Thursday, January 19, 2012

The revolution will not be cite-checked

In the course of a very long and often informative comments thread to yesterday's post, A.E.S., a veteran attorney, responded to the question of what if any advice should be given to prospective or current law students who ask for it:

Prof. Campos, who are you or who am I to tell a law student or college grad what path to take? The data is out there. In today's economy, law school is a terrible proposition unless you come from a wealthy background or attend a top 10 school with a scholarship.

When young people ask me whether or not to attend law school, I change the conversation. I could tell them don't go, but they will resent me for crushing an illusory dream and still attend just to prove people like me wrong. Hubris will be their downfall.

Now I agree that the last sentence of the first paragraph is an arguably reasonable interpretation of the data alluded to in the previous sentence.  Whether, generally speaking, the category of people who "should" go to law school under current conditions ought to be broader or even narrower than this isn't the question I want to engage here.  (I've got my own thoughts on this).  Rather, I'd like to focus on the idea that the information is already available for prospective law students who want to make a rational choice about whether to try to become attorneys (or to go to law school for some other reason, dubious as any other reason is almost certain to be).

In a sense, of course, the data is out there.  A prospective student who knows where to look, and, even more important, already has the ability to interpret the data accurately, can certainly get a tolerably accurate sense of what his or her own personal risk/return ratio looks like in regard to this question.  But these are crucial caveats.  Learning where to look, and even more so learning how to interpret properly what one finds, are what education is all about.  And one thing we tend to do, I believe, is to seriously over-estimate the extent to which college undergraduates and their families are in a position to do this successfully in regard to this particular decision.

This is because legal academia continues to to cash in (quite literally) on the cultural cachet associated with the social identity of the lawyer.  Culturally speaking, it remains the case that, despite all the jokes and the genuine anxieties and resentments that generate them, law is considered a high status profession, and therefore being a lawyer is considered a high status social identity.  One consequence of this is that it is extremely difficult to get people to grasp the extent to which legal education is, at present, a kind of cultural Potemkin Village.  It seems difficult to believe that all these unarguably high status people -- law school deans, and university administrators, and heads of the American Bar Association, etc. -- could be selling potentially vulnerable young people and their families a bill of goods when they go on and on about how a law degree is a wonderful investment in one's future, because it is the key to membership in a highly respected, intellectually challenging, socially crucial, and at least reasonably remunerative learned profession.

These people are all cultural authority figures, and for all the superficial cynicism of contemporary political discourse, Americans are still for the most part successfully socialized not to question such people in any serious way.  The fact that such people are inevitably surrounded by the trappings of social and economic success -- fancy titles, and resplendent buildings, and (relatively) stupendous salaries, and retinues of groveling subordinates -- makes their authority no more likely to be questioned by average middle class and upper middle class undergraduates than the Pope's authority was going to be questioned by most of the characters in James Joyce's books.

Nor should we overlook the powerful effect of the fact that most of these authority figures themselves genuinely believe the line they're selling, for fairly straightforward reasons.  I mean, if you were a law school dean, wouldn't you have an overwhelming desire to believe in the majesty of the law and the essential dignity of our learned profession and all that stuff? I know I would (although it doesn't look like I'll be getting to test that hypothesis any time soon). And wouldn't the strength of that desire have a powerful effect on your understanding of the things you saw and heard?  As the poet said, a man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest. If one remains safely within the comfortable cocoon of the university, or even the ABA bureaucracy, it is fairly easy to believe that, while all might not be for the best in this the best of all possible worlds, things are on the whole pretty good, despite some troubling but no doubt temporary downturns in the hiring market for new lawyers.

After all, "we" have heard all this before, have we not?  That there were far too many lawyers, and that far too many of even those lawyers who had successful careers in terms of money and status were miserable? Yes indeed -- we've been hearing all that for many years, and nothing ever changed, so why should it change now?

No wonder people keep coming to law school -- look how happy and self-confident "we" remain!  Surely people such as ourselves wouldn't mislead anyone?  And in fact I believe that relatively few people in legal academia are consciously misleading anyone who is considering trying to become a lawyer.  We don't need to, because we've so thoroughly managed to mislead ourselves.

So yes, the data is out there.  But people need to want to find it, and to understand it, and to act on it.  And by "people" I mean not only prospective law students and their families, but also the people who are benefiting most directly from not wanting to find it and to understand it.  Reform must come from both within and without.  The causal pathways go in both directions: as people outside legal academia put pressure on those inside it to  grapple with what all but the most purblind will eventually understand is a genuine economic and social disaster, many of those of us within the intellectual equivalent of a gated community will start to make the relevant data available, and to interpret it, in ways that will in turn increase the outside pressure to do so.  Indeed this is already happening.

When it comes to powerful, high status, well-defended social institutions, nothing ever changes -- until "one day" it does.


  1. How much proselytizing do law professors do to prospective students and their families?

  2. The data is not out there. Take the notorious Loyola Law School. On the one hand, if you google them with some effort you will find their Wikipedia page and run into "Loyola 2L" and "Loyola 6L", two bloggers who devoted their efforts to articulating why Loyola Law School is essentially a scam.

    On the other hand,

    1. If you look at Loyola's career placement statistics you will see all their students placed in jobs with good to outstanding salaries. Using the standard law school trick, they do not disclose the percentage of students who reported salaries. But in case you're worried about stuff like that, they state that their salary statistics represent all but "anomalous" graduates. Thus their job placement history shows that all but "anomalies" got jobs with good to excellent salaries.

    2. If you google more, you will find articles by Ted Seto in which he explains that Loyola Law School has more biglaw partners in LA than almost any other school, and you will come across an interview in which he says you would have to be foolish to choose Vanderbilt over Loyola.

    So on the one hand, you have Loyola giving you hard numbers and data that makes attendance seem like a no-brainer. On the other hand you have bloggers like yourself, Loyola 2L, Loyola 6L and others giving you vague warnings without any evidence. Hard numbers are much more persuasive than vague warnings.

    It's not at all surprising that law schools like Loyola defeat this blog in the information war. They're committing a very intentional and carefully designed form of fraud, and they are operating at a much higher level than the naysayers.

  3. Eventually, a beaten dog will learn his lesson.

    In my case, I learned never to get married again after going through three brutally emotional and financially draining divorces. Prior to getting married each time, close friends and relatives warned me about the defects they saw in my exes. I couldn't see it, however, because I was blinded by their "beauty," by my own foolish notions of love and my misplaced bravado. In my case, the "data" was out there but the idea of spending my life with these women was so romanticized in my head, that I threw reason and caution to the wind. I paid for my mistakes.

    Today, many law students and young lawyers will be paying for their mistake for the same reasons I did when it came to my failed marriages. They don't want to see the ugly realities of this profession. In the same manner, many Americans don't want to see the terrible things going on with our government (e.g., the suspension of habeas corpus, SOPA, etc.). They want to believe in "hope and change," and so the same elected officials who fuck us over are re-elected. It's not that these people are stupid (at least not all of them). They want to believe that things will get better. They want to believe when the law deans say that the economy will rebound and law firms will hire at the rate of requiring more ABA accredited schools.

    People need to start facing reality, no matter how dark it is. College graduates in particular, need to realize that the economy will not get better at least for another decade. This is our "Lost Decade" similar to Japan in the 1990s.

    We need to start being brave and owning up to the mess that we are in. The American Dream is no more. Young people need to stop chasing what is not there.

    I estimate I have another 20 years left to live. I could work out, eat better, work less, stop drinking and maybe squeeze another 10 years more to my lifespan. What for? To pay an extra 10 years of alimony to my exes? Yes, many people will be stuck paying 30 years for a bill of goods i.e., law school. People need to start being real with themselves; otherwise, this data we speak of is entirely useless and the next generation of college grads will gladly believe in the sugar coated lies in these law school brochures and from the deans' mouths. Yes folks, the bigger the lie, the more they believe.


  4. Good analogy AES. And you're right that Obama may have pulled the mother of all fraud scams with the lies he said in the 2008 election.

  5. I don't think students have all the information. Two of my son's friends called me in shock after they heard the NPR report. I think the word is just now very, very slowly getting out. If warning someone about law school will make them do more research, or decide to drop out if they don't do well, then I have perhaps helped them. I feel that I have an obligation to try. You can't assume that people won't listen to your advice.

  6. The information is out there. When I applied to law school, martindale-hubbell still existed in book form. You could pick up the books, go to the listing for a firm like Sullivan & Cromwell (if that's your cup of tea) and look at where the partners went to law school. If you did, you'd notice an overwhelming number who come from Harvard, Columbia and NYU. Then you'd see other T14's, and then the local schools. A smattering from Fordham, and then even less from Brooklyn, St. Johns, etc. Its out there. And with the web today, its easier to find. An area where there's less data and room for schools to deceive is for people who either won't be and/or don't want to work at Sullivan & Cromwell. People mistakenly think ok, I won't make 160, I'll work at a midsized firm making $120 or $110. Problem is, there's no such thing. This student ends up either unemployed, or working for 1:13 of yesterday with no health insurance for $35K, if they have a reliable car.

