Comment of the Day on “Young, Gullible, Lazy, Unimaginative and Unbelievable: I Wonder Why This Lawyer Has Trouble Finding A Job?”

Back in October of 2011, I wrote a post in reaction to the sign reproduced left, held by an Occupy Wall Street protester who either was an unemployed law graduate or who plays one on TV.   Many are the ethical matters and controversies that have spilled on these pages since, and copious is the water that has flowed under the bridge, but because not very many people, comparatively speaking, read ethics websites in general and this one in particular, it took the better part of a year for that post to reach the laptop of  disgruntled law grad with access to a website for disgruntled law grads. Thus suddenly my name has been taken in vain in several fora where underemployed, student loan-burdened JDs hang out. Some, gratefully, have been kind enough to alert me with comments to Ethics Alarms, expressing their unhappiness with my insensitivity. This, the Comment of the Day, is such a post, by lawyer (presumably) Bobby Wilberger.

I must say at the outset that Bobby is lucky to have this posted, and I must say that because I don’t want another lawyer citing it as precedent. Bobby, who by definition if his post is to be taken seriously, had legal training, apparently didn’t absorb the part about following rules, being honest and truthful and reading documents relating to your work carefully. The posting requirements for Comments, clearly indicated at the top of this page, require a valid e-mail address. Bobby did not supply me with such an address, instead giving me a fake address with the clever suffix of “fake.com”.  This would pretty much ding Bobby if I were hiring, and is consistent with my over-all thesis that if you are an un- or underemployed law grad the first thing you need to do to get to the bottom of your problems is to look in the mirror.

I’ll have more to say after Bobby’s post. Here it is, the Comment of the Day, on Young, Gullible, Lazy, Unimaginative and Unbelievable: I Wonder Why This Lawyer Has Trouble Finding A Job?:

“Jack, I have to say that (1) I get what you’re trying to say here and get where you’re coming from, but (2) your post is filled with many, many examples of completely inaccurate information.”

“Other posters have pointed out quite a bit of this, but before I share my experience, I do want to point out that the conversation over the value of a law degree doesn’t begin and end with the problems of a few entitled slacker-types. The problem – and I understand that you probably disagree with me on this point – is that the *average* JD who has graduated recently is doing very poorly. I would even go so far as to say that, by now, it has become close to an accepted fact that the average law student comes out a loser as a result of getting their JD. There is plenty more information on this out there, and one rarely sees an informed commenter actually defending law schools these days. As a primer I would encourage you to read this to give you a better idea of why the debt problem cannot be separated from the employment problem, and this to give you an idea of what the employment problem actually looks like.

“Anyway, I cannot begin to describe to you how bad the market is. In lieu of that, here’s my own anecdote, which I’ll preface by saying that I am one of the very lucky ones. I’m what you *might*, by some stretch of the term, call a law school “success” story. I’m a recent JD who, by all indications (good grades, journal, T14 school, all of that nonsense), should have a decent job out of law school. By “decent” I do not mean biglaw, though that would have been nice. I mean – literally – *any* job that can give me a reasonable salary and a chance to learn some things about how to actually practice law. By hustling – hard, by the way – for the past two years, I’ve been able to get something like three interviews for those types of jobs. The best chance I had of landing one came when there were *only* 19 other people who made it to the interview stage for a single position.

“As for the legal jobs that are attainable for someone like me? Well, let’s just say that it’s hard to make loan payments when you’re an unpaid intern for the third time, even if you’re also a waiter. While we’re on it, here’s two quick sidebars: (1) nobody but the most seriously deranged is going to attempt to go solo directly out of law school, except as an absolute last resort. Financing problems, marketing problems, malpractice risks, a lack of any practical legal or business knowledge, and the need to actually make student loan payments are going to prevent that from working out in all but the luckiest or most well-supported (for example, financing by the JD’s parents) of circumstances. (2) That 1.5% unemployment figure you threw out there? This article has a few reasons why that figure is not nearly as useful for evaluating the value of a JD as you would have initially believed. Try this instead.

“Anyway, a little more than a year ago, I ventured into looking for non-legal work. And I kept hustling. And quite recently, I was successful. Proof of the versatility of a law degree? Hardly. I’ll be doing exactly the same work as I was prior to law school, but with a different company. And, as with every other contact I’ve had with a non-legal employer, I had to convince them that my law degree wouldn’t make me a liability or flight risk in order to get the job. And I am damn lucky they hired me too. At no point was the law degree seen as an asset, and it really only served to undermine my credibility as a candidate for every chance at employment that I had outside of a legal context. Finance, consulting, marketing, real estate, administration, and everything in between, up and down, from retail stockboy to investment banking. The JD was a complete and total liability each and every time.

“Of course, I had the fortune of having at least some prior experience to fall back on. I can’t say that most JD’s have that same luxury. And most don’t have a fancy T14 degree to lend them credibility, or a strong professional network, or financially secure friends or family to help them out. However, most are very hardworking and bright. Most went to law school to make a positive impact on the world, have an interesting career, or earn a middle class income. Some went to law school to be able to afford to send their own children to college. Many are the first in their family to attend college themselves.

“What they have in common is that nearly all of them have a massive amount of student debt outstanding. And the vast, vast majority of them have almost no chance at getting a job that would allow them to pay it off. And these students – generally – are very, very screwed (as are U.S. taxpayers who also are on the hook for these loans).

“After all that rambling, I guess my point is this: You are completely wrong. Your conclusion is wrong, your facts are wrong, your assumptions are wrong, and your attitude towards others is wrong. Your post and its title suggest that only “Young, Gullible, Lazy, Unimaginative and Unbelievable” people with JDs have trouble getting jobs. I can assure you that this suggestion is not only wrong, but is nowhere close to reality. A cursory bit of research would indicate the same, and I would encourage you to begin with the links I’ve provided.

“I strongly encourage you to read up on these issues before rushing to judge a very large group of people who are struggling to make ends meet. These people are my friends. While I can appreciate that the Occupy folks don’t always place themselves in the best light and that there is something to be said for pulling-self-up-by-bootstraps type folks, the job market for JDs is absolutely horrendous. Most people are doing their best to get by, most aren’t making excuses, and most just want to get to the point in their lives where they were three years before graduating. Taking a hostile tone and acting like a know-it-all is not the correct approach.

“Please, next time read up on the issues before you feel free to comment.”

I’m back.

As I find myself writing here often, it really does annoy me when commenters base a diatribe on statements and positions they stuff into my metaphorical mouth, and that is what Bobby’s comment, and the angry threads on unemployed lawyer cyber-hangouts, do. The post that I wrote did not deny that there was a tough job market for lawyers, and did not minimize the burden of student loans for many law grads. In fact, it didn’t discuss the student loan issue substantively at all. My post was about a whiny idiot sitting in a square in New York City holding a sign that made dubious claims when he should have been looking for a job. That was, and is, my general conclusion about everyone who has participated in the arrogant and inarticulate Occupy movement. The post was not about all unemployed lawyers, but one particularly silly unemployed lawyer. Thus Bobby’s statement accusing me of “rushing to judge a very large group of people who are struggling to make ends meet” is just factually false.” The post’s title and its specifics were focused on the contents of one sign held by one lawyer.

