Monday, June 11, 2012

Smart Money

Here’s an examples of why it’s extremely difficult to stop people (and by people I mean in particular soon to be college graduates) from making ridiculous financial decisions in regard to attending law school.
It’s provided, ironically, by an article on the Wall Street Journal site SmartMoney, which tries to warn prospective students about “Ten Things Law Schools Won’t Tell You.”  Here are some pieces of information that are supposed to serve as red flags to 0Ls:

The latest survey data available by the National Association for Law Placement shows that about 88% of law students who graduated in 2010 were employed by February 2011 -- the lowest rate since 1996 and down from a peak of 92% in 2007. And almost a third of the graduates known to be employed were not working in a legal position that required passing the Bar exam.  [The new NALP stats for the class of 2011, released a couple days after this article was published, show this number declining to 85.6% for that class.]

Now what are prospective law students going to think about this stat should they happen to encounter it?  What they’re all too likely to think is:

(a)    An 88% chance of employment sounds pretty good in our “post-industrial” economy.
(b)   There’s no chance I’m going to be in the bottom 12% of my class.
(c)    If things were so good in 2007 why does a four percent decline in the chance of becoming a lawyer add up to such a terrible crisis anyway?

But wait, what about the final sentence, revealing that almost a third of graduates known to be employed were not working in a legal position that required passing the bar exam? Shouldn’t these words fill our sophisticated consumers with foreboding?  

For several reasons, that sentence is going to be ignored.  First, this article is already getting kind of complicated.  Remember most 0Ls know next to nothing about this subject.  What’s a legal position that requires passing the bar exam? This seems to suggest that there are legal positions that don’t require passing the bar exam. And there are -- for example being a law professor. Besides, the quoted statistics also mean that many graduates are employed in jobs other than those which require you to be a member of the bar, which in turn will sound to a receptive audience very much like an argument for the legendary (in every sense) “versatility” of a law degree.

In other words, confirmation and optimism bias (also known as “the American can-do spirit, the gospel of success, etc.) are pushing our 0Ls rapidly away from actually contemplating the risks which the piece is trying to get them to consider.

Things get much worse when the article starts talking about salaries.

While public service and government attorneys don't expect to make the big bucks, corporate law positions have traditionally paid some of the highest salaries of any industry. But even these lofty positions aren't recession-proof. Law school students who graduated in 2010 earn $84,111 on average during their first year, down 10% from 2009, according to the most recent available data from NALP.

And fewer graduates are landing six figure jobs. Eighteen percent of 2010 graduates earned $160,000 compared to 25% in each of the previous two years. Nearly half of 2010 graduates made between $40,000 and $65,000, up from about 40% for the prior two classes. In some cases, starting pay is even lower: Last week, Boston-based civil practice law firm Gilbert & O'Bryan posted a full-time associate position that pays $10,000 annually. Larry O'Bryan, a partner with the firm, says it has just two lawyers, hires when it receives extra cases, and that the salary is based on the amount of work billed and collected. So far, he says, the firm has received around 35 applications, mostly from recent law graduates. 

These numbers have two flaws: they’re going to encourage people to apply to law school, and they’re completely fantastical.

Does anyone think that reporting an average salary for the class of 2010 of $84,111 is going to lead your average political science or broadcast journalism or film studies major to not apply to law school?  Of course what the most recent data (salary data is not yet available for the class of 2011) from NALP indicates is not that law students who graduated in 2010 earned an “average” of $84,111, but rather that the median salary of the the 41.5% of graduates whose salaries were reported was $63,000. This means that nearly 80% of the class did not have a salary reported of as much as $63,000.

Given the very high reporting rates for high-salaried positions, the low reporting rates for low-salaried positions, and the bimodal distribution of those salaries across the profession, only a small minority – perhaps 12% to 15% -- of 2010 grads earned as much as this supposed “average” (mean) salary of $84,000.

Which brings us to the claim that 18% of 2010 grads earned $160,000. In fact 18% of reported salaries were as high as $160,000, and since we can be sure that the number of law graduates who made $160,000 and didn’t have their salaries recorded, with or without their cooperation, by their law schools was minuscule, this means the real number of grads who earned $160,000 was approximately 7.5%.
Similarly consider the claim that “nearly half” of 2010 grads made between $40,000 and $65,000. Again, this actually means that nearly half of reported salaries were in this range. But here, this information is presented in the context of a claim that the average salary was $84K, and that one in six grads made $160K. It will therefore leave impressionable 0Ls with the impression that making between $40,000 and $65,000 in the year after graduation is something approaching a worst case scenario, as opposed to what it really is, i.e., a better outcome than that enjoyed by a solid majority of the 2010 graduating class. (In this context, the story about the law firm offering a $10K starting salary will be dismissed easily enough as an extreme anecdote).

In short, many 0Ls would read this story and conclude that the average law graduate gets a starting job with a salary within hailing distance of six figures, that there’s a pretty decent chance of getting a mid-six figure salary, that a bad outcome consists of getting a legal job that pays $40,000 to $65,000, and that failing to get a legal job at all is fairly unusual. And that is an accurate description of the current employment situation for law graduates – as long as we’re talking about schools like Michigan and Virginia.

On the other hand, by the time you get to the 19th- ranked law school in the country (that is, in the 91st percentile of ABA schools) that scenario is far too optimistic.  As for the average law school, this “average” employment and salary information has about as much relevance to its graduates as the average NBA salary has to that of pro basketball players in Iceland (submit your resume now).


  1. Yeah, this is the kind of article I read last year before diving into law school. It really doesn't paint a clear picture and I did think making 40k would be a worst case scenerio. Sadly, I didn't find out the truth of the matter until I was in law school and watched almost all my 3L friends graduate without any job whatsoever. I wish I could say that speaking to people and offering my personal experience could dissuade them, but people just believe what they want to believe.

  2. The WSJ has an article in the Marketplace section of today's paper regarding plans by several law schools to reduce class size by 10%. While its good that the message is getting out - a 10% reduction doesn't go nearly far enough. Also, the article mentions that Cooley does not plan on reducing class size - saying that this could "disproportionately affect minority students." I can guarantee you that a lot of these bottom feeding schools will play the race card whenever anyone suggests that they reduce class sizes or be shut down.

  3. Well done Campos. We need more coverage in the mainstream media.

    Not only is there a failure of law schools. There is a failure or journalism. News organizations wonder why no one buys their rags anymore. Journalism has devolved into cutting and pasting stories from AP or spell checking press releases.

    An "investigative reporter" could be doing the same thing you just did and calling NALP and the law schools to task for their data. Instead, we get take their data, get confused by their assumptions, turn their data into sentences, print the sentences.

  4. 4:59. It really takes chutzpah to make the argument that they are helping minority students.

