Thursday, May 27, 2010

Profiles in Cowardice: James Leipold, Executive Shill at NALP

We scam-bloggers tend to take a cynic’s view on things. Instead of relaying inspirational tales, such as John F. Kennedy’s Profiles in Courage, we prefer to go in the direction of Profiles in Hypocrisy and Angry Future ExPat’s A Study in Douchebaggery. After all, the work world is a big flaming ball of ripe, fecal matter. With this backdrop, TTR proudly features the gutless James Leipold of NALP.

“The national economy is still volatile and the legal economy remains anemic,” James Leipold, executive director of the Association for Legal Career Professionals, said in an e-mail. “Law firms will likely have to try a variety of experiments and novel practices in the coming months to manage both finances and talent amidst all of this uncertainty.” [Emphasis mine]

Yes, you read that right. Jimmy said that the legal economy remains anemic, back in July 2009.

But, yet the NALP published its employment report for the Class of 2009, and claims that 88.3% of this class – for whom employment status was known - was employed within 9 months of graduation!

“There are dozens of reasons why the employment report for the Class of 2009 will be different than those that preceded it, and dozens of reasons why the data that has been gathered will require special explanation and analysis to make sense of it,” said NALP Executive Director James Leipold in commentary accompanying the Selected Findings. He noted that while the employment rate of 88.3% may seem stronger than expected, when the statistic is teased apart, it begins to reveal some of the fundamental weaknesses in the job market faced by this class. For instance, a different survey conducted by NALP found that between 3,200 and 3,700 graduates with jobs in law firms had their start dates deferred beyond December 1, 2009, with many deferred well into 2010.”

A shill deserves NO RESPECT - as he serves as a confidence man for industry, thereby giving false hope to legions of people. An accomplice also seeks to give the false impression of not working for industry. Respect has to be earned, James.

Just look at what Jimmy told the NALP Annual Education Conference, on April 30, 2010 – where he was the sole panelist for “The State of the Legal Economy and the Legal Employment Market”:

“But Leipold told us that NALP is also counting deferred students as employed — even though NALP KNOWS that some deferrals will never result in actual employment.

Since it was me, Leipold, and 11 other people who didn’t want to look tanned when they got back to work on Monday, I decided it was appropriate to question Leipold about this. Why was NALP providing “cover” for law schools when we all know that prospective law students will believe these inflated numbers? Doesn’t this make NALP complicit in this law school scam? To Leipold’s credit, he answered truthfully:

“If we said to law schools you have to report a significant percentage of your graduates as ‘unemployed,’ they wouldn’t do it.” [Emphasis mine]

Did everyone see that?! The executive director of the NALP admits that the employment and salary figures are nonsense. The law schools are reporting students who have had their job offers deferred as EMPLOYED. The fact remains that many of these deferred people will NOT be hired by their firms. But, as a good little shill, Jimmy makes sure to publish these SELF-REPORTED figures at face value.

“We'll give James Leipold, NALP's executive director, the last word: "This represents an enormous interruption in the usual recruiting and employment patterns that we have come to expect. I don't think anyone expects recruiting volumes to pick up significantly during 2010, though the worst does seem, we hope, to be behind us."

The worst, you HOPE, is behind us?! Do you also hope that people will stop tossing plastic bottles in the trash? This article appeared on March 3, 2010.

But, yet in this piece from May 25, 2010, you prognosticate lower employment figures for the class of 2010 and that of 2011. So which is it, James? Is the worst (hopefully) behind us, or will things get worse?

“James Leipold, NALP’s executive director, is predicting lower employment numbers for the class of 2010 and probably 2011, but others think things could pick up.”

When you get a moment, go ahead and ask James to grow a spine. Here is Jimmy’s email address:

Sunday, May 23, 2010

On the Cold Seat: Third Tier Drake

TTR Rundown – Drake University Law School is a middling, trifling school located in humid toilet known as Des Moines, Iowa. (Has anyone else noticed that the state is shaped like a giant commode?) The school trains students in the following areas: insurance defense; family law; court-appointed dreck; DUI/OWI defense; filing for one’s own unemployment benefits; receiving Food Stamps; stocking shelves; waiting tables; selling insurance policies; adjusting insurance claims; working as a hotel night clerk; delivering packages; moving back in with family; etc.

