Saturday, June 22, 2013

Guest Post - A Typical Story

This piece was sent in by a reader, and it's presented without editing.  The story, however, is typical and the message it contains for incoming law students is extremely important to understand:

My story is typical of the lost generation of law students. One area where my story is different relates to my age and my pre-law experience, so I hope it will helpful for people like me who are considering law school.

I came to law after 8 years of working as an engineer. I didn’t fully do my homework prior to entering law school. I knew the intellectual challenge of law school appealed to me, I had no desire to go to business school, and I did not want to be an engineer for the rest of my career. I also thought I would easily find a job as a patent attorney with my 10 years of experience. Like many others, I relied on Chicago-Kent’s published employment statistics . As you can see from the link, there was no mention of what percentage of graduates reported finding employment; the picture was all rosy.



Needless to say, my first semester grades were a bit of a shock (solid B to B+) but I decided to stick it out. Eventually I worked my way up to the top quarter by the fall of 2008. The real problem by then was a failure to obtain any actual law experience. This was not for want of trying. In the fall of 1L I got to know local patent attorneys and applied for every on-line job posting I could find. I joined the local and national versions of the intellectual property organizations, attended their meetings and hobnobbed with the members. I targeted specific employers in the area of my technical expertise and crafted personalized cover letters and resumes based on my perceptions of their needs. I did not limit myself geographically, I tried for every externship possible, took the patent law clinic and other specialized IP courses at my school, sat for the patent bar in the summer of my 2nd year,  signed up for career fairs, etc.  About the only thing I didn’t do was get a paper published, but I drew the line at putting my name on yet another derivative non-peer reviewed paper that was mere recycling of unoriginal thoughts. I probably applied for 200-300 jobs in total.

One “interview highlight” during this time was an interview with a solo. She ran her practice out of a filthy junk-festooned condo and had an associate working out of the bathroom. I shit you not.  Actually, she never even showed up for the interview and I had an awkward couple of minutes sitting with my potential competition, a young man from another Chicago Toilet.

However, the worst thing was getting a verbal offer from a partner that was later rescinded. The law firm, a notorious patent mill, flew me out to Houston and I thought I nailed the interview. In the elevator on my way out the hiring partner told me the terms of the offer ($150K salary, $15K signing bonus, etc) and said a formal letter would follow. Of course when I asked them for the letter a week later it started with “we regret to inform you…”

Eventually I got so desperate that I took on patent search work. This is good work if you can get it at the PTO but where I worked it paid about the same per hour as a fry cook. I even offered to work for free but there were no takers. Finally, I started a small painting business about a year after graduation. I never made much money off it, but it helped me to imagine I was taking charge of my life in some way.

One thing I learned during my job hunt; law firms do not like to hire older entry-level attorneys, so be very careful about attending law school if you are over 30. I was in my early to mid-thirties during this time. I have now become convinced that law firms have a heavy bias against hiring older people. My grades and technical background were no worse than those of younger people who were able to find jobs. I think it boils down to law firms being uninterested in people with distractions like spouses/children, nor are they interested in people who find it unacceptable to be screamed at. They want lumps of clay to pound, not fully-formed people.

My lack of career prospects distressed me as I had foregone 3 years of engineering employment at $85K/year and I had shelled out about $100K in tuition and fees. Like many other depressed law students and recent grads, I was soon on various combinations of alcohol, anti-depressants and benzodiazepines. I found therapy to be worse than useless. One of the things that eventually lightened my depression was accepting how stupid it was to go to law school. The other was finding out that many bright, personable, qualified people were in a similar boat.

The second thing I learned during my job hunt: don’t assume you can go back to your old job if law doesn’t work out. A year after graduation I was desperate enough to start applying for engineering jobs. If you leave the law degree off your resume you will have three years of “blank” to explain. If you keep the law degree on your resume, you will, at best, be regarded with a lot of suspicion. I was pointedly told that the law degree was a major impediment to me being hired. Employers think you either made a colossal mistake in going to law school (which implicates the soundness of your judgment), or they think you’re just biding time before leaving for a legal job. Your experience also tends to get stale over time.

The third thing I learned during my job hunt: don’t assume people will let you work for free to gain experience. I applied to volunteer at all the major legal aid organizations in Chicago and was repeatedly told they were overstaffed and had no need of my services. Quote: “I get literally 10 resumes a week from unemployed attorneys hoping to volunteer in XXX field or YYY field.” The legal aid organizations have people from Northwestern and the University of Chicago coming out of their ears and have little time for Toileteers.