    It's a bit like a sugar plantation owner arguing that if he were shut down and the slaves liberated, then minority workers would have nothing to do.

  5. 4:59 here - Yeah, these bastards are shameless. Check out this quote from the article: "Cooley isn't interested in reducing the class size of its entering class on the basis of the perceived benefit to society," says associate dean James Robb. "Cooley's mission is inclusiveness." Like I said, shameless.

  6. "Cooley isn't interested in reducing the class size of its entering class on the basis of the perceived benefit to society,"

    Hahahahahaha. So wait a second, is associate dean James Robb saying the OTHER lawsuits that are reducing class sizes are then HARMING society?

    Certainly not. In fact, that piece of garbage would LOVE IT if even MORE law schools reduced class sizes. More tuition fodder for Cooley which will "trickle down" (up?) to the associate dean James Robb.

    Anyone know how much this idiot makes? He's a criminal and should be in jail for fraud.

  7. lawschools*

  8. Cooley may find that it killed the goose that lays golden eggs. If the law suit survives, they have an awful lot of exposure with the large number of students.

  9. Now what are prospective law students going to think about this stat should they happen to encounter it? What they’re all too likely to think is:

    (a) An 88% chance of employment sounds pretty good in our “post-industrial” economy.
    (b) There’s no chance I’m going to be in the bottom 12% of my class.
    (c) If things were so good in 2007 why does a four percent decline in the chance of becoming a lawyer add up to such a terrible crisis anyway?


    Slams fist on desk in satisfaction and exclaims, "EXACTLY!"

    The strategy of providing statistics, claiming they are bad, when they can actually be misread as good, and are in fact completely mis-stating the reality of the situation - in other words, pulling a Tamanaha - is rampant in a new form of law school promotion.

    Most minds rightfully read 88% as 100%. Those 12% who didn't get good lawyer jobs are an anomaly (too bad it's actually 65% that didn't get such jobs).

  10. I was disheartened when I read this article yesterday and saw that 88 percent figure. I wondered if the WSJ was shilling for the law schools, given the way it presented the data.

  11. Kids, become a member of the protected class and get paid 150-750k with the option of retiring before you turn 50:

    This is happening all over America, if you can get into Law School, you can get a job like this and be on easy street. Do not even go to college for anything, not even STEM. We are in a global market competing against slaves, your only salvation is voting for the right people so they can take money from everyone else and give it to you. Do you want to be a student loan slave who is excoriated for being a debt beat due to your taking 100k out in loans? Or do you want to vote for people that will take money from everybody else and pay you 200k a year (no one can call you a dead beat if you do the latter)?

    The choice is yours, as you can see, even if things work out exactly as you hoped, you still could have made way north of 500k without the risk of school and the private sector.

    You've been warned.

  12. Progress isn't a straight line. I'll grant you that the reading of the employment statistics is disappointing, but the article does make clear that:

    (a) you can't trust law schools to tell you the truth about anything;
    (b) tuition and fees are insanely non-correlative with one's ability to get a job in law, let alone one that pays enough to pay the vigorish on federal student loans;
    (c) a substantial minority of law schools is facing a class action for lying about employment statistics, and one of these schools won at trial by arguing that law students should have been smart enough to realize the impression its numbers conveyed was actually bullshit.

    This would never have made the WSJ four years ago, even at Law Blog. It would have been too absurd and unduly negative. The media is going to get a lot of things wrong (WSJ, please talk to somebody who works in bankruptcy before you ever publish another article about how the GM bankruptcy took money away from secured creditors), but even just mildly negative articles in a mainstream publication could have an impact.

  13. 6:13 AM

    About the police pay, look at that overtime pay...

    This is outrageous.

  14. I have a mean cross over and court vision. Also, while rusty, my Icelandic is passable.

  15. Great post Lawprof.

    The scambloggers are beginning to react quickly to these articles posting these falsehoods by the mainstream media.

  16. Re: guy continuously posting about becoming a Nassau Co. policeman.

    This infatuation with stability and ordinariness kills me. The law schools have scammed us, boomer society has suppressed us, and big government and business has raped us. The answer is not to lie down. The problem is that law school attracts smart people, but uncreative people. Many just want to "save the world" or join Cravath. There is a lack of creativity. Law jobs as traditionally defined may not exist anymore. We may be swimming in debt. The answer is *not* educate less and get in the Nassau County teat. That's a boomer philosophy. LST and this blog and the law suits are at least showing creativity in tackling the problem. We need these young law school graduates to apply that doctrine they've supposedly been trained with in creative ways to take back the sanity.

  17. FWIW, I'm in the midst of reading Murray's new book, Coming Apart. I think many folks here would like it.

  18. Prof. Campos, when I read about how schools such as Cooley use the race card to justify its enrollment numbers, it makes my blood boil. I have been practicing consumer and business bankruptcy for the past 20 years. Recently, I have noticed that many college and post-grads have come to my office for a consultation. This doesn't surprise me as student loans surpassed credit card debt last year. Unfortunately, I cannot help people discharge their student loans unless they have a severed spine or are a vegetable. I have also encountered many law grads who owe over six figures and cannot discharge these loans. I am in the NYC metro area and I can tell you that an overwhelming majority of law grads that are in trouble are minorities, the same ones that Cooley use to justify increasing the number of seats per class. The reality is that the Cravaths and Sullcroms of the legal world do not see minorities as a right fit for their firm culture. Sure, they hire a few token minorities from T6 schools to show how diverse they are, but the reality is unless the minority is connected (e.g., Eric Holder types), they won't make partner at those white shoe firms. So what do minority lawyers do? They hang up a shingle or work for a slave driver making paltry wages. Others wash out at the doc review circuit. I had one young African American male, a 2009 grad, who broke down in tears in my office. He told me he thought about suicide every time he looked at his student loan bill. His fiancee dumped him and his parents want him to move out. The parents resent the kids because they co-signed some of the loans and Sallie Mae is going after them. These are not isolated anectdotal stories. What universities and law schools are doing is downright immoral and plainly wrong.

  19. 7:01

    Most people don't WANT to be creative with regards to work. Most people don't WANT to be worried about their next paycheck. All most people want is to put down 40-50 hours a week in a job they're pretty sure will be there six months from now, make enough to cover their expenses, bang their spouse, play with their kids, have a little bit of time and money left over for fun, and have a good life. They're not bad people because they don't want to conquer the world or make a difference or whatever. They're just people that want to enjoy their lives. Lots of people that fell into this scam are exactly that sort of people. They thought that they could get their law degree from a decent state school and so long as they were willing to work hard a decent-paying job would always be there for them. I'm not a victim of the law school scam, I'm an accounting student (unfortunately probably the next field to get glutted with all of the assholes seeing it as a safe port in the economic storm) but I totally get where that comes from.