  7. "You could pick up the books, go to the listing for a firm like Sullivan & Cromwell (if that's your cup of tea) and look at where the partners went to law school."

    I agree you could do that. But I completely disagree that this information would in any way be dispositive re: the decision to attend law school.

  8. @7:05AM

    Students have access to the information. Nevertheless, they choose to ignore it at their own peril. Take for example New York Law School. This school was sued last summer for fraud among other things. The lawsuit was featured in a Sunday New York Times article. The lawsuit was even mentioned on my local TV news broadcast. Do you think this news hurt NYLS's enrollment? People want to believe they are special and will beat the odds. When things don't go quite the way they expected, then they "discover" the data--a bit too late. The data is out there. In fact the former dean of Northwestern Law published an article where he stated that you need to earn $65K a year to break even on your law school investment. Young people can use google or yahoo search engines to find what percentage of entry level law jobs start out at that figure. They ignore this because they are blinded by the $160K median salary and 96% employed within 9 months of graduation stats.


  9. "Do you think this news hurt NYLS's enrollment?"

    We don't know what's going on with NYLS's or Cooley's enrollment this year. They may very well be hurting.

  10. @7:18AM

    I don't know about Cooley's current enrollment figures but I know a current NYLS student who confirmed that the class sizes remained intact, give or take a dozen students from the previous year.


  11. With the same LSAT and GPA?

  12. People know that being fat and smoking will kill them. I'm not worried about McDonald's or Phillip Morris going out of business. Everyone has a reason why it won't happen to them.

  13. Horrible analogy. Food and smoking give you an short term pleasure; they make you feel good. Law school does the exact opposite. It gives you no short term pleasure and over the course of law school you have a very good chance of becoming clinically depressed.

  14. That's what I find particularly invidious about law school, is that it preys on people who think they're sacrificing for long term gain. In fact, they're sacrificing in the near term, and in exchange they will hurt themselves in the long term. Lose now lose later.

  15. In this day and age, young people Google everything. They find the most arcane videos and sites. Plug in "law school" and "salary" and see what comes up. Getting information about everything under the sun is easier today than ever before in history.

  16. The short-term benefit of going to law school is the attaboys you get when you tell people you're going.

    The relatively short-term pain of exams etc. doesn't hit until after you're on the hook for the loans.

  17. I am the commenter who posted at 1:13PM yesterday.

    What I perceive to be the problem is that the current bumper crop of students don't comprehend what a bimodal compensation model looks like. Most expect elite firms to pay $160,000 per year and they speculate that mid-size firms will pay $100-125K per year. Then they surmise smaller firms will pay in the $80K range. This is completely incorrect. I am running a business first and foremost. I am not trying to be a Cravath or Skadden. I pay my associates the going rate, which is determined by the market. It is not my fault that glassy eyed graduates expect me to pay a king's ransom to put together simple pleadings. I am here to run a business, not be a social welfare agency. I didn't put a gun to your head to incur six figure debt to obtain a piece of toilet paper.

    The poster who sarcastically mentioned the requirement of a car forgets that reliable transportation is paramount to getting to court on time. Do you really think hiring associates with clunkers is prudent?

    With relation to this post, people believe what they want to believe. If they want to believe in Santa Claus or the Easter bunny, so be it. But don't be disappointed when you wake up on Christmas morning or Easter Sunday and find no presents under the tree or easter eggs. In other words, don't cry on my shoulder because you are not getting compensated some figure you imagined in your dense mind.

  18. I am the guy who mentioned the reliable car. My comment was not at all sarcastic. Just pointing out the disconnect between the schools and professors, trying to teach students to "think like lawyers" and employers who want them to have a reliable car.

  19. A E S you need a radio show or something. Unfortunately, I hink you are spot on regarding the lost decade, if not generation.

  20. You really have to wonder what's going through someone's head when they enroll in a school like Cooley. I mean seriously, they publish their own ranking system that puts them up there with Harvard and Yale.

  21. The more I think of the recent generation of law school grads, the more I see the scene from Gone With The Wind where the dead and wounded soldiers lying on the ground seem to stretch on forever.

  22. You nailed it again, LawProf. Thank you so much for the work you do to expose the law school scam and encourage dialogue so that "one day" may come soon.

  23. I think of new grads as Oakies. Bad options. Deranged hope. Desperate.

    The ones that have jobs are like tractor drivers: just watching out for the mouths that they have to feed, as thinking about the larger picture won't help them though the day.

    Dickish partner 1:13pm is a grove owner.

    Keep the oakies coming. Drives down the "market rate." If they rise, beat them.

    Likely, no one will mourn his death. Some will celebrate it.

  24. 8:49:

    Actually, the bimodal model you speak of has been hidden by the law schools. This explains why graduates don't get it. Law schools have gone out of their way to hide it so they can justify the high tuition under the uni-modal construct.

    The reality is that in this profession their is a tri-modal reality. The two you mention and then a vast huge amount of unemployed grads either volunteering or earning nothing. This is where the system will be forced to change. The numbers for the people earning zero is growing. Furthermore, those few earning money, if they are fired or laid off, very rarely laterally transfer. Many of them go to the back of the line and become zero-wage earners.

    Additionally, you have a flood of graduates who cannot find jobs, or those who never did find jobs. Finally, you have a shitpot of non-dischargeable student debt. The end is near. This model cannot sustain itself.

  25. To 1:13 -- I think most, or all, of us understand your need to run a business and what that entails (limiting expenses, ensuring deadlines are met, etc.) What I find troubling is what I found so troubling in the practice of law (which I left about 15 years ago after practicing primarily environmental litigation for about 10 years for a mid-size firm in Denver.) The anger permeates all. There is no empathy. There is no attempt to understand others. I get that you don't want to have to answer silly questions. (It is a habit of most young lawyers.) But you can just as easily reply by saying -- that is something I expect you to figure out for yourself. I know you can. Go do it. Instead, you view them as worthless, entitled peons.

    In my experience, most young lawyers get almost nothing from the people they work for except expectations and criticism. As a partner of mine used to say "one screw-up equals a thousand atta boys." There is little collegiality. People are too busy focusing on themselves, their cases, their monthly billables, etc. to step back and ask themselves -- what would a good human being do in this situation?

    The situation is even worse vis-a-vis other counsel. As 1:13 says, the attitude is -- I am going to kick the other side in the butt as hard as possible, and I hope I inflict a whole bunch of pain. I did it. Every litigator does it. It is absolutely soul sucking. I wish I knew how to change it, but I don't. My advice to litigators is -- pray for forgiveness everyday, and make sure you leave it at the office (which, I found, is almost impossible.)

    Prof. Campos -- I admire your tenacity.

    James Harrison. CU Class of 1984

  26. To commenter at 6:11 AM

    I went to Loyola, and you are absolutely correct, they are masters at dis-information. If look at any large law firm website in LA, you will see a few Loyola alums as partners, but one notices that almost all of them graduated in the 70's & early 80's. For more recent Loyola grads, the picture is not so rosy. Law Prof, the comment from that attorney is absolutely correct. I had a family member tell me Loyola was a bad Idea, and I found out the hard way. That is they way my generation is (millenials), we think we can do anything, even when it is plainly obvious otherwise.

  27. "When it comes to powerful, high status, well-defended social institutions, nothing ever changes -- until "one day" it does."

    Or not until the golden parachutes and pensions fully vest. Nothing will ever change until the powers that be in the legal academy finish feathering theirs nests. Too bad countless young lives need to be sacrificed until we reach that point.

  28. I saw an article the other day on changes in legal pedagogy -- integrating more practical skills into the classroom, expanding clinicals, etc. -- and some profs noted that even though the legal profession as a whole is clear about the need for change, legal hiring (for clerkships and BigLaw alike) still favors the kids on law review over those who focus on clinics, externships, etc. Getting beyond the law schools that don't lead to employment at all, and focusing on how to improve education in general, how much of the perverse aspects of law school are driven by the purchasers of legal labor?

  29. Dear Law Prof:

    (a) Assumptions about a rational system. What employment choices do graduating students have in this economy outside of going back to law school or some other graduate program? The conversation between you and your peers continues to be divorced from the reality of the rest of the American, and, indeed, the greater world economy. I don't think we work or live in a rational system that's offering good and bad choices based upon which we could, if we were rational, make decisions.

    (b) Assumptions that individuals are rational. I think much of the "debate" comes down to how badly legal scholarship has been infected by Law and Economics, which distorts the discussion by making people think that students (read consumers) are rational. Many of the comments responding to your various articles certainly assume rationality. This is straight out of the neoclassical economic models. The models that have been proven, at best, questionable, and more likely false.

    You have just made the argument that students are not necessarily rational. Now, you may say that this is because of the distortion caused by student loans, but the underlying point is that if they are irrational, how does one speak of "letting them have choice" in that context?

    Given the economic reality, and given emotional appeal, the solution can not just be how much information students receive. This assumption that "perfect information" will save the day is deeply flawed. You just pointed out one of the reasons why that is the case.