In the end, it took me two years to find full-time employment. I am not working as an attorney. I do not need a law degree to do my job. I make less than I would have had I stayed as an engineer and do not foresee ever making the kind of money that I would have as a third or fourth-year associate. I am out at least $370,000 in lost income and law school tuition and will probably have to delay retirement. It has already impacted my lifestyle and it may impact where my children can go to college. The cumulative stress and depression has probably impacted my eventual lifespan. I will not fully appreciate this disastrous decision for another 30 years. I hope this gives some pause to others who might be where I was 7 years ago.

66 comments:

  1. Thank you so much for sharing your story. I hope we hear from some other people with stories to tell as well. I think posts like this are very effective in warning people away from law school.

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    1. I agree. Anyone considering law school should see that when you swing from one vine and grab on to the next, you are letting go of the first vine...and once you let it go you may not be able go back to it.

      Delete
    2. Thank you Anon at 8:29. I'm the original guest poster.

      That's a great analogy, better than my own. (My own was that I closed the door on my previous career and no goddamm doors opened up in front of me. I got stuck in an empty corridor for 2 years.)

      So when you grab onto that next vine you're just left hanging on, slowly swinging back and forth in an ever-decreasing arc, as the other vines get farther and farther away. Eventually, you can't hold on anymore and plummet to your screaming death. Law school is a heavy vine that doesn't swing for any but a select few.

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    3. "I agree. Anyone considering law school should see that when you swing from one vine and grab on to the next, you are letting go of the first vine...and once you let it go you may not be able go back to it."

      More like letting go of the first vine, soaring through the air and trying to grab the second one.

      -Barry

      Delete
  2. Wow, it's like I wrote this piece myself. My story to a "T", only it's like the names and places were changed to "protect the innocent."

    The non-trad angle adds insult to injury, as I well know myself. And it is certainly no cakewalk to tread this so-called "JD-Advantage" path with real-life responsibilities like family.

    Good luck, Anon OP. One reason we do this blog is to demonstrate that thousands and thousands of grads are not alone. The similarity of stories is tragic and needs to be made known.

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  3. What age makes or age range for a non-trad?

    Or is being non-trad more than just about age?

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    1. I always felt it was someone who wasn't K-JD and actually had a career.

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  4. What is truly disturbing about this is that once upon a time there was an era when patent law was seen as a very safe bet, even when other legal jobs were hard to come by, because patent work had the bienvenue of an undergraduate engineering degree which filtered out the vast majority of law graduates. Sounds as if there is now just as much of a glut of engineering grads in the legal profession as there is of liberal arts majors.

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    1. I'm the guest poster.
      Yes, I think it's fair to say there is a glut of patent attorneys. Of course, some of it depends on a person's technical background. From what I can tell, people with EE and CS undergrad degrees have no trouble finding work.
      Don't take my word for it though. Just look on linkedIn and see how many patent examiners have JDs. Look at all the patent search companies that hire patent attorneys.
      None of this work requires a JD.

      Delete
  5. Could have been my story except I left the field of teaching/ social work. I thought I would be able to easily get a job with legal services with my background. Did not take out any loans, but used savings. After three years of law school, bar and several years doing part time work, some modest means and making probably less than minimum wage I am dumping the whole plan and have been substitute teaching. I hope I can get back into the field, but as I was also a nontraditional student, the clock is ticking. Thanks for sharing your story. The more people hear these, the better.

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  6. This story hits a little to close to home. During law school, my best law school friend, "Tony," was also a former engineer who worked at Dupont making about $80K a year (this was 1995). He was 31 years old when he enrolled in law school (Tier 1-school was ranked in the mid 30s at the time). We became friends during 1L. After our 1L Fall grades came out, he was devastated as he found himself in the top 40% of the class. He could not get a job. After graduation, he worked for a IP "boutique" making $35K a year. When he tried going back to his old job, they told him there was "no room" for him at the company (which was a polite way of saying "you made your fucking bed, now go sleep in it"). Tony became depressed. We kept in touch for about a year after graduation. At my law school 10 year reunion, I asked people about Tony. I kept hearing that he committed suicide but I was never able to confirm this. A google search of his name reveals nothing--almost as if the guy never existed.

