Monday, January 28, 2013

Various matters

(1) I have a piece in Time regarding Sonia Sotomayor's recent comments regarding what a privilege it is to practice law, and how unhappy lawyers "need to go back to square one."

A few additional thoughts:

 *Sotomayor’s comments illustrate how thoroughly people get de-classed when they rise in the American social system. After all, it’s not as if Sotomayor’s remarks illustrate her lack of up to date knowledge regarding political corruption in Bhutan or something. She’s talking about her very own profession, and yet it seems clear she (like John Roberts) has managed to avoid finding out what’s actually going on in that profession.

This in turn suggests that the new federal law requiring all SCOTUS justices to attend both Princeton and Yale may not be encouraging the most important kinds of diversity.

*Few things are more annoying than high-status quasi-lawyers (as I point out in the piece judges and law professors don’t practice law) burbling on about how being a lawyer is a particularly public-regarding occupation. Sure, part of a lawyer’s job involves helping people. But:

(a) You can say this about any service profession, including the guy who brings you a cheeseburger with a side of fries.

(b) Another part of the job involves hurting people, which is a lot easier to forget if you don’t actually do the job, hence the blovations of judges and law profs.

(2) In November Catholic University hired Daniel Attridge, the managing partner of Kirkland & Ellis' DC office, to be the law school's new dean.  On Friday the school sent a letter around announcing that some unspecified number of staff are being laid off, as part of a reorganization of the law school, undertaken in response to declining enrollment and revenue.  (Interestingly, the linked story from the NLJ says that Attridge was going to become dean in July, but according to Friday's letter he's starting this week.  All this is rather suggestive of what may happen when someone who has spent a good deal of time considering P&L statements is asked to take over a law school under present circumstances).

(3) Speaking of dean searches and innovative budgetary ideas, an IU Maurer student writes:

Professor Campos,

Professor Solan is coming to IU Maurer next week to interview for the open Dean position there. As is typical of these events there is an open question and answer session. If you and the other members/readers of your site would like to compile a list of questions that you think should be asked I will make sure that they are shared with the enrolled students at large.

If you don't have the time or interest, than I'd just like to thank you for your time and the work you do on your blog - it is not always pleasant reading for a 1L, but that's no surprise.

I will continue to share your posts on Professor Solan and other topics to my peers at Maurer and elsewhere.

(4) Relatedly, a 1L at another school is interested in what current law students can do to push reform efforts forward:

Like you and many of your readers, I feel great frustration with the current state of legal education.  Unlike many, I entered law school (I am a 1L at [    ]) with a certain awareness of the shortcomings of the system. I knew what I was signing up for, but I do not think it means I have to take it (the detriments of the system) lying down.  But what CAN I do?

I have made a frustrated attempt at being proactive about reform at my school and I am not sure what path to choose moving forward.  The first step was seeking like-minded individuals, from fellow students to faculty and staff.  Many people seem, to various degrees, aware of challenges facing legal education, but no one seems motivated to take substantial action. Students are simply over-burdened with the study load to do more than complain, staff (as at-will employees) are not in a position to buck the system, and faculty members are either too comfortable in their tenure, and/or wary of being under the Dean's cross-hairs if they become subversive.  I have actually gone directly to the Dean to seek participation in [my school's] efforts at reform, but the meetings and communications fizzled out with a rejection of the open-door approach (i.e.- student involvement).  It seems that [my school] is ready to acknowledge big challenges exist, but is still uncomfortable with thinking radically.  

I suspect I am not the only one who has been in this position and that is why I am seeking advice.  What have other students done at schools?  Can you point my attention towards any groups or forums about ground-level reform action?  Do you caution against any approaches that end up being counter-productive or complete failures?  What can be done by someone who does not want to become an enemy of their school's administration but also cannot stand idly by with their head stuck in the sand?
I've passed on some thoughts, but I'm sure others have better ones.

152 comments:

  1. First. Now I know I will have a good day today!

    ReplyDelete
  2. And now for a serious comment: did Solon wrie that piece just to aid in his job search? Nothing like trying to hat attention and blame all the problems in law outside the system, just before you get an interview.

    I can see how deep the extent of his self- interest leads.

    On another note, law.com has an article about layoffs at UK firms and wonders whether they will continue over here. It requires a subscription but I'm sure someone else will pick it up. Biglaw is going to have to cut costs and capacity to boost profits, at least according to Citi/Hildebrant.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I mean"get" attention.

      Delete
    2. "law.com has an article about layoffs at UK firms and wonders whether they will continue over here"

      That's lay-offs being considered at Farrers, CMS Cameron McKenna, and Halsalls. Wake me up when it hits the Magic Circle.

      Delete
  3. What does it say about a guy who spends a good deal of time reviewing P&L statements that goes from K&E to running a law school?

    That maybe the K&E P&L statement is even worse than Catholic's.

    ReplyDelete
  4. For Solan, straight-up question: What are you going to do to bring the cost of tuition down whilst attendence rates are also falling?

    ReplyDelete
  5. When I was in law school, I noticed two things:

    1) Most of the "staff" worked full weeks, and it was like heaven's gate opening when you got an immediate response on some issue regarding fin aid/cs/etc.

