Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Why tiny law schools cannot survive—and what that means for many an über-toilet

A law school needs a certain minimum level of enrollment. One study of the feasibility of a law school in Alaska (kudos to Law School Truth Center for the reference) cited an estimate of 75 students per year, which was more than twice as many as any law school in Alaska would attract.

Indeed, 75 is probably close to the minimum for any law school pursuing or maintaining ABA accreditation. A law school of that size might bring in $6M or $7M per year and would probably spend that much or more. Without a hefty subsidy (possible for a public law school), large donations (unlikely), or an unusual source of income (bake sale, anyone?), it could not operate for long with substantially lower enrollment.

Quite a few law schools enrolled fewer than 75 new students last year:

Appalachian, 50
Ohio Northern, 51
Concordia, 59
Faulkner, 59
Thomas Jefferson, 59
Florida Coastal, 60
North Dakota, 62
District of Columbia, 64
South Dakota, 71
Liberty, 72

(In addition, Penn State Dickinson and Southern Illinois each enrolled 76.)

Of the ten law schools listed above, all are toilets: nine are in Tier 6, by Old Guy's standard, and the other (Liberty) is in Tier 5. Seven of them have seen enrollment plummet from more than 100 new students per year earlier in the decade. Just a few years ago, therefore, all of them should have been financially viable; a few were even big profit centers, such as Florida Coastal, with 808 students in 2010, and Thomas Jefferson, with 422. Today, however, they are all marginal at best, and some of them are known to dip deep into the red ink.

The three law schools that have not suffered sharp declines from manageably high levels of enrollment all have special circumstances. North Dakota and South Dakota receive subsidies from their respective states. Concordia was established only in 2012 and never has had more than 75 students. Its parent university expected much higher enrollment. Perhaps the governments of the Dakotas will continue to waste money on their respective über-toilet law schools, but Concordia University cannot afford to sustain its über-toilet at a loss for many more years.

To consider the viability of these tiny law schools, let's look at an example. At Appalachian in 2017, total revenue was only $3.5M, with 128 students. Tuition that year brought in $2.3M; the rest came from gifts, grants, contracts, and investments. Expenditures, however, stood at $5.4M, which is more than half again as much as income. That spells bad news, particularly in light of Appalachian's endowment, which was only $4.23M at the end of fiscal 2015 (down 7.55% from the previous year).

How can Appalachian make up an annual shortfall that two years ago came to $1.9M? Consider that the average tuition paid was only $18k per student, although the nominal rate was over $30k. It would thus take well over 100 additional students, or some 35 per class, to save Appalachian. That represents a sudden 70% increase in enrollment. Even with that dramatic and unrealistic increase, Appalachian would not be in the black for three years to come.

Appalachian could instead increase tuition by 70%—to more than $60k, a level surpassed by only a dozen law schools of the Harvard, Columbia, Michigan, and Cornell variety. That strategy too seems unrealistic, although Cooley, charging $53k per year (and most students pay full fare), seems to be getting away with it.

How about borrowing the money? No creditor would lend it when Appalachian obviously could not pay it back.

Can Appalachian sell assets, such as its campus? After all, it does have a pretty brick building, complete with billiard tables in the basement. I haven't bothered to investigate the title to that land, but anyway I find it hard to see who would buy it. What, after all, could be done with it? It's located in tiny Grundy, Virginia, four hours' drive from even a small city such as Asheville, North Carolina. And if a buyer were found, the law school would need new quarters, which would also cost money—and entail a costly an inconvenient move, almost certainly out of the area.

Is there any other way to come up with $1.9M? Selling souvenirs at the bookstore can hardly bring in that much. Appalachian might pray for a donation, but its relatively unaccomplished alumni might not have much money and in any event might be disinclined to give much to their dying über-toilet law school. Might the state give privately held Appalachian a grant? I doubt it. Appalachian appears to be controlled largely by the McGlothlin family, one of whose members is the dean. It would be a poor, and suspicious, recipient of public funding.

Would any institution take Appalachian over? Appalachian has made overtures to various obscure colleges. But why should they want a failed law school that loses a couple of million dollars a year?

I conclude that Appalachian has one foot in the grave. Only a miracle could save it. I doubt whether it can last even two more years.

And much the same is true of most of the other schools on that list. Florida Coastal and Thomas Jefferson have shown signs of imminent shuttering, and some of the others must not be far behind. Liberty, with 72 1Ls last year, may appear to be an outlier on this list; however, it actually brings in very little money: 12% of the students get free tuition (some are even paid to attend!), 74% get discounts of 50% or more, and most of the rest also get a discount. Even by very generous estimates (using discounts of 50% and 10%, respectively, and ignoring the payments made to some students), revenue from tuition cannot exceed $1.3M per year for the entering class, or about $3.9M for all students. That does not cover payroll and benefits for a dean, 23 other full-time professors, 9 adjuncts, and the rest of the staff, never mind Liberty's other expenses.

North Dakota and South Dakota can last indefinitely, if their respective state governments are willing to sustain them at a loss. Better would be to admit that neither of those two large, sparsely populated states needs a law school of its own. Merge them and call them Dakota Law School. Build the school to straddle the border if necessary, perhaps between Ellendale, North Dakota, and Frederick, South Dakota; then each state can lay claim to it. Better yet, close both law schools down and cut a deal with the government of Minnesota so that students from the Dakotas can get their tuition their subsidized by their respective states. The law school at the U of Minnesota also depends on subsidies that the state is tired of paying, so this sort of deal might benefit all three states.

80 comments:

  1. the University of Minnesota already has agreements with the Dakotas, Iowa, and Wisconsin. All students from those states receive instate tuition. Most of the best law students from the Dakotas already go to the University of Minnesota or the University of Iowa.

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    1. Thanks for that information. The university's Web site says that students from South Dakota, Wisconsin, and even Manitoba pay the in-state rate under a "reciprocity" scheme:

      https://www.law.umn.edu/admissions/jd-admissions/tuition-financial-aid

      Not sure why North Dakota doesn't have a similar arrangement. Apparently it does for the undergraduate program at the U of Minnesota.

      Really, it's hard to see any justification for a tiny über-toilet law school in either of the Dakotas when Iowa, Minnesota, and Wisconsin all have much better state-run law schools, at least one of which is even prepared to let Dakotan residents pay in-state tuition. Your observation suggests that the schools in the Dakotas get stuck with the bottom of the applicant pool, and their abysmal LSAT scores corroborate that.

      If sane heads prevailed, the Dakotas would close their über-toilets.

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  2. Let's hope your correct and all these schools go under, the sooner the better. And what is the attraction of any of them? With the somewhat less expensive cost of attendance, there's a feeble argument for state residents to attend the state schools(again, feeble). But what's the draw of Concordia or Florida Coastal or any of the others? With the terrible jobs stats for all of these, can't really understand why anyone attends.

