Thursday, March 7, 2024

ABA busy with rubber stamp of approval

Lately the ABA has been wielding its rubber stamp of approval with relish. It has "acquiesced" to letting über-toilet Charleston School of Law become a so-called non-profit institution. Acquiescence apparently is a sort of noli contendere that lets the state and federal authorities make the real decision. 

Provost Larry Cunningham cited "two key benefits to the change: it will bolster the school’s academic reputation, separating it from those institutions accused of being 'diploma mills,' and it will make fundraising easier as potential donors will be attracted to the tax advantages of giving to a nonprofit school." Charlatan Charleston will, however, be a diploma mill whether it is nominally non-profit or not. It's so odious that even InfiLaw tried to acquire it. As for raising funds, I suppose that someone somewhere will be ass enough to donate to this flagging über-toilet and may be more inclined to do so if money can be saved on taxes. Still, it's a hopeless scam-school with no future.

In addition, the ABA has given provisional accreditation to the upstart über-toilet at Jacksonville University. Scarcely a year and a half old, this bullshit institution started life with a handful of students and still expects only 40 in the next entering class. It's a ridiculous and ill-fated attempt to establish a law school in Jacksonville where Florida Coastal failed after years with more than a thousand students. Of course, the ABA hands out provisional, and even full, accreditation like breath mints, so its scam-enabling conduct comes as no surprise.

130 comments:

  1. This has gotten completely out of control. When I, a lawyer, explain to people that there are 10 ABA-accredited law schools in the state of Pennsylvania, they are absolutely shocked. I mean, lawyer like to think they're smart people, but they do some aggressively stupid things, like flooding their own job market to an insane degree. I don't pay dues to the ABA--I'm not going to waste a penny on them--but I do think that what is happening is profoundly unfair to established lawyers who either have trouble finding work, or can't charge what they are worth, because so many desperate new JD's are flooding into the job market every single year. Where I practice I'm pretty sure that the Court Interpreters are paid more than Panel Attorneys for the Public Defender's Office. Think about that--some guy with a GED who's sole ability in life is that he speaks Spanish and English makes more money than a person with a 4Y college degree, a 3Y law degree, who passed a two-day Bar Exam. I am glad that practicing law worked out for me--with some bumps along the road, and some periods of unemployment and underemployment--but today it seems to draw people who are profoundly gullible, unrealistic, and unintelligent, almost by default. If you're dumb enough to get a law degree in a state with 10 law schools--or 8 (Virginia) or 6 (tiny DC, which already has far too many lawyers) if you're that stupid, how can you possibly be smart enough to draft a Memorandum of Law in Support of a Motion to Suppress Physical Evidence, and analyze the Fourth Amendment, the statutory law, the case law interpreting, analyzing, and applying the statutory law, the Common Law underlying both the governing statutes and the applicable Case Law, and put some Public Policy arguments in there as well, exploring the development of modern technology, like the use of drug-sniffing K9 dogs, as it relates to the reasonableness of a search and seizure of a person's home, vehicle, or perhaps a pat-down of their body? Frankly, would a gullible victim of the Law School Scam even know when, and when not to, move to Suppress Physical Evidence, and be familiar with the Exclusionary Rule, the fruit of the poisonous tree doctrine, etc.? People are probably literally going to jail due to the problems associated with modern law schools accepting anyone with a pulse and the ability to sign some student-loan documents.

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    1. Pennsylvania is one of the largest states by population, but indeed there is no need for ten ABA-accredited law schools there. Two might be one too many.

      Interpreters are seldom professional; a lot are just "bilingual" workers in ethnic restaurants who are brought in for the nonce. Bench and bar, being largely unilingual, don't appreciate what is needed for professional interpretation. In court a few weeks ago, an interpreter kept getting things wrong, and sometimes Old Guy had to feed words and even entire sentences to her.

      Years ago, I posted here a report showing that switchboard operators and janitors were paid more than lawyers in the courts of Massachusetts.

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    2. The scam has been recognized in popular culture for decades but it appears the lemmings are unable or unwilling to catch on. There was a hit comedy called "Cheers" in the 80s; in one episode the star-a bartender named Sam-had to go to court. So he enlisted one of his barflies, who happened to be an attorney. The case ends, Sam looks at his "attorney" and says to him "thanks...and by the way my hedges need to be trimmed; see you Saturday?"

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    3. Lawyers didn't flood their own market. Schools did. Their business sides do it because NOT doing it leaves immense student loan revenue on the table for a relatively low-overhead degree offering. So demand for graduates is irrelevant, only demand for seats matters.

      And on the academic side, law school deans and profs may have JDs, but they aren't really lawyers and usually rarely practice, and may often never have practiced. After all, straight from elite law school to federal clerkship(s) to faculty is the most common path into academia for them, and then they teach a few classes and write a bunch of law review articles that aren't even peer reviewed, much less of any practical import to practice. They just aren't lawyers. Not really. And the ones who are or have been actual practicing lawyers are most commonly the legal writing and clinic instructors, who are always on a lesser tier in the faculty and may even just be adjuncts.

      Point is, neither the business side of an educational outfit nor the academic side has any interests that align with those of actual, practicing lawyers. There's no reason they wouldn't flood the market so long as there's money to be made and cushy academic jobs to be created by doing it.

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  2. Interesting article here published on January 2nd of this year is about how For-profit colleges would convert to non-profit status just to keep their scams going but most of them failed even after the conversion.
    Charlotte Lemmings will see the non-profit status and think like the Salvation Army that it means they are looking after the students interest.

    https://www.republicreport.org/2024/predatory-colleges-converted-to-non-profit-are-failing/

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    1. Correction....I meant to say Charleston School of Law. Freudian slip since Infilaw's for-profit toilet Charlotte already was shuttered.

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    2. All of this business of changing the formal status of the institution is akin to shuffling the deck chairs on the Titanic. There simply isn't a need for ten ABA-accredited law schools in Pennsylvania, god knows how many in Florida, or almost 200 in the US. Charlatan Charleston will face substantially the same problems if it gets "non-profit" status. It is an unwanted and unneeded predator feeding on people who have no business attending law school.

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  3. Wow. They've definitely succeeded where others (e.g. the infilaw schools) have failed. Guess the ABA must have been convinced that the "owners-turned-donors" were actually donating enough to make the thing sustainable, as opposed to Infilaw which tried to strip out every liquid dime possible prior to the donation and caused the regulators to deny them for being potentially insolvent without a parent guarantee. We'll see if the Dept of ed acquiesces too, I guess.

    Maybe it is just rearranging Titanic deck chairs, but the fact of the matter is that whether we agree that there's a big difference or not, the regulators think there is and they tend to target the for-profit schools for more enforcement as well as requiring them to receive less of their overall revenue from federal student loans (look up the "90-10 rule" on wikipedia). So a move to nonprofit is an attempt to get back below the radar so that the loan dollars keep flowing.

    If you can pull it off, it is an effective maneuver. Whether it should work so well is another story, but the fact is, it does.

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    1. There aren't really any "for-profit" schools left. "Non-profit" status is of significance to accountants but not to the public, because the money ripped off by "non-profit" entities simply ends up in private pockets by different means.

      As for the ABA, anyone who takes it seriously as a regulatory body has not been paying attention during the 11-year history of OTLSS.

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    2. Old Guy - What do you think of the more prestigious accrediting body the AALS? And how about the uber prestigious Order of the Coif?

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    3. This is true. I think there's only 1 for-profit ABA law school left, though there are more for-profits remaining at the undergrad level and such.

      I'm not saying there's much real difference, basically the nonprofit school just inures to the benefit of its employees and administration or university parent instead of the passive stockholders at a for-profit.

      What I am saying, though, is that the for-profits were basically sacrificial lambs. Killing them off is what enabled the rest of the cartel to keep on scamming. This is much like when a drug cartel deliberately tips the authorities off to some of its own mules in order to get others through unhindered or to make it so that the third-world cops still do some busts to "keep up appearances" so that the bribes they are taking aren't quite so obvious.

      So, I wonder what the ABA is gonna do to keep up appearances now that this perceived low-hanging fruit has pretty much all been picked. Open question I guess.

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    4. Hasn't the ABA's track record been so bad that way back when during the Obama administration the DOE threatened to remove the ABA's authority to accredit law schools?

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    5. I'll give others the first chance to comment on the AALS and the Order of the Coif.