    Thank you for sharing your story. You reminded me of Tony, someone I had not thought of in a long time. One of the last conversations I had with Tony involved him telling me that he regretted leaving Dupont for law school. I graduated law school in the late '90s and I can personally tell you that I was making less in my first two years out than I was during the year I took off between undergrad and law school. Was law school worth it for me? On some days yes, other days no. What I can absolutely say is that at today's tuition rates, law school is not worth it unless maybe you are attending Yale or Harvard. I have heard too many tales of struggling Columbia and NYU law alums to mention these schools as safe bets today.

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    1. No law school is a safe bet today. Maybe most of HYS gets a first or second job. I know plenty of middle aged and older HYS Law grads who lost jobs, starting maybe 15 years ago, in law firms or in house, and struggled thereafter. Some never got other jobs, while others struggled as solos or in marginal law firms.

      The writer above had a few legal jobs. Problem is that this person lost those jobs. The big issue today is that so many lawyers lose their jobs and cannot find other employment as lawyers.

      Going to a T8 law school, you have a good chance of getting a first or second job as a lawyer. Not guaranteed, mind you, but a good chance. Problem is no law school gives you a really good chance of a career where you can work as long as you want. The profession is just too glutted and legal jobs are lost too easily.

      Notice how the writer does not say what he/she is doing today and does not give a clear chronological breakdown of his/her employment history.

      Delete
    2. Anon at 6:15,
      I have had zero legal jobs. It was engineering at the same company for 10 years, then patent search firm part-time for 2 years, then to my current job. I am not saying a lot about my current job except that I work at a corporation and I'm doing fine now. But I got to where I am not because I went to law school, not because it conferred any advantage on me, but because I am making the most of my current job.

      Delete
    3. You are fortunate. A lot of law grads, even from the top law schools, are finding themselves completely unemployed because they have no fallback career. If you read about it, Weil Gotschal just had a huge layoff. This is typical. A lot of the lawyers who were laid off will never find long-term stable work as lawyers again. If you read the NY Times article, there is an estimate that biglaw is overstaffed by 10% or about 13,000 lawyers. This is on top of the normal annual up or out attrition of maybe 7,000 lawyers a year. Where do 20,000 highly credentialed lawyers go? Many into unemployment because there are not that many employment opportunities open to most of them. The up or out system lures unsuspecting people into law school, mostly without a prayer of getting hired by big law, and then puts a heavy number of the select few who are hired by big law into a permanent state of unemployment or underemployment.

      Delete
  7. I do not understand why my comment was not added. It was not spam nor was it a flame. I think that alternative opinions are important and silencing them will not help your cause. TBH, there is a lot on this blog as of late I find myself agreeing with (except that AWFUL piece of writing on "how to be a scamblogger." That thing was so over the top that it was just --- disgusting. And to think a little girl here in Dahab called ME a liar! I should point her to the author of that disgusting monstrosity.

    Movin' on:

    Also, there is a LOT left out of this story. Where is the author working now, how much is he making, why did he not get the big 150k job? I would need to see a LOT more questions answered before I could really take this at face value.

    My advice for this blog, if you want it to flourish:
    1. Allow alternative viewpoints, even if they make you blush.
    2. Write honestly and truthfully. Some of the stuff has some truth, but some stuff, like "how to be a scamblogger" made it sound like a person can't get on IBR if they make $10 an hour. Actually, they outright said it. This shattered the credibility of the article into irreparable shreds. Ouchiesauce!
    3. REMOVE THIRD TIER REALITY FROM TEH BLOG LIST AS WELL AS THAT SWINDLING PROFESSOR CAMPOS THAT DID NOTHING FOR THIS MOVEMENT OTHER THAN WRITE A BOOK AND LEAVE YOU ALL HIGH AND DRY. WHERE IS HE NOW HUH? OH WHERE THE heck IS HE NOW?

    Otherwise, you post some decent stuff.

    (I doubt this will be allowed through)

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    1. Sorry, I logged on late today and there was a backlog of comments. All viewpoints are appreciated. Thanks for reading and commenting. I personally enjoy the comments as much or more as the posts.

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    2. I tend to agree with this poster. I actually contact Campos recently for a e-copy of his book and he told to essentially to pound salt and buy it on Amazon. My feeling at this point is Campos basically used everyone for the sole purpose of generating material for his book. Sad.