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    1. The "less expensive" cost of North Dakota and South Dakota is indeed a feeble reason for matriculating there. Residents of North Dakota (and others who benefit from in-state tuition under a reciprocal arrangement) pay $30k per year in tuition to attend law school at the U of North Dakota. Two-thirds of them get no discount at all, and all but a few of the rest get only a few thousand dollars off. Almost anyone who gets into the U of North Dakota should be able to negotiate lower tuition elsewhere. So where is the appeal of the U of North Dakota? Anyone foolish enough to attend an über-toilet should at least try to negotiate a better price than $30k.

      South Dakota is no better: half of the students get no discount, and all but a few of the others get only a few thousand dollars off the annual tuition of $35k.

      I find it simply astounding that Florida Coastal drew in more than 800 1Ls as recently as 2010, with monstrous tuition that today stands at $46k per year. The other two InfiLaw scam schools (now defunct) were similarly large and expensive. InfiLaw must have raked in a fortune.

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  3. It’s amazing to me that Appalachian is still afloat. Just in 2017, it lost $1.9 million, which is nearly half its endowment amount. For six years running, its enrollment has been below 75 and in most of those years, it was substantially below 75. If Appalachian was attached to a parent university, it would have been closed down years ago. If nothing else, Appalachian shows that these stand-alone trash heaps will not go quietly into that good night.

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    1. Perhaps they are just spending up the endowment monies prior to closure.

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    2. Probably. What's to stop them? A parent university won't let an Indiana Tech run the endowment down to zero, but a dying stand-alone law school may have little reason not to dissipate its endowment on profe$$ors, deans, and other profiteers.

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  4. Maybe Appalachian can get a Dept of the Interior grant a la Vermont.

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  5. If a law student attends a generic, good, perhaps not awful law school, than he or she must graduate in the top ten percent of the class, and probably should also make Law Review, to have the opportunity to participate in OCI (On Campus Interviews) for big law jobs and to have a shot at Federal Clerkships. At Harvard, Stanford and Yale, top 20 percent might suffice. At a toilet law school, perhaps the top 5 percent would meet this standard. Now, in a class of less than 75 people, the top 5 percent would be approximately 3 students. Are big firms even going to bother recruiting at a school where maybe 3 people are even eligible to interview? And, if they do NOT, then how will these law school promise student six-figure jobs at big firms upon graduation if literally none of their graduates get those jobs? This whole thing seems like is has reached a point of diminishing returns.

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    1. It's even worse than that. Big Law and the federal courts are not interested in the toilet law schools at all. Finishing at the top of the class and being on the law review won't help much when the diploma bears the name of a toilet.

      Let's assume, rather generously, that Big Law consists of all firms with more than 100 lawyers. Here are the numbers of graduates in the Class of 2018, for some of the toilets discussed above, who are reported to have found jobs in Big Law or federal clerkships:

      Appalachian: 0 Big Law, 0 federal clerkships (https://www.lstreports.com/schools/appalachian/jobs/
      )

      Florida Coastal: 8 Big Law, 2 federal clerkships (https://www.lstreports.com/schools/floridacoastal/jobs/)

      Liberty: 0 Big Law, 0 federal clerkships (https://www.lstreports.com/schools/liberty/jobs/)

      North Dakota: 1 Big Law, 0 federal clerkships (https://www.lstreports.com/schools/northdakota/jobs/)

      South Dakota: 0 Big Law, 4 federal clerkships (https://www.lstreports.com/schools/southdakota/jobs/)

      Concordia: 0 Big Law, 1 federal clerkship (https://www.lstreports.com/schools/concordia/jobs/)

      Ohio Northern: 0 Big Law, 2 federal clerkships (https://www.lstreports.com/schools/onu/jobs/)

      Thomas Jefferson: 2 Big Law, 0 federal clerkships (https://www.lstreports.com/schools/thomasjefferson/jobs/)

      Faulkner: 0 Big Law, 1 federal clerkship (https://www.lstreports.com/schools/faulkner/jobs/

      District of Columbia: 0 Big Law, 0 federal clerkships (https://www.lstreports.com/schools/udc/jobs/)

      By contrast, far more than 20% of the class at an élite institution will get these positions. At Harvard, almost 60% of the class ended up in Big Law, and 15% in federal clerkships. Presumably even more got interviews.

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  6. A graduate of Valpo managed to get a job as public defender in Illinois despite never passing the bar exam (she failed twice):

    https://www.riverfronttimes.com/newsblog/2019/05/30/kelcie-miller-who-practiced-law-despite-failing-the-bar-exam-charged-criminally

    She has been charged criminally.

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  7. OK, well I still bet their deans are lying to applicants about big prestigious jobs/salaries/law firms. If they are flat out lying (most law school are deceitful, they tell you some of their grads get jobs in big law, they don't tell you that literally 90 percent of the class won't even be granted an interview for such a job) but if they are flat out saying some of our grads get six figure jobs at big firms, when in fact, none of them do. . .that is probably legally actionable fraud. Perhaps a Fraudulent Inducement argument could be made. Judges don't like liars. . .and a powerful law school dean caught in some big, fat lies, to people borrowing over 100K and spending 3 years of their lives to get a worthless degree. . .that could get a judge's attention.

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    1. Nothing personal, Dilbert, but under which rock have you been? There have been plenty of lawsuits brought before judges for the lies and the resulting ruined lives. Pretty much all of those judges believe that a naive 22-year-old is a match for wily deans well-schooled in the law, and know full well what they are borrowing themselves into.

      When a client was on the receiving end of a pending claim for recovery of attorney's fees I always pointed out that "the judge used to be a lawyer but he didn't used to be you."

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    2. To dilbert 1:40: You seem to be implying that the only jobs that law students are interested in are big law and federal clerkships. You also don't offer any insight into what happens to your 95% of lower tier students that don't obtain these. Are you implying that they are all mostly employed in less lucrative or prestigious areas of the law, such as smaller firms, federal agencies or state agencies? And why would these positions be so undesirable? Because not only is your 5% figure for the lower tier schools erroneous for the top jobs, the vast majority of the lower tier grads are not being employed any place in the legal sector.

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    3. Five years ago I answered the questions raised by 8:35:

      https://outsidethelawschoolscam.blogspot.com/2014/12/guest-post-by-old-guy-which-law-schools.html

      Law students may be "interested in" jobs other than Big Law and federal clerkships, but that doesn't mean that 1) they can get those jobs (think of all of the small children who are "interested in" becoming presidents, princesses, professional athletes, or movie stars); or 2) that they can keep their heads above water in those low-paying jobs (yes, almost invariably such positions pay much less than Big Law) after taking on six figures of debt accruing high interest for the sake of attending law school.

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    4. @8:35 AM,

      Because those jobs are worse than teaching, police, firefighting, and other municipal employment, blue collar, and protected white collar positions in blue cities.