Of course, if the shoe fits, one is welcome to wear it.

Bobby wants to engage me in a link battle; no thanks. The web is a confirmation bias freak’s crack–any two sides to any issue can throw links at each other all day. I know very well what I am writing about regarding this topic. I have been in Bobby’s position. I have a brilliant nephew with a new Columbia Law School degree who can’t find work as a lawyer. I worked in the administration of a major law school, and I have used my own law degree for both legal and non-legal jobs. And, having gone to law school in those ancient times when the majority of students were not awarded A’s or B’s for just showing up, my transcript was not going to get me an office working across from Tom Cruise.

I stand by every statement in the post, especially the statement that a law degree is the most versatile and useful degree one can have, if an individual really earns it. Colleges stopped teaching students to think around 1969; high schools had failed to do that even earlier. If you get through law school without being able to analyze a difficult problem logically and critically, and to express yourself articulately and expressively, then you didn’t belong there in the first place. A law degree is necessary to navigate modern life, in fact; unfortunately, it is too expensive, and if the job situation is bad now, wait until everyone is a lawyer. Yes, Bobby, if you apply to be a shoe salesman, a law degree may be an impediment (though a trained lawyer should be excellent at sales) because lawyers have a nasty reputation of stirring up trouble. But your casual dismissal of going into solo practice is the Achilles heel of your whole argument. My statement was that a young person with a law degree could not say that he had no job prospects, because unlike other fields, a lawyer always has the option of going into private practice. Is it hard? Sure it is. Is it risky? Of course. Do many, many lawyers do it until they join up with a larger organization? Yes. There are a lot of people, especially indigent people who don’t spend their time hanging out with signs in town squares, who desperately need legal help. You can pick up criminal defense cases at the courthouse in most cities, and be paid by the government. You didn’t study criminal law or trial practice, you say? Explain to me why that’s the law school’s fault.

Bobby says, “Nobody but the most seriously deranged is going to attempt to go solo directly out of law school, except as an absolute last resort. Financing problems, marketing problems, malpractice risks, a lack of any practical legal or business knowledge, and the need to actually make student loan payments are going to prevent that from working out in all but the luckiest or most well-supported (for example, financing by the JD’s parents) of circumstances.”  Excuses. Sure, there are challenges to starting a solo practice. It can be done. My post said that the claim that a newly minted lawyer had no job prospects of legal work was patently false, and it is. He might not like the prospects he has, but they exist.

Where do professional networks come from? Bobby seems to think they are either inherited, like Mitt Romney’s family fortune, or unattainable. Instead of holding signs, and unemployed lawyer should be building a professional network. If that law school didn’t have professors, you really were taken for a ride. If there is a law professor alive who won’t give a recent graduate an entree to a successful former student, I haven’t heard of him or her. Indeed, if Bobby gets the names of 10 prominent attorneys in his community and contacts each of them asking for 20 minutes to pick their brain about legal job opportunities, he will have five or more appointments. I meet with young men and women out of college and grad school all the time, and I give them contacts and advice. Sometimes I have job leads, either at the time of the meeting or later. Most lawyers—and business executives, association executives and small business owners too—will accommodate young people trying to get their bearings in the job market. Why? Because it’s the right thing to do. Because someone did it for them.

Look. I know it’s harder finding a job now than when I got out of law school. I think the student loan problem is a scandal. I understand that recent grads are stressed and disappointed, and justifiably worried. The post in question, however, asserted that the Occupier’s claims that law schools were at fault for the employment travails of grads and that a law degree was either a burden or a useless credential were whiny excuses for a lack of initiative, diligence and responsibility, and that was, and is, true.

Meanwhile, however, if Bobby is in the DC area, he can ask someone else to give him 20 minutes. The legal profession has too many liars already: with his next contact, I strongly suggest a real e-mail address.

59 thoughts on “Comment of the Day on “Young, Gullible, Lazy, Unimaginative and Unbelievable: I Wonder Why This Lawyer Has Trouble Finding A Job?”

  1. …a post, by lawyer (presumably) Bobby Wilberger.

    …if his post is to be taken seriously…

    …apparently didn’t absorb the part about following rules, being honest and truthful and reading documents…

    The legal profession has too many liars already…

    Do all the ad hominem attacks really help to support your case, Jack? You’d have to think so, because that’s what your ALL your comments on these topics are: ad hominem attacks and rampant, over-the-top confirmation bias. Only a lack of diligence, initiative, and responsibility can result in employment problems, therefore Bobby lacks diligence, initiative, and responsibility. Case closed, right?

    You utterly lack perspective on this subject, Jack. You disregard Bobby’s comments about solo practice and assert that he must simply not like the options. I can only assume that you’re able to do this because you have never known what it was like to be in dire straits either financially or socially. No one “always has the option” of doing anything. You can’t honestly believe that just by virtue of having a law degree, even if a person has no money, no client base, and no credit as a result of student loans, he can still go into private practice? You have no idea of what Bobby’s situation is, and yet that’s your brusque advice for him. It’s rather like the advice that you gave to me in an e-mail message: that a person like me should be building a business that he can turn into other opportunities. Not to say that I haven’t taken the initiative of working independently, but for Heaven’s sake, Jack, how could I possibly be expected to legitimately build a business if at the end of any given month, after I pay my rent and utilities and rely on the charity of my very limited social network for food, I have perhaps fifteen dollars left in my bank account.

    I can’t fault you too much for your fallacy, Jack; it’s probably the most common mistake that everybody makes as a natural result of the human condition: you assume that your personal experience is the baseline for every person’s experience. It’s commonplace, but that doesn’t make it any less infuriating to me. I sometimes have to grit my teeth and listen to business owners complain about how they’re barely keeping their heads above water, how the government is taxing them out of existence, even as their suntans haven’t yet faded from their most recent vacations. At least that’s just self-centered. But it’s altogether callous when people like you flatly declare that people like Bobby or I have every advantage needed to scoop ourselves out of our situations.

    It’s amazing that you acknowledge private practice as “risky” and proceed to suggest that that doesn’t matter. It reminds me of a blog post I wrote in response to Mitt Romney speaking about meritocracy. the URL is here if you want to read it in full, but the essential point is that you’re severely out of touch if you believe that every person has the same capability of taking risk.
    http://tothebreakingpoint.blogspot.com/2011/12/mitt-romneys-delusion-of-meritocracy.html

    Could I leave Buffalo and strive to obtain a better life elsewhere, or take all of my money at the beginning of the month and invest it in marketing in the hopes that it will instantly return work that gets me my rent money in the next three weeks? Sure. Nothing’s physically restraining me. But if those risks don’t pay off immediately and profoundly, the result for me is homelessness. That’s probably not a rational sort of risk.

    I’m not sure which is more baffling: the implicit advice to Bobby that any risk would be rational as long as he’s got a law degree to back it up, or the comments about social networks. No, Jack, they’re not unattainable, and I don’t think that Bobby was suggesting they are. However, they don’t grow on trees. You know, I compare myself to some of the people around me, and I get the impression that the reason why I have poor social networking skills is that I’m not a psychopath. I’m not interested in establishing communication with people exclusively so that I can exploit them for my personal advantage. I don’t tend to hand out my business card to every new person I meet, or explain to them in detail how great I am. I know people who do this. They are insufferable and, as far as I’m concerned, unethical. What I will do, by contrast, is give my card to people I meet in business situation, whose work I’m interested in, and to whom I think I have something to offer. This isn’t a lack of initiative; it’s a sense of proportion.

