Monday, July 9, 2012

Basic math

It’s basic math time again:

BLS estimate of total employment in the legal sector, June 2011: 1,111,200

BLS estimate of total employment in the legal sector, June 2012: 1,119,700

Total increase in employment in the legal sector, year to year: 8,500

BLS estimate of percentage of employees in legal sector who are attorneys: 65.8%

65.6% of 8,500 = 5,593 (This assumes perhaps optimistically that the growth in the legal sector was not disproportionately among support personnel rather than attorneys).

BLS current estimate of annual outflow from the legal profession:  13,840

13,840 + 5,593 = 19,433.

Total 2011 graduates of ABA law schools reported to have full-time long-term employment requiring bar admission in February 2012:    About 22,632

Close enough for government work? Maybe, especially when you consider that the latter figure is pumped up by a couple of thousand fake law school-funded jobs, many of which were structured to be categorized as full-time long-term employment requiring bar admission.  The ABA’s estimate is also inflated by another 1300 or so 2011 grads who listed themselves in solo practices.

It can’t be said enough, so I’m going to say it again:  The American legal profession is currently generating about 20,000 new jobs for lawyers each year.   Roughly two-thirds of these are products of outflow from the profession, while the rest represent actual growth. ABA-accredited schools are graduating about 44,000-45,000 people per year (about 93% of whom have a known employment status), and non-ABA schools, mainly but not exclusively in California, are graduating about another 8,000 annually.  This means ABA schools are graduating roughly 2.2 graduates per year for every available legal job, and of course not all such jobs will go to new ABA graduates.

The average educational debt upon graduation of the 90% of people currently enrolled in law school who have educational debt is going to be about $150,000.  The average interest on that debt is going to be about 7.4%.  This will require monthly payments of $1,774 for ten years or $1,100 for twenty-five years to service at the contractual rate.

The majority of current law school graduates are not going to have real legal careers, and the majority of the minority who will have legal careers are not going to earn enough money in those careers to service the debt the average law graduate is now incurring. 

Despite all this the system remains in place, for the time being, for two reasons: 

(a)    Because government loans subsidize and amplify predictable cognitive errors, due to optimism and confirmation biases, committed by law students who continue to enter a system that will produce, on average, a sharply negative return for those who enter it.

(b)   Because self-interest, institutional inertia, and regulatory capture ensure that those who profit from the system will do nothing to alter its basic structure until a combination of economic, political, and social pressure forces them to do so.

That pressure is now building.  Those who are in a position to do so can increase that pressure by repeating, as many times as necessary, the basic economic facts underlying what has become an unsustainable system.


  1. Good stuff, and a simple and clear retort to law school scammers who keep repeating the "BLS says only 1% of lawyers are unemployed" mantra.

  2. Just to be complete, the post should reiterate the number of law grads in the country.

  3. LP,

    You seem to be running out of things to say, so you plug in a blanket statement. The fact is, not all law schools (and not all law grads) are equal. Refusing to moderate your message with qualifications and caveats makes this great blog a fringe element that will be unheeded by law students.

    Your previous efforts to bash on BAD schools (admittedly most of them) were, in my opinion, much more useful.

    Here's how people will read this entry, which I will call "Law School Is a Bad Idea for Everyone""

    Student A is at a TTT -- Suffers from SSS and ignores you, thinks he will be in the minority of those employed. He will be screwed.

    Student B is at a mid T1 -- smugly thinks your blanket statements do not apply to him, fails. He will be screwed.

    Student C is at HYS -- he resents your general attack on law schools and thinks that HIS law school is providing decent returns, both intellectually and economically. He ignores you out of spite, and you lose the vital segment of the audience that will actually go on to becomes power brokers that can influence things down the road. This group ignoring you will help continue to screw the rest.

    Keep up the good work, but remember that no one is made equal.

    1. As a HLS student, I can say that I'm perfectly capable of seeing the distinctions myself. Keep up the good work Professor Campos.

  4. No one is made equal?

  5. *No one is created equal.

  6. I agree with 5:26's A & B analysis, but I have a quibble about C. HYS grads don't seem to be having any trouble finding decent jobs practicing law. So for them, assuming they actually do want to practice law, HYS are providing decent returns intellectually and economically.

  7. Re student C, the proper message is that most legal careers involve soul crushing make-work, after five years of which one will most likely be unceremoniously shown the door without the real world legal or business skills to survive outside of the biglaw hamster cage. NBD.

  8. You would think that the HYS student realizes this doesn't apply to them, so they would have no reason to be resentful.

  9. @5:45

    They're resentful of the attack on law schools IN GENERAL, and the characterization that their schools are complicit in the scam (which may only be tangentially true).

    Either way, it causes LP to lose credibility among the crowd most likely to be in positions of power down the road.

    And 5:44, I seriously doubt that large percentages of HYS post-Biglaw grads are suffering homelessness on the street. Alumni records seem to indicate otherwise, and if such stories were numerous enough, I'm certain that mainstream media would've picked up on it. Sour grapes is bad form.

  10. I wish law faculty were more intellectually honest. They are usually the first responders to perceived injustices or rigged systems urging regulation, litigation, and social change. Now the law schools are on fire and they can't be bothered to critically analyze the problem. Some are scammers who don't want to give up their meal ticket. But where are the law profs from Hys and other t14s? What do they care about faculty at the ttts? Why don't they speak up. When this explodes in 2 years, and it will, they too will suffer

  11. 65.6% of 8,500 = 5,593 (This assumes perhaps optimistically that the growth in the legal sector was not disproportionately among support personnel rather than attorneys).