      Why would I become a public defender with all the stress that that entails to make less than a teacher on Long Island, with less benefits, less vacation, worse retirement options, less public appreciation, longer hours, etc.? That’s just one example. No one wants those jobs unless they are independently wealthy and are doing it for prestige, have very, very specific life experiences that make them want to dedicate their life to that kind of job (ie a victim of a crime seeking a prosecutor position), or (and this is the vast majority) people that couldn’t get the very few legal jobs that give you a chance for the degree to be worth it, which then have to pretend like they always wanted to be so their situation doesn’t get worse, ie punished by society for wanting more and/or legal employers for the same.

      Incidentally, biglaw isn’t that good of an option anymore either. It’s downright awful. It’s just one of the only options where someone that doesn’t come from money can make the degree somewhat economically worthwhile.

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    5. To 10:14: Is there much evidence that a significant number of law grads are entering the occupations you listed post law school? Or are you proposing that they should have pursued one instead of law school?

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    6. @ 5:39,

      I’m suggesting they pursue that instead of law school, and given the credentials of the last incoming law school classes, it seems the smart kids have already caught on.

      Once you have a law degree, getting those jobs is going to be really, really, really hard. It’s a liability, not an asset.

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  8. Yes, I am well aware that lawsuits have been filed and have failed. Here is the thing: A Dean boastfully telling potential students that "some of our graduates get jobs at big law firms making over 100K a year" isn't actually a lie if between 5 and 10 percent of the class (more at Harvard Yale Stanford, less at low ranked schools) get those jobs. It absolutely is a lie if literally not one person in the class gets such a job, or even an interview for one. I am a lawyer myself with over 20 years of experience, the fine line between wild exaggeration and flat out lie is an important one in litigation.

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    1. You're right, of course, about the important distinction between misrepresentation and mere deception. But the law schools can hardly claim the moral high ground, as alleged educators of those who would serve in the administration of justice, by deceiving prospective students in any way.

      Appalachian's Web site says practically nothing about the jobs that graduates get. The school's career-services function appears to be handled solely by one of the professors. Every member of the staff, including the housekeepers, is listed, and no one other than that professor seems to have a role in advising students on finding work. I don't know what is said to lemmings behind closed doors if they ask about their prospects of employment, but on its Web site Appalachian demonstrates utter insouciance on that score—no doubt because the graduates overwhelmingly do not find suitable jobs in law.

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  9. You could go to law school and accumulate debt for the following outcome (which by law school standards is good):

    https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/03/nyregion/legal-aid-lawyers-salary-ny.html?action=click&module=News&pgtype=Homepage

    Alternatively, you could drop out of college and get a job for a rich municipality in New York, LA, Chicago, etc. Even if you have to work a second job to make ends meet, you’ll have less debt, stress and a better retirement. The same applies for teaching.

    Please no national averages. I don’t want to hear about the average salary of a teacher or cop. Teachers, tradesmen and cops don’t get paid well and aren’t unionized in red states and it brings the national average down dramatically. I already can smell the trolls. If you live in a red state, go to college and if you can’t do Engineering or find something creative to do, I guess, give law school a try. However, if you wind up in big law in LA with 200k in debt, 2-5k rents for shoe box apartments, a 50 percent tax rate because you are “rich,” then you lost. The “middle class” teacher or cop will have more money than you by the time you pay (pension accruals etc) off the loans and there’s a ninety percent chance you will burn out and never make the biglaw salary again.


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    1. I broadly agree, but please note that people like Old Guy who don't come from big cities such as New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago cannot expect to get those well-paying municipal jobs. As you said, the salaries for teachers and police officers tend to be far lower outside the big cities and the rich suburbs. Many of the teachers at Old Guy's high school in East Bumblefuck moonlighted as waiters or cashiers.

      Also, I cannot recommend that anyone from "a red state" "give law school a try" if engineering or "something creative" is not available. The cost of law school is simply excessive, especially for someone who won't have a high salary that might help to cover the bills.

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    2. I also agree that the aforementioned municipal jobs are preferable to a legal career. However, one does not just walk into them. Teaching requires a undergrad degree in itself and then the ability to land a position. For police and fire veterans preference comes into play. For the trades one must be mechanically inclined. Nursing requires some science aptitude and people skills,

      Let's not forget one of the prime goals of this site. The closure of the bottom tier toilets. To help those who think they might make good lawyers from acting on their folly. And to prevent tne profession that thinks they are scum from defrauding them of their irreplaceable time and savings.

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    3. Fair points, I’m not giving advice to people that went to law school. If you went to law school, you made a big mistake, I’m not sure what to tell anyone.

      I’m advising 20 year old college students.

      Also, regarding red states, you may absolutely be right. I just don’t know what to tell a kid to do there. Teaching pays like 30k from what I read in Texas, not 70k to start like in Chicago. But absolutely, if there are alternatives to law school, do them.

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    4. If you live in a blue state you would be well advised to board the public sector union gravy train sooner rather than later. Illinois and Connecticut are already unraveling, with residents and industry fleeing. California is in the same boat but for now is being saved by Silicon Valley and the vast, taxable incomes of the entertainment industry. Well into the 1970's the American auto industry thought it was and would always be unbeatable. Take a trip to Detroit and see where a mindset that you can keep expecting people to pay high prices without regard to quality eventually leads. The teachers, cops and firefighters in the red states are just as good as the ones in the blue states, they just don't hold their state legislators on leashes.

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    5. Twenty years ago, one of the most highly regarded programs for training primary- and secondary-school teachers stated frankly on its Web site that graduates should expect to have to scramble for a job. It even mentioned, by way of illustration, that they might have to move to a particular state that was halfway across the US.

      Where I live, people going into teaching are warned that they might well spend years as substitute teachers, working a day here and a day there. Try supporting yourself on sporadic income from what amounts to glorified babysitting.

      And 1:32 is right about the decline of many of the states and cities that had lots of good public-sector jobs once upon a boomer time. Illinois is descending rapidly into bankruptcy. Detroit has been declining since the 1970s, if not earlier. In the 1970s, racist jingos derided Japanese cars as "rice burners". Well, it turned out that much of the US public would set its prejudices aside long enough to spend less for a good Honda or Toyota than for a clunky-ass Cadillac or Chevrolet. And Detroit today looks a lot like a rusty Yankee jalopy abandoned by the side of the road.

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    6. To 12:14: I would advise the same thing to a 20 year old, at least concerning the 3rd and 4th Tier schools. Except possibly if there is some rationale for going to a toilet, e.g. a State Legislator wanting to put a law degree on their resume to help get reelected, or someone trying to get into a family law firm, but even these two reasons seem dubious to me.

      Why does someone go to a 4th tier toilet? They probably hate their job, hate their boss, hate their bad life decisions and hate their bad life outcomes. Then the acceptance letter comes from the Hon. Judge John Crapper Skoole O' Law - Rank Not Published and it is like the white knight has arrived to solve the problem. They can become a lawyer. Unfortunately, it is no more a solution to their problem than heavy drinking would be. They should be strongly advised that no matter how bad life seems to be, going to a toilet will not improve it or the odds are so remote as to not be worth the risk.

      For the ones who already went, maybe they can try for one of those thousands of JD preferred positions that are out there.