    If the desire for a stable, boring, content life makes them want to change things, we should encourage that as a driving motivator, not condemn it.

  20. I think the hardest part of the law school scam to grapple with is that such a huge number of "reputable" institutions full of Serious People could be so idiotic with respect to how they publish salary "data." Bad data is far worse than no data, because bad data creates false confidence.

    That the entire law school industry is hanging their hats on an objectively horrible data set that is riddled with selection bias (not to mention that its collected and 'verified' by the parties who benefit from it) because "everyone is doing it" is a major indictment of law schools in general and the ABA in particular.

  21. If unlimited Grad Plus loans were available for an M.A. in Professional Sports Agency, we would see 200 programs sprout up like weeds overnight and charge 150,000 over two years for the privilege.

    Schools sell fantasy to naive rubes who want to lead interesting and comfortable lives. It's fake money at first. Because "schools" and "teachers" have an aura of credibility, students don't walk in the door of a grad school with the same trepidation as when they walk onto a used car lot.

    If schools were funded as they were pre-2007, there would be far fewer people going to law school right now. "Only" 18,500 in government loans would be available per year. Banks are more weary now than in the before times and would be reluctant to make private loans to TTT students without sureties.

    Grad PLUS loans are the problem here. We must end them.

  22. I want to echo @Morse Code for J's thoughts. Progress is not a straight line, and just a few years ago placement rates just simply weren't discussed. Discussion was only about the best outcomes, and at best the stories said "not everybody gets these."

    I spent over an hour on the phone with Smart Money for that story, and a good bit of time for today's WSJ story too. That the basic employment rate receives any caveats is a huge win for transparency. Don't blame the media for this - the people at the WSJ and Smart Money definitely understand what's going on. The blame is on NALP for still using the basic employment rate as if it means anything. It is a garbage number, but by making it the feature of their story, NALP makes it relevant for the WSJ, Smart Money, CBS Money Watch, etc.

  23. Meanwhile from the marketing dept:

    u of dayton giving 1000 book scholarship to students who schedule an official visit, and then attend ud of course.

    Sales tactic? Yup
    Framed by admin as an altruistic gesture requiring near cripplying amounts of courage by the school? Yup

  24. Kyle,

    To slay these charlatans, have you considered putting a push on to beat them at their own game? Part of the campaign for transparency should be to solicit all of the unemployed/underemployed 2012 grads and to get them to report their data.

    When the 88 percent figure drops to 70 percent next year, NALP will be unable to advance the fraud. The drop will have to be explained. And it will be -- by pointing out the previous years' data bias.

  25. LST: I agree that these articles represent real progress. OTOH there's still way too much journalistic stenography going on here. That NALP reports these crap employment and salary numbers because of their ridiculous methodology does not obligate the WSJ to publish those numbers, even with caveats.

    A little bit more adversarial journalism would go a long way, Still this is a good start.

  26. There is no way to present numbers that will not, to some people, be misleading. The overall message about the need to think seriously before deciding to go to law school is getting through to people. No matter what number are put out there, it won't be enough.

  27. LawProf,

    It is especially frustrating when you hear lemmings state, "I'll take a $65K job, even if I have to take out $100K in student loans."

    This shows economic illiteracy on their part. First, it will be very difficult to repay that non-dischargeable debt on such an income. Second, the figure is inaccurate - as many recent JDs will make $35K-$50K. Lastly, in the fundamentally restructured U.S. economy, job security is largely gone.

    If one loses his job, then he can place his student loans in deferment, and watch helplessly as interest accrues on the unpaid balance. Even this status has time limits. Furthermore, extended periods of unemployment are common for today's college and law graduate.

  28. It's a scamblog myth that schools do a poor job, by and large, with gathering data. A few schools do, but we find usually it has more to do with a poor transition within the administration and that the ship gets righted.

    We've entertained the idea of doing our own collection for a few years, but each time decide it's not worth it because schools do a fine job collecting data. We'd never have the resources to audit, or hire an auditor, so all of the effort would have barely any return.

    2011 numbers aren't entirely out yet, but here are the 2010 numbers that I think mean something re: response rates. Keep in mind that these numbers are from NALP, and that schools went back and tracked more data down once the ABA stepped up its game and scared schools into acting.

    96% of graduates had a known employment status.
    94% of employed graduates had a known FT/PT status.
    98.5% of employed graduates had a known employer type.
    95% of those at law firms had a known law firm size.
    94% of those at law firms had a known job type (attorney, admin, paralegal, law clerk).
    97% of employed graduates had a known location.

    The real trouble is with salaries, as only 51% of employed graduates reported a salary. Paul has done some research/quasi-auditing at CU that shows that these numbers might inflated a bit (salary and otherwise), but overall collection does not keep me up at night. It's the presentation of the data collected.

  29. LST,

    Instead of the convoluted job for which bar passage was required, why not call a spade a spade: "x percent were employed as lawyers."

    Instead of law degree preferred, "y percent were not employed as lawyers, but were in fields where a law degree was preferred."

    Instead of "business or other," "z percent were employed in other nonlawyer jobs."

    1. Agree. These distinctions are hard to parse.

  30. The smart money a searching reporter could be doing the same factor you just did and contacting NALP and the law educational institutions to process for their information.

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  31. Yup, that's why we like calling it the legal rate. It misses a few edges because, yes, paralegals are legal jobs in some sense. But overall it gets the point across better because it takes into consideration how prospective students process information. That's at least one significant reason the NYLS suit was dismissed. It was not adequately conveyed to the judge that socialization and various biases impact how people understand information.

  32. the higher education industry buys huge amounts of advertising from the mainstream media, and in return the media crank out this sort of propaganda, and all without any sort of conflict of interest disclaimer.

  33. The University of Minnesota Law School stats you linked to are actually pretty impressive, and transparent. What am I missing?

  34. What is also worrying is that what so many students seem to regard as a "good outcome" is not actually that good an outcome. That BigLaw associate job at say $160k is typically short term - 5 years tops for all but maybe 1 in 20 of those whom get it - and for many they are out in 2-3 years. At the end of this their experience is typically very narrow and not particularly useful to potential employers other than a department in BigLaw just like the one the associate got "the push" from.

    My own view is that the profession can absorb as a practical matter no more than 1/3 of the current level of law graduates in the US - the UK about the same, Ireland about 1/4, ditto France and Spain. I do not agree with the view that law as an undergraduate subject produces lawyers as well as law as a graduate subject (unless the US graduate was "pre-law" which is a bit like doing an MBA on top of a BBA (n.b., most firms I know of shy away from the "pre-law" plus JD types)), but it does have the advantage that a BL is less of a "Mark of Cain" than a JD if law turns out not to be the profession for that graduate.