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    6. The ABA, 11:10, may not have gone after the for-profit toilets as such; it may just be that it needed to appear to take strong measures against a couple of law schools, and the easiest targets just happened to be for-profit institutions. These did, of course, congregate in the shittiest area of über-toiletry.

      I don't agree that the ABA took strong measures. Charlotte just bolted the door without a word; the ABA really didn't do anything against it.

      Which will be the next sacrificial lamb? Maybe Cooley, now that it has nearly dried up and blown away. Maybe some such thing as Appalachian or Ohio Northern, both of which have one foot in the grave anyway (as did some for-profit über-toilets by the time the ABA pretended to take action). Golden Gate was probably next in line when it announced its own closure.

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    7. Yeah, OG. It is debatable whether the for-profit status is a cause or a symptom. In other words, it could be that the ABA/DOE targeted for-profits, or it could be that the for-profits really did have the strongest incentive to admit the most unqualified students in pursuit of those profits and thus ended up as the "worst of the worst" like even worse than the Cooley's of the world if that is somehow possible.

      It's an interesting question: Take, say, Cooley vs. Florida Coastal before the latter closed. Could it be possible that as horrendously bad as Cooley is, that FCL was EVEN WORSE? Eventually they get so bad its hard to say how its even possible to be worse, which makes me suspect deliberate targeting of the for-profits.

      In addition, there's a third dimension to the equation which is financial viability. At the end of the day, FCL got shut down because Infilaw wasn't willing to guarantee its obligations anymore, and so it was felt that without that guarantee the place was potentially insolvent. Because for-profit owners "sweep" any "excess cash" from the institution to pay dividends, and because those owners don't like signing things that put them at risk of having those dividends "clawed back," the for-profits are particularly at risk there too.

      But as to the the next sacrificial lamb, you're probably right. What they'll do is find the kinds of places that would've gone belly-up on their own eventually and just sorta hurry that along a little bit.

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    8. OG - Do you really think Cooley will ultimately fail? It is such a toilet institution, a toilet among toilets par excellence. And from what I have heard a lot of good things happen there.

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    9. Cooley, the last time I checked, was down to two campuses. Not all that many years ago, it was opening a branch in Kalamazoo. It's failing. Will it collapse in the next ten minutes? No, but remember that the InfiLaw über-toilets too had more than a thousand students each just a few years before they folded.

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    10. It could be a while before Cooley collapses; they were awash in cash for years, with their massive enrollments and their equally massive tuition. They should be sitting on a pile of money. But even with that, it's most likely it will go back to its roots...in other words, one campus.
      And 11:05, please enlighten us about all the "good things happening there." My guess it won't take long.

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    11. @ 4:40 pm. Nothing good happens at Cooley because I am a graduate from there and completely regret my decision to go there. I graduated in the late 90's and since back then there was no scam bloggers to find out about the law school scam I essentially went there blind. To me all it was is simply a 3 year bar preparation course. A expensive one. I did pass the bar exam the first attempt but being a first generation in my family with no legal connections I never worked a day in a law office. It's a "Good 'Ole Boys Club" and if you don't know anyone in the aristocracy you have zero chance of getting your foot in the door. I actually ended up right back at my old job prior to law school and the opportunity cost besides tuition set me back

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    12. Sorry that that went so badly for you. I'm not surprised, though. Cooley is indeed an exploitative shithole. It really cannot be anything but a glorified bar-preparation course with the sort of material that makes up the great bulk of its student body. With 25%+ of the class scoring no higher than the low 140s on the LSAT, it can only try to spoonfeed enough rudimentary law to people to see them through a bar exam somewhere. And of course it fails even at that.

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  4. Yes, 6:05, the DOE some years ago did indeed threaten to strip the ABA of its accrediting function. Unfortunately, it relented.

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    1. The irony is that back in the 90s the ABA has actually been pursued by the DOJ in the opposite direction, i.e. the contention that accreditation standards were too strict and that this amounted to an antitrust violation as it would operate to protect the established law schools from competition. That suit settled almost immediately with the ABA agreeing to make accreditation EASIER to get!

      So the whole accreditation thing is kinda damned if you do, damned if you don't. That's why I say screw accreditation. Instead, make explicit price controls. Basically if you are going to agree to take federal loans then you have to agree to take what the feds are willing to pay, and if you can't make that work then close. We already do that with Medicare and Medicaid so I don't see why student loans should be any different. If a third party is paying for something then it should have authority to decide what it is willing to pay. I also think we need to restore bankruptcy protection to private student loans (and prohibit cosigner requirements) to prevent private lenders from just jumping up to fill in the gap left by gradPLUS reform and destroying both the student and cosigning parents' lives in the process.

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    2. Accreditation can be criticized, but it's quite open to criticism when the accrediting body has no particular qualifications. How the hell did the ABA, just a private entity that purports to represent lawyers, come to be the US's sole authority on the accreditation of law schools? Not because of any proven ability, still less for the independence that would be essential to that role.

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  5. This recruiter actually provides a lot of reasons not to go law school:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HIkJHG-qxDE

    In this article, you will learn the unwritten rules you need to follow to survive and thrive in a big law firm at time when the option of leaving practicing law is considered by more and more attorneys.

    Here are some interesting observations:

    • The majority of attorneys who join large law firms out of law school may never make as much money (adjusted for inflation) ever again. That's right. Even in smaller firms. In New York and Los Angeles, a young associate can make $200,000+ a year. The average attorney with 15 years of experience does not even make that much. Many in-house and government jobs pay senior attorneys less than $100,000 a year.
    • Most attorneys who join large law firms out of law school never work at firms as prestigious ever again. Attorneys generally move a few times (to large law firms) before finally stepping out of a large law firm into something smaller or different. Once they do this, the odds are greater than 95% that they will never work in a large law firm ever again.
    • Only half of the attorneys who join large law firms out of law school are likely to be practicing law in 10 years, while over 85% of the attorneys who join small law firms are likely to still be practicing in 10 years. I have no idea why this is. Maybe the attorneys who were in large firms became burned out and demoralized. What I do know is that most attorneys I see who join large law firms end up leaving the practice of law.
    • The majority of attorneys who join large law firms out of law school will never work on matters as large or for clients as important again. Most attorneys will never have the experience of working on as important matters ever again as they had in the large law firm. For the most part, the rest of their careers (if they stay practicing law) will be dedicated to servicing smaller clients.

    The fact that the future for most large law firm attorneys holds (1) less money, (2) less prestige, (3) less important work, and (4) the strong possibility they may even stop practicing law says something. Big firm life is not for everyone; however, I sincerely believe that many people who should be in large law firms are not because they do not understand how to keep those jobs.

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    1. Scamsters will say they left law to pursue greener pastures like banking, consulting, and corporate management. “Law open lots of doors outside the profession.” The reality is they were shitcanned and burned out.

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    2. I think 4Y is the average tenure of an associate in a large law firm. I have been told that the odds of a first-year associate becoming a true "equity partner' are in the realm of 5%, or less. As for money, as I have said before, and EXPERIENCED criminal defense attorney can do about an hour's worth of work on a DUI case, ending with a 10 minute plea the courtroom, for a fee of $1,200 and up. Associates at large law firms may earn as little as $50 per hour, pre-tax, without overtime if they are, for example, working 70 hours a week for $190,000 per year. So, to me, in fact, big law does not equal big money, unless you are an equity partner. Please understand that this post is not meant to generate controversy, like the last time I talked about flat-fee billing for serious traffic cases. I am saying that an attorney with, say, at least 5Y of experience, in a busy jurisdiction, could get some of these cases, sometimes. There is a LOT of competition for DUI cases in particular. I am not saying, nor do I mean to imply, that this is easy money or anything like that. I am just trying to point out that there are ways to make a lot of money in little time practicing law that have nothing to do with Civil Litigation in large law firms. The job of a Criminal Defense Attorney is not easy, and there are definite drawbacks, like potentially being threatened or worse by your own clients, who may be violent, drug-addled, criminals. In closing, to me that real problem is, and has been for the last 20Y or so, that there are far too many lawyers, and far too few jobs/paying clients in the US right now. I hope we can all agree on that, at least.

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    3. There's a reason biglaw hires in what they themselves call "classes" of associates. Classes graduate.

      Most people aren't trying to make partner. They're there to pay off their loans and get a golden stamp on their resume that will get them a prestigious in-house or gov't job which, though it will pay less, will allow them to have a family life.