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    7. The only thing open to unconnected young people is military, and that is also competitive and just not right for many. Still, it probably is the best thing to go for, especially out of college, if someone can't get a real, strong career by the end of college. You can't be scrambling for a job after graduating.

      And above all else, don't get more education. Education will never erase your lack of class breeding. Especially if you didn't already mitigate your lack of class with an elite undergraduate institution. But if you had managed that, you wouldn't be scurrying for a position to begin with, but could more smoothly move into some sort of public or corporate position (albeit you may first have to do something like Peace Corps or Teaching for America or at least a White House internship first).

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    8. A state legislator would hardly want to pursue a law degree in order to be re-elected: the incumbent enjoys a huge advantage. In the House of Representatives (yes, I'm aware that 7:41 referred to state legislatures instead), the rate of re-election is usually well over 90%—much higher than the rate for the Supreme Soviet in the USSR.

      A better case can be made for going to a toilet law school when one has a position in the family's law firm. A person in that privileged position can probably get a big discount from a toilet law school, and employment is practically guaranteed.

      I wish that we had the data on parental income for the various law schools. Something tells me that it's rather higher at Yale than at Cooley.

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    9. AnonS, above, advised not to "get more education" if one cannot find a job after earning a first degree. I agree but wish to comment on a point of terminology.

      Time was, Old Guy wistfully remembers, when education referred to self-cultivation, a process that was understood to continue throughout life. Today it often refers to a credential, typically a degree, issued by a university or other school. "Education" has thus become reified (hence references to "an education") and reduced to a commodity, a matter of ticking boxes: pay enough money, complete enough credits, and you will have your "education" in four years, whether you have progressed intellectually or not. Anyone with a degree is ipso facto considered "educated"; anyone without a degree is not. Sad comment on the debasement and commodification of the noble pursuit of education.

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    10. Also, AnonS correctly implied that the military preys on those of low socio-economic status. "ROTC" is said to stand for "rednecks of the community" (though "racialized people of the community" would also be fairly accurate). People who would struggle for a real job, thanks to their low class background, sign up to be cannon fodder because they have few options. The scions of the wealthy are hardly likely to enlist as shit-kickers.

      Ah, but this is America! Land of Opportunity™!

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    11. OG, you're a bit behind the times. Many, if not most, academy and ROTC appointments are HS kids from upper middle class families. Mom and Dad, not wanting to pay for college, are gaga at the prospect of sending Junior off to school without paying. I'm a veteran, was not ROTC or a service academy grad, but still get asked regularly if Junior ought to attend West Point, etc. I agree the education if fine if the atmosphere extremely stilted(choosing my words carefully here). But when I point out that the nation is still involved in one official/non-declared shooting war in Afghanistan,, as well as military conflicts in other places(see Niger, etc) and Junior may get hurt or killed, the response is always the same "S/he could get killed walking across the street." None of these parents ever served(or they wouldn't be asking my opinion), and this attitude makes me crazy. Pretty amazing that parents want to make this trade off-possible bodily harm v. no tuition-but they are very willing to do so.

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    12. @1:51: Academy and OTS are both very competitive. Especially for the safer branches, like Coast Guard and Air Force. The vast majority of unconnected have no shot at a place like West Point.

      My advice for the unconnected was more geared towards enlistment, in a non-officer track. But even officer tracks aren't necessarily right for most people, and the worse the conditions are the less you will see the upper classes represented.

      But again, what choice do the unconnected really have? If your parents can not provide you a place in this world, it's highly unlikely you will get anything good on your own.

      It is the destruction of small business that truly destroyed America. Prior to that destruction, with excessive small business taxes, litigation, and favorable large corporate welfare and the anti-competition regulation, as well as with lower property taxes, families could just pass on their businesses to their children. The parents would teach them how to run the business, the kids might go to school (at fair tuition rates), and then come back to run their parent's business. Now only the elites can afford that education and have those positions available, while everyone else has to beg for and hope to win the job lottery.

      So in that case it makes sense just to enlist, because even if it's terrible at least you get something. Albeit even there, I know countless people that are eventually pushed out or are injured and then wind up in a bad state after service. So they lose that way too.

      I don't have children and I have no intention of having them. Actually as I get older it's probably not even an option. I am barely getting by on my own and I simply would never want children to suffer the way I did. That is the only move I actually have to play so at least I can play it. Let the oligarchs put someone else's children through the slave grindery.

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    13. Another issue with the military being the panacea to the US's employment dilemma is that according to a recent DOD report, 70% of the potential recruit pool is disqualified for one reason or another, obesity being a major reason. There is a myth that the military can whip a overweight kid into shape. But basic training is only 12 weeks or so and is intended more for honing recruits who are already in reasonably good physical condition.

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    14. As usual, Old Guy is creating a false dilemma between "low class background" and "scions of the wealthy." What about the vast middle class, Old Guy? That includes people who accepted adequate but not spectacular employment out of average law schools. Old Guy, on the other hand, has his elite standards to maintain.

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    15. I never said or implied that "low class background" and "scions of the wealthy" covered all the bases. Perhaps you would have noticed that had you read my words rather than rushing to post a snide remark.

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  10. Old Guy – sorry to interrupt your post with, well, some facts. Here in Colorado there are currently 7 open positions at the AGs Office. Postings available at: https://coag.gov/employment/attorney-positions. Two of the positions had to be re-posted due to a lack of applicants the first time around. I have two friends who just graduated from CU Law. One will be clerking for a federal judge and the other started at big law in Chicago. Here, at my state agency, we consistently have trouble attracting applicants for positions where a JD is not required but is a preferred qualification. As for the difficulty in getting a teaching position – two of my co-workers are related to people who just graduated from college with teaching credentials. Both received multiple offers for full-time positions in desirable school districts. I would like to see you describe why you believe you can’t find a job in law. Like you, I attended law school late in life (started on my 41st birthday) and I graduated from what you would describe as a toilet. I have never had any difficulty finding a position. Maybe it’s you.

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    1. Checked the website(3p 6/6/19)-there are three, not seven, open jobs. Those jobs require, respectively, 7, 5, and 3 years of very specialized experience; in most cases not even attorneys with years of experience-in other areas- would qualify, because the jobs require for example, "legal experience with environmental regulatory programs, preferably water quality and/or the regulation of radioactive materials". I've been in practice decades, and don't know a soul who would qualify. There is no TTTT grad anywhere in America-or any law grad period-who would qualify for these jobs.
      And your friends? Congrats on their success, but those are anecdotes, not facts.
      Per the ABA required info, for 2018 graduates of a class of 193 for CU Law, 160 were employed in bar passage jobs and 13 weren't employed at all, and 4 were in university funded part time short term jobs. Those two-the 13 and the 4-makes the CU law school unemployment rate double the national unemployment rate.
      And since we're swapping anecdotes, what state agency do you work for? I have several friends with JDs who routinely apply for state "JD preferred" jobs and not a single one has gotten a job offer; they've been told that the agencies are swamped with applicants and can be very choosy. And all those JD preferred jobs require extensive experience, so no new JDs qualify.
      So no, it's not OG. Per BLS, the scam industry is still cranking out almost 2X the number of JDs annually v JD required jobs.

