Thursday, December 5, 2013

The Law School Admission Council's DiscoverLaw project encourages high school kids to dream about going to law school to save the dolphins.



The image that appears above, and the others that appear at the bottom of this post,  are from the DiscoverLaw.org site. DiscoverLaw.org is an initiative of the Law School Admission Council (LSAC), which is the nonprofit that administers the LSAT, and facilitates the law school admissions process on behalf of ABA accredited law schools. DiscoverLaw.org was "created with high school and first and second year undergraduates in mind." This initiative seeks to encourage kids, particularly but not exclusively those from ethnically and racially diverse backgrounds, to "discover early how to be a successful law school applicant."  

The DiscoverLaw site states that "LSAC will provide grants to member law schools to demonstrate to high school and early college students why the world does need another lawyer.  Your law school is eligible for a maximum of $2,750 to program events that address early outreach, awareness, and preparation aimed at the target audience." The DiscoverLaw images are intended for use at these events, and are downloadable as posters.
 
I have thoughtlessly compared the law school scammers to Bernie Madoff, but these images make me realize how unfair that is to nebbishy old Uncle Ponzi, rotting away in federal prison. Madoff scammed the wealthy, and he scammed institutional investors who should have known better. The law school racketeers operate from a lower circle of depravity, luring social justice-oriented kids into life-destroying debt by promising to provide the foundation for a career that will allow those kids to fulfill their highest ideals.

I know that this blog mostly involves preaching to the converted. However, I hope readers will explain to youth of their acquaintance, who may be vulnerable to this kind of law school marketing approach, that public sector and public interest jobs are few in number, especially now that public sector austerity has taken on cast of permanence. Moreover, the structure of student debt forgiveness programs has made these jobs, which were once practically consolation prizes, highly desirable and competitive on purely economic grounds. And that means, in all likelihood, that a law grad will not have the opportunity to use the law to effect social change, represent indigents, or save the dolphins, unless he or she is willing to do so pro bono.

No, even that is wrong-- even if a recent law grad is willing to practice law for free on behalf of people and animals in need, disregarding the trivial question of how to pay his or her own rent and living expenses, he or she will probably lack the skills, knowledge, training, and local contacts to effectively represent any client on any matter. Those oh-so-progressive six-figure salaried lawprofs may well be highly conversant in the various forms of critical theory gibberish, but they are far less likely to train their students in, you know, the actual practice of law. Because law schools, for reasons that elude me still, choose to fill professorships with well-pedigreed recent grads who have near-zero actual practice experience. 

The images below all bear the slogan: "Actually, the world DOES need another lawyer." Maybe so, but the world DOES NOT need another scammer. Therefore, perhaps the deans and highest-paid professors at LSAC’s member law schools could prove their sincerity by offering to donate, say, one quarter of their huge salaries to those among their recent graduates willing to start firms specializing in the practice areas suggested by these images-- foreclosure defense, environmental litigation, poverty law, and dolphin law. I note that dolphins, despite being everybody’s favorite sea creature, flatly refuse to pay a dime for even the finest legal representation.


















72 comments:

  1. You don't think there is a need for more public defenders? And you don't think IBR makes that a feasible aspiration? Can you explain?

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    1. IBR does nothing to create openings at public defender offices. Those positions are available to the extent funding is available. As dybbuk stated above, "public sector and public interest jobs are few in number, especially now that public sector austerity has taken on cast of permanence."

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    2. Sure, I'll explain: The constraint on the present number of public defenders has nothing to do with either the cost of law school or the availability of IBR. There is a vastly larger number of qualified candidates for available PD positions than the number of such positions, because the constraint on such positions is a function of the public's willingness to fund them.

      The notion that IBR means more law graduates will become PDs or public interest lawyers writing Brandeis briefs about saving dolphins from tuna nets is typical of the sort of nonsense peddled by defenders of the status quo who are either ignorant of basic economics, or fundamentally dishonest.