    I don't know the actual numbers, but I would guess that this aspect of the calculation is not optimistic. In fact, I would guess that growth is disproportionately among attorneys. In my (limited, personal) experience, modern technology is reducing the need & demand for support personnel much more than it reduces the demand for attorneys. Basically, modern computer technology allows attorneys to do lots of work that secretaries and paralegals used to do. Easier computer programs allow attorneys to handle their own scheduling, typing, correspondence, and time entry without assistance. It also often makes it easier to manage large document production with fewer support personnel. Younger, newer attorneys often rely on support staff less than their older colleagues, because they're used to the modern technology and are encouraged to become reliant on it.

    Also, modern technology may increase demand for attorneys in the document review field. The massive increase in electronic mail and files requires more and more people to review lots of worthless documents to find the occasional needle in the haystack. Of course, document review is not pleasant (and often not lucrative), but it can increase attorney employment.

    Of course, this is just an educated guess based on extrapolation from personal experience. If anyone has any actual data on this issue, I would be fascinated to see it.

  12. @5:45--Except this blog spends a lot of time talking about HYS. In the earliest days there were attacks on the dean of Stanford that seemed to drag the school into the general critique. Then just the other day there was the admission that Stanford provides great outcomes for its students. That same post lumped Yale and Harvard along with all other schools, save for Stanford, that provide bad outcomes for students who go there.

  13. 5:45 here. That seems silly. I've spent a lot of time talking to T14 students, and they all acknowledge that most law schools are bad for most students without feeling like it's an attack on their school. They know it's a different situation at a T14 or HYS. But they wouldn't try to silence someone interested in getting out the message that most law schools are a bad bet.

  14. "That same post lumped Yale and Harvard along with all other schools, save for Stanford, that provide bad outcomes for students who go there."

    Not true. A post last week suggested that something like 10% to 20% of HYS grads are ending up with what they would have considered bad outcomes before they enrolled.

    I bet HYS grads can figure out all by themselves that if the bottom fifth of the class is struggling there that means a whole lot of the class at Virginia is struggling, let alone the average law school.

  15. Agree and disagree with 5:26.

    5:26 is right to the extent he believes that LawProf (and the scamblog movement in general) would clearly do the *most good* by forcing the garbage schools to shut their doors. Kill Cooley and several thousand folks who are the most gullible would be better off.

    Disagree that the HYS students will be alienated by attacks on law schools in general. Three years after graduation, when the HYS kids are engaging in 19 hour days doing mind-killing International Trade transactional work for Little Lord Fauntelroy tyrants who want it "MY WAY!", they'll be plenty receptive to LawProf's argument.

  16. I agree that the critique should be more nuanced. While it's true that all law schools are engaged in a "scam" of a sort, by charging way too much for the returns they offer (yes, even "HYS" charge too much), on the other hand, there is a whole 'nother level of scam being perpetuated by the lower tier schools. Those schools are enticing people who have no business going to law school and who will never achieve success as lawyers, and saddling them with a lifetime of crippling debt. They are doing so through fraud. The problem for grads of the top schools comes in where the market has become so glutted with grads, from all types of schools, that getting a job is a daunting slog, trying to get one's resume through a mountain of other resumes. And then assuming that you get that first job, you're going to be doing the same damn thing throughout your career every time you want a different job. So, yes, all law schools are *in some ways* part of a scam, but I don't really see how slamming schools like UVA and Georgetown really contributes to the debate. They just aren't in the same category as Cooley or Whittier (whatever the hell that is). Plus, if the bottom 50 schools closed, grads from the top 14 would no longer have any problem whatsoever getting jobs.

  17. Roderick Wentworth Brockingham IVJuly 9, 2012 at 6:18 AM

    "Yale or fail."

  18. "Plus, if the bottom 50 schools closed, grads from the top 14 would no longer have any problem whatsoever getting jobs."

    Excellent point, although I would amend that to the bottom 75 or so. Thank you.

    The point is, many(!) people HAVE and ENJOY careers as lawyers--some do so in Biglaw, some do so in government, PI, solos, in-house, whatever! The problem is that there's too much competition, and employers now have the immense luxury of abusing their employees because they can.

    Law needs to become a protected profession again. A "guild" in the old sense if you will. The barriers to entry should be far, far higher.

    Finally, I'd like to bring up the talk about moving the profession to a two-tier model. This has been mentioned in the past, but only in passing. The bottom 50 would still have to close, but we would transform the rest of the schools (minus the T-14) into 2 year vocational programs that turn out lawyers working for lower echelons (solos, PI, gov, dov review), while T-14s can remain 3-year schools that feed into biglaw or clerkships.

  19. @6:12--Sounds like lumping to me. There was no such qualifying in the original. Also,if the difference between HYS and other schools is so obvious, why spend time talking about HYS? Triage is a meaningful concept.There is no way to know what those 10 to 20 percent of people believe about their situations in the middle of the worst economic situation in decades. No sane person going to law school, or any endeavor, thinks any outcome is guaranteed. There is no doubt that people are disappointed. But there were disappointed people even when times were much better.

  20. With regard to the T14 being part of the problem, I think one only has to go back over LP's posts pointing out the multiple ways in which NYU, Columbia, Chicago and Michigan have, to varying degrees, cooked their numbers and his recent post on suboptimal outcomes for better than one in four non-HYS T14 grads. That, my friends, is a scam.

  21. I agree that the numbers presented are bleak, but how do they fit in historically, and what are the projections for the future? Calling for structural change in legal education based on one year is not terribly compelling. Law school administrators and future students will write this off as a bad year or a bad couple of years. Surely the standard for how a law school perform shouldn't be determined during the rock bottom of a recession for the legal market.