    This is why the consequences (making law school cheap) of taking the action of going to law school must be addressed rather than simply trying to focus on student loans, and similar "rational" consumer approaches to the issue. If you assume people aren't rational, then the solutions become systemic rather than relying on individual actors to solve the issues that are a crisis because so many people are making the same bad choice.

    Like with health care, if people aren't rational, they aren't going to make decisions based on cost alone. So you have to do things to reduce cost that does not rely on rational "they have a choice" arguments. Since those arguments aren't going to solve the problem of too much debt.

  30. 1:13PM here again.

    To 10:17AM:

    Have you ever purchased a car? The car dealer will tell you the car has a sticker price of $25,000.00. Do you foolishly believe the car dealer or do you engage in independent research (look at Edmunds, Kelley BlueBook or N.A.D.A.) to ascertain what you should be paying? Same thing with a used car. Do you trust the car dealer when he sells you a car "as is" or do you do the smart thing and get a mechanic to check out the car before purchasing it? The price tag for law school exceeds that of an average car, sometimes by 6x more. You would think that a prudent college student would do some homework to find out what the salary/job prospects are with a JD. Who's fault is it if the gullible college student believes the law school dean's lies just because he wears a suit and diplays an authoritative demeanor?

    To 10:22AM:

    Let me get this straight. I should start each day by holding hands with my associates and recite some peaceful hymns? I am not a shrink or a spiritual leader. My associates are free to worship whoever or whatever they wish on their own time, whether it be a god or a crackpipe, as long as the work gets done. I am not the fucking mother hen at the office. I am not surprised you are no longer practicing law.

    College students contemplating a career in the law should do their due diligence. The law is demanding and it involves hard work. I am not running camp fucking Snoopy here. If my associates don't like how I run my ship, they are free to flee like cowardly rats. Those that stick around and show me allegiance have a future with me.

  31. College students making the decision to fo to law school are generally 20-21 years old and have near zero life experience. They are basically adolescents.

    Deans and Law Profs. take advantage of the lack of maturity, street-smarts, and skepticism among their late adolescent victe. . . I mean students.

    Goldman Sachs calls it an "arbitraging information asymmetries." They own congress, so you can't call it fraud.

  32. The idea that people who complete an undergrad degree and can’t find decent work because they majored in something “impractical” is a myth and just as dishonest as all of these rationalizations attempting to maintain the the law school status quo… but no one cares just like no one cares about law grads… welcome to contemporary adulthood… you’re on your own. And the idea that “law schools lie” as your trump card isn’t going to cut it… Stats always and forever will be whatever people want them to be.

  33. Here's to "Anonymous @ 1:13 P.M."

    No one will mourn your passing.

  34. People pursing bachelors’ get buried with undergrad debt as well.

  35. "Do you trust the car dealer when he sells you a car "as is" or do you do the smart thing and get a mechanic to check out the car before purchasing it?"

    Listen idiot, there is a difference between selling a car "as is" with no explicit or implied representations as to the state of the car and a dealer telling you actual material lies (such as, say, it runs 50mpg or is a V6 when it is 25mpg and a 4-cyl, etc) to induce you to buy a car.

    If law schools in fact sold and marketed their degrees "as is", then you might have a point. They don't. So your analogy fails and you are a moron.

  36. 12:06PM

    I wasn't aware that a JD came with an express or implied warranty of legal job. Is it located in fine print on the reverse side of your degree? If you believe that the employment stats contained on the glossy brochures were real or that is your warranty, then you are the real idiot.

  37. @ 11:01 A.M.

    Let me help (this is practically the same as a comment I made yesterday):

    1) Take the cop test for every major metropolitan city except Detroit, and lucrative suburb. Focus on NYPD, LAPD, CPD, and places like Nassau, Suffolk, and Orange County. If this kid is lucky, he can get something for the Port Authority (you can make well over 230k doing that, and 100k is guaranteed).

    2) Do 1 for firefighting.

    3) Try to get into trucking.

    4) Try to get into the Boston labor unions, (definitely not as good as 1 and 2) and/or the NY unions if they can lead to a license in your respective trade.

    5) Military, security guard, etc.

    6) Try to become a bus driver in NYC or a similarly situated city.

    7) Try to get into the NYC public school system as a janitor.

    8) Try to get a delivery job for UPS or Federal Express.

    9) Try to get a job for a utility company in a major city doing anything you can.
    10) Get a job as a waiter or work at McDonalds, Wal-Mart, etc.

    The first two options are not just better than law, but will also lead to a fantastic life. The remaining options are better than law at this point (particularly with debt). Maybe its not what these people hoped for, but it is going to be better than what his/her life will be like as an attorney from a non HYS school with debt. The same goes for the remaining options. (In fact, there are plenty of multi-millionaires doing 3-4. Are there many of them? No. But most lawyers do not work in Big Law or public interest either).

    If these kids have too big an ego and refuse to believe the truth when they are told it, then they must suffer what they sow, as I do now. They can work for the fine gentelman that indicated that he is not in the charity business jumping as high as he tell them, making less money that an associate manager at McDonalds for more work, stress and debt. STOP REPEATING THE LIE THAT THEY HAVE NO FUCKING OPTIONS. THEY HAVE OPTIONS, MAYBE NOT GLAMOROUS ONES, BUT CERTAINLY THEY HAVE THEM.

  38. "The short-term benefit of going to law school is the attaboys you get when you tell people you're going."

    heh sad but probably true. "my son is attending law school, Brooklyn law school."

  39. @ 12:11

    Whether someone was an idiot or not for believing in the lies of the law schools is immaterial as to whether the lying scammers are ultimately culpable rather than the victims.

    Bernie's Madoff's victims were idiots too for believing in his unbelievable returns and giving him all his money to invest. Their "idiocy" however, doesn't absolve Madoff of his fraud in the first place.

    But according to your thinking, it would seem that Madoff should have let go and all the blame and responsibility on the victims because they were idiots, I guess.

  40. 12:19, You should teach 12:11 a lesson by not only refuting him in these comments, but also by doing some act in the real world to promote transparency, loan reform or something to expose to law school scam.

  41. Getting into unions is not easy. What you are saying is that the people who are complaining should not have gone to college, not just that they should not have gone to law school. None of the jobs you mention require college. Was that your main point yesterday?

  42. Getting a job as a paid firefighter is extremely difficult, particularly in NYC and the surrounding areas. There literally are hundreds of applicants for every job although it is a really great job though.

    The military? If you think 1:13 is an asshole you wouldn't last a day in the military.

  43. @1:13 and all who agree with it:


  44. 10:29,

    I agree with you. Loyola needs to be called out for having the worst salary reporting information of any school.

    If you review their "FAQ" page, they write, "What kind of salary can I expect as an entry-level associate? Review the Employment Report for more details on graduate, entry-level salaries, based on Loyola Law School's most recent graduating class."

    Thus they're telling you that the salaries they report represent what you will make upon graduation. Then when you go to the statistics page, they have great salary statistics. But again they do not disclose the percentage of students reporting salaries and unlike any other school I've seen, they add a statement claiming that their numbers are representative of the class, "Data reflects full-time, permanent positions only and excludes comparatively high or low anomalous figures."

    If you think NYLS is bad, then remember that they at least disclose the percentage reporting salaries. They also do not make any statement about how only "anomalous" salaries were excluded.

    Loyola leads the way in law school misleading information.

  45. I just read 1:13's comment from yesterday. I am a recent grad having trouble finding something that would be a good fit, and it's refreshing to read s/he's looking for real lawyer qualities in an associate. I may not have graduated with the best grades, but I did work hard, and I did do practice clinics whenever they were made available to me. I haven't been able to convince anyone to give me an interview yet, but at least 1:13 is out there looking for someone with practical experience! Maybe s/he's looking for someone like me, a non-traditional (very) adult student who chose law as a second career, has a lot of business and work experience and takes work seriously. If that's the case, where can I send my resume, 1:13?

  46. 1:13 see if you can get a throw away email or something to accept resumes.

  47. Bet he won't tell ya...

  48. @11:01

    Great post. While we might not agree about the extent prospective students are in the aggregate irrational (not that we're far off), we certainly agree on the need to not rely on individuals. Not only might that never happen, but it would take too long, and the effects go beyond individuals who make poor decisions.

    One of our most important points (in my opinion) in the Winter 2012 Transparency Index Report was:

    "While transparency of law schools’ post-graduation employment data will not solve all of legal education’s problems, it can put pressure on the current law school model and thereby act as a catalyst for broader legal education reform. This is true whether it occurs through the process of seeking transparency or because of the information that such disclosure ultimately reveals."

    The right people need to understand the problems and how to fix them. Others will come around.

    Send us an email if you'd like to talk further.

