Thursday, August 20, 2009

Third Tier Reality



I am a recent graduate of Drake University’s law school, which is a third-tier law school, according to the all-important US News & World Report graduate school rankings. The school is solidly third-tier. The Career Development Office is dedicated to finding jobs for the top ten percent of each law school class. If you are among the remaining 90 percent, you better start looking for your own job (which should include looking at positions in document review, teaching K-12, retail sales, insurance/banking, waiting tables, etc.) Not exactly what you pictured yourself doing once you received your Acceptance Letters, is it? This surely is not what you expected once you completed law school. No, I am not unemployed – although I am not working in a law firm or as a government attorney. I actually like my job and the people I work with – I do not work with any attorneys. I am not living with my parents, but I am currently living in my sister-in-law’s basement. (Not what I envisioned either.) I am writing this blog because I get tired of BigLaw, the ABA, law professors and their apologists in the media (and blog message boards) who argue that those who complain about the law school industry’s lies are just a bunch of malcontents. Surely, some are. However, a very large number who decided to attend law school DID NOT ANTICIPATE OR EXPECT to make six figures right out of law school. Most had REASONABLE EXPECTATIONS, i.e. to be able to pay back their student loan debt; to be able to find work as a lawyer or in a law-related field; to be able to pay a reasonable rent or mortgage payment; to be able to afford a middle class lifestyle. Seeing that many law students end up with law school debt in excess of $70,000 (many are well above this amount), is it too much to expect to come out of law school making $60,000 or $80,000 at least within a few years of graduating and passing the bar? Tons of people make these figures without the rigid requirements, ethical obligations, and immense student loan debt that lawyers must face as a part of their job. The law school industry (by this, I am refering to the law schools and the larger universities, LSAC, casebook publishers, admissions counseling providers like Princeton Review, state bars, the ABA, media coverage, apologists, and those who further feed off the system by charging law students exorbitant fees for their services, such as flash cards, primers on how to write law essays, etc.) has created a nice niche for itself by providing a false picture of the legal job market. This fraudulent conduct should be exposed to the larger world! There are already several wonderful blogs written by disillusioned lawyers out there. I do not intend to compete against them; I simply would like to add another voice of reason and help expose this scam. If I can help prevent one person from making a HUGE financial mistake by attending law school, then this blog will have been worth it. To those who say, “How dare you destroy someone’s dream, by providing them with negativity,” I respond with this: “If someone has an implausible dream (or is suffering from delusions), then I have a responsibility to provide them with a dose of reality.” If some average-looking guy who makes $25,000 a year has a dream of marrying Julia Roberts, should I encourage him to pursue his goal? Wouldn’t that be a bigger sin?

26 comments:

  1. When I went to law school, back when dinosaurs roamed the earth (LSU Class of '78), the tuition was like $600 per semester, so the cost was eminently manageable. I run across lots of brand new cub scout lawyers and they almost all voice the same complaint, voiced in varying degrees of desperation: student loans. In Louisiana there are essentially 3 strata of law graduates. (1) the brainiac types, the top 10 to 15%; they'll do fine. (2) Daddy has a lot of juice, so they get hired some place like a DA's office grades notwithstanding. & (3) Poor sods who aren't in #s (1) & (2). Kids are coming out owing $100,000+ and don't realize that the bill of goods they are being sold. Good jobs in small to moderate sized firms are starting nubies off at maybe $35,000 per year which braeks out $1,000 in payroll taxes, $1,000 in student loans and on the other grand you're back living with mom and dad. Not a great reward for 3 years of unmitigated grief. I'm embarassed to say that at my little firm we hired a nubie who was really really desperate for $2,000 per month to start. As things shake out she has worked out well for us and herself, but there are so many firms that hire then fire knowing that there is an ever flowing source of desperate nubies. Your blog is so instructive that I wish it could be made mandatory reading before taking the LSAT. Some people do well in the law and many don't, so you need to be extremely careful or you'll wind up delaying getting married or having kids because of your student loan indebtedness. Keep up the good work of letting law students or prospective law students know what they're getting into.

