Monday, May 21, 2018

JD Advantage, Part IX : Bulls**t Jobs Edition

Remember when how late last year, that new era of JD Advantage Jobs had finally arrived?  You know, the time the flood-gates had finally opened and thousands upon thousands of JD grads were snapped up by private industry, once and for all silencing all critics of the Law School Cartel?  It was all over the newspapers.
Wait, no one has seen that or experienced this?  Oh.  Maybe because the story never happened:
For ’17, there were 2,227 fewer graduates than in 2016, a decline of 6.1 percent. Three employment statuses accounted for nearly 90 percent of the difference between the two classes: Employed JD Advantage (51.2%) (!), Unemployed – Seeking (23.7%), and Employed – Professional Position (13.4%). This pretty much tells you what you need to know about this year’s employment report.
This year’s employment report showcased many of the similar trends from last year: Good outcomes substituting for worse ones. It differs in that JD advantage jobs took a big hit while bar-passage-required jobs grew slightly. What’s interesting here is that overall, law-firm jobs fell nonetheless. Somewhere in the employment type outcomes are compositional changes where grads found law jobs and not JD advantage jobs.
Yep.  "Employed - JD Advantage" was down 22.1%, "Employed - Professional Position" was down 21.5%, and "Employed - Non-Professional Opinion" was down 7.8%.  A lot of people apparently didn't get the Cartel memo, or just because a bunch of people get together and say "x is the case" doesn't necessarily mean that it is so.  Unfortunately, it appears actual law jobs took a small hit, also, for what it is worth.
So, what is going on, especially as regards JD-Advantage jobs that apparently everyone says that so many people want to hire...?  I'm increasingly a fan of the current theory advocated by Anthropology Professor David Graber:
Are you a telemarketer? Compliance officer? Middle manager? Corporate lawyer? Do you feel like you contribute nothing concrete or meaningful, day in and day out, as you toil away at a job you believe is essentially pointless?
Then you’re in a ‘bulls**t job,’ according to one professor – who’s just written a new book about the millions of people whose jobs could ‘vanish in a puff of smoke’ with no real consequences for the world...

Rather than allowing a massive reduction of working hours to free the world’s population to pursue their own projects, pleasures, visions, and ideas, we have seen the ballooning of not even so much of the "service" sector as of the administrative sector, up to and including the creation of whole new industries like financial services or telemarketing, or the unprecedented expansion of sectors like corporate law, academic and health administration, human resources and public relations,’ he writes in a 2013 essay which laid the foundation for the book.

The story of one miserable corporate lawyer came from one of Graeber’s own former schoolmates. He got in touch with a friend he hadn’t seen since the age of 12, and was ‘amazed to discover that in the interim, he had become first a poet, then the front man in an indie rock band,’ he wrote.
‘I’d heard some of his songs on the radio having no idea the singer was someone I actually knew. He was obviously brilliant, innovative, and his work had unquestionably brightened and improved the lives of people all over the world.  Yet, after a couple of unsuccessful albums, he’d lost his contract, and plagued with debts and a newborn daughter, ended up, as he put it, “taking the default choice of so many directionless folk: law school.”
‘Now he’s a corporate lawyer working in a prominent New York firm. He was the first to admit that his job was utterly meaningless, contributed nothing to the world, and, in his own estimation, should not really exist.’

Whoops.  Compliance officer?  Middle Manager?  Banking?  All solidly "JD-Advantage".  And all solidly what the market is increasingly not looking for.  And some would say their job is pointless and soon to be automated, anyway.
But ignore all that.  The Law School Cartel has analyzed the situation and says that JD-Advantage jobs, let alone JD-required jobs sought after by "directionless folk," are in demand and on the rise.  Because the Cartel has your best interests at heart.


  1. How about we call it "malemployment" instead of "bulls**t jobs" -- that sounds more scientific.

  2. This sums up 90% of law students, and 100% of law students at the TTTs: "taking the default choice of so many directionless folk: law school."

    1. With combined debt of over $300k from undergrad and law school (that's 1/3rd of a million dollars) these Lemmings are completely screwed before they even reach the starting blocks.

      And, we'll still hear some Boomer talking out their ass about how today's generation (are you talking 'bout it?) has it easy..

      The Good Old Days are right around the corner again for the LS Cartel. Trump is eliminating PSLF.


      This is what happens to Unconnecteds, precisely.

      Other kids are groomed from Day 1 and will win the game almost by default barring some near-impossible / catastrophic fuck-up.

      The Lemmings will start with $300-$350 grand in non-dischargeable student loan debt which in 10 years will be tripled. Hence, the $1m Student Loan Debtor.

      You know they will never pay the $300 grand off, let alone ever be out of debt for the rest of their lives.

      It will happen. And it's happening now.

      The Prole Lemmings have only themselves and their equally idiot parents to blame.

      Both sets heavily drank the Kool-Aid.