      I've always known that to be pretty much the deal going in. Except for a few masochists who really are gunning for partner (a pie-eating contest where the prize is more pie) everyone I know who's gone that way goes in with neither the expectation nor desire to spend their entire career there or at similar firms. They're there for the "exit opportunities" and you can't leave too early or too late. There's a sweet spot around 4-5 years in when the recruiters are interested, and that's what most of them seem to plan around.

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    4. At least in my state, 10:16a is right. Our AG's office became a haven for Biglaw refugees. They'd put in 4-6 years, pay off their loans, and then jump over to a lower-paying but much less stressful job at the AG's office. They'd often compare pedigrees; as in "I spent four years at X" vs. "Oh, well I was five years at Y". It was all pretty strange for a non Biglaw type like myself to hear them compare backgrounds...as if bailing before making partner was a mark of achievement.

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    5. “Prestigious” in house is a poor outcome for anyone who went to a good undergrad or had an adult job (not waiting tables) before law school. Repetitive, rote responsibilities. Disrespected by profit making centers of your employer since you’re back office. You’ll be professionally dead in the water until you hit 65 and nurses start wiping your butt for you shortly thereafter.

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    6. Respectfully, what you are saying was absolutely true 25 years ago. It was common for associates in BigLaw to put in a few years, and then smoothly transition to another good job. That is no longer the case, and has not been the case for many years. Those "prestigious in-house or gov't jobs" you speak of are very hard to get. Some associates become "staff attorneys" after they get a poor Performance Review and are pushed out of a large law firm. Staff attorneys are NOT associates, are NOT on the partnership track, and may end up, in fact, reporting to first-year associates. They are paid much less, do "scut work" like Document Review, and typically do not get an annual bonus. That is not an ideal outcome for someone working in a large law firm, of course, but it is a common outcome. Law students typically do not even know what a "staff attorney" is, have no idea that they will only be permitted to keep their job in big law for 4-6Y, depending, or understand that far less than 10 percent of the new associates will ever make Equity Partner. Sadly, they don't even know that they will end up earning only 50-60 per hour, pre-tax, with no overtime pay. . .a rate so low that the Public Defender's Office pays it to "panel attorneys", and successful Criminal Defense attorneys typically won't get involved in cases for that little money. I have tried to explain it to people, but when they say "I'm not good at math" I have to walk away shaking my head. Some people are just beyond help.

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    7. Respectfully, you're flat wrong. First of all, these Biglaw refugees were associates, not staff attorneys, so no idea why you even brought that up. And nobody said the jobs were easy to get. But then, you're the person who previously said that a ADA would get into trouble for not taking a DC's call about being late. That is complete nonsense; you've clearly missed the tough on crime trend in DA elections, where the DA's office and the defense bar are barely on speaking terms. So yes, some people are just beyond help, as you post regularly about a world of criminal litigation about which yu apparently know nothing...except perhapd watching L&O on tv.

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    8. Let's kindly elevate the tone of the messages here. There's no call for rude personal comments. I'd prefer not to have to censor postings.

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  6. Another State Does Away w/Mandatory Bar Exam for Attorneys:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TXCvpQyiRtw

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    1. He said he was a law professor for 10 years and had some students who wouldn't be good attorneys. I wonder if he advised these students about this?

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    2. Yeah, any moral authority for a cull in would be Lawyers go out the window the minute the student loan check is disbursed to the law school. The fact so many law school graduates fail the bar is an insult to the schools but tje wonderful people who make up this profession don't care. The Wisconsin model with reasonable standards for admission is so much better.

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    3. This could be fantastic if the apprenticeships were actually good, as in, real apprenticeships accredited in some way at firms with real organized training programs, like the way doc residencies work. But if it's just "get a certain number of hours working under anyone you can find" then it's a dumpster fire.

      I also wonder whether, by making this route optional, it self-defeats the idea of making brand new lawyers actually know what they're doing. I mean, it seems to me that for most people, it'll still be easier (and a whole lot faster) to just take the bar as opposed to apprenticing somewhere for however many years. So the only people who go the apprenticeship route are the ones who are pretty sure they would fail the test, which creates a problem known in the insurance industry as "adverse selection."

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    4. Britain, Canada, Australia, and some other countries require an apprenticeship for admission to the bar: a graduate of law school must complete "articles" for a year or so. Indeed, 10:56, these are not systematically managed for quality; they can amount to putting one's time in, without doing much or learning anything. People who know about them have described them to me as a farce.

      Of course, there must be people who do get good experience and learn much as articling students. But that is far from being true of everyone.

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    5. Yeah you could well be right. I always thought the articling stuff was only at specifically designated firms (usually big ones).

      Take the UK for example. I'd heard that tons of LLBs seeking to become solicitors (not barristers which I know even less about) don't get "training contracts" for essentially the same reason that most US JDs don't get biglaw. But the difference over there, I thought, was that not getting biglaw effectively means not getting licensed, because only the big firms had the resources to become approved training programs.

      It wasn't as big a deal though, cuz you would get the LLB right out of high school so you wouldn't be as pigeonholed, plus it's so much cheaper there so you're not in nearly the debt. So, as I understood it, most LLBs never actually practice, as they get weeded out if they don't get the right job right away.

      But admittedly, I don't know much about how it all works over there, so I could be wrong.

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    6. You're right: articles are required for admission to the bar. If for whatever reason you can't find articles, you are shit out of luck: you will not become a lawyer.

      About ten years ago, something like one graduate in seven in the Canadian province of Ontario could not find articles. The bar there set up a consolation prize in the form of some sort of school that people could attend after law school in lieu of completing articles. It was good enough for admission to the bar, but I rather suspect that it was perceived as a stigma.

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    7. Geez, so law school is a scam across the globe in the English-speaking world.

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    8. Well 6 in 7 getting it is better odds than I'd heard!

      Anyway, I see no need for the pearl clutching some places seem to be doing about the issue. It's part of the beauty of apprenticeship. Part of why medieval guilds worked was precisely because it helped ensure that new apprentices were produced only in sufficient quantities to replace those leaving and were as good as the people they replaced, thus ensuring BOTH a high quality service for the customer AND a livable wage for the craftsman.

      Places that have those systems shouldn't be trying to find articles for the people who can't get them, or a substitute for articles for them. They should see it as part of what the whole thing was designed to do.

      HOWEVER, Canada following the US' lead and switching from LLB to JD was bad. The kids who cant get articles should not be pigeonholed or in big debt. They should be seen as like anyone else who doesn't get a job in their literal undergrad major (i.e. most people), and the way to do that is to go back to LLB.

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    9. The US used to have the LLB; Yale was the last holdout, going over to the JD in the early 1970s. Canada finally gave in and followed the US's lead, mainly because the degree in practice was much more like the US's—ordinarily a postgraduate degree—than the UK's.

      A hundred years ago, or just a bit more, not many lawyers in the US had any sort of degree. Eventually, in a bid for "professionalism", the goalposts were shifted to require formal training in law, although in Vermont and a few other states it is still possible to "read law" with a lawyer if one can find one who is prepared to act as teacher for four years or so. Now we see what has become of this "professional" education: anyone who can fog a mirror can get into multiple law schools, perhaps even with a "scholarship"…

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  7. I recently retired from my own firm. I could no longer tolerate the law. I can't say it was always bad. When I started out in 1984, I actually liked practicing law. Started out as a defense lawyer for a mid-sized maritime firm and eventually drifted to my own firm doing mainly maritime personal injury under the Jones Act, which was pretty lucrative. The Judges, especially in Federal Court, were for the most part competent, opposition lawyers competent and at least fairly honest and not so quick to play the bullsh^t games. You could have a really nice practice with just a quarter page ad in the Yellow pages.
    Times have changed. Much more bullsh^t. the judges on the Federal Bench more conservative and willing to ignore individual rights, the State Judges more incompetent and the lack of civility is through the roof. The pettiness of the practice of law and the abuse of the discovery process got to be too much. The failure of the current crop of State Judges to even make an effort to understand maritime law, let alone the basics, got to be too much. Competing with massively sized non-stop advertising firms who inundate the air with television, radio and internet ads too much, and fighting for Google space just not worth it. I know other lawyers who continue practicing despite their ages. I don't get it. Not me. Getting out of that hell hole is bliss. Living off of my investments until I reach 70 and collect the maximum amount in Social Security. Meanwhile, Medicare and supplemental insurance has significantly reduced the cost of health insurance and health care making costs very manageable. I have a good friend who is an appellate attorney who spoke of another lawyer he knew who died in the hospital while he had his case binders around him...working until the end. He seemed to think that was something to respect the guy for. I felt very sad for that lawyer. We are all slaves to a system that makes everything harder and harder on lawyers as the years go by. Is it worth it? For you young guys, I would suggest its not, but to each their own. This is a game where prestige is all important, and if you play that game, you will never be happy. You will never be satisfied. You may be making 500K a year but you will be looking at your lawyer friend making a million a year and think to yourself why can't I do that. And if you are like many lawyers I know, you will be chasing accolades and awards from your fellow lawyers as if in the end that all makes a bit of difference to anything. Good luck folks.