    2) Most of the professors relied heavily upon staff that were always around and doing something if you went to the professor's office, doing the essential functions of the professor's job like helping prep for class. Professors worked, but not nearly as hard as the full-time support staff. It was very common for professors to leave by 3 or take the day off if they didn't teach.

    How the hell are these law schools (Vermony, Catholic) going to function if all these places are laying off support staff without slashing faculty or course offerings?! Already, professors rely on (cheap, sometimes free) research interns - are they going to be hiring on students for work study to do the professor's busywork so they can claim they were an "Assistant to Prof. Douche?"

    I imagine there will be quite a few grumpy professors when they - god forbid - have to clean a kitchenette or fetch a cup of coffee or grade their students' exams. "But I didn't have to do this in private practice!"

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Even the more diligent professors at my school routinely take the day off. If they have to teach, they may come in just for the one class—arriving late, like as not—and leave soon thereafter.


      Delete
  6. 6:33 -- BigLaw has been laying off staff for years while making sure that profits per equity partner stay up higher and higher. This is symptomatic of the rich get richer approach in the country generally. It is not surprising that when a biglaw partner takes over a deanship the same approach is tried.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. True, although most BigLaw firms have found ways to push out underperforming Partners nowadays in addition to canning staff, some even with equity partners. And as much as we talk about greedy BigLaw partners, most of them work 40-60 hour weeks, often more in litigation divisions. Professors work more like 20-25 (which I assume they call "busting their ass"), and many of them are going to find out just how subsidized those hours were by the drones.

      Phase two - where the professors have to eat each other - will be interesting. I bet Brian Leiter will make a fortune telling law schools who their most valuable profs are.

      Delete
    2. The Biglaw partners in my group work far more than 40 hours per week, particularly when you factor in business development efforts.

      Delete
    3. Do the staff and underperforming partners get caned before they get canned - or is that too old-fashioned?

      Stay tuned.

      Delete
  7. Please ask Professor Solan whether it would be beneficial for law professors to take a salary cut in order to increase the number of entry-level law professors law schools can hire, because from what I understand the market for lawprofs is terrible right now.

    I kid. But seriously, ask him if he thinks law school needs to be cheaper and if so what he'd do.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Questions for Solan:

    1. What is your stance on Indiana Tech opening a new law school in Fort Wayne? Do you think northwestern Indiana is underserved with current attorneys and, if so, does it worry you that much of Indiana's class struggles to find meaningful post-graduate work? How will IU grads compete with Indiana Tech and their emphasis on technology?

    2. You recently suggested that firms slash new associate salaries because it would then look more like medical school, which has a residency period where doctors make a small wage before they are licensed. Medicine can use that system because there are residency programs that can guarantee placement for almost all medical school graduates. Are you willing to commit to starting a program at IU that guarantees placement for graduates in law firms in a similar matter? Are you willing to petition the ABA or the Indiana Supreme Court to initiate such programs?

    ReplyDelete
  9. "a 1L at another school is interested in what current law students can do to push reform efforts forward."

    -I think your 1L should worry less about the big picture of reform, and worry more about the small picture of "will I be able to find a job when I graduate?" If (after first year grades come out) an honest anwer to this hard question is "probably not," the best thing that this 1L can do for themselves and the reform movement is to drop out.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I had the same thought. This snowflake should be planning to avoid a future of personal debt serfdom, rather than crusading to "reform" his law school.

      Delete
    2. I disagree. Current 1ls can do a lot to push transparency forward to their classmates and other schools.

      People still misread LST and don't account for school employment or for the fact that only a certain percentage of people are reporting salaries.

      The least a 1L can do is help educate their classmates and question their administration on what they are doing to reduce the crises in law education.

      Delete
    3. And how is that going to help the well-meaning 1L to find a job? The "crisis" is that there aren't close to enough jobs for all the matriculating JDs.

      The issue of reforming legal education is a different one, and is for most law students of secondary importance (whether they can admit it or not).

      Delete
    4. True. But I think this 1L has no idea what he got into. But at least he can be sure that people know as much as he does.

      I think that no one should be in law school. And no one should go next year.

      So, probably , the best advice is for this 1L to take a leave and work like he'll on a different career.

      Delete
  10. Professor Solan, do you know the rate at which this law school's 2011 graduates obtained full-time work where bar passage was required? (It's 63.6%.)

    Do you also know the rate at which this law school's 2011 graduates reported a salary or a job whose salary was known, and what the 25th, 50th and 75th percentiles for those reported salaries were? (37.4%; $50,000, $70,000 and $100,000.)

    Do you know what the current in-state and out-of-state tuition costs for this law school are? ($31,746; $49,820.)

    Do you know what the current recommended minimum living allowance for this law school is? ($10,800 for nine months.)

    Would you agree that it is likely that a 37.4% reporting rate tends to overstate the earnings of this school's graduates? (Answer.) As dean, would you include language to this effect on the website next to the salary data?

    Do you know what the average loan balance of this school's 2011 graduates was? (Answer.) That figure currently is not on the website. Do you expect it to be, if you become dean of this school?