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    3. This pro law anti Campos and scam blogger bs sounds a lot like the legendary pro lawland fool Mr. Infinity aka Mr. Infinifool who will soon be amongst the throngs of lawland un or underemployeds. Ha ha ha ha!

      This is the lawland prophet known as the great John Bungsolaphagus. God bless!

      Delete
  8. Great story. In a really bad way that is. I feel sorry for you and I'm in the same situation. There is an entire wasted underclass of people whose lives are ruined by this mistake.

    Fuck law school.

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  9. Why would it impact where your children go to college? Just tell them to join the military and use the GI Bill.

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  10. What a fucking scam.

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  11. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I had a classmate in a similar situation who was making big money as a software engineer in Silicon Valley before he accepted an invitation to study law in a Southern California 4th Tier. Similar thoughts on the intellectual benefits. He landed a paid clerkship at a top-tier PI/Class Action firm his first summer, then decided his passion was criminal defense. He couldn't land a job at the PD's office because there are literally 300-400 applications per opening due to budget cuts and JD oversupply. I'm not sure what he is doing now but I would imagine he encountered the same problem trying to get back into his old job as a software engineer. The loss is definitely compounded by the existence of a promising career before LS. Like you said, you are not alone. Keep your chin up and remember that your own state of mind, not material things like vacations or cars, is the greatest component in leading a happy life.

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  12. Children not going to college!!! Oh, the shame of it!

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    1. I think that a large part of the problems that we have, as a society, is the inability to feel empathy for others. In particular, we have a particular bias against those perceived to be "unsuccessful," a large part of the reason being, I believe, that we have had successive generations of prosperity in this country, causing people to hold the belief that success can be achieved through simple effort. Lack of success then, in our collective consciousness, simply equates to lack of effort.

      This generation, and future generations will find otherwise. Specifically, we are already learning that lack of success can occur even with ample effort as a result of bad luck, bad timing, or larger market forces beyond our control. This generation, and future ones, I believe, will feel more empathy for our common man. This will be the undoing of the current conservative movement and the foundation for a more prosperous future.

      I hate to say it Jeff, but as much as I agree with many of your points, you really are a product of the old way of thinking. That's why you can't understand how it could be a problem that the OP's kids, and millions similarly situated, won't have the chance to go to college because their parents are drowning in student loan debt.

      Delete
    2. I think what JeffM js saying is that there are plenty of ways to succeed without college.

      You can drop out of highschool, get a GED, do two years of Community College, and try to get a big city municipal job, i.e. cop, fireman, tradesmen, etc. You would make a six figure salary and retire at 45ish with a six figure pension and health care benefits for life. These jobs are not easy to do or get, but they are no harder to get than a good legal job. The difference being that if you get one of these jobs, you will have it for life (and you will be protected politically as the private sector is outsourced). Moreover, if you fail at getting these jobs after trying, then at least you haven't wasted 7 years for your life and a few hundred thousand dollars. (In other words, a failed lawyer will wind up in the same place as a person who tried getting one of these jobs, with one exception: he or she will owe a few hundred k and will have lost 7 years of his life, no second chances available).

      College was the way to go inthe Boomer era. Liberal arts grads are not in demand, STEM people are getting outsourced, lawyers are debt slaves in a dime a dozen market, and doctors will probably be OBAMANATED (and if not, maybe people can try that).

      Now, in today's time, you need to be an entrepreneur or you have to have a job that permits you to complain so the politicians pay you ( see big muni jobs above). Young people can't digest this; and even more horrificlaly, and to JEFFM's implication, people scammed by BIGED. want their kids to go through the same meat grinder. You would think people would fucking learn their lesson.

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    3. @106,

      LOL, right. I'm pretty sure the country's real problem is people like you who think that everyone except for you should work so that you can get everything you want handed to you for free.

      If anyone in that equation is lacking "empathy," it is definitely you.

      And LOL at your defiant belief - in the face of nigh-conclusive evidence to the contrary - that college is STILL some kind of exquisite treat that must be "provided" (read: stolen), no matter how high the cost.

      Delete
    4. 1:50 got it right. Not being able to help your kids through college might be the greatest gift you ever gave them - provided you and your kids really believe they will do just fine without it. If you convey the impression that your kids need college to do well in life, you've already screwed with them mentally.

