Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Strict Scrutiny: Current 3L Explains Why Going To Law School Make Sense

It's been a while since I've read an op-ed ridiculous enough to warrant the full Strict Scrutiny treatment. But the wise Ross Campbell, current NYU 3L, decided to dispense some nuggets of wisdom to undergrads thinking about taking the leap. Ross Campbell is the epitome of youth; he thinks that his experiences can be extrapolated to the world at large. The article's text is bolded and in italics, while my comments are in normal text.

Editor’s Note: The author of this post is an incoming associate at a national law firm.
I assume "national law firm" means BigLaw. Ross's law school experience has resulted in an employment outcome that will not be attainable for almost all current and future law students. Ross is exactly the guy we want advising the average prospective law student.

Apart from investing considerable time and effort, many will have taken on heavy debt to reach this point, averaging $140, 616. No paltry sum, but ideally well spent pursuing the skills needed to practice law.

Here are some other suggestions that have just as much of a chance of succeeding as someone going to law school to learn about practicing law:
  • An electrician watching episodes of "The Electric Company" to figure out how to wire a commercial building properly.
  • A doctor practicing surgery on an old copy of the board game "Operation" after having lost at beer pong twenty straight times.
  • Trying to learn Japanese by going to Turkey and wandering around until you meet some Japanese tourists.
Should we, the Class of 2016, have bothered? The reality is that the job market may have looked a lot better in 2013. So why did we forge ahead?

Tell me more, Ross. We haven't been able to properly figure it out in the 500+ previous posts on this site.

When I decided to go to law school, there was growing optimism. Things had gotten verifiably better after the Great Recession. We still heard horror stories, but the economy was on the uptick and firms seemed to be hiring again. Though a J.D. was no longer the safe bet it once was, it still had a sheen of respectability and challenge. It was also a logical choice for many of us that were on the fence about our future.

Ross is afflicted with "Special Snowflake Syndrome". He chose to fly in the face of reams of empirical evidence because he had no idea about what to do when he became a grown up.

I had a sense that something still had to be said for becoming an esquire. I can’t say I wasn’t warned off of it — my friends and mentors often pointed out that fewer students than ever were applying to law school, that the debt was perplexing, and for what, exactly? The popular image of lawyers today is not exactly Atticus Finch. But I wanted to be a professional problem solver. I also felt like lawyering would force me into other walks of life, wrack my brains, and learn more about myself.

People tried to warn Ross not to do it. But he was special and was going to make it. He did (at least until the partnership review in 5-8 years). Ross also wanted to solve problems. Well, it can't be said that law school doesn't cause people to accumulate many unsolvable problems.

Luckily I will be able to apply what I learned in law school soon. But I am worried about future classes. Firms will likely rely less on summer associate programs going forward, which will restrict opportunities for new graduates. The demand for more practice-ready associates (and an unwillingness of clients to pay for first and second years) will also impact entry-level hiring. Also on the horizon are fascinating A.I. technologies that threaten to take names and jobs (looking at you ROSS Intelligence).

These are all great reasons not to go to law school. What are you playing at, Ross? I thought you were telling people to go law school.

So can I conscionably recommend law school? I think I can. Employment statistics and law school rankings will always be helpful in evaluating an acceptance letter for real job outcomes. Attention to emerging trends that could affect the entry-level market are also a must. Weigh these against your expected debt and search your reasons for wanting to become a lawyer. If you still feel optimistic, fight on.

Did I miss something here? Is Ross telling people to go to law school if they are not horrified after looking at the current hellscape that is the legal employment market and the life ruining debt accompanying the degree? In effect, people who have blind faith in their ability to beat the odds and get a BigLaw or "international" law job. I fail to see how a rational person can choose to go to law school after looking at the conditions facing law grads. This "argument" just boggles my mind. 