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    1. Maritime law is so different from garden-variety civil stuff that one can't just wander into it: real preparation is required.

      I too have become quite jaded about the practice of law.

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    2. I think CS Lewis' essay on the "inner ring" is really applicable for the legal field. Although something has changed since the 1950s. Lawyer used to be a respected and honored profession. Now it's a scam full of bad people.

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    3. Not so sure it's been respected or honored for a long time. If you get a chance, watch the 1946 version of The Postman Always Rings Twice. The portrayal of the lawyer is wonderful to watch but less than flattering.

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  8. The Top 10 Ways Working as an Attorney in a Law Firm Ages and Kills You Prematurely:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g3ORGpoPH3c

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  9. Why Attorneys and Law Students Almost Never Find Quality of Life and Lifestyle Firms:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=udcdMMlpPj8

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    1. That guy is talking about the biglaw refugee "boutiques" that try to recruit based on work-life-balance and find it a difficult promise to keep. But the real "lifestyle firm" is a solo practice in a small town that does divorces and minor criminal defense and stuff like that.

      Taking normal holidays, there's about 250 working days in a year. Even at $200/hr, you only need to actually collect around 2 hours per working day to gross 100k. Since the average divorce retainer around here is about 5k, that means pulling in around 20 clients (or retainer re-ups) per year, and then you need a couple hours per day on average to successfully bill it out of the trust account.

      With overhead as low as a couple hundred a month for office space and a shared receptionist with no employees, and no real IT needs beyond a normal consumer-grade laptop and office software, I see a lot of solos around here working pretty relaxed schedules.

      I call it the rule of 2x2. Two new client retainers per month and two billed hours per day should get you to 100k. I see a lot of solos around here hit targets like that and then knock off for the day, or they hit it early and knock off for the week. They seem to have a lot of flexibility in their schedules, provided they're OK with very unsophisticated work and a very middle to lower-middle class standard of living.

      So the guy isn't wrong that big city lifestyle firms are a bit of a fiction. But small town solos are living that life all the time. I just think the guys places like BCG would work with could never imagine living on 80-100k like most of America actually does.

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    2. I agree with him that the so-called boutiques for biglaw refugees are rarely if ever able to provide the lifestyle they promise long-term. But I see plenty of solos who have good work/life balance if they're OK with living in small towns doing small town work.

      There are a lot of drawbacks to law, but one of its few advantages is that it can be a very low-overhead business. In my town you can rent a one-room office with all utilities and a shared receptionist included for like $400-500 a month, and the going retainer on (for example) a divorce is about 5k. So they really only need like 1-2 new clients (or retainer re-ups) per month. And then like 2 billed hours per working day times 250 working days in a year should be enough to get them into the low six figures.

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    3. Except that nobody ever just pays a family law retainer. They bitch and moan about every little cost, constantly try to get things for free, and if you send them a bill for $200, they'll make a formal complaint about you. There is no money in small law (or in fact in any law except where the money is coming from a third party insurer etc).

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    4. Someone keep posting links to this recruiter guy as if he is important. He makes me nauseous. His whole premise is based on all lawyers starting out in 'big law' and then either being forced out or looking to get out. Only a small number of overall law grads ever work in 'big law'.

      Delete
    5. I really wish people would stop pretending that "there is no money in small law". Factually there are, and always have been, lots of successful solo practitioners, and lots of small and mid-sized law firms practicing family law, criminal defense, Personal Injury law, and a variety of other practice areas with a degree of success. That does not mean that it's a good idea to go to law school or that it's easy to succeed. At the risk of repeating myself, some people will thrive in an awful market, and simply are talented and hard working enough to attract paying clients even in challenging times, manage their expenses, and turn an good profit. Similarly speaking, some people will fail in a booming market, due to their own laziness, greed, dishonesty, incompetence, etc. Pretending that successful lawyers don't exist, outside of Big Law is not helpful. It is absolutely true to say that "most solo practitioners fail" and it is absolutely false to say that "all solo practitioners fail". Ditto for small and mid-sized law firms.

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    6. Certainly there are people who succeed at small law, although the "success" may be strictly monetary. As you said, however, the public gets the wrong idea about lawyers. The fact that some people succeed at small law does not imply that any ass-eyed moron out of Cooley should open a one-person office.

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    7. I think what Dilbert is saying is that toileteers or academically mediocre students can succeed by going direct to solo providing they have the right personality (Type A) soft skills, drive, ambition, confidence. All skills that law school, or any school, doesn't provide in and of itself and are largely inborn. I think Dilbert is saying that law schools have a duty to warn students if they lack these soft skills, which they don't, and that students should take a hard look at their own weaknesses and decide if the law is not for them and drop out no later than after the first year. First semester might be better.

      I think Dilbert is also saying that the demand for solo legal services is self-perpetuating for as many lawyers with the right drive and ambition there are in any given place to set up shop.

      Delete
    8. I've never met a successful small lawyer- every single one I know is hanging on to get a government job so they can give up their practice. Most are lucky to make 20k a year.

      Delete
    9. @1:01 I don't know if its as bad as 20k, but I do agree that most of the small law lawyers are angling for something, especially gov't.
      However, the weird thing is that in small towns at least, they often get it.

      I have seen plenty of solos end up on the bench or over at the public defender or prosecutor, and it stands to reason why: They're local and a known quantity after a number of years. When the local government offices have an opening they generally have three choices. They can hire someone fresh out of school and shoulder the training burden as well as potentially need to wait for bar results. Or they can hire someone experienced who doesn't already live in town who would have to relocate, which takes longer and may also involve waiting on a waive-in bar admission if they're coming from out of state. Or they can hire the guy in the little solo office across the street who they've already seen in court pretty regularly and can just proceed directly to dumping files on.

      There are no big firms around, so going local typically means taking someone out of solo or small firm practice and it is often simply the quickest easiest thing for local governments in small towns. Doesn't matter if it isn't the best if it's the fastest route towards a warm body to start plowing away on backlog.

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    10. @4:45: This is why I come back to Foonberg's old and good bit of advice: Get the money upfront. You do the initial consult and if the client can't come up with the 5k, you don't take the case in the first place. They also look for other red flags for bar complainers, like firing previous counsel or insisting on maximum aggression, that sort of thing.

      This is the common practice in my town. They bill til the retainer gets low, and then they tell the client to replenish and if they don't, they withdraw and the client goes pro per. Judges here will let you out unless its the eve of trial or something. Not saying it stops every bar complaint, but not taking a case in the first place or withdrawing with full court approval is pretty tough to overcome, especially since people around here don't try to pull any nonsense like claiming lien on the file or whatever. They just withdraw, hand everything over to the client, and say "lots of luck!"

      Delete
  10. 25 Reasons Attorneys Go Crazy (And What To Do About It):

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZXakBR6z1Zo

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    1. The guy is right on about the isolation of big firms. I haven't worked at one, but I do hire them because I'm in-house and every time I go over there for client meeting or whatever, its rows and rows of closed doors with everyone just sitting at computers billing like crazy behind them. Dead silence. You can hear a pin drop. Just exactly like he says: Huge fancy skyscraper, beautiful office, but you'd hardly even know anyone was in there if you didn't open one of those doors.

      Seems to be little to no socializing; they only interact with others if its a billable meeting or if it cannot otherwise be avoided. That cannot be good for mental health or for feeling like any kind of team.

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  11. This one is kind of depressing.

    Why Attorneys Must Always Have Access to Lots of Work and Be Busy:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ODHZfv6RwvM

    Notable quote: "The legal profession is SAVAGE" @9 min.



    ReplyDelete
  12. Cooley circles the Drain:
    https://www.msn.com/en-us/money/careers/with-a-tarnished-reputation-and-declining-enrollment-cooley-law-school-hopes-for-a-comeback/ar-AA1nzH3G

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    1. Almost unbelievable-they're still paying LeDuc half a million a year? And as noted on this blog-schools can be out of compliance repeatedly and for years with no actual repercussions. When was the last time the ABA actually closed a school?