    Neither am I okay with calling people whom I don’t know, have never spoken to before, and are not hiring, and asking them for a job lead. I will send resumes to HR departments or pitch letters to prospective clients, but i won’t personally bother people who have no connection to me. Call me naive and impractical, but among my values is the belief that one’s social network should be natural and the professional advantages it affords one incidental, not the other way around.

    I’m sorry to read that you are apparently among the majority that thinks otherwise, but even if I accept that, it still doesn’t mean you’re right about Bobby. First of all, you don’t know that he hasn’t spoken to every lawyer in his town already. If they had job leads to offer him, it would at least partly contradict your acceptance of the claim that the job market is terrible. If the market is really terrible, talking to lawyers doesn’t exactly help, because suitable jobs don’t exist, at least not without serious, and probably non-entry-level competition.

    Secondly, why have you not considered that the very things against which you direct your derision actually are alternative ways of networking socially? Once again I have to raise the point about your prior chastisement of a woman who wrote out her qualifications on a sign at OWS and then took an interview with a financial firm. Once again I have to emphasize that being a member of such a movement is not necessarily about rejecting America, or hard work, or personal struggle. I dare say that a lot of people eagerly joined that movement because they know they have the skills, education, and conviction to get a decent job or do something worthwhile with their lives, but they’re just sick of being %$#ing invisible. I know i am. I’m sick of applying for jobs that I am extremely well-qualified for and finding that the prospective employer doesn’t even have the decency to so much as send a mass mailing indicating that the position has been filled, much less respond directly to my numerous earnest follow-up inquiries.

    Do you not see how those “angry threads on unemployed lawyer cyber-hangouts” can actually function as a kind of professional networking? To be sure, they’re not communicating with people who are already successful in law firms, but they are keeping in close contact with other people in their industry. That can be valuable. Presumably, they’re sharing resources about how to pursue job leads, and if one of them hits on something that lands him gainful employment, he’ll probably share it with his acquaintances. Surely such sites exist for people to work together on finding something that will help. Clearly they believe that you blindly labeling them as lacking in initiative, diligence, and responsibility doesn’t.

    I couldn’t agree more. You’re not helping. You’re contributing to the divisiveness that you seem to attribute entirely to those who are expressing their frustration while trying to claw their way up from the bottom. I wish Bobby had been more tactful, but I also agree with the recommendation that you learn more about the issue before you continue commenting. Specifically, stop casting accusations at your opponents and start listening to what they actually have to say.

    • Excuse me, Ed, but before I take the time to respond to the rest of the post: YES, I have every right to comment about a commenter’s refusing to provide me with the bare minimum I require to participate in this forum, He gave me a fake e-mail. That’s a lie. Calling him a liar, which lawyers are not permitted to be, is not an ad hominem attack. He lies, He won’t follow rules, and he says its not his fault that he can’t get work as a lawyer.

      If he wants a job as a lawyer, he should start acting like one.

      This is a character issue, Ed, and that means that a lawyer blaming other people for his own shortcomings, misfortune, failures and bad decisions is properly flagged as such. Your reflex accusation of “ad hominem attacks” is lazy argument and debating technique. People have,, are and do start their own practice out of law school. Don’t tell me its impossible—people do it every day.

      A law degree is a tool, and versatile one. Calling it a scam and pretending that it isn’t a useful credential is unsupportable, and shows a lack of imagination and accountability. That’s a diagnosis, not an “ad hominem attack.” I don’t want to read that again.

      • Of course the legal profession has too many liars. It’s difficult to expect otherwise when the institutions handed the task of educating new lawyers – law schools – are committing widescale fraud on the taxpaying public. Comparatively speaking, someone posting anonymously on your blog is an ethical blip.

        Is there any support for the notion that a law degree is a versatile tool?

        • Sure. ME.
          That and the fact that if you actually get a legal education, you understand the law, contracts, negotiation, planning, rhetoric, logic, analysis, debate, public speaking, expression, research and intimidation. Professions and businesses other than law can use those skills, and know it.

          • With all due respect, given that nearly 50% of law grads don’t find legal jobs, but presumably most of that nearly 50% find well-paying, non-legal jobs because a law degree is diverse and versatile, I need better factual support than your personal experience and your feelings about the versatility of a legal education.

            I think one reason so many of us question the versatility of a law degree is because law schools love to tout this notion, and yet there isn’t- as far as I can tell- a single shred of evidence to prove it. Meanwhile there are plenty of reaons to question it. For example, this story: http://www.lawjobs.com/newsandviews/LawArticle.jsp?id=1202426319259&slreturn=1 (“Going to law school gives you a certain set of credentials that really aren’t valuable for anything other than practicing law” – Stephen Seckler, managing director in the Boston office of BCG Search, a placement firm).

            There’s a reason no one is cashing in by placing unemployed JD’s in non-legal roles. That’s because, as you suggest elsewhere, nobody seems to want a lawyer around causing trouble.

          • Jack,

            You may feel that those skills you mentioned are worthwhile. The corporate world does not. Sad, perhaps, but true. Most of those skills can be acquired just as easily in a corporate position, along with skills more relevant to corporate work.

            I got my JD back about a decade ago, when BusinessWeek was full of articles about how powerful it was in the business world. Sad fact is that it isn’t. No company wants a JD other than in a legal position. So I went back and got my MBA, and found myself having to answer for my JD in every single job interview. I was actually told in one on-campus interview that I was offered the interview just to hear how I spun it, and that they had little use for someone that gave up 3 years of experience to be back in school.

            I’m now well entrenched in the corporate world and have little interest in hiring a JD when I can instead get an MBA. I have a few JD friends I’ve tried to get hired at very low level marketing positions (two years post-undergrad level) and failed to get them so. Hell, I’ve tried to get them jobs that involve contract review and negotiation and it’s instead gone to a 24 year old that has done just that post-undergrad.

            If JDs had jobs so readily available why are so many going into dead-end, black mark, low-paying, temporary doc review positions?
            Answer: because a JD does not open any doors.

            You keep throwing out points that, sadly, died many years ago. They’re no longer true. You are somewhat old now, and pretty far removed from the reality of being a recent law school graduate. You’re ignorant, in other words, of what the current reality is. No different than those that keep claiming there is no student loan issue because rates are 3.8% (yes, for subsidized stafford loans, which are $8.5k per year, out of a needed $60k in loans per year…)

            You’re making things harder for recent grads by repeatedly making claims that haven’t been true for 15-20 years. Perhaps you should spend some time talking to recent grads rather than telling them what it’s like…

            • The lawyers I know going into low-end document review positions are all older lawyers, who have the same problems finding jobs as older workers in any field. If you are looking for MBA’s rather than JDs for these positions, you’ll have to explain why. You are positing a bias with no underlying rationale. MBA’s have sure been doing a crack job lately: why would anyone in their right mind prefer that?

