Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Safe as houses

Sunday marked the one-year anniversary of the first installment in  David Segal's series of articles in the New York Times on the crisis in American legal education.  Although I don't agree with everything asserted in those articles, there's no question the series has played a major role in alerting the public to some of the most important features of what this blog has so indelicately labeled the law school scam (Despite its grim subject matter the series has some amusement value as well, in the form of the hysterical shrieks of protest it has elicited from a legal academic ubermensch or three).

Indeed, considerable progress has been made in the course of that year.  For example, if you compare the general discourse at even a status quo-worshipping site such as Top Law Schools today with that from the fall of 2010, the change is quite marked.  Today, people who indicate they're planning to go to any law school outside the top tier, or often even the top 30, at anything close to full price, will be told in no uncertain terms by many respondents that this is a terrible idea, and that they should retake the LSAT until they get a score that allows them to go to a school that's worth going to at sticker (the conventional wisdom at TLS now limits this to the T-14 at best), or can get a big scholarship to go to a lower-ranked place.

Of course the problem with such advice is that it's completely impractical for the vast majority of law school applicants.  About 7% of law students go to the T-14, and 75% go to schools outside the top 50.  Given their current financial structure law schools can give big scholarships to at most perhaps 10% of their admits, so you do the math.

Over at Above the Law, Elie Mystal isn't sanguine about reversing the march of the lemmings any time soon:

What sane, self-interested law school dean would actually adopt [a] model [eliminating the third year of law school]? [By advocating such a model, Jose] Cabranes and [David] Lat are saying, “Here are some things you can do that will cost you money. Have fun!”

Obviously the profit motive is a big reason that the legal education industry looks the way it looks. But you can’t tell law faculty and administrators to voluntarily take less money. Nobody does that! . . .

And it’s not even like prospective law students are demanding fundamental change. Sure, it only takes a year (or a semester) for most law students to figure out what is horribly wrong with law school. Sure, employers often bemoan how law students come out unprepared to contribute to a for-profit practice. But prospective law students keep coming in droves. So there is little pressure for law schools to change.
In the short term, this is probably correct (although it will be interesting to see what total law school applicant numbers look like this spring, after last year's 11% decline). People have close to an unlimited capacity for rationalization, and the rationalizations for paying big money to go to less than elite law schools are as plentiful as ever.  Here are the top five (hat tip: Nick Hornby):

(1) I'm going to finish in the top 10% of the class (and then transfer to Georgetown.)

(2)  Lots of people who don't finish in the top 10% of the class still get good legal jobs, like this guy I met at a recruitment function who is a senior partner at one of the best firms in town, and he wasn't even on law review.

(3)  You can do a lot of things with a law degree besides being a lawyer.

(4) The economy will have turned around by the time I graduate.

(5)  It says right here on page 561 of Atlas Shrugged that I am solely and completely responsible for my own success or failure.

This won't do any good but what the heck:

(1) This means your plan has a 90% chance of failure. Furthermore you don't need to be in the top 10% to transfer to Georgetown, you need to be in the top 2%. On top of that a lot of recent Georgetown grads are unemployed and broke.  So you'd better amend this plan to include "then finish in the top 30% at Georgetown."

(2) Do you have a time machine?

(3)  This zombie argument, so beloved of the sleaziest of law school shills, is completely impossible to kill. Thousands of bright-eyed and bushy-tailed 0Ls can no more escape it than all those Sarah Connors could escape the original Terminator: You still don't get it, do you? He'll find her! That's what he does! That's ALL he does! You can't stop him! He'll wade through you, reach down her throat and pull her fuckin' heart out! 

(4) Listen to me now and believe me later: If the economy as a whole will have turned around, this doesn't mean the market for legal services will have turned around. If the market for legal services will have turned around, this doesn't mean the market for new graduates of ABA law schools will have turned around.  Compare: the international market for new cars is vastly larger today than it was in 1975. How's the market for UAW workers looking now compared to what it looked like then? 

(5)  A wise man once said:

There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.

