Monday, February 3, 2020

"I’m a Product of a Legal Education System That Produces Graduates for a Foregone Era"

Image result for hustle

This opening statement resonated with me immediately:

In May 2012, my professional outlook was bleak.

I was wrapping up three unenvious years of law school, confident I didn’t want to practice and saddled with about $150,000 in fresh school debt. Insult to injury: I was unemployed.

Haven't many of us been there?  Optimism turns to pessimism to despair over a three-year period.  Whether or not the practice-bug stayed intact, the question became - what do I do now?  Let's see:

A month after graduation, I received the first in a string of professional lifelines: a Fulbright fellowship to the Republic of Kosovo.

Wait, what?

It was a palate cleanser. I spent the year talking to people building the country’s justice system...[while] I traveled throughout Europe’s newest country, I was focused on traditional rule of law issues...[i]n the periphery, however, I caught glimpses of something I’d never seen before: a civic technology scene...[w]hile the country’s government operated in fits and starts, I saw members of a young, tech-savvy population trying to bridge the government’s gaps with their own solutions. 

Definitely not traditional legal practice - note the use of the term "palate cleanser".  Intrigued, I wanted to see where this went:

With a new universe of possibilities rattling inside my head, I left Kosovo for Baltimore to lead a criminal justice policy project.  The role didn’t last long; however, during that time I channeled what I saw in Kosovo and built my first legal app. That small act sealed my fate. I quit my job to catch the wave of the app’s early success, only to find the model unsustainable. From there, Justice Codes was born.  The following five years would be filled with euphoric successes, crushing defeats and the often-numb banality of striking out on your own.

Hmm, OK.  I admire the hustle, moving from one thing to the next - it sounds like the author was a bit of an entrepreneur at heart.  Regardless:

While I don’t recommend my path to others, I do think there are broader lessons in my experience. If nothing else, I want to join the chorus of voices pushing lawyers to expand their potential and embrace nontraditional, path-breaking opportunities. While such a choice is not without cost and sacrifice, lawyers who embrace it will be better suited to navigate our changing profession...[i]n retrospect, it’s safe to say that this was all worth it, as I exceeded many of my initial goals. Now, I even receive the occasional call from law students or lawyers looking to make a career change asking how they can do what I did. I tell them the process to get here looks nothing like the end product...[i]’m privileged to have had some savings and the personal freedom to embark on this endeavor, but I made just above the poverty line my first year. Each subsequent year was progressively better, but I still had to stop paying on my student loans during this time...[after additional challenges], left broke, dejected and running Facebook ad optimizations to cover rent, I became a journalist—another lifeline [emphasis added].

Wow.  I point all of this out not to criticize, as I admire the ability to stay agile.  Certainly more agile that I myself have been.  But I also appreciate the honesty - a seemingly lightning-strike initial opportunity, followed by multiple job-hops, varied amounts of "success" and "failure," some cash-flow issues along the way, initial capital required as a pre-requisite, while student loans took a back seat.  "Personal freedom" necessary - I'm assuming this means no familial obligations.  Other lawyers asking how to get out in the meantime, as this circuitous path apparently looked better.

What is the author's conclusion?

I’m a product of a legal education system that produces graduates for a foregone era, while saddling them with life-altering debt. Graduating into the wake of the Great Recession, I was left unsure about my professional future and building skills absent from law school curriculum. Simultaneously, legal professionals spent the last decade scrambling to learn new processes and technologies—and fend off others—in a bid to stay relevant. Regardless of our collective best efforts, most Americans still can’t access meaningful legal assistance.

At the same time, there has never been a more exciting moment to create a new path. Within the wreckage that is the access-to-justice gap, there is opportunity. Further, costs have never been lower to experiment with a promising idea, like those had by the founders at JustFix, Simple Citizen, Upsolve and Uptrust—just to name a few.

However, change is hard, and in a profession built on precedent—literally training us to look backward—I agonize over those not focused on what’s ahead...[i]t'll be better instead to set sail.

Welp, these are good points.  Congratulations to the author on navigating the minefield, as we all have to do in some form or fashion.

