One aspect of the current crisis which can be particularly disheartening is the level of indifference many people in legal academia display towards it. It's true that almost no one has the sheer chutzpah to come right out and say, when confronted with the fact that law school is turning into something of a catastrophe for a larger and larger percentage of our graduates, "I've got mine, Jack" (suitably dressed up in academic jargon of course). Plenty of people are ready to engage in what a perceptive colleague of mine describes as "upper-class hand-wringing."
But talk is cheap -- while doing anything to change the status quo is another matter altogether. And, as my colleague suggests, this is to a significant extent a class-based phenomenon. I actually heard a middle-aged law professor say recently, in the context of a broad-ranging discussion of this subject, that it wasn't necessarily a big problem that more than half our graduates aren't getting real law jobs, because after all the prospect of practicing law for the rest of one's professional life was something she herself had found distasteful in the years immediately following her graduation from law school.
Really, what can one say in response to this sort of money-sheltered ignorance? It's no coincidence this person comes from the sort of background where the prospect of not being able to pay the rent or fix a broken car or go to the dentist will always remain, short of social revolution, as abstract as the prospect of being a third world peasant.
Of course a certain percentage of our students -- I would guess about one in five -- come from similar backgrounds. For them, if law school "doesn't work out," they can go backpacking in Europe for six months and then try something else.
A much larger percentage of our students come from middle class to upper middle class backgrounds, broadly defined. These are people who probably aren't going to face the prospect of real hardcore poverty, because they do have enough social capital to fall back on -- for instance they can move back in with their parents, as more and more law graduates are doing -- until they can figure out a way, via IBR and their previous educational and work experience, to carve out some semblance of a middle class existence after they've given up on trying to be real lawyers (although many of them won't be able to buy houses, start families, or engage in some other traditional indulgences of American middle class life).
Then there's a group of people who come from truly modest social and economic backgrounds. Since we've tripled tuition over the past seven years there are fewer and fewer of these, and what they're going to do when they end up not getting legal jobs is something that isn't pleasant to think about, which is why for the most part we simply don't.
Part of all this is generational: it's difficult for the older faculty in particular to come to grips with just how much more expensive law school is now, and how much worse the job market has gotten for lawyers -- not merely in the last three years, but over the course of a slow but fairly steady two-decade-long contraction that predated the current recession (This contraction was masked in part by the fact that starting salaries -- though not long-term compensation prospects -- kept going up for those law grads who got associate positions with big firms).
But part of it is very much class-based. If people come from the sort of background where from early childhood on they and most of the people they socialize with went to expensive private schools, elite undergraduate colleges, and tony graduate and professional programs, it's a lot harder for those people to genuinely understand -- at both an intellectual and emotional level -- that most people in this country, and even in our own classrooms, don't have an attractive Plan B in life when Plan A turns into a six-figures-of-high-interest-nondischargable-debt-with-no-reasonable-job-prospects disaster.
When facing something like the current crisis of the American law school, that sort of background makes it a lot easier to wring one's hands, utter sympathetic-sounding banalities, and then do nothing.
Saturday, December 10, 2011
Class stratification and social indifference
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i.e. let them eat cake.ReplyDelete
The worst billable-hour quarry in all of BigLaw offers its employees the self-respect associated with being able to pay one's bills on time and in full.ReplyDelete
Share this thought with your colleague: imagine someone in the Kafkaesque situation of being undesirable to legal employers (e.g., inadequate grades, experience and/or school cachet) but also undesirable to non-legal employers who cannot be persuaded that you will not be hired by a legal employer as a bar-passing JD. (Mention also that this probably describes 25%-40% of your most recent class at Colorado, if her head hasn't already exploded.)
I would, but basically she doesn't care.ReplyDelete
This business is full of morally and intellectually soft people.