      Delete
    3. Great comment. Nice to hear from you again.

      Delete
    4. (Sound of angelic choir singing . . .)

      Aaaaaaaaaaaaaa Aaaaaaahhhhhhhhhh.

      Awesome to see the Messiah returning. Seasonal too, or is that Easter?

      Common sense once again from Campos. All should listen.

      Delete
    5. If 6:27 is a serious comment, there is clearly no shortage of dupes who will fall for this scam.

      We can't save everyone. At least we'll be able to save the smart ones. Leave law school for the morons with no reasoning skills.

      Delete
    6. I think @7:56's response pretty much slams the OP's argument. Funding isn't the issue, it's a matter of supply and demand and ultimately how many lawyers we need in this country. Yeah, a 0L might want to save the whales, but see how he/she really feels when he/she is staring down the barrel of a $150,000 law school indebtedness with no job, or no job where one has a meningful chance of paying off that debt.

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    7. In fact, loan forgiveness programs increase the economic desirability of public defender and other public sector jobs, making them harder to obtain. Under the Public Sector Loan Forgiveness program (PSFL), the balance on direct loans is forgiven after ten years, rather than the standard IBR 25 years. Plus, the forgiven balance is not taxable under PSFL, as opposed to standard IBR.

      http://www.projectonstudentdebt.org/files/pub/IBR_forgiveness_ex.pdf

      An interesting project might be to survey public defender and ASA offices. Ask: what is the ratio of applications-to-job offers now as compared to, say, ten years ago or twenty? What are the turnover rates now compared to then? Has the average age of retirement increased? Are these agencies more likely than in past years to hire experienced lawyers for job openings, as opposed to those fresh out of law school or fresh out of a post-law school judicial clerkship?

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    8. Yesterday I overheard a 1L saying he's not worried about law school, because he "just wants to be a public defender." Another 1L told me grades didn't matter, because she wants to do "public interest." They are in for a surprise when they start looking for jobs.

      People still think these are low-demand jobs that you can just volunteer for. In fact, they are becoming super competitive...and in some cases as competitive as biglaw.

      Delete
    9. "Yesterday I overheard a 1L saying he's not worried about law school, because he 'just wants to be a public defender.'"

      That idiotic statement belongs with all those idiotic tweets in Law School Lemmings.com. A few hours research would reveal how hard it is to get a public sector job, even as a volunteer.

      And isn't it unethical for a supposed non-profit to be spending so much money on self-promotional advertising campaign?

      Delete
    10. L-sack's statement about the world 'needing another lawyer' is a slap in the face to the thousands of unemployed and underemployed attorneys out there today.

      Does L-sack really believe that today's legion of lawyers is so overworked (and so morally benighted) that they're unavailable to address social and environmental issues? Thousands of lawyers looking for work, and yet Flipper is still being netted??

      Students are the ones being netted, and students are the ones whose future is being foreclosed on. Shame.

      Today's lawyers need to answer the slur: Work to ensure your alma mater either produces a sustainable output or closes its doors.

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    11. "An interesting project might be to survey public defender and ASA offices. Ask: what is the ratio of applications-to-job offers now as compared to, say, ten years ago or twenty? What are the turnover rates now compared to then?"

      I work in a small to medium-sized DA's office, after entering the field out of law school in a larger urban office. 10 years ago when I started, the large urban office they'd hire five applicants out of a few hundred applications. In the smaller office my application was more like one out of 50. That was when you could still get a job straight out of law school or relatively fresh out.

      There used to be somewhat frequent turnover as new grads would come, gain trial experience, and leave either for a firm or to start their own shop. That stopped about 5 or 6 years ago. The last hire straight out of law school was I think in 2009. Now our only openings in the past few years have come from a retirement, one person leaving the practice of law altogether to move overseas, and one leaving for another DA's office.

