Friday, February 21, 2014

Guest Post: "Want to be a Lawyer? Work at it First" in Flowchart Format.

On February 13, 2014, this blog ran I'm Not Atticus Finch's article: "What to be a Lawyer? Work At it First." After reading the article, Samuel Browning, an attorney who loves flowcharts, offered to turn the article into a flowchart. He believes that a visual depiction may assist those pre-law students who are willing to spend $150K on a legal education but cannot tear themselves away from twitter for the less than the ten minutes it takes to read the original article.

I'm Not Atticus's Finch's original article can be found here:

 
And here is Browning's flowchart:
 

46 comments:

  1. "He believes that a visual depiction may assist those pre-law students who are willing to spend $150K on a legal education but cannot tear themselves away from twitter for the less than the ten minutes it takes to read the original article."

    To quote Schiller, "Even the gods struggle in vain with stupidity."

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  2. That tells quite a story.

    Law school admissions officers don't want the naive applicants to see anything as clear as this - because they can't counter it at all.

    Thanks or sharing.

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  3. Excellent! Even a lemming can understand this flow chart. At least, the ones with an IQ approaching room temperature, anyway.

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  4. An important element that is missing: "Are you past your twenties?" If yes, then stay the hell away from law school.

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    1. Or: "Is your motivation to attend law school based on a book, TV show or film depiction of what lawyers do?" If yes, then stay the hell away from law school.

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    2. At the University of South Dakota School of Law, they show students John Grisham movies. (not even joking)

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    3. Sad but true. There may be a few unicorn jobs free of age discrimination, but everyone of any age wants those unicorn jobs.

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    4. We watched "My Cousin Vinnie" in Evidence. Then again, that movie was not as unrealistic as some.

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    5. The problem is that this past your 20s thing hits older lawyers very hard. I am talking about people who started practicing law in their 20s. Problem is that no one stays in their 20s.

      Age discrimination hits the 10% of each law school class who start in big law or get big law very hard. There are not enough follow on jobs for these lawyers after big law to last a 40 year career, by a long shot.

      Age discrimination is (legally) institutionalized in the legal profession, and makes it very hard for all but a small proportion of law graduates to have a successful career.

      The flow chart is silent on the longer-term risk of going to law school. It is written by young people.

      You guys need many more older contributors who point out how the scam has affected them as part of this blog. The chart is overly optimistic, as even for someone who meets all of the qualifications in the chart, that person is taking a high risk of a bad long-term employment outcome. By bad, I mean an outcome that would be considered not a long-term full-time job as a lawyer.

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    6. It's true that even those few law graduates that get jobs in Big Law are likely to see their legal careers come to an end within a few years, probably before the quarter of a million in student loans has been paid off. You are right to point that out.

      I (8:20) was speaking specifically to people past their twenties who are thinking of going to law school. Don't do it: you simply cannot overcome the endemic age-based discrimination in the legal "profession". I excelled at one of the most highly regarded law schools but rarely got an interview, and never got a job in law (other than a federal clerkship).

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    7. The problem is too many lawyers and too few jobs. Basically the young win out on most of the jobs.

      It is clear that your post was about lawyers who graduated from law school when they are older. The same applies to lawyers who graduate when they are young and then get older. There is simply very limited work for older lawyers, and most older lawyers do not have full-time permanent jobs. That should be understood by anyone who wants to go to law school.

      Law is in no way like medicine. Law is much lower paying and much less of career. It is a finishing school where only a small number of people get careers Even an honors degree from a top 5 law school and a federal clerkship in no way guarantees that a lawyer can find a job. I know. My classmates with unblemished records from Harvard Yale Princeton undergrads and top 5 law schools have mostly been pushed out of work in the New York City metropolitan area since they hit age 50 or so, and now the same is happening to much younger colleagues as well, and has been happening for the last decade.

      It is a mistake to go to even a top law school.

      The problem is that when the law firms started consolidating about 10-15 years ago and law became very age pyramidal as a result of no hire/ no retain policies on most older lawyers in most six figures jobs, the EEOC looked the other way. Very bad public policy along with the lack of long-term employment data, because lawyers do not have sustainable careers. Many, many older lawyers from top 5 law schools are not working because they cannot get work or are severely underemployed. You can thank the EEOC for not enforcing the laws on age discrimination to force law firms to have age balanced work forces. So you have your problem along with hundreds of thousands of older lawyers and many thousands of older lawyers with very top credentials - a useless T5 law degree and no employment opportunities other than working in retail.