    I believe that looking at future projections will not be much better, but I can just hear a law school administrator reading this article (I know, I know, it's going far to assume a law school admin would read anything approaching criticism of the legal education industry) and writing 2011 off as a bad year and that it's ridiculous they should be called to account for economic vagaries.

  22. 6:41, I don't think it's even necessary to establish a "tier" system - I think in practice there already is one. The big firms and prestigious government, etc. already hire primarily from the top schools. And ALL law schools should go to a two-year program. People have been saying that for years and they're right. I worked about 30 hours a week at my "part-time" law clerk job my third year, and this was at a t14 school. I still took a full load of classes and was an articles editor on a law journal too. There's no reason why that year couldn't have been a full time "apprenticeship" (paid) OR I could have just graduated and started working after two years.

    *Also I have to disagree with your lumping government in to the bottom tier "vocational" track, as I work for the feds and it is a good job, thankyouverymuch. People are practically knifing eachother to get in here right now, actually. It's a career choice - I could have gone OCI-big firm like the majority of my classmates did (this was 11 years ago), but I CHOSE the federal government path. Not because I couldn't hack it at a corpo-firm, because I didn't want to hack it at a corpo-firm. I get really sick of big firm drones trashing my job, as I have handled my own cases from day 1 and have never done doc review.

  23. Don't get carried away with monthly BLS reports. They are continually revised upward and down, sometimes by thousands of workers. I post them monthly. Further, I ASSume that a JD qualifies for any legal position, including paralegal and secretary.

    Finally, never mind 2011; there has been negligible growth since 2010, even as 90,000 JDs graduated from ABA schools.

  24. Hi all.

    As a law school applicant, please know how much I appreciate the work (and sacrifice) of everyone who got screwed so that 0Ls could learn the truth about the law school economy.

    Because of the knowledge propagated by the scambloggers, I figured that my initial LSAT score (which would have gotten me into Georgetown or Northwestern) wasn't good enough. Thus I studied my ass off and retook the LSAT in June, scoring in the high 99th percentile. I now have a fair chance at HYS, and can certainly make it into NYU, Chicago, or Columbia, or a lower-ranked school with a full ride.

    Nevertheless, it's tough to argue with the math Prof. Campos shares in this post. So my question for yall is, do you still think it's worth it? I'm not interested in biglaw, but rather in a public interest field where I already have some experience and connections. I currently have a decent job, but the gig isn't that challenging and I think I'll go nuts doing it long-term. Income potential in my current field is only slightly lower than it would be as a public interest attorney. Interested to hear your thoughts.

    Once again, thanks everyone for all your comments, and for performing a true service in the public interest.

  25. P.S.

    As a potential HYS or T-14 student, I for one am NOT turned off by attacks on LS as a career path. Maybe some idiots can't handle the truth, but as I said, I think the scambloggers are performing a public service, and I don't take it personally that some are pissed at the entire profession.

    - Anonymous 7:43 AM

  26. You want to go into Public Interest, and thus are not the kind of future power-broker we're talking about.

    Sorry, but you'll be drowning in low-level paperwork at some anonymous NGO 10 years from now. You will not have the power (or money) to effect changes.

    Again, no one is talking about you. (Congrats on your LSAT though)

  27. Well, I don't think those douchebags are offended either. They either feel like I do or they're laughing at you in which case it doesn't matter.

    - Anonymous 7:43 AM

  28. 7:43:

    "Not challenging" is an asset, not a bug. Stick with what you have and try to make a difference some other way (volunteer or something). Public interest work is mostly fellating spoiled-rich pricks for fundraising these days anyway.

    The grass isn't greener! Stick with what you have.

  29. @Pre-harvard:
    This is advice from someone who didn't go to HYS, so feel free to dismiss it.
    Congrats on the LSAT! That's pretty awesome.
    My advice would likely be this: would you consider waiting a year or two before going to a top tier school? I realize that your current job is a grind that you might not want to stay in forever, but would another year be that bad?
    The benefits to this would be the following: Allow you the time to see whether or not the employment prospects of the law schools you want to attend will recover, stay steady at their current rates, or get worse.
    My advice whenever I meet pre-law people isn't "Never go to law school" but rather "Don't go to law school right now."
    Hope it helps and good luck whichever path you choose!

  30. How is going to law school a prerequisite for doing "public interest" work?

    You wanna do public interest work, go do public interest work. You don't need a JD for it.

  31. So we have a real crisis in American legal education and only a small handful of law professors even bother to comment about it. Instead, they write blog posts like this one:

    How much in love with themselves are these people?

  32. This post should be a newspaper article in every major newspaper in the country.

  33. re: 7:45. 2001 T14 (to be more precise, T5, if you think it matters) grad here. Getting prestigious non-profit jobs was tough then; it's almost impossible now. Moreover, it's uncertain--you won't find out about those jobs until near or after graduation, whereas you'll hear the siren song of Biglaw from the end of your first year (if you do well enough). Further, even if you do hold out and land a good non-profit job, it'll never pay enough to pay off your loans, if you can't pay cash. Given what you've said, I wouldn't incur debt to do what you're describing. If you do, either you'll get a non-profit job that won't pay your bills, meaning the decision would be a financial disaster, or (like about 60% of my class) you'll give up on the non-profit route and get a biglaw job (if possible) which means you'll work miserable hours doing miserable work for a couple years, during which you'll hopefully be able to pay down or pay off your student loans before you get the axe.

    Some schools offer pretty good loan repayment programs for people who do non-profit work, or at least they used to. Those were ok, but the only trouble was that you had to be employed in a non-profit job for 10 years or so, and a lot of people found that their organization didn't want them that long, that their funding dried up, that the charity's institutional goals changed, etc., and so there's never any assurance that you won't get fired and be utterly out of luck.