      I could give many examples, but for one, one of my best friends from high school did not go to college and instead worked for the post office. Still does. At age 45, I am sure he has over $500k tucked away in his IRA, not to mention he has 25 years service, meaning he can retire at a ripe, young age.

      Delete
    5. Most jobs simply don't require a bachelors degree or better. And I believe most people aren't suited to a bachelors degree either, not the traditional more demanding type. It requires both high intelligence and high degree or self organization and motivation.

      Trying to shoehorn everyone into college has led to many degrees being padded out with fluff to make them easier, credential inflation and skyrocketing tuition and education costs. Not going to college should be as honourable and as viable as going to college, but unfortunately it now isn't.

      Delete
    6. ^ 50 years ago (so I've been told), it was far more difficult to graduate from college. Extremely high attrition rates were common - even for the people who studied and attended class regularly.

      The schools drastically lowered their academic standards to keep the money coming in, thereby tarnishing the credential that they sell. Now everyone seems to have a degree. A while back, I read somewhere (Campos's blog, I think it was) that this one college etched the names of its 4.0 GPA graduates onto a plaque or something. Well, all the way up to 1980 or so, there would be maybe 5 names per year. That number has since gone up drastically, and more than 90 percent of the 4.0 GPAs are from the last 20 or 25 years.

      So no, I don't think that there's a need to give everyone in America a college degree. What kind of credential would THAT be?

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    7. govt pensions for life is becoming obsolete. most are 401 now and no early retirements.

      that shipped has also sailed.

      Delete
    8. @6:03,

      Not in the big cities it hasn't. NYPD, LAPD, NYC sanitation, NYC tradesmen, etc., are going to get theirs no matter what. Those fortunate and intelligent enough to understand that will live the last vestiges of the American Dream. College is a trap. Law school is an even bigger trap. If politicians don't have your back, you are done because the jobs are going overseas and they aint comin back.

      Delete
    9. I'm in full agreement that the "American Dream" is dead and that higher ed has become, to a large extent, a slaughterhouse of dreams for a lot of kids. But I'd be careful with this "government jobs are the last seats on the gravy train" angle.
      In Chicago the Fire Dept. pension is something like 30% funded. These guys haven't been paying into SS their entire careers, in light of this "gold plated pension." I'm not sure how anyone thinks the taxpayers are going to be able to bail them out on this -- the broke taxpayers without a pot to piss in themselves.
      It's a microcosm of what is happening statewide, with the public union pensions. If you luck into a job with a pension your first, second and third thoughts should be "how do I save out of my wages to protect myself in the future from this fake pension that's not going to exist in the manner my union leaders are promising me." It's horrible that a lot of public employees are going to be f***ed in retirement but the alternative is to squeeze an already tapped out tax base to pay full benefits for public employees. At this point all they're doing is trying to push the public pension disasters back a few years, I don't see anyone who honestly seems to think these benefits can continue to exist long term.

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    10. JeffM,
      I am the original poster. Your point is taken about college. What I meant in my original posting is that IF my children would really, really benefit from a college education, I would like to be able to have them go to any school they could get into. On the other hand, if their talents lie more along the trades, I would fully support that as well. I think parents need to remain engaged with their kids to help them make good choices. I had zero help choosing a college when I was 17, but it turns out I made the right choice. I fully intend to help my kids make the right choices, i.e., preparing for a career that they have a passion for and have a talent for.

      My point is merely that my disastrous choice has foreclosed the possibility that I can help them financially with a potnetial college education.

      Delete
    11. Anon OP, I posted on this very subject awhile back. Even if the "personal responsibility" types want to burn JD grads at the stake for their "poor choices", the follow-on effects are not good policy. Higher Ed should be priced such that it limit's the damage to the generation in question, not the ones following-on.

      Delete
    12. Don't know whether college is a trap or not, but I'm sending both of my daughters to State Schools in Florida as the statistics are clear that college educated do much better over their lifetimes income wise, and a college degree has much more chance of opening up doors to a more rewarding career than simply a High School graduate. Even if they need go back and get a tech degree at community college, they will always feel better about themselves having a college education. I prepaid for their tuition and dorms when they were toddlers, so their tuition and most fees are paid for. It still costing, but not that much. What is important to avoid are all of the private or prestige schools out there charging as much as the most expensive law schools for tuition alone. Now that is a scam.

