Monday, April 9, 2012

The reckoning

LSAC has released its latest data regarding the number of total applicants to law school in this cycle (h/t Steve Schwartz).  The numbers are not surprising, but should still be extremely sobering for legal academia.  As of March 30, 60,693 people had applied to at least one law school in this admissions cycle.  This represents a 15.6% decline from the same point last year.  Given that applications last year were down 10.7% from the year before, law schools are dealing with a 24% decline in applicants since 2010, from 87,900 total applicants that year, to 78,900 in 2011, to about 66,500 this year (last year's application pool at this time represented 91% of the final total).  Prior to last year the lowest total of applicants in any year in the previous decade had been 84,000, so it's fair to say that the current situation reflects what can be called a collapse in demand for law school admission.

Interestingly, the percentage decline in applicants relative to LSAT takers is to some extent inversely related to test takers' LSAT scores (in other words the decline in applicants is much steeper among people with high scores relative to those with low scores).   This means of course that high-ranked schools will be under more pressure to secure applications from increasingly scarce well-credentialed applicants.  Low-ranked schools, which in some cases are already pressing against the mathematical limits of lowered admissions standards, will be facing a different set of challenges.

The growing desperation of at least some law schools is reflected in facts such as that relayed to me last week by several 1Ls, who told me they receive regular emails pleas from various schools, promising them instant admission and generous "scholarship" support, including in some cases a full tuition waiver, if they will but apply.  Obviously these schools must be blast emailing tens of thousands of people who got good LSAT scores in the last year or two, in the hope that some of them have not enrolled in law school yet and can be enticed to do so now.

This latest data suggests certain developments are likely in the law school world over the next few years:

(1)  In 2013, average advertised (sticker) tuition at law schools is likely to actually decline in real dollar terms, for the first time in at least the last 50 years.  This fall, advertised tuition is rising only about one percent over inflation at private law schools.  Next fall, advertised tuition may not rise at all, and may even decline in nominal terms.

(2) Real law school tuition -- that is, actual dollars collected -- will decline this coming academic year.  The modest rise in advertised tuition is very likely to be more than cancelled out by steeper discounts over sticker, as schools compete for scarce applicants.

(3) Over the next few months a number of schools will announce reductions in their incoming class sizes as a matter of changing institutional policy. In many if not all  cases this will be making a virtue of necessity.

(4) Several law schools will see tenure-track faculty layoffs.  At other schools, formerly lax tenure standards will suddenly be tightened sharply.

(5) Within the next three years, at least one ABA-accredited school will announce it will be ceasing operations. Several more will then follow suit.

Rome wasn't sacked in a day.   

Update:  See also


  1. Professor, if tenure track standards are tightened and tenure faculty laid off, I sincerely hope you get to keep your job. It's outrageous that those who do push for justice in society are silenced.

    You're doing something that helped bring about a change. Whether reporting standards would've improved regardless is a fact pattern that can booted around a law lecture. Keep it up!

  2. Big thanks to everyone in the scamblog movement, from Campos to Nando and everyone in between. Big thanks to the NYT and Brian Tamanaha also. I have to think that the amount of information present to any 0L with the good sense to google is having an effect on application numbers. Keep up the pressure!

  3. Fantastic!! We all know that many of these tenured "law professors" would rather deliver pizzas than practice law.

  4. Shut 'em down.

    There are far, far too many lawyers chasing far too few jobs. It's not a versatile degree. Of the several dozen attorneys I know well enough to discuss the profession and career options, all but two of them would jump at the chance to do something other than practice law. They're stuck, as you will be should you go to law school to do something other than practice law.

    Biglaw is not hiring. Small law salaries have gone down -- way down. The in-house insurance defense guys are getting squeezed by their insurance carriers who treat them like dirt.

