Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Update: Drake Law School Cashed My Eight Cent Donation

What better way for this blog to count down to the New Year than by featuring Drake Law School? This is how the blog started, after all.

I called MoneyGram two days ago to check the status on my money order. I called 800-542-3590. The Money Order No. is R 103088591815.

The recording states: "This money order was cashed on December 21, 2009 for eight cents."

(If you get bored, you can call MoneyGram to confirm what I said here.)

You read that right – the Drake University Insurance Defense and Court-Appointed List Preparation Academy cashed my generous contribution to the Annual Fund. I pondered on whether to send the donation or not. At first, I thought “Why the hell should I give them anything? They put me an extra $37K in debt, took three years of my life, caused added (unnecessary) stress, and I now have a job that does not require a J.D.”

Then I reconsidered, after hours of tossing and turning in my sleep. I wanted to keep a promise to myself, when I said that I would never give the school a dime. But I also sought to also extend my sincere thanks and deep appreciation to this dynamic third tier institution. Once I made this decision, I wanted my gift to accurately reflect my gratitude for my “legal education.”

In the solicitation letter that accompanied the Annual Fund request and return envelope, the school notes:

Being good stewards is also seen in how we communicate with you. For example, for years we have printed an elaborate listing of donors. While some perused it, our sense was that many copies were not read. It was a very expensive piece for the value you received. With modern technology, and especially during the current economic conditions, we have suspended printing the booklet and instead put the information in electronic form online. Simply go to and click the link Dean’s Report and Honor Roll 2009 to access the same information. If you wish to have a printed copy, albeit in a less elaborate form, please contact Ms. Hannah Bretz at 515-271-1877, and she will arrange for one to be sent to you. The funds saved by putting this listing online will go directly to our highest priority expenditures, including scholarships and planning for the renovation of Cartwright Hall.

Read: “We will use the funds saved by putting the listing online to fatten the salaries of staff, professors and administration, i.e. our highest priority expenditures. WE CANNOT POSSIBLY REDUCE THE COST OF TUITION, as it currently stands at a mere $30,750 – and we are recognized as a “Best Value” by the illustrious, stupendous, neutral publication, National Jurist.

(Apparently, the school sees no problem with sending us printed solicitations 3-4 times per year – or with sending out voluminous, slick folders and glossy brochures to prospective law students. It also has no issue with sending out sales associates/representatives to law school fairs across the country. Why not put this information online, as a cost-cutting measure? Oh yeah, because then less people might apply to your school! So please spare us the obligatory “We are trying to save money” bullcrap.)

Yes, we can see for ourselves that Drake Law School is listed as the 57th Best Value, among all U.S. law schools. That is almost in the bottom of the first tier, in terms of value. After all, there are now about 200 ABA-approved law schools. (In 2008, the ABA listed 198 overall law schools.)

See how thrilled Drake is with this "honor":

They are happy to be listed as the sixth best value among private law schools in the nation. I suppose that is an achievement of sorts – kind of like being nominated the sixth Best-Looking of your high school Chess Club. Then again, there were 118 private law schools as of 2008. (page 3)

I want to extend a special message to Drake Law students: In a little more than 4 months, many of you – from the Class of 2010 - will have a better understanding of third tier reality. I doubt it will mirror Drake’s assertion/claim of 96.8% employment within 9 months, based off of 100% reporting.


  1. I can't believe somone would send an eight cent check to their law school. So I called the 800 number, and sure enough, this hombre did send that amount and the school did cash it.

    You are something else.

  2. I'm pretty sure the average law dean would crawl into a sewer to pick up an abandoned dollar.

    Congrats on getting some well earned publicity from ATL, Nando.

  3. WHy are congratulating him for? I went to Drake, and this guy will end up putting the law school in the fourth tier(!) You want to toast to that?

  4. Don't get me wrong, these sewers are most assuredly violating both the letter and the spirit of consumer protection laws. They should all be de-accredited and shuttered.

    But you and your ilk have nobody but yourselves to blame for the opportunity costs, the debt, the stress, etc. ad nauseam about which you whine incessently. You went to a shoddy undergrad, did poorly in undergrad, and (maybe 'or,' but probably 'and') couldn't score much above room temperature IQ on the LSAT. Yet you were sure you should be a lawyer.


    -T14, V5, debt-free

  5. T14, V5, debt-free and this asshole has time to spam on the same blog? My ass! Do you work in your daddy's law firm or something? It's easy to be debt-free when daddy writes the check.

  6. Just about to climb in the black car home, pal. Paid for ug and law through scholarships, work, and loans -- none of daddy's money involved. After 2 and a half years out, I'm done paying the last of it off. Maybe the disbelief makes you feel better, but I write the truth.

  7. "...couldn't score much above room temperature IQ on the LSAT."

    Hey, ace, I guess it's great writing like that which made you such a top notch student and attorney.

  8. Maybe "ace" can get home just in time, via his fast "black car" to watch his wife bang the groundskeeper. Keep making those big dollars, so wifey can lavish her buff boyfriends with gifts, while you slave away in the office, pal.

  9. Sorry, just got back from the gym. No wifey to deal with, too much work for serious relationships.

    Guess a few people along the way thought my writing was pretty good. I suppose I could have added some ' ' marks and the word "level" to make it clearer, but most English speakers understand my meaning.

