Thursday, June 14, 2012

Demoralization costs

I did an interview with Bloomberg Law yesterday afternoon, which can be seen here.

There are days when I'm thoroughly sick of this whole business, and this is one of them.  Here's an email I got a few days ago from somebody who just graduated:

Prof. Campos,

In your recent blog post, you twice criticize state-court clerkships as one-way tickets to legal unemployment.  I am writing to ask about your basis for those statements.  Also, are you referring primarily to state district court clerkships or do you also disparage state intermediate and supreme court clerkships?

I am a recent graduate set to start a state intermediate court clerkship in the fall.  The competition was extremely stiff and those who will be working there are primarily from the top quartile of a T20 law school.  I'm wondering (hoping) that there is a certain degree of hyperbole in the relentless "no matter what, you're all hopelessly screwed" meme.  I understand the importance of puncturing the relentless sugar-coating of the law school deans and career services counselors, but I'm wondering if going overboard in the other direction has a perverse effect of insulting and demoralizing some people unnecessarily.
I sent this person a much nicer reply than he deserved, but I'm now inclined to use this correspondence as a cautionary missive for anyone who might profit from reading it.

Don't be this guy, OK?  Don't be somebody who resents being exposed to disturbing information because it makes you feel less warm and fuzzy about all the gold stars you've been collecting as a junior achiever.  Or if you're going to be that guy, don't read this blog.  There are plenty of places on the internet you can go to feel good about yourself and argue about the constitutionality of the ACA.  For now anyway.

Nearly 30 years ago, Paul Carrington, then the dean of Duke's law school, suggested in the pages of the Journal of Legal Education that there was no place in legal academia for certain kinds of teaching and scholarship. "When the university accepted a duty to train professionals," Carrington asserted, "it also accepted a duty to constrain teaching that knowingly dispirits students or disables them from doing the work for which they are trained."

Carrington's point was that certain critical perspectives on law which might be perfectly appropriate to pursue within the walls of a political science or sociology classroom should be excluded from law school classes, because they tended to have, one might say, a perverse effect of insulting and demoralizing some people unnecessarily.

Carrington was concerned that genuinely critical teaching and scholarship might interfere with the professionalization function of law schools.  He needn't have worried: the social structure of legal academia ensures quite effectively that there won't ever be much work of this kind -- and in any case the vast majority of law students have no interest in exploring whether their (hypothetical) faith in The Rule of Law ought to be questioned. They just want to get a job.

What really risks demoralizing people are not critiques of the intellectual or political or metaphysical underpinnings of the legal system, but rather critiques of its economic structure that suggest people who go to law school aren't going to get what they came to acquire -- which again is not intellectual enlightenment or a renewed faith in Law's Empire, but something much more practical, i.e., professional employment that justifies the price of admission and egress. 

It's easy to see how such critiques can undermine what legal academics think of as "professionalism," which I suppose some people will see as a valid reason for excluding them as much as possible from law school classrooms.


  1. Get a grip, LawProf.

    This recent grad has a valid point. You go overboard in the doom and gloom direction and that's all this person was saying.

    For SOME, even if it is a relatively select few, law school and clerkships do not result in unemployment and debt slavery. You write as if it does.

    You continue to spew hyperbole and become more one-sided every day.

    Very lawyerly of you.

  2. no, lawprof, tell him how successful he's going to be! that will really help him.

    if this emailer is callow and weak enough to be demoralized by a blog post, then even if the job market were great, i wouldn't have much faith in him.

  3. "The competition was extremely stiff and those who will be working there are primarily from the top quartile of a T20 law school."

    To the person who wrote the letter. Your inference that because your clerkship was competitive, that means it is a feeder to good or any lawyer jobs is wrong. Do you see why?

  4. For those just tuning in and considering law school, think about what just happened here.

    This guy has a job in the law, and one for which he competed with several students graduating in the upper bounds of a law school that allegedly is in the top tenth of law schools. He wants to be reassured that he hasn't made a mistake here, after three years of hard work that presumably turned into good grades. While he does not indicate his level of student debt, the national average for law students was over $100,000.

    Would you like to be somebody who has accomplished all of this and still wonders if he has made a grievous mistake? If so, borrow as much as possible and have a good time. Leave aside a few pennies for a handgun and one bullet from the pawnshop, just in case.

  5. "Don't be this guy, OK? Don't be somebody who resents being exposed to disturbing information because it makes you feel less warm and fuzzy about all the gold stars you've been collecting as a junior achiever. Or if you're going to be that guy, don't read this blog."

    I deal with emotionally and mentally deficient lemmings who are butt hurt because someone dares to point out the massive shortcomings of this industry. At least this letter writer exhibited an IQ above room temperature.

  6. You all read this person's email thorough your own shit-colored glasses.

    Maybe the emailer was just pointing out that LawProf makes the situation out like it's all losers, all the time.

    I see nowhere that the person says they are afraid they made a mistake and are looking for validation, nor do I see that the person is assuming that this will lead to a nice 6 figure biglaw job.

    You're all just reading that into it.

    I can hardly believe some of you went through undergrad, let alone law school.

  7. Nando, what's your IQ?

  8. In my experience, persons who obtained state appellate court clerkships tended to land on their feet after their clerkship ended-- they had a competitive advantage in applying for other judicial clerkships and for other available jobs in state governments.

    I believe that law firm employment-- specifically the category known as "small firm, 2-10" is where the schools scam-up their placement outcomes. Third and fourth tier placement surveys tend to report 40 or 50 grads in this category. It is hard to fathom that so many small firms, in this economy, say: "Wow, work is overflowing, so let's bring another lawyer into the firm. And not an experienced one-- let's hire a recent grad from a third tier!"


  9. Today's hyperbole is tomorrow's reality. Does anybody really want to bet against these trends? Anybody think history is going to prove Campos wrong? How's that working out so far?

  10. @6:47 a.m.:

    Here is what I read. Follow the bouncing ball between these helpful quotes, and see if you can't hear the trepidation. I'll wait.

    "I am a recent graduate set to start a state intermediate court clerkship in the fall."

    "I am writing to ask about your basis for those statements." "

    "Also, are you referring primarily to state district court clerkships or do you also disparage state intermediate and supreme court clerkships?"

    "I'm wondering (hoping) that there is a certain degree of hyperbole in the relentless "no matter what, you're all hopelessly screwed" meme."

    Neither Campos nor anyone else has ever disputed that some law graduates will do well for themselves, in any given year and under any given set of economic circumstances. Campos' point is that the number of winners is vanishingly small, and that almost no prospective student can know at any stage whether he'll be part of this minority.

  11. To answer the letter writer's question, a state supreme court clerkship is almost always a good gig; depending on the legal market in the state it will probably be as good as a federal district court clerkship. Anything else is iffy, though obviously an appellate clerkship is better than being a bailiff in family court. If you do not already have a permanent offer from a big firm waiting for you, you will probably struggle when your clerkship is over.

    I do not think it is unnecessarily demoralizing to point out that a job merely being "competitive" does not mean that you are a winner for landing the job. Why didn't you get a federal clerkship or a state supreme court clerkship? You're not as competitive as you would like to think. Put another way, shitlaw jobs paying $10,000 per year are also competitive.

    To the OLs reading this, or the 1Ls who are thinking about dropping out -- if you have to ask whether thinks will turn out great, they probably won't. The law school grads who are golden have no doubt in their minds. Even in this environment there are some law students who will be fought over by firms and judges. If you aren't holding multiple offers from law firms, you are not one of the golden ones. Sorry.

  12. But if you literally have no where else to go or no way to survive other than living on student loans, what can you do? No savings, no job (despite best efforts to find anything), and no parents to put me up until I land something. Sometimes staying in law school is your only option.

  13. Campos sees what he wants to see. This is a perfect example. He takes this person's email and this is his response, "Don't be this guy, OK? Don't be somebody who resents being exposed to disturbing information because it makes you feel less warm and fuzzy about all the gold stars you've been collecting as a junior achiever."

