Ethics Alarms

Unethical Website of the Month: Third Tier Reality

Mr. Furious, of the Mystery Men

Third Tier Reality is one of many blogs recently founded by disappointed law graduates who somehow labored under the misconception that a law school degree guaranteed that they would get 6 figure offers from big law firms and then live the life of Denny Crane until they could retire to a Caribbean island at the age of 55. A depressing number of these deluded souls managed to get themselves in hock up to their eyeballs, and when the recession hit and law firms cut back, felt first, like fools, second, angry and desperate, and third, that it was everyone else’s fault. Thus was born the “law school scam” conspiracy theory. Third Tier Reality, like the others of its breed, maintains that law schools intentionally misled scores of trusting students to pay their obscenely high tuitions,  knowing that they were pumping out more lawyers than the legal market would bear.

To the extent that the site tries to educate would-be law students that there is no guaranteed gravy-train at the end of three years of law school, the website is, at worst, harmless. “My goal is to inform potential law school students and applicants of the ugly realities of attending law school,” he writes. His message: Do not seek a law degree unless…

“(1) YOU GET INTO A TOP 8 LAW SCHOOL; (2) YOU GET A FULL-TUITION SCHOLARSHIP TO ATTEND; (3) YOU HAVE EMPLOYMENT AS AN ATTORNEY SECURED THROUGH A RELATIVE OR CLOSE FRIEND; OR (4) YOU ARE FULLY AWARE BEFOREHAND THAT YOUR HUGE INVESTMENT IN TIME, ENERGY, AND MONEY DOES NOT, IN ANY WAY, GUARANTEE A JOB AS AN ATTORNEY OR IN THE LEGAL INDUSTRY.”

That’s all good advice, though it presumes that more people get law degrees under the delusion alluded to in (4) than I believe is true. Nobody ever told me that a law degree guaranteed a high-paying job as an attorney, and if we understood that decades ago when law was booming, I don’t see where the confusion set in. I worked in the administration of Georgetown Law Center, and that school never made such a representation. In addition, Third Tier Reality goes further, as its brethren blogs do, to insist that a law degree from less than a “First Tier” school is actually an impediment in the job market. I hate to kick this particular hornets nest again, but this is a self-serving rationalization for failure.

A good law school education improves your writing, speaking, analytical and problem-solving skills, as well as giving you a versatile knowledge base that is useful in not just many other fields, but every other field.  “Third tier” law schools are certainly capable of providing this; it doesn’t have to be a “top 8” school. (If you want a scam, try the law school rating system. As with colleges, there just is not that big a difference between the top ten and the top 50.) If you go to law school and can’t get a legal job or a professional job in another field where a knowledge of law or the skills or a lawyer are useful (which is to say, most of them), then the problem isn’t the law school, or the “scam” or that a legal degree isn’t respected by employers.

It’s you.

It literally drives “Nando,” the author of this website, and his fellow Toys-R-Us clerk/law grads crazy when I say this, which I have said before. On “Nando’s” site, I am accorded full villain status for the post I wrote last October, chiding an Occupy demonstrator for hanging out in the park with a sad, hand-lettered complaining that his law degree didn’t get him the job he thought it guaranteed. Maybe that was Nando. You see, we don’t need conspiracy theories or the sudden, mythical unpopularity of law degrees in the workplace or even the recession to explain why he can’t find a job. All we need is his website.

Nando, you see, is angry. Not Paul Krugman angry, or even Lewis Black angry. We’re talking full-bore, deranged postal worker, Mr. Furious angry. (I wonder…nah. Can’t be.) Here’s a typical passage, and far from the most agitated:

“Conclusion: Steven Davidoff is merely another academic hustler, trying to keep the wool over the applicants’ eyes. Davidoff seeks to use his background from the London Business School as solidify his excrementitious argument. He employs double-speak and false dilemmas to make his “case” that law school graduates are better off than their counterparts in veterinary school. NOTHING could be further from the truth….Veterinary schools do the humane thing and limit the number of seats to match the future need of animal doctors AT THE APPLICATION STAGE. In stark contrast, law school pigs accept and graduate FAR TOO MANY students – meaning that they unnecessarily strap down legions of their graduates with tons of non-dischargeable debt. (Of course, the cockroaches cynically assert that they are opening the doors of the “profession” to historically under-represented groups.)… U.S. “law professors” often attempt to justify the exaggerated costs of “legal education” by claiming that grads can practice law for 40 years. However, they fail to point out that, every year, ABA-accredited law schools produce TENS OF THOUSANDS of grads who never practice law. The dogs also conveniently “forget” to mention that tons of lawyers are out of the “profession” within 5-10 years.”

That’s not all. In addition to routinely referring to others, especially law deans and professors, as “cockroaches,” “pigs,” “dogs” and even more denigrating terms ( I, for example, am “a ball-less, spineless, brainless waste of sperm and egg. The man has no character and no integrity. He bills himself as a purported “ethics guru.” Always be leery of these types; by nature, they are mere charlatans who seek to avoid real work. However, this physically and ethically grotesque pig takes deceit and dishonesty to another level.”  So unfair. I have never billed myself as an “ethics guru”!), Nando decorates his site with graphic photographs of various forms of fecal matter, including a particularly nauseating shot of the aftermath of explosive diarrhea.

What is the likelihood that such a pathologically bitter, mean-spirited, hateful and uncivil individual will persuade an employer that he should be trusted to interact with clients or customers? I can assure you that a bar admissions committee reviewing Nando’s application for membership in any jurisdiction in the nation would take one spin through Third Tier Reality and plant a large, red REJECTED stamp on the cover page. This is the great irony of this website: while blaming law schools for the inability of some graduates to find the jobs they want, the writer makes it blindingly clear why he can’t find a legal job, and it has nothing to do with his diploma.