Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Reveling in failure

To Keith Lee at Associate's Mind when faced with failure, millenial lawyers "revel in it." Instead of going out and finding a job, millenials are content to sit at home and whine about the law school scam on the Internet or take the audacious step of suing their alma maters. Finally, in a call to action, Mr. Lee, 32, asks "If new lawyers cannot solve the problem of their own millenial malaise, how do they ever expect clients to trust them with their problems?"

Mr. Lee is one of the lucky ones who got a law job in short order. But, his article is in rather poor taste. Most young lawyers are not as lucky as Mr. Lee. The BLS statistics show that the average law school graduate is more likely to wait tables than to practice law. So the lucky few like Mr. Lee should try to offer real solutions to graduates. How did you find your job, Mr. Lee? How might your experience help others? Reading through Associate's Mind brings to mind the self-aggrandizing attitudes found in most "blawgers" twice his age. Mr. Lee's attitude seems to be "I'm working so hard, while those without jobs are sitting at home watching Maury Povich." Why not stop rubbing salt in the wounds of those who were left behind in this historically bad job market?

The debt loads carried by today's graduates are rising with no end in sight. I looked at the historical tuition data for Texas Tech, as it is one of the few law schools that publishes comprehensive tuition data. Between 1990 and 2012, tuition and fees for out of state students for an entire school year rose from $5,947 to $31,847.10. Lawyers in earlier generations were able to pay their loans off within a few years, given a steady income. Today, most graduates are facing 30 year repayment plans or IBR payments for 25 years with an income tax time bomb attached at the end. Mr. Lee either doesn't care or doesn't want to understand that having a $1500 per month loan payment severely restricts the career options of most new grads. I graduated in 2004 and in my last semester, my university uncapped tuition rates and instituted a 20% increase in tuition that very semester. When all was said and done, I owed a little more than $54,000 upon graduation. Only 8 years later, students from the same school are carrying at least twice that amount of debt upon graduation. If a grad today does not have a steady income, life stops.

Articles like Mr. Lee's are built on false assumptions and a lack of touch with reality. How do you pull up your bootstraps if you can't even get a boot in the first place?

63 comments:

  1. It's like trying to find water in the middle of a desert. If it's not there; it's not there. That's why people don't live in the desert. It's also why there are fewer applicants to law school...and that's how the problem is being solved.



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  2. He's basically right - most people who don't find a legal job right away DO stop looking after less than a year. You actually deny that? I'm not sure that Keith Lee is the one who has "lost contact with reality" here.

    I swear, some people (Nando, Paintroach, etc) apparently look at law school as some kind of supercharged annuity plan - one that's supposed to throw off at least 50 percent of the initial investment every year for the rest of their lives, I suppose.

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    1. "most people who don't find a legal job right away DO stop looking after less than a year."

      False.

      "some people ... apparently look at law school as some kind of supercharged annuity plan - one that's supposed to throw off at least 50 percent of the initial investment every year for the rest of their lives, I suppose."

      Usually when people make straw man insults, they at least make sense.

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    2. No, it's true. And you are easily confused - obviously.

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    3. Dude, there are people who spend 2-3 years looking for legal work, and nine month stats show that there are far more people unemployed - seeking than unemployed - not seeking. And what do you think happens to people who work at temporary positions and then get let off?

      And do you even know what an annuity is? It's basically an insurance plan where you make an initial lump-sum investment. It's in no way analogous to debt financing. And people like Nando don't really want that, especially since Nando works a regular job that he seems happy with.

      They want the schools to stop lying. I have no idea how you get from there to "they want a handout for life," but it's BS.

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    4. But how MANY people "spend 2-3 years" looking for legal work? You need to provide "stats" to answer that question. And btw, 9 months is less than one year.

      MANY annuities (including the one that I have) pay out a percentage of the overall principal each year; thus my description of one that pays out 50 percent as "supercharged."