    That is crystal clear. The person didn't resent to "disturbing information because it make him/her feel less warm and fuzzy..."

    That's just what Campos wants to see.

    Campos needs to get on some (additional) meds. His fantasy he sees as reality. His perspective he sees as everyone's perspective.

    Guess what, Paul: You don't know it all. You don't know this person. You paint with an over-broad brush. And yes, you'd still happily take your cut of this person's tuition if they were an incoming 1L at UC rather than a graduate with a clerkship.

    Look up empathy and see if you can "relate."

  14. Speaking of projection: if you graduated from law school pre-2008, what was true for you is not true anymore. For example, I work in a public interest organization in NYC. Every week I get dozens of applications from recent attorneys whose qualifications/credentials look like mine did when I was in their position. Top school, top grades, law review, relevant clinic/summer/fellowship experience, Article III clerkship. The difference is that these candidates are in heavy competition for unpaid volunteer positions.

  15. This all goes back to the issue of tone, which is the primary criticism directed at this blog. I happen to think this is an unimportant gripe to lodge, and it's usually placed by individuals who, by virtue of their own experience, have no reason to believe that the decision to go law school is anything other than a winning proposition.

    Law professors, 0Ls, and current law students are the least likely to be receptive to the arguments made on this blog and, unfortunately, are the ones most in need of hearing them out. People I like and respect a lot in the academy have a difficult time understanding even the basic contours of the idea that law school may not be worthwhile for most law students. Prof Campos, whose writings on this blog are a daily must-read for me, has certainly grown very frustrated and vexed over the past year with the academy's fundamental inability to deal with these issues, and it frequently bubbles up into his writing.

  16. 0731: Fair enough--and I understand that frustration.

    If that is true, Campos needs to rethink the earlier idea he had about stepping back for a while and/or not frustrating himself every day.

    When this blog started, I think those you mentioned would have been more receptive to the content. But the writing style/tone now...not so much. Now it is (almost) simply a preaching-to-the-choir scamblog that just happens to be written by a law professor.

    That is unfortunate.

  17. 7:20, I totally disagree. People need to see that things are bad for the would-be new elite. People need to see that this market right now (and to be honest our entire economy) is showering rewards on the top 1 or 2% and crushing virtually everybody else beneath that. It used to be that if you went to a T14 you were basically set, but even that is increasingly not the case. People need to see that it's not just people at the 9th percentile that are struggling, but people at the 90th percentile as well. If a few feelings get hurt in the process of hammering that point in, that's acceptable.

  18. 7:31

    You make a good point regarding other profs. Althouse writes about cupcakes and Leiter gossips about which profs are moving where without any thoughts to the twenty thousand 1L's who will find out in January 2013 that they will never practice law.

  19. Philosophers analyzing the allegory of the cave argue that the prisoners would ironically find the freed man stupid due to the current state of his eyes and temporarily not being able to see the shadows which are the world to the prisoners.

  20. This student is in the top 25% of students at a top 10% law school. This arguably puts him in the top 5% of graduating law students (possibly higher), and his outcome was that he successfully beat out other competitive candidates for a state intermediate court clerkship. And we are still arguing over his odds of having a legal career. We're not even arguing over whether he will have a legal career that will allow him to service the average debt load from his school, nor are we arguing over whether he will have a career that will justify the average cost of an education at his law school.

  21. His perceived success conveniently allows him to ignore what is going on outside the top 10% of law student outcomes. Everyone needs to start taking an interest in the future of the profession as a whole, even if it means confronting some difficult truths. That's the only way we will get out of the coming collapse still standing.

  22. I don't see what purpose beating up on letter writers like this one serves. This guy is one of the "winners" in the law school game. He has a job! Once you get that first job, it could well lead to another, and another. Yes, most of those jobs are likely to suck, and yes, most of those jobs are likely to not pay enough to service his debt. But does Law Prof think this guy should decline the job, drop out of law, and spend his time complaining about the law school scam? Or take the job that he fought so hard for and try to make the best of it? If the letter had been from a 0L or 1L prattling on about being a special snowflake who is sure to succeed where so many others have failed, I would get the 'don't be this guy' thing, but he isn't. I don't think it serves anyone to pretend that NO lawyers get jobs and that it is IMPOSSSIBLE to get a legal job anymore, because that clearly isn't true.

  23. Thing is, a state trial court clerkship is far and away the most educational experience a young litigator can have.

    You will see hundreds of motions. You will see shiny-suited storefront lawyers kick sand in the face of AmLaw 100 partners. You will see perjurers, prevaricators and priests. You will see how cases progress. You will understand how facts are applied to law to create advocacy.

    Yet this most useful of experiences is deemed the least prestigious.

  24. I have to ask the Oh my God The Tone people:

    How is it that one should discuss things like a tenth to a third of the most recent class of law graduates for which we have data having jobs that would allow them to repay their debts in the context of a typical middle-class lifestyle?

    Or that tuition continues to outpace inflation by several times at most law schools?

    Or that legal education leaves almost all of its graduates dependent on a third-party contractor to study for their bar exams, and prepares none of them to handle most simple matters for which a client might actually pay?

    Seriously, how does one add sunshine to any of that?

  25. Its casino capitalism where employers and and corporations have all the power an employees have to struggle for jobs and fight over bread crumbs.

    LUCK is the major factor in this economy.


    That's it. Its not rocket science.

    Accept it or fight for change anyway you can within your means.

    That's why Campos is on here writting yet still keeping his job. He's not going to quit his job.

    People have to find a way to deal with this bullshit corrupt capitalist economy

  26. Prof. Campos is one of a handful of law profs willing to work on this problem. He deserves a mountain of slack just for that.

  27. Morse Code:

    Nobody is saying to add sunshine to the mess that is the legal job market, legal education, or the economy in general.

    But what is the point of this blog? If it is just to bitch and moan to people who agree with you, then Paul is doing a bang up job.

    If it is to enlighten the unenlightened, well...then tone matters. As an educator, I'd think Paul would know that.

    But maybe I just have the purpose of this blog wrong, or maybe its purpose has changed since its inception.

  28. It does seem that the commenters and Campos himself tend to pile on whenever anyone suggests that a few grads do have decent outcomes going into law. I agree that anyone who chooses to go to law school right now, knowing what is going on, is probably a willfully blind fool. But, some of them are going to get jobs when they graduate. It won't be all or maybe even most. But why pretend that outcomes are universally terrible for everyone just to make a point?

  29. @7:56AM, that's the point, today even winners are losers in the law school game.

  30. In New York, state judicial clerkships are not temporary gigs. You can spend your entire career working as a "law secretary" (i.e. law clerk) to a judge. You can also spend your career working as an attoney in pool that is not assigned to a specific judge. You won't get rich, but the pay is decent (you top out at about $130K a year after 15 years or so). I don't know about other states, but in New York at least, its a very good job.

  31. Let's look at this person's situation. He is in the top 25% of a top 20 law school - so upper 25% of the upper 1/10th of law schools. All things been equal that puts him somewhere around the upper 10th of the recent graduate candidate pool, maybe higher. What did that get him - the chance to compete hard for an intermediate state appellate clerkship paying a relatively low salary for 1-2 years - and an opportunity to compete for a job in 1-2 years time without the stain of a year's unemployment on his resumé. That's it - he will finish the clerkship and be ready look for jobs where "competition was extremely stiff and those who will be working there are primarily from the top quartile of a T20 law school" and a bunch will have clerkships or a couple of years practice experience - and some will have Federal Clerkships or State Supreme Court Clerkships or a relative who has business to dispense.

    And if he gets that job he will have to (a) compete with his peers for assignments so that as the pyramid narrows in his firm he survives each year to be one of the one in maybe 20 who is still an associate after 5-6 years, then (b) he will get to compete to make partner somewhere and once he is a partner he will (c) get to compete for business, knowing that if loses the business not only does he take a personal financial hit, but he may have to can a few associates, paralegals and secretaries.