  49. @12:19PM

    How can you compare Law School deans with Bernie Madoff. Bernie Madoff broke the law. Please cite what federal law have the law school deans violated? Law school deans, especially from the toilet tiers, love to parade a handful of successful alums as examples of what prospective law students can become. This should be a HUGE red flag to the smart college grad. Yet we know that every college student believes they will emulate one of the handful of success stories so basically they are purchasing a hell of an expensive lottery ticket. We get it. Law school deans lie. College students know or should know that law school deans lie. The problem is, they ignore the DATA. They will still take the plunge into the toilet and when they are too far down the drain and no plunger can rescue them, they cry foul. Broke and unemployed law grads sound more and more each day like remorseful gamblers who have bet Sally's college fund at the BlackJack tables in Vegas.

  50. 12:11PM

    The bus driver alternative is actually not bad. The problem is kids today have too much of an ego and believe driving a bus is below them or lacking in prestige. Last I checked, prestige didn't put food on the table or the shirt on my back. Check out this bus driver who made $159K in 2009. Do you think this guy wishes he was a lawyer?

  51. Then the question becomes how much law school reform will produce jobs. It will not. It will give people the illusion that they are doing something. Do something! That is how people act when they are panicked, even when they do not know what to do. It makes them feel good and self-righteous. One of the great contributions of the late Larry Ribstein was to raise the possibility that all the talk about more "practical" legal education is likely missing the point. It makes no sense to lock in changes when we do not even know if those changes will make sense in the future. We look to countries for models that they are already thinking of abandoning. The overall economy produces jobs. If that is not happening, no amount of tinkering (or transforming)law schools will do the trick. Make no mistake, reform of legal education is necessary. There is no question in my mind about that. But there is no reason to think that will add the thousands of jobs that are needed, or help the people who are suffering now.

  52. 11:01: I largely agree. Real change has to be structural and systemic. I don't believe in the rational actor model pushed by classical microeconomics, and I believe transparency and loan reform are merely beginnings. But Rome wasn't sacked in a day.

  53. 12:11 here,

    I apologize if my comments are misconstrued. I am definitely not suggesting that those culpable should be let off. I am providing alternatives to people that think law is the only option to a decent life, and I am stating that if they do not want to listen, then they will suffer the consequences, as I did. (To say that no alternatives exist is a lie though).

    I feel very bad for them, and do not believe that they should suffer those consequences, but that does not change the fact that they will. Also, I do not believe the Law Schools should get off.

    I apologize for the confusion.

  54. Please cite what federal law have the law school deans violated?

    If a law degree was a security under the 1934 Securities Exchange Act, Deans would likely have and continue to violate Rule 10b-5.

    Rule 10b-5:
    It shall be unlawful for any person, directly or indirectly, by the use of any means or instrumentality of interstate commerce, or of the mails or of any facility of any national securities exchange,
    . . .
    b. To make any untrue statement of a material fact or to omit to state a material fact necessary in order to make the statements made, in the light of the circumstances under which they were made, not misleading
    . . .
    in connection with the purchase or sale of any security.

    I think that the advertising material on law school websites would omit to state a material fact necessary in order to make the statements made, in the light of the circumstances under which they were made, not misleading.

    Too bad a JD isn't a security, as much as the deans keep banding about the "investment" horse shit.

  55. LawProf @1:13 - "I believe transparency and loan reform are merely beginnings."

    OK but if loan reform was really done the right way (rolling back prices to something close to real market value) won't that solve most of the problems? Yes there will still be too many lawyers and not enough jobs but at least people won't be saddled with 30 years worth of debt and can move on with their lives.

    Sure, the entire problem is complicated and entrenched deeply but just that simple change would make things so much better for so many people, one being that you would never have to put up with the self-justifications of assholes like 1:13. You would have choices.

  56. @12:57 p.m.:

    Casinos publish the odds at which certain events pay out, and the mathematics of blackjack and other table games are open to the public at large. Nobody puts $100,000 in play at a blackjack table believing that 99% of people in their situation end up making enough money to cover their upfront investment in the game.

    This is just one more way in which the gambling industry is more scrupulous and honest than the legal education industry.

  57. The question of who is responsible for people taking out high debt to go to TTTs without doing a Google search or in the face of people telling them their chance of obtaining decent employment is low is irrelevant. The fact is they are, that no level of shouting personal responsibility from the rooftops will change that (because law schools will simply dip lower and lower), and that they are doing so will have a negative effect on the profession. During the housing crisis, the damage from the poor decisions of people who took out loans they couldn't repay and the lenders who authorized those loans extended to people who weren't at fault, people who lived within their means. We're all in this together, and the irrational decisions of some people affect us all.

    Obviously, the taxpayer will take a loss on IBR. But even lawyers who acted rationally are going to be hurt by the poor decisions of others.

    Lawprof discussed the cultural capital that keeps the law profession in business. Every time a law school gets sued or an article comes out detailing how law schools prey on naive people and have graduates working for free or for 12/hr, we pay out some of that cultural capital. Every time these stories come out that law schools are accepting people with poor judgment, it dents the trust people have- that whatever else people may say about lawyers, they can exercise good judgment to deal with legal problems. And when law profs and deans have debited that account enough in order to keep their law schools afloat, people are going to start going to non-lawyers for law work or trying to do things themselves. They're going to wonder why there are unauthorized practice rules protecting lawyers from price competition when a lot of law work can be done very cheaply by people who are not particularly smart and don't need a JD. Companies aren't going to hire lawyers for bulk work (after all, a secretary can robo-sign just as good as a lawyer).

    So maybe all this won't have an effect on biglaw, which still hires primarily from top schools from a pool of students who made the "rational" decision. But that's not the case. Law firms are outsourcing, insourcing work, because the same work that was once done by Harvard grads getting paid 160K can just as easily be done by WVa grads living in the sticks getting paid 50K.

    This probably won't have an effect on the current crop of law school deans, professors, and practicioners who will have cashed out long before the shit hits the fan. Maybe part of the problem is that the academy is so divorced from practice that they don't quite understand that law will only survive as a profession (and not just a job) if it limits entry into the profession. This depends on corralling the academy from demanding ever higher salaries, better perks, lighter teaching loads, and more law schools. Maybe it's a boomer mentality that is more concerned with a dollar today than the legacy they will leave behind.

    What I do know is that law needs to solve it's oversupply problem if it is going to remain a respected profession and not just a job, and it needs to do that in spite of people who are willing to make irrational decisions.

  58. Good point John. Vegas gambling regulators would have torn Loyola a new one for that bullshit in the earlier comment.

    "99% of our players won the roulette game (excluding "anomalous" players)"

  59. All bubbles have similarities. When housing prices reached a tipping point in relation to real wages, irrational exuberance gave way to solemnity.

    That's what's still absent from the philosophies of many of these deans and law school careerist types--a solemn recognition that the problem is rooted in actual pain.

    I don't have a vast dog in the fight b/c I graduated decades ago, but when I hear about the waves of pain that these young-adults are experiencing--ridiculously high non-dischargeable LS tuition debt coupled with a paltry amount of decent legal jobs, their complaints ring true. They might not have expected to be the next justice on the Supremes straight out of LS, but they certainly thought they'd be doing better than food stamps, and not being hired for retail b/c they're over qualified.

    Reminds me of that scene when Paul Newman playing Luke turns to his maker:

    "I know I got no call to ask for much... but even so, You've got to admit You ain't dealt me no cards in a long time. It's beginning to look like You got things fixed so I can't never win out. Inside, outside, all of them... rules and regulations and bosses. You made me like I am. Now just where am I supposed to fit in? Old Man, I gotta tell You. I started out pretty strong and fast. But it's beginning to get to me. When does it end? What do You got in mind for me? What do I do now? Right. All right."

  60. 2:05, Is there anything you can do to help bring about a change? For example have you called your law school Dean?

  61. 2:05: What we've got here is failure to communicate.

  62. It's funny and sad how law school lies are being compared to such things sleazy car dealers and casino operators.

    The thing though is that the "sellers" in those industries could not get away with the things the law school degree "sellers" get away with. And a used car buyer or a casino gambler has much more protection than a JD buyer gets.

    No used car dealer could stay in business if they claimed their car had a six cylinder engine when it only has four and then come back at you when you find out later that it was YOUR FAULT for believing his lies and you should have done your due diligence or that this lie was just marketing "puffery". (Hey its just two cylinder less, so what?)

    And no casino could get away with advertising, say, 25% success rate (when it is really 0.25%), by, say, taking a sample that BEGINS when a winner is found and then the three immediate losers afterward.

    It's a sad joke that people compare JD "buyers" to used car buyers and gamblers when it fact the latter two have far more protection from fraud than the first.

  63. I got screwed in the amount of $500 to $1,000 on a used car and I used the state agency to tear the car dealer a new one. He fixed the transmission pronto.

    No way used car dealers are regulated up the a**, and there are e.g. mandatory express warranties, cooling off periods, and not to mention the implied warranties from the UCC.

    Dumb used car dealers haven't figured out to take over their regulators like scumbag Matasar et al.

  64. I am shocked that for such a bright generation, today's kids fall for the law school dean's jive talking. Are you kids really that dumb to fall for a man's words just because he wears a suit and can paint a beautiful picture of your future as a lawyer? Quick, someone get me Jon Corzine's number. I have $250K I want to invest in derivatives. After all, Jon Corzine wears fancy suits and was a former Senator and Governor from NJ.

