Friday, June 8, 2012

Two out of three 2011 law school graduates did not get real legal jobs

NALP has released preliminary employment statistics for the class of 2011 as of nine months after graduation. They are, unsurprisingly, terrible.

12% of 2011 graduates were completely unemployed in February 2012, and another three per cent had re-enrolled in further graduate study, which can be treated as the functional equivalent to post-law school unemployment.  So the first takeaway from these numbers is the nearly 15% unemployment rate for people who got law degrees from ABA-accredited schools last year.  This compares with an 8.2% overall national unemployment rate, which, to my surprise at least, is also the unemployment rate among 25 to 34 year-olds (see Table A-10).  So getting a law degree correlates with a doubling of the risk that a young adult will be unemployed nine months after receiving it.

But of course this 85.6% “employment” rate includes every kind of job law graduates obtained: legal, non-legal, full-time, part-time, long-term, and temporary.   Let’s work with this preliminary data to make an estimate regarding how many 2011 graduates of ABA law schools had real legal jobs nine months after graduation, with a real legal job defined as a full-time non-temporary paying position requiring a law degree.

We can begin by eliminating jobs for which a law degree was not required.   24% of employed law graduates fell into this category, including the large majority of the 18.1% of all graduates who reported being employed in “business” (For most law graduates getting a job in “business” is short hand for either a low-paying service sector job that the graduate could have gotten more easily before going to law school, or in a smaller number of cases a good job that the graduate was qualified for prior to getting a law degree – indeed often literally the same job the graduate left in order to get a law degree).

What about those graduates of the 2011 class who had a job for which a law degree was required? Note that only 60% of graduates whose employment status was known were working full-time in a job requiring bar admission.  (Since it appears the status of somewhere around 7% of graduates was unknown, and since those graduates surely had far worse outcomes than average, this suggests that perhaps 56% to 58% of graduates had full time jobs requiring bar admission. 12% of all jobs, legal and non-legal, obtained by graduates were part-time).  Now consider how many jobs in this category have to be tossed out if we are limiting ourselves to real legal jobs, even liberally defined.  The 5% of all “jobs” funded by law schools themselves for their own graduates must be excluded, as should the 6% of all private practice jobs which consisted of graduates reduced to the desperate expedient of attempting the start a solo practice straight out of law school.  

NALP has not yet reported what overall percentage of jobs were temporary -- defined as being for a term of less than one year – but for the class of 2010 26.9% of all jobs were defined as temporary (To be conservative I’m going to treat all judicial clerkships as full-time long-term legal jobs, even though many state court clerkships are one-year way stations on the road to legal unemployment).  We do know that 7% of all jobs obtained by 2011 graduates were reported as both part time and temporary.

Then we have the always tricky category of jobs with law firms of two to ten attorneys.  A remarkable 42.9% of all graduates who obtained jobs in private practice (49.5% of all graduates went into private practice) were listed in this category.  Many of these positions are of course real, if generally low-paying, associate jobs with established several-lawyer firms.  But some are of a much more tenuous nature, including transient law clerk positions with solo practitioners, eat what you kill arrangements, in which people are given office space in return for a percentage of whatever they manage to bill, and basically fictional “law firms” consisting of two or three graduates banding together in a last-ditch attempt to avoid formal unemployment. But let’s be optimistic and assume that 80% of new graduates who were reported as obtaining jobs with firms of two to ten lawyers were in fact getting real legal jobs, liberally defined.

Thus once we exclude jobs that don’t require law degrees, law school-funded jobs, other temporary jobs, and part time jobs, and then make a generous estimate of how many private practice positions with very small firms were real legal jobs, the numbers look like this:

60% of all graduates whose employment status was known were in full-time jobs requiring bar admission.

Minus the 4% of all graduates in law school-funded temporary jobs.

Minus the approximately 15% of all graduates in temporary (less than one year) legal positions other than law school-funded jobs.

Minus an estimated 4.25% of all graduates in fictional “firm” jobs.

Minus the 3% of all graduates working as solo practitioners. 

This leaves us with 33.75% of all 2011 ABA law school graduates in real legal jobs nine months after graduation.
This is, in my view, a conservative estimate of the scope of the disaster that has overtaken America’s law school graduates.  It counts almost all positions with law firms and with government agencies as real legal jobs, even though we know some of these “jobs” are actually one-year unpaid internships.  (See for example these). Indeed it counts whole classes of time-limited jobs that are likely to leave graduates with no legal employment at their conclusion, such as most state judicial clerkships, as long-term rather than temporary employment.  Most of all, it makes what by now must be considered the questionable assumption that law schools are reporting these numbers accurately, rather than misreporting them to their advantage. 

Yet even this generous estimate of how many 2011 graduates of ABA-accredited law schools managed to get real legal jobs leads to the conclusion that two-thirds did not.


  1. With apologies to Meatloaf, two out of three ain't good.

    1. I agree. Campos is so awesome.

      I bet all the hot CU co-eds skip the frat parties and just loiter outside Campos' office on Friday nights.

      I know that I would.

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  2. These trends are intractable. The issue is the debt needs to be liquidated. Until criminal prosecution for the guilty occurs & the debt is liquidated there will be no balance restored to this economy.

    1. Well, all this means is that the law schools are vomiting up more lawyers than this society needs. It would be far worse for this country if we kept excess lawyers around, desperately looking for frivolous law schools to ruin people's lives.

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  3. Brilliant.

    You have really very much improved on what others before you have done, what I did, what Scotty did, what Nando has done, and many others, such as Tom the Temp, L2L, Esq Never, etc, and you have built on it, improved, refined it, etc.

    And your writing style is perfect.

    Just brilliant.

  4. These numbers are worse than I thought. I am terrified about what has happened to this peofessiOn.

    But I expect TLS to post about how 2011 is a recession outlier and 2012 is better, even though nalp says modest gains at best.

  5. They are not intended to punish big companies merely on account of their size, nor to serve as surrogate "consumer protection" laws. Most importantly, they have never been anti-market or anti-business in their underlying conception or in their implementation. On the contrary, the antitrust laws are intended to promote market economics and healthy competition in every market, while checking the abuses that sometimes arise in different markets.

  6. 6:12 -- Wow, antitrust spam!

  7. These numbers are bad. Frankly, this needs to become a political issue. If the Tea Partiers knew about this, those blowhards would shake this system its knees.

    Get someone -- Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck, someone -- to show the absolute waste of taxpayer dollars being pumped into law schools for which there are no jobs. This system is Soviet in its efficiency.

    1. I just never thought of it that way--that if I went to law school I would definitely make 100k or a certain amount. Everyone is different, I guess.

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  8. 2/3 is what the kids today refer to as an epic fail.

    Epic fail!

  9. "and basically fictional “law firms” consisting of two or three graduates banding together in a last-ditch attempt to avoid formal unemployment."

    I saw a resume of a 2010 grad who did that with one of his buddies-- he created a website for the firm and everything. He listed himself as the "Managing Partner" and submitted that resume for a First Year Associate position. I guess he gets A for effort. The other thing that blew my mind was he was T14, >30% class rank. I would be in bad, bad shape if I graduated now as opposed to the late 90's.

  10. Well, all this means is that the law schools are vomiting up more lawyers than this society needs. It would be far worse for this country if we kept excess lawyers around, desperately looking for frivolous law schools to ruin people's lives.

    Oh yeah, and this "scam" thing... those misleading statistics are NOTHING in comparison to the tactics some shyster lawyers use routinely to steal money from their clients and defendants. So what, the law schools did a little twisting of facts to take money on behalf of some future lawyers, many of whom wanted to do the same or worse their whole lives. It's not like they mugged some old ladies coming home from church.

    Karma's a bitch, ain't it!!!!

    Now stop whining and get a real job, where you'll be benefitting society in some way.

  11. btw I meant lawsuits not law schools in my last comment

  12. @7:02 a.m.:

    Some of us might get real jobs. Some of us are undoubtedly going to become those shyster lawyers of whom you have made such a detailed study.

    I just hope your penetrating insight into humanity allows you to avoid one of the wretched excess lawyers, when it's your liberty or property at stake.

  13. @7:08 Rest assured, if my liberty or property were at stake I would prefer a lawyer in the top 1/3 of all graduates.

  14. @7:13 a.m.:

    I'm sure that you'll find several who will tell you that they were, in your price range for representation. At least some probably will be.

    Also, if you pay federal income taxes in the United States, thanks for bankrolling us on the front side and subsidizing our loan payments afterwards.

