Meanwhile there are 5,800 more people employed in the legal sector (not all of them lawyers) than there were at this time last year. There are also 44,495 more ABA law school graduates.Why write this?
Thanksgiving this year was more social than it typically is for us, and we attended a gathering that included a hodgepodge of various families that I had not met before. Social circles are small, however, and people appeared to be generally familiar with the concept that I was a smart lawyer in a big city working with a big firm on big cases making big money. I thus was subjected to a seemingly never-ending carousel of young, good-natured twenty-somethings who were sent to speak to me at the behest of their parents regarding the perceived merits of law school.
The kids were bright-eyed, enthusiastic, and many were more or less neck deep in the law school evaluation process. Our conversations typically fell along the following lines: “I’m looking at [law school], and I have met with the admissions people there, who seem really great. I’m pretty excited about the prospect of attending. It’s cool that you work at [Firm X] in [City Y]. Do you like being a lawyer?”
In any event, I punted, not wanting to be the resident buzz kill while the gravy was still warm. My answers were vague, and I generally discussed the intellectual challenges one might expect to face as a law student. If one did manage to corral me into discussing the prospects of obtaining law firm employment after graduation, my replies were purposely noncommittal—“it depends, some fields are hotter than others;” "It's hard to say; before attending, be sure to research firms that you may be interested in to see the type of graduates they hire," and so forth.
Afterwards, I reflected that it was bothersome to hear that the admissions departments were still shoveling the same brand of irresponsible rhetoric that, I suppose, in hindsight, had hooked me when I was in their shoes. I mused that, in a vacuum of anonymity—no gossip, no whispers—my answers to some of their questions would have been very different.
So here is my made-for-the-internet story, as a class of 200 law school graduate. It is not intended to persuade or dissuade; instead, I merely recount the details of my background and my work experience. The rest is, as they say, up to you.
I, like most of you, am a striver. At a young age, I was identified as “gifted,” and recall that I generally enjoyed the process of learning. Academic success came, along virtually all stages of educational conveyor belt, with relative ease. I excelled in middle school, and afterwards, was able to gain admission to the highly selective private high school in our city. Less than 10% made the cut. High school was certainly more competitive—no longer the big fish in a small pond—but I continued to work hard and did well. I took the SAT seriously and prepared diligently. My score was high, and I was able to obtain admission to a highly prestigious undergraduate program.
Undergrad was more of the same, and I obtained a degree in a [technical field]. After graduation, I secured a full-time position in at [highly recognizable institution related to technical field]. While there, I [accomplished noteworthy achievements [X][Y]].
In 200, I decided that I wanted a change of pace, and sat for the LSAT. Law school, after all, appeared to be attractive: only three additional years of education and a pot of gold at the end of the proverbial rainbow. With my technical background, I envisioned a career in IP litigation. My LSAT score was high, and I decided to attend a non-T14 T20 on partial scholarship.
Law school went relatively well, and I was able to secure membership on a secondary journal. I also participated in moot court and mock trial, and [further completed noteworthy achievements [X][Y]]. Grades were decent, not great—and I finished top 0% or so. Why not higher? Well, at the good schools, (1) everyone is smart, and (2) 100% enter with the notion in mind of finishing within the top 10%. Strangely, 90% end up being disappointed.
In any event, I interview well, and my technical background and law school performance were sufficient to net me a [DC][LA][NYC][SF] biglaw summer associate position during 200 2L OCI.
I received an offer from the firm after the summer, and began my legal career at the same firm following my graduation from law school. I remained with firm for nearly  years—a period in which the firm only promoted one new partner (yes, literally one) in the [DC][LA][NYC][SF] office. I decided that, in light of these staggering odds, hanging around "to make partner" no longer constituted a viable career path. I thus decided that it was time for a change, and made a lateral move to a group at [Firm X] that appeared to have potential as an up-and-comer.
This new group, though initially very successful, fell apart [due to reasons completely beyond my control]. In [January][February][March][April] of this year, the entire group was shown unceremoniously to the door.
Initially, I wasn’t hugely concerned. After all, I believed in the caliber of my credentials, and I had over [X] years of top-notch training at [DC][LA][NYC][SF] biglaw. I had worked hard, and had billed a large number of hours. My skills were solid, and my references were (presumably) stellar. Additionally, I was linked to a “hot” area of the law in IP litigation, and had a great cover story too—this was not a traditional lay off. A victim of circumstance, nothing more. Think Howrey.
My family wasn’t worried, either. After all, I had been that “striver,” remember? The self-starter, the “high performer”—they seemed to intuitively believe that I was going to invariably land on my feet; historically speaking at least, I always did. My parents had several contacts at large firms—they reached out to them on my behalf. These contacts expressed interest, at least initially.
I identified “targets,” and began sending out resumes. I’m was not overly conservative, and a fairly significant number went out. The personal contacts called as well, and they proceed with informational interviews. They sound encouraging, and they discuss possible openings in the event of A, B, and C occurring.
Three months go by. Rejection e-mails roll into the inbox. The personal contacts have stalled. I decide to pursue potential clerkships, and I apply from the appellate level all the way down to the magistrate level. I also begin targeting more firms, widening my net: big, small, whatever—as long as the work experience requirement is relatively aligned. I reach out to every personal contact in the book, and further apply to various in-house positions.
I failed to obtain a single clerkship interview. Not even the magistrates want to talk to me. I do, however, gain some traction with firms, and obtain interviews at several. You haven’t heard of these places—but at least one seems to have some promise—it has diverse clients in fields unrelated to my own, but is otherwise looking to further develop its IP practice. Given the generally unknown nature of this small firm, I reason that the competition can’t be too intense. The interview goes extremely well. "It’s my job," I think, walking out. No: instead, they hire a former federal clerk out of Harvard Law with biglaw experience. Wow—fair enough. What is this guy doing interviewing at a place like this?
The next interview, well—it was with an insurance defense shop. Nice guys, made an offer on the spot—but only after complaining at length about the brutally slim profit margins. They offered 60k a year to defend insurance companies. For more money, I probably would have taken it. However, it’s completely unrelated to IP litigation and, from what I understand, once you jump into ID, that’s it, you’re stuck and yeah, let's not mince words: we’re talking about a pay cut of more than 140k. I just couldn’t do it. I turned them down.
In hindsight, I probably should have taken it.
Thanksgiving has now come and gone, and here I am, still jobless. I’m collecting unemployment, and still manage to send a resume or two when something pops up that I haven’t already applied to. I’ve lost track of the number of “ding” emails I’ve received—I'm guessing well over 100 by now. The cycle of rejection appears to be never ending. Family, once casual about this, now appears awkward and uncertain. No one knows what to say.
At this stage, I’ve applied to the full range. In-house, out-house, large, small, prestigious, “TTT” —the end result is, shockingly, the same. In [month X], when I lost my job, I never envisioned this result. I thought that there would always be a place for a person like me—up until now, there always had been. Fortunately, my loans are paid, and thus, unlike a lot of my peers, I don’t have the weight of their financial burden around my neck but, in any event, unemployment maxes out at $450 a week—it doesn’t cover the expenses of living in [DC][LA][NYC][SF]. I am, for better or for worse, going broke.
My next step is to swallow my pride and jump into the doc review circuit full-time. It is, however, as bad as they say—generally ~30 bucks an hour for 8 to 10 hours of day of base document coding. I sat through one for 2 weeks. It is truly mind numbing—"responsive," "unresponsive," "doctype," etc. You could quite literally train a reasonably savvy 6th grader to do it. It isn't legal work, and I don’t want to go back to doc review. In a way, I suppose that it's demeaning, and is, without question, light years beneath my credentials. After all of the hard work, after the years of billing 2100 to 2400 hundred hours, after all of the education and the achievement, is this really what I’m qualified out to do?
By way of comparison, consider a premedical student who graduates with a 3.7 and a 98th percentile MCAT score. I don't know exactly how the percentile correlates, but let's assume that it equates to a 41. 3.7, 41 MCAT—this person is essentially guaranteed to not only get into an elite medical school, but also to have a stable career as a physician provided that he/she is willing to do the work, etc. The same applies for your 3.7 / 98th percentile (780?) business school applicant: this person, provided that he/she has solid WE, will almost certainly go to a top5 MBA program on scholarship and will invariably have a career in banking, consulting, etc. provided that the desire to put in the work remains. There are no such guarantees with your prototypical 3.7 / 98th percentile LSAT graduate. And here, in my opinion, is the critical difference between the law and other potential career fields. In law, you can do everything right, and still be completely unemployable.
I used to be you, albeit on lawschooldiscussion.org. I heard the stories, but didn’t believe them. Things like this couldn’t happen to me. Well, this is real, and it has been [X] months since my last non-government-issued paycheck. I have always been a happy, well-adjusted person, but this process, including the multitude of rejections, has exacted its toll. Unfortunately, depression has become a reality for me, and I no longer sleep well at night. I’m typically up between the hours of 3 and 6AM, tossing and turning, wondering what, if anything, the future may hold. In a short number of months, my lease expires, and I don’t have the foggiest of clues as to where I will live.
The point of this story isn’t that you shouldn’t go to law school per se. It is, instead, to merely relate my story to you. This story is neither unique nor novel, and similar varieties from the genre afflict a huge percentage of young lawyers out there. As a recruiter at a prestigious placement firm recently told me [BCG, etc.], “you have a top 5%” resume. Well, recall the federal law clerk from Harvard that beat me out for the never-heard-of-it small law firm several months ago—I’m trying to get by with a top 5% resume in a top 1% world. This goes for me, and for those either in law school already or who are considering going, it will apply to you too. As Campos says, there are no special snowflakes.
