Tuesday, November 6, 2018

A Tale of Two Feasibility Studies

With the demise of Valpo apparently on the way, it is interesting to reflect on the change of tone between Indiana Tech's feasibility study (ITLS) proposing the need for a law school in 2011 and the Tennessee Higher Education Commission's feasibility study (THEC) denying the need for a law school in 2018.
 
While it is somewhat difficult to draw up a line-by-line comparison between the two studies, as each study chooses to highlight different points, you can certainly hear the difference between a "sales job" on the one hand and a "pragmatic denial" on the other.  This should not be surprising, as hind-sight has proved to be more than 20-20 given the years that have transpired.  While the Law School Cartel has not been completely shaken up, the toll that has been exacted has shown who was swimming naked when the tide did go out, and who is still treading water
 
Here are a few examples:
 
*  Comparing Legal Outcomes
 
 ITLS:
The After the JD Longitudinal study of legal careers sponsored by the American Bar Foundation (ABF) and the NALP Foundation provides encouragement that student loans are a good investment, even for those who take lower-paying jobs when they graduate…[i]t first surveyed them in 2002 and again in 2007…[i]n the 2007 survey, 20 percent of respondents had paid off their loans in the preceding five years, and median debt had fallen by $20,000 to $50,000…[i]t appears that most law students do not pay high law school tuitions seeking a pure economic return on investment.  Rather they see their education as the gateway to meaningful, interesting careers (p.16,17) (data from before the Great Recession but cited by the study in 2011.  Ed.)
 
THEC:

At full (enrollment) capacity, there is roughly a balance between the numbers graduation from law school in Tennessee and project employment opportunities, but: (1) the occupation projections are predicated on “full employment,” which is proven overly optimistic in past cycles, (b) It is not clear that the current 10-year projections on employment of lawyers fully comprehends the impact of disruptive technology, particularly artificial intelligence, on the quantity, nature and location lf legal services work, (c) while the current occupational projects may comprehend the fact that 10 percent of lawyers work past the age of 65, it is less certain how the methodology takes into account legislative initiatives in Tennessee to reduce the need for legal services, such as tort and workers compensation reform (p.4)
 
Already, you can hear the pitch - look, even though its expensive, look at the great results!  Debt isn't so bad after all!  Plus, who can put a price on an interesting career?  Seven years later, the THEC is saying "not so fast, let's look at the data.  There is optimism bias here, past performance does not guarantee future results, and there is market pressure."  
 
More below the fold:

 *  The Need for More Law Student Opportunity
 
ITLS:
Many of these [Indiana] students are likely to a have applied for admission to law schools in Indiana.  Of Indiana residents, 1,901 applied for admission to law school in 2010…[only] 384 ended up attending an in-state school[.]  [I]n the current cycle of decline in law school applications Indiana’s rate of decline has far exceed the national average.  This weakening…may be the result, at least in part, of a lack of opportunity to attend an Indiana law school…[t]he success of Indiana’s law schools nationally appears to be the primary reason so many Indiana residents pursue legal education beyond the state’s boundaries [due to an inability to get in due to competition].  In such situations there appears to be a strong market for a new law school in the state.  Data indicate that is the case in Indiana (p.18,19)
THEC:
A new law school will increase competition for employment opportunities, especially in the middle of the state.  (b) While unemployment among law school graduates has declined since the 2008/09 recession, there are still 7.5 percent of recent graduates from Tennessee Law Schools, likely with student loans, who have been unable to find work 10 months after graduation…(d)  Corporate law jobs generally require experience.  Few corporation hire new graduates into their legal departments,  (i)  Jobs in business or industry employment tend to be categorized as “JD preferred,” not using the full range of knowledge and skills acquired in a JD degree. (p.4)
Clearly, people aren't going to law school because people just can't get in!  The schools are just too darn selective!  Seven years later, the THEC is saying "yet another law school is just going to add to an already saturated market and increase completion for the few opportunities that are there."  Plus, look at that dig at "JD Preferred," the also-ran of the law school enterprise - ouch!
 
*  Defending Liberty/Pursuing Justice
 
ITLS:
Leadership theory and practice could provide a key to building a distinctive program at Indiana Tech…[the school] possesses unusual positioning with respect to leadership education, offering both a master’s degree in organization leadership and a Ph.D. in global leadership…it should be possible for…students to obtain joint JD-MSOL degrees in three years[.] (p.33)

THEC:
Access to justice is an important mission and initiative but hard to make economically viable without increases in federal funding or massive increases in state funding to make the economics work.  (p.4)
Indiana Tech didn't really have much to say about the liberty/justice angle as a motivation, but they did go into why a law school could partner with other aspects of the university in order to leverage leadership skills for the future.  Seven years later, contrast this with the notion of "access is important, but any call for access without a commitment to significant funding is very likely going to fail."  Sounds like everyone needs to have some skin in this game in order for this to be a success,  rather than just saying, "oh, a bunch of indebted young people should just, you know, go meet this need pro bono."
There are many, many more examples, but this is but a small representative sample. One could cynically say that the THEC is engaging in its own form of protectionism in denying Valpo's transfer, and no doubt there is some truth to that.  But it also sounds like the scambloggers somehow got hold of the THEC - they are saying things that we here at OTLSS and other places have been saying for years!  Or the legal landscape has indeed morphed in such a way that it has become apparent that the scambloggers were indeed telling the truth.  It is easier to tell the truth when your economic interests are not directly tied to the truth, I guess.
Law School is an option for some, but not for all.  And that is not an assessment based on snobbery, it is based on practical reality.  0Ls, don't make a rash choice - it's amazing what a difference a few years makes.