    What was that you were saying about karma, again?

  15. @7:01 AM

    Classic example of "I got mine so screw you" attitude.

  16. That's a lot of estimating on top of guesstimating on top of some more estimating...

    Of course, your numbers could very well be accurate, or even better, than the real ones.

    But isn't that part of the problem? All these guesstimates to the 3rd power aren't going to convince very many people of anything unless they are already convinced.

    What boggles my mind is that if the graduate employment situation is as bad as your guesstimates, why do the same half dozen to dozen people comment here day after day and on the other scam blogs?

    If there are tens of thousands of new un/underemployed JD grads every year, why are there so few people contributing to the discussion?

    If more JDs aren't willing to get involved, and they're the ones hurting, how does anyone expect that the people NOT hurting are going to move to do anything about this problem?

    On a separate but related note, I think it is a mistake to focus on the law school aspect of all of this. The student loan and tuition explosion are much bigger than law schools, and people seem to have very, VERY little sympathy for lawyers or wannabe lawyers that it seems to actually detract from everything being said.

    1. Wow it must be great to know what everyone should be doing if they cared about something.

  17. "If there are tens of thousands of new un/underemployed JD grads every year, why are there so few people contributing to the discussion?"

    I've noticed this too, including on other forums. It always seem there are far more people complaining about their biglaw jobs than there are unemployed TTT JD's with nothing to do.

  18. You cannot seriously suggest the problem is less severe than advertised because you made a quick headcount of the regular commenters on this blog and found it somehow lacking? You'd gather equally relevant data if you went to Starbucks and counted soy lattes. Top flight police work, chief.

    Now, what I wanted to mention is that I, yes me, this guy, took a "graduate fellowship" deal this spring. I was counted as "employed" at that magic nine month mark.

    Am I employed? Fuck no.

    This system is like ten miles of bad road.

  19. And your 33% number includes all sorts of jobs that will barely cover debt interest, without touching principal.

    I understand your instinct to be conservative, so as to retain the higher ground and not open yourself to easy criticism. However, a real estimate of the number of graduates who won't experience a total financial disaster is around 10-15%.

  20. Of course I can suggest that the problem is less severe based on the people speaking out about it online over the past several years.

    How do you answer that there are tens of thousands of people who are in debtor's prison because of "the scam," but only a handful have spoken out over these same years? People LOVE TO BITCH! Why aren't there more?

    And why are you so defensive about the suggestion? How do YOU know that it is as bad as these guesstimates suggest? What top flight police work have you done? You're nothing but an anecdote...

    This just doesn't seem like a big issue if you look at the number of people complaining...those WITH the problem are the ones most likely to speak out about it. If they're not speaking out, then I have to assume the problem isn't bad enough, individually, for them to do so. Taken collectively, the problem isn't as great as these cherry-picked guesstimates make it out to be.

  21. I am a law skool graduate. I am also licensed in TX.

    I don't work as an attorney. I know several people who graduated and aren't practicing, they have to make a living.

    I am the only one of my peer group who even knows of this website. MAYBE 1 in 100 readers will bother to post a response, it may even be lower than that.

    Just because there are a "core" group of commenters, don't assume their isn't 10's of thousands unemployed and "mal-employed" attorneys.

  22. People could be embarassed by the failure to secure legal employment. Or maybe they're too busy working 2-3 jobs trying to put food on the table to spend time blogging. Doesn't mean they're not suffering, they just don't have the free time to blog.

  23. LOL at the law professor at 7:32 wondering why more people don't have as much time to read and comment on blogs as he does. You got it dummy, recent graduates don't spend more time commenting on the internet because they are too busy making 6-figures at their biglaw jobs. Yeah, that's the ticket...

  24. @7:50 a.m.:

    Right now, the most popular book at is "50 Shades of Grey," an "erotic" novel. As of right now, there are 5,700 customer reviews, about half of which found the book mediocre or worse. While Amazon does not publish its actual sales for competitive reasons, this book is estimated to have sold 10 million copies, and Amazon has about 50% of market share for new books sold in paper and electronic copies. So, approximately 5 million copies sold through Amazon yields about 3,000 people with the time and inclination to complain about how much the book sucks on the Internet.

    I have a good job - in fact, the one I had before law school. My wife is also employed, as one of the lucky ones who entered private practice with a firm of attorneys who hadn't graduated in the last three years. I have the time and inclination to post on these forums because I think that it's important for people to know that law schools are a terrible deal - especially if, like me, you come to law school out of another career, borrow a substantial sum from the federal government, and end up anywhere below the top tenth. A lot of my classmates are too busy working at whatever they've found to complain to anyone, even their bar association. Some of them are too ashamed of how their careers turned out, despite the abundance of data suggesting that they were duped.

    Frankly, the statistics that would shed the most light are ones which NALP can't access and the Department of Education won't provide for political reasons: the number of law graduates in IBR and the extent to which they are subsidized. But it's not like Campos hasn't shown in detail why he disagrees with even a terrible employment estimate, and thus it's silly to disregard it because you haven't seen a tidal swell of unique complainers over at TLS.

  25. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  26. Spread the word...yesterday's article and today's post describe the heart of the problem on many levels.

    Even my wife, a non-lawyer, tells people about it. She has since guided three different people considering law school to this site in order to discourage them. All have decided against attending.

  27. Readers of this blog may be interested in this article from the WSJ's SmartMoney publication. "10 Things Law Schools Won't Tell You."

  28. I find it interesting that there used to be so many people here that would complain that transparency wouldn't change a thing. It may not be the final answer but it's definitely having a significant impact.

  29. I just graduated and I know FOR A FACT that 3 of the people who got Coif plus summa at my school did not get legal jobs.

    what else do you need to know?

  30. 8:22,
    A comment like that without school rank isn't very helpful.

  31. I don't know why people don't comment on blogs. A lot of people just don't do that, on any subject.

    But I do think it is worth mentioning, maybe Lawprof can do a post about this someday, that unemployed graduates are very reluctant to accept that they've been "scammed". For many reasons, they prefer to think that they are simply in a tough, but temporary, situation that they will eventually get out of. They prefer to think that they will eventually have a nice career and that everything will eventually work out.

    And just a personal note, I didn't actually feel comfortable reading scamblogs until after I had found secure employment. It took me 5 years, but it eventually happened. Now I am free to engage in this discussion without feeling completely horrible about myself.

  32. 8:25, can't do it without outting, but remember that all Coif chapters (only 80 of them) are T100 sans I believe 1 of the chapters.

  33. Even worse than I imagined too.... it truly is a disaster of epic proportions.

    The law school cartel will indeed try to spin these stats as outliers, and pump up the imaginary "recovery." Folks, there ain't gonna be no recovery, this is the new normal.

    This is devastating evidence that many, many law schools need to close, and even the surviving schools should no longer be subsidized by the federally-guaranteed usury scheme.

  34. What an honorable "profession," huh?!

  35. Law Prof is right. The private firm/2-10 category deserves close scrutiny-- I believe that that is where bad law schools scam-up the numbers under the new and improved placement reporting guidelines.

    I strongly doubt that 80 percent of the 2-10 are real law jobs, as recognized by us--representing clients and drawing a middle class salary. How many small law firms in this environment say "Wow, work is overflowing, so let's bring another lawyer into our firm-- and not an experienced one, let's hire a recent graduate!"?

    Look at the placement stats reported by a school like Northwestern or even GWU. If memory serves, they put less than 10 percent in the law firm 2-10 category. Then pick a random third tier school-- and, generally, about 50 percent of employed/JD required grads end up in that category.


  36. I don't have a good sense for the long-term prospects of somebody starting at a 2-10 person firm, but I have heard this category used as a defense for TTT law schools like John Marshall.

  37. I would not read this blog if I was unemployed. I am incredibly fortunate to be one of the legal 1 percenters, but for a while, I was certain I would end up like the typical law grad. During that time, reading abovethelaw and the scamblogs made me depressed. Also, I am not going to send links to my unemployed law friends; what good would it do for them?

  38. From the link posted by 8:13:

    "No one at the ABA was available to comment on this issue, but in past statements on tuition costs, the organization has said the increases are largely due to a more hands-on approach and more competition between the schools for higher rankings."

    It's like they're not even trying to disguise that they're charging whatever they want because they can. I mean, "hands-on approach"? Really?

  39. After reading this post, I started to think that the recent graduates who left jobs as, say, high-school English or History teachers to go to school and returned to those jobs after graduation are among the success stories!