      Four of the last five hires in our office have been people with 10-15 years of experience, two of them being former ADA's that tried out private practice and were happy to come back.

      I suppose we might hire a new grad out of law school if we got a new position funded at the entry level salary, but the state hasn't approved state-wide new positions since 2006. Even if the state does, you're probably talking less than two or three dozen jobs STATE-WIDE. Then it'll likely be another six or seven years after that before that halley's comet circles around again.

      So if you're a law grad hoping to be a prosecutor straight out of law school, you basically have to hope that your graduating class is the same year that the state funds new positions, then scratch and claw against every applicant in your state, and then hope that someone with five or ten years experience doesn't agree to work for $44K per year (with health insurance!) just to nab that entry level spot.

      I've personally had a very enjoyable and rewarding career, and although I'm not wealthy, I've had enough to pay my bills, start a family, buy a house, etc. (Although my student loan debt was "only" $100K and I'm part of a two income household in a state with low cost of living. It is sad to me that the vast majority of newer grads who would absolutely love to do this job will not have the opportunity.

      One silver lining is that I think the profession is getting a little better in terms of better DAs and PDs because the people hired now want to be there, most want to stay, and you don't have the revolving door that you used to have. The only part that's worse are the fresh grads setting up their own shops with no mentors who don't have a clue and will take any case,

      Delete
    12. The OP and 6:01 are sadly right on the mark. I have a highly desirable position in government and from where I sit, for young law grads the future looks grim. No one in their right mind in my office would leave their position. The pay is actually quite good, not to mention the benefits and vacation, and the work is frankly thrilling. There is zero interest by the office in fresh law grads even from good law schools. Lawyers who do get jobs here tend to have outstanding academic pedigrees, or stellar levels of experience in the years previous. I was the latter category, and it took over a decade worth of slaving away in hellish private practice, without burning too many bridges, to become attractive. In the end, it was worth it. But is my story representative or am I one of the lucky ones?

      Delete
  2. A couple years ago I was talking to a leader of a local youth organization in my town which served some at risk youth. She invited me to talk to the young adults about the value of continuing one's education and attending law school. By this time I have become aquainted with some of the statistics surrounding student debt and the lawyer glut, and after giving her a 5 minute summary, she dropped the subject and strangely I was never invited :)

    The idea that more then literally a handful of law graduates are going to earn even $20,000 a year to defend and protect flipper is delusional. Such organizations do not have large or even appreciable legal staffs. I would encourage people to volunteeer to work for worthy charitable organizations, but don't think that you will be making a career of out such efforts.

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    1. Lawyer wannabes don't like dream killers...

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    2. The LSAC needs more law students and the LSAT needs more takers.

      But for heaven's sake, the world's got more than enough lawyers. Just tell the truth.

      Delete
  3. You know, who doesn't want to right-wrongs at some level? You would have to be the most heartless of Scrooge MacTroll MacScroogistons to not what to try to make the world a more fair and equitable place. There are some people out there who really don't care if the world burns, so long as they get their cut, but thankfully their numbers are few.

    That said, maybe ten kids out of 40,000 every year (20,000, if you count actual, available jobs)will actually get to save the whales/dolphins/spotted owls, fight for environemntal equality, or actually institute change in the banking system or argue before the Supremes. Everyone else will be at a large firm repesenting the whims of large corporate clients, working at a "JD-Advantage" position as a drone, mud-wrestling in the criminal arena, or hustling as a solo. While all these jobs are equally as "real" and "necessary" as the save-the-dolphin jobs, the character of the jobs are vastly different.

    The blatant marketing ploy and intellectual dishonesty by LSAC is disgusting. Like Madoff, the people doing the sales-pitch are the ones playing with Other People's Money (and lives). Shame on them - they know better.

