Wednesday, December 26, 2018

A New Year Approaches, With Increased Applicant Rates

As discussed previously, LSAC's new and improved data reporting comes on the heels of a significant increase in applicants for 2019, some 15% more compared to this time last year.

For those who care about the legal landscape, the current market, or the fate of future students, this is difficult to see as anything but troubling news.  For the Cartel, happy times are seemingly here again, as we are seeing data that goes back nearly to 2012, compared to the nadir of 2014-2015.

As per usual, the Cartel seems to miss the overall point - people are attending law school for laudable but unrealistic reasons for the most part.  And rather that discussing what is realistic (e.g. how many lawyers can the economy support), the conversation goes sideways into notions of the way things "ought to be":

Data show that large numbers of students entering law school say that they hope to work in the public interest, but then end up working for large firms instead — though debate rages about when precisely they defect and why. Debt burden is one explanation, but informal expectation and institutional pressures are probably more to blame. And the realities of this "public-interest drift" fit very poorly with the self-advertised rationales about how legal training in its current form serves social justice.

Debt-burden is the entire explanation, once one is removed from discussions surrounding the first-world problems of Yale or the remainder of the T14.  Whether one is working towards social change or something as pedestrian as merely trying to put food on the table, the "realities" are that we live and move and have our being within a market economy.  State and local government, to say nothing of foundations, are apparently unable to absorb the costs necessary to engage in the desired amount of public-interest work, which in turn asks struggling students to work for free.  While no doubt idealism plays a role, the crushing of said idealism forces many, many law students to do what they have to.  Perhaps if law schools charged less...?

To respond to this disheartening situation, law schools will need to consider how to reset their missions for those students no longer able to suspend disbelief about how their ideals and their training fit together.  The point is not to reorient law schools entirely. Their primary task will always be the production of lawyers for the bar — a core commitment with which other agendas will necessarily fit uncomfortably. Law schools will never be staging grounds for fundamental social change when they are organized to advise private dispute resolution and administer extant forms of public justice.

And a certain amount of hypocrisy and rationalization is the essence of most people’s ethical lives in all times and places, especially when those people are at the top of unjustifiable hierarchies. "The important thing," a moralist once remarked, "is not to be cured, but to live with one’s ailments." Ethically pure law schools are not an option. An age in which American elites have remedied some exclusions while leaving many others intact or even more entrenched, and in which "meritocracy" is a rationalization for unprecedented elite ascendancy, is one we have to inhabit indefinitely. Sure, it is hypocritical when Yale Law students, each and every one of whom chose to enroll because the institution is at the top of the rankings, indict the school’s proximity to power and prestige. But nobody is above hypocrisy.

This is at least a fair indictment of the situation.  We of the scamblog movement, however, have never "suspend[ed] disbelief about how their ideals and their training fit together."  That fact falls squarely upon the hypocrisy (recently admitted, above, now that it is late 2018) of the Law School Cartel.  In fact, perhaps we scamblogs were too brazenly cynical, but one of the planks of our movement is that law schools have sold pipe-dreams for decades in order to induce a flood of naive students to march to their economic (and perhaps idealistic) doom.  Sadly, the above data reflect the beginnings of a new flood, and I expect we will hear more "tsk, tsk" lamentations not about the fact that the gristmill exists in the first place, but that the gristmill is still not sufficiently social-justice-oriented-enough to allow the Cartel to regard itself in the mirror at night. 

What if the truth of law schools is that their main social function, aside from producing the next round of elites, is that they buy off those who initially doubt that perpetuating elites is what law schools ought to be doing? If law schools faced this haunting question more routinely, they might resolve to demystify the law as a first step to reinvigorating democratic life. This would matter not just for the ethical conundrums of a handful of elites, but also to the country and the world.

A certainly worrying and justifiable conclusion, but I maintain that this hand-wringing pales in comparison to the thousands upon thousands of law graduates bound to modern-day indentured-servitude with few to no prospects.  While this may not occur around the halls of Yale, it occurs on a daily basis at scores and scores of law schools around the country.  Let's address the most egregious aspects of this practice first, and then turn our attention to the "elites" and their practices within the Halls of Power at Yale and Harvard and the social-justice-cooling effects there may be.

"Elites," I note, that are themselves complicit in the detestable practices at said scores and scores of law schools around the country.  The mal-administered "democracy" of the law student applicant cycle appears to begin anew, with Nothing Learned as to its effects or consequences.  0Ls, pay heed.


  1. I wouldn't say that debt is the entire explanation for the tendency of the lucky ones to go into law firms. The quoted article unreasonably suggests that people are choosing law firms over public-interest positions; it even frames this alleged choice as an "ethical" failure. But few students will have the option of public-interest work—unless they are prepared to do it for nothing. People are not greedily turning down offers to save the dolphins in order to do corporate mergers instead; they simply don't get the option of paid work saving dolphins.

    Importantly—and this fact is missing from the quoted text—most of them don't get the option of corporate mergers either. Thousands upon thousands of new graduates, year after year, find themselves with no work at all, in law or otherwise. Many others take jobs far removed in both nature and pay from corporate mergers in Manhattan.

    As Duped Non-Traditional points out, it is the scamsters, including the contemptible ABA, that have enticed gullible 0Ls by touting the fantasy of saving dolphins. Jobs of the dolphin-saving kind are extremely rare, and they hardly ever go to new graduates. Maybe a trust-fund baby from Yale can get one of those jobs, but the typical law student has no chance whatsoever. Any scamster who touts dolphin-saving as a career option is a goddamn liar.

  2. It is crazy for so many people to go to law school. There are only 628,000 lawyer jobs for 1.33 million licensed lawyers in the US. While the total number of lawyer jobs is purportedly 778,000, all of the jobs over the 628,000 are taken from the Bureau of Labor Statistics household survey, which is not particularly reliable. The 628,000 number is supposed to include law firm partners. The household survey is so poorly designed that it may double count law firm partners. So the self-employed number of lawyers outside of establishments is a big black box that may be wildly inaccurate.

  3. I'm sorry, but the main thrust of laws and courts is to protect individuals from the tyranny of the 51%. So yes, law schools probably are "bad for democracy." At least the select few that actually produce working lawyers and judges. All the rest are just plain bad for humanity.

  4. "Data show that large numbers of students entering law school say that they hope to work in the public interest, but then end up working for large firms instead."

    Ah yes, all those of thousands of law school grads being forced to choose Sullivan Cromwell over Amnesty International is such a tragedy. Perhaps the ABA should hold a conference at the Ritz Carlton in Maui where law school administrators can come up with some solutions.

    1. No time for that. That hotel is already reserved for their conference on increasing their salaries and benefits.

  5. I have a daughter who is a first year and a son who will be going to law school next year. With the departure of Baby Boomers through death, retirement or just cutting back, there will be a need for new lawyers. There aren't many places in our economy with rosy job potential. If a twenty-something wants to be a lawyer, God bless them and good luck. If they don't have to accumulate much debt to become a lawyer, they'll be fine.

    1. My generation (X) has been hearing that for 20 years. The Baby Boomers are going nowhere because most are broke and need to work into their retirement years. Even if they do retire, the job left behind is not the one they had but a watered down version of it. If your children are not at YHS and/or on a complete ride to another top 14 school, you may be in for a rude awakening when they need to come live with you because they cannot find a job.

    2. Let me guess: your brilliant children are at Harvard and Yale, right?

      No, of course not. They're probably at some fifth-tier toilet or sixth-tier über-toilet. And I'd bet that they'll be accumulating plenty of debt—non-dischargeable, at high interest.

      As 2:36 said, we of Generation X have been hearing for 20 years that the baby boomers are finally going to retire and open positions up for us. It hasn't happened yet, and we're now in middle age. It's true that the baby boomers will eventually die—with precious little weeping by their biers. But that will take time: the oldest of them are only a bit over 70.

      What is true, however, is that the jobs finally freed up by baby boomers will go to the millennials. We of Generation X will simply be fucked.

      We have addressed before the claim that "there will be a need for new lawyers". The legal profession is actually in decline. Furthermore, there is already an excess of qualified people, and the law schools keep shitting out more and more unneeded graduates. But don't let me disturb your Pollyanna fantasies with rude discussion of the facts. After all, your children are special snowflakes, just because they came out of your loins.

    3. A big part of being successful in law in the past has been being a white male, one that was not too old when he graduated from law school. Another big part of being successful is holding on to the job one got at 25 or 35 until at least age 65, if not age 70. That has something to do with luck- at least as much as the school one went too. It is basically a throw of the dice, EVEN if you do go to Harvard or Yale. So do not tell 0Ls that they are safe going to Harvard or Yale. They are not and would have much more job security in the health professions than in law.

    4. No, indeed, people today are not safe going to Harvard or Yale. I've said over and over again that even Harvard and Yale are bad choices for many people, particularly in light of their price tags (roughly a third of a million dollars each). And it shouldn't be hard to figure out that the other law schools are worse bets still.

    5. Old guy, you're full of shit. People who go to Harvard and Yale, if they actually want to go to law school and be lawyers, will overwhelmingly get lucrative jobs (e.g., Cravath, Skadden, Paul Weiss, or prestigious clerkships). In other words, they won't have the time to personally attack and ridicule professors like you and your friends have done. This blog is a joke. Be careful.

    6. Let us know how long the average law school graduate stays at "Cravath, Skadden, Paul Weiss, or prestigious clerkships."

      The degree of difficulty is far less than it is at a third-tier school, mostly because 200k a year can buy a lot of security, but it's not hard to fall off the victory track and the graveyard is larger than anyone wants to admit.

    7. What's your point? That Harvard and Yale are not worth it? Bullshit. Anyway, I'd guess for the majority, about 3-5 years after which they go to boutique firms with debt paid off and numerous job opportunities. And they have the attributes that most at third and fourth-tier law schools lack: high intelligence, and analytical and writing ability. The schools that aren't worth it are the approximately 75-100 schools who admit marginal students and get preyed upon by second-rate profs who tout the virtues of "experiential education."

    8. As Law School Truth Center has pointed out, those lucrative jobs don't usually last long. Plenty of people will be out within a few years, and they will find it all but impossible to get anything comparably lucrative. Even finding any job at all in law will not be easy. People coming out of a white-shoe law firm after a few years tend to find that they don't know much about the practice of law.

      I have one of those prestigious federal clerkships. You might be surprised to know how few people give a damn.

      I admit that employment for graduates of Harvard and Yale is high, but plenty of graduates are left by the wayside:

      Yes, some of the unemployed from these tony institutions may be lounging on the beach at Saint-Tropez, rather than struggling desperately to put bread on the table. Still, the risk of a bad outcome looms large for those (a minority, of course) who don't come from big money. Consider that Yale and Harvard, if fully financed by non-dischargeable student loans, cost $324k and $365k, respectively—with high, rapidly accruing interest. Harvard's bill, amortized over twenty years (which some might consider a rather long time to pay for three years of law school), comes to almost $3000 per month. If that lucrative job falls through, as it usually does within a few years (all but the tiny minority who make partner are typically shown the door), maintaining those payments will prove to be more than a burden.

      The many who are rich, of course, need not worry about such matters as paying off student loans or making a living. They should feel free to go to Harvard or Yale. Others, however, should think twice.

    9. 8:47 PM:
      Why is this blog a joke? What is your reasoning? In addition, why the defensiveness? Are you offended by the outcomes presented here by even those attending Yale and Harvard? What do we need to be careful of?

      The statistics presented on this blog and at LST do support the comments made here. Where is your evidence that this site is wrong? Please do tell.

    10. The vast, vast, vast majority of Harvard and Yale graduates do fine their entire careers. While it's true most don't stay in Big Law, many leave by choice, lateraling into mid-size firms, boutique firms, federal government positions, in-house counsel or simply leaving the law entirely by choice.

