Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Next Up: Third Tier Commode Albany Law School

It is now time to examine a third-tier specimen. I dropped by the Albany Law School sales booth at the recent law school fair. So, naturally I will turn my attention to this school. It was the only TTT that I bothered to look at. As such, it is only fair that Albany receives its own entry on TTR.

Look at the “Cost of Attendance” at this tier 3 school; tuition is $38,900 per year! Well, let’s see what this gets you. At issue is whether this school is a wise investment.

Albany’s vague employment graph.

THE SCHOOL DOES NOT EVEN LISTING STARTING SALARY INFO. This must mean the school is tremendous, right?!?! And don’t forget that the current U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack, is a graduate of Albany Law School. Vilsack was also an adjunct professor of law at my beloved Drake University (for about five minutes). Wow, this must have set him apart from the other candidates!! (Or perhaps, it was his willingness to gleefully do whatever the corporate farmers wanted that distinguished him.)

Lest you think I am being completely facetious, under the Prospective Students tab, the school features “Distinguished Alumni.” Such notables include William McKinley, from the Class of 1867; Robert Jackson from the Class of 1912; the afore-mentioned Vilsack (LW ’75); and David Josiah Brewer, from the Class of 1858. Surely, these people are NOT indicative of a present Albany Law student’s future prospects. But, for $ome rea$on, the school presents this list on the tab designed to attract more applicants.

Regarding Career Services for Albany Law students, check out this video:

This second-year student is put in the position of puffing up his summer internship in the Governor’s Office. The “Career Center” is doubtless busy finding work for the top ten percent of its graduating class. The others are left to scrounge for unpaid internships, looking for work on Craig’s List, etc. The fact that the “Career Center” touts 24/7 access to Simplicity is laughable!! This also indicates the low caliber of the school.

Lastly, we will look at the Albany area. The city has an estimated population of 94,172.

Albany’s current first-year class is 255 strong. Does an area this size really need more than 200 new JDs every year? Can such a small city support this amount of lawyers? I understand that not everyone will stay in the area (or even the State). But, it is plausible that the majority of Albany law grads will seek to stay in the area.

Even with the surrounding metropolitan area (including Troy and Schenectady), the population is about 857,000 people. It is highly doubtful that this much larger population base can support close to 250 additional JDs every year.

In the final analysis, this school is making millions of dollars off of na├»ve, young people who have been ingrained with the idea that a law degree will open up many doors to them. Those youthful dreams of “fighting for justice” will soon give way to tears, depression, bitterness, large monthly student loan payments, reality, and uncontrollable anger. If you are currently considering law school, remember that it is MUCH MORE LIKELY that you will end up in this situation than it is that you will make big bucks and be a successful, financially secure, and happy lawyer.

DO NOT FLUSH YOUR FUTURE AWAY ON THIS TOILET LAW SCHOOL. I don't care what the nice salesman on the admissions committee told you about the school. A Juris Doctorate from Albany Law School is designed for wiping your ass with – nothing more.


  1. "Our graduated receive competitive salaries in the positions they select to begin their legal careers."


    What competes favorably with $0?

  2. "graduates" - sorry couldn't cut and paste into the comment.

  3. I'll bet that if I became famous, my TTT diploma mill alma mater will put my name on every bit of literature they have just to boost applications.

  4. From Albany Law School's website:

    Starting Salaries
    "Our graduates receive competitive salaries in the positions they select to begin their legal careers. Starting salaries vary a great deal based on location and type of position. For example, a metro-based law firm associate would receive higher pay than a public service attorney in a smaller community."

    How is that for transparency? Who would pay $38,900 a year to go here?

  5. thought you'd like to know the University of Iowa has experienced a 62% increase in law school applications. that's somewhere near you, right?

    There's an entry about it on ATL.

    (I swear I don't work for them, it's just a site I read)

  6. You sound like a very bitter graduate! Perhaps if you spend more time looking for a job and less time bashing schools you would have one. Pretty sure no school will be adding your name to the list of accomplished graduates.

  7. To the poster above: I have a salaried job. (Had you read this blog more in-depth, you would have known that.) I actually earn more than many small law and solo practitioners - but that's nothing to brag about.