    I notice not one of you has debated my point about how the blog author and others similarly situated have nobody but themselves to blame. Being a lawyer, even at the higher levels, doesn't require amazing brain power -- but there are limits to how much of an idiot you can be and still be successful in this profession. Those who wound up with no other option but full price at a TTT probably should not have been lawyers, and they knew that full well. Nobody else is to blame, although that doesn't mean nobody else has engaged in blameworthy conduct (read festering shitholes like Drake and its faculty and administration).

    -T14, V5, debt-free, living your now-shattered dream

  10. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  11. Let's assume what our Above the Law friend at 8:22 says is true about his job and life, and let's give credit where credit is due. Congratulations for making the pinnacle of this beloved profession! The law school gods have graced you! You are living my now-shattered dream. I do hope that you grow a pro bono practice alongside your lucrative one, because many of us losers cannot afford to do it. With no family to support and no debt, you are the perfect candidate!

    Now don't tell the rape victim that she was raped because she dressed like a slut.

    What information was out there before these blogs really challenging the veracity of the TTT employment stats? It's society's problem, not just the individuals. We've been told over and over that higher education and more of it is an investment. We've believed that truth as much as we've believed that fruits and vegetables were good for our diet. Not one treatise is out seriously challenging the value of a law degree or the practices of these law schools. A lot of us did what was reasonable at the time and many of us weren't expecting a biglaw salary but a decent one that could pay the bills with a little money left over to enjoy. The legal profession isn't like those other advanced professional schools that regulate the amount of seats each year. How exactly could we have figured it out? The blog author did his due diligence and all lawyers he interviewed told him that he was making a great choice. Read his very first entry. The media, the government, parents, the education complex -- institutions we've come to trust more or less -- all have reinforced the idea that more education is always good.

    But I am not buying the argument that you didn't study hard enough or network hard enough. There are plenty of brilliant people in law school, and many of them did well in undergrad just to make it there. Like you said, there's no amazing brain power required to work at the highest levels. When we're talking about 5-10 percent of the class making Biglaw, a random element has to come into play, and nothing is more random than a professor's grading curve. There are many other factors that keep well qualified people out of Biglaw. A person could have the best grades, too, but if it's between him and a law partner's son, the son will get the job.

    But let's put forth what we have in common: the TTT bashing. They're hated on both fronts: the disgruntled grads and the elite lawyers and law schools because they raise the price of malpractice insurance.

  12. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  13. Hey, I got a real legal job! YAY!!! My advice:
    (1) If you don't have work, offer to law clerk for solos or apply for part-time jobs offered to 1L, 2L, and 3L's so you keep some skin in the game.
    (2) Keep your ego intact and hang in there. It's tough for everyone, you're not alone.

  14. To the anonymous posters attacking each other: stop. And don't make vulgar comments directed towards the T14 guy. BTW, you are not "living my shattered dream." I never wanted to do corporate work. Didn't the tone of this blog indicate that? (Or do I need to write it out in Crayola and poster-board for you?)

    I took out $37K in debt, because my wife COULD NOT find a job making more than $31K. Armed with a Master's degree and experience in her field - yeah, so much for the investment in "higher education." We lived frugally - i.e. used cars that have been paid off for years, we had a modest budget, we have no kids, we dined out rarely, I packed my own lunches, lived in a reasonably-priced city, etc.

    Remember, this amount was borrowed over the course of three years. If you make big money, how can YOU consider $37K to be a large sum? At least we agree that ABA-approved law schools are producing far too many JDs than there are available attorney positions.

    Does anyone else find it amusing that so many supposed Ivy League grads thumb their nose at everyone who does not share their "pedigree" - especially, when many of these same people took out student loans, i.e. relied on federally-backed loans and subsidized Staffords. But, they did EVERYTHING on their own! They apparently believe that nobody helped them at all.

  15. "Does anyone else find it amusing that so many supposed Ivy League grads thumb their nose at everyone who does not share their "pedigree" - especially, when many of these same people took out student loans, i.e. relied on federally-backed loans and subsidized Staffords. But, they did EVERYTHING on their own! They apparently believe that nobody helped them at all."

    First, most of us would have done it anyway, because that's who we are. We'd just have had to pay a higher interest rate to get there. Second, and more importantly, try not to forget the confiscatory tax bracket in which all our hard work, past and ongoing, entitles us to sit. We've been forced to return fare more than we've been helped.

  16. I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


  17. I lived T14 V5's life for a while. And I fully believe that he is 2.5 years out and debt free.

    He will be cast out of biglaw in a year and half (2.5-3.5 more years if he's really lucky and a truly fantastic attorney).

    Arrogance is a function of working insane hours without having clients. Once you are cast out of biglaw, you will learn the awful reality of getting and servicing clients. I assure you, it will wipe the arrogant smirk (as reflected in your writing) off your face.

  18. 12:48 AM: I was arrogant long before Biglaw, and will be so long after I leave in 2-3 years. Given my firm, area, and work, it's possible I'll be cast out, but more likely that I'll depart on my terms. And I have no illusions about what a bitch being a lawyer, outside the warm, fuzzy spoon feeding of an established firm, can be. I just have no intentions of doing so. We'll see how I do.

  19. Sounds like someone drank a big ol' cup of bitter! It's too bad you didn't end up with the job you hoped for but there are places that are specifically designed for that type of thing ( it's called trade school.) try taking a little responsibility for your situation instead of trying to blame the dean or the guy who taught your class in the first year of school. I haven't seen once in your blog where you at any point what maybe you could have done differently or how you own some of your situation. Maybe you are where or you are because you really weren't that good at being a lawyer? Hmm? That sucks for you but maybe it doesn't always have to be someone else's fault. This isn't like third grade soccer where you get a trophy just for showing've got to score a goal first!