This article is the type of harmful propaganda that convinces aimless grads who have no career plans to go back to the warm embrace of academia. I was one of these people. After graduating, I was living at my parents' house with no idea what to do. It began with my dad telling me to take the LSAT. I did so, and got a pretty good score. Next, I decided to apply to a few schools. Lo and behold, my alma mater gave me a scholarship. Fast forward three years later, and I was done with the bar. I had also returned to my parents' house because there are no jobs for a law school grad with mediocre grades. For an extra three years of the college lifestyle, I will be sending checks to Sallie Mae until I am near retirement age. 

To all prospective law students, I say don't do it. Learn from my mistakes.

44 comments:

  1. Ross Campbell is the exception to the rule.

    http://www.nalp.org/uploads/NationalSummaryChartforSchools2014Class.pdf

    NALP's National Summary Chart for the Class of 2014 shows the following:

    Total number of graduates: 43,832
    Employment Status Known: 42,139
    Bar Passage Required: 27,928
    Total Employed Within 10 Months of Graduation: 37,211 (88.3%)

    Now, focus on those in private practice - which are the types of jobs most seek when applying to law school. This is on page two of the PDF, under Size of Firm. For the Class of 2014, a total of 18,587 found work in this sector. Only 3,952 were employed in firms with more than 500 lawyers - and 1,091 grads were hired by offices with 251-500 attorneys.

    What the hell kind of payoff is that for the three years of opportunity costs, plus staggering, idiotic sums of NON-DISCHARGEABLE debt?!?! Do you think that people attend professional schools so that they can end up dirt poor? You don't see MDs making paltry wages, when they are in their field. Frankly, sum make much less than they figured, but they also have great loan forgiveness programs if they work in rural areas, including on tribal property.

    In sum, this man's law school experience and outcome is ATYPICAL FOR MOST LAW STUDENTS. There were roughly 5,000 grads - out of 43,832 for the cohort - who landed Biglaw. [Spoiler alert: MANY of them will not be in Biglaw in 3-5 years, for various reasons.] That is about a 1 in 9 chance. However, the BULK of those jobs go to JDs from the top 10-12 schools each year. If you are looking at entering RuTTgers or $yracu$e or WhiTTTTier, you have no shot at his outcome. Eventually, dreamers have to wake up.

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  2. I wonder why the hell this kid is writing this. Maybe the school promised him something for writing this. Maybe he thinks that if he kisses anyone's ass, someone will "reward" him for it. Maybe he's just plain delusional. Who knows?

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  3. Classic survivorship bias. It worked for him (one), so it will work for you too! Just ingnore the numbers of the aggregate...

    Am I thinking like a lawyer? Or being a cynic? Perhaps they are one and the same...?

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  4. The reason why law school is a bad bet is the poor employment opportunities for most people going down the road. The gentleman in the article has a questionable future.

    While big law continues spewing out tons of associates each year, law firms are stagnant in the numbers of lawyers they can absorb and big corporations have very few open jobs for lawyers. Look at IBM or PepsiCo or any other big company - the jobs for lawyers are few and far between. Most of the open lawyer jobs require very specialized experience that few experienced lawyers have. The vast super majority of open legal jobs are purple squirrel jobs that most people coming out of a V200 law firm, government or in house will not have the requisite experience for, or will have too much experience to qualify for.

    As a corporate transactional lawyer forced to leave a V10 firm after many years there, when I was not young, I should know. I am unemployed with my Harvard Law degree with honors, a top 4 undergraduate degree summa, phi bet, a federal clerkship in the most competitive district and my only other job being the long-term job at the V10 firm. Eleven months of notice, but no takers for my services. I have been looking for three years, and my savings are depleted. I am completely unemployed with all of these credentials, and am not even getting interviews. Even temp jobs are hard to get. i have made many applications and continue to apply to jobs as a lawyer. I have not gotten any interviews, save one law firm at the beginning that wanted a guarantee of millions in business.

    Law is a good career only for a few, and only if you can find an employer that allows you to work as long as you are willing and able. You need to be in an in demand area. There is no switching if the area declines or is oversupplied with lawyers. That amounts to relatively few people out of the NYU graduating class of 562 or so.