      They may want the schools to stop lying, but they also want the handout. Some say that you can't scam a scammer - but that isn't true. Nando was scammed by someone who was even slimier than he is - a tall order, to be sure. But I don't exactly feel sorry for the lazy turd.

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  3. Lee does seem to acknowledge that there are structural problems in the industry, and that one size doesn't fit all in solving the problem, so he's not all bad. His accusation that people are "reveling" is too strong, IMO, but he is right that you can't sit back and do nothing, either. In my own case, I wasn't getting traction in the private practice world so I bailed and cut my losses. He apparently got traction and is currently practicing law. Whatever.

    He's one of those "you can do anything you set your mind to" kind of people. While I find that kind of philosophy seems to abound in the confirmation-bias crowd (I set my mind to it, I have success, correlation/causation FTW!, read my book), he is right that, one way or another, you have to "do something." Doing nothing begets more nothing.

    Do what, exactly? Ah...grasshopper...you must seek out your own truth for yourself. "Read my book."

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  4. I would like to see a study about how many people use CONNECTIONS to get a job. If you don't have any, you are in trouble. Students think if they get better grades, or have better extra-curriculars, employers will value this in the market place. The reality is a dumb attorney with political connections or family money will get hired any day over someone that doesn't. I know it's "not fair" that no one told you but that's life.

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    1. This is so true, and why the scam harms minorities who can't make BigLaw and makes the law schools' whoring to get them in all the more offensive.

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    2. Yep. My own (unscientific) survey indicates that claims of the "self-made" individual, and strong social capital, are positively correlated.

      Not always, but..."where you come from" certainly matters.

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  5. Congratulations, this is the most pathetic post I've ever read.

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    1. Yes, because when you don't understand mathematics or economics, call the protester's claims "pathetic," call the generation "slackwoisie" and accuse them of preferring to sit on a couch and whine with little more than anecdotal proof.

      Tell me, counselor, does the judge buy it when you do that in court?

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    2. It's spelled "slackoisie," and I say it, not Tannebaum.

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    3. Misattributing, misspelling, and insulting "shg," how pathetic, 12:37!

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    4. This is a protest? Don't you have to get off your couch to protest something?

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    5. Brian, I think we're supposed to comment anonymously here or it will hurt someone's feelings. Perhaps you can be Anonymous Brian and I can be Anonymous shg?

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    6. Brian and shg -- if you don't enjoy the community then don't click here...

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    7. Brian, please elaborate. What do you find pathetic?

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    8. I love this community. There is nothing better than being around people that make you feel better about yourself. And as far as what I find pathetic? I think it's unfair that you are asking me to be specific when I am unable to find anything in the article that's not pathetic. Now go make sure your Mommy has made you dinner while you curse the man for not giving you the job you were promised.

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    9. Anonymous Brian didn't use the word "pathetic." That would be Anonymous 1:01. Is misattribution another element of the community? This place has a lot of odd rules.

      As for Anonymous 1:35, I enjoy the community very much. What makes you think otherwise?

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    10. ANONYMOUSBRIANTANNEBAUMApril 24, 2013 at 1:58 PM

      Am I doing this right?

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    11. shg - see Brian's comment at 12:26, and the follow-up comment at 1:49 to clarify his 12:26 comment.

      Reading: an odd rule, isn't it?

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    12. You are quite right. My bad. I don't bother to read Anonymous Brian's comments, which he says is a mistake on my part but I've always found to prevent an unfortunate waste of time that I will never recoup. (But Slackoisie is still mine, not Tannebaum's.)

      So, Anonymous Brian, explain what you mean by pathetic already.

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    13. NOTBRIANTANNEBAUMApril 24, 2013 at 2:06 PM

      shg, why you all up in our face here? Do you not understand that Tannebaum said we were pathetic, twice?!?!?!?! We are mad and since we're not working, we're going to continue to demand you retract your comments here. NOW

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    14. MODS - please keep these Tannenbaum comments up and visible. Do not delete. Retarded morons like this need to have their words retained for posterity.