Are all of your colleagues like that?ReplyDelete
Well, and as you note, people steeped in intellectual eliteness (and the money that comes along with it). Law is nothing if not a hierarchical world, and every ladder we climb, we figure we're there because we're owed it. And we're all still poor because we don't make what our banker friends do. And while we like to talk a lot about social justice, we certainly don't want it to come at the expense of getting to live in the lovely, lovely worlds we live in. See, e.g., law school salaries that pretty well price most everyone out of doing public interest work.ReplyDelete
That was supposed to read law school tuition. But you knew what I meant.ReplyDelete
12:41: No, not all by any means. Just far too many.ReplyDelete
Not to mention the fact that even if the working-class student makes it to the Promised Land of a law firm job with benefits, the new rules of the game that require you to have a book of business in order even to make partner will disproportionately penalize good lawyers who don't have family or elite-school connections to the "right" people at the "right" (i.e., big) companies. The last law firm that I was at routinely promoted rich idiots and then couldn't figure out why all its brightest associates bailed on them.ReplyDelete
And as for the professoriate, the academy's refusal to consider anybody who has actually spent time PRACTICING law means that your new faculty hires are likely to be predominantly from the social classes that can afford college and law school tuition without having to resort to student loans. Because if you're 2 years out, even at Biglaw, you haven't paid off your student loans, and a junior professor's salary is typically not enough to pay those loans and have a middle-class life as well. Making academia less appealing to recent grads with student loans and weighting the candidate pool in favor of the type of upper-class nitwits described in Professor Campos's post.
I think you hit the nail on the head that many people at the top of the profession have no conception of true financial difficulty. The advantage that comes along with going to private schools, having tutors, having parents that went to elite intitutions, etc., makes it more likely that the most privileged entrants into the legal profession will make it to the top. This is especially true in legal academia, where those responsibel for hiring are even more obsessed with elite pedigree than other legal employers. It's hard to get into a truly elite law school if you weren't given strong educational opportunities from the time you were a child. If you're a reasonably smart kid who went through mediocre public schools and worked hard, you have a good chance at getting to a decent law school, but you're probably not going to get to a top ten school. Hence, you're probably not going to ever be a legal academic. Hence, people with your background will not be represented in the decision-making process about how to structure & reform legal academia. And here I'm talking about a middle class kid. Obviously someone from a truly disadvantage background has even less hope. The legal profession, more than any other, is one where you almost have to start at the top in order to finish at the top. So long as the case you're going to have a lot of out-of-touch law professors who don't understand why their failed students can't just pursue some other fantastic opportunity.ReplyDelete
I am sure you are right that law profs do not generally come from working class backgrounds. But I also know many who came from ordinary backgrounds,and the pivotal factor in their family life was a respect for education and learning, which not all rich people have. Not everyone who goes to private schools is interested in education. That can be more about keeping within a certain social group. Then there are people whose parents sacrificed to send them to schools so they could have access to more opportunities.ReplyDelete
This post was amazing. This is the way it is. What's worse is these silver-spoon beneficiaries lecture their students about "giving back." Disgusting.ReplyDelete
However, like I always say, America was and never will be a pure meritocracy the way some envision. Attempting to interfere with that harsh reality causes things to get worse, much worse. If most of us chose less prestigious, more marketable, careers things would have been much better for us. Also, if during that travel, some of us identified a real market need, we could have become wealthy, i.e look at what some restauarant owners with no education have accomplished.
Because we were just midde-class and/or poor we should not have gone to LS and maybe even college.
Great post Professor.
This entry reminds me of an email I received in spring 2009. I had been reading about the blood bath of associates fired that winter/spring, when I opened an email that was part of a law professors' listserv dedicated to "balance" in legal education and law practice. Many of the professors wrote about depression and substance abuse among law students, and some offered innovative pedagogical ideas. I was interested in both topics, so I subscribed to the listserv.ReplyDelete
This particular email rejoiced--even exulted!--in the fact that so many law graduates were losing jobs in BigLaw. Just like LawProf's colleague, the listserv professor thought that the grads would all be better off because they would have more balanced lives. Numerous other members of the listserv chimed in, congratulating one another on how their "balance" perspective would soon carry the day in legal education and law practice.