0Ls, and nontrads, however - let this example be another voice who is honestly pointing out the opportunities and the challenges, as no one within the Cartel will speak this plainly.  Many people start out saddled with debt.  The profession is changing, and may require multiple job-hops that are not even legal in nature.  Your career stands a good chance of being "nontraditional" (i.e. non-practicing) if you are not already a made-man going into the legal profession.  As seen above, there were many twists and turns, some of which may be "exciting," but financial stability and ability to pay back loans was not a large part of it.

If the future is "non-traditional, path-breaking" opportunities, then maybe law school is not the answer in the first place.  If I ever saw a ringing endorsement for an MBA (and I don't doubt there are overproduction of graduates issues there also), then this story would be it.  Caveat emptor.


  1. It’s just a job for rich people trying to satisfy the Apex of Maslow’s hierarchy. I don’t have value because my parents left me money, a business, connections, etc. No, I have value because I’m an attorney and everyone knows that’s a difficult thing to do. Anyone who says otherwise is a loser, etc. And the scam rolls on.

    Best case scenario:

    190k biglaw salary in NYC:

    That’s 9k a month after taxes.

    That’s 6.5k after you pay 3.5k in rent

    That’s 4k after you pay 2.5k in loan payments a month.

    That’s 3k after you pay for food and miscellaneous expenses on frugal budget.

    36k a year. Best case scenario. To live in a place like NYC, LA, Chicago, or San Fran. You’ll never have anything. You’ll work like a slave. You are “rich.” And that’s if things go well.

    Good luck kidos.

    1. BigAmLaw better than 190k, starting bonus alone should be 100k/yr. 3.5k rent is stupid even by SF Bay standards, you can afford to buy, esp at these rates.

      Pay off the loan quickly. We did and it never got over 100k. 4th or 5th Tier Texas (cheapest law school in top 20),alum stretched between Texas and CA.

  2. Here is his company:

    Basically sounds like a legalzoom competitor, except that it's coupled with the kinds of videos and information the pro pers sometimes are made to watch about how to serve things, courtroom decorum and whatnot. Sounds like it may also seek to contract with the courts themselves as a sort of pro-per-focused/questionnaire-based e-filing system, but places like TurboCourt are already more established in that space.

    There's nowhere you can actually buy this though, just a contact link, so it looks like the product isn't live yet. So if he's actually paying his bills from this activity, it must be from burning through VC money or something.

    Like OG, I applaud the entrepreneurial spirit, but some of what he says seems premature, as if he's already accomplished something that in reality is much more of a work-in-process that might or might not succeed.

    More cynically, I wonder if the thing will ever truly see the light of day, as opposed to it just being an effort to create something that one of the established players will just acquire and kill in order to avoid competing with it.

  3. People who go into law school typically are not seeking "to create a new path" or "embrace nontraditional, path-breaking opportunities": they want to follow the allegedly tried-and-true course of becoming a lawyer. They certainly don't intend to rack up debts that they cannot pay, scramble for a Fulbright fellowship (unavailable to Old Guy on the grounds of age and to the masses of toileteers on the grounds of unsuitability), live at the poverty line, work at a variety of odd jobs outside the legal profession, and end up broke after exhausting the savings that they probably never had in the first place.

    1. There’s a Wall Street Journal article about the life of biglaw attorneys in 1988. The billable hour requirement was like 1200 hours a year.
      Thats the cultural perception. And like Andrew Yang says in his book, if you go to law school and no you were scammed, what are you going to do? Are you going to tell people you are a “chump” (that’s his term)? Are you going to tell prospective dating partners that you are suffering and your life is shit, which is only going to make matters worse? Are you going to discuss things publicly so that 1) the sociopaths, 2) trust fund babies and 3) relatively few normal people (who have nothing else of value in their life but the public perception of what it means to be a lawyer) can brand you as an untouchable, thus eliminating the infinitesimal chance of things improving? No, you have to pretend. The professors know this. That’s how the scam keeps going. And that’s how it’s going to continue to keep going. That’s it. Like Yang says, these people are not going to be held accountable.

      But the problem is deeper. This country lost its way. People just do not want to accept human nature for what it is. They want to trust in institutions composed of human beings to look out for their own interests. They don’t want to understand that when you give power over your life to institutions, those institutions are going to operate for the benefit of the institutions’ constituents. The institutions are not going to operate for your benefit. They will thrust responsibility back onto you, but in the worst possible way.