    It was not in a law firm, but one of the worst experience of my life was to have to do a worldwide layoff of 10% of our workforce - and one tea lady came to me (I was GC and a main board director) and asked me is she was going to have a job next month and I could not answer her. As you go up in this business things rarely improve - you are never free from the state of the profession, driven in part by what law schools (all over the world) have done.

    I enjoy the practice of law - but the business - it is increasingly insane - and it is not helped by the sheer number of law graduates churned out.

  32. This blog is so great. "Don't be this guy."

    I love it.

  33. Reading this kid's email has prompted me to write my own:

    Dear CNN, Fox, CBS, NBC, and ABC:

    I am a fairly healthy, well-fed (maybe too well-fed) American and I attained that status through a rigorously competitive process. Would you please stop showing video footage of starving Africans with malaria and AIDS? Would you please stop showing footage of Iraqi kids with legs blown off by landmines? Would you please stop talking about Chinese dissidents who get sent to work in "labor" camps? And for the love of God, dispense with all the talk about Arab governments using force to suppress freedom rallies. It's not my fault little girls in those countries aren't allowed to go school and get stoned by their own family if they are victims of sexual assault.

    All of this bad news has a perverse effect of insulting and demoralizing some people unnecessarily.

    well-fed American living in a relatively peaceful and stable country

  34. ^ What's your point???

  35. Really great article on Real Clear today about "college isn't for everyone." The comments were pretty good (a little partisan, but not that bad). The article adn comments read so similarly to our issues with law school.

  36. Seems to me that most of the people here would have preferred to be "that guy" rather than where they are/were/will be!

    So while Campos, as a tenured professor on the gravy train, might be able to look down on this grad and say, "Don't be this guy," he seems to forget that all of those bright shining faces in his one or two classes per semester could only dream of being so lucky!

  37. @9:01AM - my point is a simple one: just because you have a good outcome in life/career etc., doesn't mean the media (or bloggers) should ignore or softpedal the bad outcomes for a significant percentage of the population. I guess you didn't see my direct quote from the email sent to Campos about "demoralizing". I'm making light of the kid's myopia. I'm not a mind reader but I wonder if this kid has some sense of unease about his long-term job prospects.

    I think MacK (as he often does) hit the nail on the head when he said this kid better get ready to "compete" and risk demoralization for the rest of his life.

  38. I think the e-mail misses the mark in tone and purpose (i.e., who cares if the clerkship was competitive?), but I am similarly interested in Campos's perspective on state court clerkships. I've seen him post on several occasions that such clerkships lead to unemployment.

    I'm a permanent attorney for a state intermediate appellate court. I've seen about a dozen clerks exit. I do not recall anyone who left the clerkship unemployed. Many were employed with new firms (i.e., the clerk wasn't a prior summer associate) making over or about $100K. Several went into "biglaw." Several went to smaller firms with specialized practices (not sure what paid).

    About half a dozen of my classmates from law school clerked in state trial courts. They went immediately into other jobs, including two in biglaw, one public defender, one professor at a junior college, and a couple into small/medium firms (not sure what pay).

    Just anecdotes, but my experience has been contrary to Campos's assertions. It does seem like there is a widespread belief among other graduates and students that state clerks lack good post-clerkship options. If Campos has some data or anecdotes, I'd be happy to read.

    PS - I'm a daily reader and certainly not demoralized or insulted.

  39. Bottom line is that there are two eventual choices when talking about >$150,000 of debt for a little degree

    1. Reduce the tuition costs so that those not getting jobs at the end, can more easily overcome the subsequent debt load
    2. Eliminate law schools or seats so that those entering the school are 99% likely to get positions, even with >$150k in debt. As in medical school.

  40. My take away from this post is that even the "winners" are looking at some pretty grim odds. Things may work out for this kid. In fact, I hope that they do. The point is that someone in the top 5-10% of all law school graduates (breakdown by Anonymous and MacK ) has no guarantee of success, may not find enjoyable employment, and may not be able to service his or her law school loan(s) debt. In short, the ROI may not be there - even for someone who kicks ass. If the top 5-10% are looking at such an outcome, to say nothing of the other 90-59% of hapless bastards (I am of that latter cohort), the game is broken.

    I have no idea why anyone would be doing this kid, or any other, a favor by blowing smoke up his or her ass. It's going to be tough, plan accordingly.

  41. A related point I want to address: Many have suggested shuttering the bottom tier (toilet) law schools.

    Whether or not these schools are worth the bricks they're made of aside, how can closing them address the ROI issues of high tuition and poorly paying jobs? ($10k???) I understand the simple concept of less graduates means less competition for the small number of employment opportunities. But, if tuition continues to saddle graduates with crushing debt loads nothing really changes.

  42. @ 8:11

    "But what is the point of this blog? "

    And what, pray tell, is the point of your comments?

    If you don't like this blog, or its "tone," go start your own. One comment about "tone" and then get outta here.

    You're tiresome.

  43. Crux of Law

    Where did the 5-10% numbers come from? I saw the post by lawprof that about 30% of law grads will be employed. Where are you getting this lower number?

    I'm going to start signing my posts -and I may even get a blogger ID if i can find one that isn't taken.


  44. ^^^ just as FYI, blogger ID "12@#$%321&^5_ROSE*&&^893947&^$&(#0" appears to be available.

  45. ^ quit law and become a comedian jackass.

  46. Great interview, Prof. Campos.

  47. @9:34 -

    I think the benefit of a state court clerkship very much depends on the state as well as the level of the court. In some states it may well be the key to a significant employment opportunity, but I have seen plenty of unemployed appellate state level clerks looking with increasing desperation for jobs. I think Campos is right most of the time - a state court clerkship is better than no job at all for a year or two after graduation, but it is not generally a ticket to the sort of outcome you are describing.

    Security in this profession is elusive - I (as came up in a row in an earlier thread with a self regarding law professor) am more employable than a lot of lawyers and probably law professors - but I still have to keep business coming in the door. My income is mid-six figures for the last few years, but it is volatile (but I could live on half what I make.) Earning that income does involve sacrifices and a travel load that shocks a lot of my peers. But I am competing all the time for business - and maybe now I have a very good and flexible hand - but the competition never ends - there is no point at which you are secure.

    Look at say Henry Bunsow - a patent lawyer who has managed to be in Brobeck, Phleger and Harrison (collapsed in style), Howrey (ditto) and just recently Dewey-LeBeauf - he has just sued the Dewey estate (well he is down a $1.8 million capital contribution) probably to forestall the lawsuit that he as an equity partner probably faces from the creditors of Dewey. Bunsow is probably not that badly off (I suspect) but the point I am trying to make is that the legal profession has become totally insecure, with firms imploding it seems every year. I have my own guesses as to which BigLaw firm is next, based on the collapses I have seen.

    There are a number of firms that share aspects of Finley-Crumble, Brobeck, Heller-Ehrman, Coudert, Howrey, Dewey, Thelen, Thacher Proffitt & Wood, Preston-Gates, Wolf Block, Donovan & Leisure, Hopkins & Sutter, Shea & Gardner, Swidler-Berlin, Pennie & Edmonds, Mudge-Rose, Arter & Hadden, Pennie & Edmonds, Morgan Finnegan. One aspect as I look through that list is that I either interviewed 14 odd of them or they approached me at some point. The bigger factor I see is that it seems that many of these firms absorbed refugees from one of their collapsing predecessors before going under themselves (maybe there are legal angels of death.) The other factor was that they rarely took over many of the associates - just partners with a book of business.

    You can find an incomplete list at

  48. That's a great interview. Full stop.

  49. What is it with this idea of a "ticket". Why even talk like that? They do not exist as the term is being used.

  50. Prof. Campos,

    What ever happened with your Cooley subpoena? Did they apologize to you for wasting your time?

