Ethics Hero: “Ludo,” Under-Employed Law Grad Blogger

True Grit - Reminds me of me

As Rooster Cogburn (John Wayne) says of plucky Maddy Ross (Kim Darby) in the original, and best, film version of “True Grit,” Ludo “reminds me of me.”

Naturally, I admire him.

Ludo is, in his own words, ” a recent law school graduate and aspiring writer from Southern California. He is currently overeducated and underemployed, working two jobs and keeping sane only by writing down the stories of the crazy stuff happening to him.  He is currently working on his first book, a collection of stories from his days driving a taxi in Orange County….” He is beginning to get some publicity thanks to his blog, Law Grad Working Retail, which provides sometimes hilarious accounts of his current existence as an over-educated, presumed automatic admittee to America’s powerful and elite presumably thrust into life the way most of America lives it.

Do not lump Ludo with “Nando” and the other bitter, unemployed or under-employed recent law grads who have had their ire aroused by my observations about them on Ethics Alarms   (also here). He is doing exactly what he should be doing, using his unique talents to open up new opportunities while presenting himself to the world of law and elsewhere as a likely asset. As he writes in a recent post rebutting criticism of his blog…

“I don’t feel entitled to anything. Is it just a knee jerk reaction to throw that word into anything that has to do with younger generations and employment? I never said anywhere in my blog that I thought the world owed me a better job. I worked my ass off to go to law school, to do well, and to try to get a job. I failed. Part of that is my fault and I readily admit it. Am I not allowed to say that it fucking sucks? Sorry boomers that I’m not on my hands and knees thanking God that I have two poor paying jobs that barely pay enough to live on. I don’t feel like I’m entitled to anything, but I’m not going to pretend that this situation isn’t shitty.”

And that is fine. He is not claiming that his top 50 law school scammed him by promising him riches and automatic entry into a mega-law firm. He is not arguing that his law degree is some kind of anchor around his neck. Ludo continues,

“…This blog is not about self-pity. I don’t want anyone to feel sorry for me. I want people to get some joy out of my pain, to get some catharsis out of reading what I’m going through. It’s supposed to be funny. If you don’t think it’s funny, that’s fine, but it’s not supposed to be a documentary about the plight of law grads. 3. This blog is not about complaining that I can’t get a legal job. Where in the fuck did I ever say that? I haven’t taken the bar so I’m not even trying to get a legal job.”

The last part is the most refreshing. If you are trying to get a job the traditional way, your time blogging is better spent networking, knocking on doors and doing research. If you are blogging, like Nando, about what horrible people your critics are and how the entire legal community is corrupt and crawling with vermin, you are pretty much cutting your own professional throat. Ludo has other talents and interests besides the law, and is using them and displaying them. He is not hung up on getting that perfect law firm offer.

During the last of several stretches when I was unemployed for an extended period, part of my “severance package’ from my previous employer included a so-called “out-placement firm.” This involved alleged expert counseling and job-hunt coaching, which was, in my experience, depressing, uninspired, annoying and useless. After several months of frustration, I wrote, designed and published a satirical 4-page newsletter called “The Jack Marshall Job Search Journal,” with tongue-in-cheek editorials, news reports about disastrous interviews, and an advice column, “Ask Jack!”, for discouraged job-hunters. I mailed it to everyone I new, professionally and personally. (This was, of course, before Al Gore invented the internet.) To say my coach at the outplacement firm didn’t get the joke would be an understatement. She berated me in her office for a half hour. She said my newsletter came across as angry and cynical (it came across as honest and realistic, as anyone who has ever looked for work knows exactly how stressful, unsettling and arbitrary that process is), and relentlessly negative (because everyone knows what a life-affirming, exciting, uplifting and enjoyable process seeking employment is), and that I had just torpedoed my chances of being employed in anything close to the kind of position I sought. There was only one process proven to get results, she said, and I had just shattered the mold.

I left her office and the firm that day, for good.

Six days later, in direct response to the newsletter, I was called up for an interview for a duel position as Marketing Director and General Counsel for a small but thriving litigation support firm, and yes, part of my responsibilities would be writing newsletters. I got the job.