    If the choice is put to you to raise tuition or hold faculty salaries constant to meet cost obligations, would you choose to raise tuition given what you now know about this school's employment outcomes?

    ReplyDelete
  11. Prof. Solan,

    Before you wrote your article, were you aware of the proliferation of jobs at big firms, paying far lower salaries and going by names like, "contract attorney," "discovery attorney" and the like? Please start you answer with a yes or no as to whether you were aware of that?

    If his answer is yes, then he wrote a supposedly provocative article that ignored the current reality that every student and prof should have known about two years ago. If his answer begins no, then he was ignorant of the basic realities of current practice.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Professor Salon,

    IU is in the midwest, not near any city with a major demand for lawyers, lots of our students want to work out of state, and the faculty aspires to be like the top 14 schools. Isn't that a recipe for disaster in this market?

    ReplyDelete
  13. Disrupting 0L events is the best way to get reform. The professoriate wants to sweep the masses of un and underemployed students and grads under the rug. So we need to hit them where it hurts, their wallets.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Agreed.

      I'd love to go to a law school recruiting session with a stack of Law School Transparency printouts in my hand...

      ...wait, what am I thinking...this is 2013...I'll bring my smartphone...

      I seem to recall LSAC (emphasis on *sac*) hosting a number of lie-a-thons around the country...

      ...and indeed they still do...

      http://www.lsac.org/jd/choose/forums-and-other-events.asp

      Should we consider "Operation Kick-em-in-the-SAC" where we arrange for truth squads to hand out LST data packets to attendees at these LSAC events?

      And if the LSAC tries to toss any truth-squaders?

      Get 'em on cell phone video and then upload to the Net.

      It is long past time we get in the face (and down the throat) of these lying, manipulating bastards.

      Delete
    2. I think this is a great idea.

      The law schools are desperate to shield the 0Ls from reality i.e. anyone trapped in the scam. While a student is applying to law school it is "Oh everything is great, look at this brochure, look at all the happy faces, look at all the large law firms that come here, look at CSI and suits, being a lawyer is rewarding."

      Near the start of second semester of 0L year when the lemmings begin to sense that they are running towards a cliff the pitch changes to "oh you didn't really rely on those numbers did you? JD advantage, you don't actually need to be a lawyer, contact your parents or relatives, NETWORK PEOPLE! JESUS WHY DON'T YOU NETWORK!"

      But, I don't blame the lemmings. Even today, with all we know and all that is available, I just can't blame them. I just know too many good people trapped in service industry jobs. Good people that went to college got degrees in all sorts of things, all to end up in jobs they had in high school but now with debt and an overriding sense of failure. The law school scam is just Ivy league scumbags playing on these people's desperation. A large part of the scam is just taking advantage of beaten people.

      Delete
    3. 100% of the LLM Scam the same thing, but I have far less sympathy for LLMs.

      Delete
  14. LP, you look younger in the Time magazine profile. When was that taken?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. soft focus.

      Barbra Walters has been dead for 6 years.

      A high res photo of her looks like Ötzi, the Iceman:

      it's tough being from the copper age

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C3%96tzi

      Delete
    2. Barbara Wawa? Say it isn't so!

      Delete
  15. QUESTION FOR IU-MAUER

    Do you feel that the employment statistics currently disclosed by IU-Mauer School of Law are compliant with Rule of Professional Conduct 8.4(c)? Do you feel that they are complaint with this quote from Marvin J. Ashton- “A lie is any communication given to another with the intent to deceive”? Why or why not? If not, what would you do to increase the transparency and integrity of the law school?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. IU actually does a really good job with its employment statistics. http://www.law.indiana.edu/careers/reports/2010.shtml

      They have been open to my comments and suggestions over the last year+.

      Delete
    2. bill henderson is at IU, so it is not surprising that they do a really good job at that.

      Delete
  16. There's a nontrivial chance that Sotomayor herself will read the article, I would love to hear her response.

    I'd also note that Solan and Sotomayor seem to suffer from the same willful blindness in the face of actual experience practicing. According to his c.v., and unlike most law professors, Solan actually has significant legal practice experience, and like Sotomayor should know better.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Question for Professor Salmon:

    Do you plan to use your position to openly criticize other law schools for their role in creating misleading and in some cases outright fraudulent post graduate employment statistics?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sorry, that question is just too "fishy".

      Delete
  18. Professor Solan, are you going to be bringing Joan King with you from Brooklyn? She conceded on the front page of the WSJ back in '07 the existence of these hordes of low paid low tier biglaw contract attorneys that you seem to know nothing about. Get a clue.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Joan King is now peddling third-tier real estate, probably alongside many former BLS grads she helped swindle.

      Delete
    2. "Hi, Joan King!"

      Delete
  19. LawProf. How did you avoid the trap that Sotomayor fell into?

    ReplyDelete
  20. To (4),

    As an idealistic 1LOL, you alone cannot do anything meaningful. Lol skewl is a business for most places and the administration couldn't care less about what one young punk thinks.