    Of course, most people in that situation have loans to re-pay that they didn't have before they went to law school. Still, they're doing better than the majority of graduates.

    8:29--I think that when people have invested a lot in something, they don't want to admit that their investment is, essentially, lost. About the only thing that keeps most of them going is the hope--however baseless--that the situation is "temporary" and "things will get better."

    Harry Browne used to refer to this way of thinking as the "past investment trap."


    A full-time associate position at a law firm between 2-10 attorneys.


    The number of frequent commenters on this site will represent about 1% of the viewers. That's just people who are aware of this site. Anecdotally, most law students I know at lower ranked schools are unaware of sites like TLS or ATL so they would be much less likely to know about this site.

  41. A poster over at JDUnderground linked to the ABA Palcement Reports. Perhaps this will help clarify matters.


    abazungu (Jun 8, 2012 - 12:38 pm)

    Its pretty easy to get clear, understandable job placement numbers for all ABA accredited law schools.

    The link above gives employment data for each school, including number of graduates, number reporting no job, whether jobs are long or short term and a very good breakdown on types of jobs graduates are getting. Some of the fourth tier schools have eye-poppingly bad placement numbers. Some of these schools are placing zero students into firms of over 26 attorneys. Some are placing less than 50% into any kind of long term employment. No salary data is provided, but the breakdown by employer type should help anyone who cares to find out just how bad the employment outlook for recent grads is.

  42. This comment has been removed by the author.

  43. @8:12 AM

    Your casual use of the word "Retard" as an insult is offensive and inappropriate to any decent person - I would ask Professor Campos to delete your posting if you do not do so yourself.

  44. There are successful 2-10 person firms - I started at a boutique where I was number 6 (it rose to 30+ before a big firm acquired it) and I am in two boutiques now where we fend off acquisition offers from time to time.

    That said the amount of employment in high end boutiques is small. I do think though that such a boutique is a better start for a young lawyer professionally, through economically it has its drawbacks. This statement is not intended to contradict the view that many of the 2-5 person firms are probably recent graduates banding together in a storm.

    Frankly my impression is that good employment has been only available for about half of law school classes since about the 90s and the one third number has been pretty well the case since about 2000. Definitions of good employment on graduation of course vary - I do not see a BigLaw associate position as anything but a temporary gig for most JDs. In practice firms have been able to treat associates and even junior partners badly because there are so many new graduates ready and willing to step into a dead man's (or woman) shoes.

    I would also add, as I did before that the desperation of so many lawyers for employment has a devastating impact on professional ethics (not to mention the bad example the law school administrators and legal ethics professors already set, the former by dishonesty, the latter by ignoring that "mote in their own eye."

  45. @10:08, a PC police type question. How does an anonymous poster (or anyone posting without a BloggerProfile) delete their posts?

  46. ^^ I meant, "policing" not "police". For my own posts, anyway, I do not seem to have a delete option. Thats' why Im always very carefull two avoid typografical errers in my own posts.

  47. @I have a name:

    I have clients, and time to bill, and pleadings to get out the door, and contracts - so I am afraid I just hammer my posts in as fast as I can.

    As far as being PC - I have a younger brother that charming little creeps like 8:12 and, from your critique of my statement you would characterise as an actual "retard" so to be really PC may I suggest that you should try, a really serious contortion - as in fucking yourself before you call me PC again, you offensive little heel

  48. Between Tulane and Loyola, at least 400 JDs were just awarded in New Orleans alone (forget LSU et al.)

    Meanwhile on Craigslist New Orleans Legal there's been about 6 new ads for attorney employment this week. Here's one:

    "Established South Carolina law firm and national tile abstract company, seeks a highly motivated Louisiana Licensed associate or contract attorney to assist with real estate transactions, Title review and supervision and certification of title reports. Real estate experience is a must, including familiarity with title examinations. Foreclosure or other litigation experience is preferred.

    Please email a cover letter, resume and a list of references to

    • Location: La.
    • Compensation: $15 per hour or agree upon file price

  49. @ MacK - your younger brother; my older brother (Downs). Still, I don't fly into spitting rages at strangers each time I hear or read such a term.

    Unfortunately, my spine is as atrophied and stiff as your own sense of humour seems to be, so I'll take a pass re your advice. Hopefully your own spine is not as stiff and atrophied as mine (or as your own sense of humour seems to be), so maybe you can give it a go on yourself and let us know how it works.

    And finally, it was a serious question - I don't see any way to delete my posts, yet you indicate that this is possible. Is it limited to just some classes of posters?

  50. And the Butthurt Comment of the Week award goes to MacK!

  51. How the fuck can the government be employing lawyers in jobs paying $0? That pisses me off more than any of this.

  52. Dean Z at Michigan just closed her open blog. Probably inundated with too many comments she couldn't post?

  53. There is so much anger going through me as I read this. I want to just huddle over, start crying, maybe throw up a little, wipe it off my lips, and compose myself. But the truth is, I knew this was happening. I am sure every sane law school student realizes that they are screwed unless they are connected somehow or at one of the big 3 schools. If not, congratulations, you just spent hundreds of thou$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$and$$$$ of dollars for NOTHING! I commend you on this blog.

    The truth is, I have been dealing with the reality of what this all means for me, and having spent my youth taking in all the stories of 'the american dream', the 'land of opportunity' and 'go, my son, fly with the eagles', the truth is, law school isn't, and never was, going to make those things happen.

    Once I told some friends at work that I was going to go to law school and I could expect to make over $100,000 and I thought they were in awe. Truth was, that's the kind of statement one should be slapped on the spot for making.

    I am learning still. Not just legal theory, but learning that law school is perhaps one of the biggest mi$$$takes I have EVER made in my life. And yet my family was $o proud of me ('cept my mother, she actually forgot I was in law school, so I downplayed it -- maybe I'll post about that later).

  54. In a way this is not bad news because it will make the sophisticated consumers even more sophisticated.

    And who in their right mind wants to be poor and in debt for life without being sophisticated as well?

  55. I just never thought of it that way--that if I went to law school I would definitely make 100k or a certain amount. Everyone is different, I guess.

  56. @12:47 - so... curious. If you did attend (or are attending) LS, what did you think about it? Did you just want to practice law, or possibly were interested in practicing a certain type of law, or were you just interested in it for the education, etc?

  57. The BLS info is not a good comparision in its current form. I would wager that many unemployed LS grads would fall into the "marginally attached to the labor force" or "discouraged worker" category. The way the BLS represents the unemployment rate does not match up to the NALP report. We would need some sort of "not-employed" rate (from the BLS stats) instead of the BLS unemployment rate to make a fair comparison between these data sets.

    Not trying to defend law schools or the decision to go, just trying to make sure we are comparing this data in the same terms. Things aren't so great without a law degree either.

  58. To be clear, I am not at all critical of anyone who was thinking of the salary. I am just saying that I would never have said, before I got to law school, that I would definitely be making a certain amount. I had no thought of practicing beyond a few years. It has been a long time since people took a job and stayed at it for their entire careers. So, that was not in mind. I applied to schools that I thought would open doors for me in a number of different arenas.

  59. @1:12, thanks for the reply. Many here I think would argue that the "opening doors" meme is unlikely, but it does happen. I have colleagues who did firm life for a few years, jumped in-house (as lawyers) for a few years, then moved into more general business management positions in those or other companies. These jobs were always closely related to the type of work they were doing as lawyers, though. And not people who graduated LS this century.

  60. It makes sense that recent victims of the scam would want to avoid blogs like this. For one thing, you don't want to think that your situation isn't going to improve and that's exactly what we are saying. For another, everybody else is still telling you that things will improve and you want to believe that. For yet another, everybody is telling you to remain positive. Quite a few very obnoxious people will actually blame your failure on your own negativity if you start to repeat some of the things said on this blog.

    The best people to champion this cause are people like Campos himself, employed people with nice jobs, the lucky ones, who can look at this situation from a position of objectivity without being (too) emotionally invested in the truth being one thing or another.

  61. @ I_have_a_name-- I appreciate that. But it has worked for me and many of my classmates. I think it depends on the school. I know people who graduated from my law school in this century who have had similar trajectories. This is in no way to minimize the problems that law students are having now.

  62. I agree. Campos is so awesome.

    I bet all the hot CU co-eds skip the frat parties and just loiter outside Campos' office on Friday nights.

    I know that I would.

  63. Mocking people's appreciation for Campos is the most pathetic sort of trolling. Just why are you even reading this? Go away.

  64. "It makes sense that recent victims of the scam would want to avoid blogs like this."