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    2. OG-you've run the numbers before. Based on the above article, any estimate on when Cooley finally closes its doors?

      Delete
    3. "When was the last time the ABA actually closed a school?"

      In practical reality, I don't think they ever have. Yes there are several like the Infilaw schools where they did technically revoke accreditation, but its not like the schools really put up a fight. They were on the way out anyway, and the owners didn't care because they'd already made back their investment many times over.

      This aspect reminds me of hospitals. In theory, there are a million Medicare "conditions of participation" and even the most trivial technical violation of any of them can lead to being shut down completely. But in practice, we'd have no hospitals if they were enforced that strictly.

      So the accreditation agencies on which CMS relies have invented a concept known as "evidence of standards compliance" where submitting evidence of fixing the problem is credited retroactively so that it's treated as if you always were in compliance. It's basically prosecutorial discretion in disguise. I'm not aware of any case in which a hospital has been shut down truly by force by the accreditor; the ones who lose accreditation always surrendered it because they were going under anyway.

      Of course, in healthcare there are good reasons for this. Strict enforcement, even though it is technically what is contemplated in regulatory text, would often leave patients nowhere to go. No such compelling justification exists for law schools, especially since current students usually get a variety of options such as either transferring, staying for a "teach out," or abandoning the JD completely and getting a "closed school student loan discharge" (the best and unfortunately least-exercised option, lol).

      So, as in healthcare but without nearly as good of a reason, the actual actions of the ABA speak less to enforcing its standards and more to taking out only low-hanging fruit that was on its way to failing anyway.

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    4. At least the current President has the sense to be embarrassed about the Cooley rankings fiasco....

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    5. I'm finding it hard to predict when Cooley will shut up shop. Tentatively I'll give it three years, but I cannot claim to know its finances very well.

      Delete
  13. "The job market for new lawyers had imploded in the wake of the 2008 recession, inspiring a widespread reconsideration of whether law school was worth the time and money, particularly at a bottom-tier school."

    It's nice to see that put into writing....

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    1. Indeed, it is nice to see. But paradoxically, that just creates a race to the bottom. The more that people capable of doing their due diligence realize that it isn't a good idea, the more the classes get filled with people who lack that capability.

      In theory, the bar passage rate standard might guard against dipping too deeply into the unqualified applicant territory, but it isn't very stringent or well enforced and passage doesn't mean you got a job. Plus it can only be measured after you've taken out all the debt and failed, and it remains to be seen how it'll apply at all in states that are starting to create those "alternative pathways" to licensure.

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    2. "[bar] passage doesn't mean you got a job"

      Tell me about it.

      Delete
  14. I laugh how one of the marketing pitches of law schools is as an alumnus you get benefits like group discounts on your auto, home, and renter’s insurance or free email address, etch through the law school alumni office. Like those nominal savings really are worth having a $250,000 student loan with no job prospects. You won't afford a home to get discounts on home insurance.

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    1. Just a gimmick designed to fatten the law skule even more. Lots of organizations give those discounts—by directing lots of people to the insurance company and taking a kickback.

      Delete
    2. lol yep, I call these the throwaway benefits. You'll see similar ones from the bar, your credit card, etc. I'm guessing it doesn't cost the associations anything; like most other discount coupons its a marketing tactic for the vendors so they don't mind offering a discount in exchange for basically any club or group giving them the free advertising. Usually, you can find an equal or greater discount by just shopping around for deals.

      Delete
  15. I just saw on Facebook for hiring a remote attorney that cost $19 per hour. Yet my local gas station has a job offer sign that they will pay up to $22 per hour. So that is now the the labor market for law students who want to shell out $250,000 in tuition.

    https://www.facebook.com/share/p/qGHForsyyjgHZUif/?mibextid=oFDknk

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There are 11 law schools in Florida, 10 in Pennsylvania, 8 in Virginia, and so on. There should be one law school in each of those states, and even if there was only one, that would still not guarantee employment for all of its graduates. Law school students say "but I didn't know the job market was saturated", well, if you don't know how many law schools are in your own state, and if you aren't smart enough to figure out that competing with 10 other classes of law school grads for work in your state when you graduate is going to be exceedingly difficult, than that is your own fault. Frankly, there are lots of law school grads who will work for $19.00 per hour. I honestly expect to see reverser summer associate positions, where students compete hard, with grades and journal, for the opportunity to pay a law firm to work for them during their 2L summer. There are already full-time "jobs" being offered for practicing lawyers with no salary at all--this is factual, and you can look it up. I think a lot of today's law students just want a three-year vacation from the workplace, financed by "student loans" that they will never pay back. It beats working for a living. . .

      Delete
    2. Even within the government there are unpaid positions for lawyers. We have discussed this before on this site.

      There are also "internships" that are sold, often for thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars.

      Many years ago we showed that the janitor and the switchboard operator at a courthouse in Massachusetts were paid better than the lawyers who worked there.

      Why the hell is anyone going into law? I'm still in it, but honestly I advise against it. It's unfulfilling, for the most part, what with idiotic judges and idiotic opposing counsel. If I could turn the clock back, I would not go into law. And I'm among the "successful", believe it or not.

      Can't wait to retire.

      Delete
    3. To be fair, the people at the ten law schools in Pennsylvania aren't all competing for jobs in Pennsylvania: some are going to neighboring states such as Ohio and New Jersey, and a few are going to more distant places. But those places, too, have a surplus of law schools, and of course people who studied law elsewhere are looking for jobs in Pennsylvania.

      The same thing goes for every other state, mutatis mutandis. No, flitting off to a remote place in Nebraska is no solution.

      Delete
    4. I went to law school, and practice law, in a state with only two law schools and a population of over six million people. Literally everyone I graduated with in the mid 90's who passed the bar, and was serious, got a job before or soon after graduation without difficulty. Today, decades later, the great majority of lawyers in this state went to law school in-state. If I interviewed a lawyer from, say Pennsylvania, I would not hire him or her. Why? If you're foolish enough to go to law school in a state with 10 law schools, and can't find a job afterwards--big shocker--than you don't have the brains, common sense, or good judgement needed to be an effective lawyer. In addition, out-of-staters usually fail the Bar Exam, whereas the great majority of in-staters pass it on the first attempt. Yes, it is possible to make a huge mistake, and go to law school in a state where over 1,000 new JD's are sworn in each year, and flee to a more sensible jurisdiction, and find work--but it is very, very difficult. I suspect that the great majority of JD's in Pennsylvania, Florida, Virginia etc. never find a real job practicing law in the first place. Even in my state, I run into unemployed, and severely underemployed, lawyers all the time. I personally have been asked to drive to court and handle a case for $100---obviously I laughed at the offer and hung up on the predatory lawyer trying to get me to do this, but he probably found someone, who, after gasoline and parking and taxes might have made a cool $50 for an afternoon's work. A person with a GED working at McDonalds would make more money. You can be certain that the client got $50 worth of representation, too, meaning a heavy fine, points on his driver's license, and possible jail time. Like you. Old Guy, I am still practicing law, and doing well, but I strongly advise against people going into this "profession".

      Delete
    5. I'm sympathetic to complaints about the high cost of legal services. Indeed, legal services are very expensive. I wouldn't like to shell out tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars for a divorce, defense against some bullshit lawsuit, or whatever else.

      And although $50 for an appearance in traffic court is not going to buy proper representation, one could spend $20k for no better a result. The old saying "You get what you pay for" never was true: it should be "You seldom get what you don't pay for".

      Every state but Alaska has too many law schools—and Alaska is the exception only because it has zero. It must be admitted that Pennsylvania has a large population and that we should therefore expect it to have more law schools than, say, North Dakota. But ten law schools are about nine too many, and North Dakota doesn't need the one that it has.

      Delete
    6. Old Guy - By my reckoning Pennsylvania has one 'elite' law school, two middle pack schools, four near toilets, one toilet and one uber toilet. Which law school(s) would you spare from closure.

      And you have become successful? That's good. When did this happen?

      Delete
    7. Only the U of Pennsylvania should be left standing. The others are all toilets or über-toilets.

      That opinion will be unpopular. Someone will be along soon enough to plead on behalf of Shit Pitt or Beastly (Temple) or some other Keystone State emporium of legal ejookayshun. Go right ahead. I stand by Old Guy's ranking, which says that no school outside a set of 13 is worth considering unless one happens to come from a lot of money and doesn't need to work as a lawyer.