  51. Some of the firms I listed did not go under - but rather fled into the arms of a suitor as their business declined

  52. @9:34

    I too am curious if anyone has empirical versus anecdotal evidence on this question. My own anecdotal evidence indicates that they are good jobs that lead to more good jobs, and on a consistent basis, but that could be the peculiarities of my state and the people I hear from.

  53. @10:16, thank you for your words of wisdom and sage and sagacious counsel. I shall consider your words deeply and thoroughly.

    Indebtedly Yours,

    Jack Handy.

  54. Client-service industries are by definition competitive and non-secure. Boomers like Prof. Campos and MacK keep talking about how law is not a golden ticket anymore and it's not a sure thing - is this supposed to reflect what we millenials think, or what you think?

    Millenials do not expect jobs to be golden tickets anymore. Sure, it's nice when they are secure, and it would be nice to go back to the days of 8 yrs + competence = partner, but that's not happening. We know current partners are being de-equitized, teachers are being fired, cops are being fired. We know there is no more security in this country. This is a problem with post-Reagan America in general. Few professions offer security anymore - not even medicine, even after the eight years of education and more than half million in educational costs, and the 3-9 years of subsistence-wage residency and fellowship training it takes to become qualified as a doctor. For example, it's not talked about, just as legal unemployment was not talked about until recently, but there is a high unemployment rate among cosmetic surgeons and radiologists. It's kind of like BigLaw: you either make it big, or you flunk out. (And if you flunk out, there is no back up baby radiology thing you can do, and general surgeons will kick your ass skills-wise and ridicule you if you try to fall back into that. At least in law there are smaller firms. Sure, harder to get a job at now than previously, but I have at least a half-dozen friends who have lateraled to small firms so far this year.) Perhaps nursing or accountancy are secure. Who knows how long that will last.

    Private *undergraduate* institutions now charge $60K a year. Campos is missing the big picture.

  55. 10:51 - your points about security or the lack thereof in professions, generally speaking, are good ones.

    But the truth is that a failed radiologist can go to a rural area where they need doctors and survive. A lawyer who washes out in BigLaw will have trouble starting or joining a practice in the Upper Pensinsula of Michigan. Not so with a physician.

    The legal market is simply in much worse shape, and the oversupply is much greater. No getting around that fact.

    And MacK - you are correct that all state clerkships are not equal. I recall our Professor Baumann extolling the virtues of clerking on the Delaware Supreme Court, a great choice when we attended law school and likely still a pretty good one now.

  56. 10:51 "And if you flunk out, there is no back up baby radiology thing you can do"

    Isn't a radiologist always qualified to do GP work? May not pay what they got for radiology, but it's there.

    This is not to take away from your point that radiological readings are now easily off-shored. I can't think of another MD specialty where this is the case.

  57. As a future state supreme court clerk I too am deathly afraid of unemployment after two years. Although people tell me I am going to be in a great position after my stint and not to worry, they told me the exact same thing about biglaw after I got into a T6 and right up until I struck out at OCI. There's no way to get info on exactly what former clerks are doing. But I hear stories about federal district clerks having a tough time.

  58. @10:57 -

    I was just thinking that maybe 9:34 was working in Delaware Chancery - which has to be the sweetest clerkship known - and far from comparable with any other state clerkship

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  61. @10:51 -

    I'm not a boomer - I'm a buster! A few years too late, just in time as my brother points out to see all the boomers nail down the last few tenured positions in science, and then to watch them apply their youth obsession as they started to retire (as in "since I got tenure right after my PhD" (when science departments were growing like topsy) "anyone who did not/could not get full tenure by 26 must be an idiot even if he/she has done way more usable research than I ever did."

  62. MacK-

    Ok, so you're like 45 or 50 instead of 60. The point is, you have a memory of a time when there were things like defined benefit plans and pensions for private sector employees, unions, good public primary schools, inexpensive public colleges, and no competition with foreign countries for labor or goods. You effectively grew up in a different country, with different expectations. Watching Campos' Bloomberg interview drove that point home. He talks about law as if people really sign up thinking it's an enchanted route to a guaranteed six-figure salary and security. I really don't know anyone who thought that way. Now, that is not to say the state of the market hasn't been even worse than anticipated. But I think Campos - and perhaps you - are projecting your own impressions and expectations of law practice onto current 22 year olds. I don't think that is fair. How many walk up to you and say, "I thought I was going to have an easy six-figure salary and make partner at 33"? One can criticize the current state of legal education and also admit that one's assumptions about what an even less costly version of that education, circa 1980s/1990s, were different than today's kids' assumptions.

    Doctors talk about this all the time. Medicine was a sweet gig in the 60s and 70s. Doctors didn't work as hard, made more money, and didn't have to deal with anything close to the bureaucracy or litigation risk they now do. So - and there is data on this - people going to medical school today are far less money-driven and comfort-driven than people going to law school a generation or two ago, because their expectations are different. Unsurprisingly, they are also more politically liberal and service-oriented - which is good, because if you go into the profession for money you are an idiot.

    My point: I think your read of the current generation's expectations is misplaced.


  63. @10:57 & MacK, my court is in Texas and others were in Georgia.
    - 9:34

  64. There has never been a ticket.

  65. As a trial court law clerk in a big Eastern city, I learned that every single firm which had significant dealings with my judge was willing to give me a job interview after I left (except for some big law firms). Whether they were impressed with my ordinary inter-personal and lawyerly skills demonstarted skills during idle time of a trial or whether a it was a desire to suck up to my judge, I'll never know: nor do I care. It was the best way imaginable to get my foot in the door at a lot of law firms.

  66. @ 11:21am

    I agree with you that most 0Ls have much more modest and realistic expectations. The problem though is that these "modest and realistic expectations" are themselves becoming too optimistic.

    Sure most 0Ls aren't thinking I'll get a biglaw job making $160k and make partner in ten years and make millions. But they are thinking they'll be able to get a "decent" job, enough to lead a solid middle class life, enough to pay back their LS debt, have a family, live in a modest house, etc.

    But unfortunately even these modest expectations are too much, especially for the majority of TTT/TTTT grads.

  67. LOL at this:

    "Ok, so you're like 45 or 50 instead of 60. The point is, you have a memory of a time when there were things like defined benefit plans and pensions for private sector employees, unions, good public primary schools, inexpensive public colleges, and no competition with foreign countries for labor or goods."

    I'm 41 and have no memory of these things. Certainly my parents, who are boomers (a nurse and a plumber), have no pensions and were never part of a defined benefit plan. These things are won by unions, and unions have not been a major force in the American workplace for decades now.

  68. I wrote my own ticket.

    Unfortunately, no one will take it.

  69. @11:21

    I grew up in several countries and in many of them there were few jobs, few defined pension plans, limited numbers of good public schools, etc and in at least where I spent my teenage years devastating unemployment due to massive overseas competition. I think you would not want to make too many assumptions on top of booming as to my being a boomer. Certainly when I exited law school making equity partner and a six figure salary at 33 would have been unusual for someone in my class (though the track was in theory 8 years in '92.)

    And therein lies a bit of your problem. Law has not been a particularly secure business since maybe the 80s or earlier - it is worse today, but it was not good for someone who graduates in 1992 - and if you do not know that you are too ignorant to be commentating about the economics of the legal profession. When I graduated from law school I think about 1/3 of my T14 school was unemployed or underemployed - it was not as bad as 2011 but it was very bad - and it really did not improve that much over the next 14 years.

    The problem is that you seem to think that you are a special snowflake that has been specially pissed on - but the law as a profession has been pissing on people since at least 1990 and the employment market for graduates in general has been sucky since the mid-late 90s in just about every discipline.

  70. And yes, there are typos in my posts, but then I have other things to do

  71. I'll weigh in on the state-court clerkship thing. When I was a state intermediate appellate clerk in the late '90s, the bad job outcomes that some of my fellow clerks had were horrifying. (Because back then there was no awareness of the law school scam, and we were all supposed to be "winners," anyway.) There were around 20 of us; I can think of at least three who never did get the kind of stable, long-term job that one would think would be their outcome.