              I have not been asleep for 20 years; I’ve been intimately involved with the legal profession and education throughout. Your interpretation of “reality” seems constructed from collective disappointment and fear, in an effort to salve bruised egos. If lawyer aren’t getting good non-layer jobs, they aren’t looking in the right places, they aren’t impressing who they talk to, or they have other issues.

              The old “you don’t know how it is” trope is effective, no doubt. It’s not really an argument, however, and I see nothing in your experience that suggests that I should assume that it over-rides my own observations. This is all anecdotal data. I’ll see some hard numbers showing that a law degree is an impediment to employment, thanks. At this point is sounds like a comforting rationalization.

              • “The lawyers I know going into low-end document review positions are all older lawyers”

                I suggest you call a document review place and ask how many resumes they get from recent graduates. I don’t know anyone under the age of 40 who seriously thinks the JD opens non-law doors. If you wan empirical evidence, go to law school transparency and look at recent graduate outcomes. Here’s a hint: you won’t see many transitioning into the corporate world.

                “You are positing a bias with no underlying rationale. MBA’s have sure been doing a crack job lately: why would anyone in their right mind prefer that?”

                You seem to be completely biased towards ignoring the negatives that a JD carries with it. The average dope on the street sees attorneys as annoying problem-creators on a social level equal to dentists (i.e., everybody hates seeing one). In the business world, JDs are seen as lacking practical skills that an MBA would actually have. And JDs are also risk-averse and focused on finding fault in a situation or expecting a worst case scenario (“we can’t do that, they’ll sue us for trademark infringement”).

                Your whole argument seems to hinge on recent law graduates being completely irrational economic actors and ignoring a business world that wants them. That simply isn’t the case.

                Run an experiment. Draft a resume of what you think a “good” JD holder’s resume would look like. Make it from a school ranked in the top 20-50. Send it to as many corporate job openings as you can in the next few weeks. Then watch and see how interested the business world is in JDs.

              • Rationale?
                1) MBAs tend to have several years experience in a business setting, typically a Fortune 500, a top consulting firm or investment bank. JDs tend to come straight from undergrad
                2) MBAs know how to use Excel, from a simple financial model up to a complex regression or monte carlo simulation. JDs know Word
                3) MBAs know how to convey a complex idea in simple terms via PowerPoint. JDs know Word
                4) MBAs understand how to navigate a corporate meeting. JDs understand how the Socratic Method works
                5) MBAs get math. JDs get over-wordiness

                I don’t understand where you think these non-lawyer jobs that want attorneys are. Law school does not teach a single valuable skill in the business world. You mention negotiations, but what law schools teach a course in negotiations? A practical course where people actually, you know, practice negotiations? I can’t name one. However it’s a standard at every top 25 law school (and probably beyond.) JDs do not come out knowing a damn thing about negotiations. Do they even know a basic term like “anchoring?” Planning? What do JDs plan? Debate? I’ll give you that, but there’s an enormous difference between what is done in a boardroom and what is done in moot court. Intimidation? Ha! Research and rhetoric I’ll give you, unfortunately neither is terribly useful (who does research in most companies? The guy at the bottom of the totem pole, who is 3 years younger and $150k less in debt than a JD.)

                You can call a trope a trope all you want, but it remains true. You do NOT know how it is. In fact, you seem to be part of the problem. You claim you worked in a law school, so you should be very well aware of the bait-and-switch employment reporting. Odds are you were somewhat involved, if not heavily involved, if so it makes you running an ethics blog almost as funny as having the former CFO of Countrywide mortgage give ethics workshops at undergrad universities across the nation. You say you’ll see some hard numbers, but people have provided them. Heck, ask the ABA; it was only a few years back that 44,000 new JDs came out to 26,000 jobs. Has that changed much?

                You can keep defending the system all you’d like, but the simple fact is that this system is broken. Too many schools pushing out too many graduates who are woefully unprepared to do any kind of job. They do not know what being an attorney means, and are likely to fail miserably if they open their own practice. There are few practices hiring, with partner track being pushed back 10+ years and people often being bumped before making it there. There’s doc review and insurance defense, and hey, taking out $150k to make less than your friends that went into advertising is always fun. And then there are all these other jobs you keep discussing, fully ignoring that HR will toss people that seem overqualified (which a JD will make you appear at an entry level), and people that seem underqualified (which a lack of experience will make a JD appear at anything beyond entry level.)

                Your posts are painful. I’m sorry, you come across like that Forbes guy that wrote that article along the lines of “If I was a poor black boy I’d use the knowledge I gained as a middle aged white man to get a good education.” You simply aren’t in touch. You’re sitting on a blog acting as if you know what’s going on outside your window but you are failing miserably.

                Trust me – corporations want nothing to do with JDs. Nothing. Want proof? Fine, go to LinkedIn, punch in a middling school like Temple and see how many of those JDs are working a decent corporate job. They’ll be few and far between.

                But hey, you know everything. You worked at a law school. Clearly those guys act in the best interest of their students and don’t see the world through a very warped point of view.

                • My laws school taught negotiations. I took the course, too.
                  Top tier law schools don’t have to lie to attract students, now or ever. Your entire post, in fact, is just a celebration of ignorance and self-soothing myths that your problems are the fault of an institutional conspiracy. Fine—you don’t know how to look for a job or build a professional network. Most people don’t, and most law grads don’t, but they’ll learn. Not if they listen to you, though.

                  Talk about painful—it is painfully obvious that a certain group of law grads who made ridiculous assumptions about the jobs they would get with a law degree and engaged in the same irresponsible fiscal decisions as the people now being thrown out of their houses have constructed an elaborate conspiracy theory to justify their dilemma and don’t want to listen to anything that upsets it.

                  You and your colleagues are like someone who buys a top grade laptop, uses it as a calculator and argues that its an over-priced piece of junk. And you say I’m out of touch. If it were not so pathetic, it would be hilarious.

                  • “Top tier law schools don’t have to lie to attract students, now or ever.”

                    This is incredibly false. Compare the data that has recently been published for “top tier law schools” on Law School Transparency, to the data these “top tier law schools” were actively promoting just a year ago. They were lying to attract students. You disagree?

                    “Your entire post, in fact, is just a celebration of ignorance and self-soothing myths that your problems are the fault of an institutional conspiracy.”

                    Do you have a single fact or statistic to cite that demonstrates that this all just a conspiracy theory?

                    • Now I have to prove that there’s NOT a conspiracy?
                      They didn’t teach burden of proof in your law school either. What the hell did they teach?

                      Top law schools have no need to deceive anyone, since they have more applicants who are qualified than they can admit. The fact that the schools, under criticism, have voluntarily changed the way they calculate job statistics doesn’t show they were falsifying or trying to deceive.

                    • “Now I have to prove that there’s NOT a conspiracy?”

                      You’re the one that started calling the idea that law school is a scam, a “conspiracy.” So I’d be happy if you merely explained how exactly it’s a conspiracy. As for proving that this “conspiracy” doesn’t exist, you’ve been trying to do that with every comment you’ve posted.

                      “They didn’t teach burden of proof in your law school either.”

                      You mean they didn’t teach us to make blind, unfounded assertions and then tell others it was their burden to prove them wrong?

                      What the hell did they teach?”