    Several of my classmates are still UNEMPLOYED. I have a relative who graduated from UCLA Law School in May. He has no offers, no prospects, no job. But law is a terrific "profession" anyway, right?

    I cannot sit back and look at the state of the industry, smile and say "Everything is okay." This site is all about reality - not the way we wish things were.

  8. Your law school neighbor in Iowa has experienced a 62% increase in applications this year. There is no point in even starting to point out how misguided these people are.

    Here is a post from someone at the top of the class at U of Iowa law school. Note that neither this person, nor anyone else similarly situated at Iowa was/is able to obtain a decent paying job. Think about what that means for people at schools further down the food chain.

    There don't really seem to be any current Iowa Law students posting, so I thought I'd give it a go.

    I'm Class of 2011, and wow. I'm not happy. If any prospective law students are looking at Iowa, ignore anyone who graduated in '09 or '08, and listen up:

    If you want to have a prayer of landing a BigLaw job on either coast, do not come here. Want to know how many firms from New York, Los Angeles, and Washington, D.C. were at our OCI this fall? Zero. Zero firms. We had Chicago firms and Minneapolis firms dropping out like flies. On average, students had about seven interviews through OCI. And on average, they probably had about zero callbacks. I know several people in the top 30% or so, on Law Review, who have absolutely no job prospects for next summer, paying or otherwise.

    I had two flybacks, gleaned through a massive letter-writing campaign - my only alternative, since no firms I was remotely interested in visited campus. I sent out roughly 150 applications. Two flybacks. One was Fried Frank in New York, which - as anyone who interviewed there this fall knows - was conducting cattle calls. They probably gave callbacks to 300 law students, for about 30 positions. You do the math. It's not great. I had to pay for my own plane ticket, lodging, etc. The other was Latham in L.A., which had already extended offers to 13 people, and only had 6 positions left. Again, do the math. Rejected at both firms.

    Absent a BigLaw miracle, I'll be working at the DOJ Antitrust Div. in D.C. next summer. Not a terrible job, but no guarantees of employment after graduation, and I'll be making a pro-rated salary of about $40k/yr. for the summer. Wow.

    And if you're thinking, "Well, this guy doesn't have the grades - I could do better," you're probably wrong. I'm number two in the class, and on Law Review.

    I would be a lot more bitter if (1) I didn't have to watch my friends completely strike out - they're scared, confused, and disillusioned, and it makes me grateful to have any sort of employment - and (2) I have a full-ride scholarship. I can't even imagine being saddled with $80k plus in student loans, and still graduating unemployed.

    As to the posters who said you're guaranteed in-state tuition your 2L and 3L years, they're wrong. I know at least one person who's stuck paying out-of-state, and a few more who transferred to different schools b/c they couldn't find R.A. jobs (no in-state tuition).

    People have commented on Iowa's problems as an institution; I'll leave that alone. Our geographical isolation is our worst downfall - I imagine it's why our OCI got decimated even worse than a lot of other schools. Fordham, hell, Howard, American - much better options if you have even an inkling that you don't want to open a solo practice in a small town in Iowa.

    We can't even place in Chicago or Minneapolis anymore, and that leaves nothing. I imagine things will look better in the future, but they look pretty bad right now.

  9. Oh my god! A recent graduate without a job in one of the worst economies America has ever faced with 10% unemployment! I can't believe it! Especially since all these law schools guarantee you a job and say they have 100% placemenet. Wait, that doesn't sound right. Also, the current Attorney General of New York State, Andrew Cuomo, went to Albany Law and it is on their website. An odd omission from such a seemingly balanced website.

  10. I graduated from Albany Law in 2003, and I'm doing just fine, thank you.

  11. And because a single graduate is (allegedly) doing fine that means the school is a good investment, right?! Oh, and it's a good thing that the market for lawyers is not more over-saturated now than it was 7 years ago.

    Can you see where US News lists Albany in the third tier of American law schools? The school is a toilet - nobody gives a damn that this school is located in New York's state capital. This school is a putrid piece of excrement – make sure to flush twice!