 




 

47 comments:

  1. —— [i]t appears that most law students do not pay high law school tuitions seeking a pure economic return on investment.

    That statement is true but silly. Of course most law students do not have only money ("a pure economic return") in mind. But that trivial observation is being twisted here to create the impression that "high law school tuitions" with poor "economic" results are acceptable and to support the creation of yet another toilet law school.

    The motives of law students are not the only consideration when it is the public that pays most of the cost of their stupid decision to attend an Indiana Tech.

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  2. Indiana Tech never stopped claiming to serve the entire state of Indiana. Realistically speaking, however, its target market wasn't much bigger than the Fort Wayne area. Indiana Tech could have drawn students more easily from nearby Van Wert, Ohio, than from Evansville, Indiana (on the other side of the state).

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  3. Now supposedly élite Northwestern, of the "T14" (and the bottom part of Old Guy's Tier 3), is making cuts because of a "challenging financial position":

    https://www.law.com/2018/11/05/northwestern-law-dean-cites-schools-difficult-time-as-reason-for-faculty-cuts/

    Not even a quarter of a billion in donations over the past four years has been enough to sustain Chicago-based Northwestern. Admittedly a lot of that money is available for designated purposes only and cannot be spent on general outlays for, say, outlandishly fancy salaries and benefits. Still, a quarter of a billion is a hell of a lot.

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  4. The Northwestern situation says to me that students need substantial financial incentives to attend even the top law schools.. With these hefty financial incentives, law schools cannot support their current level of spending. It says that at least some smart people are getting the message that law is likely to be a very poor choice of a career, even if you are very, very well credentialed. The financial issues must be rearing their heads at every law school.

    The real problem in terms of legal education is that the Bureau of Labor Statistics does an extremely poor job of enlightening prospective law students as to how bad the experienced legal job market is, even for graduates of the top law schools. You wouldn’t know that most minorities are out of a legal job and career - not voluntarily so - just a few years out of a top law school and that you can be stuck begging for temp work for more than a decade while you are middle aged with a Harvard Law degree, an Ivy League undergrad degree and years of blue chip experience, even if you are a tall, handsome white male. It is so much harder if you are not. Relatively few women lawyers in their mid-50s and older have, or are able to get, full-time permanent jobs that take them into their mid or late 60s. You still have BLS publishing the 3% unemployment rate and saying the job market is “competitive”. That does not tell most people that you have a minute chance of working in a full-time permanent legal job to age 65 or anything close to that age with a U Va or NYU or similar law degree. Unreduced Social Security starts at age 70.

    It is very unfortunate, because most people who attend Northwestern Law will regret it. The jobs are not there. It really seems that you have just over 600,000 jobs for 1.33 million lawyers and that the self-employed jobs, which are not supposed to include partners in establishment law firms, are a black hole of un and underemployment at pretty low rates of pay and maybe no pay at all.

    At least some people are running away from law schools and saving their own lives.

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    1. Tuition at "prestigious" Northwestern is now over $62k per year, not counting living expenses (high in Chicago). Last year 54% of the students paid more than half of that amount, including the 22% that paid it all.

      Admittedly that's not half so bad as paying $50k per year (plus even higher living expenses) for dying über-toilet Thomas Jefferson, where half of the class is unemployed after ten months and 20% more is employed part time, temporarily, or in "business" or questionable local clerkships. But it's still a hell of a lot to spend, let alone to borrow, for a degree that, as you said, is likely to cause regret.

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    2. just to put that tuition in perspective...University of Miami Tuition...for an undergraduate degree from a non-elite University is 45,724 USD. In many cases...the more expensive the tuition, the more the perceived prestige of the School....the point is a university education is overpriced everywhere these days...even the public universities...last year I believe Penn-State charged tuition of about 19K in tuition...for the privilege of sitting in large lecture halls with hundreds of other students. Higher education is now a racket in the USA...so what else is new.

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  5. Indiana Tech's feasibility study is to law school sustainability just as the Warren Report is to a correct accounting of the JFK assassination. What a joke. I suspect that the faculty at the law school were well-meaning, but the central administration was utterly clueless.

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    1. No doubt some people, who really wanted to be law professors as a career choice, looked at ITLS and said, "well, here is an opportunity to do what I want to do." In some respects, that is no different that anyone else.