In medicine, those with top 5% resumes will always be hot shit doctors with highly desirable specialties. In business, the same will be top level executives. In law, well—hello document review.
So there it is. I was, once upon a time, a striver just like you. Now, I'm just a chronically unemployed person who can't sleep. Thank you law school—it's not me, it's the profession. After undergrad, I had gained admission to several non-law graduate school programs, and now often wonder what my life had been like if I had gone that route. It's hard to envision a predicament being worse than this.
Be sure to do your diligence. You'd hate to back a losing horse.
UPDATE: a number of interviews recently came in the door, including one at a V[X] (albeit in a secondary market where I know no one). Still, the story is what it is. Best of luck to all.
Friday, December 7, 2012
A million unemployed law grads is a statistic
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The sad part about our profession is that he is undoubtedly a winner. Looking at $160k salaries isn't too helpful for students with $200k in debt if they don't have those jobs even 3-5 years out because they can't get work or because they are entirely miserable. What percentage of the lucky ones that actually make a career in biglaw do so without being unimaginably miserable? The thought that a biglaw job means the student's outcome is golden is such a myth.ReplyDelete
You reject a job that pays 150% of US median household income, because that is beneath you, yet you claim you did "everything right."ReplyDelete
You analogize lawyers to bankers and consultants, and imagine that they somehow have greater job security nowadays.
You analogize lawyers to doctors, who run their own business and manage their own offices, yet you never once mentioned starting your own law practice (despite your many years of supposedly good experience).
And you seem to have an unhealthy obsession with rankings, especially the Vault rankings compiled from anonymous Internet surveys of junior associates.
You shouldn't have had so much to drink.Delete
You shouldn't have worn that dress.
You shouldn't have been walking in that part of town at night.
You shouldn't have led him on.
Be easy. You don't know what city the OP is in. Therefore you should be wary criticizing the salary the OP turned down.
The rest of your post gets a pass.
He said he probably should have taken the ID job. And later did doc review work. I don't see this as a guy who turned his nose up at the brutal landscape the legal market has become.
Give your harsh judgment a rest.
7:56, then maybe he didn't do "everything right" as he is claiming he did?Delete
How could he--or anyone else--have foreseen how bad the job market would become when he turned down the 60k job?Delete
If he could have done that, he'd have an extremely lucrative career in another profession completely unrelated to law or IT!
I agree with regard to banking and consulting not being secure. From what I've heard both churn (up or out) and mass layoffs (think UBS) are fairly common.Delete
7:03, well put!Delete
"You analogize lawyers to doctors, who run their own business and manage their own offices, yet you never once mentioned starting your own law practice."Delete
And you criticize those who build their analogies on correct assumptions. Your assumptions are incorrect. Solo practice doctors are dying. The NYTimes has been running stories on this for 2+ years.
You say you got an ugrad degree in a 'technical' field, so perhaps your 3.7 is analogous to a 3.7 UGPA from the typical doctor. However, for the vast majority of lawyers with a liberal arts BA in English, comparing their 3.7 to an engineering/biochem/mathematics 3.7 is like saying a ferrari is the same as a mazda because they both go 75mph on the highway.Delete
Also, the LSAT and the MCAT are about diametrically opposed examinations as humanly possible. The MCAT tests you on basically everything you learned in 4 years as an undergrad and pulls no punches in the difficulty of the questions whereas the LSAT is an exam that requires no prior coursework whatsoever and tests basic analytical ability.
The other factor to consider is that this story is taking place against the backdrop of the worst economic decline since the 1930's. Not everything was rosy five years ago before the collapse, but it was much easier to lateral from a big firm to a medium sized firm. In normal times it is rare for law firms to go under or for large firms to collectively lay off thousands. As the economy grows there will be more opportunity both within big law firms and at the small and medium sized firms.ReplyDelete
That's a lot of wishful thinking, backed up by no facts or evidence. "Normal times" ain't coming back. That this country ever had such a huge middle class was largely an accident of being the only industrial power left standing in the wake of the greatest wave of destruction in human history, combined with the efforts of a labor movement that has long since ceased to be able offer anything to private sector workers. There's no reason we can't have a huge lower class and a relatively small middle class, and guess what that forebodes for attorney employment?Delete
7:23 you are an idiot. Or a Leiter. Economic growth does not necessarily mean law firm growth because THE LEGAL PROFESSION IS DISAPPEARING.Delete
And you could go back and read the DJM posts regarding BLS statistics. Those statistics are grim for new grads even with as it factors in the economy improving.Delete
Very powerful. Just to give some perspective, I was in a similar position to that guy - clerkship, five years at biggish firms and then shown the door. I started my own firm about two years ago, and its HARD. On a good week, pre-expenses, I make $1,500. No vacation, no health care, no savings. But on the upside it feels like I'm building something and that gives me some satisfaction. Not complaining too much but when I went to law school, this was not something I expected to do and, honestly, if I was going to be a small business person, I would likely have chosen a field other than law. I also would not have had student loan debt, which is still stubbornly requiring a monthly payment of about $300 (might be poor financial planning on my part, but I went to law school, not biz school, after all). I should also add that NOTHING I learned in law school prepared me to run a small practice and my expectation and the expectation of VAST majority of my classmates was that there would always be law jobs open if you wanted to practice. If you're thinking of law school, please beware.ReplyDelete
You spent five years at big law firms, made between $800,000 and $1.2 million in total, and you can't pay off the $10k to $30k of your remaining student loans (eight years after graduating from law school)?Delete
This person may have had to invest his own money to start his practice and ensure a stream of income rather than use it to pay off the loans. Maybe a bank helped with startup costs. Maybe not.Delete
A single guy in my part of the country earning big law money pays about 45% of their income in taxes. Can't even deduct the interest on your student loans. And maybe it was poor planning but I locked in a rate of about 3% on my loans and was making about 7% in the market without doing much so I put the money in the market rather than pay down the loans. Oops. Then the market went south AND I needed that money to pay bills while I started the practice for the first year. So yes, almost 10 years after graduating law school, big law jobs and all, I still pay about $300 a month in loans.Delete
@8:09- 7:33 here. I talked to bankers and there was no financing available to start a law practice from scratch. What I was offered were basically credit cards so I passed and spent my own money. Now that I am at the two year mark, I could start to get financing to expand the practice, but I don't have the client base to justify it yet.Delete
I'm sorry, but I don't buy the 45% of income going to taxes. Top marginal rate is under 40%, and that's only for $$$ over, what, $250k? I realize there are other taxes, but really, I find it unlikely that someone making biglaw pay is losing almost 50% to taxes.Delete
I do feel for the guy, though. He's without a doubt struggling. Hope it gets better!
8:15, while your marginal tax rate may be 45% at the highest brackets (probably not unless you're making over $350k a year in NYC), your actual tax rate on your total income is nowhere near 45% (hint: lower tax brackets apply to you too).Delete
Income tax rates, yes, but you're forgetting payroll taxes and social security deductions which also eat into the take home. Also, everyone in big law signs up for a 401K and should put the max in. That also eats away at take home. So even if it looks like you've made 900K over five years, you took home far far less.Delete
Social Security taxes cap out at 6.2% of $100k of income. If you make $200k, that's 3% of your total income. Add 1.45% for Medicare. Big deal.Delete
A 401k doesn't make you pay 45% of your income in taxes. In fact, it does the opposite.
I'm not going to do the math, but NYC has a 4% city tax, NY state has nearly a 7% state tax, and FICA/Meditax is around 5% off the top for somebody at $160K. So if somebody is paying an effective federal income tax rate in the mid to the high 20s (which is probably around what somebody at that income level pays if they have no deductions to speak of) then paying 40% to 45% of your total income in taxes sounds quite possible.Delete
Not the OP but I'll assist, from my paycheck (bi monthly):Delete
4,210 net (not including $40 per paycheck for health/dental)
It's about 37% in various taxes. I was not contributing to my 401(k) at that point. I note that you can (as I now do) live outside NYC and save $228 per paycheck.
No, they do have a deduction they can speak of, the high state and city income taxes that they claim they are paying.Delete
Someone in biglaw pays a top federal MARGINAL income tax rate of 28%, which plus state, local, Medicare, etc. adds up to a marginal rate of 44%. Now if that is their marginal rate with absolutely no tax deductions and no progressive tax brackets, imagine how much lower their actual tax is.
Thanks 8:53. So if somebody kicks 5% a month into a 401(k), which is something people tend not to disaggregate from their taxes, it's easy to understand why people "feel" that their paycheck is 40% to 45% lower than their gross -- because it is.Delete
I also note that I'm referencing my paycheck and not taking into account any refund I may be due from my tax return.
paying 37% to taxes and 8% to your 401(k) plan is not the same as paying 45% to taxes, especially if you conveniently ignore the tax refund that you get every April (from deducting your state and local taxes).Delete
The OP was explaining why he could not pay his loans after five years of a big law salary. He blamed it on taxes. Maybe, maybe not. But that misses the point. Whether his money went to the taxman or to pay his loans, logic dictates you can do one or the other, but not both, even with a big law salary. What I take away is that people are supposed to use their law degree as a ticket to the middle class and make investments, like buying a house and starting a family but can't because of law school student loan debt. That is tragic for the lawyers and the nation.Delete
The other thing you have to remember is that when you're making a big law salary, you don't know how long you will have job stability or continue to receive big law salary. There is almost no job certainty in big law. I've seen guys who bill 2200 hours let go after a few slow months.Delete
Most big law associates don't just live off of a few thousand dollars per month and then put 4-5k into loan payments each month. Most big law attorneys, myself included, make the 10 year payment each month and start building a nest egg to help assist you if and when your big law number gets called. Once you build up your savings, then you start really paying down the loans, but it takes a few years to build those savings.