    Also, did tuition cost $38,900 a year when you graduated in 2003? The school is a diploma mill, as it charges too much money and produces too many JDs - for the number of available positions.

  12. this site is funnyMay 2, 2010 at 8:36 PM

    Um, you do realize you replied on Mar. 29 to a comment that was posted on Dec. 16? Complex anyone?

  13. ha--looked at the date stamp above the post rather than below. Complex comment still stands, however. ;)

  14. Is that the best you can do to refute my argument that this school is an overpriced dump? That's what I thought. Also, can you make the case that spending $38,900 for one year of third tier “legal education” is a sound investment?

    Do you realize that you responded twice to a comment that was posted over a month ago - to defend this cesspool of a law school? Plus, take a moment to look at - and gain a better understanding of - the immaturity of your comments, i.e. "this site is funny", "my mistake", "ha" and ;).

    If you are a prospective law student, you are free to ignore the facts. Just don’t complain when you end up with an additional $118K-$160 in non-dischargeable debt - and a job making $33K with no benefits. You have been warned.

  15. I'm considering going to this college so i take some umbrage to what is said here. This college has a decent regional representation. You can't swing a cat at a lawyer convention in albany without hitting a few dozen albany law graduates. I've known several and they all do very well for themselves. As I'm married, 29, with a family and a son in elementary school I don't plan to move. Having said that, to the poster who said that Andrew Cuomo is a graduate therefore they have a great reputation, it also helps that his father was the governor of NY for 12 years. The chairman of CitiBank, named in, I think 2009, so after their collapse, was a graduate though.

  16. Think they'll take Vilsack off their list of prominent alumni now that he screwed up the firing of that poor lady...clearly he doesn't know how to make a proper decision!

  17. I have heard that Albany law graduates are scrambling for positions. Many traditional sources of jobs have and will continue to dry up. The State, for example, has imposed a hiring freeze, and is in the process of developing a plan for widespread layoffs. As local law firms struggle, downsize, or disappear, so too entry level jobs. There are more than a handful of seasoned senior partners from once prominent and now defunct local firms working in the public sector, and happy for the opportunity. Also, at least one high volume PI firm is reportedly outsourcing some work to India (though the final work product is subject to local attorney review). There also seems to be a trend of replacing paid summer clerkships with unpaid for-credit internships, which, to the best of my understanding, require students to pay law school tuition. Albany Law School enjoys an excellent reputation. However, the market is saturated and has been for quite some time.

  18. I graduated from Albany law, class of 08. My colleagues and I (i.e. close friends) were all employed within 6-8 months after we passed the bar.

    I don't make a lot of money (55k), however, I love my job. It is suffice to say, the 38k a year was worth every penny. And sure... I make 55 k now, but 10 years from now (assuming the economy recovers)...well, the sky's the limit.

    Perhaps if these bloggers weren't social midgets angry at the world for their own lack of research (prior to entering the legal field), and setting unrealistic goals, they wouldn't be so angry.

    On a side note:

    Unfortunately, what many people do not realize about the field of law is that it's very image oriented. If you're a fat, ugly slob... or, a minority of some type (black, Spanish,or even worse CHINESE), your career prospectives diminish exponentially. You think a jury respects a fat slob who's whipping the sweat off his forehead every 5 seconds? You think a potential client might be dissuaded from hiring the firm because their attorney is black? ... Or looks like he/she crawled out from under a rock?

    It happens. Truth is, the general public has an image of what a lawyer ought to look like. And that image is either a Jew(jew like traits), or Tom Cruise from "A Few Good Men", or whomever that guy is off Law & Order.

    Of course, there are some counterexamples to my allegations of "image", however, the stats/ examples you may site are merely exceptions. And I value my limited years of experience as an attorney as ascertainable truth to the alleged image principle, rather than rely on some numbers that one pulls out of his ass.

    1. My are one racist idiot. The minorities are actually first pick for associate positions because there are so few. You sound bitter.....