                      What some like to call “Law and the Banana.” You seem an avid defender of law schools. Have you even looked into what’s being sold as a “legal education” these days?

                      “Top law schools have no need to deceive anyone, since they have more applicants who are qualified than they can admit.”

                      This is just ridiculous. All law schools (with maybe the exception of Cooley) have more applicants than they can admit. They deceive in order to get applications from those with qualified GPAs and LSAT scores. If they were honest about things, these intelligent people would not borrow $200K for a 50% shot at making $40K a year. Look what happened recently to LSAT and law school applications once law schools were forced to be even slightly honest. I expect it will keep getting worse as law schools – purported educators of ethics – are pushed more towards full transparency and honesty.

                      “The fact that the schools, under criticism, have voluntarily changed the way they calculate job statistics doesn’t show they were falsifying or trying to deceive.”

                      Okay. Pick any law school aside from a top 6 school (there are about 200 of these institutions). Look at what their published employment stats were even 2 years ago. Then look at the stats they are “voluntarily” admitting to now. Do you even believe in the concept of fraud?

                      You have admitted elsewhere that law schools have been manipulating their stats. And none of what is currently going on with law schools would make any sense if schools weren’t actively engaged in falsification or deception. They certainly wouldn’t have hid their actual stats until they could absolutely, no longer afford to do so. Really, why try to make excuses for institutions engaged in a taxpayer subsidized scam like this? Based on your other blog posts, I’m confident that if any other type of institution was doing this, you wouldn’t hesitate to sound an ethics alarm.

              • How could any of this seem like an “effort to salve bruised egos” or a “comforting rationalization”? Again, unemployed law grads aren’t sitting around collecting entitlement payments. So why would they be working retail instead of jumping at all of these employment opportunities that apparently exist for JD’s in the non-legal, business world?

                And why aren’t placement agencies head-hunting JD’s the same way they do those with other desirable degrees (i.e. computer science) or experience?

                And why don’t non-legal employers actively recruit from law schools in order to bring on employees with of all the incredible skills one acquires through a legal education?

                And why aren’t law schools, now surrounded by accusations of dishonesty and career-placement incompetence, simply placing their students and grads into all kinds of non-legal jobs?

                And why are/were less than 300 of the some 44,000 law grads from the class of 2010 working in non-lawyer positions in the legal field? http://www.nalp.org/uploads/NationalSummaryChartforSchools2010.pdf

                Or, as Jay suggests, take a look at the Law School Transparency numbers.

                Because a law degree is not versatile. And if you want a non-legal career, if anything, it’s a hindrance. Call this anecdotal and not supported by facts all you like, but it’s far less anecdotal and much more supported by facts than the continuously repeated statement that “a law degree is one of the most versatile degrees.” Or call it a “comforting rationalization,” which still makes absolutely no sense to me.

                • Excellent point. Can anyone name a school with a substantial number of non-legal jobs recruiting on campus? My school had 1: the DEA. And I had assumed they were there for a legal position, but they tried to recruit me to be an agent.
                  Some schools may get McKinsey (who takes few JDs, but more than most consulting firms), but that’s likely Harvard, and in that case it’s Harvard opening doors, not the degree.

                    • How exactly is it a terrible point? Are placement agencies actively seeking out JD’s? Are non-legal employers actively recruiting from law schools? Are law schools placing their unemployed grads and students into non-legal positions? Do the available stats demonstrate that law students and grads are regularly moving into non-legal positions that pay well, as you claim they can and do?

                      Most importantly, is your assertion that a law degree is versatile not anecdotal? If so, how?

                      And what “reasons that [you] explained” are you referring to?

                    • Christ, the long post that I wrote to cover those points apparently never got posted. Grrrrr. My apologies.

                      I don’t have the energy to go through it all again, since you’re not going to be rational anyway. The short version:
                      1. That’s not how search firms work. That’s how they’d like to make you believe they work. They don’t really search for anyone, most of the times.
                      2. Non-legal employers don’t recruit because they don’t think law students want to work with them, and will also want too much money.
                      3. Law schools don’t now and have never placed much of anyone but the tippity top. They are pathetic at placement.
                      4. What stats would those be? Nobody has ever asked me. They would be useful. They don’t exist.
                      5, A degree that indicates skills at research, expression, persuasion, collaboration, productivity, work under pressure and analysis, not to mention law, obviously has wide applications to many other fields. Again, the burden is on you to show why the obvious wouldn’t apply. And the fact that many law grads can’t find jobs doesn’t prove a thing.

                    • No need for apologies. But why do you assume I’m not going to be rational? Is there something irrational about the things I’ve said here, aside from the fact that you disagree with me?

                      1) Then how do they work? In my current industry, search firms actively seek out people who have the degrees and/or experience(s) that they can use to place them with their client employers. Presumably search firms would also be seeking out JDs if their skills were in high demand.

                      2) With nearly half of all law grads not finding law jobs, why would non-legal employers assume that law grads wouldn’t want to work with them? And on what are you basing this assertion? You said elsewhere that law grads could easily find well-paying non-legal jobs. So well-paying employers could recruit from law schools just like law firms do. Keep in mind that the law grads that actually find legal jobs these days have average starting salaries in the ballpark of $40K.

                      3) Law schools post both legal and non-legal jobs on their job portals (see i.e. the parking garage tenant job that was recently posted on a tier one school’s job site). And they actively bring in any law firm willing to hire their students. One would think they could also bring in non-legal employers that are anxious to hire their students and grads.

                      4) What stats don’t exist? I linked to the NALP data. I also referenced Law School Transparency, which can be found at http://www.lawschooltransparency.com/ Keep in mind that you are accusing others of living in a fantasy. Or are you saying that stats do not exist to demonstrate that a law degree is versatile? If so, that’s really the point I and others have been making here.

                      5) Putting aside whether a legal “education” actually provides the various things you assert it does, I think a law degree, much like any professional degree, provides you the skills and ability to practice the profession of law (unfortunately the profession of law is rapidly contracting, which means there are less and less jobs for those with these skills). But if you’re going to assert that a professional degree provides one with all kinds of skills and abilities that are a benefit to work outside the given profession, you at least have to explain how. If 50% of nurses couldn’t find work because their profession was shrinking, no one in their right mind would tell them they could find other jobs because their degree was valuable, versatile, etc., and then tell them the burden of proof was on them to prove otherwise.

              • This is all anecdotal data.

                This from someone who, when asked above for support for the notion that a law degree is versatile, answered “ME.” You seem to think that it’s good argumentation to arbitrarily reject the anecdotal evidence of your interlocutors, and then turn around and give your own anecdotal evidence all the weight in the world. You accuse them of not citing data, and yet I’ve seen far more numbers interspersed into their comments than yours. Meanwhile, your original post says that you’re not going to stoop to the practice of exchanging cherry-picked data. So what do you want here, Jack? Your opponents have to cite statistical data, but you don’t because that way you’re just avoiding confirmation bias? And your opponents provide anecdotes, but you can because when you do it isn’t confirmation bias? You’re better than this, Jack.

                At this point is sounds like a comforting rationalization.

                Which, I suppose, is much different from the comforting rationalization that says Jack Marshall’s success as a lawyer isn’t at all attributable to the pure luck of having gone to law school in an era when the market wasn’t saturated with graduates, and corporate hiring practices were different.