    I don't disagree, but I have found no forum anywhere where large amounts of unemployed indebted law school grads have really come together. It seems like if there are so many victims, some of them should've found a better way to band together and speak out.

  65. I have found no forum where large numbers (or "amounts") of unemployed people of any description have "really come together . . . to band together and speak out." So there probably aren't many unemployed people at present. Which is a great comfort.


    This blog frequently compares the situation of the law schools to that of the dental schools in the 1980s. I went back and read some NYT articles from 1986-1990, and a few interesting differences and similarities stand out:

    (1) Both professions were said to be undergoing structural changes that would permanently reduce demand. For dental schools, that was flouride and advancements in children's tooth health. We know all about the supposed advancements in law (e.g., robo-coding, though in the first case where a judge ordered widespread robo-coding (Judge Andrew Peck in SDNY) he just ordered human coding). Similarly, tech outsourcing was thought as recently as 2007 or 2008 to be killing demand for computer programmers and engineers in the US. Let's all be a little more careful about the certainty we express when we make predictions, m'kay? The argument that "the world is becoming a more complex place and will need more lawyers" is perfectly plausible. The problem right now, as Keynes (or Krugman) would tell you, is a lack of aggregate demand. Once (if?) things pick up again we will know more. Yes, things were not all rosy for many lawyers even in the boom years. But that does not mean the law school system must be or will be destroyed. An uptick in demand might mean we need to graduate, say, 15% fewer lawyers.

    (2) Dental school was EXPENSIVE back then. Google around for the amounts. We're talking comparable to current levels of law school tuition in constant dollars. This is in a time when other programs (e.g., medicine, law) were far cheaper. I also wonder whether dental schools pay a tax to the universities they're affiliated with and if they generate a lot of their own non-tuition revenue (research grants?). No idea. Dental schools probably had and may continue to have a different business model overall.

    (2) Unclear how many dental schools closed. Looked like maybe 5 out of about 60. In percentage terms, that's a lot of law schools. But back then, gov't lending to students was tighter. This could go on for a while.

    (3) There were only 1.2 applicants for every spot nationally in dental schools when the crisis began. There are currently something like 1.5 applicants for every slot in law schools. And I believe that is just JD applicants. LLMs and others bring in further revenue. Again, not to say everything is honky dory, but I am not sure it's identical to dental schoolmageddon circa 1988. Georgetown is not going to close its law school the way it closed its dental school.

    (4) Both dental profs and admins and law school profs and admins were widely criticized (by those doing the criticizing; not widely in society) as being lazy, overpaid, and self-interested.

    (5) No political support for helping out the schools or professionals who graduate from them, unlike doctors.

    (6) Staying in dental school in the late 80s would mean you have a pretty good job today. Sure, most ppl don't have dental insurance, but that has worked out well for them since it has kept their rates higher. And it turns out ppl still get cavities etc. despite flouridated water. In fact, with the trend towards bottled water, I suspect demand for dentists will increase.


    None of this is to say that predictions of law schools' demise are premature. But we all could use more historical perspective. A comparison of the 1980s dental school business model and the 2010s law school business model would be helpful.

  67. Every man is responsible for his own destiny.

    Do not let the law school scam defeat your soul.

    Use your mind, and look in other directions to find your success that the LS scam is trying to take away from you.

    There is a great big world out there, and the ABA, nor does Albert Lord does control all of it.

    Discover your talents and your strengths and look upon you law school time and debt as a mistake from which lessons can be drawn.

    That will make you wise.

    Be your very best to overcome the major life hurdle that the scam has intentionally placed in your way.

    Do not drown in negativity, and live to see the day when 1/4 to 1/3 of the law schools are shuttered.

    What goes around comes around in life.

    And if you think your life cannot overcome the incredible adversity that the law school scam has caused, think about how Johnny Cage defeated the seemingly unbeatable Goro.

    Personally, what I think really made Johnny Cage determined to win was when Goro broke Johnny's five hundred dollar sunglasses.

  68. shut the hell up

  69. Have these recent graduates tried networking?

  70. Some dental school closing links follow. Looks like 6 private dental schools closed b/w 1984 and 1994.

  71. Also, a lot of people here seem to be talking about the impact of loans on buying a house. "What mortgage broker is going to lend to you wi that kind of debt?!!"

    Two things.

    First, mortgage lending is still ridiculously lenient in this country, when you include agency lending and the FHA. Yes, you heard me. If you have a job, you can get a mortgage. Your main problems are getting a job and coming up with a down payment. So, the problem isn't not getting a mortgage, it's not getting a job.

    Second, less homeownership would be good for this country. A higher bar to the teat of taxpayer-subsidized suburbanization is not a social bad, even if you think it is bad for you. Sorry.

    The student debt bubble will result in greater wealth being channeled to suppliers of education and their lenders and away from other economic uses, like consumer products and durable goods, for a long time. But (a) is this necessarily bad for the economy? and (b) it's a stretch to say it'll really have a big and bad impact on home ownership. I suspect the impact will be limited and as I stated, I'm also not convinced home ownership should be expected and encouraged the way it has been.

  72. And now there is a shortage of dentists and there are calls to open more dental schools.

  73. Regarding dental schools, a couple of demographic points:

    Total dental students enrolled in 1980: 22,800

    US Pop: 226,000,000

    Total dental students enrolled in 2011: 20,300

    US Pop: 312,000,000

    So dental school enrollment has declined by 11% over a time when the country's population increased by 38.3%.

    Over the same time enrollment in ABA law schools has gone from 119,000 to 148,000.

  74. It's funny that many people do not consider dentists "real" doctors. Getting into dental school is very hard, and dental schools charge a fortune because demand is high and supply is limited.

    Columbia is $50K a year, the same as for law, but I suspect scholarships are far rarer than they are in the law school. Also it's four years, followed by residency. (note that prices are per semester)

    NYU is $60K per year, or $240K for four years, plus interest, plus subsistence wages while in residency when you throw your loans into forbearance and the interest keeps accruing:

  75. LawProf:

    Good points re: comparing law/dental students and US population.

    I think professional school in general has gotten extremely expensive. The problem is bigger than law schools, and fundamentally political.

    We need more taxpayer support of higher education and support for training lawyers. The fact is we have a dramatic excess of demand for lawyers -- poor people and the middle class have their rights trampled daily -- just no way to pay for them. Of course there is no political support for training lawyers. But perhaps bar associations can increase dues or courts can increase fees so as to fund more public interest lawyers, which would have the twin benefit of expanding lawyer employment and helping the needy. (I am comfortable claiming that a junior lawyer who couldn't get a job at a firm is better for a family facing eviction than no lawyer.)

  76. As a former BigLawyer, I am not sure that US legal employment will track US population growth as closely as those of other service providers.

    US dentists serve almost exclusively US residents. US lawyers serve mainly US residents, but there are tons of deals, litigations, and arbitrations that are run through US firms.

    On this point but somewhat more broadly, it is still genuinely the case that lawyers can practice for a few years and then get good non-law jobs. I graduated from law school in the mid-aughts and have a number of friends who have now transitioned to good, non-legal employment. Some from my T14, but many not. These include publishing (not T14), business side work for a wine import/export company (ditto), and several consultants and finance people (mainly T14). Was their law degree *essential* for these positions? No. But certainly helpful.

    I like the work you are doing pushing transparency etc. But to claim that non-legal employment = barista is unfair. Similarly, I am not convinced that lawyer employment should track population growth in the way that almost purely domestic service like dentists should.

  77. ^^^ tons of INTERNATIONAL deals etc. that are run thru US firms. Almost everything I worked on in BigLaw was fundamentally international.

  78. As a former BigLaw Associate, I can say with all confidence that the actual statistics for the legal profession are much worse than these. The T14 schools have a huge unemployed cohort after age 45. Look at their women and minorities over age 45. Disasterous employment and earnings statistics. Big Inhouse does not like OLDER women or minorities. No place to go. Look at a public high school principal in NYC earning over $150,000 with that much in benefits and eligibility for a $50,000 bonus. Assistant principals make over $130,000 with equal benefits. Who do you think comes out ahead, the educator or the Columbia or NYU Law grad? It is the educator in most cases.

  79. Point taken, but I'm not sure public education is a great place to find a job right now. Computer programming or medicine might be.

  80. You would be too late to the party if you are over age 45. The point is that the $160,000 jobs are temporary and are often tickets to unemployment or solo or very small law practice.

    Some people say they are doing well in solo practice or small firms after Biglaw. Are they lying? I don't know.