  35. 8:58: What percentage of the Minnesota 2011 class has a real legal job?(Full-time, long-term, requiring bar passage).

    What percentage of the class has a job paying at least the "average" national salary of $84,111?

    These are pretty simple questions to answer.

    BTW non-discounted debt financed COA for this year's entering class there is $218K for non-residents and $188K for residents.

  36. I am always somewhat puzzled by the JD preferred category - what does it mean? I mean I can see someone who is say a police officer, patent examiner or a claims adjuster going into an evening program and having better promotion prospects at the end because of the legal education - but this would seem to be a tiny group whose employers would prefer to hire them first, then let them go to get a JD - and whose employers would probably prefer a cheap JD if they were paying tuition benefits.

    What sort of job is JD-Preferred - how come so many are reported - what are these jobs?

  37. LawProf:

    You make some good points. I still think these figures are ok, but yeah, not stellar.

    First, a preface. I think you should move beyond emphasizing sticker price. I realize it's the easiest data point to identify but many in educational finance have pointed out that the real question is how much has the net cost of tuition increased, not sticker price, since the new business model in higher ed is to raise sticker and then selectively offer aggressive discounting. You have written on the unsavory dimension of this practice, but you have to concede it reduces the cost of attendance.

    As an aside, only one law school to which I was admitted offered me no money; the others all offered me various amounts, some supposedly merit-based and some need-based, ranging from 20% of COA to closer to 50%. The first school I ruled out was the one that offered nothing. This was in the mid-aughts. I still have a lot of debt. But it's nothing close to what it would have been at full price.

    1. You ask: "What percentage of the Minnesota 2011 class has a real legal job?(Full-time, long-term, requiring bar passage)."

    UMN reports 189 bar admission req'd jobs + 20 JD advantage jobs = 209 jobs that are potentially good outcomes.

    Now, let's deduct the 25 that are law school funded and the 25 that are short term but not law school funded. Now we are down to 159 good jobs that are long term and not funded by the law school, for which a JD is either required or preferred, and that are not either "other professional" (?) or "other non-professional" (Starbucks).

    159 out of 261. And, these 159 - by your own methodology - likely have salaries above the medians reported for the private and public sector. That is 61% in solid, long-term private or public sector legal jobs or jobs that you told yourself you could get because your degree was versatile.

    2. "What percentage of the class has a job paying at least the "average" national salary of $84,111?"

    Well, it depends on how you approach this question. Using NALP's methodology, quite a high percentage had that salary or better, because the only thing NALP looks at is reported salaries. However, the true percentage of grads making $84K (at MN or nationally) is hard to tell. At MN, only 40% of private sector and 45% of public sector alums reported salary. This is a problem.


  38. @MacK,

    I'm one of the people in the category that you described - full-time government employee going to law school part-time, at night, with the idea of having better promotion prospects when I'm done. My best guess would be that about 5% of the people in my class are in the same position.

    It's possible that some government positions such as policy analysts or legislative aids may also fit into the "JD-P" category, but students from 4th-tire law schools aren't getting these jobs in significant numbers.

  39. In mild defense of the versatility of the law degree:

    The sales pitch is true. There is a lot you can do with a law degree. The curriculum, for all its faults, teaches a raft of skills such as critical thinking, logic, breaking problems down into component parts, understanding the legal superstructure in which people live and do business, etc.

    A J.D. could make a good project manager, office administrator, bureaucrat, copywriter, marketing person, you name it.

    The problem is that none will hire a J.D. for these jobs.

    This may seem like a woolly-headed suggestion but, if the ABA wants to give the appearance that it's doing something, it could buy ads arguing that employers should consider JDs for non-attorney jobs.

    What a strange world: You try to better yourself with an advanced degree, and the number of options is reduced.

    It has a whiff of Old Europe: If you try to improve your station in life and fail, you will be brutally punished.

  40. 8:58: It's not at all difficult to know how many UMN grads were making $85K+ nine months after graduation. The reported salary stats indicate that 42 were. This happens to be almost exactly the same number of grads who were working in long-term positions at law firms of more than 25 attorneys (40). The stats indicate that the highest public-sector salary was lower than that.

    So 16% of the class was making a salary that might justify what the average level of educational debt is going to be for this year's entering class. Yes discounts on tuition are important but a 50% discount on tuition is still going to leave a UMN grad with $120K in debt. And how much of the class gets that good of a deal or better -- 20%?

  41. From experience, I would even go so far as to say that a JD in the non legal marketplace is an oddity and just confuses if not repels job recruiters.

    A number of times I was asked: "Why do you want to work here?"

    Or they think that the JD will leave when the first good legal job comes along and is therefore a flight risk.

    Or just overqualified in a general sense.

    And that is why, after a while, I started leaving the JD off the resume.

  42. 9:37, 8:58:

    Exactly. Category 2, "depends on how you approach this question."

    There should be no "depends on how you approach this question" because NALP obfuscates while law schools will do everything to hide how much people make. I think this explains why nearly three quarters of law schools do not show their NALP reports....people may start to get wise regarding the true salary outcomes, even if NALP is hiding the ball. It still is more information than what the law schools want to give.

    The question is simple: how many jobs for attorneys are long term, permanent, full time, and will allow an attorney to make enough so they can pay back what they borrowed?

    Cost of full freight should be listed when you consider the goofy little scholarship scam these assholes run, placing people with these scholarships in the same section, and not including other costs that conveniently get overlooked.

  43. @9:42

    It would help if the law schools paid more than lip-service to the idea that the training should prepare for non-lawyer jobs. So courses in crisis communications, forensic accounting, bookkeeping (I had to pass an accounting exam for some countries where I am also admitted as a lawyer), etc. would be big help - in other words some courses out of the MBA curriculum - and less pre-law undergraduates getting JDs - and less "law and [pet interest of a professor who was not interested in the law in the first place]."

  44. This comment has been removed by the author.

  45. "There is a lot you can do with a law degree. The curriculum, for all its faults, teaches a raft of skills such as critical thinking, logic, breaking problems down into component parts, understanding the legal superstructure in which people live and do business, etc."

    lol :^)

  46. LP - I read the SmartMoney article a few days ago and it actually gave me a stomach ache.

    Regarding all the salary information you've summarized (read: "corrected") in your post above - Ms. Andriotis appears to have had this information at her fingertips, yet obviously failed to connect the dots between even the most elementary aspects of reporting, on the one hand, "average" salaries and "18%" making 160K, and on the other hand (a few paragraphs later in her article) reporting "In March, ... the ABA said that 'fewer than 45% ... report their salaries'. "

    Do you think it'd do any good for you to send Ms. Andriotis a gentle critique summarizing most of the points you've mentioned above?