      The debt has been getting higher sure, but law school debt is pretty much the same regardless of ranking, and schools like Harvard and Yale have large endowments so they do often offer discounts. Not too many will pay full freight.

      I am not @8:47 but I have known a lot of Harvard and Yale grads. Along with Stanford, the results are across the board good. Actually I would state that up to around UVA, most people do very well. It's once they get past that, to the UMich and Georgetown and lower ranked schools that problems really manifest. But even then, the majority of people still do pretty well, comparatively to non-law graduates. Yes the absolute bottom of the barrel 4th tier and lawyer there's rarely any success, but the people going to those schools would not have found success at anything.

      These blogs exaggerate bad outcomes. That is why the blogs tend to die out, as the bloggers find success and no longer have an axe to grind or complaints to make. There is some truth to it, but part of it is massive entitlement and this idea of a bar of insane success.

      Just looking at the hard data on wage earnings, the median income is actually $31k. $120k is top 6%. These bloggers have this attitude that they're supposed to start in the top 6% or higher and stay there their entire lives. This is not realistic, there is no way these people are all top 6%. It's time to adjust expectations and get on with life. $65k is in the top 20% and that's a far more reasonable expectation, although even then I truly don't believe all of these law graduates, especially the ones that don't bring in business and very clearly don't have mastery in their field deeper in their careers, are entitled to that.

      I fell prey to unrealistic expectations as a young graduate too. I'm glad to have left that behind. If I can cover my expenses and have a reasonable amount left over, to me that's a comfortable life and all I can ask for. These blogs frankly become ridiculous, constant whining that the writer is not part of the elite 1% and isn't handed it, because they are too lazy to build that type of thing themselves. Nobody is going to hand you vast, exceptional wealth. If you're lucky you're born into it, otherwise you have to be exceptional and make it happen.

      These writers will not do that, and want a pity party when the majority of the US population gets by with less.

    11. Old guy, look at the ABA 509 reports. Harvard and Yale's bar passage and employment rate are outstanding. Yes, careers in biglaw are often short-lived, but HYS grads have an abundance of opportunities after and other than biglaw. As long as these grads want to be lawyers and have the requisite work ethic, they majority will be successful. You should be focused on the third and fourth-tier law schools that saddle students with debt and have awful outcomes. That's where the scam lies.

    12. 9:19 The ABA 509 report covers the jobs of graduates 9 months after graduation and nothing later. The job-related problems of graduates of elite law schools mostly start years after that.

      Law is an up or out profession with class year hiring prevalent in all law firms. That means that a Harvard Law graduate does not meet the requirements for any big law job later on in life absent a large book of business, which few people have. It is shocking, but the doors of big law close to even the most credentialed after several years.

      It is absolutely devastating spending two and a half years on a job search that results in a lousy job when you have a Harvard Law degree with honors and other even more outstanding academic credentials, even if you are a white male. That is what happening over and over again.

      You have tunnel vision, 9:19, because you are only looking at the near end of the tunnel.

      It is only getting worse because the lawyer oversupply gets worse each year.

      Depending when a Harvard Law grad involuntarily falls out of full-time permanent employment as a lawyer, it may or may not be worth it to get that degree. If you involuntarily end up as a lifetime solo right after big law, you probably made a mistake. That actually happened to someone I know, who had nothing wrong with them.

      If you are a white male primary breadwinner and involuntarily end up as a temp for a decade starting in your mid-forties and cannot get out of that position for a dozen years, you probably made a mistake going to Harvard Law. That also happened to someone I know.

      The point is that the post-big law job market is brutal for almost everyone. Just pray you never have to go there after the age of 35.

    13. Anon$ Doing fine is relative to what employees earn in the market where one works. In my market, public employees are simply doing better than most older elite law school graduates I know. Sure, some elite and non-elite lawyers have great, very high paying jobs. Many others are not doing so great. The elites could mostly have had a steady and high income, job security and a fulfilling career going to just about any allopathic medical school in the US. They gave that up, without understanding the choice. Now they are earning less that a 20 year public employee in their area, notwithstanding the elite law degree. We are talking much less- half or two thirds of what the public employee earns, with no guarantee of any job at all unless they can more easily find work in a restaurant or in retail. There is no turning back. Bitterness at the wrong choice in life? Of course.

    14. 9:13 . The statement that the vast majority of Harvard and Yale graduates do just fine in their careers is pure conjecture. People whose only option is temp work for over a decade or who are earning less than a recent college graduate after years of practicing law, while looking and looking for a higher paying job, are not just whining because they are not in the 1%. These people had an elite education and believed when they signed up for law school that they could find a full-time permanent job at somewhere near the median salary for full-time lawyers in their area. It turned out that is the broken promise of top law schools for a significant number of graduates.

    15. Who has said anything about expecting $120k right out of law school? That salary, however, is low in light of the debt-financed cost of a law degree from Yale (almost a third of a million) or Harvard (getting close to $400k). And an income of $31k before taxes obviously would not suffice to cover payments of $35k per year. People who get by with $31k tend not to have debilitating student loans and also tend not to have forfeited three or more years of earning potential (really seven, counting an undergraduate degree) to pursue a professional degree that they cannot use.

      People are stuck with the full financial risk of a degree (student loans cannot even be discharged in bankruptcy), yet you consider it unreasonable for them to expect a good chance at an adequate income. By contrast, I say that a graduate cannot expect to build a decent career in law nowadays, and that therefore all but the rich should stay away from law school and the legal "profession".

      It is not true that few people pay full price at Harvard and Yale. The data that I have already cited, which you have not bothered to examine, show that the majority at Harvard and more than 40% at Yale get no discount.

    16. I am not unemployed, but I have had a career that is not satisfactory, given the elite education I got and the amount of work and effort I put in. There are many other careers where I could have done better, just by taking the other path, with less misery and surely a much more stable career path. My elite education has been worthless for many years.

      I am seeing many colleagues with elite records thrown out of well paying work well before any reasonable retirement age and ending up in virtual practice out of their living room or basement, with likely very little business backing up their website listing. It is not what people signed up when they enrolled in an elite law school.

    17. 11:40. Here are some reality checks for you:

      1. A few years back a staff attorney at our state's attorney disciplinary office told me of a lawyer about 89-90 years old who was still practicing because he could not afford to retire. He was constantly bouncing trust account checks, not due to dishonesty but do to declining mental acuity. Loads of time was being spent dealing with every incident. In a perfect world they'd have had him suspended for disability but then what happens to the poor old guy? The best they could do was carry him along until he was far enough gone to get into a nursing home on Title XIX.

      2. About the same time the venerable Wall Street firm of Milbank Tweed began its first-ever program of mandatory partner retirements. They had to force people out to create pieces of the pie for the younger people.

      The guy is example one graduated in the 1950's when there were no student loans, far fewer lawyers proportionate to the population and lawyers could make a middle-to-upper middle class living and save for a comfortable retirement. In the second example, people who had been pulling down seven-figure incomes weren't ready to kick back.

      Good luck to your kids banking their lies and futures on a tsunami of retirements. Did the clowns at their law schools tell them about all the retirements coming down the pike?

    18. One reason why older lawyers are not going to retire in droves is lack of money. The same lawyers are earning considerably less than first years many years after big law. Many have dealt with long periods of unemployment or underemployment. If you live in a high tax state, you may be working until age 85 to makes ends meet. The economics of not having a secure retirement benefit and having to pay an arm and a leg for health insurance if you are not in poverty and are not getting health insurance from your employer means most lawyers are not retiring any time soon.

    19. It makes no sense that people keep working into late old age because they have to yet they can not make a decent living doing so. Anybody working as a lawyer makes a decision that the income after expenses and other overhead is worth the effort. Obviously, nobody is going to continue working if they are losing money doing so. At best, they will collect their social security and do odd jobs for their neighbors for a little extra cash.

    20. 11:33, you have obviously never practiced law. If you have a roof over your head, a cell phone, a computer and a car just for your own use there is very little additional overhead involved. People are making money doing legal work after they should have retired. The issue is that they shouldn't have to be but are because they have no choice.

    21. 6:48, 11:33 here...why do you all get so defensive when there are those who do not agree with your attacks on lawyers...I've been practicing law since 1984 and essentially as a solo since 1990. I know exactly what it takes to practice law and what overhead means. I have intentionally kept my business very small over the years because I did not want to deal with partners and large amounts of overhead. Still, I have needed three paralegals in the past just to keep up with the never ending paperwork. Nobody who is serious about practicing law cannot have an office because they will never be retained for significant cases if they don't. Nobody who is serious about practicing law can do so without a secretary, paralegal or three because they would be drowned by the paperwork if they did not have the support. People keep practicing law well into their 60's or 70's because they want to...that it beats sitting home or playing golf all day. If somebody was not making a living practicing law, they would have given up on the profession well before they became elder practitioners. To argue that people practice law into their 60s or 70s because they are destitute and have no choice is just total hogwash. They do it because they want to and because...yes...they make a reasonable income doing so...if they didn't, they wouldn't do it. That is where your hypocrisy comes in. You all claim that many lawyers have to practice law into old age because they are so destitute they have no choice is simply nonsensical reasoning. Either they make a decent living at practicing law or they don't do it. Either the benefits of practicing law exceed the costs or they wouldn't keep practicing. As for me, now into my mid sixties....I still practice law because I want to. But I do it my way. I find plenty of time for vacations and exercise, and I find time to post on forums like this. Truth is... I am so much more efficient than I was as a young attorney that I could try a case in my sleep with little effort. There really is an advantage to experience learned over years of hard work. I do not see ever totally giving up the practice of law...and because I work for myself, nobody can force me out of the business.

    22. I have to agree that the overhead for a legal practice is significant. One can't run much of a practice with only a telephone and a car. That might work for someone handling only a few small assignments, or dealing only with wills and such. Beyond that level, though, one quickly needs an office and an assistant (paralegal or secretary), both of which are expensive.

    23. 11:48 here. Guys, I'm not talking 60's and 70's, I am talking late 80's and 90's where the guy is screwing up because he can't pay staff. He wasn't running a full-throttle law office, he was picking up dribs and drabs of real estate closings and wills and suchlike to bring in just enough to get by. Your points are all valid, 9:18, but you are talking about apples and I am talking about oranges.

    24. "and schools like Harvard and Yale have large endowments so they do often offer discounts. Not too many will pay full freight."

      Sorry if the following was already mentioned by someone else, but I decided I couldn't let the above go without comment.

      Just using HLS as an example, one of the largest LS in the nation, and yes, with a monster endowment - well over half pay full freight. Of those getting some kind of tuition discount, the median award is $22K.

      So yes, many (over half) will pay full freight, and the rest will pay something fairly close to it.

      It seems the person claiming not many will pay full freight was either spouting an example of the often wrong "what everyone knows" or is just making stuff up.

    25. "I have known a lot of Harvard and Yale grads... results are across the board good. ... These blogs exaggerate bad outcomes."

      Another one to comment on from the same commenter.

      Okay, you know "a lot" of Harvard, Yale and Stanford grads.

      How many is "a lot"?

      There are over a 1000 of them each year. What percentage of that thousand graduates are you personally vouching for here, that you have personal knowledge of their "across the board good results"?

      Do you know with certainty even 100 of the 1000 per year?

      Permit me to have some doubts. It seems to me this commenter is exaggerating good outcomes.

      Or pulling them from nowhere.

  6. Anyone who loses their first job after big law is at risk of making $40,000 a year or less. You can look for a job till the cows come home. You can proudly flaunt your Harvard or Yale Law degree, but it does not work. Nor will 500 job applications in a year work. Nor will networking with everyone you know work.
    There are just not enough good lawyer jobs out there for all or maybe even half of big law alumni. Good means full-time permanent work as a lawyer with health insurance.

