Monday, May 14, 2018

University of Minnesota heavily subsidizes law school

Often we at Outside the Law School Scam discuss the über-toilets, those laughable schools that make the generality look good. And the generality is poor indeed: a clear majority of law schools—107, to be exact—draw at least a quarter of their entering students from the bottom half on the LSAT.

But not all is well even in such pseudo-exalted circles as the upper fourth tier. The University of Minnesota has been subsidizing its law school to the tune of $39.9M for the past five years. That's $8M per year. And it's already planning to kick in $12M two years from now. That's almost $22k for each student in the law school.

The U of Minnesota's law school has heavily reduced its faculty and staff, yet it goes on sponging off the university "to the point where it's too painful for other elements of the university to continue to bear", according to regent David McMillan.

Financial considerations are forcing a discussion of the classic toilet strategy of increasing enrollment by lowering standards. "We need to go out and earn these ['more marginal'] students to balance our budget", insists regent Darrin Rosha. Others, however, fear "a drop in the school's ranking, further reducing applications".

Of course, "the school's ranking" refers to the one published for profit by defunct magazine US News and World Report. Falling a notch or two according to the silly criteria of You Ass News is universally viewed as a calamity. By Old Guy's superior ranking, however, the U of Minnesota is unlikely to move in the coming years: it will remain a fourth-tier institution even if it becomes considerably more or less selective. And its fourth-tier status makes it a poor choice for all but the wealthy and the well-connected.

But note the usual scamsters' infatuation with prestige: "ranking" relative to other law schools trumps other considerations. Marginal students, we are told, should be kept out not because they are marginal, not for their own sake, but because they would harm "the reputation of the school", suggests provost Karen Hanson. Apparently the school's narrow interests, and by extension those of its faculty, push everything else out of the frame.

Why exactly should the university, using money from other students and the public, go on lavishly subsidizing a law school that puts its overpaid faculty and administrators first? Shut the school down and apply the savings to some public purpose.


  1. Surely the multitude of successful, rich alums of this 4th tier school could be called upon to make up the difference.

  2. Hamline|Mitchell|Minnesota (& St. Thomas?)

  3. To future law school applicants who are entering law school this fall 2018:

    Another thing I wish to inform you all about law school is who your future classmates will be. There a few different groups. There exists very much a pecking order. This is how it works before you even start classes this fall. The numbers do not correlate with rankings.

    1) The K-JD. This person is considered a “K-JD” because they have gone through Kindergarten to 4 years of college straight to 3 years of law school. In some cases, some individuals will go from law school after only 3 years of college because they received all their college credits early. Many of these people have never really worked a 9-5 job in their entire lives. I don’t count working at McDonalds as real employment because they were still financially supported by their parents. When you do 17 years of straight schooling, you are just used to an academic environment. Kindergarten to elementary school to middle school to high school to college to law school. Add alcohol into this mix and various substances and you get an interesting mix.

    2) The old person. There’s not too many of these people around. These people are in their early 30s or late 20s. These people have real life work experience and really don’t get involved with all the high school drama law school entails. Some of these individuals might even have children so they have an actual human being to be responsible for. Accordingly, most people don’t really know these people very much at all.

    3) The former college athletes. This is a pretty rare group. These are mostly men. These are former college football/basketball/soccer/baseball players who have been treated like royalty their entire lives and it just continues in law school. All the ladies love them and for good reason. These are the “cool kids” in law school and for very good reason. They are usually the best looking students in a law class and everyone wants to associate with them. These individuals have private parties that you aren’t invited to unless you are a former Greek or an attractive female.

  4. 4) The former Greeks. These are the most attractive people in law school. Most lawyers are decent looking people but Greeks are self-selecting for attractiveness. These are either former fraternity brothers or sorority sisters. These people thrive on drama. They will all be doing the student body leadership positions and they all probably were presidents of their little fancy school council in undergrad. You can’t even begin to imagine how much drama these little groups have. In fact, at my law school there was a group of attractive former sorority members who prided on being called, “The Plastics.” That is a reference to the movie “Mean Girls” fwiw. Go figure.