    2. Wouldn't be surprised if you graduated bottom 25% of your class.

  19. The “legal profession” is very image-oriented. Thanks for cracking that one, Sherlock. You want to act like a douchebag, 1:53 pm? I will be glad to treat you like one.

    How does one “whip” sweat off his forehead, anyway, Dumbass?!?! Care to explain that comment? Surely, a brilliant attorney such as yourself knows how to spell the word “wipe” correctly, right?!?! Also, you meant to say “career prospects,” not “career prospectives.” In short, not everyone can rely on daddy to give them a job. It certainly wasn’t your intellect.

    To wit:

    “And sure... I make 55 k now, but 10 years from now (assuming the economy recovers)...well, the sky's the limit.”

    It is beyond pathetic and sad that you actually believe this nonsense, especially if you acquired any “critical thinking skills.” Will leprechauns riding rainbow-striped unicorns give you a promotion, as well?

    Maybe, you should use your “juice” to have your festering toilet alma mater scrap this program, i.e. the Diversity Office:

    After all, who wants to see or hire “a minority of some type (black, Spanish,or even worse CHINESE)” as a lawyer, right?!?! In all honesty, I wrote better than you did when I was in sixth grade. How did you land that attorney job again? I hope your father didn’t have to perform any sexual favors to get you through the door. You are very welcome for the beatdown I just administered on your carcass.

    These facts and figures were pulled from Albany Law Sewer’s website and marketing materials. Learn how to write correctly, and how to follow an argument. It may be useful to you, as daddy will not always be there to hold your hand.

    Congratulations on graduating from this sweltering filth-pit in 2008. Your mother must be very proud! Now, take my order back to the kitchen and have the cook grill my steak until it is well-done.

  20. the creator of this site seems like someone who finished in the bottom half of his/her class and probably is one of those bitter slobs who can't connect the dots between the economy and his shitty job

    No one forced you to go to school, you're done, why have you created a website to bash a school that is in your past.

    PS some people get's awesome when you know you're paying 15k less than everyone else

    lastly, not everyone goes to school for the right reasons...not the school's fault, there will always be shitty lawyers, just like there will always be shitty accountants, doctors, and any other profession you can think of...maybe people shouldn't go invest so much money in something if they plan to be a middle of the pack professional

    my advice, spend a little more time at your job working your way up whatever ladder it is you are trying to climb and maybe your resentment for albany law will fade along(or at least you'll appear to have a life)

  21. To the moron above,

    I did not graduate from Albany Law School. I graduated from Drake Law School. If you notice, I have knocked the hell out of NUMEROUS law school diploma mills. I write this blog because I am tired of this cartel producing FAR TOO MANY graduates for the number of available lawyer positions. How does pumping out excess JDs – and consigning many to a lifetime of debt servitude and low wages – benefit society?!?!

    These schools receive the bulk of their funds from federally-backed student loans. The banking industry has succeeded in making sure this debt is NON-DISCHARGEABLE. You want to run up a bunch of gambling debts, or rack up a bunch of expenses on your credit card? Go ahead. You want to earn a college degree and “improve yourself”?! Bend over and prepare for a phone pole to be rammed up your ass.

    “PS some people get's awesome when you know you're paying 15k less than everyone else”

    I was one of those people, dumbass. In fact, I received a full-tuition scholarship to attend law school. That being the case, I still ended up with an additional $37K in student debt from law school. My wife worked full-time, and I worked during the summers. We also lived frugally, and both drove older cars that had been paid off YEARS ago. I shudder to think of the fate that awaits those single students who are trying to live on their own. My blood boils when I realize that the Higher Education Industrial Complex has caused an entire generation of debt slaves. How will these serfs be able to get married, raise kids, or purchase a home?!?!

    Remember, home sales are a big factor in the U.S. economy. Whole industries are largely dependent on this industry, i.e. construction; cabinet-makers; electricians; plumbers; framers; concrete sales; wood and lumber; etc. Home sales put money in the hands of people who will circulate that money back into the economy. (Of course, it also puts money in the hooves of mortgage and banking pigs – but there is really no way around that.)

    Perhaps, you don’t care about these things. It is very likely that these concepts are above your ability to understand. Keep defending the law schools. I am sure that will get you very far in life.