      But many, many profs knew the straight dope, to say nothing of the various administrations who could probably rival Wall Street in their ability to package underperformance. They might as well have been selling crap-level traunches of student-loan-backed securities to their own students, for all the good the students received.

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  6. I saw Old Guy's taillights and followed them here, putting chocks in back of the wheels to keep the dream machine from rolling backward on the handicapped ramp due to non-functioning parking brakes.
    Never saw the ITLS study, but from the clips here it looks written either by a PR hack or by someone whose six-figure salary severely depends on getting good enrollment figures.
    If Northwestern is in $$$ trouble, then every law school must be. So, if the Feds end the GradPLUS program or at least put limits on new loans (fat chance, huh!), it won't be just the bottom-feeders going out with a crash and boom.

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    1. It used to be that universities wanted a law school because it was a cash cow. High tuitions could be charged, but the expenses were low because it did not have the costs that come with medical schools and science programs, with expensive labs and supplies.

      The cash cow model seems to be failing, and I think the elephant in the room is the ABA requirement to have bricks and mortar law library, stocked to the gills with hard copy legal publications: regional reporters, state reporters federal reporters, US statutes, US Code, state statues, state codes, federal register, federal regulations, state regulations, CJS, Shepards, pocket parts, Law Reviews, etc.

      Whether the law school has 50 students or 1000 students, the ABA requires that these materials be on hand.

      With the downsizing of law schools, it seems the era of the law school as cash cow is ending.

      I only see two areas for opportunities for law schools to grow: One ABA and one non ABA. The ABA route would be for state universities to acquire struggling law schools. A state would be able to subsidize the expenses of the school. Politicians are unconcerned with the economics of their actions and would only be motivated by the perceived prestige in adding another law school to the state higher education portfolio.

      The non ABA route would be for either non ABA profit or non profit schools to open. Free of the ABA requirements and by maintaining virtual law libraries, expenses would be far lower and tuitions would be a fraction of that of the ABA schools. If the state did not recognize such schools, political pressure to do so could be brought about by emphasizing the service offered to those less able to pay.

      I don't think that there will be much expansion in the law school industry in any case, but if there is this is where it would be.

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    2. The cost of assembling and maintaining a library does make it difficult to start a law school. But the greatest operating expense, far and away, is personnel. Even if the cost of providing a library were reduced unrealistically to zero, the bloated staff of overpaid profe$$ors and bureaucrats would still keep the cost of running a law school unreasonably high.

      Even a tiny law school (unless it is closing, like Valpo) has to offer enough courses for three cohorts of full-time students. That requires a considerable number of instructors—and the ABA calls for full-time professors, not just adjuncts.

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    3. I don't often side with the ABA but I will note here that 7:30 a.m.'s non-ABA idea concerns me. Most states require a master's degree for public school teacher tenure. This has lead to a new kind of cash cow, colleges looking to raise easy money setting up remote programs closer to population centers, renting some space and hiring no-benefits adjuncts that award everybody-gets-a-trophy diplomas that owe more to sheep dip than sheepskins. Plenty of ABA accredited toilets are admitting people who will never pass a bar exam. All 7:30's model does is leave some lemmings with less debt for their worthless degree. Who is served by creating more such programs?

      Mostly it will be "parent" schools to whom any profit is found money. It will not be the students, many of whom will be from the cohort of people who at present cannot get into any law school.

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    4. Indeed, the standards of this "profession" should be raised, not lowered. I'm inclined to introduce an exam in Latin, if only to keep the toileteers out.

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  7. Unrelated but important topic-when can temp work help you and when is it a trap. Elite law graduates who have big law experience are now being offered substantive temp work at $50 to $65 an hour in the most expensive US cities. Given that it can take 6 months or more of unemployment for the lawyer to land the temp job and that the jobs often last only a few weeks, does temp work make sense? It is likely that after the temp work ends, the lawyer will be looking for work for another several months.. Do the math - working for only a few months a year at these rates will produce an annual income of $25,000 to $30,000. For anyone who wants full time work as a lawyer, temp work may make little sense unless the job is longer term or has the possibility of becoming permanent.

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    1. That is a very disturbing post. Are elite law school grads with big law firm experience now taking temporary positions? $50 per hour is actually what some public defender's office pay "panel attorneys" to handle cases for them, usually where there are co-defendants and the PD's office must "panel out" one of the cases because it cannot ethically represent both parties. If things are now so bad that elite law school grads with big firm experience are earning $50 an hour doing temporary jobs, then frankly the law school scam looks to me like a criminal enterprise. Respectfully, can you cite any sources for what you are saying? It sounds both credible and shocking to this attorney.

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    2. Yes, elite law school grads and former big law attorneys who worked alongside elite law school grads are taking temporary work. The rate of pay in NYC for a former Sullivan & Cromwell associate in many of these jobs is $50 to $65 an hour for substantive (read interesting, real legal work).