Also raises in big law aren't guaranteed. Either are bonuses. Many associates are frozen at 160k, or at 145k or 130k for several years or more.
Sorry, but lumping in 401k contributions (which are probably employer matched) with taxes and saying "well, it's *like* he's paying 45% in taxes is malarky. Aside from the fact that 401k contributions lower your AGI (and as others have noticed, so don't those city and state taxes), you don't get to complain about lower take home pay because you're saving money! Come on...Delete
Not to take away anything from the guy, but let's keep it in perspective. There's no way he's paying 45% in taxes. Just saying "well, he's got a 401k, so he doesn't have disposable income" doesn't quite cut it.
Just an FYI, No big law firm matches 401k contributions for associates. I agree there's still a lot of money left over though.
My advice: get ahold of every cent you can, clear your head by spending two or three months in Ecuador or Thailand or whatever low-cost country floats your boat, and then plunge back in by starting a practice, first focusing on your internet presence and then by setting up in your city of choice.ReplyDelete
@7:33 here: I did that. I recommend Central America for the winter months (December to March). Start in Belize and work your way south to Panama. Relax! Don't think it did anything to make my practice more successful but I don't think i'll ever be able to take a trip like it again. One word of caution: you will run into tons of "aid workers," most of whom are finishing or recently graduated from college and are contemplating law school. You will need to tell your story. Again and again. Eventually, you will just avoid Americans, which is all the better.Delete
He’s still got Special Snowflake Syndrome, “striver” version. His values and identity are completely interwoven with the middle class dream … of escaping the middle class. But the world has changed, and for most that dream is over and it ain’t coming back. (No, the economy is NOT growing, whatever the latest propagandistic “jobs” report says.)ReplyDelete
At least he’s in a better position than most. If he worked in biglaw for several years then he has (hopefully) paid off his loans and is not facing a middle age of debt penury AND grim job prospects, as many of his peers are.
And by the way, most JDs are NOT cut out for med school and many MBAs are struggling mightily too.
I repeat: the world has changed. Young people should not be taking out nondischargeable debt for ANY degree, and trying to fulfill the obsolete dreams of their parents. Find another path to happiness and meaning.
Plenty of JDs are cut out for medical school. Most people at the top law schools had as high math and science scored on the SATs as verbal scores. My math and science scores were much higher than my verbal, and I went to law school.Delete
Why? My friends were doing it, but mostly because I did not understand the outcomes of law school.
You understand that "plenty" and "most" have different meanings, right? (Given your high SATs and all...)Delete
"He’s still got Special Snowflake Syndrome, “striver” version."Delete
No. If he's not lying, he's in the top 10% or 5% of the education/training/expericence market.
As he said, he's a 5% guy in a 1% market.
"Secondary law review" at a T15-T20 is not top 5%.Delete
He's just another biglaw washout who hasn't come to terms with it yet. The career span and margin of error for biglaw associates who can't make rain has always been limited, and biglaw experience does not automatically translate into other legal areas - another common misconception. This is not a result of recent economic conditions, it has been the case for decades.
If he has no debt, and some savings, then he's not in such terrible shape. Once he frees himself from the notion that he should only practice law, he can begin the next phase of his life.
In fact, he's done okay for himself, by recent JD standards.
Thinking high SAT scores and A's in high school science suggests you're likely cut out for medical school is silly.Delete
As others pointed out, you need a high gpa with difficult science classes(3.7 is the median, higher than that if you don't have a generous state school) and high MCAT, and you need to do this while volunteering and researching.
Maybe the 28 year old JD can do it, but I doubt the 19 year old who becomes the JD could.
@ 9:47, "Most people at the top law schools had as high math and science scored on the SATs as verbal scores. My math and science scores were much higher than my verbal, and I went to law school."Delete
When did the SAT ever have a "science" section?
This is what happens after biglaw- not some cushy in house job.ReplyDelete
The funny part of biglaw? Two of the strivers on TLS who got biglaw and have worked a couple of months are now posting describing how tired they are and wondering how long they can last! These are people who had calculated how many years they would stay in biglaw to pay off their 6 figure debt.
post the threadsDelete
Rambeau is correct. While politicians and policyheads refer to a "jobless recovery," those on the outside can clearly understand that the U.S. economy is undergoing a fundamental restructuring. With automation and outsourcing, MANY U.S. jobs will NOT return, even in the event of a true recovery. The owners are not going to suddenly spend more money, just because times have improved, when they can continue to cut costs in good times.ReplyDelete
Of course, the owners' pets, i.e. rented/owned politicians, started to push for and condone globalization, deregulation, etc., roughly 40 years ago. Apparently, the owners felt that they could not otherwise compete with the repaired industrial bases of Europe and Japan, which were devastated after World War II.
Around this time, when good unionized, manufacturing jobs started being offshored, you started seeing the following message: "Higher education is THE KEY to your future. We will need a highly-educated workforce to compete with the rest of the world. If you attain a college education, you WILL get ahead."
Now, fast-forward 35-40 years. As part of my job, I sometimes look up local RDA projects. On news broadcasts - in a familiar scene played out in communities and cities all across this nation - you will see smiling city managers, mayors, and businessmen, holding their little shovels, for their PR groundbreaking ceremonies. However, when you look at the VAST MAJORITY of jobs created by such projects, you will notice that most of them are in retail or sales.
For instance, convenience stores, call centers, shopping malls, fast food joints, modest sit-down restaurants, etc. Yes, the economy is truly improving by leaps and bounds, right?!?! Because everyone knows that low-paying retail jobs are going to provide a great return on that EXPENSIVE-ASS college or law degree.
For the record: 98th percentile on the MCAT is about a 38 or so. Anything above a 40 makes you somekind of ubermensch in the eyes of premeds.ReplyDelete
Conventional wisdom is that you need about a 30 to get into medical school. That puts you in the top 10%.
Your point is well taken, though. No matter what his MCAT score is an admitted student has a bright future ahead of him, because it is very difficult and expensive to open a medical school in this country.
The difference is that all sorts of drooling liberal arts graduates take the LSAT, while only smart pre-med students take the MCAT.Delete
Being in the 98th percentile of the LSAT is nothing to brag about.
The other difference is that until this blog and others like it, no one knew the law school outcomes. If you do not know the outcomes, you make mistakes. Law school was a mistake for most of the million or so unemployed law grads. With the correct information out there years ago, the supply and demand for lawyers would be much less out of whack today, unless 0Ls are intentionally committing career suicide.Delete
I knew a kid who graduated from Kellogg and spent nearly a year looking for a decent job in Boston. The country is drowning in MBA's, much as it is drowning in JD's. On a related note, as I have a few in my extended family, if you hit, say, age 45 or 50 with a MBA and without getting all the way to the top: CEO/CFO/EVP level, then you are fungible and unemployable if you ever have to look for work again.ReplyDelete
Hell, on a network group I am a part of on Linkedin, I just saw a job listing for a new (-0-2 years experience) MBA in Boston. $55k. Hardly wine and roses. Applications to HBS are down 4% and to Sloan (MIT) down 7-8%. http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2012-08-03/as-applications-flag-u-dot-s-dot-b-schools-hit-the-road
TL;DR - Biz schools are going through a shallower version of what law schools are experiencing, and MBA grads are just as fungible in the market as JD's save for the very tippity top of the pile.
since the reversion of the fake money created in the banking system (aka deleveraging), Wall St. and by extension BigLaw both suffer and will continue to suffer as long as Wall St has no froth.Delete
I am a TTT who beat the odds. Temporarily, at least.ReplyDelete
I landed a summer associate position within a large company in 2007. During my first semester when Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers imploded, my supervising attorney said the company could no longer hire me. My replacement? A temporary attorney earning $25 per hour who graduated Boston College, was a member of a secondary journal, and had 2-3 years of Biglaw experience.
My supervising attorney assured me that I was a "go getter" and was fond of my work. He tapped into his network of outside counsel and put in good word, but it was to no avail. I have not practiced law since 2008.
DO you know what happened to your replacementDelete
Oh man 8:59 you are such a loser you should have just tried harder and then a job would have appeared.Delete
You always fight the last war. Education and job expectations are backward looking.ReplyDelete
Boomers encourage millennial to do what worked in the late 1970s. It no longer does. Education, even higher-ed professional education, even higher-ed technical education, opens fewer doors than it did 30 years ago. Companies do not pay the equivalent of 80k+ for the young and educated the way they once did.
And education institutions -- read LAW SCHOOLS -- grew to their present size based on the same backward looking expectations. Universities are very slow to change. So, we have a pipeline that keeps cranking out supply, funded by misallocated federal dollars, and demand that can't keep up. Welcome to the problem.