I started screaming with a mixture of anger and hilarity (at the time, I thought these emails were too macabre to believe), and my husband and son ran into the room. When I read them the posts, they started screaming as well. We're usually not very excitable people--rather sedate fuddy duddies--but our apartment building's security force actually knocked on the door and told us to quiet down. That night was when I first started working in this area (not on transparency specifically, but on the legal job market more generally).
I think there's not only the class bias that LawProf writes about, and the self-interested denial (which he has also written about), but the peculiar ability of law professors to relate almost any event in law practice/legal education to their own particular hobby horse. That's what the professors on the listserv had done--they thought they had scored a big victory for the "lawyers need more balanced lives" view of legal education. I'm sure that when I return to my faculty in January (I've been on family-medical leave this fall), others will tell me that the employment problems of our graduates can be solved by giving more take-home exams, giving more multiple-choice exams, or whatever their particular hobby horse has been--no matter how unrelated it is to the job market.
I hasten to say that I support more balanced lives in law practice, and that depression is a serious problem for law students and lawyers--one that we do much to increase through our educational structure. But it pains me that even people who have useful ideas and commitments on those issues can't grasp the enormity of the job problem today.
If you put something like that listserv conversation in a novel satirizing the legal academy, your editor would surely reject it as being far too fantastic even for the purposes of satire.
You guys have not been fortunate in your choice of colleagues. I know only a handful of people like this, and they are not all law professors.ReplyDelete
DJM's comment reminds me of an experience I had w/ a law prof my last semester of law school, who was teaching a 'cultural competency' course, with the goal of increasing awareness for the average law student about the concerns of minorities and poor individuals.ReplyDelete
One of the things I found fascinating about the class was the assumption of the professor(who was a minority and female)that most of the students came from wealthy backgrounds, simply because we were not minorities. She simply couldn't comprehend that white students could be poor too and not have enough to eat. She had a very high position at the law school, had been a high-powered executive for years, and her husband was an oil executive. It had been a good twenty years since she had experienced any kind of financial struggle and she was firmly in the 1%, yet she always portrayed herself as the one who had to demonstrate to us students (many who struggled with having enough to eat while a student) concepts of financial struggle.
She did pro bono work for a legal aid organization and I'll never forget the class where she discussed one of her clients' cases with us: it was about a father who was ordered to pay $5,000 in child support and who came to see her because he didn't have the funds to pay that amount. He had lost his job, had no transportation, and was riding a bike to job interviews. He wanted to know what his legal options were. She proudly told us that her advice to him was just simply to find the money and pay that amount. She couldn't comprehend that some people didn't have that amount lying in their bank accounts and that even a full-year's salary wouldn't allow them to pay that amount. When she asked us what we thought of her advice to him, I thought it had to be a trick question - a test of our true cultural competency. It wasn't. I had to angrily explain to her that telling someone who used a bike as transportation and had no job to simply come up w/ $5,000 to solve his legal problem was like telling a childless couple unable to have a baby to simply create one. At the time I 'educated' her, I had about $12 in my bank account and although I was graduating soon, I knew it would be a year or two (if I was fortunate) before I would come up with enough money to take the bar. (I still haven't come up with enough money to complete my bar registration requirements.)
A very frustrating experience, knowing this woman was paid a nice salary to teach ME about how poverty affected access to the justice system, when my own lack of money was preventing me from becoming an attorney. At the end of the class, I heard her in a one-on-one discussion with one of the students and she expressed her surprise in learning that some of her white students dealt with financial difficulties. And the student (who was white) had to explain to her that there were other things beside race, such as class and income, that minimized an individual's opportunities.
And yet, to this day, SHE is the one who gets paid to teach students about how poverty affects access to the judicial system - a lesson most of her students live every day.
This does not sound real. It could be. But it sounds exaggerated. Most of the students in your law school came from impoverished backgrounds?ReplyDelete
People only care about social justice when it doesn't inconvenience them. It's easy for a law prof to dip their toe into pro bon or encourage students to do the same. But profs are never going to fight for lower tuitions, school closings, shrinking class sizes, etc., because this would hurt their bottom lines.ReplyDelete
Another part of it is that nobody thinks they're the bad guy. The law profs think they're saving the world.
