Tuesday, August 14, 2012

To the Class of 2015

To the class of 2015, welcome.   At this point in the proceedings, tradition dictates that I spend some time elaborating just how amazing and talented each and every one of you truly is.

But I’m not going to that this year. And let me tell you why: If so many people hadn’t spent that last 20-odd years telling you just how talented and amazing you truly are, you might not be sitting here today. And just where are you today? 

You’re sitting in the faux courtroom of the Titanic School of Law, preparing to spend the next three years sailing straight into the iceberg known as the American legal profession.  OK, everyone in an odd-numbered seat, raise your hand.  Thank you.  None of you are going to get jobs as lawyers. Do you know why? Because you’re not going to hustle and network enough.  

J/K LOL! That’s not why. The real reason is because there are only enough legal jobs (sort of) for half of you. So half of you aren’t getting a job as a lawyer.  Hey I know people go to law school because they’re bad at math but that equation’s not too tough to figure out, am I right?

And you people in the even-numbered seats, don’t start fist-bumping each other just yet.   You know what the jobs you’re going to get are going to pay?  $40,000!  Sounds impossible doesn’t it? You’re going to be real lawyers after all.  But check it out: last year the median reported salary for people graduating outside the top dozen or so law schools was $55,000.  And that’s a big exaggeration, because only 35% of the graduates of non-elite law schools had their salaries recorded. Guess which graduates were more likely to have their salaries recorded?  You in the middle of the front  row in the Princeton sweatshirt. That’s right – the ones with higher salaries.  Well reasoned my fine young man: I do believe you’re already thinking like a lawyer!

So half of you aren’t going to be lawyers, and as an added extra bonus you’ll pick up a degree which makes it a lot harder to get non-legal jobs.  Oh wait, what’s that you say? A law degree is “versatile?”  You’re killing me Smalls.   Let me clue you in on a little secret: non-lawyers hate hiring people with law degrees. It’s true!  They think you’re going to run off to a high-paying legal job as soon as one opens up, or they think they’ve got something wrong with you because you’re not practicing law, or they think you’ll sue them, or they just generally hate lawyers.  

Plus most of you – future lawyers and non-lawyers with law degrees alike, are going to have unbelievably massive debt when you graduate. I mean have you seen what we’re charging now to go here? Every year we jack up tuition far faster than inflation yet again and I tell myself, that’s it, we’ve gone too far this time, they’re going to stop coming – and every year here you are again!

Maybe you haven’t done the numbers. Allow me:  You got a $30,000 “scholarship,” right?  Oh man I love that one:  Target should call their discount rack “the scholarship section.”   So you’re going to pay $33,000 this year in tuition.  Hold on tight to that scholarship, because we’re going to raise tuition on you $2000 each of the next two years. So that’s $105,000 right there.  It’s nice that your parents are paying your rent and otherwise helping out with living expenses, but you’re still going to borrow another $500 a month or so over the next three years or so for books, car payments, cell phone bills, and so on.  And don’t forget the bar review course (That’s where you learn all the stuff we didn’t really teach you).

So you’ll be lucky if you only take out $125,000 in loans. But wait, there's more: You know what the balance on those loans will be when the first payment comes due?   $147,000!  Amazing isn’t it. The mean old federal government just got rid of the subsidized loans that pay your interest while you’re in school, so interest will be accruing the whole time you’re here.  It’s like an astonishingly huge credit card bill on which you never make a payment. Plus this doesn't include your other educational debt, which we don't know and don't want to know anything about.

So a very few years from now, with the exception of a handful of you who will be lucky enough to sign up to be helots for a giant law firm, plus a few others who come from rich and well connected families (actually there’s a lot of overlap in those two groups for deeply mysterious reasons we’ve never been able to understand), all of you will be either practicing law for peanuts, or not practicing law at all and trying to figure out how to remove the stigma of your law degree from what you will be thinking of as your permanent record,  while struggling with veritable and growing mountain of high interest debt that you can’t get rid of – lawyers say “discharge” – in bankruptcy.

All of which raises an obvious question: Why would anybody sign up to do what you're doing to yourselves? I don't know and I don't want to know -- I'm actually being paid $300,000 per year to never ask that question to myself or anybody else.  So forget everything I just said. You can be sure it's something you'll never hear a law school dean say again.


  1. You’re sitting in the faux courtroom of the Titanic School of Law, preparing to spend the next three years sailing straight into the iceberg known as the American legal profession.


  2. SECOND POST!!!!!!!!

  3. . . . and they say Leitner never stgrikes twice . . .

  4. Yes, of course I meant to say strgikes.

  5. That post - with its sharp, biting tone - was epic!

  6. Perfect.

    The Law's a death trap. It's a suicide rap. You gotta get out while you're young.

    It's not too late Class of '15, IT'S NOT TOO LATE!!!!!

  7. Time to get back to Spanierspeak:

    "You are here, because you believe in justice. You are here, because you believe in fairness. You are here, because you want to make a difference. Ladies and gentlemen, I am glad you are here. You are about to enter into one of the oldest, most noble of professions. And we will be here with you every step of the way."

  8. You are killing me smalls.


  9. We should cover law campuses with this post.

  10. Also, classes of 2013 and 2014: up to the moment that the school passes the zero-refund threshold for your sixth semester, it's not too late to drop out.