To add its level of prestige, the Drake University Insurance Defense and Court-Appointed List Preparation Academy has been ranked – by NaTTTional Juri$TTT ­– as a “Best Buy”! Wow, you talk about reaching the peak of the industry, huh? Harvard and Stanford did not make it on the list. Then again, unlike Drake JDs, those grads don’t need to worry about working for Best Buy upon graduation, do they?


Tuition: Full-time students at Third Tier Drake paid $30,750 in tuition for the 2009-2010 school year. These poor souls were also charged $450 in fees for the same academic year.

Total Cost of Attendance: The school estimates that a full-time law student at this magnanimous institution of higher learning will need another $17,560 in additional expenses, i.e. living expenses, books and loan fees. This would bring the total COA – for the 2009-2010 school year – to $48,760! Then again, WHO doesn’t have $48K lying around in their couch cushions?! I can see why NaTTTional Juri$TTT had this commode listed as a “Best Buy.”

Ranking: This school once again splashes into the third tier of American law schools. What a tremendous feat, huh?

Employment Statistics: According to the Career Development Office at Third Tier Drake, 96.8% of the Class of 2008 was employed or in graduate school within 9 months of graduation.

Of course, working at Menard’s, Des Moines Public Schools, reviewing insurance claims for AIG, or serving burgers and fries at the Drake Diner counts as employment. And we should not forget those Drake JDs serving beer at Legends American Grill; checking IDs at Blues on Grand; taking orders at Johnny’s Italian Steakhouse; unloading packages for UPS; and keeping the patrons in check at Big Earl’s Goldmine strip club.

And, of course, this supposed employment figure was based off of an (alleged) response rate of 100 percent! Yeah, and I just gave Salma Hayek 12 titanic, groundbreaking orgasms and, she went to sleep on my kitchen countertop. I still don’t know how her legs didn’t give out earlier.

I graduated from this commode in May 2009. The CDO never contacted me after graduation, and I never filled out any graduate survey. I know other people who did not report their employment status or income to this school, either – usually because they had nothing to report. Maybe the class of 2009 was an anomaly, right?! Yeah, that must be it.

Conclusion: You could EASILY end up with $125K in additional, non-dischargeable student loan debt, as the result of attending this third tier commode. I know several former classmates who did exactly that – and some of these people had working spouses or lived at home. Oh well - at least they contributed to the fat salaries of the TTT “professors” and administrators. What else do these people have to show for their “investment” of three years of lost/reduced income, three years of their lives, efforts, and money?!

Well, many are now attempting to live off of court-appointed garbage cases, i.e. divorces, child endangerment, misdemeanor theft, etc. But, hey we shouldn’t expect a positive return on our investment should we, Jack CriTTenden?

"For too long, many of the students who entered law school were seeking the high-paying salaries that law schools were happy to advertise. It was a rush to greed. And many of these wealth-seekers were sorely disappointed when they failed to land the $160,000 job."

Law students shouldn’t be “greedy”, should they? But it is OKAY for “law professors” and administrators to rake in annual salaries exceeding $140K per year – for teaching a paltry 4-6 hours per week, isn’t it Jackie?! Oh that’s right! Impoverished, disillusioned law students and broke-ass attorneys don’t buy puff pieces and ad space in your little rag, do they Jack?! No, but TTTTs and unaccredited trash can law schools do – as well as bar review companies, study aid vendors, and other leeches of the industry.

Also, the majority of law students do not expect $100K salaries upon graduation. Thanks for the gross characterization, Shill. MOST law students have more reasonable expectations, i.e. finding a job where they can pay their bills, buy food, and afford their rent. Who goes to law school for the “intellectual pursuit”? [News flash: people go to graduate and professional school so that they can find a decent job! Got that, Jack?] Who knows – you could be right. After all, who minds wasting three years of their lives – and volumes of money and energy – while learning legal theory? And why should a law grad or attorney expect not to work waiting tables or taking hotel reservations?