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    1. I graduated my Chicago Toilet in December '08. By Early '09, I started trying to volunteer at various Chicago area legal aid agencies. The hope was to gain experience in small law. I think I contacted about 6 or so organizations. The one guy I eventually talked to, who was a pretty big shot at CVLS, told me they received maybe a dozen resumes a week from Northwestern and U of C graduates, offering to work full-time for free. He apologetically said there was nothing he could do for me. He said the O of C and NU people were getting nice stipends from their schools. How many Toilets do that, Lemmings?

      Now, if the economy is at a state where students from these schools cannot find UNPAID work at a legal aid organization, what do you think your chances are, Lemming?

      Do you think these nonprofits will be magically swayed by an accounting of a high school trip to Cabo san Lucas, where you played with dolphins and realized you wanted to be a marine biologist, only you couldn't do math?

      Do you imagine that your monthly soup kitchen volunteering (done only to boost your college applications, by the way) gives you some special leg up when it comes to working for Legal Aid?

      It doesn't. And this pitch by the LSAC is a naked lie, done to ensnare the next generation of Lemmings into a terrible decision.

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    2. It is super fucked-up when one goes very deeply in debt and can't even work for free.

      Delete
  4. https://ch.tbe.taleo.net/CH15/ats/careers/requisition.jsp;jsessionid=DB1CB8EFB9ADF709191058DFDC0150D1.NA10_primary_jvm?org=SIERRACLUB&cws=1&rid=354

    Sierra Club has an opening, but you need at least four years of previous environmental litigation experience to apply. Good luck new law graduates!

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    1. Huff Post article, "Smart People Should Build Things":

      http://www.huffingtonpost.com/andrewyang/smart-people-should-build_1_b_4379113.html

      Delete
  5. Knorps/Mr. Infinity at 6:27 AM, yes, we know, we've heard you go on and on about IBR a hundred times and how great it is. We know you love it.

    Because you've never paid any actual bills in your life, or actually worked for a living, or paid any sort of federal, state or property taxes in an adult capacity, let me explain something to you - people don't like seeing their tax dollars going to subsidize a program that is propping up a failed system. Shocking, I know. IBR was intended as a stop-gap measure to assist a few graduates who fell off the wagon due to lack of jobs, not as a band-aid to encourage more and more market failure and throw open the doors of law schools and produce more JDs that the market needs..

    If we need more Public Defenders, the market will react accordingly. That would be efficient. We don't need more wanna-be PDs with outrageous debt and no prospects. That hurts individuals.

    We know you don't care about individuals, though, because everyone should be exactly like you. When mommy and daddy pay the bills for you and insulate you from consequences, it's hard to have real perspective on life. Not everyone has your advantages.

    But who cares?!?!?! Law School, yay!!! IBR4evah! QEInfinity, and beyond!

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  6. 6:27 am. There is a need for more public defenders. The ones who I know typically have horribly large caseloads. Additionally IBR now PAYE would allow someone to take a $30 k a year job (what you get paid in some states) to take such a job. The problem to put it mildly is that the public and legislatures dispise paying anything for public defense, and therefore try to hire as few full time public defenders as they can get away with. Then there is the Texas solution. The Judge assigns some lawyer in his jurisdiction a major felony case, including murder and gives them $1,000 to handle the entire proceedings.

    What I'm saying is the number of full time Public Defender positions each year remains static. PAYE will allow a law graduate to take such a lower paying position, it will not supply the money to the state to create a new position.

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  7. This kind of propaganda---and that is exactly what it is---demonstrated by these posters is simply disgusting. The cravenness behind it is beyond imagining.

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  8. As others have pointed out, environmental law jobs (that pay a salary) are few and far between - especially for new grads. And what jobs there are generally go to top students from top schools.

    As for foreclosure defense, there is plenty of work in this area which basically involves raising technical defenses (lack of standing, service/personal jurisdiction issues, failure to comply with govt. notice requirements etc ...) and negotiating short sales, loan mods and forbearance agreements with loan servicers. Problem is, this work doesn’t pay because people being foreclosed upon don’t have money.