    5) The son/daughter of a lawyer/Judge. An overwhelming majority of your classmates will fall into this group. What many law school applicants need to realize is that most of your classmates will have parents who were associated in some form with the legal profession. They will be very much connected through their parents who will make a lot of phone calls once their son/daughter graduates to make sure that they just aren’t sitting at the house doing nothing. If your parents aren’t associated with the legal profession or have lawyer friends who will help you get a job after you graduate, I hope you do well your 1L year. Now here and there we have someone who might be a son/daughter of a law professor or even a 3rd/4th generation lawyer with 100+ year ties to the community but this is rarer. The son/daughter of a law professor will likely become a law professor in a few years. Look up faculties of law schools and you will see that many law professors had parents who were law professors. Law in many respects is the biggest ole boy profession and it’s sad.

    6) The potheads/video gamers. These are considered the “nerds” in law school. They might play MMORPGS. These people are usually very nice and down to earth. These are the nicest/sweetest/most aspie people you will meet in law school.

    7) The son/daughter of a prominent politician. Now this is someone that is very, very rare. These people are essentially at the top of the food chain because to be quite frank, many law schools don’t have someone like this. These people are celebrities in their own regard. We are talking about someone like John F Kennedy Jr. of Tiffany Trump or Caroline Kennedy. These people don’t come around that often. At my law school, we didn’t have anyone like this. These people go to Harvard or NYU or Georgetown. Law schools actively recruit these people hard and these individuals probably have 10-15 people assisting them with various things. Why? Imagine how much exposure/money Tiffany Trump is bringing to Georgetown law as we speak. In the law class of 2020, Tiffany Trump is a celebrity in her own regard.

    To be honest, law school can be an interesting 3 years. I miss it sometimes.

    1. Case in point as to number 5. When I worked in Chicago in the mid 80's they mailed the bar pass/fail letters from Springfield and it took two days for them to get to the city. The oft-told story was that one of the city's top-flight firms, which is still there and still top-flight, would call down to Springfield on the intervening day and see how their new associates fared. On the morning of the second day (when people would get their letters at home at lunch or after work) unsuccessful candidates would find their personal belongings in a banker box in the hall outside their office with any framed items leaning against it. Then one summer a judge's daughter they hired failed the test and by that second morning they had voted in a new "two strikes and your out" rule.

  5. But OG-isn't this just payback? For years, the universities unconscionably jacked up law school tuition, treating the law schools as cash cows for the rest of the university. The fat times were indeed fat-and not just for the law schools, but for the parent university, too. Now that things aren't so fat, it's only fitting that the law schools morph from host to parasite.

    1. Yes, but the universities don't have to return the favor. Maybe the U of Minnesota's law school poured money into the parent university for years. So what? The university can still pull the plug on the law school.

    2. Can't agree-since the university benefited, let it sink under the weight of the law school. The reality is, for most students, undergrad is almost as big a scam as law school. UMinn cranks out thousands of pol sci/history/sociology, etc etc ad nauseum bachelor's degrees each year, and virtually 100% of these degrees are absolutely worthless from an employment standpoint. And nobody attends college to Think Great Thoughts-it's all about getting a job after graduation, and with your trusty BA in History, you ain't getting a job. It's also important to note the regents weren't complaining when the law school was gouging prospective students with ever-higher tuition.
      So let U Minn sink with the law school; maybe it would be a lesson to all.

    3. Most bachelor's degrees are indeed worthless, or nearly so. And physics in that respect isn't much better than history.

      For a baby boomer, any bachelor's degree was a mark of distinction and a ticket to a good career. That's because bachelor's degrees in the boomers' heyday were uncommon. Now that everyone and her mother-fucking pet gerbil has a bachelor's degree, the damn things aren't worth much. Which is why so many people go after advanced degrees…

      Of course, subsequent generations have imbibed like mother's milk the dogma of degrees. Again, the predictable consequence is an immense surplus.

    4. ""And nobody attends college to Think Great Thoughts-it's all about getting a job after graduation, and with your trusty BA in History, you ain't getting a job."" Yes who could possibly believe that people go to College to actually learn things.

  6. A little off topic, but I saw today that law schools are pressuring law firms to drop mandatory arbitration for employment disputes with summer associates.