                • I cited statistical data. People with law degrees get jobs more often than people who don’t. That pretty much ends the argument that the degree is an albatross, but these folks don’t like that.

                  Yup, I was just lucky, Ed. I was so lucky that after my legal job out of laws school fell through due to budget cuts, the new law school dean, one of my first year professors, called me up and invited me to join his staff—in a non-legal job—because he was impressed with what I had done for the school as a student. It was all luck, and the laws grads who can’t find jobs now are just the victims of a conspiracy.

                  • “AT ALL,” Jack. I used the phrase “at all,” meaning that the luck of which generation you were born into had a role to play in your outcomes. I didn’t assert that it was the sole factor, and I suggested neither than you hadn’t worked hard, nor that you didn’t need to. Don’t twist my words to reinforce your belief that your position is obvious.

                    You want to spar with qualifications? Yup, I was a terrible university student, Jack. I was so terrible that NYU disallowed me from having a senior year, effectively severing me from contact with professors, because I had too many credits to warrant returning to full time, even though I still had to wait to graduate. I’m also a terrible worker. That’s why when I was employed at a Manhattan office in lieu of returning to school, i was given a larger year-end bonus than the person who had been promoted out of my position, despite the fact that I was only a foot messenger and had been there only four months. It was all me being a shithead, and that’s why since graduating I’ve never received an interview for a position outside of retail. Every person who’s having a hard time is also a shithead. None of them have put forth the effort that you have and had results that were in any measure different from your own.

                    Oh, I see, you cited one bit of statistical data, so case closed. “Your honor, I submit exhibit A, which makes all the defense’s exhibits inadmissible for some reason.” People with law degrees get jobs more often, therefore law degrees lead to jobs. I like it. Let me use that logic. More homosexuals get AIDS than heterosexuals, therefore being homosexual makes you susceptible to AIDS. Case closed.

      • “He gave me a fake e-mail. That’s a lie. Calling him a liar, which lawyers are not permitted to be, is not an ad hominem attack. He lies, He won’t follow rules, and he says its not his fault that he can’t get work as a lawyer.”

        That’s the very definition of an ad hominem attack (collateral attack on character or emotional appeal rather than directly addressing contentions made).

        “Your reflex accusation of “ad hominem attacks” is lazy argument and debating technique.”

        As is using ad hominem in the first place.

        “This is a character issue, Ed….”

        No, it isn’t. It’s a socio-economic one. It doesn’t become a character one just because you want to make it one.

        The more you write about this subject, the more you show that you’re utterly incompetent to be writing about this subject. In a court of law, almost everything you write would be stricken as irrelevant or impermissible. Your refusal to cite facts or support your bald assertions (“it’s a versatile degree”) based on nothing more than an appeal to your own authority is frightening considering that you hold yourself out to the public as some sort of expert/ethicist.

        In fact, in response to your statement that he somehow violated 8.4 by giving a bogus email address (specious) can be countered by claiming that you’d be violating 1.1 if you ever gave this analysis to a client. Lawyers are trained to view situations realistically and advice their clients accordingly. Your post essentially runs away from bad facts screaming like a little girl shouting “NO NO NO IT’S A VERSATILE DEGREE, IT’S A GOOD INVESTMENT, REALLY!”

      • Please, Jack. Do you really think that someone’s comment on your personal blog is sufficient grounds for an all-encompassing character judgment? People post anonymously online all the time. Someone who’s not familiar with your blog probably doesn’t know that you have a policy against it. The fact that Bobby is a lawyer is irrelevant. Yeah, as a lawyer he needs to carefully read “all documents relating to his work.” His decision to engage in a debate on an individual’s blog does not relate to his work. It’s simply personal communication.

        It’s funny how in your post about Melissa Stetten you think a drunken, lecherous actor on an airline flight has the right to have his personal communication protected from scrutiny, but in this case you say that a young man who’s having a hard time finding a job can be thoroughly judged not only on the basis of what he’s said to one person, or how he’s said it, but solely on the basis of what e-mail address he gave. That makes him a liar only in the broadest possible sense. If withholding one piece of information, once, is enough to label a person as a liar, then virtually everyone is a liar. You, as a consequentialist who believes that lying is sometimes ethical, certainly are. Either being a liar in that sense doesn’t mean much, or most of the population is unfit for employment.

        But I think you just deliberately give that little lie much more weight in this situation than you would in any other. Please don’t pretend that you weren’t looking for any available grounds on which to impugn the character of your ideological opponent.

        • I think that someone who lies, lies. I think that someone who lies to me isn’t someone I trust. I think that when I allow people to post on my blog and law out reasonable requirements, someone who tried to trick me into believing they have is not the most forthright of individuals.

          The poster lied on my blog, and I said so in the same forum. If he lied to me over a private e-mail and I exposed him on my blog, then your lousy Stetten analogy would be less lousy.

          I do not require real names, but I require that either I know the real name, or that I have a real e-mail address. You’re argument is “everybody does it.” You know better, Ed.

          • My argument is not “everybody does it.” My argument is that having been done in limited circumstances, its relevance to overall character is equally limited.

            The poster’s lie was known only by you. Pressly’s communications to Stetten were accessible to everyone within earshot on their flight. I stand by my analogy. I would also point out that by using fake.com Bobby was probably not trying to trick you. He was making it perfectly clear that he didn’t want to give a real e-mail address.

            No one is asking you to trust him, but then he isn’t applying for a job with you, and he doesn’t know you or appreciate your views, so he probably won’t be using you as a character reference. So how exactly does the situation reflect on his general character, his capability as a law student, or his job search skills?

            I’ve heard these absurd arguments before. I once got angry at a particularly aggressive and unfeeling debt collector, who then said to me, “No wonder you have money problems. Do you talk like that when you go into a job interview.” Yes, naturally, because people behave the same way in all circumstances and only have one emotion. So everyone’s justified in claiming to know what kind of person another individual is on the basis of how they react to you antagonizing them before you’ve ever spoken with each other.

          • Some people want total anonymity when they’re doing something that may risk their future career potential.
            Others want a blog to crow about how intellectual and ethical they are when desperately trying to attract new clients.

            In the long run it’s very easy to go to any of the free email sites and create a new email address that will never, ever be checked, so I am not entirely sure what your process does, other than create an extra step in achieving anonymity.

  2. On the solo thing, you realize that the “excuses” you list could arguably be applied to a number of other professions. By your logic, the only thing preventing us from success as Broadway actors/fishmongers/professional surfers is ourselves. Great to know

    • I didn’t say that being a solo guarantees success. As with acting and writing, you have to be good, you have to deliver, and being lucky helps. Lawyer do a lot better, even now, than writers and actors. And while acting and writing will not allow you to practice law, legal training is useful training for actors and writers. Fishmongers? Absolutely. Surfers aren’t professional surfers until they get sponsors. I’d call that a bad analogy, counselor.

        • Some attorneys don’t need clients in order to make money. All that is needed is constituents and the money seems to roll in. I’m not sure if the great monetary success of some of these politicians is due to a law background, however. Some ministers, preachers, and reverends seem to have even more lucrative careers as politicians while seemingly knowing nothing about the law. Then again…they have God on their side and everyone knows that God hates lawyers along with other various groups of people.