    With that being said, I think the best way to encourage reform is to hit them in the pocket. So I'd probably set up a campaign between now and July to encourage at least 50% of the students to either drop out or transfer. Since I don't know which school you are attending, I don't know how feasible this will be. If it is a decent but not top ranked school, you and your classmates should see whether lower ranked (but has similar employment statistics) schools will accept transfers with a good sized discount (I mean...er...scholarships).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. BTW, I won't be hiring anyone from the Class of 2015 and over. If you knew what you were getting into and took the gamble, it also makes me wonder what other kinds of stupid judgment calls you will make that will ultimately cost ME money.

      Delete
  21. Diamond's blog is back but it looks like he deleted all his other posts about SCU and their employment stats.

    http://stephen-diamond.com/

    Coward.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. He put most of his profound musings into his new 'article', as he says there.

      Delete
    2. Can you comment on a SSRN page?

      Delete
    3. Does anyone else think he got a dose of "academic freedom" from the administration?

      Delete
    4. was it cowardice or did he get smacked down? he said that Santa Clara's marketing was "puffery" and that the accurate stats were accessible somewhere else. that's basically an admission of fraud.

      Delete
    5. D*mbass Diamond doesn't realize the internet is forever (Google "Wayback Machine").

      Let the "esteemed" Professor know what you think of his intellectual "courage" (**comments - off**) at his Twitter account - @StephenFDiamond

      Delete
  22. Ask him about this:

    http://www.law.com/jsp/nlj/PubArticleNLJ.jsp?id=1202585810784&slreturn=20130028132249

    ReplyDelete
  23. Ask him what steps he will take so that the current professorial staff are proactive in getting to know the butts in the seats, writing letters of recommendations, and reaching out in the legal community to help them find jobs.

    ReplyDelete
  24. I always love seeing the comments on general news articles when there's a law field story. The general public is so *ing clueless.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Regarding the 1L:

    Give it up! You don't enter law school with the intent to change it. You must play by the rules of the game, and hope that it works out for you. Sorry to be blunt, but that is just the way it is.

    Also, the BIG PROBLEM with legal education is NOT with the education itself. If there were 40 less law schools in the country today, we would not be here complaining. The problem is TOO MANY LAW SCHOOLS. To solve the problem, you must shut down law schools.

    Bottom line: if the supply of lawyers does not go down, no mere change of text books will solve anything.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Omar Little: It's all in the Game.

      Delete
    2. Close 40 law schools? I'd say at least 100.

      Beyond that the root cause of the problem is the federal loan authorities hand out loans for law school with no actuarial controls. When is this going to be fixed?

      And that 1L should probably quit immediately.

      Delete
    3. 1:55 is right. I did a T20 in '82-'85 and not everyone in my class had a happy ending. TTT folks were largely screwed even back then. And in those days there were about 160 ABA law schools and the conditions in the profession were far better than they are today. Closing 40 wouldn't even get it back to what it was thirty years ago. 100 is more in line with reality.

      Delete
  26. Between the few comments left at Time and Salon it becomes clear how much the general public (or commenters on regular internet sites) empathizes with the situation.

    ReplyDelete
  27. and what about the Obama administration, trying to use 'green' jobs to solve the unemployment problem. talk about out of touch.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If you prefer, I can get you a bottle of water from a well 1 mile from a fracking plant to drink. Sounds good?

      Delete
    2. Law schools are another of the President's Solyndras.

      Delete
    3. So... that would make a whopping total of two (2) Solyndras? Sounds like a pretty good record to me!

      Delete
  28. Steve Diamond's blog is back up!

    Suitably censored, and no longer featuring pictures of people standing in front of tanks...

    ReplyDelete
  29. Hey, Queen Sonia, can I please go back to square one, back to 2005, when I researched the job and salary stats put out by the law schools and decided that going to law school at the age of 48 was a good decision. Graduated near the top of my class, but could not get an interview. Went solo and lost my life savings.


    What about me, Queen Sonia? How can I be made whole after losing everything to the law school scammers?

    By the way, Queen Sonia, have you ever taken money from a law school for, say, an appearance or for teaching classes? If so, then you are a hypocrite, in addition to being an unelected imperial queen (one of 9 kings and queens) that rules america without having to care about the needs and desires and opinions of us proles.

    Let us scammed law grads eat cake, eh. Go back to your palace, Queen Sonia. But I hope someday the crowds will gather outside and give you washington elite what they deserve.


    posted here, too:
    Read more: http://ideas.time.com/2013/01/28/sonia-sotomayor-debate-should-unhappy-lawyers-blame-themselves/#ixzz2JJ2jb0Z8

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I (Old Guy) am facing the very same problem: no interviews despite being at or near the top of the class at one of the most highly regarded law schools. Like you, I did start back at Square One when I went to law school. So I'm not particularly pleased to hear a load of let-them-eat-cake crapola from a snobbish "justice".

      Delete
    2. If you like these pearls of wisdom from the self-proclaimed "wise Latina", you're going to love her SC decisions.

      Delete
    3. Stop singing the blues Old Guy - only a moron starts law school in his forties and then cannot fathom why no one wants to hire him.