    Finally, not sure how a lawyer is going to help the two guys wading through the flood. Maybe some coverage issue with an insurance carrier? But again, they don’t look like paying clients to me.

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    1. You hit the nail on the head. Where is the money coming from?

      Dolphins can't pay bills.
      Foreclosure people have no money or they wouldn't be in foreclosure.
      The poor have no money either.

      Who is paying the salary for these lawyers?

      Taxpayers.

      Therefore, no jobs for lawyers.

      If people cared about poor people, they wouldn't be poor on the first place!

      What a scam piece of advertising.

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    2. Not to mention that many do-gooder nonprofit/public interest jobs are taken by those who do not need income (or much anyway) because there is a high earning spouse or family money lurking in the background. A job with Save the Whales (Dolphins?) likely doesn't pay enough to service the average LS grad's debt, nor does it have to when all the Social Register types are lining up to take the job for peanuts just so they can fulfill a requirement in the trust that they secure any type of gainful employment.

      Delete
  9. These posters aren't recruiting people to become lawyers, they are recruiting people to become LAW SCHOOL STUDENTS. These are 2 very different things.

    Yes, the world needs lawyers, and yes, some people are meant to be lawyers. But, there is no need to recruit additional people for law school at this time, given that there are 2x as many law school students as job openings.

    Look at who's doing the recruiting. Is it a law firm or non-profit? No, it's a law school organization. They want you to become a law school student; whether or not you'll ever be a lawyer is irrelevant to them.

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    1. "These posters aren't recruiting people to become lawyers, they are recruiting people to become LAW SCHOOL STUDENTS. These are 2 very different things."

      Well said.

      Delete
    2. LSAC needs more law students and the LSAT needs more takers.

      But for heaven's sake, the world's got more than enough lawyers.

      LSAC, just tell the truth ..... please.

      Delete
  10. If there's money in it, lawyers, being the cockroaches we are, are all over it. No new lawyers needed.

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  11. What's interesting about these posters is that they seem to be a response to scamblogging.

    The scam blogger will say to a high-schooler or college student "There are 40 thousand people graduating law schools but only 20 thousand law jobs. People who are old as dirt are continuing to act as lawyers because they can't afford to retire, most law school grads end up unemployed or doing worthless doc review, some law jobs even expect people to work for 'exposure' because there are so many people applying for the job. District Attorney offices are not hiring due to budget crunches and big law firms are laying people off and or collapsing. The world doesn't need another lawyer"

    The LSAC is trying to contradict that argument using propaganda. Trying to convince a potential lemming that "Actually the world Does need another lawyer." along with a glossy picture that implies that the student needs to save the whales or fight foreclosures and do so with a law degree.

    We live in a cynical age where the highest aspirations of the young are used to sell them an inferior product and shackle them in debt. I just hope that our students are more cynical and see though the glossy marketing materials and slick propaganda.

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  12. This was cross-posted over at LGM by another poster, but every critic of law schools should read this. This is what they think of you, with your impertinence and daring to criticize them. Every law professor screed begins with tales of the hysterical and offensive critic: http://gawker.com/on-smarm-1476594977

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    1. And, a lawprof will even occasionally make an effort to intimidate a critic who does not provide what she or he deems an appropriate level of respect or deference.

      Hey, law professors: Your students gave you three years of deference, and made you rich besides. There is no obligation to extend that deference after graduation, and for the rest of our lives.

      Scamblog discourse is rarely pretty, but neither are the experiences (or "narratives" for any lawprof reading) of the vast majority of your former students.

      To those lawprofs who sincerely deplore the tone of our discourse, may I suggest the following: Engage us in dialogue. Don't talk down to us. Listen respectfully to the cares and concerns of your ex-students, to the ever-diminishing proportion who have carved out a place in the law, and the rest for whom law school was a life-ruining wipeout. Campos, Merritt, Tamanaha, and several others have honored their moral obligations to their students-- but as the son of a teacher it is disappointing that their numbers are so few.