I think Ludo’s blog will get him a job out of retail and on a career path he can look forward to with hope and anticipation eventually. Or, perhaps, his running account of the experiences of a detoured lawyer in the world of perfume sales will become a best-selling book and a quirky Netflix hit, like “Orange Is The New Black.” Good things will probably happen to him because, as his blog demonstrates, he is a young man with a sense of humor, ingenuity, responsibility, determination, intelligence and self-restraint, who can, unlike most lawyers, write a coherent sentence. He is not blaming others or hurling accusations. It’s his life, his first set of plans didn’t work out, and he is trying a new strategy. That’s how it’s done, whether you have a law degree or not.

I’m rooting for Ludo, and I invite him to contact me if he wants some advice and maybe some leads from a kindred spirit.

Whether he does or not, I’m betting Ludo will be just fine. He possesses what all of us need to muster as we set out to battle the unfair odds of life, what Maddy Ross called “true grit.” And when it looks like you are licked, what you do is stick the reins in your teeth, take out your guns, and charge ahead….


Pointer: Business Insider

Source: Law Grad Working Retail

8 thoughts on “Ethics Hero: “Ludo,” Under-Employed Law Grad Blogger

  1. Would it have been ethical to inform the humorless woman of your new position? Because I TOTALLY would have done that. I would have probably sent her a fruit basket.

  2. Pingback: Do you need a good lawyer? I need a good judge! | Ludo Stories

  3. For me, Skills Offering (Job Hunting) is the first service you will do for your futureboss. In that endeavour honest, open originality is a virtue. Because showing your soul will efficiently stop you from getting the wrong job. And the right job is a joy forever and worth waiting for.

    I know zero of the market for law graduates, but on general principle: Good for you, Jack. And good for Ludo. Nuts to the agents! Follow your own star.

  4. “He is not claiming that his top 50 law school scammed him by promising him riches and automatic entry into a mega-law firm.”

    Nor are the vast majority of “bitter” scambloggers, most of whom are pointing out that they didn’t know that they would have to work in retail after graduating from law school with an essentially worthless “doctorate” that might in fact over-qualify them for that kind of work. Ludo’s story is more affirmation that a law degree carries little to no to negative value, and he has basically stated that he didn’t learn anything practical in law school. I don’t consider Ludo a scamblogger, but I think these are the very points that scambloggers are making about legal education.

    Also, I know that I mentioned this a while back, but Nando is employed. Perhaps he’s “underemployed” but then I’m not really sure what that term means. Not employed as a lawyer? That would be half of all recent law school graduates. Myself, I’m successful, especially compared to someone like Ludo (though I was in very similar shoes just a few years ago). But I’m not successful according to the nonsense career “statistics” promoted by my alma mater in a blatant effort to entice students to borrow hundreds of thousands of non-dischargeable, taxpayer-provided dollars in order to “earn” the school’s useless degree.

    That said, I think it’s great that you have pointed out and given credit to Ludo, because he deserves it. His writing is fantastic, and as you and others have suggested, is potential TV or film material. His blogging also points out some important realities that we all now face: the notion that more and higher education leads to success and prosperity is complete nonsense; and law school is a terrible “education” and a horrible gamble for the vast majority of people who attend. It’s almost crazy to think that just a few years ago people were insisting that unemployed/“underemployed” law grads were simply “Young [again, WTF does this matter?], Gullible, Lazy, Unimaginative and Unbelievable.” Now even MSM acknowledges what’s actually going on in the world of legal “education.”

    Ludo, if you happen to check back on these comments, as I mentioned above, I have been in your shoes. In fact I’ve been in your shoes in the very same city that you live in, and I’m still there. If you’d like to exchange email addresses, perhaps Jack can arrange that? I have some advice, and I promise it’s not of the ridiculous “make sure that you network!” kind that I’m sure you get all the time. Let me know, because I also promise you that you have what it takes to succeed in what’s left of the antiquated, decrepit and immoral legal market. What it now takes to succeed in the legal world isn’t taught in law school (heaven forbid they teach you anything of practical or modern value in law school). But if you have no interest in being associated with this unethical “profession,” I can certainly understand.

    Jack, a pleasure as always, I hope all is well. Keep covering Ludo’s stuff!

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