The people who will be enrolling in law school this fall are going to graduate with an average of around $130,000 to $135,000 in law school debt (The class of 2011 graduated with an average of about $104,000  in law school debt, and the tuition increases that the class of 2015 will bear are mostly already baked into this particular cake).  Given that the average undergraduate in our fair land graduates with about $25,000 of educational debt (there are currently no figures on whether the number for law students is higher or lower than this) we can estimate that, given the likely continuation of a flat housing market, this fall's entering law school class will have on average accrued enough educational debt upon graduation to pay for an average American single family home (the median sale price for this commodity was around $165,000 in 2011).

For how many people in this class will a law degree end up being as good or better an investment than a house? (Not that houses have been fabulous investments for most Americans over the past five years, but everything is relative). Keep in mind mortgage debt is dischargeable in bankruptcy, and in some states first loans on residences are by law non-recourse, meaning that the lender has no remedy for default beyond foreclosure. You can just mail the bank the keys and walk away.  Mailing your diploma back to your law school doesn't work nearly as well.


  1. Hell, depending on the commode of law one graduates from, the degree may be best used as an emergency reserve of toilet paper.

    Several grads from top ten schools are now graduating with anemic job prospects. Many with law review under their belts are having difficulty landing legal employment. Of course, the shills always have an excuse in such cases, i.e. "Well, he probably interviews badly or has bad breath" or "She went to UVA, but she has a mustache!"

    Expect the apologist pigs to come up with new variances, such as "She was only the Notes editor of her law review," "Her second toe is longer than her first," and "This guy should've graduated in the top ten spots in his class, not merely the top ten percent. What was that moron thinking?"

  2. "Today, people who indicate they're planning to go to any law school outside the top tier, or often even the top 30, at anything close to full price, will be told in no uncertain terms by many respondents that this is a terrible idea"

    I'm not so sure about this. People have been warning you of the perils of attending a low ranked law school since at least 2006, when Loyola 2L won lawyer of the year for exposing the reality of Loyola Law School.

    The problem is that for every person warning you, there is another person encouraging you. Take for example the aforementioned Loyola Law School. As someone pointed out the other day, if you look at their career placement statistics you will see all their students placed in jobs with good to outstanding salaries. They do not disclose the percentage of students who reported salaries, and in fact they even write that their salary statistics represent all but "anomalous" graduates.


    What person believes themselves to be an anomaly? Who believes that they will be the rare odd loser who will be unable to land a decent job when 99% of the class has no problem getting such a job? No one. That’s who. And that’s why the scam will go on as long as schools are allowed to publish garbage like this.

  3. 1,000,000,000,000 in outstanding student debt.

    Assuming 6% yearly, .005 monthly interest.

    5,000,000,000 each month to feed the beast.

    The government is insolvent and incompetent.

    While Ayn Rand is a simpleton's guide to arrogant social isolation, our current situation looks like the point in Atlas Shrugged when smart people start abandoning ship.

    If my loans were zeroed out tomorrow, I'd move to the bucolic countryside of my youth and stock up on bulk grain and small caliber munitions.

    This is going to get messy.

  4. $5 billion is literally 0.03% (0.0003) of the total government debt, so there must be much bigger beasts out there to worry about.

  5. >Given that the average undergraduate in our fair land graduates with about $25,000 of educational debt (there are currently no figures on whether the number for law students is higher or lower than this)

    Why hasn't the Department of Education published detailed statistics on the student loan default rate for law students by school attended?

    This number could help students determine whether certain schools are wise investments or not.

    This would also bypass the questionable statistics published by law school career services offices entirely.

  6. They do publish these "default" rates, but the rates are completely miscalculated because they exclude IBR, deferments and I think they only count you as "defaulting" if you fail to pay at least $1 in a 12 month period. The DOE's default statistic is as bogus as a TTT's career placement statistic.

    Basically higher education is about fraud, from top to bottom.

  7. Whatever the solution to this problem is, I don't think its going to take the form of 0Ls making smarter choices.  I think we should just assume as a given that this won't happen.

    Students regularly choose undergraduate majors that don't lead to employment, and that's without misleading stats to help them.  Students regularly slack off and get poor grades, they regularly skip class, they regularly do all sorts of things to sabotage their future employment prospects.  And this includes high IQ people, this is not limited to just the "dumb" ones.

    People that age, with that level of life experience simply don't think the same way older people do.  Specifically, they don't plan more than one or two years into the future.  Very few 0Ls are actually thinking about life after law school when they apply.  They are thinking about life in law school.