    (Apologies for not having read comments yet and if someone else has already made the same suggestion, just delete this comment. Thanks.)

  47. Nando is right. I have noticed this trend as well re 65K salary based upon 100K debt. People think this is somehow easy to do. It is not. Additionally, one job loss and you are fucked.

  48. You can snort, 9:55 a.m., but if a history major can be a decent Dunder-Mifflin account executive, then a J.D. can, too. And the J.D. would have some comprehension of what the fine print on the sales forms meant.

    There's a lot you can do with a law degree. But there's a tiny number of things employers will let you do. The ABA -- and the schools, as mentioned by 9:53 -- could try to change that. They won't.

  49. “You can snort, 9:55 a.m., but if a history major can be a decent Dunder-Mifflin account executive, then a J.D. can, too. And the J.D. would have some comprehension of what the fine print on the sales forms meant.”

    I wouldn’t hire the JD. The person with the JD working outside of law obviously can’t be trusted and has a history of making poor decisions. Plus they would probably leave if a law job came around. Lastly, the JD trying to work outside of law more than likely has NO EXPERIENCE. In order to work for Dunder-Mifflin these days you have to have a minimum of 5 years of directly related work experience as an account executive.

  50. The sales pitch is true. There is a lot you can do with a law degree. The curriculum, for all its faults, teaches a raft of skills such as critical thinking, logic, breaking problems down into component parts, understanding the legal superstructure in which people live and do business, etc.

    A J.D. could make a good project manager, office administrator, bureaucrat, copywriter, marketing person, you name it.


    This is utter nonsense. In terms of intellectual rigor, law is one of the weakest graduate degrees out there. You would learn more about the tasks you describe above, far far more, by studying something like literature. A study of literature would present examples and analysis of such real world events, but in a pleasant and honest narrative form, and not in obfuscated, dishonest and misguiding legalese.

    A manager with a lawyer's mentality would be the guy who does a terrible job, and contrives arguments for why it wasn't his fault.

  51. @10:18

    "Plus they would probably leave if a law job came around. "

    And with enough thrust from say a set of RATO packs you can make a pig fly....

    What makes you think that someone looking for a non-law job who holds a JD is ever likely to break back into the legal profession? And what makes you think the person with the other liberal arts degree was exercising good judgment studying that subject. And why do you think someone should be condemned for bad decision made at age 22 or 23 for the rest of their lives?

  52. Finishing a three-year program in anything isn't chicken feed. It shows perseverance and planning.

    Since law is a post-grad degree in the U.S., the law grad may already have a degree in literature or marketing or anything. That plus a law degree should equal something.

    If you have to choose between two people with little or no experience, isn't it bizarre that the person with the three-year post-graduate degree is the one deemed more risky than the fresh school-leaver?

    (This is true within law as well. A law firm will hire a 2L with zero experience for a first-year corporate position, but that same firm won't hire a 10-year litigator for the same post. Why not? Both have zero corporate experience, but one has shown the ability to hold down a legal job for a decade.)

    Mostly, I'm saddened by the legal profession's "up or out" attitude in which the only two options are (1) follow the highest-paying and most prestigious path from the earliest possible date without variance or (2) be considered a loser. There must be fifty shades of grey between those to endpoints, but few people want to see them.

  53. When you apply for a non-law job with a J.D. on your resume, you're not competing with the other candidates, you're competing with the myths in the HR person's head.

  54. My anecdotal offering of the day: I was recently at a social function where a friend of mine congratulated me on my JD and admittance to the bar as we stood around and enjoyed the free drinks. He told me he had twice applied and twice been denied acceptance into law school. So, he got an MBA instead. He was very impressed with my credentials. The fact that I had gone to law school seemed to carry a lot of weight. I was likewise impressed with his employment status. For all he saw in me, I would have traded places with him in an instant.

    The perception of what law school is and what a JD provides is so damn curious.

  55. “What makes you think that someone looking for a non-law job who holds a JD is ever likely to break back into the legal profession? And what makes you think the person with the other liberal arts degree was exercising good judgment studying that subject.”

    There is a lot you can do with a History degree. The curriculum, for all its faults, teaches a raft of skills such as critical thinking, logic, breaking problems down into component parts, understanding the superstructures in which people live and do business, etc.

    A History major could make a good project manager, office administrator, bureaucrat, copywriter, marketing person, you name it.
    Plus by skipping law school they can use those couple of years to get their foot in the door somewhere and gain experience.

    Ideally though, if this person wants to work at Dunder Mifflin as an account executive they should have they should have been Account Executive majors in college.

    Isn’t that the way things are headed? Its ridiculous. In 5 years or so traditional college majors are going to be done away with and replaced with corporate job titles. Little Bobby and Suzy will be Human Capital majors and Admin Assistant majors.

  56. And that's the crux of the problem, Crux.

    The American expectation (as LawProf wrote in his excellent post about stigma) is that a person with a J.D. who isn't a successful professional must be the world's biggest loser.

    A promotional campaign by the ABA or the AALS for more open-minded hiring may help change attitudes.


    Oh, who am I kidding? People who never bothered to shoot for the brass ring are going to mercilessly wail on the people who did and missed.

  57. "There is a lot you can do with a History degree. The curriculum, for all its faults, teaches a raft of skills such as critical thinking, logic, breaking problems down into component parts, understanding the superstructures in which people live and do business, etc."

    And I have heard the same thing from Economics, Poli-Sci, Art History, Geography, Psych, Philosophy and other majors ... and then they go to Business School for an MBA - why?

  58. "When you apply for a non-law job with a J.D. on your resume, you're not competing with the other candidates, you're competing with the myths in the HR person's head"

    True. I once had a telephone discussion with an insurance industry recruiter that told me he didn't like lawyers personally because he felt they were adversarial by nature and would just make trouble.

    He then told me about a problem tenant he had had in the past that was a lawyer, and that he would never rent to another lawyer again.

    A different Insurance Industry recruiter told me that Insurance Companies are rigidly structured and very specific as to what the job duties are in the different departments such as claims, underwriting etc. and that in spite of my JD I was not qualified for any of them.

    I tried to explain how the JD gave me problem solving and analytical skills etc. and she didn't buy it, and sounded uncomfortable and confused.

    Which is what the JD probably does when it lands on the dest of the Human Resources Depatrment of (at least in the Private Sector) non legal business entity. It just confuses them.

  59. They go to get MBA's because they think they will make more money.

  60. @ Mack,
    I'm not even sure the MBA is the search for more money; it could just be the quest for the elusive entry level job.
    A lot of job postings for entry level jobs require very specific skill sets that on the surface, a person with a liberal arts degree might think they don't have and without contact with anyone not realize - thus they go get the MBA to make themselves more marketable (and raise their earning potential).
    One of the biggest pains about job hunting right now (and this is not law specific) is how hard it is for a person to get any exposure beyond one's static resume and as a real 3-D entity with existing flexible skill sets and a brain capable of acquiring new skills.