Oh, this is very real, Sir. I went to a fourth-tiered school. Not to sound too negative, but when I tell a true experience and you have to think it's exaggerated, it tells a little about your own class bias. You mean to tell me that you went to a law school where everyone was fed a silver spoon? Perhaps you should look at your own biases if you find it hard to believe that there are many students who have to work their way through law school or who only attend because they took out student loans to do so.ReplyDelete
Pardon me if your response doesn't sound real at all. I truly can't believe that some people are so sheltered that they can't believe that some of us had to work our way through school and lived with $12 in our bank accounts most of the time during that time. If you have to stretch your credulity to believe that, I envy your lifestyle.
And for the record, the enormous expense most of my fellow students paid to go to law school did not pay off. Most ended up in low-paying jobs in retail after law school (low paid = $10 an hour or less.) So they went right back to the lifestyle that they tried to improve upon, except now they have a monstrous amount of student debt accompanying them.
Where are these law professor listservs and how do I join them?ReplyDelete
People who struggle financially also work for law schools as STAFF. I work as extremely low-paid staff at a Tier 2 school (I make about what 5:47 defines as "low-paid"). A couple years ago a janitor at the law school made the student/campus newspaper for being homeless and yet also employed by the university. He had gone through a divorce, and was living paycheck to paycheck, and just didn't have the cash for a deposit on an apartment. He would ride the bus (to stay in the AC) until it was time for his janitor shift to start at the law school.ReplyDelete
Faculty looked the other way. They don't care.
Don't forget adjuncts who do the same work of a full time professor for literally 1/10 of the salary.ReplyDelete
Of course I know that there are people who have to work there way through law school. But working class is not the same as impoverished. I do not doubt that your personal story. I just doubt whether most of the people going to law schools are from impoverished backgrounds. I said I could be wrong about that.ReplyDelete
The Law School Scam movement and 99% movement both have highlighted that we need to develop a new, updated terminology to describe "class." In the United States, almost 70% of people think of themselves as middle class. People in the top 10% and even 1% consider themselves middle class (and they're not wrong given the way pundits use the phrase). Similarly, referring to people as capitalists and workers also doesn't make sense anymore. CEO's technically work and they mostly manage others' capital, but they aren't anything like another "worker." And a law professor really isn't like a "banker," but it doesn't make any sense for them to lump themselves into the middle-class as the equivalent of a high school teacher or police officer. And, referring to the "upper middle class" doesn't help clarify much.ReplyDelete
The failure of our current language to capture current class dynamics makes it more difficult for people (particularly the "upper middle class" law professor) to understand the situation that their students face(particularly at a lower ranked school; most graduates from T14 schools are part of or will enter the same class as their faculty).
5:10 - how have you not had enough money to take the bar - does your state have a bar loan program?ReplyDelete
Also, what are you doing now? Are you employed in some facet of the legal field?
Those are excellent points about the problems with terminology. I still do not think we have reliable evidence of what the thousands of law professors believe and know about these matters. Anecdotes are not meaningless, but we have to recognize their limitations.ReplyDelete
"5:10 - how have you not had enough money to take the bar - does your state have a bar loan program?"ReplyDelete
Are you serious? Please tell us how someone with zero money gets the funds to take the very expensive bar exam. Provide enough detail i.e. links and phone numbers.
Google "student bar loans"ReplyDelete
LawProf or others in academia: Slightly off topic but a "cultural" question:ReplyDelete
Do law students still give their professors a round of applause at the end of the last class meeting? [This was common back when I was JDing]. Or are today's professors undeserving of this honor and/or students too apathetic or angry to do so?