    Meanwhile, HueyLewis is right--you don't have to be a lawyer to do public interest work.

  34. @8:13
    To give credit where credit is due - they did write a blog post about the employment results of 2011 a few days earlier (July 4th) and it even garnered a whole SEVEN COMMENTS! The mode amount of comments on an article, based on browsing just the past two months, is zero! It only looks like one professor was commenting, asking for clarification of data, and the post itself doesn't advocate reform or anything like that - more like just a general "Wow things are actually pretty bad" post - but it's still a post.

  35. To the pre-HYS commenter:

    My best advice would be to read what 8:36 wrote. Then print it out and read it again tomorrow.

    I graduated from HLS a little over 10 years ago. As 8:36 says, getting decent non-profit jobs was tough even then. It sounds like you have connections, which could help, but these days most non-profits seem to be laying people off. Also, bear in mind that when there is an opening, you're often competing against seasoned lawyers who are sick of private practice and are looking at public-interest jobs as a way to salvage their lives. I have several former colleagues who did that.

    I've spent my whole career in private practice and have overall enjoyed it. I like my work and the people I work with, and the pay is great. But I went to law school knowing that I wanted to work in a firm.

    If you're interested in discussing this more, I can send LawProf my email so that you can get in touch with me.

  36. @8.13--Certainly they do not love themselves any more than any one else who starts a blog.

  37. 9:28--I'd love to chat about your experience!

    Now how do we share our emails in this public place without repercussions...

  38. I will send my email to LawProf now. You can then email him to request it.

  39. Thanks, will do.

  40. Can anyone give me a specific explanation as to why no one was made/created equal as stated in the posting at 5:26 AM?

  41. public interest dude: cf. 8:02, is your current workplace and are your connections in public interest LAW? if not, get a job in public interest LAW before going to law school. because your generic public interest connections won't count for bupkus in public interest LAW.

    see also 8:36. prepare to spend 5+ years of your public interest career applying for fellowship after fellowship and never having a "real" staff attorney position in public interest. the only way this is financially viable is by doing HYS or a free ride at CCN (well, frankly, N, because CC don't really have the public interest infrastructure that will make it worth your while either). that's the only way public interest law makes remotely any sense from the "ex ante" perspective, as they say.

  42. Pre-law @7:43 & 7:45:

    Here is my experience as someone who is about 5 years ahead of you and who ended up graduating law school highly qualified with several prestigious internships to boot. Like you, I wanted to go to law school because I wanted to work in the public interest field. I agree w/ Huey Lewis - you do not need a law degree to do public interest work and in many ways, it will actually hinder you. Unless mom and dad or Uncle Rich pays your entire tuition or you get a free ride (and even then, because you will need to pay for living expenses for 3 years and will be giving up a salary), you will be prevented from taking the public interest positions you want due to your student debt.

    In addition, it's important to note that legal public interest positions are EXTREMELY difficult to obtain. I volunteered for free in legal positions for about a year and a half after law school and still couldn't obtain a position in public interest law despite being extremely well-qualified compared to the average law student. There just aren't enough positions to go around and the few that can be obtained just don't pay enough to allow one to pay off one's loans. If you should go this route, be prepared to intern and volunteer for free for several years after graduation before getting a paid position.

    If one wants to serve the public, much better options exist in my opinion. Two options I recommend: 1) If you are set on getting an advanced degree that will open the door to work helping others, may I suggest a masters in social work? In the past few years, I have seen a plethora of social work positions that pay more than what my fellow law graduates and I earn in legal positions - much more. In the jurisdiction in which I live, social worker positions outnumber legal positions by about 3 to 1 and tend to pay $10-$20,000 a year more. 2) A second option I recommend is one you can do right now that doesn't need an advanced degree: volunteer for an organization that you want to work for or for a place that will give you the opportunity to learn a skill set that would be valuable for your dream job. In today's world, employers are emphasizing experience and practical skills over education, so you may want to take advantage of that. If you haven't done so, you may want to check out the website - I have a feeling that you will find several public interest jobs and internship opportunities that you are already qualified for. At the very least, the site will give you an idea as to what skill sets are valued by employers in the public interest arena.

    Good luck in your decision and remember, there is always more than one way to skin a cat! Don't limit your options to a high-priced law degree when it may not be necessary!

  43. @9:54-- What I took 5:26 to mean is that not all law schools are able to provide equal opportunities for their graduates. Students who go to HYS will have more opportunities than those who do not. So, it does not make sense to speak of every law school as if there are no distinctions to be made, as if they are all the same (equal). "Equality" was being discussed in terms of the law school people attend, not the state of people's basic humanity.

  44. Pre-law individual interested in a career in public interest law:

    I wrote a post to you but for some reason, it got erased after having been posted, so I will summarize what I learned as someone who was in your shoes five years ago and chose to take the law school route:

    1) you don't need a law degree to do public interest work and the high cost of a law degree will actually hinder you from doing public interest work because you will not be able to afford to work there due to having to pay off student loans.

    2) There are so few LEGAL public interest jobs in the legal field right now due to everybody cutting back. It is extremely difficult to get a legal public interest job.

    3) Should you decide to still persist in getting into the legal public interest field, be financially prepared to work unpaid in internships for several years after graduation from law school, as that is what it takes to get into the legal public interest field today.

    4) If you are insistent on getting an advanced degree but want to work in public interest, you may find an advanced social worker degree to be more promising than a law degree. I have recently seen a plethora of social worker positions that require an advanced social work degree and such positions frequently pay $10-$20,000 a year more than most legal positions that I am aware of. On the other hand, LEGAL public interest positions are very difficult to find and frequently are unpaid.