    Ronald Reagan once said "trust, but verify." I can't empathize with today's students and grads because I can't believe they are that foolish and gullible to fall for the words of law school deans, professors, politicians, etc. Median salaries of $160K from toilet law schools and 95% employment rates? Come on. If this was true, everyone and their mother would be in law school right now.

    If you fell for these cooked numbers without verifying them, then why should I hire you? If anything, that shows me you have no business being a lawyer because you can be conned with minimal effort.


  65. FYI, the "law school is a mental illness factory" meme got some play on abovethelaw.

    Pointing to the depression statistics is possibly the most persuasive way to warn people about law school.

    Young people may find the gamble of law school exciting, but once they learn that law school will not only ruin them financially, but that it will also give them the terrible and debilitating mental illness of depression -- then that might be a game changer.

  66. Are you 1:13 the guy from yesterday who was looking to hire someone, or a new 1:13?

  67. The car metaphor fails for other reasons:

    Even if you OVERPAID for the car or a person was lied to about the quality of the car, you can still drive the car and get USE out of it. It may be crappy but MOST the time it will get you from place to place. Furthermore, the benefit of owning it is not delayed. Most the time you drive it off the lot.

    There are lemon laws to protect the buyer. You can BK the loan.

    A law degree or a huge majority of people is largely useless and can actually hurt them. Non-dischargeable loans are the reality.

    Nice try though.

  68. What's funny about the picture in the ATL story, is that Ringley's depressed and creepy blank state is EXACTLY what you see in at least 80% of your law school classmates.*

    Don't get me wrong there are happy people in law school, but by far most of them are not.

    * Except on their facebook pages where they all have huge "trying too hard to look cheery" smiles.

  69. 1:13 - you are incredibly stupid and simple-minded. Now we all know why you dredge at the bottom of the market.

  70. @1:13 - The "great post" and "where can I send my resume" follow-up posts that always seem to come 3-5 minutes after all of your posts are giving you away. You need to troll slightly less obviously if you want to continue the illusion that you are an experienced partner who somehow maintians a busy "high volume" practice but who has both the time and notion to regularly comment on this blog (about a situation for which you supposedly have "no sympathy" in the first place).

  71. I'm sorry, "no empathy." Apologies.

  72. LawProf,

    More posts - one right after the other - that do not comment on a commenter's substantive message and whose only content is to harass and insult 1:13.

    Please delete them. You need to have a no-tolerance policy with this person or he will haunt your blog forever, preventing it from being a forum for the exchange of ideas.

  73. To 1:13,

    Thank you again sir for creating opportunity and a legal job, which is far more than the person harassing you ever did. Anyone who takes your position will earn about $40,000 per year, which is enough to stand on your feet. And they will also gain valuable legal experience which will place them well ten years down the line when it comes time to open their own practice.

    Unfortunately, due to the harassment you've received on here I can see why you wouldn't want to give away an email address or contact information, which is sad because I'm sure plenty of unemployed and sincere law grads would want to work for you.

    But thanks again and keep up the good work.

  74. 1:13: Why is it so hard for you to comprehend that people do not consider law professors and deans to exist on the same plane as used car salesmen and boiler room stockbrokers? We're not taught from Day 1 that the avenue to an upper-middle class life is to go out and buy used cars. The value placed on higher education is a cultural phenomenon akin to home ownership and it sometimes makes people do stupid things.

  75. Can we PLEASE distinguish 1:13 from yesterday from 1:13 from today? This is confusing as hell.

  76. @3:12 - Im 3:08 and thats my only post today except for one above telling lawprof that loan reform is the most important step. 1:13, if he's not a troll, says incredibly ignorant and insulting crap - so he's getting what he deserves. Telling everyone he treats his hires like shit is not exactly an "exchange of ideas." Please, give the pearl clutching a rest.

  77. 1:13 from today and yesterday are the same guy.

  78. "and they will also gain valuable legal experience which will place them well ten years down the line when it comes time to open their own practice."

    LOLWAT? Did you not read that he will not be teaching thing? That you need to come in with all skills in place? Come on, this can't be real....

  79. Hilarious post today by BL1Y, someone who has found a wonderful way to deal and cope with the misery of the law school experience - blogging

  80. *will not be a teaching thing?

  81. Wait...did 1:13 give someone on this site a job for 40K? How did this person get in touch with him?

  82. "LOLWAT? Did you not read that he will not be teaching thing?"

    There are two kinds of people:

    1. Normal people who can learn by something call on-the-job experience.

    2. Dumb, entitled bums who want everything - including knowledge - handed to them.

    You're the latter. Please stop harassing away every sane and helpful person who wants to post here. This isn't your personal blog.

  83. @3:25 - did you not read? He doesn't want any questions asked of him. Did you not know this is how the greatest business in the world - Google, IBM, etc. - work? Just stfu and figure it out yourself and be happy about it.

    I'll stop posting about what a hilarious clown 1:13 is if you stop posting about what an amazing guy he is. Deal?

  84. Yeah, I want to hear Google and IBM's business secrets from some crazy entitled bum. Please stop harassing people who want to share their thoughts on here.

  85. I do not know which 3:25 you are addressing, but my comment--the 1st 3:25-- was snark.

  86. Entitled? Today I learned that entitled = a civil workplace.

    But hey, people like your idol are bottom feeders who don't give a crap about retention and treat everyone like a piece of meat and then there are the firms and businesses that understand that retaining talent is key. Good luck with your model.

    "Please stop harassing people who want to share their thoughts on here."

    How am I harassing? What am I doing differently then you? From your personal philosophy of treating people like shit I would have thought you would welcome my directness. Or is this kind of rudeness limited to your workplace?

  87. @3:36 - yes I was addressing the second 3:25.

  88. I think he was referring to questions that are not thoughtful. Compare "How many days do I have to serve D" to "What sources would be good places to start to find the answer to the number of days to serve D" to "I've looked at source X, Y and Z regarding how to serve D and I found this rule that I think applies because of A and B, what do you think?"

    You're not really adding value with question #1. Question #2 is a little better because you're not just asking for the answer. Question #3 shows you put thought into it and tried to find an answer.

    Whether or not they amount to the same thing (you don't know the answer) people will appreciate that you made the effort.

  89. I have read this blog from the beginning. This blog has helped put my law school experience into context and has finally brought a lot of light on the loans fueling tuition increases. Two areas that need more light are:
    (1) Why do law firms ever hire people at $160k? I see firms in my town hire people at ridiculous salaries and fire them awhile later. These firms are shedding partners and have junior partners earning below starting associate wages. I don’t know why they even undertake the exercise. It has to be hard to fire someone with a life and family for no reason. Perhaps, advertising your latest hires from Harvard etc. is necessary publicity, self-aggrandizement, or posturing.
    (2) This blog has not realized that legal practice is a scam. Lawyers cannot make people’s lives better. What judicial order is really going to fix a problem? How often does a trial give a plaintiff a complete victory? Most lawyers find themselves morally compromised as they need to generate billable hours. The best legal result is often a quick settlement with minimal legal fees for all parties – but that is not in any lawyer’s best interests. These law school kids (and this blog) don’t understand that “legal jobs” where some great “legal problem” will be solved don’t exist in the real world. In fact, most cause/issue people would get better results from the legislative branch than the judicial branch.

  90. That's not how entitled bums think 3:39. They want (a) $160,000, (b) a step-by-step idiot proof manual for every task you assign to them and (c) to only have to follow that manual and work 4-5 hours a day, with the rest of the time spent commenting on blogs.

    The Simpsons did a great episode on lazy entitled bum mentality. It was the one where some bum sued the Itchy and Scratchy company and took it over. He promptly shut it down and spent his money on a gold car and rocket, and when implored to reopen to business he said no. There were also great lines in the episode about how people gave him stuff to do work, that he never did (after taking the stuff). Bums don't want to work.

    On this blog, we have an entitled bum who - because he can't possibly reaffirm his attitude in the real world, which kicks the asses of do-nothing takers - because of that he has decided to make this his personal fiefdom of affirmation and he basically spends all day harassing away anyone who doesn't tell him what he wants to hear.

  91. 3:39 here,
    My comment was my interpretation of what 1:13 meant (yesterday I believe) in regard to people asking him questions. My impression was that he was irritated by people that come straight to him with a question rather than trying to figure it out first.
    I express no opinion regarding the other commenter at this point.

  92. This is 1:13PM (from yesterday).

    A few pointers before I retire for the evening.

    1) My firm uses a legal recruiting company that screens resumes and selects which candidates I interview. I don't surf craigslist or this blog for legal "talent."

    2) Retaining the best legal talent does not translate to more profit. Many law grads, especially from the last 10 years, are prima donnas who believe their law school accolades mean something. Unless those awards and credentials give my firm an edge (i.e., special knowledge that justifies a higher billable rate), they are worthless to me. By the way, my firm has been around for 15 years. I do very well and don't envy the Skadden partner as I run my shop the way I want. An equity partner at Skadden doesn't have much say unless he is the managing partner or ranking member of the management committee.