      Delete
    2. "Two of the positions had to be re-posted due to a lack of applicants the first time around."

      1. Source?
      2. BS.
      3. Job re-posting isn't really an indicator of anything as it's a sort of unreliable metric - postings are often recalled without the job being filled for innumerable reasons, and sometimes there's no actual job available b/c it's already filled and they have to list to superficially comply with listing regulations.
      4. Colorado is the rare state that actually has its law school output-to-lawyer need ratio in order. Compare with Minnesota, Louisiana, Oregon, Kentucky, Alabama, Missouri, or even Massachusetts (+1.3 million and +7 law schools).

      Delete
    3. I like how these, well trolls, come in with these inconvenient 'facts' about how well the law education system is working, and then say they went to an Average Joe law school like 'CU' which presumably from the context of the post is the Univ.or Colorado Law School. 'CU' is ranked 46 in a recent USNWR ranking, putting this Average Joe law school in lower tier 1.

      The problem isn't with Tier 1. We know they will get jobs at their state regulatory sewage agencies, etc. as staff counsel. It is with the Tier 4s. And to a lesser extent, but maybe not much lesser, the Tier 3s. If all that Tier 1 'CU' can get is state and federal sinecures then what is the point of the lower tiers existing other than to exist just for the sake of existing. As far as the high cost of these Average Joe Tier 1s, that is the cost to secure nowadays to secure a sinecure. Over time it will pay off handsomely. To make a long argument short, shut the TTTTs down.

      Delete
    4. Anon @ 3:53 and LSTC - There were 7 jobs - 4 closed on 6/6. I went to a TTTT and was hired by the Colorado AG after 5 months as a Public Defender (following one year as a fed law clerk). I was hired to represent the Department of Human Services and had absolutely no experience in that area. The posting at the time required 5 years experience. The posting you note anon is for an "ideal candidate." That person rarely exists or applies. I know about one of the jobs that was reposted because it is for an attorney who will represent my agency. There were only four applicants the first posting - all recent grads. We need someone with at least some litigation experience.
      At our agency, we have 29 employees - none need a JD. However, we have 11 JDs on staff and make a JD a preferred qualification. We have had to repost positions several times and never for the reasons stated by LSTC. And the things I noted are actually facts - if you don't understand that, you should stay out of a courtroom.

      Delete
    5. They're facts presented without documentation, without full context, and in support of a conclusion that goes against most of what we know about the nation-wide experience of lawyers over the last decade, but I'll share your concern with my clients.

      Delete
    6. To BoCo: The root of your story is that you started as a Fed Law clerk with a TTTT degree. Your success sprouted from that. Most TTTTs are very far away from federal law clerkships.

      Delete
    7. And I'd bet that BoCo graduated from law school long ago, when jobs were more abundant and an über-toileteer might have had a realistic chance of getting a federal clerkship.

      BoCo's disdainful suggestion that Law School Truth Center "stay out of a courtroom" reflects little awareness that "facts", in the context of litigation, are usually established not by mere recital but by evidence, which has been in short supply (one link to a list of three jobs when seven were alleged, plus a couple of anecdotes that not only lacked evidence but also did nothing to contradict our position). Perhaps it is BoCo who does not belong in a courtroom.

      Incidentally, Old Guy completed a federal clerkship after graduating from an élite law school (not an über-toilet like the one that BoCo attended) but has still had difficulty with finding work.

      Delete
    8. BoCo claims in one sentence to have been hired by the government of Colorado despite having "absolutely no experience" when the job required five years' worth, but then says that the "recent grads" who applied for a current job were all unacceptable for want of experience.

      So it seems that BoCo comes from an era when fresh graduates might land in a position requiring years of experience. As BoCo has seen, things are different today.

      Delete
    9. Like so many other defenders of the scam, BoCo conveniently ignores certain facts/bits of information which would be important to know when assessing how apparently easy it is-per BoCo-to get these AG jobs:
      1. When was BoCo hired, and at what level? My guess it was years ago, and was hired b/c and only b/c of the federal clerkship.
      2. BoCo apparently had 5 months at the PD's office after the clerkship. Today, not 20 years ago, that resume wouldn't even be reviewed, as applicant would be considered a dilettante, jumping from job to job. At the AG's office, question #1 would have been "how do we know you won't leave here after 5 months?" The facts strongly suggest BoCo, in addition to the clerkship, had something else going on, which leads to
      3. These aren't civil service jobs; the AG can hire anybody s/he wants. There's no test no comparative analysis, nothing. A job is posted and the office can interview anyone they want.
      4. Even more important, BoCo contradicts himself, arguing it's easy to get a AG job, but then declaring that applicants need litigation experience which is why they didn't hire anyone. So if you are a new law grad, no job for you.
      5. It's not a plus that JDs now apply for jobs which don't require it. Nobody attends law school intending not to be a lawyer, and these folks aren't lawyers.
      6. He also ignores the fact that CU's unemployment rate is double the national unemployment rate.
      BoCo clearly doesn't understand the difference between fact and argument. Why people like that show up here to tout the scam never ceases to amaze me. Those poor scamsters at the ABA/trash law schools, with their deans and pr folks and publicists, etc etc sure need the help.

      Delete
    10. https://excessofdemocracy.com/blog/2017/5/visualizing-law-school-federal-judicial-clerkship-placement-2014-2016

      Here is a graph showing federal clerkship placement rates among all the law schools. It is almost as if many of the TTTTs are allotted one or two clerkships as if to throw them a bone and tell them that your school is still one of us. Several schools at the bottom, didn't get any clerkships for the three year period.

      Delete
    11. Good points, 8:26.

      People spend $200k, $300k, or more to study law at a school whose graduates are unemployed at a rate far higher than that of the general population, yet scamsters see nothing wrong with that state of affairs.

      And that doesn't count underemployment, such as part-time work, temporary work, and work (pouring coffee, gathering shopping carts, delivering pizzas) that doesn't require the expensive training undertaken.

      According to BoCo, the state employs piles of JDs other than as lawyers but can't hire lawyers for its openings. Why doesn't it simply promote some of the JDs into those openings and fill the positions that they vacate with non-JDs if necessary?

      I find BoCo's claims hard to believe.

      Delete
    12. Thanks, 9:30, for that information. It seems that some judges take clerks from the home region. That would explain the large number of clerks from such low-grade law schools as the one at the U of Montana.

      It is indeed worth noting that 21 law schools didn't produce a single federal clerk during that three-year period. Cooley, for instance, had no federal clerk among its several thousand graduates.

      Delete
  11. Don't guy to law school guys....don't even go to college...just work for your local sanitation department...in NYC they make over 100K per year plus benefits...who needs a job where you have some sort of control over your own life and an intellectual challenge anyway...LOL.

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    1. Exactly.