That is done at my school.ReplyDelete
@7:44 If you have too much debt at graduation, you may be ineligible for bar loans. A number of my undergrad/law school loan financed colleagues were ineligible and could only get bar loans with a cosigner or through private high interest loans. Implausible as it sounds at some point with 6 figures of debt and no income people stop offering to lend money.ReplyDelete
@11:17: You would be surprised at the number of impoverished law students. With the plethora of students loans, you now have many people attending that traditionally wouldn't have dreamed of it, simply because they have access to loans. During the cultural competency course I mentioned above, the professor once asked the class, by a show of hands, to indicate how many of us had ever gone hungry due to a lack of funds to buy food. 60% of the class raised their hands. I don't know if this is as indicative as you wish it to be, I just include it because it may surprise some (including law professors) how pervasive the problem is, given that now you have many attending law school who aren't financially in a position to do so, but are doing so on the back of student loans. Whether that is good or bad, only time will tell, although right now, with so many unable to pay back the astonomical loans they took out, it currently doesn't seem like the best way to make education accessible for everyone.ReplyDelete
@7:44: regarding not having enough money to take the bar. My situation may be somewhat unique (or maybe not), so I'll explain it. I have never believed in taking out loans for anything. I was raised with the "if you can't pay for it, don't buy it mentality." (I broke this philosophy by taking out student loans for law school, and I regret doing so immensely.) Therefore, I had no credit at the time I graduated from law school, because I had paid for everything in cash. I was unable to qualify for bar loans unless I had a co-signer and the interest would have been unbelievably high. I couldn't in good faith ask my parents to co-sign on loans that the market indicated I most likely would not be able to pay back.
Although I was taking the bar in a completely different state that had much better job prospects than my home state (which has the highest unemployment rate in the country), I was forced to move home and live with my parents, because I was unable to find a job and needed to raise the money to take the bar. Given that the state I am getting licensed in is far away from my home state (this state has the BEST employment rates for lawyers in the country and is a good match for my skills), I am required to fly to that state for any bar business, and each trip ends up costing about $1000 w/ flight and very low-priced hotels. I traveled out once to take the bar (which I passed, thank goodness), but I still need to take 3 more trips (one for a required seminar, one for a character and fitness interview and one for the final swearing-in ceremony.) Given that I only make $12,000 at my current job and do not receive any paid days off including holidays, it takes me about 4-6 months to raise the money for each trip and one trip I lost money on ($1000) when all three flights got cancelled and I flew out to attend the seminar but missed it due to the flight cancellations. So slowly but surely I'm getting there, but it will be a good 2 years after graduation before I am licensed and it's solely due to lack of money, not my abilities, as I already passed the bar. This suits me just fine, because I don't want to risk losing my current job in this economic climate by requesting too much time off. So, I will have to accept that it will be a little while yet before I am able to practice law.
Clarification to above: I make $12,000 a YEAR. Given that my state has the highest unemployment rate in the country, you have so many people competing for jobs so salaries have plummeted. For example, legal secretary jobs that were advertising a starting rate of $35,000 a year just six months ago are now hiring for $8.50 an hour - NO JOKE - simply because they have so many potential employees to choose from.ReplyDelete
@ 12:00 PMReplyDelete
So, what was it about law school that made you give up your conventional wisdom and frugality about taking out debt?
Also, what gives you the motivation to continue pursuing a legal career? Do you have a job lined up? Do you have any legal experience in any field?
@ 12 pm, what law school did you go to? You will not be compromising your anonymity, as there must be thousands of graduates from the same place. I do not doubt there are many law students who are struggling, and not in the sense of the cliche of the struggling grad students who can be found in every discipline, living on ramen noodles and Kraft Mac and Cheese and on the lookout for school events with free food. I was thinking about the backgrounds of the students, what circumstances they grew up in. I would be surprised if 60 percent of a law school consisted of people who grew up in poverty.ReplyDelete
@12:16: I was in the middle of law school and ran out of money with just a few semesters before graduation. I was faced with the choice of not finishing or taking out loans. I chose the latter because I didn't want to not finish what I started.ReplyDelete
As for motivation to continue pursuing a legal career, I no longer have it. A legal career has taken too long and far too much money to be considered worthwhile for me. I am in such dire straits financially simply for having pursued this profession that it's hard for me to view the profession in a positive light and I know that would affect how I did my job. I will continue with my bar licensing and finish that only because I worked so hard and I am not going to let the lack of $3000 stand in the way of completing my goal.