      Delete
    2. Exactly. We welcome debate. Those who fail to debate get no say in how the discussion progresses, nor any say in the end result.

      So NL can continue to write over at that other blog and get like one comment if she's lucky with her posts about how we're mean and rude, but unfortunately she doesn't get that our tone is harsh because that's what it takes to get noticed. We're not here for fun.

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    3. "We're not here for fun." That's the truth. We're here for truth, passion, and justice.

      Delete
  13. The fact is that until there are viable alternatives to law school for liberal arts majors, people will still go to law school no matter how many scam blogs. What else do these underemployed people do, work at Starbucks for their career? Most of them are not getting offers at Goldman Sachs. The economy sucks. The Plutocrats have stolen most of the money and sent jobs overseas to scarf up the rest of what they can get for themselves. Obama has sold the country out. The US is in decline. You can't blame someone for trying to make something of themselves other than a greeter at Walmart.

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  14. "So, I got a phone call from a dolphin stuck in a net today. Should we take the case?"

    "What did you quote on the retainer?"

    "I told 'em twent five hundred."

    "Did you get the check yet?"

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  15. Can someone with more artistic talent than I start a counter-propaganda campaign?

    I would love to see one of these with "World doesn't need another lawyer" and a picture of some doc review slum or a homeless guy in a suit or a graduation picture with red Xs over half the class to signify lack of a future legal career.

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    1. While you're at it, create a poster that includes a photo of Brian Leiter (notice that I didn't say "an unflattering photo." That would be redundant). That should hammer your point home...

      Delete
    2. Here's my idea. Take a few pictures of recent graduates (those willing to become poster children) in their recent jobs: receptionist, doc review, etc.

      Then, on a billboard campaign, target a certain school. Place billboards around the school (to warn their students.) The billboards should say something like this: "I went to XXXX law school and I ended up becoming a XXXX." Then, they are accompanied by the picture of a sad individual, scrubbing floors or something like that. I have always thought that the scambloggers should pick one school and start surrounding that school with billboards. Once they take that school down and impact its bottom line, it's on to the next...

      Delete
    3. I'd chip in monetarily to a project like that. Get a kickstarter started blog owners.

      Delete
  16. You know what I would really like? Can we just have a post that's simply a topic? Specifically, can we start a discussion about what Liberal Arts or Pre-Liberal Arts kids should do INSTEAD of law school. We're always rallying on about why not to go and what not to do. I would like to see some ideas about what you guys would have done, or where you see growth in the next few years.

    I have a couple ideas of my own, but I'd like to see a full thread on the issue.

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    1. What Liberal Arts or Pre-Liberal Arts kids should do INSTEAD of law school.....

      Let's see.

      For starters, simply NOT going to law school is a positive step. Even if you can't think of anything else to do, you'll be unemployed..... Just like you likely would if you went to law school.

      OK, even if you land that Mid-law job, work the 2-3 years before being shown the door. You'll still be unemployed. Oh, and you won't have the debt.

      At this point, advising kids against law school is like warning them not to drink turpentine. The practice is so harmful that the virtue is simply in the warning. You don't have to say, "Don't drink turpentine; drink some grape soda instead."

      But yeah, there are other things you liberal arts majors can do: teach, preach, be an artist, actor, writer, musician. Even if these things "don't make any money" you're in the same boat as a good percentage of both newly minted lawyers and a growing portion of older ones.

      And you don't have the debt.

      Delete
    2. Skilled trades. BLS figures show these as real growth sectors and many of these tradesmen make more than lawyers.

      Delete
    3. Not everyone can be a skilled tradesmen and those jobs are often fairly hard to get into, but they are definitely worth considering.

      But how about just taking any moderately respectable job you can get? Even if its retail, janitorial, driving a cab. There's the expectation that receiving a bachelor degree means you must be working a white-collar career. This is no longer the case, given how many people there are with bachelor degrees and how poor the job market is.