I am sorry, but you sound a little entitled. Too good for document review? Too bad. As we speak, there are tens of thousands of people slaving away in unventilated basements, not earning benefits of any kind. Yesterday, I was required to work a 13 hour day, redacting tiny little numbers off of thousand page spreadsheets. The guy next to me smelled, and there was no heat. I called in sick this morning, and I was told that the project is over for me. I am sure if things had worked out for you, and you got to keep your fancy schmancy law gig, you wouldn't give a rat's a-- about this blog, or people like me. My only hope is that there is an afterlife and hypocrites like you and all the entitled, lying, pompous law professors are thrust into an eternal version of the hell that I experienced yesterday.ReplyDelete
The question is whether you were realistic in thinking you could make it as a lawyer in the first place. If you came from top schools, did well, went to a T14 law school, you really were screwed by the system. If not, you should have known better. Years ago, I questioned whether a law degree on the west coast outside of maybe Stanford would get me a job. Not sure I would have gone to any of these schools because of the perceived risk.Delete
In a market where there was control over the supply of lawyers to more closely match the demand, you would have to be low down in the law school pool to end up in document review. If you had a really good record and cannot get a good law job, get out of law.
Yeah, he lost me a little at "I did really well in junior high." Nevertheless, he's right about how much the legal job market sucks for everyone right now. In normal times (if those times ever return) someone with this guy's credentials would have no problem getting and staying in a small or medium sized firm job. Maybe he wouldn't be a supreme court superstar, but he would at least be employed. Nowadays, it's anything goes, though.ReplyDelete
Same team, guys. Yeah, maybe he played on the entitled, elitist team for a few years but now he's seen life on the other side.ReplyDelete
I don't care where you come from or how much money you've made, feeling like you wasted your time, energy and potential on a career-path that's become a deadend is both a wake-up call and a major depression trigger. After you've dedicated yourself in such a way, you don't know whether it would be better to cash out or stay the course. It sucks.
I actually joined a bar association committee that was supposed to address age-based terminations in law firms. I was kicked off the committee after one meeting when I tried to address up or out policies in law firms and how a lot of my experienced contemporaries were not working.ReplyDelete
The committee consisted of older partners at law firms. They wanted to limit their issue to mandatory retirement of partners on account of age.
No word telling my why I was kicked off. I was disinvited from all subsequent meetings.
Also, I know the EEOC has addressed and dismissed age discrimination charges against law firms relating to up or out policies and experience caps on hiring in the context of lawyers over 40. Legally, there has not been a remedy for this process of law firms of systematically depriving lawyers of their livelihoods.
I disagree with statements saying this guy is entitled. In a regulated law profession where the supply and demand was balanced, you would not have doc review at $30 an hour except for the lowest tier of grads. This is a supply demand issue and an issue of scamming OLs with stories of $160,000 jobs.ReplyDelete
On a positive note, this guy should try to start a practice.ReplyDelete
I agree, what has he got to lose? Find a kindred spirit, clean out the basement and have a go at it.Delete
Yesterday, a commenter posted a question about how the law school scam has affected established practitioners. As a seasoned practitioner of 20 years, I can tell you how.ReplyDelete
When I first entered the practice of law, CLE was voluntary, not mandatory. Admissions standards at law schools have dropped in the last 2 decades. Morons can get a JD. So naturally, legal malpractice claims rose. This had two direct consequences on me: 1) my malpractice insurance rates increased despite having no claims filed against me; and, 2) mandatory CLE was given the green light in an effort to reduce newbie attorney fuckups.
On the bright side, the surplus of attorneys has allowed me to hire T-10 law grads on the cheap. Once Biglaw casts these "stellar" grads out the door like social pariahs, smaller firms can pick these people up at a significant discount. I invite Prof. Campos to write an entry on this subject as I have more insight to provide.
I'll add that the profession is now very competitive and there is demonstrably less collegiality than there once was. Perhaps law schools can lament the decline of professionalism and lobby the ABA to fix the problem. This, of course, is sarcastic as much of the decline in professionalism is due to the rise in competition.
When outsiders hear "competition" their inner Milton-Friedman turns on and thinks that competition is good. To some extent that's right, but what's happened in law is not good. You now have students paying hundreds of thousands of dollars (in borrowed money) to enter a lottery. And, the also-rans in law can really ruin clients' lives -- malpractice, theft, the inability to finance a law suit, etc.
This is the current state of the profession. In my city, very few lawyers (let's say 10 percent of all practicing lawyers, earn more than $200,000). [Note that this is of practicing lawyers, not people with a law degree who've already been flushed out of the game]. More lawyers (let's say another 20 percent) are earning between $80,000 and 200,000. Another 40 percent are earning between $50,000 and $80,000. 20 percent are earning between $20,000 and $50,000. And 10 percent of all lawyers are earning less than $20,000 annually.
Again, this doesn't count the masses who leave or never really enter the practice.
Your malpractice rates rose because you have a long tail of potential claims against you going back 20-odd years, not because of the glut of new grads, most of whom are applying for jobs or throwing in the towel, not actually practicing.Delete
You said it yourself; you are benefiting greatly from the grad glut by keeping your payroll down to historic lows.
Consider yourself one of the privileged few.
You are wrong about the reason why my malpractice rates have increased. I do not have a "tail" policy going back 20 years? Given that the SOL on legal malpractice claims is 6 years, there is no need for me to have a tail policy going back that long. I actually spoke to several underwriters and adjusters who have confirmed that the rates have risen across the board due to the increase of malpractice claims from new grads who are clueless as to how to practice law.Delete
If the law grads were as smart as they were a decade ago, maybe I would be getting a bargain from hiring recent grads.
There are document review projects in the big city paying $25 an hour. The gigs that pay $30 an hour are mills and they expect a lot out of you. Can't bear working 7 days a week/12 hours a day (lawyers are conveniently exempt from OT), well the project will end just for you and they will never call you again. One notorious LPO sweatshop sets a review quota so high that you can't even read the documents properly, but nobody complains as unethical as it is, because everyone is desperate for cash. $25 an hour spread out over an entire year (2,000 hrs, good luck trying to hustle for that) will earn you about 40,000-50,000 a year with absolutely no benefits. After loans, sky high CLE/registration fees, and urban living expenses, good luck earning more than a McDonald's cashier, all for a stressful, boring, dead-end existence, where you constantly have to hustle like a street walker just to keep food on the table.ReplyDelete
Lawyers paid by the hour on temporary gigs should not be exempt from overtime. That exemption exists for professionals who have flexibility about setting their schedules and who also are on a salary that isn't tied to hours. None of that applies to this document-review shitwork.Delete
@ 12:32. Yeah; well, "should be" in one hand and do something else in the other, and see which one fills up faster.Delete
I'm really quite tired of people with disdain for insurance defense. I left Biglaw in the recession of 1991, and landed in ID, and became a non-equity partner, and then went in-house. ID was great. You did not do busy work just to overbill. Your clients were reasonable (as it was not their money). The insurance carriers did not freak out if you lost a motion or case, as they know you win some and lose some. I never made more than $125,000 in ID, but I never worked more than 50 hours a week on average. In Biglaw, I never got to take a deposition or argue a motion. In ID, I did it all the time. In Biglaw, I never got to trial. In ID, I did every year or two. The best part is that ID gave me enough time to start a side business that I really enjoy that has generated $50,000 of side income every year. ID gave me the time to start a family, where Biglaw did not. ID is what the practice of law should be -- a comfortable six figure salary after 10 years, with enough time to enjoy life and family. Biglaw is a ponzi scheme where you get $200,000 for 3 years, and then are unemployable, with no deposition, law and motion, or trial experience.ReplyDelete
Agree. I recall a happy hour where several biglaw junior associates and I used to joke that if we had lied about having a license or even about going to law school, the district attorney would never be able to convict us. We were not "practicing law" in any meaningful sense.Delete
I guess it varies by practice area. This sounds true for the people I know that did litigation but it hasn't been my experience on the corporate side.Delete
Whether these skills will be transferable is another story.
I'd be happy to do insurance defense.Delete
I agree my son is new in ID and although he's not getting huge money, his experience has been incredible. He's already doing depositions and shortly going to trial. His firm has around 70 attorneys.Delete
In my experience, new attorneys in biglaw are overpaid drones. They have big egos to match their salaries, but the work experience is minimal. Hey at least you can impress your in-house interviewers by saying you worked in biglaw. It's all about status ya know.Delete
A year ago, a post like that would have been banned on TLS as a troll. Times have changed.ReplyDelete
Yes, and he would have been called a failure on autoadmit. But, as you say, times have changed.Delete
For the record, this story sounds so very familiar. It is a variation of the histories of a majority of my colleagues who graduated in the decade of the 1990's and early and mid 2000's and entered the world of intellectual property law. It was the booming field of law until it got flooded...completely glutted with way too many lawyers. A big majority have been shown the door from one or more law firms or experienced the collapse of their firm, and have experienced or are experiencing periods of unemployment or have taken jobs making a fraction of what they once made, etc. Most would likely have had successful and comparatively stable careers as engineers, scientists, physicians, etc.....but for the law school scam.ReplyDelete
I was laid off as an engineer and could not get back into the profession.Delete
Why, what happened?Delete
This is my story exactly. Graduated in early 2000's, worked in IP for a few years and then lost my firm job. I have a lot of friends as well that are out of the IP world. What happens is that as you progress in years, your salary becomes increasingly less attractive to the partners and you get axed in favor of the the cheaper, bright, bushy-eyed first-year associate. It comes down to one thing - Supply & Demand. In my previous life as a scientist, I never felt like my job was insecure. I never knew the meaning of fungible until I graduated from law school. I do now!Delete
10:50 AM--as a practicing lawyer, your observations are pretty much the same as mine. I know some lawyers, not very many, earning six figures. The large majority I know earn in the mid to upper five figures.ReplyDelete
Prospective law students need to know more than just the basic facts of the scam (e.g. the salary/employment statistics are bogus and there are way too many JDs for the available jobs). They should also understand that except for the lucky few who get government jobs, law practice is all about sales and running a business (someone pointed this out earlier). Law school tends to attract a lot of idealistic young people who have no clue about selling stuff or business practices.