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Courtesy Flush: Creighton University School of Law

“The School offers a curriculum designed to produce ethical lawyers who will zealously and competently represent clients within the bounds of law and, at the same time, recognize their duty to improve society.”

[Now would be a good time to grab another roll of toilet paper]

Tuition: Full-time students attending Creighton Sewer of Law will be charged the the amount of $33,406 in tuition and fees for the 2009-2010 school year. I added the per-semester tuition figure with the per-semester SBA, technology and university fees – and multiplied by a factor of two. I did the same for the student health insurance premium, since it only covered six months and a student will presumably need 12 months coverage.

Total Cost of Attendance: The school also estimates that additional expenses, i.e. living allowance, travel, books/supplies, and parking, will amount to $16,156. That would bring the total cost of attendance for a full-time Creighton law student to $49,562 – for the upcoming school year.

Ranking: U.S. News & World Report lists CreighTTTon in the tremendous third tier of American law schools. See where this toilet is located alphabetically right in front of Third Tier Drake? What a great accomplishment, huh?!

Employment Placement: According to the (alleged) School of Law Facts page, 92.5% of the JDs from the Class of 2008 were employed within 9 months of graduation.

We need to understand that the law schools, and their friends at the ABA and NALP, count employment as anything, i.e. unpaid internships, temporary employment, non-legal jobs, etc. If you work as a waitress at the Upstream Brewing Company in downtown Omaha, and report that to the school, guess what? For the purposes of the graduate survey, you are among the 92.5% of JDs employed within nine months of graduating from Creighton! The same goes if you are stocking the bar at Goodfellas Nightclub.

The main problem with this deceptive methodology is that prospective law students see a high employment rate and think that it is okay to take on more debt, because they will have a good chance at landing LEGAL employment. Yes, many pre-law students are desperate and want to get away from stocking shelves and changing oil. However, to take advantage of these young people - by providing deceptive info and false hope - is sickening, reprehensible and immoral. Many will simply end up with jobs that they could have done without a law degree. The ABA and the law schools are aware of this fact – but they persist in the lies, nonetheless. After all, reporting accurate figures would cut into their profits.

Starting Salary Info: The school, in its self-serving, SELF-REPORTED statistics also claims a mean starting salary of $63,754. For those in “private practice”, the school asserts a mean starting salary of $66,136. (Apparently, public sector jobs and non-legal jobs in Omaha do not differ much - in terms of pay - from those in private practice.) Of course, the school fails to produce one iota of proof to back up these assertions. Oh that’s right. The ABA and NALP do not require the schools to submit their figures to an independent audit! And lemmings will believe anything the schools say, anyway. So that means “no harm done”, right?!

“These 480 students are among the best in the nation. Drawn from over 40 states, 7 foreign countries and 165 undergraduate institutions, they move into judicial clerkships and jobs at top law firms in Omaha, Chicago, Denver, Houston, Kansas City and beyond.”

Upon graduation, CreighTTTon JDs also move into the parts department at AutoZone; shipping & receiving at SuperTarget; work the cash register at Home Depot; provide customer service and technical support – over the phones – to Cox Communications cable subscribers; and serve strawberry rhubarb pie and coffee at Village Inn. For the low annual price of $28,988 and three years of lost income, what more could you ask for? (Who knows – maybe some of these fantastic, i.e. “among the best in the nation”, students will catch a job lead – when they are serving apple pie a la mode to some local toiletlawyer or family court judge.)

“In 2009, the law school again hosted Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas as he taught a supreme court seminar to second and third-year students.”

Ooh! Excuse me while I check my pulse. Honestly, who gives a damn about this seminar? I heard John G. Roberts speak at Third Tier Drake, during my third year. Did this help ANYONE land a single interview? Did anyone other than the biggest law nerds get excited over his visit?

Conclusion: If you are a Nebraska resident, and you cannot get into the University of Nebraska College of Law, then do not settle for this overpriced toilet. In-state tuition at this “top 100” law school – currently in a five-way tie for 93rd best law school in the United States – is a mere fraction of CreighTTTon’s cost of attendance. I guess Creighton University proudly continues the tradition of providing over-priced “Jesuit legal education” while strapping down its graduates with a lifetime of soul-crushing debt.