  11. Since you also posted about Tulane recently, here's a real ad from August 10 on Craigslist NOLA:

    "Entry level Research Lawyer position available for specific projects. Please e-mail resume and cover letter to cuerialaw@gmail.com. See www.cuerialawfirm.com for firm details.
    • Location: Contract Downtown
    • Compensation: 10/hour starting"


  12. Welcome, Saps of 2015!

    Thank you for helping to pay for my vacation home on a crystal mountain lake. You are truly special.

  13. And may the odds be ever in your favor :)

  14. Lawprof , you should do a Dr. Seuss style commencement speech called "all the places you won't go."

  15. If you could attend a T50-T60 with a full tuition scholarship, no living expenses and you'd be fine with a $50k job --is it a good idea to go to law school?

    Statistics say 50-50 - but what do you guys think?

    1. Nope. First $50k a year isn't much to live on after you pay taxes. Hate to break the news. Second plan on being unemployed every third year thereby digging yourself into an ever bigger hole. Third each successive job will have a lower return until you hang a shingle and work for nothing.

  16. Here I was hoping that you took a day off and wouldn't feel the need to post some garbage just to put SOMETHING on the interweb for today.

    Well, this was pure garbage.

    You really are acting just like a blowhard law professor, law professor.

  17. @12:19 What are your other options?

  18. 12:19, what are your reasons for wanting to go to law school, knowing everything you know about the outcomes?

  19. 12:19: do you have a passionate desire to be a lawyer? Is there no other career about which you are or can imagine yourself developing a passion? Do you find the prospect of spending the next three years learning doctrine tolerable? Is the scholarship guaranteed?

    If you answered "no" to any of these (with the possible exception of the second, where "no" would be kind of a confusing answer, but you know what I mean), I wouldn't...

  20. 12:36: Jealous much?

  21. 12:19, "If you could attend a T50-T60 with a full tuition scholarship, no living expenses and you'd be fine with a $50k job"

    I'd take that bet. All that's lost is (some) opportunity cost. And in that range, you can definitely find schools tolerant of working during full-time LS, so how much opportunity is actually lost may be between you and your current employer.

    As an aside, aren't all the schools in the T50-60 technically still in a 10- or 11-way tie?

  22. @ 12:36 P.M.

    "Hi, Dean of [insert random name here] Law School!"

  23. 11:53, "Genius!"


    12:36, "Well, this was pure garbage."

    No, not genius, and not garbage. Just a somewhat amusing way to get most of the points down into a single posting. Call it a summary, if you will.

  24. As a parent with two young adult children considering law school, this web site saved us. Thank you so much.

    1. Glad you listened. Most young people refuse to do so. It's the carnival effect. The carnie game looks easy and someone has to win so why not you? Half hour later no money in your pocket.

  25. Its a trap!

    Admiral Ackbar

  26. "J/K LOL! That’s not why!"

    BAHAHAHAH. I love this site.

  27. 1:06 - taking your comment to mean you've dissuaded your two young adult children from taking the LS plunge - now what?

    I was listening to a radio advertisement on the way home last night, where a local plumbing company was begging licensed plumbers to join and offering $3K signing bonuses and singing high the praises of the work (primarily, set hours, 5 days a week, medical/dental and 401(k)).

    Unfortunately, I'm not a licensed plumber. But it did make me wonder if I should start figuring out how to become one...

  28. "And in that range, you can definitely find schools tolerant of working during full-time LS, so how much opportunity is actually lost may be between you and your current employer."

    It's a nice idea, but usually scholarships require full-time study. The ABA prohibits working more than 20 hours a week when full-time. It's how even scholarship students end up with loans.

  29. If lemmings won't listen to reason maybe LP's snarky tone will register.

  30. Yeah, I mean, the BEST possible outcome is a 50k a year job, with no job security. Why would you want to get a degree that only AT BEST guarantees that? The worst possible outcome is perpetual unemployment. You'd do better with a Bachelor's alone. I think that answers the question.

  31. While driving hiome tonight I was so freakin' depressed and full of despair about my ruined life and my sl indebted old age ahead, and this post cheered me up immensely :)

    Especially the part about how a JD repels non legal employers.

    Which is not going to stop me from drinking myself to death anyway because there is no way out of the shackles of mortgage sized debt and a six figure IRS bill after the IBR rip off.

    But I'm going to print this post and give a copy to my parents.

    All parents in America should read this. (If they love and care about their children that is)

  32. BRAVO! This post is a good example of why i read this blog daily.
    I was lucky enough to graduate from a top ten law school in 2001 and have been employed as a lawyer ever since in both the public and private sectors.
    Key fact above: Graduated in 2001. (Don't worry, I'm still paying loans.)

  33. "I think that answers the question."

    Unless you will derive so much pleasure from attending law school that the experience itself is reward enough, even if you end up no better (or worse) off financially than you are now. Sort of like spending three years teaching English in Japan.

    But most people would pick Japan, I imagine.

  34. 1:06 here. My daughter graduated debt free with a BA last year and has a starting job making $30k with benefits. My son is a junior at a top university in journalism and works part time as a radio producer at the country's top talk radio station and has had numerous written articles published already. He is debt free, too.

    My wife and I thought both of our children would make excellent lawyers and we encouraged them to look into law school. Then I discovered this website and was horrified!

    If both my kids went to LS, and were in debt of $150k each, I would sell my house and use the equity to eliminate their LS debts. So, I wasn't joking how this blog "saved" our butts.

    Not all us boomers are asses. I care about my kids and all Americans.