  20. If your wife made 31k, that is roughly what, $1,900 a month? Renting a one bedroom apartment in Des Moines is about $600-650 (tops). Your cars were paid for so you had to pay for gas, food, electricity, car insurance with $1250 remaining for the month. Things were probably tight, but in no way tight enough for you to take out $37,000 worth of additional loans. Because afterall, I'm sure you got a clerk job to supplement your income (and your resume) after your first year.

    You and all the other foreclosure folks out there didn't think before taking out loans. Sorry to hear that, but only because all the other productive people in society will have to help carry your weight.

    Take some responsibility and get your shit together.

  21. "I haven't seen once in your blog where you at any point what maybe you could have done differently or how you own some of your situation."

    I think the whole point of this blog and is that he regrets going to law school, a mistake for which he accepts responsibility. He points out how law schools mislead students into thinking that going to law school will produce viable employment opportunities and that making on debt is worth it. He realizes he made a bad decision with bad information and is now trying to get the word out there about his experience.

  22. It's clear he regrets going, it's anything but clear that its a mistake for which he accepts responsibility.

  23. I don't see what "taking responsibility" has to do with the point of this blog.

    If Nando simply wants people to feel sympathy for him, then fine, evaluate whether he's truly worthy of your pity. I highly doubt that's why he's writing this blog, though.

    Instead, he's pointing out the deceptive marketing tactics used by the law schools and warning others about not falling for these ploys.

    It seems like he does a pretty good job documenting the empirical evidence that going to law school often isn't a wise idea. Moreover, he points out that the law schools do quite a bit to conceal this evidence.

    Just because someone is a "sucker" doesn't mean his scammer isn't also worthy of condemnation. It certainly doesn't mean that that other "suckers" should not be warned about the scam.

  24. Success in law school and beyond requires more than just showing up for class. You seem to have entitlement issues. Your writing in this post and others indicates you expected a top notch job after graduation in exchange for only minimal effort on your behalf.

    Either you didn't have the grades, the experience, or the people skills to land a legal job. You have no one to blame but yourself, so stop castigating Drake and other regional law schools for your misfortune.

  25. ROFL
    I called up the number... They really did cash the 8 cents AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH

    These lemmings really are jumping off a cliff.
    You guys are seriuos hahahahah

  26. I found this site through ATL's link, and as a grad of a (barely) Tier-1 school and a current mid-level at a firm pretty much at/near the top of the vault rankings, I just want to say that you need to keep up the good work in exposing the utter scam being perpetrated by law schools--from tier 1 to the bottom.

    While it is easy for certain anon posters to criticize the ignorant undergrads (i was one of them) who decide to take the naive plunge into shocking levels of debt, their naivety does not excuse the deceptions and misrepresentations employed by most law schools to con the undergrads. Resources like this site serve as a much-needed opposition to the glossy brochures and (for those getting scholarships) liquor-filled recruiting trips employed by lower ranked schools to entice the kids.

    But, perhaps, I have a different perspective from some of my V5 peers, as my firm is one of very few V10 firms to even consider hiring outside of the T14, and I might have been a bad exam or two away from being stuck in a shite job (or unemployed) instead of being able to land a job which would enable tme pay off my private loans and save about 200k in a little over over four years. I would like to think that this appreciation of how things could have turned out *much* differently for me separates me from some of prats at firms like mine, who were able to do great in school, are unable to form anything resembling cogent work product, and feel the need to flame away on a resource like this web site.

  27. Why are people so hateful towards someone that has a very valid opinion. He argues through numbers and challenges law school frauds. I don't think anyone is being irresponsible thinking that they can work as an attorney if they graduate from law school. It's not normal that a professional and essentially a trade school produces so many people that cannot engage in that trade. I think Nando is doing a good thing and if you don't like his blog, don't read it and live in your lie.

  28. I especially get a kick out of the poster above castigating this guy for racking up 37k in debt.

    Um...have you to tuition figures since the 1950s?

    Let me answer that, no. Seriously, you're completely out of your f-ing mind.

    Law school tuition for private schools costs up to 50-60k nowadays. Only racking up 37k in debt for even a public school, today, would be impressive.

    You really have absolutely no clue what you're talking about.

    You're an idiot.

  29. To T14, I think that you are the real deal. I also find it's refreshing to see someone who is arrogant and yet understands that he too might possibly be dumped from Biglaw in 2-3 years. Lawyers, like many other jobs out there, are disposable parts of the machine. At least you had the means and the determination to pay off your loans already.

    Now to address Anonymous from 8:50,

    I AM taking responsibility for my decision by: (1) repaying my student loans; (2) finding non-legal employment when it became clear that I would not find paid legal work; and (3) sticking with a salaried job that offers benefits and other perks. (I didn't leave my fate to "chance" or rely on "faith" or delusional optimism.)

    It WOULD BE irresponsible for me to table my job so that I can take an unpaid position in a small law firm or public interest job. I have bills to pay, plus it took my wife several months to find a job, after I finished TTT law school.

    Do you even understand the concept of responsibility? Do YOU think it would be responsible of me to leave my job for a remote chance of finding work in a firm? Would going solo be a smart move, in my situation?