I have legal experience because I have volunteered extensively while in law school and in the year and a half after graduation. I've gotten a lot of experience from some great internships where I was given heavy responsbility, including writing opinions for an influential and well-known judge and working in public interest law, which was my passion. But I just recently finished up my last legal internship and I know that that was the last legal work I will ever do in my lifetime. It's time for me to focus on becoming financially solvent and that has become contrary to working in the legal field. I am sad and happy at the same time: sad to give up a dream I have had for so long and happy to give up the burden of struggling so hard to reach it. I am now directing my energies to a new profession, and am excited to see where that will take me...
@12:24: I hope you don't mind if I avoid answering which law school I attended, simply because I think I have already given out too much information and preserving my anonymous identity is VERY important to me. Given the information I have already given out, one might be able to ascertain my identity.ReplyDelete
I can say this: it is a school that is WELL-KNOWN for being fourth tier, although I don't think it differs too much from other schools around the country in the type of students it attracts. And please note that I am not saying that 60% of all law students are impoverished. What I am saying is that when a professor asked her students how many had gone hungry at some point in their lives due to lack of funds to buy food, 60% indicated they had.
What that indicates is that, with the advent of more and more students relying on student loans to complete their education, law professors and the general public have to realize that more and more students from lower class backgrounds may be filling seats in law schools, simply because they have access to student loans. In other words, maybe WE, the students don't need a class on how lack of finances can impact access to the legal system. Maybe we need to TEACH it.
Anonymous @ 12:37. Your story does not make any sense and you contradict yourself in your various posts. In your last post you say you have given up your dream of practicing law, when you previously informed us that it will take longer but you are almost there. Why are you flying back and forth to a state you don't live in, to get entered into a bar when you have given u the idea of practicing law?ReplyDelete
Your story about your professor also comes across as fabricated. I don't doubt the cluelessness of many law professors, but as a legal aid lawyer the story about her legal aid client does not ring true on so many levels. Moreover, the arrogant and clueless minority female professor you portray may say more about you than her.
I have never heard of a class like that. It is not usual. But, in any event, my initial point was that we are dealing with anecdotes based upon our individual experiences. You are speaking as If you know the minds of 17,000 people, based on a class that has to be unique. I have never met any person like you are describing. So, it is interesting.ReplyDelete
1:06: Brian - You need to read my post carefully. I say I have given up my dream of PRACTICING the law. I specifically make clear that I have NOT given up my dream of becoming licensed, because as I indicated, I am not going to give up on getting licensed after investing so much money. Licensing and practicing are two different things altogether. I don't want to spend the rest of my life explaining to everyone that I know that I really passed the bar and was that close to being an attorney but didn't have enough money to get licensed. It is only $3000 to become licensed and I can and will come up with the money. In another words, there is an end in sight for that goal and reaching it depends entirely on me and my ability to save the money.ReplyDelete
Getting a paid legal job is another story. It doesn't depend on me and there is no end in sight. Given the lack of jobs and the fact that I can't seem to find a paid legal position, it will take me many more years to be paid at being an attorney, if ever. I have looked extensively (I am interested in public interest law) and a significant portion of the jobs are unpaid internships. I have also looked at and applied to jobs in the private sector, but all want 3-5 years of experience. I can't continue to work unpaid for years to get that 3-5 years of experience and destroy my finances in the hope that one day I will eventually be paid. I have already done that for the last year and a half and it is time to move on and get paid employment, even if it is in another field. One can be a licensed attorney and not practice the law, Brian. That is exactly what I intend to do. Please read more carefully.
As for why I am flying back and forth and getting my license in a different state, I explained very clearly in my post at 12:00pm why I did that. Feel free to reread that.
Lastly, as far as the story about my professor being fabricated, I am not sure why you find it so hard to believe. Your disbelief says much more about your biases than it says anything about me. As I mentioned, although the woman volunteered at Legal Aid, she is firmly in the 1%. In fact, the combined salary of her and her husband for the last 10 years I am estimating to be over 1 million annually. Given that kind of a salary, it is not surprising that she would forget that most people don't have $5000 ready and waiting for them in their bank accounts. In addition, she was raised by a single mom, and my perception was she was also angry with the client for not paying his child support. So she didn't think twice in telling him to simply pay it.