      Here’s a bit dated of an article:

      https://www.businessinsider.com/meet-the-hundreds-of-nyc-sanitation-workers-who-earn-over-100000-2010-12

      I disagree with this point though “who needs a job where you have some sort of control over your own life and intellectual challenge anyway...LOL.”

      There’s nothing like the autonomy of collecting unemployment when the recession hits next year. Yeah the sanitation worker is going to be making six figures, working on his retirement, etc., but what’s that when you can contemplate the long term implications of Pennoyer v Neff while eating Ramen noodles. Hey, you might even not be unemployed when the recession hits, you’ll just have to work 80 hours a week in shit law to make 50k (a portion of which can go to taxes to pay the garbage man’s salary and the life). Nothing smacks more of intellectual stimulation and independence than making half the pay of a high school drop out, with a hefty student loan payment, complete job insecurity, and a heavy workload pushing shit paper.

      Delete
    2. The "intellectual challenge" offered by the practice of law is exaggerated. Some of the work that a lawyer does may be intellectually demanding, but much is routine, even dull. I once had a job involving such slow-moving appearances in court that I often occupied myself by calculating logarithms in my head, one of the few "intellectual" activities that I could perform while appearing attentive and engaged.

      Sanitation workers, I admit, get far less intellectual stimulation from their work. On the other hand, as 12:43 pointed out, there is a great deal to be said for respectable income, stable employment, and reasonable hours (with extra pay for overtime), all of which can afford the leisure with which to pursue intellectual or other interests.

      Delete
    3. OG-9:41 is clearly the ellipsis troll, back again.

      Delete
    4. Yes, I know, 8:07. I was responding to 12:43, not to the Ellipsis Troll.

      Delete
  12. I thought this was a safe place for discussion - not a place where one has to be outed to prove a point. Well, here it goes:

    I graduated from West Virginia University School of Law in 2002 (at the age of 43). I did attend CU Law my 1L year and had Paul Campos for a class – so I have followed this blog and Inside the Law School Scam since inception. I didn't work during law school or during summers – my wife and I had two young children and I was lucky enough to have worked for 20 years prior to attending law school. I was able to attend debt free (I acknowledge that this gave me a distinct advantage). During second semester of my 2L year, I applied for what I thought was a summer internship with a federal judge in the NDWV (Judge Frederick Stamp, Jr.). I was hired for a two-year clerkship that started in August 2002. In fact, five classmates received federal clerkships – including one with Judge Robert King of the 4th Cir. (Robert Alsop if you need “evidence”).

    In 2003, my wife and I decided to re-locate back to Colorado and I left the clerkship one year early. I had no contacts, but applied at the PDs office and at several DAs offices in the Boulder/Denver area. I was hired as a state PD in the Denver office. After five months I left for a DA position in a judicial district that was over an hour from our house (I lived in Boulder and the position was in Greeley – look it up). After three months I quit and applied for an entry-level position with the Colorado AG. I was hired in November 2004. During that short time as a PD in Denver and DDA in Greeley, I did six jury trials – in contrast to the newbies who recently applied for an attorney position at the AG who had zero experience.

    In July 2006, I applied for a position as a DDA in Boulder and was hired. Between 2006 and 2010 I did dozens of jury trials in both district and county court (an example is available here: https://www.dailycamera.com/2009/09/01/jury-hears-opening-statements-in-arson-attempted-murder-case/). So, I believe I understand the rules of evidence. In 2010, I was appointed as a state ALJ. Between 2010 and 2016 I participated in hundreds of hearings and issued orders after each hearing (example available here: https://www.cde.state.co.us/spedlaw/ea2016-0003). In 2016, I moved to the Colorado Division of Securities as the Chief Examiner and in 2018 was appointed the Deputy Securities Commissioner. Since I joined the Division, we hired about eight people. In each case, we made a JD a preferred qualification. We struggle to get an adequate number of applicants (applicants must be residents of Colorado – so this may be a factor). Twice, we had to repost due to a lack of candidates who met the minimum qualifications.

    The recent positions at the AGs Office included a position representing the Division of Securities. It had to be reposted due to a lack of applications. I haven’t heard the results of the latest posting (position closed on 6/5/19).

    I generally agree that law school is a big risk. This morning, a friend (do you want his name as well?) told me that his daughter, who will be starting her final year at Syracuse in August, is considering law school. I referred them to this blog and told them that law school should only be considered if she does very well on the LSAT and gets $$$.

    My main point is that law school can lead to a good career. Maybe I beat the odds considering that I was an older student who attended a TTTT. I have never had trouble getting a job even with my record of quitting jobs in short order. I don’t want to believe that I was simply lucky. I admit that if I had debt, I probably wouldn’t have been able to survive on the salaries I earned in the early years as an attorney.

    If you have any questions – please feel free to contact me. https://www.linkedin.com/in/david-cheval-a58a2228/

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    1. It sounds like you have a gift for the law. I was always uncomfortable with trial work, although I got a charge from it, the little I did. Nevertheless, you can't explain those stats, with most law schools getting few clerkships.

      Delete
    2. Thank you for sharing your background. No one demanded your identity, so I don't understand why you felt pressure to be outed. Please do not share the name of your friend or of his daughter, at least without permission.

      I too had a federal clerkship, but I graduated from an élite law school about a decade after you graduated. Perhaps things would have worked out better for me had I finished law school back in 2002. Law school was a milder scam back then: there was no InfiLaw, for instance, and jobs were more abundant. Instead, unable to get so much as an interview at any stable institution, I have had to settle for jobs in various shabby organizations that wound up closing down for financial or related reasons. I have been out of work for many months and no longer know what to do, beyond dying.

      You were right to advise that young lady to study this site before applying to law school. Just in case she happens to read these words, I should like to take the liberty of citing an old article of mine:

      https://outsidethelawschoolscam.blogspot.com/2014/12/guest-post-by-old-guy-which-law-schools.html

      That's just one analysis; others have been posted here and elsewhere, but they all lead to similar conclusions. West Virginia would be a bad choice if she didn't get free tuition, have ties to the area, and plan to stay there. At least then she might have a chance (though not a reasonable expectation) of getting a federal clerkship or other decent job, without being saddled with debt. Syracuse would be riskier still.

      See also:

      https://outsidethelawschoolscam.blogspot.com/2017/05/the-seven-tiers-of-law-schools.html?showComment=1558157312050

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    3. BoCo: nobody outed you; you outed yourself "to prove a point" although it's almost impossible to see what that point is.
      Cograts on your life success, but it's a very bad idea to visit an anonymous internet board and then supply personal information.