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    8. And I can't even get a fucking job in retail…

      You're right to warn the young people that unemployability will strike them in not many years. Many of the young people at my law school appeared not to understand, viscerally, that they too would grow older.

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  5. This is Browning's original FLOW CHART which depicts Campos' "Don't Go To Law School Unless" -->

    http://lawschooltuitionbubble.files.wordpress.com/2013/10/browning-dgtlsu-flow-chart-2-0.png

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  6. Important NPR story, not necessarily related to law school, but certainly relevant to the skyrocketing of higher education tuition.

    http://www.npr.org/blogs/money/2014/02/14/277015271/duke-60-000-a-year-for-college-is-actually-a-discount?utm_content=socialflow&utm_campaign=nprfacebook&utm_source=npr&utm_medium=facebook

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    1. According to that article about 55% of Duke undergraduates pay the full amount of around $60k per year. I thought the amount of loans undergraduates were eligible for capped out at about $30k per year? Unlike law school students who have access to unlimited GradPlus loans.

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    2. I had to borrow the full amount and also take out private loans that charged almost usurious interest.

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    3. By the way, those private loans that I took out could not be deferred, so law school was out of the question until I finally paid them off—well past the age at which a legal employer would give me the time of day.

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    4. If mommy and daddy can't cover this amount in full, you're going to have to get private loans. Stafford loans only seem to go to about $10k per year for bachelors degree, with various grants covering maybe $5k. Do lenders still give private loans for undergraduate students? Would the government underwrite them? And who in their right mind would pay so much for an undergraduate degree? Duke isn't that elite.

      For law schools its simpler getting finance off course. Stafford loans at about $25k per year. The rest provided by GradPlus loans, fully underwritten by the government, and with no limit. Interest rate for Stafford and GradPlus is about 7%-8%, which is absolutely criminally usurious.

      Someone who knows this whole rotten loan system should write an article on it. *This* is the cause of the law school scam, and the whole higher education scam. The greed of colleges is inexcusable, however I don't think any profit or so-called non-profit could resist all this free loot indefinitely.

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    5. Just heard about an 18 year old Duke freshman doing porn. At least her education will be paid for...

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  7. This chart should be provided with the LSAT application. It should also be provided with law school applications, law school acceptance documents, student loan applications, your first day of law school and after your first year. Sometimes, you have to drill things into someone's head and anyone who ignores it has nobody to blame but themselves.

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  8. Has everyone seen this?

    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/20/business/economy/the-hefty-yoke-of-student-loan-debt.html?hpw&rref=education&_r=0

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    1. ^ It's a burden on people who work and monthly payments.

      For someone like you (who has refused to even look for work for 15 years), it must be intolerable.

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    2. Interesting article (regardless of who it was who posted it, and I certainly don't see any evidence that it came from the person 10:46 alleges it was).

      Note the chart showing percent change in delinquencies - student loans delinquencies have almost doubled in 3 years.

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    3. It should also be noted that the increased volume of delinquencies seems to be coming from those at the LOWER amount borrowed end of the scale. More the kids who drop out of school etc.

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    4. A lot of those drop-outs never had any business attending law school. Their failure was readily foreseeable.

      For example, Paul Campos pointed out today that Florida Coastal Skule of Law, which claims to "offer[ing] the finest legal education" (https://officialguide.lsac.org/Release/SchoolsABAData/SchoolPage/SchoolPage.aspx?sid=184), last year admitted eight students with LSAT scores between 130 and 134. Even 134 is below the fifth percentile. One would expect a 134 just for answering the 9 easiest questions correctly and filling in haphazard guesses for the other 92.

      (Incidentally, five people with scores between 120 and 124 applied to Horrida Coastal. To get an idea of just how appallingly bad those scores are, observe that the expected score for guessing randomly, without even looking at the questions, is 125. It says a lot that people who did worse than a monkey trained to fill in D for every question considered themselves suitable for law school.)