      Delete
  13. law school is a mistake for most applicants. However, it is a HUGE mistake for older applicants in far more cases. I may have worked at that houston patent mill you referred to before I went to law school.

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    1. Any chance it was Frohwitter?

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    2. never heart of it

      Delete
  14. The problem I have with this story is that a well paid engineer gave up his job to pursue a dream. I suspect he gave his job up because he could no longer stand being an engineer and was willing to risk it all on a law career. He could have pursued law school part time or at night and kept his day job, but he didn't do that. So really he gambled and lost. I mean there is a lot of self blame here.

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    1. I am the original poster.
      Based on school-provided employment data and discussions with professors both before and during LS, I did not objectively see law school as a risk. Actually, I started at the night program to mitigate the risk that I would hate it. It turns out that I enjoyed it and based on assurances from law professors, I transferred to the day program.
      I naively thought that the professors and administrators were honest. That was a mistake.

      So piss off. I've already spent several years blaming myself and I'm over it and over catty comments from butt-plugs like you.

      Delete
    2. People like 4:08 kick others when they are down because it's such a good time (I mean, really, who doesn't LOVE to be self-righteous?), but when they themselves make a big mistake it's "justified" and "not their fault," somehow, someway.

      Delete
    3. Just stating the obvious I guess. You gave up an 80K Job. Yea I know you are kicking yourself now. But regardless of what your professors said, surely you knew that you were not guaranteed a job especially given the current demographis? It sounds like a PI case where the plaintiff gives up a reasonable settlement offer to go for a trial at home run and then is faced with a defense verdict. Does he blame his attorney or himself for taking the risk and losing? Yep, he will blame his attorney but he is the one at fault.

      Delete
  15. Hey man,

    I was a computer programmer before law school also. I left for law school because I was replaced by an Indian guy (H1B), and thought the whole industry was about to get outsourced or H1B'd. Boy, was THAT a mistake. Going to law school crippled me financially.

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    1. Me too! I was a programmer back from the mid 1990s to early 2000s. Saw the tech bubble burst and ran to law school.

      I would have been making bank with my skills (mobile applications - really early mobile applications, before anyone even had an iPhone).

      Fuuuuckkkkk. Law school is always a mistake.

      Delete
  16. Great post.

    Exposing the Law School scam is great. It's truly a scam and its cost is now so far, far beyond any rational relationship to its worth, that it's collapsing under its own weight.

    But it's more important to speak the truth about actual employment/income outcomes in the legal profession. The general public's view of the profession has long been a more insidious form of misinformation and is what created the fertile ground on which a scam-dean's wicked seeds can germinate.

    Lawyers themselves have long been the silent beneficiaries of the universal American cultural assumption that lawyers are mostly upper-middle-class professionals, so lawyers themselves keep mum about the truth. This allows the cultural assumption to remain in place, largely unchallenged. Blogs like this perform a great service when they publish lawyers' stories that show severe underemployment and even destitution. This helps to destroy the great myth.

    There have long been rumblings about the standard gripes of lawyers --e.g., long hours, no personal time, acrimonious opposing counsel, ridiculous deadlines, substance abuse and alcoholism. But this hasn't really exposed the truth that it's no longer a money-making proposition for most. This is the message that needs to be taken farther and wider. Yeah, everyone kinda knew lawyers were depressed and/or alcoholics. We need to show 'em destitute.

    And while we're at it, expose the ridiculous myth that just because one can start a lawyering business (i.e., "I've started a firm!") that it will make money or that there is any need for the services among the paying classes.

    Hopefully and quite possibly, the need to expose the Law School scam will quickly fade, because law schools are so clearly playing a losing game and have priced themselves out of existence.

    But there will long be a need to speak the unvarnished truth about the lack of profitability of this profession for the vast bulk of its practitioners.

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  17. Some many of us who went to college knew EXACTLY why we went there. The men of my generation [born 1951 +-] went to college to stay out of the draft [really keep up the grades]. Women went to get teaching jobs or a Mrs. Now it is to party [alcohol is the leading advertiser in campus newspapers it seems] or to get one of those big we are number 1 foam fingers to march around campus with. Thank goodness that so many of the colleges that were set up to instill sound Christian principals now stand firmly endorsing legalizing weed,underwear as day wear and free stuff for everyone ... and somehow avoid paying back the loans.