      Delete
    8. As for my being "successful", I deny it. More than a decade after law school, yes, I am making a comfortable income as a lawyer. But I regard myself as having failed to thrive in law—not on account of any fault of mine other than the stupidity of going into law in the first place, but still the experience has been a failure. In strictly monetary terms, it has more or less worked out. But I hate my work, I hate lawyers, I hate judges, and I am eager to get out of what I do.

      I don't actually hate the law as such. I am damn good at what I do, if I do say so myself. But it seldom matters, because the shitty legal system often thwarts the virtuous and rewards the vicious. Über-toileteers who somehow became admitted to the bar violate rule after rule with impunity, thanks in large measure to shitty courts. I consider all of law a goddamn scam, and I wish that I had never had anything to do with it.

      Delete
    9. I can relate, OG! Money-wise, it worked out well for me eventually, but I don't like the work either. And to get the job I have I had to move somewhere I never wanted to live.

      My biggest fear is one that's common among in-house folks: You can't really go to a law firm 20 years out of law school when you don't bill hours and have no book of business. You don't even have a writing sample because you can't exactly use a bunch of emails and contract-redlining exercises as one.

      So yeah, I'm doing better than most. But if I ever lost this job, I don't know if I'd ever get another. And losing it is always a worry. After all, an in-house legal department is ancillary to what the business actually does and as such, it is a cost center.

      Delete
    10. Probably the best 2 paragraph statement of my feelings and situation I've ever seen.
      I've made a decent living, but much less than I could have made in other fields, or even in the law, had I been ruthless. I am not.
      Most other lawyers are stupid. Most judges I'd not hire to mow the yard. OG seems to be more knowledgeable in areas I am not, but I'd likely best him in others.
      I deeply regret having become a lawyer. My children are not lawyers-I made sure. (They are doing much better than I did.)
      46 years of practice-now winding down.
      And, "I am damn good at what I do." But in a world where everyone is an idiot, what does is matter?

      Delete
  16. Here is an interesting snippet I found on the Wikipedia site about John F. Kennedy Junior who took the bar exam 3 times:

    " In 1989, Kennedy earned a Juris Doctor degree from the New York University School of Law. He then failed the New York bar exam twice, before passing on his third try in July 1990. After failing the exam for a second time, Kennedy vowed that he would take it continuously until he was ninety-five years old or passed. If he had failed a third time, he would have been ineligible to serve as an assistant district attorney in the Manhattan DA's Office, where he worked for the next four years. On August 29, 1991, Kennedy won his first case as a prosecutor. "

    So those law schools with low bar passage rates and repeat test take takers have graduates that will not be capable of landing certain positions as a policy consideration regardless if they ultimately pass. Bet you law firms have the same policy.

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    1. That's interesting. I wasn't aware of a policy of excluding people who had repeatedly failed. I agree that it's a sound policy: people who scrape in just under the wire aren't the most desirable.

      Of course, the name John F. Kennedy, Jr., had something to do with bagging that job in the first place.

      Delete
    2. Places that have policies that will not hire you if you failed the bar repeatedly essentially view you as not even being a lawyer even if you ultimately passed and become licensed. You are no different than someone who went to paralegal school at the local community college in their eyes but the community college graduate doesn't have $250K in law school student loans.
      And if JFK Jr only got in because of his name, everyone else is out of luck. It's all connections.

      Delete
    3. NYC and NY State government agencies all have a policy that you only get three chances to pass the bar, and then you are out on your ass. Years ago I worked with a woman who had this happen to her. I think she went to CUNY Law, so hopefully she didn’t have too much debt.
      Speaking of the NY bar exam, last Fall I ran into my old next door neighbor and he told me that his son (nice kid but not much of a student) had graduated from the local law school (which is an absolute dumpster fire) but had failed the July bar and was taking it again in February. Well the February results came out a few weeks ago and my ex-neighbor’s kid was not on the list of people who passed. The reality is, that kid will probably never pass the bar and even if he did, who is going to hire somebody with no experience 2 or 3 years after they graduated?
      I think back to the heyday of the scam blogs, which was over 10 years ago. That kid was in middle school then, and here he is all these years later, another victim of the scam.

      Delete
    4. If you look at newspaper stories from the time, which come up on google, he was actually already working there. Rules at the time allowed unadmitted JDs to handle certain misdemeanors (and some higher level cases under direct supervision).

      Such law clerks were paid $30k (equivalent to nearly 80k in 2024) and guaranteed a permanent job if they passed the bar within 3 tries. So while I'm sure his name helped him get that clerk position, or even guaranteed it, the fact that they would hire people who hadn't even taken the bar yet at such a high salary and promise them jobs if they passed within 3 tries, and that this was an established formal program, illustrates to me how much better things once were for lawyers in general.

      Delete
  17. It's ironic the only law school dean that was ever honest about the employment outcome was the dean of Massachusetts School of Law. Its Wikipedia page stated this for the employment outcome:


    ' When asked about the employment outcomes of MSLAW graduates in 2012, Dean Lawrence Velvel said, "I have no idea. We have never collected statistics on any of that, so we don't have any notion." '

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  18. Here's why it's hopeless; article trumpeting a 64 yo graduating from U of Denver Law School, which ranks #89 of the 196 that USNWR actually ranks...and fulltime tuition is right at $60k per year. But no questions about if this made sense, how did she pay etc etc. Instead, it's just a great idea.

    https://www.9news.com/article/news/education/parker-grandmother-graduates-from-du-sturm-college-of-law/73-5b05ffe9-564a-4ec1-b008-12e4e4a6f733

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If a 64-year-old has $180k to throw away on that toilet law school, I really don't care. If the 64-year-old is spending that in the expectation of having a legal career, that's a very different matter.

      If you're past 29, DO NOT apply to law school unless you have heaps of money and want to attend law school for some strictly personal reason, without the expectation of working as a lawyer or making any money with the degree. Age-based discrimination will keep you out of jobs; you'll be lucky to find work at all, and you'll probably end up even worse off than Old Guy.

      Delete
    2. The sycophantism shown by the "reporter" is particularly grating, with no questions about a. how this was paid for and b. whether or not there is any practical use for this degree for her. It's worth noting the lucky recipient says she'll take the bar NEXT year...what's that all about?
      My point: how many times have you seen it trumpeted in the popular media that HS senior X got into 40 schools, got over $2 million in scholarships(with no mention how much per school) and is going to go to school Y with a nominal scholarship to major in "communications" or a similar degree guaranteed to assure the grad of unemployment?
      It's almost as though the media is on the payroll of the Education Industrial Complex. Sure there's a lot of whining about student loans, but it's always after the fact. There have been very few articles warning of worthless majors and the trap of loans intended to encourage thoughtful consideration of whether college is worth it.
      And law school? The days of examination of its worth in the popular media ended five years ago. As far as I can tell, this is the only source of hard facts about law school.

      Delete
  19. A lot of the bad lawyers are really just broke and disillusioned. They'd love to go do something else, but nobody will hire them for anything more complicated than retail.

    Everyone has a worthless degree in something-or-other studies now and having a degree doesn't set you apart at all.

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    Replies
    1. The baby boomers were the one generation that benefited from degrees. In the 1970s, a degree in anything was a mark of distinction. People were commonly hired into managerial jobs on the strength of a bachelor's degree in history from Bumblefuck U. Male boomers commonly wore, and still wear, their class rings. Who the hell in a subsequent generation got a goddamn ring made for graduation, with a stone in one of the school's colors?

      That was at a time when an able-bodied male, especially if white, could get a great blue-collar job upon dropping out of the tenth grade. Things changed quickly around 1980 and 1981, when blue-collar jobs began to dry up and everyone desperately grabbed any white-collar jobs that could be found. People were warned to finish high school, because they wouldn't be able to find a decent job without a high-school diploma. By the end of the decade, they were told that high school was not enough: they simply had to get a bachelor's degree. So suddenly the universities swelled, and the degree that used to be uncommon became ubiquitous—and therefore, as you said, worthless.