    One major New England based insurance company won't permit its in-house lawyers to have offices anymore! They work from home and have to make arrangements to rent a conference room or borrow one when they are hosting depositions. Another European based insurance company will only allow its 3 in-house lawyers one (1) staff person among them. For correspondence and dictations, the in-house lawyers must send electronic recordings to India, then wait a day for a rough transcript, then edit it themselves. The sole local staff worker answers the phones and tries to keep up with filing.

    For everyone lucky enough to find paying work as a lawyer, it's more hours for less money.

    It's terrible out there for young lawyers. You should have your head examined if you are even contemplating borrowing six figures to enter such a crowded profession.

  5. I wonder what new underhanded tactics and deceptive advertisements we'll see from law schools attempting to maintain their revenues.

  6. Terrible? No way! Don't forget, for the class of 2010, 85% of students seeking jobs or an advanced degree were successful in these endeavors within nine months of graduation!!! The average starting salary for these students was 65k per year! That's right folks! 65k per year, AVERAGE.

    That means you could be making more if you get good grades!

    Law school is still a slam dunk investment! Being a lawyer is glamorous! And best yet, going to law school is FREE, free I tell you!

    (I for one haven't made *1* single payment to shitty Sallie Mae)

    I hope my shitty law school gets dinged due to my failure to pay and that they are punished accordingly. (Wishful thinking)

    Goddamn criminals.

  7. It does seem like the market is working things out, largely thanks to lawprof and others who got the word out. Of course, that is cold comfort to the victims of the correction.

  8. I think you are all being naive at best, delusional at worst. The market? LOL. Right. Tell that to the banks with the foreclosure crisis.

    I think the law industry will find someway to make money no matter what, and the money gained will be spun in a way that makes it sound perfectly acceptable.

    Bruh Rabbit

  9. To the person speaking of an insurance company requiring its in-house counsel to provide their own office, can you provide a link to the story?

  10. "Interestingly, the percentage decline in applicants relative to LSAT takers is to some extent inversely related to test takers' LSAT scores (in other words the decline in applicants is much steeper among people with high scores relative to those with low scores)."

    Theories on why this is the case?

  11. The school most likely to close is La Verne. It had only 29 full time 1Ls this year (and another 10 part time). If it only takes that many next year, there's no chance it can keep going. But, it's only provisionally accredited.

    Thomas Jefferson will likely lose its accreditation for its low bar passage rate, but this process can take up to 5 years. How quickly they lose accreditation will come down to whether the ABA cares that it's mathematically impossible for TJ to come in to compliance.

    For TJ the question will be whether losing ABA accreditation, but keeping California accreditation, will cause the school to shut down. It will lose a lot of students, and be hard pressed to keep it's $40,000 tuition.

  12. Theories on why this is the case?

    The smart money is always out first, while the dumb money keeps buying.

    For example, Icelandic and German funds kept buying Lehman's AAA rated sub prime CDOs long after the bloom was off the rose.

  13. No theories necessary. The more diligent/smarter kids are the first to realize that it's a scam.

  14. Once it enters the general public consciousness that Law School is path to serfdom rather than riches, the Law School system will begin disintegrating like the house of cards that it is.

  15. 8:15

    The in-house work from home arrangement is not unusual now. A quick google search led to this result posted be;pw, though it's not the large New England based insurer that I'm familiar with nor the cities I'm familiar with. A former in-house friend with a large New England based insurance company left its employ after some bean counter made him give up his office (and pay for his own bottled water at depositions - not joking, they denied reimbursement for witness water).

    Some of the in-house insurance defense guys secretly want to get tagged by a plaintiff b/c they hate their carriers. If they advise on settlement, then the non-lawyer VP making litigation decisions has to endure the wrath of a bad verdict.

  16. I suspect that many of the law schools will begin marketing themselves to students who had never dreamed that they could attend law school and who will be flattered and bowled over by the prospect. They'll start marketing themselves to graduates of for-profit schools (they're already marked as suckers) and perhaps even the new Down Syndrome graduates (even people with Down Syndrome can go to college today).