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    1. "Sound Christian principles."

      Don't forget the "Catholic" "pro-life" universities (Georgetown, Notre Dame) that shower honors on Obama.

      And the president of Georgetown almost literally walks around holding hands with Bill Clinton.

      Delete
    2. Please tell us more about your "Christian principles" 9:24. Truly fascinating stuff, and something that doesn't get sufficient air time here in the USA.
      6:55 is typical of many in his generation in that he doesn't even realize how self-interested and selfish he sounds. You went to college to avoid the draft? Oh what a clever little Boomer you are, I can see where you'd think you have the legs to get up on a high horse about someone else's usurious student loans. I bet Jesus is giving you a get out of jail free card for the fact that some working class kid got sent into the abattoir while you fucked around at your "Christian" college.

      Delete
    3. Most of "my" Christian principles can be found in the Bible, if you're really interested.

      I don't see anything in it about worshipping the black booty that is attached to Obama.

      As for the draft, it was really right around that same era that most colleges became diploma mills. The professors opposed the war, too, so they drastically lowered the attrition rate.

      Delete
  18. So glad to know I am not alone in this nightmare of post law school employment.

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  19. @9:05

    You're far from alone...

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  20. "My lack of career prospects distressed me as I had foregone 3 years of engineering employment at $85K/year and I had shelled out about $100K in tuition and fees"

    Even if you took Kent's stats to be 100% accurate you went in knowing that you would likely be making ~82k a year coming out while incurring the aforementioned debt and opportunity costs. My purpose here is not to admonish you for going to law school, but rather to point out that obviously there were non-financial factors (prestige, intrigue etc.) that drove you to go to law school. This is one of the problems that the scam blog movement seems to miss. The pressures that drive people to go into six figure debt not only for law school, but for even more ridiculous degrees like MAs in media communications, fashion design and museum studies are mostly cultural ones. In Germany, children are evaluated at an early age and steered directly into career paths that match up with their inherent ability with the promise that they will be employed in those areas should they follow through with their training. That kind of social engineering, benevolent as it may be, will never fly in modern day America. I know a lot of disgruntled attorneys who wish that they never went to law school, but I know just as many who are up to their eyeballs in debt making <40k a year and are delusionally proud of their decision because they "know" that wealth, fame and prestige are just one settlement away. People in the US chase the American dream in the same way that heroin addicts chase the dragon. Like a true pseudo-intellectual internet commentator, I'm going to conclude this post by smugly quoting a well known author.
    “Socialism never took root in America because the poor see themselves not as an exploited proletariat but as temporarily embarrassed millionaires.”-John Steinbeck

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    1. Excellent comment, 12:26. The thing with Germany is that there is absolutely no stigma to not being part of the elite that goes to college. All labor is valued as what you do is largely seen as a function of the natural gifts with which you were endowed. Americans want to root for the occasional TTT graduate who wins the big verdict against the giant corporation represented by biglaw, which leads a lot of folks into TTTs because they think it will be them. In Germany TTT folks would never get near a law degree.

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    2. Very insightful. The notion that lawyers are prestigious and upwardly mobile members of the middle class is precisely what allows Law Schools to peddle their rubbish. Hell, parents are still proud of the fact that their kids are "going to law school." Even the law school experience is seen as prestigious.

      The profession chose not to regulate its own weight. It chose to allow law schools to run amuck. The results have been disastrous for the administration of justice... not to mention the young people caught up in this laissez-faire nightmare on Elm Street. The profession must reap what it has sown.

      Bloggoing needs to dismantle the 'prestige' myth associated with the profession piece by disgusting piece.

      It's not just the schools that should be despised. The profession let this happen through inaction.

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    3. " My purpose here is not to admonish you for going to law school, but rather to point out that obviously there were non-financial factors (prestige, intrigue etc.) that drove you to go to law school. This is one of the problems that the scam blog movement seems to miss.".......

      Many of today's truth sayers seem not to get at this point but I, the great law land prophet and others like a JDU poster known as John Doeee and the grand daddy of them all, the great L4L aka Scotty Bullock CONSTANTLY harped on the inherent LACK of prestige of many in law who actually had jobs. We constantly broke down the myth of prestige in most shitty law jobs piece by piece.....and got stones cast at us for doing so!