    Going to NYU is like playing the tables in Vegas. Is a good bet for some, but will mean long term unemployment and underemployment for many, who simply will not be able to make a living.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sadly, many look at a story like yours and don't get it. Clearly you aren't "working hard," "hustling," willing to work for peanuts while selling things on eBay, etc.

      Our economy is stratified and compartmentalized. Not staying in your lane is harder than trying to get a "JD-Advantage" job. People hire people who are like them, not hustlers willing to do "any job."

      But try explaining that to anybody. The world doesn't reward people working their way up from the mail room anymore, or whatever platitude some folks like to throw around.

      Delete
    2. I am not going to earn any significant amount towards my retirement selling on Ebay or in a JD advantage job. You have to remember that a teacher with 20 years of experience earns about $200,000 a year in total comp. I worked for more than than for many years as a lawyer.

      Does not pay to work for peanuts, but to hold out for going rate work. Those are the economics of a T6 law school grad. I may have long periods of unemployment or underemployment, but the work I do get is the going rate.

      Delete
  5. Most Associates at Biglaw are shown the door in 3 years. It used to be five years. Sometimes, it's 2 years and out.

    If he's smart, he'll be hunting for a gov't job starting about 5 mins. after he gets in the door, possibly less. Possibly beforehand even.

    His positive spiel schtick reminds me of Franzese and her annoying "Happy Face Clock". In fact, he'd be one of the examples pointed to in all likelihood. Never mind that by going to NYU, he started ahead of 95% of all law lemmings anyway..

    However, "optimism" seems to be more important to these people than competitive advantage..

    This is the type of person that, somehow (cough!) visiting perspective students manage to meet when they attend. It's never some poorly dressed, half-panicked 3L wandering the halls who knows there's nothing waiting for him out there after finishing BarBri - regardless of whether he passes or not.

    Speaking of this, there's a comment on the prior entry that's a bit.. how shall I put it? more true to life and realistic than the rosy picture painted here:

    http://outsidethelawschoolscam.blogspot.com/2016/04/seton-hall-law-prof-paula-franzese.html?showComment=1461547220505#c6805583658252680456

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "It's never some poorly dressed, half-panicked 3L wandering the halls who knows there's nothing waiting for him out there after finishing BarBri - regardless of whether he passes or not."

      180. Lemmings, pay heed.

      Delete
    2. Between 2009 and 2014, as I worked in Big4 tax (still there now as a CPA), I kept an archive of LS warnings and pointers. This was one of them:

      “If you are not admitted to a top 10 law school, you are not smart. You are average. You have average intelligence and average ability, and any average person can attend a law school. The Law School Industrial Complex counts on average people like you attending their schools and signing six-figure loan documents. If you think that you are hot shit for receiving an acceptance letter from a law school, remember that in these desperate times the schools will admit anyone who meets the median LSAT requirement. Anyone! Think about that and think about the well-documented fact that the schools will continue to pump out two graduates for everyone one job with most jobs going to graduates from the top schools, i.e. the schools that you were too average to earn admission to. So unless you scored a 170 on the LSAT, stop reading and save yourself from lifelong financial ruin. If you did score a 170, read on to see the hell that awaits you in Biglaw, medium law, and your likely exit from the legal profession after a few years.”

      Delete
  6. Captain Hruska Carswell, Continuance KingApril 26, 2016 at 11:23 AM

    You guys have it all sooooooooooo wrong. You are a bunch of nattering nabobs of negativity. (Agnew, 1969). According to the April 10, 2016 annual Income and Salary edition of Parade Magazine, Brian Bixby, Esq, 63 of Boston earned $875,000 in 2015. Is there something wrong with you guys? Did you take the short bus in grammar school? Parents not give you enough Adderall? Lazy, stupid whiners.

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  7. I find it incredibly revealing that a current 3L at a T14 school with a biglaw job lined up can give law school only a very hesitant endorsement.

    Let that be a lesson to you, 0Ls - except at an elite school, only suckers pay full freight tuition and/or take out substantial debt.