    Just imagine how many other fantasy schools could have full enrollment if they could find a source of funding as good as federal student loans.  If the school exists, if the student can get the money, and if no adults are stopping them, they are going to enroll.  

    The solution must come in the form of adults stopping them, one way or the other.

  8. but undergrad is about fun, not jobs. I enjoyed my undergrad experience.

  9. LawProf,

    Why do you keep failing to discuss or mention the biggest reason to avoid law school - that it is a mental illness factory?

    Forget the lack of jobs, forget the lack of practical training, forget the debt . . . those are all a minor nuisance so long as you're a happy and optimistic person.

    But you won't be a happy or optimistic person if you go to law school. Rather, you will likely develop a mental illness such as depression. 4% of 0Ls are depressed (the same as the general population), but 40% of 3Ls are depressed and close to 20% of law graduates are depressed two years out. (Google law school depression 40% for the studies).

    If we were to design a warning sticker for law school, the FIRST THING on that sticker should be that it will give you a disease, a pernicious mental disease that will ruin the rest of your life. You would be better off being a mentally healthy paraplegic than to be a mentally ill person with working arms and legs.

    The first thing you should tell prospective 0Ls, and the topic that scamblogs should discuss more than any other is this. Yet the topic hasn't been mentioned once on here, nor on any other scamblogs.


  10. The scary thing about browsing TLS is that you realize that most law school applicants will never see that website. I remember posting occasionally on that forum when I applied back in 2008. It seemed to be a place that was so out of touch with the average law student. Half the people on the site were 99%tile LSAT scorers and the other half were 95%tile LSAT scorers who were desperately trying to get into the 99%. It was a forum of Tracy Flicks.

    I contrasted this mentality with the Elle Woodses in my political science program at [insert mediocre big state UG famous for sports here] who were not obsessive about the law school application process and took their cues from the pre-law advisor, who was even more clueless then they were. For example, it was well known on TLS that LSAT scores were always posted a few days before LSAC's official release date. I remember telling some of my classmates this and they were surprised. To me it seemed axiomatic, because I'd spent so much time reading about and focused on a test I knew would have a large impact on the next 40 years of my life.

    That kind of ignorance is especially frightening because when you google "law school admissions" TLS is one of the first five results (predictably, NYLS is sixth). Maybe it was different in 2008, although I seem to remember TLS being very popular back then and other forums, like LSD and XO, also had a lot more traffic. There may very well be are tens of thousands of prospective law school applying without seeking the advice of actual students or even seeing the scamblogs or the many stories in national publications about what a bad idea it is to take out hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt to attend a lower ranked law school (the median LSAT score at my university was between 150-155, so you can bet where many of these people wound up). It's not that they are reading and not comprehending the gravity of their decision, it's that they aren't even reading. They have no idea what the interest rates on their student loans will be. They probably can't tell you what non-dischargeable debt means. They are simply clueless, almost to the point of being brainwashed by a long-outdated view of higher education.

    It should be obvious it is not a good thing for a profession that depends on it's reputation for good judgment to fill its ranks with people who are willing to sign up for 135K of debt without researching ANYTHING about their investment. I now tell prospective law students: "so you want to be a lawyer? Lawyers need to have good judgment. It shows extraordinarily bad judgment to attend law school right now unless you get substantial guaranteed scholarships, go to a low-cost state school and want to practice in that region, or attend one of the top schools. I'm not saying you can never go to law school. I'm saying you shouldn't go to law school RIGHT NOW, with this score."

  11. 9:56,

    I am a practitioner somewhere in the Western United States. Your comment about undergraduates and their advisors being oblivious to the scam is why, in the Spring, I will be giving a guest lecture to prospective undergraduate law school students at a state university where my friend is a professor. It is likely that I will give the same lecture at at least one other state university next year. I hope that my lecture is informative enough that I start to get invites to other universities. I am going to time my lectures to coincide with the so-called "law school fairs" that occur on these campuses. I will give the students a list of questions to ask the recruiters with the admonition that they should be very leery of any recruiter/salesperson who cannot give a direct, unqualified and unequivocal answer. I believe the best way to stop the law school scam is to go straight to the point of sale.