  17. The kids with higher LSAT scores are also more likely to have decent options coming out of undergrad. If you have a 160-168 (still well above average) but can get an office job making 50-60K right out of law school, why spend three years and tack on 200K of debt just for the likely outcome of making the exact same salary?

    Meanwhile, students like the one I spoke to a couple of weeks ago (with 100K in debt, a 155 LSAT, and only a few TTT schools at sticker to choose from) are choosing to roll the dice because they think their only other options are low-paid, low-"prestige" retail or food service jobs.

  18. So the basis of your argument is that a job listing for a telecommute position is a sign of the coming legal apocalypse?

    Look, I am on board with arguing there are too many lawyers, but you do realize you aren't helping the position with such an absurd post, right?

    Telecommute positions are often there to entice talent that does not want to work from an office such as a stay at home parent or someone else who can do the job, but can't or doesn't want to work from an office. Its a bedrock of white collar work. Many people actually want that arrangement. To spin it as the legal apocalypse is coming just makes you seem, well, deluded.

  19. Actually, strike that. Not deluded. That's the wrong choice of word. Paranoid is the right choice of word. Telecommute positions are not a sign that the legal industry is in trouble. There is nothing that requires lawyers to work from a company office other than company's wanting to control the lawyer's time.

  20. Still not clear why this translates into "fewer lawyers" but I don't expect to get an answer to that. Its like saying, once again, that violations of the mortgage security laws in NY State should have lead to judges ruling in favor of home owners. Yes, it should have done so. But it didn't. The world didn't suddenly see the light once everyone realized there was fraud. In fact, its back going strong. I suppose the NY case taught people nothing.

    Bruh Rabbit

  21. Not fewer lawyers, just dumber ones.


  22. Not even close to crisis point. There are still way more than enough morons willing to borrow $200,000 from the taxpayers for a three year vacation.

  23. BL1Y mentioned Laverne as the accredited school most likely to close.

    Here, for laughs, are the placement stats for LaVerne.

    Out of 116 grads, a total of zero, yes, zero, got jobs in government. (though LaVerne claims that one graduate got a judicial clerkship).

    LaVerne also claims that 44 got jobs in law firms, of whom 32 are employed in firms of 2-10.

    These two stats, read together, suggest that the 2-10 category is pretty much a total scam. If LaVerne grads have a zero percent chance of getting a government job, they are not getting hired by established small firms with solid niche practices. Therefore, the vast majority of lawyers in the 2-10 category must be lawyers who start up pathetic and doomed practices with a couple of other recent law grads.

  24. The skewing illustrates an issue I have pointed out before. Law schools are for the most part drawing from the top of the college graduate ability pile. Even a 155 LSAT score means an IQ of around 117-120 which means that student is at the high end of the "high average" intelligence range.And LSAT of 160 puts the student in the so called "superior" intelligence range and 163 and up in the very superior intelligence range. There is a strong correlation between higher IQ and higher earnings (oddly not with wealth - there are a lot of dumb wealth people out there (I suppose they inherit the wealth)). Law schools are also (even nearing the lower tiers) selecting for above average GPA and on-time or early college completion (about 23% of public college students complete in 4 years, 60% of private.)

    The reality is that many of those who go to law school would have done well without the JD, maybe earning as much as a non-lawyer if they had not gone to law school. The median income for a college degree holder is $51,000 and I think it is a safe guess that many of these 0Ls would have been earning at least an average of $50k during the 3 years they spent in law school, quite probably more and at 3+ years after college graduation would have been at the high end of college graduate income distributions. So to say $180k to attend law school add $150k in lost earnings (not to mention benefits.) Law school is an investment of $300-$400k For it to have value it probably means that the 0L needs to earn an additional $20,000 per year for their entire working life to justify that investment. Given that we are talking about people who would have been at the high end of the earnings pool anyway, it is hard to see that most law students will be $20k better off - indeed it is easy to sense that many will earn $20 less or more with a JD than they would have earned had they gone straight out and taken a job offer.