      Delete
  30. Dean Sloan,

    Do you want fries with that? Ooops, just practicing for my post IU JD job ....

    ReplyDelete
  31. off topic, but readers of this blog will surely appreciate

    http://www.nytimes.com/pages/booming/index.html

    ReplyDelete
  32. "soft focus.

    Barbra Walters has been dead for 6 years."

    I lol'd.

    ReplyDelete
  33. On your last point: I've said this before but I will say it until I die: Law schools should have to disclose the true cost of attending their school as follows:

    The law school costs $xx,000 per year. This is simply the tuition. Keep in mind that you will need living expenses and, in this market, the average 1BR costs $x00/month.

    If you finance the entire cost of your annual tuition, here are the terms:

    xx,000 dollars a@ y%.
    xx monthly repayment term
    xxx monthly payment.
    Total cost = payment amount * monthly term.

    Keep in mind that this is one year and the vast majority of our students finance three years of law school. Although we may not know the tuition for your second year, it will not be any lower than your first year's tuition.

    In addition, you should also remember that our average student earns $xx,000 per year upon graduation. This is the average and includes some students who make more and some who make less. Regardless of how much you make, you will have to make your monthly student loan payment and these student loans cannot be discharged in bankruptcy.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This would be great but the average salary for most schools is unknown. Schools make up data as well as providing information on only the students they can claim responded. And schools need to not include fellowships from the school in employment stats.

      The drop in applications is just one indication of how clearing up the scam depends on truthful reporting by the schools.

      Delete
    2. Most schools already break down the total cost of attendance by tuition and living expenses.

      Delete
  34. You really need to read Diamond's article - for all his turgidness, it is a hoot.

    He manages to mention the Koch brothers, Professor Kingsfield, 9-11 Truthers, and Martin Luther King.

    Remember, you are a tool of international finance capital if you think that law schools are overpriced, and crank out too many students!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're also a racist, a misogynist, and a godless communist, and you eat babies alive for breakfast.

      Delete
  35. I would ask him how he feels that law school can possibly ge worth the cost and how much he had to borrow when he went to law school.

    Ask him if he go under the current cost structure and ask him why.

    ReplyDelete
  36. Our work is starting to pay off!

    "Avoiding Law School In Droves" by Karen Sloan of the National Law Journal January 28, 2013

    http://www.law.com/jsp/nlj/PubArticleNLJ.jsp?id=1202585810784&slreturn=20130028195026

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm hoping applicants will realize there is no reason to go to law school this year and will instead spend a year doing something else .

      Delete
  37. http://m.gawker.com/5979579/we-need-fewer-college-graduates

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A thoughtful article, but ahead of its time. Eventually American society wil come to view the goal of getting every adult a Bachelors degree as idiotic. But judging by the bulk of the comments for the article, that is a while off.

      Delete
    2. The goal would be fine if there wasn't such a heavy price tag attached. I wonder if a young person could take the same amount of free open courses as a degree would require and present those certificate credentials to an employer and get the job.

      Delete
    3. I disagree, it truly is idiotic. 90% of jobs simply do not require a bachelors degree. Furthermore, trying to force everyone into college has debased the value of a bachelors degree. A bachelors degree is supposed to be a true challenge to attain, its not for everyone.

      Even in the current somewhat dumbed-down version of many bachelor degrees the drop out rate is about 50%. People who simply don't have it what takes for higher education are being forced into it and are miserable.

      Delete
    4. My gosh, some of the comments on that gawker article are retarded (apologies to Mr. Flacco).

      "We need more STEM grads, mwaw mwaw" Like having a bunch of unemployed mathematicians and engineers and computer programmers is way better than unemployed historians and lawyers.

      Delete
    5. Yeah 5:54 the comments are dumb, the blind worship of the bachelor's degree is rife in American culture unfortunately. Check out the comments from this article for more of the same:

      http://www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/2012/09/09/megan-mcardle-on-the-coming-burst-of-the-college-bubble.html

      Yes, this magical bit of paper will make you happier, healthier and wealthier, guaranteed. Everybody needs one. But of course theres no point wasting your time studying anything other than engineering or science. Apparently we need a nation made up 100% of scientists and engineers (nevermind that a lot of scientists and engineers are having trouble finding work now as is).

      Delete
    6. To echo 708:

      Basic hard science (chemistry, biology, etc.) are almost impossible without a master's degree. Astronomy/Physics is worthless without a PhD from a top school, and even then it's a tough sell. Engineering now requires a solid school, great luck, and probably a master's. Mathematics are only as good as their services can be marketed to insurance/banking.

      Delete
  38. To the 1L:

    Run,do not walk,away from the legal profession. It does not get any better; it just gets worse. It has not gotten any better since I graduated over 30 years ago.

    I, and many lawyers like me, will tell you that going to law school was the worst decision of my life.

    Even if you are one of the lucky duckies who finds a job, you will work long hours for low pay and few benefits. The work typically is mind numbingly boring and serves litte social good. More often than not, your life will be devoted in giving those who already have too much, even more. And they don't even want to share with you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've been noticing kids on TLS assuming that law is a life-long career. I wonder how best to get the word out?

      http://www.top-law-schools.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=203181&p=6353318#p6353318

      See one of the posts in the above thread where a poster urged that people think beyond repaying loans because law is hopefully a lifetime career.