    The MAIN PURPOSE of this blog is to inform pre-law students of the perils of attending law school. The law schools are armed with endless propaganda, i.e. slick brochures, glossy DVDs, ads in mainstream publications, law school fairs, constant portrayals - on TV and film - of financially-secure lawyers, older attorneys whose experience is very different from today's recent J.D., etc.

    Lastly, IT IS IRRESPONSIBLE for "law professors," administrators, and practicing lawyers to ENCOURAGE more students to apply to law school. Especially when we know that, in 2008, ABA-approved law schools pumped out 43,587 JDs. There are nowhere near that many available attorney positions in a given year. Furthermore, society's demand for attorneys is not that great. Most average, working-class people DO NOT value the services of a lawyer, i.e. most do not value attorneys enough to pay the retainer and hourly rate.

    I am trying to hold TTTs and the greater law school industry responsible for their fraudulent actions and blatant misinformation. Most of the people here understand that. You are not one to give me a "lesson" on responsibility.

  30. The schools aren't being fraudulent. As you are so quick to point out, all the information that "exposes their lies" is public. It's not the schools' fault if the people don't to their due diligence. You should have done all this research before you went to school not after. Further, since you allegedly got a free ride, you could have quit at any time at no cost to yourself.

    You also flaunt the total number of JDs the schools turn out each year but you forget that not all of those 43,587 people want a legal job. Most do, but some surely just wanted the education to help them in other endeavors. Why else would "non traditional students" go to law school in their 40s and 50s? The degree does have some value to people other than landing a high paying firm job.

    You are quick to bitch about not finding a legal job. YOU JUST TOOK THE BAR 7 MONTHS AGO IN THE WORST ECONOMY IN YEARS!!!!!! Assuming you passed, nothing stops you from continuing to look for legal jobs while you defend trailer parks. It is responsible that you have some type of job to pay bills but it is IRRESPONSIBLE of you to act like you are forever barred from getting real legal work or that it is just Drake's fault that you can't. Their are other circumstances preventing you from getting a job besides the school name on your degree. You need to WAKE UP to that fact.

    I hope if/when you get a legal job, you give Drake as much credit as you give them blame for you shitty situation.

  31. I've been following this blog for a little while. While I do share the author's overall feelings about law school employment prospects, I can't understand why he cannot use his degree to go solo if he's in such a desperate situation (assuming if he doesn't have a job already). The bottom line is that he is much further along than a lot of people who are uneducated, homeless, and limited in employment prospects. There's no reason for the author to complain about his law degree when you have ex-felons who can't even buy a job even in a good economy! If anything, the author needs to take some responsibility for his situation by taking some initiative. I'm trying my best to not be judgemental but if I've hypothetically already passed the bar and have not been successful in my job search then I will take steps to start a solo practice and/or do some mediation work through his state's bar association. Or consider going JAG. Frankly, it gets old to hear people whine about not have a legal job when they have the flexibility of a law degree to do so many things with it.


    I am sure this guy has a tough time with the ladies.

  33. To the apologist at 11:01,

    This blog is not all about me. Maybe you have a large ego, and you project that characteristic onto everyone else. The fact remains that there are legions of law graduates who are in worse financial shape than they were when they went in; did they not go to law school for the express purpose of IMPROVING their station in life? And, I am not talking about making six figures. Why do you assume I went into law school to make six figures?

    Many in their 40s and 50s go because they have been shut out of employment in many areas. Also, some of the 40 year old law students are fortunate enough that their companies are helping out with the costs of attending law school. When they get out, those guys may expect a raise in salary and a better position. QUIT CITING THE EXCEPTION TO MAKE YOUR POINT THAT "ANYONE CAN MAKE" IT IN THE LAW! Do you think that because elite law grads "made it," everyone else can? Do you simply lack common sense?

    I have recognized that not all law students went to law school to be attorneys. Have you not read my post on NALP?

    Also, if this information is public, why do YOU have such a problem with it being used here? DO YOU have a vested interest in keeping the scam going?!? Does your spouse work as an overpaid "law professor" or administrator? Also, why do you think it is okay for the industry to have a monopoly on information?

    As far as living expenses go, the problem with owning older cars is that they sometimes need repairs, including costly ones. So we did not just pay for gas and car insurance. If you own a car, you also pay for maintenance, and sometimes major repairs. You sound like someone who only has an academic, abstract understanding of things. In your world, used cars don't break down, right?

    It cost about $1200 to move our stuff in a rental truck (each way). My father also passed away in December 2008 - his plot was paid for, but I still had to shell out about $3500 for the funeral services. (Are you going to tell me that my father was a terrible human being because he didn't pay for all of this himself?) Literally within two months of law school, my car needed $800 in repairs. (And, for your benefit, I am NOT blaming that on Drake.) I also lived in a two-bedroom apartment for $650 a month, so I even did better than your assumed costs. *In ground-breaking news, we can report that $37K is not much money, when spread out over three years.*

    Overall, by looking at the comments, people can see for themselves that those defending the industry are simply defending the indefensible. They are grasping at straws and resorting to ad hominem attacks. You must have one hell of an argument if you need to rely on these tactics, as your primary weapons.

    You keep talking about responsibility. That being the case, why do you defend companies (or other clients) that break the law, and hurt others in the process? Aren't those companies/clients aware of the regulations and statutes? Shouldn't THEY just accept responsibility and simply accept the punishment? Oh, that's right - they pay you for your services and, as such, they have a right to defend themselves and to give their version of events (even when it is a BS story). Apparently, only wealthy people and corporations are worthy of this treatment.