  7. 10:12 Even for those with elite degrees, the job market is night and day different for older lawyers than for younger lawyers. The elite degrees become more and more like toilet law degrees as the lawyer ages, if the lawyer has to look for a job. When you are over 50, the top law firms will toss your resume with that Harvard or Yale degree into the trash, absent a huge book of business. Your market is small, unstable law firms that are unlikely to pay you anything close to the first year going rate. Those small firm jobs are likely to end after a few years because the firms are competing for work in a market with severe overcapacity and too many law firms.

    Corporations hire mostly out of big law. They have diversity guidelines for even giving out interviews that do not take into account age and thus keep most members of older law school classes that were much less diverse from even getting in the door. Government jobs are few and far between outside of DC. The galling thing is that the good jobs are very often filled by lawyers from lower ranked law schools.

    Harvard and Yale are hardly a factor after age 50, and any top 14 law school matters little.

    The big issue is the very poor longer term employment outcomes from all of the law schools. The Cravath and Paul Weiss and Davis Polk jobs are all temporary jobs, and the disclosure of what comes after that for the entire law school class from Harvard or Yale or other elite law schools is surely not out there.

    1. "The galling thing is that the good jobs are very often filled by lawyers from lower ranked law schools. "...incredible actually believe that the non elite law school graduates are not just as competent to be lawyers as the elite law school graduates. I've been working for 30 plus years as a lawyer...having an "elite" degree is meaningless to me because I learned long ago that means absolutely nothing when it comes to competence or ability in the law..especially in the litigation field. But keep on believing the Elites are somehow superior...and poor them....they can't earn what they deserve. I am a third tier graduate (atleast according to today's rankings) and I have probably averaged at least 250K annually over the last fifteen years...with some years exceeding one million. I am not trying to toot my own horn here..the point is that you are the one who makes your career...not the law school you graduated from...

    2. No, the graduates of über-toilets are not just as competent as the graduates of the élite schools. Sorry to burst your bubble, but the difference between 170 and 140 on the LSAT is qualitative.

      And your career after fifteen or more years in the law says little about the prospects of today's graduates.

    3. You are not bursting my bubble because you don't know what you are talking simply assume those who do not go to elite law schools can not be as intelligent as elite law students or that very high intelligence is needed to practice law....I went to a third tier law school at night despite having a good LSAT (although as I recall it was along the lines of 650 when I took it). There were several 700 LSATs in my evening class, as well as physicians and engineers. Because you went to an elite law school old seem to think that an elite law school turns out the best lawyers. Utter nonsense. I practice in Florida. The very best trial lawyers in my State are not graduates of the best law schools in the country. They for the most part are graduates of the public law-schools, UF, FSU, maybe even lower ranked schools like NOVA. I would put some of these lawyers up against any Harvard or Yale graduate in the country and expect them to kick their elite rear-ends. The point again is that not all highly intelligent people go to the elite schools...many of them for whatever reason go to the less elite schools, or they did when I was a student. There was a saying I recall in law school..something to the effect that the A students become professors..the C students become the best trial lawyers. Maybe because the C students had no choice but to start their own businesses and through hard work became wildly successful, while the A students/elite students expected that after their clerkships, they would simply be guaranteed a secure job in big law or in the corporate world. Doesn't in reality work that way. You know that now. We all have to make our own way in this world....and nothing stops a mid tier law graduate from going out there, and knocking the ball out of the ballpark.

      By the way, it is the same in the undergraduate world. Studies show that those who qualify for admission to elite undergraduate schools, but instead go to the public universities or less elite schools are as successful in life as the elite graduates. The point is there are thousands and thousands of brilliant lawyers. Some of those Brilliant lawyers graduated from Harvard. Some of those Brilliant lawyers graduated from Temple. So for those of you who are upset about the success of non-elite are living in a fantasy world...believing that the elite degree qualifies you for anything or entitled you to success.

    4. Much needs to be untangled here.

      Never has there been a score of 650 or 700 on the LSAT. The current range is 120–180; before June 1991, it was 10–48. You may be thinking of the SAT, the GRE, or some other test.

      Florida does not have an élite law school. The nearest law school that could be called élite, after the Universidad de la Habana in Cuba, is Duke, in North Carolina. I'm not a bit surprised to hear that Florida, a veritable warren of toilet law schools, doesn't get many fine trial lawyers from Harvard and Yale.

      The old saw about grades is that the A students become professors, the B students become judges, and the C students become rich. Law-school scamsters spout such nonsense to pander to toileteers, rich kids, and lazy bums. To the extent that the C students "become" rich, it is mainly because they were rich before law school.

      Intelligent students who go to a toilet law school are rare. I won't say that they don't exist, just that they are rare. The élitism of the legal profession is well known, and students consequently try to go to the most prestigious law school that they can get. Plenty of intelligent students would go to Michigan at a big discount rather than Yale at full price, but hardly any would go to Cooley for any reason.

      Consequently, the toilet and über-toilet law schools have very few highly intelligent students. They are packed to the rafters, however, with people who just don't have the intellectual acumen for law. Unsurprisingly, they tend to have high rates of "academic attrition" (read: failing out) and low rates of success on the bar exams.

      That may have been less true when you were a student. A lot of what are now toilet law schools used to be respectable options, especially for people who could not leave their region or had to attend law school at night. In addition, the absurd but commercially successful "rankings" put out by You Ass News may not have existed when you were in law school; if they did, they at least did not dominate the scene as they regrettably do now. So, yes, there was a time when a lot of today's toilet law schools did attract some capable students. That time is not today.

      Finally, I do not think highly of the élite schools. I have said before that they are élite in pedigree and wealth, not in quality. That's why I call them "élite" rather than "top" or "first-rate" or similar. That said, I do insist that they are not in a league with the toilets.

    5. In point of fact, OG, back when dinosaurs ruled the earth and there were fins on cars the LSAT was graded on a 200-800 scale like the SAT, albeit with just one part instead of two. I sat for the LSAT the last time it was graded that way in December 1981. My score was 675, which put me in the 89th percentile.

  8. 10:12 . Look at this:
    The overcapacity described here- too many lawyers and too little work- is a recurring problem. Going "to a boutique firm with debt paid off" is going to be challenging. Not everyone will be able to hold on to their boutique law firm job because there is severe overcapacity. The over capacity also hits at "numerous job opportunities. 1.33 million lawyers will not fit into 621,000 lawyer jobs.

    Keep your head in the sand, 10:12.

    1. This MacEwan sounds like a hatchet man. Paraphrasing the article: 'Busier lawyers are happier lawyers' 'Idle lawyers are dangerous lawyers', whatever that means. But the article does offer some confirmation that the legal profession is contracting. Not only that, the legal profession appears to be comfortable with it.

  9. 8:47 PM . You are clearly too young to have experienced the awful, awful job market for Harvard and Yale Law graduates who are over age 50. Those degrees are worthless, yes, worthless, for many graduates of Harvard and Yale at that age. Lawyer jobs are just unstable, and you may have to get another job later in your career. Those jobs are very, very hard to get once you are older, no matter what schools you attended. That is in contrast to doctors who can typically hold the same jobs until they are age 65.

  10. 8:47 PM You would be shocked at how many toileteers end up in great jobs as lawyers and how many elite law school graduates struggle with unemployment and underemployment for years. The top law schools condition people to think that job prospects are rosy for elite law school graduates.

    Problem is that the severe lawyer oversupply affects everbody. It just tends to hit elite graduates later than the toileteers.

    Once toileteers start working at Cravath or other eilte law firms, the stigma of the toilet degree is very much lessened. They pose extreme competition to the Harvards and Yales in a market where there are by a long shot not enough jobs. If they are younger than the Harvards or Yales, they tend to beat out the Harvards and Yales for jobs. Age is a big negative in law. Much more negative than being from a toilet law school if one landed a job in a big firm.

  11. Why is it a joke? Read what @9:13 a.m. said. Additionally, you have personally attacked individual professors and made exaggerated claims about the problems with legal education by, for example, attacking HYS. Look, I know that not everyone from HYS will be the next Larry Tribe or David Boies, but the vast majority are very successful, as are those from Columbia, NYU, Chicago, etc. The combination of attacking professors and denigrating elite law schools has undermined your credibility. You should focus on the 50 or so law schools who exploit unqualified students and saddle them with non-dischargeable debt. That IS the scam.

    1. The scam is broader than that. We do focus our fire on the über-toilets and the toilets, but Harvard and Yale too are part of the law-school scam nowadays. The many rich kids at Harvard and Yale may be set for life, but not because of their degrees. Those who borrow amounts well over $300k for an élite JD are likely to regret their decision.

      When we have discussed individual professors, it has ordinarily been because they promoted the law-school scam.

      I'd love to see evidence for the incessant claim that "the vast majority are very successful" with degrees from élite law schools.

  12. Someone above wrote: "These blogs exaggerate bad outcomes. That is why the blogs tend to die out, as the bloggers find success and no longer have an axe to grind or complaints to make."

    Honestly the bad outcome did take place for me and the impossible debt remains for life. The damage is very real and has all been done in other words, but I ended up finding another career. Retraining was needed which meant more time spent as an older person. Still, it is possible to find another way to make a living outside of the field of law.

    I really cannot help thinking of the years I spent at a lower tier law school as an almost complete waste of time and again the six figure debt is for life. The solution for the debt is ICR of course.

    So why blog now? The only advice I could give is that the risk of well...let's call it financial real and one will discover this over a process of years, that is, if the law career does not work out for whatever reason (s) and depending on how much debt is taken on while trying to find out.

    Regarding "risk." Let's there risk involved? Is the premise of a higher education leaving one worse off and without a career wrong? Is that the risk one takes? Still, it all depends on how one is situated when beginning the journey as a 1L. A seasoned career counselor should be able to assess an individual 1L student and forecast somewhat accurately how much is at stake for that student in going forward. I should have left after my first year or even my first semester and I wish I had better guidance.

    Always remember though that student debt is not dischargeable in bankruptcy and the PSLF program has proved very shaky. Oh and....good luck kids :)

    1. I too am still here, despite a bad outcome from my élite degree (I'm currently unemployed). But I'm not here for my own sake: I hope to warn people away from the law-school scam.

      People probably leave the scam-blog movement not because they have found success but because they, like Cassandra, are not being heard. I too have been tempted to stop. If people are hellbent on going to an InfiLaw scam-school (at least these should be gone in a year or so) or a Cooley or an Appalachian, or even a "respectable" fourth- or fifth-tier toilet school, why should I carry on as the voice of him that crieth in the wilderness?

      I have my doubts about allegedly seasoned career counselors. What the hell do they know about the legal profession? How many of them would steer people away from a Cooley, let alone a Harvard?

  13. Anon$ You are seriously low balling what people earn in the US to make law look good. The median weekly wage for full-time workers for the entire US is now $887. That comes out to over $46,000 a year for a full-time person, not the $31,000 you are suggesting. See

    The New York City Police Department would pay over $85,000 a year after five and a half years, plus overtime and benefits. See

    A teacher in New York City starts at over $56,000 with just a BA and no teaching experience. It goes up to $119,000 after many years, and the benefits, which are on top of that, are good.

    If you are getting a six figure three year law degree after college and are not even earning $85,000 in New York City after 20 years of law practice and an elite law degree, not to mention, getting no employer paid health or retirement benefits, in spite of monumental efforts to work full time, you are doing poorly relative to the public sector, which is a benchmark for private salary levels in New York City.

    The economics of an elite law degree are questionable for many people. There are too many of these elite law degrees granted by a long shot to allow most of the graduates who want such careers to have a full career of full-time permanent work as a lawyer.

    1. What you say is true, that the public sector is more desirable for 90% of the population. At one time the argument was that yes, the public sector offers better benefits and job security, but that this was offset by lower salaries. But now the public sector salaries exceed their private sector counterparts in every sector except upper management, where the 10% are, and which still exceed upper management in the public sector.