      But first, kudos to OG; he was a lot more gracious in response to this recent post than you deserved, in light of the heavy snark you supplied(interrupting OG with "facts" quotation marks intended) in your initial post.
      That said, you've established:
      1. That you graduated from law school almost a generation ago-17 years and counting.
      2. You initially bounced from job to job, which is something that would be a huge red flag these days; maybe it was ok 20 years ago.
      3. Your initial entries here made it seem you were a AAG at DHS for a while; it appears that you were there approximately 2 years. It's clear that you have no personal or professional knowledge of how AG hiring works. And if the AAG jobs being posted are to represent your current division, no doubt the jobs required extensive background in securities law-a pretty rare commodity. And since the jobs pay $6400/month to start, if someone has five years of experience in this area, it's most likely a pay cut.
      4. You currently work at Div of Securities; currently there is no way to go from PD and ADA and AAG(at DHS) to be Chief Examiner of Securities. That's a very technical field, which requires-bingo!-experience. You must have significant applicable experience, something 95% of lawyers-new grads or old attorneys-don't have. There's no way any garden variety PD/ADA/AAG goes to work in advanced level securities law.
      5. You admit attending law school is a huge risk.
      So what exactly are the "facts" you were interrupting OG with? Your life story is an anecdote; facts would be plural.
      You experience from 20 years ago, combined with a previous career, would have no application to any new law grads or experienced attorneys looking for work.
      And your reference to "safe" place for discussion; you started with snark, and got snark back. And it's all anonymous-until you decided to waive your resume around. So until you decided-for who knows what reason-to get personal, it was a safe place for discussion.
      And I'd advise you remove your personal information, as your mailbox is going to get buried with resumes, since there are so many jobs you know of which desperately need to be filled.

      And what was your point? That going to law school is a good idea? A bad idea? That your career is the sort of legal career a 40-something career changer can expect? Or something else?

      Delete
    4. OK. . .first of all, you keep talking about how many jury trials you have had. Having a lot of jury trials does not show that you are a successful lawyer. In particular, in criminal matters, there is something called a "trial penalty" that basically means if defense counsel insists on a bench trial, and loses, his client gets hurt, and if the defense attorney makes a circuit court judge spend 3 full days and tens of thousands of tax dollars on a jury trial, and loses (the State usually wins, statistically, and almost always wins in certain jurisdictions) then the client gets "maxed out" at sentencing. So when a lawyer tells me he has had a lot of jury trials, I mention that I have bought a lot of groceries, mowed my lawn many times. . ..you get the picture.

      Delete
    5. Now, to get back to reality, in the legal job market, in 2019. . .I know a young man who graduated near the top of his class from Georgetown Law. He works as an Assistant Public Defender in one of the most violent cities in the US. I would rather work as a garbage collector in the surrounding county than as a Public Defender in that city. . .the pay and benefits would probably be better, the job would be much safer, and I would get more respect from members of my community. Seriously, friends and family members have agreed with me, and said you would be nuts to work in that city. This young man bitterly told me that, for the bottom half of his law school's graduating class "there's no hope for them". Think about that. Half the class at a prestigious school is in terrible position, mostly deep in debt, unable to even secure an interview, let alone a job, for a position as an attorney. . . and the, say, top 1/3 or so might, possibly, get a job that yesterday's lawyers would have laughed at. I made it as a lawyer, but I started law school back in 1992, before the legal job market became a bad joke. And please don't respond by blathering that "some" law grads make big money at big firms and federal clerkships, when we both know that 90 percent of the class won't even get an interview for such a position.

      Delete
    6. And that's for Georgetown, which is near the top of my Tier 4. The prospects for graduates of a typical Tier 4 or Tier 5 school are considerably worse. Down in Tier 6, unemployment is commonly 30% or 40% and can be as high as 50%—still with a fancy price tag. And that doesn't include underemployment (temporary work, part-time work, work outside the legal field). Such long-term, full-time jobs as there are will usually not pay much.

      There's certainly nothing wrong with collecting garbage, but something is badly wrong with a society that leaves people to borrow $300k at high interest and put more than three income-free years into preparation for the position of public defender only to find themselves far worse off than the unskilled workers on the garbage truck.

      Delete
  13. One goal of this blog should be to get the Bureau of Labor Statistics to publish accurate income data by including self-employed lawyers in its income data for lawyers. The median income of U.S. lawyers is about $75,000 or less using that metric - at the 25th percentile for employed lawyers. The reason for this is that there are a little over 600,000 employed lawyers, and at least half that number, and likely approaching 500,000, self employed lawyers in the U.S.

    Maybe the oversupply of law graduates would be sharply reduced if the IRS were to collect income data for lawyers who are self employed, not just for the broader category of persons who are working in legal services, as they do now. That data needs to be used by BLS as a proxy for the incomes of the maybe 400,000 or 500,000 self-employed lawyers.

    How many people are going to spend a quarter of a million dollars to earn less than $75,000, if they are lucky enough to get a legal job at all?

    How can the federal government publish income data that includes less that half of all licensed lawyers and overstates the median income of lawyers by almost $60,000 a year?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, the Bureau of Labor Statistics is concerned with employment. Self-employed lawyers are businesspeople, not employees.

      Delete
    2. Those BLS statistics are meaningless. Not only do they exclude people who graduated from law school but never found jobs as attorneys, they also exclude people who worked as attorneys but then later lost their jobs.

      Delete
  14. BoCo,
    West Virginia isn't a TTTT. It is ranked 100 in USNWR which puts it in lower second or upper third (USNWR appears to have dropped its tiering groups. Even OG has it in his Tier 4 which includes schools such as UCLA and Boston University, schools whose grads typically have little difficulty finding legal employment. Although I am not suggesting that WVU is equivalent to these.

    Since you got one of the clerkships, I am assuming your class rank was quite high. I don't see where age would have been a factor. The ease in which you obtain employment makes more sense for on going to a 100 ranked school and graduating near the top of the class.

    Your experience isn't really pertinent to the issue of the value of the 4th tier schools.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My Tier 4 is described as follows: "Expect a disastrous outcome at these unless you get tuition waived, have local connections, and intend to build your career in the vicinity of the school (no farther away than, say, an adjacent state). As always, rich people can go here if they really want to."

      I'd say that UCLA, Boston University, and West Virginia all fit that description. That doesn't mean that UCLA and West Virginia are equivalent, only that a prospective student should not enroll at either of them except on the terms that I mentioned.

      The arbitrary and frankly stupid "rankings" of You Ass News put law schools into tiers of fifty. Thus West Virginia, being at 100 on those "rankings", is in "Tier 2" with whichever school is in 51st place. Would you say that those two schools are equivalent?

      Age definitely is a factor in the so-called legal profession. I too ranked quite highly in my class, yet I could not get an interview. The dean of my élite law school urged me not even to join the bar, as I was unlikely to find work as a lawyer.

      Delete
    2. OG,
      Let me clarify about age. BoCo speculates that he being an "older student attending a TTTT" helped him in some way in securing employment. I think it was just the fact that he was able to build a solid resume which began with what I am guessing was a high class rank from a decent law school. Because of these attributes employers starting with the federal clerkship were able to overlook the age issue. I agree that the more one's age is over the norm it can only be a liability when applying for entry level positions for any occupation.

      In your case, I am guessing that the value of your earlier experience has been negated by the time elapsed. As an older practitioner, you probably should have pursued employment in agencies such the types where BoCo works where you could get some modicum of job security. Maybe that is what you should be trying now.