    The bigger issue that the whole mess should raise in policy terms is whether having so many kids at the top of the ability pool go to law school is a good thing for the US economy? While I do think you need smart people to be lawyers - if you allocate too many of the smart kids to studying law are you wasting that ability? I personally think that the economic damage has been substantial as a result of the misallocation of human resources.

  25. Can anyone answer these questions:

    (1) How many seats are there currently at ABA accredited schools?

    (2) When, if at all, is it likely that the number of seats will exceed the number of applicants or matriculants?

    The second question addresses what I believe will be the real tipping point. Is this coming, at all? If so, when? 2013? 2014? 2015?

  26. Telecommute may be good for some. But when a Fortune 500 insurer tells its in-house office (my friend's office) that they'll have to give up their physical office space and be on their own for depositions -- which they did -- it's another indication of how tough it is for even experienced practitioners these days.

    I've also seen postings advertising insurance defense work (not in-house) for under $100 per billable hour for experienced lawyers.

    At sub-$100/hr billables for experienced lawyers, good luck making any money or keeping an office open. It's not like biglaw where you can bill 12 per day. Doing insurance defense, you're lucky to yield 6 or 7 billable per day with 10 hours in the office. Best case scenario is $150,000 in revenues a year at that rate. That's BEST CASE SCENARIO and before secretary, overhead, health insurance, etc.

    You can make a living at that rate, but it's hard work and you're not getting rich. Maybe you can clear $80 to $95k depending on the year, and this is with 5 to 7 years experience. Newbies, on the other hand, are totally screwed these days.

  27. we did this.

    WE did this!

    We did this with our media interviews, our blog posts, our article comments, etc.

    When has this ever happened before? When has grassroots activism ever taken a huge chunk of revenue out of the pockets of a multi-billion dollar industry?


  28. so, 66K applying to law school. But what percentage of accepted applicants ever actually enroll in a law school? That percentage will tell us how many people will be in seats come fall. Will that number be below 45K? If so, then some law schools will have empty seats THIS fall.


  29. Numbers aren't really surprising. I bet all those potential law school applicants are now pursuing a career in the nursing field. I've been seeing a bunch of those programs advertised in television. My friend is enrolled in one of those programs and she told me she actually has a classmate who is an attorney.

  30. Mac K

    I am almost certain that data indicates there is a skewing of jobs to services like law and finance in our economy.

    Bruh Rabbit

  31. I bet all those potential law school applicants are now pursuing a career in the nursing field. I've been seeing a bunch of those programs advertised in television.

    That's the perfect indicator to RUN from a profession.

  32. truth is, a high percentage of the population of the United States is completely necessary for the functioning of the economy. Even highly intelligent individuals.

    Bain Capital replaces every waitress with ipads. Apple shareholders rejoice. Restaurant owners rejoice. The waitresses go on food stamps.

    Same goes for lawyers and technology.

  33. 11:49 adds an important point: 66k is the maximum number of students that might matriculate, but there is always a decent attrition from applicants to matriculants. The attrition might be less because of better admissions prospects but it might be more because of continued information that law school is a bad bet.

    We ARE starting to get close to the numbers where schools at the bottom will have trouble filling classes--66k isn't the relevant number here, it is a tell about the relevant number.

  34. 45,000 people graduate every year, but more than that actually make up a 1L class due to attrition at the end of the first year. I remember reading that number is actually 55,000. Can anyone confirm this? If this is true, it is quite possible that there will be empty seats this fall and will most certainly be empty seats next fall.

  35. "Meanwhile, students like the one I spoke to a couple of weeks ago (with 100K in debt, a 155 LSAT, and only a few TTT schools at sticker to choose from) are choosing to roll the dice because they think their only other options are low-paid, low-"prestige" retail or food service jobs."