  12. My lecture will be entitled something like, "The Risks & Dangers of Law School and Law School Debt." I will probably make it available as a slidecast video on YouTube and then e-mail it out to political science UG advisors across the country. It would be nice if others collaborated with me and gave similar lectures in their regions. I think this kind of effort could bring about change in the long term and save some lives in the short term.

    The challenge in making this presentation will be (1) not to lose credibility by coming off as an alarmist (2) hitting only the most salient points- there are so many problems with law schools that couldn't possibly be covered in a 1 hour lecture and (3) getting invites to other universities.

  13. Good work 10:15. I look forward to the youtube.

  14. What will your ecture say that is positive? I mean, what will you tell them to do instead of law school? It will not be enough to just say, "Don't do that." They will ask, if they are thoughtful, for some other good routes to take.

  15. Jesus 10:20, shut the fuck up. The guy or gal is going out of his or her way to do something good while you do nothing but sit on your ass. Who the hell are you to appoint yourself as his or her supervisor and critic?

  16. 10:15: That's an excellent idea. I'd be happy to give you comments on a draft of your presentation if you think that might be helpful.

  17. I would like to comment about rationalization #3 (which LawProf has labeled a "zombie" rationalization) about how many things you can do with a law degree that are not law. I think the reason this tends to be a zombie is because there are indeed tons of law degree holders in nice, non-law jobs, and they are very visible (think Lloyd Blankfein of GS or even President Obama, both before and after his political career). Law degree holders in non-legal roles pop up all over business, politics, academia, journalism, even medical administration and weirder things.

    The problem with the rationalization is that it skips an important step. Non-legal employers don't find the law degree itself valuable, but rather they find the legal practice experience valuable.

    I'm a junior transactional attorney at a large NYC law firm, and in my little corner of the legal world it does seem that legal experience can be valuable outside the practice of law. I see tons of former lawyers at our bank and hedge fund clients in non-legal roles (making much more money than they used to). The truth is, many bankers and hedge funders don't know how to run their own deals and they don't know how to read their own agreements. They also don't necessarily know what all the other actors in the marketplace are doing. Corporate lawyers at large firms know all these things.

    My point is that rationalization #3 is a half-truth, which of course is the most pernicious kind of lie. You can do all sorts of things outside the law with the right kind of *legal experience* - something you will unfortunately have none of after 3 years of law school.

    As a side note, it also appears in my (limited) experience that litigators have a harder time finding work in non-legal roles than the corporate kids.

  18. LawProf,

    I will e-mail you. Your feedback would be much appreciated.

    10:20 AM,

    This is a good question. My first piece of advice will be to Freshman and Sophomores to really think about what their UG degree can do for them in the marketplace. Old hippy Boomers (particularly in academia) have ingrained in our culture the terrible advice to "follow your passion/dreams" in your UG degree. This is awful advice. For Juniors and Seniors already pot committed to unmarketable degrees, I will offer the following advice: (1) Wait and see. And by this I mean wait and see what opportunities come your way after graduation. Your degree may be worthless, but your creativity, raw intelligence and work ethic will open doors you can't see right now. I will then give some anecdotal examples to drive this point home. I will also tell them that they should wait and see what happens to legal education before proceeding- that law schools will likely be substantially different in price and substance in 5-10 years. I will tell them that going to law school now is like buying a home for $500,000 in Las Vegas in November 2007.


    I don't mind the question. In fact, I would prefer that my presentation generally and specifically be reviewed by as many people as possible to point out weaknesses so that it can be effective when I do present it.


  19. I do think it is a very good thing that he is doing. But, if you are going to talk to young people, and tell them not to do something they may be bound and determined to do, you had better have a complete message. This whole thread has been about how warning people about problems with law school seems not to be enough. If that is true, you have to think about doing things in a different way.

  20. Everyone's a critic.

    What is it about the douchebag mind that allows them to criticize everything and do nothing?

  21. "Your comment about undergraduates and their advisors being oblivious to the scam is why, in the Spring, I will be giving a guest lecture to prospective undergraduate law school students at a state university where my friend is a professor......My lecture will be entitled something like "The Risks & Dangers of Law School and Law School Debt." ....It would be nice if others collaborated with me and gave similar lectures in their regions. I think this kind of effort could bring about change in the long term and save some lives in the short term."