      For most people going to graduate school (especially Law School) isn't going to sufficiently increase your employability over a bachelor degree to justify the debt and time.

      Delete
    4. It is more important to act with calm logic when facing a desperate situation than at any other time... desperate law grads taking low-wage dead end doc review jobs when they should be leaving the "profession;" desperate kids with soft-major BA's going to law school when they should be wage-slaving and plotting for a promotion somehow.

      Delete
    5. Do anything that does not involve NON-DISCHARGABLE DEBT.

      End of discussion.

      Delete
    6. OP here. I here what you're saying 8:56, but still I think it would be beneficial for people who stumble over onto this blog to hear some better alternatives.

      Skilled trade is good. Although as 10:27 says, it's not like getting into one of those is easy either. Although, I suppose you wouldn't be spending the untold thousands of dollars that you would be in law schoolz.

      5:40, yes we get that. I'm totally onboard, but I don't think that's the end of the discussion. I think that's the beginning of the discussion.

      As funny as it sounds, I've actually met a few people that started in call centers and have worked up to pretty respectable positions. I.E. a person I talked to the other day started at BK then Call Center and now manages a team of engineers for some cell phone company. No bachelors at all. I know it's anecdotal, but interesting none-the-less because he's always been working and has no debt.

      I'm aware there's a general skepticism of BLS data, but I'll cite it anyway. As far as teaching goes, BLS data suggests that career will be experiencing very limited growth in the next few years, so I'd be hesitant about directing people that way. My hometown (large city) seems to support this. Young adults having fewer kids. Schools closing down for lack of enrollment. Teachers receiving increased class sizes.

      Any other suggestions?

      Delete
    7. 5:40 nailed it. That needs to be firmly rooted in any decision. The problem is many of these 20 year olds have baby boomer parents who are incapable of seeing how more debt is bad and they still have heavy influence on their kids. So, it's up to a few wise outliers, englightened friends (good luck with that), blogs and whatever else can steer them away from assuming life ruining debt.

      Delete
    8. I agree with everything that's been said, but I also think it's important to realize how unlikely you are to convince someone they shouldn't go to law school and should instead be a janitor. People tend to chase losses and in reality getting a liberal arts degree was a loss for many (most?) people, so I would expect most to keep chasing their losses by continuing on to law school if there isn't another good alternative. That said, if enough people tell them how bad of an idea this is and that they won't be looked down upon for being a janitor with a B.A. then maybe this won't be the case.

      Delete
    9. The issue has always been that people who go to law school prefer 'a plan' even a bad plan, to 'no plan.'

      My advice to any lib arts major graduating this spring is to apply to a lot of jobs. Maybe start applying for paralegal jobs with big firms if you are interested in law. I can't tell you where you'll wind up. But spend a few years trying to figure it out. You'd be surprised how fast a competent person can get promoted or switch jobs. If it works, it's better than spending 20 years trying to pay back 300K or waiting for the PAYE clock to run.

      Delete
    10. December 6, 2013 at 4:20 AM here again: I think more people need to understand the sage advice of not doing something - sometimes doing nothing makes more financial sense than doing something. Doing nothing at all with your life is a better decision for most people than going to law school at this time. The debt is far more odious than the inertia of just being a work-a-day "loser."

      Delete
  17. Nando is our Nelson Mandela. Violence of words when necessary. Screw the oppressors.

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  18. DiscoverLaw.....So you wanna learn about the wonderful world of Law?

    Wait, a minute. L-sack ain't showing pictures of law students and schools, it's showing pictures andmaking representations about potential careers.....