    5) Another option that you can do immediately is volunteer at an organization or cause where you would like to work. If none are around, volunteer for an organization where you can learn the skills you need to work where you want to work. In today's job market, practical experience and skills are valued far more than education - you may not need any more education and volunteering may be what you need to get in the door.

    6) Check out the website They have public interest jobs posted from across the US and around the world (very few, you will see, are paid lawyer positions.) You may find positions that you can apply to today. At the very least, the site will give you an idea of what skills public interest employers find important.

    Good luck!

  45. Law Prof,

    Excellent and important post. Deserves to be worked into an op-ed for a prominent national publication. My only quibble--when you caution at the end of the post that not all new jobs will go to new graduates, this is undeniably true, but I think it's actually a significant understatement. From my experience as a government attorney, I can tell you that we rarely hire new graduates when an opening comes up. I suspect this is normative, at least in government. It would not surprise me if no more than half of those "new" attorney jobs are actually available to new graduates.

  46. I'm a rising 2L - dropping out is not the most attractive idea at the moment; i'm more interested now in the loopholes available to manage or discharge debt. As i understand it, working 10 years in public interest/nonprofit work will discharge your debt completely, and it doesn't necessarily need to be legal work. Being an office clerk at a nonprofit, for example, might qualify. I also understand that becoming a schoolteacher counts as public interest work eligible to have your debt discharged; why not complete law school and then pursue a 10 year+ career in education? clean slate then, afterwards..

    I also understand that it is not impossible to start your own non-profit - in fact i know several people that have done this successfully, albeit modestly. 10 years later your debt will be discharged.

    i am not trying to justify this scam - it tears me apart, to be quite honest. But deep down, i'm unsure that a slew of disenfranchised 20-somethings with an above-average understanding of the law is necessarily a bad thing. taking the prestige out of the 'profession' might help address a lot of its inadequacies; ie. it's not about the distribution of justice anymore, so much as it is pure business.

    let's discuss loopholes, though - is my assessment accurate? let's explore the options for current students with dim prospects that are already too invested in the game to just turn away.. it might be a more practical conversation at this point, as opposed to continually crying foul (which is undoubtedly also very valuable)

  47. If people want to see what is really sapping this country, pay careful attention to some of the comments made on this blog from some of the “elite” law school graduates.

    It appears plain to me that these individuals genuinely believe they are superior to the rest of the population. Fine. If it were just that, maybe things would not be going to shit. After all, Edison thought he was better than everyone else as well, so did alot of other great contributors, and not all of them had altruistic motives. People like that were superior, and irrespective of their motives, they improved everyone’s life as they furthered their interests.

    However, examining the issue at hand a bit deeper reveals the true cancer. You have a group of people that have taken over the country because they tell people that they are smarter than everyone AND (this part is the key) that they are acting out of selflessness and in the interests of everyone else. They tell you they are smarter than you because they went to Harvard and you didn’t. They preach about how they are for the poor, the middle class, the good of the country, etc. They tell you that because they are so smart and altruistic, you need to give them and people like them power. After all, its for the greater good.

    Yet, how many poor and middle class kids attend Yale or Harvard? And if these people believe that anyone and everyone that does not come from said institutions is worthless and deserves nothing, how can they be expected to govern in the interest of the people? Hint: they are not.

    These individuals are in control, as some of the commenters here smugly explicitly and implicitly indicate, of the vast majority of major governmental, private, and non-profit entities in the United States. How are things looking for you America? They stole your money, took you to war, and are empowering your enemies because they feel it is their right to do so by virtue of being “smarter.”

    When I read these comments (and others made elsewhere) all I see is a group of people that believe everyone else is garbage and that they should take everything by virtue of their education and ability.

    It is not merely greed. These people are not saying they want in it to make money by applying their allegedly superior intellect and creativity to invent a major new technology that improves people’s lives or to provide a new service that benefits everyone in exchange for a profit; no, instead, these people believe they are entitled to power and resources and that everyone else is garbage because they went to XYZ school or they have 175+ LSAT score (or fill in the applicable standardized exam that is totally rigged in favor of those born with money, while tangentially permitting super elite paupers to work directly under, and to implement schemes of mass theft for, said people born with money). Essentially, they are entitled to power and resources because they have the intellectual and economic foundation to obtain a mastery of standardized exams, and nothing more.

    In reality, they have conned the American people into letting them have the reigns of power by telling them they are altruistically motivated and that they know what is best for them; whereas the truth is this: these people, overwhelmingly, are in it for themselves, like everyone else, and then some: they have utter contempt for everyone else. What makes them dangerous is that, despite their contempt and will to steal everything, they have the very real ability of convincing other people that they are not selfish and rapacious vultures.

    In the end, the people of this country, as bad as it gets, will wake up to what is going on, and the course of conduct will be apparent when they do, as it always has been when a nation or society faces an elite that gives nothing and takes everything.

    1. I think you're seeing what you want to see. Your comment is a great example of what could go wrong with the scamblog movement: it could be hijacked by populist/tea party types. There is no conspiracy, and any feeling of superiority are a predictable human response to going to a school like HYS. Regrettable, but not the heart of the problem.

      I commend Campos for keeping his critiques empirical and drected at predatory schools, and not for succumbing to bitterness exhibited by the above poster.

  48. I do not see that at all in the comments. Which ones are you talking about?

  49. Perhaps the "law professors" and deans will rely on their old saw that "Lawyers are notoriously bad at math," to defend this nonsense. Remember, Valpo Law contends that they have no way to control for compensation - which accounts for most of the tuition increases.

  50. Dean "there is no way to control compensation costs."

    Man hands him an envelope with $10,000 in it: "your weekly salary, sir."