      We detailed how the so called 'profession' actually works for most who had jobs and how unprestigous most law jobs are. We did it for years dating back to 2006 and 2007. Now I laugh when I see these angry youngins go on about the lawland scam as though they were the ones who first discovered it when it was folks like Scott Bullock and myself, the great lawland truthsayer and prophet, The Infamous John Bungsolaphagus who demystified the so called prestige of law years ago. God bless.

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    4. Anon at 12:26,
      Yes, you are right. I did have some "special snowflake" syndrome. Until fall 1L grades came out, I thought I'd be at the top of my class. I didn't think I'd be average!
      I thought law school would sharpen my mind and that these intangibles would propel me in any career I chose. I thought law was prestigious and I enjoyed the prospect of telling people I was a lawyer.
      I think the central part of the scam blogging movement has to be to destroy the law school brand. I am fine with the German model. We all have talents in different areas and an efficient society steers people into those areas where they will be most productive.

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    5. "Socialism never took root in America because the poor see themselves not as an exploited proletariat but as temporarily embarrassed millionaires.” -John Steinbeck

      We're all just realizing that 2008 wasn't just a temporary blip on the radar. It's class warfare, folks. Generational warfare's been underway for a decade...and you're just now snapping.

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  21. true dat, 12:26, true dat.

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  22. I worked at several mid/large patent boutiques and in house. there was a time when these opportunities valued real world engineering experience which meant starting law school later than 22/23. but these are dark days now.

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  23. Another patent law drop out here. I graduated law school from a TTT and had multiple graduate degrees in pharmaceutical sciences, 5 years of industry experience, publications, law review, middling grades, etc. I struck out of OCI and only managed to get some small patent boutique summer associate job for my 2L summer. The firm ultimately closed its doors. I then obtained a good associate job at a GP firm with a strong patent group. Work there for two years before getting the axe. Since then I have been unable to get back into a FT, permanent associate position. I've been doing contract work, document review, or more recently contract administration to pay the bills. I know many other patent types that are "out." For many individuals, once your billing rate gets too high, the form will get rid of you for a cheaper alternative. Seen it happen many times. Patent law is saturated. You need excellent creds to make it unless you are EE. If you are Bio/Chem/Pharm, you really need a Ph.D. to have a good shot at making it - no guarantees though. If you only have a B.S. or even just a Masters, you would be better served pursuing the litigation route - provided that you went to a good school. If you went to a school outside the top 25 or so, your options will be quite limited.

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  24. Couple things:

    1: Patent Law is interesting because at least for patent prosecution you don't actually need a law degree to practice. If you have an engineering/science degree and pass the patent bar you can practice in from the the PTO. (conversely a Lawyer with a liberal arts degree without enough science could not).

    2. PTO has been hiring 500-1000 people each of the last few years.

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    1. I am pretty sure the hiring has slowed down significantly. And the job can be beyond boring for some. but its a job, if you can get it.

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    2. Anon @ 9:48,
      You're exactly right and it's one reason I tell people who want to be patent lawyers: "Just take the freaking patent bar and become an agent." Even with a prep course it's only $3500 total, and you do most of the things a patent attorney does. You only need to study about 150-200 hours to pass the patent bar. True, agents don't make as much as attorneys but it's a great way to find out if you'll enjoy the profession.

      Yes, the PTO has been hiring, and that's another good way to get into patent law. But they hire a lot of weirdos man! I'm just saying it's a place where a lot of weirdos wind up. I'm talking about you Anna! And you Pedro!

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  25. @OP

    "What I meant in my original posting is that IF my children would really, really benefit from a college education, I would like to be able to have them go to any school they could get into."

    If you don't actually have assets and (other than your home) and don't make much money, many Ivy League schools significant offer tuition discounts.

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    1. Well JP I hope that's true. I got into several ivy leagues when I applied to college and could not get financial aid. My family was too rich to qualify for financial aid and too poor to pay what I thought was an outrageous tuition of $20k/year.

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  26. I am a patent attorney. I know the original post is true and far too common. I got into the patent business before it was glutted. IT IS NOW GLUTTED, SUPERSATURATED, FILLED TO THE BRIM. I see resumes of well qualified candidates on my desk or in my email frequently. It is tragic that people with other skills like engineering, nursing, PhD scientists, MDs get taken by the law school scam and ruin what might have been a promising career outside law.

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