    Oh, son is working on article about law schools in our county. He will get it published in widely circulated weekly. We got the idea from this blog! Will take a few months due to his heavy work load, but it will save some people from doom.

    1. There are schools that are affordable. University of Mississippi, University of Arkansas at Little Rock, University of New Mexico, University of either North or South Dakota, there are a few more I just cannot remember the names.

      If you want to be a plaintiffs attorney or criminal defense attorney it would be ok to go to one of those schools.

      If you are goal is to become a white shore attorney or a professor than I would not even consider going to law school.

  35. I'm 12:19.

    To address earlier questions:

    -I interned at a law firm for six months and have a good idea of what attorneys do and I am still interested in going to law school. But I won't lie. I double majored in two liberal arts and also feel like I'm holed in and have very few options career wise.

    -What scares me most is that even lawyers who do have jobs have little job security, so even if I do land a job post graduation, who wants to live in constant fear of being laid off? (Though, to be fair, in the "new economy" most people who have jobs are constantly in fear of this as well. Even with STEM careers like engineering - companies wouldn't think twice about replacing experienced engineers with cheaper young ones).

    -Someone asked me about other options: None of my other schools are in play anymore and I largely decided on the school I did as a way to avoid debt.

    -I think there are a lot of soon-to-be 1Ls like me, reading this blog and calculating the probability of success in the field. The post I've found to be the most insightful out of all of them (and believe me, I've read every single one) is the one on Special Snowflake Syndrome. I try my hardest to divorce any optimism bias from the hard statistics at play - but as LawProf has noted before, it's hard to make rational decisions when they're for yourself. In evaluative terms, I have a full scholarship, no extra expenses for COA and if this counts for anything, I at least know how absurdly difficult it is to succeed in this field. I know what I'm up against. In a strictly mathematical approach, there's very little risk in at least going through the first semester. My scholarship only requires "good standing" and not a particular gpa stip. Even so, if I'm not in the top third of my class by the semester's end, I'll probably quit.

    The hardest part about this is wondering if the goal I've worked towards and wanted my entire life is even worth wanting after all. I do want to be an attorney, tedious, work-intensive, demanding and repetitive as it is.

    I really appreciate everyone's advice and questions so far.

    1. Law is nothing more than glorified social work. You know those weird kids in high school you didn't want anything to do with? Now you get to solve their problems and hope they pay you.

    2. Who could always go through as a post-bac and complete the requirements for medical, dental, or pharmacy school. It's only about two additional years of course work plus taking a standardized test

  36. I'm a class of 2011 "winner" who had a medium debt load and scored a Biglaw job, I LOVED law school, and always wanted to be a lawyer (even though I didn't know what it entailed), I would trade places with you and go to my old post-bachelor's degree job in a split second. Don't do it brother. I'm working to pay off my loans early next year and leave law to go right back where I was 4 years ago, and I consider myself lucky and blessed to have that opportunity. Most others do not.

  37. 12:19,

    When did you graduate undergrad? What have you been doing since then?


  38. @1:58 You probably don't have much to lose if you go for one year to see how you like the subject and how well you do. But I would set you cut-off higher than top third. At a 50-60 school, your job prospects will be so lousy that I would pack it in if you're not in the top 10% after your first year.

  39. I graduated undergrad in 05', took a few years off to pay off horendous medical bills I had incurred post-parents' insurance/pre full-time job insurance.

  40. Sorry, I meant worked full-time, took years off before going to law school in the sense that I worked for a few years between undergrad and LS.

  41. "The ABA prohibits working more than 20 hours a week when full-time. "

    What the aba don't know, won't hurt it.

  42. Yeah, but even if you like law school, that has no relation to whether you're going to enjoy the type of legal job that you are going to be able to get. I loved learning about the law (although I found law school itself to be annoyingly douche-ridden and overall boring). I enjoyed my first legal job too, overall. (but left because of x-treme bullshit office politics/dysfunctional office). Then in 2008 I landed in a horrible, tedious, repetitive, MINDLESS legal job (not doc review, a real legal job), which I have not been able to escape due to the economy. Four years of my life spent stuck in this job that I hated from the first month. I've been looking for something else the whole time, but since it pays relatively well and has relative job security (government), I haven't been able to snag a better option. THAT is the reality of legal practice today. Yes, there are some legal jobs that are intellectually engaging and interesting. They are a tiny minority, and even the top students from the top schools are mostly not going to get them. The vast majority of legal jobs could be done by a well-trained monkey, if the monkey were supplied with enough meth to keep him awake and on task for the long hours. Please don't go to law school based on thoughts like "Wow, this supreme court decision that just came out is super interesting," or "Wow, working in the white house would be really fun." You're probably not going to get either of those jobs, no matter how smart and what a star you are. Those are just basic odds. Even if you do get one, it's not going to last your whole career. At some point in your career, you're almost certainly going to find yourself doing a job you hate just to support yourself/pay loans, and you may not be able to get away from that job quickly, due to the oversaturated legal market.

  43. The characteristic of my career is that it has been very hard to work for the last 10 years, and now harder than ever. There are very few legal jobs for which I qualify with my T5 law degree and years of BigLaw experience. I am unemployed now, not by choice, and have no idea if I can get a job. Even if I were to move to a different part of the country from the rest of my family, I may not get a job.

    If you do go to law school, even for free and even to a top law school, you are taking a risk. Oh yes, once you are in that job, and especially when you have a few years of experience under you belt, no one cares if you went to Cooley or to Yale, so that T3 law school and HYP undergrad still may not get you gainful employment. There will be some Cooley people who get great jobs, but in terms of numbers, they are like the winners of a lottery.