  51. Hi All,

    this is the original "Anonymous 7:43 AM." (a.k.a., "Pre-HYS," optimistically.)

    Thanks everyone for your comments. I'll think hard on them.

    To Anonymous 9:28 AM, the HLS-grad who spent 10 years in private practice -- thanks for the offer and I will contact Prof for your email. FYI, though, the Anonymous 9:35 person was NOT me, so don't be surprised if you're contacted by two people.

    To Anonymous 9:58 AM -- Yes, I work in public interest law but in a non-legal, more business-oriented capacity. So I have the connections, but that only lends more credence to the argument that I should seriously consider just staying put.

    At any rate, I will apply this year and see how things shake out. If I can get into HYS or $$$ at CCN it seems like it's at least worth considering. Otherwise, we'll see.

    Thanks again yall.

  52. 10:44, article linked below may interest you, making the rounds on some other boards:

  53. An facebook friend recently graduated from law school and hasn't been able to find work in law. She posts frequently about her job search. Recently, she said she's giving up and taking the JD off her resume and applying for non-legal jobs. Suddenly, tons of comments started pouring in that she shouldn't give up her dream or settle for less and that she worked hard for her JD and if she just keeps looking, something will come her way. And, at least on facebook, she agreed with them that she'd keep looking and wouldn't settle for a non-legal job yet. These people are horrible and doing her a terrible disservice. There has to be some way to educate the friends and family of law graduates.

  54. Why do folks refer to students as "rising 2L" or rising "3L?"

    The only thing that's rising is the students' level of accrued interest. In contrast, their job prospects, sanity, and self-worth are all declining. Very rapidly.

  55. @11:09 - the same thing happened to one of my Facebook friends. I wish that I could upload screenshots of her wall to this blog so that everyone could see her desperation over unpaid internships and the platitudes offered by the Career Services Office.

  56. it's just the term i've learned to use from this little culture of legal education... and i'm still curious as to whether i have an accurate assessment of my options for managing this exorbitant debt? is dropping out really the most viable option? i think working as a school teacher would be wonderful after law school

  57. "Rising" is not just used in law schools. 11:29 was just trying to be funny.

  58. 7:43 I agree with all the other commenters' feedback to you--Im sure you know this but it is very hard to get a public interest job--there arent that many around--and don't expect much in the way of pay. (Most such attorneys I have known either had a high-earning spouse or SO, or were trustafarians.)

    If you havent done so, go to June 13 and read Law Prof's entry "Time is Money." A cautionary tale of what can happen even if you do everything right.

  59. @10:44

    I think outside the field of psychology intelligence isn't anything more than a form of social capital.

  60. Seconding the commenter who pointed out that government often doesn't hire new grads. It's the same in my (federal) agency, because often we can't get authorization to fill a position at the "law clerk" (pre-bar passage) level even if we want to. We recently had an outstanding intern here that everyone wanted to hire (this person interned here for over a year at no pay, incidentally) and we have openings, but "upstairs" said we can only hire bar-admitted people. So she has to wait until she gets sworn in, and if we still have an opening and she still doesn't have any other job, then we can hire her. More likely all the positions will be filled before then because we're desperate for bodies after the past years of attrition and budget cuts.

    Just ask yourself if you want every job application to be a daunting, unimaginable struggle for the forseeable future. Even Harvard grads are finding it a struggle. Lawyers with years of experience are having a hard time making lateral moves. Everyone is struggling because the market is just so, so glutted that making yourself stand out, if you don't have connections, is very very difficult. Fine, you have a Harvard degree, but there could be 5 other people with the same degree and maybe 5-10 years of experience who might be competing for the same position. Why would you want to enter a profession that is like that?

  61. Meanwhile, as a commenter noted above, law faculty members at America's worst-offending law schools are spending the decadent (high-interest debt funded) dog days of summer compiling lists of professors that tweet!


    This is like a story straight out of the Onion!

    But it's true!

    It's amazing to see how swiftly so many professors appear in the comments to correct errors in the list (and shamelessly self promote while they are at it), but nowhere are they to be found on the blogosphere addressing the important issues facing legal education raised on this and other blogs!

    These narcissitic douchebags feel compelled to comment on who tweets, but have nothing to say about the fundamental social justice aspects of the law school enterprise!

    LawProf - I wish you'd take the Faculty Lounge and Prawfsblog idiots head on and ask them to make a public statement on how they think the basic math noted in this post relates (or doesn't relate) to them personally!

  62. To the 1-2 pre-law students who are considering HYS --> public interest, I'd also be happy to talk to you if Prof. Campos will facilitate putting us in touch. My background is HLS (I'm in the 5-8 years out range), a couple of federal clerkships, time spent in biglaw, and a transition to a full-time public service position (government, not non-profit) in 2011. Let me know if you'd like to talk, and I'll send along my email to Prof. Campos as well.

    (Because I plan to send him my email with my real name, I'd ask that you do the same. Thanks.)

  63. Dear HYSABCDEFG Anonymice -

    Prof. Campos is not a switchboard operator. Use those big brains of yours to figure out - independently and without requesting the help of, or annoying, Prof. Campos - how to communicate. Maybe, just maybe, a dummy email account could be used to establish contact! Eureka!

  64. This comment has been removed by the author.

  65. ^^^^REPOST DUE TO TYPOS^^^^

    I saw this great restored version of The Blob on TCM last weekend.

    It was like, such a cool movie. One of Steve McQueen's first movie roles.

    Man oh man that scene when everybody was running out of the movie theater terrified and screaming away from The Blob was good!

    What is the relevance?

    Well, McQueen and his girlfriend and hot rod pals tried to warn the town about the Blob monster from outer space, and no one believed them until the Blob got so huge it started invading movie theatres and swallowing whole diners.