    If you are a doctor or dentist,your job after residency should be long-term. There is no up or out creating a huge surplus supply of labor over age 45. Law by contrast has the up or out system. Many of my formerly employed colleagues have been pushed out of work by the legal profession. It is so hard to hold a job. Pyramidal law firms that rarely hire after age 45. In house positions that do not like to hire or retain after age 45, if you are not a white male. Solo or very small law with uncertain income (like $33,000 a year as a solo with a Columbia or NYU law degree and 23 years of experience). Who would go go law school if they knew. The early years may pay off the debt, but the later ones are a form of enforced poverty in expensive urban areas.

  81. few errors here:

    1) math error

    if 15% is the estimated number of temp jobs from all job categories (based on your estimate from the number of both temp jobs and part time jobs at 7% for all categories) you don't subtract it from3 the 60% you subtract .15(.60)=9% (this assumes the temp jobs are spread over all categories equally)

    2) 60% was the reported bar required job number not the law degree number. for the law degree number you have to add a whole bunch of jd preferred jobs

    3) i doubt that the academically funded jobs were part of the 60% bar req jobs so i don't think you get to subtract.

    I love your site and agree with you 10000% but honesty is important on both sides.

  82. @ 4:34pm

    I don't doubt that you can find many success stories of people that have done okay from law school. But that is not the point. The point is that for every success story there are even more failures.

    To claim that "non-legal employment = barista" is NOT unfair if you point out that while not EVERYONE who has a non-legal job is working retail or as a barista, there are a SIGNIFICANT NUMBER who are.

  83. Being a doctor or dentist = much worse on the front end -- undergrad premed classes, four years of expensive med/dental school, residency -- but yes, starting at 35 or whatever, you supposedly have a stable job for life. Just don't tell that to radiologists not finding jobs because their x-ray reading jobs are being farmed out to India.

    That said, for your average person, going to law school is more akin to going to B school than med school. Shorter term investment, higher risk, higher reward.

    Also, while I realize many lawyers have trouble finding work in middle age, I suspect that this constitutes a minority of people who went to law school but are no longer practicing by middle age. Actually practicing law kind of sucks after a while. By 45 many ppl have dropped out voluntarily for other jobs. You also mention women - many choose not to work for pay, not only in law. So, if you're 45 and want to practice but can't find work, I am sorry and I wish you luck. But many fellow alums are non-practitioners by choice

  84. I'm telling you, my late grandfather, who went straight to work after the 8th grade, used to tell me stories about digging ditches alongside of college professors during the Great Depression of the 1930's.

    And the professors that were stupid enough to talk about how much education they had were absolute outcasts in the blue collar world, and hazed mercilessly whilst ditch digging.

    History repeats itself, and I look forward to the day when Law School Professors will be waiting tables and working menial jobs and have to take absolute shit all day from a brutal boss that never even finished high school.

    That is real, survival school.

    Because that is what underemployment is like or at least will be like for a lot more after the student loan teat finally runs dry and this bubble finally bursts.

  85. In the 1930s, we were on the gold standard and had virtually no social welfare programs. People were boiling shoes. Unemployment was 25%. Shit is bad right now on the macro level. It is not that bad, at least not yet. Even Spain, with 25% unemployment, is not going into a violent revolution, because people are not starving. Your schaudenfraude may have to wait. More to the point, I'm not sure how it would help you get a job.

  86. In my age group T14=unemployment or underemployment for a large number of lawyers. My colleagues who worked at BigLaw when they were younger are now unemployed. They are too old (over age 45) so they graduated to jobs that LawProf calls unsustainable (solo or 2 -20 man firms). In the meantime, Biglaw is training new lawyers to do exactly what we do. In several years, those new people will be unemployed or underemployed. Essentially, the up or out system on which the T14 rely to produce $160,000 jobs is producing exactly the same type of unsustainable surplus that the law schools are producing. The data is not out there yet. Once it comes out, you will see that the median salaries of T14 grads 20+ years out are much lower than for the recent grads of the same school. That is another thing prospective law students need to understand. You are likely to be able to work only in the first half of your legal career even if you attend a T14. That T14 degree is likely useless after age 45. DO NOT GO TO EVEN A T14 LAW SCHOOL UNLESS YOU ARE FULLY AWARE OF THE RISK OF HAVING HALF A CAREER. Even Harvard Law Review or Yale Law School does not shield you from this outcome. THE UP OR OUT SYSTEM IS PRODUCING A HUGE SURPLUS OF TRAINED LAWYERS FOR WHOM THERE ARE NO JOBS AFTER AGE 45. It you go to a T14, prepare for systemic unemployment. It is women and minorities who are hardest hit by this. Try working after age 55 as a woman or minority T14 lawyer. Either you will not get a job or if you do you will likely soon be fired. There are too many younger people on the market who are more attractive than you to prospective employers for you to succeed in working as a lawyer in a decent paying job long term.

  87. The point is that the chance of making a sustainable living long term in the legal profession is not high. People need to understand that. Maybe you have 15% of Loyola making a living and 45% of Stanford in the second halves of their careers. We need to get the numbers just like for first years. The system now is one where new grads push many of the older ones out of the few jobs there are. Our best and brightest need to not get stuck - in unemployment with no options- after earning top degrees. There has got to be better disclosure of long term outcomes from each law school. We should get the same type of NALP survey for the older classes. Once that comes out, half the law schools actually will close. A lot of people will not want to gamble with their future at a T14. Applications will fall through the floor once that long-term employment data is available.

  88. @5:48 of the all too quick reply:

    No I get no pleasure in my own suffering and poverty, nor do I or will I feel any better when everyone else is mired in the same shit.

    And that day will come.

    People do not boil shoes, but people scour the streets for 5 cent plastic containers and believe me no scrap is ever not picked up.

    No rag, no piece of metal, no potential pawn shop or thrift shop item.


    After Law School my resident alien ex foreman/boss used to tell me in a joking manner about how he fucked my mother, and on a regular basis.

    I desperately needed to pay my bills and so I listened to all of that and worked for honest to god real US money at the end of the week and all the shit I could eat.

    If Law School Professors get their come uppance I guess I will feel pleasure and why not?

    Take your gold standard history and shove it up your ass.

    If you go broke like I have been and in the red for a decade or more I will just laugh at you and FUCK YOU!

  89. 5:46/6:11,

    Please get help.


  90. @ Kisses and hugs 6:23PM:

    I would add snuggles and smooches and the really stupid usury enabling Sgt. Pepper Baby Boomer Album Cover.

    What help is there ever for usury and Sl debt?

    Now who is the sick one 6:23?

    You sound like another smug boomer with no frame of reference with which to face your inevitable old and out of touch age.

    Now if everyone will excuse me I am going to boil one of those toner shoes for dinner and try to forget about my six figure student loan American style debt that the American Legal Profession doesn't seem to care a harvard fig newton or a leiter yale delicacy about.

  91. 5:46/6:11/7:00:

    I'm a millennial. Once again, genuinely sorry about your situation, and I wish you the best. Now please commence to make some other ad hominem attack.


  92. Shut up, bignose.

  93. Excellent analysis. I doubt Prof. you know who or the other pro law scam trolls could even grasp what you did there. They mind get all confyoozed.

  94. "First, mortgage lending is still ridiculously lenient in this country"

    You're a fucking idiot talking out of your ass. Go look up the term back end debt to income ratio and then figure out it's significance in all the new regulations issued on the topic.

    What a fucking moron.

  95. In my city, I've heard that dentists give hot women tooth work for pussy. Basically hot ladies worried about their looks are your prime clientelle, and if they don't have money they'll have to pay with other assets. Not condoning. Just telling you what I heard.

  96. The best and brightest need to forget college and what not, unless they can be surgeons or wall street i-bankers. Instead, why not become a nassau cop or similarly situated public employe. 150k median salary, retirement at the ripe old age of 45 (100k a year with health care for life), and political support and respect. Not only does this beat becoming an Engineer, chemist, other STEM related careers, not only is this better than those that lose the LS lottery, but as the older T14 grad attests, this beats even winning the LS lottery. Don't be a fool, drop out of school.