The reality is that attending and graduating from CreighTTTon Law School – absent some strong political, business or family connections – will NOT provide you with a decent chance at paying off your non-dischargeable student loan debt. In fact, attending this school will adversely affect the bulk of its students – as many will not find jobs that will allow them to reasonably pay back their debt. A person could EASILY take on an extra $135K in student loans to attend this dump. Although Creighton students tend to be arrogant loudmouths, who wants to see another 140 JDs flushed down the financial commode every year?

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Sweltering, Smoldering, Steaming Stack of Dung: Southwestern Law School

Tuition: For a full-time student at Southwestern Law School, tuition and fees will amount to $36,950 for the upcoming 2010-2011 school year. For part-time students, this figure will “only” be $22,250 for this same school year; this evening program takes four years, by the way.

Total Cost of Attendance: Let’s look at the costs and living expense for a full-time student living off-campus in the Los Angeles area, i.e. the worst-case scenario. Well, going off of the school’s estimated living expenses, we can see that room and board, books and supplies, transportation, student parking, insurance and personal expenses will add another $37,100 to the bill!!! Add the monthly figures for room and board ($2180), transportation ($310) and personal expenses ($351) – and multiply that by a factor of 12. Then add the figures for books/supplies ($625), student parking ($230), and insurance ($649), and multiply by two. Add these two figures together.

So the total COA for a full-time Southwestern Law student – living off-campus – would amount to $74,050 for the 2010-2011 academic year. Yes, you read that right – SEVENTY-FOUR THOUSAND, AND FIFTY DOLLARS!!!

[Blog author comes to, after smelling salts awake him from temporary blackout]

Ranking: Well, surely this school has a strong local and national reputation – to somewhat justify the cost of attendance, right? WHAT?!?! This school is ranked in the third tier of American law schools, as determined by US News & World Report! Are you kidding me?!

Employment and Starting Salary Info: The school is happy to report 97% employment within nine months of graduation for its class of 2009. Yeah, sure you had 97 percent placement – and Halle Berry is demanding that I hurry up and post this entry so that she can have her way with me.

Now, let’s take aim at the purported salary figures, shall we? For those in private practice, the 25th percentile allegedly makes $62,500. Those in the 75th percentile, earn $90K. According to the school, the top 75 percent of income earners can EXPECT to make more than $62K upon graduation and finding a job. Only the bottom 25 percent, i.e. the losers, will make less than $62,500 upon finding a job. The school is essentially telling prospective law students that TTT grads can bank on making more than $62K upon graduation.

Do you understand the implications of this? People with a BS or BA, currently making $30K-$35K will be drawn to a “career” where they start out making $62K a year. Too bad the ABA doesn’t require these sewers to submit their SELF-REPORTED, i.e. imaginary, figures to an independent audit. Oh well, I guess this does sit well with the ABA’s motto: “Defending Liberty, Pursuing Justice.”

Oh, you think writing onto the Southwestern Journal of International Law will give you an edge in the legendary, oversaturated California legal market, huh? Well, no employer gives a moist fart about your fifth-rate journal experience. Got that?! (By the way, this rag was previously named the Southwestern Journal of Law and Trade in the Americas. That just rolls off the tongue, doesn’t it?) You think this will somehow distinguish you from the legions of attorneys in the state? Your resume and cover letter will end up in the trash can – the moment it arrives. How is that for distinct?!

Conclusion: In the final, brutal analysis, this smoldering pile of rubbish charges WAY too damn much money for its garbage product. Furthermore, you will be competing against graduates from the following law schools in the state of California: Cal-Berkeley, Stanford, USC, UCLA, Pepperdine, UC Davis, Hastings, Santa Clara University, University of the Pacific, etc. Do you think you have a shot in hell of competing against these higher–ranked schools for the paucity of available jobs?! Some of the schools on this list are not even that great, but they are higher-ranked than this toilet. And that is what matters to legal employers!