    This isn't entirely untrue - low-paid, low "prestige" jobs actually are the only option for most grads with liberal arts backgrounds. I had been working $8/hr for years and years. It was a chill-out job with good people, and a nice low-responsibility lifestyle.
    But after 6 years it wasn't very stimulating, which is why ideas like law school began popping up in my head. It's hard to be doing menial labor for 40+ hours a week when you feel you are capable of contributing so much more.. (Admittedly, looking on back on this, it was a pure sense entitlement), but I felt completely stuck.
    Right now, there is NO work for the simply "college educated" young person; since graduating, I had applied to maybe 500 jobs before throwing my hands in the air and taking the lsat. I got a 155 and got accepted to a tier 2 school; considering my other option of continuing to work at a job I had grown exhausted from, going back to the classroom to study law for 3 years sounded like heaven. It was the only benefit i had come across to having a college degree.
    Well, I'm 45k in debt now, and just about to finish my first year. I'm not necessarily miserable, but I also recognize that I have probably made a terrible mistake money-wise. Currently, I am considering either taking on the whole debt-load, or teaching English abroad to try and mitigate it.
    How does this sound to some of you? I'd love to hear some advice..

  36. If you are considering leaving the country, one option is to max out your loans, rack up as much debt as possible, and then jet. I know a few folks with $200K+ debt from law school that took this route. I'm surprised more people don't consider this.

  37. You can see the trend of decreasing class size already (indirectly). At least the sizes of graduating classes at some schools are already down compared to 2009.

    Check out University of Michigan and UT Austin's 2011 numbers. Michigan is down by 33, and UT is down by 51. UVA is down 31, though that number is for 2010 in comparison to 2008.

    I haven't looked at transfer numbers, so it's tough to know the extent of the change and the direction.

  38. We will have to see how all of this plays out. It is likely that some schools will reduce the size of their classes in order to maintain their current statistical LSAT/grade-point levels. If they do that, of course, there will be fewer graduates and that may lead to fewer lawyers. If that does not happen this year it will likely happen next year and once it does happen there will be a cascading effect downward. A few years out there surely will be fewer graduates and that may lead to fewer people who pass the bar and that in turn may lead to fewer lawyers. Too early to say, however, on any of those counts.

    Winton Woods

  39. @Conflicted 1L, it depends on where you go to school and where you live. I know liberal arts grads who have gotten jobs. Where you go to college matters, too.

  40. ^you are starting to sound like law school faculty

  41. Go have a look at my recent loan statements on my blog.

    It is a disgrace that a whole country of lawyers can't or won't do a thing about this.

    HELP! Dear God. HELP!

  42. @2:22 If you are talking to 2:04, What does that have to do with law faculty? It suggests that people do not have to go to law school.

  43. That blog has got to be a hoax. What the hell is Touro law school? And we are supposed to believe that the only A you ever got was in "Rts of the Poor"?

  44. Anyone know how long one can remain on deferment?

  45. Ah JD painter guy - in a moment taken away from looking at a "trainwreck" case, I looked at your blog - first thing I saw was how you had your father take out the loan for the $2000 rug you "needed" for your basement. $2000! for a rug! What was it - Oriental..... It is not exactly the sort of statement that engenders sympathy and frankly you as the poster child for the law school ripoff is not helpful. A considerable proportion of your injuries are down to utter fecklessness by even your own account. Unfortunately there are many out there who have not been as jaw droppingly irresponsible as you - but you are making them look like you by constantly thrusting yourself forward as the epitome of the screwed over law student.

    As I read your blog - your failing the bar 3 times, your complaints about a law professor who walked out on a contracts class because 3 students at Touro in a row had not done the reading in a class, that you were on academic probation, your dodging taking commercial law (UCC) I think blech - Touro evidently lets in some real dipshits - people who should not have even have been let into college.