  44. 12:19 / 1:58 " I have a full scholarship, no extra expenses for COA and .. ... In a strictly mathematical approach, there's very little risk in at least going through the first semester. My scholarship only requires "good standing" and not a particular gpa stip. Even so, if I'm not in the top third of my class by the semester's end, I'll probably quit."

    As a poster following you suggested (2:17), I'd give it at least the 1st year. My grades went from very bad to just outside top 15% during 1L.

    But to argue another point that 2:17 suggested, I would not necessarily drop if outside top 10% (where you had mentioned top 1/3).

    At least, not without a lot of due diligence at your particular school. Does your state's bar website have ability to run down recent grads by school and year of graduation?

    For example, FL Bar does, and although it's a tedious exercise, you can track down employment of all grads for (e.g.) 2011 and figure out which ones are at mid-large or actual small firms (vs. soloing or 2-3 solos banded together; just as bad as soloing - i.e., couldn't find a job).

    I just looked up my own T50-60 school at LST, and it has circa 70% in FT JD-required jobs (and this excludes solos). So some schools, even outside the T14, are above average in this respect. Likely due to regional influence of the school.

  45. To put it differently, a big chunk of my superstar classmates are either unemployed or underemployed. The bottom is falling out of the legal profession in the sense that the supply/ demand imbalance really affects one's ability to work. Maybe it is easier to get a job, especially if one is relatively young and has good school/ grades/ and experience. The shakeout comes from how hard it is to keep that job. Employers have woken up to the fact that there are many times as many qualified lawyers as there are jobs, and the result, just like with skyrocketing tuition, is skyrocketing firings of lawyers. No, not everyone gets fired, but everyone is really at risk and the longer one works as a lawyer, the greater the probability. The employers churn lawyers because they can. Even if you are happily in a legal job you perceive as great, the annual BigLaw belch of thousands of mostly young, well credentialed and attractive lawyers for whom there are not enough job openings reduces your value to a used pair of shoes, that can be thrown out at any time for a new pair, since so many great, inexpensive pairs of shoes are on the market all the time.

  46. 2:47,
    If you're relatively well paid and have job security what's the gripe? Most jobs are pretty fucking boring, that's why it's called work and the reason they pay you for it.

  47. If you are working in a state where you can check the bar directory, you ought to do so, and not just for the most recent law school classes. Go out by 5 year intervals and see what people are doing. If someone is of counsel to a firm you have never heard of, they may have very little income. You need to make a judgment as to how many people at each level are not likely earning a living. My guess is that the percentage gets higher each year from graduation. Thus the real figures may be that 30% of all law school grads are making more than $60,000 in Florida 10 years out, but that number may drop to 12% 23 years out. In other works, you may have a 12% chance of earning a living by the time you are age 49. Look out for people who are real estate brokers or work for businesses you have never heard of (from home). So many people with law degrees do not make a living, it is almost a joke. Also look at how many solos there are in the city or town you want to practice in. Martindale has this information for any town. The number of solos is downright scarry. There could not possibly be enough legal problems for these lawyers to work on for them to make a living. So you can do your first year or all three years for free, but the risk is that you are ultimately stranded with no source of income, either sooner or later, if you do go to law school.

  48. "What the aba don't know, won't hurt it."

    If the school discovers what is going on, they are required to put a stop to it if they want to retain accreditation. Trust me, they want to retain accreditation more than they want to retain the one kid who thinks he can bend the rules.

  49. "OK, everyone in an odd-numbered seat, raise your hand. Thank you."

    I remember the saying..."Look to your left, look to your right. One of you is not going to be here at graduation."

  50. One of the tricks of non-BigLaw firms is to put lawyers on their website so as to appear much bigger than they are. It is hard to see what lawyers are actually earning in a 10 lawyer firm. Some law firms are legitimate at least, and have everyone on the website working full-time (except for a handfull of legitimate part-timers) out of a real office. Other law firms have affiliated lawyers who have no office at the law firm, rarely do work for the firm, and are put there so a 3 person practice looks like a 10 person firm. There are a lot of people working "as needed" as lawyers in private practice, and the firm website does not tell you that, nor does Martindale or the bar directory.

    CAVEAT EMPTOR in going to even a fully paid law school. You will likely not be able to make a living sooner or later, and may have to retrain to do something else when you are in your 30s or much older.

  51. Yes, 3:26, when I think about vigorous factual investigations the first groups of people that come to mind are law school administrations and the ABA. If I were a law student thinking about working full-time while ingesting the mandatory amount of 1L Socratic bullshit, I'd just be terrified that one of these two groups of hard charging go-getters might come sniffing around my employer to see if I was breaking the "rules."

  52. Perhaps someone older can comment on the difficulties of finding employees for aging attorneys? I feel there has not been enough commentary on this point. It would be most helpful if one person could take up this task and comment several times on each post.

  53. 3:45 I have commented many times on this blog about the difficulty of remaining employed in the legal profession. You can look at the comments posted above. If you have not started law school, you should think about going into a safer area like health care or even police work or maybe a trade like being a plumber or electrician. There is no question that some people have good outcomes as lawyers, but the numbers as time goes on from graduation dwindle. There is just such an oversupply of lawyers, you are at terrible risk of being structurally unemployed, even from a top law school (read HYS) on a longer term basis. It is a losing battle for most people to stay gainfully employed in the legal profession simply because the numbers are against them. It was not this bad 20 years ago. The ABA with its lack of oversight has killed the profession for most law school grads. If you do not get fired sooner as a lawyer, you will get fired later, and it will have nothing to do with your qualities as a lawyer, willingness to work hard and you may in fact have done everything right. Lawyers today are victims of a structural oversupply of talent that generally will prevent them from earning an adequate living over a career of 40 years or so.