    3) If you can't stand for anything, you will fall for nothing. Imagine if I met a beautiful woman tonight. Will I sleep with her without protection? Or will I have her get a battery test for STDs? Sure she may look great and sweet talk her charm to my heart but I am not going to risk my life. Why should you trust a law school dean? Everyone knows higher education is a huge money making operation, from college sports, to endowments, alumni contributions and rising tuition. It is a business, get it? If law school deans didn't twist the truth a little, the schools' ranking would suffer and fewer candidates apply. Since gullible college grads place so much stock on the US News & World Report rankings, they trust their career in a third rate rag that collects unaudited numbers. Schools massage the numbers to get a higher ranking, which means more applicants and enrollment. This is how schools are run. Colleges are not eleemosynary institutions. I mean how stupid can you be to not grasp that simple concept?

    4) I will train you to be a machine. Quid pro quo. I need an associate to be loyal and work like a horse for me to commit my knowledge and skills. I am not a stepping stone. If you are here just for the paycheck, you won't last at my firm.

    5) Technology works both ways. I have noticed that younger attorneys spend their time on their Iphones and Ipads. These distractions produce an inferior workproduct which is why I have an IT person block wifi connections and limit the web browsers to only access westlaw and the court's websites.

    6) My associates work an average of 60-65 hours a week. If I allowed the wifi and unlimited access to porn and websites such as this one, they would have to work 80-90 hours a week. My associates may consider me a Simon Legree but I am actually doing them a favor.

    7) I realize that I may appear to provide an infernal workplace environment. My office is not a hotel or a resort. I have wooden chairs for associates so they don't slouch or nap on their uncomfortable chairs. Every office has a see through window. Associates cannot close the door because I had them removed. I cannot tell you how much this has improved productivity.

    8) I don't force anyone to work for me. It is an employment at will situation. You can leave if you don't like it and I can fire you if you are not up to par.

    If all this seems austere, get used to it because among my colleagues, I am actually known as the benevolent one.

  93. " They want (a) $160,000, (b) a step-by-step idiot proof manual for every task you assign to them and (c) to only have to follow that manual and work 4-5 hours a day, "

    Yeah, you're a complete idiot. Im the mid-level from yesterday. Billed 2700 hours last year....4 or 5 hours day? Are you out of your fucking mind? What reality do you live in? Have you ever even worked in a firm?

    We have partners that behave much like your idol...and they are reduced to working with 1st years and associates who are on their way out. Consequently their work product suffers.

    And I see, you're quoting the Simpsons. Yeah...looking at your personal philosophy...that pretty much makes sense. Grow up.

    And I think you're lumping in a lot of people with "one bum." I only started posting after 6:00 (eastern time).

  94. What a coincidence, I'm an astronaut and Napoleon.

  95. @4:10...hahahahaha. There is no way this guy is real. You work so hard and are such a captain of industry you have all day to compose these little ditties? I don't doubt that guys like you exist....but shouldn't you get back to running your tight ship? Instead of cruising this blog?

  96. 4:10, Do you really make women take STD tests? I could never dare pull that move. I basically go "no protection" for oral and protection for any other insertion. Seems like a fair balance.

  97. 4:14, Unlike you he posts about three comments a day. Good, substantive, and interesting comments that I like to read (also unlike you). Just by comparing your comments you can see that one person is markedly superior to the other.

  98. "These distractions produce an inferior workproduct which is why I have an IT person block wifi connections and limit the web browsers to only access westlaw and the court's websites."

    The fact that you have your own westlaw, rather than making law school clerks give you their password so you can steal from their access, puts you heads and tails above many small firms.

  99. Dude, post all day and within minutes of any criticism of your idol. You're boring. You really are.

  100. Can you people please use time-stamps to explain who you're talking to?

  101. Well in truth he didn't say he had his own westlaw accounts, only that's one of the only sites he allows them to access so it could be either one.

    Probably not a very successful idea though since some Ipads have 3G.

  102. @4:14PM

    That's the beauty of being the boss. You don't see the Captain of the ship at all times standing with his hands on the rudder do you? No, he is usually out on the deck sipping tea and basking in the sun. I have a senior associate to whom I delegate the whip cracking duties.

    You should be thanking me for posting as if you read between the lines of my posts, you may learn something you haven't already.

    1:13PM from 1/18

  103. Thanks 1:13, but be careful not to waste too much time here. Focus on your practice so next year you can hire two associates!

  104. 1:13 guy said "Do you foolishly believe the car dealer or do you engage in independent research"

    There's a crucial difference, which LawProf mentioned in this post. Nobody trusts car salesmen- everyone knows that they're trying to convince you to pay as much as possible, and you shouldn't take their word for anything. It's also quite easy to objectively verify whatever they claim- ironically, most car salesmen that I've met have been fairly honest, or at least no more dishonest than any other salesmen.

    But with lawyers, everyone still thinks of it as a high-status occupation. They might be disliked in the abstract, but people still expect that if you graduate from law school, you will become a lawyer and have a powerful, prestigious, high-paying job.

    Ditto for professors. People implicitly trust teachers, and assume that they're looking out for their students best interests. Law professors have the best of both worlds- the pay and prestige of a lawyer, plus the moral high ground of a professor. No one, outside of this "scamblog" movement, would expect them to lie like a used car salesman would.

    So put yourself in the tradition of a typical student considering law school. You've been in school your entire life, with teachers who seem to care about you constantly praising your intelligence. You've never had a regular job, and have no particular training for any job either. You've done well on the LSAT, and have numerous law schools courting you, maybe offering scholarships. Your parents strongly recommend law school- they'll be so proud of having a lawyer in the family! Your friends agree that law school is a solid career choice- they're coming from exactly the same background as you. You're bombarded by movies and tv shows pushing the idea of rich lawyers. Even the government, in its BLS stats, agrees that lawyers make big money. You check out the employment placement record and it seems great- 98% employment, wow! And you skip over the fine print at the bottom because that stuff is boring and you're not a statistician, you majored in English.

    So on the pro-Law School side you've got peers, parents, TV, movies, the government, and all of their teachers. Essentially every single influence on a young person's life is unanimously in agreement that Law School is a sensible (though perhaps boring) career choice.

    And the only anti-Law School information comes from... these blogs on the internet, with anonymous comments, and no real data on just how bad it is. That's about as much credibility as the people who make Youtube videos saying that the moon landing was a hoax.

    So yes, the information is out there but it's totally unreasonable to expect an average 0L to find it. The message needs to be broadcast much, much louder.

  105. @3:40 Law Firms hire graduates at 160K because they bill their hours out at very high rates-- way more than the equivalent of 160K a year. In the past three decades, there has been a change in the law firm model, from hiring people who had a reasonable chance of making partner to hiring large numbers of folks-- too many---to have any chance to make partner. My class of summer associates had about 40 people in it, and everybody was stunned at that number because it was obvious that we could not all make partner. Fast forward some years, the classes were near 100. Well, that made the situation even worse. Partners could never begin to train that number of folks. They could not do it at 40. Some of us got great experiences, and others did not. So there was no commitment. Clients did not want to pay for associates either, because they knew there was little chance that all these people would eventually become "their" lawyer. First year associates have never "paid' their way, and clients have always grumbled about them. But it was their potential that mattered. Under the new system the "deal" was-- you young people come, we pay you lots of money, make more money off of you, and then you go.

    Most people get that, and don't really mind. I didn't. I had no intention of staying. That's not why I went to law school. My classmates and I used to talk about this. You go there, save money, pay off loans and move on.You go into government--my case-- go in-house, move to smaller firms, start your own, or go into some other business or field. Some of my friends made partner. But most of us moved on.

    This has broken down with changes in the economy and the nature of legal services. What seemed amazing during my time as a young lawyer--40 associates!" -- is now seen as a tragedy. They hired too many people during the boom years and got everybody used to it. The correction hurts everyone but the best students at top schools, who will still get jobs. The middling students there take jobs that they would not have had to take before, thus hurting students down the chain.

  106. 12:21

    I am not really interested in scam blogger fantasies in which there are greener safe harbors in the economy. There are only so many jobs out there. Here's a numerical reality that Americans need to deal with: There are 3.5 billion jobs on this planet. There are 5 billion people looking for a job. In a globalized economy, reality beats right wing ideological beliefs that everyone who wants a well paying job can get one. Thanks for posting. You sum up the irrationality that keeps repeating itself as "fact."

  107. Loans did not fuel your tuition increase. They were a way for the cover the tuition increases that resulted from cuts to public education by the federal and state governments. Not only have state public education been cut, but also they cut such programs as the Pell Grants, which no one here would have had to repay. As a result of undergraduate Pell Grants in the late 80s-early 90s, I paid a total of 15k for a 4 year college educated. The cost of attending law school years later was much different.

    The problem with this site continues to be people reading the crisis through ideological beliefs rather than what factually has actually happened.

    I keep saying to Law Prof that the comments here about student loans being the problem is precisely why I think focusing on them is a problem. Unfortunately, I don't see much sophistication that suggests people will realize after cutting student loans that they have not solved the problem of cuts to education that fueled the need for loans.