      Yes, elite law graduates often have extreme difficulty working when they hit age 50 or so. It is worse for women than men, but affects both sexes. For African American lawyers, the trouble often starts much, much earlier. I am white, but have witnessed horrible racial discrimination in my many years in big law - it is unbelievable that this is allowed to occur.

      This is not new. My Yale Law School colleague who was a handsome white male partner in a regional firm had to resort to temporary work for the rest of his career after his law firm imploded more than 20 years ago. The valedictorian of my high school school class, a pretty woman, was unemployed several years after Harvard Law , big law and an in house job that imploded, I believe never to work again as a lawyer, while trying hard to recover her career.

      The supply demand numbers are so out of whack for lawyers that an elite law degree may mean years of unemployment for even the middle aged. I know countless lawyers with elite backgrounds that spent years unemployed. My Harvard colleague who was a former general counsel spent more than a decade in temporary work, although probably earning more like the first year associate going rate. You can bet that guy spent years sometimes between gigs.

      I know countless examples of elite law graduates with elite career histories who have had and are still having long periods out of work. There are so many of these people on the market that employers can get an elite law school graduate, at least for a six month gig, at $60 an hour in New York City.

      The older women elite law graduates that I meet at CLEs are desperate -- no one will hire them. Their law schools have 98% placement for new grads, and these women, who have excellent experience and a practice area expertise, find that no one is interested in hiring them. I am talking over 500 job applications that the lawyer is qualified for over a period of say three plus years and no job with that elite law degree.

      If you need the money or your time out of work is simply getting much too long, temp work may be the only option. JD preferred is very hard to get at this stage - not really an option.

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    3. The problem is that this is not the medical profession where there is a healthy demand for new and not so new doctors at rates of more than $100 an hour -sometimes $200 an hour for even non-competitive specialties. One of my close relatives is a new doctor and even in big cities, work for that relative is plentiful and extremely lucrative. There are lots of temp gigs and opportunities to do extra shifts at high rates of pay.

      In law, the job market is really tough. More than a few elite law graduates are not getting ANY work for months and even years of job searching because of the supply demand imbalance. Harvard Law, that includes you, and every other US law school lower on the food chain.

      Even the temp work, and I am not talking doc review, is hard to get and very competitive. There are long stretches between jobs if you are more than 10 years out of law school. The experience limits on many open legal jobs, which are lawful, or at least not unlawful anywhere in the US, put most lawyers into competition for a relatively small percentage of the open lawyer jobs (and for a small number of lawyer jobs relative to the number of lawyers seeking those jobs.)

      If you are less than 7 years out of law school with an elite degree, you meet the qualifications for most or many lawyer jobs, so it will be easier to find something, After that, you have at best 75% of the lawyers eligible for 35% of the jobs, based on experience limits in open lawyer jobs. If you want to work as a lawyer, your only option with that elite law degree may be temp work at $50 to $65 an hour. That work is hard to come by.

      I see based on the people I know. I don't have statistics. However, looking at my elite law school alumni directory and the alumni directories of other elite law schools that I have access to, it is very hit or miss as to whether the top law degrees work out long term.

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    4. The other thing is that big law is probably discarding about 6,000 people a year. When this goes on year after year, you have potentially more than 200,000 lawyers in the job market with big law credentials. Not everyone is looking for a job, but the pool of ex big law lawyers is substantial. The big law credential is no longer elite. It is a minimum for many lawyer jobs.

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    5. Jeez, 5:03, been ages since we've heard you on your women and minorities soap box. This is not rocket science. The basic truths:

      There are two tracks in non-government work, private practice and in-house.

      In private practice anyone with a solid book of business has nothing to worry about. If your career plan is to be fed work by rainmakers then you are effectively worthless. There are plenty who can replace you and do the same quality of work. If clients don't use women and minorities because they are women and minorities that is the fault of the clients, not the firm. Try landing clients by telling them they are racists and see how that works for you.

      Most in-house people became in-house right out of school or before or at the time of partnership consideration in private practice. But no in-house lawyer has a book of business so you are totally dependent upon your supervisors and employer. At some point almost all in-house folk max out on legal skills and the only ones who are partially safe then are those who are good mangers of other people, but there are still no guarantees.

      Nobody owes you anything in life. The best careers are in sales or other areas where at 5:00 every day you can say in dollars and cents what you did for your employer. Paper shufflers are expendable, and many if not most lawyers end up being paper shufflers.

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    6. Yes, it's a goddamn disaster. With my degree from an élite law school, I've been in and out of jobs: five in the past three years, with lengthy periods of unemployment in between. The problem is not the quality or quantity of my work; it's that I get stuck with temporary jobs or else positions in small firms that end up failing financially.

      I don't know what to do now. I'm unemployed again. Someone told me recently that I've just had a stroke of bad luck. Not true: my age has kept me out of jobs in more stable firms or government agencies, and the few organizations that will consider me tend to be unstable.

      I'm too old to change lines of work again, and anyway I'd be afraid of being caught in another discriminatory trap. I no longer want to practice law, but what else can I do?