      No one doing harm in this country is being held accountable because people don’t understand that they have abdicated their responsibility to understand that most people are greedy and selfish, and will act the part. So here we are. From the Satler family that killed millions with OxyContin via regulatory capture to the law school deans scamming millions from the tax payer.

      There’s also another side effect to the scam. Let’s say you aren’t a sociopath and you aren’t a trust fund baby. You do the biglaw gauntlet, survive and make it to the top of the game. You are part of the people in control of the country now. How sympathetic do you think these people are to providing protections for normal and working class people? Do you think these guys are ok with six figure police pensions and six figure teacher salaries? Hint: they aren’t. They are going to work to destroy these things; in fact, that’s a large reason why the Midwest collapsed, but it’s not something generally discussed. Some manager for GE or GM Or whatever is fighting visciously to maintain a 150-200k job fending Indians and Chinese away from his or her job, and we are going to have guys tabulating bathroom breaks on the line making 120-150k with pension? Not happening.

      I’ve talked to some of these people and they have their eyes set on the public sector positions paying reasonable salaries with reasonable job security. They know the price they paid to succeed and they saw what happened to the losers in the game. They aren’t going to have any sympathy for working people given what they have been subjected to, and believe me, it’s going to impact policy.

      I know a senior biglaw attorneys with very deep government connections (hint: head of former federal agencies) and when he saw what teachers make in his jurisdiction, he flat out said “this is unacceptable.”

      This is having all sorts of collateral consequences normal people can’t understand, but which is (and will continue to) severely impact their lives.

  4. The title of the quoted article says it all: "Career confessions of an atypical law school graduate" Note the word "atypical". Not just a "your mileage may vary" relationship to the typical real-world law grad with no law job and a mountain of debt. It's a totally different planet. Wonder how hard they had to look to find this outlier of a law grad. And it's the ABA's own mag for heaven's sake!!!

    1. The atypical graduate starts off with a nest egg, gets a couple of unusual opportunities outside the legal profession, fails to pay his student loans, and goes broke.

      The typical graduate starts off with little or nothing, gets no unusual opportunities inside or outside the legal profession, fails to pay his student loans and goes broke.

    2. ^ This. 1000 times this. For every story of the atypical graduate there are a 1000 stories of the typical graduate.

      The smartest guy in my law school class was the one who took a good hard look at his 1L fall grades and decided to bail in January.

    3. The guy who bails in January is not only the smartest, but also the most courageous. To drop out like that you have to overcome the sunk cost fallacy AND huge societal/parental stigma against "dropouts" and "quitters."

      Tech types understand this. A lot of them adopt a "fail fast" ethos, which encourages experimentation and takes the stigma away from "failure," enabling people to quickly pivot to something else without shame instead of wasting time and money trying to resurrect lost causes.

      We need that kind of ethic in education too. If it becomes apparent (as it should for anyone who emerges offerless from OCI) that law school is a lost cause, there should be no shame in cutting your losses.

    4. I emerged from OCI not only offerless but even interviewless.

  5. Successful entrepreneurs are unicorns. It takes a unique skill set, and no small amount of good luck, to make it. It’s not a viable career option for most people. Certainly, nobody should go to law school with the idea that it will serve as a springboard for their entrepreneurial ambitions. If you have the skill set, no need to waste your time and money on law school.

    1. And yet, this is the major problem. On an individual and societal level.

      We need more entrepreneurs. A massive number of them and directed to new fields that have not yet been outsourced to the East.

      The era of the employee is over. It was an aberration in history and it was taken away quietly and under the dark of night. It’s not coming back. Young people need to start thinking about risky, unorthodox, and unconventional careers and skill sets; otherwise, they are going to be in for a lot of disappointment.

  6. Compliance is being touted as an non traditional alternative for JDs. However, not only are these jobs not particularly numerous to begin with, they tend to get pretty hard with cutbacks during economic slumps.