  97. 12:02 - A continuing meme of this blog is to give up on law school and get a job as a policeman or a firefighter. This speaks volumes of the isolation of us, the class of college educated suburbanites who have gone through elite universities and then to law school. These jobs are the biglaw of blue collar, working class America. Except that they a lot harder to get. Kids will spend a decade, often more, applying to be one. And getting in their car a driving a thousand miles for an interview with three hundred other candidates for a single opening. In my suburb 400 people put in an application to be a firefighter. Of course the son of a current officer got the job. And post-crash there's been a net outflow of police and fire department jobs. And yet we think if we only drop out of 2L Antitrust we can walk right into our local fire station. William Ockham

  98. "So the first takeaway from these numbers is the 15% unemployment rate for people who got law degress from ABA-accredited law schools last year. This compares with an 8.2% overall national umemployment rate, which to my surprise at least, is also the unemployment rate among 25 to 34 year olds. So getting a law degree correlates with a doubling of the risk that a young adult will be unemployed nine months after receiving it." Powerfully put. But it gets worse when you refine the the comparison. Unlike most 25 to 34 year olds, all law graduates are also college graduates. Being a college graduate greatly reduces your chance of being unemployment. The BLS May 2012 unemployment rate for college graduates was 3.9%, around half of the rate for high school graduates. So recent law graduates have something on the order of four times the unemployment of non law school college graduates. But law school graduates are not merely college graduates, they are the top tier of college graduates. So a better comparison might be of recent law graduates to college graduates with a 1300 SAT scores. Or how about college graduates in the top 15% to 20% of their class with a cognitively loaded undergraduate course of study. To bad the BLS doesn't doesn't keep these unemployment figures. William Ockham

  99. @1:36,

    I am saying not to even bother with college, let alone LS. Someone who can get a 155 LSAT (or less even) is going to kill the cop entrance tests for most major cities and wealthy suburbs. I know a ton of NYPD and nassau cops and there was nothing special about them. They did will on a test made for mediocre polticians who want votes, and they have been handsomely rewarded for their mediocrity. If you think I am lying or overeexaggerating, go to the NYPD site and look at the sample test (nassau is similar). If you think an average LS grad, and especially T14 grad, is not going to kill that test, I just don't what to say. I am advocating that bright young kids should forego everything from a very young age (college, LS, possibly even high school) and put all their energy into getting a job like that.

    There are not enough white collar jobs, and the punishment for failing is severe, whereas medicoring your way to a protected class job will beat even favorable outcomes in the white collar world, i.e a two year stint at BL, after which you are shown the door.

    You have to start young and you have to make sure you appear medicore so that the gate keepers to these jobs do not bar you from getting in where they can. For instance, my friend is a veteran with a Masters in Engineering and 7 years military experience. He got dinged from one of these jobs for "psych" reasons even though he received a perfect score on the test. In contrast, a guy I went to HS with, who did not graduate, and never held a Job or went to school till his mid twenties got the job with a GED and two years of community college. (He smoked alot of weed). Don't be a fool, drop out of school. Medicore your way to political protection and financial stability.

  100. @2:18AM

    Some police jobs require a College Degree I think.

    But yes, I know of public schoolteachers that make up to 100K per year, and a retired NYC fireman I know drives a really nice porsche.

    It is the same with a lot of other civil service jobs. They all seem to be doing well and own homes and are able to have families and take vacations, own a Harley that is worth over 20K etc.

  101. Police and Firefighters also seem to share a brotherhood that is lacking the the legal profession. It must be nice.

    As far as teachers go, I know several married couples that are public schoolteachers and they are off all summer and every holiday and break that comes down the pike, for a total of almost 4 months off annually. One couple even vacations in Europe for a few weeks.

    Others have told me that that is not always the case, and that the teaching field has its own casualties, (which might be true) but I haven't really met any of them.

    I have also met older, retired teachers with excellent pensions.

    BTW, I think Special Ed. pays a bit more.

  102. Or, when all else fails, sell insurance.

    Or sell cars, or just be a salesman and do sales.

    Whenever I fill up with gas at the local station someone comes up to me trying to sell me a bottle of special car cleaner and wax.

    One day last year as I was pumping gas a very pretty young girl saw that my windshield was cracked and she sold me a new windshield.

    Sales is where it is at, and the want ads are always full of sales jobs, and many of them prefer a college degree.

    I'm not saying you will be able to make a living in sales though. That all depends.

  103. And here a job is to get you unemployed law grads started.

    But if you apply for a job as a sales agent or "producer" or another term for salesman is "account manager" do not, and I repeat DO NOT have your law degree on your resume.

    Just tell them you went to college. The JD just confuses people for a number of reasons and will make you overqualified.

  104. See how much better my comments are when I'm sober?

    Kids, after you carry your six figure debt burden for a decade or more and watch all your hopes and dreams fade to dust, there is no need to kill yourself over it. You can always have a few beers once in a while.

    But be a nice friendly drunk and not a nasty mean one, and always drink responsibly.

    Courtesy and composure are the Queen's jewels.

  105. @4:47 Am

    Teaching is just as, if not more, over-saturated than law. Many credentialed teachers cannot find full time work.

  106. @5:51 and 6:04 "You are likely to be able to work only in the first half of your legal career even if you attend a T14. That T14 degree is likely useless after age 45. DO NOT GO TO EVEN A T14 LAW SCHOOL UNLESS YOU ARE FULLY AWARE OF THE RISK OF HAVING HALF A CAREER. Even Harvard Law Review or Yale Law School does not shield you from this outcome. THE UP OR OUT SYSTEM IS PRODUCING A HUGE SURPLUS OF TRAINED LAWYERS FOR WHOM THERE ARE NO JOBS AFTER AGE 45. It you go to a T14, prepare for systemic unemployment."

    YOU ARE ABSOLUTELY CORRECT. This articulates my experience correctly. As an anecdotal example, the two law review editors that I interacted with, one also number 1 in the class, are no longer working as lawyers 20 years later. I used to keep a list of my colleagues no longer working after 10, 15, 20 years. I gave up keeping such a list. First, the list became too long to manage, and second, it became too depressing. Some of the unemployed, experienced lawyers I know were once considered stars in their field. The dismal first job statistics only tell part of the story. The long term prospects for working as a lawyer are even worse.

  107. It is too bad, but kids need the right information early on. Like while in high school. A college degree surely improves one's chances of being employed. A law degree on the other hand is a sucker's degree. It is not only the stats LawProf has given us on the class of 2011. It is also the legions of unemployed and underemployed lawyers who graduated before then. Finally, it is law schools who advertise a $160,000 median starting salary when most of those jobs are temporary and the numbers of those jobs decreases as a lawyer gets more experienced. It is a scam, but it is a worse than these numbers show, because the numbers only cover the law school class of 2011.

    On the teacher comment, teachers in New York City are in a tenure system and get tenure after a short period of time. Right now, it may be difficult to get a teaching job in New York City because there are many qualified recent grads for each opening. That does not mean the people who are lucky enought to have those high paying jobs with their humongous pension benefits are losing their jobs. It is nothing like the legal profession. Teachers do not involuntary lose their jobs as they gain experience. Most T14 grads who go into private practice will lose their jobs because of the up or out system. A teacher in NYC is guaranteed $108,000 with a lot of experience. A T14 law grad is guaranteed nothing with a lot of experience. The supply of well trained experienced T14 grads who are too old for BigLaw exceeds the demand by leaps and bounds.

    Law is a very risky career. Teaching has some risks, particularly for those trying to enter it now. By and large however, teaching offers much more job stability and likely a higher median income than a T14 law degree does after the holder hits 20 years experience.

  108. There is a conflict of interest here. Up or out is in the interest of the law schools. Since the profession is not growing and the firms are not growing, there is a limited supply of jobs for those leaving law firms. It is no where near the number that needs to leave those firms to maintain the current rate of hiring by BigLaw, even at its reduced rates of hiring. So today, up or out means not everybody (even from a top top firm) is going to get a job.

    There is also a lot of instability in the profession. You can finally land that coveted partnership or other legal job. It is very easy to lose it, for any reason or no reason.

    Think about a T14 law school if you have a perfect personality. If you have never antagonized anyone. It you stood out in high school as a leader, were a cheerleader, had people seek you out,and you have decent educational credentials, good luck to you. But the geek who has double Harvard, and is a nice gal or guy, simply not interesting and not perfect, that person is dead in the water long term. There are very few jobs after age 45 in the legal profession, and you need those soft intangible skills, just to work because the supply of lawyers so far exceeds the demand.

  109. A critical question is "Are you practicing out of a home or virtual office?" Any lawyer who is doing that is on the fringes of the profession in a form of hand to mouth employment, or maybe better stated a holding pattern in lieu of unemployment. The Bureau of Labor Statistics ought to be able to single out those lawyers who actually do not have a separate place of work. It means their practice is not strong enough to make it worthwhile to pay rent.