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  2. I'm a soon to be graduate from Drake with a good job lined up after graduation. No doubt the school has its problems, but you can't blame Drake for all your failures. You knew what tuition was going to be before you became a 1L. You also knew that the higher you were in the class, the better job prospects you were likely to have. What do you want Drake to do? Say sorry you didn't think your life through? Say sorry you didn't do better in your classes? Sorry their not sorry.

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  3. To the LSU alum, thanks for the info. Tuition has certainly skyrocketed, while wages have stagnated for the average worker - over the last 30 years or so. Deadly combination.

    To the Drake Bulldog above, how many of your classmates are in the same boat as you? Five percent? Ten percent? To the point: What is your definition of a "good job?" Do you consider an assistant county attorney position in Blackhawk County to be a good job? Would an internship with legal aid fall under said category?

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  4. If you can't even make top 10% at a TTT like Drake you shouldn't be practicing law to begin with.

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  5. You should get that put on a T-shirt. And TTTs should put that in their recruitment materials. However, you fail to point out that many of the very skilled litigators, including criminal defense lawyers, did not go to T14 schools - or even graduate in the top ten percent at a TTT. I guess your analysis fails.

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  6. What did those very skilled litigators who did not go to T14 schools, or even graduate in the top ten percent at a Tier-3 school do that you did not? Do what they did.

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  7. Nando, you contradict your entire message with that comment two above this one.

    If those people, in the same "predicament" you were in did it, then why can't you? Maybe it is because the shortcoming is YOURS.

    When will you accept the fact that you just aren't good enough to compete against the many more qualified law students and lawyers?

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  8. This site is honestly pathetic. Had you spent half the time studying and doing well in law school as you have on this website, you might have actually landed a job. It's not Drake's fault you aren't cut out to be a lawyer. Most employers wouldn't want people who complain all the time and blame others for their misfortunes; it is not just the legal profession. Quit blaming others for your shortcomings and start blaming yourself.

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  9. To 2:31,

    Drake Law School is solidly and firmly planted in the third tier of American law schools. (We can at least agree on that, can't we?) As such, anyone who pays full sticker to attend this school will have one hell of a time making a positive return on their "investment." I know SEVERAL of my former classmates who wound up with $120K+ in student debt - just from attending this dump.

    One of my friends is unemployed and has ZERO job prospects. Another one is working for the IRS. I know several who are taking court-appointed work. There is nowhere near enough work for these people to reasonably pay back their immense student loan debt.

    Apparently, you cannot read or you would see that I am employed. I graduated with not much debt - thanks to a scholarship. This blog is designed to inform others that law school is a terrible decision right now. Drake is just one player, among MANY.

    The reality of the situation is this: (a) the U.S. lawyer job market is shrinking - thanks to technology and outsourcing; (b) this is not a temporary setback - employers will see that they can get by with less attorneys on staff; (c) JDs are graduating with larger student loan amounts and facing ever-slimmer job prospects; (d) the lawyer market has been over-saturated for decades; and (e) we are facing a fundamental restructuring of the U.S. economy - firms WILL go with cheaper labor whenever they can.

    I hope that clarifies things for you. If not, then you are impervious to reason, economic reality, and market analysis, i.e. you are a lost cause.

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  10. I'm a 2L that is already well into an admittedly overpriced TTT education. I came to this school because it is "really good" at one particular specialty - that happens to be the one I am interested in. I am dead center on grades - and am thus concerned (rationally so) that my prospects won't be ideal. But, for those of us that have already succumb to the law school monster - what now? Any advice? I have to think that there are some firms and/or corporations that don't rely 100% on ranking for their decisions. Is this totally naive?

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  11. You live in your sister in law's basement? Hahahaha, you really are a loser! You can't even afford an apartment. You call me an idiot, but atleast I own my own house. You must not make much more than minimum wage. I bet you work at the Boston Market, and your colleagues are a bunch of high school kids. Grown men that cannot even afford their own apartments are about as pathetic as it gets.