You can disbelieve all you want, Brian, incluenced by all your biases. But that doesn't change the fact that it happened and that my classmates experienced it.
And now, I'm signing off. It's a beautiful day and I don't intend to miss any more of it by responding to replies on the computer.
@1:10. You're right - it is an unusual class. The semester I attended it was the first semester the law school offered it and they were offering it as an experimental course. My understanding was that it was quite successful and the law school still offers it to this day.ReplyDelete
I have to agree with Brian - your story really doesn't make much of any sense.ReplyDelete
(1) Why continue law school just to finish and take out debt, but not take out an additional loan to get the bar license that seems so important to you;
(2) If you're just hell bent on getting a license, why does it have to be in another state?
(3) If you're as frugal as you claim and want to be financially solvent, why continue to blow money on an out of state law license?
(4) Your point is valid if true about the teacher becoming the student in the sense that she had no clue what she was talking about, but there's no way 60% of law students are the kind of client who literally cannot afford food - i.e., absolutely no family, friends, or anyone else to rely on. You are not indigent just because you have $12 in your bank account and can't afford food. I'm not diminishing your story, just your assertion that 60% (did you actually survey your class and it was actually an even 60%?) of law students are dirt poor.
What are you trying to sell?
Anonymous @ 1:35. As to why you are flying back and forth to another state, you said it was because of the job market! Another reason your story makes no sense, if you have have no plans on practicing.ReplyDelete
@1:46: It's obvious you didn't really read any of my posts.ReplyDelete
Here are some answers:
(1) I couldn't get a bar loan. I explained why in my post at 12:00. It would have required my getting a co-signer and I was reluctant to have someone else be responsible for my debt, especially when I wasn't sure I would be able to pay it back. My loans in law school did not require a co-signer and were eligible for programs like IBR and forebearance. A private loan wasn't. That's the difference.
(2) I clearly explained why I was getting my license in another state. See my post at 12:00. For more clarification, I was anticipating moving to the other state and had already filled out the applications and submitted the money and studied for that state's bar. I had to unexpectedly move back to my homestate, after not being able to find a job to continue to support myself. Instead of changing states after I had already purchased the bar materials, paid for the fees and significantly studied, I decided to finish getting the license in that state, thinking that my residence in my current state with my parents would only be temporary until I could get a better job in the other state. It's taken a little longer than I expected.
(3) Because it is only $3000 and I am not going to not finish my dream when I am just $3000 shy of getting licensed. I HAVE ALREADY PASSED THE BAR AND DID ALL THE WORK. I am not going to throw that all away and walk away when I am just moments from getting licensed. I studied months for that damn thing and attended years of law school. I deserve that license. I am not going to let $3000 deprive me of the satisfaction of seeing my work completed, regardless of whether I ever practice law or not.
(4) Again, I'll repeat what I said at 12:48. I have not said that 60% of law students are indigent. What I said was that 60% of law students in the cultural competency class I attended indicated that there was a time in their lives when they went hungry due to lack of money to buy food. Why is that so hard for you to believe? If you come from a place where you have never had to experience that, be thankful for it. I will repeat what I said @12:48: I am not saying that that incident signifies that 60% of law school students are dirt poor. What that does signify is that we need to all stop our assumptions and start realizing that with more and more students attending school on student loans, that more and more may be from 'less-prestigious' backgrounds. When more come from less-prestigious backgrounds, you increase the likelihood that more students may come from backgrounds involving financial struggles. Law professors need to be more aware of that and change their perceptions of their students. That's all I'm saying.
Why my message threatens some and some find it so hard to believe, I simply can't fathom. Perhaps there is a substantial difference in our financial backgrounds and what I am taking for granted as a common struggle is not so common for some of you...