      Do you think that Horrida Coastal doesn't know how bad its "students" are? Last year, 59 of its approximately 440 first-year students left for "[a]cademic" reasons (i.e., failed out) and 111 left for "[o]ther" reasons (https://fcsl.edu/sites/fcsl.edu/files/ABA%20Standard%20509%20Information%20Report_0.pdf). This toilet of a law skule, "for Financial Aid purposes ONLY", estimates the cost of attendance at $63,683 per year. So at least 59 people who weren't even capable of passing first year spent an estimated $64k each on something that was of no use to them. (And that doesn't even count the number that didn't get through second and third year.) Of that money—$3.8M in all—, most came from student loans. Is it any surprise that it is not being paid back?

      And even many of those that graduate from this toilet Horrida Coastal are unlikely to pass the bar anywhere, let alone to find work.

      There's no excuse for admitting people who plainly cannot succeed as lawyers.

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    5. The irony, 8:39, is that we insist that people obtain a minimum score on a bar exam to become a lawyer but Florida Coastal will not set a minimum LSAT score to attend their school. They must be assuming that there are a lot of JD advantage jobs out there.

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    6. They don't care. They know that their graduates are not finding jobs. Here's your diploma, Mr 130; now shift your ass so that we can bring in next year's Ms 129.

      If called upon to justify these admissions, Horrida Coastal would no doubt say that the people in question "just don't do well on standardized tests" but "had excellent résumés" and "showed a lot of potential", and anyway "our holistic admissions policy" examines "the whole person" rather than just "a few numbers". Of course, that rhetoric could be trotted out in defense of the admission of anyone at all.

      I've come to think that the ABA's requirement of the LSAT—just taking the thing, not getting any particular score—is meant merely to ensure that the applicant is both human and alive. Without the LSAT, one could buy a bachelor's degree for one's pet iguana and then send in applications on the animal's behalf. Imagine the embarrassment if Florida Coastal, Valpo, Vermont Law School, Indiana Tech, Nova Southeastern, and their partners-in-crime admitted a non-human applicant—and even offered it a scholarship.

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    7. LSAC makes a ton of money off of the LSAT. Does Cooley require students to take the LSAT? I know they don't require students to have a four-year degree. I don't know how anyone can deny the existence of the scam at this point.

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    8. Yes, Cooley requires the LSAT; that's a condition for accreditation by the ABA. In fact, Cooley's admissions office uses only the LSAT score and the undergraduate GPA to determine who gets in.

      Just a few years ago, Cooley gave a 100% "scholarship" to anyone with a 160 or better on the LSAT. Now its "scholarship" tops out at 65%, for which level one has to have at least a 165. They're raising the requirements and reducing the "scholarship" even while the size of their entering class is plummeting.

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    9. Why? This makes no sense to me.

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  9. Or this:

    http://finance.yahoo.com/blogs/daily-ticker/exploding-student-loan-debt-threatens-the-housing-recovery-132052213.html

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  10. This:

    http://theweek.com/article/index/256606/debt-collectors-are-gorging-themselves-on-student-loans

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  11. Here is my version of the flowchart:

    1. Are you filthy rich? (Note: if this requires a deep inquiry, you are not).
    2. Has someone guaranteed you an attorney job that are familiar with and is tolerable? (Note: if this requires a deep inquiry, you are not).
    3. Are you extroverted, personable, a good dresser, at least an 8/10, under 30, scored a 160 or higher on the LSAT, and are okay doing boring, routine busywork most of the time?

    If you scored "yes" to any of those three, it's justifiable to take a full tuition scholarship at a law school.

    If you scored "no" to all of these, law school is not for you.

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    1. For these purposes, "filthy rich" means that you could write a check for $250k (roughly the cost of three years of law school) without missing the money.

      If you are filthy rich, it may be justifiable to attend any law school even at full cost. If you are not, then accepting even a full-tuition scholarship is probably a bad idea except maybe at the dozen or so most prestigious law schools.

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  12. FUCK THE UNITED STATES. There is no other country in the world where the access to education is restricted to a MONOPOLY RENT JUST to be allowed to enter a profession. There's a conspiracy to price-fix the cost of law school. That's a litigated fact: The ABA is under a consent decree with the DOJ for price-fixing law professors salaries paid for with...TUITION. These people are EXACTLY the same as the Maduros, Yanukovich-es, Castros, etc. etc. WHO PREACH SOCIAL JUSTICE AND FAR-LEFT RESTIBUTION OF WEALTH while they sit on private fortunes THEY FUCKING STOLE from the poor.