    On the other hand, if the lawyer has an office, it demonstrates that the person actually is running a business and is working in the profession.

  110. Professional Dowsing is an exciting field that many out of work lawyers ought to consider:

  111. Another exciting field that out of work lawyers are well qualified to pursue:

    You can do anything with a law degree!

  112. If you try without the politicians, and you are lacking in perfection, your fucked. If you are a complete failure with the politicians, at least you fall softly, and if you are mediocre and receive their protection, you get it all.

    So be medicore and get rewarded.

  113. Two things:

    Today's (Sunday) Doonsbury is worth a read

    Also, at least part of Cooley's MTD in its class action case was tossed by Judge Quist in WD Michigan - I don't know if there is a written opinion (At the weekend I usually don't check PACER (my PACER is autofill on my office computer (and it's lazy but I usually have a paralegal pull opinions anyway) while ECF opens automatically.) Anyway, I have only 10 hours worth of work left this Sunday....

    A review of the decision may be worth reading this week.

    From the NLJ:

    The American Bar Association and NALP are not "indispensible absent parties" to a proposed fraud class action brought by 12 recent graduates against the Thomas M. Cooley Law School, a federal judge has ruled.

    U.S. District Judge Gordon Quist's June 7 ruling dealt a blow to Cooley's argument that it was "just following orders" by providing the job figures required by NALP, formerly the National Association for Law Placement, and the ABA, said attorney Jesse Strauss, who represents the plaintiffs alongside attorneys David Anziska and Frank Raimond.

    "So far, we're two for two on that," Strauss said, noting that a New York state trial judge in March rejected a similar argument by New York Law School before dismissing the larger suit. (Strauss said he plans to file an appeal in the New York case by early July).

  114. Cooley is going down!

  115. @ 5:46
    I am telling you I am not dead and I am not your grandfather.

    A Law Professor

  116. @11:04AM--I am a walking living dead zombie debtor for all of my life and living in a country that used to hope, int it's Declaration of Independence from an old Monarchy, for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

    But here is the bright sunlit upland to which all can aspire:

    Study Law Abroad in a globally emerging major Economic player: India, with 4th tier Touro Law School!

    The tier doesn't matter. The political and business relationships trump all.

    My guess is that even Leiter and Lesing quail at the mention of Touro Law School, given the political and economic power and all.

  117. @A Law Professor

    I suspect that 5:46 suggestion that you might be digging ditches is a little over the top. But speaking as a an experienced and senior lawyer - if you are typical of the professoriate, i.e., no real practice experience - 2 odd years before you went academic as an associate in some "White Shoe" firm, and you are say in your 40s (i.e., not likley to be Grandfather) - I would be concerned. You are probably less employable than a newly minted JD at least as a lawyer or in any good white collar job. I'd pray your law school is stable (and 75% are probably not), because junior faculty are the fist to be cut under all tenure systems (before even senior faculty pay) and it is not unlikely that over the next 3-5 years you might be looking.


  119. @7:12

    This does not mean that Cooley will not get a dismissal - it means that the judge has at least rejected some of Cooley's MTD arguments. If he rejects them all - then I think Cooley is in trouble because based on a review of the complaint it does look like there is already public some colorable evidence to support many of the factual assertions. However, the bigger issue is discovery, which could really hurt Cooley. But not all the MTD points seem to have been dealt with yet.

  120. The problem with these numbers is that if you were to fast forward several years out and then take out all the grads who are unenployed or underemployed or not able to use their law degrees even though they would like to the statistics would be much worse than 1/3 employed in any type of full-time permanent law job. If there are only 728,000 legal jobs and people work for say 40 years, you have about 18,200 jobs for each age group. The following link has a breakdown of where lawyers work.
    When you look at the pryamidal structure of larger firms in terms of experience, you see the problem of limited numbers of jobs to go to from the T14. They jobs are just not there. Even going to Harvard, you are being optimistic thinking you will be able to work for your whole career. Sure, some people do, but by the time you are 50, Harvard does not matter at all in holding your job.

  121. In three to five years you may be looking, too, MacK. There is no guarantee that your skills will assure that you will always be employed. Same for all of us. So much of this is luck, good and bad, being in the right place--or wrong place--at the time. Even living in a certain time determines so much that is out of our control. No school, no experiences are guarantees of anything. I do not know why people keep writing as if there are sure things out there.

  122. @12:19 Maybe ... but I suspect I am a damn sight more employable than a typical law professor at something different to what I am doing today

  123. Of course you would say that. But you do know what the future will bring, and putative degrees of employability do not settle the question. You do not sound like a spring chicken, and no one who is not young can speak with too great authority about how much in demand they are going to be when they are even older.

  124. Mack:

    1:16 is correct. Your posts do have decent insight but you also come across as very arrogant. You, like the rest of us, cannot predict where you will be in the future. The financial crisis took a lot of certainty and made it uncertain.

    The world is a different place now then it was even four years ago. A new norm is upon us and we (as a people) better wake up to it.

    You may be more employable than a law professor but it does not mean you will be employed in five years.

    Nobody gives a damn about the plight of lawyers but they will care when nurses and engineers cannot find jobs. This is already happening in those professions...aside from what the press wants you to believe.

  125. The analysis of this article is both incisive and disheartening. At some point, those in the academy who are being dishonest in their representations to prospective law students need to face disciplinary action from whatever bars to which they are admitted.

    As a solo practitioner for the last 18 years, my only complaint is about your characterization of solo practice as something other than a "real job." However, I understand your reason for excluding it from the "real jobs" category. Solo practice is not "employment," and it involves a lot of risk that getting a job at an established law firm does not (or, at least, didn't used to) carry.

    Overall, great job of pointing out the truth, as hard as it may be to face.

  126. 1:34:


    It is not listed as a "real" job because most graduates do not know anything out of law school and so go into solo work because they have no other alternatives. Most people would not spend three years in school and pay all that money only to practice solo.

    Add on the life-crippling debt, flooded market, and startup costs, and you have a real problem.

    I think a person of reasonable intelligence would be able to grasp why these "real" jobs are excluded.

  127. Oh, I understand why solo practice was excluded; that's why I qualified my answer.

    Of course, the underlying premises of this blog would be valid even if many more new law graduates went into solo practice. There would still be too many lawyers and too few clients, along with the life-crippling debt and start-up costs you pointed out. Dishonesty in legal academia is harming many people severely.

  128. Is it legal or anyway possible to sell human body parts, such as a kidney or a cornea for enough money to pay off student loan debt?

    Just something I was thinking about and I am not saying I am going to do it.

    Here is a good read from another elite and cold academic, like Leiter, though not as cold as the law school academic crowd in general:

  129. ^^^ It is not so much that the SL debtor would do such a thing.

    I think though that a loved one or family member might be willing to sell off a body part so as to save the Sl debtor from a life of debt bondage.

    Just a thought.

    And let's face it, we are living in an age of legalized usury and debt bondage and some people will try and move heaven and earth to escape.

  130. @1:34

    Oh I have no doubt that the business I rely on could all melt away in a month or two - I have seen it happen. However, I am pretty sure that 1:16 was the law professor of 12:19 - and I am pretty sure that I am more employable than the typical law professor - indeed I am pretty sure someone with 4-7 years of real practice experience is (BigLaw does not necessarily count as real practice experience) - I have about 20+ and have built my own practice and been in firms and a GC (twice). My partners and I get our own clients, so we have a very up close and personal knowledge of how fats the work could evaporate. So if you think I do not know about the precariousness of the profession, you do not know very much about me. Nonetheless, a law professor with say 5+ years in academia and say 2.6 years of alleged practice (the norm today) would be a very hard sell to a law firm. In any event, as a practical and tax matter my status makes me essentially self-employed (though not a solo.)

    As for arrogant - read the law professor at 12:19's original posting...

    @Stephen Imparl:

    I took a look through a few University and law school honor codes recently - interesting since many purport to cover the faculty and it would certainly seem to me that the presentation of data by the law schools amounts to an honor code violation.

    As far as solo practice is concerned it is extraordinarily difficult today to start off as a solo, straight out of law school (though it always was) and much tougher with the level of debt that most new graduates carry. Lack of experience and mentoring makes such a new solo's work low value - but their debt requires substantial revenue, while competition in general legal practice is acute for clients who quite likely cannot pay for the services they want.

  131. 3:06:

    Your tone in general is one of arrogance on most days, not just your posts after 12:19 today. Frankly, you come across as a know-it-all who seems to ignore other viewpoints different from your own.