      Delete
    2. A college degree became the new version of a high school diploma in the US decades ago. In high school and college I was surrounded by lazy fools who didn't want to be there, and easily got top grades and a very high LSAT score. . .and then, when getting into a very competitive, highly ranked college I was shocked to find out that everyone was just as smart as I was, or smarter, and often they studied even harder than i did. So I got C's. . ..Here is the thing, though: since COVID and "online learning" a lot of students have decided that college is worthless and are going to Trade School instead. They are getting good, well paying jobs as plumbers, electricians, auto mechanics, etc. Given all the recent chaos and unrest on US college campuses, I think it is fair to say that they will be a lot emptier this fall. In addition, many jobs in the public and private sector are being re-classified, so that they no longer require a college degree, but are more focused on recruiting experienced workers. Employers simply don't want a 21-year-old with purple hair and nose piercings who spent 4Y screwing around at "college" when they can hire normal, sane experienced people who focused on building their careers instead of getting a meaningless Bachelor's Degree.

      Delete
    3. It started earlier than that OG. In 1981, I overheard my dad and a friend discussing how a college degree didn't mean anything anymore and you had to have a graduate degree to do anything. When I started LS in 1987, I remember the Dean spoke to the entering class in an auditorium and reiterated what my dad said a few years earlier, almost verbatim. Though the LS dean said you needed a law degree or some other graduate degree to do anything.
      What's happened is we've created a huge education industry (with its of gov't funding) since we don't actually produce anything anymore. It's almost like UBI and the education complex is a jobs program.

      Delete
    4. And now one can't do anything with a law degree or a graduate degree.

      If Old Guy were starting all over, he would probably go into trade school.

      Delete
    5. Here's hoping Dilbert is right, and people are recognizing that entering the trades is a much better path than a worthless BA, but it will be a slow transition. Working in the trades is challenging; in addition to literally having to pay your dues, you'll spend several years as an apprentice having to do, again literally, the heavy lifting as you work your way to journeyman status.
      So it requires actual work...which isn't an attractive feature and often causes certain types of work to be shunned.
      An example: accounting. There's a nationwide shortage of CPAs; if you're willing to do the work in college and get the degree, and then willing to take and pass the five part test, you've got a job-and a job that pays well. It's hard work, not "sexy" at all, but it pays well. But still the shortage persists...after all, who wants to do any actual work?

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    6. A major reason being cited for the shortage of CPAs is the 150 hour rule now adopted by every state which requires 30 credit hours beyond the Bachelor's degree. However the CPA exam usually can be taken with just a Bachelor's. My advise to an accounting grad would be to take the exam after the Bachelor's then get hired by a firm that will reimburse for the MS degree. The challenge there however will be trying to handle the work load of a junior accountant and taking grad courses. Either that or pursue the MS full time after passing the CPA exam. But then there still isn't a guarantee of getting a job.

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    7. Enrollment a trade schools has defenitely been rising since COIVID. That said, even so far too many lazy, unintelligent 18 year old are being herded to college campuses to spend 4Y partying hard/drinking/engaging in casual sex/watching semi-professional athletes in vast football stadiums and cavernous basketball arenas. At the end of their four-year long party, they will move back home with their parents and start working for near-minimum wage at the local grocery store, or in a similar job, and they will never repay their bogus "student loans". Some of them will also drift onto campus at mid and low-ranked law schools, to keep the party going for another 3Y, all funded by "student loans" that are quite similar to the National Deficit, an endless, ever-growing mass of debt that the borrower has neither the intent nor the ability of every paying off.

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    8. Now, you are absolutely, 100 percent right, their are still good jobs to be had, that pay well, for hard-working people. The curriculum for studying accounting and eventually passing the CPA exam is far more rigorous than law school, and it's not "sexy" at all, but it will lead to a good, well-paying job. I have been in classrooms at a college Nursing program. Instead of just reading dry old books and sitting through monotonous lectures, Nursing student had regular class/Lab/Hospital Rotations with licensed Nurses, and Doctors, and patients. They don't get to idle all semester, "outlining" and taking practice exams--they have a barrage of quizzes and exams, often weekly. This takes intense studying in challenging areas, like Biology, Chemistry, and Pharmacology. Again, it's not sexy, you will never see Tom Cruise star in a movie as a Nurse, but the graduates of these programs, even after only 4 semesters, get multiple job offers with good pay and cash signing bonuses. I think that the graduate of a 2-year Nursing program is probably much smarter, much harder working, and much more academically inclined than an idiot who parties for 4Y of college, then goes on to a toilet law school, and fails the Bar Exam at least once. Let's face facts: tough programs, like Accounting/Nursing/Engineering etc. attract smart, hard-working focused people. "Law School" increasingly attracts a bunch of gullible fools who will honestly tell you "I wan to be like Elle Woods in 'Legally Blonde.'" Some law students can barely read and write, and will never pass the Bar Exam, which is OK, as some states are phasing it out, pretending it is "racist" to expect attorneys to actually know the law.

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    9. Have to disagree regarding the CPAs; there is a shortage and if you pass the exam you'll get a well-paying job. There's a current article in Fortune about this, and a report from the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) found a 33% decline in first-time candidates taking the national certified public accountant (CPA) exam from 2016 to 2021.
      In other words, unlike law, it's a profession with an actual shortage.

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  20. The history of education in the US isn't widely understood.

    At the turn of the twentieth century, only about one person in twenty had finished high school. A high-school diploma was a mark of distinction. Any kind of degree was rare.

    By the late 1940s, almost all white people went to high school, and many graduated. (Black people were often kept out of high school or else dumped into horrible "seg" schools.) But still degrees were rare.

    The growing population of high-school graduates and the availability of funding for veterans drove many people into post-secondary programs. But the explosion in enrollment didn't occur until the 1980s, when high-paying blue-collar work dried up and high-school graduates abounded (in part because of a decline in standards: literacy itself was no longer required). Then everyone just had to get a bachelor's degree. Soon enough, master's degrees were de rigueur. And now even a goddamn JD is often worthless.

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    1. Yup, "degree inflation." Print too much of anything, whether it be money or diplomas, and you lower its value. Even if it were just as rigorous as it once was (which it isn't) too many degrees chasing too few jobs is exactly the same as too much money chasing too few goods, and the result is the same inflationary effect. What used to require nothing required high school, what used to require high school requires a bachelors, what used to require a bachelors requires a masters, and so forth.

      There's been a lot of initiatives lately trying to convince employers to drop college degree requirements that seem unnecessary. But I think there's also the consideration for employers that it's one of the few clear, objective weed-outs they have for vague notions like "fit" in a professional office setting that doesn't risk EEOC trouble.

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    2. It's hard to imagine that graduation from high school a hundred years ago set one up for a managerial job. Nowadays it is the minimum even for many menial types of work. I remember hearing around 1980 that soon one wouldn't be able to collect garbage without a high-school diploma—and that came to be true soon enough.

      Of course, high school a hundred years ago was more rigorous. People didn't graduate without knowing the goddamn multiplication table as they do today.

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  21. To prove OG's point: According to data from the St Louis Federal Reserve Bank, 4 out of 10 college grads are currently "underemployed" meaning they're working in a job that doesn't require a college degree.

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    1. My friend owns a restaurant and I saw cashiers as teenagers working there during high school and then they went to college and got degrees and they are all still working there years after graduating from college. I think about the lost opportunity cost and now student loans they pay back monthly. The girls that didn't go to college that worked there throughout no doubt have more money saved and better credit.

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    2. Baby boomers and people deluded by them often say that college is worth while in itself, for the education. Well, that's as may be—and I have grave doubts about the amount of education that takes place. But even if it is worthy just for the personal enrichment, there's the question of paying for it. Hardly anyone goes there solely for personal enrichment; almost invariably, people go with the expectation of getting a well-paying job.

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    3. OG, you have put your finger on the rank hypocrisy of the current system. College is currently sold to HS seniors as a life experience, where you'll be exposed to all manner of educational experiences, etc etc...and then May of senior year rolls around and it's all about finding a job. The reality is college is a four year job training program-and it does a very poor job of training anybody for a job.

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    4. Respectfully, college in the US has long been marketed as a 4Y long party, with stupid movies like Animal House, Old School, and so on. In addition, colleges focus a lot of time and money on semi-professional football and basketball teams, endlessly celebrating Bowl Games and the sweet sixteen, the Final Four, etc, with college basketball tournaments. Most of the people I went to college with back in the late 80's and early 90's were not the slightest bit focused on getting an education or getting a job; they were just there to have a good time. College students are routinely killed in fraternity hazing stunts, hospitalized with alcohol poisoning, involved in date rapes and sexual violence, and so on. I knew a few serious students who were focused on doing well in college and lining up a good job post-graduation, but they were very much the exception to the rule. I think all of this has only gotten worse since I graduated. Back when I attended tuition was low, student loans for college were rare, and the schools regularly placed students on Academic Probation for dismissed them for failing grades. Now the students are cash cows, a College Professor would probably get fired if he failed a student and caused him or her to withdraw from college, costing the school 100K or more in tuition dollars.