      And these are the kids who are doing research on schools and employment. Not sure how smart they are though, as they seem undetected from attending it staying in law school , despite the mounting evidence that law school is very much a losing proposition.

      Delete
    2. I wish the "lifetime career" myth had been pushed more as a knowingly fraudulent statement by the K-S folks. A lot of law school propaganda is premised on the idea that graduates - even the ones who can't get a job first - have 40-year careers in the law/using a law degree ahead of them.

      If such implications are not fraudulent under the prevailing definition of fraud, they should be.

      Delete
    3. This idea is so common that people assume if you go to a T6 school you are going to have a career for life. I know that someone posted that getting into Harvard is a 40 year 6 figure minimum career.

      This is one reason that B1LY is a good person to speak out. I ikniw many people lost their jobs in the crash. I just hope people see that as a lesson in the unpredictability of even the best law school degrees. Firms will stealth layoff 1st or 2nd years, where do they go from there?

      Things happen outside your control , so you better have back-up plans in place from day 1.

      Delete
    4. Most job openings are for new lawyers. This is because only a newly minted lawyer is willing to work 80 hour work weeks for $30,000 a year. When that lawyer figures out he is being cheated, he quits, and the firm hires a new sucker.

      When you are six years out of law school, no one really wants to hire you anymore.

      Besides, it is hard to bill 2500 hours a year for 40 years. At some point, most people want to have a life outside of the office.

      Plus law firms are very unstable. I graduated over 30 years ago, and just about every office/firm I worked for no longer exists. Several of the partners I worked for are long dead.

      If you cannot get or keep a job when you are in your 50's, how do you plan to make it to retirement: as a greeter at Walmart?

      Generally, law only offers half a career. What you are going to do for the second 20 years of your career is a bigger problem than what you will do for the first twenty years.

      Delete
    5. I totally agree with @6:39. Law is an unstable profession. I would have been better off if I had stayed in my Ph.D. program. I have no doubt I would be a VP or at the very least a senior scientist easily making $150,000 by now. Now I struggle doing extremely boring work as a temp doing document review for low pay, no benefits, no respect, no job stability. Look up the meaning of the word fungible. There you will find the word "attorney" as part of the definition.

      Delete
  39. These law schools are now going to have to compete for business in an over-saturated market, just like real lawyers have done for years. It's going to be quite a s-show.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Many schools, including Columbia, are sending out fee-waivers and I citations to webinars to people who have ( historically) no shot at being admitted.

      I guess the first step is to get as large a pool of applicants as possible.

      Delete
  40. If my parents weren't still alive, I would have zero qualms about killing myself... only thing worse than having a failure, err "lawyer" for a kid is cremating your kid. I also have a roof over my head and food to eat, so have it better than most of the world.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. no one should think this way. We need every unemployed and underemployed lawyer and recent grad to speak out. Channel your anger against the school and these bastards that are still trying to scam people. Our day will come.

      Delete
    2. Oh I hate all the financial sodomites, the law school cabal, the University of Phoneixes, the for profit schools advertised on the subway (seriously when are all the New York City law schools going to advertise between the Fitzgerald & Fitzgerald sign and the Zoni ESL schools?). Still, I believe in accountability- so I am culpable as well. Just nice to see that with better information, subsequent classes are avoiding the con.

      Delete
    3. Please don't do it. You're not a failure. I am sorry about your situation. If you need to get some things off your chest and want someone to talk to, leave your email and I'll contact you.

      Delete
    4. I'm not going to do anything- I meant it when I said I wouldn't because of the effect it would have on my parents. Thanks for the concern though.

      Delete
    5. @Paintroachie,

      Of course you would ... because when your parents kick the bucket there'll be no one for you to live off of.

      So you COULD kill yourself. You could. Or you could get a government job and have your loans cancelled after 10 years instead of 25. Also, the satisfaction of honest work.

      Dry land is NOT a myth, Paintroach!

      P.S. Keep your promise and stop posting here.

      Delete
    6. I'm not the painter guy... I have a job, am staying at home to minimize expenses and making payments on my loans... Doesn't preclude the feeling of being a failure- what part of blaming myself did you not comprehend? And I like how you accuse me of being a 'moocher,' and just throw IBR/fleecing the US taxpayer as an option. Eff off Steve Diamond (since you like to accuse others of being someone else- I thought I'd return favor in kind).

      Delete
    7. I know it is hard to accept the scam and accept that you, I and the masses of others were scammed. As a 3L at AU I don't think I have fully accepted it yet, I still hold out hope that I will be one of the "lucky" 1/3 from AU that gets a lawyer job. This hope is the power of the scam.

      I was in a meeting the other day of 3Ls where criminal administrators were discussing the bar. This admin, Dean Jaffe, said that it would be a stressful time and that he recommended we deal with the stress with a "stress ball." I looked around the room when he said that, the room full of 3Ls look bewildered. I couldn't help asking myself how many of my fellow classmates were already depressed, how many were already alcoholics, and how many had jobs lined up. Remember, AU has some of the most indebted students and some of the worst employment numbers. A stress ball! This man lives in a fantasy world. He won't understand, he can't understand because as Law Prof so often reminds us "It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it."