If law was taught at the undergrad level, it wouldn't be so bad if people crapped out. It would be like any other undergrad degree.ReplyDelete
The problem is that law is a grad program. You go AFTER you've already spent $100k+ studying as an undergrad. It's perceived to be a professional degree and not an undergrad degree, and you're 3 years older.
If someone said that a B.A. in English is a versatile degree that you can do many things with, all but the most jaded would agree with it. You've (hopefully) learned to read and to write and to think critically in the course of your college experience. Those are valuable life skills that serve people who are not professional writers or English teachers.
A J.D., on the other hand, adds little value to the material that came in the door. And that's because law school is a scam, and law profs don't know anything more than you do.
Back to the scam:ReplyDelete
Let me just say that this narrative might as well be The Hobbit when comparing life stories. I am not a striver. I am lazy. But my academic history follows the path of the author's, just at a much lower strata. I am from a lower middle class background and went to the best undergrad and law school in my state (fly-over country). I think it is important to relay to those that are used to being the smartest person in the room, when that room is not filled with professionals, but instead blue-collar level workers and their offspring, that law school is a horrible idea unless you know exactly what you want to do before entering. Oil and gas, knowing what family law, wills and trust, bankruptcy work, etc. etc. is like, and being fine with that type of work. You need to be the kind of person that is fine with bullshitting, and making contacts, willing to do litigation and getting as much specialized experience as possible. If you don't like these things or have the will to change who you are as a person, thinking you can cruise through law school and figure out something afterwards, should, by now, be an obviously horrible path to travel down. I started in 2006, and at that point the falsely booming economy combined with admission office loire, made it seem like decent work was inevitable. It isn't. And you really can't appreciate how much money you're spending until the bills start to come due. This may sound obvious, that I was ignorant to begin with, and naive as hell. That's all probably true. But you have to understand that when you have no one guiding you, because you are the "smartest" person in your family, your social group, your family's social group, it's almost impossible to get the needed reality check before it's too late.ReplyDelete
Re: What a College will say about a BA in English and to this very day:
"The study of literature not only cultivates a profound knowledge of one's own humanity and of the human condition, but also provides practical skills that are useful in almost any career. The study of English teaches you how to write clearly, speak effectively, analyze ideas, read and synthesize complex information, understand human motivation and better oneself through self-reflection. While discovering the foundations of our common cultural, historical, and psychological heritage through undergraduate and graduate degrees in English and English Education, you will be preparing yourself for a possible career in a wide range of fields that include publishing, teaching, advertising, public relations, human relations and management, or legal and government positions."
I make no comments, other than to say that I was one of the people that thought I could redeem a worthless english degree by getting a lower tier JD. Double whammy.
As for the above quote, it speaks for itself.
A possible career. And note that publishing is the first item on the list—despite being the least likely outcome for an English major (or anyone else). As for the other stuff, you can do all of it without a degree in English.Delete
And a degree in English is neither necessary nor sufficient for learning how to write clearly and so on.
It kind of IS his fault. It's strongly implied that he came out of a top-shelf undergrad with a 3.7/98th percentile LSAT, but he chose to attend a T15-T20 school.ReplyDelete
He made a "secondary law review" at the T15-T20 law school.
Top 5 percent resume? Hardly.
Even when he was out of work, he turned his nose up at a $60K offer. Because $0K is better, or something.
It sounds like he graduated 6 or 7 years ago, so he's probably in his early 30s. If he really believes that med school is a golden ticket, and his resume is as strong as he says it is, why doesn't he attend one?
An M.D. Is not the meal ticket it used to be. Unless you specialize in cosmetic surgery or something equally elective, people pretty much expect to be treated for free. I'd go to veterinary school first.
Some of my college classmates became doctors after being lawyers. Two women and one man. I think they are all working today as doctors. One of the men and one of the women was in their early 30s when they quit law.Delete
I think there may be work for this guy if he is a talented litigator. There are some litigation jobs around. There is a lot of employment litigation now. He may need to switch areas of focus, but if he is as good as he says (and I believe him when he says he is), it should work out.
I know of executives who are fired, and they need to hang out in boutique investment banking or money management firms or get on boards while they are not employed full time. Some people move their families across the country and get the next job right away. Most, however,stay put and wait for the next opportunity. It comes usually to the talented ones I know. Some big companies just fire so many top execs and it all looks hopeless. But they get back on their feet and many have second or third acts.
I have a friend that is in dire straits financially and needs to find a job very badly.ReplyDelete
She had a 4.0 Undergrad GPA with a Science Major and a Math minor.
She went to a lower tier law school and had middling grades. Took the bar once and did not pass. She will take it again but not now since she cannot afford it.
She did do some paralegal work in the past and now cannot find any work anywhere as a paralegal and she too has seen the paralegal want ads that say in print that "No JD's need apply."
I told her to drop the law degree and she thinks it is unethical and a large omission that could be illegal or lead to her getting fired someday if it was discovered.
But this is not dress rehearsal, she has no health insurance and no income.
We are going to start an intensive job search this weekend for her.
What to do? Leave the JD on, or take it off?
Did she take any computer science courses or is she otherwise proficient in programming?Delete
Enlist in the U.S. Army for 3 or 4 years as a paralegal. They'll pay off the first $65K of her student loans over a 3-year period.Delete
Use the breathing room to study for the bar. Pass the bar. Then see if they will hire her laterally as an attorney. She'd have a foot in the door.
It's clear she should leave the JD off. Ethics are only for people who can afford them.Delete
Would her math minor make her attractive to an insurance company?Delete
What would it take in her state to be a substitute teacher?
Get her foot in the door in either one and go from there.
Can she go back to undergrad and get courses for a degree that will lead to a job?Delete
I'd take off the JD. Law firms don't want JDs as paralegals. They will think that the JD-paralegal will always be looking to move up into an associate position. Just keep in mind that once you go the paralegal route, you have virtually ZERO chance of ever landing a law associate position. Just saying. Sounds like her career is over before it even began. Such is the life of a JD.Delete
Pardon my ignorance here but ... how do you explain three blank years of your life on a resume or in an interview?Delete
"I thought that there would always be a place for a person like me"ReplyDelete
It sure is a wake-up call, isn't it? That from K-JD, everyone thought there was a pecking order and the economy would always have a place for the top 5%?
Not so, Joe Blow. You can be the smartest, hardest-working son of a gun, and you will rot on your butt if you have no directly-useful skills and a JD-tarnished resume.
It'd be hilarious if it weren't so true. Right now, there are total f*ing idiots pushing paper around and making 80k because they either know someone or got the right sheet of paper at the right time (or instead of going to law school, they got three years of retail sales experience). Meanwhile, we have 170+ LSAT-scoring, high IQ workhorses mining the want ads for anything that will stick.
Brilliant society. Positively brilliant society.
When this happened in yesteryear, people left the old country and came to Amerika.Delete
"When people say 'law school is a scam,' what that really means, at the level of actual moral responsibility, is that law professors [including Campos] are scamming their students."ReplyDelete
Paul Campos (from his first blog post)
What a stunningly original line of thought. You must try your hand at writing articles on Nietzsche! With such ingenuous thinking, I'm sure you'd be good at it.Delete
@2:44 & 2:45 - The fries are ready - get back to the drive thru window. Losers.ReplyDelete
STFU Brian Leiter.Delete
God bless today's legal profession--where even when you win and grab the gold ring, you can still eventually end up a loser.ReplyDelete
"When you lose and fail, it is understandable. When you win and fail, that brings madness."
There needs to be a crackdown on large law firms that over hire and then serially fire large numbers of lawyers who subsequently cannot find reasonable career legal work.ReplyDelete
These firms continue to run up or out policies- over hiring and over firing new grads- while each firm has hordes of older alumni that are unemployed and suffering. These large firms refuse to hire anyone in associate positions except grads a few years out of law school. Counsel positions are few and far between and also generally subject to up or out. For almost everyone else, the entry ticket is a large book of portable business billed at hundreds of dollars an hour. The legal workforce is an age pyramid in these large law firms. Few older lawyers are allowed to stay. For most non-partner lawyers, there is not a career position. The only question is how long they have before they have to leave the firm.
There is no conceivable valid reason for a law firm to engage in a degree of over hiring so that a substantial percentage of its lawyer alumni are unemployed a few years after leaving. This is nothing short of a Ponzi scheme.
Law firms in today's tight legal market need to have a mix of older and younger lawyers in their non-partner ranks. They need many more career positions for lawyers than they have. If that happens, even fewer first years will get jobs. However, the profession will be closer to right-sizing so a job out of law school has a high probability of meaning that one can have a legal career.