  61. It may be true that a JD can do other jobs, but so what? You can find somebody equally or more qualified without the JD baggage. Why hire a JD to run your hospital when you can hire an MHA?

  62. "One of the biggest pains about job hunting right now (and this is not law specific) is how hard it is for a person to get any exposure beyond one's static resume and as a real 3-D entity with existing flexible skill sets and a brain capable of acquiring new skills."

    That's why GOD created the unpaid internship. Its a great way to get your foot in the door.

  63. @ Shark Sandwich.The head of the Health and Hospitals Corporation in NYC, which runs the system of public hospitals in the City, is a lawyer, not an MBA grad. Someone thought it was a good idea, I guess.

  64. Lawprof:

    Is there any circumstance where it would make sense to attend Cooley? Even if it's "free" the opportunity cost would have to outweigh the expected benefit.

    Seems to me like as noble as your cause is, getting many schools to slightly reduce their operating costs and provide better info wouldn't provide as large a public benefit as shutting down Cooley and Touro would. I mean, hell; Cooley's expanding!

  65. @ 11:51. If I'm willing to work for free for an employer as an unpaid intern, why would that employer ever choose to make me a paid employee? If the employer did so, that would mean they would be choosing to pay for something which they were previously getting for free, and that seems totally illogical. I have no data to back this up, but my feeling is that in the vast majority of cases (95% +), people who work as unpaid interns after graduating from law school (or any other educational program) don't turn it into a paid job with that same employer. Also, even if I can use the experience I'm getting as an unpaid intern to get a paid job with a different employer, how am I supposed to pay for food, clothing, and shelter while working for free?

  66. As was mentioned earlier, one of the things about law in many other countries is that it is an undergraduate degree and many people who study it don't actually practice law.

    In Japan, for example, you study law just like you would study any other liberal arts major. It is understood that only a small percentage will pass the bar and become full fledged lawyers - the rest will just be treated as liberal arts majors and get jobs accordingly with no stigma whatsover.

    Had the US kept this system, it would be much better all around. No huge grad school debt, no extra years wasted and just as importantly, no JD stigma for getting non lawyer jobs.

  67. Four reasons why non-legal employers will not hire someone with a JD:

    1. You are seen as a loser because you have this "wonderful" education but cannot make it in your field. All lawyers are rich.

    2. The employer reviewing your resume thinks that you are a flight risk in the event the company spends money on you through training and you leave because a 100K law job comes along.

    3. Employers "think" that you know the ins and outs of all areas of the law so they "think" they cannot abuse you and take advantage of you in much the same way most employers take advantage of their employees (unless you work for the government or are in education-most of those jobs are a cakewalk).

    4. The last reason, and probably the one that outweighs all three, the public HATES lawyers. So, why would they hire you?

    I applied to 100 jobs and received zero callbacks. Took the JD off my resume and sent out 10 resumes, received 3 callbacks.

  68. 12:07

    MHA, not MBA. Yes, you're right, sometimes lawyers can do non-legal things with their degrees.

    Anyway, the fact that a handful of lawyers have been able to do X with a law degree doesn't mean that everybody should get a law degree to do X. People who want to work in health care should get an MHA. People who want to to work in social work should get an MSW. Etc.

  69. @ 12:55--That was just an answer to the specific question you asked which suggested that such a thing would be unheard of. I think people should do what they want to do. It isn't for me to tell people how to run their lives. It's enough for me to keep up with my own.

  70. LawProf,

    Great post. I've also these this advertised at the bottom of news websites. Kiplinger's "5 degrees still worth the debt" with "law" being number 4.

    All these have the same theme. Law school went from being a sure bet to an awesome one worth taking.

  71. @12:31

    I have a lot of legal exposure to Japan - was full time in a Japanese firm and fairly senior for 3 years and I am still part of that firm. The story you here in the US about law in Japan is not totally correct. In the Japanese executive class - the sarimen - they are for the most part recruited straight from college and what matters is (a) what college you went to and (b) what faculty. However, the hard work is over once a Japanese high school graduate gets into college - they do very little while there. The most prestigious colleges are Todai, Waseda, Kyoto and the most prestigious department is law - and so that is where the first hired management recruits are found. Only a small minority go into the inhouse legal department.

    The Japanese bar has about a 2% pass rate and most lawyers sit the bar exam at least 3 times - every year after getting out of law school - but only a tiny minority of law graduates. The more prestigious the law faculty you went to though - the less likely you are to (a) take the bar exam rather than the corporate offer; (b) study for try 2 and 3 which is pretty well a full time activity; (c) want to have the unexpected experience of failing an exam (which is a 50-to-1 shot.) So almost no law graduate actually take the bar exam, but the last time I saw data there were about twice as many total law graduates in Japan as in the US every year.

    Next Bengoshi are only one class of legal professionals in Japan - there are also notaries (kōshōnin), legal/judicial scriveners (gyōsei shoshi/shihō shoshi who do most real estate registrations, company formation, court and agency filings and handle small cases and a lot of arbitration and mediation proceedings), Benrishi (patent agents), labor and pension specialists (shakai hoken rōmushi) and then a huge number of legal people (often admitted to a US bar) who work in-house in the corporate legal department. Then accountants have a legal role - and there are two types CPAs (kōnin kaikeishi) and tax accountants (zeirishi). I think perhaps Bengoshi outnumber Benrishi but I am not sure - all the other groups I recall pretty well outnumber the Bengoshi and all would do things that in the US would be regarded as the practice of law.

    In my experience all the junior associates Bengoshi we had were somewhat crazy - driven nuts by the stress and pressure of trying to pass the bar and their families asking why they did not get a real job. They usually took about 3-5 years to get their sanity back.

  72. @ 1:58pm

    You are clearly much more knowledgeable about Japan than I am. Perhaps Japanese law studies in particular may or may not be a good example of making my point.

    The main point for me is that if law were an undergrad degree and treated like any other lib art degree and only a select few go on to become lawyers (the rest being treated as just another lib arts bachelor holders), law students would be a lot better off. No extra expense, no 3 years wasted and no stigma of applying for non-legal jobs.

    There really is no reason for law to be a graduate pseudo-"doctorate" degree.
    "doctorate" degree

  73. @12:37 is correct.

    It may seem incredible to a law academic, or to a young person contemplating going to law school, but that is what it is like in the streets.

    This sort of scenario probably did not exist when there were enough law jobs to go around, or, in other words, before the Law Schools irresponsibly glutted the market with too many lawyers.

    It is kind of like a carpenter trying to get a job as an auto mechanic. He might be able to do it, but he will have to start as an apprentice and at the bottom of the pay scale.