      And it doesn't have to be a relatively difficult position to qualify for, such as cop or teacher. Administrative assistants in the public sector make maybe $60-$70,000 with some years in. The private sector might pay $50 with no pension.

      But the quantity of public sector jobs is not unlimited and getting one often involves having connections and other kinds of favoritism.

      Nor is this situation ideal. The public sector was never intended to be more financially rewarding than the private. This results in the creation if an insulated bureaucratic class. However, I would not dissuade someone from seeking a public position based on moral arguments, like the libertarians do. That would be against ones own self interests.

    2. Here are the wage statistics:

      No need to make up numbers and point out the public sector is lucrative. It most certainly is.

      So what is stopping every "lawyer with a bad outcome" from taking one of these high paid public sector positions with great benefits and loan forgiveness?

      The fact of the matter is these are highly desirable positions that pay well above the average, and most law graduates are not competitive for them.

      This is my exact argument against the attitude on these blogs. People talk down about these amounts and feel entitled to higher salaries, but can't explain why they can't just take these easy to obtain jobs. They basically want the prestige of the degree and job title, and higher pay, while mocking the people that actually got these jobs that they claim are beneath them. It's unhealthy and is frankly pathetic.

      Just quit law and move on with life. Whining on internet blog comments won't change anything.

      Note I do think OldGuy et al. are providing a valuable service by writing about these things, and some comments are fine as well. But it's more harmful to themselves than they may think to obsess and not move on.

    3. We've been over that question before. Openings in the public sector do not abound. If I could get one of those positions, I would.

      I have never claimed that any job is beneath me, nor have I mocked anyone for obtaining a job. Please stop making false allegations. Comments that include false allegations may be blocked.

    4. I would suspect that you would even take one of the Administrative Assistant jobs that max out at around $60,000 in today's dollars. Plus you would get in many places, a pension, a slew of holidays and 3-4 weeks of vacation. I would consider it myself.

    5. My apologies Old Guy, I should have made that more clear. The attitude from some of the comments made by other posters in the comments section. I in no way meant to indicate that was your attitude, and I think if you re-read my comments with that in mind you would see that. I can understand why you'd think that, because there are several commentators. I have made my comments on this entry all under this same name, AnonS. This specific comment was directed at the person I was replying to, who discounted the difficulty in obtaining these jobs and the income amounts. I have consistently stated these are excellent jobs with strong incomes, especially career incomes, and especially with the benefits included.

      And I do not think most law graduates could have obtained them. Either because they are obtained through political/nepotism or otherwise. If I had better guidance I would have sought these jobs out after/during high school and only gone to undergrad after already securing a career. Or at the most after college, albeit when I tried I personally could not get any, and I assumed law would "open doors" because that is the yarn the law schools used to spin. Regardless, law school only adds debt and ruins opportunity as people age. Better to struggle for something without the debt than to pile it on and be older. Law school is a tremendous liability.

      One that, yes, we do need to move on from because nothing will change. The blogs are about the only thing anyone can actually do: warn people who just won't listen.

  14. 4:02 The problem is that the job market for lawyers is getting worse and worse, mainly because the lawyer supply is increasing by maybe 20,000 a year or more while the number of "establishment" jobs for lawyers is increasing by tiny amounts each year. It is affecting lawyers over the age of 50 in a very bad way.

    As a graduate of one of the schools you mention, I was drastically affected by that lawyer oversupply starting in my 50s, as have been many people I know. Right now, it is a throw of the dice as to whether going to one of the top 6 law schools will provide a lawyer who wants such a job with full-time permanent work after their early or mid-50s. I don't know which way the dice land, but surely it is very hard to get and to keep a full time permanent job as a lawyer at that age with that elite law degree.

    If you worked for the government, you had a better shot of staying employed later on. If you made partner at big law and stayed partner, you had a decent shot. Everyone else had mixed results later in their career, notwithstanding elite law degrees.

  15. Read lst for objective numbers/information.

  16. "Old Guy, you're full of shit."

    Someone needed to say it, but it's only true sometimes. Old Guy makes many interesting observations, some of them based on factual research.

    He does have his obsessions, however, and anyone who talked like he writes would get drummed out of Biglaw within a couple of years, never to return. That could be the unresolved problem that led to his current unemployment.

    1. Thank you for that worthless comment.

    2. I second what Old Guy said. What a waste of a comment. Is that you, Leiter?

    3. Old Guy is not in big law, most likely because he got out of his clerkship at age 50 or thereabouts. Big law hires almost no junior associates in that age group. I spent many years in big law, in more than one firm, and never saw a newly minted lawyer close to age 50 working in any big law firm.

      If you read this blog, Old Guy was never able to get a job with big law after his clerkship.

      There is enough information on the internet to figure out the age of most people who apply for a job.

  17. Right now, there are at least 75, and probably 100, TTTs which serve no useful purpose and ought to close, as they benefit no one-not the students, and not the greater community. Well, they do benefit the scam deans and profs and associated hangers-on, but that's it.

    1. There are no-as in zero-long term longitudinal studies of employment outcomes of a career length(as in the decades of a working attorney's life) for lawyers, regarding either jobs or income-or school linked success or failure. The law schools don't want it, as it's clear that the successes, at each school, show up on alumni day to get their accolades, while the failures are never heard from again.

    2. For all those obsessed with the problems of the 1%, an imperfect study-go to the Cravath website; it has a link where you can check out all the law schools attended by all Cravath attorneys.

    3. The scamblogs fade because it's a thankless task-no salary, no benefits, no remuneration of any kind-other than telling the truth about a scam ruining thousands of lives each year. Against them are the (well paid) ABA, AALS, etc and their well paid minions, press agents etc And when against the proof of all available advice, enrollment increases? Well, I'd give up too. The fact is there are 2x JDs graduated every year as there are JD required jobs, but everyone ignores the facts, apparently.

    4. It's important to keep in mind that the scamblogs got started for one reason: the law schools were lying, almost pathologically, about employment outcomes for graduates and about graduate salaries. Before the scamblogs, just about every law school, all the way down to the most reviled TTTT, claimed 100% employment outcomes. Many, if not most, also claimed average salaries in the 100K range-again, all the way down to the worst of the worst. Because of scam blogs, the ABA was forced to impose upon law schools basic regulations, as in you can't lie about average salaries(you'll notice few, if any, law schools still report salaries) and you are now required to report employment outcomes.
    And even with these requirements the schools continued to lie, and even some "top" schools-Georgetown and Virginia come to mind-as the worst culprits. How? Well, they hired dozens of recent grads for "JD required" positions that lasted precisely one year-just enough to get past the ABA employment reporting requirement.

    And to put this despicable behavior by the schools in perspective: law is the only profession which requires(because of past lying) for its accredited schools to post employment outcomes. Medicine, dentistry, pharmacy,nursing-none require it..why? Well, they've never been caught lying to prospective students to keep a scam going. Think about that for a bit; to me it's the single most damning bit of the whole law school charade-to think a "profession" which has such high ethical standards-or claims to-had to impose basic rules of honesty on its schools because so many of the schools were systematically lying to prospective students.

    And it didn't stop there; the ABA requires 509s from all schools because so many schools actively mislead applicants about the "scholarships" so generously doled-out to 1Ls, but which disappeared so rapidly for 2Ls, what with onerous grading curves, section stacking, etc. So yes, more dishonesty which required ABA intervention-but the ABA intervened ONLY after the scam blogs called the schools out.
    5. And the lying continues:there are very few public interest jobs, period. But to suggest that b/c they can't get those jobs and instead good-hearted law grads are joining the big law grind is just a lie. The truth is, as a grad from Tier 2 and below(using OG's tiers), you're scrambling to get a job, any job, and if from Tier 3 and below, you are never working for the whales, or for biglaw, ever. Most likely you're nursing your debt for the rest of your life, chasing ambulances with the rest of us, hoping for that one big break.

  18. Old guy, I appreciate your points and predicament, but you will never convince me that HYS is part of the scam. The bottom 50-75 law schools, and their worthless professors who champion "intersectionality," "institutional racism," and "social justice" are the scam. You're argument, it seems, is more a reflection of the inequities of a society in which luck, pedigree, and privilege are far more correlated to success than actual effort and mindset. Fair point, but that doesn't mean that HYS are scam schools. It is, rather, a microcosm of life -- the few often make it and the many are left behind. That's life, my friend, and as someone who is in a similar position to you, I'm not going to spend my time attacking law professors that you sua sponte deem part of the scam or attacking elite schools that, for the most part, produce good employment outcomes. What you're really attacking is the larger societal structure that unfairly and often arbitrarily rewards some rather than others. I get it. Now propose a sustainable alternative and I'll fully support you. Until then, your criticisms are neither original nor incisive. Get on with living your life and make the best of it. Stop complaining. It demeans a person of your intellectual stature.

    1. I don't care about convincing you of anything. The fact remains that Harvard and Yale are not worth attending for those who have to take out a third of a million in non-dischargeable debt bearing high interest. Those who, like you, remain unconvinced are welcome to go off to Harvard, if they get in. Maybe they'll be lucky. I wouldn't bet on it.

      Of course Cooley, even free of charge (never mind for the expected cost exceeding $70k per year), is far worse a choice than Harvard. I fully agree. But that doesn't mean that Harvard is a good choice.

      When "the many are left behind", perhaps the many should reflect on the prudence of sacrificing three or more years of income and incurring a six-figure amount of non-dischargeable debt to enter a profession with a high risk of turning out badly. Absolutely everyone at Cooley and a hundred other schools should not pursue law (which implies that those schools should all be closed immediately), but those considering Harvard should also think carefully. There comes a price at which Harvard and Yale, despite their undeniable advantages, are not worth while, and I'd say that that price was surpassed some time ago.

    2. 3:34 Surely if one is a minority, one has to consider carefully whether to attend any law school. The employment outcomes for most minorities in law are not good, especially down the road from law school. I would not say the same for medicine. It is much easier to have a successful career as a minority in medicine than in law. I cannot think of a minority that I know personally who went to Harvard, Yale or Stanford Law School and succeeded.

    3. Part of the reason for the purported "success" of the graduates of Harvard and Yale is that most of those graduates were born rich and privileged—unlike most of the minorities who attend those schools.

      The "reasoning" goes like this:

      Buffy, Chuffy, and Muffy graduated from Harvard Law last year.
      Buffy, Chuffy, and Muffy now work at white-shoe law firms, with a salary of $180k per year.
      Therefore, a degree from Harvard Law will get one a job at a white-shoe law firm, with a salary of $180k per year.

      The conclusion is unreasonable. Nobody would conclude, from the fact that B, C, and M all had bowel movements this morning, that the bowel movements caused them to end up in Big Law; yet many people will accept the structurally identical argument above. Perhaps the degree landed them in those jobs, or perhaps another common factor did (such as their extreme wealth), or perhaps we are looking at nothing more than a coincidence.

      Anyway, what goes for Buffy, Chuffy, and Muffy may not go for Jamal, Lakeisha, or Enrique.

  19. No. HYS CCN P V are scams in the sense that many graduates do have poor outcomes in their later years. It is not everybody. Some outcomes are great.

    The significant number of weak outcomes for older workers is not the case for most health care professionals or teachers. The up out out, class year hiring, experience limits model of law and the high proportion of open jobs for more experienced lawyers requiring purple squirrel experience leaves slim pickings for older law graduates who need jobs. The model in health care and education is much closer to lifetime employment, at least until one wants to retire.

    My experience is that HYS have had bad outcomes for a number of outstanding people I know. I also know people from schools outside the T14 who had excellent outcomes.

    Law is like going to Vegas. Not true with healthcare or education.

  20. Someone above wrote: "So what is stopping every "lawyer with a bad outcome" from taking one of these high paid public sector positions with great benefits and loan forgiveness?"

    According to articles such as this one, the PSLF program is not all it might have seemed. The Dept. of Ed. seems averse to following through on the promise and only time will show how many will ever get their federal student loans forgiven after ten years of working in the public sector.