      Delete
    8. Sorry to hear your plight. Just keep on trying. There are some jobs, legal and where a law degree is useful, out there. Do not limit yourself to the legal jobs. Try internships and entry level jobs in non legal areas. Good luc!

      Delete
    9. @910,

      You are being trolled. We are in an invincible unstoppable golden Obama recovery. When that bony black booty of his makes contact with the chair in the Oval Office, something sweet and magical starts to happen. Lead turns into gold, everyone gets a six-figure salary, and men sprout wings and fly.

      It's magic. Anyone who doesn't have a high-paying job in the Age of Obama clearly doesn't WANT one.

      Delete
    10. Seriously! In case you didn't get the memo, we just passed major legislation that ensures the wealthy are now paying their fair share. The obvious result, as we have seen, is an explosion in creation of well-paying, prestigious jobs. Only a true slacker could fail to find employment now!

      Delete
    11. You know, you are right. Your parents would never recover if you committed suicide. It is worth fighting for your life if only for your sake.

      remember they love you and don't see you as a problem. they probably understand the degree you have been scammed better than you do.

      Delete
  41. Hi there! This post could not be written any better. Many thanks!

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    ReplyDelete
  42. @240,

    Actually, a failure is EXACTLY what he is. He threatens to kill himself all the time to get attention. He'll either do it or he won't. Don't take the bait.

    I've told him how to get out of debt in 10 years. But he'll have none of it.

    @Paintroachie,

    Just a few hours ago, I received 20 American Buffalo coins in the mail. I'm sending the 3 or 4 dinged ones back for a tradeout and putting the rest in my safe deposit box tomorrow morning. When you order 20, they come sealed in a plastic sheet from the mint. Just one of these sheets would pay off about 1/10 of your debt, if I remember correctly.

    Do you wish to have this kind of life? Maybe you should listen to someone who knows what he's talking about - and get a government job. Or just keep crying until you die.

    Choose your fate.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You don't know what you are talking about. A govt job will not help him with his debt.

      I think your comments should be deleted, because you persist in spreading false information.

      You have yet to post any solid reference to any program that would be available to help students who have debt from years ago, or who have been in default .

      Delete
    2. I'm sure. The problem here is that some people just don't WANT to know about the program.

      You can lead the horse's ass to water; but how do you MAKE it drink?

      Water: www.studentaid.ed.gov/repay-loans/forgiveness-cancellation/charts/public-service/

      It definitely applies to a loan where there's been a default. You are in denial. Are you by any chance a 9/11 truther as well?

      Delete
  43. LP--Great piece in Time. That video clip from 1986 is an absolute gem. Thanks for unearthing it, and thanks for your continued commitment to speaking truth to power.

    ReplyDelete
  44. LP, you've done an invaluable service. You have prevented many kids from uncritically accepting the cultural myths surrounding law school.

    ReplyDelete
  45. University of Chicago Institute for Law & Economics Olin Research Paper No. 629:"Can Lawyers Stay in the Driver's Seat?"

    http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2201800

    ReplyDelete
  46. I just found this site and its equal parts salve and lemon juice in a festering wound. Are there support groups for those of in this law school debt, no job, family to feed situation? I'm losing my grip here a little bit...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We are the support group. Take a deep breath.

      Delete
    2. This is the second time I've been unemployed since 2010. The first time there just weren't any jobs. I lucked out and got hired as an ALJ... and then lost that job when the federal government cut unemployment funding to my state. This time there are more jobs, but EVERY SINGLE posting wants candidates with 6 years or LESS experience. I am currently fighting tooth and nail for a $33,000 a year policy analyst position with the state. My student loan debt when I graduated was $100,000. I've paid $630 per month for 12 years and its STILL $100,000. How do I provide for my family like this?

      Delete
    3. It's impossible. That's the problem. It's not you. Keep that first and foremost in your mind. You did nothing wrong to get yourself in this place.

      Delete
    4. If your loans are federal get on IBR.

      Delete
    5. Is important to keep looking. Maximum years of experience on jobs and job posting are definitely the norm. It just takes a while to get a legal job. Always has if one was trying to lateral.

      Delete
    6. I apply to 2 or 3 jobs per day. I get, on average, a rejection every 2 days... most don't even respond. Every once in a while I apply to a job where a friend works, when I don't get hired I inquire about who they DID hire, it's always someone a year or two out of school. Last month I applied for an assistant manager position at Best Buy. I didn't even get a call back. Its SO HARD to face this every day. Opening your email just to find a "thanks but no thanks" note or, even worse, NOTHING FROM ANYONE. I'll check out IBR.

      Delete
    7. Joel, sorry about your bad situation.

      But how is it that you've paid over 90,000 on your loans over 12 years and still have the same balance?

      Did you accept some kind of deal where you agreed to pay only the interest charges?

      If so, it would appear you did this to yourself.