  108. The other right wing lie: That its a matter of qualifications and people being "irresponsible."

    Remember when the right wing was pushing the lie that getting an education was a sign of "responsibility"? I do. It was argued that an economy had to have work force that was constantly being retrained. Now, we are being told something different to fit with an ideological perspective rather than what was previously pitched as received truth from the market god.

    I once again repeat: There are 3.5 billion jobs on this planet. There are 5 billion people looking for a job. No amount of "personal responsibility" can make up for numerical reality. We aren't going to grow our way out of this, and we aren't going to solve what is a global job's crisis by babbling about personal responsibility.

    The entire argument is just an excuse for the haves (like king claiming they were chosen by divine right) to justify their economic status over the have nots.

  109. @ January 19, 2012 4:41 PM

    That was a fantastic response. People aren't (yet) conditioned to think of law schools and law school deans as being equivalent to used car salesman but rather "respectable" professionals and academics.

    Also it not true at this time that everyone knows law schools and higher education is just a business and a scam. Word is starting to get out but a lot of people still think it is the ticket to a decent middle class life because it worked that way for their boomer parents.

  110.'re gilt of your won accusations. Loans directly ruled tuition hikes. If they weren't available or if they weren't dischargeable, guess what? No tuition hikes. Government cuts would have happened regardless. Welcome to the boomer generation of cuts combined with the extraction of wealth from the generations below,

  111. *you're guilty of your own (writing on a phone sucks)

  112. *Loans directly caused tuition hikes (sigh)

  113. If student loans weren't so readily available, the vast majority of students simply wouldn't have the means to go to college and grad school at the going tuition rates.

    Schools would then have only two choices:
    1) Lower tuition to a level that students can afford relative to the amount of money available to them

    2) Close down or substantially reduce the number of seats to only the very few that are rich enough to pay the sticker price

  114. There is some talk here on bums and loyalty. On the bums issue, and specifically said bums getting their asses kicked, that is bullshit. The only people who get their asses kicked are those that lack power. Laziness has nothing to do with it, otherwise toll collectors would not aking 100k a year. Unfortunately, new graduates have no power and must suffer at the hands of 1:13. Men/women like this enjoy making people suffer and always like to use some sort of moral rationalization for doing so, but a little more digging reveals the truth. In this case, a person interested in making money would concern himself/herself more with what the ABA is doing to this profession as a whole, rather than assault, at worst, stupid kids.

    Regarding loyalty, 1:13 says he owes his associates nothing save a paycheck in exchange for him to make money. However, he then says that associates there just to collect a pay check will not last because he expects loyalty from his associates.

    Lemmings look at what you have to look for if you join this filthy profession: working for spoiled rich kids given money to play with by their parents or viscious boomers that grew up with all the opportunity in the world yet seek to apply one standard for themselves and another to others. DROP OUT!

  115. Playing along with this troll/flame, I would say that these statements are in complete contradiction.

    4) I will train you to be a machine. Quid pro quo. I need an associate to be loyal and work like a horse for me to commit my knowledge and skills. I am not a stepping stone. If you are here just for the paycheck, you won't last at my firm.


    8) I don't force anyone to work for me. It is an employment at will situation. You can leave if you don't like it and I can fire you if you are not up to par.

    The only way this works is that his definition of "loyal" is not the way that word is normally used. When I think of someone being "loyal" as an employee, it is because they value and think highly of the people and place they work for and won't bolt right away just for a slightly higher paycheck elsewhere. Or even when they find a better position, they'll do what they can to minimize the harm to their present employer by perhaps delaying their move and what have you.

    But if the place of work is treating you like a fungible "machine" and workhorse, I don't see why anyone could be or would be "loyal" in the normal sense of the word. Sure they'll stay and do what you require of him because he has nothing better but I don't see why he would ever be "loyal".

    Employers that treat their employees like fungible machine parts understand that they are there only because they need the paycheck whatever else they might say. They don't expect "loyalty" because that is just asinine.

    The word the write wanted to use wasn't "loyal". Perhaps, compliant and obedient would make more sense.

  116. (a) I fail to see how arguing education should not exist is not a right wing argument, but I am sure someone will rationalize it. I also fail to see how it solves the lack of jobs problem that many of you dance around with fantasies about everyone becoming a police officer. I also don't understand how government's abroad are able to provide free or near free education to their students who want to go to college.

    (b) This is why you are ideological: The solution can also be to cut the cost of education because the issue is wider than law school. We know that education can be cheaper because it is cheaper abroad. that it is so expensive here can not be explained away by student loans. If it could, then you would have to explain why comparative economic analysis (the kind that people love so much who are neoclassical in leaning) yields the fact that the EU, China, and other parts of the world do education so much more cheaply than we do.

    This is why the post yesterday about cutting the years to training for law school was absurd. Since all education is increasing at a rate of 7-8 percent you would right back where you are now in a very few years. So, it would be a short term fix. Long term fixes must look at the cost of education. And, before you say, the long term cost is not a labor issue. Like most costs in America, labor accounts for very little of actual cost. Like lawyers are being replaced by temps, so are professors.

    You don't even consider the possibility of that option of government funding education as being the cheapest way to achieve cost reduction despite comparative economic analysis. No, the solution must be cut public student loans and government programs.

    That your solutions rely on notions of rationality sums up why I say the arguments are flawed.

    It is simply a falsehood to claim that existences of student loans created the hikes in tuition that lead to the need to obtain student loans. This, no matter how many times you repeat it for ideological reasons, is not backed up by history. Factually, student loans pre-date tuition hikes by too significant amount of time to be the reason for the hikes. You want to know when the hikes occurred- starting in the late 70s and early 80s when Conservatives first started to cut public education. This is historic fact. You can easily look it up. There is some irony that in a post about irrationality versus perfect information, in which the side pushing for information being the the cure, you ignore the information that's readily available bout how tuition hikes were fueled. I have provided the links before. I will not waste my time doing it again because in the last instance they were ignored by the ideologues here.

    (b) Public loan terms are far more flexible than private loans, and, yet, private loans are consistently ignored in favor of "government is bad." You certain can not explain why Pell Grants should be cut out if your real concern is personal debt. I guess I am saying I really don't believe for some of you the first motivation is debt. I believe that it is "government is bad."

    Most of the comments here address public loans. They ignore private. When brought up, they claim (a) that they agree with bankruptcy, but for some reason don't seem to understand that both public and private could be addressed through bankruptcy.

    More importantly, at the end of the day, if you want to address cost, I do not understand the contortions you are doing to get at it. Why limit education rather than cost?

  117. Let me write a shorter statement of what I said above: Although there are other choices that could be on the table, the consistent choice that's chosen are market based side ways contortions that rely on rationality. Arguments that rely on more direct approaches that question whether (a) consumers are rational and (b) therefore argue that the solutions can be found by comparing how education is addressed abroad in a more direct fashion. I don't have to make a set of assumptions and speculate what a student consumer or a school supplier might do. I look more directly at what's causing the personal debt.

  118. For the TLDR crowd, the bottom-line is that "loyalty" to an employer (to me anyway) implies that you are there EVEN WHEN YOU DON'T HAVE TO BE because you have other options that are just as good or even better available.

    The type of employer 1:13 is painting hardly sounds like anyone would ever be "loyal" to such an employer. So it is VERY bizarre to expect it. Sure they'll do what you say and want and work as hard as they need to in order to keep their job because they have nothing better. But that is hardly anyone's definition of "loyal".

  119. 5:39 here,

    The key to happiness is having enough power to resist tyranny. Tyranny justifies itself in many forms, herein, it justifies itself on a market based theory. However, its essential feature is to ask how much harm can I do without being held accountable, and if the answer to that question is to the maximum, then tyranny will maximally and revelry inflict harm.

    The sad truth is that the law profession was an esteemed profession whose members had the ability to serve the community and clients without being subjugated to the inequities described by 1:13. Unfortunately, this is not the case anymore. Those who had the privilege to become lawyers in a previous time, and those who have vast familial resources, will be able to make the lives of newer entrants miserable now because of short-sighted and extremely erroneous economic and social policies (both covertly malevolent and overtly misguided.

    Lawyers in our society contribute to the establishment of precedent via the courts. If the only hope attorneys have to both make a living in a manner that meaningfully participates in the law making process, while avoiding the inequities of tyrannical boomers and/or spoiled punks, i.e. 1:13, is to work for massive corporate interests, society will pay the price for obliterating this profession.

    In the meantime, Lemmings unless you can go to HLS, or unless your parents are extremely wealthy, you are not special, and you will suffer enormously. No one will protect you. No one will care that you suffer. No union will stand up for you to ensure you have a reasonable life. No politician will intervene because it is easier to accommodate public envy and enrich law schools.

    Finally, even if you manage to meet the expectations of 1:13, you will get nothing because you do not have the pedigree to either serve the corporations or meaningfully serve the poor, and you will never amass the capital to open up a firm to serve skuzzy corporate creditors as 1:13 does, or appear competent to the clueless everyday clients that cannot properly gauge the ability of attorney’s outside of overt displays of wealth. You will remain a slave.