    As for the ICR or IBR program, I don't believe a full twenty or twenty five years has elapsed, after which enrollees will qualify to have their debt forgiven or discharged or written off (these might be terms of art for the purposes of whom it may concern.)

    Anyway, let us suppose twenty years goes by and after having made on time, income based payments without ever being late or missing a payment, thousands will be eligible for loan forgiveness. One would assume so anyway.

    So how will things go? Will the Dept. of Ed. stonewall on it's promises under that program as it has already done with PSLF?

    But let us suppose the debts of many thousands are forgiven? Everyone knows the IRS will come knocking since the discharged debt is considered income, no matter how much the debt has ballooned over the twenty or twenty five years due to penalties and fees and interest and so forth.

    Worry, worry, worry. Fret and stew and wonder about things unknown that no one else can provide an answer or a solution for. Vast, macroeconomic forces are at work and multifarious are the players lined up at the trough.

    It is like all of this is a long term illness that just becomes the new normal. Shocking at first, but over time cavalier attitudes can arise such as the one demonstrated by the commenter who expresses a sort of glee or malicious delight over some succeeding while many do not make out well in the profession, if at all.

    Really though. Get on the beltway or the highway during rush hour and try to make yourself understand that not everyone in the bumper to bumper traffic is going off to a job in the legal field. If it doesn't work for you then do something else because life is too short and becoming immobilized after being ripped off is no way to live a life. Really in the end I just had to put all of this "law school scam" stuff out of my mind for the sake of my mental health.

    And Happy New Year! Old Guy, your efforts are much appreciated. Give us this day our daily bread. Keep looking and I hope you find a good job in 2019. Life can have a lot of bad luck but not all luck is bad and sometimes good things happen and when you least expect it.

    1. Thank you for your kind thoughts. This year has been bad, like many before it. If 2019 is not substantially better, I don't wish to see 2020.

  21. The BEA publishes real value added by industry data (real GDP by industry) at

    “Real” in economics means that the data has been adjusted for inflation. The data is in 2012 dollars. Scroll down to real value added. Open real value added, and scroll to line 137. In 2008, the real GDP of the legal services industry was 274.5 billion. In 2017, the legal services industry declined to 210.7 billion. That is a decline of about 23%. Don’t accuse me of cherry picking data and ignoring the big comeback. In 2016 real GDP of the legal services industry was 210.8. So the industry declined from 2016 to 2017. Previously the BEA published excel spreadsheets with data going back to 1997. I can’t find the data right now. But when I checked earlier in the year, the legal industry real GDP in 2017 was still less than 1997!

    While the legal industry declined 23% since 2008, the number of lawyers continues to increase. According to the ABA, the number of lawyers increased from 1,162,124 in 2008, to 1,335,963 in 2017. That is about a 15% increase in the number of lawyers.

    Look back at the BEA data. The Real GDP of the U.S. economy grew almost 16% between 2008 and 2017. The economy is growing. Other industries are growing. The legal industry has declined because the economy no longer places as much value on the skills of lawyers and the economy demands less legal services. Enter the legal profession at your own risk. The economy demands less and less legal services, while law schools churn out more and more law graduates.

    The scambloggers and commenters on this blog are not “losers.” They simply have outdated skills. Going to law school these days would be just as silly as borrowing six figures to go to travel agent school.

    I graduated from a toilet law school in the mid 2000s unemployed despite good grades and law review. I saved my career by going to med school. Not a single physician at my med school gave up practicing to teach one class a semester like law profs. Why do you think that is? All of the physicians teaching cardiology, or neurology, or any subject during the first two years of school, went back to their practice after lecture. During the third and fourth year, we worked for these physicians in the clinics, hospital, and OR. I also worked with some of these physicians on their research projects. But law profs can only be bothered to teach a class a semester. They have no time to continue practicing. The truth is, what the law schools never admitted to, is the legal profession is oversaturated and hypercompetitive. Far easier to scam students into borrowing 100s of thousands of dollars than to try and keep a practice going.

    1. I'd go to medical school, but I'm really too old for that.

      I'm curious, though, about your experience. Please indulge a few questions:

      How many courses did you have during medical school with titles akin to the following?

      Medicine & Popular Culture
      Hip-Hop & the Vermiform Appendix
      Neo-Rawlsian Perspectives on Histology
      Critical Medical Pluralism

      Why is it that law alone tolerates—nay, promotes—this bullshit?

      Was the academic journal at your medical school published by second-year students who evaluated the quality of submissions by assessing the authors' reputations? Were the articles all utterly useless to a practitioner?

      Were you invited to take the GRE instead of the MCAT? Did your medical school, under the signboard of "diversity", drop the tiresome old requirements of prerequisite courses in organic chemistry and the integral calculus?

      Did the faculty and administrators of your medical school take junkets to expensive resorts so that they could demand lower standards from the authorities that license physicians? Did scamsters publish articles entitled "Why Medical School Is for Everyone"?

      Did you graduate without ever seeing a liver or a patient, just as most law students graduate without ever seeing a contract or a client?

      Did your medical school pride itself on its detachment from practice?

      Were you fed the line that "you can do anything with a medical degree" and told to broaden your horizons rather than unreasonably insisting on working as a physician?

      Did you, like practically every other graduate, have to shell out for an expensive private "review" course because your school failed to teach you the rudiments of your profession?

      Did you have professors who were not licensed to practice medicine? Did you have professors who did not have medical training?

      Were you invited to believe that only your professors could teach you how to "think like a physician"?

      Did you graduate from medical school quite unable to treat the simplest of conditions, even though your licensing body authorized you to practice independently in all areas?

    2. OG,

      I’ve heard about much older students going to med school. I recently heard about a Family Medicine resident in his 50s. And I have heard about old military veterans starting late too.

      Unfortunately, I never had the chance to take BS blow off classes in med school. During 4th year rotations, while we were busy traveling to residency interviews, I probably could have used Hip-Hop & the Veriform Appendix. But the attendings we worked for were all understanding and let us take days off to interview. I don’t know why only law tolerates this BS. I know, that if I went up to an old crusty doctor, especially a surgeon, and said I wish I could have taken Medicine & Popular Culture during my 4th year, they would blow a gasket. They would call me lazy to my face.

      I am not aware of any medical school publishing an academic journal. I remember editing the worthless articles on my toilet law review. I don’t think a single judge went back and read all the worthless articles we published on Grutter v. Bollinger, the hot button issue at that time. But in med school, I worked with a physician on their research project and got published in an academic journal. That was far more interesting and useful.

      Not only did med schools not drop the MCAT in lieu of the GRE, they made the MCAT more difficult since I took the exam. Now these poor pre med students have to take a longer test covering Pysch and Biochem too. The schools really could drop the O-chem requirement. You do not need to know any O-chem to get through med school or practice medicine. But I think the schools insist on requiring O-chem because it is a difficult science subject and it is a method of weeding out people who are not serious about studying science.

      Luckily for the administrators, they haven’t had to go on junkets to demand lower standards. After the MCAT was modified, the AAMC removed the old MCAT data. But according to the latest data, between 2017-2018 and 2018-2019, the average MCAT score of matriculants increased from 510.4 to 511.2 and the average GPA of matriculants increased from 3.71 to 3.72.

      In law school, I never saw a client or contract. My first year of med school, I had to see patients. Not many. Sometime halfway through my 3rd year of med school, I lost track of how many patients I saw. During my Internal Medicine rotation, I was expected to see my patients early in the morning and present to the attending physician. In the afternoon I was expected to go to the ED and do a full H&P on the new admissions. During my surgery rotation, I was expected to show up at 5 AM and round on my patients. Then present to the resident before we began the day in the OR. Some days I didn’t get released until about 7PM. During the procedures, I got to see more livers than I can remember, and I was expected to adequately assist and suture.

    3. We never were told “you can do anything with a medical degree.” In fact, during 2nd year and 3rd year the Dean warned us if we failed our board exams, or employed a poor residency application strategy (e.g. only applying to Mass Gen Neurosurgery and no other programs), we would be unlikely to match into residency. If we failed to match, we would be unlikely to ever put our MD to use and would be out six figures in student loans. Nor did our school even have a career services office. When it came time to apply for residency, I had to meet our dean to go over my application. The Dean told me to apply to enough programs to secure at least 10 interviews so I would have a good chance to match. The interviews were also nothing like OCI. During OCI, the big law firms were so arrogant. They were annoyed to be at our toilet law school. I never got a single call back interview. During residency interviews, we spent the day at the hospital. It was a big sales pitch. The Program Director gave a presentation on why we should come to their program. We had a pre-interview dinner and usually a interview breakfast and lunch where we got to ask the residents questions. I interviewed with multiple physicians at the program who tried to sell me on how great the program was and they would tell me I should rank them highly on my rank list.

      We had to take 3 board exams to graduate: Step 1 after M2 year, and Step 2 CK and CS anytime before we graduated. We didn’t have to shell out any money on a course like Barbri. I don’t know a single person who paid for a review course. My school tailored the curriculum to pass the board exam. They also paid for a board exam question bank (I suppose we paid for that through our tuition). Step 2 CS required us to take an 8 hour exam performing H&Ps on standardized patients. My school prepared us by offering a 4 hour mock exam.

      Now, we did have some professors who had no medical training. During the 1st year, biochem, microbiology, histology, anatomy, physiology, and our first year neurology course were taught by PhDs. But all of the courses were tailored to be clinically relevant. They were nothing like Property where we debated who owned a fox in 19th century America for an hour. We had no time for silly debates and discussions in med school. We had 4 hours of lecture a day and there was a lot of material to go over. During our second year, pharmacology was also taught by PhDs and we had a Vet teach us pathology at times. We also did not have to go to class. The lectures were recorded and we could watch the lectures online from home. During my second year towards the end, I was so tired of lectures. I stopped attending or even watching them. I just read my own study material and did better on the last exam than any other exam that year. The classes were also all pass/fail. There was no curve.

      Not one professor, physician, or dean every used the term “think like a physician.” First and second year were pretty straightforward. The professors told us what we needed to know. We were expected to already possess the critical thinking skills to use the information and practice medicine.

      At some point in my third year of school, I could diagnose and treat some of the simplest conditions. I could go see a patient, take the history and perform a physical, develop a differential, and present the patient to my attending with a plan as far as labs, imaging and possible treatment. I was not perfect. There were always patients that stumped me. Or I might not know all of the diagnostic tests to order to rule out other possible diseases. But I was in good position to continue learning in residency.

    4. Thanks for the details. Your account of law school and medical nicely exposes the chasm between them. Quite frankly, law school is utterly ridiculous.

      Yes, it is possible to go to medical school at my age. I don't think that it's a good idea, though. I'd be close to sixty, maybe even older than sixty, by the time I became fully licensed. Wouldn't I face the very same issues of age-based discrimination? I don't even know what I would say during an interview at a medical school:

      Q: So, Old Guy, why have you decided to pursue medicine after doing so many other things in life? Why aren't you practicing law?

    5. Its great that some people have had success with medical school...but since I do PI, I have known many doctors, and have had to read over the years, tons of medical / clinical journals. Personally I think it sounds like a horrid life...especially since I do not like blood and guts, and would abhor assembly line medicine. Reading all of those journals is far, far more boring than reading an interesting legal case, and physicians are known to have higher rates of suicide and more depression, plus more burnout than lawyers. I don't see medical school as the answer. The only true answer is people being happy with what they have instead of always striving for a pie in the sky life. Unreasonable entitlement syndrome also is not good for the health. So recommending medical school as an alternative because you have a higher probability of a secure financial future just doesn't cut it, unless you are one of those people who really like the idea of learning and practicing medicine. If you are a lawyer, its hopefully because you followed what you thought would be an interesting career path for yourself, not simply because you were looking to make a lot of money. And if you are stuck with large student loans...well if you can't pay them, you won't be paying them anyway. Not that anybody should put themselves in large amounts of debt just to go to law school...but if you are already there.... its just something else you have to deal with in life.