    Mandatory arbitration along with gag clauses in releases signed on employment termination by associates and other lawyers keeps the law schools humming. It allows law firms to hire and fire a ton of people, many without good follow on jobs, with no accountability. So the associates can be dumped in the trash and replaced by younger classes, all in secrecy with impunity for really nasty law firms that do not care if their associates ever earn a living again.. Of course, employment discrimination is rampant, but they are careful to write bad reviews to justify that.

    If this trend of law firms dropping mandatory arbitration for all employees continues, it is going to hurt the law schools. Big firms are going to have to hire a lot fewer people if they are accountable for their lawyers getting good jobs when they are forced to leave the firm in a non-cause termination, which is almost always the case.

    Dropping mandatory arbitration will hurt first year hiring, because it is going to take a lot longer to get rid of existing lawyers if they need to get good follow on jobs after big law.

    The dirty procedure of some big law firms stripping many lawyers of the value of their degrees is going to become very public. Not all firms use mandatory arbitration. However, my experience is that the ones that do are the ones that dump their lawyers, especially women and minorities, into unemployment on the street for the sole purpose of continuing an egregious up or out policy while hiring tons of associates who are going to be rammed through the system, into unemployment with no value left in their elite law degrees.

    1. 1. So what if it becomes public? No one feels sorry for lawyers and there will always be lemmings who know it won't happen to them.

      2. Law schools couldn't give a rat's ass about alumni after that magic nine months after graduation date, other than at annual fund time.

  7. I don't find that suggestion stupid in the least. Here's an assignment: pick up your local Yellow Pages and count the number of licensed plumbers vs. the number of lawyers. Nothing like a good refresher course on the law of supply & demand.

    Also understand that, even at $15 an hour as an apprentice, you're at least making money and learning what you'll need to know to practice the trade on your own from someone who actually knows that they're doing. Compare this to law school, where you pay 45 K a year to learn nothing from people who have never actually practiced what they preach.

    Understand that the reason there are so few LICENSED plumbers is that many apprentices simply lack the intellectual ability to pass the licensing exam. The exam tests things like business regs, reading blueprints, basic math/algebra, septic & environmental regs, etc. The typical plumber's apprentice with a GED or high school diploma simply won't have the ability to pass the test. This is borne out by the VERY high failure rate on the exam- only about 20% of takers pass the damn thing. AS someone who already holds a college degree, the test itself should present no problem.

    Also understand that, rather than formal education, most states require a 3 or 4 year full-time apprenticeship before you can sit the test. You hours must be signed off & sworn to by your employer(s). This excellent idea is also how law was once taught before the ABA and student loan cartel took over the industry and required the nonsensical piece of toilet paper called a JD to sit the bar'zam.

    The average licensed plumber handily outearns the average licensed lawyer. It's not even close. Here in NJ most plumbers charge $90 an hour plus a $50 service call fee. If they have to come out at night it's an extra $150 or so. There are also lots of upgrades going on re: furnaces and boilers etc because of the green tax credit you get for installing these new systems.

    The difference is that the plumber can actually find enough customers to bill for 40, 50 or 60+ hours a week. If a pipe bursts at 2 am he has you by the balls- you either call him out and pay or have your house flooded. When is it ever urgent to hire a shitlawyer? Answer: almost never.

    Also bear in mind there are no "pro bono" or public service plumbers. In fact, the law is the only industry so utterly in love with giving away professional services for free to deadbeats.

    So in closing, anyone headed to a non Top 14 with scholly should really give the trades like plumbing, HVAC, electrical work etc a hard look. There's far less saturation and much more $$$$ than scrounging for table scraps, which is what you'll be doing if you miss the Biglaw/OCI boat.

    Also if a plumbing business goes south, the loans etc can be discharged in bankruptcy. Not so for student loans. Get a JD and no job and you're stuck paying regardless. Also a lot of customers might pay cash, which of course is $$$ right in your pocket.

    Try as you guys might, there simply is no way to put any positive spin on non-Biglaw practice. Hours are long, wages abysmal, and jobs beyond scarce. Not only that, things have every chance of getting much worse and almost no chance of getting better. Not to mention all the other red tape and aggrevation of CLE classes, bar dues, trust account audits, and other pointless garbage in this sorry gutter of an industry.