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  8. If you have a calling for law, go to law school. But for the love of God, there's no need to cheerlead for law school. The profession has been oversold for decades.

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  9. Hey Ross, my friend, let me tell you something:

    AFTER TEN (10) YEARS OF PRACTICE, NOBODY WILL HIRE YOU UNLESS YOU CAN BRING-IN A SUBSTANTIAL AMOUNT OF BUSINESS. It does not matter how smart you are or how much you know, they won't even look at you. You have already proven that you are of NO VALUE to an employer, because you cannot generate revenue for them.

    Plan accordingly!!

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    Replies
    1. Absolutely true.

      And law is not an impulse item. You're not gonna talk a company into trying on some federal court litigation because it's the thing to do.

      No. You'll have to wrest clients away from existing service providers and then keep the never ending successor hordes of lawyers from doing the same to you.

      It's no longer a workable system. It's ashame that optimism is leading young people into the death throes of their grandparents' dreams

      Delete
  10. There is a firm in N.Y.C.
    Called Rising and Son LLP
    And it's been the ruin of many a poor boy
    I know, it's ruined me

    My mother was a plumber
    She flushed toilets for a fee
    My father was a law-talking man
    Down in N.Y.C.

    The only thing a shyster has
    is a cheap suit and debt from law class
    And the only time he's satisfied
    Is when he's drunk off his ass

    Now Mommas, tell your children
    Don't do what I have done
    Borrow your self into misery
    And work at Rising and Son

    I have one foot in the courtroom
    Another in a doc-review shop
    I'm going on back to N.Y.C.
    To bill until I am dropped.

    ReplyDelete
  11. The promotional piece is curious. It acknowledges significant problems with the law school path but reasons, Hey, you’re a liberal arts type, so what else are you gonna do? Law school’s a tough challenge and there’s prestige, so why not go on the ride?

    Its conclusion that a ‘wise person doesn’t get excited about things, like the weather, that he can’t control’ is misplaced. This article is aimed at undergraduates – persons who should be solely in control of their decision to attend law school and enter the legal profession.

    Undergraduates, you ARE in control. Wholly in control. If not, take control. You cannot sell yourself short by being an act in someone else’s circus. Today, they don’t let the caged animals hang around very long. You must take control.

    You say you want a “serious endeavor?”

    Use your liberal-arts analytical skills to accurately survey the state of today’s legal profession. Exercise your social sciences skill of conducting field interviews: take 5 recent practitioners to lunch. Compare and contrast the legal profession of today with that of the past . . . and with other professions. Compile a history of the employment tracks of all the young lawyers who worked at the three biggest law firms in your town. Find a few thirty-somethings who did Big Law and clerkships, and see what they’re up to today. Track 3 solos.

    (By the way, your topic isn’t whether Law is a cool profession. And it isn’t whether you have the aptitude to write an appellate brief, whether you’d look good wearing a fine suit sitting in a corner office, or whether you like research. Your issue is whether there’s any chance of you having a place in law today, and if so, how long will that place last.)

    Draw on the self-exploration you undertook in liberal arts, identify your strengths and weaknesses, and figure out where you might fit in the big wide world. The article mentioned Japanese, entomology, history, English, and overseas travel. That’s a start. And that’s the place to use your optimistic outlook.

    Yeah, it’s tough, but you said you wanted a serious endeavor. You are a professional problem solver, and you’ve got the greatest client in the world –YOU.

    Today’s liberal arts majors simply cannot see law school as the path of least resistance or the great dumping ground for their degrees. Entering today’s legal profession is financial suicide, and the title esquire is no consolation.

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  12. In the area where I practice, many lawyers, many partners in big firms, have lost their jobs. Some people did not recover.

    Top grads with general corporate skills are temping after many years in big law or as GCs. People lost jobs for reasons that had nothing to do with them and spent a year and a half unemployed. These people went to Harvard Law School and an equally prestigious undergrad school.