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  22. The PhD market has collapsed too:

    https://www.bostonglobe.com/2024/05/21/business/phd-graduates-job-market-academia/?utm_source=pocket-newtab-en-us

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    1. In 1957, when the Soviet Union launched the world's first artificial satellite (Sputnik 1) into orbit, the US went into a panic over the reality that it was godawful, and definitely behind the Soviet Union, in the areas of public education, mathematics, and the natural sciences (to name but a few). One result was a heavy infusion of federal funding for physics, mathematics, chemistry, biology, astronomy, and similar fields in the universities. If you came along during, say, the twenty-year period starting in 1957, you could have obtained your PhD in any of those fields and had it made, with a cushy job as a professor. Some people who did so still cling to their academic sinecures.

      Many years have passed since a PhD in physics or math was worth anything. Now, with a fresh PhD, you're likely to find yourself delivering pizzas.

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  23. I think a lot of these so called labor shortages in critical areas such as accounting and nursing are really code words for youth labor shortages. In other words, hiring entities can not get the entry level candidates with the education and skill sets they are looking for while at the same time refusing to hire willing older candidates who are otherwise qualified but may or may not succeed at the job.

    I have pretty much given up on professional level work (accounting finance). I am tired of applying online for positions that I think I could contribute with but don't hear back from or if interviewed the interviewer probes for reasons not to hire me it already being a foregone conclusion. I did get a seasonal retail position in 2023. It only paid $16 an hour but the hiring process and the job itself, while physically demanding at times was much more pleasant than an office environment. Accounting stinks anyway, it's not that it is non sexy, it's tedious and stressful and the hours are endless. Maybe that's the same thing.

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    1. Can't comment on accounting, but this isn't an issue in my locale. My sister is a nurse, and the last four nurses hired by he unit were in their 60s. They can't find any younger nurses who want the jobs.

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    2. College students know that nursing and accounting are very difficult fields, and that succeeding in them takes many, many hours of studying, and that they are hard work. The last thing most college students in the US are focused on is studying/hard work. When I was in college, most students didn't even bother showing up for class on Friday, they were still sleeping off a hangover from the bar-hopping the night before. This is why so many college grads end up living at home with their parents and waiting tables for a living. They have a lot of fun for four years, in college, and spend the rest of their miserable lives paying for it. The few people who work hard and do well in college go onto good, well-paying jobs afterward.

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    3. 'The few people who work hard and do well in college go onto good, well-paying jobs afterward'. Um, no. The oversupply of college graduates everywhere means no matter how 'hard' you work, you will get nothing. Face it, its over.

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    4. If job security is the goal then nursing is the better choice. Most accounting grads do not become CPAs and only a small elite are hired by the Big Four which is the pathway to success in accounting and finance. The pay for non CPA accountants is mediocre and usually the career stalls out at the Senior Accountant level, if they are lucky, which pays around $70 k. Nursing doesn't seem to be too concerned with appearance either and as the poster states ageism isn't much of an issue either, except if a hospital has to layoff, which occasionally happens. Then the older nurses go. To succeed in accounting and finance one has to present the corporate appearance, which usually includes for men being at least 6 feet and wearing athletic cut suits and demonstrating a lot of energy.

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    5. There's accounting, then there are CPAs. Per Fortune and other sources, there's an actual shortage of CPAs.

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    6. All that CPAs are required for is auditing and attest services. Other accounting functions, such as tax preparation, can be performed by non-CPAs. A corporate controller or CFO does not have to be a CPA.

      If there is really is a shortage of CPAs and necessary services are going unmet, then I don't think it is due to a lack of candidates willing to apprentice at CPA firms. I think the blame is on the CPA firms refusing to hire or doing a poor job of recruiting the necessary numbers of associates.

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    7. First of all, nobody said it would be easy to become a CPA...and yes it can be a real grind. But there is an actual shortage of CPAs-per UCLA, there are 340,000 fewer accountants than there were five years ago, and the number of CPA candidates taking the test is the lowest since 2006.
      So yes, there's an actual shortage. Is it easy to become a CPA? No, but if you're willing to do the work there are good-paying jobs.

      https://www.cpajournal.com/2023/12/01/the-accounting-profession-is-in-crisis/

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  24. 'The few people who work hard and do well in college go onto good, well-paying jobs afterward'. Nope. The horatio alger rubbish died years ago.

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    1. It is true if you go to a good college in a real major. Don’t tell me a Brown Econ major or Michigan finance student don’t usually end up with positive career outcomes. You all act hysterical on here and over the top. “Be a plumber, turn down that acceptance to Wharton.”

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    2. Because mostly education is a scam, even at the Ivy League. There is no social mobility anymore (never really was anyway) the USA is a hopeless toxic plutocracy. No more horatio alger nonsense- its all over.

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    3. Michigan law did well for me as a working class kid with an unremarkable undergrad BA but I assume that was a gamble which paid off. (Been in house my entire career and have low student debt so knows.)

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    4. The Ivy League is not a scam. Working class kids should take an offer of acceptance to any of them and study hard. They will make good money if they do so. The same goes for any top 50 university in hard majors like Econ. Posters here are overly anti-college. The trades suck and will destroy your body by 45.

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  25. Respectfully, you are acting as if the question presented--is college worthwhile in the USA in 2024--is black-and-white, while it is in fact shades of gray. As to your Horatio Alger comment, I agree, 100%, that a 4Y Bachelor's Degree was worth vastly more in 1964 than it is today. There were lots of well-paying jobs in those days that required a Bachelor's Degree, and nothing more, the odds of one landing a good job post-college were excellent in the 1960's, and these jobs had greater pay and prestige than jobs for high school grads. That said, in 2024, there are plenty of people in plenty of majors whose education still gets them good, well-paying jobs. At the risk of repeating myself, Nursing is one example where even an Associate's Degree will generally lead to an immediate, well-paying job. In my state there is a teacher shortage, and teachers routinely start out making 55K a year, or more. If you go to the Air Force academy and become pilot, you will have a good, well-paying job as an Air Force Officer upon graduation, and you can absolutely translate that skill/ability to being a Commerical Airline Pilot making very good money a few years post-graduation. What I see is most undergrads partying, or just being lazy, and getting degrees in Philosophy, Film etc., and ending up working for near minimum wage and living with their parents. That isn't just the college's fault, it is the fault of the students themselves, and of their parents. I also personally know a young man who studying Accounting in college, and got a good job without difficulty upon graduation, he earns more than many lawyers now. That's not an old boomer story about "pulling yourself up by your bootstraps", it is a fact. On every single campus, of a good college/University there will always be a percentage of grads who worked hard, in a practical major, and start out doing well in a good job--you would probably be surprised by how high the starting salaries are for Computer Science Majors, for example--and there will be a lot of lazy gullible fools who had fun screwing around for 4Y and come home to work at the local grocery store. Shades of gray, and personal choices, taking responsibility for your own decisions, and the likely outcomes of those decisions and your own education/career, it all plays a role.

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    1. I think it is more an issue that many people just don't have the intelligence to excel in the aforementioned careers listed rather than excessive partying and laziness. It is very, very difficult to secure an Air Force Academy appointment. You must be well above average academically, athletically and socially. Accounting is very GPA oriented. Usually a minimum of 3.5 GPA is required just to get an interview with a firm. Some want to see 3.8 3.9. Most people aren't capable of attaining a 3.5 GPA in an undergrad accounting program even if that is what they want more than anything. It has nothing to do with hard work. You either understand the stuff and can remember it or you can't. Same goes for Nursing. We are assuming that we are dealing with an intelligent population but we are not. Unfortunately, there aren't many good jobs for unintelligent people.

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    2. I think you are applying the 'No true scotsman' fallacy. If someone can't get a decent job after university, why then, its because they weren't good enough and didn't study hard enough. You saying the only people who won were the ones who deserved to win.
      In fact the extreme hyperglutting of every form of education in the USA (plus abuses like the H1B indentured servants) means that there are many many people who are deserving and capable of a decent job, but will never get one. The Horatio Alger myth still lives on in people's minds, it must be disposed of. Education is utterly worthless, and has a negative return.

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