    1. Think I can reply to this, as I'm both a former lawyer who's studying to be a plumber now. Apprentice wages are closer to $10 per hour, and its not as hard as you say to pass the journeyman (plumber) exam; hardest part by far is the practical.

      I do agree that for someone starting out, plumbing pays a lot better, but get ready for your back and body to take a pounding.

  8. The defunct Charlotte School of Law has sued the ABA for supposedly denying it due process:

    Perhaps the lawyers handling this matter should have looked due process up before commencing the suit.

  9. Although I attended elsewhere I was accepted at the UofM as an out of state student in the early 1980's. At that time 80% of seats in each class of 1L's were reserved for in-state residents. As these school continue to founder I have often wondered how state schools below, say, the UVA, Berkeley and Michigan T-14s have been impacted by reserving seats for state residents. If Minnesota still has its 80% rule then 80% of its student body must be drawn from a state population of 5.5 million rather than a national population of 300+ million. There are many states with dubious flagship state university law schools that might provide better quality students were the seats available, and at out of state tuition. Can anyone offer any insight?

    1. U of Iowa is 50 percent Iowan, now. If that helps..... at all....

  10. My background: Top 5 undergraduate school economics major. Harvard law school. I practice as a very senior corporate associate at a v3 law firm in the city. Standard-issue southern white guy who's pretty quick on the uptake and extremely good at school and standardized tests. To my regret, I'm also pretty good at being a law firm associate.

    My pitch: Going to law school, and taking this job right afterwards, are the first and second worst mistakes of my entire life. I'm here to give a skeptic's look at "winning" the law school game, at least from the perspective of someone who is interested in business or who is at all interested in having a stable career, or any opportunity to be thoughtful, creative or interesting at work. I've tried for almost a decade now to rationalize my going to law school. There's no objective way of doing that. Many/most of my cohort feels the same way. Nobody who had options out of college would do it again.

    First, I point to commitment requirements. As a comparison, I worked in bulge bracket banking as a full time analyst prior to law school during the boom. Despite the widely held notion that biglaw is more human, I will assure you it is not. To give you a sense, there have been two days since Christmas, about 3 months ago, that I have not worked over 8 hours (most weekdays are 10-15 hours). That stat includes weekends. That stat includes weekend dinners and informal get togethers, all of which I cancelled. That stat also includes my best friend's wedding out of state (a wedding I was in) last weekend, where I got up at 4AM after a rehearsal dinner ending at midnight so as to be able to put in 8 full hours before I was required to be downstairs at 1PM. Partner: "We're sorry but we just don't have anyone who can cover [deal X]. You may just have to be late to your event." Going back a bit further, I worked a full day on Christmas Eve and all of Thanksgiving and TG weekend. I cancelled trips to go down home to see my family both times. I haven't seen them since Thanksgiving 2014. In this job, you're very much expected to be within 20 minutes of a computer, and able to sit down for 5 hours at it, at a moment's notice. And that does happen regularly. It's also worth considering that I'm one of the better people around here at saying no to new deals. At least I sleep 7 hours a night. Some of the meeker associates don't even get that. But the most striking thing about all of this is that it doesn't ever get better, unlike most other jobs. That partner from the story above cancelled a trip with his young family a few months ago because some worthless deal "might close on Monday". It closed three weeks later. He was livid, then he looked like he was going to cry. I could go on and on (I'm a very good squash and tennis player. I love playing, but I play 1-3 times a year -- I joined a league but missed 3 of my first 3 matches and quit). This sounds melodramatic, but I'm underselling the sacrifices, if anything

  11. Second, I need to talk about the work itself. It's the most tedious thing on earth. Some areas (M&A) are better than others (capital markets, bank finance, tax), but ultimately there are 20 points the people actually care about in any deal, and you're not responsible for any of them. You're also not responsible for the points people *don't* care about. You're a scribe. You summarize what a document says. They tell you what it should say. They can't read even a short 10 word sentence themselves. So expect the unexpected call at 2 in the morning to ask if "ABC means 123" when there's a section heading called "ABC meaning 123" in the table of contents, and when you flip there, the section is one line saying "ABC means 123". Then they'll call you again the next day for the same thing. They forgot. There's almost no room to be creative. You read. You summarize. You make marginal changes based on what your client wants to do. Your client doesn't care about 95% of what you're trying to get them to focus on, so it's tedious for them and for you. And once you get through that process, where your client finally hangs up (putting down the gun he had to his head because he was so bored just discussing this stuff) you then get to do the much more tedious process of actually editing a 200 page contract. Hope you love proofreading.