      I despair of any solution.

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    7. I see all these articles that english and humanities majors are in hot demand for their writing and communication skills. Yet law grads are damaged goods. What gives?

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    8. Just to expound on 5:32’s comment above, there are a number of reasons why medical professionals have great careers while lawyers are struggling. I do not know anything about working in law. I graduated unemployed from a toilet law school. I never had a legal career. Every possible employer rejected me – big law, small law, prosecutor offices, public defender offices, and government. This was several years before the great recession when the legal market was supposedly booming. So I went to medical school.

      The cap on residency positions plays a large role in maintaining the demand for doctors. The federal government funds residency programs and Congress has shown no interest in significantly increasing the funding. So there are not enough doctors graduating residency every year. Now compare the healthcare industry to law. There is a limited number of new legal jobs every year. And the Biglaw jobs are really temporary jobs because only a small fraction eventually make partner. But that hasn’t stopped law schools from churning out tens of thousands of more grads than jobs available every year. There is nothing stopping U.S. medical schools from churning out more grads than residency positions. In fact, with Caribbean grads, there are more residency applicants than positions available. But U.S. medical schools have protected their students and limited the number of U.S. grads every year. The residency programs prefer U.S. grads over Caribbean grads and U.S. grads typically have a 90%+ match rate. The U.S. grads who fail to match are usually seeking out highly competitive specialties like Derm or Ortho.

      Also, the healthcare industry continues to expand while the legal industry has contracted. If you look at the BEA real GDP by industry data, the legal profession has contracted over the last 20 years. With mandatory arbitration agreements in almost every contract these days, there is significantly less need for lawyers. Technology is also eliminating lawyer tasks, such as research and document review. Whereas in healthcare, technology is expanding opportunities, such as minimally invasive surgery. A AAA repair that a vascular surgeon might deem too risky to perform in an elderly patient could be treated through a minimally invasive surgery by an interventional radiologist.

      The platitudes that law professors regurgitate to lemmings actually is true in health care. There is a shortage of providers in rural areas because most physicians would rather practice in urban or suburban areas. So if you are a physician and you move to Nebraska, as that law prof told her students, you would have a great opportunity to serve an underserved population and earn significantly more money. Law profs claim students working temp jobs preferred those jobs to permanent jobs for the “flexibility.” In healthcare, there are physicians that take locum jobs because they pay allows them to take time off between jobs. They aren’t taking the temp job because they can’t find full time work like in the legal profession.

      I don’t know how many lemmings still read the scam blogs these days. Not too many comment on here anymore. But if you are reading this, think long and hard about law school. I am double state school graduate (went to a private toilet law school). I know physicians that graduated from Caribbean schools and are very successful. They are practicing in some of the more competitive specialties, like Cardiology, GI, and Rads. There are people that comment on this blog that are far smarter. They are double Ivys and they are struggling to work in the legal profession. Why would you enter a stagnant industry with an oversupply of workers?

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    9. Excellent post. Thank you for posting this.

      For the benefit of anyone reading this who is young enough to make a switch, please describe your path to medical school - post bac full-time or part-time, or you took the pre-med classes in college, who long it took to get to med school and at what cost, how your record was good enough for state medical school and whether your degree is MD or DO. Please address pros and cons of a DO degree over a law degree in terms of job placement and security if that is your degree.

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  8. The problem, Old Guy, is that you are a victim of age discrimination, which is one of the many forms of discrimination (e.g. gender, race, mental health) that exist in law firm and law faculty hiring. These people represent themselves as inclusive champions of diversity and social justice, yet they engage in precisely the intolerance and exclusiveness that they condemn. What they really want is a young associate that they can work to death to increase their share of the partners' profits. As Oscar Wilde said, "morality is simply the attitude we adopt towards people whom we personally dislike."

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  9. 7:25 Really, you believe that it is fine for the law school scam to take down hundreds of thousands of good people and that only one person has ever made comments about women and minorities on this blog? None of this is a problem in health care and it would not be a problem in law if the number of entrants to the profession matched the demand for lawyers in the U.S.

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    1. 7:25 here. Where did I say that what law schools do is acceptable? Work on that reading comprehension. As to oversupply, no shit, Sherlock. As to women and minorities I once watched a tall, handsome, wife-named-Muffy, right prep school, college law school associate shown the door in biglaw while they retained a lesbian, Hispanic daughter of a semi-skilled tradesman. Love it or hate it the private practice of law is a brutal meritocracy. If it's bad for women and minorities it isn't necessarily discrimination. There's a big difference between guaranteed opportunity and guaranteed outcomes. The latter does not exist in a strict meritocracy. I've seen women pull out of private practice because they prioritized motherhood and then have a hard time catching up or even getting back on the train. If that happened to a man who wanted to spend time with his children no one would call it discrimination.

      The problem with most lemmings is that they don't get any of this. Get a teacher's certificate and get on the union pay scale, that's the way they see the world. They think three years and a piece of paper guarantees an outcome and it doesn't. Some of the biggest idiots I've ever known have degrees from top univesities.