      I think this dude accidentally outed himself.

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    15. MODS? You mean moderators? Yes, please leave all my comments up. Ive outed myself as employed.

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    16. MODS? You mean moderators? Yes, please leave all my comments up. Ive outed myself as employed.

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  6. Ooh - you guys are quite good at this red herring game! I only wish I could be that good, but darn it, I'm too busy sitting on my couch to practice.

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  7. Well, I might not agree with him, but I have a lot of respect for Brian Tannebaum for putting his face and name behind his words.

    Mr. Tannenbaum:

    Just in case you are a new reader and FYI: Mr. Infinity style anonymity is all too common around here and on what are referred to as the "scamblogs" in general.

    If getting off the couch means being identifiable and outspoken, then you are right, and that would apply to both sides of the argument?

    Would you agree?




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    1. Paintroach, would you like me to post your (parents') home address and phone numbers?

      Since you're such a fierce opponent-roach of anonymity, and all.

      You want me to? I will if you'd like.

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  8. So, to clarify, it's a Wednesday afternoon and two apparently successful, busy, hard-working attorneys - one a Stetson grad and the other an NYLS grad - have enough time to troll a crappy site devoted to exposing the law school scam and spam it with garbage of little substance.

    And MA is the pathetic one?

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    1. Gee, I've never ever ever ever seen that comment before. Maybe we have people working for us, maybe we don't need to have 300 cases a day to make rent. Maybe this is when we eat lunch. But keep trying, one day you'll have this type of practice. No, actually, I'm kidding, you won't.

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    2. I was thinking about doing document review in my spare time, but being a part of this community is so much more rewarding.

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    3. Relax Brian, and enjoy your new hobby, and wiggle your toes in your socks comfortably :)

      @2:09PM is probably a legal academic.

      But is that 300 new cases a day or 300 open cases at any point in time?

      Do you help indigent clients as well?

      Last I heard, Criminal defense is for the social good and not as remunerative as other fields of law.

      But in the general spirit of it all, the last thing a Criminal Defense Attorney would want to do is brag about commercial success.

      So I guess you need 300 "clients" to scrape by?

      In the general spirit of it all.

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    4. I'll concede it's voluntary free time, or lunch time, or what have you.

      That doesn't really change the patheticness of the act. I mean, if you really look down on the people here and their views, what does it say about you that you find it necessary to come here and insult them?

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    5. Anonymous at 2:37, I've represented indigent clients since I became a lawyer, you? And yes, there's plenty of criminal defense lawyers that don't do very well, we all know them.

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    6. That has nothing to do with the patheticness of you posting on this venue.

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    7. When is the last time a good client asked you where you went to law school? Oh right, you don't have any clients, sorry...

      It's funny to watch unemployed "lawyers" try and make lawyer burns, like "You went to a T4 law school!". It's as though you believe attorneys in the profession (as in, people who represents clients for a living) care about where their peers went to law school.

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    8. Jordan-

      I did not intend a "lawyer burn." But much ado is made in these parts about employment stats and, sadly, where one went to school plays into that equation in landing the first job. I invoked the schools these gentlemen went to merely point out, implied, I suppose, that graduates coming out of these institutions today face much longer odds of initial employment than either Greenfield or Tannebaum did, and that, to me, makes their mocking and discounting of luck rather curious. Did either direct the year sperm met egg?

      Sure, you can argue that if Tannebaum or Greenfield came out of those schools today, they'd be the hard-working, bootstrap-pulling kid who makes it through the gauntlet and lands the chosen position and that they would not be the honors grad who has to hustle for doc review gigs and pray that they can land a dead-end associate position, all while carrying private school debt. I'm not so sure, largely because I've seen some of the most intelligent, hard-working people I know from school be left in the dust.

      I agree with you entirely on the relevance of where someone went (I'd have to, since I went to a low-ranked school), and to be honest, I'd rather refer a case to a T3/T4 graduate than an Ivy graduate, all things being equal. Heck, I helped indirectly hire a lawyer a few months ago, and I have no idea where he went to school, nor did/do I care.