    To 7:00, with regards to JAG, are you kidding me? Do you have any idea how tough it is to get one of those few positions in today's over-saturated market?! The law degree DOES NOT HELP MOST people who want to work in a field other than law. You also talk about the "flexibility of a law degree" like that is a truism. (The JD usually limits one's job prospects.)

  34. I have no problem at all with you using whatever stats you want to in order to expose the "scam." My point was simply that since the numbers are publicly available for anyone willing to look, then it's not a scam/fraud at all.

    You would think someone who was about to invest $100,000 in anything, let alone a JD, would get as much information as possible to make an informed choice without relying solely on a school produced brochure. If they are too lazy/dumb to do that then they shouldn't be a lawyer in the first place; consider it a form of natural selection.

    Law schools sell an education, they do NOT guarantee you a job. At no point, have I seen one school made brochure/poster/dean's email that was an unequivocal promise of employment after graduation. Nor have I seen a money back guarantee.

    Why stop at law schools? Surely undergrad institutions which pump out more degrees than graduate schools are committing a much bigger fraud. What about all those "hard-working" marketing majors who graduate every year? There aren't enough "marketing" jobs for them. Should they feel defrauded when they end up waiting tables? Did your wife blame her undergrad school for her difficulties finding a job?

  35. Nando, you're wasting your "breath" arguing with these clowns. These people (or person) are likey law school shills throwing the party line at you or some clueless 0L who has no idea what he's talking about - using a law degree to get a better non-legal job, haha, good one. Clearly written by someone who has never looked for a non-legal position with a J.D.

    It's funny how these shills also carp about "doing diligent research" beforehand, yet when a blog like this provides the opposing view to the nonsense the schools, ABA, NALP, etc. spew out, they don't seem to be too happy about additional information being added to the marketplace.

    I hope the commenter never works on a corporate prospectus to provide to potential investors. "What? Artfully reported data based upon incomplete information can mislead people?" It would be funny to hear his protest of, "But I never technically promised anybody any sort of ROI!" as he's hauled away in an orange jump suit.

    Anyway, keep up the good work and ignore these morons.

  36. Hysterical that they cashed your donation! I can't wait to see your Drexel post :) Thanks!

  37. Same ol' bullshit from the law school apologists. All we're asking for is HONEST employment stats. If a school provided that info then we'd have nothing to complain about.

    It's highly unlikely that the people attacking this blog are successful attorneys because even they know how tough the economic situation is. More likely it's some people from the school's administration.

  38. its more likely students he went to school with who DO have jobs and have no pity for him...

  39. ...with those jobs being positions as Drake ad comm hacks. Hey, I don't blame them, though. TTT students have to find a way to service that debt somehow.

  40. Keep telling yourself that Nando.

  41. Ha, I can't believe they would do that! Greed is taking over the ABA!

  42. I actually did not post that other comment, anonymous wonder. Unlike you, I like to post under my username. Also, when have I ever asked for anyone's pity on this blog? You really are dense. I am simply informing others about this racket.

    By the way, MOST of my graduating class did not have any paid, law-related work lined up by graduation. I suppose if they wanted to work for free, then the numbers would have been better. (We are even talking about some people towards the top of the class.) And THAT is reality!

  43. Roughly what percent of your class would you say did have paid legal work lined up by graduation/within 3-6 months after? Did anyone have any really iigh paying jobs (exculding those who got such employment from a close relative and could have gone anywhere?)

    Just curious

  44. 8:28 p.m. - I graduated with Nando, and although I have a few friends who are still unemployed, most people I know from my class have jobs. Some held out for legal work and have been getting jobs at small firms in the last few months. There are a good number of us with high paying jobs - yes, we were in the top 10-15% of the class, law review, etc. but we are not (all) beneficiaries of nepotism. Many others make less but have the potential for more when the economy improves. Some did take non-legal employment in order to have a job lined up before graduation - mainly those with kids/mortgages who couldn't afford to be unemployed in the fall. And, yes, a few are waiting tables - but that's true at just about every school these days.

    Although there are some good points to be made about the cost/benefit of law schools in general and lower ranked schools specifically, it disappoints me that Nando uses this forum to launch ad hominem attacks against the school and individuals within the community. Drake is one of two law schools in the entire state, and a huge number of lawyers at every point on the pay scale in Des Moines are Drake alums. It's not exactly fair to compare it to a similarly-ranked school that is one of 15 law schools feeding into the local job market.

    Nando and the law schools make the same mistake - they view education merely as a commodity and a means to an end. There are no guarantees of success, but that doesn't mean that no one should ever go to a non-T14 law school. Bottom line: if you really want to study and practice law and are willing to work hard, go to law school. Do your research about the legal community and job prospects, take scholarships where available, and work hard. Yes, I am eating lunch at my desk as I type this, but I enjoyed law school and I love my job.

  45. I actually don't like this blog, but I must say the admin on this site has been much more civil than many of those defending the schools.

    The only problem with your post is that you fail to support any of your claims that most of the people you know from Drake have jobs. How many people are we talking about.
    I just saw the link showing SOme of the recent classes having as few as 5 graduates that contributed to the annual drive. I look at that to see how well the graduating classes view their law school. I would submit to you that there are people still waiting tables or doing CSR work who graduated from Drake in 2007 and 2008.