    6. It's rather hard to be happy with protracted unemployment.

    7. 1:52p-you make a good point that medical school isn't for everyone, and that to go to medical school requires actual planning-there are certain required courses that must be taken. Most 0Ls end up in law school because they've taken a scattershot approach to college, end up with no marketable skills, and go to a TTT or worse because, literally, they have almost nothing else to do.
      But the point of this blog is to show 0Ls what the real world is like, so they don't make the terrible decision to attend a TTTT. And you minimize the problems attached to having massive student loans-as in, since they can't be discharged in bankruptcy, they can and probably will ruin your life. No chance of owning a car, let alone a house; no actual disposable income at all, really. The plus side is that you'll never have a mortgage, because your only mortgage is your student loans. It's the gateway to a terrible life.
      And this doesn't address the poor job prospects-for life. More than any other, it's an up or out profession. And therein lies the attraction of the medical fields-there is not up or out to them; physicians retire when they want, because they can always get jobs. Even 50 something mds can find something; that just isn't true in law.
      There is an old bad movie called War Games which had a telling line: the only way to win is not to play. And that's the case for almost everyone planning on attending one of the 75-100 law schools which ought to be closed: the only way to win is not to attend.

  22. Let's deflate one more fallacy which appears regularly on this blog's comments: just go get one of those easy to get high paying govt jobs. The comment then cites NYC cop/teacher salaries, noting full retirement after 20 years.
    Guess what: these jobs aren't easy to get, and govt pay nationwide doesn't mirror NYC. And NYC, like many places, has institutionalized nepotism. It's not coincidence that whole families in NYC are cops/firefighters.
    And being a teacher? To get full licensure, a Master's degree, or equivalent, is required pretty much nationwide. So as a liberal artist with a JD and $200K in debt, do you want to take that on-and does it make even a scintilla of sense to do so, so few education districts in USA pay NYC wages?
    The competition for govt jobs is fierce, and those with those jobs keep them. We're in the second week of a govt shutdown, with 25% of the fed workforce with furloughed or working w/o pay; how many have threatened to quit to go work in the private sector? Few if any-b/c they know they've got it good.
    So the "just go get a govt job" is nonsense; having a TTTT JD doesn't give you any better chances, and these jobs are highly sought. The better bet is don't go to law school at all.

    1. Also, a lot of those jobs are realistically not open to people who are not from those big cities.

      Old Guy comes from a small town. When he was in high school, one of the teachers moonlighted as a waitress at a greasy spoon, another moonlighted at Sears, and a number of others had similar low-paying second jobs. Is that what you want to do with your expensive master's degree and teaching certificate? (Assuming that you can even get a teaching job. Lots of areas just aren't hiring.)

      It's simply ridiculous to think that a JD, be it from a TTTT or from Harvard, will give one a better shot at a cushy government job. More likely, it will count against one. (I would give serious thought to omitting the JD from my résumé.) And it certainly won't get one out of the usual requirements for becoming a police officer, a teacher, or whatever.

  23. Once you are older, the doors are closed. Cops need to be in their 20s to qualify to apply. Teaching in New York City does not count any of your legal education and any experience you ever had as a lawyer towards seniority or the degree requirements. You can be a law professor at Yale for several years and you will start with the salary of a recent college grad with only a BA. For medical schools, you need to be under 40.

    The problem is that the up or out system has scammed older lawyers. It is extremely hard to get a good job with an elite law degree after age 50. The job that you get at that age will be temporary or at a second tier employer that is likely to be unstable, pay far below the going rate and will likely not offer employer paid health insurance. The big firms do not employ significant numbers of associates in their 50s or older. Most in house jobs hire from big firms. The scam is that you can take that elite law degree after age 50 and flush it down the toilet. It will not help you get a decent job.

    No one is saying the elite law schools are a scam for 35 year olds. But for those age 55 and older who need to look for a job, the elite law degrees are almost worthless.

    1. Most doors close by 35. Although realistically you're expected to start around 22-25. The prime years that law graduates are out of the labor pool and are wasting away in law school.

      I do suspect it is not a problem limited to law schools, but one that affects higher education at large. The number of jobs have never increased despite exploding birth rates which are only now beginning to pullback, with cries from the system that more slaves need to be born for the grinder. The law school problem is exacerbated by a limited industry, higher age, and of course high debt loads. If law was merely an undergraduate course of study, it would only create the same issues the other undergraduate degrees create, and would in fact be as versatile as any other soft undergraduate major (like political science, philosophy, sociology etc.).

      If birth rates continue to drop, then some 20 years from now, there may be a resurgence in the middle class. But until then, severe overpopulation will limit opportunities for anyone not connected and who aren't already established from the past 20-30 years.

      This of course means that law will be a loser's bet and a gilded profession for at least the next 20 years, if it hasn't always been and always will be.

    2. Anon$ Law is different from most other professions. Law has up or out policies and experience limits on a huge percentage of jobs. You don't find up or out policies in elementary or secondary education or in the health care professions for most jobs. In law, most elite graduates are being forced out of the jobs they got right out of law school. That is a very different business model from most private sector jobs and from most civilian jobs in the public sector too. The problem of older people trying to work in law is aggravated by the huge lawyer oversupply. It is not only the toileteers that are bearing the brunt of the oversupply. Older lawyers with elite records are also struggling in many cases long before they hit retirement age under Social Security.

    3. Those up-or-out policies typically oust people within just a few years. One of the few people from law school with whom I maintain contact was told a couple of months ago that she would not make partner (very few people do) and that she had a couple of months in which to find something else. And there isn't really anything else for her. She had been with that firm for five years at most. Now she finds herself trying to make a living on her own. Her case is typical.

    4. There are very few careers today where people start with one company and stay with them their entire careers. That isn't unique to law.

      It's true few make partner in Big Law, but it's also true that the opportunities to transition out of Big Law are definitely there. Most mid-size law firms, corporate legal departments and many other employers hire out of Big Law. They will not even look at non-Big Law attorneys.

      Big Law pays really well and it helps wipe out student loans, but plenty of people with options just skip Big Law entirely and will take federal government positions out of law school. About a quarter of my class went the federal government route, I only found out about the internship program and accelerated hiring afterwards. Nobody bothered telling me during law school, despite pretending they were my friends and certainly asking things of me.

      I've found out so many things afterwards. That's really where parental guidance is key and necessary, and it's where minorities and the middle class struggle. There are very limited opportunities to begin with, where something isn't completely rigged for a specific person from the start, everything else has such short timelines and isn't really advertised, and you need to do things very specifically to have a chance.

      Incidentally, the military also has up or out policies and people do not seem sympathetic. Veterans also struggle post-military. This is tangentially related, but a true constant merit based policy leads to bad results for most people, that is, the up or out policy. You can't really build much of a life having to constantly compete just to stay employed, and none of the truly great jobs have that policy. But I digress.

    5. Anon$ - You say it right - that corporate legal departments will not even look at non-big law attorneys. The government is no better, at least outside DC. That becomes a big problem for most lawyers who need to find a job a few or several years out of law school and are no longer big law attorneys. The opportunities at that point are terrible.

      I landed in a troubled law firm after a series of shorter term jobs. There was a lot of unemployment and unemployment, all while I was undertaking a massive job search that encompassed over 500 applications to jobs that I was qualified for.

      I earned $44,000 last year in a very expensive big city. That is with a top 6 law degree and full-time efforts to work and find work, including nights and weekends.

      My first year salary was in big law, at what today would be $190,000. Now I cannot even get $50,000 plus health insurance from an employer.

  24. One more thing - you are highly unlikely to be earning six figures with that elite law degree if you ever have to look for a job in your 50s, even if you are in a big, expensive city. You will spend a long, long time on the job market before you get any work - maybe several years. The work is likely to be low paying and if it is temporary, to put you into further lengthy job searches between temporary jobs. You will be dipping into your savings and if you are not independently wealthy, will end up with a less than secure retirement. Trying to get stable employment with an elite law degree once you are over 50 is a nightmare. That makes the top law schools a scam.

  25. Quoted from above:
    "Guess what: these jobs aren't easy to get, and govt pay nationwide doesn't mirror NYC. And NYC, like many places, has institutionalized nepotism. It's not coincidence that whole families in NYC are cops/firefighters."
    ----> It's the same story in Boston.

  26. The new wave of applicants has probably read the message of the scamblogs. However, they think they will have a different outcome because of one reason or another. Within the past year, I had a patient who told me they were planning on going to law school. I said, “but the legal market is terrible. There are a lot of grads who don’t get jobs.” The patient responded, “as long as you network and get to know lawyers you can get a job.” I didn’t tell the patient that I had a JD and never landed a job during the supposed booming legal market of the 2000s. I don’t think they would have listened to me anyway. I think a lot of these people suffer the psychological phenomenon of attitude polarization. Their beliefs only become more extreme as they selectively interpret evidence.

    Just look at the some of the comments on this blog over the years. Despite a declining legal market and rising unemployment for lawyers, all of which is backed by statistical evidence, some commenters are more sure than ever that law is a great career. One commenter thinks the legal profession will rebound for their kids because the Baby Boomers will retire. They think law is a great career because “there aren’t many places in our economy with rosy job potential.” Dude, if there aren’t many places with rosy job potential, why law? Why not switchboard operator, manager at Sears, or travel agent? Your kids wouldn’t have to waste three years of their life and hundreds of thousands in tuition to try and enter a dying industry. And have you looked at the economic numbers? Our economy is growing. There are several industries that are growing and offer great job potential. The people who were smart, avoided law school, and pursued engineering and tech jobs are doing great. I know people who had to pursue MBAs after law school to get a job. Not a legal job, a job in business. Their JD was totally worthless. There is no reason to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on outdated skills that the economy does not demand. You are only enriching lazy law school professors and administrators who fled big law because they knew they didn’t have a secure future practicing law.

  27. It's important to keep in mind that the TTTTs have become, in a fashion, the employers of last resort for many. Not for the scam deans or profs, but for the students. Specifically, you've got tens of thousands of liberal artists who graduate every year, with college debt, but they have no skills, or practical work experience, so they've got a choice-get a job that pays minimum wage or little better, or get more education. Medical school-and most health professions-are out of the question, as they didn't take the required courses. So it's a pointless Master's degree-and there are plenty of those. Take a look at the U of Phoenix course catalogue, but there are plenty of others. Or...well, law school is about it. So keeping oneself "employed" for three years keeps people off your back(as in "what are you doing with your life"), even if you've got to pay $$$ to do so. It's a terrible plan, but what other explanation? Yes, there are still Special Snowflakes, and yes there are minorities getting terrible advice from clueless parents/college counselors(let alone the corrupt deans/profs enticing them), but I'd posit that most go to TTTTs to escape real life, and do something that sounds noble.
    The ones I talk to always mention saving the whales, or saving the downtrodden getting railroaded by the criminal justice system(almost always mentioning the latest podcast), or somesuch. When was the last time one said "I'm in it for the money" or "I plan on chasing ambulances and cashing in early and big"? So they decide to roll the dice, using the taxpayers' money, ignoring the fact they'll be saddled with debt for life. It's why the applications are increasing, and why the scamblogs have had little effect on these applicants. They've chosen to ignore reality, and they don't want you reminding them.