    My medium-term outcome was even more bizarre: I went on to a federal appellate clerkship in a secondary legal market. (Read: not NY/LA/DC/SF/Chicago, but still a large city with lots of large firms.) When I looked for the next job after that, I could only get interviews in that particular city as a paralegal. Ended up getting a Biglaw job, but had to move 1,000 miles for it.

    And that was during the relatively "good" times. I can't imagine how freaked out kids today must be.

  72. MacK -

    You miss my point completely. My point is not, as you claim, that I think I am a special snowflake and that law has been "specially pissed on." Law and - as I noted - everything has become more competitive since your generation was coming up. My point is that you, and Prof. Campos, think that ppl going to law school regard it as a ticket to security and six-figurehood. We do not.

    Also, no complaints personally. I have a great job. Call me a snowflake if you want, but saying "the problem is that you seem to think that you are a special snowflake that has been specially pissed on" does not really do much to separate you from the boomers you claim to be so much more enlightened than.


  73. Law schools and universities in general haven’t been the same since the 60s. Graduates during that time where the people who had their pick of jobs. The post war 50s and 60s were the time to determine where this country was going and how it would get there. We choose, unfortunately poorly, and the data across all indicators since the 70s attest to this… any honest grade school social scientist can tell you that. This bullshit is not rocket science.

  74. California prison guards on average make more than an HLS grad.

    Kids, quit playing the law school casino. Remember, the house always win and most of you will lose. Don't be fooled by the rare jackpot "winner."

  75. And that is what it is all about, making more than...

  76. Who else makes more than than an HLS grad?

  77. 12:36PM

    You idiot, it's not about making more than. Look at the California prison guard. He/she gets PAID to go to the academy. Graduates debt free and makes a decent salary. The average law grad graduates with close to six figure non-dischargeable debt and is saddled with student loan payments for the next 25-30 years. Did you see the video clip? The prison guard sergeant makes $200K a year with overtime and bonus and lives a manageable life. Go chase your fucking prestige and feed your family with your actual law degree.

  78. I'll be 54 this year, and remember when those things were falling apart as I was graduating high school. And while much of the slagging on boomers -- the boomer archetype, really -- is deserved, those who think that 26 year old lawyers are having a tough time should talk to some 55 year old lawyers, excluding lottery winners of course.

    (HS76, UG82, JD91 -- I graduate into recessions, and all my colleagues used to joke that when I came up for partner in 00, there would definitely be a recession.)

    On the state court clerkship question, when I was a hiring partner for an AmLaw100 firm, I would definitely consider something like Delaware chancery a big deal, for our Delaware office, but wouldn't have given a DC Superior Court clerkship (without a big law backup) much thought for our DC office. Better than a micro-firm (depending on level of responsibility), or doc review, but not enough to get an interview (without something else exciting going on). And a clerkship in another jurisdiction wouldn't have meant anything at all to me.


  79. @12:39-- the second. I do that already.

  80. Johnny Depp makes more than the average HLS grad. I am sure we can think of others who do.

  81. @12:13

    The enormous self regard that you seem to have for people born a few years after me - and the resulting tendency to say things about "your generation" you still miss the point.

    The post law school employment problem and the student loan problem did not suddenly materialise in 2006 or 2001. The problem was already manifesting itself by 1991 - it was bad then and I certainly knew that the average lawyer was making about $35k a year when I went to law school and $60-65k was considered a high paycheck for a first year in 1992 when many, like my roommate were close to $100k in debt at graduation after 4 years of college and 3 years of law school.

    That you seem to have some personal fantasy that your generation was reserved for pissing on is just silly. The crisis took some 30+ years to create and the aspects that define the situation today were already a serious issue in 1992 when I graduated and in the 90s when I started practice. That the situation is worse today than it was in 1992 is apparent - though things were briefly better 1995-99 and 2001-3 - but hardly a full recovery. What you are seeing today is the result of a failure to address the problem when it should have been addressed, 20 years ago and the misapprehensions of a few false dawns as the problem going away.

    So please stop telling me how the legal profession was when you were still in junior high ... things were bad then too, just not as bad.

  82. This bus driver earned nearly $160K in 2009.

    I am fairly certain he makes more than a HLS grad starting out at Cravath. The bus driver also probably has no student loan debt.

  83. Fistfight on the deck of the Titanic much?

  84. Again, making more is what counts.

  85. As part of the generational pissing match above, I should point out that private student loans were dischargeable in bankruptcy until 2005, so you can stop fighting about that aspect of the "problem" straight away.

    Beyond that, stop it. No amount of arguing about who's harder or who's more fucked is going to succeed in making any relevant point. No one is saying that the biggest problem is that you're whining about it. No one's saying that because doing so would be utterly ridiculous.

  86. The prison guard and bus driver make more than the governor of Massachusetts.

  87. In this post industrial economy where it is virtually impossible to get meaningful work, yes making money is what matters. Money allows you to at least try to find meaning outside of work. Work for 90% of people is nothing these days.

  88. Point taken, 1:08. 12:44(a)(ii) retracted.


  89. Escorts can make major money, a million in a couple years: The What We Don’t Talk About Wealth,

  90. MacK -
    Glad you feel better after all that patronizing talk. To recap:

    Me: kids today do not regard law as a goldent ticket, contrary to what you and Prof. Campos have said. We believe there are no tickets. Life kinda sucks post-Reagan (not a coincidence).

    You: we (and I) had it hard too.

    Me: yeah, but again, my point isn't that we have it harder, it's that we *did not expect* a golden ticket, and the fact that you and Campos keep saying that law isn't a ticket to a secure and prosperous life is misguided.

    We thought law was stable relative to being an oil painter, and in all honesty in spite of it all it still is. But we didn't think there was any ticket involved. So don't tell us that the problem today is that the golden ticket system is (1) broken (2) in law. It's broken in everything and to us it was never not broken. If your expectations were lower in your day, that is not reflected in your posts, which constantly talk about how kids today are discovering that there's no security etc. There never has been in our lifetime.

  91. "Money, power, respect --that's the key to life"

  92. Highest median pay for a flatfoot patrolman in New Jersey in 2010 was $134,132.00.

    I know two 2011 HLS grads working gratis for a non-profit public interest volunteer job. Seems to me a JD is toxic, even to blue collar folks.

  93. Not sure what LawProf said in his actual response, but I also think his assessment of this particular grad’s situation is a little harsh. I don’t agree that a state court clerkship is necessarily a dead end; some employers might be impressed by this accomplishment (and it is an accomplishment, if genuinely earned), the experience is indeed useful, and there is the opportunity to make useful contacts as well. This is a purely anecdotal observation from a lawyer in his 40s.

    But so what? I don’t see this blog as being about encouraging un- or underemployed JDs and law students, or helping them make career decisions. The sad truth is it’s already too late for them, and whether they are offended by Campos’s message is irrelevant. The blog is spreading the word about intractable, structural imbalances in the legal industry. There are many facets to these imbalances. There are too many law schools producing too many JDs for the amount of jobs available. Graduates are burdened with too much debt, are not trained to practice on their own (and there still wouldn’t be nearly enough work if they were), and are perversely barred by their JDs from most “alternative” careers.

    Recent grads and current law students are not in a position to change this situation. But prospective applicants are (by not going to law school), and so are parents, academics, journalists, and concerned citizens generally. Blogs like this are having an effect, and that’s a good thing. If they weren’t, you wouldn’t see some law schools lowering class sizes, and less reputable ones resorting to pathetic hard-sell tactics like buying books for 1Ls as an enticement to get them to enroll.

  94. That's not surprising given that those jobs are hard to find and some people are so committed to that sector. This is not a new thing.

  95. "that is not reflected in your posts, which constantly talk about how kids today are discovering that there's no security etc. There never has been in our lifetime."