      Note in particular that given the numbers you provided and running a 20-year amortization table, if instead of paying 630 per month you had paid 810 per month, you would be on schedule and your current loan balance would be under 60K. Plus, you'd be on "the right side" of the curve, where you're paying considerably more than half of each payment against principal.

      Delete
    8. He probably paid 630 instead of 810 because he didn't HAVE 810 per month to pay, dipshit. Way to blame the victim for the usurious interest rates charged by student loans.

      Delete
    9. "probably paid 630 instead of 810 because he didn't HAVE 810 per month to pay"


      Riiight. In 12 years of employment, being able to make the 630, but never ever able to scrape up another 180 to start actually paying down the loan. Sure. Gotcha.

      One of us has certainly been dipped in something here, but I suspect it's not me.

      Delete
  47. Just met a 2012 Duke grad today who got was on their post-grad fellowship (read: full employment) for the past 9 months. Huge success, though. He got a full time offer in a PD's office in a small city in NC. Smaller than Wilmington or New Bern.

    This is a guy who, had he wanted to take a PD route 5 years ago, would be at the PDS in DC, or some major city.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So is that a paid job I assume, wonder what his salary is going to be- could you post a range? And maybe how much debt he had to borrow to go to Duke?

      I'm glad he found something and the fellowship worked for him. I'm just adverse to schools acting like these are full time jobs for employment statistics purposes.

      Delete
    2. My point is that that job he got, and good for him, is a job that in past years would've gone to a UNC or lower ranked school. No duke student would've been happy with it. It's remarkable how bad the market is

      Delete
    3. Salary is I think $45k. May be a little less.

      Delete
    4. Thank God a Duke grad got a job. I thought only losers at TTT schools couldn't get jobs. BTW Duke grad - you're my hero.

      Delete
  48. lsac just updated their weekly stats, going to be a bloodbath

    http://www.lsac.org/lsacresources/data/three-year-volume.asp

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is trending that way - the history shows an undershoot accelerating by January, but the curve goes asymptotic in early March. If this trendline continues to the usual asymptote point (March week 1), expect mayhem in admission offices and on balance sheets from late March through September. If.....

      Delete
    2. That's going to leave a mark.

      Delete
    3. Any reason why this trend wouldn't continue? I can see law schools frantically sending out fee waivers to increase applicants to their schools, but aren't deadlines approaching for most schools?

      Delete
    4. ^If only they could do something like...extend their own deadline!

      Delete
    5. I'm not sure how extending the deadline helps if no one wants to apply. You have to over something more.

      Delete
    6. "Offer" - the next LSAT is coming up, wonder what will happen there? I'm hoping that people are starting to understand the depth of this decades long scam. But I still am concerned by people who seem to think that makes this a great year to apply.

      I wonder if anyone is tracking the scholarships schools are offering. Columbia just admitted a number of Hamiltons.

      Delete
    7. But I still am concerned by people who seem to think that makes this a great year to apply.

      On wall street we call that a dead cat bounce.

      "even a dead cat will bounce if it falls from a great height"

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dead_cat_bounce

      Delete
  49. No JD's need apply.

    Here is a good snippet from a current craigslist posting for a Contracts Administrator job:

    "Interested and qualified Employment Law Contract Administrator candidates, please submit your resumes in Microsoft Word format ASAP for immediate consideration. Please - no JDs as they will not be considered for this position.

    • Location: New York, NY

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sad. A perfect example of how getting a JD can keep you from getting a job.

      Delete
  50. @ January 28th 7:55PM

    The guy that is heckling you is most likely MR. Infinity, alias Epic Fail law School Disaster alias the World Traveling Law Student.

    He sometimes attacks anon commenters thinking it is me.

    He has commented that he wants to drive me to suicide and calls me a roach in front of thousandsof readers and is too cowardly to reveal his real identity lest character and fitness would never admit him to the bar.


    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Does C&F admit people who welsh on their debts? Assuming you could even PASS the bar, that is.

      Now keep your promise and stop posting here.

      P.S. *Six* dinged coins. May have to try another supplier.

      Delete
    2. ^haha, I like this poster!

      Delete
    3. Eh, no one cares.

      Delete
    4. Stop talking to yourself, Paintroach.

      Delete
    5. No I mean I like the person that posts at 5:12!
      5:16

      Delete
    6. @606,

      I understood that. The comment at 546 was to 455.

      - 512/546

      Delete
    7. Jesus, why do you all have such a hard-on for Mr. Koch?

      Delete
    8. SOCKPUPPET ALERT! SOCKPUPPET ALERT!!!!

      Greek chorus time, baby!

      LawProf, it looks like his latest "promise" to stop posting didn't last very long. Of course, YOU can compare IP numbers (though you refuse to block his for some strange reason).

      Delete
    9. Sorry bud, I'm not JD's sockpuppet. Why do you have such a man-crush on JDPainter?

      Delete
    10. I guess only the admin knows if the IP addresses match, dingleberry ;-)

      Still living with the 'rents?

      Delete
    11. Let me guess ... you guys were the ones who liked to pick on the special ed kids while growing up.

      Please look up the IP addys Prof. Campos!

      Delete
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