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    2. 7:25. you are too young to get it. Once you hit over age 52 or so, the legal world is mostly white men in full-time permanent jobs. The women at that age are few and far between in full-time permanent jobs and minorities of that age almost non-existent. This presents an employment problem. It is one thing not to be promoted. It is a horse of a different color not to be able to work for the last many years of what a lawyer hoped to be their career.

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  10. If it were me, Old Guy, I would look high and low at going back to whatever you did before law school and see if the law degree can get you a higher level job in that field- say administrative or managerial. If you were in education or health care, maybe you could be manager or administrator or one step removed with your law degree.

    Failing that, and this may not be a great option because of your age and the cost, you might take a bootcamp in computer programming or data science, but only after doing some due diligence on job placement and longevity of jobs in these areas . It sure looks like those fields are growing fast and have more open jobs than law. A law degree is very helpful to many of these jobs. Some of the bootcamps can be done after work and on weekends and some are full-time for maybe 14 weeks. You may be looking at $15,000 average cost for this.

    It does not make sense to keep doing short-term temp work in law when a person right out of college earns $50,000 a year on average, or even more in a big city for a public school teacher job, and gets benefits on top of that. You have to get out of the temp market and at some point say you have had enough. Because the legal job market is so bad, maybe it is three years and maybe five that is the limit, but maybe you finally get luckier and that full-time permanent lawyer job is just around the corner. It is a roll of the dice, so start plan B which is looking in the area you worked before law school.

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    1. Unless Old Guy has managerial experience, companies are unlikely to put him in one on the basis of the law degree alone. And they won't put him in a staff level position either due to his age. Companies, have found clever ways to get around age discrimination, usually by poking holes in the skills sets areas.

      For someone, who has considered a managerial level position, but has been unable to land one, I have reached the conclusion that the only way to get into management, is to be promoted from within. Then, you can consider jumping to another company in management. No company is going to make a stranger a manager without previous experience.

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  11. I hate to say this, but I am honestly not convinced that all, or even most, of the law school students actively in school in 2018 are in law school because they want to get a good job. If you got a two-year associate's degree in the Nursing field, you could land a job very quickly and easily, perhaps even with a signing bonus. If you studied Nursing for 4 years and considered taking a job while getting a Master's in neo-natology or working as an X-ray technician or something like that you could soon be earning six figures. So when a 2 year degree can immediately land you a well-paying job, but 7 years (4 years college, 3 years law school and then an 2-day Bar Exam) might land you some temporary work...then you have to ask, why are some people willfully spening the better part of a decade earning a degree they can't use? The answer is ego: these law students honestly believe that they are destined for greatness like the lawyers they see on television shows (Suits, Law & Order, etc.) They aren't pursuing jobs that aren't there: they are fulfilling their own ego, and their desire for the prestige of being able to tell the world "I'm a lawyer". So, it is hard for me to feel sorry for them. And yes, lying law professors and law schools that promise great jobs in the fields of Space Law, Sports Law, and Museum Law (I honestly saw that advertised by a law school online). . .yes, those professors are part of the con game. . . but again, they are fooling people who want to be fooled.

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    1. Not true that people are purposely failing. The ongoing employment outcomes for lawyers are much, much worse than the first year outcomes, but the truth about this is hidden from any prospective law student. How do you find this out except by going through it? Notice the shock of 1:26 PM above that an elite law degree can only land the holder $50 an hour for temp work.

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    2. Well. . .actually, first-year outcomes for many new law school graduates involve failing the bar and or failing to secure full time legal employment entirely. So I'm not sure that the outcomes for long term lawyers are better than they are for first years.

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    3. Now, as to why people go to Law School. . .smart people who want to get good jobs right away and earn good incomes go into practical fields, and accomplish these goals. Again, a 2 year nursing degree will likely get you a good well paying job with much more ease and less effort than 7 years of college, law school, and a bar exam. Silly people with more egos than brains fall prey to Confirmation Bias AKA Wishful Thinking. Smart, seasoned individuals know, that in 2018, when a Law School promises exciting careers in Space Law, Sports Law, International Law etc. that they are full of it. Even the dullest law student should know, by the beginning of the second semester that only the top 10 percent of the class, and preferably those who were both top ten percent and on the Law Review, are going to be offered high-paying high-status jobs with big firms. So why, seeing that they have made a very poor bet, would they persist for an entire, expensive, excruciating 3 years and a challenging 2-day Bar Exam only to end up with no job and deep debt? Why not drop out early and go into a field that actually hires people? Not to be cruel, but when law students are turned away and told you can't work for free at a law firm or government agency, because too many people have already applied for unpaid internships--when you realize no one wants your work product even free of charge, that maybe, just maybe, you have made a bad decision that will devastate your future?