    And then I think of the kids I have interviewed - who worked hard in law school, who did do the reading, who did take the requisite courses, who did borrow tuition - who did do all the right things, all qualified, but for whom I did not have more than one job to offer, who I had to pick between on thin distinguishing grounds I get mad at your posturing. Because you are a fuckup - and even if there had been more lawyer jobs than there are JDs you would still have been a fuckup. And what you are doing with your blog and your attention seeking is making tens of thousands of non-fuckups sound like a whiny fuckup who wants to be off the hook for being a fuckup. And they are not FUCKUPS so stop pretending you are like them.

    1. Wow......and virtual high five.....

  46. LOL @ the idea of 0Ls regularly being able to get jobs in the 50k+ range out of undergrad. Ain't happening except for the tip-top math and science kids.

    I went to Cornell, was ranked top 10%, and scored a 169 LSAT. The job I took out of undergrad was for 30k a year. I had 3 other interviews before that and they declined because they had people with higher niche degrees lined up. One of my friends was an engineering major and an honors grad, very personable and cheerful guy. He struck out at every single interview because they demanded people with a master's.

    That employment situation is why kids started going to law school in the 1995-2010 era in droves. If kids could really get a 50k job out of undergrad like *that,* they'd never bother going to law school.

    Now that people are catching on to the law school myth, it isn't that they're going back to 50k+ jobs. They're just going to find other (lousy) options because law school has revealed itself as a lousier option and not the sure-fire ticket to upper-middle-classdom that we all thought.

    I had a 3.8+/169 and three years of generic office experience and if you had offered me a 50k job with any kind of stable prospects, I would have jumped in a heartbeat at snapping that up and flushed my scholarships and the idea of law school square down the toilet where it belonged.

    What I expect in the future is that other occupational areas will also experience "bubbles" similar to the law school phenomenon of the last ten years, especially niche technical areas. There's just too many bright little snowflakes and not enough ground for them to land on. In an ideal world, they would be able to push out the incompetent boomers who can't write or type or speak well to save their lives, but this is bizzaro-America, so the smart and hardworking young will struggle while their C-average elders will wonder what the heck is wrong with them.

  47. Who said anything about undegrads regularly graduating into jobs that pay 50k a year? Someone writing earlier intimated that the only jobs college grads can get are in the range of what he/she made coming out: $8 per hour.

  48. I believe the point is that the data indicates that the job situation is not great for anyone. Its not that one can not find jobs, but that job security is less. That's the reality of our economy. There are fewer jobs, making less pay, with less security in the jobs that do exist. This is happening at a time when there is greater economic pressure in terms of housing, health and other life related costs.

  49. That is definitely true.

  50. 4:25,

    To be fair, some patience is called for. Too many people expect to walk off the stage at college graduation and have a high-paying job waiting for them two weeks later when they get back from their graduation celebration week.

    Believe me, I think there are far, far too many lawyers, but I also laugh when I see surveys of recent college graduates from the "special snowflake" generation. One from a couple of years ago showed two distinct trends that differentiated them from their predecessors.

    1. They wanted their workplace to be more "flexible" on work time so that they could have a life and spend more time with their friends and family.

    2. They expected to be paid more, commensurate with what they thought they were worth, what with having conquered the world by achieving a college degree and all.

    Apparently, they saw no conflict at all in expecting both of these things, and, for that matter, both of them right away. You'll here people 23 years old talking about when they'll become vice-president, with not a second thought about the ten spots on the ladder that separates them from the VP slot.

    On the flip side, if your pride can handle taking a back seat for a few years, and you focus on being the best you can in the job you're currently in, people can move up shockingly quickly.

    I have a relative that started out in college administration taking an internship that basically just covered food and housing. That individual was a dean within a decade.

    I worked for free for a while to get my foot in the door for my first job out of law school, which paid under $40K.

    There are way, way, way too many lawyers. Part of that is because people want a way to do an end run around the scut work. That's not really the way the real world works. Lots and lots of people probably could've made excellent district managers at a retail store, or eventually owned their own fast food franchise, even after humble beginnings. Law school probably lured a lot of those folks away---and now they're in far, far worse shape than when they started.