  54. How to live and cope with mortgage sized student loan debt, with all shreds of natural Human Rights consumer bankruptcy protections eradicated for the rest of your destroyed natural human lives.

    With no way out of the debt, according to the laws of a current day American federal government, other than to die or to be so severely physically disabled that any normal human being would probably hope and pray to die as a way out of such disability.

    In the meantime a casual gambler gone bust at Vegas, or a casual corporate piece of vile , ugly vermin such as Donald Trump can declare bankruptcy for whatever reason, and whenever they choose.

    Is this the spirit of America?

    Here is a quote from the American Declaration of Independence:

    "In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury."

    People: You are the indentured for life, American, Educated Second Class Citizen. You thought you were doing everything right, and, as the laws now state, you are now scammed and forever to be mocked fools and burdens on the larger society for as long as you shall so live.

    You tried to write on the internet about the problems, and your pleas went unheeded.

    Do any of you even care?

  55. I think 3:45 was trying to troll

  56. 1. Just because you have a worthless BA doesn't mean you are incapable of learning and functioning in unrelated fields occupied by worthwhile undergraduate degrees. You can't leap into certain professions, like accounting, but nothing prevents you from self-studying whatever hard textbooks (finance, management, computer science---whatever) you'd avoided as an undergrad. Degrees aren't versatile...but smart, hardworkers can be. I'm not saying you're guaranteed anything. But a lot of people with "worthwhile" undergrad degrees aren't necessarily better than you. They don't have any head start in their studies that couldn't be overcome with hard self-studying (especially since, to be frank, a lot of undergrads get degrees without working very hard).
    2. There are a few (perhaps very few) people who go to law school with no interest in joining the profession. The law degree is not necessarily a liability for them...they can state, truthfully, credibly, "While I have a law degree, I never sought to enter the legal profession. It was a graduate school experience to help me pursue alternative professional goals that are otherwise evidenced by blah blah blah." If you sought to take a bar exam or are looking for work as an attorney, then you can't credibly or truthfully fit into this category, and it makes sense why employers would think "flight risk" or "not likely to be satisfied," etc. That's probably not a wise evaluation of human capital from a human resources perspective--but the rejection on the basis of overqualification applies to a lot of graduate degree holders looking for a job, any job.

  57. @ 4:25 PM,

    no s/he wasn't. it's an ongoing and occasional point that is brought up in the comment sections of every other post.

  58. There is only one reason why a lawyer becomes or remains employed: s/he either has specialized knowledge that clients demand or s/he has the necessary skills to acquire that knowledge. The only reason a client retains (or hires) a lawyer is to gain access to this knowledge. The basics of this knowledge are taught in law school. But mastery is gained only through experience. Any young lawyer needs to consider what s/he can do to increase their knowledge in areas that are in demand by clients, with the goal be being able to market yourself to potential clients as competent to do the work they need done. Unfortunately, this knowledge (and skill) is difficult to attain. At many large firms, lawyers become so highly specialized that their knowledge is of no use to anyone other than a small handful of clients which are unlikely to move from the firm. Smaller firms often present opportunities to do a wider range of work, but as we know, the monetary reward is not as great.

    No lawyer should be thinking about what s/he can do to be "employable." S/he should be thinking, "what do I need to do to find and retain clients." The only job security in this business is good clients who rely on you when they need you.

    1. The knowledge and skill are not that difficult to obtain. The hardest part is finding the clients.

      Finders, Minders, and Grinders.
      Finders can always find minders and grinders to do the legal work.

  59. LOL at this post!

    Actually, it would be quite funny if it weren't true and so darn sad...

  60. 4:33,
    I most certainly was trolling the old man or woman that washed out and can't find a job and comments on almost every post.

    1. Didn't wash out fool. Retired and feel sorry for your lot. I've tried telling so many young people not to go to law school and none listen to me.

      And with that I shall leave you all!

  61. 1) I think there are times when LP tends to cross the line into despising law students and the OP seems like one of them. Maybe keeping his job isn't mercenary but actually the ultimate in self-sacrifice. Because teaching people you despise can't be good for you.
    2) This comments section is a terrible place to ask for advice. There are clearly several people who post repeatedly--often on the exact same subject and often pretending they are more than one person. The fact that our resident unemployed boomer from a "t6" was too clueless to know he was being trolled should be sufficient to show you he isn't as smart as he thinks he is. Unless the reply was the troll, to which I say: this site does have some good trolls.
    3) The person above who said no one cares about your law school a few years out went to a school that isn't good enough to get you a job.
    4) All that said, I mostly agree with the message of this site and the parent above. But 0Ls looking for career advice need to recognize that the extreme bitterness that results from being duped by the law school scam does not provide insight into life. Sure, it's a warning that law school isn't what the law schools say it is, but don't come here seeking wisdom.

  62. 4:45

    Maybe age 26 or 30 or 35 is old to you. I know it is downright ancient to a 13-year old.