There is a big age discrimination problem here. Most of the people who are working in these high paying legal jobs are very young, and older lawyers generally do not meet the qualifications for these jobs. There are not enough high paying legal jobs, or legal jobs at all, for the older alumni of these firms to go to.
The United States government is complicit in this program of age discrimination and destruction of livelihoods by large law firms. The EEOC regional attorney in New York (where many large law firms are located) has said that the EEOC will not challenge age discrimination in large law firms because the problem is one of disparate impact as opposed to direct age (as well as race and sex) discrimination. The EEOC will not act on this disparate impact discrimination. The problem with up or out policies in large law firms, and experience caps on hiring and retention in most high paying lawyer jobs in U.S. law firms is something the EEOC will not touch.
I guess ruining the lives of thousands of experienced lawyers so more new law school grads can have high paying jobs for a few years after graduation when they are young is someone else's problem. Not the problem of the government of the United States of America.
The question is whether under the circumstances today, up or out policies that are almost universally present in large and mid-sized law firms are bona fide seniority systems that do not permit or require the retirement of any individual because of the person's age. If they meet this criterion, they are protected under case law as long as the discrimination is not intentional. If they don't, there is really not a defense to age discrimination as I understand it.Delete
Perhaps there are experts in this area who can chime in? How in the world does this system survive when it wreaks such havoc on lawyers and actually results in forced retirement of most lawyers who begin in these firms on account of age/
God you are a fucking idiot. It's not based on age, it's based on time worked at the firm. So if you start at the firm when you're 20 or 50 you have a max of 8 years before you get pushed out. Age has nothing to do with it.Delete
Problem is that about 2% of people graduate from law school after age 30.Delete
To say the system is not based on age ignores the reality that almost everyone working in these high paying jobs is young. How many people do you think start law school after age 45? How many people over the age of 55 are working as lawyers in large law firms?
Does based on time worked really make it here when almost no one who is older can work in these high paying jobs and most of the older lawyers in fact are involuntarily retired from the legal profession? A million unemployed lawyers (I think the number may be closer to 900,000) is a pretty big number when you only have 600,000 or so lawyers working outside of solo practice. Sort of takes the literal words of what a bona fide seniority policy and defeats the policy of the ADEA.
Law firms can fire based on experience with the result of knocking the vast majority of older lawyers out of work, and that is lawful under the ADEA?
If every legal job had the same up or out policy do you still think it would be a bona fide seniority policy that does not require the retirement of any person based on age? None of the older people are working in my hypothetical. Sure this is based on time worked but it means that no older people work in the legal profession.
We are getting closer and closer to that hypothetical.
I am not an age discrimination expert, but this does seem to be a very fair system to older lawyers.
These are relevant regulations under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act relating to up or out systems in law firms today:Delete
“1625.8 Bona fide seniority systems.
Section 4(f) (2) of the Act provides that
* * * IT SHALL NOT BE UNLAWFUL FOR AN EMPLOYER, EMPLOYMENT AGENCY, OR LABOR ORGANIZATION * * * TO OBSERVE THE TERMS OF A BONA FIDE SENIORITY SYSTEM * * * WHICH IS NOT A SUBTERFUGE TO EVADE THE PURPOSES OF THIS ACT EXCEPT THAT NO SUCH SENIORITY SYSTEM * * * SHALL REQUIRE OR PERMIT THE INVOLUNTARY RETIREMENT OF ANY INDIVIDUAL SPECIFIED BY SECTION 12(A) OF THIS ACT BECAUSE OF THE AGE OF SUCH INDIVIDUAL. * * *
(a) Though a seniority system may be qualified by such factors as merit, capacity, or ability, any bona fide seniority system must be based on length of service as the primary criterion for the equitable allocation of available employment opportunities and prerogatives among younger and older workers.
(b) Adoption of a purported seniority system which gives those with longer service lesser rights, and results in discharge or less favored treatment to those within the protection of the Act, may, depending upon the circumstances, be a “subterfuge to evade the purposes” of the Act.” (emphasis added)
The numbers of U.S. lawyers from a Harvard Law School study
• About half a million working lawyers outside solo practice
• More than one fifth of these in largest 250 law firms
• According to the ABA, about 1.41 million law grads of working age in the last 40 years
Surplus of almost one million lawyers.
Almost one third of law grads not working as lawyers.
Does the up or out system violate (b) (“results in discharge or less favored treatment to those (over the age of 40)”?
Essentially a lawyer coming out of this system has a third of a chance of working as a lawyer?
If the experienced lawyer coming from up or out has a 2/3 chance of unemployment from the legal profession, is this involuntary retirement on account of age?
What about no hire and no retain policies for older lawyers? Are these less favored treatment for older lawyers?
Is the employment policy bona fide when many times more the number of young lawyers than could possibly be needed by the firm are churned through the system?
We are talking about generally the one fifth of legal jobs that are the highest paying the legal profession being subject to up or out.
An expert who has reviewed this issue could comment better here.
I have a similar story (also IP), but not top 5% resume. I had a good three year run doing some interesting pharma IP work, but then was shown the door. I've spent the last 8 years doing document review trying desperately to pay down my debt. After nearly 10 years, I'm getting closer, but still close to $100,000 in the hole. My wife is a secretary and she has made more than me every year. All these professors/deans who say that law is a life ling profession and you need to view your career over 30 years are full of crap. The fact is if you do not have a job within 1 year of graduation, your chances of ever finding a job are pretty slim. Like the attorney that contributed the letter, I had a decent job at Mid-Law IP but could not find my way back on the gravy train. Every year, a whole new batch of suckers is pumped out, which exists mainly to feed biglaw. At some point you say to yourself, I don't care to compete in this manner any more. I've learned that the only way I will ever practice in law again (in any substantive manner that is) is if I go out on my own. Easier said than done when you have student loan debt in a high cost area of the country. People who are graduating from law school now are screwed unless they have wealthy parents footing the bill. Have fun on IBR and being a debt slave. After 20 years of repayment, get ready to pay that huge tax bill.ReplyDelete
Joining the army is moot as she is too old.ReplyDelete
I'm just afraid that putting the JD on the resume will disqualify her automatically.
Of course a cocktail of JD on and JD off resumes can be sent to all sorts of job postings (in reply)
Look at it this way, when work, of whatever kind, is in demand, it will be paid for and does have a market value.
Scrubbing toilets by hand will be compensated by a real pay check and will put food on the table and pay the rent.
But dreaming about fancy jobs after law school is a fools dream.
For some. For many. For a few.
By now I am wondering if I can legally surrender my SS # and live overseas for a while and then come back as an undocumented worker and eventually prosper?
Working as a nanny under the table won't exactly let you prosper.Delete
She's "too old" to join the Army? Are you sure? Paralegals aren't exactly cannon fodder, you know.Delete
That being said, it's easy to "leave the JD off" a resume, but considerably harder to explain away those 3 missing years. I suppose she could always make up a story, but it'd be far worse to get caught making up a history than simply omitting some of it.
"Joining the army is moot as she is too old."Delete
Only if she's over 42 years old.
The maximum age for non-prior service enlistments for each of the services are:
Active duty Army - 42
Army Reserves - 42
Army Natinal Guard - 42
Active duty Air Force - 27
Air Force Reserve - 34
Air National guard - 34
Active duty Navy - 34
Navy Reserves - 39
Active duty Marines - 28
Marine Corps Reserves - 29
Active duty Coast Guard - 27
Coast Guard Reserves - 27
Nanny's don't carry six figure debt.
Please be a human for once in your life.
Have you really thought this through? The kind of life you would have working as a nanny or any undocumented worker would not be better than your current situation. No matter how much debt you have, you can use IBR to make the payments more reasonable.Delete
Re: Nannies and housekeepers:ReplyDelete
The most compelling and human survival stories are going on right under our noses and most of us probably do not even notice.
Undocumented workers pool their money, and then bring their relatives up from the Mexican Panhandle by means of an underground railroad of sorts. To bring a man up it costs about six thousand. For a woman it is a little higher-maybe 8 thousand dollars.
The reason women cost more is because they are slower at climbing 20 foot high fences.
I had a conversation with a man that said he spent four straight days and nights hidden in a very hot compartment of a tractor trailer truck with four other men and with the food and water supply that they brought with them. All lost a lot of weight and not once did he have to go to the bathroom due to dehydration.
Once he got to New York, he lived in a house with over a dozen other men. All had 15 minutes to take a shower, and some would line up at 3AM for a shower, and then go back to sleep.
What is pathetic is that I know of some that clear as much as 8 to 900 dollars a week. They can also get bank accounts with Bank of America.
I say it is pathetic because they make more than a lot of the reported incomes of some of the law grads that post here, and they do not have six figure debt for 20 years, followed by a massive income tax bill after IBR gets discharged.
They work as housekeepers, stone masons, landscapers, tree trimmers, painters etc. They work 6 and even 7 days a week.
Some eventually go back to their crime ridden countries such as El Salvador or Honduras or Guatemala and buy homes, but most send money home to their families and every friday in the late afternoon you can see them at the counter in the local supermarkets sending money via Western Union.
From what I understand, there are less WU fees if the amount is over 1000 dollars.
And, ironically and unlike law grads, they are always working because there is always work for them.
I guess the whole point of my telling all of this is that they really really want to be in the US, and it it ironic to look at their lives compared to the so called "scammed" JD's.