    When did I say that kids today are DISCOVERING there is no security - let alone constantly said it. Please, a few citations please. Otherwise stop projecting what you think people think into a basis for your arguments.

    What I did point out is that the view that security arrives if and when you land a job in a BigLaw store making $160k or if you can get that clerkship is not true - it is only a respite from insecurity for at best a few months, which was the original issue of this thread - that a state appellate court clerkship is not security - but rather just a temporary refuge. But then I have seen ex-supreme court clerks scratching for clients and business and they were older than me.

    It is your personal fantasy that somehow people that graduated 20 years ago had just a peachy time ... and they did not - just as it is your personal fantasy that I am always suggesting that law students think or though that going to law school was a golden ticket (though it is fair to suggest that some do, even now.)

  96. In NJ, state clerkship are affectionately known as "traffic court" clerkships because you see a lot of people and cases but as a clerk, no one remembers your name. It is a one year stint and if the judge you clerked for likes you, he/she may make a couple of calls for you but that is the extent of the "connection." I wonder how fucked Seton Hall Law's employment stats would be if it weren't for the one year traffic court clerkships in NJ.

  97. What's with all this arguing about which generation had it "harder"? All lawyers are screwed right now. The ones starting out can't get that essential first job, the ones nearing retirement risk being thrown on the trash heap and not being able to get another job, and the ones in the middle suffer from constant job-insecurity and are mostly still trying to pay off student loan debt. We are all screwed, so can't we just hold hands and sing a song or something?

  98. @ 10:20, "My income is mid-six figures for the last few years, but it is volatile..."

    Just curious. I always wonder what people mean by mid-six figures. Does that mean about 500? Or does it mean around 150?

  99. 1:38:

    They tramp there in their legions on the mornings dark and cold
    To beg the right to slave for bread from Sydney's lords of gold;
    They toil and sweat in slavery, 'twould make the devil smile,
    To see the Sydney wharfies tramping down the hungry mile.

    On ships from all the seas they toil, that others of their kind,
    May never know the pinch of want nor feel the misery blind;
    That makes the live, of men a hell in those conditions vile;
    That are the hopeless lot of those who tramp the hungry mile.

    The slaves of men who know no thought of anything but gain,
    Who wring their brutal profits from the blood and sweat and pain
    Of all the disinherited that slave and starve the while,
    Upon the ships beside the wharves along the hungry mile.

    But every stroke of that grim lash that sears the souls of men
    With interest due from years gone by, shall be paid back again
    To those who drive these wretched slaves to build the golden pile.
    And blood shall blot the memory out of Sydney's hungry mile.

    The day will come, aye, come it must, when these same slaves shall rise,
    And through the revolution's smoke, ascending to the skies,
    The master's, face shall show the fear he hides, behind his smile.
    Of these his slaves, who on that day shall storm the hungry mile.

    And when the world grows wiser and all men at last are free
    When none shall feel the hunger nor tramp in misery
    To beg the right to slave for bread, the children then may smile.
    At those strange tales they tell of what was once the hungry mile.

  100. ^ It means that I'm getting paid more than you now shut up and let me try to take over this blog with my years of vast experience and knowledge.


  101. Unless the above is some kind of guerrilla performance art for the virtual world, it has no point.

  102. "I've got a Golden Ticket!"
    - Duet by Charlie and Grampa Joe.

    The only real reason I went to LS was to get that ticket.

  103. My preference twould be:

    Twas bryllyg, and ye slythy toves
    Did gyre and gymble in ye wabe:
    All mimsy were ye borogoves;
    And ye mome raths outgrabe.

  104. @1:38 it is what my accountant tells me it is. But - for the last few big years I have put most of it into pension savings, now that I have some surplus after rent, mortgage, expenses.

    Did anyone mention that as a law partner you are essentially responsible for your own pension since you are often self-employed and if you do international state/social security is a problem since your contributions are in different countries. Recently I started wondering - I really do not ever want to retire since I think retirement killed my father, uncle and grandfather - but it would be nice to have the choice - and right now I see myself with no choice but to be working 'til I'm 89

    Right now we are thinking of expanding - adding a few associates, but, but, but is the workload going to stay this high - do we have time to train them? Do we want to commit to new office space? What about some partners? Everything means overhead (i.e., salaries, rent, insurance) and overhead kills law firms.

  105. While a state court clerkship may or may not be valuable, the larger point that this blog goes too far in "no matter what, you're all hopelessly screwed" is well taken. The doomsday line might help deter 0Ls from getting on this carousel, but it does nothing to help those who have already invested 3, 5 or 10 years of their life in this enterprise. For a fair number of lawyers it makes more sense to try to make the best of the tough careers they have than start completely from scratch in some other field. Some people do succeed in this profession and a few even like it. The only way to guaranty that you won't succeed is to give up, conclude the system is stacked against you, and tell anyone who'll listen how unfair it all is. At least these kids going to state court clerkships are trying. Trying does not of course guaranty success, but it's better than forfeiting the game before it starts.

  106. If Americans, especially young people, do not display a strong commitment to democratic politics and collective struggle, it is because they have lived through thirty years of what I have elsewhere called “a debilitating and humiliating disinvestment in their future,” especially if they are marginalized by class, ethnicity, and race.[iii] What is new about this historical moment for a generation of young people is that they have experienced first-hand the relentless spread of a neoliberal pedagogical apparatus with its celebration of an unbridled individualism and its near pathological disdain for community, public values, and the public good. They have been inundated by a market-driven value system that encourages a culture of competitiveness and produces a theater of cruelty. If labor unions, students, workers, and others are not protesting in large numbers the ongoing intense attack on bargaining rights, labor, higher education, and the welfare state, it may be because they have been born into a society that is tantamount to what Alex Honneth describes as “an abyss of failed sociality [one in which] their perceived suffering has still not found resonance in the public space of articulation.”[iv]

  107. For the most part, I agree with Prof. Campos (re:state court clerkships). In fact, I view state court clerkships as glue factories, where once promising thoroughbreds are put to sleep, much like the stillborn legal careers of recent grads.

  108. @2:02 - yeah, but that's in Canada.

  109. ^^^ oops. 2:02, first occurrence, I should have said.

  110. This comment has been removed by the author.

  111. This is unnecessarily mean-spirited. A clerkship for a state supreme court, AFAIK, is every bit as prestigious as a federal district court clerkship in all but the most desirable federal districts. I have never heard of a biglaw firm that wouldn't give identical credit for either.

    It's also crystal clear that state trial court clerkships are one-way tickets to the same small firms you could've gotten jobs at without them. So such clerkships are not worth much and that is absolutely true as well.

    So that leaves an intermediate state appellate court like the one the kid emailed Campos about in a very gray in-between. I honestly have no idea whether such a thing is prestigious or not, but at the very least, you are working on published decisions. So it's certainly in a different ballpark in terms of quality of experience than a trial clerkship. Whether employers recognize this is a different story though. Honestly I could see it going either way and I bet the person reading the resume would evaluate it case by case too. It was a fair question, not gold-star-seeking, and it should not have received such a hostile response.

  112. Metaphysics & Philosophy should be pre-requisites for anyone studying Law. Personally, I feel these things should be taught in grades 1 - 12.

  113. 2:02 - what an idiot.

    I've seen a lot of partisan nonsense in these comments before, but this one takes the cake. Both parties are responsible for our country and have their own best interest in mind.

    If you like socialism so much (which is exactly what you're saying), there are plently of European countries out there. My European cousin dropped out of law school to be a taxi driver becuase it was a better life. It's a socialized country and that was 10+ years ago.

  114. Jennie's in the lake,
    she cast herself down there
    from high atop the Narrow's Bridge
    wild with despair.

    Jennie pierced the ice
    with momentum and great force you see,
    and when she hit the deck
    it split her like a pea
    from crotch to neck.

    But Jennie's little heart
    so sad and brave
    it kept on pulsing
    until the freezing water beckoned it
    to stop convulsing.