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    4. I think many go to law school because there is no where else to go. They majored in a humanities or social sciences because it played to their strengths, not their weaknesses which for many were Math and Science - STEM. Once finished with the undergrad liberal arts degree, the only options are graduate education in their field, which will probably be a dead end, law school or business school. For undergrad business majors, the only options are law school or business school. I think most of these kinds of students would love to be proficient in the STEM fields, but either perceive themselves not to be, or are in reality not. I myself would love to be an electrical engineer, but it's not in me. Perhaps, some should take your advice, to try the 2 year Nursing program at the outset, and see if it works out.

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    5. I see your thinking. No, most people are not capable of becoming electrical engineers or medical doctors or rocket scientists. Even most people with well above-average IQ's who study hard. That said, burying oneself in debt earning a worthless undergraduate degree should not lead one to conclude that the smart move is to go much deeper in debt pursuing another worthless degree. I honestly think that for many, if not most, the poor decision to go to law school is ego-driven. Why would anyone with a brain believe the nonsense law school are peddling to would-be applicants unless they truly wanted to believe it? I actually know a guy who went to college and law school a number of years ago, he graduated law school and had trouble finding a job. Finally a private lawyer interviewed him, and made it very clear that 10-12 hour days would be the norm, and that he was absolutely required to come into the office and work every Saturday, and the pay wasn't much. He decided not to take the job, and the employer said he figured as much, and that was OK, because there would be lots of other applicants. The guy walked away from the law entirely, went into Information Technology, and never looked back. He said he absolutely could have worked as a lawyer, for very long hours and miserable pay, and that didn't make sense to him. I really, really wish that there was a way to warn young people considering law school that hey, graduate with top grades from Georgetown, and you might just get hired as an Assistant Public Defender in the most violent city in America (true story, true outcome for a Georgetown grad I know). I find it very sad that people watch Suits and similar TV shows and decide that they, too, can be great lawyers. Finally, I do not believe the government can "loan" billions of dollars to millions of students who will never pay it back forever. None of it makes any sense to me. . .

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    6. Many people in my baby boomer generation went to law school because of the information gap. Lots of people in the top law schools could easily have become doctors. They had high grades in all subjects and high test scores in all subjects. Today it still looks like the top law schools are a good deal because of the high first year employment statistics. It is bait and switch later on but prospective law students do not know that. Would bet that many able people are foregoing better opportunities through ignorance even today.

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  12. There is a lot of bologna, chicanery and dishonesty built into modern law schools. In my experience grades matter for the top ten percent of the class, and for no one else. Only one journal matters in any law school, and that is the Law Review. Law students earnestly post online about how while they aren't in the top ten percent of the class, and aren't on the Law Review, they're in the top one third and write for the Environmental Law Journal, so that's pretty much the same thing, right? Seriously? Call a big white-shoe law firm or try to get a Federal Clerkship by saying you're ranked in the 66th percentile of your class and you write for an Environmental Journal and see what happens. Go ahead. But again, law schools are fooling people who desperately want to be fooled. . .shame on them. . .

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  13. My daughter graduated with a B.S. (the degree) communications degree from a public university this past Summer. No debt. She has a "temporary" job making about $16.00 per hour but is concerned about the lack of decent wages in her field and is considering going to Grad or Law School or even for an MBA. I'm thinking maybe instead she should just go to a community college and pick up some sort of technical degree in some sort of health field or even go to Nursing School. Health seems the way to go giving the aging of America. I know you all recommend against Law...any opinions about MBAs..or are they pretty much in the same boat?

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    1. There is a glut of MBAs too, but an MBA would probably be better choice than law school. The program is shorter. 1 1/2 to 2 years full time and almost always less expensive. There are more part time programs available as well and these are less burdensome than the part time law programs that exist. Importantly, the job seeking MBA doesn't carry the stigma or create the confusion that comes with the failed lawyer either. Many programs allow the student to concentrate in areas such as accounting, finance, marketing, MIS, etc. and many have MS programs in these majors as well. You might want to research the strength of the career placement in that the entry level job experience is crucial. Communications, I would think would be a good match if your daughter wants to go into a business field.

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  14. With all due respect, is Old Guy Really Paul Campos? At least 1/4 of the comments and soon to be most of the Posts on OLSS are from the zealous Old Guy. Maybe the old guy is not Campos but for a guy not all that old Old Guy really has an axe to grind and well does he grind it. Holy Crap!!!! Roll out the red carpet for Old Guy and the devil take the hindmost ladies and gentlemen.

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  15. As for Touro and the below 50% Bar Pass in NY, I seem to recall there being a number of New Jersey residents at the school and given the standards for admission into the relative few NJ law schools, Touro provided a valuable service in admitting and qualifying for the Bar and whaty with the NJ Bar being somewhat easier than NY in passing. I could be completely wrong about all of this but I thought I'd share the speculations. So maybe NY Bar passage is not all that relevant for ABA or AALS accreditation? The foregoing is all myth and fantasy of course and loses in any argumentative sense and not worthy of publication here really so why even read this comment?