    Thank you very much. I also encourage everyone to contact the prelaw advisors and the department chairs of such departments as English, history, political science, sociology, etc. from their undergraduate institutions and provide them with copies of some of the materials that have been written demonstrating the truth with facts, e.g. Brian Tamanaha's pieces, BLS data demonstrating that basically no more than 60% of JD holders even report that they are employed as lawyers, the statistics demonstrating that even the vast majority who do get high paying biglaw firm jobs won't be in those jobs 5 years later, law school transparency's website providing perhaps the best information on what percentage of a law school class are represented by alleged salary information, etc.

  22. "...if you are going to talk to young people, and tell them not to do something they may be bound and determined to do, you had better have a complete message."

    Whether or not I present a complete message, as you say, will determine whether the presentation is a success.

    I do not believe that I will change the minds of most who have their heart set on law school, but I believe I can change the minds of many, and that for me will be a success.


  23. One good illustration of the mental illness caused by law school, is to compare the tone of pre-law websites like top law schools and law school discussion, with the tone of post admissions websites like xoxohth, JDU and abovethelaw.

    On the former, you see unbridled optimism, hope and joy. On the latter, you see cynicism, anger and very dark personalities.

  24. Yes. If you convince people who are not sure they want to go law school not to go, that will be a success all around.

  25. Am I missing something with respect to the two-year law proposal? Yes it will save you guys some loan money, but won't it just lead to more graduates over time?

    As LawProf has pointed out, the real core issue is not the debt per se, but the lack of jobs for graduates. Self-interested law professors and deans would still be plenty busy.

  26. "Am I missing something with respect to the two-year law proposal? Yes it will save you guys some loan money, but won't it just lead to more graduates over time?"

    Yes. Mathematically it will simply increase the supply of lawyers. The only benefit is that now you will waste 2 and not 3 years.

  27. I wonder about blogs like this one. No matter how successful they are, law schools will be able to fill their spots by lowering their standards if they have to. The overall student population nationwide isn't about to go down. And with all the publicity no one will be able to say they were scammed anymore. So you'll still get the losers with tons of debt with limited prospects, except now they will be academically weaker and it will be more their fault due to the publicity of the "law school scam".

    Also people tend to be too optimistic about how they'll do in law school (or any other school). People will still go thinking they'll be able to make the top 10 percent, that the economy will improve, etc etc. I really don't see the overall picture changing any. Is it really worth it to have these blogs if their only effect will be to replace the current somewhat brighter but less informed law students with somewhat dumber and more optimistic ones?

  28. Roger, I believe there was a Law School Tuition Bubble post on that score, and yeah, it made sense to me. Reducing law school to two years would just incentivize law schools to admit more people to make more revenue and flood the market even further. All the proposal would do is just make production more efficient.

    Assuming that law school can be analogized to a factory, anyway. Most factories that function as long as law schools make products that work.

    Even so, reducing the academic component of law school to two years and then making the 3L year an apprenticeship that the school arranges *would be better,* it just wouldn't be any panacea.

    On the other hand, you might have a supply bottleneck in those who wish to go to law school, and are minimally capable of doing so (can you read and write?). In which case it would truly make a difference in aggregate debt load--but you could never convince anyone who profits from the system as is to voluntarily accept the reform.

    10:33 (guy trying to scare UGs straight): good on you.

  29. "No matter how successful they are, law schools will be able to fill their spots by lowering their standards if they have to."

    That's simply logically and factually false. For example, if there were 400 law schools right now, some of them couldn't fill seats.

  30. LawProf,

    Long time listener, first time caller, here. Your response at (1), supra is a bit off.

    Transfer admissions are actually quite lax because transfer stats aren't reportable to LSAC/US News. This scam works as follows: (1) admit anyone who won't embarrass us; (2) charge full freight; (3) hang them out to dry at OCI and cash the checks.

    I speak from experience. I went to a third tier law school on scholarship (mediocre UG grades, 17x LSAT), barely finished top 20% as a 1L, then transferred to Columbia (which I chose over NYU and your alma mater).

    So, your answer to (1) should be as follows: There's actually a 20% chance you can transfer to Georgetown (or Columbia), but you'll be at the bottom of the pack once you get there, which means you'll pack on six figures of debt and graduate without a real job.

  31. @12:42 However, there are not 400 law schools now, and not many new law schools are opening these days.