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  12. Hello cockroach, i.e. 3:46:

    This post is from August 2009. (Can you read the time and date stamp conspicuously attached to this entry?!?!) I lived in her basement for five months, bitch. In fact, I signed the papers and received the keys to this three-bedroom, two-car garage home a little more than one year ago.

    I have been employed at this same position, since landing this job two months after graduating from Third Tier Drake. I know classmates who are still unemployed. Some are on public assistance.

    I moved out of my parents' home, right after high school. Since that time, I have been paying my own rent or mortgage. The exception was the three years I was in law school, i.e. my wife made the rent payments during this time.

    Grown men who cannot afford their own apartments are pathetic. But not quite as sad as an law school industry apologist with a 2" penis and a tiny brain.

    I have never worked in the retail or restaurant industries. In fact, I have never stepped foot in a Boston Market. I make a tad under $40K, which is not much - but it certainly is more than minimum wage. If you want to keep sucking up to the ABA, go ahead. Hopefully, you grow a backbone and a set of balls, at some point.

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  13. hahahahahahahhahahahahahhahahahahahahaha, I made more than that working as a paralegal the year before I starting AU. Forty grand a year is less than eighteen dollars an hour, and that my friend, is very sad for someone with a JD. You are too easy of a target.

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  14. To the mentally-unhinged cretin above:

    Are you taking yourself off of your medications again? The doctors and pharmacologists know better than you. The medications are designed to correct your chemical imbalance.

    This may be hard for a moronic AU student to understand. However, you are feeling better BECAUSE of the MAOIs. This is not a sign that you no longer need your pills. Likewise, it does not mean that you can cut your intake in half. Talk to your doctor first, and then he or she will determine whether your prescription needs to be lowered. Do you understand that, bitch?!

    By the way, when you eventually are released from your halfway house, avoid your drug fiends. You are welcome, for this PSA.

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  15. you make as much as the guy who clean toilets at JC penny, you are SUCH a winner Nando! :)

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  16. Why is everyone so caught up on money? To me, the primary reason people are obsessed with salary is the looming student loan debt hanging overhead. However, Nando said that he did not have as much debt due to a scholarship - and therefore doesn't necessarily need as much as the rest of us to break even. So long as he's happy and able to take care of himself - far be it for me (or any of you a-holes) to ridicule him for his life choices.

    In fact, he posted this to warn others to think about law school before jumping into a tier 3 education. Based on the responses though, I'd rather attend a tier 3 with him than a tier 1 or 2 with any of you. As time goes on, he'll get raises - but you can never buy your way out of shitty character. In this economy, we should all be helping each other out with words of encouragement - not taking this forum as an opportunity to continue to be gunner jerks.

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  17. @ March 12, 2011 7:14 pm,

    http://ip-whois-lookup.com/lookup.php?ip=173.103.100.98

    Hello, you piece of trash. You spelled "JC Penney" incorrectly. If you go to law school - and take out a bunch of student loans - you better learn how to spell the name of this TTT department store; you will be shopping there for your suits and shoes.

    Time Visitor Session Referrer

    Mar 12 2011 9:09pm 108.110.228.31 1 action 8m 42s
    Mar 12 2011 7:10pm 173.103.100.98 4 actions 5m 28s
    Mar 12 2011 6:20pm 173.103.100.98 5 actions 12m 58s
    Mar 12 2011 3:20pm 173.103.100.98 18 actions 44m
    Mar 12 2011 2:49pm 173.103.100.98 4 actions 17m 34s
    Mar 10 2011 1:41am 174.146.31.45 5 actions 5m 16s
    Mar 8 2011 2:05pm 184.240.90.14 4 actions 5m 41s
    Mar 7 2011 4:54pm 184.221.89.179 3 actions 11m 38s
    Mar 6 2011 10:59am 173.100.43.159 2 actions 1m 15s
    Mar 5 2011 6:33am 68.245.229.150 3 actions 2m 38s

    Also, learn proper grammar, punctuation and sentence structure. Can you make a cogent argument as to why law school is a good investment for most students, bitch? That's what I figured, ass-hat.