    Maybe you can laugh at a 26-year old who was just dropped from his or her job because someone with a better resume happened to be at the right place at the right time. Call the 26 or 30 or 35 year old an old man or woman. If you go to law school and cannot earn at living at one of these ages, you will not be joking about it. Your law degree will have given you very short-lived employment, and you may be left with very high law school debt.

    The truth is that the value of a law degree is a function of how long you can work and how much you can earn during your career. If you are quite frankly arrogant enough to think that all that matters is the first year out of law school, and after that everyone is an old man or old woman that no one cares to hear about, you deserve what you get in this profession. The problem is that there is an oversupply at all levels of experience in the legal profession, with the up or out system alive and well in private practice, and a huge oversupply in the solo and small law firm sphere in all specialties in all locations within the United States. If working for only a year or two or maybe 8 or 10 and then needing to start on a new career does not concern you, because the probability is statistically that you will not be able to earn a living in this glutted profession, I do not know what to say.

    Anyone who is doing the type of due diligence you are suggesting deserves to be saddled with a lifetime of debt that person can never repay, a useless degree and a need to train all over again and start a totally new career after just a few years of trying to practice law.

  63. 5:07,
    U mad bro?

    3,:45, 4:45

  64. Now that I have everybody's attention, I would like to talk about AMWAY and the 700 hundred club and Pat Robertson :)

  65. 4:30, please don't direct the unemployed law swarms into accounting. Kids, the math is extremely hard, you work 100 hour weeks and the partners and your coworkers take turns kicking your dog and screwing your girlfriend/wife, all so that you can make $20k a year.

    Seriously, that's my field you're directing them into. At least encourage them to go flood engineering or IT.

  66. 3:26, "If the school discovers what is going on, they are required to put a stop to it if they want to retain accreditation. Trust me, they want to retain accreditation more than they want to retain the one kid who thinks he can bend the rules."

    Yah right. It was more like DADT with respect to employment. One kid was dumb enough that he actually put "Achieved top X% of class while working full time as an EMT at XYZ Hospital". The CSO didn't blink. One hiring partner who saw his resume called him on the QT and said "get that shite off ur resume".

    It's just like attendance rules as required by ABA (also an accreditation hit for failure). Sure, 1L year they take attendance. After that? Many profs do during 2L, but not all. And 3L? .... .... ....

  67. 3:45, "Perhaps someone older can comment on the difficulties of finding employees [sic]for aging attorneys?"

    Look, if you gotta be a troll, at least be a good troll and not a f-up troll.

  68. The country is bankrupt.

    Get in your car and spend the gas and toll money, which will be a lot, and take the time to drive all around the USA.

    You will see beautiful scenery and poor people all across the fruited plain living in it.

    You will see a lot of signs for highway hotels and motels and rest stops, with food, gas, lodgings, and craft shops and shopping etc. and will have to decide for yourselves as to what you want to visit and see.

    I dare any one of you to do so. I sure as hell want to do it if I can ever afford it.

    But if you do (and crazy as this sounds) you might end up with a better perspective on how the student lending scam is the last place where the big financial industry has any hope of making a buck in the absence of vry few other ways to make money either in or for anone in anytown (College Towns Included) USA.

  69. 4:16. "In the meantime a casual gambler gone bust at Vegas, ... can declare bankruptcy ... Is this the spirit of America?"

    There are perverse incentives everywhere you look. It's always been irritating to me that charitable contributions are deduction limited after a certain amount of contribution, and depending on level of income. And medical expenses - they have to gross, what, 7.5% of your income to be deductible?

    Yet gambling losses are always deductible. Even if you lose more than your income in a given year, you can spread the gambling loses over a number of years.

    But contributions to your church, local food banks, medical payments? Hey, sucks to be you. We'll limit those once you pass thresholds.

    (And also from 4:16), "Do any of you even care?"
    - Sorry, Snowflake, yes, you're the only one who really cares. Riiight.

  70. 6:06, this is something ABA site visit teams are cracking down on.

  71. 4:51, "There are clearly several people who post repeatedly--often on the exact same subject and often pretending they are more than one person."

    Yeah right. Like they use such disparate handles as "Anonymous", "Anonymous", "Anonymous and "Anonymous" to try to fool you into thinking they're multiple persons.

  72. 6:09,
    All that matters is the outcome and it was a success!

  73. Thank you 3:14, 3:25,3:38 and 3:58.

    I am 20 years out and still employed and doing fairly well, BUT it is a losing battle for most people to stay gainfully employed in the lawyering business. The numbers are against them. The lack of oversight leading to this glut of lawyers has killed the profession for most lawyers. The vast majority of lawyers get fired sooner or later....the work dries up, firms collapse, companies downsize, rainmakers jump ship or retire, etc. etc. It is completely true that lawyers today are victims of an oversupply that generally prevents them from earning a decent living over an expected career of 40 years. Long term job stability and decades of full employment does not materialize for the majority of lawyers anymore. I have observed this state of affairs for 20 years and know from my observations that the situation has become much worse in the last decade.

  74. "6:06, this is something ABA site visit teams are cracking down on."

    LOL, thanks!

    Hey, wait, I think they're called "ABA Formal Accreditation Review Team System"....

    ...or (acronymically) "ABA FARTS".

  75. 6:51,
    Thank you for providing a fresh and unique perspective. This must be your first time commenting as the issues you speak of have not been addressed on this blog before. Please elaborate on the employment of lawyers in their later years.