    By the way, loser, the economy is NOT the cause of the sorry state of the legal industry. It has been oversaturated for years, even decades. The fundamental restructuring of the American economy has simply exacerbated the problems of pumping out too many lawyers. Welcome the new normal!

    From Brian Tamanaha, law professor at Washington University in St. Louis:

    “This dismal situation was not created by the current recession—which merely spread the pain up the chain into the lower reaches of elite schools. This has been going on for years.”

  22. I totally agree with everything said in this blog. Law school was the worst investment of my life and I will be paying for it - dare I say - forever? Albany Law is a joke.

  23. I graduated cum laude in 2010 from ALS. If I knew then what I know now, I would never have attended. Sure, it's nice to be known as a lawyer, but I got a wife and two kids. Do I feel stupid? A little. Do I feel scammed? Absolutely.

    The truth be told, Albany Law School exists because of guaranteed credit. This credit only exists because the law treats edudebt like an involuntary servitude (obligation to pay = servitude, cannot be discharged, even in bankruptcy = involuntary) . If school loans could be discharged in bankruptcy, then I do not think credit would flow so freely (costs of lending would go up, even if US gov't is the sole lender), and ALS would be forced to change or die.

  24. Thank you for your comment, January 9, 2011 1:40 pm.

    You nailed it. Federally-backed student loans are the life-blood of the higher education scam. Young people in this country are typically very ignorant of the way credit works. Most American students do not take financial literacy courses during high school or in college. But they can receive high-interest credit cards the moment they turn 18 - even, in some cases, with no work history. Also take into account that people in this nation have been indoctrinated since infancy to believe that going to college is the golden key to a decent life.

    The schools/diploma mills and student lending companies are in the position of the repeat, well-informed player in this scheme. Furthermore, schools can rely on the fact that their employment figures will be accepted by the ABA, NALP and US News. Simply put, schools are able to manipulate these numbers - in a brazen attempt to attract more law students to their particular commode of law.

    Going to law school is now a HUGE gamble. It does not pay off for many – certainly not if one is seeking a positive return on investment. By the way, have you noticed that industry shills often point out that we should not be greedy? (For some reason, they give law school administrators and “professors” a free pass on this charge.) Who doesn’t seek a positive ROI? No one wants to pay $20K for a car that is worth $5K. People prefer not to pay $200K for a house that is worth $120K on the market.


    This article is entitled, Options for Student Borrowers: A Derivatives-Based Proposal to Protect Students and Control Debt-Fueled Inflation in the Higher Education Market.

    The basic gist of this 72-page article is that the burden should be placed on those who benefit from the system. After all, student loan companies and law schools are in the position of the well-informed, repeat player. They make serious money, under the current scheme.

    If student debt was dischargeable in bankruptcy, the student loan company pigs would be judicious in lending someone $50K for a Bachelor’s degree in political science, art history, or accounting. In the last analysis, the system perpetuates because those who are making a killing are not bearing ANY of the risk.

    The administrators and “professors” do not care because they get paid up front, in full. The student and graduate is the one who MUST re-pay the loans – regardless of their employment situation. The schools can then focus on reeling in the next cohort of students.

  25. Jack Velasco-MillsJuly 19, 2011 at 3:07 PM

    Hello Sir,

    Your condescending posts are pretty funny, not gonna lie. The sad thing is you are trying to convey the reality of law school to these morons; good luck. The majority of people think that ,despite the odds, somehow they are different. I graduated from Yale, and although we don't rank our students here, i'm pretty sure I was about 3 from the bottom. Luckily my father holds an influential position in an investment bank and my mother is a partner at a firm that specializes in leverages buyout advising. Here is a bit of advice; find the most influential person in your law school and suck his you know what for 3 years. I was able to float a few of the f-ups at Yale along with, low and behold, a graduate from ALBANY law. He is making just under six figures and this guy is a work horse. He knows where he came from and how incredibly lucky he is. Good luck to you all. I predict revolution in the next ten years. Think my parents can buy me out of that one?