If you are a prospective law student, and you are even thinking about applying to this sewer of law, set aside your anger and sit back for a second. (Conversely, if you are an administrator or “law professor” at this dump, you can walk in front of a city bus.) Let me save you $225K in non-dischargeable debt – and a lifetime of misery, debt servitude, and angst: you are better off buying California State Lottery tickets. (At least, you can get this debt discharged in a bankruptcy proceeding.) End of story.

You want to get upset at someone? Why don’t you direct your anger at the people charging you $74K in yearly total costs for a third tier, third-rate “legal education”?

Monday, May 10, 2010

Follow-up Letter to the JD Class of 2010

“For too long, many of the students who entered law school were seeking the high paying salaries that law schools were too happy to advertise. It was a rush to greed. And many of these wealth-seekers were sorely disappointed when they failed to land the $160,000 job.

Most never even had a chance, as only 20 percent of all graduates were landing jobs with salaries greater than $100,000. But to be fair, some even failed to land the $40,000 job and now have $100,000 in debt breathing down their necks.”

This should read “MANY failed to land $40,000 jobs, and now have $100,000 in non-dischargeable debt breathing down their necks.” What do you expect from a shill?

Herwig Schlunk, professor at Vanderbilt University Law School, noted back in October 2009 that law school is a poor financial decision for most college graduates:

"There is no reason to believe that the currently-experienced changes in the legal market for freshly-minted law school graduates are temporary; indeed, some legal scholars think they may well be permanent. If so, then it is not just the current crop of Hot Prospects, but all future crops as well, who will need to ratchet down their expectations not only with respect to first-year compensation, but also with respect to job security and chances for partnership."

According to the ABA:

"The combination of the rising cost of a legal education and the realities of the legal job market mean that going to law school may not pay off for a large number of law students.
Dean David Van Zandt of Northwestern Law School estimates that to make a positive return on the investment of going to law school, given the current costs, the average law student must earn an average annual salary of at least $65,315.12 As the data above show, however, over 40% of law school graduates have starting salaries below this threshold. Thus, many students start out in a position from which it may be difficult to recoup their investment in legal education. Even students who do ultimately prosper over the course of a career face difficulties from high debt loads during the beginning of their career. High debt can limit career choices, prevent employment in the public service sector, or delay home ownership or marriage. In short, going to law school can bring more financial difficulty than many law students expect." [Emphasis mine]

Might those expectations have something to do with the SELF-REPORTED, fabricated law school employment and starting salary statistics?! How many students at TTemple or CreighTTTon will make $65K a year, upon graduation? How many of those students will take on $120K in non-dischargeable debt for the credential?

“Those considering law school might want to reconsider, said Allan Tanenbaum, chairman of an American Bar Association commission studying the impact of the economic crisis on the profession. Students take on average law-school debt of about $100,000 and, given the job market, many "have no foreseeable way to pay that back," he said.

Thomas Reddy, a second-year student at Brooklyn Law School, hasn't landed a summer internship yet after sending resumes to more than 50 law firms. He is taking on about $70,000 of debt each year of the three-year program to earn his degree, but said he may be fortunate to make $80,000 a year in a lawyer job after graduating. "That is less than what I was making before I went to law school," he said.”

Do you see where the ABA commission chairman ADMITS that students who take on “average law-school debt” have no foreseeable way to pay this amount back?!?!
As far as Crooklyn second year student Thomas Reddy goes: yeah, and I’ll be “fortunate” to have a threesome with Jennifer Lopez and Jessica Alba this weekend, too.

Look, the president of the California State Bar Association notes: “There is notoriously unreliable self-reporting by law schools and their graduates of employment statistics.”

Shill James Leipold of NALP stated the following at the 2010 NALP Annual Education Conference:

“If we said to law schools you have to report a significant percentage of your graduates as ‘unemployed,’ they wouldn’t do it.”

Which means that James has no choice but to publish statistics which are false, right?!?! What an admission on NALP’s part!