  3. “A law degree is necessary to navigate modern life…”

    Huh? I know many successful people without law degrees who seem to navigate modern life quite well. Many of them can even analyze problems and express themselves articulately.

    • How many people have to go to court, or get taken to the cleaners, based upon a contract they didn’t read or misunderstood? Contracts like buying a house or car, making payments and banking, marriages, civil fines, etc… we deal with suffocating bureaucracy every day.

      If you aren’t a lawyer, you need one (or related training) to get by without getting taken for a ride at some point.

      • Yeah, but most people need physicians, dentists and plumbers at some point in their life. They also rely on farmers to grow the food that they eat and engineers to design the products and structures that they use every day. Nonetheless, not everyone needs an MD, a DDS, a certificate of apprenticeship in plumbing, a BSc in agriculture and a PEng certification to navigate everyday life. Division of labour and specialization are what have lead to “that universal opulence which extends itself to the lowest ranks of the people.” (See chapter 1 of Adam Smith’s The Wealth of Nations). If I need to go to court or avoid getting taken to the cleaners, I would be much better to hire a lawyer than get a law degree.

  4. If anything, the 30% estimate of unemployed lawyers from current law schools is on the low side. It is likely at 40% or higher. Current law school graduates, even from tier 1 schools, are not finding JD required jobs. The current data compiled by LST supports that statement.

    And the fiction that a law degree is valued by non-law employers? Not in my experience. People with law degrees seem to be universally despised by non-law employers.

  5. I hold a J.D. from a first tier law school. I also hold 150k of non-dischargeable debt. I figured out early on after law school that if I wanted to have any sort of financial future, it was not going to be had in the field of law. As such, I ventured off the beaten path and now work in the oil industry as a blue-collar worker. I earn much more than my lawyer counterparts and work much less. The best thing I did when applying to oil field jobs was remove my B.S. in Accounting (and Big Six audit experience), and also my J.D. from a very reputable private school. Those degrees were toxic in my escape from the so-called professional arena into the blue-collar world. For a glimpse into the new reality for newly minted lawyers, I recommend you check out jdunderground.com.
    Yes, I am employed after law school, but certainly no thanks to the J.D.. Even though I have a six figure income, 401K, and a pension, I will likely die before I pay off my student loans. This sobering fact troubles my conscience, unlike the apparent disregard of the “Boomer” generation that has no qualms with passing on their debt to ours.

    • I’d agree that in your field, either degree is irrelevant. I’d bet that you are happier than 90% of all lawyers, who are in one of the most unhealthy and unhappy professions there is.

      I have some loans I regret myself. Borrowing as an investment is always a risk; nobody should represent it as otherwise, but nobody should believe it either.

      • “I’d bet that you are happier than 90% of all lawyers, who are in one of the most unhealthy and unhappy professions there is.”

        And now one with nowhere near enough work to go around. Thank the Lord this miserable, cesspool of a profession is dying.

        • That statement betrays the anarchist, fantasy strain in this whole thread, and I am disappointed to see you are fully infected.

          Yes, I’m sure that because a field is momentarily contracting and the training system is going through a period of adjustment, suddenly nobody will be paid to interpret and use the legal system and and its many laws and regulations, criminals will be summarily executed, property will be captured with ragtag armies, and contract disputes will be settled with fisticuffs.

          And there are whole web communities that tell each other garbage like this! And I thought the Truthers were nuts.

          • How can someone claiming a JD is versatile, particularly for negotiations, yet call others “fantasy.”

            It was the negotiations claim that really blew my fuse. I can’t fathom how a degree whose coursework is almost solely skimming lengthy cases for a single line or two of importance could possibly have value elsewhere.

            A JD is barely useful for the practice of law, let alone any other career.

            “Fantasy.” Exactly, Jack.

            • I should also reply to the strawman you’re setting up. No one is claiming that the legal industry is disappearing or that criminals will be executed. For one whining earlier about logical fallacies you’re throwing out a huge one.

              We’re arguing that the field is so saturated that only a few schools actually offer opportunity (figure top 20), and for everyone else they’re getting extreme debt, little opportunity, and a degree that actually damages outside career opportunities.

              But, if you’d like to play this game: Yes, Jack, I’m sure that the legal industry is booming, every graduate is coming out to offers of six figures, the debt can be paid off without any worries or concerns about ever owning a house, law schools train you to be detectives just like Batman that can run multi-billion dollar industries while tracking down criminals and fighting crime at nights, lawyers poot rose petals, law schools don’t knowingly fudge employment statistics, tuition hasn’t risen at ridiculous rates, law schools aren’t seen as more a way for main campuses to profit rather than to train students for careers, and when it rains on an attorney it’s actually raining gravy and hundred dollar bills.

              And there’s an entire blog dedicated to thinking this! By a guy that claims to be intelligent enough and knowledgeable enough about ethics to teach others about it. And I thought birthers were nuts…

              • I’M setting up that straw man? Read what your pals are saying. The most prolific of them is saying precisely that “the legal industry is disappearing”—or isn’t that how you interpret the term, “dying profession”?

                Presumably they didn’t teach hyperole where you went to school, but I was not seriously asserting that criminals would be executed.

                • My pals?

                  Ok. So now this is an us v.s them and you’re setting yourself up as a poor victim being intruded upon by a bunch of coordinated thugs?

                  I have no clue who these other people are, though I’m starting to find it entertaining to see the world in the ways you do, hence the sarcastic second paragraph I just typed.
                  And perhaps they did not teach you reading comprehension, but you were asserting that this is what others were asserting.

                • My side comments regarding the current legal “profession” disappearing aren’t anything unique or new, let alone a straw man. These drastic changes have been a critical element of the recent exposure of the law school scam. If law schools were stealing billions of dollars from taxpayers to train people to work in a field that still made economic sense, it simply wouldn’t be the critical issue that it currently is.

                  Your obsession with turning this notion into some conspiracy theory, on the other hand, is quite the straw man.

            • Many courses, and especially clinical programs, teach skills in negotiations. Many diplomats have legal training. I’m sorry if you mismanaged your legal education. Someone seeking to be a lawyer should take the time to find out what a lawyer does.

              • Clinical courses do not teach negotiations. They offer some meaningful practice in the courtroom (some of them, at least), but they, at best, hand out a xeroxed form on negotiations.
                I’m sorry if you think that is training. Business schools have actual courses in negotiations as part of their core work. These courses involve more class time than an entire law school clinic, and that time is devoted solely to practicing negotiations.

                Yes, diplomats tend to have legal backgrounds. They also don’t get placed directly out of law school. They go and they learn on the job somewhere, under the tutelage of someone else that has done the same. The actual legal training has no bearing.

                Law school is a scholarly education, not a practical one, and what is learned has no bearing on anything practical. There’s a reason people don’t say that law school teaches you how to be an attorney, but instead they say it teaches you how to think like an attorney. Even that is a farce – it’s just a required 3 year $180,000 hurdle to sit for the bar exam. It functioned well when it was a self selection process. It functions poorly when it combines a bad economy (and therefore endless amount of people who can’t find any other way to start a career of any form) with schools focusing significantly harder on their bottom line than their ability to place students into the careers they’re desiring.