  76. Beautiful. I am half-afraid that Paul Campos's colleagues are going to plant drugs in his office, or something!

    To the Titanic Law Class of 2015:

    I hesitate to mention this, but there is another little surprise in store for you. After you graduate, you will likely take the bar exam, and it would be highly imprudent of you to do so without first taking a bar prep course from a private company. That course will run you maybe 3K, a mere pebble atop your mountain of debt. But the cream of the jest is that you will learn much more in that nine-week bar prep course than you did in your three year course of study at our fine institution. Haha! You should hear how we justify that to ourselves.

    And those few of you who carve out a place for yourself in a very stressful, remorseless, supersaturated, and contracting field may get a kick out of the fact that the scholarly work that your professors make such a fuss over, and that they feel justifies their lives of wealth and ease at your expense, is thoroughly disregarded by the practicing bar. Haha! You should hear how we justify that to ourselves!

    Good luck and I hope to see you all on graduation day in 2015! I can assure you that we will have an inspiring commencement speaker who will advise you to be givers, not takers, to get over your sense of entitlement, to avail yourself of the rich vein of legal work that exists in rural Nebraska, and to practice the law of real people.


  77. @ 7:19 (3:45, 6:34): At least this time it was correct from a content/wording standpoint.

    But still, a bit over the top. The only ones you'll catch with stuff like that are the truly noob gulls.

    And that's just like shooting monkeys in a barrel after the horse has left the barn. No sport at all, that is.

    Real sport is catching the frequent, more sophisticated posters. If you want to learn how to really successfully troll, go over to ATL and read some of the comments posted by SuccessfulTroll.

    Evenin' to ya.

  78. I was at a conference the other day and one of the panelists just before lunch mentioned the term "structural unemployment in the legal field".

    Unfortunately we broke for lunch and no one returned to explain that topic when we reconvened.

    Anyone have a clue what "structural unemployment" means?

  79. 7:46,
    I could never compete with a true artist like SuccessfulTroll. I'll work on stepping up my game though.
    7:19, (3:45, 6:34)

  80. Structural unemployment is unemployment that is built into the legal profession. Is a function of supply and demand, up or out, specifically too many law grads each year, too many lawyers overall, too few jobs.

    The only way out of structural unemployment in the legal profession is to train people for work outside the legal profession in areas where there is likely to be work, or for people to leave the profession voluntarily to do something else.

    Unemployment in the legal profession is structural because it is inevitably built in when you have this imbalance: vast surplus talent, too few jobs at both the entry and experienced levels; more lawyers being pushed down into solo practice as they become more experienced because of the up or out system, huge glut of solo/ small firm lawyers, so very hard to make a living as a solo or in a small firm; few career-long salaried jobs and a high percentage of unstable salaried jobs, i.e., salaried jobs that end in involuntary terminations, even where the jobs are nominally long-term,and limited openings for experienced lawyers compared to the supply of people looking for jobs.

  81. 8:07 meet 8:17....

  82. It means unemployment caused by changes in the structure of delivery of legal services. For example outsourcing to India. Or, automated document reading. Name your poison

  83. Interesting read


  84. 8:24,
    You mean 8:07 meet 7:49? That was some good trolling.

  85. 8:07 if you really think people on this blog are repeating themselves why don't you suggest that LP shut it down? After all once something is said on this blog on one day it never never needs to be said again. The message is now out to the world. Anyone who repeats a comment or God forbid talks about people over the age of 25 is a troll. After all, Troll, this blog is for young law students, right,Troll? What is a Troll, 8:07?

  86. Now there are two fish on the line...

  87. "What is a Troll, 8:07?"

    See www.wikipedia.org/sushi

    A "Troll" is short for a "T-Roll" or spicy Tuna Roll.

    They can be good eats, but so few chefs really make them well.

  88. Dear 7:19, it's 6:51...
    no I have commented on the topic of terrible long term employment prospects for lawyers on this board before, you are completely incorrect that it is my first time to address this issue. However, I believe that addressing the instability of law jobs long term and the increasing percentage of lawyers who find themselves unemployed or underemployed after a few or several years is of paramount importance because the publicly available statistics do not address this real problem. I will continue to shine light on this truth in the future on this blog and elsewhere. I happen to be a patent lawyer, and I have now seen too many scientists and engineers abort or sabotage what could have been decent careers to go to law school and come out into a saturated patent lawyer market leaving them either completely unemployed after a few years or underemployed. I know of one suicide brought on at least in part because of the despair of having squandered one good career for a second "career" in the lawyering business. I have a righteous indignation for the law school scam and will continue to repeat my message of truth...a truth that is not represented by the law school or ABA employment statistics, but a truth that ruins lives.

  89. http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Structural_unemployment

  90. @7:49 PM,
    it means you never took macroeconomics in college, or didn't pay attention, or majored in Trolling

  91. ^^^^ 7:49 here.

    You missed two other viable options: Any combination of the above, or all three.

    I'll take "All Three for a Thousand, Alex".

    (PS, part of the reason I did ask it was because of the frequent non-standard use of that term here in the comments section. The other reason was to help 8:54 aka 7:19 (3:45, 6:34) along in his quest.)

  92. @9:07 - funny, you don't write like a patent lawyer. How long have you been practicing? Bio UG?

  93. @9:38
    20 years...biology and chemistry....and the suicide I referenced had a JD from a top school and a graduate degree in the sciences (PhD or MD)....and I know many PhD/JD and MD/JD colleagues who are unemployed.

  94. Look at the Wiki description of structural unemployment link above. Most ominous is that structual unemployment like this is hardest to cure.