  7. Duped Non-Traditional was not being serious about getting an MBA, but still a note of caution is in order. The MBA is another big scam, though admittedly not half so scammy as the JD. Back in the 1980s, everyone and her pet goldfish was getting an MBA. Touted as an easy route to a highly paid executive position, the MBA was quickly seen to be all but worthless, largely because it was so common. There are still far more MBAs than there should be. And only MBAs from a handful of institutions have any real reputation.

    1. See the Personal MBA by Josh Kaufman.

      "Getting an MBA is an expensive choice-one almost impossible to justify regardless of the state of the economy. Even the elite schools like Harvard and Wharton offer outdated, assembly-line programs that teach you more about PowerPoint presentations and unnecessary financial models than what it takes to run a real business. You can get better results (and save hundreds of thousands of dollars) by skipping business school altogether.

      Josh Kaufman founded as an alternative to the business school boondoggle. His blog has introduced hundreds of thousands of readers to the best business books and most powerful business concepts of all time. Now, he shares the essentials of entrepreneurship, marketing, sales, negotiation, operations, productivity, systems design, and much more, in one comprehensive volume. The Personal MBA distills the most valuable business lessons into simple, memorable mental models that can be applied to real-world challenges.

      The Personal MBA explains concepts such as:
      The Iron Law of the Market: Why every business is limited by the size and quality of the market it attempts to serve-and how to find large, hungry markets.
      The 12 Forms of Value: Products and services are only two of the twelve ways you can create value for your customers.
      The Pricing Uncertainty Principle: All prices are malleable. Raising your prices is the best way to dramatically increase profitability - if you know how to support the price you're asking.
      4 Methods to Increase Revenue: There are only four ways a business can bring in more money. Do you know what they are?
      True leaders aren't made by business schools - they make themselves, seeking out the knowledge, skills, and experience they need to succeed. Read this book and you will learn the principles it takes most business professionals a lifetime of trial and error to master."

    2. I actually think crappy MBAs (which is pretty much any MBA that doesn't place at big 4 or the ibanks) are as big a scam as crappy law schools. They aren't as life-destroying, but that's not because of anything the school should get credit for. The program is just a year shorter and a lot of the applicants have work experience coming in; some even already have a job and are going on the employer's nickel.

      The people who don't have any preexisting experience tend to find that the MBA does absolutely nothing for them in and of itself other than put them in big debt which again, is at best just the same debt as law school minus one year.

      I had a roommate in an MBA program. Dead serious, one of his assignments was about a hypothetical where you've called a meeting and there aren't enough donuts to go around and they all had to get in teams and decide what to do. It's pretty much pure nonsense unless the real goal is to get accounting credits for a CPA.

    3. Years ago I thought about writing a set of books for self-instruction in the law, possibly akin to the book cited above.

      The problem with that book and the ones that I considered writing is that they don't lead to a credential. Nobody is going to be interested in someone who just read a book on business or law, even if the person surpasses in ability most holders of an MBA or a JD. Despite all the talk about "education", these days the primary product sold by hackademia is not knowledge or skills but degrees.

      As for the ridiculous question about doughnuts, my answer: Tell everyone to put down the doughnuts and get the hell back to work. Most of them are probably too damn fat anyway.

    4. And if it's self instruction for the everyman, Nolo already has a fairly good such series in publication.

    5. I had in mind self-instruction of a quality exceeding that of law schools. That, of course, doesn't set the bar very high…

    6. I think the most motivated individual for the product you were considering would be someone trying to litigate their own case. People will go to great lengths to understand a subject when it involves their own self interest. I am wondering whether you envisioned any modules of your course involving legal research? Many public libraries have considerable legal resources which might meet the threshold of basic representation at least in one's self interest.

    7. RE self-instruction, I actually think that law school really does teach you to "think like a lawyer" and I do think this style of reasoning has value. The 1L curriculum is actually really great IMHO. 1L pedagogy is probably the one and only thing about current law school structure that actually works, and may also be the one aspect that is better taught in a classroom than in the field.

      The problem is that the foundation laid in 1L is necessary, but not sufficient. Applying caselaw to established or undisputed facts is an essential lawyering skill, but at some point you've got to actually look at or draft a contract or deal with actual contested facts, and that stuff is better learned in the field.