    The Law School scam and student lending can be said to be a Blob or a Godzilla that has the potential to swallow up or destoroy whole populations (screaming and fleeing of course).

    Blogs like this are trying to send out the warning...........about the BLOB!


    To use another horror movie analogy, the law school shills are like Amity's smarmy Mayor Vaughn in "Jaws."

  67. LOL!

    Don't forget Mothra.Enemy of the Human Race!

  68. @11:24,

    I am not seeing what I want to see. What I posted is largely a reality.

    The following paraphrased comments and situation illustrates the kind of cancer I am describing:

    A conservative Supreme Court Justice was asked by a student at a lower tiered school “what can I do to clerk for someone like you,” and said Justice said “nothing, you are not smart enough.” That same Justice has indicated that he is not satisfied with the level of education provided at elite institutions, but he indicated that the raw intellectual ability of it graduates overcomes and overcame any such concerns. (Bill Henderson’s recent article in the ABA journal touches upon this very issue). A very liberal Supreme Court Justice has made very disparaging remarks about a Tier 2 school that she taught at early one in her career.

    Now, I will admit that getting admitted into an institution such as Harvard, Yale, etc. is quite a feat as it does demonstrate some raw intellectual horsepower.

    However, if these men and women of power and status are truly concerned with raw intellectual fire power, why don’t they just evaluate some of their candidates based on LSAT and GPAs scores? If said conservative justice feels someone with a 160 LSAT is not smart enough to do the job, and if said conservative justice feels that the training of elite institutions is immaterial to the question at hand, i.e. raw intelligence, why doesn’t he hire at least a few clerks with perfect LSAT scores and GPAs from lower tiered schools? Same thing with the liberal justice? Same thing with every major financial institution?

    This is one example of the prejudice I see against the lower classes. This same prejudice is evident throughout every major entity in this country, ranging from banking to influential non-profits. I do not think this is coincidental, nor do I think it is coincidental that the majority of people that attend these institutions come from the upper crust of society. These people know how to jealously guard power.

    Why is it that if you want to work at these places of concentrated national power, you have to either come from a family that can pay for you to go to the elite college or be willing to become a debt slave to do so? Why is it that different and more productive teaching strategies are impossible to introduce into academic curriculum because everything has to conform with what the elite schools do? Why aren’t more kids from MIT in positions of power, after all they are extremely brilliant as well, no? Are the elite schools producing innovators or managers? There is a huge difference, and if they are producing managers, why are these managers of any value? Because of raw ability, not what they learned? And if that is the case, see above.

    The situation: a system is in place to make a sure fire determination of socioeconomic status, with an ancillary benefit of identifying some uber smart paupers that will do exactly what they are told to be part of that system (as it’s the easiest way they see to the top. In the past, said uber smart paupers would have to innovate, and there would be no structured path to enter thieving apparatus of the elite, i.e. Wall Street and Government).

    But more importantly, as I said above, my major beef is not with the protecting of one’s own, that is natural. My concern is i) they are incredibly hypocritical, ii) they have destroyed every institution they have ever managed (see banking, government, etc), and iii) they make no meaningful contribution to advancing society because they have been conditioned to believe that they should have power and resources merely because they are part of this elite class.

    In the past, the elite were the innovators, what are they now? What do they give the people now?

    With regards to your Tea Party comment, the Tea Party is currently in disarray. The only thing its members have holding them together is that they ALL KNOW THE GOVERNMENT IS NOT WORKING FOR THE PEOPLE ANYMORE. America will also become wise to this eventually.

  69. ^^ amen amen amen amen, you said it 2:02

  70. @2:02 So sorry you're tired of being a prole. Newsflash: life is unfair and society is heirarchical. Grow up and get over it. Meanwhile, I'll try to get my Masonic brothers to milk the gnomes of Zurich and the Illuminati for some more bread and circuses to placate you.

  71. David RockefellerJuly 9, 2012 at 2:26 PM

    Apparently, the Trilateral Commission and the Bilderberg Group allows dyslexics and/or those who can't spell words like "hierarchical" into their secretive ranks.

  72. 1:44:

    Using my big brain, I worked out that I would prefer, if possible, for Prof. Campos to vet the person in question, in order to avoid:

    - wasting time creating a dummy email address
    - putting the dummy email address on this blog, where I might be contacted by additional people to whom I'd not agreed to talk; and
    - putting the prospective student(s) in a position where they have to email my dummy address with their real name and email address, which they might not be comfortable doing (because I'm not willing to waste time on a dummy-dummy email exchange with someone who may just be messing around)

    Now, it's perfectly fine for Paul to say he doesn't want to take time to put us in touch. But it's really not your place to speak for him or claim annoyance on his behalf.

  73. @2:02-- you said commenters on this site were writing as if they considered themselves superior to others. Has Justice Scalia, and whatever liberal justice you were talking about, posted on this site? Your comment does not support what you said about the attitudes of commenters from elite schools.

  74. @ 2:16,

    With regards to your lazy “life is not fair” comment, which is almost always proffered by someone that is part of a society’s screwing class (or in any event thinks they are part or are going to be part of the screwing class), no problem could ever be solved with that thinking.

    Don’t like a king? To bad, life is unfair and hierarchical.

    Don’t like slavery? Too bad, life is unfair and hierarchical.

    Yet, as we know, in the end, matters take a proper course, especially in this country.

    As to the hierarchical issue, life may be hierarchical, but the question of how that hierarchy is determined, composed and sustained has been, and will continue to be, the primary source of strife. Most Americans, even the proles, are comfortable with a hierarchy where the top of the food chain consists of innovators and producers; however, they are not comfortable with people sucking their blood for the sake of sucking because they went to [fill in the blank school] and/or come from or serve the interests of [fill in the blank family].