  32. @12:42 And if you think law schools will voluntarily shrink to preserve their standards, maybe a few would, but most would not (it's about the money). I think that the scamblogs would never lower the number of "lemmings" to a point where the quality of the applicant pool would so drastically decline they would feel compelled to substantially shrink their entering classes.

  33. Thanks JC3L. That's a fascinating piece of information, which actually fits in well with a couple of other things I've seen lately.

  34. 1:08, Don't worry. You can still benefit from the prestige of the @post.law.columbia.edu email address.

  35. "People will still go thinking they'll be able to make the top 10 percent, that the economy will improve, etc etc."

    As a relatively recent law school grad, I can say that some of this was true for me. I saw statistics of 90%+ employment and 100k median salary in 2005-2006 and assumed that was about what I could expect. I did not think I would be top 10% but I thought I was at least top 50%. To me, a relatively smart 21 year old finance student, it seemed that even taking the stats with a grain of salt meant that if people did relatively well they got solid jobs. Five years later, after attending a lower tier one school and graduating in the top 20% of my class, I am working in a legal postion!!! - a postion previously filled by law students, for $25 an hour and no benefits. I am still looking for a fulltime, "career" job (legal or not). However I am now 27 and have no work experience (went right to law school from college) other than a specific practice area litigation. At this point I would settle for a job that doesn't make me the lowest paid among my friends who did not go to law school

    All we can do is tell these prospective law students our stories. They may not listen, but at least they will be informed.

  36. Exactly 1:28. With the frudulent stats published by law schools you don't need to be in the top 10% for it to be worthwhile. Top 50% should get you a solid job.

  37. I'm taking a $130,000 ride
    With my best friend (Sallie Mae)
    I hope my J.D. doesn't let me down in the end
    She promises me I'll be as safe as houses
    As long as I remember that she's wearing the trousers
    I hope my J.D. doesn't let me down in the end

  38. Campos' fixation on Ayn Rand, while slightly amusing, misses the mark entirely. We didn't get into to this situation because there were too many libertarians pushing people to go to law school. Rather, the crisis was caused by a collectivist egalitarian impulse to ensure that everyone can go to law school, an impulse we satisfied by ensuring unlimited government-backed student loans to any warm body that applied. The beneficiaries of the program are mostly liberal professors who could audition for the villains in a Rand novel. If there were a few more John Galts making policy there would be no federal student loans. This would undoubtedly have a downside, but the upside is that the law school tuition bubble would never have happened.

  39. 10:12: Will your presentation be a large lecture or a smaller group session?

  40. I worked as an investment banker and now work in private equity, and I can tell you unequivocally that while some attorneys manage to jump to finance, it is definitely a case of swimming upstream. You cannot swing a dead cat without hitting an attorney trying to transfer into investment banking. It's not rocket science; there's just far more money to be made taking percentage fees than billing hourly. However, for every one that manages to cross over, there are 99 who tried and failed to parlay their deal experience into an M&A advisory role or ECM role. It happens, but very rarely compared to the number of people trying to do it.

  41. 2:21,

    Large lecture of students in the social sciences at a state university.


  42. I agree with 1:57 and I find it utterly baffling the lack of support this cause gets from conservatives. As a conservative myself, I am frustrated by people who would rather blame the student than take a stand against this massive government boondoggle. I suppose in the end, it is a good thing for a liberals like Campos to be leading the charge, it keeps the issue from becoming a partisan one, but I would think exposing the scam and the liberal professors who live off it would be a worthy goal for conservatives.

  43. 4:37: It would also redirect many bright young people to more useful and productive fields than law, as well as reducing the number of lawyers and the volume of useless and frivolous litigation.

  44. underrated post by bored3L

  45. @J, when you saw the stats-- 90 percent employment, 100k median salary-- where did you think the graduates from the school you wanted to attend were working?

  46. I'm not J but I'll answer 7:35. I assumed graduates of the other programs had mediocre $50k jobs where they didn't get the salary, status or glamor of a lawyer. For example I heard all pharmacists started at $60 to $70k and got very low raises. Why go for that when you can make twice as much as a lawyer, plus all the lawyer tv shows make it seem like you'll be respected more.

  47. Other programs-- you mean other professional programs? I do not know what town or city you are in; how big it is. But did you know in what jobs lawyers in your locale were concentrated?