  28. You guys use the word "scam" quite liberally, and not in a way that any court would recognize as a predicate to a fraud claim. Law schools, whether it be, for example, Harvard, NYU, Michigan, or Texas, neither represent nor promise that law grads will obtain lucrative, long-term positions. Noe do they promise, or are they responsible for, graduates who obtain such jobs yet ultimately decide to leave. Now, law schools that misrepresent employment outcomes for graduates -- a common occurrence among fourth-tier shitholes -- is another matter. But among top-tier schools, no reasonable graduate should expect that a law degree guarantees a job or anything else. Typically, job prospects goes to those who graduate in the top 10% of the class, and even then a sustainable job is not guaranteed. That's life, my friends, and blaming law schools seems like the kind of victim-based mentality that I'd expect from far lesser mortals. Life sucks, I get it. But the top-tier law schools are no more engaged in a scam that you are victims of fraud. Get over it.

    1. You misrepresent our position. The law-school scam doesn't operate solely, or even primarily, at the individual level. I am on record as consistently opposing the numerous lawsuits by graduates who claim to have been misled by their law school (almost invariably a toilet or an über-toilet).

      Individual law schools, and even individual scamsters, certainly do bear part of the responsibility for the scam. But the scam is broader and does not consist solely of false promises or implications of employment. It includes the following:

      * Misleading and dishonest claims, duly published in law reviews and widely disseminated to 0Ls, that the JD is worth a million dollars even to people who end up not going into law

      * The false, or at least vacuous, claim that "you can do anything with a law degree"

      * The total disregard for standards of admission, except perhaps among a couple of dozen "top" law schools—note that the ABA, the LSAC, the AALS, and other organizations play a big role here

      * Disingenuous and dishonest predation on racialized and other marginalized populations, under the signboard of "diversity"

      * Calculated deception in data on employment (ranging from the use of short-term jobs and peculiar definitions to outright lies about $160k "average" salaries), rates of passing the bar exams (paying people not to take the exams is one obscene manifestation), and of course the idiotic "rankings" published by You Ass News

      * Cynical and self-serving exploitation of the federal government's foolish provision of student loans in any amount set by the law schools

      * Self-serving mystification of legal training ("think like a lawyer") by hackademic poseurs

      * Deliberate misrepresentation of the prospects for employment in law (leading 0Ls to think that they can find work saving dolphins or fighting Trump before the Supreme Court or exhibiting "global leadership" or rubbing elbows with the rich and famous; never mentioning the reality of small-time criminal defense, divorces, wills, and the like, all of which entail neither money nor glamour)

      * Blaming those who cannot find work (telling them that they would succeed by "hustling" or moving to Bumblefuck, North Dakota; labeling them as lazy bums who expect everything to be handed to them on a silver charger [true of some, admittedly, but by no means all])

      * Almost universal failure to teach even the rudiments of the legal profession, so that people from all law schools end up shelling out for a bar-review course that starts from Square 1

      * Putting the interests of the scamsters first while feigning an eleemosynary purpose

      * Brazenly milking the hell out of the scam without showing the slightest regard for the students, the legal profession, or society

    2. 12:43 to add a bit to OG's thorough post, at least you admit that lying about statistics is a scam-in fact, what the schools did-lying in order to entice others to invest income-is a crime everywhere. Those schools which were caught ought to have been prosecuted.
      And it's an embarrassment-or should be-that the ABA doesn't ask-but REQUIRES accredited law schools post employment data/bar passage data/scholarship data. And why is this? Because so many schools lied so much about these important data points that the ABA was forced to step in; can you think of another profession which requires this of its schools?

    3. Even then, 5:38, the ABA stepped in only because of very bad publicity. Otherwise it could have been expected to do nothing about the shameless lies to the effect that typical graduates of La Toilette Skule of Law were waltzing into jobs paying $160k per year.

      By the way, even the lie of the "million-dollar degree" is losing its appeal as the cost of law school soars. Consider that Cooley, if fully financed with student loans, now runs to $270k of debt at graduation ( Over twenty years, the cumulative payments will run to $520k. That's getting close to the alleged million dollars' worth of future payments (not discounted to present value—that is why I have used nominal dollars for the student loans as well). Thus, even if it were true that one could expect a million over one's life for a JD from Cooley, the alleged benefit would seem poor next to the certainty of more than half a million in payments on non-dischargeable student loans.

      At Stanford, incidentally, the payments over twenty years come to $730k.

  29. 12:43 You got it wrong. The poor long-term opportunities for lawyers are the necessary result of massive lawyer oversupply, coupled with up or out policies, class year hiring, experience limits on jobs and the non-permanent nature of the jobs lawyers get right out of law school.

    The published employment statistics of the law schools are a scam because the long term employment statistics are much worse. The high salaries posted by top law schools are a scam because they do not continue for most graduates.

    The long-term employment problems are most pronounced in the legal field. They do not occur at anywhere near this rate in health care or elementary and secondary education.

  30. Old guy, rather than refuting your points, which would not be difficult, or pointing out that you did not respond to the basic point in my post, I'll rather make an observation based on your comments. You seem very depressed and disgruntled. Don't be. You are obviously very intelligent and have a lot to offer. Change your mindset and realize that your best days are not over.

    1. I don't know which message you have in mind: there are 84 messages in this thread. But, yes, I am indeed very depressed and disgruntled. I could hardly be otherwise.

      You are kind to speak well of me, but having a lot to offer does not mean that one will succeed. Thomas Gray:

      Full many a gem of purest ray serene
      The dark, unfathom'd caves of ocean bear;
      Full many a flow'r is born to blush unseen
      And waste its sweetness on the desert air.

    2. I don't have any single message in mind. Rather, I've observed the tenor of most of your messages recently, which suggest that you are depressed and resigned to the fact that you will not obtain employment commensurate with your education, skills, and intellect. It's a far different tone from a couple of years ago, when you were vigorous and unapologetic in your valid criticism of law schools, although I found that your attacks and derisive comments against individual law professors were rather unbecoming of a man of your claimed educational pedigree. In any event, have you thought about doing something else unrelated to law in which your skills can be effectively utilized? Maybe apply for teaching positions at the undergrad and grad level? Offer writing and editing services to students? And remember not to focus on what you have or don't have, but rather enjoy the time you have. After all, as Oscar Wilde aptly said, "there are only two tragedies in life. One is not getting what one wants, and the other is getting it."

    3. I really don't know what else to do. Law appears to be a dead end.

      Teaching in a university would require degrees that I don't have. As for writing and editing for students, I don't know how I could make a living from that, if it is even ethical (writing for students sounds dishonest).

      I haven't been able to enjoy much of anything for some time.

  31. Today's jobs report - great increase in payrolls, but the legal sector lost jobs again and is down since last year at the same time.

    As to Old Guy, he needs to keep looking. He should probably look in house or at the government. Someone will pick him up with his great record.

    The legal job market is bad enough that what happened to Old Guy is the new normal. It can take years to land a full-time permanent job as a lawyer in this market.

    As an aside, I looked up a couple of African American Harvard Law grads with equally prestigious undergrads. They are working in low paid non-legal jobs with small, poorly funded non-profits. They could have gotten those jobs without the Harvard Law degree. This is after big law and in house did not work out, through no fault of their own.

  32. Old Guy is not unique among elite law graduates in the sense that he is having great difficulty finding full-time permanent work after age 50 with a very elite record. That is a common outcome for elite law graduates who are older because of the awful lawyer oversupply.

    This blog is very important because it is publicizing horrific long-term employment outcomes which happen all the time to lawyers with elite degrees.

    Commenters can criticize Old Guy all they want, but the truth is that Old Guy's unemployment and underemployment is part of a much broader systemic problem among all law graduates, that hits elite law graduates hard.

  33. 8:30 am, if your report is accurate then this confirms as much as anything that the legal profession is in full contraction.

    But I also wanted to talk about the advice being given here. The law school scam is part of a larger scam about college education in general. That is the myth that any college degree guarantees middle to upper middle class status.

    A 4 year degree, and in the case of law 7 year, is not necessary to perform useful tasks and learn on the job. Most new graduates have to learn on the job anyway. We have to adopt an orientation for shorter post high school vocational training, whether it be plumbing or programming.

    A lot of the advice to Old Guy is foolish - go back to school for a Nursing degree or a Medical degree - or maybe they mean that people should do that in the first place.

    But even with Nursing - how do we know that the economy might not get tired of paying nurses $100,000+ a year and start to look to robotics to reduce their numbers.

    Some hospitals are already pushing over 60 nurses into early retirement because of the lower bang for the much higher buck.

    So even starting out fresh, today's hot career might be obsolete 4 years later.

    And considering that half of the bachelor's degree is made up of humanities courses designed to make one a better rounded person, couldn't we dispense with that and let people watch the History channel and National Geographic on their own time.

    The whole higher education system is the real scam.

    1. I don't know that anyone has suggested that I go back for a degree in medicine or whatever, just that those other fields would have been better choices than law. I don't intend to go for any more degrees or training. Yes, I could go to medical school—but I would be seeking entry-level work at sixty or so.

      And 6:58 is right about the speed with which today's hot new line of work can become glutted. You read in a magazine that 22-year-old John Doe of Bumblefuck, North Dakota, is making $90k as a first-year widget technician, so you sign up for a degree in widgetry. But so do scads of other people, and upon graduation you find yourself out of work in that supposedly promising field.

      As 6:58 wrote, higher "education" is itself a scam. US society places the full burden of vocational training on the shoulders of the individual but also doesn't provide employment. People are thus forced to borrow tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars for vocational or professional qualifications that they may not be able to use. It doesn't have to be this way. The Soviet Union, whatever else you may wish to say about it, guaranteed employment (which was a constitutional right) and also provided the relevant training free of charge (even with a stipend for living expenses). Many countries in Europe and elsewhere provide universities free of charge. But the US lets the cost skyrocket and leaves the individual to pay it. And anyone who cannot find relevant work after incurring monstrous expense and forgoing several years' income is apt to be called a lazy bum or told to go back for a degree in some other supposedly hot field.

  34. I agree with Old Guy and 6:58 that higher education is way overrated as a pathway to the middle class. It is a luxury item that only the wealthy can afford. The rest pay with life-altering debt.

    1. Rashida Tlaib - new Congresswoman from Michigan was in the news - graduated from Cooley! Apparently Cooley works for some. Must be a good school.

    2. Cooley-style thinking.

      Hers is an elected office. It's not clear that Cooley, or her degree from Cooley, had anything to do with her being elected.

      One swallow does not a summer make. The alleged achievements, or failures, of one graduate out of tens of thousands do not speak to the merits of the school.

      She apparently graduated fifteen years ago. Her experience after all that time may be different from that of today's graduates. For one thing, Cooley back then did not usually admit people with LSAT scores below 144. Today it dips deep into the 130s.

    3. Let's not forget recently convicted felon and erstwhile presidential consigliere Michael Cohen, who also graduated from what Politico dubbed as "The Worst Law School in America". It's tough to be #1.

    4. Cooley isn't #1 (except in the category of worst law school); it's #2, according to Judging the Law Schools, 12th ed. (2011), written by Cooley scamsters Thomas E. Brennan and Don LeDuc:

      Only Harvard is better than Cooley, by this ranking.

      Oddly enough, Cooley's Web site no longer publishes the great achievement of #2 status. (I had to dig the link out of an archive.) Why not shout it from the rooftops, Cooley? Leaving Yale in the dust is some accomplishment, particularly with a class dominated by people with LSAT scores in the 130s and low 140s.

    5. From what I can find online Ms. Tlaib, within three years of leaving Cooley, was employed on the staff of a Michigan State Rep from an absurdly safe D district. There she stayed until her boss was term limited and she was elected in his place. The current base pay for Michigan house members is $71,000+. She stayed there until winning a seat in Congress in a district where the D primary is the election. In other words, where she went to law school made no difference in her career.

      Cohen puzzles me. Tlaib was born to immigrants who proceeded to have fourteen children (more than they could afford, necessitating occasional welfare dependence) but Cohen is the son of a surgeon who went to a prep school and reputedly drove a Porsche as an undergrad at American U, and he was in law school 1988-91 when the prices were just starting to get out of hand. Maybe his grades and LSAT score sucked but New York has plenty of home-grown toilets and there are plenty of others in places that are a lot more fun than Lansing, which was then the only campus. Anyone have a clue?