    It means nothing to me that Lloyd Blankfein is a smart guy or that he went to Harvard. The same applies to the current President and the former President (except for the smart part). People will not tolerate this for long; you will see.

  75. @2:26 Touche. BTW if you want to be a grammar and spelling snob, get the verb tense of your sentence right: "allows" is for a single rather than a plural subject. If you'd used "or" instead of "and" you'd have been spot on with your witty rejoinder.

  76. @2:44 - What you're talking about there is verb "number," not "tense." Just sayin'.

  77. @2:02 PM asked:

    "Why aren’t more kids from MIT in positions of power, after all they are extremely brilliant as well, no?" is one (to me at least) tragically underemployed MIT kid that chuckles his way through life on a very silly billy popular radio show:

  78. Other, perhaps unusual examples, of lawyers that have done "anything" with a law degree:

    Howard Cosell. Geraldo Rivera. Richard Nixon. Mark Levin. Ann Coulter.

    The broad question is, I guess: Did the Lawyer background or status have anything to do with successful entry into the other or rather later careers of the aforementioned personages?

    And if so, how does that relate or compare to today, in the broadest sense, of course.

    Leiter types would never deign to respond, for a life in the stratosphere while strumming on a golden lyre seems to be a human constant.

    But I think a Dean Gormley would say yes to this mostest broadest of questions.

    What say ye?

  79. @ 3:53 PM

    While there are certainly legitimate examples of people who have actually parlayed their law degree and law experience into great non-legal careers, I would venture to say that the vast majority of people obtained these non-legal career opportunities while just happening to hold a JD, the JD itself having almost nothing to do with their attaining said position.

  80. "BLS current estimate of annual outflow from the legal profession: 13,840"

    what percentage of this number are lawyers and what percentage are support personnel?

  81. "Venture to say"does not equal proof of anything.

  82. 9:59 and 10:54

    No one reads those long-ass posts

  83. The person who wrote "amen" did ... oh, wait a minute. Never mind.

  84. @ 6:08 PM

    A lot of the people who obtained their high profile jobs certainly did not get it due to having a JD as opposed to getting it while just happening to have a JD. Do you think, for instance, that Tony Larussa got his job because he had a JD or that Andrew Cuomo got all the jobs he got because of his JD? I could go on and on with all the people that have high profile jobs and it is quite clear that for them the JD played no factor.

    A lot of people have actually said, here and elsewhere, that rather than helping them get a non-legal job, the JD actually HINDERS it and people are actually having to REMOVE IT FROM THEIR RESUMES.

  85. 6:39--Sure, but a lot of people have gotten desirable non-legal jobs while doing work as lawyers. They would not have been in the room but for their degrees. As for taking the JD off the resume, it depends on the school.

  86. ...and to anyone considering going to law school, even if you do get a first or a second or a third law job, the competition for each of those and any succeeding job is intense. Plus, no law job is ever secure. Never. I know of unemployed former biglaw firm managing partners. I have now watched a 20 year cycle unfold. My area of law, patent law, was booming through the 1990's and into the 2000's. Now it is completely glutted. I honestly believe, according to my observation of at least 400 or 500 people, that at least half of my contemporaries are not presently working at all or are listing a "law firm of x" at either their home address or a rented P.O. box address. Even if you get started in law and appear to do well for a period of time, even many years or a decade, it is still an unsafe and unwise choice because....there are way, way too many lawyers....and as you get older and more experienced there are fewer and fewer opportunities. I contemplate my own exit strategy daily.

  87. @7:14.

    You are spot on. Competition is intense. I'm a member of a small (10 lawyers) niche NYC firm. We are generally considered one of, if not the, best firm in our field. We have not, however, dared to raise our rates for at least five years. There's just too many solos and smaller shops undercutting us.

  88. Even HYS grads have to understand how glutted this profession is and how hard it is to stay employed the more experienced a lawyer gets. These commenters are giving top grads a false sense that their degrees will have value 25 years out. For many people today a HLS degree is worth less than what NYC spends on an experienced teacher each year. How many HLS grads are in that position. I know a few personally.

  89. HLS graduates understand. I know many personally who are doing very well. No school has ever guaranteed that every graduate will be continuously successful no matter what internal or external forces are at play. it is childish to think otherwise.

  90. I meant HYS graduates, and "It is childish".

  91. I have a very ominous feeling about whether we can even hang on to the 20,000 per year figure. Big firms will shrink as corporate clients move work in-house and question the billable hours model. Public sector hiring will vanish as austerity takes permanent hold--and retirees will not be replaced. Document review gigs will be offshored or replaced by digital sorting programs. Solos will have to compete with legal zoom, not to mention an oversaturated market and yelp reviews which will broadcast to the world the solos' rookie mistakes.

    I have heard that even some appellate court judges are reconsidering the ancient tradition of providing one to two year clerkships, opting instead for permanent assistants.


  92. Your assumption that growth is concentrated in support staff rather than lawyers is backwards. Anyone who's practiced in the past 20 years knows that staff numbers have declined significantly, and especially relative to lawyers.

    During the pits of the Great Recession, I was in BigLaw. Attorneys and staff were both let go in moderate numbers. Attorney hiring picked up in 2010 -- the firm probably has 5-10% more lawyers than it did at the 2007 peak. Staff have continued to leave. Apart from a few old-school secretaries brought on by senior lateral partners and a net gain of maybe one or two paralegals, the firm hired no new staff, but, as I noted, far more lawyers than left.

    Doesn't mean things are rosy. But, more objectivity would help.


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