  46. Anything I could tell you is purely anecdotal. We had a graduating class of about 140, and of the 50 or 60 or so people I can think of off the top of my head, maybe 10 are unemployed or underemployed. I have no idea if that's representative of the class as a whole. I do know that, unlike NY and SF, there are legal jobs in Des Moines for Drake grads who are willing to put the time and effort into finding them - but in a recession, it does take work if your academic credentials are less impressive.

    As for civility, I just object to the repeated use of the term "lemming" to refer to anyone who is content with their decision to attend a non-T14 school.

  47. I guess you weren’t at the graduation ceremony on May 15. If you had been, you would have noticed how the CDO officers were frantically tracking down graduating students before the event. (You might also have noticed the general feeling of unease, self-doubt and frustration among graduates. It filled the Knapp Center.) The CDO suddenly wanted to know what their job prospects were; where they were thinking of applying; what region of the country; what sector of the job market; etc. I guess they didn’t get around to this in the preceding three years, when the person was attending school.

    In three years, the CDO did not show such concern with helping people find a job. Unless, of course, you count seminars and "workshops" on resume-building, revising cover letters, cleaning up your Facebook account, and accessing Simplicity or Monster job search engines, as a concerted effort. Well, that is if you were in the bottom ninety percent of the class. The school was hard at work assisting those who least needed help finding employment.

    Ask any of our average, earnest classmates and they will tell you the same thing. Talk to our former classmates who are doing court-appointed work, and ask them how well their “investment” turned out. Go ahead. Talk to someone working for $35K in a small Iowa town doing PI work. Take him out for a drink, and ask him to honestly tell you what he thinks of his costly “legal education.” (To be sure, there will be some delusional people who are stuck making $36K - and owing $120K in student loans - who will tell you with a straight face that they don’t regret their decision.)

    Towards the very end of my second year, a professor I respect very much (for being a decent human being) was nice enough to take a group of us out to dinner. It was a late, warm Spring evening, and the professor was asking people about their job prospects. MOST of those students reported that they had no legal employment lined up. They also mentioned friends and relatives at other law schools who were in the same situation. Some talked about moving back in with relatives after law school.

    Also, at the end of my third year, I recall several conversations where students talked about having nothing lined up. I remember vividly the night of graduation. Before the ceremony, many were concerned, worried, and frightened about not having decent job prospects. Afterwards, at the Marriott Hotel in downtown Des Moines, many were fearful of the future. And today you report that most of the people we went to law school with (now) have jobs. Well, that certainly was NOT the case on May 15, 2009. Also, it has been almost 8 months since that time. Most of our graduating class SHOULD have a job, doing something. Reviewing mortgage applications, filling in as a hotel night manager, and working as compliance officers count as employment, after all.

    I am glad you and a handful of others make good money. But you guys are the exception, and of course, you will be cited as the rule when the school rolls out its next round of recruitment propaganda. This site is not all about Drake, by the way.

    If you want to continue this dialogue, send a message to my Drake account. I will be more than happy to discuss this blog further with you. Thanks for your comments.

  48. UPDATE: I sent out this invitation for the "classmate" above to send a message to my Drake account so we could discuss this site further. He or she did not take me up on my offer. I suppose this person may have been a Drake Law employee. For the guy who was curious about job placement for Drake grads, take that for what it's worth.

  49. Nando, I just want to say that I really appreciate what you do.

    In response to all the posters that argue that law school graduates should have done their research first, I must respond by stating that the relevant information is not readily accessible. Blogs like these are filling a huge vacuum that is out there.

    I was considering going to law school. I took the LSAT twice. I did extensive research that included spending many days at the local courthouse and meeting with people that work as attorneys. Many lawyers told me that they regretted going to law school, but getting a clear idea of the big picture was very difficult.

    I wasn't until I stumbled upon blogs like these that I was able to dig further and thereupon validate Nandos points. Attorneys who have been practicing for 20 years or more graduated during a very different time. A lot has changed in the last 10 years alone, including the cost of tuition and the level of saturation of the legal job market. On top of that, unsuccessful JDs don't advertise to the world the ugly reality of their lives. Blogs such as these are the few sources that provide the other side of the rosy story of law school. The media has paid little attention to the issues of the over saturation of lawyers and the impending student loan crisis..

    I can't see how Nando is being irresponsible or blaming anyone for his situation. If anything, he has recognized a mistake he has made, and is trying to help other people from doing the same thing. Is that not only responsible and ethical, but dare I say, idealistic.

    Even if there are things the Nando theoretically could have done better to secure legal employment, his assertion that the legal market is a process of musical chairs is still valid. The fact that the United States has gradually become the most lawyer saturated country on earth by a large margin, and the fact that 45K law school graduates are pumped out a year clearly indicates that this is the situation. No matter how you look at, it there are going to be a lot of people that lose while law schools rake in billions of dollars. The law school industry is a fraud.


    There, are you happy now? Why does it bother you so much that someone criticizes the law school industry? How does that diminish your success, threaten your world view, or damage your ego? If anything, doesn't it make your accomplishments that much more worthy.

    Seriously, some people are just dicks.

  50. Nando,

    Let me begin by saying that I agree with you in many aspects. Law schools tend to misrepresent the opportunities available to graduates, especially during the decision-making phase prior to admittance. As a fellow Drake Law grad, our debt is too high, and our paychecks are too low. There are countless flaws in the way lawyers are educated. There are also countless flaws in the way lawyers are regulated, and law firms are structured.