    Jennie's in the lake
    so deep she won't be found
    but at least to Sallie Mae
    Jen's no longer bound.

  115. @2:16, I think your underlying assumption about state trial clerkships could be said about most clerkship in general --> they do not make you much more likely to get a "better" job that you could not have gotten without the clerkship. If you were competitive for the job before the clerkship, you're still competitive; but if you had no chance before, you still have no chance.

    Most state supreme clerks could have gotten biglaw or at least had the qualifying credentials to get biglaw without the clerkship. Same applies to federal district court clerkships. I think it's probably more difficult to get a state supreme clerkship than to get biglaw. So naturally state supreme clerks will have biglaw opportunities.

    I agree about the gray area for state intermediate but primarily because those people might have had the credentials but did not do well at OCI and/or otherwise failed at the job hunt despite having decent grades (e.g., at my court, about top 33% from a T20 or top 5% from a TTT).

  116. Three Cheers for the Cosmic Lady!
    She's hanging from a tree.

    She went to Law School
    Like a damn fool
    but now,
    at least she's free.

    Three Cheers for the Cosmic Lady!
    We knew she would go far;
    the first one in her family
    to ever pass the bar.

    But see her eyes!
    they look so frightening
    in the red light of the moon.
    What made the lady so upset
    to end her life so soon?

    Some said: "Life is just unkind,
    and that it sore distressed her mind."
    But some say it was greed and gold,
    for twas to *Lordy she'd been sold."

    Three cheers for the cosmic daughter
    she never gave up hope.
    she found enjoyment,
    good employment
    with daddy's nylon rope.

    "It's not our fault she's hanging there!"
    So said the Law school dean.
    "There are figures, stats and rows and lines,
    she should have read between!"

    Three cheers for the cosmic lady
    but......just go cut her down.
    The Mayor said it will not do
    to have this in Our Town.

    Three Cheers for the Cosmic Lady
    Three Cheers for the Cosmic Lady
    Three Cheers!

    for the cosmic lady.


    * Lordy refers to Albert Lord of Sallie Mae

  117. Well, I learned two things from today's post.

    1) Paul Campos is very far off track in how he evaluates anyone who isn't Paul Campos or a Paul Campos ego stroker.

    2) Mack is a crotchety asshole with a huge chip on his prick shoulder.

  118. This blog, and the comments by Mack (especially) have become a total joke.

    What an asshole...

  119. Paul Campos = Joke
    Mack = A$$hole with a huge chip on his p-rick shoulder

  120. Little Jack Horner
    indebted, and desperate
    and back in a corner.

    And he moans :)
    And he groans :)
    About Student Loans :(

    There are no jobs in law
    or outside of law,
    so he's stuffing his maw
    with a nasty old shotgun
    Go figure :)

  121. Footie Pajamas
    Oh Footie Pajamas!
    Footie Pajamas so cuddly
    and so cute!

    But....where is your charcoal gray lawyers suit?

    Poor. poor little Footie,
    he had all the best grades,
    but who taught him those tricks with sharp razor blades?

    "Not US" said the Dean of the Law School of Snobs.

    "If they can't find work they are nothing but slobs!"

    And for all that WE care, they can post on Scamblogs!"

    Poor, poor little Footie,
    now white as a sheet.

    His debt made him crack as he pounded the street.

    he went home and got drunk.....
    held a knife in his fists, and first one...
    then the other...
    he opened both wrists.

    Footie Pajamas
    Oh Footie Pajamas!
    Footie Pajamas so cuddly and cute!

    But where is your charcoal gray Lawyers suit?

  122. Dear loser with no talent, please shut the hell fuck up and stop posting your diarhea.

  123. This comment has been removed by the author.

  124. its astounding that this person thinks this blog is more demorlizing and insulting than the paltry salary he/she will receive for being a clerk and the short term nature of the position. And the insult should be compounded by the fact that this person had to fight his ass off to get it. This alone seems to substantiate Campos's point with this blog.

    And as far as demoralizing and insulting, doesn't it add insult to injury for all of those unemployed people to look at the rosy employement stats reported year after year at greater than 85%? Wouldn't that demoraiize them into thinking they are one of the 15 out of 100 who couldn't get a job. And isn't this insulting when its not even true?

  125. Those who are more interested in the subject matter of this blog than in bad T. S. Eliot impressions and repetitive deranged insults directed at Mssrs. Campos and MacK might want to read this:

    It even contains an anecdote about the dubious value of a state court clerkship.

  126. Five kids went to law school
    in autumn's gothic season.
    Children bright, with much ambition
    without the money for tuition.

    With no need to worry of tomorrow,
    for student loans were there to borrow.

    In their case it was kind of fun
    they signed an X
    and with a HEX
    the deed was done!

    But on that first and fateful day
    and ere they stepped inside
    all were seen to shrink and pause.

    A dreadful cloud
    both swift and wide
    cast a shadow on their way
    and doubts upon their cause.

    The looked around and whispered: "Woe betide us all!"

  127. @ 3:37

    I challenge you to make up a simple limerick.

  128. Law Prof,

    This guy started law school before your blog existed. This guy started law school before David Segal wrote about law school in the New York Times.

    So this guy is not omnipotent, and therefore deserves what he gets.

    You write this blog, but you also make your money teaching law. But there are no trials in the gates of Eden.

    I am giving you a much nicer reply then you deserve.

  129. ^I think you mean omniscient.

  130. Prof. Campos:

    Very good job in the interview. For those who have yet to see it, he concisely identifies the key points to the current law school crisis, and does a good job at linking it - rightfully so - with the higher education tuition price-gouging. He also - and this is important since we are discussing television - made catch-phrase style statements that are required for a good television interview. Proof of that is evident by the Bloomberg host commenting, "You stole my thunder" after one such comment by Campos.

    One thing though, Professor Campos, to consider if you are in front of a wider audience such as on CNN, is that you should give a few more "catch-phrases" directed for Boomers. You mentioned briefly on families at the end, but keep in store a clever sentence for how Boomers should not send their kids into serfdom, or something like that.

    And regarding CNN and other media outlets, you may want to consider using any contacts arising out of the CBS piece - or whomever - to try and get onto 60 minutes. It is, after all, a perennial top 10 Nielson ratings. Then there is 20/20, the other nightly news channels, CNBC and Bloomberg (original) because of the financial aspect ($1 trillion total debt) to this. This is an election year, and student debt should be at, or near, the front of the line of things discussed.

    ***And please, don't make the mistake - you didn't in this piece - that Cryn Johannsen made by talking about herself on CNN, instead of the issue.***

  131. @5:49--Could be either one...

  132. lol state court clerkship

  133. @1:51 p.m.:

    This blog is titled Inside the Law School Scam. If you wanted Chicken Soup for the Past and Future Underemployed Attorney, you're in the wrong place, and frankly I wonder why anybody thinks that Campos needs to provide some kind of moral re-armament center for people who are anxious about their futures in the law whether they just graduated or have struggled for some years thereafter. If your decision to become an attorney was a good one in your case, what does it matter what I think? If it was a bad one, does any amount of sunshine blown up your ass really make a difference to you?

    What's ridiculous is that we just can't say, "What are you talking about? He got a real job in the law, and that's a good outcome." He can't even say that with conviction, for Christ's sake, or else he wouldn't have written! So much energy at the beginning of the scam blogs was spent whistling past the graveyard of other people's careers, saying things like, "Well, you should have known better, attending Cooley at sticker. You probably shouldn't even be an attorney." Cruel laughs for people desperate to think well of their own decision to attend anything other than the very best law school on a full ride scholarship. And gradually the waterline has crept up from the Cooleys and Touros through the second tier and over my alma mater at the bottom of the first tier, and now lapping at the feet of the T6.

    Even he's subject to that, even though he seems nice enough. You know, it's really just the trial court clerks that are having the problem, it won't be me, I beat out so many people to get here and I'm working with the best of the best, et cetera. There's something deeply fucking wrong with a system that would make somebody question themselves for being one of the best law graduates in the country, working in a state appellate court.

