Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Confucius say: Odds long, debt high

Did you hear the Story of the Greedy PigLaw partners who cannibalized their own firm until it was yesterday's dinner?

It may seem of academic interest only to inquire about one particular firm's demise, but it reflects what the legal profession is, at both its best (as in money) and worst (as in behavior). At one point, while facing disaster and bankruptcy, the firm signed a golden parachute contract with one rainmaking partner to give him 8 million (USD) in salary a year and 60 million dollars in case of default (i.e. the firm removes him or falls to pay his salary). 60 as in sixty, you IBR-debt slave suckers who are happy if you get a 0.25% discount on your student loan interest rates if you sign up for auto-debit.

What strikes me is not just a problem with the "bifurcated distribution", where successful law grads make millions but others cannot get a job selling apples for a nickle in Times Square, but that even those successful dudes face failure (although the 60 mill guy will be fine: he landed another big firm gig). Dewey brutalized its non-rainmaking partners and associates--they were the last to get paid (or not paid). Many lost their jobs and not all managed to stay employed in PigLaw.



The means that even among the few who get PigLaw jobs, only a few of those get the mo'money to make the risk and debt of the three-year rumble-in-the-debt-filled-jungle of modern law school worth it. Confucius say: Odds so long, debt so high. This is what "Professors" ("Proschmuckers") Diamond-ring, Leuounng, and Apple Piety are offering you: 200-300 grand of permanent debt for a chance to get a rare job which is uncertain even at the pinnacle of success. All you get, overall odds wise, is mathematically worthless .1% chance at millions, and 99.9% chance of nothing.

Think again, Special Sucker--I mean, snowflake. Snowflake, I said. Don't sue me for telling the truth.

Link to a book nobody has read.

27 comments:

  1. Somebody once told me that law school is filled with bright people who can't do math. Seems to be true though I think "doing math" should be defined to include accepting, and acting upon, what the math tells you.

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    1. So true. They see the numbers, but they don't *understand* the numbers.

      Which is odd, because I was a STEM major going into law school and I *could* understand the numbers. The propaganda was so strong though that all their lies about money and jobs and security and respect and prestige outweighed even my very rational mind.

      Beware the power of the law school marketing materials. There are some very strong concepts in there, wrapped in brightly colored paper made of lies.

      Fuck them. My life is literally ruined because of law school, and the life of my spouse who is sticking with me, and the life of my kid who I can't provide for as well as I want to because I PAID MY FUCKING MONEY TO SOME LYING LAW PROFESSOR.

      Jesus Christ I want to kill myself.

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    2. STEM majors unite. The Scam hands out a lot of pretty pretty lies that affect all kinds of people for decades. It certainly seems reasonable to rely on statistics, and I don't normally associate non-profit institutions of higher learning with abject lies. Until my Law School experience, of course.

      I certainly sympathize on the wife and kids front as well.

      Just Ixnay on the killself-ay, OK? Not worth it. I would rather do my part to help grind down the system that ground me down in the first place. Revenge is a dish best served cold, as they say. Your comments, and the comments of thousands of others, help towards that goal.

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    3. Recently the concept of marriage became more real to me. It was then that I realized what a disaster student loans are. For the spouse, for the person with them, for the prospects of providing for a family. And I haven't ever been to law school, I've just got 30k undergrad debt left after paying 20k.

      Student loans are going to ruin this generation. We know, but it will be a 4 alarm fire in 5-10 years.

      How ironic that education was supposed to give young adults the key to a bright future when in fact it has turned out to destroy those very futures.

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    4. The Angry AccountantOctober 30, 2013 at 7:05 PM

      Student loan debt will be bad enough that it may trigger an economic depression in this country. Money meant for consumption will omstead flow into debt repayment. The pensions costs of cities and counties will also trigger a depression. Let's get real here, cities and counties have become pension dispensaries. 35% of some cities costs are just for pensions alone! Not for city services, but paying a fat ass, crusty old diabetic his pension payment, so he can slog down a hamburger while the kid making the hamburger is racking up $60,000 while attending The University of Phoenix! LMAO what a system we have! I am sick and tired of paying for Medicare and Social Security.

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  2. PigLaw is a great term to describe these bastards.

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  3. Of course, those massive $60M exit contracts ought never to be enforced. They ought to be ignored during bankruptcy payouts. We need either a precedent or a statute against them.

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    1. Actually, we'll see how they will be enforced.

      In prior bankruptcies at big law firms, bankruptcy judges have been pretty aggressive in pursuing "claw-back" - holding that big bonus payouts were made in contemplation of bankruptcy, and need to be returned, for distribution to creditors.

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  4. I wonder if you wouldn't be better off playing the actual lottery than attending law school. If you bought $200,000 of scratch-offs, you might get more money than you'd earn as a solo lawyer, AND the debt could be discharged in bankruptcy.

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  5. I love the new tern, 'PigLaw.' Here's to hoping it sticks and becomes mainstream.