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  16. Human resources is good and does not require another degree to get a job after a BA. It involves networking, joining relevant organizations and going to their meetings and maybe taking some online or in person pretty brief courses in the future to gain new skills in the area. Human resources communications in a big company would be ideal.

    Physician Assistant or nurse practitioner may require a lot of time consuming, expensive education for her.

    For someone who is good in math or enjoys it, learn computer science or data science - there are 15- week bootcamps, but she needs to check employment outcomes.

    MBA is not a good idea if not from one of the top 10 schools or so. MBA is very expensive and no longer perceived as valuable unless it is from one of the top B schools. Even from a top 10 school, you need work experience and the cost of the degree may not be worth it.

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  17. Just to be clear, a full-time permanent job for your daughter that requires a BA should pay a lot more than $16 an hour. Maybe if you are in a low cost area, the rate you are talking about is not awful, but in a big city on the east or west coast, the rate is awful.

    This is a case where your daughter needs to spend a lot more time looking for a job and networking. It is only November and maybe she has only been at the job for two months, but they should be converting her to permanent employment at a higher rate of pay plus benefits quickly. She needs to express her wish for a permanent job and ask what the prospects are. If not, this is the time for her to look and network like crazy - before the next college class graduates.

    Her failure to look hard should not be a reason to go to graduate school. It makes little sense to go to graduate school at this point if she has not anywhere near exhausted the opportunities she could get from her BA.

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    1. Great post. I earned a History degree in college decades ago, and not from a top-flight school either. I planned to go to law school, did well on the LSAT, and got into several good schools back in 1992 when tuition was a lot lower and there were jobs for most new lawyers. I did Army ROTC as a back-up plan in case I didn't get into a good law school (and served in the Reserve, earning good money for weekend month/two weeks year and got GI Bill money for it when I was in law school, so it was still a good plan). I am not saying this to toot my own horn. I am saying that there are ways to get a lot out of a degree that seems worthless, like history or communications if you 1) get very good grades 2) score highly on the LSAT/GRE etc. and 3) have back-up plans like ROTC. The military could not care less what your major is, or what your grades are either if you are not a scholarship cadet, but they generally won't Commission you as an Officer until/unless you get your Bachelor's degree. . .and respectfully to all, Lieutenants and Captains and so forth make much more than 16.00 an hour, especially if they serve in the Reserve or National Guard.

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  18. OK. . .well. . .if your daughter has earned a 4 year degree, that was probably quite expensive, and it has failed to help her get a job that pays more than what she could have gotten with a high school education. . .then, respectfully, why would she or you think that getting another expensive degree would be wise? I once represented a young female Dental Hygenist who earned much more than most lawyers with less than 5 years of experience. . .she spent 24 months learning how to clean teeth and was immediately hired full time great pay and benefits. . .there are truck drivers who earn 6 figures, X-ray technicians, car mechanics. . .I would respectfully argue that a Grad School Degree, a Law Degree, or an MBA would again lead her to 16.00 per hour "temporary" work. I do not mean to demean or belittle you or her, we were all young and starting out in the work force once, but law/Business School/General graduate school does not seem wise in 2018.

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  19. Maybe this bit of Journalism expresses or at least shares a little about the heart of the matter and/or the very premise of this blog. Of course Subprime JD (SJD) has been commenting for quite a while by now and one has to wonder if the efforts of SJD have made any difference at all? Maybe. Maybe so. Maybe in the secret hearts of the law school professoriate who kind of hold their noses while taking the student loan income for a livelihood while not able to quite forget the decades of inescapable debt some of their former students are suffering under.

    So who pays attention to think tanks and advisorial conclusions anyway? Do I? Do you? Should Congress? Should a young kid who goes to Harvard be thrust into an all knowing policy influencing position? Sounds like a plum job.

    The beneficiaries of the student lending system can sit back and call their vague musings a "café" but when the practical reality of lending out money to students who will not be able to ever pay it back I'm sure the faculties will have to start laying people off after the reality of the gravy train of government subsidies for education cannot continue.

    We are years away from this bubble becoming an issue, politically speaking so why worry now? Two trillion of student debt is coming and maybe more but lets just wake up every morning and read the CNN news and then read the Fox news and figure out how the academics in the law school café got so arrogant and rich and the students so damn financially ruined and poor for well nigh the rest of their natural lives. I identify nothing new really since this situation has been known about for quite a long while.

    https://www.marketwatch.com/story/americas-15-trillion-student-debt-is-a-failed-social-experiment-2018-10-16



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    1. thanks for the advice. I copied the posts and sent to her. I'm not sure that her 16 per hour job is all that unusual for recent communications majors. After all...that is a pretty generic degree without any sort of specialization. I do think she should work towards Human Resources..and I am suggesting to her she pick up a skill that might help her have a leg up...maybe become an expert on health insurance, or retiremant plans....or something so that employers will take notice. I also recommended she try an accounting and finance course at the local community college before she goes in for an MBA...which I suspect she might hate....but it is tough out there for the non stem majors without any particular skills...so . . .

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