It is humbling to get to know them because they are not vulgar like most americans, and they frown upon tattoos because only gang members get them. They also respect each other and the "white guys" that they work for.
Once, I helped a man put a coffee table into his car. Someone had put it out for the trash abnd it was on the curb.
He told me that he was amazed at how wasteful people are in the US.
Fuck off, Painter. Do not not you get the message? Do you need it to be said in a different language?Delete
"and it it ironic to look at their lives compared to the so called "scammed" JD's."Delete
Yeah good point it's not a scam because you put the word in quotes.
Touching story but when the guy gets sick and goes to the hospital emergency room who winds up paying for his care? The US taxpayer. When his jobs don't cover the costs of his living expenses who pays for the difference in social program costs? The US taxpayer. About 200 years ago the slave owner had the responsibility of feeding, housing, clothing, and medical care for "his" slaves. Now he pays much less than the costs of his "undocumented workers" and the balance is dumped on.... the US taxpayer. Needless to say the undocumented workers do not pay any income tax.ReplyDelete
Do you think this kind of nonsense would be tolerated for one single, solitary instant in a country like Switzerland, Germany, Norway, Sweden, or Finland?
There is no reason, except for massive, complete, and total government corruption, allied with a Catholic Church that seems stuck in the Nazi era if not the Middle Ages, that the home countries of these people could not be as prosperous and stable as the above countries and there would be no need for them to climb fences or swim rivers to get to a country that is itself crumbling.
No, you are not a STRIVER. A striver would not whine about his life. Instead, you tried for a while then quit. Then you complained about your lot in life. You are a quitter. Not a striver.ReplyDelete
A striver does not quit. A striver does not whine. A striver does not complain.
He should have just done legal academia.Delete
When/where did he quit?Delete
"Forget it...he's rolling."Delete
But it IS tolerated and there is nothing anyone can do about it. So we might as well accept it or, better yet, embrace it.ReplyDelete
Once, a guy told me a story about how when he was new in the US he got lost in New Jersey, and he paid a cab driver 100 dollars to show him the way back home. He followed the cab in other words.
Sometimes they all pitch in for meals. A cook will make a huge pot of rice and beans and peppers, chicken chunks, etc. and then scoop it all into a piece of aluminum foil. I recall how five or six workers sat down at lunch time and opened up their foil package.
Not sure of the amoount, but I recall it was really cheap-- They paid 5 or 10 bucks apiece to the woman and that was what a weeks worth of lunch cost them.
Look, I recently heard a story about a relative of someone who died in El Salvador from a stomach ulcer. I cannot help thinking that in the US he would have not died, and I wouldn't begrudge him the healthcare.
Of course you wouldn't - you don't work OR pay taxes. Honor among thieves. All you do is chill at your parents' house and watch movies.Delete
When you kick the bucket, you'll take a FAR bigger bite out of the US. taxpayer than any Mexican immigrant could ever DREAM of. I wish they could send YOU to Mexico. You'd either get a job there or starve to death. Maybe your parents could still wire you some money though, LOL.
Gosh Darn it and for the love of Pete! I'm telling all of you:ReplyDelete
Get a public service job and you will be out of SL debt in 10 short years.
It is as easy as old apple pie.
You know that doesn't help if you are in default or have been in default.Delete
And right here and right now I'll venture to say that anyone who doesn't sashay into one of those easy peasey to get public service jobs and get a goin' on a 10 year debt discharge has got no gumption and is a pie eatin' tenderfoot by golly! For sure.ReplyDelete
Not a striver, fer sure.
Are you at least a WORKER?Delete
Any law grad can get *a* government job - even if it isn't as an attorney.
The problem is that parasites like the painter refuse to take a job unless the partners at Cravath kick down his Goddamn DOOR and FORCE him to take a $400K per year job.
Dude, do you read the news at all, or speak to any other humans? Government at ALL levels is cutting right now, not hiring. Cut, cut, cut, and it's only going to get worse with whatever the repubs. can shove through. Easy to get a government job? Hilarious.Delete
Is it? Right now at this very moment, almost HALF of all jobs in America involve working for some arm of the government - state, federal or local. And if you only count full-time jobs, it's a solid majority government workforce.Delete
You can't throw a rock without hitting 3 or 4 government employees. And you fret that there still aren't "enough" government jobs?
Excuse, meet failure.
I work for the government, so I'm not actually a "failure." Why don't you talk about something you actually know about, if there is such a topic?Delete
So your very livelihood blows up your claim about the extreme scarcity of government jobs? Nice.Delete
If nothing else, I'd say you are a "failure" at arguing your point. And we have already seen your excuse-making.
Did I mention the tens of thousands of illegal aliens that are imprisoned here for violent crimes? At $30,000 to $60,000 incarceration costs a year per inmate. Paid for by the.....US taxpayer. Not to mention the living hell these people have visited upon US citizens with their rapes, murders, and robberies.ReplyDelete
But that's OK, if ANYBODY wants to cross the border they should be welcomed with open arms? If that is not lunacy I don't know what is.
If they ever start voting AGAINST the Democrats, the government will start LAUNCHING them back across the border to Mexico - out of a cannon if necessary.Delete
And....and....and.......the rapists and murderer diddily durderers all look at porn.ReplyDelete
Tee Hee. Obama won.ReplyDelete
Tee Hee Hee
Tee hee. You borrowed 300 grand (and counting), just to attend Touro.Delete
Tee hee hee
Who is Cravath? Was he the clerk that worked for Ebenezer Scrooge?ReplyDelete
Great post. I graduated in top 5% of my class, editor on the law review board, published an article, externed with fed judge and USAO. I currently work part-time in non-legal position making $11/hour with no benefits.ReplyDelete
I am hoping to hear about some doc review opps from the staffing agency I signed up with. Who knows? At this point, who cares? It's over.
You got me there.
@8:37AM is a big hulking brute, and ever and anon, anon.ReplyDelete
Also seems to hate me and I have asked for his or her real identity repeatedly and he or she won't give it.
Of course Nando and LawProf know who it is if they have any kind of halfway decent tracking software.
As for me, I am not anon.
A word to the wise:
Hatred will devour and consume the hater. That is why the devil is consumed in flames.
The person that is out ot get me now seems to be obsessed with me and is a stalker it seems.
That is why I have stopped blogging if anyone cares.
You demand to fly out to my town and have a candlelit dinner at my house, and my (needless to say) refusal makes ME a stalker? LOL.Delete
Am I out to get oo? What are you afraid of, that I'll steal all your debt when you aren't paying attention, or something?
Speaking of the devil: *he* moved out of his father's house. Unlike you. And his work ethic is like a hundred octillion times better than yours is. He never gives up ... you never try. He often succeeds. You just go right on failing.
Case in point: you "shockingly" gave up on your blog.
Your 'rents aren't getting any younger. You'll have to provide for yourself SOMEday. No offense, dude, but all signs point to starvation.
Nando has already proven that he is willing to give up IP addresses, which is why his blog has no commenters anymore.Delete
Campos has shown that he values opinions, to some extent at least, and he has yet to start exposing IP addresses.
Exposing IPs is suicide for a blog. People flee, people don't trust the blogger once he or she starts revealing IPs or tracking blog commenters.
Painter, you failed. You thought that revealing IPs would give you power, but you failed to realize that your power came from your readers. Readers disappear when you try to control the comments.
STOP THE CREEPY TRYING TO FIND OUT WHO PEOPLE ARE!
You made a huge, fatal, life-changing mistake by revealing your true ID in your blog. John Cock, er, Koch.
Just because you made this mistake, stop trying to make other people give up their identities. Stop trying to claim that a valid argument must include a valid, identifiable arguer.
I thought that you had finally realized that blogging was turning you into a loser, a public loser, a target, a crazy person. I was pleased when you took your blog down and moved on. I thought that you had seen the light, that you had seen reason, that you had decided to stop degrading your name, stop shaming your parents, and start acting like a man. I thought that you had moved on from this bullshit destructive "scam" bullshit. That you had decided to stop being a failure and to start getting a job, manning up, and paying your bills.
I guess I was wrong. You merely cowered in the shadows for a couple of weeks, and you're now trying to make a return.
"That is why I have stopped blogging if anyone cares."ReplyDelete
I don't care. CAMPOS - GET A BACKBONE AND FINALLY PROHIBIT THIS IMBECILE FROM POSTING ANY FURTHER COMMENTS ON THIS BLOG. YOU KNOW WHO IT IS. WE ALL KNOW WHO IT IS. REPEAT AFTER ME - BLOCK THE IP ADDRESS, BLOCK THE IP ADDRESS .... YOU'VE ALREADY TOLD THE FOOL MULTIPLE TIMES TO STOP POSTING, YET HE CONTINUES TO DO SO AND DISRUPT THE BLOG BECAUSE HE'S AN ATTENTION-DEPRIVED IDIOT. PEOPLE WILL UNDERSTAND. YOU'RE NOT A "BAD" GUY IF YOU PULL THE TRIGGER. YOU'VE CERTAINLY GIVEN THE IDIOT MULTIPLE CHANCES TO CORRECT HIS WAYS. TIME TO WHACK A MOLE. Thank you.
Well, he DOES have an awful lot of time on his hands ...Delete
It may not be so easy to blockDelete
iP addresses from a pool of addresses in New York, which is what he probably has.
And maybe law prof doesn't want to have to become a cop chasing someone down from every IP they post in.