  51. I disagree with this notion that the job situation is as bad for everybody as it is for lawyers. The average starting salary of college graduates is around $50K today. The job market for college graduates has recovered much faster after '09 than the job market for lawyers.

  52. 9:54AM, You are so correct.. At our office and at many of the great Firms
    they are doing their very best to keep the best talent...One of the best female Attorneys comes into the office about twice a week since having her baby...She even brought the baby to work for a halfday...

    All the attorneys have the choice of working at home when ever they want to.

    And, hear this. At our firm our mileage, parking and most meals are also paid.

  53. James Howard Kunstler comments on the overall student loan bubble

  54. "I have a relative that started out in college administration taking an internship that basically just covered food and housing. That individual was a dean within a decade."

    I doubt this example has much traction with the audience here.

  55. Even if all of those things happen or more, and we see the legal academies implode down to a reasonable what cost did it come to those who endured this? There are thousands of kids who will become adults that have struggled with the costs of this unjust mistake--financially, psychologically, etc.--and will struggle with it for the foreseeable future.

    I think Pyrrhic victory sums it up...still it's better than nothing I guess. I'd love to see some of these bastards recompense their victims or at the very least apologize.

  56. @457: a poster further up noted that, and another repeated that it's the average starting salary (shameless BS) at 6:46.

    @609: For the most part, you're correct. There's three problems: 1) patience and grinding your way up is find and dandy (that's what I thought I was doing when I took an entry-level job), but the American economy gave up on that vision years ago; 2) there aren't enough spots at the base of the pyramid for everyone we've sent to college; and 3) tuition prices are now priced for the assumed long-term earning potential and not the entry-level earning potential.

    Mix together and there be a clusterfuck. You're absolutely correct, though, that law school was an end-run around three years of developmental work. In many fields, undergrad is the exact same way. That's partly the fault of students and parents, but schools that promote the message through blatant lies don't help anything. Truth be told, the most well-off people from my high school are the ones who got specialized 2-year training after high school and entered the work force as soon as possible. The people who went to grad school are, as a general rule, screwed financially.

  57. @6:54
    Thank you for bringing this on. It is time to roll!

    again, the cite is:

  58. The New York Times:
    "The median starting salary for students graduating from four-year colleges in 2009 and 2010 was $27,000, down from $30,000 for those who entered the work force in 2006 to 2008, according to a study released on Wednesday by the John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development at Rutgers University. That is a decline of 10 percent, even before taking inflation into account."

  59. Yeah, these 50k figures are completely exaggerated - maybe there are a few instances, but as far as i can tell it certainly isn't an average.

  60. I imagine all the law schools will now be whining about how the scam bloggers are ruining their business and how unfair it is. It will be sweet revenge to remind them not to be the entitled brats that they are and that they will need to EARN their law school applicants from now on.

  61. I think we have a long way to go to fixing this problem. The decrease in applicants is a good sign, but there are still more than enough students to fill spots. Just today there was some one on TLS saying TJLS wasn't so bad. This was in a thread specifically started to warn people not to go to TJLS. Other people argued that it was a waste of time to warn people.

    And, people are still going to pay $40,000 a year to go there.

    The cost is what bothers me. I wouldn't mind if the bottoms schools charged a reasonable fee, but for them to be charging the same tuition as the best schools( coupled with lying about employment stats) is criminal. I only wish a judge would see it the same way as I do.

  62. Some current numbers:

    "Members of the Class of 2012 are being offered median starting salaries of $42,569."

  63. @1:37

    You should drop out of law school. I don't know where teaching english abroad will get you. But to continue is just financial disaster. You don't want to be worse off than when you were working a low paying job because you have debt, a law degree and no one will hire you because you are over qualified.

  64. starting salaries--Here is a more fine grained study from the Wall Street Journal in a spreadsheet format.