  48. " But did you know in what jobs lawyers in your locale were concentrated?"

    ummm, lawyer jobs?

  49. Sorry, that was clumsy. Did you think they were in firms, corporations...?

  50. I'm done with you.

  51. Okay. I guess that answers it.

  52. Not sure what the Atlas Shrugged references have to do with this blog topic, but they did make me laugh.

  53. I am ashamed to admit this... I easily believed 3/5 of the "top five" reasons for going to law school stated above. Maybe even 4/5.

    Basically, all but the first.

    Jesus. This is depressing.

    On the other hand, look at how I've grown over the last 4 or 5 years. What the improvement worth the price? Ask me in another 5 years.

  54. I'm a lawyer that represents for profit trade schools. For my client, many of the state accredition boards require proof that at least 60% of the graduates are employed in a job where the relevent trade school skills are used. They audit these results and require the schools to track down every student and report back. If the student can't be found, it counts as no job. If they miss this standard, the school can't take new students and has to "teach out" or give refunds to its remaining students. The schools have to post letters of credit to pay for the teach out or the refunds. I think we would see a lot more innovation in law schools if they were held to a similar standard. Another way to get the same result is take away the eligibility of law schools to use federally guaranteed student loans if a minimum percentage of students don't get law related jobs. There are ways to tie incentives to get law schools more market based.

  55. Interesting concept. What trades?

  56. Dear law prof- please stop calling prospective students lemmings. It is insulting. I do agree with you that transparency is crucial. I think a list of specific questions to ask at law firm fairs or
    By calling admissions is a good start. Let people start to inform themselves instead of lecturing to them.
    To the person who puts this together, I would gladly take it to the law advisors of my local university.

  57. Statistics on employment in most fields are maintained by your state Department of Labor. I remember seeing the statistics from the Colorado Department of Labor in 1985 saying that the legal market was seriously glutted. It was too late for me, but I wish someone had brought that to my attention before I attended law school.

    The lies and propoganda coming from law schools can simply be refuted by referring to public statistics compiled by agencies like the Department of Labor.

    The reason I went to law school, rather than doing something else, was because I believed that I could enjoy the upper middle class lifestyle of a professional. Had I known this would not be the case, there were other things I could have done and which I would have enjoyed more.

  58. What would you have done?

  59. I will say thank you sites like this, and the people who run them are the very reason I am not attending law school. It was a plan of mine, ever since graduating HS. I took the LSAT, scored "ok" (158), and started applying last year. I've been accepted to a couple TTs and several TTTs. With that being said, I feel as though I should cut my losses (around $2K) for LSAT prep and application fees rather than add another $150,000 on top of my undergrad (which really isn't too bad as I worked all through it and only borrowed an insignificant amount). I sincerely appreciate the information all of you have put out there, along with publications from various news agencies. You have saved me a decent house (given the amount I would owe on loans), a minimum of three years of my life, and probably my sanity. I have decided to work (I suppose I'm lucky enough to have a job in the first place) and assess the legal market in five or six years. I hope other 0Ls read your blogs because it can literally save their lives. It would be helpful, in my mind at least, to have some sort of warning to those still in undergrad, very much like what is proposed above. you can't force people to accept the facts (though they should accept them anyway, but that is a separate argument), but you can GIVE them the information and let them decide as I did. does everyone need to wait five or six years to attend law school? No. Do most? I would say wait five years at the very minimum.

  60. I scored a 152 on LSAT and attend Stetson Law. Use your legal education to do what you need to do. The debt is irrelevant. The education is great and will provide you with tools that you will not be able to acquire elsewhere. that is not to say that the whole thing isn't a big scam; it is, but there are even bigger scams out there. When you look through statutes and select treatises you can see where the law provides your loophole. They are there. Everyone has a loophole, several in fact. I cannot drop wisdom because I am currently in a secured transactions class studying Article 9. Stop worrying so fucking much. You will never have to pay your debt back so long as you can defer your payments until you die, then your outstanding loan debt is cancelled and you have one serious education. Cant tell you all the secrets but here is where you start. 34 cfr 682; 34 cfr 685; http://bit.ly/zywxaS Pay close attention and you will see the tricks.

  61. PS you are not a consumer, you do not need a job. You are a creator.


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