    Third, you are trapped in law. In 2016, with very few exceptions, once you go to law school you're never going to get a good non-law managerial or business position in any company ever again (unless you found a company). It doesn't matter if you majored in math. It doesn't matter if you spent 3 years at McKinsey before law school. You're fighting the view that corporate lawyers have no ability to deal with numbers, think strategically or do anything aside from being a scribe. Many times, that's not even unfair (see above, you are a scribe). Very few people overcome that prejudice, and nobody overcomes it to get a business job they couldn't have had out of undergrad. So if you're the lucky 2% that can make that move, you're taking a massive seniority cut and pay cut. The days of of the JD opening doors have been over for 30 years. 30+ years ago, the MBA wasn't the credential it is now (a good example is that anyone at SLS was automatically accepted into GSB without applying), and lawyers regularly became business people. Now there's a generation of MBAs running around, and you're not getting hired over any of them. I absolutely cannot stress enough how niche you become after just one day as a corporate lawyer. This is by far the worst thing.

  12. Moreover -- you're trapped in a specialization within law that likely wasn't your first choice. Without outing my firm, most top firms these days are specializing their associates much, much earlier, as clients won't pay for worthless/generalist junior skill sets. Even a decade ago, you would get a few years to find your way to a specialty, and get to pick it. Now you're assigned one on day one in many firms. And within a year at the vast majority. Places do a good job at trying to match you, but if there's demand in capital markets, and you don't want to be a capital markets lawyer, tough. That's where they're putting you. And once you specialize, it's almost impossible to do something else, especially after a few years and you realize how much you hate it. You can go do the same specialty in house (maybe, in some specialties), or hang around until they kick you out, which they always do.

    On that note: 100-200 people enter every year. 0-3 are made partner. It won't be you, unless you're both the best in your class and extremely lucky (someone needs to die or a big new client needs to come in, etc.). It's all for nothing. You become very good a very very niche job you can't do anywhere but in a law firm, and the only law firms that will have you will pay you progressively less for the same level of work.

    Sixth, there's no stability, even for junior associates. It's been a long time since the 2008 crash. For those of you who don't remember, law firms fired (or rescinded offers) from thousand of law students and first/second year associates. Many of the junior associates who were fired never turned that around. I know a great/smart/hardworking guy, magna at Harvard, who was fired by Latham. He had to move to BFE to get any non-document-review job at all. It pays nothing and is a dead end. By the time the legal market recovered, the ship had sailed on his career and he was too senior to come in as a junior. Anecdotal, of course, but it happened a lot. We're poised for another crash in the next 0-3 years, and there's no taboo on law firms "right sizing" anymore.

    You're reading this and thinking it won't be me. You think you'll do a few years and go after your true calling. You won't. Nobody does. People become broken (lost relationships with friends, family and spouses; alcoholism; depression -- law firms are very sad places), and flame out, generally into something as bad or worse. Print this off and stick it somewhere that you'll find it in five years. Or better yet, don't make the mistakes I did (and which I felt strongly enough to spend 30 minutes writing this at my desk here on a Sunday night).

    Taking questions.

    1. T5 undergrad and Harvard law.

      1) Can you transition to corporate anytime soon?

      2) If you can't "join the club" (partner), what is your opinion of the waterheads who will soon be $300,000+ in non-dischargeable student loan debt between undergrad and law school and their ability to pay that off assuming, unlike your case, that the majority will be from much lesser undergrad + law school programs?

      Do they simply not comprehend "maths"? Irrational exuberance, as in the case of stock market booms?

      3) If you came from money (wealthy 1% family) would that change your opinion?