      I think law school should be a one-year masters program, maybe expand that one year to include the summers before and after so you can fit in some "good" electives like evidence, IP, T&E, corporations, UCC, commercial paper, etc.

      After that one year masters, there should be like two years of apprenticeship, and it should have to pay you a decent stipend like a medical residency does. Schools that can't place in such things would have to shut down, so it could also help with the oversupply issue as well as reducing debt by 2/3rds.

    8. I say 2 semesters, followed by a 2-3 month bar review course, then a bar exam. Make the bar exam difficult with a 50-60% pass rate. First year grades not as important. People that pass get to do the apprenticeship. State bars or courts could administer the apprenticeship.

      People that don't pass can get on with their lives without 3 years wasted and without being tied to the identity of lawyer. They could do paralegal, doc review, limited practice, contract administration, compliance and other law-adjacent work if they chose, or they could go elsewhere.

  8. The US passed the Higher Education Act in 1965 to fund mass higher education with a federally backed student loan scheme. We made a bet that education and career was a better insurance policy against the future than being thrifty and long-term savings. We lost.

    1. But why? That’s the fundamental question that no one wants to answer.

      Societies and economies go through cycles, the unique characteristics associated therewith being amplified or dampened based on particular events of the time.

      The Boomers were given the greatest economy in the history of mankind by the generation that suffered the most in American history. This exacerbated the effects of the upswing and the downswing.

      The Boomers were bribed by the selfish and egomaniacal manipulators of their time. “Hey, do you really want to work through the summer to pay for school or do you want to take a light loan and enjoy your youth?” The bribe was small because the greed of the parasites of that time was dampened by the horrors of the Depression and WWII.

      But when the Boomers took control, a generation handed everything and with minimal suffering (especially if you didn’t serve in Vietnam), oh my God.... The bribe comes with massive penalties.

      You cannot trust institutions. Only the individual can govern his or her destiny. The people in government are working to advance the interests of the people in government and the people that pay them. Period. End of story.

      Every regulatory agency is captured. No one is being held accountable for anything. No one went to jail from the financial crisis. No one went to jail for the opioid crisis. Examine the preceding post on this blog: the school allowed a totally irresponsible person to attend, siphoned hundreds of thousands of dollars in tax payer dollars, and there is no accountability. The accountability was born by the individual, but the weight of that accountability went from what could have been a light load (working and paying for school) to life altering (permanent debt serf).

      The ABA works for the professors. It’s job is not to regulate the quality of law school education. It’s job is to make sure the constituents of the ABA are taken care of. The same thing with the SEC, FDA, fill in the blank.

      People need to understand this. The country needs to return to reality. You can’t regulate your way out of problems. The regulators will work or actually be the people to be regulated. They’ll act accordingly.

    2. Well, the question Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? (Who shall guard the guards themselves?) remains as relevant today as it was in Juvenal's era.

      The totally irresponsible person discussed in the previous article was another example of unaccountability—in spades. The accountability for her selfish conduct was borne not by herself but by the general public, which finds itself saddled with almost a million dollars in debt so that she and her apparently irresponsible husband could fatten themselves and a bunch of hackademic scammers at the same time.

      As for the Baby Boomers, shed no crocodile tears for them. Far from being bilked with loans and the like, they became the fattest and most self-serving generation of all time, a veritable plague of locusts stealing from those of us who are unfortunate enough to come after them.

    3. I'm not familiar with the law, but I am speculating that it was enacted because college was expensive then, especially when going full time without an income, so that first generation without the GI Bill needed something to cover the costs.

      And it sort of worked for the first 30 years or so. I had to take out about $3,000 in GSLs to get through the last year of college in the 80s. But then I got a job and paid off the loans within two years.

    4. Well first you have to understand the guards are going to pursue their interests over your interests, instead of the people stomping their feet petulantly demanding the contrary.

      Even your response says the woman acted selfishly, but no attributing or blame to the institutions that actually caused the problem being held accountable.

      It’s fascinating how societies become totally corrupt. We deny human nature. Build institutions based on that denial. And then the society is pillaged by an exacerbated version of human nature stemming from the denial.