  26. I went to Georgia State University for the first year of law school. I transferred to Albany Law School where I gruadated cum laude a couple of decades ago.

    If I had to do it all over again at today's tuition prices, I would remain at Georgia State's College of Law because I believe the education I received there was equivalent to ALS (and the tuition is far cheaper at less than $13,000 per year).

    That said, I am proud of attending both Georgia State University College of Law and Albany Law School. Both provided a good, solid education in the study of law.

    However, Nando makes a couple of very good points. The government's policies about guaranteeing student loans and making it impossible to discharge student loans in bankruptcy have made lenders lax about their lending policies. As a result, there are a lot of college and law school graduates in this country with a lot of student debt and no job or a job that is not significantly better than they would have had if they had not graduated.

    Sadly, Nando makes another good point: most of the people facing the decision to take on student debt and choosing which school to attend or whether to attend college or law school at all are young and have unrealistic expectations. Once upon a time, the government, college and university officials and lenders took a much more "parent" like role in the lives of young adults. Schools insisted on a higher degree of preparation prior to admission and higher aptitude test scores. They also required students to live in dorms and obey curfews and took a greater interest in the lives of their students both on and off campus than they do today. Students in those days did not like their freedoms curtailed, no one wanted to see a potential student denied the opportunity of an education, and many of us (myself included) certainly do not want government acting like our "big brother". I guess it does not surpise me that we have reaped what we sowed.

    At the end of the day, I am glad I have a law school education because it offers me knowledge and gave me experiences I would not have had otherwise. However, it did not give me the great career I probably thought I would have when I attended college and law school.

    If you are contemplating law school, be sure to keep your feet on the ground:
    1. There are more graduates than jobs every year even when the economy is healthy.
    2. Our economy is not healthy and the job market for attorneys is not likely to be a lot better in the near future.
    3. Do not limit yourself to becoming a lawyer even if you complete law school. A law school graduate might become a university professor, a law school professor, a business leader, etc. Keep an open mind.
    4. Improve your chances by getting good grades. While it is not a guarantee, people with a high gpa are more impressive than those with a low gpa.
    5. Keep your academic and legal record spotless if at all possible.
    6. Before laying out the bucks for law school, take career aptitude tests and interest surveys to be sure that this is truly the career you want.
    7. Try to scrimp, save and forego any expense so that you keep the student debt as low as possible. It helps if you attend a school that is more affordable. In my opinion, unless the potential employer went to the law school you went to, there is not much difference between a private law school that is not one of the top tier and a state law school education as long as the law school in question is accredited by the ABA and does not have a bad reputation in the legal community.
    8. Consider an internship or volunteer opportunity at a legal aid clinic, public defender's office, domestic violence advocate group, etc. to give you practical experience and an opportunity to meet others already in your profession.


  27. I graduated Cooley back in the 1990s and never made a single extra dollar from my law degree. I was totally ashamed of admitting to people I meet that I have a law degree. I thought it was just a Cooley issue. So tonight my friend invites me over his house to play cards with a few friends and find out the guy sitting across the table from my graduated from Albany Law years ago and suffered the same fate. He never found a job practicing law and does not even have a car....I have to drive him back to his apartment. What are the chances that 5 guys are playing cards and one other graduated from Albany Law and his degree is just as worthless. And if NANDO's cousin can graduate UCLA and never even get an offer, it follows the lower tier graduates are hopeless. Keep up the good work NANDO and blow the lid off this scam. They law deans should be on the next episode of AMERICAN GREED.

  28. This school sucks. Plain and simple. Albany is a ghetto anyways. I know because I live here and there are no jobs here at all for entry level lawyers. All firms and businesses in Albany want someone with 3 plus years experience. This includes jobs for paralegals. I have been living in Albany for 12 years now and have been looking at the legal job market for years here. I'm an expert job searcher for the capital region for the legal market. I have looked at every law firms website numerous times. About 95% of firms here don't even have an employment link. Do not go to this school! You will be wasting huge amounts of money. The upstate New York region is only booming in the tech sector. Other than that the competition for jobs is fierce. Here is what will happen if you want to stay in will end up broke. go to law school in New York City. Trust me.


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