    People who were very skilled as transactional lawyers and finally rose to partner at big firms lost their jobs and disappeared - long ago, in the early 2000s.

    As long as 20 years ago, I knew a Yale Law and a Harvard Law grad who were struggling in middle age. These people were Harvard, Yale or Princeton undergrad and worked their way up as teenagers by excelling in what they did.

    Some people do well as lawyers, but many people don't. Job losses for lawyers from all the top law schools are sudden and frequent are very hard to recover from.

    Be prepared for long periods of unemployment and underemployment if you want to be a lawyer and are going to a top law school. That is the lawyer game today.

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  13. One of the most telling items is what percentage if lawyers over the age of 40 have employer-paid health insurance offered for the whole year. That number is going to be pitiful. For the average solo making $40,000 a year per the IRS, there is only a subsidy under the Affordable Care Act if available or a spouse's employment to lean on. The financial situation of many lawyers is dire because they cannot get employer paid health insurance. They are not employed on a full time basis all year or do not make enough to comfortably pay for health insurance. You need jobs for 1.3 million lawyers and the jobs don't exist.

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    Replies
    1. Captain Hruska Carswell, Continuance KingApril 28, 2016 at 10:14 PM

      Obama is my guy. Would vote for him again if given the opportunity. However, you are spot on about the 40K figure...as a Solo, I have not cracked it since '07. A Bronze Level ACA plan, which I am on, is damn near 4 bills a month and it completely sucks. It pays for nothing and on the face my insurance card, it reads "Public Exchange" in big, bold letters. To pay for this shit, I have to pick up two new clients a month. Practicing law as a Solo is not a sustainable way to earn a middle class income. This was not foreseeable 26 years ago.

      Delete
  14. "Law School Has Become Pointless Financial Suicide"

    https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/law-school-has-become-pointless-financial-suicide-steven-waechter?articleId=6130840093918846976#comments-6130840093918846976&trk=prof-post

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    Replies
    1. WOW, what an article. Thanks for sharing! (AND this guy has the nerve to call out the clueless older folks for their willful ignorance; whatta guy!)

      Delete
  15. I can't wait for this kid to learn the facts, the vast majority of big firm jobs go to kids and relatives of people that can bring in business. Sons and daughters of senators. Associate jobs are given out as bribes to get business from VIPs. Sure they keep a few people around to do the work but after a few years your out. And you aren't going to get another big firm job because your experience is worthless. Legal experience is a dime a dozen.

    So you go to the small firm and you think -- this is good, I don't need a lot. Sure my salary got cut 75% but... I didn't need that much anyway. Until the partner in the firm is indicted for criminal activity and your out of work again. Now your down to the 5 person firm and that was darn hard to get. You make as much as you did when you were delivering newspapers as a teen and have the benefits to match. You do creditor work mostly and have 1000 cases and a boss who is abusive and screams at you daily and calls you at 3 AM to muse on what an idiot you are. And so you quit, something better will come along.

    And it never does. All that money you made in the first job... gone. And you are unemployable.

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    Replies
    1. Spot on at 5:08. I made more money during a summer while in law school as a Summer Associate then I do now as a solo. This 50 person law firm paid me a bit under $1500 per week. That was almost 30 years ago. I would kill to get a job like that again.

      Delete
    2. Yes, those jobs go almost invariably to the scions of the great and the good. Pedigree trumps ability. Two important corollaries:

      1) Excelling in law school will not get you one of those jobs. I'm the poster boy for that.

      2) Rarely will a graduate of a non-prestigious school get one of these jobs: such schools draw very few children of aristocrats, and anyway their poor image would tarnish the reputation of the hiring firm.

      Delete
    3. I believe big law's associate program is like catching fish. They take a big scoop of law school students. They have already hand picked the important people. These flapping around fish the firm keeps around to mine for anyone important they might know or the firm will be able to utilize. Maybe the associate is good friends with the son of a Federal Judge. Maybe the associate turns out to be a former Olympian. But after 3 or 4 years if there is nothing special about you. Your out.