      4) What is your exit strategy, assuming partnership is out of reach?

      5) When did you graduate law school?

    2. My Niece, against my advice, went to U of Chicago Law and is now working big law in NYC. I am surprised that though I live in Florida, she has been able to come home many times...including for her sister's wedding, her cousin's wedding, etc. Something is just not adding up...she started at 180K in NYC..... but she is not working those slave hours you always read about on cites like this. So I conclude that it is very much dependent on who you are working for ..... most firms have got to be savvy enough to know that if they want people to be productive, they also have to give them the time to be away from the office for important and non-important events. All work and no play does not lead to good results anywhere...and most business leaders and presumably law leaders know this..or should.

    3. Wow. What a powerful message at 6:25 p.m. I hope and pray things get better for you.

      And I hope OLs and 1Ls see that even when someone wins by hitting the legal lottery, you loose. And make no mistake: T5 undergraduate in economics, HLS, and V3 is hitting the legal lottery.

      If a T5 economics BA/HLS/V3 says going to law school is the worst mistake he (and I assume it is a he) has made, how are you going to make it with inferior credentials and inferior opportunities?

      Just don't go to law school. And get out now if you are in law school.

  13. 6.25 pm Your position with regard to a stable career with good earnings and interesting work is probably pretty good right now.

    The hours are horrible at your law firm because it is so well thought of. That firm is unusual because it has such a steady flow of deals. Drop down to firm number 30 or 50 in the V list and the firm is scrambling to get large deals - there are slower times between deals. It gets a little easier as you get older. Even my partner working at a V10 firm for many years in the corporate area had a life, but did not do M&A.

    Making partner in the corporate or M&A areas at that firm only guarantees that you have a job as long as you are bringing in work. The flip side of it is that it is easy to bring in work in that good a firm, even if your skills at relationship building are not the best.

    There are really a lot of follow on jobs if you are still in your mid-30s. However, in law firms, you need to keep bringing in work. That is much harder as a lawyer drops down to less prestigious law firms.

    The big problem is that an elite education for a lawyer does not in any way guarantee lifetime employment. You are stuck with a specialty that may not be marketable. If your specialty is M&A, that is the most marketable, followed by corporate and securities.

    In house jobs are not secure. It is very hard to get a job as a lawyer after age 50. An elite education does not matter. An in house employer does not care if you went to Harvard or Hofstra.

    If you are lucky, you have stable, well paying employment for a career.

    Harvard does not offer employment statistics for experienced lawyers. The employment statistics are not uniformly good. Pay is often poor outside of big law and employment is unstable. It is easy to end up unemployed for long periods of time, in temporary work or in work that pays no more than the starting salary in big law.

    Medicine is a much better bet today because you have a much higher chance of well paying stable employment for a career than from any of the top law schools.

    1. Good points from 11:22. I would add though that there are alternative careers to medicine. If you just want to make money, there are easier ways to achieve that goal. Far easier to get an MBA and work for a company or to get a STEM degree and work in one of the tech fields. I know a couple of JDs that had to get MBAs to salvage their professional careers and they landed good jobs. If you pursue an MBA, you can have a good job in two years. I know several successful engineers making good money. If you pursue medicine, you have 4 years of school and 2 national board exams similar to the bar (one after your 2nd year and one usually sometime after 3rd year). Med school is hard and time consuming. I worked 14 hour days on my surgery rotation during 3rd year. Then you have 3-7 years of residency and fellowship. After hourly caps were imposed on residency programs, the programs complained that the caps interfered with teaching residents. So now the caps have been eliminated. Residents can be required to pull a 24+ hour shift again. Once you finish residency, you can have a great career. If you want a good lifestyle, specialties like Derm, Rads, and ER allow you to work set schedules without taking call. Hospitalists in Peds or IM work a week on/week off schedule. If you are a hands on person, there are a variety of surgical specialties. Unlike the ordinary lawyer in law, in medicine if you are a physician and you want to teach, you can. Medicine is nothing like law. You can work at a teaching hospital and teach med students and residents. You can also do research. Don’t expect to teach one class, work 5 hours a week, and cash a huge six figure salary like law profs. The teaching hospitals pay a lot less, but they expect you to do the same amount of work seeing patients while training residents and students. In general, the work in medicine is challenging and helping patients is rewarding. Just don’t pursue that path solely for money or a stable career. There is a lot of pain along the way.