    6. Ordinarily a rich physician who was born into big money would be able to get his precious offspring into a William & Mary or better. So why did Cohen wind up at Cooley instead of a quasi-respectable institution or at least a local Touro? Only two possibilities come to mind:

      1) Cohen was so appallingly dumb that he couldn't get into any other school, even with Daddy's help.

      2) Cohen wanted to attend at night for some reason. This seems unlikely: what could he have been doing in dreary Lansing during the day?

      So I imagine that Cohen, despite every advantage, simply couldn't get into any other law school than Cooley and perhaps one or two of its near clones.

  35. Cooley is not a law school. It is the brainchild of Don LeDuc (and the laughable Cooley rankings). LeDuc is a combination of Crazy Eddie from the 80's, Jimmy Swaggart, and David Koresh.

    1. Actually, there is a very good argument to be made that Cooley is a magnificently effective wealth transfer device, successfully transferring large of amounts of taxpayer money, via clueless wanna-be lawyers, to the pockets of said institution's deans, profs, and assorted hangers-on.

    2. Mutatis mutandis, the same goes for the InfiLaw trio of corporate scam-schools, and probably most or all other "law schools" created in the past decade or two.

  36. I'll confess, a bit callously perhaps, to not care one whit about the problem of the 1%ers-the graduates of Yale/Harvard/Stanford, et al. They're on their own.
    But I'll also confess that I'm completely baffled by those who appear here to defend the scam, or say everyone at Cooley is as smart as everyone at Harvard and has the same job prospects...basically all manner of dreck in defense of the scam. Why do this? There are many legitimate careers one can plan and follow without the onerous debt and potentially worthless degree that law school entails.
    It makes no sense on many levels. On the one hand, you've got the ABA, AALS,LSAS, and their hired PR firms and press agents; you've got the scam deans and the scam professors; you've got clueless college counselors and equally clueless parents...all beating the drum for the scam.

    On the other've got self-funded scamblogs, and very few of them at that. No press agents or national organizations...just a few hardy souls with keyboards and internet access. So please, why do the Defenders of the Scam appear? Because these few bloggers are picking on the poor helpless law school industrial complex? Let's get to the facts...

    1. Most of the people coming out of the élite schools are indeed of the 1%. But a few of us, such as myself, are not. Please bear that in mind.

    2. That was thoughtless of me; my apologies.

  37. Now the facts:
    1. The scam has been going on for years; when I was in law school back in the 80s, one of the popular notions, set in books no less, was that you can do anything with a law degree. One popular story was of a woman who got a law degree and became a movie producer in Hollywood. Left out of the story was the fact she was a Hollywood movie producer before going to law school, went to HLS more or less to pass some time, and was insanely connected.
    2. There are in fact attorneys in their 80s who are still practicing because they need the money. Over the past several years, my state bar has censured two such souls, as forgetfulness caused cases to be neglected(and lost) and they had no staff-as in zero-to keep track of things. In one case, bar counsel described one of the guys as "A workhouse who stayed in the harness too long." And don't take my word-scan your state's disciplinary records, looking for egregious violations which lead to surrender(not disbarment). The lawyer's admission # usually gives it away. And there are countless non-public surrenders.

    3. Law schools still produce 2x as many JDs/annually as there are JD required jobs.
    4. There is no evidence of any kind that all the Boomer attorneys are going to retire soon and there will be unmet need for lawyers.
    5. The US economy has grown significantly since 2008...except for the legal sector, which has actually contracted-but still cranking out those JDs....
    6. Many law schools have actively participated in the scam, offering time limited jobs to game employment statistics, offering scholarships doomed to cancellation because of onerous grading curves/section stacking, and the like, and this doesn't include those that flat out lied about their employment/bar passage/scholarship statistics.
    7. And finally, the deans and profs have actively participated in furthering the scam; how may op-eds were published pushing law school as a good investment? And what of the million dollar bonus a law degree confers? As OG shows above, full fare law school with loan payments pretty much negates it.
    So why do people show up here defending the scam?

    1. People may do lots of things, such as producing movies, but where is the evidence that they are doing them "with a law degree"? Does anyone really think that that woman was invited to try her hand at films just because she had studied law? It seems instead that she went to law school for the hell of it, without intending to do anything "with a law degree".

      The most ridiculous example yet is the claim, seriously advanced by at least one scam-professor, that one can become royalty with a law degree.

      A common erroneous line of thinking:

      Many politicians and CEOs have law degrees.
      Therefore, a law degree will enable me to become a politician or a CEO.

      This sort of "thinking" overlooks two important possibilities: 1) more is needed (such as wealth, connections, or at least a background in business), and I may not have what it takes; 2) the law degree was incidental to the careers of these people, who may have obtained it just to bide time or to confirm their membership in the aristocracy.

    2. I don't remember anyone in the faculty or administration of my law school making the claim that you can do anything with a law degree. Nor have I seen these claims in the literature of other law schools. In fact, most of the professors at my school were quite mum about employment prospects after graduation. They only discussed passing the bar exam.

      Often it seems that these claims come from those outside the law who are still enamored of legal education.

      The claims that a JD opens doors to almost every type of job seemed to appear in the 1980s when the legal employment shortage began to appear. There were articles and even books written on the subject. These claims started to be debunked in the 1990s when the real life experience of law grads had no correlation with the fantasies published about the versatility of the JD.

      But these articles still continue to be published to this day.

      Here is one such article listing 60 career options for the JD. The list includes Musician and Airline Pilot. No joke. The comments are very humorous though.

    3. The admissions offices of many toilet and über-toilet law schools do send out, when they deem it appropriate, an old list of some 300 things (other than practicing law) that one allegedly can do with a law degree.

      Scam-professors publish such lists themselves. See, for example:

      Note that this "information" is directed at prospective, not actual, law students. Once they have lured their marks in, scamsters care a lot less about professional options. As you found, they may focus instead on getting their charges to pass the bar exams, as that could make a difference to the scamsters' welfare.

    4. Maybe I am wrong about this, but I doubt anybody seriously thinks a law degree does anything for non-lawyers other than allow them to understand the legal process and court system. If you are a CEO of a company, it can't hurt to have that knowledge yourself in making whatever decisions you make on behalf of a company...just like having an accounting background would be beneficial. That does not mean anybody should think a law degree qualifies them to be a CEO...but will having a law degree help a CEO....the knowledge can't hurt of course. But maybe just a course for executives in the law is more efficient...and enough.

  38. Holy moly, did the comments thread explode for this.

    So many things I want to say, like how not just law school but all of “higher education” as a whole has ruined so many people, but I’m not going to get into that right now.

    I do, however, have a message directly for Old Guy.
    @ Old Guy — a couple of blog posts ago, you said you were looking for any work, right? Well... if I provide you with my email address, would you like to get in touch with me that way and maybe we can discuss something? I have some ideas.

    1. That's awfully kind of you. I don't know how I could contact you securely, however. Many of us, most famously Dybbuk, have come under attack from scamsters, so we have to be careful.

      Really, I should not have been so careless as to discuss my personal issues here.

  39. One thing that is clear- the federal government would be better advised to prepare and publish a special survey of career-long employment outcomes for law graduates than to continue on the current path. A big part of the application increase to law schools is lack of reliable information. The mushy nature of data on self-employed lawyers, how many of them there are, what they earn and how much paid work they get makes the career outcomes a black box. There are so many other lawyers who are unemployed for long periods or on the temporary job market. Un and under employment also correlate heavily with age. We need good information on the supply side and un and underemployment of lawyers. How many who are seeking full-time work are working half time or less than half a year, involuntarily.

    The federal government may save itself billions on educational loans by spending serious money on real time market data relating to the job market for lawyers.

    1. The federal government is very much on the side of the scamsters. That's why it doesn't regulate student loans more carefully.

      And many prospective law students would still enroll if the government posted a neon sign bearing a dire warning at the entrance of each law school. Look at all the people who dismiss our warnings and head off to law school with the carefree belief that everything will turn out well for them.

      More helpful than data on the outlook for lawyers would be regulation of law schools (obviously the scam-enabling ABA cannot be entrusted with this task) and restriction of student loans.

  40. "Typically, job prospects goes to those who graduate in the top 10% of the class, and even then a sustainable job is not guaranteed. That's life, my friends" That is one of the worst phrases I have ever read about law school anywhere in my entire life. If that phrase is true, than not only are most law schools a scam, the people running them should Go To Jail. Think about it. If I announced a grand opening of a store selling, say, hi-def flat screen TV's, for a couple hundred bucks each, and I sold 100 of them, making thousands in profit--and 90 percent of the TV's I sold didn't work--and I responded when confronted by consumer affairs people, or literally by the local police "Well, the top ten percent of the TV's I sold work great, as for the rest of them not working, well, that's life" . . .my store would be closed down on the spot and I would need to get a lawyer to avoid going to jail for fraud.

    1. Maybe the implied warranty of merchantability should be applied to law schools.

    2. The truth is more nuanced. At the élite law schools (no more than 13), most graduates do get jobs. Elsewhere, typically no more than 40%, and usually a lot fewer, get jobs that pay enough to support the payments on typical student loans.

      Outright unemployment approaches 50% at some law schools. A few quick examples:

      Note that many law-school graduates listed as "employed" ten months after graduation are working in positions that neither require nor use the JD or the training that it supposedly represents. Those include unskilled positions in retail establishments and the like.

      Many jobs for recent graduates are unsustainable. The person quoted may have been referring to positions in Big Law, which pay a lot but are subject to an "up or out" policy that sees only one or two people in a hundred go "up" and the rest "out" within a few years. Smaller organizations tend to pay much less and also are more vulnerable to the usual economic vicissitudes (though Big Law is by no means exempt from the latter: several storied white-shoe firms in recent years have gone tits up).

      The figure of 10% may have referred to the widespread allegation that the career center in many non-élite law schools serves only the top 10% of the class by grades. We've received a number of reports of schools that restrict on-campus interviews to the top 10% or 15%—and do little for everyone else. My own experience was different: despite being in the top 10% (and not just barely) throughout law school, I couldn't get meaningful help from the paper-shufflers in the career center, because they knew that at my age I would struggle to find work of any sort. My proof of systemic age-based discrimination, extending to the very firms that the law school cosseted, was disregarded. But those same paper-shufflers danced attention upon the rich kids at the bottom of the class, who didn't need help from anyone but Mommy and Daddy and their connections.

    3. The scamsters would simply deny that there was any implied warranty of merchantability or that anyone could reasonably expect to find suitable work in law after blowing a six-figure sum on a JD. Scamsters still assert that many students study law for the pleasure or the intellectual challenge, without expecting to work in the field. Maybe a few rich people do that at Harvard, but nobody is spending or borrowing hundreds of thousands of dollars to satisfy a curiosity.

    4. OK. Well I've been practicing for over 20 years, before law school turned into a scam. . .so let's think like lawyers. If the scamsters said we never implied anything I would say, OK, let's look at your recruitment paperwork, the brochures you created to entice applicants, your website(s) and let's interview a bunch of students from the last few years. What were they, and their parents, told about the value of a law degree from your school? Hmm. . .Where can you show me anything that tells any potential applicant or any first year law student that 90 percent of the graduates of your law school will have a very hard time finding a job? And what's this I hear about boasts by your Dean of Students about students starting out making 190K? Were those boast the whole truth? Remember, in court one must testify the the whole truth, not just the parts you want to emphasize. Frankly, I think a Fraudulent Inducement argument could be documented and made substantive quite easily. Sir, when you talked about On Campus Interviews, did you ever tell literally anyone in the lecture hall that 90 percent of the student body would be ineligible to participate in OCI? When you boasted of salaries of over 150K, did you tell anyone you spoke with that 5 percent of the class (or less) got such a starting salary?