  65. Economics Facts (this is off top my head so don't quote me)

    (a) Until the 19901 recession White Collar jobs were generally not as much a part of recessions as blue collar workers.

    (b) Every recession since the 70s has been getting progressively longer in terms of recovery, and that now includes the middle class. And, they are expected to get longer going forward into the future.

    (c) The recovery rate for those with college degrees this bust was also longer than the prior busts.

    (d) Wage stagnation has continued for 30 years now.

    The list on this is so long that even conservatives don't deny it. Here's a google search (take your pick):

    (e) This does not even take into account under employment (temps, part-times, etc) and malemployment (people working full time but the job did not require the degrees that they have to get the job, e.g., a secretary with a bachelors degree).

    (f) the pay for college grads depends on who gets counted. Some have it as low as 30, and others up to 50, but let's just average all the medians and come up with say 40k. Most people will never make it much more above that number. It also matters who gets counted. 4 year or masters or above? Etc.

    The point is that the economic data is really bad for most position over time. It doesn't mean they are as bad as lawyers. Some are better. Some are worse. The point is that this is not situation unique to lawyers. I don't see how anyone reading anything about the economy over the years can reasonable say it is.

    In short anyone claiming that all workers and all college students aren't facing hard times is living in their own special reality.

  66. One more link- as income inequality for all college graduates and Americans in general increases, guess what happens:

    Basically we are killing ourselves slowly as a society. Lawyers are only part of that bigger picture. First they came for the blue collar workers, now they are coming for you.

  67. @3.45 - Dis Painterguy all you like. Dis Touro all you like. The basic fact is that between them they'll eventually put the US tax-payer on the hook for more than 1 million dollars - and only Touro will benefit.

    @Jos - Bad news Re: Grinding your way up in companies. Most companies no longer bother training their own staff to move up once they're in place for the job they were originally hired to do. Instead they'd much rather go for an outside hire who managed to pitch that they could do the job in a couple of 30 minute interviews against 12 other competitors. Want to move up? Then you have to do the same.

  68. "JPMorgan Chase (JPM) has donated $5.5 million to the University of Colorado Denver Business School to open a center for the study of commodities."

    Was this a subtle bribe designed to quiet Campos?

  69. Instead they'd much rather go for an outside hire who managed to pitch that they could do the job in a couple of 30 minute interviews against 12 other competitors. Want to move up? Then you have to do the same.

    No joke. I learned this in my first year at the company I worked at before going to law school. The only people who moved up internally were those who left (to a higher position at some other place) and came back, or threatened to leave. Plain old "excelling at your job" meant fuck-all.

  70. The truth is that the unemployment rate is actually 22 percent, and the government is lying to us:

    More companies will be laying off workers in the next coming months:

    Occupy, people! It will no longer be enough to scurry about trying to find the jobs that are left. We need to take the government back and bring real justice to America!

  71. I'm not so sure any law schools will close, I wish that would happen but they are so good at convincing poor people to go into debt

  72. The existing law schools can be empowered and accredited by the BCI to offer continuing legal education. They can be ask to run certain number of courses for certain number of lawyers. But, that is only a temporary solution. There is a need for a national legal education. Without continuing education no one can function. It is time we organize and institutionalize it.

  73. @ April 9, 3:40 PM

    I live in a Basement apartment in my parent's house, and the old rug was over a concrete floor and filthy and full of mildew and cat urine.

    2K was what the rug cost, with a new pad and installation. (I took the old rug up, and saved onthe cost for doing that)

    You are really out of touch to call me wildly irresponsible, and I worked hard as well--probably harder- so as to get my bottom of the class grades.

    If there were bankruptcy protections for student loan debt, and some kind of a moratorium on excessive interest and collection charges for student loan debt, I would have been able to cut my losses a long time ago.

    But there is not, and so I do the blogging.

    And yes, a contracts professor walked out on a class at Touro. That was plain wrong in light of his salary being paid in some meausure by federally backed student loans.

    And the professor was an awful teacher as well.

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