      Law is the only profession where you make the most when you know nothing and are young. But as you age and gain experience you are worth nothing. Proof that the practice of law is not hard. Law is a way of collecting important people by "pretending" they are doing something that involves skill.

      The scam blogging movement is a good one but I would like a movement that branches out to address the fact that the entire legal profession is a complete corrupt lie. Even Judges are largely picked based completely on the amount of campaign contributions they give.

      Delete
    4. There may be only two professions in which the youngest and least experienced do the best: law and prostitution.

      Delete
    5. Oh I don't know about that. Plenty of young law graduates are just as broke or worse.

      Law is just a terrible field all around for all but the connected. And the connected generally are not interested in mucking about in the legal industry when they can fly around the world for pseudo-finance jobs or "running a company".

      I've read about aristocracy in the past, how there were "lower" families within a head family. Law is for those lower families. They have some of the name value but not really. They are ahead of the commoners but that's it really. Within the family they are looked upon with disdain and kept at arm's length, but for appearance's sake they must be given more status than a commoner. So they are relegated to law, given some income so they don't have to beg, but forced to show their gratitude by slaving away and being servile to the main family.

      Delete
  16. The big problem is the lack of ongoing employment and compensation figures for lawyers long after law school graduation. First years do much better employment-wise than the profession as a whole because lawyer jobs are heavily weighted towards the inexperienced lawyer.

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  17. Some good comments going on here. People are beginning to focus on a ten-year outlook.

    The scamblogging movement has --incredible as it may seem-- been far too soft on the whole legal profession. It focuses on law school, law school pretentiousness, the silliness of the Tiers, the pomposity of professors, the tragi-comedy of the third tier, the stupidity of the Socratic method (which isn't ever properly used), and the sheer waste of money spent chasing a law degree.

    But that's all about law school. People read blogs and think that we're angry at our teachers, or didn't like our classes.

    Law school's the best part of it, folks.

    Yeah, you'll get into a top 10 school. Yeah, you'll be in the top 15% of your class. Yeah, you'll make law review. Yeah, you'll get a summer clerkship at Biglaw and then a federal clerkship. Two of them.

    I get it. You're a winner.

    But that school and clerkship stuff occupies about 4 years of your life.

    You got you're whole working life ahead of you. At most, with all that great stuff, you're getting a 2-3 year stint at a firm, followed by severe under- or outright unemployment.

    The long-term employment outlook in this profession for even the winners is absolutely dismal. No, it's worse than dismal. And that was long before this Great Recession crap.

    If you're planning to work for more than 5 or so years and make money, this ain't your ride.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The "legal profession" gave up all oversight of "legal education." It went from clerking in a law office for 18 months, to pissing away 3 years on a made-up "professional doctorate" without any connection to legal practice or the legal job market and conducted by tenured sinecurists with no other job prospects. Recipe for utter disaster.

      Delete
    2. Right on. 9.22. The unemployment and under employment once a lawyer loses that first job is the problem. Harvard Law School, Yale Law School, Columbia Law School, none of that matters.

      There are many more lawyers coming out of Big Law than there are real full-time JD required jobs that pay even the median lawyer salary of $115,000 a year.

      That is the real problem with law- there are not enough jobs for the 7,000 or so people who start in big law and have to leave long before retirement age.

      Unemployment and underemployment is the plight of a significant percentage of experienced lawyers from all of the top law schools - Harvard, Yale and Columbia Law Schools.

      Delete
    3. Well, I have the top-ten school, the top grades, law review, and the federal clerkship. No summer clerkship, however: Big Law doesn't hire Old Guys. Nor, for that matter, does anyone else.

      Delete
    4. When I graduated from law school, every graduate of Harvard, Yale and Columbia Law had a law firm job or could get a law firm job. I think that would have included second career people who retired from another line of work after reaching retirement age.

      I have spoken to the head admissions officer at one of these schools and was told universal employment is no longer the rule by a long shot at these schools.

      Older people who went to these schools when they were young are very far from universally employed when they want to be.