  14. I have posted many times on this blog that I would never use my elite college degree to go to my very elite law school knowing what I know today. I had high paying employment as a lawyer until my early 50s. Since then I have had work that is not full time and permanent and is poor paying on an annual basis and at times no work at all because the available jobs were not commutable.

    Big law employs a limited number of lawyers over age 50. It is hard to get and keep an in house job when one is an older lawyer. Mid and smaller law can pay poorly and be unstable, not to mention not needing many of the areas of expertise that lawyers are placed into in big law. Most law firm jobs and many in house jobs have experience limits, so they are simply not open to older lawyers.

    I have run into ethical problems and a problem business model at mid law more than once in my career. Issues like this are much more prevalent in mid-and smaller law that in big law. Once you say no, which you have to do, you are out of a full-time permanent job as a lawyer.

    You have a big problem in law of narrow areas of expertise where there are more people trained in big law than jobs. In medicine, you have a board certification, and that is what the employer wants. In law, jobs require purple squirrel expertise often. Some of the work you are trained to do in big law is simply not needed outside of a small group of large law firms and large corporations. Big law produces an oversupply of lawyers relative to jobs, so many older lawyers end up out of work or in work that is not full-time and permanent.

    Mid and small law will restrict the work you can do and how or whether you can market to prospective clients. That may be a surprise, but the person who controls the business often controls the areas that the lawyers working in that firm are allowed work in and market in.

    What a mistake going to law school! Don't waste your elite college degree on law school. You will probably deeply regret it.

  15. In regards to all this Silicon Valley/California worship that this blog seems to perpetuate, I want to clarify a few things. I want to qualify these claims by stating I actually grew up in the Bay Area and my father is the high level executive of a relatively mid-sized firm doing various information things. There are a few different reasons why the Bay Area remains the #1 place for anything tech related.

    1) The talent. The overwhelming majority of foreign born Indian/Chinese workers come here. I had a family friend who was the school district champion or student of district. He went to Berkeley for Electrical Engineering. Want to hear something funny? The Indian/Chinese kids were doing the first year Berkeley math courses (STEM) when they were 14. People don’t realize that these aren’t the normal Indian/Chinese kids coming over. These are the .01% who are smart enough to do well on a national exam that most people in their country fail. This is why tech companies want the H1B Visa.

    2) Elite universities with elite STEM programs throughout the state. You have Stanford, UCLA, Berkeley, Cal Tech but a lot of people don’t realize that Santa Clara and San Jose State are right here in the Valley too. These schools are competitive programs in their own regard. Accordingly, these elite schools set their students up with internship programs with various big companies that eventually turn into job offers. Why would they fly over to the cold North East where it snows every day when they can just stay in sunny California?

    3) Low crime rates. I grew up in the Bay Area and let me tell you California is expensive for a reason. There is a thing called gentrification. It has happened here and it’s not going away. Most districts here are low crime and have good schools where families want to move to so they can raise their children in peace.

    4) Elite high schools. Look up a lot of the top high schools and you will see that many elite school districts are in the Bay Area with AP and IB programs. To me, the North East focuses on liberal arts and politics whereas California focuses on STEM. This is why California is the future.

    All this aside, what’s great to me about Silicon Valley is it is a pure meritocracy. It doesn’t matter if your great grand-daddy was part of the Skull and Bones at Yale. You can either computer program or you can’t.

    1. All I can say about the Bay area is...from the few times I visited...the traffic really bad as the Northeast or Florida as far as I am concerned....and the cost of living is no big deal I suppose, if you have a great "stem" job with a great income...but most people do not have "stem" abilities...and I don't see how it is at all worth living in the Bay area if there is simply so much struggling just to pay the rent....and honestly, I like San Francisco...but there is nothing so alluring about it that I would sacrifice so much just to be there. I would much rather live in one of the "gentrified" areas of the country that have a far more reasonable standard of each their own.