In the final analysis, as a soon-to-be JD, your job prospects are pathetic. The industry has admitted this on SEVERAL occasions. Get the picture?! There are too many law schools in this country. There is a glut of attorneys in this nation. The law schools and the ABA continue to churn out throngs of JDs – when they KNOW that the job market for lawyers is shrinking. This is the clearest indication that the industry does not give a damn about law students and recent graduates!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Open Letter to the JD Class of 2010

I am not going to provide you with a rosy forecast of the legal industry. I will not try to instill in you the value of “hard work” and “networking.” (Real networking involves making important personal contacts in your workplace, church, or other community organizations – through years of acquaintance. After personally seeing your work ethic, attitude and your particular strengths, these contacts can then vouch for you when talking to their business/industry colleagues.) Nor will I try to pound home the virtues of “public service,” “pro bono” work, “giving something back” – or other pointless, meaningless drivel.

This site is about cold, hard reality – not the way we wish things were. I am not the boring commencement speaker at your upcoming (pathetic) graduation ceremony. Today is May 2, 2010. Close to 45,000 of you will soon graduate – 13 days to be exact. According to NALP, ABA-approved law schools pumped out 43,587 graduates in 2008. (page 2)

What does that mean for you? And what do you have to look forward to? Well, you can practice toiletlaw in “inexpensive” cities such as Chicago, New York, and San Diego for $10-$15 an hour.

Two years of civil litigation experience could land you a job making $10 an hour in the dirt cheap city of San Diego. Expect LOTS of competition for this job.

Research attorneys can now make the princely sum of $10 in Chicago!

As a soon-to-be law graduate, you will NOT even qualify for many positions, as some firms want litigators with years of experience – for the princely sum of $15 per hour. For instance, personal injury and criminal defense trial attorneys can now command the huge sum of $15 an hour - in New York City!!

Well, you could still find jobs such as this one – if you don’t mind working for $12 an hour, at 40 hours a week, for this personal injury firm in lovely Piscataway, NJ.

But, fear not. You can practice in the basements of white shoe firms, toiling away on document review projects for a scant $20 an hour. Plus, maybe these cosmopolitan areas are not to your liking, in the first place. Well, you could work in the urban blight known as Albany, NY for the afore-mentioned $20 an hour, as a temporary/contract attorney. You even get to make more than $10 or $15 an hour.

However, you will find it increasingly harder to find contract attorney positions as many Biglaw firms are opting to hire foreign attorneys AND non-attorneys to engage in American legal work. See ABA “Ethics” Opinion 08-451.

“CHICAGO, Aug. 25, 2008 - U.S. lawyers are free to outsource legal work, including to lawyers or nonlawyers outside the country, if they adhere to ethics rules requiring competence, supervision, protection of confidential information, reasonable fees and not assisting unauthorized practice of law.

Those are the conclusions of the American Bar Association Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility, which describes outsourcing as a salutary trend in a global economy.”

The cockroaches on the American Bar Association Standing Committee on “Ethics” and “Professional Responsibility” are apparently so proud of this outsourcing decision – that they NO LONGER PROVIDE the text of this opinion online.

What is this? Even experienced law firm associates cannot get hired for free!!

I suppose, if you like dealing with small clients who inevitably have constant, NUMEROUS, HUGE legal problems, you can always go solo. (This option is best for those who are not partial to eating or paying bills.) And, don’t forget your ethical and legal obligation to continue zealously and competently representing your clients' interests – even when they can no longer pay you for your services.

Are you upset that law school did not pan out the way you planned? Are you disappointed that you are in the top quarter of your third tier commode and just as unemployed and – in many cases – unemployable as the kid who finished last in the class? Oh, that’s right! Law schools only train you “how to think like a lawyer.”

Perhaps, you will chalk this up to personal failure. Maybe, you will consider this an expensive lesson learned.

What can you do about it? Here is a suggested program of recovery: (a) start looking for non-legal positions right now – if you have not done so months ago; (b) DO NOT, under any circumstances, accept non-paid legal positions – you did enough of this in law school and now student loans are coming due; and (c) ignore the platitudes and excuses put out by your Career Services Office, i.e. “Well, the economy is weak right now, but we think things will improve shortly. Keep plugging away, try to ace your classes this semester, and network.”

After graduation, start your own detailed, well-informed scam blog documenting your experience. You can maintain you anonymity, if you want. Of paramount importance is that you inform others about the realities of the shrinking legal market.
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