    Also, OMG the Tone people: Fuck your precious concerns for the public being enlightened in just the right way. Information is transmitted in every sort of tone, and the drop in applications you've seen for the LSAT has some roots in the anger and despair you see at all of those declasse scam blogs you loathe (but apparently read nonetheless).

  134. @5:49

    I meant impotent, actually. My mistake. I guess I was just thinking, that maybe this guy is smart and has something to add to society, and that we may need it.

    Sorry. I'm sorry. Fuck that guy. He deserves his lot. He should've distrusted every indicator that he should be a lawyer from every waking moment.

  135. @5:35pm

    You clearly have severe reading comprehension problems. LawProf did not criticize the emailer because he didn't know about the law school scam in time. He is criticizing him for telling LawProf that he is painting a picture that, in his words:

    "I'm wondering if going overboard in the other direction has a perverse effect of insulting and demoralizing some people unnecessarily"

    LawProf is right on in his comments about this emailer. The situation for many LS grads is BAD. Is it BAD for this particular person? Well only time will tell.

    But my own response to that recent grad is two-fold:

    1. You cannot say yet at this point that you yourself are one of the "winners". Your intermediate state court clerkship may not lead to anything else (or at least won't for many people in similar situations).

    2. Even if you turn out okay (and I have no reason to wish ill at all), understand that you are one of the few lucky ones lying atop a mountain of failures. So NO, LawProf and other scambloggers aren't being "unnecessarily demoralizing". Rather than are speaking truth that MOST law grads are ALREADY experiencing!

  136. @ 7:10

    Are you a law professor? Why are you so quick to defend him and not the student.

    I meant impotent. I meant that the law student should've known he was impotent, especially when the victims of the law school scam blame the other victims.

  137. Thanks to Morse Code and 7:10 for articulating points I should have made more clearly in the OP. I do think in one sense I was too harsh (here at least) with this graduate, who after all has been victimized by phony employment stats and an insane price structure, and is understandably looking for some assurance that things are not as bad as they appear to be (even though they are).

    But in the end whether things work out for him personally or not is irrelevant to the structural crisis that has left a law graduate who is in the 90th to 95th percentile of his cohort in terms of law school success in such a tenuous position.

  138. Well articulated interview. I hope to see more.

  139. The thing that I love most about Campos's writing is that he reminds me so much of my old man. No matter how exasperated he is with some bad decision that I might have made, his lecture always leaves me feeling like he still wants the best for me.

    Thus, given the extent to which some of these comments are remarkably scathing and personal in nature, I am continually impressed by his professional restraint and constant focus on the real problem at hand: a system that is ruining an enormous amount of lives.

  140. I am a lawyer and ex law professor from a T1 school. I was trained in economics and have a reasonably good grasp of the issues. Three of my children are lawyers who graduated in the late '90s. To be blunt, I do not see an end to the crisis in the near term. Indeed all indications are that things will get worse in the next few years. Anybody who really wants to be a lawyer ought to defer for a year or two to gain some experience and perspective. For those who are going because they don't know what else to you are playing with fire that will burn you. Don't expect sympathy from anyone. Professor Campos is not cruel. The truth is cruel and those of us on the inside of the scam have been on notice for years but have conveniently closed our eyes to the pain inflicted by our actions. We will pay a price for our willing ignorance but none so dear as the price paid by many who have posted here.

    The Piss Ant

  141. Things that can't go on forever don't.

  142. Obviously this is just anecdotal, but I've known about eight people who had state supreme court clerkships, and they all ended up with decent big-firm jobs. They had to apply to numerous firms and hustle, but they didn't have any lag time between the clerkship and the job. So, as far as I can tell, those really do open doors.

    Personally, I think Campos is incorrect about exactly how bad the legal market is. My disagreement is basically a matter of line drawing: I think that with respect to T14 schools (and possibly a few other schools in the top 50), if one really wants to be a lawyer and has good reason for that belief (work as a paralegal, etc.), then that investment is still worth it. As I understand it, Campos is skeptical about any school other than Yale, Stanford, and Harvard. I've reviewed the data for several of the other T14 schools, and I don't think it supports Campos' negative take on the rest of the T14.* Of course, he's right that there is a crisis in the legal education system, but these details are important to those applicants with these choices.

    *Among other things, he often makes very negative assumptions when data is unclear because he assumes that law schools accurately report all positive data because it's in their interest; I don't think that follows--they may not have the data or, equally likely, the data is mixed and they'd rather not report it/discover it. Moreover, as their reporting has become more thorough, it shows that their results are pretty good (with the understanding that they can't assure every single student success--but that's to be expected; a law school is not necessarily a failure if its bottom 10-15% have trouble finding legal work).

  143. @5:25 a.m.:

    Okay, that's the T14. Assuming that you're right and he's wrong, where does that leave that the remaining tens of thousands of students who attend ABA-accredited law schools that aren't among the T14?

    Nobody disputes that there are at least some successes at every law school. After all, the president of the Pittsburgh Steelers went to Duquesne Law School, and it's in the umpteenth tier or something.* The questions to be asked are how badly the failures will suffer for their lack of success, and how many of them one can expect to find in any given class.

    *Results not typical. Being the multimillionaire grandson of the team's founder considered helpful. See your pre-law counselor for details.

  144. I know that state trial court clerkships are low-prestige jobs, but I got a dreamy government job as a result of clerking for a state judge, and so did every single person I clerked with. I learned much more about practicing law and about dealing with juries during my clerkship than I did in law school.

  145. More special snowflake syndrome.

    I imagine that if the guy had biglaw offers that he had deferred in order to take a year or two in a state court clerkship, he'd have mentioned that, as they would've bolstered his argument.

    The fact that he didn't makes me think that he's trying desperately to reassure himself that things will be ok. After all, he's gotten a "prestigious" clerkship after a "highly competitive" process, or, in other words, rinse, repeat what he's been doing since undergrad and law school. It's always worked out, so he's sure it always will.

    Maybe he's right. Maybe he's not. He's the one with all the skin in the game, though, so it's natural that he might seek reassurance.

    I say, best of luck. The clerkship will be an invaluable experience, and in and of itself, is not a mistake. Whether the earlier decision to attend law school at all was a mistake in this particular instance has yet to be revealed.

    But we know going forward that this one instance doesn't really matter in the long term right? I mean, if we see one person hit the jackpot in the casino, does that mean all the other patrons should not leave until they either 1. win a jackpot themselves or 2. go broke trying?

    Of course not.

  146. Regarding special snowflake syndrome:

    When I graduated high school, no one had a perfect 4.0 in my class. It happened a class or two ahead of mine, but we had one valedictorian who had all A's and one B, and two salutatorians with all A's and two B's.

    One of my siblings started the year after I graduated. In his class, a mere four years later, there were EIGHT valedictorians, all with "perfect" 4.0s. There were two more salutatorians that had a single B.

    Now, one of two things happened:

    1. Either his class was a lot more intelligent/hard working/high achieving than mine, or

    2. Rampant grade inflation

    I know my friends. I know his friends. With the benefit of hindsight and about a decade of data to see what they've accomplished since they "grew up" I can see no real discernable difference in outcomes between my own class and his "super class" of four years later. If anything, the earlier class is ahead, but some discrepancies might be explained by four extra years of experience, etc.

    As another anecdote, another relative worked in higher education, dealing with student groups like student government councils and the like. This relative was surprised by two things:

    1. The number of people who would join such groups, come to one meeting and drop out. When asked, other students said it was becoming common for individuals to join groups and play a minimal role or not even show up, simply for the "credential" of putting the club on their resume.

    2. The genunine rat-race prior to and the hurt feelings afterwards of the awards ceremony. Nearly every kid expected to be a legitimate candidate for "leader of the year" or equivalent recognition. If they didn't win, it wasn't silent disappointment, but open complaining and/or pity party.

    Very, very disturbing trends.


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