      Sadly, though, you and I don't make employment decisions for most recent graduates. If you believe that system should change, I would imagine you would support efforts like this, which raise awareness of the problems with legal education, even if some of the posts have the faint whiff of whiny entitlement. Lots of the people who write and comment on these blogs are working attorneys. Shocking, I know, but you can be gainfully employed (or pulling yourself up by your bootstraps as best you can) and still express vitriol/need for reform at law schools, even if some are more productive about it than others (frankly, I'm not a fan of this post, as I don't see anything offensive in what Keith Lee wrote).

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  9. Someone clarify for me if I have followed things correctly.

    Someone dug themselves into a giant hole. Using a shovel. Now they are pissed at the shovel. And the person that gave them the opportunity to hold the shovel. And instead of figuring out what to do with their gigantic hole, namely how to fill it, they just curse the shovel and the person who said it was ok to hold it.

    And then this post comes along and chastises the guy who points this out as not being the solution?

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    1. This is the stupidest analogy I've ever read.

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    2. Pull yourself up by your bootstraps.

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  10. Oh man, the debt loads piled up so fast in higher education you needed wings to stay above it.

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  11. Where is Brian's staff?

    The link leads to no staff?

    The firm has Brian, and another Tax and real estate guy.

    So there are two men to handle 300 clients?

    Brian, if you have substance abuse problems that is something that can be worked out.

    We are not bad people and don't want to steal six figures from anyone.



    Welcome to the island of misfit JD's.

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    1. Does it hurt you to be so stupid? I mean I realize you're anonymous so you get to sit at home and be happy that no one knows who you are, but do you really think that not having a link to staff on my website means I have no staff? NO, wait, you do. Damn. And 300 clients? Here's what I said punk: "maybe we don't need to have 300 cases a day to make rent." I don't have 300 clients, don't need 300 clients. Maybe if I charged $500 a case I would, but, nevermind. Hey, listen, next time you're in Miami, come by the office. I'll provide the tissues.

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    2. They really don't have the slighest clue. Sad, but be more understanding. How would they possibly know? They're too busy being angry.

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    3. @Brian:

      Oh. That makes sense and I thank you for clearing that up :)

      A website with a picture of a big city and a guy with folded arms doesn't mean big numbers of clients and big money rolling in is just blockhead artsy in a way.

      (Sigh) I can live with that.

      You should have maybe said maybe that your site is under construction and the dead link to staff is due to being so busy getting about in the world of successful humans and all?

      But anyway. Welcome aboard and with open arms! You wouldn't be here is my guess unless you were not getting on well in ESQ. Brian Land?

      We want to help you, and with our hearts and open arms.

      And maybe someday you will be able to charge 500 a case.

      Don't give up Brian! I can't possibly count your money, but I and We Love you!




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  12. I just stopped by to say that I found this from a link to twitter, and I can't get enough of it.

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  13. Lawyers have done wonderful things.

    But is the country better, or worse, because it is easy to become one of us?

    (I'm not saying it's easy once you become one of us.)

    Has the country seen more justice and liberty the more lawyers we've gotten?

    If not . . . why would we want to encourage more people to become lawyers?

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  14. Is this the same Tanningbum from ATL??

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  15. "Articles like Mr. Lee's are built on false assumptions and a lack of touch with reality. How do you pull up your bootstraps if you can't even get a boot in the first place?"

    Do you go out and try like hell to get a boot, or do you sit on your couch and blog about how sad you are, and how utterly unfair it is, that you don't have a boot?

    Nevermind.

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    1. That was from me. This system is hard to use.

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    2. Why are they mutually exclusive? You can look for a boot and tell others to not believe a word the boot salesman says at the same time.

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  16. I think we've found a bigger cunt than Brian Leiter and JD Painter.

    Behold - Brian Tennebaum!

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