    And as for the notion of doing a free internship, I got out of school all begged and borrowed up to the hilt and was living paycheck to paycheck.

    There was no ability to do anything for free, for law school had completely tapped me out and it was a terrible struggle just scraping up the money for a bar review course.

  74. @2:53 Yes - but

    If you look at the situation in say the UK there are two ways to become a lawyer - undergraduate as a lawyer, or do a law degree after taking another subject as an undergraduate and then a diploma in law (I think it takes 2 years) followed by a traineeship. I see little evidence that the post graduate lawyers are discriminated against and at least some that they are preferred, especially when they have language and STEM backgrounds, or Economics. I do actually think that the post graduate training in the US produces better rounded lawyers - so long as that person is not someone who did a "pre-law" degree/majors, and I have dealt with lawyers trained in most of the major legal systems (England & Wales, Scotland, Ireland, Australia, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, China, Hong Kong, Singapore, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Belgium, Sweden, Finland, Indonesia, etc.) Apprenticeship also has issues because it tends to provide practice training confined to what the firm the trainee is at actually does.

    On the other hand I do see the benefit of the BL in terms of the marketability of the graduates should they choose not to be lawyers.

    If only it talked about federal debt too:

  76. Suze Orman, AKA Joan of Arc!

    Thank you Suze!

  77. We need to help Professor Campos' analysis get out!

    Take a look at this Crain's Chicago Business article reciting the NALP stats - and look at the commentators, seeming to think its a) not that bad, and b) unsympathetic to the plight of lawyers anyhow.


  78. MacK knows everything!

  79. I think recent comments attacking this as research data fraud is something to act seriously upon.

    Those with connections in say basic science research programs should know people with lots of info and connections on the consequences to universities and professors ("Principal Investigators") who use bogus/misleading data.

    I don't have more practical advice on this now, but those of you that do - please speak up, and reach out.

    Also, can any of us sponsor a white paper on the problem? Encourage Ph.D. theses on our problem and the data discrepancies?

    We cannot DO what we need to until we have the DATA. And we as lawyers aren't the experts in that!


  80. "You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can not fool all of the people all of the time."

    And that sentiment pretty much sums up the interconnected law school as well as the student loan scams, which have gone on for too long now, and just might be coming to an end.

    But maybe that is wishful thinking.

  81. @4:04

    I wish I did know more. Remember I am an international practitioner so I have to know about a lot of legal systems - plus I am admitted in several countries. I have direct knowledge of European, US and Asian systems - but don't ask me about say family law in any of them since my knowledge would be superficial, ditto landlord tenant, criminal outside the US (and even here my knowledge is limited) - technology, international commercial and international litigation is most of what I do, with a side of competition/antitrust (they work together, seriously). Many of the lawyers I work with regularly could discuss what I just did - but there are areas where you would be better off asking anyone but me.

    Oh I also worked as a chef, carpenter/cabinetmaker and boatbuilder. My undergrad is science. Odd credentials.


  82. Well cook more than chef - in a diner


  83. And I know more than I ever wanted to about shit - had a case about sewage treatment technology a few years back - and garbage - incinerator/pyrolitic digestion....


  84. Dear Jack of all trades, and too bored to master any of them:

    Your mastery of international bullshit might go over well at a billion dollar University cocktail party, but no matter how intelligent a person is, it takes a lifetime of devotion to master any trade, and much pain and sacrifice.

    And this is what I mean when I say this blog has mainly well set up and detatched people that are shitters and like to hear themselves talk, and that have no clue about what it is like to be ripped off and thereafter struggle with student loan soul and life destroying debt.

  85. Has LawProf talked about the LLM ads in the National Jurist which look to be totally aimed at credulous law students and SUCKERS.

    An ad from St. John's Law School for its LLM in International and Comparative Sports Law??!?!?!?!?!?!?!!!!


    Then there are the rest of the LLM ads for the education business.

    Has anyone discussed the National Jurist?

  86. Oh come on 4:50PM!

    Go back to the Scamblogs!

    If Life is motion towards knowledge,

    and God is all knowledge,

    then God is non motion, or, in other words, death.

    Therefore God is dead.

    And to conclude: If, as Baby Boomer icon John Lennon said: All you need is Love

    and as I have already proved, God is dead,

    then what baby boomer icon John lennon was really saying was:

    All you need is death.

    And in the wake of God's death shall flow inhumane usury and debt slavery etc. compliments of the Hippies.

    Sincerely, 4;50PM.

  87. All you need is love and God is all love you mean?

    And therefore John Lennon was both non motion towards knowledge and anti Life?

  88. John Lennon and the Beatles are probably the best poster people for American musical commodity Capitalism, and there is a very old Japanese lady in very old blue goggles that will concur.

  89. One more try:

    If Life is motion towards knowledge,

    and God is all knowledge,

    then God is non motion, or, in other words, death.

    Therefore God is dead.

    And to conclude: If, as Baby Boomer icon John Lennon said: All you need is love

    and God is all Love, but,

    as I have already proved, God is dead,

    then what baby boomer icon John lennon was really saying was:

    All you need is death.

    And in the wake of God's death shall flow inhumane usury and debt slavery etc. compliments of the Hippies.

    What an evil generation the boomers, and all of their pop idols are.

  90. I am not sure I have heard about a bias against JDs in HR departments outside of the scam blogs. I could see how one could might develop but I have also heard about schools like the University of the District of Columbia that have a number of part time mid career students who enroll primarily to gain legal knowledge more so than an intent to practice law. My suspicion is that HR departments at places like a marketing firm or something might be skeptical of people they perceive as failed lawyers more so than the actual JD.(fair or not)

    I am no expert on this matter but I am concerned with the attitude towards the money being made by new lawyers on scam blogs. Consider that a number of law grads went straight to law school from undergrad and also went straight to undergrad from high school. A lot of law grads are basically looking for their first or second full time job when they graduate. Even with a large debt, I really don't think 65k is a bad pay day for an entry level position, and I am not so sure 35-40k is terrible at the beginning of a career either. People in the 30 and 40ks are obviously going to struggle quite a bit paying off debt at first but I am doubt a lawyer making 37k is going to be making 37k for the rest of his or her life. And although you are going to be very, very poor doing it, 37k can service debt and I think that's just a part of breaking into the job market in any field. Doing something like building a clientele and establishing yourself are things that are going to take time and hard work. It just seems silly to expect a high paying job in a field you have never worked before in your life, especially if it's you're first full time job. The feeling I get is that a lot of people attend law school thinking they will get rich and don't have sincere interest in legal issues or anything similar.

    I don't know if Campos takes requests but I would really appreciate some blog entries on longitudinal studies like After the JD and also on how the class of 08 is doing right now. Most of what I read about on the blogs is just about students about a year out.