    They're criminals with criminal financial enterprises aimed at robbing the poor, and they too deserve to die with a gun barrel up their anuses for the crimes they've committed.

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    1. Yeah, I hate the You A$$ Eh. Not for nothing did I emigrate years ago.

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    2. I am of the opinion that the entire country has become corrupt. It began with the financialization of the economy and the loss of industry overseas. Something like 40% of the US economy and GDP is financial "industry", insurance, etc....basically moving "money" around. Because there is nothing else for people to do, elaborate financial schemes have been concocted with the result of increasingly enslaving the middle class to debt. The student loan bubble, the higher education bubble, the lawyer bubble, the housing bubble, the technology bubble are all products of and created by the financial "industry."

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    3. Indeed, the US is just a gigantic parasite. Welcome to the decadence of late capitalism.

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  13. You guys or girls are ignoring the long term career prospects. Even if you have the money and all the other qualifications, the long term career prospects are very risky at best for anyone going to law school today. That means a high chance of unemployment and at best having to do contract work after a few years - and spending months if not years looking between contract jobs.

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    1. TITCR. It gets worse and worse every year.

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  14. 1. this thread is like a really bad version of feedly (non-hyper-linked links)

    2. that chart looks pretty amateur, especially the right margin. I don't think art skillz like that are going to help your money-raising cause

    3. remarkable amount of remarkably unfocused whining. It's the law schools. It's the student loan debt. It's the whole legal profession. It's capitalism! It's corporate greed!

    you all ever stop to think the cause of your problems might be a little closer to home?

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    1. Re-writing...

      1. this thread is like a Remarkably bad version of feedly (non-hyper-linked links)
      2. that chart looks Remarkably amateur, especially the right margin. I don't think art skillz like that are going to help your money-raising cause
      3. Remarkable amount of Remarkably unfocused whining. It's the law schools. It's the student loan debt. It's the whole legal profession. It's capitalism! It's corporate greed!

      But seriously, folks, I bet 12:22 is right. All those law grads who can't get jobs as lawyers? Their problem is actually closer to home.

      Like, for example, I'm pretty sure that all 20,000 of them each year who graduate law school to a job at Panera Bread probably pick their nose and eat their boogers during their BigLaw interviews.

      That's probably why all 20K of them didn't get jobs as lawyers.

      Probably.

      How Remarkable.

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    2. 12:22 and How, these are the dumbest things I have ever read on OTLSS. Are you saying that every year 20,000 entry level jobs remain unfilled, or are you saying that they are filled by people who are not new graduates? If jobs are going to past graduates weren't some of them the booger eaters of years past?

      Anyone who denies that there are not enough lawyer jobs for the lawyers graduating each year and for lawyers in general is either a liar or a fool.

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    3. 12:11, what I am saying (in this current comment) is that you display a Remarkable lack of reading comprehension.

      Go read it again.

      What I was saying above is entirely aligned with your comment that "there are not enough lawyer jobs".

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  15. So how about a post that takes a comprehensive and dead on realistic view or appraisal of the past in layman's terms, and also tries to make an accurate prediction of the near and also long term future for all interested parties, harmed or otherwise?

    Out of the complaining maelstrom should come a clear and realistic message.

    My guess is that the harmed people from the past will be given quasi relief layered over the ibr sham, and the schools will eventually drag into line with the economic realities, and it will take many years, during which djm will always be a lukewarm and committed presence as sort of still good but expired canned food having lost its flavor.

    Scamblogging has a 5 or so year history. But has all the intelligent and entertaining commentary really made any difference?

    one us lawyer for every 300 or less citizens is in effect the job market.

    There are obvious constants, but maybe so obvious they are not seen. Such as:

    The many tenured creeps that predated the scamblog movement and will be absolutely and solidly tenured for many years to come, and what do they care?

    They got their student loan paycheck and in a sense the student lending system is tenured and unchangeable too.

    But oh yeah, there are the heroes. The university anchorites and good guys and gals like djm who beat their breasts and take the money and hold their noses and express themselves from time to time as a sort of act of ongoing contrition but accomplish nothing towards any change, he said obliquely and with a sigh.


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