@2:29. I am flying back because the state I ultimately will live in (I hope very soon)has much better job opportunities overall - legal or otherwise. They are overall in a better economic condition than the state in which I am currently and temporarily residing in, which has been described as the epicenter of the foreclosure crisis. I never had any intention of residing here, I just temporarily returned to reside with my parents, until I found a decent paying job.ReplyDelete
In currently searching for employment, I can't rule anything out. I am searching for everything, which I think you have to do in this job market. I guess I should not say that I will never end up working in the legal field. But I am no longer focusing my search in that area, because after a year and a half, I haven't been able to get paid employment so it would surprise me to get it in the future. I have made the mental shift to move on.
The idea that anyone can get a bar loan is ridiculous. I asked the moron earlier to provide a link and his response was google it, because he doesn't know what the f*ck he is talking about. A bar loan is not an educational loan guaranteed by the federal government. It is like credit card debt. Not everyone can get one.ReplyDelete
Dear Lord someone please do something about this putrid institution known as Cooley.ReplyDelete
You wrote as if bar loans do not exist, now you are changing what you said--talking about the federal government.ReplyDelete
A correction to the post @2:49: I haven't been able to get paid LEGAL employment. (I forgot to insert the word legal in that sentence.) I am fortunate to have a job that pays $12,000 a year, which has allowed me the flexibility to do volunteer, unpaid legal work up until recently and now affords me the financial security and time to look for a full-time job in the state in which I will be soon finishing my licensing requirements.ReplyDelete
First comment is spot on. Full marks to the law prof here, he is actually trying to do something, and having an impact. He should be thanked for doing this.ReplyDelete
Yes, he should be. Thank-you, LawProf, for having the moral courage to speak out about something that most prefer to hide or ignore.ReplyDelete
So tired of paranoid morons questioning people who are kind enough to take the time out to share their stories. @3:48, ignore all the annoying trolls and thanks for sharing.ReplyDelete
The idiocy I witness in the legal ranks, from top to bottom, is astounding. I have never seen so many personality defects. Who (and why) in the world would question all of that? Get a life you wackjobs.
Look who is talking.ReplyDelete
Thanks, 3:48. I need to not let the trolls bother me so much. I would have spent a much better Sunday if I had.ReplyDelete
I think you meant me (you referenced yourself)....the worst thing about this blog is the endless assortment of crazy trolls and cyber detectives. Just laugh them offReplyDelete
One thing that occurs to me, license-guy, is that there's never an end point: you get admitted to a bar somewhere, and then you're going to have annual dues, CLE, assessments, and the like, until you decide to more or less give up the license.ReplyDelete
Your investment up to now is a sunk cost. It's sunk. Spending more might give you some sort of satisfaction, but you might think about other ways the same money might give you satisfaction.
At my law school the faculty use the lounge (not the faculty lounge but a separate one) once or twice each week for their "Speaker Series" lunch events. They put a sign on the door barring anyone from entering the lounge at that time. Building and facilities staff who store their lunches in the kitchen have to wait outside. If you go there at lunchtime you can see the staff approach, one-by-one, read the sign on the door, and walk away. They have to delay their lunch until the faculty is done pontificating. Ironically, some of these speakers are speaking (very earnestly) on "social justice" topics.ReplyDelete
That's how the faculty rolls. Proposing solutions to problems that are fun to think about, but that they know will never be implemented. I RA for a professor and the hardest part of writing his articles is always the proposed solutions since his ideas are so impractical. All the while the blue-collar, overwhelmingly black and hispanic facilities staff waits outside for their lunches. They rail against biglaw, not understanding why their students with that option choose firms (hint: not because the partners are such wonderful
My parents, who grew up blue-collar, both had a distrust of "liberal academics" (both vote Democrat). Being a reasonably smart kid myself, I thought it was just the typical blue-collar anti-intellectual prejudice that's so celebrated in America. Now, having gone through three years of education at one of the nation's top schools, I can wholeheartedly say I feel the same way as do many of my peers. Only it's taken my generation almost a trillion dollars to do so- that's a trillion daily reminders. Student debt gives someone an awful lot of opportunities to think about whether their education was valuable or not.
Academia not only spends other people's money freely, they are also bleeding their cultural capital among the middle and upper-middle classes. What this means for the future of American higher education is anyone's guess, but I suspect it won't be good for anybody.