    5. I agree with Old Guy entirely regarding the baby boomer generation. They went on to destroy what semblance of cities we ever had in this country with a vast sprawling unsustainable suburbia that is destroying the environment and turning the world into a hothouse. They polluted our food supply so that when you enter a supermarket, once you pass the few fresh fruits and vegetables, a time traveler from the previous century would have a hard time finding anything that appeared remotely edible. They, especially in the big urban centers, turned us all into serfs like the Middle Ages, indebted to one of a handful of big banks, with onerous mortgages that line their own pockets via a housing bubble sustained by the lowest interest rates ever seen since the time of ancient Athens. Any rational human being clearly knows that this way of living cannot continue for many more decades. The world hasn't the space or resources for such destructive opulence. As for the lawyering school scam, lawyering school has been a waste and destructive loss for most of its victims since the late 1980s at least. I've been in this business for 26 years, and I can describe of a long list of unfortunate tragedies that have befallen colleagues. There is no loyalty and no job security, and I am one of the ones who got the AmLaw 200 firm job and stayed in those snake pits for 12 years. I was able to pay off my student loans in 2.75 years living extremely frugally...for I was fraught with fear having realized the fragility of legal employment and being one of the targeted, unable to discharge the cost of my mistake in bankruptcy unlike the stock and real estate speculators and gamblers who could freely do so.

    6. In 1947, US Colleges were groaning under a record enrollment of 2 million students because of the GI Bill. By 1967, incidentally the year that California announced it would charge tuition for its state colleges, it was just shy of 8 million students. The GI Bill argument is a total red herring; the student loans were to facilitate mass enrollment.

    7. Today there are 20 million undergraduate students in the US, down from 21 million in 2010.

    8. The "inconvenient truth" that policy makers can't talk about here is that outside of a few occupation-specific majors like nursing, an undergraduate education has no intrinsic value. Profs themselves always like to point out that the purpose of a UG education is "to learn how to think." Well, that has an obvious reality that follows from it. If the degree isn't teaching anything that an employer specifically needs, then the employer only values it if it differentiates an applicant from other applicants. Hiring is a zero-sum game. In order for Jane to get the job, by definition she must beat out all other applicants.

      This is what the "free college for all" people don't understand. A degree is a piece of paper much like a dollar bill: It must have what economists call "relative scarcity" in order to be recognized as valuable.

      Unselective colleges with easy curricula started to pop up to serve people who wouldn't normally have gone to college, but suddenly could because of GI bill, and the phenomenon continues with the loans. Schools that do this devalue their degree in the exact same way that printing too much money does, and it leads to the exact same phenomenon: Inflation.

      Employers just don't see the commodity as being as rare anymore, and therefore not as valuable, so they up the price just like a grocery store in Zimbabwe could make a loaf of bread cost a million bucks during that country's hyperinflation period. Everyone's got a BA so now you need an MA to distinguish yourself. Everyone's got a 3.5 cuz of grade inflation so you need closer to a 4, so forth.

      Open admission college should be an oxymoron. The credential needs to have relative scarcity in order for it to have value on the job market.

      It's as simple (and as ugly, given the inequality aspects of the issue) as that. The more degrees we print, the less they are worth. Too many degrees chasing too few jobs leads to exactly the same phenomenon as too much money chasing too few goods.

    9. It's worse than that. When Old Guy was young (not really all that many decades ago, believe it or not), universities had standards for admission—not necessarily very high ones, but a certain minimum of literacy was expected of most students (male athletes being notable, and notorious, exceptions). Remedial courses did not exist.

      Today even a lot of well-respected universities send many, even most, of their students for a year or more of remedial courses at the high-school level or even lower. Result: millions of "students" who don't belong in university at all. And since they get the same degree as their more capable counterparts, the value of that degree is degraded—even if we leave aside for the moment the glut of university graduates.

      Again, the problem is confusion about what education means. I support "free college for all" in principle if the purpose is self-fulfillment and self-cultivation. Free college in that sense is already a reality: thousands of courses are offered free of charge via the Internet, including many from the most celebrated universities. If you want to learn about architecture or Persian literature or differential equations, you have only to look for a free course.