  3. No question that the whole JD Advantage business is a joke-but if you really want to burn, take a look at what constitute-at least technically-"real" law jobs. Scan the local craigslist for law jobs...which pay $20/hour-for a licensed attorney-who is also required to have a cellphone and "reliable transportation"...or law firms seeking law students or recent grads to work for free as interns...or your local US Attorney's Office seeking applicants for positions require bar membership...but the pay is exactly zero-that's right, you promise to stay for one year and agree to work for free.
    So yeah, JD Advantage is a joke-but so are many "real" law jobs. It's almost unbelievable. The entire profession is a racket.

    1. It seems to me that maybe 20% of the current law school classes come from the "right" backgrounds and have the "right" the debt won't be a burden, they will get a "real" lawyer job, etc. Or, they really are a talented student with an aptitude for law, and the scholarships, grants, and school connections will be the nudge they need to get into the field and have a legitimate career.

      Then there is the remaining 80%, forced to pay off huge loans irrespective of background, chasing dwindling dollars, and working for free for an opportunity that was, frankly, missed and went to the above-mentioned students via school connections prior to graduation.

      There is a need for new lawyers. Just not at 40,000 per year. And the "real," "sustainable" jobs, solo or otherwise, are few and far between.

    2. I’ve been out of law school for over 10 years. I don’t know any lemmings or have much insight into the lemmings that still go to law school. But in the last 6 months I’ve heard a few anecdotes from other docs. A physician recently told me their relative just graduated from law school last year. This person worked in finance and dealt with a lot of regulatory issues. So their employer let them take three years off to go to law school and return to the finance job. This person is not an attorney for the company. They are doing the same job. The relative said many classmates struggled to find jobs and didn’t realize that the job numbers are inflated by graduates with connections or returning to previous jobs.

    3. Ok, it's not just law school that's a racket-there's a good argument that all higher ed is...
      Guy makes $225,000/year as orthodontist, but "the debt is unrelenting"

  4. What is hilarious to me about the whole business advantage thing that law schools promote is law school itself is a giant NEGATIVE cost.

    3+ years lost in the workforce where you could being making $$$.

    Tuition, living expenses can add up to $200-250K for the overwhelming
    majority of schools. Unless your mom and dad are loaded and this doesn't matter, good luck paying those loans off.

    Forget regional schools with good deals like UF/FSU. This is not good business. This is stupid.

    And the thing is the law degree is a scarlet degree. The general public hates lawyers. Why? Lawyers have a tenancy to ask why, why, why? And lawyers sue over stupid stuff.

    I didn't learn a single thing from law school my first year except I remember one funny anecdote. My property professor went to Colombia law and was actually a CLASSMATE of Caroline Kennedy.... All this aside, he said one time when he told his undergraduate professor he was going to law school, his professor told him, "Don't go to law school. All you do is doubt everything."

    Thinking like a lawyer means doubting everything and trying to find the worst possible outcome. This is what 3 years of law school tries to make you do.

    Businesses aren't going to hire failed lawyers unless they are from T-14 and then again this is HYS because HYS is HYS.

  5. Note that the economist (David Graber) who has this theory of "bulls**t jobs" is advocating for the basic universal income (aka.. the negative income tax).

    Thus, it's no surprise that he characterizes work in this way and subsequently advocates for people to sit on their ass instead. You can see this same attitude in that now infamous interview with Nancy Pelosi, who flippantly stated that with a basic income one can catch-up on hobbies that they always wanted to try, like painting. No thought given to how we'd actually pay for this universal income, but I digress.

    Regardless, I think the real issue isn't that telemarketers and compliance officers are worthless per se, they are NOT. The issue is that there are too many of them, thereby making their work redundant and officious. For example, if a hospital only had one or two compliance officers (rather than a whole department of them), there would be a whole other attitude towards their work.

    Also, why do we assume that all telemarketers and compliance officers feel this way? For many, they're perfectly happy doing what they do (and could care less if it is buls**t) so long as they get a paycheck.

    The caution for people considering law school is that if they do want a meaningful job one day, maybe law school is not the way to go. So this is a secondary consideration for them, the primary concern being the tremendous expense of law school.

    1. But...but... it would free them from drudgery and let them become ARTISTS! Why do you hate culture???

  6. "Regardless, I think the real issue isn't that telemarketers and compliance officers are worthless per se, they are NOT. The issue is that there are too many of them, thereby making their work redundant and officious...The caution for people considering law school is that if they do want a meaningful job one day, maybe law school is not the way to go. So this is a secondary consideration for them, the primary concern being the tremendous expense of law school. "

    Spot on. Like lawyers, you need some...just not as many as the Cartel likes to say are needed.

  7. Off topic: Our old friend Dean Nicholas Allard was abruptly shit-canned by Brooklyn Law School on the Friday before Memorial Day weekend. According to the New York Law Journal, Allard, who is in China, was "surprised" by the move. Brooklyn Law School has not given a reason for firing Allard's fat ass, but the Law Journal noted that Moody's downgraded the school last month from stable to negative.