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    1. 8:45 am again. I love this term so much and want it to stick that I think I am going to come to this site everyday and simply post the word 'PigLaw' somewhere in the comments at least once a day, so that the term becomes familiar.



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    2. Go for it.

      Remember, every day now. You promised.

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  6. I think a bit of Confucian wisdom is appropriate in viewing a phony market that's destroying thousands of futures every year it continues. Think of Master Kung's concept of ren, sometimes referred to as human-heartedness, which among other things restrains actions and considers their effects.

    The scammers show no restraint and no humanity. They raised tuition by exorbitant amounts every year, and advised their victims to fund it with huge burdens of permanent debt. That's inhuman.

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  7. Imagining The Open ToadOctober 30, 2013 at 11:12 AM

    (I apologize for the off-topic comment.)

    For those of you who enjoyed dybbuk's hilarious take on Professor Leong's "The Open Road", you should seriously consider yet another UF law review article it spawned, called "Imagining The Open Road" by Brooks Holland, who at the time (and maybe now, for all I know) was a VAP at Gonzaga.

    If you want a preview of his opinion of her paper, here's the spoiler. And man, is it spoiled rotten.

    "I embrace the Open Road, not only as high-level scholarship, but as a virtue in legal education.".

    Seriously? Wow.

    http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2201211&download=yes

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  8. 6:40 here.

    No debt, however crushing, is reason enough for suicide. Think about it. One's outstanding debt to Sallie Mae is just a number. That number has genuine consequences but 1) They can't put you in jail. 2) They can't take every dollar you make. They can't even take most of the money you make nor can they take your exempt property. 3) They can destroy your credit rating but they can't tar or feather you, deprive you of a passport, keep you from moving wherever you like, keep you from marrying (or, alas, divorcing) or having kids.

    They might not even be able to keep you from obtaining a law license so if you DO move to a part of the country where there's a need for lawyers you might yet make a career for yourself.

    Your life is NOT ruined. If nothing else, live your life just to SPITE the bastards. Believe me, they don't care either way.

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  9. Imagining The Open ToadOctober 30, 2013 at 11:46 AM

    @ 7:04, "I was a STEM major going into law school"

    Can we ask what your UG BS is in? I assume you may have looked into taking the patent agent exam already, but still, some folks here might have some ideas.

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  10. Being happy is the best revenge.

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  11. 7:04 should be emailed to every law school dean in the USA.

    Not that they would care - from their point of view anything under 15 suicides per class means they're not doing their job right.

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    1. They.Don't.Care.

      It would not make one bit of difference. On the one hand, someone is thinking of committing suicide due to their foray into law school. On the other hand, if everything stays the same, little Jimmy gets to go to summer camp in Europe each year. Such a non-choice for them...

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  12. Patent is dead and dying.

    It doesn't matter if he was STEM or METS or .. well, not METS. Nobody likes them, outside of some whackos in New York.

    Anyway..

    Law is a joke and the debt vs. reward ratio / chance is way out of whack.

    Re: Lebouef.

    Joke firm. More than half of their NOI was going to pay senior partners. Like everything else in law, you're only good being at the apex of the pyramid. Oh wait.. That applies to everything in life. Sorry. My bad.

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    1. Imagining The Open ToadOctober 30, 2013 at 8:09 PM

      "Patent is dead and dying". Not sure entirely what you mean by this, but I disagree anyway. Patent law is still doing better than most other disciplines within the broader legal community. But there are highlights and lowlights. EEs and CS majors are still in demand. On the other end of the spectrum, a BS in Biology (never in demand anyway) can't buy a patent job now. The demand for general BS chemists, ME, etc. is also depressed.

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    2. But you need a PhD to have any chance at patent law now. That's about 10 years post-secondary education to enter a field which is only somewhat glutted. Doesn't seem worth the investment. This looks like an option for people who enjoy being the idea of being a student until they are almost 30, not to mention the debt.

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    3. Imagining The Open ToadOctober 30, 2013 at 9:52 PM

      You do need a PhD for certain disciplines. You do not, for others. That's why I was asking 7:04 what the degree field was. EEs and CS/CompEng types still do quite well with a BS. Chemists who could formerly do well with a BS? Not so much - now for them its more a game of luck or connections. Same with BS MEs. BS ChE's can still get jobs but much, much less than (e.g.) in 2000-2003 time frame.

      Also, don't overestimate the debt for getting a PhD. It's nothing like getting a JD. PhD candidates for science/engineering disciplines don't make out like bandits, but they also don't end up anywhere near the debt level of JDs.

      Note carefully, however - I'm not suggesting anyone tack on a PhD just to go after an IP law career.

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  13. Confucius might have also said that today is the indebted tomorrow that you got yourself into yesterday.

    But ya got to hand it to old C. He had a real head for knowin'.

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  14. Why does it have to cost $200,000 just to get the JD certificate?

    Whatever happened to monasteries and masters and grasshoppers?

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  15. Here is a good idea. Instead of killing yourself, how about you go back to law school and KILL the professors who did this to you?

    At least you'd be making a difference then.

    Yes, I advocate KILLING law criminals.

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