      But the word education nowadays rarely refers to the development of the individual; most often it refers to acquiring credentials with a view to getting a job. In that context, "free college for all" makes no sense: it would merely create a glut of people with degrees, many of them undeserved. Jobs for university graduates won't pop up just because more degrees are issued.

    10. I think also there is a lack of guidance in matching people by aptitude to the jobs that would meet those aptitudes. Right now we operate under a free for all, just apply willy nilly for whatever tickles your fancy. And the results are usually poor for the applicant. There are tests administered in school that are supposed to identify your strengths. I forget the name of the assessment, but I saved it from high school and my strongest areas were female lawyer and clergy. I am male for the record. And I never served as either. Wound up as a dissatisfied accountant or financial analyst, not sure which exactly.

    11. Yup, OG.. The remedial classes are yet another example of an inflationary effect IMHO.

      Loans make it so more people can pay, so if you don't find somewhere for them to go, you're leaving money on the table. So you create more colleges and more seats in those colleges.

      But, once again just like too much money chasing too few goods, there's now too many seats in the college chasing too few students who actually belong there. So, inflation, once again. You devalue the seat, not in terms of what it costs to be there but in terms of what it takes to be there. You open it up to anyone with a pulse, you start offering those remedial classes, and so forth. But then your dropout rates soar, so you dumb down the curriculum more and more until eventually you are a diploma mill, printing more and more degrees, each new degree worth less than the one before it because while degrees can be simply printed, jobs cannot.

      And yes, it wouldn't just be about jobs if the degrees were still dirt-cheap like they were for the boomers. You could study philosophy because you simply enjoy philosophy. But now that the purpose of degrees is seen as something you get to compete in the job market, you're going to need higher and higher education and more and more debt to have any chance of distinguishing you from everyone else.

    12. Pretty inept of a test to tell a man that he should become a female lawyer. And would it have told me, an atheist, to go into the clergy?

      When Old Guy was in high school, people who obviously were not fit for university tended not even to consider attending. If they were bold enough to recommend themselves, they were quickly told that their grades would keep them out. Those days are gone. Know only half of the alphabet? Just put your mark on the dotted line and head off for remedial courses!

    13. Old Guy is right about the standards, sort of. Colleges bloated when educating the huge Boomer generation, and then saw the relatively tiny Gen X turn up. To maintain enrollment, they reduced admissions standards and academic rigor. Then, the massive Millennial generation turned up, expecting the same low standards (and small class sizes) that the Gen X'ers had. Costs exploded, the degrees are worthless.

    14. The Johnson O'Connor foundation offers career aptitude testing. This testing should be mandatory for all kids in high school. It could save a lot of young people a lot of grief, wasted time and money in preventing them from pursuing careers that they are unsuitable for.

  9. He's a fulbright fellow, so hardly representative of ordinary grads. The fact he can't get a job with those credentials is even more scary. Law degrees really are for losers.

  10. Georgetown Univ. closed its dental school decades ago. Similar issues may close its law school eventually. Federal involvement, or lack thereof, may be key.

    By the late 1980s, dental schools nationwide were closing due to a variety of factors, and many others were downsizing. Price Waterhouse determined that by 1992, the Georgetown University School of Dentistry would be running an annual $3.6 million deficit. A number of reasons for this phenomenon were speculated, including: a decreased demand for dental care due to advances in technology and the widespread public adoption of fluoridation, an excess in the number of practicing dentists relative to the size of the population, the rising cost of tuition, and increasing numbers of prospective dental students seeking to attend medical school, leading to sharply declining dental school enrollment.[6]

    On March 19, 1987, the Georgetown University Board of Directors voted unanimously to cease the operation of the school. The School of Dentistry shut its doors three years later, graduating its last class in 1990.[5] Students and faculty who were upset that the school did not consult them before making the decision to disestablish filed a lawsuit in D.C. Superior Court.[7] The school's closure also prompted a congressional hearing.[8]

    At the time of its closure, the school of dentistry was the second largest dental school in the United States behind the New York University College of Dentistry. It was also one of only twelve dental schools in the country not to receive federal aid, and had one of the highest costs of tuition at $15,000.[9] In total, the school graduated approximately 4,100 alumni,[10] and had 570 students at the time it announced its closure in 1987.[7]"