  120. I think we've established that there is no lack of jobs, rather there is a lack of the "right" job - which is damning for the law school scam movement.

    Thank you 1:13 for exposing these folks as entitled and lazy bums.

  121. No, 1:13 can only do what he's doing because of the law scam.

  122. The 1:13 thread-- Requiescat in pace--please!!

  123. Any one who can write the following:

    "I think we've established that there is no lack of jobs, rather there is a lack of the "right" job - which is damning for the law school scam movement."

    Is not only a troll, but a delusional one.

    The facts: the highest unemployment rates since the Great Depression, talks of a lost decade, analysis that shows there are 3.5 billion jobs on the planet, and 5 billion looking for a job.

    These are the facts. I hoped when the site owner said that he would moderate the site that would mean keeping people within the realm of reality rather than just comments that might be considered offensive.

  124. Did you apply for 1:13's job 8:02?

  125. Yo, 7:43: "Create jobs," "bum," "entitle[suffix]." Legal work may be fully mechanized one day, but I'd be willing to bet a machine could already do clueless libertard commentary on blog comments threads of at least the same quality as demonstrated here.

    But forget my insult (it employed some creative use of punctuation and non-stock phrases, so you may not be able to parse it correctly anyway). Forget the other obvious flaws in your logic: do you really, honestly believe that a single data point establishes a God damned thing?

  126. Lawprof:

    I just re-read your article and I had a few thoughts:

    It seems to me that that the specific tenets of those in charge of the law school scam/cartel could easily be placed into the laps of those who run all of higher education (Non-profit, for profit, whatever profit). In other words, how many deans of four year colleges believe the things law deans do? I would say a lot.

    I bring this up because the law school scam seems to be a smaller problem in a larger one: All of higher ed seems to be a scam. The problems facing college graduates already started before they even thought of applying to law school. They were told that they needed to get a degree, they received it, now they realized that it is worthless so what to do (especially with mediocre grades)? Apply to law school. The loan payments are put on hold (not the accruing interest) and payment is put off while they "find" themselves. The job search becomes irrelevant for a while, and the pain of the mistake is denied. They are told they can use their JD for good, get rich, and have interesting work, all while signing their lives away for these crappy loans that allow the schools to get rich.

    I have come across so many 0ls, law students, and lawyers who had no idea what they wanted to do as undergrads and thought that law school would be a good fit even though they had no idea what they wanted to do. Could it be that the law school system is just one more stop along the higher ed scam and that the young-ins who apply to law school are just making one more pit stop along the ole scam route before they are served up and destined to work for assheads like 1:13...if they are lucky?

    It is easy for the deans, admins, and profs to believe their crap because this "bubble" that they live in does not allow them to feel the real pain of what they are doing to their graduates at any level of the educational system. WHEN this bubble bursts, it will be nasty. I think it will be the nastiest for the people living in it because the illusions they have created for themselves will pop and the harsh reality will be more damning for them than those they have condemned to a lifetime of servitude.

    Of course, they all could be knowingly hurting naive people and if that is the case, they should all hang.

  127. Interesting how the comments section developed since my post this morning.

    Many people here display a perverse form of cognitive dissonance. Law students and grads want to believe they made a good decision to attend law school by relying on family support (which often doesn't know what the legal profession entails) and the encouragement of "trusted" figures (i.e. law school deans, professors, etc.). The students feel great about their decision through the first semester of law school. Then for most, their world comes crumbling down when they don't beat the curve. The discomfort begins and it is all downhill from there, culminating in graduation when grads face Sallie Mae's wrath, the bar exam and sometimes no legal job. And if you are fortunate, you get to work for an overbearing douche such as 1:13.

    It amazes me how much people want to believe 1:13 is a troll. I know many attorneys, successful I may add, that are like or worse than 1:13. Yet there are some naysayers here that want to believe he doesn't exist in real life. Well here is a dose of reality. Attorneys such as 1:13 exist because, as 7:18PM mentions, this profession has reached a nadir. I have had attorneys want to fight me, physically, outside of the courtroom. I have had attorneys tell me to go fuck myself in front of judge. There is no respect or civility anymore in this profession. So old timers like myself become hardened and we disconnect ourselves from the plight of they younger attorneys. The 1:13s of the world will never respect you and guess what? He doesn't have to because he has the upper hand in offering you an opportunity to use your degree or languish in mediocrity.

    Who or what do I blame for this trend? The law schools. Yes, the law schools and the ABA. When I became a lawyer the bar was small. Everyone knew each other by first name. We met regularly at local bar events. Now there are too many lawyers and faces become blended into one another. There is no personal relationships anymore and everyone is out for themselves. I suspect people like 1:13 have been burned by formal associates, ergo the whole demand for loyalty.

    Ten years ago, I was aiming to retire by 2015. Now it seems I won't be able to retire because the cost of doing business has increased while the massive influx of new attorneys has diminished demand for quality legal services for cheaper and ineffective assistance of counsel. Laypersons, like law students, believe that law schools teach you how to practice. You have no idea how many clients have been fucked over by inexperienced counsel. The client's first statement usually is: "I went with him because he charges $150/hr and he has a law license just like you." The poor devils are then reminded that cheap legal services will be expensive in the long run.

    If you are in law school stop playing the role of victim. Confront your law school dean. Ask him to explain the methodology of the employment numbers. If he fails to do so or blows you off, stage your own Occupy Movement on campus or drop out for a semester. This will send a powerful message. Alas, today's youth has no chutzpah. Sigh.


  128. Prof. Campos, I apologize for the typos. I went four days without a drink and tonight I fell off the wagon.


  129. 9:01- "I bring this up because the law school scam seems to be a smaller problem in a larger one: All of higher ed seems to be a scam. "

    I don't think it's fair to say that higher ed is a scam. But I think you're right that our whole economic/educational system is having problems, and law school is simply the most extreme version of those problems.

    You go to college to study a major. There's a few gen-ed requirements, but most of your classes are related to that one specific major. People say that a college degree is good training for anything, but really, it's only training for that one specific field (sound familiar?).

    Maybe you pick a "practical" major like engineering where 2/3 of the graduates get a job in that field, or maybe you pick an impractical major like sociology where hardly anyone can get a job as a bona fide sociologist. Either way, the system is producing far more qualified graduates than there are jobs available. The rest have to work in low-class jobs like retail, and they're royally pissed off. So either we need to decrease the number of graduates, or increase the number of jobs in their field.

  130. 7:53 - "I think that we've established that there is no lack of jobs, rather there is a lack of the "right" jobs - which is damning for the law school scam movement." This could not be more complete in it's wrongness. 45,000 people graduated from an ABA law school last year. 25,000 peple got a job as a lawyer last year. So 20,000 people are not getting any job at all, much less the right job. William Ockham

  131. It can't be a scam if they did not mislead you, and by no means does "all of higher education" mislead applicants. My undergrad, for example, doesn't even publish job placement statistics because they're not promising you a job.

    Please learn to use language properly.

  132. "So 20,000 people are not getting any job at all . . ."

    Or, 20,000 people refuse to work for people like 1:13 because their standards are deludedly high.

  133. 10:20:

    How about ripoff? Is that better you jackass?

  134. No. I'd call it not wanting to pay the bill, after you've eaten the meal, that you purchased knowing exactly what it cost and exactly what you would get. See e.g. "student loan bankruptcy discharge" movement.

    Not surprisingly, bums are notorious for attempting to pull the exact above stunt at restuarants.

  135. 11:35

    You really don't know shit about any movement. Get a life. I am done acknowledging any of your comments. Go ahead, get the last word, who cares. Your ignorance is only outdone by your trolling.

  136. Oh no. What will the "movement" do without your comments. They're so frightening and effective against the establishment. lol what a nobody.

  137. Think what you will of 1:13, he's provided law students and recent law graduates with a perfect picture of the people that they will shortly work for. William Ockham

  138. 10:21 - "Or 20,000 people who refuse to work for 1:13 because their standards are deludedly high." My cut of the situation is that if 1:13 would offer them $45,000, 18,000 of them would take him up. William Ockham

  139. This comment has been removed by the author.

  140. Crux, what law school (or level of law school if you don't want to say) did the two of you go to?


    “The caveat is that we are very early in the cycle,” [LSAC spokesperson] Margolis says. “So these numbers change considerably.” The number of applicants at this time last year represented about 48 percent of the ultimate count.

    There are now 31,000 applicants. If that represents half, then we're looking at 62,000ish for this fall. That's APPLICANTS, not students. Fewer than 62,000 will choose to actually enroll.

    The implications here are stunning. As I recall, there are around 55,000 seats in each 1L class. That means that if more than 7,000 applicants choose not to attend, there will be empty seats this fall! If those empty seats fall disproportionately to TTTT's (lookin' at you Stooley), we may soon see some schools close!

    I had previously thought we were five to ten years from this point, but happily, it appears I was wrong.

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