      Plenty of people believe they made the wrong decision to go to law school, because they attended based on the information gap. If you had a top record at a top 10 school, you had other career options.

      The only thing you can do now is to keep looking or to try to develop a law practice notwithstanding the terrible odds against you. You could alternately go back to your old career or try to find a new non-law area(s) in which to seek a job.

      Delete
    5. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
    6. Old Guy went to law school when he was already old—in his forties. (Thirty, for these purposes, is over the hill.)

      One of my colleagues here, similarly situated, goes by the name Duped Non-Traditional. He may well have good reasons to believe that he was duped. I don't think that of myself, though; rather, I think that I was stupid. I should have known that the door was closed to me. I should have found out. I blame myself, not the scamsters.

      Delete
    7. Today the door is closed for many lawyers. If you have a Harvard or Yale Law degree and have to find a job after age 65, no one will hire you. Honors and big law, even having only one or two jobs make no difference. You can go broke with that degree and experience. No one will hire you as an employee.

      Delete
    8. Captain Hruska Carswell, Continuance KingMay 2, 2016 at 7:16 AM

      I don't feel duped by my law school. I feel betrayed by the American Bar Association. They are the ones that opened a hundred new law schools since the 90s. And they continue to be pumped out like Mitsubishis and Chryslers 200s that nobody needs. Indiana Tech, LaVerne, North Texas.....just recently. T

      Delete
    9. I am starting to think that scam bloggers have to take the focus off the law schools. Get less people to apply and the schools just take more students who can achieve less. We need to block entry into the profession. I say we put more pressure on bar exams to be much tougher. So that, give or take, only the amount of people that there will be jobs for, can pass the bar. My state has an 80% pass rate. That needs to drop to 50%. Period. This will also have the effect of making students think more seriously about attending law school in the first place.

      Delete
    10. @9:22 -- "Law school's the best part of it, folks."

      Not necessarily. There are quite a few "lucky" law school graduates out there. I personally know graduates from places like New York Law and Touro Law that somehow managed to do exceedingly well professionally, and there was no law review on their resume.

      If you're an "elite" student from a top school and you have a proper law pedigree, you can do well.

      For everyone else (even bad students form bad schools), it's all about luck!! It's 100% luck!!

      Delete
    11. Also make the bar exam more difficult. It's altogether too easy. And still some people take it a dozen times.

      Delete
    12. In many respects, graduates from the lower level schools with non-stellar grades are to be envied. Graduate from elite school and you have no choice . . .Big Law is really the only way to go. But when your options are more limited, you have nothing to lose by going for it . . and if that means going solo . . .yes . . some of them will do very well.

      All you need is one multi-million dollar PI case to walk in your door and you are set for life. How do you get that case, by doing a good job on that divorce or traffic ticket you handled and getting a referral.

      It happens. It is luck but it is also selling yourself. If you are competent and people see you are competent, that can help with the work walking in the door.

      Delete
    13. @2:05 here.

      When I said it was all about "luck," I should have made clear that the laws of probability still apply.

      YES, there are graduates of TTT law schools out there (who had terrible grades and no family connections) that are doing extremely well in all sorts of settings. However, the likelihood of that is very, very small.

      I think it's very seductive to think that YOU TOO can be one of these lucky people. Sadly, that's how you get screwed.

      Delete
    14. That's true in any business endeavor. 90% fail. Nobody starts a business to fail. They start a business to succeed.

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  18. on an unrelated LS topic, there should be more OTLSS posts focus on online law schools. That will be the wave of the future. I can see this going 2 ways (i.e. more bottom of the barrel candidates, and on the other hand, a chance for professionals such as CPAs to get a law degree to switch into specialty tax groups).

    http://blogs.wsj.com/law/2016/04/20/syracuse-law-school-exploring-online-degree-program/

    1. right now you can only take 12 online credits based on what the corrupt ass ABA rules.
    2. same fucking ridiculous price. aka reaching for the bottom of the barrel candidates
    3. LSAT requirement

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