          • “That statement betrays the anarchist, fantasy strain in this whole thread, and I am disappointed to see you are fully infected.”

            I have no idea what you mean here.

            Anyway, this “profession” is currently supported by a government granted monopoly and structured around an inefficient and nonsensical payment method- the billable hour- justified mostly by “expertise.” To say that this kind profession is dying, which it is, is not the same as saying that laws and legal representation will disappear, and criminals will be summarily executed, and property will be ceased by ragtag armies. Or whatever ridiculous notion you have in your mind.

            The idea that law is moving away from an old-fashioned “profession” and towards a business model structured around efficiency and easy-access to the law, is neither a new or unique idea. It’s reality. Unfortunately law schools are training law students for the disappearing “profession” of law. And they’re hardly doing that. For hundreds of thousands of taxpayer-funded dollars a pop.

  6. I hope when the dissapointed strivers start the revolution that you will be among the first to have your head lopped off. You are at best an ignorant fool and at worst, a schill for the devilsh people who make law a living hell and who are ruining this country for regular, non elite americans.

    Know this lemmings: this man’s assertions in relating to the value of a JD are dangerous to your career and financial health. There is a treasure trove of truth out there that contradicts his lies. Read anything that Prof. Campos puts out and see the truths. It has been settled for some time. Law is a dying profession. It is mostly for only the elite members of the Preferrred, Protected and or seriously Connected classes. If you are not such a member, heed his words at your extreme peril.

    God bless the lemming and may God curse this jack ass.

  7. As I read Bobby’s post, I am reminded of a statistic that I’ve heard quoted for a number of years now (I can’t comment on how correct it is–just that I’ve heard it said multiple times):
    “There are currently more law students in law schools than there are currently practicing lawyers.”

    It seems to me that, if this is true, then somewhere along the line it became a cultural truism that being a lawyer was a path to high income, and so A LOT of people gravitated toward going to law school. Fast-forward a few years, and the only law that those graduating students come in contact with is the one about supply and demand.

    You JD’s do have my sincere sympathy. But that sympathy is not exclusive–there are plenty of other degrees that aren’t so practical in the real world, after all, and there always have been.

    –Dwayne

    • JD not “practical”? Think about it. You need to be a lawyer not to be taken advantage of by lawyers. You need to be a lawyer to understand how to access the laws of your nation. You need to be a lawyer to understand the %&(^%#@ health care law. Not practical?

      Now a degree in theater—THAT.S not practical.

      • HOW?

        What does a JD teach you, Jack? Come on. You spend 3 years skimming case law. It doesn’t teach you a damn thing. You do maybe 1 short research and writing class, and if you’re feeling generous you do a clinic.

        That’s it. I do not understand how it teaches you to not be gullible and picked on by attorneys. That’s learned by, you know, being an attorney. The actual coursework of law schools is laughable and simple.

      • No, you don’t need to be a lawyer not to be taken advantage of by lawyers and you don’t need a lawyer to understand how to access the laws of your nation. To avoid being taken advantage of by lawyers, you need to hire a lawyer (this assumes, of course, that lawyers do not generally take advantage of their clients; if you are asserting that they are, then we’re really in trouble). I would think that most people would know to hire a lawyer if they wish to access the laws of their nation.

        • Eric—by the time you realize you have to hire a lawyer, you’re already in trouble.
          My legal training has saved me many, many thousands, mostly by reading contracts, but also by flagging frauds and deflecting law suits.

          • I would think that, if you are capable of going to law school, you are capable of reading contracts, looking out for frauds and obtaining competent legal assistance where it is required. Critical thinking is not confined to those with JD after their name. This is, of course, anecdotal, but I know many people with no legal training who have never been involved in a law suit, have avoided frauds and generally benefit from the contracts into which they enter. When they need a lawyer (for wills, real estate transactions, etc.), they hire one.

  8. As one of my law school professors one said: “live like a lawyer in law school and you will live like a law student as a lawyer”.

    In any event, my experience is somewhere in the middle. I was a nurse before going to law school 12 years ago. I’ve had a few law jobs that were interesting enough, but remarkably low-paying with unpredictable, long hours and no real vacation time. Where I live and work, your average attorney makes 20-35/hour and your average nurse makes 55-70/hr. I paid $50 a semester for two years of nursing school (and about two years for the prerequisites) and about $15,000 per semester for law school; I’d say the RN license has been the better value.

    Like Justin, I chose the more “blue collar” route (and saying I’m a nurse never garners the same excitement as when I’ve been able to say I was an attorney), but what the heck, if I stand back and look at the JD as well-rounded graduate degree, I’m satisfied. However, it’s a lot easier to be philosophical about it with a fallback position to pay off those student loans…

  9. That unemployed attorney and others like him created enough buzz that the mainstream media picked up on the serious market failure that is the legal education industry. In turn, this lead to a huge decrease in applicants over the last two year when applicants to law school should have been increasing (people seek out grad school in tough times). Many schools are finding it difficult to accept applicants of the same caliber as before the light came on, and have to offer steep tuition discounts to get even waitlist acceptees to attend. Prospective students now know they can negotiate with a school to increase their scholarship amounts and have been using this tactic to great effect this cycle. They are more skeptical of law school employment stats.

    All as a result of this “whining.”

    I’m not sure how you think that we were going to restore sanity to the market without people telling other people that it’s not a great investment to go to law school right now and that law schools mislead about placement stats. If you call that whining, I’m not sure what else to say.

  10. Here’s some facts, for the guy that claims to want them but hate link wars:
    http://www.newyorklawjournal.com/PubArticleNY.jsp?id=1202560017086&thepage=1&slreturn=1
    ABA: Only 55 Percent of Law Grads Found Full-Time Jobs as Attorneys

    So the ABA is claiming that barely half of grads found full time legal work. I’d guess that other half must be either sitting around whining or entering into the leadership development programs at GE that Jack is convinced are happily growing on trees and just waiting to be delicately plucked.

    Or maybe the ABA is lying?
    Or, perhaps, his age combined with his perspective being shaped by having worked at a law school has completely dulled Jack’s POV?

    • And at the risk of complicating this discussion, I would add that even for a portion of those new full-time attorneys, their futures are not necessarily breaking wide open:
      http://abovethelaw.com/2011/05/not-on-the-partner-track-and-maybe-thats-okay/

      Major law firms have adopted the practice of hiring for “non-partner track” positions that pay about $60,000 but entail all the same work as those making $160,000. Surely they’ll have some problems with their six figure debt, and that those problems aren’t attributable to their obliviousness as to how to look for a job or build a professional network.

  11. I HAVE GREAT RESPECT FOR THE LEGAL PROFESSION — SO THERE! No, I’ not a lawyer, but son and grandson of highly ethical lawyers, neither of whom died wealthy. Unknowing people love to quoted Dick Butcher in Shakespeare’s “Henry VI Part 2” saying, “First thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers.” Not knowing, of course, that Dick’s reason is that lawyers are the first line of defense against TYRANNY.

    I’m also uncle of a young lawyer who does lots of pro bono work for the indigent. So, lawyer-haters, go ahead with your “funny” and not-original cheap shots against them — we all know you’re ignorant and full of blazing horsefeathers.

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