    Now of course, whether or not those jobs I spoke of a moment ago are actually there can be problematic. I think the law schools are likely going to have to respond to the fact that there seems to be twice as many new law graduates as there is legal work available every year. Although I understand issues with the level of honesty in reporting employment data, to me it appears that people complaining about the salary of entry level positions can distract from a much bigger risk in attending law school.

  91. I often see some very vehement comments on this blog and elsewhere that places blame on previous generation(s), and I don't really understand it.  I wasn't born here, but I've spent the majority of my life in this country.  I was brought up to believe that I owe a natural and moral duty to my parents, that just as they raised, provided for, and nurtured me when I was young and helpless, when they are old and infirm it would be my turn to take care for them.  I am happy to pay into SSI and the like because I can--and I think I should--pay to the older generations like my grandparents.

    My parents likewise never said:"this is my money." or "this is your money." Because really if we are going to do the math, I don't think I can ever properly repay what my parents have done for me.  When I was choosing my undergrad school, they told me, don't worry about the cost, we will pay for it, pick the best school.  I know they would have gladly done it and never think "my bum daughter now owes me $200k!" even though that is an astronomical sum for them. (I ended up picking a state college that gave me a full ride + stipend, because I didn't want to add to their burden)

    So I don't understand this divide.  Why is it us against them?  Aren't the boomers our parents and our grandparents--our family?  Why shouldn't we pay for their retirement?  Aren't our interests linked?  Like, I know my parents would have refinanced their house if that's what it took to pay for my college, but I didn't want them to do that and, without mentioning everything else and speaking just from a purely selfish perspective, that's something that could become part of my inheritance.  And, if they didn't think like they're my parents and thought solely from a rational person standard, wouldn't they still have every interest in helping me to succeed?  If I become rich and successful then I can give my parents a very cushy late life.  If the young generation grow up mostly successful and can pay heartily into SSI, that's great for the boomers isn't it?  

    I just don't think all the finger-pointing (older generation got theirs and now wants to screw the younger generation, younger generation needs to stop being entitled whiny brats, etc.) really helps matters or even make any sense. We're all rats on the same ship, so if it sinks we're all screwed.

  92. @ 7:18pm

    The argument against the law school scam isn't that all these lawyers have to "settle" for $60k or even $37k legal jobs to start. It is that there aren't enough jobs to go around. And long term many JD graduates simply won't make enough to pay back their loans.

    The fact that 32 people applied for a $10k/year job should tell you all you need to know about lawyers not willing to settle for low paying entry level jobs. This is a myth that is simply untrue. The problem is that there simply aren't enough jobs to go around, even at 10k or even free internship jobs!

  93. @7:32

    Did you read the last paragraph of 7:18?

  94. @7:18 p.m.:

    When every law school charges their students as though every law graduate made the Real Money, it's a problem. I don't care that you think it's just fine to start out making $37,000 or $65,000 or some other figure substantially less than every statement of median starting salary made by a given law school or its representatives.

    Incidentally, the debt service on $100,000 at 6.8% interest is $1,150 a month. A lawyer making $37,000 has a net income of somewhere around $30,000 before state income taxes, for a monthly net of $2,500. That $1,150 comes out of his monthly net salary, leaving him with $1,350 a month - the same or less than what he could have made working a cash register or stocking shelves. Of course, he's not paying that much because of IBR - for however long that program lasts. Hopefully he'll actually find work in the law and develop experience in his practice area, which might lead to him making more than $37,000 later. Or it might not.

    Since the last two years have done nothing but vindicate what scam blogs have said for the last five years, I will go with their intuition (and mine, as a recent graduate) over yours pending the detailed study whose recommendations will come too late to help any of us.

  95. 7:18 here

    I am not 100% sure Morse Code for J read the last paragraph either. I never said it was okay for law schools to be dishonest about how much their grads are making. I said 37k was okay at the entry level, where frankly its okay to have the same amount of exposable income as someone who is stocking shelves.

    I am not entirely fond of the 50 hours of Pro Bono work that New York will be requiring in 2013, but I like the direction it's going in for two reasons. 1.) If there was a more extensive post law school requirement to join the bar it might repel people who think law school isn't a huge commitment and that it will necessarily lead to riches and 2.) I think a number of new lawyers need a way to learn to respect the 70% of Americans who never went to any college.

    Also in my last paragraph I said that the number of legal jobs that exist is a far bigger issue than how much the ones that exist already pay.

  96. 7:18PM here again

    My apologies,

    although a little more than 70% of Americans do not have a college degree a much larger number (I believe around 60%) have attended at least one post high school institution.

  97. "to me it appears that people complaining about the salary of entry level positions can distract from a much bigger risk in attending law school."

    The two are inextricable, and both inextricable from the greater fraud.

    "My suspicion is that HR departments at places like a marketing firm or something might be skeptical of people they perceive as failed lawyers more so than the actual JD.(fair or not)"

    Then you would need to explain why successful long-term lawyers have problems leaving the law.

  98. I wonder how much of this is due to the state of the economy--in other words, if less deals are being made, less lawyers are needed. Perhaps when the economy picks up so will the demand for lawyers.

  99. 7:21

    The inter-generational bickering exists because there isn't enough money to go around, public debt is astronomical because prior generations did not demand that their politicians budget well, and because of the existence of an entitlement system that is funded by current contributions and won't exist in the future.

    And yes, it is in large part the fault of the baby boomers, so fuck them.

  100. The baby boomer bashing is just a goof and of course I respect and take care of my older parents.

    And again, I really do think that the JD in the non legal job marketplace is an uncomfortable thing, and is frowned upon.

    Perhaps another reason is that some people feel intimidated by lawyers, although I never understood why.

    To try and illustrate what I mean, here is another anectdotal story:

    Once upon a time, when I was working at non legal jobs, the managers or other employees of the respective companies would sometimes amble up to my desk with a sheepish expression and ask me about some sort of legal question, or ask me about the meaning of a legal term that they had jotted down on a yellow post it paper.

    I would most often reply: "I don't know but I will look it up."

    Then they would look at me very strangely before shuffling off, mumbling perhaps, and seemingly very disappointed.

    One time a young executive paid my cubicle a visit and told me in a low voice about a fender bender he had been in over the previous weekend, and the young executive asked me if I thought he would be sued.

    I again replied: "I don't know" (And I really did not :(

    The young executive then jabbed me with his forefinger. I suppose he did this to make sure I was not a ghost or rather a phantom lawyer, and seemed very perplexed that I did not have the answer to his questions about the accident.

  101. Which is sweeter: Madonna's 53 year old nipple or the Student Loan Sugar Teat?

  102. Both are wrinkled, dry and bitter. Why do you ask?


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