    Hmmm. I think discovering law is great.... but the topic for exploration isn't Flipper. Rather, the high schooler must

    (1) speak to 10 lawyers who graduated within the past year,
    (2) speak to 5 lawyers who graduated about 5 years ago,
    (3) speak to several lawyers who've made it to the 15-year (or so) mark,
    (4) prepare a high-school-level report on the topic of Tort Reform,
    (5) prepare a high-school-level report on the work of citizens against lawsuit abuse,
    (6) observe 2 weekly docket calls (whole session) at a state trial court
    (7) observe a day of proceedings in a JP court, traffic court, or DWI court
    (8) find a couple whose house is in foreclosure and try to borrow $75 from them
    (9) try (merely try) to intern for free with a solo practitioner for just one week
    (10) research the cost of office/furniture rent and utiltities for a small office in your area and write a report
    (11) talk to at least 3 small business owners in a field entirely outside law
    (12) read article 2 of the UCC from start to finish.

    It's a 12-step preventative program to cure one of Ally McBeal, LA law, Law and Odor, etc.

    Discover law, indeed.

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    1. This medicine will probably also cure "Legally Blonde" caused pretensions as well.

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    2. I always liken the reality of legal practice to reading the warranty card that comes inside the box with your DVD player. Would you consider it enjoyable to read every single word on the warranty agreement 12 hours a day X 5 days a week for the next 40 years? Now imagine having to draft that language or litigate over it for 12 hours a day! Tedium was never a plot point on Law & Order.

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  19. Very sobering report from S+P, they ID five schools (NYLS, TJSL, Cooley, Brooklyn, and Albany) that are having trouble with their bond ratings. Removing these schools from the market would remove a few thousand JDs as well.

    http://online.wsj.com/public/resources/documents/lawschoolcredit.pdf

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    1. Ah, yes. Very good.

      Do you think TMC tried to expand too fast?

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    2. The market may end-up being the savior of the profession. And they kept telling me how we were a "self regulating" profession. Apparently, it's not true.

      Law's all about the administration of justice ... it's not supposed to be a system of edu-sploitation.

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    3. Interesting how three of the five problem schools are in New York.

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  20. XRay Cat can see through woodDecember 7, 2013 at 6:28 AM

    TTT 2: Rise of the Lemmings

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  21. If this market doesn't improve, some TTT profs will be getting L-sack.

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  22. It's amazing that L-sack has become so desperate that it's employed dolphins. A more accurate depiction would have been a few law students caught up in a fishing net. Unfortunately, accuracy and transparency are unprofitable schemes in this dojo.

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  23. This is just further proof that we cannot expect change to come from the Law School Industrial complex. Ultimately, the solution will have to come from state bar associations and Supreme Courts in restricting the number of people who pass the bar and are allowed to practice law. The bar examiners, as a general rule, do not have a financial stake in the number of people passing and failing the bar.

    The process would be pretty straight forward. Bar examiners make a rough determination about the number of new lawyers who are needed. This estimate can be adjusted every six months when bar exams are administered. Slots are filled by the people scoring the highest on the exam.

    It may seem cruel to do this culling after someone has completed three years of law school hell. Indeed, it is unfortunate that the law schools refuse to do the culling. But, at some point, there will be a culling. Currently, the culling takes place after law school and after bar passage, when newly minted JDs discover there are not jobs out there -- let alone socially useful jobs.

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    1. They already do this with outrageous back ground checks, including application information. Bars use their bogus "protect the public" mantra to take people down for "moral" issues which never equate to rip-offs but B.S. like misrepresenting a CV or getting a reckless driving charge.

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  24. Excellent post and very aptly stated. But how to begin on the fix? While the market may in someone's lifetime correct the overproduction of lawyers and all the attendant causes that led up to it, there's little question self-regulation has its substantial flaws. And not the least being the related ethical concerns that arise.
    See, for example, http://lawmrh.wordpress.com/2013/11/08/nobody-likes-a-rat-and-the-myth-of-self-regulation/

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  25. I think it would be better if we did the culling at the time of the LSAT, also taking into account GPA if one wanted to access Federal Loans.

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