the time.

    In short, I did internship after internship because that is what I had been told by so many in the profession that I needed to do and I was reluctant to give up on being a lawyer given my enormous investment. It wasn't until recently that I said 'screw this - it aint worth it anymore and the legal profession can go to hell in a hand basket.' Best financial decision I made in years. If more people had that attitude, places where I interned could no longer expect free work, they would have to start paying, and law tuition would go down. But I don't expect that to happen anytime soon.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Happy Loman:

      I am glad you finally stood up for yourself, but am saddened as to what has happened to you (and so many others).

      I grew up in a "union" town. I frequently DISAGREE with the unions...but they have a good point in that a man should get fair pay for a good day's work. I think women should too!

      Perhaps that is why I never did an internship. Working for free rubs me the wrong way. If you are doing it for a legitimate charity, that is fine....but people coming out of skool should not have to do years of unpaid apprenticeship.

      Think of it this way...If you have to do YEARS of unpaid internships, you will NEVER get an economic return on your degree/edukation. Somebody who started off in a $10 or $12 hour job with some amount of advancement potential will probably make more. They were working for 10+ years, MAKING money, not PAYING money.

      I am glad you finally saw the light, and decided to stand up for yourself.

      May 2013 be a better year for you!

      Delete
    2. retail is scum.

      Delete
  49. Probably the best motive for poorer people's financial self destruction in today's USA is the desire to "help other people"

    It will get you into a law school for sure, and thereafter close the door on your rest life in the form of absolutely inhuman and horrible and unprecedented (in the modern civilized world) form of debt with no bankruptcy protections.

    The bankruptcy protections were criminally removed.

    ReplyDelete
  50. The states need to step in where the ABA hasn't. Bar passage requirements could be significantly increased, which would drive out the JD diploma mills. A minimum MBE score of 145-150 would be a good start: schools that draw from the bottom 50% of the applicant pool (LSAT based) would see most of their grads fail, and these schools would fall into a death spiral (low pass rates, loss of accreditation, loss of applicants). LSAT scores and bar results rates are positively correlated. Right now, the thresholds for most states are terribly low. When I took NY's and FL's exams, you needed a 130 and 133, respectively, to pass. That's just absurd.

    ReplyDelete
  51. I wish someone would bring up the ridiculous cost of bar exams! I am taking my second in under a year because I was able to find work in another state. But so far, the state bar associations of those two states have drained almost $5,000 out of me. With the law employment crisis the way it is (I'm definitely not working a 6-figure job) this is going to have to change somehow. People can't afford to become licensed with the system the way it is!

    ReplyDelete

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