    http://grad-schools.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-graduate-schools/top-law-schools/grad-debt-rankings

    Check out law student debt, by law school. This list is furnished by US News & World Report.

    http://www.elsblog.org/.a/6a00d83451b58069e2011570914111970c-pi

    Now, take a look at the bi-modal distribution of recent lawyer pay - from "law professor" William Henderson. If you do not land Biglaw, you are more than likely looking at making $35K-$55K upon graduation. (Do you think it will be easy to repay $120K in total debt on a $41K salary, cretin?!?!) By the way, Stupid, this info is based on a mere 22,305 graduates from the Class of 2008.

    http://www.americanbar.org/content/dam/aba/migrated/legaled/statistics/charts/stats_7.authcheckdam.pdf

    As you can see, there were 43,588 members of the JD Class of 2008. So this bi-modal graph is based on 51.17% of this particular class. Unemployed JDs were not counted, and it does not include those working part-time. You do realize that those with lower incomes are MUCH less likely to report their salary info, right?!

    http://www.nalp.org/08saldistribution

    You are welcome for the thorough beatdown, Bitch.

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  18. says the lifer repair man........no matter what you do in life, you'll be the repair man......

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  19. Hello cockroach. You did not address a single fact that I posted. Hell, you probably did not even look up those valid sources. I suppose that you don't want reality to affect your idiotic decision to go to law school. Hopefully, your willful ignorance, pride, irrational optimism and cognitive dissonance do not end up burying you in a mountain of NON-DISCHARGEABLE debt.

    By the way, IF you ever land a girlfriend, you may want to make sure that she is not blowing the repair man - or the UPS delivery guy. Also, you are no better than a repair man. In fact, you are lower than monkey feces. You are an intellectually disabled, Internet troll. Your mother must be very proud.

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  20. says the lifer repair man........no matter what you do in life, you'll be the repair man......

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  21. Look at the "intelligence" this cockroach possesses. The moron posted the same exact idiotic message that he did 6 days ago. Your mother should not have dropped you on your head so often.

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  22. says the lifer repair man........no matter what you do in life, you'll be the repair man......

    (keep erasing it coward, it's still who your wife and mother know you are)

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  23. To the piece of garbage, with no life, above:

    You posted a comment at 3:22 am, your local time. You must have had one hell of a Friday night, loser. Did your boyfriend break up with you or something?

    The spam that you re-posted contains nothing of substance, moron. I deleted it, because it is not contributing to the thread.

    Do...you...understand...that?!?! Or do I need to draw you a diagram with crayon and posterboard, Bitch?!

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  24. You have a very unorthodox style Nando, and I think you post in a very informative and entertaining way. I am looking forward and reading all your archived materials. I only wish I had stumbled into your website before I started law school.

    My favorite little quirks you use are the $$'s and TTT's. Drake UniversiTTTy Law $chool.

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  25. Hilarious! The best thing about this blog is going back to the first post in early 2009, when your warning was first laid out, Nando. The battle was set early-on: experienced LSU "dinosaur" grad saying LS is a sucker's bet, and the other Anons saying anyone without models and bottles after LS is a loser.

    And then the random troll from 2011. Whatever that was about.

    Life certainly has changed in the last four years regarding the Law School scam, what with multiple NYT articles, Profs. Campos and Tamanaha, various Deans seeing declining enrollment and screeching about what a great investment LS is, etc. I wonder where the various Anon's are now...probably living in their respective parent's basements, searching the stars for why they are not special-snowflake-senior-partners downtown.

    Oh well. Pride goeth before a fall. Unfortunately for most of us, we learn that the hard way, especially after kicking someone else when they are down.

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  26. Just curious, Nando, has anyone contacted your employer regarding your online presence? If so, how was it handled? While I agree with you, the vulgarity is a bit off-putting (yet, look how successful it was in catching on! So perhaps it was necessary.) I've considered voicing my concerns like this, but I also worry about repercussions (seeing as, though your identity is well hidden here, apparently your identity has been discovered, but nothing more seems to have happened since.) Thanks for your reply, and keep doing what you do best!

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