Hey, Mr. Infinity...how is the blogging going? Are you still giving the scambloggers hell?ReplyDelete
Oh yeah, that's right...you took it down...yet again.
Ër, Painter, Mr. Infinity - which was like 'V' in V for Vendetta, a group of many likeminded individuals - took you down.Delete
He won. You lost. You ran away, you took down your blog, and you cowered.
1-0, Mr. Infinity...
...who is more than one person...
Don't worry. I am working with a friend who is a JD that cannot find a job and is facing pretty much financial disaster if she cannot do so very soon.ReplyDelete
We are going to do a cocktail of JD on and JD off the resume and are going to work fucking hard at getting her a job like no one in the entire universe has ever worked harder before.
As for me, I have learned a trade. It just worked out that way. I can take a historical house and make all of the plaster walls and woodwork look like brand new, inside and out.
That is life.
I can throw 50 gallons of paint on a surface in a single day with a roller.
I once painted in a Broadway Theater in Manhattan for a non union contractor and it was scarey as hell, and I have painted in 20 and 30 and 40 plus million dollar estate homes in the Hamptons of Long Island as an employee alongside of many undocumented workers from the Mexican Panhandle, as well as from Turkey, Russia, Poland etc.
The world is much, much bigger than the law school scam, and I am really done.
This anon coward and hater wants to destroy me and probably will.
But it is only fair that the anon creep will have to reveal his or her identity.
Dear God in Heaven I never made enough money to pay the monthly payments on the debt, and the years dragged on and on.
I deferred, and the payments and interest grew.
Every single day of my life I think about ending my student debt horror in an instant.
This is the world we have made.
Enjoy it, and I am done with all internet blogging and commenting.
The anon stalker makes me afraid for the safety of myself and my family. So no more internet activity.
Fuck you. "Anon" already destroyed you. And "Anon" was Mr. Infinity.Delete
Is your female JD friend "Cryn" by any chance? I like your idea of a cocktail of JD on and JD off applications: I would like to stick my cock in her tail end too! She's a touch chubby for my taste, but I'm not picky. I could probably throw fifty gallon of "man paint" over her in a day.
But fuck you with the "tell me who you are Anon so I can drag to public hell with me too" shit. You giving your name out online was suicide. Why do you think that convincing others to commit the same public suicide would be good for you? The name "Koch" is now forever linked to your shitty blog, not with the talents of your grandfather.
He would be ashamed.
You never tried to make payments. You were a freeloader from the start. You never would have paid for law school. You expect the taxpayer - me - to pick up your slack. You never made one single payment, nor did you ever try to get a fucking job. You are bone idle. You are workshy. You are lazy. You are not a victim of the scam - you are a victim of yourself.
If you're done with blogging and commenting, then good. Your writing is shitty, and we always know it's you.
And stop trying to pretend that you're afraid for your safety and that of your family. This has already been exposed as a lie. Nobody threatened your parents, nor you. You are an attention seeker, a cutter, a faker, a loser.
So fuck off. For good.
Mr. Infinity Roxxxxx! And winsssss!
Infinity 2, Painter 0.
Hopefully you mean it this time. Time will tell.Delete
Not sure what you claim to be so afraid of. I have zero interest in putting you out of your misery.
Nice to hear about your ritzy job and awesome skillz. Why are you complaining about not finding legal employment, again?
Sorry to hear about your friend's financial difficulty - although if she's turning to YOU for advice, she pretty much deserves whatever she gets. Hopefully she's planning to do the exact OPPOSITE of what you suggest - which would actually be a fairly sound strategy, when you think about it. LOL, just make sure she doesn't apply for any government jobs, PS loan forgiveness or anything like that.
Painter: what a cunt...
Fuck, even George Costanza would be ashamed of John Koch.Delete
...and it looks to me that Cryn is going to get a facial this Christmas.
JD Painterguy, you are helping her find a legal job? Talk about the blind leading the blind.Delete
Just saw an abovethelaw post about what law firms expect in 2013, and it says they plan to hire IP litigators. Maybe this person in LawProf's post has a chance to get a BigLaw job again.ReplyDelete
Um, look: Painter does degrade this blog. But all the personal attacks on him degrade it further.ReplyDelete
It's up to PC to bar him or not. In the meantime, how about we all just ignore him? If you don't like what he says, just shine him on, huh? Life is full of irritants, without magnifying them.
LOL, I guess it's a moot point now that he's *snicker* promised to never *guffaw* come here again.Delete
Surprised he didn't just ask the jobless female to move in with him and his parents. Apparently those parents are playing China to his Obama: a source of free money that will never, ever, EVER end - um, right?
@ 8:30, "How could he--or anyone else--have foreseen how bad the job market would become when he turned down the 60k job?"ReplyDelete
Funniest thing I ever saw - big sign "PSYCHIC" on a small house-turned-business property.
Sign had "For Sale - Foreclosure" plastered in a banner across it.
Why didn't she see that coming?
@ 9:47, "Most people at the top law schools had as high math and science scored on the SATs as verbal scores. My math and science scores were much higher than my verbal, and I went to law school."ReplyDelete
When did the SAT ever have a "science" section?
SAT 2 in bio, chem or physicsReplyDelete
FWIW, to the original writer: I have a profile analogous to the profile of the "top 1%" writer you mentioned (HYS, biglaw, competitive circuit clerkship). I recently had an amazing interview for my dream job, which values the above-described profile; the office clearly liked me; I walked out, just like you describe, thinking it was very likely to work out. Nope. ... they hired a Supreme Court clerk. For offices that value a classical set of so-called "prestigious" credentials, most of us are reminded at some point (via rejection letter) that there is someone who has outperformed us.ReplyDelete
Not sharing this story to complain, but to ... I guess ... empathize with what you experienced in losing that particular job and to share that even among what you call the "top 1%," we are reminded at intervals that we are also not special snowflakes.
Hang in there. I don't blame you for not taking the ID job with what you knew at the time. If you do have to do doc review ... one of my friends had to go that route during the worst of the recession. He did what he could to stand out from the others, and he realized that while standing out in BigLaw doc review didn't seem very possible, it was more possible in other doc review placements with non-megasized firms. Based on his doc review work, he was brought on as a staff attorney at a very well-respected firm in our major city and after a trial period was made an associate. I hope things work out for you, too.
I graduated law school from the University of Miami in 1991, with no job and no offers. It was the very best thing that could have ever happened to me. For the last 22 years I have owned and operated my own successful personal injury law firm in Miami.ReplyDelete
I have been able to take on the cases and causes that are important to me and never have to worried about being fired or laid off.
I urge anyone trying to start a law firm to start preparing for the successful transition from law student to law firm owner now. Worrying about the future is not as important as taking control of it.
How often do you hire new or recent grads?Delete
Fair enough Mr. Aronfeld. But what about those that don't have the starting capital to get started? Banks aren't lending and not everyone has a rich relative to help out.ReplyDelete
The other problem is that many people are trained outside of litigation. When someone has been working doing tax or securities filings or antitrust advice for 14 years and is suddenly unemployed, how easy is it to start litigating? We are talking about people who have never litigated. It is going to be very hard.ReplyDelete
Other thing is that you have an advantage from U Miami and living in Miami. It would be harder in New York where there are 8 law schools or so. None, even Columbia, NYU or Fordham, the leading schools would have the cachet that U Miami has in Miami.
Also you are a handsome young male. For a woman, minority or someone who is not as handsome, quite a bit harder.
You should be congratulated on your success.ReplyDelete
However, it is not clear that even the most talented solo would not have a hard time today. It is a much more saturated market than 15 or 20 years ago. There is room in the market and in each legal specialty for only so many solos. In many specialties in many geographic areas there are many times the number of solos needed to do the work there is.
What I am saying is that with the oversupply of lawyers today, anyone starting a practice is not that likely to be a success. Only a few will make it. We do not know the number exactly, but it is a game of roulette.
Every potential law student should read this. Just online with a former student who I begged not to attend law school. He did anyway, even earned a masters in law. Now zip job offers after hundreds and hundreds of tries. The system is perverted. I graduated, took the bar, and shucked the whole process, opting for a great career first in investigative reporting (back when there were such creatures) then teaching at universities. Just retired, so glad I skipped law practice. It wrecked and devoured the few law school friends who pursued it.ReplyDelete
I was wondering what the source was for the "million unemployed law grads is a statistic" statement? I looked around the site but I couldn't find how you determined that figure.ReplyDelete
It's a reference to Joseph Stalin, who once said (approximately): "The death of 1 is a tragedy, the death of a million is a statistic"Delete
You say you got an ugrad degree in a 'technical' field, so perhaps your 3.7 is analogous to a 3.7 UGPA from the typical doctor. However, for the vast majority of lawyers with a liberal arts BA in English, comparing their 3.7 to an engineering/biochem/mathematics 3.7 is like saying a ferrari is the same as a mazda because they both go 75mph on the highway.ReplyDelete
Also, the LSAT and the MCAT are about diametrically opposed examinations as humanly possible. The MCAT tests you on basically everything you learned in 4 years as an undergrad and pulls no punches in the difficulty of the questions whereas the LSAT is an exam that requires no prior coursework whatsoever and tests basic analytical ability.
As a retired partner from a large firm I can say that among themselves the "Partners" often refer to the staff as 'temps'.ReplyDelete
It's not you it's the system.
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