    I think it clouds your thinking.

  132. @MacK:

    To get this out of the way, my first name is spelled "Steven." Thanks. :-)

    In addition to the honor code violations, I think such misrepresentations may be violations of state codes of ethics for lawyers. I'm not one who speculates about breaches of the rules of professional conduct carelessly, but it seems at least some of the behavior would violate those rules. Perhaps that is part of what it will take to address the problem: state bar counsel prosecuting some disciplinary actions.

    I agree with all your points about the difficulties of starting a solo practice. It was difficult for me when I began in 1994 (and in this ugly economy, I am struggling now). However, things have gotten much worse for new law graduates than they were in the mid 1990s.

    Even back then, I was in a position that differed from the majority of recent graduates. I had attended law school in the evening division (while working 50-hour weeks as a information technology manager), so while my life was borderline insane for 4 years, I managed to graduate with only a small amount of debt. I feel blessed to have been able to pay for my education that way.

    I see that it's very difficult out there for lawyers admitted within the last 5 years. The costs of legal education have exceed inflation rates by large multiples. I think those days will be coming to an end because such practices are not economically sustainable.

    Perhaps another angle to take in addressing the problem is to change the hiring practices for law school faculty. Start hiring people with some significant experience in the practice of law (with all its economic issues), instead of people whose only work experience is clerking for a judge or working a token year or two at a law firm. Then some of the people running the law schools would have a real appreciation of just how difficult things are.

  133. There was nothing arrogant about my post @ 12:19. It was a suggestion about the need for humility. To make pronouncements about how sure you are that other people could be out of work in five years, without recognizing that you could be too, shows a distinct lack of humility. That is all.

  134. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  135. "There was nothing arrogant about my post @ 12:19."

    Again....your posts on most days, not just post 12:19 today, have a tone of arrogance about them as well as a know-it-all attitude.

    Maybe you struggle with reading comprehension as well.

  136. 4:20 just about sums up the quality of these comments.

  137. I think I caused confusion by the way I wrote my last post at 4:14. I posted at 12:19 and 1:16 to caution against confidently predicting that other people could be out of a job in five years when we all could be, MacK included. I do not think that sentiment shows arrogance. It is just a simple fact.

  138. MacK is one of the best commenters on this forum, and has a wealth of experience to back up what he's saying. Compared to most senior partners he's as meek as a lamb, so I'd knock it off with the accusations.

  139. @1:19, 1:16, 4:14, 6:17

    I rather suspect the accusation of arrogance in my posts is down to my tendency to prick the self regard of law professors who truly dislike being reminded that when they exhort their classes to "think like a lawyer" most have no idea what they are talking about; my complaint that the average 2.6 years of alleged practice experience (contributing the odd sentence on appellate briefs at a BigLaw firm before academia, or policy roles on government where they do not deal with real people) is not enough to qualify them to teach law; and most painfully that they would have poor employment prospects outside the legal academy. To be accused of arrogance by a law professor I am pegging at late thirties to mid-forties is actually pretty hilarious - what did you do to justify the price of your credit hours today? I think I may have struck a nerve - faculty cutbacks in the offing?

    It does remind me that my favorite Doonsbury was from decades ago (if someone could tell me the date) and reflected an argument between the President of Walden College and a professor raising objections to a reduction in budget - it went along the following lines "if this is not reversed I'm going to resign ... but what will you do ... I'll go to industry ... but you are a professor of ancient greek ... yes, they'd snap me up."

    1:19, 1:16, 4:14, 6:17 - law firms will snap you up.... clients too.

    1. Hahahaha!!! Fucking hilarious! I totally concur.

  140. Steven - sorry about the spelling - my first name is consistently changed too

  141. Stephen Imparl

    You are right about the ethics codes - I think I had a rant months ago about this. The truth is that the state bars are unlikely to do anything - just as they rarely do anything to BigLaw lawyers who transgressed unless the transgression is extraordinarily extreme and visible (and I remember in law school having a professor explain the essential justice of a case where the associate who failed to report a partner was disbarrred permanently, but the BigLaw partner was reinstated after 3 years.) In my limited experience the target of bar ethics committees is typically small practitioners and solos who seem to get into serious trouble for what would be mere peccadillos for large firms.

    The reason the Honor Codes interest me is that because they (a) typically purport to bind the whole academic community and indeed (b) are often presented as a quasi-contract between the members of that community - and because (c) they are typically referred to in the briefing packs sent to 0Ls, they might actually be useful in some of the lawsuits now being brought against the law schools. To take for example NYLS, they might provide the breach of duty and a standard that it violated in its employment data. Better still Honor codes are presented as strict liability rules - lying, misrepresenting data and/or cheating are fully sanctionable offences whether the opposite party was deceived, which would undermine the basis for the MTD decision in that case.

  142. For your reading pleasure - a TLS thread by a URM who tries to tell URMs to think hard about law school. She graduated from Duke at the bottom of her class.

    In this thread - no one wants to blame her issues on the job market - it is all her fault for being easily offended, going to Duke, not trying hard enough.

    People just do not want to believe that her situation could happen to them.

  143. MacK, I will leave it to observers to judge which one of us has exhibited arrogance in this exchange. You know I am right: no one is guaranteed anything-- not another second of life, not permanent employment--nothing, and it makes no sense to write (or to live, for that matter)as if that absolute law does not apply to us. I struck the nerve, or you would not be going on like this, instead of conceding that we are all vulnerable and moving on. As for me, you are wildly wrong. You do not know what you are talking about.

  144. @4:32

    As for me, you are wildly wrong. You do not know what you are talking about.

  145. I was never really talking about "you". I was talking about the statement you made. I do not know you. You were the one doing the speculating about me--wrongly.

  146. Oh, and you can have the last word because I see how much that means to you.

  147. Most law school students are playing the lottery with about 150K and without the potential for a tremendous payout if they succeed. It is astonishing what this says about the prospects of relatively smart college graduates today. If the economic prospects of graduates were good, the applications would decrease.

    Desparate today, more desparate 150K later.

  148. @6:31 - you project a little too much -

    go ahead, post the last word......

  149. 12:09:

    You see? Arrogant.

  150. do something good so they get the legel permission and students get the job in gov sector..

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  151. 90% -95% of all law jobs will be gone by 2020-2030.

    1. computers/internet/web. one intel CPU now has Billions/Billions of Transistors.

    Moore' Law: Double computing power in 2-years.

    2. Global Markets/Global Outsourcing... English lawyers in india. philippines, Russia, Europe and worldwide can the work of any attoryey in New York or San Francisco

    3. 90% of all lawyers will be gone by 2020.

    4. Degree will be $100,000 piece of papwer haning on wall.

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  154. In reality the situation is way much worse than it seems. Getting a job within a legal sector is tough, but guess what? Getting into a graduate school is no longer worth it. It means that kids who are 10 or 12 right now will aim at becoming auto mechanics and real estate brokers. That small percentage of smart, literate and strong-minded kids (the one we have right now) will shrink to almost nothing. Meaning that within the next ten-fifteen years we’ll have almost no one who will be able to write a few sentences without making stupid orthographical mistakes. If young professionals are laughed at today by used car sellers and wait staff that doesn’t even have a high school diploma, where is a guarantee that the next generation will prefer graduate school to becoming a waste collector? All professions are important and being a waste collector is as much essential to the overall state infrastructure as being a lawyer, but what are we going to do with the hordes of people who won’t have a single clue about the legal system this country is built on? Try to tell a surgeon to start writing articles about theatrical performances and ask an electrician to start cultivating plants. Nonsense! But everybody feels comfortable telling an attorney to do something else. The solution is that we need to drastically reduce the number of law schools throughout the country and make the admission process much more selective. As to the ones who already invested a fortune into their legal career, my advice would be KEEP IT ON! I know tons of lawyers who were struggling to find a decent job upon their graduation, but eventually managed to nail positions within decent law firms and federal and municipal institutions.

  155. Sitting in front of a computer all day won't sharpen one's skills as a lawyer, he/she must put them into practice, you know. That is why my advice to all new law graduates is to grab every opportunity you can get to add to your credentials. Do keep in mind that experience is still the best teacher.

  156. Fresh law graduates who haven’t been able to get real legal jobs at the moment just needs an opportunity to show what they’ve really got. I really believe that sometimes, all it takes is one chance order for you to prove yourself and show other people that you have the knowledge, skills, and dedication to do your work.You just really have to be patient. :)

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