      Delete
    3. I did pursue that sort of employment, 11:08. Again, I could not get an interview from any public agency. I finally got two such interviews several months ago, but they didn't lead anywhere. One of those positions, relisted twice, should have gone to me, but it was given to someone who claimed an entitlement of some sort despite being unqualified.

      It was all over before it began. And I simply don't know what to do now.

      Delete
    4. This is 11:08. I misread BoCo's post about the impact of his age in getting a job. Now I see that me meant he beat the odds despite being an older student from a TTTT. His term 'considering' had me confused.

      Also, his use of the term TTTT could have been a reference to Old Guy's tiering system, since WVU is within Tier 4 of the OG system. Since he tends to address his posts directly to OG perhaps this was the case. This was confusing to me also, since the terms TTT and TTTT, to my understanding refer to the USNWR scale.

      Nevertheless, I hold to my assumption that BoCos success is directly related to his Federal clerkship and probably high class rank at WVU. Also, possibly a more favorable legal hiring climate was also a factor, although as far I am concerned the hiring climate wasn't very good in 2002 or prior to that.

      Delete
  15. Old guy, you are smart, write well. Why can't you become an appellate attorney? You don't need an office, send your cV to lawyers, offer to do their appeals, even on a contingency, they pay all costs. You might have a nice niche in no time at all.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you for the suggestion. I had actually had in mind to do appellate work. But would anyone want me to handle appeals just because of a CV?

      Delete
    2. In a word-Yes! Two friends started a practice based entirely on that premise: appellate work. Prepared, basically, a firm prospectus outlining their backgrounds, and sent it to every firm they could find, focusing on small to medium firms but including several large firms. They made it clear that the client belonged to the original attorney, and they would just write the brief. As it turned out, many if not most successful train attorneys have neither the time nor inclination for appellate work. They eventually were asked to write briefs for motions, etc.
      So yes, it involved some networking, but mostly it was getting their name out there. They aren't getting rich, but are plenty busy.

      Delete
    3. I know a few people that are Big Law washouts that do appellate work while doing document review. They obviously don't make enough doing the work that they can stop doc review. They also have very prestigious backgrounds/work history/networks that they're utilizing to get whatever of that work they do get.

      I suppose it's better than doing nothing, but I always get a good laugh out of the "just go apply/just send out your CV/just do the work" comments I see online. If it was really that easy, then nobody should complain about law school at all. How could it possibly be a scam when all you need to do is send out CVs, and it's just lazy people that don't "want to work" that aren't gainfully employed?

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    4. Appellate work also requires a lot of legal research. I don't have access to the expensive databases that would be required. Those cost hundreds of dollars per month, whether they are used or not. So does professional liability insurance.

      Delete
    5. A solo can get Lexus, west law pretty inexpensively. I use fast case, the entire national database for a few hundred per YEAR. Appellate attorneys are smarter than the average attorney. To be good at appellate work requires the ability to explain the nuances of the law or sometimes simply to write persuasively. Most smaller firms are simply not competent to do their own appellate work. Appellate attorneys on large contingency fee cases can do very well.

      Delete
    6. 4:18 back again; this wasn't meant as a fantasy/go network suggestion. I know how tough it is to get work as an older attorney; I've been doing doc review, which is miserable but it's a job and I feel like I'm still being a lawyer, although that's admittedly tenuous.
      OG got a federal clerkship, which still carries weight even several years on. He also has an elite JD, which also carries weight. My friends got started by using the local bar association's library(for their small monthly dues, they got unlimited use of the library's lexus account-and nobody else was ever there, so they made friends with the very bored librarian who helped them immensely), progressing to purchasing a Lexus(or maybe it was WestLaw) subscription for their very small, very inexpensive office. Since they never met clients in the office, and since they traveled to see the referring attorney, they could have done it from home.
      And yes, many trial firms are geared toward trial; if they can get a reasonably priced competent attorney to write an appellate brief or complex trial motion, they are interested.
      I have no idea if this will work in NYC, DC or a market that large; I'm in a busy, but smaller city in flyover country, which is where I thought OG lived.
      Regarding malpractice, don't know if they took any out.
      And again, it was clear the client belonged to the original attorney/law firm, so there were no worries about stealing clients.
      And I'm also familiar with applying for/being interviewed for govt jobs for which I am clearly qualified and not getting them. It's at the point where I'm convinced that 99% of those jobs are filled before they are posted. And virtually no private firm will hire an attorney my age.
      And I haven't tried this b/c I don't have a JD from an elite school and was never a federal clerk. Those things actually carry weight, because out here they just aren't that common. Just a TTT guy more than 20 years on.
      And nobody's getting rich, but it does pay and for them it has worked out OK.

      Delete
    7. 10:53 makes sense to me that OGs elite law degree plus the federal clerkship would still have some clout. I cannot say that for sure, because I don't know what goes on in everyone's head or what is happening behind the scenes in all places.

      But my observations from life are that there a lot of people in decision making positions who put a big emphasis on credentialism with many being concentrated in the public sector and academia. OG isn't just a ivory tower academic either, he has practical litigation experience as well to buttress the academic qualifications. Despite his disappointing results in obtaining public sector employment, he has made it to the interview stage, which is a positive sign. Therefore, I would suggest that he continues pursuing public sector openings.

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    8. Imagining The Open ToadJune 12, 2019 at 3:32 PM

      The idea of ghosting appellate drafts and doing research for them comes up from time to time on JDU. Below is a recent example.

      https://www.jdunderground.com/law/thread.php?threadId=186048

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  16. What you won't find in any BLS or law school report is the sight of a young solo practitioner completely botching a case. A couple weeks ago, I had the misfortune of sitting in on an equitable distribution hearing where a young solo was unable to identify marital assets and was unable to establish any sort of evidentiary foundation so as to preclude the introduction of anything relevant into evidence. It was the most pathetic display of lawyering I had ever seen--and I have seen some crappy lawyers out there. Even the judge was sighing in exasperation as she ultimately granted the defense's motion to dismiss.

    I couldn't help but think that this young practitioner went straight from some toilet school into solo practice because said practitioner was unable to land a traditional first job out of law school (i.e. firm, DA, public defender). Instead, this young solo may have had to learn some really costly, although basic, lessons at the expense of his client.

    Had this practitioner been an associate of even a small firm, the judge may have given the firm a call to better train their associate. Had this practitioner been a member of a law school faculty, I am confident that the judge would have had a word with that school's dean.

    I can't help but think that stories like this are becoming increasingly common in courtrooms across the country. I don't think it will be much longer before the public hears of a lawyer incompetence tale so outrageous that state bars will have no choice but to institute stricter licensing requirements. More impotantly, though, crap law schools are not going to be able to rely on the legal academy and its puffery to run interference in the face of such outcomes.

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  17. And Thomas Jefferson takes another hit. I doubt it will be an ABA Accredited law school this time next year: https://abovethelaw.com/2019/06/aba-revokes-yet-another-abysmal-law-schools-accreditation/

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