    I am one of the lucky ones that scored a job right out of school. I worked for a medium sized firm, and now have switched to a small firm in Las Vegas. My student loan payments are approximately 30% of my gross monthly income. Almost every student that takes Contracts I has some lofty goal in mind. Some want to make money, some want to run for public office. Some of us simply love the practice of law.

    Nando (and friends), I can tell you are intelligent people. You had goals and dreams when you started. Don't get so caught up in the short-run that you can't see the future. Our profession has some discouraging STARTING statistics. However, after making my student loan payments, I have about the same amount of income that someone with a job out of a four-year degree program would have. I cannot afford a brand new Lexus, but I can maintain my lifestyle, with some perks. After three years, a young lawyer's income increases drastically. Once you are competent at taking the deposition of orthopaedic surgeons and other technical aspects of the practice, you are much more valuable to any firm. And when you make partner, you can go out and buy a boat, or a Cessna, or whatever toy you can imagine. The key is positioning yourself in a way that can get you there.

    I understand the market is tough now. I was stuck in a miserable job for my entire first year, until I finally found a small firm that would pay what I demanded. The ultimate truth remains: if you love the practice of law, you will find a way to do it. If you do not love the practice of law, an alternative career is appropriate. You might be poor for a while. But, please name a profession where you aren’t poor in the beginning.

    Drake cares about your struggle. Your success is tied to Drake’s success, and the success of every Drake graduate. By discouraging people from going to Drake, you are hurting your own alma mater, and your own pool of opportunity. Besides, Drake is a great school, with a long history, and a huge alumni network. Drake is extremely well-respected, and opens doors for you that you would not have opened if you attended many other schools. This is a separate discussion, but you get my point... I’m sure Drake thanks you for your donation. But, with the number of wealthy benefactors that are being romanced, I’m sure your point was lost in the shuffle.

  51. Arguing about who has the worst life situation does not help in this challenging job market. As a Drake alumni, you are in a unique position to help those who are coming out of Drake. I put a lot of work into the new graduates who are coming to the Las Vegas market. No Drake graduate has gone unemployed in this city in many years, as a result of alumni intervention. The Drake network is a strong one. When we stand together, we all succeed. This is the advantage of a small private school, and the theory behind Delta Theta Phi (of which I’m sure many of you were members). If you are having trouble, turn to your network for support. If you are in a position to help others, please pay it forward. In this market, we do not have time for negativity pissing contests.

    As my last point, I noticed that you attacked a Drake 1L for a post on his blog, where he made a positive comment about a Drake program. I appreciate freedom of speech, and I support your challenge to the law school industry, but it is wholly inappropriate for an alumni to attack a student. Students see you as a potential employer, and they will not defend themselves. However, there is a large network of alumni that support Drake students. Feel free to criticize us. In essence, I am suggesting that you pick on someone your own size.

    In conclusion, I must highlight that statistics and job data are important. However, you cannot put a price on the love of this profession. During the best of times and worst of times, love of the practice of law has driven lawyers to change the world in countless ways. You have a great education, and a great opportunity to make a unique difference in the lives of others, while living a life of distinction. Please live the life of distinction, and do not get stuck in the negativity.

  52. Well, I haven't fully followed all the comments regarding this blog, but I don't think any person going to law school should be surprised by any law school representative possibly "sweetening" the current job market.

    However, considering this economy, I challenge any employed person with a J.D. either working as an attorney or not to go talk to any person in the construction industry. I don't know any of them that are working or expect to see any work in the foreseeable future. If you are employed, please remember to be thankful for that, at the least.

    As for the job market regarding lawyers, things have changed. And do not only blame the recent downturn in the economy. The midwest was saturated years ago. If you expect a certain salary, then you have to compete for it. You have to go where that salary is available (and then work to earn it). Just because you get a J.D. does not automatically entitle you to the best law job on the planet.

  53. This entire blog seems to be a vacuum of personal responsibility. In another entry, Nando, you state that the only reason you went to Drake (and law school period?) is because you got a full scholarship. Did Drake and/or other schools seek you out? Were they absolutely unsolicited? I am guessing that you applied to law school of your own accord. Why? You state that you had a good job. You state that you were married at the time and that you uprooted your family for the purpose of a legal education. You acquiesced to a non-legal job not very long after graduating and now devote a rather depressing amount of time to tearing down law school and the legal profession (though I know you'll likely refute that you're against the your breath). It seems to me that your dissatisfaction is wholly unrelated to the recruiting processes and job placement of law schools. If you wanted to be a lawyer you would be. No one ever told you it would be easy. No one ever told you that you'd walk out the door at graduation with a job. You were miserable for 3 years like everyone else that ever went to law school. I don't know you at all, but I am guessing that you probably did not seize any opportunities outside of your studies. I am sure you have some drivel prepared about extracurricular activities and student orgs and how you're married and too busy for such things. Well guess what sunshine, every attorney I know prior to, during, and after law school have told me the same thing: never underestimate the power of participating in non-profits, fraternal orgs, social orgs, mock trial/moot court at all levels, etc. I am not close to any attorneys. Daddy, uncle, grandpa, etc. did real work for a living so they aren't connected to get me a job. So I went out and worked my ass off and made connections myself. You never know when such things will pay off. Everyone knows that law, like any business, is all about who you know. And guess what!? While I was getting to know all those people I was learning and often doing something positive for my own communities and others around the globe. I also had fun...yes, fun. Law school is fucking miserable so you might as well make the best of it. Of course, I'd understand how you don't have time to do anything like that; it takes a lot of time to sit behind a computer and spout negative remarks ad nauseum to an audience of other udderly miserable twats. You attack those who criticize you or call into question your logic. You spout fallacies to no end and spin numbers and statistics to your own device. Anyone who disagrees is a lemming (your words). I am no cheerleader for law schools or their marketing methods, nor for the sick state of higher education financing. However, let me proffer that those who simply back you with their rah rahs and empty criticism are the lemmings (and I don't think it is any coincidence that at least one of your followers and fellow bloggers took 4 years to complete law school and is prone to the most disturbing of hyperbole and personal attacks on their blog). "Oh, we're so fucking sad because we went to law school and have crippling debt." Do you realize how juvenile that all sounds? Go find something that makes you happy. Stop dwelling on negatives. Or, how about posting something positive every once in awhile. It is good to have a cause to fight for, but you're really undermining yourself with extremist rambling.
    You picked a course in life and succumbed to failure either real or imagined. You apparently took the word of the business in determining whether law school was right for you. This, rather than seeking out 3rd party opinons. You're not the first person to air these concerns over the internet. Apparently your research skills were a bit subpar...might explain some of your dissatisfaction with your law school experience.