    With reference to the last point, I assume that someone with an MD could match somewhere for a residency in medicine. So that person would not be as screwed as a normal JD.

  95. Look at the Wiki description of structural unemployment link above. Most ominous is that structual unemployment like this is hardest to cure.

    With reference to the last point, I assume that someone with an MD could match somewhere for a residency in medicine. So that person would not be as screwed as a normal JD.

  96. @10:08 PM

    i know someone who went to a TTT (ranked near 100 the last time i checked a few months ago when she graduated) who is now deciding to get her MD...

    that TTT was also sued in those Cooley/NYLS fraud lawsuits

  97. Whew a bad night. Sorry. Better this morning and wanted to add to the anectdotal lore.

    A number of years ago, I had a long telephone conversation with a recruitment officer for a then popular insurance industry placement agency.

    I had sent my resume to the agency, and then followed up with a call a week later.

    The person acknowledged having received my resume, and sounded puzzled and finally asked me in what sounded like an exasperated tone: "How can I help you?"

    I told her that I saw many open positions on the placement agency's site, and that I had a law degree and would be a good fit for jobs in claims or underwriting or even general administration.

    The recruiter basically explained to me that the jobs listed had "specific" (she emphasized the word) duties and past work history requirements and that I did not fit any of them.

    I then tried to sell myself and explain all about how the JD teaches one how to solve problems etc. and about how rigorous 3 years of law school was and how that demonstrates ability.

    She wasn't impressed and concluded the conversation, and, frankly, she sounded embarrassed for me.

    Around that time I also had a second conversation on the phone with a man who was a "headhunter" for more executive type Insurance and Financial Services Industry jobs, and he sounded curious at first, and wanted to know why I wasn't working in the legal field.

    I tried to describe the job market to him and the conversation was friendly and as we talked he brought up how he had once rented an apartment to a lawyer who threatened to sue him, and about how he would never rent to another lawyer again.

    He then added that he is wary of lawyers in general because they are "adversarial".

    My response was: "Oh"

    I never heard from that headhunter again.

  98. Damm, has to be the best blog post you have ever written, succint and hit's the nail on the head..Love it..

  99. EPIC!!! I am going to share this with any 0L who asks me whether they should go to law school. I'm going to tell them, "This ain't no Swiftian safire. Law school really will eat you up and spit you out like so much gristle and bone."

    Prof. Campos, you should have gotten a Ph.D. in English Composition. Kudos.


  100. ^^^
    damn, meant "satire" not safire.

  101. Being unemployed and having a massive debt burden is not really that big of a deal, as long as you are willing to expatriate. You can make a living wage teaching English just about anywhere in South or East Asia, as well as Eastern Europe and likely South America (though I don't know as much about the opportunities available in those regions).

    The key is getting in at the ground floor of the global economy - we are currently standing on an artificially elevated floor that is rapidly being cut out from under us. Better to be happy living on the outskirts, making enough to survive, marry a nice local, and buy some dirt cheap property.

  102. I wish that I knew about this site before plunking down $1500 on an LSAT prep class and study materials. But it's better that than $150,000.

  103. How can JDPainter guy conjure up the amount of time to post on this blog but can't find a job? Has he been brainwashed to the point where he honestly believes this malarkey?

    And half of you, if not more, believe that it was a result of his lower tier law school that made it so he (and others) could not find meaningful labor. Living outside of a city like New York, NY should make finding some kind of job possible. He has a law degree. If one put the kind of effort into looking for a job that one puts into writing poetry and posting and deleting blogs and POWERBASHING baby boomers, they could find a pretty good gig. Maybe not $160k, but who really needs that?

    It's time to wrap these scamblogs up and put in a little more effort, people! The only ones who are responsible for your success is you. Time is a resource, and half ya'll are wastin' it!

  104. "The real reason is because there are only enough legal jobs (sort of) for half of you. So half of you aren’t getting a job as a lawyer."

    I don't know who you are. But, let me pound this home into your skull. NOT EVERY LAW STUDENT IS IN LAW SCHOOL TO GET A JOB AS A LAWYER.

    Some people go to law school for the following reasons:

    1. Government Work.
    2. To start a business.
    3. To pick up new skills.
    4. To gain knowledge (law school is VERY intellectually stimulating).
    5. Because they want to go and don't need to work. They are already well off.
    6. Because they got a scholarship and figured it would look good.
    7. And many, many other reasons.

    Perhaps there are more lawyer jobs for those who are going to be lawyers. Ever consider that?

  105. ^
    Sucking on the government tit and enjoying it, pal. I have something for you to suck. It looks like a lollypop but unlike lollypop, if you suck it as hard as you suck the government tit, it can shoot a wad of something down your throat.

    Have you ever made anything useful in your useless life? Ever bent yourself a paperclip, leach? Where did you acquire this scumbag attitude and the right to talk down to people, you piece of useless shit? Let me pound this home into your skull. The puke like only can make living because we all finance your existence.

    Now, fuck off.

  106. Law has to be your passion to make it work, just like most other professional careers. It is definitely not the easy road to big bucks some people think it is. Lawyers can be successful in certain other careers such as real estate, insurance and collective bargaining - and let's not forget politics...

  107. This blog is so infinitely depressing. All I've ever wanted to do since I was little is go into the field of law, and by the time I finally grow up and graduate college, it's one of the worst professions to go into. Go figure.

  108. Love this post, love your blog. Thanks for telling the truth.

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