  54. Why am I not surprised by the lack of a response? Nando, you sir are a coward.

  55. To 3:31, I sent Thomas Boley an email soon after he posted his comments above. He was in the graduating class above me at Drake. He has not yet responded, but at least he provided me his contact info and made some good points.

    If you are the one who posted the rambling screed above, I apologize if your sensibilities were offended by my non-response. Next time be concise and use paragraphs. (Have you ever taken a writing class?) Also, at least I have the guts to speak the truth about this industry. That is more than can be said of you.

  56. Thanks for the non-response. Cool. You have proven my point. You've got nothing Nando. You're a sad individual. I wish you well in life and can only hope that one day you realize how hilariously misguided your crusade is. I again ask that you try to find a little bit of positivity in life. It is far too short to dedicate to this bullshit.

  57. Nando, I believe you when you say you responded. I'm always up for a good-natured debate. For whatever reason, the email didn't come through. If you want to hear me chatter on about this, feel free to send it again, or post your reply on here. Or, if you feel the topic is closed, don't worry about it. Your choice.

  58. I bet Drake is glad they gave that full scholarship to you, Nando, instead of giving away their services to someone who would do even a LITTLE bit to repay good fortune with hard work. You do realize it's the law school that's getting screwed on its investment here, not you, right?

  59. Well, I graduated from Drake in 2007 and I don't have a law related job. I passed the bar and looked for jobs, but was unable to find anything in the legal field, so I turned to my current job in the HOPES of eventually becoming a compliance officer.

    I know that many of my classmates ended up finding viable employment within the 9 month period quoted by the law school, but I also know that I was unable to even secure a non-law job until a full year after I graduated.

    Well, I take that back, I was able to work as a temporary part-time employee at a couple of different call centers during that time while I continued what proved to be a fruitless search for a job in the legal profession.

    Basically, any of you fools talking about the value of a law degree when looking for positions outside of "attorney" have no clue what you are talking about. None. In my search, I was turned down for more jobs than I can count simply because I was viewed as a flight risk. That's right! If you have a law degree, people outside the law profession naturally assume that you aren't going to stick with the job they are hiring you for and won't bother extending an offer.

    Oh, and to the person saying that a person like me probably did poorly in undergrad and on the LSAT, I did well enough that Drake was a choice, not my only option. I chose Drake with the hopes that the "small school networking" described above would work in my favor. It did not. In the end, I am left to pay for my mistake for the rest of my life. But apparently, the law school, which doesn't have to pay for the loans and can print that I am gainfully employed (regardless of where), is the victim of some elaborate scam of mine to not utilize my degree to practice law. right.

  60. To my detractors, look at the comment above. This is an earnest testament to what a third tier legal education can do to a person's life.

    Law is all about reputation and/or who you know. What school you go to and your class rank are what employers care about. If you have strong personal, family, business or political connections, then these things may not matter much.

    However, most law students do not have such connections. Therefore, law school "networking" does not work for most. Real networking comes from long-term relationships based on trust and experience, NOT meeting a group of broke-ass attorneys in a law school mixer and handing out some cheap business cards.

    Like the poster above, I too was considered a flight risk by non-legal employers. I couldn't even get hired by temp agencies for doc review work. "But you can do anything with a law degree," the law schools chant in unison (as if this will magically turn the lie into truth). This is complete and utter horsecrap and that's the bottom line!

  61. Nando...your my hero...Your wrong about Golden Gate though...we have graduates who are captains of industry and sitting on Supreme Courts in the United States...what does Drake have...oh yeah - your 8 cents. What type of douche bag takes time to have a blog bashing their school. Read between the lines. The fact you have a blog like this goes directly to your idiot personality. That's why you are un-hirable. I meet people like you all the time...enjoy your glass half-empty !!!

  62. to the vagina at 12:26,

    You would think someone with a law degree would know that "your" signifies possession. Honestly, what type of douchebag takes time to anonymously post insults on a blog he can't stand? (probably some loser admissions officer at a TTT.)

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  64. Awesome Post ! Keep writing new posts..

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  70. Nando, at this point in time are you still employed in a non-legal profession? If not, what is your current profession?


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